Re: Different Values (was The Transhumanist Racist)

Timothy Bates (
Sun, 13 Jun 1999 15:30:59 +1000

Hal said
> Of course Jews are white, but white racists hate them anyway)

Hal, I agree that this is a critical point. Racism is not about being superior, it is about grabbing resources. Racism is at its most virulent when it is directed at people who are "superior" and might get those resources if it were left up to fair play.

Here is how I put it in a recent paper addressing this issue (this is a reply to a paper asserting that researchers on intelligence should self censor biological research lest it beget increased racism).

Does the Research feed Authoritarian Platforms?

It is not clear that science can ever "feed" anything authoritarian. Good theories do not even care for themselves! Rather they make explicit the critical tests that will, inevitably, render them obsolete. But let us take a concrete example, it is hard to see how any scientific report could support, for instance, One Nationšs opposition to Asian immigration. Apart from the fact that academic articles on inspection time do not figure widely in electioneering, data on Asian and Australian IQ are politically ambiguous. The published studies to date happen to indicate that Asian IQ is higher than the current Australian average. However, does this result support or hinder the One Nation position? The finding could motivate anti-Asian sentiment: "they will out-compete us - so we should exclude them." Equally, however, it could "support" a pro-Asian sentiment: "together we can build the clever country - we should encourage Asian entry to our country." Racism is not a theory but a dogma.

It is our feeling that all research opposes dogma and authority: the basic premise of science is that our current understandings are flawed. As history shows, this view of nature is incompatible with authoritarians who, consequently, engage in pogroms to restrict research and communication. If research on intelligence provides support for anything, we suggest that, like all science, it supports the openness that is essential if we are to consider alternative views even when they are quite opposite to our own. This same spirit of openness also underpins tolerance of individual and group differences (McCrae & Costa, 1997).