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Nature Vs. Nurture: Waging War Over the Soul of Science 235

derekmead writes "Wherever determinism appears, controversy attends, raising specters of days when colonialists, eugenicists, public health officials, and political idealists believed they could cure the human condition through manipulation and force. Understanding those fears helps shed light on the controversy surrounding a recent paper (PDF) published in the American Economic Review, entitled, 'The "Out of Africa" Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development.' In it, economists Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor argue that the economic development of broad human populations correlate with their levels of genetic diversity—which is, in turn, pinned to the distance its inhabitants migrated from Africa thousands of years ago. Reaction has been swift and vehement. An article signed by 18 academics in Current Anthropology accuses the researchers of 'bad science' — 'something false and undesirable' based on 'weak data and methods' that 'can become a justification for reactionary policy.' The paper attacks everything from its sources of population data to its methods for measuring genetic diversity, but the economists are standing by their methods. The quality of Ashraf and Galor's research notwithstanding, the debate illustrates just how tricky it's become to assert anything which says something about human development was in any way inevitable."
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Nature Vs. Nurture: Waging War Over the Soul of Science

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  • by buybuydandavis ( 644487 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:12PM (#42938857)

    And anyone who suggests otherwise is a racist, sexist, homophone!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:21PM (#42938911)

    Hmm, what field of "science" most deserves those quotation marks? Macroeconomics, or cultural anthropology?

    This is seriously a tough one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:28PM (#42938993)

    Even 5 minutes of research shows times when massive populations of NON-diverse genetic make-up were the big economic winners on the Earth. Other times, isolated peoples would stagnate, until 'fresh' blood from outsiders reinvigorated their society, creating a new economic power house.

    Simplistic conclusions are always drawn by simpletons who select the evidence carefully to support their assertions.

    There is only ONE Human race. 'Genetic diversity' is usually a code-word for racist depravities who want to claim that 'whites' for instance, are superior to 'blacks'. Cultural diversity, on the other hand, is clearly a real and significant phenomenon. Your 'culture' has nothing to do with your 'genes' except by accident of birth.

    Racist scumbags say that your genetic makeup says the most important things about you as a person. The 'race'-based slavery promoted by the sickos that created the USA followed this pseudo-scientific philosophy. American slavery was based on the principle that it was scientifically inconceivable that a black person could ever be president of the USA. The authors of this article are cut from the same cloth.

    The depravities currently patenting the hell out of the Human genome NEED you to believe that your genes matter. They are the current day eugenicists so beloved by Adolf Hitler. Never forget that the eugenic movement that gave birth to forced sterilization, death camps, medical experimentation on Human victims, forced adoption for the children of 'single' mothers, modern forced female circumcision, lobotomies and electro-shock treatment was centred in the USA, and supported by the most powerful American politicians, intellectuals and industrial barons. When Americans could no longer own slaves, they got behind a movement that 'proved' black people were inferior to whites. The scientific community in the USA is sick to the core.

    The owners of Slashdot push this story, because powerful eugenicists, like Bill Gates, are funding race-based pseudo-science with more money than ever before. While the scientific mainstream of Europe will continue to deplore such racist garbage as always, US money will seek out powerful racists within Europe in an effort to make their voices louder.

    Eugenics was a dead-duck in Europe in the early 20th century, but very powerful and rich American eugenicists backed every racist politician they could find. The result of this was terrifying. While the mainstream European scientific community described race based science as junk, smaller European nations, receiving large sums of money from America, implemented widespread social policies based on eugenics, including forced sterilizations policies that continued into the 1980s. The owners of Slashdot are proudly doing their part to ensure these policies continue.

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:51AM (#42943857) Journal

    I can't remember the last time I heard the "volcanoes" canard on slashdot

    Is that something to do with ducks floating in volcanoes, so they're witches and therefore liberal pro-AGW fanatics?

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