Esoterica in science

A guest post by commenter Bill:

Over the last century or so and especially over the last fifty years, Western elites have adopted a number of bizarre positions. These positions are held not because any evidence suggests them to be true, but, evidently, for reasons emotional, ideological, and self-interested. This, by itself, is not especially comment-worthy: people are like that.

They also, however, adhere with similar intensity to older positions: to modern philosophy, to a kind of Whiggish history, and to the machine—to the Mechanical Philosophy and the scientific program it lionizes. To themselves they are hard-headed, empirical rationalists; guardians, seekers, and producers of truth. Naturally enough, rationalists, realists, and truth-tellers deserve to be high, while spiritualists, super-naturalists, and fantasists deserve to be low. The Logos must rule.

Tensions arise when the new beliefs come into conflict with truths produced by the machine, to which they are committed by the old beliefs. The tensions are not merely internal to the heads of Liberals, either. These two belief-sets are not equally strong in all Liberals, some of them lean heavily towards the machine and some of them lean heavily towards progressivism. Since progressivism is increasingly ascendant, the machinists retreat. One way they retreat, reminiscent of the way their predecessors the alchemists retreated before them, is into esoterica. That is they retreat into producing texts whose exoteric, open meaning is false and progressive but whose esoteric, hidden meaning is true and anti-progressive.

The most accessible example of this is race denial. The renowned Stanford geneticist (and cowardly machinist), Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, in the introduction to and again in chapter 1 of his 2001 book, Genes, Peoples, and Languages says explicitly and in almost these words that human “racial” differences are unimportant and are only skin deep. The remainder of the book is a detailed refutation of these claims, which refutation, however, never notices itself as such. By two pages from the denial in chapter 1, you know that race is at least blood deep. By the end, you know it is bone deep, gene deep. Exoterically, he never admits that race exists, that it is biological, or that it is important. Esoterically, the book is almost about showing the truth of these things. Cavalli-Sforza is famous enough that his behavior has provoked learned commentary. There is a fine series of blog posts on this by the anthropologist Peter Frost beginning here, continuing here and culminating in an informative seven part series (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven).

A funny example of this came to my attention the other day over at West Hunter, the blog of the physicist-turned-anthropologist Gregory Cochran. In the linked post, Cochran talks about the work of Dan Freedman with newborns. As it turns out, newborn babies display some of the stereotypical behavior of their respective races. Newborns display large differences in their willingness to accept externally imposed discomfort. Babies rank, from most to least accepting: Navaho, Chinese, Japanese, White, Black. As it turns out, you can buy a DVD of data from the experiment, a DVD entitled Cross-Cultural Differences in Newborn Behavior. Look at the word between “cross” and “differences.”

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31 thoughts on “Esoterica in science

    • I’ve fixed the links. They all had a spurious symbol at the end which invalidated them and which I’ve removed.

  1. I think focusing on race and suchlike is strongly counter-productive for conservatives.

    Ad 1, it gives the opponents a wonderful opportunity use the usual nazi smear.

    Ad 2, it is entirely unimportant. Morals are not in the genes. In the worst case, IQ is. The best thing you can prove from that is that achievement differences are natural. But as a conservative you should generally be opposing social engineering for equal achievements, you don’t need an it’s-natural excuse for it. You can just oppose it because it is egalitarian, and because it is social engineering, this excuse is not really needed.

    Ad 3, it is counter-productive. Brown people on the whole tend to culturally, socially conservative. Of course there can be a problem when they want to conserve a non-Western culture in the West, but… at the end of the day any tradition whatsoever is more similar to Western traditions than to modern liberalism, because neither are egalitarian or autonomy-focused.

    What I dream is that one day, conservatives of the US, UK, and Europe will stop this ethnicist, anti-immigrationist stuff, embrace migrants, brown people, and ally them against liberals on a multi-cultural but overall traditionalist platform. Family values for example tend to work in similar ways in many cultures…

    • Shenpen:

      The migrants overwhelmingly support socialists and liberals politically, at least in Europe. If the migrants would support traditionalist causes, rather than act as an battering ram against traditional European/Christian culture, the socialists and liberals would not be so fond of them immigrating, would they?

      When you write that we should stop the “anti-immigration stuff” it is like asking us to accept the demographic transformation of our nations, that we should give up our claims as the owners of our historical homelands and that we should tolerate the crimes and dysfunctions that follow in the footsteps of mass immigration. Because that is what further immigration entails.

      • In America, too, the majority of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians support liberal causes and the Democratic Party.

        Morals are not in the genes, but some groups are demonstrably more likely to commit crime than others. IQ is a highly heritable trait, and a society needs a certain level of it to function in a way that supports liberty, capitalism, and other desirable traits.

        Finally, as Lawrence Auster pointed out, any conservatism that is not, at its heart, racial conservatism, will fail.

        Yes, this is more grist for the liberals’ mill, but we cannot evade the truth and hope to have any meaningful or lasting success.

      • You do not own “homelands”. The homeland is a territory and not a property thus “own” word is wrong. The precise word is “occupied”.

      • vishmer24
        No, we don´t “own” our homelands in a strict legal sense. But if a people have lived in a place for hundreds of years, cultivated the lands and fought for it, does it not give that people a special claim to that land?

    • Amazing. I thought I’d seen it all. It is one thing for conservatives to accept the few immigrant minorities that are already here and willing to assimilate into the Christian West but it is another thing altogether to get them to support the relentless mass immigration that we have here. There is no reason for any conservative to support hordes of alien peoples who will either not assimilate or, as it usually happens, assimilate into the Leftist Borg. No reason. While I do not think that conservatism has to be completely and thoroughly racialist, we have to be realistic and realize that it doesn’t make sense for any conservative to change the racial dynamics of the country he claims that he wants to conserve! What about culture? Changing the race will dramatically change the culture.

    • Ad 2, it is entirely unimportant.

      Race is not per se important. Nothing in the right’s worldview binds us to any particular stance on race. However, race is one of the areas in which progressives’ current obsessions lead them into both gibbering nonsense and repression. Pointing out that the right has no investment one way or the other on the factual questions and that this allows us comfortably to accept the truth can only be to our advantage. Put us in charge and both the nonsense and the repression cease. So, instrumentally, it is useful. Plus, knowing how the world works is useful generally.

      On the other hand, the idea that I have a higher duty to people related to me certainly is rightist and constitutive of rightism.

      Ad 1, it gives the opponents a wonderful opportunity use the usual nazi smear.

      You misunderstand the nazi smear and its function on the left. They are going to use smears against their enemies. Nazi, fascist, counter-revolutionary, wrecker, kulak, whatever. It isn’t possible to both oppose them and avoid being smeared. Being smeared is a necessary consequence of opposing them. They don’t mean anything by words like “Nazi” or “racist” or “anti-semite” except that the targets of these words are enemies and outlaws. Outlaw in the technical sense that no rule of decorum, law, or humanity should protect them.

      Ad 3, it is counter-productive. Brown people on the whole tend to culturally, socially conservative.

      Whose support, exactly, would the right lose by telling the truth about race? Blacks? Even the namby-pamby, grovelling republican pseudo-right has zero support right now among blacks. South and East Asians? Those guys don’t exactly, you know, like black people. Running shops and starting off life in vibrant schools does that to you. Hispanics? Similar answer. Only votes lost are nice white ladies. And their votes come right back once the taboo is shattered.

      The left’s hysterical desire to keep the republicans quiet (or grovelling) on race comes from the fact that they fear it is a winning issue. The republicans would take a short-term hit and derive a long-term benefit from moving right on this issue.

  2. Three propositions were identified by Mencius Moldbug in his (approximately 497 part) series Open Letter to an Open Minded Progressive, to show the ovewhelming power of the Cathedral to invent and enforce dogma, under the guise of science, over and against all reason and all reasonable doubts: Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), Keynes-Fischer Macroeconomics (KFM), and Human Neurological Uniformity (HNU). Those continue to be outstanding examples 5 years later. Eventually the shibboleths will change (AGW seems first for the can), but make no mistake, the Science Industrial Complex, latched firmly to the teat of Imperial Largess, has been co-opted by religious zealots, who will only follow small-s science where they are convinced, by sub-rational devotion, it must lead. Nihil Obstat has been replaced by “Peer Review.”

  3. I think focusing on family and suchlike is strongly counter-productive for conservatives.

    Ad 1, it gives the opponents a wonderful opportunity use the usual fundie smear.

    Ad 2, it is entirely unimportant. Morals are not in the genes. In the worst case, IQ is. The best thing you can prove from that is that achievement differences are natural. But as a conservative you should generally be opposing social engineering for equal achievements, you don’t need an it’s-natural excuse for it. You can just oppose it because it is egalitarian, and because it is social engineering, this excuse is not really needed.

    Ad 3, it is counter-productive. People on the whole tend to culturally, socially conservative. Of course there can be a problem when they want to conserve a non-Western culture in the West, but… at the end of the day any tradition whatsoever is more similar to Western traditions than to modern liberalism, because neither are egalitarian or autonomy-focused.

    What I dream is that one day, conservatives of the US, UK, and Europe will stop this familial, anti-sexual revolution stuff, embrace anyone and everyone and use them against liberals on a non-familial but overall traditionalist platform. Values for example tend to work in similar ways in many cultures…

      • I say that to say… throughout history there have been more and less successful attempts at diverse peoples coexisting within states in relative peace and in relative prosperity. Yes, there is an obvious tendancy toward castes, but that is not per se an end of civilization. (Some might even call it a beginning.) Singapore, in fact, is a very high functioning yet multicultural/multi-ethnic state (ruled by the non-native people I might add). This is not an invitation for open borders of course. But Steve Salier’s genteel citizenism is a plausible safeguard against that. There is no such compromise that can be made between cultural traditionalism and the sexual revolution. They are, almost by definition, opposed.

  4. Everyone on the “right” that says “race isn’t important, conservatism is” happen to live in in white, 1st world nations. Ever notice that?

    • Interestingly enough the hardest right, and most race conscious, are ever on the lookout for exit. Spandrell and Nick Land have already exited to China.

      Did you ever notice that the only rightists you happen to know, whether race concious or not, happen to live in white, 1st world nations?

      Aside from Shenpen’s not entirely well considered outburst, I doubt you’ll find the median opinion of Orthospherites devoid of race consciousness. It is simply that there are permissable levels of (dare I say it?) nuance on the topic. WNs don’t make good neighbors either.

      • Shenpen’s rant was very obnoxious and didn’t even make any sense, but there are paleocons and there are WNs. I usually see the WNs whining and complaining about the Paleocons everywhere they go, from paleo sites to WN sites, but I do not see the opposite. Race is not everything, but it isn’t nothing. It makes sense to keep white, 1st world nations white and 1st world and the mass non-Christian and non-European immigration that Shenpen yearns for is idiotic and destructive and therefore not conservative. That being said, the staunch racialism and race-worship that WNs are so crazy about does not have to be apart of the Paleoconservative movement. It is obvious that many non-European immigrants will not assimilate and will either become leftists or isolated into their own traditionalist ethnic enclaves. Some, however, will assimilate. That last bit doesn’t give any reason to open borders but it does mean that we have to be as rigid on race and racial matters as the WNs.

      • I’d be curious to learn Svar just how “rigid on race and racial matters” the WNs are, since I’m not up on the actual WN orthodoxy–what little I see makes me pity the dregs of my own race more than those they happen to hate. I tend to doubt that “we” (genteel race realists) would have to be quite so rigid…

        There are without doubt many intelligent, well-adjusted minorities that assimilate well into a predominantly white, Catholic culture that I like to pretend is my own (tho’ since I’m a convert, I was actually adopted into it). I would therefore tend to be (and am) rather tolerant to individual instances of miscegenation, for example, even tho’ I tend to think in general it is not a good idea, statistically speaking. That it is not a good idea happens to be shared, about equally, among all races (black women tend to hate it even more than white men, for example, for well-documented reasons), and it is therefore unlikely to EVER be a widespread serious problem at least in foreseeable human history. I would tend to think laws against it were at best imprudent, but not necessarily per se unjust. I doubt our WN brethren would feel the same way.

      • ” it does mean that we have to be as rigid on race and racial matters as the WNs”

        Steve, that was a typo. I meant to say that “we DON’T have to be as rigid on race and racial matters as the WNs”

      • Steve, I, in general agree with you. I just think that mass non-Christian and non-European immigration, both legal and illegal, is a very, very bad idea. I do not think that miscegenation is as horribly dangerous as the WNs think it is Many non-white and even non-Caucasian individuals have been absorbed into the white culture like the “Afghan” camel drivers, Chinese coolies, and abos of Australia, the Arabs and Berbers in Spain, and the Native Americans (and in very, very rare cases negros) of America. In know a white lady who is 1/8 Native American and she looks thoroughly and fully white. Her father was 1/4 Native American, enough to be considered mixed race but he didn’t even know that he was until old age. For most of his life he looked white (with a little bit of a different look about him), acted white, lived white, thought white and married white (oh noes, race-mixage!!), and even kept a gun and a knife to protect himself from Mexicans and negros who all wanted a piece of YT. I seriously doubt that race is as important as the WNs say it is.

        As for interracial marriage. It will never occur in such large numbers to destroy any race and I really don’t care about it. I am not against it because it is not wrong or immoral (as per the dictates of our Catholic Church) but I am not one of those damn idiots who dances and prances around promoting it. I am against it in the context of certain races but I do not claim to have a moral basis to that, just a practical one. As for example, I myself, would never marry a black woman because my kids would end up black and my descendants would end up becoming apart of the black race and “culture”. I seriously do not want that.

      • Steve, that was a typo. I meant to say that “we DON’T have to be as rigid on race and racial matters as the WNs”

        So, what are you saying, Svar? Now yer a n****r lover? </joke>

      • Ugh, Steve. I get that’s a joke but the mere thought of that made my stomach turn. In my day-to-day life, I try my best to stay away from that type because I have learned that not much good could ever come out of that sorry race but much bad usually does. I would rather marry a purple, green, or blue and white striped girl than even touch a black.

        That may be seen by some as racist, but I like to see that as my personal preferences because I prefer girls that are nice, civil and pleasant and girls with gracile Caucasian features like obviously whites, Jews, Turks, Syrians, Lebs, North Indians, and some Latin Americans(i.e. those of pure white or predominantly white ancestry). The OCD attitude WNs have towards racial purity is a bit ridiculous. I remember coming across them debating whether or not it was okay for them to sleep with Kate Beckinsale since she is 1/8 Burmese.

      • I remember coming across them debating whether or not it was okay for them to sleep with Kate Beckinsale since she is 1/8 Burmese.

        Angels on the head of a pin, I guess!

      • I know that, Nilakantha. I wasn’t a part of the debate, I was observing these WNs make that ridiculous debate over whether or not they would sleep with an attractive white British actress just because she happened to have 1/8 Burmese ancestry and her father was mixed-race.

        I am a Roman Catholic and needless to say, I won’t sleep with any woman that isn’t my wife.

    • Pardon me if I misjudged you, Svar; sometimes my inner prude just comes out. I am just constitutionally unable to believe unmarried people have sex. Just thinking about fornication gives me a case of the horrors.

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