Who Now Doesn’t Believe in Evolution?
A lot of the more dogmatic “science” types get all hot and bothered about this, fussing and fuming about how terribly ignorant this is, and how America is a pit of ignorance because of this.
In reality, not believing in evolution is about as bad as believing that a conspiracy killed JFK: not terribly well-informed, but not really harmful. If you don’t believe in evolution, you aren’t going to get a Ph.D. in physical anthropology, but not many people want one of those.
Believing that vaccines cause autism, or that a 70% top income tax rate is a good idea (as airhead Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does), are much more harmful beliefs.
The New Evolution DeniersIn an essay in Quillette, Colin Wright describes a new “cryptic form of left-wing evolution denialism [that] has been slowly growing.”
At first, left-wing pushback to evolution appeared largely in response to the field of human evolutionary psychology. Since Darwin, scientists have successfully applied evolutionary principles to understand the behavior of animals, often with regard to sex differences. However, when scientists began applying their knowledge of the evolutionary underpinnings of animal behavior to humans, the advancing universal acid began to threaten beliefs held sacrosanct by the Left. The group that most fervently opposed, and still opposes, evolutionary explanations for behavioral sex differences in humans were/are social justice activists. Evolutionary explanations for human behavior challenge their a priori commitment to “Blank Slate” psychology—the belief that male and female brains in humans start out identical and that all behavior, sex-linked or otherwise, is entirely the result of differences in socialization.Why do the politically correct leftists want a “Blank Slate” psychology? Because they want to claim that all differences we see in male vs. female behavior (who goes into computer science?, who is willing to work in a dangerous occupation?) are the result of socialization.
The left has always been enamored of social engineering, at least if the engineering is done by people on the left: professors, government bureaucrats, intellectuals.
If there are real, innate average differences between the sexes, that limits social engineering.
This is extremely embarrassing to leftists, because while they are happy to dismiss Christian young earth creationists as a bunch of yokels, it is harder to dismiss the work of Ph.D. biologists. But they do anyway.
Wright goes on:
Sex-linked personality differences are very well documented in our closest primate relatives, too, and the presence of sexual dimorphism (i.e. size differences between males and females) in primates, and mammals generally, dramatically intensifies these differences, especially in traits like aggression, female choosiness, territoriality, grooming behavior, and parental care.Of course, these differences are averages, with considerable overlap between the sexes. For example, men on average are taller than women, but some woman are taller than some men.
But the politically correct leftists want to insist that average differences in behavior (say, women are underrepresented in engineering) are the result of patriarchal oppression.
But is there patriarchal oppression among Barbary macaques?
Repressive Dogma in AcademiaPerhaps the scariest part of Wright’s essay is his account of the virulent opposition to evolutionary biology in academia.
Despite there being zero evidence in favor of Blank Slate psychology, and a mountain of evidence to the contrary, this belief has entrenched itself within the walls of many university humanities departments where it is often taught as fact. Now, armed with what they perceive to be an indisputable truth questioned only by sexist bigots, they respond with well-practiced outrage to alternative views. This has resulted in a chilling effect that causes scientists to self-censor, lest these activists accuse them of bigotry and petition their departments for their dismissal. I’ve been privately contacted by close, like-minded colleagues warning me that my public feuds with social justice activists on social media could be occupational suicide, and that I should disengage and delete my comments immediately. My experience is anything but unique, and the problem is intensifying. Having successfully cultivated power over administrations and silenced faculty by inflicting reputational terrorism on their critics and weaponizing their own fragility and outrage, social justice activists now justifiably think there is no belief or claim too dubious that administrations won’t cater to it. Recently, this fear has been realized as social justice activists attempt to jump the epistemological shark by claiming that the very notion of biological sex, too, is a social construct.Liberals and leftists have long been smugly and arrogantly asserting that conservatives are “anti-science,” pointing to Christian conservatives who don’t believe in evolution, and mainstream conservatives who are skeptical of man-made catastrophic global warming.
Those liberals and leftists need to take a look at the know-nothing subculture in their own backyard.