October 18, 2007

Is Science Still Colorblind?

I just happened upon a link to this story from one of the message boards I frequent, and it set me off to an extent...

Nobel winner in 'racist' claim row

...he said there was no reason to think that races which had grown up in separate geographical locations should have evolved identically.

This part actually makes a good deal of sense to me. But then he follows it up with...

"people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

I do find it kind of zany that something like this is immediately out of bounds and totally an impossible option. We know jack shit about the differences between one human and another, regardless of ethnicity, genetics and social upbringing. If someone were to find some compelling evidence to suggest any difference between individuals, be it men vs. women, whites vs. blacks, gays vs. straights, etc., even if the point were scientifically valid, it would be immediately slapped with a racist / sexist / homophobic label and cast aside, never to be discussed again. In my eyes, that's totally ridiculous and more closed-minded than racism itself. If you close your eyes, cover your ears and start singing every time someone says something that upsets you, that doesn't make the issue go away.

His delivery was tactless, and there's no doubt in my mind that he has some racist tendencies based on that fact alone, but it opens the door for some really interesting conversation, if nothing else. Scientific fact is colorblind.

I have no reason to believe his claims are true, so don't construe it that way. If anything, I think the whole concept is completely wrong, especially since many of his peers are evidently calling him a complete loon without any basis for this argument. But the idea that something's immediately incorrect simply because it involves something touchy like race, that intrigues and bothers me.

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posted by drqshadow at 5:02 PM


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