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Old 16th February 2017, 09:38 AM
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Default How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

The alt-right has been attempting to support white supremacist ideologies through bogus scientific data. That makes independent research and media literacy more valuable than ever.

https://psmag.com/how-science-can-co...b23#.rl8sl286r

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In the alt-right journal Radix, Richard Spencer co-authored an article attempting to support white supremacist ideologies through scientific data. The piece is based on the notion of biological races, a completely discredited idea with foundations in 19th-century scientific methodologies and viewpoints. The premise is that specific physical features (i.e. skin color, hair texture, body shape, etc.) are genetically linked to non-biological attributes, such as personality or behavior. These linkages allow “races” to be ranked from superior to inferior. Since 1996, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists has taken a clear position that race is a social construct only. In fact, the AAPA states that “there is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.”
Spencer not only misrepresents scientific publications, but also cites bogus journals to support his conclusions.
It’s clear that the underlying foundation of Spencer’s position is embarrassingly outdated; however, he cites various sources throughout the article in an attempt to extend validity to his ideas. Spencer not only misrepresents scientific publications, but also cites bogus journals to support his conclusions.

Spencer cites one study as evidence that individuals have a “preference for one’s own” race, writing that, “three-month-old infants look longer at faces of their own race than those of other races.” However, this study determined that human categorizations based on ethnic facial differences are formed during the first three months of life as a result of increased exposure (i.e. social conditions) to the infant’s own ethnicity. Newborns did not show any preference, indicating again that this is learned behavior and not biologically innate. Taking only a piece of a study or ignoring the overall conclusions is manipulative, and counts on readers to accept selective facts without question.
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Old 16th February 2017, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

I wonder if he is a descendent of Herbert Spencer?
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Old 16th February 2017, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

Quote:
workmx said View Post
How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

The alt-right has been attempting to support white supremacist ideologies through bogus scientific data. That makes independent research and media literacy more valuable than ever.

https://psmag.com/how-science-can-co...b23#.rl8sl286r
While I fully agree that we need to keep challenging bogus claims, I am not sure how effective this will be.

We know people form apriori beliefs and back themselves into it with confirmation bias and cherry picking "evidence" which supports their position. trying to counter that with evidence is often counterproductive. if these people were driven by evidence they would not hold the beliefs they do.

I truly think Peter Boghossian's approach is the best one but it is not easy and like many, I too, fall into the trap of trying to use evidence.

In the long run, education, with a focus on critical thinking is the best answer, but no one we will likely see any time soon
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Old 17th February 2017, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: How Science Can Combat the Alt-Right

To broaden the discussion a little. While I think that the notion of biological races with respect to the socially ascribed descriptions is completely discredited, but I don't think that means that science doesn't recognize different human groups with different alleles and different genetic heritage.

To me, the system of adding value judgments to those alleles and heritages is what amounts to racism, not just acknowledging that there are different alleles and heritages.

For clarity, I actually think the entire word 'race' is a misnomer scientifically. We don't use the term for any other animals, just fungus mostly. I think humans are more properly a ring species that's recently begun to close the loop. I think 10,000 years ago population A bred with population B who bred with population C, but A and C never bred, only sharing alleles via the intermediary.

I think this explains why different human groups have acquired traits that make the visually distinct from each other, have different behaviors (culture), and consequently why there's just enough difference to naively assign them to different groups.

The hard fact, though, that demolishes the racist's claim is that there simply isn't enough distinction at the genetic level for a scientist to consider them different sets - they collectively represent the set of Homo sapiens possible variety.
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