Re: [xmca] Nobel prize talks stupid things about human intelligence

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 10:55:57 PDT

  I didn't get the gist of your first rejoinder. Don't know what to say..
  As to the second, your list of the diverse activities in which genetic science plays a role is really an answer to the question of sources.

"E. Knutsson" <> wrote:

CQ1: Why would a failing paradigm be seized by moral panic attacks against its
own advocates or guardians? Why are such remarks ‚€œusually [not] expressed
openly‚€ if they are ‚€œimplicit in the [genetic determinist] paradigm‚€? And why
would the public react negatively when they ‚€œhear the sound‚€ of JW‚€™s remarks if
the latter harmonize with the "the hegemonic powers" of "the prevailing

CQ2: Do you have any sources confirming the assertions about funding for
genetic research compared with research funding in social/cultural/historical
research (preferably including other Western countries in addition to the
US)? ‚€œGenetic research‚€ is a very wide concept, including medical, or
agricultural research that e.g. develops ‚€œbiotechnological methods to use
animal germplasm and associated genetic and genomic repositories and databases
to ensure an abundant and safe food supply of animal products‚€, or research
on ‚€œplant, microbial, and insect germplasm, identifying the genes responsible
for plant growth, product quality, and resistance to disease, pest, and weather
losses,‚€ etc. etc. As you said in another thread: ‚€œThe primary client for the
products of the bio-technology and pharmaceutical industries in which most
geneticists is the health care industry (15% of US GDP), then there's the GMO
dominance in capitalist agriculture.‚€ This is a kind of research not
commensurable/not competing with social/cultural/historical or other research
in the humanities.


On 2007-10-25, at 20:19, Paul Dillon wrote:
> Eirik,
> Q1 - the existence of a reaction might be considered evidence of the
paradigm's failure, just as Emmet Till's brutal murder in 1955 became an event
that began to awaken the slumbering American consciousness to the realities of
segregation and racism in the South. Watson's remarks are implicit in the
paradigm just not usually expressed openly. When they come out in the open so
blatantly, more people hear the sound.
> Q2 - Just check out some university budgets, Eirik, compare funding for
genetics research, with all the coat-tail contracts involved, with research
funding in social/cultural/historical research. Check out the earmarked
corporate donations to higher ed. Tax write-offs for long-term R&D as well as
personnel development. Of course genetics is part of a much the much the
broader hegemony of the western scientific paradigm, but the one that, unlike
quantum physics, etc., makes claims about the nature of human culture, history
and psychology.
> Q3 - I've never seen one but have radar out for that kind of news. I could
be wrong and would love to know of any studies that claim to show such a
relation. Also, I've already presented cases that demonstrate how even health
matters can't be reduced to genetics. Neither I nor anyone else I've read on
the list has made any statements about pursuing genetics research, pro or con,
just vigilance about what's going on with it.
> Paul
> Paul,
> Since you disagree "that Watson in some way represents a countercurrent to
> prevailing Zeitgeist," could you explain why his statements provoked such
> intense reactions?
> And can you give grounds for your assertion that "Genetic determinism is a
> major element of the prevailing academic zeitgeist"(cf. your previous
> about "the hegemonic powers of the genetic paradigm")?
> "... no causal relationships have ever been demonstrated between genetic
> and socio-cultural activity[.]"
> Do we know that? And if we do: is that a valid argument against genetic
> research in general? And if it is: how could "the hegemonic powers"
of "Genetic
> determinism" become "a major element of the prevailing academic zeitgeist"?
> Just wondering,
> Eirik.

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Received on Fri Oct 26 11:03 PDT 2007

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