Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Anthropologists Against Science


I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days now: The American Anthropological Association has removed “science” from its long-range-planning statement, largely because the lefty cultural anthropologists in its ranks would rather not know the scientific truth about race and genes. (As I’ve noted before: The current state of knowledge permits us to say that some genetic variants are more common in some races than in others, but we’re not sure what most of these genetic variants do. Agnosticism, not denial, is the proper attitude to take toward questions of race and genes.)

And there’s even more to cultural anthropologists’ anti-science attitudes than PC. Razib Khan weighs in:

Too often when I argue with the sort of cultural anthropologist who is strongly influenced by what we would broadly (and sometimes inaccurately) term ‘post-modernist,’ and buys strongly into the thesis that we look through the glass so darkly that objectivity is well nigh impossible, one is invariably pummeled by a gale-force blast of obscurantism. But there is a curious tendency at work: obscurity, complexity, and subtly, are on stark display when they wish to deny a positive assertion you make, but such nuance recedes when they make clear statements as to what is just, right, and true. In the end I feel that I’m wasting my time with a bizarro-world lawyer.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review