Scientific American again posting nonscientific political editorials

November 11, 2021 • 9:15 am

I have no idea why Scientific American is publishing editorials that have absolutely nothing to do with science. Yes, they have gone woke, and yes, they’re circling the drain, and while they of course have the right to publish what they want, they’ve abandoned their mission to shill for the progressive Democrats.

The latest shrill editorial is a critique of CRT implying that those who oppose its teaching in schools in whatever form, and are in favor of anti-CRT bills, are white supremacists. If you don’t believe me, read the article below. First, a screenshot from Jesse Singal, who rightly mocks the editorial staff of Scientific American:

I myself am against anti-CRT bills because how CRT is interpreted differs widely among people.  As the authors note correctly, these bills are sometimes construed as meaning that schools can’t teach anything about racial inequality or the genocide of Native Americans. I think school should teach that, but also that they should not set race against race, which, as we know, some schools are doing.

So, contra this editorial, I think there is something to be concerned about: woke teachers, of which there are plenty, propagandizing their students and spreading divisiveness. I’m not going to give all the examples that I’ve posted on this website, including the new curricula at NYC’s private schools that have angered (liberal) parents, California’s original draft of its ethnic studies curriculum that was pretty much anti-Semitic (that’s okay, it’s fine to diss the Jews), and the class where students had to paint their skin colors, or another where they compared their skin color to a chart that was, in effect, a way to measure how oppressed you are. If you think there’s not a problem, look what happened in Virginia. You can’t have your woke ideology and Democratic governance too—not with the sentiments of most Americans being what they are.

So yes, I’m in favor of teaching the very unsavory bits of American history, and are opposed to state laws that, designed largely by Republicans, are meant to prevent such instruction. But what you cannot do is say that CRT is never taught in classrooms, nor that all parents who oppose what’s going on in schools are racists and white supremacists. As Andrew Sullivan wrote last week:

And when the Democrats and the mainstream media insist that CRT is not being taught in high schools, they’re being way too cute. Of course K-12 kids in Virginia’s public schools are not explicitly reading the collected works of Derrick Bell or Richard Delgado — no more than Catholic school kids in third grade are studying critiques of Aquinas. But they are being taught in a school system now thoroughly committed to the ideology and worldview of CRT, by teachers who have been marinated in it, and whose unions have championed it.

And in Virginia, this is very much the case. The state’s Department of Education embraced CRT in 2015, arguing for the need to “re-engineer attitudes and belief systems” in education. In 2019, the department sent out a memo that explicitly endorsed critical race and queer theory as essential tools for teaching high school. Check out the VA DOE’s “Road Map to Equity,” where it argues that “courageous conversation” on “social justice, systemic inequity, disparate student outcomes and racism in our school communities is our responsibility and professional obligation. Now is the time to double down on equity strategies.” (My itals.) Check out the Youtube site for Virginia’s virtual 2020 summit on equity in education, where Governor Northam endorsed “antiracist school communities,” using Kendi’s language.

A main reason Youngkin won in Virginia is that parents didn’t like this kind of instruction—a curriculum over which they had no say. Maintaining, as the article below does, that Democrats should just “keep it up” is a recipe for disaster down the line. This piece could have been written (and indeed perhaps was written) by “progressive” Democrats. And it doesn’t belong in a magazine about science, any more than an article about the nuances of string theory belongs in The National Review or New York Magazine.

Again, click to read:

Some quote from the Sci Am piece (indented):

The recent election of Glenn Youngkin as the next governor of Virginia based on his anti–critical race theory platform is the latest episode in a longstanding conservative disinformation campaign of falsehoods, half-truths and exaggerations designed to create, mobilize and exploit anxiety around white status to secure political power. The problem is, these lies work, and what it shows is that Democrats have a lot of work to do if they want to come up with a successful countermessage.

Conservatives have spent close to a century galvanizing white voters around the “dangerous” idea of racial equality. When such disingenuous rhetoric turns into reality, the end result is criminalizing educational programs that promote racial equality. [JAC: Criminalizing?] Youngkin, who pledged to “ban critical race theory on Day One,” frequently repeated this promise at his “Parents Matter” rallies across the state in the final months of the campaign.

But in his campaigning, he and others misrepresented what critical race theory (CRT) actually is: a specialized intellectual field established in the 1980s by legal scholars Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda and Stephanie Phillips that emphasizes the unique historical role that legal systems play in upholding and producing racial inequalities in the United States.

The authors need to grasp what Sullivan says above. These authors are promoting a false view of what’s happening: that no aspects of CRT is seeping into public schools.

And here the authors claim that the anti-CRT movement (even the kind of watered-down CRT mentioned above) is motivated solely by white supremacy and racism:

Conservative anti-CRT rhetoric and the accompanying bills introduced and enacted by Republican state legislatures across the country comprise a disinformation campaign designed to manufacture white grievance in the service of white power. These policies reveal the need for researchers and scholars concerned with the quality of democratic debate to treat white supremacy as a disinformation campaign and to incorporate an honest accounting of America’s racial history and legacy of present-day inequality into all levels of education.

. . .Elections never depend on a single factor, and it’s not unusual for the party that captures the presidency to lose ground. That said, the perceived success of conservatives’ anti-CRT campaign will likely further legitimate explicit appeals to whites like those famously used by former President Trump. This will likely have long-lasting consequences. It further organizes U.S. politics around hardened racial and ethnic coalitions: a majority-white Republican Party and a multiethnic, multiracial Democratic Party. The Republican Party promises to maintain white people’s status at the top of the social hierarchy, while anti-CRT rhetoric conveys that this is justifiable.

I am a Democrat and am wary of the racial polarization of schools as it’s happening in many places, as well as ideological propaganda fed to kids. Not everybody who voted for Youngkin was a white supremacist, for crying out loud! Read Sullivan’s article, “The Woke meet their match: parents.” But wait! There’s more!:

Unfortunately, we know from history that white racial mobilization is a potent force, both at the ballot box and in attempts to subvert it.

This disinformation campaign must be directly confronted. Rather than dismissing manufactured concerns over critical race theory as fake, Democrats should embrace the robust teaching of America’s racial history in our public schools and make an affirmative case for why it matters for American values of fairness, equality and justice. Democrats should then focus on articulating how attacks on critical race theory are meant to divide people of all races who otherwise share interests. Rather than dismissing these attacks on CRT as isolated incidents, Democrats should mount their own sustained and coherent campaign to argue affirmatively for diversity, equity and inclusion programs and complementary efforts such as the 1619 Project.

Conservatives are unified around anti-CRT rhetoric. Now it is time for Democrats to form the same united front, to own that racism is real and to call out conservative legislative efforts designed to outlaw the teaching of racial inequality for what they are: a fitting example of how legal systems uphold racial inequality in the United States. This, of course, is exactly what CRT is trying to point out.

The last sentence, about legal systems upholding racial inequality, is absolutely debatable and should not be taught without careful parsing about what you mean by “legal systems.” The problem here is that this kind of facile and dubious assertion is already causing divisions among Americans and playing straight into the hands of Republicans. In the editorial above, the authors are staying “stay the course, full steam ahead”, while every other sensible Democrat is saying, “Wait! What happened? What can we do about it?”

The authors don’t seem to get out much, and really should pay attention to what Sullivan says here:

And if the culture war is fought explicitly on the terms laid out by the Kendi left and the Youngkin right, and the culture war is what determines political outcomes, then the GOP will always win. Most Americans, black and white, simply don’t share the critique of America as essentially a force for oppression, or want its constitution and laws and free enterprise “dismantled” in order to enforced racial “equity.” They understand the evil of racism, they know how shameful the past has been, but they’re still down with Youngkin’s Obama-‘08 impression over McAuliffe’s condescending denials and the left’s increasingly hysterical race extremism.

Instead, the authors take the stance of the Kendi-an left.

But why is Scientific American publishing this kind of debatable (and misleading) progressive propaganda? Why don’t they stick with science?  As a (former) scientist, I resent the intrusion of politics of any sort into scientific journals and magazines. If I want to read stuff like the above, well, there’s Vox and Teen Vogue, and HuffPost and numerous other venues.

I wonder how long Scientific American will last. . . . .

60 thoughts on “Scientific American again posting nonscientific political editorials

  1. The theology of The Elect – ” “Critical” Race “Theory” ” (which other theories were rejected?) – explicitly implicates the entire group of ancestors of any living individual.

    As such, the United States public school teachers stand to play a role in not only imposing the conclusions of CRT onto the students, but directly undermining the authority of parents in doing so. Parents helping with CRT homework be a quite different experience from usual, if it even happens in the home. And that is by design, in many cases.

    Parents have enough work to do with their rebels without a cause – now, the teachers in their K-12 settings have the potential to play a supporting role in their rebellion and right to protest – but now directly against the families that should be committed to their unconditional love in the first place.

    “Teaching” CRT is too advanced for K-12. It will instead be teaching what to think.

    1. Addendum : I wrote :

      ” “Teaching” CRT is too advanced for K-12.”

      meaning, of course, that CRT can be treated in the appropriate courses in K-12 … probably just 9-12 … as an advanced topic class, or elective. THAT makes sense to me – just as maybe Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, or Einstein’s theories would best be treated in an _advanced_ course – with appropriate prerequisites.

      I do not understand why I never hear this in the standard media/news sources – without digging.

  2. As usual Jerry you are spot on. And the last line you write is also a warning for how long America will last as we know it. I have figured out a way for the magazine to go on in the future, It just has to change its name to

    Scientific American?

  3. Yet more evidence of an ongoing collapse of previously reliable science publications like the New Scientist and National Geographic.

    My suggestion, that I’ve outlined before, is that publishing is a commercial activity and that properly trained scientific journalists are more costly to employ than humanities trained journalists. Unfortunately the current generation of journalists typically find political views more important (and easier to pontificate about) than science news and their worldview shapes their output accordingly.

    My advice? Don’t subscribe to magazines or newspapers that signal their virtue like this. Don’t buy them. They will either reform (unlikely) or go broke, although it may take some time.

  4. “I wonder how long Scientific American will last…”. Well I dropped my subscription several years ago as It appeared that the ratio of articles by science writers to those by scientists who write well was increasing over time even before the more recent grand politicization. For over 60 years, I had had access to a subscription since the mid 1950’s when my father subscribed and the timely articles informed and inspired my science education from late elementary school on. The latest off the rails political rants do miss a related issue that the editors might address. That issue is to help make visible the post-enlightenment and post-modern aspects of critical theory in general and how these aspects reject STEM education’s tradition reliance on enlightenment philosophies and processes including the scientific method and engineering design processes. I worry that in the isolated K-12 world of buying courses in a box, and the binary choice being developed between an ill-defined CRT and an ill-defined anti-CRT, we will lose much more than people realize. I stongly support what I think is Jerry’s position that we teach kids a proper history of the United States….neither the fairy tale that has generally been taught up to now, nor the fairy tale of Kendi’s CRT (at least in the most extreme interpretation of Kendi’s book which could use a good editing IMO). (Apologies to our host if I have taken too much liberty here). So there is a current role for Scientific American in the world of science…to enlighten the public on the range of potential outcomes that might affect K-12 STEM education given the current superficial war of words over CRT.

  5. I’ve been a Scientific American subscriber since 1967, when for my 10th birthday my mother’s sister bought me a subscription to encourage my burgeoning interest in science. I became a scientist, and Scientific American played a part. Scientific American, the once great publication, should focus on science and technology—its historical strength—and stay out of this sort of politics. It can’t be completely agnostic to politics, since much scientific work has political implications, but they’re jumping into a snake pit with CRT.

    I’ve definitely noticed a change of tenor to the print version of the magazine as well, but I don’t recall seeing anything so blatant as what you’re describing online. I wonder if that’s purposeful. In any case, it really needs to stop.

    1. I remember when finding (or receiving) the latest edition of Scientific American used to be an occasion of celebration for me; I subscribed as soon as I had the wherewithal to do so. Then, within the last decade or so, first the quality of the science reporting, then the rest of the magazine rapidly began circling the event horizon that it now seems to have crossed. Unfortunately, there’s no good replacement for it out there, though there ARE some other resources. But it’s not quite the same.

      1. Well said and reminded me of my concerns maybe fifteen years ago that some articles were looking a bit like sales pitches for research more than cleanly reporting research results. I had forgotten about that until you referred to “the last decade or so”. Thanks

        1. The last two editors have clearly tried to guide Scientific American to have a more inclusive set of authors. They’ve done this. But they have at the same time allied themselves more closely to the social movements of the political left. I don’t think that inclusion necessarily means adopting leftist ideology, but the two can be tied together and they have become so at Sci Am.

  6. I’m on the ground here in Va.

    1. I’ve seen zero evidence of any objectionable CRT-style lessons given to my kid. Promoting equality and tolerance, yes. The woke version where everything in history is seen through the lens of race, no.

    2. My understanding of the Youngkin political win was that he supported conservative parents who want to ban books from the library and HS reading lists. McAuliffe came out in favor of not doing that, but very badly worded it as ‘I’m opposed to parents having a say…’ It had little to do with Youngkin opposing CRT lessons. I’m opposed to banning library books, obviously, but Sullivan has this wrong: the GOP was not pushing back against some extremist CRT curriculum here. They were pushing back against teen novels with gay and trans characters being available in the school library. And Sullivan should absolutely oppose that, rather than having a “well what did you expect them to do?” position on it.

    1. I suppose that the alleged rapes at two Loudoun schools by a skirt-wearing male student, which the school board tried to cover up while going ballistic against the first victim’s father, also contributed to Youngkin’s victory.

    2. Yeah, and I guess McAuliffe’s lies about anti-CRT controversy being “manufactured” by Youngkin and Trump never happened, either? Or his dismissing of parents as “racist” for having the audacity to ask him how he would address their concerns?

    3. There are many factors that led to Youngkin’s victory, but there are not enough of the idiots who want to burn books to have given him the victory. Most of those probably also voted for Gillespie in 2017. He grabbed a lot of Biden voters in NOVA.

  7. Wokeism—postmodern critical social (justice) theory—in its various guises (including CRT) is inherently antiscientific, because it regards science as a “power tool”, a weapon of white supremacy that is used to oppress other “knowledges”.

  8. It’s been a long time since I was in school (thank god), but given the horrid numbers for achievement in English and Math in some states (looking at you, California), I’d be surprised if History was by contrast being taught well and comprehensively. Personally, I think every High School student should have to take two years of American History. However, if the only point of the History curriculum, per the 1619 Project, is to teach that all white people are racist and that our society is racist, always has been and always will be, then I’d be in favor of eliminating it entirely. CRT-driven curricula are not about knowledge, but about propaganda, not just about race, but about gender and sexuality. If parents can’t stop their children from being taught that they are little white supremacists (or helpless black victims), prevent preteens from being taught from sexually explicit books whose pictures can’t even been shown on TV, or stop schools quizzing children on their political and sexual preferences, then what is the point of self-government?

    By the way, unless there is some proof (other than not voting for McAuliffe) that most of the voters in Virginia are white supremacists, I think we should assume that they aren’t.

    1. I am in Virginia. McAulliffe ran a really, really lackluster campaign…crappy in the vernacular. He and his ticket-mates pretty much talked to themselves and did not fight mischaracterizations of their positions that appeared in the tons of Youngkin tv spots.

  9. “And if the culture war is fought explicitly on the terms laid out by the Kendi left and the Youngkin right, and the culture war is what determines political outcomes, then the GOP will always win.”

    Sullivan is correct. The culture battles have always been a winning issue for the right. Crime was an issue that they exploited for years. Gay marriage was a winner for years until public opinion changed rapidly when they dropped it like a hot potato. Now CRT has become the new communism. It is likely to be a big winner for the right because it forces Americans, particularly of the White variety, to reflect on an aspect of the country’s history that they would not rather think about. Yes, they would say, slavery was bad as well as racism, but the former is gone and the latter greatly diminished. Because of these salubrious developments, there is no point in emphasizing these past blemishes on the country’s overall glorious past. As every politician, regardless of party or ideology, says repeatedly: America is the greatest country in the world. People prefer fairy tales to reality. It makes them feel better. This is why all too many people find it hard to abandon religion.

    Of course, the far left has, once again, played into the right’s hand. The far left is once again the right wing’s savior. Instead of being satisfied with abandoning fairy tale history for a better understanding of the past, it has adopted a policy of shaming White people for the practices and attitudes of maybe some of them and many of their ancestors. This is a strategy that does not work, indeed, incites a backlash as witnessed in the just past election. Mainstream Democratic politicians, fearful of alienating the far left, refuses to condemn Woke extremism, at least in regards to education. Once again, they have been snookered by the right and they will pay the price. Even without the current brouhaha over CRT, the Democrats would have almost certainly suffered big losses in the 2022 mid-terms. It almost always happens to the president’s party. Now, the Democrats may be slaughtered, opening the way for a return of Trump. Democrats seem to learn slowly. The far left never learns. Even if CRT or something like it nowhere approaches the ubiquity in education that the right portrays, this matter little. Their propaganda has inculcated in the minds of too many Americans that within the hearts of teachers an uncontrollable urge to teach CRT has now emerged.

    1. “…shaming White people for the practices and attitudes of maybe some of them and many of their ancestors. This is a strategy that does not work…”

      But he fact that it doesn’t work is not the reason why it should be repudiated. It should be repudiated simply because it is completely immoral. Trying to shame someone for missdeeds allegedely commited, not by them, but by their ancestors (or by racial association) is indefensible by any decent moral standards.

      “Mainstream Democratic politicians, fearful of alienating the far left, refuses to condemn Woke extremism, at least in regards to education.”

      The Democratic Party should urgently, clearly and unambiguously distance itself from and strongly condemn the woke ideology not only for electoral reasons but first and foremost for reasons of intellectual and moral integrity as well as for the health of the country and its public and political life.

      Until it does that, the only conclusion is that this party doesn’t care for neither moral and intellectual integrity nor for the good of the american society and will remain totally discredited.

    2. As I like to say, the Democrats are adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And as Rahm Emanuel said, the members of the progressive or far Left are “f-ing ret*rded!” (Forgive the bad language; I’m only quoting.)

  10. I always find it funny to realize that most of US ‘blacks’ probably have more slave owner’s ancestry than the average US ‘white’.

  11. The capture of influential publications like Scientific American and The Lancet by agenda-pushing journalists is very dispiriting. In the UK, the BBC has belatedly recognised that paying the trans-activist lobbying organisation Stonewall for advice on contested LGBTQIAP+ issues is incompatible with its impartiality, which is perhaps a sign that things are moving in a positive direction.

  12. I still treasure Scientific American for its interesting articles. I don’t know of any other journal with such diverse topics.

  13. “As the authors note correctly, these bills are sometimes construed as meaning that schools can’t teach anything about racial inequality or the genocide of Native Americans. I think school should teach that, but also that they should not set race against race, which, as we know, some schools are doing.”

    I’m trying to think of a way to teach racial “genocide” in a manner that doesn’t set race against race.

    Anyway, I suggest we teach about the historical racial inequalities with facts from both sides. For example, when teaching about segregation we could add in at the end of each lesson something like “Since according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics blacks rape, rob, assault, and murder whites at a rate that is 4763% higher than whites do to blacks, maybe there was some good reason behind segregation.”

    We could call it Equality in Factuality.

    1. Less confrontationally, I argue that “genocide” should be used only for events that occurred after the UN Convention was ratified in 1948, as the signatories intended. Even then, it is a charge that has to be proven at the International Court of Justice against a specific named perpetrator. Nothing is gained by trying to certify historical events retroactively as genocide, a form of begging the question. Even for present-day atrocities, unless the people doing them fear arrest you are making empty talk.

      We in Canada are falling apart over the labelling of the residential schools as “cultural genocide” by the Native-dominated Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Then the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women upped the ante by calling it “genocide”, which our sitting Prime Minister glibly and even cheerfully acknowledged — even though almost all Native women murdered are murdered by indigenous men. Our first prime minister, a man of not the stature of the American Founding Fathers but who nonetheless managed to get four squabbling colonies to confederate into British North America — a project that the mother country was promoting, not resisting –, has been all but expunged from permitted Canadian thinking.

      This is a concrete example of the harm done by racially freighted terms which have only rhetorical content and are therefore unfalsifiable. By all means teach about slavery and about the choices made by politicians in executing their vision to settle a frontier largely empty except of weaker people opposed to the idea, choices that would not be available to leaders today. And challenge the students to come up with their proposals for what they would have done.

      1. I agree, what happened to the native inhabitants of America was wrong, tragic, and evil, but it was not “genocide” at that term is typically used. I would refer to Michael Mann’s scholarship on genocide.

        1. [G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

          a. Killing members of the group;
          b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
          c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
          d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
          e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

          Article II, United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (adopting the language of Article 6 of the Statutes of the International Criminal Court).

    2. “… maybe there was some good reason behind segregation.”

      Wow, you really think black folk are inherently inferior, don’t you?

      1. Yes, I believe blacks are inherently inferior…… some things. And I also believe that they’re inherently superior at some things. I’m just missing the relevance of your comment to my point.

        But back to my point, were you aware that blacks commit violent crimes against whites at such a high rate? (I think the actual number is now higher than 4763% as that figure is a couple of years out of date) Do you think the astronomically high rate of black-on-white crime might give some justification to whites not wanting to live around blacks?

        1. Dude – the hell – listen to a bit of Glenn Loury – for PCC(E)’s sake – socioeconomic class – not hair color.

          1. I appreciate at least you attempting a discussion. It seems the more typical response is to call something bad (You’re a racist!!!) as if that is the same thing as being false. As to where I want to go with this, I want the reality of the situation to not be ignored as it has been for years and years now with predictably bad results. So the idea that you “don’t want to go” down that path is the issue.

            As for the term “social construct,” I think it’s so vague as to be generally useless. It’s usually used to imply that some grouping has no basis in reality, but the fact is that groups that are undeniably social constructs can have meaningful differences and have those differences be biological in nature. Take for example the group of people in the US named “Chris.” This is obviously a social construct. But we can also do measurements on that group. I turns out that the group of Chrises in the US commit violent crime at much higher rates than the general population. And why do they do that? They do that because most Chrises are men and men have a genetic predisposition to higher rates of violent crime. So just with names we can have meaningful, notable differences that are biological in origin. People use the “race is a social construct” to imply that there are no meaningful biological based differences between races when that is simply not the case. And we ignore those differences at our own peril.

          2. I never call anyone a racist because the accusation in modern discourse cannot be defended. To deny it is to admit it. And that’s not fair.

            But the post I refer to doesn’t glibly repeat the shibboleth — is that the right use of the word? — that race is merely a social construct. It isn’t. It’s complicated. The reason I don’t want to go there here is that it’s too complicated for me to get right in the space available.

            For many reasons I wouldn’t move my family into an all-black neighbourhood, even here in Canada. Yet I don’t worry that black families have moved into my more diverse one. White people in my neighbourhood, by their actions, seem to believe the same. Hell, black people, by their actions, seem to believe the same. The greater propensity of black people to murder white people like me, if it’s true, bothers me in the first instance but not in the second. So there is more than the biological, non-social construct of race going on here.

            And that’s as far as I can take it. Wish you well.

        2. I believe blacks are inherently inferior…… some things. And I also believe that they’re inherently superior at some things.

          Sure, most world-class sprinters are black, whereas most world-class swimmers are white.

          But in your comment that I responded to above (as well as in other comments you’ve posted at this website) you seem to be suggesting strongly that you believe blacks to be morally inferior.

          Anyway, Mr. Thomas (or do you prefer to be addressed by your first participle?), I generally find discussions on this particular topic with people who post behind pseudonyms fruitless.

          1. “But in your comment that I responded to above (as well as in other comments you’ve posted at this website) you seem to be suggesting strongly that you believe blacks to be morally inferior.”

            I think that blacks commit more violent crime on average than other races and I think the reason they do so is at least in part genetic. Does this mean I think blacks are “morally inferior?” I don’t know and, to be honest, I don’t really care. I care if the idea is true or not.

            But if this does lead you to put me in the camp that thinks blacks are morally inferior, then do you put yourself into the same group when it comes to men? Do you think men are inherently more violent than women and by this measure consider them to be morally inferior?

          2. Blacks have been shown to have much higher rates of the 2R MAO-A, also known as the “Warrior Gene”

            Limited studies have linked the 2R version with the lowest MAO-A production and more aggressive and impulsive reactions to stressful stimuli. 3R was associated with somewhat reduced MAO-A. That’s how these MAO versions became known as the “Warrior Gene”

            The 3R version, which produces less MAO-A, was found in 59% of Black men, 56% of Maori men (an aboriginal New Zealand group), 54% of Chinese men and 34% of Caucasian men.

            The 2R version, which produces the least MAO-A, is found in 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men.

          3. The “camp” you are in is that of the lost.

            If one listens to enough of Loury and McWhorter’s dialogues on bloggingheads / YouTube, they cite many measurable factors of violent crime and build a compelling discussion from it on many occasions. It becomes clear that class is a better factor in this problem. Loury even has a bereaved mother express herself on this point. Unfortunately I don’t think there are transcripts, but it loses their expressive power.

            If you read enough McWhorter – and I think PCC(E) posted lots of his material – McWhorter makes an excellent case for a name for those born in the United States as descendants of slaves (at least) – Black. With a capital B. To be used as we do of Jews, Italian, Russian – indeed, as American. See Losing the Race and more.

            Simply blurting out “black” and so on is … very inaccurate, to say the least.

          4. I’ve listened to Loury, McWhorter, and Bloggingheads. Hours of them. It’s not that I’m ignorant of them. It’s that I disagree with them. If there’s an episode that you think makes this point then please post it and I’ll give it a listen.

            I do undertand that class is a factor in crime, I just don’t think it explains the difference in racial crime rates. For a pretty good summary of why:


          5. “It’s that I disagree with them.”

            Oh, well, of course – let me know when they invite you on their show and explain it to you.

            I also loved :

            “I’m not sure what your comment means.”

            And this beauty:

            “I appreciate at least you attempting a discussion.” <- for Leslie MacMillan.

            Well played – cheers, boss.

  14. You do it by not deliberately making “oppressors” feel guilty or ashamed. If they want to feel that way after hearing the history, fine, but they should be ashamed of what people did back then, not ashamed of themselves if they’re not bigots. Teach the history but don’t demonize present-day ethnic groups. Yes, it can be done because I’ve seen it done.

  15. I’m very confused at the recent sentiment that we ‘haven’t been teaching our racial history honestly” or “we need to be more open about our country’s racial transgressions in K-12 curricula.” I attended public school in the 1990s. My history courses and official textbooks from the major publishers were very comprehensive in teaching about slavery, its impact on historical and modern-day black culture, the work still needing to be done, and related ‘difficult’ topics. There was no CRT-related rhetoric – just honest and deep looks at our history. This was in NY state – where all schools must teach approved Regents-accredited curricula. So, why does there seem to be a common sentiment today that we don’t teach the ‘real’ history?

    1. In the ’70s in the UK we learned about the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade and Britain’s role in it – and also, of course, the later efforts to suppress it. My modern history course in what would now be called high school didn’t pull any punches about British imperialism or promote some kind of blinkered patriotism. (Unless I missed that particular lesson – I’m certainly not unswervingly jingoistic today and never have been.)

  16. I keep reading that “Anti-CRT” laws will ban discussion of slavery, but I see no evidence that that would be the case. For example, how could you address politics in 1850 or 1860 (or 1960), without discussing slavery. As far as ethnic cleansing of native peoples, I do not know how that goes away, although it is clear that it can be addressed euphemistically.

    I submit that the claim that CRT bans outlaw discussions of slavery or ethnic cleansing of native peoples by white settlers is a straw man, and that even discussions of the modern day impact of slavery or ethnic cleansing by white settlers is not affected by CRT bans, and is also a strawman.

    Further, I hope to be proved wrong. [Proof in contrast to wokesplaned.]

    1. It is not a question of whether or not slavery is discussed, but HOW it is discussed. That is, in examining the events leading to the Civil War at least two competing narratives have been brought forth.

      The first argues the following:

      1. Yes, slavery existed, but it was an essentially benign institution where savages were Christianized and civilized. These lucky people were treated kindly by their masters, who provided them with food, shelter, and healthcare.

      2. The political agitation over slavery in the 1850s was a phony issue promoted by a small group of fanatical abolitionists that desired the immediate end of slavery.

      3. The South seceded not because of slavery, but because of state rights. The tyrannical Lincoln administration was attempting to impose its will by contemplating interfering with the states’ domestic institutions.

      4. The war could have been avoided if it were not due to fanatics that took over political leadership by 1860. The war was needless and could have been avoided if rational politicians were in control.

      The second argues the following:

      1. The American brand of slavery was of the cruelest kinds. The enslaved could be whipped, sold, or sexually assaulted at the master’s whim. It was not uncommon for enslaved families to be broken up because the master had to sell slaves to pay his debts.

      2. The political agitation over slavery in the 1850s was a very real issue as the paranoid South became more and more fearful of the North as a real threat to the survival of the institution. The North began to see slavery as a threat to democratic institutions, that it was a threat to democracy, was immoral, and an economic threat to the welfare of Whites because the expansion of slavery meant competition with free white labor.

      3. The South seceded because of slavery and really for no other reason (some later historians claimed that the tariff was a factor, but it was a minor concern). One only needs to look at the ordinances of secession to see that slavery was the causes of the breakup of the Union.

      4. The war was not due to a blundering generation of politicians, but rather because the two sections were growing more and more apart – economically, socially, and morally. By 1860, even if a compromise had been reached, it would have only delayed the inevitability of secession.

      The first narrative can be called the “Lost Cause” interpretation of the war. As the memories of the war faded and Jim Crow took over the South, this narrative gained wide support, even in the North. The second narrative only began to reveal the complete duplicity of the first in the 1960s. Apparently, in many schools in the South, the first is still being taught. So, to say that slavery is being discussed or taught, says nothing.

      1. Well now we are replacing the 1861 “war of Northern aggression” with 1776 “war to protect slavery”. One myth for another.
        We’ve come such a long way!

        1. As I have pointed out previously, many historical events are subject to differing interpretations by historians acting in good faith. Often debates about these interpretations go on for decades, probably never to be reconciled. Such is the case with the factors leading to the American Revolution, particularly the fear of some colonists about the future of slavery if the colonies remained under British rule. There are historians that feel slavery played no role in the decision to revolt. Others feel that it played an important role, but certainly not the only one. It is irrelevant what was claimed in the 1619 Project. The point is that it is a mistake to assert that the non-role of slavery in the coming of the Revolution is somehow “settled” history and interpretations that present an opposite view are nothing more than “rewriting” history. Here are two articles that discuss this contentious subject.

  17. From the article:
    “Democrats should mount their own sustained and coherent campaign to argue affirmatively for diversity, equity and inclusion programs and complementary efforts such as the 1619 Project.”
    Well, they have already made it clear, even assuming everything else in the piece is true (and that is EXTREMELY generous), then they merely to replace one set of lies with another. Well, thanks for being so helpful, Sci Am! You haven’t seen the end of the anti-CRT movement or the last of its successes.

  18. I’m confused, I’m white, male, old, I pay my own bills and do not owe money, yet I live in a country where the population is not white and lots of people are richer than me. Am I privileged or oppressed minority?

  19. I applaud authors Daniel Kreiss, Alice Marwick, and Francesca Bolla Tripodi for their effective satire. They are obviously mocking the culture in the US, where some opaque body of work gets accepted by the woke, and increasingly wider circles without that it is ever even inspected or discussed by anyone.

    They obviously repeat the stereotype where CRT is simultaneously academic and arcane, something for experts who decided on its veracity long ago, yet also simple, evident and obvious that nobody even needs to check it, much less discuss anything. It’s a body of work, as solid as the theory of evolution, yet as simple and morally uncomplicated as a slogan.

    The satiric trio successfully emulate woke “activism” which is about ‘demanding’, supported by ostracism, harassment, doxxing, smearing, libel and defamation that this ideology be accepted, without as much as glancing over it. Their article does something to that effect, too, but obviously less exteme. But the target of this spoof is apparent nonetheless.

    Of course, CRT is treated self-evident and just right without argument, after all, it “draws from” a melange of “radical feminism” to “which it owes a large debt” and “Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Derrida” plus all sorts of American civil rights people from Sojourner Truth to Martin Luther King Jr. to Black Power. Nothing to discuss here at all. The list of influences come from Delgado & Stefancic (2006) and their CRT intro which I quoted here in comments many times over the years. The following quotes are all from the overview in the intro book, of which an abriged version, including all statements, can be found here.

    This “movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group- and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious.” What’s not to like? Radical feminism, Gramsci, Derrida and the unconcious! That’s at least as solid as genetics!

    How about such ideas as “cultural nationalism and the opposite notion that minorities should attempt to assimilate and blend into mainstream society” — yikes, bring back reservations and segregation? Sure, what’s there to discuss?

    “Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” Hilarious! A scientific magazine arguing against “enlightenment rationalism” and in favour of such things as freeform storytelling and other ways of knowing. There was more intelligent commentary on CRT during the OJ Simpson trial, from Jeffrey Rosen (”Crits and the Bloods”, 1996) or South Park (“Chewbacca Defense”) than there is today. But today it’s only about widespread teaching of its tenets.

    I would be gobsmacked if this was a real article. Surely, that’s a complete joke. Certainly, Americans are aware that CRT is more than a slogan or mission statement to improve equality, and that its tenets are very well debatable.

    1. “CRT … [ is ] a body of work, as solid as the theory of evolution …”

      What theories were rejected in order to accept as true, after all else has been eliminated, the theory of ” “Critical” Race “Theory” “?

      What experiments support “CRT”?

      What independent methodologies have brought observation and evidence to light where CRT was the most parsimonious explanation?

      What discoveries were made using CRT?

      At which scales – from the very small to the largest – has CRT been observed?

      Is there a more convenient language we can use to refer to “CRT”? For example The Theory of Criticism as it regards Race of homo Sapiens”?

  20. CRT has been for me the occasion to study a bit in depth some aspects of the history, from slavery to colonialism, to the modern America. And so I found out:

    – Slavery was a common practice in the past not only for whites but also for Africans, Arabs and other people in several regions of the world. Arab slave trade from Africa was much more massive than the Atlantic slave trade. Arabs made also many slaves among whites, especially from the Slavic regions (the word slave derives from Slavic).
    – Instead, the anti-slavery movement began only in the West and subsequently the Westerners acted to abolish slavery also in the rest of the world.
    – Poverty in Africa is not due to colonialism: Europe was already rich when colonialism began and Africa was already poor. Colonialism eradicated slavery from Africa (even if in some African country slavery is still legal).
    – America today is a country where many minorities have higher incomes than whites, for example the Asian minority.
    – As a result of affirmative actions, a black today is 3-4 times more likely to be accepted into college than a white (or an Asian) with a same score.
    – Blacks are killed more than whites but 93% of them are killed by other blacks, not by whites and even less by police. The large majority of homicides is intra-race, but there is a certain number of inter-racial homicides: 70% of them is by POC against whites, not vice versa! (source: the book by W. Reilly)
    – Black are killed more than whites (compared to population) but also commit far more crimes. When crimes are taken into account, there is not any bias against blacks, rather against whites.

    The more I study, the more I discover that the narrative of the white suprematism and the systemic racism is false. The more I observe, the more I realize how aggressive Woke are. They have a dogma and they want to impose their dogma everywhere. They do not accept to question it and they accuse you of being racist whenever you mention a fact or a data that is not compatible with their dogma.
    They spread hatred against the whites, just as the Nazis spread hatred against Jews. They are the worst danger today.

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