Is evolutionary biology racist?

July 19, 2023 • 10:30 am

The first article below is from a creationist website, Creation Evolution Headlines, and its author is a young-earth creationist. Oddly, though, its own headline and its discussion isn’t too far from what some “progressive” evolutionists maintain: evolutionary biology is racist, which explains the paucity of minorities in the field. The first paper, then, is not that different in its theses from the second and third papers below, although both were published in academic journa, Social Psychology in Education and in Evolution: Education and Outreach; and both papers include at least one evolutionary biologist as an author.  Click headlines to read any of them.

(The pdf for the article below can be found here.

In both papers religion is mentioned: African Americans are more religious than whites, and that makes them resistant to studying evolution. This may well be true, but I don’t know what to do about it. Here’s one anecdote I’ve told before. I was invited to lecture on evolution to a black “magnet school” (a high school) on Chicago’s South Side.  At the end of my talk, a girl stood up and asked me if I was saying that Noah’s Flood and (as I recall) the Garden of Eden didn’t really exist. I had to tell the truth and say, “Yes, that’s what I think.” It caused a ruckus, and I could clearly see that the students became resistant to my message. (After the talk, the principal took me aside and said I really should have mentioned all the innovations that Africans had made, like inventing the airplane.)

But here’s from the paper:

In contrast to scientists, African Americans are significantly more religious than most every other American ethnic group. They also overwhelmingly self-identify as Protestant Christians. Thus, African Americans may be more likely than Whites to experience a major dissatisfaction with their pro-evolution courses and faculty. This perception could well affect their feelings about evolution classes and professors. In effect, African-American undergraduates appear to be more aware than Whites of the foundation of evolutionary theory which is

methodological (and de facto metaphysical) naturalism. Their religious inclinations will therefore be in conflict with the culture within the [evolutionary] community and it will be difficult for them to feel a sense of belonging in that community. The same with their moral objections to evolution, moral objections that are well founded in the African-American experience. The demands of methodological naturalism thus become an impediment to the greater participation of people of color in ecology and evolutionary biology.

Evidence exists that religiosity functions as a challenge to inclusion within evolutionary biology. Religiosity is negatively associated with exposure to evolutionary theory, knowledge about evolution, and acceptance of evolution. In a sample of African-American college students, Bailey found that the more religious the students were, the less knowledge they had about evolution. Moreover, religiosity is also associated with having moral objections to the theory of evolution. Thus, a cultural mismatch exists between the religious beliefs of students, and those of evolutionary faculty who are unable to properly deal with religious differences and moral objections to evolution. This  may create a challenge that leads to a lower sense of belonging in fields of study that are entrenched in evolutionary thinking.

But if it’s “methodological naturalism” that religious people object to, they should object not just to evolutionary biology, but to ALL science. For “methodological naturalism” is simply the proposition that the laws of the universe are all that occurs in the sciences: there is no divine intervention.  (This, by the way, is not an a priori decision of scientists to exclude God, it’s a method used because invoking God to explain natural phenomena never gets us anywhere. You all know the story of Laplace and Napoleon: “I had no need of that hypothesis”. Nor do we need The God Hypothesis now; it’s only an impediment to understanding.)

It’s not just evolutionary theory that’s founded on methodological naturalism, but all of science.  If metaphysical naturalism makes you uncomfortable, then you have no business doing science at all.

More problematic is religiosity, since for some believers evolution poses no problem for their faith, but for others it’s an insuperable problem. Yet most Americans reject the naturalistic view of evolution: in fact, a 2019 Gallup poll (data below), a poll taken every few years, shows, that 40% Americans are young-earth creationists, another 33% are theistic evolutions (who believe that God helped evolution along, especially creating humans), while a mere 22%—a bit more than 1 in 5 of us, accept the naturalistic view of evolution as we teach it in college.

73% of Americans, then, think that God had some hand in evolution. That’s nearly 4 out of 5, and those objections are obviously religious ones. The biggest impediment to accepting evolution, as I wrote about in my Presidential paper in the journal Evolution, is religion. (As you can imagine, I had trouble getting this palpably true thesis published.)  I know of no anti-evolution organization that is, at bottom, not based on religion, and there’s a negative correlation among U.S. states and among countries in the world between religiosity and acceptance of evolution.

With respect to minorities in particular, the “solution” that Bergman offers to the inequities in evolutionary biology is for us to learn to talk about religion and evolution:

O’Brien et al. [JAC: the paper below] concluded that

cultural differences in religiosity as well as the moral objections to evolution cannot be ignored in efforts to increase URM’s sense of belonging in EEB educational contexts (or other science fields that are rooted in evolution). A large proportion of the U.S. population is religious and disbelieves in evolution. African Americans and Latinos/as are more religious than the U.S. population as a whole and scientists in particular (Pew Research 2009a, b). One method to improve religious students’ feelings of belonging in EEB contexts might be teach EEB faculty to navigate conversations around religion.

Based on the studies below, and experiences of my colleagues, yes, black students or URMs (underrepresented minorities) are more wary of taking evolution classes because of their greater faith. What do do about that?  Well, I have talked to students who had religious objections to evolution, but only in my office, not in class. And really, one has to be a therapist to deal with this issue. I can tell the students that many people find evolution compatible with their faith but, as you see from the figure above, most don’t. And if they ask me my own opinion, I will tell them that I don’t think religion is compatible with evolution, but, fortunately, I rarely got asked that by students.

Finally, the issue of eugenics comes up, as it does even in scientific societies. The mantra goes that evolutionary biology was founded on eugenics (no, it wasn’t), and that the discipline is still deeply imbued with eugenics (no, it isn’t). True, there was a period about ninety years ago when some evolutionists proposed eugenic schemes, but these schemes were not adopted wholesale by governments (and not at all in the UK), and those countries who did adopt them weren’t hugely influenced by evolutionary biology (if you want to blame any field for eugenics, blame genetics, but that’s hyperbole as well).

The quote below, reproduced in the paper above3 comes from the paper of Joseph Graves, Jr. (below):

During the same period in which African Americans were fighting for a legal end to Jim Crow, evolutionary biology became a coherent disciple. This occurred between 1936 and 1947 (Mayr 1982), with the founding of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) occurring in 1946 (Smocovitis 1994). This was right after the end of WWII in which racial theories had been utilized to justify the slaughter of millions of people in both the European and Pacific theaters of the war. What is not as well realized is that these theories had their origin in the West and prominent evolutionary biologists and geneticists contributed to their rise (Graves 2005a).

First of all, evolutionary biology is not the sole source of bigotry (although in the past it has buttressed it), and the claim that evolution had something to do with the mass slaughters of WWII is either gross hyperbole or wrong. In every war, each side dehumanizes the enemy, and that began well before 1859.  The slaughter of Americans by the Japanese and vice versa had nothing to do with evolutionary biology. Nor did the mass slaughters of Russians by Germans and vice versa, as well as Hitler’s Holocaust. And if you think evolutionary biology led to the Holocaust, read my colleague Robert Richards’ paper, “Was Hitler a Darwinian?“, free online. The answer is a firm “No!”

To blame past eugenics, or to bring up the Tuskegee experiment (a horrible and unethical study, though not an outgrowth of evolutionary biology) for racial inequities in evolution doesn’t comport with with any data I know of, nor with my own experimence. Has a single student ever said that if evolution had been involved with eugenics in the past, they’d be busy studying evolution now, sometimes with the goal of becoming an evolutionary biologist?

Click below to read the O’Brien et al. paper, and you can find the pdf here;

One of the factors these authors invoke as inhibiting minority participation in evolution is religiosity, and I’ll quote from this paper again:

Thus, challenges to inclusion that are likely the results of access to resources (e.g., knowledge, feeling comfortable outdoors) and challenges that are likely the result of real or perceived cultural mismatches between students and EEB faculty (e.g., religion) were both related to feelings of belonging. Moreover, the relationship between challenges to inclusion and sense of belonging remained after statistically controlling for ethnicity.

In addition, cultural differences in religiosity as well as the moral objections to evolution cannot be ignored in efforts to increase URM’s sense of belonging in EEB educational contexts (or other science fields that are rooted in evolution). A large proportion of the U.S. population is religious and disbelieves in evolution. African-Americans and Latinos/as are more religious than the U.S. population as a whole and scientists in particular (Pew Research 2009a, b). One method to improve religious students’ feelings of belonging in EEB contexts might be teach EEB faculty to navigate conversations around religion (e.g., Graves 2019).

Feelings of belonging are a hard one, for one has to figure out how to rectify that. Mentors would help, though, as Graves points out below, there are very few black evolutionary biologists. If you need a mentor of your own race to succeed, there are two ways to fix that. First, departments could practice affirmative action in hiring faculty (we’re doing that as hard as we can given the restrictions on the practice, though it’s now become illegal). The reason it hasn’t worked that well is that there aren’t many minority evolutionary biologists looking for jobs. (One reason, I think, it that it’s not a very lucrative field, but that’s just my take). The underqualification in STEM that leads to this inequity has only one fix that’s permanent: provide people with equal opportunity from birth.  (There are other fixes that aren’t as good, like expanding outreach, and I’m in favor of them, but in the end the problem we need to solve is one that starts at birth, and there is precious little money or will to fix that.) The ultimate goal to me is equal opportunity, not equal outcomes, but the former is a lot harder to ensure.  And of course given cultural differences and preferences, equal opportunity need not lead to equal outcomes.

Finally, Joseph Graves, an African American evolutionist, weighs in with this paper (click to read, pdf here).

His thesis is that current racism (i.e., ongoing “structural racism”) is what keeps minorities out of evolution.

The central premise of this commentary is that racism in America as it is manifested in higher education (specifically evolutionary biology) creates a culturally non-inclusive environment that systematically disadvantages persons of non-European descent. The form of this disadvantage differs by the sociocultural positioning of individuals. Thus to change the patterns of underrepresentation within the discipline requires that the dominant social group (persons of European descent socially-defined as “white”) to address and act on how their position of privilege is subordinating “others.”

I’d agree with him insofar as the qualifications of minority scientists were eroded by the history of slavery and racism, but I can’t agree that racism is pervasive in evolutionary biology right now. There are simply too many efforts to find and recruit minority and faculty students to support the view that the field is riddled with systemic racism.

And then there’s religion, with Graves indicting my own views:

Darwin’s agnosticism on the existence of God is a well-known feature of his life (Desmond and Moore 1991). Jerry Coyne’s position on the incompatibility of evolution and religion is one that I shared earlier in my career (Coyne 2012). However I have since recanted. Such views certainly stand as an impediment to the successful recruitment of greater numbers of African American students to careers in evolutionary biology.

I question whether my position or views like mine have kept students out of evolutionary biology. Can you find one student who says, “I would have become an evolutionary biologist, but Jerry Coyne convinced me that science and religion are incompatible, so I didn’t major in science or take an evolution course”?  I doubt there are more than a handful of students in America who have even read Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.” The recruitment of minority students into evolution may be because of religious belief that’s hard to overcome, but I doubt it’s because of the argument I made. That argument was not that religious people couldn’t accept evolution, or that scientists couldn’t be religious. Rather, it was that if you practice both science and religion, you are engaged in contradictory exercises: both fields are based on factual claims (religion, of course, is based on more than that), but only science has a way of determining whether those factual claims are true. This is a more sophisticated argument than simply saying, “Evolution makes a hash out of Christianity.”

I’m not denying, though, that religion is an impediment for black students to enter evolutionary biology; I have had colleagues teaching at various schools who told me they were explicitly told this by minority students. Graves, however, thinks it can be overcome with complex discussion:

However, this [religious belief] need not stand as impediment to the recruitment and retention of African Americans (or other highly religious) individuals into science. I have found that most of my highly religious Christian students have never really discussed the foundation of their theological views. As a confirmed Episcopalian, these are conversations I have learned how to conduct in ways that do not automatically shut down critical reasoning. Indeed, there is variation within Christian denominations with regards to their willingness to accept evolution as compatible with their faith. In general, doctrinally conservative Christians reject evolution (Berkman and Plutzer 2010). For example, the Southern Baptist Convention (formed as the Pro-segregation Baptist Church in the 1920s) and the National Baptist Convention (predominately African American membership) both reject evolution as compatible with their faith; on the other hand, the Catholic Church accepts evolution as compatible with their faith (Martin 2010). Notably there is variation within the individuals who subscribe to major denominations concerning their acceptance of evolution. For example, for Doctrinally Conservative Protestants, surveyed from 1994 to 2004, those who felt that: humans developed from earlier species of animals 76% felt that this statement was definitely false or probably false, while 24% felt it was probably true or true. Similar values were recorded for Black Protestants, 66% and 35% respectively, for mainline Protestant denominations, the values were 45% and 55%; while for Roman Catholics, the values were 42% and 58% (Berkman and Plutzer 2010). Thus while a given church’s official position is to accept or reject evolutionary science, individuals within denominations tend to make up their own minds concerning evolution. I have found that exposing my highly religious students to the fact that that there is variation within Christian thought concerning evolution helps them be able to engage it critically while not feeling that they are abandoning their faith.

Yes, that’s one way to do it, and it’s a lot easier if, like Graves, you’re religious. Another, which a colleague mentioned to me yesterday, is to say, “You don’t have to change your religious beliefs to take an evolution course. All you need to do is study the contents of the course and answer the questions.” (This works for required evolution courses.) Although this may seem callous, to me it involves less dissimulation, for, to be truthful, most Christians do believe something that’s incompatible with the theory of evolution, even if that belief is just that God helped the evolution of only one species along H. sapiens.

All of these authors (save Bergman) are well meaning, and I’m with their goal: everyone deserves a chance to study evolution.  But the solutions involving religion, eugenics, affirmative action, and the like seem like Band-Aids on the wound.

There is only one workable solution, and that’s ensuring equal opportunity for all Americans. I won’t go into the problems with that solution, which may be insuperable, but should we be discussing that solution before we get to eugenics and religion?

38 thoughts on “Is evolutionary biology racist?

  1. I’d agree with everything Jerry has said here but would go one step further: We shouldn’t try to do anything about the reluctance of religious individuals to study evolution or to become evolutionary biologists. Diversity should be an outcome or a product of efforts to treat individuals fairly and provide equal opportunities to everyone. If members of some groups are less likely to take advantage of those opportunities because of their religious beliefs, and this leads evolutionary biology as a field to look less like the society as a whole wrt ethnicity, that seems ok. Joe Graves can do what he wants to talk some people out of their reluctance to engage with evolution, but to the extent he’s avoiding the philosophical implications of evolution (deep time, no god or soul, no afterlife), I think he’s doing a disservice to his coreligionists.

  2. From what I’ve read of history (ancient near east and Mexico) a
    people brutally conquered or enslaved will almost always adopt the
    religion of the enslavers with enthusiasm.And it’s very difficult to
    break that bond.

  3. After years of trying to convince 15-20 year-old students in high school and two-year college that evolution was compatible with
    Christianity, I decided they were right and became an atheist.

    1. Like we atheists, religious people can generally see that the compatibility argument is a complete cop-out. I teach biology in college, and what I do when needed is to lay out the road ahead for them by basically saying: “Here are the concepts and terms. Here is the evidence. You need to describe what scientists have concluded on exams. And I’m not here to try to convert you”. If I feel brave, I might say “Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and here you should pretend that I am Caesar”.

  4. This is so awful. When I see those polls, and it comes to 73%, I honestly have a moment of honest-to-god denial. This. Just. Can’t. Be. True. Once I recover and face the facts, it takes my breath away. Then I have to read Julian Jaynes again, and remind myself that we evolved the bicameral mind, in which the voices of auditory hallucination overwhelm the rational half of the brain. People have taken TheVoices as real, and shamans have reinforced it for millennia. That’s what we are up against.

    On of my favorite science teachers, writing a history of objectivity, said about the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, “Objective reality was exposed for the first time for all to embrace. Some people did not like what they saw.” (Alan Cromer)

    For bible people, the immediate granite wall is this: evolution says 4.5B years for earth, and 6 million for Genus Homo. But the bible-ist is told 6,000 years, and that stands out huge. Then, absurdly, their “logic” makes a brief appearance. “It stands to reason, the human eye could not evolve in 6000 years. Evolution is false.”

    1. Why. Did. You. Write. Like. That.

      This, “write like you speak” trend is obscene, and your style is incredibly prolix (“the immediate granite wall” – is there some other sort of “granite wall” you could be referring to?). Superfluous language is the hallmark of a pseudo intellect.

      1. Well, pray to the Author of the Universe for a miracle, that he (and you) might be delivered from what you claim ails him.

  5. Evolutionary biology is not racist, but some of the old texts certainly are. Example: Hunter’s Civic Biology (the text used by John Scopes of the Scopes trial). The Scopes trial museum (at the Dayton courthouse) highlighted some of the offending text.

    The creationists make a big deal of that.

    1. The passage in Civic Biology is mostly about eugenics. And have a look at what Scopes lawyer Clarence Darrow wrote about eugenics, while the Scopes litigation was still ongoing (1925-1927):

      Clarence Darrow’s (1926) essay “The Eugenics Cult”, The American Mercury

      Darrow was a prominent antiracist of his day — in the 1920s, where this was highly controversial. E.g.:

      Review: Philip Brandes (2016). Before Black Lives Matter there was Clarence Darrow, brought to life onstage in Ventura –
      There’s an extraordinary moment in Rubicon Theatre’s in-the-round staging of “Clarence Darrow” when the legendary attorney strides into the audience to plead for the Sweets, a black family charged with murder after defending their home from a white mob. Through a combination of lighting, sound and sheer eloquence, we become the jury whom Darrow urges to look inward and to see that what’s really on trial is our own racism.

      It could be an argument heard in a court today — except that the year is 1925, long before the civil rights era, before Black Lives Matter.

      As for William Jennings Bryan – he famously fought against a Democratic Party resolution to condemn the KKK in the Party platform. He won by 1 vote. New York Times, June 29, 1924:

      Jerry Bergman misses all of this of course, but then so do many history-schmistory progressives on the Left in modern times.

  6. I guess I missed the point of the article that evolutionary biology is racist. It is incompatible with religion, and minorities in the U.S. tend to be more religious as a group so that could be one reason why they shy away from it. But how does that make the evolutionary biology field racist?

    1. It’s Kendian thing; in every case when there is any perceptible deficiency in POC representation in any part of society it is because of racism. Every single one. Well, except where POC are over represented (like the NBA). That, of course, we must not mention. One is either anti-racist or racist. There are no other people.

  7. 1. Agree to your point that ALL science is impugned by religiosity, which is why my wife frequently rails that people rejecting science should not be allowed cell phones or penicillin or (fill in the blank). However, most science doesn’t run smack against religious dogma. If God had decreed e.g. that all “Light that is beyond the visible shall be reserved for the angels,” then you’d bet telecommunications would have been thwarted long ago.

    2. This seems to me actually to be a counterexample to the claim that diversity is always good. I don’t see an upside to evolutionary biology as a field if it were practiced by more religious people generally.

    3. Should we also demand that theology be made more acceptable to atheists so that we can feel that we ‘belong’?

  8. RE equality of opportunity in the USA, the lack thereof, see the data here:

    April Bleske-Rechek & Daniel Robinson: Standardized Admission Tests Are Not Biased. Skeptic, July 17, 2023

    In Fact, They’re Fairer Than Other Measures

    Robert J. Morris: It May Not Be Possible to Achieve Racial Equity in American Scientific Research

    Petra E. Todd and Kenneth I. Wolpin: The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School and Racial Test Score Gaps.

    Journal of Human Capital, December 2007, 1(1), 91-136

  9. The curves show essentially no change between 1983 and 2000, and then a steady
    increase in the frequency of the naturalistic view—but among only a minority, rising from
    9-10% to 19-22%. It would be informative to have data on the characteristics of that minority specifically. That might supply clues to what happened, after 2000, to enable
    the steady increase in that minority. Was it the publication in the mid 2000s of the “new
    atheist” best-sellers? Maybe prior developments underlay their becoming best-sellers. If that, what prior developments? 9/11? The internet? Smartphones? The appearance of kale and quinoa (whatever they are)?

  10. Religion is a road block to many things including science, evolution, civil improvement and so on. It causes people to remove democracy in many ways — preventing women of equal rights, medical care and even fair pay. It prevents all kinds of freedom in politics, voting right and democratic elections. It has resulted in great evil in this country and yet people continue to give it a pass. In polite society we always step aside while religion passes. Just look at republican action and the acceptance of this by the religious in this country. I would ask, what is good about religion? Racism as a fact is much closer to religion than to anything regarding evolution.

  11. CRT has weaponized the tactic of confusing the use of terms that describe both a body of knowledge and the institution that produced the knowledge. For example the knowledge produced by practicing the science of Biology VS the institutions that practice the science (and teaching) of Biology.

    I completely agree that no real progress is likely to be made towards increasing the number of minorities in the sciences without targeting the problem at the very beginning, birth through highschool.

  12. There is a burning need to remedy many other disparities as well. For example, Jews under-represented in heavyweight boxing (other than Max Baer), Chinese-Americans under-represented in basketball, and women under-represented in roofing and oil-drilling.
    Finally, the large fraction of Americans who have little talent in mathematics are drastically under-represented in academic physics, physical chemistry, and, well, mathematics.

  13. In America the less well-off tend to be more religious, so it’s no surprise that members of downtrodden minorities tend to be religious. The only long-term solution to recruiting minorities into evolutionary biology is increase the general level of prosperity and thereby weaken the hold of religion. Ultimately this is yet another a pipeline problem. Blaming evolutionary biologists for being racists or atheists is just performative activism.

    1. Exactly. And it’s also how the church leaders are regarded – as the most leaned members of the community. And central to their existence is the concept that God created you and the world. Naturalistic processes are incompatible with their lines.

      Also, the less affluent you are, the less likely you are to run into a STEM academic.

      It all gets down to a Swedish expression I once heard that really hit home – Allting beror på mans referensrammar. Everything depends on your frame of reference. And those frames are embedded early on.

      Thankfully, none of that was drilled into my head as a kid. My mother was more “churchy” than religious (way more likely to talk about the church rummage sale than Jesus), and my father only went along with it half-heartedly, leaving me to make up my own mind more than many, and it all seemed basically irrelevant.

  14. At least Joe Graves is a black guy writing about something he knows: black people in evolutionary biology. O’Brien, Bart, and Garcia are white liberals padding their CVs with overwrought bullshit from a survey of undergraduate students about things like “discomfort in outdoor environments [and its association with] lower interest in pursuing graduate education in [ecology & evolution].” By definition none of those undergrads are yet evolutionary biologists, and the three authors have no idea why there are so few black people in evolutionary biology. This is carpetbagging disguised as quantitative research (analysis of variance, p values, a “Proposed theoretical model”).

  15. Very few black students took my undergraduate or graduate courses in geology and paleontology—only a handful out of thousands of students over 13 years. The one I recall most vividly was a young undergraduate woman who objected to me teaching evolution as a fact. She eventually dropped the class, presumably because she couldn’t tolerate what she was hearing.

    Black students may steer clear of the subject matter because of its irreligious or even anti-religious content. They may feel unwelcome in the biology community because there are so few people who look like them. It’s hard to say, but those are two reasonable conjectures. But neither of these possibilities mean that Evolutionary Biology—the corpus of its subject matter—is racist. Nor does it mean that Evolutionary Biology—the institution and community of practitioners—is racist either.

    To me, the only reasonable solution is to try to bring a greater diversity of people into the discipline, as biologists are trying to do everywhere. But a basic tenet of evolutionary biology and of science in general is to seeks naturalistic explanations for what we observe around us. There is no room for miracles in science and no room for divine guidance. People who cannot countenance a world without a designer will never feel like they have a home in evolutionary biology or anywhere in science. A career in science is open to anyone with the desire and aptitude to engage in scientific work. But at the same time, science isn’t a good match for everyone.

  16. Are there actually people who want to believe in a literal biblical world history (i.e. very young earth) AND want to study evolutionary biology? These are logically and factually incompatible epistemologies, and one’s ethnic identity and cultural religiosity can never make that incompatibility go away.
    You can’t have your (religious) cake and eat it (evolution) too.

  17. Maybe we should look at the question “why are there so few blacks/ women/ gays/ etc in evolutionary biology/ upper management/ professional football/ younameit” not as a morally relevant problem to be solved, but rather as a more or less interesting interdisciplinary research question. The distribution of sexes and ethnic groups in all kinds of activities and interests is almost never proportional to their share in the general population, no matter how innocuous the activity and how implausible it is to be the result of discrimination.
    If the research shows directly and conclusively that there is unfair discrimination going on, then we should take steps to fix it. Otherwise, it should be up to every man, woman and magical creature of diverse sexual orientation to decide what they want to do or not do.
    By the way, I would expect that in many cases thorough research would basically come back with the answer “testosterone is one helluva drug”.

  18. have worked in scientific research in the field of evolution for 25 years. During this time, I saw in my lab (at Sorbonne University) Muslim scientists, Christian scientists, Jewish scientists, and all these people worked on scientific subjects related to evolutionary biology, and that never gave them a problem. Wouldn’t the problem come from the literal reading of religious books?

  19. Sorry – am I missing something? “all the innovations that Africans had made, like inventing the airplane” – ???

  20. The O’Brien article is often loose in how it defines “minorities”. In some uses they mean only the chronically failing black and Latino groups. Other times they include “Asians” as a homogeneous group unusually underrepresented in Evo compared to their prevalence in other STEM fields. They found that for Asians, only the lack of Asian role models and a dislike for working outside predicted avoidance of Evo. (The reloosity and moral objections were important only for blacks and Latinos.)

    This tells me that Asians avoid Evo because the working conditions and the pay are better in electrical engineering and quantitative finance, as Jerry alludes to.

    If black students avoid Evo out of religious superstition, why is that a “problem” for us to fix in early childhood, any more than it is a problem that Asians prefer other STEM fields? I suspect, a suspicion which is mine, is that the only people who care that few blacks study biology are those black grievance hustlers who want to see systemic racism everywhere.

  21. Objective, imperial reality is racist. The persistent, “insuperable” achievement/IQ gap – talk about an “inconvenient truth.”

  22. “The central premise of this commentary is that racism in America as it is manifested in higher education (specifically evolutionary biology) creates a culturally non-inclusive environment that systematically disadvantages persons of non-European descent.”

    Do those persons of non-European descent include South, South-East, and East Asians, who, from what I can tell, are incredibly self-motivated, self-disciplined and persevering?

  23. I just learned about “interest convergence” :

    “The theory of interest convergence suggests that because racism is beneficial to white people they have little incentive to eradicate it. Using the lens of interest convergence, critical race theorists argued that both civil rights gains and changing attitudes towards people of colour regularly coincided with changing needs and desires of white people.”

    … if I follow that, the absence of racism can mean simply that it is simply hidden more skillfully, and any observable advances in civil rights or are only due to people of color adopting attitudes that promote white supremacy.

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