Sunday, August 09, 2009

Flesh and spirit: Over at iSteve, we see that liberals continue to worship the Scandinavians and are mystified by their efficiency. More than once, Steve has made the emperor-has-no-clothes point that, duh, Scandinavians are so... Scandinavian. The funny thing is that we totally get his tautology. He's not saying that their institutional arrangements are efficient, or that they have the right culture, or that they act as they do because of historical circumstances. When you talk about identity, we automatically think biology.

Why do people get angry when HBD-ers claim that the racial IQ gap is part genetic, and not when others say that blacks are dumb because of bad schools? It's because we believe that we are our genes, but we are not our environment. At the genetic level, egalitarians tell us, we're all potential Einsteins. Our true selves are awesome, it's just the institutions are bad.

This is all very convenient for liberals, but I detect an inconsistency. When I was in student, profs kept assigning readings that argued that on the question of abortion, nurture trumps nature. The body doesn't matter; it's culture that defines who you are. Then I'd read about some exotic tribe that doesn't consider you human until you can speak. Much of social science sees human beings the same as religious folks do: minds or spirits residing in a house of flesh. But it adds a collectivist twist that all spirits are interconnected and the product of each other. So which is it? Is our core spirit or flesh? Come on now: flesh is the only serious answer. You can have flesh without spirit, but no spirit without flesh.

Okay, you say, but what about all the biologists who are pro-choice? My guess is this, and people should weigh in an tell me where I'm wrong. It's overkill to call it the Mengela Syndrome, but it does get at the phenomenon that familiarity and science breed callousness. I don't have data, but many doctors and nurses seem to favor things like abortion and physician-assisted suicide because the job requires one to objectify the patient. It's too hard to get your job done if every person you treat is as human as, say, your own child. You might respond that they see a lot of suffering and want to relieve it. Fair enough, but science in general encourages the objectification of humans. There is a tendency to see them as objects to be manipulated. As much as I respect science, it is one cold bastard.

(Also--science breeds secularism which breeds liberalism, and people often pick their views to match those of their political party.)

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