Saturday, December 05, 2009

I challenge Richard Dawkins!

No no, nothing like that. Despite being an Afrikaner (who are a notoriously religious bunch), I am (like Dawkins) a “Level 6″ agnostic and completely accept evolution and that we and every other living thing share a common ancestor. In short, I am a huge fan of Dawkins and the brilliant job he is doing confronting religion with reason. But there are two issues where I think Dawkins gets it wrong.

Firstly in
The Selfish Gene (published 1976) he essentially suggests that people “act” altruisticly in order only to promote themselves. But in Episode 2 of The Genius of Darwin (2008), a recent TV-series, he says that he wasn’t convinced and that he now feels that we’ve in a way “outgrown” evolution; we can understand suffering and that we act against that. According to him we can do this because we have become so clever; enabling us to break free from the rules and shackles of Evolution.

I agree with him that we are intelligent enough now to reflect on and understand evolution. But I don’t think this in itself is the reason why we do altruistic deeds. I think it is because as a species our evolution is not driven by competition and our survival instincts have been dimmed by our success as a species. In Dawkins’s UK and the rest of Western Europe there hasn’t really been a Fight for Survival for 65 years. I believe that this has dimmed the survival instinct and because of that people are more altruistic.

In South Africa it is a different story. A very good friend of mine was brutally murdered last week by a gang of robbers. They shot him in cold-blood AFTER he handed over his money. Tragically this is not an isolated incident. All over the country murders are being commited on an astonishing scale; indisputably crime is out of control. Here the survival instinct is much stronger. Here people are less inclined to be kind. I have lived in the UK and South Africa for extensive periods of time and I am convinced this is the case. In South Africa specifically white lives, jobs, and lifestyles are severely under threat. It makes evolutionary sense for people that are under threat not to expend energy on “unnecessary” acts of kindness. This occurs in Israel/Palestine and other places where people are being perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being under threat.

This neatly brings me to the 2nd point which is the real toughie. Race. I believe that there IS a difference between races. It makes complete evolutionary sense. There are no white sprinters in the Olympic 100m final. Why? Because for generations Africans have through the dreadful natural selection of slavery become physically superior. It makes complete evolutionary sense. Why then is it such a problem for mainstream scientists to accept that whites are intellectually more suited to the modern world? I’m not saying that this applies to ALL blacks or that this will always be the case. There are certainly many blacks (like the very impressive
Ben Carson) that are intellectual giants. Evolution through natural selection should uplift blacks to the intellectual levels of whites. Globally though this process is severely being hampered by unnatural selection policies like Affirmative Action.

Presently though blacks, on average, do not have the modern intelligence of other races. There is evidence of this all over Africa. The overwhelming majority of African countries are abject failures. There is certainly not one country that can compete on any level with the West. When South-Africa, previously and wrongly, was ruled by whites we competed in medicine (the first heart transplant in the world was done in Cape Town by
Chris Barnard, a white South-African), science and technology (the G5 cannon, still used today by the US and Israel, was developed in South-Africa). Now 14 years after South-Africa’s first democratic election and the start of black rule, we are not a major contributor at any scientific level.

In Europe and the US the story is slightly different, but with the same conclusion. The U.S. Department of Justice’s statistics from 1976 to 2004 confirms that black people are 9 times more likely to commit a serious crime than whites or other races. Why? I sincerely and without prejudice believe that it is because blacks haven’t evolved as much intellectually. Simply because in Africa they haven’t had to; until recently physical attributes were more important for survival than mental strength. It isn’t right or wrong or better or worse or moral or amoral. It just is; just like evolution.

For me the fact that esteemed scientists like Dawkins are denying or at the very least avoiding this issue is disappointing. In 2007
James Watson, one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century and Nobel Prize winner, said the same thing and he was ostracised from the scientific community. Charles Darwin’s theories were also unpopular at the time, but that didn’t stop it from being true. I believe the same applies to James Watson’s theories.

The most valid argument against discussing race and intelligence is “What does it achieve?”. I have thought about this a lot and it is not an easy one. Critics say that race & intelligence arguments are counter-productive, polarising & prejudicial. I actually agree with this, but that is still not enough reason to avoid the search for the truth. Even more so when Europeans are constantly trying to help Africa on the basis that Africans have the same intellect as Europeans. This, I believe, is one of the major reasons why one Aid Package after another fails in Africa.

Very important: Although I don’t think anyone can deny that there are differences between races, I am not a racist; I am 100% against racial discrimination. In other words if a black candidate is the best person for the job he/she should get the job. If a guy like Bryan Habana is the best in his position, who cares what colour he is. If 10/10 finalists in the Olympic finals are black; great. I applaud
Ben Carson MD for being the world famous Director of Paediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. I also supported Obama for President, because I felt and still feel he was the best candidate for the job.

I want blacks to succeed. More than anything. But don’t expect me to call a spade an axe!

By: A Heunis

2 Opinion(s):

FishEagle said...

I don't agree with the first point. I don't think whites act out of altruism or that their survival instincts have gone.

Exzanian said...

I also don't agree with the first point that we have somehow "outgrown" the shackles of evolution (but that is Dawkins's point, not the writers) However, the writer misunderstands evolution by stating that people in the UK and Europe have had their survival instincts "dimmed" by 65 years?! It misunderstands evolution completely. The genes for survival (red in tooth and claw) took millions of years to accumulate, 65 years is nothing.
However, the writer's second point contains a lot of gems.
Artificial selection has produced visible character traits of physical fitness in a matter of centuries... But again, he does not elaborate on how much more the effects of natural selection, over vast periods of time, produces even more differences. A point worth emphasizing is that we (all humans) are doing blacks a huge dis-service by simply pushing in incompetent, unskilled morons into leadership positions. We are not appreciating the winnowing effects of selection, and rewarding the winners. We reward the losers too (golden handshakes all-round for all parastatal fuck ups)It is around this great myth of equality that SA is being dragged back into the stone age, rather than leaving the power in the hands of the competents (who just happen to be white) Therefore, blacks will not really advance. Not whilst we avoid the truth of racism. It's not to say it applies to all blacks or will do so for all time. But it sure looks like it is that way, right now in Africa!