In The National Review, John Derbyshire is arguing that Barack Obama is bad for science because:
Barack Obama was raised in an atmosphere of “cultural Marxism. His mind was set that way, and he retained the essential precepts of the creed into adult life, as his close association with somewhat-more-than-cultural Marxist Bill Ayers illustrates (as of course do Obama’s remarks quoted above). Obama would fill his administration with cultural Marxists like himself, whose attitude to human-sciences research is the one spelled out by Edward O. Wilson in his book On Human Nature.
Derbyshire’s argument in a nutshell is that science is increasingly giving us hard evidence that variations among humans is genetically determined, meaning that systematic differences we perceive between sexes or races are probably not from “nurture” but “nature.” Since Obama is a “cultural Marxist”, he wouldn’t be willing to fund the good science that supports these “metaphysical implications more disturbing than..those of quantum mechanics.”
The article is hard to read, for me at least, because of its a) misrepresentation of established science, b) racist undertones and c) sexist overtones (see his definition of geneticist v genomicist). However, the vast majority of people in this country still view race as a biological entity, a natural kind. Further, scare tactics appear to be successful in many arenas, including arguments about conspiracies in the scientific community (e.g., that creationism is being methodically suppressed). Derbyshire may be wacky, but his views resonate with people. It’s worth watching how these threads: anti-intellectualism, racism and sexism interrelate.
See PZ Myers for just a few rebuttals to Derbyshire’s claims. Readers, add your own analysis in the comments. And please, so we can all follow along, if you make a claim about a scientific fact, please provide a citation, either via web link or journal article. Thanks!