Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?
Frank Forman (Forman@ix.netcom.com)
6 Apr 1995 22:15:26 GMT
In <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Hartman)
>In article <email@example.com>,
>Frank Forman <Forman@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>>Well, yes, if irrationality implies neuroticism. This would make
>>all the human race [sic] neurotic, and perhaps this is so. But I might
>>then call you neurotic as your beliefs are irrational, in the sense
>>they are quite insufficiently grounded in any evidence that you have
>>chose to share with us.
>I should probably let Lane answer, however, I called racism a
>delusional system a few posts back, and "delusional" is perhaps an even
>stronger characterization than "neurotic." It sounds like you're
>asking Lane for clarification, and so I figured I might as well clarify
>what I mean also.
>When I say delusional, I mean: a belief or system of beliefs that
>contains some conclusions that seem unlikely or unwarranted to others
>on their face, yet which are believed uncritically and without
>insight. By "without insight" I mean that the person holding those
>beliefs simply does not consider the possibility those conclusions
>might be mistaken.
We're having an awfully difficult time here nailing down some
concepts! Your definition has two parts: 1) conclusions that seem
unlikely or unwarranted to others on their face and 2) belief that
is uncritical and close-minded. Well, most of what we believe is held
uncritically, for the simple reason that we can only investigate very
few of our beliefs. As for close-mindedness, this characterizes most
religious belief and a great deal of political belief. It may
characterize most or all moral belief, if morals (as many philosophers
claim) are without cognitive content and the moralizer thinks they are.
(There are many threads on the reality of morals on other discussion
But your definition adds a second requirement: conclusions that
seem unlikely or unwarranted to others on their face. This seems to mean
that I'm not really in the *psychological* state of being deluded, if as
a Jew, say, I believe in YHWH's prophecies about Israel, since most Jews
so believe (at least implicitly). This lack of delusion on my part will
be so, if the "others" mentioned in your definition are fellow Jews,
even if *you* think the Bible is nonsense.
So beliefs have to be both non-conformist to one's own culture
or subculture *and* be held close-minded (and, I think, with a certain
ferocity) to qualify as delusional. Put this way, your definition sounds
pretty good. But now regards racism (here, just the belief that racial
group achievement is strongly shaped by biological factors): are there
very many delusional racists in this country? Well, maybe a few, if the
"others" are correct in holding that racism (as I specified it for
purposes of discussion here) is unlikely and unwarranted (*and* if the
racism is held close-mindedly). But I haven't seen anyone argue that
divergencies in mental abilities and in temperament among the various
races (or whatever else you might call populations) are, in fact,
unlikely. Or at least argue on the basis of such things as known
possible rates of change in genotype frequencies, the known time
available for change, and the like (as opposed to non-quantified
But I don't want to anticipate the future of science (better:
future opinions about scientific truth). Someone could hold delusional
beliefs that later turn out to be quite correct! I hand the problem back
to you. You can tell me if Lane is deluded, while you are at it.