religion and ethnocentrism

Benjamin Spatz (bspatz@BRONZE.LCS.MIT.EDU)
Tue, 9 Apr 1996 15:59:27 -0400

M. K. Conrad wrote:
While I understand the concern about partial ethnocentrism and
religion, I would also offer that the idea that a master race could be
created genetically and that "certain people" should not be allowed
to reproduce because of the fear of perpetuating idiocy ("three generations
of idiots is enough") was supported by scientific theory,
and that it led to the enforced sterilization of many in institutions in our
country (Carrie Buck - The Mismeasure of Man) and to the Holocaust.

I agree that the idea of science as a truth any more ultimate than
religion can be a dangerous one, I would like to make one point: As far as I
know (and, admittedly, I have not read _The Mismeasure of Man_ and am quite
limited in my knowledge on the topic), no eugenics movement was ever "supported
by scientific theory." Rather, such movements have frequently been supported
by psuedoscientific theory. I posit that the difference between the science
that tells us of gravity and of black holes us qualitatively and quantitatively
different from the pseudoscience of eugenics. In other words, while science
and pseudoscience have oft been confused, such confusion generally comes
out of a lack of publicized information, rather than an action difficulty
in distinguishing real science from bigoted "science".

Ben Spatz
(617) 661-2430