Occasionally, John Derbyshire gets kudos from the pro-science side of the national snarl because he at least manages to recognize that Intelligent Design creationism is a load of lies and pseudoscience. I’ve been less than thrilled with the guy; he’s generally a creepy fellow who only advocates science as a prop to his bizarre ideological fantasies. The latest example: he opposes Obama because he will destroy the biological sciences. Why, you might ask? It’s a peculiar assertion, since virtually every biologist I know considers the Republican party to have been a disaster for American science, and like Obama’s positions on science policy. Just the fact that he’s willing to encourage stem cell research is a major step forward.
The reason Derbyshire predicts Obama will stop science cold is that the presidential candidate is a black man who dislikes the idea that modern genetics will demonstrate the inferiority of certain races.
To support his claim, he babbles approvingly about Herrnstein and Murray’s awful book, The Bell Curve, and cites a “genomics researcher” who must remain anonymous because the cultural Marxists who dominate the research industry will destroy him…unfortunately, he uses a pseudonym familiar to me — “Godless Capitalist” — and I know his internet ravings well. He’s a garden-variety racist who misuses genetics as window-dressing for his delusions. Just to give you an idea of how repugnant and stupid this guy is, here’s a little anecdote told by Derbyshire that tells you how clueless Derbyshire is, and how vilely misogynist and bigoted “Godless Capitalist” is:
When “Godless” was helping me get up to speed on this stuff, I asked him at one point: “What’s the difference between a geneticist and a genomicist?” He gave a very cute answer: “Geneticists are female, genomicists are male.” Asked to elaborate, he offered this: “Imagine you are walking down a corridor in a research institute, looking in through the glass panels in doors. In one lab you see a young woman of nontrivial attractiveness carefully adding drops to a Petri dish from a pipette. That’s a geneticist. A couple of doors along you look into another lab and there are two young guys arguing about some long string of numbers displayed on a computer screen. Those are genomicists …”
I guess this guy never heard of Pardis Sabeti or Anne Carpenter or Dannie Durand or any of a bunch of other female genomics researchers I can think of. Or the even larger number of male geneticists out there. And why does attractiveness even come into this?
That’s a rhetorical question. It’s because these happy chatting bigots are always judging ideas by superficial appearances, by sex or skin color or racial and sexual stereotypes.