January 10, 2016

THE LEFT’S OWN WAR ON SCIENCE, as charted by Toby Young in the UK Spectator:

How much longer can the liberal left survive in the face of growing scientific evidence that many of its core beliefs are false? I’m thinking in particular of the conviction that all human beings are born with the same capacities, particularly the capacity for good, and that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this the myth of the noble savage. This romanticism underpins all progressive movements, from the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn to the environmentalism of Caroline Lucas, and nearly every scientist who challenges it provokes an irrational hostility, often accompanied by a trashing of their professional reputations. Indeed, the reaction of so-called free thinkers to purveyors of inconvenient truths is reminiscent of the reaction of fundamentalist Christians to scientists who challenged their core beliefs.

One such Charles Darwin figure is the American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon. He has devoted his life to studying the Yanomamö, indigenous people of the Amazonian rain forest on the Brazilian-Venezuelan border, and his conclusions directly challenge the myth of the noble savage. ‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war,’ Chagnon told a Brazilian journalist. His view of the Yanomamö people is summed up by the title he gave to his masterwork on the subject: The Fierce People.

Not surprisingly, Chagnon’s reputation proceeded to take a beating from the “scientific” left for writing such blatant doubleplusungood crimethink. Read the whole thing.

Related: “Dances With Myths — Half-truths about American Indians’ environmental ethic obscure the rational ways in which they have lived with and shaped the natural world.”

Original faux-Indian Iron Eyes Cody hardest hit.

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