Kevin MacDonald quotes from evolutionary anthropologist John Tooby’s article about “coalitional instincts” in response this year’s “annual question” at Edge.org, “What Scientific Concept Should be More Widely Known” (emphasis added):
Coalition-mindedness makes everyone, including scientists, far stupider in coalitional collectivities than as individuals. Paradoxically, a political party united by supernatural beliefs can revise its beliefs about economics or climate without revisers being bad coalition members. But people whose coalitional membership is constituted by their shared adherence to “rational,” scientific propositions have a problem when—as is generally the case—new information arises which requires belief revision. To question or disagree with coalitional precepts, even for rational reasons, makes one a bad and immoral coalition member—at risk of losing job offers, her friends, and her cherished group identity. This freezes belief revision.
I think Tooby’s right, and maybe more than he knows or would care to admit (MacDonald writes that evolutionary psychology was created to bowdlerize sociobiology under another name and apply an evolutionary analysis of human behavior that circumvents difficult problems regarding racial differences in IQ).
Religious mystery in the West under Christianity became sufficiently remote from the worldly to allow incredible advances in science and technology, because those advances, for the most part, posed no threat to it. Western thinkers were given room to roam–not nearly total, but enough to create the modern world. Paradoxically, it seems the replacement of a religious moral order with a rational moral order (predicated on human equality) has taken away that room in the most exigent field of study there is: human behavior.
It reminds of something I wrote a couple of years back (in response to another Occidental Observer article about an academic proposing a ban on the study of genetic variation in intelligence among populations):
The religious believe a fantasy about God and the afterlife; the believer of the current state religion of human equality believes a fantasy about human biology with ongoing implications for the here and now. Which holds more potential for destruction?