A couple of weeks ago I posted about the vile Scientific American screed sliming not only E.O. Wilson, but the whole field of behavioral genetics and maybe all of modern genetics back to Gregor Mendel himself. It’s one of those articles that can really blackpill you — that is, convince you that there’s no hope, the Academy has fallen to the woke hordes like Jerusalem to the Saracens, and we’ll be teaching Lamarck and Lysenko and goddamn phlogiston theory in STEM 101 by 2023 because Darwin was just too damn white.
And then you read this rejoinder, I believe primarily written by Razib Khan, which helps restore some of your faith in the self-correcting nature of science. More than the article itself, the list of co-signatories brings a happy tear to my eye. This is not a list of cancelled black sheep like Razib (and me). It includes National Academy members, including many whose politics are on the record and very much to the left, and including several who were deeply critical of some of Wilson’s pet ideas. And not only were they willing to sign a letter in defense of Wilson, they were willing to do it alongside unapologetic right wing thought criminal Razib Khan. Maybe because, you know, Razib is a careful scientist and prolific science communicator with important and novel insights on human evolution, and who cares what his politics are?
Consider also the fact that Birmingham, Alabama — Wilson’s hometown and my base of operations — honored Wilson’s legacy. Randall Woodfin, Birmingham’s Democrat mayor and probably not a white supremacist, participated in the ceremony:
Maybe there is hope after all. Probably not, but maybe…