Dasein has a post worth reading for those interested in the science wars. I mentioned the issue, myself, in passing. Liberal creationists were able to shift the burden of proof onto realists. Simultaneously, they shifted the burden of justification to prevent research on the topic and now use the dearth of research to argue that the matter is closed and both should not and need not be investigated. (One reason for the fierce opposition to bio-medical research on race (e.g. Root, 2010) is the fear that it will provide grounds for people like me to argue that the Race-IQ debate is not, in fact, closed. (Which it does. But why is this a problem if it’s true that all differences are environmental?)
Boas was very critical of claims made by hereditarians, applying what to the modern reader in many parts will seem like proper scientific scepticism. Trained as a physicist, Boas originally intended to perform doctoral work on the normal distribution of errors, before settling on studying the optical properties of water. His interest in statistics were influential in the development of his views on race, and, despite his egalitarian agenda, his analysis was more sophisticated than the ‘vulgar Mendelism’ that was rampant after the rediscovery of Mendel’s work, and which was not uncommon in hereditarian and racialist circles at that time. In future posts, I will deal with Boas’ work on cranial plasticity, including its reanalysis in recent years, and his views on race and racial differences.
In this post, I will present excerpts from a paper that dicusses how Boas, through skillful rhetoric, was able to shift the burden of proof to those who posited innate differences in racial intelligence
Anyways, when arguing a HBD position, or especially an anti-antiracist position, it’s important to shift the burden of proof (and justification) back.