Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama, Rev. Wright and anti-science

I caught the Obama interview with Chris Wallace on Fox yesterday, and I must agree with most observers that it seemed to go well. I'd like to look at it again, or read through a transcript, but I'm not aware of any gaffes or controversial sound bites.

Then, last night, I flipped on the TV to catch Rev. Wright at the NAACP dinner. It was a little disturbing, to say the least. Here he was expounding on the basic genetic differences between black and white people, complete with what I felt were rather condescending imitations (parodies? mockeries?) of white people, and their different musical scales, and rhythms, and their different learning abilities. The girls sat on the couch and laughed at his antics, although probably for different reasons than the ones I was nervously chuckling at. Not a great performance in the "uniter" mode. Didn't the authors of "The Bell Curve" get tossed into the darkness because of their ideas about racial genetic differences?

This morning, I caught a few snippets of a question and answer session at the National Press Club with Wright, and I found myself even more disgusted. The arrogance was almost palpable (he had already spoken earlier this weekend of his public "crucifixion," as if THAT profound suffering had anything to do with the controversy that he has created for himself over the last 20 years). Of course, there was no explanation (much less an apology) for his despicable remarks that have come to light over the last few weeks. I wasn't able to catch a lot of what he was saying, but I don't think this guy is good for the Obama campaign.

I'll have to check and make sure, but I doubt if any of the skeptical/anti-antiscience blogs have much to say on this. And I don't really understand why. A lot of time is spent on Phayrngula, and the Bad Astronomy blog, completely in an uproar over the Intelligent Design controversy, or other examples of antiscience thought in our society. Yet they seem strangely silent on the subject of the Reverend and his bogus, Afro-centric ideas about genetics and music and teaching methods, much less his theories about AIDS. And certainly these ideas of Wright's deserve more criticism from the skeptics than they have been getting. I know some in the skeptical community want to think that Obama is a science-positive candidate, but he is unable to "disown" the Reverend and his beliefs. It is at least fair to ask if Obama shares Wright's Afro-centric "science" beliefs."

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