Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jerry Coyne ponders the p-value of motherly love

In case you thought that Jerry Coyne's bizarre denial of free will was an isolated cognitive hiccup, Coyne reminds us of his much deeper misunderstanding of man and nature:
Skeptic asks Deepak how to distinguish real truth from that garnered by “other ways of knowing”
In 2010, skeptic and manga artist Sara Mayhew got a chance to ask Deepak Chopra a question after his ABC News debate with Sam Harris and Michael Shermer. The topic of the debate was “Does God have a future?“, and Chopra teamed with philosopher Jean Houston...
Here’s Sara’s question, which is quite good, and one that I’m currently preoccupied with:

“I heard Deepak mention that there are deeper ways of knowing, and I get the impression that this is based on intuition and the subjective. And I’d like to know if we don’t use the objective scientific method, how do we distinguish what is true from what we simply want to be true?” 
My answer would be that we can’t—if we construe science broadly as “the use of reason and empirical evidence to understand the universe.” Truth isn’t truth, even if it’s suggested by intuition, until it gets science’s stamp of approval. But of course Deepak doesn’t say that. Listen to his 45-seconds of blathering, and tell me if you see an answer in there. 
Okay, I’m Deepaked out for the nonce, but wanted to note that Mayhew zeroed in on the critical difference between not only science and religion, but also between reason and superstition. Theology is a giant machine for buttressing our desires, while science is indifferent to them.
 Oh, where to begin...

A few problems:

1) Coyne ignores subjective first-person human experience-- a mother's love for her child, a husband's love for his wife, a partisan's disdain for his opponents, a man's experience of a toothache, a woman's appreciation of the beauty of a sunset, etc-- all of which are known with certainty because they are directly experienced, and none of which are demonstrable by the scientific method. We do not compute p-values for mother's love or experience of beauty in a sunset. Such experiences are simply real, and beyond scientific confirmation or denial. There are most definitely "other" ways of knowing, besides those of science. And they are much more reliable ways of knowing. The theory of relativity may turn out to be wrong, in important ways. That I am experiencing pain in my tooth is undeniable, and no "theory" at all. Subjective experience is a direct knowing, and is not a scientific knowing.

2) Coyne's assertion that science is indifferent to our desires is bizarrely ignorant. Scientific endeavor, like all endeavor, depends on a simulacrum of belief, faith, culture, temperament, and desire. The scientific method has proven to be a fine method for investigating some aspects of nature, but it is not self-explaining nor self-justifying. The scientific method is a human creation, and the scientific beliefs that arise from it are human creations, and all are subject to human motives, including desires. The rise of Darwinism in the mid-19th century is a superb example of a scientific theory whose time had come-- it dovetailed nicely with the desire of 19th century atheists to explain the complexity of living things without invoking God, just as Marxism and Freudianism dovetailed nicely with 19th century atheists' desire to explain history and psychology without invocation of God or of the immaterial soul.

3) The application of the scientific method to our own subjective experience-- to our love for our families or to our experience of beauty in art or music or literature, for example-- would not only be inappropriate, but justifiably understood as crazy. Asking a mother to provide the p-value and standard deviation of her love for her newborn would earn a psychiatric evaluation, not a research grant.

4) Even Coyne's invocation of induction as the irreducible bedrock of science is an ignorant misunderstanding of the relevant philosophical issues. As Hume pointed out, induction is logically highly problematic, because the very belief that nature is predictable based on the past (which is the heart of induction) is itself an induction. We inductively assume the truth of induction, which is to reason in a circle. This is not to say that induction should not be used to study nature-- we cannot do without it-- but that the very "logic" on which we base induction is itself illogical.

Coyne again:
"Truth isn’t truth, even if it’s suggested by intuition, until it gets science’s stamp of approval." 
Coyne presumably accepts his mother's love without waiting for a scientific imprimatur.

Coyne's application of this limited scientific method to all of human knowledge is breathtakingly ignorant. To call it a misunderstanding credits it unjustifiably. It is akin to a delusion. The scientific method is a quite successful approach to the study of some aspects of nature, particularly third-person experience that can be quantified. But the scientific method is applicable in only a small part of our lives, and it is one of our least reliable ways of knowing. Most ways of knowing-- our actual subjective experiences day in and day out-- are not scientific, yet we know them to be true-- true with certainty-- because we actually experience them.

Most ways of knowing-- our most certain ways of knowing-- are not scientific.

(Cross-posted at ENV)


  1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    Coyne: "Theology is a giant machine for buttressing our desires..."

    Right. That's why the Ten Commandments are so popular these days. They merely buttress our desire to do what they demand.

    That Coyne fella is a Deep Thinka.

    1. Georgie,

      How do you get from theology to the Ten Commandments? And do you mean the Catholic Ten Commandments or the Protestant Ten Commandments?

  2. Well, we can add statistics to the list of subjects you're completely ignorant of. You wouldn't use p-values to assess mother-child love. You would need to use Bayes theorem to do this - make an estimate as to the probable degree of affection between a mother and her child, make an observation and calculate whether that increases or decreases your previous estimate, and by how much. Repeat as often as necessary.

    My definition of science is broader, and includes making an observation, forming a hypothesis to explain the observation and making further observations to test (to disprove) the hypothesis.

    It would apply easily to mother-child love.

    It's funny that you reckon now that subjective means of knowing are as good as, and in some cases better, than objective means of knowing, when you've previously insisted that objective morality is superior to subjective morality.

    You keep on changing the meanings of words.

    Darwinism is doing just fine. It's not an atheist science. It was proposed as a hypothesis to explain observations made by scientists, including religious scientists, such as the changing fossils in geologic strata. And the evidence for it has since increased enormously.

    It has not been disproved.

    Direct experience of phenomena is unreliable, unless it's capable of being replicated or recorded.

    You do have a delusion in asserting that direct experience is the most reliable way of knowing with certainty. There have been far too many innocent people convicted in courts of law based solely on eyewitness testimony.

    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 6:51 AM

      blinkfast, you are neither a frequentist nor a Bayesian, nor are you in any way qualified to comment on either. That is blazingly clear from your comment.

      Stick to pottering around with the grotty bits.

    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 7:05 AM

      By the way, barkmad, I'd be interested to see your operational definition of Mother's Love.

    3. Grandpa,

      My... You did get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.

    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      It's always humbling to get a dispositional critique from Dr Affable (aka barkmad).

      My most sincere apologies.

  3. Doctor, I hope you don’t wait for the subjective experience of undeniable tooth pain before you investigate the objective evidence available regarding proper tooth care. Most tooth pain is predictable and preventable. Thanks to tooth science I floss every day, you should too.


  4. Egnor:

    That I am experiencing pain in my tooth is undeniable, and no "theory" at all. Subjective experience is a direct knowing, and is not a scientific knowing.

    So... when someone is experiencing pain in their "phantom limb", do they undeniably experience pain in their nonexistent limb?

    The egnorance is strong today!

    1. Pain is pain. If you experience it, it is real, even if the limb is not real.

    2. And if you dream you are in pain? Do you experience pain? It sure seems real enough sometimes.

  5. Egnor: The theory of relativity may turn out to be wrong, in important ways.

    It may, but that won't meant it will end up in the dustbin of history. Look at classical mechanics and ask yourself: why is it still taught in school and college?

    The answer is because classical mechanics is a successful, time-tested scientific theory. It works exceedingly well in the realm of low speeds and weak gravitational fields. No amount of further experimentation will overturn that. It's here to stay.

    The same is true of relativity theory. There will be a new theory that reconciles gravity and quantum mechanics. However, away from the quantum limit theory of relativity works exceedingly well. It's been tested many times and no discrepancies were found. So it's a safe bet that this theory will stay with us. That's how science works and that's what Egnor and his conservative fan base simply can't comprehend.

    That I am experiencing pain in my tooth is undeniable, and no "theory" at all. Subjective experience is a direct knowing, and is not a scientific knowing.

    And that's precisely why it can be unreliable.My eyes (and my brain) re telling me that these square A is darker than square B in this picture. But that is only an illusion.


    1. Pardon the typos: "My eyes (and my brain) are telling me that square A is darker than square B"


    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 7:58 AM

      Let me make sure I have this right, Hoots: you are equating a visual illusion with the sensation of pain?

      If so, I can recommend Perceiving in Depth, Volume 3, esp. chapters 27 and 30.

    3. They're both "direct ways of knowing", grandpa.

      Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?


    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      No, Hoots, a visual illusion is not a "direct way of knowing". It is an artificial visual construction. Most illusions are experimental artifacts, intended to investigate the visual architecture by fooling it.

      But using Egnor's definition, "our actual subjective experiences day in and day out", if you saw that board in the quotidian real world, those squares would be the same shade of gray. To make the 2-D drawing appear 3-D, the drawing itself must be distorted to reflect reality, just as the windows in this picture aren't really "behind" the people in the "foreground". It took visual artists a long time to figure out how to properly distort their work.

    5. Visual perception is no less direct knowing than perception of pain. From your senses straight to your brain, grandpa.

      Sauce for the gander, sauce for the goose.


    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Hoots toots: "Visual perception is no less direct knowing than perception of pain."

      I didn't say that it was.

    7. The issue here is not whether subjective experience provides a complete and infallible presentation of reality. It obviously does not. But that is equally true of the scientific method. And even the scientific method must be conducted by humans via their subjective experience (Hoo-- haven't you heard of Kant?).

      All ways of knowing are fallible, with one exception: we directly experience our mental states, and we cannot be wrong about the experience itself. We may misunderstand the experience. But the fact of the experience (that we feel pain or want water or have an opinion) is irrefutable. If I feel a pain, I feel a pain. A lab full of Einsteins could perform experiments to refute me, but I still feel pain. Mental states are directly experienced, and are true by definition. I may misinterpret my mental state in all sorts of ways, and the mental state may be about something that is untrue (eg I'm thinking of Darwinism). But the experience of the state itself is true. Period.

      The issue here is that Coyne claimed that scientific ways of knowing are the only valid ones. That is a breath-takingly stupid assertion. We our own mental states, infallibly. We attribute mental states to others, with varying degrees of reliability. We know all sorts of things-- history, art, music, logic, mathematics, etc-- without "scientific" validation.

      Scientism is a form of autism-- a mental disorder, not a philosophical stance.

    8. Egnor: If I feel a pain, I feel a pain.

      That's a deep, if tautological, statement. :)

      Yes, you experience pain directly and you see things directly. Ho hum.


    9. @Hoo:

      The consequence of the undeniable truth of subjective experience is that the vast majority of what we know to be true we know to be true without scientific verification. Now it's certainly true that some of our understanding of nature is advanced by science, but Coyne's scientism-- "Truth isn’t truth, even if it’s suggested by intuition, until it gets science’s stamp of approval."-- is delusional.

      Science is only one way of knowing, and a rather marginal one at that. It has its uses, but its usefulness depends on properly understanding its limitation, which you and your scientistic dupes allies fail utterly to do.

    10. The truth that you keep referring to is tautological:

      If I feel a pain, I feel a pain.

      Great achievement, Dr. Egnor!

      Science is only one way of knowing, and a rather marginal one at that.

      Marginal? Really? What's a more reliable way of obtaining knowledge? Philosophical masturbation?


  6. some intellectually dishonest fool: "Truth isn’t truth, ... until it gets science’s stamp of approval."

    Never mind that the fool is burdened with a (freely-chosen) "much deeper misunderstanding of man and nature" ... he *also* declines to understand the fundamental nature of truth, without a true grasp of which one cannot even hope to begin to have *any* "misunderstanding of man and nature".

  7. I should add that it is gratifying to see Egnor defend a New Age guy. Priceless, really.


    1. Anyone how argues against science is a natural ally of Egnor. In Egnor’s world using ones brain and following the evidence is a vice. Egnor wants nothing more than to give us all religious lobotomies so he can live a simpler, more ordered, and far less scary world.


    2. @Hoo:

      [I should add that it is gratifying to see Egnor defend a New Age guy. Priceless, really.]

      I am hardly a deconstructionist (I believe in absolute truth), but your scientistic modernism is so ignorant that the deconstructionists have some valid points against you.

      You know you're really an idiot when deconstructionists make you look like a fool.

    3. I'd rather be on the side of science than with Deepak Chopra. I hope you enjoy woodoo, Dr. Egnor!


    4. Hoo, if you want some Chopra wisdom I recommend this excellent and endless source:

      http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/ (be sure to take the test!)

      - Curio

    5. Damnit, the quiz doesn't work anymore.

      Still good for a laugh.

      - C

  8. The most entertaining refutation of scientism:


    1. Some refutation. Did you even read the post? It ends thus:

      Many people will tell you that “scientism“, the belief that science is the only way to know anything, is a serious problem, a misunderstanding that threatens all kinds of nasty consequences.

      It’s not, because it doesn’t exist – no-one believes that.

      Further down:

      “Scientism” is a fundamentally unhelpful concept. Scientists are often wrong, and sometimes they’re wrong about things that other non-scientists are right about. But each such case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

      Hope this helps.


    2. Hoo,

      Thanks, but isn't that the most complete refutation possible? Scientism is a concept so incoherent that no one can possibly hold to it. Sort of like relativism or some of that postmodern nonsense.

      Neuroskeptic also writes

      "Everyday, we make use of many sources of information, from personal experience and learning to simply looking at things, whether they be right in front of your eyes or on TV. This is knowledge, and no-one thinks that we ought to replace it with “science”, if that were even possible."

      Our direct experience with the world gives us knowledge that is
      A) not science
      B) presupposed by science

      Further, science is notoriously difficult to define. The methods of biology are not the same as the methods of physics.

      Not saying we should start practicing esoteric Chopra-woo. Coyne rightly points out that Chopra gives no explanation for his "ways of knowing" which aren't science.

      - Curio

    3. Curio,

      If no one can possibly hold to scientism, what is Egnor so exercised about?


    4. No one can coherently hold to scientism. Atheists incessantly make scientistic assertions. Coyne, Pinker, Moran and Dawkins are prominent scientisim-ists-- "only science can lead us to truth, truth isn't truth until it gets scientific validation" and such-like-- then when they're called out on exactly what they're doing, they say "oh we don't believe THAT! No one believes that (what they just said)"

      No one can hold to scientism coherently. But scientism has substantial rhetorical uses, and atheists use it incessantly, stopping only when they're caught at it.

    5. Hoo,

      My guess is he's worked up over those who *claim* to hold to scientism. Otherwise reasonable scientists (such as Steve Pinker, who I still hold in high esteem) have unfortunately fallen into this trap.

      Why he's exercised I don't know. I always got the impression that surgery of any kind was an awfully stressful career. Intellectual opponents like New Age Chopra-Woo and naive Scientism are definitely *not* worth getting worked up over!

      - Curio

    6. Dr. Egnor,

      While you're looking - *please* write more on neuroscience! I was just reading a biography of neurologist/scientist Henryk Wisniewski, who, like you, was a Theist and opposed materialism.

      - Curio

    7. Curio:

      Thanks for the encouragement on neuroscience. I always mean to (I love philosophy of the mind), but never seem to get around to it-- there are so many other errors to correct!

      On the reason that I get agitated on scientism, I don't think that I'm really agitated. I'm a quite peaceful and nice guy, believe it or not.

      I do believe that ideas can have profound consequences, and scientism in its various degenerate forms-- Darwinism, Marxism, Freudianism, National Socialist racial "science"-- is very deadly business, and kills souls as well as bodies.

  9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    One of the more ridiculous arguments that science is the "only path to truth" engages the notion of visual illusions and psychological experiments on attention and memory. Both those have been on display here today.

    Let's take illusions first, but analogize with a computer vision scenario. I can build a robot that processes a scene, detects an object, and reaches out to grasp it. My robot does a fine job of doing just that, and my assembly line is humming along. Now, on a lark and knowing something about the feature analysis used by the robot's statistical software, I commission an artist to draw a scene with an object in it designed to fool the robot's 3-D image processing software with a 2-D image. My robot gets suckered in. Having done my little experiment, I take the artists' rendering away and restart the assembly line. All goes well. My little experiment showed nothing about my robot's ability to perform flawlessly in the environment for which it was designed, it merely illustrates my cleverness and understanding of the feature set used by the image processing software.

    The same can be said about attention and memory. Yes, both attention and memory are limited. In fact, if attention weren't limited, we wouldn't have a word for it. And yes, I can do an experiment where I misdirect attention. For thousands of years, this has been called stage magic, although it appears professional psychologists have gotten into the... act. Misdirection of attention is interesting and amusing (witness the bank account of Siegfried and Roy), but hardly the stuff that supports an argument that science is the only path to truth.

    And yes, one can use suggestive and/or leading questions, or simply lie to people about an event, and induce false memories (or false reports, at least). But this is possible only if the person so deceived considers the utterances of the person creating the deception to be reliable. You can see this in a video by a prominent American psychologist, Elizabeth Loftus.. Such experiments may inform our theories of memory storage and capacity, legal restrictions on police interrogations and even legal procedure, but they say nothing about the efficacy of memory in the environment in which it is designed to operate; e.g., finding your way to the mall. Which, were memory as failure-prone as some here wish to claim in support of their risible notions, we would all be dead. If you really want to know what memory failure looks like, visit a Memory Ward. Then thank the living God you aren't there because those folks could not live in the world as we do..

    But all of us are all too aware that memory is not perfect. And in an effort to overcome the limitations of our own memories, we externalized them into libraries. So that today, in 2013, you can actually peer into the memory of Chaucer. And, frankly, I would argue that it is the invention of the library that enabled science itself and the advancement of knowledge.

    1. "In fact, if attention weren't limited, we wouldn't have a word for it
      "in an effort to overcome the limitations of our own memories, we externalized them into libraries.

      Well put

      - C

    2. Adm:

      [And Deepak Chopra is full of shit. But not nearly as full of shit as that benighted meat-man capable only of reflex and conditioned responses, Coyne.]

      My thoughts exactly. Chopra is an old-fashioned snake oil salesman. But he's closer to the truth than the meat machines. Pitiful.

    3. Grandpa,

      Visual illusions aren't restricted to 2-D. There are 3-D illusions too. Humans find it difficult to distinguish small and nearby and large and very distant when there's no sense of scale, as shown by the case where someone set up a video camera on a hill overlooking a town and filmed insects flying nearby. He managed to 'sell' it as film of large spaceships moving at high speed faraway over the distant town.

      There are also 3-D illusions involving distorted rooms which decrease in roof height towards the far wall. A person standing near that wall appears to be a giant and then shrinks as he walks towards the observer.

      My earliest memory as a child was being on the top deck of an old fashioned paddle steamer and looking down at people in a rowboat, and owing to my lack of perspective, I thought they were small midgets. I remember for a considerable time thereafter I spent a lot of time looking out for midgets. I never saw them.

      You actually learn to see. And you see what you expect to see based on experience and expectation. And memories aren't reliable because storage is limited. You remember what you think is true, not what is actually true.

      Egnor's argument that we can subjectively experience truth is just nonsense. It's the reason why we developed recording devices, including writing, tape recorders and cameras, to be able to verify the experience. To replicate it.

  10. Sceintism is a self refuting, paradoxical, logical mess.
    Science is a single arrow in the quiver of inquiry. A sharp and useful one. Scientism is akin to a belief that all other arrows are unnecessary, and that the bow itself is redundant.
    Like any tool or weapon that is singled out and used exclusively, it proves inadequate for the tasks it is employed for. Further, the over-use of this 'arrow' dulls the edge.
    It poses many dangers. Much of them have been listed in the comments above and the author of the post himself. There is one, however, that seems to elude the scientistic mind: Scientism is poison in the well for the pursuance of science itself. Scientism is ANTI-scientific.
    Scientism not only reduces the capacity of scientific and limits the very foundations of those inquiries, it literally turns normal people against the scientific community.
    Scientism is real. There is no use in denying it. It is the ever chanting mantra of the eliminative materialist sects that are so vocal in the accessible realms of the sciences .
    One only has to crack open a book by any of these adherents and it leaps off the pages with zeal. This obviously nonsensical approach alienates any reader with a modicum of common sense and humility. Only those who feel they are 'inside' certain halls of the academic world are comfortable with it.
    The rest of us see it as a pretentious load of cobblers.
    In summary, it would serve the scientific community well to not only acknowledge the existence of this inane sophistry known as 'scientism', but to also refute it openly and loudly. In doing so they would display to the masses of humanity (that they are obliged to) that scientism does not represent the broader consensus within the disciplines in question.
    I will not hold my breath on this last suggestion; as the adherents of this mad monistic materialism cum nihilism do not see the dangers and believe their own pretensions with a kind of quasi religious faith.
    But, as they say, there is always hope.

    1. Crusader Rex,

      Care to give any examples of 'scientism'?

  11. Bach,

    Examples from this blog or the broader literature? Please let me know what you would like, and when I have time (tomorrow?) I will post some here.
    As it stands, I have just finished my blogging and am heading to some R&R before bed.
    I have a very cold and early start tomorrow (0430) at the CFB.
    Quote mining or illustrative descriptions of the effects of scientism will have to wait.
    Until then, you could easily locate a few metric tonnes of material on the matter in the comments of this blog.
    Or alternately, perhaps someone who is up later or in a different time zone would like to oblige you.
    Muy buenos noches... y hasta manana.

    1. Crusader Rex,

      Just your best example of 'scientism'. I haven't seen any on this blog. Besides the denial of unwelcome reality.

    2. Bach,

      The BEST example? Wow. That is like asking me to pick out my favourite restaurant. I love to eat out, when I can afford to and have dozens.
      Well, if I had to pull one out of my hat, I guess it would be one of the essays that helped coin the term.
      There is much that has been written since the 19th century that could pass for easy examples of scientism. But, I guess the most convincing case for the existence of scientism comes out in the work of one of the arch scientistics,
      Peter Atkins. His essay 'Science as Truth' would be an excellent example of the idea on paper. The ever bubbling Dawkins has written entire books based on scientistic principles. Even Hawking has made scientistic comments in his (more recent) works.
      Scientism, like transhumanism, is not something the adherents admit to, usually. They downplay it's role. But, in reality, it is a basic block in their world view. Much as belief in purpose and meaning is to a Theist, the scientistic view is a cornerstone in the eliminative materialist set of 'world views'.
      Much as racialism, it is a kind of metaphysical trap. Most of the people who are subject to it do not admit to it, It is a dirty little secret. Something they are not exactly proud of... at least in public. Many more have no idea why the feel that way, or even what scientism (or racialism, ftm) is.
      How does scientism get instilled on them? The same way as superstition or racial feelings: Indoctrination.
      I sincerely hope it has reached it's apex. Since the advent and open promotion of ideas like transhumanism and atmospheric geo-engineering (to name just two), many people have become aware of the dangers of such a cult-like faith in the men in white coats.
      Much like the abuse of religious power resulted in the relegation of such powers and put the REAL religious mission back on a more devout and meaningful track, I sincerely hope this abuse of science puts the scientists in their place, and science back on course.

    3. Crusader Rex,

      You've managed to pick as your two best examples of scientism, items that actually don't exist. Neither transhumanism nor atmospheric geo-engineering are practical.

      Care to try again?

    4. Bach,

      Who said anything what-so-ever about practicality? My examples? What?!?
      Maybe someone who knowns I.S. or can type in Braille could try their luck. Maybe someone familiar with some sort of invisible gorilla semaphore.

    5. Crusader Rex,

      Congratulations. You have achieved a maximum in incoherence (a feat for you). 'I.S.'? 'Internet search'? I asked for your best example of scientism, remember? 'My examples?' - what do you think I was asking for?

      I doubt that there is any scientism. Criticism of 'scientism' is just a refusal to face uncomfortable facts.

    6. Bach,
      I.S. is international signing (language). It is how one communicates with the deaf.
      My example (single) in this response was an essay by Peter Atkins, which you ignored completely.

      "I doubt that there is any scientism."
      Perhaps you doubt the existence of Atkins, too? Maybe yourself as well?

      "Criticism of 'scientism' is just a refusal to face uncomfortable facts."
      Yeah... okay. Racists make the same argument about racial theory.

    7. Crusader Rex,

      The essay by Peter Atkins is behind a pay wall. I don't want to pay $25 to read it. If you have a link to a free version, I'll look at it.

      'Racists make the same argument about racial theory'. But science tells us that there are no human races. So according to science, there is no racial theory. No uncomfortable facts regarding race.