Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dawkins: leftwing thinkers who promote cultural relativism are as bad as creationists

"Science, and the rationalist movement in general, face a "sinister challenge" from leftwing thinkers who promote cultural relativism, according to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
He told a packed Hay Festival audience that although the threat from creationists and the religious right is well-documented, science is also under threat from the other end of the political spectrum: "I think we face an equal but much more sinister challenge from the left, in the shape of cultural relativism - the view that scientific truth is only one kind of truth and it is not to be especially privileged."
As an example, he cited Kennewick Man, the 9,000-year-old set of human remains found on the banks of the Columbia river in Washington State in 1996. The view of local native Americans that Kennewick Man was their ancestor, despite strong scientific evidence to the contrary, initially held sway, and they were able to put a stop to research."

Guardian, May 28, 2007 (Or see it here.)

1 comment:

Tara said...

I agree with part of your post that science is being attacked from both sides. But I don't agree with your last bit. Science is only once kind of truth. To follow up on the example Dawkins and you use, there is actually overwhelming scientific evidence to support the Native American perspective on the Kennewick Man. For a balanced take on the Kennewick Man controversy, and to see what science and the empirical data actually say, I suggest you check out Peter N. Jones' book "Respect for the Ancestors: American Indian Cultural Affiliation in the American West." This book is as scientific as I have found on the subject, but also as objective as I have found.