I’ve recently discovered the blog of Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics (LSE), which happens to be one of my alma maters (I got my Masters there).
From my purist position, everything scientists say, qua scientists, can only be true or false or somewhere in between. No other criteria besides the truth should matter or be applied in evaluating scientific theories or conclusions. They cannot be “racist” or “sexist” or “reactionary” or “offensive” or any other adjective. Even if they are labeled as such, it doesn’t matter. Calling scientific theories “offensive” is like calling them “obese”; it just doesn’t make sense. Many of my own scientific theories and conclusions are deeply offensive to me, but I suspect they are at least partially true. Once scientists begin to worry about anything other than the truth and ask themselves “Might this conclusion or finding be potentially offensive to someone?”, then self-censorship sets in, and they become tempted to shade the truth. What if a scientific conclusion is both offensive and true? What is a scientist to do then? I believe that many scientific truths are highly offensive to most of us, but I also believe that scientists must pursue them at any cost.
Well, in this post, The Hannibal Blog would simply like to endorse and celebrate Kanazawa — both his approach and philosophy and his research and style.
Subscribe to his blog! It will do what I secretly hope The Hannibal Blog occasionally does for you:
- intrigue you,
- offend you,
- delight you,
- enrage you,
- enthrall you.
How? Because it does not — as so much of the politically correct piffle out there does — try to achieve one half of the above effects without the other half. It has writerly courage. More specifics to come.