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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Meet Coel Hellier, apologist for white supremacist Johann Blumenbach and race pseudoscience

I'd never heard of Hellier until he decided to publish in right-wing hereditarian garbage rag
Quillette, specifically to defend race pseudoscience

Hellier is a professor of astrophysics - what is it about physicists that make them such absolute assholes

Biologists, like Robin May who has a PhD in mammalian cell biology, agree that race is bullshit - but physicists always think they know more than anybody else about everything. 

Just like that idiot Sabine Hossenfelder.

And like Hossenfelder, Hellier is impressed by hereditarian charlatan Steven Pinker, who is a psychologist for chrissakes - psychology is the softest of all the sciences. But Pinker, like many a white male mediocrity, is convinced that he has all the answers on any given topic, although he's often been accused over the course of his career of advocating for two opposing beliefs at the same time.

And he's a hard-core, if weaselly, hereditarian.

Hellier attempts to rehabilitate Blumenbach:

After citing many examples of “negroes of capacity,” whom he considers comparable  to the inhabitants of “well-known provinces of Europe’’, he concludes that:  

there is no so-called savage nation known under the sun which has so much distinguished itself by such examples of perfectibility and original capacity for scientific culture, and thereby attached itself so closely to the most civilized nations of the earth, as the Negro.

Those do not read like the thoughts of a man motivated by a desire to establish a racial hierarchy that would justify slavery.

Blumenbach got a lot right. And he drew his conclusions, as a scientist should, from a thorough analysis of the anatomical evidence. 

If you are the kind of person who is too ignorant or lazy to bother to find out anything about Blumenbach on your own - in other words, Quillette's target audience - you might simply accept Hellier's insistence that Blumenbach was a real scientist and not at all a racist.

But anthropologist Marvin Harris has the goods on Blumenbach:

...Johann Blumenbach in Germany and Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, in France, were in their own fashion white supremacists. Both believed that Adam and Eve had been white (God’s image!). Both regarded the emergence of other types as a form of “degeneration.” But unlike the racists of the nineteenth century and thereafter, both Blumenbach and Buffon believed that the degenerative course of raciation could be reversed and that under proper environmental control all the contemporary forms of man could be made to revert to the original...

But then Harris is merely an anthropologist not a professor of astrophysics, so presumably Hellier dismisses anything he says.

Hellier is a right-wing extremist who promotes Republican political operatives like failed scientist Colin Wright and evil Trump-ghoul Christopher Rufo. He's part of idiot Lee Jussim's racist reactionary gang too. He published a piece in the Heterodox STEM Substack (where racists and Nazis are welcome) which is run by far-right reactionary Dorian "I hate feminism" Abbot. And can be seen retweeting all kinds of reactionary idiots like the Bo Winegard-promoting Jerry Coyne.

And he's an anti-trans fascist. What did you expect?

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