This blog initially set out to focus primarily on Islam and the Islamisation of the UK. However, since that time the subjects covered have broadened. They now include (amongst other things): IQ tests, Jean Baudrillard, global warming, sociobiology, Marxism, Trotskyism, David Cameron, Foucault, Nazism, Ralph Miliband, economics, statistics and so on. - Paul Austin Murphy
I've had articles published in The Conservative Online, American Thinker, Intellectual Conservative, Human Events, Faith Freedom, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), New English Review, etc... (Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy can be found here.)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Salma Yaqoob's Birmingham


[Image above: Salma Yaqoob, possibly when she was instigating the Birmingham Muslim Riot of September 2009. Not long after her rant, in which she repeatedly said, 'Whose streets? Our Streets! Whose streets? Our streets!...", Muslims rampaged through the city-center streets of Birmingham attacking any non-Muslim they could find.]

This is what it says on the Wikipedia tin about Salma Yaqoob:

“Salma Yaqoob (born 1971) is the former leader, and former vice-chair of the Respect Party and a former Birmingham City Councillor. She is also the head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque.... In 2006, Yaqoob received the Lloyds TSB Asian Jewel Award for Public Service Excellence while Harper's Bazaar magazine named her in the top thirty list of British women... In 2008, she was voted to eleventh place in the Birmingham Post's Power 50 list of the most influential people in the city.... she was also included in The Daily Telegraph's annual list of 'Top 100 left wingers'.... According to The Gaurdian newspaper, Yaqoob is 'the most prominent Muslim woman in British public'....”

The information which follows is in marked contrast to the sycophancy portrayed above. It seems that to many of the positive/inverted racists of the Left, if someone hits the prize of being both brown (or a Muslim) and a woman at the same time, then she can effectively say and do just about anything she likes without fear of reprimand and or even mild scrutiny.

The real Salma Yaqoob

[A meeting of the Respect Party. Apparently, Respect isn't "communalist".]*) Salma Yaqoob was once the leader of the UK's Respect Party. This party, early in its career, quickly came under the influence of the revolutionary Trotskyist group, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). It was also strongly endorsed and supported by two Muslim Brotherhood organisations: the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslim Association of Britain (the latter, particularly, is strongly connected to Hamas).

Respect has been called a 'communalist’ (i.e., Muslim) party by some commentators; and the “UK branch of [Pakistan's] Jamaat-e-Islami” by others.

*) Salma Yaqoob seems to have begun her political career, in 1998, as spokeswoman for the ‘Justice for the Yemen Seven’ campaign to free seven men from Birmingham who had been convicted of terrorist activities in Yemen. This was three years before Yaqoob was ‘spat at’ in 2001. Yaqoob said that the spitting was in response to the 9/11 attacks. Yaqoob also said that this spitting incident (if it happened) “politicised” her; even though she'd been an activist for Muslim/Islamic causes – as just stated - since at least 1998.

Some of the terrorists she campaigned for were related to both Abu Hamza (the notorious Muslim cleric) and Salma Yaqoob herself.

*) Since 1998, Salma Yaqoob has talked about the “hype around terror alerts” (2011) and said that Israel's “days are numbered”.

*) In 2011, Salma Yaqoob refused to take part in a standing ovation for Afghanistan veteran Lance Corporal Matt Croucher.

According to Yaqoob herself, the “ovation was just a big public show, it was false patriotism”.

In response, Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Mullaney accused Yaqoob of wanting to see Britain become an Islamic republic. Mullaney said:

“If Coun Yaqoob had her way, she would be implementing Hadood Law, with hands cut off and stonings.”

He continued:

“I can only assume that if one of the failed 21/7 London suicide bombers had been in the council chamber, Coun Yaqoob would have been demanding the council applaud the failed suicide bomber for their past heroic actions.”

Mullaney also provided a link to an article written by Coun Yaqoob entitled 'The Islamic Republic of Great Britain'. Yaqoob has claimed that this piece is ironic. It is ironic. In fact it's a piece that conveniently allowed her to express her many kuffarphobic and Islamist views under the guise of irony.

[What happened after Salma Yaqoob's speech in Birmingham.]

*) On the 5th of September, 2009, Yaqoob addressed a crowd made up of mainly Muslims, SWP students and SWP lecturers at Birmingham's Bullring. She is on video shouting: ‘Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!...’ (As can be seen on this video.) Not long after that, hundreds of Muslims rampaged through the streets of Birmingham city center attacking random shoppers and anyone else who was non-Muslim. (Douglas Murray's report on this Muslim riot can be read here.)

[Image above: Salma Yaqoob's "reprisal attack" in London.]

*) Salma Yaqoob's very latest political role is as the leader of the Hands Off Birmingham's School campaign. This time, rather than defending right of Islamic terrorists to carry what Yaqoob called “reprisal attacks” in the UK, now she's defending the right of Islamists to take over state schools. Incredibly, according to Yaqoob there's not a shred of evidence that there were any Islamist plots to take over British schools. Instead, it's all a question of the “political motives” of both the critics and investigators of the schools as well as Michael Gove deliberately attempting to increase “fear and suspicion between Muslim and non-Muslims in the city [of Birmingham]”.

Islamic Birmingham

This are just some of the stories from Birmingham’s recent Islamic history.

Terror in Birmingham

*) In a report a few years ago, MI5 said that there were 80 known terror cells and 35 suspect Islamic groups in the West Midlands region - more than twice as many as London.

*) In 2006 there was a plot to behead a British solider, it led to arrests in the city. The Muslim responsible plotted to behead the British soldier "like a pig" and film the killing in a lock-up garage. Parviz Khan then planned to broadcast footage of "the ghastly death" in an attempt to spread panic among the armed forces and the public.

*) The Tipton Taliban’ (an area in Birmingham) were imprisoned after being captured in Afghanistan.

*) In 2011, a group of 12 Muslims were held in police custody on attempts to commit “mass murder”. The plot was to kill at least 2,000 non-Muslims with nail-bombs and other devices. Seven of the group confessed and were charged and the remaining are still facing trial. Two of the Islamic terrorists were from Salma Yaqoob's Sparkbrook and Sparkhill.

*) Five Muslims from Birmingham (one from Sparkhill) admitted to a plot to bomb an EDL demo in 2012.

*) Wounded soldiers in Selly Oak were harangued by Muslims in 2010.

The “Spy Camera” Affair

As a result of the above, West Midlands Police decided to install CCTVS (or what Muslims and their Trotskyist enablers called ‘spy cameras’) in various Muslim areas of Birmingham, such as Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath.

Not long after this, there was a campaign against the CCTVS by various Muslims, Islamists and radical Leftists. This culminated in a public debate at Sparkbrook (6.7.2010) in which the police promised to remove the CCTVs.

In that debate Lord Nazir Ahmed threatened ‘civil unrest’ (this can be seen here) if the cameras weren’t immediately taken down. (Lord Ahmed has been suspended twice from the Labour Party: once for placing a bounty on George W. Bush's head and the other time for talking about Jewish conspiracies. He also once threatened to "bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the Lords if the campaigning anti-Islamist Dutch MP Geert Wilders was allowed to speak" at a broadcast of the film Fitna.)

At the same meeting Salma Yaqoob also said:

“If the police do not remove them, will you join me this Summer to take every single one down?”

This too is on video.

Only a short while after West Midlands Police promised to take them down, West Midlands Police told the Birmingham Mail (31.10.2010) that it was expecting a “Mumbai-style attack on the city [Birmingham]”.

Just a few weeks later, West Midlands Police did begin to take the CCTVs down.

Birmingham Schools (Before the Trojan Horse Affair Became News)

*) In November 2010, the Education Secretary Michael Gove warned that schools in Birmingham have been targeted by Islamic extremists trying to infiltrate the education system. (This was four years before what Salma Yaqoob started talking about “hype” and “witch-hunts” regarding Birmingham's schools.) He told MPs there were “genuine dangers” due to extremist influence in state schools.

*) The Daily Mail published a feature on a Birmingham Islamic schools. Darul Islamic High School School, Small Heath (Birmingham), was also featured. As a result of this, the Daily Mail (14th Feb, 2011) said that Muslim teachers had “met with police chiefs”.


*) A Channel 4 ‘Undercover Mosque’ program (2007) revealed the widespread preaching of jihadist doctrine in Birmingham. (See also 'Undercover Mosque: The Return'.)

*) In early 2011, Channel 4‘s Dispatches programme (‘Lessons in Hatred and Violence’) broadcast a feature on Birmingham’s mosques and Islamic schools. It showed, with a hidden film, that such mosques were rife with Islamic extremism. A preacher/teacher is on film saying “the disbelievers are the worst creatures”.

Another film showing a preacher/teacher talking about Hindus:

“The Hindus do, they drink piss... Do they have any intellect? No.”

Birmingham Lib-Dem MP, John Hemming (Yardley) defended Green Lane mosque by saying:

“If Channel 4 thinks this is a school where racism and intolerance is accepted in any way, they have got their facts seriously wrong.”


On the 20th January, 2011, The Telegraph published a feature on Birmingham. In it there's a quote from a Belgium Muslim who had moved to Birmingham. He was quoted (by the Telegraph’s Ed West) as saying:

“Everybody knows. Birmingham - best place in Europe to be a pure Muslim.”

The same article stated that “a large Taliban flag fluttered daily on a house near St Andrew’s football stadium ]Birmingham City] for some months”.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Two contradictory reports on the school-takeover plot?


Two reports into the “Trojan Horse” Islamist plot to take over various schools in Birmingham have just been published.

The problem is that they're said to “contradict” each other. In actual fact, however, it's more a case that several of the people involved in the affair have said that the two reports contradict one another. That may simply mean that the dissimilarities between the two reports have been overplayed for political reasons.

Take the case of a Shabina Bano, the Chair of Oldknow Academy Parents' Association. (Oldknow Academy's all-Muslim – bar one recent and token councillor - set of governors “drove out”, according to The Telegraph, its last non-Muslim governor some months ago.)

Shabina Bano said:

"The Birmingham city council report totally contradicts what Peter Clarke is saying. The authorities need to pull their socks up. I've lost complete faith in Peter Clarke.”

I suspect that Shabina Bano never “lost complete faith in Peter Clarke” simply because - judging from what I've read of her views - it's far more likely that she never had “faith” in him in the first place.

So what of that report written by Peter Clarke?

One can understand Shabina Bano's problem.

Clarke's report states that there was a “co-ordinated effort” to bring about an “Islamist ethos” is some of Birmingham's schools.

As for Birmingham City Council, it also commissioned a report. That report was written by Ian Kershaw of Northern Education.

Ian Kershaw has been quoted as saying that there's “no evidence” of a “conspiracy”.

As we shall see, all this depends on what exactly is meant by the word “conspiracy” and on whether or not this denial of an outright Ian Fleming/Bond-like conspiracy actually amounts to anything.

Nonetheless, despite Ian Kershaw saying there's no evidence of a conspiracy, he did, rather vaguely, state that “key individuals” had been “moving between schools”.

Now I hope it's not crude to say that it was Birmingham City Council which appointed this “independent Chief Advisor” to look into the affair; and that it just so happens that this council-appointed investigator has produced a report about schools which were run by Birmingham City Council itself. In other words, this report being less critical (or simply more vague and diplomatic) than Peter Clarke's isn't that much of a surprise.

It won't help Birmingham City Council's case that Ruby Kundi - a Headteacher of Highfield School in Birmingham (which was investigated in one of the reports) - has said that Ian Kershaw has

“played some of the findings down, though he did suggest the council are not really giving the full picture and are too frightened to upset Islamists or Muslim people”.

Conspiracy or Plot?

In the end it much of this discussion boils down to the terms which Ian Kershaw uses in his report. In fact much of what he says is quite vague. Sure, that vagueness may well be dissipated if the report is read in full. However, perhaps the vagueness (or delicate diplomacy) was at least partly intentional.

Firstly, Ian Kershaw says that there is "[n]o evidence of a conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools".

That all depends on what Kershaw takes a conspiracy to be.

For example, say that the Islamist school-plotters did everything they did in the open (so to speak). Now would that automatically mean that there weren't any conspiracies or plots? It may just mean that these Islamists didn't think what they were doing was wrong. Alternatively, they might have believed that they'd never be investigated. This means that they might not have conspired or plotted in a Ian Fleming/James Bond-like manner. They planned, sure; though they didn't conspire. In other words, they didn't meet in dark rooms and then burn the transcripts of their various plots and plans.... 

Of course they didn't! One of the plotters ( Mr Tahir Alam) published his “plan” on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) website.

One other reason for Mr Kershaw's rejection of a conspiracy seems to be that the plotters - or even the conspirators - worked alone or in twos (or in threes, or in...). That means that according to Ian Kershaw, for something to be a conspiracy or a plot it must involve groups of people (not individuals) working together.

Yet what Kershaw writes elsewhere in the report does seem to suggest group-cooperation as well. For example, his earlier denial of any conspiracies seems to be contradicted by the following words:

"There are a number of key individuals who are encouraging and promoting certain Islamic principles in schools in the Birmingham area, and we have noted a pattern of these individuals moving between schools in the area."

Despite the above, according to Kershaw “a number of key individuals” who were “encouraging and promoting certain Islamic principles in schools in the Birmingham area” doesn't itself constitute a conspiracy or a plot. As I noted earlier, is that because it wasn't a secretive promotion and encouragement of “Islamic principles”? Or is it that promoting and encouraging something as seemingly benign as Islamic principles simply can't constitute a conspiracy?

Nonetheless, what these Muslim governors and teachers did might still have been wrong. And it might still have been some kind of conspiracy or plot - even if it was all, so to speak, out in the open. Indeed it would have been out in the open because, at that point, no one was investigating these schools. Or, alternatively, the individuals involved might have believed that any possible investigation that did occur would never come to anything. And since some Muslims, Leftist councillors and Islamism apologists are still questioning the evidence (as well as the investigations themselves), it's not a surprise that the plotters didn't need to conspire in any overtly Bond-like manner.

Ian Kershaw also “noted a pattern of these individuals moving between schools in the area”.

Again, is this a non-conspiracy (or non-plot) because it wasn't carried in secret? In other words, is it the case that simply because the individuals involved didn't hide anything, that this automatically means that there were no plots?


It also depends on what Mr Kershaw takes to be “anti-British”. After all, since most establishment figures believe that Islam is pro-British (or at least not explicitly anti-British), then having mono-religious assemblies and anti-Christian chanting, or banning music, Christmas festivities, Easter eggs, three-dimensional imagery, discos, etc. may not be taken by Kershaw - and others - to be “anti-British”. In fact he may not take anything that Muslims do to be particularly anti-British. All this will depend on Ian Kershaw's politics and what he thinks about Islam.

As for promoting “violent extremism”: that depends too. It's clear that Muslim governors and teachers wouldn't be suicidal enough to explicitly teach violence towards non-Muslims or propagate what others would quickly see as blatant “Islamic radicalism”. (At least not in front of any adult non-Muslims.) However, there's a lot of evidence that some of these schools did invite scholars, imams and speakers who did indeed explicitly promote Islamic violence and radicalism. (Actually, some of the teachers - such as Park View's Monzoor Hussain - have done this too.) Thus this Islamic extremism and propagation of violence was largely done by proxy. This, when you think about it, is quite a clever move.

Pathological Anti-Racism

As was the case with the widespread sexual grooming of young girls up and down the country (as well as the investigations into Islamist activities and Islamic terrorism in the UK), Birmingham City Council didn't “address these problems”, according to Ian Kershaw, because “there was a risk it may be accused of being racist or Islamophobic”. Here again the fight against racism trumped all other concerns, standards and values – quite literally.

When this obsessive desire to to fight all manifestations of racism (actual, possible and fictional) is taken to its logical conclusion (which indeed it has been on many occasions), what happens is that no matter what Muslim individuals and Islamic groups do, they will never be investigated just in case the investigators - whether the police or councillors - are “accused of being racist or Islamophobic”. This effectively means - and has actually meant in the past - that many Muslims have been able to do exactly what they like. Or at least that was the case until roughly 2010/11 in the Muslim grooming-gangs case (after twenty or more years of positive/inverted racism from councillors, police, journalists, etc.). And in the case of the Islamisation of some British schools, Muslims teachers and governors have effectively been given a free reign until recent months.

Indeed even now the investigations have been held back and questioned by Muslims and their Far Left apologists. Yes, after all the articles, investigations and personal testimonies relating to the Trojan Horse affair and similar cases, it's still the case that a Birmingham Headteacher (Ruby Kundi) thinks that Birmingham City Councillors “are not really giving the full picture and are too frightened to upset Islamists or Muslim people”.

This fear and trembling about real, possible and often fictional racism has meant that all sorts of British people – from all walks of life - have been let down by the authorities. In all these cases, the supreme and (self)righteous fight against racism has taken first place in the pecking order of politics.

The permanent revolution that is the fight against racism has often become fanatical, extreme and puritanical. Anti-racism, it seems, takes no prisoners and permits no compromise. And neither does it follow the principles of fairness and justice. What I mean by that is that it's often the case that many other rights, values and standards are saacrificed in order to cleanse society of not only real and possible racism; but often fictional racism too. You only need to read the testaments of Oldknow Academy's Shabina Bano (as quoted in Socialist Worker) for evidence of that.


1)The Ian Kershaw report doesn't completely or categorically deny the plots and the Islamisation of Birmingham's schools (as some have made out). In fact it may only be the wording of the two reports that's different.

It can even be said that even though Ian Kershaw's language is more diplomatic (therefore vague), it says many of the same things as Peter Clarke's report. In other words, because Kershaw was commissioned by Birmingham City Council (as well as the fact that he works within the education system), he couldn't be too explicit or strong with his words.

Nonetheless, Kershaw does talk about plots (if in a roundabout way); he does say that Birmingham City Council was scared of being classed as 'racist'; and he did think there was an Islamisation process - just not a 'conspiracy'...

The thing is that schools in Birmingham were Islamised without the need for any melodramatic conspiracies. That's simply because no one, at that time, was keeping an eye on what was going on. There was never any need for these Islamists to plot in dark rooms because Birmingham City Council (as a whole) didn't really care about what these Islamists were doing. Either that, or it was unprepared to tackle them for fear of being classed as 'racist'.

And anti-racism is a supreme virtue in many councils. So much so that the young victims of Muslim grooming gangs were left to suffer. And that's why the Birmingham CCTVs were taken down. It's also why places like Alum Rock (or parts thereof) are virtually self-ruling Muslim "enclaves" (as the Parisian police call Muslim ghettos).

Not "offending" Muslims is, as always, the prime imperative.

... And guess what: the investigation has indeed been classed as "racist' and 'Islamophobic'.

Why no demos about the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq?

Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām via Wikimedia Commons

In a week in which we’ve seen many demonstrations over the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, perhaps we should spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of Christian victims of the large-scale ethnic cleansing and persecution which is going on throughout the Muslim world: whether that be west Africa, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, or, in this case, Iraq.
Map of the countries/areas in which the persecution of Christians is at its worst. (Note that that the red covers the entire Middle East and the larger Muslim world.)/IMAGE CREDIT: Wiki Commons

The other point that’s worth making here is that whereas the Israelis have gone out of their way to attack Hamas (a group that hides amongst civilians to guarantee civilian causalities – which is precisely what Hamas wants), in the Muslim world Christians are killed and persecuted solely because they are Christian; not because they are firing rockets into civilian areas or plotting terrorist attacks against Muslim civilians.

Yet, of course, there hasn’t been a demonstration recently over the plight of Christians in the Muslim world. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS (In the days before he looked like a pious Muslim cleric.)/PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons

ISIS’s recent persecution and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq is keeping up an old Islamic tradition. Indeed, ISIS has deployed many classic Islamic rationales for persecution and ethnic cleansing.

For example, two great themes of the historical persecution of Christians by Muslims have been forced conversion and dhimmitude.

In the latest flowering of the ancient war of Islam against all that is non-Islamic, ISIS has forced Iraqi Christians to flee from the city of Mosul.

ISIS – at its most stark, though Islamically bone fide - has threatened to kill Christians if they don’t convert to Islam. Either that, or Christians can pay the Islamic “protection tax” (jizya) and thus become a second-class citizens in Islam’s global apartheid regime.

The group is not hiding its ethnic cleansing of Christians, publicly reading the proclamation at all of Mosul’s mosques – giving Mosul’s Christians until midday on Saturday (yesterday) to abide by their Islamic rules or face execution.

All of this, it needs to be said, is in full harmony with both Islam and the Koran.

(I say “ethnic cleaning” because if Christians refuse to convert to Islam or pay the dhimmi tax, ISIS will then ethnically cleanse them from Mosul; and possibly, in the future, from the whole of Iraq and then Syria.)

The ISIS statement read:

We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimmi contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”
Muslims make much of the beneficence of the jizya “protection tax”.

But from whom do Christians and other non-Muslims need protecting?

Yes, that’s right: from Muslims.

This effectively means that many of the Muslims who are offering such protection – thus also earning money from such a “protection racket” – are the very same Muslims who would otherwise be attacking or persecuting the non-Muslims.

This also means that Muslims – the ones who are so graciously offering a dhimmi (apartheid) status to non-Muslims under their control - are effectively saying:

If you pay the jizya we will protect you. But if you don’t, we will either – at worst – kill you, or – at best – persecute and oppress you.”

(Editor’s note: Not only that, if they do accept dhimmitude they only live at the pleasure of their Muslim neighbors. Even the Mafia offers a better protection scheme in return for shaking down its victims.)
Mosul is not the only city to be ethnically cleansed of Christians. ISIS has also applied its Islamic demands – last February – in the Syrian city of Raqqa. In that instance, the required jizya for Syrian Christians was an ounce of pure gold.

In response to the demands in Mosul, an Iraqi Christian cleric by the name of Patriarch Louis Sako, said:

Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Irbil [in Kurdistan]. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”
The Patriarch also went on to say that 10,000 Christians have fled Mosul since ISIS captured the city at the beginning of June.

Louis Sako also told reporters that ISIS was tagging Christian houses with the letter ‘N’, which stands for Nassarah. This is a term from the Koran which refers to Christians.

Latin Church, Mosul, Iraq (1980s)/PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons

Historically prior to 2003, Iraqi Christians numbered about 1.4 million (5% of the Iraqi population). Now the number is less than 200,000. After the start of the Iraq War of 2003, the number of Christians immediately fell to 800,000 from that previous number of 1.4 million.

However, Iraqi Christians have fared better than Iraqi Jews in this respect.

In 1948 there were roughly 150,000 Jews in Iraq. By 2008, there were 10 (yes, ten). The number of Jews in Iraq today must be almost zero.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Steven Rose & the Anti-Sociobiology Marxists

Sociobiology, as the name suggest, is the scientific application of biological theories and data to (human) social phenomena. Indeed is is deemed to be a branch of both biology and sociology which incorporates - amongst other sub-disciplines - genetics, zoology, evolution, anthropology and ethology.

Sociobiology also integrates the relatively new fields of evolutionary psychology and human behavioural ecology. In terms of the details within these fields, sociobiology investigates such things as pack hunting, territorial fights, mating patterns and the hive activity of social insects.

The term 'sociobiology' itself dates back to the 1940s. However, it didn't become widely used - both within and outside of science - until Edward O. Wilson's book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis was published in 1975.

E.O Wilson himself once described sociobiology as the “extension of population biology and evolutionary theory to social organization”.

Ad Hominems against the Anti-Sociobiology Marxists

The philosopher Philip Kitcher has said that when people mention the Marxist beliefs of anti-sociobiology - or “not in our genes” - scientists it effectively amounts to an ad hominem attack. (Well an analytic philosopher like Philip Kitcher - who's also a critic of sociobiology and a colleague of Richard Lewontin at Columbia University - would say that, wouldn't he....umm?)

In other words, rather than tackling the scientific arguments and evidence of these scientists, people like myself rely on ad hominem arguments/attacks instead.

So, I suppose, the following piece is one large ad hominem.

Nonetheless, why can't we do the ad hominem bit (if that's what it truly is) of mentioning, say, Steven Rose's virulent Marxism; and then get on with the arguments against his scientific positions?

It's not as if I'm going to be saying the following:

Steven Rose, who was part of the 'radical science movement', is a Marxist. Therefore I won't even bother reading what he has to say about genetics and sociobiology.

In addition, when I say that Steven Rose is a Marxist, is that strictly speaking an an argument “against the man” (ad hominem)? After all, Rose classes himself as a Marxist and Richard Lewontin (one of the founders of “against sociobiology” group) has freely admitted that his ideological views have influenced his scientific work.

What Philip Kitcher must also realise is that most people (Left, Right and center) can't deal with the fine detail of genetics, sociobiology or evolutionary psychology because they aren't qualified to do so. (They aren't qualified to speak on the “a priorior other esoteric areas of Kitcher's analytic philosophy either.) Yet surely that doesn't mean that all of us non-professionals should keep our mouths shut on all these issues. Indeed is Steven Rose himself qualified - a neurobiologist, not a political scientist or economist - to pontificate on “capitalism” and the “Tory government”, as he sometimes does?

Nonetheless, if I were a scientist working in the field of genetics, neurobiology or psychology, then perhaps my mentioning the fact that these people are Marxists simply wouldn't be cricket. Similarly, if I were a student or professor at a philosophy departmental seminar (at Philip Kitcher's Columbia University) and I mentioned Steven Rose's prior Marxism, then I know full well that such a thing would certainly be taken to be a sacrilegious act against argument and philosophical debate.

It may also be the case that these people have done some good science. However, perhaps any genuinely good science they have done was simply a result of their not seeing seen any direct - or even indirect - political implications of that science. When politics or ideology impinged on their work, on the other hand, then it's very reasonable to assume (according to what they have said themselves) that politics/ideology will have been paramount; whereas science would have simply been its servant. And that may still be the case even if much of their academic - though still politicised - scientific work is chock-a-block with scientific jargon, charts, graphs, innumerable references and footnotes and all the other trademarks of academese (which, I'm suggesting, can sometimes hide or disguise deep ideological/political bias).

Consequently, surely it's conceivable that the prior Marxist theories of these anti-sociobiology scientists are actually extremely relevant to arguments and philosophical debates about sociobiology, genetics and the like!

So despite all those caveats, I would say that if you aren't a scientist (or a professional philosopher of science), then extreme scepticism about the views of these political-activist scientists is very wise indeed.

Biography (or Ad Hominem)

Even Steven Rose's fellow Leftists at the UK newspaper The Guardian have described him as a “polemicist of the left”. Another fellow scientist, Patrick Bateson, said that Rose “may be the last of the Marxist radical scientists”.

By almost anyone's standards, the Socialist Workers Party's Steven Rose is a fanatical ideologue. (The SWP is a self-described “revolutionary anti-capitalist party”.) Indeed Rose could hardly disagree with the fact that he, according to Richard Dawkins, gives “ideology priority over truth”.

That statement shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who understands even a little bit about Marxism.

According to most - or even all – Marxists, it is the case that ideology, politics and power can never be separated from science or indeed from truth itself.

And that fundamental Marxist position, no doubt, explains why Steven Rose sees politics and ideology in the work of so many other non-Marxist scientists: scientists who, on the whole, haven’t - unlike Rose himself - been activists in political groups and movements for most of their lives.

Thus is all this simply an example of one individual (Steven Rose) psychologically “projecting” his own ideological and political obsessions into the minds of other scientists?

Now for a small amount of words on two of the other well-known anti-sociobiology scientists.

Richard Lewontin has also described himself as a “Marxist”. Indeed he has happily admitted that his ideological views have affected his scientific work.

Gould Jay Gould (who died in 2002) said that he was “brought up by a Marxist father”. He described his own politics as “left of center”. Gould also said that Noam Chomsky's books had a great influence on him.

(Interestingly enough, Noam Chomsky once - sort of - came to the defence of sociobiology; though he did so only by committing exactly the sin I'm accusing his fellow Leftists of committing. Chomsky argued that there may, after all, be some room for sociobiological positions; though only because he thought that “it was important for political radicals to postulate a relatively fixed human nature in order to be able to struggle for a better society”.)

Some Science

The Politics of Science

The philosopher Julian Baggini (in his What Philosophers Think) commented on the political misgivings (about sociobiology) of the anti-sociobiology group. He wrote:

“… Steven Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin… noting… that theories that attempted to establish a biological foundation to social behaviour provided an ‘important basis… for the eugenic policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany’; and E.O. Wilson himself was drenched in water by protesters at a meeting…” (65)

Of course science can be political; or at least scientific theories can become politicised.

Racial science” is obviously connected to the Nazi movement. However, that doesn’t mean that sociobiology will lead to Nazi policies or gas chambers.

So let's put the boot on the other foot.

What about science as practised and endorsed by left-wingers or Marxists? Should we, for example, keep a firm check on the scientific research of Steven Rose and Richard Lewontin as well? It could, after all, lead to Stalinism; or to a regime or set of policies like that of the Khmer Rouge or Chairman Mao's Red Guard; or even to the filling of a future Gulag with “Islamophobes”, “bigots”, “racists”, “reactionaries”, patriots, nationalists, “xenophobes”... and sociobiologists. (Think here of Soviet science and how nonconformist scientists were treated.)

And what if Steven Rose and Richard Lewontin (or Marxist scientists like them) scientifically show that the best form of society is a socialist one and that we should bring such a society about – by force if necessary? (Marxism itself was deemed a science; until that view became largely unfashionable in the 1960s.)

Now let's get back to “right-wing” sociobiology.

Even if scientists or geneticists do come to certain conclusions about social behaviour, nothing necessarily follows from that unless we, as political cultures and democracies, allow it to. (Marxists such as Steven Rose have never trusted either the people or democratic processes.)

In any case, obviously there is “a biological foundation to social behaviour”; whether or not it provided an “important basis for the eugenics policies which lead to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazis Germany”. Surely Lewontin, Rose and the rest can’t be denying this. So if they aren’t, then they must be saying - or implying - that even if there are biological foundations to social behaviour, we mustn’t say that there are. Thus these Marxists are saying that sociobiology is not a fit subject of scientific research.

And that, surely, is a very radical position to uphold. Indeed it was Stalin's position! (It's like a scientific version of the Left's “no platform” policy: this time for sociobiology rather than for “far right” political groups and individuals.)

In other words, should we allow political activists (who also happen to be scientists) to stop certain – or many! - areas of scientific research? Should scientists like Steven Rose and Richard Lewontin ever be allowed to determine what scientists should and shouldn't do?

Gene for....

Let's see what problems Steven Jay Gould , Steven Rose and Richard Lewontin had with sociobiology:

In the eyes of the critics of reductionism, such a strategy results in the claim that complex behaviours are straightforwardly genetically determined. For example, Steven Rose, Leon Kamin and Richard Lewontin assert in Not in Our Genes that ‘sociobiology is a reductionist, biological determinist explanation of human existence'.”

E.O. Wilson has never talked about – or even hinted at - the “inevitable manifestations of the specific actions of genes”. Indeed there is very little that is necessary or inevitable in the world (outside logic and mathematics).

And who says that sociobiologists, or E.O Wilson in particular, claim that “complex behaviours are straightforwardly genetically determined”? Steven Rose et al say that; though not the majority of – or any – sociobiologists. As scientists, sociobiologists would say that nothing complex is straightforward. If it were straightforward, then they wouldn’t need to study it for years. We’d all know the sociobiological facts.

Nonetheless, even if sociobiologists don't say or claim such things, it's clear that these Marxist scientists think that sociobiology itself is reductionist and determinist.

Here's one sociobiologist, E.O Wilson, speaking for himself on this matter:

... all biologists speak of the interaction between heredity and environment. They do not, except in laboratory shorthand, speak of a gene 'causing' a particular behaviour, and they never mean it literally.”

Behaviours are indeed ‘genetically determined’; though not ‘straightforwardly’ so. Is Steven Rose simply saying that this is false? Or is he saying that it's a politically dangerous idea?

If E.O Wilson didn't emphasis the “interaction between heredity and environment”, he would be laughed out of court by just about every other scientist. Indeed it's hard to even make sense of genes being solely responsible for all social behaviour regardless of the environment. Does that thesis even make sense?

What E.O. Wilson may say, along with philosophers of science such as Helena Cronin, is that this is a false dichotomy in the first place.

It's not a case of genes or environment. It isn't even a case of a 50/50 split between genes and environment. The (human) environment, or society, is itself a product of our genes (at least to some extent). There would be no society without pre-existing genes for social (as well as anti-social) behaviours.

Reductionism& Determinism?

Steven Rose and the rest of the anti-sociobiology group often (very often!) use two scare-words in relation to sociobiology: reductionism and determinism (“vague terms of abuse”, according to Steven Pinker).

Are these scientific positions and methodologies plainly false? Or are they, again, simply deemed to be politically dangerous by Marxists?

E.O. Wilson himself puts his position on scientific reductionism it this way:

Major science always deals with reduction and resynthesis of complex systems, across two or three levels of complexity at a step. For example, from quantum physics to the principles of atomic physics, thence reagent chemistry, macromolecular chemistry, molecular biology, and so on – comprising, in general, complexity and reduction, and reduction to resynthesis of complexity, in repeated sweeps.”

This shows the importance of reductions in most or all the sciences: not just between the sciences; but also within them.

But now let's turn the tables on Mr Steven Rose.

It can quite easily be argued that Rose is a reductionist himself, as well as a determinist. Isn't he, in fact, a Marxist determinist who believes that everything is the outcome of (not his words) “class struggle and the “material economic realities” which underpin such “superstructural manifestations as belief-systems, religions and ideologies”? (All belief-systems and ideologies which aren’t Marxist, that is.)

So whereas Steven Rose claims that all sociobiologists are reductionists when it comes to genes; he, as a Marxist, may well be a reductionist when it comes to class and socioeconomic realities. These are seen, by Marxists (even by the sophisticated ones), to underpin all things. Indeed no one has ever been more of a reductionist than Marx himself. Marx saw almost everything in terms of the various historical “class struggles” which grew out of the socioeconomic “material conditions” of each age. And If I am caricaturing Marxism (which I don't think I am), then perhaps Steven Rose has similarly caricatured sociobiology; as well as E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and other scientists.


Some people may be willing to accept that E.O. Wilson and other sociobiologists are right-wing or conservative. (Even that claim can be disputed in E.0. Wilson's case. Wilson is a fan of Obama, a keen warmist and environmentalist and he once described himself as a “liberal”.)

However, it can't have endeared E.O. Wilson to Steven Rose, Richard Lewontin, etc. when in a discussion about communism and socialism he said:

What I like to say is that Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species. Why doesn't it work in humans? Because we have reproductive independence, and we get maximum Darwinian fitness by looking after our own survival and having our own offspring.”

Nonetheless, saying that doesn't make E.O. Wilson a Nazi or a racist. And yet this is precisely the label he was tarred with by these Marxist scientists. Despite that, Steven Rose and other Marxists would no doubt say that it simply doesn't matter if E.0. Wilson is a Nazi or a racist. What matters is that his views and research can still be used and quoted by Nazis and/or racists. And this position precisely mirrors the situation in which other Marxists – and no doubt Steven Rose himself - claim that the words of the non-racist and non-fascist critics of Islam and some Muslims are also dangerous because they too can still be quoted and used by what they call “fascists” and/or “racists”.

And the consequence of this is... what? That both sociobiologists and the critics of Islam should remain silent? Or even that they should be silenced?

All this is very strange when you consider the fact that according to many people the exact left-wing equivalent of Nazism or fascism (especially Nazism) is revolutionary Marxism – and that's precisely what these critics of E.O. Wilson and sociobiology are. Indeed Steven Rose has been an active member of the the UK's Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for decades.

Now are these extreme Marxists the best people to listen to or read if you want to discover the truths and falsehoods of sociobiology?