Sunday, August 21, 2022

Countering disinformation about Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has over the last two years been a topic of enormous controversy.  But what is it, exactly?  Chapter 4 of my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory is devoted to answering that question at length.  I go on in chapters 5, 6, and 7 to spell out the many philosophical, social scientific, and theological problems with the view.  (As this breadth of issues indicates, there is much in the book that will be of interest and value to non-Catholics.)  But chapter 4 is entirely expository, and quotes extensively from CRT writers themselves, so that there can be no mistake about how extreme and dangerous are the views that the subsequent chapters go on to criticize.

Some advocates of CRT have responded to the exposure of its extremism with what can fairly be described as a program of disinformation.  We are told that CRT is merely an abstruse legal theory of little interest to anyone outside the university, and certainly irrelevant to anything being taught to children; or that insofar as it does have influence outside the academy, it is concerned with nothing more than teaching about the history of racism; or that in any event it has nothing to do with the ideas peddled in bestsellers like Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist or Robin DiAngelos’s White Fragility.  These claims are so easily refuted that it is hard not to see in them a cynical tactic of deliberate obfuscation.

Is CRT just an abstract legal theory?

Start with the first claim, about the nature and influence of CRT.  Law professors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic are not only critical race theorists themselves, but the authors of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, a well-known primer on the subject.  They write:

Although CRT began as a movement in the law, it has rapidly spread beyond that discipline.  Today, many scholars in the field of education consider themselves critical race theorists who use CRT’s ideas to understand issues of school discipline and hierarchy, tracking, affirmative action, high-stakes testing, controversies over curriculum and history, bilingual and multilingual education, and alternative and charter schools. (p. 7)

They then go on to cite “political scientists,” “women’s studies professors,” “ethnic studies,” “American studies,” “philosophers,” “sociologists, theologians, and health care specialists” as among the scholars, professionals, and fields influenced by, and applying ideas drawn from, CRT (pp. 7-8).  Similarly, law professor Angela Harris’s foreword to Delgado and Stefancic’s book notes that:

Critical race theory has exploded from a narrow sub-specialty of jurisprudence chiefly of interest to academic lawyers into a literature read in departments of education, cultural studies, English, sociology, comparative literature, political science, history, and anthropology around the country. (p. xvi)

Delgado and Stefancic also note that though CRT began as a movement in the law, the influences on its development extend well beyond that field, and include “radical feminism,” the Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci, and the postmodernists Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida (p. 5).  And they emphasize that “unlike some academic disciplines, critical race theory contains an activist dimension.  It tries not only to understand our social situation but to change it” and indeed “transform it” (p. 8).  They cite the push for “reconstructing the criminal justice system” and the “‘Black Lives Matter’ movement” as among the practical applications of ideas associated with CRT (p. 124).

Another representative CRT work is the anthology Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas.  In their introduction to the volume, they note that the Critical Legal Studies movement “organized by a collection of neo-Marxist intellectuals, former New Left activists, ex-counter-culturalists” and the like “played a central role in the genesis of Critical Race Theory” (p. xvii).  They write that:

By legitimizing the use of race as a theoretical fulcrum and focus in legal scholarship, so-called racialist accounts of racism and the law grounded the subsequent development of Critical Race Theory in much the same way that Marxism’s introduction of class structure and struggle into classical political economy grounded subsequent critiques of hierarchy and social power. (p. xxv)

And in another obvious echo of Marxism, they emphasize that CRT is an activist movement devoted to “liberation,” whose theorists “desire not merely to understand the vexed bond between law and racial power but to change it” (p. xiii).

Hence, when CRT’s critics portray it as far more than a mere academic legal theory and indeed as a wide-ranging revolutionary political program with Marxist and postmodernist influences, which has swept through academia and seeks radically to transform society through the educational and criminal justice systems, they are not manufacturing a bogeyman.  They are simply repeating what CRT advocates themselves have explicitly said.

Is CRT merely about teaching history?

Again, another claim often made is that to the extent that CRT has any influence in schools and other contexts outside the university, it is concerned merely with teaching about the history of racism.  When people uninformed about CRT hear this, they are likely to think that what it involves is teaching about slavery in the American south, Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, and so on.  But that is far from the truth.  These are examples of what Delgado and Stefancic label “outright racism,” and as they emphasize, this is to be sharply distinguished from the far more subtle “white privilege” that CRT claims to identify and seeks to extirpate (p. 90).

This purported “white privilege” is so subtle that even if “outright racism” of the familiar sorts is entirely eliminated, white privilege would allegedly remain “intact” so that the “system of white over black/brown will remain virtually unchanged” and “we remain roughly as we were before” (p. 91).  This unnoticed racism is nevertheless claimed to be “ordinary, not aberrational… the usual way society does business” (p. 8) and indeed is “pervasive, systemic, and deeply ingrained” to such an extent that “no white member of society seems quite so innocent” (p. 91).  The purported “white privilege” of these members of society involves a “myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race” (p. 89).  The hostility of whites against non-whites is claimed to manifest itself in “implicit bias” or negative attitudes that are so elusive that whites are unconscious of harboring them (p. 143-44), and in “microaggressions” or racist acts so subtle that whites are unaware they are committing them.

Racism is held by CRT to be so “embedded in our thought processes and social structures” that it is not only conservatism that CRT opposes, but liberalism too (p. 26-27).  Like Marxism, CRT stakes out a position far to the left of traditional Democratic Party politics.  In place of liberalism’s commitment to “color blindness and neutral principles of constitutional law,” CRT writers advocate “aggressive, color-conscious efforts to change the way things are” (ibid.).  CRT calls for “programs that assure equality of results,” even if this conflicts with liberalism’s emphasis on the “moral and legal rights” of the individual (p. 29).  One CRT proposal, report Delgado and Stefancic, would be to have “admissions officers discount, or penalize, the scores of candidates” of a “white, suburban” background because of their “white privilege” (p. 134).  Some CRT writers even wonder whether “whites [should] be welcome in the movement and at its workshops and conferences” (p. 105).  Indeed, a central theme of CRT is the malign influence of “whiteness” itself, a “quality pertaining to Euro-American or Caucasian people or traditions” (p. 186).  “Critical White Studies,” Delgado and Stefancic tell us, is a subfield of CRT devoted to “the study of the white race,” which has “put whiteness under the lens” (p. 85).

In place of liberalism’s traditional emphasis on freedom of expression, some CRT writers call for “campus speech codes” and “tort remedies for racist speech” (p. 25), or even the “criminalization” of such speech (p. 125) – which, given the amorphous notions of “implicit bias” and “microaggressions,” could cover anything a CRT advocate finds objectionable.  At the same time, in light of the systemic racism they claim afflicts criminal justice, CRT writers advocate lighter sentences or even “jury nullification” for offenses “such as shoplifting or possession of a small amount of drugs” (pp. 122-23).  Delgado and Stefancic blandly note that one CRT writer proposes that “the values of hip-hop music and culture could serve as a basis for reconstructing the criminal justice system” (p. 124).

CRT also rejects “traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress” and instead “questions the very foundations of the liberal order” including ideas such as “equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism,” and “equal treatment for all persons, regardless of their different histories or current situations” (pp. 3 and 26).  Accordingly, CRT holds that the change it advocates may have to be “convulsive and cataclysmic” rather than involving a “peaceful transition,” and “if so, critical theorists and activists will need to provide criminal defense for resistance movements and activists and to articulate theories and strategies for that resistance” (pp. 154-55).

This is just the tip of the iceberg, for according to the CRT notion of “intersectionality,” many individuals “experience multiple forms of oppression” involving not just race but “sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation” (pp. 58-59).  Hence the CRT analysis of and remedies for “systemic racism” must be applied to an analysis of and extirpation of these other alleged forms of oppression as well.

Here I have been quoting from just a single representative text, for purposes of illustration.  As the reader of All One in Christ will discover, other CRT writers have other, even more extreme things to say.  Whatever one thinks of these ideas, they give the lie to the claim that CRT is merely about teaching the history of racism.  It is about promoting a sweeping, revolutionary social and political ideology that even many liberals and Democratic voters would find disturbing if they knew about it.

Kendi, DiAngelo, and CRT

The books by Kendi and DiAngelo mentioned above are by far the most influential works promoting the ideas of CRT.  Yet some have claimed that their work has nothing to do with Critical Race Theory.  This claim too is easily refuted.  Kendi himself has acknowledged the influence of CRT on his work:

I’ve certainly been inspired by critical race theory and critical race theorists.  The ways in which I’ve formulated definitions of racism and racist and anti-racism and anti-racist have not only been based on historical evidence, but also Kimberlé Crenshaw’s intersectional theory.  She’s one of the founding and pioneering critical race theorists who in the late 1980s and early 1990s said, “You know what?  Black women aren’t just facing racism, they’re not just facing sexism, they’re facing the intersection of racism and sexism.”  It’s important for us to understand that and that’s foundational to my work.

To be sure, in another context, Kendi has said:

I admire critical race theory, but I don’t identify as a critical race theorist.  I’m not a legal scholar.  So I wasn’t trained on critical race theory.  I’m a historian... I didn’t attend law school, which is where critical race theory is taught.

But there are two problems with this.  First, what matters is whether Kendi is promoting ideas derived from CRT, not whether he is himself a “critical race theorist” in the narrow sense of a legal scholar of a certain kind.  And again, he himself has admitted that his work is “inspired” by CRT, indeed that one brand of CRT is “foundational” to his work.  Second, as we have seen, CRT writers like Harris, Delgado, and Stefancic admit that CRT is not confined to legal scholarship but has extended far into other parts of the academy, including history, Kendi’s field.  So it is disingenuous for him to pretend that the fact that he didn’t go to law school shows that he can’t count as a critical race theorist.  If you go just by the actual content of his books and compare it to what is said in works that everyone acknowledges to be works of CRT, it is obvious that he is a critical race theorist.

The same thing goes for DiAngelo.  Her academic field is education rather than law, but Delgado and Stefancic themselves put special emphasis on education as a field on which CRT has had dramatic influence.  So it would be quite silly to pretend that the fact that she, like Kendi, is not a law professor somehow suffices to show that she is not a critical race theorist.  More importantly, she is manifestly a promoter of ideas drawn from CRT, whether or not one wants to classify her as a “critical race theorist” in some narrow sense.  The central ideas of White Fragility are the CRT themes of “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” the analysis and critique of “whiteness,” and the insufficiently radical nature of liberalism.  In her book Nice Racism, DiAngelo explicitly cites the prominent critical race theorists Kimberlé Crenshaw, Derrick Bell, and Cheryl Harris as among the influences on her work.

Some may nevertheless object that, even if it is admitted that Kendi and DiAngelo are promoters of CRT, it is inappropriate to put as much emphasis on their work as critics of CRT have, since their books are popularizations.  But there are two problems with this objection.  First, Kendi and DiAngelo are not mere popularizers, but academics in their own right.  They can be presumed to know what they are talking about.  Second, though some CRT adepts might wish that it was Derrick Bell’s or Kimberlé Crenshaw’s books rather than How to Be an Antiracist and White Fragility that became bestsellers, that is not what has happened.  It is Kendi’s and DiAngelo’s books that have in fact had the widest readership and influence, and thus their presentation of CRT ideas that has molded public perception of the movement.  It is only natural, then, for critics of CRT to give them a proportionate amount of attention in response.

As readers of my book All One in Christ will find, the content of CRT is even more disturbing than this brief summary indicates – and it is also riddled with blatant logical fallacies, crude social scientific errors, and assumptions and policy recommendations that are utterly contrary to the natural moral law and the Catholic faith.  It is unsurprising that advocates of CRT would like to disguise its true nature, but also imperative that they not be allowed to do so.

81 comments:

  1. Hi, Dr. Feser. I'm a black man and a long-time fan of your work. I was wondering if you came across this article during your research for your book, on how critical race theory marginalizes the African-American Christian tradition:

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2602549

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  2. Considering how much effort has been put into disguising critical race theory by its advocates, it makes me wonder whether these people should be treated as good faith actors.

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    1. The same kind of people advocating it now were saying "Civil Rights just means a colorblind society" a few decades ago so I don't think they are good faith actors at all. Also, "Affirmative Action is just temporary, it won't be necessary in a few years I promise!"

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    2. I think that the post-modernist, deconstructionist, neo-Marxist concept of "truth" implicit in CRT means that the preconditions that would even allow good faith to be *possible* are absent.

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  3. The critique of Critical Race Theory is timely, but what would interest me even more is a critical appraisal of the dissident / far right view called "Kinism", which claims to find biblical support for racial segregation, and ethnocentrism in politics. As important as an orthodox approach to Critical Race Theory is, I have a feeling that within a decade or two (as national tensions tighten and Christian nationalism resurges) the Kinist doctrine will be even more topical.

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    1. You're at the wrong blog for that.

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    2. I have already seen people saying that Christian nationalism is just like Nazism. But I would ask them if they prefer Nazi ethics or Christian ethics.

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    3. Given how strong color-blindness as intent is (at least in principle) even among conservatives (as well as moderates), it seems unlikely to me that a formally ethnocentric segregationism would get much of a following in the US, except (perhaps) in response to an outright oppression of whites by CRTs gaining a strong hold of the reins of power.

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    4. Jack,

      From what I can tell, Kinism is more common in Reformed Protestant circles. Catholics like Feser need simply to reiterate the Catholic position on these topics, which it seems the first three chapters of the book do.

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    5. Jonathan Lewis,

      "But I would ask them if they prefer Nazi ethics or Christian ethics."

      "Kinism" is rooted in Rushdoony, and his ethics, which is a subset of Christian ethics, is not preferable to Nazi ethics, imo.

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    6. "These claims are so easily refuted that it is hard not to see in them a cynical tactic of deliberate obfuscation."

      I have this discussion online several times a month with various CRT defenders. I'm amazed at how little they pretend to know about what they are defending. I agree it's so easy to prove that CRT is taught in schools, or meant to be taught, that it's hard to understand why they would claim otherwise. I can't decide if it's ignorance or malicious intent.

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    7. Kinism is correct (assuming it's not merely a synonym for "racism", itself used accurately to mean "a type of racial supremacism or license for abuse", as opposed to the way the term is used today, namely, to denote "whites who refuse to surrender OUR civilization to nonwhite migratory settler-colonizers"). There may be varieties of thought going by this name, but fundamentally, it is the perfectly (evolutionarily) rational idea that, ceteris paribus, we owe some level of greater obligation to those who are genetically closer to us than to those who are more genetically distant. What's wrong with that, especially if talking about strangers? Obviously, a Christian would assert a greater loyalty to a good man of another race over an evil man of his own. But the basic idea behind white nationalism, kinism etc, is the proper rejection of the ersatz religion called "Diversity", which has now displaced actual Christianity (including among many who style themselves "Christians").

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  4. If races are real features of Nature, then Darwin was right and some races prevail (are superior) in the struggle for existence. Therefore, racism is originated by the very structure of the evolutionary processes. Nature creates and condones racism.

    Darwin divided humanity into distinct races according to differences in skin, eye or hair colour. He was also convinced that evolution was progressive, and that the white races—especially the Europeans—were evolutionarily more advanced than the black races, thus establishing race differences and a racial hierarchy.

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    1. This is outrageous. And it is disgusting. This comment is racism writ large at its very foundation.
      How could a person in their right mind hold such a view?

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    2. "This is outrageous"

      He's mocking you.

      Tom Cohoe

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    3. Racism is natural, but that doesn't make it moral. Of course, neither is deranged self-hating (but only in the West) "antiracism". We must be careful to draw a distinction between genuine racism, which seems to me as a Christian objectionable, and what the mass (radical marxist multiculturalist) media calls "racism", which is nothing more than whites wishing to preserve white culture and white civilization, which requires a very large degree of white racial separation (but not supremacism). Read The Camp of the Saints, one of the greatest dystopian works of all time - and the most accurate of the great dystopias.

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    4. ...which is nothing more than whites wishing to preserve white culture and white civilization, which requires a very large degree of white racial separation...

      I'm a black man. In your ideal society, would I be discouraged or even forbidden to marry a white woman; discouraged or even forbidden to worship in a church with whites or at my local predominantly Filipino church; or discouraged or even forbidden to live with whites in a community?

      What does "a very large degree of white racial separation" look like for you on a concrete level?

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    5. @ Papalinton:

      How could a person in their right mind hold such a view?

      Those are words from Darwin himself.

      Any attempt to separate a ‘good' Darwin from a ‘bad' Social Darwinist cannot be sustained against a careful reading of Darwin's own writing. He enthusiastically endorsed his cousin Francis Galton's view of hereditary genius transmitted down the male line, and nodded cautiously towards eugenics. During the 150 years since Darwin wrote such views on race, gender and eugenics, whilst sometimes subterranean, they have never entirely vanished; a sorry history, often told. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10381871/)

      Darwin knew where his theory led. There's nothing such as 'equality' in the natural world. According to him, men are superior to women and whites are superior to blacks.

      The idea that we are all equal in dignity is a Christian one, not an evolutionary one.

      "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28

      But you despise Christianity, don't you, Papalinton?

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  5. Laudator Temporis ActiAugust 22, 2022 at 2:26 AM

    "As readers of my book All One in Christ will find, the content of CRT is even more disturbing than this brief summary indicates – and it is also riddled with blatant logical fallacies, crude social scientific errors, and assumptions and policy recommendations that are utterly contrary to the natural moral law and the Catholic faith."

    So what's not to like for the vast majority of left-wing politicians, journalists and academics? Indeed, what's not to like for large numbers of people in the Republican Party?

    "It is unsurprising that advocates of CRT would like to disguise its true nature, but also imperative that they not be allowed to do so."

    It's imperative to attempt the exposure, but it will not succeed in slowing the advance of CRT, let alone defeating it. The demonic anti-white nature of CRT is precisely why it's doing so well.

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    1. When the Cold War ended, America lacked a common binding ideology because it lacked an external enemy to shape it's ideas through opposition. The brief attempt at turning the Islamic world into such an enemy by labeling "Islamofascism" a global threat failed, and the regime has transitioned/reverted to anti-fascism as its leading ideology. Hence the assault on traditional American culture and racial identity that has been going strong over the last decade.

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    2. The assault on traditional American culture in full court press began a long time before "the last decade", at least by the 1960s. In reality it began well before that, in the universities and other venues of intellectual "elites", but it didn't enter mainstream until the 60s.

      America lacked a common binding ideology because it lacked an external enemy to shape it's ideas through opposition

      A true nation doesn't need an outside enemy in order to have a common, core ideal that shapes its ethos - and in fact an entity that lacks such a common, core ideal is just to that extent not a real nation. Nathaniel Hawthorne's "give me liberty, or give me death" served as a succinct statement of ours, and Emma Lazarus's Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" was a later attempt to restate it. The modern loss (since that same period from the 1960s on) of a sense of ordered liberty, by which men and women are no longer willing sacrifice to lesser-order goods for that liberty, and no longer willing to direct that liberty toward higher-order goods, marks the loss of a common, core ideal that shaped our ethos.

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    3. I agree that the attack on traditional America goes way back, but imho it ramped up significantly in the last decade.

      I also agree that a true nation doesn't necessarily need to define itself in opposition to an external entity. However, in historical terms this is often the case: Christendom became much more starkly defined with the assault of Islam into the former lands of the Roman Empire, for instance.

      In the case of the 20th century the advent of mass media, telecommunication, and the mass franchise of voters has resulted in a political order that relies on constant engagement with the populace, as well as the emergence of all-encompassing political ideologies. Because wars have been not simply contests between states but ideological global struggles the tendency to define the nation in these oppositional terms has been the norm.

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  6. And indeed is “pervasive, systemic, and deeply ingrained” to such an extent that “no white member of society seems quite so innocent”.

    Original Sin calorie-free version.

    We Christians know it's real. But we extend it to the whole human species, not only to the subset of the population that you CRT lunatics label as 'white'. Yes, there's evil inside each and any of us (and there's so much good also). 'Nothing new under the sun' I'm afraid. And it's not going to change in this side of Eden. You are not going to transform human nature, marxist puppies. You'd better get used to it.

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    1. CRT = antiwhite. CRT = (real) racism. Is that so hard to fathom? Stop treating CRTists as serious thinkers. They are propagandists for white dispossessionism. I will get Feser's new book, as I always learn from him. But I think taking CRT seriously is a waste of time. It's nothing more than a fancy title for a constellation of lowbrow grievances born out of childish racial envy on the part of racial nationalist members of loser races, along with their evolutionarily biologically maladapted white enablers (remember: no other race behaves in the manner of white liberals; they are unique, unlike conservatives {real ones} who are similar to members of other races in their healthy ethnocentrism).

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    2. @ Anonymous:

      But I think taking CRT seriously is a waste of time.

      The self-flagellation of the white has clear religious connotations. All this 'evil' and 'sin' and 'reparation' language is Christian at its core. The West has NOT abandoned religion, it has simply traded one (Christianity) for another (its bastardized half-sibling liberalism/ wokeism).

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  7. CRT is another of the genocidal tendencies Europeans (for now) have to contend with. As many Westerners are already in doubt as to what they exist for, all kinds of questions about whether they exist at all are meant to finish them off. The freaks marketing this rubbish infest educational institutions all over the West now - everyone around here knows that. The interesting thing will be to see how long the freak show lasts. Even pagan societies often had a place for freaks of various kinds, but they didn't entertain replacing the rest of society with them, which is seems to be the aim of the open-ended deconstruction going on. Will modern wokeism be overthrown from within (by saner, if alien elements), or will healthier societies from without break down the plastic kindergarten barriers of political correctness we are being trained to fear and respect?

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  8. Whenever the issue of CRT in schools is brought up, the loudest leftists always say two things
    1. CRT is not being taught in schools
    2. even if it is being taught, there is nothing wrong with such teaching.
    These are the same dual claims made by those defending sexual and gender instruction in the classroom.

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  9. This is both ambiguous and ambivalent, on its face. Critical Race Theory intent was to have a dialogue about race, and how people thought about that. It was neither pro, nor con, only an objective or critical assessment of race theory, as it was perceived. Then, it appears, sides were taken and the 'theory' was distorted---to mean whatever what either camp what it wanted CRT to mean. I usually refrain from comments on this stuff. Oh well, we all make mistakes.

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    1. This is both ambiguous and ambivalent, on its face. Critical Race Theory intent was to have a dialogue about race, and how people thought about that.

      What evidence do you have that led you to this conclusion?

      Why would it have been called "Critical Race Theory" if the intent was principally to ask questions, have a dialogue, etc?

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    2. Interesting. So you would say that if a particular group of people with an agenda try to take control of the narrative and bias all discussion about race using a particular framework, then a true supporter of critical race theory would call that out?

      Cool. Sounds like Dr. Feser here is the only one doing true Critical Race Theory. So

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    3. We have been told for decades now that we need to hold a conversation, a dialogue, about race. But what it always consisted of was a lecture or sermon telling one group how bad they are and brooking no defense or even a response. That does not resemble my understanding of 'dialogue'. Perhaps I should buy a new dictionary.

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    4. A dialogue that has its rails set by a bunch of fanatics who think that asking people "Where are you from?" is racist isn't going to be productive.

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  10. Dr. Feser,
    You probably won't be surprised that your old buddy David Bentley Hart has a comment on his substack to the effect the embracing CRT and BLM are tantamount to basic human decency. (Lol!!)

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    1. Not surprising -- except it should be something like "authentic demand of the gospel" rather than "basic human decency"; Hart doesn't believe in "basic human decency" (at least he didn't circa 2009). From Hart's basically decent (when he's not indulging in pretentious utopian twaddle and Orthodox ressentiment) book Atheist Delusions (2009), p. 180: "if Christians truly practiced the mercy commanded of them by their Lord humanity would no longer admit of divisions within itself between slavery and mastery, poverty and wealth, shame and honor, infirmity and strength, for all things would be held in common and all persons would be equal one with another." If only those darn Christians (especially those lugubrious, hell-obsessed old school Roman Catholics) would get their act together we'd all be, like, "equal one with another" (not to mention we'd "save the planet," "follow the science," etc.)!

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  11. In the new Scala Naturae the top is occupied by the form of the liberal (without its associated matter due to its angelical nature).

    The bottom-feeder is the heterosexual white non-liberal male (except if he identifies himself as a 'woman'*, in which case 'she' can be moved one step up on the ladder). (As it was noted, the bottom feeder can redeem himself by becoming a liberal and losing his matter).

    *It's a mortal sin for the white bottom
    -feeder to identify himself as a member of another race. (But being of another gender is allowed and beneficial for the form).

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  12. The purported “white privilege” of these members of society involves a “myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race.

    Richard, Jean, Gary and Robin are white.

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  13. Will Kindle version be coming out ASAP? Would love to read this.

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  14. Those that rail against the intellectual and philosophical understanding of CRT, as many do here, not the least Prof Feser himself, are driven by self-denial and guilt and do so largely against their own existential self interest, blind to the notion of common human decency and morality. The historical record is a clarion to the incalculable injustices and hurt that we, the whitest of the SINGLE human species, have perpetrated on other members of that SINGLE human species, and for the most baseless and indefensible of excuses, not reasons, imaginable. People on this site must learn to not be held hostage to their most basic, primitive and false desire to dehumanise their fellow humans. Bentley Hart is correct when he notes that CRT is a call for human decency at its core. It is an avenue for discourse that allows for that decency to bloom.

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    1. Oh look, Papalinton making bad arguments again.

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    2. Very well said good sir - the voice of decency at last.

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    3. Funny how the "avenue for discourse that allows decency to bloom" doesn't apparently include substantive responses to the critiques offered of it and suffices to assert of its opponents a poor moral character.

      I'd have expected that something that participates in the true, good, and beautiful would actually muster charitable arguments in its favor instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks on those critiquing it, but since I'm apparently driven by denial and self guilt, I guess Im incapable of grasping the persuasive power of these arguments!

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    4. The historical record is a clarion to the incalculable injustices and hurt that we, the whitest of the SINGLE human species, have perpetrated on other members of that SINGLE human species, and for the most baseless and indefensible of excuses, not reasons, imaginable.

      What, pray tell, of all the evils in history (and before recorded history) perpetrated by those of other skin pigments than white-ist, on all the OTHER types besides "their own"? Evils perpetrated on account "us" versus "them", defining "them" in lots of ways but often on account of looks alone, or recent descent alone, has never been reserved to those more white than not: the single human species spreads its evil inclinations abroad among all its various groups quite well. (Which is, after all, in keeping with it being ONE species in which we are like each other. Otherwise, one would have to account for sub-groups of the human species being different in character from other sub-groups.)

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    5. Bentley Hart is correct when he notes that CRT is a call for human decency at its core.

      A theory that accuses a certain class of people, including newborn babies, of racism and evil purely on account of their skin tone, is "a call for human decency"? (White babies, that is, who are racists because they are white?) Lord protect us from that sort of decency.

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    6. Papalinton,you are vague: the hurt that "we, the whitest of the single human species" have caused? Are we Finns and Estonians? Are you? What nameless evils have those peoples perpetrated? They're the palest of humanity.

      Do you mean slavery? Its gone on for thousands of years. Some Europeans did it for three centuries or so, leaving lots of evidence of it in the Americas by encouraging slaves to have children, and then leaving even more evidence by not marrying them, in Protestant countries. But "we" don't have to answer for that, try addressing your complaints to Breitbart News, Trump or WASP incorporated generally.

      Those slightly less pale pale Arabs did it for far longer, and the even less pale Africans did it to each other and traded with foreign slavers.

      Don't races exist because we are all a "single" species? Pointless. Papalinton and Miguel exist and their separate existences have all kinds of distinguishing features, yet both are part of a single species. Families, peoples and races have their diverse characteristics - yet they're all one species. Yes, they often mix, and modify over long periods; it happens so slowly that individuals and collectivities have a sense of identity and belonging that is analogical to that of a family, because they belong to something real. What's the difficulty?

      Would you be against even a familiar sense of identity and belonging? Fish can lead happy lives after being hatched in a tank, without family or other forms of distinction, because they're fish. Please don't reduce humans to an animal species. The fact that we can recognise race proves we are not animals.

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    7. @ Papalinton:

      For Charles Darwin, "species" was an undefinable term, "one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other."

      Arbitrarily is the key here. As opposed to objectively. You know what arbitrary means, because you deny blacks their humanity if they happen to be in the womb. Their slaughter is then something to be celebrated.

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    8. Yea, the decent thing to do is to not assume every white person you see, and only white persons BTW, are uniquely racist without them even knowing it.

      Delete
    9. @ UncommonDescent,

      "You know what arbitrary means, because you deny blacks their humanity if they happen to be in the womb. Their slaughter is then something to be celebrated."

      Nice one.

      Tom Cohoe

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    10. Papalinton,

      "Those that rail against the intellectual and philosophical understanding of CRT... are driven by self-denial and guilt..."

      It's so fun when people pretend to know the inner working or another person's mind. This is a lame ad hominem.

      "and do so largely against their own existential self interest, blind to the notion of common human decency and morality."

      Well, I rail against CRT precisely because it's counter to my interest, counter to my culture's interest, my country's interest, my sense of human decency and morality.

      "People on this site must learn to not be held hostage to their most basic, primitive and false desire to dehumanise their fellow humans."

      Exposing flaws in any ideology has nothing to do with dehumanizing humans.

      "The historical record is a clarion to the incalculable injustices and hurt that we, the whitest of the SINGLE human species, have perpetrated on other members of that SINGLE human species"

      So we are supposed to accept assertions of an ideology because of the injustices of our ancestors? Leaving aside your cherry-picking of history, and your bigoted characterization of whites as a malicious group, these are two entirely separate issues. A theory stands or falls on evidence, not on the motivation or state of mind of its friends or foes.

      "Bentley Hart is correct when he notes that CRT is a call for human decency at its core."

      Bentley Hart is wrong. At its core CRT is scapegoating whites for statistical black failure. IOW, it's bigotry in academic form.

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  16. ...are driven by self-denial and guilt and do so largely against their own existential self interest

    I guarantee you that not a single person who opposes CRT does so out of self-guilt, as such self-flaggelating individuals tend to buy into that "thinking" already, that being "white" is a guilty verdict already.

    Those who recognize it as racist thinking oppose it.

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    1. If anything, most people who oppose CRT are those who find it disgusting for teaching children that they are racist for having white skin or doing or saying innocuous things. They see it as a form of guilt manipulation by those who are resentful and hateful toward them.

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  17. The plethora of commentary in this thread defending the utter nonsense that purportedly critiques the foundations of CRT discourse, even that of Dr Feser's malarkey couched under the rubric of a Catholic perspective, can only be described as just wrongheaded, profoundly ignorant and factually incorrect.

    Much of the nonsense about "black", "brown", "yellow" and "white" variance, as sub-species, is predicated on baseless and de-bunked theories that underpinned traditional methods of physical anthropology, relying as it did on morphological characteristics, (skin colour, hair, nasal flatness, eye shape to mention a few) and not on the emerging genetics to classify humans. As such, the critiques against CRT presented in this thread are little more than persistent scuttlebut and as irrelevant today, "viewed as the last gasp of an outdated scientific methodology that was soon to be supplanted". .[see Journal of the History of Biology. 34 (2): pages 247–285. By John Jackson Jr. (June 2001): "In Ways Unacademical": The Reception of Carleton S. Coon's The Origin of Races".]

    Rather than rely on old, de-bunked and misinformed theories of race, the ignoranti would do well to honestly read up on contemporary philosophy, genetics and biology if they are considering entering a proper discussion on why it is that CRT is a plea for human decency, humility and understanding, together with addressing the wrongs of the past that continue to blight today's neighbourhoods.

    Alan Templeton, geneticist and population genetics statistician, Washington University notes:
    "... the answer to the question whether races exist in humans is clear and unambiguous: No." [(43):  Page 360: EVOLUTION AND NOTIONS OF HUMAN RACE. (2016). In Losos J. & Lenski R. (Eds.), How Evolution Shapes Our Lives: Essays on Biology and Society.]

    There is only one race; the human race. Racism is a social phenomenon, not a biological or genetic predisposition. To argue otherwise is to be wilfully ignorant and a racist.

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    1. >> Much of the nonsense about "black", "brown", "yellow" and "white" variance, as sub-species, is predicated on baseless and de-bunked theories that underpinned traditional methods of physical anthropology, relying as it did on morphological characteristics, (skin colour, hair, nasal flatness, eye shape to mention a few) and not on the emerging genetics to classify humans. As such, the critiques against CRT presented in this thread <<

      Who are you trying to refer to here? Most critics of CRT don’t fit into your rant at all. Who the hell in this thread thinks that brown people are a “sub species?”

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    2. @ Papalinton:

      Rather than rely on old, de-bunked and misinformed theories of race

      What is old, de-bunked and misinformed is the massive absurdity of darwinian evolution by 'random mutation' + 'natural selection'. Natural selection is powerless and vacuous. It is not the evolutionary "keystone" that atheists have been spreading for decades as their creative myth. (Fools like Dawkins and company come to mind).

      Science is moving on and acknowledging the role of the organism in the process. Organisms are wholes and they drive evolutionary history. They have a substantial form which provides a series of powers and potentialities, and those powers and potentialities constrain evolutionary paths (and not some magical external process).

      And those forms put organisms into classes (species), that we can abstract and therefore classify (more or less perfectly). Contra deluded materialists, species are not a "matter of convention". They are real features of nature. But only hylemorphism can account for them. And only hylemorphism can account for HOW we gain intellectual knowledge about the world. Materialism/ physicalism can not, it places a tertium quid between us and external reality, alienating us from it. But materialism is a relic and as good as dead. Aristotle was right. He knew that Parmenides was mistaken.

      There is only one race; the human race.

      Wrong again. There is one species, that of rational animal (although materialists maybe should be left out due to how pathetic they are). Our commonalities stem again from having the same substantial form (individuated in matter). We have different accidents (skin color, hair coarseness, strenght, etc ...) and that's what we classify as "races". Nothing in your absurd mechanistic evolutionary process has a word to say about "decency" though. But hylemorphism can account for our rationality and subsequent moral behavior. Materialism can not, because it is equally useless as 'natural selection' (the pagan goddess of today's ignoramuses ).

      to honestly read up on contemporary philosophy

      Coming from a philosophical illiterate who provides us with so much amusement :)

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    3. @ Papalinton:

      and not on the emerging genetics to classify humans

      Oh dude. How can you classify human genes if you do not FIRST know what a human IS? 'Human genes' are parasitic on the definition of 'humanity'. There's no problem here for the hylemorphist though. Human = rational animal. Look, it was easy. Sometimes things get messy and you can not actualize all your potentials. It sucks but it happens.

      But you are a materialist/ conceptualist/ nominalist, therefore you have nothing to offer to science/ human knowledge. The world is moving forward towards hylemorphism/ moderate realism and leaving you and your ilk behind. Don't forget it during your hour of leech therapy and fainting in the couch.

      Alan Templeton, geneticist and population genetics statistician, Washington University notes:
      "... the answer to the question whether races exist in humans is clear and unambiguous: 


      And this guy's philosophical qualifications are? The ONLY authority regarding species and its subdivisions is that of the hylemorphist, the only metaphysical system that ACKNOWLEDGES the reality of species as real extra-mental entities (and none of the Lockean/materialist/ Darwinian nonsense about species being mental constructs).

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    4. "Racism is a social phenomenon, not a biological or genetic predisposition."

      That's just false. You may claim the biological differences are trivial, or should be trivialized, but they are there nonetheless. These differences are accepted when it's in black interest. For example, medical studies have been criticized for being white-centered: "Nearly 40 percent of Americans belong to a racial or ethnic minority, but the patients who participate in clinical trials for new drugs skew heavily white—in some cases, 80 to 90 percent. Yet nonwhite patients will ultimately take the drugs that come out of clinical studies, and that leads to a real problem. The symptoms of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as the contributing factors, vary across lines of ethnicity, as they do between the sexes." -- Scientific American, September 1, 2018.

      You can find "studies" about how black kids learn differently than white kids. This rhetoric comes from people friendly to your POV.

      Folks like you want it both ways.

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  18. "malarkey [...] ignorati" etc.

    *Your* malarkey is more than a little on the nasty side, but your pompous buffoonery does make one smile.

    Ultra cherry picking to support a claim that people can use words only the way you inconsistently define is one mark of a very poor philosopher and leads to a conclusion that Professor Feser leaves your posts up out of a deep sense of humour.

    Let's see. You tell us that you are white and that this allows you to choose sides in a racial dispute and be right. Interesting. Whiteness gives you superior judgement, but you are not a racist. Ok, heh, but extremely odd.

    You pretentious, flaming, idiot.

    Tom Cohoe

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    1. Feser

      Could I suggest that you should not be allowing the ever obnoxious Tom Cohoe to call someone a 'pretentious, flaming, idiot' in this combox ( see above ). Do you not have any standards here?

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    2. FreeThinker,

      You are constantly posting these brief comments complaining about other commenters and their tone – usually in a manner that is itself obnoxious. I usually do not approve these comments of yours, for the same reason that I do not approve comments from other readers (including the readers you are always complaining about) when they are nothing more than brief attacks on other commenters.

      I made an exception in this case so as to make of it an occasion to remind all readers to keep things substantive. I allowed Tom Cohoe’s recent comment to pass because, while it did contain the insults you complain about, it also tried to make a substantive point. But you are correct that it would have been better to leave the insults out.

      So, I remind readers again kindly to keep things substantive and as civil as possible and to avoid flame wars and the like. Carry on.

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    3. @ Free Thinker:

      Could I suggest

      You suggested and Professor Feser did not oblige. Like a potential that never got actualized.

      And how can you be a 'Free Thinker'? You have been constrained by the multiverse/ evolution to follow the LNC. Wouldn't it be fantastic to live in a Universe where we could think contradictory thoughts? It's not fair to be forced to follow any kind of law. That's an affront to the free will that according to atheism we do not have :)

      Delete
  19. Wow, are you ever a scold.

    Your scolding the people here is premised on a presupposition that the concerns raised about CRT are founded upon approval of the _theory_ of the 5 races concocted in the late 1700's and early 1800's, (e.g. by Johann Blumenbach in 1793). Since some here have already expressed disapproval of such theories, (try this: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2022/08/all-one-in-christ.html?showComment=1660773638207#c5132910772763978867), and many others of here have criticized CRT in ways that don't assume that theory is valid, and which would be equally valid on your premise that the human race is one race, your scolding is completely irrelevant. Indeed, some criticism of CRT actually stems from treating the human race as one race, i.e. precisely on the very basis you insist upon. Rather than rely on mere speculation on why people might criticize CRT, why don't you be an honest fellow for a change and actually read up on honest critique of CRT by those who are not racists? Or will you just to beg the question again by insisting that it is impossible to criticize CRT without being a racist, and that's why you don't have to actually find out what criticisms are being made?

    (By the way, even racists might actually make a valid point, even if they are racist. Or will you go on relying on ad hominem attacks to disregard that, too? )

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    1. The above was directed at Papalinton.

      Delete
  20. I recently finished Feser's book "All One in Christ" and was wondering what other books he would recommend that addresses the problems with CRT in more depth? (whether it's with its methodology, assumptions, etc.)

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  21. Anonymous: "(By the way, even racists might actually make a valid point, even if they are racist. Or will you go on relying on ad hominem attacks to disregard that, too? )"

    I urge you to list the valid points you think racists actually make that form the basis for honest discussion going forward. I want to understand your thinking process that makes you arrive at such a declarative conclusion. Until such time this evidence is produced your argument is little more than a desperate scrabble for the miniscule pearls of wisdom that might inadvertently lie in the barrel of rotten thoughts. (Don't you just love mixed metaphors?) It has about as much relevance and import as a broken watch can truthfully record the correct time twice a day.
    The truth can to those that do not hold it central to their argument always feels uncomfortable followed by a rush to brand it an ad hominem attack.

    Your commentary, as are many others in this thread, is both disappointing and jejune.

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    1. Papalinton. Well of course the genetic markers that create morphological characteristics give the racial phenomenon a social aspect. Naturally, observable characteristics shared by visible and definable groups of people have an impact on society that the gene for Autosomal Dominant Compelling Heliopathic Outburst (for example) does not. Do you deny that such groups of people exist and are visible to all? How scientists classify and rank the different groups is not particularly important. These types of human exist even if the human being, by definition, is exclusively a descendant of Adam.

      Dr. Feser, I wouldn't worry about the sniping; it's metaphysically impossible for one of them to be injured by the other (there may have been cases with Punch and Judy, and this show has been superseded by modern technology, which allows a lot of them), although they do say that the individual is his or own harshest critic!

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    2. I urge you to list the valid points you think racists actually make ...

      I urge you to depart, or if you cannot bring yourself to do so, I urge you to make an ACTUAL ARGUMENT, instead of just the scolding you have provided so far. You have not bothered to address any actual position put forward by Dr. Feser (or any of the commenters here), relying on mere generalizations about those who criticize CRT. Going on to scold me further is equally irrelevant to establishing the truth.

      Read the book, or at least a large block of it (including the assumptions he starts with), and then come back and criticize it by citing what Feser ACTUALLY says. That would be a worthy comment.

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  22. Why is there racism? And what is racism?
    It is natural that fathers and mothers love their children and children love their parents.
    The love families have for each other is stronger than their love for close relatives, which in turn is stronger than love and care for further extended families members.
    These extended families are people closely like themselves, tribesmen, natives, and in a multiracial society, on down to people of the same race.
    This is why there is racism. Racism is simply a love of family extended down to a preference for one’s own race.
    When you think about it, pro-African American advocates, such as Martin Luther King and other pro-African American advocates are in actuality racists. But they are acceptable, good racists.
    A White person who prefers other White people over non-White people is a racist, but he is no worse a person than MLK.
    The only wat to make White racism evil is to attach to it an evil attribute such as White Supremacy.
    The only cure for racism is to get people, White people, to believe that there is no such thing in reality as race.

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    1. You point refers, implicitly, to the fact that the term "race" has meant various things over the centuries, which I also pointed out in a previous thread. It is perfectly valid that "race" used to mean whoever was descended from X, and if you went back to a more remote ancestor, you got a bigger "race" group, whereas if you went back to a closer ancestor you got a smaller race group. Those descended from Abraham is a larger race than those descended from Jacob.

      The meaning of "race" attached to it in the last couple centuries is a specialized sense, that has a more limited meaning. That meaning may have problems, but it doesn't make things clearer to simply pretend the word hasn't been used in a specialized way.

      The term "racism" is, I suspect, of newer vintage, and does not mean merely "preferring my family and those descended from X", if the "preferring" doesn't amount to hatred, disgust, or any demeaning attitude about those who are not descended from X. The term entails some degree of disgust and/or attitude that those who are not of your race are, by that very fact, of a lesser race in some important way - particularly, in a way that may justify being treated as second-class persons, or even not as persons at all.

      It is idiotic to think we can, or should, get rid of the OTHER kind of "preference", where I like those who have Z characteristic more than I like others, but I don't hang any importance on that like, acknowledging it as a mere personal taste. I like Italian food, and don't like Thai food, but I don't think Italians are better people than Thai people on that account. I like blue flowers more than I like orange flowers, but I don't imagine that this makes blue flowers "better."

      The preference wherein we ACT in favor of our own family as a higher priority than acting on behalf of those outside our family cannot be considered an evil kind of preference...within certain limits. I make money for and give gifts to my kids, I don't make money for the kids 10 miles away, and I don't give gifts to kids in China. But this is not a deranged, evil hatred of "those not like me". Bonds to your kids are not solely on account of their being "like" you - as is proven by the way adoptive parents treat their adopted kids even when they are quite a bit unlike them. It would be idiotic to imagine that rejection of "racism" implies treating everyone else just like you treat your own kids.

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    2. @ Tony:

      The preference wherein we ACT in favor of our own family as a higher priority than acting on behalf of those outside our family cannot be considered an evil kind of preference.

      It's not true that we act in favor of our family as a higher priority. Look at a woman who aborts her child and ACTIVELY fights for the 'right' of other women to do the same (let's call her a 'liberal'). That woman prefers to employ the resources that according to evolutionary theory she should be employing to reproduce and advance her 'selfish' genes to help individuals that are not part of her (close) family. She is helping total strangers (to not advance their inclusive fitness, which is another evolutionary contradiction).

      Which is another of the myriad of examples that prove that evolutionary theory does not make any sense when understood in mechanistic/ ateleological terms.

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  23. The human being, by definition, a descendant of Adam? I see no advantage in continuing to debate here.

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    1. @ Papalinton:

      Humans are creatures who share the same substantial form. And yes, at some point there had to be a first human (it's a metaphysical necessity, or else there would not be an origin of our species. If there is not an origin of our species, then the archaeological search for the first human remains/ populations becomes futile).

      In your materialist/ evolutionist scenario, based in incremental change, there had to be a moment in which a certain individual/ individuals, in a certain population, got increased intellectual capacities respect to those around them. Those capabilities had to be heritable and offer an advantage in regards to the managament of the environment. That would be your genetic Adam/ Adams.

      The problem for the materialist is that humans are MORE than our material bodies. Genes play an important role indeed. They are a necessary condition, but they are NOT a sufficient condition. That's why your worldview has failed. Those 'emergent properties' that are becoming today more and more acknowledged are a concession to the hylemorphist: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The hylemorphic conception of Nature is the correct one.

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  24. Uncommon, let him depart. It does no good to drag him back in.

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  25. Yes, indeed, Papalinton. There can be no human that is not a descendant of Adam. Even a hypothetical rational animal that is not his descendant would not be a man. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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  26. This comment, "The human being, by definition, a descendant of Adam? I see no advantage in continuing to debate here" [at August 26, 2022 at 5:31 PM]. is not a comment from me.

    Some scurrilous wag, a thoroughly dishonest christian on this site (if they're doing it in their god's name, it can never be dishonest, right?) posted this comment under my moniker.

    So for those of good heart, please don't continue in perpetuating a lie. I entreat Dr Feser to forensically track the comment @ 5.31 PM and to reveal the coward.
    There are many of you on this site who do not like the position I take on religion, and that is OK. As indeed the positions you hold re religion with which I vehemently disagree is OK, too, at least to me.
    But honesty and integrity are values most central to me. They cannot be substituted with lies, even for God's sake.




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    1. Some scurrilous wag, a thoroughly dishonest christian on this site (if they're doing it in their god's name, it can never be dishonest, right?)

      Since there are plenty of people commenting here who are not Christians, it is a thoroughly unwarranted presumption on your part the person is a Christian. Further, since Dr. Feser is a veritable paladin of the position that you cannot and must not lie even "for God's sake", it is most likely the commenter is NOT one of Feser's fans.

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    2. It's puzzling to hear that even a hypothetical rational animal can't be a human being. Didn't Aristotle define man as a rational animal, tout court?

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    3. Aristotle did not know what we knew from the very beginning in our OT, that all men are Adam in their flesh and blood. He understood that man is a rational animal; that all men are such animals. He could not metaphysically exclude “rational animals” that were not Adam in their flesh and blood from the race of man. Yet that is the metaphysical truth, not an accident of history. Man is Adam.

      Is a hypothetically intelligent budgerigar a man? Is a hypothetically intelligent “humanoid” that is not Adam’s descendant a human being? No, and no. Our Lord became man in order to redeem Adam and his descendants – the human race - not “all rational animals” per se.

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  27. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has over the last two years been a topic of enormous controversy. But what is it, exactly.

    A turd.

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