It looks like Richard Dawkins is desperately trying to defend his tweet about eugenics. He appeared in the comments section of Jerry Coyne’s blog (a safe space for Dawkins) and wrote:
I was totally clear what I meant by “would work”. It would work in exactly the same sense as breeding cows for increased milk yield works. And that is precisely what I explicitly said I meant by “works”. In this sense it would work, as Jerry says, for any trait that has positive heritability, and that means most traits.
You are at liberty to stretch the English language to breaking point and interpret “would work” as meaning “would be a right and proper, moral thing to do” but I was totally explicit that I meant anything but that.
People rightly ask what provoked my tweet. Why did it come out of the blue? I happened to be reading a book which provoked it. I won’t name the book because the provocation was indirect, and I don’t in any case want to get into a spat with the author, who seems to be a decent person.
So the argument against my tweet amounts to “You were imprudent not to recognise that many people on Twitter are idiots”. You could turn that on its head and say I was being respectful – and not patronising – by assuming that they were not idiots. Evidently I was wrong. Should I apologise? Hell no.
Just as I predicted. Four days earlier, I posted:
Dawkins, and his dwindling number of fans, would argue he was focused on the utility argument and not making any moral claim.
But the problem remains exactly as I posed it:
Nah, I think it clear that this is his clumsy “consciousness raising.” If one is strongly opposed to eugenics, it does not matter if it “works.” It’s not on one’s mind.
In other words, if you are morally opposed to eugenics, whether or not “it works” is irrelevant. It’s a topic that is relevant to those who would like to see society inch toward once again embracing it.
For as I also noted:
Given that Dawkins has obsessed about this topic for over a decade (and not as a critic), I think it’s safe to say the atheist is an eugenicist.
Look, I laid out the evidence six years ago. And for six years, not a single Dawkins supporter has ever been able to refute it. So as it stands, the cumulative evidence points to Dawkins as a eugenicist. Only an idiot would think otherwise.