Galton: Eugenicist Founder of Statistics

An Islamic WorldView

Bit.ly/dsia05b – Part B of Lec 5:Descriptive Statistics-An Islamic Approach. This portion discusses the racist ideas of Galton, and some statistical tools he developed in his attempts to prove them.

The Islamic tradition asks us to look at both the nature of the knowledge, as well as the character and intentions of the transmitters of knowledge. In this lecture, we will look at Sir Francis Galton, the Founder of Eugenics. The following quote from his student and admirer Karl Pearson (1930, p. 220) explains Eugenics:

“The garden of humanity is very full of weeds, nurture will never transform them into flowers; the eugenist calls upon the rulers of mankind to see that there shall be space in the garden, freed of weeds, for individuals and races of finer growth to develop with the full bloom possible to their species.”

Looking through the metaphor of flowers (Europeans) and weeds (others), Eugenics…

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5 comments
  1. I Lagardien said:

    In all sincerity… Is “the Islamic” view the dominant view of this group. I thoroughly enjoy and learn a lot from being part of it – but Azad Zaman seems to be the main contributor. I understand and support the idea of diversity. I guess what I am asking is this: If there is an “Islamic” school of economics (forget about Islam itself) how do we describe other groups?

    • Thanks for asking this question, which permits me to clarify my point of view. The “modern secular” point of view appropriates for itself a position of privilege, claiming neutrality, objectivity, and rationality for itself. In fact, secular modernism is a powerful religion, with its own ethical and moral frameworks, rules of discourse, and prescriptions for behavior at the personal, family, community, and national level. One of the cherished myths of secular modernism is that of “objective knowledge”. The essential contribution of post-modernism is to deny this myth, and to recognize the huge number of Eurocentric cultural, historical, and institutional framing assumptions which are built into the framework of secular modernity. Once we deny objective knowledge, and recognize secular modernity as a version of Christianity, we understand that we cannot SEPARATE the knowledge from the SUBJECT who has that knowledge. Every subject necessarily has a point of view. Sine the POV and the knowledge are Inextricably entangled, the best we can do is to ACKNOWLEDGE our our personal point of view, and make it open and explicit, rather than hide it and pretend to be neutral and objective.

      • I Lagardien said:

        Hi. Thanks for your reply. I know and agree with everything you said. it’s bog standard arguments against orthodox economics, which I agree with. Mostly I have tried (I am a columnist that spent a very brief spell in academia, and currently a Visiting Professor at Wits University) to demystify and identify immanent contradictions, and irreconcilable antinomies in orthodox economics as they form the basis of global and national public policy-making. I also believe – in my work on curriculum reform – that students do not need to be brainwashed, and at least be introduced to a range of epistemologies. I have also pushed for teaching first and second year students philosophy of social science, so they can reach their own conclusions. I also do not believe that economics is “like physics”…. However, I can’t reconcile “Islam”, which rests on faith in the supernatural and mysticism, with secular education. To put it simply, I can be a kind, decent and humble person without religion. I can also do social science without religion. Regards Ismail

      • As I said in previous post – secular modern is a religion, and it is in violent conflict with Islam – neither can stomach fundamental faith of the other party. In the WEA Pedagogy blog, most of my posts are address to the modern secular audience, suppressing the Islamic context and background. However, sometime I cross-post from my other blog – The Islamic Worldview Blog – this is addressed to a Muslim audience and assumes an Islamic framework.

      • I Lagardien said:

        Hi Asad. Thanks. I agree with almost everything you said – and most of what you post, though I approach it from a Critical theory, and radical political economy perspective – I simply believe that I (personally) don’t need religion to reach some of the conclusions you have. But that’s another topic. I asked the initial question because it seemed to me that you were the only one posting (good stuff), to the extent that I thought it was an Islamic blog. Khoda Hafez.

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