Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Academic Racists Fuel Hatred, Violence Around The World

A professor at a prestigious university in Belgium who wrote that human beings can be scientifically divided into subspecies provided raw meat for the white supremacist teenager who is accused of killing 10 Blacks at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., last month.
The professor, Michael A. Woodley, a Scottish baron, is part of a substantial, worldwide clique of far right academics who promote pseudoscientific theories on white, Christian superiority. Parts of Woodley’s writings were cited in the 180-page manifesto of Payton S. Gendron, 18, before he allegedly went on his murderous spree.
Gendron referred to an article in which Woodley compared humans with a number of animal species, including jaguars and leopards, theories that have long been the basis of debunked, pseudoscientific attempts to justify slavery, colonialism, Nazism and anti-Semitism. The 2010 article was published by Elsevier, a major, mainstream academic publisher based in the Netherlands.
One of Woodley’s papers was funded by the Unz Foundation, a nonprofit organization run by Ron Unz, an American multi-millionaire software entrepreneur. The Unz Review is a far-right website criticized by the Anti-Defamation League as hosting racist and antisemitic content.
Woodley’s expertise is in plant ecology, but he also has researched human genetics and intelligence. He has claimed to have proven an intelligence decline in France is linked to large-scale migration from North Africa while his book about the global decline of intelligence purports to show a relationship between ethnicity and cognitive abilities.
Woodley, 38, has been affiliated with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of Belgium’s leading universities. The university last week suspended its relationship with Woodley after a petition was started to get the Scottish researcher suspended and his Ph.D. in plant ecology revoked.
Woodley, who also goes by the moniker “Technical Heretic,” is a eugenicist and racist who is known in pseudoscientific circles for having created the so-called, “spiteful mutant hypothesis” or Social Epistasis Amplification Model (SEAM). The theory claims to substantiate racist beliefs in that it argues that groups of people can degenerate if exposed to people with genetic mutations. The concept has been disproven by modern global genetic analysis.
Woodely wrote the “spiteful mutant” hypothesis in collaboration with associate white supremacists, Matthew Sarraf and Edward Dutton. Dutton uses the hypothesis to berate anyone who doesn’t share his far-right political views, as he labels feminists, liberals and supporters of Black Lives Matter as “spiteful mutants.”
Another white supremacist, Emil Kirkegaard, completed dubious research leading to his claim that the “spiteful mutant” notion explains why mental illness has a high prevalence among people who are politically left-wing.
Woodley has promoted other pseudoscientific views, including cryptozoology, eugenics, hereditarianism and racialism and he co-authored a book with Edward Dutton. He attended the London Conference on Intelligence and is on the Editorial Board of the journal “Intelligence.” London Conference on Intelligence were a series of pseudoscientific conferences held annually at University College, London from 2014–2017. The conferences offered a platform for far-right speakers, including white supremacists.
Cryptozoology is the study and belief in cryptids, or species of animals that are rumored to exist, including Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti; the Skunk ape, a beast that supposedly looks like an orangutan and lives in the southeastern U.S.; and the Malawi Terror Beast, a creature that crushes its victims and eats their intestines and genitals.
Eugenics is the study of applying artificial selection and selective breeding and human reproduction to change traits in a human population. One of the most notorious adherents of the study of eugenics was Adolf Hitler, who used the theory to justify forced sterilization of up to 400,000 people that were diagnosed with hereditary mental or physical disabilities and ultimately the mass murder of millions of Jews, gypsies, Slavs and homosexuals.
Hereditarianism is the pseudoscientifice theory that asserts that differences in intelligence between races and ethnic groups are significantly the result of genetics.
Dutton is an alt-right English Youtuber, terrorist-sympathizer, anti-feminist, race and intelligence pseudoscientist, homophobe, Islamophobe, sexist, transphobe, anti-Semite, anti-vegan, and white supremacist. Dutton, who calls himself “Jolly Heretic,” has a degree in theology from Durham University and a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Aberdeen.
Dutton has regular hosted friendly podcasts and public discussions with alt-right, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In late 2020, he was the main guest of a podcast run by American neo-Nazi and white supremacist Richard Spencer on the topic “Making Sense of Race.” In late 2021, Dutton attracted criticism for his defense of ephebophilia, the practice of men who are attracted to young adolescents.
J. Philippe Rushton, a professor at the University of Western Ontario until he died in 2012 and a onetime fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, is another academic known for promoting racialist pseudoscience. Rushton collaborated with Arthur Jensen to write about the outdated “differential K theory,” which he claimed was the genetic explanation for “Negroid” inferiority. He also concluded that brain and genital size are inversely related, implying that blacks are less intelligent than whites.
“Whites have, on average, more neurons and cranial size than blacks… Blacks have an advantage in sport because they have narrower hips — but they have narrower hips because they have smaller brains,” Rushton said at the 2000 American Renaissance conference.
Rushton also was president of the Pioneer Fund, a longstanding funder for dubious studies linking race to characteristics like criminality, sexuality and intelligence. The fund was set up in 1937 by Nazi sympathizers and has funded studies that have been published frequently in Mankind Quarterly (MQ), a far-right racialist pseudojournal published by the Ulster Institute for Social Research. The Southern Poverty Law Center described the quarterly as a “racist… pseudo-scholarly journal.”
Openpsych is another journal that promotes pseudoscientific, thinly veiled racist theories under titles like “Open Behavioral Genetics,” “Open Differential Psychology” and “Open Quantitative Sociology & Political Science.” The journal was created by Davide Piffer and Emil O. W. Kirkegaard after peer-reviewed journals refused to publish his work. The journal regularly includes writings by white nationalist John Fuerst and other far right proponents of hereditarianism, eugenics and racialism.
Piffer is a racist Italian parapsychologist who claims to have psychic powers, including precognition, ESP and psychokinesis. He has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in evolutionary anthropology and is a PhD student in psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Kirkegaard, no relation to the famous philosopher, is a Danish far-right white supremacist, eugenicist and activist for legalizing child pornography. Since 2014, Kirkegaard has attended the far right, London Conference on Intelligence at University College London to deliver pseudoscientific lectures on controversial eugenics, hereditarianism and race. The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors Kirkegaard as part of their online hate watch.
Another popular, on-line, white nationalist publication is American Renaissance started in 1990 by Jared Taylor.
The Occidental Observer is edited by Kevin MacDonald, a retired psychology professor. The publication was described by the Anti Defamation League as “a primary voice for anti-Semitism from far-right intellectuals.” MacDonald also is the director of the American Third Position Party or “American Freedom Party,” a White nationalist party.
Another significant white supremacist is the Irish-Canadian Stefan Basil “Not an Argument” Molyneux. He founded Freedomain Radio, a podcast on philosophy, politics, religion, science and relationships. In June 2020, Molyneux’s Youtube channel, which had 930,000 subscribers and 285 million views as of October 2019, was removed from the platform for hate speech. His Twitter account had more than 475,000 followers as of June 2020, but was suspended as of July 7, 2020.
A popular voice on the far right is Brett Stevens who edits the blog, Amerika.org, a far right site. Anders Breivik, the neo-Nazi, who murdered 77 in a 2011 terrorist attack in Oslo, described Stevens’ writings as inspirational and Stevens then described himself as “so honored to be so mentioned by someone who is clearly far braver than I.” The site opposes diversity and human rights and adheres to the replacement theory that claims that whites in the U.S. and Europe are intentionally being overrun by immigrants and people of color. The theory has been used as a rationale by mass shooters in the U.S.
Michael Coombs is a British neo-Nazi and white supremacist whose day job is an an online private English teacher for Asian children. Coombs is the co-founder and administrator of the alt-right conspiracy theory website Rightpedia which was shut down in 2018 for posting obscene imagery of child abuse. Coombs is active on the Kiwi Farms thread with nearly 1,000,000 views. Kiwi Farms is an American Internet forum dedicated to the discussion of online figures and communities that often harasses others.

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer