Something which seems to rapidly becoming lost in the recurring arguments for and against Dawkins and rational/scientific rationalism is that this is probably an evolutionary adaptation of what has come before (indeed check our William Shockley, who went from crucial scientific innovation, to popular speaking, to racism: some fairly strong parallels there). The living legacy of scientific racism has never truly been discarded or buried, either in practice or in thinking:
Here Charles Murray, one of the most influential standard-bearers of the Right's campaigns against the post-1960s developments in regards to race and the family, echoes more or less everything the Left has said about 'The White Working Class Community.' Our current elites are too distant and too disconnected to understand 'our decline', and the rest of the populace is too lost without guidance, solved in Murray's view by having the wealthy elite re-instruct us in the grand old ways of the pre-60s. What Murray and the left believe in unison is that the decline of the white working class is a problem of genetics and the passage of time. In 1984 Murray's Losing Ground would advocate reconstruction of welfare in the US; in 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act
attacked those groups Murray and his ilk felt were the cause of the country's decline: mothers and African Americans. Murray has experience in managing what he might call unruly populations: for a time Murray worked in Thailand on behalf of the US government carrying out counterinsurgency studies.
One of Murray's coups and a once ubiquitous for a time in US discussions was the publishing with Richard Herrnstein of The Bell Curve in 1994. Bravely the authors declared they could not ignore the wealth of IQ data which they had accumulated suggesting that America must face the facts: compared to whites, black people were possibly genetically less intelligent. Never-mind the distorted route by which intelligence testing came to find itself perfectly situated at he heart of American scientific racism, how it at the very best should be considered pseudo-scientific, or how it has been one of the most valuable footsoldiers in maintaining hierarchies. The genetic inheritance of intelligence is an area well-worth sniffing around because you never know who'll turn up. Putting their names to 1994's Wall Street Journal article “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” endorsing the views of the Bell Curve were respected intelligence researchers such as Raymond B. Cattell, Thomas J. Bouchard, Hans B. Eysenck, and Robert Plomin: these are not obscure backroom people but (Cattell and Eysenck especially) you will have encountered their ideas in some works training or seminar. Steven Pinker, to whom the world has already been pacified by liberal capitalism with the exception of some unruly outposts, approved this missive.
A figure who hasn't enjoyed a resurgence in popularity along with science pron nerd favourite Carl Sagan but is from the same era is the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. Gould wasn't a prolific skeptic-buster, eager to throw himself into the industry that developed in the wake of Sagan and now has its avatars in Dawkins and co. In some of his last work Gould seemed to find a much better course in the friction between science and religion than his contemporaries preach. What Gould did in books such as The Mismeasure of Man was apply skepticism to ruling doctrines within science and psychology, and came away with what added up to the collusion and deception on a mass scale by eugenicists to forge the data to support their theories. Gould faced criticism for being ideologically driven in the face of the blistering destruction he delivered to the academic racists; usually, when the ideological biases of something are brought up (as Gould himself honestly does in the work) it is to distract from the fact that the entire body surrounding it is being driven by an opposing ideology.