Evolution and Race

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Matthew Brady, Jul 21, 2010.

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  1. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    This is my first post on the forum, and I apologise for its length, but it is an emotive issue so one I wanted to do justice, as well as explain my rationale for wishing to discuss it. I hope this will be a constructive debate that will not end up generating more heat than light, so to that end please refrain from personal attacks or emotive irrelevance, and stick to logical, reasoned responses. That said, I have no intention of preaching to a choir and fully expect and welcome post disagreeing with and challenging my position. Anyway, on with the topic...

    What reason is there to believe humans to be equal?

    In particular, what reason is there to believe that human populations that have evolved and adapted in different regions of the world should be equal? Is there any reason to suppose that human populations found in all regions of the world should be biologically equally with respect to all non superficial attributes, in particular, with respect to intelligence? And yes, by human populations in different regions of the world, I mean the different races (I will discuss the validity of the term later).

    I should state at the outset that while my views are undecided, which is in part why I wish to discuss the issue, I have read some arguments both the hereditarians like Jensen or Rushton and the environmentalists like Nisbett and Gould and personally find the arguments of the hereditarians more compelling (though I do not claim to be any great scholar on this issue). I do not pretend to come to this issue with no prior dispositions or leanings, but I will give fair hearing to good arguments.

    I wish to address this topic for two reasons. Firstly, I have graduated recently and I am searching for jobs, and invariably, I will encounter some reference to equal opportunities in any lengthy application process, the public sector jobs in particular being quite open about preferring minority candidates, and in some cases excluding white applicants from applying. The tacit assumption underlying such “positive” discrimination (positive is a euphemism, all discrimination entails preferential treatment of one group relative to another) is that all races are naturally endowed with the same capabilities for every role, and therefore any underrepresentation must necessarily represent a social injustice that must be corrected.

    But what if this assumption is wrong and some ethnic groups on average are simply not as well suited to a particular role as others? What if, for example, black people’s underrepresentation in professions that require a high level of intelligence, such as being a doctor or barrister, is the result of a naturally lower level of average intelligence amongst black people relative to members of other races? If this were true, then attempts to increase representation might well simply result in giving opportunities to less well qualified black candidates who are not the victims of an injustice but simply not as talented. And curiously, this need to correct underrepresentation is rather selective. White people make up 90% of Britain’s population, but they make up a far smaller proportion of our professional footballers and have virtually no representation in our sprinting teams at the Olympics. These are highly desirable, well remunerated careers, yet the underrepresentation of whites is not seen as a social injustice that needs to be corrected. We seem content here to simply accept that black people are naturally better. So why is impossible to propose that there are some areas in which white people are more naturally capable?

    If positive discrimination is correcting for natural differences, not social injustice, then positive discrimination is itself highly unjust, denying the best candidates opportunities because of the colour of their skin. And ironically, we do this in the name of racial equality. Further, it is socially suboptimal, as we do not get the best people doing the jobs, but simply the brownest. And I for one would find it very little consolation that the incompetent civil servant who squandered tax payer’s money or the incompetent doctor who failed to adequately treat his patients was brown rather than white. I am not saying all minority candidates are subpar, or that good minority candidates should not be employed, but I strongly feel that people should employed on merit, not pigmentation. Given that the assumption of racial equality is tacit in the implementation of several of our social policies, not just positive discrimination, shouldn’t we at least have a serious discussion about the issue with reference to evidence, not simply assume equality?

    My second reason for wishing to discuss the issue is that debate on this issue is very strongly taboo; to question the assumption that different human populations must not differ in any socially important characteristics is to be publically vilified and face serious consequences with regard to your career and even sometimes the law. I take issue with this taboo for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is pure moralistic fallacy to state that the notion the races might not be equal is immoral and therefore wrong. Morality has nothing to do with it. Whether or not the races differ in average size, strength or intellect is a matter of truth or falsehood, not good or evil. It would make no more sense to argue that the races must be equal as a moral position than it would to argue that the genders must be equal as a moral position. I doubt if anyone would say it is right or fair that men generally are stronger, quicker and have greater stamina than women, but no one would say it must therefore be untrue that the genders differ in this manner; people simply accept that is being true, whether it is fair or not, because that is what the evidence indicates.

    Moreover, if an issue cannot be openly and candidly discussed from all positions and viewpoints, there is little chance that the truth of the matter will be obtained. The desire to suppress a particular argument stems from the fear that people will find that argument compelling. After all, if an argument was manifestly false, what difficulty would there be in showing it to be so? The fact that the hereditarian view of differences in racial outcome is so heavily taboo is in my opinion, very telling; if it was obviously false, people would feel no more need to suppress it than they would need to suppress the view that the earth is flat. If the egalitarian position goes unchallenged, it is free to make assumptions and claims that are implausible, and is likely to come to inaccurate conclusions. Orthodoxies are unhealthy because when they are mistaken there is nothing to challenge and correct them. Even if the egalitarian position is found to be broadly true after a frank and rigorous debate, the egalitarian view will be more refined and ultimately more accurate if it has to compete against and address the arguments made by hereditarian thinkers.

    If there is one place where controversial issues should be able to be discussed freely, it is academia, but even here we find the taboo is highly pervasive. One of the most prominent hereditarian academics, Rushton, who has done extensive research into the issue of race and provides well supported and well reasoned arguments and has been frequently published in respected journals, has been vilified and caricatured repeatedly for stating his views, as well as coming under pressure to resign from his academic post. Nobel prize-winning James Watson did have to resign his post after suggesting in an interview that there may be variation in average levels of intelligence between human populations in different regions of the world. Contrast these reactions to the reaction that is likely to meet an academic who professes a belief in God, inspite of there being absolutely zero evidence to support that existence of a supernatural creator the universe, or indeed, any evidence to support the existence of any supernatural phenomena; generally, such a claim is unlikely to provoke any controversy at all. Whether true or not, at least the claim that different human populations might differ in intelligence lies with in the realms of possibility and sanity; we know for a fact that between species, intelligence varies massively, so genes clearly can affect a difference in intelligence. In my view, the claim that the universe was created by a supernatural being, without bothering to account for how it is that such a being came to exist or indeed why there is no evidence of any supernatural force whatsoever, let alone one able to create entire universes, is a far greater affront to clear, rational thought and reasoned logic, things that academia should place great emphasis and value upon, than any belief in racial differences. Yet it is a belief in racial differences, not a fantasy about some magic man in the sky, which is most likely to jeopardise your credibility and career as an academic. I do not suggest that the religious should be barred from academia; we should encourage free debate and the exchange of ideas. However, if we can tolerate religious delusions in academia, we should be able to tolerate the substantially more reasonable view that intelligence, or indeed any other attribute, may vary between human populations that have evolved in different regions of the globe.

    Anyway, having given a rather lengthy explanation of why I wish to discuss the issue, I will begin by first putting forward a point which I have never heard a convincing reply to from environmentalists, not because I want the satisfaction of “winning” an argument, but because I think the point is an important one and a good answer to it might be integral to me making my mind up on the issue. I won’t discuss empirical evidence in this post as it would take forever to even summarise all the areas of evidence and how they should be interpreted, though I am happy to address individual issues related to evidence later if the thread goes in that direction.

    The argument I want to put forward was expressed eloquently by James Watson:

    there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so

    We know that there is some degree of evolutionary separation between human populations in different regions of the world; variations in pigmentation alone prove this. For example, the humans that migrated out of Africa into Europe developed paler skins, because high levels of melanin went from being a necessary protection against the high levels of radiation from the sun to a harmful burden that excessively inhibited the synthesis of vitamin D3 in an environment where radiation from the sun was much lower, thus also making the same levels of protection from radiation unnecessary. Thus the difference in pigmentation between white people and black people represents a biological difference brought about by evolving and adapting to a different environment. We find similar instances of differential evolution between the races, reflecting their different environments, with regard to disease resistance, metabolism and many other characteristics. As we know that there has been sufficient time for evolution to bring about biological differences between human populations in different regions, what reason is there to suppose that evolution has not also acted to bring about differences in socially important characteristics such as intellect? You would only anticipate intellect to evolve identically if the reproductive value of intelligence was identical in all environments. This, I would argue, is highly implausible. Different environments pose different challenges and will make differing demands on the human mind accordingly. In some environments, complex social interaction, or ingenuity in manipulating objects and the surroundings may be more valuable than in other environments. This would result in a difference in the selective pressure placed on intelligence. Moreover, the reproductive value of intelligence will not only be determined by its own utility, but its utility relative to other characteristics. Therefore, in order for the overall reproductive value of intelligence, or any other socially important characteristic, to be the same for human populations in all environments, it would have to be the case that the selective pressures on ALL characteristics were identical in every environment that humans have evolved in. To believe that this is the case is, in my view, utterly absurd, especially as we know for a fact that several characteristics have evolved differently in different human populations. Holding such a view strikes me as believing that which has the greatest emotional appeal, rather than that which reason and logic would tell you to be true. The term liberal creationism does seem appropriate.

    From this line of reasoning alone, we can see that not only is there no good reason to believe that equality between the races can be assumed, but that there is good reason to suppose that there very likely is some variation between the races in characteristics, including those characteristics that are socially important. This on its own says nothing of the magnitude of the differences, or which race should be most endowed with what characteristic, but it does strongly suggest that the conviction held by many that human populations in every region of the world are equal in all respects that are socially important is very likely to be wrong. There is nothing in evolution or biology to sustain the belief that while we might have evolved differently with regard to traits that are relatively superficial, such as skin colour, facial features, susceptibility to certain diseases etc. we cannot possibly differ with regard to traits that matter a great deal, like intelligence. Evolution is an unconscious process; it has no sense of purpose, no sense of justice. It will not have made us equal to avoid unfairness. If humans in one region of the world found intelligence more reproductively beneficial than humans in another region of the world, they will probably have evolved to be smarter, and no amount of sense of injustice or outrage from humans in this day and age is going to change that.

    Finally, I will discuss the argument that race is a social construct and not a scientifically valid concept. The first thing to say is the common misapprehension that race being a social construct means that there is no real biological variation between different human populations is wrong, and manifestly so. Differences in physical appearances between human populations in different regions represent real biological differences, and as I have already argued, there is no sound reason to assume that this is the only way in which we differ. The concept of race refers to a real biological difference. Now it is true that there is a social aspect to the concept of race, and racial categories are defined somewhat arbitrarily. People whose ancestry is predominantly sub-Saharan African are called black. People whose ancestry is predominantly European are called white. Neither Africa nor Europe represent regions of biological homogeneity. There are differences between east and west Africans, northern and southern Europeans, so the decision to place all Europeans in one racial category and sub-Saharan Africans in another is an arbitrary decision, and done partly for social reasons; people define their race by the biological characteristics common to the group they belong to and predominantly associate with. If there was a large degree of social separation between Scandinavians and Celts within a society, they might well be defined within that society as belonging to biologically distinct groups, with either the concept of race, or a close equivalent. Nonetheless, though the lines may be drawn somewhat arbitrarily, these racial categories do denote consistent and reliable biological differences. Geneticists find that the races to which people identify are consistent with groups of genetic clusters, such that a geneticist can identify the race to which a person self identifies with nothing more than a DNA sample very reliably (roughly 99% accurate). Indeed, DNA and skeletons (even if incomplete) can and are used to identify the race of an individual frequently in forensic science. Skeletal structure and DNA are clearly not social traits, they are biological, so to assert that race is purely a social construct is simply untrue.

    Ironically enough, although race being a social construct is usually used as an argument that the concept can be safely ignored, at least with regard to biology, the opposite is true. If race had no social aspect, if people did not tend to identify with, associate with and feel greater affinity for people whose ancestry is more similar, race would not matter nearly as much as it does. We could simply treat individuals as individuals. The fact that people are socially conscious of race, are concerned about the outcomes of people belonging to their racial group, and do feel injustice at perceived inequalities between racial groups, means that race matters. If people were not socially conscious of race, they would be concerned with their own welfare and the welfare of those close to them, concerned about whether or not they individually were treated fairly. Without the group identity of race, even if there was biological variation between the people from different continents that resulted in differences in social outcome, these differences in outcome would not be a source of tension or create a sense of injustice. It is precisely because people do have a racial group identity, because race is in part a social construct, that it is important to explore what the racial differences are, and what people have a right to perceive as unjust, and what people need to acknowledge as the result of natural variation. Thus the fact that people are socially conscious of race only strengthens the case for investigating the biological differences between the races, so we know which social outcomes are genuinely unjust, and which are simply the result of biology.

    If there are consistent biological differences associated with racial categories, then it is perfectly possible that some of these differences could be of real social importance. I personally do not find it adequate to simply dismiss the concept and say it isn’t valid, if biological differences between the races have significant social consequences. Race as a concept does not fit the taxonomical definition of a separate species, but that fact does not stop racial differences being important. The notion that by some conceptual slight of hand, eliminating the concept of race from human discourse, we can resolve the problems associated with race is absurd. If, for example, Africans are generally less intelligent than Europeans, simply stating that there is only one race, the human race, is not going to stop black people being less intelligent than white people. All it will do is remove from our vocabulary a concept by which we may refer to the biological variation between these two groups, which is deeply unhelpful.

    So unless you can conclusively prove that there are no aggregate biological differences between human populations in different regions of the world, or you can suggest a better concept for referring to such differences than race, please refrain from the silly argument that “race is not a valid concept” or “race is a social construct, so we can ignore it with regard to biology”. These are not serious arguments. They are simply trying to close down a debate on issue by prohibiting the use of the language necessary to discuss it. That is nothing more than conspiring to remain wilfully ignorant of an issue by refusing to discuss it.

    Thanks for reading if you got this far, and look forward to hearing your responses.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Well sure, it's possible.

    It's just that there is no evidence that any of the observed inequalities - and they are few - correlate with the sociological "races" - except skin color, of course.

    "Black" people as defined in the US, for example, are not even a genetically coherent group - they do not share a common evolutionary history, or a common genetic lineage that collects them apart from "white" people. There is no reason to expect that they would share any evolved "inequalities" as a group, and no evidence that they do so.
    Sure there are - skin color being by far the dominant one.
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  5. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Well I didnt address the evidence in my first post, but I would argue that the claim you make here is simply not true, and is simply an assertion, one which you havent attempted to support with any evidence. There is substantial variation found between the races, Rushton's "Race, Evolution and Behaviour" finds a large number of characteristics that vary between the races, consistent with differing degrees of adaptation along the r/K spectrum between different human populations. And some of those differences are important, not least, intelligence, for which the evidence is in my view overwhelming, and environmental explanations alone are inadequate. For a lengthy analysis of data that suggests that there is a difference in intelligence observed between the races, and that this observation is predominantly the result of genetic factors, read the following:

    h t t p : / / w w w . u d e l . e d u /e d u c / g o t t f r e d s o n / 3 0 y e a r s / R u s h t o n - J e n s e n 3 0 y e a r s . p d f

    (remove all spaces from the address, i have too few posts to be allowed to post links on this account)

    In particular, I find the results of transracial adoptions, comparissons between poor white households and welathy black households, as well as evidence relating to regression to the mean very hard to explain through environment alone.

    Except of course people who self identify as black can be very reliably identified from DNA alone as being black as has been stated. If there was no greater genetic similarity between different groups of africans than there is between africans and europeans, how could they be very reliably distinguished from europeans from DNA alone? Yes, as I already acknowledged, africa does not represent a region of human biological homogeneity, but there is a degree of internal biological coherence in the category, else it would be impossible to reliably predict which people self identify as black from DNA alone. If black people were as dissimilar from each other as they were from europeans, as you claim, then it wouldnt be possible to reliably distinguish between black people and white people from DNA. You would be as likely to attribute a different racial category to different black people as you would to black and white people.

    That said, you could legitimately categorise different regions of africa as biologically distinct groups. These would represent more precise and specific groupings, and would be preferable, were it not for the fact that data is collected using self identification for race, so we have little data specific to say ghanians or zimbabwians, whereas we have plenty relating to black or white. I would argue therefore, that when discussing the evidence, it makes most sense to discuss with relation to the categories we actually have data for.

    In any case, with regard to IQ data at least, dividing up the broad category of "black" into smaller regional categories doesnt make an awful lot of difference, as the IQ variation across subsaharan africa simply isnt very large, mostly in the region of a few points. Similarly, the IQ scores of black people in western countries do not vary much depending on the particular country they came from, and regardless of country, the social outcomes of black people are worse than those of white people on average.

    Again, this is a totally unsupported assertion.

    Also, you didnt actually address the main argument I posed, which I shall briefly restate:

    Given that human populations have evolved in different environments, which will very likely have had different selective pressures, including different selective pressures on socially important attributes, what reason is there to suppose that human populations in different regions should have evolved identically with regard to such characteristics? Indeed, isnt it very likely that they will have evolved differently, in accordance with their different environments?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    We haven't been apart from African populations long enough to make a significant difference. The fact is that disease and malnutrition, as well as lack of education, especially in the early years of life, can make permanent negative changes to the brain. Averages do not count. If some Africans are supremely qualified for some position, all Africans are theoretically able to accomplish the same. We are all the same species. Furthermore, very few people are pure anymore. Even people that look like one race or another have genes that reveal past interbreeding. Lots of African-American women were raped by their white "masters". So, the current inequalities can be far better explained as social differences due to generational poverty.

    Futhermore, even if biological differences exist, it's unethical to translate them into negative political consequences. I know plenty of dumb white people, and they all deserve to vote, they all deserve the same rights. We should also compensate for past prejudices in an effort to share our prosperity with all minorities. To do otherwise is to invite social disorder and ultimately collapse.
  8. baftan ******* Valued Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum. However, try to keep your posts shorter than this. Many of your expectations (refraining from personal attacks etc.) are either mentioned in forum rules or depends on interpretation (what is "logical, reasoned response"?)...

    Shortly, any reason you can come up with. Now let's follow the details:

    We all share same DNA, would you accept this?

    Question: What does "different regions of earth" means? Why not "the same planet and same background? You see, if you want to "separate", you can even divide same individual within himself/herself; it's all about "intention".

    If you are very keen on justice, you should first check out the percentage of non-white population in your country/city/region and compare it to the percentage of representation of this population within the job sector you are applying for. Then ask yourself how can we improve the adaptation of non-white population to the social system if we do not compensate the harms from previous generations.

    Hmm. Is there any method to discover the "natural lower level of average intelligence?". Do you know such a scientific method?

    What if these numbers actually represent social opportunities rather than talent? In States, you will see that runners are from black communities while swimmers are from white communities. Is it because of the differences between racial oriented talents, or because of the opportunities provided to these social divisions. This is important as we might need to develop a separate class for "mixed races" (US presidency maybe). It's an eye catcher if your eye is trained to see the difference between skin colour. And living in societies where we are trained to see these differences, I can understand that...

    Here is the thing: If your country is represented by all black sprinter team and you collect the medals, your country will benefit because of giving opportunities to black people. And nobody will complain. But this is not the case. The problem is this: How can you "naturally" determine races, and again, how can you "naturally" measure the talents of these races?

    Overall this topic is one of the most complicated one, I admit. And the complication comes from deep clashes between nature and our "interpretation of nature" (aka "social"). Imagine the old times: When slaves were from black people no one was complaining by saying things like "ooh, all slaves are black, how can we sure that slavery talents of white people are well represented?". We have designed a new civilization depending on a new understanding. On the one hand we can not leave our social justice and order to the hands of nature; otherwise we shouldn't have protected ourselves from natural disasters or attacks of wild animals or diseases. On the other hand, nature plays crucial roles on our existence as it creates different climates, different skin colours and ape judgement skills to interpret these "differences". What will our intention be? That's important.

    What is a race? If you really serious on nature and its core mechanism, you should ask science and see that we all share same human DNA among all these "different" populations you are talking about; in other way of saying this, we are not like tigers and lions when it comes to genes; we are like white chickens and brown chickens, that is to say, produce same eggs. So I can easily claim that race is nothing other than a social construction, an illusion.

    And if you honestly measure the differences between humans in terms of strength, size, intellect, etc. you will end up saying this: Every single person is different from one another. Or ask this question: What if we separate them depending on gender? If you construct such a grouping method, you will see that a black woman share more features with a white woman than a black man. What happened now? It's collapsed, isn't it?

    And none of these discussions are taboo any more; as you can see, we are discussing it, globally. Yet we can not construct our core social structures (such as opportunities) on arbitrary -yes arbitrary- divisions. This is not allowed for a good reason.

    You see, if you keep saying that we shouldn't ignore different opinions and discuss them to reveal the "true nature of things", I will simply ask this: "where are these serious arguments?" If there are some serious arguments, evidence or another study, please submit them alongside your ethical expectation on how we should be openly discuss.

    These people you named did not develop anything scientifically worthy in subject area. Watson might have cracked the structure of DNA, but that doesn't make him an authority to speculate on race relations in our society. A scientist may find the differences between certain groups depending on his/her classification; but the meaning of this classification as well as the implications will be judged by others.

    Winning of which argument? You have to first clarify what you understand from a "race"; how we should classify "mixed" people according to your method of classification; how we can isolate individual issues from wider social, cultural and historical environment and for me the most importantly "political" atmosphere ( I don't even start to mention geographical conditions).

    Eloquently? He talks about geographically separated human beings on this planet. He talks about geographical differences will make such a deep evolutionary changes that will cause intellectual capacity differences. He talks about human social system should match natural "implications". And I ask this: Who will decide on this, who is the authority and on what basis (natural or political)? There is nothing natural in human societies. Even the most elementary issues such as eating, sleeping or shitting depends on complex human social codes. "Natural" is an extremely arbitrary category for us. Practically impossible to apply to anything whatsoever.

    Skin colour differences, yes, so?

    Could it be because what you call "intellect" has nothing to do with skin colour?

    Therefore, a person who lives in seaside is different than people who live in cities, villages, mountains, desert, poor family, rich family, educated environment, and so on and so for. Why don't we make everyone live like ant colonies and engage in same job within the same climate conditions, consume same food?

    Above quote is actually your answer. But you get a different conclusion out of this, that's why I have been saying that the most important thing is intention (politics) in this issue, let's see:

    What is appropriate then? I mean according to your reasoning and logic:

    Stay right in here: Socially important! Ask the question again: What is social, what is natural?



    This is the second time you are equalizing intelligence issue with skin colour. And I simply ask this: What is intelligence then? If you admitted above that there are many complicated factors play role in intelligence mechanism, how can we equalise it with a sun burn?

    But humans must have a sense of justice being different than this "evolution"...

    Just a reminder; we humans do not organise our societies, understanding of justice or our other selective systems according to neither chaos nor the order of nature and evolution.

    That's already what you have been doing all along.

    Problem is not the "differences" as we are all different from one another. Problem is, how do we interpret these differences? What kind of values do we impose using them?

    When you use a word for these biological differences as "race", you already construct them socially. Because when it comes to "who deserves what in a given society?" question, which is the social arena you must admit, you will use this word and the implications behind it. We are not trying to create a "perfect, super society"; actually, our "perfect" society understanding doesn't and/or shouldn't depend on "finding correct biological talent for correct social positions"; no, not at all. If this was the case, I would demand to get rid of 90 percent of all people all around the world as they do not deserve their positions, (starting from top positions). Our "perfect" society, or near "perfect" society must include "not leaving anybody behind", "compensating previous mistakes", "preventing injustice" and things like that. Nature didn't make us humans, it brought us until some form of apes. We humans have developed a unique system against all natural odds and now here we are. So the same nature, or its colour codes will not play any role on our social organisations.

    Let me put it differently: I know the trick of nature now (DNA). What if I start to play with it and make 8 feet tall blue and green people? What is the nature going to tell about it?

    This is not an irony, this is the ape heritage of nature that we are trying to get rid of.

    Thus this is an empty assumption.

    The same argument, replied above... That's why I recommend to summarize your ideas in shorter arguments.

    You are asking for a "conclusive evidence" for a nonsense.

    Keep it short please...
  9. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    This claim is manifestly false. Evolutionary seperation has lead to differences in skin colour, facial features, disease resistance, metabolic activity, duration of pregnancies and rates of maturation, bone structure, bone density, developement of sexual organs, fat and muscle mass levels, average height and several other physcially measureable characteristics. There is no reason to believe that differences in mental qualities should take any longer to emerge than differences in any one of the above attributes, let alone all of them.

    That is true. it is also true that black people living in western europe are not malnourished (they are actually more likely to be obese) and not riddled with diseases. Moreover, transracial adoption studies show that black children raised in affluent white families perform basically the same black children raised in a more typical black environment. Similarly, east asians who normally perform better than whites on average still perform better when adopted by white families. So why is it that when they are raised in the exact same environment as their white adoptive siblings, differences in average IQ still persist?

    I am sorry, but this is simply illogical. Yes there are exceptional black people, but that does not mean that averages dont count and it certainly doesnt mean that all black people can achieve the same. The typical black person is no more able to achieve what Neil deGrasse Tyson has than the typical white person is able to achieve what stephen hawking has. There is substantial natural variation in intelligence in every group, not all people are the same. And if your argument is that some black people are smarter than most white people, therefore white people cannot be smarter than black people on average, then answer me this:

    Does the fact that Lindsey Davenport is taller than most men disprove the claim that men are taller than women on average? Because that is about the logical equivalent of what you are arguing.

    I never claimed we were not members of the same species, that would be absurd. Nor do i deny there has been substantial degrees of racial mixing. About 20% of the ancestry of black americans is actually european. However, the fact of the matter is there is still a very substantial degree of separation of ancestry between whites and blacks. White people will have a far larger proportion of european ancestors than black people do on average, therefore what differences evolved between europeans and africans will still be much in evidence between white and black people today, even if not quite as large as they used to be.

    Well not really. If you look at the evidence, when you adjust for IQ, you do not find a whole lot of difference in social outcome. That is true within races as well as between races. The independant effect on social outcomes of IQ is far stronger than the independant effect of parental social class; in other words, low IQ causes poverty far more than poverty causes low IQ. This was demonstrated clearly by the research published by herrnstein and murray, which conducted a thorough analysis of data from a represntative sample of over 11,000 (contrary to popular belief, most of the bell curve didnt address race at all, a topic which accounted for only 4 of 22 chapters).

    And when did I ever suggest that racial differences should be used as the basis for legal discrimination? Infact, the only actually policy recommendation I endorsed (or rather, stronger hinted at favouring) was an end to affirmative action, which would actually be entail treating people the same.

    Of course I acknoweldge that differences in IQ between the races cannot be a pretext for denying legal rights any more than differences in IQ within the races. I am simply arguing we shouldnt actively discriminate against white people on the unproven assumption that all races are biologically identical and therefore any differences in outcome must be the fault of whites being racist. A claim that is made inspite of the fact that black/white differences in outcome are the same in america, canada, britain and every other western society even though the history of racism in these countries vary very significantly. Also, virulent anti semitism doesnt appear to have held back the jews does it? No, inspite of the holocaust, as well as persecution throughout history, they perform much better than whites. And I doubt its mere coincidence that the average IQ of askenazi jews is 113.
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    No one is discriminating against white people on that assumption. Affirmative action only assumes social inequalities. Furthermore, Jews and Asians have ingrained cultural values towards education that African-Americans tend to lack (for good reason).

    Too many other factors to make any conclusion. Adopted children had an inherently bad start in life. The black environment is usually disadvantaged.

    Yes it does. If blacks were inherently deficient mentally, then no black people could achieve success in intellectual fields.
  11. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    Very good post.
  12. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    Hehe. My niece is half black. She's intellectually gifted, in the honours classes in every subject at school, and regularly gets awards.
  13. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Well given the length of the rest of the post, this disclaimer didnt do much to extend it

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    No, because it is untrue. I accept that as a percentage of total DNA, the ammount in common between the races is very high. But the same can be said of wolves and the domestic dog, who share 99.8% of the same DNA, can reproduce fertile, viable offspring, and are biologically the same species. But this doesnt stop there being very significant physical, mental and behavioural differences between them. Indeed, we share nearly all our DNA in common with chimps (98%), yet arent even able to reproduce with them. So simply stating that a high percentage of DNA is shared in common between humans in different regions of the world is no real argument in favour of equality. As a percentage of DNA, a person with cystic fibrosis is virtually identical to everyone else, but you wouldnt say the tiny percentage difference there is doesnt matter. Percentage simarlarity says little; what matters is what genes differ and how those genes in common are differently expressed.

    Because saying "the same planet and same background?" is utterly absurd. Being on the same planet does NOT equate to sharing the same background or the same selective pressures, or that you will have evolved the same. If you want to know how organisms evolve differently, you need to look at their different environments, amongst other things. If you are trying to insinuate that I have some "sinister" intention, my only intention is to debate the issue with regard to the relevant points, such as the differences in environment.

    And yes you can look at individuals as individuals, but like it or not, people are socially conscious of race and care about their racial identity. That fact (as a stated near the end of my post) means we cannot simply ignore the concept of race and look only at individuals. If people have group identities and there are agregate differences between such identities, then people will want to have an explanation as to why these differences exist. Black people will not be content with "dont worry about black people underperforming generally, just think about yourself" and neither would any other race. So as we need explanations, I think we should endeavour to get the right ones, and that means addressing all relevant issues.

    If you are keen on justice, then the first thing you need to understand is the CAUSE of outcomes. As I said, it is a very different situation if black people are underrepresented due to social injustice than if they are underrepresented due to a real difference in natural ability. I never said racial differences should be assumed to exist, I simply said they shouldnt be assumed to not exist, they should be investigated. Only then can you know what the appropriate response to differences in social outcomes is.

    Well one of the best proxies we have is IQ data. It certainly isnt a perfect measure of natural intelligence, but nor is it pure environmental. Between races, nearly all academics accept that within races, IQ is about 75-80% heritable. The dispute is between racial groups. However, there have been many studies conducted to test IQ whilst holding environmental variables constant, and racial differences do not go away:

    h t t p : / / w w w . u d e l . e d u /e d u c / g o t t f r e d s o n / 3 0 y e a r s / R u s h t o n - J e n s e n 3 0 y e a r s . p d f

    (delete spacing)

    See above link for the likelihood that race differences in IQ are environmental. As for why white people are better swimmers, theres little doubt its genetic. White people have naturally larger chest cavities as an adaptation to colder climes (it increases the volume to surface are ratio, which amkes white people better able to retain heat). Similarly, black anatomies are naturally more suited to running; they aquire muscle mass more easily (having naturally higher levels of testosterone, studies find 19% higher than whites on average, hence high incidences of prostate cancer amongst black americans, which you can google yourself), body fat less easily (warmer climes), and their bone structure is naturally better suited, as they have narrower hips. Also, what is there in black american culture which explains why they are more able runners, and why are blacks more able runners in every culture, the same as in the UK for example. And in the UK, blacks are 2-3% of our population, whereas 90% of the population is white. Yet virtually every single top sprinter we have is black. Even if black culture encouraged training to be a sprinter more than white culture (and I see no reason why it would), it is unrealistic to claim that so few white people will be passionate about running relative to black people that they have fewer sprinters inspite of being 45 times as numerous.

    Race is determined by self identification in the vast majority of cases. And geneticists find that these self identifications are very consistent with genetic groupings to the extent that they can predict race from DNA alone very reliably, as I have already stated in the first post.

    As for the part about my country being represented by all black sprinters and winning all the medals etc. I dont really understand what youre trying to say here, its a bit confused. However, I am not remotely upset about black overrepresentation in sprinting. They are naturally better sprinters, they deserve the places on merit. Giving slower whites a leg up would be a complete farce. But I find it eqully silly to give a leg up to blacks over whites who have better qualifications (and the difference is often huge, the SAT results of asians is FAR higher than that of blacks on average in the top 20 american universities, close to 2 standard deviations, such that the average black student would be equal to a student in the bottom 6% of the asian distribution. The black white difference is nearly as large). It is socially suboptimal and blatantly racist, and perversely declared to be in the name of racial equality. Further, it devalues the achievements of blacks who genuinely deserve them, as there is always the suspicion of positive discrimination linked to their qualifications, whether deserved or not. Employers find that blacks given jobs or places through affirmative action perform worse, and will adjust their hiring practices accordingly, either by giving token positions in none jobs, or with smaller companies who dont need to worry about PR so much, simply avoiding black employees.

    I do not deny the importance of environment in outcomes. Black people have faced discrimination and this is part of what accounts for their outcomes. But other groups have faced discrimination too, and even have manged to surpass whites. The jews, for example, have suffered the most appaling discrimination, and they arent overrepresented in crime and poverty. Quite the opposite. To a lesser extent, the same is true of north east asians, though their discrimination hasnt been as severe nor their success as remarkable as in the case of the Jews. A comparrison of IQ scores does offer a clear explanation however, jews score better than north east asians who score better than whites who score better than blacks. And as shown in the link a gave you, the preponderence of evidence does, in my view, suggest that environmental explanations for these differences simply dont stack up. You can controll for basically any environmental factor you like, and it makes little difference to the racial differences.

    Race, as I have conceded, is somewhat arbitrarily defined. There is continuous biological variation between human populations all over the world, so breaking up humanity is a somewhat arbitrary exercise and the categories are influenced by social factors. Nonetheless, the variation is real. And all biological classification is somewhat arbitrary. For example, if we go back to our most recent ancestor that was defined as a different species, at what point did we decide our ancestors were no longer the same speices as us, and came up with a different classification for them? It wasnt when there was a sudden magical transformation, it was at an arbitrarily chosen point along a contious and gradual evolutionary progression. The fact of the matter is, you do need categories to make sense of biology, and categories are determined somewhat arbitrarily. We cannot simply say we lie on a spectrum of continuous variation, therefore should all be classified as the same. By that logic, you shouldnt differentiate between ANY biological organism.

    Gender is an instructive example. We can say for example, that all individuals vary in height, and that some women are taller than most men. By your reasoning, this would "collapse" the generalisation that women are shorter than men because "Every single person is different from one another". Which is ofcourse nonesense. You can acknowledge where the genders overlap without pretending there arent real differences between them. The same is true of race.

    And yes is many characteristics, black women have more in common whith white women than black men, but gender variation and racial variation are two separate types of variation, the two concepts can coexist. To take your argument to its extreme, there are many ways in which female humans have more in common with female chimps than with male humans, in certain aspects of anatomy, and in the social function they are likely to perform in a group. Does this "collapse" the notion of species? Its a fatuous argument.

    They may be permissable to discuss on an anonymous internet forum, but youve got to be kidding me if you think that there is no taboo surrounding race. Why did a nobel scientist have to resign his post for mentioning it? And no, it had absolutely nothing to do with him advocating racial separation, or anthing of the sought, he made no polcy recommendations at all, he simply stated it was possible that there may be natural variation in intelligence across the globe.

    Many academics have done work on the subject, and I specifically said I was not going to discuss evidence in my first post, because it would take too long (you already have complained my post is too long, now you say it should have been longer?) . Anyway, I have already given you a pretty detailed link (an article published in a highly respected academic journal) in this reply. You can read that for starters. And if you place a burden of proof on me, then I ask the same of you. Show me the empirical evidence which supports your claims.

    Actually, one of the people i mentioned has contributed enormously to this area, he is one of the most prolific researchers in the area. You may not like his conclusions, but that doesnt make his work unworthy. And since when did james watson have to be an expert on race to have an opinion without being sacked? Thats an absurd standard to set to be able to voice an opinion on something. Also, he is hardly a novice on the issue, the cofounder of DNA has reasonable authority to voice an opinion on how evolution may have lead to genetic difference between humans in different environments.

    Ive already stated what is refered to by race earlier in my reply. As for mixed race individuals, half their ancestry is accounted for by people evolved in oe environment, and half from another (or whatever racial mix they may be). So, you would expect them to exhibit biological characterisitcs intermediate between their two parent races. And that is exactly what we find in the empirical evidence, in outward appearence, and in IQ scores, as well as other areas.

    As for isolating the biological factors from the social factors, its not very hard at all. As with all other areas of science, you controll for the variables you dont want to examine, holding them constant, so you know they arent responsible for any variation in outcome. This has been done with regard to race and IQ many times. Again, read the link.

    And again, you hold me to a higher standard than you do yourself, you make vague reference to social factors, without clearly defining what they are, how they impact on outcomes, and how to separate them out from biological factors. There is no reason to place a lower burden of proof on the environmentalist position.

    Well thats a very nice and pious rant, but its irrelevant. Watson's point was there is no reason why humans geopgraphically separated in their evolution should have proved to have evolved identically with regard to intelligence, or anything else. Geographical separation means different environmental challenges and therefore different selective pressures. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of evolution can see that this would like lead to genetic differentiation. That was the point he was making, and your remarks about "who decide" completely miss the point and dont refute a word of what he said.

    Its a genetic difference. If that can differ genetically, why not anything else?

    Youre missing the point, I am not saying skin colour directly cause variation in intelligence, I am saying that if we have evolved differently with regard to skin colour, why must it necessarily be the case that we havent evolved different in terms of intellect?

    I never said there was anything wrong with living in the same environment did I? I simply said if you are separated environmentally for a long time, you are likely to evolve differently. Your argument is again irrelevant.

    Erm, again, youre not at all clear hear. What specifically is my answer, and to what question? That paragraph you quoted has several clauses, any one of which you could be referring to, and I honestly have no idea what question you are referring to here.

    Well i would say that from reason and logic, you would conclude that populations evolving under different selective pressures would evolve differently. I dont really see how it can be logically maintained to say they evolved the same.

    I am saying natural variation can be socially important. I suppose we can debate over what is and is not socially important, but few people would claim that intelligence doesnt matter.

    No I am not equating intelligence with skin colour, you are simply completely misunderstanding my argument. I am not saying that black people have different skin colour to whites therefore are less intelligent. I am saying that if we could have evolved differently with regard to skin colour, and all the other things i mentioned, then why not intelligence? You havent refuted this argument at all, youve refuted and argument I never made.

    And I never said humans should be blind to justice like evolution. But again, you miss the point, evolution is not a conscious process, therefore we should not expect its outcomes to be just. My point was we should not engage in the moralistic fallacy of saying "it is only just that intelligence is equally distributed across the races, therefore intelligence must be equally distributed across the races". Such an argument is totally illogical. Reality and morality are separate. Yes, we should have a sense of morality, but that does not mean that we should believe what is moral to be true with regard to matters of objective fact. The existence of aids isnt very nice or moral, that doesnt mean it isnt so.

    I am not saying we should build our society about darwinian principals, but I am saying our society should acknowledge reality. If the races are unequal, it is folly to build social policies that assume they are equal. It might be nice if the races were equal. Then again, it would be nice if public services could be sustained without taxing people. Does that mean we should not tax people? Forgive me if that sounds like a straw man, but the logic is basically the same.

    No I havent, ive been discussing racial differences under the assumption that race was a tenable concept. This was the point where I justified that assumption.

    How exactly can we interpret the differences or decide what values to address them with if we dont know what the differences are? So yes, the differences themselves are important. You cant sensibly address an issue untill you have a clear understanding of what it is.

    This again is tangental to the point I was making. The only point I was making was that the categories of race that we self identify do correlate to a consistent set of genetic differences, therefore race is valid as a biological concept, even if there is a social influence in the formation of the categories. You havent refuted or even addressed that point.

    Unfortunately, you are rephrasing an argument that was in the first instance irrelavant. How is related to whether or not race is a valid concept?

    Yes it is an irony when people say that race is a social construct therefore we can ignore it in biology when in actual fact it is precisely because people are socially conscious of race that we need to have a good understanding about what the racial differences are. As for getting rid of the concept of race from the social consciousness, its doomed to faliure. People are tribal by nature in my opinion, they are always going to form group identities. Deal with reality as it is, dont pretend we live in an idealised fantasy world. Yes we can change human behaviour to some degree, but its not infinitely maleable. You are never going to get people to love the children of others as much as they love their own. You are never going to stop humans being basically selfish. Both of these have been attempted and have failed (communal child rearing and communism respectively). Attempts to get people to ignore race have also all failed, and every country trying to do it today is failing. Race cant be made not to matter, so we need to have a good understanding of how it does matter. That requires us to acknowledge racial differences. I could be wrong, the races could be equal, but we should at least investigate the evidence seriously, and you for one havent put forward a single compelling argument for why the races are likely to be equal.

    How is it an empty assumption to state that we should know how the races differ before we base social policy on the assumption that they are identical? That seem like a perfectly logical argument to me. The only statement empty and deviod of content is yours; you say my "assumption" (it isnt an assumption, its a line of reasoning) is empty, without giving any explanation.

    The same argument, replied above... That's why I recommend to summarize your ideas in shorter arguments.

    To be fair, I appologised at the beggining and explained why it was going to be a lengthy post. If you dont like that, theres nothing compelling you to read it, so theres little point in objecting to it.

    Also practice what you preach, your own reply was hardly a masterclass in berevity and concise prose, and if you address as many points as you have in your response, how on earth do you expect me to keep my response short?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  14. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Positive DISCRIMINATION, as the name implies, is discrimination. The basis for differential treatment is race. To say this isnt racial discrimination is like saying hitler wasnt anti-semitic.

    As for jews and asains, if it is their culture which causes them to outperform whites, then why when adopted by white families as babies and raised in a "white" culture do they still perform better than whites? And why is it that while asians perform better in visiospacial reasoning, they perform worse in the verbal component, and this remains true even if they speak english as a first language, and even if the tests are adapted by east asian pyschologists into the native tongue? The hereditarian would say that they are naturally better visiospacially, and slightly worse verbally, averaging higher overall, which is perfectly logical. But there is no logical reason why having a strong cultural work ethic would hinder verbal reasoning.

    Please dont selectively quote. The full quote was:

    "Moreover, transracial adoption studies show that black children raised in affluent white families perform basically the same black children raised in a more typical black environment. Similarly, east asians who normally perform better than whites on average still perform better when adopted by white families. So why is it that when they are raised in the exact same environment as their white adoptive siblings, differences in average IQ still persist?"

    The part about east asians you simply omitted from your quote, and if you had included it, it would be clear that your argument that adopted children are disadvantaged is inadequate because it would imply that adopted east asians would perform worse than whites yet they actually perform better , the exact opposite of what your argument would predict (and adopted white children also perform the same as other whites, not lower). This was even true of malnourished korean babies adopted in belgium, so they started life with a clear disadvantage, as malnourishment surpresses brain developement, and still surpassed white children raised in the same environment.

    I never said that all black people were mentally deficient, indeed i never used the term deficient at all. I suggested that the evidence indicated that black people were less intelligent than white people ON AVERAGE. That does not preculde the possability of highly intelligent black people at all. And you again quote selectively, simply ignoring the argument I made which is relevant to this:

    "Yes there are exceptional black people, but that does not mean that averages dont count and it certainly doesnt mean that all black people can achieve the same. The typical black person is no more able to achieve what Neil deGrasse Tyson has than the typical white person is able to achieve what stephen hawking has. There is substantial natural variation in intelligence in every group, not all people are the same. And if your argument is that some black people are smarter than most white people, therefore white people cannot be smarter than black people on average, then answer me this:

    Does the fact that Lindsey Davenport is taller than most men disprove the claim that men are taller than women on average? Because that is about the logical equivalent of what you are arguing."

    Try addressing that point.

    Also, please answer this point, which was my central argument:

    "Given that human populations have evolved in different environments, which will very likely have had different selective pressures, including different selective pressures on socially important attributes, what reason is there to suppose that human populations in different regions should have evolved identically with regard to such characteristics? Indeed, isnt it very likely that they will have evolved differently, in accordance with their different environments?"

    If you cannot give a satisfactory answer to that, then how can you assert with any confidence that they races are equal in every important respect?
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Other people have much less trouble doing that, but the point is moot: the DNA complexes involved do not independently correlate with the sociological races.
    Who differ from each other more than any of the sociological races, as groups, differ.
    That's not true.

    What is identified via DNA is geographical origin - the presumption of race made by that identification is by way of sociological considerations: there is no particular DNA complex that a priori identifies one of the sociological races.
    Relying on garbage because you don't have any good data is not recommended.
  16. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Tell me, does the fact that lindsey davenport is taller than most men disprove the claim that men are generally taller than women? Because that is the logical equivialent of you arguing by saying that your mixed race niece is intellectually gifted therefore disproves the notion that black people are less intelligent than white people on average.

    The inability for people to grasp as basic a concept as an average never ceases to amaze me.
  17. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    To say it's discrimination implies that it is tanamount to various social movements based on hatred of a race, and that is ridiculous. White people have seldom had a disadvantage due to their race in America, whereas black people have. The legacy of this is lingering, and must be corrected before true (socio-political) equality can be achieved.

    Perhaps because of the context of culture. They face fewer problems because they don't look all that different than white people.

    Culture can influence how people think. Perhaps Asians place less emphasis on verbal skills.

    You can't say the environment is the same. Family is not the entire environment.

    There are all kinds of disadvantages. Perhaps Asian children that are malnourished are nevertheless less neglected intellectually. Also, children are generally adopted by people of the same race, so whatever environmental or cultural advantages are enjoyed by that race are also invested in the adopted children.

    So here is one possible explanation:
    Overall, blacks and white share the same capacity for intelligence in their gene pool. But, in Africa, there are different selection pressures, notably nutrition. The brain uses a lot of energy, and so less intensive use of the brain would be an advantage during times of famine. Therefore, those kinds of brains became more common in favor of other factors. This might be a relatively recent selection pressure, perhaps due to climate change. This would result in a lower average intelligence, but no significant difference among intelligent individuals. Genetic traits are, of course, not permanent, and vary in frequency in the gene pool. They can also change rapidly given changing selection pressures, such as with beak length in tropical island birds, which can vary from season to season. Europeans enjoyed a good climate and adequate nutrition for the most part in the past centuries, so more intensive use of the brain would be an advantage. What this means is that in modern times, when selection pressures favor intelligence, the gene pool of people of African descent will begin to resemble that of Europeans in their average IQ. Masking and confusing this effect are the effects of social prejudice and hatred of the Other, misguided social policies causing generational poverty, and drug abuse (which can have genetic components), and disease (which can also be genetic and have implications on IQ). There is every reason to believe that given the same social environment, blacks and whites can be equal intellectually. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel", by Jared Diamond outlines other reasons why Europeans got a head start on the advances we now know characterize as modern civilization. we should not discount the environmental factors that might have led to those genetic changes. This implies that given the same environment (which Africans have only had access to in the last 400 years or so), the same genetic changes would be preserved by natural selection (or superior ones). Intelligence is not always an advantage, or else we would see more intelligent animals, and stupid animals would have all gone extinct.

    It is reasonable to assume that different selection pressures would result in different frequencies of attributes in the gene pool. Is it reasonable to assume that modern selection pressures would eventually erase these differences?

    I would also add that average IQ numbers between the races cannot tell you whether an individual candidate is more or less qualified for a job. On average, Kenyans make better runners. But does that mean that it's only kenyans that win races? Not at all. If you were an olympic running coach and decided to pick only kenyans, you could very well overlook some outstanding runners of other nationalities. That is why it is wrong to judge any particular individual based on the average qualities of their group.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  18. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Except they do. You are simply making a baseless assertion here and ignoring the plain fact that DNA is used for racially identifications in forensic science. There is indeed a fairly famous case where it was used and has been widely adopted since then:

    h t t p : / / w w w . w i r e d . c o m / s c i e n c e / d i s c ov e r i e s / n e w s / 2 0 0 7 / 1 0 / d n a p r i n t

    This is simply counterfactual. As I have already said, geneticists can identify people who will self identify as black, regardless of where in subsaharran africa there origins lie, and distinguish them reliably from people who self identify as white. Now if the difference between different black populations was greater than the differences between whites and blacks, you would surely find that geneticists could more easily distinguish black people from other black people than they could from white people. Also, its simply illogical; the common ancestry between different black populations is more recent the common ancestry between whites and blacks, and the geographical separation is less substantial, so the rate of genetic differentiation between different black populations would have been slower than between white and black populations, as the differences in selective pressure would have been smaller. These two factors would act in tandem to make the genetic differences between separate african populations smaller than between africans and europeans.

    I believe they use something called genetic drift. And yes, it links certain gene clusters to certain geographical regions. But racial differences are the result of genetic differences between populations that result from evolution in geographic isolation from one and other. Which means that our sociological racial categories are identifiable by genetic information associated with particular regions. Which means our definition of race linked to biological (which genes clearly are) differences between human populations in different regions of the world. And these biological differences are evolved. This is clearly supportive of a biological definition of race. It makes no sense to say that race is purely sociological, yet can be identified reliably from purely biological data.

    Except it isnt garbage. The studies into racial differences in IQ have been very comprehensive, controlling for many different environmental factors (none of which makes a great deal of difference to the results) and have been conducted with very large samples in many several cases, and the results from these studies are remarkably consistent. If the data were "garbage" then we would expect to see wild fluctuations in results from measurement error alone.

    Also, you conveniently ignore the point that dividing the category black up into smaller groups would do very little to change the observed differences in IQ and social outcome, so with regard to IQ at least, using categories more specific than black or white is hardly necessary, as the greater specificity of the groups wont change our observations very much at all. And lets be honest, even if we did define more specific categories, people on the left would still say they are too general and incoherent, they arent valid, so we must continue to pretend that the races are equal untill some unreachable standard is achieved.

    And you also choose to ignore my central argument at the second time of asking, so lets see if we can get third time lucky:

    Given that human populations have evolved in different environments, which will very likely have had different selective pressures, including different selective pressures on socially important attributes, what reason is there to suppose that human populations in different regions should have evolved identically with regard to such characteristics? Indeed, isnt it very likely that they will have evolved differently, in accordance with their different environments?

    Now if you cant give any answer as to why socially important attributes should not have evolved differently in different regions of the world, then you would have to concede that biological variation between different populations is a legitimate issue. That being the case, what better concept than race have we to discuss this issue? If you cant suggest anything better, yet insist on race not being used, you are basically telling us to ignore an issue that is of real importance. It is better to discuss issues with imperfect concepts (and all concepts are imperfect, the distinction between modern humans and the species we evolved from is arbitrary, but I doubt you would say we shouldnt make that distinction) than not to discuss issues at all.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Because of patterns in the characteristics of adopted children within a deeply racist society that key on sociological race?

    Because the key factors in developing IQ in children - imperfectly correlated with "intelligence" as it is - depend somewhat on the sociological race of the child, within a deeply racist society; that adopted children of different races are seldom, if ever, raised in the "same environment"?

    Or several other similar possibilities, that would normally be handled by identifying the "race" by its inherited, evolved strings of characteristic DNA associated with this or that apparent characteristic trait, independently of any cultural norms.

    Not by attempting to embed such bullshit within the very parameters of inquiry.
    Sure. Now all you have to do is quit talking about the sociological races as if their origins were coincident with these different "environments". You can't get much different than the environments of Somalia, Kenya, Micronesia, the Belgian Congo, and South Africa.
    Almost any relevant "concept" would be better than something as corrupt and pernicious as the current US sociological races. Try shoe size. Gluten allergy. Iris reaction time.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  20. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    No it doesnt. Discrimination basically means identifying 2 more groups and treating them differently. That is why when you target people at random you are said to be targetting people indiscriminately; your behaviour is conducted without regard to the properties of the target. Positive discrimination (which according to you isnt discrimination inspite of having the word in its title) identifies people as belonging to a particular racial group and then treating them differently according to which group they are identified as belonging to. I can even give you a dictionary definition:

    an act or instance of discriminating.
    treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
    the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
    Archaic . something that serves to differentiate.

    Definition 2 is most appropriate here. And youll notice it makes no mention of social movements having to be involved in discrimination. It simply states that treatment is based on group identity rather than individual merit.

    Are you seriously arguing that asians do better because people cant distinguish them from whites? They are obviously different. And this would only account for them being less disadvantaged against than blacks, even if true. It cannot explain why they perform BETTER than whites.

    Except the original argument was that asians are more studious. Now youve just decided upon another explanation without any supporting evidence at the drop of a hat. And what evidence is there at all that asians care about maths a science but not linguistic subjects? You seem determined to support any explanation no matter how dubious, so long as its not genetic, without giving a single reason why we would expect all races to have evolved identically. Anyway, this trend emerges when asians are raised by white families, and so would be immersed in a white culture, which you presumably believe to place greater value on language. So why do they not perform any better at all under these circumstances verbally? And why not less well visiospacially?

    Its a very significant part. And it also determines their social circles outside of their immediated family particularly in infancy (which you specifically stated was a crucial stage) and their school environment which will account for a huge chunk of their time untill they are adults.

    So even if family is not the whole of the environement, it surely stands to reason that children adopted into white families have a much "whiter" environment than other members of their race, and if the racial differences are purely environmental, then even if they did not score identically to whites, they would still score much more similarly than other members of their race, so adopted black would score higher, and adopted asians would score lower, than other members of their race. This doesnt happen. The scores are the same.

    Unless ofcourse the environmental factors have nothing to do with household wealth, parenting, social groups, or schooling. In which case, what environmental factors are at work here? Maybe its divine intervention.

    The adoptive parents I was refering to in the case of the malnourished koreans were white, I thought that you would have guessed that given that it was in belgium. And what are these disadvantages? And you still give no account for why asians, raised in white culture, and with what you percieve to be the disadvantage of being adopted, outperform their white adoptive siblings? How were the whites siblings disadvanted relative to the asians raised in the same home?

    I am sorry but what you are describing is a situation where whites evolved to be smarter because it was relatively more advantageous for them than blacks, which I would say is sound reasoning. You then claim, for reasons I cannot fathom, that this is somehow easily reversable (substantially changing the frequency and distribution of genes in a gene pool is hardly trivial) and that it would also make no difference amongst intelligent individuals. Well I am afraid that yes it would; the intelligence of a population is normally distributed about the mean; if you lower the average, you also lower the number of exceedingly smart people. In fact, shifts in the average have a dramatic impact at the extremes of the distribution, far moreso than in the middle. For example, a 15 point IQ gap between whites and blacks means that there are roughly 3 to 3.5 times as many whites with in IQ over 100 as blacks, but roughly 20 times as many whites with an IQ over 130 as blacks.

    Also you make the entirely erronous claim that in modern times, selective pressures favour intelligence. The correlation between intelligence and fertility is inverse; the better educated someone is (a reasonable if not perfect proxy for intelligence) the fewer children people are likely to have. We live in a dysgenic environment, in no small part due to the welfare state paying the unemployed to have kids. Intelligence may be desireable in terms of earnings and prosperity, but that is mostly irrelevant in a society without abject poverty to rates of fertility.Therefore, populations are not likely to become any genetically fitter with regard to intelligence, the opposite is likely to happen. And even if intelligence did become advantageous again, this wouldnt close any racial gaps; the europeans would become smarter also, indeed, although its fairly awkward to explain, the group with the head start would actually develope faster.

    Intelligence is always beneficial. Its just that depending on the organism you are, it may not be by very much. As things have to evolve gradually, then the benefits of any evolutionary trned must be apparent at each incremenet. Animals that are exceptionally stupid are only going to gain a very marginal benefit by becoming slightly less exceptionally stupid. If you have to rely purely on instinct rather than reasoning, a slight boost in intelligence isnt likely to change that, so yes, for many organisms, the selective pressure favouring intelligence is very weak. However, in the niche that humans fill, intelligence is extremely important. We survive not by being that quickest, stongest, most agile or having the best senses, but being by far and way the best at cleverly manipulating our environment to our advantage. Of course, in the first world, we arent in a survival of the fittest scinareo, but rather, a growth of the most promiscuous and feckless, which unfortunately tends to be the least intelligent.

    As I have said there is no good reason for believing that any genetic group differences are likely to be erased by modern factors influencing fertility. Indeed, they are likely to be exaserbated. The current dysgenic effect will impact most rapidly on the high fertility social groups (generally economically poor) which unfortunately black people tend to be overrepresented in.

    Oh I would absolutely agree here; there is substantial overlap between the races, and where you can judge on individual merit, you should, that was rather my point with regard to positive discrimination

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    . However, when analysing the cause of differences in social outcomes between the races, we need to be realistic about what the causes are. I am not saying environmental factors dont have a significant role, but it is silly to pretend that biology cannot possibly matter.
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    So this begs the question, assuming the premise is correct, what circumstances would lead to greater selection of intelligent Europeans in the past? ...and why don't those conditions exist now? If they don't exist now, then even European intelligence will devolve, where African intelligence will catch up through interbeeding. We may even pick up a few beneficial traits as a species. Black people tend to be immune from Malaria for instance.

    Maybe the tendency for less affluent people to have more children in the industrialized world is eclipsed by the tendency for intelligent people from the third world to flee their circumstances, and thereby gain an increase in prosperity, with all the benefits that entails, such as lower child mortality and modern treatment for disease (and the elimination of tropical diseases and parasites).
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  22. Matthew Brady Registered Member

    Yes, but please explain to me this: Why is it that this presumably white racist society supresses the IQs and socially outcomes of black people, whilst similtaneously bolstering the IQs and outcomes of east asians and jews? It is hardly as if these groups havent faced substantial discrimination. Racism isnt irrelevant, but it cannot account for all of the differences in outcome in my opinion, infact i dont think it account for very much, because the outcomes do not vary a great deal from society to society, even though histories of race relations vary enormously.

    Also, the fact that there is virtually NO difference in outcome between black and asians children adopted into white families and black and asian children in general is fairly hard to reconcile with environmentalist explanations for the IQ gap. Even if we allow that in this society riddled with racism by those evil white folk, minorities still face some environmental disadvantage, inspite of having the same parenting, schooling, material affluence, and cultural environment, it must surely be the case that this environmental disadvantage would be substantially less than if they were not adopted by an affluent white family. Should we not therefore see a significant closing of the IQ gap, even if not a complete elimination? Isnt the fact that this environmental intervention makes almost no difference rather damning for the 100% environmental explanation for the IQ gap?

    I dont pretend to have been the paragon of civility in this thread, such is the nature of passionate disagreement, but let avoid the profanities shall we? I dont spend that much time on forums, but i do spend enough to know that bad language normally precipertates a decline in the standard of debate.

    Again, you are ignoring the fact that sociological concepts of race strongly correlated with consistent genetic differences, that are the result of having faced different selective pressures in their geopgraphical isolation as the groups evolved. No, "black" is not a homogeneous category, you arent going to get homogenous categories unless you reduce them to populations of one. And such categories are going to be utterly impotent in explaining group outcomes.

    Now if it were found that with regard to the characteristic you were studying, the category "black" was such a disparate collection of different peoples that there was no more simarlarity between different groups within the category than outside of it, I would agree under those circumstances, the racial category "black" would indeed be useless. But whether it is the case for other characteristics or not, with regard to IQ there is a relatively high degree of uniformity (it is consistently lower than the european average), and that is likely a significant contributing factor for the poor performance of blacks with respect to most social outcomes. Untill this is acknowledged, we will still engage in harmful social policies that pretend all outcomes would be equalised if only white people werent so goddarn racist, and discriminate against whites accordingly (curiously, no one blames jewish or east asian racsim for white performing worse than them). I dont honestly care if we acknowledge that with respect to specific african groups, or just africans in general.

    As for the alternative categories you propose, iris reaction time and shoe size, how many people form group identities over these traits? People dont worry about whether or not people with the same shoe size as them are successful. People do care about members of their race however, so we need to address what the causes of these group differences are.

    I am not even saying that my word on this should be simply accepted, indeed, I am not certain that all my views on racial differences are entirely accurate (though I have yet to hear a compelling argument that my views are not substantially correct). All I ask is that there can be in mainstream discourse a serious debate on the issue, and not endlessly hear that it cannot be possibly be the case that humans from every region of the world are anything other than absolutely identical.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  23. Ja'far at-Tahir Grand Ayatollah of SciForums Registered Senior Member

    I am Arab, do you think I'm inferior to you?
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