"Is Race Real?"

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Christian Sodomy, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. Christian Sodomy Registered Senior Member

    The reasons people say otherwise:

    1. Religion
    2. Members of a non-white/non-asian race
    3. Liberal morality
    4. "Conservative" (Liberal) morality
    5. Oversocialization

    An excellent intro to oversocialization and its consequences:

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  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    IQ testing does not at all support intelligence difference between races: testing on the same race but in different cultures showed their IQ were effected by the culture, not the race.

    You cannot sort people in 5 different races because there are to much variation inside of those five common categories. Genetically 5 races do not exist and if you sorted genetically as such you would end up with people of different races mistakenly under the same category (for a example a white man genetically mistaken for black) if you sorted by hundreds of breeds of humans you would be more accurate but there would be the problems of hybrids.
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  5. Inquisitor Registered Senior Member

    I should mention that testing was performed in the United States- so is not plausible that large cultural differences were involved in the results.

    One may point out the predominantly impoverished races would probably score a low IQ. But this logic is backwards. Statistics show that socioeconomic status follows from IQ, not the other way around. Moreover, impoverished people of high IQs in all races fair a pretty good chance of escaping poverty.

    I do not see why people are reluctant to accept the evidence. No one is suggesting that anyone is in any way limited by the genetic mediocrity of his or her race. No one suggests that people be judged in accordance with majority tendencies. No one is purposing rascism, that is, an irrational attitude towards individuals based on irrelevant standards.
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member


    The cultural differences between a black man and white man are very different here in the USofA (unless your foolish enough to believe racism no long exists) Black people being poorer and less educated on average to their white counterparts. It is impossible to tell if it was they being stupider or centuries of racism that leaves them impoverished.

    What are you saying then? what "one race on average is stupider then another"? Sure I will believe that, but it’s not genetic. There is too much genetic variations between member of a "race" and there are to many cultural factors.

  8. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Though unfortunately I don't remember the name, there was a segment on 60 Minutes in the early 90's about a private foundation that gave grants to qualifying black single mothers to move from the inner city to the suburbs.
    The program was an unqualified success. Once they were living in a middle class suburb, and going to a middle class school, the children became culturally middle class. They generally did well in school, with a high percentage going on to college. The single mothers were successful themselves, getting job training and decent jobs.

    The lone voice against this program was a University of Chicago Sociologist who felt that the price of success required the families in question to give up too much of their "blackness". I guess he associated being successful with "acting white".

    People forget how just a few years ago their were many laws requiring racial separation in this country. The inertia of racial prejudice cannot be overcome in just a couple of decades.
  9. Ghassan Kanafani Mujahid Registered Senior Member

    Christian Sodomy
    How about because lack of genetical exclusiveness ?

    But what I am curious about , is teh races you can present as real CS . You see I do acknowledge the theoric existance of race , however you surely dont have anything to actualize a theory with .

    I mean you #2 is beyond pathetic , white is a color and Asia a continent wow thsi is like deja-vu I feel I already been here with you once no ? What the hell are those ? And how exactly do these races have relevance on the denial of existence of race ?

    Because a person if of this skincolor or continent he does not acknowledge race as real ? A racist remark , and as some races are excluded a certain superiority valua is given .

    How exactly does that work CS ?
  10. chuck u farley Registered Senior Member


    Well, this particular debate will pop up again and again I think. For those of you who are somewhat new to science, check out reference (3) on the bottom of that sight that WCF posted. R. C. Lewontin is Richard Lewontin. Now, Lewontin is a self-avowed Marxist and a leading player in this race-is-a-social-construct movement. Basically, Marxism doesn't work if human nature is not malleable. So, any evidence that human nature has strong genetic underpinnings is going to suggest, rather strongly, that Marxism cannot work. If you do a Google search by typing in his name and also typing in "science for the people", you'll get a better idea of what he is about. He was one of those who tried to intimidate E. O. Wilson, to try to squelch his ideas, back in the 70's at Harvard.
    I first enrolled in a University back in the 70's when I got out of the service. There were lots of these self-proclaimed communists professors. When the Iron Curtain fell and communist regimes started falling apart in the 80's, these guys began to call themselves "Post-Modernists". This was probably because, whenever they proclaimed to someone that they were a Marxist, they got tired of hearing, "What are you, stupid?".
    This Post-Modernist stuff is all through the social sciences now, Anthropology, Sociology, etc. This debate in the hard sciences now appears to me, after having observed this for 30 some years, to be this Post-Modernist/Marxist movement making inroads into the hard sciences. These guys like Lewontin and his colleagues cherry-pick information that bolsters their argument. And they try to suppress the information that shoots their argument out of the sky. Arthur Jensen, E. O. Wilson, J. Philippe Rushton, Glayde Whitney, and Chris Brand, among others, have all been subjected to ad hominem attacks and sanctions for basically, well, conducting research and reporting their results and conclusions.
    I assume that most of the readers and participants here are interested in the hard sciences, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. I hope that you will all approach science objectively and not fall into the philosophy of guys like Lewontin who believe that nothing in science is of merit unless it can be squared with Marxist doctrine.
    Make up your own minds, as scientists, about this topic. But, check out ALL of the information. Hopefully, you will decide based on the hard evidence, rather than on some social ramifications.
    A good starting point, IMO, for a scientist who is interested in this debate are these:

  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    chuck u farley

    Well that’s nice Ad Hominem: just because the guys a marxist does not mean what he saying is wrong, you should attack the structure of the article and not the author.
  12. chuck u farley Registered Senior Member

    Hi WCF;
    Well, my characterization of Lewontin is, IMO, accurate, and as such is not an ad hominem attack. His science is strongly affected by his ideological bias. As for the joke about the professors being stupid, well, I'm guilty as charged.
    As for the article and its substance. Ok, let's have a look. My criticism was in part that there is only selected information presented to support a premise, while much other info that would possibly contradict the premise is omitted. About those statistics about IQ. I believe they gleaned some of that from Richard Lynn. Now, if one wants a much more complete listing, from which one could draw different conclusions from those of the author of this article, check out "IQ And The Wealth Of Nations" by the same Richard Lynn.
    Then the comment by Carl Brigham about Jews and low intellect. Gould (a colleague of Lewontin and also a hard-core Marxist) in "The Mismeasure Of Man" also mentioned this I believe. But, Rushton expressed doubts that Brigham actually ever said that. Is this true, or is this something akin to an urban legend? I don't know. Can somebody search that out? I keep seeing it in articles by contemporary authors, but have not seen the origin for it. It could be that Gould fabricated this. There are accusations out there that he made up some of the other derogatory information also. Maybe you can run it down?
    Concerning the premise that as people move up socioeconomically IQ scores rise; That is true to a degree. But, Asian students from poor families consistently score higher than affluent whites. And, there are other examples.
    Well, this whole bit about race and intelligence is actually off of the original topic. Besides, I find more interesting the different athletic abilities of different races. That's why I love watching the Olympics, a great celebration of diversity.
    Shall we return to the original topic? Concerning the article about dumb ideas about race. Do you disagree with Sailer? If so, about which ones? And why? I look forward to your comments.
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    well thank you for trying to counter the article I don't think you go the idea of what i was saying though: His ideology is not the issue you have to counter his work to have a legitimate argument. I can say was wrong for Bush to invade Iraq because he obviously did if for war profiteering, but that actually say nothing about it being right or wrong.

    Asian usually have a very stronger work eithic and teach their children to study well and hard and it is well proven that how educated you are effects your IQ score.

    I believe that race is purely a cultural concept (there are physically and genetically no 5 human races, period) and that the merits of the individual are more important and should be looked at first.
  14. spookz Banned Banned

    race can be a scientific concept. draw some new lines by taking into account the latest findings. create new categories, create subraces, dump the term race if you want (population group alpha?

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  15. chuck u farley Registered Senior Member

    Well, WCF, apparently we cannot discuss whether or not there is a biological basis for race as we are both applying different rules in the debate. I certainly agree with you that the merits of an individual are more important than that person's race when considering them for employment, friendship etc. But, that isn't the issue here.
    It's a shame that this always seems to go to the black-white issue. I don't think that Asians in general are saying that race is just a social construct. I'm a Caucasian and my wife is Oriental. I told her once that race was just a social construct, and how it's biologically meaningless to identify race. She kept waiting for the punch line. She thought I was making some kind of joke.
  16. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    Gone for a long time... sorry.

    Didn't mean to leave this for so long. My apologies.

    I noticed when I'd got back that Chuck had got off on quite a tear about the scientific value of race and mentioned a number of examples... later on in the forum we got back to some old tried and trues like IQ. Let me address these seperately because I think Chuck's biz has more merit.


    Look here guy, I wasn't saying it was a social construct. I agree that different people are different and that you can probably prove that they are. What I'm saying is that individual variation is probably wide enough to defeat any kind of standardized "race" test in the long run.

    Forensic genetic testing in the US (of the type you're talking about) compares the DNA in question to several series of pre-tested individuals who supposedly represent normalized racial groups - the idea being that if enough people of a similar background are put together they will form a sort of racial average against which an individual can be tested to see if s/he belongs or not. This is somewhat different from the sort of DNA testing people usually think of which compares two individuals. As a result there is rather more risk of false results from the wide testing than from the individual one, because the very decision as to whether one person's genetic profile is enough like the average to fit them into a group is sort of a judgement call.

    As for your chance of inheriting a tendency to have a disorder or be susceptible to a pathogen... that's great for groups, but the genetic background is made up of groups of INDIVIDUALS.

    As an individual you're either susceptible to the pathogen or not... either you have the disorder, or you're a carrier, or you don't. You don't inherit a tendency; that's garbage. If you know what the specific allele is, then you can be tested for it. If you don't, you can't. If you come from a group of people that have a "tendency" to have a problem, which means that more of them than usual verifiably have the problem, then you should probably be tested for the problem. If you can't test for it, then I guess you're out of luck, and you can try and take preventative treatments or not as the apparent risk and your personal inclination dictates. However, it is perhaps helpful to note that in most hospitals genetic testing for a disorder is only routinely performed on people who have some ancestor with that disorder.

    I categorically refuse to discuss the levels of testosterone or any other hormone in human beings. Much of the research related to hormone activity that I've been directed to in the past were studies of creatures like spotted hyenas. Generally these studies drew NO correspondence between the action of that hormone in the animal and its action within humans. Those correlations were made later in response articles, which generally contain no findings of their own and are conjectural rather than solid research.

    Now, with respect to advantageous alleles becoming fixed in a relatively short time; that's nice, but all that it means is that once an allele has come into the pool, it'll tend to become fixed if it's advantageous and disappear if it's not. You have said nothing about the frequency with which new alleles (that is, viable ones with some kind of phenotypic expression that represents a selective advantage) appear spontaneously in populations. So let's drop that one, since all that it seems to say is that if you put two groups of people together they will quickly become the same.

    Also, any fact or tendency that has been demonstrated in other organisms, be they fruit flies, plants, or green ankled flibber fish, does not necessarily (or even probably) commute to human beings. That's why, after all of our research into curing cancer in mice, we can now cure almost any kind of cancer... in mice. We're still kinda stuck with humans. I'm not criticising cancer research, mind you, only your present line of reasoning.

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    So, I'm not saying that all of these examples that you've mentioned don't relate to some kinds of physical phenomena, but rather that people's interpretation of the results can vary widely for the same physical occurrence (witness, for instance, the many things that serotonin is blamed for). It does not matter whether it is the fault of the scientists themselves or the giant mob of sociologists and cultural anthropologists who try to use each new scientific study to bolster their screwy pet theories; most of the science that we see in the news is vastly misinterpreted.

    As such believing that genetic/racial profiling produces "true" results is foolish, because they only relate to statistical tendencies in the numbers that people choose to pay attention to;

    Believing that a disorder is related to your background by anything other than isolated similar parentage is a bad idea, because the disorder itself is not passed on as a member of a group of traits - each allele is passed on individually, and so you might inherit the disorder but little else from your parent's phenotype;

    Believing current conventional wisdom on human hormones is largely putting your faith in unproven sociological theory;

    And believing that the population genetics of flies has anything to do with human physiology (as with Nature's "gay flies" article) is not a good idea unless you have some kind of supporting proof.
  17. Christian Sodomy Registered Senior Member

    Marxist academes have made themselves a terrible reputation for doing just that.
  18. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    IQ testing...

    OK. Now for the other stuff.

    Anyone who puts forward IQ testing as a proof of other people's stupidity is only demonstrating their own. Alfred Binet actually warned us, poor guy, when he developed his IQ test - said he was worried that it would be used for discrimination, when he actually wanted it to be used to provide more productive focus in the education system.

    Since most people here are quite educated I don't need to truck out the usual arguments that IQ tests are culturally biased; however, those who use the test to distinguish genetic background are making a wonderful new mistake - trying to reify intelligence as a genetic trait.

    We often hear this - the most prevalent example I have heard being the recently mentioned Asian = smart &c business. (In Japan the suicide rate goes up around entrance exam time... hypothetically speaking, if all of your least successful students kill themselves, does that represent a cultural phenomenon or a genetic one? This is a trick question.)

    The conclusion that we must obviously come to is that certain people are smarter than other people, and some like to surmise that this comes from genetic factors.

    Now, to return to Chuck's prior arguments about advantageous alleles becoming fixed quickly in populations... if there are people who are smarter and people who are not so smarter, then this must mean two things:

    1) The smarter people have developed within an environment that selects on (that is, kills) people who are less smart - hence, it is beneficial in this environment to be smart.

    2) The not so smarter people have developed within an environment that selects on people who are more smart - hence, it is benificial in this environment to be stupid.

    However, this is only a sidelight to the real problem.

    People claim that an IQ test returns a number that indicates how smart the testee is. It rates their intelligence.

    This is garbage. Intelligence is not a thing that you can measure like the length of your toenail. A person who is terrible at math may nonetheless play the violin with great skill. Many great authors have attested to their inability to make money. The multivariate manifestations of that "trait" confound our ability to measure it as a single thing, and so it is generally reduced to one of its facets - math, linguistic comprehension, spatial relation.

    As part of a more complex view, it is sometimes wrongly assumed that all of the applications of intelligence can be tested and help to form a unified score of a person's intellectual ability. This is still a failure of reasoning, since the things that we are testing are invariably special cases; however, most IQ testers believe that their single mathematical/linguistic battery of questions will accurately determine the intelligence of any human being.

    This is a stupid belief. Please do not bring it up again.
  19. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    Of course there are different races and they are 'real' in the sense that the people of each race have their own cultures and traditions. Race is an idea, as real as anything concocted by the brain.

    Traits, such as high IQ, high EQ, high athletic ability etc. are traits in individuals and not subject to race.
  20. Inquisitor Registered Senior Member

    You have given no evidence in support of this position. I am willing to admit that IQ exams contain a certain amount of unintentional bias, particularly in the lingual area- but the majority of the test involves rudimentary logic and puzzle solving. These problems are certainly capable of assessing a person’s mental competency- this is hardly an arguable point now at days.

    I do not understand why this is so. There are obviously enough factors to distinguish physical appearance between various races. Why can’t intellectual ability be applicable to race as well?
  21. chuck u farley Registered Senior Member

    Hi BBH:
    That was a helluva rant, eh? That was the day someone brought that Italian coffee into the lab. That business about the social construct was aimed, not at you, but at the previous posters who put up that sort of stuff.
    IMO, your points about the limitations of genetic testing point more to the present state of that particular technology than to anything else. As those databases expand, and the technology itself improves, the confidence intervals will improve I think. And, that's how these things should be considered, in terms of statistical probabilities for a person in a particular group, don't you agree?
    Their is considerable information out there that the respective major races do co-vary in testosterone levels. That same Richard Lynn that from fetus' referenced article has some articles relating that to r and k selection.


    And I agree with your statement that genetic/racial profiling does not produce "true" results. But it can make predictions that are highly accurate. The degree of accuracy will continue to improve. There's a lot going on in this area of endeavor.
    I gotta disagree with you about relating studies in fruit flies etc. My point was that the basic genetic dynamics in sexually reproducing populations are the same. Alleles approach fixation, etc. even though the physiology of the various creatures differs considerably. Time frames may vary, but the fundamental processes of Evolutionary Biology are essentially the same.

    The stuff about intelligence etc. always seems to barge into a debate like this. I think that's where the emotional histrionics begin.

    Nobody ever got emotionally overwrought with guys like Clausen, Keck and Hiesey when they identified ecological races of Artemisia on a mountain slope in the western U. S. But, mention humans and race in the same sentence, and people tend to get bent out of shape.

    What I'm going to do is this. I'm going to continue to look at and enjoy observing the diversity of humans on the planet. When I next watch "The Gods Must Be Crazy", I'm going to enjoy the adventures of the protagonist, a member of the Khoisan race. I'm going to watch West African linebackers and running backs this fall, and Germanic and Slavic and Ugric interior lineman struggling in the interior line. I'll admire that different kind of intelligence that a point guard displays with the quick decision making skills on who he will pass to. I'll enjoy seeing those Kenyans come in 1-2-3-4-5 in the marathons.
    And I'll continue to read through the scientific literature , occasionally reading about another development that further rocks the race-is-only-skin-deep crowd back onto their heels.
  22. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition...

    Actually it is still arguable in my opinion; the fact that the mistake is 80 or 100 years old doesn't mean it's not a mistake any more.

    The burden of proof is on those who believe in the IQ test. The proof that is required is some demonstration that intelligence is a thing that can be quantified and measured like height and weight. I have not yet seen strong evidence that it can, but I have seen widespread misuse - both historical and relatively current - of IQ tests, both malicious and unintentional.

    I believe that the misuse is endemic, because it does not follow a priori that intelligence is something that can be rated with a number. It is a single semantic term for a large array of interacting mechanisms that are most definitely not a single thing. As a result, any test which aims to reduce intelligence to a linear measure constitutes a misjudgement of its subjects.

    However, in this case what I believe is not important because I don't have to prove that you don't know something - you have to prove that you do. So... why do you think intelligence can be adequately represented by a number?

    I think the second quote is from WCF, so I'll leave that one alone.
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Predictions base on race are not highly accurate at all. Again I think the problem is the difference induce by culture are assumed genetic, a difference in the eye lobe, darker or lighter skin and we assume a whole range of mental and physical qualities from that be it accurate or not. What if I were to tell you that Blood type effects a person personality and physical characteristics? What does that sound stupid? What if I said that being Black, White, Asian, Hispanic or Aborigine also effects you mentally and physically?

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