Recommended
comments 423

Superior: The Return of Race Science—A Review

A review of Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini, Beacon Press, 256 pages (May, 2019)

The races differ also in constitution, in acclimatisation, and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct…
~Charles Darwin, 1871, The Descent of Man

Angela Saini’s new book, Superior, is a cautionary tale about the historical legacy, and putative return, of what she calls “race science.” As far as we can determine, there are four main theses running through the book:

  • ‘Race’ is not a meaningful biological category
  • Genes can only contribute to population differences on certain “superficial” traits
  • Studying whether genes might contribute to population differences on non-superficial traits is tantamount to “scientific racism”
  • Almost everyone interested in whether genes might contribute to population differences on these other traits is a “scientific racist”

To be blunt, we disagree with all four of Saini’s main theses, as we shall explain in this article. (Note that since the book is quite poorly structured, and in some places contradictory, it is not always easy to discern what Saini is or is not asserting. Nonetheless, we believe that the four propositions above comprise a fair summary of her main arguments.)

Our article begins by briefly reviewing the strengths of Saini’s book. It then provides a detailed discussion of the book’s weaknesses. We divide our discussion of the book’s weaknesses into two subsections: scientific misunderstandings and logical fallacies. Overall, while Superior is timely and covers a multitude of interesting topics, it ultimately fails to deliver on its core arguments and is likely to leave the general reader confused, as well as misinformed.

Strengths

First, Superior is admirably succinct at a mere 256 pages, meaning that—in principle—it can be finished in a single day. Second, despite not requiring more than a day of the reader’s time, the book does manage to cover plenty of interesting material. To her credit, Saini reached out to experts in a wide range of fields, including some who work at the cutting edge of human biosocial science. During the course of Superior, the reader is treated to commentary from historians such as Evelyn Hammonds, anthropologists such as Gilles Boëtsch, psychologists such as Richard Haier, and geneticists such as David Reich. Saini even contacted several individuals whose views are obviously antithetical to her own (although she does not always interpret their remarks charitably).

In addition to including commentary from these experts, Superior reports a number of rather interesting facts. In Chapter 1, for example, we are told that many indigenous Australians favour the multi-regional theory of human origins over the more commonly accepted Out of Africa theory “because it sits closer to their own belief that they have been here from the very beginning.”  And in Chapter 7 we learn that 90 percent of Britain’s gene pool was replaced in a series of migration events beginning around 2500 BC. This means that modern white Britons are primarily descended from the so-called Bell Beaker people, rather than from the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge.

A third strength of Saini’s book is that she aptly describes how aspects of “race science” have been misused in pursuit of commercial and political agendas, particularly from the mid-19th to the mid-20th Century in Europe. For example, as late as 1907, two million visitors flocked to the Grand Colonial Exposition in Paris, where—among other attractions—they could marvel at one of the “human zoos”: mini-villages set up to give curious onlookers a glimpse into the lives of “primitive” foreigners. And of course, few readers will need reminding that the Nazis justified their genocidal policies of “racial hygiene” by appealing to the supposed superiority of an Aryan “master race.”

Furthermore, Saini points out that it is not only Europeans who have sought to rewrite history, and indeed genetics, for their own political purposes. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that humans evolved in Africa around 250,000 years ago, some Hindu nationalists fiercely maintain that Hindus have no ancestry from outside India. Hence, in order to avoid sparking controversy, one team of Indian geneticists found it prudent to use the euphemism “Ancestral North Indians” when referring to an ancient population with ancestry from the western part of Eurasia.

Scientific Misunderstandings

We now turn to the weaknesses in Saini’s book, beginning with her scientific misunderstandings. The most important of these, which corresponds to the first of her four main theses, is her misunderstanding of race. Although Superior is about the putative return of “race science,” Saini does not actually provide a coherent definition of ‘race.’ In the Prologue, she writes:

No place or people has a claim on superiority. Race is the counter-argument. Race is at its heart the belief that we are born different, deep inside our bodies, perhaps even in character and intellect, as well as in outward appearance.

This definition inextricably binds up race with morality, making it an affront to human dignity and a threat to metaphysical equality. (We will say more about this later).

Saini proceeds to make several familiar objections to a more reasonable and less ethically charged concept of race, contending that genetic variation between human populations is trivial, and that—as one British geneticist told her—human populations can be classified in “any way we like.” According to Saini, human races correspond to “arbitrary” divisions of population variation that are “politically and economically useful,” but that fail to capture the complex realities of genetic diversity. This contention is a common one, officially endorsed by a number of professional organizations and espoused by many celebrated intellectuals. Race is seen as an illusion—one that humans are seduced into believing because they trust the superficial evidence of their senses, and because of their desire to rank and dominate others. (Saini grants, for example, that classifying people by their ancestral continent is something that humans “can often do equally well by sight.”) In reality, however—according to this line of reasoning—genetic variation between human populations is miniscule compared to the variation within them, and what little variation does exist between them is mostly clinal, not discrete.

Despite the popularity of these arguments, they are either false (e.g. the claim that divisions are arbitrary) or approximately true but largely irrelevant (e.g. the claim that variation is not discrete). The first thing to notice about them is that they transform their ostensible target (‘race’) from a humble biological concept into something elaborately implausible or even metaphysical. For example, according to the philosopher Antony Appiah, race is the view that:

there are heritable characteristics, possessed by members of our species, that allow us to divide human beings into a small set of races, in such a way that all the members of these races share certain traits and tendencies with each other that they do not share with members of any other race. These traits and tendencies characteristic of a race constitute, on the racialist view, a sort of racial essence

This, we believe, is consistent with Saini’s difficult-to-comprehend (and somewhat contradictory) view of race as something “deep in our bodies.” Race, in other words, is turned into an improbable Platonic essence, which is then used as a rhetorical piñata to demonstrate the foolishness of those who believe that racial differences are interesting and worth studying.

A more plausible conception of race, one that is consistent with how careful philosophers and geneticists use the term, recognises that:

  • When humans began leaving Africa around 75,000 years ago, they dispersed across a much greater range of environments than they had previously inhabited.
  • The humans that settled in different geographic regions subsequently came under different selection pressures (e.g. temperature, seasonality, altitude).
  • Natural barriers such as oceans (e.g. the Atlantic), deserts (e.g. the Sahara) and mountain ranges (e.g. the Himalayas) impeded gene flow between different populations for substantial periods of time.
  • When there is limited gene flow between populations that have come under different selection pressures, we would expect them to gradually diverge from one another over via the processes of genetic drift and natural selection.

Races therefore correspond to human populations that have been living in relative isolation from one another, under different regimes of selection. This means that racial categories identify real phenotypic differences, and reflect real genetic variation. Despite the various selective quotations to the contrary in Superior, many experts who have urged that we eschew the term ‘race’ would agree with all four of the propositions listed above, even if they sedulously avoid using the term ‘race’ because of its negative political connotations. In fact, Saini herself seems to recognise this point, when she writes in Chapter 6:

The word “race” had been prudently replaced by “population,” and “racial difference” by “human variation,” but didn’t it look suspiciously like the same old creature?

We are not particularly wedded to the word ‘race’ and would be happy to use ‘human population’ or ‘biogeographic ancestry group’ instead. But whatever term is used, the substantive arguments are important, and Saini’s muddled account of human variation deserves refutation.

The primary reason that natural philosophers began to classify humans into different races is that human populations look different from one another. Their skin colors, hair textures, facial structures, and stature all differ, often in predictable ways. Furthermore, these differences reflect their divergent geographical origins. In fact, researchers can classify human variation by continent quite accurately using only data from the human skull. (They are able to correctly classify human skulls into black and white Americans with about 80% accuracy, using only two variables.) Therefore, despite the common charge that racial classification is ipso facto racist, and that most Enlightenment typologies of human variety were motivated by prejudices and a desire to rationalize imperial domination, ordinary people and Enlightenment philosophers also took to classifying human differences for the mundane reason that such differences actually exist.

Of course, for a long time philosophers had no idea why races varied (which didn’t stop them from speculating). We now know that human population variation is ultimately caused by evolution (genetic drift and natural selection), and is proximately caused by genes. Although some modern intellectuals obfuscate, kicking up dust with abstruse arguments so that nobody can see, the simple truth is that genetic evidence strongly supports many everyday intuitions people have about human populations: they are somewhat (not very) different from one another, and while their differences are often geographically gradual (no two races are totally distinct), they are sometimes discontinuous (humans really do group together).

In a well-known study, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues found that human genetic variation largely corresponds to broad geographic regions and, more compellingly, that it closely matches Johann Blumenbach’s 1781 classification of human morphological variation into five races: Caucasians, Americans (Amerindians), Ethiopians (Africans), Mongolians (East Asians), and Malaysians (Oceanians). When Rosenberg’s article was first published, it came under a certain amount of criticism. However, he and his colleagues responded robustly to these criticisms in a follow-up article. Among the most compelling findings reported in their follow-up is that if one samples subpopulations from the five major genetic clusters, those separated by a given geographic distance tend to be more genetically similar if they are from the same cluster than if they are from different clusters. This indicates that, although human genetic variation is mostly clinal, it is partly discontinuous. (Blumenbach’s typology is one of those Saini dismisses as “arbitrary” without offering any evidence or argument.)

In an article ultimately sceptical of the term ‘race,’ the geneticists Sarah Tishkoff and Kenneth Kidd write, “The emerging picture is that populations do, generally, cluster by broad geographic regions that correspond to common racial classification.” Numerous scholars have found similar results, which—it seems safe to conclude—reflect a real pattern of genetic variation that emerged after humans began migrating out of Africa around 75,000 years ago. Of course, human population structure can be observed at multiple levels, and we are not claiming that there is something ‘special’ or ‘natural’ about the continental level.

Nonetheless, Saini consistently maintains that these very same genetic data have dismantled “the idea that race was real,” and that Ashley Montagu’s famous dismissal of race as a pernicious myth “has been vindicated.” They have done this, according to Saini, by showing that most variation exists within and not between major continental populations. Saini defends her interpretation by appealing to Richard Lewontin’s famous analysis of human genetic diversity, and also by appealing to Rosenberg’s study (cited above), which actually found that human genetic variation largely conforms to Johann Blumenbach’s classification. Lewontin’s paper did show that human genetic variation is mostly within and not between human populations. But Lewontin made a crucial mistake when he dismissed the explanatory power of racial classifications. (Saini notes that there has been “one critique” of his analysis, but doesn’t tell her readers anything about it, not least that the critique has given rise to the term ‘Lewontin’s fallacy.’)

In brief, Lewontin ignored the fact that differences among human populations are correlated. Although population variation at any one genetic locus tends to be small, global population structure becomes clear if one examines correlated differences across loci. For a simple analogy, consider men and women’s faces. If one takes any particular characteristic, say nose size, there is likely to be more variation within a sex than between the sexes (and it would be nearly impossible to classify faces by sex with any accuracy using only nose size). However, if one considers all facial characteristics together (which is, after all, how we actually experience human faces), then sex differences become sufficiently clear that an observer can guess the correct sex more than 95 percent of the time.

Notwithstanding truisms about within-group variation exceeding between-group variation, human populations differ in important and fascinating ways. Some differences can be observed at the level of major continental populations, whereas others can be observed at finer-grained levels: accepting that race is a meaningful biological category does not mean ignoring differences between more localised subpopulations. For just a couple of examples: some human populations possess adaptations that allow them to survive and reproduce better at high altitudes (in which barometric pressure decreases effective oxygen levels); while other populations possess adaptations that allow them to digest lactose into adulthood, a trait that many take for granted, but which evolved relatively recently. These differences were not invented by “scientific racists,” and although they stem from small genetic alterations, they are important and worthy of scientific inquiry. Here are several of many other examples:

Admittedly, Saini does not deny that there are some genetic differences between human populations. (She even mentions the Bajau study in Chapter 9.) But she insists that any differences are limited to what she calls “superficial” traits (and a few disease-resistance genes). For example, in Chapter 7 she claims that “no scientific research has been able to show any average genetic differences between population groups that go further than the superficial, such as skin color, or that are linked to hard survival, such as those that prevent a geographically linked disease.” (This assertion corresponds to the second of the four main theses we laid out in the introduction.) Since Saini never specifies which traits are “superficial” and which ones are not, nor why one would make such a distinction in the first place, we cannot be sure exactly what she believes. A remark in Chapter 7, referring to comments made by David Reich, suggests that “superficial” does not simply mean “non-psychological.” Saini writes, “He suggests that there may be more than superficial average differences between black and white Americans, possibly even cognitive and psychological ones” [italics added].

Throughout the book, Saini expresses particular horror at the idea that human populations might vary psychologically, calling it a road that is “paved in blood.” Saini, of course, is not alone. Many scholars have denounced those who have put forward hypotheses about human psychological variation, often contending—like Saini—that the mere act of espousing these hypotheses is dangerous. Because of this, and because Saini’s presentation of the literature and arguments about human psychological variation is highly selective, the theory and evidence relating to such variation are worth addressing in detail.

Contrary to the characterisation given by Saini, humans are just another animal species: there is little reason to believe that they are fundamentally different from wolves, deer, or chimpanzees. Like other animals, their bodies and brains were sculpted by natural and sexual selection. And they vary from one another for straightforward Darwinian reasons. In diverse environments and niches, different selective pressures prevail, favoring some characteristics and disfavoring others. For an obvious example, humans have darker skin in environments with more intense UV radiation than they do in environments with less intense UV radiation. Dark skin appears to protect against folate photodegradation, and light skin appears to facilitate cutaneous vitamin D synthesis.

Given the myriad ways in which human populations vary morphologically, it is reasonable to hypothesize that they might also vary psychologically. Human cognitive processes are not caused by a ‘ghost in the machine’; they are caused by the brain. And the brain is not in some special category, uniquely impervious to selective forces; it is a product of evolution—just like bones, blood, and skin. Therefore, it would be rather surprising if human populations that evolved in different environments over thousands of years had not diverged (to some extent) psychologically. For example, the invention (or discovery) of agriculture greatly changed humans’ relationship with their environment, as well as with each other, allowing for more sedentism, greater population density, and eventually greater social specialization. It probably also rewarded self-control and delayed gratification, because immediately killing animals for food was often less productive in the long run than keeping them alive. Shinobu Kitayama and his colleagues have suggested that even different kinds of farming (e.g. wheat versus rice) selected for slightly different proclivities, which in turn gave rise to different modes of culture (e.g. independent versus interdependent). Nicholas Wade, in his widely (and we believe unfairly) condemned book, A Troublesome Inheritance (2014), made similar arguments and applied them to a variety of cultural differences.

The single most controversial area of “race science” is research into population differences in cognitive ability. When dealing with this topic, it’s useful to step back from any definitive assertion to contemplate a less divisive question: is it possible that human populations could differ in cognitive ability, at least in part, because of their different evolutionary histories? It seems nearly impossible to avoid the conclusion that of course they could. In principle, cognitive ability is no less amenable to selection than stature, skin colour, muscle-fibre density, or any other trait. And there are reasons to believe that some environments may have presented ancestral humans with more cognitive challenges than others (although this is certainly a matter of ongoing scientific dispute).

Saini does not, of course, consider this kind of reasonable argument, and she equivocates about facts that command near unanimous consent within the literature. For example, in Chapter 9 she notes that “much heat still surrounds the nation’s apparent black-white IQ gap” [italics added]. Readers might infer from this passage (and others like it) that researchers have simply posited, and then attempted to explain, an IQ gap that may not really exist. But this is untrue. Psychometricians do not dispute the existence of a 10-15 point IQ gap between black and white Americans; they only debate its causes. Consider what some experts have written in mainstream textbooks:

  • Nicholas Mackintosh: “It should be acknowledged, then, without further ado that there is a difference in average IQ between blacks and whites in the USA and Britain.”
  • Nathan Brody: “There is a 1-standard deviation difference in IQ between the black and white population of the U.S. The black population of the U.S. scores 1 standard deviation lower than the white population on various tests of intelligence.”
  • Earl Hunt: “There is some variation in the results, but not a great deal. The African American means [on intelligence tests] are about 1 standard deviation unit […] below the White means.”

Although the purpose of our article is not to debate the causes of the black-white IQ gap, it is worth noting that Saini’s arguments against hereditarianism (the hypothesis that at least part of the gap is due to genes) are selective, and fail to give the reader a sense of why many experts in the field are in fact hereditarians. To take just one example, she cites Eric Turkheimer’s argument that “in studies of people with the lowest socioeconomic status, environment explains almost all the variation researchers see in IQ, with genes accounting for practically nothing,” and concludes by noting that “for Turkheimer, it beggars belief that anyone should assume that cognitive gaps psychologists now claim to see between racial groups […] could be biological” (Chapter 9). However, even if the effect that Turkheimer mentions were as large as his original analysis suggested, a claim of which we are skeptical, it is irrelevant to the causes of the black-white IQ gap. This is because studies generally find that IQ is about equally heritable in blacks and whites. In fact, equal heritabilities were found in the same sample (but also including non-twin siblings and half-siblings) that Turkheimer used in his original analysis.

Logical Fallacies

On top of the scientific misunderstandings outlined above, the book contains numerous logical fallacies, some of which are rather serious. First, Saini criticises particular sources of evidence on the basis of their origins, a fallacy known—ironically enough—as the genetic fallacy. For example, in Chapter 9 she writes:

By observing the similarities between identical twins, researchers have for decades thought they might be able to discern whether certain traits might be more heritable than others. But twin studies, too, are tainted by a toxic past. Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor who trawled concentration camps for involuntary subjects, had picked out young twins to deliberately mutilate (via amputations) and dissect.

Later in the chapter, she does concede that twin studies might have something useful to tell us, when she writes, “let’s just assume for now that Robert Plomin and his twin studies are reliable.” However, it is unclear what it would even mean for a particular scientific method to be “tainted by a toxic past.” Twin studies are simply a way of partitioning the variation in some trait into genetic and environmental components, a feat they accomplish by comparing the degree of phenotypic similarity in pairs of identical and non-identical twins. Nazi scientists also measured quantities precisely, under controlled conditions. Does this mean that the scientific method itself is “tainted by a toxic past”?

Second, Saini frequently engages in the fallacy of incomplete evidence—commonly known as cherry-picking. In Chapter 5, for example, she gives the impression that any research attempting to “link economic development to intelligence” can only be found in certain “fringe” journals, of which she personally disapproves. However, she fails to mention that such research has been published in leading journals like Psychological Science, as well as in recent books by Cambridge University Press and Stanford University Press. (Note: we are not agreeing with Saini that research published outside of ‘leading’ outlets should be judged less favourably, just pointing out that she doesn’t give her readers the full picture.)

Likewise, she claims that “The Bell Curve [1994] was widely panned after it was published,” and notes in passing that “an article in American Behavioral Scientist described it as ‘fascist ideology’.” However, she fails to mention that 52 researchers signed a public statement in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘Mainstream Science on Intelligence’ which endorsed many of The Bell Curve’s central claims. According to a recent paper dealing with inaccurate coverage of intelligence research, The Bell Curve actually contains “very little information that has since come into question by mainstream scholars” and “most of the book is not about race at all.”

Third, on more than one occasion Saini employs double standards. For example, in Chapter 9, when an Indian geneticist suggests to her that people from a particular region of India might be naturally predisposed to athletics, Saini is nonplussed:

This casual speculation surprised me, coming as it did from a respectable geneticist. It showed that more than half a century of research into human variation hasn’t eliminated prejudice within science, wherever it’s done. Old stereotypes are still being projected onto people, but perhaps in new ways.

Dismissing his conjecture as “casual speculation,” she proceeds to advance her own hypothesis, which is no less speculative: “lifelong training could just as easily explain the prevalence of athletes as any innate ability.” Saini does not explain why the default position should be to assume that the difference is environmental. In the absence of any specific evidence, it would make more sense to say, “We do not yet know what explains this difference. It could be genes, it could be environment, or it could be some combination of the two.” Note that the Indian geneticist’s conjecture is by no means implausible: there is already substantial evidence that genes contribute to population differences in athletic achievement.

Fourth, Saini commits the fallacy—long since debunked—of assuming that if genes play a role in something, then we have to blindly accept the status quo. In Chapter 9 she writes:

The logical consequence of insisting that IQ gaps between races are biologically determined is that nothing in human society can really be changed.

Not only is this statement hyperbole (even if one couldn’t change racial IQ gaps, there would be plenty of other things one could change), but it also seems to imply that scientific findings should dictate our political choices. In reality, these choices are influenced not only by certain empirical facts, but also by whatever value system society decides to adopt. Under some value systems, such as ‘luck egalitarianism,’ confirmation of a genetic contribution to racial IQ gaps could actually strengthen the case for redistributive taxation. For example, Ronald Dworkin argued that material inequalities are unjust if they arise due to circumstances beyond an individual’s control. Since individuals cannot control which genes they will inherit, material inequalities arising due to genetic differences are unjust and should therefore be reduced through egalitarian social policies.

Finally, by far the most prominent fallacy in Superior, one which lies at the very heart of Saini’s book, is the fallacy of equating any claim that genes might contribute to population differences on non-“superficial” traits with racism. (For the sake of brevity, we shall refer to this as ‘the fallacy of equating hereditarian claims with racism.’) Indeed, this fallacy encompasses the third and fourth of the theses that we laid out in the introduction.

By way of illustration, Saini employs the terms “scientific racism” or “scientific racist” 17 times in the book, and she employs the terms “intellectual racism” or “intellectual racist” an additional 11 times. In Chapter 1 she describes the supposition that population groups “may have evolved into modern human beings in different ways” as “unconscionable.” And in Chapter 6, when discussing the work of famed geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, she writes, “as he saw it, racism was just a scientific idea that turned out to be incorrect.”

Before proceeding, we should be clear about what we are not saying. First, we are not denying that research into the genetics of human differences has been misused for appalling purposes at various points over the last two centuries. Second, we are not denying that some of the scientists who have undertaken such research were motivated by racial animus or by a desire to subjugate other people. Hence we understand the temptation to assume the worst about anyone who might be willing to entertain what we have called ‘hereditarian claims.’ Nonetheless, equating hereditarian claims with racism is a fallacy, and one that we believe is likely to end up doing more harm than good.

As Steven Pinker argued at length in his book The Blank Slate, those who equate testable scientific claims with various ‘isms’ (sexism, racism, fascism, etc.) are effectively holding our morals hostage to the facts. By using the word ‘racist’ to describe a claim such as ‘genes may contribute to psychological differences between human populations,’ they are implying that:

  • The claim must be false; but also that
  • If the claim were ever shown to be true, then racism would be “scientifically correct.”

Yet as Pinker notes, this is a complete non-sequitur:

I hope that once this line of reasoning is laid out, it will immediately set off alarm bells. We should not concede that any foreseeable discovery about humans could have such horrible implications. The problem is not with the possibility that people might differ from one another, which is a factual question that could turn out one way or the other. The problem is with the line of reasoning that says that if people do turn out to be different, then discrimination, oppression, or genocide would be OK after all.

The argument that we should not hold our morals hostage to the facts has been made over and over again by scholars interested in the genetics of human differences. As far back as the 1960s, one of the 20th century’s leading biologists, Ernst Mayr, said the following:

Equality in spite of evident non-identity is a somewhat sophisticated concept and requires a moral stature of which many individuals seem to be incapable. They rather deny human variability and equate equality with identity […] An ideology based on such obviously wrong premises can only lead to disaster. Its championship of human equality is based on a claim of identity. As soon as it is proved that the latter does not exist, the support of equality is likewise lost.

In other words, equating hereditarian claims with racism is not merely logically fallacious, but could be considered irresponsible as well. Many of the ideas that Saini classifies as “scientific racism” are empirical claims that have not been conclusively tested. Some of these claims may turn out to be wrong, but others may turn out to be right. If we label them all “scientific racism” and some of them do turn out to be right, there is a much greater risk that they will be taken as scientific proof that “racism is okay after all.” A more ethically robust stance would be to recognise that granting people equal rights, and treating them with respect, does not depend on whether genes make a contribution to population differences in psychological traits.

Conclusion

Superior is a timely book that attempts to grapple with the science of human biological and psychological diversity. It is reasonably entertaining to read, and does make some valid points about the misuse of “race science.” Unfortunately, it is also tendentious, dogmatic, and seriously misleading about the current state of scientific knowledge. The truth, as we see it, is that human populations differ in important and fascinating ways, and they do so for straightforward evolutionary reasons: such populations have been living in different environments from one another, under different regimes of selection, for thousands of years. Saini wants us to ignore the basic tenets of Darwinism. Moreover, she wants us to equate any claim that genes might contribute to psychological differences between populations with racism. This is a logical fallacy, and one that we believe it is irresponsible to promote given the current trajectory of research in the human biosocial sciences.

 

Bo Winegard is an essayist and an assistant professor at Marietta College. You can follow him on Twitter @EPoe187.

Noah Carl is an independent researcher based in the U.K. You can follow him on Twitter @NoahCarl90.

423 Comments

  1. TarsTarkas says

    The argument seems to be that despite every other living species exhibiting variation there can be no such thing as race or any meaningful genetic (or sexual) differences between individuals of Homo sapiens, because that would be morally reprehensible. And anybody who even comes holistically close to even considering that concept must be a card-carrying member of the NSDAP, if not worse.
    Except when they use it to carve Homo sapiens en masse into teeny-tiny little victim-tribes oppressed by Straight White Male Patriarchy that require endless coddling and funding. Especially funding.
    Got it. Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

    • Peter from Oz says

      TT
      Yes you are correct, the regressives are incredibly keen to base everything on identity, as the quotation from Ernst Mayr in the article foreshadows. The big contradiction of the regressives has always been a sign of their projection of their own worst fears. Thus they don’t want race to matter, but they keep making it matter by insisting that it is important.
      Surely the danger that the regressives should fear is that research on race will be used by bad actors as an excuse for bad treatment of people of different races. It is that we all should be fighting against, not the knowledge itself. In recent times there have been several articles on QUillette on the topic of how leftism has become a new religion. One of the traits of religious thinking is the banning of ideas that may lead to any questioning of the core tenets of faith. The left’s faith is that racism is the false belief that the differences between the races (and they do insist on these differences existing) makes one race inferior to another. So any differences that could show that any race is more gifted in generalis heretical and must be banned.
      I can see why compassionate and religious people would think this way. After all, it would be a very bad thing if somehow science proved that blacks were not on average as smart as asians, and people then started discriminating against ALL blacks by assuming that they were all less intelligent than asians.
      My answer to that is that the leftists have to think a bit harder and realise what their real argument should be. It is really quite simple, it is the conservative argument that we have to ensure that everyone understand that the general cannot be reduced to the particular.
      All it takes is some training in logic, which is clearly something that too may leftists like Saini do not have.This is clear from the doublethink they engage in to hide their own racism. The problem is that their mental contortion on the issue produces a more insidious form of racism or more accurately oikophobia.

      • D.B. Cooper says

        @Peter from Oz

        the leftists have to think a bit harder and realise what their real argument should be…
        All it takes is some training in logic…

        The conditions for the success of this plan (some training in logic) cannot be found on Earth. But as usual, I am, rather bravely, prepared to be the bearer of more bad news.

        The Left is and will always be an apostle of equality (and more recently ‘equity’). So what, you might say? Well, you see, the problem with holding this position is that you’re often at crossways with the brute facts of reality – represented in this case by Darwinian evolution.

        Theirs is a timeless attempt to comprehensively corrupt the informational boundaries of disfavored ideas by, for example, splitting countless philosophical hairs over the connotations of a word like ‘race’. Despite what many say publicly, blank slatism is still #1 in their heart.

        It must be born in the mind – for many a progressive, it quite obviously was not – that the facts of reality do not cease to exist merely because we would like them to be. Unfortunately for the Left, while the arc of truth may be long, it ultimately bends towards reality – not the comforting notions of blank slatism.

      • David Morse says

        The Mayr quote is not using the word “identity” the way you’re used to seeing it, Oz. He means something more akin to mathematical identity or congruence – sameness between people.

        In other words, he’s not talking about identity politics at all in that paragraph.

        • George says

          Indeed. It’s ‘identity’ in the sense that we find in the word ‘identical’.

      • G. Daremas says

        The concluding point claims that ‘conservatives’ are logical whereas ‘leftists’ appear to be irrational, resistant to logical thinking (perhaps a genetic difference?). And all tend to be ‘racists’, whether explicitly or implicitly. What about the case, if ‘racial science’ shows that Asians have a higher IQ (on average) than White male Americans?

        • ross from britain says

          I’ve never actually see anyone take issue with that. In fact most right wingers I’ve seen or spoken to usually call out the discrimination against Asian students in US college admissions (as an example)

      • Cary D Cotterman says

        “the leftists have to think a bit harder”

        Man, you are asking for the impossible.

    • @StewyGriffith says

      The biggest risk posed by “Race Science” is that it may reveal that the differences in life outcomes between various population groups ISN’T due to the moral failings and evil behaviours of the lefts favorite punching bag ‘white people’, rather it is because of innate biological differences between these population groups encoded at a genetic level.

      I support policies designed to assist the poor and less capable in our communities to live a life of dignity, but ignoring the differences between population groups means that we in the west are importing vast quantities of people who will effectively remain a forever burden, permanently reducing the productive capabilities of our societies in terms of meeting the needs of its existing members, impairing the ability of our societies to function as democracies and making it even more difficult to pursued the population to make sacrifices in the present in order to build a better future.

      Finally there is the moral question to ask – is it morally correct to import a large population group with lower median IQs and all the attendant social issues that are found in terms of violence and general dysfunction, into societies filled with more capable people living peaceful lives?

      These are the reasons why IQ and racial differences are taboo in terms of discussing how we want our society to be composed – it impacts the growth lobbies ability to import vast numbers of less capable people, into our societies for no other purpose than to provide additional consumption.

      • Peter from Oz says

        @StewyGriffith
        I do have to agree with you in relation to immigration. But the real issue I have is that for some reason there is a strain of thought on the left that those who want to come to Australia have more rights than those who are already here. Those who are already here rarely get asked what they think of immigration. it seems their wish to keep their culture would be seen as evil by the left, whilst all other culture are sacrosanct. I admit I may be creating a straw man here, but I have never had a left winger explain to me why the wish to keep one’s country like it has been in the past is a problem. WHo cares if we are seen as ”racist” because we like our country how it is and don’t give foreigners the same rights here as we give to those who live here.The left seems to live a pixie world where borders don’t matter and the rights of indigenes are all bollocks unless they are emembers of the proper ”victim group”

        • E. Olson says

          Peter wrote: “Those who are already here rarely get asked what they think of immigration…”

          The reason they don’t get asked is because the elites already know the answer and it isn’t the “correct” one from their Western(self)-hating point of view.

          • Andrew Roddy says

            Yes. The indigenous people of Australia in the 18th century were similarly rarely asked how they felt about immigration. It seems no one even thought to ask them but there’s nothing we can do about that now. Now that we are aware of the problems (genocide and cultural annihilation etc) such large-scale migrations can give rise to it would be remiss of us not to learn these lessons of history and proceed more cautiously and responsibly.

          • E. Olson says

            Andrew – I think you are forgetting that Australia was a penal colony, so most of the “immigrants” were not stepping foot in Oz because it was their choice.

        • @StewyGriffith says

          I view it very gravely – Australia’s two major capitals, Sydney and Melbourne, is where nearly 95% of all immigrants end up within 5 years of migrating to Australia.

          What should be our nations cultural focal points are instead being smothered in competing people and cultures, and displacing existing Australians for these cities as they are driven out by high prices, congestion and a populous disconnected to the rest of Australia. To my mind it is a form of cultural genocide.

          It is a failing of both our major parties, but particularly with regards to the ‘left’ and their hypocritical support of the ‘working man’ and poor, while doing everything structurally possible to work against their interests. The reality is the costs and burdens of immigration are not shared equally, and fall primarily upon the poor.

          The ‘left’ today are mainly representative of the professional working class, our ‘knowledge workers’ who are the overwhelming beneficiaries of policies of mass migration and multiculturalism. They get their endorphin kicks from feeling morally righteous in getting their house renovated on the cheap by Chinese builders, while sneering at racist Aussie tradesmen voting Liberal as evidence of their ‘white privilege’.

          Never-the-less, I’ve taken heart in the emergence of voices within the left in other parts of the world who are awakening to these issues and the fundamental social betrayal that is taking place against our nations and cultural focal points at the behest of our Corporations and their growth lobbying courtiers in our Governments. Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen is a great example of what the left could be, if it could only purge itself of the ivory tower dwelling hypocrites who’ve taken it over.

        • L Langlois says

          “Who cares if we are seen as racist because we like our country as it is, and don’t give foreigners the same rights…”

          I am sure the aborigines thought the same thing before all you whites moved in. Didn’t stop you though, did it?

          And why didn’t you consider THEIR right to have their own land kept “pure” by keeping you guys out?

          • @StewyGriffith says

            @Langlois – If you had the slightest bit of culture to you, you would know that two wrongs don’t make a right. Another value you appear to be unaware of is ‘the sins of the Father and not the sins of the Son.’

            How does punishing existing Australians, including our remaining indigenous population, by flooding our society with needy 3rd world immigrants who will remain a burden forever, not to mentioned further dispossess our remaining indigenous people from their land, help right a long past historical wrong?

            You are judging all Australians by supposed crimes committed by my ancestors, who were just as primitive and unenlightened by our standards today, as the original inhabitants of Australia would have appeared to them back in the day.

            There is no justice in your words, just vindictiveness and justification for policies of genocide and dispossession that are occurring today. You should be ashamed of yourself, but you lack the values, culture and intellect to appreciate just how barbaric and vindictive your views are.

          • Just Me says

            Because people had been fighting and conquering each other for millennia, either winning, enslaving and assimilating the conquered, or dominating them, extracting tribute, exploiting them, etc.

            The idea you take for granted today that this is morally wrong and something to be ashamed of is a recent, western idea.

            How far back do you think we should go in demanding the rest of the world go back to its old borders and all the descendants of the people who settled elsewhere than where their ancestors were born returned back to those lands?

            Before the Muslim invasions in the Middle East, North Africa and India, for example? Before the “unification” of China and Japan? Before the Aztecs and Incas conquered their empires?

            Do tell us.

          • Jeremiah says

            I dont really ageee with what he’s saying, but ironically what your pointing out actually gives more credence to his fears of “cultural genocide”. Aborigines didnt protect their borders and look what happened to them is basically the point you’re making for him.

          • Jeremiah says

            On another note he didn’t move to Australia and he had no control over what his racial ancestors did. What you’re saying is basically a racist argument that individuals are responsible for what other people of their race did.

          • Fran says

            Throughout history and prehistory, occupation of land depended on being able to defend it, ie, control immigration. Everyone seems to have forgotten this. The Amerinds were famous for taking over their neighbours or capturing slaves long before they had a problem with ‘white’ immigration. Its the way of the world, and to protect what is ours is the only way to keep it.

          • ross from britain says

            ‘who cares if i am seen as a planet-destroying plasticoid, i like using plastic products and driving a car’

            its easy to look at the past and lambast their immorality, but realise now that it will happen to you. In 100 years, if people still exist, they will look at YOU in the above manner – a stupid, ignorant primitive who KNEW that they were damaging the planet and yet still didn’t change overnight to be totally green

        • Canadian immigrant says

          @Peter from Oz: you said: “But the real issue I have is that for some reason there is a strain of thought on the left that those who want to come to Australia have more rights than those who are already here.” and “it seems their wish to keep their culture would be seen as evil by the left, whilst all other culture are sacrosanct.” The same is happening in Canada and I immigrated to it 45 years ago as an adult. I was glad to assimilate and become part of such a great and wonderful country and now find myself living in what seem a different place than the one I chose to live in. I can understand how those born in the country must feel, since I feel the same and I was not even born in it.

        • Allison says

          Exactly the same here in the US. We hear from the immigrants and from the left. The rest of us are afraid to speak even if we are asked. I’m appalled that so many immigrants think they have a “right” to live here.

      • Joe S says

        The politically expedient thing to do is preach equality and keep moving.

        • Theodore A Hoppe says

          Craig Venter, a pioneer of DNA sequencing, observed, “The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.”

          • Aldwayne says

            Okay, so will Blacks stop having Black History Month? Will you stop talking about White Privilege?

            Also, ask Venter if he’s seen Negroes act like Japanese or produce children like Japanese.

          • Jeremiah says

            You’re trying to rebut a whole article full of citations with one guy’s quote?

          • Debbie says

            So why then are children the same race as their parents, even if they are raised on another continent by foster parents of another race? Ventner is an idiot.

      • Emblem14 says

        I interpret the implications of what you’re saying as follows:

        Differences in life outcomes are primarily due to genetic differences
        we are importing immigrants with a disproportionate number of people at IQs low enough that they cannot be productive members of society, but rather “forever burdens”.
        This will lead to a breakdown in democracy and good governance, presumably because these low IQ people will support self destructive cultural values and government policies.
        It’s probably immoral to saddle higher IQ populations with the burden of tolerating and subsidizing the damage to society that too many low IQ people inflict on everyone else.
        The reason we’re doing this is to gratify the short term interests of the “growth lobby”

        The ultimate implication is that native populations should have the power and license, through public policy, to determine the composition of their societies based on some understanding of genetic fitness related to intelligence. To prohibit this spells disaster for the long term prosperity and strength of said society.

        That’s basically an argument for eugenics sir.

        No wonder it’s taboo.

        If you think eugenics is a good idea, have the courage to come out and say it.

        • asdf says

          Yes, eugenics is a good idea.

          The vast majority of the developed world are in favor of eugenics. Hence their support for immigration laws, their tacit and legal approval of eugenic abortion policy (rather explicit in the case of downs syndrome), their pushback against radical leveling of circumstances, and quite frankly the independent mating decisions of billions of people worldwide.

          People are against…

          1) Genocide
          2) Forced sterilization

          ,,,but they are against them not because of their recent use by people who (sometimes but not always) considered themselves eugenicists. They are against them because of fundamental violations of universal human morality that have existed long before anyone knew what genes were. Namely,

          1) Murder
          2) Mutilation/Violence

          What are you in favor of? Unlimited subsidy of the weak by the strong until civilization collapses under the weight of such a policy ushering in a return to mass global poverty that marked all human existence before very recently in the developed world? Are you a nihilistic madman?

          Negative eugenics (hurting people) is taboo. Positive eugenics (you have an unlimited duty to keep total strangers alive and well) is like all other positive rights in strong dispute and not some kind of constant of human morality.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @asdf

            2) Forced sterilization

            Were we ever grown-up enough to implement that in a responsible way I think it would be a very good idea. As some of the Randians here would say, the successful have no duties whatsoever to the inferior and thus one’s ‘right’ to breed would also entail the ‘right’ of any kids you can’t support to starve to death — as in Africa or at least before we started feeding everyone. But I say we do have a duty to the inferior, however that duty comes with the caveat that the welfare/aid recipient looses their ‘right’ to breed because I do not have the duty to feed an unlimited number of people and at some point I’d be unable to anyway.

          • asdf says

            Smart is superior to dumb.

            Strong is superior to weak.

            Conscientious is superior to lazy.

            Self control is superior to impulsivity.

            Healthy is superior too sick.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @asdf

            ‘……….. their tacit and legal approval of eugenic abortion policy (rather explicit in the case of downs syndrome)………’

            Your comment is an example of what I call the DOWN DELUSION — the erroneous belief that therapeutic abortion of Down fetuses [which I support] has anything to do with eugenics [which I am ambivalent about].

            Here are the facts:

            Most Down infants are the result of spontaneous, non-recurring chromosomal mutations in the parent’s egg [oocyte] or spermatocyte. The greatest risk factor is mother’s age, not the genetic history of the parents. Older mothers have a greatly increased risk compared to younger mothers. That is, Down syndrome mostly does NOT run in families. So aborting Down fetuses will NOT reduce the frequency of Down infants in the next generation. Chromosome mutations will still occur at the same frequency, producing the same frequency of Down infants at birth. Hence, there is NO eugenic effect of therapeutic abortions. But the benefit to the parents can be huge.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Emblem14

          Eugenics is a good idea, as is nuclear fusion power, but both are very difficult to achieve in the desired way. Huntington’s disease could be banished forever if we stopped carriers from breeding for just one generation. But that wouldn’t be PC. As it is we subsidize the reproduction of the mentally and socially inferior, and penalize the same in demonstrably superior folks. I’m a notorious believer in social programs, but should we not take heed of the state of our own genome?

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Ray

            ‘……..Huntington’s disease could be banished forever if we stopped carriers from breeding for just one generation. But that wouldn’t be PC…..’

            I don’t know about the “PC,” but your statement is bullshit. Recurrent mutation would ensure that the disease would reoccur in future generations. And HD is caused by a tri-nucleotide repeat that may exhibit instability and a high mutation rate:

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1739554/

          • L Langlois says

            And just like that, here come the terms “inferior” and “superior”.

            Which is what the author specifically said should not happen.

            But it always does. Because of racism. Which is why no one can study “race science” because humans are too stupid to handle the results either way.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jack B. Nimble

            “Recurrent mutation would ensure that the disease would reoccur in future generations.”

            That’s fair, I suppose the same mutation could happen again, but how often? In any case if it did reappear then obviously if the new carriers had no children the mutation would be extinguished (again).

        • Stephanie says

          Does immigration policy aimed at preventing low-IQ people from gaining entry count as eugenics? It’s not like such people would be killed or prevented from existing in the first place, they would simply do so in the country of their birth or whatever other low-IQ country would take them. Immigrating to the West is a privilege, not a right, and should not be offered unconditionally.

          • asdf says

            People will say something like “genetics doesn’t effect human rights”, but what exactly are these “human rights”?

            The most basic human rights are something like,

            “the right not to be genocided, the right not to be violently harmed”

            Basically, negative rights. Rights “from something”.

            However, a lot of people think that there are a bunch of “positive rights”. The right to immigrate anywhere you like, the right to some arbitrary standard of living provided by others, the right that people from your group should make up >X% of “high status thing” or <Y% of “low status thing” (disparate impact).

            These positive rights are in a lot of dispute, and a lot of people don’t think they constitute “human rights.”

            So if they aren’t human rights, they are human prerogatives. I can accept or not accept immigrants based on what I think is good for my country. And the likely impact of the genetic nature of those immigrants is going to legitimately sway my view of what makes sense.

            So there is a Mot and Bailey tactic going on. There are people who think immigration is a human right, but they don’t want to assert that right, because they know that it doesn’t have the kind of support that we normally associate with human rights. However, they don’t want to debate immigration on its pragmatic merits, because then they will likely lose.

            So what they do is sort of assert that there are no pragmatic real world objections worth considering, so there is no good reason to deny that it’s a human right. Like a kind of weird “the pragmatic concerns work out so you might as well accept my deontology” hybrid. However, it’s not clear that the pragmatic concerns do work out, so evidence and facts that could dispute the first line in the argument are made taboo and banned. Then the language of human rights is used to squash concerns and pragmatic objections. All the benefits of deontological rights fervor without formally admitting that this might not be a situation where that is appropriate.

        • @StewyGriffith says

          @Emblem – there is a vast difference between looking after people BORN into our society who may be needy individuals, many of whom may be at the lower end of the IQ curve, and IMPORTING hundreds of thousands of such individuals to both compete with them for our societies increasingly limited resources and displace them from our cities.

          Your argument is nothing more than a ‘slippery slope’ fallacy, designed to shut down these discussions. Being concerned about needy members of our current society being displaced by equally needy foreigners, is NOT akin to eugenics.

          One could actually argue that the determination to replace Westerners in their own societies with a plethora of competing people and cultures, smothering their existing genetic characteristics is far closer to the pursuit of Eugenic sculpting of society than my concerns.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @Emblem14

          If you think eugenics is a good idea, have the courage to come out and say it.

          As compared to what, dysgenics: the accumulation and perpetuation of defective genes and traits? Well, yeah, I am. To be sure, self-preservation comes natural to me; although, to be honest, I’ve never really considered it a courageous thing to say. On reflection, the maintenance of effective genes seem more axiomatic than anything, given that evolution tells us genetic variation is selected for its ability to enhance biological fitness – enhance our ability to survive and reproduce within a given environment.

          @asdf was only half right to equate the intentional accumulation of defective genes to a form of nihilistic behavior. I’m not in the business of dispensing summary motives, but it’s difficult for me to see how any good faith actor would actually disagree with the proliferation of effective over defective genes; when there’s both evidentiary and substantive reasons (at the individual & population level) to reject the alternative – the maintenance of defective genes and traits, e.g., dysgenics. To be blunt, advocating either tacitly or actively for prescriptions elicit/incentivize dysgenic factors are not merely an abdication of good sense, but are in fact anathema to human flourishing.

          You’re clearly capable of judging the rightness or wrongness of the act, according to your value system; but there’s a serious argument to be had for why more than a few OB physicians are apt to recommend the termination of pregnancies where certain genetic disorders are known. To varying degrees, all chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. trisomy 13, 18, and 21) and genetic defects (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Neimann-Pick disease, and Tay-Sachs disease) are heritable and therefore to the degree they are heritable the termination of such pregnancies will reduce the accumulation and perpetuation of “undesired” genes, while allowing for the reproduction of people with “desired” genes. Since, terminating a pregnancy on the basis of the child’s genes is, by definition, eugenics and given that you’ve greeted with derision even the idea of a policy prescription in the neighborhood eugenics, it would seem only reasonable – in light of a principle of consistency and cohesion – to expect that your contempt would extend to those who abort children with genes they’ve judged as “undesirable.”

          Although to be fair to you, it’s not entirely obvious from your post whether your problem lies with eugenics in general, or the techniques and policy prescriptions (as outlined in your post) in particular. If it’s the former and you simply think the entire enterprise is a misanthropic adventure; well, although I believe this view to be tragically mistaken – dangerously so – you’re certainly entitled to hold it. However, if your problem is more with the design (as outlined) than the actual concept of eugenics; then the issue here is really a matter of execution. A difference of taste, if you will. It seems to me, the problem ultimately runs headlong into the question of “Who says?” Who says which genes are desirable and which ones are not? This problem, in my experience, is often intractable and I suspect that would be the case here. But who knows?

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @D.B.C

            ‘……To varying degrees, all chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. trisomy 13, 18, and 21) and genetic defects (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Neimann-Pick disease, and Tay-Sachs disease) are heritable…….’

            Your statement is true only if ‘varying’ means NOT AT ALL in the case of chromosome abnormalities. Not only are these conditions usually spontaneous and not heritable, but affected individuals typically die in childhood or are reproductively sterile–so there is no transmission to a subsequent generation.

            We need to distinguish between forced eugenics–like compulsory sterilization as practiced widely in the US a century ago on ‘defectives’–and voluntary eugenics. At least in the US with its limited ‘safety net’ for the poor and disabled, choosing to abort a fetus with a serious genetic defect is often the only rational choice. But it is conservatives in the US who are trying to ban ‘eugenic’ abortions and who are also trying to further shred the social safety net by cutting health and welfare services to the poor.

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @J.B.N

            Mr. Nimble, I see you couldn’t help yourself. No doubt, you felt compelled to disabuse me of this misinformation. Very well, let us see where this goes. You claim the following:

            Your statement is true only if ‘varying’ means NOT AT ALL in the case of chromosome abnormalities. Not only are these conditions usually spontaneous and not heritable, but affected individuals typically die in childhood or are reproductively sterile–so there is no transmission to a subsequent generation.

            As you referenced, in my original post I gave three examples of chromosomal abnormalities that I claimed were heritable to “varying degrees,” by which, I meant the chromosomal abnormalities ARE NEVER NOT heritable under all conditions – as in, under certain conditions the abnormalities CAN BE heritable, but aren’t, necessarily, heritable under all conditions. In short, in certain conditions the abnormalities are heritable in other conditions they aren’t; therefore, the heritability varies.

            In response, you claimed, in the opening sentence of the passage I referenced above, that chromosomal abnormalities are NOT AT ALL heritable. The most straightforward interpretation of this is that you’re claiming that chromosomal abnormalities ARE NOT heritable… EVER… under all conditions, full stop.

            I don’t have an issue with the claim – aside from it being wrong, as we’ll see – except for the fact that in the very next sentence you qualify the “NOT AT ALL” claim with subtle equivocations. In case you’re wondering, your use of “usually” is the strawman giveaway here. But what’s most strange about this second sentence is that not only does it qualify your claim, it’s actually a full-throated refutation of the claim itself. Consider, you go from claiming the chromosomal abnormalities are “NOT AT ALL” heritable in the first sentence, to admitting they not only “usually spontaneous and not heritable” but that the individuals who are affected “typically die in childhood or are… sterile–so there is no transmission to a subsequent generation.

            If, right now, you’re not wondering why it’s worth mentioning that short lifespans and/or sterility are inhibiting factors in the transmission of chromosomal abnormalities, despite previous assurances that they are “NOT AT ALL” heritable; then you’re not doing the Principle of Sufficient Reason right.

            Simply, ask yourself the rhetorical question, if these syndromes are, in fact, NOT AT ALL heritable (heritable = transmissible from parent to offspring), then what would it matter if those affected had an average lifespan of 100 yrs. old and was known to employ a reproductive system that would make a polygamous Ron Jeremy blush. #spoileralert – it wouldn’t matter in the least.

            Unless anyone is willing to suggest that the transmission routes of chromosomal abnormalities are analogous to a communicable disease, then the point of mentioning factors that prevent its transmission to subsequent generations was either: (A) totally irrelevant to the point at issue; or (B) a tacit admission that chromosomal abnormalities are in fact heritable to varying degrees.

            Rather than adjudicate this myself, I thought it best in keeping with the principle of parsimony by appealing to an authoritative source. What follows is a brief description of the ‘Inheritance’ patterns for each of the three abnormalities that I mentioned in my original post (trisomy 13, 18, and 21). If you have a more credible authoritative source than the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ Genetic and Rare Diseases information Center (GARD) website, I’ll be more than happy to take it under consideration. Lastly, for matters of brevity, I limited the descriptions to the most salient and/or relevant points at issue. If you’d like to read the descriptions in their entirety, they can be found at the link below.

            https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov

            TRISOMY 13: INHERITANCE

            An unaffected person with a balanced translocation involving chromosome 13 (Robertsonian or other) has an increased chance with each pregnancy to pass extra material from chromosome 13 to offspring.

            … it has been estimated that if the mother carries a Robertsonian translocation involving chromosome 13 and either 14, 15, 21, or 22, the mother has a 1% (1 in 100) chance with each pregnancy to have a baby with trisomy 13. Of note, if it involves chromosomes 13 and 21, there is also a 10-15% risk to have a baby with translocation Down syndrome (caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21)…

            Well, look at that. I guess, I could stop right here, if I were to hold you to your chromosomal abnormalities are “NOT AT ALL” heritable absolutist claim; since we now at least one of the three syndromes are heritable. But I say we keep going, just for posterity.

            TRISOMY 18: INHERITANCE

            Partial trisomy 18 (when only part of chromosome 18 is present in 3 copies) can be inherited. An unaffected parent can carry a rearrangement of genetic material between chromosome 18 and another chromosome. This rearrangement is called a balanced translocation because there is no extra or missing genetic material. However, a person with a balanced translocation has an increased risk with each pregnancy to have a child with trisomy 18.

            You’re 0 for 2, Nimble. This is getting ugly.

            TRISOMY 21: INHERITANCE

            Translocation trisomy 21. About 3-4% of people with Down syndrome have cells that contain 46 chromosomes; however, there is extra chromosome 21 material attached (translocated) onto another chromosome. For parents of a child with Down syndrome due to a translocation, there may be an increased chance of Down syndrome in future pregnancies. This is because one of the two parents may be a carrier of a balanced translocation. However, not all parents of people with translocation trisomy 21 have a translocation.

            It looks like you might’ve gotten out over your skies on this one, Nimble. Before moving on, one final point bears mentioning. To put it bluntly, you and I both know that even if you had been correct in your claims on the heritability of chromosomal abnormalities, it would’ve been irrelevant to the larger point in question (abortions on the basis of the child’s genes is prima facie eugenics); since accompanying the trisomy syndromes you took issue with were a number of genetic disorders that ARE heritable and that you somehow failed to even mention. To be sure, it is a fallacy of relevance (ignoratio elenchi) to present an argument that fails to address my claim.

            Final score:

            Mr. Cooper = 3 (#hattrick)
            Mr. Nimble = 0

            Lastly, while the length of this response dissuaded me from addressing the issue, properly; your attempt at creating a taxonomy of eugenics fails on multiple fronts. The “forced vs. voluntary” distinction presumes what it needs to demonstrate. The idea that anyone is volunteering for eugenics is so confused and tortured, I’m not sure it’s even sophistry. Listen, I’m sure as liberal you want nothing more than to dissociate abortions from a practice that’s more or less a byword for Nazis, but this argument isn’t in the neighborhood of defensible. It’s a double bind, no doubt. The level of cognitive dissonance alone must be tough negotiate.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @D.B.C.

            The root problem here is that ‘heritable’ doesn’t mean what you think it means. Let’s consult a dictionary:

            heritable [Biology] (of a characteristic) — transmissible from parent to offspring.

            Yes a parent with a balanced chromosome translocation [in heterozygous condition] can, during meiosis, produce an unbalanced gamete that results in an offspring that has a partial trisomy. But this is NOT an example of heritability of a chromosome abnormality, because:

            a parent with translocation heterozygosity is producing an offspring with a partial trisomy

            These are two different chromosome conditions: translocation heterozygotes are usually healthy whereas partial trisomics are usually not. This difference is important! The parent is NOT transmitting the translocation heterozygous condition to the offspring.

            Your more important point …….The idea that anyone is volunteering for eugenics is so confused and tortured…. ignores several real-life situations:

            A couple with a high risk of producing a genetically-defective offspring voluntarily decides to practice birth control and adopt instead.

            A couple with with a high genetic risk DOES produce a defective fetus and voluntarily elects to have a therapeutic abortion.

            These are realistic examples of voluntary eugenics. What did you think I meant by ‘volunteering for eugenics’? A crippled person in Nazi Germany volunteering to be gassed and cremated?

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @Mr. Nimble

            The root problem here is that ‘heritable’ doesn’t mean what you think it means.

            While I always appreciate the subtle condescension that colors one’s suggestion to consult a dictionary; which is then, promptly followed by an outlay of defined vocabulary words. In any case, I’m perfectly happy with agreeing to disagree on what the “root problem” here is. I see no reason to split countless hairs over the connotations associated with the transmission of heritable traits, especially when: (A) my claim still holds in lieu of genetic defects; and, (B) your failure to notice that I had provided you the very same definitional clarity of “heritable” in the 7th paragraph of my previous post; which is worrisome considering it’s my lack of understanding you’re questioning.

            What did you think I meant by ‘volunteering for eugenics’? A crippled person in Nazi Germany volunteering to be gassed and cremated?

            You’ve got to be shitting me. Our entire discussion, including YOUR original rejoinder, has focused on either the termination of pregnancies for eugenic reasons or issues pertaining directly to it (e.g. heritability of trisomy syndromes) and now you’re going to pearl-clutch when I criticize how an unborn child (fetus if you prefer) can “volunteer” for eugenics. Come on, really? You do realize you floated AND defended the entirety of this “forced vs. voluntary” taxonomy within the context of access to abortions?

            So, no, I didn’t think you were about the business of voluntary euthanasia. What I thought, was that you were trying to euphemize such abortions as a form of “voluntary” eugenics; which I’m still not convinced that isn’t the case.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @D.B.C.

            ‘….I had provided you the very same definitional clarity of “heritable” in the 7th paragraph of my previous post….’

            OK, I admit that by the 7th paragraph I was skimming over your post.

            If one takes an embryo-centric view of eugenics, then–yes–no fetus chooses to be aborted, just as no egg or sperm cell chooses to be birth-controlled into oblivion. But fetuses don’t have any choice over the time, place or parentage of their birth, either. Such decisions rest either with blind chance or with their parents’ choices.

            In my view, abortion of genetically defective fetuses as a eugenic method is more problematic than birth control as a eugenic method. But I support medically-informed parental decisions in both instances. Persons who want genetically defective fetuses to be born alive only to suffer and die a few years later need to be honest about what they are calling for.

      • Jeremiah says

        What I dont get is why arent we opening the gates to more Asians and Indian to immigrate to the US. Indian Americans not only do well in the US they absolutely thrive. The median income for Indian-Americans not only dwarfs traditional minorities in the US, but it actually far surpasses the median White income in America.

        What we need is a system based on hard merit, but currently only 13 percent of even legal immigrants get in based on any sort of merit system. A hard merit system would let us pluck up the most industrious and smartest (not always the same) people from not only Asia, but also from Mexico and South and Central America too.

      • Debbie says

        @StewyGriffith I think you articulate exactly what dark of tuses somemight be made of differences confirmed by “race science.”

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      The authors cite two anthropology journals as opposing ‘race science,’ but ignore the recent statement by the American Society of Human Genetics [ASHG]–the people who professionally study genetic variation in humans:

      ‘ASHG Denounces Attempts to Link Genetics and Racial Supremacy

      The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is alarmed to see a societal resurgence of groups rejecting the value of genetic diversity and using discredited or distorted genetic concepts to bolster bogus claims of white supremacy. ASHG denounces this misuse of genetics to feed racist ideologies. In public dialog, our research community should be clear about genetic knowledge related to ancestry and genomic diversity. To that end, ASHG affirms the following:

      • Genetics demonstrates that humans cannot be divided into biologically distinct subcategories. Although there are clear observable correlations between variation in the human genome and how individuals identify by race, the study of human genetics challenges the traditional concept of different races of humans as biologically separate and distinct. This is validated by many decades of research, including recent examples.

      <i>Most human genetic variation is distributed as a gradient, so distinct boundaries between population groups cannot be accurately assigned. There is considerable genetic overlap among members of different populations.</i> Such patterns of genome variation are explained by patterns of migration and mixing of different populations throughout human history. In this way, genetics exposes the concept of “racial purity” as scientifically meaningless.

      • It follows that there can be no genetics-based support for claiming one group as superior to another. Although a person’s genetics influences their phenotypic characteristics, and self-identified race might be influenced by physical appearance, race itself is a social construct. Any attempt to use genetics to rank populations demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics.

      • The past decade has seen the emergence of strategies for assessing an individual’s genetic ancestry. Such analyses are providing increasingly accurate ways of helping to define individuals’ ancestral origins and enabling new ways to explore and discuss ancestries that move us beyond blunt definitions of self-identified race......'

      link– https://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(18)30363-X , emhpasis added

      I urge readers to view some of the articles cited at the end of the ASHG statement.

      “…The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), founded in 1948, is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. The Society’s nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others who have a special interest in the field of human genetics….”

      • Anonymouse says

        The authors literally addressed that exact point about human genetic variation, which is the same one that Saini makes:

        “Nonetheless, Saini consistently maintains that these very same genetic data have dismantled “the idea that race was real,” and that Ashley Montagu’s famous dismissal of race as a pernicious myth “has been vindicated.” They have done this, according to Saini, by showing that most variation exists within and not between major continental populations. Saini defends her interpretation by appealing to Richard Lewontin’s famous analysis of human genetic diversity, and also by appealing to Rosenberg’s study (cited above), which actually found that human genetic variation largely conforms to Johann Blumenbach’s classification. Lewontin’s paper did show that human genetic variation is mostly within and not between human populations. But Lewontin made a crucial mistake when he dismissed the explanatory power of racial classifications. (Saini notes that there has been “one critique” of his analysis, but doesn’t tell her readers anything about it, not least that the critique has given rise to the term ‘Lewontin’s fallacy.’)

        In brief, Lewontin ignored the fact that differences among human populations are correlated. Although population variation at any one genetic locus tends to be small, global population structure becomes clear if one examines correlated differences across loci. For a simple analogy, consider men and women’s faces. If one takes any particular characteristic, say nose size, there is likely to be more variation within a sex than between the sexes (and it would be nearly impossible to classify faces by sex with any accuracy using only nose size). However, if one considers all facial characteristics together (which is, after all, how we actually experience human faces), then sex differences become sufficiently clear that an observer can guess the correct sex more than 95 percent of the time.”

        So Lewontin was correct to observe that there are more differences within than between human populations, but ignored the fact that the differences that do exist between populations are correlated. Observing this and speculating about what causes it and what it means is not inherently racist. It’s only racist if you take that fact and try to extrapolate it into some sort of “one population is inherently superior to another” balderdash.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Anonymouse

          ‘……. It’s only racist if you take that fact and try to extrapolate it into some sort of “one population is inherently superior to another” balderdash…….’

          I actually don’t care about political correctness on race, only scientific correctness. History has shown that persons with racist inclinations will distort any data they come across to fit their preconceptions.

          Just look at the Neandertals. For generations, they appeared in books and museum exhibits as brutish subhumans, but now that genomic research has shown that some Europeans have small amounts of Neandertal-derived DNA in their genomes, that picture of Neandertals has been flipped on its head by some [not all] white racists:

          Whites are superior Thanks to Neanderthal DNA

          Biological Europeans are the descendants of Neanderthals mixed with the humans seen today. We did not evolve from Homo Sapiens; quite the contrary, we retained our intelligence in spite of them.

          link: https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t1046910/

          Talking such people out of their delusions is a fool’s errand. I’m trying in a small way to correct peoples’ misunderstanding of human genetic history, aiming at those persons who want to know what the science really says.

          • Jeremiah says

            Nothing you wrote and quoted above contradicts this article though. Only some semantic differences which the authors also addressed.

        • Theodore A Hoppe says

          False premise 1. Race is “a humble biological concept.”
          False premise 2. Racial divisions are principled scientific categories. “The claim that [racial] divisions are arbitrary” is false.
          False Premise 3: “Racial categories identify real phenotypic differences.” Among these differences are “skin colors, hair textures, facial structures, and stature [which] all differ, often in predictable ways.”
          False premise 3: “Genetic evidence strongly supports many everyday intuitions people have about human populations.”
          False premise 4: “The brain is not in some special category, uniquely impervious to selective forces; it is a product of evolution—just like bones, blood, and skin.”
          False premise 5: “When dealing with this topic, it’s useful to step back from any definitive assertion to contemplate a less divisive question: is it possible that human populations could differ in cognitive ability, at least in part, because of their different evolutionary histories?”

          https://altrightorigins.com/2019/06/05/undead-race-science/

      • Stephanie says

        Jack, that statement seems carefully constructed to not contradict any of the science (as presented in this article), including the use of weasel words, but still mouth the leftist sensibilities of modern, bloated, overpaid administrators. It reads more like an ideological manifesto than a critical analysis, I’m surprised someone who went to graduate school would be impressed by this.

        As for the student who said “you can’t do statistics with your eyes,” that is often false. The visual distinction that is easy to draw between Eskimos and Kalahari Bushmen is supported by rigorous morphological and genetic testing. If your premise and the paper you cite were correct, we could take all of forensic anthropology and throw it in the garbage. That we can’t, that it works, indicates that the theory that makes you most emotionally comfortable has no basis in reality.

        • Stephanie, what you are calling “weasel words” are words expressing appropriate scientific caution, something which is all too lacking lacking in the so-called “race realism” literature. Along the same lines you can include “scientific” judgments based on “seeing statistics with your eyes.”

      • MIke says

        Thank you for this link. The importance of these comments cannot be overstated. Individual heredity exists, and arbitrary definitions of populations to analyze for genetic basis of phenotypic variation is useful, but race is a social construct that doesn’t mean as much biologically as it does socially.

        • Jeremiah says

          Changing race to geographic populations or whatever is just semantics and the authors of this article addressed that.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Jeremiah

            The 2 authors said ‘………We are not particularly wedded to the word ‘race’ and would be happy to use ‘human population’ or ‘biogeographic ancestry group’ instead……’

            The fact that they and you see these ideas:

            race…………..population…………………biogeographic ancestry group

            as interchangeable shows your lack of critical thinking.

            A population [ Formal definition: ‘…a particular section, group, or type of people or animals living in an area….’ ] is any group the investigator is interested in. So we can talk about the population of humans living in New York City or the population of rats living in NYC.

            Biogeographic ancestry groups are not controversial because all persons [and all living things] have ancestors and live in particular geographic areas of the planet.

            Race–to the extent it has any biological meaning–corresponds to subspecies, and just as animal taxonomists have mostly abandoned the use of subspecies except in rare circumstances [like chromosomal races in shrews], so human geneticists and anthropologists have abandoned the use of race as being not useful. That was a scientific, not political, decision.

            In the 19th and early 20th centuries, taxonomists were obsessed with documenting geographic variation in widely-distributed species and giving them subspecific rank. Later taxonomists reevaluated these subspecific names and discovered that in most cases the various subspecies intergrade with each other along a geographic transect. Assigning subspecific labels impeded rather than facilitated understanding of this geographic variation. The same is true of race labels in humans.

      • DNY says

        The statement is carefully constructed to be scientifically accurate. However, it is likely for political reasons to be over-interpreted as implying that genetic variations which correlate with ancestral origins or racial self-identification cannot account for a significant percentage of the variance in socially meaningful outcomes between groupings based on ancestral origin or racial self-identification, and that differences in such outcomes must thus be the result of invidious discrimination. This is most assuredly not the case, particularly when the outcome (say being Olympic-class in the 400m, or being a Fields Medalist) is dependent upon extreme ability.

        Unfortunately the same political tendency which is most likely to make such an over-interpretation, has also anathematized the idea which is truly opposed to racism — the classically liberal idea (with deep roots in what used to be called Christendom) that every human being is equally worthy of regard and should be treated equally as a matter of law — bizarrely having declared that this idea is “racist”.

      • Andrew Lyons says

        Thanks for this reply. I am a cultural anthropologist, not a geneticist.
        The late Ashley Montagu was a friend of mine, in some ways a mentor.
        His dismissal of the concept of race did not imply disbelief in genetic differences within and between populations, but he knew that they were more numerous and more complex than the old raciologists ever imagined, although all human populations are genetically close to each other and we are all one species. Furthermore, there is no provable link between any genetic difference and cultural variation.

        A simplistic division into geographical races did not properly account for human variation. For example, Africa contains both the tallest and the smallest populations in the world. There is substantial variation in genetic structure. Humans vary in far more ways than Linnaeus and Blumenbach recognized when they named different geographical races 100 to 60 years before Darwin, well over a century before Mendel and the new synthesis.

        I find it interesting that the authors still rely on IQ test data of dubious value. These tests measure performance.They are not direct measures of ability, innate or learned. The idea that different cognitive abilities are correlated (the idea of G) is still open to dispute. The idea that certain IQ tests are culture free is not provable, nor is it possible to factor out in what part of our abilities are inherited and what part is the effect of environmental factors. The groups that were compared by the authors of ‘The Bell Curve’ were social categories rather than biological groups, as they did indeed acknowledge. What does all this mean? I would say it means that anybody who claims that there is evidence for racial differences in intelligence on the basis of existing evidence is reaching that conclusion because of an act of faith.

        It seems that the editor of Quillette feels some sort of compulsion to air this kind of argument. It fits well with the ethos of Trump’s America and Liberal Party racism in Australia. Very sad.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      There is a dishonesty to this critique’s presumption of vindication regarding the empirical truth of traditional racial categories. The five categories identified in Rosenberg’s study support some degree of discontinuity – but they are not the categories to which racialists typically subscribe. Nobody gets their knickers in a twist about prejudice towards Oceanians or Mongolians. Racially motivated animus (whether hostile or well-intentioned) is typically stoked by criteria like skin color, which is genetic but can’t predict anything meaningful, or place of birth, which is non-genetic but can predict things like language and culture.

      In Europe and North America a person is considered black if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry. In Brazil, a person is not considered black if he is known to have any European ancestry. As with “Indian,” the word “black” refers to an entirely different cluster of people depending on where you are in the world.

      I think the cultural climate has probably had a chilling effect on anthropological research, which is regrettable. But I also shudder at the eagerness with which people tout their cherrypicked data as trophies to their far-sighted wisdom and steely imperviousness to political trends. When that wisdom amounts to “I was right all along – there are different races” it gets my hackles up. For completely unscientific reasons, I’m quite sure.

      As far as I can tell, the author of the book was fair-minded and diligent within the constraints of her own presuppositions. Trouble is, I think the same goes for the authors of this article.

      • Jeremiah says

        Trouble is the author of the book accussed people who research and conclude population level differences exsist as being racist. That’s not fair-minded. Fair minded would be disagreeing with their conclusions and/or saying you worry about what actual racists will do with their data.

    • Freidrich Goatse says

      The feigned ignorance of the scientific validity of race (or subspecies, whatever term you’d like to use,) is, ironically, being used to justify current colonization of western countries by non-European races as well as prop up the policies that are ethnically cleansing the Europeans from their own countries by crippling their birth rates and poking, prodding, pressuring, coercing and forcing mixing.

      One example would be the widespread and ever-increasing affirmative action policies which are justified by looking at differences in outcome and exclaiming that because everyone is equal in ability since race somehow isn’t real, that this can only be the result of evil white men therefore white men must be punished.

      • Andrew Lyons says

        A species is a biological group whose members can exchange genes or interbreed. All human populations CAN exchange genes with each other. The notion subspecies (which includes human ‘races’ but applies also to animal and plant populations) has been in doubt for nearly seventy years. E. O. Wilson, the founder of sociobiology, first criticized the use of the concept as early as 1953. At first he thought it to be of no use at all. Now he says that it should only be used in cases of prolonged geographical isolation sufficient to render gene exchange impossible (in human history isolation has occurred over thousands, not millions of years). All human populations can interbreed – even distant populations share 99.9% of their genetic material.
        Goatse refers to “the feigned ignorance of the scientific value of race (or subspecies).” Even the minority of physical anthropologists and geneticists who still think the word “race” has any utility do not employ it as a synonym for national, ethnic or social groups. Goatse’s response demonstrates all too well where Noah Carl’s arguments lead. It would appear from an article in today’s New York Times that Quillette and the IDW are indeed read along with less “respectable” You Tube provocateurs by the dangerous fanatics of the Alt Right.

    • Allison says

      Excellent comment. Especially the funding part. Money changes everything.

    • Tom Holzel says

      Perfect summation. What I don;t understand is why there was no reference to Herrentstein & Murray’s “The Bell Curve,” which seemed to me to pretty much demarcate exact;y what race is, the heritability of characteristics such as intelligence, etc. Although you will have to search to tease it out, the most incendiary comment (and they are acutely aware of its unpopularity) is that of the notable difference of average intelligence of the various races.

    • Yes, and the danger is as we have been experiencing, that Leftists are willing to use violence and de-personing to defend their false gods.

  2. Dan Flehmen says

    To a biologist, the claim that human races are merely social constructs seems very peculiar, because the races correspond precisely to biological subspecies. That is, morphologically distinct populations of a species that occur in different geographic localities but interbreed at their joint boundaries, and produce offspring intermediate in their distinguishing characteristics. Thus, Rocky Mountain mule deer and Pacific coast black tail deer are subspecies of one widespread species: they interbreed freely where they meet, but are quite different in size and coloration and hybrids of the two are intermediate.

    Not only does that definition clearly apply to the major human races, depending upon whether the biologist is a ‘lumper’ or ‘splitter’, it can also be readily applied to subpopulations within the major human races. In Africa, for instance, it is easy to spot the differences between a Masai, Kikuyu, Luo or Dinka, or scores of other tribal groupings. Or in Europe between a Dutchman and a Greek. They are physically distinctive, associated with particular parts of the continent, but can and do interbreed readily. If the subspecies (race) concept is uncontroversial when applied to all other species, why should it not apply equally to Homo sapiens?

      • jakesbrain says

        Because as soon as you’re allowed to say races are different, you run the risk of allowing people to say some are better.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @innovativefinancialconcepts

        Yes, that’s the reason. But the solution is simple: just recognize humans as individuals, not members of arbitrary Identities. The dark comedy of Correctness is that whereas it thinks it is working against racism and holocaust, it is rather sewing the seeds of it: If Identity is everything, as they claim, then when the tsunami of evidence that all races are not equal becomes so overwhelming that even wokeness can no longer stop it, we have no way to stop folks from being treated, not as individuals, but as members of their Identity. Thus rather than achieving Equity, SJ could end up justifying differential treatment of Identities. Better IMHO to reestablish the judgement of people as individuals.

      • Jeremiah says

        That’s strange since studies on population level differences in IQ almost all find American Jews to have higher IQ than average European whites.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      The two authors write: “…….Second, Saini frequently engages in the fallacy of incomplete evidence—commonly known as cherry-picking……”

      That charge is ironic, given that race theorists engage in flagrant cherry-picking like this: “…if I introduce you to an Eskimo and a Kalahari Bushman I won’t have much trouble convincing you that they belong to different races…..” Ernst Mayr [2002] The Biology of Race and the Concept of Equality. Daedalus 131, pp. 89-94

      When I was a graduate student and just learning statistics, an older student commented that “You can’t do statistics with your eyes.” Yet race theorists believe that just looking at a few haphazardly chosen individuals will convince even the toughest skeptic that races are REAL. But focusing on the extremes to the exclusion of the vast middle-ground is ridiculous and non-scientific.

      Random sampling and adequate geographic coverage of human populations [that is, worldwide] are critical.

      When Alan Templeton reanalyzed Rosenberg et al.’s [2002] data, he found that:

      93.2% of the total variation was among individuals within populations
      2.5% of the total variation was among populations within races
      4.3% of the total variation was among races

      In other words, he re-validated Lewontin’s NON-fallacy using independent data. Only about 5% of total human variation occurs at the level of traditionally-recognized ‘races.’

      Alan R. Templeton [2014] Evolution and Notions of Human Race. The Princeton Guide to Evolution.

      • Peter from Oz says

        So if races aren’t real why are lefties so keen on people identifying by race and keeping races distinct?
        It seems the left wants to eat it’s racist cake and have it too.
        Maybe I should remind you of the famous business concept of the last 10%. It isn my experience something that too many numbers people don’t understand. The last 10% of shares that give a buyer control of a company are often more valuable in a takeover than any parcel of 10% previously acquired by the buyer. The last 10% are no different to the other shares in type or rights. However, they constitute the difference between control of the company and minority shareholder status. That means that the holder of the last 10% can extract a higher price from the buyer if the buyer is keen to get control of the company.
        In the case of race, it would seem that we have a case of the same sort of rule applying. The difference between the races may be only a small percentage, but it may be the percentage that counts more than the others, like the last 10%. Men share a high degree of DNA with monkeys. But men are not monkeys.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Peter from Oz

          Your reference to monkeys is ironic, because Alan Templeton also did an analysis of genetic variation in chimpanzees:

          64.2% of the total variation was among chimpanzees within populations
          5.7% of the total variation was among populations within races
          30.1% of the total variation was among races of chimpanzees

          Why do races of chimps show 30% difference whereas humans show 4%?

          You can’t understand the answer without knowledge of how humans have migrated long distances several times, copulating as they go even with archaic human lineages like Neandertals and Denisovian. Chimps have never migrated out of Africa, and their sedentary past means more time for genetic differences to accumulate among Chimp populations by mutation and random change.

          That mixing and mating of humans in the past means that the 4% differences observed among ‘races’ are mostly frequency shifts for variant alleles, not all-or-nothing differences. As Templeton notes:

          “….Adaptive traits, such as skin color, have frequently been used to define races in humans, but such adaptive traits reflect the underlying environmental factor to which they are adaptive and not overall genetic differentiation, and different adaptive traits define discordant groups. There are no objective criteria for choosing one adaptive trait over another to define race. As a consequence, adaptive traits do not define races in humans….”

          Source– Alan R. Templeton ‘Biological Races in Humans’ Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2013 September ; 44(3): 262–271. doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.04.010.

        • Emblem14 says

          you’re implying without evidence that although genetic differences between races can be quite small in absolute terms, the differences that do exist account for the effects we see in social outcomes most people would consider “good” or “bad”.

          That’s quite a speculative stretch, but it does conveniently support a supposition that some races are naturally superior to others. Maybe that’s something you want to be true? Otherwise why speculate, instead of acknowledging there just isn’t enough conclusive information?

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Peter from Oz

          “It seems the left wants to eat it’s racist cake and have it too.”

          Orwell called this ‘blackwhite’ and he warned us that H. Sapiens is quite capable of holding two mutually cancelling beliefs at the same time. Thus for the woke, race does not exist. Yet race is everything. For the radfem, women are strong. Better than men at everything. Yet they are Victims, and they routinely invoke the same response to their Oppression as we give to a frightened child.

          “But men are not monkeys.”

          Sorry, but you are. We dolphins make no distinction between H. Sapiens and Howler Monkeys, except that the latter make less noise.

          • Andrew Lyons says

            Dolphins should note that in Linnaean taxonomy the initial letter of the genus name is upper case, whereas the species name is lowercase,
            as in Homo sapiens (NOT Homo Sapiens). A trivial error? Perhaps not, because it could indicate that the writer’s views on “race” may not be
            informed by a surfeit of reading of scientific articles. His views on gender
            are equally uninformed. Perhaps he is writing from his perspective as a dolphin, and we ought not to judge him harshly, and adopt a “speciesist” position. I write this as a politically correct, but barely woke, pre-dead septuagenarian SJA. In any case, many readers may not be aware that Delphinidae have been filmed masturbating with dead eels, exhibit gender fluidity (some are bisexual), engage in incestuous behaviour, and
            a group of males will jointly “assault” before one of them gains access after some rough play. In short, we should try to understand the POSITION of Ray Andrews, the Dolphin, before judging him too harshly.
            And please note that no dolphin was hurt during the writing of this paragraph.

      • Carl says

        Jack, on your first point, you are presenting a tu quoque argument. Yes, if someone claims that group characteristics can be identified by a few haphazardly chosen individuals, that person is employing fallacious “fast thinking.” But there is research that draws on large random samples and that finds real statistical clusters of characteristics that correspond to major racial groups. While it is certainly true that only a relatively small percentage of human variation occurs at the level of the recognized races, small percentages of genetic variation can be highly meaningful. If we look at the genetic variation in humans and the two varieties of chimpanzees for example, only a relatively small amount of the total genetic variation distinguishes those three (do not misinterpret me as suggesting the races are equivalent to different species). Social or cognitive variations among human groups may well be at least partly due to that small group-level variation, although this is something that cannot be asserted as a fact and should be approached with caution.

        Of course, the critics of those who see race as a meaningful concept have reasonable concerns. One is the level of analysis problem. Having identified race as having implications at the aggregate level does not mean that one can draw any conclusions about specific individuals. The mean may differ across groups, but an individual may be located at any point along a distribution curve. A second concern is that of misuse of the idea of race to justify discriminatory treatment or to dismiss historical and environmental sources of group inequalities. But to say that a concept has been misapplied or used for bad ends is not to refute the concept itself.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Carl

          “Social or cognitive variations among human groups may well be at least partly due to that small group-level variation”

          One could stop theorizing and stop explaining away and simply open one’s eyes and notice the difference between Africa and the rest of the world — there is the measure of the difference. The Correct will never stop explaining away, but the plain truth is there for everyone to see. How different are Africans from Europeans? Compare Zambia and Denmark — that’s how different they are. Is it all whitey’s fault? Under the horrors of apartheid SA was a destination for black migrants. Freed from whitey’s Oppression the place is rapidly going down hill and will soon resemble Zimbabwe. Rotten to say it, I know.

          • Carl says

            Ray, I don’t think we can ever stop theorizing – to theorize is to explain. If you theorize that the difference between Zambia and Denmark is due to variations in genetic characteristics, I’d have to answer that I recognize the difference between those two countries and do not have grounds to reject your theory. But there are other possible explanations of population differences, many of which do not necessarily involve either oppression or genetics. For example, the historical development of efficient social networks offers a plausible explanation of why the Romans built bridges and aqueducts and organized their world while the British Celts were painting themselves blue.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Carl

            ” don’t think we can ever stop theorizing – to theorize is to explain”

            Pardon, I was unclear. Just as you say. I meant only that one needn’t look for answers only in theory, it is possible to evaluate things by direct observation. Indeed, I’d observe first and then theorize to explain what I saw. My point is just that folks decide what the facts need to be based on their theorizing but sometimes the facts on the ground are not what their theorizing might have predicted.

            ” many of which do not necessarily involve either oppression or genetics”

            Absolutely. Honest study will no doubt reveal that there are a great number of explanations for such situations and I don’t even doubt that oppression can be one of them. My objection is only to the idea that oppression explains everything.

            BTW my own pet theory is the ‘hot brain’ idea. I don’t know if it’s ever been studied, but it goes like this: The brain is expensive to maintain and generates a lot of heat. In low resource situations a big brain is an expense that might not be affordable and, given how easily it overheats, in hot climates a big brain might just kill you. Note the amount of black, curly hair negroes grow which seems to be exactly a protection of the brain from the hot sun. Contrast folks living in cold but resource rich environments where a big brain can be ‘afforded’ and where it’s high heat output, far from killing you, might just keep you alive. The smarter big brain then helps develop cultures where it becomes advantageous for reasons besides heat, and from then on we have competition for intelligence thus a ‘runaway’ brain development. This hasn’t happened among Aboriginal Australians.

            Having lived in the tropics I can attest to the fact that when it’s really hot, thinking is the last thing you want to do.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Carl

          ‘………A second concern is that of misuse of the idea of race to justify discriminatory treatment or to dismiss historical and environmental sources of group inequalities. But to say that a concept has been misapplied or used for bad ends is not to refute the concept itself…..’

          I am an empiricist, so the relevant question is WHAT DO THE DATA SHOW? Since the genetic data on humans refute the model of a small number [less than 10] of diagnosable races, the question of misuse of data should not be an issue. But persons with bad motives will use bad/flawed data to support bad ends. It was ever thus.

          • Carl says

            Jack, you are not responding to what I wrote. I wrote that one should be concerned about the misuse of a concept (whether supported or unsupported by data). But, more to your point, what the data show is by no means as definitive as you suggest. Neil Risch, in a 2002 investigation, found that genes cluster in 5 continental groups, corresponding to commonly identified races. Marcus Feldman of Stanford, with co-authors, found pretty much the same clusters. So, yes, there is empirical support for seeing races as meaningful categorizations of humans.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Carl

            Genetic clustering is an inductive technique, which attempts to answer the question ‘How many different human groups are there?’ But this style of analysis is prone to capture by confirmation bias. That is, having found an answer that SEEMS reasonable–5, or 7 or 14 groups–the investigator fails to consider limitations of the sampling regime and of the analysis algorithm, and simply reports the number that the computer spit out.

            Your position on the number of human ‘races’–which is that of Nicholas Wade in his 2014 book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History–has been refuted several times. Rather than summarize these rebuttals, I will quote from a recent article by Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall:

            “….The genomic approach to the existence of races in human beings has usually involved collecting the frequencies of variants at a large number of locations in the human genome, from increasingly large numbers of people. Of course, nobody would put much stock in a test of a hypothesis involving only two individuals from each of the geographic regions suspected of diverging. If one examines too few individuals there is a danger of over-diagnosing the number of entities (i.e. of finding purely random evidence for differentiation). Another caveat is that examining too few populations will also result in over-diagnosis. Consider the following scenario: populations of a cosmopolitan organism are examined for their genetic variability by sequencing the genomes of individuals from Africa and Oceania. Not surprisingly some genetic differences are detected and found to be significant, in that some are unique to the individuals from Africa while others are unique to individuals from Oceania. A big hoopla could be made, and species existence could be claimed, but this would be poor science because the severity of the test is so low as to make the test meaningless. Why? Because the organism might also exist in Europe, the Americas and East Asia. By leaving out the populations “in between” one would miss the connectedness of the two populations initially sequenced. This phenomenon in widely-distributed populations has led many researchers of human genetics to the words of Frank Livingstone: “There are no human races, there are only clines.”

            [Nicholas] Wade understands this. Here is how he describes a genome-level polymorphism study and how it can be interpreted in a taxonomic context. He first uses a 2002 study by Rosenberg et al. [Genetic structure of human populations. Science, 298 (5602), 2381-2385] to suggest that there are five clusters of people on the planet. This important study used genomic information (nearly 400 markers) from 1,000 people, and employed the STRUCTURE clustering approach. These 1,000 subjects “clustered naturally into five groups, corresponding to the five continental races.” This study was soon criticized by several researchers, who objected that intermediate populations needed to be examined to exclude potential clinal variation….

            Wade goes on to discuss the inclusion of new information (using a newer genetic survey technology than in the Rosenberg et al. study) to address the problem. In this newer study, 1,000 different individuals were surveyed, but from 51 well defined geographic areas.[Worldwide human relationships inferred from genome-wide patterns of variation. Science 319, no. 5866 (2008): 1100-1104.] And instead of five major groups, the researchers in this study clustered their subjects into seven major groups. What is more, when even more subjects were added to Rosenberg’s data set, as was done by Sarah Tishkoff and her colleagues, 14 clusters were inferred. [The genetic structure and history of Africans and African Americans. Science, 324(5930), 1035-1044]…….

            We have heard the argument that just because inferences about the number of races vary, it doesn’t mean race doesn’t exist. An argument commonly used to shore up this view is that people disagree on the number of shapes, but shapes still exist. But this argument merely trivializes the definitions we use in science generally and taxonomy specifically.

            There are 6-7 billion human beings on the planet, and the best test of any hypothesis about human genomes and populations would include them all. Of course, this is not possible at present. But if it were possible, and the clustering were performed as in the two studies we refer to above, we wonder how many groups might fall out. We suspect that, depending on the markers used, it might be as many as the number of nuclear families there are on the planet. Certainly the patterns that would emerge from such a global analysis would not be anywhere near clear with respect to any definition of race that one could come up with. Clearly, clustering is inadequate on its own to address problems like this in taxonomy and systematics……”

            Source:
            http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/pageDocuments/LOVAMOHV2Q.pdf

            Bottom Line: As Alan Templeton has noted, ” ……It is now known that the
            computer program STRUCTURE used in these studies generates well-differentiated
            populations as an artifact of coarse sampling from any species characterized by isolation-by distance…….”
            Source: Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2013 September ; 44(3): 262–271.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @Carl

          Of course, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t treat people as individuals, when possible, and if given the opportunity to do so. But it’s not only unreasonable, but sometimes foolish, to deny that a majority of our decisions are, necessarily, made with incomplete information. Which is why, for example, stereotypes are so useful. They are probabilistic (not deterministic), i.e., have predictive power. That is to say, they are more likely to be accurate than inaccurate; and if they’re more likely to be accurate than not, then they’re more likely to be useful than not.

          People rationally discriminate daily by making inferences from priors, precisely, because there is utility in doing so. In this particular instance, we have the benefit of a central tendency statistic (mean) at the group level, which is an informative data point when drawing inferences about specific individuals. What reason(s) would your Bayesian intuitions suddenly fail here?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @D.B. Cooper

            “They are probabilistic (not deterministic), i.e., have predictive power.”

            It is one of the talents of monkeys that you can convince yourselves that you don’t know something that you most certainly know. We know things about races and cultures even if the Correct like to tell themselves that they don’t. Many have warned against letting too many Canadians into your country. Yes, they seem like nice people and you want to be Tolerant. But if you let them in by the millions they are going to start wanting hockey arenas and NHL franchises and better beer. True, you don’t know if any individual Canadian is a hockey fan, but en mass Canadians like hockey. Jack might pretend he does not know this, but he does. Jack might also pretend that there are no races, but there are, and they are distinct enough from each other to be quite noticeable, which is why we do notice even if we aren’t supposta.

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @Ray Andrews

            Unfortunately, my knowledge of monkeys is decidedly limited; although to your point, I had a friend during my early 20s who had a perennial problem with fidelity – he abstained from it – and I remember he told me once that he had lied to his girlfriend about a particular type of issue, so much, and for so long, that he literally began believing the lie himself. As in, to him it was no longer a lie, he actually began to believe that what he was telling his girlfriend was the truth.

            At the time, I was somewhat skeptical about how a person could come to believe a thing they, themselves, knew not to be true. It’s an absurd notion for no other reason than that it’s self-refuting, on the face of it.

            As it turns out, however, since that time I’ve come across a number of studies/articles that actually verify that this happens. Apparently, it’s quite possible to create a false memory or memories of a situation that never was and then over time the false memory becomes as real to you as any other memory you have. How and why this occurs, I haven’t the slightest idea, but the implications of this are, to my mind, quite profound.

            Lastly, with respect to Canadians – and yes, I arranged the taxonomy of Homininis by order of importance – they do seem like terribly nice people; which I’m sad to report may be their fatal flaw along with the erroneous belief that the rest of the world are as kind and considerate as they are. I’ve lost count the times I’ve seen people line up to take advantage of overly agreeable coworkers, neighbors, friends, family members, etc.

      • Anonymouse says

        @Jack

        All you’ve really done here is restate the obvious truism that we’re all the same species. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting and clearly observable differences between different populations stemming from historical geographical distributions and corresponding evolutionary adaptations.

        This also hardly validates Lewontin. If the 4.3% of variation “among races” is statistically detectable, it actually validates the idea that such a thing as “race” exists, and that “races” can therefore be distinguished by those variations. Remember, the core of Lewontin’s Fallacy is that he ignored that the relatively small differences between populations are also highly correlated, which is to say that although Caucasians are 95% the same as Asians, genetically speaking, the 5% where we vary is generally in the same 5%; i.e. the distribution of that variance isn’t random. There are specific genetic adaptations that a large percentage of one population may possess that others don’t or possess in only small numbers. It’s where those highly correlated differences exist that we can distinguish between historical populations, or “races”. That doesn’t mean we’re not all human, and it doesn’t mean any population is superior to another in a general sense.

      • KD says

        Doesn’t this go around in a circle?

        Racial classifications do reflect biological differences because you can classify people based on their genetics into one of five populations or a mixture of those populations. If it did not represent biological differences, you couldn’t determine that from strictly genetic data.

        Say there is 4.3% variance between populations–much less than subspecies of chimps–it doesn’t tell us much unless we know what characteristics that variance is related to. Assuming there was a “homicide gene” that was prevalent in one population but not the other, there would be a serious observable difference between two populations (one with the gene, one without) even if they differ only by one gene. We don’t actually know much about what those population differences in human beings consist in (and many want to ban studying or even talking about such differences), but we know that if the populations faced different selective pressures, those variances may be extremely important because they would reflect a response to different selective pressures. Circumstantially, they would be likely to be more important, not less important, as larger environmental selection will act on a population.

        So there are population differences that can be classified based on the continent of ancestry, they are much smaller than differences in other animals, we don’t know how significant they are, so we can neither rule out genetic explanations for social differences nor can we definitively conclude that such explanations are indeed valid.

        On the other hand, those who claim that racial classifications have no biological basis are wrong or defeating strawmen. At the same time, Templeton is absolutely right that “race” as concept in humans is not equivalent to “subspecies” in other animals as the level of intergroup difference is significantly lower. But I am not aware of any so-called “race realist” who makes such a claim.

      • Unladen Swallow says

        Most of that “variation” is neutral, effectively useless for the purposes of evaluating selective differences. It’s utility is telling you how long two populations have been separated, not the significance of the differences between them. This has lead to the canard that a Zulu and a Finn can be more alike than either are to their respective co-ethnics. It’s not true, it’s never been true. Lewontin’s argument was circular, he assumed no correlations between different variants, but they do correlate and if you look at multiple loci ( ten or more ) you can accurate classify different individuals into different populations with an accuracy that approaches 100 percent.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Unladen Swallow

          ‘…the canard that a Zulu and a Finn can be more alike than either are to their respective co-ethnics. It’s not true, it’s never been true….’

          Depending on the number of loci sampled, a Zulu and a Finn CAN be more alike genetically than they are to their respective group members. The frequency with which this resemblance occurs, which the following authors call omega, approaches zero only asymptotically as the number of loci increases.

          Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations by Witherspoon et al. 2007. Genetics 176:351.

          The proportion of human genetic variation due to differences between populations is modest, and individuals from different populations can be genetically more similar than individuals from the same population. Yet sufficient genetic data can permit accurate classification of individuals into populations. Both findings can be obtained from the same data set, using the same number of polymorphic loci. This article explains why. Our analysis focuses on the frequency, omega, with which a pair of random individuals from two different populations is genetically more similar than a pair of individuals randomly selected from any single population. We compare omega to the error rates of several classification methods, using data sets that vary in number of loci, average allele frequency, populations sampled, and polymorphism ascertainment strategy. We demonstrate that classification methods achieve higher discriminatory power than omega because of their use of aggregate properties of populations. The number of loci analyzed is the most critical variable: with 100 polymorphisms, accurate classification is possible, but omega remains sizable, even when using populations as distinct as sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans. Phenotypes controlled by a dozen or fewer loci can therefore be expected to show substantial overlap between human populations. This provides empirical justification for caution when using population labels in biomedical settings, with broad implications for personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics, and the meaning of race.

          Link – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1893020/ emphasis added

          • Unladen Swallow says

            You are also using neutral variation to argue against selective differences. If a Finn and a Zulu happen to share a neutral genetic variant it is irrelevant to the genetic differences that resulted from selection in different environments. Humans, chimps, and gorillas aren’t 98 or 96 percent similar in phenotype, just in DNA, a sizeable fraction of which doesn’t code for anything. Again the neutral variants merely tell you how long two populations have been separated, now how many significant changes resulted during that time period. The Elephants on Malta or the Mammoths on Wrangel weren’t separated from their continental cousins for very long and yet underwent dramatic reduction in size.

            As for the argument that two members of geographic distant populations have more in common with each other than members of their own population, not true, see below:

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC139378/

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Unladen Swallow

            ‘…….You are also using neutral variation to argue against selective differences…..’

            Well, selected/adaptive traits don’t correspond to simple racial categories anymore than neutral variation does:

            “Are Human Races Defined By Adaptive Traits?

            ……Skin color is historically the locally adaptive trait most commonly considered by European cultures as a “racial trait” in humans….. The geographical distribution of skin color follows the environmental factor of uv intensity. Skin color differences do not reflect overall genetic divergence. For example, the native peoples with the darkest skins live in tropical Africa and Melanesia. The dark skins of Africans and Melanesians are adaptive to the high uv found in these areas. Because Africans and Melanesians live on opposite sides of the world, they are more highly genetically differentiated than many other human populations (Figure 2) despite their similar skin colors…… Skin color differences in humans are not a reliable indicator of overall genetic differentiation or evolutionary history. Moreover, skin color varies continuously among humans in a clinal fashion rather than categorical ecotypes (Relethford, 2009). Hence, there is a compelling biological reason to exclude skin color as the racially-defining adaptive trait under the ecotype concept of race.

            Another adaptive trait in humans is resistance to malaria, which is widespread in African populations. However, malaria is also common in some areas outside of Africa, and malarial resistance is found in many European and Asian populations as well. Indeed, one of the alleles underlying malarial resistance, the sickle-cell allele, has its highest frequency in certain populations on the Arabian Peninsula and in India despite frequently being regarded as a disease of “blacks” ……”

            Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737365/

    • Harland says

      The sad thing is that due to our taboo on research on this, it’s the Chinese who will end up kicking all our asses. They have no such taboos and can do science without interference.

      And someday, when they do publish their findings, we will all be treated to the delightful spectacle of woke leftists shouting that you can’t trust anything done by Chinamen.

  3. Anon says

    Thank you sincerely for this extremely sober and thorough review.

    • A C Harper says

      It’s the last hurrah (hopefully) of the Golden Horde. For if there is some objective truth in differences in human population demes, or some objective truth in behavioural differences between men and women, or some objective truth in the effect of IQ differences on life attainments, then the Authoritarian Left looses its authority to proclaim ‘one size fits all’.

      Goodness me, they might have to adjust their visions of Utopia to incorporate such differences and that makes the dream of centralised state control far more difficult than it already is. And anything that makes achieving Utopia more difficult must be wicked by default.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @ A C Harper

        “It’s the last hurrah (hopefully) of the Golden Horde.”

        I wish I shared your optimism. I think the Horde will not go down without a fight. They own the MSM and the universities. They control politics in much of the world.

      • DNY says

        On behalf of the medieval Mongols, I object to your characterizing the modern Left as the “Golden Horde”. The Mongols created the first large state with freedom of religion and facilitated free trade across the length of Eurasia. Technological levels equalized one way or the other, I’d rather live under the Great Khan than under the woke Left. Surrender and pay taxes (okay tribute if you want) and the original Golden Horde left you alone to live and pray as you saw fit, the woke Left, not so much.

        • A C Harper says

          Yeah. The surrender to the Horde is a bit of a hint though.

        • Aristodemus says

          Fascinated by the Mongol phase of Eurasian history, and don’t deny its many positive aspects, and grateful for the many hours of entertaining reading it’s provided me. But I wouldn’t want to inhabit a land in the process of being conquered by the Mongols.

    • Scott says

      If I want to buy this book, what section of the bookstore should I be looking in?

  4. “Contrary to the characterisation given by Saini, humans are just another animal species: there is little reason to believe that they are fundamentally different from wolves, deer, or chimpanzees.”

    Pity the authors saw fit to mar an interesting review with such reflexive reductionism. I expected better from both Bo Winegard and Noah Carl. I’m not in the habit of reading articles written by chimpanzees.

    • neoteny says

      such reflexive reductionism

      The point is that humans are subject to all biological laws: in particular to natural & sexual selection. At least so far.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      “I’m not in the habit of reading articles written by chimpanzees”

      Can I offer you the Shakespearean canon written by monkeys? It’ll take a few moments.

  5. Memetic Tribe says

    Question: What is the point of reaching out to experts in the field of biology when the author knows full well that the experts will self censor themselves in order to keep their career and funding streams afloat? Saini seems to make a case for convergent evolution: where geographically isolated populations evolve – by chance – into the same exact hing.

    Also: Claire, Could anything in Saini’s work be considered one of those “valid” points that you keep saying the far left has?

    • Reader says

      “What is the point of reaching out to experts in the field of biology when the author knows full well that the experts will self censor themselves in order to keep their career and funding streams afloat?”

      This is the reason – it’s a muscle flex.

  6. E. Olson says

    “Under some value systems, such as ‘luck egalitarianism,’ confirmation of a genetic contribution to racial IQ gaps could actually strengthen the case for redistributive taxation.”

    Arguably such IQ related redistribution has almost always been the case, because low IQ people tend to do poorly at everything and cost society a great deal. Low IQ are more likely to be criminals, which creates not only the costs of the crime (theft, injury, death), but also the necessity of society spending more on police and prisons. Low IQ are more likely to do badly and be disruptive at school, which creates costs to other students when curriculum is dumbed down, but also in terms of the need for special tutors and greater costs of fewer students per teacher (for more 1 on 1 instruction) and extra school security. Low IQ are also less able at most jobs (if they can do them at all), which means more costs in training, supervising, and having the more able take up the slack caused by low IQ performance deficits, as well as the costs associated with IQ related welfare to the chronically unemployed or mentally disabled.

    In fact, the biggest difference today is that the modern welfare state is actually enabling and encouraging low IQ people to have relatively more children, who are supported by the taxes paid by higher IQ people productively employed and as a consequence of education, employment and high taxes (and feminist ideology) having relatively fewer children. Thus for the first time in human history, high levels of redistribution are causing low IQ segments of society to survive in great numbers and therefore reproduce at greater levels than high IQ segments, which is the most likely reason average global IQ is declining.

    • Emblem14 says

      To make the argument you’re making, you have to be specific about where in the left side (below average) of the IQ distribution does it start having the effects you’re talking about. Below 90? Below 80? Where is the line where we start getting a preponderance of social dysfunction? How many people fall below that threshold? As a factor of absolute numbers, what populations should we be concerned about?

      Furthermore, you also have to make the argument that these inferiorities are mostly parent-child heritable and cannot be meaningfully affected by changes in environment to bring most people above the “danger zone” over time (as has happened in the past).

      Both the Chinese and Irish for example (among others) were considered inferior “populations” when they first started coming to America, and were persecuted by formal and informal bigotry. Compared to educated members of the native white demographic, many had little problem justifying it at the time, using their contemporary theories of racial hierarchy. Today, we can obviously see the ignorance of those assumptions.

      • E. Olson says

        Emblem – most literature suggests an IQ of at least 90 is required to be a positive economic value to modern economies, which is about the level needed to read, understand, and carry-out instructions for a new task or product. Most studies of US prison populations put the average IQ in the 80s to low 90s, and similar IQ numbers are also common averages among single mothers, and chronic drug abusers.

        You are correct that some formerly “stupid” ethnic/racial groups in the past have rapidly evolved to mean values or higher in the IQ distribution with better nutrition and less childhood trauma (and perhaps some other unknown environmental factors), but during the same time period blacks and non-white Hispanics have not closed the IQ gap despite also having access to many of the same nutritional and other environmental improvements in the US (including all the Great Society welfare programs and educational initiatives aimed at helping the “underprivileged”). Such troubling lack of progress is just one of the reasons that intelligence estimates attributable to genetic or heritable causes have generally been rising in the research that Saini apparently avoids mentioning or distorts.

        • Emblem14 says

          “but during the same time period blacks and non-white Hispanics have not closed the IQ gap despite also having access to many of the same nutritional and other environmental improvements in the US (including all the Great Society welfare programs and educational initiatives aimed at helping the “underprivileged”).

          But isn’t that the main contention of all leftist scholarship on race? That these groups have NOT in fact had equal access to the same improvements? That environmental conditions have not, on average, improved enough for these groups to experience the same advancements other groups have enjoyed? And that this is due primarily to policies rooted in the persistence of anti-black racism specifically (which doesn’t affect other minority groups)?

          You can say that welfare policies have backfired, but the data clearly show that on economic measures of the factors which are highly correlated with social mobility and wealth creation, the situation for black people has remained unchanged for a long time.

          That’s either because they’ve been repressed, sabotaged or aren’t intellectually and culturally capable of self-betterment. Which do you think it is?

          • asdf says

            It seems likely that proper measurement of racial IQ (or more accurately, ‘g’) was not possible in earlier 19th century studies, and that these “stories” of Asians or others going from dumb to smart basically don’t mean anything because its garbage in garbage out.

            It’s also at odds with all of the other evidence we’ve ever seen.

            The accumulated data we have now is pretty clear, and its basically what is laid out in The Bell Curve.

          • E. Olson says

            Emblem – I don’t think you can argue that early Chinese “immigrants”, or Irish, Italians, or Eastern Europeans coming to the US were treated any better than post-slavery blacks. German immigrants were brutally discriminated against during WWI, and Japanese-Americans were locked up during WWII, so lots of ethnic/racial groups have faced serious adversity and discrimination. Read the histories of the late mid-19th to mid-20th century and discrimination against such “inferior” or “disloyal” groups was rampant and legally allowed.

            Furthermore, diets, housing, and education standards for even the poorest US residents during this period was superior to “middle-class” standards in Europe or any other “wealthy” part of the world (and is still the case today on most material standards).

            Thus the lack of black and non-white Hispanic gap closing is almost certainly due to genes, with a heaping helping of “victimization” thrown to discourage them from even trying to hit their maximum potential.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Emblem14

            The problem is that it’s a vicious circle and unfortunately only the Victims themselves can break it. My mother vividly remembers the real racism against the Chinese and Japanese here in Vancouver. But in spite of everything that rotten whitey has been able to do to Oppress, both these groups are now considered to be regular folks. The Japanese in particular have better social stats that whitey.

            The fact is that you can’t keep good people down. Take the Jews: oppress them all you want (and God knows ‘we’ did), short of outright murder, you just can’t keep them off the top of the pile. Sorry but most of the problems of negroes are not whitey’s Oppression, they aren’t even lower average IQ, they are grossly poor social/cultural behaviors, in particular a propensity to crime, and absent fathers.

          • Just Me says

            A huge difference you don’t mention between Blacks and other minority groups that have done well is the differential importance given to education, literacy, intellectual pursuits, by their environment.

            American blacks (not so with many African blacks) are the major minority group in which doing well in school, being literate, well-educated, is considered treason against your culture, unlike the Chinese, Japanese, Jews, Indians, etc., the groups that do best in our education-based meritocratic society.

            It is rarely mentioned that there are some Asian cultures that also do badly and, not coincidentally, also do not value education and literacy.

            I think this factor is central, as I argue in other comments.

            It is also tragic and ironic that after such efforts by civil rights workers against laws that made literacy illegal for blacks, it has become a badge of black identity…

            And no one can fix that from the outside.

        • Carl says

          E.Olsen – A friend of mine who used to give IQ tests to prisoners once remarked that we had to take 2 things into consideration in looking at their scores. First, the people in prison are by definition those who got caught and did not successfully negotiate the legal system. There may be many things that make people successful or unsuccessful in any area of life, but those with lower abilities will be more likely to be found among the unsuccessful. Second, prisoners don’t exactly have an intense motivation to do as well as possible on tests. That second point might apply also to single mothers & drug abusers. I’m willing to accept the validity of IQ tests, given equal motivation of test-takers, but the fact that motivation may be highly unequal makes me question the reliability of the tests.

        • L Langlois says

          Really? WAnt to show me the study done on the IQ of single mothers?

          You know that doesn’t exist. You made that up in your head.

          And again, you have to PROVE that IQ is only heritable, and not environmental. Which as of right now, we cannot. IQ in some individuals in any given group is higher than some other individuals. Why?

          In other words, in any group of black people, some individuals IQ will be higher, and some will be lower than average. So you can’t start taking these broad assertions (black people have lower IQ) and start applying them wholesale to the group.

          Because there will be some in the group that have higher IQ, even higher than the average white person.

          And white people forget all the time that asians, as a group, have higher IQ’s then they do. So whitey is just a “burden” on Asians.

          THIS Is why we don’t want to allow race science. Because most Americans in particular have no idea how to think “scientifically” and ALWAYS want to skew the results to fit a particular ideology, instead of actually learning how to consider results.

          • E. Olson says

            Langlois – There are lots of cited IQ studies in the Bell Curve book, including single mother IQ, and there is no reason to believe it has gotten better in the last 25 years. Twin studies among other have proven IQ is mostly heritable (typically estimates are 50 to 80%), but nobody is saying it is 100% heritable. Every population has an IQ distribution, so just because average US black IQ is 85 does not mean there aren’t some who have genius IQ, there just won’t be very many compared to smarter groups such as whites, Jews, or N.E. Asians (just as there are also low IQ whites, Jews, and Asians, although proportionally less than blacks).

      • Heike says

        The US Army will not accept any recruit under 84 IQ. They simply cannot learn enough to be effective soldiers. They will harm their own side more than they can help.

        Here’s a presentation and reading by Hamilton Gregory, author of “McNamara’s Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War.” Because so many college students were avoiding military service during the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lowered mental standards to induct 354,000 low-IQ men. Their death toll in combat was appalling.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2VwFDV4-g

  7. Max says

    1.”Studying whether genes might contribute to population differences on non-superficial traits is tantamount to “scientific racism””

    Ok

    2.”Genes can only contribute to population differences on certain “superficial” traits”

    Ok. An how do you know that they do not contribute on non superficial traits?

    “I studied that”

    Hmmm…..

  8. E. Olson says

    A probably too kind review of what appears to be an appalling book. The question I have is who is the intended audience of such a pseudo-scientific/Leftist biased book? Could it be aiming at the university textbook market where PC faculty who share the same beliefs as Saini can assign it as a reading as part of their Leftist indoctrination so that impressionable young minds will be led to think this load of bollocks is actual science?

  9. Philip says

    The book is a perfect example of what you end up with if you put ideology before science. Everything is driven by the idea that racism is a great evil and therefore any science which might lend itself to be misused by racists must be denied. But once you relegate truth, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable, to being subordinate to your ideology, you eventually end up at the same place as book burners and Auschwitz guards. It’s not the truth that leads you to racism, it’s ideology.

    • Foyle says

      See also the original nurture not nature apologists handbook: “The Mismeasure of Man”, Steven J Gould.

    • Aristodemus says

      Might as well deny the physics underlying nuclear weapons, because of what racists might do with them.

  10. This article, by two experts, confirms my own, non-expert, way of thinking about race, which is that it is real & important.

    Are racial differences, which there clearly are, grounds for justifying racism? Of course not.

    However, by far the most important aspect of race is the role it plays in an individual’s sense personal & group identity. I identity with my European ancestors, their history & prehistory, rather than with my non-European ancestors, because I don’t have any, unless I go back many thousands of years.

    Why there is so much academic resistance to the reality & importance of race? Which recently led to one of the authors, Noah Carl, being prevented from taking up a position at Cambridge university. And it is not just “academic” in the sense of having little practical importance. There are profound social & political implications, which is what academics especially are, of course, so scared of.

    There is the fear that to admit to man’s Darwinian nature & situation would inevitably lead us down the same path that the Nazis took in justifying their insane racial ideology, eugenics & euthanasia programmes & wars of aggression. It is an understandable fear, but one we must overcome, just as early human communities had to overcame their fear of fire, in order to make use of it. Otherwise, we would never have emerged from the stone age.

    There was an overreaction to the evils of Nazism (esp. on the part of traumatised Jews), which basically went to the opposite, but equally insane, extremes, especially in regard to the Nazi obsession with “racial purity”, which has been replace by an obsession with DIVERSITY & racial mixing as a great moral virtue, which completely disregards the importance of ethnic & racial identity for any deep & meaningful sense of genuine national identity.

    In their pathological overreaction to Nazi social Darwinism, the social sciences trapped themselves in pre-Darwinian dark age, with a taboo against applying Darwinian logic to their disciplines altogether. The tragic consequence of this is that their understanding of human nature, society and the state is still on a par with medieval academic understanding of the heavens.

    I elaborate in this & other Twitter threads: https://twitter.com/rogerahicks/status/1012987161409355776

  11. E. Olson says

    “We are not particularly wedded to the word ‘race’ and would be happy to use ‘human population’ or ‘biogeographic ancestry group’ instead.”

    I believe the authors are being overly indulgent to the Leftist crazies in their willingness to give up using a perfectly legitimate word “race” because it has become politically incorrect. And why has it become politically incorrect, because race is used to distinguish between people who are having differing levels of success in modern life, which only means that whatever replaces “race” will also eventually become politically incorrect. This is because the underlying scientific facts about IQ and genetics are not going to change, which unfortunately also means there is little or nothing we can do to raise raise low IQs. These same issues also effect the history of other words that once were scientific terms of description such as negroid/negro, dwarf, imbecile/idiot that become non-PC and hence changed to black/African-American, little people/vertically challenged, and mentally challenged respectively.

    The fact is that high IQ and other personality and cultural traits that are more valuable in the modern world are more valuable because of the way the modern world has evolved. When everyone was dirt poor and limited to very local geographic regions/markets (which was the case until the last 100 years even in the developed world), having a higher IQ and some other traits such as ability to delay gratification, or culturally valuing education provided much more limited benefits to the individual or group than today. Thus it is interesting to speculate how the current PC craziness would change if the modern world was one that favored races who had genetic advantages as sprinters or ability to thrive at high altitudes (i.e. non-whites and mostly non-Asians) – would we also deny those racially linked genetic differences and avoid their study, and ask fast running Negroids and Himalayan Mongoloids to check their privilege? Or perhaps we can start the movement by demanding the NFL and NBA millionaire rosters have the demographic profile of America.

    • Stephanie says

      Yes, E., I thought it was absurd that we should replace “race” with terms 6-10 times as long, just to appease people who won’t be happy anyway.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      ” to give up using a perfectly legitimate word “race” because it has become politically incorrect”

      Good question, but I myself see it in strategic terms. One can expend resources fighting for the word, or one can do an end-run around it and get to the heart of the issue. Facing the Maginot Line, the Germans wisely decided to go around it. I’d suggest that reclaiming words should be done where possible, but very often we should ‘go around’ magic-word issues. So ‘population cluster’ avoids stepping on the landmine of saying ‘race’. Fine. We’ll clear the minefield latter.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says

        @Ray

        ‘Population cluster’ sidesteps the landmine and has more descriptive acuity to boot. Wins all around.

  12. MIke says

    1)“Race” is not a meaningful biological category
    – I mostly agree, unlike the critique author

    2)”Moreover, she wants us to equate any claim that genes might contribute to psychological differences between populations with racism. ”
    – I mostly agree with critique that this is wrong, with one caveat.

    I think this critique of the book misses the mark slightly because it accuses the book of not defining race well and then does the same (doesn’t define very well race (populations) or the issues with race (population) definition). 20 years ago I would have agreed strongly with the book, but our ability to analyze genetics and understand the resulting medical/phenotypic variation has improved and has proven to be very important (pharmacogenetics etc). Based on some of the comments above, there should be real fear about how this research is interpreted and applied to geographic/perceived populations. But hereditarianism is a thing, and pretending that humans don’t vary is just not scientific.

    First a question for all the Americans: What race is Barack Obama? The answer in today’s world is that he is black, because race as discussed in the news is MOSTLY a social construct. The truth is that biologically he has genes from Kansas/Phillipines and genes from Kenya in some mostly equal proportion. Those genes influence his susceptibility to certain medical conditions and traits. However, I don’t expect his risk of being 1 standard deviation below the average white IQ would be a valid statement. This example highlights how our simple ways of navigating our social world really fall apart, and it is important to be very clear about how we define “populations” when talking about these studies. The terms black and white are so loaded in North American discourse, socially they are very meaningful, but not very biologically specific.

    This reminds me of the abortion/pro-life situation where you have two sides arguing about completely different things which are in opposition (individual sovereignty versus religious definitions of when life begins). It also reminds me of the gender issue where people’s heads explode because they can’t reconcile the non-exclusionary concepts of a mental gender and a biological sex.

    Throughout history when a lower socioeconomic status “race” mixes with a traditionally higher status “race” they are assigned the lower status, whatever you want to say about the leftists that is predominantly a true statement. Judaism is a religion, not a race, but because of the religion there has been a somewhat isolated “population”. I think that definitions of race are muddled in North America because currently there is medical/social utility in visually identifying people due to recent (200 years) history, but as exemplified by Mr. Obama one’s race is mostly a social construct. Genes can travel geographically across generations without people moving farther than the next village. There are important phenotypic variations, which should be explored to advance our understanding of human genetics. But determining someone’s genetic profile explicitly (not by asking where their parents are from or visually identifying them) is how this research will become very useful.

    In conclusion – 1)race is a terrible way to define populations because common understanding and use of race interferes with understanding of academic results.

    2)And, the motivation for this book is quite real and it sounds like it missed the mark, but it is important to acknowledge that the discussion of arbitrary and simple population groups/geography and the definition of the groups for study should be more carefully discussed and separated from the social aspect when communicating the results. I’m highly suspicious of blacks vs whites studies those just seem like conveniently simple and rather large and indistinct groups which have significant cultural and economic pressures being applied, especially in US. Steven Pinker’s discussions about Ashkenazi Jews seem to make more sense, as it discusses a distinct specific population/group and underlying mechanism.

    Overall, a well considered article, but felt a little overbearing about the way it brushed off some of the concerns and challenges of genetic research of human diversity.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Your point about Obama was well made.
      In Australia now we have professional aborigines who have pale skin and blonde hair, but who “identify” solely with the tiny percentage of aboriginal ancestry they have. In the past these people would have been keen to pass as white. But now it serves them well to be aborigines because it opens up government grants and prizes that are the sole preserve of indigenous people.
      Obviously these people take racial difference really seriously.
      I think the real differences between people are of culture not race. It is in fact similar to the sex and gender divide. I can accept anyone as my countryman or woman if he or she sincerely wants to adapt to our country’s culture and has come because of a desire to blend in whilst providing a few new ways of looking at things. I don’t hold with multiculturalism but with one many faceted culture. It is important that the government is not the only thing that binds us together as a society. The left would have us become totally balkanised with an all powerful government cadre of thought police there to ensure that no one offends any group decreed to be “marginalised”.

      • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

        “In Australia now we have professional aborigines who have pale skin and blonde hair, but who “identify” solely with the tiny percentage of aboriginal ancestry they have.”

        In the US, we call this Liz Warren syndrome.

    • Stephanie says

      Mike, if you are going to replace the word “race” with “population” purely because you think race is too loaded a term, why claim that race is not biologically meaningful while population is? And what makes you think “population” won’t become loaded with time as well?

      Obama is mixed race. That means he does not have the “risk” of being 1 SD lower in IQ, maybe just a half. You reject that possibility, because you can tell from listening to him and looking at his credentials that he has a high IQ. Using this as an example is falling into exactly the trap Ray outlines above: you are assuming that group characteristics supercede individual characteristics, and that every individual is representative of their group average.

      I gather you are on the left, because it is the tendency of people on the left to do this that renders them so deeply uncomfortable with the possibility of group differences.

      As to your offhand comment on abortion, it is instructive to the race debate as well. The pro-life position is the one based on soverignty of the individual, because they understand that a fetus is an individual human. Religious conceptions of when life begin are varied and irrelevant: biology is clear and unambiguous that a new human life begins at conception. This is a fact not understood by a significant segment of the pro-choice camp, and most of the remainder make up arbitrary new qualifications for which humans are allowed to live and which may be killed with impunity.

      The great irony of the left’s claim that hereditarism is racist is that they are the ones predisposed to justifying the murder of humans based on arbitrary characteristics. If they’re okay with killing Down Syndrome babies, what other low-IQ or sickly people might they find disposable? On some level they recognise this instinct in themselves, and that’s why they react so violently to conversations about racial differences. They are afraid of what they would do if they allowed themselves to think about it.

      • MIke says

        Stephanie, there is no logically consistent way to define race, example Obama. It can only be defined loosely and is subjective. Populations for genetic studies can have clear statistical definitions to make comparisons and correlate genetic differences to medical statistics etc. However, using socially based race constructions to communicate the importance of these differences is mostly garbage.

        My comment about abortion was not offhand. I am tired of these polarized debates where you have two sides but aren’t really clear about why. We keep having these “conversations” but not getting anywhere or shouting at each other, because we can’t seem to agree to disagree. Example above: 1)it is possible to statistically define groups that have differences caused by genes which are meaningful. 2)it is NOT possible to define those groups such that an individual fits in one to the exclusion of other groups. 3)The social construct of race has utility in our society, and some overlap with the biological variation, but not the way most people think it does. For example, if someone goes into a hospital in the US and is “black”, it is more likely they could have sickle cell anemia than a white person, but if you look at populations in the world and lactose intolerance, it might be more important to know the specific ancestry of someone rather than a simple label that has utility only because of the actual unique demographics of the US.

        For abortion:
        1)Fetuses might be alive but cannot survive on their own so are they really an independent human? Removing a life-form from your body which could be viewed as a parasite in a purely objective manner (especially if it was placed there against your will) is an issue of individual sovereignty.
        2)From your response I can see that you are most likely a religious conservative, which illustrates my point about the pro-life and pro-choice camps aren’t actually arguing the same thing. Your view that a fetus is an independent human at conception is a religious position and a very valid one, but it is personal.

        From my center left point of view, I would like to see all the pro-lifers voluntarily propose a tax to care for young mothers and infants and ensure that the mothers can get an education and the children are properly housed and fed, then I would take them more seriously about their commitment to the “children”. But it seems it is more a matter of punishment and principle than a true commitment to improving society. My understanding is that the evidence is clear that since abortion became legal crime rates have dropped substantially due to the number of unloved and abandoned children or children being raised in abject poverty declined so much. I understand your position, but I agree to disagree.

        • Stephanie says

          Mike, of course you can define race statistically. Did you read the article? Mixed race people defy that classification the same way dusk defies the classification of night and day. It simply isn’t a valid argument. You can make the case that people self-identify incorrectly, but not that an objective classification doesn’t exist.

          You are the latter kind of left-wing person: you added an arbitrary qualifier on when it is okay to kill someone. If we can kill anyone who is not independent and dehumanized as “parasites,” that means we can kill babies, toddlers, the elderly, socialists…

          • MIke says

            Stephanie, you are mixing your apples and your oranges. Race as a social construct exists, Barack Obama is black according to our society. But biologically you can’t state that he is either black or white because there is no objective way to classify him as one or the other because he is both, just like probably 90% of black people in the US (who have a mocha skin tone ) would then be dawn or dusk or mixed race so you’re saying that maybe only 10% of the people in North America that you would call black are actually definable as black. So I am categorically saying that there is no objective classification which can biologically state that Barack Obama is white/black, because there is no logical construct/genetic parameter which sorts people by defining characteristics into 2 piles like that. As many other people have commented the biologists can’t actually come up with genetic ways of defining the traditional races BECAUSE of the outliers 50%, 25%, 12.5% where do you stop? Please feel free to provide a specific counter-example which all of the many geneticists working in this field can then adopt.

            What you can do is say something along the lines of “what’s the incidence of X disease which is linked to genes A,B,C in people with some level of ancestry from groups D,E,F” the groups D,E,F allow a comparison to study the effect of the genes A,B,C. which may have different frequencies in those groups. It doesn’t mean that groups D,E,F have any intrinsic value.

            And I am betting you support the right of people to defend their life and person from threats to their survival and health, up to and including ending the life of another human. Your value judgement that a fetus as soon as it is attached to a host has an insurmountable right to life over the effects on the human to which it is attached is a personal value judgement with which I don’t agree. Of course I never implied it is right to kill humans who are not threatening the health and welfare of other humans. And the main point I was making is that pro-choice and pro-life can’t effectively debate because pro-choice believe in the rights of the individual to protect their health, and pro-life consider that equivalent to murder of a mature human entity requiring regulation. There is no real debate/middle ground to be had so thanks for proving my original point.

        • James says

          This conversation is way beyond me, but I will offer my basic opinion. In regard to the Fetuses being alive, but cannot survive on it’s own, you question if it is an independent human? Of course not. It is on its path to that position. It is a Human developing. They do not appear in a flash of time. But once born, can it defend and look after itself? No. So is it human, Yes.
          And as for the argument that you use economics to justify killing a Fetuses, I would have thought in this day and age that unwanted pregnancy can easily be avoided. Some women use abortion as a birth control. In cases of Rape or some issue with Fetuses development then abortion is an option. Otherwise it’s an area that makes me feel uncomfortable, Because having and raising child is one of the most rewarding and natural experiences of being human. I’m not religious, just a free thinker.
          As to the differences in regard to races. I think each distinctive race has slightly different qualities. Of course if someone is of mixed race, these differences will travel wherever the genes go. Take for example an African sportsman/woman. From simple observation I would say they are far stronger that other races. They dominate many sports. So what. That’s the way it is and good for them. And as stated, disease affects different races as opposed to others. And all this is simply natural mutations with populations that lived separately for many thousands of years.

  13. dirk says

    I wonder whether the disposal of the biological race concept by Lewontin and others could have happened if the Holocaust would not have been there. Same thing for that massive and rapid decolonisation, and maybe many other pomo ideas and hypes more.

  14. Emmanuel says

    Saini’s main argument seems to be that what she refers to as “race science” could have implications she does not like and therefore cannot be true…
    Let’s be honest for one minute : for every known species, we can identify subspecies displaying on average differences in terms of behaviour and appearance. Why should we assume things are different for humans ?

    Also, I don’t know if Saini discusses that, but the moral panick about racism and the fear of acknowledging differences between populations is a specificity of modern western societies. In Africa, Asia or South America, people are very straightforward and “open-minded” about that. If Saini was to go to Kenya or a place like that and explain the natives population differences don’t exist, nobody would take her seriously.

    • E. Olson says

      All those people that say Border Collies are smarter than Beagles are just racist, just as I’m sure Greyhounds are faster than Bulldogs only because Greyhound families train for running more than Bulldog families, because genes obviously have nothing to do with it.

      https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dumbest-dog-breeds

      • Emmanuel says

        “The Maasai being taller than the Pygmies is a social construct.”

        • Gerald of Renberg says

          But let’s imagine that a Maasai meets a beautiful Pigmy and that they mate together, and have an offspring.

          Will that offspring be a Maasai ? Or will it be a Pigmy ?

          Is there a way to scientifically describe this infant’s race ?

          Perhaps it could be called half-Maasai and half-Pigmy, I suppose. But more probably, it will be a Maasai or a Pigmy based on the parents’ choice – a cultural and social choice.

          Here in France, we don’t really use the word “race” as seems to be the case in the anglo-saxon world. We sometimes describe people by refering to their obviously superficial traits like pigmentation or skull shape (Blacks or Asians), but more frequently we refer to their ethnicity or nationality (“He’s a Chinese. She’s a Berber”). There’s less confusion this way.

          The word “race” as Jack B. Nimble eloquently puts it later on is hopelessly mired between social and scientific meanings.

          • Stephanie says

            Gerald, interbreeding diminishes the concept of race as much as dawn and dusk diminish the concept of night and day

          • Emmanuel says

            For the sake of the people involved, I hope the Maasai was a girl and the Pigmy a guy…

            More seriously, it is true that interbreeding between human population nuances the concept of race. David Reich has written about that. Nevertheless, we should not forget that such “mixed-race” unions are not very frequent nowadays and were even less common in the past, with some exceptions such as the Spanish in the New World.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        Breedist!

        Seriously, my niece’s beagle, Mrs. Betty, was … well nuts, she was not very bright. She had an astonishing nose tho — funny, that’s just what Beagles were bred for — and all she ever wanted was things to smell. Sorry for stereotyping. Yes, Mrs. Betty could have been a sheepdog but for Collie-supremacy.

        • Jonny Sclerotic says

          @E. Olson

          Greyhounds were selectively bred to spot, chase, and catch other species for our consumption. We bred sheep, and dogs to ringfence them. We are as gods to dogs. If only we had a self-interested creator this whole ‘different races’ thing could really take off. But really, there’s no sensible comparison.

          • E. Olson says

            Jonny – yes of course the different dog breeds have been developed for specific purposes such as some require intelligence (herding dogs), some have great noses (hounds), and some have great speed or strength, etc. depending on the human need and local environment. Darwin’s theory says much the same thing about “natural selection” as certain randomly distributed characteristics are more suited for certain roles and environments than others, which increases the rate of survival and reproductive success of those with the desirable characteristics, which over time creates different sub-species or races. Thus it could be said that every racial group have evolved to have the physical and mental characteristics that are most beneficial and conducive to their survival in the environment in which they evolved.

            The problem of so called racism today are almost entirely due to the fact that the environment has changed more rapidly in the past 250 years than it has in the previous several thousand years, and some races and their related cultures have been more compatible with the changes than others, and hence are achieving superior results in terms of material standards of living, development of knowledge, arts, and technology, longer/healthier lifespans, and political and economic freedoms.

      • Foyle says

        Border Collies are so smart they have to ban them from multibreed dog intelligence competitions – because they are absolutely dominant. This breed is only a few hundred generations old. There have been probably more than 5000 generations of humans since they came out of Africa 75000 years ago.

        Mongolians are also a real problem for nurture not nature apologists – relatively impoverished, but with one of the highest average IQ’s in world. People I know who have been there have come away amazed at how quick/clever the sheep herders living in tents with only minimal post primary education are.

  15. scribblerg says

    Saini, the hack author at issue here (she’s just an activist, not a thinker) published a book entitled Geek Nation: How Indian Science is taking over the world. Oh, so the language of racial supremacy is okay when it goes towards Indians. Got it.

    Why would anyone take this hack seriously? That’s the question. Why does she get a platform for her agitprop?

    • E. Olson says

      Somebody has to stop the Nazi/KKK menace, and it might as well be a Princess Warrior with Indian scientific superpower. I can already see in my head the comic book series and movie version.

      • scribblerg says

        Indeed, great comment. Yes, she’s a social justice brown warrior princess, lapping up massive privilege – all granted to her without her asking by the West.

        Her other “scholarship” is just a weak and absurd. Yet she thrives in the intellectual world the Prog-Marxists have given us. I wonder how many of her book sales are due to professors mandating it in syllabi? How many non-profits bought the books to give to their activists?

        The preening arrogant Indian in the West playing victim is becoming an archetype in the U.S.. Yet another kind of guest in my nation who I’m growing increasingly weary of and can do without. Their entitlement in the UK is even greater, cuz hey, at least they aren’t blowing things up so anything else is just fine.

        India is a dirty, messed up country. They should be very grateful to even be in our nations. But they lack this simple grace. And I notice it, and so do many others.

        • Lydia says

          Olson, I have a lot of Indian colleagues and acquaintances and have learned a lot about what seems to be going on. one thing I have noticed in my city over the past 10 years are immigration lawyers popping up in every strip mall thanks to my H1B promoting senator.

          But the thing that gets to me the most, are the low interest rate gov backed loans these people receive to buy or start businesses. You or I would not be qualified as citizens born here. These loans are for immigrants. They are buying small hotels and convenience gas stations here like crazy.

          In many ways we’ve come to the point that it’s more advantageous to be an immigrant or even an illegal than it is to be a native citizen. The native citizens had to pay for it all but do not reap the same benefits.

        • Edward says

          Only sixty-four comments posted, and we already have a racist comment. Neither the United States nor Britain – wherever you live – is “your nation”, and nobody cares about who you can and cannot “do without”. Saini is British, not Indian, and British citizens do not need to be “grateful” to be in Britain.

          The whole concept of gratefulness is a rather bizarre one, but if anyone ought to be grateful in this scenario, it’s the people who have benefited from the scientific and technological breakthroughs made by immigrants from India, and their descendants.

          “at least they aren’t blowing things up so anything else is just fine”

          To what else are you referring here? Being net contributors to the public purse; being the highest earning and most educated group in both the United States and Britain; employing thousands of people in their businesses; boosting the US and Britain in the international PISA tables?

          The preening, arrogant “native” in the West playing a victim is becoming an archetype on Quillette. We’ll see if you have the simple grace to apologize for your initial comments.

          • We’re all duly impressed by your enlightened morality, Edward. I’m sure the poster you’re censuring will realize the error of his/her ways, apologize, and the world will become a better place. I congratulate you, Edward — you deserve every ounce of emotional satisfaction
            you got from the online display of your moral indignation.

            Keep fighting the good fight, buddy. God will reward you.

          • DiamondLil says

            Edward, would you say the same to First Nations peoples or other indigenous cultures that have been marginalized in the land of their ancestors? Are you saying that such indigenous groups are racist for complaining about being pushed aside by uncontrolled immigration by Others in earlier centuries? Is not Canada “my nation” no matter where my ancestors came from? Do the First Nations peoples have no right to complain about my being here?

    • Lydia says

      Scribblerg, a friend of mine recruited H-1B tech workers in India for five years. He said in spite of their education they still had to be trained. The point was not their skills or abilities but they are cheaper on the payroll.

      • Edward says

        There’s some evidence that H-1B recipients are paid slightly less than their native-born counterparts in computer science. This is generally down to the fact that they are less experienced; they’ve usually come straight out of university. However, there’s no evidence that H-1B recipients in occupations unrelated to computer science are paid any less than natives.

        The fact of the matter is that Indian-Americans are the highest-paid and best-educated group in the United States. Their descendants do extremely well on the SAT and other psychometric tests, and become the doctors and the scientists that the country needs.

        • E. Olson says

          Edward – so you seem to be suggesting that Indians in the US or UK are a superior race/ethnicity, which sounds racist to me. Unfortunately for India, the ones the immigrate/get recruited to come to the US/UK to work have an average IQ of something like 110, but the best estimate for India overall is about 85, which is likely why the country is such a mess.

          • Edward says

            @E. Olson

            It’s rather interesting – and revealing – that you jump to the conclusion that I am arguing that Indian-Americans or British Indians are a “superior race”, by simply pointing out morally- and value-neutral facts.

            Didn’t you read the piece above? We have to be able to discuss these questions in an adult fashion. I was merely correcting the other two commenters.

          • Just Me says

            E. Olson-

            “the best estimate for India overall is about 85, which is likely why the country is such a mess”

            Has it occurred to you it may be the other way around? A huge overpopulated country with a caste system and appalling poverty, with a low literacy rate (74%, 64% in Bihar, the highest 94% in Kerala), cannot produce the same average IQ as a developed country?

            But given the advantage of decent living conditions and an education, the Flynn effect will kick in and their IQ will improve.

  16. Kristina says

    When the idea of genetic differences among populations is simply rejected, we also lose a chance to improve lives. What if, as Darwin posited in the quotation above, that populations differ in susceptibility to certain diseases? We know this to be true–incidences of diseases or conditions do vary across genetic/ethnic populations. For example, what if the unfortunately higher rate of maternal mortality for African-Americans was not due to complex issues of poverty, but actually had a genetic component? And what if looking into these differences could help people? What if the higher incidence of diabetes in African-Americans had something to do with vitamin D metabolism? And people could actually be helped by acknowledging this fact?

    Today, various Jewish charities offer much more comprehensive genetic testing of prospective parents, because there are many genetic diseases more prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews. These charities have used explicit notions of race to actually improve health in the Jewish population. But if African-Americans were encouraged to do the same thing, that would be racist and eugenic.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @Kristina

      Ancestry. not ‘race,’ is the key to effective and informed medicine. At least in the US, patients are routinely asked if their close relatives have any diseases of note like cancer or heart disease. That is an ancestry-based question, and knowing a patient’s ‘race’ doesn’t add ANY useful information beyond that contained in a detailed and accurate ancestry record

      Even for a disease like Tay-Sachs among the Ashkenazi in the US, over 95% of the population does NOT carry the mutant allele. Genetic counseling deals with ancestry, not race. And of course, the Ashkenazi are not a ‘race’ or anything approximating a ‘race.’

      Bottom Line: Ancestry is REAL. We all have ancestors and most of us will have descendants. Race is a construct, and the historical use of race in law and medicine doesn’t reflect current biological understanding.

      • Peter Kriens says

        Not sure I understand the different between race/ethnic group and shared ancestry? Do people of the same race not share their ancestry? I understand the Ashkenazi jews can be traced back to a very small group?

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @P K

          First of all, Jews [or any subset thereof] are not a race. To recognize the Ashkenazim as a race means that–to be consistent–we have to recognize 100s of human races, which not only destroys any usefulness of the ‘race’ concept but also invalidates the idea pushed by Nicholas Wade and others that there are about 5 human races that correspond roughly to the five inhabited continents.

          I’m of mixed German/Welsh/Irish/Scottish ancestry. We all have our own personal histories that can be traced through websites like Ancestry.com. Despite the vogue of DNA testing, assignment algorithms produce ancestry estimates with high sampling errors that render attempts to study ancestry through genes much less useful than through written records like census data. The history written in our genes can’t be simplified to simple categories like racial types, even if the categories allow for the existence of some mixed or ambiguous persons.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jack B. Nimble

            “we have to recognize 100s of human races”

            You are trying to make ‘race’ the sort of descriptor that it does not try to be. We can subdivide our species as finely or as coarsely as we choose to do in the moment. Compare ‘climate zones’: how many are there? The answer is that there are as many as one chooses to find which depends on the needs of the moment. Does this mean that there are no such things as climate zones? Going north-south in Africa we have the Sahara, the Sahel and the rainforest. Where exactly does the Sahara end and the Sahel begin? It’s a pointless question. Might we divide the transition between desert and rainforest into finer classifications? Sure, if we felt like it. But I put it to you that the Sahara desert is a useful identifier and that it’s not like the Congo basin even tho the two are seamlessly connected. Everyone knows that the races are not hard-edged categories. Nevertheless is it will never stop being the case that folks distinguish between Pygmies and Eskimos.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Ray Andrews

            ‘……… folks distinguish between Pygmies and Eskimos…….’

            YES!!! Racial categories are folk taxonomy:

            “….Race is folk taxonomy, not science. The variables used to organize it, such as skin color and hair texture, are arbitrary choices. A case can be made that the concept of discrete European, African, Asian and American races probably arose from the medieval theory that variation in human behavior reflected imbalances in the four (white, black, yellow and red) “humours.” A belief in discrete races might also have arisen from a shift from overland travel by caravan to the use of ocean-going watercraft in the 15th century A.D. Prior to this period, voyagers traveling overland and sailors making frequent landfalls would have observed gradual changes in the appearance of the people they encountered. With longer oceanic voyages and less frequent landfalls, differences appeared more stark, leading to categorical models of human variation, such as race. Tellingly, most racial classifications of humans postdate this innovation in marine transportation…..

            Source: https://www.americanscientist.org/article/is-race-real

            Bottom Line: Folk taxonomy is the practice of grouping bats with birds, porpoises with fishes, etc.on the basis of superficial appearance.

          • Peter Kriens says

            Jack, I think you’re a bit too quick for me.Like any categorization mechanism you’ll find fuzzy edges however that does not makes the categorization useless. I think the utility of a categorization is how well it works. For the major races it seems to work quite well, the clusters around the self identified races is remarkable. A theory with predictive value is good, isn’t it?

            If you let your genes be analyzed then they will tell you where your ancestors are likely pretty well rooted in the caucasian race. Census data only goes back a few hundred years while our history (and racial differences) have a much longer trajectory. I think both are very useful but one is not replacement for the other.

            I feel you’re throwing away the baby with the bathwater because you seem to dislike the term so much. I find throwing a way a categorization tool that has predictive value because it has been abused in the past a step too far.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @P K

            ‘……A theory with predictive value is good, isn’t it?….’

            There is no theory here; categorization of humans using genetic or phenotypic markers is descriptive or inductive science and–as I have noted elsewhere in this thread–induction is vulnerable to capture by confirmation bias. When the investigator has results that matches their expectations [5 genetic clusters, ergo five ‘races’] they usually stop collecting data and stop thinking critically about methods AND results.

            Ignoring fuzzy boundaries is just another example of cherry picking the data. Look, if humans hadn’t been moving around and mating across the globe for the last 250,000 years or so, maybe the human species WOULD be divided into recognizable races, but that is not what the data show. Instead of clear or even fuzzy boundaries, human genetic structure fits an isolation by distance model whereby genetic distinctness of population samples depends mostly on the geographic separation [over a scale of 30000 km] and not their ‘racial’ assignment:

            Complex genetic patterns in human arise from a simple range-expansion model over continental landmasses by Ricardo Kanitz et al. PLOS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192460

            ‘……..Although it is generally accepted that geography is a major factor shaping human genetic differentiation, it is still disputed how much of this differentiation is a result of a simple process of isolation-by-distance, and if there are factors generating distinct clusters of genetic similarity. We address this question using a geographically explicit simulation framework coupled with an Approximate Bayesian Computation approach. Based on six simple summary statistics only, we estimated the most probable demographic parameters that shaped modern human evolution under an isolation by distance scenario, and found these were the following: an initial population in East Africa spread and grew from 4000 individuals to 5.7 million in about 132 000 years. Subsequent simulations with these estimates followed by cluster analyses produced results nearly identical to those obtained in real data. Thus, a simple diffusion model from East Africa explains a large portion of the genetic diversity patterns observed in modern humans. We argue that a model of isolation by distance along the continental landmasses might be the relevant null model to use when investigating selective effects in humans and probably many other species…..’

      • Bill Zorn says

        call it ‘ancestry’, call it ‘race’, call it ‘genetically distinct subpopulation’, call it ‘subtype’; these are all the same things. within the largest groups will be smaller groups with shared characteristics.

        if a patient’s family history includes all issues known to be common in a subgroup, your comment about u.s. patients is correct. since none do, knowing the ‘race’ makes screening for issues common to the group but absent from the particular family possible. if your family is ashkenazi but you aren’t aware of a disease linked to that ‘ancestry/race/whatever’ in your family, it might be nice to be screened to keep it out of the family tree, or keep a recessive trait recessive.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @B Z

          Here’s a realistic thought experiment that refutes your logic. Suppose a newborn is dropped off at a church with no information about parentage/ancestry. What would be more useful to know:

          [1] results of tests for particular genetic markers of diseases or
          [2] the newborn’s ‘race’ as assessed by overall appearance?

          The answer is clearly [1]. Ancestry data and genetic tests are about equally useful in predictive value, whereas ‘race’ is too insubstantial to be useful.

          • Stephanie says

            Of course you could pretty accurately guess the child’s race just by his appearance, no expensive testing required. The genetic testing would likely confirm that, as well as flag any genetic markers of disease.

            There seem to be a lot of suggestions for words that will be used the same way as race, but will make people more emotionally comfortable. Will it be ancestry? Population? Or one of the 6 or 10 syllable suggestions the authors make?

            Also, how long before that euphemism becomes offensive too, and we need to trade it in?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Jack B. Nimble

            “[2] the newborn’s ‘race’ as assessed by overall appearance?”

            The newborn’s race gives you less specific but also much broader information. If you could only run one genetic test, or instead rely on race, you’d get more information overall by race. Mind, if you could entirely analyze the kid’s genome, you would in effect know its race anyway and of course the specific tests would be much more valuable.

          • Bill Zorn says

            i guess i don’t understand your reply, on several levels; a gold standard test should always give more valuable information, but that doesn’t in any way invalidate the value of using history or (if it’s all you’ve got) an estimation of ancestry/race/whatever from physical examination. more fundamentally, even if there’s no clinical utility in the concept of race, it wouldn’t mean there was no rational grouping of humans with differentially evolved capabilities, call it race or whatever. it would be odd if it weren’t so. while the folk taxonomy has an ugly history, the concept of race as the article considers it is hard to deny.

            we seem to be branched into two main groups; homo sapiens, and homo sapiens-neanderthalis or -denisova hybrids, with some further subgrouping.

          • Emblem14 says

            @Jack,

            just want to say you’re doing heroic work in this comments section.

            It’s very interesting to see how much motivated reasoning and selective reading of facts is employed to justify predetermined conclusions among people who claim that they only want the freedom to discuss “the truth” without being attacked by taboo enforcers.

            When you see what conclusions they want to draw from their understanding of the data, it’s easy to see why the taboo exists.

            It would be great if there was less reflexive policing of taboo, but it would also be great if racists and racial chauvinists didn’t totally pollute the discourse on these topics every time they come up, by using their half-baked overstated grasp of science to push their political agendas.

            People have every right to worry about nefarious implications of the misuse of inconclusive science for political ends, because we can see the attempt in front of our noses.

          • Just Me says

            Useful for what?

            What would you go on to decide which family would make the most appropriate adoptive parents?

        • MIke says

          I meant Very well said to Jack B Nimbles comment: Ancestry. not ‘race,’ is the key to effective and informed medicine.

          • Jonny Sclerotic says

            Second this, Jack’s bang on the money.

            Ray says “Compare ‘climate zones’: how many are there? The answer is that there are as many as one chooses to find which depends on the needs of the moment.”

            Well, which moments require you to categorize a person by something as nebulous and unhelpful as ‘race’? I have simply never found that category remotely useful.

  17. In addition to natural selection and genetic drift, there are also the very real differences due to interbreeding with various hominins (e.g., Neanderthals and Denisovans).

    In his recent book “Who We Are and How We Got Here” David Reich puts forth a very cogent argument for recognizing the differences among groups of humans, rather than ignoring or denying them, in order to keep the scientific realities from being nefariously used.

    • scribblerg says

      We also seem to never discuss “sexual selection” and human mating strategies, and how this greatly impacts human evolution. The basics are that we are a sexually dimorphism species with a “tournament” mating contest running nonstop. The vast majority of sexual interactions are based on males competing for female sexual selection.

      This sexual selection “skims the cream” of male genetics based on the preferences of women. In fact, about 50% of men don’t pass on their genetics. Think about the impact of that.

      I’ll close with a hint for those shocked by this. Women have vast, crucial power in our social order. Much of “patriarchy” was about restraining female reproduction (not solely sexual activity). The socio-political order that emerged enshrined females sexual selection as an exclusively female privilege when the West introduced voluntary marriage.

      This horrible patriarchal order refined the male competition for female selection and also constrained female choices greatly. Cultural boundaries were enforced etc and the impact of all this. On “evolution” is huge. But just lump it in with “natural selection” as though this issue is similar to being able to outrun a predator or something.

      And if that doesn’t mess you up enough, then go read E. O. Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth and how “group selection” is truly the engine of human civilization and progress. Another hint? Hierarchies are a feature of human social order, not a bug…Ingroups are crucial for human progress too.

      Okay, just wanted to way in a bit here. Have a nice day everyone.

      • neoteny says

        male competition for female selection […] But just lump it in with “natural selection”

        No one lumps in sexual selection with natural selection; this was a mistake in an otherwise quite interesting comment.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @scribblerg

        “This sexual selection”

        Tell a successful ‘high yalla’ businessman that his daughter is sleeping with a coal-black of any social status and watch his reaction. You might mistake it for racism, but of course it can’t be because firstly only whitey can be racist. Secondly because all of the above are nominally of the same race.

  18. mila s says

    If the detractors of so called Race Science are driven by ideological or emotive biases then this goes doubly so for its proponents. Scratch someone with a keen interest in ‘race science’ and you will almost always find somebody looking for an empirical justification for pre-existing prejudices and hatreds.

    When it comes to adherents of ‘scientific racism’ the racism always comes first, the science second.

    • Reader says

      Luckily, rather than playing a game of “pin the hidden motivation on the biologist,” we can just utilize the scientific approach to get the best information possible and to represent it as best understood.

      The “race science” people seem content to do this, whereas based on the reaction to this article from progressive Twitter, the anti-science approach seems to involve snipping this article out of context, smugly saying demonstrably wrong shit like “IQ isn’t correlated with anything and is just a test score,” and otherwise working from a moral objection backwards.

      And again, that’s fine – no need to cancel anyone over this – as the state of the science is the thing to pay attention to, not armchair psychology.

    • Emblem14 says

      well put mila.

      This comments section smells to high heaven.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        Yes, Mila. Well said. And yes, Emblem14, it sure does. .

        • gda53 says

          Seems like those of the progressive view are feeling threatened by the cogent arguments put forward by those of the other persuasion.

          Isn’t that what is indicated when chimps gather together and start grooming each other relentlessly? The need for “group hugs” and assurance from others of their clan to assuage fear and uncertainty?

          Just an observation. Perhaps I’m wrong. Quite amusing though, the parallels in behaviour exhibited by the two groups.

          • Emblem14 says

            @gda53

            What’s the “other persuasion”?

            It certainly isn’t mainstream conservatism. Are you not concerned by the rampant racism (scientific or otherwise) in these comments?

          • gda53 says

            @Emblem14

            Actually I’m more concerned about the wilful ignorance to face facts by those of your “persuasion”

            And I guess when you’re not willing to see that the Emperor is not in fact wearing ANY clothes you might be willing to sling accusations of racism around.

            I mean, isn’t that the “go to” position of the left to anyone they wish to demonize?

          • Andrew Roddy says

            @gda53
            You talk about facing facts but what facts are there in this? There is much speculation and an attempt to revive a wholly discredited pseudo-science with little evidence that the methodology is more reliable and abundant evidence that the prejudice that fuels it is alive and well.

  19. Chip says

    Unfortunately for the advocates of racial superiority, no one has ever demonstrated a recurring pattern of one racial group outperforming another.

    We see certain societies at different times performing well, but inevitably they all lapse in some way, to be overtaken by another.

    Genetic racial differences have no explanation for this observed phenomenon.

    • cthoms says

      no one has ever demonstrated a recurring pattern of one racial group outperforming another.

      Hard to comprehend such an un-informed comment. The examples are limitless.
      Olympic 100m dash finalists.
      Nobel physics prizes.
      NFL cornerbacks.
      Asian representation in NYC elite public high schools.
      NYC/Boston marathon winners.
      Mount Everest climbing support.
      And so on…

      • Chip says

        In the period of 500 BCE to 476 CE, the peoples of the Italian Peninsula were clearly the most superior humans in existence. Then they weren’t.

        In the 19th century, the British were clearly the most superior people on earth.
        Then they weren’t.

        In the 20th Century, Americans dominated nearly every field of endeavor. Now they don’t.

        And so on…

          • Kevin Herman says

            And Americans are not a race anyway. What you are referring to as Americans are Caucasians. And yes the Western white male has had a nice long run of dominance.

          • Chip says

            Yes, many different races have had nice long runs of dominance, until they didn’t.

            How does racial genetics and IQ explain this?

        • cthoms says

          In the 20th Century, Americans dominated nearly every field of endeavor. Now they don’t.

          As noted, race, or racial ancestry has nothing to do with that. So when you wrote no one has ever demonstrated a recurring pattern of one racial group outperforming another you didn’t actually mean that, you meant something else. Got it.

        • Stephanie says

          Chip, you just named three kinds of Caucasians… Is this supposed to be your evidence for equal racial performance? Surely if you are judging racial superiority by such metrics, instead of the more logical ones posited by cthomes, you should have equally compelling cases for the other 4 races?

          • Edward says

            What “other four races”? There are hundreds, or even thousands, of different population groups, if we’re going to go by biology. Some population groups within each of your “races” haven’t done much at all, while others have done more. Some families within those population groups have done a lot, whereas other families haven’t done so much.

            As the population geneticist Cavalli-Sforza wrote:

            “Our experiments have shown that even neighbouring populations (villages or towns) can often be quite different from each other… The maximum number of testable genes is so high that we could in principle detect, and prove to be statistically significant, a difference between any two populations however close geographically or genetically. If we look at enough genes, the genetic distance between Ithaca and Albany in New York or Pisa and Florence in Italy is most likely to be significant, and therefore scientifically proven… the inhabitants of Ithaca and Albany might be disappointed to discover that they belong to separate races, the people in Pisa and Florence might be pleased that science had validated their ancient mutual distrust by demonstrating their genetic differences.”

          • Stephanie says

            Edward, as Ray explains above, it depends on the resolution you’re looking at and how you define your terms. The hundreds of “races” you mention can be more logically called “subraces” of the big five races.

            Edward, you just named a bunch more Caucasian subraces, with the one exception of the Chinese. If you’re going to claim racial superiority doesn’t exist because different civilizations prospered at various times, it should follow that 90% of your examples should not belong to the same race. Why not abandon this measure, which has more to do with culture and the availability of animals amenable to domestication, and rely on objective, measurable characteristics as cthomes suggests?

          • Chip says

            Ok, lets try this-

            Up until about the 14th century, the level of technological and cultural development of European tribes was no different than sub-Saharan Africa, or MesoAmericans; And both lagged behind the Arab, Asians and Indian cultures.

            How does genetics explain what happened next?

        • Edward says

          “Superior”? By what measure?

          Yes, there have been civilizations that have made more progress than others. A few thousand years ago, the civilizations in present-day China, India, Iraq and Egypt were the most advanced in the world. Then came the Greeks and the Romans. The Indians dominated again, making great strides in mathematics and astronomy. After that, the Persians and the Arabs of the Islamic world made tremendous progress, and preserved the work of the Greeks and the Indians. Then, the peoples of Northern and Western Europe started to ascend.

          Nowadays, thanks to the freer movement of people and ideas, the opportunities for intelligent people, regardless of the country from which they come, to make contributions are immense. The United States, for example, has benefited greatly from welcoming immigrants from East and South Asia, the Middle East and indeed Europe (including, of course, Ashkenazi Jews). And, technologies that are invented and adopted in one region will quickly diffuse to other regions – a lot of the technology we take for granted today comes from Japan, for example.

      • E. Olson says

        cthoms – those are obviously all examples of “superficial” differences.

    • Joana George says

      “We see certain societies at different times performing well, but inevitably they all lapse in some way, to be overtaken by another.

      Genetic racial differences have no explanation for this observed phenomenon.”

      To the best of my knowledge, one of the first racist treaties was actually just an explanation for this phenomenon ( An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races – A. Gobineau).

      The core argument is that those societies fall because they conquer “inferior” people and mate with them. The quality of the genetic stock decreases and subsequently, the societies fall.

      For the record, I do not advocate for racial superiority, just for stronger arguments against it.

    • somewoman says


      Up until about the 14th century, the level of technological and cultural development of European tribes was no different than sub-Saharan Africa, or MesoAmericans; And both lagged behind the Arab, Asians and Indian cultures.

      How does genetics explain what happened next?”

      Your premise is not only false but bizarre. European civilization was periodically more advanced than Asian and middle eastern cultures for the last 10,000 years- there was ancient greece and ancient rome to start with. Middle eastern civilization was comparitively most advanced before it started importing and interbreeding with large amounts of blacks through the Islamic slave trade. By the 14th century, it was well into a period of decline. Before middle eastern people imported vast quantities of african slaves, they were a branch of caucasians as well.

      As for Indians and Asians, periodically they were most advanced here and there. And even today, they excel the most at certain cognitive endeavors- spelling bees for Indians and standardized tests for asians.

      But the most advanced parts of sub saharan africa were nowhere near as advanced as the most advanced parts of European, middle eastern or Asian populations at any point after 8000 years BC.

      • Chip says

        It would be great if there was some science behind any of those assertions.
        But alas!

        But consider the MesoAmericans-
        The plains nations had a hunter-gatherer society with very low levels of technology, roughly on par with the northern European tribes before 1300;

        Yet their genetic twins, the Aztecs and Mayans, had a much more complex grasp of engineering, comparable to the Romans at their height;

        How is this possible, if genetic IQ drives outcomes?

        • E. Olson says

          Chip – nobody says that IQ is the only determinant of all outcomes, and nobody says that IQ is 100% genetic. It is only the Left, however, that wants to believe that IQ has zero influence on outcomes and/or that IQ is 100% environmental and hence can be manipulated by environmental shaping public policies.

          • Chip says

            Has there ever been any historical outcome, even one, anywhere, that could be ascribed to group level IQ?

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Chip

          “How is this possible, if genetic IQ drives outcomes?”

          As E says just below, IQ is a factor, not the whole ball of wax, however note that there were several distinct waves of immigration to the Americas. The northern plains Indians and the Maya could be from distinct stock. This would be easily confirmed or refuted.

      • Edward says

        “And even today, they excel the most at certain cognitive endeavors- spelling bees for Indians and standardized tests for asians.”

        East Asians have the highest average IQs, meaning that they don’t just excel the most at “certain cognitive endeavours” – they have the highest levels of general intelligence. Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are some of the best places to live in the world, with good education systems, long life expectancies and strong economies. Meanwhile, China is on the rise again. As for Indian-Americans, they not only excel at spelling bees, but in science fair competitions, on standardized tests, and in the International Mathematical Olympiad (there’s always at least one Indian-American, out of five, in the US team).

        And though @Stephanie like to claim that the Indians and the Arabs and the Persians are all “Caucasian populations”, why should we stop analysing at the level of “Caucasian”. Indians, Arabs and Persians are all genetically distinct from Europeans, and Europeans themselves are genetically distinct, with most of the advancements made on the peninsula having come first from Greece, and then from Northern and Western Europe.

  20. Gerald of Renberg says

    And a recurring certainty of these societies is that their insiders elaborate a beliefs system which proclaim the superiority of their society upon any other society that has ever existed.

    It is that apparently ingrained human trait that make some fearful of the concept of “race”.

    I acknowledge Bo Winegard and Noah Carl’s fairness in assessing the book of Angela Saini, but their take on it does nothing to dispel that fear.

    To wit: as these thesis of substantial differences between the races will enter the mainstream discourse, they will be seized upon by various people to prove what they knew all along – that their own race is superior to others’ races – and they will affirm it with the supposed imprimatur of science.

    But that’s arguably more a problem with the status of science today than with the ingrained tendency of somewhat arbitrary groups of humans to believe themselves superior to other groups of humans.

  21. Boris says

    “This is because studies generally find that IQ is about equally heritable in blacks and whites. In fact, equal heritabilities were found in the same sample (but also including non-twin siblings and half-siblings) that Turkheimer used in his original analysis.”

    The fact that IQ is (partially) heritable does not in any way imply that the B/W IQ gap has a genetic cause. Height is heritable, but environmental effects can create a wide gap between entire populations that would otherwise show no difference in height. This is just sloppy logical thinking, and it’s exactly what Turkheimer is complaining about.

    This doesn’t mean that the IQ gap does not have some genetic component. It might. But it definitely has an environmental component, as the reduction in the gap and the Flynn Effect illustrate quite clearly.

  22. David of Kirkland says

    Well, to be top notch science, you’d do double blind studies, but this won’t occur for humans. So we’re left with statistical correlations, which do complicate the nature vs. nurture issues. Physical differences, even in the brain, do not mean one is better than the other, just different.
    The real issue is that while working scientists in these fields likely maintain the distinctions between traits, disease, etc., the average person uses the same information to “prove” that one group is better or worse than another. Even if one group were to be a few IQ points off from another, this would have no effect on the law, but for some, it would lead them to believe that group membership is an important piece of information to evaluate, even though IQ differences within the group are greater. Subtleties are not the strong suit of many humans.
    Today, few will even allow that cultures or nations can be better or worse.

    • Joana George says

      “Even if one group were to be a few IQ points off from another, this would have no effect on the law, but for some, it would lead them to believe that group membership is an important piece of information to evaluate, even though IQ differences within the group are greater.”

      Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The current claim is that the difference is one whole standard deviation. That would mean that 85% of the black population has a lower IQ than an average white person. JP mentions that there are no jobs in society for people below an IQ of 85 (maybe 83?). This would cover half of the black population. Additionally, an IQ of 70 or below has legal implications as well; that is the threshold for mental retardation and having the “right” to a guardian to act in your best interest. This would cover 15% of the black population in the states and well over half of the population in several sub-saharan countries. Another “beautiful” thing is regression to the mean which is often used for arguing that even high IQ people from a low IQ population are likely to produce “inferior” offspring. I also came across research that links national IQ to the acceptance of human rights.

      I mention all this because I strongly agree with the gist of your comment.
      The main difference is that I’m just not sure the scientists in the field are blameless. At the very least they need to do a much better job of decoupling these findings from their social consequences. Yeah…genetic “inferiority” doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t have basic human rights. That’s obvious. Pretending it doesn’t mean anything is ridiculous.

      Sorry, I think I skipped a step there. Critics of the field generally propose that because of the possible societal implications, the field should be held to a higher standard of proof. Scientists in the field disagree and, in my humble opinion, stubbornly ignore the apparent logical consequences of their research.

      • Foyle says

        Unemployability appears to be closer to 70-75IQ depending on the economy. that’s about 2.5% for population with average IQ=100 s.d.=15 and 10% for IQ=85 s.d=12. The statistics are dismal. Black typically twice the unemployment of White in US.

        But the gap could be fixed in a generation if black women only used sperm from genius black men. Children’s IQ average is (2 x population mean + mom + dad)*0.25. If mom is average and dad is +4 s.d then kids average +1 s.d. Smart sperm is only known way to fix the gap. Rich families already effectively do this (though selection of smartest mates) to maintain a gap of about 1 s.d. (15pts) above population average. They are unknowingly practising eugenics to their benefit.

      • asdf says

        Indeed, all this talk of “more variation within than between” is somewhat nonsense. As you point out, a single STD is a lot. The upper end of the white bell curve has almost no overlap with blacks, and the lower end of blacks almost no overlap with whites. Even a totally average white person could rather accurately come to the conclusion that “most blacks seem dumber than me”.

      • Just Me says

        “Subtleties are not the strong suit of many humans” A pretty good demonstration of the existence of low IQ.

        Well given that half the population is below average IQ… I would argue that leftists need to do a better job to that general public of explaining, not just claiming and repressing.

        Explaining, over and over and over, the way they do for other things, that ” physical differences, even in the brain, do not mean one is better than the other, just different”. People can understand that.

        And that there is no such thing as an overall superior or inferior culture, we can just evaluate them based on some criteria:

        Did that culture operate according to our current values is pretty biased, but valid as long as we recognize that is the criteria.

        Other criteria could be, was it evolutionarily successful in keeping that people healthy, happy, safe, independent from would-be conquerors, etc.?

        Or one can ask, was it a good society to live in for everyone, or just for some?

        Or did it produce great works of art?

        What may be successful according to one criteria may not be according to another.

        It may have been good to be an aristocrat in a lot of societies, but not a peasant.

  23. Boris says

    “Likewise, she claims that “The Bell Curve [1994] was widely panned after it was published,” and notes in passing that “an article in American Behavioral Scientist described it as ‘fascist ideology’.” However, she fails to mention that 52 researchers signed a public statement in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘Mainstream Science on Intelligence’ which endorsed many of The Bell Curve’s central claims.”

    These “52 researchers” are not without controversy. Richard Lynn, for example, has long taken money from the Pioneer Fund, which also funds white nationalist Jared Taylor as well as several anti-immigration groups. Linda Gottfredson, who wrote and distributed the statement, has also received funding from the Pioneer Fund.

    And Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, has admitted to burning a cross as a teenager. He claims that he didn’t know what this act signified, but I think most reasonable people have some doubts.

    • Kevin Herman says

      Haha Charles Murray is a Nazi! You expose yourself a little. I would think most reasonable people actually know quite a bit more then that about Charles Murray and actually take the whole of his life into account and not one incident from childhood when discerning his character.

      • Boris says

        Who said Charles Murray was a Nazi? I merely pointed out his behavior, which is suspect.

        • Foyle says

          You haven’t changed since adolescence then? Never did anything you regret now? Offence archaeology runs rather counter to the whole left wing ethos of the improvability of man and is in sum just new garb for the Religious Inquisitions of old.

      • DNY says

        I believe Boris implied Murray had been a Klansman, not a Nazi. Admittedly similar, but there is some difference in the focus of their racial animosity and the programs of the two groups beyond mere race-hatred.

  24. xyz and such says

    it seems the age of science and reason is over. this has been proved by the complete lack of ability of most people to engage in reasonable, fact-based discussions centered by principle. if we can’t actually do this – as demonstrated guite equally by both the ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ then it seems we must resort to tribalism and jockey for power… the SJW’s have decided to go all in on this; but we can’t dismiss that they learned this lesson well from Fox News…

    those of us who would seek to have a meaningful conversation and willing to acknowledge truths from both sides in such an effort must be put in cages and have food thrown at us. the unreasonableness in every direction is pretty disheartening… and resultant loss of faith in humanity.

  25. AT------ says

    There are at least two problems with race science.

    (1) Race scientists should come out with a clear classification of races (human subspecies) supported by at least relative majority of biologists.

    Is it old-fashioned “3 big races” theory? Or 5 races of Blumenbach these authors alluded to?

    I don’t ask for particle physics level of rigor (not to mention mathematical one), but at least something at the level of linguistics would help (so-and-so “big races”, a number of “race isolates”, “mixed/pidgin/creole races”, etc.).

    Race deniers don’t have to produce scientifically robust classification of human subspecies, it is race scientists who must do that.

    Otherwise, there is not much to argue about, apart from political/ideological musings. In this case, don’t be surprised by accusations of racism.

    (2) Even more importantly socially is to point out and to educate general public that scientific definition of race is very different from a laypersons’ understanding of the concept of race.

    What is the race of Barack Obama? It seems to me that general public (including Obama himself) would classify him as “black”, while he is as much “white” as he is “black” – biologically speaking, he is a “subspecies hybrid”.

    Anglo-American classification of races is clearly non-scientific: e. g. Obama is “black”, Hindus and Japanese are classified as one race (“Asians”), etc.

    Recent migration crisis in Europe armed alt- and far-right with racialist conspiracy theories like, for example, replacement of “whites” by other races. Meanwhile, according to 3-race theory, or 5-race theory, Middle Easterners and North Africans (the vast majority of migrants) are of the same race as native Europeans.

    Another example is the term “people of color” that put races on unequal footing implying a degree of “exclusiveness” to “white” folk – akin to the “one-drop rule” of time past.

    Once they, race scientists, start putting emphasis on SCIENTIFIC definition of race, it will help tremendously to defuse accusations of racism, that at least one of the authors of this review is quite familiar of.

    • Stephanie says

      AT, the distinction between 3 or 5 races depends on whether you think Polynesians and Amerindians are Mongoloid. There is little doubt they separated from Mongoloids more recently or experienced less change. I don’t have the data to answer this question on hand, but you could look up the study cited and see for yourself if there is sufficient separation between these populations to justify them being assigned their own race. For every life form, there are biologists who are clumpers and splitters: the same should be expected of biologists who study humans.

      I agree we should educate people (in high school, maybe) about human evolution and what the different racial groups are. I think you’ll find it is the left, not the right, that opposes a scientific education on this topic.

      The concern among not just the “alt” or the “far” right, but the mainstream right and the centre in Europe is not with race so much as culture. They have ghettos of self-segregated Muslims who won’t integrate and radically transform their neighbourhood, making it unsafe for women, girls, and Jews. It is not skin pigmentation indistinguishable from that of a Spaniard that is cause for concern, but the societal effects of massive immigration of a culturally incompatible and rapidly breeding population.

      • AT------ says

        @Stephanie

        I’m fine with any classification – be it 3, 5, N races – as long as there is a relative consensus among biologists. Currently, they don’t have consensus whatsoever, even on the question whether humans can be meaningfully subdivided into subspecies. The review above is a prime example – you won’t find accomplished physicists reviewing flat-eartheners’ books, but it’s easy to find race science deniers and race science upholders “debunking” each other.

        From what I learned about human migrations – it was the ancestors of Mongoloids who separated themselves from the ancestors of Pacific Islanders, travelled north and evolved into modern Mongoloids (and later into Amerindians). So, I think that Mongoloids are Polynesians, not vice versa)).

        You can see my point: whether it’s humans “the ape who understood the universe”, or chimpanzees the human who understood how to thrive in rain forests instead of savannah – scientifically speaking, it’s one and the same fork.

        As about the second part of your comment, you confirmed what I said: it is not race, but culture fueling resentment among native Europeans. The problem is that alt/far right often clothes this problem in racialist terms instead of addressing directly the cultural stuff.

        As about far left and far right – they are both scientifically uneducated. Strong adherence to social ideology is not a fertile land for science.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @AT——

          “is not a fertile land for science”

          Race is not a good candidate for a scientific word because it will always have fuzzy and subjective content. But race is very real just the same. Is ‘pretty girl’ a scientifically useful term? Probably not, nevertheless there are pretty girls. ‘Ugly’ is equally not much use to science, but some people are ugly. Every honest person on the planet receives real information when you tell them that so and so is a negro whereas his friend X is an arab and they live in a mostly south-asian neighborhood. Why pretend otherwise?

  26. Asenath Waite says

    There would be no need to bring up racial IQ differences if people weren’t hell-bent on blindly ascribing all racial performance gaps to racism and enacting government policies based on this assumption that are doomed to fail and most likely will make the problems worse that they are intended to solve. If we just didn’t insist on obsessively categorizing everyone by race we wouldn’t even need to consider racial performance gaps in the first place, and could begin to address the actual underlying reasons for poverty, crime, and other societal problems.

    • asdf says

      But then a lot of people making hay off a bunch of lucrative rackets wouldn’t be able to do so anymore.

      This is what all this is about. Some people deny Race and IQ because it’s their personal advantage to do so, and they call people racist to preserve this personal advantage. It’s not misguided idealism. It’s a morally unconscionable set of rackets.

      • asdf says

        I like this summary I read elsewhere:

        I don’t think you or the Claremont Institute really understand what you’re up against.

        “the other on the principle that all “marginalized” identity groups are equal, and all are oppressed by white males.”

        They say they believe this, but they don’t really believe in anything.

        This isn’t a clash of ideologies, but of psychologies.

        Imagine a set of predators powered by the Dark Triad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_triad who’ve figured out how to use social media, bullying, group dynamics, and shaming to create opioid type dependence on outrage and conformity that they exploit for their own ends.

        That’s what you’re up against.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @asdf

          I tend to assume good* but misguided intentions from the identitarians in general, but maybe it’s true that some of those pulling the strings have a more cynically Machiavellian nature.

          *Or more accurately I think many of them enjoy being able to feel morally justified in bullying and tearing down others, but still they do actually feel like what they are doing is morally justified, rather than seeing is as simply a way to elevate themselves.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @asdf

        I wish I could get a job fixing the problem of too much rain where I live. And it must be understood that should I fail, that’s because I’m not being paid enough.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Asenath – I agree 100%. Unfortunately, asdf is also correct in that there are too many people whose fortunes are tied to continuation of race based victimhood.

      • Asenath Waite says

        @E. Olson

        I don’t think it’s likely either, unfortunately. It seemed like we were on the right path towards a post-racial society during the latter part of the 20th century, but I have no idea how we’ll ever get back on that track now, seeing as how the train has derailed catastrophically thanks to the identity politics movement taking over our culture.

        • Foyle says

          Egalitarian dreams fell apart because the gaps, born in genetic determinism, have stubbornly refused to close in the manner that Universities full of nurture over nature faithful assured us they would. They are trying to cover their failed theories with identity politics and new ‘good’ inverted racism. But all the while our societies become more and more cognitively stratified. Smart marry smart and breed winners, stupid marry stupid and breed unhappy marginalised dummies. The problem can’t be fixed without genetic intervention, but first requires society to accept reality.

          • Just Me says

            Not convinced it’s all about being “smart”, i.e. IQ, but neither is it about “white privilege”, there is so much more involved.

            But it is true that it is complex and no one has figured out a feasible way to fix it, and since social science and humanities attracts a lot of people who identify more as social activists than knowledge-driven intellectuals, it became a vicious circle: if you aren’t, you don’t belong and aren’t welcome, and preference is given to people who are “oppressed minorities” and who compete on how radical their theories are. The crazier the theory, the more prestigious the person proposing it.

          • Just Me says

            It isn’t genetics alone, though, there is a huge component of very complex factors society can’t effectively address without huge efforts at social engineering, which can have their own unpredictable consequences.

            The values of the family and surrounding culture, for example, surrounding personal discipline, the value of reading and education and free intellectual enquiry, etc. Those are very important, too, but the result of centuries of history, and not easily transformed.

          • E. Olson says

            Foyle wrote: “Smart marry smart and breed winners, stupid marry stupid and breed unhappy marginalised dummies.”

            This is only partly correct, because the stupid are less likely to marry and more likely to breed with the stupid, which means that the children that result have not only lost the genetic lottery, but get the added bonus of nurturing by a low IQ single mother.

          • Not PC, but occasionally correct anyway says

            @Foyle

            Thank you for the excellent, concise summary of the issue! The current “identity politics” scam is a political battle driven by the failed ideology of what at the time were almost certainly well-intentioned, but ultimately incorrect assessments of the underlying problems.

  27. John Spence says

    Loving Popular Science for Extremely Delicate White Males!

  28. GSW says

    “Race deniers don’t have to produce scientifically robust classification of human subspecies, it is race scientists who must do that.” @AT

    Exactly correct. And what do the authors of this critical review serve up? Nothing much beyond superficial observation; “populations… look different from one another.” There is also a nod towards the crackpottery of crainiology as well as Blumenbach’s 1781 geographic/environment based classification of varieties of humans. (As an aside, Blumenbach held that there was no superior human variety.)

    Perhaps the most telling give that there is mostly smoke rather than fire in their line of thinking can be found in this phrase: “”Notwithstanding truisms about within-group variation exceeding between-group variation…” Notwithstanding, indeed.

    In 2019 in the west, both the sjw left and the neo-nazi right are seized with the pseudo-scientific notions of blood that proved so disastrous to the social and international order in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. How did the idea that individuals should be judged on their personal merits or defects lose so much of its appeal?

    • Azathoth says

      “Nothing much beyond superficial observation; “populations… look different from one another.” ”

      Yes, they do. Even with a microscope.

      Populations ‘looking different from one another’ is significant to you when they are, say, horses and zebras–or huskies and timberwolves, and you will make the case that a horse is not a zebra, a wolf is not a dog

      Just based on what they look like.

      But humans are different.

      Humans are special.

      Despite every observable difference–down to the chromosomal level, humans are all the same.

      Do you not see how foolish that sounds?

      Humans–homo sapiens sapiens–have partially speciated. There are differences that exist for evolutionary reasons.

      There is nothing wrong or racist about admitting this, about studying it.

      • GSW says

        “Do you not see how foolish that sounds?” @azatoth

        No, I don’t. And, I won’t be persuaded with soft euphemisms like “partially speciated” for race i.e. skin colour or some such trivial marker dividing humans.

        One can’t define race in a meaningful scientific way that goes beyond superficial differences between individuals. Matings of horses and zebras are infertile: there is no science that supports the idea that humans of different skin colour or geographic region can’t successfully reproduce over generations — no matter how much “study” you put into it.

        Blood determinism is a venomous poison. One would think that humanity had had its fill of it. But it’s political resurgence in our era, promoted by right and left extremists, shows that pure evil is very, very hard to contain.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @GSW

          “Blood determinism is a venomous poison.”

          Yes, and I’ve not seen anyone advocate that here. What we are looking at is variations in the bell curves of various races or other Identities. These curves note collective differences but say nothing about individuals.

          “pure evil is very, very hard to contain”

          Yes, especially since it so often imagines itself to be truth and justice and goodness. The road to hell, as the saying goes, is paved with good intentions. With Equity and with Social Justice.

          “One can’t define race in a meaningful scientific way that goes beyond superficial differences between individuals.”

          But you can. As several have noted, difference in IQ are large, as is susceptibility to various diseases. Anthropologists identify the races via skull metrics, not skin color. It seems you can now accurately determine the race of someone by looking at an MRI of their brain. The differences between wolves and dogs are far more profound that the superficial visual differences. Men and women are as different mentally as they are physically. You state as a matter of doctrine that the differences are superficial, but that is not the reality.

          • GSW says

            “It seems you can now accurately determine the race of someone by looking at an MRI of their brain.” @Ray Andrews

            What nonsense! There are no such things as “races,” except as we create them in our imagination. So how can an MRI find something that is entirely a product of political fiction?

            “Anthropologists identify the races via skull metrics”

            Craniology is more 19th century crackpottery with about the same connection to the real world as a ouija board that reflects the views of those under the spell of the seance.

            And, blood determinism is the essence of “race science,” or more properly race pseudo-science, whether it’s polite to say it out loud in 2019 or not. And it’s evil.

        • Azathoth says

          Based solely on skeletal evidence, there are three ‘races’.

          Using old, broad terminology these are caucasoid, negroid, and mongoloid.

          Included within Caucasoid are the Nordic, the gaels, the semites, and the western Asians.

          Included within the Mongoloid are the Pacific Islanders, the American Indians, and all mainland Eastern Asians

          Included within the Negroid are all sub-Saharan peoples

          The Australian aborigines are a hybrid between the Negroid and the Pacific Islander

          There are various hybrids that have become extablished.

          That these exist is not racist. It is simply a description of human development.

        • Aristodemus says

          Any two distinct organisms represent at least an infinitesimal nudge towards speciation. Or as John Gray put it “Species do not exist.”

  29. Some-woman says

    This article is good but misses one of the major arguments against sainis book. It is that it doesn’t matter if race is arbitrary or not.

    Assume it is. Assume that genetic variation across human beings is a spectrum with no distinct clusters. If we arbitrarily categorize people from different regions into different groups, the average and aggregate genetic differences are still apparent.

    Say we define a group as sub Saharan Africans. This group contains the highly distinct subgroups of Bantus, pygmies and San. And Bantus are more similar to the nomadic Taureb which traverse through sub Saharan Africa, the Sahara and North Africa while the taureb may not be included in this grouping called sub Saharan Africans. Even still, on average, the sub Saharan african group has manifold average and aggregate differences with a group callled ancestral Europeans. Many of these differences are readily apparent to everyone.

    The other argument this paper did not make explicitly is that even without discrete or discontinuous categories of races, there can be significant differences on average when races are defined. Lewontins research showed that the frequency of blood types (a,b,o, ab) was substantially difference between races even if all blood types occurred in all groups. Similarly, though iq scores from 50 to 150 may be found in all races, the average can differ substantially between races. Again, it doesn’t matter if the race is defined arbitrarily. If I create one racial group called whites and Asians vs. another group called whites and blacks, the second group will have a lower average iq than the first.

  30. Benjamin Perez says

    Thought experiment: If every disadvantaged Black American infant were adopted and raised by middle class Japanese parents and/or middle class German parents and/or West African immigrants—of any class—to the United States, then what would become of the educational- and financial- and IQ-gaps currently characteristic of so-called “Black” Americans? Those gaps would not follow, would not lead, the lives of those children: those gaps would disappear. Why? (Read Thomas Sowell.)

    • Some-woman says

      This experiment has been done and by adulthood black children adopted by whites saw no impact on socioeconomic status. Genetics triumphed completely over being raised by middle class whites over time.

  31. codadmin says

    I thought only creationists denied the existence of differences between different groups who have been subject to different selection pressures?

    • GimmeABreakRacists says

      “I thought only creationists denied the existence of differences between different groups who have been subject to different selection pressures?”

      The idea that there has been different selection on “intelligence”, whatever “intelligence” is supposed to mean, at a continental or regional scale, is one of the silliest assumptions made by many commentators and by the original authors, Bo Winegard and Noah Carl. It’s the worst kind of evolutionary “just-so story”, supported by precisely nothing except the uninformed and not-even-reflected-upon biases of the writers.

      E.g. this from the authors, by itself, justifies the statement that Winegard & Carl are incompetent boobs when it comes to talking about evolution:

      “For example, the invention (or discovery) of agriculture greatly changed humans’ relationship with their environment, as well as with each other, allowing for more sedentism, greater population density, and eventually greater social specialization. It probably also rewarded self-control and delayed gratification, because immediately killing animals for food was often less productive in the long run than keeping them alive.”

      Just what in the ever-loving heck are they talking about?!? Have they ever even thought about hunting in a stone-age society? Do they have any idea how long you have to patiently wait in hiding to ambush a large animal with a spear or arrow? Have they ever even thought about what is involved in tracking a wounded animal for days, then butchering it, transporting it back to wherever their highly-mobile family group is, all of the above assisted by carefully-prepared tools and implements fashioned from locally available materials? You could construct a much better (but still incredibly flaky and unjustified) just-so story the other way, namely that agriculture resulted in a decrease in intelligence because getting you and your offspring fed was so much easier no matter how dumb they were.

      Gimme a break, racists, go back to the drawing board.

      • somewoman says

        Gimmeabreak,

        I concede you have a point. People look at the data and work backward and convince themselves the premises lead to the conclusion when it comes to evolutionary theorizing. For ex, scandinavians by themselves produced a mostly illiterate society that relied heavily on hunter-gathering before roman influence. Same with anglo saxons, whose tools were about as primitive as african tools before roman conquest. Yet, the nordic today have high IQs and highly functional societies. Their societies are higher IQ than mediterrenean societies who conquered them and had produced a much more complex civilization than they did.

        A similar story can be seen for pre-colombian central americans, who were vastly more complex and more advanced than northern european sociteties before roman conquest. Yet today they are lower IQ than nordics and anglo-saxons. Central americans had extremely high population density, complex agriculture, astronomy, lasting architecture and more, yet those did not seem to drive the quite same IQs as tibetan herdsman.

        We do not know how prehistoric or agrarian conditions drove present day cognitive attributes. But we can observe average differences across cognitive traits between racial or population groups. And we have substantial evidence to show which of those traits are mostly heritable.

        • Just Me says

          One factor no one seems to have mentioned is the impact of the invention of writing on society and the human brain.

          There was a huge impact on society when information can be transmitted in writing rather than just orally.

          Also the impact on brain development of early literacy, and the difference between phonetic and logographic writing systems.

          See Walter Ong on orality and literacy, and Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid.

          Another interesting theory is that Jewish intellectual superiority is because they practiced self-selection. After the Temple was destroyed, they made the Torah the center of their cultural identity, requiring literacy at a time when few people were literate, and it was expensive. Those who chose not to make the sacrifice of educating their children, fell away as Jews and assimilated into the population at large. Those who chose to value education, remained Jews. And that choice set them up for economic success later on:

          http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/jewish-literacy-as-the-road-to-riches-the-chosen-path-of-the-chosen-few/

        • Cassandra says

          The AngloSaxons (sic) were a later cultural group than the Romans, and took up residence in Britain after the departure of Romans circa 410 AD. The Roman conquest of the British Isles was of ‘Celtic’ peoples, who are culturally and linguistically distinct from the AngloSaxons ( who referred to them as Waller, that is, ‘foreigners’.)

          If you are going to make historical arguments, read some history.

      • codadmin says

        Intelligence is heritable.

        What else need to be said?

        Imagine you had two islands, one was populated with mental retards with IQ’s of below 50, and the other was populated with people with IQ’s above 170.

        It’s obvious the two islands would have very different outcomes.

      • Azathoth says

        “The idea that there has been different selection on “intelligence”, whatever “intelligence” is supposed to mean, at a continental or regional scale, is one of the silliest assumptions made by many commentators ”

        The idea that there WOULDN’T BE is the silly assumption.

        Different situations call for different things.

        Intelligence/sentience/self consciousness became part of the hominid family long before there were ‘humans’.

        It is an adaptation to environmental maladjustment.

        The initial human precursors to start down the path to ‘intelligence’ are those who found themselves in a situation where their habitat disappeared quickly and migration was not feasible.

        The ones who survived are the ones who were either able to figure out how to make do or their mates/children.

        That was the first step past instinct. Past cunning.

        But instinct was always there, and over the millennia, it took out our brethren who relied too much upon it, one by one.

        Because instinct is the enemy of intellect. Instinct is pre-programming. Intellect is the ability to write one’s own code.

        Getting past instinct is the only way to aid the formation of intellect. ALL humans have at least some ability to do such.

        But the more adapted to a specific environment a human is, the harder it is to access this.

        Because evolution doesn’t favor intelligence. Evolution only favors successful breeding. Humanoid animals that breed well are just as much a success to evolution as ants that breed well.

  32. Jackson says

    I agree with all the points. The left needs to come to terms with this.

    Many of the comments are sadly what I expected though – people using such differences to justify xenophobia or outright bigotry.

    • Asdf says

      What are they saying that you would describe as xenophobia or bigotry?

      • Emblem14 says

        Asdf, oh please.

        choosing to believe based on incomplete evidence that:

        -Genetic determinism is a far more powerful explanation of difference than environment

        -Genetic determinism invalidates social egalitarianism and proves social policy designed to improve environment is a waste of time and resources

        -“races” can be value ranked based on their characteristics

        -“white” races are superior to many “non-white” ones on all the characteristics we should value

        -It’s ok to be a racial chauvinist to protect your group’s social position

        -Stereotyping is fine, because it can have predictive power, despite it being unfair to individuals.

        -It’s ok to reject social responsibility for others if they’re genetically inferior, because you can’t help them anyway.

        -Immigrants from non-white races are “ruining” previously majority white societies.

        -It’s fine to make judgements about a person’s worthiness based on their visual appearance as a proxy for genetic fitness rather than a complex analysis of their ancestry and developmental environment.

        These are just a bunch off the top of my head, after reading the comments. Nobody buys the “i’m shocked to find there’s gambling in this establishment” routine.

        • asdf says

          “Genetic determinism is a far more powerful explanation of difference than environment”

          Typically I see people assert that genetics is a high X% of the story (typically more then half), and that the 1-X% not conclusively attributable to genetics is still not understood or amenable to change. I.E. its kind of like a remainder, and that remainder has not meaningfully responded to nearly all of our attempts to effect it no matter how much effort we throw into it. E.G. The Null Nypothesis.

          “Genetic determinism invalidates social egalitarianism and proves social policy designed to improve environment is a waste of time and resources”

          How would you determine if a social policy is “a waste of time and resources”. I mean if we are debating whether to add a stop light to an intersection we usually have metrics to evaluate the ROI of the decision.

          What is the ROI of trying to teach low IQs Calculus? What is the ROI of taking Stuyvesant and making half its incoming class brown by kicking out the Asians?

          Charles Murray actually made some effort to calculate this in The Bell Curve and the conclusion was that these policies can’t be defended on an ROI basis.

          You ideas fail because they fail. The social policies you want to implement have victims (people denied access and resources they would otherwise receive) while not actually achieving the goals that are supposed to justify the harms they impose. Social policy isn’t FREE.

          ““races” can be value ranked based on their characteristics”

          Everybody wants to live in the countries and polities of certain races, so I’d call it revealed preference.

          “”white” races are superior to many “non-white” ones on all the characteristics we should value”

          If we commit suicide it may well be the case that that we aren’t very superior.

          The simplest thing that can be said is the same as above, everyone wants to live near us so we must be doing something well.

          “It’s ok to be a racial chauvinist to protect your group’s social position”

          I think everyone is trying to get ahead at all times and groups of various kinds, including racial, are ways in which people get ahead. I think whites are getting unfairly jobbed by other groups, and it would be in their self interest to fight each other less so they can defend themselves and their rights. I think whites now are acting like all those little sects whenever the British Empire came in, more concern with being first among the colonial subjects than not becoming colonials.

          “Stereotyping is fine, because it can have predictive power, despite it being unfair to individuals.”

          Stereotyping is a rational response to limited information. What do you propose? People make bad judgements utilizing bad information?

          The antidote to stereotyping is additional information. Just like the antidote to a bad credit score is to build a credit history.

          “it’s ok to reject social responsibility for others if they’re genetically inferior, because you can’t help them anyway.”

          What does “responsibility” mean if it’s not “effective action”? Useless empathy? Ineffectual hand ringing?

          I think a lot of people believe in moderate and non-invasive social insurance within the context of a coherent nation state, partly out of their own self interest and natural sympathies. Getting beyond that is a kind of “rights creep” that doesn’t have any solid foundation.

          “Immigrants from non-white races are “ruining” previously majority white societies”

          They are. I think if we didn’t have any that majority white societies would be better on basically any metric you could cook up. I’m all in on Hive Mind and IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Deal with it, its reality.

          “It’s fine to make judgements about a person’s worthiness based on their visual appearance as a proxy for genetic fitness rather than a complex analysis of their ancestry and developmental environment.”

          I literally don’t know what you’re getting at here. People make judgements about people based on their available information, which is a function of any number of factors.

  33. GiveItARestRacists says

    Jeez, for a bunch of people claiming they they are oppressed by “political correctness” and that “race science” is just value-neutral objective science, there sure is an awful lot of idiotic, straight-up, old-fashioned, brown-people-are-stupid-and-dirty-and-therefore-poor racism and prejudice popping up throughout Quillette’s comment thread here. Par for the course on this website, it appears.

    • Foyle says

      GiveItARestRacists No, that’s your innate racism filtering your perception of everything. I see almost everyone on this thread wanting further clarity to what is a massive problem that is not talked about by the religiously energised, cowards and dissemblers of academe. Without recognising the problem and it’s causes we have no hope of ever fixing it, and hopefully with effort we can find ways of eliminating the genetic lottery of birth and it’s unfair impact on individual outcomes. Maybe genetic treatments (Crispr etc) will offer us a way out of this hole in a few decades – lift everyone’s brain function to smart/genius levels, but without discussion there is no potential for cure.

      • Emblem14 says

        The problem is this discussion is polluted by racial chauvinists. I take at face value that one can confront this data on disparate genetic potentials and wish that genetic engineering technology might solve the problem of unfair disparities.

        Unfortunately, there are many more people, including several commenters here, who look at the data and conclude that the “inferior” populations should either be separated from their betters or just be left to rot. They have no interest in trying to address social inequalities – in fact they see genetic determinism as a convenient excuse that such efforts are a waste of time anyway. A lot of personal dislike of different groups comes through in the analysis as well.

        This issue of intent and motive will prevent this topic from being taken seriously, because we have learned the lessons of recent history rather well.

        • asdf says

          You talk about “addressing social inequalities” as if its some unalloyed good.

          If genes are the drive of social inequality, then the only way to equalize things is to artificially knock down the strong and artificially raise up the weak. Is that fair? Is that just? Is that efficient? Does that really make the world a better place?

          A lot of pain and injustice has been caused in the name of “addressing social inequalities.” That’s not harmless do-gooderism, its fighting words over how to shape our society and it will entail harming people.

          • Just Me says

            asdf-

            There is a moderate middle ground between those two, those of us who live in prosperous western societies benefit from the generally good balance between measures for social equality and freedom that comes from moderate social democratic type governments.

            Discussion of how to tweak and improve that balance are a good thing.

            The total anarchy that allows the powerful and “superior” full freedom to exploit others never produces good outcomes for anyone.

          • Emblem14 says

            @asdf

            obviously, doctrinaire social constructionists make the inverse error of hard genetic determinists, by thinking everything is malleable through coercive social engineering. Reasonable people, as opposed to idealogues, can see the error of such unjustified absolutism.

            conversely, you come across through your comments as a dyed in the wool social darwinist, and maybe a genetic fatalist (?). You’re very concerned about the threat of do-gooders who want to destroy the worthy superiors out of badly masked jealousy and rage at the unfairness of it all.

            When’s the last time you self-assessed to check for ideology’s influence on your thinking?

          • asdf says

            What is this “moderate middle ground” specifically?

            As far as I can tell there are some major problems caused by the equalists that need addressing.

            1) Disparate impact as a legal reality, and policy decisions made based on it even when not driven by direct legal suit

            2) Disparate impact as a folk justification for a certain inaccurate narrative of reality that is pushed hard on people to our cultural detriment

            3) A questionable set of assumptions about how demographic change will play out in the long run used to justify migration policy

            These are real and important things that can’t get resolved without challenging and defeating the equalist ideology. And they need to be defeated in the court of public opinion, not among a tiny little subset of academics in a secret back room that won’t drive policy or culture ever.

            You can’t be simultaneously breaking Stuyvesant, importing millions, and teaching white privilege hatred to children while claiming that questioning these things is bringing on the new Hitler. You need to fight and WIN. Win……not bitch. Not complain. WIN! If you can’t win, then people who are getting jobbed by this stuff aren’t going to care about your most honorable losing.

        • Just Me says

          Emblem-

          Those people who believe in a total dog-eat-dog world where the Supermensch are justified in letting the inferior rot, are a tiny subset who should not be allowed to prevent the rational majority from discussing the issues.

          Raising the scarecrow of another Hitler and concentration camps every time the subject comes up is just a scare tactic similar to those who cry “Communism! Reeducation camps!” at the prospect of universal health care or ideals of social equality.

          The latter have just as much justification from having learned the lessons of history, but those lessons get a lot less attention from the Left.

          • Emblem14 says

            @just me

            Have you been reading the comments section? However large the racial chauvinism / social darwinist contingent is, their participation pollutes this discussion to the extent that reasonable people understandably steer clear.

            They have to be excluded from the discussion, and repudiated, or most reasonable people will be too worried about the association effects on their social reputations to make constructive contributions.

        • Just Me says

          “They have to be excluded from the discussion, and repudiated, ”

          I think they are best politely ignored, as the rest of us go about our discussion. Expending effort at shouting them down is just feeding the trolls.

  34. jimhaz says

    I have noticed that scientists are quite willing to separate one species from another due to small differences such as the length of a beak, slightly different colourations and so on.

    Race is a subset of species, so I’ve always known the idea that humans are just one race is complete hogwash.

    Small differences can be extremely important. Take CO2. A difference of just 2 or 3 hundred parts per million can change the outcome of the entire atmospheric environment. In the human body there are many low percentage elements where a small variation can produce ill health or even death.

    Yes, one should take notice of what is the same as that can be very helpful for unity, but where different outcomes are noticed, particularly negative outcomes, then that which is different must be examined to determine how, how much and where or whether resources should be allocated to lessen those outcomes, while still maintaining progress overall.

    Going back to human generated CO2 based climate change, I do not have any respect for deniers, however I do have respect for those who rightly are concerned about whether resources are being effectively and efficiently applied. Just like climate change ‘affirmative action’ racial affirmative action needs to be able to produce the desired end result. Presently deniers of human caused GW and other self interest based parties, are preventing the evolution of the most practical and effective energy and resources plan that is capable of producing the end result. It is also true that those wishing to apply more and more affirmative action have too great an ideological attachment that hampers the ability to negotiate the way through to the best possible solution for a result of least damage.

    Race science deniers do both of the above – they deny science and hamper the formation of the right solutions due to unconstrained ideology. For instance the true solution to GW must eventually include a move to non-population growth and lower consumption of disposable things. For racial differences, a true solution might also entail lower immigration and some form of lowering or rationalisation of expectations. Btw – lower immigration, due to lower supply of labor and same demand, would mean an increase in the pay of necessary manual or lower necessary IQ jobs thus evening up the racial wealth ratios somewhat.

  35. dr Mike T says

    There is only one race, the human race. This is well known, but many or most people, including many academics and biologists, still use the fallacious words ”racist” and ”racism”. Which encourages prejudice, division, violence, etc.

    As to people with a different ancestral proximity to the equator having any significant psychological differences, if you teach children in multi ethnic settings or classes you will soon the discover that the answer is no. Although each is unique of course, but this seems unrelated to factors like skin tone.

    • Eduardo says

      Stop saying nonsense and argue something coherent please.
      In the first place, race is not just skin color.
      It seems that the only argument that you have the denial of the race is “Muh racism” “Muh xenophobia”

  36. BrainFireBob says

    It’s an issue of assumption of intent.

    To many on the religiously dogmatic left, the only reason to inquire into this is a reactionary attempt to define historically marginalized groups as inferior and therefore worthy of marginalization, because any opposing view comes from a 1950s era Southerm racist. They can see no other practical application.

    This is because they are unsubtle foolish and lack imagination, due to smugness.

    The real practical application is as follows:

    African Americans are 13% of the population. To these dogmatists, that means they are 13% of any demographic, including the intellectual elite. Assuming these go to Harvard, that means they should be 13% of Harvard. They view any racial IQ study as an attempt to keep AAs out of Harvard. Instead, it’s a question of nuanxe: if AAs are 13% of the population, but only 6% of the intellectual elite, then the attendance quota should be 6%, not 13%. Probably 1-2% more “white” seats and the rest Asian.

    They don’t understand that asking what is reflective of a truly unbiased society may, in fact, be a complicated and nuanced question, instead of a strictly childish directly proportional to population system. Even given equal ability, bluntly, preparedness matters.

    • Emblem14 says

      “To many on the religiously dogmatic left, the only reason to inquire into this is a reactionary attempt to define historically marginalized groups as inferior and therefore worthy of marginalization, because any opposing view comes from a 1950s era Southerm racist. They can see no other practical application.”

      That may not be the only intent, but it is the intent of a large enough number of people interested in this topic (and pushing theoretical narratives that suit their preconceptions/intuitions) that responsible discussion of this topic is basically polluted beyond repair.

      If you want serious debate concerning the implications of genetics, people with racist agendas have to be purged from the discussion. Otherwise, the well is poisoned and nothing will change.

      • asdf says

        The norms, laws, and institutions you have promulgated based on the assumption of genetic equality have caused vast and unjust harm to millions and threatened the long term stability and prosperity of our nation. This is not academic, you are hurting people based on lies and those people are going to fight back. The longer you refuse to admit the truth and reform, the more justified they are in tearing it all down. You are reaping what you sow.

        • Emblem14 says

          I’m not arguing that there are no genetic differences, that would be absurd.

          But what you’ve just said here raises the specter of a race-conscious popular movement to defend the “stability and prosperity of the nation”, presumably guided by their beliefs in genetic sorting of inferior and superior peoples. The longer this truth is “denied”, the more “justified” these righteous defenders of civilization are in tearing down the established order.

          Dude, you’re trying to justify neo-nazism. I say that without hyperbole.

          • gda53 says

            Don’t see the hyperbole myself. If anything, he’s being a bit constrained.

  37. Anyone with an intellectually disabled child faces daily the fact that our society equates smart with better… any pregnant woman knows that eugenics is alive and well in the realms of prenatal care.

  38. BrainFireBob says

    Adding another bit.

    This nauseated me.

    These “well intentioned” jerks go after, say, hospitals for not having a 13% AA staff, despite there only being say, a 7% hiring pool available. Not the hospital’s fault. So they go after the universities, which drop academic requirements for AAs to attend to hit quotas. So students who should not be going to Yale Medical, but would be making 6 figures as a stockbroker who graduated Cornell, instead end up a Yale flunkout with $200,000 in debt and no degree, and maybe end up a retail manager instead of what they should have been. And they call this compassion. Here’s a comment: The standards exist for a reason. Sure, the schools keep their seats down, and a number of students just below cutoff will succeed, but when you sharply lower standards for one group you KNOW those who barely past muster will fail, all you have done is set them up for failure so you can feel better about yourself.

  39. Lindsey Morris says

    If you don’t believe in race I’d very much like to try and pin down what you actually do believe in, so I’d really appreciate you indulging me and answering the following questions:

    Do you accept that there are people living today who are directly and wholly descended from people who lived in sub-Saharan Africa, say, 40,000 years ago?
    Do you accept that there are people living today who are directly and wholly descended from people who lived in East Asia, say, 40,000 years ago?
    Do you accept that there are people living today who are directly and wholly descended from people who lived in Europe, say, 40,000 years ago?
    Do you accept that members of these groups outlined above are genetically more like each other than they are genetically more like members of the other groups?
    Do you accept that these genetic differences have come about through the processes we broadly call ‘evolution’ (genetic bottlenecks, natural selection, sexual selection etc.)
    Do you accept that an average person could look at an individual who is a member of one of these groups and correctly identify which group the individual belongs to?
    Can you suggest a nice, concise, overarching term to describe the phenomenon outlined above? I prefer the term ‘race’, but I’m willing to accept a better term if you have one.

  40. Geary Johansen says

    I have to be quite careful in posting this, as I am using my own name. I should also make it clear that I am neither a scientist, nor unbiased- ever since I only recently came across the concept of ‘race realism’, I have been actively trying to debunk it through my own meagre efforts at research. I generally don’t subscribe to the view that ideas are harmful- but this one had me alternately feeling sullied, angry and despondent, in equal measure.

    First, I would like to point out that there are many factors such as diet, socio-economics, etc that have a proven influence on cognitive development and IQ. It is worth noting that within the education debate, beyond the issue of the structure and funding of schools (charter vs public), there is a real argument that the methodology of the progressive education system systemically favours IQ development for the upper-middle and middle-classes, at the expense of the working-class and underclass. Simply put, if you live in home full of books, seeing your parents read on a daily basis, then you are probably more likely to pick up a book as you grow and develop. Children are imitative- it’s certainly true of smoking, as I can attest.

    In the past, schools acted as a proxy for a lack of education in parenting. The only way that they were able to do this was through the mechanism of a highly structured, highly disciplined and knowledge-intensive methodology, which fostered intellectual confidence and intellectual curiosity (hence the 2 s.d. IQ bump since records began, in the early 20th century). I don’t think it’s by accident that the very few charters (or free schools in the UK) that perform at the very top end of the distribution curve, all seem to have abandoned many of the dogmas of the progressive education system, such as teaching understanding rather than facts or that knowledge is indoctrination. If one believes in social stratification by merit (and by implication IQ), their results are all the more miraculous given that their pupils are usually drawn from the lowest social strata, even when one accounts for the selection bias inherent to having parents committed to your education. It may well be that one ingredient to the successful development of individual IQ potential, is the imparting of a high number of embedded knowledge schema to help one deal with a complex world full of abstractions.

    And here’s the tricky thing, the unpalatable truth. I think that most scientists tend to drastically underestimate the role of social enforcement in IQ development. I greatly admire former President Barrack Obama for many reasons, but adhering to the standard narratives of community activists is not one of them. He mentioned fatherless homes, and the impact they have on young black men, but only as preface to said narratives. He highlighted the concept of ‘Acting White’ on CNN, but only in brief. In Britain our black community has the accusation of ‘coconut’, synonymous with the American ‘oreo’. What harm might it do to IQ development to have your peers deride you for expressing complex ideas, paying attention in class, or maybe even reading books?

    James Flynn cited differences in censoriousness between black and white mothers as one possible explanation of IQ differences, noting that ‘You’re not that dumb, try harder’ is a very different parenting approach to ‘That’s nice dear, but why don’t you try…’, but I think that peer pressure is a far more likely candidate. We’ve all felt it, if we attended state-run schools which mixed socio-economic groups- the desire not to stick out, be labelled a swot or teacher’s pet, perhaps instead acting as a class clown to avoid the resentment-driven criticism that always follows being singled out as bright. How much more pervasive is this influence, when by acting against type, you could be seen to be betraying your race, your culture and community? Yet again, only a school that is highly structured, highly disciplined and knowledge-intensive can counteract this nebulous social stigma. A significant predictor of educational success is socio-economic background. Another is the socio-economic background of your peer group.

    Individual heritability of IQ, is an undisputed aspect of scientific research on intelligence and it only increases as we grow older, with people attaining around 80% of their parental inheritance of intelligence as they grow older. The mechanism for this is the seeking out of friendships and activities which stimulate this untapped IQ potential. Hence the Quillette community. Is it not also reasonable to assume, beyond the proven factors of diet and socio-economic group, that culture and the progressive education system prevalent throughout the entirety of the Western world might also play a role? Perhaps the extent to which we can unlock our IQ potential, is dependent on more factors than we think.

    An acquaintance and family friend is the author Connie Tindale (books available on Amazon). In researching her book on Japanese Gardens, she came across the concept of the faux Bonsai tree. Whilst many bonsai trees are bred that way through selective breeding, many more are groomed that way by constriction and pruning. Perhaps, as humans we are all both Bonsai and faux Bonsai, ultimately limited in our potential by our genes, but also reliant on the process of nurture to help us achieve our full potential- perhaps many of our children never fully develop the toolset of intellectual confidence and curiosity necessary to exploit our embedded IQ- through the perverse interaction of culture, ingroup pressure and an education system horrendously tainted by the disproven ideas of that enlightenment cuckoo, Rousseau.

    • E. Olson says

      A very thoughtful comment Geary. The issues you bring up are very relevant, but unfortunately difficult to solve. For example, to the extent that parental example and skills are relevant to maximizing the IQ potential of children, how can public policy duplicate the positive effects of good parental role models and skill sets? What we can say is that current public policies mostly do the opposite as they encourage/enable single parenthood (with the negative effects that brings to children) and reproduction by people in lower socio-economic classes (who are likely to have lower IQ). On the other hand, recent research suggests that parenting influence is generally minimal, and that children of book readers become book readers themselves because they inherit the higher IQ and personality characteristics that lead to interest/ability in reading.

      Another element that you mention that seldom gets talked about is cultural influence. Yes some cultures seem to encourage children to do well in school, while others seem to discourage it (i.e. good grades is “acting white”), but nobody talks about where these cultural differences originate. US blacks have an average IQ of about 85, which means that if they are in a classroom filled with whites (average IQ 100), Asians (average IQ 103-5), or Jews (average IQ 110) they will always be the laggards no matter how hard they study and how much or how effectively their parents encourage them to try. Thus with this comparative disadvantage it makes less sense for black culture to encourage education compared to Jews and Asians, and more relative sense for them to value athletic excellence where they do have comparative genetic advantages (i.e. 75% of the NBA and NFL, and 100% of top sprinters are black).

      IQ is increasingly important in the modern world, but after 100+ years of experimentation with different forms of education, welfare, and other public and private initiatives we have not found any environmentally focused way to raise IQ among those with genetically low IQ potential. Furthermore, any initiatives that might be found to work would almost certainly have even greater beneficial effects on those with higher IQ potential, and thereby exacerbate existing intelligence gaps. These are the facts, and until new advancements in genetics or new and manipulable environmental causes are discovered that can enhance IQ among those with low IQ potential, the most effective means of solving the IQ problem is to discourage low IQ people from reproducing.

      • Just Me says

        E. Olson-

        Do you have evidence that average IQ in western societies is dropping?

        The US has a very specific issue due to their specific history, but the rest of the western world has a very different one.

        Who are the low IQ people you are worried are coming in in enough numbers to lower average IQ?

        • E. Olson says

          Just Me – Here are a couple of links to stories about dropping IQ. Of course any developed country today with an average IQ of near 100 or better is going to have a lower IQ if they non-selectively import people from lower IQ developing countries where average IQ is typically in the 70s to low 90s.

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2730791/Are-STUPID-Britons-people-IQ-decline.html

          https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html

          • Just Me says

            E. Olson –

            Did we read the same articles?

            They say nothing about the effect of immigration, but talk of the end of the Flynn effect in the historical population, and the decline is tiny.

            But immigrants from 3rd world countries are either the upper educated class who do very well, or poor illiterate people who will benefit from the Flynn effect.

            The second article actually argues for environmental effects:

            …the average 14-year-old was two IQ points cleverer in 1980, according to a study published in 2009.

            **Scientists found that performance dropped the most dramatically in teenagers in the upper half of the intelligence scale, **

            Brighter teens who took part in the study in 2008 were on average six IQ points less intelligent than their counterparts tested 28 years earlier.

            Professor Fynn said the results could be the result of less intelligent youth culture.

            He used data gathered in IQ tests on UK children and found that children aged between five and 10 saw their IQs increase by half a point per year over three decades.

            ‘Other studies have shown how pervasive teenage youth culture is, and what we see is parents’ influence on IQ slowly diminishing with age,’ he said.

            ‘…What we know is that youth culture is now more visually orientated around computer games than they are in terms of reading and holding conversations.’

          • Chip says

            How does this align with the basic premise of Darwin, that success at reproducing is proof of superiority?

            I mean, if we see a species of red flower slowly outbreeding and taking over the territory of a blue flower, would anyone here be convinced if I asserted that the blue flower species is actually superior?

            If nonwhite people are more successful at reproducing and taking over territory, isn’t that proof of their superiority?

          • E. Olson says

            Just Me – the drop in Norwegian IQ seems to be environmental, but nobody has been able to identify the likely element(s) that are responsible (smart phones are just a guess). This identification issue is the problem with most “environmental” influences on IQ, because parenting and education seem to have very little effect, and once basic nutritional needs are met neither does food. Certainly if selective immigration is used, developed country IQ will not necessarily drop because they get the cream of the crop, but bringing in 85 IQ people will not magically make them into 95 or 115 IQ because of Flynn effects. At best, better nutrition and education might let low IQ immigrants to reach their IQ potential which is still likely to be well under 100 and thus lower the host country’s average IQ.

          • E. Olson says

            Chip – your flower analogy is interesting, but incomplete. The modern welfare state takes resources from the wealthy (and generally high IQ) and gives them to the less wealthy (and generally low IQ), so in other words the welfare state is taking fertilizer and water away from the superior red flowers and therefore reducing their ability to reproduce, while at the same time giving these “growth” resources to the inferior blue flowers which would otherwise die and not reproduce.

          • Just Me says

            E. Olson-

            “Certainly if selective immigration is used, developed country IQ will not necessarily drop because they get the cream of the crop, bringing in 85 IQ people will not magically make them into 95 or 115 IQ because of Flynn effects. At best, better nutrition and education might let low IQ immigrants to reach their IQ potential which is still likely to be well under 100 and thus lower the host country’s average IQ”

            Surely third world countries also have people in between the “cream of the crop” and 85 IQ? And because their social structure with huge disparities between rich and poor means there is lots of room for the Flynn effect to operate on those who never had a chance at an education.

            “He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.

            Dr Lynn predicts that if this trend continues, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050.”

            Pretty minimal, nothing alarming there anyway.

            But did you miss this?

            “the study looked at the IQ scores of brothers who were born in different years. Researchers found that, instead of being similar as suggested by a genetic explanation, IQ scores often differed significantly between the siblings.

            “The main exciting finding isn’t that there was a decline in IQ,” Ritchie said. “The interesting thing about this paper is that they were able to show a difference in IQ scores within the same families.”

            The study not only showed IQ variance between children the same parents, but because the authors had the IQ scores of various parents, it demonstrated that parents with higher IQs tended to have more kids, ruling out the dysgenic fertility theory as a driver of falling IQ scores and highlighting the role of environmental factors instead.

            Access to education is currently the most conclusive factor explaining disparities in intelligence, according to Ritchie. ”

            And

            “Robin Morris, … suggests that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, might be outmoded in today’s fast-paced world of constant technological change.

            “In my view, we need to recognize that as time changes and people are exposed to different intellectual experiences, such as changes in the use of technology, for example social media, the way intelligence is expressed also changes. Educational methods need to adapt to such changes,” Morris said.

            Sorry, nothing in these articles demonstrates what you claim they do.

          • Just Me says

            E. OLson –

            Re.”…What we know is that youth culture is now more visually orientated around computer games than they are in terms of reading and holding conversations.’

            That actually ties in nicely to my previous comment on this page about the importance of writing and literacy and their effect on brain development.

            We may be reverting to an oral culture from a literate one and that may be accounting for the drop in IQ.

          • Just Me says

            Correction, we may be moving from a literate culture to an audio-visual one, not reverting to an oral one. Terra incognita.

          • Chip says

            E. Olsen-
            If the high IQ people are so easily defeated by the low IQ members of the welfare state, doesn’t that just demonstrate the superiority of the low IQ people?

          • E. Olson says

            Just Me – in a country with an average IQ of 85, someone with an IQ of 100 is at least 1 standard deviation above the mean, which makes them the cream of the crop, but at best average in their host country. In a world where intelligence is more important than ever, even small decreases in national IQ from whatever cause (environmental, immigration) will be increasingly counter-productive to the wealth and health of the nation.

          • Just Me says

            Just Me –

            ” in a country with an average IQ of 85, someone with an IQ of 100 is at least 1 standard deviation above the mean, which makes them the cream of the crop, but at best average in their host country. In a world where intelligence is more important than ever, even small decreases in national IQ from whatever cause (environmental, immigration) will be increasingly counter-productive to the wealth and health of the nation.”

            Now you are clutching at straws as your argument has been proven false by the very articles you relied on to support it.

      • Just Me says

        Re,: literacy in Proust and the Squid:

        “In evolutionary terms, reading is a recently acquired cultural invention that uses existing brain structures for a radically new skill. Unlike vision or speech, there is no direct genetic programme passing reading on to future generations. It is an unnatural process that has to be learnt by each individual. …dyslexia, a condition that proves “our brains were never wired to read”.

        “reading has given us “the gift of time”- time when our thoughts can move beyond the words on the page to new levels of understanding, time to think the unthinkable. Reading is not just about absorbing information and finding ready-made answers; it is thought-in-action. There are no pre-packaged answers in life.

        “We can receive the truth from nobody,” said Proust; “we must create it ourselves.” But in the “Google universe”, with its instant over-abundance of information, how we read is being changed fundamentally. On-screen texts are not read “inferentially, analytically and critically”; they are skimmed and filleted, cherry-picked for half-grasped truths. By doing this we risk losing the “associative dimension” to reading, those precious moments when you venture beyond the words of a text and glimpse new intellectual horizons.

        Although not opposed to the internet, Wolf concludes on a cautionary note: we need to be “vigilant” in order to preserve “the profound generativity of the reading brain”.

        (spacing mine for legibility)

        https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/apr/12/featuresreviews.guardianreview21

        • Andrew Roddy says

          @Just Me
          The idea of moving from a literate culture to an audio visual one is very interesting. Are you aware of any study or even speculation around this? I know its true in my own life and, because we have technology that allows it, it seems intuitive that it wil have profound implications. It would certainly diminish the emphasis placed on the concept of IQ. We would be obliged to engage with a more dynamic, interpersonal idea of intelligence. Even the prospect brings such an idea in to focus. I would welcome this as a sane development.

        • Andrew Roddy says

          In English we use ‘word’ to describe both the spoken word and the written equivalent. We have become used to the idea that these characters form actual words rather than codified representations. Are these real words? I don’t like to think so.

          It seems to me that watching someone give an account of themselves and their ideas via utube etc is often an immeasurably richer and more informative experience than reading their prose.

  41. BrainFireBob says

    Yes, because the original out of Africa migration was carefully selected to represent the entire genetic admixture of Africa, such a migration does not represent evolutionary pressure that might select for intelligence linked traits, like 3d problem solving for mapping new regions, and the Denisovsns and Neanderthals contributed nothing to the intelligence profile of their mixed heritage descendants, despite making more advanced tools than homo sapiens sapiens.

    Two neighboring African women in the same village are less related- less DNA in common- than any 2 Europeans.

    Europeans and Asiatics ARE population subsets of the highly diverse Africsn grnepool. They’re just supremely numerous compared to what is the parent population. It’s how the phenotypes developed so rapidly. Hell, European diseases were so devastating to Native Americans due to their being only 7 female primogenitures – didn’t have the genetic range to slow down disease propagation.

  42. Cortez says

    Dr. Mike T Stop saying nonsense and argue something coherent please.
    In the first place, race is not just skin color.

  43. asdf says

    People will say something like “genetics doesn’t effect human rights”, but what exactly are these “human rights”?

    The most basic human rights are something like,

    “the right not to be genocided, the right not to be violently harmed”

    Basically, negative rights. Rights “from something”.

    However, a lot of people think that there are a bunch of “positive rights”. The right to immigrate anywhere you like, the right to some arbitrary standard of living provided by others, the right that people from your group should make up >X% of “high status thing” or <Y% of “low status thing” (disparate impact).

    These positive rights are in a lot of dispute, and a lot of people don’t think they constitute “human rights.”

    So if they aren’t human rights, they are human prerogatives. I can accept or not accept immigrants based on what I think is good for my country. And the likely impact of the genetic nature of those immigrants is going to legitimately sway my view of what makes sense.

    So there is a Mot and Bailey tactic going on. There are people who think immigration is a human right, but they don’t want to assert that right, because they know that it doesn’t have the kind of support that we normally associate with human rights. However, they don’t want to debate immigration on its pragmatic merits, because then they will likely lose.

    So what they do is sort of assert that there are no pragmatic real world objections worth considering, so there is no good reason to deny that it’s a human right. Like a kind of weird “the pragmatic concerns work out so you might as well accept my deontology” hybrid. However, it’s not clear that the pragmatic concerns do work out, so evidence and facts that could dispute the first line in the argument are made taboo and banned. Then the language of human rights is used to squash concerns and pragmatic objections. All the benefits of deontological rights fervor without formally admitting that this might not be a situation where that is appropriate.

    Given the status quo is loaded with “positive rights” and cultural assumptions that involved harming some party to provide the right to another party, it’s the status quo that needs to answer for its crimes. Not the people speaking the facts and advocating for an end to injustice.

  44. Bill Haywood says

    The authors write: “we are not denying that research into the genetics of human differences has been misused for appalling purposes at various points over the last two centuries.”

    What about the next fifty years? Are we past this stuff?

    The authors would like to research race in a lab hermetically sealed off from society. That is understandable, from a pure science point of view. But that isn’t how it is.

    If the authors wrote as many articles denouncing the present day misuse of science by white nationalists, it would be easier to appreciate their call for race science to be shielded from opprobrium.

    We are still fighting the battle against phrenology.

    • asdf says

      What specific ways are white nationalist using race science to do what? Who is affected by it and in what specific way?

      • dirk says

        Very good question asdf, I wonder what the answers to that will be!!

        • dirk says

          And another thing: very good picture also, the three races, all as beautiful, smart and smooth as ever, no hierarchy I would say, Though, a little bit glossy, and worked on, maybe. But, quite another thing as exhibited in the anthropological museum of Madrid (and maybe in many others??), where it is quite clear, which race is the best of all!

        • Emblem14 says

          @dirk,

          you can scroll up to my various skirmishes with asdf to see what the implications are.

          If genetic determinism is mostly true, there are roughly two political approaches a society can take.

          One is a kind of Rawlsian communalism in which, because we do not choose our genes, society should provide a general and generous social insurance for those of us who have been dealt a band genetic hand. This is a slight tweak on current leftist notions of justice, merely incorporating bad genetic luck into the calculus in addition to considerations of bad environmental luck and historical oppression.

          The other is a variation on social darwinism, in which the strong dominate the weak, and those who can’t compete are either left to rot in ghettoes or eliminated (by various methods including passive or active eugenics, violent or non-violent population “cleansing”)

          The darwinist approach would require a political narrative, a story, that the people who agree with it can tell themselves to see themselves as Good and Just. I think that story is most likely to resemble the racial/ethnic/genetic essentialism of the 20th century, which creates an objective value hierarchy with which to sort different groups into good and bad, better and worse. Egalitarianism and democracy would be framed as self-destructive impediments to the rightful rulers of a society taking their rightful place at the helm of government. Authoritarianism to prevent the inferior populations from rising up would be considered common sense. In a nutshell, it would be a form of fascism.

          Let’s not pretend that this isn’t the logical conclusion of some of the ideas expressed here.

          Every idea has its own internal logic. These subjects should not be discussed without our eyes wide open to this fact.

          • Just Me says

            Emblem14-

            And my position is Leftists should be arguing, loudly and clearly, for the Rawlsian approach, rather than trying to shut down the darwinists.

            Social Darwinisianism is not a popular view, and it is only held by a handful of sociopathic types. In a populist democracy, that won’t fly.

            If you play your cards right, i.e. do not antagonise them otherwise, you’ll even get buy-in from religious people of all stripes against the darwinists.

            I see a much better scenario than continuing to antognise religious people and moderates with censorship and ridicule of “white fragility”, “white privilege”, etc.

          • Just Me says

            Emblem14-

            ctnd.

            I would put the emphasis on the kind of ideas that are currently getting no attention from the Left, e.g.:

            James C. Scott – Against the Gain

            Christopher Boehm – Hierarchy in the Forest

            These are serious academics who understand the complexity of social hierarchies and don’t try to oversimplify either way.

            In a nutshell, humans have conflicting impulses to dominate, and avoid domination. They cooperate to avoid domination.

            The Great Civilisations were not good for most of their members, who tried to escape from their oppression by a small oligarchy. Agriculture allowed the elites to control the people more effectively, but it had terrible effects on the wellbeing of most people.

          • Andrew Roddy says

            @Emblem14
            All good points and well made. My question would be – how do you find the stamina when you must suspect you are talking to deaf ears?

          • Just Me says

            I would use the ideas put forth in the following books and ignored by Progressives:

            James C. Scott Against the Grain

            Christopher Boehm Hierarchy in the Forest

            In a nutshell, humans, like other primates, are motivated to dominate others, and avoid domination themselves.

            They will cooperate to fight against domination.

            The great civilisations might have created great works of art, but they were not good for most people who lived in them. Those empires grew by forcing people to work in them, through slavery and the control made possible through agriculture, but agriculture was terrible for people’s health and wellbeing compared to the freedom they had as hunter and gatherers. Those who could escaped.

            A great start to discussions about what makes a civilisation “superior”.

          • asdf says

            Nonsense.

            First, Rawls himself noted that:

            “In the original position, then, the parties want to insure for their descendants the best genetic endowment (assuming their own to be fixed). The pursuit of reasonable policies in this regard is something that earlier generations owe to later ones, this being a question that arises between generations. Thus over time a society is to take steps at least to preserve the general level of natural abilities and to prevent the diffusion of serious defects. These measures are to be guided by principles that the parties would be willing to consent to for the sake of their successors.”

            In other words, from behind a veil of ignorance, you have an obligation to future generations to make sure they have the genetics amenable to human flourishing.

            Imagine you are unborn. You have a choice between being born with good genes or bad genes. Which would you choose, from behind a veil of ignorance. It’s obvious, isn’t it.

            This is why utilitarianism leads to eugenics in some sort of form. It’s why the original materialist utilitarians became eugenicists. The rejection of eugenics was always based on deontological rights (religious, basically), not utilitarianism or the veil of ignorance (which are firmly pro-eugenics).

            So if you want to reject eugenics, you need deontology (human rights). But we don’t all agree on what “human rights” are. We sort of agree on negative human rights (the right not to be violently aggressed). But we don’t all agree on positive rights (my right to use force to make you give me something against your will).

            You can see it clearly in your writing “passive or active eugenics”. What exactly is “passive eugenics”? Not providing unlimited resources to whoever wants it to do whatever they want? What the hell is “non-violent” ethnic cleansing?

            There is more nonsense language. “Strong dominate the weak.” In what way? The primary problem the weak have today is they AREN’T WORTH DOMINATING. They have nothing of value to make dominating them, or trading with them, or having anything to do with them, “worth it.” Even slaves in the 1800s had something valuable about themselves that made it worth fighting for the right to dominate them (their resistance to the diseases of the plantation). The modern weak simply don’t have a purpose.

            The strong don’t want to dominate anyone. They primarily want people to STOP DOMINATING THEM. They want to run their own countries, elect their own leaders, run their own households, live their own values. They are the oppressed, being dominated by the oppressor.

            Or if it helps you sleep at night, one group of the strong use the concept of egalitarianism as a weapon to dominate another group of the strong, while tossing off whatever portion of their spoils of war is necessary to ensure the loyalty of their clients.

            The people getting dominated want to fight back. They don’t want their children taught to hate themselves because they are white. They don’t want to be taxed to fund programs they can see never work as intended. They want to be treated fairly when applying for school and work (which can never be possible in a world of disparate impact). And they don’t want to import a hostile class of low skill people who will likely make all of the problems above a lot worse, because that’s what has happened every single place they have become a minority.

            And don’t give me some crap about social insurance. People support social insurance under specific circumstances. When those conditions aren’t met, they have less support for such measures. People aren’t Spartan style Social Darwinists, but neither are they unlimited chumps who just take it no matter what the conditions.

            The ways in which you want to expand the welfare state based on “Rawlsianism” are not popular. Try proposing that Medicaid be expanded to all of Latin America because of the veil of ignorance and see how popular that is.

            You can’t defend any of these things. They haven’t been defensible for a long time. But you are profiting off it, so if people have to be called Nazi’s and facts suppressed.

          • Just Me says

            asdf-

            “The rejection of eugenics was always based on deontological rights (religious, basically), not utilitarianism or the veil of ignorance (which are firmly pro-eugenics).”

            True. Progressives won’t admit it, but they are the heirs of 2000 years of Christian injunctions about the moral worth of the poor and weak.

            “The primary problem the weak have today is they AREN’T WORTH DOMINATING. They have nothing of value to make dominating them, or trading with them, or having anything to do with them, “worth it.”

            Now you’ve lost me. Who are you talking about??

            “The people getting dominated want to fight back. They don’t want their children taught to hate themselves because they are white. They don’t want to be taxed to fund programs they can see never work as intended. They want to be treated fairly when applying for school and work (which can never be possible in a world of disparate impact).And they don’t want to import a hostile class of low skill people who will likely make all of the problems above a lot worse, because that’s what has happened every single place they have become a minority.”

            OK, I agree with that.

            “The ways in which you want to expand the welfare state based on “Rawlsianism” are not popular. Try proposing that Medicaid be expanded to all of Latin America because of the veil of ignorance and see how popular that is.”

            I agree that the welfare state is incompatible with open borders.

            But I think most people would be more receptive to a Rawlsian argument for compassion for those unlucky enough to have been born with lower IQs or other genetic disadvantages, but that does not mean that compassion should be demonstrated by acceptance of all of the above you complain about.

            The problem I see is that compassion is denounced as paternalism, contempt, lack of respect, etc. Compassion requires admitting there is something to be compassionate about…and implies the person being compassionate is in a superior position. “I don’t want your compassion, I want equality.” A conundrum.

            But you don’t let someone not qualified go to university out of compassion. What has to be fixed is why some people can’t get the early life conditions they need to make it to med school, after that, it’s too late, try the next generation.

  45. BrainFireBob says

    Emblem, that a priority assumes that equality of outcome is the goal. Fallacious. No need to eliminate or ghetto-ize. Further, there are harmful well-meaning policies that need to be removed that are current, like lowered college admission standards.

    First, do no harm. We have to stop the harmful meddling!

    • Emblem14 says

      @BrainFireBob,

      It’s a complex discussion, but i’ll just posit that only idiots or insane people think literal equality of outcome is a desirable goal. I’ve had conversations with radical leftists and they all acknowledge that harrison bergeron is a dystopia. This is not to say that some leftists aren’t oblivious to the internal logic of their own premises, and how they are too self-righteous to see how, several steps ahead, their ideas might lead to dystopian outcomes. When someone thinks that admitting they’re wrong in any way gives aid and comfort to their enemy, that person will become blind to error and self-delusion.

      The actual premise the equity people are operating from is that there should be no population level disparities in the natural, random distribution of life outcomes. In other words, identity group membership shouldn’t have any bearing on your ability to have a “fair chance” at pursuing your natural potential, and thus the job of public policy is to correct for the effects of discrimination on the basis of group identities that have been unfairly socially disadvantaged. Embedded in this belief is the assumption that absent artificial social barriers, after some adjustment period, all people will converge into a single bell curve distribution.

      Even if genetics play a large part in both individual and group outcomes, I think it still makes sense to have universal support systems, if only to eliminate that variable. Like the recent example of gender egalitarian Scandinavian countries showing how innate gender preferences are maximised when social impediments are removed, if we have more genuine equality of opportunity – namely, a system of comprehensive social insurance that helps mitigate against the the random distribution of bad luck we all face, and gives most everyone access to the tools necessary to succeed in society, then the only plausible remaining explanations for persistent group disparities will be culture or genetics.

      Right now, it can still be strongly argued that differences in group outcomes are caused by intentionally designed systems of privilege and discrimination, because that is indeed what was operating for a long time, and it’s not clear that those mechanisms have been completely eliminated, nor have the cumulative effects of their previous operation been rectified. Maybe more needs to be done, or maybe there’s just a long hangover effect and we’re dealing with the time lag before we settle into a new equilibrium. In any case, there are still too many confounding variables to have any degree of certainty about what the root causes of disparate group outcomes are today.

      • Just Me says

        So the crucial difference in assumptions here is “differences in group outcomes are caused by intentionally designed systems of privilege and discrimination, because that is indeed what was operating for a long time, and it’s not clear that those mechanisms have been completely eliminated, nor have the cumulative effects of their previous operation been rectified.”, although “there are still too many confounding variables to have any degree of certainty about what the root causes of disparate group outcomes are today.”

        Between Progressives who say, let’s act as if this were true even though we don’t know it is, and those who feel they are being victimized based on unprovable assumptions.

        And this does not address a major point, the nasty vindictiveness and insult-slinging of those going by that assumption.

        • In my part of the country nothing that exists was built by anyone but white men. Why shouldn’t they be privileged in those organizations? Why can’t social activists build their own institutions?

      • asdf says

        “Embedded in this belief is the assumption that absent artificial social barriers, after some adjustment period, all people will converge into a single bell curve distribution.”

        It’s a bad assumption.

        “namely, a system of comprehensive social insurance that helps mitigate against the the random distribution of bad luck we all face”

        The only people that can afford this are the OECD countries, and they can only afford welfare states because their high national IQs generate the surplus necessary to fund the welfare state. If national IQ drops to low due to immigration, they will likely see a collapse in the welfare state.

        “Right now, it can still be strongly argued that differences in group outcomes are caused by intentionally designed systems of privilege and discrimination, because that is indeed what was operating for a long time, and it’s not clear that those mechanisms have been completely eliminated, nor have the cumulative effects of their previous operation been rectified. Maybe more needs to be done, or maybe there’s just a long hangover effect and we’re dealing with the time lag before we settle into a new equilibrium. In any case, there are still too many confounding variables to have any degree of certainty about what the root causes of disparate group outcomes are today.”

        The whole point of The Bell Curve was to prove the statement above is false using math.

  46. Chip says

    See, the most telling part of the claim for racial superiority is their inability to demonstrate any evidence of it.

    No one can point to any racial group which has continuing success over other groups. Their biggest trump card has always been the run of dominance the Caucasians of Europe have had for about 300 years; but of course, its obvious to everyone that this period is ending as we speak.

    So they jump immediately to the “pollution” argument, that non-Caucasians are somehow outperforming, outbreeding, and defeating the superior Caucasians.

    This of course makes a mockery of Darwin. Or maybe proves him right, though not in a way that makes the racial supremacists happy.

    • Emblem14 says

      They square this by saying it’s the evil progressives infiltrating our institutions, the big business sellouts or the conniving Jews who are behind this campaign to destroy their “superior” culture. At least those are formidable villains who can conceivably outsmart the humble, earnest, hard working white christian. The brown hordes and inner city degenerates are just pawns.

      and somehow, the main thing standing in the way of them fighting back is dreaded political correctness. Well, the privacy of the ballot box still gives them an outlet to vote for someone like Trump.

      But if your great culture can get wiped out because you’re afraid of losing your job saying the wrong thing on twitter, maybe you’ve already lost.

    • codadmin says

      Where are these white racial supremacists?

      The data is clear, East Asians are more intelligent, on average, than whites.

      You find find many, if any, ‘science supremacists’ denying that fact.

      • Chip says

        How does this alleged superior intelligence demonstrate itself?

        Within my lifetime the Chinese were incapable of even feeding themselves because of appallingly stupid decisions made by their own leaders. How is this possible, if they are so smart?

        What good is IQ if it doesn’t result in some actual outcome, like, maybe, being able to plant and harvest crops?

        • Elizabeth says

          @Chip

          Your smugness is a cover to your obvious ignorance. The Chinese have pioneered, or invented in parallel, numerous civilizational accomplishments, like writing, cultivars, brewing, paper, mechanical clocks, the compass, philosophy, gun powder, martial arts, silk, etc. so there’s your answer on how Chinese intelligence manifests itself.

          What have Subsaharan Africans on whose behalf you no doubt labour first and foremost, if not solely, contributed over the past 10,000 years?

          Regarding the Maoist famines, at least 90% of the populace survived without foreign intervention, which is not to downplay the enormity of death. You resort to spurious characterization.

          • Chip says

            The Africans literally invented the practice of growing food and herding animals.

            And as I mentioned upthread, until around 1400, African, MesoAmerican and Northern European tribes had about the same level of technology. Even to this day, you can find remote cultures all over the world, including Asia which are at the Stone Age.

            How is this explained? Does the goddess of racial superiority only affect some Asians, but not others? And only at some periods, and not others?

            The theory of racial superiority just doesn’t seem capable of explaining much.

          • Elizabeth says

            @Chip

            “until around 1400, African, MesoAmerican and Northern European tribes had about the same level of technology”

            A comparison of metallurgy and construction in 1400 shows that is absolute rubbish. Notre Dame and Tikal are truly artistic achievements in advanced architecture. Subsaharan Africa’s greatest achievement, Great Zimbabwe, looks like buildings from thousands of years earlier in Asia and Europe.

            You’re too dense to grasp how populations work. Not all Asian populations are the same, any more than European ones are. The people who still live in the Stone Age in Asia are remnant populations, often collectively called Negritos, the people displaced by the now dominant Asian populaces.

    • The broad fact then, here to be noted, is that Nature’s modes of treatment inside the family-group and outside the family-group, are diametrically opposed to one another; and that the intrusion of either mode into the sphere of the other, would be fatal to the species either mediately or remotely.

      Does any one think that the like does not hold of the human species? He cannot deny that within the human family, as within any inferior family, it would be fatal to proportion benefits to merits. Can he assert that outside the family, among adults, there should not be a proportioning of benefits to merits? Will he contend that no mischief will result if the lowly endowed are enabled to thrive and multiply as much as, or more than, the highly endowed? A society of men, standing towards other societies in relations of either antagonism or competition, may be considered as a species, or, more literally, as a variety of a species; and it must be true of it as of other species or varieties, that it will be unable to hold its own in the struggle with other societies, if it disadvantages its superior units that it may advantage its inferior units. Surely none can fail to see that were the principle of family life to be adopted and fully carried out in social life were reward always great in proportion as desert was small, fatal results to the society would quickly follow; and if so, then even a partial intrusion of the family regime into the regime of the State, will be slowly followed by fatal results. Society in its corporate capacity, cannot without mediate or remoter disaster interfere with the play of these opposed principles under which every species has reached such fitness for its mode of life as it possesses, and under which it maintains that fitness.

    • gda53 says

      “See, the most telling part of the claim for racial superiority is their inability to demonstrate any evidence of it.”

      You need to read “Human Accomplishment” by Charles Murray esp. Chap 13

      It’ll be an eye-opener. Presuming, that is, your mind is not closed.

  47. Pingback: Nobody Is Defending Phrenology Today - Naija Leads

  48. Emblem14 says

    @asdf

    *In other words, from behind a veil of ignorance, you have an obligation to future generations to make sure they have the genetics amenable to human flourishing.

    Imagine you are unborn. You have a choice between being born with good genes or bad genes. Which would you choose, from behind a veil of ignorance. It’s obvious, isn’t it.*

    My understanding of the veil is that I CAN’T choose what “stats” i’ll be randomly assigned at birth, and so the issue is what kind of society I would like to enter into not knowing what hand i’m to be dealt by the cosmos. This argues for social insurance, because we’re all the product of external forces and random chance.

    This is why utilitarianism leads to eugenics in some sort of form. It’s why the original materialist utilitarians became eugenicists. The rejection of eugenics was always based on deontological rights (religious, basically), not utilitarianism or the veil of ignorance (which are firmly pro-eugenics).

    I agree, which is one reason why I’m not a strict utilitarian. It isn’t necessarily compatible with the concept of human rights. (there are levels of abstraction that I won’t get into)

    So if you want to reject eugenics, you need deontology (human rights). But we don’t all agree on what “human rights” are. We sort of agree on negative human rights (the right not to be violently aggressed). But we don’t all agree on positive rights (my right to use force to make you give me something against your will).

    I’m not going to persuade you out of a philosophical commitment to Randianism or some kind of doctrinal anarcho-capitalism. We all get to decide what moral principles are most important to us. The feasibility of living in a society governed by our ideal preferences vs. coming to a realistic compromise in a pluralistic world, is a whole separate discussion. I’m a pragmatist.

    You can see it clearly in your writing “passive or active eugenics”. What exactly is “passive eugenics”? Not providing unlimited resources to whoever wants it to do whatever they want? What the hell is “non-violent” ethnic cleansing?

    I suppose it’s the difference between achieving a desired outcome through action or inaction?

    There is more nonsense language. “Strong dominate the weak.” In what way? The primary problem the weak have today is they AREN’T WORTH DOMINATING. They have nothing of value to make dominating them, or trading with them, or having anything to do with them, “worth it.” Even slaves in the 1800s had something valuable about themselves that made it worth fighting for the right to dominate them (their resistance to the diseases of the plantation). The modern weak simply don’t have a purpose.

    whole can of worms here, but I’ll just say, tell that to multinational corporations and/or the system of capitalism in general. Docile consumers and cheap laborers are worth dominating, or at least exploiting.

    The strong don’t want to dominate anyone. They primarily want people to STOP DOMINATING THEM. They want to run their own countries, elect their own leaders, run their own households, live their own values. They are the oppressed, being dominated by the oppressor.

    When is Atlas going to shrug?

    And don’t give me some crap about social insurance. People support social insurance under specific circumstances. When those conditions aren’t met, they have less support for such measures. People aren’t Spartan style Social Darwinists, but neither are they unlimited chumps who just take it no matter what the conditions. The ways in which you want to expand the welfare state based on “Rawlsianism” are not popular. Try proposing that Medicaid be expanded to all of Latin America because of the veil of ignorance and see how popular that is.

    That’s a bit of a strawman. I’m well aware that any notion of a social contract requires prerequisites for popular legitimacy and consent. I think the nation is the most effective template we have at the moment.

    You can’t defend any of these things. They haven’t been defensible for a long time. But you are profiting off it, so if people have to be called Nazi’s and facts suppressed.

    I’m not profiting off anything. I just think that the closer we get to your vision of the world, the more all the amenities of the liberal society we take for granted will be in danger of disintegrating. I think your ideas are a dead end road paved with blood, but hey, I could be wrong.

    • E. Olson says

      asdf wrote: “There is more nonsense language. “Strong dominate the weak.” In what way? The primary problem the weak have today is they AREN’T WORTH DOMINATING. They have nothing of value to make dominating them, or trading with them, or having anything to do with them, “worth it.” Even slaves in the 1800s had something valuable about themselves that made it worth fighting for the right to dominate them (their resistance to the diseases of the plantation). The modern weak simply don’t have a purpose.”

      Emblem14 wrote: “whole can of worms here, but I’ll just say, tell that to multinational corporations and/or the system of capitalism in general. Docile consumers and cheap laborers are worth dominating, or at least exploiting.”

      Good comments, but capitalists are only interested if there are profits to be made. Cheap labor needs to be worth even their cheap pay, and with increasingly sophisticated manufacturing technology there is little need for cheap labor because they just don’t have the skills or talent to be productive (and worth their pay). Unproductive people will also never earn enough to be attractive consumers, because they won’t have enough money to buy much, and distribution costs in much of the developing world are very high and require high prices to make decent profits. Redistribution might give them more money to spend, but it will come from people who actually have the skills to earn it and will mean they have less to spend and will hurt overall incentives to work and productivity, so is a losing game. So asdf is correct, much of the weak just aren’t worth dominating in our modern world.

    • asdf says

      “My understanding of the veil is that I CAN’T choose what “stats” i’ll be randomly assigned at birth”

      But with eugenics, you can over generations choose what the overall distribution of “stats” will be in the population. Imagine two scenarios:

      A) No Eugenics

      2020: 40% of world has good genes, 60% bad genes. You have a 60% change of being born with bad genes.

      2100: 10% of world has good genes, 90% bad genes. You have 90% change of being born with bad genes.

      B) Eugenics

      2020: 40% of world has good genes, 60% bad genes. You have a 60% change of being born with bad genes.

      2100: 90% of world has good genes, 10% bad genes. You have 10% change of being born with bad genes.

      If I’m a random person being born into the world of 2100, of source I prefer Scenario B to Scenario A. It’s basic math, I’ve got way better odds.

      Heck, even if we grant that one would be born into the bad gene category in 2100, I would still prefer Scenario B. In Scenario B the world if full of functional and productive people running successful societies. There is a reason that people with bad genes try to move from the third world to the first world. They don’t change, but their circumstances get better simply by being part of a more functional society. In Scenario B my skills might be in more demand (since there is little unskilled labor to compete with) and my society can probably afford social insurance.

      In Scenario A the whole global economy might be in collapse. Good luck trying to make a decent life for yourself in that scenario.

      That’s the primary issue. What kind of world do you want to live in 2100. One with flourishing societies and peoples, or one on the road to a new dark age crushed under a dysgenic tidal wave. From beyond a veil of ignorance or not, Scenario B wins.

      Finally, social insurance isn’t welfare. Social insurance has certain characteristics:

      1) It’s assumed that people will mostly collect what they pay in, accounting for actual insurance related events (such as an accident causing disability). There is some degree of cross subsidy in social insurance, in part because it allows the social aggregation of risk while keeping underwriting costs low, but whenever that subsidy gets so high that most people feel “they are paying in a lot more then they get out” we’ve crossed from social insurance to welfare which isn’t popular.

      2) It’s assumed that the recipients will “play by the rules”. We have entire departments that do things like try to prevent welfare fraud. When it seems like things are slipping from “temporary assistance to deal with unforeseen events” to “I’m taking you suckers for a ride” then again it becomes less popular.

      3) Social insurance, like all insurance, has to obey certain financial constraints. It doesn’t do anyone any good to bankrupt the state to provide some level of social insurance you’ve decided is someones right. And of course the bigger the underclass of net liabilities, the greater the strain put on the affordability of social insurance. Most low IQ societies don’t generate the surplus necessary for first world levels of social insurance.

      4) The only way for the above to work is if the Bell Curve for a country is relatively narrow, so there is no large permanent underclass receiving perpetual welfare assistance.

      And of course all of this doesn’t even get into the idea of what the hell “social insurance” is? Is trying to teach Calculus to people with too low an IQ to ever grasp it “social insurance”? Is making sure blacks are X% of the Stuyvesant High School Class “social insurance”? A lot of what the government provides aren’t cash transfers, but service subsidies. Education, healthcare, etc. Many of these programs are rather questionable as to what good they do relative to the resources committed to them. Are these really social insurance guaranteed by human rights?

      I’ll be blunt, I think a lot of what is going on here is a desire on the part of people being paid to provide those services to keep their paychecks coming, and the revelation of facts that might point out that the services they provide are useless and we’d be better off using those resources in other ways is what really drives their rejection of genetic truths.

      How do you justify spending 22k/pupil in the NYC public schools if it turns out that The Null Hypothesis on education is correct? How do you justify those fat retirement packages for people that aren’t even teaching anymore? The justification is that all that spending has tremendous ROI for society…but what if it doesn’t. What if you’d be better handing some kid 4 x 22k to go use on a down payment for a house rather then forcing him to sit through a bunch of high school lectures he could never understand?

      How does nearly every single diversity and inclusion officer justify their existence in a world where diversity isn’t strength?

      Charles Murray basically said to write a check for enough to eat to everyone and then leave them alone. That constituted necessary social insurance. The rest seemed to be a racket that wasn’t doing any good.

      The Bell Curve was also open to the idea of some kind of minimal catastrophic health insurance provided by the government, and noted with caution that if we kept getting flooded by low IQs from Latin America that we would probably become more like Latin America (culturally and politically dysfunctional, poorer, more difficult to provide everyone with a first world standard of living).

      The rest of your stuff I don’t even know where to start. Most of its bumper sticker level.

      • Peter Lee says

        asdf: Very insightful and well-thought-out comments. I’m a long-time reader here and I appreciate your contributions to the stimulating discussions on the comments board.

      • Emblem14 says

        @asdf

        Your eugenics/no-eugenics thought experiment has actually given me something to chew on. I think it’s obvious that one would want to be born into a society with a healthy gene pool. So in that sense, It’s in everyone’s interest to want conditions under which there’s a maximal likelihood they’ll be an attractive smart person.

        The tricky thing is how we get to that point. I’ve never been opposed in theory to genetic engineering of humans, as long as the benefits can be distributed equally across the entire population, avoiding a Gattaca situation. We’re a long ways off from that. Selective breeding already takes place as a natural consequence of mate selection, but that creates non overlapping gene clusters segregated by economic and social class, which ultimately leads to hard social stratification, political instability and fracture.

        I’m completely opposed to violations of human rights in order to improve gene pools. We’ve been down that road before. However, heavily incentivising birth control for all women AND men, along with policy that supports responsible family planning, seems like a no brainer to me. There are too many kids with terrible future prospects, destined to be burdens on society (statistically) being born every day.

        *Finally, social insurance isn’t welfare. Social insurance has certain characteristics:

        1) It’s assumed that people will mostly collect what they pay in, accounting for actual insurance related events (such as an accident causing disability). There is some degree of cross subsidy in social insurance, in part because it allows the social aggregation of risk while keeping underwriting costs low, but whenever that subsidy gets so high that most people feel “they are paying in a lot more then they get out” we’ve crossed from social insurance to welfare which isn’t popular.

        2) It’s assumed that the recipients will “play by the rules”. We have entire departments that do things like try to prevent welfare fraud. When it seems like things are slipping from “temporary assistance to deal with unforeseen events” to “I’m taking you suckers for a ride” then again it becomes less popular.

        3) Social insurance, like all insurance, has to obey certain financial constraints. It doesn’t do anyone any good to bankrupt the state to provide some level of social insurance you’ve decided is someones right. And of course the bigger the underclass of net liabilities, the greater the strain put on the affordability of social insurance. Most low IQ societies don’t generate the surplus necessary for first world levels of social insurance.

        4) The only way for the above to work is if the Bell Curve for a country is relatively narrow, so there is no large permanent underclass receiving perpetual welfare assistance.

        And of course all of this doesn’t even get into the idea of what the hell “social insurance” is? Is trying to teach Calculus to people with too low an IQ to ever grasp it “social insurance”? Is making sure blacks are X% of the Stuyvesant High School Class “social insurance”? A lot of what the government provides aren’t cash transfers, but service subsidies. Education, healthcare, etc. Many of these programs are rather questionable as to what good they do relative to the resources committed to them. Are these really social insurance guaranteed by human rights?*

        Can’t disagree with your points here. Which is why I tend to favor universal programs that don’t feel like post-hoc transfers of wealth, but rather a blind dividend that some people will need and others won’t, depending on how lucky/unlucky they were in the genes/environment/parents dice roll. This seems more fair because it’s precommitted before anyone really has a “choice” about who they are, so questions of just desert are sidestepped.

        I’ll be blunt, I think a lot of what is going on here is a desire on the part of people being paid to provide those services to keep their paychecks coming, and the revelation of facts that might point out that the services they provide are useless and we’d be better off using those resources in other ways is what really drives their rejection of genetic truths.

        Can’t disagree.

        How do you justify spending 22k/pupil in the NYC public schools if it turns out that The Null Hypothesis on education is correct? How do you justify those fat retirement packages for people that aren’t even teaching anymore? The justification is that all that spending has tremendous ROI for society…but what if it doesn’t. What if you’d be better handing some kid 4 x 22k to go use on a down payment for a house rather then forcing him to sit through a bunch of high school lectures he could never understand? How does nearly every single diversity and inclusion officer justify their existence in a world where diversity isn’t strength?

        Can’t disagree much. The danger here is in equating “bad diversity” with whole population groups because you’re using a person’s group membership as a proxy for their value to society. That must not happen. People have to be considered on an individual basis or huge injustices will occur.

        Charles Murray basically said to write a check for enough to eat to everyone and then leave them alone. That constituted necessary social insurance. The rest seemed to be a racket that wasn’t doing any good. The Bell Curve was also open to the idea of some kind of minimal catastrophic health insurance provided by the government, and noted with caution that if we kept getting flooded by low IQs from Latin America that we would probably become more like Latin America (culturally and politically dysfunctional, poorer, more difficult to provide everyone with a first world standard of living).

        I’d be more generous than Murray for various reasons mostly having to do with broader economic trends.

        But I remind you again that many immigrant groups that came to America, and were considered negative liabilities on our culture and economy by commentators of the time, turned out to be very productive, upstanding assets to society in a generation or two. I’m very concerned about an impulse to prematurely judge and discard entire populations based on speculations about their genetic potential, when history has shown us our assumptions are often wrong, and improvements in environment may allow genetic potential that had been stunted to be fully expressed.

        There is far too much genetic fatalism here considering how wrong it’s been in the past, and how it’s been used as an excuse to deprive people of rights and opportunities, because some intellectual came to a premature conclusion that a group was intractably inferior.

        • asdf says

          It’s not that difficult. Fertility among the left bell curve in the first world is already low. What is mainly needed is replacement level fertility among the right side of the bell curve.

          Immigration should end as low IQ immigrants only threaten the OECD productivity machine while offering little in return. If and when genetic engineering becomes possible it should be widely distributed around the globe and free. After there are no more low IQ people migration may be possible. If genetic engineering never becomes effective and reliable then the low IQ will have to rot in their countries forever. Sucks. Better than the alternative (worldwide dysgenic collapse).

          I haven’t seen anything about circa 1900 racial theory that is on par with the research and data we have today. If people were wrong, it was due to insufficient data and analysis. These errors have been corrected, and I think we have a very accurate picture today which we can have a much higher degree of confidence in.

          I don’t see migration, affirmative action, etc as “rights”. I think that low IQ immigrants tend to violate the rights of natives whenever they arrive, and I see no reason to believe a dysfunctional global third world as being a place with more “rights” than alternative scenarios.

  49. Colonel of Truth says

    As as been noted before, the irony of this debate is that those supporting the existence of race as a concept are those who generally support the elimination of race-based and identity-driven policies – conversely, those who most vehemently deny the existence of race are most supportive of affirmative action, reparations and other “ancestry”-driven preferences.

  50. Colonel of Truth says

    @Emblem

    “Right now, it can still be strongly argued that differences in group outcomes are caused by intentionally designed systems of privilege and discrimination, because that is indeed what was operating for a long time, and it’s not clear that those mechanisms have been completely eliminated, nor have the cumulative effects of their previous operation been rectified.”

    I think this is where the Right and Left fundamentally disagree – and where the notion of racial differences becomes useful in the discussion.

    In any event, most on the Right are willing to accept your position and are willing to give race-based preferences more time. What is most troubling about the current climate is that most Left-leaning politicians are arguing for incremental and more extreme racial and gender preferences. And, with no scientific evidence to support their position, and by placing an effective moratorium on race-based research, there will be no end to this increase.

    In other words, if the reviewer (and the supporters of his position) are correct, then these racial preferences have zero chance for success. In the meantime, racial enmity will only increase.

      • Emblem14 says

        Another thing to keep in mind is that the history of race-based reparative policy, stuff supposed to “level the playing field”, has always encountered stiff resistance from a large portion of the American political spectrum, going back to Reconstruction. There has never been a time where most of America was “ok” with giving stuff to black people, and the argument that blacks were useless, dumb and beyond help has ALWAYS had a constituency.

        Policies have often been half-assed and then undermined or defunded when political power changed hands. Blacks also didn’t get to participate in some of the most generous handouts that helped build the post-war middle class. On top of that, programs that did persist often had perverse or negligible impacts on the populations they were meant to help.

        2 interesting questions –

        If another ethnic group had had the same experience as American blacks, would they have had similar outcomes, or would a different genetic profile have enabled them to prosper despite such disadvantages?
        If there is a strong genetic component to subpar outcomes, did 400 years of subjugation, persecution of anyone who showed signs of self-betterment, and, to be blunt, selective breeding for traits other than intelligence, actually create a crappy gene pool for the characteristics of success in modern society? And if that’s the case, doesn’t American society owe an even larger debt to descendants of slaves, as we’re not merely responsible for their social oppression, but also biological sabotage?

        • Blacks had been slaves prior to them coming to America. The very idea that you are putting into your head that slavery could be considered wrong came from the people who founded this country. White people were being made slaves in other parts of the world when the country was founded. None of my ancestors ever owned slaves or even lived in America when those things happened. There were practically no blacks where I live prior to the 1920s. The city I live in was one of the richest cities in the world prior to blacks coming here, now they have run it into the ground. Asians now make more than whites so there goes your white supremacy theory. In all likelihood, blacks have it better here than they do anywhere else in the world.

        • codadmin says

          ‘There has never been a time where most of America was “ok” with giving stuff to black people, and the argument that blacks were useless, dumb and beyond help has ALWAYS had a constituency.’

          Theres never a 100% consensus in anything, ever. There’s a massive constituency of whites who think that giving blacks stuff is a good idea, and always has been.

          So fuck off with your racist gibberish.

          • Emblem14 says

            My point is that contempt for black people has never needed a faux scientific basis. A lot of people here are acting like they’re reluctantly facing a truth they wish weren’t the case, based on scientific evidence. But then we’re reminded by some of the more pithy commenters than some people don’t need the fig leaf of science to express their “intuitions” about racial hierarchies.

            It makes one question whether people are actually following the evidence wherever it might lead, or are looking for excuses to believe what they already feel to be true.

            Because when it comes to racism, there will always be an excuse, grounded in science, religion, or whatever. That’s just the historical record. I just can’t stand the disingenuousness and innuendo.

        • Your argument is invalid there is not a large portion of the world that did not have slavery prior to the United States being formed. Here is a link to an article about Tatar Slave Raids in East Slavic lands which lasted until 1774 two years before the United States was formed.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatar_slave_raids_in_East_Slavic_lands

          Note that the only reason that the Crimean Khanate stopped trading slaves is because Catherine The Great annexed it, not because they had the privilege of moralizing.

      • asdf says

        In the ?2003? Supreme Court case on affirmative action the court stated that 25 more years ought to be all the time that AA should be allowed to exist. We are now 15/25 into that. Do you get any impression that it’s going to end in 10 years?

        If anything things are ramping up for even greater degrees of AA justified by ever greater degrees of anti-white ideology.

  51. Do you understand that the vast majority of white men are descended from people who never owned slaves or enforced legal segregation? What is the purpose of your moralizing? The government is now functionally bankrupt.

  52. But the goal of inclusiveness is not just to make us all pliant cogs in the machine. The regime takes savage pleasure in crushing dissent. The moral thrill our rulers get from “fighting bigotry” is surely more important to them than the possible efficiencies of running a society of robots rather than people. The regime’s highest psychic reward is self righteousness.

    The trouble is that the forms of exclusion and hierarchy the regime forbids are founded on real differences; there are reasons why “marginal” groups are marginal. Once the regime has decided that differences don’t matter—or are “social constructs”—it denies reality:

    Any flaws in the groups promoted from the margin to the center are whitewashed, the more glaring the flaws, the thicker the coating. AIDS has sanctified homosexuality, Muslim terrorism has made Islamophobia a horrendous sin, and black dysfunction has led to the insistence on the hipness and nobility of blacks, the stupidity and tackiness of ordinary whites, and the sterility and oppressiveness of white society.

    When reality conflicts with ideology, ideology wins. If high standards exclude blacks or women, they cease to be standards and instead become acts of oppression. Education means “closing the gaps,” because all groups are equal.

    • Emblem14 says

      @innovativefinancialconcepts

      How can you just gloss over the recorded history of mainstream political and cultural forces actively persecuting “marginalized” people? As if these folks were all being left alone to their own devices by noble white christians and any dysfunction we can observe is completely endogenous. I hate to break it to you, but blacks, gays, and women were all…ahem…mistreated…for quite a long time. Sometimes brutally so.

      For **** sake, if you want to talk about political correctness, you have to own up to the brutality of the dominant culture of eras past in its various endeavors to police its ideas of deviancy, degeneracy and social status hierarchies.

      You lament the strident PC culture of today, but it would never have arisen if dominant cultural forces hadn’t treated other people like shit for generations. And sorry to tell you, but it was the progressives of their time who were the ones who agitated for equality under the law and respect for minorities in the public commons – the nice squishy liberal culture you seem to loath so much.

      What exactly do you want to be able to say? What kind of social order do you want to go back to, a time where oppressing people was seen as good and right?

      • Elizabeth says

        @Emblem14

        “As if these folks were all being left alone to their own devices by noble white christians and any dysfunction we can observe is completely endogenous.”

        What total lack of…ahem…perspective you have. “White Christian” meddling is a small fraction of…ahem…recorded history. You are so myopic, your account is almost like evolutionary pressure of human populaces begins and ends with Western European actions from 1492 on.

        Subsaharan African peoples were free of any Eurasian intrusions for tens of thousands of years, which is why only a small amount of genes flowed back into Africa along its eastern side. When significant incursions in recorded history started, it was Arab Muslims, who started a millennia long slave trade.

        Look at all the civilizational achievements of other non-European groups over the same period.

        Women have been oppressed in basically every complex society. Matriarchal societies are primitive. Western, Christian-derived civilization pioneers greater freedoms for women, and how does the Marxist left respond: by endlessly fuming in rage about “patriarchy”and “white males,” while ignoring, and even excusing Islamic misogyny (see lefty defenses of FGM from the 90’s for a sobering look at how far ‘multiculturalism’ will go).

      • Blacks were engaged in tribal warfare against each other and sold the loser males to the arabs as castrated eunuchs. If there was damage someone you have a responsibility to return them to the state they were before you met them, not make a better life for them prior to damaging them. Homosexuality is a practice that only an extremely affluent culture can afford because it is a disease vector. Women didn’t work outside the home prior to the invention of the birth control pill, mechanization and indoor plumbing because it would not have made sense. Prior to 1960 the vast majority of universities were private religious institutions whose function was primarily the preservation of Christian culture. People also thought that one of the duties of women was to have children at replacement level. How crazy is that?

        The progressives first demanded equality under the law, then equality of outcome and now group rights. The progressives also demand that the government redistribute self-esteem. All these utopian fantasies are just that, utopian fantasies.

        I like how you set up yourself as the sole arbiter who has a special moral insight in the failings of our own people – so much for equality.

      • As if these folks were all being left alone to their own devices by noble white christians and any dysfunction we can observe is completely endogenous.

        more blacks have shot each other in the city of Chicago in the last 10 years than were lynched during Jim Crow laws. London is now a place of rampant knife crime due to cultural enrichment. Italians were also lynched in the old South, in numbers roughly correlating to their propensity to commit crime – a fact that even the NAACP admits. 70 percent of criminals come from single mother households. Blacks continue to protest on universities almost every month, google “student occupy a building” despite civil rights advancements. Liberals are willing to overlook child sex grooming gangs in the UK due to a lust for electoral power. Your victims are not as holy as they appear.

        Over the last 500 years white men have been able to end slavery, chart the entire globe and put a man on the moon. I don’t think we should have to apologize for our accomplishments. Your side can’t choose which bathroom to use.
        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

        What exactly do you want to be able to say? What kind of social order do you want to go back to, a time where oppressing people was seen as good and right?

        All your claims of egalitarianism and democracy are just a power play of one ruling coalition versus another. I would like the government to get rid of no-fault divorce, daycare subsidies and the EEOC. Is that really that “oppressive”?

  53. Azathoth says

    The sad thing about all this is that an entire field of study is locked away because it might say something that’s politically incorrect.

    Humans evolved–and are still evolving.

    The differences we call ‘races’ happened. But no one is allowed to look into why they happened. No one is allowed to look at why other hominids died out or were absorbed.

    Why?

    Because black people appear to score one standard deviation below white people in general on IQ tests regardless of environmental factors.

    We have no idea why this happens.

    And we never will if science is left chained to the demands of political correctness.

    There are reasons for that and all kinds of other differences. Reasons that are part of the human story.

    I want to know them. Just to know.

  54. chrism says

    If there are no differences between peoples/races/populations, we need not concern ourselves.
    If there are, we should concern ourselves with addressing them.
    If there are, but we ignore them from a misguided sense of delicacy, or politics, we will ignore real differences that we could be trying to correct.

    In the last case, those who need help are being ignored and told there is nothing to correct, when that is plainly not the case. That would, in this case, be the truly racist position.

  55. Aldwayne says

    Angela Saini is a Diaspora Curry Indian Descendant who was infested with feminism and hates on Whitey. Her writings and other antics can be traced to her being an effective transplant with no legitimate identity. You see similar behavior from Far Easterners like that lady who tweeted about how much she hated Whitey.

    She denies race, yet insists on talking about herself as an Indian and a woman. Showing that she deep down either doesn’t really believe what she spews or does but still takes advantage of the Race Lottery.

    • dirk says

      About this idea of Indian scientists that the earliest Sapiens could not have been developed in Africa, this was also a European theory until about 1910.
      How could a superior race like the Caucasoid, with its high mental flight, have originated around the Equator, where these miserable Bushmen and other primitive tribes can be found, so they thought. No… the ancestors have to be looked for in the Nordic areas, and from there then spread around the globe. Some names teaching this nordic origin: the professors Kern, Ankel and Bolsche.
      I found the books on some antiquarian shelves, you can’t believe what you read about the biology of the races in such old study books.

    • dirk says

      It’s like with Carroll’s Grin without a Cat, Aldwayne. The less there is of race, the more there is of racism, or more maybe even, with the moral of the Duchess.

  56. Andrew Roddy says

    Of course, because of all the neo-Marxist PC bull, we can no longer call a spade a spade. Let’s do some science to confirm that our grandfathers’ instincts were sound. They knew a negro when they saw one.

    • dirk says

      I wonder, Andrew, I just read in my newspaper that, until about a 100 yrs ago, most people (apart of the sailors and colonialists) didn’t come further than some 10 to 15 miles from their homes. A negro? yes, maybe somewhere in the sugarcane fields of the Caribian, or the deep South of the US. But where else could you encounter one? I only saw the first one at about 15 yrs old.

      • Jason says

        This book is given prominent display in Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross. As was “why I no longer talk to White people about Race” and other similar titles.

  57. Allison says

    I have a college degree in business so I’m not super educated in the sciences BUT…Isn’t I.Q. malleable in a race? I read an article on online magazine, “Slate” several years ago about how and why Jewish people massively increased their wealth. Sorry this story is so sketchy but here’s what I remember from that article. One of the European kings (I think in the 1700s) wanted to reduce the Jewish population so he made it illegal for a Jewish man to marry unless he attained a certain high level of income. This curtailed the number of Jews who could marry and have families but the side effect was that the families they created carried the genes of the most successful men in their group. Although the next generation was smaller due to fewer marriages, it became much more dominant and materially successful. Jewish people are a highly successful group. They tend to want to marry people who are smart and successful rather than marrying for more shallow reasons, like looks. Asians, at least here in the US, seem to be doing the same thing. I would think that would increase the concentration of intelligence. If Black and Hispanic people started choosing their partners based on intelligence rather than “hotness” or whatever physical traits they admire, wouldn’t that increase the general IQ if their people? Isn’t this really in their own hands?

    • Allison, while I don’t doubt your sincerity in raising this question, arguments like the one you cite have been proposed for over 200 years, regarding variously defined races and various definitions of intelligence. They typically start with a few of the author’s favorite “facts” and proceed to ingeniously constructed evolutionary rationalizations, supposedly demonstrating the inherent superiority of one race or another (usually, but not always, “whites”). The problem with these arguments is that they are unscientific. At best, they are poorly defined and generally unprovable armchair theories. They systematically ignore cultural factors which we know, from stronger evidence, to affect measured IQ, and they often become rallying points for groups with racist agendas. Undoubtedly many aficionados of such theories would accuse me of trying to limit academic freedom, but the situation is actually much the opposite: the proliferation of these theories has abased the scientific process, bypassed serious peer reviewed study, and turned real scientific questions into internet click-bait.

      • dirk says

        And that’s also why the title should have been: The Return of (pseudo)-Scientific Racism, instead of Race Science plain.

  58. Jesse M. says

    In a well-known study, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues found that human genetic variation largely corresponds to broad geographic regions and, more compellingly, that it closely matches Johann Blumenbach’s 1781 classification of human morphological variation into five races … Blumenbach’s typology is one of those Saini dismisses as “arbitrary” without offering any evidence or argument.

    It says in the paper by Rosenberg et al. that “We applied a model-based clustering algorithm that, loosely speaking, identifies subgroups that have distinctive allele frequencies. This procedure, implemented in the computer program structure (14), places individuals into K clusters, where K is chosen in advance but can be varied across independent runs of the algorithm.” That line “where K is chosen in advance” means that the number of clusters isn’t something that emerges naturally from the data, in that run of the algorithm they told the program they wanted 5 groupings at the outset. Elsewhere in the paper they describe the results when they asked the program to separate people into different numbers of clusters, and there’s no suggestion that 5 was a more natural number than any other.

    Also, any species that differs by even the tiniest amount from 100% perfectly linear geographic variation would be separable into clusters in this way, but in practice when biologists talk about “clinal” variation they don’t mean that all traits have to vary in a completely linear way with geographical distance. And human traits do vary in a way that in other species would likely be seen as “clinal” rather than a case of clearly distinct sub-populations, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756148/ for details

    • Pierre Jolibert says

      Thank you for the explanation of the number.
      (I guess I would have said something shorter, had I not been writing right at the same time.)

  59. Pierre Jolibert says

    So lucky is this dr Blumenbach to be the one scientist of the 1780’s to be a posteriori revealed by cultural selection because of his five accurate races among less favored contemporaries who stood for two of them, or three, maybe four or others I don’t know.
    A mystery still remains about Names.
    It’s rather wise not to emphasize about a single visible trait that would be accused of exaggerating what would not deserve to bear the responsibility for giving its name to a whole stock of other more delicate and more hidden adaptations to such or such environment.
    But purely geographical names can be embarrassing in their way. First, maybe, pure and neutral geography does not exist. And as far as “Caucasians” are concerned : why was that name chosen when the so-called mountain is known to be the home, among others, of a population showing a kind of dark skin that did excite taste for hypothesis since Herodotus and probably a long time before ?

    • dirk says

      If you reckon that Blumenbach’s caucasoids lumped together the populations from Spain to Eastern India and from Scandinavia upto Somalia (so, brown skins included), you may say that that Caucasus is just the geographical centre of that broad territory. Also the area of Mount Ararat from Noah’s arch. Kind of old Greenwich.

  60. Pierre Jolibert says

    So the main trait involved in the classification was not skin ? I will have to look at it closer.

    • dirk says

      Blumenbachs caucasian is certainly not the American one. In Europe, the whole idea of caucasian as a taxonomical classification for whites (the US meaning) does not exist, and never existed as such.

  61. Pierre Jolibert says

    I suppose the Name suffered many changes between its first appearance and the average use nowadays outre-Atlantique as we say here in France.
    When people here try to talk about groups inside human genus, they think they only have to talk about what they see and don’t see how they can be confused by terms settled by others for precise reasons.

  62. Why the fixation on the number of clusters revealed by a given analysis of allele frequencies? (A rhetorical question. We of course know the answer.) Are we to surmise that it is posited in good faith that analyses which result in different numbers of major clusters yield clusters whose demarcations intersect, willy-nilly? But perhaps I give too much credit already; yes, upon reflection, a childlike “understanding” of mathematics and statistics is at least as good an explanation as intelligent (if deplorable) intellectual dishonesty. And though I could correct the misunderstanding with an analogy designed for 12th-graders, at some point a line must be drawn: those who possess 21st-century numeracy cannot coddle the rest indefinitely. So instead I will assert without proof that this particular objection is wholly specious, and that its spaciousness is evident to numerate individuals. To the objectors I say, feel free to interpret that as a dodge. You are simply wrong. I’ve reached the point where I can no longer be bothered to fret over your wrongness. You do you, boo-boo.

  63. Alas, I can’t resist. (https://www.xkcd.com/386/)

    There is a rather straightforward analogy that should clear up this misunderstanding.

    We can partition the world’s land masses into regions with as much or as little resolution as we like. At the low-resolution end of the spectrum, we can say that there are the Eastern and Western hemispheres, or that there’s the global North and the global South, or whatever. At the high-resolution end of the spectrum, we can partition the dry portion of the globe into a trillion non-overlapping patches, each one trillionth of the total dry surface area. Two medium-resolution partitions of interest correspond respectively to the continents and to the 195 countries plus unclaimed territory.

    If we partition the world by country, we find that there aren’t any countries that span multiple continents (semantic disputes over “Eurasia” vs “Europe and Asia”, etc, notwithstanding).

    The different cluster analyses of human populations are like this. One might churn for a bit and say, “I found seven continents”, and another might whir for a while and say, “I found 195 countries”. But in no case will one wind up saying, “I separated the Earth’s land mass into three groups: two-thirds of Africa plus Greenland; the other third of Africa, and countries whose names begin with the letter C; and everything else.” The analyses that yield a large number of clusters do nothing but further subdivide the clusters produced by other analyses. They no more invalidate the existence of the larger clusters than the fact that there are nearly 200 countries invalidates the existence of continents.

    If we give them credit for being numerate, what those who raise the “number of clusters” objection are trying to do is convince the less-numerate among us that the fact that you can subdivide clusters somehow implies that the clusters themselves are arbitrary. It does not. No allele-frequency analysis will ever produce a cluster that contains both Han and Bantu, regardless of whether you perform it at high resolution or low resolution (unless, of course, you perform it at “zero-resolution”, in which case the result will be that human beings are a single species, a fact which no one contests). All that you get by performing the analysis at increasingly high resolutions is the banal observation that you can subdivide races into ethnicities, ethnicities into tribes, tribes into clans, clans into families, and families into individuals. At no point during the ratcheting up of resolution do these subcategories magically jump between the larger categories that contain them. If you ask the algorithm for three clusters, you will get (the very “racist” sounding but actually value-neutral) caucasoid, negroid, and mongoloid. Re-run the algorithm at higher resolution, and any of those three clusters may subdivide, but you absolutely will not get a new cluster that straddles the boundaries between any of those original three. This rule, in more general form, will hold no matter what level of resolution you work at.

    So, again, I ask: why the fixation on the number of clusters produced by a given allele-frequency analysis? Is it a cynical attempt, Lewontin-style, to muddy the waters, or is it plain old dullness?

    • Pierre Jolibert says

      I don’t understand if the demonstration was adressed among others to me.
      I think the analogy with continents quite interesting as I don’t believe at all in such things as continents.

    • Thank you for proving that even (seemingly) educated ppl aren’t immune to the Dutch milkman’s fallacy.

    • Jesse M. says

      The different cluster analyses of human populations are like this. One might churn for a bit and say, “I found seven continents”, and another might whir for a while and say, “I found 195 countries”. But in no case will one wind up saying, “I separated the Earth’s land mass into three groups: two-thirds of Africa plus Greenland; the other third of Africa, and countries whose names begin with the letter C; and everything else.” The analyses that yield a large number of clusters do nothing but further subdivide the clusters produced by other analyses. They no more invalidate the existence of the larger clusters than the fact that there are nearly 200 countries invalidates the existence of continents.

      Are you familiar with the concept of continuous clinal variation in biology? If you performed the same type of computer-assisted cluster analysis on a species where biologists agreed their traits varied in a clinal way, the clusters wouldn’t be arbitrary–if you plotted a large number of individuals on a map and color coded them by which cluster the program had sorted them into, you would find that members of a given genetic cluster were also clustered together geographically (just by the definition of clinal variation). However the actual geographic location of the boundaries would be fairly arbitrary, something that could easily change if the relative population densities in different regions changed (for example if you have an oval-shaped cluster and then the population density in the middle decreases significantly, a new cluster analysis would be more likely to split the two ends into different clusters, perhaps incorporating them into whatever other clusters they were adjacent to), even if there was no change in the relative frequencies of different alleles in each local region.

      Presuming you agree with that, are you saying that the view that there is an objective basis for dividing people into distinct “races” is compatible with the view that geography-linked traits in humans vary in a clinal way? My understanding is that most biologists on both sides of the argument about race would see these as contrary positions, see the article I linked above along with https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756148/

      • Pierre Jolibert says

        (Thank you so much for giving a link to this article. It’s very precious. I don’t understand many things in detail. And I don’t understand exactly neither clines nor clusters, I can’t even guess what the words would be in French to translate that pair.
        But I think I understand that the form of the controversies is partially the same as that disputes had in Blumenbach’s time. The questions in debate yesterday and now seem to be : which division of the gradual continuum is useful ? to what purpose ? do this utility or this relative validity of such thing mean that this thing has unity or even life in itself ?)

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @Jesse

      ‘……….All that you get by performing the analysis at increasingly high resolutions is the banal observation that you can subdivide races into ethnicities, ethnicities into tribes, tribes into clans, clans into families, and families into individuals. At no point during the ratcheting up of resolution do these subcategories magically jump between the larger categories that contain them. If you ask the algorithm for three clusters, you will get (the very “racist” sounding but actually value-neutral) caucasoid, negroid, and mongoloid. Re-run the algorithm at higher resolution, and any of those three clusters may subdivide, but you absolutely will not get a new cluster that straddles the boundaries between any of those original three……’

      If readers will actually read one of the relevant papers like this one:

      Tishkoff et al. [2009] The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947357/

      then yes, if the STRUCTURE analysis specifies K=3 clusters then the algorithm returns three clusters [duh]. These are roughly Indo-European, Asian and pan-African groups. These clusters are not arbitrary but they are not real in the sense that the countries of Europe are real.

      But you need to look in detail at their Fig. 3. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947357/figure/F3/

      At K=3 some individuals in east Africa have mixed pan-African/Indo-European ancestry.

      But at K=4, the ancestry of these same individuals flips to mixed pan-African/eastern-African ancestry and the Indo-European contribution essentially vanishes. According to you, this drop-out of inferred Indo-European ancestry of east Africans at higher ‘resolution’ or larger K values can’t happen.

      The reason for your misunderstanding is that you are using a flawed analogy. Inferring ancestry from genetic markers in no way resembles taking a map of the world and then using scissors to cut out the continents, then cutting continents into smaller pieces representing countries, etc. In your analogy, once continents have been separated, they can’t be glued back together, so the first round of cutting can’t be undone or overridden by later rounds of cutting.

      But in the STRUCTURE analysis, the different analyses [K=2,3,4,5,6…….] are independent and can give different results. It would be wrong to use the groups identified in the K=3 analysis to inform the K=4 analysis, because there is no reason to think that three groups is a ‘better’ result than four groups–except for some people’s preexisting belief that there are 3 major human races [which is an example of flagrant confirmation bias].

  64. I’m still waiting on a leftists Scopes Monkey Trial. Superior makes it all the more essential for our society we have it sooner rather than later.

  65. Pingback: Angela Saini thinks about race like Richard Spencer – Muse

  66. Saini does not deny that there are some genetic differences between human populations. … But she insists that any differences are limited to what she calls “superficial” traits (and a few disease-resistance genes).… [S]he claims that “no scientific research has been able to show any average genetic differences between population groups that go further than the superficial, such as skin color, or that are linked to hard survival, such as those that prevent a geographically linked disease.”

    Saini expects natural selection to obediently limit itself to such areas that do not threaten her moralistic fallacy.

    Oh, and btw, skin color is only ‘superficial’ in the limited sense that it is skin-deep. It, too, is fitness adaptation.

  67. Pingback: The “Social Construct” – Motus Mentis

  68. Pingback: The “Social Construct” – Motus Mentis

  69. steve beck says

    Good book review. I had just checked out the book from the library a couple of days ago, and read up to about page 20, when I happened upon your review. I’m returning the book unread.

  70. Pingback: Recomendaciones | intelib

  71. Pingback: «Idées dangereuses»: l’auteure Angela Saini sur le retour du racisme scientifique de vieille école - écrire un livre dont on est le héros - Comment écrire un livre ?

  72. Pingback: "Dangerous ideas": the author Angela Saini on the return of old school scientific racism – Arcynewsy

    • dirk says

      Mdlle Saini, see pingback – Idees dangereuses -, and asked in an interview why Kenyans always win the marathon, knows why, not because of their race, of course not, but ” pour des raisons culturelles”. OK, but if this is your answer, what is the value of trying to hide behind science? It’s going on and on and on, for the next decades, I fear. Science has become irrelevant here.

      But Miss Saini looks great, for sure!

  73. Richard Aubrey says

    I looked for information on the spatial memory, visual memory, spatial orientation and similar concepts among Australians. It seems that Traditional Peoples are far better at it than are non-Traditional Peoples. This might seem to follow evolution as one is trotting across a nearly featureless landscape hoping the water hole is where he left it yesterday.
    What is interesting is the insistence among some of the work that this sort of thing also occurs among Traditional Peoples living non-Traditional lives. Working on farms, in cities or suburbs or in one way or another not needing the spatial orientation which so benefitted their ancestors.
    And they insist it’s “cultural”. As if Dad takes the kids out in the country every Saturday for a spot or orienteering. Or sets nine separate items on the dining room table, gives the kids thirty seconds to look at them and then requires them to draw a picture as if they were standing on the other side of the table.
    Or, as is suggested with regard to the Inuit on the same issue, various language traits or long stories on long nights.

    It is an interesting line of thinking, making it cultural. Because if it where heritable, we’d have a problem with the IQ difference, wouldn’t we?
    The Ashkenazic Jews are appallingly ineffective at the same thing. So if one of them were sent to the late middle of the Dreaming Time, his famous IQ wouldn’t do anybody much good when he got lost returning from the latrine.

  74. Pierre Jolibert says

    I still don’t understand what is a Dutch milkman’s fallacy.
    I still don’t understand what exactly is the fallacy in my not believing in the real existence of races as real living things really deserving to be named in this or that way (let’s put aside continents for the moment).
    I tried to find a positive assertion in this article and find this : Races therefore correspond to human populations that have been living in relative isolation from one another, under different regimes of selection. This means that racial categories identify real phenotypic differences, and reflect real genetic variation.
    I think I understand the main traits of the main body of the evolution of life (but I should check). I do believe in the following asserted facts : genetic variation / phenotypic differences / relative isolation.
    I think I don’t understand “regimes of selection”. Maybe it’s that that leads from variation/varieties to races.
    Since what is the difference that I should see between variations leading to different new species and variations leading only to different races ? (And between different races and only different varieties of phenotypic differences that would not matter ?)
    I guess that the problem of continuity and the way of cutting inside it is much older than that of Dutch milkmen.

  75. ‘Race’ as an idea is so burdened by ideological lockdowns that it is almost impossible to have a rational conversation anywhere near its environs, unless of course one is a member of the humanist ascendancy and purveying the official line. So Winegard and Carl’s attempt to bring some objective perspective and analysis to the subject is both welcome and ‘brave’.

    Their problem is that the race narrative has become a key underpin to not just identity politics, but the authority, legitimacy and institutional power that the ascendancy wields inside our system of social administration and the training of its acolytes.

    This is not to say that the narrative is ‘untrue’ in the sense that the Old Testament is not untrue, in terms of a very particular take on the factuality of characters, places, doings and outcomes. The humanist and biblical narratives are not fiction. But they are nonetheless deepy mythologized narratives in the sense of explicating, as in the case of the OT, the purposes and actions of the divine will and the consequential extent or lack thereof of human conformity to it, which is reflected in their fortunes for good and ill. The mythology and the facts are the weft and weave of deistic historicism.

    In the humanist firmament, Lenin’s old Imperialist thesis becomes a narrative of global victimological tragedy. The world is populated by poor things and injustices in the face of global aggression administered by the evil forces of white European violence, invasion, bigotry, prejudice and discrimination, and the humanist ascendancy is the representative of justice, progress and the enlightened way. All who come under its umbrella will be saved by human rights, welfare and anti discrimination legislation. The mythology and the facts are weft and weave of imperialist historicism.

    One historicism supports the legitimacy of a priest class that defines reality for its Jewish tribes to ensure its own dominance and the special divinely inspired historical place of Jewish people as a whole. Three thousand years later, it still works a treat. The other does exactly the same thing for a modern secular priest class and its acolytes.

    What makes Winegard and Carl’s critique heretical is that it is tampering with scripture. This is not going to be an academic debate. This is never going to be about either ‘scientific misrepresentation’ let alone ‘logical fallacy’ any more than climate science denial is. As soon as regime propagandists are put under pressure, they vanish in a cloud of vague and unsubstantiable brush offs. If that doesn’t work, well it will be the impugning of motive and credential by way of heresy accusation; you know, racist this and racist that, either by a farrago of evidential snippetry, but more likely, inferred by heavily over leveraged associative reconstruction of deals with the devil.

    Anyone who thinks modern times is not equally bedevilled by a very powerful and corrupted religious establishment in the same way that the late Middle Ages was, is both deaf and blind. One cannot challenge it effectively unless one attacks its authority and practices; i.e., its totally self serving character, elaborate excuse making and blame shifting for failure, and why the social world and the existential security it is supposed to steward is such a mess, especially for the supposed beneficiaries of the regime, like racial minorities, who they batten on for state funding, bureaucratic and pedagogical stipends forever, as the supposed beneficiaries mysteriously rot into chaotic dysfunctionality ad infinitum.

    Indulgence posing as liberality, compassion and empathy; disinhibition, social deregulation and the privatization of moral agency posing as liberty and rights; it all degovernances the race clients and lays them waste, and it is everyone elses fault except that of the humanist Indulgentsia. If one does go after the bastards, one has to brush off their exculpating race narrative and go for their throats instead.

    The time for being academically polite is over. The corrupted Indulgentsia are dangerous to themselves and everyone else….much like their equally rampant corporate cousins….and for exactly the same reasons

    • dirk says

      My God, Christopher,so true what you say, but I wonder where all this is going to end!

      • Well Dirk, it doesn’t ‘end’ anywhere. History doesn’t stop for anyone. But we are heading for a ‘turbulent’ interregnum in which nobody is going to be winning ideological beauty prizes.

        The post WW2 global order & the democratic consensus that came out of it are coming to bits.& will result in the usual all out hegemonic struggle between the villains, opportunists & visionaries that are around at the time. And that will go on until the shape of a sustainable new order is hammered out.

        Last time this happened to us was after the onset of the Reformation, which was the crucible of modern times. The process took 150-200 years, from roughly 1520 through to 1700.

        It was an ‘exciting’ period that most people would have preferred to read about than live through.

        The historical portal we are about to step through might be named a ‘post-modern one….or not.

        Good luck mate. Bon voyage. Wear a life jacket….

Leave a Reply