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Guybrush
19-11-2007, 04:28 PM
I did actually revisit the Bell Curve discussion earlier this month, thanks to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhSViuCfX7E) old interview with Charles Murray (such great enunciation!). But that’s neither here nor there.

This new Slate series I have been reading is interesting since the writer, William Saletan, is an avowed egalitarian, or as he puts it himself:


I've been soaking my head in each side's computations and arguments. They're incredibly technical. Basically, the debate over the IQ surge is a lot like the debate over the Iraq troop surge, except that the sides are reversed. Here, it's the liberals who are betting on the surge, while the conservatives dismiss it as illogical and doomed. On the one hand, the IQ surge is hugely exciting. If it closes the gap to zero, it moots all the putative evidence of genetic barriers to equality. On the other hand, the case for it is as fragile as the case for the Iraq surge. You hope it pans out, but you can't see why it would, given that none of the complicating factors implied by previous data has been adequately explained or taken into account. Furthermore, to construe meaningful closure of the IQ gap in the last 20 years, you have to do a lot of cherry-picking, inference, and projection. I have a hard time explaining why I should go along with those tactics when it comes to IQ but not when it comes to Iraq.

When I look at all the data, studies, and arguments, I see a prima facie case for partial genetic influence. I don't see conclusive evidence either way in the adoption studies. I don't see closure of the racial IQ gap to single digits. And I see too much data that can't be reconciled with the surge or explained by current environmental theories. I hope the surge surprises me. But in case it doesn't, I want to start thinking about how to be an egalitarian in an age of genetic difference, even between races. More on that tomorrow.

Part 1: Liberal Creationism (http://www.slate.com/id/2178122/entry/2178123/)
Part 2: Environmental Impact (http://www.slate.com/id/2178122/entry/2178124/)

More parts to follow.

vimothy
19-11-2007, 04:41 PM
A really interesting subject -- pity I don't have much free time at the mintue.

Do you read gnxp (http://www.gnxp.com/) or Gene Expression (http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/) (confusingly seemingly written by the same peeps) at all, Guybrush?

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 06:41 PM
Liberal Racism, or: Yippie, It's Eugenics Time Again!

http://www.andersonasp.com/LaBorriquita.jpg
Bell Curve researchers on a 'scientific' lunch break

"The Pioneer Fund, which was founded in 1937 to promote eugenics programs modeled on those of Nazi Germany. The Pioneer Fund is most notorious for funding research that proves the intellectual superiority of whites: its recipients have included Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, and J. Philippe Rushton, and a great deal of Pioneer-funded research was cited in Murray and Herrnstein's The Bell Curve. In short, the Pioneer Fund is committed to promoting science that "proves" white supremacy. (I recommend William Tucker's The Science and Politics of Racial Research and Russell Jacoby's anthology The Bell Curve Debate for more material on this subject.)"

"At this stage, discussion of The Bell Curve's notorious race-and-IQ chapter is almost a done deal. Inequality by Design echoes Berkeley sociologist John Ogbu's work on the matters of caste systems in societies. Yes, American blacks score one standard deviation below whites on IQ tests. This is more a result of low ethnic or caste status than it is of any biological factor. Polish Jews emigrating to America tested poorly on IQ tests, and Koreans living in Japan have patterns of poverty, crime and school performance similar to those of blacks in America. Low caste status contributes to three factors-socioeconomic deprivation, group segregation, and the stigma of inferiority. Castes assimilated through conquest or capture (Irish in Britain, Maori in New Zealand, Koreans in Japan, blacks in the U.S.) have a harder time assimilating than minorities who immigrated willingly. And when we consider the arbitrary distinctions that mark the Indian "untouchables" and Japanese burakumin as low-caste, we are forced into realizing that race matters only as much as people want it to matter.

When The Bell Curve was published in 1994, few reviewers were equipped to re-evaluate the data in time for publication deadlines. Some admitted ignorance of statistics, while others rested on denunciations of the book's logical fallacies, implied policy demands, the precedent of the previous century's race-science, and the book's reliance on white supremacist-funded research sources. The more thoughtful reviews went over the classic criticisms: the misuse of the concept of heritability and debates over the validity of IQ tests and Spearman's g. A more detailed analysis of the data would face the prospect that The Bell Curve's impact wouldn't last very long, and a rebuttal book published a year or so down the road would be irrelevant.

So we can be thankful that Inequality by Design's detailed and scrupulous re-analysis of Herrnstein and Murray's g-over-all theories has been published. (Welcome to peer review, guys.) But the authors go on to present a good discussion of how economic and social factors shape inequality in the United States. We don't succeed or fail because of our individual IQ or talents alone: nearly all of us are beneficiaries of a vast system of social support, ranging from tax breaks for homeowners, the national highway system, and grammar school immunizations, to the WIC and food stamp programs. True, there are people who do stand on their own two feet, free from reliance on society. Problem is, they also sleep on steam vents."

What a sickening thread ...

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 07:19 PM
Surely if the whole point of these things is to push white supremacy, why say that east Asians are top of the pile, html?

gek-opel
19-11-2007, 07:33 PM
If not quite fitting the white-supremacist agenda, the idea that east Asians are cerebral etc is certainly another racial stereotype...?

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 08:13 PM
It's not a particularly demeaning stereotype, given the rewards on offer in the White Man's society for those with smarts.

If I wanted to prove 'innate white superiority,' I'm sure I would do a better job of 'fixing' IQ test results than that.

turtles
19-11-2007, 08:44 PM
I'd just like to point out that, in regard to the "100 year" trend of IQ differences referenced in the first link guybrush posted, that the early versions of the IQ test used to have such zingers as "On a sinking boat who should you save first? a) yourself b)your family/friends c)women children and the invalid" (rough paraphrase).

I also quite like this piece of brilliance from the wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iq_test#Test_bias)

The American Psychological Association's report Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns (1995)[10] states that that IQ tests as predictors of social achievement are not biased against people of African descent since they predict future performance, such as school achievement, similarly to the way they predict future performance for European descent.
Gee, school achievement couldn't ALSO BE BIASED now could it?

I really couldn't be bothered to read all the way through those articles after he tossed away any discussion of social or cultural reasons for IQ differences in the first paragraph and then merrily went on his way. Seems like a pretty clear case of the "if you look for it hard enough, you will find it" scenario in social sciences. The whole thing is just rife with presuppositions and assumptions, mostly about race, which is the thing that they want to find out about in the first place.

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 08:46 PM
Surely if the whole point of these things is to push white supremacy, why say that east Asians are top of the pile, html?

Since when do racists need to be rational and consistent? Racist ideology: the naturalization and concretization of the arbitrary, organicist construct of 'race', discourse about race that reduces it to a matter of "genes", dispensing with all contingency; notions of racial "purity" being genetic and concomitant with the notion that the "race" will suffer dilution, degradation, and degeneration; racial-genetic relationships to character traits, or social "fitness" in a pathologization of the Social Darwinist model; specifically deriving from the "eugenics" movement and its principal supporters in Western Europe and the United States, racist arguments that misapplied Darwin's biological theory to human societies in overtly genetic terms, or the extreme racial ideology that was the basis of National Socialism in Nazi Germany.


[Note: Hitler, whose concept of a nation's power and wealth and domination was equated to its racial purity, also believed that East Asians were a race at least equal to the Aryans, referring to the Japanese as "honorary Aryans," fascist Japan also developing its own racial-genetic phantasms. So the Bell Curve racists are in the 'right' company, then ...]

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 08:58 PM
hmlt - do you believe that there is *any* variation in innate intellectual ability at all, regardless of the race issue?

Guybrush
19-11-2007, 08:59 PM
Liberal Racism, or: Yippie, It's Eugenics Time Again! ...


People often react most defensively when challenged not on their firmly held beliefs but on beliefs they wish were true but suspect at some level to be false. This is the psychology behind the controversy that ensued after "IQ" in 1971 and The Bell Curve in 1994. On each occasion intemperate articles were written (some by the same people, barely updated), and the most strident positions were taken by those least qualified to comment on the science.

Great article on The Bell Curve and the ensuing debate. (http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~cfc/Chabris1998a.html)

I agree with what you cited about ‘socioeconomic deprivation, group segregation, and the stigma of inferiority’ being the most important explanations, but I thought the articles adressed, and partly ruled out, those. I’m not sure, though. Will examine them again ...

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 09:14 PM
People often react most defensively when challenged not on their firmly held beliefs but on beliefs they wish were true but suspect at some level to be false. This is the psychology behind the controversy that ensued after "IQ" in 1971 and The Bell Curve in 1994. On each occasion intemperate articles were written (some by the same people, barely updated), and the most strident positions were taken by those least qualified to comment on the science.

Racism + Elementary Statistics = 'Science'


Great article on The Bell Curve and the ensuing debate. (http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~cfc/Chabris1998a.html)

I agree with what you cited about ‘socioeconomic deprivation, group segregation, and the stigma of inferiority’ being the most important explanations, but I thought the articles adressed, and partly ruled out, those. I’m not sure, though. Will examine them again ...

Rigidly classifying people on the basis of 'race' - that's what racism is.

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 09:21 PM
hmlt - do you believe that there is *any* variation in innate intellectual ability at all, regardless of the race issue?

That's not what's being discussed here, the systematic association of an arbitrary measure (IQ) with racial constructs.

Nothing is 'innate,' genes too being subject to arbitrary (and engineered) mutation.

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 09:34 PM
Nothing is 'innate'

This is patently incorrect.

Guybrush
19-11-2007, 09:44 PM
Rigidly classifying people on the basis of 'race' - that's what racism is.

Yes, it’s eminently so, and that’s the thorny issue here: how to resolve the scientific incongruities without getting into murky waters. As an aside, Murray seems to have been particularly ill-suited for the task of defending the book’s scientific findings:


Herrnstein, a professor of psychology at Harvard with an impeccable reputation for scientific integrity, died of cancer just a week before The Bell Curve arrived in bookstores. This in itself may have had something to do with the frenzy of the public response. Had Herrnstein lived to participate in the debate, critics might have found the book harder to malign than it became when Murray, whose training was not in psychology but in sociology, was left to promote and defend it by himself.

Not that Murray, the author of Losing Ground (1984) and a vocal critic of the liberal welfare state, failed to do so energetically. But his lack of credentials as a hard scientist, and his overabundant credentials as a scourge of liberalism, made him a tempting target for an attack that was itself motivated as much by political as by scientific differences, and that was almost entirely focused on a side-issue in the book. That side-issue was differences in intelligence not among individuals but among groups--and specifically between whites and blacks--the degree to which those differences might or might not be explained genetically. So heated, and so partisan, was the furor at its peak that even President Clinton was asked about the book at a press conference. (He had not read it, but disagreed with it nonetheless.)

But enough about The Bell Curve already! About the Slate articles: yes, Turtles is right in that far too little space is devoted to examining possible cultural and socioeconomic explanations, but I found this sentence interesting:


In Malaysia, Chinese and Indian minorities outscore Malays.

If that is so, and if it can be established that the Chinese and Indian minorities in Malaysia are less well off than ethnic Malays in terms of their economic, social and cultural standing, then I would say that finding is very interesting indeed.

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 09:51 PM
This is patently incorrect.

Why?

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 09:55 PM
Why?

'Innate = possessed at birth; inborn.'

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 10:06 PM
'Innate = possessed at birth; inborn.'

I'm not aware of any IQ tests that have been undertaken by new-born infants, or studies thereof.

Your definition here is purely arbitrary and pragmatic [the brain continues developing after birth, a development entirely contingent on environment]. Why at birth, why not before birth, or sometime after birth? I can see where this is going (viz prolife/prochoice).

mixed_biscuits
19-11-2007, 10:24 PM
the brain continues developing after birth, a development entirely contingent on environment

Hmm...in what way is it 'entirely contingent' on environment?


Why at birth, why not before birth, or sometime after birth? I can see where this is going (viz prolife/prochoice).

I think the point is that innate characteristics are present at birth and (usually) persist after it.

Gavin
19-11-2007, 10:28 PM
In Malaysia, Chinese and Indian minorities outscore Malays.

If that is so, and if it can be established that the Chinese and Indian minorities in Malaysia are less well off than ethnic Malays in terms of their economic, social and cultural standing, then I would say that finding is very interesting indeed.

Chinese and Indian Malaysians are the merchant and financial class of the country; they are generally richer than ehtnic Malays. Many SE Asian countries have a wealthy Chinese minority.

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-11-2007, 10:44 PM
Hmm...in what way is it 'entirely contingent' on environment?

What else would it be contingent upon [genes are also part of the material environment, not some innate beyond]? Divine intervention? The Gods?



I think the point is that innate characteristics are present at birth and (usually) persist after it.

Which 'innate' characteristics? Are we back to genetics again?

mistersloane
20-11-2007, 01:21 AM
I did actually revisit the Bell Curve discussion earlier this month, thanks to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhSViuCfX7E) old interview with Charles Murray (such great enunciation!). .

Ain't that the truth. I got as far as 'Tonight Charles Murray talks about the Bell Curve, intelligenT AND ( my emphasis ) class structure in American Life' and I clicked off.

Guybrush
20-11-2007, 03:15 PM
Part 3: All God’s Children (http://www.slate.com/id/2178122/entry/2178125/)

If we set aside Murray’s overstated case and look solely at the science, why do you all think the results are skewed one way or the other?

Gavin
20-11-2007, 06:51 PM
When the Irish became white did their IQ go up? What about Italians? Or did they drag the White Race down?

mixed_biscuits
20-11-2007, 09:38 PM
Part 3: All God’s Children (http://www.slate.com/id/2178122/entry/2178125/)

If we set aside Murray’s overstated case and look solely at the science, why do you all think the results are skewed one way or the other?

I doubt that anyone on here is qualified to talk sensibly about this issue until they can handle the stats, have actually read Murray's book rather than read about it and have also done a thorough literature review.

I've done the second (a while ago, tho') but definitely fall short on the first and third counts.

The Slate article is a bit of a dog's dinner, tbh.

Regarding Murray's book: as far as I remember, the main sociological point that was made was that society is failing its not-so-smart citizens while the 'cognitive elite' live it up.

As far as wealth and IQ goes, high IQ helps ppl create wealth (cultural, economic) in the first place and allows them to sustain it.

shudder
21-11-2007, 05:54 AM
why does *anyone* still believe that it makes sense to talk about IQ as if it actually measured something real??? Why should/would/could there be a unary measure of "general intelligence"? Has anyone read Gould's Mismeasure of Man? Essential on the story of scientific racism from the 19th century to the mid-20th century.

matt b
21-11-2007, 08:55 AM
I doubt that anyone on here is qualified to talk sensibly about this issue until they can handle the stats, have actually read Murray's book rather than read about it and have also done a thorough literature review.

i read it years ago. along with some of his other tedious offerings (http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw33.pdf).

murray is a racist, classist, sexist, prick and all his idiotic views can discounted/ignored.

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 10:01 AM
I doubt that anyone on here is qualified to talk sensibly about this issue until they can handle the stats, have actually read Murray's book rather than read about it and have also done a thorough literature review.



What an appallingly ignorant claim to make. I suppose nobody is 'qualified' to talk or question racist eugenics or the Nazi eugenics programme either unless "they can handle the stats", have actually studied all the relevant racist texts and "have also done a thorough literature review".

There is no science whatsoever in any of this, it is entirely based on a racialized pathologization of the human population rationalized via an elaborate distortion of data and twisted notions of 'general intelligence', a perverse, fascistic pseudo-science (or 'scientism' as Popper called it in The Poverty of Historicism). And its not at all surprising that these obscene, fascist notions should be gaining popularity once again in response to a rapidly globalising, predatory capitalism.


Intellectual brown shirts - Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, authors of 'The Bell Curve' - by Adolph Reed, Jr. (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1295/is_n12_v58/ai_15969296)

In The New York Times Magazine, Charles Murray recently tried to defend himself against charges that he doesn't like women by jovially recalling his romps as a consumer in the Thai sex trade during his old Peace Corps days. In the profile, part of the media blitz accompanying publication of his book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, Murray recoiled elaborately from characterizing his partners as prostitutes. (He prefers "courtesans" or "ladies of the evening," perhaps seeking to preserve to the end his illusion that he was not simply buying the sexual services of women who provided them because they were exploited, oppressed, and quite likely enslaved.)

It is certainly understandable that Murray - who, despite a Harvard/MIT pedigree, basically knocked around doing nothing special until the threshold of middle age, when in an epiphany he discovered the novel truth that people with power and privilege really are superior and that everyone else is defective - would avoid the "p" word. You know, like Dracula and mirrors.

The Bell Curve is a vile, disingenuously vicious book by two truly odious men, Murray and Richard Herrnstein, the Harvard psychologist known outside the academy - like his Berkeley counterpart, Arthur Jensen - for a more than twenty-year crusade to justify all existing inequality by attributing it to innate differences in intelligence. Murray's epiphany led to Losing Ground, in which he argued that the source of poverty among black Americans in particular, the so-called urban underclass, is the attempt to alleviate poverty through social provision. The welfare system, he argued, provides perverse incentives that encourage indolence, wanton sexual reproduction, and general profligacy.

Appropriately for a book bearing a 1984 publication date, Losing Ground proposed that the best way to help the poor, therefore, is simply to eliminate all social support. A regimen on the good old-fashioned model of root, hog, or die would shape up that lazy human dreck on pain of extermination. This argument made him the Reagan Administration's favorite social scientist and pushed him into a seat on the standing committee of the politburo of the social policy industry.

Imagine the celebrity of Thomas Malthus (maybe even an American Express commercial or a Nike endorsement?) if he could come back into a world with computers that do multiple regression analysis.

As their title implies, Murray and Herrnstein contend that the key to explaining all inequality and all social problems in the United States is stratification by a unitary entity called intelligence, or "cognitive ability" - as measured, of course, by "IQ." This claim has resurfaced repeatedly over the last seventy-five years only to be refuted each time as unfounded class, race, and gender prejudice. (See, for instance, Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man.) Yet The Bell Curve advances it with the same deluge of statistical and logical sophistries that has driven its predecessors.

Murray and Herrnstein reject a substantial body of scholarship discrediting the idea that there is some single thing identifiable as "intelligence" that can be measured and assigned numerical rank. Instead, they see rigid IQ stratification operating through every sphere of social life.

But The Bell Curve adds two new wrinkles. First is the claim that IQ stratification is becoming ever more intense and central in a supposedly postindustrial world that requires and rewards cognitive ability over all else. Second, they shy away from expressing the strength of their eugenic convictions, the memory of the Nazi death camps having not yet faded. Instead of direct endorsement of extermination, mass sterilization, and selective breeding, which nonetheless implicitly shadow the book, Murray and Herrnstein propose a world in which people will be slotted into places that fit their cognitive ability.

The effect will be to end resentment from and against those who seek more than their just deserts. Of course, we'll have to have controls to make sure that dullards do what is best for them and don't get out of line. But that price is necessary to avoid continuing the social breakdown that will eventually force the cognitive elite, increasingly merged with the intellectually ordinary petite bourgeoisie, to mobilize in self-defense and use its superior intelligence to establish itself as an oligarchic caste. We may, that is, have to destroy democracy to save it.

The Bell Curve is - beneath the mind-numbing barrage of numbers - really just a compendium of reactionary prejudices. Despite their insistence that it is not so reducible, the authors frequently infer "cognitive ability" from education or simply class position. For example, corporate CEOs must have high IQs, the authors decide, for how else could they have risen to lead large complex organizations?

IQ shapes far-sightedness, moral sense, the decisions not to get pregnant, to be employed, not to be a female head of household, to marry and to remain married to one's first spouse (presumably the divorced and remarried Murray has an exemption from this criterion), to nurture and attend to one's offspring, etc.

Continued in next post.

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 10:05 AM
Simply being stopped but not charged by the police becomes evidence of an IQ-graded tendency to criminality. (White men who never have been stopped have an average IQ of 106; those who have been schlep along at 103.) Instructively, they restrict their analysis of white criminality to a male sample and parenting to a female sample. "Parents"=mothers. And while they examine abuse and neglect of children among this female sample, spousal abuse is mentioned nowhere in the book, much less considered a discrete form of male criminality.

The analysis of supposed white variation in IQ, though, is ultimately a front to fend off charges of racism. What really drives this book, and reflects the diabolical power of the Murray/Herrnstein combination, is its claim to demonstrate black intellectual inferiority. They use IQ to support a "twofer": opposition to affirmative action, which only over-places incompetent blacks, and contention that black poverty derives from the existence of an innately inferior black underclass. (They actually waffle on their key claim, that IQ is inherited and fixed by nature, but, having granted in passing that it may not be, they go on to treat it as immutable.)

As has been conventional to a stream of racism claiming scientific justification since Thomas Jefferson, Murray and Herrnstein feign a posture of neutral, if not pained, messengers delivering the indisputable facts. Since the book's publication, Murray has insisted that he and Herrnstein in no way want to be associated with racism, that the book is not even about race, which is the topic of only one of the book's twenty-two chapters. Beneath his distinctively sibilant piety, here, as elsewhere, Murray is a liar.

In addition to the infamous Chapter Thirteen, "Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Ability," three others center on arguments about black (and, to varying degrees, Latino) inferiority. The very next chapter, "Ethnic Inequalities in Relation to IQ," is a direct attempt to explain existing racial stratification along socioeconomic lines as the reflection of differences in group intelligence. The other two chapters in Part III seek to pull together claims about racial differences in intelligence and behavior. Those four chapters set the stage for the book's only two explicitly policy-driven chapters, "Affirmative Action in Higher Education" and "Affirmative Action in the Workplace," both of which are about initiatives directed toward blacks and slide into stoking white populist racism with hypothetical cases of poor or working class whites shunted aside in favor of under-qualified, well-off blacks.

Murray's protests suggest something about his views of race, however. The Bell Curve makes a big deal of restricting the eight chapters of Part II to discussion of whites alone. Whites, presumably, are also a "race," as much as blacks, Latinos, and Asians are. Therefore, well over half the book is organized consciously around race as a unit of analysis. Moreover, the theme of racially skewed intelligence runs through the entire book. And how could it be otherwise in a book whose point is that the society is and must be stratified by intelligence, which is distributed unequally among individuals and racial groups and cannot be changed in either.

Despite their attempts to insulate themselves from the appearance of racism, Herrnstein and Murray display a perspective worthy of an Alabama filling station. After acknowledging that genetic variations among individuals in a given race are greater than those among races, they persist in maintaining that racially defined populations must differ genetically in significant ways, otherwise they wouldn't have different skin color or hair texture.

Most tellingly, however, they attempt explicitly to legitimize the work of J. Philippe Rushton, the Canadian psychologist who resuscitates classic Nineteenth Century scientific racism in its most literal trappings - measuring cranial capacities, brain weights, and penis sizes to argue for racially separate rates and patterns of evolution. They announce self-righteously that "Rushton's work is not that of a crackpot or a bigot, as many of his critics are given to charging." This about a man who attempts racial rankings on "Criteria for Civilization" (only "Caucasoids," naturally enough, have met all the twenty-one criteria on his checklist) and "Personality and Temperament Traits," in addition to erect penis size (by length and circumference, no less) and who computes an "Interbreeding Depression Score" to help clarify his statistical findings!

The Rushton connection reflects a particularly revealing and sinister aspect of the Herrnstein/Murray collaboration. It is embedded in the intellectual apparatus of the cryptofascist right. The central authorities on whom they rely for their claims about IQ, race, and heredity are nearly all associated with the Pioneer Fund, an ultrarightist foundation that boasts of having been almost entirely responsible for funding IQ and race and heredity research in the United States in the last twenty years, and much of it worldwide. (Rushton, along with almost everyone else who writes jacket blurbs for his book, is a major recipient of Pioneer grants.)

The Fund is also deeply implicated in the movement to restrict immigration (see Ruth Conniff, "The War on Aliens" in the October 1993 issue of The Progressive) and has helped bankroll California's nativist Proposition 187. Wealthy American eugenicist racists created the Fund in the 1930s, as Stefan Kuhl recounts in The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, to "'improve the character of the American people' by encouraging the procreation of descendants of `white persons who settled the original thirteen colonies prior to the adoption of the constitution.'"

Professor Barry Sautman of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology notes that this international network of racist scholars, quite like Herrnstein and Murray, recently has converged around tentative claims that Asians, especially Northeast Asians, rank above whites on the scale of competence. The researchers hold up this thesis, which is gaining adherents among Asian reactionaries, as a way of deflecting charges of racism.

What makes this international vipers' nest so dangerous is that many of its members have maintained academic respectability. Rushton, for instance, as recently as 1988 won a Guggenheim Fellowship. Others routinely do contract research for the U.S. military. Most hold respectable university appointments. I can't account for the others' legitimacy because their academic precincts are far enough away from mine that I don't have a sense for the protocols that govern them or what other kinds of scholarship they may do.

But Murray is a different matter. He has been an intellectual Brown Shirt since he first slithered into public life. He has neither changed nor done anything else that might redeem his reputation as a scholar. We can trace his legitimacy to the spineless opportunism and racial and ideological bad faith of the liberals in the social-policy establishment. They have never denounced him. Instead, across the board they have acquiesced in his desire to be seen as a serious and careful, albeit conservative, scholar. They appear on panels with him and engage him as a fellow worker in the vineyard of truth. They have allowed him to set the terms of debate over social welfare and bend over backward not to attack him sharply. Take a look, for instance at the first chapter of William Julius Wilson's catechism of liberal underclass ideology, The Truly Disadvantaged, and compare the way that Wilson treats liberal and left critics of the culture of poverty notion and the way he treats Murray.

Indeed, their response to The Bell Curve should give us important insight into just how bankrupt the new technicians of dispossession are. There's not much reason for optimism on this score. This past July, Daniel Patrick Moynihan announced at his Senate Finance Committee hearing on welfare reform that we could be witnessing the processes of "speciation" at work among the inner-city poor. And he did so with the assent of Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, and her two world-class liberal poverty-researcher under secretaries, Mary Jo Bane and David Ellwood (the originator of the "two years and off" policy who, incidentally, shows up in The Bell Curve's acknowledgements). Just how different is that from Rushton or the Aryan Nation or the old White Citizens Council?

Adolph Reed Jr. teaches political science at Northwestern University and serves on the boards of the Public Citizen Foundation and the Chicago-based Coalition for New Priorities. His column appears in this space every other month.

boombox
21-11-2007, 02:22 PM
What an appallingly ignorant claim to make. I suppose nobody is 'qualified' to talk or question racist eugenics or the Nazi eugenics programme either unless "they can handle the stats", have actually studied all the relevant racist texts and "have also done a thorough literature review".

Your statement is wilfully disingenuous. Mixed Biscuits was merely seeking well-informed
dissection of researched facts.

You got your opinions off Adolph Reed Jr.'s chest forcefully enough, but without recourse to anything but slurs and nebulous diatribes. I am far from willing to admit that one's character and motives (in this case Murray's) guarantee the corruption of one's methods and findings. If there is racist bias in Murray's work, illuminate his work and hence his leanings rather than the other way round. I must say that Reed's wild language


since he first slithered into public life

and hints of pre-determined conclusions


only "Caucasoids," naturally enough, have met all the twenty-one criteria on his checklist

damages its validity as sober scientific argumentation and leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy.



It is intriguing to know if there are differences between the races of mankind. Not everything in this world stems from or incites prejudice. Stupid people are less intelligent than intelligent people, racists will always be racists, and the open-minded will never be turned by dots on a graph.

vimothy
21-11-2007, 02:38 PM
It is intriguing to know if there are differences between the races of mankind. Not everything in this world stems from or incites prejudice. Stupid people are less intelligent than intelligent people, racists will always be racists, and the open-minded will never be turned by dots on a graph.

I've not read it (though I am enjoying the series of articles in Slate), but does The Bell Curve even suggest that the differences are genetic?

From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murray_(author)):


The authors were reported throughout the popular press as arguing that these IQ differences are genetic, although they state no position on the issue in the book, and write in the introduction to Chapter 13 that "The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved."

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 04:49 PM
Your statement is wilfully disingenuous. Mixed Biscuits was merely seeking well-informed dissection of researched facts.

No it isn't, on the contrary: if you cannot recognise out-and-out racism posing as 'scientific research', then no amount of 'well-informed dissection of researched facts' will persuade you.




It is intriguing to know if there are differences between the races of mankind.

What 'races of mankind'? There is no such thing as 'race', except of course for racists. As for Reed's "slurs and nebulous diatribes", as you disingenuously term them, it is the sick 'research' he is criticising that should be so described. His anger is to be defended. Murray is a sick fuck in need of counselling, not a 'scientist', unless you wish to describe the Nazi scientists as having been 'scientific.'

Some other 'well-informed' criticisms for those who don't even understand the concept of racism:


BOOK REVIEW: The Bell Curve Cracks

Inequality by Design-Cracking the Bell Curve Myth, by Claude S. Fischer, Michael Hout, Martin Sanchez Jankowski, Samuel R. Lucas, Ann Swidler, and Kim Voss. Princeton University Press, 1996. 318 pages.

Reviewed by Brian Siano

A mountain peak, and its darker silhouette displaced by 'one standard deviation,' is the image from The Bell Curve that persists in memory. It's the purported shape of the distribution of IQ scores classified by race, derived from the scores of 11,878 people taking the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), and it appears in TBC's notorious "Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Ability" chapter. (It also appeared in the New Republic's cover story on the book, as well as in the pages of Skeptic,) One could easily imagine the shapes rising into view as Microsoft Excel or SAS scattered the points on the computer screen, like a lost Aztec city shining through a false color enhancement of satellite data. The symmetry of the slopes, of course, spoke for a natural evenness of distribution- the classic "bell curve" one sees for height, life expectancy, shooting craps, and other natural processes. The conclusion: an underlying pattern has been revealed through the ruthless application of statistics.

On page 32 of Inequality by Design, the authors provide a re-casting of the same magic runes. As before, the whites-only Matterhorn of Herrnstein and Murray is present. But beside it is a grey lump, slouching towards the high ends of the scale in defiance of the demanded symmetry. This insubordinate lump is the original distribution of scores on the AFQT.

Looking further in The Bell Curve for an explanation, one finds that answers are somewhat elusive. Herrnstein and Murray could have used centile scores-placing people in the 99th percentile of scores, the 98th percentile, etc. This would have been a lot simpler. In Appendix 2, they state they "we knew from collateral data" that the important IQ stuff "occurs at the tails of the distribution," and "using centiles throws away the tails." In short: the original scores are not a bell curve; but IQ scores must follow a bell curve; all the action in our project happens at the tail ends of a bell curve; therefore, we must derive a bell curve with distinct tails from the unruly data. If you're one of those people who feel that data should shape the theory, this may seem somewhat less than valid. Toss in the fact that intelligence tests are frequently designed to provide bell-curve distributions of scores, and we notice a kind of circular reasoning implicit in the psychometric model used by Herrnstein and Murray. Reshaping the lump into the mountain was, in the words of Inequality by Design, the result of "a good deal of statistical mashing and stretching," demanded by the assumption "that intelligence must be distributed in a bell curve."

The authors take Herrnstein and Murray to task for presenting the AFQT as an intelligence test. This isn't the case: the AFQT was designed to predict performance in the armed forces (no wisecracks, class), and it functions best as a test of the level of schooling the subject has received. The math sections, which make the greatest differences in the final scores, require having had exposure to high school algebra. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which administered the AFQT to its thousands of subjects, measured schooling at a very crude level (number of years and whether the subject was in an academic track), but these two factors correlated well with AFQT scores. Other studies, using the same data, argue that Herrnstein and Murray drastically underestimated the influence of schooling.

(In one passage, the authors argue that if we keep education level constant, age correlates negatively with AFQT score. In other words, older respondents with 12 years of education score lower than younger respondent with the same level. If AFQT measures education level, then this difference is explained by the fact that the older respondents had been out of school longer, and had forgotten some of their education. But if we accept the psychometric claim that the test measures innate ability, then we'd have to believe that people start getting stupider around their midteens.)

What can we say about Herrnstein and Murray's "cognitive elite," that upper 5%? They were people who had had schooling beyond the high school level, disproportionately male (thanks to the weighting in favor of math), and just plain lucky; one or two more wrong answers, and they would've dropped down into the "bright" category. As for the other end of the curve, 27 % had dropped out of school at least three years before taking the test.

The core of Herrnstein and Murray's argument is that IQ is a better predictor of life outcomes than the usual measure of socioeconomic status (SES). Contrary to the forbidden-data claims of The Bell Curve, sociologists have been working with intelligence tests and the AFQT for years. The authors of Inequality by Design "accepted Herrnstein and Murray's evidence, their measure of intelligence, and their basic methodology and then reexamined the results. By simply correcting a handful of errors, we showed that coming from a disadvantaged home was almost as important a risk factor for poverty as a low AFQT score."

Herrnstein and Murray defined SES very narrowly, as four factors: level of education, income, and parents' occupation(s). They then needlessly compiled these into a single index-thus giving them equal weight amongst each other. This is a major error, since NLSY data shows that parental income has a far greater effect than parental education on a child's life outcome.

Also, when such information was missing from the NLSY respondents, they simply assigned them the average value derived from other respondents. (This introduces error, in the case of respondents who are rich or poor, and reduces the statistical association with effect variables.) The NLSY only included four questions about parental SES, which makes it far less reliable than the 105-question AFQT-which stacks the IQ-vs-SES face-off in Herrnstein and Murray's favor.

Herrnstein and Murray also left out several factors known to have effects on a subject's life outcome. The number of siblings, for example, was not incorporated into their analysis. The adult community environment-local unemployment rate, geographic region (rural, urban, suburban)-was also overlooked. Was the subject, at age 14, living in a two-parent household? What about access to quality schools? Bringing these factors into play provides a probability-of-poverty graph that matches Herrnstein and Murray's AFQT curves. In short, the authors conclude that the subjects' "life chances depend on their social surroundings at least as much as their own intelligence... The key finding of The Bell Curve turns out to be an artifact of its method."

Inequality by Design goes on to present a far more detailed analysis of poverty. For example, despite rough parity in IQ scores, women are far more likelier than men to be poor. Using the NLSY-AFQT data, the authors state that "a young woman would have had to score forty-one points higher on the AFQT than a young man of the same age, formal schooling, and background in order for her risk of being poor to have been as low as his." [Italics in original.] Having children increases the risk of being poor. The economic effects of marriage and divorce are more dramatic for adults who grew up in low-income families. Herrnstein and Murray say nothing substantial about gender; instead, they argue that unmarried status is a result of lower intelligence. But the AFQT scores of unmarried respondents were no higher than those of marrieds....

Again, data seems to have lost primacy over theory through much of The Bell Curve. In one spectacular example, Herrnstein and Murray claim that a three-point drop in average American IQ would increase unwed motherhood and incarceration rates by about 10 % (pp. 364-368). But to explain the doubling of incarcerated men in the 1980s, the 150% increase in unwed motherhood since 1970, and the rises and dips of poverty between 1960 to 1992, we'd have to believe that average IQ varies as much as 55 points within a single generation-a claim Herrnstein and Murray explicitly rule out.

Mr. Tea
21-11-2007, 04:58 PM
What 'races of mankind'? There is no such thing as 'race', except of course for racists.


So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit? :slanted:

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 05:04 PM
When the Irish became white did their IQ go up? What about Italians? Or did they drag the White Race down?

Did you notice the other exasperatingly bizarre articles on that site [ William Saletan's Liberal Creationism] that Guybrush linked to? Especially this other one by Saletan: Jewgenics: Jewish intelligence, Jewish genes, and Jewish values. (http://www.slate.com/id/2177228/nav/navoa/)

Just convert the population of Africa to Judaism, dispatch them to Israel, and their IQs will automatically double!

vimothy
21-11-2007, 05:11 PM
Did you notice the other exasperatingly bizarre articles on that site [ William Saletan's Liberal Creationism] that Guybrush linked to? Especially this other one by Saletan: Jewgenics: Jewish intelligence, Jewish genes, and Jewish values. (http://www.slate.com/id/2177228/nav/navoa/)

Just convert the population of Africa to Judaism, dispatch them to Israel, and their IQs will automatically double!

Er, what?

Didn't you read the words "Jewish genes" in the post you just made?

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 05:20 PM
So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit? :slanted:

Yeah, and two-legged people tend to have two-legged kids.

Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour, segregating them so, concocting 'tests' for purposes of proving their 'innate' inferiority to ultimately legislate for a fascist ideology ... is racism. It is formally wrong, so arguing about these loonies' 'research findings' is to implicitly accept their terms of reference, the terms of their research ie that racism is an acceptable ideology.

So now you're defending institutionalized racism. Charming ... and predictable.

vimothy
21-11-2007, 05:27 PM
Race, IQ and Education (http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=111907A), by Arnold Kling

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 05:28 PM
Er, what?

Didn't you read the words "Jewish genes" in the post you just made?

This is mind-boggling in its hilarious insanity. Jewish genes? If someone is Jewish they have 'Jewish genes'; by becoming a Jew, by converting to Judaism, you, by definition, then have 'Jewish genes', being Jewish an' all ... and should you later decide to become an atheist [a 'self-hating Jew' as they are popularly dismissed and derided], why, you'll have 'atheist genes.' Isn't that amazing!

vimothy
21-11-2007, 05:38 PM
This is mind-boggling in its hilarious insanity. Jewish genes? If someone is Jewish they have 'Jewish genes'; by becoming a Jew, by converting to Judaism, you, by definition, then have 'Jewish genes', being Jewish an' all ... and should you later decide to become an atheist [a 'self-hating Jew' as they are popularly dismissed and derided], why, you'll have 'atheist genes.' Isn't that amazing!

It's not really that hard to understand:

Jewish genes = member of a group with common ancestors called "Jews"

Judaism = Abrahamic religion historically practiced by Jews

So simply converting to Judaism will do nothing for your genes, obviously.


Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour

It certainly seems as though you're the only person here obsessing over this, but let me ask you -- do you believe that differences in skin colour exist?

Slothrop
21-11-2007, 05:53 PM
Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour, segregating them so, concocting 'tests' for purposes of proving their 'innate' inferiority to ultimately legislate for a fascist ideology ... is racism.
What about concocting tests for purposes of proving that there is no innate correlation between skin colour and intelligence? Or rather, for purposes of finding out whether there is or not. And if there is no innate correlation, then that should be the result that it turns up. And if research suggests that there is an innate difference when there isn't, then it should be easy to pick holes in the methodology - which I thought was what had already happened with IQ tests.

You seem to be saying "of course there is no innate difference. But doing research that might prove that would be an attempt to justify racism."

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 05:55 PM
So simply converting to Judaism will do nothing for your genes, obviously.

Which is why to speak of Jewish genes [and the implied 'genetic' superiority] is not only nonsense, but thoroughly racist.



It certainly seems as though you're the only person here obssessing over this, but let me ask you -- do you believe that differences in skin colour exist?

Leave it to Vimothy! Those who are racist don't obsess over skin colour, never, but those who expose racism obsess over skin colour!

[Differences in eye colour exist too: let's create a slave trade based on eye colour! "What a very clever idea! You must have a really high IQ!"]

Addendum:


"rac·ism (rszm) n.

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others."

By that definition, the authors of The Bell Curve and any who subscribe to its thesis are racists. The dictionary is neutral about the empirical validity of racism, but given the huge wealth of empirical evidence that race is not a biological category, but a semiotic construct, and that environmental factors greatly contribute to social stratification, anyone who claims that "there is a good probability that this is one of these cases" is clearly a racist in the standard pejorative sense.

turtles
21-11-2007, 06:52 PM
What about concocting tests for purposes of proving that there is no innate correlation between skin colour and intelligence? Or rather, for purposes of finding out whether there is or not. And if there is no innate correlation, then that should be the result that it turns up. And if research suggests that there is an innate difference when there isn't, then it should be easy to pick holes in the methodology - which I thought was what had already happened with IQ tests.

You seem to be saying "of course there is no innate difference. But doing research that might prove that would be an attempt to justify racism."
The thing is that the racial classifications that they are using are the exact same ones that have been used by racists to discriminate against people in the first place. It's not the research methods and statistics that they use that are faulty, it's the classification of people along pre-determined racial lines that's problematic.

If they were really interested in the relationship between genetics and intelligence, what would really be reasonable would be to take a sampling of the entire genetic pool of the human race and subdivide it into groups based on actual genetic similarity, and then compare intelligence (finding something better than IQ tests would be a good idea too). It's following these classifications of race which have an unquestionable racist origin that makes this such bad research.

Edit: I should also add that even if they use a more scientific grouping of genetic similarity, that STILL wouldn't get rid of cultural/economic factors. They'd really have to run the tests on cross sections within similar social and economic groups, so for example middle-class germans or working-class brazillians...

matt b
21-11-2007, 07:16 PM
So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit? :slanted:

oh for fuck's sake. 'race' is a meaningless term scientifically. it is used, as padraig rightly points out by racists to create 'difference'.

colour of skin=race in your book?

nomadologist
21-11-2007, 07:46 PM
Another hilarious round of Vimothizing on race...

The human genome mapping has finally laid to rest any idea of "Jewishness" as a racially-based identity--they've traced all Ashkenazis to a set of four common matriarchal ancestors, none of whom bear any genetic relationship to Semitic people.

nomadologist
21-11-2007, 07:47 PM
oh for fuck's sake. 'race' is a meaningless term scientifically.

it sure is

nomadologist
21-11-2007, 07:51 PM
Oh yeah, and IQ tests don't measure anything but your ability to score highly on IQ tests.

The type of "intelligence" they measure is a very limited and "left-brained" type that only takes a person so far in life.

Most of my ancestors were illiterate people with what seems like serious ADD and other learning disabilities looking back who ended up owning crime on the east coast. You don't have to possess a high score on an IQ tests to have traits that help you shore up resources from an "evolutionary" standpoint.

hundredmillionlifetimes
21-11-2007, 08:14 PM
You don't have to possess a high score on an IQ tests to have traits that help you shore up resources from an "evolutionary" standpoint.

Indeed.

http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/reabozo.jpg

Say 'ello to my 'lil ancestor fren'

Guybrush
21-11-2007, 08:40 PM
Oh yeah, and IQ tests don't measure anything but your ability to score highly on IQ tests.

The type of "intelligence" they measure is a very limited and "left-brained" type that only takes a person so far in life.

From the article (http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~cfc/Chabris1998a.html) I linked to earlier:


The theory that [Harvard zoology professor] Gould is attacking usually goes under the name of general intelligence. Its advocates, practitioners of the hybrid psychological-statistical discipline known as psychometrics, argue simply that while individuals differ in their abilities in a wide range of intellectual realms, a relationship exists among these variations that can be attributed to a common factor. This common factor is what the psychometricians label general intelligence, or g.

A brief example will illustrate the evidence they adduce for this proposition. Suppose a group of students takes a set of ten, timed mental-ability tests, five based on verbal materials (such as choosing antonyms) and five based on spatial materials (such as drawing paths through mazes). Each student will receive ten scores, and each student will have a unique profile of scores, higher on some tests than others.

Now suppose we correlate mathematically the students' scores on the five verbal tests. We will probably find them positively, though not perfectly, correlated--that is, the score on one will predict reasonably well the scores on the others. With the aid of a statistical procedure known as factor analysis, we can examine the pattern of these positive correlations and infer that they can be explained by the existence of a common factor, the most logical candidate being the "verbal ability" of the students who took the tests. Analogous results would likely occur if we factor-analyzed the set of five spatial tests.

What if we combined all ten tests in a single analysis, looking at all the possible correlations? Most likely we would find separate verbal and spatial factors at work. But those factors themselves will almost always be correlated. A superordinate, or "general," factor--g--can then be extracted to account for the commonalities across all the tests, though this factor will be revealed more by some tests than by others; such tests, known as "highly g-loaded," are taken as especially good measures of general intelligence.

[...]

Scientists make bad dictionary writers and worse philosophers. Their main skills are in constructing experiments and generating explanations for what they observe. Neither of these endeavors requires agreement on what the words involved "mean" in any deep or absolute sense, only on ways of converting the elements of the theory at issue into operations that can be carried out in an experiment and repeated later if necessary. Measurement is the most important such operation; as Kelvin pointed out long ago, without a way to measure something it cannot be studied scientifically.

This is why the oft-repeated phrase, "intelligence is nothing more than what intelligence tests measure," is, as an objection, merely a tautology. The truth is that as long as intelligence can be reliably measured--it can be, with a variety of tests--and validly applied--it can be, to predict a variety of outcomes--it is intelligence. If we suddenly started calling it "cognitive ability," "cognitive efficiency," or even "the tendency to perform well on mental tests," it would still have the same scientific properties. Nothing about the natural world would change.

I’m definitely going to read that American Psychological Association report now!

nomadologist
21-11-2007, 09:50 PM
this is a bullshit, reductionist argument that fails to take into consideration that the set of traits tested for in IQ and other intelligence tests are often of no use in a completely different environment. The artificial context created by the tests themselves are not easily mapped onto (or replicated in) real world situations

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 01:43 AM
this is a bullshit, reductionist argument that fails to take into consideration that the set of traits tested for in IQ and other intelligence tests are often of no use in a completely different environment. The artificial context created by the tests themselves are not easily mapped onto (or replicated in) real world situations

I disagree. But whatever it is they are gauging, and whichever imperfections they are encumbered with, they are still important in so far as a great many people clearly find them a useful indicator of mental dexterity.

Here (http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/PPPL1.pdf) is the report I shall be referring to henceforth. It is a compilation of recent years’ most important scientific findings on the subject; it also forms the basis for the Slate series. A lot of text, but this is as good a summary as you are likely to get of the hereditarians’ position on the subject.

On Race


Some have argued that the cause of Black–White differences in IQ is a pseudo question because “race” and “IQ” are arbitrary social constructions (Tate & Audette, 2001). However, we believe these constructs are meaningful because the empirical findings documented in this article have been confirmed across cultures and methodologies for decades. The fuzziness of racial definitions does not negate their utility. To define terms, based on genetic analysis, roughly speaking, Blacks (Africans, Negroids) are those who have most of their ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa; Whites (Europeans, Caucasoids) have most of their ancestors from Europe; and East Asians (Orientals, Mongoloids) have most of their ancestors from Pacific Rim countries (Cavalli-Sforza, 2000; Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, & Piazza, 1994; Nei & Roychoudhury, 1993; Risch, Burchard, Ziv, & Tang, 2002). Although he eschewed the term race, Cavalli-Sforza’s (2000, p. 70) maximum likelihood tree made on the basis of molecular genetic markers substantially supports the traditional racial groups classification. Of course, in referring to population or racial group differences we are discussing averages. Individuals are individuals, and the three groups overlap substantially on almost all traits and measures. [...] (p. 237 f)


[...] The currently most commonly accepted view of human origins, the “Out-of-Africa” theory, posits that Homo sapiens arose in Africa about 150,000 years ago, expanded northward beyond Africa about 100,000 years ago, with a European–East Asian split about 41,000 years ago (Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Stringer & McKie, 1996). In Cavalli-Sforza’s (2000) maximum likelihood tree devised on the basis of molecular genetic markers, the most distant group was the Africans, with Europeans and Asians being closer. Cavalli-Sforza observed, “All world trees place the earliest split between Africans and non-Africans, which is expected given that all humans originated in Africa” (p. 72). This is also the conclusion of other reviewers (e.g., Risch et al., 2002).

Evolutionary selection pressures were different in the hot savanna where Africans lived than in the cold northern regions Europeans experienced, or the even colder Arctic regions of East Asians. These ecological differences affected not only morphology but also behavior. It has been proposed that the farther north the populations migrated out of Africa, the more they encountered the cognitively demanding problems of gathering and storing food, gaining shelter, making clothes, and raising children successfully during prolonged winters (Rushton, 2000). As these populations evolved into present-day Europeans and East Asians, the ecological pressures selected for larger brains, slower rates of maturation, and lower levels of testosterone—with concomitant reductions in sexual potency, aggressiveness, and impulsivity; increases in family stability, advanced planning, self-control, rule following, and longevity; and the other characteristics listed in Table 3. The fact that the three-way pattern in IQ, brain size, and other traits is not unique to the United States but occurs internationally is consistent with a single, general (genetic–evolutionary) theory, whereas culture-only theory must invoke a number of highly localized, specific explanations.

As Homo sapiens migrated further away from Africa, the random genetic mutations that occur at a constant rate in all living species accumulated, along with the adaptive changes. The resulting differences in allele frequencies are sufficient for numerous and extensive genetic investigations to yield essentially the same picture and identify the same major racial groupings as did the morphological markers of classical anthropology. The greatest genetic divergence within the human species is between Africans (who have had the most time for random mutations to accumulate) and non-Africans (Cavalli-Sforza 2000; Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Nei & Roychoudhury, 1993). Jensen (1998b, pp. 517–520) carried out a principal-components analysis of data on genetic markers from Nei and Roychoudhury (1993) and found the familiar clustering of races: (a) East Asians, (b) Europeans and East Indians, (c) South Asians and Pacific Islanders, (d) Africans, (e) North and South Amerindians and Eskimos, and (f) Aboriginal Australians and Papuan New Guineans. Howells’s (1993) analysis of betweengroups variation in craniometric data also revealed a similar population tree. The genetic hypothesis is consistent with the latest findings on human origins and genetic variation, whereas culture-only theory is indifferent to them (Crow, 2002). (p. 265 f)

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 01:56 AM
On Socio-Economic Factors


The most frequently stated culture-only hypothesis is that the mean IQ differences are due to SES [Socio-Economic Status]. In fact, controlling for SES only reduces the mean Black–White group difference in IQ by about a third, around 5 IQ points. The genetic perspective does not regard this control for SES as being entirely environmental. It holds that the parents’ socioeconomic level in part reflects their genetic differences in intelligence. Moreover, according to the culture-only theory, as Black groups advance up the socioeconomic ladder, their children should be less exposed to environmental deficits and therefore should do better and, by extension, close the distance separating the Black mean with the White. In fact, the magnitude of the mean Black–White group difference in IQ for higher SES levels, when measured in standard deviations, is larger (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994, pp. 286–289). (p. 267)

On Cultural Factors


Other nongenetic hypotheses are that standard IQ tests are culturally biased because the test items are not equally familiar and motivating to all groups or that they only measure familiarity with middle-class language or culture. However, despite attempts to equate items for familiarity and culture-fairness, no “culturefair” test has eliminated the mean group difference. American Blacks actually have higher average scores on culturally loaded tests than on culturally reduced tests, which is the opposite to what is found for some other groups such as Mexican Indians and East Asians. (The mean Black–White group differences are greatest on the g factor, regardless of the type of test from which g is extracted; see Section 4.) Moreover, the three-way pattern of mean Black–White–East Asian group differences occurs worldwide on culture-fair reaction time measures, which
all children can do in less than 1 s (see Section 3).

Subsequent culture-only hypotheses have pointed to specific aspects of deprivation as possible determinants of IQ. These include the following: (a) lack of reading material in the home, (b) poor cultural amenities in the home, (c) weak structural integrity of the home, (d) foreign language in the home, (e) low preschool attendance, (f) no encyclopedia in the home, (g) low level of parental education, (h) little time spent on homework, (i) low parental educational desires for child, (j) low parental interest in school work, (k) negative child self-concept (self-esteem), and (l) low child interest in school and reading. However, both within-race kinship studies and across-race adoption studies show that these environmental variables have increasingly smaller effects on the adoptees’ IQ as they reach adolescence (see Sections 5 and 7). Moreover, other studies found that
American Indians and East Asians averaged higher in IQ than Blacks, even though they averaged lower on these proposed causal factors (Coleman et al., 1966, p. 20). Another example comes from the Inuit, who live above the Arctic Circle and have higher average IQs than do either American or Jamaican Blacks (Berry, 1966; MacArthur, 1968) even though their socioeconomic conditions are extremely poor and unemployment is high (P. E. Vernon, 1965, 1979). (p. 267)

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 01:57 AM
Wait a minute here. The first problem with this report is that recent findings seem to completely debunk the idea that we "all originated in africa", and that, in fact, there seems to be evidence of homo sapiens evolving in parallels at the same time around the earliest signs of human life we can find in Africa.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 02:01 AM
More on Cultural Factors


Some culture-only theorists propose that SES should not be assessed in terms of crude material measures but must be seen as a complex of attitudes, aspirations, self-images, and societal stereotypes (Loury, 2002; Ogbu, 2002; Sowell, 1994). Some of these types of cultural factors have been tested as well. Matching Black and White children for the geographical areas of their homes, the schools they attend, and other finer grade socioeconomic indicators again reduces the mean group IQ difference but does not eliminate it. Black children from the best areas and schools (those producing the highest average scores) still average slightly lower than do White children with the lowest socioeconomic indicators (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994, pp. 286–289; Jensen, 1998b, pp. 357–360). This is an anomaly for the culture-only theory but is explained by genetic theory through regression to the mean (see Section 10).

Other culture-only hypotheses have invoked Black role models, test anxiety, self-esteem, and racial stress as causal agents, but none of these have ever been consistently confirmed (Jensen, 1980, 1998b). Other ideas, such as stereotype threat (Steele, 1997), involuntary-minorities-are-castes (Ogbu, 2002), and race stigma (Loury, 2002), do not explain the low IQ of Africans south of the Sahara, where Blacks are in the majority. Nor is there any evidence from analyses of large archival data sets that unique minority-specific factors such as the history of slavery, White racism, lowered expectations, or heightened stress make cultural influences stronger for one group than for another (see Section 5). Neither can racial stigmatization (Loury, 2002) explain why East Asians average higher in IQ and brain size than Whites. A progressive theory of racial group differences must address all the known facts. (p. 268)

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 02:06 AM
White kids still score higher on IQ tests, even when you "adjust" for socio-economic differences by errmm having the same scientists create "culturally unbiased" tests?

This argument amounts to "white people are "smarter" at IQ tests, black men can dance and jump high"
Which would probably be fine with me if you didn't drag genes into it.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 02:07 AM
On Transracial Adoption


Transracial adoption studies provide one of the best methods for resolving the question of group differences in mean IQ. The above-average IQ scores of Black adoptees at age 7 confirmed the culture-only predictions. The results of the follow-up testing at age 17 were more ambiguous. The hereditarian model predicted that when the longitudinal study was carried out, the Black–White difference would emerge (based on the increasing size of the genetic effect on IQ with age), and this is one interpretation of the data, though a culture-only interpretation is also plausible. However, support for the hereditarian model again comes from adding the East Asian data to the mix. Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into White homes, even though as babies many had been hospitalized for malnutrition, nonetheless grew to have IQs 10 or more points higher than their adoptive national norms. The culture-only model cannot explain that finding. Further, it argues against the culture-only hypothesis that the high performance of East Asian children is due to “trying harder” or other cultural values emphasized by East Asian families. (p. 275 f) [But one example.]

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 02:12 AM
Thats’s all for now. Your counter-arguments are appallingly lame thus far, Nomadologist. :D More on this tomorrow.

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 02:45 AM
On Transracial Adoption


Transracial adoption studies provide one of the best methods for resolving the question of group differences in mean IQ. The above-average IQ scores of Black adoptees at age 7 confirmed the culture-only predictions. The results of the follow-up testing at age 17 were more ambiguous. The hereditarian model predicted that when the longitudinal study was carried out, the Black–White difference would emerge (based on the increasing size of the genetic effect on IQ with age), and this is one interpretation of the data, though a culture-only interpretation is also plausible. However, support for the hereditarian model again comes from adding the East Asian data to the mix. Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into White homes, even though as babies many had been hospitalized for malnutrition, nonetheless grew to have IQs 10 or more points higher than their adoptive national norms. The culture-only model cannot explain that finding. Further, it argues against the culture-only hypothesis that the high performance of East Asian children is due to “trying harder” or other cultural values emphasized by East Asian families. (p. 275 f) [But one example.]

How many times were these studies conducted, and by whom under whose auspices? Have these studies been replicated by anyone?

I highly doubt it.

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 07:40 AM
why does *anyone* still believe that it makes sense to talk about IQ as if it actually measured something real??? Why should/would/could there be a unary measure of "general intelligence"? Has anyone read Gould's Mismeasure of Man?

I have read Gould's book but still believe that IQ tests measure something real. Def. agree with Guybrush's earlier posts on the matter.

It's also clear from experience that some people are 'generally' a lot smarter than others. The highest fliers at school were ahead of the others at every subject. The lowest performers could not have matched high performers at any academic discipline, even if they had renounced all others to concentrate their efforts.

If IQ tests were of no use, then business (not talking about criminal firms here), education (British schools routinely use Cognitive Ability Tests, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests to identify under-achievers) and the vast majority of psychologists (not the ones with a high profile purportedly abusing their position to spread propaganda) would not have any use for them.

If anyone thinks that you can train for IQ tests, then I issue a challenge: take the MENSA test and post a photo of your score up here (which has to be 130+ to prevent blatant cheating). Take it again after a month of training and improve by 40 points. Shouldn't be hard - right? ;)

zhao
22-11-2007, 10:20 AM
cmon we all know the real measure of intelligence lies in someones taste in music. likes indie = stupid. likes grime/dubstep = smart!

vimothy
22-11-2007, 12:01 PM
Another hilarious round of Vimothizing on race...

Firstly, I don't believe I've ever written anything about race on this board, but feel free to back up your bullshit with evidence.

Secondly, I haven't written even anything about race here. I simply noted that HMLT was talking nonsense, as usual. Jews as a "race" do not equal Jews as a religion, as should be obvious to all.


The human genome mapping has finally laid to rest any idea of "Jewishness" as a racially-based identity--

Ok, fine -- there is no Jewish race and Jews do not share a common genetic heritage. I'd be happy to see some sort of a link rather than your usual pronouncements, but never mind. I'll take your word for it.


they've traced all Ashkenazis to a set of four common matriarchal ancestors, none of whom bear any genetic relationship to Semitic people.

Wait a mintue, didn't you just say the exact opposite?

matt b
22-11-2007, 12:58 PM
Ok, fine -- there is no Jewish race and Jews do not share a common genetic heritage. I'd be happy to see some sort of a link rather than your usual pronouncements, but never mind. I'll take your word for it.


to clarify- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACE

vimothy
22-11-2007, 01:05 PM
to clarify- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACE

I don't think putting it in capitals makes what you say more believable. Frankly, it makes you look like nomadologist.

Have you ever read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond?

matt b
22-11-2007, 01:08 PM
oh fuck off

vimothy
22-11-2007, 01:12 PM
oh fuck off

Very clever. I 'm not sure why you are being an arsehole. I was only asking a simple question -- have you read it?

Mr BoShambles
22-11-2007, 01:24 PM
to clarify- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RACE

I agree race exists only as a social construct. I'll try and find a link/source to research I've seen which suggests that genetic differences between people across these so-called 'races' are less than the gentic differences between people within one given 'race'.

'Ethnicity' is also a socially constructed system; both are designed to establish common identity and to divide/classify people into distinct groups. However there are major differences in the way 'race' and 'ethnicity' are applied as constructs. The criteria for division along the lines of ‘race’ are relatively unambiguous focusing entirely on physical attributes like skin colour. By contrast the criteria for the demarcation of boundaries between ethnic groups are based on a set of highly interwoven factors, which create multi-tiered identities and are subjective to the individual.

While 'race' is a fixed construct, ‘ethnicity’ focuses on socio-cultural factors which by their very nature are not fixed and therefore adaptation in ethnic identities is possible in accordance with changes in the social and political environment.

I would argue that 'ethnicity' is generally more concerned with the identification of ‘us’ while 'race(ism)' is more orientated to the categorisation of ‘them’.

vimothy
22-11-2007, 01:42 PM
I agree race exists only as a social construct.

But you could say that about anything, surely. What about strains of crops -- they exist, right? What about, e.g., Aborigines?

Mr BoShambles
22-11-2007, 01:48 PM
But you could say that about anything, surely. What about strains of crops -- they exist, right? What about, e.g., Aborigines?

There's nothing big or clever about 'cropism' :D

vimothy
22-11-2007, 01:50 PM
There's nothing big or clever about 'cropism' :D

But you see my point -- I can easily tell the difference between an Aborigine and, say, a Lapp, just as I can easily tell the difference between cauliflower and broccoli.

Mr BoShambles
22-11-2007, 01:56 PM
But you see my point -- I can easily tell the difference between an Aborigine and, say, a Lapp.

Ok but going back to my previous point; are the genetic differences between Aborigines and Lapps greater than the internal genetic differences across Aborigines (or Lapps)?

vimothy
22-11-2007, 01:59 PM
Ok but going back to my previous point; are the genetic differences between Aborigines and Lapps greater than the internal genetic differences across Aborigines (or Lapps)?

Ha -- I have no idea, of course. Did you mention some research that you were going to link to?


EDIT: GNXP (always worth a read) on race (http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/01/race-current-consensus.php).

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 02:23 PM
So now you're defending institutionalized racism. Charming ... and predictable.

Absloute horseshit. Race - meaning a collection of hereditary characteristics found in some human populations and not others - OBVIOUSLY exists. That's light-yearas away from defending the obsolete notions of discrete caucasian/asiatic/negro 'sub-species' of mankind or early 20th century craniography bullshit. Recognising this fact is no more the same thing as racism than recognising that some people are taller than others makes you a 'height supremacist'. Then again, I wouldn't put it past you to say that height is socially constructed, and there's not really any such thing as tall and short people...

There are plenty of good, reasonable and logically and morally robust arguments agains racism: merely denying that race itself exists is not one of them.

Mr BoShambles
22-11-2007, 02:33 PM
Ha -- I have no idea, of course. Did you mention some research that you were going to link to?


EDIT: GNXP (always worth a read) on race (http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/01/race-current-consensus.php).

Try to find some research by the British geneticist Steve Jones. He wrote a famous article in the Independent (12th Dec 1991) entitled: 'We are all cousins under the skin'.

Here's a quick summary (from a sociology textbook):

1. Jones suggests that to be able to show that there are distinct 'races' 'then the different peoples should be quite distinct from each other in a large sample of their genes, not just those for skin colour'. However this is not the case. Geneticists have not found that the genes governing skin colour are related to other genetic patterns. Jones: 'The patterns of variation in each system are independent of each other. Our colour does not say much about what lies under the skin.

2. Genetic diversity has relatively little to do with 'race'. About 85% of the variations in human genes result from the differences between individuals from one country. A further 5-10% of genetic diversity comes from the differences between countries in the same continent and populated by the same supposed 'race' (i.e. differences between English and Spanish, or between Nigerians and Kenyans).

Jones:
The overall genetic differences between 'races' - Africans and Europeans, say - is no greater than the differences between different countries within Europe or within Africa. Individuals - not nations or races - are the main repository of human variation.

3. Overall, humans are much more homogenous than other species. For example, one of Jones's areas of expertise is the genetic variations between snails. His research shows that variations between the snail populations in different pyrenean valleys are greater than the variations between Australian Aborigines and English people. Jones: 'If you were a snail it would make good biological sense to be a racist; but you have to accept that humans are tediously uniform animals.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 02:38 PM
oh for fuck's sake. 'race' is a meaningless term scientifically. it is used, as padraig rightly points out by racists to create 'difference'.

colour of skin=race in your book?

Skin colour is certainly related to race, though it's by no means the only part of it, or even the major part.

Look, there are genetic differences between groups of people who originate, or whose ancestor originated, in different parts of the world. People of different ethnic origin - of different race - have different rates of hereditary diseases, hereditary disease resistances, the ability or otherwise to digest certan nutrients, different body shapes and builds, all sorts of things. Sickle-cell disease, which is an evolutionary side-effect of resistance to malaria, is far more common in people from Africa or India than other parts of the world; East Asians usually can't metabolise alcohol very well, the Dutch are taller than the Greeks and black guys make great runners but lousy swimmers. None of these things makes one ethnic group 'better' than any other outside of certain kinds of athletics events, and I'm certainly not convinced there are any average mental differences between people of different race that can't be accounted for by socioeconomic conditions, education, diet and other culture-specific factors.

vimothy
22-11-2007, 03:07 PM
1. Jones suggests that to be able to show that there are distinct 'races' 'then the different peoples should be quite distinct from each other in a large sample of their genes, not just those for skin colour'. However this is not the case. Geneticists have not found that the genes governing skin colour are related to other genetic patterns. Jones: 'The patterns of variation in each system are independent of each other. Our colour does not say much about what lies under the skin.

Well, skin colour is not necessarily the important variable.

From the GNXP article:


I. Genetic variation in humans forms clusters that correspond to geography

The fact that one can cluster humans together by geography based solely on their genetic information was most convincingly demonstrated in two papers (the second one is open access) by a group out of Stanford. These studies looked at several hundred variable places in the genome in 52 populations scattered across the globe. The hypothesis was as follows-- on applying a clustering algorithm to these data, individuals from similar geographic regions would end up together. I've put a representation on the right [actually reproduced below], where colors represent poplations-- on top is a pattern of variation that would lead to no clustering (the colors all blend one into the next) while on the bottom is a pattern of variation that would lead to clustering (there are subtle but noticable jumps from yellow to green, for example, though there is much variation within each color). Note that the lack of clustering would not mean that all populations are genetically the same (in the top figure, yellow and orange are not "the same" even though you couldn't find a fixed boundry between them). But indeed, the researchers found the situation corresponding to the bottom figure-- the individuals formed five clusters which represented, in the authors' words, "Africa, Eurasia (Europe, Middle East, and Central/South Asia), East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas". Some populations were exceptions, of course (there are always exceptions in biology)-- they seemed to be a mix between two clusters, or could even form their own cluster in certain models.

But in general, the second model in the figure is a good fit for human variation based on the spots in the genome used by these researchers-- continents correspond to clusters, and geographic barriers like the Himalayas or an ocean correspond to those areas where a "jump" from one cluster to the next occurrs.

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/uploaded_images/color_spectrum-767177.jpg

vimothy
22-11-2007, 04:02 PM
The Lessons of the Ashkenazim (http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2006_06_17_thenewrepublic.html) -- Steven Pinker, TNR

Mr BoShambles
22-11-2007, 04:02 PM
Well I can't really argue with that, it (the GNXP article) seems pretty convincing:


So it's clear that populations differ genetically and that these differences are relevant phenotypically and informative about race. So, do genetic differences explain racial differences in any given phenotype? I hope that for phenotypes like eye color and skin color people accept the answer as obviously yes; these sorts of things have been convincingly demonstrated. For other phenotypes like IQ or personality, if you're inclined to react negatively, I say wait a few years before you get too confident; the study of human genetic variation is in its infancy, and once it hits adolescence it's going to start becoming a real pain in the ass.

[1]A note on race being a societal construct. To some extent, of course it is--some people that would be called "black" in the US might not be called "black" in France, for example (and not because of the language difference, for all you smartasses. The word "black" in French specifically refers to racial classification). I have enough faith in human intelligence to think that the first person who called race a societal construct did not mean that it had no biological component as well--note that the Wikipedia entry on adolesence refers to it as a "cultural and social phenomenon" but also "the transitional stage of human development in which a juvenile matures into an adult". People seem to somehow be able to keep the cultural and biological aspects of adolescence in their heads at the same time, as I imagine the first sociologists to study race were able to do (I may, of course, be wrong), yet somehow the fact that biological differences are interpreted through a cultural lens has somehow morphed into the idea that the biological differences don't exist to begin with (see, e.g. the ASA statement on race). Weird.

vimothy
22-11-2007, 04:09 PM
Well I can't really argue with that, it seems pretty conclusive:

It's only saying that "race" exists as a biological category. I'm not sure that I buy into the idea that (biological) race explains IQ test scores, if that's even been suggested.

The footnote is totally OTM, as is Mr Tea upthread.

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 04:12 PM
That genetic variation in humans forms clusters that correspond to geography is to be expected - after all, that's how the development of animal populations has been being explained for the past hundred years.

That there are genetic differences within populations might reflect an intrinsic genetic variability that comes with being human. Just because this variability is greater than that between different populations doesn't mean that the lesser variability in the latter is necessarily unimportant. After all, an ostensibly minor variation in genetic code can have significant implications.

vimothy
22-11-2007, 04:24 PM
That genetic variation in humans forms clusters that correspond to geography is to be expected - after all, that's how the development of animal populations has been being explained for the past hundred years.

You would think so, yes, but then you read the hysterical responses to the original post ...

:rolleyes:

From the Pinker article:


The CH&H [Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_intelligence#Cochran_et_al.) - researchers at the University of Utah] theory - can be divided into seven hypotheses. The first is that the Ashkenazi advantage in intelligence is genetic in the first place. Many intellectuals dismiss this possibility out of hand, having been convinced by Stephen Jay Gould's book The Mismeasure of Man that general intelligence does not exist and that there is no evidence for its heritability. But a decade ago, the American Psychological Association commissioned an ideologically and racially diverse panel of scientists to review the evidence. They reported that IQ tests measure a stable property of the person; that general intelligence reflects a real phenomenon (namely, that measures of different aspects of intelligence intercorrelate); that it predicts a variety of positive life outcomes; and that it is highly heritable among individuals within a group. This does not imply that differences between groups are also genetic, since one group may experience a difference across the board, such as in wealth, discrimination, or social and cultural capital.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 04:33 PM
It's only saying that "race" exists as a biological category. I'm not sure that I buy into the idea that (biological) race explains IQ test scores, if that's even been suggested.

The footnote is totally OTM, as is Mr Tea upthread.

I'd say 'category' is putting it too strongly though, as categories tend to be discrete, well-defined and mutually exclusive. Racial variation in humans doesn't usually have sharp cut-offs* - millennia of interbreeding and migration have put paid to that. For example, many people in North Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula are of mixed Arab and African descent, to the extent that they can be considered to form an ethnic group in its own right, and even within the 'indigenous' white Northern-European population of Britain, there is a mixture of Germanic, Celtic and pre-Celtic gene markers. This is of course without taking account individual mixed-race people whose parents come from different ethnic groups.

On the subject of genetic variation, it has been shown pretty conclusively that humans have far less variation than do other species of primates: you could analyse the DNA of any two people in the world selected at random and they will show much greater similarity than would two chimps taken from breeding populations just a few hundred miles apart.

*except (possibly, I'm conjecturing here) in a very few cases of isolated populations such as in the Ainu in Japan

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 04:38 PM
Racial variation in humans doesn't usually have sharp cut-offs* - millennia of interbreeding and migration have put paid to that. For example, many people in North Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula are of mixed Arab and African descent, and even within the 'indigenous' white Northern-European population of Britain, there is a mixture of Germanic, Celtic and pre-Celtic gene markers. This is of course without taking account individual mixed-race people whose parents come from different ethnic groups.


The thing is, those populations that have been separate from others for the longest periods of time, creating genetic difference, are probably the most instructive to study - in crude terms, they are the 'primary colours' that have been used in the mongrelisation of subsequent interbreeding.

Apologies for the terrible mixed metaphor.

vimothy
22-11-2007, 04:40 PM
I'd say 'category' is putting it too strongly, as categories tend to be discrete, well-defined and mutually exclusive. Racial variation in humans doesn't usually have sharp cut-offs* - millennia of interbreeding and migration have put paid to that. For example, many people in North Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula are of mixed Arab and African descent, and even within the 'indigenous' white Northern-European population of Britain, there is a mixture of Germanic, Celtic and pre-Celtic gene markers. This is of course without taking account individual mixed-race people whose parents come from different ethnic groups.

Ok, fair enough. I'm certainly no scientist. I do think that your point about interbreeding and migration is pretty obvious, though.

EDIT for the EDIT:


On the subject of genetic variation, it has been shown pretty conclusively that humans have far less variation than do other species of primates: you could analyse the DNA of any two people in the world selected at random and they will show much greater similarity than would two chimps taken from breeding populations just a few hundred miles apart.

It's interesting, but is it relevant?


Apologies for the terrible mixed metaphor.

:eek:

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 04:50 PM
On the subject of genetic variation, it has been shown pretty conclusively that humans have far less variation than do other species of primates: you could analyse the DNA of any two people in the world selected at random and they will show much greater similarity than would two chimps taken from breeding populations just a few hundred miles apart.

How do scientists measure the degree of variation?

boombox
22-11-2007, 04:51 PM
How do scientists measure the degree of variation?

Variometer

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 04:52 PM
Variometer

Do they always use the same one?

boombox
22-11-2007, 04:53 PM
Do they always use the same one?

It varies.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 04:56 PM
How do scientists measure the degree of variation?

It's quite easy: see what proportion of Individual A's genes are identical to Individual B's. The higher the proportion, the less the variation. You can map 'genetic trees' of population, species, genera etc.: the more variation between two populations, the greater the length of time since those populations diverged from a common ancestor. If you do this with primates, all the other great apes show up as big long branches, sometimes with widely-separated 'twigs' even within a single species, while humans look like a polarded tree - many tiny, stubby branches very close together.

mixed_biscuits
22-11-2007, 05:05 PM
Cheers, Mr T

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 05:49 PM
Here we are:
http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v27/n2/images/ng0201_155_F1.gif
Compare the degree of branching among humans to that of the other great apes.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 06:06 PM
Many great arguments everyone!

Mr Tea: Apropos of humans’ relatively limited degree of genetical variation, are there any examples of even very small genetic variations playing a major part in affecting a human’s bodily features?

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 06:37 PM
Many great arguments everyone!

Mr Tea: Apropos of humans’ relatively limited degree of genetical variation, are there any examples of even very small genetic variations playing a major part in affecting a human’s bodily features?

As far as I'm aware, just a single faulty gene (out of the 3 billion in the human genome) can put you at increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, metabolic dysfunctions, etc. etc. (which could certainly affect one's bodily features if it led to a congenital deformity such as dwarfism).

If you're talking about the variation of normal (i.e. non-pathalogical) genes in human populations, well, look around you! There are big differences in how people look, aren't there? Both between people of different 'race' (the '' are there because, as I said above, there are no hard-and-fast racial categories) and between people of basically the same ethnic origin. On the other hand, some ethnic groups are much more homogenous than others: for example, Somalis have quite distinctive facial features (moreso than, say, white Britons, who come historically from a very mixed stock).

That said, as far as I'm aware only a pretty small proportion of our genes encode for visible characteristics, so how similar or dissimilar two people look isn't necessarily a good indicator of how genetically similar they are. That said, I think it's a very big leap from acknowledging this to claiming there's "no such thing as race".

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 07:22 PM
This last post by Mr. Tea struggles to get halfway to where your average biologist already has been conceptually.

If "racial" difference is predicated upon how people look, then it ignores most of the much more important gene markers and is biologically meaningless.

I have never met a biologist who believes in race as a biological fact, btw.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 07:43 PM
Well what do we actually mean by 'race' here? If we're talking about the old classification of all of humanity into Caucasoid, Negroid or Mongoloid, each of which has a characteristic eye-width: pinky-length ratio or whatever, then of course I don't believe in it, and neither has any serious geneticist for a long time, of course. But there are nonetheless hereditary characteristics that are correlated to ethnicity, which is what I mean by 'race'. Isn't a bit thing in pharmaceuticals right now tailoring drugs to specific racial groups, since drugs that are very effective for some groups might not work for others, or because some groups are more prone to certain illnesses?

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 07:53 PM
Well what do we actually mean by 'race' here? If we're talking about the old classification of all of humanity into Caucasoid, Negroid or Mongoloid, each of which has a characteristic eye-width: pinky-length ratio or whatever, then of course I don't believe in it, and neither has any serious geneticist for a long time, of course. But there are nonetheless hereditary characteristics that are correlated to ethnicity, which is what I mean by 'race'. Isn't a bit thing in pharmaceuticals right now tailoring drugs to specific racial groups, since drugs that are very effective for some groups might not work for others, or because some groups are more prone to certain illnesses?

It's a big thing in pharmaceuticals to find something like elevated rates of heart disease in African-Americans (DUUH their more often than not inner-city lives are probably 10x more stressful than your average white middle class person's), so that, of course, this will mean black people will all run out and ask their doctor for a Plavix script.

At my last job we published a cardiology journal and all the findings about heart disease in African-Americans are highly controversial and have been widely challenged.

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 07:55 PM
Ethnicity and race are very different concepts, and ethnicity is usually tied to national origin so it has political origins that can mean it rivals racism as a useless category.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 08:02 PM
At my last job we published a cardiology journal and all the findings about heart disease in African-Americans are highly controversial and have been widely challenged.

OK, so there are going to be cases where genetic differences are masked or 'faked' by environmental/social factors, but there are still things like sickle-cell disease which occur far more often in people of certain 'racial' origins than others.

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 08:06 PM
Or that occur in people with common ancestors.

Mr. Tea
22-11-2007, 08:25 PM
Or that occur in people with common ancestors.

Which is more likely among people identifiably of the same 'race' than people selected at random from a mixed population, isn't it? I'm more likely to have an ancestor in common with another white British person - or even another white person from elsewhere in the world - than with an indigenous Kenyan or a Han Chinese, aren't I?
Of course without tracing out someone's entire family tree as far back as you want to go, you can only talk about likelihoods for an individual, but these likelihoods become trends when you look at large populations.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 09:44 PM
Wait a minute here. The first problem with this report is that recent findings seem to completely debunk the idea that we "all originated in africa", and that, in fact, there seems to be evidence of homo sapiens evolving in parallels at the same time around the earliest signs of human life we can find in Africa.

From what I can tell, the ‘Out-of-Africa’ theory enjoys the strongest support by far. But that’s not really important as the ‘multiregional hypothesis’, if anything, seems to lend even more credence to the hereditarians’ view.


How many times were these studies conducted, and by whom under whose auspices? Have these studies been replicated by anyone?

I highly doubt it.

Actually, they have been replicated. Three times. (Sort of.) From the report:


Three studies of East Asian children adopted by White families support the hereditarian hypothesis. In the first, 25 four-year-olds from Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand, all adopted into White American homes prior to 3 years of age, excelled in academic ability with a mean IQ score of 120, compared with the U.S. norm of 100 (Clark & Hanisee, 1982). Prior to placement, half of the babies had required hospitalization for malnutrition.

In the second study, Winick, Meyer, and Harris (1975) found 141 Korean children adopted as infants by American families exceeded the national average in both IQ and achievement scores when they reached 10 years of age. The principal interest of the investigators was on the possible effects of severe malnutrition on later intelligence, and many of these Korean children had been malnourished in infancy. When tested, those who had been severely malnourished as infants obtained a mean IQ of 102; a moderately well-nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 106; and an adequately nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 112.

A study by Frydman and Lynn (1989) examined 19 Korean infants adopted by families in Belgium. At about 10 years of age, their mean IQ was 119, the verbal IQ was 111, and the performance IQ was 124. Even correcting the Belgian norms upward to 109 to account for the increase in IQ scores over time (about 3 IQ points a decade; see Section 13), the Korean children still had a statistically significant 10-point advantage in mean IQ over indigenous Belgian children. Neither the social class of the adopting parents nor the number of years the child spent in the adopted family had any effect on the child’s IQ. (p. 259 f.)

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 09:44 PM
Ok, then talk about population trends. "Races" are another story.

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 09:46 PM
From what I can tell, the ‘Out-of-Africa’ theory enjoys the strongest support by far. But that’s not really important as the ‘multiregional hypothesis’, if anything, seems to lend even more credence to the hereditarians’ view.



Actually, they have been replicated. Three times. (Sort of.) From the report:


Three studies of East Asian children adopted by White families support the hereditarian hypothesis. In the first, 25 four-year-olds from Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand, all adopted into White American homes prior to 3 years of age, excelled in academic ability with a mean IQ score of 120, compared with the U.S. norm of 100 (Clark & Hanisee, 1982). Prior to placement, half of the babies had required hospitalization for malnutrition.

In the second study, Winick, Meyer, and Harris (1975) found 141 Korean children adopted as infants by American families exceeded the national average in both IQ and achievement scores when they reached 10 years of age. The principal interest of the investigators was on the possible effects of severe malnutrition on later intelligence, and many of these Korean children had been malnourished in infancy. When tested, those who had been severely malnourished as infants obtained a mean IQ of 102; a moderately well-nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 106; and an adequately nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 112.

A study by Frydman and Lynn (1989) examined 19 Korean infants adopted by families in Belgium. At about 10 years of age, their mean IQ was 119, the verbal IQ was 111, and the performance IQ was 124. Even correcting the Belgian norms upward to 109 to account for the increase in IQ scores over time (about 3 IQ points a decade; see Section 13), the Korean children still had a statistically significant 10-point advantage in mean IQ over indigenous Belgian children. Neither the social class of the adopting parents nor the number of years the child spent in the adopted family had any effect on the child’s IQ. (p. 259 f.)


Need I remind you that the only people who can adopt Asian children in the U.S. are generally successful and wealthy?

And who cares about IQ test results? They are not results that can be mapped onto "real world success" in any significant or mathematical manner.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 09:52 PM
Need I remind you that the only people who can adopt Asian children in the U.S. are generally successful and wealthy?

And who cares about IQ test results? They are not results that can be mapped onto "real world success" in any significant or mathematical manner.

The third study is from Belgium (about which they write, “neither the social class of the adopting parents nor the number of years the child spent in the adopted family had any effect on the child’s IQ”). How about adoptions of black people in the U.S.? Are these also predominantly made by well off people?

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 09:56 PM
The third study is from Belgium (about which they write, “neither the social class of the adopting parents nor the number of years the child spent in the adopted family had any effect on the child’s IQ”). How about adoptions of black people in the U.S.? Are these also predominantly made by well off people?

Yes. You have to pass vigorous screenings to even get a "pass" from the state in order to adopt, and these include assessments of your financial well-being, your married/single status, and even your sexual orientation in certain states. Some states do pretty extensive "background" checks.

It's no wonder then that only the upper upper middle class can even begin to think about adopting here. It's basically a leisure class activity.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 10:02 PM
Yes. You have to pass vigorous screenings to even get a "pass" from the state in order to adopt, and these include assessments of your financial well-being, your married/single status, and even your sexual orientation in certain states. Some states do pretty extensive "background" checks.

It's no wonder then that only the upper upper middle class can even begin to think about adopting here. It's basically a leisure class activity.

Ok, thanks. My next question, then, is if there is any reason to believe that the U.S. citizens who adopt East Asian children are more well off than those who adopt ‘White’ children?

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 10:05 PM
Ok, thanks. My next question, then, is if there is any reason to believe that the U.S. citizens who adopt East Asian children are more well off than those who adopt ‘White’ children?

I wouldn't be surprised--it costs a shitload to adopt from China and other EA countries, it's a complete racket as well.

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 10:27 PM
I wouldn't be surprised--it costs a shitload to adopt from China and other EA countries, it's a complete racket as well.

Ok. So what we need to know is: a) if the socio-economic status of those who adopt white, East Asian, and black children differ; b) if adopted children in general tend to score better than their respective group’s mean average; c) if cultural factors burden the adopted children at all (hypothesis: if each child’s IQ correlates with the mean IQ of his or her’s native country such can be partly ruled out).

nomadologist
22-11-2007, 10:40 PM
Ok. So what we need to know is: a) if the socio-economic status of those who adopt white, East Asian, and black children differ; b) if adopted children in general tend to score better than their respective group’s mean average; c) if cultural factors burden the adopted children at all (hypothesis: if each child’s IQ correlates with the mean IQ of his or her’s native country such can be partly ruled out).

And then what would you have? A bunch of meaningless figures.

dHarry
22-11-2007, 10:58 PM
OK, so there are going to be cases where genetic differences are masked or 'faked' by environmental/social factors, but there are still things like sickle-cell disease which occur far more often in people of certain 'racial' origins than others.

Or that occur in people with common ancestors.
yes, and:

There has been criticism of associating disorders with race. For example, in the United States sickle cell is typically associated with black people, but this trait is also found in people of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Indian ancestry.[26] The sickle cell trait offers some resistance to malaria. In regions where malaria is present sickle cell has been positively selected and consequently the proportion of people with it is greater. Therefore, it has been argued that sickle cell should not be associated with a particular race, but rather with having ancestors who lived in a malaria-prone region. Africans living in areas where there is no malaria, such as the East African highlands, have prevalence of sickle cell as low as parts of Northern Europe.
Is the main objection to "race" its historical use to justify prejudice/racism, rather than the mere fact that it's a socio-cultural construct? If we agreed to say "broad population trends based on common ancestry" or something more accurate instead, could "race" not be a shorthand for that, or is it just too tainted as a concept, or is it just too meaningless scientifically?

Guybrush
22-11-2007, 11:00 PM
Here are the results for the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Transracial_Adoption_Study), mentioned in the APA report:

Adopting parents tested when children were 7 and 17: 120*, 115**
Nonadopted, with two White biological parents: 117*, 109**
Adopted, with two White biological parents: 112*, 106**
Adopted, with one White and one Black biological parent: 109*, 99**
Adopted, with two Black biological parents: 97*, 89**

* Score at IQ test conducted at the age of 7
** Score at IQ test conducted at the age of 17
(The two tests were different and were also differently weighted.)

Thus, the mean IQ for seven-year-old adopted children with two White biological parents was 117 (the tests being conducted in 1975).

By comparison, in the APA report, the mean IQ in the first test (conducted in the late 70s/early 80s on four-year-olds) was 120; in the second test (conducted in the mid-70s on ten-year-olds) it was 112 (for the ‘adequately nourished’ group); in the third test (conducted on Belgian ten-year-olds in the mid-to-late 80s) the mean average was 119.

All in all, it does seem like there is very little difference (117 vs 120, 112 and 119). I find it astonishing that the APA researchers compared the adopted East Asian kids to average White kids rather than adopted White kids.

mistersloane
22-11-2007, 11:27 PM
Wait a minute here. The first problem with this report is that recent findings seem to completely debunk the idea that we "all originated in africa", and that, in fact, there seems to be evidence of homo sapiens evolving in parallels at the same time around the earliest signs of human life we can find in Africa.

Do they? Have you got links to any of that? Last stuff I read we we had still come out of there but just a bit quicker than we'd thought previous

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg19626271.800-going-global-how-humans-conquered-the-world.html

mistersloane
22-11-2007, 11:32 PM
I find it astonishing that the APA researchers compared the adopted East Asian kids to average White kids rather than adopted White kids.

Don't be! My sisters were adopted in the 60s and were sold as sisters, a package, because they both came from (different) but similarly mixed-race backgrounds. We've come along way in 30 years with regard to the way 'race' is seen.

I used to know a guy who was one of the head guys in Edinburgh Uni who compiled IQ tests - I argued with him til I was in tears -and I'm afraid - fascinating though this thread is - I just can't go there with them, or even with statistics to a large extent.

nomadologist
23-11-2007, 04:08 AM
This is what I had in mind in particular:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6518527.stm

But there have been plenty of finds in Australia and elsewhere that challenge the "Out of Africa" hypothesis. Looking around the internet, though, looks like in more recent months DNA mapping has cleared up the inconsistencies to a certain extent.

nomadologist
23-11-2007, 04:09 AM
yes, and:

Is the main objection to "race" its historical use to justify prejudice/racism, rather than the mere fact that it's a socio-cultural construct? If we agreed to say "broad population trends based on common ancestry" or something more accurate instead, could "race" not be a shorthand for that, or is it just too tainted as a concept, or is it just too meaningless scientifically?

The latter, I would say.

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 08:37 AM
This last post by Mr. Tea struggles to get halfway to where your average biologist already has been conceptually.

If "racial" difference is predicated upon how people look, then it ignores most of the much more important gene markers and is biologically meaningless.

I have never met a biologist who believes in race as a biological fact, btw.

Yes, it's as if the many racist posters on this thread (particularly Vim, all of whose posts on politics on this forum are fundamentally racist) can simply deny their racism while impotently continuing to believe, hysterically continuing to insist on 'race,' clueless to the fact that it is such a belief that constitutes racism at its purest, not a biological fact but a psychosocial pathology. This appalling thread has nothing whatsoever to do with IQ (itself a culturally-determined and applied arbitrary ideological construct) or heredity (genetic variability being a foundational axiom of evolutionary theory, something these racist 'studies' completely ignore) but everything to do with the perpetuation of a racist agenda. It would make you believe their own genes are so mutated as to include a dominant racist one :cool: Alas, no, as we know from the findings of psychoanalytic theory. More on this anon ...

zhao
23-11-2007, 08:39 AM
ive recently heard that a recent historical study shows that merely 500 years ago europeans were much darker than now. that it was some fluke of a mutation which made their pigment as pale as it is today. anyone know more about this?

zhao
23-11-2007, 10:03 AM
not having read what has been said in this thread (i will, it interests me how people here have reacted to this topic - but something tells me not too many surprises lie in store), i just want to say that the entire project is based on a very limited scope of what constitutes "intelligence". this scope is limited to the values of our current economic and political system, which people who are living in it seem all but incapable of recognizing as a very recent, and will prove to be very brief, way of life for humans.

having said that, i do think the authors down-play of social, cultural, and "environmental" factors and his focus on "genetic" reasons for inequality betray the most absurd, not to mention vile, kind of reactionary racism.

i would have liked to see a similar test of "average IQ among groups" 500 years ago, when the wealthy in Europe sent their kids to the African ruled, Islamist Spain to be educated. at a time when europeans were the savages blacks of wealth, taste, and higher learning pitied and made fun of -- a race of filthy half-wits who shat in the street and tortured each other.

IdleRich
23-11-2007, 10:43 AM
"Yes, it's as if the many racist posters on this thread"
Unfortunately being "identified" as racist by HMLT no longer has any meaning whatsoever. It's a shame to rob such an important word of its power but there you are.

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 11:15 AM
Unfortunately being "identified" as racist by HMLT no longer has any meaning whatsoever. It's a shame to rob such an important word of its power but there you are.

Robbing it of meaning, depoliticizing it, is precisely what the racist posters are doing here, Idlerich. Look, I've already explained and repeated in many posts here why the belief in 'race' is the very definition of racism; its simple to comprehend, but - for racists - impossible to acknowledge.

And you're utterly deluded in this, idlerich, for pathetically trying to reverse what's actually going on in this thread (to make disturbingly racist ideas acceptable and reasonable and 'neutral'). That finally tells me all I want to know about you, another seemingly racist apologist.

Racism is, and always has been, a displacement, a deflection of social antagonisms (like class conflict), which is why the extreme Right always need the figure of the Racial Other for their ideology to function. What we are dealing with is an imaginary cartography, which projects onto the real landscape of human populations its own shadowy ideological antagonisms, in the same way that the hysterical subject projects onto the physical body the map of another, imaginary anatomy (as the Nazi's imagined the Jew). Much of this projection is racist, one which ultimately views whole societies, like those in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq as terminal cases, as merely lingering on, still alive, yet already written off, treated as a kind of political Aids patient, stigmatised as a mad place where lesser people kill each other for the sheer pleasure of doing it.

"This new racism of the developed world is in a way much more brutal than the previous one: Its implicit legitimization is neither naturalist (the "natural" superiority of the developed West) nor culturalist (we in the West also want to preserve our cultural identity). Rather, it's an unabashed economic egotism - the fundamental divide is the one between those included into the sphere of (relative) economic prosperity and those excluded from it."---Zizek.

IdleRich
23-11-2007, 11:19 AM
"And you're utterly deluded in this, idlerich, for pathetically trying to reverse what's actually going on in this thread (to make disturbingly racist ideas acceptable and reasonable and 'neutral'). That finally tells me all I want to know about you, another seemingly racist apologist."
That's what you said about me before - when I pointed out that you had got the relationship between tax and incentive the wrong way round.
I then point out that indiscriminately throwing around accusations of racism just because someone disagrees with you devalues the term - and you call me a racist again. Brilliant.

vimothy
23-11-2007, 01:29 PM
not having read what has been said in this thread (i will, it interests me how people here have reacted to this topic - but something tells me not too many surprises lie in store), i just want to say that the entire project is based on a very limited scope of what constitutes "intelligence". this scope is limited to the values of our current economic and political system, which people who are living in it seem all but incapable of recognizing as a very recent, and will prove to be very brief, way of life for humans.

That being the case, I don't understand why you go on to say,


having said that, i do think the authors down-play of social, cultural, and "environmental" factors and his focus on "genetic" reasons for inequality betray the most absurd, not to mention vile, kind of reactionary racism.

given you think that IQ tests only measure ability to take IQ tests.


i would have liked to see a similar test of "average IQ among groups" 500 years ago, when the wealthy in Europe sent their kids to the African ruled, Islamist Spain to be educated. at a time when europeans were the savages blacks of wealth, taste, and higher learning pitied and made fun of -- a race of filthy half-wits who shat in the street and tortured each other.

Firstly, Islamist Spain is way off -- it might have been Muslim Spain, it might have been Islamic Spain, but it certainly wasn't Islamist.

Secondly, are you really suggesting that today blacks are "savages", & "a race of filthy half-wits who shat in the street and tortured each other"? WTF are you going on about?

Mr. Tea
23-11-2007, 01:40 PM
ive recently heard that a recent historical study shows that merely 500 years ago europeans were much darker than now. that it was some fluke of a mutation which made their pigment as pale as it is today. anyone know more about this?

500 years ago most Europeans were agricultural labourers, so of course they were bound to be darker-skinned than modern Europeans.

Mr. Tea
23-11-2007, 01:44 PM
Look, I've already explained and repeated in many posts here why the belief in 'race' is the very definition of racism; its simple to comprehend, but - for racists - impossible to acknowledge.


This is categorically untrue. Racism is the belief that people of one racial origin are inherently superior or inferior to others. Recognising that race exists - which it clearly does - no more makes one racist than recognising that some people are male and some female makes you sexist.

vimothy
23-11-2007, 01:50 PM
This is categorically untrue. Racism is the belief that people of one racial origin are inherently superior or inferior to others. Recognising that race exists - which it clearly does - no more makes one racist than recognising that some people are male and some female makes you sexist.

Indeed:


3. Whitey does not come out on top. If you came here looking for material for your Aryan supremacy Web site, sorry. Stratifying the world by racial IQ will leave your volk in the dust. You might want to think about marrying a nice Jewish girl from Hong Kong. Or maybe reconsider that whole stratification idea.

Guybrush
23-11-2007, 02:24 PM
ive recently heard that a recent historical study shows that merely 500 years ago europeans were much darker than now. that it was some fluke of a mutation which made their pigment as pale as it is today. anyone know more about this?

Interesting passage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_africa_theory) on skin colour:


Hairiness is the default state of most mammals, though a few have lost much of their hair for a variety of reasons. They include many aquatic mammals such as dolphins and hippopotami, the naked mole rat and humans. Most non-human primates have lightly pigmented skin covered by fur. Scientists believe that early protohominids resembled our closest relative, the chimpanzee, with white skin covered by dark hair. The hominids began to walk upright and left the shade of the trees for the open savannah and therefore required a more efficient cooling system. The brain uses significant amounts of energy but is very sensitive to heat, so the increased brain power of the early hominids also required a finer thermoregulatory system. As a result humans evolved more sweat glands, especially on the face, which required the loss of hair for more effective evaporation. Sexual selection by a preference for naked skin may have played a secondary role as well. Though naked skin is advantageous for thermoregulation, it exposes the epidermis to destructive levels of UV radiation that can cause sunburn, skin cancer and birth defects resulting from the destruction of the essential vitamin B folate. To protect the epidermis natural selection favored increased levels of melanin in the skin.

The general consensus among scholars is therefore that the first modern humans would have been dark skinned. When humans migrated to less sun intensive regions in the north, the dark skin that was adapted to blocking out much of the UV radiation in the tropics would block even the minimum amount of radiation required for cells under the skin to produce Vitamin D. This is essential for bone growth, as deficiencies in vitamin D cause rickets. Thus skin color would revert back to its default form present before the process of hair loss began, but this time without the hair. Whilst the timing of this change from dark to light skin has not yet been established it is possible that the early settlers of Europe and Asia were dark skinned. Aside from skin color however, which despite the above could also arguably be included, the majority of apparent difference in human physical appearance around the world, or what may also be called racial features, can also be explained through the process of regional sexual selection of relatively recent evolutionary origin.

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 03:05 PM
This is categorically untrue. Racism is the belief that people of one racial origin are inherently superior or inferior to others. Recognising that race exists - which it clearly does.

This is hopeless. Recognizing that race 'exists' precisely entails accepting the racist agenda, it is constitutive of it, despite what anyone 'believes.'

Recognising that racism exists - which it clearly does, is the issue; indeed, it is so institutionalized in Western societies as to be unconscious. Simply seeing it as some rarefied, abstract 'belief' (which, of course, can always be simply denied) is to spirit away its political reality as a ritualized practice, as a form of behaviour (including the publishing of racist tracts like The Bell Curve).

'Microaggressions are subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously. In and of itself a microaggression may seem harmless, but the cumulative burden of a lifetime of microaggressions can theoretically contribute to diminished mortality, augmented morbidity, and flattened confidence. Little is known about microaggressions, and yet this subtle form of racism has a dramatic impact on the lives of African Americans. Pierce and his colleagues have defined racial microaggressions as "subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are 'put downs' of blacks by offenders" (Pierce, Carew, Pierce-Gonzalez, & Wills, 1978, p. 66). They further maintain that these "offensive mechanisms used against blacks often are innocuous" and that the "cumulative weight of their never-ending burden is the major ingredient in black-white interactions" (p. 66). Additionally, Davis (1989) defined racial microaggressions as "stunning, automatic acts of disregard that stem from unconscious attitudes of white superiority and constitute a verification of black inferiority."'


Critical race theory, racial microaggressions, and campus racial climate: The experiences of African American college students (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3626/is_200001/ai_n8894484)

Mr. Tea
23-11-2007, 03:27 PM
This is hopeless.
You've got that right, for once.


Recognizing that race 'exists' precisely entails accepting the racist agenda, it is constitutive of it, despite what anyone 'believes.'
This is just the highest level of delusional bullshit.

It doesn't even make sense for there to be such a thing as racism, unless you acknowledge race. Why might a dark-skinned person experience prejudice? Because of societal racism, of course - I'm pretty sure no-one here is denying that it exists. But why does that person have dark skin in the first place? Because they've inherited it from their ancestors, just as everyone inherits skin colour, hair colour, facial features, etc. etc. from their ancestors. This is what race means.

zhao
23-11-2007, 03:39 PM
WTF are you going on about?

that at a time (not that long ago) when europe was under developed, when europeans were filthy savages that shat in the streets and tortured each other, when the IslamIC African Moors who ruled Spain were pursuing art, music, philosophy, and science --- that at a time like this, i would have liked to see the results of a similar study comparing the average mental capacity of different racial groups.

my point being, just in case anyone a bit thick in the head has any problems figuring it out (or more likely intentionally misinterpret the above), that europeans would have undoubtedly scored much lower in such a test during that time period.

and this demonstrates that

1. the results of such tests have no bearing what so EVER on any geneticist model, and

2. has everything to do with environment, culture, circumstance, and the conceit/prejudice of those who happen to have the upper hand (just so happens those conducting the tests).


500 years ago most Europeans were agricultural labourers, so of course they were bound to be darker-skinned than modern Europeans.

surely that is one factor. but the study i heard about had to do with a particular freakish mutation which made europeans so pale, besides the effects of the sun.

Slothrop
23-11-2007, 03:41 PM
surely that is one factor. but the study i heard about had to do with a particular freakish mutation which made europeans so pale, besides the effects of the sun.
Did it make us shit at dancing too? :p

zhao
23-11-2007, 03:46 PM
and according to the study which sparked this thread I'M SMARTER THAN ALL OF YOU SO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

lol

(note: taking the piss. again, for those unfortunates who could not have figured it out)

Mr. Tea
23-11-2007, 03:54 PM
surely that is one factor. but the study i heard about had to do with a particular freakish mutation which made europeans so pale, besides the effects of the sun.

You just want to think of white people as 'mutants', don't you? ;)

I dunno, I've seen Roman portraits which look pretty similar to modern-day Mediterraneans, in both skin tone and facial features. Bear in mind that any 'mutation' would have to confer an evolutionary advantage in order to spread through a population, and 500 years is next to nothing in evolutionary terms.

For a long time in Europe it was fashionable to have very pale skin, as it marked the aristocracy from the commoners (most of whom, as I said, worked outside), but this difference arose simply from their different lifestyles. In the 20th century this was reversed as most people worked indoors and a tan showed you could afford to holiday somewhere hot and sunny.

vimothy
23-11-2007, 03:55 PM
that at a time (not that long ago) when europe was under developed, when europeans were filthy savages that shat in the streets and tortured each other, when the IslamIC African Moors who ruled Spain were pursuing art, music, philosophy, and science --- that at a time like this, i would have liked to see the results of a similar study comparing the average mental capacity of different racial groups.

Well, it just seems as though implicit in your argument is the idea that Muslim rule of Spain was the time when the "boot was on the other foot" so to speak (which is obviously why you brought it up), and therefore whitey was the "filthy savage" shitting in the street, i.e. the positions were reversed, i.e. Europeans were then, but Africans are currently filthy savages who shit in the street.


my point being, just in case anyone a bit thick in the head has any problems figuring it out (or more likely intentionally misinterpret the above), that europeans would have undoubtedly scored much lower in such a test during that time period.

I'm not intentionally misinterpreting what you said -- you are trying to racially slur white Europeans to score some sort of point against imaginary racists and manage to racially slur black Africans as well.


and this demonstrates that

1. the results of such tests have no bearing what so EVER on any geneticist model, and

2. has everything to do with environment, culture, circumstance, and the conceit/prejudice of those who happen to have the upper hand (just so happens those conducting the tests).

In fact, this is both entirely plausible and furthermore entirely hypothetical and backed up by nothing more than your opinion of an imaginary situation.

It also (point 2) doesn't take into account the fact that white people (as the dominant racial group in the racist society carrying out this research) don't come out on top -- SE Asians and Jews do.

zhao
23-11-2007, 04:24 PM
Europeans were then, but Africans are currently filthy savages who shit in the street.


you are trying to racially slur white Europeans to score some sort of point against imaginary racists and manage to racially slur black Africans as well.

Africans are disadvantaged and under-developed now just like Europeans were back then. yes.

you got a problem with that? i dare you to try to say that this is somehow "racist".

ive seen this trick before. its like the one who farted accusing others of having broken wind. no vimothy, it will not hide who is the racist here how ever you pathetically try to slander and mud-sling.


entirely hypothetical and backed up by nothing more than your opinion of an imaginary situation.

the situation of europe being under developed a mere 500 years ago is not imaginary. (only sad that so many people are afflicted with such painfully short memory span - more likely they choose not to remember) only the "if such a study was conducted back then" part is hypothetical. and that hypothesis is not very far fetched at all.

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 04:25 PM
You've got that right, for once.

This is just the highest level of delusional bullshit.

It is those who believe in race who are delusional


It doesn't even make sense for there to be such a thing as racism, unless you acknowledge race.

This is analogous to saying that it makes no sense for there to have been Nazi anti-Semitism unless you acknowledge the 'racial inferiority' of Jews.



Why might a dark-skinned person experience prejudice?

Because of idiots like some of those posting here who believe in 'race' as an empirical reality, so perpetuating such prejudice.



But why does that person have dark skin in the first place?

So that racists can 'justify' their racial delirium, numbnut.


Because they've inherited it from their ancestors, just as everyone inherits skin colour, hair colour, facial features, etc. etc. from their ancestors. This is what race means.

No, race MEANS using such arbitrary features of a population to justify a racist agenda, as we have been witnessing on a massive scale for hundreds of years, not that you're familiar with any such history.

Mr. Tea
23-11-2007, 04:37 PM
This:

This is analogous to saying that it makes no sense for there to have been Nazi anti-Semitism unless you acknowledge the 'racial inferiority' of Jews.
is nonsense. What I've been trying to say is that (to used this example) the concept of anti-Semitism is meaningless unless you consider Jews as a distinct group (which Jews themselves certainly tend to do).
Otherwise, what does it meant to call someone 'Jewish'? You've just denied their very existence. How's that for anti-semetic?

To put it another way, if a kid with glasses gets bullied for it at school, pretending that he does not wear glasses - which is what you're trying to do by denying the idea of race - is not going to help matters for him. What you need to do is make his bullies realise that there is nothing wrong with wearing glasses, and that bullying on any grounds is unacceptable.

vimothy
23-11-2007, 04:38 PM
Africans are disadvantaged and under-developed now just like Europeans were back then. yes.

you got a problem with that? i dare you to try to say that this is somehow "racist".

I don't have a problem with that. In fact I agree with it. However, it's obviously very different to saying "Africans are filthy savages who shit in the street" or "Europeans are filthy savages who shit in the street".


ive seen this trick before. its like the one who farted accusing others of having broken wind. no vimothy, it will not hide who is the racist here how ever you pathetically try to slander and mud-sling.

What trick? Sorry but they were your words, Zhao. And I didn't accuse you of being a racist (though apparently you agree with hmlt that I am somehow "categorically racist" - a racist regardless of how I think I might feel about other races - basically on the basis of not agreeing with your stupid teenage leftist nihilism, tedious psychoanalytical nonsense and new age fantasies), I accused you of racially slurring people. "Black Africans are savages who shit in the street" sounds like racism to be. I don't see why it should be any different for white Europeans.

zhao
23-11-2007, 04:43 PM
yes ok. i apologize for my colorful choice of words employed to illustrate racism toward disadvantaged people, and how they are seen by those who have the upper hand. i can see how that could have been offensive to some.

vimothy
23-11-2007, 04:48 PM
the situation of europe being under developed a mere 500 years ago is not imaginary. (only sad that so many people are afflicted with such painfully short memory span - more likely they choose not to remember) only the "if such a study was conducted back then" part is hypothetical. and that hypothesis is not very far fetched at all.

And this you should be able to figure out for yourself. I was not claiming that there was no Islamic Golden Age. Of course there was. No doubt they also had people like you there who wanted to destroy it and return everbody to a life berry eating and early death.

Anyway -- you said "imagine a study comparing mean IQs across different racial groups in Moorish Spain".

Er, ok.

"Look, the results clearly show that the Moors were a lot more intelligent than the filthy savages in the rest of Europe".

They do? Er, ok....

"This demonstrates that the whole genetics angle on IQ is wrong, that everything is nurture and the environment, and, while we're at it, it confirms the racist underpinnings of the contemporary research into IQ and race."

It does? Isn't this IQ testing in Moorish Spain just imaginary, though? Isn't it more the case that, it might prove that, if the research had actually been carried out, but it hasn't been carried out and so you'd be pretty hard pushed to justify drawing those conclusions from an evidence base that only exists hypothetically?

zhao
23-11-2007, 04:50 PM
apparently you agree with hmlt that I am somehow "categorically racist"

do you or do you not at least partially agree with a geneticist explanation of inequality?

if you don't, at all, I apologize, and you are not racist. but anyone who believes that shit is racist scum.


your stupid (blah blah blah -ed)

HEY!! LET'S NOT FORGET WHO IS THE SMARTER ONE HERE!! :D:D:D:D

vimothy
23-11-2007, 05:09 PM
do you or do you not at least partially agree with a geneticist explanation of inequality?

if you don't, at all, I apologize, and you are not racist. but anyone who believes that shit is racist scum.

I had no position on this prior to Guybrush starting this thread. I think that families of people developed differently around the world accroding to geography, and can be described as "races" (or by another proxy, according to taste). I wouldn't have thought a fan of Jared Diamond like yourself would disagree with that. And I do think that hmlt disliking something is a pretty reliable indicator that it is of value. In fact I wasn't previously interested in this at all, but there's actually lots of fascinating stuff to read about it over the internet. I'm not sure what you mean by "inequality". (Sub-Saharan Africa is poor because the people there have low IQs)? I think African states are poor because they have terrible governments. I leave science to the scientists, but I certainly don't think that drawing conclusions from your research that you believe to be true is reprehensible. The opposite is true surely. It's quite out of our hands -- just as I have no choice over whether the earth is round or flat (or flat but with bumps), whether god exists or whether we evolved from apes, so I have no choice over whether my genes predetermine to an extent my IQ. It does or it doesn't, regardless of what I want.


HEY!! LET'S NOT FORGET WHO IS THE SMARTER ONE HERE!! :D:D:D:D

No danger of that....

:cool:

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 08:34 PM
This:

is nonsense. What I've been trying to say is that (to used this example) the concept of anti-Semitism is meaningless unless you consider Jews as a distinct group (which Jews themselves certainly tend to do).
Otherwise, what does it meant to call someone 'Jewish'? You've just denied their very existence. How's that for anti-semetic?


Denied the Nazi notion of their existence, which was pure racism. You still don't see the conceptual error here? The claim that anti-Semitism had an empirical basis, a result of 'factual' observations about Jews? But Nazi anti-Semitism had nothing to do with actual Jews, but rather with a racialized delirium that attributed (displaced) blame for the social traumas of Germany on to a phantasmatic other labelled 'Jew'. If it was such a distinct group, then why were Jews required to wear identifying tags, among many other perverse indignities? Because the racializing imaginary designated it so, as a distinct group that could be so obsessively designated by 'empirical' means in order to 'prove' their Nazi pre-assigned status.

The real question to ask, and the true enigma, is why did the Nazis so desperately, so pathologically need the figure of the Jew for their paranoid ideology to function, constructing it in such an obscenely racialized way that it bore no relation to any empirical social reality? Why is it that when you take away their - phantasmatic - figure of the Jew the whole Nazi edifice disintegrates? Just as when you remove the 'barbaric negro' from the slave trade, that whole system also collapses?

And, more relevantly, why does today's West require it's equally paranoid 'war on terror' [again racialized] for its ideology to function?

zhao
23-11-2007, 09:08 PM
HMLT what you are doing is this:

http://www.viewingspace.com/genetics_culture/images_genetics_culture/gc_wk_03/hoyt/DeadHare.jpg

hundredmillionlifetimes
23-11-2007, 09:44 PM
Super-Zhao must explain that to blues-ridden Grover http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa116/hundredmillionlifetimes/img8906uo4.jpg

nomadologist
24-11-2007, 02:35 AM
You know, I expect this sort of rabid bullshit from Vimothy, but frankly given Mr. Tea's science background I'm appalled at a lot of what he's posted in this thread.

Surely you must be on a campus with quite a few biologists floating around? Go talk to them about it, since you seem to have no clue that the scientific establishment at large does not recognize race as "biologically" based.

zhao
24-11-2007, 04:18 AM
blues-ridden grover

ah hahahaha... :D ya killin me

zhao
24-11-2007, 04:23 AM
he looks depressed... and he's... blue! :D

mixed_biscuits
24-11-2007, 08:15 AM
do you or do you not at least partially agree with a geneticist explanation of inequality?


Zhao, what do you think genes are actually there for?

Without genes, you wouldn't have any IQ or intelligence at all, as you wouldn't exist in the first place.

Do you think that everybody is genetically identical?

If you don't, then you must accept that some of the causes of obvious differences between people are genetic.

Why do you think that humans are different from other animals? Could it be the genes or is it because the media is particularly effective in convincing us not to be lichen, porpoises or orangutans?

zhao
24-11-2007, 09:24 AM
dear mixed_up, you fail to grasp the meaning of my question. i don't understand how it is possible because the entire conversation has been about inequality between black americans and white americans, or between white europeans and black africans. and not about inequality between stephen hawking and your next door neighbor. a simple addendum should make it more clear:

do you or do you not at least partially agree with a geneticist explanation of inequality between (what are perceived as) different "racial" groups?

zhao
24-11-2007, 09:27 AM
You know, I expect this sort of rabid bullshit from Vimothy, but frankly given Mr. Tea's science background I'm appalled at a lot of what he's posted in this thread.

you mean rabbit bullshit :D:D

noel emits
24-11-2007, 01:25 PM
I agree that 'race' as such does not exist, that's just silly. Also 'inequality' implies a value judgment that none of us as humans are qualified to make. But these are inaccurate terms to begin with.

What if we were to talk about 'breeds' and 'difference'? In terms of dogs would it really be sensible to say that poodles did not exhibit genetically derived characteristics that were identifiably distinct from beagles? That's what defines a breed. Of course we're all mutts and I am certainly not saying that poodles are superior to beagles, but they are different enough in a consistent way to be identifiable as such. So let's not let squeamishness about 'racism' get in the way of making reasonable observations.

noel emits
24-11-2007, 01:40 PM
And, more relevantly, why does today's West require it's equally paranoid 'war on terror' [again racialized] for its ideology to function?
Indeed, this is a discussion worth having. Maybe another thread though.

I wonder if this isn't rather more calculated then straight up paranoid 'racism'. Demonising the islamic denizens of the middle-east obviously serves more than just a psychological purpose. The human tribal capacity to fear members of other groups is well understood and cynically employed to political and economic ends.

Mr. Tea
24-11-2007, 06:11 PM
You know, I expect this sort of rabid bullshit from Vimothy, but frankly given Mr. Tea's science background I'm appalled at a lot of what he's posted in this thread.


Like what? What have I posted in this thread that's so desperately unscientific? All I'm saying is that a large part of what people look like, and certain other biological (eg. metabolic, immunological) characteristics, is hereditary. And that these patterns of heredity are correlated to where in the world one's ancestors happened to come from. I mean, is there anything I've written there that's factually incorrect? If there is, I'd be delighted to see some hard evidence to the contrary.

Edit: as a case in point, surely it's pretty obvious from watching any international sports or athletics competition that people of different (here we go, hold tight) race - or colour, ethnic origin, whatever you want to call it - are inherently suited to different kinds of events? I mean, when was the last time there was a heavyweight boxing champion who wasn't of west African origin? Or a world-class swimmer who wasn't a north European? Most of the best long-distance runners are east Africans, east Asians and east Europeans dominate gymnastics events...these correlations are far too strong to be explained by cultural differences. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of white boxers who'd give their right arm to be world heavyweight champion, but the fact is they're just not as good at it as black guys.

mixed_biscuits
24-11-2007, 06:32 PM
What if we were to talk about 'breeds' and 'difference'? In terms of dogs would it really be sensible to say that poodles did not exhibit genetically derived characteristics that were identifiably distinct from beagles? That's what defines a breed. Of course we're all mutts and I am certainly not saying that poodles are superior to beagles, but they are different enough in a consistent way to be identifiable as such. So let's not let squeamishness about 'racism' get in the way of making reasonable observations.

Hear hear.

zhao
25-11-2007, 10:16 AM
the following 2 quotes exhibit "superficial" surface differences that are ENTIRELY the products of culture and environment. the big, common mistake is to confuse such noticeable surface differences with something much deeper. and the racist agenda uses these frivolous differences to construct their idea of race as something fundamental, which it isn't.


I agree that 'race' as such does not exist

I am certainly not saying that poodles are superior to beagles, but they are different enough in a consistent way to be identifiable as such. So let's not let squeamishness about 'racism' get in the way of making reasonable observations.

all dogs are bred from the wolf. and these different breeds come from human genetic engineering.


surely it's pretty obvious from watching any international sports or athletics competition that people of different (here we go, hold tight) race - or colour, ethnic origin, whatever you want to call it - are inherently suited to different kinds of events?

having lived in different environments for the past 10,000 to how ever many years is accountable for these different, again, surface attributes. similar to the thing with asians as a whole not able to drink as much alcohol because we developed a different method to kill the bacteria in drinking water (your name sake).

it is a very different thing to posit that any "race" is inherently this or that. and attempting to legitimize differences in "intelligence" (whatever the hell that means) is hugely problematic.

europeans might be more adapted at survival in a european way of life the same way a New Guinean is more adapted at survival in their environment. but to use a system rooted in one lifestyle to measure qualities of people of another, is absurd and racist.

and that is exactly what the bell KKKurve people are trying to do, using trivial physical differences as well as different adaptive behaviors both deriving from (relative to the history of human species) recent development, as "proof" of fundamental differences, in order to construct a racist doctrine and contaminate the population with racist ideas.

noel emits
25-11-2007, 11:29 AM
the following 2 quotes exhibit "superficial" surface differences that are ENTIRELY the products of culture and environment. the big, common mistake is to confuse such noticeable surface differences with something much deeper. and the racist agenda uses these frivolous differences to construct their idea of race as something fundamental, which it isn't.
To be clear that's obviously not what I'm doing. The word 'race' is causing confusion and yes if we are not pursuing a racist agenda we should probably not use it. But just because the idea of different human 'races' is a fallacy that is used to whatever ends doesn't mean that different populations do not exhibit different characteristics, however those arise.

all dogs are bred from the wolf. and these different breeds come from human genetic engineering.
And environmental conditions, of which human intervention could be considered a part anyway. There would be (and are in fact) different types of wolf descendents even if humans never messed around with dogs. It just happens, populations acquire certain characteristics.

having lived in different environments for the past 10,000 to how ever many years is accountable for these different, again, surface attributes. similar to the thing with asians as a whole not able to drink as much alcohol because we developed a different method to kill the bacteria in drinking water (your name sake).

it is a very different thing to posit that any "race" is inherently this or that. and attempting to legitimize differences in "intelligence" (whatever the hell that means) is hugely problematic.

europeans might be more adapted at survival in a European way of life the same way a New Guinean is more adapted at survival in their environment. but to use a system rooted in one lifestyle to measure qualities of people of another, is absurd and racist.
We are not as humans qualified to make biased judgments on 'intelligence', but to ignore that different populations can exhibit different qualities is also absurd.

I don't think anyone here is exhibiting a racist mindset - it's just careless use of the word 'race'. Equally it doesn't help to ignore something just because others use it as evidence to support a sick ideology. All we are really doing here is arguing about the definition of a word, as so often happens in these discussions.

The intelligence thing is ridiculous - intelligence is multi-faceted and no test, especially one designed by other humans, can possibly measure all it's aspects reliably.

noel emits
25-11-2007, 11:33 AM
Of course I agree with what you say there zhao, I just don't think it's reasonable that others here are being attacked for their 'racist' views when they are just pointing out that people are not all identical.

zhao
25-11-2007, 11:53 AM
I don't think anyone here is exhibiting a racist mindset - it's just careless use of the word 'race'. Equally it doesn't help to ignore something just because others use it as evidence to support a sick ideology. All we are really doing here is arguing about the definition of a word, as so often happens in these discussions.

fair enough. and no vimothy and tea probably are not straight-up racists (that they know of anyhow). but failing to recognize and even supporting some of the claims made by racists is not really let-slide-able.

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:12 PM
The intelligence thing is ridiculous - intelligence is multi-faceted and no test, especially one designed by other humans, can possibly measure all it's aspects reliably.

Bear in mind that general intelligence g is a statistical, rather than real, entity and that it is used precisely because it is very good at predicting performance across a range of intellectual activities (ultimately because all intellectual activity is fundamentally of a piece).

I see no-one wants to take up the training-for-IQ-test challenge. :slanted:

If there was evidence that ppl could boost their performance on respected IQ tests from average to top 5%, then I would start feeling sceptical, but I don't think that this is feasible, however many practice tests you wade through.

Someone with IQ 150 would be able to best a person with IQ 90 at any intellectual endeavour (savants excepted).

noel emits
25-11-2007, 12:21 PM
Bear in mind that general intelligence g is a statistical, rather than real, entity and that it is used precisely because it is very good at predicting performance across a range of intellectual activities (ultimately because all intellectual activity is fundamentally of a piece).

I see no-one wants to take up the training-for-IQ-test challenge. :slanted:

If there was evidence that ppl could boost their performance on respected IQ tests from average to top 5%, then I would start feeling sceptical, but I don't think that this is feasible, however many practice tests you wade through.

Someone with IQ 150 would be able to best a person with IQ 90 at any intellectual endeavour (savants excepted).
Well there you go. There's a massive error here, and it's the result of cultural and scientific bias. Intellectual capacity is by no means the only aspect of intelligence. In cybernetic terms intelligence is the capacity of a system to absorb, integrate and utilise/transmit information. Humans do this on many levels, only one or two of which can be called 'intellectual' activity.

And what does 'savant' mean? Is it not just an extreme example of someone who exhibits a type of intelligence the workings of which general intelligence can not understand?

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:23 PM
Humans do this on many levels, only one or two of which can be called 'intellectual' activity.

Expand...

noel emits
25-11-2007, 12:26 PM
Expand...
I don't need to. You do. ;)

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:32 PM
I don't need to. You do. ;)

???

You said 'intellectual capacity is by no means the only aspect of intelligence.'

What other aspects of intelligence are there?

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:38 PM
And what does 'savant' mean? Is it not just an extreme example of someone who exhibits a type of intelligence the workings of which general intelligence can not understand?

It's not that 'general intelligence' can't 'understand' savants - g would just not have the same predictive power (which it does with the vast majority).

noel emits
25-11-2007, 12:41 PM
You said 'intellectual capacity is by no means the only aspect of intelligence.'

What other aspects of intelligence are there?
Conceptual/verbal reasoning is not the only function of intelligence. I don't need to explain what other types of intelligence there are as much as you need to explain how there is only one kind.

I see no-one wants to take up the training-for-IQ-test challenge. :slanted:
How is this useful? Are there not 'nurture' aspects to how mental capacity develops? And why 40 points?

noel emits
25-11-2007, 12:44 PM
It's not that 'general intelligence' can't 'understand' savants - g would just not have the same predictive power (which it does with the vast majority).
Predictive power to predict what? Performance to certain very limitedly defined standards?

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:47 PM
Conceptual/verbal reasoning is not the only function of intelligence. I don't need to explain what other types of intelligence there are as much as you need to explain how there is only one kind.

Fine, don't explain them - just remind me of them. ;)


How is this useful? Are there not 'nurture' aspects to how mental capacity develops? And why 40 points?

Well, the truth is I don't think a 10 point rise would be feasible, either. Just that, if you believe that intellectual capacity is mutable or its measurement a social game, then it should be easy to either a) change one's capacity or b) learn the rules of the game.

As far as I can tell, undernurturing has an effect on IQ (negative, obv); 'overnurturing'/hothousing much less so.

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 12:49 PM
Predictive power to predict what? Performance to certain very limitedly defined standards?

Performance in all intellectual tasks.

Remember g is a statistical construct that may or may not be relating to something concrete (brain size, concentration of glial cells, whatever).

noel emits
25-11-2007, 12:57 PM
Performance in all intellectual tasks.

Remember g is a statistical construct that may or may not be relating to something concrete (brain size, concentration of glial cells, whatever).
But again, how are these 'intellectual tasks' defined and measured? And again, how is that all there is? Do we place no value on emotional or physical intelligence? Poetic intelligence? Do 'intuitive' functions that cannot be measure by analytical intelligence have no value? These are just examples.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intelligence is a function of how a system interacts with it's environment.

An IQ test is usually a measurement of how a person interacts with a piece of paper on a desk.

Does this not make it clear how limiting it is?

mixed_biscuits
25-11-2007, 01:07 PM
But again, how are these 'intellectual tasks' defined and measured? And again, how is that all there is? Do we place no value on emotional or physical intelligence? Poetic intelligence? Do 'intuitive' functions that cannot be measure by analytical intelligence have no value? These are just examples.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intelligence is a function of how a system interacts with it's environment.

An IQ test is usually a measurement of how a person interacts with a piece of paper on a desk.

Does this not make it clear how limiting it is?

Poetic, emotional and physical intelligence all correlate positively with g. Writing good poetry is intellectually demanding. Social sensitivity and understanding correlates positively with g. Physical performance is probably mainly a function of innate motor ability and practice, but doubtless a base level of intellectual capacity is required to excel (which is why there are separate competitions for very low-IQ competitors).

Intuition is more to do with crystallised intelligence (ie the application of experience). However, the wisdom with which one applies the lessons of experience (other things being equal) probably correlates with g (fluid intelligence).

Mr. Tea
25-11-2007, 01:34 PM
the following 2 quotes exhibit "superficial" surface differences that are ENTIRELY the products of culture and environment. the big, common mistake is to confuse such noticeable surface differences with something much deeper. and the racist agenda uses these frivolous differences to construct their idea of race as something fundamental, which it isn't.


Yes, exactly: they're products of the environment, as all evolutionary adaptation is.
When you talk about "something much deeper", I'm not too clear on what you mean by that. If you think I'm trying to say that you and I are 'different species' or something because (for example) I might be better able to digest milk proteins than you...well, that would ridiculous, and of course I don't think that. As I explained a few posts ago, humans (despite certain overall racial distinctions, which as you say, are superficial) are much more genetically homogenous than any of the other primates. (Edit: in fact there is so little genetic variation, relatively speaking, that some evolutionary geneticists think that some time after H. sapiens sapiens emerged as a distinct subspecies, we were nearly wiped out and the whole human population of the world (i.e. of some corner of central Africa, probably) was reduced to a tiny group, perhaps just a couple of thousand individuals, and that all humans alive today are descendents of these 'Noah's ark' survivors.)

I'd like to ask two questions of the no-such-thing-as-race contingent: one, what do you actually mean by race? (since I think we could be talking about different things here, and there may well be a bit of straw-man-construction going on, namely the word 'race' being loaded with a lot of outdated connotations) and two: what scientific evidence is there for there being 'no such thing as race'?

hundredmillionlifetimes
25-11-2007, 08:39 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/graphics/2007/11/23/scimonkey123.jpg

Ah, so that's why the Right are so thick (and racializing), evolutionary speaking ...

Monkeys strike for better rewards (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/11/23/scimonkey123.xml)


Our hairy relatives also know when they are being exploited, reports Roger Highfield

Humans aren't the only ones who go on strike when they get a raw deal.

Capuchin monkeys would go on strike if they felt hard done-by. In a recent research project, brown capuchin monkeys trained to exchange a granite token for a cucumber treat often refused the swap if they saw another monkey get a better payoff - a grape.

The monkeys would also throw tantrums or sulk because they feel hard done by.

In a follow up study to find out how much the outbursts were driven by greed, frustration that the rewards did not live up to what they had come to expect and so on, it has now been observed that the monkeys will also refuse to participate in trials after they see other monkeys receiving greater reward for making the same effort: in effect - they go on strike.

Also:

Capuchins prove we are brothers under the skin (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/18/wmonky18.xml)

US police force to recruit capuchin monkey for 'intelligence' work (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/04/21/wmonk21.xml)
By Tom Leonard in New York


An American police force is planning to sign up a monkey to reinforce its elite special operations team.

Capuchins will be issued with radios and cameras. Members of the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit in Mesa, Arizona, believe that a capuchin monkey, dressed in a bullet-proof jacket and equipped with a two-way radio and video camera, could prove an invaluable reconnaissance tool.

[ ... ]

He said the monkeys, which weigh only 3-8lb and whose puzzle-solving skills are enhanced by tiny, dexterous human-like hands, could unlock doors, search buildings and find injured people upon command.

Their size could allow them into places that officers and robots could not reach, such as attic rafters, he said. "Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it. It would change the way we do business."


And Change IQ tests too ... the Capuchin IQ Test: beats humans every time.

Mr. Tea
25-11-2007, 09:58 PM
But has a monkey ever gone on strike for the right to retire at 50?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7051887.stm

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 12:30 AM
A ten point rise is certainly feasible on an IQ test...I've been IQ tested several times, more than 5 or 6 that I remember, and you certainly can/do get better with repeated takings, especially if you practice with the most popular/standard IQ tests (sanford-binet, etc). Most people who are tested regularly have a range--even on one test it is perfectly feasible that a person could score within a 30-50 range, especially with x-factors like sleepiness, irritability, general level of hydration/nurishment, etc weighing heavily on a person's performance.

Anyway, Mixed_Biscuit claims there is some "g" factor to which IQ correlates, but I'd love to see any valid statistical claim to the effect that there is a "g" at all. Because there isn't and I wouldn't be surprised if you *couldn't* correlate IQ to one factor--such are pesky "irreducible" notions like "intelligence."

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 12:32 AM
I'd like to ask two questions of the no-such-thing-as-race contingent: one, what do you actually mean by race? (since I think we could be talking about different things here, and there may well be a bit of straw-man-construction going on, namely the word 'race' being loaded with a lot of outdated connotations) and two: what scientific evidence is there for there being 'no such thing as race'?

I don't "mean" anything by "race" because the term is MEANINGLESS as anything but a socially constructed set of identity norms (or a way to classify people based solely on their skin color/a couple of facial features).

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 01:12 AM
I don't "mean" anything by "race" because the term is MEANINGLESS as anything but a socially constructed set of identity norms (or a way to classify people based solely on their skin color/a couple of facial features).

Are you telling me that it's "socially construted" that most people born in Norway are white and most people born in Kenya are black? Or are you going to admit that maybe, PERHAPS, POSSIBLY genetics has something to do with the way people look? Because that's what I mean by "race", nothing more, nothing less. If someone were to advocate treating white Norwegians and black Kenyans differently, or giving them different rights, well that makes them a racist idiot, doesn't it? But pretending that it's "socially constructed" to notice that people from different parts of the world look different is idiotic, too.

turtles
26-11-2007, 06:31 AM
Are you telling me that it's "socially construted" that most people born in Norway are white and most people born in Kenya are black? Or are you going to admit that maybe, PERHAPS, POSSIBLY genetics has something to do with the way people look? Because that's what I mean by "race", nothing more, nothing less. If someone were to advocate treating white Norwegians and black Kenyans differently, or giving them different rights, well that makes them a racist idiot, doesn't it? But pretending that it's "socially constructed" to notice that people from different parts of the world look different is idiotic, too.
But why do you need to use the word "race" to describe the difference in skin pigmentations between different people? Why do you see different skin colours and a couple other physical features and say "i will call this race"? Why don't you consider short red-heads a race, or tall left-handed blue-eyed people? They certainly share physical characteristics that are genetically linked.

Edit: not to imply that left-handedness and eye-colour are genetically linked to each other, just that each trait is passed on genetically

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2007, 08:08 AM
A ten point rise is certainly feasible on an IQ test...I've been IQ tested several times, more than 5 or 6 that I remember, and you certainly can/do get better with repeated takings, especially if you practice with the most popular/standard IQ tests (sanford-binet, etc). Most people who are tested regularly have a range--even on one test it is perfectly feasible that a person could score within a 30-50 range, especially with x-factors like sleepiness, irritability, general level of hydration/nurishment, etc weighing heavily on a person's performance.

Yeah, you're probably right about being able to improve - that's why people aren't meant to take the same kind of test within a short period of time.

People could underperform for various reasons, but that doesn't mean that the ceiling of their ability changes.

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2007, 12:45 PM
Okay, in the interests of undermining my own argument and embarrassing myself, I'm going to slog my way through all the aptitude tests I can find and get wildly different marks in each.

Here's the tests wot I've done so far:

MENSA (age 10): 138
11+: pass
private school entrance exam (age 11): 1st/120 = 140+ (?)
BBC 'Test the Nation' (supposedly set by MENSA) - first two tests: 136+

Internet stuff:
http://iqtest.dk/main.swf (Ravens Progressive Matrices stylee): 109
http://www.intershop.it/testqi/testqi1/iqtest1.htm (Ravens again, but taken second): 126 (practice effect? - matrices are a pain in the ass :()
http://www.iqtest.com free test: 151 (hmm beginning to get a bit of a spread here)
http://uk.tickle.com/test/iq/intro.html 140
http://www.intelligencetest.com (http://www.intelligencetest.com/test) 135 (apparently = 137 Stanford-Binet; 156 Cattell)
http://www.testcafe.com/iqtest/iqfree.cgi 162 (speed test!)

Feel free to send on any links, even matrices!

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 01:53 PM
But why do you need to use the word "race" to describe the difference in skin pigmentations between different people? Why do you see different skin colours and a couple other physical features and say "i will call this race"? Why don't you consider short red-heads a race, or tall left-handed blue-eyed people? They certainly share physical characteristics that are genetically linked.

Edit: not to imply that left-handedness and eye-colour are genetically linked to each other, just that each trait is passed on genetically

Mainly because there is (AFAIK) no geographical correlation to left-handedness. And while there is a geographical correlation to features like red hair and blue eyes, there has never (in historical times, at least) been an identifiable group of people who all have red hair or blue eyes. Whereas all people native to Europe have pale skin, all people native to Japan have straight, dark hair and so on and so forth. So I guess what I mean by 'race' is "a collection of hereditary physical characteristics shared by all people who originate from a certain part of the world (that is not shared by others)". I mean, it's patently obvious that this is the case, isn't it? If other people think I meant something different by the word, then I'm sorry for causing confusion - but that's all I mean, and nothing more.

Edit: turtles, why are you so keen not to use the word 'race'? Is it simply because it's become a politically incorrect word, since people tend to associate it with racism?

noel emits
26-11-2007, 02:21 PM
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/6305/956/1600/racist.gif

Yeah - we are just arguing over the definition of a word that some people feel has become too problematic to use. I hate this bloody oversensitivity, it makes me want to crack the most offensive jokes.

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2007, 02:57 PM
http://www.switchbackfair.co.uk/2004/iq_test.php

*chortle*

vimothy
26-11-2007, 02:57 PM
having lived in different environments for the past 10,000 to how ever many years is accountable for these different, again, surface attributes. similar to the thing with asians as a whole not able to drink as much alcohol because we developed a different method to kill the bacteria in drinking water (your name sake).

I'm not sure what you mean by "surface attributes", but isn't this idea -- differing developmental trajectories according to environment -- merely what the mean IQ controversy suggests, even before issues of genetics?


it is a very different thing to posit that any "race" is inherently this or that. and attempting to legitimize differences in "intelligence" (whatever the hell that means) is hugely problematic.

But I don't think anyone is. A strain of crop or breed of animal isn't inherently one thing or another, but has evolved as such in conjunction with its environment (obviously including any human action -- such as selecting for useful characteristics).


europeans might be more adapted at survival in a european way of life the same way a New Guinean is more adapted at survival in their environment. but to use a system rooted in one lifestyle to measure qualities of people of another, is absurd and racist.

Would it really? I'm not actually sure that this is what IQ tests represent, but I don't think that, even if it was, this would be "absurd and racist". You obviously recall Diamond saying that he thinks that the average intellegince of a New Guenian is higher than your average western urbanite, because environmental pressure is higher and selection is more stringent in New Guenia. Is that an absurd and racist statement? How is that different to saying, for whatever reasons, one group of people scores better on IQ tests than another?


and that is exactly what the bell KKKurve people are trying to do, using trivial physical differences as well as different adaptive behaviors both deriving from (relative to the history of human species) recent development, as "proof" of fundamental differences, in order to construct a racist doctrine and contaminate the population with racist ideas.

While it might be the case that race has no basis in biology, that differences in mean IQ scores are not genetic, that IQ tests do not measure anything meaningful, I think that this paranoia over a supposed racist agenda makes your arguments much less convincing.

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 03:04 PM
http://www.switchbackfair.co.uk/2004/iq_test.php

*chortle*

Wicked, I've got an IQ of 140.889! High five!

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2007, 03:51 PM
Wicked, I've got an IQ of 140.889! High five!

lol I got 14.567 on that one. :o

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 04:14 PM
lol I got 14.567 on that one. :o

Durrr, thicky! :p

vimothy
26-11-2007, 04:39 PM
James Watson Tells the Inconvenient Truth: Faces the Consequences (http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/10/james-watson-tells-inconvenient-truth_296.php) - Jason Malloy, GNXP

Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (http://homepage.mac.com/harpend/.Public/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf) - Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy & Henry Harpending

A Family Tree in Every Gene (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/opinion/14leroi.html) - Armand Leroi

Remarks at NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce (http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2005/nber.html) - Lawrence H. Summers


Whether or not these hypotheses hold up (the evidence for gender differences is reasonably good, for ethnic and racial differences much less so), they are widely perceived to be dangerous. Summers was subjected to months of vilification, and proponents of ethnic and racial differences in the past have been targets of censorship, violence, and comparisons to Nazis. Large swaths of the intellectual landscape have been reengineered to try to rule these hypotheses out a priori (race does not exist, intelligence does not exist, the mind is a blank slate inscribed by parents). The underlying fear, that reports of group differences will fuel bigotry, is not, of course, groundless.

The intellectual tools to defuse the danger are available. "Is" does not imply "ought. " Group differences, when they exist, pertain to the average or variance of a statistical distribution, rather than to individual men and women. Political equality is a commitment to universal human rights, and to policies that treat people as individuals rather than representatives of groups; it is not an empirical claim that all groups are indistinguishable. Yet many commentators seem unwilling to grasp these points, to say nothing of the wider world community.

Advances in genetics and genomics will soon provide the ability to test hypotheses about group differences rigorously. Perhaps geneticists will forbear performing these tests, but one shouldn't count on it. The tests could very well emerge as by-products of research in biomedicine, genealogy, and deep history which no one wants to stop.
The Edge Annual Question - 2006. "What is your dangerous idea?" (http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_3.html) - Steven Pinker

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2007, 05:01 PM
Interesting links, Vim.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 06:25 PM
Oh for fuck's sake.

Vimothy, are you really going to bring up Larry Summers' ridiculous speech in this context? You realize that he literally, in the course of what he ostensibly thought was a serious discussion of "gender" and science, brought up the anecdote "my daughter has always loved dolls" as "evidence" that "gender" is biological.

This thread just keeps getting worse.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 06:28 PM
Are you telling me that it's "socially construted" that most people born in Norway are white and most people born in Kenya are black? Or are you going to admit that maybe, PERHAPS, POSSIBLY genetics has something to do with the way people look? Because that's what I mean by "race", nothing more, nothing less. If someone were to advocate treating white Norwegians and black Kenyans differently, or giving them different rights, well that makes them a racist idiot, doesn't it? But pretending that it's "socially constructed" to notice that people from different parts of the world look different is idiotic, too.

Yes, of course people look different, but the genetic markers for, say, "skin color" (basically the sole criteria that works across what you would call "racial" difference) are a) not even very interesting or important markers as far as genetic difference is concerned, and b) more variation exists within one "ethnic" group than there exists similarities.

turtles
26-11-2007, 06:41 PM
Mainly because there is (AFAIK) no geographical correlation to left-handedness. And while there is a geographical correlation to features like red hair and blue eyes, there has never (in historical times, at least) been an identifiable group of people who all have red hair or blue eyes. Whereas all people native to Europe have pale skin, all people native to Japan have straight, dark hair and so on and so forth. So I guess what I mean by 'race' is "a collection of hereditary physical characteristics shared by all people who originate from a certain part of the world (that is not shared by others)". I mean, it's patently obvious that this is the case, isn't it? If other people think I meant something different by the word, then I'm sorry for causing confusion - but that's all I mean, and nothing more.

Edit: turtles, why are you so keen not to use the word 'race'? Is it simply because it's become a politically incorrect word, since people tend to associate it with racism?
I realized after I posted that my examples weren't necessarily the best (hence my second-guessing edit), but my general point still stands. Why choose a bunch of geographically grouped hereditary physical differences as being important enough to call "race". The very act of calling some set of characteristics a race ensures that they are seen as being important enough distinctions to merit a name. But why these characteristics, and (even more key) why these visible, physical characteristics? There are plenty of other genetic characteristics (some visible, plenty not) that are linked to geography (such as the aforementioned resistances to malaria) that we don't distinguish upon, and that we don't call race. Why are these characteristics that you describe important enough to be given a name, and others not? Why do we "need to" call these things race?

We don't. It's not a necessary term that has arisen out of need from our study of biology and genetics, such as the distinction between different species. It's very telling that all the research given has started with the definition of various races, and then moved on to trying to prove how they differ genetically, whereas research into different species would first be concerned with determining whether differences exist that are significant enough to merit differentiation between species (itself a very rigorously defined term). So much of this research, (and indeed your own comments, Tea) presuppose the existence of race, and then go about trying to find differences. There are a lot of different ways you could slice up the human genome, and I have yet to see a reasonable argument why this culturally-defined, entirely contingent notion of "race" is the best one.

In fact, not only is it not the "best" way to slice it, it shouldn't even be a way at all. Because given that all the justification for racial differences has come after the definition of what race is, you have to ask why we're using the term at all. Well because it's been in use for thousands of years by people largely much more ignorant about genetic differences and what they mean. It's no mystery why you seem to have chosen visible physical differences as the genetic traits meriting the term "race", it's because these were the traits that people having been using to discriminate against other cultural groups for millennia. You would never categorize race on a bunch of non-physically observable traits, because they are very hard to discriminate against. Your use of the term race is the old, racist culturally-defined one, and the scientific "evidence" used here is a post-hoc fig leaf covering over this.

I don't want to claim that you (and others) are explicitly racist, Tea, it's just that your disavowal of racism takes an unnecessary dog-leg in order to get there. First you posit that race exists and that the differences between races are important enough to merit the term "race" and then you claim that the differences actually aren't really important. And though you may be working quite hard at denying the importance of racial differences, your never going to quite get over the fact that you've already admitted racial differences are important. So if you really believe racial differences AREN'T important, cut out that first step and stop calling them "racial" differences in the first place.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 06:45 PM
My mum gave me a doll when I was a toddler as an experiment - it was summarily rejected.

I asked my class of 10 yr olds (all-girls school) whether they dig Barbies and Bratz today. They let me know that I am a 'sad man.'

My findings are thus inconclusive.

I find Bratz rather disturbing to be honest with you. Where does one draw the line between baby dolls and blow up dolls? In retail, just about where Bratz hit the market.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 06:52 PM
Awesome post, Turtles. The reason why Mr. Tea's arguments disappoint/frighten me is for the same reason any otherwise educated persons' arguments against the existence of institutionalized racism do--it is scary to me that those who have every excuse to know best how pernicious the denial of institutionalized racism is are joining in on the denial instead of vigilantly looking to knock down the house of cards every time it gets rebuilt...In the end, I do have to question the motives of someone who cannot see the ideological importance and volitility of these issues.

It's utterly baffling to me as well that Vimothy thinks the Bell Curve researchers were somehow conducting their research in a sort of political void where ideological biases and underpinnings didn't exist. Surely Vimothy would be the first to say research disproving the mapability of "intelligence" onto "IQ" onto "evolutionary success" had an ideological bias or "agenda." Why is it so difficult for him to see one at work in the Bell Curve?

hundredmillionlifetimes
26-11-2007, 08:04 PM
My mum gave me a doll when I was a toddler as an experiment - it was summarily rejected.

Which, the barbie one or the action-man one?


Why is it so difficult for him [Vimothy] to see one at work in the Bell Curve?

Regretably, I think we well know the answer to that by now. Vim and others still have an ideologically naive faith in scientific empiricist dogma, oblivious to how such 'facts' are structural effects, are mediated by political, social, and economic antagonisms and inequalities.

Wiki on race (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_%28classification_of_human_beings%29):

"The American Anthropological Association, drawing on biological research, currently holds that "The concept of race is a social and cultural construction. . . . Race simply cannot be tested or proven scientifically," and that, "It is clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of 'race' has no validity . . . in the human species".

As anthropologists and other evolutionary scientists have shifted away from the language of race to the term population to talk about genetic differences, Historians, anthropologists and social scientists have re-conceptualized the term "race" as a cultural category or social construct, in other words, as a particular way that some people have of talking about themselves and others. As Stephan Palmie has recently summarized, race "is not a thing but a social relation"; or, in the words of Katya Gibel Mevorach, "a metonym," "a human invention whose criteria for differentiation are neither universal nor fixed but have always been used to manage difference." As such it cannot be a useful analytical concept; rather, the use of the term "race" itself must be analyzed. Moreover, they argue that biology will not explain why or how people use the idea of race: history and social relationships will. For example, the fact that in many parts of the United States, categories such as Hispanic or Latino are viewed to constitute a race, while others view "Hispanic" as referring to an ethnic group, has more to do with the changing position of Hispanics in U.S. society, especially in the context of the civil rights movement and the debate over immigration."

Slothrop
26-11-2007, 08:14 PM
Don't you risk running into the problem that France seems to have suffered from, though, where being intentionally colourblind makes it much harder to pick up on where and how racism is causing problems and thus harder to do anything about it?

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 08:24 PM
Who said anything about being "colorblind"? The political discourse surrounding issues of "blackness" or "whiteness" are not to be ignored; they're simply not to be compounded by making reference to a "biological" cateogory called "race"--race should not be mentioned as anything other than a social construct.

Gavin
26-11-2007, 08:36 PM
Some scholars have suggested using "ancestry" when referring to geographic origins, "race" when referring to the social construct used to regulate difference.

Guybrush
26-11-2007, 08:38 PM
Whatever we want to call the findings, does this not seem to buttress Mr Tea’s argument?



I. Genetic variation in humans forms clusters that correspond to geography

The fact that one can cluster humans together by geography based solely on their genetic information was most convincingly demonstrated in two papers (the second one is open access) by a group out of Stanford. These studies looked at several hundred variable places in the genome in 52 populations scattered across the globe. The hypothesis was as follows-- on applying a clustering algorithm to these data, individuals from similar geographic regions would end up together. I've put a representation on the right [actually reproduced below], where colors represent poplations-- on top is a pattern of variation that would lead to no clustering (the colors all blend one into the next) while on the bottom is a pattern of variation that would lead to clustering (there are subtle but noticable jumps from yellow to green, for example, though there is much variation within each color). Note that the lack of clustering would not mean that all populations are genetically the same (in the top figure, yellow and orange are not "the same" even though you couldn't find a fixed boundry between them). But indeed, the researchers found the situation corresponding to the bottom figure-- the individuals formed five clusters which represented, in the authors' words, "Africa, Eurasia (Europe, Middle East, and Central/South Asia), East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas". Some populations were exceptions, of course (there are always exceptions in biology)-- they seemed to be a mix between two clusters, or could even form their own cluster in certain models.

But in general, the second model in the figure is a good fit for human variation based on the spots in the genome used by these researchers-- continents correspond to clusters, and geographic barriers like the Himalayas or an ocean correspond to those areas where a "jump" from one cluster to the next occurrs.

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/uploaded_images/color_spectrum-767177.jpg

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 08:39 PM
@Gavin (not Guybrush)

Sounds good to me!

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 08:41 PM
Who said anything about being "colorblind"?
French politics did, and does. They're so wedded to their histroical ideal of egalité that, as far as the French establishment is concerned, to live in France is to live in a perfectly equal, racism-free society by definition. For this reason there is no racial profiling in any census taken, which conveniently allows them to ignore the quite massive levels of inequlality and non-integration that are such big problems for the country's immigrant communities.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 08:42 PM
Whatever we want to call the findings, does this not seem to buttress Mr Tea’s argument?

What kind of scientific headway would referring to similarities so general and widespread make? What would this do for research? None. Nothing.

nomadologist
26-11-2007, 08:43 PM
French politics did, and does. They're so wedded to their histroical ideal of egalité that, as far as the French establishment is concerned, to live in France is to live in a perfectly equal, racism-free society by definition. For this reason there is no racial profiling in any census taken, which conveniently allows them to ignore the quite massive levels of inequlality and non-integration that are such big problems for the country's immigrant communities.

Yeah, well, that's obviously not a very intelligent way to handle difference either.

Guybrush
26-11-2007, 09:03 PM
What kind of scientific headway would referring to similarities so general and widespread make? What would this do for research? None. Nothing.

From what I can tell, and I’m going to look more closely into it, the study indicates that there is indeed genetic variations between people living on different continents. Perhaps so slight as to be negligible, but still clear and present. Do remember that nobody in this thread has suggested that these variations are striking, only that they are quite clearly a reality.

Mr. Tea
26-11-2007, 10:54 PM
From what I can tell, and I’m going to look more closely into it, the study indicates that there is indeed genetic variations between people living on different continents. Perhaps so slight as to be negligible, but still clear and present. Do remember that nobody in this thread has suggested that these variations are striking, only that they are quite clearly a reality.

I think two points are worth raising with regard to genetic variation (or the lack thereof): one, that the vast majority of the human genome is 'junk' DNA that is not expressed as proteins, and two, that just because two organisms have very few genes differing between them, this does not necessarily result in there being very few differences between the organisms themselves; after all, just a single gene (out of 3 billion) can mean the difference between good health and a fatal cancer.

zhao
27-11-2007, 07:22 AM
Yes, exactly: they're products of the environment, as all evolutionary adaptation is.
When you talk about "something much deeper", I'm not too clear on what you mean by that.


I'm not sure what you mean by "surface attributes", but isn't this idea -- differing developmental trajectories according to environment -- merely what the mean IQ controversy suggests, even before issues of genetics?

ok. let's break down the line of reasoning and specific example given by Tea - basically: facts such as most or all boxing champs come from Africa attest to genetic differences between races, and that similar differences account for the variation in IQ test results.

this argument is fatally flawed for the following reasons:

Africa produces the best boxers in the world. true. but there are always people of other origins competing on the same level, and often just falling behind a tiny little bit. so while the difference in attributes and ability separate winner from loser, they are actually extremely small. and when entire populations are considered, when spread out among millions, these incremental differences disappear like a single drop of water in the Atlantic ocean.

this is what i mean by "surface attributes". and also skin pigmentation, physical features, immunity from disease, etc. they are tiny, tiny differences which are whole sale, grossly, absurdly exaggerated in the minds of most people, who are misguided into thinking that they are proof of a "racial" divide.

so the argument that "85% of NBA is black = blacks as a whole can jump higher" is false. and it follows that the argument "just like blacks can jump higher, it is possible that they are less intelligent" is even more false, for the added reasons of "intelligence" being exponentially more difficult to define, much less assess.

thus the differences in IQ test results can ONLY be attributed to cultural reasons.


You obviously recall Diamond saying that he thinks that the average intellegince of a New Guenian is higher than your average western urbanite, because environmental pressure is higher and selection is more stringent in New Guenia. Is that an absurd and racist statement? How is that different to saying, for whatever reasons, one group of people scores better on IQ tests than another?

big differences between what he said and the proposition that blacks score lower on IQ tests. because Diamond attributes these differeces to environmental challenges which hones abilities, and the Bell KKKurvers attribute the results of their (much less sufficient than real life in the jungle) tests of their notion of intelligence to deep genetic difference. and these very different interpretations lead to drastically different results in the social sphere -- with the later invariably fueling and creating bigotry.



While it might be the case that race has no basis in biology, that differences in mean IQ scores are not genetic, that IQ tests do not measure anything meaningful, I think that this paranoia over a supposed racist agenda makes your arguments much less convincing.

most people who accuse others of "paranoia" when it comes to racism are members of the dominant group in that historical period. it's probably safe to assume that Vimothy is white and lives in a white world.

let me tell you something: the world not only looks, but is a very different place for me.

it is likely impossible for someone who has never been on the receiving end of racial discrimination, profiling, and stereotyping to understand the above, but i thought i'd say it anyway.

this next bit can not be more OTM. (see "Critiques of Science" thread among others)


Vim and others still have an ideologically naive faith in scientific empiricist dogma, oblivious to how such 'facts' are structural effects, are mediated by political, social, and economic antagonisms and inequalities.

mixed_biscuits
27-11-2007, 08:40 AM
Which, the barbie one or the action-man one?


A generic barbie-type thing, I think.

I used to prefer Star Wars and He-Man figures.

mixed_biscuits
27-11-2007, 10:56 AM
for the added reasons of "intelligence" being exponentially more difficult to define, much less assess.


I'm not sure about this - my IQ test results from yesterday onwards so far average out to 137 and a bit, which is very close to my 138 at 10 years old = somewhat odd. The tests involved a wide variety of tasks - from arithmetic to logical thinking to anagramming to those bloody matrices etc etc

This was also the worst possible outcome from my experiment - I would have preferred a higher score (as a result of my unusually intense Scrabble training, for instance) or an amusingly odd one, so I'm slightly disappointed.

The more tests I do, the closer to 138 will be the mean, I reckon. Oh well, plus ca change etc.

I might try to get some super-bright friends to do the same battery of tests, to see whether my intuitive ranking of them is reflected in their results.

zhao
27-11-2007, 03:28 PM
all that ganja over the years and only 1 point loss? not bad! :D

mixed_biscuits
27-11-2007, 04:40 PM
all that ganja over the years and only 1 point loss? not bad! :D

lol

noel emits
27-11-2007, 04:49 PM
According to a study carried out by Dr. Richie Spice PhD it makes you smarter, and indeed calmer, although you might have to smoke it on a corner to enjoy the full benefits of these effects.

zhao
27-11-2007, 05:30 PM
so the argument that "85% of NBA is black = blacks as a whole can jump higher" is false.

just realized that this is the inverse of the "as a whole they are different, but as individuals they 'should be treated the same'" argument by the bell KKKurvers.

so in conclusion: any which way you look at it it's a buncha BULL shit.

Mr. Tea
27-11-2007, 07:19 PM
Zhao, will you drop this tiresome 'KKKurve' thing? If the researchers who've announced these findings were white supremacists, why do they dig Jews and East Asians so much?

hundredmillionlifetimes
27-11-2007, 07:49 PM
Zhao, will you drop this tiresome 'KKKurve' thing? If the researchers who've announced these findings were white supremacists, why do they dig Jews and East Asians so much?

This post, as expected with such a self-loathing waster, is just fucking appalling. Dissensus posters are now being instructed by racists to stop exposing racism on this forum. As pointed out countless times on this thread, the appropriately-termed KKKurvers are ignorant, racial supremacists (some of whom are Jewish BTW). Hitler too, was fond of East Asians.

The only reason you're 'defending' them here - however much you pathetically attempt to continue to disavow your conditioned prejudices - is because you, like some others here, actually support their vile, racist agenda. There are no shortage of such racist forums on the web; I suggest you stop polluting this forum with your impotent schoolboy garbage and go take up residence on one of them.

Mr. Tea
27-11-2007, 07:57 PM
If you actually took the time to read the posts I've made in this thread, you'll see that I don't support the findings of these studies; I think the inherent difficulty of quantifying intelligence, differences in culture, education and diet between poor and rich countries and a host of other factors make it difficult to draw any firm conclusions. I do, however, feel that the reasons people dismiss these claims on principle are largely political, rather than scientfic.

But then, it must be pretty hard to read anything at all through that RED MIST OF RIGHTEOUS RAGE.

hundredmillionlifetimes
27-11-2007, 08:18 PM
If you actually took the time to read the posts I've made in this thread, you'll see that I don't support the findings of these studies;

You need to actually take a lot of time to re-read your own posts (and particularly before making yet more knee-jerk ones). You have repeatedly defended racialist notions of 'race', repeatedly accepted the 'research' and its deluded methodology as 'scientific,' and repeatedly supported its findings. Not only do you suffer from disavowed racism, but also from chronic amnesia. There is no science here, there is no social theory here, just the bog-standard socio-economically determined racism of contemporary Western capitalism and its zombie puppets.



Land of Broken Dreams (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20071122_the_broken_dream/)

By Eugene Robinson

11/23/07 - --- -"Washington Post" --- - WASHINGTON—We’re not who we think we are.

The American self-image is suffused with the golden glow of opportunity. We think of the United States as a land of unlimited possibility, not so much a classless society, but as a place where class is mutable—a place where brains, energy and ambition are what counts, not the circumstances of one’s birth. But three important new studies suggest that Horatio Alger doesn’t live here anymore.

The Economic Mobility Project, an ambitious research initiative led by the Pew Charitable Trusts, looked at the economic fortunes of a large group of families over time, comparing the income of parents in the late 1960s with the income of their children in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Here’s the finding that jumps out at me:

“The ‘rags to riches’ story is much more common in Hollywood than on Main Street. Only 6 percent of children born to parents with family income at the very bottom move to the very top.”

That’s right, just 6 percent of children born to parents who ranked in the bottom fifth of the study sample, in terms of income, were able to bootstrap their way into the top fifth. Meanwhile, an incredible 42 percent of children born into that lowest quintile are still stuck at the bottom, having been unable to climb a single rung of the income ladder.

The study notes that even in Britain—a nation we think of as burdened with a hidebound, anachronistic class system—children who are born poor have a better chance of moving up.

The Economic Mobility Project can’t be accused of having any kind of ideological bias; it’s a collaboration, led by Pew, involving four leading think tanks that pretty much cover the political spectrum—the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation and the Urban Institute.

“Both left and right can care about this,” said John E. Morton, Pew’s managing director for economic policy. “Traditionally, Americans have been ready to accept high levels of inequality because of our belief in the American dream. What happens if we can’t believe in the dream any longer?”

When the three studies were released last week, most reporters focused on the finding that African-Americans born to middle-class or upper middle-class families are earning slightly less, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than did their parents. Julia B. Isaacs, the Brookings scholar who authored the reports, said the reason for this anomaly is still unclear; overall, the data suggest that blacks are somewhat less upwardly mobile than whites, although about two-thirds of African-Americans do earn more than their parents did.

Isaacs said she was surprised at finding that the personal income of American men—including white men—has been almost perfectly flat for the past three decades. One of Isaacs’ studies indicates, in fact, that most of the financial gains white families have made in that time can be attributed to the entry of white women into the labor force. This is much less true for African-Americans; in 1968, when the sample group was first surveyed, black women were far more likely to already have income-producing jobs.

The picture that emerges from all the quintiles, correlations and percentages is of a nation in which, overall, “the current generation of adults is better off than the previous one,” as one of the studies notes. The median income of the families in the sample group was $55,600 in the late 1960s; their children’s median family income was measured at $71,900. However, this rising tide has not lifted all boats equally. The rich have seen far greater income gains than have the poor.

Even more troubling is that our notion of America as the land of opportunity gets little support from the data. Americans move fairly easily up and down the middle rungs of the ladder, but there is “stickiness at the ends”—four out of 10 children who are born poor will remain poor, and four out of 10 children who are born rich will stay rich.

Isaacs, who specializes in child and family policy at Brookings, said she thought that improved early childhood education was one way to begin making the promise of economic mobility more of a reality; one key to understanding the racial disparities found in the studies, she said, might be the vast difference in wealth (as opposed to income) between white and black families.

The Economic Mobility Project’s work should be part of the political debate. Every candidate for president should read these studies and then explain why it’s acceptable that a poor kid has only a 6 percent chance of reaching the top.

Mr. Tea
27-11-2007, 08:22 PM
...just the bog-standard socio-economically determined racism of contemporary Western capitalism and its zombie puppets.

Good to see the HMLT-o-Matic in full swing!

matt b
27-11-2007, 09:36 PM
According to a study carried out by Dr. Richie Spice PhD it makes you smarter, and indeed calmer, although you might have to smoke it on a corner to enjoy the full benefits of these effects.

:D

matt b
27-11-2007, 09:43 PM
If you actually took the time to read the posts I've made in this thread, you'll see that I don't support the findings of these studies; I think the inherent difficulty of quantifying intelligence, differences in culture, education and diet between poor and rich countries and a host of other factors make it difficult to draw any firm conclusions. I do, however, feel that the reasons people dismiss these claims on principle are largely political, rather than scientfic.

i'm somewhat loathe to admit it ( ;) ), but i'm with padraig on this topic (ignoring the hyperbole).

people like murray use a pseudo-scientific cloak in attempt to cover-up racist stereotypes. in addition, who would want to spend their entire professional lives trying to show that 'they' are less intelligent than 'us'? responsibility of intellectuals anyone?

hundredmillionlifetimes
27-11-2007, 10:04 PM
i'm somewhat loathe to admit it ( ;) ), but i'm with padraig on this topic (ignoring the hyperbole).

What hyperbole? Pointing out that racism is so routine, is so casually institutionalized throughout society as to be unconscious, such that twits like Tea & Co can smugly imagine themselves to be immune while actually defending it, may be provocative is supposed to be] but it is certainly far from 'hyperbolic', a term more applicable to the KKKurvers ...

In a previous post:


murray is a racist, classist, sexist, prick and all his idiotic views can discounted/ignored.

matt b
27-11-2007, 10:24 PM
What hyperbole?

sorry, i should have said 'abusing individuals per se rather than their statements',

nomadologist
27-11-2007, 10:37 PM
I don't see how differences in performance can solely be attributed to cultural factors. If one sibling scores 40 pts higher than another on the bloody matrices, it's hard to believe that it's because they have been being given matrices every day throughout the formative years of their life. Also, if intelligence is infinitely varied, the cultural capital gained in one subskill would prevent its accumulation in another one (lowering one's overall IQ result).

Furthermore, many questions on these tests are not actually difficult per se (that is, there is no secret knowledge required to access them) - it's the speed with which one does them that separates the men from the boys. That there is an unattainable maximum speed and a 'dead or in an uncommunicative coma' minimum speed of completion of these tasks shows that there is a real process happening.

The limitations of learning and the natural limits of the brain are obvious everywhere you look. In Scrabble, there are *no* players who can unscramble any of the words that they know without fail. In mental calculations, there are no calculators who can multiply many-digit numbers (eg. 492038 x 389842) without carrying out intermediate steps. There is an endless list of things that the human brain struggles with or finds impossible to do. These show the limits of human intelligence - limits that are innate, not cultural.

You're still talking about IQ tests as if their results are generally reflected in "success" in life, and as if they measure anything tangible-scientific.

The problem with your way of thinking is that you take it as a *given* that higher IQ correlates to higher "intelligence" (whatever THAT means in your mind, your definition is clearly a lot more limited than my own). There is no data to suggest that you could even begin to correlate the results of one test to something like "intelligence" general.

nomadologist
27-11-2007, 10:42 PM
From what I can tell, and I’m going to look more closely into it, the study indicates that there is indeed genetic variations between people living on different continents. Perhaps so slight as to be negligible, but still clear and present. Do remember that nobody in this thread has suggested that these variations are striking, only that they are quite clearly a reality.

Of course there are genetic variations between all kinds of people. So?? This does not in any way mean or prove that "race" is a biological fact, nor does it prove that IQ correlates to what we call "intelligence", and even if it did, what such an arbitrary system of ratings (why not have the average IQ set at 1000 and set the curve there so we can work with more precise numbers?) has to do with "innate" skills.

hundredmillionlifetimes
27-11-2007, 10:52 PM
sorry, i should have said 'abusing individuals per se rather than their statements',

But its their statements that were being questioned, not some imagined personal individual hiding behind them. So something like "Mr Tea" is simply a label associated with a defence of the KKKurvers; if this isn't obvious from explicit statements in "Mr Tea's" posts here, then there's a very serious problem here (as usual, an ideological one).

zhao
28-11-2007, 03:16 AM
thanks for the Economic Mobility article.

no one has attempted to refute my demonstration of the fallacy of the "physically fit and mentally challenged Negro" myth as perpetrated by Tea's professional sports analogy on the previous page.

i take that to mean my reasoning was pretty sound? was jogging me own gears for that one -- as i had never heard anyone else try to disspell these false, falsely exaggerated, falsely interpreted, and falsely applied notions.

Gavin
28-11-2007, 05:36 AM
I had a student hand in a paper about race and sports in which he claimed black people have an extra muscle in their legs. He cited his high school track coach as the source. It was all I could do to not stab the grading pen right through the page.

nomadologist
28-11-2007, 05:56 AM
Pfff. This one extra muscle also accounts for black peoples' superior dancing abilities, no doubt. I've also heard that black people have bigger vocal chords. Must be when God was handing out body parts to the different groups he decided that if one group was going to have to be dumber and have a distinct skin color, it should get some other kind of talent to make up for it. See, talents can't be functions of different kinds of intelligence--intelligence only applies to abilities where you can prove whether you have any with paper and pen.

mixed_biscuits
28-11-2007, 07:30 AM
You're still talking about IQ tests as if their results are generally reflected in "success" in life, and as if they measure anything tangible-scientific.

The problem with your way of thinking is that you take it as a *given* that higher IQ correlates to higher "intelligence" (whatever THAT means in your mind, your definition is clearly a lot more limited than my own). There is no data to suggest that you could even begin to correlate the results of one test to something like "intelligence" general.

IQ definitely correlates positively with academic ability - which is no less than the ability to take on new information and use it. It also correlates positively with eventual income.

From personal experience as a teacher, Cognitive Ability Tests and Reasoning Tests (which are both IQ-test like in nature) give a VERY good indication of how successful a child could be at a subject (in the near future, at least) - probably a better one than the teacher's own predictions (from seeing how children eventually settle themselves into streams that were originally determined by the teacher ie. me). Good results in CATs show high speed of thought and ability to solve complex problems. They don't necessarily correlate with diligence or high concentration levels. As long as these tests give schools information that appears to have some connection with (a hidden) reality, they will be used.

Bear in mind that these tests are designed precisely to have general relevance and predictive power of outcomes in the real world. There would be no point measuring something that is utterly abstract and arbitrary - the tests would soon be shown to be of no use and no-one would use them.

Furthermore, if there was no tendancy to agreement between tests, then wildly differing results would also render them useless.

Mr. Tea
28-11-2007, 03:52 PM
As pointed out countless times on this thread, the appropriately-termed KKKurvers are ignorant, racial supremacists (some of whom are Jewish BTW). Hitler too, was fond of East Asians.


Wait a sec, wait a sec: you're implying, in consecutive sentences, that the researchers must have fixed their results to make Jews and East Asians come out on top because A) the researchers themselves are Jewish, and B) because they're influenced by Nazi racial ideology that looked favourably on East Asians. Jewish Neo-Nazis? :rolleyes: This is perverse even by your demented standards.

swears
28-11-2007, 04:10 PM
I think the idea is that just because you rate jews and east asians as intelligent, it doesn't automatically follow that you are free from dodgy views on blacks. Nazis aren't the only kind of racist in the world.

Mr. Tea
28-11-2007, 04:24 PM
I think the idea is that just because you rate jews and east asians as intelligent, it doesn't automatically follow that you are free from dodgy views on blacks. Nazis aren't the only kind of racist in the world.

Fair enough. I think the main scientific arguments against the study are that there is no unique, fair and objective way to measure intelligence, and no unique, fair and objective way to factor out the various environmental influences on intelligence. As such, I would agree with these criticisms. Whether these obstacles will ever be overcome or if they are in principle insoluble, I don't know. As far as I can see, though, the reasons people are rejecting out-of-hand the entire premise of the study are mainly political rather than scientific.

Something I think is worth mentioning, though, is that a scientific study or experiment should be conducted with a clear idea of what you want to find out, and that also you should know why you want to find it out. This field of research is just so incredibly divisive, and has so much potential to be used to justify racism, that I think the whole thing should just be dropped, regardless of whatever scientific merit it might have - which, as I said, I think is questionable at best.

hundredmillionlifetimes
28-11-2007, 10:31 PM
Yes, good - finally something on which we can agree ...

matt b
29-11-2007, 10:38 AM
Yes, good - finally something on which we can agree ...

hurrah!

lock thread

vimothy
29-11-2007, 12:16 PM
Oh for fuck's sake.

Vimothy, are you really going to bring up Larry Summers' ridiculous speech in this context? You realize that he literally, in the course of what he ostensibly thought was a serious discussion of "gender" and science, brought up the anecdote "my daughter has always loved dolls" as "evidence" that "gender" is biological.

I was bringing up Summers' ridiculous speech in the context of Pinker's "dangerous idea": that "groups of people may differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments".

vimothy
29-11-2007, 12:42 PM
Everybody, if they've not done so already, should read this piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/opinion/14leroi.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print&position=) by Armand Marie Leroi. In particular:


The dominance of the social construct theory can be traced to a 1972 article by Dr. Richard Lewontin, a Harvard geneticist, who wrote that most human genetic variation can be found within any given "race." If one looked at genes rather than faces, he claimed, the difference between an African and a European would be scarcely greater than the difference between any two Europeans. A few years later he wrote that the continued popularity of race as an idea was an "indication of the power of socioeconomically based ideology over the supposed objectivity of knowledge." Most scientists are thoughtful, liberal-minded and socially aware people. It was just what they wanted to hear.

Three decades later, it seems that Dr. Lewontin's facts were correct, and have been abundantly confirmed by ever better techniques of detecting genetic variety. His reasoning, however, was wrong. His error was an elementary one, but such was the appeal of his argument that it was only a couple of years ago that a Cambridge University statistician, A. W. F. Edwards, put his finger on it.

The error is easily illustrated. If one were asked to judge the ancestry of 100 New Yorkers, one could look at the color of their skin. That would do much to single out the Europeans, but little to distinguish the Senegalese from the Solomon Islanders. The same is true for any other feature of our bodies. The shapes of our eyes, noses and skulls; the color of our eyes and our hair; the heaviness, height and hairiness of our bodies are all, individually, poor guides to ancestry.

But this is not true when the features are taken together. Certain skin colors tend to go with certain kinds of eyes, noses, skulls and bodies. When we glance at a stranger's face we use those associations to infer what continent, or even what country, he or his ancestors came from - and we usually get it right. To put it more abstractly, human physical variation is correlated; and correlations contain information.

Genetic variants that aren't written on our faces, but that can be detected only in the genome, show similar correlations. It is these correlations that Dr. Lewontin seems to have ignored. In essence, he looked at one gene at a time and failed to see races. But if many - a few hundred - variable genes are considered simultaneously, then it is very easy to do so. Indeed, a 2002 study by scientists at the University of Southern California and Stanford showed that if a sample of people from around the world are sorted by computer into five groups on the basis of genetic similarity, the groups that emerge are native to Europe, East Asia, Africa, America and Australasia - more or less the major races of traditional anthropology.

One of the minor pleasures of this discovery is a new kind of genealogy. Today it is easy to find out where your ancestors came from - or even when they came, as with so many of us, from several different places. If you want to know what fraction of your genes are African, European or East Asian, all it takes is a mouth swab, a postage stamp and $400 - though prices will certainly fall.

Yet there is nothing very fundamental about the concept of the major continental races; they're just the easiest way to divide things up. Study enough genes in enough people and one could sort the world's population into 10, 100, perhaps 1,000 groups, each located somewhere on the map. This has not yet been done with any precision, but it will be. Soon it may be possible to identify your ancestors not merely as African or European, but Ibo or Yoruba, perhaps even Celt or Castilian, or all of the above.

The identification of racial origins is not a search for purity. The human species is irredeemably promiscuous. We have always seduced or coerced our neighbors even when they have a foreign look about them and we don't understand a word. If Hispanics, for example, are composed of a recent and evolving blend of European, American Indian and African genes, then the Uighurs of Central Asia can be seen as a 3,000-year-old mix of West European and East Asian genes. Even homogenous groups like native Swedes bear the genetic imprint of successive nameless migrations.

Some critics believe that these ambiguities render the very notion of race worthless. I disagree. The physical topography of our world cannot be accurately described in words. To navigate it, you need a map with elevations, contour lines and reference grids. But it is hard to talk in numbers, and so we give the world's more prominent features - the mountain ranges and plateaus and plains - names. We do so despite the inherent ambiguity of words. The Pennines of northern England are about one-tenth as high and long as the Himalayas, yet both are intelligibly described as mountain ranges.

So, too, it is with the genetic topography of our species. The billion or so of the world's people of largely European descent have a set of genetic variants in common that are collectively rare in everyone else; they are a race. At a smaller scale, three million Basques do as well; so they are a race as well. Race is merely a shorthand that enables us to speak sensibly, though with no great precision, about genetic rather than cultural or political differences.

But it is a shorthand that seems to be needed. One of the more painful spectacles of modern science is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between "ethnic groups." Given the problematic, even vicious, history of the word "race," the use of euphemisms is understandable. But it hardly aids understanding, for the term "ethnic group" conflates all the possible ways in which people differ from each other.

vimothy
29-11-2007, 01:10 PM
Steven Pinker, discussing the Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy & Henry Harpending paper on Ashkenazim intelligence, gets it pretty much spot on, IMHO:


CH&H, then, have provided prima facie evidence for each of the hypotheses making up their theory. But all the hypotheses would have to be true for the theory as a whole to be true--and much of the evidence is circumstantial, and the pivotal hypothesis is the one for which they have the least evidence. Yet that hypothesis is also the most easily falsifiable. By that criterion, the CH&H story meets the standards of a good scientific theory, though it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken.

But is it good for the Jews? More to the point, is it good for ideals of tolerance and ethnic amity? On one interpretation, perhaps it is. Jewish achievement is obvious; only the explanation is unclear. The idea of innate Jewish intelligence is certainly an improvement over the infamous alternative generalization, a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. And attention to the talents needed in the middleman niche (whether they are biological or cultural) could benefit other middleman minorities, such as Armenians, Lebanese, Ibos, and overseas Chinese and Indians, who have also been targets of vicious persecution because of their economic success.

And yet the dangers are real. Like intelligence, personality traits are measurable, heritable within a group, and slightly different, on average, between groups. Someday someone could test whether there was selection for personality traits that are conducive to success in money-lending and mercantilism, traits that I will leave to the reader's imagination. One can also imagine how a finding of this kind would be interpreted in, say, Cairo, Tehran, and Kuala Lumpur. And the CH&H study could lower people's resistance to more invidious comparisons, such as groups who historically score lower, rather than higher, on IQ tests.

What can be done? In recent decades, the standard response to claims of genetic differences has been to deny the existence of intelligence, to deny the existence of races and other genetic groupings, and to subject proponents to vilification, censorship, and at times physical intimidation. Aside from its effects on liberal discourse, the response is problematic. Reality is what refuses to go away when you do not believe in it, and progress in neuroscience and genomics has made these politically comforting shibboleths (such as the non-existence of intelligence and the non-existence of race) untenable.

Rather than legislating facts, could we adopt a policy of agnosticism, and recommend that we "don't go there"? Scientists routinely avoid research that may have harmful consequences, such as injuring human subjects or releasing dangerous microorganisms. The problem with this line of thought is that it would restrict research based on its intellectual content rather than on its physical conduct. Ideas are connected to other ideas, often in unanticipated ways, and restrictions on content could cripple freedom of inquiry and distort the intellectual landscape.

Also, there are positive reasons to study the genetics of groups. Until the day that every person is issued a CD containing his or her genome, medicine will need the statistical boost of data on group differences when targeting tests and treatments to those most likely to benefit from them. Remember that the CH&H study grew out of research aimed at reducing the enormous suffering caused by genetic diseases. Many have effects on the nervous and endocrine systems, and connections with the psychological traits of sufferers and carriers may be unavoidable. And of course the tests could refute claims of group differences as easily as they could confirm them.

The genetics of groups is also an exciting frontier in the study of history. Many Jews have been thrilled by the discoveries of a common Y-chromosome among many of today's kohanim (believed to be descendants of the priestly caste in ancient Judea, who were themselves the descendants of Aaron), of genetic commonalities between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews traceable to a common ancestry in the Middle East, and of the presence of these genes in isolated communities in Africa and Asia that retain some Jewish rituals. Studies of the genes of African, American, and Australian populations could shed light on their prehistory, filling in pages that are sadly missing from the history of our species, as well as enlightening curious individuals about their genealogy.

In theory, we have the intellectual and moral tools to defuse the dangers. "Is" does not imply "ought." Group differences, when they exist, pertain to averages, not to individual men and women. There are geniuses and dullards, saints and sinners, in every race, ethnicity, and gender. Political equality is a commitment to universal human rights, and to policies that treat people as individuals rather than as representatives of groups; it is not an empirical claim that people are indistinguishable. Many commentators seem unwilling to grasp these points.

The revolution in human genomics has spawned profuse commentary about the perils of cloning and human genetic enhancement. But these fears may be misplaced. When people realize that cloning is just forgoing a genetically unique child for an identical twin of one of the parents, rather than resurrecting a soul or investing in an organ farm, I suspect no one will want to do it. And when they realize that most genes have costs as well as benefits (a gene might raise a child's IQ but also predispose him to a genetic disease), "designer babies" will lose whatever appeal they have. In contrast, the power to uncover genetic and evolutionary roots of group differences in psychological traits is both more likely to materialize and more incendiary in its consequences. And it is a prospect that we are, intellectually and emotionally, very poorly equipped to confront.

Mr. Tea
29-11-2007, 02:02 PM
But it is a shorthand that seems to be needed. One of the more painful spectacles of modern science is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between "ethnic groups." Given the problematic, even vicious, history of the word "race," the use of euphemisms is understandable. But it hardly aids understanding, for the term "ethnic group" conflates all the possible ways in which people differ from each other.

Exactly: it's just timidity about the R-word, since people make the (understandable, but by no means inevitable) association, 'race' -> 'racism'.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:17 PM
Mr Tea, you're an idiot.

Mixed_Biscuits, need I remind you that the "predictive" powers of standardized testing have been widely and validly challenged by all manner of scientists?

Can you give me some of the statistics that "correlate" success on CAT tests with success at, say, getting a report done for your boss that has the right number of bullet points in it? Of course, these stats would have to be weighted against "wealth" and other advantages that some students may already have over others.

Every year after CAT and PEP tests I was rewarded by my teachers and parents for high scores, since on the CAT tests I always scored in the 99th percentile or higher. I got a perfect score on the PEP reading test the first year they implemented it. And a lot of people would contend that I suck at life.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:21 PM
"Ethnic group" is actually a much better description scientifically of what happens to populations over time in terms of similarities--you end up with traits in common that are traced and traceable both to your "ancestory" generally and your nationality specifically.

The concept of the "ethnic group" is by no means a "euphemism" for "race."

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:24 PM
Leroi's argument in that article is so specious it doesn't even warrant direct response.

Mr. Tea
29-11-2007, 02:26 PM
Nomad, would you like to shut up for a moment about all the gold stars you were awarded at school and tell me exactly what I've said in this thread is factually incorrect, and why? I mean, not just political mantras like "there's no such thing as race", but specific scientific criticisms of things I've said about human genetics? Much obliged.

Mr. Tea
29-11-2007, 02:27 PM
Leroi's argument in that article is so specious it doesn't even warrant direct response.

Trans.: "I don't like what he says, but can't actually find anything wrong with it."

zhao
29-11-2007, 02:36 PM
Everybody, if they've not done so already, should read this piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/14/opinion/14leroi.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print&position=) by Armand Marie Leroi.

my god. i guess those who do not wish to see the pink elephant in the room will just simply not see it.

after all that has been said in this thread, i can not believe this guy is STILL banging on about the neutrality and innocence of this "simple little short-hand employed to make communication a little easier, nothing more".

we can point to it, we can take photographs of it, we can get testimonies from thousands, we can have x-ray scans of it, we can have piles of its shit on exhibit for all to see and smell, and people like Vimothy will always refuse to acknowledge that it is there.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:40 PM
Translation: Mr. Tea continues to UNSUCCESSFULLY argue that "race" exists biologically.

What, exactly, is "race" in the human genome? Which genes mark it? Which "similarities" are specifically to be considered "racial" ones? What exactly would "racial" genes mark as racial in terms of the genome?

Thanks for only including biological answers that make reference to specific genes and genotypes.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:43 PM
Steven Pinker, discussing the Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy & Henry Harpending paper on Ashkenazim intelligence, gets it pretty much spot on, IMHO:


CH&H, then, have provided prima facie evidence for each of the hypotheses making up their theory. But all the hypotheses would have to be true for the theory as a whole to be true--and much of the evidence is circumstantial, and the pivotal hypothesis is the one for which they have the least evidence. Yet that hypothesis is also the most easily falsifiable. By that criterion, the CH&H story meets the standards of a good scientific theory, though it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken.

But is it good for the Jews? More to the point, is it good for ideals of tolerance and ethnic amity? On one interpretation, perhaps it is. Jewish achievement is obvious; only the explanation is unclear. The idea of innate Jewish intelligence is certainly an improvement over the infamous alternative generalization, a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. And attention to the talents needed in the middleman niche (whether they are biological or cultural) could benefit other middleman minorities, such as Armenians, Lebanese, Ibos, and overseas Chinese and Indians, who have also been targets of vicious persecution because of their economic success.

And yet the dangers are real. Like intelligence, personality traits are measurable, heritable within a group, and slightly different, on average, between groups. Someday someone could test whether there was selection for personality traits that are conducive to success in money-lending and mercantilism, traits that I will leave to the reader's imagination. One can also imagine how a finding of this kind would be interpreted in, say, Cairo, Tehran, and Kuala Lumpur. And the CH&H study could lower people's resistance to more invidious comparisons, such as groups who historically score lower, rather than higher, on IQ tests.

What can be done? In recent decades, the standard response to claims of genetic differences has been to deny the existence of intelligence, to deny the existence of races and other genetic groupings, and to subject proponents to vilification, censorship, and at times physical intimidation. Aside from its effects on liberal discourse, the response is problematic. Reality is what refuses to go away when you do not believe in it, and progress in neuroscience and genomics has made these politically comforting shibboleths (such as the non-existence of intelligence and the non-existence of race) untenable.

Rather than legislating facts, could we adopt a policy of agnosticism, and recommend that we "don't go there"? Scientists routinely avoid research that may have harmful consequences, such as injuring human subjects or releasing dangerous microorganisms. The problem with this line of thought is that it would restrict research based on its intellectual content rather than on its physical conduct. Ideas are connected to other ideas, often in unanticipated ways, and restrictions on content could cripple freedom of inquiry and distort the intellectual landscape.

Also, there are positive reasons to study the genetics of groups. Until the day that every person is issued a CD containing his or her genome, medicine will need the statistical boost of data on group differences when targeting tests and treatments to those most likely to benefit from them. Remember that the CH&H study grew out of research aimed at reducing the enormous suffering caused by genetic diseases. Many have effects on the nervous and endocrine systems, and connections with the psychological traits of sufferers and carriers may be unavoidable. And of course the tests could refute claims of group differences as easily as they could confirm them.

The genetics of groups is also an exciting frontier in the study of history. Many Jews have been thrilled by the discoveries of a common Y-chromosome among many of today's kohanim (believed to be descendants of the priestly caste in ancient Judea, who were themselves the descendants of Aaron), of genetic commonalities between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews traceable to a common ancestry in the Middle East, and of the presence of these genes in isolated communities in Africa and Asia that retain some Jewish rituals. Studies of the genes of African, American, and Australian populations could shed light on their prehistory, filling in pages that are sadly missing from the history of our species, as well as enlightening curious individuals about their genealogy.

In theory, we have the intellectual and moral tools to defuse the dangers. "Is" does not imply "ought." Group differences, when they exist, pertain to averages, not to individual men and women. There are geniuses and dullards, saints and sinners, in every race, ethnicity, and gender. Political equality is a commitment to universal human rights, and to policies that treat people as individuals rather than as representatives of groups; it is not an empirical claim that people are indistinguishable. Many commentators seem unwilling to grasp these points.

The revolution in human genomics has spawned profuse commentary about the perils of cloning and human genetic enhancement. But these fears may be misplaced. When people realize that cloning is just forgoing a genetically unique child for an identical twin of one of the parents, rather than resurrecting a soul or investing in an organ farm, I suspect no one will want to do it. And when they realize that most genes have costs as well as benefits (a gene might raise a child's IQ but also predispose him to a genetic disease), "designer babies" will lose whatever appeal they have. In contrast, the power to uncover genetic and evolutionary roots of group differences in psychological traits is both more likely to materialize and more incendiary in its consequences. And it is a prospect that we are, intellectually and emotionally, very poorly equipped to confront.

Haha! Articles about how great and successful Ashkenazis are that don't cite any numbers that would indicate statistically or in any feasible/credible form that Ashkenazis are indeed "more successful" than others.

Who ever said people were "indistinguishable"? Of course people are distinguishable. It does not follow, however, that race is a biological fact rather than a social construct.

vimothy
29-11-2007, 02:46 PM
Leroi's argument in that article is so specious it doesn't even warrant direct response.

Please -- that's a pathetic attempt at dismissing an argument without having any reason to do so.

Mr. Tea
29-11-2007, 02:46 PM
Translation: Mr. Tea continues to UNSUCCESSFULLY argue that "race" exists biologically.

What, exactly, is "race" in the human genome? Which genes mark it?

Oh don't be dense, it's not determined by a single gene, is it? It's the collective phenotypical expression of millions and millions of genes.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:48 PM
Oh don't be dense, it's not determined by a single gene, is it? It's the collective phenotypical expression of millions and millions of genes.

?Hahjahhaha
hahahah
hahahahahahhaah

Oh goodness.

Is it, Mr. Tea? What a wonderful answer to my question.

vimothy
29-11-2007, 02:50 PM
Haha! Articles about how great and successful Ashkenazis are that don't cite any numbers that would indicate statistically or in any feasible/credible form that Ashkenazis are indeed "more successful" than others.

Who ever said people were "indistinguishable"? Of course people are distinguishable. It does not follow, however, that race is a biological fact rather than a social construct.

No, it's an article about a paper about how great and wonderful etc Ashkenazim are. I linked to both the article and paper in question earlier in the thread.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:51 PM
Leroi's argument amounts to:

'While I recognize we do not have any real biological basis to anchor our notions of "race" at this time, until we do, we should continue to use the word "race" to describe the the "genetic" origins of people based solely on how they look because we've always used ambiguous words in the absence of better ones in science.'

Do I even need to go into why this is a complete bullshit argument?

Mr. Tea
29-11-2007, 02:52 PM
?Hahjahhaha
hahahah
hahahahahahhaah

Oh goodness.

Is it, Mr. Tea? What a wonderful answer to my question.

Have you edited it, or did I misread "genes mark" as "gene marks"?

My apologies if it's the latter, I thought you were implying there was a 'race gene'. D'oh, never mind!

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:53 PM
No, it's an article about a paper about how great and wonderful etc Ashkenazim are. I linked to both the article and paper in question earlier in the thread.

Oh yeah? Does the original article cite any real numbers on Ashkenazi "success" or does it just take this "empirical" observation for granted?

LOL

zhao
29-11-2007, 02:53 PM
Trans.: "I don't like what he says, but can't actually find anything wrong with it."

i don't know how it is possible for you to have missed it, but Nomad, HTML, and myself have been articulating over the past 16 pages, in a detailed and methodical manner, EXACTLY what is wrong with what people like this say.

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:54 PM
Have you edited it, or did I misread "genes mark" as "gene marks"?

My apologies if it's the latter, I thought you were implying there was a 'race gene'. D'oh, never mind!

If race exists, there should be identifiable gene markers for it in the human genome. Can you point some out for me? Thnx. :D