I don't respond well to threats

I just got a long, whiny, self-serving email from a Mr John Buford, in which he claims that I was in error for banning him, because he once took a 4-credit course in anthropology, and his comments about race are therefore credible.

You may recall Mr Buford by his pseudonym, "hahajohnnyb". He's a racist moron.

I won't bother with posting the whole of his letter, which is mostly a lot of chest-thumping about how smart he is, but I will share with you his closing threat.

It is your blog, and you certainly have the right to ban whomever you choose, and I shall respect your ban, but I intend to post a link to your site on Stormfront, which gets 10s of thousands of hits a day and has 100s of thousands of members, so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists. I shall not stop only at your site, but will also have my people inflitrate the entire Dawkins Network with realism about race. Maybe, we will be able to open the minds of a few of your co-religionists or maybe we will make the Dawkins movement look like a bunch of Nazis, either way. You lose.

Woo-hoo! More traffic! Maybe I'll be able to cover my daughter's tuition payments this term, after all!

More likely, a few thugs and rednecks will straggle over and leave a few illiterate comments, but be prepared. I'll also be ready. One of the nice things about our recent software update is one-click comment deletion.

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Racial realists....

*shudder*

PZ, you've set us up! It's all a game to you isn't it?!?!

;)

Although I realize these "racial realists" are some scary, scary people, this threat makes me think he's going to send the flying monkeys.

Racial realism is a good thing. Number of races: 1. Name of race: Human.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

"Although I realize these "racial realists" are some scary, scary people, this threat makes me think he's going to send the flying monkeys."

That's racist.

I think they must use the term "racial realist" because "white supremacist" is too difficult for them to spell. (It's tough to be the master race when you're stupid.)

for such a smart guy he sure did splice about 4 sentences with commas

"Racial realists" = "half-wits who use The Bell Curve as their Bible"

So, is he saying that the Dawkins movement will look like a bunch of Nazis because their web traffic is full of freaks like JohnnyB? Because if that's what he really means, it's really quite candid of him!

Boo-hoo, Stormfailure. Ooh, you're gonna get your ITG douchebag friends to come after us! Oh, we're all so scared!

There's a reason why a Certain Imageboard Which Shall Not Be Named refers to them as "Stormf*gs". Stormwimps are a buncha pasty, fat-assed white boy whiners who think they're the toughest around. And yet they can't beat a similar-but-not-as-horrid group of pasty, fat-assed, nameless white boys.

Once again, a tiresome, ignorant racist spews his venom so we can laugh at him and use him as an example of how homo sapiens still has its failures of mental disease.

By NewEnglandBob (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Racial realism is a good thing. Number of races: 1. Name of race: Human.

I'm not entirely sure that's true. Given some of the e-mail PZ receives and some of the comments here, I'm fairly confident "neanderthal" is another one.

I'm fairly confident "neanderthal" is another one.

That's racist.

so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists

Finally. We need fresh blood, the creationist trolls have been limp and feeble lately.

@blue fielder

i feel confident that said Imageboard has a few more "members" that could take down nearly any site they like without much thought, especially one with only 'tens of thousands of hits a day'. you know. for the lulz. ;)

We need fresh blood

I'm not so sure, white supremacists count as "fresh blood." More like good examples of devolution...

I'm fairly confident "neanderthal" is another one.

Hey now! What do you have against Neanderthals? As if driving them to extinction wasn't bad enough, you lump them together with those things! What did Neanderthals ever do to you?

@18: WHY DID YOU SAY IT?!

I called them that because it's like mentioning that one guy from Freakazoid - Candle-something-or-other. You say the name and bad things happen.

@15: i feel confident that said Imageboard has a few more "members" that could take down nearly any site they like without much thought, especially one with only 'tens of thousands of hits a day'.

I'm pretty sure they've done it before. In fact, that's why the News board there closed - the Stormfailures were getting out of hand and it was going to boil over sooner or later. Problem is, they closed /n/, and the losers just leaked onto other boards.

I think you guys are going to be a little disappointed. There's a pretty significant overlap of Christian anti-science kooks and white supremacists. Racism seems to go hand-in-hand with right-wing religious viewpoints.

By ImprobableJoe (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I think Stephen Wells hit it right on the head. If we were actually -realistic- about race we wouldn't have all these white supremacists morons running around.

Wow, just... wow.

The fact that the guy is a nutter that harbors delusions of grandeur is bad enough. The fact that he's racist scum is something else entirely.

I'm not sure how he'd think that white supremacists and neo-Nazis could have missed evolution and the culture war that's sprung up around it. They're probably at the forefront (in reality hiding in the shadows) in the culture war. This guy thinks that he'll rally the troops and they'll all march on to victory against evolution or, as he puts it, the "Dawkins movement."

He thinks they'll actually give a shit that you kicked him off the blog for being a racist asshole.

"Hey guys, why aren't you following me? Oh, today's the day you planned to buy more bed sheets and cut eye holes in them? Don't you care that the evil PZ Meyers kicked me off of his blog? Don't you love me anymore? Well screw you all then, I'm going to go find someone else to hate everyone else with!"

Someone really needed to get the guy a puppy when he was little. Preferably a mixed breed...

Chris@17.

No argument from me with the latter comment. However I can't seem to get as much enjoyment from the religious kooks on here as I used to. Maybe these 'racial realists' have better prospects in amusing me. If they care to come, let them come, is my opinion.

Did he just say that Stormfront, fucking Stormfront, was going to make us look like Nazis? Holy shit, just holy shit.

Gee whiz, I took 2 anthropology classes by in my undergraduate days (social sciences distribution requirement). I guess that makes me twice as smart of JB. I know a racist arguement when I see one, and he gave one using refuted sources.

I can't knock neanderthals. They were very successful in their niche. Then those pesky homo sapiens came along with their high tech bows and arrows and it was all over.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I will be reviewing my Blazing Saddles "racial realist" response procedures.

In the meantime to borrow and slightly modify the sentiments of the esteemed Mr. Howard Johnson (of the Rock Ridge Johnsons), "As chairman of the welcoming committee, it's a pleasure to present a laurel and hearty handshake to our new....morons."

Disclaimer: BS aficionados may recognize the "morons" reference as Jim's observation of the common townfolk mentality. I don't mean to refer to the simple, misguided yet redeemable bigots of the world so to be clear I am referring to the pig-ignorant, stupidfuck, hateful, irredeemable, bile-spewing, nitwits of the Stormfront NeoNazi variety.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I must admit to being a bit curious about how Stormfronters would go about making Dawkins and friends look like Nazis. By lying about them, perhaps? Because otherwise, we're just talking massive projection there.

@Nerd of Redhead...

I'm not 100% sure, but that photo looks more like a homo sapiens than neandertal. High forehead, minimal brow and unless it's just a weird angle thing that looks an awful lot like a chin!

Is it just me?

@18, rules 1 and 2

blue fielder, yeah im just saying, stormfront would be stupid to try and raid anyone, when they are so raidable themselves.

Cool. A hundred thousand people wanking in our general direction. Neonazi web-bukkake. I'd say "ew" but it's going to be like voiding urine on the Apollo missions: Glittering frozen waste products drifting through space, beautifully illuminated by the sun. The urine is neonazi-spew, glittering and frozen suggests the cold and vacuous "content," and the illumination is, of course, the reasoned, factual, and yet amusingly uncivil repartee that will arise.

Targets!

I intend to post a link to your site on Stormfront, which gets 10s of thousands of hits a day and has 100s of thousands of members, so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists Nazi scumbags. - Obergruppenfuehrer Pusbucket

Amended in the interests of accuracy. We'll be waiting, Herr Obergruppenfuehrer.

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

jimmiraybob @ #29:

No modification needed:

"Oh, baby, you are soooo talented! And they are soooo dumb!"

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I don't like this guy saying that he and his Stormfront buddies will "open the mind" of anyone. I suspect they actually mean "break the skull".

By Christophe Thill (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

MK, I think the photo on the first page is a homo sapien, but I am by no means an expert. The article describes both neanderthal and sapiens bones and their analysis. The bone analysis indicated the neanderthal probably didn't use projectile weapons, whereas sapien definitely had them. Small amount of samples, but sounds plausable.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I must admit to being a bit curious about how Stormfronters would go about making Dawkins and friends look like Nazis.

I believe the implication was that they're going to do it by being associated with them. So this guy clearly accepts that Stormfront are a bunch of Nazis - he just thinks that's a good thing.

I wonder if he has a subscription to Internet Tough Guy magazine?

When I first saw hahajohnnyb's comments I hoped that he was simply yanking everyone's chain. It was saddening to realize that he really holds such bizarre racist beliefs. It's even more disturbing to see that he's part of an online community of like-minded individuals. I expect his colleagues will be in for a warm reception if they visit this site.

And speaking of anthropology classes, I remember from my 101 experience (a 4 hour course too) that some anthropologist has predicted that after some number of generations the human race will all be a nice golden brown. MMMmmmmmmm, golden brown. Even Mr. HaHa's great-great-great (etc.) grandkids....golden brown....mmmmmmmmm.

Just gives me goosebumps to imagine the scale of inevitable fail of the HaHa's of the world.

The downside will be the loss of diversity.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

It looks like one his Stormdupes may have dropped in on the #6, Khan thread.

Robert Byers:
" A Mexican claiming to be a Latino/Hispanic but wanting the american mans home and inheritance.
A silly character.
His smile was a deception. He was after all another bad guy Mexican bandito trying to rob the american settler.
Odd his most famous role is a name called Khan. A lot of Khans in mexico?"

By mayhempix (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

As an Anthropology degree holder I am offended that some douche bag would use Anthro as an excuse to spout racist bullshit. (BTW: douche bag and/or tool are not currently recognized as categories of humans, but I am starting to think more and more that they should!).

Racial Realist? WTF is that? Is that a new PC term for Racist?

While the races have definitive differences (skeletal morphology mostly, due to adaption, with is EVOLUTION), no one race is superior as each have evolved to adapt to their home environment. Each difference is a way for that group of individuals to be more successful in surviving in their environment/climate. None of these specializations are superior, each serve a purpose. Perhaps the Racial Realists should learn about the supposed racial differences by reading an Anthro text that was published in the last 20 years. For a long time Anthro was cited as the reason for racist B-S, because of outdated research conducted by colonial imperialists, and the simple twisting of words. I dare any of them to find me true evidence of their motivations and beliefs.

I am waiting.

Wow...the good thing about people like this douche is that through his chest thumping and posturing, he makes himself -and those like him- appear even more idiotic, thus promoting the sites and/or bloggers he is trying to bring down. I say, let him write all he wants, he's only helping our cause!

Wow. Someone needs a hug for happy monkey.

"...but will also have my people inflitrate the entire Dawkins Network with realism about race."

This is the part I like. How do I get my OWN people? It would be fun to have them 'inflitrate' the Internets. :)

@nerd of redhead...

Yep. Got all that. Understand. I was just making an observation. Not being an expert myself I just thought I'd see if you saw it too. When you enlarge the image is refers to the photo as a Neandertal. Again, it may be... but it doesn't look like it.

And of course this is all way off topic. I guess we should now let the "racial realists" have the stage and allow the savaging to continue. Heh!

Cheers.

jimmiraybob, fear not. That's not how it works. (Perhaps a biologist might be a better consultant on this point than an anthropologist. I'm not one, so I won't comment further, but I believe we have one around here somewhere...)

Is it just me or have we been getting a lot of racists lately? 3 of the last 5 people to make it into dungeon have been racists.

The only explanation I could think of is that they're angry Obama won and feel they need to do something. And by 'do something' I mean post ignorant rants on a blog. If anyone has a better explanation please feel free to share.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Personally, I thought StormFront was one of Billy Joel's better late-period albums.

By BaldySlaphead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Better yet, why don't all of us who have blogs post his threats and go on christian forums and post his threat under his name so that his name becomes synonymous with "idiot racist" and then make his personal name a hyperlink to his idiot racist forum.

Obviously "racial realist" was some sort of typo; he meant to write "real racist".

I once took Psychology 101, so I think I am qualified to call this guy mentally inferior to the non-racist portion of humanity.

By Levi in NY (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

"Woo-hoo! More traffic!"

Between this and the Birther infestation over on Ed Brayton's blog it's a shame Scienceblogs doesn't have ppm ads.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Oh Cripes, a bunch of racist rednecks marchin’ on over to Pharyngula to whump them smartass intalekshooals upside there skulls with the truth about them there colored folk and Jews.

In other news, Guns and Jesus is American, and Chevy beats Ford. What ammo you usin’?

“co-religionists”?

By RamblinDude (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Re #43, I think that Byers character has been in and outta here previously, actually. The odour seems sorta familiar.

Re our Internet Tough Guy Magazine subscriber, I'm not too worried about him. Or at least, not unless he's actually threatened to go upstairs and tell his Mom on us, anyway...

That stuff's serious. The rest, I can let slide.

Matt, not a good idea to cite a book you haven't read. Etine's book is a joke with no data to back up his assertions. Now, can you cite some actual studies that show blacks have some sort of competitive edge, one which also rules out cultural issues and socioeconomic status as well?

By Richard Wolford (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Okay, I have to add something to the discussion, and for the first time as a new regular reader, I can do so from a position of something approaching expertise!
As a graduate student in a counseling MS program, I took a really great course dealing with mental measurements. In other words, statistical and critical analysis of all sorts of "tests" of all kinds, including IQ tests. IQ is interesting in that the only working definition of IQ is "the measure of how well one performs on an IQ test".
IQ scores by minority test-takers ARE lower than the majority, in a statistically significant and repeatedly demonstrable way. HOWEVER, when we talk about "minority" in this context, we do not mean Black or Hispanic: we mean that the test-takers are a minority within their embedded culture. This so-called "minority effect" on "intelligence" testing is observed across the globe in virtually every culture with an oppressed minority group, and the effect is more pronounced according to how "out" of the mainstream that group is. In other words, depressed IQ scores are more pronounced the more oppressed the minority is by the majority. In America, it happens to be blacks and hispanics and native Americans. In Japan, it is the Ainu. In parts of Europe, it is usually people of middle eastern descent. The color of one's skin is not a determinant, but institutionalized racism, segregation, inequlality, and maltreatment are.
I wrote my final paper in that class (20 pages) exploring this issue and talked about some of the theories as to why minorities perform poorly on "IQ" tests. Some think it is a form of rebellion (they don't care about doing well on the tests), some believe that there is a cultural bias built into the tests (some workers have striven to design less-biased tests, with mixed results: google Cattell culture-fair test for an example). One researcher demonstrated the effect of test bias by creating the B.I.T.C.H. test. See how you do on it!
http://www.susanohanian.org/show_commentary.php?id=170
So the racist douchebag we're dealing with here is doing what fundamentalist douchebags always do: take conclusions drawn from good research and selectively report only the parts that sound like they support their own bias.

By Mike in Ontario, NY (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Where are Jake and Elwood when you need someone to run down Nazis in the Bluesmobile?

Matt@32, no-one is denying that differences in average anatomical and physiological categories between human populations exist - of course they do: you are unlikely to get many Baka (average male height under 5 feet) winning the high-jump. What anyone with more intelligence than you and Obergruppenfuehrer Pusbucket denies is that these are differences of worth, and that the conventional racial categories of a particular culture (e.g. the US's "Caucasian", "Afro-American", "Hispanic", etc.) correspond to biological realities.

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Buford comment translated.

"Oh yeah, you called me a moron? I and my 100 of my most retarded friends are going to stand next to you, so that when people see you, they'll be all like, "look at that guy surrounded by a 101 morons." And then who would looks like a moron, or at least a person surrounded by morons? You, that's who."

By Thoracantha (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

In other, even less important news: Is it true that evidence-hound Gil Grissom of "CSI" is out, while phony psychic intuitionist Patrick Jane of "The Mentalist" is in? I was hoping the Obama inauguration would signal the end to the "I feel it in my gut" decision-making process that typified the Bush era.

By Watchmanl (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Wtf is a birther?

Well we know that the Stormfront crowd won't be subtle. You know what would be really funny? If we just ignored their racist bs. They spout and we pretend they don't exist. I think their brains would implode. They're so used to people freaking out on them that the opposite might be really funny.

Or we could come up with a nonsensical term for them.

Like "Hey, look it's a slinky!"

or "ASFFW" (another storm front fuck wit)

or call them Gerbils

skinned coconuts

Ok. I'm just babbling now.

@#68

I say we return to my old BBS days jargon and refer to them all as turnips.

By The Petey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@61 - " In other words, depressed IQ scores are more pronounced the more oppressed the minority is by the majority."

Hmmmmm ... Does that mean that atheists are stoopidur than christians?

I don't think it's that "cut and dried".

If anyone is at all interested in what particular brand of racism this joker is spewing, they can go to Vdare. (I am not going to link to it.) They really hate Franz Boas and Margaret Mead. They also regret that the National Review lacks the racism that it had back in the fifties and sixties. Like the banned joker, they have delusions of intelligence.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@20
At least he didn't mention /b/.

Let them post their insignificant little opinions, and have the sane poster shred these to bits.

Don't call 'racial realists' racists. They don't use that term! :)

It's like this lady who said that the reason she opposes gay marriage is this: She knows her church will still be able to decide whom to marry, and that they can decide not to marry gay people, but that will then make them look like bigots...

Yeah, that was hard for me to answer: Well, you ARE bigots. The end!

Love that!

Turnip it is.

Just post the idiots comment number and Turnip next to it.

they'll just be post after post of just Turnip. It would look really funny.

His threat was seriously that he's going to bring traffic which he admits everyone looks at as moronic so that people will think we are morons by association?

Umm, what?

@68:

A "birther" is someone who refuses to believe that Obama is a natural-born citizen of the U.S. The coinage is by analogy with "truther" (short for "9/11 truther", a 9/11 conspiracy theorist).

jimmiraybob, fear not. That's not how it works. - Nemo #50

Thanks. Although I find it somewhat satisfying to goad the likes of HaHajo with the idea of perfect color blending in the future. I seem to remember that it was pointed out in the class that it wasn't likely to happen (can't remember the specifics.) I do remember commenting on how boring it would be.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Richard,

While I think Entine's title is too broad, (sports?) there's plenty of data in the thing. Look at Olympic Sprinting, look at the finalists since the thing has been run.

Would you, or anyone here, take me in the following bet:

I will bet 1000$ that the winner of the 100 meter Olympic sprint for the next 10 Summer Olympics will be of West African descent.

Furthermore I will bet 1000$ there will be no, none, not one participant of North Asian descent (we can define this for the sake of the bet) in any 100 meter finals race in the next ten summer olympics.

Im in my mid-thirties so the long line of you high minded anti-racial realists jumping at the chance to take my money ought to be roughly my age or younger so we have a good chance to see this thing thru. Each race is a new bet i.e. there is a payout after every Summer Olympics but the bet continues for 10 finals.

Now, none of this proves 'superiority' in anything other than sprinting. And I dont mean to be aloof to the history of ferocious and violent racism in the world. But, nor do I wish to blind myself to reality out of guilt over the past. Ive never even heard of Stormfront but a quick google tells me they're not the type of people I want to be associated with.

Furthermore nor do I wish to degrade the achievements of Usain Bolt, the pre and all his opponents. No doubt he trained harder and worked harder than anyone, black, white, asian etc. But this doesnt falsify any genetic hypotheses.

SteveC said: "Wtf is a birther?"

Someone who believes that Obama was not actually born in Hawaii, and/or that there is a conspiracy to conceal the fact that he is not a U.S. naturally born citizen as required by the Constitution.

I read that eventually, and in not too many generations, natural blondes and redheads would be virtually nonexistent.

S. Scott: Hmmmmm ... Does that mean that atheists are stoopidur than christians?
I don't think it's that "cut and dried".

I didn't realize that atheists were primarily composed of "oppressed people". Most I've met had been fairly successful, with good educational backgrounds, and in the US were white (and predominantly male).

You learn something every day, I guess...

@ 68
'birther' is one of those interesting tin foil hatters that is absolutely convinced that Obama isn't a natural born citizen even after the state of Hawaii verified his birth certifigate.

As for the subject at hand, I thought we were already responsible for every death under every communist regime. Wouldn't this mean that being a Nazi would be a step down?

Go us!

Steve_C said:Wtf is a birther?

Someone who believes Obama is not a naturally born citizen of the U.S. Typically they claim he refuses to produce a legitimate birth certificate. Occasionally you also see claims for some sort of conspiracy.

@mk and Nerd of Redhead (#s 26, 31, 39):

Yes, that first image is of a member of Homo sapiens; in fact, it's almost a caricature of our skull morphology as distinguished from Neanderthals.

And this is from the same turnip who commented in the other thread,

hahajohnnyb wrote:

Sure I could go to Stormfront, but there I am just preaching to the choir. No debate there. Besides most of those people do not agree with me about Eugenics anyhow.

So what's the likelihood of even the loons of Stormfront feel they are 'his people'?

In keeping with the BS references:

"Hey! Where da White Wimmin at?"

Bring it.

JC

knockgoats said

"What anyone with more intelligence than you and Obergruppenfuehrer Pusbucket denies is that these are differences of worth, and that the conventional racial categories of a particular culture (e.g. the US's "Caucasian", "Afro-American", "Hispanic", etc.) correspond to biological realities."

Note the ad homenim attack.

I agree that discussing genetics at the level of race is coarse, as in too wide a sieve, we can get more granular, refined and say more. I do not agree it is worthless, see my proposed bet above.

What we are seeing, to the chagrin of liberal-minded scientists everywhere, is that advances in the field of genetics, by said good-hearted scientists, are proving some of those old stereotypes correct. It does not follow, however, that we need to return to the bad old race based politics. I voted for Obama, promise.

Hey Richard, are you familiar with the test for ACTN3?

http://www.slate.com/id/2206088/

Flex, that joker is registered at Stormfront. Seems that he is out to recruit. Thought that some of us would fall for his appeal to "real science".

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

redheads would be virtually nonexistent.

NNNNOOOOOOOO!

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Janine, Bitter Friend,

My point was that even though he is registered at Stormfront, from his own admission it sounds like his opinions are not highly valued there.

I apologize if I was unclear.

Way to miss the point Matt; I've read Etine's piece of shit book and there is NO data in there. Reporting on the nationalities of Olympic winners is one thing, but trying to extrapolate CAUSATION from CORRELATION is WRONG. See, I even used caps there. So, again, fail. The winners were not winners because they were black, but rather because they were the fastest; nothing more can be taken from his, uh, "data".

Oh, and yes, I DID read about ACTN3; it doesn't support your bullshit, however. From the article you linked to:

Race is a less, not more, reliable gauge of physical characteristics than genes are. In fact, that's one of the chief consolations of nontherapeutic genetic testing: No matter how inaccurate genes are as a predictor of this or that ability, they're more accurate than predictions based on race. And the sooner we get past judging by race, the better.

Idiot.

By Richard Wolford (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jesus Christ, Stormfront of all places. That place is both hilarious and depressing (you should have seen the chaos when Obama got elected).

By Penguin_Factory (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Hey Richard, may I assume your taking my bet?

Matt doesn't know what an ad homenim attack is either.

Well, see, the thing is, you're postulating unknown inherent nature-based genetic differences to produce effects that also have more plausible nurture-based social causes.

Race as a social construct certainly exists, for example. Members of a disadvantaged racially-based social group are allowed fewer paths to success, and so more would likely commit themselves more fully and from an earlier age to those paths. For African-Americans, one of those paths is athletics. Ergo, more and better black athletes.

Occam's Razor is not your friend right know.

@Frog - #83

From The God Delusion:

"A 1999 Gallup poll found that just 49% of Americans would be comfortable voting for a well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to hold no belief in God. Atheists were at the bottom of the pile -- women (95%), Jews (92%), blacks (92%) and homosexuals (79%) all polled much better."

Plus the fact that I would be scared for my safety if I let people know that I am an atheist. (Bible belt)

I can say it's a fact that atheists are oppressed.

PZ, that's boring.

It's not that you don't respond well to threats, you just don't respond at all (except the cracker thing, and those were threats in response to your threat to "desecrate" the cracker).

Maybe for each threat, you should "desecrate" an object symbolically dear to the threatener?

By CrypticLife (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Hey Richard, from the Saletan article

"So, yes, all other things being equal, you can expect this gene to cause Africans and African-Americans to be disproportionately represented at the highest levels of speed and power sports. And you can expect the opposite for Asians."

Culture does play a part here too, and the article does go on to suggest that not all of the disparity we see in say, the NBA, can be attributed to genetics. Which is why I proposed my sure winner of a bet over ten olympics. One day a non-West African will certainly win the 100 meter sprint. Its just highly unlikely.

My favorite quote from my favorite instructor during a human anatomy and physiology class circa 1987:
"Remember folks, race is a social construct, not a biological or scientific reality."

By Mike in Ontario, NY (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@43: there will be essentially zero loss of genetic diversity once the entire population of Europe and the USA has gone latte-coloured. There'll be more heterozygosity, I guess.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Note the ad homenim attack. - MAtt

Note yet another person who doesn't know what "ad hominen" means. Look you idiot, it's no news that different populations have different physical characteristics - like, they're different colours, you know? Nor is it any news that some of these differences are relevant to performance in athletic events. So fucking what? If you didn't want to be associated with Obergruppenfuehrer Pusbucket, you should have made that clear in your comment, shouldn't you? But oh no, showing how intellectually "daring" you are took priority, didn't it?

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

And I'm sure we'll see the the full force of that threat when he and his cohorts are finished coloring.

For fairness we should probably try the same Olympic bet on the 100m freestyle swimming.
The proportions also get kinda interesting when you start looking at, say, the 400m women's track too.

@#99 Posted by: CrypticLife

Maybe for each threat, you should "desecrate" an object symbolically dear to the threatener?

GREAT IDEA!!!!

Everyone send PZ some white bedsheets and pillow cases.

By The Petey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Posted by: CrypticLife | January 15, 2009

PZ, that's boring.

It's not that you don't respond well to threats, you just don't respond at all (except the cracker thing, and those were threats in response to your threat to "desecrate" the cracker).

Maybe for each threat, you should "desecrate" an object symbolically dear to the threatener?

Driving a nail through a copy of Mein Kampf?

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Mike,
What a great quote. Do you remember the instructor's name? I would like to post it giving credit where credit is due. Or I could just put "Mike in Orntario's instructor."

By Becky w/ a Y (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt,

So, we should look at the top 0.001% to make judgements about vast groups of people?

Not to mention, there are a slew of problems with using your bet to judge anything about genetic effect. Different societies have different cultures, and raise children differently. West Africans don't win any of the skiing competitions, but this has little to do with their foot coordination.

You think of this as facile, but only because you're unconciously rejecting a lot of potential influences.

By CrypticLife (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@Steve C #82:

Well, shit. I'd best pass on my genes while I can, in that case. *goes searching for egg-donation sites*

Knockgoats @103

>>>no news that different populations have different physical characteristics - like, they're different colours, you know? Nor is it any news that some of these differences are relevant to performance in athletic events. So fucking what?

emphasis mine

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the dominance of the Tabula Rasa theory of human nature and its long standing hold on both physical and human sciences. It is now beginning to weaken slightly, and your comments above are evidence of that. You'd have been banned from your Uni for saying just that a few decades back. So, cheers to you Knockgoats, and the incremental progress towards truth you represent.

@Matt

I would probably further bet (but not money, don't have any) that the winner of the 5,000m and 10.000m races will be of East African descent. Though the Morrocans may disagree. A while ago there was much hope for good distance runners coming out of the Antiplano of Bolivia and around but their body shape on the whole does not seem conducive.

Been interesting watching Polynesian women making their presence felt in the throwing events too. So much of it is cultural at base, people are just not inclined to particular sports, some go mad for them (table tennis in China for eg). i suspect there is a wealth of athletic talent untapped out there in a whole range of sports. Some of course is simply economic or environmental factors mitigating against. Mind you it can be done as well as the Jamaican bobsled team showed, not much snow in Jamaica.

For eg I always fancied x-country skiing, but not living anywhere with the right climate made it a bit difficult and I had to become a distance runner instead.

By Peter Ashby (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

LOL at "Tabula Rasa theory". Pelagianism lives :)

Matt, you need to learn much more about population genetics before you try to teach it.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@alyson #111

OOOH

I'll take some.
I want to be a dad

By The Petey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the dominance of the Tabula Rasa theory of human nature and its long standing hold on both physical and human sciences. - Matt

I'm familiar with the fact that Steven Pinker made a lot of money out of a book peddling this ludicrous claim. I took a degree in psychology in the early 1970s and have been involved to some degree in the human sciences ever since, so I know it's crap. I've no doubt you can dredge up a few quotations from the 1970s claiming there is no genetic basis to individual psychological differences, but this view never dominated the human sciences.

With respect to physical differences, how could anyone ever have claimed there's no genetic basis to these - which is what you are (on the surface) talking about? I mean, we know the children of black parents grow up black, and those of white parents white, wherever and however they are raised. We know your chromosomes affect what your genitals look like.

BTW, WTF could the supposed "tabula rasa" dogma possibly have to do with the physical sciences?

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

>>>BTW, WTF could the supposed "tabula rasa" dogma possibly have to do with the physical sciences?

Dunno, Knockgoats, why dont you pose that question to Mike in Ontario, and his Anatomy professor. From #101

>>>My favorite quote from my favorite instructor during a human anatomy and physiology class circa 1987:
"Remember folks, race is a social construct, not a biological or scientific reality."

Race means nothing more than I am more closely related to my ancestors than a persons ancestors of another race. Since genes, and their corresponding phenotypes, are hereditary, it follows that race is a biological and scientific reality.

So it seems that none of you anti-race realists would take my bet. That is, of course, because you are closet race realists. Smart thinking in today's economy, even if you cant say it out loud.

I now retract the bet and leave you with a quote to ponder from the father of Sociobiology, E.O. Wilson.

"Marxism is sociobiology without biology. The strongest opposition to the scientific study of human nature has come from a small number of Marxist biologists and anthropologists who are committed to the view that human behavior arises from a very few unstructured drives. They believe that nothing exists in the untrained human mind that cannot be readily channeled to the purposes of the revolutionary socialist state. When faced with the evidence of greater structure, their response has been to declare human nature off limits to further scientific investigation. A few otherwise very able scholars have gone so far as to suggest that merely to talk about the subject is dangerous."

Wow, did Hahajohnnyb add a creative twist to Godwin's Law or what?

If only Karma was real, then maybe someone someday might whisper this into his ear: "You hear me talking hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you - not a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on your ass!"

@Watchmanl @67:

In other, even less important news: Is it true that evidence-hound Gil Grissom of "CSI" is out, while phony psychic intuitionist Patrick Jane of "The Mentalist" is in?

Yes, apparently Gil Grissom is leaving. But he's left Morpheus in charge. The 'hook' of The Mentalist is that Patrick Jane is a nontheist and former 'psychic' who's uses his skills in cold reading and observation to fight crime. It's like Psych, which I also love, but it's shifted more towards drama on the drama/comedy continuum than Psych.

Don't worry, it's totally not Ghost Whisperer.

#188 Turnip

Dude, no one's arguing against the fact that different groups have more prominent representatives in different areas. We're arguing that this discrepancy is more likely to have social causes, that making inferences about a population from the small and skewed sample of top atheletes in that population is kinda silly, and that the genetic component of race is demonstrably minimal.

Your bet was meaningless and irrelevant to what people are actually arguing.

Is Matt the best Stormfront can drag up? Yet another dreary stuffed shirt who tosses out buzz words and quote mines. Oh Boy, like we haven't seen this game a thousand times before with the Creationists.

Throw this smelly bloated fish called Matt back. I demand better kook for my chew toy.

Come one you Stromfront white trash, let's see what you got. Why don't you come out from that pillow fort you are hiding in because you are scared of mean old President Obama and show us "tools of the Jewish intellectual elite" (or what ever nonsense phrase you have) what you got?

"I'm fairly confident "neanderthal" is another one."

"That's racist."

Don't you mean specist?

@Matt

Perhaps I misunderstood your bet proposal regarding North Asians and sprinting but seems to me, you lose already. Unless you are going to claim the 110 meter hurdles is not a sprint, Liu Xiang says it's time for you to pay up.

That is, of course, because you are closet race realists. Matt

I see you're happy to use the same term for yourself as Buford uses. Rather telling.

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Also, turnip.

Race means nothing more than I am more closely related to my ancestors than a persons ancestors of another race.

How can you define a term by using the term itself? That's idiotic. If you can't produce a scientifically useful definition of race, then don't bother posting here.

Matt @32, 80, 89, 95, 100, 112, 117 and 118:

You are arguing against a strawman liberal position.

Liberals don't deny that humans can be classified into sub-groups, nor that such grouping based on genetics is useful. For example, greater alcoholism among native americans or incidence of sickle cell anemia among blacks are two good examples where the usefulness is in better allocation of public health resources and funding. Of course, when you introduce private medical insurance, the usefulness becomes somewhat questionable, but let us not digress into that debate.

What liberals object to is something completely different. Anyone with even basic knowledge of biological evolution knows that from a genetic point of view, there is no difference between natural selection and artificial breeding. Nor is it a topic of debate how rapidly some traits become dominant if they are specifically selected for in artificial breeding. Now, considering the two previous statements, and looking at the abhorrent history of slavery and how more muscular blacks were selected for to fetch better prices as slaves, what exactly does it mean to say that the difference is at a genetic level when it comes to strength? Nothing. Nada. Zip. No liberal would object to you saying that. So your "bet" is not breaking any new ground with us actual liberals. Seriously.

What liberals object to is the extrapolation into the scary, batshit insane territory of "usefulness" that you merely came into contact with in your "bet". And for a glance at that batshit insane land that your are almost entering, you just need to see your own statement:

What we are seeing, to the chagrin of liberal-minded scientists everywhere, is that advances in the field of genetics, by said good-hearted scientists, are proving some of those old stereotypes correct.

This takes us to the crux of the matter. The old stereotype was not that blacks are stronger. The old stereotype was that blacks are stronger, and what they possess extra in strength, they lack in intelligence. The old stereotype was that what they lack in intelligence makes them lazy and unable to figure out what is best for them. The old stereotype was that they need someone to rule over them and put them in their place because they are incapable of making themselves useful.

Proving the genetic basis of strength does nothing to prove the genetic basis of intelligence. The latter is just "folk wisdom" that strength and intelligence and inversely proportional. What liberals with the scientific credentials in genetics to know what they are talking about say all the time is that it is impossible to measure the genetic basis of intelligence against the distorting noise of cultural conditioning. Think of the uncertainty principle if you are into physics. The noise is of the same order of magnitude as any signal you may hope to look for. It is just that you cannot set up better experiments (at least without flouting every fucking ethic of human experimentation resulting in actions far worse than breeding other humans for slavery).

So much for proving old stereotypes correct. Yet some groups of people consistently either refuse or fail to see the difference. They keep acting like the liberal position is that it is racist to posit any racial difference even if it is cellular or muscular level at which it is far simpler to isolate, quantify and measure differences, as opposed to the level of something complex like intelligence.

This is simply a straw liberal position to rail against. You are not going to get anywhere with it, and would only be hindering your own education. You may claim that some decades old liberal position is the current one, or otherwise do whatever you need to do to claim that you are boldly going where you are not allowed to go, but again all you are doing is hindering your own education.

I am not quite quite grasping how the athletic achievements of top athletes from different racial groups explain the believe that nordic are the superior people. Wow, their are minor variants to be found in humans. Damn! I am convinced.

Come back Matt. You have a convert.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@117 I believe what Matt meant was

Turnip means nothing more than rainbows am more closely related to other rainbows than a Dodge Caravan of another Starbucks. Since mastadons, and their corresponding blueberries, are Coloradans, it follows that parchment is a eleventh and porcine BMX.

arvind if the answer to your question here

>>>Nor is it a topic of debate how rapidly some traits become dominant if they are specifically selected for in artificial breeding. Now, considering the two previous statements, and looking at the abhorrent history of slavery and how more muscular blacks were selected for to fetch better prices as slaves, what exactly does it mean to say that the difference is at a genetic level when it comes to strength?

was nothing, as you suppose, then why did Jimmy the Greek get fired for saying exactly what you just said?

Not that it matters, because it is incorrect. According to the study discussed here, African blacks test higher for speed and strength than African-American blacks. Read these links, Aarvind, they will further your education.

http://www.slate.com/id/2206088/

http://www.slate.com/id/2205699/

I am not quite quite grasping how the athletic achievements of top athletes from different racial groups explain the believe that nordic are the superior people. Wow, their are minor variants to be found in humans. Damn! I am convinced.

Janine, Matt's point entirely is that liberals are Wrong.

I think they must use the term "racial realist" because "white supremacist" is too difficult for them to spell. (It's tough to be the master race when you're stupid.)

Back when I was blogging, I wrote a short piece about the musical twin duo 'Prussian Blue', mostly noting the Master Race's lack of command of written English as evinced on their website. One of my coworkers read the post and clicked through to their site only to note that they'd added my to their blogroll of 'Friends of Prussian Blue'. Luckily for them, they were finally able to track down a non-mud breed who could actually read, and realised what I'd written wasn't so friendly.

Besides, as a hirsute and swarthy half-Bohunk, half dirty Slav, I doubt the Master Racers would want me. Meh. Their loss.

Back to Matt's point, have you any data on why white supremacists are generally both ugly and stupid?

Isn't it rather ironic that Matt closes (we hope anyway) with a quote from E. O. Wilson. Matt, Wilson is talking about the human species there, not races. Or do you attribute different drives to different races. Ooga-booga!
You know, I lived in Africa for two years in the Peace Corps. Culturally, Africa is very different. In terms of what motivates people--pretty much the same as here--survival,greed, stupidity, ambition, love, insecurity...

Damn, they sure looked better in those bright colors (green, yellow, orange...) than did we white folk. That's race, Matt. It's pretty much skin deep, but that's a lot deeper than your thinking on the matter.

By Ray Ladbury (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

>>>believe that nordic are the superior people

evidence in my posts for any such nonsense?

Janine: strawman FAIL

@Janine, Bitter Friend #130

I am not quite quite grasping how the athletic achievements of top athletes from different racial groups explain the believe that Nordic are the superior people.

take it from a 300 pound chemical engineer power lifter,

its because big, strong or athletically capable = dumb

I LOVE it when people who don't know me take me for a meat head.

By The Petey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

>>>The old stereotype was that blacks are stronger, and what they possess extra in strength, they lack in intelligence.

Aarvind, any such evidence in my posts supporting the intelligence portion of your statement?

thanks for that fine exposition of the strawman argument: FAIL

African blacks test higher for speed and strength than African-American blacks. Read these links, Aarvind, they will further your education.

So are these faster stronger, super blacks like, going to take over? Wouldn't it make sense to breed with these wonder beings, and dilute their strength with our watery, insipid, pasty white seed before it's like ... too late?

Whats the punch line here?

"racial realists" is obviously a little like cdesign proponentsists - but what the heck is an "al reali" supposed to be?

Gif

Matt, someone stating the crux of your argument is not using a strawman. That you are ignorant of your own bullshit proves you are far too idiotic to be helped, and so you should be shunted off to the wacko basket where you belong.

So where are all the ten's of thousands?

I'm still upset over no nude male servants, and now this.

By Patricia, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt, the first rule of holes is to stop digging once you are in over your head. Time for you to stop digging. Take few hour break.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Ray Ladbury, the question that E.O. Wilson's work spawns, and is a long way from answering I hasten to add, is: How much of culture is a phenotype?

His point is that people who merely ask the question scientifically are to be shunned, or, in his case, have water dumped on their heads.

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/98mar/980377.htm

It's even more disturbing to see that he's part of an online community of like-minded individuals.

Yeah. I don't get it either. How do these morons figure out how to switch on computers? I blame Steve Jobs.

Racial Realist? WTF is that? Is that a new PC term for Racist?

I think it's a term for people who can't even compete with a Mexican for a job whose main requirement is staying awake and sober. Possibly due to genetic superiority.

Does that mean that atheists are stoopidur than christians?

No. An IQ test doesn't measure stupidity, although it was apearently once used by the US Army to reject applicants who were mantally retarded, to the point were they where unable to follow orders. I don't know what the threshold was.

By FlameDuck (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

An anthropologist? Hmmmmm......

Whats the bottom line already!!

Do we breed with these super blacks, shoot them into space in a giant rocketship or reach for that old classic standby, genocide? What can we do Matt, what can we do?

It terrifies me to think that they're getting stronger and faster with every passing generation, while we pasty white boys, just get increasingly sedentary.

It's like being a Morlock doomed to be eaten by the Eloi. No fucking fair!

So are these faster stronger, super blacks like, going to take over? Wouldn't it make sense to breed with these wonder beings, and dilute their strength with our watery, insipid, pasty white seed before it's like ... too late?

Don't look at me: in matters of romance, I'd be regarded by the 'racial realists' as a race-traitor. (I think it's a bit of an over-generalisation: while I do have a fixation with Lark Voorhies that borders on the unhealthy, I'm not quite in Stephen Lynch territory yet, even if I think he's a sensible kid with his head on straight.)

In other words, I'm doing my part.

Flameduck said

I don't know what the threshold was.

Turnip and Buford are apparently good examples of what being under the threshold looks like. Now if we could only extrapolate from them in a meaningful way for test purposes we would be on to a winner :)

By John Phillips, FCD (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Posted by: Matt | January 15, 2009 12:18 PM [kill][hide comment]

>>>believe that nordic are the superior people

evidence in my posts for any such nonsense?

Janine: strawman FAIL

This coming from a person who had this to say about this site;

So it seems that none of you anti-race realists would take my bet. That is, of course, because you are closet race realists. Smart thinking in today's economy, even if you cant say it out loud.

Sounds like a racist who is trying to argue that everybody else is not honest enough to admit they are racists.

I cannot say that I am bothered by you calling me out.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt, once again, please provide a scientifically useful definition of race.

"Back to Matt's point, have you any data on why white supremacists are generally both ugly and stupid?"

I almost choked on my sandwich laughing.

By mayhempix (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

FAIL Check time:

arvind responds to this bit of foolishness:

What we are seeing, to the chagrin of liberal-minded scientists everywhere, is that advances in the field of genetics, by said good-hearted scientists, are proving some of those old stereotypes correct.

by pointing out that Matt had totally failed to show support for the truth of those "old stereotypes":

The old stereotype was that blacks are stronger, and what they possess extra in strength, they lack in intelligence.

To which Matt replies:

Aarvind [sic], any such evidence in my posts supporting the intelligence portion of your statement?

thanks for that fine exposition of the strawman argument: FAIL

Indeed, Matt has not shown any evidence for a trade off between strength/athleticism and intelligence. Thus arvind's argument appears to be absolutely correct. Matt: FAIL.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I'm pretty sure I know Petey, and you should listen to him. :)

Indeed, Matt has not shown any evidence for a trade off between strength/athleticism and intelligence. Thus arvind's argument appears to be absolutely correct. Matt: FAIL.

So lets me get this straight. This new breed of super black is faster, stronger and at least as intelligent as we are?

Jeeeeeeezzzzzus this is bad.

Matt, whadda we do Matt? I knew nothing about this looming threat until you swung by and enlightened my load. You stormfront guys have an plan right? Something involving guns and a bomb shelter in Nebraska? Whats the plan Matt?

Jimmy the Greek get fired for saying exactly what you just said?

First, that was 20 years back. In science years, that is like the dark ages compared to what we know today about genetics. Second, even back then Jimmy wasn't a scientist who was denied an avenue of research. He was a television personality who had the venue to reinforce the stereotype I mentioned earlier about lack of intelligence by touting the former half about strength. What TV stations do based on what they want to be perceived as in public can't be used to judge if certain research is groundbreaking or not. Its groundbreaking nature needs to be evaluated based on other current research in that area. Third, even if you ignore the scientific arena and want to break a taboo more common among the public in the last few decades, there is the matter of priorities. Compared to the mountains of systemic oppression of blacks still going on today based on ignorant stereotypes, all I can spare is a teeny tiny violin for the oppressive nature of public opinion against expounding racial differences. Seriously, the thought that it even counts as a pressing issue of oppression is mindboggling.

According to the study discussed here, African blacks test higher for speed and strength than African-American blacks.

Slavery is not just an American phenomenon. African males have been enslaved since Egyptian times or before. The white man has just been the most recent oppressor. The fact that African blacks tests higher than African-American could easily be because of other factors beyond the slavery common to both, and can't really be shown to be based on something distinctly about the African race prior to their subjugation. Considering the rapid effects of breeding, I doubt if any biologist would have much luck discerning which traits of strength were from natural selection, and which from artificial selection by slave masters.

any such evidence in my posts supporting the intelligence portion of your statement?

thanks for that fine exposition of the strawman argument

I didn't say you made the statement about intelligence. I clarified that it was part of the stereotype. So your statement about old stereotypes being proven true by current genetic research is false. There is no strawman. There is no straw even.

So where are all the ten's of thousands?

I'm still upset over no nude male servants, and now this.

Patricia, you insatiable slut :-)

Tulse, while you were right to point out my erroneous use of the word race in its definition, I must point out your use of the vague qualifier "useful" after the word scientific. Race is a scientific reality, its usefulness as a concept or unit of study is another matter entirely.

As I wrote earlier, I agree with Saletan that discussing genetics at the level of race is problematic, nor do I subscribe to the trash and lies said or insinuated about me regarding superiority of one race over another. Having said all that, you may wonder, why did I proffer the vulgar bet? Because on a website full of liberal minded people I knew it wouldnt be taken and that fact illustrates a level of race-based reality we all share, no matter how much we protest otherwise. Now this common sense lead to some horrible political realities in our past, much of which is still with us. Many are rightly fighting to overcome it. But it does not follow that the opposite of the old ways are therefore true. That backlash thinking has dominated the sciences, particularly social, but the physical to an extent also. So, West Africans tend to be faster than the rest of us. Big deal, one day it will be passe to say as much. In the meantime, I just like to stir the pot a little.

Just read a couple of recent posts. I appears I made a serious mistake even responding to Aarvind. I repeat, nowhere in my posts do I discuss, refer to, or imply anything regarding intelligence/athleticism correlation. Dont wrap me up in that bullshit.

Just read a couple of recent posts. I appears I made a serious mistake even responding to Aarvind. I repeat, nowhere in my posts do I discuss, refer to, or imply anything regarding intelligence/athleticism correlation. Dont wrap me up in that bullshit.

Really? Let's see...

What we are seeing, to the chagrin of liberal-minded scientists everywhere, is that advances in the field of genetics, by said good-hearted scientists, are proving some of those old stereotypes correct.

Hmm...

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Race is a scientific reality

Wrong, stupid. Populations are a scientific reality. Races aren't. If you're gonna stick around here, you'd better do better than toss around a few cursory studies which you clearly demonstrate you haven't the background to understand.

Like another poster above, I have a degree in anthropology, with a specialisation in physical anthro and forensics. I can tell you more about what race is and isn't than you can tell me about your own fucking childhood.

So go home a read a fucking textbook before you spout off asshat, because you're really starting to make me angry.

West Africans tend to be faster than the rest of us. Big deal, one day it will be passe to say as much.

What milquetoast foppery is this!?

You just want us to admit the obvious? That etiophians are tall, fast and black? You're not exactly out on a limb here Matt, are you? Next, you'll be making the radical claim that women have vaginas.

I for one, am very, very disappointed. This is not what I had in mind when Buford said .... I intend to post a link to your site on Stormfront, which gets 10s of thousands of hits a day and has 100s of thousands of members, so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists ... , not AT all what I had in mind.

I for one want my money back.

well... just cheking some facts...

Pharyngula has more internet trafic than stormfront (acording to the alexa site)...

And... i think is of much better quality ;)

By nanahuatzin (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Next, you'll be making the radical claim that women have vaginas.

For the record this is, in fact, a radical claim. Most women only have one vagina. I've obviously not checked them all ... but that seems to be the consensus.

Yo, Jack, I said some stereotypes, as in, some races tend to be faster than others. This stereotype now has basis in genetic fact. I did not bring up intelligence.

Brownian, so race is common language shorthand for a genetic sub-population. As I said in a previous post, its a coarse grouping, too much so to base hardcore science on. That does not invalidate the hypotheses that people of one race, as the word is commonly understood, are more likely to share genetic characteristics than people of different races.

Now, even that statement is too general to be of much use. It is not, though, untrue. I note the arrogance of the scientifically minded towards the non-scientifically minded for their supposed unsophisticated thinking, and so I chuckle at the big-brains when some of the old ways of thinking are shown to have some scientific base behind them.

Matt, you still here? Stop digging. You are in over your head. Take a long break.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jews are naturally better at basketball:

"The reason, I suspect, that basketball appeals to the Hebrew with his Oriental background," wrote Paul Gallico, sports editor of the New York Daily News and one of the premier sports writers of the 1930s, "is that the game places a premium on an alert, scheming mind, flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart aleckness." Writers opined that Jews had an advantage in basketball because short men have better balance and more foot speed. They were also thought to have sharper eyes, which of course cut against the stereotype that Jewish men were myopic and had to wear glasses, but who said stereotypes had to be consistent?

By Cliff Hendroval (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Yo, Jack, I said some stereotypes, as in, some races tend to be faster than others. This stereotype now has basis in genetic fact. I did not bring up intelligence.

The point is that, to the extent that different populations do indeed have readily identifiable differences, this was never a stereotype at all. But things like slavery, colonialism, segregration, lynchings and apartheid were never justified based on banal observations about how champion sprinters these days tend to be West African.

And note that even the vastly weaker claims about W. African athletes, or studies of particular genese in particular subpopulations, still does not prove anything about the characteristics of the "Black Race" as a whole (or even its existence).

Again, Matt: FAIL.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

turnip

By Cat of Many Faces (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Err.. let me be more specific: Matt = turnip

Sorry don't want to throw produce names around randomly.

By Cat of Many Faces (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Most women only have one vagina. I've obviously not checked them all ... but that seems to be the consensus.

Actually there are a few exceptions .

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Bored with picking on theoheads, PZ is now warring with the Racial Realists...

"It's like being a Morlock doomed to be eaten by the Eloi."

It was the Morlocks who ate the Eloi (or did I miss your point?).

Santoki, you are wrong. The other day a member of Stormfront posted a few times and was exposed and banned. The joker sent a letter to PZ, check the top of the thread. Please get your facts straight before you toss out accusations.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt, I'll take your bet. In the next ten Olympics I bet we see a Chinese man win the 100M dash and 110M hurtle. I bet we'll see the hurdle gold in less than two olympics.

I also bet we'll see a South American woman win the 100M dash.

Also race is a social construct, Jimmy the Greek was fired for his Jim Crow vocab, and Jeremy Wariner and his gold medal in the 400M (it's a SPRINT) would like to know how you define "West African".

I wonder if he has a subscription to Internet Tough Guy magazine?

Ow! My jaw joints! And I can't breahihihihihihihihiheathe...

I remember from my 101 experience (a 4 hour course too) that some anthropologist has predicted that after some number of generations the human race will all be a nice golden brown.

<wiping tears> <taking lots of deep breaths>

As I've said before, the ignorance behind this statement is staggering. Heredity isn't analogous, it's digital.

The downside will be the loss of diversity.

Diversity will continue to increase. Look to the Cape Verde islands: you can find people there who're black and have curly blond hair. Once again: heredity is digital. Skin color, eye color, hair color, hair shape, nose shape, and so on are all inherited separately; all combinations are possible.

I read that eventually, and in not too many generations, natural blondes and redheads would be virtually nonexistent.

Then why didn't that already happen thousands of years ago?

Blondes and readheads are surrounded by brown-haired people, and yet there I sit, with hair like copper wire* and, while I'm at it, green eyes. And my brother has dark brown hair.

* When it's freshly washed. My hair, that is.

Race means nothing more than I am more closely related to my ancestors than a persons ancestors of another race.

…and that's not the case in humans. For starters, practically all human genetic diversity outside of Africa is a small subset of the diversity found inside Africa. Add to that the fact that the traditionally identified races have always intergraded very gradually, and you'll see that there are no human races = reproductively isolated groups.

Really, Matt. Learn some population genetics before you come back here. You act as if the whole field didn't even exist -- which makes it likely that you didn't know it exists.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Say what you like about Bill O Donoghue ... at least he delivers! Thousand of rabid, outraged catholics baying for PZ's blood ... it was glorious, and sort of ironic. What with the whole transubstantiation thing. That is a hard word to spell.

But these stormfront people are hopeless. One fucking guy! Who then proceeds to tell us how black people are like ... you know ... really black, and Kenyans can run awful fast and stuff. So there or ... something.

Keerist on a Krutch. I'm apoplectic! Whole evening set aside, children bundled off to friends, wife to a night out with the girls and here I sit with my dick in my hand waiting, with mounting frustration, for the right wingers to arrive. It's a bloody disgrace is what it is. False advertising to boot.

Where have all the fascists gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the fascists gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the fascists gone?
Gone underground every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

#171 - And now for something completely different...

A man with three buttocks.

...

Erm, is that chair comfortable?

@Blondin"It's like being a Morlock doomed to be eaten by the Eloi."

It was the Morlocks who ate the Eloi (or did I miss your point?).

You did in fact, totally miss my point, which is making me cry, because I thought it a jolly amusing juxtaposition. Oh well, back to ze drawing board.

Josh, while we may be able to work something out, thats not exactly how I offered the bet.

I'd bet that there wont even be an Asian finalist, defined as participating in the Gold medal race, in the 100m sprint. The bet would last for ten olympic races, with a 1000$ payout after each and every one.

Is that the bet you want to take?

I read that eventually, and in not too many generations, natural blondes and redheads would be virtually nonexistent.

Snopes showed that was false. Also, Wikipedia shows this to be a hoax.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

"You did in fact, totally miss my point, which is making me cry"

It's not you, Brian. It's me. I get it now. (Don't cry)

Josh, didnt we see a hurdle gold from an Asian in 04?

You notice I didnt offer that bet in my original post.

He didn't invite them, and shouldn't everyone be battling ignorance and racism?

It's not you, Brian. It's me. I get it now. (Don't cry)

Oh fine. Thats what they all say, It's not you, Brian. It's us. just before they d-d-d-d-dump meeee.

Thanks for being gentle though. *Sniff*

Ah come on, those stormtroopers can't even read...

By rijkswaanvijand (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I don't feel virtually nonexistent..
But then again, would one notice??

By rijkswaanvijand (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I'm taking bets on how long Matt ignores the actual content of Brownian's posts and David Marjanović's posts. Who's got bets for 5 posts? We're already at 2.

By Michael X (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Josh, didnt we see a hurdle gold from an Asian in 04?
You notice I didnt offer that bet in my original post.

Ah. It's all so clear now. Ironclad proof of that famous old racist stereotype about how "West Africans are the best runners. But only sprinting. Because everyone knows Ethiopians are better long distance runners. And not hurdles. Sometimes an East Asian will win one of those events."

Gosh. I bet the liberal sciencey eggheads are TOTALLY dismayed to find out about how all these old racial stereotypes are turning out to be true...

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Becky at 108:
You will think I'm pulling your leg, but his name is Dr. Richard Doolittle. The year after I took A&P with him, I took Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy with him, largely a dissection course. Once, he announced that a friend of his at the Buffalo Zoo had a dead llama that we could dissect for extra credit, and then ignored me when I made the joke wondering if the llama was two-headed. For a man with a decent sense of humor, it ended abruptly at the point of Rex Harrison cracks.

By Mike in Ontario, NY (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Who's got bets for 5 posts? We're already at 2.

At up to 2 posts per minute, that's unfair… let's give him some time to catch up with the reading…

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Okay Michael, hows this for ignoring the content:

Would you, or Marjanovic, take the following bet:

Preconditions---

Subset A: all the people in the world who would self-describe as Asian.

Subset B: all the people in the world who would self-describe as White.

randomly select 2000 people from each group. Decode their genome.

I'd bet a handful of pre-1964 American mint silver dollar coins that people from group A share more genetic similarities with others from group A than they do with people from group B. This phenomenon, as you know, but probably attended many hours of post-graduate study to forget, is what people are referring to when they speak of race.

the joke wondering if the llama was two-headed.

…?

Help this Old European out, please. I don't get the allusion.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I've been "deluged" by Stormfront before about posts debunking Holocaust denial or making fun of white power rangers. What your "friend" neglects to point out is that he will simply be posting links to your blog in the Stormfront forums, where there are so many comment threads that far fewer mighty white power rangers will see the link. The traffic from it is, if my experience is any guide, likely to be minimal. At most you'll get a handful of idiot racists, whom your commenters will shred before you even notice that they've been here and gone.

Naw, Jack @189, I'm just not much of a gambling man, so I only take the great odds.

@David Marjanović, OM #176

Since I am definitely not an expert in anything being discussed, would you be able to explain what you mean by analogous vs. digital? I can understand most of the post but that part is lost to me. :)

Brownian, so race is common language shorthand for a genetic sub-population. As I said in a previous post, its a coarse grouping, too much so to base hardcore science on.

Matt, you're sort of right about the above, as the common concept of race isn't exactly equivalent to the populations in question here, and is actually quite useless from a scientific perspective. One of the peculiarities of forensic anthropology is that one has to be simultaneous aware of what might be considered true sub-populations of humans vs. what the common perception is. For instance, let's say a body is discovered, and through various means one determines the skeleton to belong to someone who died about ten years ago. Even if that skeleton displays a majority of caucasoid characteristics, the presence of a few traits that are more common to those with more recent african heritage might suggest to you that the person that went missing way back when would have been considered 'black', based on the concept common to Americans, but by no means universal, that 'one drop makes you black'. 'Race' doesn't in fact tell us very much about the populations in question as it does the social perception about the populations in question.

That does not invalidate the hypotheses that people of one race, as the word is commonly understood, are more likely to share genetic characteristics than people of different races.

More likely to share some genetic characteristics than members of different groups. However, the genetic variability within such groups is always larger than the differences between groups. So, native North Americans are more likely to have shovel-shaped incisors than caucasoids, but so what? Again, the concept of 'race' misleads since it suggests that there are somehow meaningful distictions between populations, when truthfully any such characteristic or assemblage of characteristics will display a much more gradual shift in frequencies among populations than 'race' would lead us to believe. In short, we're much more like an extremely horny ring species than, say, an assemblage of Kennel Club dog breeds.

Oh boy! This is going to be like the old days when the net was new and Wild West!

Back then I found that the most amusing way to deal with racist thugs was to make fervent and explicit homosexual advances to them, repeatedly, and to absolutely everything they post. Many yuks were had.

By Jack Rawlinson (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Subset B: all the people in the world who would self-describe as White.

MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP

Error.

The same person can be "black" in the USA, "coloured" in South Africa, and "white" in Brazil. Self-description or other cultural conventions are the worst possible measure when what you actually want to get at is genetics.

Try again. After you've read up on population genetics, that is. Hey, Wikipedia is your friend!

But I can take your bet anyway, unfair as though it is, because then I've already won. Find my institutional address in Google Scholar and fork over.

You overlooked that skin color is only six genes, eye color is only three, and so on. These genes aren't necessarily inherited together with each other, or with any other gene.

(BTW… "postgraduate study"? I'm a PhD student in paleobiology, working on the origins of lissamphibians and turtles; I've had a single anthropology class, in the first or second year of university, and don't remember much of it.)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt;

...scientists, are proving some of those old stereotypes correct.

then Matt;

...nowhere in my posts do I discuss, refer to, or imply anything regarding intelligence/athleticism correlation.

epic fail, Matt. If you can't even read what you write...

Also;

According to the study discussed here, African blacks test higher for speed and strength than African-American blacks.

I suspect that this is because the slavers were only able to catch the slower, dumber among their intended targets.

So, Orac, you are saying it will be much like what it was the other day. It only took the joker a few posts before he tipped his hand.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@#164,

Fuck!!! I damned near choked to death laughing when I saw that. Don't do that to me, Brian!

By DGKnipfer (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Posted by: David Marjanović, OM | January 15, 2009

(BTW… "postgraduate study"? I'm a PhD student in paleobiology, working on the origins of lissamphibians and turtles; I've had a single anthropology class, in the first or second year of university, and don't remember much of it.)

Going by the standards of the joker, you are an anthropologist.

By Janine, Bitter… (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Well, while I don't consider making another bet actually responding to comments about population vs "race", it would be harsh to add insult to injury now that you owe David a handful of expensive coins. So I'll just let this one pass.

By Michael X (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Brownian, I appreciate your precision with the language and will attempt to be more precise in my own conversations. Along the same lines of your example above, hard to miss the irony when it was revealed in James Watson's genome that 16% of his genes were likely of African descent, as opposed to European or Asian.

Furthermore i appreciate your civil response on a controversial topic, a distinguishing trait in this self-selected sub-population of Pharyngules.

David @ 193: The movie "Dr. Doolittle", starring Rex Harrison as the man who could speak with animals, featured a two-headed llama named pushme-pullme. The two heads were on either end of the body, which really troubled me as a kid frequently plagued with constipation.

By Mike in Ontario, NY (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@196:
I think David means "analog" not "analogous"? If so, then the digital nature of heredity is simply a consequence of genes being discrete units. Analog heredity would mean traits would more often blend, so that blue eyes and brown eyes in the parents would be hazel in the offspring or something, rather than the actual, digital, situation, where an individual who is heterozygous blue/brown will have brown eyes since brown is dominant for that trait. To get the baby blues, you have to be homozygous: blue eyes at that locus.

Of course, it gets way more complicated once you get into anything more complicated happening at several loci, but the take-home message is basically that mixing populations tends to increase diversity; it does not lead to a homogeneous blend of all the variations.

(The discrete nature of genetic information, btw, was a prediction of Darwin's theory, as Natural Selection would find little purchase in variation if it usually led to blending; new variants would quickly be "swamped" as the traits bled into the population.)

would you be able to explain what you mean by analogous vs. digital?

That it's a 0-or-1 issue for each of the 18,500 or so genes (except that the number of alleles can be greater than two), and that alleles don't mix, they don't blend. When a stereotypically white and a stereotypically black parent have children, these children will all have Obama's skin color, and, AFAIK, they'll all have curly hair like Obama; when two such people have (enough…) children, 25 % of them will be white, 25 % will be black, and 50 % will have the same skin color as their parents. At the same time, 25 % will have straight hair and 75 % will have curly hair (I think) -- but the 25 % with the straight hair will not necessarily be the same as the 25 % with white skin! In fact, the correlation won't be better than random.

(Well. It probably won't be exactly the same as random. The correlation could be a bit higher or lower, depending on things like whether the relevant genes are on the same chromosome. And the whole example is almost certainly oversimplified anyway.)

So, native North Americans are more likely to have shovel-shaped incisors than caucasoids, but so what?

I wonder if my incisors count as shovel-shaped. Five minutes in the sun, and I'm burnt.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

This reminds me of an argument I witnessed in an ethics class. I no longer remember what the topic was, but one guy basically said he was right because he had read a 1400 page book explaining that he's right, but it was too long for him to summarize. I was tempted to tell him that I read a 1401 page book that explained why he's wrong. After class I realized it would have been much simpler if both of the guys arguing could have just pulled down their pants and proved what they were really trying to prove along.

My point is, the anthropology class and the 1400 page book are just substitutes for something else that men generally can't show in public.

Since I am definitely not an expert in anything being discussed, would you be able to explain what you mean by analogous vs. digital? I can understand most of the post but that part is lost to me. :)

I'm gonna try to beat the inestimably brilliant and knowledgeable David M to the punch. Analagous processes are ones in which there is some gradient in which any value on that gradient can be expressed. Digital processes are categorical: no values between adjacent categories is possible. For instance, the set of real numbers is analagous, whereas the set of integers is digital.

Since genes, even multi-locus ones, are discrete units (one from Mom, one from Dad), they operate digitally. For instance, you may have one copy of the sickle-cell anemia allele and your partner none: your children will have either one or no copies of that allele. They won't have a half copy. This is why many recessive alleles persist in populations where the dominant alleles are the majority.

Okay, that wasn't a very satisfying explanation. I should've let David take it.

@CJO and David Marjanović, OM

Okay. That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation!

Maranovic, for the fourth or fifth time, ive maintained that the concept of race is fraught with difficulty, probably so much so as to useless in scientific study. Again, that does not mean that the imperfect concept is not real.

Regarding my proposed bet I should've outlined the racial categories. I was thinking along the lines of a standard U.S. census race question, in which you have to choose only one. White, black, native american, pacific islander/Asian, Non-white hispanic (and yes, this last category is really ridiculous).

Even within these admittedly imperfect categories, Id win the bet. So I stand by my very first post: Race is real.

I think David means "analog" not "analogous"?

Yes, thanks. English has too many words. :-)

the digital nature of heredity is simply a consequence of genes being discrete units.

Exactly.

Thanks, Mike in Ontario.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

There goes the goalposts again, WHOOSH!

ive maintained that the concept of race is fraught with difficulty, probably so much so as to useless in scientific study. Again, that does not mean that the imperfect concept is not real.

It is actually possible to qualify an assertion out of reality. I think you've pulled it off.

Race is a real social concept, yes. But what David, Brownian, et al are saying is that the disconnect between the utility of the social concept as a rough-and-ready heuristic sufficient for constraining Paleolithic group behavior and the dubious value of such parameters in the modern sciences concerned with these questions is sufficient to claim that as far as population genetics and physical anthropology are concerned, no, actually, "race" is not real.

Maranovic, for the fourth or fifth time, ive maintained that the concept of race is fraught with difficulty, probably so much so as to useless in scientific study. Again, that does not mean that the imperfect concept is not real.

The idea that there's a heterogeneous and (very) loosely culturally/geographically correlated distribution of genetic traits is almost tautological. If that's your definition of 'race', it's a pretty damn low bar.

It's miles and miles away from the claim that "advances in the field of genetics...are proving some of those old stereotypes correct."

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Brownian,

I've posted this link before, but I don't know if you were around. Given your areas of specialization, I thought it might be of interest (maybe not anything new to you):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inYehUJYmsg

Okay, that wasn't a very satisfying explanation. I should've let David take it.

No, actually, yours is better.

Maranovic,

If you can't read my name, copy & paste it like everyone else does. :-)

for the fourth or fifth time, ive maintained that the concept of race is fraught with difficulty, probably so much so as to useless in scientific study. Again, that does not mean that the imperfect concept is not real.

You only say that because I haven't shored up any evidence yet. Wait an hour or two, and I will, if nobody else does it first.

Just so much now: I don't deny that some alleles are more common in some areas than in others, of course. What I negate is the common assumption that most or all of these frequency distributions are geographically identical. Plus, there's more variation within each "race", however defined, than between them, and (again) much less total variation outside of Africa than within it.

I was thinking along the lines of a standard U.S. census race question

As I said, for the reasons Brownian and I mentioned, that's just about the most meaningless possibility of all.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jack, read the links I posted @ #132 for proof on one of these old stereotypes.

Matt, the incivility of the responses here are usually an indication that someone is making assumptions based on a lack of knowledge (and I can be one of the most incivil bastards around here). However, something in a few of your posts tweaked me into thinking you're genuinely curious (or at least partially so) rather than merely trying to bluster your way to prove an agenda. We get a shitload of the latter around here.

The reason that I'm willing to go out on a limb here is that race is one of the most controversial and difficult to understand concepts because it's so imbued with social meaning, history, and philosophical implications, all of which are often mistaken for scientific realities. Further, race is so deeply ingrained as a social concept that we're unaware that it's merely a social construct. Everyone I think looks 'black' is described as such, so of course it seems to me that 'black' is a meaningful distinction. (That is until you become aware that 'black' and 'white' don't describe the same colours in Brazil, South Africa, etc. as another poster helpfully pointed out.) To use another example of the arbitrariness of definitions, consider the differences between what consitutes a 'fish' among biologists, laypersons, and the Vatican (I'll give you a hint: laurices, or baby rabbits, count as fish to only one of those.) Such as it is, I well understand why it's so easy to want to defend the concept.

In my own personal history, I struggled with my own observations of the behaviour of a certain ethnic group to whom I was exposed to in the poor neighbourhood in which I grew up and my belief that all humans as basically the same outside of a few flavourful but rather meaningless distinctions. It took years for me to reconcile the two, until I realised that these observed behaviours were common to all humans given similar socionomic disadvantages, and that they were not characteristic of this ethic group in particular but rather of being poorly-educated, poor, and deprived of job opportunities through systemic discrimination. (For an example of this, consider Rembetika, a type of Greek folk music that arose from the forced immigration of Greeks from Anatolia. These Greeks, 'Turkish' by birth but otherwise not by ethnicity or culture, found it difficult to assimilate and make a living since most had brought only what they could carry when they left Turkey. Thus, even whites will sing the blues when circumstances dictate.)

Anyways, this continues to be a topic of interest to me, and I've yet to encounter a group whose talents and tendencies weren't better explained by social and historical factors than by any biological differences, aside from those dirty, stinking Latvians.

I remember from my 101 experience (a 4 hour course too) that some anthropologist has predicted that after some number of generations the human race will all be a nice golden brown. - me

...wiping tears...taking lots of deep breaths...
As I've said before, the ignorance behind this statement is staggering. Heredity isn't analogous, it's digital.
- David Marjanović, OM #176

I should point out that this is something that was discussed in a 100-level course when I was an undergraduate. I don't recall that it was discussed as a accepted hypothesis. I could probably did out the old text and notes and look for citation. I didn't mean to imply validity or endorsement. I've used this before when addressing racist bigots that start out, "I've had a 4 hour anthropology course and the reason blacks are inferior is _______." Seems to get their goat.

The downside will be the loss of diversity. - me

Diversity will continue to increase - David Marjanović, OM #176

Your points are well taken. This points to the dangers of making short, snarky comments.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jack, read the links I posted @ #132 for proof on one of these old stereotypes.

Uhh... Those links, even if taken at face value, don't seem to provide any evidence at all for any of the old stereotypes. Note that the second one even points out some of the flaws with the supposed racial interpretation of the results. (And of course, we all know we probably shouldn't take Slate's journalistic summary of a research paper at face value.)

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@Marjanović: isn't the fact that genetic diversity decreases the farther away from Africa (due to how human migration works) a fairly significant thing? It doesn't really tell you much about attributes or phenotypes of course. But level of genetic diversity is a fairly important thing in itself.

There was that fascinating article in National Geographic a few months ago about human migration. I think the study of genetic variation of populations is a legit field, probably no one is questioning that. I guess the problem is when these "stormfront" folks take it the next step into pseudoscience.

While Im not sure I go all they way with you on your last post, Brownian, I wholeheartedly agree that race is a social category imposed upon biological similarities, and that greatly imperfect fit between the two usually causes more trouble than its worth.

People are tribal. What can you do? Urge them to expand the tribe? Quit the old, small, insulated tribe and join the new, bigger, more inclusive one?

In the meantime, lets let the evidence take us where it takes us no matter who it upsets.

From Ann Morning's "On Distinction," at the link I gave above @ #59:

Race, Human Biological Variation, and Distinctiveness

Dr. Leroi’s article also stumbles on the problem of “distinction.” This is perhaps most apparent in the loose array of what he presents as “races”: If “Negritos,” Europeans, Basques, Ibos and Castilians are all races, then exactly what tools or taxonomic principles are guiding the identification of races? In other words, how are we measuring what counts as a “racial” distinction?

This question really entails a series of inquiries. First, which indicators do we choose to measure racial difference? How much difference do we believe signals “racial” distinctiveness? And finally, do we decide in advance which groups of people make up races, and then look selectively for evidence that corroborates our classification scheme? Or do we first choose traits that we think are appropriate measures of race, and then see which clusters of human beings share them or not? In short, measuring racial difference—like virtually every other type of scientific inquiry—involves a series of judgment calls: conscious decisions that govern how we collect and analyze complex data. Racial differences do not just “jump out” unambiguously from biological data.

The strategy of identifying races by taking multiple indicators into account—for example, not just skin color but also hair texture and eye shape—offers a good example of the decisions and ambiguities involved in the process of distinguishing. First, Dr. Leroi suggests that a single trait like skin color is insufficient for delineating races because it would not distinguish Senegalese individuals from Solomon Islanders. The unspoken presumption is that a good measure of race would categorize the former separately from the latter. But another researcher might not agree. In the first part of the 20th century, anthropologists would have classified both groups as members of the “Ethiopian” or “Negroid” race, with the Senegalese representing its “African” component and the Solomon Islanders its “Negrito” or “Oceanic Pygmy” wing. And yet another researcher might expect a racial framework to be able to distinguish west African Senegalese from the Sudanese to their east.

Second, the multiple-trait approach to outlining races—a kind of triangulation process—does not eliminate the question of which traits should be selected to make this determination. A handpicked collection of characteristics like skin and hair color, eye and nose shape, might well delineate the groups that we commonly understand to be races: Africans, Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, and perhaps Australians. But we could also choose other traits to analyze together, and come up with a different picture of which races exist in the world. If we overlaid a map of the sickle-cell trait (found in malarial areas like western and central Africa, the Mediterranean basin, and South Asia) on top of that for lactose intolerance (likely distinguishing northwest Europe from the rest of the world), would we still obtain a clear picture of black, white, yellow and red races? And which would be better indicators of difference: surface traits like skin color or those related to blood and digestion?

The choice of characteristic(s) used to measure race has an effect not just on which groups emerge as races, but how many. As Dr. Leroi acknowledges, the multiple-trait procedure for triangulating racial groupings could yield countless races: “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.” Incorporating more information makes it possible to refine our racial categories to smaller and smaller detailed groupings. Yet even with the complex biological data now available, it is rare to hear calls to do away with our 18th-century Linnaean taxonomy of four or five races. As a result, the scientific debate that effectively emerges about race is whether or not to accept the longstanding Western framework of black, white, yellow, and red races as a good approximation of human diversity.

Finally, there is a more basic decision involved in trying to compile proof of the existence of biological races. For some researchers, it is sufficient to determine in advance how many and which groups are races, and then seek the data to support this presumed breakdown. The genetic genealogy industry operates in this way, pre-identifying three or so races, sampling the DNA of a few hundred people they believe to be representative of those races, and then sifting through the genetic data to find similarities between members of the same race while discarding the evidence of genetic traits that are shared across these races. The result is a genetic profile for each “race.” In a similar vein, disease prevalence statistics have been interpreted as proof of the existence of continental races. The widely-shared assumption is that if one can detect genetic differences between any two groups—African Americans and European Americans, Koreans and Japanese, south Indians and north Indians, Basque and Icelanders—then we have discovered “racial” differences. But such discoveries do not tell us anything about where the boundaries lie of the larger races that these subgroups supposedly represent. Does a genetic difference between African Americans and European Americans represent just dissimilarity between those two groupings, or does it tell us something about the huge groups we call the “black” and “white” races, which include Ivorians, Afro-Caribbeans, Ethiopians and Angolans on the one hand, and Swedes, Spaniards, Greeks and Poles on the other?

The varied decisions that go into scientists’ measurement of racial difference lend support to the idea that we don’t “find” races so much as we “construct” them. There are no given, objective racial boundaries, but rather, we determine which information should be used to classify races—and how—and as a result, the type and number of races will vary. As has been the case since Linnaeus and Blumenbach elaborated some of the first taxonomies of racial groups in the 18th century, there is no agreement among experts on the true number or boundaries of the world’s races...

While Im not sure I go all they way with you on your last post, Brownian, I wholeheartedly agree that race is a social category imposed upon biological similarities, and that greatly imperfect fit between the two usually causes more trouble than its worth.
People are tribal. What can you do? Urge them to expand the tribe? Quit the old, small, insulated tribe and join the new, bigger, more inclusive one?
In the meantime, lets let the evidence take us where it takes us no matter who it upsets.

There go the goalposts.

(P.S.: Tribes? What? Why?)

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

People are tribal. What can you do? Urge them to expand the tribe? Quit the old, small, insulated tribe and join the new, bigger, more inclusive one?

Erm ... this broadening of tribal identity is actually happening. Just a heads up. What do you think the US, or the EU or the Catholic Church is? Culture and tribal affiliations are in constant and increasingly volatile flux. The trend is toward ever increasing circles of inclusion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0lRffYTStw&feature=channel_page

A pre-emptive apology for the long cut and paste, but Jack is lying again.

Jack @ #222 says the links I posted offer no evidence. This cut and past is from

http://www.slate.com/id/2206088/pagenum/2

Now look at the frequency of the R and X variants in different populations. According to data published seven years ago in Human Molecular Genetics, the relative frequency of the X allele is 0.52 in Asians, 0.42 in whites, 0.27 in African-Americans, and 0.16 in Africans. If you break out the data further, the frequency of the XX genotype is 0.25 in Asians, 0.20 in European whites, 0.13 in African-Americans, and 0.01 in African Bantu. Conversely, the frequency of RR (the genotype for speed and power) is 0.25 in Asians, 0.36 in European whites, 0.60 in African-Americans, and 0.81 in African Bantu. Among Asians, you can expect to find one RR for every XX. Among whites, you can expect nearly two RRs for every XX. Among African-Americans, you can expect more than four RRs for every XX.So, yes, all other things being equal, you can expect this gene to cause Africans and African-Americans to be disproportionately represented at the highest levels of speed and power sports. And you can expect the opposite for Asians.

---

This is not the final word on genes, race, and sports I know. Science continues to turn onward and I will continue to read with interest. If anyone has sci studies to the contrary I'd love to see them. But this is evidence, Id like to retract my previous word "proof", that success in sports has a genetic basis. And it was and old stereotype, no matter how emphatically Jack says otherwise.

Wait a minute: race is a concept so imperfect that it is perhaps meaningless to scientific research, yet that same research is great at confirming old racial stereotypes?

By Guy Incognito (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I agree Brian, at risk of a total threadjack. Tribes expand, break apart, expand again. That post was more just a sigh about the human nature Brownian offered in his previous post.

Jack, does use of the word tribal get your panties in a twist? Grow up dear boy, or at least move fifty miles away from an Ivy league school and befriend with a blue-collar male, its not impossible to get your common sense back.

I expect that I need to further clarify for you that I belong to a tribe too.

...success in sports has a genetic basis.

I'm shocked. Shocked, I say. (Though I'd use the word 'component', not 'basis', I think.)

Now tell me what this has to do with race being 'real' again?

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jack, does use of the word tribal get your panties in a twist? Grow up dear boy, or at least move fifty miles away from an Ivy league school and befriend with a blue-collar male, its not impossible to get your common sense back.

I have no problem with the concept of tribalism. But as far as I can tell it's a total non sequitur in a conversation about the supposed biological basis of race.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

In the study the Saletan article summarizes, they use the terms "African" "African-American"; "white", "Asian"

If race isnt real, then What, boy-Jack, are they referring to?

Race is a less, not more, reliable gauge of physical characteristics than genes are.

Matt, the above is a quote from the articles you posted. Why are you continuing to argue that a social construct is a physical reality?

Matt, please just give us a scientifically useful definition of race, or shut up.

In the study the Saletan article summarizes, they use the terms "African" "African-American"; "white", "Asian"
If race isnt real, then What, boy-Jack, are they referring to?
]

This is what's referred to as the social construct of race. I can use my more-or-less arbitrary cultural filters to distinguish an African-American from an 'Asian' any old time. That doesn't make race 'real' in a biological sense.

So what you've link to is the astonishing news that a particular gene does not have identical frequencies among members of a few of these arbitrary cultural categories.

Wow. I'm scandalized.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

It is a physical reality, and that post does not contradict it. That post says race is less reliable than genes, not that race 'doesnt exist'. If race was not a physical reality, he would've said race cannot be used as a gauge at all because, well, it isnt real.

Again, the study itself used those racial categories. Go argue with them.

None of my posts contradict Saletan's statment.

If race isnt real, then What, boy-Jack, are they referring to?

Oh, race is real all right - but there's only one. We call it 'human'. Try 'ethnic group' instead. You'll sound far less stupid and ignorant.

Then again, maybe you won't.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

It is a physical reality,

Have you read anything that's been said to you on this thread, dillweed?

Jack, social construct /= not physically real.

Jack, social construct /= not physically real.

Your point is...?

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Again, the study itself used those racial categories. Go argue with them.

Imagine me gritting my teeth and typing this as if I were speaking to a small and truculent child, which I pretty well am.

Races, as socially-constructed categories, are real. As physical subpopulations for whom in-group differences are less than between-group differences (the scien-fucking-tific definition of a 'real' or meaningful group) they are not. Just because you think you're more similar to a Swede than a Sukuma based on history and skin colour doesn't make it so.

Of course there are differences in gene frequencies between the populations you (and most genetically-illiterate North Americans) describe as races. There are differences between gene frequencies among populations with a majority Type A blood and those with Type B. You could argue that there are four races of humans, Type As, Type Bs, Type Os, and Type As, and you'd be able to draw even better conclusions about gene frequencies than you can using your American definition of race.

As demonstrated, the amount of knowledge of this subject that both David Marjanović and I have is substantial, and even more so when compared to you. You claimed, "in the meantime, lets let the evidence take us where it takes us no matter who it upsets." Well, we've done that, and the conclusions drawn are that 'race' is not a meaningful term biologically. The only standing here and screaming that the data don't fit his pre-existing conclusions is you.

Now, I've spent a lot of time studying this stuff at great personal expense, and I've tossed a helluva lot of it your way for free. After this, I suggest you take an actual course in this stuff (or, as in my case, a whole fucking degree), before you continue to argue this point.

Subset A: all the people in the world who would self-describe as Asian.

There's a world of ignorance in that definition alone. "Asian" doesn't even mean the same in the US and UK.

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

They're referring to the social construct, of course. That's what everyone means when they say "race"; it's just that some of us know it.

That's why some of us answer "human" when we're asked what race we are. We are explicitly rejecting the tribe/social construct, and stating that our "tribe" is all of humanity.

By Leigh Williams (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

It is a physical reality, and that post does not contradict it. That post says race is less reliable than genes, not that race 'doesnt exist'. If race was not a physical reality, he would've said race cannot be used as a gauge at all because, well, it isnt real.

No. We could pick any grouping based roughly on interbreeding affinity and then notice that (some) genes have widely varying distributions within those groups. That's utterly banal.

However, for the concept of 'race' to be real, then you have to pick a particular set of 'races', and stick with them.

But there's no reason that "African-American", "Asian", "African", and "White" or whatever are better divisions to make than other divisions. In the example at hand, there's almost certainly an arbitrary roughly historical-geographical grouping that would give me far BETTER predictive power. Say, "West African", "Indian Ocean", and "Northern Eurasian".

But then of course THAT grouping is going to do poorly at predicting the frequencies of some other gene/phenotype.

Race is not real.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

have widely varying distributions within those groups. That's utterly banal.

I should say rather, between those groups.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Again, the study itself used those racial categories.

Is Bantu a race? Are you suggesting it should be considered a race separate from other African races based on relative genetic frequencies of a gene that may play a role in sprinting success at elite levels?

Wowbagger:
Try 'ethnic group' instead.

And that highlights the whole "physical reality" claim, too. Are groups, any groups, "real"? Take the group "my family," for instance. In my case, I belong to a nuclear family of three. But of course there's also the nuclear family I came from, of five: me, my parents, and my two sibs. So, if I'm including that when I say "my family," do I need to include the in-laws, too? They're my son's grandparents; surely they're a member of "my family." Or, are they only a member of his? What about my wife's sisters, my son's aunts? His cousins, or only my own? To how many degrees? Do I need to have met them, or at minimum know their names?

Yes, "my family" is a real enough category, as is race, in a given social context. But I don't know what it would mean to assign "physical reality" to such a mass of overlapping sets. There is just no single answer to the question of where to draw those lines. Better to increase the resolution and opt for less sweeping claims with the payoff of greater precision.

Don't make Brownian angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry (especially when he's right and you're wrong).

BTW, Matt's quote from E.O.Wilson@118 just shows that the most brilliant scientist can be a fucking idiot when he starts spouting off in areas where his prejudices are greater than his knowledge - witness James Watson as a more recent example.

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Passes around popcorn to the room in anticipation of Brownian losing after Matt's next hilarity inducing post...

Should have said "losing it"

It has been a long day, my apologies for my lack of proofreading.

I can't believe you guys are betting on my blood pressure.

But to be fair, it's 3°C here in Edmonton, on the heels of weeks of ~-20°C temperatures. A similar pattern can be seen across the province. I'd suggest most denizens of this normally cranky province are in unusually good spirits today, including me.

I rolled over to

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/

to find a link to another study Id read about using race as a category. Id planned on bringing it back here for enlightentment. I browsed a bit and, well, turns out a whole bunch of scientists are using this 'social construct' as a basis for multiple studies being conducted Right This Very Minute.

I figured you guys would be the ones to set them straight.

Have at it fellas. Enjoyed knocking it around with ya.

I've yet to encounter a group whose talents and tendencies weren't better explained by social and historical factors than by any biological differences, aside from those dirty, stinking Latvians.

There are only two things I hate; those who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.

Jack, social construct /= not physically real.

Self goal FTW!!!!! Matt, that is exactly what we are all trying to convince you of. Hint: race is one of the two, but not the one you think.

S'funny. I work as a medical geographer, examining cancer rates in my province. In fact, I exclusively use the boundaries of my province to delineate who falls under my area of study and who doesn't. An incredible number of researchers do the same.

I never figured that because so many of us are studying them exclusively that 'Albertans' constitute a race, as they surely must in Matt's mind.

So, West Africans tend to be faster than the rest of us.

Is "West African" a race?

Subset A: all the people in the world who would self-describe as Asian.
Subset B: all the people in the world who would self-describe as White.
randomly select 2000 people from each group. Decode their genome.
I'd bet a handful of pre-1964 American mint silver dollar coins that people from group A share more genetic similarities with others from group A than they do with people from group B.

Your bet is not very well defined. On *average*, possibly, but not for every member of the group. And maybe not even on average, if the "Asian" group includes Dravidian, Malaysian, Ainu, Mongolian and so on?

Having said that I have to disagree with some who say that race is a completely useless concept:

jack lecou:

No. We could pick any grouping based roughly on interbreeding affinity and then notice that (some) genes have widely varying distributions within those groups. That's utterly banal.
However, for the concept of 'race' to be real, then you have to pick a particular set of 'races', and stick with them.

Untrue. In most other species, there are no ironclad criteria for what should be called a population, variety or a subspecies, and people disagree and redefine them all the time. Yet these concepts are useful for research. One definition of race is that it's the same as a subspecies (used for example by Ernst Mayr). IMO, extant human variation is not on the subspecies level, but possibly humans could be defined as having ecotypes.

Anyways, this continues to be a topic of interest to me, and I've yet to encounter a group whose talents and tendencies weren't better explained by social and historical factors than by any biological differences, aside from those dirty, stinking Latvians.

Hey now. My boss is Latvian and she's great ... except when she's talking in Latvian to her parents on the telephone. Which of course means she's talking about me ... on second thought. :-)

By wildlifer (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Where's the Stormfront horde? hahajohnnyb promised us a massive influx of racial realists poised to open up our minds to Nazism.

Matt doesn't count. He's a libertarian I killfiled some days ago.

So, where's the white women at?

By 'Tis Himself (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Returning to the lack of redheads in several generations: Not if my family have anything to do with it.

Also, not a geneticist, but:

Red hair is recessive and probably near enough single allele. Notwithstanding the associated fiery tempers, it doesn't seem to be a reproductive disadvantage (as long as someone out there keeps finding pale with freckles attractive).

Being recessive, a certain minority of non-gingers out there will carry the "red gene," and these people will occasionally meet up. Which would say to me that although redheads might not be everywhere, unless absurd amounts of mobility are imposed on populations, they will continue to crop up wherever they currently are, and as long as people don't start kicking them to death in the fourth grade (a la kick a ginger day), they'll probably reproduce and put more of those recessive alleles back in the population to crop up just to make people wonder who exactly is sleeping with whom.

...Like blue eyes in Africa.

Drat! I *know* I heard something on the radio where they were talking about a science class - students were predicting which other students they would be mostly closely related to, & then they looked at the genetics... One of the "black" students found that genetically she was more similar to an "asian" student than another "black" student, "white" guy was more similar to "black" than to other "whites", etc.
My google-fu skills are weak, sensei.

to find a link to another study Id read about using race as a category. Id planned on bringing it back here for enlightentment. I browsed a bit and, well, turns out a whole bunch of scientists are using this 'social construct' as a basis for multiple studies being conducted Right This Very Minute.

Really Matt-the-racist-dickhead? What link? I saw lot of stuff there but nothing that seems to fit your description. Oh and fuck you by the way.

By 12th Monkey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Going back to the attempt at a definition

Race means nothing more than I am more closely related to my ancestors than a persons ancestors of another race.

So? You are also more closely related to your ancestors than the ancestors of another person of the SAME race.

Also-

@ Matt #132: African vs African American black people strength/ endurance.

Dude, you ever been to Africa? When was the last time you saw an American chop down a tree, mill the wood by hand, and walk 16 km down a mountainside to make enough money for dinner for the family?

The standard of fitness had by the average African villager would make most American elite athletes, black or white, weep with envy.

Race means nothing more than I am more closely related to my ancestors than a persons ancestors of another race.

Except it doesn't. As I noted so painfully many times, the amount of genetic variation between members of the same 'race' is the same or greater than the differences between races, which is pretty well what you'd expect if you were to randomly assign every human a number between one and ten and then set about to determine whether the 'tens' were different than the 'ones'. Of course, with race you'll find a few (such as melanin and some cranio-facial structural differences that are useful in forensics), but you might as well sort people into 'races' by blood type. Of course, using blood type makes it much harder to justify why your family and its glorious triumphant ancestry is superior to your neighbour's, but.

Whatever. Matt must be from one of those dumb races. But I'll betcha he runs really fast.

The standard of fitness had by the average African villager would make most American elite athletes, black or white, weep with envy.

I spent a half-year in East Africa basically fucking around and drinking while my girlfriend at the time completed her Master's in Epidemiology fieldwork. The passion for and knowledge of local and international politics of the average Ugandan living in Kampala made me want to come home and slap my fellow Canadians for being so fucking stupid, especially considering the differential access to educational resources. Then again, they had a particular affinity for vapid American hip-hop, so maybe all things are equal.

(Note: not all American hip-hop is vapid, just the vapid stuff.)

Untrue. In most other species, there are no ironclad criteria for what should be called a population, variety or a subspecies, and people disagree and redefine them all the time. Yet these concepts are useful for research. One definition of race is that it's the same as a subspecies (used for example by Ernst Mayr). IMO, extant human variation is not on the subspecies level, but possibly humans could be defined as having ecotypes.

Well, I could be wrong.

I didn't mean to imply that it's impossible to define any biologically-based subgroupings at all, or that particular subgroupings, arbitrary or otherwise, couldn't be useful for some particular purpose or another.

I just don't think that's compatible with the concept of 'race' as a sort of universal set of a handful of highly differentiated, obvious, and broadly descriptive/predictive/useful categories.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

I intend to post a link to your site on Stormfront, which gets 10s of thousands of hits a day and has 100s of thousands of members, so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists.

*rubs hands together*

Excellent. It's about time we learned to handle the other brand of stupid that's prevalent on the net these days.

You know, for somebody who claims to be so intelligent (4 points in anthro? Gasp!), hahajohnnyb seems to be the equivalent of a bully who just got pwned by his victim, and is now calling on his other thug-friends to help him take his revenge.

So immature.

By Twin-Skies (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Here is hahajohnny carrying out is threat at StormFront this morning at 9 am:

"I recently had an exchange with Dawkins-ites over at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

These people are leftist bozos, but I highly encourage all you Stormfronters to go in there and set them straight about human evolution. They are only prepared to hear from Christian Fundamentalists, and are not ready for us at all.

By invading the Dawkins-ite Movement, it might be possible for us to awaken a few whites, or at the very least use the left's tactics against themselves by making the Dawkins-ites look like a bunch of Neo-Nazis. Then their culture destroying movement gets to share our bad rap."

Since there have been no takers, I assume that these twitter birds would rather sing to the choir than get into a rational discussion with posters who might hand them their asses.

===

BTW, Mike in NY way back and your link to the B.I.T.C.H. test: What do we deduce from a white boy from Seattle who took this test and only missed the one on "I know you, shame"?

By nick nick bobick (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Posted by: Aaron | January 15, 2009 12:07 PM

@117 I believe what Matt meant was

Turnip means nothing more than rainbows am more closely related to other rainbows than a Dodge Caravan of another Starbucks. Since mastadons, and their corresponding blueberries, are Coloradans, it follows that parchment is a eleventh and porcine BMX.

]I could not have said it any clearer myself
you took the words right out of my mouth!

By uncle frogy (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

@ madder...

This is way down the list, I suspect you'll never see it, but... thanks!

Sorry I didn't make good on my promise -- I had less time than expected. If nobody has done it for me yet (haven't had time to read the rest of the thread), expect evidence for the uselessness of the race concept in genetics in about 21 hours, or else on the weekend.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Maranovic, for the fourth or fifth time, ive maintained that the concept of race is fraught with difficulty, probably so much so as to useless in scientific study. Again, that does not mean that the imperfect concept is not real.

Regarding my proposed bet I should've outlined the racial categories. I was thinking along the lines of a standard U.S. census race question, in which you have to choose only one. White, black, native american, pacific islander/Asian, Non-white hispanic (and yes, this last category is really ridiculous).

Even within these admittedly imperfect categories, Id win the bet. So I stand by my very first post: Race is real.

oh man, this would be an absolutely hilarious bet... kinda like trying to find the genetic differences between the "white" Jessica Albas and "black" Halle Berrys of America *snort*

Brownian, I just finished reading Pierre Berton's Winter; I have a new appreciation for the hardiness of Canadians -- and I understand (now) how delightfully balmy 3°C must seem to you.

I also have a new appreciation for Austin's weather. I'm going to try to remember that when spring comes, for four days prior to the beginning of the season of Hell, sometime in late April.

By Leigh Williams (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

oh and also... if proficiency at a particular sport are genetically defined, does that mean Germans are closer related to Brazilians than Austrians or Danes?

:-p

grr.... the english language and its lack of cases!

that was supposed to be "Germans are more closely related to Brazilians than to Austrians or Danes?"

There once was a pissant named Matt,
Whose comments were increasingly pat,
So at the end of the day,
PZ sent him away,
With a hearty guffaw and "That's that"

I realize it's not exactly Cuttlefish-worthy, but look what I have to work with.

These people are leftist bozos

Hmm... "Janine, Leftist Bozo"?

At #220 Brownian wrote:

consider the differences between what consitutes a 'fish' among biologists, laypersons, and the Vatican (I'll give you a hint: laurices, or baby rabbits, count as fish to only one of those.)

I'm so intrigued. Please tell me more. I tried googling for more info, but couldn't find anything that seemed pertinent.

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

bastion, my guess is that it means that according to the Vatican, Catholics can eat laurices on fridays, when they're only supposed to eat fish and no other meat.

PZ didnt send me away Michael, you all just bored me. It was kinda telling that Brownian started insulting me once I left...

You all bored me because your entire response can be summed up thusly: Race has fuzzy borders! Nothing with fuzzy borders can be categorized! therefore, race is useless.

This is only believed to be true with certain biologists when discussing humans. Well, damn good thing it that folderal stopped with humans too, or else there'd be no Phylogenetics.

matt you dolt, it's not that race is fuzzy around the edges... it's that it's been basically blurred out of visibility at the genetic level, i.e. it would be near impossible to identify people's correct self-selected (or culturally selected) race-category by looking at their genome, and that other genetic groupings are much more useful, to the point where grouping by "race" isn't any more significant than grouping by leftie vs rightie

Actually, there's a section on the wikipedia page on laurices that explains it all.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Race denial = creationism.

Posted by: bp5 | January 15, 2009 9:30 PM

Race denial = creationism.

I think we finally have a live one

"Jack, does use of the word tribal get your panties in a twist? Grow up dear boy, or at least move fifty miles away from an Ivy league school and befriend with a blue-collar male, its not impossible to get your common sense back."

Did you type that while swinging a broken beer bottle around and shouting "Yer not better'n me!"

I probably wouldn't mind those who argue about innate differences between races in various categories if they weren't invariably right-wing pricks with chips on their shoulders.

Race denial = creationism

Is this a game? Cool! Ok, my turn:

Phrenology = leprechaunism

Next!

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

bastion of sass @282 One of those also considers a beaver a fish.

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Ah, Stormfront. If I recall correctly, these assholes tried to invade another board I was posting on. They got flamed to death, then banned - but not before offering some entertainment.

Turnip farming = dilettantism

Fun. I should probably keep an eye on this thread.

Seems I'm on the same page as a lot of people here on the topic of race: Not a terribly useful concept.

A collection of superficial physical markers = whatever collection of fuzzily-defined and even-more-fuzzily-quantified mental or physical markers with which we want to grind a political axe

I just got a long, whiny, self-serving email from a Mr John Buford, in which he claims that I was in error for banning him, because he once took a 4-credit course in anthropology, and his comments about race are therefore credible.

Well, I've taken a FIVE credit course in anthropology, and I say he's full of it.

SC, did you just have a suggestion?

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

While the subject is a touchy one that people prefer to avoid a lot, plenty of people do acknowledge differences based on background (As mentioned, doctors are pretty well versed in the propensity for certain diseases in African Americans, the problems with metabolising alcohol that the Japanese largely have etc.). But they feel no need to get excited over it.
The people who do get up and start yelling "There is race you fools!", however, generally only care about finding new justifications for old, stupid, prejudices. I don't know if Matt is one of these but to my mind it's like holding on to the terms of Homeopathy for grim death just because you like them, reconfiguring them to fit current thought even though the whole paradigm of knowledge that allowed it to exist has long since been swept away.
I'd be curious to know why Matt thinks it's so importent to acknowledge race. What is such categorisation supposed to achieve and how? And, moreover, how do we separate it from old stupidity?

Matt wrote:

You all bored me because your entire response can be summed up thusly: Race has fuzzy borders! Nothing with fuzzy borders can be categorized! therefore, race is useless.

No, idiot. Apparently you didn't read my comment #259 (among many others) - where did I say anything like that?

Let's look at your bet again

Regarding my proposed bet I should've outlined the racial categories. I was thinking along the lines of a standard U.S. census race question, in which you have to choose only one. White, black, native american, pacific islander/Asian, Non-white hispanic (and yes, this last category is really ridiculous).
Even within these admittedly imperfect categories, Id win the bet. So I stand by my very first post: Race is real.

Even if your prediction is right, why do you think it proves the reality of the traditional racial categories, and not the following:

-two races, persons of West African (or Bantu) descent and everyone else
-two races, people west of the Urals and people east of the Urals (split in the Pacific)

These are purposely ridiculous but you could win your bet just as well with one of these! So apparently you are using some other information to decide which racial categories to adopt and the bet is useless for deciding between them.

I've read this pathetic exchange over and can conclude that the self-proclaimed "enlightened" Dawkinites are intellectually limited individuals, I have seen the light. Thank you Mr. Dawkins.

Hello,

First, having read through this thread, I like to note that I'm not a stormfronter, nor a supremacist of any sort. I am from a Nordic country and not writing this in my first language, so I apologise for any linguistic errors. I got here via the science blog poll.

Our ancestors left Africa approx. 100,000 years ago. The evolution of the modern "thinking" human had kickstarted approx. 400,000 years earlier with the gradual and evolutionary very fast growth of the human cortex. So the separation of these two human populations is approx. 1/5 of the lenght of the evolution of the modern human. The separation of the distinctive caucasoid and eastern asian populations occurred approx. 40,000 years ago.
The alternative theory is that we are descendants of Homo Erectus and the separations of different lines of evolution could be as long as 1,000,000 years, but this theory is not enjoying much support these days.

These - African, Caucasoid and East Asian are the three large categories within which much inner variation has occurred as noted and as such they are not very useful in themselves.

But let this not muddy the issue. From excessive studies in western countries of identical and non-identical twins separated and not separated at birth (in my home country too) we do know, and the evidence is exhaustive, that general intelligence is very much hereditary. In the context of the western civilization and nutrition etc. it is upto 80% statistically. There are "intelligence genes". And their impact is central. This is obvious.

The important cultural and social aspect is how do these hereditary traits vary between different populations. Gene variation between populations is completely logical assumption. This is not affected by the fact that there is no general "African race" or that the origin of the Ashkenazi Jews is unclear. Let not the complexity of the issue to muddy it.

I do believe that during this century, possibly somewhere during the coming decades many of the genes that correlate with hereditary intelligence are found and classified. Then the notorious experiment will be to study how the spread of these genes vary between categorized populations.

Eventually we may come up with an estimation, supported not just by standardized and culturally and nutritionally neutral studies of the "g" (or IQ) but also by studies of spread of genes to support the hypothesis, which in itself would not be racism let this not be misunderstood, that the average Sub-Saharan African IQ is considerably lower than that of the European or Asian population.

If this will be so - and there already are studies with identical twins, standardized IQ-testing to indicate this - then it is a fact of nature. There will probably be considerably variation within the Africans (say between 60 - 95) but it won't change the overall picture.

The genetical picture of the in-born tendencies and potentials of the human being won't be restricted to IQ if such logical approach to the study of the human being is accepted inside the curriculum.

Aggression is another trait, even more controversial if possible. The human temperament is very much hereditary, can be observed in very young children, and mainstream psychologists generally accept this these days. Parents of several siblings have always known it. Long gone are the days of behaviourism.

There is ample data to prove that lower g and aggressive temperament correlate with criminal tendency. Majority of the "white" prison inmates are far below the average IQ of their population group. And have higher testosterone levels.

Because of the peripheral, incorrect nature of these study subjects, there is nowhere near as much study as there ought to be, but there are logical evolutionary hypothesis for the causation between the hereditary elements and different aspects of social order.

The human cortex, in which the human intelligence "resides" is not fully wired with our older "mammalian brain". Statistically intelligence is an important factor in understanding, developing and controlling our own behaviour, desires and emotions. And the elements in our surroundings.

This struggle has been difficult to humans throughout our history. And with the raise of rationalism has come the raise of civilization. This not a mere coincidence. It can be observed so many varying contexts. It is often the difference between good intentions and good outcomes. It is a key ingredient of that highly valued self-criticism.

To explain this more in detail a lot more would be needed, but as it is, this is already at the maximum lenghts suitable for a blog comment.

Personally I hit upon these ideas when studying developmental studies. My special interest has been in the Sub-Saharan Africa. I fear that our correctness is blinding us from central hereditary factors that contribute to social disorder on the continent. I do not wish this to be so, I take no joy in it probably being so. But the refusal to consider this evolutionarily entirely logical hypothesis, could prove, and has proven costly to developmental planning which has been built, I believe, on erroneous assumptions.

I very much love your new president, and disliked the old one, too me every human is of the same value as a human being, I want Africa to one day stand on it's both feet, proud and self-resilient, but I as a person striving to be a rational thinker (failing more or less like everyone) I cannot allow ideology, and ideas of wished-it-was-so to paint what I consider, on basis of lot of study, to be an objective outlook.

I doubt very much that you are our mighty Seed overlord. Also, what is a Dawkinite? Please explain.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Racial Realists should read Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Strange - for guys who keep parading around genetic data to forward their cause, I assumed that stormfronters would be referencing Dawkins more.

Then hilarity ensues as we snipe their logical inconsistencies and attempts at twisting the data.

By Twin-Skies (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

Our ancestors left Africa approx. 100,000 years ago. The evolution of the modern "thinking" human had kickstarted approx. 400,000 years earlier with the gradual and evolutionary very fast growth of the human cortex.

1) actually the studies generally state "less than 100,000 years ago", that's a subtle difference but a difference nonetheless
2)evolution is not gradual; if punctuated equilibrium was responsible for the original emergence of homo sapiens between 400,000 and 250,000, it would be perfectly reasonable that no further significant changes (genetic drift and minor adaptations excluded) occurred after the exodus. the lack of evolution of H. Erectus outside of Africa suggests that evolutionary pressures were stronger in Africa than out. the overall small genetic diversity of H. sapiens also suggests only minor evolutionary changes since the emergence of the species

From excessive studies in western countries of identical and non-identical twins separated and not separated at birth (in my home country too) we do know, and the evidence is exhaustive, that general intelligence is very much hereditary.

unless one half out of those twin-pairs was raised on a different continent, as part of a different "race", the studies have nothing to say about differences in IQ being caused (or not) by different cultures; those studies only count within the western culture.

Damn, I used to be a Christian, and I never knew I could eat beaver on Friday...;) (actually, to quote Stephen Colbert, thanks to PETA, we can now eat "Land Fish").

Anyway, interesting discussion, except from the few followers of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. I do wonder if Matt is one of those persons who considers that numbers (or rather, the concept "numbers") has a concrete existence outside of people's minds. It just seems like that might be so.

As for the newest racists - I mean, racist realists - racial retardists - ah, the heck with it - morons, yawn. Please, didn't you get the message, we're supposed to be "Darwinists". If you want to call us "Dawkinites" (actually, I like the sound of that - it implies the kryptotnite to Aryan Ubermensch), can we call you "Hitlerites"?

jack @270

Well, I could be wrong.

Careful, you'll make the Stormfronters heads explode...

I just don't think that's compatible with the concept of 'race' as a sort of universal set of a handful of highly differentiated, obvious, and broadly descriptive/predictive/useful categories.

I agree.

In case anyone is interested here's a link to an article in Molecular Ecology on defining 'population' and how there is not even a single answer to "what is a population?" or "how many populations are in this area?". So, theoretically there could be a useful concept of race without there being some sort of essential universal races. But of course your criticism applies to Matt's goalpost-moving, anyone should stick with the same groups within a single argument.

Aww, man... Here I've been F5-ing the page all afternoon, waiting for the hordes of Stormfronters to arrive and terrorise us with their book-learnin' an' their hypothesisin' and all we get is one little racist dweeb.

That's not entertainment! Pharyngula, I want my money back.

By Happy Trollop (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

If stormfronters put the same effort into improving themselves that they put into arguing their ostensible superiority, they wouldn't be living in the squalor that has them casting about for scapegoats to explain their misery.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

It's even more disturbing to see that he's part of an online community of like-minded individuals.

There's an upside and a downside to almost everything, and that certainly holds true for the internet. Besides the stories that hit the news from time to time about pedophiles trading pornography online, I was a bit shocked to learn a couple years back that there are online communities that actually advocate anorexia, even to the point of fatality.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

You all bored me because your entire response can be summed up thusly: Race has fuzzy borders! Nothing with fuzzy borders can be categorized! therefore, race is useless.

At last! Matty obviously publishes his results in the Journal of Fuzzy Results, a spinoff of the old Journal of Irreproducible results. That's why I haven't seen it! The JFR employs a whole new branch of mathematics too. This adds to the difficulty that ordinary people and even run of the mill scientists like me have understanding it. For instance, in, say, the Journal of Virology you might report a certain result as something like "100 nanometers plus or minus 20 nm". In the JFR you would report the same result as "about 100 nanometers". While the naive and the hidebound might find this inexact, racial scientists like Dr. Matt have discovered that in fact the effort to quantify error was actually a Negro-Jewish-Marxist-Liberal-Humanist plot to destroy the white race and contaminate pure white virgins with negro semen. Thanks to all such racial scientists for their diligent peer review! Godspeed you Dr. Matt, fight on brave soldier and may you be free from salacious negro gametes all your life long!

By 12th Monkey (not verified) on 15 Jan 2009 #permalink

awer @ #303:

Eventually we may come up with an estimation... that the average Sub-Saharan African IQ is considerably lower than that of the European or Asian population.

See what you've done here? After acknowledging there is no genetic meaning to the concept of 'race', you've bent over backwards to recategorize "those brown skinned people I suspect aren't as intelligent as we light skinned folks" as a population defined by the geographical location in which many of them live.

So think hard here, exactly how do you plan to exclude any confounding effects of environment once you've done that? Please, get back to us with an answer when you have thought of one.

Brownian@134:

Back to Matt's point, have you any data on why white supremacists are generally both ugly and stupid?

It may have something to do with coming from a family tree which does not fork.

By Cactus Wren (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Been lost in deepest darkest South Africa, I had never heard of Stormfront before browsing this thread. So deciding to educate myself, I jumped over to their website... worst decision I've made in a LONG time. I feel sick. Need to take a shower. At the risk of sounding like them, how are people like that allowed to exist? [Now I slink away into a corner and depress myself over the state of the human race] :(

It's tragic to think how useless and inferior you'd have to be, if "my ethnic group does slightly better than your ethnic group on IQ tests designed by my ethnic group" is the best thing you have to boast about.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

'People are tribal. What can you do? Urge them to expand the tribe?' ... 'I belong to a tribe too.' (Matt)
Devoid of definition, 'tribe' is no more useful a concept than 'race'.
I've just read a semi-serious piece of historical scholarship that argues there are no 'tribes' in any meaningful sense except for the communities that actually have a tribal polity. If you belong to a (mostly) hereditary political community whose membership gives you rights and duties relating to defense, retaliation and bloodmoney, then you're tribal. A bunch of distantly if at all related people with a few shared cultural features but lacking a polity based on (real or imagined) kinship does not even begin to qualify as a tribe. Use 'people' instead. (To confuse things further, there is e.g. a people called the Kurds, some but not all of whom belong to various tribes, and there are tribes consisting of ethnically unrelated groups.)
So Matt, what is your tribe called, how many there are of you and what other tribes are you currently feuding with? Or do you have a good definition of 'tribe' that'd justify applying it to your people, whoever they are?

By occasional lurker (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Lurker I belong to a tribe with an long and storied history. We are a proud people, with a zest for life and love. We regale each other with stories of heartbreak and loss and the occasional triumph, sung over the most beautiful melodies you'd ever hear, played by our noblest bards, on instruments endemic to my people. Proud though we are, we are a self conscious people, striving to maintain our ancient cultural identity in this topsy-turvy modern world. And so we've documented our achievements, likes, preferences, and objects of lust here. http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

I just love it when the idiots expose themselves. Hi Matt the idiot.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

WRT laurices = fish

Doh! I should have realized that it had something to do with Friday abstinence from meat-eating. Thing is, the nuns who taught me for 9 years seemed to have omitted that particular little gem.

According to the wiki article on laurices (thanks Wowbagger): The term laurices refers to the foetus of the rabbit, not "baby rabbit" as per Brownian. Maybe that's why it didn't catch on as a Friday Catholic dinner staple, although, really, plenty of cultures--including that of my family--Eastern European--eat things that make others go "eeuuwww."

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

B of sass, and just what do you mean by the word 'culture'? Are you one of them cultural realists? Dont you know that culture is a 'social construct' and therefore isnt physically real? As such, it isnt worthy of discussion, unless you are a Culturalist! I just knew you were by the way you thundered 'Eastern European'. PZ, my eyes burn from the stupid. Ban this man, after you tell us his IP address. Guards! GUARDS! BLARGLE BLARGLE SNORT

we do know, and the evidence is exhaustive, that general intelligence is very much hereditary. In the context of the western civilization and nutrition etc. it is upto 80% statistically.

So why have IQ scores been rising by approximately 3 points per decade, and why has the gap between black and non-Hispanic whites in the US been closing? Doesn't that suggest that whatever genetic component is relatively unimportant?

You all bored me because your entire response can be summed up thusly: Race has fuzzy borders! Nothing with fuzzy borders can be categorized! therefore, race is useless.

Matt, I have asked you numerous times to provide a scientifically useful definition of race, and you have so far completely failed to do so. I must presume you simply don't have one.

people of the same race have an non-trivial large majority of common ancestry. By looking at my face, people can tell where the vast majority of my ancestors came from in the world.

This is a fuzzy classification of course. But if that were a dis-qualifier for science, we'd have no biology.

people of the same race have an non-trivial large majority of common ancestry.

So my family is a "race"? My hometown is a "race"? That "definition" is useless without some clearer criteria.

Honest, science isn't that hard, but you have to define your terms.

Back at ya, define the word family. Your family almost certainly belongs all the same race.

Hometown?

An observation can be tested by science if offers a falsifiable hypothesis. Ive done that. Read it again.

Again, I note your use of the word 'useful'. Fortunately neither you nor I is a gatekeeper to the world of science and we dont know where research will lead.

Matt, your definition of race seems to amount to "I know it when I see it" ("By looking at my face, people can tell where the vast majority of my ancestors came from in the world."). I'm asking for a genetic or evolutionary account, one that provides criteria that can be objectively defined. After numerous requests, you still haven't provided any.

Actually you asked for something 'scientifically useful'. I answered the science part and mocked your arrogance for use of the word useful. Then you moved the goalposts.

How about race is a grouping of people highly likely to have collections of the same gene variants. Not any one gene variant, like skin color, but multiple collections of variants.

And yes, average non-scientists can identify these groupings of people with remarkable accuracy using their sense of sight.

How about race is a grouping of people highly likely to have collections of the same gene variants. Not any one gene variant, like skin color, but multiple collections of variants.

Much better. Now, how much do such collections of gene variants correspond with the colloquial categories of "race"? As numerous posters have pointed out, not very much -- there is much more variation among groups in Africa than there is in "white" groups, for example. In other words, these "collections of gene variants" don't map onto your notion of "race".

I never offered my 'notion' of race. My first post says "race is real".

You now agree.

Thanks.

"Doesn't that suggest that whatever genetic component is relatively unimportant?"

No. You should familiarize yourself with the twin and adoption studies. The data is exhaustive. The Flynn effect, which I do not challenge, does not alter the conclusions. And it is not just about intelligence. Many personality traits are largely hereditary. As adults two identical twins reared apart are more similar to each other in interests, preferences, intelligence, temperament, sexuality than two non-identical (same sex) twins reared together. The findings in this field of study in the last decade or so have been amazing. It is not something that can be denied out of ideological motivation, or rather which should not be denied, because the evidence is so strong and for the understanding of this world hard facts are preferable to nice beliefs.

What comes to racism, for me that is about how we view and value other human beings. If something is a statement of a conclusion supported with a body of concrete evidence, it cannot in itself be racist in this sense. If the hypothesis about the different sub-Saharan populations is proven correct, that for most (if not all to a varying degree) of these populations and for sub-Saharan population on average, the average hereditary g is lower than that of the rest of the world, and hereditary temperament of the males more aggressive, based partly on higher testosterone levels, then at the bottom of it is a biological reality which a belief cannot alter. It either is or it is not. To what degree, it is difficult to say.

If it is, and I firmly think this to be the case on basis of study and evidence, it won't alter my view of the sub-Saharan populations as equally deserving of human dignity, prosperity and equal human rights on their home continent, and as immigrant citizens of our western societies. This is obvious. IQ does NOT define human value. And I do not think g/IQ/other hereditary traits and their possible spread among different populations is a topic that should be hot news in the media.

Rather something discussed relatively quietly in the relevant academic circles in so far as it is of theoretical and practical importance.

I have studied development, and here it, unfortunately, is important knowledge. Poor societies need their doctors, engineers, architects, artists, writers, philosophers, qualified teachers etc. to become prosperous societies. You can't become a prosperous society without the people who form the high-skilled and qualified fabric of the society and lead the way, the people who fill the vacancies of intellectually demanding labour. This is a key question, and out of political incorrectness it is completely outlooked from a hereditary perspective. In the long run this could add to the suffering if we keep banging our heads against a wall of what could be reality but which we refuse to acknowledge.

Today India, who 50 years ago were poorer than Africa, educate hundreds of thousands of engineers and doctors and computer scientists every year. The relative figures for Sub Saharan Africa are miniscule in comparison. There is less than one medical doctor for every 2000 people. And these figures look much worse without the ethnicly mixed South Africa. In Malawi you have one doctor for every 50,000 people. And even then a number of these doctors are working for western aid agencies.
I have discussed this topic a lot, and I really would like to understand answers for the good of Africa.

For the comparison to India, people come short with environmental and cultural answers. They usually hold their hands up and don't know. They will still firmly believe the causation is cultural and environmental and direct their research and planning accordingly.
I did lean this way too for years, this is the way we are bought up to think in the west. But having familiarised myself with the data, I cannot entirely believe this no more. I cannot choose the way the world is, it just is, and if I try to be objective, I cannot make conclusions based on ideology, only on the data. The data is not conclusive and should be produced and studied more in depth, but there is a clear direction it is pointing. I don't know any other way at the end of the day but to accept what looks objective, and alter my views, but NOT my morals, accordingly.

My first post says "race is real". You now agree.

I agree that people use the term -- I disagree that it maps onto any meaningful genetic groupings.

Awer, you are a perfect example of why the "race isnt real" hysterics need to be firmly opposed. People need to be able to discuss these things calmly, without agendas. There are many people, perhaps some on this site, who believe the questions you study themselves are racist and cannot be discussed. That is the notion I have been railing against with my own, albeit imperfect and occasionally vulgar, methods.

The Flynn effect, which I do not challenge, does not alter the conclusions.

Of course it does. Note that I did not say that the Flynn effect means there is no genetic component to intelligence, just that such component is relatively unimportant given the obviously much larger effect of environment that the Flynn effect demonstrates. I don't see that you've disputed this.

Well now Tulse, now we're arguing something testable. Ive offered some evidence that collections of gene variants can map to meaningful genetic groupings. See the links in post #132. They show a meaningful gene variant, unequally spread amongst peoples, mapping to colloquial definitions of the term 'race'.

Big f'in deal, right? Well, all ive ever said is 'race is real'.

Someone actually did this to my old message board (The Godless Zone) in the late 90's. There were links to our site from racists sites for years. It brought in the occasional troll, but banning only takes a few keystrokes. ;)

awer-

The key word is relatively. No one doubts that there are various genetic components to intelligence. And with very careful twin studies and so forth, you may be able to tweeze them out.

As a practical matter, however, this effect is swamped by the effects of nurturing, nutrition, acculturation, education, etc. In other words, the impacts of any "intelligence genes" are NOT central. They're secondary.

Also, however conclusive the twin studies may be (and I tend to doubt they're quite as conclusive as you're implying), I completely fail to see how you think it's possible to meaningfully compare IQ scores cross-culturally.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

"By looking at my face, people can tell where the vast majority of my ancestors came from in the world." - Matt

Came from when?

By KnockGoats (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Ive offered some evidence that collections of gene variants can map to meaningful genetic groupings. See the links in post #132.

Those links are to two articles in an online magazine, not scientific journals, and over both of those article the author points to a total of one study looking at one gene and how its alleles group in populations. That doesn't come anywhere near your claim regarding collections of gene variants.

They show a meaningful gene variant, unequally spread amongst peoples, mapping to colloquial definitions of the term 'race'.

One variant, and even in the article the groupings do not match to colloquial definitions of race -- the African Bantu group differs from the African American group. In the same article, with regards to performance, Saletan notes that "West Africans dominate sprinting. East Africans do better at distance running. So already, the evidence points beyond race toward a more precise category: population."

And again, no one is disputing that single gene variations can track with populations -- certainly blonde hair is associated with certain populations, and dark skin is associated with certain populations. The question is, as you yourself suggest, whether there are meaningful collections of gene frequency differences that reliably map on to what we colloquially think of as "race". And as I pointed out before (and as the research Saletan mentions supports), there is often greater genetic variation within a specific "race" than there is between other "races". Race is a meaningless concept genetically (and Saletan, your cited source, agrees).

Ive offered some evidence that collections of gene variants can map to meaningful genetic groupings. See the links in post #132. They show a meaningful gene variant, unequally spread amongst peoples, mapping to colloquial definitions of the term 'race'.

This is SO much weaker than 'race is real'.

Yes, you can subdivide the species in various ways. You can divide based on skin color, or continent of origin, or blood type, or favorite color, or type and degree of lactase-persistence.

And when you do that, you'd expect most of the time to get different frequencies between the subdivisions of muscle gene Q, or heart disease gene R, etc., such that membership in a group might be a somewhat useful predictor of Q or R or whatever.

But unless that subdivision is custom designed for the application, the usefulness as a predictor is relatively weak. Take your muscle gene study. Sure, Africans and African-Americans are somewhat more likely to have the gene, but it's far from a perfect correlation. If you want to predict the presence of the gene based on 'racial' identity, you would be better off say, looking at a map of the geographical distribution of the gene, and then inventing some new 'racial' categories to closely match that.

And you could do something similar for every purpose and/or collection of 'gene variants'. There's no generally useful set of "gene variant clusters". There're tens of thousands, some useful for one thing, some for another. Which is fine if you change up your categories depending on what you're studying. Sometimes you're race "type-AB", sometimes you're race "gene variant cluster alpha, subgroup 12", maybe sometimes you're even "black".

But that wouldn't be 'race'. Race is always. You're not "black" just when it's actually an applicable and useful category. You're just "black".

By jack lecou (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

"how you think it's possible to meaningfully compare IQ scores cross-culturally"

By researching the test scores of adopted children of different ethnic backgrounds for one. And this has been done to an extent. Adopted kids of ethnic chinese background perform very well. It is not the same for everyone, unfortunately.

And we can develop g tests that approach culturally neutral and require little prior experience. Of course the tests should also be "nutritionally neutral". It is difficult but not impossible. If we wanted to find clearer answers, we could manage it. But it is the answers we do not want.

And this is not just about the vocal but peripheral relics from the 1930's. They are irrelevant and won't be making a comeback. But there are significant implications for other things. For important things that are questions of developmental policies and solutions that produce results, that are questions of finding answers to poverty and other important global questions.

My non-scientific Asian buddies can further subdivide their race into sub-populations based on their sense of sight. They used to tease me for not being able to do the same. Then they pointed a few things out to me and I got a little better at it.

My non scientific Hispanic buddies do the same, though I found the exercise a little harder.

Unfortunately I dont have that many African friends (And by African, I mean black or brown skinned people born in raised in the sub-saharan African continent.) But I would bet (here I go again) dollars to donuts if I did, they could tell by sight some of the differences between various African peoples.

So race is fuzzy, it has categories and sub-categories, it doesnt mean the same thing to everyone, and of course fraught with nasty political overtones. Etc, etc, etc. These conditions makes it difficult to do science on, both physical and social. And yet people do.

BTW, to anyone who still cares, those Slate articles point to the actual study where the actual data can be actually reviewed.

Matt, do you want to actually address the objections that have been raised, or just repeat your points?

By researching the test scores of adopted children of different ethnic backgrounds for one. And this has been done to an extent. Adopted kids of ethnic chinese background perform very well. It is not the same for everyone, unfortunately.

This hardly seems sufficient. It's plagued by 1) small sample sizes, and 2) a multitude of cultural, nutritional and social confounding factors.

And we can develop g tests that approach culturally neutral and require little prior experience. Of course the tests should also be "nutritionally neutral". It is difficult but not impossible.

Designing a 'culturally neutral' test is obviously a lot more difficult than you make it sound. Also, if the signal is so strong, "central" even, you'd think it would be a lot easier to pick it out of the noise of nutrition, culture, etc.

If we wanted to find clearer answers, we could manage it. But it is the answers we do not want.

I think you should consider the fact that people ARE studying this sort of thing, but, to the extent that you're apparently not satisfied with what they're studying, also consider the possibility that the 'answers' you think you want may just not be very useful.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

@101

If your anatomy professor were right then there would be no way to accurately determine race from skeletal remains. Which, oh wait for it... THERE IS. There are skeletal characteristics which can help to acertain the race (aka population of ancestry) a given set of remains is derived from. So your anatomy professor was either not aware of this, or was stating that biologically the races are no different because all of our bodies function the same.

On the skull alone there are at least 16 different markers that can be used to determine population of ancestry (which is the current term used instead of race, because the word race is inflamatory as is evidenced through the conversations here).

By BlackEyedGurl (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt the Black Knight of Racism:

They show a meaningful gene variant, unequally spread amongst peoples, mapping to colloquial definitions of the term 'race'.

Since you obviously didn't read the piece I linked to @ #238*, I'll post the link again:

http://www.genetic-future.com/2008/08/gene-for-jamaican-sprinting-succe…

[You may also be interested in the comments, especially the last one, as regards your little bet.]

*Or you did and are too much of a blockhead to understand it - there's much evidence for this in your responses to the comments on this thread.

Matt reminds me of Facilis the Fallacious: Here's my postulate. I win! Facilis the Falacious lost big time.
Nothing else of consequence is ever said. That is because he has nothing else except his prejudices. Matt, time to either cite your evidence and make a claim that can be falsified, or just get off the subject.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Mike at 190:

Thanks a bunch. I can't believe it. Everyone should love Rex Harrison cracks. I knew a Dr. Higgins and asked if he would go dress hunting with me, I don't think he saw the movie and didn't get the joke.

By Becky with a Y (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

I am always amazed at the number of "leaps of faith" that a "race realist" must take to construct their universe. To accept this philosophy you must believe that:

1. Humans are constructed into a number (three/four/etc) of genetically distinct groups.

2. "Black Africans" constitute one of these groupings.

3. Due to the mere fact that IQ scores (in environments which are relatively uniform) can be heritable, proves that IQ tests are always/mostly an accurate measurement of a genetically determined “general intelligence” under/across, all/most environments.

4. The "Black African genetically distinct group” is cursed by "low intelligence genes" (along with all/most the other “bad genes”)

5. The future will prove this all right.

For example... awer @ #303:

"Our ancestors left Africa approx. 100,000 years ago. The evolution of the modern "thinking" human had kickstarted approx. 400,000 years earlier with the gradual and evolutionary very fast growth of the human cortex. So the separation of these two human populations is approx. 1/5 of the lenght of the evolution of the modern human. The separation of the distinctive caucasoid and eastern asian populations occurred approx. 40,000 years ago. "

This is an example of the "leaps of faith" I listed as #1 and #2. "Race realists" already assume that there are two (or more) groups of genetically distinct people. It would be more accurate to think of human genetic variation as a continuous railroad track. Where the track length represents human geographic distance (length is proportional to genetic separation); the continuous nature of the track represents the continuous nature of human populations (and gene flow); the addition of new rail track represents the growth of humans throughout the globe (unaffecting previous laid track/humans).

In addition to all of this make the railroad track 2D instead of a linear line. Also add that, the length of time that humans have populated any given area increases the general amount of genetic variation in that area. Newly colonized growth areas are inhabited from a small group from the geographical outlining genetic pool. And add other social factors that (to a lesser extent) affect assortative mating (language/ethnicity/culture/class). Add 600 years of massive modern/historical population movements (Europeans/Africans to the Americas, genetic backflow, invasions, etc). Or any other random factor you can think of that messes up the silly “4/3/5 distinct human groups” assertion.

"These - African, Caucasoid and East Asian are the three large categories within which much inner variation has occurred as noted and as such they are not very useful in themselves. "

…another example of "leaps of faith" #1 and #2…

"But let this not muddy the issue. From excessive studies in western countries of identical and non-identical twins separated and not separated at birth (in my home country too) we do know, and the evidence is exhaustive, that general intelligence is very much hereditary. In the context of the western civilization and nutrition etc. it is upto 80% statistically. There are "intelligence genes". And their impact is central. This is obvious. "

This is an example of #3. It is a sacred tenant among the "realist" crowd. Most of the argument lays in a classic example of trying to prove causation through correlation (any first year science student can tell you why that is unreliable).

"The important cultural and social aspect is how do these hereditary traits vary between different populations. Gene variation between populations is completely logical assumption. This is not affected by the fact that there is no general "African race" or that the origin of the Ashkenazi Jews is unclear. Let not the complexity of the issue to muddy it. "

Here is yet another example of "leaps of faith" #1 and #2. Instead of using the idea of an "African race" he substitutes it with the idea of a cohesive genetically distinct “African population”…

"I do believe that during this century, possibly somewhere during the coming decades many of the genes that correlate with hereditary intelligence are found and classified. Then the notorious experiment will be to study how the spread of these genes vary between categorized populations. "

…an example of "leap of faith" #5…

"Eventually we may come up with an estimation, supported not just by standardized and culturally and nutritionally neutral studies of the "g" (or IQ) but also by studies of spread of genes to support the hypothesis, which in itself would not be racism let this not be misunderstood, that the average Sub-Saharan African IQ is considerably lower than that of the European or Asian population. "

…Odd, but another example of "leap of faith" #5...

"If this will be so - and there already are studies with identical twins, standardized IQ-testing to indicate this - then it is a fact of nature. There will probably be considerably variation within the Africans (say between 60 - 95) but it won't change the overall picture. ”

…He’s gone off into racially masturbatory science fiction at this point (ala GATTACA). Sit back and enjoy the ride…

"The genetical picture of the in-born tendencies and potentials of the human being won't be restricted to IQ if such logical approach to the study of the human being is accepted inside the curriculum. ”

Please, do tell, what else can we contribute to “the blacks”.

"Aggression is another trait, even more controversial if possible. The human temperament is very much hereditary, can be observed in very young children, and mainstream psychologists generally accept this these days. Parents of several siblings have always known it. Long gone are the days of behaviourism.
There is ample data to prove that lower g and aggressive temperament correlate with criminal tendency. Majority of the "white" prison inmates are far below the average IQ of their population group. And have higher testosterone levels. ”

Yes…

"Because of the peripheral, incorrect nature of these study subjects, there is nowhere near as much study as there ought to be, but there are logical evolutionary hypothesis for the causation between the hereditary elements and different aspects of social order. ”

Don’t stop now, tell us what are these “logical evolutionary hypothesis” and what can we learn from them?...

"Personally I hit upon these ideas when studying developmental studies. My special interest has been in the Sub-Saharan Africa. I fear that our correctness is blinding us from central hereditary factors that contribute to social disorder on the continent. I do not wish this to be so, I take no joy in it probably being so. But the refusal to consider this evolutionarily entirely logical hypothesis, could prove, and has proven costly to developmental planning which has been built, I believe, on erroneous assumptions. ”

“evolutionarily entirely logical hypothesis” is a nice phrase for science fiction; based upon numerously overlaid: racially despairing assumptions, incorrect human genetic models, and misleading studies. All of which, I might add, directly point towards the goal of depicting “the blacks” in the worst possible terms or even as sub-human. This is the definition scientific racism. It is the main reason why few people take Scientific racists seriously. You make all these claims and assumptions based upon weak correlations and numerous leaps of faith and wonder why no one follows your contrived line of thinking. This was very sadly the norm throughout most of western history past but it has largely died out.

"I very much love your new president, and disliked the old one, too me every human is of the same value as a human being, I want Africa to one day stand on it's both feet, proud and self-resilient, but I as a person striving to be a rational thinker (failing more or less like everyone) I cannot allow ideology, and ideas of wished-it-was-so to paint what I consider, on basis of lot of study, to be an objective outlook. ”

You are allowed to believe whatever you want. However, if you want to be taken seriously bring proof. Leave all your bluster about “the future proof” home.

PZ didnt send me away Michael, you all just bored me. It was kinda telling that Brownian started insulting me once I left...

Cry me a river. 'Once you left'? This isn't a conversation with people in the room, it's a blog. You never know if someone's reading or not, so the default assumption is that they are.

You all bored me because your entire response can be summed up thusly: Race has fuzzy borders! Nothing with fuzzy borders can be categorized! therefore, race is useless.

Only if you're illiterate, you fucking dipshit. The entire argument can be summed up thusly: the categories we call race have no real biological correlation; they are social constructs, and though they may be useful from that perspective, such social constructs shouldn't be mistaken for categories in reality. If you'd read the link on blood type I provided earlier, you'd have gotten this point (even though I reiterated enough times a fucking jarhead like you should have been able to get it.)

Why don't you let us know what race you are; I'm sure there'd be reams of scientists happy to determine why you're so congenitally fucking dense and whether such stupidity is common to your breed.

Google provides some interesting insight persona of "hahajohnnyb". In the order I found them:

Advocates complete genocide of the Jews in response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Claims the owners / operators of Fox News (News Corp) and thus does not watch Fox News.

Asserts Anthropogenic Accelerated Climate Change is a hoax, and that the earth is now entering a cooling trend.

Apparently enjoys bondage, and other S&M sexual activity... or perhaps enjoys discussing bondage.

Asserts that the keeping of slaves is a cultural right, and that the “United States had no right to declare war on the South, and we have been an occupied country ever since”

Supports Ron Paul (*a lot*)

Asserts that both Barack Obama and John McCain are socialists.

Warns of single global currency and world government

Muses on the desirability of forced sterilization of the citizens of India

Argues against the legality of abortion

Asserts that “Humans are not the cause of the hole in the ozone layer”

BTW some good articles that cover a lot of what is discussed...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genetic_variation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(classification_of_human_beings)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_genetics

I suggest you also read the "talk pages" of these article to see how each factoid is included into each article and the debates behind the scenes. -I hope this passes the spam filter-

My non-scientific Asian buddies can further subdivide their race into sub-populations based on their sense of sight. They used to tease me for not being able to do the same. Then they pointed a few things out to me and I got a little better at it.

My non scientific Hispanic buddies do the same, though I found the exercise a little harder.

Unfortunately I dont have that many African friends (And by African, I mean black or brown skinned people born in raised in the sub-saharan African continent.) But I would bet (here I go again) dollars to donuts if I did, they could tell by sight some of the differences between various African peoples.

What kind of bullshit is this? What does this have to do with 'race'? My Asian friends (see, I'm not a racist!) can distinguish between Koreans and Japanese by sight, therefore, 'Asian' is a real category and 'Black' is a real category. Fuck, what a dumb twat.

Further to Bhima's comment, I guarantee you that hahajohnnyb has wet dreams about the gold standard.

At #324, Matt wrote:

Dont you know that culture is a 'social construct' and therefore isnt physically real?

I did indeed know that.

As such, it isnt worthy of discussion, unless you are a Culturalist!

Is this some kind of turnip joke that we non-turnips won't get? Or do you, in your turniptousness, think you're actually making some kind of trenchant point?

Ban this man, after you tell us his IP address.

...just one wrongturniped turn after another.

Guards! GUARDS!

Well, if you want to include a discussion of Guards! Guards! in this thread, you might appreciate this:
All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Again Brownian, telling that you'd bring up race/intelligence as If I'd raised the point. You just know what I believe in my malign little heart, dont you? Awer has a good discussion going on regarding race and intelligence, take your shrieking on that topic to him.

Please define the phrase 'social construct'.

Please define the phrase 'social construct'.

Okay.

Social: adj. of or relating to habitual intraspecific interactions, usually among individuals in a single population and sharing a habitat or a local environment

Construct: n. 1. The end product of a mechanical or manufacturing process 2. an abstract characterization of an imagined object, process, relationship or grouping; concept

Social construct: n. A concept (usually relating to the organization of a human society) agreed upon as valid by many or most members of a given social group, either explicitly or tacitly

Why? What was the point of this exercise, other than giving me an excuse to play lexicographer?

B of sass, and just what do you mean by the word 'culture'? Are you one of them cultural realists? Dont you know that culture is a 'social construct' and therefore isnt physically real? As such, it isnt worthy of discussion, unless you are a Culturalist!

Oh, goodness. I had missed this. Actually, culture is a great comparison, which Matt has thus far been too dense to appreciate. Culture refers to the values, beliefs, norms, and material objects that make up a group's way of life. Now, there's something circular about this: we define "a culture" as a group that shares, broadly, a "way of life," and define "cultures" as ways of life shared within particular groups. How do we decide what constitutes a culture, or separates one culture from another? Do we focus primarily on beliefs? Political values or systems? Family structures? Marriage practices? Architectural styles? How do we decide which is more significant? Within larger categories, which specific aspects do we consider important, how do we measure them, and where do we draw the lines? Do all Christians share a culture? Do all Protestants? Why or why not? If you have two people, both from New York, one Catholic and one Jewish, one a socialist and the other a Republican, which, if any, of these characteristics should we use to determine the culture(s) to which they belong? Or are they just New Yorkers, or just Americans, or just Westerners? Are cultures national, tribal, regional,...? Is a category like "Western culture" useful for social analysis, or simply for political rhetoric? As the elements of cultures change and people interact with other groups over time, how do we address this?

People share beliefs, practices, norms, and material objects/styles. These vary spatially and temporally in complex ways. They act and produce in certain ways that we can see. Yet the way we go about labeling these practices and making divisions among them is based on choices and social conventions. Most of the time people aren't aware of this; social scientists must make their choices and the reasons for them explicit.

Cultures are not 'real'. As with race, the reification of culture has been a useful tool for those seeking to oppress others, both those they define as outside and those they see as within their culture as they define it.

from Brownian

>>>The entire argument can be summed up thusly: the categories we call race have no real biological correlation; they are social constructs

Yhe point is the definition of just about everything human beings discuss can fit into the definition. We can quickly get mired into ontological quicksand in this discussion, my point is that saying the phrase social construct is not a magic wand to render something not physically real.

Racial categories as commonly constructed by non-scientists are a way of classifying the visually confirmed observation of human differences. They correspond to common ancestry, this is verifiable, hence scientific. They arent the best ways of knowing. Within the broad category of science we improved upon them and socially constructed the systematic methods of classifying people (and other things) with fields like biology (and all of concepts agreed upon as valid by biologists), and anthropology (and all of the concepts agreed upon as valid by anthropologists) and so forth and so on. We continue to argue about what is valid in anthropology and biology, this does not mean they do not correspond to things in reality.

These are all socially constructed methods at understanding reality. Some are better than others.

As for Brownians point that common racial categories have real biological correlation, I provided evidence counter to that point. Clusters of gene variants are found in peoples descendant from common ancestry, commonly referred to as race. Yes, race is not the best way to discuss genetics, this does not mean racial categories dont correspond to reality. You don't mean to suggest they correspond to randomness, do you?

In my final paragraph, I meant to put the word 'dont' in front of 'real biological correlation'.

from SC

>>>Cultures are not 'real'.

Someone throw a rope to SC OM. His (her?) head just went under the surface of the ontological quicksand.

Someone throw a rope to SC OM. His (her?) head just went under the surface of the ontological quicksand.

You're such a fucking pinhead, Matt. You lack either a desire or an ability to learn, or (most likely) both. In either case, you're embarrassing yourself and wasting everyone's time.

peoples descendant from common ancestry, commonly referred to as race.

You keep equivocating. When it suits your purposes, you'll use this common reference. But what you're actually talking about is "the visually confirmed observation of human differences," as you put it in your #362. What is at issue, but what the quoted bit above simply assumes, is whether the categories arrived at by visual confirmation reliably match up with the categories derived from common ancestry.

In other words, you keep assuming your conclusion, and wondering why we don't find your reasoning persuasive.

Racial categories as commonly constructed by non-scientists are a way of classifying the visually confirmed observation of human differences.

Why don't you fucking address all of the points that have been made to you about categorizing human variation?

SC, i thought 99% of your culture post corresponded well to reality as I observe it. Wasnt until you threw in the punctilious lefty-agitprop genuflection in your last graf that we parted ways.

Unless of course you're referring to Islam and its adherents when you say "the reification of culture has been a useful tool for those seeking to oppress others".

Tell me SC, how can something be reified if it isnt real?

Double dawg dare ya to tell a fundie Islamist to his face culture isnt 'real' (to get full credit you have to condescend with the commonly accepted scare quotes finger motion too).

Racial categories as commonly constructed by non-scientists are a way of classifying the visually confirmed observation of human differences.

That is perhaps the only true thing you've said about the concept of race.

They correspond to common ancestry, this is verifiable, hence scientific.

Nonsense. Again, as I have pointed out over and over again, some individual "races" are actually comprised of groups that vary more in terms of genetics and ancestry than pairs of "races" do. Just because two people have for example dark skin and are from Africa does not mean that they have a more similar ancestry than a "white" and a "black". Race as a concept simply does not translate well into genetics or ancestry. Similarities in grossly observable phenotypic characteristics are not reliable indicators of similarities in underlying population genotype.

Honestly, do you have any evidence for your position other than one paper on one allele that was reported on in a general-interest online magazine?

Tell me SC, how can something be reified if it isnt real?

Christ on a cupcake, what a clown.

Double dawg dare ya to tell a fundie Islamist to his face culture isnt 'real'

And, while you're making an ass of yourself, why not toss in some fatwa envy? We haven't seen much of that lately.

Racial categories as commonly constructed by non-scientists are a way of classifying the visually confirmed observation of human differences. They correspond to common ancestry, this is verifiable, hence scientific.

Except that they don't, stupid.

Oh, so Jessica Alba does count as "white" in the USA, and not even just because of her surname. I was wondering.

Matt, stuffwhitepeoplelike.com is a parody site.

oh and also... if proficiency at a particular sport are genetically defined, does that mean Germans are closer related to Brazilians than Austrians or Danes?

Wwwwwwhoa! I think you insulted the National Religion. I think I should kill you where you stand...

(No, seriously, last EM championship there was an Internet petition in Austria saying that Austria shouldn't even participate because it'd be just embarrassing. Maybe I signed it. It gave other explanations than genetic ones, though.)

My special interest has been in the Sub-Saharan Africa. I fear that our correctness is blinding us from central hereditary factors that contribute to social disorder on the continent. I do not wish this to be so, I take no joy in it probably being so. But the refusal to consider this evolutionarily entirely logical hypothesis, could prove, and has proven costly to developmental planning which has been built, I believe, on erroneous assumptions.

You must not overlook the Principle of Parsimony. As far as we can tell today, no biological explanation is necessary for the situation of an exploited continent that consists of countries that are even more artificial than those elsewhere.

How about race is a grouping of people highly likely to have collections of the same gene variants. Not any one gene variant, like skin color, but multiple collections of variants.

Yep, as I keep saying, by that definition races don't exist. Did you fail to click on the link to the page about blood types that Brownian gave you? Here is the homepage of that site, in case you missed it or were afraid to click. You'll find a map of skin color and several of the alleles for blood types; try to find a correlation.

For the comparison to India, people come short with environmental and cultural answers. They usually hold their hands up and don't know. They will still firmly believe the causation is cultural and environmental and direct their research and planning accordingly.

Two words for you:
- Democracy;
- Botswana.

Unfortunately I dont have that many African friends (And by African, I mean black or brown skinned people born in raised in the sub-saharan African continent.) But I would bet (here I go again) dollars to donuts if I did, they could tell by sight some of the differences between various African peoples.

I won't bet against you here, because I know from experience that this is possible. For example, I know people from Rwanda who have European faces except for hair shape, hair color, and the dark brown skin color; even their nose shape is within the European spectrum of variation.

Which brings me back to my point. Yes, lots and lots and lots of genetic traits have a geographical distribution that is neither random nor uniform -- but no two of them have the same geographical distribution. For even fuzzy races to exist, it would be necessary for a majority or at least plurality of traits to have at least roughly congruent distributions -- but that's not what we find!

Races don't have fuzzy borders. All of mankind is a blur.

More later, I have to go.

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Matt @ 329:

Your family almost certainly belongs all the same race.

Hometown?

An observation can be tested by science if offers a falsifiable hypothesis. Ive done that. Read it again.

Your "almost certainly" is not falsifiable. Here's a falsifiable hypothesis: Counterexamples will be offered and you will redefine your argument ("Almost certainly" only means more than half of the time! They're not your family!) and claim that said counterexamples are meaningless.

But to your comment: I have three first cousins of a different "race" than myself. To my knowledge, only one of us has ever been suspected by strangers of being "mixed."

And look how cute these kids are: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-377839/Black-white-twins.html

Now prove me wrong! Be a better man than I hypothesized!

And @ 333:

I never offered my 'notion' of race. My first post says "race is real".

You now agree.

Thanks.

Are you ten years old? You're proclaiming triumph because you've redefined (yes, you've redefined, the thread is still there, we can read) your initial claims to the point of meaningless tautology. If I were to claim that unicorns exist, and then said that by "unicorns," I meant any animal with a single horn, even if that state had been acquired via mechanical injury, and ended with lol pwnd, you'd imagine me an idiot, and not just for the l33t speak. What the hell, really. I'm waiting for your next post to be "loserssaywhat."

By Stephanie W. (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

OK, I know I put those end quotes in the right place. Just to be clear on the attribution: first quote should end with "read it again," second should end with "thanks."

By Stephanie W. (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

See, your problem Matt (one of many), is that you see someone who you determine through whatever metric you use to be 'black' and conclude a recent African heritage. What we've been patiently trying to explain to you is that your conclusion is not correct. Are there gene clusters among people with black skin? You bet! Those clusters are the genes that code for increase melanin production. Quick quiz: what traits do you think blonds might have in common? Gold star for Matty if he answered blond hair! We all know this.

Now, here's the part you might want to follow along with your finger just to make sure you fucking get it this time, dimbulb: such clusters do not necessarily indicate a recent shared heritage, mostly because humans are a highly mobile and highly horny species. We're also an adaptable species that has survived (at least partially) several fairly cataclysmic environmental shifts leading to all those fun aspects of population genetics such as founder and bottleneck effects, as well as drift.

Thus, the existence of the highly visible set of natural blonds does not necessarily indicate recent common ancestry, which is what you seem to think races correlate to. Did you get that? Should I fucking repeat it again? Why the fuck not, as it seems I wasted all yesterday repeating things to you. The existence of a shared set of traits does not necessarily indicate recent common ancestry. See my earlier comments about blood groups (and the linked article) for another example of this.

It is for this reason (and I'll repeat it again for the thinking impaired: clusters of shared traits among humans do not necessarily indicate recent common ancestry), that scientists have undertaken a number of migration studies using genetic markers to examine human ethnic history in a scientific way (I mean, hey, if you could just go down to the local sports bar with a bunch of mug shots, ask Douggie McGee whether he thinks each belongs to a black, a white, or an Asian, and that would correlate well with each person's actual heritage, why would they bother faffing about with genetics, huh?)

Since you seem to discount everything we write because we tend to be leftist and you're infected with that bizarro anti-evidence disease so common to righties, I'll link to this comment from the Human Genome Project:

DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other.

If you're so fucking right that you can identify people based on the 'scientific' categories of race, then take it up with them, asshole.

By the way, the Human Genome Project was a massive undertaking to identify the 20,000-30,000 genes that make up the theoretic human genome--er, a genome is the full set of genes--um, genes are what encode the--hey look! A Negrito is breaking into your car, obviously trying to drive it back to Timbuktu! Stop him Matt!

Matt: Please define 'race'. How many do you think exist in reality, and why? Which aspects of human variation are you using to classify people into different racial groups, and why? Specifically, why have you chosen them over others? For what purposes is your classification system useful, again specifically?

SC, i thought 99% of your culture post corresponded well to reality as I observe it.

And yet you still fail to grasp the fundamental points being made to you, over and over on this thread.

Wasnt until you threw in the punctilious lefty-agitprop genuflection in your last graf that we parted ways.

Unless of course you're referring to Islam and its adherents when you say "the reification of culture has been a useful tool for those seeking to oppress others".

Let me see if I have this straight: it's "lefty agitprop genuflection" except in the cases when you recognize it? You're not exactly dazzling anyone with your reasoning abilities here, Matt.

Since you mention Islam (though later switch to Islamic fundamentalists), please define 'Islamic culture'.

Double dawg dare ya to tell a fundie Islamist to his face culture isnt 'real' (to get full credit you have to condescend with the commonly accepted scare quotes finger motion too).

Are you trying to make my argument for me? Thanks, but I don't really need your help. In any case, there are many people and organizations in Islamic countries contesting Islamic fundamentalists' definitions of Islamic or local cultures as well as their claim to speak on behalf of said 'cultures'. That many fundamentalists have responded and are responding with violence proves what to you, exactly? Do you not recognize that it suggests that cultural concepts, like racial ones, are not simply neutral classification tools, but serve political purposes?

Tell me SC, how can something be reified if it isnt real?

Yes, as previously fucking implied. Why don't you google it? Incidentally, there's an article by Troy Duster about the dangers of this in terms of race and medicine at the "Is Race 'Real'?" link I provided above.

Racial categories as commonly constructed by non-scientists are a way of classifying the visually confirmed observation of human differences.

Yes. This is exactly what we mean by social construction. The fact that they're nominally constructed out of out of a few 'real' (even heritable) characteristics doesn't change that.

They correspond to common ancestry, this is verifiable, hence scientific.

As others already pointed out, no. No they don't. Race is clearly not much about ancestry.

For example, in the US we call you 'black' if you have even a small amount of African ancestry. We completely ignore the fact that there's more variation among Africans, or between African groups, than between Africans and Europeans. We completely ignore all of the non-Africans in your ancestry--Europeans, Australians, Asians, Native Americans, whatever--no matter how much more numerous than your African ancestors.

Then to top it all off, we end up tossing in any number of dark-skinned Indians, Pacific Islanders, Indigenous Australians, etc.

So we've got this odd collection of people who supposedly have a lot of common ancestry, yet many of them, probably the very vast majority, are more closely related to members of the "white" race than to most of their fellow "black" people, and there are a bunch of people who aren't really related much at all to EITHER.

And this is because race isn't based on ancestry. It's a social construct, a set of categories we've inherited that were originally embedded in other institutions, like colonialism and slavery. It's just a convenient way to identify members of in-groups and out-groups.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Nick Nick @ 272:
you:
BTW, Mike in NY way back and your link to the B.I.T.C.H. test: What do we deduce from a white boy from Seattle who took this test and only missed the one on "I know you, shame"?

I would deduce that YOU DA MAN! Somewhere in my memory is the Cab Calloway jive dictionary, full of hepcat jazz slang. My favorite, "fews and two" refers to a small sum of money. Cab was born here in Rochester.

By mike in Ontario, NY (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

More from Ann Morning:

Race Distinctions in Social Context

Dr. Leroi suggests that race is “merely a shorthand that enables us to speak sensibly, though with no great precision, about genetic rather than cultural or political differences.” This is astonishing for someone who, according to armandleroi.com, grew up partly in South Africa and did graduate work in the United States. Since its emergence in the imperial age of the 16th and 17th centuries, race has been first and foremost a way of talking about political, social, and economic differences, rights, and membership. Race differences distinguished the citizen from the alien, the slave from the free, the property owner from the owned. Today, race is hardly the stuff of dispassionate technical jargon. Race is a daily newspaper topic not because of DNA configurations but because of social configurations. Enduring beliefs in the characteristics of different races make race a way for us to talk about crime and innocence, worth and worthlessness, the monied and the disadvantaged.

Even to scientists, race has clearly meant more than just biology. In his early human taxonomy, Linnaeus described Homo sapiens Afer (African Homo sapiens) as “crafty, indolent, negligent; anoints himself with grease; governed by caprice,” and Homo sapiens Europeaeus as “gentle, acute, inventive; …governed by laws”; race was a guide not just to physical difference but to the valuation of temperament, ability, and behavior. Moreover, social and biological scientists have long been active participants in the development of race-related public policies. Their evidence of black inferiority helped justify slavery in the face of abolitionist protest; their conclusion that the unfit American Indian race was doomed to perish in the presence of the superior white race made the results of a concerted public campaign of extermination seem like a “natural” Darwinian outcome; and their early-20th-century discoveries of important differences between the crania of native and immigrant groups fueled the eventual shutdown of immigration from eastern and southern Europe. From these examples, it seems clear that the cultural context of the time had a hand not just in the research results that scientists obtained, but even in the questions they asked in the first place. In the same way, we have to ask how the contemporary debate on the nature of race relates to the cultural outlook and the policy dilemmas of our times.

Matt,

While you're answering SC's questions from #376, would you please name all of the distinct races (within the human species)? Thanks in advance.

By Reader5000 (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

@David Marjanović:

Oh, so Jessica Alba does count as "white" in the USA, and not even just because of her surname. I was wondering.

well, by the "one drop" logic she'd be black, but she self-identifies as white AFAIK; and since that was the criterion used by matt, I figured it was worth a giggle to point it out.

@matt:

Tell me SC, how can something be reified if it isnt real?

you don't know what "reified" means in this context, do you... but since your ability to google or even to follow links seems limited, and I'm feeling generous:
Reification (fallacy): fallacy of treating an abstraction as if it were a real thing

"Doesn't that suggest that whatever genetic component is relatively unimportant?"

No. You should familiarize yourself with the twin and adoption studies. The data is exhaustive. The Flynn effect, which I do not challenge, does not alter the conclusions. And it is not just about intelligence. Many personality traits are largely hereditary. As adults two identical twins reared apart are more similar to each other in interests, preferences, intelligence, temperament, sexuality than two non-identical (same sex) twins reared together. The findings in this field of study in the last decade or so have been amazing. It is not something that can be denied out of ideological motivation, or rather which should not be denied, because the evidence is so strong and for the understanding of this world hard facts are preferable to nice beliefs.

once again: unless those twins have been separated and raised one as a full, undistinguished member of a (for example)Sub-Saharan family, and one as a full member of a (for example)Skandinavian family, and the non-twin studies were on adoptive children, one of Skandinavian and one of Sub-Saharan origin, raised together by Skandinavian or Sub-Saharan family, the twin studies are only meaningful within the Western Culture, not as cross-cultural comparisons. any such results you'd like to squeeze out of them are based more on your bias than on scientific evidence

What comes to racism, for me that is about how we view and value other human beings. If something is a statement of a conclusion supported with a body of concrete evidence, it cannot in itself be racist in this sense.

everything can be supported by some random assemblage of evidence. the question is whether it's falsifiable by such evidence, and up-to-date no racial hypothesis has withstood falsification

If the hypothesis about the different sub-Saharan populations is proven correct, that for most (if not all to a varying degree) of these populations and for sub-Saharan population on average, the average hereditary g is lower than that of the rest of the world, and hereditary temperament of the males more aggressive, based partly on higher testosterone levels, then at the bottom of it is a biological reality which a belief cannot alter. It either is or it is not. To what degree, it is difficult to say.

once again: no racial hypothesis has ever survived falsification; historically, no hypothesis linking geographical location and true, genetically inherited intelligence has ever survived falsification. genetic variation is greater from individual to individual than from group to group, and overall genetic diversity among humans is very very small.

If it is, and I firmly think this to be the case on basis of study and evidence, it won't alter my view of the sub-Saharan populations as equally deserving of human dignity, prosperity and equal human rights on their home continent, and as immigrant citizens of our western societies. This is obvious. IQ does NOT define human value. And I do not think g/IQ/other hereditary traits and their possible spread among different populations is a topic that should be hot news in the media.

oh, so you're a tolerant racist; how patronizing of you. I should point out to you though that going into research firmly thinking believing in a particular outcome generally tends to skew the results. that's why scientist love the double-blind test (yeah, I'm aware it's a wee bit difficult to make double-blind tests on race; that's half my point though, right there)

Rather something discussed relatively quietly in the relevant academic circles in so far as it is of theoretical and practical importance.

do tell, what practical importance? it's not like we're talking about sickle-cell anemia here.

I have studied development, and here it, unfortunately, is important knowledge. Poor societies need their doctors, engineers, architects, artists, writers, philosophers, qualified teachers etc. to become prosperous societies.You can't become a prosperous society without the people who form the high-skilled and qualified fabric of the society and lead the way, the people who fill the vacancies of intellectually demanding labour. This is a key question, and out of political incorrectness it is completely outlooked from a hereditary perspective. In the long run this could add to the suffering if we keep banging our heads against a wall of what could be reality but which we refuse to acknowledge.

because there are only white doctors? artists? teachers? race as a marker for ability to become any of the above has already been proven to be incorrect, given equal cultural starting points.

Today India, who 50 years ago were poorer than Africa, educate hundreds of thousands of engineers and doctors and computer scientists every year. The relative figures for Sub Saharan Africa are miniscule in comparison. There is less than one medical doctor for every 2000 people. And these figures look much worse without the ethnicly mixed South Africa. In Malawi you have one doctor for every 50,000 people. And even then a number of these doctors are working for western aid agencies.
I have discussed this topic a lot, and I really would like to understand answers for the good of Africa.

Differences between Africa (you realize that's a continent, not a country, right?) and India are immense, starting with the fact that Colonialism took much different forms in both places, that India's infrastructure survived the independence wars better, and that India ended up embracing its colonial culture (it's still part of the Commonwealth)thus westernizing itself and becoming less foreign, and thus more acceptable to western investors, while Africa is still a strange land. The fact that India is a democracy, and that it's basically the Call Center of the World, is another major part. None of it has shit-all to do with intelligence, temperament, or race.

For the comparison to India, people come short with environmental and cultural answers. They usually hold their hands up and don't know.

we do know, in fairly good detail, although the picture is far from complete; and I'd like you to show how the above-mentioned is irrelevant, or does not account for the differences sufficiently

They will still firmly believe the causation is cultural and environmental and direct their research and planning accordingly.
I did lean this way too for years, this is the way we are bought up to think in the west. But having familiarised myself with the data, I cannot entirely believe this no more.

personal disillusion and improper grammar are not scientifically valid viewpoints

I cannot choose the way the world is, it just is, and if I try to be objective, I cannot make conclusions based on ideology, only on the data. The data is not conclusive and should be produced and studied more in depth, but there is a clear direction it is pointing. I don't know any other way at the end of the day but to accept what looks objective, and alter my views, but NOT my morals, accordingly.

and yet, you seem to chose to absolve yourself from really trying to understand the problem and just dumping it all on racial inferiority. that's neither scientific, nor intellectually honest, nor culturally honest (since, if you'd care to notice, the more a people adjust themselves to us, the more respect and recognition they get from us. This is intellectual colonialism of the "our way or the highway" kind

I will bet 1000$ that the winner of the 100 meter Olympic sprint for the next 10 Summer Olympics will be of West African descent.

Within what time frame?? Aren't we all of African descent?

People who even think that 'race' exists are morons.

Holy fuck, I didn't read read awer's comment, but all I have to say is that s/he's completely out to fucking lunch as to what's currently happening in development. Past development strategies made little to no use of local skills and knowledge, to limited success.

Since then, it's been learned that without local buy-in and local expertise, development programs tend to fizzle. As Africa and India both have growing bodies of educated and profession men and (gasp!) women, development agencies and programs increasingly utilise local talent and expertise, especially at the management and planning levels.

Uganda's relative success in reducing the rates of HIV/AIDS was achieved not by benevolent but befuddled whites throwing up their hands at 'the Africa Problem' but by a coordinated campaign including a willing and committed government, a massive public health educational campaign, and partnerships between local and international agencies. Nowhere in this process was a general lack of intelligence or ability among one race or another evident.

Having first hand experience with the people of that country in a public health capacity, I can assert with reasonable confidence that awer's education is woefully incomplete.

Notably, we get this kind of sympathetic concern a lot from these poor, burdened, well-meaning whites and it's always the same pattern. Since it always spirals into stupidity, I like to call it Watson's Dumbed-down Helix:

A) Deeply concerned about the plight of the non-whites, they set about educating themselves on Africa and international development (ostensibly by watching old Tarzan reruns, given the stereotypes they inevitably present as fact.)

B) They note how unsuccessful aid programs are, since African and India remain mired in poverty. (Untrue, of course, since there have been many successful endeavours and many unsuccessful endeavours. It makes one wonder though why they don't apply the same reasoning to the current American bailout. I mean, capitalism is predicated on the idea that the best, the brightest, and the most efficient should flourish, but the evidence suggests that these poor beleaguered auto CEOs just ain't got the skillz.)

C) They were raised to believe, erroneously of course, that there are no differences in intelligence, but alas, careful personal study of some mysterious data show this not to be true (The data are always IQ tests, or involve some other capacity test that they themselves would obviously fail, given their usually poor linguistic and reasoning skills. Given this love of IQ, I wonder if they'd immediately accept the superiority of my argument if I reported mine.)

D) Public health workers, ideologically committed to the fallacy of general human equality, scratch their heads, mystified that the ign'ant savages just don't seem to get it. (I've attended many a public health lecture. I've never seen one titled, "What the fuck's with Africa, man? Seriously? Any ideas? Our Whole Field Consists of Idiots, and We Haven't a Clue What to Do" Now, the field of public health has indeed suffered from a lack of outcome measurement in the past, but as granting agencies become increasingly stingy with dollars, the pressure to produce results has forced those in the field to become increasingly evidence-based. The result? Get more locals in at the planning stages of those projects. A rather bizarre strategy for success if those locals only consist of witchdoctors, peasants, and violent near-animals who just can't control their base natures.)

E) We need a new paradigm, one that doesn't discriminate against the darkies per se, but recognises their inherent inferiority, and create programs accordingly. What form these would take, they never seem to say. (Rather than hospitals, we help them build spear-sharpening centres?)

Now who's throwing up their hands?

There is only one human race, just like there is only one dog breed.

Oh wait.

Tell me SC, how can something be reified if it isnt real?

Since you don't know what the word means, you probably shouldn't be challenging the usage of people who do.

Your scientific understanding of race is nonexistent, but you demand that we accept it as a concrete reality. Reification in action!

Brownian, than you for that post! the delicious sarcasm aside, I'm glad to learn that development is getting off its high horse and that the local solutions are succeeding :-)

#358 Turnip

There is only one human race, just like there is only one dog breed.

so what you're saying is that there's doghuman breeders who artifically make sure only the right characteristics get inherited, and weeds out all the non-conforming forms? do you have evidence of this divine breeding program?

because in case you haven't noticed, "dog breeds" are artificial creations that disappear the moment you remove the human interference. nature doesn't do "pure-breds"

At #388 Steve_C wrote:

#358 Turnip

Huh? Are you turniping me?

If so, please explain.

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

i think that was a typo and he was turnipping #385, not #358 :-p

nature doesn't do "pure-breds"

From what I've read/seen, nature prefers "Mutts" in dogs. Also known as "hydrid vigor".
By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

David M:

Which brings me back to my point. Yes, lots and lots and lots of genetic traits have a geographical distribution that is neither random nor uniform -- but no two of them have the same geographical distribution. For even fuzzy races to exist, it would be necessary for a majority or at least plurality of traits to have at least roughly congruent distributions -- but that's not what we find!

Just out of curiosity, do you have an opinion on using the word 'race' in nonhuman species in cases where such trait distributions exist?

(In how many cases have we really looked at the majority of traits in other species before dividing them up in groups, though?)

yeah... that's where i was going to go with that argument should the sean-turnip return. now you've spoiled the surprise!

oh well, looks like that was a drive-by turnip anyway :-p

#385, turnip, wrote:

There is only one human race, just like there is only one dog breed.

Really? Then it should be easy for you to list all of the races and provide the specifics of what differentiates them. You can do that with dog breeds, so if what you say is true you should have no trouble at all.

Here's a hint: dog breeders have use slightly stricter designations that than 'white' and 'non-white'.

We'll be waiting.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Picking on my grammar and linguistic errors is quite poor form, as obviously I'm not writing in my native tongue.

"Two words for you:
- Democracy;
- Botswana."

As for Democracy I would suggest you read Martin Meredith's State of Africa A History of Fifty years of Independence

As for Botswana. It was the rare exception, an African success story, based on national unity and natural riches and relatively corruption free political leadership. Now it is one of the five most HIV-infected countries on Earth. Age expectation has dropped from above 60 years of age, to below 40. Studies by international agencies have concluded that women lack control over sexual decision making and both sexes have multiple sexual partners.
This is another topic that is hardly ever discussed openly. If the chance to transmit HIV infection in a vaginal intercourse is estimated to be ~1/1000 how do you go from there to 25-30% of the population being HIV-infected in mere couple of decades despite vast multi-million dollar anti-AIDS programs? This is an unique African story causes of which we do not discuss that much.

As for Botswana and education (the comparison to India) I believe you have not familiarised yourself with this topic to bring up Botswana and have only looked at the GDPs. 90% of the doctors in Botswana are foreigners, many of them from Cuba. There are not many Batswana doctors.

Quote from a UN report on Botswana: "The shortage of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and counselors is compounded by the fact that over 90 per cent of doctors in Botswana are foreigners who do not speak Setswana. Counselors too are recruited from abroad and need to spend time becoming familiar with the local culture."

As for the different colonial backgrounds with Africa and India, that is not true either. Ghana, Ivory Coast and others had in comparison to India very strong structures in place. Ghana was the richest per capita tropical country in the world 50 years ago. Multiple times richer than India, China and even richer than some war torn European countries. But while in Africa the structures that were in place have deteriorated, and this has happened everywhere in sub Saharan Africa (read Meredith it's a horror story) in India these have been built on. When you analyse the state of media, political discussion, educational achievements, literature achievements and so on between India and Africa over the past 50 years, the picture starts getting clearer. The difference is so enormous. Western donated infrastructure in Africa has decayed because of lack of knowhow. In India in comparison the story is vastly different. The attempts to pinpoint it on cultural and environmental factors have been weak.

What comes to twin studies, adoption studies, IQ-testing, reflection speed testing (which correlates strongly with g), hereditary temperament etc. the data is exhaustive and it is all pointing in the same direction. It is not a leap of faith to look in the direction the data is pointing, it is a leap of faith to look in the opposite direction.
Ashkenazi jews have won about 30% of the Nobel prizes in Physics and Chemistry. Just a coincidence that in IQ-tests they score on average ~115. Must eat a lot of vitamins.

I agree with Brownian that in Africa it is of utmost importance to motivate the grass root levels. This is another issue. It does not solve the demand for highly skilled and intellectually able workers. Doctors, engineers, architects, writers and so on. See Botswana, the African success story, and medical doctors in Botswana.

"because there are only white doctors? artists? teachers? race as a marker for ability to become any of the above has already been proven to be incorrect"

Not it has not been proven incorrect. It is a global statistical reality. This is not changed by the power of the term "race" being vague. There are many distinct population clusters in Africa that differ from each other, as has been noted here. This does not change the fact that within every such population cluster there are numerous average hereditary traits that can be estimated. Intelligence and temperament are two of them.
Two of which are of crucial social signifigance.

It is the way it is, one day we will have a clearer picture, but it is not something we can change with our beliefs, and that is something people should understand. And at the bottom of it, it is a scientific question, not a moral in itself.

The Cuban doctors in Botswana are one example of how the realisation and acceptance of how-things-could-be would help us to better guide our developmental theories, and help alleviate suffering and poverty in the world. That is what is important. Your ideological flowers won't help the poor. Only concrete achievements will. And that is something that should be a question of rational approach.

"I should point out to you though that going into research firmly thinking believing in a particular outcome generally tends to skew the results."

Yes, and that seems to apply to you, as your comments on the twin and adoption studies prove that you have not read them yet feel qualified to make your mind in the lines you already view things!

As for me, I would have vehemently opposed what I am now saying here just a few years ago. It is when I familiarised myself with the body of research, data and evidence that I slowly started to change my views and eventually arrived to view things in the lines I currently do. I'm more than open to new evidence to alter my stances.
My morals have not changed in the process. I'm still interested in development, foreign aid, global justice etc.

I do not view people of different ethnic clusters as of less value as human being. Never. I dislike the stormfronters as much as you do. It's about biological reality, something that just is what it is, and about finding concrete solutions to one of Africa's most crucial and central problems, the lack of intellectually skilled labour. The key ingredient in successful nation building. Something in which Africa have universally failed for their 50 years of Independence.

I would like to post the Email which PZ censored (to hide his own ignorance) in its entirety, for the sake of objectivity in this discussion.

"Dear Dr. Myers,

Thank you for creating a unique reason for banning me, "vile" seems to be a reason that would usually be associated with morality or violating a religious taboo, rather than a morally neutral reason. Of course, I do take issue with being called a "hate monger" as I never posted anything that could be construed a statement of blind hatred, nor did I ever, or have I ever, encouraged violent action be taken against individuals or groups based on their race or ethnic origins, so being defined as a "hate monger" is inaccurate. I am a member of Stormfront, that is true, but if being a member of Stormfront is a bannable offense then shouldn't being a member of any racial or ethnocentric organization also be a bannable offense? I notice that you maintain a list of other people who have been banned and not one has been banned to date for being a member of the NAACP, La Raza, the ADL, AIPAC or Jewish National Congress or any other of the hundreds of ethnic and racial sites and organizations which were created to promote the ethnic and racial group interests of their people. Are you biased against Stormfront because it is exclusive to the interests of white people? If so, does that not make you an anti-white racist?

Everything that I posted on your site is backed up by scientific evidence, and on many occasions I went so far as to cite the source for my information to the best of my ability. My apologies that my memory is not exactly perfect, but I have read and studied the works of many a scholar on the subjects of Evolution, biology, psychology, sociology and both physical and social anthropology and while I recall the subject matter, I do not always recall who did what work. Still, I have an extensive and comprehensive understanding of evolutionary theory and included in my college course work "Human Evolution and Anthropology" a 4 hour course which included a hands on lab where we studied the bones of modern humans, earlier hominids and even had an introduction to forensics where we learned to identify the race and sex of the "victim" by examining the bones. A man's education is not complete until he is dead, but as a member of the lay public I believe that I have a better understanding of human evolution than most, including your posters.

You're a member of the Dawkins Network, and in the spirit of Richard Dawkins I took the opportunity to bash Judaism, as he has encouraged the practice of making all religions an open target. I will also bash the religions of Marxism and Freudian-ism, and the various political ideologies which were founded in these schools of thought including but not limited to political correctness which was founded by the Frankfort School, a Marxist think tank, which sought to translate the works of Marx into cultural terms. What? Are secular religions beyond rebuke?

Basically, by banning me, you have shown conclusively that the Dawkinsites are not about Science, but hypocritical secular religionists who are merely fighting to replace one religion with another. You banned me because you knew what I was saying was the truth and is logical in the context of evolutionary theory, otherwise you would have simply pointed out the flaws in my data or my logic, but you could not do this because you know full well that there were no flaws in my data or my logic, and that by trying to refute me you would have to lie or use false logic in regards to the evolutionary theory. I would have either exposed your lies or the flaws in your logic and made you look like a liar or a fool. You and your lackeys could not compete in a factual debate based on logic, reason and knowledge of biology and the Theory of Evolution, so you took the coward's way out and excommunicated me from the fold. Ha! Charlatan, you have handed me a victory by default and exposed the weakness of your idiotic little movement.

It is your blog, and you certainly have the right to ban whomever you choose, and I shall respect your ban, but I intend to post a link to your site on Stormfront, which gets 10s of thousands of hits a day and has 100s of thousands of members, so you will get to hear from an ever increasing number of racial realists. I shall not stop only at your site, but will also have my people inflitrate the entire Dawkins Network with realism about race. Maybe, we will be able to open the minds of a few of your co-religionists or maybe we will make the Dawkins movement look like a bunch of Nazis, either way. You lose.

Sincerely,

hahajohnnyb"

I have no doubt he will remove this post to cover his own ass and ban me from posting here. Hopefully some people will see what he's doing and realize that this guy is not worth anymore time.

By David Bandel (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Picking on my grammar and linguistic errors is quite poor form, as obviously I'm not writing in my native tongue.

neither am i. fair game.

johnnyb,

maybe we should show this letter to the creationists next time they want to convince us of intelligent design.
You are evidence against it,if there ever was any.

Talk about over-inflated sense of competence in the truly incompetent.

Talk about over-inflated sense of competence in the truly incompetent.

Yeah, I especially like this:

I have an extensive and comprehensive understanding of evolutionary theory and included in my college course work "Human Evolution and Anthropology" a 4 hour course...

which leads into:

...but as a member of the lay public I believe that I have a better understanding of human evolution than most, including your posters.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that that's more than a little unlikely. If he'd said some of your posters he might have had a chance - I, for one, am no biologist; that being said I feel what he's written so far implies I'm picking up quite a lot by coming here as often as I do - but to say most may just qualify as the stupidest thing anyone's ever written on this site.

Admittedly, he is in the USA, where the teaching of evolution faces constant religidiot adversity, but which site does he think he's on? WorldNutDaily? Or Vox Day's site? Answers in Genesis? The numbnuts doesn't seem to have worked out the first word after the forward slash in the URL is 'Scienceblogs. Yes, there are non-scientists who come here (like myself), but I'm in the minority.

Sheesh. I guess he should try and build a time machine and - now that he's got all that knowledge about evolution - convince his parents that being both first and second cousins with each other and still choosing to breed (perhaps they don't remember Uncle/Grandpa 'Six-toes' Charlie) is actually a bad idea.

By Wowbagger (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

David Bandel, I will predict that PZ will not delete your post. In fact, speaking just for myself, I am happy that you posted the entire letter. It shows what a complete your friend is.

I really liked this;

I notice that you maintain a list of other people who have been banned and not one has been banned to date for being a member of the NAACP, La Raza, the ADL, AIPAC or Jewish National Congress or any other of the hundreds of ethnic and racial sites and organizations which were created to promote the ethnic and racial group interests of their people.

Perhaps Stormfront could be included with those groups, except for two things. 1)Stormfront supports an ideology that slaughtered millions of people. 2)thosed are groups that strives for civil and equal rights. Can that be said about Nazis and Neo-Nazis. Quite dishonest to place yourself in league with any of those groups.

Your friend likes to show off how educated but there were people who easily shredded through the "facts" that he used. Don't believe me? Go to that thread and read Jadehawk's comments. But even for me, who doesn't have a background in science, it was off putting how that joker claimed that Gould was a student of the Franz Boas School of Anthropology. He could not even get Gould's field right. And then there was the adding babbling of Gould being Jewish and that was part of Gould's dishonesty.

Basically, by banning me, you have shown conclusively that the Dawkinsites are not about Science, but hypocritical secular religionists who are merely fighting to replace one religion with another.

Sounds like many creations that has past though here, claiming that secularism is a religion.

You banned me because you knew what I was saying was the truth and is logical in the context of evolutionary theory, otherwise you would have simply pointed out the flaws in my data or my logic, but you could not do this because you know full well that there were no flaws in my data or my logic, and that by trying to refute me you would have to lie or use false logic in regards to the evolutionary theory.

It's a conspiracy! Um, sorry, The Bell Curve is to anthropology what David Irving is to WWII history. It has been discarded and discredited.

I would have either exposed your lies or the flaws in your logic and made you look like a liar or a fool.
No, the jackass was being shown to be a fool.

You and your lackeys could not compete in a factual debate based on logic, reason and knowledge of biology and the Theory of Evolution, so you took the coward's way out and excommunicated me from the fold.
Again with the religious imagery. If your logic and science were so good, you would have backing in scientific papers. And do not say the name of a discredited work.

Ha! Charlatan, you have handed me a victory by default and exposed the weakness of your idiotic little movement.
You think highly of yourself, yet the reasons seems to evade me. You have won nothing. This is a blog and how this blog does will not be based on the research in the theory of evolution. You have not disproved anything. But please, that the news of your victory to your friends. You can all laugh at how you showed those lying Jewish bastards. And you can stay in the underbelly. That is as far as your "victory" goes.

One last thing, David Bandel, there is not one regular that is going to leave because of the "truths" contained in the letter. It shows that there would be nothing constructive in have that joker commenting here. While "vile" was not part of PZ's list, I have no problem with that reason after the fact.

Now, if you please, David Bandel, take one of your photos of Adolf Hitler, roll it up, and stick it up you ass.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

I really should have stuck to one form of tagging or the other.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

David Bandel,

As a person of mixed racial background I just have to say: FUCK YOU!

You're a racist pig whether you admit it to yourself or not.

Regards.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Feynmaniac, he has already admitted it to himself. He just wants to make it all seem like it could be acceptable and reasonable.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

David Bandel,

Hopefully some people will see what he's doing and realize that this guy is not worth anymore time.

You mean that guy "hahajohnnyb", this racist moron who claims to have an "extensive and comprehensive understanding of evolutionary theory" after a 4 hour course ? What a cretin !

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 16 Jan 2009 #permalink

Hey Awer, im just a schmuck who assumed he knew what the word reified meant, so I deserve a bit of scorn. But you are a thoughtful individual who ought not be described as a 'tolerant racist' or 'out to fucking lunch', as others on this site have done. On a blog supposedly inspired by rational thought, quite fucking shameful.

ok. matt and awer have me convinced: not producing a sufficient amount of lawyers, PhD's, world-renowned artists and architects, being more prone to catching an STD, and living in poverty despite the resource-richness of their countries and educational opportunities surrounding them is a clear sign of inherent low intelligence and racial inferiority

we should ban the Common American Hillbilly from any decision-making processes, since they're clearly incapable of doing it for themselves without causing damage to themselves. Creationism is my proof.

Matt, still trying to show something without fully defining it. Oh, the intellectual (not!) at work. Either define what you mean, or just go away. Don't be afraid to use big words. We know what they mean.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Stormfront? More like a light, annoying drizzle, really.

On a blog supposedly inspired by rational thought, quite fucking shameful.

Matt,

What's fucking shameful is your inability to recognize your own stupidity and ignorance, and the dumb pride with which you display them. (awer's another ignorant racist twit.) You haven't responded directly to any substantive point, or answered any of the questions put to you. Fuck off.

You know Jadehawk, Ive read your repsonses, along with Maranovic(sp?), and Brownian to Awer's post with great interest. I have no problem saying all of you have a much deeper knowledge than myself on these topics and I learned something from the exercise. Much of your back and forth was substantive.

And yet you reveal yourselves with the personal attacks. Go read some of the back and forth Between James Flynn and Charles Murray for a lesson in collegiality, would ya? these are men on opposite poles of the political spectrum, whose ideas for the world have huge consequences, and yet they treat each other with the utmost respect. What sucks is if the three of you had your way, and I believe that your mindset has dominated the social sciences for decades, Awer could not exist. The pursuit of truth suffers, perhaps Africa suffers due to that childish obfuscating. Ever consider that possibility?

there you go again. You've done it with me the entire blog, lumping me in with political racists. Who the fuck said anything about banning anyone from decision making?

Matt, a friendly reminder on the first rule of holes. When you are in over your head, quit digging. You have been in over your head for days, digging youself even deeper. Time to stop digging. That means stop posting on this subject. If you are as smart as you think you are, take my advice. However, I think you are dumb enough to dig yourself even deeper. Which will you pick?

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Yo, numbnuts, Im not that smart. In my defense Ive made three mistakes in my posts and owned every one of them. I have no problem acknowledging people smarter and more educated than me on this blog,and there are many -- thats why Im here, even if they are axe-grinding, arrogant assholes.

Matt, deeper, deeper, deeper.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

I have no problem saying all of you have a much deeper knowledge than myself on these topics and I learned something from the exercise.

...I have no problem acknowledging people smarter and more educated than me on this blog,and there are many -- thats why Im here,

What, substantively, specifically, have you learned from from people here about race? What, again substantively and specifically, do you think you contributed?

Okay, we got David Bandel to give us a drive-by posting, but where are the rest of the hordes of Stormfronters that hahajb promised us?

By 'Tis Himself (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Ashkenazi jews have won about 30% of the Nobel prizes in Physics and Chemistry. Just a coincidence that in IQ-tests they score on average ~115. Must eat a lot of vitamins.

I'm not really inclined to take you very seriously, awer, but you could at least try a little harder.

I mean, Ashkenazi Jews? Really?

Way to pick a group for which culture couldn't possibly be a confounding factor. Awesome.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

...but where are the rest of the hordes of Stormfronters that hahajb promised us?

Speaking for myself, I'm rather glad they didn't show up. As a rule, I try to avoid interacting with unrepentant neo-Nazi scum more than is absolutely necessary (hence why I've avoided getting involved in this thread).

The pursuit of truth suffers, perhaps Africa suffers due to that childish obfuscating. Ever consider that possibility?

there you go again. You've done it with me the entire blog, lumping me in with political racists. Who the fuck said anything about banning anyone from decision making?

matt, I'm glad you acknowledge your own mistakes, but here's the thing: what awer implied was basically that Africa can't take care of itself, and that it needs influx of non-sub-Saharan high culture because they can't create their own. he listed a whole range of jobs which usually make up the cultural superstructure of a society. with that, he implied that sub-saharan Africa needs an imported superstructure, rather than create its own. That's an effective ban on self-development, basically a new colonialism (actually no. that's good, old-fashioned colonialism; same excuses as the British Empire had for "helping those savages"). we did that for centuries, and we've made a clusterfuck of it. now it's the time to help people rebuild their countries their way. and it's gonna be hard, because they have deep-seated resentments while we have a deep seated superiority complex, and because of the centuries of mismanagement, but doing it the old-fashioned way is not really going to improve anything. you can't impose democracy and stability from above. look at how well that went in Iraq

and that you can write that Africa may suffer because we have finally left the path awers advocates is both ignorant and arrogant, and advocates a return to disenfranchisement. that's why, in that instance, I feel fully justified to lump you with him

"that you can write that Africa may suffer because we have finally left the path awers advocates is both ignorant and arrogant, and advocates a return to disenfranchisement"

We started leaving the path over 50 years ago and Africans have suffered horribly during this period. I seriously suggest you read Martin Meredith's book to make yourself aware what's been going on that continent over the past half a century. Meredith's is a monumental work.

And in Botswana it is better that 90% of their doctors are foreigners than if they did not have those foreign doctors from Cuba, India.

It is well possible, I say probable, that for the whole of this century a large proportion of Africa's doctors, engineers, architects etc. have to come from the outside for African countries to develop into prosperous societies. A seriously ill patient needs a qualified doctor, no matter what the doctor's ethnicity. That is what is most important. We let people die if we refuse to acknowledge this. Your ideology isn't important. I couldn't care less about your empty accusations. Concrete help, concrete solutions, concrete development is what is important. And that is not a ban on self-development. Ask the botswanians recieving medical help that whether it is banning them from self-development.

We started leaving the path over 50 years ago and Africans have suffered horribly during this period.

yes, that's generally what happens when you remove the entire superstructure of a country in one fell swoop

you misunderstand what I'm saying completely. I support nationbuilding, but all nationbuilding must by definition be made so that the nation can, in the end, stand up on its own (because any other method will result in the collapses seen when colonial powers or dictatorships are removed). we provide temporary scaffolding, not permanent structures.

and btw, if you want to know another reason for the failures of African nations, look into the hypocritical policies of the World Bank (among others) that force Absolute Free Trade practices upon them as preconditions for financial aid, while other nations (India among them!) can and do ferociously protect their basic economic infrastructure with subsidies, emergency-funds, tariffs, etc.

What Matt and awer, self-appointed Truthers, fail to understand (of course because they haven't done the requisite work studying the subjects in which they think they're opening our minds about), is that the hypotheses that they're setting out have been tested. Physical anthropology well-acknowledges its bigoted roots. A substantial amount of the data regarding physiological human variation were collected by anthropometrists whose goal were to be able to proclaim that 'whites' were superior to 'blacks' via cranial measurements and such. They tried so hard, and they failed. So it's not the case that we're afraid to ask the tough questions. It's that they've been asked, again and again, and again and again, and they've been discounted again and again and again and again. When there isn't a squirrel in the tree you're barking up, it's time to find a new tree.

So when Matt and awer post their 'opinions', it's not the case that we're all reeling in shock and horror that someone would dare go against the prevailing liberal we're-all-the-same kumbaya dogma. It's that you're the intellectual equivalent of creationists, people who erroneously feel competent to discuss matters that they really haven't done any work to understand, and are only interested in furthering the ideas that science has soundly rejected.

So feel free to satisfy yourself with the hypothesis that we're intellectual Nazis who refuse to entertain dissenting opinions, if that's what you wish. The reality is that when confronted with individuals who refuse, even with the most genial prodding, to understand how and why the prevailing scientific consensus came about, and the vast amounts of data that support it and fail to support the alternatives, we get testy and impatient. And when it becomes apparent that such refusals are in the service of ulterior dogmatisms (Liberals are Wrong; Evolution is a Hoax, AGW is a Hoax, Flying Saucers Kidnapped Merle Haggard, etc.) you can expect more than a few F-bombs to be dropped.

And I'm fine with that. If all you're bringing to the table is some vague hubris that you're stickin' it to the Man sprinkled with whining about us 'meanies' and a noticeable lack of knowledge and evidence, then what possible incentive do I have in providing a free brief history in anthropology, development, epidemiology, or evolution to you? I'd much rather you left and paid the tuition to argue with your professors like the rest of us did.

Boy, we have a poster inveighing on international development and IQ differences complaining about unfair treatment regarding his lack of competency in English.

That's the richest fucking thing I've read in fucking weeks.

I read through the first 100+ comments on this thread. What struck me immediately was the sheer volume of bigotry and prejudice, epithets, closemindedness, insults, and stereotypes of the liberal commentators.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

I read through the first 100+ comments on this thread. What struck me immediately was the sheer volume of bigotry[citation needed] and prejudice[citation needed], epithets, closemindedness[sic][citation needed], insults, and stereotypes[citation needed] of the liberal commentators.

I'll give you the epithets and insults, but they're inconsequential to the argument at hand

Aww, we are so proud of ourselves AO. If a dipshit you thinks that, we must be doing something right.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Concrete help, concrete solutions, concrete development is what is important.

So, give us a plan. Give us an idea. Tell us what development that acknowledges differences in average IQ would look like.

Use Matt as a test case; he's acknowledged that he's "not that smart." How do we help him dig himself out of his hole? He's demanding that his thoughts be treated with the same respect as those of the people he acknowledges are "smarter and more educated than [him]". Tell him that that's "childish obfuscating" and that people are just going to suffer if we allow that.

If these vaunted IQ differences are so damn important, then where does this hippie liberal idea that I have to suffer gibbering idiots come from?

Sure.

Prejudice - Where to start? How about the accusation that 'race realists' are scum, hillbillies, white trash, rednecks, Kluxers, Neo-Nazis, etc.

Bigotry - A bigot is someone who is "intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own." The incivility of the commentators above speaks for itself.

Stereotypes - You're Nazis, trailer trash, rednecks and so on.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

AO, just showing us your ignorance again. Thank your for demonstrating that which we should avoid.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

close-mind·ed (klsmndd, klz-) or closed-mind·ed (klzd-)
adj.

Petulant accusation to be used when an interlocutor refuses to accept your uninformed and poorly-constructed claims as true a priori.

If you'd actually bothered to read for substance AO, you'd see that nearly every argument put forth by Matt and awer have been addressed with substance.

But please, don't let a lack of skill in reading comprehension prevent you from tossing off non sequitur in service of your dogma, AO.

Just an observation: the liberals here cling to their substitute god (equality) even more tenaciously than even the most deluded followers of Ken Ham and Kent Hovind.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Ignorant of what?

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Just an observation: the liberals here cling to their substitute god (equality) even more tenaciously than even the most deluded followers of Ken Ham and Kent Hovind.

Fuck but it's annoying when morons mistake assertion for observation.

Say something of substance or fuck off, coward.

Prejudice - Where to start? How about the accusation that 'race realists' are scum, hillbillies, white trash, rednecks, Kluxers, Neo-Nazis, etc.

all of the above are either accurate assesments (race realists ARE a form of neo-nazis, especially the stormfront crowd), or jokes of the "your own medicine" variety. those belong into the insult category and are irrelevant to the discussion of facts

Bigotry - A bigot is someone who is "intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own." The incivility of the commentators above speaks for itself.

incomplete. bigotry is the stubborn, intolerant devotion to one's own opinions, lifestyles or identities, thus leading to the rejection of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own. since we're skeptics, we are not devoted blindly to any idea. we follow where the evidence leads. you fail.
a second definition is hatred of members of a racial or ethnic group. again, you fail. prove that we hate a particular ethnicity or STFU

Stereotypes - You're Nazis, trailer trash, rednecks and so on.

see response to prejudice.

so, any substance you'd like to contribute, or are you just having a case of the Internet Vapors?

Why must the deluded racists insist on using religious language to talk about "liberals"?

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

AO, perfect example of what you don't want your kids to grow up an be like.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Poor fella. AO's just inflicted with Liberalism. I haven't got enough to form a differential diagnosis, but he's surely demonstrating smugness, a trait Conservatives assure us indicates a Liberal.

Posted by: Amused Observer | January 17, 2009

Sure.

Prejudice - Where to start? How about the accusation that 'race realists' are scum, hillbillies, white trash, rednecks, Kluxers, Neo-Nazis, etc.

Bigotry - A bigot is someone who is "intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own." The incivility of the commentators above speaks for itself.

Stereotypes - You're Nazis, trailer trash, rednecks and so on.

Wow! A joker who is a member of a neo-nazi group and a defender of the said joker are called on their racism and we are accused of bigotry?

You know, your intolerance of Jews and all other lesser people should be tolerated. Quite closed minded of us to call you out on your close mindedness. We really should adopt a more "Live and let live" policy towards the defenders of the white race.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

AO "Ignorant of what?" @432.

Exactly.

(for the ignorant, that's another way of saying "everything", or "you are even ignorant of the fact that you are ignorant").

Whether this is willful or not remains to be seen, but I think we all have our suspicions. I think that some of us don't respond with civility to these racist morons is due to the damage that these ignorant pig-molesters have done and still do to our species and societies. Others have seen up close the harm these bigots have done. If your biggest argument is that posters are uncivil, then you really have no argument.

Leftist Bozo,

Your belief in "equality" is as arbitrary and baseless as the most deranged evangelical who believes dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Oh Goody, more stupidity from AO. Classic!

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Badger3k,

Do you acknowledge that the United States was founded by men whom you would call "racists"?

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

A few years ago, someone I know was severely beaten for being black and a Jew. They broke his arm and his jaw, injuries requiring $30,000 worth of medical work and a year of physio to ameliorate. Naturally, there was just one of him and five of them in a pick-up truck.

I guess that's what they're advocating when bigots rail against 'equality'.

Now here comes the fallacious rationalizations from AO. It gets even more classic.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Do you acknowledge that the United States was founded by men whom you would call "racists"?

Oboy. And down the rabbit hole we go.

Also, note the the Founding Fathers didn't believe in evolution, the theory of relativity, or airplanes either. Discuss.

AO's moron credentials being firmly established, I leave her to you.

Brownian,

What is the basis of this moral belief in equality? Why should someone believe in equality as opposed to inequality?

Do you acknowledge that the United States was founded by men whom you would call "racists"?

um... d'uh? of course they were, what ignorant idiot would dispute that? those are the people who decided that a black slave counted as 3/5 of a person.

the question is never is never what someone was... but what someone was in the context of the culture they were raised in. no person can overcome 100% of their social conditioning, and as such, being a step ahead of the consensus is enough at any given time to make someone enlightened. that doesn't mean that if you plopped those men into the modern world they'd be disfunctionally racist and sexist. we're many steps ahead of them now

Posted by: Amused Observer | January 17, 2009

Badger3k,

Do you acknowledge that the United States was founded by men whom you would call "racists"?

And thus, you really should not try to improve the situation.

Leftist Bozo,

Your belief in "equality" is as arbitrary and baseless as the most deranged evangelical who believes dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark.

It is just so dogmatic of me to think that because a person is human, that person is allowed a baseline of respect. Once more, a complete asswipe who just has to toss about religious imagery.

Keep it up, dumb fuck. You are doing you and yours proud.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Hey. Look! Racist dumb fuck is now morphing, using the names of regulars. Good bye, dumb fuck. That is enough to get you shit canned.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

strike the first instance of "is never", and also the last sentence was supposed to be "that doesn't mean [...] they wouldn't be disfunctionally racist and sexist"

proofreading is your friend... proofreading is your friend... :-p

Leftist Bozo,

I'm not following your reasoning. I don't see how equal treatment is derived from the condition of being a Homo sapien. It sounds more like a custom to me. Animal sacrifice would be another example.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Leftist Bozo,

Your belief in "equality" is as arbitrary and baseless as the most deranged evangelical who believes dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark.

scientific evidence for inequality, or STFU

Sorry, my error there.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jadehawk,

We're discussing moral beliefs here, not physiological differences.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

I don't see how equal treatment is derived from the condition of being a Homo sapien. It sounds more like a custom to me. Animal sacrifice would be another example.

equality is the default. prove scientifically that there's differences worth discriminating, and then we'll have a debate.

also, prove that there's a reason to assume inequality as the default.

AO has no ability to reason, therefore we can't have a discussion. It just gets more classic.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

The Founding Fathers were well acquainted with the theory that racial differences are environmental. Unlike Darwinism, it has an ancient pedigree. The abolitionists frequently made use of it in their propaganda during the 1790s.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

We're discussing moral beliefs here, not physiological differences.

morality is an emergent quality of our species which primary purpose is the cooperation within society

prove that cooperation is improved by inequality over equality

Somebody hear something? Sounded like a brainfart. I'll alert the air quality people so we can air out the place.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Unlike Darwinism,

no such thing. you're sounding like a creobot

Jadehawk,

Natural science has nothing to tell us about ethics. Skin color is a commonly cited morphological racial difference. Why shouldn't we judge people based on the color their skin? It was once customary to do so.

By Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

What is the basis of this moral belief in equality? Why should someone believe in equality as opposed to inequality?

Actually, that's the basis for all of science. It's called the null hypothesis, and it's the default assumption unless differences significant to the phenomena being studied can be demonstrated to exist. Knowledge doesn't advance if the opposite is assumed regularly, since all rational behaviour is predicated on being able to make inferences about future events based on past observations, all of which require a assumption that things in reality exhibit similarities. In simpler terms, if we assumed no things were like any other things, we wouldn't be able to act at all.

As for general human equality, I'm not married to that concept at all. I'm very well aware of just how many trolls on this thread are significantly less intelligent than I. Whether that means I have the right to deprive them of life or liberty, well, let's just say that some days I'm sorely tempted.

Jadehawk,

I'm neither a theist or a creationist. I haven't seen any evidence that God exists. Similarly, I don't see any evidence that leads me to believe that we should treat all races equally. This strikes me as a liberal superstition. It evolved out of the earlier Christian belief that humans are equal in the sight of God. The Quakers were amongst its first practicioners.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Natural science has nothing to tell us about ethics.

Not entirely true. If an ethical stance is predicated on its ability to bring about some outcome, then science (and natural) science can certainly inform us as to whether that stance is likely to bring about such an outcome or not. However, natural science indeed does not imply any ethical stances whatsoever.

Why shouldn't we judge people based on the color their skin?

Would that require us to treat ethnic Africans with albinism as white?

Amused Observer,
The fact that it was once used does not say anything about whether is makes sense to do this. And if you want to say that natural science has nothing say about ethics and that we can judge people via arbitrary aspects, why not pick something else? Skin colour is easy to see but it hardly seems to be the only thing.

But in the end, skin colour has been shown to be meaningless, the discussion above has indicated how this is so, that breaking people into "races" based on this is flawed and groups people in rather meaningless ways.

LO, prove what you mean by different races? I, for one, have been fuzzy on the subject ever since the concept of race was disproven.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jadehawk,

Human history is a chronicle of violent tribalism. I don't see in-group altruism as evidence of any universal moral principle of non-discrimination.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

This strikes me as a liberal superstition. It evolved out of the earlier Christian belief that humans are equal in the sight of God.

Assuming of course, that there's substantive evidence of significant differences.

And, since I doubt you're willing to pay me for my time, I'm going to ask you to read all of my upthread posts on why 'race' is has no biological meaning rather than waste my time having to tutor you as well. If you continue to use the term, then there's not much of a discussion to be had with me since I'm not all that interested in mythology and theology.

Natural science has nothing to tell us about ethics. Skin color is a commonly cited morphological racial difference. Why shouldn't we judge people based on the color their skin? It was once customary to do so.

don't mix your biological and sociological terms, it makes you look like an idiot. race is a social construct based on skin kolor; morphology is a biological study of appearance, and as such, melanin production is not a morphological feature by which human populations can be easily identified

also, moral relativism doesn't fly here. just because something is "traditional" or "customary", does not mean it's good. that's the is-ought fallacy. you're sounding like a creobot again.

morality and ethics can be discussed on many levels, but this being a skeptic and science blog, we'll stick to evidence and usefullness. so, what's your evidence that inequality serves a society as a whole better than equality?

Human history is a chronicle of violent tribalism. I don't see in-group altruism as evidence of any universal moral principle of non-discrimination.

larger, inclusive groups have greater success than smaller, conflicting groups. evidence: Europe pre- and post World Wars.

again, what is your evidence that inequality serves societies better

Human history is a chronicle of violent tribalism

...between and within groups as well as cooperation between and within groups.

Laughing, haha, wait...do you think that it could be?

Cannot be. Those folks are so well known for their integrity.

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Travis,

We could easily pick something else. For example, we could judge people on the basis of the color of their skin plus other characteristics such as facial and skelatal morphology and hair texture.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

, I don't see any evidence that leads me to believe that we should treat all races equally.

and i see no evidence that we shouldn't. the null hypothesis is on my side, the burden of proof is on yours.

Jadehawk@470,

"Europe pre- and post World Wars" is a rather ambiguous example. Are you implying that the pre-war colonial empire european nations were larger and more inclusive? Perhaps...

By africangenesis (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Why equality? Well, there's the golden rule for one thing. Treat other races with respect because you wouldn't want them to decide that your race is inferior. Then there's convenience. I mean, with race being as fuzzy a category as it is, it's just easier to treat everyone equally than to have to consult a color chart every time you need to make a decision to be an asshole to somebody.

That's my take on it, so unless if you have some pressing need to be an asshole to people who look different from you, or are an angry individual who can't better him/herself and need to cast around for a scapegoat that looks different from you, then you can consider it.

Brownian,

If your values don't come from natural science, where do they come from?

By Very Amused Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

For example, we could judge people on the basis of the color of their skin plus other characteristics such as facial and skelatal morphology and hair texture.

or blood type, or ability to curl tongue, or ability to wiggle ears...

what's your point exactly?

"Europe pre- and post World Wars" is a rather ambiguous example. Are you implying that the pre-war colonial empire european nations were larger and more inclusive? Perhaps... exactly backwards. pre-war continental europe was an infighting backwater. post-war europe is one of the big players on the economic, political, and social world-scene. cooperation and inclusiveness over conflict and tribalism

Then there's convenience. I mean, with race being as fuzzy a category as it is, it's just easier to treat everyone equally than to have to consult a color chart every time you need to make a decision to be an asshole to somebody.

and just imagine the troubles on the internet! how am i supposed to know if i'm superior to someone if i can't see the damn fucker?!

Jadehawk,

You're attacking a straw man. I said nowhere that something is "good," in the objective sense, because it is traditional or customary. I simply noted that your reverence for "equality" struck me as a custom which I compared to animal sacrifice in some cultures.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

oops. AG, i hope you can parse what was me quoting you and what was my response. i made a blockquote fail

LO still thinking he has a point? The dumbfuckedness never ends. HAHAHAHAHAHA

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

We could easily pick something else. For example, we could judge people on the basis of the color of their skin plus other characteristics such as facial and skelatal morphology and hair texture.

Cute. Nice 'random' assemblage of traits there. How about blood groups? Let's hear you argue why we should differentiate between people based on blood groups.

I just want you to know, Observer, that I've got your number. Not that it wasn't apparent from your very first posts, but you're not all as clever as you think you are, and your motivations are style are about as translucent as your melanin levels.

The first rule in slow-playing, be it in chess or poker, is make sure you've got the nuts. You don't, likely in every meaning of the word.

"what's your point exactly?"

I like to study the past and imagine other possibilities. I'm not impelled to demonize cultures other than my own.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

You're attacking a straw man. I said nowhere that something is "good," in the objective sense, because it is traditional or customary. I simply noted that your reverence for "equality" struck me as a custom which I compared to animal sacrifice in some cultures.

there are good reasons not to do animal sacrifice (from waste of food, to nonexistence of dieties to which to sacrifice, to animal cruelty), what are your reasons against equality other than tradition?

Brownian,

Re: blood groups. IMO we could definitely do that one to. We can imagine a society that discriminated along those lines. That would be a fun scenario.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

It's actually pretty easy to see how treating people according to their abilities, rather than membership in arbitrary and superficially designated group categories, is a more effective way to organize society.

But even if you want to fancy yourself all thoughtfully morally relativistic and pretend that 'equality' and 'racism' are equally valid social norms, I think it's on you to give people a reason to go back to the one they abandoned.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Re: blood groups. IMO we could definitely do that one to. We can imagine a society that discriminated along those lines. That would be a fun scenario.

Hard to implement, though, unless we instituted some sort of badge system for identification.

I was thinking more along the lines of differentiating people by the number of pimples on their ass. That seems like a reasonable way of going about it.

Brownian, a badge system? That has worked so well in the past. Though I am a fan of opposing those who wear glasses and have no calluses on their hands. (As I hide my glasses away.)

By Janine, Leftist Bozo (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jadehawk,

My point is this weird belief in "equality" is a tradition; to be exact, a republican one. I'm assuming you were raised in this tradition.

By Laughing Observer (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

ah, so you are a moral relativist. do you think it's ok to stone women for adultery? is FGM ok?

there is no demonisation involved in realizing that some cultural practices do harm to its members beyond the (claimed) benefit to the society that might, maybe, excuse such a practice. inequality is such a practice, since it is useless and harmful both to individuals and to the cultures that practice it

Jadehawk,

I don't believe that values or ultimate ends are derived from reason or natural science.

By The Laughing O… (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

you keep on making the claim that equality is "weird" and "just a tradition"

I'm done talking to you unless you provide evidence for equality being an extraordinary but useless tradition.

Brownian, a badge system? That has worked so well in the past.

Well, the point is that if you're going to differentiate people based on arbitrary subtleties that express no significant or meaningful distinction, how else are you going to ensure that you don't accidentally mistake a B for an A?

Jadehawk,

Against the backdrop of human history, the level of "social equality" we see in the United States does not have many historical precedents. The identification of morality with non-discrimination is very fashionable, but also novel. That's why it strikes me as "weird."

By The Laughing O… (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

Jadehawk,

Sorry, this doesn't hold water " pre-war continental europe was an infighting backwater. post-war europe is one of the big players on the economic, political, and social world-scene. cooperation and inclusiveness over conflict and tribalism"

Pre-WWI Europe had colonial empires that controlled half the world with diverse populations that have since fractured along ethnic lines, and they have the pre-emminent militaries in the world. You argue that they are more "successful" now? That is like arguing that someone on welfare today is more successful than the Roman emperors of the past because he has access to emergency rooms and 24 hour cable. Perhaps we need to define "successful" first.

By africangenesis (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink

you're not paying attention. the pre-war empires were the top-down crap that inevitably leads to chaos or conquest by the stronger, and in their death-throes at the end of the 19th century primarily due to infighting between and revolutionary sentiment within. the EU is stable, peacefully growing, and in no danger of being overthrown from within or from outside. not to mention that parts of the current EU were nonexistent, or powerless, or subjugated in the old imperial age.

point is: the old system of top-down control, competition and monopoly for anything and everything, and escalating warfare was never stable or successful for the average citizen of Europe (who was usually either of the conquered nations, a soldier, a powerless peasant, or simply one of "those" people, whoever that may be at any given time), while the EU is a stable, relatively equitable and fair way of organizing, and the power it has is of more use to the average EU citizen.

you may also compare the American States to pre-war europe. they, too, have been more successfull because of cooperation than the internecine fighting in Europe produced. it's one of the reasons an underpopulated and young nation rose so quickly to power over the old guard

My point is this weird belief in "equality" is a tradition; to be exact, a republican one. I'm assuming you were raised in this tradition.

Than you don't have much of a point. Your entire argument seems to be built out of a dimwitted conflation of "equality" (your word, I'll note) with some kind of Harrison Bergeron fantasy dystopia from your Liberal Strawmen handbook.

In fact, the only "tradition" in play here is the far, far, older one, possibly an intrinsically human one, of valuing people based their actual individual abilities.

That's why racism was a necessary justification for slavery and colonialism. The argument was that you could judge a person's abilities and worth based on 'race' and outward appearance.

Once it became clear (or was acknowledged) that the "inferior races" were not, in fact, actually inferior, and judging people by skin color wasn't actually such a good way to spot talent, those institutions started to crumble.

By jack lecou (not verified) on 17 Jan 2009 #permalink