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Re: Genetics & Race
Except that all research in capitalist society takes place in an environment saturated with ruling class ideology. Unless one takes conscious steps to make oneself aware of that ideology, it is likely to have a greater or lesser distorting effect even in research in "pure" science (problems thought worthy of investigation, theoretical models taken seriously, causal factors controlled for in experiments, etc., etc.). --PG

At 4:12 PM +0000 2/21/07, Michael Balter wrote:
Let's consider a more neutral example than intelligence per se. The ability to produce or play music involves a whole host of cognitive processes, and some people are much better at it than others. This is an area I cover routinely for Science. There is little evidence to shed light on whether these differences have a genetic basis or environmental basis or both, but the evidence there is tends to suggest that genetics plays an important role in these differences. The ruling class has little to do with this research.

M
On 2/21/07, joseph schwartz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The point is that there is no evidence that has stood up to any degree
whatsoever that there are genetic differences more exactly in IQ performance
but also no evidence whatsoever that there are genetic differences in
intelligence full stop.

What is going on here is a category error. Perceptions of differences in
each other's intelligence have been assumed to be genetic that is to say
intelligence is in the same category as money - some people have more of it
than others and it is inherited. Actually intelligence as we perceive it is
in the category of language. Differences  in language are learned not
genetic. We all have the capacities to learn each other's languages. An
English infant raised in Shanghai by Chinese adoptive parents will learn to
speak perfect Mandarin and vice versa for a Chinese infant raised in London.

You can try this experiment for yourselves. When you see someone acting
intelligently or someone who is more intelligent than you , or less
intelligent than you ask your selves what you are responding to. You
certainly are not examining  DNA. Similarly for accents: does  the working
class accent of a Sommerville teenager tell you anything about his
intelligence. Ditto for the articulate Harvard undergraduate.  But please
don't bring in all the tests unless you yourselves have examined them and
their flaws. The test just tend to conform social prejudice through the
process of so-called test standardisation where the people who are suppose
to be intelligent score high through the removal of questions on which they
do poorly. Ditto for questions that show differences between the experiences
of men and women - the tests are "standardised so that on average both sexes
score the same by removing or adding questions until the result come out
right.

But I stress: think about it.  What are you responding to when you think
someone is intelligent? What exactly are you responding to?  Try it out with
a friend. Who are you smarter than? Who is smarter than you? What is really
going on there? Your assessment clearly is not based on genome sequences.
That part is just an assumption. Which of course that is what all the
genetic studies assume. They assume the result they are meant to be proving.
Mathematicians have long been aware of the hazard of assuming the result you
are trying to prove. But the Race and IQ ideologues have never got the
point. It is all just so obvious to them. Proof is irrelevant.



--
www.michaelbalter.com

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Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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