Print

Print


There is something missing in this debate, which is that all of us are descendants of black African bushmen. There is only one "race" - as was pointed out by Lewontin many years ago in SftP Magazine - the race of homo sapiens. All of the genetic IQ intelligence theories fall down. Unless some genetic mutation made those humans who happened to migrate to Europe "smarter".

Jonathan

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Balter 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 4:06 AM
  Subject: Re: Genetics & Race


  I would like to add one thing, and I don't do this to be deliberately provocative but to make a point. If the hypothesis that there are no "racial" differences in intelligence seems to us to have been proved, and if we further do not believe that science gives any credence to the notion that there are such differences between any population groups no matter how defined, then we have to be willing to allow researchers to test the contrary hypothesis, as Rushton and others have done. Ie, if we are relying on science to support the political conclusions we want to see, we have to accept what scientific research says. We also have to accept that it is POSSIBLE that such differences exist, and that we could be wrong. Any other attitude is not scientific and ultimately does our cause little good. 

  One of the reasons that I suggested that people here read my profile of Bruce Lahn in Science is that the story of the ASPM and microcephalin genes is an example of letting chips fall where they may in science: Lahn's hypothesis that there might be a link between the allele distributions of these genes worldwide and IQ, which was tested by himself, other collaborators, and Rushton with Lahn's genotyping help, has not panned out. And of course there is the whole question of what IQ meaures, if anything. But no matter what the motivations for doing this research--and in Lahn's case, I do not believe it was racism--the fact that the research was done has given us an important result, especially given how much attention the race and IQ crowd paid to Lahn's original findings (NRO, vdare, nearly every right wing blog.) 

  Now what if the correlation had panned out? Progressive scientists would have some explaining to do. Of course, we can all think of ways they could explain this result away, but they would indeed have to take up the task. In my profile of Lahn, I quote him as saying that progressive scientists are politically motivated on the race-intelligence issue, and that it is a bad idea to build an anti-racist movement on a scientific conclusion that could turn out to be wrong--ie, Lahn asks, would racism be justified if we found out later that there were differences in intelligence between "racial" groups or population groups (the latter obviously a more suitable term in our view)? To me, these are legitimate questions to ask, no matter where we as progressives might come down on them. 

  best, Michael



    On 2/21/07, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
      But one of the points of Gould's analysis is to show that the whole history of attempts to link race and intelligence are scientifically worthless, driven by social prejudice, not by logic or evidence. He tells the history in part so that we won't treat such claims as serious scientific hypotheses in the future (even if we may sometimes have to give measured explanations of why that is so to those who are ignorant of the history). The claim that there is a biological link between race and intelligence has about as much credibility as the claim that there is a biological link between religion and sense of humor. --PG


      At 6:00 PM +0000 2/20/07, Michael Balter wrote:
        Mitchel, go back and read what I said. I never said you were "dissing" Gould. My point is that he was effective because he used science to debunk the race-IQ connection, rather than simply calling those who advocated such views fascists. He saw the need to do that because unlike some fringe ideas we have unfortunately been discussing here, a lot of people think that there are racial differences in intelligence, even a lot of scientists.

        To a great extent this is a question of political style, which I see as a very important issue. Some leftists think that it is sufficient to self-righteously brand this and that idea racist and fascist, without much thought to how we go about changing peoples' minds. That might get certain activists kudos for how dedicated to the struggle they are, but it doesn't change the world one iota.

        MB

        On 2/20/07, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

          The set of ideas promulgating the notion that intelligence is based on race, and that Black people are genetically inferior to whites when it comes to intelligence (or anything else, actually), is indeed fascist propaganda.

          Why you think that my saying that disses Stephen Jay Gould, who tore that whole notion of race-based intelligence to shreds, is beyond me.

          If you actually read my article -- I even linked to it for your convenience -- before opining about it -- you'd see that I quoted from the very work of Gould's that you ridiculously say that I'm dissing.

          On another note, the same folks who think that it's okay for THEM to malign people on this list -- including calling those they disagree with infantile, crackpot, conspiracy nuts, etc., take umbrage that I used (and did so correctly) the term "fascist" to describe the race-based (genetic) intelligence "studies" of Herrnstein, Eysenck, Shockley, Jensen and their ideological descendants passing themselves off as scientists. Their articles and speeches gave purported "scientific" cover for fascist movements.

          Are we really disagreeing here? Are you saying that the ideas promoting race-based Intelligence are actually legitimate scientific works?

          Mitchel


          -----Original Message-----
          >From: Michael Balter < [log in to unmask]>
          >Sent: Feb 20, 2007 8:45 AM
          >To: [log in to unmask]
          >Subject: Re: Genetics & Race
          >
          >It is particularly silly and unproductive because this is one area where
          >scientific arguments,  so successfully put forward in works like our late
          >colleague Steve Gould's The Mismeasure of Man, have been particularly
          >effective. The Bruce Lahn story I referred to earlier, pdfs again available
          >to whoever asks offlist, is another good example of the chips falling where
          >they may scientifically. Those who live by the gene sometimes die by the
          >gene.
          >
          >M
          >
          >




        --
        www.michaelbalter.com

        ******************************************
        Michael Balter
        Contributing Correspondent, Science
        [log in to unmask]
        ******************************************






    -- 

    www.michaelbalter.com

    ******************************************
    Michael Balter
    Contributing Correspondent, Science 
    [log in to unmask]
    ****************************************** 



  -- 
  www.michaelbalter.com

  ******************************************
  Michael Balter
  Contributing Correspondent, Science 
  [log in to unmask]
  ******************************************