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Scientific Racism Debate

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volco
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Philippe Rushton vs David Suzuki debate begins at minute 12 

 

This is Cavalli-Sforza's aproximate 'race' map. Note that Cavalli-Sforza is mentioned by Suzuki as a defense that race does not exist as he had proved there is more variation within the races than among them. 

cavalli_sforza_covermap_of_races.jpg

And this is an old 19century race map. 

huxleyraces.gif

http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/13/race-maps/

 

So do you think that a category such as race can be identified? Do you think the debate was politically charged on either side? 

Edited by volco
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I will likely take the time to watch the video, but I have long advocated replacing the term, "race," with the more appropriate word, "ethnicity." I know that trying to "get it right" in our sensitive culture gets to be a drag, but that's me. I believe their is only one race: the human race.

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I think both those people are nutjobs, and I'm not gonna watch a video of them debating each other.

David Suzuki is not a nutjob, he's one of the most mainstream popular scientists there are. He's the one star the program Rerum Natura, The Nature of Things. He's establishment, not nutjob. 

 

I will likely take the time to watch the video, but I have long advocated replacing the term, "race," with the more appropriate word, "ethnicity." I know that trying to "get it right" in our sensitive culture gets to be a drag, but that's me. I believe their is only one race: the human race.

 

Yes, Cavalli-Sforza's research also advocates for the term genetic diversity rather than race since it's impossible to trace boundaries. 

The problem with the term ethnicity is that it's not genetic-exclusive, it also includes people who share the same tongue. i.e. not all basque speakers are basques, even though the majority are are, and not all genetically categorized as basques are basque speakers. 

I don't know if there is one human race, or multiple. Each individual is an individual expression of the human race. The problem arises when grouping genetic closeness. Then it seems to arise three, corresponding to the three major expansions out of Africa. Africans, Australian Aboriginals, and Eurasian and Amerindians. 

Edited by volco
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This is another way to visualize genetic distance between ethnic groups. This is biased because there are more European samples than of any other ethnicity, but it still can be seen that Europeans and Arabs in general are in between East Asians/Amerindians and Africans. Just as Geography dictates. 

race-twig.gif

In my original post I show two maps which are uncannily similar, but obtained through different methods. 

Edited by volco
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Suzuki is a hostile blowhard, and if they had a real moderator he should have been censured for it. Also he consistently revealed a troubling hostility to even discussing these ideas. 

 

Rushton has a theory and some correlations. He wasn't prepared to discuss these issues. 

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David Suzuki is not a nutjob, he's one of the most mainstream popular scientists there are. He's the one star the program Rerum Natura, The Nature of Things. He's establishment, not nutjob.

Having heard him speak of GMO, I wouldn't believe anything he said on anything else. Epistemology fail.
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Suzuki is a hostile blowhard, and if they had a real moderator he should have been censured for it. Also he consistently revealed a troubling hostility to even discussing these ideas. 

 

Rushton has a theory and some correlations. He wasn't prepared to discuss these issues. 

Yes I could see how Suzuki didn't even want to discuss those ideas, but what do you think of Rushton's correlations? 

Do you think it should be allowed to discuss those ideas in a frank and open manner?

 

Suzuki is a nut job, no doubt.  He's a shill for the "end of the world is coming due to carbon dioxide and industrialization" camp.

I thought that made him establishment rather than nut job. In any case he's definitely antagonistic to Rushton. 

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Yes I could see how Suzuki didn't even want to discuss those ideas, but what do you think of Rushton's correlations? 

Do you think it should be allowed to discuss those ideas in a frank and open manner?

 

 

His generalizations mostly match with my experience. He was arguing that there were three types of humans which had different amounts of k-type reproduction in them due to evolutionary splits. This theory claims to account for the correlation that he has gathered. I don't know what else to say about it. I don't know how I can evaluate that claim, so I don't take it very seriously right now. 

 

I don't think there is any harm in exploring our genetics.  If some people are on average more likely to have traits that could be considered negative, then I am not shaken by that. His claim isn't earthshaking. I think we can use genetic engineering/gene therapy to help all people rise far above their current stations. If the genes that cause these different reproductive tendencies could be found and altered, then it sounds like the problem would be solved. No politics, just commerce and technology. 

 

People flip out about this stuff though, Part of it is because people really hate racists and are rightly suspicious of anyone who would be challenging established academia in order to support a position that Racists need to be true. There are tons of pseudo scientists out there now. Astrologists, Creationists, jfk researchers, truthers, birthers, gold bugs, preppers, Race realism sounds really easy to put into that category to the average guy. 

 

I think the other reason people flip out is because John Rawls philosophy has taken deep roots in our culture. No one wants to think that some people may be rightly be denied opportunities because they were born to an "inferior" race.  It kind of wrecks the whole idea of social democracy if it turns out that equality of opportunity is just down right impossible with contemporary humans. It would be a disaster for the left if Race Realism were accepted as true. 

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Thanks Hairnet, that's pretty much in a nutshell. I was beginning to police myself for researching the subject so I wanted to see how you guys reacted. It took me by surprise that most attacked Suzuki outright before watching the video. The nailed it. ;) 

I understand it's a touchy subject and now I'll search more about John Rawls. 

 

If you think the three 'races' are different in between, you should take a look at the precious genetic isolates

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A pretty cursory study of history shows that race is not relevant as a causal factor, even while it is often correlated with major changes.

 

As for reacting to Suzuki, I know I did not need to see the video to know that Suzuki is a fraud. I assume that in this case he is arguing  against racial correlations, since he is fairly left-establishment in his views. That's is irony! 

Edited by softwareNerd
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What about Rushton? Suzuki is there only to debunk what Rushton's trying to discuss.

What about him? He's a nutjob too. 

 

I am open to the possibility that genetic differences among "races" might account for some of the differences in IQ among populations in different geographical areas, and I know that the "scientific consensus" against such an opinion could be misleading (because, right or wrong, if anyone in the scientific community dared to speak up against this consensus, they would be labeled a racist and lose their careers). 

 

That means that the normal scientific debate, which is what settles these kinds of things, won't work. Luckily, the topic is inconsequential enough that we can afford to wait for different times, for it to be settled. No need to trust the research of some nutjob who went around white supremacist conferences preaching stuff like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Philippe_Rushton#Opinions

In his speech, Rushton said that Islam was not just a cultural, but also a genetic problem. He thought the religion and issues associated with it were not just a condition of the belief system. His theory was that Muslims have an aggressive personality with relatively closed, simple minds, and were less amenable to reason

 

Sorry, but that's not science. That's absurd nonsense, and I wouldn't trust the guy who said it with my math homework, let alone genetics. 

Edited by Nicky
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Sorry, but that's not science.

There's a long history of building rationalistic theories, with Aryans (aka Indo-Europeans) at the base. Of course the Nazis are the most famous example, but there are others that are just as bad in theory.

For instance, there is a feminist interpretation that blames early Indo-European nomads for being the male-dominated warriors who invaded peaceful, woman-respecting, goddess-worshiping cultures --- thus being at the root of the problems faced by women today! There are Indian nationalists who want to re-write what every Indian school-kid is taught (i.e. that north Indians can trace a large proportion of their ancestry to Aryans who came into India from the North-west) and instead claim that the migrations started from India ... great civilization that it is!

Race and IQ studies are very contentious too, but even a casual observer can compare students from a good upper middle-class school in Kenya to students from a predominantly white but dilapidated school-system to see what really matters in life is not race but culture.

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Race and IQ studies are very contentious too, but even a casual observer can compare students from a good upper middle-class school in Kenya to students from a predominantly white but dilapidated school-system to see what really matters in life is not race but culture.

As far as I can tell, there are three competing theories:

1. differences in average IQ among populations (separated by either space or time - there's a well documented increase in IQ over time) are caused mainly by poor health in children, specifically infectious diseases which prevent brain development. Very convincing.

2. those differences are caused mainly by poor education. Convincing to some extent.

3. cause and effect are reversed, and it is actually lower average IQ that's causing the poor conditions, and the lower average IQ is caused by genetic differences among races. Not particularly convincing to me, but that doesn't mean it should be dismissed. In fact whether each theory seems convincing or not has such little relevance that maybe I shouldn't even have mentioned it.

I disagree that simply comparing middle class students in Kenya to lower class white students would disprove either of those theories. A comprehensive comparison of Africa's top 10% richest children to SE Asia and Northern Europe's top 10% richest children would probably be more helpful than comparing averages (it would, at this point, either eliminate or confirm option nr. 1).

But, again: that would require someone other than Richard Lynn, or worse JP Rushton (not just because he's dead:) ), doing the research (Lynn's methods of establishing average IQs around the globe, while nowhere near fully discredited, are inexact - small sample sizes, different years, etc. - and, in the case of some countries - especially in Africa -, dubious). And it would require the scientific community not jumping down the throat of anyone who dares do such research, with accusations of racism.

Edited by Nicky
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I disagree that simply comparing middle class students in Kenya to lower class white students would disprove either of those theories. A comprehensive comparison of Africa's top 10% richest children to SE Asia and Northern Europe's top 10% richest children would probably be more helpful than comparing averages (it would, at this point, either eliminate or confirm option nr. 1).

My point was not how to construct an experiment to detect correlation between IQ and race. The various twin-studies do attempt that. My point is that even a high correlation between the two does not imply inheritance is important.

As a further step from there, one is sure to find a correlation between IQ and success, and yet it does not follow that IQ is the most important factor in the success of an individual.

At this point, I think most of the money spent on these studies is wasted. The money would be better spent figuring out what factors really make the key difference. Normalizing for non-ethnic factors to derive correlations of IQ with "race" leaves one with no actionable information. it is of interest, of course, but more than enough time and money has been wasted on this. Instead, studying ethnically homogeneous populations and also normalizing for income is where the real payoff is to be found. In other words, in a class full of low-income black kids, why does one kid end up with a high IQ and the other with a low IQ. Even more important: why does one kid make a success of his life while another does not.

Edited by softwareNerd
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My point was not how to construct an experiment to detect correlation between IQ and race. The various twin-studies do attempt that. My point is that even a high correlation between the two does not imply inheritance is important.

As a further step from there, one is sure to find a correlation between IQ and success, and yet it does not follow that IQ is the most important factor in the success of an individual.

At this point, I think most of the money spent on these studies is wasted. The money would be better spent figuring out what factors really make the key difference. Normalizing for non-ethnic factors to derive correlations of IQ with "race" leaves one with no actionable information. it is of interest, of course, but more than enough time and money has been wasted on this. Instead, studying ethnically homogeneous populations and also normalizing for income is where the real payoff is to be found. In other words, in a class full of low-income black kids, why does one kid end up with a high IQ and the other with a low IQ. Even more important: why does one kid make a success of his life while another does not.

IQ is meant to be a method of measuring intelligence. And intelligence is the most valuable skill one can have. Obviously, I'm open to improving the way we measure intelligence, IQ certainly isn't perfect for it, but it is what we have now. Less than perfect tools are still useful.

The reason why it would be a good idea to settle this is because, if we can disprove the race theory, that means that we can more confidently look at the countries which excel in average IQ (especially countries in SE Asia, both rich and developing countries) as examples to follow in education and child rearing. If the race theory is proven right, then there's no point in following their example.

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I've been referencing this (not 100% credible, but still useful imo) study, so I should post the map, just for clarity, so people know what I'm talking about:

800px-AverageIQ-Map-World.png

The strongly disputed and least accurate claims are the ones about Africa. Critics suggested that a more objective African average would be in the low 80s instead. Also, many countries don't have IQ studies, so the authors just used the average of neighboring countries instead. So don't read anything into how similar all the countries in a region are.

Edited by Nicky
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I am really suspicious of data from developing countries like China because there are huge segments of the population who are pretty much off-the-grid for researchers. It is true that -- looking at the stereotypical Chinese kid who excels in U.S. schools -- a long history of Confucianism and exam-orientation may have filtered down into the current culture of a focus on math and violin, but I'm skeptical.

Consider also that Hongkong and Singapore often score as much above China as China does over the U.S. and I think there's more evidence that these tests tend to over-weight certain types of demographic profiles.

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Suzuki is a hostile blowhard, and if they had a real moderator he should have been censured for it. Also he consistently revealed a troubling hostility to even discussing these ideas. 

 

Rushton has a theory and some correlations. He wasn't prepared to discuss these issues. 

How is he unjustifiably hostile? Why should he anything but hostile? Basically, Rushton is going on about pre-defined race categories when it is not race that makes any difference. Race is a pre-science view of genetics, and ignores context of social/political environment as primary. Rushton acts academic, and Suzuki calls him out for the worst science ever. Slight hyperbole, but race is an invalid concept.

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How is he unjustifiably hostile? Why should he anything but hostile? Basically, Rushton is going on about pre-defined race categories when it is not race that makes any difference. Race is a pre-science view of genetics, and ignores context of social/political environment as primary. Rushton acts academic, and Suzuki calls him out for the worst science ever. Slight hyperbole, but race is an invalid concept.

 

 He bashed the school and its professors for not debating Rushton. Just thinking about it for three seconds, the reason the school wanted Suzuki is because he is a big name and they wanted to see him smack down this guy. He accepts the invitation and then spends about 90% of his opening statement attacking the school for not having one of their people do it. I have seen Richard Dawkins at the University of Oklahoma speak. Even though creationism is obviously wrong he was happy to speak about the issue and didn't bitch at us for not correcting the rest of the Oklahoman's around us of their ways. I left that discussion with Richard Dawkins more knowledgeable. I saw Suzuki and all I could tell is that Suzuki believed that he was correct. 

 

  In addition to this, the left will ridicule anyone in the exact same way over any issue. Objectivists especially are subject to this exact same kind of ridicule and dismissal. The "righteous liberal" card is so over played that it has lost all meaning and seems to be a dishonest tactic. The fact that men like Suzuki do things like this only engenders the suspicion that they are hiding something or lying about something. 

 

   You may think that race is an absurd concept, but most people wouldn't know any better. Consider that the media is filled with racial stereotypes, racial humor, and race bating news stories. People do have these categories in their head. In addition if one does accept that people did evolve, there is a legitimate question in whether or not all kinds of humans evolved in the same manor.  Suzuki could have spent less time being outraged and more time actually informing the audience about how to think about these issues. 

 

   In my mind, it is men like Suzuki who have encouraged the spread of white nationalism and other neoreactionaries. One day, the leftist establishment is going to wake up and realize that no one is listening to them anymore. People will be homeschooling their kids with lessons in race realism, austrian economics, creationism, anti-anthropogenic climate change science. 

Edited by Hairnet
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