Skip to comments.A Biological Basis for Race?
Posted on 06/07/2014 5:58:40 AM PDT by Jack Black
A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade (Penguin Press, 288 pp., $27.95)
In 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial provocatively titled Racial Profiling in Medical Research. The author, Robert Schwartz, reiterated the commonly held view that no biological basis exists for race, and then argued that physicians should not consider race in their research or medical practice. This prompted a sharp response from geneticist Neil Risch, who pointed out that numerous studies had demonstrated significant genetic differences among humans based on continental ancestry, suggesting evidence of five distinct races. Among the reasons for recognizing such variations: research shows that people of different races sometimes vary in their responses to medicines.
(Excerpt) Read more at city-journal.org ...
Umm yeah. My brother and his wife took their son for a second opinion after their pediatrician expressed concern over the size of his head at age 2 or 3 and wanted to propose all kinds of brain scans and discuss cranial surgery and such. The second doctor looked him over and asked if he had any Irish ancestry. My brother replied that the kid is all Irish and nothing else. To which the doctor replied, don't worry about it. Irish people have bigger heads -- especially as children. That's a really useful fact to know. I wish the PC hand-wringers find something less dangerous to screw up than health and medicine?
Risch is absolutely correct. There is exceptionally good scientific evidence that ethnic groups differ significantly in the genetic diseases to which they are subject, how they react to medication, etc.
In fact, tailoring medications to individuals based on their genetics is probably the next big thing in medicine. Presently medications are used based on how “average” people react. Which in the US means people of European descent.
That said, “race” does not mean ethnic groups, which everybody recognizes. The idea of “race” is that there are huge conglomerations of ethnic groups that are inherently significant. IOW, it’s a taxonomic question, how we as humans decide to categorize things. It’s part of the map we build in our minds to explain the world, but not necessarily of the territory that is that world.
It’s interesting that the notion of “race” is a very recent idea. Only a few hundred years old.
Historically, groups like the Romans and Chinese were as supremacist as can be imagined. But the Romans didn’t think of themselves and the Gauls and Germans as forming a “race.” And the Chinese didn’t lump themselves in with the Japanese and Koreans versus the odd-looking Southern Barbarians who smelled so funny.
In both the Roman and Chinese cases, there were Romans or Chinese, and then there were a bunch of barbarians with not a lot to choose between them other than the extent to which they acknowledged the superiority of Roman or Chinese civilization.
It has been widely commented on that Chinese society has for at least 3000 years enforced conformity. Those who violated conformity, unless they were the extremely rare person able to overthrow the ruling dynasty and set up a new one, got whacked.
In fact, they were generally not only themselves whacked, but their extended families and in some cases all their friends and their extended families.
Extend that process over thousands of years and you have a tremendously Darwinian process of conformists being "the fittest."
Meanwhile in Europe for the last 1500 years, rebels and nonconformists were also often in peril from their rulers, but if they could just get across the border, which was generally not far off, they'd find refuge and often welcome from their ruler's enemies in neighboring states.
In China, there was usually no place to flee except into barbarian lands beyond the Empire.
I found the review worth a read, and appreciate Nicholas Wade’s courage. He will be riding the Charles Murray bench for the rest of his blacklisted career.
Those of us outside the polluted mainstream of academe might have never left the positions he says the genome research returns us to, but the book would provide valuable historiographical background on the subject, plus a look down the road. Sounds like great science writing by someone who refuses to let PC overrule reality.
The review does look quite interesting albeit there is an underlying thread that evolutionary biology has to be accepted to explain it. I don’t buy that.
However - whatever that means. One of the most if not the most words ever imagined.
Geneticists and psychometricians are generally just as leftist as any other scientists, or at least start off that way.
So for at least six decades fame, fortune and acclaim has awaited the psychometrician who develops a method of testing that demonstrates no difference in intelligence between blacks and whites in America. You can bet your bottom dollar extensive attempts have been made to do so.
That every test they come up with just demonstrates the same old one standard deviation, or about 15 IQ points, difference is IMO the greatest possible proof that it exists. Even those trying to demonstrate that it doesn’t exist keep proving it does.
City Journal is excellent.
How else can you explain a group’s appetite for watermelon and fried chicken?
Regional dietary preference based upon availability and style of preparation? I'm a southerner, love fried chicken, preferably fried in bacon grease in a cast iron skillet. Watermelon is a great summer treat that is grown in abundance down here. Nearly all black people in the United States came out of the south and brought a love of the same foods we love along with them. Those that ever left, that is.
Have you read Black Rednecks and White Liberals?
The author attributes nearly all of current black culture problems to their picking up the worst of southern culture and bringing it with them when they left the south.
Being of southern redneck extraction, I found his stereotyping troubling but it was very interesting reading.
Ah, now I understand why they drive that way.
Once again, the PC crowd is trying to make science their whore.
It is ironic that the same people that accept that, in general, whites don’t jump (or sprint) as well as blacks will not accept that blacks, in general, may not think as well as whites.
(Those are generalizations and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some whites who can jump very well and some blacks who think very well)
Any discussion of racial differences at ALL will be considered the equivalent of promoting pedophilia or distributing kiddie porn- that is even talking about it in any way other than absolute condemnation will result in being a thought criminal and outcast for the rest of your life.
Your examples are good to show that both views are correct and not mutually exclusive. It’s just an example of people talking past each other.
Sickle cell anemia is in African and semitics, as you say, but also Asians.
But not all of any of these groups.
It is a function of geography and exposure to malarial carrying Mosquitos.
There is no clear biological basis for race as we define it now, but there are shared traits based on geographical origin.
“But the Romans didnt think of themselves and the Gauls and Germans as forming a race.
How could they? They were 6-12 inches shorter than the average Germanic tribesmen. They knew they couldn’t beat them (that Rome wasn’t “supreme”), and spent their waning years trying to buy them off until the whole thing collapsed. BTW, this explains why we speak English today (from Saxony) rather than a Romance language.
So ever since then I've been skeptical about the "expert's" view of racial differences. I knew there were real differences physically, then why not mentally? The world won't come to an end if the truth becomes known. Just many leftist's and assorted race-hustler's coveted careers will come to an end.
For the last fifty years or more, every time somebody mentioned black superiority in certain sports that emphasized speed and leaping ability, the self-appointed “experts” would bring up the exceptions thereby “proving” that there were no differences. I think the average person knew there were differences. Now it’s accepted by even many blacks from articles I’ve read. Why pretend? If fifty years of every American Olympic sprinter, of both sexes, being black isn’t overwhelming proof, I don’t know what is.
Likewise, measuring the ability to jump, sprint, sing, dance, eat watermelon, there is more variability(difference) amongst blacks and amongst whites than between whites and blacks.
To put that another way: There is more intra-genepool variability than inter-genepool variability
This applies to many other things. There is more variability in the quality of the trucks in Mexico and more variability in the quality of trucks in the US than there is variability between Mexican trucks and US trucks.
Let us pass by your somewhat hyperbolic comments about Roman vs. German height.
The Romans typically dominated the Germans in combat from the time of Marius (100 BC) till well into the 4th century. That's about 500 years during which the Romans generally, though not always, won the battles and the wars.
Rome collapsed because it disintegrated internally, not because it was conquered from the outside by the Germans, who merely took advantage of the Empire's weakness to grab what they could.
For decades world competition in sprints has been dominated by people of West African ancestry, and in long-distance running by people of East African ancestry.
Which just might indicate that our lumping these two groups together as “black” or “sub-Saharan Africans” or “Negroid” (old-school) may be mainly a result of our focus on cosmetic difference rather than deeper ones.
IOW, actual scientific study is likely to find that our three, or four, or five “races” is quite simplistic and often based on the wrong distinctions.
Personally, I dislike the word “race,” not because it is inaccurate, but because it carries a lot of baggage that makes it impossible to use without implying a lot of stuff you aren’t actually saying.
I wonder if it would be possible to discuss sub-species, a term used to describe long-isolated populations in the animal world that have differentiated from each other in significant ways, but not so much as to become separate species.
Or would that term also freak people out?
You are quite correct. However, I fail to see why the point is relevant.
There is much greater variability in strength and athletic ability, for example among women and among men than there is between the two groups.
Does not change the fact that men, as a group, are able to beat the crap out of women. That there are extraordinarily exceptional women who can beat up most men, and men who most women could beat up, also does not change the basic fact.
I don’t like the term race much either, because it suggests to many people different species. I don’t think the different peoples of the world are different species...they’re just different in a number of physical and mental respects. And it’s time the so-called “experts” admit as much.
Of course humans form a single species. But I would contend they are fairly obviously divided into a number of subspecies, just as many other animal species are.
BTW, the term “race” originally meant something very much along the line of subspecies, and is still used that way in botany and zoology, as in “landrace,” used to describe variants in a single species that have significant variability but are still interfertile.
Maybe we could use the term landrace and confuse the hell out of the “antiracists!”
I am not promoting the practice, merely pointing out that most men are fully capable physically of implementing it if they so desire.
Genetics has nothing to do with racism. Is it racist to say a Thoroughbred is generally better at long races than a Quarter Horse? Is it racist to say a German Shepherd is a better security dog than a Golden Retriever? Is it racist to say that black people are better suited to playing basketball, that Dominicans are better suited to baseball, that white men dominate as quarterbacks, and NASCAR drivers?
There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that there are differences between races. As a former athlete (way long ago) I never had a problem getting along with any nationalities, although there were several in all the groups that I didn’t care to be around! There are d#@$heads in all races.
What happen is that almost none of those with European ancestry take sports as a serious career choice, and of those that do, they may demand a higher price or be more difficult to deal with (because they have other choices available to them) than black athletes of similar ability, which would also create a selection bias for blacks.
Black dominance in US sports is mainly a matter of selection bias, both by the individuals and sport institutions.
* in the statistical sense.
Lysenko v 2.0
In one battle in 9 AD the Roman Army lost 10% of its strength (of the global Roman Army); the fate of those troops wasn’t known for two years until troops again reached that area. There are no Roman ruins scattered throughout most of Germany; like Scotland they despaired of ever winning there. Winning border skirmishes that ground down Roman strength wasn’t a viable long-term strategy.
The height disparity between the two is well documented; I belong to neither group so have no horse in this race.
bump for later
Granted the “Bell Curve” for each group. That is not the point. The comparison is between groups.
The dog-whistle being "in America".
I'm certain that blacks in other civilized countries around the world don't have this IQ problem.
Of course, the second a brilliant African doctor moves to the US, his IQ numbers are flushed down the dumper by the demographic "African-American" culture's average.
Actually, black Africans have similar average IQs to African/Americans. (Actually, slightly lower, as would be expected from a low-income country.) Those few who come here are fairly obviously the cream of the African crop.
What about black Brits...at least they can speak properly.
Isn't there a culture in the world where there is a black demographic that thrives in an education-rich environment, and whose "average IQ" can be more fairly assessed?
You see plenty of blacks on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, they can't be dummies doing that, and they probably shouldn't have their "average IQ" unfairly downgraded by the gang-banger/ghetto-rat "mentality".
Teutoburger Wald. Right.
Followed by a couple of decades of Roman armies stomping all over Germany in reprisal.
The Roman Empire had a natural boundary at the Sahara and Atlantic. In Germany, Scotland and Syria they had to define a border, or keep expanding forever. No natural boundaries.
The Empire decided, quite rightly IMO, that the effort of conquering and occupying Germany was not worth the gain. Obviously, if Germany had been occupied and assimilated, there would simply have been another border with barbarian tribes on the other side, just farther away from the Roman heartland and therefore even harder to defend effectively.
The Romans eventually decided to defend the line of the Rhine and Danube, which seems as logical as any.
This dilemma of where to place the border is similar to that of Israel today. Some call for Israel to conquer and annex land because attacks are launched on Israel from that land. But of course there will still be attacks launched from the land beyond the new borders. So unless one can reach a natural border, there is no logical stopping point.
Despite the defeat in 9 AD, the Romans successfully defended the frontier for more than 300 years thereafter. The various incursions by German tribes, all repelled eventually, were all related more to internal Roman difficulties. Civil wars and such, which were endemic.
As Roman defeats go, Teutoburger Wald was really fairly minor as far as losses go.
Cannae, for instance, resulted in 2x to 4x the number of dead Romans, at a time when the resources of the Roman State were MUCH smaller. IOW, something like 75% of the Roman Army, not 10%.
Teutoburger Wald was strategically important because it eventually convinced the Romans not to expand farther into northern Europe. But it was a Roman loss, not a German victory, since the Germans never even tried to invade and conquer Rome, whereas the Germans spent most of the next couple of decades running away and hiding from Roman armies.
AFAIK, there is no country in the world where black IQ scores are comparable to those of European descent in advanced countries.
FWIW, IQ tests are intentionally designed to minimize the effects of education and culture, to measure "raw intelligence," which psychometricians refer to as "g."
One can certainly argue about whether they have succeeded at this goal. But it is perhaps telling that it is universally agreed that some tests are more effective at measuring "g" rather than education or acculturation. In general, black Americans' achievement gap on these type of tests is somewhat lower, putting a major dent in the theory that the gap is primarily the result of cultural bias.
To be clear, I'm not a fan of the idea of inherent average racial intelligence differences. If someone is able to prove scientifically that there is no such difference, nobody would be more delighted them me. I would love for the Declaration of Independence to be literally as well as metaphorically true.
Unfortunately, wishing (or refusing to look) does not make something true. If there is no inherent racial difference, the only other logical explanation for consistent weaker performance by certain groups is discrimination by others. Which can lead to nothing but eternal hatred and recrimination.
“But it was a Roman loss, not a German victory, since the Germans never even tried to invade and conquer Rome, whereas the Germans spent most of the next couple of decades running away and hiding from Roman armies.”
Germans eventually DID sack Rome (as did Celts); Germans had no reason to hide from an aggressor that, as in Scotland, huddled behind defenses and bribed their way out of defeat for centuries as they died a slow death. There are a lot more Germanic people in northern Italy today than Italians in southern Germany.
Righto. Germans eventually sacked Rome.
I hope you realize how ludicrous it is to draw a line between Teutoburger Wald in 9 AD and the Sack of Rome by Alaric in 410, as if it were part of a continuous conflict, with A leading directly to or causing B.
That’s 401 years. 401 years ago from this year, Pocahontas was captured by the English settlers of Jamestown.
Yet without the foreshortening of history induced by a two thousand-year gap, we don’t think of the events of 1613 as directly causing things that happen this year. Except possibly the celebrity of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The Romans routinely kicked the crap out of the Germans for 500 years. For most of this time, the Germans raided into the Empire, looted what they could carry, and then ran away as fast as they could. Quite often, it wasn’t fast enough.
The Romans stopped dominating the Germans militarily only when their own empire fell apart around them.
A distinction without a difference. The basis of the article is that geneticists can look at your DNA and easily classify you into one of the five main races, and with more markers can further classify you into your ethnicity. So YES, there is a clear biologic basis for race: your DNA. It doesn't get any clearer than that, does it?
Really, I doubt it. There are lots of high school track teams, and lots of people who run on them, but invariably the people making it to the Olympics are black. And, it's not just the USA. Countries like the UK and France, that have even smaller black populations, send black sprinters to the Olympics too. Is selection bias working in every country as it does in the USA, despite very different cultures.