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.
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