Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Today, The New York Times and NewsOne (“For Black America”) are shocked — shocked — to find that Blacks and Hispanics still lag academically compared to Whites and Asians, after the College Board released a report entitled “The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways, and Progress” (.pdf version available here — at 96 pages, it’s not worth reading).

Of course, as we should all know by now, the achievement gap is the product of innate race differences in intelligence: Whites and Asians have superior mean cognitive abilities to Hispanics and (especially) Blacks, and the differences are largely genetic.

The intelligence gap is not my opinion. It is a scientific fact. Forget “The Bell Curve” (not that there’s anything wrong with it): you can read this in standard first-year college textbooks. And the data support a 50–80 percent genetic component to that gap.

The College Board report is just another example of how false assumptions about human nature, particularly race (specifically, that Blacks and Hispanics are just as smart as Whites and Asians) can create “racism” out of thin air.

1. False assumptions and unfounded conclusions

Of the College Board’s 2010 report “The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color,” the author of the new report writes that after

two years of qualitative research into the issue of the comparative and, indeed, in some cases, the absolute lack of success that males of color are experiencing traversing the education pipeline… the findings in themselves were powerful reminders of the disparate opportunities available to different groups in the United States.

Of course, they did not actually find any evidence of “disparate opportunities,” meaning systemic White racism. They found evidence of disparate outcomes, and, assuming the non-existence of race differences in intelligence, pronounced them the product of malicious Whites keeping poor innocent minorities down.

Except Asians, of course, with their suspicious immunity to racism. Oh, and European Jews.

By “qualitative research,” they mean that they talked to some minorities:

These conversations, which we called Dialogue Days, engaged members of four groups — African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans — in a series of discourses designed to get at the issues confronting these young men as they followed or dropped out of the education pipeline.

There is no way this “qualitative research” could have told them anything about race differences in intelligence (or a lack thereof): the researchers didn’t administer intelligence tests, and they had an obvious sample bias, in that Black and Hispanic students who are willing to participate in “Dialogue Days” with education researchers are unlikely to be representative of Black and Hispanic students. This, however, does not stop the College Board from declaring that

[t]he conversations we held in 2008 and 2009 on this issue clearly showed one thing: There is no lack of talent in communities of color or among the young men in these communities.

Wishful thinking.

2. Comparisons are racist

It seems White intellectual superiority is fostering the perception of White intellectual superiority:

… although the notion of the “achievement gap” — particularly as it pertains to African American and white students — is prominently featured on all sides of mainstream education reform debates, some scholars argue that this framing of the problem is itself problematic (Perry, Steele et al. 2003; Love 2004). In a critical race theory analysis, Love (2004) posits that the achievement gap is a form of “majoritarian” storytelling that fosters the perception of white intellectual superiority. She notes, for example, that even though students of certain Asian ethnicities consistently outperform whites on various achievement measures, such disparities are never couched in terms of an achievement gap (Love 2004).

The reason why the East Asian-White achievement gap does not have to be “couched in terms of an achievement gap” is that Whites are not whiny little bitches, they are at least dimly aware of the staggering accomplishments of the White race, and they are capable of understanding concepts like averages. That is (roughly speaking) why, unlike Blacks and Hispanics, Whites don’t break down crying (or rioting) when you point out that East Asians are slightly more intelligent than they are, on average.

Perry, Steele and Hilliard (2003) suggest that the standard against which achievement disparities are assessed should be some measure of excellence for which all students should be striving rather than the performance of a norm group, which may in fact be mediocre.

So instead of comparing Blacks and Hispanics to Whites (the superior “norm group”), we are supposed to compare all races to “some measure of excellence” and see who’s the farthest from it, without ever comparing the groups to each. Brilliant.

If the performance of Whites is “mediocre,” what does that make Blacks and Hispanics? Abject failures?

3. The Asian sensation

The New York Times article on Asians:

The data about Asian/Pacific Islander men is particularly noteworthy. The authors cite the “model minority myth” — the assumption that a minority group is the superior, or “model,” group — and then challenge it, emphasizing that Asian men face problems similar to those of other minorities.

Actually, what the report has finally, sort-of discovered is that some Asians, like East Asians (mean IQ 105 at home, 101 in the USA), are smarter than other Asians, like Southeast Asians (mean IQ 87, 93 in the USA), Pacific Islanders (mean IQ 85), and South Asians (mean IQ 84) (source: Richard Lynn’s “Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis”).

Next, the New York Times is surprised to discover that affirmative action is working as intended, filling our schools with unqualified Blacks and American Indians, and keeping out smart Asians:

Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics is that Asian male enrollment over the last two decades (1990-2008) dropped by 9 percentage points. In comparison, African-American enrollment increased by 15 percent, while Native American enrollment increased by over 120 percent.

4. The cure for mythical White racism: a lot more anti-White racism

First among the College Board’s six uniformly idiotic and hopeless recommendations on how to fix tens of thousands of years of human evolution:

Policymakers must make improving outcomes for young men of color a national priority.

More affirmative action! More race quotas! More criminally inept Hispanic lawyers! More fatally incompetent Black doctors!

Merit? Fairness? Equality under the law? Forget it, White people. It’s Black-Run America.

Read Full Post »

From Psychology Today, six days ago (H/T Sofia): “Want to know what ‘race’ is or isn’t? Don’t ask the dictionary!” by Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky, a psychology professor at the publicly funded University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The article is about what you would expect from the author of “A Manifesto Against Truth.” (For my take on that, consult the comments.)

Lyubansky does not seem to know very much about race and genetics. As a result, his analysis is completely, irredeemably wrong.

[T]he genetic data suggest that there is no biological evidence for human subspecies (what we might call racial groups). To the contrary, all people are about 99.5% similar genetically, and the genetic variability that does exist (the remaining .5%) tends to be greater within ethnic groups than between them…

This is a form of “Lewontin’s Fallacy” and again, it’s simply wrong. A complete rebuttal may be found in Neven Sesardic’s 2010 paper “Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept” (Biology and Philosophy 25 p. 143-162), available in .pdf format here. At twenty pages, it is well worth reading in its entirety, but the sections “Genetic differences” and “Morphological differences” are most relevant.

Since I have little to add to Sesardic’s analysis, I’ll just note here that two people of the same race are always more similar genetically than two people of different races (Sesardic, p. 150–154). The problem is, Lewontin and Lyubansky measure genetic variation by looking at each genetic indicator separately, and thus fail to account for genetic clustering. When you take a less simple-minded approach, what do you find?

  1. a 2002 paper in Science showed that people cluster genetically according to major geographic regions (in other words, races)
  2. genetic clusters match self-reported race (White, Black, Hispanic, East Asian) 99.9 percent of the time (Sesardic’s source here)
  3. you can literally see the races when you graph the principal components of genetic variation, as in this figure from Tishkoff et al.’s 2009 paper “The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans” (Science 22 p. 1035–1044)

The only real questions are: why does Psychology Today pay Lyubansky to write about race, a subject in which he clearly has no expertise? And why does his university pay him to expose impressionable college students to already-refuted race-denying radical pseudoscience?

We’ve separated Church and State, but religious fundamentalism is harmless compared to the politicized science of such hopelessly biased “experts” as S.J. Gould, L. Kamin, R.C. Lewontin, P.Z. Myers, and of course M. Lyubansky. What we desperately need to do is separate science from the State.

Or at least separate Lyubansky from his students.

Read Full Post »

I am reminded of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line from the classic film Commando (1985). As I recall, he was eating breakfast with a very young Alyssa Milano:

Why don’t they just call him Girl George? It would cut down on the confusion.

Wait, that’s not right.

The man is serious about cutting down on confusion.

No, he had just shot Sharon Stone in the head on Mars while trying to reach a telepathic mutant rebel leader to recover memories of a terraforming alien artifact while unwittingly acting out the plans of his evil pre-memory-wipe self:

Consider that a divorce.

Wait, that was the markedly superior Total Recall (1990).

Fans of the film will recognize this as one of former Governor Schwarzenegger's least ridiculous facial expressions.

Now I’ve got it: he was dangling a man over a cliff with the aid of a clearly visible wire.

Remember when I promised to kill you last?

I lied.

Remember when I promised to stop arguing with Stupid, Liberal, Anti-White Bigots?

I lied.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drop you off a cliff. Yet.

I’m happy — no, that’s not right either. I’m angry to inform you that I am now restarting the destructive side of ‘Park operations. The constructive side, which includes our awesome flyers, will continue as planned; in fact, will probably accelerate, since our operations are powered by burning racial hatred, and arguing with race denialists is an excellent (and renewable) source of fuel.

Why am I doing this? Same reasons I’ve always done it. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. And I want more people to know we’re out there, we who don’t buy into the race-denialist BS. I want our enemies to know it, and I especially want our allies to know it.

Let us begin.


Sofia — whose personal motto is not, but probably ought to be, “a lightning bolt of knowledge blowing out the fuse of ignorance in the shitty old house of our liberal dystopia” — has directed me to another great bastion of social-scientific liberal lunacy: Sociological Images. Recently I’ve been having a blast in the comments over there, and I wanted to let you know.

Sofiastry is your source for... I dunno, fingers? Slightly sticky fingers.

A recent article, “Race and the Problems with Measuring Beauty ‘Objectively'” (note the relativist scare quotes) is a predictable attack on evolutionary psychology Satoshi Kanazawa’s research on the inferior attractiveness of Black women. There are two components to this supposed counter-argument. The first is that Black women are only less attractive because of evil White men; specifically,

the global history of slavery, colonialism, and race-based systems of domination that make it impossible to separate out our perceptions of what is beautiful and sexually appealing from historical ideologies that insisted that non-White peoples were unattractive.

… Given that history, it’s not shocking that White women would be rated most attractive and Black women least… the outcome of constant, long-standing cultural messages about attractiveness that resulted from efforts to legitimize and justify social and political inequalities.

In other words — and I’m not going to set up a straw man; this is actually what they’re saying — in other words, you may think you find Black women less attractive than White and Asian women, but you don’t. You actually find them just as attractive. You love their skin tone and their hair texture — can’t get enough of it! However, we’re all the unwitting victims of an historical ideology (that’s a set of ideas about history) that insists that non-White women are unattractive — er, except Asians and Native Americans, who score much higher than Blacks and quite close to Whites. Hispanics too, probably. Somehow we avoided that part of the historical ideology.

It might not be an "historical legacy," but something is definitely turning me on right now.

The author, Gwen Sharp (a feminist pseudo-scientist at Nevada State College), leaves several things unexplained.

  1. Like many conspiracy theorists, she doesn’t explain who, exactly, is transmitting these “constant, long-standing cultural messages” — though it’s not hard to guess — or how they accomplish it.
  2. She doesn’t explain constant, long-standing pro-Black cultural messages, such as the “Black Is Beautiful” movement, which even has its own TV show now.
  3. She doesn’t explain why, when a qualified scientist actually attempts to transmit a cultural message about attractiveness that disfavors Black women (which happens to match the data), he sets off a “firestorm” (Huffington Post), an “international race row,” and “international outrage” (Daily Mail); the article is promptly removed (along with the author’s biography) and an apology issued by the publisher; his institution begins an internal investigation; and fellow academics call for his dismissal in the name of their “multi-ethnic, diverse and international institution” (Daily Mail again).
  4. She doesn’t explain the statistics on interracial marriage.

That last one isn’t really Sharp’s fault. We can hardly expect her to examine the world she inhabits (i.e., the “objective” “facts”) before blaming all our problems on (I can only assume) rich White heterosexual men. She’s not some nerd scientist, for crying out loud — she’s a radical social scientist! And she’s very busy with her extremely important work on — um…

She will soon begin a research project interviewing water diviners, and focus on the way diviners and government hydrologists use scientific/rational language to validate their belief systems while disparaging each other. [Source: Nevada State College.]

Sharp’s theories don’t deserve a rigorous rebuttal. They deserve to be briefly mocked and promptly forgotten. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to erase my memories of the last two days and replace them with a tropical vacation on Mars.


Before that, I should discuss the second component.

[Kanazawa] treats race like a real, biological, meaningful entity. But race is socially constructed; there is no clear biological dividing line that would allow us to put every person on the planet into racial categories [claim #1], since societies differ in the racial categories they recognize [claim #2] and “race” doesn’t map along unique sets of genes [claim #3] — there is more genetic variation among members of a so-called race as there are between members of different races [claim #4].

This is radical pseudoscience, plain and simple, and any college professor who claims to buy into it is willfully ignorant, promoting a radical political agenda, or both. That’s why claim #2, that “societies differ in the racial categories they recognize,” is inane: societies are not made up of experts on race, and even the people society considers “experts on race,” like Gwen Sharp, aren’t experts on race.

It’s also why so many of my comments have disappeared in “moderation,” including my very first: a detailed, documented explanation of why race is biological, which thoroughly debunks claim #3. See sections 2 and 4 of “Black and White,” supplemented with two rebuttals of race denialism: “‘Scientific racism’ is actually valid science (part 2)” and “Debunking race denialism 2: Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.”

If you’d rather just read it here, I don’t mind repeating myself. (I know, I know: you’re tired of the same old links. I’ll dig up some new ones just as soon as someone actually argues against the ones I have.)

Let’s start with the basics. Human beings are scientifically divided up into races (and subraces) according to exactly one criterion: ancestral geography. Blacks (comprising more than one race) came from sub-Saharan Africa, Whites came from Europe (basically), Asians (also comprising more than one race) came from… I forget where, and so on.

Anyway, the races evolved in virtual reproductive isolation for tens of thousands of years, except possibly the last few hundred years. Put together four evolutionary forces — founder effects, genetic drift, random mutations, and adaptation — and what do you get? Genetic differences. That’s why you can tell someone’s self-reported race from their genes with 99.86 percent accuracy just from looking at a few hundred genetic markers (American Journal of Human Genetics).

I brought pictures. From Tishkoff et al.’s 2009 paper “The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans” (Science 324(5930) 1035–1044):

Genetic variation all around the world. See the races there?

From Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, and Piazza’s “The History and Geography of Human Genes” (1994):

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of the world. Clearly, races do not exist.

Claim #4 is simply wrong, as Chuck pointed out in the comments on “Black and White.” From Neven Sesardic’s 2010 “Race: a social destruction of a biological concept” (Biology and Philosophy 25:143–162), citing Witherspoon et al.’s 2007 “Genetic similarities within and between human populations” (Genetics 176: 351–359):

A good measure of the robustness of racial genetic differentiation is the answer to the following question: “How often does it happen that a pair of individuals from one population is genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?” In fact, if many thousands of loci are used as a basis for judging genetic similarity and when individuals are sampled from geographically separated populations, the correct answer, which many will probably find surprising, is: “Never.”

Any two White (i.e., European) people are always more similar genetically than any White person is to any Black (i.e., sub-Saharan African). Of course, thanks to miscegenation, there now exist people who are 50 percent Black (or White, or Asian…), 90 percent Black, 1 percent Black, and so on. Claim #1 demands a “clear biological dividing line,” but that’s fallacious reasoning that can also be used to “prove” that height doesn’t exist.

Go ahead, draw a clear dividing line (one nanometer thick, say) between short and tall. Try it with slow and fast, big and small, or food and poison. You can’t do it — at least, you can’t do it in a meaningful way. Do you nevertheless learn something useful from statements like the following?

  1. “The robbery suspect is tall.”
  2. “You’re driving too fast.”
  3. “The chances of decapitation are not small.”
  4. “I’ve replaced all the food with poison.”
  5. “Your new high school is full of Black kids.”

It gets worse. Sharp links another article for support, this one by Sociological Images co-author Lisa Wade (a feminist pseudo-scientist at Occidental College), entitled “A Simple Lesson on the Social Construction of Race.” A very simple lesson indeed: the entire article can be summed up as follows.

There are people of all different skin colors. Therefore race doesn’t exist.

That’s it. That’s all. These women have deluded themselves into thinking race is nothing more than the color of your skin. They should look up “Black albinos” sometime. (No, it’s not an oxymoron.) They should consult a forensic anthropologist like George Gill, who can determine the race of a skeleton (PBS Nova). They should ask a geneticist, a medical doctor, and a statistician why an “epidemiologic perspective” (that’s with regard to the spread of disease) “strongly supports the continued use of self-identified race and ethnicity” (Genome Biology). Since they’re so concerned with telling Blacks they’re beautiful, they should also check up on how acknowledging those fictitious “real, biological, meaningful” racial differences can help doctors treat patients. I think fatal cardiac arrest has been conclusively linked to low self-esteem.


I mentioned I’ve been having fun in the comments at Sociological Images. In the beginning, I was quite polite and reasonable, but I began to lose patience around the time I posted the following, for reasons which will soon become obvious.

UNAMUSED: For anyone not keeping up with this (rather pathetic and off-topic) debate about race differences in intelligence, or just race differences period: my opponents are unable to cite even one source to back up their opinions about race differences in intelligence. There are also unwilling to read and understand my sources (see above).

Instead, they use insults (“troll,” “white supremacist”), accusations of “racism” (a word which is now meaningless, thanks to people like them), outright lies (like the claim that I haven’t cited my sources), unsubstantiated assertions (everywhere), appeals to emotion, appeals to popularity, and of course their perfect ignorance of intelligence research.

Don’t be fooled.

Please ask yourself: why would two reproductively isolated populations of an animal species, evolving independently for tens of thousands of years, subject to all the usual natural forces (founder effects, genetic drift, random mutations, and adaptation), somehow come out with
(a) different skin and hair,
(b) different bone structure,
(c) different blood antibodies,
(d) different disease susceptibilities,
(e) different athletic strengths and weaknesses (watch the Olympics), and yet

Evolution does not stop at the neck. And science is not concerned with your hurt feelings nor with your “progressive” politics.

A representative response (note the total lack of substance):

JUAN: Tough to decide which is worst and unamusing from you: Your faulty rhetoric or your faulty science. Now, provide some real evidence and cited that isn’t debunked eugenics or pseudo-science.

UNAMUSED: It’s like… it’s like you see the words I’ve written, which are all true, and then your brain just rejects them. Graft versus host, only the graft is REAL SCIENCE.

From that point on, my new comments mostly disappeared into “moderation,” meaning my distinguished opponents’ nasty, ignorant, insubstantial, promptly approved remarks went unchallenged. This displeased me, with predictable results. (I am, after all, the most hateful man on the Internet.) In the end, the thought-crime spree got so out of control, the entire discussion had to be put on hold pending a purge of hate facts, including my first (and least confrontational) comment, which explained why race is biological, not social.

UPDATE 2: The comments section has largely devolved into a flame war with lots of insults flying around, so I’m closing comments since I won’t be around to moderate them [i.e., delete only the ones I don’t agree with] for the next week. I will go in and clean out the comments threads [ditto] when I get a chance.

Therefore I will reproduce some of my exchanges here, before they get deleted.


SYD: Plus, what about those of us who ARE significantly and predominantly mixed race? I am half black and half white. I have some distinctly “black” features, and some distinctly “European” ones. Am I “objectively” only half attractive? Or am I just deluded because my black brain-failings have tricked me into thinking I’m any attractive at all?

UNAMUSED: Yes. That’s exactly right. You haven’t misinterpreted at all.

If the average Black woman is less attractive than the average White woman, that means all Black women everywhere are ugly. Thus you are objectively half beautiful, half ugly.

If the average Black person is less intelligent than the average White person (they are), that means all Black people are stupid. Thus you are stupid.

You must have aced Stats 101.

We continued in this vein for some time.

White Supremacy

LETA: I see you like to flaunt your white-supremacy flag. I don’t see you giving intelligence tests to populations that do better than the average white (like Asians).

UNAMUSED: Yes, yes, white supremacy, “sieg heil” and such and such.

Anyway [table-drawing fail]:

group approx. mean IQ
European Jews 110
East Asians 105
Whites 100
Hispanics 90 ya they’re a race
Blacks 85 in America
70 in Africa

The Legend of Colonialism: Ocarina of Hatred

SIMONE LOVELACE: … Even if you could make a real case that certain features common in people of African descent were “objectively” unattractive (spoiler alert: you can’t!), culture bias is clearly a huge factor. …

UNAMUSED: Dark skin is a feature common in people of African descent which is “objectively” unattractive, in that all races prefer lighter skin, in general.

KJ: And might the legendary of colonialism have something to do with that?

UNAMUSED: Explain exactly what the “legacy” (I assume you meant that) of colonialism is, and precisely how it is causing e.g. Black Haitian girls to prefer White Barbie dolls to Black ones.

Or did you think you could just go “colonialism slavery imperialism white people did it lololz,” and everyone would just solemnly nod and go about their business?

MOLLY: Wait, you’re using *Haiti* as an example? … Because it’s not possible colonialism could’ve had ANY impact on Haiti (a nation founded when slaves rebelled against French colonial rule)? …

UNAMUSED: Listen to yourself: you’re claiming that centuries-old colonialism is making modern-day Haitian girls like White Barbie dolls better than Black Barbie dolls.

It’s just… retarded.


SCOTT: [a whole bunch of crap about the relationship between attraction, sex, reproduction, and evolution]

UNAMUSED: One big straw man argument. No point even addressing this nonsense.


ALIX: People who are insecure about their own intelligence/beauty/other factor always seem to want to demonstrate that some other group is inferior.

I’ve never really been sure why some people are so intent on proving that their group is *superior* to other groups (especially when those groups are more of a continuum than an actual delineated group). Life isn’t a football game. We all benefit if we are all appreciated for our contributions, and our strengths are utilized appropriately. By writing off an entire group, we are ALL weakened.

UNAMUSED: Gee, thank you for that amateur psychoanalysis.

Look, Alix: the reason why I think Blacks are innately less intelligent is because they score lower on intelligence tests, which are not culturally biased; and further research supports a 50–80% genetic explanation. I am not insecure about my own intelligence, and Kanazawa is not insecure about his attractiveness.

I might as well say “you’re only disagreeing with me because you’re agoraphobic.”

The tests are not culturally biased. [You] have no reason to believe they are — I mean, it’s not like you can find any ACTUAL examples of ACTUAL cultural bias on the WAIS. You’re just speculating because you don’t like the findings.

You don’t understand anything about statistics. No one is claiming IQ tests (or better yet g tests) predict your success in life with 100% accuracy (duh). They do, however, predict group outcomes. In particular, they predict Black failure.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I am so intent on proving that Whites are cognitively superior to Blacks is that (1) they are, and (2) shrieking harpies like the ones in the thread above can’t seem to grasp that simple fact, and their ignorance and bias are interesting to me.

We should be “writing off” Blacks as a group, because they are innately incapable of achieving the same success as other groups. That means stopping absurd discriminatory policies like AA and racial quotas.

This “writing off” is not discrimination. It has nothing to do with race. (Watch the race denialists fail to grasp this point.) It is a logical consequence of treating everyone as individuals without regard for race. Since Blacks are generally less intelligent, if you treat them like everyone else — as individuals — it’s going to look like discrimination.

PS Asians are cognitively superior to Whites.


An anonymous commenter succumbs to projection, but replacing “Unamused” by “a race denialist” yields perfection. I swear that wasn’t supposed to rhyme.

ANON: [A race denialist] will always double-down on the crazy, because he truly and solemnly believes in what he’s saying. A failure on his part to continue to believe in the truth of his and his sources claims will mean that he will have to do a full re-analysis of himself, his morals, his world-view, etc. in addition (most likely) to those of his friends and colleagues (and possibly his family and community members). It’s a truly scary thing to admit that something fundamental to how you perceive the world is absolutely wrong.

This is why you can’t reason with conspiracy theorists who believe what they do, and [a race denialist] is just like the conspiracy theorist whose life is consumed with uncovering the government plot that George W. Bush caused 9/11 or the other conspiracy theorist who believes that Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon.

Arguing with facts won’t help, either, since it’s likely that — like many conspiracy theorists — he’s incapable of understanding where his logic is faulty: conspiracy justification has become an unconscious reaction to dissonant stimuli that affects him at a level more basic than rational thought. Indeed, it hijacks rational thought and leads to rationalizing thought (of the type that either explains away the potential dissonance or builds a wall of denial against it), instead.

In short, he’s a person that doesn’t understand why the majority of people don’t understand the truth that is so clearly in front of them, and no amount of argumentation is going to change his mind about the truth he sees (let alone the intelligence of the people who can’t see it).

Other Highlights

  1. Commenter Bah wonders if I might be Kanazawa himself.
  2. Commenter Alix thinks Sofia and I are the same person. (We’re not… as far as I know.)
  3. No one — no one at all — bothers to address the information I presented. Oh well.

Anyway, I had a blast! Expect more. Now where did I put that memory modifier…

"Stop struggling. You're just making it worse." "Worse than getting my mind erased?" "Well... you're not helping!"

Read Full Post »

By now, you are probably aware of evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa’s latest thought-crime, “Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women” (May 15, since retitled and deleted).

The reaction to Kanazawa’s research has been generally idiotic. Consider the Daily Mail’s pathetic coverage in “‘Black women are less attractive than others’: Controversial LSE psychologist sparks backlash with his ‘scientific’ findings” (May 19). (Note the obligatory scare quotes around “scientific.”) The caption to the second photograph is representative.

According to Satoshi Kanazawal [sic], ‘science’ would suggest Naomi Campbell [who is Black] is less attractive than fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson [who is White].

If the error isn’t obvious, here it is in another context: “According to ‘science’ that claims the average man is taller than the average woman, that man” — pointing to a short man — “is taller than that woman” — pointing to a tall woman.

It is not the first time that Dr Kanazawa, 48, a lecturer within the department of management at the LSE, has been accused of peddling racist theories.

In 2006 he published a paper suggesting the poor health of some sub-Saharan Africans is the result of low IQ, not poverty.

Professor Paul Gilroy, a sociology lecturer at the LSE, said: ‘Kanazawa’s persistent provocations raise the issue of whether he can do his job effectively in a multi-ethnic, diverse and international institution.

‘If he announces that he thinks sub-Saharan Africans are less intelligent than other people, what happens when they arrive in his classroom?’

Answer: they fail, because they’re just affirmative-action admissions.

The innately inferior intelligence of sub-Saharan Africans (as a group), and Blacks in general, is a scientific fact and should not be controversial; see my flyer on the subject of race differences in intelligence in America. Yet the sociologist Paul Gilroy wants Kanazawa fired, and his research suppressed, in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. It’s James Watson all over again.


The inferior attractiveness of Black women should not be a controversial finding either. I suspect many readers have personally noticed the VERY OBVIOUS phenomena of racial preferences in dating. For example, White men are preferable to Black men, who are preferable to Asian men (on average), and White and Asian women are much preferable to Black women. Still, we should be able to do better than anecdotal evidence.

We, after all, are not the sort of people who cry “racism” every time a Black man gets pulled over by the cops.

The dating website OkCupid has published a study, “How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get” (October 5, 2009) on the racial dating preferences of over a million users. This is particularly good data for two reasons.

First, these aren’t college student volunteers sitting in a lab, ranking photographs for some professor. They’re real people trying to start real relationships (or at least get real laid). After all, attractiveness is more than just a pretty face (e.g., mine).

Second, online dating minimizes several factors not directly related to attraction, which would otherwise favor same-race relationships. On the Internet, it doesn’t matter if you’re Asian and live uptown with your all-Asian friends who frown on mixed-race relationships, while the person you find most attractive is Indian and lives downtown, and the two of you would never ordinarily meet. That can’t stop you from messaging her, can it?

Nevertheless, it turns out that Black men are 13 percentage points more likely to respond to Asian women than one would expect if race were not a factor, while Asian women are 10 points less likely than expected to respond to Black men. White men disfavor Black women by 10 points. Indian women disfavor Indian men by 9 points. But White women respond to White men at exactly the expected rate.

The overall findings are not surprising, provided you know more than a few people of other races.

  • “Black women write back the most.”
  • “White men get more responses.”
  • “White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else — and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively.”
  • “Men don’t write black women back.”
  • “White guys respond less overall.”

The article concludes:

It’s surely not just OkCupid users that are like this. In fact, [any] dating site (and indeed any collection of people) would likely exhibit messaging biases similar to what I’ve written up. Any dating site probably has these biases. According to our internal metrics, at least, OkCupid’s users are better-educated, younger, and far more progressive than the norm, so I can imagine that many sites would actually have worse race stats.

Note that racial preferences, which we all have (no exceptions), are to be considered bad — at least, they are when they disfavor certain minorities. I can only speculate that “better” race stats would show that people ignore race when choosing a partner, which would be dangerous and stupid; or that people actually prefer those Designated Victim Groups, e.g. choosing Black men over those awful, nasty Whites, which would be even more dangerous and stupid.

Objective Beauty

Four points:

  1. Evolution favors reproductive fitness.
  2. Human reproduction is accomplished through sex.
  3. Sex is driven by sexual attraction. That is, attraction is the proximate cause of sex. (“Why did you sleep with her?” “Because she was hot.”) The ultimate cause is evolution. (“Why did you find her hot?” “Because I evolved that way.”) Radical pseudoscientists like Hank Campbell don’t understand the difference, which is why they reject Kanazawa’s findings.
  4. Sexual attraction is the basis for beauty.

As a result of 1–4, we have evolved a universal ideal of beauty, like not being fat. Someone who prefers fat people for sex is abnormal, just like someone who prefers infants for sex, or inanimate objects; or someone who prefers to wash his hands until they bleed, ten times a day.

Certain characteristically White traits, including skin tone and hair texture, appear to be part of the universal ideal of beauty. I invite the skeptic to consider this fat Black chick.

Obligatory Hot White Girl

You can’t seriously be disappointed by the lack of pictures of hot white girls in this post. You’re on the Internet, for crying out loud. Exert yourself.

Alright, fine. In honor of Norway, here is a hot Norwegian girl.

She is indeed a hot Norwegian girl.

In retrospect, that was a really good idea.

Read Full Post »

I have previously noted that should you choose the path of compassionate reactionism and take this conversation off the Internet, it might help to have a few relevant fact sheets (like, say, “Black People Are More Criminal Than White People”) written by someone else, on whom the liberal rage and malice and cries of racism can be dumped, i.e. me.

To that end, I have prepared a second flyer, entitled “There Are Innate Racial Differences in Intelligence.” I had some help from Chuck at Occidentalist, but any outrageous errors or unsubstantiated opinions are all mine. A .pdf version is available here, and a .jpeg version is available below (click for the full-size image). Links to my sources (or equivalent) appear below.

I encourage you to share this flyer with anyone, anywhere. I hope you find it useful. Let me know if you find any mistakes, or if you would prefer a version with minor modifications of your choosing, such as a less outrageous title.


The statement “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” is available here.

Linda Gottfredson has plenty of papers on the general mental ability factor g. Hunter & Schmidt’s 2004 article “General Mental Ability in the World of Work: Occupational Attainment and Job Performance” is available for purchase here; Chuck sent me a copy (available on request).

The IQ gap (and the 80% heritability statistic for adults) are widely known; you can start with the American Renaissance guide. Find “Human Biological Variation” at your local library or college campus.

Roth et al.’s (in)famous 2001 meta-study “Ethnic Group Differences in Cognitive Ability and Educational Setting” is available in .pdf form here. You can read about the Kansas City desegregation experiment here. (The term “epic fail” springs to mind.)

Here is the source of Steven Pinker’s quotation. His dangerous idea (answer to the 2006 annual Edge question) is that “groups of people may differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments.”

Chuck at Occidentalist can tell you all about race, income, and SAT scores.

The Rushton and Jensen article “Wanted: More Race Realism, Less Moralistic Fallacy” (2005) is available in .pdf form here. The paper “Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies” in The American Journal of Human Genetics, available here, shows a 99.86 percent success rate matching self-reported race to genetic clusters. I wrote about the failure of studies claiming the gap is environmental without controlling for genes in my post “Income and IQ.”

Jared Taylor briefly discusses regression to the mean, in the context of Jensen’s research, in this issue of American Renaissance.

You can read about the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study on Wikipedia, for instance.

Here is Jensen (1994) talking about 1 in 4 Blacks having an IQ less than 75. Gottfredson’s “g: Highly General and Highly Practical” (2002) is available here. American Renaissance profiles Levin (1997) in this issue.

Read Full Post »

My series of short essays debunking race denialism continues. Hopefully you’re not bored of this exercise yet. Someone’s got to answer their arguments, no matter how weak, in case there’s some race denialist or race agnostic out there who’s following the debate and keeping an open mind. Even slightly open. Ajar.

Frankly I’d settle for a race denialist mind that hasn’t been shut, locked, bolted, and sealed up with concrete.

Today I present my final, comprehensive remarks on the Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza controversy. Here is a summary of said controversy, according to race denialists.

  1. Evil racists claim Cavalli-Sforza is secretly on their side.
  2. Race denialists refute these claims by quoting recent books by Cavalli-Sforza.
  3. Return to step 1.

This, on the other hand, is a summary of the actual controversy.

  1. Race denialists claim Cavalli-Sforza is openly on their side by quoting his recent books.
  2. Race realists point out that Cavalli-Sforza’s work on human genetics is clearly race realist in nature. However, his recent books contain a perfunctory section or two stating that classifying people by race is impossible, useless, arbitrary, and/or racist. These statements are (a) contradicted by Cavalli-Sforza’s own research and/or (b) just plain silly. This suggests that he includes them to fool race denialists — who can be counted on to stop reading as soon as they find a quote that supports their beliefs — so that they leave him alone.
  3. Return to step 1.

One example is more than sufficient.

Step 1, or: The Usual Suspects

Zek J Evets: “[Race realists] pretend that science is divided on the issue, and try to undermine the research done on the subject, portraying people’s work as quite the opposite of what they say it is. And the whole time, yelling, raving, that the establishment is trying to cover it up! … They talk of conspiracy theories like a crazy person.” (Source: Zek’s vile rant.)

Abagond (dutifully “summarizing” Zek by completely rewriting his rant): “The reason scientific racists give for trusting, say, Steve Sailer, a computer salesman, over Cavalli-Sforza, a professor of human genetics who has, like, studied race, is, wait for it, that people like Cavalli-Sforza secretly agree with them but are too afraid to say so in public! Have they gone mad?” (Source: Abagond’s racist cult.)

Have we, indeed, gone mad?

Step 2, or: Madness? THIS. IS. SFORZA.

In my reply to the attacks above, I linked an article by Steve Sailer that explains quite clearly the “politically-correct smoke screen that Cavalli-Sforza regularly pumps out to keep his life’s work — distinguishing the races of mankind and compiling their genealogies — from being defunded.” In Cavalli-Sforza’s own words, direct from his unabridged 1994 book The History and Geography of Human Genes (HGHG, written with Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza), which I have open on the desk beside me:

The [genetic] color map of the world [see below] shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids… (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia” [Source: HGHG, p. 136]

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of the world, from HGHG. He even put the damn thing on the cover.

Sailer goes on to explain that

Cavalli-Sforza’s team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the ‘genetic distances’ separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danes, and the Japanese 59 times. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish. (The genetic distance between Japanese and Bantus is even greater.) [Source: Steve Sailer]

Neither Zek nor Abagond can refute any of this. Unfortunately, that does not stop them from disagreeing, with predictably incoherent results.

Back to step 1

Zek J Evets, who does not know when to quit:

Originally convinced that human races were subspecies… Cavalli [sic] changed his position after investing himself in research on the issue. (See [HGHG] p. 19) … This is called “learning”, but scientific racists like to quote him from 1994 (during the time he was still learning) when he said, “The most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans” but not more recently when he published a book in 2000 entitled, Genes, Peoples, and Languages… that, according to The Economist (Vol. 356, no. 8177, pg. 11) “challenges the assumption that there are significant genetic differences between human races, and indeed, the idea that ‘race’ has any useful biological meaning at all”. [Source: more of Zek’s vileness]

The History and Geography of Human Genes

Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, and Piazza’s The History and Geography of Human Genes (1994) is the culmination of Cavalli-Sforza’s five-decade career up to that point. Zek cites it twice. The first time it is to prove Cavalli-Sforza has “changed his position [by the time he wrote HGHG] after investing himself in research.” The second time it is to prove he was “still learning [when he wrote HGHG].” Yes, the quote about “[t]he most important difference in the human gene pool” is from HGHG (p. 93). Of course, both cannot be true. Zek doesn’t know what source he’s citing, let alone its contents.

Page 19 and the very top of page 20 of HGHG (which Zek has not read) do indeed contain all of Cavalli-Sforza’s reservations about racial classification. All of them are addressed in this article by Steve Sailer (which Zek has not read). The other 533.9 pages of the text (which Zek has not read) explain how Cavalli-Sforza produced the following 518 pages of genetic maps (which Zek has not looked at). Those maps, again, “[show] very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids… (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red)” (HGHG, p. 136).

One particularly silly objection by Cavalli-Sforza is that “[h]uman races are still extremely unstable entities in the hands of modern taxonomists, who define from 3 to 60 or more races… [T]he level at which we stop our classification is completely arbitrary.” (HGHG, p. 19). This philosophical fallacy also “proves” that height, weight, motion, and food do not exist, since there is no non-arbitrary dividing line between short and tall or thin and fat; nor is there a consensus on what the highway speed limit should be or what kinds of food taste good.

Despite the alleged arbitrariness of races, Cavalli-Sforza’s six genetic color maps (the world, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania) clearly depict black Africans, Khoisans (Bushmen and Hottentots), East Asians, south-west Asians, white Europeans similar to north Africans, native North Americans, native South Americans, and native Australians (HGHG, color section, Figures 1-6). To be precise, they clearly depict these races according to Cavalli-Sforza’s own captions. In fact, the only races from Richard Lynn’s Race Differences in Intelligence which are not clearly depicted are

  1. Arctic Peoples as clearly distinct from native North Americans — Cavalli-Sforza’s caption to Figure 5 suggests this is “probably because [Eskimos] inhabit a very thin area on the coast,”
  2. south-east Asians as clearly distinct from East Asians” — his caption to Figure 3 notes the “extremely dark color that makes Southeast Asia almost invisible,” and
  3. Pacific Islanders, who occupy an even tinier area, as clearly distinct from native Australians — the map of Australia shows four major regions, one of which is present in Australia but not New Guinea.

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of the Americas, from HGHG.

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of Africa, from HGHG.

Genes, Peoples, and Languages

Finally, we have Cavalli-Sforza’s 2000 book Genes, Peoples, and Languages (GPL), which I also have open on the desk beside me as I type this. Cavalli-Sforza reiterates his reservations about racial classification on pages 25-31. Then, knowing that any race denialist readers have already put down the book, satisfied — if they even bothered to pick it up in the first place — he gets back to the business of mapping human genes, in a way that happens to match up almost exactly with the everyday, hopelessly arbitrary racial classification scheme we all use (black, white, East Asian, and so on). His theories about human genetics have not changed significantly since he co-authored HGHG in 1994.

It is clear that Zek has not read GPL either, because instead of quoting it to support his case, he quotes an article in the Economist. This neatly illustrates Steve Sailer’s point: “What’s striking is how the press falls for his squid ink — even though Cavalli-Sforza can’t resist proudly putting this genetic map showing the main human races right on the cover” of HGHG. In fact, Zek appears to be quoting, not the Economist directly, but rather Wikipedia’s article on Cavalli-Sforza.

According to an article published in The Economist, the work of Cavalli-Sforza “challenges the assumption that there are significant genetic differences between human races, and indeed, the idea that ‘race’ has any useful biological meaning at all”. [Source: Wikipedia]

That article cites “Geoffrey Carr, ‘Survey: The proper study of mankind’, The Economist Vol. 356, no. 8177, pg. 11. (1 July 2000).” Compare Zek’s version:

according to The Economist (Vol. 356, no. 8177, pg. 11) [GPL] “challenges the assumption that there are significant genetic differences between human races, and indeed, the idea that ‘race’ has any useful biological meaning at all”. [Source: the world’s laziest researcher]

The find feature of any Internet browser will show that this is the only place Zek uses the abbreviation “pg.” for “page” (that is, the abbreviation used in the Wikipedia article), rather than his usual “p.” This tiny detail proves that the closest Zek came to reading his source, Genes, Peoples, and Languages, was copying and pasting from a Wikipedia article about the author that quotes an article in the Economist that interprets pages 25-31 of the actual source’s 228 pages as challenging the following:

  1. the existence of “significant genetic differences between human races,” which is demonstrated in HGHG
  2. “the idea that ‘race’ has any useful biological meaning at all,” which is validated by this video

Also note that Zek had previously written: “Apparently you [Unamused] never went to college since you still use [Wikipedia as a source]” (source). (Context: Zek was asserting that idiom is a synonym for rule of thumb. I provided the relevant Wikipedia pages for his edification.) Shortly before that, he wrote a post in which 80 percent of the citations were Wikipedia pages.

I leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as to the quality — and honesty — of Zek J Evets’ scholarship.

Read Full Post »

Today I begin a new series of short essays debunking race denialism. This series is distinguished by its eclectic approach: for each essay, I will analyze one major or recurring error, rather than picking apart every fabrication and fallacy in one text (as I did in this post, this post, and this post). This approach avoids a common annoyance in race denialist debunking: the constant need to point out the two most common errors, which are unsubstantiated assertions (claims without evidence or citation) and misrepresentations of the race realist position (straw man fallacies). A single text often contains dozens of these.

The subject of today’s essay will be familiar to many readers. I know I said you’d never see him on this blog again, but race denialist Zek J Evet’s latest attempt to refute race realism (ZSA, found here) is so dishonest and incompetent, I could not in good conscience ignore it. Furthermore, his post was written as a direct response to my criticisms; specifically, “in response to (certain criticisms) that [Zek has] not cited enough source material properly, particularly from experts in the field, nor engaged with sufficiently recent research contrary to the opposition’s position” (ZSA). This was indeed one of my criticisms. However, the problem persists in ZSA; two examples are sufficient.


Consider Zek’s claim that IQ measurements have low repeatability. For now, I will ignore all errors except the improper citing of sources.

Now, the assertion that IQ is overwhelmingly heritable is false. How do we know this? Because when measuring IQ we get different results with each test. Unlike when measuring someone’s height multiple times in a row, an IQ test score changes constantly. (It changes based on mood), (it changes based on diet). (it even changes when testing the same person twice in a row!) This leads to IQ having a low heritability when plugged into narrow-sense and broad-sense heritability equations due to having a low repeatability. Therefore, it is impossible to determine if it is heritable, and to what degree. [Source: ZSA]

Zek’s first source is a 1992 study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, “Effects of major depression on estimates of intelligence.” The authors found that “depressed patients had a pronounced deficit in performance IQ” but “were equivalent in verbal IQ” to the control group. It is not clear how the effects of major depressive disorder support the claim that IQ “changes based on mood.” Nor is this study relevant to the repeatability of IQ, which refers to “whether or not a trait varies when it is measured multiple times,” according to Zek’s own source, Mielke, Konigsberg, and Relethford’s Human Biological Variation (HBV, p. 242).

Finally, the authors of the cited study clearly believe their results are valid, which requires their IQ tests to be accurate and reliable; otherwise, they could not conclude that major depression affects IQ. The authors even believe IQ scores measure intelligence!

Zek’s second source is a 2011 story in the Daily Mail, “Danger of a junk food diet for children.” The story refers to a study by Pauline Emmett and Kate Northstone in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. There are two obvious problems with the study. First, the subjects were tested at age eight. As children age, IQ heritability increases and the effects of shared environment (including home diet) decrease (easily verified in the literature). Second, although the authors claim the IQ difference is environmental, they did not account for the effects of genes. It is perfectly plausible that more intelligent parents feed their children more nutritious food, especially since IQ correlates with socioeconomic status (SES) and low-SES families tend to have less nutritious diets (both also easily verified in the literature).

Again, the story and the study it cites are not relevant to the repeatability of IQ measurements. Again, the authors of the study clearly believe their results are valid, which requires their IQ tests to be accurate and reliable; otherwise, they could not conclude that poor diet affects IQ. The Daily Mail story even identifies IQ with “brainpower”!

Zek’s third source is a 2001 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, “Stability and Change in Children’s Intelligence Quotient Scores: A Comparison of Two Socioeconomically Disparate Communities.” This is supposed to support the claim that IQ scores change “when testing the same person twice in a row.” This claim is not precise, nor is it relevant to IQ heritability. No race realist claims (or believes) that an intelligence test — or any other kind of test — is 100 percent repeatable, nor is 100 percent repeatability necessary to study IQ heritability. Even human body weight fluctuates measurably over the course of any given day; are we to believe our bathroom scale provides no information about our health?

The only relevant part of the study is the following statement: “repeated IQ testing during childhood reveals considerable change within individuals.” This does not support the claim that IQ tests have low repeatability, only that they do not have an unattainable 100 percent reliability. Again, the authors clearly believe IQ tests accurately and reliably measure something important: “[d]espite controversies about the meaning and nature of general intelligence, few would dispute the claim that scores on standardized intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are strong predictors of important outcomes for members of both majority and minority groups.”

Thus all of Zek’s sources contradict rather than support his argument.

Human Biological Variation

In the next paragraph, Zek cites Human Biological Variation (HBV), although he refers to it incorrectly as “Human Variation” and neglects to mention the third author, John H. Relethford. Again, I will ignore all errors except for improper citing of sources.

Where am I getting this from? James H Mielke, and Lyle Konigsberg, two bio-anthropologists who wrote (along with other scientists) a basic introductory textbook entitled (Human Variation) [sic]. (Among others) this text is used in virtually every physical anthropology class for undergraduate students in America, and all of them contain the same/similar information regarding heritability. Feel free to pick up a copy of the book and flip over to page 60-ish to read the section on this subject yourself if you’re curious. [Source: ZSA]

Only one edition of HBV, the first, has anything relevant to IQ or heritability on page 60. In that edition (HBV1), the only reference to IQ between pages 55 and 65 (inclusive) is the following sentence.

Assortative mating does to some extent occur for quantitative traits such as stature and intelligence quotient (IQ) (Spuhler 1968, Vandenberg 1972), but the evidence for assortative mating for simple genetic loci is less substantial. [Source: HBV1, p. 60]

There is no reference to heritability between pages 55 and 65. Page 60 itself belongs to a section on assortative mating, in which “genotypes are more (or less) likely to mate than we would expect at random” (HBV1, p. 59). Thus the sentence quoted from page 60 essentially states that higher-IQ people tend to mate with higher-IQ people. It is not clear how this is relevant to the heritability of IQ. (If tall, slender people were more likely to mate with tall, slender people, would that mean height and weight are less heritable?) The authors certainly do not claim it is (HBV1, pp. 343-344). In fact, their statements imply that IQ is a quantitative trait at least partly determined by genotype (HBV1, pp. 60-61).

Interestingly enough, HBV (“used in virtually every physical anthropology class for undergraduate students in America” according to ZSA) has the following to say about race differences in intelligence.

There is little debate over the average 15-point difference [in IQ] between American blacks and whites. What is less clear, and vigorously debated, is the meaning of this difference. Is the black-white difference genetic, environmental, or both? [Source: HBV1, p. 347]

The authors clearly believe that IQ tests are accurate and reliable enough that a 15-point IQ gap must be accounted for. They also state that “[t]he available evidence suggests that IQ, like many complex traits, is affected by both genetics and environment and that a simple debate over nature versus nurture is useless” (HBV, p. 347). This is entirely consistent with the race realist theory, since race realists do not claim (or believe) that IQ is 100 percent genetic.

Thus, again, Zek’s source contradicts rather than supports his argument. I conclude that Zek has not actually read the literature he cites. This makes some of his statements quite embarrassing for him.

… I’ve finally completed this final round of sources and citations regarding the heritability of IQ…

These scholars [including L. Konigsberg of HBV] will be my main sources for the following discussion, along with other articles from less preeminent researchers in the field. …

Where am I getting this [i.e., low repeatability and low heritability of IQ] from? … a basic introductory textbook entitled (Human Variation) [sic]. … Feel free to pick up a copy of the book and flip over to page 60-ish to read the section on this subject yourself if you’re curious.

… I know! So amazing! My references include actual books, than you can hold in your hands and turn the pages, instead of another URL to nowhere. …

READ A BOOK! It ain’t that hard… for most people. [Source: ZSA]

Indeed, reading a book is not that hard for most people. For Zek J Evets, it evidently is.

Update: I attempted to notify Zek of this rebuttal on his blog, but he chose to delete the comment rather than respond.

Read Full Post »

Welcome back to Hatred, Unamusement Park’s five-part documentary on the War on Hate. In part one, we observed how anti-racists react when John Derbyshire pokes them with a stick, by which I mean: tells them about intelligence research that insufficiently flatters black people. In part two, with decidedly bigger fish to fry, we tiptoed up to the railroad tracks of gender feminism and slapped both hands on the third rail of rape responsibility — which, I suppose, would fry a very big metaphorical fish.

Today, there will be no frying of fish. Today, we take that big fish… and we grill it with salsa verde! Ay, caramba!

This picture made me so hungry, I stopped writing and went to a Mexican restaurant. After my meal, I had them all deported.

It’s a genetic epic: an Hispanic panic! Are they ethnic or organic? That third rail was galvanic.

I’m manic.

1. Definition, or: Hispanics — what are they and how do they work?

What are Hispanics, anyway? (Or should I say Latinos? Latino-Hispanics?) Are they a race? An ethnic group? What’s the difference? I thought races were social constructs anyway. Does that make ethnic groups super-social constructs? AAAAAAAH IT’S SO CONFUSING.

Let’s get the basics out of the way. (This is still much further than “anti”-racists ever get.) The term “Hispanic” has many meanings, of varying degrees of uselessness, complicated by the fact that no one can decide what term to use.

For now I’ll work with the most official definition of all, officially introduced by the US government in the official 1970 Census. (Back then, the term was “Hispanic.” By 2000, it had been updated to “Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.” Someone must have complained.) Currently, according to the US Office of Management and Budget, the term (actually, they use “Hispanic or Latino,” but let’s not quibble) means “a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”

By this definition, “Hispanic” is not a race. Not one little bit. (Someone should really explain that to Hispanic gangs, so they stop warring with black gangs.) According to the very official US Census, it is an ethnicity. It’s also the only ethnicity: you are either “Hispanic or Latino” or “Non-Hispanic or Latino.” (Self-identifying as both, a logical contradiction, is neither explicitly allowed nor prohibited.)

So what’s an ethnicity? According to Wikipedia:

a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture (often including a shared religion) and an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy. “…in general it is a highly biologically self-perpetuating group sharing an interest in a homeland connected with a specific geographical area, a common language and traditions, including food preferences, and a common religious faith.”

Other definitions are similar: “people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture” (Free Dictionary); people “sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like” (Dictionary.com); a classification “according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). But we know better than to think ethnicity is racial.

2. Heritage, or: Once upon a time in Mexico

Unfortunately, people “of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin” do not share a common language, a common culture, or a common religion — distinctive or otherwise. Anyone who thinks they do is more racist than I’ll ever be.

This image represents the extent of my knowledge of Mexican culture.

What, then, is this “heritage” they share? Surely not a genetic heritage! Although that’s usually what a “common ancestry or endogamy” implies… and it would be “highly biologically self-perpetuating”…

Other people, especially Hispanics, are confused too — frustrated, even. From Time magazine (March 29, 2010):

Many, if not most, Hispanics in the U.S. think of their ethnicity (also known as Latino) not just in cultural terms but in a racial context as well. It’s why more than 40% of Hispanics, when asked on the Census form in 2000 to register white or black as their race, wrote in “Other” — and they represented 95% of all the 15.3 million people in the U.S. who did so.

An even larger share of Hispanics, including my Venezuelan-American wife, is expected to report “Other,” “Hispanic” or “Latino” in the race section of the 2010 census forms being mailed to U.S. homes this month. What makes it all the more confusing if not frustrating to them is that Washington continues to insist on those forms that “Hispanic origins are not races.” If the Census Bureau lists Filipino and even Samoan as distinct races, Hispanics wonder why they — the product of half a millennium of New World miscegenation — aren’t considered a race too.

Miscegenation… that’s got something to do with races, right? Must not be important, then. We’ll leave it until later.

3. Race, or: (d) None of the above

The Washington Post (July 14, 2003) reports the same curious phenomenon.

Nearly 50 percent of Latinos who filed a Census report said they were white, according to the center’s report.

The 2.7 percent of Latinos who described themselves as black, most of them from the Caribbean, had lower incomes and higher rates of poverty than the other groups — despite having a higher level of education.

Among Latinos who described themselves as “some other race,” earnings and levels of poverty and unemployment fell between black and white members of their ethnic group. About 47 percent of Latinos said on Census forms that they are “some other race,” according to the report.

“The point of the report,” said John R. Logan, the report’s lead researcher, “is that if we take seriously the way people talk about their race, and the reality of their lives, we find that there are real distinctions between white and black Latinos and Hispanics who say they are some other race.” …

In the average metropolitan neighborhood where white Hispanics live, there are hardly any residents who are black Hispanic, the study found. The same is true in neighborhoods populated by Hispanics who say they are neither white nor black.

Fascinating. Apparently, “if we take seriously the way people talk about their race, and the reality of their lives” (but who would want to do that?), “we find that there are real distinctions between white and black Latinos and Hispanics who say they are some other race.”

Ask Hispanics about their race, and you get one of three answers, almost 100 percent of the time: white, black, or other. I wonder… what should we name this other race of Hispanics?

4. Culture, or: Nobody expects an Hispanic inquisition

Frankly, “Hispanic” does not seem to be a particularly useful or natural way to categorize people. After all, a black child of black parents, born in Puerto Rico but raised in Philadelphia, is Hispanic by definition. So are

  • a half-white, half-Asian child living in Mexico and immersed in Mexican culture,
  • anyone — anyone at all — who partakes of any part of Puerto Rican or Cuban or Brazilian or Spanish culture, and is inclined to label themselves “Hispanic,”
  • the more than 11,000 migrants kidnapped by Mexican gangs during one six-month period in 2010, including the 72 massacred last August,
  • the Mexicans crossing into the United States to kidnap Americans for ransom, gun them down, or rape them by the hundreds of thousands — or just waiting until Spring Break, and
  • the entire population of Spain.

It’s not just who we include, it’s why we include them. If we insist on making “Hispanic” about culture, then we’ve mashed together the cultures, past and present, of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, South America, Central America, and Spain; from soccer to bullfighting, from Rioplatense baroque architecture to ethnic cleansing. (Gang culture is culture too, you know.)

How is this a useful classification? Under this definition, what is the point of knowing whether or not someone is Hispanic? They could be talking about human sacrifice or invading England. It’s very confusing.

According to my browser history, "confused Hispanic doctor" is one of my most popular searches, right up there with "gratuitous French girl," "lazy black mugger," and "aroused Finnish rodeo clown."

Drop culture from the definition and it makes a little more sense: “a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish… origin, regardless of race.” Now at least we’re talking about people with a real biological ancestral link to a real geographical location. (Geography isn’t racist, right? Oh good.) There’s still something out of place, though… and I can’t quite —

5. SPAIN, or: The rain in Spain stays mainly on Hispanics

Spain? I wasn’t expecting a sort of — oh, I already used that joke.

Personally, I had never heard of the Spanish being Hispanic until now. Certainly a lot of people studying Hispanics prefer to differentiate between them and the Spanish — probably because the whole subject is confusing as hell (see above).

Queen Isabella II: quite clearly Hispanic.

There are about 25 million Spanish Americans, but that includes anyone “[t]racing their ancestry in Spain, including White Latin Americans of Spanish ancestry.” So it seems “Spanish American” means something like “white and Hispanic.” Of the 25 million “Spanish Americans,” only 350,000 are actually Spaniards; the rest are “White Hispanic or [White] Latino of Spanish ancestry.”

In America, then, we would be modifying the definition of “Hispanic” by less than two percent if we omitted the Spanish, reserving “Hispanic” for people of Latin American descent. (Of course, the change would be even tinier in Latin America.) Then our definition would at least match the Merriam-Webster’s definition of “Latino”: “a native or inhabitant of Latin America,” or “a person of Latin-American origin living in the United States.”

Now why would we want to omit the Spanish? Read on, sir or madam. Read on.

6. Miscegenation, or: “White girls, they’re pretty funny, sometimes they drive me mad./Black girls just wanna get fucked all night, I just don’t have that much jam”

(I considered calling it “Black Holes And Miscegenations” after my fourth favorite Muse album, but that’s just crass.)

What were those Hispanics complaining about in Time magazine, again? Someone ate their delicious tacos? No, that wasn’t it at all.

Hispanics wonder why they — the product of half a millennium of New World miscegenation — aren’t considered a race too.

Miscegenation means people of different races having children together. When you look at traits with strong genetic components in interracial (or mixed-race) children, you often find that the kids lie somewhere in between their parents. Skin color is one obvious example — look at Barack Obama (half white, half black). Intelligence is another (see Appendix A).

What does this have to do with Hispanics? That depends on which Hispanics we’re talking about. Who’s “the product of half a millennium of New World miscegenation”? Obviously not the Spanish Hispanics. Not the white or black or (almost nonexistent) Asian Hispanics, either. It’s those “none of the above” types who can’t figure out what race they are, but suspect it has something to do with Latin America.

The impeccably anti-racist Evergreen State College, in its celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, affirms that

[“Hispanic”] is not a racial identification. Hispanic is more of a regional identification like saying “North American.” What is a Hispanic? Hispanics come in all sizes and shapes. There are Jewish, Arab, Asian, Indian, Black and White Hispanics as well as brown.

I assume one of them is Jewish, one of them is Arab, one of them is Indian, and one of them is plain ol' brown?

Anyway, here is the relevant part:

What most Americans perceive as brown is actually a mix of Indian [i.e., Native (Central or South) American] and White. When Spanish explorers settled the Americas, they did not bring families with them like the English settlers did when they arrived in the U.S. The Spanish explorers were mostly soldiers and priests, etc. As a result, the soldiers intermarried with the Indian women they found in the countries they explored [quite a euphemism, that]. The result was a new racial identity known as mestizos. In time, mestizos became the middle class and the largest population.

White? Native American? Those sound suspiciously like races. A mix of the two? That sounds suspiciously sort of like a race.

7. Genetics, or: We meet again, Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza — but this time, it’s personal

As I pointed out in section 2 of “‘Scientific racism’ is actually valid science (part 2),” race exists, and it is genetic. The brown Hispanic sort-of race is not an exception. (Neither are the white European sort-of subraces — see Appendix B.) The following genetic map of the Americas is from Cavalli-Sforza’s unabridged History and Geography of Human Genes (1994). Now imagine mixing some white people into the middle bit and the part at the bottom. Boom, there’s your new race.

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of the Americas.

Scientists are working away on the genetic makeup of Hispanics. Harry Ostrer, professor of Pediatrics, Pathology and Medicine and director of the Human Genetics Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, has co-authored a 2010 paper, “Genome-wide patterns of population structure and admixture among Hispanic/Latino populations”, in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Hispanic/Latino populations possess a complex genetic structure that reflects recent admixture among and potentially ancient substructure within Native American, European, and West African source populations. …

Comparing autosomal, X and Y chromosome, and mtDNA variation, we find evidence of a significant sex bias in admixture proportions consistent with disproportionate contribution of European male and Native American female ancestry to present-day populations. …

Finally, using the locus-specific ancestry inference method LAMP, we reconstruct fine-scale chromosomal patterns of admixture. We document moderate power to differentiate among potential subcontinental source populations within the Native American, European, and African segments of the admixed Hispanic/Latino genomes.

Indeed, there is a lot of genetic variation in Latin America. A few centuries ago, some people were kind of obsessed with it.

From PNAS again (be careful with that acronym), “Admixture dynamics in Hispanics: A shift in the nuclear genetic ancestry of a South American population isolate” is a 2006 paper by the extremely racist and discriminatory anti-Hispanic scientists Gabriel Bedoya, Patricia Montoya, Jenny García, Ivan Soto, Stephane Bourgeois, Luis Carvajal, Damian Labuda, Victor Alvarez, Jorge Ospina, Philip W. Hedrick, and Andrés Ruiz-Linares, and edited by every race denialist’s favorite geneticist, Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (who secretly thinks they’re all nuts — sssshhhh, it’s a big racist conspiracy!).

Although it is well established that Hispanics generally have a mixed Native American, African, and European ancestry [I thought it had something to do with Spanish culture?], the dynamics of admixture at the foundation of Hispanic populations is heterogeneous and poorly documented. Genetic analyses are potentially very informative for probing the early demographic history of these populations. [Genetic histories? Clearly, this is KKK propaganda.] Here we evaluate the genetic structure and admixture dynamics of a province in northwest Colombia (Antioquia), which prior analyses indicate was founded mostly by Spanish men and native women.

Fascinating stuff. Too bad for them a bunch of internet geniuses already decided that race isn’t genetic. Time to give it up, Bedoya and Montoya.

8. The Hispanic race, or: “Lucky that I love a foreign man for/The lucky fact of your existence”

The 47 percent of American Hispanics who don’t believe they belong to any race known to man aren’t crazy. They aren’t extraterrestrials, either. There is definitely some kind of race here somewhere.

We could call it brown, but we’re going to confuse the Egyptians and the Indians (from India). We could call it mestizo, but that’s about mixing races. Sure, that’s how it all started, but given that the Aztecs and Conquistadors aren’t kicking around Mexico City anymore, isn’t it time we came up with a more accurate name for this relatively stable group of people, with their common ancestry and their endogamy and their highly biologically self-perpetuating nature? Besides, mestizo already means a bunch of different things to different people.

Let’s try something crazy: let’s call this race “Hispanic.” We’ll call people from Latin American countries… um… “Latin Americans.” And we’ll just forget about culture for now, because it’s very complicated and subjective and it’s not genetic, either. Put race and nationality together, and you’ve got

  • white Latin Americans, including white Latin American immigrants to the USA, whose kids would be white Americans (see below),
  • black Latin Americans (ditto),
  • Hispanic Latin Americans — you know, the ones you can tell are “Hispanic” just by looking at them,
  • white Americans,
  • black Americans,
  • Hispanic Americans — you know, the 47 percent of “Hispanic” Americans who get confused when you ask them what race they are,

and so on.

Now, is this a useful way to classify people? Well, it’s based on genetic histories. Not on how strongly a person identifies herself with Latin American or Spanish culture. Not on having some ancestor from some country once colonized by Spain — oh, except for those Spanish colonies in Africa and the East Indies, to which the Spanish also brought their culture, especially their religion.

My crazy definition is socioculturally useful, too. Basically, it gives us a way to describe those brown-skinned people who live in Mexico and Cuba and Brazil and America and other places, and all seem to have something in common — no, not a common language or culture or religion. It’s something passed down from parents to children, generation after generation. Something based on a common ancestry. Something that makes this subset of “Hispanics” particularly highly biologically self-perpetuating.

9. Hispanic: It’s a race now. Sort of.

Try to make sense of our world with any other definition of “Hispanic.” I dare you.

  • From the Wall Street Journal: “Univision Communications Inc. plans to launch at least two new Spanish-language cable channels in the U.S. in the next year, as an increasing number of competitors rush to cash in on the growth of the country’s Hispanic population. … it hopes to roll out the first new channel, built around soapy dramas called telenovelas… as early as this year’s third quarter. A new sports channel called Univision Deportes, focused on Mexican league soccer, is being readied for the first half of 2012.”

    Are they targeting Spaniards, or perhaps black Puerto Ricans?

  • From the Daily Caller: “Colorado, a state where Democrats have seen numerous victories in recent years, could be ready for a swing in 2012. … According to James Nava, writing at The Americano, the key to winning over Colorado’s Hispanic electorate is to ‘encourage family values, education and employment opportunities that will promote stability for Hispanic families and drastically reduce . . . child poverty.'”

    What does this have to do with Cuban culture?

  • From Texas GOP Vote: “The lawsuit brought on by the MALC [Mexican American Legislative Caucus] claims that the census numbers should not be used in Texas redistricting because they say the census underestimates the Hispanic population in south Texas.”

    Good for them! I’m glad to see the Mexican American Legislative Caucus is looking out for Hispanics like Alexis Bledel and other white Argentinian Americans.

  • From the same article: “2001 Houston Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, Alan Vera, emphasizes the concept that a Hispanic can be represented by a non-Hispanic, a black can be represented by a non-black, a white can be represented by a non white. He urges the members to consider creating three to five districts based upon community interests and not skin color.”

    Being an Hispanic, Alan Vera should really brush up on his Hispanic facts! (Hispanofacts?) It has nothing to do with race or skin color.

  • The Pew Hispanic Center doesn’t get it either: “Latinos are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone… Hispanics, on average, have lower levels of education and earn less than whites. Controlling for these factors, the differences in internet use, home broadband access and cell phone use between Hispanics and whites disappear. In other words, Hispanics and whites who have similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies.”

    Since we all know “Latino” is not a race, these sentences are meaningless.

  • The Pew Hispanic Center drops the ball again: “By their own reckoning, Latinos living in the United States do not have a national leader. When asked in an open-ended question to name the person they consider ‘the most important Latino leader in the country today,’ nearly two-thirds (64%) of Hispanic respondents said they did not know. An additional 10% said ‘no one.'”

    Excuse me, but the President and First Lady love Mexican food, which is a part of Mexican culture, which makes them both part Hispanic. (I estimate their Hispanicity at 7 percent, according to my Hispanometer.) So. There.

  • Check out all the smiling faces at the Hispanic College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. It’s not like those kids generally have similar hair and skin, or anything.
  • Hispanic Magazine‘s list of Latino icons is great, but it should really make an effort to include more white and black people. Otherwise it’s discriminating against a majority of American Hispanics. (Not to mention 100 percent of Spanish Hispanics.)
  • Don’t even get me started on La Raza. Someone should remind these so-called Hispanics they’re not a race! Sheesh.

Hispanic: It’s a race now. Sort of. That seems to be what the brown “Hispanics” want anyway. Who am I or you to deny them it?

Appendix A: Interracial High-School [genetic inter]Action!

Consider, if you will, the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, published in 1976 by Sandra Scarr and Richard A. Weinberg. They devised an experiment to see if the IQ gap between black and white children was genetic or environmental (i.e., caused by some combination of white racism and the lousy neighborhoods, schools, and homes of the poorer black children) or genetic. (They favored the environmental explanation.)

A number of upper-middle-class white parents in Minnesota with above-average IQs had adopted children of various races. There were adopted kids with two white parents (we’ll call those children “white”), two black parents (“black”), and one white and one black parent (“interracial”). When the researchers tested the adopted children’s IQs at age 7, the white children scored 112, on average; the interracial children, 109; and the black children, 97. That’s the same 15-point IQ gap between whites and blacks you observe today, with the interracial children scoring somewhere in the middle. Most of the adopted children were tested again at age 17. Their IQ scores, their GPAs, their class ranks, and their school aptitudes showed the same order: white > interracial > black. Correcting for the Flynn effect only makes the gaps larger, without changing the order. That’s exactly what we would expect if IQ depended more on genes than on shared (or family) environment.

It’s not the only transracial adoption study, of course. Dr. J. Philippe Rushton, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario and an expert on race and intelligence, put together a lot of different results in his book Race, Evolution, and Behavior.

This is what a hereditary trait looks like.

But surely we can find some way to blame the environment for this. Maybe the black children were treated differently at school, and that accounts for their lower scores? Well, in that case, an interracial child identified and raised as black should score like a black child (they experience similar discrimination), and not as an interracial child raised as interracial (they have similar genes). Luckily for us, some of the parents did mistakenly believe they were raising black children. Those children’s scores were not significantly different from the other interracial children. Even their own parents couldn’t tell they were half white all along, yet they performed like all the other half-white children.

It’s pretty convincing stuff, but because these findings aren’t flattering to black people, Rushton has been called a racist and a white supremacist, among other nasty (and obviously false) things.

He has also been called “an honest and capable researcher” (E.O. Wilson, father of sociobiology), “widely known and respected for the unusual combination of rigour and originality in his work” (Hans Eysenck, Rushton’s doctoral supervisor and the most cited living psychologist at the time of his death). In Rushton’s own words: “from an evolutionary point of view, superiority can only mean adaptive value — if it even means this. And we’ve got to realize that each of these populations [races] is perfectly, beautifully adapted to their own ancestral environments.” That would make all races equally superior. Hurray!

Would these findings be controversial if we were discussing interracial pea plants? We can only speculate.

Are you racist against peas? Consult this helpful chart.

Appendix B: EuroTrip

Check out this Gene Expression article, “Genetic map of Europe; genes vary as a function of distance.” It’s talking about this 2008 paper in Nature (arguably the most prestigious science journal in the world). From the paper:

Despite low average levels of genetic differentiation among Europeans, we find a close correspondence between genetic and geographic distances; indeed, a geographical map of Europe arises naturally as an efficient two-dimensional summary of genetic variation in Europeans. The results emphasize that when mapping the genetic basis of a disease phenotype, spurious associations can arise if genetic structure is not properly accounted for. In addition, the results are relevant to the prospects of genetic ancestry testing; an individual’s DNA can be used to infer their geographic origin with surprising accuracy–often to within a few hundred kilometres.

Don’t believe me? This is what you get if you plot the genetic variation between people from different countries, represented by colors. The axes have nothing to do with geography; they represent only the two largest components of genetic variation. Yet it looks quite like a map of Europe…

Plotting the two biggest independent dimensions of genetic variation.

And this is what you get when you take the data on genetic variation and project it back onto a map of Europe. You can predict geographic origin very accurately.

Projecting European genetic variation onto a map of Europe.

Read Full Post »

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

Jonathan Swift

Abagond (“500 words a day on whatever I can rip off”), eager to give his own take on the race realism/race denialism controversy, has “summarized” some of Zek’s ignorant, hateful, anti-scientific garbage in his Monday post, and the first of my two rebuttals of said garbage in his Tuesday post.

You can tell he’s going to be fair and balanced from the way he describes race realism (i.e., understanding the realities of race) as “scientific racism.” His idea of “summarizing” Zek is writing out his arguments for him, omitting the hateful screeching about made-up racial discrimination. Like Zek, he is unable to cite any evidence to back up those arguments. There are two particularly amusing cases.

Conspiracy theories revisited, or: The strange case of Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza

Zek’s rant:

Their insistence that race-realism and HBD are secretly true smacks of the self-same arguments used by Creationists to foist “intelligent design” into classrooms. They pretend that science is divided on the issue, and try to undermine the research done on the subject, portraying people’s work as quite the opposite of what they say it is. And the whole time, yelling, raving, that the establishment is trying to cover it up!

They talk of conspiracy theories like a crazy person. Like some ancient McCarthyite resurrected from the depths of the 50’s Red Scare. They call us indoctrinated, and yet cannot see the blatant mantra’s echoing from their very core. Like a zombie, moaning for… BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIINNNSSSS!

It’d be sad if it weren’t so offensive.

Abagond’s “summary”:

The reason scientific racists give for trusting, say, Steve Sailer, a computer salesman, over Cavalli-Sforza, a professor of human genetics who has, like, studied race, is, wait for it, that people like Cavalli-Sforza secretly agree with them but are too afraid to say so in public! Have they gone mad?

Have we, indeed, gone mad? It will soon become clear that neither Zek nor Abagond has actually read anything Cavalli-Sforza has written about race. This is quite typical. Race denialists simply do not know anything about race. That is why they are unable to cite sources for their claims.

Here is a good introduction to what Steve Sailer, computer salesman extraordinaire, notes is “a politically-correct smoke screen that Cavalli-Sforza regularly pumps out to keep his life’s work — distinguishing the races of mankind and compiling their genealogies — from being defunded.” But don’t take a computer salesman’s word for it: let’s read what Cavalli-Sforza (“a professor of human genetics who has, like, studied race”) has to say about Cavalli-Sforza!

Here is his description of his own genetic map of human races in his 1994 book The History and Geography of Human Genes:

The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids… (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia.

Cavalli-Sforza's genetic map of the world. Clearly, races do not exist.

He even put the damn thing on the cover. But remember, Steve Sailer bad!

Cavalli-Sforza’s team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the “genetic distances” separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danes, and the Japanese 59 times. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish. (The genetic distance between Japanese and Bantus is even greater.)

Cavalli-Sforza good!

The most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans…

Here is more about Cavalli-Sforza who, it should be noted, used to believe that, like, races are subspecies. But in 1994, he realized he was wrong: “[t]he classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise for reasons that were already clear to Darwin.” That’s why he wrote, in the same year, that his “color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents, and that “[t]he most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans.”

From that link, here is Steve Sailer on Cavalli-Sforza and human evolution hungering for brains:

In the History and Geography of Human Genes, Cavalli-Sforza calculates the surprisingly short time in which a version of a gene that leads to more offspring can spread from 1% to 99% of the population. If a rare variant of a gene produces just 1% more surviving offspring, it will become nearly universal in a human group in 11,500 years. But, if it provides 10% more “reproductive fitness,” it will come to dominate in just 1,150 years. A classic example is the gene for lactose-tolerance. It was almost nonexistent until humans started milking cattle about 10,000 years ago. Today, its prevalence ranges from negligible among East Asians to 97% among Danes.

Are we clear on why Steve Sailer is a sad, offensive, yelling, raving, crazy, ancient McCarthyite zombie creationist for thinking that Cavalli-Sforza might be on our side after all?

Credentials, or: I think you left out the part where he tells an Asian theoretical physicist that he just “REALLY wants to be white”

Zek’s rant:

They’re not geneticists, biologists, anthropologists, or any kind of scientist. They’re fucking Regular Joe Shmoe, attempting to debate issues which are so complicated that most people need a PhD to understand them. … And the only credentials these guys have is some bullshit diploma-factory degree in Armchair Academics. … NONE OF THESE GUYS HAS ANY EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD! Not a single one of them is a biologist, geneticist, or forensic anthropologist. Only one is even in a “hard science” field, and it’s not even remotely related! I mean, don’t you think that if you’re going to make extremely controversial assertions that race, genetics, and IQ are interrelated you should… Oh, I don’t know… Have some expertise in the fucking field of bio-anthro-genetics!? But hey, maybe that’s just me. … Steve Sailer needs to sit his racist ass down, and let the Grown-Ups talk. Just because you were once a movie critic for The American Conservative does not make you an expert in bio-genetics. Please, go find someone to sell a computer, since that’s what you actually do for a living. … Meanwhile, Murray and Herrnstein need to get over everyone hating on their work, and realize they’re just a couple of racists in-denial. … As for Steve Hsu… Oy vey. That guy, you can tell REALLY wants to be White. But listen here Stevie… YOU’RE NOT WHITE. Stop trying to be. And stop being a racist douchebag. Seriously. You’re doing it wrong anyways.

Three of the “Armchair Academics” in question are professional psychologists.

It should be noted that Zek himself, in his even stupider follow-up rant, is happy to cite Paula S. Rothenberg, who has no scientific credentials; “Jarred” Diamond, a professor of geography and physiology; Noam Chomsky, a linguist and radical activist; Richard Lewontin, who actually has a race-related fallacy named after him; Cornel West, who has no scientific credentials, but he’s black so he must be an expert; Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist (I thought they had no expertise?); James Baldwin, a black novelist; Frantz Fanon, a psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary; Jefferson Fish, another psychologist; Martin Luther King Jr., a plagiarist (so Abagond is in good company); Edward Said, a literary theorist, of all things; Tim Wise, a fanatical anti-white bigot who believes that family is a social construct; and dozens more like them. Whether this is the product of organic brain damage or mere hypocrisy, we cannot yet say.

It should go without saying that his enormous list is unaccompanied by any explanation of just what those people did to support what part of Zek’s rant.

Abagond’s “summary”:

Why in the world should we trust these people over biologists and anthropologists, the very people who study these things for a living?

I think you forgot psychologists. Oh, and black novelists!

The single most obvious fact about race

Here are two of Abagond’s more amusing omissions from his “summary” of my post.

Me: “Good grief, race is biological? That can’t possibly be true! If it were, then black people would always have black babies, Asian people would always have Asian babies, and white people would always — oh.”

Abagond’s summary: n/a

Race: still clearly not a hereditary (genetic) trait.

As for his summary of my section 4 on Zek’s conspiracy theories (“No argument of substance given.”): see above, Abagond. See above.

Racism, or: No wonder a black man can’t get elected President!

Less amusing, but still kind of funny in a stupid way, is his attempt to suppress the truth about racism in America, by omitting the entirety of my demonstration that it is dead. You see, black author and political commentator Thomas Sowell has found that

in 1969, while American-born blacks were making only 62 percent of the average income for all Americans, blacks from the West Indies made 94 percent. Second-generation immigrants from the West Indies made 15 percent more than the average American. Although they are only 10 percent of the city’s black population, foreign-born blacks — mostly from the West Indies — own half of the black-owned businesses in New York City. Their unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and many times lower than that of American-born blacks. West Indian blacks look no different from American blacks; white racists are not likely suddenly to set aside their prejudices when they meet one [emphasis mine]. (Jared Taylor, Paved With Good Intentions, p. 25)

“They’re not just blacks, they’re immigrant blacks,” I noted, “yet racism doesn’t seem to affect them! How curious. The truth is, you can’t scare black people into failing tests, and the racism that exists in America today is designed to artificially raise black performance, not lower it.”

I guess his self-imposed 500-word limit got in the way of academic honesty.

Spectacular idiocy

Race-denialist Jews and blacks: a curious alliance.

This leads me to a great example of how people like Abagond and Zek misrepresent race realism. According to that theory, European (or Ashkenazi) Jews are one the world’s most intelligent ethnic groups. But we don’t think all European Jews are intelligent — that’s just silly! Every race is capable of producing spectacular idiots.

Now, lest I be accused of committing an ad hominem fallacy, let me point out that Zek actually is a spectacular idiot, a claim which I will now prove. On March 9, Zek wrote: “I’m sorry, but in SCIENCE, if you have an ‘exception’ to the ‘rule’, then you’ve basically just disproved yourself.” On April 8, he wrote: “You do realize exceptions PROVE the rule, right?”

I pointed this out to him.

“Rule of thumb and rule of science are two different concepts,” he declared. “I’m sure even your limited grasp of the material can handle that.” Ouch!

I thanked him for proving my point: when an exception hurts his case, he calls it a “rule of thumb” — exception proves the rule. When he thinks an exception helps his case, he calls it a “rule of science” — exception disproves the rule. (Of course, his ludicrous “exceptions,” e.g. smart black people who can’t dance, are irrelevant to race realism, because we do not claim that all black people are anything. Average IQ is just that: an average, taken over millions of individuals from all points in the spectrum of human intelligence.)

I also noted that “the exception that proves the rule” is an idiom, not a rule of thumb. This resulted in the following gem:

ZEK: Also, apparently don’t know the definition for idiom OR rule of thumb…

The former [“idiom”]: “a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words”

The latter [“rule of thumb”]: “a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory”

P.S. I just realized you might not have gotten the point from my listing the definitions together like that.


If you can’t believe your eyes, he just wrote out the full definition of “idiom” (e.g., kick the bucket) and the full definition of “rule of thumb” (e.g., the financial Rule of 72 for estimating investment doubling times), and declared that they are synonyms. (Note that this is completely different from saying that the expression “a rule of thumb” is itself an idiom, which is true but totally irrelevant.)

Am I making this up to make him look stupid? Unfortunately not. “Let me explain,” he offered, “synonyms are two words or phrases which have similar meanings. A rule of thumb IS an idiom” (as opposed to saying the term “rule of thumb” is an idiom). Hoo boy.

Incidentally, according to Zek, his definitions are “[f]rom the Oxford English dictionary. Not Wikipedia. Apparently you [that’s me] never went to college since you still use it.” Please note that Zek himself links Wikipedia four times in his first race denialist post (there is, in fact, only one cited source other than Wikipedia, and it is a website entitled Steve Sailer Sucks), and four times in his follow-up post.

What they don’t seem to understand is that when I use words — even words like stupid, hateful, ignorant, and prejudiced — it is because I know what they mean, and I know that they apply.

Abagond and Zek J Evets are stupid, hateful, ignorant, and prejudiced. They will not appear on this blog again.

Read Full Post »

Highlights: in section 2, read why race is genetic. In section 13, read why intelligence tests are accurate and not culturally biased. In section 16, read why race denialism is politics, not science, in the words of a professional forensic anthropologist.

Tonight we take a break from the futility of arguing logically with feminists, and return to the equally thankless task of explaining to race denialists why they are so very, very wrong. Our subject, again, is hateful, ignorant, prejudiced blogger Zek J Evets. Last time I debunked every claim in his post, “21st Century Scientific Racism.” Today I will do the same with his even stupider follow-up, “Deconstructing Scientific Racism in the 21st Century.”

1. Introduction: Pots and kettles

So why did he need to follow up on the subject of “scientific racism,” anyway?

ZEK: [S]ome people have asked me — or challenged me — to discuss this issue from a more “scientific” perspective, as opposed to my more emotional responses.

Naturally, I called BS on those who pretend they’re objective to my subjective, because that’s an ad hominem dismissal being shoveled through a strawman argument, ignoring the fact that nobody is completely objective, and the so-called “race-realists” are just as influenced by their emotions as I am — only they refuse to admit it.

First of all, that’s not what “straw man argument” means. Second, it’s not an ad hominem fallacy, either. Zek’s opponents are right to point out that he did nothing but shriek insults, offering no rebuttal to the claims of race realists, some of which I outlined in my post. Here is the proof, in Zek’s own words: a summary of his first post.

ZEK: The debate is basically Us & Them. Race realist HBDers versus regular folks. … THEY ARE ALL FULL OF SHIT… fuckwits… racist douchebags… ignorance… idiocy… incapable of thinking outside the dogmatic little box they’ve dug their ostrich-like heads into… ignorant pseudo-science… fucking Regular Joe Shmoe… some bullshit diploma-factory degree in Armchair Academics… NONE OF THESE GUYS HAS ANY EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD! … all a bunch of bullshitters… neo-scientific racism… [citing sources] like Westboro Baptists recite homophobic slurs at military funerals… special brand of racist… dogmatic indoctrination… Steve Sailer needs to sit his racist ass down, and let the Grown-Ups talk. … Please, go find someone to sell a computer, since that’s what you actually do for a living. [Note: Zek is a college student.] … racists in-denial… listen here Stevie [Stephen Hsu]… YOU’RE NOT WHITE. Stop trying to be. And stop being a racist douchebag… hypocrisy is staggeringly blinding… smacks of the self-same arguments used by Creationists to foist “intelligent design” into classrooms… yelling, raving, that the establishment is trying to cover it up! They talk of conspiracy theories like a crazy person… some ancient McCarthyite resurrected from the depths of the 50’s Red Scare… Like a zombie, moaning for… BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIINNNSSSS!… they’re so full of racist shit, it’s hard to separate the hater from the hatred… pig-fuckers.

Third, Zek himself constantly commits straw man fallacies (that’s lying about what your opponent said — see my previous post and below) and ad hominem fallacies (that’s calling your opponent names — see above).

ZEK: … I am ready to go into the exact, bio-anthropological problems with HBD, “race-realism” and refute them at the scientific level.

Be warned, all ye who enter here: this is going to be a science lesson, so pay attention!

Be warned: everything Zek is about to say is politicized pseudoscience.

2. Race exists, and it is genetic

ZEK: First, let’s begin with the definition of Race.

There isn’t one. Genetically speaking, race cannot be traced. There is no “gene” (or group of genes) that codes for Blackness, or Whiteness, or any other ethnicity, at least, none that we know of.

Wrong. Just because no single gene codes for race, doesn’t mean race isn’t genetic. No single gene codes for height, yet height is 60 to 80 percent heritable. Zek’s argument is so flawed, you can use it to “prove” that Chinese people are just as tall as Norwegians. (They’re not.) And just because we haven’t identified all the genes that play a role in determining race, doesn’t mean race isn’t genetic. That’s true of practically every hereditary trait. (Turns out genetics is hard.) It doesn’t make those traits less hereditary.

ZEK: The International Human Genome Project confirmed this when their work showed that humans are 99.99% the same. Even people so unrelated as to be from completely opposite continents!

It’s really too bad Zek couldn’t be bothered to do any research. (That’s why he doesn’t cite any sources.) Let’s get a more accurate picture of human genetic variation from Nature Genetics:

The average proportion of nucleotide differences between a randomly chosen pair of humans… is consistently estimated to lie between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 1,500 [about seven to ten times higher than Zek claims]. … The [1 in 1,000] value for Homo sapiens can be put into perspective by considering that humans differ from chimpanzees at only 1 in 100 nucleotides, on average. Because there are approximately three billion nucleotide base pairs in the haploid human genome, each pair of humans differs, on average, by two to three million base pairs.

So the average difference from a human to a chimpanzee is only ten to fifteen times bigger than the average difference between two humans. That alone should tell you how little we learn about human genetic variation from throwing around numbers like “1 in 1,000.” Tiny genetic differences make a huge difference to us. (Unless that’s racist against chimpanzees?)

Of the 0.1% of DNA that varies among individuals, what proportion varies among main populations? Consider an apportionment of Old World populations into three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe), a grouping that corresponds to a common view of three of the ‘major races’. Approximately 85–90% of genetic variation is found within these continental groups, and only an additional 10–15% of variation is found between them…

It is tempting to conclude that race isn’t genetic, because the genetic variation within races is greater than the variation between races. However, this is a fallacy. Lewontin’s Fallacy, to be precise, identified by the statistician, geneticist, and evolutionary biologist A.W.F. Edwards. From that article:

it is nonetheless possible to classify individuals into different racial groups with an accuracy that approaches 100% when one takes into account the frequency of the alleles at several loci at the same time. This happens because differences in the frequency of alleles at different loci are correlated across populations — the alleles that are more frequent in a population at two or more loci are correlated when we consider the two populations simultaneously. Or in other words, the frequency of the alleles tends to cluster differently for different populations.

If you look at genetic clusters, instead of blindly comparing average genetic differences between people (recall that we are 99 percent similar to chimpanzees, according to that thinking), you find races. Edwards explains:

[t]here is nothing wrong with Lewontin’s statistical analysis of variation, only with the belief that it is relevant to classification. It is not true that “racial classification is… of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance”. It is not true, as Nature claimed, that “two random individuals from any one group are almost as different as any two random individuals from the entire world” and it is not true, as the New Scientist claimed, that “two individuals are different because they are individuals, not because they belong to different races” and that “you can’t predict someone’s race by their genes”.

Don’t take my word for it. You can actually look at the genetic clusters yourself. From Gene Expression at Discover Magazine, check out “Genetic variation within Africa (and the world)”. There’s a great graph from a 2009 paper by Tishkoff et al. in Science, entitled “The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans” (Figure 1 — click for larger version). It’s

a three dimensional PCA [principal components analysis] plot. It has the first, second and third principal components of variation. In other words, the three largest independent dimensions in terms of explanatory power of genetic variation. Panel A includes all world populations, and panel B just Africans.

Figure 1: Genetic variation between races. Source: Tishkoff et al. (2009).

I know, I know: it hardly stands up to Zek’s Microsoft Paint picture. I’m doing my best here.

Geneticists, medical doctors, and statisticians agree,

an epidemiologic perspective [studying health and disease on the population level] on the issue of human categorization in biomedical and genetic research… strongly supports the continued use of self-identified race and ethnicity. … [The authors] demonstrate here that from both an objective and scientific (genetic and epidemiologic) perspective there is great validity in racial/ethnic self-categorizations, both from the research and public policy points of view.

That’s why acknowledging the existence of biological race can help doctors treat patients.

The American Society of Human Genetics reports that

[g]enetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers [in a study of the genetics of hypertension] produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories. Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity. On the other hand, we detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population.

Again, that’s a 99.86 percent success rate, comparing gene clusters to self-reported race. Are you starting to feel a little cheated by the shallowness of Zek’s 99.99 percent “analysis”?

Why do I even need to prove this? Zek’s ideas contradict common sense. See Figure 2.

Figure 2: I wonder if race is a hereditary trait?

3. Racial stereotypes: it’s okay when he uses them

Well, that takes care of the first six sentences. Let’s move on.

ZEK: … even more importantly, the reason there is no biological or genetic definition for race in humans is because race in humans is not used in a biological or genetic sense.

Race is used as a sociocultural construct, to define and categorize people from different geographic areas based on morphological features (skin-color, nose shape, hair texture) and social stereotypes.

If you’re having trouble deciphering the logic here, that’s perfectly normal. You can’t actually conclude that race doesn’t have a genetic basis, just because ordinary people don’t use genetic analysis to tell what race someone is. Of course, if they did, they would get the same results exactly. (Remember that “near-perfect [99.86%] correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories.”)

ZEK: When we think of “Black people” the stereotypes go: dark skin, kinky hair, but we also think of good dancers, musicians, aggressive, not smart, very poor, awesome at sports, and lots of other descriptions which have nothing to do with a person’s genes. Even features like dark skin and kinky hair are not unique to Black people; these characteristics could exist in various ethnic and racial groups. For instance, Sephardic Jews have dark skin and kinky hair, and so do Aboriginals. Good dancers could also mean Hispanic people, or Greeks, or Whirling Dervishes. These categories are not delineated enough for scientific experimentation — indeed, you cannot separate ANY of them from their cultural context — that is the environment that we find them in — to see which ones unique to certain populations. And equally important is that they can apply to any number of groups.

Notice how he simply declares that genes have nothing to do with athletic ability or aggression or intelligence. He is wrong, of course. He is obviously wrong about athletic ability. He is also wrong about aggression: genes are known to play a significant role, especially in adolescent delinquency and violence (remind you of any race in particular?). See Guo, Roettger, and Cai (2008), “The Integration of Genetic Propensities into Social-Control Models of Delinquency and Violence among Male Youths,” American Sociological Review, 73: 543–568. (See how easy that was, Zek? At least, it’s easy to cite sources when you have sources…)

We will look at intelligence in detail in sections 10–13. For now it is enough to note that he asserts there is absolutely no genetic component to six things (and unspecified “lots of other descriptions”) without presenting any evidence whatsoever. That is because there is no evidence for any of those claims, nor will there ever be. The first law of behavior genetics is that all human behavioral traits are heritable. (The first rule of Fight Club is… not relevant.)

He also seems to think that if Jews have the same hair as blacks (they don’t) and Hispanics are just as good at dancing as blacks (?), that means black people don’t exist. And yet he’s tacitly admitted that only black people have the specific combination of traits we use to identify them, such as skin color, hair texture, and bone structure (see section 9), all of which are genetic.

Of course, real scientists don’t consider dancing ability or poverty when they classify races. They consider genes, and the traits determined by those genes. Genes do not have a “cultural context,” and they do not “apply to any number of groups” (section 2), so Zek’s supposed cultural traits are all perfectly irrelevant.

4. Zek admits that race is genetic

ZEK: Yet we can, with a high degree of certainty, identity people of different races. How is this so? This reveals another important component of race: the link to geographic location. We tie race to human groups that exist in certain areas of the planet. Black people come from Africa. White people come from Europe. Hispanic people from the Americas, etc and so on.

This is why we can identify people of different races, because we can link their features to ancestral populations in certain geographic areas.

Wait, we can “link their features to ancestral populations”? So their features, which he says we use to identify their race, come from ancestral populations, which makes them hereditary. In other words: racial features are genetic.

5. Evolution I: Slow and steady creates the race

ZEK: But as the world changes, so do races. Today’s races are not the same as races a thousand years ago. Evolution is always occurring, according to Darwin, and as such, human variation is as much a factor in how we differ from each other today as we do from people who lived hundreds of years ago.

Yes, evolution is indeed always occurring. And Africans were reproductively isolated from Europeans for many thousands of years (because, essentially, cavemen didn’t drive cars). When sub-populations of a species (not to be confused with sub-species) are reproductively isolated, they begin to diverge, due to (1) founder effects, (2) genetic drift, (3) random mutations (note that gene flow is prevented by geographic separation), and (4) adaptation (sometimes called “survival of the fittest”). That Europeans and Africans remain genetically indistinguishable after that many generations apart is absurdly unlikely.

Go ahead, ask Zek to explain exactly how he got from (a) “[t]oday’s races are not the same as races a thousand years ago,” and (b) “human variation is as much a factor in how we differ from each other today,” all the way to (c) “[g]enetically speaking, race cannot be traced.” Because I’m pretty sure he’s missing a few steps in there…

ZEK: Hold on, wait a second! I said above that we’re all 99.99% the same… How can there be variation then? Well, that’s the rub of it: we’re obviously the same species, because we can reproduce with one another, and we’re obviously not sub-species, because because all groups of humans interbreed naturally without needing to live in a crowded city. But we do exhibit variation: genetic variation and physical variation. We don’t all look the same, and the small percentage of our genes that don’t match also differ in some interesting ways.

None of this is disputed by race realists. All of it contradicts his earlier claims about human genetic variation.

ZEK: So while we haven’t evolved to the point of being too different, we do still change over time. This is based on Stephen Jay Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium, which means that species tend to change only a little over time, and then in brief moments experience rapid evolutionary changes.

Gould was biased by his radical politics, but it’s not particularly important in light of the following: Zek simply declares, without supporting evidence, that although the races have been evolving in isolation, they were evolving too slowly to create any real differences between races… even though races show “genetic variation and physical variation”… even though “we can identify people of different races” by their ancestral features. Hm.

And how does he know they didn’t experience these “rapid evolutionary changes”? (The words “citation needed” spring constantly to mind.) And how does he reconcile this with genetic clusters? (Trick question: he doesn’t know what they are.)

6. Evolution II: Under selection pressure, or: I adapt to the rains down in Africa

ZEK: Variation is one of the keys to our species’ survival. It helped us survive disease, disaster, and even other animals. Natural selection constantly puts pressures on us that shape our physiology, and the mechanism in us that allows this is our genetics.

Race-realists and HBDers like to think that this means humans have evolved into biologically grounded, genetically distinct races, and that this affects traits like aggressiveness, and especially IQ.

Sadly, for them, this is not the case.

Indeed, for thousands of years, Africans have been subjected to the selection pressures of Africa, Europeans to the selection pressures of Europe, Asians to the selection pressures of Asia, and so on. Is it possible that’s why Africans have a genetic resistance to one kind of malaria — a tropical parasite — but Europeans don’t?

Not to worry, Zek has a funny picture of a narwhal to distract you from exactly this kind of inconvenient question.

7. Evolution III: Geographical separation anxiety

ZEK: Sure, we’ve evolved over time, and thus we are always changing. But race is not a “fixed” category. A Black person today has very little in common with a Black person a thousand years ago other than that they both belong to the same species. Why is this? Because of the same theory that HBDers and race-realists use to justify their claims: evolution.

How is comparing black people today to black people thousands of years ago, relevant to comparing black people today to white people today? Answer: it’s not. The race realist position, which happens to also be the consensus of mainstream evolutionary biologists, is that when the Europeans went to Europe, and the Africans went to (or stayed in) Africa, they were genetically very similar, but over the next few thousand years, they diverged. Of course people today are different from people in the past; that’s necessary for the race realist position, not contradictory to it.

ZEK: Remember! Race as we define it is not based on your genes, but on phenotypic and sociocultural factors.

Remember! He has failed to show that race is not based on genes, and he has never even tried to show that it’s sociocultural. (If that were true, you could literally turn black people into white people by treating them differently. Does this sound like a plausible description of the universe we live in?)

ZEK: [Race] is based on morphological/physiological/phenotypic characteristics, and geographic ancestry. (Which is still problematic, since all humans originated from Africa in the first place.)

And those morphological/physiological/phenotypic characteristics are known to have hereditary components. And if you inherit traits from your ancestors, then those traits are genetic.

ZEK: Ancestry is basically where you can trace certain markers in your DNA to. There are some genes which have a higher frequency in certain groups than in others, and are used to link you to various groups in human history.

Very good! Just replace “groups” by “races,” and you’ve got it!

ZEK: One of the most common methods of doing that is with Mitochondrial DNA.

Now, the problem with this is that by tracing ancestry, we can only point to where your ancestors came from — not what they looked like. We don’t really know. A good example of this is how humans are taller now than in previous generations ([Scientific American] has a great article) and this has a lot to do with access to better healthcare, nutrition, and other environmental factors.

Basically, tracing ancestry only gives you a location for a distant ancestor, and doesn’t inextricably link race to a gene, or genes. Nor does it help us at all in determining how races looked back then.

Again, race realists — and evolutionary biologists — believe that Europeans and Africans (to use the most relevant example) looked about the same when they separated geographically. Apparently, they diverged evolutionarily, because… wait for it… white people don’t look like black people, and their kids don’t look like black people’s kids. Nothing Zek wrote here contradicts anything I’ve written above.

ZEK: They could have looked just like different races do now, but that is unlikely, as we know for a fact that human physiology has been changing rapidly, even though genetically we’ve been rather slow to exhibit a wide spectrum of variation in our DNA.

If the various human races have been changing slowly genetically, but rapidly in physiology (our bodies), then that means that very small genetic differences can mean big differences in our bodies. So why, again, did his false 99.99 percent statistic prove human beings are all one big race?

8. Taxonomy, or: Goddamn it, now I’ve got Toto stuck in my head

ZEK: And so we’re back to the problem of: how do we define race?

Here he indulges in some rambling about insects. It is not relevant.

I bless the rains down in — oh, he’s back.

ZEK: Race is a taxonomic classification, meaning it is a theoretical construct too. The word “race” represents a category in a taxonomy, and so it’s essentially a made-up word that stands for what we believe a race is.

I’m pretty sure a “made-up word” in a “taxonomic classification” can’t make you more susceptible to diseases. But I’m also totally sure Zek can find some way to blame white people for black people getting Alzheimer’s disease.

There follows more irrelevant information about taxonomy.

9. Forensic anthropology, or: CSI Serengeti

ZEK: Race doesn’t match-up well over time, and even forensic anthropologists can’t determine what race a person was with any accuracy past a certain point in history, and the people they can identify the race of need to have only a minimum level of decomposition. And even then their accuracy is only 80%, and significantly less for people of mixed-race.

Interesting that he doesn’t cite any sources. I checked it out myself, and discovered that forensic anthropologists “can determine race (e.g. Asian, African, or European ancestry) from skeletal remains with a high degree of accuracy by conducting bone analysis.” The source is George W. Gill, a professional forensic anthropologist — not that I don’t trust Zek, a college student who doesn’t understand genetics or evolution (see above) or know what a correlation is (see below). It just pays to be careful.

I recommend that you read the whole thing. Gill (sadly, not Grissom) writes:

I happen to be one of those very few forensic physical anthropologists who actually does research on the particular traits used today in forensic racial identification (i.e., “assessing ancestry,” as it is generally termed today). … I have found that forensic anthropologists attain a high degree of accuracy in determining geographic racial affinities (white, black, American Indian, etc.) by utilizing both new and traditional methods of bone analysis. … No forensic anthropologist would make a racial assessment based upon just one of these methods, but in combination they can make very reliable assessments, just as in determining sex or age. …

… I have been able to prove to myself over the years, in actual legal cases, that I am more accurate at assessing race from skeletal remains than from looking at living people standing before me. So those of us in forensic anthropology know that the skeleton reflects race, whether “real” or not, just as well if not better than superficial soft tissue does. The idea that race is “only skin deep” is simply not true, as any experienced forensic anthropologist will affirm.

10. I still do not think that word means what you think it means

ZEK: So now that we’ve got our working definition of race, let’s start with disproving the scientific racist claims.

Philippe Rushton is a popular, and oft quoted scientist in the realm of scientific racism. He says that IQ is heritable at 0.8, which is basically 80%. This means that the bulk of a person’s intelligence is determined by the genes they inherit from their parents and ancestors.

I feel a little embarrassed on Zek’s behalf. That’s not what heritability is. It’s also not what Rushton says. He says (and the intelligence research agrees) that the heritability of IQ is 0.7 to 0.8 in adults. It increases as you age, which is why Zek’s own link says “[d]ifferent studies have measured the heritability of IQ to be anywhere from 40% to 80%.”

By the way, 0.8 is exactly 80 percent, by the definition of the word “percent.” Speaking of percentages, what’s your confidence in Zek’s science?

Anyway, what Rushton’s findings mean is that 70 to 80% of the difference between one adult’s intelligence and another adult’s intelligence is caused by the differences between their genes. Talking about “the bulk,” or 80 percent, “of a person’s intelligence” makes no sense.

11. Gloss

ZEK: [Heritability is a proportion] that describes phenotypic variation between a population that is due to genetic differences. This also includes environmental factors.

It is simply not true that heritability “includes environmental factors,” which Zek would know if he had actually read his own link. It’s rather like saying “even numbers are numbers that are divisible by two, and include odd numbers.” And “between a population” is grammatically incorrect, but I’m starting to feel guilty for pointing out all these errors.

However, Rushton makes his first mistake in that IQ is a trait with low repeatability. That is, IQ can be measured over and over again, and different results will occur. … You can test someone over and over again, in a relatively short time-span, and you’ll receive different results. This requires you to “gloss” these results into an average, which is then correlated to the individual’s IQ.

The problem is that a “gloss” doesn’t reflect true IQ, only how well someone can take a test over and over again.

I no longer feel guilty. Those are all blatant lies. To disprove them, all I had to do was type “repeatability, psychology” into Google and look at the first hit: an introductory psychology textbook. (I hope Zek studies harder for his exams than he does for these debates!) Psychologists calculate the “test-retest reliability” exactly so that they can compensate for the different results people get by taking the test over and over. What do they find?

The WISC, Stanford-Binet, Progressive Matrices, and other commonly used intelligence tests all have reliabilities above .9 [“basically” 90 percent].

IQ scores are reasonably stable over time for most individuals. Many studies have found correlations near .9 [still “basically” 90 percent] for people taking the same test at times 10 to 20 years apart.

10 to 20 years apart, with a 90% correlation — frankly, it’s hard to imagine how Zek could be any wronger about IQ tests.

Rushton is a psychology professor, and “an honest and capable researcher” according to the great biologist (and, coincidentally, entomologist) E.O. Wilson. He knows what repeatability is. You may have noticed that Zek doesn’t actually point to where Rushton fails to take repeatability into consideration. That’s because there’s no such place to point at.

What he calls a “gloss,” real scientists call a mean and ordinary people call an average. It’s not a racist trick: they really are just testing lots of people; getting very stable, reliable results; and averaging out those results over all those people to get an accurate average IQ score for that population.

12. Statistics is not his strong suit

ZEK: Correlations don’t represent causation; they’re scientific guesstimates.

Oh my God. He just called correlations (“one of the most common and most useful statistics”) scientific guesstimates. This moment from Zoolander was the first thing that came to mind.

ZEK: This low repeatability of IQ means it has a lower heritability, when processed through the equations. So Rushton is wrong about his 0.8.

As we’ve discussed, IQ tests are very reliable; psychologists, who know exactly what repeatability is, have established a 70 to 80 percent heritability for IQ in adults; Zek simply does not know what the “equations” are; and Rushton has got the right answer, or close enough for our purposes.

It’s not necessary, but I would also like to point out that you cannot get from “low repeatability of IQ” to “lower heritability,” no matter how many “equations” you “process” it through. The very best you could get from low repeatability is uncertain heritability. After all, if a test doesn’t reliably measure intelligence, that doesn’t tell you anything about where intelligence comes from. Genes or environment? Who knows. It just tells you that you don’t know. Of course, he’s wrong about repeatability in the first place. I just want you to see how bad he is at science.

13. “Some cultures find different things important. Like basket weaving. Or crafts.”

ZEK: … IQ is a culturally constructed label. What we deem “smart” is based on our culture. Why? Because testing has historically reflected cultural knowledge, from reading certain books, to knowing certain facts, and even the names for shapes. Different cultures value different types/forms of knowledge. The Yanamamo [sic] don’t value technological expertise as much as we do, but they do value the ability to find food in the Amazonian jungles. The Nuer value the ability to understand how to properly raise cattle, not read Huckleberry Finn.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. IQ tests measure intelligence, not cultural knowledge. They are not biased by language or literature. From the linked article, signed by fifty experts in intelligence research:

Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings — “catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.

Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments. They do not measure creativity, character personality, or other important differences among individuals, nor are they intended to.

While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all measure the same intelligence. Some use words or numbers and require specific cultural knowledge (like vocabulary). Others do not, and instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple, universal concepts (many/few, open/closed, up/down).

… Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language.

The Yanomamo (spelling words correctly is a sign of intelligence) are indeed good at surviving in the Amazon rain forest, but that is not intelligence. It is a skill — a survival skill, to be precise — learned from your experiences (i.e., practice) and your culture. Learned survival skills (which I suppose we call “wisdom” in old people and “street smarts” in black urban people) are useful things to have — and we, with our technological expertise, surely have learned survival skills for the environment we live in. (“Environment” doesn’t just mean rocks and trees.)

However, those skills are not themselves intelligence. Having a rifle (good old Western technological expertise) probably helps you survive in the Amazon rain forest too, but guns are not intelligence. Having a book called Yanomamo Survival Tactics For Dummies would definitely help me out, but books are not intelligence either. Intelligence is what you use to learn; to acquire new skills; to solve problems you’ve never solved before.

It’s (obviously) not that the Yanomamo don’t value technology that would enable them to shoot dangerous predators from a safe distance. They just never invented guns.

ZEK: There are different kinds of intelligence, from the Triarchic theory to Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences. There’s emotional intelligence, kinetic intelligence, and others. Shoot, intelligence has more flavors than Baskin-Robbins!

Wrong. Emotional intelligence has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just a deceptive name for social skills. “Kinetic intelligence,” intelligence of the body, is what normal people — people who aren’t committed to the hopelessly irrational notion that intelligence isn’t real — would call athleticism, flexibility, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and so on.

You can’t proclaim that being good at X is now to be known as “X intelligence” and revolutionize intelligence research, any more than you can proclaim that cows are now a kind of plant and revolutionize botany (not to mention vegetarianism). Being good at whistling is not “whistling intelligence.” We already have a name for it: being good at whistling. We also already have a name for “the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience”: intelligence.

This is essentially the reason why Gardner’s theory failed. On the other hand, the Triarchic theory simply doesn’t say much of anything about anything. Thus Zek is neither explaining intelligence research nor arguing for a competing theory. He is merely listing words with some connection to the subject and hoping you won’t bother to read what they mean.

ZEK: Another fundamental flaw in IQ testing is that these tests only prove how well someone knows how to take a test in the end. This is obvious when you attempt to test people who’ve created the test they’re taking. If it truly measured intelligence, they’d score at their actual IQ, but they don’t. They get near-perfect to perfect scores.

Wrong, and also… wow. He thinks that because IQ tests don’t accurately measure intelligence when you already know all the answers because you just created the test and you’re giving it to yourself, that means IQ tests don’t measure intelligence. Good grief — as if all white people were cheating to get a higher average score than black people. (The truth is rather different.)

Zek finally attempts to cite sources, by throwing three links our way without further discussion. I have already refuted his environmental explanations for the IQ gap; Stephen Jay Gould was hopelessly biased and his ideas about IQ have since been discredited; and I have also already dealt with “refutations” of The Bell Curve (which, being about 17 years old, is hardly representative of modern intelligence research).

14. Behavior genetics is also not his strong suit

ZEK: Another popular HBD and race-realist myth is that genes can determine your behavior! This is also known as sociobiology, and its phoenix-like reincarnation: evolutionary psychology.

I will again refer the interested reader to the Three Laws of Behavior Genetics, the first of which is that all human behavioral traits are heritable. The second law is that the effect of being raised in the same family (your shared environment) is smaller than the effect of genes (the heritability).

The third law… you must discover on your own. Good luck on your quest! Take this sword. You’ll probably need it for something.

ZEK: Advocates from this position tend to be more respectable, and tend to have a legitimate grounding in biology, genetics, or other related fields. Some of the famous personas are Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker. They’re mainstream, legitimate scientists who are at the cutting edge of ground-breaking research.

No kidding. Why don’t you ask Steven Pinker — the “mainstream, legitimate scientist… at the cutting edge of ground-breaking research” — what he thinks about race differences in intelligence. Hint: if Zek did, he would start crying a word that starts with R.

ZEK: One major flaw in these fields is that they tend to be prescriptive instead of descriptive. That is, they don’t merely describe the way the world IS, but the way it OUGHT to be. And these prescriptions tend to revolve around dismantling welfare, affirmative action, as well as other policies to address the historical inequality of People of Color.

No, sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists don’t do that. That’s why he can’t cite even a single source. Did he think we wouldn’t notice?

ZEK: … they treat abstract behaviors as real traits. Some examples include IQ, aggression, laziness, technological proficiency, etc. These characteristics are culturally defined, and not concrete — that is you can’t measure them with any reliability or repeatability as heritable traits — and are therefore not genetically-based.

We’ve already shown that IQ scores reliably measure intelligence, which is not culturally defined, and is up to 80 percent heritable in adults.

Zek believes that aggression, laziness, and the ability to use technology (e.g., being able to dig a well) are “abstract” and “culturally defined.” Hm. Does this agree with experience?

15. I’m bored

At this point, he lists three issues he has with sociobiology. He cites no sources and provides no examples, because none exist. He’s just making stuff up. Frankly, I’ve lost patience for it.

ZEK: However race is also used incorrectly, by scientists, by the layperson, and most definitely by scientific racists like HBD and race-realists who attempt to ascribe negative cultural qualities to People of Color through a distorted interpretation of modern genetics. They mistake correlation for causation, and utilize methodologically flawed measurements to support these correlations.

I think someone who doesn’t know what correlation is, shouldn’t be lecturing professional psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, sociobiologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, statisticians, and medical doctors about mistaking it for causation. Ditto “methodologically flawed measurements.”

ZEK: Human variation is not a Dues [sic] Ex Machina. You cannot cry racism and then point to the DNA saying, “He did it!” That is not science. That is Essentialism.

And that is a straw man argument.

ZEK: The reality is that genetic and cultural factors work “in tandem” to produce human variation. No race is predisposed to being smarter than another — whatever smarter means — and no behavior, from aggressiveness to laziness can be attributed only to genes.

Genes and environment work in tandem — except when it’s inconvenient for him; that’s why it must be a “myth” that “genes can determine your behavior.” (It’s not.)

He asserts, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that there are no race differences in intelligence. But there are. There really are. And you can’t escape it.

ZEK: Racism, both structural and personal, from micro-aggressions to entire socio-political movements are [sic] a powerful instrument in the disparity between the various races [so they do exist?] of human beings on this planet.

Citation needed.

ZEK: And I’m not the only one saying these things. My evidence comes from a long roster of social scientists, bio-anthropologists, academic disciplines, sub-disciplines, specialists, forensic anthropologists, geneticists, linguists, paleoanthropologists, psychologists, as well as academics of all colors, creeds, genders, and classes.

That’s rather interesting, considering that the last time he posted on the subject, he had the following to say about a journalist, a political economist, a political scientist, an astrophysicist, and three psychologists (emphasis, and foaming at the mouth, in original):


But now he’s happy to take the advice of Paula S. Rothenberg, a racism lecturer; “Jarred” Diamond, a professor of geography and physiology; Noam Chomsky, a linguist and radical activist; Richard Lewontin, who actually has a race-related fallacy named after him; Cornel West, who has no scientific credentials; Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist; James Baldwin, a novelist; Tim Wise, a fanatical anti-white bigot who believes that family is a social construct; and dozens more. Hypocrisy or brain damage — who can say for sure? As a final insult to science, Zek cites Charles Darwin himself. I can only sigh.

At this point, I think it goes without saying that Zek never tells us what these people said or wrote or did that counts as evidence in his favor.

16. Fin

Well, that about wraps it up. I look forward to never reading any of Zek’s hateful, ignorant, prejudiced garbage ever again. Hurray!

"I hear you speaking French. When are you going to pay attention to me?"

I’ll leave you with the words of Charles Gill, forensic anthropologist extraordinaire:

Those who believe that the concept of race is valid do not discredit the [race denialist] notion of clines, however. Yet those with the clinal perspective who believe that races are not real do try to discredit the evidence of skeletal biology. Why this bias from the “race denial” faction? This bias seems to stem largely from socio-political motivation and not science at all. For the time being at least, the people in “race denial” are in “reality denial” as well. Their motivation (a positive one) is that they have come to believe that the race concept is socially dangerous. In other words, they have convinced themselves that race promotes racism. Therefore, they have pushed the politically correct agenda that human races are not biologically real, no matter what the evidence. …

In my experience, minority students almost invariably have been the strongest supporters of a “racial perspective” on human variation in the classroom. The first-ever black student in my human variation class several years ago came to me at the end of the course and said, “Dr. Gill, I really want to thank you for changing my life with this course.” He went on to explain that, “My whole life I have wondered about why I am black, and if that is good or bad. Now I know the reasons why I am the way I am and that these traits are useful and good.”

A human-variation course with another perspective would probably have accomplished the same for this student if he had ever noticed it. The truth is, innocuous contemporary human-variation classes with their politically correct titles and course descriptions do not attract the attention of minorities or those other students who could most benefit. Furthermore, the politically correct “race denial” perspective in society as a whole suppresses dialogue, allowing ignorance to replace knowledge and suspicion to replace familiarity. This encourages ethnocentrism and racism more than it discourages it.

Thank you and good night.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: