Just a thought about race and sub-species

Prompted by that gracile and robust thing in apes in the comments this arvo.

We have two really rather things out there, race in human beings and sub-species in animals. In animals it is right on to insist that we must preserve the sub-species. In humans it is right on to deny that there is even something called race. Yet unless I’ve really missed some important part of science they strike me as being very much the same thing.

So, with animals, tigers and lions can breed but the result, the liger or tigon is rarely – but not never – fertile. So, OK, different species.

The domestic house cat is cross fertile with the European lynx – at least with the Iberian version. This must be so because they ask people with tabbies to not have them near the rare lynx areas. And the Scottish wildcat is closer again. And then we get to what are quite obviously the same species but also different sub-species. Fully and totally cross-fertile but of different colourings perhaps, size, location. And we very definitely find that we’re supposed to be preserving each and every one of these sub-species. It would be an outrage if the Florida panther disappeared despite it being only a swamp dwelling version of the standard panther found all over the Americas.

But when we consider race we get a flat out denial that the concept even exists in humans. And yet a Pygmy and an Eskimo differ by more (while still being cross fertile–not sure anyone has ever tested that pairing but there’s nothing we know which says they aren’t) than many of what we’re told are different sub-species of animal.

Now, it’s not uncommon that different people hold different views on something or other. Nor even different people holding different views on different subjects. But this rough equivalence between race in humans and sub-species in animals looks pretty robust to me. And yet it’s largely the same people who insist that we must preserve the one and then deny that the concept of the other even exists at all.

So, given that you all know more than I do, is there some great gaping hole in my scientific understanding here? Or is it just that people themselves are inconsistent in their beliefs?

50 comments on “Just a thought about race and sub-species

  1. From my understanding, humans are astoundingly un-diverse genetically compared to nearly every other mammal. From memory there was some quote along the lines of “pick any two cats. These two cats have more genetic diversity than the entirety of humanity.”

    The Smithsonian says something similar about chimpanzees here: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/human-skin-color-variation/modern-human-diversity-genetics

    If that is the case, then the argument for preserving a race is about as logical as arguing for the preservation of a particular family (brother/sister/father/mother family, not a species) of any animal of your choice. Which is an opinion you only really get from the Kennel Club incestual purity types.

  2. There are “races” within animal species as well, which can still interbreed fertilely.

    Look, for example, at dogs. I would be reluctant to claim that the differences between a Pygmy and an Eskimo are greater than the differences between an Irish Wolfhound and a Pekinese (and, just like you, I’m unaware of any attempts to interbreed these.)

    I appreciate that dog breeds are a human created “race”, but that’s about it?

  3. A domestic house cat and a lynx can breed? I assume that could only be male lynx and female moggy.

    The phrase “fvck me gently with a fvcking barge pole” comes to mind

  4. When I were in Yorkshire, Barnsley people regarded the rest of humanity as a sub species and them in Sheffield aliens from beyond the galaxy.

  5. “But when we consider race we get a flat out denial that the concept even exists in humans.”

    That’s entirely political and that few people like to go near the subject. The history of racism and our recent exit from it mean that people would rather avoid suggesting any diversity of sub-species, even when there’s science to support it.

    I was reading about Samoans and how the reason they’re fat is genetic. And it’s to do with fat storage. They’re better at preserving fat. Which was probably about going off fishing and keeping going rather than dying. Then along comes more western diets and plenty of calories and they have a problem…

  6. TV: that is the PC version. There are many genetic differences between the races. Not least those predisposing blacks to violence. And then there’s intelligence…

    SE: quite. My (unscientific but not unreasonable) view is that what we call races are not so much sub-species as breeds – with different aptitudes, abilities and temperaments (cf dogs). If so, then multi-culturalism is not going to end well. But some miscegenation might enrich a breed, while too much would destroy it.

    Btw, miscegenation is being promoted overwhelmingly by the media. Women’s magazines regularly feature a coffee-coloured chap with a white girl – even to advertise tampons! The Times recently carried an article about grammar schools illustrated by a photograph showing three ethnics.

    Is this propaganda centrally directed? If so, by whom exactly? And why? Because it is likely to be counter-productive. It gives the message that we are being swamped by ethnics – which we are, up to a point – while failing to encourage most ethnics with the aspirational role models depicted.

  7. The simple answer is that homo sapiens cannot be divided into subspecies. Morphologically distinguishable populations of humans are not genetically different enough.

    Here‘s a paper which compares the genetic differences among chimpanzees with those among humans.

  8. @BiW – from what I remember the reason Polynesians are incredibly good at laying down fat is the frequent crop failures and famines that occur on small islands with unreliable weather; the better-upholstered members of society survive on their reserves and the skinnies stave to death. It also explains the cultural tendency to admire fat people, the opposite of the west.

  9. @Theophatrus

    “TV: that is the PC version. There are many genetic differences between the races. Not least those predisposing blacks to violence. And then there’s intelligence…”

    That’s the sort of moronic shit that makes a sensible conversation around ‘race’ impossible.

    What’s a “black”? A person from Africa? People in Egypt weren’t especially dark last time I was there. Is it purely skin colour? There are plenty of people who are very dark in Southern India, but they’re not what someone like yourself would consider “blacks”. Is it people from, or originating from, a particular geographic area? Then “blacks” isn’t a useful description.

    You want to make an argument that certain groups are more or less violent, better or worse at different sports, or more or less intelligent then go for it – there’s certainly evidence that certain groups are better or worse at certain things.

    But to try and generalise it to a skin colour is beyond stupid.

  10. @Theophrastus others have already noted that your comment is racist and also gibberish of the highest order, but I have to point out that you’ve shown an amazing lack of self awareness. Declaring other races to have inferior intelligence and then following it up with some kind of declaration that the Illuminati is trying to make Britain browner via the medium of advertising in newspapers must require a very special mind.

  11. Single alleles (variant of a particular gene) have varying frequencies in different ethnic groups, identifying a single allele is not sufficient to identify the background of a person but when the researcher identifies alleles of say twelve different genes for an individual, it’s bingo for their race. This is frequent in medical research but always couched in euphemism.

  12. Dave – “I note Theophrastus is telling fibs, as racists always have to do when justifying the unjustifiable. We can’t even identify genetic differences responsible for skin colour, let alone anything else among the incredibly poorly-defined groups of the nonsensical ‘races’ theory.”

    I am sorry but that is news to me. Why do you think that we cannot? Races are not poorly defined. Human beings have been divided for tens of thousands of years by very large geographical obstacles. The larger groups are genetically different from one and other. As you would expect from geographically separated groups.

    And those differences are so great that if a crime suspect leaves a single drop of blood, the police can now work out a rough reconstruction of his face – including, obviously, his race.

    Pro Bonobo – “Morphologically distinguishable populations of humans are not genetically different enough.”

    The evidence suggests otherwise. When a DNA test can locate your ancestors down to a radius of 200 or so miles, genetic differences are significant.

    “Here‘s a paper which compares the genetic differences among chimpanzees with those among humans.”

    I don’t see that link.

    Darren – “That’s the sort of moronic shit that makes a sensible conversation around ‘race’ impossible.”

    What is moronic about it?

    “What’s a “black”? A person from Africa? People in Egypt weren’t especially dark last time I was there. Is it purely skin colour?”

    I am sorry but why are you being so f**king stupid? Is there a politer way to put that? We know what a Black is. You can split hairs to pretend that it is not a well defined group but it is. Sub-Saharan African. Egypt has had a lot of SSA immigration but it is not Sub-the-Sahara is it?

    “There are plenty of people who are very dark in Southern India, but they’re not what someone like yourself would consider “blacks”.”

    Oddly enough Indians have just gone on a mini-pogrom against Africans because of drugs. Not that the media is reporting it that way. So they can tell.

    “Is it people from, or originating from, a particular geographic area? Then “blacks” isn’t a useful description.”

    Sorry but what the d**k? Obviously it is a useful description if it applies to a population that has been long separated geographically and hence is genetically distinct. Like Black Africans.

    “You want to make an argument that certain groups are more or less violent, better or worse at different sports, or more or less intelligent then go for it – there’s certainly evidence that certain groups are better or worse at certain things.”

    Groups that you claim do not exist.

    “But to try and generalise it to a skin colour is beyond stupid.”

    On the contrary. Skin colour is an excellent predictor of a whole range of things. In fact the only robust finding in the social sciences – apart from IQ tests being valid – is that prejudices are pretty much right. So anything bad that everyone thinks about someone with a dark skin is likely to be true.

    Thespian Volley

    Yet another first-time-poster-never-seen-before-or-since? Amazing innit?

    “Theophrastus others have already noted that your comment is racist and also gibberish of the highest order,”

    It may have been racist. Who cares? It was not gibberish.

    “Declaring other races to have inferior intelligence and then following it up with some kind of declaration that the Illuminati is trying to make Britain browner via the medium of advertising in newspapers must require a very special mind.”

    An observant one? For some reason miscegenation has become fashionable on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite being pretty only of interest to fat working class White girls are nerdly socially awkward White boys, it is now everywhere. I assume some lobby group has insisted that it is racist not to show it. But it is impressive how fast and how pervasive it has become.

    And Blacks may or may not have lower intelligence on average. But they sure as hell test that way.

  13. Darren and TV

    By ‘black’ I mean ‘sub-saharan African’. A mutation in the MAOA gene that predisposes the possessors to extreme violence is up to 20 times more common in blacks than in northern Europeans. The evidence is widely available.

    The average IQ in sub-saharan Africa is somewhere between 65 and 85, depending on the study you choose. The average IQ of US blacks isn’t much higher. Not sure about the UK, but I believe the results are similar.

    Charles Murray and Nicholas Wade are both worth reading on these matters.

  14. Dave:
    “We can’t even identify genetic differences responsible for skin colour, let alone anything else among the incredibly poorly-defined groups of the nonsensical ‘races’ theory.”

    Our inability to measure something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Plan 9 tells us that morphological differences that can be reliably passed on are real, and something is responsible.

    If the science is so shit that it can’t explain the bleeding obvious then I’m not going to take that science very seriously when it tells me what is true and not true about the bleeding obvious.

  15. It is manifestly obvious that humans inherit physical characteristics from their ancestors. Whether or not anyone has identified the particular genes that code for skin colour, height, muscular build, physiognomy etc.etc. it is clear that these things are inheritted, not learnt and not random.
    It is also clear that people from different backgrounds behave differently. It is unclear at the moment whether the different behaviours are inheritted or learnt.
    I am aware that the current dogma is that they are all learnt, just as I am aware there was once a dogma that they were all inheritted.
    The trouble is that any attempt to untangle the matter is now met with chants of racism, so it will be some time before any progress is made and said progress will likely be outside the West.

  16. If Nkechi Amare Diallo has a child with a white man, what colour would the child be? How could we tell?

  17. Further, if anyone wants to untangle matters it would be a good idea to get those babies put up for adoption adopted by willing adopters from a different race, rather than searching for adopters of the same race. We could then see whether they behave more like their adoptive parents or more like their genetic parents. The few times I’ve heard of it being tried the kids turned out nearer to their adoptive parents.
    As a bonus to this kids would be adopted, and hence out of care homes, significantly sooner.

  18. Thespian Volley – “The Smithsonian says something similar about chimpanzees here:”

    This just commits the Lewontin Fallacy on a larger scale.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Genetic_Diversity:_Lewontin%27s_Fallacy

    It is also irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if there are large differences between populations – although there are – it matters if there are *significant* differences. I may be genetically very similar to a cousin with Down’s Syndrome. But what differences there are are very important.

  19. Pat – “Further, if anyone wants to untangle matters it would be a good idea to get those babies put up for adoption adopted by willing adopters from a different race, rather than searching for adopters of the same race.”

    We have tried this. Any number of Black children have been adopted by White families. The problem is that they are usually put up for adoption for cause – they are damaged before they reach the White family.

    However the results are not inspiring.

  20. Get what you are thinking Tim. But apart from being a useful classification system most serious biologists don’t put too much store in the notion of species (specifically, the biological species concept of Ernst Mayer you are talking about), let alone sub-species. Even Darwin had some grasp of the problems.

    It turns out the concept is actually rather slippery, so much so there is an established area of debate about it. It’s the ‘species problem’.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem

    There’s a philosophical aspect to it I won’t bore you with, but there are practical examples that are fun to learn about.

    For example ring species: animal A can breed with animal B reliably, B can breed with C, but
    C can’t breed with A. Are they different species or not?

    Or asexual species! When does bacteria A become bacteria B – how many mutations are required?

    There is a whole concept of the species complex which recognises the blurred edges of species (biology tends to get more blurry the more you learn about!)

    Fundamentally, it actually makes a lot more sense to talk about distribution patterns of genes across populations, rather than truly discrete populations. At least when talking about genotypes rather than phenotypes.

    That’s an interesting area of science in itself… there’s a whole set of maths techniques that allows you to estimate how old genes are, when they diverged and where etc. It’s been revolutionary for the whole ‘tree of life’ view we have. Also a useful technique in historical linguistics incidentally.

    Anyway, regarding the politics, yes it’s nonsensical to deny some kind of concept of race, as different populations simply do have markedly different distributions of genes. But it’s actually a very flawed and blurred concept, particularly as it is often judged by phenotype, not genotype.

    For example, a ‘black’ Aborigine may be genetically more different from a ‘black’ Yoruba than a ‘white’ Italian is. (No idea if that’s specifically true, but a general point)

  21. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just said:

    IT’S OKAY TO BE RACIST.

    Everybody is, anyway. Get over it.

  22. @Gamecock

    But I actually don’t think I am. What I am is culturalist – I like western culture, and more specifically Anglo-centric culture. I tend to find that I enjoy the pursuits of the middle class Englishman very greatly. How weird is that! The honest truth – as honest as anyone can ever be – is that I do not care what colour your skin is, or what race you are, or nationality, if you like cricket, rugby, Fawlty Towers and Stroud Brewery Budding Ale. Oh, and Georgian architecture, European music and art, the great English authors, and are fascinated by things like the industrial revolution and our nation’s history. It also helps if when you knock my arm in a pub and spill my pint you apologise (if you don’t apologise, I will not physically attack you) as I would do if the position was reversed.
    There is no reason at all why black, brown, or yellow people cannot share these interests and modes of behaviour, and in fact I have known plenty who have. I prefer their company to the likes of Wayne Rooney any day of the week.
    Of course, many people from other countries have no interest in learning to behave like this, and do not find Fawlty Towers amusing, and that is their affair.

  23. For example ring species: animal A can breed with animal B reliably, B can breed with C, but
    C can’t breed with A. Are they different species or not?

    Intriguing.

    Back in the day, before the whole subject got fvked up by the Fabians and the Nazis, did anyone interbreed Darwin’s finches in aviaries, to see whether they had higher rates of infertility or hybrid vigour?

  24. Humans have about 20,000 genes. Pick any one of them. This gene comes in a finite number of varieties, called alleles. Pick a person with a particular allele of that gene. trace their ancestry back to the original mutation and then forward again picking out the parents/children with that allele in each case. You’ll have a subset of humanity that is genetically identifiable and related to one another in a single family tree. Now call it a ‘race’.

    You can do it with genes for hair colour, eye colour, supertasters, tall thin people, short fat people, people who can digest lactose into adulthood and people who can’t. There are 20,000 different definitions of ‘race’, none of them objectively more ‘correct’ than any other.

    The only way in which the black/white distinction is different to any other is in being more easily identifiable visually from someone’s external appearance. Distinct varieties of some cellular enzyme, or someone’s blood group, or the major histocompatibility complex, are not identifiable without biochemical tests. But if they were visible, they could just as easily be used as a signifier of ‘race’ as skin colour.

    To the extent that certain externally visible genes can be used to guess at the probability of having some of the invisible ones, it’s possible to argue that white people have a lot of characteristics in common – they were isolated from Africa by the Sahara and Mediterranean for much of the roughly 10,000 years since white skin genes became common. However, on the same basis black people are not a single ‘race’ but many hundreds of ‘races’. The Mbati look nothing like the Tutsi, apart from their skin colour.

    When people were first trying to get a handle on genetics, and didn’t have much in the way of detailed biochemical tests (in the days before DNA’s structure had been identified), scientists tried to build taxonomies based on the most obvious, externally visible characteristics. And as with any developing science, a lot of their initial ideas later proved to be bogus. The early race theories are to evolutionary biology what phlogiston is to chemistry. And of course there is the unfortunate political history of the National Socialists using it to justify their ‘superiority’ over non-Germans and the policies they developed as a consequence that has made the error more than merely embarrassingly ignorant.

    Modern day racism is widely seen as the remnant of that Socialist evil – especially when espoused by people who on any sort of objective assessment are far from being superior to anybody. Psychologically, it’s seen as over-compensation for low self-esteem, in which shaven-headed thugs with no educational attainment and crappy manual labour jobs try to boost their self esteem by identifying themselves as members of the ‘master race’. They might not have a PhD in maths themselves, but they have the same skin colour as people who do, and that’s what counts. And counting matters, especially when they can’t themselves go higher than 10 without taking their socks off.

    Yes, it’s OK to be racist, in the same sort of way that it’s OK not to be able to read and write, or do mental arithmetic, or trigonometry. It certainly shouldn’t be illegal. But it’s nevertheless a bit of a handicap in modern society.

  25. Q. Why do people encourage preservation of animal subspecies, and not human subspecies ?
    A. Animals are different to humans.
    We also actively maintain a system of breeding animals, separating them from their mother while young, and killing for their meat on an industrial scale. We don’t do this for humans.

    But the thread seems to be a proxy for talking about ‘race’. Race is blurry at the edges – we’ve always interbred, we just do it over longer distances now. Plenty of differences in sub Saharan Africa as an example between Nigerians, Somalis, Pygmies, Yoruba, Bushmen, and I’d imagine plenty of other groups I don’t know about. One sub-species ? ‘Blacks’ in America have 20% non-black DNA. The mix varies with those in the north US having a higher amount of European genes.

    It’s also a fast changing area of science and understanding what a gene, or set of genes ‘means’ is changing rapidly. Given the number of genes we are guaranteed to find correlations of some genes with behaviours we like/don’t like that support/don’t support our own beliefs. Our focus on genes and behaviour at the moment is part of a longer term back and forth of nature v nurture. It was all environment / society in the 60’s and 70’s (sociology was hip and new), now we’re going through a period of genetic determinism again (genetic science is new). Not hard to imagine a neuroscience phase in the future which is likely to be more environment based (learning drives brain development), and so on.

  26. All very erudite and reasonable. But how do people in the East feel about their race. Do they get arrested or sacked for saying the wrong thing.
    Are they forced to put up with ‘immigrants’ they want nothing to do with?
    Are their children indoctrinated at the education centres?
    Just asking.

  27. @SMFS

    It’s moronic because “Blacks” is not a useful term

    So your personal definition of “black” is a sub-saharan African. Please don’t try and claim that’s some sort of universal definition. It’s one the US Census uses. Not so much the UK. Certainly not the case in, for example, Australia.

    Your point about Indians is irrelevant. Indians are, in large part, spectacularly racist towards black people. That, in itself, proves nothing.

    “Obviously it is a useful description if it applies to a population that has been long separated geographically and hence is genetically distinct. Like Black Africans.”

    Sub Saharan africa has the most genetic diversity of any region. It’s the least genetically distinct area on the planet.

    “Groups that you claim do not exist.”

    I make no such claim. I made the point that grouping by skin colour is pointless. Not that you can’t usefully group people.

    “Skin colour is an excellent predictor of a whole range of things.”

    It’s not a predictor of intelligence. Indians and Sub Saharan africans can share a skin colour. Are you claiming that dark Indians are less clever than lighter skinned Indians? Bear in mind that a north Indian person could get *very* dark with 6-12 months of living in South India.

    You could make a better argument that climate is a better predictor of violence that being from sub-saharan africa. Regions nearer the equator have a noted increase in violence. This doesn’t apply solely to Africa.

    Now, you’re arguing that it’s not skin colour, it being from Sub Saharan Africa. But also, that it really is skin colour.

    Which is it?

    @Theophrastus

    The problem with the MAOA link to violent behaviour in African Americans ( which is where the majority of studies have been done – not Sub Saharan males ) is that the 3R allele doesn’t back up your claims. Furthermore, you could look at the 2R allele to back you up ( 6% in African Americans, 1% in whites ), but that argument falls over when you look at the incidence in asians – 0.001%. If you claim the 6x difference in african-americans compared to white explains the difference in violent behaviour, you’ll struggle to explain why asian aren’t 1000 times more peaceful than whites.

    Won’t argue with the IQ figures, but since we don’t know what intelligence is, using a test that delivered a simple single value result to measure something we don’t understand seems dubious at best.

  28. NiV, you are handicapped by a lack of information. We know a hell of a lot less about DNA and inheritance in general than you (and many others) seem to think they know.

    All your rabbiting on about allelles and the rest is just a cover for the fact that although we have made inroads into finding out, we just don’t know all that much.

    I would suggest that you stop pretending that you do know everything about it.

  29. Why do so many criminal lawyers have so many black clients?

    Or are they actually white?

    Search me.

    Doubtless poverty, or reasons, are to blame.

  30. Darren – “It’s moronic because “Blacks” is not a useful term”

    We have a well defined population. We have a commonly accepted term to describe them. One which they themselves use. And you think it is not useful? I agree there is a lot of moronic behaviour in this conversation.

    “So your personal definition of “black” is a sub-saharan African. Please don’t try and claim that’s some sort of universal definition.”

    Everyone on the planet has a category for people from SSA. They all know what it is. The SSA people themselves know what it is. It is not my personal definition. You are just being childish.

    “Your point about Indians is irrelevant. Indians are, in large part, spectacularly racist towards black people. That, in itself, proves nothing.”

    It proves they can tell a Black from a Tamil. Which is the point. You claim this category has no functionality and yet people are using it every day without the slightest problem.

    “Sub Saharan africa has the most genetic diversity of any region. It’s the least genetically distinct area on the planet.”

    Those are two irrelevant and mutually contradictory claims. It is the most genetically diverse region in the world. So what? The letters L to Z have more diversity than those from A to B. And yet they are distinct groups.

    “I make no such claim. I made the point that grouping by skin colour is pointless. Not that you can’t usefully group people.”

    I would agree in general except that we do not group by skin colour. We group by general physical appearance which is strongly associated with genetic difference. SSA are genetically – and recognisably – distinct from Europeans.

    “It’s not a predictor of intelligence. Indians and Sub Saharan africans can share a skin colour.”

    They do not share a skin colour. It is an excellent predictor of intelligence actually.

    “You could make a better argument that climate is a better predictor of violence that being from sub-saharan africa. Regions nearer the equator have a noted increase in violence. This doesn’t apply solely to Africa.”

    Singapore? Almost on the Equator.

    “you’ll struggle to explain why asian aren’t 1000 times more peaceful than whites.”

    They aren’t?

    “Won’t argue with the IQ figures, but since we don’t know what intelligence is, using a test that delivered a simple single value result to measure something we don’t understand seems dubious at best.”

    A test produces a result you do not like, so of course your politics drives you to dismiss the test. In the real world we know that IQ remains the single best predictor we have for things like academic performance and even job performance. Whatever it is testing, a truck driver with a higher IQ is likely to be a better one than someone with a lower IQ. Looks like it measures something to me.

  31. I would just like to add, that I don’t think it is OK if everyone is a little racist. We shouldn’t be. We should judge every individual individually. I like Interested pub test. It is an excellent way of judging someone’s character. If someone, no matter their skin colour, apologises when they jog my pint, and they pay for their turn when it is time, then there is no reason why we can’t get along.

    It is just that those people are grossly more likely to come from one community than some others.

    And of course, whatever racism’s downsides, the Left’s obsession with bullying everyone who disagrees with them is much worse than the racists. To that end they are willing to lie and distort science. They are willing to go the full Lysenko. They will try to get people fired and jailed. Racism is mostly harmless by comparison.

    The science says what it says. There is no point denying it. There is a lot of harm in trying to suppress it.

  32. NiV – “But it’s nevertheless a bit of a handicap in modern society.”

    It isn’t. Actually. Racism holds communities together. It proves a way of looking at the world that is highly satisfying – and politically powerful – for a whole range of people. It is a very powerful tool often used by governments.

    What you mean is that it is socially unacceptable for White people, especially White Christians, to be racist. That is true. But it is richly rewarded if you are a non-White racist who directs your racism at White people. You can even do it at Jews and get away with it. For that matter you can be White and direct your racial hatred at other Whites and be successful – see virtually all of Hollywood.

    Racism works. Racism is rewarded as long as you pick on the right targets. Racism is not going away.

  33. NiV – “There are 20,000 different definitions of ‘race’, none of them objectively more ‘correct’ than any other. The only way in which the black/white distinction is different to any other is in being more easily identifiable visually from someone’s external appearance.”

    The shorter NiV: Transgenderism is totally genetic guys, even though we haven’t found a single piece of evidence for it, but race is a myth.

    There is a well defined genetic definition of race. Again, the police can take a single drop of blood these days and reconstruct the facial features of the criminal – including race. The White/Black distinction is easily recognised and everyone, all over the planet, has no problems with it. But it is backed up by genetics.

    As is to be expected from separate populations that have been genetically isolated for tens of thousands of years. Ignoring the inter-breeding with Neanderthals that Europeans may well have done and Africans did not.

  34. @SMFS

    I’ll reply more fully when (a) it’s not so late and (b) I’m not on a phone, but if you think SSAs and Indians can’t share a skin colour then I can only presume you’ve never met many of one or the other groups. People from both regions are capable of looking as black as the ace of spades, and various lighter shades.

    As for trying to tie my views on this to my politics, that’s really rather pathetic.

    There’s plenty of evidence that IQ tests are especially useful. Not useless. But not very useful. For example, Rushton and Jensen claim reaction time strongly correlates with IQ, and so can be used to filter out any cultural biases present in IQ tests. They then show has Asians are better than whites, who are better than blacks.

    Fair enough.

    But they totally ignore the fact their data shows Irish test results are closer to Africans than they are to British.

    Probably because it doesn’t do much to advance their argument.

    Quite how you can continue to claim “we don’t group by skin colour” then continue to group by skin colour is beyond me.

    And I think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Asians aren’t orders of magnitude more peaceful than whites – see the second Sino/Japanese war for a start.

    Again, I’m not claiming you can’t usefully group people I’m disagreeing with the scope and basis of your grouping.

    As a further example, IQ tests show Indian and Pakistan around about the same. Compare educational outcomes between these two groups. Who runs Microsoft? Who runs Google? Nationals of what country are massively over represented in IT? Healthcare?

    Real world outcomes don’t seem to be correlating much with IQ or skin colour there. Culture, far more so.

    Your posts on racism however, i find myself in general agreement with.

  35. Skipping to the end…

    The problem is that “race” in humans is something completely different from anything in biological taxonomy, but has been siezed on and bandied about by people with political targets but no scientific thought. The closest would be something like “sub-sub-sub-species”. Or, probably more accurately, “greater than tenth-cousin”.

    Considering that several of my 13th century 30xgreat-grandparents was near-certainly Genghis Khan, my Chinese ex-wife is very likely to be my cousin to some degree.

    From a genetic point of view, all humans are identical. They aren’t even as varied as breeds of dog, all humans are essentially varieties of Yorkshire Terrier.

  36. On this side of the moat, it’s

    I do not care what color your skin is, or what race you are, or nationality, if you love
    the Constitution and revere George Washington.

    Yet I am surrounded by white neighbors. I would not move into a black or Asian neighborhood. Birds of a feather.

  37. Let me add to that. When I see Hispanics doing contract landscaping work, I don’t care. When they speak Spanish to each other, I get pissed. They are no longer immigrants, but invaders, and shouldn’t be here.

  38. Darren – “but if you think SSAs and Indians can’t share a skin colour then I can only presume you’ve never met many of one or the other groups. People from both regions are capable of looking as black as the ace of spades, and various lighter shades.”

    Sure but they are still recognisably different and it is absurd to pretend otherwise.

    “There’s plenty of evidence that IQ tests are especially useful. Not useless. But not very useful.”

    Still the best predictors of a whole range of useful things we have.

    “But they totally ignore the fact their data shows Irish test results are closer to Africans than they are to British.”

    Yeah. And?

    “Quite how you can continue to claim “we don’t group by skin colour” then continue to group by skin colour is beyond me.”

    I don’t. I point out that the genes and skin colours closely match. We group by skin colour and it turns out that by doing so we also group by genetics.

    “And I think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Asians aren’t orders of magnitude more peaceful than whites – see the second Sino/Japanese war for a start.”

    That is pathetic. Given that the Second World War was going on among White people at the other end of Eurasia at the time.

    “As a further example, IQ tests show Indian and Pakistan around about the same. Compare educational outcomes between these two groups. Who runs Microsoft? Who runs Google? Nationals of what country are massively over represented in IT? Healthcare?”

    I am not sure that is true. Pakistan is full of people who keep marrying their cousins. Who runs Microsoft? White guys. Silicon Valley has been importing low-paid code-cutting serfs. But they are not doing much to make Silicon Valley what it is.

    jgh – “The problem is that “race” in humans is something completely different from anything in biological taxonomy”

    No it isn’t. They actually match.

    “From a genetic point of view, all humans are identical. They aren’t even as varied as breeds of dog, all humans are essentially varieties of Yorkshire Terrier.”

    Again a strawman. There are differences between racial groups that may be significant. For instance pretty much everyone except Africans have some Neanderthal genes.

    Matthew L – “https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/race-is-a-social-construct-scientists-argue/”

    Still pushing Lewontin’s Fallacy.

  39. Tim is correct, although technically one could argue that modern humans are a subspecies (Homo sapiens sapiens) that evolved into five races (in Africa, Eurasia, Oceania, East Asia and America).

  40. “NiV, you are handicapped by a lack of information. We know a hell of a lot less about DNA and inheritance in general than you (and many others) seem to think they know.”

    How do you know what I know?

    sounds to me like a use of an ‘Argument from Ignorance’ fallacy to justify continuing to believe in racism. If nobody knows anything about DNA, then all the people making racist claims about DNA are talking shite too, aren’t they?

    “It isn’t. Actually. Racism holds communities together. It proves a way of looking at the world that is highly satisfying – and politically powerful – for a whole range of people. It is a very powerful tool often used by governments.”

    Nope. In-group/out-group identifiers hold groups together. A few groups use ‘race’ as their in-group identifier (like those old-time Socialists), but a lot don’t. They’ll use religion, language, social class, nationality, political allegiances, regional accents, fashions in clothing, tastes in music, or other cultural shibboleths instead.

    You might personally happen to belong to a community that uses race as an in-group identifier, but you shouldn’t assume your own ways are universal.

    “The shorter NiV: Transgenderism is totally genetic guys, even though we haven’t found a single piece of evidence for it, but race is a myth.”

    For someone who claims not to want to talk about it, you sure spend a lot of time talking about it!

    Yes, transgenderism is genetic in the same way as skin colour, and I’ve cited and given links to the evidence before. You apparently don’t see any problem with the reverse – to think race is a significant genetic division (even though professional geneticists don’t) but to refuse to accept documented evidence that transgenderism is genetic (which professional geneticists do). A bit strange, isn’t it?

    “There is a well defined genetic definition of race. Again, the police can take a single drop of blood these days and reconstruct the facial features of the criminal – including race. The White/Black distinction is easily recognised and everyone, all over the planet, has no problems with it. But it is backed up by genetics.”

    There’s a well defined genetic definition of blood group, too. And eye colour, hair colour, and about 20,000 other categories too. The point is not to say skin colour genes cannot be identified or their alleles defined, it is to say it’s no more significant a categorisation than any of the other 20,000.

    Skin colour is defined by a handful of about half a dozen genes, out of 20,000. They’re not especially significant, biologically – a minor adaptation to lower sun exposure. They just happen to have an unusually visible effect.

  41. There actually is a growing strain of political correctness arguing for suppressing this kind of thinking.

    Here’s an example, entitled “Human Biodiversity: the Pseudoscientific Racism of the Alt-Right” from The Forward (xxx). So, HBD, and/or Human BioDiversity are the watch words.

    I actually found the article got better as I worked towards the end: they’re definitely shouting out to the choir in the title, while backing off in the body.

    Tim, I wonder if what you’re looking for is in this quote:

    “The modern field of genetics has disavowed theories of human behavior that are all nature — i.e., based only on genes — just as sociologists and anthropologists have disavowed theories that are all nurture. The reality is somewhere in-between, where, for example, a genetic predisposition to asthma (more common among Jews) may be worsened by living in smoggy Mexico City or mitigated by moving to Phoenix. The science of that in-between is called epigenetics, the study of the environmental effect on gene expression.”

    But, the recommendations earlier in the thread to look at Lewontin’s Fallacy are also helpful.

    Maybe, we’re evolving towards a view of race as being what group we choose to mood affiliate with because we share some genetic characteristics. I hate to say it, but that means that maybe Rachel Dolezal isn’t nuts.

    ******************************************

    Cute Side Story: my teenager and I talk about this a lot with respect to our dogs.

    We had a terrier. In his middle-age, we adopted a mature-adult herding dog (Shetland/Australian mix) from several hundred miles away.

    We wonder if they have trouble communicating with each other? We’ve seen some evidence that makes us wonder. Do terriers and herding dogs “speak” a different language? Are they closer to each other than, say, the French and Germans?

  42. “But, the recommendations earlier in the thread to look at Lewontin’s Fallacy are also helpful.”

    Only as an example of how to justify racism with pseudoscience.

    biological anthropologist Jonathan Marks agrees with Edwards that correlations between geographical areas and genetics obviously exist in human populations, but goes on to note that “What is unclear is what this has to do with ‘race’ as that term has been used through much in the twentieth century—the mere fact that we can find groups to be different and can reliably allot people to them is trivial. Again, the point of the theory of race was to discover large clusters of people that are principally homogeneous within and heterogeneous between, contrasting groups. Lewontin’s analysis shows that such groups do not exist in the human species, and Edwards’ critique does not contradict that interpretation.

  43. NiV – “Nope. In-group/out-group identifiers hold groups together. A few groups use ‘race’ as their in-group identifier (like those old-time Socialists), but a lot don’t.”

    I didn’t say they all did. But nice attempt to argue your way out of a paper bag. A lot do. In fact it is common and growing across the world. It is just unacceptable when White people do it. Fine when Zimbabwe does it. Fine when Uganda persecutes Indians or Malaysia Chinese. Race is commonly used across the planet. Even if it is not universal. Although even that depends on context. Libya has a lot of groups that rely on religion as a marker but when the regime relied on African mercenaries suddenly race became a lot more important.

    “Yes, transgenderism is genetic in the same way as skin colour, and I’ve cited and given links to the evidence before.”

    You have given links but not to evidence.

    “A bit strange, isn’t it?”

    Not at all. One has evidence, the other does not. I go where the science takes me.

    “There’s a well defined genetic definition of blood group, too. And eye colour, hair colour, and about 20,000 other categories too. The point is not to say skin colour genes cannot be identified or their alleles defined, it is to say it’s no more significant a categorisation than any of the other 20,000.”

    Indeed. We do not know if it is significant or not. It appears so as important things appear to have a link to genetic racial markers. Like IQ tests. But it is possible they do not.

    Matthew L – “Again, the point of the theory of race was to discover large clusters of people that are principally homogeneous within and heterogeneous between, contrasting groups. Lewontin’s analysis shows that such groups do not exist in the human species, and Edwards’ critique does not contradict that interpretation.”

    So now Matthew is citing people who are re-defining racism in such a way that there pre-determined prejudices will survive. Outstanding.

    Lewontin’s Fallacy is still a fallacy. Race exists. It appears significant.

  44. The really amusing thing, SMFS, is that you’re too ignorant to understand why you’re wrong. If race was an objective measurement it would be consistent across societies and time. It’s not, therefore it’s a social construct. There’s no measurable link between race and IQ, unless you mutilate the concepts beyond recognition.

  45. “The really amusing thing, SMFS, is that you’re too ignorant to understand why you’re wrong.”

    Don’t think so. He knows very well he’s wrong; this is about holding true to his ideological faith. It’s like arguing with a creationist. It doesn’t matter what evidence you present, they’ll always find some reason to reject it. Creationists are often quite knowledgeable about the evidence for evolution – they’ve heard it so many times before in arguments. But the unshakable conclusion comes first, and the evidence and argument has to bend to fit it. If science says man evolved from monkeys, rather than being made from clay by God, science has to be wrong. If that’s what the evidence says, then the evidence is wrong. If you’ve seen it with your own eyes, then your lying eyes must be wrong. Any other conclusion is simply unacceptable. But no creationist alive is ignorant of what the science says. Racists are much the same.

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