Wasn’t there a book written about this?

“Is it really likely that the average person of African ancestry is cognitively impaired when compared to the average white person?” David S. Jones, a Harvard historian and medical ethicist, told Vox. “I can’t think of how that could actually be true. And the assumption that it is true just sounds like white supremacist racism to me. We need to subject any claims like this to really strict scrutiny.”

Not that anyone is supposed to have ever read that book, so hateful was it. But the argument has, I’m sure, been made. And rather than not being able to think of how that could be true, why not read it to see if it is?

32 thoughts on “Wasn’t there a book written about this?”

  1. “We need to subject any claims like this to really strict scrutiny.” -Ok, run some tests on a bunch of people, publish the results.

  2. What’s interesting is the argument raised against the concept.

    Now I have insufficient background in Mr Murray’s topic to know if the contention is true or not, but for sure, there is an objective fact: the contention is either true or it is not true.
    What people believe about the topic does not change reality.

    So the argument seems to be: if the contention is true, it’s a lousy universe and God is to blame. Boo Hoo.
    Group with Global Warming, Branch Davidians and Methodists.

    Perhaps more interesting is the inevitable outcome: if the contention is true, then it will become increasing obvious to everyone in the privacy of their heads, but no one will dare say so out loud. So everything people say and do will be built upon a lie.
    That could never happen, could it?

    But some questions are just too dangerous.

  3. “ Working on the racist assumption that Black and white bodies are different”
    So much for science then. So much for evidence that this is true all around us, in the Olympic sprint events for one and in the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia for another. So much for free enquiry. Let’s just assume that black is white and white is black and to do otherwise is racist.

  4. I have a copy, it cost a dollar from the Sally Army charity shop. The prologue includes a lot of rebuttal to the criticisms that came from all sides when it first came out. Most of the criticism is in fact kneejerk denial. But it isn’t white supremacy, whites are not the race that comes out best.

  5. “ Working on the racist assumption that Black and white bodies are different”

    What the assumption ignores is that the defining characteristic – melanin – between black and white (and various shades in between) is all contained in less than 1mm of the outer layer of skin.

  6. The essence of the scientific argument as to why any form of racial supremacism is, prima facie, likely to be empirically false is that the more significant a gene allele is to building an absolutely “better” human being, the stronger will be the selective pressure for its propagation which will therefore suffice to suck it through even the narrowest of those bottlenecks to gene flow which serve (geographically or culturally) to delimit the human populations colloquially called races.

    There is a supplementary EP just-so story built on that foundation that posits that the reason humans find foreigners sexy is that it is advantangeous to one’s individual fitness to be an early adopter of favourable genetic mutations which have happened in the neighbouring valley.

  7. Caller to William Hill – “I predict there will be 6 white guys, a black guy and an Asian guy in the Olympic 100m, what odds will you give me?”
    William Hill trader – “you can have 20 to 1”
    Caller excitedly – “I’ll take that price. I never said anything about it being in the final”

  8. alan- are you saying there aren’t different selective pressures in different geographies?

  9. Longnose tribe say pubic head tribe failure to master fire, wheel, writing for last 510,000 moons all fault of evil paleface Stig tribe, who must kneel to pubic heads and give territory and women.

    Stig puzzled why longnose tribe very upopular everywhere they go.

  10. It seems at least plausible that thousands of years of living in a place where food is plentiful and there’s no existential imperative to work out how to create fire, build shelter, make clothing etc will lead to a slight general withering in such people as against people struggling in less clement climes of the bits designed to inventing agriculture, electricity, mine and use ‘fossil fuels’ etc

    @ asiaseen

    The stats are interesting in many areas – look at the vastly disproportionate rate of violent crime perpetrators in the US (while you still can, it will soon be illegal to collate the figures); it’s hard to imagine that the fact that blacks are hugely more likely to rape or kill you than whites, Hispanics or ‘Asians’ is just as a result of their melanin, though I’m sure you’re happy to strain to reach this belief.

    Of course, you should judge individuals as you find them (I honestly try to do this) but even Jesse Jackson understood the risks posed by not at least considering racial differences.

  11. David S. Jones, a Harvard historian and medical ethicist, told Vox. “I can’t think of how that could actually be true.

    I’m sure there’s lots of things he can’t think of, which are entirely true.

  12. Perhaps if a cognitive test was carried out on footballers as a matter of routine it would be possible to accurately measure the cognitive decline cause by an injury?
    Of course, this risks unsettling science.

  13. Is there statistically significanct difference in average brain power between the various races?
    Yes, yes there is.. And it’s actually the asians that win that race…

    Is that difference effectively significant? Last time I checked a couple points in IQ don’t make that much of a difference, especially not considering the actual range of that lovely bell curve.
    So… Nope.

    “Cognitively impaired”? Wellll… We have st.Greta as a prime example of what happens when the mother Sauces Up during pregnancy..
    What are the odds any measurable impairment is environmental in origin and not genetic if you take a good hard look?

  14. HB: There may be different selective pressures in different geographies but the default assumption is that an allele that is *globally* beneficial will diffuse globally and ultimately achieve fixation. I doubt that even the most politically sensitive commentator would treat a claim that a woman of predominantly Andean ancestry was statistically more likely to bring a pregnancy to term if living at altitude as being a racially supremacist statement.

  15. @ Alan Peak all “the reason humans find foreigners sexy”

    Too broad a statement. From admittedly limited research – me – I find some foreigners repulsive. Those I find attractive aren’t too far removed from European. Maybe enough difference to be exotic but not so much difference I’d wonder at species compatibility.

  16. The Harvard guy can now explain why blacks get a 400 point addition to their SAT scores (on a scale of 400 to 1600) for judging admittance to the esteemed university. It’s called race norming.

  17. @ Alan Peakall
    The claim that those of sub-Saharan African descent have lower IQs than other humans is *NOT* a claim of racial inferiority/superiority and is utterly compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Especially when you look at the distribution of Olympic medals or of Boxing champions.
    In different environments, there are different rankings for the importance of different abilities – one extreme example is the value of berserkers as bodyguards from the beginning of the bronze age until the development of muskets. Another, less extreme but closer to home, is the social advantage conferred by IQ in selective schools pre-Crosland and the social disadvantage it confers in Comprehensive schools in the post-Crosland era. The neighbourhood schools have a particularly pernicious impact on the more intelligent/high IQ “black” boys since most of them live in lower-income areas of the UK and USA with consequential impacts on the distribution of IQ in the next generation.
    People are different, so no one criterion determines “superiority”.
    P.S. I have known some “black” people with very high IQs but each of them makes an impact of around 1 in 6 million of the UK black average.

  18. Is that difference effectively significant? Last time I checked a couple points in IQ don’t make that much of a difference, especially not considering the actual range of that lovely bell curve.

    If sub-Saharan IQs are 3 points below Caucasian, then it’s around 55:45 that a person selected at random from the first group will score lower in an IQ test than one from the latter. Not that significant, true.

    But the probability that someone will be 3σ above the mean (IQ 145) is about double for the Caucasians. And of course the higher up you go to wards Nobel winners, the more pronounced the difference.

  19. “If sub-Saharan IQs are 3 points below Caucasian”: and if they are 15 as the US data imply?

  20. Sampling people with African ancestry in Africa is going to give different results to sampling people with African ancestry in America because of the different genetic bottlenecks their ancestors went through, just as you’ll get different results when sampling people with African ancestry in Britain.

  21. The five races evolved different average IQs: Africa 71, Eurasia 100, Oceania 62, East Asia 105, America 86.

    Lynn, R. (2015). Race differences in intelligence: An evolutionary analysis (Second ed.). Whitefish, MT: Washington Summit Publishers.

  22. This is a bit like JP noting that women (as a group) make career choices based on family that explain most of the differences in income. It’s obviously true, and does not excuse any discrimination. However, those who wish to claim widespread discrimination dare not allow this to be spoken.

  23. Alan P- so your point is globally beneficial will diffuse globally, ok, maybe, eventually, but mine is something locally beneficial will still be around in a population that is now no longer in the locality. You mention pregnant Andean’s, what about sickle cell? It can only be said to be benficial in certain specific environments, but persists, in those related to the populations from those environments. As J77 said nowt to do with superiorness, and everything to do with most of human evolution taking place in nothing like the conditions, environments most of us live in today.

  24. Not really. Sickle Cell is beneficial in a malarial area, distinctly non-beneficial in a non-malarial area. So, in non-malarial areas it will die out. We’ve simply not moved folks from malarial to non- for long enough. Give it 500 generations and…..

  25. This bit in the article fascinated me, talking about Sickle Cell Disease.

    Sickle cell anemia is genetic in the sense that it is a mutation that spread across certain populations as a selective advantage where malaria was common — but it’s less a marker of race than of geography. That’s why the trait is also carried by people of all races in Yemen, India, Greece, Italy, and other countries affected by malaria.

    “Just because the risk of being a carrier is higher in people of recent African ancestry, it’s not zero for people who self-identify as white,” said Jones, who noted everyone should be screened for the disease.

    So what he says is true, but nevertheless SCD is very rare anongst native European populations, probably enough to be discounted as an aberration. Instead in potential malarial areas of Europe we have a different form of haemoglobin diorder, namely thalassemia, where the corpuscles are misshapen but differently to sickle cells, I guess with the same effect that the malaria bacterium can’t get a grip and infect the cells ( I am not an expert, so am happy to be corrected).

    This is a useful precis from the EU


    I knew a lady where I lived in Tooting who died of SCD. Very sad, caused a serious brain disorder that eventually killed her. She had only lost her husband ( he had been electrocuted ) a couple of years before and the shock probably kicked it off. It orphaned her children but the eldest daughter was 18 and so she became the legal guardian for her siblings. The lady was Jamaican, first generation immigrant, they were a very nice family.

  26. Plus we treat people suffering from sickle cell, which means their genes continue to be propagated.

  27. “Give it 500 generations and…..”

    If that’s human generations, it’ll be roughly 10-15k generations for the malaria parasite.
    Any bets the malaria parasite then will be the same as now?

  28. “for long enough. Give it 500 generations”- yeah ok, still, past local conditions, show up in the current gen’s phenotype all the time as a legacy, for better or for worse.

  29. Anyone who has spent any prolonged period of time in the company of black Africans or Afro-Caribbean knows there are huge gaps in intelligence and ability between the races. The estimates given in The Bell Curve are probably an underestimate. And what is more, most blacks know this, hence the resentful, bigoted anger directed routinely at other races.

    Oh, and if you want a laugh, go to YouTube and type in ‘Tiswas, Lenny Henry, Chinese’. It’s all OK when they do it!

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