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He’s not a racist!

It’s another review of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance.

Nicholas Wade is not a racist. In his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, the former science writer for the New York Times states this explicitly. “It is not automatically racist to consider racial categories as a possible explanatory factor.” He then explains why white people are better because of their genes. In fairness, Wade does not say Caucasians are better per se, merely better adapted (because of their genes) to the modern economic institutions that Western society has created, and which now dominate the world’s economy and culture. In contrast, Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism while East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures. “Looking at the three principal races, one can see that each has followed a different evolutionary path as it adapted to its local circumstances.” It’s not prejudice; it’s science.

In addition to going over some of the sloppy science and devious distortions, the review links to other negative reviews of the book, too, but I appreciate its even handedness — it also cites at some length the positive reviews.

“Wade says in this book many of the things I’ve been saying for the last 40 years of my life,” said David Duke, the white nationalist politician and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, on his radio program on May 12, 2014. “The ideas for which I’ve been relentlessly villified are now becoming part of the mainstream because of the irrepressible movement of science and genetics.” Duke devoted his “blockbuster” show to a discussion of A Troublesome Inheritance and celebrated how Wade bravely took on the “Jewish Supremacists” and their “blatant hypocrisy over race and DNA.” There have also been multiple lively discussions about the book at Stormfront.org, the online forum Duke created and one of the most visited white supremacist websites on the net with about 40,000 unique users each day.

Over at The American Renaissance, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as a white supremacist online journal, dozens of articles have been published about the book over the past two months. “People who understand race are clearly rooting for this book,” wrote Jared Taylor, founder and editor of the publication. Other white power advocates see the book’s arrival as a call to battle. John Derbyshire, a self-described white supremacist and former columnist for the National Review, wrote triumphantly, “Wade’s calm, brave assault on the enemy’s lines will likely be repulsed, but not without enemy losses, making the next assault more likely to break through.”

See? Glowing reviews! Doesn’t that just compel you to rush out and buy the book?

Comments

  1. marcus says

    “Wade’s calm, brave assault on the enemy’s lines will likely be repulsed, but not without enemy losses, making the next assault more likely to break through.”

    Glad to see that John Derpshite weighed in with his usual well-considered and erudite contribution. The man has such a way with words. No one can take complex idiotic bullshit and simplify it into a ridiculous and hyperbolic cliche quite the way he can.

  2. says

    Charles Murray of “Bell Curve” fame (infamy?) should be weighing in soon with a big thumbs up.

  3. ibyea says

    “East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures.”

    Yes, cause S. Korea is totally an authoritarian structure and the citizens totally didn’t overthrow two dictators.

  4. says

    ibyea: don’t forget the time when the Japanese people overthrew their postwar democracy and brought back their god-emperor.

  5. says

    I’ll admit, I was surprised to see that he’s trying to base some of this on Steven Pinker’s work. And not at all surprised that Pinker has explicitly stated that Wade is wrong.

  6. Nigel Evans says

    Roundup of Book Reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance

    [Ugh. Fucking racist trash URL deleted. --pzm]

  7. zaratoothbrush says

    Isn’t it amazing how the pigments in your skin, or the skin around your eyes, can make such a huge difference in your intelligence and suitability for stuff? Gosh yeah!!! Science!!

  8. Brian E says

    He then explains why white people are better… better adapted (because of their genes)

    So, we’re talking about an evolution….

    In contrast, Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism while East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures.

    Nope, racist tropes.

    “Looking at the three principal races

    So, there are 3 1st or princial (as in equal) races? Who decided this? Given that race is mostly a figment.

    each has followed a different evolutionary path as it adapted to its local circumstances.”

    Well, alright then. Nothing to see here. I welcome my fellow Africans and East-Asian overlords. It’s science, after all.

  9. gussnarp says

    If one is going to give credence to vile stereotypes as if genetics were the cause, then they ought also to acknowledge that the Jewish people are far better adapted (because of their genes) to the modern economic institutions that Western society has created, and which now dominate the world’s economy and culture. And East Asians are far better adapted to the mathematical and computer sciences that drive our economies and our future. Of course, I’m sure this racist scum would also argue that those of recent African descent are far better adapted for athletic performance. On the whole it looks like white folk are terribly inferior to just about everyone else. Why is it then that we’re so dominant in world affairs? Oh, because that’s all bullshit and we’re just where we are mainly because of the luck of the draw in circumstances of our ancient ancestors putting them at a distinct military advantage over the rest of the world.

  10. David Wilford says

    H. Allen Orr is more polite in pointing out Wade’s B.S.

    Science and science journalism are different things. Though each is valuable, they require at least partly different skills. Science demands unrelenting skepticism about purported facts and theories, and science journalism demands an ability to make the complex clear. Despite my admiration for his work as a journalist, I’m afraid that Nicholas Wade’s latest book reminds us of the risks inherent in blurring the distinction between these endeavors. A Troublesome Inheritance goes beyond reporting scientific facts or accepted theories and finds Wade championing bold ideas that fall outside any scientific consensus.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/jun/05/stretch-genes/

  11. congaboy says

    “It is not automatically racist to consider racial categories as a possible explanatory factor.”

    That is the very definition of racist.

  12. busterggi says

    “Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism”

    Which is why the Tea Party, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Klan, etc. are almost entirely black.

  13. says

    Funny how the supposedly better adapted to totalitarian structures East Asians that live in North America aren’t the ones commonly seen pushing for undemocratic nonsense. That seems to be the role of all sorts of white folks. And “the three principal races?” Which one for example do people from India fit into, to use one example?

    And I’m curious, Nigel Evans @7. Why link to that particular collection of reviews?

  14. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    So, has anyone yet discovered a reason for someone to announce that they’re not a bigot other than because they’re about to say blatantly bigoted shit?

  15. stevenjohnson2 says

    Remarks by Jerry Coyne included this: “One part of the book, though—Wade’s discussion of genetically differentiated subgroups, whether or not you want to call them “races”—is not too bad. Although there aren’t a fixed number of “races”, we can identify individual humans’ ancestry very well by using an assemblage of genes, and in some cases even identify the particular European village from which an individual’s grandparents came. The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong. But as we all know, those genetic differences are not profound—they’re seen by aggregating data from many genes across the genome, and doing a kind of “cluster analysis.” In other words, “races” (or “subgroups” or “populations”) differ statistically, not absolutely. And most of those differences are not in genes whose function we know well, although a few, like some genes involved in skin pigmentation, do show, as expected, more profound differences among populations.

    But, except for politically motivated denialists, this has been known for a long time.”

    A commenter quoted Steven Pinker thus: “Interestingly, Pinker had the following to say about Wade’s book on Twitter: ‘Disagree w much of Wade (goes beyond data, gets some wrong) but he explodes race-is-only-a-social-construction myth.’” Coyne responded “I think Steve and I are pretty much agreed about this book. In fact, I can’t see anything that I disagree with in his tweet, which looks like a short precis of what I said. . “Exploded” is not too strong a word given the comments of people on this and other post that imply that race really is a social construct. What we’re seeing is the taboo in action!”

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/new-book-on-race-by-nicholas-wade-professor-ceiling-cat-says-paws-down/

    On a later date, when Coyne was reviewing H. Allen Orr’s review he quoted this: “To put the conclusion more technically, the genomes of various human beings fall into several reasonably well-defined clusters when analyzed statistically, and these clusters generally correspond to continent of origin. In this statistical sense, races are real.” He commented: “This is what I also claimed, and of course got slammed by the race-denialists who are motivated largely by politics.”

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/page/3/

    Coyne does claim that Wade’s use of a scientific race concept is highly speculative. But the real question of course is what kind of “hard” science would be acceptable in the future. Since scientific race is real, perhaps in the future Wade will report on genuine science instead of his as yet unfounded speculations? The thing there of course is that I for one believe that there is already a mountain of evidence that postulating race as an explanatory factor is very much like postulating ESP as an explanatory factor. You can start with racial prejudice creating misperceptions of differences to start. What I don’t think you can legitimately do is dismiss this as race-denialism “motivated largely by politics.”

    Pinker I think meant to be cautious, but as I recall seeing Pinker on You Tube supporting A Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, I’m pretty sure that Pinker is merely being cautious.

    Really, with enemies like these Wade doesn’t need friends.

  16. Artor says

    I’m glad it’s only the East Asians who are into authoritarian regimes. I’d hate to see fascists take over in places like Germany, Italy or Spain.

  17. scienceavenger says

    It’s not prejudice; it’s science.

    OK, so where can I peruse some of this science? So far all I see are the usual just-so racist naval gazing. Science. You keep using that word…

    Looking at the three principal races

    I eagerly await the first reviews by Kalahari bushmen and Australian Aboriginals, who I’m sure have an amusing take on that comment.

  18. Pen says

    I’ll let you comment on his grasp of evolutionary theory and genetics, PZ, but I can tell you that the man is an utter twit when it comes to history. He clearly has no grasp on the fact that the vast majority of our ancestors, African, European and Asian were all peasant farmers in village communities until very recent times.

  19. Don Quijote says

    Artor @17

    I don´t know if Germans or Italians are into authoritarian regimes or not but here in Spain we had a fascist take over because we lost a war.

  20. gussnarp says

    @stevenjohnson2 –

    It seems to me to be obviously true that we can identify the genes related to, for example, the eye shape of certain East Asian peoples, or the skin color of African peoples, or hair color, pattern, or structure. We can certainly identify populations that are similar on any specific trait or gene or group of genes that we choose to look for.

    The problem with the very word “race” is that it’s never been about that. When one talks about a “black race”, then one is lumping together everyone on the planet who has and expresses a gene for more melanin in the skin and acting as if that single gene tells us something significant about that entire population than simply that they have dark skin. Meanwhile, in reality, there is an incredible amount of genetic diversity among that population and we have absolutely no reason to posit that dark skinned people as a group are also [insert racial stereotype here].

    This gets even worse when we start talking about intelligence, or ability to live under a particular system of government or economics. Ultimately we have no really good assessment tool for innate intelligence. We may not even have a good definition of it. I often get credit for being highly intelligent (outside of this group, where I seem to me on the low to average side). The truth is that I do seem to have a very good memory, and I think there’s some biological root to that. I can also generally understand what I read or hear and incorporate the ideas. But that I cannot begin to separate from the environmental circumstances of my upbringing. And none of it is necessarily intelligence. Some people can’t remember as well as I can, or even process new information, but are incredibly inventive and creative instead. Who’s more intelligent? I would submit that the more creative person at least has a more valuable kind of intelligence than I do. But even if we could come up with a workable definition of intelligence and a reliable measure of it, we still couldn’t begin to separate that from all the myriad factors of upbringing and education that affect how intelligent someone seems. From there to make a leap and claim that we have evidence of a genetic basis for intelligence is utterly absurd.

    The problem with “race” is that it was invented to separate out certain groups as inferior based entirely on some superficial aspect they have in common. The only good reason to talk about black people, for example, as a group is to rectify the harm that has been done to them due to racism and for medical screening purposes. But for medical purposes actual genetic testing will likely become far more important. I’ve no idea, for example, if sickle cell is actually genetically linked with dark skin or is only a trait of a more specific population.

    Race is entirely a social construct. That certain populations have genetic differences is not. But science ought to concern itself to the scientific terms and realities, of which Coyne managed to list a number that are far more useful and accurate scientifically than “race”

  21. Nick Gotts says

    I’ll admit, I was surprised to see that he’s trying to base some of this on Steven Pinker’s work. – Matthew Prorock

    I’m not. We can see Pinker vigorously assaulting a straw man, in the same fashion as in The Blank Slate, in the quote @16:

    ‘Disagree w much of Wade (goes beyond data, gets some wrong) but he explodes race-is-only-a-social-construction myth.’”

    - and of course this gives considerable comfort to Wade. It’s more surprising to see the same unfortunate dried crop residue gentleman being mugged by Jerry Coyne:

    The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong.

    I doubt whether anyone has ever claimed that – you’d have to believe skin colour is purely a response to current environment – or maybe a choice? What “race is a social construction” means is not that there are no genetic differences between human populations, as Pinker and Coyne would know if they took the trouble to find out* – but hey, why miss a chance to kick straw lefties just because of the facts?

    *It means that racial categories are socially defined, and differ across societies – for example, somone could well be considered black in the northern USA and white in Brazil, while “Hispanic” is a racial category that has no meaning at all outside the USA and Canada.

  22. says

    Marcus @1

    Glad to see that John Derpshite weighed in with his usual well-considered and erudite contribution. The man has such a way with words. No one can take complex idiotic bullshit and simplify it into a ridiculous and hyperbolic cliche quite the way he can.

    Hard to believe the National Review let a prize like that get away.

  23. AMM says

    The Scientific American review mentions that Wade claims to have based his argument on Steven Pinker’s theory that (genetic) evolution is why we Westerners are less violent than a few centuries ago:

    Building on Steven Pinker’s hypothesis from his 2011 The Better Angels of Our Nature, Wade argues that Europeans underwent a biological selection pressure “toward greater sensibility and more delicate manners.”

    I actually read Pinker’s book, and this was IMHO the least credible part of the book[*]. He points to evo psych, first mentioning that a lot of scientists consider the field to be mostly a bunch of just-so stories, then dismissing them as wrong (Pinker’s style throughout the book is what I call “proof by assertion” — he’s a Harvard prof, what more proof do you need, anyway?), so he can use it to explain the putative change “toward greater sensibility …”
    .
    [*] To be honest, I didn’t read any further. I was afraid he might get even worse, and I didn’t want to do permanent damage to my brain.

  24. alwayscurious says

    1000 years of evolution took humans a long way then! Because wasn’t that when Africans were better adapted to productive trade, Asians were better adapted to empire building, and Europeans best adapted to hotheaded religious tribalism?

    Cherry picking history sure is fun!

  25. David Marjanović says

    So, there are 3 1st or princial (as in equal) races?

    No, 3 main races – the ones that feature as the biggest or the only ones in classifications from the 2nd half of the 20th century, y’know, after it had become unfashionable to subdivide the white people further.

    Which one for example do people from India fit into, to use one example?

    All people in India are “europid” in this scheme, except for some on the northeastern and northern slopes, who are “mongolid” (not to be confused with “mongoloid”, except that’s where the latter word comes from). Yes, even the darkest ones.

    I don´t know if Germans or Italians are into authoritarian regimes or not but here in Spain we had a fascist take over because we lost a war.

    …To be honest, it’s painful how you failed to notice this joke.

  26. anbheal says

    @19 Pen, spot on. If we took our little stroll around the globe in the 15th or 16th century, we’d be quite certain that Turks, Italians, and Spaniards had the proper genetic stuff. A few centuries earlier it would have been Arabs and Mongolians. A short 2000 years back, quite surely Africans (until Cleopatra was so busy boinking Mark Anthony that she failed to get her fleet out of Actium harbor in time, and Rome eclipsed Egypt). And yes, nothing says authoritarian power structure like Theravada Buddhism.

    But the larger question — at least to me — is intent. Why was it so important to Richard Herrnstein to prove blacks genetically inferior and prone to violence that he spent the lion’s share of his career examining it? Was there no other sociological issue that could capture his interest? Why did Robert Faurisson spend his life trying to prove that only a handful of Jews died in WWII? Was there no other aspect of the war that a historian might have analyzed? Somebody could go out and write a book claiming that there are so few women grandmasters because lady brains aren’t hardwired for chess — but WHY WOULD THEY DO SO??? Of course he’s a racist — there’s absolutely no other conceivable reason for writing the book!

  27. says

    Disagree w much of Wade (goes beyond data, gets some wrong) but he explodes race-is-only-a-social-construction myth

    Oh my fucking goodness. I never thought I would see people who are actually supposed to know what they’re doing to spout such nonsense. Do they talk like this about eye-colour? Hair colour? Whether your earlobes are attached to the side of your head and you can roll your tongue? Are those people put into sub-races?
    Hey, I live in an area with many Russian Germans. I’m actually pretty good at predicting this particular origin when I see somebody for the first time. Are they are special race because they have a particular set of facial features or is this not important because they’re white?

  28. Holms says

    1. Distill humanity down to three ‘principal races’, whatever they are.
    2. Make broad generalisations about said races, ignoring all counterexamples both current and historical.
    3. Declare all differences between them to be genetic.

    I guess it’s all just an amazing coincidence that these sweeping generalisations, and the highly selective examples supporting them, happen to match current racist talking points!

  29. Anthony K says

    The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong.

    So, what race are Jerry Coyne’s straw-men? Because even the most committed ‘race-denialists’ would probably acknowledge that genes play a part in melanin production, and by that metric alone all populations cannot be genetically identical.

    But whatever gets the page-hits, I guess. Rant on, O brave destroyer of taboos.

  30. anbheal says

    @28 Gilliel — I don’t even know what a Russian German is. Except for, perhaps, an opportunity for a bad pun. What’s their hurry, right? But sure, they deserve their own race. And I have to assume they hate skiing with poles. Tip your waitresses, I’ll be here all week.

  31. numerobis says

    So, has anyone yet discovered a reason for someone to announce that they’re not a bigot other than because they’re about to say blatantly bigoted shit?

    I recently read something that was roughly the opposite: I skimmed an old book in a second-hand bookstore (I forget if it was just pre- or just post-WW2) that attributed the success of the White Man over the Colored Races to Science and more generally the Scientific Method. You could tell it was old because of the capitalization, and the completely blatantly bigoted word choice.

    The intro went on and on to demonstrate that this was a historical accident, and not due to any intrinsic or genetic benefit that whites had over others — rather, any other group who adopted the scientific method kicked ass too (exhibit A, Japan, then I stopped reading). The author didn’t seem to believe there was any evidence that non-whites had any difficulty integrating the scientific method, and instead believed that it would eventually be adopted everywhere and whites would lose their edge. Further, the author seemed to believe this was something to be celebrated, though it would require some uncomfortable adjustment for white peoples.

    It was kind of jarring to read that kind of sentiment written up with the holy-shit-did-he-really-write-that phrasing.

  32. gmacs says

    don’t forget the time when the Japanese people overthrew their postwar democracy and brought back their god-emperor.

    And Western European cultures never tore down a republic to instate a deified emperor. Never did they live under monarchs who ruled under the guise of appointment by a god. Never did they spend centuries under the totalitarian rule of a strict religious hierarchy that violently silenced any form of dissent.

    And the Fascist movement just never fucking happened. [/sarcasm]

  33. scienceavenger says

    I doubt whether anyone has ever claimed that [human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences]

    Well, if you mean “anyone not an abject idiot”, then I’d agree with you. I’ve seen plenty otherwise. And that applies as well to the straw man on the other side of the coin, that race is some unchanging, inherent, pure all-or-nothing, almost magical property that endows one with superiority over another.

  34. brucegorton says

    stevenjohnson2

    He then goes on to argue:

    “Wade’s main thesis, and where the book goes wrong, is to insist that differences between human societies, including differences that arose in the last few centuries, are based on genetic differences—produced by natural selection— in the behavior of individuals within those societies.

    In other words, societal differences largely reflect their differential evolution.

    For this Wade offers virtually no evidence, because there is none. We know virtually nothing about the genetic differences (if there are any) in cognition and behavior between human populations. And to explain how natural selection can effect such rapid changes, Wade posits some kind of “multiplier effect,” whereby small differences in gene frequencies can ramify up to huge societal differences. There is virtually no evidence for that, either. It is a mountain of speculation teetering on a few pebbles.”

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/new-book-on-race-by-nicholas-wade-professor-ceiling-cat-says-paws-down/

  35. gmacs says

    And as to tribalist mentality:

    My Scandinavian ancestors never fought to control each other. The Anglo-Saxons never fought tribally-motivated wars against the Welsh, or the Cornish, or the Scots, nor did the Normans. The term “ethnic cleansing” did not come about from a European conflict. There is not currently tension between ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. The English never committed genocide against the Irish.

    Nope, no tribalism in European cultures. [/sarcasm]

  36. moarscienceplz says

    Wade does not say Caucasians are better per se, merely better adapted (because of their genes) to the modern economic institutions that Western society has created, and which now dominate the world’s economy and culture. In contrast, Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism while East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures.

    Oh, really? Perhaps Wade should come to Silicon Valley. We have a whole lot of East Asians who start their own companies, or rise to leadership positions in other companies, and are every bit the epitome of Capitalist Success Story. I suppose Wade would try to claim that they all have a lot of Caucasian genes, somehow.

  37. azhael says

    @17 Artor

    I’m glad it’s only the East Asians who are into authoritarian regimes. I’d hate to see fascists take over in places like Germany, Italy or Spain.

    Ah, but you see, in the last 40 years we have clearly evolved out of authoritarian regimes and become fully white.

  38. stevenjohnson2 says

    gussnarp…I think that in everyday usage “race” never corresponds to the statistically defined scientific “race” upheld so vigorously by Wade, Coyne and Pinker. Therefore I think for scientists the issue is emphasizing the dissimilarity in meanings, not proclaiming the moral redemption of the word, saved at last from the rabble with merely political motives. So I guess I’m agreeing with you.

    brucegorton…In the post above that linked to a collection of reviews, Pinker’s tweet was listed as favorable I think for good reason. Coyne said he regarded Pinker’s tweet as a kind of precis of his views. I agree Coyne knew what he meant and he was right that he agreed with Pinker.

    As to his cautious refusal to sign on to the blatant nonsense, there is a peculiar desire to ignore the evidence against racial determinism a la Wade. I think in effect Coyne is merely saying, not yet. But the alternative explanations for phenomena are not even considered. Yes, I do think there is a mountain of evidence that other explanations are better. For instance, studies of cultural biases in IQ testing, or simply the result of racism on test takers, are better explanations for the phenomena that allegedly need scientific race “explanation.” And yes, I do think that Coyne’s effort to simply dismiss all that with a sour phrase about political motives does betray bad faith argument.

  39. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Oh, really? Perhaps Wade should come to Silicon Valley. We have a whole lot of East Asians who start their own companies…

    cuz the Asians have super maths skillz, and awesome skillz at writing the software?? /snark

    I’ve actually heard that brand of racism: downgrading Asians as too-smart-to-fit-in; that Technology schools [MIT included] are dominated by the Asian students, etc. etc. With, of course, the ubiquitous disclaimer, “That’s not racism; the Asians are better at Math, objectively, just look at their test scores, and we’re not denigrating Them, we’re praising them, we wish ours could be more like them, how is that racist? …”

  40. says


    anbheal

    Russian German is a term for the descendents of Germans who moved to Russia in the late 18th and 19th century, mainly after an Invitation by Catherine II. They were privileged over the native population (as they were free) and kept to themselves. My grandma, who was born in 1921 only learned German at home and had to learn Russian when she started school.
    Due to binational agreements they can easily apply for German citizenship, so after the collapse of the Soviet Union many people dug up a German ancestor and came here. To put it into perspective, if we applied the same rules to USA this would be about 200 people (Please note, I don’t begrudge them this chance, I would do anything to get out of Putin’s hellhole, too)
    Same applies to many other eastern European countries. My friend is Romanian German and she says that in Germany she feels Romanian and in Romania she feels German. Race, ethnicity, really simple stuff, ain’t it?

  41. gussnarp says

    @stevenjohnson2 – I just question whether there’s ever been a statistical or scientific definition of “race” other than as an attempt to justify preexisting, socially constructed, racial classifications.

  42. colnago80 says

    There have also been multiple lively discussions about the book at Stormfront.org, the online forum Duke created and one of the most visited white supremacist websites on the net with about 40,000 unique users each day.

    Actually, Stormfront.org was created by Don Black.

    http://goo.gl/9aaz

  43. Anthony K says

    Actually, Stormfront.org was created by Don Black.

    Plagiarism and credit-stealing are the whitest traits of all.

  44. robertfoster says

    Give us another Hitler scream my German genes. There must be a reason I’ve been buying all that Third Reich memorabilia in eBay.

  45. unclefrogy says

    you know he is correct it is about Inheritance, but he is incorrect about it being genetic inheritance.
    It is inherited wealth, inherited power and influence, and the inherited privilege that he is misinterpreting as some genetic predisposition to success in a system that was set up by those who hold the wealth, power, privilege and influence. I know people who have said things to me that were very similar, they did not even recognize the ideas as racist in any way nor did they realize how selective they were being with the data they were spouting at me. Just because you can put words together in readable sentences and string ideas together does not make anything you might say as having any relationship to reality other than B.S.
    uncle frogy

  46. playonwords says

    Just 3 main racial types?? The man is a loon
    Using his fraudulent term “Race” Europe alone has multiple “races and ethnicities”
    Basques
    The Indo-Aryans – The Romani
    Ibero/Celt/Berber – the “Hispanics”
    Indo-Europeans including groups as disparate as the Slavs and the Celts
    Turkic includes the Turks, the Kazakhs and the Tartars
    The Fino-Ugrics including the Finns, the Laps and the Estonians
    North Caucasians – Avars and Chechens
    The Kartevelians – Georgians
    And lastly the Semites – Jews and Maltese

  47. jefrir says

    gussnarp, #21

    I’ve no idea, for example, if sickle cell is actually genetically linked with dark skin or is only a trait of a more specific population.

    Nope, nothing to do with skin colour; it’s common in areas with a history of malaria. So screening that simply targets black people as a group will include some people with ancestry from areas where it does not typically occur (such as South Africa or Ethiopia) and will miss people with ancestors from areas where it does occur (such as Greece, Saudi Arabia and northern India).
    As with many of these things, geographic origin can be a useful indicator. Socially-defined racial categories are not.

  48. says

    Giliell#43

    To put it into perspective, if we applied the same rules to USA this would be about 200 people

    While overall I found the comment quite informative, I’d be interested to know where this figure came from; did you perhaps drop a few digits by accident? There are loads of German-Americans around, it’s one of the biggest subgroups of white people. I could buy 20,000,000, maybe, but not 200. (per the Pfft! it’s actually about 50,000,000, and I bet Germany would be thrilled if they all started to try to claim citizenship…)

  49. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    playonwords, except none of those are races either. Which is kind of the point. Although it is interesting that the categories you’ve chosen align closely with linguistic divisions.

    Further, as for Coyne and Pinker, et al., it’s an abuse of a word meaningful only as a culturally created and defined concept to demarcate statistical genetic differences among groups of humans as races. I’m not even sure that such demarcations should necessarily be categorized except by what genetic differences they are specifically looking at.

    To build on what Giliell was saying about hair colour, eye colour, attached or detached earlobes and the ability or lack thereof to roll a tongue a particular way, I can imagine genetic differences that would place two people with very different skin colours, for instance, into the same ‘race’ or separated significantly on a chart. It depends on what genetic difference you wish to chart where any two given people will fall relative to each other. It’s not at all a coincidence that any given person can be traced back to a particular heritage through their genetics and that broad and sweeping genetic similarities can be used to categorise certain people based on another genetic trait. Genetic similarities (and thus differences) between any two given people is a forgone conclusion. Using any given genetic trait, however, to absolutely categorise people isn’t meaningful when another trait might put them into another category. Even where certain traits overlap in populations, that overlap won’t be absolute and any division will ultimately be arbitrary.

    Which doesn’t even address the very fundamental problem that the categories (races) into which they would like to pigeon hole people are predefined culturally. They’re working from a conclusion (that race exists) and are looking for specific genetic traits that seem to support that conclusion (even if only statistically) while excluding those genetic traits that are common to all or which otherwise contradict the conclusion. Race is socially constructed. Genetic similarities (and differences) aren’t, but there is no logical reason that any group of similarities should align to any particular definition of a ‘race’. The idea that it possibly could is ludicrous on the face.

  50. bargearse says

    Just 3 main racial types?? The man is a loon

    I forget the guy’s name but according to one comedian I saw bigots acknowledge 4 races: black, white, Asian and people who could be played by Ben Kingsley.

  51. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Further, as for Coyne and Pinker, et al., it’s an abuse of a word meaningful only as a culturally created and defined concept to demarcate statistical genetic differences among groups of humans as races. I’m not even sure that such demarcations should necessarily be categorized except by what genetic differences they are specifically looking at.

    reminiscent of cases where an Arab [and/or Muslim] hater is called a racist. And the observers will shout, “Arabs/Muslims ain’t a race, just a culture/religion! He aint a racist, just a hater.”
    Which leads me to the conclusion [however mistaken] that “racism” is just a euphemism/slang for “labellist” (“hater”).

  52. says

    @stevenjohnson2 #41

    I think that in everyday usage “race” never corresponds to the statistically defined scientific “race” upheld so vigorously by Wade, Coyne and Pinker.

    -As Razib Khan recently pointed out, that’s just not true. Most Americans can readily tell into which large “statistically defined scientific “race”” a person falls. It’s true, though, that sometimes, smaller-scale racial divisions are considered by most people to be more important than larger-scale ones within another large race (e.g., Arabs and Whites are considered to be separate races by the mainstream media, but vast genetic differences in Sub-Saharan Africa are almost never discussed there).
    @ Anthony K #30

    So, what race are Jerry Coyne’s straw-men?

    -They’re not straw men. You sound like one of those theologians stating no religionist believes in an anthropomorphic god.
    http://wupa.wustl.edu/record_archive/1998/10-15-98/articles/races.html
    @ unclefrogy #48

    It is inherited wealth, inherited power and influence

    -According to Gregory Clark, this claim is manifestly contradicted by the evidence presented in adoption studies.

  53. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Umm …I think you’ll find that it’s the other way around; ‘hater’ is a euphemism for racist, or a catch all term for any ‘-ist’ or ‘-ic’ type hate. It is fairly simple, after all, to expose the racism of someone who hates Arabs or Muslims since invariably they mean ‘those brown people’, especially when those brown people are neither Arab nor Muslim.

    Also, I’m not sure that what I pointed out is even at all similar to a miscategorisation of a geographically or religiously defined people for a ‘race’. What I am saying specifically is that any division of humans into groups based on genetic differences and similarities is arbitrary, unless the division is down to a specific genetic trait. Attempting to pigeon hole people into races based on genetics is engaging in a transparent fallacy and failure of science.

  54. says

    zaratoothbrush #8

    Isn’t it amazing how the pigments in your skin, or the skin around your eyes, can make such a huge difference in your intelligence and suitability for stuff?

    -I don’t think anyone except the least erudite of pseudonymous Internet commenters have ever claimed this.

    Holms #29
    -It’s not always three principal races, but it’s always less than six; at that point the very inbred Pakistani Kalash begin to appear.
    http://www.stanford.edu/group/rosenberglab/papers/popstruct.pdf
    Your second point is all too depressingly common, but your third point is just wrong; no one has ever claimed that all differences between races are genetic.

  55. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    no one has ever claimed that all differences between races are genetic.

    This illustrates perfectly how race isn’t a scientific concept and how it can’t be rescued as one by genetics.

  56. says

    @Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts #57
    I think twas brillig (stevem) is right- “racist” is used as an epithet for “someone who doesn’t like some group or idea”; the reverse is, in my experience, not as common.

    Attempting to pigeon hole people into races based on genetics is engaging in a transparent fallacy and failure of science.

    -Why? I see no reasoning behind this statement in this comment. Perhaps you have offered some elsewhere. If so, link to it. :-)

  57. says

    This illustrates perfectly how race isn’t a scientific concept and how it can’t be rescued as one by genetics.

    -I meant differences in the median outcomes of various genetically defined races, not differences in races’ definition. I apologize if I wasn’t clear.

  58. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    genetically defined races

    This is the problematic bit. They’re only so defined by as many genetic similarities as one cares to look at. It’s ultimately meaningless and arbitrary in the context of race; the word ‘race’ is not appropriate.

  59. Anthony K says

    -They’re not straw men. You sound like one of those theologians stating no religionist believes in an anthropomorphic god.

    Yawn.

    Coyne’s quote:

    The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong.

    From the article you link:

    While between-population variation exists, it is either too small, which is a quantitative variation, or it is not the right type of qualitative variation — it does not mark historical sublineages of humanity.

    “I’m not saying these results don’t recognize genetic differences among human populations,…

    “Human populations are genetically identical” does not mean the same thing as “between-population variation exists” and “I’m not saying these results don’t recognize genetic differences among human populations”?

  60. peanutcat says

    I know someone’s already said it, but: If someone has to say they’re not a racist, they’re a racist; non-racist people don’t to point it out constantly, just like good people don’t have to point out that they’re “good” Christians all the time . . . . .

  61. says

    From that article posted in #55

    In America, for example, the I.Q. of adopted children correlates with their adoptive parents’ when they are young, but the correlation is close to zero by adulthood.

    This tells you all you need to know.
    Now, I think that IQ is a pretty shoddy concept, especially since the tests are so biased, but here’s one thing: One of the characteristics of our current IQ tests is that IQ is stable throughout life. So, the above statement doesn’t even make much sense as it is (why would the IQ correlate?) and it’s complete bullshit when you know the basics of IQ tests, since your IQ doesn’t change unless you’re hit on the head.
    Apart from that, IQ is a poor indicator for success in life.

  62. Nick Gotts says

    They’re not straw men. – Enopoletus Harding@55

    Yes, they are. Coyne says:

    The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and “races” are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong.

    This is a classic straw man. If you deny that, produce quotes from people supporting the idea he says (correctly, of course) is “simply wrong”.

    According to Gregory Clark, this claim is manifestly contradicted by the evidence presented in adoption studies.

    Even if Clark is right – and he doesn’t actually give his sources in the article you link to, and is neither a geneticist nor a cognitive scientist – adoption studies tell you zilch about between population differences, which is what Ward is talking about and unclefrogy is referring to, because the vast majority of adoptions involve people from similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

  63. says

    @ Anthony K
    -Typically, the vast majority of those notified of the existence of an article only read its title. And the title of this article is just wrong, as you agree. So the vast majority of those notified of the existence of this article are going to get incorrect impressions due to them being notified of it. As the first three sentences of this article are falsehoods, as well, and only the last four paragraphs and the seventh paragraph contain legitimate points complicating socially accepted definitions of race, plenty of readers of this article would definitely come away with false beliefs from reading it.

  64. says

    Coyne, quoted above:

    But as we all know, those genetic differences are not profound—they’re seen by aggregating data from many genes across the genome, and doing a kind of “cluster analysis.”

    I mentioned this on the other thread about the book, but I think it’s sufficiently important to note again: Many of the references to cluster studies “finding” a handful of genetic clusters which people want desperately to equate to races involve the Rosenberg (2002) and Bamshad (2003) studies which used the structure program. There’s a thorough discussion of this work in Deborah Bolnick’s chapter, “Individual Ancestry Inference and the Reification of Race as a Biological Phenomenon,” in Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. The entire chapter can be read online on Google books. In short, the researchers did not “find” a small set of genetic clusters – they set the program to divide the data into different numbers of clusters, because that’s how the program works. The program will try to find the “best” K (number of clusters to fit the data), but there are issues that make this not especially clear cut, as Bolnick describes (including because it will form clusters in different ways in different runs). In the Rosenberg study, the best fit was actually for a run in which they used K=16, and K=6 was not a better fit than runs with higher numbers of clusters, although Wade and many others have suggested it was. She discusses Bamshad et al. and quotes from their conclusion: “[T]he inclusion of [geographically intermediate] samples demonstrates geographic continuity in the distribution of genetic variation and thus undermines traditional concepts of race” [my emphasis] .

    The book came out in 2008 and the chapter deals explicitly with these studies and the claims being made about them by Wade and others. If Wade is continuing to cite this research as he was prior to that book, he’s likely being willfully dishonest. All of this, of course, is separate from and prior to the silly claims about purported psychological and behavioral linkages, but I’m tired of hearing people use these studies to support claims that the studies don’t really support.

    Regarding Pinker, I’ve posted some links to critical reviews of his book and also noted a couple of books about this tradition in case anyone is interested.

  65. says

    Enoleptus Harding #55

    Most Americans can readily tell into which large “statistically defined scientific “race”” a person falls. It’s true, though, that sometimes, smaller-scale racial divisions are considered by most people to be more important than larger-scale ones within another large race

    Two points on this one. First, IME, many Americans can, in fact, do no such thing, and cannot reliably tell e.g. an Arab from a Mexican, or a Pashtun from either one, and might mistake any of the above for an African-American.
    Second, as Giliell notes in an earlier comment, it is not only possible to learn to distinguish common physical characteristics among ethnic groups much smaller than the now commonly defined ‘races’, it’s not even that hard. For instance, one can often distinguish English-Americans from German-Americans from Irish-Americans by facial features, hair color and texture, etc.
    Giliell #59
    That makes sense.

  66. Anthony K says

    @70: I think there’s no small amount of quibble over whether or not a headline and lede written by a university PR writer that contradicts the body of the press release constitutes a dedicated ‘race-denier’, as opposed to simply doing the kind of headline and lede writing PR offices often put out, but I see your point.

  67. says

    @ Nick Gotts #68

    If you deny that, produce quotes from people supporting the idea he says (correctly, of course) is “simply wrong”.

    -I produced a link to a university press release with an obviously incorrect title. Why wasn’t that enough for you?

    There is no genetic or biological difference between human beings, we are the same race, homo sapiens.

    -This comment had 11 Facebook likes at ThinkProgress. This alone disproves your claim that this “is a classic straw man”. In any case, why have you not pointed out the more obvious straw men in comments 8 and 29 here?

    @ SC (Salty Current), OM #71
    -I was aware of all the issues you mention simply due to looking at the clusters in the papers, but I was neither aware of Bolnick’s chapter nor of the best fit being K=16. Also, K=6 includes the Kalash. I think you meant K=5. As for the claim anything “undermines traditional concepts of race”, I would have to see the reasoning behind this claim to analyze it in an informed manner. I thought the results from K=2 to K=5 were seemingly consistent with “traditional concepts of race”.

  68. says

    I was aware of all the issues you mention simply due to looking at the clusters in the papers, but I was neither aware of Bolnick’s chapter nor of the best fit being K=16.

    Then you weren’t aware of all the issues, were you. You claimed: “It’s not always three principal races, but it’s always less than six; at that point the very inbred Pakistani Kalash begin to appear” in response to “1. Distill humanity down to three ‘principal races’, whatever they are.” If you were aware of all of these issues, it seems rather dishonest not to mention them at that time. And even if you weren’t aware of Bolnick’s chapter, Wade and his editors certainly should have been. This is extremely relevant information for evaluating claims based upon that study.

    As for the claim anything “undermines traditional concepts of race”, I would have to see the reasoning behind this claim to analyze it in an informed manner. I thought the results from K=2 to K=5 were seemingly consistent with “traditional concepts of race”.

    Perhaps you should read the Bolnick chapter. Just a thought.

  69. stevenjohnson2 says

    Enopoletus Harding @55

    “@stevenjohnson2 #41

    ‘I think that in everyday usage “race” never corresponds to the statistically defined scientific “race” upheld so vigorously by Wade, Coyne and Pinker.’

    -As Razib Khan recently pointed out, that’s just not true. Most Americans can readily tell into which large “statistically defined scientific “race”” a person falls. It’s true, though, that sometimes, smaller-scale racial divisions are considered by most people to be more important than larger-scale ones within another large race (e.g., Arabs and Whites are considered to be separate races by the mainstream media, but vast genetic differences in Sub-Saharan Africa are almost never discussed there).”

    No one ever talks about pygmies when discussing race in everyday life. I think that pretty much proves the everyday usage has nothing to do with identifying genuine group variations in humans. I don’t think Razib Khan and Larry Moran are correct when they make that claim. I do think that they would find it quite difficult to correctly place the continent of origin for Dayaks, San, Copts, Circassians, Roma, Inuit,
    Dine, Sambia, Gonds, Uighurs, Yanomamo, etc.

    But maybe you’re right. Razib Khan has told me not to post on his blog since I’m stupid.

  70. says

    @ SC (Salty Current), OM #77
    -That was blatantly unfair. How are we to know if we’re dealing with a typical Argentine or a typical Mexican or Nicaraguan? Hispanics are not a race, and this fact makes sorting these poorly-lit pictures an order of magnitude more difficult than need be. “Hispanics” are nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians!

  71. says

    My first link @ #75 quotes:

    “Our evidence for clustering should not be taken as evidence of our support of any particular concept of ‘biological race.’” – Rosenberg et al. (2005)

  72. says

    -That was blatantly unfair. How are we to know if we’re dealing with a typical Argentine or a typical Mexican or Nicaraguan? Hispanics are not a race, and this fact makes sorting these poorly-lit pictures an order of magnitude more difficult than need be. “Hispanics” are nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians!

    What the…?

  73. Broken Things says

    From the NIH website:

    How Much Genetic Variation Exists Among Humans?

    Notwithstanding the genetic differences between individuals, all humans have a great deal of their genetic information in common. These similarities help define us as a species. Furthermore, genetic variation around the world is distributed in a rather continuous manner; there are no sharp, discontinuous boundaries between human population groups. In fact, research results consistently demonstrate that about 85 percent of all human genetic variation exists within human populations, whereas about only 15 percent of variation exists between populations (Figure 4). That is, research reveals that Homo sapiens is one continuously variable, inter-breeding species. Ongoing investigation of human genetic variation has even led biologists and physical anthropologists to rethink traditional notions of human racial groups. The amount of genetic variation between these traditional classifications actually falls below the level that taxonomists use to designate subspecies, the taxonomic category for other species that corresponds to the designation of race in Homo sapiens. This finding has caused some biologists to call the validity of race as a biological construct into serious question.

    Note especially the last two lines. Is this wrong? If not, race is not a biological distinction, and Wade is not any better than the Southern preachers dividing the children of Ham from the rest of the population. How is Wade not claiming that the existence of obvious genetic differences exist between populations can be extrapolated, without evidence, as reasons for propensity of one type or another of behavior?

  74. jefrir says

    Two points on this one. First, IME, many Americans can, in fact, do no such thing, and cannot reliably tell e.g. an Arab from a Mexican, or a Pashtun from either one, and might mistake any of the above for an African-American.
    Second, as Giliell notes in an earlier comment, it is not only possible to learn to distinguish common physical characteristics among ethnic groups much smaller than the now commonly defined ‘races’, it’s not even that hard. For instance, one can often distinguish English-Americans from German-Americans from Irish-Americans by facial features, hair color and texture, etc.

    And a lot of what is used in such distinctions is cultural – differences in clothing, behaviour, and simply where a person is.
    For example, I used to be really quite good at identifying French students on campus. I’m still not sure quite which characteristics I was using, but it wasn’t just facial features because 1. It sometimes worked to identify Black French students and 2. When I was in France, I frequently couldn’t tell the local Maghrebis from the native French until they started speaking Arabic.

  75. says

    I don’t think I understand what you’re trying to argue. In response to “I think that in everyday usage ‘race’ never corresponds to the statistically defined scientific ‘race’ upheld so vigorously by Wade, Coyne and Pinker,” you answered, “As Razib Khan recently pointed out, that’s just not true. Most Americans can readily tell into which large ‘statistically defined scientific “race”‘ a person falls.” This looks like a non sequitur, but in any case your later statement that “Hispanics are not a race” doesn’t appear to be consistent with this earlier objection, since Hispanic is considered a “race” in everyday usage in the US. This seems very confused.

  76. says

    @SC #78

    If you were aware of all of these issues, it seems rather dishonest not to mention them at that time.

    -I was talking about what most of those who call themselves “HBD proponents” typically do, not what is advisable or right to do!
    @SC #81
    -Yes, I already knew and commented about that, as you already pointed that out.
    @stevenjohnson2 #79

    I think that pretty much proves the everyday usage has nothing to do with identifying genuine group variations in humans.

    -I don’t see how your conclusion follows from your premises.
    -As a layman, let me try my hand (without any Googling). San&Copts-Africa (though Copts aren’t Black and have much Middle Eastern ancestry). Circassians-the Caucasus region. Roma-Descendants of East Indian migrants who moved to the area of Turkey and Romania in the Middle Ages. Uighurs are a White-Asian mix in NW China. Inuit are a North American Native American group. The Yanomamo are presumably Asian. I know nothing of the other groups you mention.

  77. Juliana Ewing says

    One of the characteristics of our current IQ tests is that IQ is stable throughout life.

    Nope. We no longer use ratio IQ tests, which essentially required IQ to vary, but that doesn’t mean AT ALL that you can’t get wildly varying results on various IQ tests over the years.

  78. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    “Hispanic” is not a race but an ethnolinguisistic group (i.e. “from the traditionally Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations”). It is orthogonal to race – a person’s racial background is literally irrelevant in determining if they are Hispanic or not.

    That said, it is in common parlance used as synonymous with “race” in the US.

  79. says

    @ SC #85

    This looks like a non sequitur

    -How!? I think it’s perfectly relevant!

    doesn’t appear to be consistent with this earlier objection

    -I don’t see how. So far as I can see, all my words are perfectly consistent.

  80. Useless says

    At last! We have scientific backing for what Reggie White told us so many years ago.

    “Each race has certain gifts. The Indians knew the territory, and the Indians knew how to sneak up on people. When you look at the black race, black people are very gifted in what we call worship and celebration. A lot of us like to dance, and if you go to black churches, you see people jumping up and down, because they really get into it. White people were blessed with the gift of structure and organization. You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature and you know how to tap into money pretty much better than a lot of people do around the world. [He must have been confusing them with Jews. Whites are better at making fine clothing out of old sheets.] Hispanics are gifted in family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and they can put 20 or 30 people in one home. They were gifted in the family structure. When you look at the Asians, the Asian is very gifted in creation, creativity and inventions. If you go to Japan or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch. They’re very creative. And you look at the Indians, they have been very gifted in the spirituality. When you put all of that together, guess what it makes. It forms a complete image of God.”

    This is extracted from a much longer and very insightful sermon. It’s so exciting to see that this is all scientifically verified now.

  81. says

    In fairness, Wade does not say Caucasians are better per se, merely better adapted (because of their genes) to the modern economic institutions that Western society has created, and which now dominate the world’s economy and culture.

    Nothing at all to do with the relentless empire-building carried on by European nations since the Romans, the ensuing spread of Christianity from Rome’s ashes (often at the point of a sword), the ruthless land-grabbing at the expense of those hapless enough to be born on top of it that followed and is still occurring. Nope. Also, nothing at all to do with East Asian nations and empires like Japan and China closing their doors and purposely isolating themselves from the rest of the world for centuries, thus removing what might have proven to be stiff competition for the globalising, trigger-happy Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries (in the 20th and 21st, competition is precisely what China and Japan turned out to be, with other Asian nations starting to catch up – I wonder what Wade has to say about Asians’ genes for industry and education?).

    In contrast, Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism

    Nothing at all to do with the fact that Africa was treated like a 24/7 resource supermarket and looted of its riches and its human population treated like livestock for century upon century, then colonised, stripped again of its wealth and left, each nation in turn, to try and pick up the pieces after the white man left, or was kicked out, leaving political wildfires and crumbling infrastructure in his wake. Never mind that the aftershocks are still being felt. Not that white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent but when you pull a knife from a wound, you get spurts. It’s impossible to say what Africa would’ve been like without Europe treating it like a Kwik-E-Mart and battleground for a thousand years; the fact remains that they did and many African nations are still suffering because of it.

    while East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures.

    Certainly explains India, Japan, Hong Kong pre-handover (or now, for that matter) and South Korea.

    Until perhaps two centuries ago, western Europe was itself a mass of patriarchal monarchies constantly at war with one another, chiefly at the expense of the ordinary people (until a revolution in a well-known colony, followed by one in France); two centuries prior to that, Europe’s brutal monarchies were under the theocratic bootheel of Catholicism, with even kings having to petition the Pope if they wished to divorce their wives.

    Also, populations tend to “adapt to authoritarian political structures” because, very often, authoritarian political structures give them no choice in the matter. I’m sure many Chinese people would still like a democratic system of government but given what happened when they demanded one in 1989, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re put off from doing so again for a while.

    Sorry, Wade, but you can’t possibly look at a thousand years of European imperialism, colonisation, slavery and genocide and conclude that white people are better suited because of their genes to the economic & other institutions white people themselves consciously put in place to deal with the windfall they reaped, while at the same time consciously excluding slaves and the indigenous inhabitants of the land they colonised from utilising and participating in them. For example, Aboriginals didn’t even get the right to vote in Australia until the 1960s – is that because they were better adapted to a non-democratic tribal nomad way of life or because they were treated like ghosts or vermin from the moment Britain started colonising the country in 1788 and had to have their civil rights voted on by the white population that had subsumed and displaced them?

  82. says

    Nothing at all to do with the relentless empire-building carried on by European nations since the Romans, the ensuing spread of Christianity from Rome’s ashes (often at the point of a sword), the ruthless land-grabbing at the expense of those hapless enough to be born on top of it that followed and is still occurring. Nope. Also, nothing at all to do with East Asian nations and empires like Japan and China closing their doors and purposely isolating themselves from the rest of the world for centuries, thus removing what might have proven to be stiff competition for the globalising, trigger-happy Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries (in the 20th and 21st, competition is precisely what China and Japan turned out to be, with other Asian nations starting to catch up – I wonder what Wade has to say about Asians’ genes for industry and education?).

    -Uh, dude, these are “the modern economic institutions that Western society has created” Wade is talking about. Address his argument, not some caricature of it.

    Certainly explains India, Japan, Hong Kong pre-handover (or now, for that matter) and South Korea.

    -India’s slower growth than Suharto’s Indonesia is undoubtedly “better adaption”, ain’t it? Japan certainly wasn’t an authoritarian state during its pre-WWII industrialization, wasn’t it? No authoritarianism in Hong Kong existed during the era of British rule, didn’t it? South Korea didn’t begin its rapid growth two decades before its transition to democracy, did it? No? Then please, don’t give such terrible examples!

    Nothing at all to do with the fact that Africa was treated like a 24/7 resource supermarket and looted of its riches and its human population treated like livestock for century upon century, then colonised, stripped again of its wealth and left, each nation in turn, to try and pick up the pieces after the white man left, or was kicked out, leaving political wildfires and crumbling infrastructure in his wake. Never mind that the aftershocks are still being felt. Not that white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent but when you pull a knife from a wound, you get spurts.

    -And no bloody massacres resulting from tribal warfare ever occurred before a Portuguese set foot on Sub-Saharan African soil. What sort of pie-in-the-sky fantasyland is this?

    Sorry, Wade, but you can’t possibly look at a thousand years of European imperialism, colonisation, slavery and genocide and conclude that white people are better suited because of their genes to the economic & other institutions white people themselves consciously put in place to deal with the windfall they reaped, while at the same time consciously excluding slaves and the indigenous inhabitants of the land they colonised from utilising and participating in them.

    -Why not?

    For example, Aboriginals didn’t even get the right to vote in Australia until the 1960s – is that because they were better adapted to a non-democratic tribal nomad way of life or because they were treated like ghosts or vermin from the moment Britain started colonising the country in 1788 and had to have their civil rights voted on by the white population that had subsumed and displaced them?

    -Why can’t it be both?

    The sad thing is, I actually agree with you here. But please, do not embarrass me by leading me to defend the integrity of Wade’s doubtful biological explanations for present-day differences in the wealth of nations.

  83. says

    I was talking about what most of those who call themselves “HBD proponents” typically do, not what is advisable or right to do!

    OK, then I think you need to be far more clear about what you’re arguing and what you’re saying others are arguing (and to what extent you agree or disagree with them).

    How!? I think it’s perfectly relevant!

    The contention to which you objected was that colloquial racial categories used don’t generally meaningfully correspond with whatever statistical clusters Wade and company cling to. As has been established, there isn’t evidence for these statistical racial clusters, but in any case the only relevant argument would show the correspondence between the two – the everyday usage of race in the US or anywhere, which is diverse, and these alleged statistical clusters. Your claim about identification among Americans doesn’t seem relevant at all.

  84. says

    You can have centuries of colonialism and slavery and massive institutionalized violence toward humans and nonhumans or you can have selection pressures “toward greater sensibility and more delicate manners.” You can’t have both.

    And no bloody massacres resulting from tribal warfare ever occurred before a Portuguese set foot on Sub-Saharan African soil. What sort of pie-in-the-sky fantasyland is this?

    This is a straw man.

    The sad thing is, I actually agree with you here.

    I’m guessing that’s not true.

    This whole “Why not?”/”Why can’t it be both?” schtick is ideological rhetoric. The history is there and undeniable, but racists expect their inconsistent, unsupported, and contradicted prejudices to be given equal opportunity with historical reality.

  85. says

    As has been established, there isn’t evidence for these statistical racial clusters

    -!!!???
    Though you did point out issues with using these clusters, you never denied their existence previously! I’m flummoxed!

    but in any case the only relevant argument would show the correspondence between the two – the everyday usage of race in the US or anywhere, which is diverse, and these alleged statistical clusters. Your claim about identification among Americans doesn’t seem relevant at all.

    -Ah. Now I see your point, though my views on this matter remain almost entirely unaffected. I still don’t see how stevenjohnson2′s argument in any way follows from his premises.

  86. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    People seem to be confused by Wade’s “three principal races”. I assume most here are lucky enough to be so young they didn’t learn the categories out of textbooks from 50 and 60 years ago (already out of date, probably).

    In those days, there were no genetic tests, so everything had to go by appearance. People never imagined that such tiny genetic differences could account for such large differences in appearance. The main determiners were skull shape, facial features and hair type (skin color was completely secondary, if mentioned at all).

    Bearing in mind that I’m not defending any of this scientifically, the three “Great Races” were Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid. There were anomalies like Australoid, which some treated as a fourth “Great Race” and some treated as a minor subpopulation like Bushmanoid.

    I think these are the three “principle races” he’s talking about. As far as popular notions of “race” go, all bets are off. Whether it’s a Southern preachers “Children of Ham” or a Britisher’s “The ni**ers begin at Calais”, people in general are idiots.

    This is particularly obvious when they take skin color as a primary determiner. Are the peoples of Peninsular India “black”? Maybe, but are they “Negroid”? Not even close. They’re Caucasoid (Aryan, in fact, by the only relevant—linguistic—definition). Some of the Berbers of North Africa are the darkest-skinned people on the planet and yet they’re the most extreme Caucasoid type there is, by the old classification.

    What Wade is trying to do is fit an obsolete and long-debunked racial classification scheme to culturally-bound categories—and botching even that up.

  87. says

    This is a straw man.

    -No. I wish it was. But it’s exactly what he said!

    white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent

    ————————————

    I’m guessing that’s not true.

    -Why?

    ideological rhetoric

    -Yes, but of a much better quality than Hank_Says’s. His consisted purely of baseless assertion.

  88. Ichthyic says

    I read Wade as saying to himself:

    “Confirmed confirmation bias is confirming!”

    and then he gives himself a hug.

  89. says

    @ The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge #97

    What Wade is trying to do is fit an obsolete and long-debunked racial classification scheme to culturally-bound categories—and botching even that up.

    -I firmly agree that Wade is “botching even that up”, but I don’t see how Wade’s racial classification scheme is “obsolete and long-debunked”. The rest of your comment is solid and above-average at exposition, except for your statement about the Berbers. Could you substantiate your statement about the Berbers? They seem pretty light-skinned to me from what photographs I can find of them.

  90. says

    @Ichthyic #99
    -Exactly. Others’ descriptions of Wade’s speculative chapters (even Charles Murray’s) lead me to believe that these chapters are filled with sloppy uses of evidence and a tendency to vastly underestimate the impact of non-genetic factors on the wealth of nations.

  91. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Enopoletus Harding @ 101:

    -I firmly agree that Wade is “botching even that up”, but I don’t see how Wade’s racial classification scheme is “obsolete and long-debunked”

    Well, I’d say genetic studies had pretty well debunked it since 3/4 of the generic diversity of the human race is confined to sub-Saharan Africa and all would be assigned to the Negroid (and/or Bushmanoid) “race”. (Who undoubtedly “all look alike” to Wade.) I probably differ from 99% of the people here in thinking that the old classification might still have some utility in tracking migrations and so forth, but even there, I don’t know. If somebody showed me an Olmec Head (and I’d never seen one before) and asked me to assign an ethnic group to it, I’s probably say: “Samoan? Tongan? I dunno.” Visual cues aren’t as reliable as people think.

    The rest of your comment is solid and above-average at exposition, except for your statement about the Berbers. Could you substantiate your statement about the Berbers? They seem pretty light-skinned to me from what photographs I can find of them.

    I was just going on textbooks and encyclopedias from 50 or more years ago, like I said. Here’sone guy who’s fairy dark-skinned, but I remember a Nat Geo article from many years ago featuring a Saharan group that had so much melanin in their skin that it had crystallized into plaques, like crackle-finish enamel, with a definite blue tinge to it. There’s a reason why the Medieval European term for “Moors” from North Africa was “Blue men”—the fanciful Celtic etymology you see sometimes is bollocks.

  92. militantagnostic says

    Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism

    British soccer fans score pretty high in that department, not to mention white supremacists.

  93. ChasCPeterson says

    SC @#77:

    Test yourselves, Americans.

    FFS, SC. That little “test” is so obvious a piece of didactic rhetoric, and so obviously divorced from anything smacking even faintly of science (to say nothing of biological science), that I’m actually embarrassed for you.

  94. chigau (違う) says

    When I took the test, I did a clean exchange of Asians and North American Natives.

  95. says

    Enopoletus Harding:

    Sorry, Wade, but you can’t possibly look at a thousand years of European imperialism, colonisation, slavery and genocide and conclude that white people are better suited because of their genes to the economic & other institutions white people themselves consciously put in place to deal with the windfall they reaped, while at the same time consciously excluding slaves and the indigenous inhabitants of the land they colonised from utilising and participating in them.

    -Why not?

    Because consciously excluding other people from something you’ve created and then blaming those people for how “poorly adapted” to it they are is the exact fucking opposite of some genetic failure or inherent deficiency on their part.

    Deliberately locking someone out of your clubhouse and then complaining that they don’t know the rules as well as you do when you finally let them in is a moral failing on your part, not some inherent fault on their part. If they had as much time and the same rights as you did to assimilate the clubhouse culture, you have no idea that they wouldn’t be as well adapted to it as you.

    For example, Aboriginals didn’t even get the right to vote in Australia until the 1960s – is that because they were better adapted to a non-democratic tribal nomad way of life or because they were treated like ghosts or vermin from the moment Britain started colonising the country in 1788 and had to have their civil rights voted on by the white population that had subsumed and displaced them?

    -Why can’t it be both?

    That’s rather obtuse, to say the least. Hell, it’s almost horizontal. It’s because of the thing I said above about the clubhouse.

    Regarding your other soundbites, my examples of nations were intended to be general; the point being that genetics is a poor starting point to explain any of their current states as it ignores cultural, economic, political, military and even climatic influences on nations and the apparent majority races therein.

    But hey, thanks for not being a condescending fucking douchebucket about any of it and for not behaving like you were somehow taking my commentary personally when I was addressing Wade’s facile claims.

  96. jefrir says

    Enopoletus Harding, #98,

    This is a straw man.

    -No. I wish it was. But it’s exactly what he said!

    white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent

    Or we could try that without the quotemining:

    Not that white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent but when you pull a knife from a wound, you get spurts.

    (Emphasis added).
    Piss off, troll. You have yet to add anything worthwhile to a comment thread, and this quote just shows that you are being transparently dishonest.

  97. unclefrogy says

    one of the most myopic statements is the one pointing out how well suited to tribalism are the hot blooded Africans. completely ignoring the constantly repeating wars Europe has been involved for like for ever in fact it could be said that the history of europe has been one of war. and extreme rivalry that is still in evidence today.
    uncle frogy

  98. says

    Enopoletus Harding, less-than-honest interlocutor or merely utterly shite at reading for comprehension?

    I wish it was [a strawman]. But it’s exactly what he said!
    [quoting my #92]:

    white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent

    Blatant quotemining – I didn’t even notice that before (thanks to jefrir @108 for spotting it). You really ought to be ashamed, EH, but I suspect you lack that capacity. Maybe it’s your genes; maybe you were simply never taught to represent others honestly.

    My actual statement:

    Not that white influence is entirely responsible for the strife across the continent but when you pull a knife from a wound, you get spurts.

    Omissions emboldened, which makes it very clear that what you said I said was in fact the opposite of what I actually said.

    EH, whether your omission of a crucial segment of my statement was via sheer incompetence at keyboard operation, a vast gulf in your ability to comprehend the written word or an example of blatant or creationist-level dishonesty (and, frankly, the first two options are really only there for comedy relief), this doesn’t indicate much credibility on your part; in fact, any point you might have had about my #92 has now been rendered irrelevant by your inability to correctly represent my position when talking to someone else, in black and fucking white and in the same fucking thread. So, not just a liar, but incompetent enough to do it in full view of the person you’re lying about. Here I was thinking you were just obtuse, but it actually appears you think we’re a pack of fucking idiots.

    Now, I could stand here and demand an apology for your intentional misrepresentation or wait patiently for you to rationalise your blatant lie, but I think I’d prefer if you just fucked off and ate a bag of boiled arseholes. There’s a good chap.

  99. azhael says

    @49 playonwords

    LOL i’d struggle to find ways of justifying calling the basques an ethnicity…really struggle…as for a race, you have got to be fucking kidding me. I’d be interested to know how one distinguises between basques and celts, too, since i’ve never found any information that suggests that one is not a subset of the other.
    This just showcases how absolutely arbitrary and useless the concept of race is in humans and how it is monstruously missused and abused. The biological concept of race has very, very limited value, but since you have to use discrete language to refer to the big subgroups, the weak statistical classification has some usefulness to it. However, the coloquial usage of race is nothing but completely made up, fictional bullshit with no basis in reality whatsoever. The fact that people are not aware of the extremely significant differences between how biologists use and apply the concept (out of necessity, not out of significance) and how the public does is the source of all this stupidity which reaches its most gloriously ridiculous heights when people like the Basques proclaim themselves to be a race. Wade, however, has no excuse…he is inventing all sorts of shite and distorting reality because he, in fact, is a fucking racist.

  100. says

    Juliana

    We no longer use ratio IQ tests, which essentially required IQ to vary, but that doesn’t mean AT ALL that you can’t get wildly varying results on various IQ tests over the years.

    Who is “we” and from when is your knowledge. Might also be a “where” question. Because my information comes from
    -a college class last semester
    -a child-psychologist who tested my daughter last year

    +++
    Yep, “Hispanics” are not a race, except when they are. They’re totally not a race when their existence clearly demonstrates the social character of the concept (because within their countires of origin they belong to different races), but they totally are when somebody makes sweeping assumptions about the nature of people form about 20 different countries.

  101. playonwords says

    For the 2 people who commented that I used the term race please read the start of my post where I stated, firmly, that the use of the term race in this context was fraudulent

    As to the Basque not being a race, I’ll agree, because the concept of using race is fraudulent; however AFAIK the Basque are definitely linguistically distinct from the populations. Some have argued, there is a genetic distinction – though since the last time I looked the consensus view has changed and they are regarded as more closely associated with the Spanish/Portuguese populations than previously thought. My error

  102. azhael says

    @113 playonwords

    I think i failed to express myself and you missunderstood me, i’m sorry. I wasn’t chastising you for saying the basques are a race. I was fully aware that you were critisizing it as fraudulent. I was trying to use your example precisely to showcase just how tremendously fraudulent the use of the concept in such a context is.
    The “you” in “you have to be fucking kidding me” was meant to a be a third person “you”.

  103. David Marjanović says

    Sorry, I thought I’d be able to catch up, but everything took twice as long as expected – I now have to run away halfway through my comment.

    Just 3 main racial types?? The man is a loon
    Using his fraudulent term “Race” Europe alone has multiple “races and ethnicities”

    Genes and languages aren’t inherited the same way; they aren’t always inherited together.

    @stevenjohnson2 #41

    I think that in everyday usage “race” never corresponds to the statistically defined scientific “race” upheld so vigorously by Wade, Coyne and Pinker.

    -As Razib Khan recently pointed out, that’s just not true. Most Americans can readily tell into which large “statistically defined scientific “race”” a person falls.

    Why, then, can the same person be “black” in the US, “coloured” in South Africa (not the same as “black” there!), and “white” in Brazil?

    Why is Obama considered “black” instead of “half black, half white” in the US? (Except, interestingly, by racists who probably want to say “he’s not even black” or “shock horror miscegenation”.)

    Being rather unfamiliar with the US, especially 10 years ago, I had to look at a lot of photos and footage of Colin “Paleface” Powell to understand why he counts as “black” in the US.

    Arabs and Whites are considered to be separate races by the mainstream media

    Only in America, dude. Only in America.

    The amount of genetic variation between these traditional classifications actually falls below the level that taxonomists use to designate subspecies, the taxonomic category for other species that corresponds to the designation of race in Homo sapiens. This finding has caused some biologists to call the validity of race as a biological construct into serious question.

    Note especially the last two lines. Is this wrong?

    Off-topic: the first of these two sentences (lines seem to depend on your screen) is wrong in the trivial sense that there is no official or commonly used “level” of “genetic variation” that is used “to designate subspecies”. Unfortunately, “subspecies” means whatever I want it to mean.

    “Species” has a lot of definitions, some of which are actually in common use, even though each of them produces different results. “Subspecies” is worse.

    When I was in France, I frequently couldn’t tell the local Maghrebis from the native French until they started speaking Arabic.

    Many Tunisians in particular look completely European. The Maghreb has a complex history.

  104. says

    I guess that if you started in South Africa and walked North, crossed the street of Gibraltar and then continued until Norway, you would at some point notice that people here don’t look like the people who lived where you started, but you would be pretty hard put to say that they looked very different from the people you met yesterday

  105. azhael says

    Gilliel, and if you moved through eastern Africa, via the Middle East on your way to Norway, it would be even harder.

  106. says

    Anyone who has met me will undoubtedly tell you I look white. I’ve got very pale skin, hazel eyes, and some features of German and Irish decent. I’m Native American, however – with my great-grandmother a full-blooded Pamunkey (that is, Algonquin Indian.) The Pamunkey traits are pretty much gone now since there are no living full-blooded persons of our tribe (the last one died in the 80s, IIRC.) No one looking at our tribe would be able to tell that we’re all (distantly) related, nor that we’re all Pamunkey.

    @Chas:

    SC’s test wasn’t supposed to be scientific. It’s purely a statement that you can’t easily tell the difference between races.

  107. azhael says

    Shit, sorry i misspelled your nym, Giliell :S

    Arabs and Whites are considered to be separate races by the mainstream media

    Only in America, dude. Only in America.

    And outside of America, only by racists. Those of us who live in mediterranean countries know that well.
    My father is of exclusively castillian ancestry for at least 6 generations and we have no reason to think there have been any exceptions for much longer than that. He is so archetypically mediterranean, though that if you put him in any city in any mediterranean country from Morocco to Israel, i’d challenge anyone to “find the european”. Incidentally if you did the same in the european side of the mediterranean, you’d never be able to tell if he was spanish, italian, greek or turkish.

    @80 Enopoletus

    “Hispanics” are nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians!

    You don’t know what hispanic means. I’m hispanic, i have no american indian in me or have ever set foot on the american continent for that matter…

  108. brucegorton says

    jefrir

    Just a correction to #50

    Malaria does occur in South Africa, particularly on the lowveld. The area around the Kruger National Park is a high risk one, mainly because it wouldn’t be much of a game reserve if we dumped poison chemicals on it.

    While your point still stands, this is just a bit of a public service announcement if anyone reads the thread and thinks they don’t have to worry about it on holiday out here.

  109. jefrir says

    Brucegorton, I meant where sickle cell occurs, rather than malaria, but I can see that it was ambiguously worded. And yeah, the two don’t entirely match up, especially as modern malaria distribution is not identical to historical malaria distribution; places with high rates of sickle cell have a history of malaria, but places with malaria do not necessarily have sickle cell. Sniny maps of the distributions can be found here.

  110. Nick Gotts says

    Enopoletus Harding@76,

    I produced a link to a university press release with an obviously incorrect title. Why wasn’t that enough for you?

    You clearly have no experience with university press releases. It’s practically obligatory for the title to be misleading.

    There is no genetic or biological difference between human beings, we are the same race, homo sapiens.

    -This comment had 11 Facebook likes at ThinkProgress. This alone disproves your claim that this “is a classic straw man”.

    As you said of #8, @58:

    -I don’t think anyone except the least erudite of pseudonymous Internet commenters have ever claimed this.

    So, you’re saying, in effect if not in words, that #8 is straw-manning, because only ignorant internet commenters hold the belief being criticised. Your best examples are a press release headline, and similarly ignorant internet commenters. That’s the best you can come up with? If it’s the best that Coyne could come up with, as I suspect it is, he’s attacking a straw man.

    In any case, why have you not pointed out the more obvious straw men in comments 8 and 29 here?

    In the first place, why the fuck do you think I have any obligation whatever to point out every example of the same fault? Especially when one is by a well-respected scientist and science blogger, while the others are from pseudonymous blog commenters. Second, #8 is obvious snark (which I’m not in the least surprised you failed to recognise), while at least the first 2 points of #29 appear to describe exactly what Wade has done: he certainly talks about “three principal races” – which is crap – and apparently ignores or explains away the clear historical counterexamples to his claim.

  111. Nick Gotts says

    “Hispanics” are nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians! – Enopoletus Harding

    You don’t know what hispanic means. – azhael@119

    In the USA, “Hispanic” (which is a noun as well as an adjective) does generally refer to people with at least some American Indian ancestry, and with recent ancestry in Latin America. While it’s supposedly an “ethnic” rather than a “racial” classification” (as stated by the FBI for example), it is frequently applied on the basis of skin colour and physiognomy alone. Harding wants to maintain that there’s an objectively defineable set of races, and Hispanics don’t count because they are “nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians!”. Nothing more.

  112. says

    People seem to be confused by Wade’s “three principal races”. I assume most here are lucky enough to be so young they didn’t learn the categories out of textbooks from 50 and 60 years ago (already out of date, probably).

    I recall learning about this, but only in a college-level geography/race/ethnicity course. And I’m in my mid-30s.

    This is particularly obvious when they take skin color as a primary determiner. Are the peoples of Peninsular India “black”? Maybe, but are they “Negroid”? Not even close. They’re Caucasoid (Aryan, in fact, by the only relevant—linguistic—definition).

    Actually, that’s wrong. Southern Indian peoples are distinguished from Northern Indian peoples by both their darker skin and the fact that they do not speak Indo-European derived (i.e. “Aryan”) languages. However, you’re correct to state that the one racial marker most commonly used by racists–their dark skin color–does not correspond with other markers typically associated with “Negroid” peoples.

  113. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Nick Gotts @ 123:

    In the USA, “Hispanic” (which is a noun as well as an adjective) does generally refer to people with at least some American Indian ancestry, and with recent ancestry in Latin America. While it’s supposedly an “ethnic” rather than a “racial” classification” (as stated by the FBI for example), it is frequently applied on the basis of skin colour and physiognomy alone.

    Let me emphasize this for any non-USAians who might tend to imagine any ethnic terms used here to be neutral or innocently-intended.

    Official agencies do use the term “Hispanic” to mean “of Latin American descent”, but the more general use is by people who feel uncomfortable using the terms “greaser” or “bean-eater” any more. It emphatically does not mean “of Spanish descent”, otherwise right-wingers would have to thank an “Hispanic” for their beloved H-bomb, and that just wouldn’t do!

    Even among US Latin Americans, in the east, most are Cuban and embrace the term “Hispanic”, while in the west, most are Mexican and despise it, preferring “Chicano”. Personally, I’ll twist myself into a pretzel to avoid using it at all.

  114. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Sally Strange @ 124:

    Of course you’re right. I wished for an “edit” button as soon as I posted that. I was thinking about something else and forgot I put “Peninsular” in front of “India”.

    In the Old Days™ I was talking about, the Dravidian peoples of Southern India would be “Caucasoid”, but with “Australoid” features. Then there were the “Pygmy Negritos” like the Andamanese—seriously, is it any wonder nobody uses these terms any more?

  115. unclefrogy says

    let me add to #125′s clarification of Hispanic.
    It is used the way by racist in the media and in politics to mean a mixed with native American and Spanish, the brown ones, which would be more accurately called Mestizo and those from Mexico or of Mexican ancestry do call themselves Chicano, but that is not the whole story in the media and politics all of the immigrants and there descendants from Latin America all called Hispanic even if they are not from Mexico nor have any European ancestry or any native ancestry nor even of Spanish ancestry and just come from a country whose official language is Spanish like Argentina. The term is so broadly used and misused as to be conveying almost no useful information at all.
    uncle frogy

  116. says

    @Nick Gotts #123 and azhael #119

    Hispanics don’t count because they are “nothing more than a mixture of Whites and American Indians!”. Nothing more.

    -When I was putting “Hispanics” in scare quotes, I was putting that word in scare quotes deliberately to indicate that I was using that word as it is often incorrectly used, that is, as designator of race. As I have already stated, I do not see Hispanics as a race. I view Hispanics as an ethnicity.

  117. says

    The term is so broadly used and misused as to be conveying almost no useful information at all.

    -Exactly! It should be used as an ethnic designation, but it is, instead, often incorrectly used as a racial one.

  118. unclefrogy says

    #129
    I would also include race as a term that other than as a sociological tern offers no useful information at all and can’t even be defined in any way consistent with DNA.

    uncle frogy

  119. says

    @ #118

    SC’s test wasn’t supposed to be scientific. It’s purely a statement that you can’t easily tell the difference between races.

    -Those weren’t races. They were highly arbitrary self-identifications not at all grounded in genetics.

  120. jefrir says

    If there was quotemining on my part, none of it was in any way intentional. There was no “blatant lie”. See my reasoning at

    So you’re going with “really fucking stupid and incompetent at reading” as your excuse, then?

  121. says

    Interesting that Harding would rather be an idiot than a liar. Whichever; I’m done with this fucking clown. He can take his hyphens and insert them into his ear canals.

  122. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    In the USA, “Hispanic” (which is a noun as well as an adjective) does generally refer to people with at least some American Indian ancestry, and with recent ancestry in Latin America. While it’s supposedly an “ethnic” rather than a “racial” classification” (as stated by the FBI for example), it is frequently applied on the basis of skin colour and physiognomy alone.

    The census bureau defines “Hispanic” thusly:

    People who identify with the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the decennial census questionnaire and various Census Bureau survey questionnaires – “Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano” or ”Puerto Rican” or “Cuban” – as well as those who indicate that they are “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.

    (Source.)

    My wife, who is from the north of Spain and is by some definitions Basque, qualifies, even though she has no American Indian ancestry, and so doesn’t “look” Hispanic here, even to Spanish speakers (a fact which has led to some awkward moments). Even when she speaks and makes clear that she’s not a native English speaker, the closest most guesses get is that she’s French. (And for what it’s worth, she’s got many relatives in Spain who are blond and blue-eyed.) Our kids qualify for Hispanic even though they have a clearly Scottish surname and are almost as pasty-faced as me.

    I’m firmly in the “race is a social construct” camp, but even if there were some biological basis for races, what we call “Hispanic” in the US isn’t one. (And I don’t think it even rises to the level of ethnicity.)

  123. Gnumann+,not bloody bleeding Gnumann (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun) says

    I’m firmly in the “race is a social construct” camp, but even if there were some biological basis for races, what we call “Hispanic” in the US isn’t one. (And I don’t think it even rises to the level of ethnicity.)

    Though, as all these things (and at least as I read the discussion previously):
    The term is a tool of racism. It serves no use but to enable and further racism.
    As such – is it a “race”? It depends on the definition of “race”.

    The only one I’ll accept is that “race” is a unit which is the base of discrimination under racism. In that definition, “Hispanic” is a “race” (As is, given the right context, “Arab”, “Muslim” and “Catholic”).

  124. billstewart says

    Let’s see – “authoritarian political structures” – that must be the folks who believed in the Divine Right of Kings (even though some of their serfs and peasants argued that strange women lying in ponds handing out swords is no basis for a system of government) and had centuries of feudalism after the collapse of the previous few major empires, and had collection of religious systems in which God was King as well as Creator.

    And “better at delaying gratification for future benefit”, as one of the HBD promoters said – some Tiger Mom is going to wait until her grandchildren are safely in medical school and then get really really stabby.

    And “hot-headed tribalism” – certainly there’s never been any of that in Scotland or Ireland or Yugoslavia or The Germanies or …

  125. says

    Ah the discussion about “hispanic” reminds me of something that happened to the parents of a friend of mine. Said parents love spending their hoildays in Cuba. One time when they came home, German immigration and custom officers took them out of the waiting line, seperated them and accused him of human trafficking. He was obviously trying to smuggle a Cuban woman into the country illegally. Why? She’s a small skinny woman with a heavy tan and NO German woman looks like that. Yes, that’s what they actualy told him. No German woman looks like she does. This was his wife of 25 years, the mother of his children, somebody whose great-grandparents had already been living in the same village they are still living in. But since biological race is so apparent and real they got almost arrested and were accused of a serious crime.

  126. azhael says

    @138 what a maroon

    Your children are half basque, half scottish? I had heard legends about these mythical creatures, they say they are see-through!

  127. Ichthyic says

    There was no “blatant lie”. See my reasoning at

    |

    dude.. you either made a mistake in reading it, which you can admit and is acceptable, you ENTIRELY changed the meaning of what he said by misquoting it, then attacking the quotemine.

    you just need to eat this one, apologize, and move the fuck on.

  128. Ichthyic says

    there was supposed to be an “or” before the “you” after “acceptable”

    or I suppose I just quotemined myself.

  129. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @Gnumann+, 139,

    The only one I’ll accept is that “race” is a unit which is the base of discrimination under racism. In that definition, “Hispanic” is a “race” (As is, given the right context, “Arab”, “Muslim” and “Catholic”).

    Yeah, I’ll buy that.
    @azhael, 142,

    Your children are half basque, half scottish? I had heard legends about these mythical creatures, they say they are see-through!

    More like various parts Asturian, Castilian, Basque, Scottish (Highland and Lowland), German, English, and who knows what else.

  130. azhael says

    More like various parts Asturian, Castilian, Basque, Scottish (Highland and Lowland), German, English, and who knows what else.

    O_O My Cthulhu, the legends were true. It was prophesized that such children would one day be born and they would become the Supreme Blasphemers. Creatures so naturally gifted in the arts that they will grow up to blaspheme so hard the virgin Mary is going to loose her hymen.

  131. says

    Those weren’t races.

    EH is doing precisely the same routine as AGW deniers and all of those whose beliefs and prejudices aren’t supported by science. As those making the contention that races exist, Wade and EH and others are the ones who need to support that contention scientifically, taking into account all of the evidence. I’ve presented three writings that discuss the science of population genetics and the issues involved with using these structure studies to make claims about the existence of human races: the Bolnick chapter and the posts by Raff and Fuentes. The actual findings of population genetics, the fact that the structure studies don’t provide evidence of the existence of races, and the fact that Wade and other believers haven’t provided any scientific definition of race counter the claims that biological races “grounded in genetics” exist, but EH, like Wade, refuses to acknowledge that or engage with the substantive facts. Biological race is the central concept of Wade’s book, and he can’t even define it.

    The believers in genetic races need to define and identify races scientifically and provide scientific support for their existence taking all of the existing evidence into account. They haven’t done this and they can’t do this, because the scientific evidence does not support their pseudoscientific contention. They have no business being taken seriously in a scientific discussion, and their handwaving, misrepresenting, and red herrings suggest that even they recognize this at some level.