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October 13, 2004



A la Steve Sailer races are best thought of as extended families. Of course families exist and of course families are more genetically related to each other than strangers. That's all race really is-a cluster of genetically related individuals.
Genes for intelligence exist. If you are a materialist, there is no other presently acceptable alternative explanation.
The key is none of this should threaten the individual.
If one day genes coding for pattern recognition (a key component of "intelligence" certainly) are located, and it is determined that people with "fast twitch" pattern recognition neurons generally test better just like folks with "fast switch" muscle fibers generally sprint better-that's an interesting observation.
Now if further study shows these neurons are more prevalent in group x-again interesting.
But there's no impact on the individual person-or shouldn't be.

You can't say-
group Y has characteristic x-
I am in group y-
Therefore I have characteristic x.

Sorry logical fallacy-the excluded middle and all that-just like if you prove to me you're related to J.S. Bach I'm not going to give you a record contract sounds unheard.


To tighten it up-the first premise would have to be "All members of group y have characteristic x" to make the syllogism valid.
We'll never have that certainty except for groups with one member, or identical twins.
That's why I say certainly races exist-there are presently about 6 billion on earth.


A big part of the problem is terminological. A medical researcher concerned with race x drug interactions would be concerned with race as a purely biological concept. But social definitions of race often disregard biology, defining people as biologically different, or biologically the same, for reasons that make no sense whatever to a biologist.

Dscussions that try to encompass both biological and social differentiation with a single term ('race') will always devolve into coherence. I would opt for 'race' being reserved for certain kinds of social distinctions, and ask the biologists to come up with a different term, or set of terms, to discuss the purely biological aspects of human variety. I would think biologists would want to develop such an alternative vocabulary for their own protection, if nothing else.


Sorry, that's "...devolve into incoherence".


I would think biologists would want to develop such an alternative vocabulary for their own protection, if nothing else.

That strikes me as very astute. And it reminds me of the current category, "Caucasian", which seems to encompass European whites as well as Asian Indians (IIRC).

Hmm, having looked it up here, I see that the usage varies. Bother.

Still, biologists could come up with genome related terms, and defy the pop culture to self-categorize. "Hi, I'm a D-4 repeating haplotoid. What are you?"

Martin, the problem with your point is that, as the pharmacologists noticed, obvious outward manifestations of race can be a useful proxy for what seem to be subtle biological differences in response to certain medications.

Some day, they would know exactly what to test for, and could predict which people, regardless of "race", would benefit from a certain drug. But right now, race apparently exists, and is a useful tool for predicting drug efficacy.

The Kid

Does this mean that Chicago Cubs’ Manager Dusty Baker may have been right when he
that black and Hispanic players are better suited to playing in the sun and heat than white players? Or is it something that only Dusty’s trainers need to be concerned with after injuries?

The folks here think Dusty was right and have several politically incorrect links.


TM you are correct. Byron is right that biology and sociology need different vocabs. Go to gnxp.com-the academic who co-runs the site won't even post his name for fear of being chased out of the academy for declaring a belief in racial diversity, and they've discussed these issues ad infinitum.

Biologically of course "races" exist. Sociologically, of course, we will always continue to focus on the individual.

I'd place doctors and pharmacists in the biological camp. But even there-race is just a starting point of the diagnosis. You still have to go to the individual. E.g. if a pharmacist didn't subscribe a drug to a person merely based on the fact he was in race x whereas "only" race y suffers from that malady-well that pharmacist may get a lawsuit from Mr. Edwards-just as if a doctor didn't test for breast cancer merely because the patient was a man.


Why should a medical or pharmaceutical researcher be concerned with intelligence (however defined) or athletic ability? Presumably the study of genectic make-up will be used uncover the solution to fatal and debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.

As it stands, we've long had knowledge of genetic diseases among races, see sicle cell anemia, and sudden infant death syndrome. We also know a little about dietary effects upon races, see especially the incidence of coronary heart disease between native Japanese and Japanese Americans. Also genetic markers for the beneficial or detrimental handling of cholesterol, exist, and vary among racial/ethnic, ancestral geographic origin. Dietary implications are extremely important along these lines for the simple matter that our diets, over recent centuries, have evolved much more rapidly than our genetic make-up has adapted to the changed diet (especially among those in the West).

As well, deCode Genetics is mapping the genetic history of Iceland--due to its small population and narrow "family tree"--for a richer understanding of genetic diseases. Is that racist? Should they be stopped before deCode uncovers traits that some might view as uncomfortable--even as it's done anonymously?

Those seeking to prohibit this advance of scientific knowledge are merely current ancestors of the Luddites.

Yet, many of these doubters are of the same political constituency that would advance the use of embryonic stem cells--the destruction of life, damn the moral and ethical questions--on the basis of the potential for a silver bullet solution that no one can claim exists. If we were to limit such stem cell research to adult, and umbilical cord blood stem cells, what genetic science do these present day Luddites think we are using?

The current evidence, I believe, indicates a greater genetic variety among the races, rather than between them, and therefore, accidentally, confirming the post-modern concept of race as a social construct.

J Bennett

Some of you may recall a controversial book that came out, oh, a decade ago called "The Bell Curve." The authors, two biologists whose names escape me at the moment, cited genetic/biological studies that suggested that people of color scored lower in intelligence than caucasians and asians. As you may remember, the authors were met with tremendous vitriol by the PC police; their science and its validity (or not) took a distinct backseat to the racial overtones it held. Reasonable people may agree vehemently that such "facts" matter not at all. Unfortunately, however, as long as there are haters out there, giving the bigots ammo to fire with must be carefully considered.

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