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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the take-my-name-out-of-your-book dept.

Books 541

sciencehabit writes "A best-seller by former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade about recent human evolution and its potential effects on human cultures has drawn critical reviews since its spring publication. Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work. The letter criticizes "Wade's misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies."

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disabled? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647567)

look again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBiVd8SxCkc

all things being equitable.. any notion of real justice is based entirely on mercy, the centerpeace of momkind's heartfelt connection with creation

being spiritually & creatively merciful with each other takes out the (media/fear) drama of the hateful fear & loathing punishment features. are we not each our very own reward? punish as we would wish to be punished? WMD on credit 'weather' is not punishment enough? https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather+media news http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down (&/or demonize them....) based on speculation of ill intent... peace out /. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m39DWVFK-Bw

little miss dna cannot be wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647619)

our centerpeace connection with the spirit of creation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zpYFAzhAZY

Re:little miss dna cannot be wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647911)

"centerpeace "?? Do you have extra copies of chromosome 21 by any chance?

Tag: political correctness (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647573)

"Look how non-racist I am for lashing out on this. Can you see, everyone?"

PC people might have defective DNA (-1, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#47647761)

Looking at this thread --- http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org] --- I can't help but think that people who are so adamantly political correct might have been because their DNA are defective

I know, I know, I know that this is just a wild conjecture --- I have tried very hard to prove myself wrong, but so far I have yet to find the concrete proof yet

Are You Kidding? (0, Offtopic)

NReitzel (77941) | about 4 months ago | (#47647591)

Oh, come on. Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

Northern Europeans clearly evolved to have fair skin and hair, and they evolved from ancestors who did not have fair skin and hair.

How the *BLEEP* is this racist?

Re:Are You Kidding? (5, Informative)

danlip (737336) | about 4 months ago | (#47647701)

Read the TFA. People aren't getting upset about skin color: Quote: "In the book, Wade suggests that such genetic differences may help explain why some people live in tribal societies and some in advanced civilizations, why African-Americans are allegedly more violent than whites, and why the Chinese may be good at business."

Re:Are You Kidding? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47647757)

Hahaha holy hell if he said something about Jews and money he would have got a BINGO!

Would any of the people crying "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE WILD!" like to defend any such arguments?

Re:Are You Kidding? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647851)

How is that controversial? All you need to do is look at average testosterone levels to begin to see why different races have different percentages in the ranges of cultural expression, and health, etc.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0039128X92900325 [sciencedirect.com]

Re:Are You Kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647773)

And the problem is?

Re:Are You Kidding? (5, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 4 months ago | (#47647805)

Indeed, it's not as though cultures of European stock have been uniformly ahead of the curve. There's just so much that can randomly happen, for example a strong case could be made that if the social changes wrought by the black death hadn't taken place, Europe might still be languishing at a near medieval level of technology. Or say the Minoans, they had indoor plumbing, air and light control, aqueducts and sophisticated codes of law what, four thousand years ago, then their island exploded.

Is he seriously taking a snapshot of modern US culture and trying to explain it mostly by genetics?

Re:Are You Kidding? (2, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 4 months ago | (#47647927)

Everyone knows that evolution is limited to effects from the neck down.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 4 months ago | (#47647719)

I'm willing to bet that the light skin adaption was acquired from Neanderthals, not evolved by Homo Sapian. We know that the first humans remains found in Europe were dark skinned. All the human groups that encountered Neaderthals and the Denisovans have light skin (Europeans, Russians, Northern Asian). The gene that causes white skin is highly dominant, even with only 5% neanderthal DNA we still carry it.

Re:Are You Kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647835)

"The gene that causes white skin is highly dominant, "

Try telling that to Obama.

Defective DNA ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647929)

"The gene that causes white skin is highly dominant"

Try telling that to Obama

Mebbe his mother's DNA is defective ?

Re:Are You Kidding? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47648057)

How about you provide some cites instead of a bland assertion? I can find absolutely no references to Neanderthal skin color and haven't heard of such. I would be truly interested.

Perhaps you could also come up with an explanation for North American skin color, Asian skin color and others.

Re:Are You Kidding? (4, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47647723)

Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

Skewing other people's research to fit your agenda is not scientific.

Re:Are You Kidding? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647733)

It's an extremely sensitive topic, for obvious historical reasons. Despite the mountains of hard scientific evidence to the contrary, the political dogma, at least where I live, is that we are all born as blank slates and any measurable difference between individuals is due to environment. We would all be as good as Tiger Woods at golf if we lived his life. This includes differences between the sexes, and isn't hyperbole or an exaggeration.

It's a nice thought, and if it were true governments could mold the behavior of its citizens to be exactly what they wanted.

It's easy to accept physical differences, like skin tone, height, and facial features are genetically determined, but to suggest that there might also be differences across individuals and races in the brain, and therefore behavior, is so politically incorrect most scientists will not touch it with a ten foot pole. I'm not suggesting that any particular race is "better" than any other, but I don't see how you can claim that there are no genetic differences between races that effect behavior if you accept the current model of evolution. I mean, why wouldn't there be? How do you justify that claim?

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47648053)

So which differences in skin tone, height, and facial features uniquely define the races? If you start with the assumption that race is a physical, heritable trait this work might make sense. But if you want to be take seriously you first have to establish that claim, and thus far no one has done so (nor is anyone honestly trying, as definitions of race are not stable across cultures or time, which almost certainly means they aren't physical in the first place).

Re:Are You Kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647741)

Hush you fool! Anything that implies that white males are anything but evil and responsible for all the ills of the world automatically makes you an EVIL RACIST, which will cost you your job, all career prospects, and possibly your life.

I'm nervous even posting AC about it.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 4 months ago | (#47647823)

Because the suggestion that race is something that exists at the biological level is a falsehood. Every genetic trait you can think of exists in more than one population group. From your perspective, it might be easy to note that Norther Europeans are more closely related, on average, to Zulu tribesmen than Australian Aborigines are. There is no genetic trait or group of traits you can check for and use to make a determination of race.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 4 months ago | (#47648067)

Because the suggestion that race is something that exists at the biological level is a falsehood.

So it is just one hell of a co-incidence then that white parents generally have white children and black parents generally have black children ? I'm learning all the time.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47648119)

That's true only for the scientific pedant. In other species, races are recognized despite certain genes occurring across the boundaries. It's the collection of traits and you full well know it.

Re:Are You Kidding? (4, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | about 4 months ago | (#47647825)

Oh, come on. Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

On the other hand, science does, and this book is not science, but opinion, if you want to be polite about it. Racist opinion, to be precise, which have been around in some guise or other since who knows when? This kind of racism-disguised-as-science was common throughout 18th and 19th centuries and generally went along the lines of 'Us White (North-) Europeans Are Better Than The Rest' and was used to justify why we had a moral duty to go out and 'civilize' the inferior races.

Science is not made by taking a hand-picked assortment of data, twist it a few times and going 'Look, I can make the data match my opinon' - for anything to be science, you must have a hypothesis, which suggests a logically coherent explanation of all observed facts, makes testable predictions - and which survives experimental testing. It takes only 1 failed prediction to kill a theory.

Northern Europeans clearly evolved to have fair skin and hair, and they evolved from ancestors who did not have fair skin and hair.

Correct me if I am wrong, but that is hardly the main point of this book, is it? To quote from the article:

In the book, Wade suggests that such genetic differences may help explain why some people live in tribal societies and some in advanced civilizations, why African-Americans are allegedly more violent than whites, and why the Chinese may be good at business.

So, black people are violent (meaning 'primitive'?), Chinese are cunning ('good at business') and The White Man is the epitome of civilisation? And this is not racism - how? This is just a worthless rehash of junk from the days of the colonialism.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47647865)

Which has essentially nothing to do with the way most people -- scientist and layman alike -- define and delineate race. Which is the objection the scientists are raising.

Re:Are You Kidding? (2)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 4 months ago | (#47647937)

You might want to take some time to actually read the criticisms. Jerry Coyne has a good write-up [wordpress.com] on his blog that delves deeper. You see, the researchers aren't saying the conclusions in the book are wrong they are saying, as the originators of said research, you cannot draw these conclusions from their work.

But please, don't let the nuanced comments of 140 published researchers dissuade you from shrieking "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" like a poop-flinging howler monkey.

Re:Are You Kidding? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#47647951)

Because everything is racist these days. Saying Asians are short is racist. Saying blue-eyed people can distinguish between colors and see UV light better is racist. Whether or not it's true is completely irrelevant.

Politically Correct Science (-1, Flamebait)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47647597)

Sounds like the Political Correctness police are trying to suppress science they find to contain inconvenient truth. The great thing about science is it's still correct even if you don't want to believe it.

Re:Politically Correct Science (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47647727)

Or alternatively - not having reviewed all the claims in question (just like you) - it could be another case of scientific racism [wikipedia.org]

And if we do ever scientifically prove that people of some etnicity are on-average superior or inferior in some way, the ethically correct thing to do with that information would be basically to ignore it in our everyday lives, to leave it as an academic issue.

So bad news for any racists out there, science will never legitimize your hatred.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647853)

"the ethically correct thing to do with that information would be basically to ignore it in our everyday lives, to leave it as an academic issue."

"science will never legitimize your hatred"

Your naivety is impressive and seems to be infectious in this discussion, but it is not cute.

We stand to face this exact specific problem in tremendous magnitude in the coming future with potential horrific results. Plugging your ears and sticking out your tongue is not helping.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47647901)

You can't reviewed the claims either. Neither have the people objecting to the book. That's the point. I don't know if the guy is correct or not, but in the article posted, it's clear they have made misleading statements without reviewing the source material. And it's a pretty weak tactic to imply I'm racist just because I believe in pure scientific method.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

brunes69 (86786) | about 4 months ago | (#47647935)

Actually what you propose would be completely unethical.

Example - If science some day proves that people with blue eyes have faster reaction times than people with brown eyes, and we don't factor that into hiring decisions where reaction times can mean the difference between life and death simply because it would be politically incorrect to do so, then you are making all of society suffer an injustice just because you don't want to make people uncomfortable.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47647977)

And no matter how much the science would upset people without blue eyes, it would still be science.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648063)

I bet you neo-nazis would love for that to be true.

Re:Politically Correct Science (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47648027)

Wrong. You should hire based on reaction times alone. If that results in only blue-eyed people being hired, that would obviously create some problems but a hiring practice that overtly discriminates by eye color would not be one of them.

Also, unless all blue-eyed people were proven to have faster reactions than all brown-eyed people, it would likely not result in the fastest-reacting set of employees.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648041)

If reaction times mean the difference between life and deatch then the ethical thing to do is measure reaction times and hire based on that. Not hire blue eyed people on the basis they have, on average, faster reaction times.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#47648083)

The correct thing to do would be to test reaction times, because there's going to be people of all eye colors that can do it, and others of all eye colors that can't.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 months ago | (#47648101)

Unless you can prove that all blue-eyed people have faster reaction times than all brown-eyed people, you'd still be better off just using a reaction time test. Which is what all of this boils down to - these proposed differences are merely that, and they overlap, can't be easily quantified, and require testing to ascertain on a person-to-person basis, which is the exact same outcome as we have now without this half-baked racist nonsense.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47648113)

Unless you can prove that all blue-eyed people have faster reaction times than all brown-eyed people,

You're making the mistake of assuming individuals only poses singular traits.

Re:Politically Correct Science (4, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47647729)

The people who did the actual research are saying that it's NOT correct.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647797)

This. It is hilarious.

They do all this research, then they are like "hey, fuck this research, it is racist! Lynch the research!"

Bunch of massive babies they are. If they don't like the results of the damn research, don't bloody do it!

Re:Politically Correct Science (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 months ago | (#47648109)

No, they're saying that you can't just take their research and make claims that it doesn't substantiate and then appeal to their authority to support your claims.

To give a computer science analogy (I'm out of stock of car analogies), imagine that you worked on Hadoop and you'd made sorting large data sets go 50% faster. Then someone publishes a book arguing that P=NP and uses your result (which doesn't even do comparison-based sorting) as the basis for their claim. You'd be in pretty much the same position as the researchers in TFA. Would you say that the author is an idiot, or would you keep quiet?

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647817)

The people who did the actual research are saying that it's NOT correct.

No, that's NOT what they appear to be saying.

All that I can tell they've said is they're claiming that he's used their research to make arguments they didn't. I don't see where they're saying his arguments are incorrect.

It's like a math teacher saying, "I didn't teach you that 1234 + 1111 = 2345." Technically correct.

Re:Politically Correct Science (2)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47648029)

You might want to re-read the quotations from the article: “Our findings do not even provide a hint of support in favor of Wade’s guesswork.”

That is not the same as saying "I didn't publish those conclusions" -- it's a rebuttal that the conclusions he makes are supported by the evidence he provides, from one of the foremost authorities on that evidence. You can claim that the original authors are lying if you want, but they aren't making the sort of wishy-washy statements you describe.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647837)

And the author is saying that those people didn't actually read his book, so they have no way to judge whether or not what it's saying, with their findings, is correct.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47647881)

According to the article, that is not the case. It's pointed out that people objecting to the book have no read it.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47648007)

Wrong. The Author says he thing they haven't read it, when in fact it's pretty damn clear they would have HAD to of read it to make the statements they make.

The Scientist making t make SPECIFIC points the author does not address and simple states

Re:Politically Correct Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647793)

Sounds like the Political Correctness police are trying to suppress science they find to contain inconvenient truth.

Sounds more like the science police trying to suppress journalism they find to contain untruths.

The great thing about science is it's still correct even if you don't want to believe it.

That is great. When racist journalists and the racist slashdot commenters who choose to believe them over, you know, the actual scientists come out with this shit, it doesn't matter what they believe.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47648011)

It's a losing tactic to accuse someone of racism while hiding behind AC.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47647841)

I can't tell from your post what agenda you think these PC-police have, or what science you think they are suppressing. Could you make an actual refutable claim rather than merely implying that your unexpressed viewpoint is supported by science?

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47647921)

So you're taking exception to an unexpressed viewpoint? How nonintellectual.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47647871)

The great thing about science is it's still correct even if you don't want to believe it.

Well, I wouldn't be too surprised if there is some yet to be discovered law in quantum mechanics that disproves exactly this.

Re:Politically Correct Science (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#47647933)

Sounds like scientists complaining that they're research has been misused.

Re:Politically Correct Science (0, Troll)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47648049)

The problem with that is they didn't come to this conclusion on their own, they were pressured to tow the Politically Correct agenda or face public exposure. After all, they don't want to lose their funding. That's not science, that's extortion.

Welcome to the Streisand effect. (3, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 4 months ago | (#47647629)

I hadn't even heard about this book before now. Sales will probably triple each time they fuss about it.

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647671)

Same here. I just downloaded it from Libgen and am reading it right at this moment. I'd go the library but they're not currently open. Probably wouldn't have this book anyway. Too "controversial".

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648123)

I'd go the library but they're not currently open.

LOL. Sure you would. [wink, wink]

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647747)

Well yes, if you have the shopper gene or the conspiracy gene (or both). If you got the lazy fat ass gene like I do, then you'll wait for the movie.

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647975)

They already made it. Actually it's a trilogy.

Roots.
Schindler's List.
Twelve Years a Slave.

Personally I preferred the book.

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (5, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 4 months ago | (#47647749)

It's already a NYT best seller. This isn't some un-read pamphlet. At this point the errors in it need to be addressed. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648069)

It's already a NYT best seller.

Which means that for one week (or more) it was in the top 25 (or so) of one of the 22 different categories.

Considering it was probably put in the "science" listing, it had to compete with gems like this week's number 8:

HOW DOGS LOVE US, by Gregory Berns. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) A neuroscientist uses an MRI scanner to probe the psyche of the brain of his adopted dog.

If it was put in the 'e-book nonfiction' list instead, that means it might've competed with last week's #1 in the category:

KILL OR CURE, by Steve Parker. (DK Publishing.) An illustrated history of medicine.

Now, do you know anyone who has read either of those NYT best sellers? The ones at the bottom of the lists are significantly less compelling than those two samples.

Re:Welcome to the Streisand effect. (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#47647961)

Well it was written and edited by Barbara Streisand after all.

I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647635)

Geneticists admit that physical appearance varies thanks to mutations and variations in the expression of the genome, so why is intellectual variability so verboten? Because it's politically incorrect?

  In other words, if white people exclusively possess blond hair and blue eyes, and Asians possess epicanthal folds and very dark hair, why is it so hard to believe that IQ, a physical aspect of the mental organ we call the brain, might vary as well?

Seems very bizarre to me. And irrational.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647693)

Bizarre and irrational...that's racial politics for ya.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#47647703)

It's not just intellect.

Remember when it was somehow racist to point out that the reason blacks are better at athletics was because they had a genetic makeup that produced stronger and longer muscles capable of higher power output?

That was racist because to say it was to imply they had an unfair advantage.

I think being a geneticist is a pretty impossible job. No matter what your data suggests or how you present it, you're going to be labeled a racist. You'll either be accusing a minority race that is good at something as having an unfair genetic advantage, or you'll be implying that a minority race that is not good at something is so because of genetics - and therefore their skin color.

This is how the PC establishment thinks. If there is a conceivable way to twist and distort what is said so that it can be labeled racist, they will do it.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47647845)

That was racist because to say it was to imply they had an unfair advantage.

It wouldn't be racist to just state that fact, but it would indeed be racist to use it to imply an unfair advantage. It wasn't proven that every black person has better muscles than every person of any other race.

(I'm assuming you're not just using some fringe comment or a strawman argument to fuel a persecution complex).

Re:I don't get it. (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | about 4 months ago | (#47648085)

It wasn't proven that every black person has better muscles than every person of any other race.

Using strawperson to accuse someone of strawperson. I love it!

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 4 months ago | (#47647895)

If there is a conceivable way to twist and distort what is said so that it can be labeled racist, they will do it.

You don't have to be PC police-y to find this stuff highly suspect. Societies and cultures have different emergent properties based on a wide variety of really complicated influences, external and internal. I mean was a Germanic tribesman shaking a bronze tipped spear any different, genetically, to a modern day Berlin banker? Not really. Therefore there must be a great deal more to it than genetics.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47648039)

It was racist to say because it isn't true and it was created specifically to maintain a separation of blacks from whites.

I don't think you know what 'race' means.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47647707)

It's because any time you start talking about genetics and race, it starts becoming politically inconvenient. You're going to have someone who inevitably decides that the findings are "racist", even if the finding is something as simple as "There are minor genetic differences between groups of people that are significant enough to support the idea of different races."

The second you mention something like that, people are going to cry out Jim Crow or Hitler, even though no one is saying that the differences make anyone "superior" or "inferior" to anyone else, merely "different".

Re:I don't get it. (4, Informative)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47647789)

You really should publish the work you've done identifying IQ as a physical aspect of the brain, and identifying the genetic definitions of "white" and and "Asian". I'm sure the relationships are clear to you but the rest of us are stuck in a world where race is more social than genetic and IQ is merely one particular measure of a combination of dynamic mental processes.

Or maybe you just didn't take up the required reading before claiming that actual scientists are ignoring their work in pursuit of some globally-unified set of politics.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647979)

Actually, it's pretty easy to get a good read on someone's ancestry (Northern European, Southern European, Han, Tibetan, etc.) from their DNA. Depending on ancestry, you can even get a pretty good read on the origin of great-grandparents. So "race" is more than a social construct. As far as IQ is concerned, yes, it is one of many different phenotypes. Neither inherently more or less valuable. Same with lots of other phenotypes.

Re:I don't get it. (2)

real gumby (11516) | about 4 months ago | (#47647931)

I think it’s because what constitutes “intellect” is so ill understood. It is uncontroversial that there is a genetic component — but what that component might be is at this point impossible to determine (since we don’t even know what the result — “intelligence” — means).

Now if we were just talking about suceptability to some disease (and as we learn more, a lot of diseases turn out to be clusters of different diseases with similar symptoms) that wouldn’t be a big deal. But even to strip the emotional/political issues out: this would be at best a premature optimization; to use genetics rather than, say, pulic schooling, as a measure of intellectual ability would be unlikely to lead to a good outcome (using a utilitarian definition of good: the smart people would be able to make stuff and help society in other ways).

IQ, a physical aspect [...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647959)

I don't think "physical" means what you think it means.

Re:IQ, a physical aspect [...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648103)

So you don't think that intellect is based upon the organizational structural and chemical capabilities of the brain, and are they not at least partly rooted in genetics? If not, why then do geneticists claim that people with sub-average IQs can pass their intellectual disabilities on to their offspring, and those with high IQs can pass their higher intellects on to their progeny?

Or do you subscribe to a dualist interpretati9on of the mind?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47648023)

That's not it at all.
He makes claims like: Genetics show the are 3 to 5 races; which is factual wrong.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 4 months ago | (#47648043)

Because IQ is a function of many things and no one knows what role the brain plays in it. Do you think "intelligence"--which no one can define--is as simple as eye color?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648059)

No, it's because the evidence doesn't support those conclusions. The author is making entirely speculative claims and citing the scientists' research as though it supports his conclusions when in fact it does not.

Who said racism is dead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647689)

http://twitchy.com/2014/08/11/loot-and-rob-them-not-your-own-twitter-users-advise-black-people-to-loot-white-neighborhoods/

"‘Loot and rob them, not your own'; Twitter users advise black people to loot white neighborhoods"

"ya I can't get down with niggas ripping up their own neighborhoods"

"And gotdammit do it in the white neighborhoods or a heavily populated area or something, but you look stupid tearing up your own damn hood."

"i can't stand the fact that black folks have riots in our own neighborhood. you wanna make a statement? go riot in the white neighborhoods!"

"Them niggas in STL better burn the White Neighborhoods if they want to get the point across.— "

---

Who said racism is dead?

Ideally it wouldn't matter (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#47647709)

Ideally it wouldn't matter. If one racial group had a greater number of more intelligent people than another then - so what? After all we have the same situation with things like height, strength, and so on. You might find that Chinese are under-represented in basketball, but a Chinese basketball player who could make the grade would be given exactly the same encouragement and opportunity as anyone else. Same should go for IQ.

Stating the obvious (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 4 months ago | (#47647739)

Genetics affects your mental attributes, but isn't the whole story. Environment affects your mental attributes, but isn't the whole story. Culture and self-determination facets of the environment affect your mental attributes, but aren't the whole story. People of different cultures have statistical differences in mental attributes. There's a bunch of people who get upset by these facts, and a different bunch of people who like to exaggerate them. And anyone who was named as being involved in any of this is going to end up at the center of a political shitstorm, so it's no surprise they want out.

This is why I'm leaving academia. (4, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 4 months ago | (#47647751)

While I don't agree with this guy's conclusions myself, this type of hyper-PC bullshit storm is why being in academia is so obnoxious. Science should be determined by the evidence available and the best interpretation of it at the time, not by people's feelings or politics.

Secondly, someone citing your work doesn't mean you agree with their conclusions (or especially their politics). The correct response, if you care enough, is to follow up by pointing out where their interpretation falls short. The incorrect response is to write some whiny letter crying about how seemingly racist conclusions were drawn from your publications and it deeply offends you.

I mean, come on: "We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures." What a pathetic retort. But I bet they feel better now, and that's all that really matters.

Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (0, Flamebait)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47647819)

The correct response, if you care enough, is to follow up by pointing out where their interpretation falls short. The incorrect response is to write some whiny letter crying about how seemingly racist conclusions were drawn from your publications and it deeply offends you.

Who the fuck are you to say which response is correct?

People have a right to be offended if their work is misused, even if that work is scientific. When people put their hard work into something, it is completely reasonable to be offended to have others come along and completely misrepresent your work without evidence.

The only hyper PC bullshit going on is the extremely PC response about PC going hyper. THAT is the new political correctness. It is now the politically correct thing to say PC has gone mad every time a "PC" issue comes up. It is to pre-emptively and emotively label the otherside as "SO PC" in order to cast FUD on them before their full arguments are heard.

Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647973)

People have a right to be offended if their work is misused

I'm of the mindset that people don't have the right to be offended. Taking offense is stupid.

The rest of your post doesn't even make sense. You're just rambling incoherently about imaginary people taking offense when the only people recorded taking offense are the geneticists.

Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647909)

Glad to hear you're leaving academia! I hear FOX News is hiring.

Re:This is why I'm leaving academia. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47648025)

I disagree with part of your point, namely that there's no reason for scientists to speak up if they think their results are being misused for political ends. If it were only a scientific problem, then sure, just publish a criticism in the relevant scientific journal and be done with it. But when someone has popularized and politicized scientific work, and done so incorrectly (i.e. with errors or misunderstandings of the results), then scientists *do* have an obligation to speak up in the same forum where the work was introduced. To just passively sit by and write a critical scientific paper isn't enough because most people aren't regularly paying attention to scientific journals.

Putting it another way, if politicians and journalists started popularizing the idea that 2 + 2 = 5 or that Pi = 3.0, then no, the appropriate response of mathematicians is not to sit back and write cranky letters to the editor of mathematical journals and consider the matter closed. I don't like the idea of politicizing science either, but when other people do it, and incorrectly, yeah, scientists should say something.

People have used science to support racism before (0)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about 4 months ago | (#47647759)

Great, Slashdot is already agreeing with a man who wrote a book who is ignoring the Nurture in Nature v.s. Nurture. Camouflaging racist statements behind "science" is still racism.

Ah the religeon of peace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647765)

Scratch that, I mean pieces.

http://images.catholic.org/media/2014/07/28/14065692051961_700.jpg

alas (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647777)

Some areas of science are off limits in academia at this point. This is one of them. If the conclusion were that IQ is basically not heritable but that differences in racial groups are all caused by racism or such, all well and good. But any other conclusion risks torches and pitchforks and, worse, lack of grants. Mind you, widely publicizing a conclusion that race X has a lower average IQ than race Y can lead to damaging stereotyping, but fact is many people already have such stereotypes to some degree anyway...

Global warming/climate change has gone the same way. Anything that chips at the edge of the "consensus" has become largely beyond the pale, and risks ostracism. Not how science should be, research should go where it goes... And no, I'm not a "denier", just like people to be able to carry our research that challenges the orthodox view, particularly in politicized areas.

Re:alas (1)

profplump (309017) | about 4 months ago | (#47647955)

As soon as you come up with a heritable definition for race you can start on your analysis of heritable differences in relation to race. But historically we can't even come up with racial definitions that are stable across cultures and over a few generations, let alone that are heritable on the scale of evolution, which makes the whole discussion nothing more than handwaving.

why? (3, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 months ago | (#47647855)

what is globally accepted in animal breeding, that certain behavioral tendencies accompany accompany genetics right along with certain physical characteristics, is the worst taboo to apply to people.

which is ridiculous. populations living in specific social environments will SELECT FOR and AGAINST various physical and behavioral traits... and those traits which are successful in a specific society will then go on to build the society that those traits are best adapted to. like a feedback loop.

is there something totally crazy here?

Re:why? (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47647943)

and those traits which are successful in a specific society will then go on to build the society that those traits are best adapted to. like a feedback loop.

The evidence for this is actually pretty inconclusive, which is where some of the disagreement stems. It's easy to hypothesize this, but hard to prove it. In particular, many evolutionary biologists are skeptical that historical-timescale social changes and changes in genetic makeup are closely tied.

Re:why? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 months ago | (#47647999)

You have pointed out the only really good explanation I've read on this. So thank you for that.

Timescale. Great point. I hope someone mods you up.

probably true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647889)

There's no problem with this book but the statistical approach as a whole. 'Probably' is the key word here.

What are the complainer's conclusions? (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | about 4 months ago | (#47647893)

Each of the people whose research the book used came up with their own interpretation of the data they collected. In each case, their conclusions are based upon what data they collected, and not what others collected.

An interesting comparison would be for those same people to review the SUM of the data Wade used (since they have access to it), and publish THEIR conclusions. Don't just say, "My research does not support that!", because you might not have been looking at N factors that other researchers looked at.

More research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647917)

Tribes which valued the size of genitals developed larger genitals.
Let the flame wars begin.

so?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47647923)

So having not read the book (and I can conjecture many others here have not). Those who have is it any good does it make any points? Or is it trash? If so why?

Dr. X, On Which List Will You Appear? (2, Insightful)

Baldrson (78598) | about 4 months ago | (#47647939)

*RING* *RING*

Callee: Hello?

Caller: Hello, Dr. X, this is Dr. Y from [insert watchdog group name]. How are you today?

Callee: Uh, ok.

Caller: We're doing a survey. Your paper "[insert name of paper]" is cited in a NYT Best Seller that justifies taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies. Do you oppose taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies or not?

Callee: (Thinking to himself: "This guy is obviously nuts but then half of academia is nuts and they can cut off mine as well as all my future government grants for looking at them crosseyeed.") Why, NO! I absolutely oppose the use of my work to in any way shape or form to justify taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies! Where is the bastard that so abused my inherently anti-racist work so I can consider suing him!?!?"

Caller: Thank you Dr. X. That will be all.

That's how citations work: (2, Insightful)

Zanadou (1043400) | about 4 months ago | (#47648065)

Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work.

Guys, he can "misinterpret" your works as much has he likes, that's the whole point of "original research" and "original opinion". He takes your works and forms is own conclusions. It's him, not you. As long as he cites you.

Hell, you don't have to agree with him. Obviously.

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