The utility of HBD

A commenter states:

I clearly think something is there on the side of hereditarian causation —– but both my moral and intellectual instincts can’t help but lead me to believe that ‘proving’ as much is, if not exactly beside the point, woefully lacking in claiming to be the ‘solution’ needed.

My reply:

Either hereditarians are correct or not. If we assume that they are, is it reasonable for them to try to demonstrate this? Here’s what the popular discourse on this subject looks like. You tell me.

He goes on to ask about the possible cultural bias in IQ test.

My reply:

IQ differences are meaningless, per se. The issue is g. Here’s the g nexus:

If a difference consistently looks like a g difference (phenotypically and endophenotypically) and predicts like a g difference (industrially, academically, and otherwise socially), and factor analysis show that a g interpretation is consistent with the data, it’s a g difference.

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10 Responses to The utility of HBD

  1. nikcrit says:

    Edit:

    RE: ” I clearly think something is there on the side of hereditarian causation —– but I really think ‘proving’ as much is, if not exactly beside the point, woefully lacking in claiming to be the ‘solution.”

    Should be:
    “I clearly think something is there on the side of hereditarian causation —– but both my moral and intellectual instincts can’t help but lead me to believe that ‘proving’ as much is, if not exactly beside the point, woefully lacking in claiming to be the ‘solution’ needed.

    (I point out this relatively mild rhetorical difference to show that I’m torn between the empirical and ideological lures in this case, which are imperative if we want resolve amongst both ‘sides.’ yet I do understand that all or most of what i commented re. this post is separate from the purely empirical concerns discussed here.

    • Chuck says:

      Nikcrit,

      What ideological lures are you referring to? How, if the cause of the difference is not white racism is it just to blame whites (and lights) for the difference. (Keep in mind, that you also are, by this paradigm, an active participant in the suppression of the People of Color — hence colorism). I’m just arguing that it should be tested and resolved once and for all. Then go from there.

  2. nikcrit says:

    “I’m just arguing that it should be tested and resolved once and for all. Then go from there.

    I pretty much agree; however, though it may seem like some annoying tenet of ‘universal liberalism,’ or some other such often-maligned creed, I don’t think it’s contradictory to believe that hereditarian causation and good ol’ fashioned ‘racism’ can indeed exist side-by-side. Do you?
    I also think a more complicated ‘absolution’ of guilt would do wonders to changing the current terms of the racial ‘popular discourse.’

    “Keep in mind, that you also are, by this paradigm, an active participant in the suppression of the People of Color ”

    Oh, that I do. Trust that indeed I do!

  3. nikcrit says:

    edit: “guilt” should be “culpability.”

  4. KC says:

    The biology of race debate continues over here. Any thoughts in relation to this post?
    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=13652341&postcount=224

    • Chuck says:

      KC,

      Look at your current debate as a learning experience. We are trying to construct a definition of race that is impervious to anti-racist critique. If you could do me a favor, take note of the critiques — and we’ll work out a definition. I’ve been rather busy lately, so maybe you could write a post on this conception when we hammer it out.

      That said, when it comes to “race” there are two issues: the content and the boundaries. The content is fairly simple: ancestry. Race means ancestry. It doesn’t mean color or culture or ethnicity, etc. Color and culture and ethnicity mean color and culture and ethnicity. Race means ancestry. Ancestry, of course, means descendancy and geneology and genetic cluster. So race = ancestry is the first thing to establish. If someone tries to say that race means something else, just reply that by race you mean ancestry and point out the color, cultural, and ethnic differences are often tied to different ancestries but are not essential for them. (One could imagine a twin earth in which everyone was the same color, had the same mannerisms, ect, but had different ancestries (i.e genealogies). See, antiracists try to conflate race with color or something else so to argue that race is an arbitrary grouping. Jarred Diamond does this. Just establish that race= ancestry and you avoid that subterfuge.

      Now, the next issue concerns the boundaries of race. Inevitably, someone will argue that the boundaries of race are arbitrarily set. Notice, though, that by defining race as ancestry you circumvent much of the critique. The issue comes down to how many ancestries are there — and, at very least, there’s one, right?) Take a look here. Are there 1, 2, 5, 11, 18, etc. Whatever the case, there clearly are different ancestral clusters. Now, how does one decide? You really don’t need to. You can just refer to levels of analysis. In this case, I am guessing that you are discussing race (regional ancestry) on the sub-Continental level. Sometimes there ambiguous relations — to clarify things you can use cluster analysis. Cluster analysis, of course, just shows what genealogical records would more or less show.

      Try that and see what happens.

    • Chuck says:

      Ok, here was my initial reply. Again, you have to start by clarifying that race mean regional ancestry. Biologically, of course, regional ancestry means meta-population lineage. (The concept of meta population lineage applies to both “race” and “species.” Read through this paper).

      Basically, antiracists will say:

      1) Race is an incoherent concept
      2) Race is unrelated to biology.
      3) The definitions of race keep changing

      4) Human races don’t exist
      5) Races are basically the same
      6) Individuals of different races are the same
      7) All Humans are the same (99.99%)

      The logic, of course, is self contradictory. If 3) then 1), 2), 4). If 2) then 1). The first point is to get that multiple arguments are being made and then to decide what you want to defend.

      Attack on the ordinary concept:
      1) Race is an incoherent concept
      Meaning: (The ordinary (or popular) concept of race is incoherent)

      2) Race is unrelated to biology.
      Meaning: (The ordinary (or popular) concept is not biologically based)

      3) The definitions of race keep changing
      Meaning: (There have been many ordinary (or popular) concept’s of race)

      Attack on the biological/taxonomic concept:

      4) Human races don’t exist
      Meaning: (Subdividing the human species into racial (or subspecies) classifications is not consistent with taxonomic criteria)
      or
      (Subdividing the human species into racial (or clades, superfamilies etc.) classifications is not consistent with taxonomic criteria)

      5) Races are basically the same
      (Meaning: Human subdivisions, as coherently defines, are not significantly genetically different)

      6) Individuals of different races are the same
      (Meaning: genetically, individuals can be more related to people of different races, then to other individuals of their own race)

      7) All Humans are the same (99.99%)
      (Meaning: genetically everyone’s pretty identical anyways)
      …………………………….

      Now, there are 3 things that need to be established:

      1) The ordinary concept of race is coherent and related to biology
      a) race means regional ancestry given some time stipulation (e.g between 5-30k years) and regional ancestry means population lineage/clade

      2) The ordinary concept of race corresponds to the population genetic concept, more or less. (This really only matters if you are arguing for racial differences in countries with migrant populating — US, etc. )

      3) The population genetic concept is coherent and there are genetic differences between racial classifications as defined in population genetics.
      (The first part is fairly easy. You can just counter quote Lewontin etc.; you can’t have “small” racial differences without having coherent racial concepts, right? Personally, I like pointing out that “race” is a classification and the metaphysical existence of “classifications” is not germane to the debate)

      The second part, involves a double step. You have to point of Lewontin’s 1st and second fallacies — together they establish that there is substantial genetic variation between individuals of different racial groupings. It might be helpful to look up how related humans are — I think it’s around 99.5%. (Levy S, Sutton G, Ng PC, Feuk L, Halpern AL, et al. (2007). “The Diploid Genome Sequence of an Individual Human.” Chimps are 98.5%. So…

  5. KC says:

    Good analysis, it looks like Blake has basically ducked the substance of your posts.

    • Chuck says:

      I’m not finished with him. The moral of the story is that you have to start with a strong concept of race. (I’m sure that my concept (ancestral population cluster) has some flaws in it and when someone points them out, I will adjust it). I start with race qua ancestry since this is what race means. Speaking of which, here’s an interesting discussion of “race”:

      “At the same time, in the final analysis each of these three conceptualizations of race has some measure of biological truth. Shared history implies shared ancestry and shared ancestry implies shared biology. And exposure to the same environments will, over time, result in some degree of similarity in biological features. As a result there will be some general concordance in the distribution of physical traits – to a point. But only to a point. The fact is that each of these concepts is seriously flawed as an approach to dealing with biological variation among humans, as individuals and in groups.”

      Interestingly, the author doesn’t seem to consider the common denominator. The obvious link between population genetics, phenotypic differences, and geographical region is ancestry. Ancestry is also the link between the other, less biological, race concepts.

  6. Chuck says:

    Do you comment on that thread? I’m guessing that KC is Chen.

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