One post on scientific racism (HBD)

Edit: Noticed that most of the views are from twitter, so I’d like to request that if you’re gonna talk shit on Twitter, do it directly so I can retweet your shit talking.
I didn’t even realize that scientific racism was still a thing until I was linked to the blog of JayMan, just one such racist (otherwise known as a proponent of human biodiversity.) I’m not one for debating bygone conclusions and frankly I don’t give a shit about the ad popurazum Ockham’s exploding digest fallacy, so expect to see opinions instead of arguments. If you want arguments, there’s a brilliant review of Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance by Kenan Malik. Blogger Benjamin Steele also writes on this regularly, and schooled a racist on his own Amazon review recently. You can also see Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser report on “Human Biodiversity” here. Here, blogger bigWOWO talks about it. Blogger abagond talks about it here and here. Ken Weiss discusses it here. Magnus Hansen talks about HBD in the first of a four-part series here. The infamous and highly unfortunate PZ Myers has discussed it. Erasmussimo posted this on Dailykos. Here’s another post from Benjamin Steele. Blog Eurasian Sensation has a post on it here. Here, a blogger describes HBD as a cult.

I’m not going to debate this with anyone, ever. It’s not worth debating. If you are a proponent of HBD, I will not respond to you. You’re not worth my time. Here are a few thoughts on scientific racism under the guise of Human Biodiversity:

  1. HBD bloggers fail entirely to delineate cultural/social factors from genetic in order to show that genetic factors are the most important. Their attempts to do so are petty and pathetic. Even more pathetic are their attempts to assert that ethnic populations are now more advantaged than white populations (this constitutes a sort of double whammy when paired with their other assertions.)
  2. Accordingly, HBD bloggers seem oblivious to all of the work done in the social sciences which provide more satisfactory explanations for the phenomena they bloat up and pin on genetics.
  3. HBD bloggers consistently ignore contrasting evidence.
  4. Accordingly, HBD bloggers fail to respond to criticisms on more than superficial levels.
  5. HBD bloggers consistently misconstrue history.
  6. Accordingly, some HBD proponents believe Jews are intelligent because they were selected for moneylending. These proponents think this because they are fucking morons.
  7. HBD bloggers consistently misconstrue science.
  8. Accordingly, HBD bloggers have a bad grasp on philosophy and philosophy of science. JayMan says we should just use Ockham’s Razor. What’s that, philosophy? There are a million and one anti-razors because Ockham’s Razor is a load of shit? Who’da thunk it? He also says “facts are facts.” Well, Kuhn and Popper think “facts” have a lot to do with current scientific theory. You could even say that our scientific judgment relies entirely on the current dominating theories. In JayMan’s case, scientific judgment relies entirely on thinly-veiled hatred of other blacks.
  9. Some HBD bloggers make the vague attempt to reject the label of racist, but their fellow proponents consistently put the lie to them: one commenter on JayMan’s blog (asdf, here) put forward an interesting “quandry,” that of his black girlfriend. She is “cathedral in idealogy,” “above average IQ,” but probably not “smart enough to overide her cathedral upbringing, especially since she is black.” He feels that if they have kids, his quandary is to figure out how to stop his “half & halfs” from “hanging out with blacks and acting black.” JayMan’s response is warm.
  10. Frankly, I have more respect for people who are willing to just come out and say they’re full-on racist or supremacist and would love to see scientific evidence backing their ridiculous and morally and intellectually bankrupt views. That’s right, I would rather have a beer with an admitted Klansman than an HBD blogger, because at least the Klansman is fucking honest.

Let’s be clear on one thing here. I’m not saying variation between populations isn’t a thing. Clearly it is, in a vast number of ways. On that basis, I’m not necessarily opposed to “Human Biodiversity,” insofar as the legitimate field of sociobiology. And I would even buy it that some HBD proponents are just fucking idiots and legitimately don’t understand that HBD is racism. But it is. Rest assured this marks the end as well as the beginning of my time with the odious subject of scientific racism (although I tend to have a hankering for 19th century anthropology and naturalism, so maybe not.)

Finally, because this was frankly funner than getting pissed off about modern-day scientific racism:

Blogger hbdchick claims that the breaking down of Mid-East civilization boils down to clan conflict, and connects it to “father’s brother’s daughter marriage.” That’s not unimportant, but so ridiculously far from the only factor I don’t know where to start. She also seems ignorant of some points that aren’t in line with her arguments: for instance, Abd al-Rahman III was the son of a Frank and grandson of a Basque princess [Joseph F. O’Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain, p. 117]. Hardly the result of clannishness or “fbd marriage.” Further, although clan conflict can be said to have factored into the falling apart of the caliphate in Cordoba, such political situations are too complex to boil down to grr, I’m a clan, I don’t like other clans. O’Callaghan states that the dictator Almanzor (Ibn Abi Amir) hastened the destruction of the caliphate by excluding the caliph from his share in the government [126]. From then on, ineffectual caliphs was a rule of thumb until the office of caliph was abolished. The taifa period following was no more about abisiyyah. Good old Sam Naghrela, for instance, came to political power over a population of mostly Arabs. The late antiquity decentralization of the Arabized world could be attributed to ambition as much as anything: historians Ochsenwald and Fisher note that many upstart dynasties had military forces composed of Turks and Berbers, rather than fellow Arabs [The Middle East: A History, p. 70]. Additionally, historian James Gelvin (in The Modern Middle East: A History) does a great job at demonstrating that modern Middle East history is determined primarily by foreign intervention, largely in the form of the mandate system which arbitrarily set the current dividing lines of national entities in the ME. I might also say that hbdchick seems to put an odd emphasis on Arabic civilization falling apart. This is strange, given that the most successful caliphates constituted empires rivaling any ancient, medieval, or modern-day empires. The Ottomans, not Arabic nor a caliphate per se but the last great Islamic empire, lasted for a ridiculously long time (ca. 1300-1900 AD) and eventually became an admitted European power.


96 thoughts on “One post on scientific racism (HBD)

  1. I’m of mixed opinion about hbdchick. I like her as a person. She is really nice and I get along with her. We have an understanding of sorts. At the same time, I don’t like many of the people she associates with.

    She is also very smart and she has a wide-ranging curiosity. She is the cream of the HBD crop. She often brings up interesting data, but her blog can frustrate me at times. It’s a shame that she has allowed her mind to be constrained by a narrow race realist interpretation of HBD, although she isn’t entirely closed off to alternative interpretations. If she only broadened her view, she could follow the data to much more interesting and compelling hypotheses.

    By the way, the original HBDer wasn’t a race realist. He actually argued against it. It was much later that his theory was co-opted by right-wingers, neo-reactionaries, and genetic determinists.

    HBD and race realism aren’t necessarily the same thing. However, at this point, HBD apparently has become fully conflated with race realism, even though the more intelligent HBDers will differentiate the two, when challenged.

    “That’s right, I would rather have a beer with an admitted Klansman than an HBD blogger, because at least the Klansman is fucking honest.”

    I understand that view. I tend to feel the same way. I spent a period of several months of intensely interacting with HBDers. I commented on their blogs and they commented on my blogs. At some point, though, it just got to me and I couldn’t take it anymore.

    JayMan really irritated me. I shared some common interests with him about regional cultures. We both like books by such authors as Colin Woodard and David Hackett Fischer. About that topic, I can have a tolerable discussion with him, but when it comes to genetics he just doesn’t understand it. I don’t have a scientific mind and I admit it. JayMan seems to have even less grasp of some basic genetic issues than even I have and my grasp is pretty basic. I finally banned him from my blog because he was starting to make comments that were pseudo-intellectual scientism that verged on anti-intellectualism. Discussion with him, at that point, became impossible. I’m not sure how I lasted even that long.

    I only stuck with the HBDers as long as I did because of hbdchick. I really do like her as a person. She is just so easygoing. After dealing with so many rabid racists and trolls online, someone like her is refreshing. You just can’t get her riled. Plus, in her own way, she has a certain amount of intellectual humility that seems to be genuine. She does care about the facts and she will listen fairly to disagreements. If you are to interact with one HBDer and one only, then hbdchick is it. And if you don’t find her worth dealing with, then you aren’t going to find any better.

    The personal aside, hbdchick is wrong about her confidence in race realism. That is what it ultimately comes down to. It doesn’t matter how nice she is. There are many nice people out there with wrong ideas and there are many not-so-nice people with correct understandings. It comes down to the data and, in the end, race realism just doesn’t fit the data.


    • hbdchick definitely seems to be the cream of the crop, as it were. Although I found myself disagreeing with her opinions on Middle East history, it’s refreshing to see arguments on the medieval ME based in scholarship contemporary to the period. In fact, when I started writing this post her blog almost persuaded me to let up on the movement as a whole, but I suppose the extended series of insults above your comment is testament to the fact I decided not to. If nothing else, I would certainly be willing to have a debate with her in good nature.

      As someone who tends to take the place you seem to have occupied with HBD bloggers with other groups, it’s also good to see that someone is willing to engage in a moderate discussion with proponents.

      Thank you much for the background information on HBD itself. As I admitted in the beginning of the post, I was only made aware of this very recently so the background to the movement was unknown to me. I suppose it figures that ideas like that would be co-opted.

      On a personal note, I tend to reject ideas of genetic or social determinism since essentially I come from the black sheep branch of a family of black sheep (a great grandmother of mine was an immigrant prostitute) and was never formally educated until fairly late, but am currently doing just fine academically. It’s hardly scientific, but what I have seen is that pure effort matters as much as anything else in succeeding at something. Of course, the number of highly intelligent ethnic classmates I’ve had also helps to bias me in that respect. But in the end I tend to reject scientific racism because, like yourself, I always find their data never adds up.


      • I would point out and hbdchick would point out that there is a lot more to HBD than race realism. If you ignore that aspect of it, you might find some of the data and interpretations worth considering or worth arguing about. As I see it, I think HBDers have a piece or maybe a couple of pieces of the puzzle, but too many of them take it for the whole puzzle. They jump from connecting some pieces together to what they think the picture will form, when they haven’t proven they have connected even those few pieces together correctly.

        The other aspects of HBD is what kept me going back to hbdchick’s blog. The trick is you need to pay more attention to her best blog posts and maybe entirely ignore the comments. Many of the comments can be interesting as well, but the racists/racialists that HBD attracts can drive one up the wall. Wading through the it all to get to the good stuff requires a bit of fortitude.

        I see HBDers like hbdchick struggling with important issues. I’m glad the debate is being had. And I’m glad there are intelligent people like her involved. I want to see the best arguments that can be made, even when I disagree, for I want to disagree with the best.

        The other thing to keep in mind with someone like hbdchick is that she is surprisingly liberal. It is very difficult to pin her politics down, as she has a fairly open mind to different perspectives. She isn’t as quick to jump from hypothesizing about the data to promoting specific public policies, as blatant racists are. I get the sense that she could be persuaded in many directions and that, as she learns new data, she may come to entirely new conclusions.

        Besides her friendly personality, I like hbdchick’s intellect. Along with her curiosity, she is a determined researcher of data. I love to do research and I can clamp down on a topic like a pitbull, but hbdchick blows me out of the water sometimes with her relentless data-gathering. Plus, she has a mind that sees patterns in the data. That is what I love to do myself, look for the patterns. If hbdchick’s mind was ever unleashed from race realism and genetic semi-determinism, I would want to have a front row seat to see what would follow.

        There is another blogger I interact with a lot, skepoet. He is more of a left-winger, formerly a Marxist, presently of undetermined ideology. It was partly because of him that I got into HBD discussions. He has some interest in hbdchick’s blog, although he shares my reservations. There are plenty of people on the left (or in the middle) who are interested in genetic diversity and its implications. Race realism gets in the way of the more interesting debates we could be having about the data.

        I’m one of the weirdos that will interact with almost anyone. I can’t promise to be friendly and nice to everyone. I don’t have hbdchick’s personality. Still, I’ll listen to almost any argument and respond, even if my response is just to dismiss the argument as pointless. I can’t help myself. I feel this inner compulsion to respond that is difficult to resist. Sometimes it is like bashing my head against a brick wall and at other times I can be surprised by the kinds of understandings and agreements I can come to.


  2. Egalitarians cannot explain the variances in IQ distributions of different populations around the world using a static 100% environment/0% inheritance model. They cannot defend the proposition that all populations evolved perfectly equal cognitive attributes without making a mockery of evolution itself (or their grasp of it). So they huff and puff against “racism” and launch the accusation of “racist” at anyone who thinks that racial inheritance has a greater influence than 0% over observed racial differences. The introduction of moralistic personal attacks serves as an announcement of the egalitarian’s departure from the realm of fact-based discourse and his reversion to the psychologically more comfortable territory of closed-minded dogma (“I’m not going to debate this with anyone, ever…).


    • Not to put the lie to myself on fallacy, but isn’t this comment a big-ass straw-man fallacy? Who said anything about 100%/0% anything? For that matter, I’m a centrist, please insult me as such. To continue my policy of not debating:

      William T. Dickens & James R. Flynn. 2006. Black Americans Reduce the Racial IQ Gap Evidence From Standardization Samples. Psychological Science. vol. 17 no. 10 913-920
      “Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows”. The New York Times. 22 August 2000.
      Jablonski, Nina (September 2012). “The Struggle to overcome Racism”. New Scientist 215 (2880): 26–29.
      Eyferth, K (1961). “Leistungern verscheidener Gruppen von Besatzungskindern Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligenztest für Kinder (HAWIK)”. Archiv für die gesamte Psychologie (in German) 113: 222–41.
      Tizard, Barbara; Cooperman, Oliver; Joseph, Anne; Tizard, Jack (June 1972). “Environmental effects on language development: A study of young children in long-stay residential nurseries”. Child Development (Blackwell Publishing) 43 (2): 337–58. doi:10.2307/1127540. JSTOR 1127540.
      Hunt 2010, pp. 433–434 (From Human Intelligence)
      Hunt, Earl; Carlson, Jerry (2007). “Considerations relating to the study of group differences in intelligence”. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2 (2): 194–213. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6916.2007.00037.x.
      Moore, Elsie G (May 1986). “Family socialization and the IQ test performance of traditionally and transracially adopted Black children”. Developmental Psychology 22 (3): 317–26. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.22.3.317.
      Mackintosh, N. J. (2011). IQ and Human Intelligence (second ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 348. ISBN 978-0-19-958559-5. Lay summary (9 February 2012).
      Steele, Claude M. (1997). “A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance”. American Psychologist 52 (6): 613–629. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.52.6.613. ISSN 0003-066X. PMID 9174398.
      Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. Nisbett, Richard E.; Aronson, Joshua; Blair, Clancy; Dickens, William; Flynn, James; Halpern, Diane F.; Turkheimer, Eric” American Psychologist, Vol 67(2), Feb-Mar 2012, 130-159
      The cultural malleability of intelligence and its impact on the racial/ethnic hierarchy. Suzuki, Lisa; Aronson, Joshua. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 11(2), Jun 2005, 320-327.
      Daley, C. E.; Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2011). “Race and Intelligence”. In Sternberg, R.; Kaufman, S. B. The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 293–306
      Joseph F Fagan, Cynthia R Holland, Equal opportunity and racial differences in IQ, Intelligence, Volume 30, Issue 4, July–August 2002, Pages 361-387, ISSN 0160-2896,
      Fagan, J.F. & Holland, C.R. (2007). Racial equality in intelligence: Predictions from a theory of intelligence as processing. Intelligence, 35, 319-334
      Nisbett, Richard E.; Aronson, Joshua; Blair, Clancy; Dickens, William; Flynn, James; Halpern, Diane F.; Turkheimer, Eric (2012). “Group differences in IQ are best understood as environmental in origin”. American Psychologist 67 (6): 503–504. doi:10.1037/a0029772. ISSN 0003-066X. PMID 22963427. Retrieved 22 July 2013. Lay summary (22 July 2013).
      Alexander Alland, Jr.’s Race in mind: race, IQ, and other racisms
      Vernon J. Williams, Jr.’s article “Fatalism: Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, and the IQ Controversy”
      David F. Marks, “IQ variations across time, race, and nationality: An artifact of differences in literary skills.” in Psychological Reports in 2010

      I certainly didn’t read every study, but I did read summaries of them, and they all disagree with your stances. Oh yeah, and the American Associations Psychological and Anthropological disagree with you as entities. Good luck debating all of mainstream academia.

      And don’t mistake my stances as dogma; the proposition has been well-considered, and rejected entirely because the proposition was a load of shit propped up by biased and discredited researchers who consistently fail to control for confounding factors, or even to admit that any exist. Furthermore, don’t generalize; if I were dogmatic, that wouldn’t mean that all egalitarians were. And try not to ignore the segment of your own stance’s proponents who are interested in a sort of nominal egalitarianism. Furthermore, try not to look like an idiot.

      Nice profile picture though, dude.


      • My post addressed egalitarians, who believe in innate racial sameness (i.e., a 0% heritability for all racial IQ variances). I don’t know whether you’re an egalitarian or whether you acknowledge a role of inheritance that is smaller than the 50%-90% range of estimates from HBD researchers.

        Rejecting HBD and championing anti-Racism are not positive arguments for anything. What is your proposition for how much of a role inheritance plays in shaping black/white IQ differences?

        The ancient Eyferth study in your copy-paste bibliography deals with such a small and select sample of people who aren’t representative of broad racial categories as to be useless in making claims about the IQ gaps of broad racial categories. But even if it was a rigorous and meaningful study, it doesn’t confirm any truth value in egalitarianism, as it only showed test scores narrowing, not equalizing.

        The American Anthropological Association injects an explicitly political anti-Racist bias into everything it puts out on race. Social activism isn’t science. Unbiased scientists are willing to accept unpopular and uncomfortable conclusions when that’s where the facts lead.


      • I’m an egalitarian and don’t fit your straw man argument about egalitarians. I know many egalitarians and none of them fit your straw man argument about egalitarians. Are you claiming that only people who fit your absurd, self-serving definition are real egalitarians? In that case, real egalitarians probably don’t exist or at least not many of them. I haven’t met one yet.


    • I understand why many would choose not to do debate you. So far, you haven’t offered anything worthy of debate. What is there to ‘debate’?

      You present a false argument. I’ve never met anyone in my life who argues for a “static 100% environment/0% inheritance model”. You are setting up a straw man to tear down. It’s not about everything being equal, but everything being complex, both within and across populations, both within individuals and the entire species.

      What you have to contend with is how can environment have such a powerful effect, if the main explanation is genetic. Studies have shown nearly the entire black/white IQ gap can disappear with adoption and that doesn’t even control for the influence of early environment. The children of black GI veterans who were raised in Germany by their German mothers had IQs that are normal for Germany. Race realism can’t explain this data.

      I don’t care to repeat myself to you, as I’ve written about this many times before. You can check out the debate that I had with a race realist that is linked above in this post or you can check out some of my relevant blog posts:

      There is one thing I haven’t yet written much about, other than briefly mentioning it here and there. It is Claude M. Steele’s book on stereotypes, Whistling Vivaldi. Interestingly, he is the identical twin brother of Shelby Steele. The two are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and opposite sides of the debate on human nature, despite having identical genetics. Ain’t that a humdinger!.

      Anyway, what Claude M. Steele researches and describes in his book is stereotype threat. There are many kinds of stereotypes and no group is immune.

      When women are reminded of stereotypes about women’s math ability, they do worse on math, and the detriment is even more extreme the more math ability a woman has. So, the most brilliant of people can show significantly reduced performance when facing a stereotype that stresses them out, distracts them, and causes general cognitive overload. Their minds are so preoccupied with the stereotype that they have less mental focus and energy for the task being tested.

      The same thing is found for white people in terms of athletic performance. When simply reminded of their race and knowing the stereotype of their race, whites will perform worse at sports. But if they aren’t reminded of race, they do just as well as blacks do at sports.

      This same phenomenon was found with blacks and academic testing.

      The impact of stereotype threat is immense. The most important part is that it is the smartest and most talented people who are hurt the most by it. The explanation is that people who assume they aren’t smart or talented don’t feel like they have to prove they are smart or talented, There is no pressure, in their own mind. Failure doesn’t threaten them. But the smart or talented person worries about the stereotype and worries that they will confirm it. So, two equally smart or talented people will test differently depending on the stereotype that is invoked.

      The research on this is extensive. It was mind-blowing when I first read about it. Even I didn’t fully realize how powerful the environmental influence could be. I’ve yet to meet a race realist who has read this book and tried to explain this data that undermines race realism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have to first make a scientifically meaningful statement.

        Percentage is ultimately not applicable. No gene ever operates without environment. There is no way to separate them, and so no way to measure them as a percentage. Scientists sometimes talk that way to simplify otherwise complex scientific realities, but they aren’t being technically accurate.

        The problem is not only that you are making a straw man argument, but that you are making a straw man argument on a lack of basic understanding of genetics. Your idea of ‘egalitarians’ is a figment of your own imagination and has nothing to do with scientifically meaningful debate.


      • Scientists define heritability as the proportion of variance in a trait that is attributable to genetic variation. Your claim that percentage is “not applicable” is the strangest protestation of heritability I’ve yet encountered. To claim that environment matters for variance in a trait is to assert that environment is responsible for some proportion of the observed variance, >0%-100%. It makes no sense to say that environmental influence for a trait exists but operates outside the range of 0%-100%.

        If you refuse to provide an alternative heritability estimate to the .0 you claim you don’t subscribe to or the .8 that Rushton and Jensen suggest, then I can only assume that if you weren’t unreasonably obtuse, your actual position would be somewhere in the middle. If your position is that you have no position, then stop contradicting yourself by asserting that environmental influences matter and just state that you have no position.


      • I still don’t see anything you are offering that can be meaningfully debated. I know what you are trying to argue. I also know it doesn’t go anywhere.

        “Heritability” is a term used in many articles and through much of the scientific literature and invariably promotes the idea that it relates specifically to inherited traits. As a result, it is often assumed that the heritability of a particular trait relates to how much influence genetics has on the trait manifesting in an individual.

        However, that isn’t what it means.

        Heritability attempts to address the relationship between nature (genetics) and nurture (environment), so that as each changes, the variation between individuals within a population can be estimated based on these influences. In this context, “environment” simply represents everything external to the genome that could effect expression.

        RED FLAG: If someone says the heritability of X is Y, then they probably don’t know what they are talking about.

        The misconception: Heritability is the measure of the extent to which genes cause a particular trait within an individual and is therefore a measure of causation.

        The truth: Heritability is a measure of the extent to which variation of a phenotype between individuals in a population is due to differences in their genes. It is therefore a measure of variation not causation.

        The Implications: When a mental disorder is said to be x% heritable, people wrongly assume it is x% genetic and 100-x% environmental, thus missing the point that both play a crucial and complex role.

        The Mismeasure of Man (Revised & Expanded)
        By Stephen Jay Gould
        Kindle Locations 463-486

        Errors of reductionism and biodeterminism take over in such silly statements as “Intelligence is 60 percent genetic and 40 percent environmental.” A 60 percent (or whatever) “heritability” for intelligence means no such thing. We shall not get this issue straight until we realize that the “interactionism” we all accept does not permit such statements as “Trait x is 29 percent environmental and 71 percent genetic.” When causative factors (more than two, by the way) interact so complexly, and throughout growth, to produce an intricate adult being, we cannot , in principle, parse that being’s behavior into quantitative percentages of remote root causes. The adult being is an emergent entity who must be understood at his own level and in his own totality. The truly salient issues are malleability and flexibility, not fallacious parsing by percentages. A trait may be 90 percent heritable, yet entirely malleable. A twenty-dollar pair of eyeglasses from the local pharmacy may fully correct a defect of vision that is 100 percent heritable. A “60 percent ” biodeterminist is not a subtle interactionist , but a determinist on the “little bit pregnant” model.

        Thus, for example, Mr. Murray, in high dudgeon about my review of The Bell Curve (reprinted here as the first essay in the concluding section), writes in the Wall Street Journal ( December 2, 1994), excoriating my supposed unfairness to him:

        “Gould goes on to say that “Herrnstein and Murray violate fairness by converting a complex case that can yield only agnosticism into a biased brief for permanent and heritable differences.” Now compare Mr. Gould’s words with what Richard Herrnstein and I wrote in the crucial paragraph summarizing our views on genes and race: “If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanations have won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be?””

        Don’t you get it yet, Mr. Murray? I did not state that you attribute all difference to genetics— no person with an iota of knowledge would say such a foolish thing. My quoted line does not so charge you; my sentence states accurately that you advocate “permanent and heritable differences”— not that you attribute all disparity to genetics. Your own defense shows that you don’t grasp the major point. Your statement still portrays the issue as a battle of two sides, with exclusive victory potentially available to one. No one believes such a thing; everyone accepts interaction. You then portray yourself as a brave apostle of modernity and scholarly caution for proclaiming it “highly likely … that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences.” You have only stated a truism entirely outside the real issue. When you make the proper distinction between heritability and flexibility of behavioral expression, then we might have a real debate beyond the rhetoric of phrasing.

        The Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America
        By Steven Fraser
        Kindle Locations 2281-2307

        Ironically, one of the best arguments against the hereditarian approach comes from the genetics of heredity itself.

        Heritability (h2), it will be recalled, is technically defined as the percentage of total phenotypic variance in a given trait which is explained by the genes in question, for a given population. More technically, it is the ratio of the additive genetic variance to the phenotypic variance of the trait or character being considered: h2= Vg/Vp. The fact that it is only the additive variance (Va) which enters the equation must be emphasized, since an important additional fact usually goes unmentioned, especially by psychologists, in discussions of heredity. This is the fact that total genetic variance actually contains two other elements, namely, dominance variance (Vd) and epistatic or genetic interaction variance (Vi). Hence complete genetic variance is properly given by the additive equation: Vg = Va + Vd + Vi. Further, taking environment (e) into account, total phenotypic variance on a given trait is Vp = Vg + Ve.

        Now, recall that, throughout The Bell Curve, and indeed among all hereditarian psychologists, it is claimed that intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, is highly hereditary: ranging between .40 and .80, and taken to be .60 by Herrnstein and Murray. If we return to the equation for heredity which is commonly employed-and the one used throughout The Bell Curve-(h2= Vg/Vp) in the light of one well established principle of genetic selection, we are immediately faced with what Vale calls a “nice irony.” The selection principle in question is the fact that any trait which has been under strong selection for a long evolutionary period will demonstrate very little additive genetic variance and should consist mainly of dominance and possibly epistatic variance, the reason being that almost all the additive genetic variance-which is the only component of the three elements of total genetic variance that responds to evolutionary selection-will have been “used up,” so to speak. This being so, the hereditarians are faced with an embarrassing, because inexplicable, dilemma. To quote Vale:

        “It is true of fitness characters that the proportion of additive genetic variance is small. It is therefore noteworthy that not only the total genetic component of variance (heredity in the broad sense or the degree of genetic determination) of IQ has been found to be so large, but that the proportion of additive variance within that component has been found to contribute the most to it…. The question is: If IQ is fitness character, why should the additive variance be anywhere near .71?”

        Or .60 or .40 or for that matter anywhere other than hovering close to zero, which is where one expects to find the additive genetic variance of a trait that, as the hereditarian psychologists claim, and we fully agree, has been highly selected as an essential factor in the survival and fitness of the human species to its environment.

        The problem which Herrnstein, Jensen, and all hereditarian psychologists face then, from the discipline on which they have so heavily drawn, is that IQ scores are too hereditary if they are to sustain the claim that these tests have any significance beyond the test center and classroom. Whatever it is that IQ tests are measuring, whatever it is that g is-whether it be some Platonic ideal, or g for ghost, a pun which Ryle might not have intended when he dismissed the whole thing in his Concept of Mind as “the ghost of the machine”-it could have nothing whatever to do with those vitally important behavioral qualities that meaningfully account for our survival in both broad evolutionary and narrower sociological terms.

        I return, then, to my more familiar sociological terrain with this understanding of the problem. Intelligence is not an essence but a process, not some operationally inferred static entity, indicated by IQ tests-and the much beloved analogies with the discovery of gravity and electricity are as pretentious and silly as the tautology that intelligence is whatever it is that IQ tests are testing’-but that mode of thinking, symbolizing, acting, and interacting which, in their totality, facilitates survival in, and/or mastery of, its environment by an individual or group. It is acknowledged that cognitive functioning is central to this behavioral configuration, and further, that genetic factors are important in its determination-that, indeed, intelligence was a major factor in our evolution as a species-but that there is absolutely no way in which we can meaningfully separate genetic and environmental effects, and that, given the impossibility of conducting experiments on human populations, it is practically impossible, theoretically misguided, sociologically reprehensible, and morally obtuse to attempt to separate or even talk about the two as distinct processes.

        The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ
        By David Shenk
        Kindle Locations 1003-1031

        But the nature of that genetic influence is easily— and perilously— misinterpreted. If we are to take the word “heritability” at face value, genetic influence is a powerful direct force that leaves individuals rather little wiggle room. Through the lens of this word, twin studies reveal that intelligence is 60 percent “heritable,” which implies that 60 percent of each person’s intelligence comes preset from genes while the remaining 40 percent gets shaped by the environment. This appears to prove that our genes control much of our intelligence; there’s no escaping it.
        In fact, that’s not what these studies are saying at all.

        Instead, twin studies report, on average, a statistically detectable genetic influence of 60 percent. Some studies report more, some a lot less . In 2003, examining only poor families, University of Virginia psychologist Eric Turkheimer found that intelligence was not 60 percent heritable, nor 40 percent, nor 20 percent, but near 0 percent —demonstrating once and for all that there is no set portion of genetic influence on intelligence. “These findings,” wrote Turkheimer , “suggest that a model of [genes plus environment] is too simple for the dynamic interaction of genes and real-world environments during development.”

        How could the number vary so much from group to group? This is how statistics work. Every group is different; every heritability study is a snapshot from a specific time and place, and reflects only the limited data being measured (and how it is measured).

        More important, though, is that all of these numbers pertain only to groups— not to individuals. Heritability, explains author Matt Ridley , “is a population average, meaningless for any individual person : you cannot say that Hermia has more heritable intelligence than Helena. When somebody says that heritability of height is 90 percent, he does not and cannot mean that 90 percent of my inches come from genes and 10 percent from my food. He means that variation in a particular sample is attributable to 90 percent genes and 10 percent environment . There is no heritability in height for the individual.”

        This distinction between group and individual is night and day. No marathon runner would calculate her own race time by averaging the race times of ten thousand other runners; knowing the average lifespan doesn’t tell me how long my life will be; no one can know how many kids you will have based on the national average. Averages are averages— they are very useful in some ways and utterly useless in others. It’s useful to know that genes matter, but it’s just as important to realize that twin studies tell us nothing about you and your individual potential. No group average will ever offer any guidance about individual capability.

        In other words, there’s nothing wrong with the twin studies themselves. What’s wrong is associating them with the word “heritability,” which, as Patrick Bateson says, conveys “the extraordinary assumption that genetic and environmental influences are independent of one another and do not interact. That assumption is clearly wrong.” In the end, by parroting a strict “nature vs. nurture” sensibility, heritability estimates are statistical phantoms; they detect something in populations that simply does not exist in actual biology. It’s as if someone tried to determine what percentage of the brilliance of King Lear comes from adjectives. Just because there are fancy methods available for inferring distinct numbers doesn’t mean that those numbers have the meaning that some would wish for.


        • Have to apologize for the lateness of that last comment in being approved, apparently the settings were automatically putting in a queue any posts with more than 2 links. Well, now I have it set to 100 links so I don’t imagine I’ll have to deal with that any time soon.


        • I figured you’d eventually approve it. I have a tendency of dropping lots of links in my comments. I want to have informed discussions and that is almost impossible without offering links. I’ll try to control myself, though, and not let it get out of hand.


  3. As a general response to this post, I’m with you that race realism isn’t all that interesting or worthy of a topic. Race realism ultimately has nothing to do with science. It’s an ideology, just fancied up racism.

    That is what interests me. Racism itself.

    I want to understand the history of race ideology and racism. I want to understand how it has operated and how it continues. I want to understand how an overt racial order becomes the systemic and institutionalized racism we have today. I want to understand how there can be racism without racists. I want to understand how people can know and not know about racism, about the pervasiveness and impact of racism.

    How does racism hide in plain sight? How do problems and the people they affect become effectively invisible to the larger society?

    Invisible Men by Becky Pettit:

    “The intensive press coverage of America’s criminals and the extensive supervision of inmates by correctional authorities belie the invisibility of inmates, parolees, probationers, and others involved in the criminal justice system to the outside world. Inmates are a social group isolated socially, physically, and statistically from much of the rest of society. The vast majority of our nation’s inmates come from very few jurisdictions, and the facilities in which they are housed are even fewer in number (Heyer and Wagner 2004). Even our national data systems, as well as the social facts they produce, are structured around a normative kind of economic, political, and domestic life that commonly eludes those under the supervision of the criminal justice system.

    “Inmates and former inmates are less likely than otherwise similarly disadvantaged men to hold down steady legitimate jobs, to participate in civic life, and to live in settled households. Even their institutionalization involves a segment of the state cut off from the usual methods of social accounting. We categorically exclude inmates and former inmates from the social surveys routinely used to gauge the condition of the U.S. population, and we systematically undercount them in the U.S. Census and social surveys.

    “More than one hundred years ago, Émile Durkheim (1895/ 1982, 54) coined the term “social fact” to describe phenomena that both characterize and explain features of society: social facts are “the beliefs, tendencies and practices of the group taken collectively.” In his own research , Durkheim commonly relied on statistics such as rates of births, marriages, or suicides to isolate and examine social facts.

    “This book documents how our collective blindness hinders the establishment of social facts, conceals inequality, and undermines the foundation of social science research, including that used in the design and evaluation of social policy. The decades-long expansion of the criminal justice system has led to the acute and rapid disappearance of young, low-skill African American men from portraits of the American economic, political, and social condition . While the expansion of the criminal justice system reinforces race and class inequalities in the United States, the full impact of the criminal justice system on American inequality is obscured by the continued use of data collection strategies and estimation methods that predate prison expansion. [ . . . ]

    “The promise of the civil rights era has been undercut by a new form of invisibility manufactured by mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. Yet the invisibility of large segments of the American population and the inequality it conceals is not a natural or inevitable product of prison growth.”

    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander:

    “The claim that we really know where all the black men have gone may inspire considerable doubt. If we know, why do we feign ignorance ? Could it be that most people really don’t know? Is it possible that the roundup, lockdown, and exclusion of black men en masse from the body politic has occurred largely unnoticed? The answer is yes and no.

    “Much has been written about the ways in which people manage to deny, even to themselves, that extraordinary atrocities, racial oppression, and other forms of human suffering have occurred or are occurring. Criminologist Stanley Cohen wrote perhaps the most important book on the subject, States of Denial. The book examines how individuals and institutions—victims, perpetrators, and bystanders—know about yet deny the occurrence of oppressive acts. They see only what they want to see and wear blinders to avoid seeing the rest. This has been true about slavery, genocide , torture, and every form of systemic oppression.

    “Cohen emphasizes that denial, though deplorable, is complicated. It is not simply a matter of refusing to acknowledge an obvious, though uncomfortable, truth. Many people “know” and “not-know” the truth about human suffering at the same time. In his words, “Denial may be neither a matter of telling the truth nor intentionally telling a lie. There seem to be states of mind, or even whole cultures, in which we know and don’t know at the same time.”

    “Today, most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration. For more than three decades, images of black men in handcuffs have been a regular staple of the evening news. We know that large numbers of black men have been locked in cages. In fact, it is precisely because we know that black and brown people are far more likely to be imprisoned that we, as a nation, have not cared too much about it. We tell ourselves they “deserve” their fate, even though we know— and don’t know— that whites are just as likely to commit many crimes, especially drug crimes. We know that people released from prison face a lifetime of discrimination, scorn, and exclusion, and yet we claim not to know that an undercaste exists . We know and we don’t know at the same time.”

    Sundown Towns by James W. Loewen:

    “White Americans encounter sundown towns every day but rarely think about them or even realize that they’re in one. They look like other towns, especially to most non-black people, who often don’t notice the difference between 95% white and 100% white. Motorists driving through Anna, Illinois, might stop to see its famous library, designed in 1913 by Walter Burley Griffith, the Prairie School architect who went on to design Canberra, Australia. Or they might be visiting a mentally ill relative in the Illinois State Hospital. They don’t notice that Anna is a sundown town unless they know to ask. Most sundown towns and suburbs are like that: invisible, until a black wayfarer appears and the townspeople do something about it.

    “At the same time, whites have nicknames for many overwhelmingly white towns: “Colonial Whites” for Colonial Heights, near Richmond, Virginia; “the White Shore” across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, instead of the West Shore; “Caucasian Falls” for Cuyahoga Falls near Akron, Ohio; “Whiteface Bay” for Whitefish Bay, north of Milwaukee; and so forth across the country to “Lily White Lynwood” outside Los Angeles. Whites make up jokes about the consequences of an African American being found after dark in many sundown towns and suburbs. “Even the squirrels are white in Olney” is a quip about a sundown town in southeastern Illinois known also for its albino squirrels. Such nicknames and jokes show that the whiteness of these towns has registered; whites do understand that the absence of blacks is no accident. Residents of a metropolitan area also know which suburbs are said to be the whitest and which police departments have a reputation for racial profiling. The practice of stopping and questioning African Americans in Darien, Connecticut, for example, was “an open secret in town,” according to Gregory Dorr, who grew up there. Nevertheless, when told that many American towns and suburbs kept out African Americans for decades and some still do, often these same individuals claim to be shocked.

    “Perhaps it is more accurate to say that white Americans know and don’t know about sundown towns. This curious combination of knowing and not knowing seems eerily reminiscent of Europe, 1938–45: surely Germans (and Poles, French, Dutch, etc.) knew that Jewish and Romany people were being done away with—their houses and apartments were becoming vacant and available before their very eyes, after all. Yet many professed shock when told about it afterward. I do not claim that America’s rash of sundown towns is a Holocaust. The murdered probably total fewer than 2,000 and the refugees fewer than 100,000, nothing like the fury the Nazis unleashed upon Jewish and Rom people. Yet there is a parallel question: why have so few white Americans ever heard of sundown towns, even when they live in one?

    ‘“Yvonne Dorset,” for example, grew up in Buffalo, Illinois, near Springfield. In 2002 she replied to a discussion at “I graduated from Tri-City [the high school in Buffalo] in 1963. There weren’t any African Americans in my graduating class, but I never thought of it as anything but coincidence. We were brought up to respect all races.” As best I can tell, Dorset has lived in Buffalo from 1945 to now. What would we make of a long-term resident of, say, Heidelberg, Germany, who wrote in 2002, “There weren’t any Jews in my graduating class, but I never thought of it as anything but coincidence”? Buffalo drove out its African Americans on August 17, 1908. The absence of African Americans from Buffalo today is no more a “coincidence” than the near-absence of Jewish Germans from Heidelberg.”


    • Engelman seems to keep busy. Unfortunately, he appears to be part of what is nearly an internet culture of bizarre and unsightly Amazon reviews.

      I have to agree that racism itself, and perhaps prejudice more broadly, is a far more interesting point of discussion. To refer back to my first post kind of setting the basic outlines of what this blog was more or less intended for, one of the reasons I became interested in medieval Islamic history was because I began to sense intuitively that while medieval Islamic culture was extremely prejudicial, in many ways the Umayyads or Abbasids for instance generated societies which were much more genuinely multicultural than our own nation. The interplay of prejudice, tolerance, and intellectual debt in the middle ages is fascinating. One quote I vaguely recall went that there was no contradiction in the mind of a medieval philosopher who cited Avicenna while advocating for crusade against Islam. The direction of approach I took was, it seems, drastically different from your own, although the results seem to be similar in some ways.

      Without meaning to appear contrary to myself here, I do think the modern culture of whitewashing rather than legitimately addressing social issues, particularly racial and sexual, contributes to this sort of “knowing without knowing,” since it makes it convenient to miss and more difficult to examine than ever.


    • “Engelman seems to keep busy.”

      I get the sense that he isn’t a low IQ guy. He likely is smart and likely has a college education. But he had a really bad day one time, when he got mugged and beat up twice in the same day by black guys. So, now all black people are the problem of all society’s ills. One bad day and he writes off a large part of the population.

      He didn’t know how to respond to by my only experience of violence having come from being mugged by white guys. That didn’t fit his sense of reality.

      Why do people base their entire ideology on some experience they had once or even a few experiences they’ve had? Why do people let anecdotal evidence trump all the data that is out there? Do they think the world revolves around them?

      “one of the reasons I became interested in medieval Islamic history was because I began to sense intuitively that while medieval Islamic culture was extremely prejudicial, in many ways the Umayyads or Abbasids for instance generated societies which were much more genuinely multicultural than our own nation.”

      Do you have some posts about that? I haven’t looked around your blog much yet.

      “Without meaning to appear contrary to myself here, I do think the modern culture of whitewashing rather than legitimately addressing social issues, particularly racial and sexual, contributes to this sort of “knowing without knowing,” since it makes it convenient to miss and more difficult to examine than ever.”

      What is your view of this “knowing without knowing”? I’ve struggled to make sense of it. I originally came across this concept in the writings of Derrick Jensen, long before I began deeply studying about racism.


      • “Do you have some posts about that?”

        Unfortunately, not really, but it should definitely be a subject at various times in the future. This blog is actually very, very new, and I haven’t done a lot of writing on it yet, and much of it is (and will be) nonsense subjects, since this is a general interest blog more than anything else..

        “What is your view of this “knowing without knowing”? I’ve struggled to make sense of it. I originally came across this concept in the writings of Derrick Jensen, long before I began deeply studying about racism.”

        I think the most salient thing I can say is that something similar to this regularly comes up in my discussions with others about race. The way that I see it, at least, is that past basic rights, politically-correct thinking does not so much improve race relations as obscure them. Although the use of certain slurs now invariably, and rightly, leads to scathing indictment, politically correct thinking has also prompted racists to use more obscure terminology and more clever assertions to avoid scrutiny. Scientific racists themselves have, of course, adopted a relatively PC branding, even if a large part of their thought is irreconcilable with PC thinking. It also encourages the polite covering up or convenient forgetting of racism from “back when it was acceptable.” After all, to be respectable now is to not be racist. When I talk to people about this, I rarely get a surprised answer, but I more rarely get one that reflects a lot of thinking on the subject.

        Admittedly, the relationship between the two is nearly tangential, so politically correct thinking likely isn’t the root cause of knowing without knowing, but I do think it becomes a factor.

        I imagine I’ll start to catch on to your ways of thinking about it by following your blog.


        • The infamous and elusive Mr. Engelman has arrived on the scene, months late and covered thoroughly in the dark bile that pours out every time he opens his mouth, as usual.


        • Do you plan on ever looking at all the evidence that contradicts and disproves your views? Of course not. I’ve shown you endless data and you’ve refused to look at any of it.

          You aren’t fooling anyone. Your bigotry has nothing to do with data.

          Sure, you can cherrypick data to fit your views, but the fact you have to ignore so much other data speaks volumes. You even have told me multiple time that you refuse to look at data that doesn’t fit your preconceptions. Simply someone telling you that data challenges your beliefs is enough reason for you not to look at it, as you yourself have admitted.

          What is the point of leaving a comment here? Everyone here already knows your game.


        • “A bad argument does not become a good one by expanding it.”

          You don’t even know what a logical argument is. How would you know a good one from a bad one? You’d first have to look at the data, which is what you constantly refuse to do.

          You have ignored my arguments and my data, even when presented in a short amount of space. Yet you cite entire books of speculation as proving you are right. Does stretching speculation out into book-length make a bad argument into a good one?

          Quit pretending like you care about any argument. It’s all a game of rhetoric to you, and you aren’t even particularly clever about it. Your intellectual obtuseness is rather boring.


        • There are too kinds of logical arguments. A deductive argument is one in which, if the premises are true the conclusion is true. For example:

          Major premise: All cats are mammals.
          Minor premise: Bill is a cat.
          Conclusion: Bill is a mammal.

          An inductive argument is one in which if the premises are true, the conclusion is probably true:

          Major premise: Since 1980 the prison population has tripled.
          Minor premise: Since 1980 the crime rate has declined by one third.
          Conclusion: The increase in the prison population has been a major reason for the reduction in the crime rate.

          Most arguments in politics are inductive for reasons I explained in an earlier comment: we cannot go back in time, choose a different policy, and measure different results.

          If you want me to consider your arguments, make them clear, concise, fact based and logical. I have neither the patience nor the time to wade through your torrents of words, which when I glance at them consist of nothing but cliches and unproven assertions you believe in for no reason but your desire to believe in them.


        • “There are too kinds of logical arguments.”

          You described two categories of arguments. Anyone can look that up on Wikipedia. It still doesn’t demonstrate you are capable of making or understanding an intelligent argument.

          “Most arguments in politics are inductive for reasons I explained in an earlier comment: we cannot go back in time, choose a different policy, and measure different results.”

          This is your idiosyncratic worldview. You seem to see all of these issues through the lense of politics. I assume this is related to your being a political ideologue.

          Many of the research that has been done even has predictive capacity. There is nothing overtly political about the studies on lead pollution, toxicity, and regulation. There is nothing overtly political about studies of other aspects of poverty, such as the effects of malnutrition and stress on the brain. All of these can be and are measured through concrete means. They have not only measured the results and discovered correlations. They have determined the precise physical mechanisms of causation.

          Scientists don’t simply make abstract arguments. You have shown little evidence that you understand much about science. I’m far from an expert on science, but at least I have the intellectual humility to acknowledge the complexities and limitations of overlapping issues, confounding factors, and such.

          “If you want me to consider your arguments, make them clear, concise, fact based and logical. I have neither the patience nor the time to wade through your torrents of words, which when I glance at them consist of nothing but cliches and unproven assertions you believe in for no reason but your desire to believe in them.”

          I don’t care if you want to consider my arguments. If you were an intelligent and reasonable person, you’d want to not only consider my arguments, but also the arguments made by various experts based on some of the best data available. You ignore and dismiss most basic data, and so you never even get around to even considering any argument that disagrees with your beliefs.

          Here is the difference between you and I, besides you being a dogmatic ideologue and I a skeptic. You are making positive assertions. I’m questioning and doubting your claims, but it is up to you and other race realists to prove them. It isn’t my responsibility to try to disprove claims that haven’t even been tested. I support you and other race realists in joining an honest debate using the scientific method.

          There is nothing I’ve written that comes close to being as long a typical scientific paper, academic dissertation, or scholarly book. You have often cited long books and linked to long articles. You have even written some comments and reviews that didn’t fit onto a single computer screen. Your double standard just shows your inherent dishonesty. If you are intellectually incapable of reading more than a few short paragraphs, then you have been lying about the claim of having read all the books you mention and review. The authors you reference are much more long-winded than I am.

          If you want people to take you seriously, you have to at least pretend you have basic intellectual capacity. In the end, I know you are really just feigning stupidity or I hope that is the case. I sometimes sense there might a bit of intelligence hidden behind your facade of arrogant dogmatism and run-of-the-mill bigotry. But the more I deal with you the more I suspect that you are simply a highly motivated troll with too much free time on his hands. You claim that I write too much, and yet all evidence points to you writing as much or more than I do. I’ve never come across anyone else on the internet who bloviates endlessly as you do. You seem to do nothing all day but travel around the web leaving behind you piles and piles of mind-droppings.

          You are constantly claiming every comment of mine is invalid if it is longer than what fits on a single computer screen. That is approximately 33 or 34 lines of text, which is shorter than a standard page of a physical book (and you’ve mentioned and reviews some books that are hundreds of pages long), I’ve pointed out that you don’t typically even read my comments when they are within a single computer screen’s length. Your being disingenuous is so blatant as to be amusing.

          Also, let me give examples from your writings. I came across a few articles of yours. All were fairly long, one in particular. You’ve written even more reviews and almost all of them are lengthy. You’ve even left some longer comments. By your own logic, no one should read and take seriously most of your articles and reviews. Here are just a few examples of you breaking the very rule you demand of others:

          About twelve and a half computer screens worth of text:

          About four and a half screens worth of text:

          About four computer screens worth of text.

          About three computer screens worth of text:

          About two computer screens worth of text:

          About two and a half computer screens worth of text:

          About one and a half computer screens of text:


        • I will continue to look at your posts. Unless they are succinct, fact based, logical, and though provoking I will not respond to them. Please direct your lengthly essays to those who find them interesting.


        • “I will continue to look at your posts. Unless they are succinct, fact based, logical, and though provoking I will not respond to them. Please direct your lengthly essays to those who find them interesting.”

          Why don’t you feel any shame about your hypocrisy? Your own writings often aren’t “succinct, fact based, logical, and though[t] provoking.” Your reviews and articles are longer than anything I’ve written here. Why do you expect of others what you are unwilling to do yourself?

          It’s even more hypocritical in that my comments are more “fact based, logical, and though[t] provoking” than your comments. It is true that you often leave short comments, but they are typically lacking in much value. Plus, even when you keep your comments short, you add lots of them. The volume of your writing is most definitely not lacking.

          Anyway, most of my comments here have simply been in response to yours. You make many unsubstantiated claims. Yes, it is easier and takes less space to make weak and/or unsubstantiated claims than to challenge them, but that is hardly a compliment to those such as yourself for making weak and/or unsubstantiated claims.


      • If blacks and whites had the same crime rate my experiences with black crime could be attributed to bad luck, or something I was doing wrong. However, blacks in the United States have a rate of violent crime that is about 7.5 times the white rate. Until black crime happens to you you can know that. After it happens you will feel it.

        Lest anyone accuse me of “white racism” Orientals, who I admire, have a lower rate of violent crime than whites.



          A Life History Perspective
          Professor J. Philippe Rushton
          University of Western Ontario

          Modern science shows a three-way pattern of race differences in both physical traits and behavior. On average, Orientals are slower to mature, less fertile, less sexually active, less aggressive, and have larger brains and higher IQ scores. Blacks are at the other pole. Whites fall in the middle, but closer to Orientals than to Blacks…

          Race differences start in the womb. Blacks are born earlier and grow quicker than Whites and Orientals. The three-way race pattern occurs in milestones such as sexual maturity, family stability, crime rates, and population growth…

          Race differences exist in sexual behavior. The races differ in how often they like to have sexual intercourse. This affects rates of sexually transmitted diseases…

          Cross-race adoptions give some of the best proof that the genes cause race differences in IQ. Growing up in a middle-class White home does not lower the average IQ for Orientals nor raise it for Blacks.


        • If poor whites and wealthy whites had the same crime rate many people’s experience with white crime like your experience with black crime could be attributed to bad luck, or something they were doing wrong. However, severely poor whites living in concentrated poverty (like severely poor blacks living in concentrated poverty) in the United States have a rate of violent crime that is many times higher than the rate for whites and blacks who don’t live in severe, concentrated poverty. Until poor white crime happens to you you can know that. After it happens you will feel it.

          Lest anyone accuse me of “white classism” less violent American populations of Orientals, an ethnicity white supremacists admire, have lower rate of severe, concentrated poverty more violent American populations of whites.


        • Most of the people who live in West Virginia are poor whites. West Virginia has a low crime rate.



          The Brazilian researchers looked at one of the most racially mixed populations in the world for their study, which found there is no way to look at someone’s genes and determine his or her race.



          According to Richard R. Valencia, the response to the first edition of Rushton’s book was “overwhelmingly negative”, with only a small number of supporters, many being, like Rushton, Pioneer Fund grantees, such as Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin and Richard Lynn.[7]

          Valencia identified the main areas of criticism as focusing on Rushton’s use of “race” as a biological concept, a failure to appreciate the extent of variation within populations compared with that between populations, a false separation of genetics and environment, poor statistical methodology, a failure to consider alternative hypotheses, and the use of unreliable and inappropriate data to draw conclusions about the relationship between brain size and intelligence. According to Valencia, “experts in life history conclude that Rushton’s (1995) work is pseudoscientific and racist.”

          Validity of the concept of race

          Richard Lewontin (1996) argued that in claiming the existence of “major races”, and that these categories reflected large biological differences, “Rushton moves in the opposite direction from the entire development of physical anthropology and human genetics for the last thirty years. Anthropologists no longer regard “race” as a useful concept in understanding human evolution and variation.”[8] The anthropologist C. Loring Brace (1996) concurred, stating that the book was an amalgamation of bad biology and inexcusable anthropology. It is not science but advocacy, and advocacy of ‘racialism'”[9]

          Defenders of the validity of the concept of race have countered that Lewontin and others have created straw-men, and perpetuated such over the years, such as in “Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy”, a 2003 paper by A. W. F. Edwards. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “In effect, if the failure to satisfy the condition of discreteness and essentialism requires jettisoning the concept of race, then it also requires jettisoning the concept of biological species. But because the biological species concept remains epistemologically useful, some biologists and philosophers use it to defend a racial ontology that is “biologically informed but non-essentialist,” one that is vague, non-discrete, and related to genetics, genealogy, geography, and phenotype (Sesardic 2010, 146).”[10]

          Over the last two decades, a number of psychometric researchers have claimed that very substantial differences in intelligence exist among modern human racial groups, as these groups are traditionally defined. According to these researchers, African populations suffer severe cognitive deficits when compared to other modern humans. Philippe Rushton, particularly, places these claimed mental deficits in an evolutionary context, advancing environmental explanations for such deficits and asserting that such cognitive differences existed prehistorically as well. Such substantial cognitive differences should be evident in human behavioural patterns, and thus in the archaeological record. Archaeological data can thus be used to test these claims about human evolutionary development and modern human cognitive difference. Examination of the archaeological record does not support the claims made by these researchers. This suggests that regional differences in IQ test score results should not be ascribed to variations in human evolutionary development.


        • Most of us are curious about our family lineage. For Vanessa Williams, who recently took part in the show “Who Do You Think You Are” and explored her family’s history, the task was both surprising and informative. Here, she talks about what she learned and how she plans to use that information…

          “My DNA breaks down as follows: I’m 23% from Ghana, 17% from the British Isles, 15% from Cameroon, 12% Finnish, 11% Southern European, 7% Togo, 6% Benin, 5% Senegal and 4% Portuguese.”

          If DNA can determine nation, it can certainly determine race.



          The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium
          By Joseph L. Graves Jr.
          Kindle Locations 423-478

          The Impact of Natural Selection on the Genetic Composition of the Slaves

          There has been much speculation concerning how natural selection might have molded the characteristics of African Americans. Much of this speculation has occurred in the literature and popular myths concerning athletic performance. One much publicized racist comment was made by former CBS sports broadcaster Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, who stated that the superior athletic ability of African Americans resulted from the fact that “blacks had been bred like race horses.” Although Snyder was fired soon after that broadcast, many people felt that Snyder was correct and that African American success in certain sports was directly linked to the biological results of slavery. In Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk about It, Jon Entine concludes that genetic differences resulting from adaptation to local conditions might explain the dominance of “Blacks” in certain sports. However, he consistently confuses the concepts of local populations and socially constructed races, thus not completely escaping the race paradigm.

          The argument for African American superiority in sport proceeds as follows. The high mortality that must have resulted during the capture, warehousing, and transport of slaves must have selected stronger and healthier individuals. In addition, “seasoning” occurred once slaves arrived in the Americas, which might also have resulted in selection for disease resistance and physiological stamina. For example, there is strong evidence suggesting that innate immunity might have accounted for differential survival of Africans during the yellow fever epidemics that plagued much of the Caribbean. This example, however, is different from the general argument that suggests that slavery imposed a harsh regime that only the strongest and healthiest individuals survived. Enhanced physiological performance was consistently passed on to their offspring, hence accounting for the supposed superior athleticism observed in African Americans today.

          One other portion of the argument often goes unstated and unexamined: that is, the idea that the selection for disease resistance translates into superior athletic performance. If this were true, we could argue that the greater resistance of northern European populations to the AIDS virus is responsible for their dominance in speed skating, swimming, and downhill skiing.

          A corollary of the general argument is that the superior athletic performance of African Americans is negatively genetically correlated with intellectual performance. This is a variant of the hypothesis that reproductive performance is negatively correlated with intelligence, an idea spread by psychometrician J. Philippe Rushton. This corollary is severely flawed in several ways. The first flaw is the difficulty of reconstructing the actual conditions under which natural selection could have operated during slavery. Our ignorance about these conditions stems from our lack of strong historical interest in, or concern for, the actual nature of slavery and the rest of the African American experience. In addition, the argument suffers from the main fallacy of all adaptationist just-so stories: the assumption of genetic correlation between physiological performance and specific components of life history. We do not actually know, nor can we experimentally verify, how physiological performance was related to individual fitness during slavery (or even now). For example, a slave could have left more offspring by being intelligent, loyal, and honest or by being sly and morally corrupt. These behaviors might have little to no genetic cause and might be completely independent of physiological or athletic performance. Finally, this argument also lacks any foundation in the sociology of sport.

          Any conclusions about the action of natural selection during slavery must be speculative because the mortality data, both on sources and magnitudes, for all the various aspects of the trade are sketchy. For example, the mortality data from the slave ship Coningin Hester (Dutch registry, 1716, from West Africa to Caribbean), fail to show clear patterns.6 The ship carried a total of 183 female and 371 male slaves ranging in age from five to forty-four. Table 2.1 is a calculation of age-specific mortality rates for these individuals. One thing is clear. The data do not suggest that slave mortality on this voyage was mostly related to physiological performance. If human physiology were the sole factor in survival, we would expect to find the highest mortality rates among the oldest and the youngest age categories, which we know are most vulnerable to physiological stress. In addition, we would predict that female mortality would be greater than male mortality. However, we find instead that young adults experienced the highest mortality rates and that males died at about twice the rate of females.

          These data suggest instead that behavior, of both captives and slavers, rather than physiology might account for these patterns. Older captives may have survived through their greater experience and patience. Younger captives may have been given special care or quarters on the voyage (in part because of their future value and because they did not present a serious threat to the slavers). However, the mortality rates for both males and females were highest in the age categories that had the highest economic value. Because the years of prime reproduction coincide with the peak of physiological performance in animals, including humans, these slaves should have been the most capable of physiological resistance to the stress of the voyage and, thus, the most valuable to the slavers. Therefore, the high mortality in these age classes is a mystery. One possible explanation is that we see the highest mortality in the categories that were the most likely to resist their imprisonment. Male slaves were considered the most dangerous. Differential punishment, a condition that again depends on the behavior of both the captives and captors, could explain the twofold difference between male and female mortality rates. But we cannot insist on this explanation either. No simple explanation of survival patterns on this slave voyage can be made. In addition, the characteristics required to survive “seasoning” might have been very different from those required to survive any individual voyage. Consequently, any arguments concerning a specific mode of natural selection in shaping the genetic character of African Americans are likely to be fallacious.

          There is some need to clear up the confusion concerning the evolutionary processes responsible for gene frequencies in modern African Americans. Natural selection can be defined as the differential reproductive success of favored genotypes. (The genotype is specified by specific alleles found at particular loci.) Properly understood, success has both a survivorship and a reproductive component. However, natural selection alone is not sufficient to explain how changes in the genetic composition of a given population occur. We must also take into account the problem of accidents of genetic processes.

          We now know that sub-Saharan Africans have greater genetic variability than all other human populations combined.7 Slaves were drawn from all over Africa during the Atlantic trade. Those who came to the Americas were mainly from the West Coast. We have no reliable way today to determine the impact of the various sources of mortality during the slave trade on the victims’ gene frequencies. For example, we could argue that overweight individuals might have survived the Middle Passage better because of their greater fat stores or, conversely, that overweight people did not survive the process because of the cardiovascular stress caused by obesity.

          Certainly, we could argue that the entire process selected for individuals with great intelligence and mental flexibility. However, no one ever argues that African Americans have greater genetic potential for intelligence due to selection during slavery! No one argues that the rigors of being a slave owner, or the hardships of the westward migration in the United States, selected for greater athletic performance. The reason that these arguments are not advanced is that people hold the mistaken belief that only African Americans excel at certain sports. But sociologists of sport have shown that economic opportunity has a great deal to do with who ends up playing certain sports. In the late nineteenth century, many of the best boxers in the United States were of Irish and Italian extraction. Now these groups are rare in boxing. Even basketball was not always dominated by African American athletes. Jewish Americans were the first to succeed at the sport (it was thought that their “craftiness” made them better suited for the razzle-dazzle of the game).” If we wish to explain biological factors important to sports performance, we should look to body forms, not to race. For example, the Watusi people would be more likely to excel at basketball than the Pygmy, Yamamoto, or Aleut people because the former are very tall and the latter are short and stout. Body forms do not map racial categories in any consistent way.


        • When will you learn that “brevity is the soul of wit?”

          The only thing I read in that blast of words was “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The idea of that story by Hans Christian Anderson is that two tailors pretend to give the Emperor a set of clothes that cannot be seen by those who are stupid and incompetent. Everyone pretends to see the clothes until a little boy says, “The Emperor is naked.” Then everyone realizes that what they really did see was true.

          That story makes me think of how everyone pretends to believe in the delusions of political correctness, because they have been told that to disbelieve is to be a racist.


        • “When will you learn that “brevity is the soul of wit?””

          When will you learn that the demand for brevity is the soul of the witless?

          I sometimes seriously doubt your reading skills. Maybe you aren’t just being willfully ignorant. Maybe you really can’t understand basic logical arguments and scientific analysis.


        • “Most of the people who live in West Virginia are poor whites. West Virginia has a low crime rate.”

          That is a ridiculous statement. Most West Virginians aren’t poor whites. The poverty rate of West Virginia is only 17.9%, and many of those are blacks. The national average for the poverty rate is 15.4%, which is not much different than West Virginia.

          In my post, I pointed out that there was great economic diversity (along with other kinds of diversity) within Appalachia and between the Appalachian states. Appalachia, after all, extends across three regions: Deep South, Upper South, and Midwest.

          I discussed the violence and crime issue in that post. I pointed out that not even all of Appalachia is poor, much less violent. Yet a disproportionate number of the most dangerous counties in the country are in Appalachia and many more are in the immediate surrounding areas.


        • “If DNA can determine nation, it can certainly determine race.”

          Those genetic tests for nationality aren’t extremely reliable. There has been much debate about that issue. As far as I know, there has yet to be any scientific test that proves how reliable they are. The companies that do these tests have patented methods which means they don’t allow researchers to test their methods. It’s a business and increasingly profitable since genealogy has become more popular.

          Either way, nationality doesn’t match racial categories, unless you want to argue every nation is a separate race. In the past, ethnicities were treated as races. This is why separate crime data early on was kept for ethnic Americans (such as Irish, Italians, and Jews), as they weren’t always considered white. The Irish used to be compared to Africans and Native Americans. Many Italians have North African genetics. And, of course, Jews are semites.


  4. I was looking around other reviews for other books. I kept running into the same guy, John Engelman. He apparently gets around Amazon. He has reviews and comments all over the place.

    In one discussion with him, he linked to another review of his about The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I gave him several lengthy responses there as well. Just in case you’re interested, here it is:

    Punishment Works By John Engelman

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the few social experiments in the United States that has actually worked has been the increase in the incarceration rate. From 1960 to 1970 the prison population declined. The crime rate doubled. Since 1980 the prison population has tripled. The crime rate has declined by one third. The decline has continued during the Great Recession, when poverty has certainly become more severe.

    Rehabilitation seldom works. The only factor that reliably reduces recidivism is old age.

    The high cost of incarceration can be reduced by the thorough exploitation of prison labor, the frequent use of capital and corporal punishment, and an end to educational and recreational opportunities.


  6. Benjamin David Steele,

    I am not interested in your blasts of hot air. More punishment means lower crime rates. Rehabilitation seldom works. The only factor that reliably reduces the crime rate is age. I have proven that with two websites. It is just as simple as that.


    • So, stating facts is “blasts of hot air.” You have a strange way of thinking. If you know you are right, why are you unable to disprove the data I shared? Stating that you believe something is true isn’t the same thing as it being true. Sure, age decreases crime. So does lessening racial biases, poverty, economic inequality, lead pollution, and a thousand other things. That has always been true, but that wasn’t your argument. You were claiming mass incarceration, specifically of blacks, decreases crime. That has been disproven. Facts are stubborn things.


  7. How has it been proven that mass incarceration does not reduce the crime rate? I have proven that mass incarceration does reduce the crime rate. Another thing that reduces the crime rate is abortion. Since Roe v. Wade millions of potential criminals have been destroyed in the womb.

    What does not reduce the crime rate is social reform and social welfare spending. We tried that during the 1960’s. The crime rate doubled.


    • How does scientists prove things? I gues you could learn about the scientific methodology. That might help. It would be a good first step.

      Ya see, in science, you can’t just state your beliefs. You have to formulate a hypothesis, set up a well designed experiment with controls, measure the results, and then analyze the data. Then you get it peer reviewed and you debate it with other experts.

      I know it is more complex and difficult than ideological dogmatism, but it has its own rewards.


      • Political scientists cannot prove their theories the way physicists and chemists can with controlled, repeatable experiments. We cannot go back in time, choose a different policy, and measure different results. If B follows A, it may be the case that B would have happened if A had not happened. It may be the case that if A had not happened B would have been more extensive.

        Also, theories in political science arouse emotions in ways that hypotheses in physics and chemistry do not. If one likes A and B one will be prone to believe that A caused B. If one dislikes A but likes B, or vise versa, one will more likely deny a relationship.

        I often hear, “Correlation is not causation.” Nevertheless, in political science correlation is often the only way to indicate causation.

        In the United States the prison population declined from 1960 to 1970. The crime rate doubled. Since 1980 the prison population tripled. The crime rate declined by one third.

        This is impressive evidence that more punishment leads to less crime, even when poverty increases, as it certainly has in this century, and particularly since the Great Recession began. It is also common sense. Criminals in prison cannot commit crimes against people outside the prison walls. Moreover, the likelihood and severity of punishment acts as a deterrent.

        Those who are sympathetic toward criminals can find reasons to believe that more punishment does not lead to less crime. They cannot convince most of the voters. One of the reasons most lower income whites vote against their economic interests by voting Republican is that they trust the Republicans on criminal justice. They do not trust the Democrats. Lower income white conservatives are more likely to be crime victims than the upper middle class liberals who feel superior to those lower income white conservatives.


        • We aren’t talking about political science. Why did you bring it up? The topics under discussion involve social science, environmental science, biological science, genetic science, etc.

          Lead toxicity and violent crime, for example, has been widely researched. That evidence is stronger than anything you’ve mentioned. There have been many places that didn’t have increasing incarceration or abortions and yet still experienced the same decreases of violent crime. I already shared with you all the research that disproves your belief about mass incarceration. I realize you don’t look at data that contradicts your beliefs, but that doesn’t change the existence of the data. I don’t doubt that your beliefs seem like common sense to you, but that isn’t how science works.

          You made a bunch of hypothetical claims that have been challenged by research. You dismiss even strong data when it disagrees with your beliefs and yet repeat weak data when it is convenient. You have no principled concern about the quality of any scientific research.

          I’m going to assume for a moment that by “political science” you actually mean social science. You state that,

          “I often hear, “Correlation is not causation.” Nevertheless, in political science correlation is often the only way to indicate causation.”

          Correlation is not causation, but sometimes the two coincide. In that case, correlations can be tested to determine causation.

          One scientific method is the dose-response curve by looking for precise and predictable time lags. This has been used in the best social science, but also in some of the best hard science. This method is used in studying the efficacy of medications and such. It also has been used to prove the causal link between decreases in lead pollution in specific areas and the approximately two decade time lag for decreasing violent crime. This is because lead toxicity has to occur in childhood for it to cause permanent brain damage, which only manifests as aggressive behavior and impulse control issues when adulthood is reached.

          “Those who are sympathetic toward criminals can find reasons to believe that more punishment does not lead to less crime. They cannot convince most of the voters.”

          Once again, it is important to actually look at and understand the data. The reality, as always, is more complex than dogmatic ideology and political rhetoric.


        • There have been many places that didn’t have increasing incarceration or abortions and yet still experienced the same decreases of violent crime.

          – Benjamin David Steele

          List several of those places, demonstrate that they experienced declines in crime without increases in incarceration and abortion, document your assertions like I do. Restrict your argument to one computer screen, again like I do. I lack the patience to wade through your billows of words. I doubt anyone else reads that either.


        • “List several of those places, demonstrate that they experienced declines in crime without increases in incarceration and abortion, document your assertions like I do. Restrict your argument to one computer screen, again like I do. I lack the patience to wade through your billows of words. I doubt anyone else reads that either.”

          You sure aren’t the sharpest tool in the box. I already gave you a bunch of data. You then admitted to ignoring most of it. You have no idea what the data is. I assume you know how to read.

          At that above linked comment, there is some text that mentions various places where changes in incarceration rates weren’t correlated to significant changes in crime rates in recent history. As for abortion, Canada is an example where there was decrease in violent crime and yet no change in abortion rates. That isn’t to say that many such things do influence behavior, but there is no indication that they are major factors driving the changes.

          The decreasing violence was seen in countries all across the world, no matter which criminal policies and abortion laws they had in place. The only strong causal connection that has been found, as far as I know, is changes of lead pollution, from lead additives to gas to their regulation.


  8. The notion that economic deprivation necessarily leads to lawlessness is widely believed but is not supported by empirical evidence. Human history is replete with examples of impoverished people…who have endured extreme poverty without descending into criminal activity. During the 1960s, for instance, the residents of San Francisco’s Chinatown were among America’s poorest people—with the most unemployment, the worst housing conditions, the least education, and the highest rate of tuberculosis in their city. Yet despite such hardships, only five people of Chinese ancestry went to jail in the entire state of California in 1965.[1]

    Similarly, Jewish immigrants to America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also repudiated criminality despite having to face extreme economic deprivation. Historian Max Dimont describes them:

    “The majority of these immigrants had arrived penniless, all their worldly belongings wrapped in a bundle…. Most of [them] arrived in New York. Some made their way into other cities,… but the majority remained in New York, settling in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, [which was] a neighborhood of the poor. Sociologists, with their impressive charts showing the number of toilets (or lack of the), the number of people per room, the low per capita income, paint a dismal picture of the Lower East Side Jewish slum. But their charts do not capture its uniqueness. Though it bred tuberculosis and rheumatism, it did not breed crime and venereal disease. It did not spawn illiteracy, illegitimate children, or deserted wives. Library cards were in constant use.”[2]

    [1] James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein, Crime and Human Nature (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985), p. 473.
    [2] Max I. Dimont, Jews, God, and History (New York: Penguin USA, 1994), pp. 373-374. (This book was originally published in 1962.)


    • The Ethnic Myth: Race, Ethnicity, and Class in America
      by Stephen Steinberg
      pp. 111-124

      “However, now that immigrants have escaped from the poverty of earlier generations, they tend to look back on their experience in poverty as different from that of lower-class minorities today. Thus, Nathan Glazer distinguishes between “slums of hope” and “slums of despair,” by which he implies that immigrant slums were not afflicted with the social disorganization and cultural distortions that are identified with present-day slums. According to this view, despite their material privations, immigrant families stayed together, workers organized for better wages, and a stubborn ethnic pride cemented immigrants together in collective self-defense against the deprecations of the outside world. The solidarity of family and community is assumed to be the chief reason that immigrant ghettos were spared the social pathologies associated with today’s ghettos.

      “But were they so spared? A number of recent studies suggest that social pathologies of various kinds were more widespread in immigrant communities than has previously been acknowledged. Once again, it will be useful to focus on the Jewish experience, since Jews have so often been held out as an example of a group that, despite the poverty of the immigrant generation, did not produce high rates of crime and other such pathologies.

      “”Slums of Hope”

      “Chroniclers of the Jewish experience in America have rarely suggested that crime among Jews was ever more than an idiosyncratic event. […] However, this was not the prevailing view in the early part of the century.

      “In 1908 the “crime wave” among immigrant Jews emerged as an explosive political issue […] In the popular mind Jews were very much a part of the crime wave that had besieged American cities, and Jewish groups were kept busy defending Jewish honor against the exaggerated and often malicious allegations that periodically appeared in the press.

      “The debate within the Jewish community over the “criminality problem” produced the usual ideological split. Most of the Yiddish press, as well as moderate Jewish leaders, attributed the rising rate of crime among Jews to the breakdown of the traditional order. The problem, they believed, was that in America parents had lost control over their children, and religion and other traditional values had been shattered. To remedy this situation, they called for a revitalization of traditional values through religious instruction and various social work programs; they also advocated a more concerted effort within the Jewish community to stamp out crime.

      “The socialist Forward, however, took a quite different view of the rising rates of crime among Jews. The problem, the Forward insisted, was not with the Jewish community or even an erosion of traditional values, but with capitalism. The Forward explicitly rejected the notion of “Jewish crime.” It seemed obvious that the destitute condition of immigrant Jews was the root cause of crime, and for this reason the Forward opposed the Kehillah and other specifically Jewish efforts to control crime. If crime was a product of conditions endemic to capitalism, then narrow strategies that treated crime as an internal disorder of the Jewish community were misdirected and doomed to failure.

      “The experience of other immigrant groups certainly is consistent with the Forward’s view that crime had nothing to do with ethnicity as such, but was primarily a function of poverty. The history of prostitution in America is a case in point. The “oldest profession” has always been the province of the newest group to reside in urban ghettos. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was the Irish who, despite a strong tradition of chastity, figured most prominently among the streetwalkers of New York and Boston. Later in the century they were replaced by Jews and other immigrants. Only in recent decades has this dubious mantle been passed on to blacks and other newcomers to the city.

      “Generally speaking, there has been an ethnic succession in an all areas of crime, beginning with the Irish, who were the first identifiable minority to inhabit urban slums. In the 1860s Harper’s Magazine observed that the Irish “have so behaved themselves that nearly 75% of our criminals are Irish, that fully 75% of the crimes of violence committed among us are the work of Irishmen. . . .” Speculation as to the causes of the alarming rate of crime among the Irish centered on ethnic traits, especially the intemperate disposition of the Irish “race.”

      “By the end of the century, the connection between immigration and crime became something of a national obsession. The United States Immigration Commission, which carried out a series of studies on the “immigration problem,” devoted a whole volume to “Immigrants and Crime.” On the basis of extensive statistics collected in New York, Chicago, and Massachusetts, the commission drew up a composite picture of “races and nationalities . . . exhibiting clearly defined criminal characteristics.” Italians figured most prominently with respect to crimes of personal violence, including murder. The Irish stood out among those arrested for drunkenness and vagrancy. The French and Jews were disproportionately represented among those arrested for prostitution. In addition, Jews were second only to native Americans when it came to crimes against property, including burglary, larceny, and receiving stolen goods. Greeks, Italians, and Jews all ranked high with respect to infractions against city ordinances regulating peddling and trade. The commission concluded that “immigration has had a marked effect on the nature of the crime committed in the United States.” Though the report did not attempt to explain the observed relationship between crime and ethnicity, neither did it consider the possibility that the correlation was simply a by-product of poverty. For the commission, the relationship between nationality and crime was self-evident, and implied its own remedy: crime should be reduced by restricting the immigration of those “races” that were prone to criminality.

      “Today, of course, it is blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Chicanos who are blamed for high rates of crime, and as before, crime is treated as a cultural aberration rather than a symptom of class inequality. No doubt, the incidence of crime in immigrant ghettos was lower than it is today; nor, perhaps, were homicides and other crimes of violence as prevalent. But neither were immigrants mired in poverty over many generations. On the contrary, having entered an expanding economy, most immigrants were on the threshold of upward mobility. Yet if the Irish, Italians, Jews, and others produced as much crime as they did in a single generation, what could have been expected of these groups had they remained in poverty for five or eight or ten generations, like much of the nation’s black population?

      “That crime in immigrant communities was primarily a response to economic disadvantage, and not a product of deeper cultural abnormalities, is easier to see now that these groups have attained middle-class respectability. To realize this should make it easier to avoid confusion of social class with culture and ethnicity when considering the problems of minorities today.

      “”Slums of Despair”

      “If social scientists have idealized the immigrant communities as “slums of hope,” they have also portrayed the communities of today’s racial minorities as “slums of despair,” characterized by a tangle of pathology involving high rates of crime, unstable families, weak and disorganized communities, and a debilitating culture of poverty that is said to impede social and economic progress. In this respect, contemporary sociological thought is reminiscent of nineteenth-century Social Darwinism. Then, as now, the prevailing attitude toward the ghetto was of moral condemnation, and the onus for the ethnic plight was placed on the ethnic groups themselves. Of course, there is no small irony in the fact that the “New Darwinists” invariably have their roots in the very ethnic groups that were previously maligned by the Social Darwinists. […]

      “Controversy surrounded Moynihan’s insistence that the problems of black families today are a by-product of the ravages of slavery on the black family. This is a seductive argument, since it appears to place the onus of blame on a racist society. But for Moynihan it is not our sins but the sins of our fathers that are at the root of the problem. That is to say, the report tends to minimize the role of present-day conditions as they operate to undermine black families; instead, the emphasis is upon racism as it operated in the distant past. Aside from this misplaced emphasis, more recent historical evidence calls into question the assumption that slavery shattered the black family as a cultural institution.

      “In his history of The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, Herbert Gutman marshaled an enormous body of evidence to show that despite the abuses inflicted on black families during slavery, the cultural fabric of the family remained intact, and blacks left slavery with very powerful family traditions. Even before Gutman’s book was published there was evidence that contemporary problems in black families do not have their roots in slavery. Had Moynihan examined available data prior to the 1940s, he would have realized that illegitimacy and family instability are only recent trends that began with the mass movement of blacks to cities since the First World War. In other words, if there is a crisis in the black family, it has its roots not in slavery, but in the conditions that black migrants encountered in northern ghettos.

      When immigrants lived in urban slums, they, too, experienced strains in the family system. In the early 1900s, for example, desertions wee widespread among Jewish immigrants, and Jewish journals and social agencies expressed alarm over the “desertion evil.” Some indication of the magnitude of this problem can be gleaned from the records of the United Hebrew Charities of New York, which reported that in 1903-4 alone it had received over one thousand applications for relief from deserted women. The Jewish Daily Forward routinely ran a “Gallery of Missing Husbands” to assist women in locating their errant spouses.

      “Once again, it would not be correct to imply that family instability was as common among Jews and other immigrants as it is among today’s racial minorities, for this was not so. But neither was their experience in poverty the same. Despite the hardships of immigrant life, most immigrants had left still more depressed conditions in their countries of origin, and their American experience of poverty was generally short-lived. In the case of New York’s Jewish population, the proportion residing on the Lower East Side declined from 75 percent in 1892 to only 23 percent in 1916. If this was a “slum of hope,” then it is clear that there was something to be hopeful about.

      “The vulnerability of the family to poverty was revealed during the Depression. A study by Edward Bakke, called Citizens Without Work, traced the devastating impact of unemployment on the family system. Bakke wrote:

      “”The family, dissociated from many of its former community contacts, is now thrown in upon itself where conflict and confusion dominate and established relationship patterns have disintegrated. There is no comfort in the family circle. The breaking up of the family unit may be considered at this time by one or both of the parents since there is a present failure to receive satisfaction customarily expected of the family and very little prospect that the future will offer anything different.”

      “The dissolution of families occurred despite the fact that the “citizens without work” had been unemployed for only a short time, and could hardly blame themselves for a collapse in the national economy. In contrast, racial minorities today not only experience chronic unemployment, but do so at a time of general prosperity, a condition that exacerbates feelings of self-blame, with dire consequences for the family. […]

      “The issue with respect to the culture of poverty, however, goes beyond the question of how much weight is to be given to internal versus external factors. The more compelling question has to do with the relationship between these two sets of factors and particularly with the ways in which external structures impinge upon and shape the values and life-styles of the poor. The stark figures presented in the Moynihan Report, for example, do not shed light on the process that results in a high rate of illegitimacy and family breakdown. To suggest that a weak family system produces family instability is meaningless, when the only evidence for the claim that the family system is weak is the high rate of family instability. To break out of this pattern of circular reasoning, and to understand the process through which family relationships are undermined, it is necessary to explore the linkages between economic forces, cultural values, and individual states of mind.”


      • The Ethnic Myth: Race, Ethnicity, and Class in America
        by Stephen Steinberg
        pp. 111-124

        “However, now that immigrants have escaped from the poverty of earlier generations, they tend to look back on their experience in poverty as different from that of lower-class minorities today. Thus, Nathan Glazer distinguishes between “slums of hope” and “slums of despair,” by which he implies that immigrant slums were not afflicted with the social disorganization and cultural distortions that are identified with present-day slums. According to this view, despite their material privations, immigrant families stayed together, workers organized for better wages, and a stubborn ethnic pride cemented immigrants together in collective self-defense against the deprecations of the outside world.


        What Nathan Glazer is saying is that the Europeans who lived in immigrant slums were morally and biologically superior to the members of the underclass who live in slums now.

        What was also different is that there was no welfare system back then to support the illegitimate children of sexually irresponsible parents.


        • “What Nathan Glazer is saying is that the Europeans who lived in immigrant slums were morally and biologically superior to the members of the underclass who live in slums now.”

          What Stephen Steinberg is saying is that the Europeans who lived in immigrant slums weren’t morally and biologically superior to the members of the underclass who live in slums now. The point is that Steinber is presenting a lot of data to make his argument.

          “What was also different is that there was no welfare system back then to support the illegitimate children of sexually irresponsible parents.”

          Actually, there was welfare back then. It was more local, but it did exist.

          Still, consider those of Scots-Irish ancestry, largely concentrated in Appalachia. They were the first to receive welfare because that is where the War On Poverty began. They were poor and had social problems long before welfare. In centuries past, both American WASPs and the English complained about what they perceived as the Scots-Irish’s low moral qualities and behavior.

          As a comparison, consider the history of American blacks. They had strong family ties and high marriage rates in the time between Abolition and Jim Crow, the brief period when they had freedom to live as they chose with relatively little fear. They also had low violence rates back then.

          This all began to change with the Jim Crow, sundown towns, redlining, and the KKK which increasingly forced blacks into the inner cities to seek safety in numbers. Even so, the social problems with blacks didn’t clearly emerge until the 1940s and 1950s when a larger urban and segregated black population began to form. Blacks inherited the same urban problems that the earlier whites had before they fled to the suburbs.

          All of these changes were happening before welfare. All newly urbanized populations have gone through periods of instability. Blacks were urbanized much later than were white ethnicities. Urban blacks may have only become a majority as late as the 1970s.

          Also, don’t forget that there were two major crime waves in the early 20th century. the first was rural and the second was urban. Both correlated to increasing use of lead, first with rural leaded barn paint and farm chemicals and the second with urban industrialization. The white populations at the time particularly showed these violent crime spikes.

          By the way, the homicide rate in the 20th century never came close to the homicide rate in the 19th century. With each crime wave, it tended to be lower than the last. The recent crime wave only seemed so bad because there was a brief period of low violent crime during the era of the world wars, maybe because so many young men were killed, as most violence and crime are committed by young men.


    • Consider my most recent post over at my blog:

      I explored the data for a specific region. I even used one particular county as an example. But the same basic patterns are found all across the country and in other countries as well.

      Much research has proven the connection of violence, crime, and other social problems to the severity of poverty, duration of poverty, concentration of poverty, economic segregation, economic inequality, etc. I’ve shown you this kind of research before. Like with all other data you don’t like, you simply ignore it or dismiss it out of hand.


  9. A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.

    The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world…

    The Worldwide Pattern of IQ Scores. East Asians average higher on IQ tests than Whites, both in the U. S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa…

    Brain Size Differences. Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) find a correlation of brain size with IQ of about 0.40. Larger brains contain more neurons and synapses and process information faster. Race differences in brain size are present at birth. By adulthood, East Asians average 1 cubic inch more cranial capacity than Whites who average 5 cubic inches more than Blacks…

    Trans-Racial Adoption Studies. Race differences in IQ remain following adoption by White middle class parents. East Asians grow to average higher IQs than Whites while Blacks score lower.


    • How could race differences in IQ be different when folk categories of race aren’t genetic? Unless they are measuring race through genetics, which is impossible, then there is no way to measure a presumedly racial genetics for IQ.


      • Race can be determined by appearance, DNA, and forensic analysis. The races differ significantly in average ability levels and behavior.


        • Declaring something isn’t the same thing as proving it. You often confuse those two things.

          Before you can prove racial differences, you have to prove races exist. And to prove races exist, you have to present a scientifically valid definition of races.

          But the problem is that no one has yet done this in a satisfying way. No attempt of scientifically defining races has ever come up with anything that remotely resembles the folk taxonomies of races that are used by ordinary language.


  10. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending

    Overview: Conventional Wisdom
    In this chapter, we consider the accepted belief that human evolution stopped 40,000 years ago. Then we dispel it; in fact, it looks as if human evolution has become more and more rapid.

    Agriculture: The Big Change
    Perhaps the biggest change to the way humans lived since the expansion out of Africa was the development of agriculture. Living as farmers meant a radically new diet, new disease risks, and new forms of social organization. Humans had become good hunter-gatherers, but as they attempted to make a living at something completely different, they began to change.

    Medieval Evolution: How The Ashkenazi Jews Got Their Smarts
    Ashkenazi Jews have been terrifically overrepresented in cultural and scientific achievements over the past hundred years. They have the highest average IQ of any ethnic group, and an odd set of genetic diseases. We believe that there is a simple explanation for all these surprising facts – natural selection for being better white-collar workers in the Middle Ages.

    Once upon a time, history consisted of accounts of battles and kings. Later, historians realized that more was needed, so they wrote economic history, demographic history, and the history of technology. It now appears that selective pressures and mutation rates must be considered – the complete historian must be familiar with concepts in molecular and population genetics as well. Life keeps getting more complicated.


    • That book is a lot of speculation. I’m not against speculation. I rather enjoy it. It isn’t without value. But for it to be taken seriously as science, a nonfalsifiable hypothesis has to be formulated and tested using careful scientific controls. Specific genetics will have to isolated and then causal connections proven. That is a difficult challenge, but that is what the scientific method requires.


      • Unlike the delusion that race is only a social construct, The 10,000 Year Explosion presents testable hypothesis.


        • I didn’t say there weren’t hypotheses that could be tested. What is interesting is that the most meaningful hypotheses to support the claims of race realism are precisely those that race realists have never even attempted to test.

          The organizations that fund these race realists researchers apparently have a lot of money to throw around. The funding isn’t lacking to do test their hypotheses. So, why don’t they test them? I’d love to see it.

          I have a similar attitude toward political ideologies. Put your money where your mouth is. Talk is cheap.


        • There are taboos and sanctions against inquiring into innate racial differences. One may be able to compose a book that sells well on the open market, like The Bell Curve, but it is not the way for an aspiring academic to advance a career.

          I have talked to the authors of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. They told me that it was difficult for them to find a publisher.

          A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade presents essentially the same argument as The 10,000 Year Explosion. Nicholas Wade used to be a science writer for The New York Times. He has since “retired.” I suspect that he was told to resign. Fortunately, the book is selling well. So is The 10,000 Year Explosion.


        • “There are taboos and sanctions against inquiring into innate racial differences. One may be able to compose a book that sells well on the open market, like The Bell Curve, but it is not the way for an aspiring academic to advance a career.”

          There are tons of conservative colleges out there. And there seems to be significant amounts of funding available. There are also many countries that have little qualms about race realism research. I bet there is plenty of research going on, especially in countries like China. If some scientist had finally proven races are genetically real and all that, I’m sure we would have heard about it by now.

          “I have talked to the authors of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. They told me that it was difficult for them to find a publisher.”

          There are a whole lot of race realist books that get published. It must not be too hard.

          “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade presents essentially the same argument as The 10,000 Year Explosion. Nicholas Wade used to be a science writer for The New York Times. He has since “retired.” I suspect that he was told to resign. Fortunately, the book is selling well. So is The 10,000 Year Explosion.”

          Both books have been criticized by many scientists who actually do genetic research. That isn’t to say there aren’t also scientists who agree with these authors. But that is irrelevant until falsifiable hypotheses are tested. There will be endless debate until someone does the research. It doesn’t even have to be research done in an academic research lab. There are many private labs where research is done.

          The time for excuses is long over. These speculations have been thrown around for generations, even centuries in some cases. Either test them or admit they are false and meaningless.


        • If one can get a book published advocating race realism and herititarianism one is likely to find a large audience. There are plenty of readers who enjoy being told that their eyes do not deceive them: the Emperor really does have no clothes. What they have noticed about racial differences are not delusions. They are true.

          The problems are finding a publisher, and keeping one’s job. When James Watson said that little could be expected of sub Saharan Africa because of the low intellectual potential of the vast majority of African Negroes, he had to step down as the director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York.

          When Lawrence H. Summers said that women tend to have less mathematical aptitude than men he had to step down as President of Harvard.

          Although geneticists have claimed that Nicholas Wade misused their research, they have not explained how he misused it. Because the discussion of racial differences in mental aptitude is coerced, I suspect that many of these geneticists privately agree with A Troublesome Inheritance, but publicly lied out of fear for their jobs.


  11. I ask these two questions of anyone who wants to answer.

    Do you believe that the average black person has as much native intelligence as the average white person?

    If so, what is your evidence?


    • You can pretend to be ignorant, but I know you probably aren’t actually as ignorant as you pretend to be. I’ve shown you all the data that disproves or undermines your beliefs. I’m not going to repeat the same data that you ignored the first time because it didn’t match your beliefs.


        • It’s a game he plays. I’ve repeated the evidence here, in responses to him at my own blog, and in dozens of his reviews. I’ve repeated myself ad nauseum.

          All that he tells me is that he doesn’t read my comments and gives some excuse. But even when I fit my comments exactly to his expectations, he still ignores and dismisses them. The next time the exact issue comes up again, he acts like we had never discussed it before. He knows he can’t win any argument based on the facts.

          It’s a pointless game he is playing, but it apparently amuses him.


        • Race differences in average IQ are largely genetic

          A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.
          The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world to contrast “a hereditarian model (50% genetic-50% cultural) and a culture-only model (0% genetic-100% cultural).”

          The paper, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,” by J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario and Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley, appeared with a positive commentary by Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware…

          The Worldwide Pattern of IQ Scores. East Asians average higher on IQ tests than Whites, both in the U. S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa…

          Brain Size Differences. Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) find a correlation of brain size with IQ of about 0.40. Larger brains contain more neurons and synapses and process information faster. Race differences in brain size are present at birth. By adulthood, East Asians average 1 cubic inch more cranial capacity than Whites who average 5 cubic inches more than Blacks.

          Trans-Racial Adoption Studies. Race differences in IQ remain following adoption by White middle class parents. East Asians grow to average higher IQs than Whites while Blacks score lower. The Minnesota Trans-Racial Adoption Study followed children to age 17 and found race differences were even greater than at age 7: White children, 106; Mixed-Race children, 99; and Black children,


        • Your questions are meaningless. You first have to prove your folk taxonomies of race exist as scientifically proven categories. No one has yet done that. You might win some major scientific award if you were able to do what so many before you have failed to accomplish. I will answer your questions, if and only when you prove the scientific reality of entirely distinct human sub-species.


  12. Race is an important biological classification, equivalent to sub species among various species of animals. A person’s race can be determined by appearance, skeleton, or DNA. The different races differ significantly in average ability levels and behavior. These differences are the result of evolving in response to different population pressures. Civilization has usually increased the prolificacy of intelligent people, why reducing the prolificacy of those with criminal inclinations. That is why whites and Orientals have higher IQ averages and lower crime rates than Negroes.


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