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This post was edited by Riboflavin at 2014-6-4 02:25|
Political correctness in reviews of Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance”
May 26, 2014
The Occidental Observer
There are a wide range of reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance, but some difficult implications are downplayed.
1. With few exceptions (e.g., Jared Taylor, “Nicholas Wade takes on the regime” and Bo and Ben Winegard, “Darwin’s dual with Descartes“), a common tactic is to acknowledge that race exists but then claim that evidence for a genetic basis for race differences is completely speculative. Despite the central importance of race differences, Wade deemphasizes IQ research where most of the research has centered.
A good example of this tendency is evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne who agrees with Wade that races do exist and claims that “except for politically motivated denialists,” we have known that for a long time. (Actually, the idea that race is real is big news to pretty much the entire faculty in the social sciences and the humanities these days, but of course it is not at all far-fetched to label them “politically motivated denialists.”)
So, if for no other reason, Wade’s book is most welcome. However the next move is to claim that there is absolutely no evidence for genetic differences between races. Coyne:
Wade’s main thesis, and where the book goes wrong, is to insist that differences between human societies, including differences that arose in the last few centuries, are based on genetic differences—produced by natural selection— in the behavior of individuals within those societies. In other words, societal differences largely reflect their differential evolution.
For this Wade offers virtually no evidence, because there is none. We know virtually nothing about the genetic differences (if there are any) in cognition and behavior between human populations.
This is simply false. J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen list ten categories of evidence based on their previous reviews of the literature:
The worldwide distribution of test scores; the g factor of mental ability; heritability differences; brain size differences; trans-racial adoption studies; racial admixture studies; regression-to-the-mean effects; related life-history traits; human origins research; and the poverty of predictions from culture-only explanations. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life-history variables, East Asians average a higher IQ and larger brain than Europeans who average a higher IQ and larger brain than Africans [a recent study indicates average African IQ of 75]. Further, these group differences are 50–80% heritable. These are facts, not opinions and science must be governed by data. There is no place for the ‘‘moralistic fallacy’’ that reality must conform to our social, political, or ethical desires. (“James Watson’s most inconvenient truth: Race realism and the moralistic fallacy“)
These data cannot be wished away any more than one can wish away the data showing the existence of race.
2. Again with few exceptions (James Thompson, John Derbyshire) Wade and others have tried their best to avoid any connotation of racial superiority. Charles Murray’s review:
As the story is untangled, it will also become obvious how inappropriate it is to talk in terms of the “inferiority” or “superiority” of groups. Consider, for example, the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. What are the ideal points on these continua? They will differ depending on whether you’re looking for the paragon of, say, a parent or an entrepreneur. And the Big Five only begin to tap the dozens of ways in which human traits express themselves. Individual human beings are complicated bundles of talents, proclivities, strengths and flaws that interact to produce unexpected and even internally contradictory results. The statistical tendencies (and they will be only tendencies) that differentiate groups of humans will be just as impossible to add up as the qualities of an individual. Vive les différences.
I agree that it people are suited for different niches and that there is no such thing as an ideal personality. The problem is that, as Murray is well aware, IQ and conscientiousness (impulse control) are very important in contemporary societies because information processing and impulse control are the key to upward mobility and, in the aggregate, reasonably high average levels are essential to running a civilized society. We can all agree that West Africans are the world’s best sprinters and East Africans are the world’s best long distance runners, but those traits are not important for adjusting to the contemporary urbanized world.
For all practical purposes, some biological clusters are superior to others when it comes to navigating contemporary highly technological, information-based societies. This has grave moral implications because some of these clusters are at a very large disadvantage in such societies, leading to pleas for group-based entitlements (quotas and affirmative action), resentments on all sides (e.g., concerns by Asians that race-based affirmative action will lead to a decline in Asian enrollments at the University of California), negative stereotyping, calls for reparation, etc.