Group favoritism, genetics, race, and ethnicity

Recently, I came across a debate between Jared Taylor and Tim Wise. One point of dispute concerned the naturalness of ethnic and racial identification and preference. In his introduction to White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century, Taylor reiterates his point:

Perhaps it is time to question goals that run counter to near-universal behavior. There may be lessons for us in the failure of Soviet-style Communism. It is our era’s foremost example of a system that made mesmerizing promises of an earthly paradise but betrayed those promises. Millions of people were inspired by an ideology that would do away with capitalist exploitation. Marxists believed that the working class would seize the means of production, the state would wither away, selfishness would disappear, and man would live “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs”. In the name of this ideology millions gave their lives—and took the lives of millions of others.

But Communism failed. It failed for many reasons, not least because it was a misreading of human nature. Self-interest cannot be abolished. People do not work just as hard on collective farms as they do on their own land. The almost universal rejection of Communism today marks the acceptance of people as they are, not as Communism wished them to be.

Is it possible that our racial ideals assume that people should become something they cannot?

If most people prefer the company of people like themselves, what do we achieve by insisting that they deny that preference?

Of course, the term natural — whether we are talking about preferences, identifications, or behaviors — has moral connotations. Whether a way is natural in the sense of proper and right isn’t something that can be decided empirically. It’s a philosophical question. We can, nonetheless, ask if racial and ethnic identification and preferences are natural in the genetic sense. There’s a weak and strong formulation to this question: “Is there a genetic basis to group identification and preferences, in general– with groups potentially culturally defined in terms of race and ethnicity?” and “Is there a genetic basis to identification and preferences specifically for racial and ethnic groups?”

The former question can unequivocally be answered in the affirmative.


Weber et al., 2011. Genetic Influences on Group Politics.

Is there any evidence that bears on the latter question? Elsewhere I pointed to research which found both domain general systems and essentialist systems. There were genetic bases specifically for racial and ethnic preferences:

Naturally, one should not expect either of these findings to lead ideological anti-racists to question their basic assumptions, however illiberal they might be. Anti-racists will just double there attempts to cure people of their immoral ways:

Racist? Angry? The answer may be in a pill

A pill to enhance moral behaviour; a treatment for racist thoughts; a therapy to increase your empathy for people in other countries – these may sound like the stuff of science fiction but, with medicine moving closer to altering our moral state, society should be preparing for the consequences, according to a book reviewing scientific developments in the field….

Kahane does not advocate putting morality drugs in the water supply but does suggest that if administered widely, they might help humanity tackle global issues….

…Relating to the plight of people on the other side of the world or of future generations is not in our nature,” he says. “This new body of drugs could make possible feelings of global affiliation and of abstract empathy for future generations.”

(As “minority” ethnoracial identity and preference is implicitly accepted as good, in practice at issue is only the naturalness (or morality) of European identity and preference.)

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11 Responses to Group favoritism, genetics, race, and ethnicity

  1. Anonymous says:

    As human beings, we are not just biologically wired, culture plays a major role in our behavior. It is the context of what is considered right or wrong. While we might subconsciously favor people similar to us, we have a moral duty to be fair to everybody and to embrace other people regardless of differences because we share being humans together. The issue of racial blindness is not only about political correctness or being morally righteous, it’s an essential element of justice. Racism has proven again and again to lead the oppressed to self destruction and therefore is not a minor misdemeanor. That’s why it is condemned by the international community. It is just wrong.

    • Chuck says:

      Nonsense — where do you imbibe it? No one has a “moral duty” to embrace everyone equally. It’s natural, normal, healthy, and good to prefer oneself and one’s own to others and their own. The issue is not differential love — unless you’re a Mohist — but, rather, excessive, unbridled groupishness — that is, collective narcissism. In the same way that, for most people, self interest is good, racism as fidelity to one’s own is good. In the same way that excessive, ruthless egotism is bad, racishness is bad. Why is this so difficult? There’s a symmetry here that should be obvious.

      So, no I violently disagree — there is no “essential” element of justice (understood classically as giving one one’s due) or morality (understood classically as proper behavior) that argues against differential love, group or individual. Though, this is an essential element to some moral-political systems, such as communism, mohism, Singerism, and, perhaps, PC. But there is nothing essentially just or moral about these systems — and there is something very illiberal and very unjust — perhaps insane — about them as they deny the right of one to define, to have, and to foremost love one’s own. Generally, if you wish to embrace universal love, feel free to — but don’t try imposing this vulgar tribal value egalitarianism on me. I’m simply not interested in this bizarre way of thinking — and I imagine that most people would agree with me — though, undoubtedly many are confused thanks to PC.

      Now as for your comment: “Racism has proven again and again” — what can I say? How has religion and the differential love of a transcendent done? How has communism/maoism and “universal love” done? Shall we conduct a body count? But how has differential love of others done? We are all the products of it — and so insofar as the human order is valuable and good, it has done well. Now is “racism” as differential love of one’s race really condemned? If so, why an international ban against racial genocide as opposed to generic democide? Why the concern about the survival of racial groups — a survival which requires racism as particular attachment — if racism is bad? And last I checked, national self determination (Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Völker) is the very foundation of international law — how can this be if love of one’s particular people condemned?

      Your statements are nonsense, inconsistent and twisted. Either that or your a lunatic.

      • Gorak says:

        Even though your way of thinking reduces human beings and yourself to dogs, is laughably narrow minded and a plague to humanity. The Biological basis of your argument for being a racist is pointless.

        There are no genes exclusive to whites. No genes can go away, no traits can disappear either, only passed on. Two non whites can give birth to a white and vice versa…Seriously go check.

        Thus your race simply does not exist. You are protecting Nothing. Only thing you are doing is trying make up for being such a failure in life by claiming what is not yours. Never will be.

        Its really that simple.

        Lol you prbably going delete this or “moderate” it right? Go ahead, won’t change a dam thing.

        • Chuck says:

          I’m a naturalist. As such, I eschew artificial distinctions between homo sapiens and other animals. I guess you could say that I am reducing humans to dogs, but you might just as well say that I am elevating dogs to humans.

          As for racism as in group ethnic/racial favoritism, I find it to be healthy and natural when it’s not excessive. But I never made a formal argument in defense of it. I did comment, in passing, on the general subject here, here, and here.

          If you don’t want to be racist, then don’t. I want to be, so I am. Different volks, different strokes.

          • Gorak says:

            I never asked if you were racist or not. I simply stated that you do not have a race.

            “Mixed people” Carry every other “races” genes, they can be every race, literally. No genes can go missing by mixing. No culture or way of thinking is yours to own and exclude others from either. It can be any one/thing who can choose it.

            Be racist lol, thats your problem.

          • Chuck says:

            I don’t have a gene pool? Most anti-race philosophers have the acuity to argue the converse.

            As for your other comment:
            01000001 01100111 01100001 01101001 01101110 00101100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100111 01100101 01101110 01100101 00100000 01110000 01101111 01101111 01101100 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110000 01100001 01100011 01101011 01100101 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101001 01101110 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00101110 00100000 00100000 01000100 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110101 01101110 01100100 01100101 01110010 01110011 01110100 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100110 01100110 01100101 01110010 01100101 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01100010 01100101 01110100 01110111 01100101 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101001 01101110 01100110 01101111 01110010 01101101 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00111111

          • Gorak says:

            There is no fixed separated frequency of genes for any “race”. Thus no fixed separated gene pool. Thus all the genes and all the combinations from them belong to any group within humans. Its so simple, you can get a “white person” from people who are not “white” and vice versa.

  2. Spok says:

    Liberal Egalitarians are simply more powerful because they include whomever wants to be part of them.

    They look for the best in everyone, they look outside of themselves and others. They treat everyone on an individual basis. They give hope, they share the most, so more people will like them, thus gain them more support. They even share their own genes and spread them everywhere and encourage everyone else to do so too. They give the most and thus gain the most.

    You guys don’t.

    Its natural. They will win, no doubt.

    All these statistics, average this, average that… whatever the cause, is an utter waste on them.

    Not really preserving anything either. “Mixed” people can literally be any race.

    Why waste your time? It is illogical. Why fight nature?

    • Chuck says:

      The problem with universalistic systems is that they only work if everyone can be forced to be exclusively universalist. That said, I am happy to hear that you are a universalist. I am too; I just happen to also be particularistic and exclusive and this gives me a competitive advantage.

  3. Chuck says:

    Your phrases, “you do not have a race” and “no culture or way of thinking is yours to own and exclude others from either”, are but two expressions of the same mental sickness: a mind dementing wanton egalitarianism.

    On the one hand, most people value some degree of equality. On the other, they value the freedom of association, which implies a freedom of disassociation. When it comes to individuals acting as groups, groups which engage in the freedom of dissociation are exclusive. They discriminate against others. When groups have unequal resources, many people, especially those high in the equalitarian quotient, see a conflict. A conflict between equality and freedom. In addition to valuing the freedom of disassociation most people also recognize and defend the right to existence of “expressive groups”,that is, groups of individuals bonded together by strong beliefs and personal relations i.e. ties of mutual affection or sentiment. This latter right is similar to that of self determination. For many (these days) equality often trumps the freedom of disassociation when groups are not deemed to be sufficiently expressive (discrimination then is seen as gratuitous and negative e.g., against gays), but the freedom of disassociation still trumps equality when groups are seen as sufficiently expressive and, therefore, having of some right to existence as a group (discrimination then is seen as necessary and positive e.g., for Catholics).

    Radical egalitarians, being who they are, of course, can’t tolerate the existence of differences and so, at least on a subeteranean level, have formulated the following plan:

    (1) Assail the freedom of disassociation; demand a onesided freedom of association that doesn’t recognize the reciprical freedom to exclude (as socialist libertariams tend to do).
    (2) Deconstruct or unacknolwedge the existrence of expressive groups to undermine their moral claim as a people. (Denying the “reality” of race is but one attempt at this); And whenever possible, convey necessary and positive discrimination as gratuitous and negative).
    (3) To bolster the cause, recruit the impulse for justice (i.e., to give each there own) by construing equality as a just desert (egalitarian justice) or by construing existent inequality beytween peoples as the product of injustice (in the classic sense i.e., unfair given the rules of the day) e.g., oppression
    (4) Hyperbolize existent inequality.

    Now, getting back to your original statement, arguing that race “isn’t biologically real” in an attempt at (2) is bound to fail, because the expressiveness of a group isn’t dependent on any empirical relations. Genetic relations, mythic or real, just happens to be one of the many ways in which some expressive groups define their membership. Amerindian tribes, for example, typically identify membership by ancestry:

    To determine if you are eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe, contact the tribe, or tribes, you claim ancestry from. It is the individual tribes who set tribal enrollment requirements. Additional information on tracing American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry can be found below….Two common requirements for membership are lineal decendency from someone named on the tribe’s base roll or relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone named on the base roll. (A “base roll” is the original list of members as designated in a tribal constitution or other document specifying enrollment criteria.) Other conditions such as tribal blood quantum, tribal residency, or continued contact with the tribe are common. http://www.doi.gov/tribes/enrollment.cfm

    In that sense, they define relations vaguely similarly to how racialists define them. But along what lines a group defines membership is not essential to expressiveness.

    Now, I think that you recognize this and so have been trying to argue that it’s impossible to identify membership genetically. But this is absolutely silly. If you wanted, you could define group membership in term of blood type alleles e.g., AA. You would then have 6 (artificial class) “races”. Membership, though, would be poorly intergenerationally transmitted. If that’s a problem, you could simply take a larger set of alleles and combine the information. Generally, classifying people into historically divergent genetic populations is not difficult, see e.g., Tal (2012):

    The analysis of genetic distances between individuals represents an additional perspective for studying population structure. Although any two random individuals are genetically extremely similar on the nucleotide level due to the overwhelming proportion of effectively non-polymorphic loci, allele-sharing distances may vary considerably in relative terms given multiple source populations. The probability that a random pair of individuals from the same population is more genetically dissimilar than a random pair from distinct populations is primarily dependent on the number of informative polymorphic loci across genomes from the total population pool. This probability asymptotically approaches zero with a sufficiently large number of informative loci, even in the case of close or admixed populations. (Two complementary perspectives on inter-individual genetic distance)

    Now, as for the claim that all geographic populations share the same alleles, this is, of course, incorrect. Why you make these silly claims is beyond me.
    http://lesacreduprintemps19.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=1163

    As for your statement that, “There is no fixed separated frequency of genes for any “race”… I’m having trouble understanding your intent. There are no fixed languages, religion, or culture. But there are relative differences between these groups. And I can classify e.g., languages into families e.g., indo-European, identify with one of those families, and favor individuals on the basis of class membership. Do all persons or all groups of them speak the same language? Well, no — though all of the different languages that they do speak descend from the same source and there are multilingual people. As for, “thus all the genes and all the combinations from them belong to any group within humans”? This is a very curious construction. Obviously, all individuals and all sets of them don’t have the same genetic combinations. Humans are not a clone colony. So by “belong to” you must means something other. When I say that individuals “belong to” a population, I mean that given delineation rules x, y, z this is the populations in which they would be classified into. I have no idea way you mean.

    Now, as for the bizarre statement that: ” Its so simple, you can get…” This would obviously depend on how you define Whiteness (phenotypically /genotypically; univariate/multivariate, % similarity). If you define Whiteness in terms of multivariate genetic similarity with a specific spatial-temporally delineated gene pool, then obviously, you are incorrect. By this understanding, mixed race individuals will cluster in-between mono-race individuals. You get something like figure 1 here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/gb-2009-10-12-r141.pdf
    You then can simply define some genetic similarity threshold and there you go.

    • Gorak says:

      I never said you cannot be racist. I said you are racist. Why are you trying to defend now? I thought we both agreed no?

      [I never declared that I was not racist, in some sense. “Racist” like “race” is merely a term. There are an indefinite number of “racist” concepts. As such, the concept being referred to calls for specification. I’m not afraid of words; I do, however, get irritated by obfuscation and opaqueness.]

      All those cultures you mentioned are not exclusive, none of the customs or traditions. They belong to anybody who chooses them. It is only you who keeps claiming such things and wishes to exclude others from it.

      [Well, no. For example, there are a number of American Indian tribes and global religious groups that I can’t join on the account of my, respectively, ancestry and belief system. You seem to make a distinction between the two situations and to make much of this. By your thinking, the latter is fine because, supposedly, I could change my belief system but the former is not because I couldn’t change my ancestry. Well, for one, it’s not clear to me that I could change my beliefs while remaining the same person — and I mean this in a philosophical sense. (It’s not even clear to me that I can change anything, that is, that reality is indeterminate.) For another, whether or not I could change in principle, it just so happens that I am genetically and environmentally disposed to not be religious and, as such, that it would be rather burdensome for me to alter my beliefs. As such, in practice, I can’t transform myself to meet the religious group’s membership requirements. In short, I don’t see the fundamental distinction that you do. Let’s take an example. A while back, some friends once formed a (sports car) racing group. Theoretically, I could have joined in the sense that were I a sports car racing person I could have been a member. It so happened, though, that I wasn’t — largely in part because I was a horrible driver, a situation which I have not been able to remedy. Now, for some reason, some would say that this type of group was fine and inclusive, but that it would not have been so were it an explicitly White sports racing group. I consider that deduction to be a product of superficial, gerrymandered thinking. It would be better to conceptualize trait malleability as a continuum — perhaps it terms of how difficult it would be for someone on average or in particular to change themselves. Genes and ancestry are pretty fixed and so is history. For example, with regards to the latter, I can’t change which high-school I attended, so I am excluded from innumerous high school reunions.

      For some reason you would like to abolish all exclusive groups — and favoritism — that have membership criteria based on relatively immalleable traits, as you glibly judge them to be. For example, born-in-Columbus groups would be illegitimate but not live-in-Columbus ones, because, as you see it, everyone can readily move. But of course, in fact, not everyone can. Of course, familial preferences would be beyond the pale because individuals don’t choose their rearing families. And so on….This all, of course, while probably the logical end of egalitarian thinking, is absurd — What you are saying is that it’s wrong to form and to belong to groups that exclude some people who want to join!

      “But I want to be your friend! That’s not fair! I want it! I want it! I want it!”

      There’s little more to say.]

      As for those alleles, they are found in all these “races” (which bunches together all those populations) of yours though, which is what I said.

      [Continental races, that is, geographic races given a certain resolution e.g., k= 5, don’t share identical sets of alleles. Ditto subcontinental races. Many alleles are common, some are not.]

      All those alleles are still compatible with all those populations too. None of them are exclusive, none of them belong exclusively to either population.

      [I don’t understand what you are trying to communicate. Races are evolving populations. They have no essence, no eidos. In total, members of a given race have more in common genetically and genealogically with each other than do members of different races; this commonality manifests itself in a tendency for phenotypic resemblance. What does it mean to say that “no allels are exclusive”? If you mean that all individuals and all populations of them have the ability to become any race (i.e., change their total genetic profile), then you shouldn’t have a problem with racism as e.g., ethnic genetic interest). I find your reasoning to be utterly incoherent. First, racism, as genetic favoritism, is wrong because some are unwantedly excluded from this favoritism and then racsim is irrational because, in “reality”, all individuals are really the same and they can choose to be whatever race they wish. I don’t imagine that any biological racialist would have a problem with anyone changing their genetic profile to join a race].

      It is impossible for you to have a race within humans, you do not own a gene pool, there is none that is exclusive to you.

      [Either you are trying to be serious and are a dolt or you are engaging in artifice while being a dolt. Honestly, I can’t tell. Either way, you are writing drivel.]

      You are only claiming that which is not yours. None of the alleles, none of the traits, none of the cultures, ways of thinking, average IQ. None of that belongs to you. None of those things are fixed onto any “race”. Thus you do not have a race, biologically and in any other way.

      [Imagine that we created a classificatory system for height in which we had three classes “tall” (= > 6′), “small” (< 5'), and "medium" (in between). Take a person who was 6'3". That person would be classed as tall and so would have the property of tallness. His group would be the "tall" group. And he would, so to speak, belong to that group. Would that person own tallness? What does that mean? Tallness would be a property of that person, but that person wouldn't own tallness in a way that would allow him to exclude others from becoming tall. Not because it would be mean to do so, but because that person wouldn't control the distribution of the trait in question. A small person could, in principle, drink a magic potion of growth and become tall…..Now, you seem to be a small person angry because some talls identify with each other and with their property of tallness. Out of spite, you argue that the talls are really not talls, and after that doesn't work, that even if they are talls that they don't own tallness and so can't keep smalls from becoming talls, and after that doesn't work, that it's bad from tall to identify as tall because this excludes some smalls that want to be talls.

      You need to get over your smallness. Or accept it and grow with it.]

      Again, Mixed people can carry any of the other "races" traits, on any level, or frequency, because those things are not fixed. Just like all the other "races", mixed people can be "white", "black", anything.

      [So a mixed height person would be medium sized. Neither small nor tall. A mixed race person would be intermediate in average genetic distance across loci. Given independent assortment, in specific traits e.g., skin color they may tend to be more like one or the other race.]

      All the "black" people on earth can literally climb trees and throw shit and you will still be the same race as them.

      [Well, sure, Negroids belong to one of the same spatial temporal races as I do — one that is different from e.g.,
      Neanderthals. But they also belong to a different spatial temporal race. Why is it so important for you to see everything as the same? I, on the other hand, see both sameness and difference.]

      There is no black frequency, like there is no white frequency. They are completely and utterly interchangeable.

      [Imagine saying the same with regards to electromagnetic waves.

      If you change an electromagnetic wavelength that produces the qualia that we call "black" to the wavelength that produces the qualia that we call "white", then you no longer have "black", no? So what does it mean to say that they are interchangeable? You could change the length of the wave, like the frequency of a set of genes, no doubt — but we are defining our objects not as waves or genes in generic, but as waves and sets of genes of a specific length and frequency. So no you can't change them and keep them.]

      You can temporarily change the frequency you get by just choosing where you draw that magic line.

      [Yellow merges into orange, where does one draw the line? Presumably not such that blue is immediately in between. In term of race, we are talking about similarity of genetic frequency not wave length, but the principle is the same.

      That said, races, at least, on the geographic level — unlike electromagnetic waves — do cluster well (Rosenberg et al. 2002; 2005; 2011). e.g.,

      When the number of loci, sample size, and correlation model were held constant, K = 2 (that is, two clusters) generally produced smaller clusteredness than did the larger values of K (Figures 3 and 4; Table 1). For the correlated allele frequencies model, K = 5 and K = 6 tended to have higher clusteredness than did K = 3 and K = 4, whereas the reverse was true for the uncorrelated model (Figure 4)….Holding the number of loci, number of clusters, and correlation model fixed, clusteredness was generally higher for the samples of size 250 and 500 than it was for the samples of size 100 (Figures 3 and 4; Table 1). ….Loosely speaking, it is these small discontinuous jumps in genetic distance—across oceans, the Himalayas, and the Sahara—that provide the basis for the ability of STRUCTURE to identify clusters that correspond to geographic regions.

      So, in that sense, continental races have more “reality” than do colors or than do other subspecific human genetic divisions.

      …..

      As you seem to be incapable of introducing any interesting ideas or of making coherent arguments or of clearly expressing your position, I am going to have to terminate this conversation, as currently it amounts to throwing time into the receptacle.]

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