Debunking

Proposition 1. To the extent the genetic hypothesis is false, we don’t want to be associated with it, given the moral-political charged nature of it.
Proposition 2. To the extent it’s true, we want it established, given the implications of its veracity.
Proposition 3. Given 1 & 2 we want the hypothesis unequivocally tested.
Proposition 4. To get the academic community to test it, members need to be convinced of its plausibility. They are not; proponents of racial equalism have been quite successful in this respect. Take the following reply I recently received from Psychology Today’s Jason Plaks:

Of course there are genetic patterns that tend to cluster in different groups – that’s why there are mean differences in skin, hair, and eye color, etc. No one is disputing that. But are there racial differences in genetic patterns that have to do with personality traits, intelligence, aggression, etc.? This is what psychologists care about. Since the latter half of the 20th century, only a few people have made these claims (e.g., Burt, Jensen, Hernnstein & Murray) and these claims have been pretty resoundingly shot down for a variety of reasons – including outright fraud in the case of Cyril Burt.

Proposition 5. To convince members of its plausibility, all of the various fallacies trotted out need to be debunked.
….

I guess I have some more work to do. I’m going to have to make a full taxonomy.

Fallacy used:
1. False Consensus fallacy.
2. Variant of the “No subspecies fallacy.” (The question, in this instance, is: Do the average differences between this and that socially identified racial populations have a genetic basis. As long as populations, however defined, don’t represent sets of identical twin pairs, this is a valid question).
3. Variant of “No subspecies fallacy.” (There are two important questions: “Do average differences between this and that population have a genetic basis?” and “Why?” When it comes to populations defined by regional ancestry, “because of ancestral genetic differences” is one possible answer to the latter.
(Immigrant selection is another.)
4. Race is color fallacy.
5. Montagu‘s fallacy or a variant of the No subspecies fallacy (i.e. “too many subspecies fallacy”).
6. Lewontin’s Fallacy. Version 2
7. Montagu‘s fallacy.
8. Undefined

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7 Responses to Debunking

  1. Kiwiguy says:

    I’m glad to see you mentioned the Snyderman & Rothman survey in your reply to Plak. It is amazing that these people can say there is some consensus against the Jensenist view – they must read very selectively.

  2. Kiwiguy says:

    There’s a good comment here on the social construct argument:

    “The authors do appear to be familiar with the modern social science literature on the social construction of race, which does not mean that there are no differences at all between different people from different parts of the world, but that the way we understand and label these differences change over time and depend on the social and cultural context.”

    I hate this kind of language because it results in people talking past each other. Do you care to provide some actual examples so that we may compare?

    The average person whose ancestors all came from Sweden 400 years ago is distinguishable at a glance from the average person whose ancestors came from Korea 400 years ago. In turn, both can be quickly distinguished from the average one who came from Nigeria 400 years ago. The fact that intermediate types exist doesn’t change this fact.

    The line between one Arab dialect and its neighboring Arab dialect is rather fuzzy. However, if you attempt to converse in Moroccan Spoken Arabic with a Saudi you would be unintelligible without resorting to Standard Arabic. Distinction between one dialect and another may be hard to define, and the boundaries drawn by linguists may be a bit arbitrary, but the differences these distinctions represent are certainly not. They are real and worth noting.

    Likewise, most of us have no trouble differentiating a gently sloping plain from a hill or a hill from a mountain. The fact that ‘plain’, ‘hill’, and ‘mountain’ may overlap to a degree doesn’t mean the difference we perceive between a Nebraskan cornfield and Mt. Everest is an irrelevant social construct or that we wouldn’t be damn foolish in failing to draw the distinction in a number of cases.

    Scientists make distinctions that are arbitrary and fuzzy all the time because simplified models of reality applicable to a large number of circumstances are better than having no models at all. Only when those distinctions are regarded as politically incorrect do we encounter this hairsplitting nonsense about differences being the product of “social constructs” (itself an ill-defined concept).

    “Race isn’t a biologically meaningful category, but race and how we categorize people based on how they look and where they come from has profound social and cultural implications for people, including the kinds of systemic discrimination that can be addressed by affirmative action.”

    Given the biological invalidity of race, how do you then go about clustering such traits into seeming racial categories like African-American without admitting the existence of something that we must admit to be essentially race? What else do you call such clusters of visible (and perhaps less visible) differences in populations that are invariant under geography and the product of heredity?

  3. Kiwiguy says:

    Sorry, I missed your comment regarding that. Did you get a response to your email?

    http://occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/test-it/

  4. JL says:

    The references in that “Race as a Construct” article are bizarrely old and selective. You might think that an article on race published in 2011 would tackle the recent population genetics literature, yet there are more references from the 1980s than from the last ten years, and none of the really informative recent studies are cited.

    • Chuck says:

      As I see it, the more egregious problem is that “race is a social construct” is irrelevant to the issue discussed. From a hereditarian point of view, especially when the trait in question is additive in nature, it doesn’t matter if “African Americans” and “European Americans” represent representative samples of a Negroid and Caucasoid subspecies or if they represent random mixes of far flung populations (Africans + Aborigines versus Europeans + N.E. Asians), what matters is that there is a reason for different population frequencies in GMA genes. When I debate this, I try to reframe the issue. I try to explain that it’s meaningful to talk about heritable differences between socially constructed populations, states, school systems and so on. As such, I point out articles such as: Beaver and Wright, 2011. School-level genetic variation predicts school-level verbal IQ scores: Results from a sample of American middle and high schools.

  5. icr says:

    Only hard-line ideologues are still accusing Burt of “outright fraud.”

    http://www.galtoninstitute.org.uk/Newsletters/GINL9909/cyril_burt.htm
    (…)

    The only proper conclusion is that the charges that Burt deliberately falsified his data cannot now be sustained, true though it is that much of what he published in old age was badly presented and perhaps even culpably careless. And the BPS, without explicitly repudiating their 1980 condemnation of all his work, on 24th February 1992 rather grudgingly issued a statement which concluded that “Council considers that it is now inappropriate for the Society as such to seek to express a fresh opinion about whether or not the allegations directed at Burt are true. Moreover, in the light of greater experience, the British Psychological Society no longer has a corporate view on the truth of allegations concerning Burt”.

    The conclusion must therefore be that, since these rather disgraceful allegations of fraud and falsification as opposed to mere muddle in old age cannot be sustained, Burt’s reputation as the first and most influential of educational psychologists is now fully restored. >/blockquote>
    (…).

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