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Hereditarian “Reasoning” on Race

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Charles Darwin

Denis Noble

JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

Goodreads

1100 words

The existence of race is important for the hereditarian paradigm. Since it is so important, there must be some theories of race that hereditarians use to ground their theories of race and IQ, right? Well, looking at the main hereditarians’ writings, they just assume the existence of race, and, along with the assumption, the existence of three races—Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid, to use Rushton’s (1997) terminology.

But just assuming race exists without a definition of what race is is troubling for the hereditarian position. Why just assume that race exists?

Fish (2002: 6) in Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth critiques the usual hereditarians on what race is and their assumptions that it exists. He cites Jensen (1998: 425) who writes:

A race is one of a number of statistically distinguishable groups in which individual membership is not mutually exclusive by any single criterion, and individuals in a given group differ only statistically from one another and from the group’s central tendency on each of the many imperfectly correlated genetic characteristics that distinguish between groups as such.

Fish (2002: 6) continues:

This is an example of the kind of ethnocentric operational definition described earlier. A fair translation is, “As an American, I know that blacks and whites are races, so even though I can’t find any way of making sense of the biological facts, I’ll assign people to my cultural categories, do my statistical tests, and explain the differences in biological terms.” In essence, the process involves a kind of reasoning by converse. Instead of arguing, “If races exist there are genetic differences between them,” the argument is “Genetic differences between groups exist, therefore the groups are races.”

Fish goes on to write that if we take a group of bowlers and a group of golfers then, by chance, there may be genetic differences between them but we wouldn’t call them “golfer races” or “bowler races.” If there were differences in IQ, income and other variables, he continues, we wouldn’t argue that the differences are due to biology, we would attempt argue that the differences are social. (Though I can see behavioral geneticists try to argue that the differences are due to differences in genes between the groups.)

So the reasoning that Jensen uses is clearly fallacious. Though, it is better than Levin’s (1997) and Rushton’s (1997) assumptions that race exists, it still fails since Jensen (1998) is attempting argue that genetic differences between groups make them races. Lynn (2006: 11) uses a similar argument to the one Jensen provides above. (Nevermind Lynn conflating social and biological races in chapter 2 of Race Differences in Intelligence.)

Arguments exist for the existence of race that doesn’t, obviously, assume their existence. The two best ones I’m aware of are by Hardimon (2017) and Spencer (2014, 2019).

Hardimon has four concepts: the racialist race concept (what I take to be the hereditarian position), the minimalist/populationist race concept (they are two separate concepts, but the populationist race concept is the “scientization” of the minimalist race concept) and the socialrace concept. Specifically, Hardimon (2017: 99) defines ‘race’ as:

… a subdivision of Homo sapiens—a group of populations that exhibits a distinctive pattern of genetically transmitted phenotypic characters that corresponds to the group’s geographic ancestry and belongs to a biological line of descent initiated by a geographically separated and reproductively isolated founding population.

Spencer (2014, 2019), on the other hand, grounds his racial ontology in the Census and the OMB—what Spencer calls “the OMB race theory”—or “Blumenbachian partitions.” Take Spencer’s most recent (2019) formulation of his concept:

In this chapter, I have defended a nuanced biological racial realism as an account of how ‘race’ is used in one US race talk. I will call the theory OMB race theory, and the theory makes the following three claims:

(3.7) The set of races in OMB race talk is one meaning of ‘race’ in US race talk.

(3.8) The set of races in OMB race talk is the set of human continental populations.

(3.9) The set of human continental populations is biologically real.

I argued for (3.7) in sections 3.2 and 3.3. Here, I argued that OMB race talk is not only an ordinary race talk in the current United States, but a race talk where the meaning of ‘race’ in the race talk is just the set of races used in the race talk. I argued for (3.8) (a.k.a. ‘the identity thesis’) in sections 3.3 and 3.4. Here, I argued that the thing being referred to in OMB race talk (a.k.a. the meaning of ‘race’ in OMB race talk) is a set of biological populations in humans (Africans, East Asians, Eurasians, Native Americans, and Oceanians), which I’ve dubbed the human continental populations. Finally, I argued for (3.9) in section 3.4. Here, I argued that the set of human continental populations is biologically real because it currently occupies the K = 5 level of human population structure according to contemporary population genetics.

Whether or not one accepts Hardimon’s and Spencer’s arguments for the existence of race is not the point here, however. The point here is that these two philosophers have grounded their belief in the existence of race in a sound philosophical grounding—we cannot, though, say the same things for the hereditarians.

It should also be noted that both Spencer and Hardimon discount hereditarian theory—indeed, Spencer (2014: 1036) writes:

Nothing in Blumenbachian race theory entails that socially important differences exist among US races. This means that the theory does not entail that there are aesthetic, intellectual, or moral differences among US races. Nor does it entail that US races differ in drug metabolizing enzymes or genetic disorders. This is not political correctness either. Rather, the genetic evidence that supports the theory comes from noncoding DNA sequences. Thus, if individuals wish to make claims about one race being superior to another in some respect, they will have to look elsewhere for that evidence.

So, as can be seen, hereditarian ‘reasoning’ on race is not grounded in anything—they just assume that races exist. This stands in stark contrast to theories of race put forth by philosophers of race. Nonhereditarian theories of race exist—and, as I’ve shown, hereditarians don’t define race, nor do they have an argument for the existence of races, they just assume their existence. But, for the hereditarian paradigm to be valid, they must be biologically real. Hardimon and Spencer argue that they are, but hereditarian theories do not have any bearing on their theories of race.

There is the hereditarian ‘reasoning’ on race: either assume its existence sans argument or argue that genetic differences between groups exist so the groups are races. Hereditarians need to posit something like Hardimon or Spencer.


15 Comments

  1. Romello says:

    Even if everyone were of the same race that wouldn’t prevent some groups from being innately smarter than others. Everyone could look white but people who are left handed on average could be smarter on average than those who aren’t.

    The fact is that African-Americans and Australian Aborigines are low functioning in terms of intelligence and that this level is almost certainly genetic.

    Like

  2. mikemikev says:

    “Fish goes on to write that if we take a group of bowlers and a group of golfers then, by chance, there may be genetic differences between them but we wouldn’t call them “golfer races” or “bowler races.” ”

    Right, because race isn’t defined by sports preference.

    “If there were differences in IQ, income and other variables, he continues, we wouldn’t argue that the differences are due to biology, we would attempt argue that the differences are social.”

    No, we’d try to partition heritability the same.

    “So the reasoning that Jensen uses is clearly fallacious.”

    What’s fallacious is saying something (wrong) about one construct then pretending to applies to another construct.

    Like

  3. mikemikev says:

    Jensen: “Race is defined by multiple genetic traits”.

    Fish: “But this other construct is defined by a single behavioral trait and it isn’t the same as race, gotcha.”

    Jensen: “STFU retard.”

    Like

  4. mikemikev says:

    “It should also be noted that both Spencer and Hardimon discount hereditarian theory”

    All he said was the existences of race doesn’t in itself demonstrate genetic behavior differences.

    Like

    • A position you don’t agree with? Or is this something else you’ve flip-flopped on?

      You and the other Metapedia sysops fallaciously equated hereditarianism with the existence of race back in 2012-2013.

      Here’s what was written about me by Upplysning:

      “He has inserted a lot material claiming that biological races exist but at the same that this have no political implications and that biological races are not involved in any really important [mental] characteristics. This is obviously actually race denialism. Even more strangely, he has made claims such that his own race denialism view is actually called “race realism” while dismissing IQ researchers such as Rushton and Lynn as “hereditarian” junk science.”

      LOL. So I was laughably called a “race denialist” despite I was arguing races DO exist. How absurd. This is because Upplysning equates hereditarianism with ‘race realism’ and you were doing the same, hence you also called me a ‘race denialist’ after I criticised pseudoscientists like Rushton, Lynn etc.

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    • mikemikev says:

      I’m not sure what your butthurt whining about what someone said to you on the internet years ago has to do with the point.

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  5. mikemikev says:

    “So you’ve flip flopped on this, because here is a quote from someone else.”

    What a fucking moron.

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    • Why did you call me a ‘race denialist’ when I was an anti-hereditarian? As I explained above in 2012-2013 I was arguing races DO exist but you called me a race denialist because I argued group differences in IQ are predominantly environmental. At that point in time though, I never denied the existence of race. Suddenly now you seem to have (finally) realised hereditarianism and race realism are different things i.e. someone like notpoliticallycorrect is a ‘race realist’ and anti-hereditarian at the same time.

      As usual there’s no consistency in your posts. I also expect the owner of this blog won’t respond to you because you’re considered by everyone as a troll.

      Like

    • mikemikev says:

      Should I explain why I called you a race denialist in 2012? Or should I tell you to keep your dopey mentally ill face out of my discussions?

      Like

    • Why are you commenting on this blog? You followed me here yet the owner of this blog apparently wants nothing to do with you and ignores your posts.

      “Should I explain why I called you a race denialist in 2012?”

      I didn’t deny races exist in 2012 so you won’t have an explanation. As I noted above, you fallaciously equate the view group differences in IQ are predominantly environmental with ‘race denialism’ which is hilariously wrong since someone at the same time can argue races exist but argue against hereditarianism. This viewpoint isn’t as rare as you might think:

      http://archive.is/zmry

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    • mikemikev says:

      Bollocks I do you lying asshole.

      Like

  6. Do you have some form of bizarre mental illness where you deny your internet history? There you go lying again.

    Here’s you in 2013 calling Kaplan a “Jewish race denier”:

    “Why do you reference Jewish race denier Kaplan? Are you trying to get banned?”
    Mikemikev 18:21, 17 November 2013 (CET) http://archive.is/y408V

    In reality, Kaplan co-wrote a paper with a PhD biologist (Massimo Pigliucci) defending the existence of human races as ecological races aka ecotypes.

    https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/377397

    Read their abstract that makes this clear:

    “Consequently, while human natural races exist, they have little or nothing in common with ‘folk’ races.”

    Kaplan’s position is “natural races” exist, yet according to you he’s a race denier. LOL. You only claimed the latter because he argues against hereditarianism e.g.

    https://philpapers.org/rec/KAPRIA
    “I argue, that the hereditarian position is unsupported by current evidence.”

    This was more or less my same position from 2010-2013 i.e. I was arguing human races exist (as defined as ecotypes) but argued against hereditarianism (I don’t though support Kaplan’s arguments, but prefer my own.)

    You also labelled me a ‘race denialist’ on Metapedia when I made it clear at that time, I wasn’t, since I was defending Kaplan’s ecotype race concept.

    At the very end of 2013/early 2014 I came to be sceptical of ecotypes – having read Templeton’s paper that criticised Kaplan & Pigliucci’s race concept. So for the past 6 years I’ve identified as a race denialist. It is totally false however to claim I was a race denialist when I debated you on Metapedia throughout 2012 and 2013.

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    • mikemikev says:

      Do you seriously expect me to waste my time addressing this? Go back to your mom’s basement and STFU. Play with your boglins or something.

      Like

    • Additionally anyone who reads your crude anti-Semitism in that debate will see why Metapedia was and still is a joke (you called for my ‘ban’ for merely citing a Jewish academic.) It was always hard to take you serious; when I first encountered you I thought you were a parody of a Nazi with the MO to discredit the wiki as looking as insane as possible. Thankfully, I only edited there for a year. Metapedia now looks dead with only one active editor.

      Like

    • “Do you seriously expect me to waste my time addressing this?”

      Considering this is basically all you do all day, yes. You’ve posted here on/off for past 7 or 8 hours, while you were posting on Unz Review today at 10 am and probably on a bunch of forums and on more twitter sockpuppets.

      https://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=mikemikev

      It’s unclear what time you think you’re wasting when you sit talking about race all day on the internet. It’s all you do.

      Like

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