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Books Science

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution 541

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-my-name-out-of-your-book dept.
sciencehabit writes "A best-seller by former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade about recent human evolution and its potential effects on human cultures has drawn critical reviews since its spring publication. Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work. The letter criticizes "Wade's misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies."
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:19AM (#47647573)

    "Look how non-racist I am for lashing out on this. Can you see, everyone?"

  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@@@exit0...us> on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:24AM (#47647629) Homepage
    I hadn't even heard about this book before now. Sales will probably triple each time they fuss about it.
  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:24AM (#47647635)

    Geneticists admit that physical appearance varies thanks to mutations and variations in the expression of the genome, so why is intellectual variability so verboten? Because it's politically incorrect?

      In other words, if white people exclusively possess blond hair and blue eyes, and Asians possess epicanthal folds and very dark hair, why is it so hard to believe that IQ, a physical aspect of the mental organ we call the brain, might vary as well?

    Seems very bizarre to me. And irrational.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aol . c om> on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:33AM (#47647703) Journal

    It's not just intellect.

    Remember when it was somehow racist to point out that the reason blacks are better at athletics was because they had a genetic makeup that produced stronger and longer muscles capable of higher power output?

    That was racist because to say it was to imply they had an unfair advantage.

    I think being a geneticist is a pretty impossible job. No matter what your data suggests or how you present it, you're going to be labeled a racist. You'll either be accusing a minority race that is good at something as having an unfair genetic advantage, or you'll be implying that a minority race that is not good at something is so because of genetics - and therefore their skin color.

    This is how the PC establishment thinks. If there is a conceivable way to twist and distort what is said so that it can be labeled racist, they will do it.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:34AM (#47647723) Homepage

    Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

    Skewing other people's research to fit your agenda is not scientific.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh.gmail@com> on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:35AM (#47647727) Journal

    Or alternatively - not having reviewed all the claims in question (just like you) - it could be another case of scientific racism [wikipedia.org]

    And if we do ever scientifically prove that people of some etnicity are on-average superior or inferior in some way, the ethically correct thing to do with that information would be basically to ignore it in our everyday lives, to leave it as an academic issue.

    So bad news for any racists out there, science will never legitimize your hatred.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:35AM (#47647729) Homepage

    The people who did the actual research are saying that it's NOT correct.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:35AM (#47647733)

    It's an extremely sensitive topic, for obvious historical reasons. Despite the mountains of hard scientific evidence to the contrary, the political dogma, at least where I live, is that we are all born as blank slates and any measurable difference between individuals is due to environment. We would all be as good as Tiger Woods at golf if we lived his life. This includes differences between the sexes, and isn't hyperbole or an exaggeration.

    It's a nice thought, and if it were true governments could mold the behavior of its citizens to be exactly what they wanted.

    It's easy to accept physical differences, like skin tone, height, and facial features are genetically determined, but to suggest that there might also be differences across individuals and races in the brain, and therefore behavior, is so politically incorrect most scientists will not touch it with a ten foot pole. I'm not suggesting that any particular race is "better" than any other, but I don't see how you can claim that there are no genetic differences between races that effect behavior if you accept the current model of evolution. I mean, why wouldn't there be? How do you justify that claim?

  • by Atzanteol (99067) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:37AM (#47647749) Homepage

    It's already a NYT best seller. This isn't some un-read pamphlet. At this point the errors in it need to be addressed. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

  • by chihowa (366380) * on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:37AM (#47647751)

    While I don't agree with this guy's conclusions myself, this type of hyper-PC bullshit storm is why being in academia is so obnoxious. Science should be determined by the evidence available and the best interpretation of it at the time, not by people's feelings or politics.

    Secondly, someone citing your work doesn't mean you agree with their conclusions (or especially their politics). The correct response, if you care enough, is to follow up by pointing out where their interpretation falls short. The incorrect response is to write some whiny letter crying about how seemingly racist conclusions were drawn from your publications and it deeply offends you.

    I mean, come on: "We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures." What a pathetic retort. But I bet they feel better now, and that's all that really matters.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:44AM (#47647805)

    Indeed, it's not as though cultures of European stock have been uniformly ahead of the curve. There's just so much that can randomly happen, for example a strong case could be made that if the social changes wrought by the black death hadn't taken place, Europe might still be languishing at a near medieval level of technology. Or say the Minoans, they had indoor plumbing, air and light control, aqueducts and sophisticated codes of law what, four thousand years ago, then their island exploded.

    Is he seriously taking a snapshot of modern US culture and trying to explain it mostly by genetics?

  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:45AM (#47647825)

    Oh, come on. Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

    On the other hand, science does, and this book is not science, but opinion, if you want to be polite about it. Racist opinion, to be precise, which have been around in some guise or other since who knows when? This kind of racism-disguised-as-science was common throughout 18th and 19th centuries and generally went along the lines of 'Us White (North-) Europeans Are Better Than The Rest' and was used to justify why we had a moral duty to go out and 'civilize' the inferior races.

    Science is not made by taking a hand-picked assortment of data, twist it a few times and going 'Look, I can make the data match my opinon' - for anything to be science, you must have a hypothesis, which suggests a logically coherent explanation of all observed facts, makes testable predictions - and which survives experimental testing. It takes only 1 failed prediction to kill a theory.

    Northern Europeans clearly evolved to have fair skin and hair, and they evolved from ancestors who did not have fair skin and hair.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but that is hardly the main point of this book, is it? To quote from the article:

    In the book, Wade suggests that such genetic differences may help explain why some people live in tribal societies and some in advanced civilizations, why African-Americans are allegedly more violent than whites, and why the Chinese may be good at business.

    So, black people are violent (meaning 'primitive'?), Chinese are cunning ('good at business') and The White Man is the epitome of civilisation? And this is not racism - how? This is just a worthless rehash of junk from the days of the colonialism.

  • why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:48AM (#47647855) Homepage

    what is globally accepted in animal breeding, that certain behavioral tendencies accompany accompany genetics right along with certain physical characteristics, is the worst taboo to apply to people.

    which is ridiculous. populations living in specific social environments will SELECT FOR and AGAINST various physical and behavioral traits... and those traits which are successful in a specific society will then go on to build the society that those traits are best adapted to. like a feedback loop.

    is there something totally crazy here?

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:52AM (#47647895)

    If there is a conceivable way to twist and distort what is said so that it can be labeled racist, they will do it.

    You don't have to be PC police-y to find this stuff highly suspect. Societies and cultures have different emergent properties based on a wide variety of really complicated influences, external and internal. I mean was a Germanic tribesman shaking a bronze tipped spear any different, genetically, to a modern day Berlin banker? Not really. Therefore there must be a great deal more to it than genetics.

  • by fche (36607) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:56AM (#47647927)

    Everyone knows that evolution is limited to effects from the neck down.

  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:57AM (#47647939) Homepage Journal

    *RING* *RING*

    Callee: Hello?

    Caller: Hello, Dr. X, this is Dr. Y from [insert watchdog group name]. How are you today?

    Callee: Uh, ok.

    Caller: We're doing a survey. Your paper "[insert name of paper]" is cited in a NYT Best Seller that justifies taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies. Do you oppose taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies or not?

    Callee: (Thinking to himself: "This guy is obviously nuts but then half of academia is nuts and they can cut off mine as well as all my future government grants for looking at them crosseyeed.") Why, NO! I absolutely oppose the use of my work to in any way shape or form to justify taking babies of some races and putting them into blenders for smoothies! Where is the bastard that so abused my inherently anti-racist work so I can consider suing him!?!?"

    Caller: Thank you Dr. X. That will be all.

  • by Zanadou (1043400) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:09PM (#47648065)

    Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work.

    Guys, he can "misinterpret" your works as much has he likes, that's the whole point of "original research" and "original opinion". He takes your works and forms is own conclusions. It's him, not you. As long as he cites you.

    Hell, you don't have to agree with him. Obviously.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:14PM (#47648109) Journal

    No, they're saying that you can't just take their research and make claims that it doesn't substantiate and then appeal to their authority to support your claims.

    To give a computer science analogy (I'm out of stock of car analogies), imagine that you worked on Hadoop and you'd made sorting large data sets go 50% faster. Then someone publishes a book arguing that P=NP and uses your result (which doesn't even do comparison-based sorting) as the basis for their claim. You'd be in pretty much the same position as the researchers in TFA. Would you say that the author is an idiot, or would you keep quiet?

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:23PM (#47648197)
    But that would be a reasonable approach/attitude, and as such, isn't nearly as useful as political correctness for causing doubt, creating conflict and playing "divide and conquer" at the societal level. You know, blacks vs whites, men vs women, straights vs gays, etc etc (in short, all the myriad ways the elites keep us distracted and squabbling with each other about stupid shit, instead of identifying the actualthreats to our happiness and well-being...).
  • by chihowa (366380) * on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:26PM (#47648223)

    Who the fuck are you to say which response is correct?

    A scientist, who realizes that science is based on reason and not emotion.

    This response is covered in Science (though submitted to the NYTimes as a book review) and signed by scientists who are making an "argument" from authority and by consensus. The letter starts, "As scientists..." and then makes an unsupported argument that their work was misused. It concludes by assuming that their "full agreement", by itself and without any actual arguments, carries any weight at all.

    By what criteria is that a correct response in any way besides as a feel-good statement? What exactly does being offended do to advance science and human knowledge?

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:34PM (#47648289)

    So which differences in skin tone, height, and facial features uniquely define the races

    Who says it has to be distinct, unique enough perfect compartmentalization enough to put people entirely, precisely in one box of the next?

    But are you REALLY pretending that you can't immediately spot some people as being obviously of Mongolian, or Russian, or Ethiopian extraction? I can spot people of Scandinavian heritage a mile away, and can readily see the differences between people carrying DNA from the Andes vs. DNA from the jungles of Central America. Why are you trying so hard to pretend those differences are plainly obvious? What do you gain, other than street cred with the willfully obtuse politically correct set?

  • by ecorona (953223) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:34PM (#47648291)
    Allow me to poke some holes in your argument against the original researchers. There are some traits that can be explained by 1 gene, a combination of 2 genes, 3 genes,.., 500 genes, etc. The more genes that are requires, the more "complex" a trait. Intelligence is a very complex trait. Now consider the fact that there isn't a lot of genetic variation across different human populations. The more complex a trait, the more genetic variation is required to create significant different across populations. It's not political correctness that keeps me from adopting your opinion. I simply can not assume that intelligence (which is not even properly defined in most cases) differs to any significant degree across human populations until I see research that shows this is the case. So many genes influence intelligence that it would be unlikely for any one human population to have been founded on all the bad ones. Not enough time has occurred since different human populations began populating the earth for a large difference in all of these genes to emerge. As a scientist, I can't take the definition of "intelligence" for granted either. I also can't just lump all "complex traits" in one bin and say, "if that one is different across human populations, then these others are different too". This is a much bigger and more complex issue than you realize.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:40PM (#47648341)

    As you say, the European lead in politics and technology could have happened "randomly". There are other strategies to explain it, like Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel". And then there's this evolutionary story. Any one of these could be true, or a combination, or some other story that we just haven't worked out yet. Along the way, science proposes - and then eventually (hopefully) rejects - false theories. Some of the ideas about population genetics that are in circulation now will be consigned to the dustbin. It's the same story in chemistry, neurology, etc. Science is full of false theories that teach us something valuable when we find enough evidence to reject them.

    But something very different is happening here. There is a lot of scorn and finger-wagging for simply proposing that an evolutionary story might have produced geographically inhomogeneous distributions of human character traits. This is not how real scientists react to the proposal of a false theory. You don't submit an angry mass NYT condemnation of the physicist that proposes the variability of the speed of light, or the doctor who proposes a novel and improbable metabolic pathway of leukemia cells. The book is available. If scientists think some of its claims are shown to be false by evidence we already have, they should say which those claims are, and reference the invalidating evidence.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:43PM (#47648355)

    In order for a Northern European to evolve fair skin and hair, there has to be something that will kill a human of dark skin and hair. Since people with dark skin can survive in Northern Europe, it is not through evolution.

    Rickets.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:45PM (#47648373) Journal

    Everyone knows that evolution is limited to effects from the neck down.

    You're being a prat and trying to see conspiracies about ignoring genetics where none exists. In the real world, the state of knowledge of genetics and cultures is far far too poor to attribute nebulous concepts to genetics.

    There is no gene which makes you "good at business". This is not the XMen world where you have a mutant gene which gives you some superpower. The real world is far more complex and far messier.

    The geneticsts know this. Now you do.

  • by m00sh (2538182) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:45PM (#47648377)

    It's an extremely sensitive topic, for obvious historical reasons. Despite the mountains of hard scientific evidence to the contrary, the political dogma, at least where I live, is that we are all born as blank slates and any measurable difference between individuals is due to environment. We would all be as good as Tiger Woods at golf if we lived his life. This includes differences between the sexes, and isn't hyperbole or an exaggeration.

    It's a nice thought, and if it were true governments could mold the behavior of its citizens to be exactly what they wanted.

    It's easy to accept physical differences, like skin tone, height, and facial features are genetically determined, but to suggest that there might also be differences across individuals and races in the brain, and therefore behavior, is so politically incorrect most scientists will not touch it with a ten foot pole. I'm not suggesting that any particular race is "better" than any other, but I don't see how you can claim that there are no genetic differences between races that effect behavior if you accept the current model of evolution. I mean, why wouldn't there be? How do you justify that claim?

    If you read the scientific consensus in the beginning of the 20th century, they had the exact same view as you are saying. They had journals which listed what characteristics what races and sub-races had, and had intricate rankings of races - with uber-mechen and under-mechen. It is the basis of eugenics and was the root of the philosophy of Nazi justifying killing of the inferior races.

    Their failing was that they considered every little difference in societies to be genetic.

    Perhaps you could be or could not be Tiger Woods but so far, there hasn't been an obvious genetic test to determine that. However, there is no getting around the fact that Tiger Woods is a successful professional golfer because his dad is a golf instructor and he had training when he was young as well as access to professional network that his dad had established to be successful.

    The counterexample to that comes from Gladwell's example of the Canadian hockey team and the birthday phenomenon. There are almost no professional hockey players born at the end of the year. Most of them are born in the beginning of the year. The reason is that coaching is done by age and the kids who are born later in the year have 6-12 month disadvantage over kids born earlier in the year. So, in this case, access to training and coaching was more vital than the genetic component. If genetic was important, then there would be a more even distribution of birthdays.

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms&infamous,net> on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:46PM (#47648389) Homepage

    You can't reviewed the claims either. Neither have the people objecting to the book. That's the point.

    Uh, no. The point is that the people objecting to the book in this case are scientists who say that their research is being misrepresented by this fuckwit.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:51PM (#47648433)

    Political Correctness has no place in discussions that are scientific in nature.

    Skewing other people's research to fit your agenda is not scientific.

    Neither is skewing your own research to fit your agenda. PC has no place in science.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:52PM (#47648445)

    Why are you trying so hard to pretend those differences are plainly obvious?

    Sure, you can see a lot of people who clearly come from some place... but you can also see a lot more people who don't clearly fall into any bucket, especially in the US where everyone is so mixed up. You might see a redhead with curly hair and freckles, and that person may have a bunch of African ancestry despite those traits being so traditionally "Irish". Even if you were right about that person being "Irish" - so what? Irish people didn't always look like that - there has been quite a bit of genetic exchange over the millennia, and it is doubtful that your idea of what an Irish person looks like would be true when Christians were being fed to lions. So now your idea of "race" is frozen at some point in time. Scientifically, it is OK to say that race is meaningless as a classification system while still accepting that traits are heritable.

  • by chihowa (366380) * on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:56PM (#47648489)

    I know that this is a troll, and I usually don't respond to stuff like this, but this is a good example of the thinking that permeates much of academia. The idea crudely presented in the post above is that if I'm not deeply offended by the book and 100% behind some goofy letter to the editor or petition or other feel-good measure, then I must be a racist Republican, incapable of thinking and fueled by propaganda. It's the exact same mindset that Bush's, "You're either with us, or against us," comes from. Logic and reason are meaningless, I'm either on the team or I'm a dehumanized enemy.

    It's why I unconsciously started my initial comment by stating my personal disagreement with the book (which is genuine), even though that fact is tangential to my entire argument. If I weigh in on some news here at the University without first explicitly stating that I'm not a [racist|sexist|whateverist], the focus of any dissenting comment shifts from what I actually say to assumptions about my politics because I'm not parroting the right talking points.

  • by The Evil Atheist (2484676) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:58PM (#47648511) Homepage

    signed by scientists who are making an "argument" from authority and by consensus.

    A SCIENTIFIC consensus, which is not your average consensus. As a scientist, you should know the difference. A scientific consensus is not an argument from authority no morethan peer review is.

    The letter starts, "As scientists..." and then makes an unsupported argument that their work was misused.

    Their argument is supported, at least in their view, by the research. Why do they need to spell out everything?

    By what criteria is that a correct response

    By what criteria is that an incorrect response? They are responding to a BOOK, which by definition does not need to go through rigorous peer review. They don't have to waste their time writing a paper just to appease the likes of you because there are already papers out there.

    What exactly does being offended do to advance science and human knowledge?

    What does YOUR being offended by this advance science and human knowledge? I don't know what planet you're living on, but to point out that people are misusing your own research to make claims that the research itself doesn't support DOES advance science. Science is just as much about getting it right as it is about pointing out where others have it wrong.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:02PM (#47648559) Homepage

    I'm not seeing any evidence that the researches here are skewing anything.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:25PM (#47648809)
    You have to be very careful attributing things to genes rather than environment. Testosterone level, since you mentioned it, rises and drop in response to winning or losing in competitions [nih.gov], and increases in response to exercise [webmd.com]. The nature of our encounters with others (dominance) and exercise (which depends on job function) are both clearly culturally influenced.
  • by quantaman (517394) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:33PM (#47648909)

    Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work.

    Guys, he can "misinterpret" your works as much has he likes, that's the whole point of "original research" and "original opinion". He takes your works and forms is own conclusions. It's him, not you. As long as he cites you.

    Hell, you don't have to agree with him. Obviously.

    He's a reporter, he wasn't claiming to be doing "original research", he was claiming to communicate the existing research.

    And just like he's allowed to write about, and misinterpret, their research, they're also allowed to call him out for misrepresenting their work.

  • by chihowa (366380) * on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:37PM (#47648949)

    A SCIENTIFIC consensus, which is not your average consensus.

    Well, we don't know if there is consensus among the entire community of geneticists with regard to this particular issue. The equivalent of a petition with 139 signatures doesn't make scientific consensus. This is a consensus of 139 scientists, not scientific consensus.

    Their argument is supported, at least in their view, by the research. Why do they need to spell out everything?

    Because clearly it isn't, if their research is used in this book to support the opposing argument. If the book author has misinterpreted their results, but they don't bother to actually address his mistakes, then their letter amounts to no more than a big, "nuh-uh!"

    Public debate needs to be held to a higher standard than it currently is. Would you expect to win a debate by having your entire team sign a letter saying no more than, "The other team is wrong"?

    By what criteria is that an incorrect response? They are responding to a BOOK, which by definition does not need to go through rigorous peer review. They don't have to waste their time writing a paper just to appease the likes of you because there are already papers out there.

    Why do you care if I think their letter is stupid? Why are you so upset that I'm arguing against their approach on a backwater site like this?

    What does YOUR being offended by this advance science and human knowledge?

    I'm practicing what I preach by specifically pointing out how their argument fails to be as convincing as it could be. That you're so emotionally invested in this that you only see me as getting offended doesn't change my argument.

    I don't know what planet you're living on, but to point out that people are misusing your own research to make claims that the research itself doesn't support DOES advance science. Science is just as much about getting it right as it is about pointing out where others have it wrong.

    I've bolded the important part above. Pointing out where, or how, others have it wrong is exactly what I'm advocating. Pointing out that others have it wrong, without any supporting evidence as in the letter we are discussing, does nothing to advance science.

  • by Mr_Wisenheimer (3534031) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:38PM (#47648959)

    The problem is, people are suggesting there are differences across races but then cannot really show compelling, conclusive scientific evidence to support their claim.

    For instance, scientific research (something that is not widely reported in public venues for obvious reasons of political sensitivity) clearly shows a huge IQ gap between blacks and whites, consisting of 10-20 points and persisting across the Americas, Europe, and Africa.

    Some have argued that this gap is genetic (and we certainly cannot rule it out); however, there is no conclusive evidence to support their claim that the IQ gap is genetic.

    Similar IQ gaps (such as between whites and Native Americans) have disappeared over time in the past, so anyone should be very skeptical of a claim that blacks have a lower IQ because it is a genetic population trait and not an environmental trait.

    Like with the IQ gap, many people (most of them not actual research scientists like this author) are making these nature over nurture arguments on a wide variety of topics without sufficient research to back them up but rather to fit into their own world-view about cultures and population groups being genetically inferior or superior, an antediluvian throwback to the pseudoscience of anthropology at the turn of the 19th century.

    That is a misuse of science and the actual researchers are right to call-out the author on his misinterpretation of their work.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday August 11, 2014 @02:39PM (#47649577)

    The base assumption that everyone could be Tiger Woods if only their dads were golf instructors is such a load of twaddle.

    And yet it explains the phenomena of Drew Barrymore, Tori Spelling, Miley Cyrus, Emelio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, and a host of other "famous" actors whose names you know only because their parents were famous actors or producers. I would have included Jamie Lee Curtis in that list, but her performance in A Fish Called Wanda was pretty good so maybe she has some innate skill.

    In today's world where we're not restricted by geographical boundaries and genes are free-flowing around the world,

    That's a very privileged and first-worldish view of the planet. Most of the planet still has huge restrictions on the free-flow of genes, and much of it is based on the economics of travel.

  • by DamnOregonian (963763) on Monday August 11, 2014 @02:50PM (#47649655)
    I think the Caliphates would contest that.
  • Yes you do. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday August 11, 2014 @03:00PM (#47649723)

    This is not how real scientists react to the proposal of a false theory.

    Yes it is because that "false theory" is being published as a book AND because it claims to cite those scientists.

    Thus it is implying that those scientists support that "false theory".

    And since the "false theory" is racist, it is implying that those scientists who are implied as supporting that "false theory" are also racist.

    So a public condemnation of the "false theory" and the author and the work is entirely reasonable.

  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Monday August 11, 2014 @03:23PM (#47649929)
    The scientists who work he based his premise on are saying their research does not support this conclusions. The scientists are showing you with their research. You would know that if you read the article.
  • by HiThere (15173) <.charleshixsn. .at. .earthlink.net.> on Monday August 11, 2014 @04:02PM (#47650249)

    What you are ignoring is that identical twins don't just share single genes, they share identical arrangements of every gene. They also share most epigenetic markers. There isn't a single gene that is for, say, preferring a particular brand of cigarettes. But with a large enough number of identical genes you get things like "preferring the shape of a circle surrounded by grene" and "lack of concern over a bitter taste", etc. until you do get a large number of "unexpected correlations above chance". This doesn't mean they have a gene for preferring Taryton cigaretts.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Monday August 11, 2014 @04:04PM (#47650269)

    That's how things work here on Slashdot. Facts be damned, it's all about gut feelings.

    Have you actually kept statistics to back that assertion, or is it just a gut feeling ?-)

  • by ecorona (953223) on Monday August 11, 2014 @10:35PM (#47652407)
    >> A population is, by definition, just an extended family

    The "extended" part is the differentiating factor. You can consider that bacteria outside your ear a distant cousin. This doesn't add to the discussion.

    > The likelihood that one genetically distinct population would have the same intelligence as another is basically zero

    You're getting into choppy waters because "intelligence" isn't properly defined. You may find that one population's deficiency is offset by its strength in another category. Then you'd be tasked with "weighing" the importance of both in order to come up with a very subjective winner in the intelligence race. Real science doesn't work this way. This is one of the many reasons it's inappropriate to say some human population is less or more "intelligent" than another.

    >> You would need a huge amount of proof and a theoretical model of why it would be the same for there to be a scientific reason to believe that it might be

    The burden of proof is on the person making a claim. I'm not saying all populations have exactly identical intelligence. I'm saying that there is no reason to say there is no reason to say there is a significant difference in intelligence across worldwide populations. The lack of evidence to support such claims (and not adherence to political correctness) is the reason researchers repel such statements.

    > As left alone there would be huge amount of drift and change in even just 1,000 years

    No. Allele frequencies change slowly over time. Haplotype structure changes more rapidly, but even after 10,000 years you'll see general agreement of haplotype block structure within the same population.

    > traveled to the himalayas and started farming goats and mountain climbing, or another group that broke off, developed writing, and for the last 5,000 years has been living in huge dense colonies and working in factories. There is almost nothing at all similar between these three environments

    I don't understand what your point is here. Different populations lived in different environments, that is true. Positive selection has had time to select for desirable traits in each environment, but what makes you think intelligence wasn't selected for in all of these environments? What you are saying may some day be proven to be true, but so far there is no reason to believe that there is any difference in intelligence across different worldwide populations. There is no data. There is no proof. Your deeply flawed thought experiment does not a proof make.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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