Richard Dawkins is a Hypocrite, a Fool, and a Disgrace

OK, the title here is deliberately overwrought, and, very possibly, quite completely unfair.

But let me explain.

Richard Dawkins has fashioned a career as a public intellectual of the highest fame by projecting the persona of a thinker who bravely expresses hard truths which the powers-that-be simply would prefer to ignore or suppress. Among those truths is the cold reality that God does not exist, and that human beings came about through the process of evolution.

So far so good, of course. Who in their right rational mind doesn’t dislike God or Creationists?

Yet what is Dawkins’ attitude toward the possibility that evolution might have brought about important differences between geographically separated groups of human beings, perhaps including features having to do with intelligence?

For the man Dawkins personally, I’m not sure that he’s ever addressed that issue in a direct way that would pin him down. I gather he has mostly dismissed or ignored the idea of genetic differences between groups on such matters, though not for reasons that withstand any real scrutiny.

Yet what goes down in Richard Dawkins’ name on “The Official Richard Dawkins Website”,

The purest form of censorship of an unwelcome truth of evolution.

A day or two ago, I registered on the site so that I might comment. I mean, it’s talking about what evolution and biology imply for society, right? What more natural venue in which to talk about biorealism?

Well, I got exactly three posts in before I was banned for, and I quote, “racist bigotry”. Now I suggest that the reader go to the thread in question, read my three posts, and decide for himself or herself whether I in any way make any assertion that goes beyond the bare claim that genes likely play a major role in the differing performance of different races on tests of cognitive ability. Do I in any way try to justify discrimination against people of certain races? No. Do I even claim that, say, Affirmative Action is a bad policy? No. I make no value or policy statements at all. In fact, of course, as my previous posts on this blog make clear, I emphatically do not believe that discrimination of any kind against disadvantaged races or ethnicities is in any way warranted, and indeed believe that Affirmative Action has strong justification not only in the face of facts of racial differences, but in no small part because of them.

Note that the title to the thread is, “Race and Intelligence: Science’s Last Taboo” (from a BBC program of the same name). What kind of discourse is it in which a scientific question can be raised, and only one side to the question is allowed an opportunity to state their case without being banned? How absurd is it to do so in a context in which the discussion is also, supposedly, trying to confront and transcend a “taboo” on the subject?

Now were it my misfortune alone to have been banned for presenting the case for one side of the issue, perhaps one might explain away the censorship as some quirky mistake made by an individual moderator. Yet there is apparently a considerable history of such bans, and by a number of moderators, and reflects a deliberate policy. I can’t say for sure whether those others who were banned might have stepped at some point over some bound reasonable people might see as fair, because I haven’t read every single one of their posts. But certainly the proximate posts before the ban, and presumably motivating it, struck me as mostly strictly fact and science oriented, and not as in any way advocating discrimination. The happy thing about my own banning is how neatly it compresses the absurdity and hypocrisy of the banning into three, not terribly long, posts of mine. Anyone can easily see for themselves how fair the ban might be.

Now how much knowledge Dawkins himself may have of this censorship can of course hardly be determined by an outsider. Yet this is Dawkins’ official site. This quite despicably irrational activity is going on in his name — and it’s been going on, I gather, for some time. In the end, he owns clear responsibility for this. He certainly has a responsibility to instruct those who moderate effectively in his name to do so without imposing the crudest kind of censorship.

Perhaps we’ll find out that Dawkins had no such knowledge, and this simply slipped under his notice, and he will effect the necessary changes and apologies on his site. In that case, of course, the headline of this post is unfair, and I hereby pre-emptively retract it and apologize for it.

But if he doesn’t — and I’m enough of a pessimist about such things to think this more likely — then it is only too just.

Let the inflammatory title be my mordantly fun way of calling out Dawkins to do the right thing when it comes to what is being done in his own name.

Your move, Richard.

UPDATE, Nov 7:

Hats off to Galtonian, who has taken the fight to the Blank Slaters over at It’s been a sight to behold. It’s too bad they aren’t a bit brighter: they would be embarrassed, and might find more productive ways to occupy themselves.

It’s just a wonder to me that they choose to push so hard on what are at most verbal disputes. Does the problem with genetic differences in cognitive abilities across groups go away simply by refusing to call any of those groups “races”? How on earth does that alter the underlying facts of those differences, which is what is of social and political importance? I personally find it hard to take it seriously when people offer up this argument; I can’t help but feel that they’re just trying to pull my leg, and at any moment might say, “I was just messing with your head, man! But I got you going, didn’t I?”

Here is the link to Galtonian’s first post — you can proceed from there to follow the discussion.


51 responses to “Richard Dawkins is a Hypocrite, a Fool, and a Disgrace

  1. “Yet there is apparently a considerable history of such bans, and by a number of moderators, and reflects a deliberate policy.”

    I was banned a month or so ago, without warning, for the same thing. Another poster Daiakuma was also banned after posting references to hbd type research.

    There was a long running thread entitled race/intelligence. The hereditarians were obviously getting the better of the argument and it was announced that the bar on racism was to be lowered from “inciting hatred” to anything that might “disparage” ‘protected groups’.

    There was a discussion thread about the proposed policy. I commented that they were going to limit discussion and mentioned the moralistic & naturalistic fallacies.

    A board moderator ‘Topsy’ was heavily involved in the thread pushing for a clampdown. Someone asked whether subjects like race & intelligence could still be discussed. Topsy commented “if you’re not a racist bigot you’ve got nothing to worry about”.

    Anyway, the new guidelines were implemented. A discussion thread about affirmative action became quite heated & the issue of average differences in ability was raised. Again the hereditarians turned up with data & citations.

    Then there was an announcement by Topsy that myself, Daiakuma & another commentator had been banned for racism. Topsy explained that although we had been posting inside the guidelines, it was felt we had an agenda that was not welcome. Topsy also indicated that discussions on iq/race would probably not be tolerated in future.

    However, then Channel 4 did that documentary & Topsy actually recommends the programme!

    What’s really Orwellian about it is Topsy’s comment that other posters are “free to carry on with the rational discussion as you were before.”

    In other words any comment that suggests the programme’s conclusions are wrong or that there are group differences is automatically irrational & must be cast out.

    Ironically, Topsy’s signature is the cover of Dawkins’ new book on evolution, but he considers the potential implications of evolution to be appalling bigotry.

  2. Intelligentname

    I too was banned from Richard Dawkins’ forum several months ago for arguing for genetic differences in intelligence between races. While my posts were probably more inflammatory than those of Brian17 and Daiakuma, they were certainly reasonable, especially compared to those of certain members who argued against racial differences in intelligence.

    What most angers me about the posters on Dawkins’ forum is their hypocrisy. They fancy themselves as rationalists who don’t need comforting delusions in their lives. But when the issue of race and intelligence comes up, they are as dogmatic as creationists. Belief in racial egalitarianism is understandable in a religious person – since he believes that a fair god created everything – but inexcusable in an atheist – since he believes in unsupervised evolution.

  3. Belief in racial egalitarianism is understandable in a religious person – since he believes that a fair god created everything – but inexcusable in an atheist – since he believes in unsupervised evolution.

    I think that you’re confusing humans with rational actors. While atheism may provide less reason to accept the social and political orthodoxy that race is only a superficial distinction that has been ascribed with nonexistent attributes through false stereotypes rather than by observations of real statistical distributions, that is no reason to expect atheists to accept a stance of human biodiversity.

    We tend to compartmentalize our views on subjects with few obvious connections. While biology without a doubt plays an enormous role in the functioning of human society, the connections are complicated and difficult to understand, and thus most people will not associate their thoughts on the subject of the truth of the theory of evolution with their thoughts on race, even though it doesn’t take very long to think of ways that the two areas are related.

    Now, the real phenomenon at work here is that of an echo chamber. The Richard Dawkins forum attracts people of a relatively narrow band of ideologies, namely those that both don’t accept the existence of any deities and think that religion tends to be harmful, which means that the vast majority are going to tend more to the left, since many right wing atheists have friendly views toward religion.

    Now, active discussion of the relationship between race and evolution is mainly restricted to individuals on the right, with this blog being a notable exception. That means that most of the cross section of participants is going to follow orthodoxy on this matter and while it would be expected that there would be more propensity to protest censorship of the discussion on such a board, deviation from orthodoxy on race is a social infraction that most people have no problem censuring and removing from conversation.

  4. In regards to you mentioning the issue of SAT bias in that thread, how much have you read into that issue? I’m mainly wondering about the word “frigotta” or whatever supposedly being an example of bias. Do you know if that’s a false accusation or not?

  5. Well, In Richard Dawkins defense, if he ever did mention uncomfortable racial facts, it would be good bye cushy University job, good bye charitable web site, and hello death threats and Nazi name calling.

    It’s one thing to insult and demean religion, but he dare not commit the ultimate sin of speaking against the tenets of liberalism and equality, regardless to how obviously false they may be.

  6. Hey, you can’t say I didn’t warn ya!

    The problem is: you think of this as a self-correcting system. So you think: if I tap it on the shoulder and tell it it’s wrong, it will say “Oh! Thank you, sir! Why, I had no idea I was wrong!”

    For comparison, you can view my thoughts on Professor Dawkins here

  7. Apparently the Dawkins site is not the “oasis of reason” that Dawkins and his adoring disciples claim it to be. There certainly seem to be a lot of irrational folks hanging around the oasis, it would seem.

    I’ve always found Dawkins to be annoying. His followers reject God only to place Dawkins himself on a pedestal and make a new religion out of Dawkins’ own writings. I understand because many years ago, when I was a teenager, I did the same thing with Bertrand Russell after reading “Why I am Not a Christian”.

    Dawkins thinks he has all these brilliant new ideas about philosophy and religion but really he is just rehashing old arguments that have been around for years. He is out of his depths and hasn’t got a clue. He should stick to writing about biology.

    I agree with the earlier poster who suggests Dawkins won’t touch HBD with a barge pole because he doesn’t want to lose money and prestige. He must make a lot of money from all those books.

    Dawkins thinks that eliminating religion will eliminate evil. But evil doesn’t come from religion (although religion is used as a tool)–it comes from the heart of man. Dawkins himself suggests that humans believe in God because their brains are wired up that way. If humans have a biological tendency to be religious, then why would it be a good idea to try to eliminate religion? Wouldn’t that just set people up to start worshipping some crazy dictator such as Kim Jong Il? It would be better to reform religion, and make it moderate and harmless. And this moderating tendency must come from within the religion itself. If you try to forcefully eliminate or change it, you would just drive it underground and make it more extreme. Certainly extreme religions create a lot of problems, but there is no magic bullet to fix the situation.

    I tried to discuss an HBD topic on another forum, and though I wasn’t banned, I was viciously attacked and more or less driven away. I never made any racist remarks, but only suggested that some races have a greater genetic tendency to alcoholism than others. It was after being driven from that forum that I discovered HBD blogs.

  8. “I tried to discuss an HBD topic on another forum”

    What was the forum? The alcoholism point doesn’t seem that controversial.

  9. It was the forum, which is run by the United Church of Canada. I used to post under the name “Mely”. I can’t find the posts where I was being accused of being a racist. But I do remember it was quite unpleasant. I made a lot of posts on Wondercafe for several years, but I never felt the same about it after the “racist” episode. Maybe only about 2 or 3 people attacked me, but no one came to my defense. They seemed to think I was a Nazi or something.

    Here is a link to the forum:

  10. Turn the tables on them, ask them if they’re creationists – why else would anyone be surprised that groups in different ecological niches could develop different average traits?

  11. Also, differences aren’t necessarily negative like in the alcoholism example. They also occur in athletics:

    “It’s important to separate these three questions. We know that genes influence many abilities. We also know that some of these genes vary considerably in prevalence between ethnic groups. One example is the RR variant of ACTN3, a gene that affects fast generation of muscular force and correlates with excellence at speed and power sports. The opposite variant of the gene is called XX. Tests indicate that the ratio of people with RR to people with XX is 1 to 1 among Asians, 2 to 1 among European whites, and more than 4 to 1 among African-Americans.”

  12. Dawkins: Another Darwinist from the neck down.

  13. “Turn the tables on them, ask them if they’re creationists ”

    Ha! That would be one of the most insulting things you could say to them, since United Church of Canada prides itself on being progressive and liberal.

    If I ever go back there maybe I will. But I just can’t imagine deliberately going there and starting a row about HBD. I don’t like conflict much.

  14. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Silicone Edition « In Mala Fide

  15. Liberalbiorealist should just ASSUME that hbd is real and proceed from that. There’s no need to spend your time arguing that humans are bio-diverse — a lot of people already spend their time doing that. The reason people keep checking out this blog is because they’re interested in what “liberal” policies you would recommend, because as it stands the facts of HBD seem to play into conservatism pretty well.

  16. “The reason people keep checking out this blog is because they’re interested in what “liberal” policies you would recommend, because as it stands the facts of HBD seem to play into conservatism pretty well.?”

    Well, how about the matter of homosexuality. If gayness is a natural part of human diversity, then there is no point in trying to “cure” it.

    Then there is the problem of addictions, which seem to be more prevalent in some populations than in others. Suppose it turns out that originally all humans were susceptible to alcoholism, but then the populations which developed agriculture (and thus could produce alcohol) evolved protective mechanisms against alcoholism. This might explain why, for example, aboriginal populations in Canada and Australia suffer so much alcoholism. It might explain why there seems to be more alcoholism in northern Europe and Asia (Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia). The people in southern Europe and Asia have perhaps been farmers for thousands of years longer, and have had more time to evolve protection against alcoholism.

    Anyway, the point is, if we discover a genetic basis for alcoholism and other addictions, this would justify treating it like a disease rather than a crime.

  17. Intelligentname

    I just glanced at the “Race and Intelligence: Science’s Last Taboo” thread and noticed that the environmentalists are back to denying the existence of race! But soon they will proceed to argue that we need “race-based” affirmative action. Well if race does not exist, then how could affirmative action based on “race” exist?

    These idiots want to have their cake and eat it too: They deny the existence of race – and thereby escape the unwinnable race and intelligence debate – but then argue for special privileges for members of certain races. Well, which one is true? Either races do exist – in which case they must confront the race and intelligence issue – or race is a meaningless concept – in which case “race-based” affirmative action is illogical.

  18. Pingback: Richard Dawkins. A Man for The New Age? - Page 14 -

  19. Galtonian,

    I see on the Dawkins site Elderito has asked about Scarr’s conclusions. Note that she backtracked in article on Arthur Jensen’s integrity:

    “Arthur Jensen. ‘On Arthur Jensen’s integrity’ Intelligence Volume 26, Issue 3, 1998, Pages 227-232

    Scarr made an interesting comment on how her study could be interpreted:

    “”An interesting parallel to this work is our longitudinal study of interracial adoptees. At the average of 7 years, the African-American adopted children scored 106.1 on IQ tests. By the average age of 18 however, their IQ scores had declined to 96.8. Children with one White and one Black parent scored, on average, 109.0 at age 7 and 98.5 at age 18; children with two Black parents (and later adoptive placements) scored 96.8 at age 7 and 89.4 at age 18..

    The test performance of the Black/Black adoptees was not different from that of ordinary Black children reared by their own families in the same area of the country. My colleagues and I reported the data accurately and as fully as possible, and then tried to make the results palatable to environmentally committed colleagues. In retrospect, this was a mistake. The results of the transracial adoption study can be used to support either a genetic difference hypothesis or an environmental difference one (because the children have visible African ancestry). We should have been agnostic on the conclusions; Art would have been.

    A less recognized line of research, and one with great implications for developmental psychology, is Art’s use of younger White children to model the test performance of older Black children. By showing that response and error patterns of Black children matched, on average, those of White children two years younger, Art did more than challenge the test-bias literature. He showed that differences in test performance among age-matched White and Black children can be most simply explained as differences in rates of mental development. The implicit analogy to physical growth is powerful: Slower growth rates over the same length of time lead to lesser final attainments, whether one is speaking of height or of intelligence. ..

  20. oh, I see you’ve already made that point.

  21. Galtonian,

    Note that Aspire has omitted the last part of Scarr’s quote above:

    “The implicit analogy to physical growth is powerful: Slower growth rates over the same length of time lead to lesser final attainments, whether one is speaking of height or of intelligence. ..”

  22. Be glad that you were banned from that horrid cesspool of irrationality and zealotry. That board is not worth you time. There’s no interesting discussions there because any heretics that deviate from the accepted dogma are purged, leaving only those true believers there to engage in a ass fuck wagon train.

  23. John Derbyshire has written some interesting pieces on why human psychology makes it difficult to accept hdb.

    “Knowing that I lean to the nature side of most nature-nurture controversies, readers occasionally e-mail in with something from the newspapers offering evidence for nurturism. My stock response is: “All nurturist claims in the general press must be read with the understanding that there is terrific psychic & social pressure on any commentator or researcher who wants to keep his job and his friends to make as much as possible of any nurturist evidence, and as little as possible of any naturist evidence. You should apply an appropriate bias-correcting discount to all you read.”

    The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, and social. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the esteem of our peers. For most people, wanting to know the truth about the world is way, way down the list. Scientific objectivity is a freakish, unnatural, and unpopular mode of thought, restricted to small cliques whom the generality of citizens regard with dislike and mistrust. There is probably a sizable segment in any population that believes scientists should be rounded up and killed.

    When the magical (I wish this to be so: Therefore it is so!) and the religious (we are all one! brotherhood of man!) and the social (this is what all good citizens believe!) come together, the mighty psychic forces unleashed can unhinge even the best minds.”

    “Like every other feature of human nature, the groupish emotions are unevenly distributed. Some individuals are richly endowed with them. They are plunged into despair when their baseball team loses; they bristle to hear their religion criticized; they are furious at insults to their nation; if of eccentric sexual preference, they may swear brotherhood with those similarly disposed; and yes, they are mad as hell to hear their race described as failed, even though they understand at some level that it’s an abstract statistical description that does not reflect on them personally, any more than their baseball team’s losing the World Series does.

    Your antisocial loner isn’t like that. He probably has no strong opinion about the relative merits of Yankees and Mets. If he goes to church, it’s for personal and metaphysical reasons, not social ones. He’s a poor employee and a feeble team-sports participant. He may like his country, and be willing to fight for it, but exuberant expressions of patriotism embarrass him. He’s more likely than the average to marry someone of a different race. (Am I describing anyone in particular here? No! Absolutely not!) Tell him he belongs to a failed race and he’ll probably say: “Yes, I guess so. It’s sad. But hey, I’m doing okay…

    If you are not that type — and most people, even most Americans, are not — it’s much more difficult for you to discuss human-group differences. Too much groupish emotion gets in the way.”

  24. “In regards to you mentioning the issue of SAT bias in that thread, how much have you read into that issue? I’m mainly wondering about the word “frigotta” or whatever supposedly being an example of bias. Do you know if that’s a false accusation or not?”

    The word was “regatta”, and that was 40(?) years ago. And they actually got rid of that entire section (analogies) many years ago. At this point, everyone knows how important the SAT is and the threshold for maximizing your preparation is very low. And, of course, the “cultural bias” argument is utterly refuted by the fact that recent immigrant Asians score better than whites.

    If the test was biased in any way, the test-prep industry would be reaping massive rewards by teaching people how to overcome that bias. The fact that even the best test-prep companies can only deliver a 30 point gain on average should tell you that the SAT measures something that is rather immutable.

  25. Dr Nesbitt,

    Regarding the current thread where people are denying different groups have any validity, you could suggest Gregory Cochran’s definition: “a group that has been subject to strong enough selective pressures for long enough, with low enough gene flow, to end up demonstrably different from other groups.”

    Goodrum’s faq

    The discussion on gnxp:

    ” note on race being a societal construct. To some extent, of course it is–some people that would be called “black” in the US might not be called “black” in France, for example (and not because of the language difference, for all you smartasses. The word “black” in French specifically refers to racial classification). I have enough faith in human intelligence to think that the first person who called race a societal construct did not mean that it had no biological component as well–note that the Wikipedia entry on adolesence refers to it as a “cultural and social phenomenon” but also “the transitional stage of human development in which a juvenile matures into an adult”. People seem to somehow be able to keep the cultural and biological aspects of adolescence in their heads at the same time, as I imagine the first sociologists to study race were able to do (I may, of course, be wrong), yet somehow the fact that biological differences are interpreted through a cultural lens has somehow morphed into the idea that the biological differences don’t exist to begin with…”

    Graphs showing clustering:

    “It has been known for some time that major continental groups (“races”) form distinct clusters. …

    Represent each individual human by their DNA sequence. When aggregated, they cluster into readily identifiable groups. This has been known for 40 years now, although the technology and methods of analysis continue to improve. Below are results from 1966, 1978 and 2008.”

    Not surprisingly, there are readily identifiable clusters of points, corresponding to traditional continental ethnic groups: Europeans, Africans, Asians, Native Americans, etc. (See, for example, Risch et al., Am. J. Hum. Genet. 76:268–275, 2005.)

  26. Also, Prof. Neil Risch’s comments regarding age or gender:

    “Risch: What is your definition of races? If you define it a certain way, maybe that’s a valid statement. There is obviously still disagreement.

    Gitschier: But how can there still be disagreement?

    Risch: Scientists always disagree! A lot of the problem is terminology. I’m not even sure what race means, people use it in many different ways.

    In our own studies, to avoid coming up with our own definition of race, we tend to use the definition others have employed, for example, the US census definition of race. There is also the concept of the major geographical structuring that exists in human populations—continental divisions—which has led to genetic differentiation. But if you expect absolute precision in any of these definitions, you can undermine any definitional system. Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn’t preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility.

    We talk about the prejudicial aspect of this. If you demand that kind of accuracy, then one could make the same arguments about sex and age!

    You’ll like this. In a recent study, when we looked at the correlation between genetic structure [based on microsatellite markers] versus self-description, we found 99.9% concordance between the two. We actually had a higher discordance rate between self-reported sex and markers on the X chromosome! So you could argue that sex is also a problematic category. And there are differences between sex and gender; self-identification may not be correlated with biology perfectly. And there is sexism. And you can talk about age the same way. A person’s chronological age does not correspond perfectly with his biological age for a variety of reasons, both inherited and non-inherited. Perhaps just using someone’s actual birth year is not a very good way of measuring age. Does that mean we should throw it out? No. Also, there is ageism—prejudice related to age in our society. A lot of these arguments, which have a political or social aspect to them, can be made about all categories, not just the race/ethnicity one.”

  27. Ahhh, that Race and Science thread at Dawkins has been closed temporarily for “Staff Discussion”.

    That’s code talk for wanting to ban people for bringing up uncomfortable arguments they are unable to refute, without further looking hypocritical. I expect to see those members banned and the thread locked soon.

  28. Looks like Topsy & Darkchilde have managed to get the thread permanently locked. The subject attracts heretics who present unwelcome evidence which threatens their liberal creationism.

    Interesting how if you take away one form of religion people will find something else to have faith in. In this case, that faith is in biological egalitarianism.

    Here is Darkchilde’s totalitarian note explaining the lockdown:

    “After a long discussion, the staff has decided not to reopen this thread. Any other thread with the same subject will be locked, since those kinds of threads attract people who have a racist agenda to promote. If there is any new scientific research on the subject we may have similar threads in the future.”

  29. As I commented over on HBDbooks:

    “Dawkins sooooo wants to believe that we are not just “machines for our genes.” He writes an absolutely wonderful book on the gene-centric view of evolution, and then in the final chapter concludes that we CAN overcome the power of our selfish genes (his flimsy example being that we can opt to use birth control, I mean wtf?!). He’s got an agenda, and it’s not the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth.”

  30. I have made another effort to encourage Dawkins, Topsy and Darkchilde to face up to the topic of race, genes, and IQ. I posted a message on a thread about “How to know when you’re being close-minded?” I pointed out that if Richard Dawkins maintains his ban on this topic, then he should warn Steven Pinker and Pinker’s graduate student James J. Lee that their views and intellectual interests would not be tolerated on the Dawkins Forum website.

  31. That is an awesome post, Galtonian. I wonder Dawkins’ disciples will become enraged and delete it, or just ignore it and hope no one notices that it makes them look like fools.

  32. The response from the moderators, Made of Stars & Topsy is hilarious. Made of Stars even tries to suggest that those who would want to discuss the topic are closed minded.

    Topsy justifies the ban as keeping out heretics/r8cists, at least until any new science emerges. Of course anyone showing up to discuss the new science would have to be a heretic?

  33. This is an excellent blog with excellent links to source material. However, it is not as active as I’d wish.

    Therefore, I’m going to suggest that Galtonian start his own blog after reading his posts over at Dawkins’ forum. Outstanding work, sir.

  34. “moonbeam wrote:
    :No, everybody doesn’t. If you don’t have a good definition to start with, then everything that follows is vague as well.”

    Onestdv has a good post on this.

  35. Sabril’s comment on the race issue is useful.

    “By analogy, imagine trying to divide the United States into “regions.” There are many ways to do it so that there are 4, 5, or even 10 regions. Necessarily, some lines will be blurry and/or arbitrary. Is Oklahoma in the Mid-West or the South? Doesn’t Greenwich Connecticut belong in the same region as New York City?

    But none of this changes the fact that the South is warmer than the Northeast and the difference is due to geography.

    Nobody would ever seriously make the argument that (1) there is no objective way to divide the country into regions; therefore (2) all such divisions are meaningless social constructs; therefore (3) any claim that the South is warmer than the Northeast is unscientific and wrong.

    Personally, I try to avoid the question of whether race exists. I think it’s just a red herring. The fact is that all categories are social constructs and most categories are somewhat blurry and arbitrary.”

  36. Moonbeam quotes Lewontin:

    “The geographical maps of principal component values constructed by Cavalli, Menozzi and Piazza in their famous The History and Geography of Human Genes show continuous variation over the whole world with no sharp boundaries and with no greater similarity occurring between Western and Eastern Europeans than between Europeans and Africans! ”

    Actually the genetic distance is different.

    “Typical FST between northern and southern Europe is about .006, between Europe and E. Asia about .1 and between Europe and Nigeria about .14 .) ”

    Jensen comments on Cavalli-Sforza’s 1994 book here:

    “The most comprehensive study of population differences in allele frequencies to date is that of the Stanford University geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and his coworkers. Their recent 1,046-page book reporting the detailed results of their study is a major contribution to the science of population genetics. The main analysis was based on blood and tissue specimens obtained from representative samples of forty-two populations, from every continent (and the Pacific islands) in the world. All the individuals in these samples were aboriginal or indigenous to the areas in which they were selected samples; their ancestors have lived in the same geographic area since no later than 1492, a familiar date that generally marks the beginning of extensive worldwide European explorations and the consequent major population movements. In each of the Stanford study’s population samples, the allele frequencies of 120 alleles at forty-nine gene loci were determined. Most of these genes determine various blood groups, enzymes, and proteins involved in the immune system, such as human lymphocyte antigens (HLA) and immunoglobulins. These data were then used to calculate the genetic distance (D) between each group and every other group. (DNA sequencing was also used in separate analyses of some groups; it yields finer genetic discrimination between certain groups than can the genetic polymorphisms used in the main analysis.) From the total matrix of (42 X 41)/2 = 861 D values, Cavalli-Sforza et al. constructed a genetic linkage tree. The D value between any two groups is represented graphically by the total length of the line that connects the groups in the branching tree. (See Figure 12.1.)

    The greatest genetic distance, that is, the largest D, is between the five African groups (listed at the top of Figure 12.1) and all the other groups. The next largest D is between the Australian + New Guinean groups and the remaining other groups; the next largest split is between the South Asians + Pacific Islanders and all the remaining groups, and so on. The clusters at the lowest level (i.e., at far right in Figure 12.1) can also be clustered to show the D values between larger groupings, as in Figure 12.2. Note that these clusters produce much the same picture as the traditional racial classifications that were based on skeletal characteristics and the many visible physical features by which non-specialists distinguish “races.”

    It is noteworthy, but perhaps not too surprising, that the grouping of various human populations in terms of invisible genetic polymorphisms for many relatively neutral genes yields results that are highly similar to the classic methods of racial classification based on directly observable anatomical features. ”

    Chapter 12 – The g factor

  37. Melykyn,

    Also a discussion of Lewontin here.

    Contrary to Wise and what you might’ve heard in the media (though, not in the New York Times), we know that the grand majority of biologists agree that there are human races (Lieberman et. al. 1992 ). Ernst Mayr’s definition of sub-species is the standard one accepted by scientists (the record is in the scientific literature, look in it and see how many scientists are using the nutty Lewontin “within-between” formula to determine sub-species of animals – about as many that are using “punctuated equilibrium” I would guess) and has been the standard since the initiation of the Darwinian New Synthesis. Mayr has publicly addressed the misinformation that evolutionary biologists believe there aren’t human races: There is a widespread feeling that the word race indicates something undesirable and that it should be left out of all discussions. This leads to such statements as there are no human races.
    Those who subscribe to this opinion are obviously ignorant of modern biology. Races are not something specifically human; races occur in a large percentage of species of animals . . . the geographic races of the human races established before the voyages of European discovery and subsequent rise of a global economy – agree in most characteristics with the geographic races of animals. Recognizing races is only recognizing a biological fact….

    Gregory Cochran writes:

    The chance that the genetic distance between a European and a sub-Saharan African is going to be less than the genetic distance between two Europeans is effectively zero, not one-third . . . I faked up two gene frequency data sets such that their Fst was 0.15 I use random sampling to create two individuals from distribution A and one from distribution B: then I calculate the A1-A2 genetic distance and the A1-B1 genetic distance. If I look at 10 loci, A1 is closer to B1 than to A2 about 30% of the time. If I use 100 loci, A1 is closer to B1 about 1.9% of the time. If I use 1000 loci, A1 is never closer to B1 than A2 in 20,000 runs.”

  38. Thanks for the info and links, Observer, very interesting. However, there doesn’t seem to be much point in continuing to argue with Moonbeam over at the Dawkins forum. (Might as well talk to a fence post.) Besides, now Topsy has threatened to ban me. Here is what she wrote to me:
    Topsy writes:
    “Don’t use this thread to discuss race. We know you’ve come here from a link complaining about people being banned for promoting the agenda that “blacks are less intelligent than whites”. If that’s all you are here for then you aren’t welcome and your posting privileges on this forum will be removed.”

    As others have said, it seems very bizarre that this would happen on a forum supposedly dedicated to science and reason and evolution. Dawkins is a weird guy, I suppose. That site seems a bit creepy to me. Obviously endorsed by Dawkins, it seems to be made up largely of people who worship him. Maybe one of the perils of not believing in God is that you might start to think that you ARE god.

  39. The looming crisis in human genetics

    “Human geneticists have reached a private crisis of conscience, and it will become public knowledge in 2010. The crisis has depressing health implications and alarming political ones. In a nutshell: the new genetics will reveal much less than hoped about how to cure disease, and much more than feared about human evolution and inequality, including genetic differences between classes, ethnicities and races…

    If the shift from GWAS to sequencing studies finds evidence of such politically awkward and morally perplexing facts, we can expect the usual range of ideological reactions, including nationalistic retro-racism from conservatives and outraged denial from blank-slate liberals. The few who really understand the genetics will gain a more enlightened, live-and-let-live recognition of the biodiversity within our extraordinary species—including a clearer view of likely comparative advantages between the world’s different economies.”

  40. Galtonian or someone should start a thread on RDnet regarding Miller’s prediction.

  41. What a load of BS. The IQ test has serious flaws. e.g. question – ZOMRAT -what is that an anagram of. If you are from a nice upper class family you would correctly figure out it is MOZART. If you have just immigrated from Sub Saharan Africa you are less likely to get the answer right. That was an actual IQ test question!
    Do you think that a simple test like that could accurately determine the intelligence of the human brain – an organ as complex as that.
    IQ tests have a positive correlation between social class. I believe that intelligence is equally divided between the classes. If you think this is is just some Marxian rant, I assure you it isn’t.
    I have a degree- it doesn’t mean that I’m more intelligent than people with no degree, it merely means that I probably know more about Biology than them.

    There have been twin studies carried out. Genetically identical siblings who have been reared apart show enormous variations in IQ scores. That in itself implies that the test is only useful for bonfire material.

    If you are not convinced by ANY of this, could someone explain how the protein Melanin (the pigment that is responsible for dark coloured skin) decreases intelligence.

    Finally, why don’t these people complete an IQ test from another culture -let’s say from Sub Saharan Africa and see how you do. I guarantee that you won’t do as good as most of them.

    If we take a little trip through history 1500 years- it was the Eastern world which was the most innotive- they were the leaders of science and technology. The people in Western Europe were living in huts made out of straw! If these people were to carry out an IQ test devised by the Eastern civilisations – how poorly do you think they would do. They would come to the conclusion that these Europeans are less intelligent. Now the west has caught up- and has surpassed the developing nations, we could come to the conclusion that it is the western peoples that are brainier. Both conclusions are insane- and I’ll explain why:
    You could entertain the idea that intelligence has evolved more quickly in the west over the past thousand years. Which is ridiculous- a thousand years in evolutionary terms is barely a blink of an eye. Evolution is a painfully slow trial-and-error process. If we were to see notable changes in intelligence between races – it would take a VERY long time. I’m talking Geological time.
    In terms of intelligence, all the different races are virtually the same.

    • IntelligentName

      Sm, your arguments don’t hold up.

      First of all, the black-white IQ gap is SMALLER on culturally biased intelligence tests, such as vocabulary and reading tests, and LARGER on more abstract and more g-loaded tests, such as the Raven’s Progressive Matrices or the backward digit span. These facts utterly refute any claim that IQ tests are culturally biased against blacks.

      “There have been twin studies carried out. Genetically identical siblings who have been reared apart show enormous variations in IQ scores. That in itself implies that the test is only useful for bonfire material.”

      The twin studies have proven the antithesis of what you state. They proved that identical twins have very similar IQ’s, regardless of the environment in which they were raised. Identical twins who were raised in different environments generally have more similar IQ’s than do non-twin siblings in the same household.

      “If you are not convinced by ANY of this, could someone explain how the protein Melanin (the pigment that is responsible for dark coloured skin) decreases intelligence.”

      This is one of the most blatant straw man arguments I have ever seen. No one believes that blacks are less intelligent than whites because of skin color. Blacks are less intelligent than whites because of their smaller, less complex brains. And why do blacks have these inferior brains? Genes. Thus, blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites. Skin color is irrelevant.

  42. ***Which is ridiculous- a thousand years in evolutionary terms is barely a blink of an eye.***

    SM, you appear to be channeling the late Stephen Jay Gould. Actually, there is now considerable evidence that the rate of evolutionary change accelerated over the past 10,000 or so years.

    The sweeping alleles we see are mostly regional – you see them in one group and not the other two. A fair fraction are neurological and likely to affect behavior in some way. For example, you see new versions of SLC6A4, a serotonin transporter, in Europeans and Asians. There’s a new version of a gene (DAB1) that shapes the development of the layers of the cerebral cortex in east Asia.

    And local selective pressures exerted even over several hundred years can cause big changes in cognitive function.

  43. Students of African stock do better in university worldwide than Euro or Asian students. The low scores in the Bell Curve applies only to blacks in the US. But even in the US, students from nations in Africa do better than all others. Plus, given the Europeans’ Manson-like mangling of the world, do you really want to argue that evolution made Euros smarter? Malcom X once thought that Euros are inherently deranged because of their history of heinous acts. Just love Christ and stop exposing your silly asses. All atheists and racists live unhappy lives and go to hell after.

  44. Pingback: Richard Dawkins is a Hypocrite, a Fool, and a Disgrace « Geoff's Blog

  45. Well… Dawkins’ forum has imploded. *Everyone* has been banned and they are shutting the forum down. This happened at the end of February. Read about it here:

  46. good news that Dawkins form has imploded.

    good riddance.

    anyone who is attempting to prevent an open and public and unconstrained debate on race and not just intelligence but ALL traits is the enemy of science, democracy, and freedom.

    what a lopsided pseudo debate!

    one side gets to say anything it wants, to the hysterical acclaim of the mainstream, the other side risks legal sanctions and job loss for stating unassailable facts.

    it is extraordinarily important to separate these two questions:

    question number one:

    should it be legal to state publicly that blacks are less intelligent on average than whites, and that the reasons are very probably genetic?

    question number two:

    is it true??

    it would be perfectly possible to say yes to number 1 and no to number 2 (blacks are less intelligent, but stating publicly should be proscribed)

    or no to number 1 and yes to number 2 (blacks are equally intelligent, but anyone has the right of the state to reverse: this is an issue of free speech)

    or yes to both, or no to both.

    at this point, the debate is being held hostage to a totalitarian censorship regime, and that is the issue that must be addressed FIRST before the issue of racial difference can be handled effectively (except in private, of course and on anonymous fora like this one).

    the fact I’m posting this anonymously means that we are dealing with a kind of totalitarianism, and speaking as a lifelong socialist and leftist, I sadly part company with my former comrades, because the freedom to express when one’s ideas openly is paramount.

    if Richard Dawkins were genuinely a man of science, he whould feel compelled to renounce his university post (his book royalties alone would enable him to retire in great luxury) and face down the PC dictatorship.

  47. This post is ridiculous. So the way you see it is that Dawkins is guilty until proven innocent. How ridiculous.
    Perhaps Dawkins has better things to do than speak to moderators on his website, trawling through message boards to find out what is going on? Just because he (possibly) doesn’t have the time to, or simply hasn’t, paid much attention to his message boards makes him a “hypocrite, a fool, and a disgrace”? Where is the direct hypocrisy to Dawkins exactly? How do we know it’s Dawkins who is being directly foolish, or disgraceful?
    It seems from this post that you are the fool.

    • How blind, self-righteous, hypocritical, and bigoted you are, Joe. Do you suck up to Dawkins? You and him can go straight to Hell for all I care.

  48. I was also banned from the Dawkins forum a couple of years ago for alleged “racism”.

    It looks as though there are paid moderators on there who have to keep everything politically correct or else the sky will fall on our heads. I think they may be Red Sea Pedestrians. Such “chosen” people always keep everything safely on track, don’t they?

  49. “Who in their right rational mind doesn’t dislike God or Creationists?”

    OMG. Yet another ignoramus atheist has spewed forth the latest atheist codswallop all while erroneously thinking himself smart.
    I’m guessing this blog is run by a 14 year old kid with a bad case of angst and a worse case of glaring ignorance and stupidity.

    You mean like Newton, who said, “Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors”?

    How about Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Clerk Maxwell, Albert Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Kelvin, Faraday, Pasteur, Townes, Godel, Marconi, von Braun…ALL men of strong religious beliefs, creationists?
    Now do you have any further idiocies to splatter around here from your unique perspective of pure imbecilic brainwashed foolishness?
    I hope not.

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