Here’s an interesting video that explains the Butterfly Effect:
In essence, even the tiniest differences will cause large outcome disparities in complex systems. The weather is a prime example; each minute initial condition impacts others, feeds back upon itself – and can end up making the difference between a violent storm and a beautiful, sunny, day.
So it is with large human societies. There are so many variables at work that it’s impossible to point to one, with certainty, and say: This society is poor because of the “legacy of slavery.”
What factors come into play to determine what kind of society a large group of humans will produce?
Local/ethnic history, climate, religion, overall health and diseases, the local flora and fauna, geographical location such as proximity to the coast and the availability of water, terrain, gender ratios – and the genetic legacy of that population. All of these, and probably much more, shape the complex and dynamic entity we know as a “human society.”
Regarding the last item on the above list, “genetic legacy,” it’s what many of us refer to as “race.” It includes external characteristics such as average height, hair texture and color, eye-shape, skin color and ear size. But it also includes the propensity for various health conditions and resistance to others. It includes skeletal structure and bone density, hormone levels, differences in sexual dimorphism and longevity. It also includes differences in overall temperament and IQ. Racial distinctions do not necessarily apply to individuals; they’re a conglomerate of averages across regional populations – and, like so many other things in nature, they don’t need exact boundaries in order to exist. Visit a sandy beach; can you pinpoint the borderline between ocean and land?
The Butterfly Effect is about tiny differences – and no serious scientist would argue that, genetically speaking, human IQ is EXACTLY the same all ever the world. Instead, they argue that other factors explain the bulk of the IQ disparities we now observe. From Scientific American:
So far, the evidence suggests that infectious disease is a primary cause of the global variation in human intelligence. Since this is a developmental cause, rather than a genetic one, it’s good news for anyone who is interested in reducing global inequality associated with IQ. If the primary factors were genetic, as some have suggested, IQ would be very difficult to change.
Will a minuscule difference in average IQ cause tangible differences between human societies? The Butterfly Effect says: Yes!
But, as stated, average IQ is not the only biological difference between races. Hormone levels, or the frequency of psychopathy also vary, and it should be obvious that this will bring about societal differences. Any difference, no matter how small it is, when multiplied millions of times, will have consequences.
Of course there’s a flip side to this. Although many of us like to ridicule the concept of “The Legacy of Slavery,” the Butterfly Effect says differently. Even after 150 years, such a legacy will have an effect upon a large population.
But a large human society, such as American blacks (for example) is so complex that nobody can point to any one factor (such as the Legacy of Slavery, for example) and reasonably claim that it’s the cause of poverty or high crime rates. This would be akin to a weatherman claiming he knows the root cause of a hurricane.
I started with a video from DNews. Interestingly enough, the same fellow, in a different video, claims that race is only a “social construct.” In that video, we can clearly see how otherwise intelligent people lose their objectivity when it comes to race. He calls race “genetic adaptations,” but he also claims that they’re not real. It’s weird to see a scientist make the claim that genetic adaptations aren’t real. Then what are they? Figments of our imagination?
Am I misunderstanding the Butterfly Effect? Let me know in comments.