An Unwelcome Revival of Race Science

Somebody on Quora linked to a Guardian article from 2018 called “An Unwelcome Revival of Race Science” by Gavin Evans.

Here is my rebuttal:

I took the time to read your linked article. It does nothing to actually address the issue until halfway through. Then it simply rehashes tired, and debunked, notions, such as Lewontin’s Fallacy:

“Individuals often share more genes with members of other races than with members of their own race.” Yes… and many men are as short as the average woman – but this does nothing to negate the fact that there’s an average height difference between the two sexes.

Most shocking is the straw man argument that pervades the article – that race-realists deny the role of environment in IQ. The author doesn’t come out and state this explicitly, but the arguments he uses are based on this flawed assumption. The Flynn Effect was probably the result of better medical care, education and nutrition; nobody denies the importance of these factors. I say “was” because the Flynn Effect has now reversed itself; IQs are now DECLINING.

The same straw man argument is used when citing early IQ tests of Ashkenazi Jews and Orientals. Both groups had it hard in the early 20th century, and back then IQ tests were, indeed, culturally biased – as the author does point out.

Mr. Evans’ use of twin studies is a classic example of cherry picking. I am no fan of Charles Murray, and Murray’s data must be used with caution – but this doesn’t mean that his data is worthless, or that it should be entirely ignored.

Mr. Evans seems to be under the impression that humans either have intelligence or not, and that humans at the lower end of normal intelligence would be incapable of creativity or innovation:

“Set aside for a moment the fact that agriculture, towns and alphabets first emerged in Mesopotamia, a region not known for its cold spells. There is ample scientific evidence of modern intelligence in prehistoric sub-Saharan Africa. In the past 15 years, cave finds along the South African Indian Ocean coastline have shown that, between 70,000 and 100,000 years ago, biologically modern humans were carefully blending paint by mixing ochre with bone-marrow fat and charcoal, fashioning beads for self-adornment, and making fish hooks, arrows and other sophisticated tools, sometimes by heating them to 315C (600F). Those studying the evidence, such as the South African archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood, argue that these were intelligent, creative people – just like us.”

In fact, there’s a wide range that falls within the bounds of “modern intelligence.”

It’s also not surprising that the first civilizations would emerge in warmer temperate zones; that’s where agriculture and domestication of livestock would have been easier, with less harsh winters. The natives of Europe probably didn’t evolve the traits that we associate with advanced society until later, well after civilization had a chance to spread. It’s becoming increasingly evident that humans evolve much faster than previously thought.

Mr. Evans addresses this point by writing:

The problem here is that race scientists are not comparing like with like. Most of these physical changes involve single gene mutations, which can spread throughout a population in a relatively short span of evolutionary time. By contrast, intelligence – even the rather specific version measured by IQ – involves a network of potentially thousands of genes, which probably takes at least 100 millennia to evolve appreciably.
Given that so many genes, operating in different parts of the brain, contribute in some way to intelligence, it is hardly surprising that there is scant evidence of cognitive advance, at least over the last 100,000 years. The American palaeoanthropologist Ian Tattersall, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on Cro-Magnons, has said that long before humans left Africa for Asia and Europe, they had already reached the end of the evolutionary line in terms of brain power. “We don’t have the right conditions for any meaningful biological evolution of the species,” he told an interviewer in 2000.

He would do well to read The Ten Thousand Year Explosion by Cochran and Harpending. Therein, we see that the opposite is true; humans have experienced much more intense evolutionary pressure for increased intelligence – at least in certain locales. His assumption that evolution takes longer to act when there is a plurality of genes needs evidence – especially if we recognize that there may be more than one kind of intelligence.

Let’s be fair; we can’t expect one short article to be as comprehensive as the entire books written by race-realists. Nevertheless, a majority of the article simply tells us that “race-science has been debunked” and its promoters “have been ostracized.” The few actual arguments it presents are skeletal and flawed.
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