Nature of Race (Published)

Below is an expanded and much improved rewrite of a draft which I had posted last year — improved thanks to the helpful commentary of Davide Piffer, Emil Kirkegaard, Kevin MacDonald, Peter Frost, Meng Hu, and others. As for the work, the intent was to  clarify the concept of race, understood from the perspective of natural history, so to render the term which describes it inessential. It is hoped that the piece will also clarify the purpose of this blog, the focus of which is human varieties, of which races as constant varieties and natural divisions are but a subtype.

Fuerst, J. (2015). The Nature of Race. Open Behavioral Genetics.

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. In this paper, an onto-epistemology of biology is developed. What it is, by this, to be “biological real” and “biologically meaningful” and to represent a “biological natural division” is explained. Early 18th century race concepts are discussed in detail and are shown to be both sensible and not greatly dissimilar to modern concepts. A general biological race concept (GBRC) is developed. It is explained what the GBRC does and does not entail and how this concept unifies the plethora of specific ones, past and present. Other race concepts as developed in the philosophical literature are discussed in relation to the GBRC. The sense in which races are both real and natural is explained. Racial essentialism of the relational sort is shown to be coherent. Next, the GBRC is discussed in relation to anthropological discourse. Traditional human racial classifications are defended from common criticisms: historical incoherence, arbitrariness, cluster discordance, etc. Whether or not these traditional human races could qualify as taxa subspecies — or even species — is considered. It is argued that they could qualify as taxa subspecies by liberal readings of conventional standards. Further, it is pointed out that some species concepts potentially allow certain human populations to be designated as species. It is explained why, by conventional population genetic and statistical standards, genetic differences between major human racial groups are at least moderate. Behavioral genetic differences associated with human races are discussed in general and in specific. The matter of race differences in cognitive ability is briefly considered. Finally, the race concept is defended from various criticisms. First, logical and empirical critiques are dissected. These include: biological scientific, sociological, ontological, onto-epistemological, semantic, and teleological arguments. None are found to have any merit. Second, moral-based arguments are investigated in context to a general ethical frame and are counter-critiqued. Racial inequality, racial nepotism, and the “Racial Worldview” are discussed. What is dubbed the Anti-Racial Worldview is rejected on both empirical and moral grounds. Finally, an area of future investigation – the politics of the destruction of the race concept – is pointed to.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

Contents

Introduction………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………..4

I. Biology – A Philosophical Clarification…………………………………………..………………………………..……..5
I-A. Existing Views: Confusions Abound
I-B. Biological Concepts in General
I-C. The Validity of Biological Concepts
I-D. Biological Kinds
I-E. Natural Biological Divisions
I-F. Races as Natural Biological Divisions
I-G. The Intraspecific Natural Division as Type of Biological Variation
I-H. The Natural Division as a Taxonomic Unit
I-I. Natural Divisions and Intraspecific Variation with Regards to the Subspecies Category
I-J. Biologically Meaningful Race Concepts
I-K. Biological Reality
I-L. Biologically Important Differences
I-M. Concepts of Biological Race

II. The General Biological Race Concept………………………………………………………..………………..……..25
II-A. The Genealogy of the Concept
II-B. Semantic Complexities and the Evolution of the Race Concept
II-C. Biological Race
II-D. What the Core Biological Race Concept Does Not represent
II-E. Races, Clines, Clusters?
II-F. Clarification on the Meaning of “Arbitrary” and “Objective” in Context to Natural Divisions
II-G. Regarding Different Definitions of Biological Race: What Races Need Not Be
II-H. Genomic-Genealogical Complications
II-I. Estimated Genomic Similarity: Some Ambiguity
II-J. Race: Mixed and Undifferentiated
II-K. Essential and Cluster classes; Fuzzy and Discrete Sets
II-L. Sociological Clarifications

III. The Ontology of Biological Race……………………………………………….……………………………………..……62
III-A. Other Defenses of Biological Race
III-B. Biological Races and Biological Reality
III-C. Thin Biological Racial Essentialism

IV. The Races of Man……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………81
IV-A. A Very Brief Historical Review
IV-B. Human Biological Races and Scientific Consensus
IV-C. Racial Classifications and Biological Race Concepts
IV-D. Traditional human Races
IV-E. THRs and Biologically Objective Races
IV-F. THRs and Migration, Intermixing, and Ancient Admixture
IV-G. THRs and Cluster Discordance
IV-H. THRs and Taxonomy
IV-I. THRs and Subspecies
IV-J. Are There Human Species?
IV-K. “Significant” Racial Differences
IV-L. Human Biodiversity (HBD) and Society
IV-M. Race and Intelligence

V. Critique of Anti-Biological Race Arguments………………………………….…………………………………….126
V-A. Anti-Biological Arguments
V-B. Biological Scientific Arguments
V-C. Sociological Arguments
V-D. Unnaturalistic Arguments and the Numbers Game
V-E. Onto-epistemology Arguments
V-F. Semantic Arguments
V-G. No-True-Race Arguments
V-H. Teleological Argument: The Future of Race
V.I. Can a Good Argument be Made Against (the) Race (concept)?

VI. A Troublesome Inheritance?…………………………………………………………………………………………………148
VI-A. The Social Destruction of a Biological Reality
VI-B. A Not So New Morality for Race
VI-C. The Moral Critiques: Arguments based on Outcome Differences
VI-D. The Moral Critiques: Arguments based on Racial Classification and Identity
VI-E. The Moral Critiques: Arguments based on Racial Favoritism
VI-F. The Moral Critiques: Arguments based on the “Racial Worldview”

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………169

References…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………170

 

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12 thoughts on “Nature of Race (Published)

  1. This is a book worthy of formal print-publication. If political incorrectness precludes an academic press, I’d think Washington Summit or Nine-Banded Books would be willing to publish it. The 9BB twitter account actually tweeted a link to this article, so I’m confident Chip Smith would be willing.

    • The uncertainty surrounding the race-IQ debate will be significantly narrowed before the end of the year because (1) more cognitive alleles have been found:
      http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2015/06/more-gwas-hits-on-cognitive-ability.html, because (2) the results from Emil and my regional admixture project will be published, and because — if I can find someone to work on it — (3) a paper on individual level genomic admixture and cognitive outcomes in the U.S. will be published (I finally procured a data set). So, I was thinking of waiting. In the meantime, the paper could still use some editing. If you know of anyone, I could pay them maybe $300.

      • Half of the reason it looked like shit was because I used word 2003 to make the PDF. I did not really notice the mentioned problems as I edited and read the work primarily as a doc file. I changed it to a word 2013 PDF file. See if it looks better.

    • Too busy these days. But for what I can see, I know that Chuck won’t be impressed. Personally, I would like to see a real IQ test (not GCSE stuff) that measures cognitive ability and nothing else (e.g., culture, school-knowledge, …) such as reaction times. If in such a test, you see a sizeable black-white narrowing, larger than predicted by HH, I would start to believe that the HH is considerably weakened.

      When your article talks about culture/knowledge as a cause of the narrowing, I think the author needs to reveal it in a statistical way. For instance, by using MGCFA or IRT. I have conducted MGCFA on the Woodcock Johnson’s data, used in Charles Murray’s (2007) paper. The data have 3 waves, and all were (more or less) measurement invariant, which means there is no (or little) cultural bias. If the narrowing in the WJ was due to cultural bias, I would have expected the model fitting to be more MI in recent waves than in early waves (and the cultural bias to be one-sided, i.e., against blacks); I don’t see that. So, the narrowing in that data has (almost) nothing to do with culture. Of course, it could be that MGCFA was not really able of detecting cultural bias. Who knows; maybe MGCFA is a silly technique.

      That being said, I want to remind you that your question is a little bit off-topic considering the blog article here “The Nature of Race” (you should repost it on a different blog article, for instance, this one). If you are interested, you can read and leave a comment regarding the conversation we have in the submission thread of that paper, right here.

    • After looking through the data, I responded:

      “@Chanda Chisala
      @pumpkinperson

      I went through the math and found similar results. Using Barro-Lee’s Data set, 1990 and 2000 Nigerian/African emigrants to the OECD were ~ 2.2 SD selected in educational attainment (years of schooling).

      Pumpkinperson makes a mistake when it comes to estimating offspring IQ, though. The kind of random variance that doesn’t pass along across generations also happens to be the kind of variance that doesn’t predict outcomes (references on request). Thus if you select for IQ by a proxy variable like EA, IQ differences will almost fully be passed on since you already mostly eliminated the noise component. Thus, given an IQ x EA correlation, the kids should be only a little less than 1.4 SD selected.

      I’m not sure that we can assume a Nigerian/African IQ x EA correlation of 0.7. But I think that it’s reasonable to posit that Black Africans are at least 1 SD selected in IQ. I just looked through the PIAAC and other assessment scores. Black African adults age 16 to 65 score not more that 1 SD below the UK white mean. It’s more like 0.8 — and this is on (cultural loaded) reading and math tests. (Wide confidence intervals, though.)

      If we assume that most of these adults are African born and if we grant that Black Africans have measured IQs ~ 1.66 to 2 SD below the white adult UK mean, there must be significant selection. Further, Rindermann et al.’s paper, “Cognitive ability and epistemic rationality”, put the educated Nigerian IQ at about 15 points above the national average. Granted the sample size was tiny. These educated Nigerians would be the type that migrated to the UK. Anyways, these three points taken together suggest that Nigerian/African emigrants fall around at least the 84% percentile in cognitive ability relative to the Nigerian/African mean.

      Of course, we don’t have Nigerian/African biometric variance component estimates, so we are kind of stuck, unless we are willing to make strong inferences.

      Now, Chanda, I looked through your data. The “Raising the Achievement of Black African Pupils: Good Practice in Schools” paper was rubbish. The Black African sample size appears to be 411. And the schools were selective. Whites at those very schools performed 13 “percent points” above the national average — and Black Caribbeans 16. Indeed, discussing the sample, the authors note:

      “Six secondary schools with a high number of Black African students that serve disadvantaged communities were selected for case studies. The case study schools’ GCSE results were exceptionally good.. Key criteria for the selection of schools were as follow:
      –an above‐average proportion of students who are eligible for free school meals
      –‘outstanding’ or ‘good with outstanding features’ grades overall in the most recent Ofsted inspection
      –exceptionally good results, high standards
      –sustained GCSE improvement over the last 10 years”

      Hmmm… When I made the appropriate adjustments only Igbo (N= 16?, d = 0.68), Ga (N= 8?, d = 0.10), and TwiFante (N=37?, d= 0.15) performed above UK Whites at the same (select) schools (where d = the standardized difference). Your whole case, in that regards, ends up resting on the performance of a tiny group of Igbo speaking kids at an unrepresentative set of schools. (Note: I computed sample sizes by multiplying 411 by the reported % who spoke the language– it’s not clear if the 411 is for each year or for all year or what; the authors just note:
      “Of the 411 Black African students who took GCSE, 21% spoke English at home, 22% Yoruba, 13% Somali, 9% Twi‐Fante, 5% French, 4% Igbo, 4% Krio…”

      To be fair, you do cited other results. You note “A 2007 report on “case study” model schools in Lambeth…” and then mention again the amazing results of Ibo. But this is by the same author as above using the same sample, one which ran from 2007 to 2011. The same problems for this subsample exist as they do for the full case study sample!

      Now the Nigerians scores are more interested. Scores by immigrant nations are problematic, in general, since many African immigrants are White European or Asian. See, for example, Table 5 in Easterly and Nyarko’s (2008) “Is the brain drain good for Africa?”. However the vast majority of Nigerian emigrants happen to be Black, so in this case the scores can be in this respect unproblematically used.

      The Nigerian scores are though problematic on other accounts. Firstly, the paper you cited along with others noted that only select schools adopted extended ethnic codes, thus nationally representative samples and scores are unavailable. Second, I was able to find papers which reported multi-school Nigerian GCSE scores for three years: 2003, 2005, 2010/2011. (The one you reported plus one with 2005 data.) The standardized differences relative to UK Whites (transforming percent into d-value based on some questionable assumptions which the GCSE reporting method forces us to make) were 0, 0, and 0.6.

      I appreciate that you feel that the 2010/2011 value is the “true” one, but it’s impossible to tell. All of the papers which discuss these extended ethnicity codes noted that across time scores are not comparable since at different times different schools adopt different extended codes.
      So where does this leave us? It leaves us with what I already wrote 3 1/2 years ago and some suggestive evidence that Nigerians may perform between 0 and 0.6 SD above the Black African ~
      White UK mean. So basically, no progression from the mean I set; you are not even close to a reasonably sound argument!

      To constructs a dispositive one, you would need:
      (a) the latent ability differences between the natives of the UK and of West Africa
      (b) the latent ability differences between natives and Black emigrants from West Africa
      (c) the latent ability differences between White natives and the children of Black emigrants from West Africa
      (d) the environmental and genetic variance components for all four groups.

      Of course, we can only hold you to Lynn’s standards — which aren’t particularly high. So we can’t expect you to move beyond manifest values.

      As for those I just checked the 2013 GCSE scores and they were roughly the same as in 2010. And in 2010 the Black African CAT3 FSIQ score would have been around 0.6 SD below the UK white mean. (The average subtlest score d-value was around 0.5 SD.) So Black African parity with UK Whites in GCSE seems to be consistent with a Black African – White cognitive d-value of around 0.6.

      Generally, assuming that emigrant Black Africans are at least 1 SD selected relative to the mean and assuming that the h2 (narrow heritability) + c2 (shared environment) in Africa is ~0.6, the data is consistent with a proposed African “genotypic IQ” — a confused concept, but one everyone seems to employ — of 85.

      This is precisely what I deduced 3.5 years ago! All you managed to do is show that for Nigerians the calculations might possibly be more complex.

      And this: “…even if hereditarians can somehow manage to convincingly argue that the Nigerian (or Igbo) children in the UK do in fact have a lower IQ than average white children, as their biological model predicts (despite our evidence), they also have to show that these West African children even have a lower IQ than average black American children”

      Get out of here. I came across this on Wikipedia:

      “Most Igbo slaves were not victims of slave-raiding wars or expeditions, but were sometimes debtors and people who committed what their communities considered to be abominations or crimes”

      Probably not the educational elite being sold off.”

  2. I have a question:

    When you create your national, racial or other IQ averages, why do you rely on values that were collected in studies that are sometimes more than 40 years old ?

    I mean, if I’m a cloth manufacturer who needs to sell merchandise to Nigeria now in 2015, I need the average height of Nigerians now and not their height in 70’s with vague estimations of what it could be now in 2015.

    Because if you are familiar with Wicherts et al. you get confused with the figures.

    Values from 2006 and 2007 based on international standardized tests of scholastic achievement indicate an IQ of 88.1 .

    Values from various studies and from various years between the 1960’s and now gave an average of 83.5 according to their authors and 69 according to Richard Lynn.

    Other values, also reported the 5 last decades were selected on systematic criteria by Wicherts et al. and gave me an average of 83.8

    So tell me, what is Nigeria’s average brain cloth size ? Who should I trust ? It’s important for me to know because I won’t sell if the merchandise does not fit their brains. I’m talking serious business, not about shaming Nigerians on the size they need…

    • Firstly, I do not care for snide moral shaming. Persist and you will find yourself banned.

      Secondly, national variance in measured cognitive ability causally explains some national variance in socioeconomic outcomes. Since many are concerned about the latter, it is reasonable for them and others to be interested in the former. Concern about differences entails concern about the cause thereof. Genetic factors are plausible causal ones; moreover, deleterious congenital influences are potentially ameliorable. No further — and much less — justification is needed for this line of inquiry.

      Thirdly, the “NofR” paper was not primarily about racial differences in behavioral traits. I discussed the issue only because some contend that the race concept is harmful — and so should go unrecognized — because it conditions racial discrimination as evidenced by outcome differences. I noted that the precise cause of outcome differences is yet undetermined and I articulated an alternative (non-racial discrimination, hereditarian) model. I had imagined that I was fairly clear regarding my intent: “Our point here, though, is not to argue the case for average congenital biological racial differences in intelligence or other behavioral traits. It is simply to note that the issue is presently undetermined. This has bearing on some of the argument leveled against the biological race concept.”

      That said, I did present “racial or other IQ averages” (table 4.13). These specific scores were taken from Christainsen (2013) and were presented (1) because scores were decomposed by genetically defined racial clusters and (2) because the statistical effects of a numbers of socioeconomic factors — the types of factors that you yourself had pointed to as confounds — were controlled for. I was unable to locate a paper which both reported adjusted scores by genetic cluster and which used only very recent data. As such, my options were limited. I did refer readers to other compilations. I also noted a number of reasons on account of which “to be skeptical about the existence of a genetic basis for such differences”. Overall, I feel that my treatment of the topic was unusually even-handed. I recognize, though, that one can not please everyone.

      This all said, your concern seems to be more with various African estimates. On that matter, I would refer you to: Rindermann’s (2013) “African cognitive ability: Research, results, divergences and recommendations.” As noted by the author, an unadjusted measured regional African IQ of around 75 fits the data. More recent IQ data — e.g., from Lynn’s 2015/2016 compilation in progress –agrees with this.

  3. Sorry, I have been away. Was there something specific which you would like me to comment on? If you would like to discuss the topic in depth you can always email me at: j122177(at)hotmail.com

  4. “The aforementioned friend also had at a previous time the experience of being attacked by demons while on psychedelics…This obsession with the girl was finally cured by reading Schopenhauer’s essay “On Women”, and realizing how much of her behavior was reflected by that generalization.”

    Sounds like my 20s.

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