Monday, October 22, 2007

Geneticist denies reality for cash

Johnjoe McFadden is a molecular geneticist, so the fact that he can start a comment article with this sentence is absolutely fucking appalling.
Despite his frantic backtracking, James Watson's statement that Africans are less intelligent than Europeans follows a long and dubious tradition of geneticists claiming that supposed racial differences have a genetic basis.

Look, race has a genetic basis. At the most basic and simplistic level, the fact that black people are black and not white is because of a genetic difference, inherited genes that code for enhanced melanin production in the skin.

Thus there is a genetic basis to the single most obvious difference on which the whole concept of race is built. To deny that their might be other factors based on a genetic difference between races is just incredibly fucking stupid: it is a dangerous subsumation of science to political expediency.

There is a genetic basis to race: the concept of race is built on genetic differences. End of story. But, as Timmy emphasises, it isn't actually something that is necessarily important.
We can argue that race isn’t an important idea, that our common humanity (and indeed, the fact that variability within groups is almost always larger than that between group averages) means we should disregard it.

We can also argue that while some things are indeed racial differences and have a genetic basis, that the things that people think are (to be crude, dick size, or to be less so, sexual appetite, or in this case, intelligence) are in fact not.

But to claim that none of the observable differences between different groups of humans have a genetic basis is simply absurd.

Quite, and to observe a geneticist doing so, presumably in order to pander to the prejudices of his paymasters, is a very sad event for scientists everywhere.


knirirr said...

presumably in order to pander to the prejudices of his paymasters

I'm not aware of any national socialist funding bodies. In fact, I would think that this sort of thing is less likely to secure funding.

Devil's Kitchen said...

I meant that he will have been paid for that article.


Newmania said...

You have misunderstood ( judging only from your quote ) .He does not say that there is no genetic component to race . He says that other geneticists have argued that supposed racial differences have a genetic basis. He does not mean observable facts by which we describe race but traits that are detected across populations which are dubiously ascribed a racial determinant , Intelligence eg. It is slightly ambiguously expressed but surely this is the meaning.

As such he is quite correct. I was absolutely disgusted with the independent for this and the EU government adrress as well.

Foloowing up the actual remarks I said at the time ...( if anyone is interested )

The statement ‘Black people do worse at IQ tests is’ is, at a simple level, true . Righties deliberately confuse it with that much more slippery substance ,’ the truth’. The following statements are also "True"

1 Black races are unusually subject to poor childhood diet. This effect is un quantifiable
2 The phenotypic effects of genetic inheritance in new environments is un quantifiable .For example are Indian men genetically prone to heart disease or predisposed to certain diets in the aggregate . What is the causality ?
3 It is perhaps the weakest caveat but the cultural input of IQ testing is not something that can be ignored, neither can the class and economic group bias . I appreciate that the effort is resolutely to achieve sound methodology but only a misunderstanding of science assumes it has been successful, because it claims to have been
4 We are all descended from a small group of Africans recently . There are at least four other out groups in Africa . Which black people are you talking about ?
5 Races are not fixed and nascent adaptive features can spread quickly though populations in particular circumstances which cannot be called racial characteristics . Islanders tend to become larger over a short period of time . This not a racial feature, it might become one and such shifts are swirling constantly in the liquid landscape in which the incidence of features occurs.
6 If I were to say Samoans tend to be fat this does not make the Samoan babe in front of me fat nor does it mean that Samoans have to be fat nor does it mean it is racial feature and nor does it mean my measurement of fatness is objective.Given the right diet and training samoans are,incidentally , the most man for man gifted set of athletes in the world. Nutrition and enviroment act with inheritance in un foreseebale ways .
7 Homosexuals.Explain that scientists? No-one ,as Richard Dawkins admitted , can at this time . There are whole vistas concerning inheritance of pesonality traits where we have absolutely nothing but guesswork to go on

.We know the avaricious egomania that drove Watson and let him be free to drivel. I am free to pour scorn on that vile rag the Independent for sinking to such depths and for anyone who pretends to the Western religion of science worship (usually adopting an ignorant cowering posture familar to accolytes of magical religions world wide )
This is the opposite of science and surely we must be aware of how misunderstanding of Darwin has given encouragement to the worst sort of self love and brutality in the past.

Science is not outside poltical cultural input .We do not wander wide eyed like curious Alice into medical surveys conducted by the Tobacco industry, or Climatology financed by superstates.Scientific work on passive smoking and anything else pertaining to immediate social question should be met by a default response.......

" What the fuck do you know about it , who is paying you and why do you ask ?"

The answer here is

Your Publisher
To make money and show off

gordon-bennett said...

Here's a link to a calm discussion of IQ and race.

Perhaps newmania would care to comment.

purplepangolin said...

In response to newmania's comment about the explicability of homosexuality, I believe that there have been twin studies that indicate that there is, at least, a partial genetic component.

On the face of it, this might seem strange as one might think that people with homosexual inclinations would tend to have fewer offspring. If these preferences are on a continuum, rather than one or the other, then at least some will have children. Also, there may be cultural pressure to have children. Still, over time, one might expect the gene for homosexuality to become less prevalent.

However, if this gene also brings some survival benefits in other situations, then it may offset the lower numbers of offspring and result in a balanced population with this gene. A similar case is the gene for sickle cell aneamia which can protect against malaria. I tink there are also some genes which have different effects in the male and female populations. What if the gene for male homosexuality causes enhanced fertility in women?

Anyway, this rather rambling post is just to say that although science may not have explained a genetic link with homosexuality, it is easy to come up with a plausible hypothesis for such a link.

Anonymous said...

The fuhrer must win.