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  •  Probably not "completely off limits" here. (0+ / 0-)

    In any case, your claim is wrong, since it is self-contradictory:

    Race is of course largely a social construct, but there is a genetic basis of the differences.
    The differences between what exactly?

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Wed May 08, 2013 at 04:18:05 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  "no conclusive evidence" for a reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calvino Partigiani

      From aguadito's original comment:

      no conclusive evidence for either environmental or genetic explanations for those differences
      The reason there's no conclusive evidence is that it's essentially impossible to separate biology from culture in a big enough group to get a statistically valid sample.

      I think it's reasonably clear that there is some genetic component to intelligence--within all races. But it's also clear that IQ is not fixed by genetics--it is significantly influenced by environment. Separate identical twins (of any race) at birth and give one better nutrition, healthcare, early childhood stimulus, family encouragement and example, etc., and most of the time that one will end up with a higher IQ.

      In the USA, those environmental factors are heavily influenced by culture, which is heavily influenced by race.

      This is really about decisionmaking with incomplete information. I do not rule out the possibility that someday IQ will be measured adequately, and will be found to be linked to biological, not social, components of race. But until extremely strong evidence of that is produced, I choose to believe there is no such biological link. And more importantly, I choose to support public policies that treat people as if there is no such biological link.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:57:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm basically in agreement with your comment, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        both in substance and tone.  And I am better informed after reading your claims.

        However, I would respectfully point out that several times you refer to "race" as a given category of analysis.  My response to aguadito was that "race" is not a valid biological category.  It's a social construct. So just let me reiterate that fact, that we can talk about race as an artificial, social fact, but not as a biological reality.

        "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

        by Calvino Partigiani on Wed May 08, 2013 at 06:14:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's partly biological. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calvino Partigiani

          Example:

          Gaining a deep insight into human evolution, researchers have identified a mutation in a critical human gene as the source of several distinctive traits that make East Asians different from other races.

          The traits — thicker hair shafts, more sweat glands, characteristically identified teeth and smaller breasts — are the result of a gene mutation that occurred about 35,000 years ago, the researchers have concluded.

          The discovery explains a crucial juncture in the evolution of East Asians. But the method can also be applied to some 400 other sites on the human genome. The DNA changes at these sites, researchers believe, mark the turning points in recent human evolution as the populations on each continent diverged from one another.

          http://www.nytimes.com/...

          Now of course that's not about the brain. But if hair, sweat glands, breasts, and teeth can be affected by racially-disparate evolution, then most likely the brain can be, too.

          Whether the brain has or has not been affected by racially-disparate evolution remains to be seen.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:43:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I read the NYT article. But the link to (0+ / 0-)

            the scientific article on which the NYT article is based only gave an abstract, not the full article.  In the abstract, at least, the word "race" is absent.  So the NYT article doesn't provide any evidence that race is a biologically meaningful concept.  

            I'd be interested if the study in question uses the concept of race, but the NYT link doesn't provide it.

            "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

            by Calvino Partigiani on Wed May 08, 2013 at 08:04:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Another example. (0+ / 0-)

              A common blood test to check kidney function is for serum creatinine. Serum creatinine is affected by muscle mass. The normal range for serum creatinine is different for African-Americans than for caucasians, because the average African-American body has a higher % of muscle mass than the average caucasian's. (The normal range is also different for men than for women, for the same reason.) This is easily confirmed via Google; here's just one link--scroll down to Table 1: http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/...

              Also worth looking at--dealing with creatine kinase, which is related to creatinine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

              Practical application: the % of professional athletes who are African-American exceeds the % of African-Americans in the general population. Perhaps this is due to cultural factors; Jim Crow and its many lingering cultural effects made and still make it more difficult for African-Americans to succeed in many non-sports professions. But it could also be partly due to the average African-American having a higher muscle mass than people of other races.

              Does this mean a coach considering drafting a running back should always pick the black one? Or should favor the black one, all other things being equal? No. The coach isn't considering average candidates; he's considering two individuals, each of whom varies from average characteristics in many important ways. The same principle applies to anyone hiring for any position--college professor, manager, CEO, President, whatever. And even if, someday, it's proven that races have different average IQs, the same principle will still be true: when we encounter an individual, we're not encountering an average. Each person should be judged on his or her own characteristics, not the (real or imagined) characteristics of the average member of his or her race.

              The pernicious idea that we should judge people based on real or imagined group characteristics, instead of individual characteristics, is the social construct of race.

              The fact that this social construct is unjustified--and it is indeed unjustified--does not mean that there is no biological aspect of race.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:14:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  And environment begins in the womb (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        So even the best "identical twins separated at birth" studies are still biased by a common environment for some time.

        Americans can make our country better.

        by freelunch on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:35:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's incredibly ignorant and ascientific (0+ / 0-)
        This is really about decisionmaking with incomplete information. I do not rule out the possibility that someday IQ will be measured adequately, and will be found to be linked to biological, not social, components of race. But until extremely strong evidence of that is produced, I choose to believe there is no such biological link.
        Think about it...

        If there is no biological (presumably you mean genetic) link then obviously you cannot have selection pressure on intelligence - you can't select for a non-hereditary trait.

        Therefore, you can't have evolution of intelligence.

        Therefore, obviously, human intelligence did not evolve.

        Um... really want to go there?  Presumably God saw some cute hairless apes on the savannah and said "Let them be smart!"?

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