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Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee!!: Darwinism as support for racism

I have sometimes been excoriated for saying that Darwinism has been used to support racism.

Well, here is a classical modern day example, from no less a luminary than John Derbyshire:
First, the rational grounds. If a species is divided into separate populations, and those populations are left in reproductive isolation from each other for many generations, they will diverge. If you return after several hundred generations have passed, you will observe that the various traits that characterize individuals of the species are now distributed at different frequencies in the various populations. After a few ten thousands of generations, the divergence of the populations will be so great they can no longer cross-breed; and that is the origin of species. This is Biology 101.

[ ... ]

We see the same differences in traits that we don't think of as directly physical, what evolutionary psychologists sometimes refer to as the "BIP" traits — behavior, intelligence, and personality. Two of the hardest-to-ignore manifestations here are the extraordinary differentials in criminality between white Americans and African Americans, and the persistent gaps in scores when tests of cognitive ability are given to large population samples.

There is a huge academic literature on the gaps in cognitive test results, practically all of it converging on the fact that African American mean scores on cognitive tests fall below the white means by a tad more than one white standard deviation. There is in fact so much data on this now that we have meta-studies — studies of the studies: the one best-known to me is the meta-study by Roth et al. in 2001, which covered 39 studies involving nearly six million test-takers. That one standard deviation on cognitive testing has been so persistent across so many decades, a friend of mine, an academic sociologist, calls it "the universal constant of American sociology" — it's like the speed of light in physics.

Read the rest here.

I’m sure glad that I would be unable to demonstrate that I am an African or an American or an African-American. I’d feel so depressed hearing this that I would probably drop out of school, and maybe get frustrated and ... well, if a crime got committed, would reserve my defence.

By the way: Apologies to those who entered recent Uncommon Descent contests, so far unjudged. I was assigned a long chapter of a book on a subject I had never researched. I have not forgotten you. Indeed, I can’t. My Calendar persecutes me every morning. I will get to your entries as soon as I turn in the chapter.

Some people fear God rather than men. I fear men more than Calendars.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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