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Thread: Intelligence, race and related issues.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Intelligence, race and related issues.

    A thread to discuss the political implications of what is known or scientifically understood or appears to be the case regarding this topic. I opted for the politics thread, partly because as I understand it there is no consensus on much of the science and partly because it is the political aspects and implications that I am especially interested in. Obviously, biological science and genetics may also come into play. I myself am not an expert in those areas.

    I have chosen to focus on race in particular, though the general subject, and the nature/nurture aspects, could be looked at or affect other areas too (gender might be an alternative focus) and into socioeconomics generally.

    Here, to start the ball rolling is what I thought was an interesting article from The New York Times in 2006.....

    After the Bell Curve
    https://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/23/m...pagewanted=all

    ......which begins as follows:

    "When it comes to explaining the roots of intelligence, the fight between partisans of the gene and partisans of the environment is ancient and fierce. Each side challenges the other’s intellectual bona fides and political agendas. What is at stake is not just the definition of good science but also the meaning of the just society. The nurture crowd is predisposed to revive the War on Poverty, while the hereditarians typically embrace a Social Darwinist perspective."


    To put my head on the chopping block, I'm going to adopt the starting position that intelligence is most likely partly a result of nature and partly of nurture, and that there is (in any one lifetime and in any current society) and was (historically/ancestrally/globally) a complicated interplay of both.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 12-04-2019 at 03:28 PM.

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    Why focus on race? Studies are showing that the home is incredibly important for the child's educational potential being fulfilled. While genetics are a contributor, a Ferrari can't go 150 mph if you don't put gasoline in the car, likewise, a Prius can't go 90 mph if you don't put gasoline in it. Children don't need to be savants in order to make reaching their highest potential meaningful.

    Discussing race is just stupid, ignorant, and of having no basis in civilized conversation in the fucking 21st century. Students should be individually assessed in annual capability and the goal should be to increase that capability every year. Their race, gender, nationality, political affiliation of their parents are irrelevant. They are children, nothing less, and they need to be educated.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse. Anyone who takes the time to read these works should come away with a better understanding of the roots of inequalities across human societies.

    Today I equate race with tribe. Doing so helps me understand and overcome the instinctive, cultural prejudices associated with the word "race."

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse.
    I was literally about to post exactly that reference and you beat me too it. Definitely recommend these two books. They make so much sense of it all. Dumb luck plus a lot of time is why we have so much more cargo. Looking at most conflicts and most great powers that rise up can very much be explained by geography.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse. Anyone who takes the time to read these works should come away with a better understanding of the roots of inequalities across human societies.

    Today I equate race with tribe. Doing so helps me understand and overcome the instinctive, cultural prejudices associated with the word "race."
    Second this. It's not about genetics, it's about circumstances. And it's not about exploitation, it's about the luck of the deal. The only real human factors involved are reasonably good government vs bad government.

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    Elder Contributor barbos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse. Anyone who takes the time to read these works should come away with a better understanding of the roots of inequalities across human societies.

    Today I equate race with tribe. Doing so helps me understand and overcome the instinctive, cultural prejudices associated with the word "race."
    Second this. It's not about genetics, it's about circumstances. And it's not about exploitation, it's about the luck of the deal. The only real human factors involved are reasonably good government vs bad government.
    "Circumstances"="natural selection" affect genetics.

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    Contributor Trausti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse. Anyone who takes the time to read these works should come away with a better understanding of the roots of inequalities across human societies.

    Today I equate race with tribe. Doing so helps me understand and overcome the instinctive, cultural prejudices associated with the word "race."
    Second this. It's not about genetics, it's about circumstances. And it's not about exploitation, it's about the luck of the deal. The only real human factors involved are reasonably good government vs bad government.
    "Circumstances"="natural selection" affect genetics.
    Careful, barbos. Evolution and natural selection only apply when belittling religious fundamentalists. Otherwise, humans are impervious to selective changes evident in all other life.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    It's not about genetics, it's about circumstances.
    Probably too simplistic.

    For one thing, the idea that intelligence is both heritable and polygenic (influenced by more than one gene) is fairly well evidenced. Here is one study:

    Genome-wide association studies establish that human intelligence is highly heritable and polygenic.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182557/

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Any discussion of race would be greatly advanced by first reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then follow that up with his Collapse. Anyone who takes the time to read these works should come away with a better understanding of the roots of inequalities across human societies.
    I haven't read those, though I'm always meaning to. I'm sure they provide the understanding you say. My only caveat would be that genetics is or seems to be part of the picture also. Now, saying such a thing can and does risk the fact (if it is true) being misused or misunderstood, or overstated, but those considerations are slightly separate from the statement itself. And if we say that the biological and environmental processes are and have been in constant interplay, we can avoid the mistake of saying it's one or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Today I equate race with tribe. Doing so helps me understand and overcome the instinctive, cultural prejudices associated with the word "race."
    Yes, tribe is possibly a better term, especially if you are trying to lose the baggage associated with the word race. There are others too. Ethnic group. Family. Etc. And race is a loaded term, although as far as I know it can still be used and is used, by academics for instance. Not so much in terms of biology I believe (the majority opinion these days seems to be that race is a social construct, although I'm never sure I totally agree).

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    It is certainly PLAUSIBLE that there could be intellectual differences between races, but I've yet to see any evidence that any such differences exist that can be attributed to race or evolution. Over the past few hundred years successive generations in the west have been on average taller and smarter, but there's no reason to believe that this is because the tall and smart people are having more children. There is every reason to believe that better health care and nutrition are the reasons, and that's not genes being selected for, but the organism flourishing based on environmental rather than genetic factors. In fact since humans have taken more and more control over the environment, number of children surviving to breed themselves is having to do less and less with individual genetic factors, so there's less for evolution to operate on, except in regard to immunity to various diseases etc. Being smarter today doesn't mean you'll have more kids and pass your genes on.

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