Racism and Over-Tolerance

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Dark567 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:51 am UTC

thc wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You can't breed with a chimp.

I have to ask. But you know this because...?


Humans and Chimps have different amounts of chromosomes.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:48 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
thc wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You can't breed with a chimp.

I have to ask. But you know this because...?


Humans and Chimps have different amounts of chromosomes.

I seriously hope you don't think that answers the question.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby King Author » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:05 am UTC

It does. The scientific definition of "species" is predicated upon which organisms are capable of producing fertile offspring with one another. Furthermore, attempts to impregnate non-human primates with human genetic material have been attempted in the past, and were unsuccessful. You may as well ask why a human can't breed with a humpback whale -- it's a simple fact. Your choice is only to accept it or refute it with evidence to the contrary. As none here are experts on anything, as far as I'm aware, I think everyone would do with a cooling-off before continuing.

And since it appears that sourmilk, the topic creator, has no desire to further participate in the discussion, I will make a reply to his original topic query (I have no intention of getting sidetracked into this ridiculous debate over genetics and race -- which I shall continue to consider ridiculous until someone shows me their Masters degree in Human Genetics, or at the least, provides links to scholarly articles on the subject, rather than mouthing off ignorantly).

sourmilk wrote:I've noticed that, as of late, instead of racism what society has now is a sort of forced tolerance. This is reflected in affirmative action laws and the fact that people can't point out valid cultural differences between people of different ethnicities or religions for fear of being called prejudiced. People disregard rational and reproducible observations for fear that they'll be considered racist. For example, a technician at a sleep study hospital was nervous about saying that Asians tended to have sleep apnea more often than caucasians.

So I ask you, members of the XKCD fora, at what point does racism stop and this over-tolerance begin? What constitutes an appropriate generalization over a culture based on observation, and what constitutes a baseless stereotype?

Your question presupposes the existence of such a thing as "over-tolerance." The only definition of this bizarre term I can extract from your brief post is that it is "over-tolerance" when someone is affraid to so much as acknowledge the existence of racial differences, even if they are benign, for fear of being labeled a racist.

Labeling this phenomenon, which I do indeed believe is quite real, as "over-tolerance" makes the dangerous and logically unsound claim that it is, as the name would suggest, an extreme form of tolerance. That is to say, it purports that tolerance is something, itself, dangerous and to be kept in check, lest it run out of control to some socially injurious conclusion.

I reject this outright. Fear of being labeled as racist for pointing out observations as benign as "descendants of Asians have a higher incidence of osteoperosis" is not a result of "forced" tolerance (again, you appear to be framing "tolerance" as something terrible and perhaps nonsensical), nor is it wise to blame on society what can be pinned on the individual.

In a word (or two): white guilt.

The racial majority is indeed - as the lengthy article Jessica posted noted - reluctant to outwardly and openly acknowledge the continued problem of racism in American culture today. However, individual members of the racial majority sometimes personally hold unspecific feelings of guilt over the state of race relations today and in the past. A lot of the lingering discomfort whites in America have about non-whites isn't hatred, suspicion, fear or superiority (though it can and does often manifest as such), but an implacable sense of guilt and a wish to be forgiven and accepted, but a desperate, irrational fear of bringing such up.

Indeed, the article by Tim Wise, which highlights the problem of racism denial among the racial majority, does nothing to explain it. I believe the explanation to be white guilt. A white person, feeling a sense of guilt over the actions of the ancestors and the continued action of their bretheren today, subconsiously alleviates this guilt using defense mechanisms, rather than consciously and pro-actively tackling the problem itself. The most often-used and socially-acceptable defense mechanism is simple denial and ignorance. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Hence, denial of racism.

It is, of course, folly of you, sourmilk, to start a topic questioning the motives and beliefs of the entire white population of America based upon an isolated incident, rather than trying to understand the incident itself. Likely, the person in question who was afraid to speak even of something as benign as racial osteoperosis differences suffered personal misconceptions. I don't believe that "over-tolerance" is a problem whatsoever. I don't believe it exists. White guilt and strained race relations, of course, do.

As for what constitutes an apropriate generalization over a culture, I won't get into that, since now you're confusing the quite-different concepts of race and culture, and I fear your confusion at the outset of the topic would only lead to misconception and directionless argument, as it quite plainly already has, and I've no intentions of furthering that.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:57 am UTC

It does. The scientific definition of "species" is predicated upon which organisms are capable of producing fertile offspring with one another. Furthermore, attempts to impregnate non-human primates with human genetic material have been attempted in the past, and were unsuccessful. You may as well ask why a human can't breed with a humpback whale -- it's a simple fact. Your choice is only to accept it or refute it with evidence to the contrary. As none here are experts on anything, as far as I'm aware, I think everyone would do with a cooling-off before continuing.


Yes. Heed your own advice. Stop acting like an expert.

Having differing amount of chromosomes is not an absolute barrier towards reproduction. (There are even alive humans with a different number of chromosomes than the majority). Saying "it does" with no exception or even citation is something only an "expert" would do. The fact is, there are an infinitude of examples of interspecies breeding practically everywhere. The fact is (also), there is strong evidence that chimpanzee and human lineages interbred in the past. (And no, I won't provide citation, since that's apparently okay in this thread).

Analogizing humpback whales x humans to humans x chimpanzee is a red herring. The amount of genetic similarity is nowhere near in the same range, and the simple fact is, human x chimpanzee hybrids have NEVER been dis-proven to any statistical significance. But honestly, all that is not even relevant in the slightest. This is such a huge tangent, I seriously don't even.

It isn't required to prove that different races = different species. It's just required showing that there are significant genetic dissimilarity between populations based on geographical origin (which has most definitely been shown in my first citation). I empathize with being skeptical about the genetic basis of race. I really, really do. Perhaps the outward appearances between races are not as different as we perceive them? And while that sentiment may still hold true, it is just not a rational position to deny the genetic basis of these differences in this scientific age. There is simply more than enough information out there proving otherwise; this discussion has veered from a difference of values to a simple denial of scientific facts, and that is sad.

The scientific definition of race is this: "In biology, a race is any inbreeding group, including taxonomic subgroups such as subspecies, taxonomically subordinate to a species and superordinate to a subrace and marked by a pre-determined profile of latent factors of hereditary traits." Human populations geographically seperated by tens of thousands of years most definitely fits that definition.

I believe what mosc and others truly want to argue is that the colloquial concept of race is a social construct. This is an idea, I can get behind. For example, it is probably true that there is much less of a difference between European Caucasians and Middle Eastern Caucasians than people think. And that is obviously due to culturey/religiony stuff.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby imantodes » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:22 am UTC

King Author wrote:It does. The scientific definition of "species" is predicated upon which organisms are capable of producing fertile offspring with one another.


No, that's an 8th grade textbook definition of "species", and is a poorly simplified version of Ernst Mayr's "Biological Species Concept" in which species are "groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups". The simplified version misses a couple of key points: 1) reproductive isolation and incapabability of producing fertile offspring are different things; species that are capable of interbreeding may not do so due to behavioral or ecological isolation (and various less frequent phenomena; how exactly to deal with geographic isolation remains an unresolved point); 2) usually, disjunction in character states (whether those characters be morphological, genetic, etc.) is interpreted as evidence of reproductive isolation, rather than any direct captive tests of interbreeding being conducted (besides being prohibitively time-consuming in many cases, there are a wide variety of reasons why such data may be suspect; e.g., behavior of captive animals often differs from that of their wild counterparts), and so the methodology implied by the above simplistic species concept is by no means indicative of normal taxonomic procedure.

Furthermore, Mayr's "Biological Species Concept" is, despite the rather misleading (or self-aggrandizing...) name, by no means the final word in biological species concepts. In some subfields of taxonomy (e.g., herpetological taxonomy), it is no longer the dominant concept.

In other words, you really haven't got a clue what the hell it is you're talking about.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby King Author » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:13 am UTC

So no one wants to talk about racism and "over-tolerance" anymore? You just want to bicker like children arguing whose father is stronger over scientific definitions, each presupposing his own intelligence and superiority, not a one citing sources? Each sitting back and demanding the other prove this and that, while offering nothing of his own but questions asked with a foul attitude? Very well. But leave me out of it.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

thc wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You can't breed with a chimp.

I have to ask. But you know this because...?

I could cite this and state that in absence of any samples to prove otherwise, it is a good assumption, given the profit to be found to producing said sample. That is, unless your asking me if I have had carnal knowledge of a chimp.
thc wrote:
morriswalters wrote:The problem with any difference isn't in the difference, it's in the way we choose to interpret it. We tend to use it as a cudgel. To dismiss a person based on exterior measures of their worth. You condemn all, and treat all the same, even though as individuals we have the same types of variances within each race.



Agreed. But you see, this isn't what anyone in this thread has ever said. All I see in this discussion is people stating racial classification = racism, with zero evidence or citation to back that up.


This refers to the OP's statement about over-tolerance. This is why we have to use caution when discussing qualitative differences among races. Perhaps "You condemn all", should have been "We condemn all" since it refers to society rather than this thread.

The statement about variances refers to the fact that within racial groups variation is normally distributed. The differences in racial groupings lie in where the mean occurs. For instance skin pigmentation varies within each racial group as well as between the groups.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Indon » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:49 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Ok, since I've explained his argument, let's see if you can do the same. What was Summers' argument, pointing out unsupported statements?

How about I quote his argument?
Larry Summers, courtesy of Wikipedia wrote:So my best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.

What he has is 'just-so' stories about inherent differences and no evidence that the differences are actually inherent.

Also. "High intensity". Seriously, shovel some more.

Vaniver wrote:The first is heavily supported,

No it's not. Intelligence doesn't even have a solid agreed-upon definition in the field, let alone a well-supported measurement standard.

IQ is an ad-hoc measurement form that may correlate with intelligence if we could agree on what intelligence is in the first place. It is probably the best we have, but that doesn't mean it's good.

Vaniver wrote:and the second is a weaker form of the full argument, and is also heavily supported (it only needs to be partially genetic; no one credibly claims intelligence is entirely the result of environmental factors).

Claims about g are largely unsupported by actual genetics (we've had this argument before - I'm just going to cut straight to the chase, where I point out that actual genetics underlying human intelligence variation is not well supported, and the best you have is a gene found in mice), instead supported through fairly dubious studies by similarly dubious researchers, and contingent on a definition of intelligence that, again, isn't even widely agreed upon or well-described.

Vaniver wrote:The thing is, I don't see any reason to label intelligence testing pseudoscience except that it says unpleasant things about racial equality and sexual equality at the fringes,

And in the mainstream, for decades. Intelligence testing as a fair history of being not credible - I don't think we're going to see anyone claiming that the irish are less intelligent racially than the rest of us, now are we?

I don't see any way intelligence testing has fundamentally changed since its' undeniably dubious origin.

Vaniver wrote:And? I remembered that discussion, and I still think you misrepresented the facts in your summary. Nowhere was it demonstrated, to even a weak degree, that it was biased against blacks (the overall passage rate for Hispanics was the same or less, yet Hispanics still made it into the promotion pool);

At the time of the decision, which was the time period of import. And of course since then, becoming a black firefighter in New Haven has continued to prove to be a moving target, in which requirements - some of which little more than bureaucratic hurdles - continue to build.

And thanks to the Ricci judgment, good luck living to see it fixed.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:21 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Claims about g are largely unsupported by actual genetics (we've had this argument before - I'm just going to cut straight to the chase, where I point out that actual genetics underlying human intelligence variation is not well supported, and the best you have is a gene found in mice), instead supported through fairly dubious studies by similarly dubious researchers, and contingent on a definition of intelligence that, again, isn't even widely agreed upon or well-described.



What about the link i pointed out which showed that intelligence was highly heritable? Nearly the same heritability as height? That would seem to indicate that there are genes which influence it.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Indon » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:39 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:What about the link i pointed out which showed that intelligence was highly heritable? Nearly the same heritability as height?

I didn't catch that link, but unless things have changed, it's probably about Jensen's and Bouchard's work, which I'm familiar with.

They do a lot of statistical work to demonstrate that it's not necessarily wrong to assume that intelligence has a genetic factor. But they do nothing to show that it's a correct claim, either.

We have the entire human genome encoded on a basic level. Anything that can be influenced by genes can be researched there to identify specific genes and what precisely they do to affect things. Needless to say, we know of specific genes that affect height in humans and how they work.

No analogous knowledge exists for intelligence. Genetic intelligence could theoretically exist, but nobody has bothered to describe how it works in humans.

Edit: Oh, and on Mosc's point - all Mosc is saying is that race is a statistical artifact, and useful only insofar as any statistical artifact is of use. I could similarly make statistical analyses based off of the presence of back hair, and I could construct a model with a degree of predictive power. Does that mean that back hair is important? No, it means that statistics are a set of powerful tools.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

So, because we have yet to describe it to your satisfaction, possibly because, it's a really complicated multi-gene mess, you are going to assume that there is no genetic component in intelligence, despite the high rate of heritability.

Ya, that's really not a defensible position at all, neither is it conducive to further discussion.

Tying this back in with the topic, it's interesting that this thread has produced "over-tolerance". There are people here that are essentially trying to argue that the only difference between people anywhere in the world is skin color, which is simply not representative of reality.

I started with height, because its something easy to measure, just to get people to admit that there was a single difference between different groups. And there was all sorts of statistical gibberish about arbitrary divisions, and random patterns (congratulations Holland, you're merely a statistical anomaly!). We've settled that I think.

Now we're arguing if intelligence has a genetic component.

And i'm sure after/if we settle that we'll see all the arguments that say that the test is biased, that there are environmental factors that sway results, etc.

All to stop people from having to admit one simple thing. We're different. It's not a big deal. Get over it already.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Indon » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:06 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:So, because we have yet to describe it to your satisfaction, possibly because, it's a really complicated multi-gene mess, you are going to assume that there is no genetic component in intelligence, despite the high rate of heritability.

Not just that it hasn't been described well, but that the field has a long history of, essentially, pseudoscience along the lines of claiming that some groups are genetically inferior to others.

Extraordinary claims, etc.

stevey_frac wrote:Tying this back in with the topic, it's interesting that this thread has produced "over-tolerance". There are people here that are essentially trying to argue that the only difference between people anywhere in the world is skin color, which is simply not representative of reality.

I think it's interesting that you're misunderstanding Mosc's argument. Of course there are differences between groups, and you can group people up in interesting and valuable ways.

Race just isn't special among those ways. You might as well literally group people up by their skin color, or even their height (height correlates with IQ, in fact, but I don't think anyone here would claim that tallness makes people smarter on a genetic level).
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

Indon wrote:What he has is 'just-so' stories about inherent differences and no evidence that the differences are actually inherent.
I don't know if he meant intrinsic aptitude to mean inherent aptitude or general aptitude, but there is data about variation that supports his point. The debate at Harvard a few months after his remarks is worth reading.

Indon wrote:Claims about g are largely unsupported by actual genetics (we've had this argument before - I'm just going to cut straight to the chase, where I point out that actual genetics underlying human intelligence variation is not well supported, and the best you have is a gene found in mice), instead supported through fairly dubious studies by similarly dubious researchers, and contingent on a definition of intelligence that, again, isn't even widely agreed upon or well-described.
Why is finding the genes responsible necessary, and perhaps more importantly, who will look for such genes if we insist it isn't genetic?

Indon wrote:And in the mainstream, for decades.
I wrote that poorly; it was supposed to be "about racial equality and (sexual equality at the fringes)." There are very few intelligence factors on which men and women's means are significantly different, but the difference at the fringes is significantly different for most (i.e. higher variability). When you look at the fringes- Harvard math faculty and prisons- you see sizable differences that can be explained by that variability.

Indon wrote:Intelligence testing as a fair history of being not credible - I don't think we're going to see anyone claiming that the irish are less intelligent racially than the rest of us, now are we?
Anyone, particularly racists, can do bad science- no one is disputing that. On many intelligence tests given to new immigrants, the mode number of correct answers was 0- suggesting that many of the people simply did not understand the test or its presentation, not that they were deeply mentally deficient. But the existence of bad science does not preclude good science from existing.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

King Author wrote:So no one wants to talk about racism and "over-tolerance" anymore? You just want to bicker like children arguing whose father is stronger over scientific definitions, each presupposing his own intelligence and superiority, not a one citing sources? Each sitting back and demanding the other prove this and that, while offering nothing of his own but questions asked with a foul attitude? Very well. But leave me out of it.


Ad hominen and straw man all in one! Bravo!

No one has been arguing that anyone's father is "stronger" or "superior" in any way. The discussion has been on the existence of race within the human species, which IS incredibly relevant. Then there have been tangents, like discussions on what is a species and whether species can interbreed. Hilarious, considering you expected everyone else to "stop acting like an expert" yet were scientifically wrong in both accounts. Also, citations were gratuitously provided. Stop lying.

Then there's the juxtaposition of you asking people to "calm down" and the butt-hurt angriness of your above post. Epic.

Face it, if you, yourself are going to continue arguing on irrelevant tangents, at least have the decency to admit it when you're wrong. Then maybe we can take your call to return to the original topic seriously.

In short, don't be a hypocrite.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:42 am UTC

Indon wrote:
stevey_frac wrote:Tying this back in with the topic, it's interesting that this thread has produced "over-tolerance". There are people here that are essentially trying to argue that the only difference between people anywhere in the world is skin color, which is simply not representative of reality.

I think it's interesting that you're misunderstanding Mosc's argument. Of course there are differences between groups, and you can group people up in interesting and valuable ways.

Race just isn't special among those ways. You might as well literally group people up by their skin color, or even their height (height correlates with IQ, in fact, but I don't think anyone here would claim that tallness makes people smarter on a genetic level).

Indon, you are the one misunderstanding mosc's words. You are misunderstanding his argument because you come to the same conclusion, but based on different arguments. Your argument seems to be that height and skin color do not correlate to intelligence, and further, there is no evidence suggesting inherent intellectual differences between races. Mosc's argument thus far has been that the boundaries between races are too gray because the genetic variation is too small and are therefore not capable of producing inherent intellectual differences. The major difference of your arguments being, you are willing to accept the possibility of inherent intellectual differences, while mosc outright rejects the notion.

Stevey_frac is exactly correct.

Re-read these specific mosc's posts:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=61374&start=40#p2199239
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=61374#p2197322
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=61374&start=40#p2199239

I'm just going to quote lines which I feel are relevant:
"You create a split along arbitrary lines and then see differences and deem the lines useful. "
E.g., he believes categorizing people along "race" lines is arbitrary and focuses on superficial outward appearances. That may be true culturally speaking and what we perceive to be "race" (as opposed to what is scientifically determined to be race), but the picture is clear at the genetic level: there are racial lines that are not arbitrary, because different human populations have been isolated by ~50,000+ years, which fits the scientific definition of race.

"There have not been enough generations of homosapiens genetically isolated to create the level of genetic difference you are talking about. Most of the factors we attribute to "race" are inherent fluctuation from the norm within the genetic diversity of the species. And futhermore in recent years, genetic isolation has deteriorated exponentially."
Once again, arguing that genetic dissimilarity between different human populations is too small for race to truly exist. The counterargument is that it is factually incorrect: there certainly has been enough time.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:58 am UTC

Indon wrote:Not just that it hasn't been described well, but that the field has a long history of, essentially, pseudoscience along the lines of claiming that some groups are genetically inferior to others.

Extraordinary claims, etc.



Might I remind you that the field of medicine has a long long long recorded history of pseudoscience. That doesn't mean that modern medicine is pseudoscience.

Regarding the height vs intelligence.

From the blessed wiki: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Height_and_intelligence)

"The correlation between the two factors is therefore weak, although statistically significant".

Height explains something like 4% of the variation in IQ, and In my opinion, given how strongly good nutrition correlates with height, this isn't all that surprising that there is some minor correlation between height and IQ.

So. That's a nice side attack on the main point and all, but, finding a trivial correlation with IQ doesn't really upset the fact that IQ has an in heritability of something like .75. Which is pretty huge.

Also: Correlation doesn't imply causation. Especially when said correlation is tiny
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby imantodes » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:27 am UTC

To provide some more serious input to this thread:

1) Intelligence, genetics, etc. There's some simplification going on here; there can be no doubt whatsoever that intelligence is genetic. The alternative is to believe that differences in intelligence between, for instance, humans and chimpanzees are solely environmental. That experiment has been done, quite a few times in fact (the linked article is merely the first to show up in a quick search), and the gist is, it isn't just environment. So, unless someone has a third option handy, genes play a role (presumably the dominant role by a wide margin in this case). We can extend this argument indefinitely far out; are differences between humans & fruit flies solely environmental? The further out we go, the greater role genetics alone presumably plays.

What's at issue seems instead to be, broadly, whether differences in intelligence among humans are environmental or genetic. The answer here is almost certainly "both". For instance, we know of any number of genetic abnormalities that cause mental retardation, Down's Syndrome being the most obvious. We can of course narrow this to whether differences between specific populations in intelligence are environmental or genetic; I suspect the answer here is also "both", but I'll leave that aside for the moment...

2) Do races exist? There is certainly some validity to the claim that looking for differences between groups without first examining whether the groups themselves are natural or merely arbitrary divisions is unscientific or at least methodologically unsound. However, the claim that races truly are arbitrary divisions may go too far, and I've at least seen nothing in this thread to suggest this; instead, there seems to be an a priori assumption that races don't exist and that, therefore, any examination of differences between races is based on arbitrary division of continuous variation. Relegating this problem to mere assumption is a mistake. For the moment I'll merely point out that there are a number of approaches to this problem that may be applicable to humans; I don't know off the top of my head if they have been applied to humans, however (any such application would be highly politicized, so I am skeptical of the possibility of it being done in an unbiased fashion although the appropriate data unquestionably exist). One of the more commonly used programs for genetic data is Structure; see here & other publications by these authors:

J.K. Pritchard, M. Stephens, & P. Donnelly, 2000. Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics 155: 945-959.

It's also very common to just stick the data into a principal components analysis and visually examine the scatter plot to see if there are distinct groups. As a random example:

N. Giannasi, R.S. Thorpe, & A. Malhotra, 2001. The use of amplified fragment length polymorphism in determing species trees at fine taxonomic levels: analysis of a medically important snake, Trimeresurus albolabris. Molecular Ecology 10: 419-426.

And there are any number of other alternatives. One thing to mention here, though, is that phylogenetic approaches are not really applicable. Phylogenetic analysis presumes divergent relationships (i.e., it produces divergent relationships whether relationships are in fact divergent or reticulate), which do not exist above the level of single genetic loci within sexually reproducing species (anyone with a mother and a father should understand this point; for further clarification, go read Hennig). One problem here, though, is that although there is general (but not universal) agreement that absence or near-absence of overlap between groups indicates that the groups are distinct species (go read Nixon & Wheeler's phylogenetic species concept for some particularly coherent discussion on this point), there is no broad consensus regarding infraspecific taxa beyond that they aren't completely distinct, but are at least sufficiently distinct to be worth naming... Worse yet, "race" is not a taxonomic category and has no legitimate place in science; in non-humans it is sometimes used, mostly in older literature, as a loose synonym of "subspecies" (or, in plants, "variety" is another option), but in humans use of the word is political rather than scientific (AFAIK, it is used exclusively by racists or their opponents; and even those who deny that race exists must presume it if they are to contend that racism exists, as I tried to suggest earlier...). The gist is, there are any number of approaches beyond mere assumption that could be applied to examine the degree to which humans can be subdivided into natural groups, but no established metric to determine whether a certain level of distinction between groups warrants calling those groups "races". Anyone less lazy than I should go look up what literature there is regarding infraspecific differentiation in humans... as someone who is making no claim either way, I'll assume that ball is in Mosc's court as a vocal proponent of the nonexistence of the existence of infraspecific groups within Homo sapiens...

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:57 am UTC

Mostly agree with the message, but I want to disagree with some details:

One thing to mention here, though, is that phylogenetic approaches are not really applicable. Phylogenetic analysis presumes divergent relationships (i.e., it produces divergent relationships whether relationships are in fact divergent or reticulate), which do not exist above the level of single genetic loci within sexually reproducing species (anyone with a mother and a father should understand this point; for further clarification, go read Hennig).

Phylogenetic analysis is certainly possible (and actually has been already done) because reticulate relationships are not possible between long-term geographically isolated populations. Even if there was cross-breeding at the fringes, it is likely not statistically significant. In this day with the break down of geographical borders, the majority of the world still only breeds "with it's own kind" and so genetic borders are still very much intact.

Further. let's not forget that genetics <> phylogeny. Phylogenists do not look towards genetics as the end-all answer. A genetic dendrogram is just an estimation and historical data and fossil data always trump it. And that hints at what needs to be done; a synthesis of available fossil records of early human migration and genetic analysis of different populations to provide the best possible description of human races. But of course, considering how mired in politics the issue is (e.g., "over-sensitivity", "over-tolerance", "Basic Human Decency") this will never happen.

Worse yet, "race" is not a taxonomic category and has no legitimate place in science; in non-humans it is sometimes used, mostly in older literature, as a loose synonym of "subspecies" (or, in plants, "variety" is another option), but in humans use of the word is political rather than scientific (AFAIK, it is used exclusively by racists or their opponents; and even those who deny that race exists must presume it if they are to contend that racism exists, as I tried to suggest earlier...). The gist is, there are any number of approaches beyond mere assumption that could be applied to examine the degree to which humans can be subdivided into natural groups, but no established metric to determine whether a certain level of distinction between groups warrants calling those groups "races". Anyone less lazy than I should go look up what literature there is regarding infraspecific differentiation in humans... as someone who is making no claim either way, I'll assume that ball is in Mosc's court as a vocal proponent of the nonexistence of the existence of infraspecific groups within Homo sapiens...

I can understand the sentiment that "race" is too political and too colloquial to be used in a scientific context. There are just too many variations and shades of meaning to be useful without causing confusion. For example, wikipedia says that race is a taxonomic division below that of subspecies, but race is sometimes used to be equivalent to species, as in the phrase "human race", which is a misnomer. I suspect that is where much of the confusion in this topic is coming from. One party keeps hawking that race exists, while other party has in the back of their mind "there is only one human race!"

However, when all is said and done, this is just semantics. Every alternative word is problematic: "Subspecies" suggests a division greater than actuality. "Breed" only applies to domesticated animals. "Ethnicity" is not exactly comparable, since it considers culture and religion. So really, you're choices are either to use "race" and accept the confusion that comes along with it -or- invent your own word.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby imantodes » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

thc wrote:Mostly agree with the message, but I want to disagree with some details:

One thing to mention here, though, is that phylogenetic approaches are not really applicable. Phylogenetic analysis presumes divergent relationships (i.e., it produces divergent relationships whether relationships are in fact divergent or reticulate), which do not exist above the level of single genetic loci within sexually reproducing species (anyone with a mother and a father should understand this point; for further clarification, go read Hennig).


Phylogenetic analysis is certainly possible (and actually has been already done) because reticulate relationships are not possible between long-term geographically isolated populations. Even if there was cross-breeding at the fringes, it is likely not statistically significant. In this day with the break down of geographical borders, the majority of the world still only breeds "with it's own kind" and so genetic borders are still very much intact.


Phylogenetic analysis is -possible- with just about any data, and has been conducted in any number of circumstances where it is not appropriate.

However, to be a cladist for a second--if phylogenetic analysis is appropriate among a set of groups of individuals (i.e., those groups are divergently rather than reticulately related), those groups are species. Within species, phylogenetic analysis of organisms is inappropriate by definition.

Further. let's not forget that genetics <> phylogeny. Phylogenists do not look towards genetics as the end-all answer. A genetic dendrogram is just an estimation and historical data and fossil data always trump it. And that hints at what needs to be done; a synthesis of available fossil records of early human migration and genetic analysis of different populations to provide the best possible description of human races. But of course, considering how mired in politics the issue is (e.g., "over-sensitivity", "over-tolerance", "Basic Human Decency") this will never happen.


I'm not sure what "<>" means. It's also worth keeping in mind that fossils can be extraordinarily difficult to interpret... within the realm of phylogenetics I deal with, they are invoked primarily to establish dates on particular nodes of a phylogeny--but are notoriously unreliable for this purpose...

Worse yet, "race" is not a taxonomic category and has no legitimate place in science; in non-humans it is sometimes used, mostly in older literature, as a loose synonym of "subspecies" (or, in plants, "variety" is another option), but in humans use of the word is political rather than scientific (AFAIK, it is used exclusively by racists or their opponents; and even those who deny that race exists must presume it if they are to contend that racism exists, as I tried to suggest earlier...). The gist is, there are any number of approaches beyond mere assumption that could be applied to examine the degree to which humans can be subdivided into natural groups, but no established metric to determine whether a certain level of distinction between groups warrants calling those groups "races". Anyone less lazy than I should go look up what literature there is regarding infraspecific differentiation in humans... as someone who is making no claim either way, I'll assume that ball is in Mosc's court as a vocal proponent of the nonexistence of the existence of infraspecific groups within Homo sapiens...

I can understand the sentiment that "race" is too political and too colloquial to be used in a scientific context. There are just too many variations and shades of meaning to be useful without causing confusion. For example, wikipedia says that race is a taxonomic division below that of subspecies, but race is sometimes used to be equivalent to species, as in the phrase "human race", which is a misnomer. I suspect that is where much of the confusion in this topic is coming from. One party keeps hawking that race exists, while other party has in the back of their mind "there is only one human race!"

However, when all is said and done, this is just semantics. Every alternative word is problematic: "Subspecies" suggests a division greater than actuality. "Breed" only applies to domesticated animals. "Ethnicity" is not exactly comparable, since it considers culture and religion. So really, you're choices are either to use "race" and accept the confusion that comes along with it -or- invent your own word.


"Subspecies" seems perfectly appropriate to me; the level of division it represents is simply that of groups within a species that are partially distinct.

Some problems with just using the word "race" is that in much common use it is indistinguishable from "ethnicity" (most racism, IMO, is based mostly or entirely on cultural differentiation, and not on morphological or genetic differentiation), and that it would at this point be an insertion of a word used for political purposes into scientific discourse; the political implications are necessarily transferred as well.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby imantodes » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

Some further thoughts on semantics:

Rejecting either a measure of intelligence or the existence of races renders statements regarding differences in intelligence between races not incorrect, or correct, but meaningless. Either we provide meaning for both terms or we reject the possibility of discussing the issue. The latter may be the only purely non-racist position available, but would require some substantial re-definition of terms to allow any argument against racism to be mounted.

Implying that semantic concerns are inconsequential has the same effect more broadly; semantics is simply the association of meaning to words. If this is inconsequential, meaningful discussion of any topic is therefore inconsequential. Anyone advocating such a position presumably either does not believe in meaningful linguistic communication or fails to understand what position he or she is actually advocating.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

thc wrote:"There have not been enough generations of homosapiens genetically isolated to create the level of genetic difference you are talking about. Most of the factors we attribute to "race" are inherent fluctuation from the norm within the genetic diversity of the species. And futhermore in recent years, genetic isolation has deteriorated exponentially."
Once again, arguing that genetic dissimilarity between different human populations is too small for race to truly exist. The counterargument is that it is factually incorrect: there certainly has been enough time.

I dispute this. Humanity is perhaps 50,000 years old but there is no evidence that we had genetically diverse populations over the entirety of that history. In fact, there is some evidence supporting a much later spread out from north africa/southern asia. Perhaps most likely that there have been multiple waves "refreshing" the genetic connection. Genetically isolated populations are only really possible to nail down in the past 10,000 years and frankly that's not very many generations for natural selection. You're talking about a couple hundred generations.

I don't argue that intelligence is genetic. That's a slippery slope as pointed out by imantodes. We are smarter than fruit flies because of genetics. No shit. We are also smarter than our identical twins because of environmental factors. This is the other end of the spectrum. Genetically, the most distant humans are far far FAR closer to each other than a human is from a fruit fly so for the argument's sake, we are pretty f-ing close to identical twins. There may be some genetic variation that plays some role in intelligence (it's an incredibly complex relationship no doubt) but the largest factor is environmental (within a given species).

Indon wrote:Edit: Oh, and on Mosc's point - all Mosc is saying is that race is a statistical artifact, and useful only insofar as any statistical artifact is of use. I could similarly make statistical analyses based off of the presence of back hair, and I could construct a model with a degree of predictive power. Does that mean that back hair is important? No, it means that statistics are a set of powerful tools.
Exactly. Yes. Thank you. I would argue further that the statistical differences are excruciatingly minor as well. Certainly not enough to justify any kind of, well, racism.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:42 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Humanity is perhaps 50,000 years old but there is no evidence that we had genetically diverse populations over the entirety of that history.
Why would the entirety of that history matter, instead of the individuals alive now?

mosc wrote:Genetically, the most distant humans are far far FAR closer to each other than a human is from a fruit fly so for the argument's sake, we are pretty f-ing close to identical twins.
Human genetic variability is roughly 10^-3 when you look at base pairs; identical twin genetic variability appears to be roughly 10^-9 when you look at base pairs. Those 6 orders of magnitude make for a pretty big difference, particularly when you look at variation around the mean instead of variation divided by the mean (say, a standard deviation of 4 inches rather than a standard deviation of 6%).
(For comparison, fruit flies only share ~60% of their genes with humans, and have only about 20% as many, meaning they have share 11%=10^-1 of a human's genes, if I'm doing the numbers right.)

mosc wrote:There may be some genetic variation that plays some role in intelligence (it's an incredibly complex relationship no doubt) but the largest factor is environmental (within a given species).
While estimates vary strongly, the best supported ones put the amount of variation in intelligence among individuals in the same country that is due to genetics/nature* at at least 50%. It's much harder to separate out nature and nurture when looking at international variation, so we can't say for sure how variation over the entire species is environmental and how much is genetic.

Besides, it should be clear that how much variation is environmental and how much is genetic depends on the kind of environmental effects you use, since the two can be combined- for example, malnutrition dampens the effect of height genes, or eugenics programs could alter the distribution of hair color or genetic conditions, or a genetic predisposition to survive or fail to survive certain conditions may or may not come into play. When hygiene factors are taken care of almost equally- i.e. environmental variability is low between individuals- then genetic variability will account for the majority of remaining variability.

*This is including prenatal effects, which I believe have been shown to impact intelligence through studies of fraternal twins raised separately, but don't remember a source so it could easily be wrong.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:28 am UTC

mosc wrote:
I don't argue that intelligence is genetic. That's a slippery slope as pointed out by imantodes. We are smarter than fruit flies because of genetics. No shit. We are also smarter than our identical twins because of environmental factors. This is the other end of the spectrum. Genetically, the most distant humans are far far FAR closer to each other than a human is from a fruit fly so for the argument's sake, we are pretty f-ing close to identical twins. There may be some genetic variation that plays some role in intelligence (it's an incredibly complex relationship no doubt) but the largest factor is environmental (within a given species).

Exactly. Yes. Thank you. I would argue further that the statistical differences are excruciatingly minor as well. Certainly not enough to justify any kind of, well, racism.



No one has argued that there are no environmental influences, nor have we stated that racism is justified. That preposterous.

You on the other hand had said there is no natural role, that genetics don't play a role in intelligence, or at least, that there is no variation within the human population in terms of genetic intelligence potential.

All we are saying is that there are some *slight* differences between ethnic groups.

also: This article seems to indicate that selection can cause variation in as few as 40 generations.

http://wooferhouse.net/Links/taming-foxes.html
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

I always question examples like that. Butterflies, for example, often have multiple color "modes" which behave basically as recessive genes but which in concert with similar attributes can give the illusion of much larger genetic changes in just a few generations of breeding. Is it really a "new" gene, or it is simply a combination of existing genes changing dominance? Without fully mapping the fox's genome and looking for the genetic differences in the more aggressive foxes, it's hard to know. My non-biologist opinion though is that many things we "breed" into a species were already there. In example, you can breed humans to have a number of visual attributes fairly easily. However, more complex behaviors like intelligence are not as deterministic. I don't think there is sufficient justification to say that there's been any substantial genetic mutation between human populations. We have heredity and genetic diversity which lead to differences including evidence supported statistical artifacts, but not anything resembling a subspecies. Race implies subspecies to me.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:17 pm UTC

The definition of subspecies that I have is far less stringent then the one you are using

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subspecies

By that definition of subspecies, the human species has a whole wack of subspecies.

Referring back to imantodes post, he clearly knows what he's talking about, and thinks we have subspecies. I've yet to see you clearly and decisively answer his posts.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:43 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:The definition of subspecies that I have is far less stringent then the one you are using

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subspecies

???

You don't seem to understand the term. Subspecies have substantial differences. For example dog breeds look different and behave different but are NOT different subspecies.

To quote the article you linked to, humanity is monotypic because:
"All members of the species are very similar and cannot be sensibly divided into biologically significant subcategories."
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:25 pm UTC

This article indicates that selective reproduction can rapidly change a species, and it is not a stretch to think that this could apply or has applied to intelligence, and that given enough time that selection will eliminate the differences in a society which favors intelligence even if it doesn't change outward appearances.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:35 pm UTC

There is a SIGNIFICANT difference between controlled breeding and more natural evolution. Human beings fornicate based on many other reasons besides "improving the intelligence of the subspecies". The difference is not some genetic manipulation or something, it just means that preferable traits will take longer to become universal. I'm not saying that genetically isolated human beings can't evolve to have different intelligence levels. I'm saying that we haven't been around long enough for that to happen.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby thc » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:17 am UTC

Mosc, and we keep telling you that that is factually incorrect, which is backed up by genetic research that we have cited throughout this thread.

Without knowledge of mutation rate or at least some additional information, there is no way of knowing whether 10,000 years is "enough time". Evolution does not work the way you think it does if you truly think you can make such a judgment based on the argument you presented. Again, I must direct you to the case of the Rock Wallaby; signs of speciation in mere decades due to geographical isolation. The point is that evolution can and HAS happened very, very fast, right before our eyes. But again, in the case of humans, you can't possibly know either way without knowing more.

That is where genetic studies come in. The previous paper I cited showed that approximately 10% of genetic markers are strongly correlated with race. Using this as an estimate, and considering there are 10 million SNPs in the human genome, 1% of which are functional, there are approximately 10,000 functional SNPs that are race-based.

Realize that it doesn't matter if this estimate is way off, because any way you cut it, this number is statistically significant and mathematical categorization is easily justified and IS significant.

Note: I don't necessarily agree with Stev's assertion that there are actual differences in intelligence between race - mostly because I don't know and don't really care. But what you are doing is using very bad science to justify your political disposition, and that is egregious.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby imantodes » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 am UTC

mosc wrote:I dispute this. Humanity is perhaps 50,000 years old but there is no evidence that we had genetically diverse populations over the entirety of that history. In fact, there is some evidence supporting a much later spread out from north africa/southern asia. Perhaps most likely that there have been multiple waves "refreshing" the genetic connection. Genetically isolated populations are only really possible to nail down in the past 10,000 years and frankly that's not very many generations for natural selection. You're talking about a couple hundred generations.

I don't argue that intelligence is genetic. That's a slippery slope as pointed out by imantodes. We are smarter than fruit flies because of genetics. No shit. We are also smarter than our identical twins because of environmental factors. This is the other end of the spectrum. Genetically, the most distant humans are far far FAR closer to each other than a human is from a fruit fly so for the argument's sake, we are pretty f-ing close to identical twins. There may be some genetic variation that plays some role in intelligence (it's an incredibly complex relationship no doubt) but the largest factor is environmental (within a given species).


Apparently your argument here is that within-species variation must be environmental, because any two humans are more genetically similar to each other than either is to an insect. This is nonsense; there are quite a large number of variable traits in humans that we know perfectly well result, at least in part, from genetic variation (as an obvious example, color-blindness; of course most examples are not so simple).

As for humans having not been around long enough for there to be genetic variation associated with geography, this also is clearly not the case. Start with skin color, continue on to eye color, epicanthic folds, etc.; there is a whole host of heritable characteristics that vary geographically in humans, and of course it is precisely these that gave rise to concepts of human race to start with.

So:
1) There is genetic variation within humans that produces observable phenotypic effects;
2) some of that genetic variation is geographically structured.

Does intelligence fall into that latter category? The possibility cannot be excluded by implying that this category just doesn't (or can't) exist, because clearly it does. It must be decided the old-fashioned way, by having data that bear on the question...

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby juststrange » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

Let me try and cast this in a new light, if I may.

While I was employed by Residential Life at college, we had problems with "acts of intolerance". This was a hot button issue since I went to one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the United States (Top 2 or 3). Could be anything from someone carving nigger into someones door, to having a satirical sign posted that said "Go back to Caucasia Honkeys" on a door. To try and bring the community together, a program was instituted that we tried to get people to sign thier name to, big tree with a bunch of names etc. The slogan was "We don't just tolerate, we accept". I didn't sign.

Is asking for acceptance (as opposed to tolerance) where we draw the line at too much? Sounds to me like "you will sit here with these folks you find objectionable and gosh darn it you will like it!" I feel like I have the right to the opinion that I don't like you, for whatever reason I damn well please. I won't treat you different, I won't even tell you, or go out of my way to get rid of you. But I shouldn't have to agree with you or your beliefs.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

I don't think accepting someone guarantees you like them or that you approve of everything that they have done/will do.

Tolerance is the bare minimum on the scale--I will not try to harm/kill/defame you for being of a certain race/sex/religion/sexual preference etc.

Acceptance is something more like--I will actively work towards creating a society where everyone belongs.

Both are better than doing harm. One goes further.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Czhorat » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

juststrange wrote:Let me try and cast this in a new light, if I may.

While I was employed by Residential Life at college, we had problems with "acts of intolerance". This was a hot button issue since I went to one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the United States (Top 2 or 3). Could be anything from someone carving nigger into someones door, to having a satirical sign posted that said "Go back to Caucasia Honkeys" on a door. To try and bring the community together, a program was instituted that we tried to get people to sign thier name to, big tree with a bunch of names etc. The slogan was "We don't just tolerate, we accept". I didn't sign.

Is asking for acceptance (as opposed to tolerance) where we draw the line at too much? Sounds to me like "you will sit here with these folks you find objectionable and gosh darn it you will like it!" I feel like I have the right to the opinion that I don't like you, for whatever reason I damn well please. I won't treat you different, I won't even tell you, or go out of my way to get rid of you. But I shouldn't have to agree with you or your beliefs.


If the "acceptance tree" was a reaction to things like ethnic slurs being posted on people's doors, why wouldn't you want to sign your name to it? I think that accepting the presence of those of different national origins, races, gender, and sexual orientations is a perfectly reasonable goal. In a pluralistic society, it is also worthwhile to accept the existence of different cultural norms so long as they do not cause real, measurable harm (in other words, "I just don't like it" isn't a sufficient cause for non-tolerance or even non-acceptance). When people talk about "over-tolerance" and attack "Basic Human Decency", I often fear that they are trying to create some kind of intellectual defense of their own biases.

Do I feel I need to "accept" the KKK, for example? No, because they are measurably harmful. Fundamentalist Christians or Muslims? Sure, so long as they don't try to infringe on my rights to not believe by forming a theocracy.

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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

You can't accept people that don't tolerate you. It's kind of fundamental. But if you both tolerate each other, you can move forward towards acceptance.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:13 am UTC

juststrange wrote:Is asking for acceptance (as opposed to tolerance) where we draw the line at too much? Sounds to me like "you will sit here with these folks you find objectionable and gosh darn it you will like it!" I feel like I have the right to the opinion that I don't like you, for whatever reason I damn well please. I won't treat you different, I won't even tell you, or go out of my way to get rid of you. But I shouldn't have to agree with you or your beliefs.

Given that you didn't sign, it sounds like you weren't forced to. I don't see what argument you're trying to make here given that context.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:01 am UTC

juststrange wrote:I feel like I have the right to the opinion that I don't like you, for whatever reason I damn well please. I won't treat you different, I won't even tell you, or go out of my way to get rid of you. But I shouldn't have to agree with you or your beliefs.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

After further research, I have to agree with Mosc that races are not subspecies. And I say this based on one key point.

There is no single gene that exists within one geographically distinct grouping of individuals that doesn't exist somewhere else. Thus, rather then an evolutionary digression from the mean, we have a grouping of genetic traits, with near continuous genetic variation across the population.

I would argue that in order for a subspecies to form, you would have to have sharp genetic variation between groups. Such as those of African decent have Gene X, and those of Nordic decent have gene Y, and no other group anywhere on the planet has either of those, thus, we would have at least three subspecies. But that simply isn't true.
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mosc
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:39 pm UTC

Thanks Steve. It's why I brought up Sickle Cell. It's hereditary (read: Genetic) but has developed independently in multiple isolated populations. This indicates genetic diversity in our species but also monotypic. It's not sufficient to point to genetic hereditary differences as statistically more likely based on your arbitrary line (race/country/whatever). To prove it has some actual biological importance, you have to show significant genetic difference period.

Also I would re-iterate the dog breed example. Dog breeds are NOT subspecies. They lack substantial genetic difference. They have strong hereditary traits giving fairly extreme visual differences but they are not different subspecies, different races.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby guenther » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:11 am UTC

mosc wrote:Also I would re-iterate the dog breed example. Dog breeds are NOT subspecies. They lack substantial genetic difference. They have strong hereditary traits giving fairly extreme visual differences but they are not different subspecies, different races.

I'm not trained in this area, but I remember reading about how dogs could be classified as different species. The key, according to the article, was that they had serious barriers to reproduction. Other creatures (I believe they used a type of fly as an example) have been divided into separate species because of this even though they weren't that genetically different (they could still breed in a lab setting).

Of course, by this criteria, the humans are still separate races, not species.
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Re: Racism and Over-Tolerance

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:17 am UTC

There were arguments that a Great Dane and a Chihuahua could technically be defined as different species based on size difference. However, that would class them as different species entirely, not different subspecies.
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