Return to the NeoEugenics'
A review of Race: The Reality of Human Difference by Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele, 2004.
Sarich and Miele state: "While we were preparing the final draft of this book, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in 2003 aired a highly acclaimed documentary, Race: The Power of an Illusion. The contemporary scientific and ethical consensus in both the media and the social sciences regarding race was concisely summarized in the ten numbered statements that appear at the beginning of the website that accompanies the documentary (http://www.pbs.org/race). The documentary's numbered statements and their elaborations follow; the chapter numbers shown in italics and enclosed in square brackets refer to the chapters of this book that challenge the particular statement.
"1. Race is a modern idea. [Chapters 2 and 3] Ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences but according to religion, status, class, even language.
"2. Race has no genetic basis. [Chapter 5] No one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called race from all members of another so-called race.
"3. Slavery predates race. [Chapter 2] Throughout history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. In America, a unique set of circumstances led to the enslavement of peoples who looked similar [that is, black skin became associated with slave status in America—our explanatory comment].
"4. Race and freedom were born together. [Chapters 2 and 3] When the U.S. was founded, equality was a radical new idea. But our early economy was based largely on slavery. The concept of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.
"5. Race justified social inequalities as natural. [Chapters 2 and 3] As the race concept evolved, it justified extermination of Native Americans, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and taking of Mexican lands.
"6. Human subspecies don't exist. [Chapter 6] Unlike many animals, modern humans have not been around long enough, nor have populations been isolated enough, to evolve into separate subspecies or races. Despite surface difference, we are among the most similar of species.
"7. Skin color is only skin deep. [Chapters 5-9, esp. Chapter 6] Most traits are inherited independently of one another. The genes for skin color have nothing to do with genes for hair texture, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, or athletic ability.
"8. Most variation is within, not between "races." [Chapter 7] Of the small amount of total human genetic variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans, or Cherokees. Two random Koreans are likely to be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.
"9. Race is not biological, but racism is still real. [Chapter 10] Race is still a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.
"10. Colorblindness will not end racism. [Chapter 10] Pretending race doesn't exist is not the same as creating equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social policies that advantage some groups at the expense of others."
I will only review those empirical portions of the book that deal directly with the scientific basis of species and subspecies (or races, breeds, etc.). Asserting that "race is a social construct" by trying to show the motives of people long dead and gone, is not scientific. Science has nothing to do with individual motives as long as the data is sound, repeatable, and valid. But for those interested in the historical arguments, especially the conspiratorial allegations by the academic left that race was invented by the colonialist West to justify slavery or other acts of oppression, this book does an excellent job of showing how civilizations have long understood concepts of race, and how they have not changed over the last few thousand years in attitudes about race.
It is easy to come up with objections to race from arm-chair arguments that do not look at the actual data on differences. This book covers these differences by looking at previous and current work being done in genetics, morphological comparison of differences, along with cognitive and behavioral differences. If someone like Lewontin tries to show that there is not enough genetic differences between races or Gould's assertion that there has not been enough time for human races to develop, then we should be able to observe that humans, everywhere, do not vary significantly in morphological, pharmacogenetic, behavioral, cognitive, athletic, or any other trait that is highly heritable or under genetic control. To date, they make the arguments from theoretical assertions that contradict what we can observe directly: humans vary significantly between individuals and between races. None of the race deniers take these observations into account—they data is simply ignored when it does not fit their dogmatic assertions.
Sarich and Miele state: "Strong evidence in the case for race comes from examining the amount of variation actually present in a proper comparative context. The differences in morphology (cranial and facial features) between human races are typically around ten times the corresponding differences between the sexes within a given race, larger even than the comparable differences taxonomists use to distinguish the two chimpanzee species from each other. To the best of our knowledge, human racial differences exceed those for any other non-domesticated species. One must look to the breeds of dogs to find a comparable degree [to humans] of within-species differences in morphology. We also point out other aspects in which human diversity in morphology, pharmacogenetics (body chemistry), and behavior more closely parallels our best friends (the dogs) than our nearest relatives (the apes), and what that reveals about the origin of our species."
It is interesting to note that of the two chimpanzee species, when they were first placed together in zoos and mated, no one recognized the two as separate species. They were so much alike in looks, only after their individual behaviors were observed carefully was it realized that they were very different. So here is a case where "skin deep" differences were minimal, but behaviorally the two species were very different. Also, note that with regards to the classification of species, the fact that the two could mate and have viable offspring was ignored as the criterion that defines different species; so much for having a clear definition of a species.
Sarich and Miele then look at differences between races in athletic performance (see my review of Entine's book Taboo). They note that one tribe in Kenya, the Kalenjin, are 2,000 times more likely to win international cross country or marathon championships. These superb long distance runners, for me at least, were easy to pick out in a large crowd of marathon runners in New York several years ago. Extremely small upper bodies with long muscular legs. A race selected for long distance running, and explained by Entine as an adaptation for cattle rustling, where this tribe would raid neighboring tribes, steal cattle, and then run with them until they escaped or slower runners got caught (no doubt cattle thousands of years ago were not the docile domesticated animals we are familiar with today).
Sarich and Miele also discuss how the courts also have no trouble in recognizing race and accepts "the ability of the average individual to sort people into races." It seems also that racial classifications is rather innate: "Ordinary people can and do divide Homo sapiens into a number of reasonably discrete groups on the basis of reasonably objective criteria. No special expertise is required. A series of experiments in cognitive psychology carried out by social anthropologist Lawrence Hirschfeld showed that as early as age three, children readily classify people on the basis of racial characteristics, without having to be taught to do so."
And not just for humans: "Why can we do this? Why, in fact, are we so good at it? The reason is no mystery, or at least it shouldn't be. Homo sapiens is a socially interactive species and was so even before we became quite so sapient. The common ancestor we share with chimpanzees and all our ancestors along the way must have been able to recognize the members of their social group as individuals and, by extension, tell the difference between any of them and members of another group. So can baboons, wolves, dogs, killer whales, and lions (but not the other big cats, who are solitary) make such distinctions. The evolution of interactive sociality strongly selects for individuals who are able to recognize other similar individuals and adjust their behaviors with respect to who else is involved. The physical evidence for the evolutionary importance of this ability can be seen in the large amount of brain tissue devoted to these tasks at the base of our brains. As Hirschfeld concluded, 'Because human groupings (i.e., collectivities of people based on gender, race, native language, or kinship status) are integral parts of nearly all social environments, acquiring knowledge of such groupings is a necessary part of the child's early development.'"
It is not surprising that as part of our evolutionary past, just like other animals, it became necessary to be able to discern friend from foe, and humans became capable of detecting subtle differences. Are these differences just skin deep or are they substantial? It would make no sense for evolution to equip humans and other animals with the ability to detect differences that were not salient. That is, why give any species the ability to discern superficial differences if there were not also real, genetic differences, underlying the genes within the vehicle. That is, as Dawkins has elaborated, organisms are just a gene's way of being passed on to the next generation.
Now that we can look at genes directly and compare the genetic makeup of different races, we can identify races using fewer than 100 genetic markers, and these markers are not even relevant to real traits. That is, they are just patterns that show up in different races. In addition, from these patterns we can determine any one individual's race and or racial mix. The tools for genetic profiling are rapidly becoming available, with ads showing up in Science magazine for the latest kits and machines that can scan thousands of genetic alleles or alterations in patterns. Racial backgrounds are no longer just skin deep, but just a swab of DNA away.
SARICH AND MIELE discuss how our brains became so large, and when. The academic left still likes to pretend that there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence, and yet tracking of our increased brain size—tripling in size over the past 2 million years—has always been assumed to correlate with changes that make humans unique among primates. "Many academics have spent so much time with the printed word that they have come to take for granted that it is the norm or, perhaps, the ideal. That sort of thinking leads nowhere with respect to the origin and evolution of language. No matter how difficult it might be, we need to accept, at least for the sake of consideration and discussion, the idea that the origin of gestural [sign] language came first starting about 2 million years ago, and that the growth of our brains over most of the next 2 million years was tracking the increasing sophistication of gestural languages. This raises the possibility that the very late addition of speech was the first of the 'miracles' giving rise to Homo sapiens somewhere in Africa about 50,000 years ago…."
"We explain that elapsed time does not determine the amount of change in traits that have survival value. Anatomical differences among human races can exceed those found between chimpanzee species. Finally, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond has argued that the characteristics chosen to distinguish between races are arbitrary. Choose a different set of characteristics and you will come up with a different set of races. We demonstrate that the comparison of randomly chosen DNA variants produces the same races as the commonsense view, the art and literature of ancient, non-European civilizations, and anthropology."
They then ask a simple question: what are those who claim that race is a social construct think they are claiming "doesn't exist?" That is, if there are no real differences between races, what exactly are they saying is not different? Hair, stature, skin color, etc. Of course we know the answer, anything that would endanger and egalitarian dogma. That is, anything that is currently viewed as having value such as athletic ability or intelligence. And how many races are we to agree upon defining? "The fact is that, for reasonable people, our species is divisible into a number (I see no way of making a judgment as to why it should be a 'reasonably small number' and what number would be 'reasonably small' here—that's for Nature to tell us) of reasonably discrete groups (yes) on the basis of reasonably objective criteria (yes) with some reasonably evolutionary explanation attached to the division (yes)."
This is similar to Arthur R. Jensen's explanation of how races are defined in The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (1998). Jensen uses the term lumpers and splitters when it comes to races. That is, the number of races to be defined depends on what you are attempting to do, learn, study or describe. Sometimes several races are enough, sometimes a few specific races need focused attention (like Gypsies), and sometimes a world sampling of literally hundreds of genealogies are of interest. It depends on what the groupings are to be used for.
Sarich and Miele addresses Jared Diamond's attempt to deny race: "There is a further critical flaw here. The proportion of individuals carrying the sickle-cell allele can never go above about 40 percent in any population, nor does the proportion of lactase-competent adults in any population ever approach 100 percent. Thus, on the basis of the sickle-cell allele, there are two groups (possible races by Diamond's criteria) of Fulani, one without the allele, the other with it. So those Fulani with the allele would group not with other Fulani, but with Italians with the allele. Those without it, along with the Italians without it (in both cases the majority) and all the Swedes, would form another unit—in effect, primitive Homo sapiens."
"Perhaps not, you might argue. Diamond is talking of frequencies of traits in populations, and the frequencies of lactase-competent adults are more similar in Swedes and Fulani than in Swedes and Italians or Fulani and Xhosa (one should note here that lactase-competence has clearly evolved independently in Europeans and Africans). And, yes, he is. But the discordance issue he raises applies within groups as well as between them. He is dismissive of the reality of the Fulani-Xhosa black African racial unit because there are characters discordant with it. Well then, one asks in response, what about the Fulani unit itself? After all, exactly the same argument could be made to cast the reality of the category 'Fulani' into doubt. Diamond's no-race position is thus clearly logically untenable and need concern us no further."
In short, Diamond attempted to define races based on "discrete" markers. Of course, this has often been the straw man that the race deniers continue to say those who believe in races claim they are using to define race, when in fact it is not.
Sarich and Miele then take on the Marxists' favorite mantra for denying race, that there is more genetic difference within races (85%) than between races (15%), declared by Richard Lewontin in 1972. As they point out however, we don't see this variation between individuals within a race such as hair texture, stature, skin color, eye color, shape of the nose, athletic ability, etc. That is, what people notice about races is that they differ in meaningful ways in physical characteristics as well as behavioral traits. In addition, the genetic makers noted by Lewontin were selectively neutral—any variant is just as good as another. What is of real interest when it comes to racial differences are those genes that have selective value under different ecological conditions, such as genes for intelligence, introversion, psychoticism, religiosity, ethnocentrism, etc. None of these genes have been identified because all of these traits are affected by multiple genes. We are just beginning to put together the research programs that will allow us to match behavioral or cognitive traits to their specific genes.
What is important is to recognize that the differences we observe are often highly genetic, and that they differ in frequency or average amounts in different races. We do not need to know the specific genes for a trait, as long as we can test individuals on behavioral and cognitive traits in a reliable way such that statistically, the results are highly reliable. We can do this now with mental ability, and we are starting to get more information on some rather obscure traits like religiosity. Interestingly, racism, ethnocentrism or xenophobia have remained unreified enigmas—with little effort by the academic left to ground it in either evolutionary selective terms, nor to explain how it operates as a social advantage for Whites. All they have been able to do is make racism and its eradication into a dogma, one without validity. That is, do humans vary on their individual levels of ethnocentrism, what is the genetic component, do races differ in their average level of ethnocentrism, and what advantages does it confer on individuals and/or racial groups.
Sarich and Miele take a more analytical swipe at Lewontin's assertions: "Yet the world had to wait until 2002 for someone to explain the basic problems with Lewontin's famous 15 percent. It was Henry Harpending replying to a question from Frank Salter. Lewontin had noted that 85 percent of the genetic variability was among individuals within populations, and only an additional 15 percent was added when individuals in different populations were compared. However, this analysis omits a third level of variability—the within-individual one. The point is that we are diploid organisms, getting one set of chromosomes from one parent and a second from the other. To the extent that your mother and father are not especially closely related, then, those two sets of chromosomes will come close to being a random sample of the chromosomes in your population. And the sets present in some randomly chosen member of yours will also be about as different from your two sets as they are from one another. So how much of the variability will be distributed where?"
"First is the 15 percent that is interpopulational. The other 85 percent will then split half and half (42.5 percent) between the intra- and interindividual within-population comparisons. The increase in variability in between-population comparisons is thus 15 percent against the 42.5 percent that is between-individual within-population. Thus, 15/42.5 = 32.5 percent, a much more impressive and, more important, more legitimate value than 15 percent. It's interesting that Henry Harpending noted in an e-mail to us that no one has ever published this calculation."
"One might argue here that the genetic distances involved are so small that it makes no difference what level is being discussed—100 percent of nothing is still nothing. The appropriate and effective rejoinder, as previously noted (and will note again), is 'dogs, dogs, and more dogs.' There the amounts of both anatomical and behavioral variation added by going to between-breed comparisons are obviously far greater than for similar human between-race comparisons (though certainly no one doubts they are gene-based, while the degree of genetic variation is minimal, apparently much as in us)."
Looking at other species alone, especially breeds of dogs, makes the validity of subspecies, races or breeds of dogs obvious. Unless one accepts denying evolution, and that humans as yet have not escaped evolution's basic construct of ecological differences acting on different subspecies, then there has to be differences between races that are more than "skin deep."
Sarich and Mield then address Gould's race-does-not-exist mantra: "The basic reason Gould gives for his no-race position is this: 'Homo sapiens is a young species, its division into races even more recent. This historical context has not supplied enough time for the evolution of substantial differences.' (This from the man famous for his theory [with Niles Eldridge] of punctuated equilibria.)" They then go on to explain why Gould is wrong.
They looked at differences between human races, between males and females, and differences between primates—particularly chimpanzees and gorillas. What is astounding is that there is greater morphological distance between human races than there are between the two chimpanzee species or between gorilla species/subspecies. That is, the differences between human races are real, they are substantial, and they did not take millions of years to diverge. Humans, rapidly occupying every available niche after leaving Africa 50,000 years ago, has been under enormous pressure to adapt. To do this meant selection for morphological, pharmacogenetic, behavioral, and cognitive traits. Not only are there many human races, but there are at least as many races as there are ecological niches, and only humans can create their own niches with forethought. What this means is not only are there human races, but humans have evolved uniquely to alter there own cultures or ecologies, further increasing unique selection pressures. So culture has in fact increased human selection, not eliminating it as Marxists would have us believe (or creationists don't even contemplate).
Sarich and Miele explain: "Molecular data suggest that the two chimpanzee lineages separated around 1.5 million years ago; the comparable human figure is on the order of 15,000 years. In other words, the two chimp lineages are 100-fold older, yet show the same amount of variation. That is a remarkable result, the implications of which take a while to sink in. The implications follow this logic: Human races are very strongly marked morphologically; human races are very young; so much variation developing in so short a period of time implies, indeed almost certainly requires, functionality; there is no good reason to think that behavior should somehow be exempt from this pattern of functional variability…."
"Thus the data, be they from corn or people, don't mesh with the idea that strong selection on important features reduces the amount of heritable variation in them. But why doesn't it? What's wrong with what seems so eminently logical? Things might work that way if only one or a small number of genes were involved in producing a complex character like the brain or the various structures involved in bipedalism. But that isn't the case. The argument that selection was involved at only one or a small number of genetic loci can be disposed of with a simple thought experiment. Imagine that this were the case. Then the idea would be correct, and variation would rapidly be consumed."
"And then? Well, yes, that's the problem, isn't it? No more variation, no more natural selection, no more adaptive change, rapid extinction. More formally, this sort of process would rapidly lose out to one in which the variation used to produce the adaptation was in fact spread out among as many genes as possible, such that new mutations could readily reconstitute such variation as was lost to selection. And the more important the adaptation, the more likely it would evolve that way—that is, by involving as many loci as possible in the selective process. That's why we see all that functional variation out there in precisely those features that have been so important in our evolution."
To summarize then: race is real and humans as well as other mammals recognize racial or subspecies differences for adaptive reasons; the differences in genes that matter for selection are the ones that make individuals and races different from one another; and important characteristics like high intelligence require flexibility and the ability to change for evolution to work. Human races have been diverging at an accelerated rate because humans are the quintessential niche constructors—we have evolved into an ecology changing species. In the future, this rate of divergence can only accelerate as niches become more complex, even in the face of increased intermarriage between races. Divergence will outpace convergence due to race mixing, with the likely introduction of new races at an accelerating rate.
Of course, other species have also been impacted by human alteration of niches, especially breeds of dogs. There is no discernible difference between wolf genes and the many breeds of domesticated dogs that evolved from wolves thousands of years ago, and especially in the last few hundred years.
As SARICH AND MIELE explain it: "…there were huge differences between dog breeds, both in morphology and in behavior. How different were they genetically? Had the same methodology been applied to sorting out dog breeds as was described for humans in Chapter 5? With such large morphological and behavioral differences, shouldn't there be large DNA differences between the breeds? (It is now well known that the morphological and behavioral characteristics that distinguish breeds from one another are genetically based.) Vince's surprising answer was that (at that time) not only were there no known DNA differences between the breeds, but these methods couldn't even distinguish between domestic dogs and wolves. Although it was possible to identify individuals with the same microsatellite approach that has been in use for the past two decades, only this year (2003) have researchers been able to distinguish between a few dog breeds by DNA differences."
Knowing that all organisms are biological units that to date have not been able to escape the laws of evolution, no matter how much in denial Marxists and fundamentalists have become, I wonder if any of the race deniers would like to put forth the theory that the differences in breeds of dogs are due to their upbringing. Or perhaps humans have stereotyped different breeds of dogs to such a degree that we treat them so differently (institutional doggy breedism) their behaviors are really environmental, and not genetic at all! Of course such a proposition would seem absurd, and yet we treat human races with the same just so stories to explain away differences.
And here is one example where first dogs, then humans were analyzed, with radically different reactions:
"We next enter into the transcript the following quotation from Professor Freedman, who conducted some of the most important of these studies: 'I had worked with different breeds of dogs and I had been struck by how predictable was the behavior of each breed. A breed of dog is a construct zoologically and genetically equivalent to a race of man. To look at us, my wife and I [Freedman is Jewish; his then wife, Chinese] were clearly of two different breeds. Were some of our behavioral differences determined by breed?'"
"Freedman and his wife set about designing experiments to test that hypothesis; they are interesting both for their scientific results and for the different receptions they received in even the most prestigious scientific journals. The Freedmans decided to observe the behavior of newborns and infants of different races. The tests they used were the Cambridge Behavioral and Neurological Assessment Scale. Unlike the typical reflex tests performed by pediatricians, these tests, called 'the Brazelton' after their developer, measure social and emotional behavior."
"'How easily did the baby quiet? Was it able to turn to the examiner's face and voice? Did it prefer face over voice or voice over face? How did interest in the voice compare with interest in a ball or a rattle? Was the baby very active or did it just lie quietly? Did it fit comfortably in the examiner's arms or did it fight being held? Did it generally resist or accept our testing? Was it floppy or stiff? And then there were all the reflexes: were they crisp or just barely elicited?'"
"'White and Chinese neonates were different even though hospital conditions and prenatal care were the same.'"
"'Caucasian babies started to cry more easily, and once they started, they were more difficult to console. Chinese babies adapted to almost any position in which they were placed: for example, when placed face down in their cribs, they tended to keep their faces buried in the sheets rather than immediately turning to one side, as did the Caucasians. In a similar maneuver (called the "defense reaction" by neurologists), we briefly pressed the baby's nose with a cloth, forcing him to breathe with his mouth. Most Caucasian and black babies fight this maneuver by immediately turning away or swiping at the cloth with the hands, and this is reported in Western pediatric textbooks as the normal, expected response. However, not so the average Chinese baby in our study. He simply lay on his back, breathing from the mouth, "accepting" the cloth without a fight. I must say that this finding is the most impressive on film, and audiences have been awed by other intergroup differences.'"
"'Other, more subtle differences are equally important. For example, both Chinese and Caucasian infants would start to cry at about the same point in the examination, especially when they were undressed, but the Chinese babies would stop crying immediately, as if a light switch had been flipped, whereas the crying of Caucasian babies only gradually subsided.'"
"When the Freedmans tested Navajo neonates, they were like the Chinese, which might have been expected, given our knowledge of probable Navajo origins. From traditional anthropology to linguistics to DNA, Amerindians, especially the Na-Dene tribes like the Navajo, are most closely related to Asians, and not Europeans or Africans. This was impressed upon me (Sarich) one afternoon when I was flipping channels and found myself watching a girls high school basketball game. I wondered, 'Where in Asia were we?' Then something appeared that clued me in. I was with Navajos, but the resemblance to northern Asians was striking."
"Freedman submitted the paper on racial differences in neonate behavior to Science. The most prestigious scientific journal in the United States, it had published his study of behavioral differences in pups of different dog breeds without any problem or controversy. The paper on race differences, however, was rejected by a split vote of the reviewers. Freedman then submitted it to Nature (the British analogue to Science), where it yet again drew a split decision by the judges. Fortunately, the editor broke the deadlock by casting his deciding vote in favor of publication."
Repeatedly, behavioral research shows that humans differ by race, and that many differences in behavioral and cognitive ability and styles are primarily genetic. How else can one explain racial differences in newborns? It is a real stretch to ponder environmental differences while in the womb that could cause such large differences in behavior. The only valid conclusion must be genetic, unless other evidence can be produced showing an environmental cause.
Racial categories are of course "fuzzy sets" without clearly distinct boundaries. But humans everywhere are adapted to finding slight differences even in neighboring communities and/or tribes, depending on the degree of separation. Races of course grade into each other, especially the closer we get geographically to the cross roads of civilizations from North Africa to Southeast Asia. But nonetheless, there are recognizable differences between races, and these differences are very noticeable to those who interact, often keeping racially separate because of antagonisms kept alive with tribal or racial nuances or differences that outsiders could not recognize.
Sarich and Miele explain why the out-of-Africa rationalization for the non-existence of races is untenable:
"The shorter the period of time required to produce a given amount of morphological difference, the more selectively/adaptively/functionally important those differences become. The Garden-of-Eden model in its earlier formulations envisioned perhaps 40,000 years for raciation within anatomically modern Homo sapiens; for a time in the late 1980s and 1990s, driven by the mtDNA work, dates of 100,000-150,000 years were common; the most recent molecular evidence (mtDNA and Y-chromosome) fits comfortably with the 40,000-year date. But that might not be all of it. During the past 10,000 years, human cultures have differentiated to a much greater extent with respect to achievement than was the case previously. Thus not only might the time involved in raciation have been brief, but also the selective demands on human cognitive capacities might have differed regionally to a substantially greater extent than could have been the case previously…."
"Gould spends the first two chapters (100 or so pages) explaining that brain size and intellectual performance have nothing to do with each other without once noting that human brains have not always been the size they are today. Nor is that awkward fact mentioned anywhere else in the book. One could never learn from it that brain size in our evolutionary lineage increased from around 400cc to 1,300-1,400cc over the past 4 million years. Why this omission? I think the answer is quite straightforward. That part of Gould's psyche concerned with basic evolutionary biology knew that those large brains of ours could not have evolved unless having large brains increased fitness through what those large brains made possible—that is, through minds that could do more. In other words, individuals with larger brains must have been in some way, on the average, in the long run, slightly better off than those with smaller brains for a long time. How advantaged? Dare one say it?—by being smarter, of course. What else?"
"But Gould's behavioral-creationist side, which clung to the notion that deep down we are really all the same, couldn't allow him to admit this, because then he would have found it impossible to honestly sustain his argument (pp. 30-112) that brain size, as far as we know, does not matter. To conclude otherwise, he would have had to recognize that if the variation did once matter (and it must have), and if the variation is still there (it is), then it almost certainly still matters—and if one is going to argue that it does not matter, then one must explain why it does not. I do not think one can do this while maintaining one's intellectual honesty and integrity, and, presumably, neither did Gould. Thus, he simply ignored the demands of the evolutionary perspective by denying, implicitly, that our brains had evolved."
"The evolutionary perspective demands that there be a relationship—in the form of a positive correlation—between brain size and intelligence. That proposition, I would argue, is not something that need derive from contemporary data (although, as discussed later, those data do give it strong support). It is what would be expected given our particular evolutionary history; that is, it is the evolutionary null hypothesis and, thus, something to be disproved. Indeed, it seems to me that a demonstration of no correlation between brain size and cognitive performance would be about the best possible refutation of the fact of human evolution (I did write this, though no creationist has as yet noticed). It took me a long time to figure out the general point here: Darwin's descent with modification by means of natural selection has been, and continues to be, the reality. It is what we start with, not something we must prove for each new issue that arises. In other words, there was no particularly good reason to have to do the cognitive performances as they relate to brain-size studies. They have simply confirmed what we expected given human evolutionary history and the nature of the selective process. But creationists in general, and behavioral creationists like Gould in particular, are very good at pushing our scientist buttons, and we fall so easily into the trap they have set for us. Show us the data, they ask—and we try to respond, forgetting that the realities of evolution, evolutionary processes, and evolutionary lineages are data—and usually rather good data."
"In other words, then, natural selection must have genetically based phenotypic variation to work on. Throughout the period of change in brain size, a substantial amount of genetic variation must have been present for brain size; likely, the greater the advantage of larger brains, the greater the underlying genetic variation for brain size. I had long been frustrated by the canalization (that is, continual reduction in one direction) argument with respect to human intelligence, my teaching experiences telling me that cognitive performance was one of our most, not least, variable features, yet at the same time being unable to refute the logic of the canalization argument. This quandary lasted until, sometime around 1983, I remembered Fisher's Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection: "The rate of increase in the fitness of any organism at any time is equal to its genetic variance in fitness at that time"—which says it all. An earlier statement of the general argument was made by the late Bernard Davis in 1976: 'Let me further emphasize that, even if no one had ever devised a test for measuring IQ, we could still be confident, on grounds of evolutionary theory, that our species contains wide genetic variance in intelligence. The reason is that natural selection cannot proceed unless it has genetic diversity, within a species, to act on; and when our species is compared with its nearest primate relatives, it is obvious that our main selection pressure has been for an increase in intelligence. Indeed, this change proceeded at an unprecedented rate (on an evolutionary time scale): in the past three million years the brain size of the hominid line increased threefold.... Such rapid selection for increased intelligence could not have occurred unless the selection pressure had a large substrate of genetic variation to act on.'"
Sarich and Mield go on to explain with brain size alone, differences between races can be as large as 2 standard deviations. With brain size correlating with intelligence at 0.4, that means that at two standard deviations, we can expect to see differences between races of 0.4 times twice the standard deviation of intelligence (30) resulting in a difference of 12 IQ points (0.4x2x15=12). And brain size is only one area of brain anatomy that enters into general intelligence, but it is also the oldest to be studied because measuring skull size is very straight forward, and includes comparisons between species.
General intelligence has as much variation as other group differences like hair form, body shape, or skin color. There is just no reason to think that intelligence has been stagnant in the past, never deviating after reaching a certain level at some time in the past. The default hypothesis is simply that human intelligence, having changed so rapidly, has a great deal of genetic variability, and we would expect large differences between individuals and races.
Sarich and Miele explain: "This same argument will apply to most aspects of individual variation. Given the number of characteristics in which functional variation is present, the ways in which they will balance out in two populations evolving more or less independently of one another are almost guaranteed to be different in the two. The balancing will take place at the level of individual phenotypes, and thus there will generally be a direct, inescapable connection between individual and group variation whenever evolutionary change is taking place—that is, always." Or simply, if there is a difference between individuals there will be differences between races.
And again, "As we have shown, the morphological differences between human races can exceed those found between subspecies, or even species of our nearest relatives, the chimps and gorillas, and other non-domesticated animals. Yet, as Lewontin rightly pointed out, the genetic differences between human races are small. We must look to our best friend, the domestic dog, where breeders have exercised extreme selection to find a level of variation equivalent to that found in humans. Canine differences in physique, behavior, and body chemistry have been produced in a very short time (for the most part, a few hundred years). Yet, despite the vast morphological and behavioral variation among dog breeds, we are only beginning to be able to distinguish between them, or even between dogs and wolves, using the latest DNA evidence."
This book touches on numerous arguments for why we would expect to find differences between human races, and yet one comes away feeling that there are many more examples and perspectives that could have been included. Then, why should science spend an inordinate amount of time and effort defending the concept of race when the attacks are coming from the academic left, where no data is provided—just absurd objections of every conceivable nuance? For every step forwards in behavior genetics, showing how the races differ, the academic left produces anecdotal, just-so stories about how or why the research should not be accepted. Nevertheless, what they don't do is provide any alternative research showing how the environment can increase general intelligence but a few points, and even these gains are ephemeral in the end.
The real proof will come from an expanded program of psychometric testing of behavioral and cognitive differences between races, followed by discovering the genes responsible. If the Human Genome Project is any indication of how rapidly new genetic techniques can materialize to speed up solutions, we may be linking actual genes to intelligence in just a few years. That is the single most troublesome expectation that the academic left now has to contemplate, and puts new urgency on trying to dissuade science from pursuing this forbidden knowledge.
Reviewed by Matt Nuenke, March 2004