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Stephen Jay Gould scientifically explains white supremacy??!!

Scott Kuhns Kuhns at harvey.mayo.edu
Tue Jul 18 11:58:59 EST 1995

In article <95195.231746U58563 at uicvm.uic.edu>, <U58563 at uicvm.uic.edu> wrote
(and I can only respond to the information that was given in this post):
>    ...Stephen Jay Gould ... proceeded with three
> rather lackluster arguments:  That intelligence does not exist as a unitary
> quantity (surely true, but this does not rule out genetic syndromes of mental
> retardation), that intelligence cannot be accurately measured by IQ
tests (also
> true, but this argument has not persuaded educational officials; apparently
> even an inaccurate test is of interest), that intelligence has no real effect
> on one's successfulness --- that the statistics quoted in "the bell
curve" have
> a very high variance, and indicate very little real effect on economic
> But this too is a cop-out, since some of us put more priority on intelligence
> than wealth.
>    His last argument was the shocker.  Having read some of his essays, I knew
> that he had often quoted a statistic that if the entire human race were wiped
> out but one tribe in South Africa, that 98% of the genetic variability
would be
> preserved.  In his talk, he revealed, indirectly, that he had been speaking in
> rather bad faith in these essays --- because, he claims, the genetic
> variability of Africans is immensely greater than of all the other races,
> making the others in effect one small branch of the human race.  Now *HE* went
> on to conclude from this that you could make no statement about "blacks" as a
> race, because they were immensely diverse; but it should be obvious that a
> statement made about WHITES as a group, compared to "the human race as a
> would be quite valid.

No!  This is your inference!  It sounds to me like SJG was just trying to
be politically correct and refute The Bell Curve with what information he
had that not only is it morally but also scientifically wrong to m ake
generalizations (ie steriotypes) about races, particularly blacks.  What
you've done, which is steriotypical of people who would look for reasons
to oppose any white person's arguement about race and intelligence, is
taken his argument and extracted an irrational conclusion to make him look
like a white supremisist.

> And superiority and inferiority are an inverse relation.

I don't understand what this sentence is doing here.

>    I cannot believe that he actually failed to realize this point; hence, I
> find myself wondering if it was in fact his intent to cede the argument
> saying so, and to favor what he ostensibly opposed.
>    As it happens, I have had my own arguments concerning the issue,
> specifically:  "map it, clone it, sequence it, or SHADDUP!"  but his oddly
> concealed argument attacks this position, which I had thought unassailable.
> Because if one supposes that the difference is merely one of genetic
> variability, and takes as the hypothesis that the "white" genotype involves a
> well-tuned set of many genes that work exceptionally well together, it becomes
> impossible to assess any *specific* gene for mental ability in any other
> background.  Because such a gene might interact well with variant forms of
> genes not present in the "white" genotype --- it might actually be associated
> with HIGHER intelligence in a variable, African background, even though it
> would lead to lower intelligence with the white genotype.  Thus one cannot
> simply take populations of blacks and whites and examine who has what form of
> which gene until winners and losers come out --- one must take the immensely
> more difficult approach of examining white families with a small probability
> of a variant African form of each gene, and seeing whether any such gene is
> associated with a very small drop in average intelligence.
>    In short, Stephen Jay Gould has not only advanced an obviously bogus
> argument, but demolished *my own* argument as well!

I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't think you do either. 
You start with the fallacious inference that SJG is linking genes with
intelligence and then go on to assail that argument (granted, it's not a
bad assult).  Aside from defects which lead to mental retardation, I don't
think anyone who knows anything about molecular biology and psychology
thinks that there is an intelligence gene an all, and certainly not one
that's linked with race.

>    Which leads me to the question:  *IS* his claim that there is a major
> difference in the degree of genetic variability actually correct?  Or was he
> giving some more half-truths or outright inaccurate information?
>    I have always said that we must examine such arguments with an open mind,
> since one cannot disprove racist arguments without knowing the facts, and
> because any subtle forms of mental retardation in ANY race that might
> be discovered would then be conditions that might be cured.  But I never
> dreamed that there would be any question about whether truth was on the side
> of equality.

Eric M. Rohren            
Department of Immunology 
Mayo Clinic             
Internet: rohren at harvey.mayo.edu

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