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Table of Contents

with chapter summaries

 sports, race, and IQ...


'Blacks' do not have a genetic advantage in sports.

'Blacks' do not have a genetic intellectual disadvantage.

Human races do not exist.

The IQ literature is a series of frauds.


BOOK SUMMARY

Some academics and others peddle pseudo-science in order to allege that blacks are good at sports and bad at thinking. Resurrecting Racism answers them with proper science. The first half of the book shows that blacks do not have superior sports ability and that biologists, using the latest genetic data, have concluded that human races do not exist, contrary to what racists would like to believe. The second half of the book (beginning in chapter 6) traces the history of IQ testing, documenting that the IQ literature was built by committing outright fraud. IQ 'research' has been used to allege that blacks have inferior 'intelligence,' but those who developed the IQ literature turned the purpose of the original tests upside down, twisted their statistics, made up their math, and invented nonexistent researchers, publishing fake studies under phony names. These 'researchers' were also the major propagandists of the eugenics movement, which movement is responsible for creating the German Nazis. This is also documented in the second half of Resurrecting Racism, as is the fact that today's IQ 'researchers' continue this fraudulent and dangerous tradition.


Resurrecting Racism: The modern attack on black people using phony science.  2004 Francisco Gil-White

Table of Contents: http://www.hirhome.com/rr/rrcontents.htm

Chapter 2

Those who say human races exist contradict the biological definition of ‘race.’
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http://www.hirhome.com/rr/rrchap2.htm

We have seen that Entine’s data about differences in athletic performance in various sports are a nonstarter because they don’t fit the lay category ‘black race.’ Someone partial to Entine’s argument might say, “Well, so he used sports data that do not support his argument. That was a mistake. But perhaps he has other arguments, reasonable ones, to show that our lay categories of ‘white,’ ‘black,’ and ‘yellow’ correspond to real, biological races.”

And indeed, Entine has other arguments. Let us examine them so we can judge whether his illogical use of sports data is the exception or the rule.

But before we do this, we need first to identify two types of logical fallacy. As we shall see, although they are both fallacies, and therefore wrong, one of them is intuitively appealing.

The Unicorn Fallacy

BOB: “Unicorns exist.”

LARRY: “Show me some evidence!”

BOB: “Have you ever imagined a unicorn?”

LARRY: “Sure I have…”

BOB: “Well, there you go, that proves that unicorns exist.”

Bob’s conclusion is false, and obviously so. Just because he can imagine a unicorn does not mean that unicorns exist in the flesh. For convenience, I will call this species of reasoning the ‘Unicorn Fallacy.’

Now consider the second fallacy.

The Flat Earth Fallacy

BOB: “The Earth is flat.”

LARRY: “How do you know?”

BOB: “How does the Earth look to you?”

LARRY: “Flat.”

BOB: “Well, there you go, that proves that the Earth is flat.”

This species of reasoning I will call the ‘Flat Earth Fallacy.’ It is important to see that while the reasoning behind this argument is false, it is not obviously so.

The two types of fallacy have the same structure. They both ask you to believe that something in the world is true merely because you have a representation of it in your mind. It takes little effort to spot the problem in the Unicorn Fallacy because unicorns are, by definition, imaginary, and we can therefore immediately see that creating a mental representation of a unicorn will not make it exist in the world.

By contrast, our mental representation of the Earth’s surface is felt to be an experience. When we look out we can just ‘see’ that the Earth is flat, and therefore finding out that it isn’t requires careful and expensive investigations. For this reason, humans throughout the millennia believed that they inhabited a flat world, matter-of-factly accepting the Flat Earth Fallacy as true.

Biological anthropologists Robert Boyd & Joan Silk point out, in their much used textbook How Humans Evolved, that we can’t necessarily trust our first intuitions about what the world is like. Our intuitions may be riddled with all sorts of cognitive and perceptual biases:

“…our intuitions lead us astray in many ways. Our eyes tell us that the Earth is flat, but it is really a sphere. Our intuition tells us that a bullet fired horizontally from a rifle will hit the ground long after a bullet dropped from the muzzle at the same instant, yet in reality they will hit the ground at the same time. Our mind tells us that it is impossible that an elephant should be [ultimately] descended from a shrew-like insectivore, even though that is exactly what happened.”[1]

The Unicorn Fallacy is easier to spot than the Flat Earth Fallacy, but the general point is obvious: one cannot demonstrate the truth of something in the world merely by pointing out that the human brain represents it that way. And yet, as we shall see, this is precisely how Entine argues his case regarding ‘race.’

Let us begin with a clear understanding of what it means for a biologist to call something ‘a race.’ For biologists, ‘race’ is a technical term with a technical meaning: subspecies. Populations within a species are baptized ‘subspecies’ (that is, races) if we can find a biological discontinuity—an identifiable genetic boundary. Entine claims that humanity can be divided into races as biologists understand the term; indeed, according to him, it has been demonstrated by modern biology that there are three races: ‘white,’ ‘black,’ and ‘yellow.’ Therefore, his first task should be to show us that biological discontinuities exist within the human species; that is, that we can demonstrate a clear line of genetic demarcation, for example, between ‘blacks’ and ‘whites.’ That’s not what he does, however.

On page 110 of Taboo Entine approvingly quotes Vincent Sarich saying this:

“...races exist to the extent that you can look at individuals (and/or their genes) and place them into the area of origin of themselves or recent ancestors.”

There is no mention here of a discontinuity. Notice also the “and/or,” which means that according to Entine, if the eyeball test works—that is, if “you can look at individuals...and place them”—then this is sufficient to establish that races exist. It is not necessary to look at the genes, says Entine. Do ordinary people know about genes? No, they don’t. But do ordinary people think that they “can look at individuals...and place them”? Why sure they do. So Entine has just told them that their prejudices match reality: if they think they see races, then races exist.

This is the Flat Earth Fallacy.

No surprise then, that Entine should explain early on, on page 8 of Taboo, that his book is about “what are popularly called races” (my emphasis).

Once we understand the Flat Earth Fallacy, we can see how useless ordinary lay perceptions can sometimes be to the scientist. We know that the Earth is round, and yet we also know that ordinary laypeople cannot determine this with a simple eyeball test. Suppose we were to grant Entine’s claim that human races do exist. Couldn’t the eyeball test, conducted with ordinary lay intuitions, still fail to identify properly their boundaries? Sure it could, just as the eyeball test fails to tell us what the real shape of the Earth is. So even for someone who argues that races exist, which is Entine’s case, it makes zero sense to say that the demonstration will be found in the intuitions of ordinary laypeople!

In fact, we can show that the ordinary American lay categories of ‘white,’ ‘black,’ and ‘yellow’ will not find the boundaries of any actual human races even under the assumption that some human races do exist. This is because the lay American categories cannot produce rigorous boundaries at all.

The way ordinary Americans separate people into supposed races is based on external appearance, for example, skin color, hair texture and color, shape of nose, thickness of lips, etc. In How Humans Evolved, Robert Boyd and Joan Silk point out that these criteria do not yield crisp categories. For example, regarding skin color, they note that if you take a plane in Scandinavia and then parachute down over Nairobi, you will notice stark differences between the people at your places of departure and arrival. However, they say, what if instead of flying and parachuting down you went on a bike tour from Scandinavia all the way to South Africa (taking a ferry across the strait of Gibraltar).[2] Where exactly would you start seeing ‘black’ people? Before you saw any ‘blacks’ you would see ‘dark browns,’ and before that you would see ‘light browns.’ At no point, actually, could you say that you jumped from the ‘white’ race to the ‘black,’ so how will you answer the question of where ‘blacks’ begin? What will you do with all those ‘intermediates’?

The same thing would happen if you attempted to chart other categories of physical appearance (lip thickness, eye shape, etc.).  Going around the world, all these traits would blend by small degrees.

Boyd & Silk present this as a problem for the idea that our intuitive categories of ‘black’ and ‘white’—based on skin color, etc.— correspond to biological races. Why? Because Robert Boyd and Joan Silk are biological anthropologists with training in population biology (Joan Silk is a leading primatologist and Robert Boyd is a renowned theoretical population biologist). The concept of race, as defined by population biologists, requires a discontinuity—an identifiable boundary—where one race ends and another begins. Even assuming that genetic discontinuities in the human species exist, the surface traits that Americans use to create the categories ‘white,’ ‘black,’ and ‘yellow’ are obviously not what will help us find them.

Now, Jon Entine is perfectly aware that if we track changes in surface appearance (what people look like), the purported human ‘races’ bleed smoothly into each other without crisp boundaries. In fact, he recognizes this explicitly in Taboo, and yet he pretends it doesn't matter to his argument:

“That there may be no universal agreement on the name, number, or precise qualities that define each race does not undermine the reality of race.”[4]

It doesn’t? If scientists cannot agree on the “name, number or precise qualities” of something, what could it mean to say that it has “reality”? It would appear that Entine has trapped himself. How will he wiggle out? The way any illusionist escapes from a trap: with a trick:

“To escape this trap, [anthropologist] Vincent Sarich ...[says that] ‘...races exist to the extent that you can look at individuals (and/or their genes) and place them into the area of origin of themselves or recent ancestors.’

In other words, races reflect a continuous biological reality, they are not a discontinuous classificatory system.”[4]

They aren’t? Entine has just contradicted the manner in which the experts on the term ‘race’ actually use it. I suppose this is one way to ‘win’ an argument: when the facts contradict your case, just change the definitions… 

Here is a parallel. Imagine that Jon Entine is a real-estate agent trying to sell you a house. You say that you want lots of light, so the house you buy must have plenty of windows. Entine says, “I have just the place for you. It is brand new and has windows everywhere.” He takes you to see the house and you discover that it is solid brick on all four sides, with nary a pane of glass. You say, “What’s the matter with this place? There are no windows!” Entine replies, “I am stunned by your hostility. Don’t you know that modern builders agree that ‘a picture window’ is ‘a surface made of brick’”? And he assures you that once you understand this simple fact of modern house construction you will be content in your new home.

Entine would not get anywhere with this because ordinary people know the definition of ‘window.’ They also know that builders don’t say ‘window’ when they mean ‘brick wall.’ Finally, they would be able to see that the reality of the house is not altered by Entine's switch in definition.

With ‘race,’ however, matters are different.

Ordinary people are brought up to believe in the supposed existence of the ‘black,’ ‘white’ and ‘yellow’ races, but few of them ever learn what biologists in fact mean by the term ‘race.’ In everyday usage, the supposed races are discussed as if they were real, biologically discontinuous entities, and this social usage is reinforced by the seeming evidence of our eyes. Don’t we see dark people with wiry hair? Don’t we see light skinned people with straight hair? Indeed we do, but any difference that we can see will not automatically be identifying different races: you already know that people with blue eyes and brown eyes do not belong in two different races, for example.

Partly to blame for the illusion that there are human races are run-of-the-mill perceptual and cognitive biases,[3] and the rest of the blame goes to social conditioning, so that Americans end up with categories of ‘black,’ ‘white,’ and ‘yellow’ races that are solid and clearly defined in their heads. But what about the real world?  In the real world, it turns out, there simply are no sharp boundaries dividing humanity into groups that correspond to these mental constructs. Since biologists define races as requiring a clear discontinuity, this means that Entine cannot claim that the lay categories ‘black,’ ‘white’ and ‘yellow’—which fail to produce discontinuities—correspond to biological human ‘races.’ But Entine is aware that ordinary people suffer from a Flat Earth Fallacy regarding so-called human races. He knows that we strongly believe in them because we think we see them (even though, as he knows, biologists deny they exist), so he pretends that not being able to attach any morphological or biological substance to our imagined racial categories “does not undermine the reality of race.”

Entine has quoted one and only one anthropologist: Vincent Sarich, who teaches at University of California, Berkeley. Entine wants you to think that mainstream science has declared that human races exist, so he doesn’t tell you that his source, Vincent Sarich, has personally rejected the definition of race used by population biology and substituted his own, which happens to be the exact opposite. 

The only word for this is fraud.

Continue to Chapter 3:
http://www.hirhome.com/rr/rrchap3.htm
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Footnotes
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[1] Boyd, Robert, and Joan Silk. 2000. How Humans Evolved. 2 ed. New York: WW Norton and Co. (p.545)

[2] How Humans Evolved. (p.545)

[3] My own work has centered on documenting and describing these perceptual and cognitive biases. You will find my scholarly articles on this question here:
http://www.psych.upenn.edu/~fjgil/

[4] Entine, Jon. 2000. Taboo: Why black athletes dominate sports and why we're afraid to talk about it. New York: Public Affairs. (p.110)

[5] quoted in Taboo (p.110)


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