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.


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 5

The new ‘race scientists’ want us to view everything in terms of…race.

We have seen:

1)    that we cannot create rigorous human categories based on morphological variation (i.e., differences in surface traits), because the various visible traits do not covary in such a way as to make this possible;

2)    that even if we rely on a single morphological trait (e.g., skin color) we will not find crisp boundaries anywhere because the changes in human traits are very smooth;

3)    that in the human species any set of surface traits that we choose will be misleading rather than informative about overall genetic variation;

4)    that in any case it is pointless to try to rely on surface traits, because we can now directly study the human gene pool; and

5)    that when we study the human gene pool, we find that the human species is spectacularly uniform and in consequence we cannot find any cut yielding differences large enough to justify dividing our species into ‘races’ or ‘subspecies’ as biologists use these terms.

Given all this, for Entine to write a book explaining the role of genetic differences in physical ability between ‘the races’ is no better than if he wrote a book explaining the motor efficiency of dragon flight. The details of nonexistent things cannot be studied or compared, and human races do not exist. Using the data he has presented, Entine could in principle write a book about the possible biological underpinning of the better performance of certain small population groups in Africa (e.g. the Kalenjin) in a few specific sports, but no more.

Why then is Entine apparently so obsessed with using the term ‘race’ as laypeople use it, and pretending it has biological reality? Could it be that he has a broader purpose, namely, that he is a propagandist for racism? Not according to Entine, who affects the pose of an innocent seeker of truth.

For example, in an article he wrote to defend Taboo, he asks,

“...why do we so readily accept that evolution has turned out Ashkenazi Jews with a genetic predisposition to Tay Sachs… yet find it racist to suggest that blacks of West African ancestry have evolved into the world’s best sprinters and jumpers?”[1]

Entine's prose here deserves careful attention.

His allegation about West African superiority in sprinting and jumping is the claim that West Africans are better adapted for sprinting and jumping. This is why he says that “blacks of West African ancestry have evolved into the world’s best sprinters and jumpers.” His argument is therefore this: If we can accept that the Ashkenazi Jews have evolved with a predisposition to Tay Sachs, why can't we recognize that evolution equipped West Africans with certain traits as well? Let's be fair, he says.

But Entine has presented a non-argument.

First of all, it is false that “evolution has turned out Ashkenazi Jews with a genetic predisposition to Tay Sachs.” If evolution by natural selection had done that, then Tay Sachs would have to be an adaptation, but it is a disease.

And this genetic disorder is not unique to the Ashkenazi Jewish population anyway, it is merely somewhat more common among Ashkenazi Jews than among others. Even so, Ashkenazi Jews are not the only ones to have a higher incidence of Tay Sachs—certain French Canadians and Cajun French families also have a higher proportion of people suffering from this disease.[1a]

So Entine presents a falsehood—the intimation that Tay Sachs is supposed to be widely recognized as an adaptation of the Ashkenazi Jewish population—in order to suggest that anybody who does not agree that 'West Africans' are biologically superior in sprinting and jumping must be a hypocrite.

But the real hypocrite is easy to find. Entine's book is not even about 'West African' superiority in sprinting and jumping. His subtitle, recall, is not “Why Blacks of West African Ancestry Have Evolved into the World’s Best Sprinters and Jumpers,” which would require stating a falsehood anyway, because West Africans are not the world's best sprinters and jumpers. Neither is Entine's subtitle the more accurate “Why Some Small and Widely Separated Populations on the Western Coast of Africa are Good at Sprinting and Jumping.” No, the subtitle under Taboo is “Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About it,” which proclaims to the world that what Entine calls “black athletes,” as a whole, have an advantage in sports as a whole. Any such claim appearing on the front cover becomes his message even should Entine qualify it in the body of his book.

In point of fact, however, Jon Entine does not attempt to qualify the message on his front cover. Quite the contrary.

Up until page 25 of Taboo I counted a total of 79 cases where ‘black’ was used in a context suggesting either that this is the category of people with a supposed advantage in sports, or that this is the category Entine’s book is about. Up to the same page there is not one—I repeat, not one—case where Entine uses phrases such as “descendants of Western African coastal states” and the like (and I would have counted any, whatever the context). Instead we have a proliferation of phrases such as “black athletic success,” “blacks are better athletes,” etc.

Similarly, up until page 25, there were 13 instances where Entine uses words such as ‘race’ and ‘racial’ that suggest his topic is racial differences, as against only 4 occasions where he uses ‘population,’ ‘ethnic,’ or ‘regional’ that would suggest Entine is not trying to impose a racial viewpoint. That means Entine uses racial terminology three times as often as he uses terms that actually match his data. And this ratio is arguably even greater, because one cannot really count the word ‘population’ as non-racial given that Entine, early on, defines it like this: “science promises a glimpse of how the world’s different populations—popularly called races—have evolved.”[2]

So by the time the reader gets to page 25, a strong impression has already been formed: the book is about what are “popularly called races,” that is, about the supposed racial categories ‘black,’ ‘white,’ and ‘yellow’ that people in American society are indeed popularly taught to see the world through. And Entine makes it crystal clear that, in his view, these supposed racial categories are just fine for talking about supposedly biologically-based sports performance differences.

It is true that for just a few pages, after page 25, phrases such as “people from western African coastal states” do appear. This is because Entine, in this section, is discussing the sports data. And yet, as we saw earlier, even this way of talking tortures the data, which are about truly local population differences. Quickly done with that discussion, Entine returns to copious employment of the words ‘black’ and ‘race’ as he launches into a long defense of the race concept. This is the real meat of the book, because what Entine wants is for you to think that the belief in human races is scientifically mainstream. And he wants you to view every human situation in terms of race.

To this end, no argument, however illogical, is spared.

Consider, for example, how Entine discusses the conflict in Northern Ireland. One view that Entine could have put forward is that the conflict in Northern Ireland is racist. My own research shows that culturally different populations living side by side can easily come to view each other as alien ‘races.’[3] This appears to be even more likely when there is a real political conflict to match the cultural boundaries. The British originally settled Scots in Northern Ireland as a way to solidify their hold on the island.[4] As part of their colonial strategy, the British encouraged divisions between the original Irish inhabitants and the Scots who were resettled there (now called Scotch-Irish) in order to prevent these two populations from uniting on a class basis. This is the classic divide-and-rule strategy that the British used in many other places, and a good argument can be made that it played an important role in perpetuating the conflict in Northern Ireland, with the British playing on a widespread tendency that cultural populations have to imagine their differences as biological ones.

But this is not the kind of argument that Entine defends. His argument is that these communities in Northern Ireland are—in fact—objectively different races in the biological sense, and that this is why they are in conflict. One obvious problem with this view is that if one claims that ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ are races, as Entine does, then how can one claim that the Irish and Scotch-Irish are also human races, unless the Scots and the Irish are not both ‘white’?

If Entine’s goal were logical coherence we’d have to call him a prodigious failure. But that is not his goal. Here’s Entine:

“Consider the seemingly endless tension in northern Ireland, which is often described as a religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. It would be better thought of as a racial struggle between the native Irish and the transplanted Ulster Protestant Scots, brought in by the English to solidify their hold on the Emerald Isle. Indeed, some English people have long thought of the Irish as a ‘savage sub-race,’ distinct from the civilized English masters. In fact, the English and Irish have quite different cultural and genetic histories.”[5] [my emphasis]

Why would this conflict “be better thought of as a racial struggle,” when the history of Northern Ireland virtually shouts that the causes of that conflict have to do with class, politics, and culture? Entine, in fact, makes this clear himself because he explains that “the transplanted Ulster Protestant Scots [were] brought in by the English to solidify their hold on the Emerald Isle.” So why does he simultaneously deny the very point his observation makes? Because Entine does not want us to view conflicts in terms of class, politics, or culture; he wants us to view them in terms of race.

Entine’s argument about Ireland lacks even a shred of rationality but at this point we cannot really be shocked. His arguments about African athletes were entirely irrational as well. So were his arguments, derived from Vincent Sarich, about races with fuzzy edges. The point is, Entine is not relying on rationality. He is appealing to the powerful tendency of his readers to see the world in racial terms.

Why is the illusion that races exist so appealing?

In the recent movie The Matrix, Keanu Reeves’ character Neo and everybody else are convinced that they live in ‘the real world’ because that is what their perception is screaming at them and, after all, nothing else is available for comparison. In fact, however, they are all sleeping in liquid pods and their brains are wired to a computer which is feeding them a simulation of a world. “A prison for the mind,” explains Morpheus, played by Lawrence Fishburne.

The Matrix is a handy metaphor for how certain processes of perception and social categorization help trap us into particular ideologies: your mind lives in a prison with pictures of human races on the walls. Your brain, in other words, is built in such a way that it ‘sees’ human races that aren't there. Entine wants his readers to believe that science has proved that human races are a reality, but we have already seen that the latest genetic science demonstrates precisely the opposite. And the latest psychological science is beginning to explain how and why our brains produce the illusion that human races exist.

For example, Lawrence Hirschfeld’s data suggest that very young children are predisposed to treat human phenotypic differences as a guide to presumed biological categories, and that this bias may be innate.[5a] My own research suggests that phenotypic differences are not at all necessary, and that people eagerly racialize ethnic distinctions even when the people on either side of the boundary have very similar or even identical bodies and faces, and even though ethnic categories are rather easily shown not to be coherent biological populations.[5b]

Perhaps the most interesting question is this: Why are we predisposed to ‘see’ humanity divided into natural biological kinds, supposedly discernable from surface morphological and cultural variation, when such intuitions are contradicted by the facts? Whenever a brain is designed to see things that aren't there, it calls for an especially good explanation. I think the failure of social and cognitive science so far to provide a good answer to this question has been responsible for the fact that ordinary people remain convinced that there are biological human races. As cognitive anthropologist Roy D’Andrade observes, “Despite years of proselytizing, anthropology has been unable to convince the American public that races are not natural kinds.”

In other words, no matter what anthropologists say, ordinary people know what they can obviously see
or so they think—so the claim that there are no races appears to them as a politically correct state of ‘denial.’

This is precisely what Jon Entine is counting on.

My own research has been an attempt to remedy the problem, the better to protect ordinary people from the likes of Jon Entine, by investigating how the cognitive illusion that there are natural human races works. In addition, I have tried to put together an argument for why those cognitive processes are there in the first place. There is no space here for the latter issue, but let me briefly explain what I believe are the cognitive process involved.

My investigations and those of others have given me an important insight into why people are so tenaciously resistant to the finding that our species has no races: humans easily essentialize ethnic and purportedly ‘racial’ categories.
[5b] An ‘essence’ is something like a substance that is vaguely imagined to reside inside each member of a given ethnic or ‘racial’ category, making them all of the same supposed nature (sometimes this is glossed as ‘blood’). When a social category is essentialized, people will easily make inductive generalizationsin other words, if something is found to be true of one member of category X, there is an automatic bias to conclude it is true of all Xs. Therefore, when thinking about an essentialized category, we don't wait to build a sample of observations, but tend to generalize from one individual to the whole. Notice that I am not saying this happens with any social category—I am saying it happens with such categories as ethnies and ‘races.’

What are the consequences of this? Well, here’s a pessimistic prediction: most readers of this book, even if they find my arguments persuasive while reading them, will tomorrow walk again in their everyday world and, if they are Americans, will not fail to notice that so-called ‘blacks’ are increasingly predominant in some American sports. Their brains will then tell them: “Whatever! It’s obvious: blacks dominate sports; there must be a biological advantage.”

But this inductive generalization is a logical error. Why? Because even if it were to turn out that American blacks dominate some American sports due to a biological advantage (something that I have not conceded), American blacks are not ‘blacks’—they are just a tiny portion of those referred to by that label, whose ancestors originate in just a few places on the western coast of Africa. So here one would be making an argument about ‘blacks’ when the evidence is only from a subset of them, and a subset which—to boot—is easily shown not to be representative of all blacks. Moreover, among so-called ‘blacks,’ African Americans in fact have one of the highest rates of admixture with so-called ‘whites,’ so this population is the worst place to start if one’s goal is to make claims about purportedly racial biology!

And yet the erroneous inductive generalization will be made easily, and by most of my readers, as it is almost irresistible.

Like The Matrix itself, human ‘races’ do not exist in the world, but—almost irresistibly—in your mind. However, the tendency to divide the human species into races is not utterly irresistible. Unlike those trapped in The Matrix we have methods of observation that go beyond what our eyes intuitively see, and we can thus measure systematically in order to determine whether the intuitive allegations of our brain in fact correspond to natural divisions of our species. Such measurements reveal that ‘race,’ as used by evolutionary and population biologists, is not a concept applicable to humanity, as I have labored to explain.

Biologist Jared Diamond observes that we no longer believe many of the things that our brains naively insist are true, such as

“that the Earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the Earth, and that we humans are not animals… The reality of human races is another commonsense ‘truth’ destined to follow the flat Earth into oblivion.”[5d]

Not, however, if Jon Entine has his way. As we have seen, he is a propagandist for race-centered thinking.

But does that mean Entine is a propagandist for racism? There is a way to test this. As we saw in the introduction, it is common for racists such as Henry Edward Garrett to damn black people with faint praise when they find themselves in a situation in which an open attack is not acceptable. In such cases they will say that black people are better at sports, or naturally graceful, or more talented at music, etc., and with this they sugar coat their real message, which Garrett made clear when he did not feel constrained:

“[The Negro] has less of what I call ‘abstract intelligence’ than the white man. He functions at a lower level… he is not so able to think in terms of symbols—words, numbers, formulas, diagrams.”[6]

So here is the relevant question: Is Jon Entine’s seeming praise of supposed black superiority in sports sincere? Or does he, like Henry Edward Garrett, push the second part of the argument? Does he allege, directly or indirectly, that black people are intellectually inferior?

The answers, as we shall see, are that no, Entine is not sincere, and yes, he is pushing the argument that black people are intellectually inferior.

Continue to Chapter 6:


[1] “Breaking the Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We’re No Longer So Afraid to Talk About It”; by Jon Entine; Special SKEPTIC Issue on Race & Sports; Summer 2000; vol 8 no.1

[1a] "Tay-Sachs Disease"; Dr. Joseph F. Smith Medical Library; February 12, 2005.

[2] Entine, Jon. 2000. Taboo: Why black athletes dominate sports and why we're afraid to talk about it. New York: Public Affairs. (p.8)

[3] Gil-White, F. J. 2001. Are ethnic groups biological 'species' to the human brain?: Essentialism in our cognition of some social categories. Current anthropology 42:515-554.

[4] McGary, John, and Brendan O'Leary. 1995. Explaining Northern Ireland: Broken images. Oxford & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

[5] Taboo (pp.112-113)

[5a] Hirschfeld, L. (1996). Race in the making: Cognition, culture, and the child’s construction of human kinds. Cambridge MA, The MIT Press.

[5b] Gil-White, Francisco J. 2001. Are ethnic groups biological 'species' to the human brain?: Essentialism in our cognition of some social categories. Current Anthropology 42 (4):515-554.

Gil-White, Francisco J. 2002. The cognition of ethnicity: Native category systems under the field-experimental microscope. Field Methods 14 (2):170-198.

[5c] D'Andrade, Roy G. 1995. The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (p.78)

[5d] “Race without color,” by Jared Diamond, Discover (November 1994:82-89);

[6] U.S. News & World Report, Nov 18, 1963, pp 92-93.