continuing on from the other day, jamie bartlett and timothy stanley are flat-out wrong that human biodiversity (hbd) is “neo-fascist” “bad science.” human biodiversity is simply the diversity found among and between human populations that has a biological basis. that’s all. yes, that most likely includes some degree of biological variation affecting the measurable difference in intelligence between individuals and various populations, but it’s early days yet on that front, and we barely know what exactly that biological variation entails. i’m sure the chinese will let us know all about it soon enough.
bartlett is sorta right about one thing, though (see his fourth paragraph here): that many who accept human biodiversity, many individuals on the political right, obsess over the racial differences in iq. he’s wrong to claim that the research that has found average differences in iq by race is pseudoscience, and he’s wrong to claim (indirectly as he does) that races don’t exist, but he is right about the obsess part.
now, i am the LAST person who should criticize anybody for obsessing about any one thing (see: most of this blog), but i’m going to anyway. if you accept that humans exhibit biologically based diversity, then you’d better be prepared to accept ALL of it. here’s the problem: too many of the people who obsess over the racial differences in iq DON’T want to accept — or often even think about! — OTHER facts, or possible facts, related to hbd. especially about their own kind.
as misdreavus tweeted…
here’s an example. try — just try! — bringing up the apparent average differences in iq between the sub-populations of europeans and see what happens. i dare ya! (~_^) [map stolen from jayman.]:
too many (imho) in the hbd-o-sphere don’t want to hear it (while, meanwhile, there is this obsession over racial differences in iq). never mind that human accomplishments from europe map extremely well onto the average iq distributions (although i think there’s possibly more to it than just iq):
here’s another more personal example. i happen to be an agnostic when it comes to the existence of a god(s). functionally i’m an atheist, and i almost never think about the topic, but i can’t see how we can know whether or not there is a god(s). what if he is omnipotent? then, of course, he’d be able to hide his existence from us, right? (don’t answer that — i really don’t want to get into a discussion about religious belief.) that seems very logical to me — it just seems right — but we know that religious belief is highly heritable, so this is probably just my genes talking — my “genes for neuroticism” maybe (i’m such a neurotic (~_^) ).
my point is that, while my agnosticism seems logical to me, i’m probably just born this way. and i need to keep that in mind. i really do. i should also remember that a lot of my other “logical conclusions” might not be so logically based either.
and so should you — about your own conclusions, i mean.
we should rely, instead, on what science tells us (see end of post).
the obsession about racial differences in iq in some circles of the hbd-o-sphere is all about confirmation bias, of course, which all humans are prone to (yes, even me!) — although some more than others in my experience. people see what they want to see and disregard the rest. i’m going to quote that pessimistic pothead john derbyshire on this, ’cause the dude is like toootally awesome on these sorts of things [pg. 154]:
“Researchers like Tversky and Kahneman have identified dozens of different kinds of bias. Some of them have leaked out to become common knowledge: *confirmation bias*, for example — the tendency to give extra weight to facts that support our predesired conclusion….
“Can we correct our biases? That depends on whom you ask. The overall picture that emerges from the cognitive science researchers of the last half century is one of a brain that struggles to cope with reality, and rarely does very well at it.
“Worse yet: Its not doing very well may be *adaptive*. That’s a term of art in biology. A trait is adaptive if an organism that possesses this trait gets a reproductive edge thereby over an organism that doesn’t.
“Researchers like S. Taylor and J. Brown (‘Illusion and Well-being, 1988) have found that a moderate degree of self-deception is normal in mentally healthy people, and is likely adaptive. Contrariwise:
“‘[I]t appears to be not the well-adjusted individual but the individual who experiences subjective distress who is more likely to process self-relevant information in a relatively unbiased and balanced fashion.’
“To put it slightly differently: Up to a point, the more depressed and maladjusted you are, the more likely it is that you are seeing things right, with minimal bias.”
oh, dear. =/
so, it’s asking too much, i know, and it’s not fair of me — humans are given to cognitive biases, they are a part our nature, and we will never get rid of them (not without a really stringent genetic engineering program, anyway!) — but, as a favor to me, if you are interested in and/or accepting of the principles of human biodiversity, please try to be open to all sorts of hbd possibilites, even the ones that seem to go against yourself or your own group. try.
by way of demonstration, going back to the average differences in iq between europeans, my own european ethnic group doesn’t have a very high average iq. no one from my group invented the steam engine or the microprocessor and we sure as h*ll weren’t the first people to travel into space. on top of it, we’re one of the piigs. those are the facts. that’s just how it is. no point in pretending otherwise. (i could also mention all of the male-female differences, too, of course, but i really can’t get engaged in that discussion, it’s just so…obvious.) and there are undoubtedly biological reasons for this lack of achievement from my group. see? what i’m asking is possible, although probably more difficult for some than others. but we’re not going to solve any of humanity’s problems without the truth, so we should at least try. a bit. who knows? maybe we’ll succeed — a bit.
and remember: focus your attention on scientific results that have been successfully reproduced — and focus your attention on scientific results that enable us to make predictions about individuals/populations. these are good indicators that science has actually been done. (please note that most of what i discuss on this blog — my own interest in inbreeding/outbreeding/etc. — is NOT science. it’s just an idea. i’m NOT doing science.)
that is not to say that speculation and theorizing have no place in hbd discussions! rather to the contrary, speculate away! and obsess away! just be clear about when you are speculating — and remember not to obsess to the exclusion of everything else hbd.
thank you. (^_^)
previously: in the dark about the dark enlightenment
(note: comments do not require an email. be careful with science, too! (~_^) )