all i remember from the seventh grade — apart from the time some of the boys rolled the science teacher’s giant globe down the stairs (heh) — was endlessly taking reading comprehension tests. that must’ve been in vogue in education circles back then — check for reading comprehension! sheesh. seemed like every other day we took a comp test.
what i could never figure out at the time was how anyone could get any of the questions wrong on the tests! the tests typically consisted of three or four paragraphs that covered really dull and boring topics and which were followed by five or six multiple choice questions. but we still had the text in front of us when filling in the little ovals, so if you weren’t sure of an answer — was it bob that drove the car to the store or was it dan who took the bus to the movies? — you could just refer back to the text! what could possibly be simpler?! i know now, of course, that people have different abilities and that in any group half will be below average — and i went to a very average school — but at the time i was mystified. (yeah, prolly some of my fellow classmates just screwed around, too, and didn’t even try to answer the questions correctly.)
i have to admit, though, that that old bewildered feeling comes back to me again whenever someone misunderstands what hbd is.
it’s just TWO words, for chrissake!! two pretty straightforward words at that! how can anyone possibly misunderstand the phrase?!
ok. deep breath. let’s break it down. there’s “human” and there’s “biodiversity.” biodiversity is, i guess, one of those whatchamacallits — portmanteau words. it’s a combination of biological + diversity. i hope i don’t have to define either of them. and human? well, h. sapiens, i suppose, but if you want to throw in neanderthals or denisovans, that’d be okay.
so, what’ve we got? human biodiversity = the biological diversity of humans (see here). period. full stop.
here is where i’d like to note that human biodiversity is, thus, a set of natural phenomena — like chemical bonds or electromagnetic radiation. hbd is not a group of people — it’s the total variation of biological characteristics that all humans exhibit.
to be more specific: hbd is not an ideology. it is not a political platform. it is not even a set of beliefs. hbd is not a movement. of any sort.
hbd is not conservative or progressive. it’s not republican or democratic or independent or connected in any way to the mickey mouse party. it’s not libertarian, nor does it back a monarchy. hbd isn’t neo-fascist or neo-communist. or neo-confucian, neoconservative, neo-colonial, and/or neo-freudian.
hbd does not have feelings. or ideas. or even principles. it cannot advocate or suggest or imply or argue for or against or promote or claim anything. hbd does not have agency. saying that hbd “supports” anything is as ridiculous as saying that gravity “prefers” fluffy little bunny rabbits or that the second law of thermodynamics “was never really a big fan of” guy lombardo.
human biodiversity is just something we find in nature. that’s all.
there are obviously people who think hbd is particularly interesting — myself, for example. i guess we could be called “hbders” (hbd-ers?) — and here online there is something of an hbd-o-sphere — but that’s about it, really. to refer to the broad range of individuals who are interested in human biodiversity as “hbd” is simply misunderstanding the acronym.
this is one of a set of posts on What is Human Biodiversity? please, before you
fire off a rant leave a comment here, check out the other posts, because your question or objection may have been dealt with in one of them. here they all are!:
(note: comments do not require an email. not hbd.)