Unity And Diversity

Here’s a paper worth reading carefully, from Frank Salter and Henry Harpending:

J.P. Rushton’s theory of ethnic nepotism

In brief, the paper argues that in ethnically diverse settings, the statistical advantage conferred by intra-ethnic altruistic cohesion is sufficient to create significant group-level selection pressure, even when the actual kin relations are fairly weak.


  1. Kevin Kim says

    Thanks; I’ve downloaded the paper and will read it. From the abstract:

    “GST proposes that humans give preferential treatment to others in whom they
    detect genetic resemblance and that such behavior enhances genetic fitness.”

    Are they saying that, after extensive research, they’ve discovered that birds of a feather flock (and fuck) together? I do hope the paper is about more than that. An interesting question might be: how does this research contribute to the larger discussion of whether race exists?

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:45 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Kevin,

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that larger discussion to appear in academic papers anytime soon (outside of the fever-swamps of Grievance Studies departments, that is).

    That reliably identifiable human subpopulations vary in statistically significant ways is not a controversial topic; it is simply that those who study such things have learned to keep their heads down. The cognitive dissonance of public culture on this issue is deep, and fraught with peril for the unwary. (See, most recently, Jason Richwine.)

    Indeed, a bit of it peeps through in your own comment: on the one hand, you acknowledge the trivial truth, obvious to all, that birds “of a feather” flock together — then in the next sentence call into question whether the notion that birds can be “of a feather” has any actual basis in reality.

    Perhaps your “larger discussion” comment was just tongue-in-cheek, in which case I apologize for being so dense.

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  3. JK says

    If ya’ll don’t have your machines set to “automatic” – Mr. Clapper urges we check Microsoft Update.

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  4. Kevin Kim says

    Well, I don’t think I was being self-contradictory: I can be, simultaneously, convinced that “of a feather” is a solid concept and interested in hearing others’ opinions as to whether it really is. Sort of like being an atheist who is genuinely interested in logical proofs for the existence of God, or a theist who likes reading Hitchens. Naughty and transgressive, perhaps, but not contradictory.

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
  5. JK says

    Are they saying that, after extensive research, they’ve discovered that birds of a feather flock (and fuck) together?

    Well, I don’t think I was being self-contradictory: I can be, simultaneously, convinced that “of a feather” is a solid concept and interested in hearing others’ opinions as to whether it really is.

    Good for you Kevin.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests black, er, African American males prefer blondes (pinkgirls). The blonder the better. But brownhaired pinkgirls will generally suffice – provided the pink girls don’t ask the African American males to help with dishes. Or any children that might result.

    The same seems to hold true where Arabic males and pink women are concerned though where a longish relationship is a consideration, the Arabic males are not generally seen to adopt their pinkish “true love’s” Presbyterianism or for that matter, anything other than the male “partner’s” preferred.

    “Help with the dishes” has yet, as far as this observer has observed, has thus far not been a subject pink female persons and Arabic male persons have ever touched upon.

    However, between the two groups (African American & Arabic males) only the Arabic males seem to’ve convinced their pinkish “loves” to travel to Syria. The African “Americans” who’ve left Minneapolis/St Paul for Somalia seem, for the most part, to’ve been satisfied with America’s care for

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
  6. JK says

    their pinks.

    Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Hi Kevin,

    Sorry, I seem to have misunderstood you, as I feared I might.

    As for that paper influencing the “larger discussion of whether race exists”, it won’t. Nobody participating in that “discussion” (which is, anyway, nothing more than what Gurdjieff used to call “a pouring from the empty into the void”) is going to see or read it.

    Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  8. Kevin Kim says

    No worries re: any misunderstanding.

    I am surprised, though, at your apparent stance (and maybe this time it is I who misunderstand you): you seem to be an HBD Chick partisan, and her blog has numerous links that keep the “Is race real?” discussion alive. I assume she’s got all those links because the question interests her, and I had assumed that your support for HBD Chick indicated your own interest in the question. Does the topic of race’s reality interest you at all, or do you consider the matter settled?

    For myself, I think this may be one of those moments when it’s apropos to accept the “two truths”—conventional and absolute—of Madhyamaka Buddhism. On a “conventional” level, race exists. We see it all around us. On a more fundamental level, though, it seems that scientists are having a hard time parsing the chromosomes that dictate what race a person is, and for many scientists this effectively means that, at the molecular level, race probably doesn’t exist. If chimpanzees supposedly share 97% of their genome with humans, how much more overlap, then, exists between and among different races (or should I say “races”?) of humans?

    I find the question fascinating. If race isn’t a reality at the chromosomal level, but is a reality at the anthropic level, this strongly implies that race is merely a social (i.e., mental) construction. Linguistics experts certainly have no trouble with the notion—pretty much received doctrine among linguists—that any human tongue can speak any human language. Could the same be said for race? Can a person of any race/culture be born into and socialized into any other race/culture?

    To be sure, the other side of the coin is that there are obvious, visible differences between, say, a pale, elfin, über-blonde Scandinavian lass and a tall, dusky, muscular sub-Saharan African tribesman. This (and other factors, like eye shape, hairiness, and relative pungency of body odor) militates against the notion that race is merely a construction.

    I’m fascinated. You?

    Posted June 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Hi Kevin,

    It’s not of much value to count percentage-of-genome shared; I’m sure you’ll agree that it is not meaningless to talk of group differences between chimps and humans.

    Sure, racial groups don’t have sharply delineated edges. Nor would one expect them to. If what you mean by “race” is the presence or absence of a single, canonical marker in each human, identifying every one of us as this-and-this-only, then of course “race” does not exist (although there are indeed certain genetic markers that do only occur in people of particular ethnic ancestries).

    On the other hand, if I gave you a room full of Swedes, Australian aborigines, Japanese, and Quechuans, you’d have no difficulty sorting them out. Obviously the differences between those groups, and the commonalities within the groups, that make this so easy are not social constructions; they are easily distinguishable features of the phenotype, and as such they are indicators of “reality at the chromosomal level”. These different groups represent long-separated breeding populations, exposed to divergent selection pressures over a great span of years, and it is not difficult to identify their extended in- and-out-group relationships at a genetic level.

    Even the example you give, of human speech, is only true up to a point; it is generally not difficult at all to distinguish a black speaker’s voice from a white one’s, even when they have been raised in the same community.

    So yes, I think race is real. Is it fuzzy? Yes, like almost all natural categories. Should it be binding in any way upon our treatment of any person? No. But real? Of course.

    Posted June 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  10. Kevin Kim says

    So for you, then, the question is settled, so you can safely ignore most of HBD Chick’s links?

    Posted June 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Well, Kevin, I’m not one to ignore pertinent information. If there are some links in particular that you think I should be paying attention to, I’d be interested to know what they are.

    Posted June 14, 2013 at 12:15 am | Permalink

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