Re: In which I change my mind again.

Vance Geiger (geiger@PEGASUS.CC.UCF.EDU)
Sun, 13 Oct 1996 01:13:00 -0400

I have never understood this argument regarding clustering of
traits. Who is it that says that traits have to cluster in the
first place?

Reply: Arthur Jensen, Murray and Herrenstein, Philippe Rushton,
Eysenk, Richard Lynn, Roger Pearson...

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

When ornithologists speak of different races within a bird
species do they talk about clustering of traits? Do plant
biologists who discuss races of plants within a species,
sometimes merely based on petal color or something similar, talk
about clustering of traits? All that has to vary is the
frequency of one allele across a geographic range, and some
structural (or behavioral) reason for lack of panmictic mating.

Reply: When scientific racists talk about races within the human
species they are referring to a cluster of traits that include
IQ, cognitive abilities (such as forethought, planning) response
time, reaction time, brain size, testosterone levels and SOME NOT
CLEARLY DEFINED SKIN COLOR. These are supposed to be clustered

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

Blood typing suggests literally thousands of "races" or breeding
"isolates", and I use quotation marks as the "isolation" is only
relative and not totally absolute, hence clines of various
degrees of sharpness. There was a time when Boyd's classification
tended to match the roughly six or seven major geographic
continental regions classically used to name "races". But simply
because Australian Aborigines can demonstrate blondism as well as
NW Europeans, is hardly an argument for the need of any and all
outward phenotypic manifestations to cluster in order to have
racial variation. And when there is considerable clustering of
traits, e.g., dark pigmentation, tightly spiraled hair, and
alveolar prognathism, surely you not want to regard Africa as
biological homogeneous, a continent that has probably more
biological variation phenotypically and genotypically as anywhere
in the world.

Reply: Clustering is what it is all about. Richard Lynn does
make the argument that African are biologically homogenous in
they have genetically inherited low IQ.

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

Africa is simply more diverse that the Khoisan people here, the
Bantu there, and Nilotic groups up there. I do think that
attempting to name all of the different groups on the basis of a
few phenotypic characteristics such as pigment and hair form is
not aparticularly sophisticated way to proceed. On the other
hand< I don't think all of the babies need to be tossed away with
the bath water, to use a wretched simile.

Reply: No it is not particularly sophisticated, but it is what
the people listed above attempt to do.

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

Oh, I do agree here. Unfortunately, the political correctness
attitude that surrounds these characteristics and genotypic bases
makes it difficult, if not outright dangerous to study human

Reply: Why don't you go after the people who have really made the
kind of studies you think are important dificult to do, the
people that argue for the clustering of traits among people of
different skin colors. Why the bitching about PC attitudes? Why
not a flat clear broadside toward those people who have for years
persisted in arguing that traits do not just vary, but cluster?
Why not a jibe at Jensen? Herrenstein? Eysenk? Why join with
them as some fellow traveler on the frontier of scientific truth
battling like Rushton against "equalitarian dogma" and "the
political correctness attitude," an attitude that is historically
derived from the pursuit of research in the service of an
ideology of clustered and VALUED traits?

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

Try it with the brain sometime, that one part of the human body
for which we simply won't tolerate any variability unless it does
occur absolutely randomly. Folk taxonomic categories are likely
to be a universal phenomena, but I will agree we (European-
derived) have tended to fixate on them. I am involved in
sort of an ongoing argument regarding Phil Rushton's claims about
Black mating patterns, testosterone, and several other behavioral
and bodily parameters. It's quite interesting, as the claim of
higher testosterone appears to have some basis in the literature,
particularly around high stress for blacks and their health
status. Here is an area where replication studies would be of
tremendous value to issues of public health, at least for Blacks,
if the claimshave any validity. Go to the literature and see how
many articles there are on the variation of testosterone titers
in males throughout the world. You will find but a couple, and
each raises more questions that they answer. Why? Because people
are afraid to study such things. It's almost as simple as that.

Reply: So what is it with this clustering business? "Black
mating patterns, testerone, and several behavioral and bodily
parameters"? Are we talking about clustered traits here? So
there is a basis in literature around high stress for blacks and
their health status. Who is black? Ask Ruston for some discrete
skin reflectance data, some biological, quantitative phenotypic
data. Or all of his data based on self identification. Is self
identification biologically based?

So this kind of information would have tremendous value to issues
of public health, "at least for Blacks." Who are these blacks?
Again some definitive data. Is testosterone level an indication
of blackness? Is stress? Could we carve out a category: Black
as in: high testosterone level, high stress, particular mating
patterns. Could this work? Yes. But it would leave out a lot
of people that American folk taxonomies and Rushton would
consider to be Black. Oh what to do... use the measurable
physical and behavioral characteristics or the folk taxonomies?
Ask Rushton if he could live with the above definition of Black.

If people are afraid to study the brain how could you report in
one of your responses in the Science in Anthropology discussion
that there are those using magnetic resonance imaging to develop
correlations betwen brain size and psychometric tests? If people
are not doing this research how is it getting done? This kind of
thing reminds me of the moaning and graoning in the Bell Curve
about the dificulty of doing certain kinds of research, but then
there is the 400 pages of analysis of the very kind of research
that Muray and Herrenstein say cannot be done. What is going on

From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>

I will state my position once more. I revel in variation. It
is th best damn thing that the human species has. It should be
studied and intensively so, appreciated, admired, and welcomed,
and encouraged, and more than tolerated, simply enjoyed.
Ralph Holloway

Reply: Fine. So why try to limit variation with terms such as
race? Race is an attempt to, when applied to humans, limit
variation by asserting that there are discrete differences
between populations in clustered traits. Why not concentrate on
what varies?