Re: Race, intelligence, and anti-racist prejudice (Was: Genetic Evolution)

David A. Johns (
13 Feb 1995 23:20:13 GMT

In article <> (Tom Lathrop) writes:

# What I am trying to do is force you to retract the assertion that
# the different human populations have separated too recently for
# significant differences in intelligence to be possible, by
# pointing out that you haven't a clue as to how much time *would*
# be necessary, and that in fact there is good reason to think that
# the amount of time required would not be all that large. (Not
# that I actually expect you to retract anything, since I suspect
# that for you as for many others this is more a matter of religion
# than science).

I think I agree with you on this point, but not because of "speed of
evolution" arguments. According to the data presented in The Bell
Curve, the black bell curve is entirely contained within the
white/Asian bell curve, at its lower end. Whatever accounts for the
difference, there is no need to evoke evolution, since selective
pressures (if there could be such for stupidity) would only have had
to weed out the smarter members of the population. The situation
would thus be similar to breeds of dogs, where each breed simply
exhibits a subset of the total variation of the species.

But I think it's significant that American blacks are bunched at the
low end of the white/Asian range. If you want to play the natural
selection game, you have to ask how that might have happened. Was
stupidity selected for either in Africa or in the United States among
blacks? It seems hard to imagine how that might have occurred. Were
smart genes selected for all throughout Eurasia without similarly
affecting Africa? Not likely. Did a smart gene arise in Eurasia but
not filter back into Africa? How could that have happened, since
there was always contact between the populations?

On the other hand, environmental explanations seem much more
reasonable. There are (almost?) no external influences that can raise
a person's functioning above what we consider normal, but there are
many that can suppress it, either temporarily (alcohol, lack of sleep)
or permanently (poisoning, malnutrition, etc.).

David Johns