Re: Those Eyes! (Was: Intelligence by Race)

Richard Spear (
Mon, 16 Jan 1995 17:21:54 PST

In article <3fesrq$> (Omar Shafey) writes:
>From: (Omar Shafey)
>Subject: Re: Those Eyes! (Was: Intelligence by Race)
>Date: 16 Jan 1995 22:44:10 GMT

>Richard Spear quoted Cavalli-Sforza, Minnozi, and Piazza's work stating that
>after discounting superficial physical features there is more variation
>between individuals then between groups. This actually raises more
>questions than it answers. If the genes for superficial physical features
>must be discounted before reaching a point where groups are indistinguish-
>able then it would appear that there *is* after all a genetic basis for
>the features associated with racial categories.
[more deletions]

Yes, I realized what the paragraph said when I posted it, and it is precisely
the point. No-one is saying that the differences used to place people into
racial categories are not genetic ... of course they are! But ... they are
*surface traits* that have nothing to do with abilities, intelligence, etc.
You might just as well categorize people by ear size or the number of bumps
on their heads ... also genetically determined. The actual quote referred to
these traits (such as color or stature) as surface traits ... and discounting
these leads to the conclusion that "... [genetic] diversity among individuals
is so enormous that the whole concept of race becomes meaningless at the
genetic level" (sorry if I included this before). That's *everything else*!

Classifying people by surface traits is a meaningless exercise, as any
external trait may be chosen. It only acquires significance when you impart
social meaning to the classification - this is what is being objected to. I
thing that you state this in your last paragragh.

A final note ... !Kung! (Khoisan) of the Kalahari and Aboriginals of Australia
are the two most distant groups of humans analyzed ... there is a wealth
of meaning to this forthose who would like to use surface features to classify
human populations.

Regards, Richard