Re: unpalatable truth

David DeGusta (degusta@UCLINK.BERKELEY.EDU)
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 22:16:45 -0800

>What truth? More correlations? Still trying to tell us that correlation
>equals cause? ... Where is the data on
>the genes, proteins, chemical pathways, etc., that constitute a causal
>demonstration? A correlation is not a test of a hypothesis, no matter how
>sophisticated the statistics are.
Very true, indeed. And I certainly agree that the hypothesis that
racial differences are functionally significant in regards intelligence has
been falsified. [I want to make it totally clear that I do NOT agree with
any of Rushton's ideas!]
However, there is somewhat of a double standard regards the proof
required. For example, many researchers wholeheartedly believe that there
is a genetic basis for schizophrenia, alcoholism, and even complex social
behaviors like warning displays, agression, or "altruism." Yet, to the best
of my knowledge, no hard data exists regarding the locations of the
supposed genes, let alone the relevant biochemical pathways. So, in my
opinion, the causal connection is also _currently_ lacking here.
Nevertheless, a number of theories and arguments have been constructed on
this "foundation," and very few people ask the type of hard questions that
have been directed at Rushton. Not that we should let Rushton off easy, but
that we should be more rigorous even with hypotheses that we tend to
empirically agree with. In fact, I think we should be *especially* rigorous
with hypotheses we like.
Just a thought.
David DeGusta
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley