Re: Ethnicity and evolution

JC Garelli (gare@PSY1.SATLINK.NET)
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 07:03:11 -0400

Here is one of the first reactions to Professor Pflaum's posting to Human
Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES).

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Joseph Carroll with a note on methodology:
Will Pflaum both repudiates racial groupings as they appear in
Rushton and in Herrnstein/Murray and also demands a fully worked
out theoretical rationale for racial differences before we even begin
to consider the empirical evidence in the matter. The repudiation of
racial groupings simply ignores the kinds of evidence, including
genetic evidence, that does exist and that others have identified on
HBES-L recently. The demand for an evolutionary rationale overlooks
the fact that Rushton offers a strong causal, evolutionary hypothesis.
Whether ultimately right or wrong, it is a starting point for further
research. As Henry Harpending points out, Herrnstein and Murray
offer very little in the way of a causal theory; they're just
organizing empirical information. But to repudiate all empirical
information unless it ALREADY fits within a fully established
causal theory--as Pflaum demands--is wholly arbitrary. Such ad hoc
methodological restrictions are merely strategies of obfuscation and
intellectual obstruction disguising themselves as scientific rigor.
What Pflaum's objection comes to is a statement that he knows, on
a priori, dogmatic grounds, that the standard racial groupings are
meaningless; and he is indignant that anyone would present or
listen to empirical evidence that runs counter to his convictions.
This kind of thing is of course nothing new. What is new, and
worthy some quiet celebration, is that objective scientific
studies like those reviewed in the *New York Times Book Review*
could get a fair, thoughtful, and reasonable hearing in a major
public forum.
Joseph Carroll

Juan Carlos Garelli, MD
Attachment Research Center
Juncal 1966, 6B, 1116 Buenos Aires, Argentina
E-mail: Fax: +54-1 812 5432