Race Thread

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 11:52:55 CDT

I've been following the thread stimulated by Rushton's plug and have a couple
of comments for you all.

First, I think Lee Cronk has a very good point when he observes that we have
a double standard for slander. However, given the subject, it doesn't surprise
me. I know that race is a touchy issue (non-issue), but people who make posts
like Mike Lieber's last ought to be ASHAMED of themselves. Shame on you Mike.
You usually make such intelligent comments. Did someone else get hold of your

Second, I think it was David Degusta that mentioned that we seem to be holding
Rushton to a different standard of evidence. This seems true, but we also hold
medical trials of new medicines to a different standard of evidence too.
That's because of the potential for harm.

Third, correlations may not *prove* causality, but they give an argument an
amount of support depending on the strength of the correlation. I would like
to be able to use correlations to support my own arguments so let's not throw
them out. After all, there may be an r of .8 of walking into a certain
building and dying. That doesn't mean that going in the building causes dying,
but . . . who would like to go first?

Fourth, you don't have to demonstrate the biochemical pathways to demonstrate
that a trait is genetically heritable. If so, we would have to dispense with
almost all of genetics including the work of Gregor Mendel. It's a lame
counter argument. One would do better to attack the concept of race then all
of genetics.

Fifth, Rushton does not represent even a significant minority of sociobiology.
Most of us don't find racial issues important in our own work. We look more
at individuals and families in their competitive interactions with others.
PLEASE, try to avoid associating sociobiology with all unpleasant biological
claims, theories, books, or researchers unless you are sure such a link exists.
For those of you who are still knee-jerk anti-sociobiologists I suggest you
take a look at M. Daly and M. Wilson (1987) Children as Homicide Victims *in*
Gelles & Lancaster *Child Abuse and Neglect* and pay special attention to the
short section entitled "A quick introduction to sociobiology (especially for
social scientists who consider themselves informed skeptics)."

Sixth, I haven't read Rushton's book so I'm not commenting on it. That doesn't
mean you shouldn't comment on the subject of a particular work without reading
it, but you ought not trash it. Also let me take this opportunity to state
that I personally think race is a non-issue simply because my understanding of
genetic clines suggests that race is a bogus typology.

Last, someone brought up cultural relativism. Cultural relativism has nothing
to do with the purported biological soundness of the concept of race. Let's
try not to invoke relativism as a substitute for thoughtful critique.

Rob Quinlan, Grad. Student, Dept. of Anthropology, U. of Missouri-Columbia