Re: Serious thoughts about objectivity

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Sun, 6 Oct 1996 23:35:48 -0400

On Sun, 6 Oct 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> Another example is the recurring furor over "race" and "IQ" both of which are
> social constructions/compositions masquerading as scientifically objectifiable
> "things" in the real world. Another one of those "big ideas" we should be
> working to get across.

Oh, Please! Perhaps IQ is truly a social construct, but try not to call
the nonrandom patterned geographical biological variation that exists in
the world a "social construct". Biological variation doesn't masquerade,
and it does exist, and not all of it is totally clinal. If you want to
call the arbitrary designation of these patterns social constructs, all
well and good, but please don't revoke with your silly anthropological
constructions the biological reality that is out there, and which is about
the only thing the human species has going for itself. Whether there are 7
such patterns or 1007 of them, will depend on the definition provided for
whatever generic label one uses to talk about the patterns and the gene
frequencies that underlies them. I, like you, am uncomfortable with the
nominative, "race", but much less so with the adjectival extension,
"racial", which to me simply means patterned biological variation between
open breeding isolates whose "isolateness" varies. Thus to me, there are
thosands of such breeding groups, which can interbreed with any other
such breeding group, which keeps us all one species. Naming them is
futile, as they change with each generation.
Ralph Holloway