Re: In which I change my mind again.

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 11:05:20 -0400

On Sun, 13 Oct 1996, Vance Geiger wrote:

> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> I have never understood this argument regarding clustering of
> traits. Who is it that says that traits have to cluster in the
> first place?
> Reply: Arthur Jensen, Murray and Herrenstein, Philippe Rushton,
> Eysenk, Richard Lynn, Roger Pearson...

I never said they were correct, did I, which is the thrust of your little
ploy here, isn't it? Demonize me by throwing me into their camp?
Laughable. That they believe traits must cluster and correlate leads to
their very oversimplified view of human variation, i.e., three races, etc,
etc. The correlations these people make are with behavioral patterns,
intelligence, criminality, overactive sexuality, and on and on, none of
which are regarded by any biologist I know as phenotypical, with any kind
of understood genotypic basis. I certainly wasn't talking about these, nor
was any else on this thread, as far as I can recall. But some physical
traits do correlate albeit imperfectly. Dark pigmentation, by and large
corrrelates possitively with wider nasal apertures, and dark spirally
hair. Not perfectly, as many a Northern (and some Southern) Indian
peoples demonstrate. Do you mean that if correlations are not 1.0 there
are no correlations? The correlations are there alright, but are
imperfect (mathematically). What disturbs me is that since the
correlations are imperfect, the patterns therefore do not exist, or are
unworthy of study. My point was: so what if there are not any
correlations? You could still have patterned geographical variation, and
need some way to describe it. You have not answered that point.
> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> When ornithologists speak of different races within a bird
> species do they talk about clustering of traits? Do plant
> biologists who discuss races of plants within a species,
> sometimes merely based on petal color or something similar, talk
> about clustering of traits? All that has to vary is the
> frequency of one allele across a geographic range, and some
> structural (or behavioral) reason for lack of panmictic mating.
> Reply: When scientific racists talk about races within the human
> species they are referring to a cluster of traits that include
> IQ, cognitive abilities (such as forethought, planning) response
> time, reaction time, brain size, testosterone levels and SOME NOT
> CLEARLY DEFINED SKIN COLOR. These are supposed to be clustered
> traits.

Go back and read the earlier contributors to this thread. They were the
not racists you are talking about. They are social scientists concerned
the concept of race. For all I know, it is possible that some of the above
traits DO cluster, but I fail to see where it has been demonstrated as
proven to anyone's satisfaction except perhaps the people you have
mentioned above. With the birds, etc, there may well be behavioral (read
ethological variations in behavior, such as song patterns) that do help to
define variants within a species. I'm not all that sure, not being an
ornithologist. I was trying to point out that one could have patterned
variaiton without correlation of traits.

> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> Blood typing suggests literally thousands of "races" or breeding
> "isolates", and I use quotation marks as the "isolation" is only
> relative and not totally absolute, hence clines of various
> degrees of sharpness. There was a time when Boyd's classification
> tended to match the roughly six or seven major geographic
> continental regions classically used to name "races". But simply
> because Australian Aborigines can demonstrate blondism as well as
> NW Europeans, is hardly an argument for the need of any and all
> outward phenotypic manifestations to cluster in order to have
> racial variation. And when there is considerable clustering of
> traits, e.g., dark pigmentation, tightly spiraled hair, and
> alveolar prognathism, surely you not want to regard Africa as
> biological homogeneous, a continent that has probably more
> biological variation phenotypically and genotypically as anywhere
> in the world.
> Reply: Clustering is what it is all about. Richard Lynn does
> make the argument that African are biologically homogenous in
> they have genetically inherited low IQ.

Clustering is what it is all about for you and Lynn, apparently.

> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> Africa is simply more diverse that the Khoisan people here, the
> Bantu there, and Nilotic groups up there. I do think that
> attempting to name all of the different groups on the basis of a
> few phenotypic characteristics such as pigment and hair form is
> not aparticularly sophisticated way to proceed. On the other
> hand< I don't think all of the babies need to be tossed away with
> the bath water, to use a wretched simile.
> Reply: No it is not particularly sophisticated, but it is what
> the people listed above attempt to do.

That's bullshit. The above named people simply have not appreciated the
biological diversity that exists in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, or
anywhere else in the world. Read them again, Professor Geiger.

> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> Oh, I do agree here. Unfortunately, the political correctness
> attitude that surrounds these characteristics and genotypic bases
> makes it difficult, if not outright dangerous to study human
> variation.
> Reply: Why don't you go after the people who have really made the
> kind of studies you think are important dificult to do, the
> people that argue for the clustering of traits among people of
> different skin colors. Why the bitching about PC attitudes? Why
> not a flat clear broadside toward those people who have for years
> persisted in arguing that traits do not just vary, but cluster?
> Why not a jibe at Jensen? Herrenstein? Eysenk? Why join with
> them as some fellow traveler on the frontier of scientific truth
> battling like Rushton against "equalitarian dogma" and "the
> political correctness attitude," an attitude that is historically
> derived from the pursuit of research in the service of an
> ideology of clustered and VALUED traits?
At this point I can only tell you that you are coming sort of close to
libel. They aren't my fellow travellers, you damn fool.
I don't propose to flail against these people with rhetoric. I attack, as
much as I can, their facts or interpretations thereof. I have done so
with the testosterone bit, but not on this newsgroup. I have said again
and again that the small differences that might exist statistically in
brain size most probably means nothing regarding behavior. Where you come
off with this crap about me being a fellow traveller is beyond me.
The PC attitude does have a chilling effect on research on these
issues. You do not win wars by preventing study and research and the
establishment of "facts" which require replication. You only win battles,

> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> Try it with the brain sometime, that one part of the human body
> for which we simply won't tolerate any variability unless it does
> occur absolutely randomly. Folk taxonomic categories are likely
> to be a universal phenomena, but I will agree we (European-
> derived) have tended to fixate on them. I am involved in
> sort of an ongoing argument regarding Phil Rushton's claims about
> Black mating patterns, testosterone, and several other behavioral
> and bodily parameters. It's quite interesting, as the claim of
> higher testosterone appears to have some basis in the literature,
> particularly around high stress for blacks and their health
> status. Here is an area where replication studies would be of
> tremendous value to issues of public health, at least for Blacks,
> if the claimshave any validity. Go to the literature and see how
> many articles there are on the variation of testosterone titers
> in males throughout the world. You will find but a couple, and
> each raises more questions that they answer. Why? Because people
> are afraid to study such things. It's almost as simple as that.
> Reply: So what is it with this clustering business? "Black
> mating patterns, testerone, and several behavioral and bodily
> parameters"? Are we talking about clustered traits here? So
> there is a basis in literature around high stress for blacks and
> their health status. Who is black? Ask Ruston for some discrete
> skin reflectance data, some biological, quantitative phenotypic
> data. Or all of his data based on self identification. Is self
> identification biologically based?

Look, check out the testosterone-health-prostate issues on your own. It
would be wonderful if we had skin reflectance data on every person on the
world, but fortunately the medical profession doesn't need them to be
aware that Blacks are at higher risk for prostate cancer, and should be
accordingly sensitive. (The physicans..)

> So this kind of information would have tremendous value to issues
> of public health, "at least for Blacks." Who are these blacks?
> Again some definitive data. Is testosterone level an indication
> of blackness? Is stress? Could we carve out a category: Black
> as in: high testosterone level, high stress, particular mating
> patterns. Could this work? Yes. But it would leave out a lot
> of people that American folk taxonomies and Rushton would
> consider to be Black. Oh what to do... use the measurable
> physical and behavioral characteristics or the folk taxonomies?
> Ask Rushton if he could live with the above definition of Black.

I give up.
> If people are afraid to study the brain how could you report in
> one of your responses in the Science in Anthropology discussion
> that there are those using magnetic resonance imaging to develop
> correlations betwen brain size and psychometric tests? If people
> are not doing this research how is it getting done? This kind of
> thing reminds me of the moaning and graoning in the Bell Curve
> about the dificulty of doing certain kinds of research, but then
> there is the 400 pages of analysis of the very kind of research
> that Muray and Herrenstein say cannot be done. What is going on
> here?

For Christ's sake, very little of it is getting done, and many people I
know would be quite scared of trying to replicate studies where either sex
or populational biological differences are found. Our first publication
on sex dimorphism of the corpus callosum was the result of accidentally
discovering that appeared to be a difference in the size of the damn thing
between men and women while we were studying the question of where in the
corpus callosum fibers from the frontal lobe were, or the posterior
parietal, etc, etc. Our problem area for research was topography, not sex
differences. Similarly, if yo go back into the neuro literature you will
find somewhat similar occurrences. People interested in the hippocampus
and memory deficits study diverse samples with MRI. The quantification is
possible thanks to some sophisticated algorithms which as actually measure
the volume of the hippocampus, nay, even parts of the hippocampus. You can
measure some of the behavioral sequalae of damage to structure with
tests. You should have a normal or control should encompass
both sexes, surely. Use ANOVA, or ANCOVA, and gender becomes one of your
factors. It happens again and again. That I mentioned one study (Andreason
etal) is hardly the same as providing evidence that the scientists are
obsessed with sex differences!
But more to the point, I have seen valued colleagues destroyed by
they're scientific curiosity, and I have seen first hand the destructive
aspects of PC. As Bob Murphy closed his book on Dialectics, so shall I.
> From: Ralph L Holloway <rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> I will state my position once more. I revel in variation. It
> is th best damn thing that the human species has. It should be
> studied and intensively so, appreciated, admired, and welcomed,
> and encouraged, and more than tolerated, simply enjoyed.
> Ralph Holloway
> Reply: Fine. So why try to limit variation with terms such as
> race? Race is an attempt to, when applied to humans, limit
> variation by asserting that there are discrete differences
> between populations in clustered traits. Why not concentrate on
> what varies?

Again, I have never argued for discrete differences between poplations for
clustered traits, nor in any sense have I ever tried to "limit variation
with terms such as race...". My argument was more along the lines of could
we use the adjectival sense of the word "race" rather than its nominative
form. Isn't that what I asked?
Believe me, I am not trying to limit a thing. That is your game plan, not
Incidentally, this is my last posting on this topic. If you want to
rave and rant about my being a racist go right ahead.

Ralph Holloway