PDA

View Full Version : Interesting Article on Race


As Straight As Tom Cruise
November 25th 04, 06:44 PM
From www.rednova.com:

Unmuddling the Debate on Human Diversity

Race (The Reality of Human Differences)

Vincent Sarich and Frank Miete

Westview Press, Boulder (Co) 2004

A Silly Debate

The thesis of this book is simple enough: Differences between human races are
real; they are of substantial magnitude; and they are, sometimes at least,
important. The nave observer will object that there is little originality in
this thesis. After all, every hairdresser knows that there are important race
differences. At least, every hairdresser in the Caribbean knows it.

The ostensible reason for this book's existence is that some intellectuals
don't seem to know it. During the past half-century, articles claiming that
race differences are minimal, unimportant, or non-existent have proliferated
both in the popular press and in academic journals-including even The Mankind
Quarterly (Biondi and Rickards, 2002). Sarich's and Miele's logic is not too
different from the hairdresser's, although their book is written for
intellectuals rather than hairdressers.

The authors are well placed to write about this subject. Vincent Sarich has
been one of the leading figures in population genetics for the past 30 years,
and his work on the molecular clock arid its application to human evolution has
been a major contribution to our current understanding of modern human origins.
Frank Miele is editor of Skeptic magazine, where the debunking of pseudoscience
and popular superstition is part of his job description.

The academic debate about the non-existence of race is a rhetorical controversy
rather than a substantive one, revolving around the definition of the term
"race". The impetus behind the claim that race does not exist is not scientific
but normative, modeled on the "newspeak" in Orwell's 1984: the belief that
people's thoughts are determined by the categories made available by their
language. If we remove the term race from our vocabulary, racism will end
because people can no longer think about race differences and their
implications. Never mind that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic
determinism has not fared too well in the scientific arena (Pinker, 1994).

This fruitless academic debate with its surrealistic touch and Orwellian
undertones is unsuitable for any book aimed at a wider audience. But
fortunately, Sarich and Miele are not interested in rhetoric but in the "real
thing": not what is in our heads, but what is in the world.

The authors start by showing that the reality of race differences is
sell-evident to the layman and is taken for granted by the legal system. Common
people can tell a Japanese from a Kenyan on first sight. Only some
intellectuals can't. But molecular biologists can. True, the majority of
genetic diversity among humans is within rather than between races, but some
genetic markers do vary substantially among races. Sarich describes how a
person's race can be determined from his DNA. In the latest version of the
DNAPrint method, used in forensics, information from 73 DNA polymorphisms is
combined to determine not only a person's race, but even the degree of
admixture with great accuracy. If you happen to be 85% African and 15% Native
American, the DNA test will show it!

Nor is the awareness of race differences limited to modern societies. Miele
shows that the early Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Chinese and Arab civilizations
all distinguished races not only by their physical appearance, but also
attributed behavioral characteristics to them. Race prejudice is not a modern
invention but can be traced through the ages!

The authors proceed by tracing the modern history of ideas about race
differences, starting with the pre-Darwinian opposition between monogenists and
polygenists: those who believed that people were created by God only once and
developed into separate races only recently, and those who believed that the
races were created separately. And on it goes through the post-Darwinian
controversies that finally led to the widespread denial of race differences in
the late 20lh century: between Ernst Haeckel and Rudolf Virchow, Franz Boas and
Madison Grant, and between Carleton Coon and Ashley Montagu. This part of the
book tells us little about the "real thing", although it will be engaging for
those interested in the history of anthropological thought.

The Time Scale of Human Evolution.

But the authors have more to offer than history. The core of the book is formed
by three chapters in which Sarich recounts the emergence of modern population
genetics: the advent of the molecular clock, the re-dating of the human-chimp
split, and finally the out- of-Africa model of modern human origins. We learn
that until the 1960s virtually everyone believed that the human lineage
diverged from the ape lineage more than 20 million years ago, and that human
races evolved from subpopulations of Homo erectus over the past 1 million
years. Thus both our species and its racial subdivisions were thought to be of
ancient origin.

All this changed with the advent of immunological methods, protein
electrophoresis, and finally DNA sequencing. These methods showed that the
human-chimp divergence took place as recently as 5 million years ago and that
chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to gorillas. Modern human
races began differentiating only 50,000 years ago, after the exodus from Africa
and the first forays beyond the tropical and subtropical regions.

Sarich even believes that many of the racial characteristics we see today
evolved only during the past 15,000 years or so. He claims that many of the
early Australian races-dating as far back as 50,000 to 60,000 years ago-are not
ancestral to modern Australian aborigines, and that Europeans before 10,000 to
20,000 years ago did not yet show the characteristic Caucasoid features we see
today. In other words, local populations can evolve fast by adapting
genetically to the local ecology, and the wholesale demise of local populations
was a common occurrence during the Paleolithic when human populations were
still small.

These views may seem extreme, hut are supported by scientific evidence. The
non-continuity of Australians is suggested, both by fossil evidence and by a
study of ancient mitochondrial DNA (Adcock et al., 2001). For Europeans, we
know that the north-south gradient in height that we see today did not yet
exist during the Mesolithic. At that time, the only consistent regional
difference was that people in Eastern Europe were taller than their
contemporaries in Western Europe (Formicola and Giannecchini, 1999). Thus the
north- south gradient in height evolved only with the establishment of stable
climate zones after the end of the Ice Age.

And this is where Sarich goes well beyond the hairdresser's wisdom. What he
describes is a paradigm shift in our understanding of racial diversity. In
brief, since the 19th century there have been two very different strands of
thought about this issue. The first approach can be called
"racial-essentialist". It has its pre- Darwinian roots in the polygenist belief
that God created the races separately. After Darwin, the old polygenist theory
was transformed into the scientific belief that human races are of ancient
origin, evolved over an extended time period, and are virtually unchangeable on
the millennial time scale. In social thought, this belief tended to be
associated with the acceptance of real and attributed race differences, a
preference for racial segregation, or frank supremacist attitudes.

The opposing view continues the ancient monogenist idea that human races
evolved from a common stock only recently. Its Darwinian incarnation can be
labeled "eugenicist" because it was part of the scientific underpinnings of the
eugenics movement in the early 20th century. The idea is that racial traits,
being subject to natural selection, are changeable on a fairly short time
scale. Francis Gallon, for example, believed that the classical Athenians were
more amply endowed with what he called "talent" than were his own
contemporaries in Victorian England. He did not think the same about modern
Greeks. Gallon believed that the Iwo millennia that separated ancient Greece
from the Victorians were sufficienl to change the prevalence of inherited
talent in the population through natural selection: in essence, the
differential reproduction of those at opposite ends of the ability scale.

Sarich's answer to this controversy is unambiguous. The "eugenicist" view
carried the day, and the "racial-essentialist" view is no longer tenable.
People who are fond of racial diversity will find this message discomforting.
Races, like religions, look more awesome when we believe them to be of ancient
origin.

Some intellectuals of the late 20th century (Sarich and Miele cite the late
Steven Jay Gould as a major protagonist) acknowledged the scientific paradigm
shift but concluded that race differences cannot be large because there was
insufficient time for them to evolve. Sarich and Miele disagree. Undeniably,
the 60,000 years or so since the exodus from Africa were sufficient for natural
selection to create non-overlapping phenotypic differences for skin color and
hair texture between the Kenyans and the Japanese. What happened with these
simple physical traits was bound to happen with any trait that has \substantial
heritability and was subject to divergent selective pressures in different
parts of the world. The revolution in molecular population genetics did not
show that race differences are small or nonexistent. It only showed that
evolution works much faster than most people had thought!

The new view of human evolution has profound implications for the place of
anthropology in the academic ecosystem. Through historical accident,
anthropology ended up as a science that concerns itself with racial diversity
and biological evolution, as well as with cultural diversity and cultural
change. But if biological evolution and cultural evolution take place on vastly
different time scales, they cannot interact. In that case we need no
anthropologists who are familiar with both. We only need human biologists to
study biological evolution, and comparative sociologists to study cultural
evolution. However, if biological and cultural evolution take place on
overlapping time scales, then anthropology becomes the science of gene-culture
coevolution.

Gene-culture coevolution docs indeed work. The genetic trait of lactase
persistence is the classical example. In this case, the ability to digest large
amounts of the milk sugar lactose in adult life became common in Northern
Europe over the past 6000 years because it offered an advantage in a farming
economy where people obtained valuable nutrients from milk (Holloxetal., 2001).


Also in Northern Europe, a mutation for enhanced iron absorption occurred in a
single individual 60 to 70 generations ago. This mutation spread quickly over
the past two millennia, presumably because it protected from iron deficiency
anemia under conditions where most people had to subsist on iron-poor cereal
grains and milk. Today more than 10% of the population in Scandinavia, Britain
and Ireland carry at least one copy of this mutation, and many of those who
carry two copies come down with the iron overload disease hemochromatosis
(Ajioka et al., 1997). This mutation could not have persisted in a
hunter-gatherer population because hunter-gatherers have high-iron diets
(Eaton, Eaton and Konner, 1997). These examples show that culturally determined
dietary habits can drive the rapid evolution of genetic traits on a time scale
of one to a few millennia.

The rapid culture-driven evolution of behavioral traits is more speculative at
this time. In the case of a functional microsatellite polymorphism in the gene
for the D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4), differences in gene frequencies between
human populations have variously been attributed to a nomadic lifestyle, or to
the selective pressures in female-production horticultural economies
(Harpending and Cochran, 2002). The DRD4 polymorphism has been linked to subtle
behavioral alterations including novelty seeking and a propensity for one type
of attention deficit disorder.

Sarich and Miele also show that the term race has different meanings in
different species. Orangutans, for example, come in two races, one in Borneo
and the other in Sumatra. These two races are so similar in appearance and
behavior that only experts (and possibly the orangutans themselves) can tell
them apart. Surprisingly, their DNA variation shows that these two races
diverged nearly 3 million years ago, at a time when human ancestors were still
at the australopithecine stage! In humans, by contrast, racial DNA diversity in
non-selected genetic markers is small while the phenotypic differences between
the races are large: larger indeed than those between local races of any other
living primate.

Why should this be so? The orangutan races are alike in body and mind because
the rainforests of Sumatra are so similar to those of Borneo that they select
for the same traits. Thus natural selection is stabilizing, punishing
deviations from a golden mean that has been established ages ago. Humans, by
contrast, occupy ecological niches as diverse as the tropical rainforest and
the arctic coasts, and they have created cultural adaptations to these niches.
Diversifying selection under these ecological and cultural conditions has
created the diversity of racial traits we see today, without creating excess
DNA diversity in those parts of the genome that are not expressed
phenotypically and are not subject to natural selection.

Sarich cites the example of Africans and Melanesians. These two races are
similar in appearance, with dark skin and frizzy hair. However, molecular
studies show that Melanesians and Africans are as distant genetically as you
can get in our species. The reasons for their relatively great genetic distance
are presumably that the Melanesians are descended from an early wave of
migrants out of Africa, and that they did not participate in later
back-migrations into Africa; and the reason for their physical resemblance is
that both races never left the tropics and were therefore subject to the same
environmental-driven selection.

Messy Meritocracy

The authors do not shy away from a discussion of behavioral as well as physical
race differences. They take note of the large differences in IQ test results in
different parts of the world, including the typical sub-Saharan African IQ of
70. Sarich and Miele believe that these differences have important genetic as
well as environmental causes. I personally want to see molecular genetic
evidence on IQ-related genes before drawing strong conclusions, but the
circumstantial evidence we have today does support Sarich's and Mielc's
assumption.

If race differences in ability are real, what are their social implications?
Sarich and Miele see three options:

1) a meritocratic system that rewards individual achievement irrespective of
race;

2) an "affirmative action" model that mitigates the consequences of ability
differences by favoring members of genetically disadvantaged groups; and (3)
racial segregation and the emergence of ethno-states that go their separate
ways.

This three-way choice embodies the three sets of social instincts that humans
have at their disposal for responding to inequality in ability and the
inequality in opportunity that follows logically from unequal ability. The
preference for meritocracy is based on the acceptance of the competitive
struggle for social dominance and the good things of life. It is the philosophy
of the strong, able, and lucky. The "affirmative action" model is based on
sympathy for the weak and disadvantaged. This set of responses evolved as an
element of kin-selected altruism but can be applied promiscuously. The third
option is ethnocentrism: identification with one's own group, along with
distrust of other groups.

Sarich's and Miele's preference lies with meritocracy. But is the belief in
genetically based ability differences really compatible with the idea of
meritocracy? Common folks justify social inequality with the concept of
deservingness or "merit". Thus, they oppose social welfare benefits because too
many of the beneficiaries do not deserve them. By-arid-large, poor people's
misery is their own fault. But can we blame people for their genes? Is it fair
to add insult to injury and punish them for the bad luck they had in the
genetic lottery?

A more rational argument is that we cannot do without the meritocratic Skinner
box because people behave responsibly only if effort is rewarded and
irresponsible behavior has unpleasant consequences. This argument makes sense.
There is more to human nature than operant conditioning, but operant
conditioning is a pretty important part of it. Meritocracy forces people to
become more competitive, and competition is statistically associated with
economic productivity. Only, meritocratic (dis)incentives cannot force people
to dump their bad genes and get better ones.

If we can demonstrate that uriderperforming groups labor under a genetic
handicap we can still favor a meritocratic system. We definitely need suitable
incentive structures to ensure that people end up doing what they are good at
and that they do it well. But to the extent that outcomes depend on genes, we
have to drop the moralistic frills and admit that we reward not merit but
competitive ability and that rather than trying to change people's behavior we
are merely sorting them into social classes. We create a system where the
strong are free to take advantage of the weak. A major "advantage" of such a
system is that it creates a stable society where those at the bottom of the
pecking order are unable to challenge the ruling system on account of their
messy genes.

Not everyone is willing to go this way. In at least some cases we know that
people who believe in genetic causes for the problems and peculiarities of a
marginalized group are more tolerant and more supportive of the group's
interests (Tygart, 2000). In a 2001 Gallup poll, 56% of the respondents
supported affirmative action but 66% also said that they believe these programs
will always be needed (Paul, 2003). It seems that more often than not people's
support for affirmative action programs is based on the belief that the
inequalities in opportunity that we are trying to mitigate are
unchangeable-which means, presumably, genetic. This kind of preference can be
driven by humanitarian concerns as well as a desire for equality (Feldman and
Stccnbcrgcn, 2001). Indifference to the plight of disadvantaged groups and
individuals is bolstered not by the belief in genetic as opposed to
environmental causes, but by the moralistic belief in free will and
responsibility as opposed to the scientific belief in causes (Lane, 2001)!

The Future of Genetic Inequality

Sarich and Miele tell us that evolutionary change under natural or artificial
selection can proceed at a breathtaking pace. They point out that most dog
breeds with their vast anatomical and behavioral differences were created by
deliberate selection in the course of only a few centuries. Therefore it is
surprising that they fail to mention another pos\sible response to genetic
inequalities in ability: doing away with them if we don't like them.

Within the next decades we are bound to learn about the genetic variations that
cause ability differences within and between populations. We are entering a
phase in our evolution where women can pick their child's father from the sperm
bank catalog, complete with genetic profile, and parents can screen their
embryos for thousands of genes before implantation. Should we use these
techniques to mitigate the more embarrassing forms of genetic inequality and
handicap? Probably. But are we going to do it?

Sarich and Miele offer their three options as ways of muddling through, but the
implications are far more profound. In a meritocratic system where people get
what they can pay for, the rich and intelligent will have access to
gene-improving technologies that the poor cannot afford and the dumb and
irresponsible cannot appreciate. In consequence, the children of the elite will
gain advantages over those of the poor. These advantages, although initially
small, are cumulative over generations. Thus, pre- existing genetic
inequalities will be amplified. Unlike natural selection in historic and
prehistoric times, this "meritocratic" selection creates inequalities mainly on
the dimensions of health and ability (Silver, 1997).

One alternative is an "affirmative action" system where costly social policies
ensure that gene-improving technologies are most available for those who need
them the most. This kind of society will move toward less inequality in the
genetic contributors to health and ability, both within and between racial and
social groups. However, this system is unlikely to be adopted because it would
benefit the disadvantaged at the expense of the elite.

There is finally the "conservative" option of trying to preserve the status quo
by banning the use of gene-improving technologies across the board. Under
conditions of modern life, the consequences of this option will be the
accumulation of damaging mutations (Crow, 2000), the spread of genes favoring
low intelligence and irresponsible behavior since these genes seem to be
favored in contracepting societies (Lynn, 1996), and the replacement of
culturally more advanced populations by migrants from low-IQ countries with
higher fertility rates (Coleman, 2002).

But Sarich and Miele do not dwell on futurology. Their aim is to unmuddle a
muddled debate by tracking the historical controversies about racial diversity,
presenting the arguments that are wielded in today's debates, and evaluating
these arguments from a scientific perspective. One weakness of their book is a
relative paucity of references. This is regrettable because some of the
authors' claims are quite controversial, and disbelieving readers might want to
check the sources. For all its scientific content this book is written not for
scholars working in the field, but for a wider audience of "intellectuals" who
are interested in human racial diversity.

For this audience, Sarich's and Miele's book is the best choice currently on
offer. The authors' discussion of the issues is down- to-earth, informative,
scientifically sophisticated, and yet interesting and intelligible for the
non-specialist reader. It's good science, it's intellectually stimulating, and
it makes good reading. What more can we expect?

References

Adcock, G.J., E.S. Dennis, S. Easteal, G.A. Huttley, L.S. Jermiin, W.J. Peacock
and A. Thorne

2001 Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient Australians: implications for
modern human origins. Proceedings oj the National Academy of Sciences USA 98:
537-542.

Biondi, Gianfranco and O. Rickards,

2002 The scientific fallacy of the human biological concept of race. The
Mankind Quarterly 42: 355-388.

Coleman, David A..

2002 Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea:
a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophical Transactions of
the Royal Society of London B 357: 583- 598.

Crow, James F.,

2000 The origins, patterns and implications of human spontaneous mutation.
Nature Reviews Genetics 1: 40-47.

Distante, S., K.J.H. Robson, J. Graham-Campbell, A. Arnaiz- Villena, P. Brissot
and M. Worwood

2004 The origin and spread of the HFE-C282Y hacmochromatosis mutation. Human
Genetics 115:269-279.

Eaton S.B, S.B. Raton III and MJ. Konner

1997 Paleolithic nutrition revisited: a twelve-year retrospective on its nature
and implications. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51: 207-216.

Feldman, Stanley and M.R. Steenbergen

2001 The humanitarian foundation of public support for social welfare. American
Journal of Political Science 45: 658-677.

Formicola, Vincenzo and M. Giannecchini

1999 Evolutionary trends of stature in Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europe.
Journal of Human Evolution 36: 319-333.

Harpending, Henry and G. Gochran

2002 In our genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99:
10-12.

Hollox, Edward J., M. Poulter, M. Zvarik, V. Ferak, A. Krause, T. Jenkins, N.
Saha, A.I. Kozlov and D.M. Swallow

2001 Lactase haplotype diversity in the Old World. American Journal of Human
Genetics 68: 160-172.

Lane, Robert E.

2001 Self-reliance and empathy: the enemies of poverty-and of the poor.
Political Psychology 22: 473-492.

Lynn, Richard

1996 Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations New York: Praeger.

Paul, Pamela

2003 Attitudes toward affirmative action. American Demograhics 25 (4): 18-19.

Pinker, Steven

1994 The Language Instict. How the Mind Creates Language. New York:
HarperGollins.

Silver, Lee M.

1997 Remaking Eden. Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon
Books.

Tygart, C.E.

2000 Genetic causation attribution and public support of gay rights.
International Journal of Public Opinion Research 12: 259- 275.

Gerhard Meisenberg

Ross University, Dominica

Copyright Council for Social and Economic Studies Fall 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------
"All men shall be my slaves! All women shall succumb to my charms! All mankind
shall grovel at my feet and not know why!"
--L. Ron Hubbard--

Rutabaga22
December 1st 04, 11:13 PM
good article! For more interesting and unconventional views on race go to
isteve.com. -rutabaga22

As Straight As Tom Cruise
December 2nd 04, 01:55 AM
>From: (Rutabaga22)

>
>good article! For more interesting and unconventional views on race go to
>isteve.com. -rutabaga22
>

He has posted some interesting stuff, but you have to question the intelligence
of a man who apparently believes Oswald shot JFK (per his review of Oliver
Stone's new film).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------
"All men shall be my slaves! All women shall succumb to my charms! All mankind
shall grovel at my feet and not know why!"
--L. Ron Hubbard--

DZ
December 9th 04, 08:23 PM
wrote:
> One weakness of their book is a relative paucity of references. This
> is regrettable because some of the authors' claims are quite
> controversial, and disbelieving readers might want to check the
> sources.

On the other hand, this recent free issue of Nature Genetics

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/ng/journal/v36/n11s/index.html

has lots of references to support a rather different perspective.

DZ


> From www.rednova.com:
> Unmuddling the Debate on Human Diversity
> Race (The Reality of Human Differences)
> Vincent Sarich and Frank Miete
> Westview Press, Boulder (Co) 2004
>
> A Silly Debate
>
> The thesis of this book is simple enough: Differences between human races are
> real; they are of substantial magnitude; and they are, sometimes at least,
> important. The nave observer will object that there is little originality in
> this thesis. After all, every hairdresser knows that there are important race
> differences. At least, every hairdresser in the Caribbean knows it.
>
> The ostensible reason for this book's existence is that some intellectuals
> don't seem to know it. During the past half-century, articles claiming that
> race differences are minimal, unimportant, or non-existent have proliferated
> both in the popular press and in academic journals-including even The Mankind
> Quarterly (Biondi and Rickards, 2002). Sarich's and Miele's logic is not too
> different from the hairdresser's, although their book is written for
> intellectuals rather than hairdressers.
>
> The authors are well placed to write about this subject. Vincent Sarich has
> been one of the leading figures in population genetics for the past 30 years,
> and his work on the molecular clock arid its application to human evolution has
> been a major contribution to our current understanding of modern human origins.
> Frank Miele is editor of Skeptic magazine, where the debunking of pseudoscience
> and popular superstition is part of his job description.
>
> The academic debate about the non-existence of race is a rhetorical controversy
> rather than a substantive one, revolving around the definition of the term
> "race". The impetus behind the claim that race does not exist is not scientific
> but normative, modeled on the "newspeak" in Orwell's 1984: the belief that
> people's thoughts are determined by the categories made available by their
> language. If we remove the term race from our vocabulary, racism will end
> because people can no longer think about race differences and their
> implications. Never mind that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic
> determinism has not fared too well in the scientific arena (Pinker, 1994).
>
> This fruitless academic debate with its surrealistic touch and Orwellian
> undertones is unsuitable for any book aimed at a wider audience. But
> fortunately, Sarich and Miele are not interested in rhetoric but in the "real
> thing": not what is in our heads, but what is in the world.
>
> The authors start by showing that the reality of race differences is
> sell-evident to the layman and is taken for granted by the legal system. Common
> people can tell a Japanese from a Kenyan on first sight. Only some
> intellectuals can't. But molecular biologists can. True, the majority of
> genetic diversity among humans is within rather than between races, but some
> genetic markers do vary substantially among races. Sarich describes how a
> person's race can be determined from his DNA. In the latest version of the
> DNAPrint method, used in forensics, information from 73 DNA polymorphisms is
> combined to determine not only a person's race, but even the degree of
> admixture with great accuracy. If you happen to be 85% African and 15% Native
> American, the DNA test will show it!
>
> Nor is the awareness of race differences limited to modern societies. Miele
> shows that the early Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Chinese and Arab civilizations
> all distinguished races not only by their physical appearance, but also
> attributed behavioral characteristics to them. Race prejudice is not a modern
> invention but can be traced through the ages!
>
> The authors proceed by tracing the modern history of ideas about race
> differences, starting with the pre-Darwinian opposition between monogenists and
> polygenists: those who believed that people were created by God only once and
> developed into separate races only recently, and those who believed that the
> races were created separately. And on it goes through the post-Darwinian
> controversies that finally led to the widespread denial of race differences in
> the late 20lh century: between Ernst Haeckel and Rudolf Virchow, Franz Boas and
> Madison Grant, and between Carleton Coon and Ashley Montagu. This part of the
> book tells us little about the "real thing", although it will be engaging for
> those interested in the history of anthropological thought.
>
> The Time Scale of Human Evolution.
>
> But the authors have more to offer than history. The core of the book is formed
> by three chapters in which Sarich recounts the emergence of modern population
> genetics: the advent of the molecular clock, the re-dating of the human-chimp
> split, and finally the out- of-Africa model of modern human origins. We learn
> that until the 1960s virtually everyone believed that the human lineage
> diverged from the ape lineage more than 20 million years ago, and that human
> races evolved from subpopulations of Homo erectus over the past 1 million
> years. Thus both our species and its racial subdivisions were thought to be of
> ancient origin.
>
> All this changed with the advent of immunological methods, protein
> electrophoresis, and finally DNA sequencing. These methods showed that the
> human-chimp divergence took place as recently as 5 million years ago and that
> chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to gorillas. Modern human
> races began differentiating only 50,000 years ago, after the exodus from Africa
> and the first forays beyond the tropical and subtropical regions.
>
> Sarich even believes that many of the racial characteristics we see today
> evolved only during the past 15,000 years or so. He claims that many of the
> early Australian races-dating as far back as 50,000 to 60,000 years ago-are not
> ancestral to modern Australian aborigines, and that Europeans before 10,000 to
> 20,000 years ago did not yet show the characteristic Caucasoid features we see
> today. In other words, local populations can evolve fast by adapting
> genetically to the local ecology, and the wholesale demise of local populations
> was a common occurrence during the Paleolithic when human populations were
> still small.
>
> These views may seem extreme, hut are supported by scientific evidence. The
> non-continuity of Australians is suggested, both by fossil evidence and by a
> study of ancient mitochondrial DNA (Adcock et al., 2001). For Europeans, we
> know that the north-south gradient in height that we see today did not yet
> exist during the Mesolithic. At that time, the only consistent regional
> difference was that people in Eastern Europe were taller than their
> contemporaries in Western Europe (Formicola and Giannecchini, 1999). Thus the
> north- south gradient in height evolved only with the establishment of stable
> climate zones after the end of the Ice Age.
>
> And this is where Sarich goes well beyond the hairdresser's wisdom. What he
> describes is a paradigm shift in our understanding of racial diversity. In
> brief, since the 19th century there have been two very different strands of
> thought about this issue. The first approach can be called
> "racial-essentialist". It has its pre- Darwinian roots in the polygenist belief
> that God created the races separately. After Darwin, the old polygenist theory
> was transformed into the scientific belief that human races are of ancient
> origin, evolved over an extended time period, and are virtually unchangeable on
> the millennial time scale. In social thought, this belief tended to be
> associated with the acceptance of real and attributed race differences, a
> preference for racial segregation, or frank supremacist attitudes.
>
> The opposing view continues the ancient monogenist idea that human races
> evolved from a common stock only recently. Its Darwinian incarnation can be
> labeled "eugenicist" because it was part of the scientific underpinnings of the
> eugenics movement in the early 20th century. The idea is that racial traits,
> being subject to natural selection, are changeable on a fairly short time
> scale. Francis Gallon, for example, believed that the classical Athenians were
> more amply endowed with what he called "talent" than were his own
> contemporaries in Victorian England. He did not think the same about modern
> Greeks. Gallon believed that the Iwo millennia that separated ancient Greece
> from the Victorians were sufficienl to change the prevalence of inherited
> talent in the population through natural selection: in essence, the
> differential reproduction of those at opposite ends of the ability scale.
>
> Sarich's answer to this controversy is unambiguous. The "eugenicist" view
> carried the day, and the "racial-essentialist" view is no longer tenable.
> People who are fond of racial diversity will find this message discomforting.
> Races, like religions, look more awesome when we believe them to be of ancient
> origin.
>
> Some intellectuals of the late 20th century (Sarich and Miele cite the late
> Steven Jay Gould as a major protagonist) acknowledged the scientific paradigm
> shift but concluded that race differences cannot be large because there was
> insufficient time for them to evolve. Sarich and Miele disagree. Undeniably,
> the 60,000 years or so since the exodus from Africa were sufficient for natural
> selection to create non-overlapping phenotypic differences for skin color and
> hair texture between the Kenyans and the Japanese. What happened with these
> simple physical traits was bound to happen with any trait that has \substantial
> heritability and was subject to divergent selective pressures in different
> parts of the world. The revolution in molecular population genetics did not
> show that race differences are small or nonexistent. It only showed that
> evolution works much faster than most people had thought!
>
> The new view of human evolution has profound implications for the place of
> anthropology in the academic ecosystem. Through historical accident,
> anthropology ended up as a science that concerns itself with racial diversity
> and biological evolution, as well as with cultural diversity and cultural
> change. But if biological evolution and cultural evolution take place on vastly
> different time scales, they cannot interact. In that case we need no
> anthropologists who are familiar with both. We only need human biologists to
> study biological evolution, and comparative sociologists to study cultural
> evolution. However, if biological and cultural evolution take place on
> overlapping time scales, then anthropology becomes the science of gene-culture
> coevolution.
>
> Gene-culture coevolution docs indeed work. The genetic trait of lactase
> persistence is the classical example. In this case, the ability to digest large
> amounts of the milk sugar lactose in adult life became common in Northern
> Europe over the past 6000 years because it offered an advantage in a farming
> economy where people obtained valuable nutrients from milk (Holloxetal., 2001).
>
>
> Also in Northern Europe, a mutation for enhanced iron absorption occurred in a
> single individual 60 to 70 generations ago. This mutation spread quickly over
> the past two millennia, presumably because it protected from iron deficiency
> anemia under conditions where most people had to subsist on iron-poor cereal
> grains and milk. Today more than 10% of the population in Scandinavia, Britain
> and Ireland carry at least one copy of this mutation, and many of those who
> carry two copies come down with the iron overload disease hemochromatosis
> (Ajioka et al., 1997). This mutation could not have persisted in a
> hunter-gatherer population because hunter-gatherers have high-iron diets
> (Eaton, Eaton and Konner, 1997). These examples show that culturally determined
> dietary habits can drive the rapid evolution of genetic traits on a time scale
> of one to a few millennia.
>
> The rapid culture-driven evolution of behavioral traits is more speculative at
> this time. In the case of a functional microsatellite polymorphism in the gene
> for the D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4), differences in gene frequencies between
> human populations have variously been attributed to a nomadic lifestyle, or to
> the selective pressures in female-production horticultural economies
> (Harpending and Cochran, 2002). The DRD4 polymorphism has been linked to subtle
> behavioral alterations including novelty seeking and a propensity for one type
> of attention deficit disorder.
>
> Sarich and Miele also show that the term race has different meanings in
> different species. Orangutans, for example, come in two races, one in Borneo
> and the other in Sumatra. These two races are so similar in appearance and
> behavior that only experts (and possibly the orangutans themselves) can tell
> them apart. Surprisingly, their DNA variation shows that these two races
> diverged nearly 3 million years ago, at a time when human ancestors were still
> at the australopithecine stage! In humans, by contrast, racial DNA diversity in
> non-selected genetic markers is small while the phenotypic differences between
> the races are large: larger indeed than those between local races of any other
> living primate.
>
> Why should this be so? The orangutan races are alike in body and mind because
> the rainforests of Sumatra are so similar to those of Borneo that they select
> for the same traits. Thus natural selection is stabilizing, punishing
> deviations from a golden mean that has been established ages ago. Humans, by
> contrast, occupy ecological niches as diverse as the tropical rainforest and
> the arctic coasts, and they have created cultural adaptations to these niches.
> Diversifying selection under these ecological and cultural conditions has
> created the diversity of racial traits we see today, without creating excess
> DNA diversity in those parts of the genome that are not expressed
> phenotypically and are not subject to natural selection.
>
> Sarich cites the example of Africans and Melanesians. These two races are
> similar in appearance, with dark skin and frizzy hair. However, molecular
> studies show that Melanesians and Africans are as distant genetically as you
> can get in our species. The reasons for their relatively great genetic distance
> are presumably that the Melanesians are descended from an early wave of
> migrants out of Africa, and that they did not participate in later
> back-migrations into Africa; and the reason for their physical resemblance is
> that both races never left the tropics and were therefore subject to the same
> environmental-driven selection.
>
> Messy Meritocracy
>
> The authors do not shy away from a discussion of behavioral as well as physical
> race differences. They take note of the large differences in IQ test results in
> different parts of the world, including the typical sub-Saharan African IQ of
> 70. Sarich and Miele believe that these differences have important genetic as
> well as environmental causes. I personally want to see molecular genetic
> evidence on IQ-related genes before drawing strong conclusions, but the
> circumstantial evidence we have today does support Sarich's and Mielc's
> assumption.
>
> If race differences in ability are real, what are their social implications?
> Sarich and Miele see three options:
>
> 1) a meritocratic system that rewards individual achievement irrespective of
> race;
>
> 2) an "affirmative action" model that mitigates the consequences of ability
> differences by favoring members of genetically disadvantaged groups; and (3)
> racial segregation and the emergence of ethno-states that go their separate
> ways.
>
> This three-way choice embodies the three sets of social instincts that humans
> have at their disposal for responding to inequality in ability and the
> inequality in opportunity that follows logically from unequal ability. The
> preference for meritocracy is based on the acceptance of the competitive
> struggle for social dominance and the good things of life. It is the philosophy
> of the strong, able, and lucky. The "affirmative action" model is based on
> sympathy for the weak and disadvantaged. This set of responses evolved as an
> element of kin-selected altruism but can be applied promiscuously. The third
> option is ethnocentrism: identification with one's own group, along with
> distrust of other groups.
>
> Sarich's and Miele's preference lies with meritocracy. But is the belief in
> genetically based ability differences really compatible with the idea of
> meritocracy? Common folks justify social inequality with the concept of
> deservingness or "merit". Thus, they oppose social welfare benefits because too
> many of the beneficiaries do not deserve them. By-arid-large, poor people's
> misery is their own fault. But can we blame people for their genes? Is it fair
> to add insult to injury and punish them for the bad luck they had in the
> genetic lottery?
>
> A more rational argument is that we cannot do without the meritocratic Skinner
> box because people behave responsibly only if effort is rewarded and
> irresponsible behavior has unpleasant consequences. This argument makes sense.
> There is more to human nature than operant conditioning, but operant
> conditioning is a pretty important part of it. Meritocracy forces people to
> become more competitive, and competition is statistically associated with
> economic productivity. Only, meritocratic (dis)incentives cannot force people
> to dump their bad genes and get better ones.
>
> If we can demonstrate that uriderperforming groups labor under a genetic
> handicap we can still favor a meritocratic system. We definitely need suitable
> incentive structures to ensure that people end up doing what they are good at
> and that they do it well. But to the extent that outcomes depend on genes, we
> have to drop the moralistic frills and admit that we reward not merit but
> competitive ability and that rather than trying to change people's behavior we
> are merely sorting them into social classes. We create a system where the
> strong are free to take advantage of the weak. A major "advantage" of such a
> system is that it creates a stable society where those at the bottom of the
> pecking order are unable to challenge the ruling system on account of their
> messy genes.
>
> Not everyone is willing to go this way. In at least some cases we know that
> people who believe in genetic causes for the problems and peculiarities of a
> marginalized group are more tolerant and more supportive of the group's
> interests (Tygart, 2000). In a 2001 Gallup poll, 56% of the respondents
> supported affirmative action but 66% also said that they believe these programs
> will always be needed (Paul, 2003). It seems that more often than not people's
> support for affirmative action programs is based on the belief that the
> inequalities in opportunity that we are trying to mitigate are
> unchangeable-which means, presumably, genetic. This kind of preference can be
> driven by humanitarian concerns as well as a desire for equality (Feldman and
> Stccnbcrgcn, 2001). Indifference to the plight of disadvantaged groups and
> individuals is bolstered not by the belief in genetic as opposed to
> environmental causes, but by the moralistic belief in free will and
> responsibility as opposed to the scientific belief in causes (Lane, 2001)!
>
> The Future of Genetic Inequality
>
> Sarich and Miele tell us that evolutionary change under natural or artificial
> selection can proceed at a breathtaking pace. They point out that most dog
> breeds with their vast anatomical and behavioral differences were created by
> deliberate selection in the course of only a few centuries. Therefore it is
> surprising that they fail to mention another pos\sible response to genetic
> inequalities in ability: doing away with them if we don't like them.
>
> Within the next decades we are bound to learn about the genetic variations that
> cause ability differences within and between populations. We are entering a
> phase in our evolution where women can pick their child's father from the sperm
> bank catalog, complete with genetic profile, and parents can screen their
> embryos for thousands of genes before implantation. Should we use these
> techniques to mitigate the more embarrassing forms of genetic inequality and
> handicap? Probably. But are we going to do it?
>
> Sarich and Miele offer their three options as ways of muddling through, but the
> implications are far more profound. In a meritocratic system where people get
> what they can pay for, the rich and intelligent will have access to
> gene-improving technologies that the poor cannot afford and the dumb and
> irresponsible cannot appreciate. In consequence, the children of the elite will
> gain advantages over those of the poor. These advantages, although initially
> small, are cumulative over generations. Thus, pre- existing genetic
> inequalities will be amplified. Unlike natural selection in historic and
> prehistoric times, this "meritocratic" selection creates inequalities mainly on
> the dimensions of health and ability (Silver, 1997).
>
> One alternative is an "affirmative action" system where costly social policies
> ensure that gene-improving technologies are most available for those who need
> them the most. This kind of society will move toward less inequality in the
> genetic contributors to health and ability, both within and between racial and
> social groups. However, this system is unlikely to be adopted because it would
> benefit the disadvantaged at the expense of the elite.
>
> There is finally the "conservative" option of trying to preserve the status quo
> by banning the use of gene-improving technologies across the board. Under
> conditions of modern life, the consequences of this option will be the
> accumulation of damaging mutations (Crow, 2000), the spread of genes favoring
> low intelligence and irresponsible behavior since these genes seem to be
> favored in contracepting societies (Lynn, 1996), and the replacement of
> culturally more advanced populations by migrants from low-IQ countries with
> higher fertility rates (Coleman, 2002).
>
> But Sarich and Miele do not dwell on futurology. Their aim is to unmuddle a
> muddled debate by tracking the historical controversies about racial diversity,
> presenting the arguments that are wielded in today's debates, and evaluating
> these arguments from a scientific perspective. One weakness of their book is a
> relative paucity of references. This is regrettable because some of the
> authors' claims are quite controversial, and disbelieving readers might want to
> check the sources. For all its scientific content this book is written not for
> scholars working in the field, but for a wider audience of "intellectuals" who
> are interested in human racial diversity.
>
> For this audience, Sarich's and Miele's book is the best choice currently on
> offer. The authors' discussion of the issues is down- to-earth, informative,
> scientifically sophisticated, and yet interesting and intelligible for the
> non-specialist reader. It's good science, it's intellectually stimulating, and
> it makes good reading. What more can we expect?
>
> References
>
> Adcock, G.J., E.S. Dennis, S. Easteal, G.A. Huttley, L.S. Jermiin, W.J. Peacock
> and A. Thorne
>
> 2001 Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient Australians: implications for
> modern human origins. Proceedings oj the National Academy of Sciences USA 98:
> 537-542.
>
> Biondi, Gianfranco and O. Rickards,
>
> 2002 The scientific fallacy of the human biological concept of race. The
> Mankind Quarterly 42: 355-388.
>
> Coleman, David A..
>
> 2002 Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in Korea:
> a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophical Transactions of
> the Royal Society of London B 357: 583- 598.
>
> Crow, James F.,
>
> 2000 The origins, patterns and implications of human spontaneous mutation.
> Nature Reviews Genetics 1: 40-47.
>
> Distante, S., K.J.H. Robson, J. Graham-Campbell, A. Arnaiz- Villena, P. Brissot
> and M. Worwood
>
> 2004 The origin and spread of the HFE-C282Y hacmochromatosis mutation. Human
> Genetics 115:269-279.
>
> Eaton S.B, S.B. Raton III and MJ. Konner
>
> 1997 Paleolithic nutrition revisited: a twelve-year retrospective on its nature
> and implications. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51: 207-216.
>
> Feldman, Stanley and M.R. Steenbergen
>
> 2001 The humanitarian foundation of public support for social welfare. American
> Journal of Political Science 45: 658-677.
>
> Formicola, Vincenzo and M. Giannecchini
>
> 1999 Evolutionary trends of stature in Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europe.
> Journal of Human Evolution 36: 319-333.
>
> Harpending, Henry and G. Gochran
>
> 2002 In our genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99:
> 10-12.
>
> Hollox, Edward J., M. Poulter, M. Zvarik, V. Ferak, A. Krause, T. Jenkins, N.
> Saha, A.I. Kozlov and D.M. Swallow
>
> 2001 Lactase haplotype diversity in the Old World. American Journal of Human
> Genetics 68: 160-172.
>
> Lane, Robert E.
>
> 2001 Self-reliance and empathy: the enemies of poverty-and of the poor.
> Political Psychology 22: 473-492.
>
> Lynn, Richard
>
> 1996 Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations New York: Praeger.
>
> Paul, Pamela
>
> 2003 Attitudes toward affirmative action. American Demograhics 25 (4): 18-19.
>
> Pinker, Steven
>
> 1994 The Language Instict. How the Mind Creates Language. New York:
> HarperGollins.
>
> Silver, Lee M.
>
> 1997 Remaking Eden. Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon
> Books.
>
> Tygart, C.E.
>
> 2000 Genetic causation attribution and public support of gay rights.
> International Journal of Public Opinion Research 12: 259- 275.
>
> Gerhard Meisenberg
>
> Ross University, Dominica
>
> Copyright Council for Social and Economic Studies Fall 2004

As Straight As Tom Cruise
December 11th 04, 03:31 AM
>From: DZ
>Date: 12/9/2004 12:23 PM Pacific Standard Time

>
wrote:
>> One weakness of their book is a relative paucity of references. This
>> is regrettable because some of the authors' claims are quite
>> controversial, and disbelieving readers might want to check the
>> sources.<<

That's not my quote, but the review's author's...

>
>On the other hand, this recent free issue of Nature Genetics
>
>
>http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/ng/journal/v36/n11s/inde
x.html
>
>has lots of references to support a rather different perspective.<<

There are several articles on that site...could you cut and paste the sections
of whichever article you found interesting?

>
>DZ
>
>
>> From www.rednova.com:
>> Unmuddling the Debate on Human Diversity
>> Race (The Reality of Human Differences)
>> Vincent Sarich and Frank Miete
>> Westview Press, Boulder (Co) 2004
>>
>> A Silly Debate
>>
>> The thesis of this book is simple enough: Differences between human races
>are
>> real; they are of substantial magnitude; and they are, sometimes at least,
>> important. The nave observer will object that there is little originality
>in
>> this thesis. After all, every hairdresser knows that there are important
>race
>> differences. At least, every hairdresser in the Caribbean knows it.
>>
>> The ostensible reason for this book's existence is that some intellectuals
>> don't seem to know it. During the past half-century, articles claiming that
>> race differences are minimal, unimportant, or non-existent have
>proliferated
>> both in the popular press and in academic journals-including even The
>Mankind
>> Quarterly (Biondi and Rickards, 2002). Sarich's and Miele's logic is not
>too
>> different from the hairdresser's, although their book is written for
>> intellectuals rather than hairdressers.
>>
>> The authors are well placed to write about this subject. Vincent Sarich has
>> been one of the leading figures in population genetics for the past 30
>years,
>> and his work on the molecular clock arid its application to human evolution
>has
>> been a major contribution to our current understanding of modern human
>origins.
>> Frank Miele is editor of Skeptic magazine, where the debunking of
>pseudoscience
>> and popular superstition is part of his job description.
>>
>> The academic debate about the non-existence of race is a rhetorical
>controversy
>> rather than a substantive one, revolving around the definition of the term
>> "race". The impetus behind the claim that race does not exist is not
>scientific
>> but normative, modeled on the "newspeak" in Orwell's 1984: the belief that
>> people's thoughts are determined by the categories made available by their
>> language. If we remove the term race from our vocabulary, racism will end
>> because people can no longer think about race differences and their
>> implications. Never mind that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic
>> determinism has not fared too well in the scientific arena (Pinker, 1994).
>>
>> This fruitless academic debate with its surrealistic touch and Orwellian
>> undertones is unsuitable for any book aimed at a wider audience. But
>> fortunately, Sarich and Miele are not interested in rhetoric but in the
>"real
>> thing": not what is in our heads, but what is in the world.
>>
>> The authors start by showing that the reality of race differences is
>> sell-evident to the layman and is taken for granted by the legal system.
>Common
>> people can tell a Japanese from a Kenyan on first sight. Only some
>> intellectuals can't. But molecular biologists can. True, the majority of
>> genetic diversity among humans is within rather than between races, but
>some
>> genetic markers do vary substantially among races. Sarich describes how a
>> person's race can be determined from his DNA. In the latest version of the
>> DNAPrint method, used in forensics, information from 73 DNA polymorphisms
>is
>> combined to determine not only a person's race, but even the degree of
>> admixture with great accuracy. If you happen to be 85% African and 15%
>Native
>> American, the DNA test will show it!
>>
>> Nor is the awareness of race differences limited to modern societies. Miele
>> shows that the early Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Chinese and Arab
>civilizations
>> all distinguished races not only by their physical appearance, but also
>> attributed behavioral characteristics to them. Race prejudice is not a
>modern
>> invention but can be traced through the ages!
>>
>> The authors proceed by tracing the modern history of ideas about race
>> differences, starting with the pre-Darwinian opposition between monogenists
>and
>> polygenists: those who believed that people were created by God only once
>and
>> developed into separate races only recently, and those who believed that
>the
>> races were created separately. And on it goes through the post-Darwinian
>> controversies that finally led to the widespread denial of race differences
>in
>> the late 20lh century: between Ernst Haeckel and Rudolf Virchow, Franz Boas
>and
>> Madison Grant, and between Carleton Coon and Ashley Montagu. This part of
>the
>> book tells us little about the "real thing", although it will be engaging
>for
>> those interested in the history of anthropological thought.
>>
>> The Time Scale of Human Evolution.
>>
>> But the authors have more to offer than history. The core of the book is
>formed
>> by three chapters in which Sarich recounts the emergence of modern
>population
>> genetics: the advent of the molecular clock, the re-dating of the
>human-chimp
>> split, and finally the out- of-Africa model of modern human origins. We
>learn
>> that until the 1960s virtually everyone believed that the human lineage
>> diverged from the ape lineage more than 20 million years ago, and that
>human
>> races evolved from subpopulations of Homo erectus over the past 1 million
>> years. Thus both our species and its racial subdivisions were thought to be
>of
>> ancient origin.
>>
>> All this changed with the advent of immunological methods, protein
>> electrophoresis, and finally DNA sequencing. These methods showed that the
>> human-chimp divergence took place as recently as 5 million years ago and
>that
>> chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to gorillas. Modern
>human
>> races began differentiating only 50,000 years ago, after the exodus from
>Africa
>> and the first forays beyond the tropical and subtropical regions.
>>
>> Sarich even believes that many of the racial characteristics we see today
>> evolved only during the past 15,000 years or so. He claims that many of the
>> early Australian races-dating as far back as 50,000 to 60,000 years ago-are
>not
>> ancestral to modern Australian aborigines, and that Europeans before 10,000
>to
>> 20,000 years ago did not yet show the characteristic Caucasoid features we
>see
>> today. In other words, local populations can evolve fast by adapting
>> genetically to the local ecology, and the wholesale demise of local
>populations
>> was a common occurrence during the Paleolithic when human populations were
>> still small.
>>
>> These views may seem extreme, hut are supported by scientific evidence. The
>> non-continuity of Australians is suggested, both by fossil evidence and by
>a
>> study of ancient mitochondrial DNA (Adcock et al., 2001). For Europeans, we
>> know that the north-south gradient in height that we see today did not yet
>> exist during the Mesolithic. At that time, the only consistent regional
>> difference was that people in Eastern Europe were taller than their
>> contemporaries in Western Europe (Formicola and Giannecchini, 1999). Thus
>the
>> north- south gradient in height evolved only with the establishment of
>stable
>> climate zones after the end of the Ice Age.
>>
>> And this is where Sarich goes well beyond the hairdresser's wisdom. What he
>> describes is a paradigm shift in our understanding of racial diversity. In
>> brief, since the 19th century there have been two very different strands of
>> thought about this issue. The first approach can be called
>> "racial-essentialist". It has its pre- Darwinian roots in the polygenist
>belief
>> that God created the races separately. After Darwin, the old polygenist
>theory
>> was transformed into the scientific belief that human races are of ancient
>> origin, evolved over an extended time period, and are virtually
>unchangeable on
>> the millennial time scale. In social thought, this belief tended to be
>> associated with the acceptance of real and attributed race differences, a
>> preference for racial segregation, or frank supremacist attitudes.
>>
>> The opposing view continues the ancient monogenist idea that human races
>> evolved from a common stock only recently. Its Darwinian incarnation can be
>> labeled "eugenicist" because it was part of the scientific underpinnings of
>the
>> eugenics movement in the early 20th century. The idea is that racial
>traits,
>> being subject to natural selection, are changeable on a fairly short time
>> scale. Francis Gallon, for example, believed that the classical Athenians
>were
>> more amply endowed with what he called "talent" than were his own
>> contemporaries in Victorian England. He did not think the same about modern
>> Greeks. Gallon believed that the Iwo millennia that separated ancient
>Greece
>> from the Victorians were sufficienl to change the prevalence of inherited
>> talent in the population through natural selection: in essence, the
>> differential reproduction of those at opposite ends of the ability scale.
>>
>> Sarich's answer to this controversy is unambiguous. The "eugenicist" view
>> carried the day, and the "racial-essentialist" view is no longer tenable.
>> People who are fond of racial diversity will find this message
>discomforting.
>> Races, like religions, look more awesome when we believe them to be of
>ancient
>> origin.
>>
>> Some intellectuals of the late 20th century (Sarich and Miele cite the late
>> Steven Jay Gould as a major protagonist) acknowledged the scientific
>paradigm
>> shift but concluded that race differences cannot be large because there was
>> insufficient time for them to evolve. Sarich and Miele disagree.
>Undeniably,
>> the 60,000 years or so since the exodus from Africa were sufficient for
>natural
>> selection to create non-overlapping phenotypic differences for skin color
>and
>> hair texture between the Kenyans and the Japanese. What happened with these
>> simple physical traits was bound to happen with any trait that has
>\substantial
>> heritability and was subject to divergent selective pressures in different
>> parts of the world. The revolution in molecular population genetics did not
>> show that race differences are small or nonexistent. It only showed that
>> evolution works much faster than most people had thought!
>>
>> The new view of human evolution has profound implications for the place of
>> anthropology in the academic ecosystem. Through historical accident,
>> anthropology ended up as a science that concerns itself with racial
>diversity
>> and biological evolution, as well as with cultural diversity and cultural
>> change. But if biological evolution and cultural evolution take place on
>vastly
>> different time scales, they cannot interact. In that case we need no
>> anthropologists who are familiar with both. We only need human biologists
>to
>> study biological evolution, and comparative sociologists to study cultural
>> evolution. However, if biological and cultural evolution take place on
>> overlapping time scales, then anthropology becomes the science of
>gene-culture
>> coevolution.
>>
>> Gene-culture coevolution docs indeed work. The genetic trait of lactase
>> persistence is the classical example. In this case, the ability to digest
>large
>> amounts of the milk sugar lactose in adult life became common in Northern
>> Europe over the past 6000 years because it offered an advantage in a
>farming
>> economy where people obtained valuable nutrients from milk (Holloxetal.,
>2001).
>>
>>
>> Also in Northern Europe, a mutation for enhanced iron absorption occurred
>in a
>> single individual 60 to 70 generations ago. This mutation spread quickly
>over
>> the past two millennia, presumably because it protected from iron
>deficiency
>> anemia under conditions where most people had to subsist on iron-poor
>cereal
>> grains and milk. Today more than 10% of the population in Scandinavia,
>Britain
>> and Ireland carry at least one copy of this mutation, and many of those who
>> carry two copies come down with the iron overload disease hemochromatosis
>> (Ajioka et al., 1997). This mutation could not have persisted in a
>> hunter-gatherer population because hunter-gatherers have high-iron diets
>> (Eaton, Eaton and Konner, 1997). These examples show that culturally
>determined
>> dietary habits can drive the rapid evolution of genetic traits on a time
>scale
>> of one to a few millennia.
>>
>> The rapid culture-driven evolution of behavioral traits is more speculative
>at
>> this time. In the case of a functional microsatellite polymorphism in the
>gene
>> for the D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4), differences in gene frequencies
>between
>> human populations have variously been attributed to a nomadic lifestyle, or
>to
>> the selective pressures in female-production horticultural economies
>> (Harpending and Cochran, 2002). The DRD4 polymorphism has been linked to
>subtle
>> behavioral alterations including novelty seeking and a propensity for one
>type
>> of attention deficit disorder.
>>
>> Sarich and Miele also show that the term race has different meanings in
>> different species. Orangutans, for example, come in two races, one in
>Borneo
>> and the other in Sumatra. These two races are so similar in appearance and
>> behavior that only experts (and possibly the orangutans themselves) can
>tell
>> them apart. Surprisingly, their DNA variation shows that these two races
>> diverged nearly 3 million years ago, at a time when human ancestors were
>still
>> at the australopithecine stage! In humans, by contrast, racial DNA
>diversity in
>> non-selected genetic markers is small while the phenotypic differences
>between
>> the races are large: larger indeed than those between local races of any
>other
>> living primate.
>>
>> Why should this be so? The orangutan races are alike in body and mind
>because
>> the rainforests of Sumatra are so similar to those of Borneo that they
>select
>> for the same traits. Thus natural selection is stabilizing, punishing
>> deviations from a golden mean that has been established ages ago. Humans,
>by
>> contrast, occupy ecological niches as diverse as the tropical rainforest
>and
>> the arctic coasts, and they have created cultural adaptations to these
>niches.
>> Diversifying selection under these ecological and cultural conditions has
>> created the diversity of racial traits we see today, without creating
>excess
>> DNA diversity in those parts of the genome that are not expressed
>> phenotypically and are not subject to natural selection.
>>
>> Sarich cites the example of Africans and Melanesians. These two races are
>> similar in appearance, with dark skin and frizzy hair. However, molecular
>> studies show that Melanesians and Africans are as distant genetically as
>you
>> can get in our species. The reasons for their relatively great genetic
>distance
>> are presumably that the Melanesians are descended from an early wave of
>> migrants out of Africa, and that they did not participate in later
>> back-migrations into Africa; and the reason for their physical resemblance
>is
>> that both races never left the tropics and were therefore subject to the
>same
>> environmental-driven selection.
>>
>> Messy Meritocracy
>>
>> The authors do not shy away from a discussion of behavioral as well as
>physical
>> race differences. They take note of the large differences in IQ test
>results in
>> different parts of the world, including the typical sub-Saharan African IQ
>of
>> 70. Sarich and Miele believe that these differences have important genetic
>as
>> well as environmental causes. I personally want to see molecular genetic
>> evidence on IQ-related genes before drawing strong conclusions, but the
>> circumstantial evidence we have today does support Sarich's and Mielc's
>> assumption.
>>
>> If race differences in ability are real, what are their social
>implications?
>> Sarich and Miele see three options:
>>
>> 1) a meritocratic system that rewards individual achievement irrespective
>of
>> race;
>>
>> 2) an "affirmative action" model that mitigates the consequences of ability
>> differences by favoring members of genetically disadvantaged groups; and
>(3)
>> racial segregation and the emergence of ethno-states that go their separate
>> ways.
>>
>> This three-way choice embodies the three sets of social instincts that
>humans
>> have at their disposal for responding to inequality in ability and the
>> inequality in opportunity that follows logically from unequal ability. The
>> preference for meritocracy is based on the acceptance of the competitive
>> struggle for social dominance and the good things of life. It is the
>philosophy
>> of the strong, able, and lucky. The "affirmative action" model is based on
>> sympathy for the weak and disadvantaged. This set of responses evolved as
>an
>> element of kin-selected altruism but can be applied promiscuously. The
>third
>> option is ethnocentrism: identification with one's own group, along with
>> distrust of other groups.
>>
>> Sarich's and Miele's preference lies with meritocracy. But is the belief in
>> genetically based ability differences really compatible with the idea of
>> meritocracy? Common folks justify social inequality with the concept of
>> deservingness or "merit". Thus, they oppose social welfare benefits because
>too
>> many of the beneficiaries do not deserve them. By-arid-large, poor people's
>> misery is their own fault. But can we blame people for their genes? Is it
>fair
>> to add insult to injury and punish them for the bad luck they had in the
>> genetic lottery?
>>
>> A more rational argument is that we cannot do without the meritocratic
>Skinner
>> box because people behave responsibly only if effort is rewarded and
>> irresponsible behavior has unpleasant consequences. This argument makes
>sense.
>> There is more to human nature than operant conditioning, but operant
>> conditioning is a pretty important part of it. Meritocracy forces people to
>> become more competitive, and competition is statistically associated with
>> economic productivity. Only, meritocratic (dis)incentives cannot force
>people
>> to dump their bad genes and get better ones.
>>
>> If we can demonstrate that uriderperforming groups labor under a genetic
>> handicap we can still favor a meritocratic system. We definitely need
>suitable
>> incentive structures to ensure that people end up doing what they are good
>at
>> and that they do it well. But to the extent that outcomes depend on genes,
>we
>> have to drop the moralistic frills and admit that we reward not merit but
>> competitive ability and that rather than trying to change people's behavior
>we
>> are merely sorting them into social classes. We create a system where the
>> strong are free to take advantage of the weak. A major "advantage" of such
>a
>> system is that it creates a stable society where those at the bottom of the
>> pecking order are unable to challenge the ruling system on account of their
>> messy genes.
>>
>> Not everyone is willing to go this way. In at least some cases we know that
>> people who believe in genetic causes for the problems and peculiarities of
>a
>> marginalized group are more tolerant and more supportive of the group's
>> interests (Tygart, 2000). In a 2001 Gallup poll, 56% of the respondents
>> supported affirmative action but 66% also said that they believe these
>programs
>> will always be needed (Paul, 2003). It seems that more often than not
>people's
>> support for affirmative action programs is based on the belief that the
>> inequalities in opportunity that we are trying to mitigate are
>> unchangeable-which means, presumably, genetic. This kind of preference can
>be
>> driven by humanitarian concerns as well as a desire for equality (Feldman
>and
>> Stccnbcrgcn, 2001). Indifference to the plight of disadvantaged groups and
>> individuals is bolstered not by the belief in genetic as opposed to
>> environmental causes, but by the moralistic belief in free will and
>> responsibility as opposed to the scientific belief in causes (Lane, 2001)!
>>
>> The Future of Genetic Inequality
>>
>> Sarich and Miele tell us that evolutionary change under natural or
>artificial
>> selection can proceed at a breathtaking pace. They point out that most dog
>> breeds with their vast anatomical and behavioral differences were created
>by
>> deliberate selection in the course of only a few centuries. Therefore it is
>> surprising that they fail to mention another pos\sible response to genetic
>> inequalities in ability: doing away with them if we don't like them.
>>
>> Within the next decades we are bound to learn about the genetic variations
>that
>> cause ability differences within and between populations. We are entering a
>> phase in our evolution where women can pick their child's father from the
>sperm
>> bank catalog, complete with genetic profile, and parents can screen their
>> embryos for thousands of genes before implantation. Should we use these
>> techniques to mitigate the more embarrassing forms of genetic inequality
>and
>> handicap? Probably. But are we going to do it?
>>
>> Sarich and Miele offer their three options as ways of muddling through, but
>the
>> implications are far more profound. In a meritocratic system where people
>get
>> what they can pay for, the rich and intelligent will have access to
>> gene-improving technologies that the poor cannot afford and the dumb and
>> irresponsible cannot appreciate. In consequence, the children of the elite
>will
>> gain advantages over those of the poor. These advantages, although
>initially
>> small, are cumulative over generations. Thus, pre- existing genetic
>> inequalities will be amplified. Unlike natural selection in historic and
>> prehistoric times, this "meritocratic" selection creates inequalities
>mainly on
>> the dimensions of health and ability (Silver, 1997).
>>
>> One alternative is an "affirmative action" system where costly social
>policies
>> ensure that gene-improving technologies are most available for those who
>need
>> them the most. This kind of society will move toward less inequality in the
>> genetic contributors to health and ability, both within and between racial
>and
>> social groups. However, this system is unlikely to be adopted because it
>would
>> benefit the disadvantaged at the expense of the elite.
>>
>> There is finally the "conservative" option of trying to preserve the status
>quo
>> by banning the use of gene-improving technologies across the board. Under
>> conditions of modern life, the consequences of this option will be the
>> accumulation of damaging mutations (Crow, 2000), the spread of genes
>favoring
>> low intelligence and irresponsible behavior since these genes seem to be
>> favored in contracepting societies (Lynn, 1996), and the replacement of
>> culturally more advanced populations by migrants from low-IQ countries with
>> higher fertility rates (Coleman, 2002).
>>
>> But Sarich and Miele do not dwell on futurology. Their aim is to unmuddle a
>> muddled debate by tracking the historical controversies about racial
>diversity,
>> presenting the arguments that are wielded in today's debates, and
>evaluating
>> these arguments from a scientific perspective. One weakness of their book
>is a
>> relative paucity of references. This is regrettable because some of the
>> authors' claims are quite controversial, and disbelieving readers might
>want to
>> check the sources. For all its scientific content this book is written not
>for
>> scholars working in the field, but for a wider audience of "intellectuals"
>who
>> are interested in human racial diversity.
>>
>> For this audience, Sarich's and Miele's book is the best choice currently
>on
>> offer. The authors' discussion of the issues is down- to-earth,
>informative,
>> scientifically sophisticated, and yet interesting and intelligible for the
>> non-specialist reader. It's good science, it's intellectually stimulating,
>and
>> it makes good reading. What more can we expect?
>>
>> References
>>
>> Adcock, G.J., E.S. Dennis, S. Easteal, G.A. Huttley, L.S. Jermiin, W.J.
>Peacock
>> and A. Thorne
>>
>> 2001 Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient Australians: implications for
>> modern human origins. Proceedings oj the National Academy of Sciences USA
>98:
>> 537-542.
>>
>> Biondi, Gianfranco and O. Rickards,
>>
>> 2002 The scientific fallacy of the human biological concept of race. The
>> Mankind Quarterly 42: 355-388.
>>
>> Coleman, David A..
>>
>> 2002 Replacement migration, or why everyone is going to have to live in
>Korea:
>> a fable for our times from the United Nations. Philosophical Transactions
>of
>> the Royal Society of London B 357: 583- 598.
>>
>> Crow, James F.,
>>
>> 2000 The origins, patterns and implications of human spontaneous mutation.
>> Nature Reviews Genetics 1: 40-47.
>>
>> Distante, S., K.J.H. Robson, J. Graham-Campbell, A. Arnaiz- Villena, P.
>Brissot
>> and M. Worwood
>>
>> 2004 The origin and spread of the HFE-C282Y hacmochromatosis mutation.
>Human
>> Genetics 115:269-279.
>>
>> Eaton S.B, S.B. Raton III and MJ. Konner
>>
>> 1997 Paleolithic nutrition revisited: a twelve-year retrospective on its
>nature
>> and implications. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51: 207-216.
>>
>> Feldman, Stanley and M.R. Steenbergen
>>
>> 2001 The humanitarian foundation of public support for social welfare.
>American
>> Journal of Political Science 45: 658-677.
>>
>> Formicola, Vincenzo and M. Giannecchini
>>
>> 1999 Evolutionary trends of stature in Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic
>Europe.
>> Journal of Human Evolution 36: 319-333.
>>
>> Harpending, Henry and G. Gochran
>>
>> 2002 In our genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99:
>> 10-12.
>>
>> Hollox, Edward J., M. Poulter, M. Zvarik, V. Ferak, A. Krause, T. Jenkins,
>N.
>> Saha, A.I. Kozlov and D.M. Swallow
>>
>> 2001 Lactase haplotype diversity in the Old World. American Journal of
>Human
>> Genetics 68: 160-172.
>>
>> Lane, Robert E.
>>
>> 2001 Self-reliance and empathy: the enemies of poverty-and of the poor.
>> Political Psychology 22: 473-492.
>>
>> Lynn, Richard
>>
>> 1996 Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations New York:
>Praeger.
>>
>> Paul, Pamela
>>
>> 2003 Attitudes toward affirmative action. American Demograhics 25 (4):
>18-19.
>>
>> Pinker, Steven
>>
>> 1994 The Language Instict. How the Mind Creates Language. New York:
>> HarperGollins.
>>
>> Silver, Lee M.
>>
>> 1997 Remaking Eden. Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon
>> Books.
>>
>> Tygart, C.E.
>>
>> 2000 Genetic causation attribution and public support of gay rights.
>> International Journal of Public Opinion Research 12: 259- 275.
>>
>> Gerhard Meisenberg
>>
>> Ross University, Dominica
>>
>> Copyright Council for Social and Economic Studies Fall 2004
>
>
>
>
>
>


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------
"All men shall be my slaves! All women shall succumb to my charms! All mankind
shall grovel at my feet and not know why!"
--L. Ron Hubbard--