Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Why Will Saletan's Calling for the Miscegenation of the Races

I've been meaning to respond to Will Saletan's piece in Slate last month on race, genetics and intelligence.  In it, he summarizes a number of genetic theories, which all point to the disturbing conclusion that:

"Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there's strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It's time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true."

I cannot deny the possibility that there are racial differences in average intelligence (or rather differences in average intelligence between previously isolated populations, since race is a social, not a biological concept), even though my gut reaction is disgust.  I know this is something about which I ought to remain agnostic absent credible, compelling evidence not just because that's the position from which a social scientist, whatever his or her unspoken agendas, ought to begin, but because my emotions on the subject run so damn deep, it's hard to be "objective" (as if anyone can be about a topic as dangerous as it is seductive).  Without a certain intellectual coolness, I'm liable to burst out in expletives.

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