If one race is faster, more athletic, stronger in sports - what's bad?

In some other thread discussions there were people who vehemently rejected the notion that black athletes had a genetic advantage in speed, agility, etc. when it came to explaining why wide receivers, defensive backs or other such speed positions in certain sports tended to be African-American.

Now, whether black people have a genetic advantage in Olympic sprinting or NBA basketball, etc. isn’t the point of this thread - maybe they do, maybe they don’t. That’s a scientific discussion. But my question is - suppose that they indeed did, and the reason that black players dominate positions such as NFL wide receiver and cornerback is indeed because of this natural advantage - what would be so bad about that?

Why is it bad if one race does indeed have a genetic advantage in agility or speed? Would it somehow be racist for that to be the case? Or is it more that it’s racist to *say *that race is the reason for speed advantage - in other words, it’s more the *speech *that is the issue than it is the science that is the issue?

I don’t think anybody objects at all to scientific studies investigating genetic traits in well-defined populations with close genetic relationships.

For instance, nobody is upset about studies of short stature among Batwa peoples (“pygmies”) in Africa’s Great Lakes region, or malaria-resistance alleles among the Dogon people of Mali.

What gets many people pissed off, on the other hand, is when overconfident ignorant scientasters think they can make naive generalizations about hypothesized genetic traits in very vaguely defined racial groups that are not closely linked genetically, and then whine that the widespread contempt for their “theories” is merely a manifestation of “political correctness”. :rolleyes:

It wouldn’t be bad at all. What’s bad is arrogant doofuses who mistakenly think they understand genetics trying to argue that highly complex physical/social outcomes in highly diverse and vaguely defined racial groups can be easily explained as a form of “genetic advantage”.

(Note, btw, that I’m not calling you personally an arrogant or ignorant doofus, as you’re merely asking about the ethical implications of acknowledging such a genetic advantage if it were in fact determined to exist. But most of the people who endorse the naive “black people are just biologically better at sports” hypothesis are indeed arrogant and/or ignorant doofi.)

(And my above post was referring to studies of malaria-resistance alleles among the Dogon people of Mali and short stature among Batwa peoples. Dunno what went wrong with the links, sorry.)

This. Exactly this.

Saying there are genetic differences for athletic abilities across races means there could be genetic differences for intelligence and personality traits across races. This is seen as unacceptable. Race realists / HBD advocates often use athletic ability to start the conversation about racial differences. Most people don’t understand or have strong opinions about genetic research or IQ studies, but they might watch sports and feel they have a grasp of what’s going on so it’s easier to appeal to them on that level.

Egalitarianism shouldn’t be threatened by any discovered racial differences. The concept of equality means equal in a moral worth sense, not literally being the same. Men and women are different, but that doesn’t collapse egalitarianism either.

Cite for the claim that anybody at all sees as “unacceptable” the mere possibility that there COULD be genetic differences for intelligence and personality traits across races? Because I’ve never heard of anybody saying that such a concept is prima facie unacceptable.

What is unacceptable are ignorant pseudoscientific claims that genetic differences in highly complex characteristics such as intelligence, ability, personality, etc., across poorly defined racial groups with lots of internal genetic diversity are easy to identify, or that any such hypothesized differences have been definitively identified by scientific research so far.

Thank you for that candid acknowledgement that so-called “race realism” is basically just a propaganda campaign exploiting the naive confirmation biases of ill-informed non-scientists.

It certainly shouldn’t. However, ignorant unscientific claims that alleged “racial differences” have been discovered by science when they actually haven’t do pose a threat to egalitarianism.

Making excuses for sloppiness and misinterpretation in discussions of scientific research on race and genetics, just because the subject is hellishly complicated to study and the excusers are eager to believe that their biases have been scientifically validated, is a profoundly anti-egalitarian thing to do.

It is impossible not to notice that certain populations have traits that differ from others - just as the non-human animals do. Siberian rabbits and desert rabbits differ. Over the generations they have adapted to their environment and natural selection has favored those adaptions that best suit them to that environment. It’s the same with humans. Why wouldn’t it be? We are animals as well and we also live in different environments.

Granted it is a sensitive topic among a great many people, but nothing good is served by pretending that everyone looks exactly alike and has the exact same set of adaptive traits.

While I certainly agree that race pseudoscience is just that, pseudoscience and woo, it would also be naive to expect that a scientifically accurate study demonstrating racial IQ differences (if such differences existed) wouldn’t encounter fierce political backlash.

I am amused at the responses like this which have not any connection to the actual content that Kimstu provides - that the American idea of race and their races has not any real genetic coherence and that the naïve lumping that they do of anyone with some physical traits seen as the black-African origin = a coherent genetic pool… with the strong but very varied and variable admixture in the Americas of the European and the native American into the supposed “black” population. That somehow you can draw the strong conclusions about a “racial” grouping that is not genetically coherent… Just Because.

It is funny how while no mention by the Kimstus of “egalitarianism” or anyone being “exactly alike” is made, this is the route of response. Straw men.

oddly repeated endlessly in these threads without updating, the pseudo-science justification of the one drop rule…

And it is only a rebranding of the racists for themselves.

“Populations” in the sense of groups in which the members are more closely genetically related to one another than they are to the members of any other group? Sure, such populations often have distinct differences in various traits.

But “race” is not a reliable proxy for “population” in that strictly genetic sense.

Well, for one thing, if you’re talking about the breed of rabbits known as Siberian, they were developed by breeders in the UK starting around 1930, not “adapted to their environment over the generations”.

Most breeds of pet are a spectacularly shitty analogy for human racial groups, because pet breeds are created by relatively recent and genetically very restrictive deliberate inbreeding. That’s not how human racial groups work.

Nobody is pretending that everyone looks exactly alike, or has the exact same set of adaptive traits. That’s a typical “race realist” strawman argument attempting to suggest that the type of very dubious inferences they’re endorsing are simple facts as self-evident as “not everybody looks alike” or “not everybody’s genetically identical”. But there’s a WHOLE lot of middle ground between those basic uncontroversial statements and the sort of thing the “race realists” are claiming.

Well, I certainly agree that pretty much any popular journalism announcing any such pioneering study would get a lot of fierce political backlash.

Because what any such study would say would be something like “A statistically significant difference in the expression of the D-alpha89 allele which is thought to have a possible connection with rapidity of performance of tasks on certain tests of spatial cognition has been found between subjects with more than 60% Yoruba heritage and subjects with less than 15%” blah blah blah blah.

And what the press would say would be something like “SCIENTISTS DISCOVER THAT BLACK PEOPLE THINK FASTER THAN WHITES”. :rolleyes:
Any actual scientific facts about genetic differences that detectably affect cognition, personality, ability, etc., among different populations are going to emerge so slowly and piecemeal and laboriously (because, as I noted, the whole subject is so tremendously fucking complicated) that the world is going to have plenty of time to adjust to whatever actual scientific implications they may possess.

But you’re right that half-assed misinterpretations of any such facts are going to be fought over with great gusto in the popular press and among ill-informed laypersons, right from the get-go.

The danger isn’t that we may recognize genetic variations in race, the danger occurs when some people use that to justify inequality and extrapolate that to other, non-genetic measurements.

I don’t see what’s bad that different subsets are different. Opponents insist on a asymmetric and impossible standard of proof though. Is the portion of global warming caused by human activity any less real if an accurate and precise number is impossible to calculate? Same concept.

The point about population rather than races is key. A lot of people claim that ‘black people’ are unusually good marathon runners because most of the top finishers in the most prestigious marathons are black. However, when you look more closely, they aren’t just black. They tend to come from the same population groups from just a few areas in Kenya and Ethiopia. It still isn’t accurate to say that black people are excellent marathon runners or even Kenyans are because the vast majority of them couldn’t run a marathon if they had to. What is interesting is that one small group in Kenya, the Kalenjin, produces a vastly disproportionate amount of the top marathon runners in the world and they do it so consistently it is laughable.

Here is an unbiased NPR article on it. The article does note that even tenured college professors are reluctant to do research to find out exactly why that is so the political backlash argument is a real one even for one relatively small population that dominates a sport so thoroughly that some genetic argument is likely or at least highly plausible.

“There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon,” Epstein says. “There were 32 Kalenjin who did it in October of 2011.”

Nothing bad. I notice though that caucasians tend to be more suited for full-contact events (might partly explain MMA generally being “too white.”) But a lot of them also do well in track. Here’s one of my favorite comparisons:

Those are two of your greatest Olympians ON LAND. I don’t know what to make of Michael Phelps and Stephen Redgrave. Notice that Lewis has very long limbs in relation to his torso, and that his torso is small and slim. And he has a long neck. His physique is clearly suited for sprinting and jumping. Nurmi, on the other hand, looks suited for long distance: powerful torso (strong lungs), somewhat athrophied limbs in relation to the body (less strain on the abdomen), and a short neck (less strain on the shoulders in lugging that big head over long distances.)

Well, my conclusion on race based on these two is --nothing really, since it’s a about idea physiques, not typical ones. You see the same body type in both races.

this shows merely you do not understand at all the subject and remain in the 19th century thinking. It is the coherence of a group, and not making the unfounded and anti-data assumption of the genetic coherence. It is not “impossible standard of proof” it is understand the real questions and not pursing Alchemy instead of science.

Shagnasty provides a good example here

the Kalenjiin example here is the example of a coherent group and where yes indeed, it is the genetic argument has great plausibility as a real input.

This is the example of the scientific path of an examination, and not the pseudo-science of the Alchemy of the “race realists” and the popular attachments to 19th century mythologies and ideas.

I am not sure if you are stating this is something you believe or if you are saying this is what some people believe. Either way, it is a classic example of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy as there is no reason to believe differences in athletic abilities across races means there are (or could be) differences in intelligence across races. One thing has nothing to do with the other, nor does it logically follow. Although I guess it is possible for there to be differences in intelligence across races, higher athletic ability in one race over another does not prove it.

Nobody’s suggesting that it’s in any way bad that “different subsets are different”. What’s bad is ignorant and irresponsible scientasters falsely claiming that any valid theory or evidence currently exists that succeeds in scientifically explaining observed racial-group differences in complex traits like intelligence or personality on genetic grounds.

Nope, just a rigorous and consistent standard of proof. If that happens to be impossible to attain, at least in the current state of human neurogenetics research, that’s not our fault. You don’t get to pretend that an unsupported speculation should be taken on trust as a valid theory just because the amount of work required to effectively assess its claim to be a valid theory would be really really really hard.

Not even remotely similar concept. The fundamental chemistry and physics of the theory of anthropogenic global warming is well-established and quite well understood: basically, atmospheric greenhouse gases trap more infrared radiation, humans have produced increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, ergo, warming is happening. Other physical phenomena also contribute to warming, but their general cyclic patterns are predictable using the same fundamental chemistry and physics, and their contributions can be at least approximately separated from the anthropogenic contribution with a high degree of confidence. The fact that it’s insanely difficult (and in some cases, not even theoretically possible) to precisely predict the specific direct climate impacts of this warming doesn’t mean that the basic principle is uncertain or poorly understood.

But the basic genetic dependence of human intelligence and other complex psychological traits isn’t understood worth shit. Everybody agrees from empirical studies that intelligence is to some extent genetically heritable. But no researchers have anything even approaching a confirmed hypothesis of which genes affect intelligence and to what extent, how the relevant genes interact with one another and with the environment (which is another hugely complicated subject crawling with irreproducible results and unidentified variables), and so on.

And that’s only talking about the study of direct heritability of intelligence in genetically identical or extremely closely related subjects. It doesn’t even address the whole new cans of worms that are opened up when attempting to detect genetic effects on intelligence at the population level. And trying to extrapolate from that immensely complex issue to all the additional variables involved when considering loosely-defined racial groups that don’t even constitute well-defined genetic populations is an entire next level of heady-splody.

So, no, hell no, the current state of climate science isn’t in the least like the current state of neurogenetic research on genetic bases of human intelligence.

I’ve used that very same example that Shagnasty did. You need to read more carefully.