Please synopsize the answer to "Races have xyz innate characteristics/abilities/predispositions"

Bolding mine.

I wonder if by arificial selection humans have effected genetic change among a given human population. Is it possible that by murdering and running off so many of Cambodia’s intelligensia the Khmer Rouge selected against the characteristics of achievement or intelligence among the population? There are places that have done enough selective murder among a population to warrant this question.

This is a practical question, not about race, ethnicity, etc. Simply stated, have humans changed a human group by way of artificial selection?

Not the way they have dogs. For one thing, humans – even slaves – are very willful in their breeding choices; a bitch will get over the wall and mess up your program. For another, the breeders and the bred would have the exact same long maturity/breeding/generational cycle; this raises practical obstacles to a sustained program. A dog breeder can breed ten generations in ten years.

As for the kinds of effects you’re describing, they’re purely random and sporadic and blind. And even if, say, you consciously and deliberately kill off all the upper class in a society, like the Nazis deliberately did in Poland, you’re not necessarily killing off that society’s genes for superior ability. Both human genetics and human social organization are a lot more complicated than that. A highly-placed person is more likely to be heir to superior wealth/connections, not superior blood; and we well know from the history of Western societies since the Industrial Revolution that there are astonishingly vast numbers of astonishingly capable people lurking among the masses, if circumstances give them the chance to show it.

This is actually at the crux of the issue that gets debated ad infinitum (ad nauseam) around here.

The sprinters and the marathon runners are in different cohorts that are artificially lumped together based on a shared continent and a similar amount of melatonin. You will not find any great marathon runners from (or whose ancestors were from) Ghana, Congo, Angola, Nigeria, etc. You will not find leading world class sprinters from Kenya or Ethiopia. The two groups are separate and distinct and only a superficial similarity allows the uninformed to claim that they are actually a single group that produces outstanding atheletes.

Persuading someone who needs to perceive the “truth” about “races” that the groups are separate will generally fail because they can “see” that they are the same group, actual biology notwithstanding.

Sort of. You are absolutely right about the West Africans and the Kenyans, of course, and that’s pretty good evidence those are two separate groups and two separate skillsets with two separate genesets underpinning the performance difference. That bolsters the general argument that population groups do differ in performance because their genes differ. We aren’t going to see the Kalenjin taking over the NBA.

As to the larger cohort of all “blacks” I generally agree that it’s a pretty soft category. But sub-saharan African versus non-sub-saharan are clearly two different groups, with reasonably good evidence about when they parted and even newer evidence suggesting Neandertal admixture occurred only for non-Africans. So even though “black” contains a very diverse collection of populations, all of those populations are still on a different branch from the trunk versus all non-Africans.

It boils down to if you are a splitter or a lumper. If a lumper, then Africans and non-Africans is a defensible division, in my opinion.

Let me recommend Jon Entine’s book, Taboo : Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It to both you and the OP. He’s not some sort of hate-group nut case. He discusses the history of Jews in basketball and Dominicans in baseball, and Kenyan marathoners. He gives lots of cites and some good history.

If you are actually interested in reading about the topic instead of being so off-handedly dismissive, it’s worth reading. I doubt many here will take the $15 or the time to do so, because their minds are closed and they don’t want them changed.

There are any number of studies, of course, on physiologic differences of blacks and whites for things like bone density, muscle type, and so on.

I agree it’s not a water-cooler conversation but to pretend (or at least imply) there is no science is dead wrong.

Or you can you just have them wait for about three or four years. Once mapping the genome is down to about $1,000 per individual, it won’t be hard to take the best athletes and identify which genes are superior. There will be a commercial demand for that information in a society which values athleticism so highly and can order up the right baby. And it’s only a step from there to find out whether all populations have those genes equally distributed or not. If not, we’ll be one step closer to just openly admitting what many genetic researchers already think privately: we are our genes.

There’s also an interesting special report I just finished reading in The Economist , titled Biology 2.0.

Worth reading if you are interested in the topic.

The brief answer should be: “Hey, you think I’ve forgotten about how Jimmy the Greek ended his career? I got nothing on that topic. And neither does anyone else who wants to keep his job in this society.”

Don’t feel bad. I’m ignored as well when I ask similar questions. Like I did in the “IQ” thread.

Nothing in particular, but at the moment the differences in diet, opportunity, etc. are sufficiently vast that trying to measure genetic differences would, if done honestly, be based on margins for error that simply make the answer worthless. Take for instance that almost no one would disagree that men are physically different from women. And yet:

Until everyone plateaus, we really can’t say anything.

Yes, and anyone who believes in evolution would not be surprised at that. Jon Entine has written a fair bit about it, here’s a brief article 'Bio-Cultural Athletic ‘Hot Spots’:

A longer version.

I love those sorts of graphs. I just wish I could find people gullible enough to actually bet on them…

It’s actually not that hard to adjust for non-genetic differences. The NBA (hi, you with the face! ) is as good a place to start as any. While the superior diet, better coaching, finer facilities, more stable family life and any number of other opportunities obviously favors West Africans :wink: , their disproportionate representation is so extreme, it’s not hard to figure out there is a special genetic gift there not as prevalent in the East Asians.

On the other hand, a very clever person can argue that you can’t perfectly normalize opportunity, even within the same family. So maybe when one kid in a family is a LeBron James and the three brothers are scholars, hey…the LeBron guy just had crappy teachers and all that was left for him was basketball. Wasn’t genes superior to the siblings at all. It was all differential nurturing.

Mmm hmmm…

Terming “height” a special gift, or anything as “superior” is rather cheesy, let me first note. Dutch are tall, they aren’t specially gifted. Japanese are short, they aren’t inferior. If you want to claim that you’re not a racist and that you’re just presenting the data that’s real and scientific, you might want to consider backing down on the loaded terminology.

  1. Nearly all slaves came from West Africa. Pointing out that West Africans are over-represented compared to all African ancestry in the NBA is not particularly amazing. It’s exactly what you would expect to see.
  2. Comparing human height, men from West Africa (Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, etc.) the range of heights is between 5’4" and 5’7". The region of “West Africa” doesn’t appear to be a group with shared traits – compare, for example, to the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark where they are all within an inch of one another.
  3. Knowing most black people in the USA came from West Africa, if West Africans were particularly tall (with a modern, Western diet), then the average height of black people in the US should be taller than caucasians. It isn’t. Black men are, on average, half an inch shorter than white men.
  4. 100 years ago, the Dutch were particularly short. Now, they’re the tallest of the tall. It’s a pretty good bet that their genetic makeup didn’t change all that significantly in that brief period of time. The Japanese have grown 6.5 inches in the last 150 years, and again, it’s unlikely that we’re talking about a genetic change but rather diet. For West Africans to come to the US, get a modern diet, and still be shorter than the average whitey is an indication that West Africans are naturally shorter than white people if anything.

I’m sorry to say, but your “obvious” example doesn’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny and that’s a case that’s dealing with Americans, let alone trying to adjust for regional differences.

If that example seemed like a slam dunk to you, I’m sorry to say but I’d have to vote that you’ve come to hold the position you do based on a gross overestimation of how much true research you’ve done. Buying a few propagandist books that sell you on the ideas that you already hold isn’t, “I did a lot of research on this guys! I know what I’m talking about!” You can argue that your book(s) that you read are simply suppressed truths, but like I said, if the above is the best they have to offer – well they don’t even stand up against a guy on the internet, let alone hard science.

By “IQ” thread, do you mean the thread about african development, that kept getting pulled towards IQ?
To this OP, I would say that it is inevitable that there will be some genetic differences between certain populations. I don’t think you should frame the discussion as trying to prove that there are no such differences.

I think you should frame it more as:

[li]Any differences between populations are just generalizations, with a large amount of overlap.[/li][li]In most cases, we don’t know what the genetic versus environmental contribution is for performance. A population that underperforms at a task may well have the best genes for that task, but the worst culture for encouraging performance in that task.[/li][li]The reason that stuff like this is sensitive is not because blacks are sensitive, but because of human nature. People may say “As a generalization, Chinese are more X”, but what that means in practice is that that person will look at a Chinese person and assume that that person is X, when they may not be.[/li]Generally, it’s bad for society to encourage people to pre-judge.

While that is all true, it simply avoids the discussion. What we have is a lot of:

Q: “Are there mental/physical differences between the races?”
A: “Culture plays a big role in a people being adept at certain tasks.”

I don’t see why it’s so hard deal with the actual question. It has no bearing on any individual’s potential. It’s a fact that there are physical differences. We see them. We cannot deny them. We see that some physical differences manifest themselves in performance (sprinters, long distance runners). It seems perfectly logical to ask if there might be mental differences, as well.

No, it is actually addressing the subtext that such discussions are based on.

No-one really cares about whether a particular group of people are better dancers, or whatever, than another. It’s really about saying “Blacks are better physically so…<…they may be worse mentally. So I shouldn’t feel guilty for not wanting to hire any>”.

My final bullet point gave my thoughts on why it is a sensitive subject.

It’s just like how people are sensitive about things like “Women are worse at math” – even as a generalization, it offends, because people have a hard time not generalizing to the individual. People will look at a woman and just assume she won’t be particularly good at math, and if she is, she isn’t a “normal” woman.

That is the definitely the direction or the vibe in most of the “X race/ethnic group has Y attributes” assertions made in layman conversations or arguments on the topic.

What’s height got to do with NBA prowess? I don’t follow basketball, but it occurs to me height is (mostly) necessary but not nearly sufficient.

As to my “books,” well, feel free to read them first and then decide.

Or just keep your mind closed. Up to you.

I find if I read arguments on both sides of a fence, it’s helpful in coming to a conclusion. That opinion is not typically shared here, I realize.

Yeah, about that . . . :dubious:

I generally agree, but with an additional issue–public policy.

If we decide various populations are so generally similar (because of overlap) that disproportionate representation is a priori evidence of either disproportionate opportunity or deliberate malfeasance in creating selection processes, then we run the risk of letting some bozo East Asian sue the NBA ( hi, you with the face! )for under-representation under the general framework that the under-representation of Asians must be due to an unfair system and not lesser innate competence.

Because blacks are so under-represented elsewhere, society generally turns a deaf ear (and likely would in this particular example). However the principle is the same.

If race-based AA is to survive (and I think it should, and must, if we want diversity in as many levels as possible) we are going to need to acknowledge average poulation differences so that we can account and accommodate for them, much the same way we acknowledge women are–on average–physically weaker than men and therefore deserve to have their own sports reserved for women, or deserve to have accommodations made on a firefighter strength test.

If we were to acknowledge only opportunity as the screen for admission into many fields, the percentage of blacks would drop even lower.

While there is a downside to measuring and quantifying average group differences (bozo hate-man gets ammo for his newsletter), I think that segment of the population is marginalized enough–and stupid enough–to ignore. What we have to get past is this almost rabid obsession with the idea that gene prevalences coding for advantageous skillsets cannot possibly vary by population group, or that recognition of prevalence differences is going to make us all Nazis.

Jews used to dominate basketball.

I’ve heard that.

Y’know, I’ve also noticed that Canadians and Russians are good at hockey, but Mexicans really don’t dominate. Similarly, I’ve never seen as ASP (surfing) champ from Kazakhstan - must be genetic.