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Quant blogger Half Sigma and GNXP’s Jason Malloy are quoted in a New York Times article by Amy Harmon entitled “In DNA Era, New Worries About Prejudice” about what’s happening now that “genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA.”

In case you are wondering, this article isn’t written by Nicholas Wade, who I imagine has been put on heavy sedation by the NYT editors ever since the Watson Show Trial.



When scientists first decoded the human genome in 2000, they were quick to portray it as proof of humankind’s remarkable similarity. The DNA of any two people, they emphasized, is at least 99 percent identical.

But new research is exploring the remaining fraction to explain differences between people of different continental origins.

Scientists, for instance, have recently identified small changes in DNA that account for the pale skin of Europeans, the tendency of Asians to sweat less and West Africans’ resistance to certain diseases.

At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups.

Such developments are providing some of the first tangible benefits of the genetic revolution. Yet some social critics fear they may also be giving long-discredited racial prejudices a new potency. The notion that race is more than skin deep, they fear, could undermine principles of equal treatment and opportunity that have relied on the presumption that we are all fundamentally equal.

“We are living through an era of the ascendance of biology, and we have to be very careful,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. “We will all be walking a fine line between using biology and allowing it to be abused.”

Certain superficial traits like skin pigmentation have long been presumed to be genetic. But the ability to pinpoint their DNA source makes the link between genes and race more palpable. And on mainstream blogs, in college classrooms and among the growing community of ancestry test-takers, it is prompting the question of whether more profound differences may also be attributed to DNA.

Nonscientists are already beginning to stitch together highly speculative conclusions about the historically charged subject of race and intelligence from the new biological data. Last month, a blogger in Manhattan described a recently published study that linked several snippets of DNA to high I.Q. An online genetic database used by medical researchers, he told readers, showed that two of the snippets were found more often in Europeans and Asians than in Africans.

No matter that the link between I.Q. and those particular bits of DNA was unconfirmed, or that other high I.Q. snippets are more common in Africans, or that hundreds or thousands of others may also affect intelligence, or that their combined influence might be dwarfed by environmental factors. Just the existence of such genetic differences between races, proclaimed the author of the Half Sigma blog, a 40-year-old software developer, means “the egalitarian theory,” that all races are equal, “is proven false.”

Though few of the bits of human genetic code that vary between individuals have yet to be tied to physical or behavioral traits, scientists have found that roughly 10 percent of them are more common in certain continental groups and can be used to distinguish people of different races. They say that studying the differences, which arose during the tens of thousands of years that human populations evolved on separate continents after their ancestors dispersed from humanity’s birthplace in East Africa, is crucial to mapping the genetic basis for disease.

But many geneticists, wary of fueling discrimination and worried that speaking openly about race could endanger support for their research, are loath to discuss the social implications of their findings. Still, some acknowledge that as their data and methods are extended to nonmedical traits, the field is at what one leading researcher recently called “a very delicate time, and a dangerous time.”

“There are clear differences between people of different continental ancestries,” said Marcus W. Feldman, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. “It’s not there yet for things like I.Q., but I can see it coming. And it has the potential to spark a new era of racism if we do not start explaining it better.”

Dr. Feldman said any finding on intelligence was likely to be exceedingly hard to pin down. But given that some may emerge, he said he wanted to create “ready response teams” of geneticists to put such socially fraught discoveries in perspective.

The authority that DNA has earned through its use in freeing falsely convicted inmates, preventing disease and reconstructing family ties leads people to wrongly elevate genetics over other explanations for differences between groups.

“I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life researching how much genetic variability there is between populations,” said Dr. David Altshuler, director of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. “But living in America, it is so clear that the economic and social and educational differences have so much more influence than genes. People just somehow fixate on genetics, even if the influence is very small.”

But on the Half Sigma blog and elsewhere, the conversation is already flashing forward to what might happen if genetically encoded racial differences in socially desirable — or undesirable — traits are identified.

“If I were to believe the ‘facts’ in this post, what should I do?” one reader responded on Half Sigma. “Should I advocate discrimination against blacks because they are less smart? Should I not hire them to my company because odds are I could find a smarter white person? Stop trying to prove that one group of people are genetically inferior to your group. Just stop.”

Renata McGriff, 52, a health care consultant who had been encouraging black clients to volunteer genetic information to scientists, said she and other African-Americans have lately been discussing “opting out of genetic research until it’s clear we’re not going to use science to validate prejudices.”

“I don’t want the children in my family to be born thinking they are less than someone else based on their DNA,” added Ms. McGriff, of Manhattan.

Such discussions are among thousands that followed the geneticist James D. Watson’s assertion last month that Africans are innately less intelligent than other races. Dr. Watson, a Nobel Prize winner, subsequently apologized and quit his post at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island.

But the incident has added to uneasiness about whether society is prepared to handle the consequences of science that may eventually reveal appreciable differences between races in the genes that influence socially important traits.

New genetic information, some liberal critics say, could become the latest rallying point for a conservative political camp that objects to social policies like affirmative action, as happened with “The Bell Curve,” the controversial 1994 book that examined the relationship between race and I.Q.

Yet even some self-described liberals argue that accepting that there may be genetic differences between races is important in preparing to address them politically.

“Let’s say the genetic data says we’ll have to spend two times as much for every black child to close the achievement gap,” said Jason Malloy, 28, an artist in Madison, Wis., who wrote a defense of Dr. Watson for the widely read science blog Gene Expression. Society, he said, would need to consider how individuals “can be given educational and occupational opportunities that work best for their unique talents and limitations.”

Others hope that the genetic data may overturn preconceived notions of racial superiority by, for example, showing that Africans are innately more intelligent than other groups. But either way, the increased outpouring of conversation on the normally taboo subject of race and genetics has prompted some to suggest that innate differences should be accepted but, at some level, ignored.

“Regardless of any such genetic variation, it is our moral duty to treat all as equal before God and before the law,” Perry Clark, 44, wrote on a New York Times blog. It is not necessary, argued Dr. Clark, a retired neonatologist in Leawood, Kan., who is white, to maintain the pretense that inborn racial differences do not exist.

“When was the last time a nonblack sprinter won the Olympic 100 meters?” he asked.

“To say that such differences aren’t real,” Dr. Clark later said in an interview, “is to stick your head in the sand and go blah blah blah blah blah until the band marches by.”



(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Amy explained to me that the article is not about the science, but about the reaction to the science.

    As such, it’s the most favorable thing ever published in the New York Times since I’ve been following this issue.

    No one is called a “racist,” and the views of bloggers like us are not mocked. Yes, there’s the obligatory quote from a race realism denier, but overall this article will help raise awareness of the truth.

    I am hoping that it creates a cascade of additional favorable coverage.

  2. Everyone with a blog should link to this NYT article so that it will pop to the top of the “Most Blogged” list.

  3. The last time a white sprinter won the 100m in the Olympics wasn’t that long ago — Scotsman Allan Wells (don’t quote me on the spelling) in 1980. (Of course, that was the year of the U.S. boycott of the Olympics.) Much more remarkable is that in each of the six Olympics from 1984 through 2004, all eight of the _finalists_ in the men’s 100m dash have been of West African descent, of 48 out of 48.

    Indeed, most top sprinters from the African Diaspora look over 90% black, with Frankie Fredericks of Namibia being the only prominent Olympic sprinter of the last generation who looked like he had some significant white ancestry (facially, Frankie looks a lot like Alec Guinness).

  4. It would appear to me likely that Watson’s Galileo-treatment is owing to the fact that the liars are losing. They’re losing and they’re going all Tiananmen on any protestor unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The effects of their bone-crushing onslaught will either be a new cold age or a final fall of the old regime.

    I believe that the smart money is on the success of the revolution, though I hope that I’m wrong. I enjoy being the open-eyed man among the cringing masses. I’ll admit that it’s quite the ego-booster.

    mnuez
    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Valeri Borzov won both the 100m and the 200m at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

    I am hoping that it creates a cascade of additional favorable coverage.

    I’d settle for open debate and free speech, i.e. simply tolerating promulgation of the relevant facts from molecular biology and modern, empirical social science, as well as the people who make rational arguments and reach logical conclusions based on those facts.

    Much more remarkable is that in each of the six Olympics from 1984 through 2004, all eight of the _finalists_ in the men’s 100m dash have been of West African descent,…

    By now this is so expected that it rarely gets explicit mention; it’s seen more as evidence of individual achievement — even the most ‘gifted’ (genetically) athlete could not win in the Olympics without training.

    So how long will it be until the dots are connected? How long will it be until the consequences, i.e. obvious social pathology (not to mention the massive costs associated with it) created by making public policy (e.g. immigration policy) without regard for the scientific reality of human differences, are recognized?

    eh

  6. Yeah, saying blacks are dumb is truly comparable to critiquing the heliocentric model.

  7. Honestly, I dont think anything is going to change. People have known deep down that the races are different for a long time, and that people are different from each other in nonracial ways as well. I don’t think that knowledge alone is enough to motivate people to turn into Nazis because it hasn’t happened already.

    Besides, even if I’m wrong about that, all of this research showing racial differences to be true could be hidden indefinitely from the general public just the same as it has been for the last 40 years. Nothing new is happening that hasn’t happened before.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “The notion that race is more than skin deep, they fear, could undermine principles of equal treatment and opportunity that have relied on the presumption that we are all fundamentally equal.”

    As I prepared to defend black intelligence after the Watson controversy exploded, I realized that we may never know if blacks can achieve in the same endeavors as whites and Asians b/c they consistently resist playing by the rules of discourse/inquiry in a particular academic field.

    I also thought about how children are encouraged to pursue certain jobs and may come to associate status with being something highly valued by their teachers like a doctor or lawyer. Not all children have the intelligence to pursue such careers but more important were adults realistic about the duties involved, children might be so put off by what they would be expected to do all day every day as a doctor, lawyer or engineer that they wouldn’t bother being offended that they didn’t have the minimum IQ to be successful as one or the other. I may well be proposing a new sort of double speak or we could say white lies or even good manners ; ) regarding issues of race and IQ. For instance, a discussion of Jewish IQ advantage might be balanced by a discussion of Jewish genetic diseases as in this post.

    Race and IQ will always be a sensitive topic much like religion and politics so if the subject is important to you, you might want to be just as careful about what you say and who you say it to. That was Watson’s real error, rudeness. I don’t think blacks really care that they don’t think like whites but describing the difference as stupid vs smart puts them on the defensive.

  9. Others hope that the genetic data may overturn preconceived notions of racial superiority by, for example, showing that Africans are innately more intelligent than other groups.

    And now you know what the editors of the New Duranty Times want for Christmas.

  10. Don’t worry, Steve. Your 15 minutes of fame in the NYT will surely come.

  11. “In DNA Era, New Worries About Prejudice” is now the eighth most e-mailed article from the New York Times.

    Nice!

  12. I would hazard a guess that the promoters of Affirmative Action are aware of group differences and that by lowering examination standards and employing the “Diversity is good” argument achieve quotas and “redress the balance”. However this approach has been detrimental in the long run to those AA recipients in the American legal profession for example.

    In my opinion Diversity is Affirmative Action II. I am not aware of a large material difference between AA I and AA II and I expect race-realist AA III to continue this. In fact, why would not the “Diversity is good” smokescreen be as viable under race-realist AA III as it is now under AA II?

  13. hell to pay: “I don’t think blacks really care that they don’t think like whites”. Do you mean that (American?) blacks mostly accept that they “don’t think like whites”? What, none of them? In any way?

  14. The notion that race is more than skin deep…

    On another thread somebody encouraged iSteve readers to ramp up to a respectable level of guilty white liberal social activism. Instead, why don’t we resolve to give the Thought Police the finger in big ways and small. All in the name of “social justice”, of course.

    The holidays, especially Thanksgiving, give families the chance to catch up and also discuss issues of wide concern. Because Obama is running for president you are likely to hear more racial discourse this year. A lot of it will be mindless Competitive Moralism. All “skin deep” arguments should be refuted with basic facts such as long buried human skeletons can be identified by race etc.

    If others don’t bring up “taboo” topics, you can always employ subversive conversation starters: Throw out the example of the wildly popular email containing the dog breed rankings by intelligence. What’s that all about?

    Like most Americans, I have at least one radical left winger in my family. My favorite monkeywrench topic is Darwin. Why does the Left embrace Darwin in the war against Christianity but ignore him on the question of race and IQ?

    The point is that if you have family members whose brains are caged Soviet-style by PC nonsense, there are plenty of easy ways to gently rattle the cage. The truth shall set us free, after all.

  15. What the–? Malloy is an *artist*? What, the science is all just a hobby?? Jesus Christ. What kind of artist?

  16. “…carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA”

    Almost as good as “Scientists have turned up some intriguing findings of anatomical differences between the sexes.”

    Someone needs to be collecting these.

  17. Btw, Godless Capitalist has an exhilarated and exhilarating response to all this in the comments here, that I think everyone excited about this article should read:

    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/11/important-new-york-times-article.php

    It’s hard to disagree with him about the “world historical” import of the article, and even about the credit he gives to himself and his boys and to Half Sigma and indeed going all back to Steve. And again, his exhilaration is infectious.

    However, J’s comment immediately following GC’s is rather cruel to Steve…

  18. I’m shocked that the nytimes printed this. And yes, mnuez, we will have to find other taboo subjects to stretch our egos on.

    I’m very curious to see how this turns out. Front page on the Sunday times! Third most emailed article.

    Everyone upgrade their bandwidth, especially Sailer, Half Sigma, and GNXP. Alot of people are going to be exposed to the HBD community.

  19. Laurence Auster and contributors have some interesting comments on this: Race realism enters the liberal mainstream! .

  20. “In DNA Era, New Worries About Prejudice”

    This is really just an archetypal New York Times Headline:

    “Racial differences real: minorities hit hardest.”

  21. That was a somewhat surprising departure from the standard PC line that “race is nothing but a social construct,” still being mumbled by the anti-intellectual intellectuals that infest the humanities and social sciences.

    “The notion that race is more than skin deep, they fear, could undermine principles of equal treatment and opportunity that have relied on the presumption that we are all fundamentally equal.”
    “Equal treatment and opportunity” is Newspeak for anti-white (and sometimes anti-Asian) racism in the form of affirmative action. Better understanding of the genetic potential of the various human populations will fundamentally undermine such blatantly racist–not to mention ineffectual–policies. It’s no wonder that the likes of Renata McGriff are suggesting that blacks stop participating in scientific studies.

    I’m actually a bit surprised that there has been any research whatsoever on the genetics of race and intelligence. The taboo against acknowledging that there is a biological basis for race, much less that intelligence curves might vary between the continental populations, has clearly stifled the science on these subjects. The quote by Marcus Feldman suggests some movement away from these irrational taboos, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Watsonesque witch hunt against him should he continue to indulge in thoughtcrime.

    I wonder if there is any possibility that Northeast Asian scientists might be the ones who really crack this tabooed subject wide open. They don’t suffer from the self-flagellating guilt that whites do when it comes to racial differences in intelligence, particularly when comparing European- and African-origin populations. I would think that the Japanese in particular would be much less likely to suppress scientific truth in favor of racist social engineering schemes like affirmative action.

  22. re race & IQ: here is a related article about a race obsessed man who is running for president. he is also interested in IQ. obama has announced in public during campaign stops that he married his intelligent wife -black- to improve his gene pool. his statement is not overt racial statement but still a bold eugenic statement. the article below is about the whites who support obama on racial grounds. from the wall street journal:

    Whites’ Great Hope? Barack Obama and the Dream of a Color-Blind America

    here is a fun excerpt:

    “Because he’s black it makes me want to believe that he will change things,” says Mr. Oliver, leaving an Obama campaign rally here.

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    So how long will it be until the dots are connected? How long will it be until the consequences, i.e. obvious social pathology (not to mention the massive costs associated with it) created by making public policy (e.g. immigration policy) without regard for the scientific reality of human differences, are recognized?

    The dots are connected, but the prevailing climate prevents anyone from saying so. You can act on these all you want and our elites certainly do, not to mention lording it over regular people. But if you are just an average white, too bad. And please don’t mention it again you racist, fascist bigot who doen’t appreciate diversity. Like if always say, if diversity is so wonderful why does Hillary Clinton live in Chappauqua? Our elites don’t have to live with their policy decisions but we do and we get the added benefit of paying for it through taxes, having to pay for a home, etc…also, our elites get to show us up and morally preen at our expense or the expenses of our kids. But this isn’t anything Sailer hasn’t covered before.

  24. Biggest “white-skinned” self-hating liberal idiot, from the NY Times article:

    “But when Samuel M. Richards gave his students at Pennsylvania State University genetic ancestry tests to establish the imprecision of socially constructed racial categories, he found the exercise reinforced them instead.

    One white-skinned student, told she was 9 percent West African, went to a Kwanzaa celebration, for instance, but would not dream of going to an Asian cultural event because her DNA did not match, Dr. Richards said. Preconceived notions of race seemed all the more authentic when quantified by DNA.”

    I’d love to see what this ’9% west African’ genius thinks after she went to the ‘Kwanzaa celbration’ and was either given dirty looks or called ‘cracker’ (or some other nasty variant) by the ever so tolerant ‘we can’t be racist’ “African Americans”!

  25. FYI, GNXP’s GC let fly with a lot of brilliant thinking and fascinating info in a number of comments on a recent posting over at my blog. Go here and enjoy.

  26. However, J’s comment immediately following GC’s is rather cruel to Steve…

    Ha! Steve might even be made Secretary of Education of California. Talk about fates worse than death.

    I can’t help but wonder if the NYT might not have found Malloy and Half Sigma through Steve’s blog as many others have. I can imagine the NYT looking for someone – anyone – who might argue Steve’s basic position besides Steve himself.

    I also don’t think anyone should be too gleeful or optimistic at this point. It wouldn’t surprise me if the NYT touches this issue once and doesn’t return to it for years. We can hope otherwise, but Half Sigma and Malloy better capitalize on whatever success they have in bringing attention to this issue.

  27. I am a professor in a large public U.S. university. Regarding race realism, there has been a profound change on campuses over the last few years: an increasing number of professors and administrators — perhaps a majority — now believe that racial differences in IQ are mostly due to genetics. Of course this is not openly discussed, but it is privately believed. This is a critically important development. I do not have time to explain the many anecdotes and observations that lead me to believe this, but I do strongly believe it.

  28. I wonder what other blogs are saying about it?

  29. Dear hey steve,

    As one of the only regular female commenters on isteve, can I please ask you all to NOT ruin Thanksgiving? Thanks.

  30. Although no white man has ever run under 10 seconds for the 100m, Britain has a kid named Craig Pickering who could be the one. Wipper Wells’ best time was 10.11.

  31. This one article isn’t going to change things. Heck, Nicholas Wade has been tirelessly writing about many of these issues for over a half decade as the New York Times’ own genetics reporter (!) and practically nobody outside of a few thousand people in the human biodiversity sphere has even noticed what Wade is getting at! Wade’s 2006 book “Before the Dawn” was barely reviewed anywhere.

    The zeitgeist is very powerful and has tremendous momentum. One semi-fair article in the NYT won’t make a dent in it.

  32. As one of the only regular female commenters on isteve, can I please ask you all to NOT ruin Thanksgiving? Thanks.

    How would we do that?

  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Do you mean that (American?) blacks mostly accept that they “don’t think like whites”? What, none of them? In any way?”

    Dearime, don’t be sanctimonious. If I were to quantify it, I’d say 98% of blacks are well aware of their preference for holistic thinking, learning and teaching & will often resort to calling people authoritarian for wanting a more regimental approach in the classroom. I’d start by analyzing this preference if I were going to study black intelligence as something unique to those of african descent. I might end up discovering it was just a liberal/conservative difference but the numbers of american blacks I’ve met who are fanatical about using this approach would also lead me to believe that most blacks are liberals.

  34. I have been following this Watson affair pretty closely having done my done my grad studies in Biology and working in the biotech field. I think Watson was not careful with his words when he used anecdotal arguments about Black employees illustrate as contentious an issue as racial difference. But he was rather precise in his response when he described inter-racial differences.

    As for genes involved in intelligence and racial differences in them I realized that the cat was out of the bag from elsewhere in the blogsphere. This post gives a reasonable primer with some new observations:

    Genes affecting human intelligence.

    I suspect the author is not White or Black. Author seems to give not references but I found that what is said here is entirely verifiable using Pubmed.Google or Pubmed for Posthuma on intelligence

  35. Whites’ Great Hope?

    LOL, what an ignoramus.

    Translation: I’m white, so I’m not allowed to think negatively of blacks. Conversely, I can get behind Obama and turn off my critical thinking and cheer because thinking critically about blacks is evil.

    Christ what a moron.

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