Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Evo-psycho bros and the inconvenient truth about slave rape part 3

Evo-psycho bros and the inconvenient truth about slave rape part 2 here.

Razib Khan has been talking about 23andMe since at least 2009. In 2013 he wrote a positive piece about the company in Slate, saying:
This brings us to the fact that 23andMe is just part of a broader movement toward the democratization of health information.
He even promoted a sale they had last July. And on his blog in 2016 he seems to hold out hope that genetic testing was going to provide evidence of race-based intelligence:

Razib Khan says:
honestly i would just sit on my hands for now. in the next < 5 years the genomic components of traits like intelligence will finally be characterized. this is not speculation, but anticipation based on research going on now.

And while we are here, I mentioned in this series the evo-psycho bros like to use the term "Platonic." Khan uses the word Platonic in this article and gives a definition, in response to a commenter's question:

marcel proust says:January 25, 2016 at 1:08 pm GMT • 100 WordsThe problem, if there is one, is that these population genetic differences are not necessarily good fits if one assumes a Platonic model of racial categorization.  
I don’t understand this. It may be that the phrase “Platonic model of racial categorization” is what I don’t understand; but please elaborate the whole sentence.
Khan responds:

According to Webster's typologies is:

"study of or analysis or classification based on types or categories

In fact that term typology and the term Platonic are not actual synonyms and have a complex non-obvious connection. The same dictionary's definition of Platonic is:
1. capitalized : of, relating to, or characteristic of Plato or Platonism 
2 a : relating to or based on platonic love; also : experiencing or professing platonic love  
b : of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex
3 : nominal, theoretical
Most people of course know only of definition 2. Presumably he's getting at "Platonism" since nominal and theoretical are so vague as to be useless. My assumption has always been that he means races can't be conceptualized like Platonic solids, but really the context never gives any clear indication.

So why does Razib Khan use the term Platonic instead of typologies? I think most likely because he's a terrible writer and won't use a clear term when he can use a more obscure one.

Khan is a big booster of the use of genetics testing. But back in 2014 he didn't seem to like an article by Carl Zimmer that used 23andMe data. Considering the evo-psycho inability to provide racial typologies it has an unexpected title: American Racial Boundaries are Quite Distinct for Now. In it he writes:
So I have to take issue when The New York Times posts articles with headlines such as White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier. What genetics is showing is that in fact white Americans are shockingly European to an incredibly high degree for a population with roots on this continent for 400 years. If we removed all the history that we take for granted we’d be amazed that the indigenous peoples had so little demographic impact, and, that the larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general “white” population. 
Now Khan bolded the bit in the paragraph above. I highlighted the sentence that follows. I blogged about this curious passage back in March 2015:
History explains everything - so yeah, of course if you removed it you would be "amazed" by the state of whiteness. But why would you do that? 
After all the research I've done in the past few weeks into the work and thought-patterns of the evo-psycho bros I understand now why he said it. The evo-psycho system is so rigidly hereditarian that to Razib Khan it's absolutely no big deal to just remove "all the history that we take for granted."

Khan demonstrates the impulse of the evo-psycho bros to erase history and all other factors and just use "genetics" to explain everything.

Khan then proceeds to say:
It is entirely reasonable to argue that racial categories in the United States are blurred if one holds to a Platonic and essentialist view which resembles that which underpinned white racial supremacy and the law of hypdoescent. But as it is these views have no necessary scientific basis, and a percent or two of African ancestry in someone who is ~98 percent of European ancestry does not make them non-white in any rational sense.
"One" doesn't have to hold Platonic and essentialist views - "one" has to acknowledge that the essentialist view was and is the white supremacist view. The entire point of Zimmer's article is exactly that "these views have no necessary scientific basis." I'm not sure why Khan stuck the word "necessary" in there, but then lack of clarity is his calling card.

So who does Khan think he's arguing against there? He seems confused - even more than you would normally attribute to his lousy literary stylings. This was especially interesting:
a percent or two of African ancestry in someone who is ~98 percent of European ancestry does not make them non-white in any rational sense.
Khan has told us that we can't expect a typology for race. And yet we see here Khan identifying two "races" in this section: white and non-white. And then he tells us that 98% of European ancestry is not sufficient to make an individual non-white.

We can deduce from this that if Khan knows what percent of African ancestry does not make one non-white, he therefore knows what percentage of African ancestry does make one non-white.

But as always his lack of clarity makes it impossible to know what Khan really means. Does he think a genetic-testing-derived ancestry indicator of 98% European make someone exclusively "white" in a genetic sense or in a social construct sense? What about 75% European ancestry? And 50%?

We know ancestry composition and socially perceived "race" are not the same thing. That's what the NYTimes article is saying. Fortunately Zimmer is a much better writer than Khan and it's not a struggle to understand what he's getting at:
“We use these terms — white, black, Indian, Latino — and they don’t really mean what we think they mean,” said Claudio Saunt, a historian at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the study. 
The data for the new study were collected by 23andMe, the consumer DNA-testing company. When customers have their genes analyzed, the company asks them if they’d like to make their results available for study by staff scientists. 
Over time the company has built a database that not only includes DNA, but also such details as a participant’s birthplace and the ethnic group with which he or she identifies. (23andMe strips the data of any information that might breach the privacy of participants.) 
And then this map is displayed:

What this map displays is "white" Americans who have one or more percent African ancestry and we see that in South Carolina and Louisiana the percentage is as high as 12.5%. In other words, "Octoroons."

And as we discussed in the inconvenient truth about slave rape part 2, the average black person in the United States is almost 1/4 white.

But just in case you're still not sure where Khan is coming from, he finishes off the piece with a link to Steve Sailer, who says:
Actually, as the genome data has gotten more precise in the 21st Century, the big surprise has been how white are American whites. 
Except Sailer doesn't say "if we removed all the history." Perhaps because Sailer has even less self-awareness of how much his view of "race" erases history than Khan does. But the only way you could be surprised at "how white are American whites" is because you erased history.

As I wrote in response to this article back in 2015:
Yes, if we removed all the history, the very thing that explains exactly why we shouldn't be "amazed" at the whiteness of the European population. The indigenous people were wiped out first by European diseases for which they had no resistance, and then European land expansion. And of course people of "partial African ancestry" were not considered partially black, they were considered fully black according to the one-drop rule and there were laws against miscegenation right up until 1967 and the case of Loving vs. Virginia. But not only that - since there were social taboos and outright laws against black/white marriage, a goodly portion of those who were "partially black" were the result of slave rape - and of course the children of raped slaves were invariably slaves themselves, and thus not likely to be having much sex with the general white populace. 
Thanks to what I've learned in this ongoing series, the children of raped slaves were not "invariably" slaves themselves but still, pretty often - but it's likely almost all descendants of slaves were considered "black" and thus even as freemen not likely to be marrying whites. We've seen thanks to the two separate endings provided for the popular mid-19th century play The Octoroon, being one-eighth black still made you "black" and the prospect of such an individual marrying a "white" person was considered a "mixed marriage" and unacceptable to white Americans of the time

So the same clear historical point stands: the white population is so "white" thanks to an obvious, well-documented legal and social system.

Both Khan and Sailer in the articles linked here demonstrate they are well aware of the one-drop rule and miscegenation laws. So it's odd they are "surprised" by white ancestral composition in the US.

But considering they were both working for Ron Unz at the time (Sailer still does), this Upton Sinclair phrase springs to mind:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
We've already seen the Winegard bros attempting to erase history in their defense of The Bell Curve in Claire Lehmann's Quillette:
Of course, there are other possible explanations of the Black-White gap, such as parenting styles, stereotype threat, and a legacy of slavery/discrimination among others. However, to date, none of these putative causal variables has been shown to have a significant effect on the IQ gap,
As I noted, they don't actually provide any refutation for non-genetic explanations, they just dismiss them. They clearly believe that the legacy of slavery/discrimination has had no impact on people identified as "black" in our social system. And although they only talk about intelligence in this article, I'm pretty certain they believe the same is true for criminality since they run in the same Criminal Justice gang as John Paul Wright.

In the Summer 2017 issue of the City Journal, a publication of the Koch brothers-funded Manhattan Institute for Policy ResearchJohn Paul Wright also dismissed slavery:
While promoting the report, Travis and Nicholas Turner, president of the Vera Institute of Justice, an advocacy organization, published a New York Times op-ed assailing American prisons and holding up the German penal system as a positive exemplar. “To be sure, there are significant differences between the two countries,” the authors observed. “Most notably, America’s criminal justice system was constructed in slavery’s long shadow and is sustained today by the persistent forces of racism.” Not only does this statement shed light on the authors’ ideological views; it also manages to insult anyone who works in the criminal-justice system and who values public safety and order. 
As is the custom with evo-psycho bros Wright doesn't address the argument about slavery/discrimination, he just apparently dismisses it, and then proceeds to rant and rave about liberals.
Liberal criminologists avoid discussing the lifestyles that criminal offenders typically lead. Almost all serious offenders are men, and they usually come from families with long histories of criminal involvement, often spanning generations. They show temperamental differences early in life, begin offending in childhood or early adolescence, and rack up dozens of arrests. Their lives are chaotic and hedonistic, including the constant pursuit of drugs and sex...
I'm sure the liberal criminologists might take the time to explain how their comment about slavery's long shadow relates to the "lifestyles that criminal offenders typically lead." But Wright will never give them that chance because he already knows the answer and he already stated it publicly in 2009 in Biosocial Criminality New Directions in Theory and Research:
Moreover evolutionary theory helps explain why race-based patterns of behavior are universal, such as black over-involvement in crime. No other paradigm organizes these patterns better. No other paradigm explains these inconvenient truths.
Based on the theories of evo-psycho bros like Wright, you would never guess that members of other "races" besides blacks commit crimes. Evo-psycho bros have this obsession with black crime and black intelligence and they will not be persuaded that non-genetic factors play a significant role in any of it. I will address this next in a post about the belief at the center of the evo-psycho view of African Americans.

And then, because it finally arrived, I will review Steve Sailer's contribution to the Steven Pinker edited The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 in which Sailer explains what's wrong with Iraqi society. I promise you, you will never guess what it is. 

In my discussion about Sailer's piece I will reference a fascinating recent New Yorker article on organized crime in southern Italy, which also relates to Wright's rantings about black criminality.

Which will lead us to the question we always seem to get back to in discussions of the history of racial classification: Are Italians White?