Tag Archives: History

The Origin of the Race Concept

Graves’s The Emperor’s New Clothes has so many things wrong with it, so many untruths, half-truths, and examples of naivety, that it is difficult to know how to begin critiquing it. Nonetheless, such must be done, so I will begin at the beginning (page 1) and continue until the end of the first section (page 52).

First, Graves dances around with the definition of race. His first approximation seems reasonable, “The term ‘race’ implies the existence of some nontrivial underlying hereditary features shared by a group of people and not present in other groups” (5) but his thoughts go down-hill from there. Latter in the page he notes that “None of the physical features by which we have historically defined human races… unambiguously corresponds to the racial groups we have constructed.” First, Graves’ look for unambiguous markers is misguided. Not all human beings are born with a brain, but possession of the brain is nonetheless typical for the human race. Secondly, Graves attempts to jump between a physical definition of race and a socially constructed definition. Our concepts of race imprecisely but accurately describe real genetic populations (Parra, et al., 2003; Pimenta, et al., 2006) in spite of what graves later claims (36).. Ultimately, the definition Graves takes from the dictionary may be best: “A population of organisms differing from others of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits; a subspecies” (6). Graves’ question, “How much genetic difference must there be before a subspecies can be said to exist?” is best answered with “a statistically significant amount.” If this implies races and sub-races, and sub races within those, so be it. In some cases, it may be that it is easiest to speak about those who left Africa and those who stayed (Underhill, P.A., et al., 2000), as Africans, Asians, and Europeans (Bamshad, et al., 2003), or even smaller groups. (Lindh, Andersson, & Gusdal, 1997).


Graves historicism confuses him as to the nature of those he disagrees with. Believing that genes vary in significant ways among breeding populations – that races exist – does not imply that “inequalities cannot be fundamentally altered by environmental interventions such as social programs.” Indeed, almost the reverse is true: if we are born with differing genetic propensities, identical environmental factors will lead to unequal environments. The conclusion then is that if we are born differently genetically, we can create unequal outcomes to lead to equal outcomes. As Stephen Pinker writes, “the more equal we make society, the higher heritability will be, and the more genes will matter” (Pinker, 2002, 77).

Going back to Graves’ definition, he claims that the “Jews were a cultural group rather than a biologically distinct population (to say nothing of a race)” (20). Again, the Jewish population appears to be an interaction between real genetic links and socially constructed ones. As Behar et al. 2003) summarize the evidence, “the Cohanim, a paternally inherited Jewish priestly caste, predominantly share a recent common ancestor irrespective of the geographically defiend post-Diaspora community to which they belong, a finding consistent with common Jewish origins in the Near East” (768). His social construction leads him to confuse anti-Judaic acts of Catholics with anti-Semitism, where he lists anti-Jewish attitudes (21) that were based on belief, not parernity.

Graves also suffers from his apparent ignorance of the tools of social science. He approvingly quotes Frederick Douglass’s thoughts on “the impossibility of legitimately comparing the innate abilities of different races in a society that maintained such disparity in the physical conditions in which the races lived.” Dougglass believing that was understandable, as John Dewer’s revolution of the social science had not happened when he wrote such words. But for the last century scientific examination of humans has relied on correlation and regression two tools that do not only require similar conditions but often spurn them (so that more variables may be examined). Social science does not work by naively comparing two groups identical in one category and different in two others, but by explaining the variance of dependent variables in terms of independent variables.

Related to this is Graves’ frustratingly simplistic statements on genetics. He expects us to believe that, somehow, the fact that there “is more genetic variability in one tribe of East African chimpanzees than in the entire human species!” means anything at all. What is his point? Is he claiming a consistent cross-species relationships between “genetic variability” (however he defines it) and phenotypic and extended phenotpyic variability? Such a statement could easily be read to imply that races matter, as when fewer things change they may matter more. Ultimately, Graves is silent on the meaning of this rhetorically nifty but substantively empty statement.

Bibliography
Bamshad, M.J., Wooding, S., Walkins, W.S., Ostler, C.T., Batzer, M.A., Jorde, L.B. (2003). Human population genetic structures and inference of group membership. American Journal of Human Genetics 72: 578-589.
Behar, D.M., Thomas, M.G., Skorecki, K., Hammer, M.F., Bulygina, E., Rosengarten. D., Jones, A.L., Held K., Moses, V., Goldstein, D., Bradman, N., & Weale, M.E. (2003). American Journal of Human Genetics 73: 768-779.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Lindh, M., Andersson, A.S., & Gusdal, A. (1997). Genotypes, nt 1858 variants, and geographic origin of hepatitis B virus–large-scale analysis using a new genotyping method. Journal of Infectious Diseases 175(6): 1285-1293.
Parra, F.C., Amado, R.C., Lambertucci, J.R., Rocha, J., Antunes, C.M., & Pena, S.D.J. (2003). Color and genomic ancestry in Brazilians. PNAS 100(1): 177-182..
Pimenta, J.R., Zuccherato, L.W., Debes, A.A., Maselli, L., Soares, R.P., Moura-Neto, R.S., Rocha, J., Bydlowski, S.P.k, & Pena, S.D. (2006). Color and Genomic Ancestry in Brazillians: A Study with Forensic Microsatellites. Human Heredity 62(4): 190-195.
Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Viking Adult: New York, NY.
Underhill, P.A., Shen, P., Lin, A.A., Passarino, G., Yang, W.H., Kauffman, E., Bonne-Tamir, B., Bertranpetit, J., Francalacci, P., Ibrahim, M., Jenkins, T., Kidd, J.R., Mehdi, S.Q., Seielstad, M.T., Wells, R.S., Piazza, A., David, R.W., Feldman, M.W., Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., & Oefner, P.J. (2000). Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations. Nature Genetics 26: 358-361.


Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes,part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

Jesusism-Paulism, Part III: Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat

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Something is strange in the heart of Christianity

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul (Galatians 3:28)

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”

Paul (1 Timothy 2:12)

If we wanted an easy answer, we would say Paul (or “The Bible”) is contracting himself. Or that two different people wrote it. Or that it was just meaningless rhetoric. But Paul is followi Jesus’s pattern. In spite of reaching out to women far more than others around him, Jesus notably did not choose a single woman as a disciple. His inner-circle was a diverse lot — a tax collector, a Zealot, various fishermen, even a non-Galilean (Judas Iscariot) — but not one woman. What is going on?

If we view Paul objectively — as the hyper-lingual ex-State-Church secret-policeman with training in history, science, politics, philosophy that he was — we can see what he saw. We can read the tactics and strategies he devised and published so plainly, like Mao and Ho after him.

Paul saw what the 20th Century feminist Rebecca West famously saw while researching her magnum opus Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and captured as

“The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots.” Rebecca West (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a travelogue of ex-Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo) immediately before the Nazi invasion. Over and over again she saw the same pattern: men were swept away by far-away schemes and ideas (like lunatics), while women were so absorbed by families and personal relationships they ignored those same forces (like idiots). To Dame Commander West, men were idiotically refusing to focus on the real details of daily living while women were foolishly refusing to focus on the fate of their nation and culture. In other words, men are idiots for not engaging in long-term coalition building on a family level (in “tight” or “dense” networks) while women are fools for not engaging in long-term coalition building on the national and ideological level (in “loose” or less “dense” nets).

Rebecca’s West breakdown of mankind:

To an anthropologist this might be interesting. To a feminist, troubling. But to a netstruggle strategist, it is a description of the warriors and an opportunity.

Paul built his population of Christian warriors — what he called “wrestlers” — on this difference. Men would be maneuver-warriors. Women would be occupation-warriors. And together they would build a Christian future worth creating.

Paul’s breakdown of mankind:

Where else do we see the same breakdown?

Maneuver Warfare + Occupation Warfare = Victory

“PISRR” is an acronym invented by Col. John Boyd to describe the steps to victory. It stands for Penetrate-Isolate-Subvert-Reorient-Reharmonize. In netwar or “4GW” PISRR, like China with Mao or Vietnam with Ho, guerrillas build up from small cells in a very loose network to ruling and controlling a dense network. We can apply this to a Christian “attack” on a family:

Christian-Family PISRR

  1. Penetrate

    Preacher converts small number of family members

  2. Isolate

    Converts denormalize old beliefs

  3. Subvert

    Converts co-opt family (mini Roman takeover)

  4. Reorient

    Family power relationships further new beliefs

  5. Reharmonize

    Parents raise children in Christian home

The latter in the attack, the dense the network. It is no surprise then that the later in the attack, the more “feminine” the attack becomes. The first stage, Penetration, would be done by a preacher who finds a convert. The last stage, Reharmonization, would be done by mothers who raise their children to think of Christianity as natural.

It may help to think of the Christian take-over of a Family like the Nazi takeover of France.

German-French PISRR

  1. Penetrate

    Blitz shreds French lines, occupying little

  2. Isolate

    Mop-up attacks separate French troops from friends

  3. Subvert

    Collaborators co-opt nation (Petain’s Regime)

  4. Reorient

    French economy geared to German economic union

  5. Reharmonize

    New generation grows up “Vichy” (ABORTED!)

The Germans did not have the same force-structure conquer France as ruled France. As Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett said

It’s time to admit that you can’t have the same 19-year-old kid doing all these things

Indeed, and the Germans did not. The first weeks of the war were fought by panzers and other high-maneuverability low-density fighting machines. When we think of 1940, we think of tanks and the style of war that Erich Ludendorff created. But panzer brigades could hardly pacify France! Soldats — Germans in charge of walking-the-beat-style policework did that. Maneuver war needs panzers, but occupation war requires soldats.

What Paul’s ideas did for Christians, and the Ludendorff’s for the Germans, was to deconflict the elements of the attacking force. A PISRR victory requires two different forces fighting in two different battlespaces. The panzer-soldat deconfliction is what Dr. Barnett means when he talks about the separate “mixes needed for front-half [war waging] and back-half [peace making] portions.”

When forces for very different battlespaces are combined — when an attacker foolishly becomes “joint” — that attack loses. The French had “better” tanks fighting jointly with “better” soldiers, France lost her army to inferior tanks and nearly lost her history to inferior soldats. Like the Germans, the Christians started out weak, poor, and oppressed. Like the Germans against France thousands of years later, the Christians in Rome deconflicted the components of their movement, exploited each to its maximum comparative advantage, and won.

(Sidenote: The economic version of the easier victory an appropriately deconflicted force has over an inappropriately joint force has be known since David Ricardo, Spanish-Jewish-Britain, invented the doctrine of “comparative advantage” in the early 19th century. An extremely good introduction to this, leading up to point “R” on ” Figure 16: World production possibilities curve,” is available at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ355/choi/ric2.htm).

So now Paul’s words aren’t so strange or contradictory at all. He was setting up two different forces for two different struggles in two different arenas. Paul recognized and exploited the natural differences in men and women to further Christianity. Indeed, the grand strategist Tom Barnett makes almost the same distinction as Paul, for almost the same ends. Talking about his front-half force (the “Leviathan”) and his “back-half” force (the “System Administrator”), Barnett writes

That’s why I call the Leviathan your Dad’s military (“Don’t make me come in there!”) and the Sys Admin force your Mom’s military (“Oh, you make me so proud when you do that for yourself!”).

We can see the basic Panzer-Blitz-Leviathan-Fast-Father / Soldat-Police-SysAdmin-Slow-Mother divide as so…

… just as we can see that the feminization of religion is as self-defeating as the French joint tank-soldier method of losing the Second World War.

Centuries later, Paul’s creation would deform under the frictional heat of Islam. But such is a post for another time…

Update: Feministing links to an article that focuses on pitch and harmony processing instead of network density.


Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book
6. Embrace and Extend