- was written by a geneticist
- suggested that there are real genetic differences between what people used to call races.
Here’s another article, published in a blog (but, by the look of it, after having passed through a similar editorial rigor as when publishing in a journal), which:
- is written by (several) geneticists
- argues that uh-uh, there is not such thing as race.
I don’t think I particularly care, one way or the other, but what keeps nagging in the back of my mind is the way the second article compares intelligence to height:
IQ scores are heritable: that is, within populations, genetic variation is related to variation in the trait. But a fundamental truism about heritability is that it tells us nothing about differences between groups. Even analyses that have tried to calculate the proportion of the difference between people in different countries for a much more straightforward trait (height) have faced scientific criticisms. Simply put, nobody has yet developed techniques that can bypass the genetic clustering and removal of people that do not fit the statistical model mentioned above, while simultaneously taking into account all the differences in language, income, nutrition, education, environment, and culture that may themselves be the cause of differences in any trait observed between different groups. This applies to any trait you could care to look at – height, specific behaviours, disease susceptibility, intelligence.
If, despite the non-straightforward inheritance of height, there are populations with a consistently lower stature than the average in a different population (African pygmies? they do exist, right?), wouldn't it also be potentially possible that some populations also differ from others in intelligence?