- freely available
Psych 2019, 1(1), 262-278; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych1010018
Of all vulgar modes of escaping from the consideration of the effect of social and moral influences on the human mind, the most vulgar is that of attributing the diversities of conduct and character to inherent natural differences.—John Stuart Mill, 1848, Principles of Political Economy
2. Arguments for Why the Hereditarian Hypothesis is Racist
2.1. The Hereditarian Hypothesis is Racist Because There Is No Such Thing as Intelligence
Among psychologists working in this field there is no longer any substantial debate about the structure of human mental ability differences […] A general factor emerges that accounts for about half of the individual differences among the scores for a group of people, and there are group factors that are narrower abilities, and then very specific factors below that.
- High stability over the life-course: IQ measured at age 11 is correlated at r > 0.70 with IQ measured at age 77, meaning that between-individual differences in cognitive ability within cohort are largely preserved from childhood to old age .
2.2. The Hereditarian Hypothesis is Racist Because There Is no Such Thing as Race
Patterns of human genetic variation are influenced by mating patterns, and the latter are in turn influenced by geographic and cultural factors (e.g., mountain ranges, language, religious practices). Consequently, it is not surprising that human genetic variation, while correlated with geographic location, is not perfectly clinal.
- Evidence from comparing genetic clusters to racial identities: By genotyping a diverse sample of individuals at a sufficiently large number of genetic loci, and then subjecting the data to cluster analysis, it is possible to classify individuals by race with >95% accuracy [89,90,91,92]. As Edwards  pointed out, due to the correlation structure among loci, correctly classifying individuals by race is possible even though 85–90% of genetic variation is within races.
- Evidence from comparisons within and between clusters: When genetic clusters correspond to five major ancestral populations (Africans, Eurasians, East Asians, Amerindians and Australians), subpopulations separated by a given geographic distance are found to be more genetically similar if they are from the same cluster than if they are from different clusters .
- Evidence from comparisons across species: The amount of genetic variation between ancestral human populations is comparable to the amount of genetic variation between subspecies in some nonhuman animals for which there are recognised subspecies [74,78]. And in fact, overall human mitochondrial variation is about average within the animal kingdom .
- Evidence from anatomy and physiology: Ancestral human populations show differences in numerous anatomical and physiological traits [79,81,95,96]. Moreover, because the differences in such traits are correlated, it is often possible to classify skeletal remains by race with >90% accuracy, so long as a sufficiently large number of traits are measured [73,97,98,99].
2.3. The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist Because It Is Not Scientifically Plausible
2.3.1. It Is Patently False that All White People are Genetically Smarter than All Black People
2.3.2. There has not been Enough Time for Differences between Populations to Evolve
2.3.3. IQ is Polygenic, and It Takes Longer for Natural Selection to Work on Polygenic Traits
2.3.4. Average IQ Increased over the Course of the 20th Century, so Group Differences in IQ Must Be Explained by the Environment
2.3.5. IQ is not Like Height because More IQ Is Always Better
2.3.6. There is Absolutely No Evidence that Genes Contribute to IQ Differences between Populations
2.3.7. ‘No Serious Scholar Believes that Genes Contribute to IQ Differences between Populations’
2.3.8. IQ Differences between Populations are Obviously Explained by Factors Like Slavery and Colonialism
2.4. The Hereditarian Hypothesis is Racist Because IQ is Different from Other Traits
2.5. The Hereditarian Hypothesis is Racist Because It Could Only Be of Interest to Racists
2.6. ‘The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist because Hereditarian Scholars Have Said Racist Things or Supported Racist Policies’
2.7. The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist because It Was Used to Justify Racist Policies in the Past
2.8. The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist because It Could be Used to Justify Racist Policies in the Future
2.9. The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist because It Implies Low-Scoring Groups Deserve to be Poor
2.10. The Hereditarian Hypothesis Is Racist because It Implies Low-Scoring Groups Are Inferior to High-Scoring Groups
3.1. Describing a Particular Hereditarian Scholar as Racist
3.2. Suggestions for How to Move Forward in the Debate over Group Differences
- Recognise that equating the hereditarian hypothesis with racism holds our morals hostage to the facts. As numerous scholars have noted over the years (see ), equating the hereditarian hypothesis with racism implies that if group differences were ever shown to be genetic, then racism would be justified. Yet this is a fallacy, and one that has the potential to cause harm.
- Recognise that there are no necessary implications of group differences research. Scientific statements are logically independent from normative conclusions. This means that under some moral philosophies, confirmation of the hereditarian hypothesis would weaken the case for social intervention, but under other moral philosophies, it would strengthen the case for social intervention .
- Recognise that there are material costs to stifling debate around taboo topics. For example, suppressing group differences research could erode the public’s trust in other areas of science . In addition, some alternative explanations for group differences have also been used to justify policies of persecution and subjugation [18,22].
- Castigate researchers for their moral and political beliefs, not their scientific ones. If a researcher draws a normative implication from group differences research that is racist or in some other way objectionable, it may be reasonable to censure him on those grounds. But there should be a presumption against castigating researchers for their scientific beliefs .
- Attempt to falsify the hereditarian hypothesis. Although the hereditarian hypothesis should not be dismissed as racist, every attempt should be made to falsify it in the Popperian sense . This means that it should be tested as rigorously as possible: Scholars should not ignore the hereditarian hypothesis on the basis that it is too controversial.
Suppressing free inquiry is by its nature an expressive of contempt for truth by power. The truth can never be racist.
Conflicts of Interest
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