W. Carson Byrd is assistant professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville. Matthew W. Hughey is associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut.I have pointed out repeatedly that sociologists generally have no business expounding on genetics. If they wish to discuss the social phenomenon of race such as the One Drop Rule, they should have at it. But if they want to discuss heredity, they need to defer to experts in that field. Now on to the offending text:
This month, Jennifer Cramblett lost her “wrongful birth” lawsuit, which centered on a troubling ideology that has been creeping into mainstream discussions in ways not seen in decades. Cramblett claimed that the sperm used to inseminate her came from the wrong donor, leading to a biracial child, which she had not wanted. Her lawsuit claimed that this mix-up in the lab caused her and her family personal injuries of various kinds. This lawsuit was shadowed by a troubling logic: the idea that race is a biological reality with particular traits and behaviors that can be avoided through proper breeding practices. In doing so, Cramblett’s claims echoed arguments made in a darker era of global history of “scientific” racism.Someone please tell these idiots how sexual reproduction works. Race is in fact a biological reality. The social concept of race is an entirely separate concept often divorced from the science of heredity. The One Drop Rule is a social concept that has no basis in sound science: it holds that black = non white. Whereas in well known science there are pure breeds and there are hybrids. I won't go into it here because I have addressed this at length. Of course since the authors are wholly unqualified to discuss the biology, they fall back on the entirely irrelevant subject of social issues. Even there they fall down. For example:
But alongside that genetic understanding, an old and pernicious assumption has crept back into the American conversation, in which aptitudes are supposedly inherited by race: certain peoples are thought to have rhythm, or intellect, or speed or charm.I have certainly NOT read of any studies, STUDIES, that have claimed that charm is highest is any particular race. I'd like to see any STUDIES if they exist. However, as anyone who watches the olympics will tell you, black folks be hella fast. When was the last time a Caucasian won any of the short distance (100 meters, and 200 meters) races? And what group of people regularly win them? Hint: They are descendants of West Africans. And when we look at the distance runners (5K and up) when was the last time that a non-East African won? It is clear that something about East Africans allow them to dominate the long distance races and something about the descendants of West Africans allow them to dominate short distance races. If it were simply technique, Europeans should be cleaning up like they do in field events. Say, Why don't Asians dominate at all? Why do the Atlantic descendants of the Maafa do so well and not Nigerians and Ghanians (though these two groups end up representing their former colonial masters: England)? Though I do not believe any research has been done on the matter, I believe that the slave trade acted as a bottleneck. Those who could not only survive the hellish journey across the Atlantic but also survive the conditions of plantations without the benefit of modern medicine and nutrition, weeded out a lot of genes. So you have a founder effect. One of these effects would be, again in my opinion, the ability to retain water via high salt toleration. This would be beneficial in a plantation environment but is very, very unsuited for urban sedentary living. The authors try to dispel the "speed" and slavery argument with:
For instance, in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, nearly one-third of the news articles that evoked race, genetics and athletics posited that African American and West Indian sprinters are fastest because they descend from testosterone-heavy ancestors who survived the brutal conditions of transatlantic slave trade—a belief that found resonance and widespread acceptance in a BBC-produced documentary entitled, “Survival of the Fastest.” But there is no gene or allele for “speed,” and no direct link between testosterone and speed (while sprinters may have high testosterone, not all high-testosterone people can sprint).Here's the thing though: No one, no one serious anyway, will claim that there is a single gene responsible for speed. And those who think so do not understand the science. A lot of things have to come together. One has to have very efficient fast twitch muscles. In addition one must have a heart able to pump enough blood to feed those muscles. That's a whole bunch of genes right there. One also must have an efficient means of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide (respiration). One must have numerous and very efficient mitochondria (inherited from mother only). Since must have an ability to deal with lactate conditions. I haven't even finished and anyone with a clue would realize that these items will involve hundreds if not thousands of genes. Furthermore, like intelligence there is a bell curve of sprint ability. Most people generally cluster towards the middle (slow. Ha!) and very, very few people fall into the far right. Since the olympics pulls athletes from the top 1% (or less) it is a showcase of the best of the best of the best of the best. And without any doubt Africans, particularly those descended from west Africans in America are the fastest of the fast. Seems to me that these fellows simply do not understand the research they are reading. Not surprised though. Lets take another example:
Consider a recent paper that argues that ethnic conflict throughout history is a result of genetic diversity among communities. The authors argue that genetic diversity is the dominant force behind conflict among groups. It pushes religious communities into battle, causes distrust among neighbors and dictates support for problematic social policies. Such an argument places the history and future of human conflict in genes, as if human interaction and environmental influences cannot match their power.But the paper they reference makes no such claim:
This research establishes that the emergence, prevalence, recurrence, and severity of intrastate conflicts in the modern era reflect the long shadow of prehistory. Exploiting variations across national populations, it demonstrates that genetic diversity, as determined predominantly during the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, has contributed significantly to the frequency, incidence, and onset of both overall and ethnic civil conflict over the last half-century, accounting for a large set of geographical and institutional correlates of conflict, as well as measures of economic development. Furthermore, the analysis establishes the significant contribution of genetic diversity to the intensity of social unrest and to the incidence of intragroup factional conflict. These findings arguably reflect the contribution of genetic diversity to the degree of fractionalization and polarization across ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups in the national population; the adverse influence of genetic diversity on interpersonal trust and cooperation; the contribution of genetic diversity to divergence in preferences for public goods and redistributive policies; and the potential impact of genetic diversity on economic inequality within a society.See the important words "contributed significantly" and "significant contribution" and "contribution" and "potential impact". Also see "preferences", "ethnic", "linguistic" among other signifiers that the authors are not saying "it's only the genes" but that genes, as with everything else, have a place in the outcomes. I could go on but it should be clear to the reader that the authors really do not understand the studies they are [supposedly] reading or like many of their ilk, never bothered to actually read the studies they referenced. I know one thing, they have not a clue about the genetics of reproduction. Here's my suggestion for "Pan-African" studies departments everywhere: Lets science the shit out of this department and get rid of these folks who don't know what they are speaking of and making these department look like basket cases.