I thought liberals wanted a bridge to the 21st century-not a bridge to the past!

the word carries such opprobrium. It even sounds a bit disreputable rolling off the tongue, the disconcerting mix of German abruptness and
sibilance. It has been observed that to be a former Nazi is a far graver crime than being a former Marxist-Leninist. That is a different topic, but let us say that both the Left and the Right have blood on their hands. Humanity is an imperfect species by any measure. But since my evolutionary conservative perspective might have some points of intersection with National Socialist ideals-I am tainted no? And yet somehow, Leftists are never tainted by the fact that Marxist-Leninists killed in the name of egalitarianism….

Why would someone deign to call me a Nazi I wonder? Most of my political positions are generally of the libertarian-conservative slant. Certainly I am not a Nazi for the following reasons:

  • I support a woman’s freedom to kill her fetus.
  • I support a woman’s freedom to take up arms and fight for her God, nation and family.
  • I support the freedom to ingest all sorts of psychoactive chemicals into the body-irrespective of the effects.
  • I generally favor a high wall of separation between Church & State (though I will admit the ACLU sometimes makes me feel like a religious conservative!). [1]
  • I support the freedom to copulate with man, woman, beast or fowl, what ever tickle’s your fancy.
  • I support the freedom to express ideas in whatever medium one chooses without the state’s interference.

Certainly I am a rather “liberal” Nazi if that is what I am. Granted, I do hold many “conservative” views.

  • I reject state-mandated affirmative action/quotas.
  • I am highly skeptical of anti-discrimination laws.
  • I am sympathetic to those who assert that male and female have different strengths. [2]
  • I am high skeptical of the Leviathan, I believe that government is a necessary evil. In this case, less is more.
  • I reject the dogma of multiculturalism-that all cultures are equal before God and Nature. [3]

But these are standard conservative positions and I don’t expect that liberals will accuse conservatives of being Nazis, at least more than once every month or so.

What exactly do I believe that is so heretical? What warrants my label as a Nazi? Perhaps it is that I believe that the preponderance of evidence points to average differences in many phenotypes between different populations. In other words, I do believe race matters.

Today this is heretical, but it was not always so. Not only the Nazis believed this, they were no aberration. The idea that races have different temperaments was first elucidated by the Greeks. The Arabs, the Chinese, and so forth followed in the footsteps of the first classical philosophers. The Enlightenment made these beliefs more rigid and “scientific.” Voltaire, Hume and Kant, all these Dead White Men,  anti-religious seculars and the bane of the ancient regime, believed in race differences. They were in fact precursors of polygenism, the idea that the different races of man were not descended from Adam and Eve but well nigh separate species. [4] The polygenists were the progressives of their day, hurling contempt at the monogenist yokels who generally hewed to the traditional Biblical interpretation of man’s
origin and dispersion during the Tower of Babel. Only with Darwin did the non-religious monogenists rise to the fore and polygenism decline toward insignificance. [5]

And yet Darwin himself believed in race differences. Nevertheless he was something of a liberal in his day, and an opponent of slavery. His cousin Francis Galton used the incipient evolutionary science to formulate eugenics, a word that has gone into ill repute. Liberals use it to smear others and spit on it, for its association with the Nazis is clear, no? And yet, Winston Churchill was once a proponent of eugenics. If that’s not anti-Nazi enough for you, what about Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. How many liberals would call Planned Parenthood a Nazi organization? (OK, now there is name-hurling from the Right-we can’t win! I linked to the Planned Parenthood site, they soft-pedal Sanger’s views but disavow what they can’t deny. Use Google and you’ll find plenty of damning stuff) Social Democratic Sweden has also had its fling with coercieve eugenics-as late as the 1976. Oh yes, we all have blood and guilt on our hands. Human hubris allowed the partial insights of Galton and his proteges to mutate into brutal race science. Progressive and Regressive looked toward eugenics and the scientism that underlay it (though true many Progressives like J.B.S. Haldane, a Marxist, pulled back from eugenics after his initial flirtation) . The Modern Synthesis had not yet come to fruition, we did not have PCR in the laboratory and mathematical population genetics in the offices. But the pioneers of the early 20th century thought they knew it all and endeavored to forward the eugenic project. They were trying to “build a better man” with a sledge hammer, reconstituting a work of ages, eons even.

And alas, it was as failure as a science and worse, a monstrosity as politics. [6] But godless has pointed out how we are genetic engineers – and thus radically different from the eugenicists of the past. I won’t rehash it too much, I simply want to reiterate, we aren’t shouting, “To the gas chambers go!” to anyone. We offer freedom and liberation for the descendents of those who have not won the genetic lottery. If our  assumptions are correct, than it seems a liberal, at least a Rawlsian, position that we should aim toward to help those who were born with fewer endowments through no fault of their own. And this would no doubt help society as a whole (and elevate the level of banter in coffee shops greatly!). While the eugenicists of the past had only crude methods, ascertaining phenotype and attempting to encourage reproduction of those deemed fit, and discouraging that of those deemed not fit, the genetic engineering of the future will be based on the freedom of choice and not government whim. I suspect that people will flock to opt in to the new therapies to improve their germ-line.

In fact, what distinguishes godless’ project really from the futuristic boosting of genetic engineering that others on the blogosphere engage in? As the estimable Glenn Reynolds notes:

What was bad about eugenics was that it involved overriding people’s reproductive choices, typically by sterilizing them so that they wouldn’t pass on genes deemed defective. Conflating forced sterilization with voluntary use of reproductive technologies — a common move among opponents of genetic science — is either ignorant, or dishonest.

Ron Bailey of Reason warns that many conservatives will also oppose genetic engineering:

Wolfson does, however, alert us to a truly pernicious idea that is lurking in some quarters of the intellectual left: mandatory government-subsidized eugenics in the name of equality. He cites leftist thinker Ronald Dworkin as a strong supporter of such a project. This elitist egalitarian impulse, not biotechnology, is the real threat. Wolfson realizes this and he does properly condemn egalitarianism, but his fear of how egalitarians could misuse biotechnology drives him illogically to condemn the technology as well. That is somewhat akin to arguing that simply because airplanes can be used to bomb cities, we should ban jetliners.

We here at Gene Expression support something different. Bailey ends his piece with a word to conservatives, and this applies to those on the Left and the Right:

Ultimately, the conservative worries about technological progress are rooted in a deep skepticism about human intentions. And we must surely be vigilant against people and ideologies, including conservatism, that might attempt to misuse technology to limit human freedom. But the plain fact is that despite the horrors of the past century, technology and science have ameliorated far more of the ills that afflict humanity than they have exacerbated. In the end, the highest expression of our human nature is our ongoing quest to understand ever more of the world around us and ourselves.

The time is right, the science is here,and we have the technology (almost)! [6.5]

Our great sin, godless’ and mine, and those who in the shadows may agree, and those who have come before us, is to think that races do differ, and that it is more than skin deep. Yes, the earth does move, and black men are faster and Asian men more intellectually prepared to handle advanced topology. We dare to say what one does not say. Oh, you whisper, you think, but never, never clarify your opinions lest you be heard by those would accuse you of being a reprobate.

I’m going to stand up and say what I believe. And I am not a Nazi. I have many liberal friends, yes, those who voted for Gore and Nader. [7] And yet perhaps the contagion has passed to them, for they will admit in the privacy of their own homes, that perhaps biology does have a role in our behavior, that perhaps differences do exist between races. Not that they would say this aloud, but the voiceless are out there, from Left to Right, they see and think, and they draw their conclusions, right or wrong. Perhaps someone should hunt me down and shoot me in the head, for yes, I am a horrible vector for this dread disease! (please see picture attached-I was so cute once!)

I am not a white racialist. But I think what drives
those who lean toward white racialism is the anti-Western intellectual
climate that pervades many of the halls of academe and media. The white
race is more associated with the red blood that it has shed over these
past two centuries than the gifts it has given to humanity. [8] Forget
the science and government that Europe has bestowed to the world.
Others have made the case, I will refrain. But I am not a white
racialist, I am not white, how could I be? I was born in Bangladesh.
I’ve been jumped by a redneck for dancing with his ex-girlfriend (and
oh she was cute-with her curly blonde hair….) and have to deal with
the taunts that racists will throw my way on occasion (there are
certain streets in many small towns that are frequented by men driving
fast in crappy old trucks-I know the epithet “Sand Nigger” will be
screamed about once every month-no skin off my back). Such is the
burden of living in a rural and white state. But I never forget where I
come from. For all the history and richness of the culture of my
forefathers, I look around me now and see a country where everyone has
at least the chance at greatness. Rather than griping at human faults,
I choose to see this country for the glory that it is. Personally, I
have no hyphen in my identity. I am a group of one. I have seen the
“authentic” existence that can occur in non-Western countries first
hand (and smelled it-trust me).

My beliefs are the culmination
in a long personal evolution. When I was a freshman in college a
professor of mine in a human evolution class asked us this question:

it could be shown through genetic testing that Australian Aborigines
were more “erectine” than other branches of the human race, should this
knowledge be made public?

To my shock, three
fourths of the class of two hundred said no, let the knowledge lie
fallow. Being in the minority, I began to reflect on this. I believed
that one should follow the data, always, and that one could make an
informed decision based on the data. If Australian Aborigines were
genetically disfavored (and I’ve talked to Australians personally who
hold this opinion, and in a rather more crude fashion than I’ve just
expressed), then it would be better to know so that something could be done (genetic engineering-not old school eugenics!). My fellow blogger godless

has made this a long-term project of his. While we believe liberals
deny the evidence of their eyes, the evidence that rattles and
percolates in the back of their brains, we face up the often cruel and
hard facts that this godless (excuse the pun) universe throws at us.

Skepticism, empiricism and rationalism. These are the three jewels of the West that have been bequeathed to us by chance and happenstance. We are skeptical of the axiom of equality. We see around us pervasive trends, Rushton’s Rule explicated ad nauseam. And we formulate an appropriate paradigm rationally. Evolution gave us minds for a reason!

West pioneered science, but now I wonder, will the children of the West
become the ostriches sticking their heads in the sand, or perhaps even
the dodo, passing away over the horizon. Will they forget their
heritage, and refuse to apply the cold and brutal knife of reason to
the problems that confront us today? If we are right, if races do
differ on a genetic level, the implications are colossal. To refuse to
listen to the possibility, now that is monstrous. [9]

To find
the answer, you first have be open to the question. And some answers
are world-shattering. Paradigm-shifting….you get the picture. I hope.

[1] Ask Chris Mooney of Tapped.
I e-mail him whenever he brings up anything that has to do with Church

& State separation. Like him, I was active in the secular movement
in my younger days. Perhaps I’m naturally heterodox?
[2] It does not follow that I reject equality before the law, I simply give a nod to the reality of evolution.
I believe that understanding other cultures is fruitful, but each
culture exists within a certain finite span of space and time. In other
words, North America, Australia/New Zealand and western Europe (I’ll be
generous here) are the core of the liberal democratic culture that has
a hegemonic presence throughout the world. I believe that this
cultural-political core must be vigilant against erosion of the
freedoms hard-won over 500 years of bloody history. The idea that all
cultures are equal is nonsensical since each culture has different
values, so comparing them in ridiculous. Certain cultures suffer less
when judged under any given criteria. Since I repeat the word freedom
many times in the above text, I suspect you can intuit what my
inclinations are when using normative methods.
[4] Voltaire’s Deism
and Hume’s atheism (agnosticism) are well attested. Until recently I
believed Kant to be a liberal, but pietistic Lutheran, but recent
reading of a biography
on Kant indicated that in fact that though he genuflected to the
orthodoxy of his day (he was a academic in eastern Prussia after all),
he was personally skeptical of religious claims. This jives well with
his demolition of the proofs of God (following up Hume).
[5] See Wolpoff’s book Race and Evolution
on this controversy. Wolpoff talks about the multi-regionalism vs.
Out-of-Africa controversy a lot. Interestingly, both camps try to
portray the other as racist and genocidal.
[6] Conservatives love to
point out that forced sterilization found a ready and willing home in
the Left-wing Scandinavian social democracies. More so (though still
something of a foothold before World War II) than in the reactionary
United States.
[6.5] See the links on the left under Human Biodiversity and Genetic Engineering, or go through some of our old posts.
Actually, I don’t know anyone personally who voted for George W. Bush.
That says something about my crowd I guess, for good or bad, it’s your
[8] The European culture is a product of synthesis and
borrowed innovation. Humanity as a whole can take some pride in it. But
that does not negate the fact that the scientific method and liberal
democracy took hold in Europe first. I would like to add one thing
though: I was asked by a friend what Sub-Saharan Africa had contributed
to humanity. I started to prattle on about iron metallurgy in the
Sudan-and then I stopped. I realized there is one monumental answer to
this: Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
[9] Reasonable people can
disagree, but read our blog, and follow our links, I think you will
agree that we make a case that does not draw from emotional hatred, but
more from the facts at hand. We try to synthesize various fields of
learning-genetics, molecular biology, engineering, history and
economics, and frame it within an evolutionary paradigm. Culture can
explain much. So can history. But don’t deny the truth of the blood in
your own veins and the genes that encode the fiber of your being. As
for the implications of our theory, that races do differ substantially
in intellect and personality, keep reading the blog. Or just sit down
and think about it, you don’t need to be a genius to figure it out!


To Mark Weiner on male criminality-male vs. female differences are
kosher to talk about. It is a big part of modern Evolutionary
Psychology. Get any of Matt Ridley’s books if you’re curious-and I’m
sure you are. Why should we spend time addressing stuff that won’t get
the Nazi charge hurled at us after all? In addition, men are profiled. Steve Sailer
has also addressed this topic in terms of positing a future where
feminists and Left-liberals try their handing at genetically
engineering less aggressive males. I say let a thousand-flowers

Posted by razib at 04:43 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

God, country and family (part II)

What is a nation? Today many think of a nation as a generic term for a state. But few spoke of the Soviet nation. What about the Yugoslav nation? The nation of the United Kingdom? Something is off with using the term on these states. On the other hand, the German nation, the Japanese nation or the English nation. These roll off the tongue with ease and little dissonance. The reason is clear. Yugoslavia was a collection of nations, ethnic groups molded into one unstable polity [1]. Similarly, the Soviet Union was cobbled together from the inheritance of the Russian Empire, it was a cosmopolitan state held together by its ruling elite. On the other hand, aside from small ethnic minorities (Sorbs), Germany has been the homeland of the German volk and Japan the state that expressed the political desires of the descendents of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

Or is it that simple? Berlin in the time of Frederick the Great had a strong Huguenot flavor on account of the expulsion of Protestants from France a few generations past [2]. The Ainu (Jomon)contribution to the Japanese genetic heritage is not inconsequential-and the Korean (Yayoi) antecedents of the Japanese aristocracy are historically established figures [3]. Nations and peoples were not created from the dust of the earth fully-formed like Athena from the mind of Zeus. Many strands of ancestry and history contribute to their formation and they are never finished products [4]. What is the prime determinant of nationhood? Some use race as the primary indicator, others use religion and still others shared history and values [5]. I think we must distinguish between contingent and non-contingent variables. One’s race is determined by biology and is not molded by a host of others factors that make a nation what it is. To some extent religion can also be seen as something that is an independent variable (this is highly debatable, but the basics of a religious belief are generally a few axioms that have been formulated at some
point in the past and agreed upon, whether through revelation or as an organic outgrowth of tribal spirituality). Values or history on the other hand are a culmination and synthesis of the non-contingent variables. For instance, what if Africans and northern Europeans were phenotypically identical, while the people of the Mediterranean were distinct from the former? This change in race would have had far reaching consequences for history, perhaps not on the immediate level of battles and births but more so on the intellectual scaffolding that advanced states use to justify their actions and folkways.

But even the non-contingent factors are to some extent fuzzy. If you go to Stormfront.org, the white racialist super-site and into some of their forums, one of the most active threads is always who exactly should be a member of the
white racialist movement. There are roughly speaking narrow-church and broad-church camps. The former tend to emphasize the Anglo-Celtic (i.e. northwest European) nature of their movement. The latter include at least all Europeans, from swarthy Sicilians to Asiatic looking Russians, but will even include Aryan non-European Caucasoids [6]. There are anguished posts from those of 7/8 Anglo-Celtic southern origin that have a Cherokee great-grandmother asking if they are pure enough to be part of the movement [7]. This obsession with quotients of ancestry ironically mimics Latin America in my opinion, a comparison that I suspect many of the protagonists in the online debates would find repugnant.

Let us look to history. What was the criteria for membership of a nation in antiquity? The line between nation and tribe is fuzzy, and a tribe is often a vertical expression of family and clan. Despite their fractious nature, the ancient Greeks, the Hellenes, were clearly aware of their nationality. They banded together to protect their freedom from the menace of Persia (well, some of them, others did side with the Persians). What made one Greek? It was not a specific phenotype, for the physical appearance of many of the heroes of old were rather diverse, likely reflecting their people (Sun-blackened Herakles, red-haired Achilles and golden-haired Helen). One could point to the common Greek gods, but many religious scholars believe that only Zeus is classically Indo-European. Dionysios and Artemis were likely Asiatic imports (like Christianity, more on this in a later post). Many of the other gods might or might not be Indo-European-some of the Goddesses were certainly Minoan or Pelasgian (or more likely composites, and each god often had different faces, for instance, Athena Potnia). In addition, the Greeks were happy to find cognates among peoples they encountered, for example, Zeus-Ammon. But only Greeks were allowed to participate in the Olympic games, or were they? The early Macedonian king Alexander (not the well known one) established the Hellenic authenticity of his people and persuaded the Greeks to allow them to participate in the Olympics. But it seems certain that though the Macedonians became Hellenized they were originally a collection of rag-tag tribes of uncertain origin, likely Greek, Illyrian and Thracian-under the aegis of a warlord who later become a king. One could be born Greek, or one could become Greek over the generations (from what I know the Greek city-states were more stingy with doling out citizenship than the later Romans were, though the Macedonian conquest of Greece proper ended the debate whether the former were Hellenes). Language and a set of values that tended to exalt the polis as the prime unit of organization epitomized the classical Greeks. To be Greek was the intersection of language, custom, folkways, faith and race. None of these were set in stone and inflexible. Today to be Greek means to be an Orthodox Christian, not a pagan. And how many of today’s Greeks actually are descended from Hellenized Slavs [8]? (and how many Turks are descended from Islamicized Greeks?)

So were the Greeks a proposition nation? No. Greeks were not required to sign a contract which stipulated with propositions they were to agree upon to be recognized as a Hellene. They did not pledge allegiance or read about the history of their nation in public schools. Arete was a natural part of being a Hellene. The propositions that typify being of a nation tend to emerge out of the non-contingent variables. They are simply explications of forces of history and culture that shaped a certain collection of people. In general, these people represent a certain race, but there is always movement between populations and so the boundaries are fuzzy. Grand concepts like the chasm between black and white did not exist because in general neighboring folk were not that different phenotypically, though they noted points of distinction if they existed [9]. Even people that live along the edges of a sharp racial cline are not absolutists about blood. The Ahom kings of Assam were of Sino-Tibetan origin, and yet they became Hindu kings who fought the Muslim (and Caucasoid) Moguls in defense of Indo-Aryan caste and creed [10].

Today we have a very different situation than anything that occurred in the days of old. In the United States, a Christian white northwest European core is attempting to assimilate into its political culture people of radically different origins. Some share points of similarity. For instance, Latin Americans tend to be of Christian religion. They are often of partial European extraction (some all, some none). Some Asians on the other hand are totally alien, of different religion and race. And yet they often assimilate well to the culture in this country as compared to mestizo laborers of Roman Catholic faith from northern Mexico. Nevertheless, the historical precedent has been that nations absorb and cross-fertilize with affinal people. So for example, the German or Celtic identity of the ancient Belgae (hence Belgium) is in doubt, because they seem to have been a mixed collection of tribes. German Franks and Visigoths settled in France, while later French Protestants settled Ge
rmany. Persians settled in India and Chinese in Thailand.

The fewer intersections there are, the more problematic assimilation and absorption should be. For instance, the Chinese of Indonesia have had a far more difficult time assimilating than the Chinese of Thailand. The Thais are closer racially and religiously than the Javanese and other Indonesian ethnic groups are to the Han. The core nation also plays a part in terms of their receptivity. Today’s Japanese seem rather unreceptive to newcomers, as the Korean minority attests to, yet historically the Yayoi culture was formed by immigrant Koreans and stimulated by multiple migrations (first agriculturists, and then later a Korean aristocracy that had been influenced by Chinese governance and Indian Buddhism filtered through China).

What are the implications for America’s sense of self? It is a no brainer that the current lack of emphasis on a common national culture is problematic. But could we return to a policy that was based on preference for Europeans as before the 1965 act? I doubt it. It seems too much a breaking with progress toward equality before the law. But, as the example of Hindu and non-religious Indian
and Chinese programmers shows, alien groups can coexist with the dominant culture even if the points of intersection are minimal. Education seems to be a neutral way to judge a prospective immigrant. Who would object if we turned down an immigrant from Pakistan who received a degree from a madrassa while we accept one with one from the University of Islamabad (my father has a masters degree from there actually)? High educational attainment indicates that one should be able to procure a modicum of wealth. Many of the jobs require an amount of socialization and collaboration that allows one to make friendships outside racial and ethnic bounds. This may later lead to marriage and ties of blood. This is a far cry from those working in low-wage jobs that tend to be narrow and restrictive in the amount of interaction that might occur. In fact some service sector jobs in California have become caste-like in their preference for Spanish speakers.

In the end, the hard-core racialists will be disappointed by any solution, because a slow but inexorable dilution of the northwest European ruling core will occur over time (white racialists have noted ominously the de-Nordicization of Bretty Crocker’s face!). But that does not imply a diminution in the cultural influence of this group. Groups like the Magyars and the Finnish tribes were
genetically absorbed by their more numerous neighbors, yet they preserved their language and traditions in the face of this (also the Turks of Anatolia). The Arabs imposed their language on their Aramaic and Greek speaking subjects. Language does not a nation make, Jamaicans certainly are not English. But what if half of the ancestors of Jamaicans were British? I suspect that they would be far more English in their outlook than they are today (they might still speak with funny accent). Peter Brimelow in Alien Nation points out that Canada’s use of a multiple factor point-system tends to mean that more Asians and Europeans get into the country than Latin Americans (the latter are favored by a family-reunification biased system). This is a good place to start. The university education system as it is today tends to reinforce western values rather than non-western ones (OK, I mean outside the context of America!). True, Harry Lee became Lee Kwan Hew and transformed himself into a proponent of “Asian values.” But if Harry Lee had become a politician in England I suspect he would have been far more loyal to his Anglophilic Baba roots. Despite what those who push forward the idea of India being part of the Anglosphere wish to have us believe, I am starting to think that the fact that India’s English speaking elite rule over a population that is most certainly non-Western is having an impact on them through diffusion [11]. But the United States is not a non-Western nation. Not yet. Keep hope alive.

[1] Yugoslavia was a coalition between very similar peoples. The Croats and Serbs are for all practical purposes one race separated by historical coincidence, the permanent partition of the late Roman Empire after Theodosius the Great into western and eastern halves through his sons. Byzantium quickly lost control of the farther reaches of Illyria (Venice was originally a Byzantine dependency) and the Croats (and of course the Slovenes) came under western influence. The Serbs on the other hand were closer to the Byzantine seat of power so they looked east for inspiration (and glory). And so it came to be that the south Slav tribes of Illyria became two nations. The Muslim Bosnians are also Slavs (I have read that their dialect of Serbo-Croat is closer to the latter). The non-Slavic minorities-Albanians, Turks and Gypsies (who tend to speak Serb in the former Yugoslavia) were not part of the political nation. The fact that Yugoslavia remained intact for almost the whole of the 20th century is a testament to the unstable equilibrium than can be maintained with some will.

[2] Names that start with de in South Africa are the legacy of the Huguenot colonists. I read once that the ancestors of the Afrikaners were about 1/4 Dutch, 1/4 French and 1/2 German (and yes, 5% non-white, whether Khoisan, Bantu or Asian). Though French and Dutch surnames remain, somehow the German one’s disappeared. I suspect that the closeness of German and Dutch contributed to this, as the northern Germans that flocked to the Cape Colony were rather similar to the Protestants from the United Provinces in language, religion and physique. On the other hand, the French-speaking settlers were set off from their Germanic neighbors and resisted assimilation. On the issue of Germany, much of the Ostmark was settled after the assimilation of west Slavic and Baltic peoples (Wends and Prussians).

[3] See Bryan Syke’s Seven Daughters of Eve.

[4] Not that I deny that nations can achieve an equilibrium state of relative stability. To be Han or Chinese changed greatly between 0 CE and 1000 CE as the Yangtze region and the southern coasts were Sinicized. From that point on though the pace of Sincization seems to have slowed as the boundaries of the Chinese nation had been set (i.e.; China proper). Note that genetically the Han of the north resemble the Koreans and Japanese, not the Han of the south (who resemble the Thai and Vietnamese) [See Cavalli-Sforza’s work on this]. But despite the fuzzines of what a nation is, Cavalli-Sfroza notes that there is a rather high level of correlation between language and race (comparing linguistic distance with genetic distance).

[5] Islamic fundamentalists want to recreate the Islamic Caliphate, a cross-racial and cross-linguistic religious nation. Israel is a Jewish nation, which can be expressed either ethnically or religiously. One of the most interesting stories in this vein I’ve heard was that of a Chinese girl adopted by American Jewish diplomats in Hong Kong. Later the couple became very religious and moved to Israel. They settled in a religious area of Jerusalem. The little Chinese girl ended up being the mother of nearly a dozen little haredi children! She took care of the house while her husband studied the Talmud. This story I got from a orthodox Jewish friend of mine and she used it to express the racial tolerance of her kind, so long as the person was frum.

[6] Many of the broad-church racialists admire the Indian caste system and lament the racial mixture that has allowed their racial brethren to degenerate into becoming Mud People. They have allies from these non-European Caucasoids who post on occasion, Indian Brahmins expressing how much contempt they have for black Dravidians and mongrel brown Indians all around them (mysteriously none of these individuals post pictures so everyone can confirm that they are pure Aryans). There are also Iranians and Turks making a case for the whiteness of their people (and predictably the Turks often claim that the Indo-European Kurds are Mud
People while the Persians tend to assert that Arabs are swarthy colored folk beneath contempt). It is amusing in the least. One man pointed to the online personals on an Iranian-American website to show how many blonde Persians there were. I think the old method of slapping someone in the face to see if it leaves reddish mark would serve
better (the problem with the claims of Turks and Persians is that many claim that they look too much like Jews. Ah, the horrors!)

[7] Just as Native Americans accept someone that is 1/4 of their blood as a full tribal member, this seems to be the rough point of exclusion for membership in the white racialist movement. 1/8 is probably dilute enough in the eyes of most racialists. There are members of the Klan that also members of the Cherokee tribe.

[8] From the end of the reign of Justinian the Great, when the Avars began to threaten Byzantium, to the reign of Basil the Bulgar Slayer over four hundred years later, much of Greece proper was the domain of Slavic tribes, the Skalveni. True, cities like Salonika remained redoubts of Hellenic culture, but the center of Greek civilization at this time was Constantinople in Thrace and the Anatolian littoral. Then again, the center of the English speaking world is not England-no offense Peter….

[9] You look at a bust of Caesar, and he seems to be a stereotypical Italian from his facial features (my high school health teacher looked exactly like Caesar, and he really stood out in a town generally populated by people of Scottish and Scandinavian ancestry). But the alabaster marble leaves out the fact that he was fair-skinned and blonde. There were many blonde leaders in ancient Rome (Sulla and Magnus Pompey were blondish, though more toward a ruddy shade)-but it was a trait that was more generally associated with the Celts and Germans (I believe the Greeks had term-Keltoi Gold that had a double meaning). Many Roman women wore blonde wigs that were made with hair from northern European slaves.

[10] The racial cline in northeast India is one of the sharpest in the world. There is a certain elevation above which Indian agricultural practices fail and so the heights are inhabited by people from Tibet and Burma. Physically the difference is noticeable. On the other hand, I do know of Bengalis who exhibit clear Asiatic features-sometimes almost fully. They are still accepted as Bengali. On the other hand, one reason Kashmir is Muslim today is that a
Bhotia (Tibetan) conqueror of that region was not allowed to convert to Saivite Hinduism by the Brahmins on racial grounds. The Muslims of course accepted him and he began the transformation of the Vale of Kashmir into a redoubt of Islam. Sometimes I think the Hindus have only themselves to blame for South Asian Islam!

[11] The BJP’s thugishness and aversion toward innocent western imports like Valentine’s Day today is more reminiscent of Islamic intolerance than Hindu latitudinarianism. As education and wealth trickle down through the classes, the empowered Hindu masse are now projecting their own chauvinism into the political process (actually, the Hindu middle classes). This is not always a good thing, and Indian cultural self-delusion resembles Islamic fantasy far more than I feel comfortable with. Myths of Aryan supremacy and Vedic literalism are waxing, rather than pluralism and restraint. I suspect the gods of their forefathers shudder….

Posted by razib at 12:26 PM

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God, country and family (part I)

God, country and family (part I)

Richard Poe pointed me to this article by James Cantrell. He seems a historically literate and thoughtful person (you might disagree) [1]. His views are somewhat off the beaten path. Though not a white racialist-he makes no qualms about being proud to be white and reveling in his patch of the quilt of human diversity.

He asserts:

While race—more accurately ethnicity (for the racially Caucasian Turks or Semites are not interchangeable with Europeans) and most accurately culture that could not have arisen without Christian Europeans and their civilization and cannot be maintained long in any meaningful sense without them as the preponderant members of society in cultural, educational, moral, and political influence and probably in raw numbers….

Is he serious? Were my ancestors not the Gauls?

Can I take pride in the achievements of American civilization though my ancestors were across two oceans for much of the republic’s existence [2]? I am asking: are we a proposition nation, or a nation of folk of like faith and blood? I believe the answer to be somewhere in the middle.

Today the road to citizenship is 5 years or less once you have permanent residency. Most new citizens are well integrated economically. If the proposition is simply come and be wealthy-than we are an admirable success [3]. But more than capitalism does a liberal democracy make-or so sayeth the seer that I have consulted in this matter! I think most people would agree that many new citizens are not particularly well assimilated into the national culture-and it is clear some do not wish to be.

Of the new citizens-it seems likely that those of European ancestry will assimilate faster than those of non-European ancestry. Blood does matter. Not only will European immigrants have a host of racial and cultural similarities to the dominant ethnos of this nation-they will not be noted and singled out, and so are much less likely to resent the xenophobia of the natives [4]. But blood is not the only factor. Who is more likely to fit in-a wealthy dark-skinned engineer from southern India or a Dutch welder? The answer is contingent upon the class that you speak of. Who would be more likely to fit in, a Christian nurse from Vietnam or a gay man from the Netherlands? There is more than one factor-one lens to look through. Race is a good proxy for many of these factors, for there is a strong correlation between race and religion (South Asians will be Hindu or Muslim, Europeans will be Christian or post-Christian, etc.) and frankly class (how many people in San Francisco would not note it if their boss’ wife was a female software engineer from Mexico and their maid was from India?).

Perhaps we should aim to be the propositions nation, and acknowledge that some groups will be able to fill the propositions with more ease than others. But just as cultures develop organically-one should be careful to make generalizations based on bright and hard axioms cut from reality.

1-Cantrell sees the provincial nature of the early Romans as superior to the cosmopolitanism of the later Romans. There is something to this-but he neglects to mention that the Roman conception of citizenship was not based solely on blood, but left the door open for enfranchisement of individuals and nations who provided service to the republic. In this way-Rome created an incentive for allies to fight for her and expanded the circle of citizens over time and spread Romanitas. Some great Romans, such as Cicero, were from enfranchised people.

2-This begs to me the question: why should someone who’s ancestor was under loyalist rule in New York take as much pride as someone who’s ancestor was a patriot in Boston? These sort of “back in the day my grand-father” assertions get rather tedious and the implications rather knotted. How many Italian nationalists from Milan are actually the descendents of Gauls?

3-The poor in America are part of the consumer class. By world-and surely historical-standards Americans are a wealthy people, even the most humble of us.

4-I do not discount the past prejudice that the Germans, Irish and Italians faced-or the current backlog of jokes that the Polish have to deal with. But the arrival of visible minorities has made the ethnic whites far less prominent (they are singled out more by accent than appearance) and jarring to the sensibilities of the WASP. I doubt that any Irish or Italians are the victims of concerted xenophobia today as compared to say Mexicans or Vietnamese (how many children today know of the insults “Mick” or “Wop”).

Posted by razib at 12:27 PM

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My uncle wasn't no monkey

Cut on the Bias has a post questioning evolution based on the recent hominid find in Africa. godless e-mailed her, and she responded soon enough. My post below was in response to her first blog, but let me add one thing: there are dissenters from evolution in the academy. But they are a very, very small minority (According to a 1998 survey 5.5% of National Academy of Science biologists believe in God-of these, I suspect most are theistic evolutionists rather than intelligent design proponents from personal experiences with religious biologists-though belief in God is on the order of 30-40% of biologists as a whole). They could be right, for a long time Young Earth Creationism was the dominant scientific paradigm. But intelligent design theorists overstate the case when they assert that they have a rival paradigm and numerous establishment supporters within the scientific community.

On to the post….

But wait! I thought we knew all that! It’s been taught for years as immutable truth.

Yes, if what you know about human evolution derives from the glossy sensationalist nuggets in Time and Newsweek (oh, and if you read these publications, you would think that Cosmology proves God’s existence, though most physicists seem to disagree). See the Out-of-Africa vs. Multi-Regionalist controversy to get a sample of the immutability of the “truths” of human evolution. Do paleoanthropologists agree that humans evolve? Yes. How? Well-that’s a different question, and as you know science is based on provisional knowledge, always to be overturned and revised. Scientists generally perceive this to be a strength and assume that even theories that are well established may only be approximations that fit the data at hand. For instance, Newtonian Mechanics fit the data at the time, and still works as a good model for any everyday calculations, but has been refined by Relativity around the edges. Does that make Mechanics dispensable?

Every decade or two, a fossil discovery upsets conventional wisdom. One more possible “missing link” emerges. An even older member of the hominid group, those human ancestors and their close relatives (but not apes), comes to light. Some fossils also show up with attributes so puzzling that scientists cannot decide where they belong, if at all, in the human lineage.

Hmmm… Could it also mean that several species appeared, say, all at one time through, perhaps, an intelligent design? That these modified over the years, without interbreeding or developing into something completely different from how it started?
Nah. After all, conventional wisdom is usually rig… oops. Well, at least scientists agree… oops.

Assume an intelligent designer. Now let’s apply this paradigm to physics and chemistry. If we don’t understand the behavior of a Quasar, it could be a miracle in the past by the intelligent designer. If we can’t figure out the bonding properties of a certain molecule, it could be the work of God! Why not geology while we’re at it! Perhaps earthquakes in Japan are the result of an intelligent designer that happens to be causing continental drift-is He sending the Japanese a message? My point is simple: assuming that an intelligent designer exists explains very little. Yes, and intelligent designer could exist-but insoluble problems in science tend to become soluble over long periods of time.

Scientists have to assume that God isn’t fudging with everything in sight, or they’d never get anything done. Science would just stop if it was presumed that God could work miracles every now and then and make reproducibility a dependent on His whim. Yes, perhaps God designed everything to just fit the evolutionary paradigm, but God could also be manipulating our telescopes to make it look like the Doppler Shift occurs. God could have put the fossils just where they are to test your faith! God could send you to Hell no matter what you believe or what you do. If you define God as omnipotent you can make anything happen by “what if” this or that. Of course, I grant that an intelligent designer does not have to be God, but if it is not a supernatural being, we still have to resort to naturalistic explanations.

Phillip Johnson has proposed that the possibility of a supernatural element should be introduced into science-that methodological naturalism is a sham and an extension of the religion of secular humanism. I’d like to see any scientist doing worthwhile research starting with the position “God might have done it.” Can you imagine him being questioned at the conference, “You posit that result X follows from process Z, but are you sure that God didn’t do it?” “You assert that result X implies that hypothesis Z is false, but are sure that God couldn’t do it?” It is only in certain areas that some believers have time-honored ideals where methodological naturalism is attacked-ie; human evolution, big bang theory, radiocarbon dating.

As for scientists disagreeing, few disagree about the fact of evolution. How it happens, that’s a different issue, and having multiple theories battle for primacy adjudicated by the data is how scientists reach a consensus. It took a century for Darwin to defeat Lamarck. I suspect Punctuated Equilibria will whither away with Gould’s passing (when did you last see Eldridge write up an op-ed?). The theories of hominid evolution are far sketchier than the theory of evolution-the fact of evolution. Anyone would grant this. Yes, a whole host of incoherencies in hominid evolution would present problems-but the general framework is based on the fossils on hand and the methods available. These have been improving over the past 50 years, so it follows that though the theory changes, we presume that it should be more accurate, as there are more data sets. The bones in question found in Africa are not of a large-brained tool wielding art-producing hominid. That would really cause a controversy.

We have now a very rich collection, of three skulls and three jawbones, which gives us a chance to study very properly this question” of how to classify early hominids, Dr. Lordkipanidze said…

Such bounty! Why, we’ll have the entire evolutionary process nailed down by Labor Day, I’m just sure of it.

I’ve been taught, as a social scientist, that you look at behavior, or evidence of various sorts, and ponder about it until you come up with an explanation. Then you devise a test to see if your explanation fits. If it seems to, you develop a whole theory, testing the various pieces. When obvious digressions from the theory begin to pile up, you start looking to see how the theory needs to be modified so all the pieces fit in harmony. If they don’t fit, you don’t name them something that makes them fit. At the very least, you set them aside as a “we don’t know” and work to determine whether they are outliers or a part of the center of the thing. You see, in science – and “hard” science even more so than the “soft” sciences – you are reaching for a truth. The world is – we’re trying to understand what that is is. The truth about the world isn’t going to be different because something I learn about it doesn’t fit my theory. That’s the case whether I’m an evolutionist, a creationist, or a design theorist without any attachment to Biblical creation as an explanation. You strip down the facts, release them from their interpretive pigeonholes, then reconstruct an explanation around them.

Have you heard of falsification? I’m sure you have. A few bones might matter after all-all the other evidence be damned. The “interpretive pigeonhole” you speak of is methodological naturalism. If you study behavior in social science, do you assume that demon-possession might skew your data? Do think that a person’s decision in reaction to a given option might be influenced by God’s hand effecting the response on the level of neurons? Even Michael Behe accepts descent with modification.

…If it presents a challenge to my faith, well, then, I have to think about that because, like it or not, faith is a theory just like evolution is a theory. If my faith is founded on a real truth, then the new information won’t substantially change the bones of my faith even while it possibly substantially reshapes the flesh; if my faith isn’t based on a real truth, then that’s something I want to know and the sooner the better. Again, the same should be true of evolution – if you’re going to posit it as truth, at least have the honesty to say “I don’t know” or “We could have been very wrong for a very long time, we need to rethink this without preconceptions.” But it seems to me there is no amount of information that would shake these people loose from their evolutionary canon, even when they have to twist themselves into objects of mockery to protect it.

You draw a lot of conclusions from the opinions of a few paleontologists getting excited over morphology. I’m not sure you know this-but many biochemists and geneticists have a barely concealed contempt for morphological techniques in ascertaining facts about the past. I don’t know enough about morphology to critique it-but your attacks are almost certainly only applicable only to morphology and its percieved subjectivity (the link above, and other things I’ve read and heard indicate to that functional morphology is becoming far more scientific and less subjective). You could come out and trumpet Behe to attack molecular biology, and I could throw plenty back at you on that front. In addition-paleontologists might be wrong about hominid evolution. They’ve been wrong in the past-in large part corrected by molecular biologists. But particular errors within a sub-theory don’t refute the paradigm-you are correct when you assert that ascertaining hominid relationships via morphology leaves less than to be desired, but molecular biology has cleared up many issues because it is far more rigorous. Is evolution a perfect theory? No-no theory is perfect because human beings are fallible. Is it the best fit to the data? Yes, unequivocally in the eyes of the vast majority of scientists. Biologists have problems with all sorts of phylogenies. Only in humans and their line is every mistake and revision reported with such detail-as if the theory of evolution hung in the balance.

One thing will remain fixed-we will discuss evolution, because you have no positive alternative model unless you are a Young Earth Creationist. Yes-you could assert “God did it,” and I could respond, “Such a small answer to a large question. Let us keep looking.” Perhaps we will never find the answer, but the search yields results. The computer that I type on is the byproduct of centuries of Western science. Though scientists like Galileo, Newton or Descartes might have believed in God, even attempted to prove His existence, their endeavors ultimately were about the mind of man and his wonderment and puzzling over the universe-and disatisfaction with theological answers. Do the mathematical models have any accordance with foundational reality? We can never truly know foundationally, we can only presume or descend into solipsism. I presume that the hand that types on the keyboard is my hand, not the hand of God working through me as a puppeteer. These are questions of philosophy, religion and the supernatural. What has this to do with science? To paraphrase Tertullian, “What does Jersalem to do with Cal Tech/MIT/Stanford/Harvard/etc.?”

Oh, and I suggest everyone to go to Talk Origins and the Access Research Network for the two perspectives. As an “evolutionist” I would highly reccomend the 29 Evidences for Macroevolution. To get a flavor for ARN check out Origins and Design Journal. One issue has an article titled, “Design and Evil.”

Follow-up: Can one be an orthodox Christian and a conventional scientist (one who does not reject methodological naturalism)? Yes, check out the site for the American Scientific Affiliation. A certain Francis Collins is a keynote speaker. Though they try to be neutral-it is known that the ASA has had long-standing problems with certain fundamentalist Christian sects because of its latitunidarianism (it comes out of the evangelical movement).

Update II: Susanna Cornett responds again. Pretty civil too-so I guess she tries to live up to her moniker. Also, on a related note-Talk Origins has an updated section-Fossil Hominids: the evidence for human evolution. It has updates based on the new findings.

Those of you coming from Bias, let me cut you off at the pass….: Observed instances of speciation here and here. But yes, maybe I’m just a lying evolutionist….

More “theories” about life and its origins: Panspermia, originally floated by Nobel Prize winning Francis Crick (smart people too believe in weird things….).

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