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Why do people cling so tightly to racism?

  1. Mar 2, 2004 #1
    There are tons of threads on this board in which people try to "scientifically" justify racism? Why is it so important to them? I just don't get it, I don't see what non-racist purpose it serves, and I'd like someone to explain it to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2004 #2


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    There are a lot of reasons. Here are some:

    Reconciling life-long beliefs - Nobody wants to admit to being wrong their whole life. By basing racism on a scientific basis, they can excuse their racial hatred as an immature form of recognizing their "racial superiority".

    Excuses - If they consider themselves failures, they may use science to show that their failure is because they were unfairly victimized by reverse racism.

    Self-esteem - Being highly regarded produces some of the most powerful feelings of well-being. If they have done nothing else in life, they can still feel good about the color of their skin.

    Alleviating guilt - It is easier to live with a mind-set that others are doing poorly because they are inferior, than to live with the knowledge that you benefit from a prejudicial society.

    And, just to ensure I'm being scientific. There is always that slim chance that they are right. It is, however, the least likely explanation as far as I'm concerned.

    What gets me is they never question the agenda of the researchers. All research is done with an agenda; sometimes it is just to know, sometimes it is to obtain useful information. Nobody is doing racial studies "just to know". These studies are done to produce information that can be used. In most research, useful information is put to the test. A product works or it doesn't. Money is made or lost. With the racial propaganda research, this is not the case. The research is never tested. While it may be submitted to peer review journals, all that means is their statistical analysis methods, and their aquisition methods are scrutinized. It is inadequate for hypothesis verification. No disinterested party ever duplicates the experiments from the ground up. It is too pointless an endeavor for most researchers to waste money on it. Only the racial propagandists seem to have funds for this purpose.

  4. Mar 2, 2004 #3
    Well, considering the flawed nature of every racist propaganda "study" I have come across, it does seem awfully likely that there is no motive besides putting a scholarly cover on a racist agenda. It is still disturbing, at least to me, that otherwise intelligent people put their faith in this sort of thing, without objectively looking at the methods and motives of the people doing this sort of "research".
  5. Mar 2, 2004 #4


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    This is the only one I really haven't seen much of. In my experience, people tend to be pretty unapologetic of prejudices of all types. I guess it could still be some psychological front though.

    I tend to see mostly the first two.
  6. Mar 2, 2004 #5
    I think that there is a flip-side to it that might make a little more sense to you. I've always had the idea that it is among some people the idea that if you can blame people for their problems, then there is no social or ethical responsibility to do anything about it. Sort of like saying that rape victims deserve it, so you don't have to feel anything towards them except contempt.
  7. Mar 2, 2004 #6
    I can explain it to you, although I doubt you'll like the explanation. You fail to understand the apparent purpose of these evil racist threads because you understand them as evil racist threads and impugn those who post on them with evil racism.

    There is no racism. It's just a bunch of facts. Why get worked up over the fact that Hydrogen atoms have fewer protons than Argon atoms? Yes, East Asians have bigger brains and score better on IQ tests than Africans; why get worked so up over it? This entire board is dedicated to the social sciences, and discussion on psychometrics falls well within the social sciences. It's only the insistent anti-racist denial of well established scientific facts which makes these issues an argument at all.

    In other words, a far better title for this thread would have been "Why do people cling so tightly to bioegalitarianism?" After all, the very creation of this thread springs from a fundamental inability to refute the facts combined with an equally fundamental inability to accept those facts.

  8. Mar 2, 2004 #7
    Sounds like racist propaganda to me. You know, like selectively skewing "facts" in order to make fraudulent claims for ulterior motives?
    Why are you so eager to be a racist? What's in it for you?
  9. Mar 2, 2004 #8
    This is because, as I have already stated, you have a fundamental inability to understand simple facts. I'm sure that Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection sounds like atheist propoganda to fundamentalist Christians.

    Find me

    1. One single brain size study which finds blacks have larger brains than either whites or East Asians.

    2. One single IQ study showing that blacks have higher IQs than either whites or East Asians.

    Lacking one single study showing these things, your belief in our selectively skewing the facts is baseless fantasy.

    I am not a racist. Racism is belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic stock. Even if intelligence were the sole criterion by which an ethnicity's "worth" could be judged, I do not belong to the ethnic group possessing the highest average IQ. If you had the slightest clue what you were talking about, you would realize how absurd these charges of racism are.

    It helps spread knowledge related to eugenic issues, which is a minor bonus. But honestly, if some nut came up to you and began insisting that the Earth was flat, and called you a "roundist" for disagreeing with him, wouldn't you argue, if only for a bit?

    You are the modern equivalent of a "flat-earther," Zero, and I argue with you because you amuse me.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2004
  10. Mar 2, 2004 #9
    Right...you don't amuse me.

    Your "facts" have been refuted dozens if not hundreds of times, often right here at PF...why do you continue to cling to those phony "facts"?
  11. Mar 2, 2004 #10
    IOW...why is it that after eugenics has been so thoroughly discredited, people still look to it as though it were real science? What is the goal of using a debunked idea, if not for specifically racist goals?

    I think part of it, actually, is a desire for some people to feel more intelligent than they really are, by defending a discredited idea. They get to feel like a "free-thinking, open-minded" person, while neither thinking, nor opening their mind to reality.
  12. Mar 2, 2004 #11
    I never asked about your amusement.

    No, they have been attacked as "racist" by people like you, but they have not been refuted. Note the distinction between flinging a pathetic Ad Hominem and actually refuting a fact. If you want to refute these facts, again, you might want to show me one study - just one study! - which finds blacks outscore East Asians for IQ or have larger brains than East Asians. You won't, of course, because you can't.

    Because I have the ability to think for myself rather than parrot what I've been told about how racists are evil and the earth is flat.

    Again, I note that you can't make the distinction between discrediting a fact or scientific discipline, and equating it with "racism" or some other unpopular thing.

    Hahaha! Not bad, Mister Freud! You are quite right when you suggest that I believe myself to be more intelligent than you. Then again this is no great insight, as I have certainly made no effort to conceal my opinions about your intellectual acuity.

    Well that's all for now, but write back soon - and don't forget to find me a study showing how brilliant Africans are, or how East Asians have tiny brains! Just one study, it should be no trouble for you at all, hahahahaha!

  13. Mar 3, 2004 #12
    I'd like to see some studies that correlate brain size to intelligence. By your reckoning a person's I.Q. ought to be reflected in their brain size. Got any studies showing this?
  14. Mar 3, 2004 #13


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    On the net there are two kinds of people:
    1. Trolls
    2. Fish who bite.

    Please define "racism" and "justify" in the context of your post.

    I will assume that you mean "the disparity in socio-economic status that correlates to an ethnic group" by racism, and "claim that an intrinsic and objectively measurable difference is the root cause of" for justify.

    Alternative notions for justify could be "demonstrate that there is no need to redress", "demonstrate that an unbiased process results in."

    Let's take a look at some of the things that might be considered 'fair'.

    In the US, people who do not speak English have a harder time getting jobs than people who do. (I don't have studies to cite for this, but it if you like, I can research it. ) Does that mean that the US, in general is 'racist' against people who do not speak English? Is discriminiating against people who do not speak English justified?

    Similarly people who are physically attractive have an easier time getting jobs. Once again, I must ask whether this is racism, and whether it is 'justified'.

    People who dress appropriately for their job interviews are more likely to get hired. Is that racism? Is it 'justified'?

    People who socialize effectively are more likely to get jobs. People with money tend to have an easier time getting jobs.

    Pointing out that there is a disparity between the socio-economic status of blacks as a group, and whites as a group, and then claiming that that difference is the result of racial discrimination is difficult to justify without scientific testing.

    What someone sees as the root cause of economic disparity between groups could either be unreasonable discrimination, or the result of efficient competition. In order to test the theories scientifically, there need to be falsifiable predictions. Realistically, there are also massive problems with sociology because of the stinging lack of control groups.

    By the bye, I've got some rather fundemental questions about the word 'racism" and would suggest that it's not really the kind of word that is useful for a constructive discussion.
  15. Mar 3, 2004 #14
    Brain size - IQ correlations

    The physical characteristics correlated with g that are empirically best established are stature, head size, brain size, frequency of alpha brain waves, latency and amplitude of evoked brain potentials, rate of brain glucose metabolism, and general health.
    The g Factor. Chapter 6: Biological Correlates of g. p137.

    ...the technology of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) now makes it possible to obtain a three-dimensional picture of the brain of a living person. A highly accurate measure of total brain volume (or the volume of any particular structure in the brain) can be obtained from the MRI pictures. Such quantitative data are now usually extracted from the MRI pictures by computer.

    To date there are eight MRI studies [tex]^{[10]}[/tex] of the correlation between total brain volume and IQ in healthy children and young adults. In every study the correlations are significant and close to +.40 after removing variance due to differences in body size. (The correlation between body size and brain size in adult humans is between +.20 and +.25.) Large parts of the brain do not subserve cognitive processes, but govern sensory and motor functions, emotions, and autonomic regulation of physiological activity. Controlling body size removes to some extent the sensorimotor aspects of brain size from the correlation of overall brain size with IQ. But controlling body size in the brain × IQ correlation is somewhat problematic, because there may be some truly functional relationship between brain size and body size that includes the brain's cognitive functions. Therefore, controlling body size in the IQ × brain size correlation may be too conservative; it could result in overcorrecting the correlation. Moreover, the height and weight of the head constitute an appreciable proportion of the total body height and weight, so that controlling total body size could also contribute to overcorrection by removing some part of the variance in head and brain size along with variance in general body size. Two of the MRI studies used a battery of diverse cognitive tests, which permitted the use of correlated vectors to determine the relationship between the column vector of the various tests' g factor loadings and the column vector of the tests' correlations with total brain volume. In one study, [tex]^{[10f]}[/tex] based on twenty cognitive tests given to forty adult males sibling pairs, these vectors were correlated +.65. In the other study, [tex]^{[10g]}[/tex] based on eleven diverse cognitive tests, the vector of the tests' g loadings were correlated +.51 with the vector of the tests' correlations with total brain volume and +.66 with the vector of the tests' correlations with the volume of the brain's cortical gray matter....

    Metabolically, the human brain is by far the most "expensive" organ in the whole body, and the body may have evolved to serve in part like a "power pack" for the brain, with a genetically larger brain being accommodated by a larger body. It has been determined experimentally, for example, that strains of rats that were selectively bred from a common stock exclusively to be either good or poor at maze learning were found to differ not only in brain size but also in body size. [tex]^{[11]}[/tex] Body size increased only about one-third as much as brain size as a result of the rats being selectively bred exclusively for good or poor maze-learning ability. There was, of course, no explicit selection for either brain size or body size, but only for maze-learning ability. Obviously, there is some intrinsic functional and genetic relationship between learning ability, brain size, and body size, at least in laboratory rats. Although it would be unwarranted to generalize this finding to humans, it does suggest the hypothesis that a similar relationship may exist in humans. It is known that body size has increased along with brain size in the course of human evolution. The observed correlations between brain size, body size, and mental ability in humans are consistent with these facts, but the nature and direction of the causal connections between these variables cannot be inferred without other kinds of evidence that is not yet available.

    The IQ × head-size correlation is clearly intrinsic, as shown by significant correlations both between-families (r = +.20, p < .001) and within-families (r = +.11, p < .05) in a large sample of seven-year-old children, with head size measured only by circumference and IQ measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. [tex]^{[12]}[/tex] (Age, height, and weight were statistically controlled.) The same children at four years of age showed no significant correlation of head size with Stanford-Binet IQ, and in fact the WF correlation was even negative (-.04). This suggests that the correlation of IQ with head size (and, by inference, brain size) is a developmental phenomenon, increasing with age during childhood.

    One of the unsolved mysteries regarding the relation of brain size to IQ is the seeming paradox that there is a considerable sex difference in brain size (the adult female brain being about 100 cm[tex]^3[/tex] smaller than the male) without there being a corresponding sex difference in IQ. [tex]^{[13]}[/tex] It has been argued that some IQ tests have purposely eliminated items that discriminate between the sexes or have balanced-out sex differences in items or subtests. This is not true, however, for many tests such as Raven's matrices, which is almost a pure measure of g, yet shows no consistent or significant sex difference. Also, the differing g loadings of the subscales of the Wechsler Intelligence Test are not correlated with the size of the sex difference on the various subtests. [tex]^{[14]}[/tex] The correlation between brain size and IQ is virtually the same for both sexes.The explanation for the well-established mean sex difference in brain size is still somewhat uncertain, although one hypothesis has been empirically tested, with positive results. Properly controlling (by regression) the sex difference in body size diminishes, but by no means eliminates, the sex difference in brain size. Three plausible hypotheses have been proposed to explain the sex difference (of about 8 percent) in average brain size between the sexes despite there being no sex difference in g:
    • Possible sexual dimorphism in neural circuitry or in overall neural conduction velocity could cause the female brain to process information more efficiently.
    • The brain size difference could be due to the one ability factor, independent of g, that unequivocally shows a large sex difference, namely, spatial visualization ability, in which only 25 percent of females exceed the male median. Spatial ability could well depend upon a large number of neurons, and males may have more of these "spatial ability" neurons than females, thereby increasing the volume of the male brain.
    • Females have the same amount of functional neural tissue as males but there is greater "packing density" of the neurons in the female brain. While the two previous hypotheses remain purely speculative at present, there is recent direct evidence for a sex difference in the "packing density" of neurons. [tex]^{[15]}[/tex] In the cortical regions most directly related to cognitive ability, the autopsied brains of adult women possessed, on average, about 11 percent more neurons per unit volume than were found in the brain of adult men. The males and females were virtually equated on Wechsler Full Scale IQ (112.3 and 110.6, respectively). The male brains were about 12.5 percent heavier than the female brains. Hence the greater neuronal packing density in the female brain nearly balances the larger size of the male brain. Of course, further studies based on histological, MRI, and PET techniques will be needed to establish the packing density hypothesis as the definitive explanation for the seeming paradox of the two sexes differing in brain size but not differing in IQ despite a correlation of about +.40 between these variables within each sex group.
    The g Factor. pp147-149.

    • [*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*]
    • (a) Andreasen et al., 1993; (b) Egan et al., 1994; (c) Raz Torres, et al., 1993; (d) Wickett at al., 1994; (e) Willerman et al., 1991; (f) Wickett et al., 1996; (g) Schoenemann , 1997.
    • Hamilton, 1935.
    • Jensen & Johnson, 1994; also see Johnson, 1991, for additional evidence of a within-families correlation between head size and IQ.
    • Ankney, 1992.
    • Jensen, 1980a, pp. 622-627. This chapter affords a fairly comprehensive review of sex differences in mental abilities and references to much of the literature prior to 1980.
    • Wittelson et al., 1995.
    The g Factor. p167.

    (References in next message)
    [Edit: format adjusted]

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2004
  16. Mar 3, 2004 #15
    (References for previous message)

    Andreasen N. C., Flaum M., Swayze V. II, O'Leary D. S., Alliger R., Cohen G., Ehrhardt J. & Youh W. T. C. (1993). Intelligence and brain structure in normal individuals. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 130-134.

    Ankney C. D. (1992). Sex differences in relative brain size: The mismeasure of woman, too? Intelligence, 16, 329-336.

    Egan V., Chiswick A., Santosh C., Naidu K., Rimmington. J. E. & Best J. J. K. (1994). Size isn't everything: A study of brain volume, intelligence and auditory evoked potentials. Personality and Individual Differences, 17, 357-367.

    Hamilton J. A. (1935). The association between brain size and maze ability in the white rat. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.

    Jensen A. R. (1980a). Bias in mental testing. New York: Free Press.

    Jensen A. R. & Johnson F. W. (1994). Race and sex differences in head size and IQ. Intelligence, 18, 309-333.

    Raz N., Torres I. J., Spencer W. D., Millman D., Baertschi J. C. & Sarpel G. (1993). "Neuroanatomical correlates of age-sensitive and age-invariant cognitive abilities: An in vivo MRI investigation". Intelligence, 17, 407-422.

    Schoenemann P. T. (1997). The evolution of the human brain and its relationship to behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Berkeley: University of California.

    Wickett J. C., Vernon P. A. & Lee D. H. (1994). In vivo brain size, head perimeter, and intelligence in a sample of healthy adult females. Personality and Individual Differences, 16, 831-838.

    Wickett J. C., Vernon P. A. & Lee D. H. (1996). General intelligence and brain volume in a sample of healthy adult male siblings. International Journal of Psychology, 31, 238-239. (Abstract).

    Willerman L., Rutledge J. N. & Bigler E. D. (1991). In vivo brain size and intelligence. Intelligence, 15, 223-228.

    Wittelson S. F., Glezer I. I. & Kigar D. L. (1995). Women have greater density of neurons in posterior temporal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 15, 3418-3428.

    Reference list compiled from The g Factor.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2004
  17. Mar 3, 2004 #16

    Could you please delete the enormous gap you left between the end of your quote and the end of your post. Makes it extremely difficult to scroll.
  18. Mar 3, 2004 #17
    Something I was wondering...how many tens of millions of dollars were used to measure IQ of a large enough population sample to be relevant. I mean, the costs must be staggering, if you were going to do it correctly. I mean, training IQ testers in the dozens of different languages must have been a staggering feat. Then you have to translate the IQ test instructions and the test themselves, and run a study on each translated IQ test, to guarantee an accurate translation. And, of course, how do you properly randomize your samples? Wow, any study of IQ and race must have taken a team of hundreds, if not thousands of researchers a few decades....

    ...why do I think none of that happened? Someone needs to show me HOW those studies were done, instead of just their dubious "results".

    Oh, and BTW, why not come up with the reverse conclusion, that poverty leads to poor test scores, instead of the other way around? Here in America, economic status seems to be the leading indicator of school performance, not some sort of arbitrary racial division. Why should we not assume the same worldwide, and see any IQ results to be caused by economic factors, instead of going straight for the discredited racist idea that poor countries are filled to the top with sub-humans(which is the assumption of "eugenics", racism by a fancy name)

    Oh, wait, I know why...not only can you be racist and not feel bad, but you can also pretend to be more "enlightened"...
    Allowing racists to do your thinking for you isn't thinking for yourself.
  19. Mar 3, 2004 #18


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    The biggest problem with the "scientific evidence" for genetic racial disparity is that it is collected by people with an agenda. Many researchers may want to know the truth, but they are not willing to spend the money on such a trivial exercise. Only those with an agenda are willing to do this work. Racial propagandists can sell their results if the results support their theories. The same is not true for refutation of those theories. Essentially, even if their thesis is right, it is unprovable, because it is not negatable by objective research. Until such a time that it becomes negatable - when the research can be done cheaply by a financially disinterested researcher - it can not be accepted as good science.

  20. Mar 3, 2004 #19
    Add to that, of course, that raw data on its own, without context, doesn't lead to any conclusions whatsoever. What factors are being left out? Which other factors are included unnecessarily? Where isthe researcher bias, and what steps have been taken to eliminate it? Where does peer review fit in, and what were the results?
  21. Mar 3, 2004 #20
    Which are you? Fool, or follower of Fool?
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