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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Race and the Church

Christianity is about only one thing in the end: reality, the whole undiluted truth about God and Man. The Church has expended 2,000 years fighting the least departure from truth - departures which look like mere trifles to outsiders - as though all eternity depended upon the outcome.

Race and "human bio-diversity", rightly understood and prioritized, capture one aspect of the reality of creation. Theologically, race is a consequence of the Fall, the separation of tongues at Babel. That doesn't make it any less real, nor does it mean that race is not somehow incorporated into the divine will. There exist groups of men who share common ancestors, who also tend to share certain physical and psychological and intellectual traits, and it is fitting that such groups be recognized in human language. Race does exist, and race does matter.

However, unlike sex, race is not a system of fixed categories. It is something that changes with the conception of every human being. Over the centuries new races emerge and old races are transformed. Race can be likened to a large, historical extended family. Families don't just keep to themselves, but they make alliances, they intermarry, they adopt, they wander and mingle and conquer and steal, and they learn from other families.

The Church has always acknowledged and accommodated particular racial and cultural differences, while at the same time minimizing the potential for conflict and emphasizing their common humanity. Racial integration is neither required nor forbidden; interracial marriage is neither encouraged nor discouraged. What is required is charity, justice, prudence and sobriety. It is true that, in recent times, many of the Church's prelates seem to have lost their doctrinal moorings on this topic, but the Church doesn't bind anyone to the transient political opinions of liberal bishops or even popes.

I am pleased to have found that Matthew Anger's article on "Race and the Church", from 2003, is still online at the now defunct Seattle Catholic website. The entire piece is worth reading, but I select the following quote for your consideration:

Modern policies, whether "racist" or "anti-racist," have their roots in the same mindset—the idea that human relations must be forced to fit a procrustean ideological model. Sadly, the denial of the supernatural results in a denial of even the most blatant natural facts about relations between the races. What has the Catholic response been? Unfortunately, the spiritual hiatus of Vatican II short-circuited what might have been a sensible as well as peaceful resolution to modern race issues. While Catholic ethicists prior to the Council were balanced and restrained, by the 1960s, many in the Church unthinkingly aligned themselves with all aspects of the "anti-racist" or "desegregation" movement, not only positive elements but highly dubious ones as well. By contrast, the traditional axiom that should still be invoked today is that the Church favors neither forced segregation nor forced integration.

The instinctive tendency for most individuals is to associate with others of the same racial background. We should not artificially force intermixing in such a way that fosters social strife and, in the process, destroys beneficial social supports that people have built up over generations. This is the case with desegregation in this country where blacks have undoubtedly gained in some areas, yet many have bemoaned the loss of a tight-knit and supportive community life that existed even in the worst days of slavery. Clearly the hypersensitivity about racial differences, the often brutal enforcement of "multiculturalism" and the fear that a racial slur lurks behind the most casual remark, has no part in Catholic thinking. Nevertheless, any secular theory of "racial classification" and strict separation becomes impossible when applied to daily life as, for example, in the case of people with mixed ancestry. Finally, any supposed benefits of racial segregation are belied by the ethnic tension in areas like the Balkans where the contending parties are racially indistinguishable. The deeper factors at work are, and have always been, culture and religion.

As with slavery in the classical world, the resolution of racial problems must be gradual and prudential. Though speculation as to the future of race-relations is difficult, one should keep in mind that there may also be events which would completely alter our priorities. A restoration of the Church and traditional teaching, for instance, would unite men in a cause that would quickly leave political, national and ethnic rivalry well behind us. One may certainly hope so.

Comments (179)

Insofar as race matters to the Church, the fact that the Uganda martyrs (for example) lack an equivalent among the European races—especially since the Europeans need more than ever in their history an example of faith unto death—it seems that the race that should be thinking about “Race and the Church” is not Caucasoid. It should be the simpler peoples of the World who ask “Are they not also children of God?”

Do the blog authors generally believe in young-earth creationism and everyone coming from the Middle East 6000 years ago or do they believe in what's been proposed by scientists (old-Earth, "cavemen", out-of-Africa, people in Europe, East Asia, Australia, New World tens of thousands of years ago, etc.)? Just trying to understand where everyone's coming from here.

Guess I should state my beliefs. I lean strongly towards the view that what science now teaches is more or less correct. I've read some pretty good books by young-earthers who are smarter than I am and who have spent a good deal more time thinking about this but I think the overwhelming bulk of the evidence points to and old earth, the existence of Neanderthals, etc.

I don't see the existence of different races of men as a consequence of the Fall but rather as an feature of God's creation. God said His creation was good (NOT perfect, an important point, I think)
God is gathering together for Himself a people out of every nation under Heaven. This theological fact suggests the existence of different nations (NOT states). The merging of all people into one homogeneous nation seems to be a distinctively modern tendency and not part of God's will.

I don't agree with Matthew Anger's example of the Balkans. No one claims that there aren't other sources of conflict (the Thirty Years War with Germans killing Germans, Orangemen vs Irish Catholics). That doesn't mean that multiracialism isn't a significant source of conflict, envy and other sins, etc.

One could easily take an old-earth view and still believe that the division into races occurred after the fall and/or was a consequence of the division of tongues at Babel. I see no reason why not. A view that might be contrary to this view would be the view of multiple human origins. I suppose a Christian who accepted multiple human origins might consider each of these origins to be a separate divine creation and related somehow to a human race, though that doesn't follow either. And in any event, multiple human origins is highly questionable from a Christian point of view and is hardly required by a rejection of a young earth.

Just to mix things up further, I know of more than one person who thinks races the result of the separation of tongues at Babel and _therefore_ takes separation among the races to be "God's will." (I reject this view myself. I think it's a misuse of Scripture.)

So, Bruce, no one view as to whether separation among races is or isn't "God's will" falls out of one view on the age of the earth, the creation, Babel, etc.

JC quoting MA: "The deeper factors at work are, and have always been, culture and religion."

Culture, in its modern meaning, is largely a product of the 19th century, which later was popularized further by Franz Boas and some of the Cultural Marxists.

http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/down_with_culture/

27 Comrade,

Were you drunk when you wrote "the fact that the Uganda martyrs (for example) lack an equivalent among the European races"? I mean, what other explanation could there be for ignoring 2000 years of church history filled with European martyrs, starting with the Church fathers (who I guess were technically Middle-Eastern, but you get the idea)?

JC: "However, unlike sex, race is not a system of fixed categories."

No, but in terms of identity race seems to run deeper than gender. Two examples come to mind:

(1) Oprah has spent her entire career preaching a type of trans-racial feminism. Yet, when she had the choice of supporting a real feminist (Hillary Clinton) against a black man who's feminist credentials were ambiguous at best (Barack Obama), she quickly opted for the black man.

(2) In jury trials, race usually trumps gender. For example, the OJ Simpson trial. Prosecution wanted an all white female jury. Defense wanted an all black male jury. In the compromise they got a mostly black female jury. We saw how that turned out.


This is unsurprising. The sexes evolve together and are complimentary. They need each to replicate their genes. Races, however, evolved largely in isolation from each other.

One more note...

I don't know if it's really the wisest move for traditionalists to support a culturist (Boasian) view of man. This is the view championed by Cultural Marxists and has some rather disturbing implications.

As John Derbyshire recently wrote, proponents of a theory of culture hold that human nature is infinitely resilient, “like a water-filled balloon. Any of its characteristics can be pushed into almost any shape by ‘cultural’ forces…, but will submit to radical re-shaping if different forces are applied.”

A pre-culture view of man is actually more traditional (and corresponds to findings in evolution):

Pre-culture civilizations spoke on concrete terms, not in abstractions such as “culture.” These societies were rooted blood and soil, kith and kin, kin networks, and blood ties. Both Athenian democracy and Roman republicanism were predicated upon tribal systems, and classical political terms (e.g. nation) often imply link by blood. Aeneas was to found the gens Romana (Roman race), not invent or spread “Roman culture.”

Whereas modern morality seems to presuppose abstractions such as culture to transform, ancient morality was rooted in the ancestral. Even classical natural law, although equated with the mind of God, still manifests itself, as Cicero noted, in the mos maiorum, the tradition of one’s ancestors. Ancient morality, in other words, involved not simply a set of ideas, but the acting in accordance with the customary, time-tested ways of one’s forbearers. Unlike the modern phenomenon of choosing one’s culture, one was born into a set of ancestral traditions to which he was expected to conform. 


People still possess ancestral loyalties today, which persist regardless of attempted cultural assimilation.

But regardless of the power of the ancestral, culture’s luster will continue to dazzle and deracinate.  Only when Westerners put aside such ideological pretensions and again take seriously the ancestral will any hope of recovery seem possible.

Of course, the Bible doesn't give us a timeline for events but Babel appears to be an event from the relatively recent (Neolithic?) Middle East and not something that happened before we came out of Africa. The modern view makes the idea that all humans were gathered in one place in the Middle East 6000 years ago seem fairly implausible.

The vast majority of the Christians that I know believe that Adam & Eve lived in the Middle East about 6000 years ago.

And then there's the archaic human(?) types like the Neanderthals. It's enough to make my head hurt!

From "racial conflict is more prominent than conflict between the genders" it scarcely follows that "in terms of identity, race runs deeper than gender." In fact, this is a very obvious non sequitur. Tendency to conflict between X's and Y's, dislike, etc., is hardly definitional of identity! Biologically, of course, gender is _obviously_ more basic than race, as witness the fact that male and female people of different races can simply have ordinary sexual intercourse and produce children, but this is not the case with people of the same gender!

Bruce: Did you hear about the recent finding by Svante Pääbo at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig? His team discovered that non-Africans (but not Africans) possess Neanderthal DNA. Quite fascinating.

As an aside, although I disagree with a few points Culbreath makes, I'd like to congratulate him for stating the obvious truth: "Race does exist, and race does matter." Sadly, so many Christians today (a majority?) have adopted the Boasian / Cultural Marxist view of man that race does not exist or is unimportant.

Lydia: That should have read: "Yea, but in terms of identity race seems to run deeper than gender." Typing too quickly. I meant to agree that gender is a fixed category but that race seems to have deeper implications in group identity.

"I know of more than one person who thinks races the result of the separation of tongues at Babel and _therefore_ takes separation among the races to be "God's will." (I reject this view myself. I think it's a misuse of Scripture.)"

Lydia, that's not an uncommon view among traditional Christians. The point of Babel doesn't seem to be that people are wickedly sinful and should be scattered (God responded to that with the flood). The point to me seems to be that the gathering of peoples into one nation glorifies man and not God and is to be rejected.

What is your view of the meaning of the story?

MAR, I saw the story. But I don't need them to prove it to me. I just look at myself in the mirror (and my dad.) Big, brutish and furry!

Bruce, I think it's a mistake to think of the story in terms of meaning for racial groups. I tend to take it to have literally happened, for one thing, and insofar as it has a further significance, is a warning to man, etc., it is a warning against pride and the idea that we can "ascend to heaven" and do what God does. C. S. Lewis does pretty well at bringing out this significance in _That Hideous Strength_. (The title of the book is from a medieval poem about the Tower of Babel.) THS is a sci-fi-ish book about, in essence, mad scientists who have ended up being demon worshipers. The good guys ultimately succeed in bringing their work to naught by confounding their language (and some other things, like releasing animals from the vivisection labs to kill the bad guys, starting an earthquake, etc.)

I'll have to read THS. I didn't take Babel to be an ancient apology for racial nationalism.

It's all academic unless there is some objective way to determine what a person's race is.

Perhaps in some cases it's easy. There's probably in some sense a somewhat distinct European race, an eastern asian race, an australian race. These races came from Africa, however, and how would it be possible to divide the people of Africa or the Middle East into races? Essentially Africa seems to be the origin of all the distinct races that are found in other parts of the world. There are probably many races in Africa and a large percentage of the population could probably only be classified as the general human race, equally "related' to all the other races, the basic stock that all races derived from.

More to the point, there is so little genetic diversity in men that the idea of "race" probably is inapplicable. We are all the same race. "Race" in men is probably an optical illusion resulting from our extraordinarily fine ability to detect objectively subtle differences in human faces.

On a related issue, there is a question that intrigues me that few Americans seem to be asking. I think this is the best way to phrase it: Why do American blacks think that Barak Obama's father is black? There is no objective evidence that I've heard of that he belongs to the same Western African race or races (if said races can be coherently and objectively said to exist) that American blacks come from. It is possible that an objective study would determine that Obama's father's people are the very people that the so-called white race could best be said to derive from, that Obama's father is "White." If that were the case would they still call Obama the first black President?

Steve P.: Conventional wisdom suggests that we are all the same species, not the same race - but the Neanderthal DNA find even undercuts that. Modern evolutionary thought dictates that Eurasians broke off from Africans around 100,000 years ago. Around 40,000 years ago, Europeans and Asians broke off from each other. These groups again split, resplit, countless times. While some may disagree on the dates and there are areas were there is much mixing between the above groups (India, the Middle East, etc.), it does not change the overall picture. Groups diverged into separated groups and evolved along different paths. Now we're even finding that some races have the DNA of other species (see Neanderthal comment above). As James Watson has said, any rational person should see that there are races and racial differences. Our ideological desire to make all people the same under the rubric of some egalitarian universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.

"Cavalli-Sforza's team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the "genetic distances" separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danish, and the Japanese 59 times greater. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish."

http://www.isteve.com/realityofrace.htm

M. A. Roberts, you wrote:

(1) Oprah has spent her entire career preaching a type of trans-racial feminism. Yet, when she had the choice of supporting a real feminist (Hillary Clinton) against a black man who's feminist credentials were ambiguous at best (Barack Obama), she quickly opted for the black man.

(2) In jury trials, race usually trumps gender. For example, the OJ Simpson trial. Prosecution wanted an all white female jury. Defense wanted an all black male jury. In the compromise they got a mostly black female jury. We saw how that turned out.

Well that settles it then! Race is more important than sex!

Oprah and O.J. aside, I think you need to take your racial anecdotes from someplace other than People Magazine. For every story of racial conflict there are a hundred more of racial harmony (for lack of a non-cliche, sorry). The flareups are noteworthy precisely because they are exceptional. Sexual conflict, on the other hand, is the daily norm for almost everyone and is wholly unexceptional.

The close proximity of races has always been a feature of the United States, and is simply inevitable in the modern world. If we stopped all immigration this afternoon the reality of American life wouldn't change in this regard. The only conversation really worth having is that of how to make it work. If you're not interested in making it work, the least you can do is avoid exaggerations that undermine what is already working pretty well.

Jeff Culbreath:

True, my above examples (OJ Simpson trial and Obama election) were anecdotal. So, here is a statistical survey of racial disharmony that involves 26,200 people.

"Harvard professor of political science Robert D. Putnam conducted a nearly decade long study how multiculturalism affects social trust. He surveyed 26,200 people in 40 American communities, finding that when the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, the more racially diverse a community is, the greater the loss of trust. People in diverse communities "don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions," writes Putnam. In the presence of such ethnic diversity, Putnam maintains that

""[W]e hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.""

And what some call "harmony," others call unfair. A new study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and his colleague Alexandria Radford is a real eye-opener on the injustice of affirmative action: lower-income European Americans are the most discriminated against group in college admissions. The only harmony I see here is that whites aren't rioting. Is this the type of "harmony" you're talking about?


As I said above, gender differences are important. But the two genders are in a symbiotic relationship. In a state of nature, each requires the other for survival. Traditional group (tribal) identities have never been based on gender. One has always belonged to a group that contained both genders. Ergo, the criterion of group differentiation has always been something other than gender.


JC: "The close proximity of races has always been a feature of the United States." Regarding the "always," look at the 1960 census or any census before 1960.


Regarding the "harmony" that is "already working pretty well,"


What Robert D. Putnam is finding out (although he hates it because it's contrary to his liberal sensibilities) are the implications of the evolutionary theory of ethnic nepotism:

http://vdare.com/sailer/nepotism.htm

Mr. Roberts, I am aware of Dr. Putnam's research. Whether you are confusing race with culture/ethnicity deliberately or ignorantly, I cannot say, but you seem not to understand the difference.

The kind of diversity Putnam has studied is the result of very recent mass immigration from all over the world, concentrated in America's largest cities, in which large numbers of immigrants are still predominantly speaking languages other than English, still practicing their ancestral non-Christian religions, still living in ethnic enclaves large enough to enable them to avoid full assimilation for a generation or two, and worst of all, sending their children to public institutions which actively encourage and perpetuate these divisions.

That does not translate into "different races can never live together in peace because of intrinsic differences". Even in this bizarre and unprecedented situation, the races get along together surprisingly well, all things considered. In California 31% of Asians, 26% of Hispanics, 16% of Blacks and 9% of Whites marry outside of their race. At least 1.7 million Californians are of mixed racial ancestry. More than 1/3 of American adults have at least one family member of a different race. Etc., etc.. If you don't like my sources, you can probably find the same data over at isteve.com. A multiracial society has drawbacks and is not something to pursue for its own sake, but it isn't the ridiculous caricature you would like to portray.

Putnam's research is a case for lower, sensible levels of immigration and policies of gradual but deliberate assimilation. It is not a case for permanent and institutional separation of the races, not even close. The continual need to re-state the obvious is sure evidence one is battling a fever-swamp ideologue.


JC: "The continual need to re-state the obvious is sure evidence one is battling a fever-swamp ideologue."

Logic 101: An ad hominem argument is not an argument.

JC: "Whether you are confusing race with culture/ethnicity deliberately or ignorantly, I cannot say, but you seem not to understand the difference."

I have written on the difference:

http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/down_with_culture/

Although I make the distinction of culture vs. the ancestral.

Regarding Putnam's study, I think you may be confusing Bowling Alone and the study he published in Scandinavian Political Studies (30 (2), June 2007).

In his most recent study, Putnam DOES adjust the data for race. John Lloyd writes:


"When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. ‘They don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions,’ said Prof Putnam. ‘The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching.’"

http://www.amconmag.com/article/2007/jan/15/00007/

JC: ""different races can never live together in peace because of intrinsic differences"" and ""Putnam's research is a case for low levels of immigration and policies of gradual but deliberate assimilation. It is not a case for permanent and institutional separation of the races, not even close."

Wow. You love battling straw men. I never said anything even remotely close to the things you quote above.

JC quoting MA: "A restoration of the Church and traditional teaching, for instance, would unite men in a cause that would quickly leave political, national and ethnic rivalry well behind us."

Doesn't this confuse Augustine's City of Man and the City of God? Or was Spengler right in that Christianity is arch-enemy of tradition and the harbinger of radical egalitarianism?

You love battling straw men.

And you, having never addressed the substance of my comments, love the red herring.

I never said anything even remotely close to the things you quote above.

Perhaps I'm making too many assumptions, then. My apologies. To avoid any future misrepresentation on my part, please tell me specifically what you would like to see in terms of race and public policy. Perhaps we agree after all.

Regarding Putnam's study, I think you may be confusing Bowling Alone and the study he published in Scandinavian Political Studies (30 (2), June 2007).

I read Putnam's diversity study within a week of its hitting the internet. Like most liberal academics, he also confuses race and culture. I would not have expected you to make the same mistake. ("Bowling Alone", which I have also read, has nothing to do with this topic.)

Once again - I'd be interested in your response to the substance of my earlier comments. I'll be scarce for the rest of the day, hope to catch up tomorrow.

Doesn't this confuse Augustine's City of Man and the City of God? Or was Spengler right in that Christianity is arch-enemy of tradition and the harbinger of radical egalitarianism?

Christianity is the arch-enemy of any "tradition", worldview, or ideology that keeps men away from God. Racialism, kinism, nationalism, blood-and-soil-ism, etc. - no less than egalitarianism and multiculturalism - are well documented enemies of the Gospel.

From the late John Attarian http://www.toqonline.com/archives/v4n1/TOQv4n1Attarian.pdf (including a quote from Russell Kirk):

"Being all about conserving, a true conservatism also assigns a high priority
to preserving national sovereignty, ethnic and racial identity, and demographic
continuity. Indeed, preserving identity is, as Russell Kirk observed, a bedrock
imperative:
"It seems to be a law governing all life, from the unicellular inanimate forms to the
highest human cultures, that every living organism of every genus and species
endeavors, above all else, to preserve its identity. Whatever lives...resists with the
whole of its power the endeavors of competing forms of life to assimilate it to their
substance and mode. Every living thing, as part of a species, prefers even death as
an individual, to extinction as a distinct species.... We ought not to be surprised
that men and nations resist desperately—perhaps unreasoningly—any attempt
to assimilate their character to some other body social. This resistance is the first
law of their being, extending below the level of consciousness."

.
.
.
.

Just what are these “conservatives”
trying to conserve? The continuity of a people’s biological identity is one of the
most fundamental continuities there is. If this rock-bottom continuity does not
interest them, what continuity possibly could?"

The dispossession of one's people represents radical discontinuity. I don't see how a conservative can ignore radical discontinuity.

Jim Kalb's quite quotable on this as well:

"Life worth living depends on culture, and culture on ethnicity. Without the common habits and understandings that constitute culture society would be a battleground of brutish asocial individuals. The seedbed for culture is the complex of prerational connections a people develops through long common history -- in other words, ethnicity. While ethnicity and race are not the same, they cannot be altogether separated because both are consequences of a people's long life in common. Since all actual cultures are tied to ethnicity, and therefore at least somewhat to race, to give culture free play is to permit race to have significance.


Ethnic culture cannot survive without preference for one's own people and their ways, or without settings in which a particular ethnic people sets the tone. French culture could not exist if there were no setting anywhere dominated by Frenchmen. The relation between culture and power, like that between culture and race, is not simple, but it cannot be abolished altogether."
"

How is nationalism, blood and soil-ism, etc. contrary to the Gospel? Nations couldn't exist without blood-and-soil-ism. Does the Gospel teach that nations should be abolished?

JC: "Christianity is the arch-enemy of any "tradition", worldview, or ideology that keeps men away from God. Racialism, kinism, nationalism, blood-and-soil-ism, etc. - no less than egalitarianism and multiculturalism - are well documented enemies of the Gospel."

It would be an interesting twist if you tried to prove Spengler WRONG rather than prove him RIGHT (that Christianity is the mother of all modern anti-rootedness, egalitarian ideology). (A good book in proving him wrong is Thomas Fleming's Morality of Everyday Life, where Fleming argues that the modern liberal view of Christianity (essentially the ideology that you champion in the quote above) is a deviation from the Medieval view which is rooted in traditional concepts like blood and soil.)

JC: "Perhaps I'm making too many assumptions, then. My apologies. To avoid any future misrepresentation on my part, please tell me specifically what you would like to see in terms of race and public policy. Perhaps we agree after all."

I do not claim to have all the answers. To overstate the normative might be hubristic, and, who knows, Jehovah or Teutates could strike me down. So let me stick with the descriptive and just say that I agree with Aristotle in his politics where he says "it depends." Using what Aristotle wrote in his politics as a point of departure -- while for some groups of people, given their ancestral traditions, democracy may be better, for others, given their ancestral traditions, aristocracy may be better; and still for others, given their ancestral traditions, monarchy would be better -- what racial policies will work probably will have to be taken on a case-by-case basis. There are no simple answers. Race is not static. New races can be formed (e.g. the mestizo race of Mexico and Central America). Some racial groups are probably more antagonistic toward each other, while others seem to get along better.

The root of most Christian traditionalism is an acceptance of what is, and an appreciation for the extraordinary variety of what is and might be.

You may be born into Roman Britannia, with its outward view toward Rome and Greek antiquity, its culture Latin, its garrison army of protection multiracial but Roman in culture; or you may be born into Dark Age England, with its narrow perspective, its feudal structure, its brutality at the hands of foreign raiders like the Vikings; or you may be born into Plantagenet England, half-French, half-Latin, the uniquely English culture still far in the future; or again you may be born into modern London, multicultural, paralyzed by racial and religious division, oppressed by usury, deracinated and luxurious.

In each circumstance, still a man might by the power of Christ be a saint. The Fall means that Christian men must face each circumstance with courage and faith, and remember that Our Lord reigns, that the Lord God Almighty by His good and perfect will is working all things toward good.

I know that modern London is an anarchic place, but I'd much rather live there than Dark Age London, despite the latter's rather striking homogeneity.

To overstate the normative might be hubristic, and, who knows, Jehovah or Teutates could strike me down.

Oh, look. It's "I respect Christianity, and my children and I belong to some Protestant organizations" Roberts talking.

Mr. Roberts, I think your "Protestant organizations" need to teach you how not to talk like an ("I don't respect Christianity or even theism _at all_") Internet Infidel. Next thing you know you'll be mentioning the Flying Spaghetti Monster and giving the show away altogether.

"I know that modern London is an anarchic place, but I'd much rather live there than Dark Age London, despite the latter's rather striking homogeneity."

For the material comfort & security? That's the only advantage I can imagine.

There are people who want to believe but for whom certain things are a stumbling block. That's my reading of him (just a guess, don't know him and have only seen his public comments). Faith doesn't come as easy to some as to others and we're often in different places. I think people should present their arguments without sarcasm that might drive a seeker away. But it's your blog.

What's wrong with the flying spaghetti monster? I voted for him in the last election. Can't say I'm sorry :-)

I think the overwhelming bulk of the evidence points to and old earth, the existence of Neanderthals, etc.

I saw an intriguing creationist response to Neanderthals' existence: they're the original humans. It makes sense if you consider that Neanderthals were, in every way, genetically superior to modern man. Much stronger, more robust, larger brain. If you look at the way the Bible describes human life spans, it indicates that humanity has been genetically rotting, not advancing since the fall.

Interesting.

I'm not dogmatically old-Earth. I lean heavily towards it but for all I know we're physically descended from a few Middle Easterners who lived 6000 years ago. The Holy Spirit didn't seem to lead the Church to confess this as part of the great ecumenical creeds so I don't think it should have confessional status. A lot of conservative churchs make it a part of their "This We Believe" statements which doesn't really bother me.

Lydia: That was light-hearted. It was my attempt at humor!

That said, although I'm Protestant, I'm not going to forsake my pagan ancestral traditions. I won't be burning my copy of the Iliad, Aeneid or Prose Edda anytime soon. In agreement with JRR Tolkien, I think what is great about European Medieval Christianity is the overwhelming amount of European paganism it has incorporated in it. (Without the infused ancestral paganism, you end up with a tepid sort of ideological Christianity - the type Culbreath seems to advocate.)

Gotta tell you, MA, that particular kind of humor bears a really striking resemblance to the type of anti-Christian snark one sees on atheist/skeptic web sites. It truly does. If you want us to take, "I'm Protestant" to mean "I'm Christian" or even to believe that you are _sympathetic_ to Christianity, it's just not convincing when you say stuff like that. I've got to admit that I'm not convinced anyway, honestly. There's something altogether too dancy about your way of talking about Christianity (in contrast to your friend Bruce, I should add in fairness). (And you know nothing whatsoever about Jeff Culbreath if you think his Christianity is tepid and/or unrooted in tradition, place, time, etc. Google is your friend, btw.) But when you go on and start making yuk yuk remarks about "Jehovah or Teutates" "striking you down," it just looks a lot like the mask coming off. Maybe it would be different in person, but that's how it looks in an electronic medium.

Not to mention that all the race talk and pagan worship gets a little creepy after a while.

Jeff Singer, I meant modern martyrs. You need people to die for the principles today, just as you did back then.

Jeff Singer, I meant modern martyrs. You need people to die for the principles today, just as you did back then.

Who said anything about pagan worship Mr. Luse?

Yet another post I have nothing to contribute too :(

The Chicken

to contribute to.

M. A. Roberts: Last I heard the Eurasian split from the basic human stock was thought to be ~60,000 y.a., although I do have a stack next to the lazyboy of five months worth of Nature magazine to get caught up on. :-) I think your 100,000 y.a. figure was the current thinking among a particular school in anthropology in the late '80s. I may be wrong about that but in any event you seem to have misunderstood my point.

Many of you seem to be missing the point. What is true (according to the current opinion of anthropologists) and what the colorful maps aren't trying to disprove is that while there is a method to genetically define "race" so that Europeans, Australians, and some other groups outside of Africa can be said to be distinct races, the same methodology would break down in the case of Africans, who are far more genetically diverse. You would be defining people in the same ethnic group living in the same village as racially distinct.

Most Africans appear, genetically, to be the basic general stock from which several "races" (according to a definition of race that is problematic and for most intents and purposes unhelpful) emerged by a process of genetic isolation and migration. But that doesn't allow for anything like the 19th century classification of races into "negroid," "caucasoid," "mongoloid." Furthermore, it doesn't allow for the classification of most Africans as a race distinct from the rest of us.

The more basic problem is that the human species is simply not genetically diverse enough to be classified into races. Genetically we are really all the same race. Even if we contrive a way to genetically classify Eastern Asians, for example, into something we artificially call a race it will remain true that they are NOT a different breed or subspecies than the rest of us, and genetic diversity within those artificially contrived so-called races is still far greater than the genetic diversity between any two of those contrived races or between any of those races and the rest of us who don't belong to a genetic race.

M.A Roberts:

This doesn't have anything to do with politics. I betcha dollars to donuts that I'm at least as reactionary as you if not more so. But "race" as it seems to be understood by you and others in this comment section is a category invented by 19th century scientists and those kinds of categories have been abandoned by current scientists, EVEN the ones who are trying to salvage some kind of "racial" categories from the data. Maybe the scientists are wrong and Adam and Eve lived only 6000 years ago but if that's the case there are certainly no races.

SteveP: As I said, different scholars vary on the dates I gave, but the general picture remains the same. Eurasians split from Africans a long time ago, and then Europeans and Asians split, and then these groups split and resplit many times (resulting in more racial groups, like Amerindians). There was mixing of these various races (e.g. India, the Middle East) but many were also isolated for a very long time.

Steve P.: "Genetically we are really all the same race."

What is your evidence? The "genetic distances," quoted above, of Cavalli-Sforza, suggest otherwise:

"Cavalli-Sforza's team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the "genetic distances" separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danish, and the Japanese 59 times greater. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish."

http://www.isteve.com/realityofrace.htm

SteveP: "the same methodology would break down in the case of Africans, who are far more genetically diverse."

Indeed, but in Cavalli-Sforza's genetic distances the greatest gap seems to be between Sub-Sahara Africans and non-Sub-Saharah Africans. This gap is also confirmed by the recent Neanderthal DNA find:

"“Any human whose ancestral group developed outside Africa has a little Neanderthal in them – between 1 and 4 per cent of their genome, Pääbo’s team estimates. In other words, humans and Neanderthals had sex and had hybrid offspring. A small amount of that genetic mingling survives in “non-Africans” today: Neanderthals didn’t live in Africa, which is why sub-Saharan African populations have no trace of Neanderthal DNA.”"

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18869-neanderthal-genome-reveals-interbreeding-with-humans.html?full=true

SteveP: "genetic diversity within those artificially contrived so-called races is still far greater than the genetic diversity between"

At this point, such a line of argument is nearly a cliche in human-population genetics. Genetic diversity within a race does not entail that the diversity between races is meaningless.

Did James Watson really say that "any rational person can 'see' that there are distinct races?"

If so, I think he's using a non-standard definition of "rational person." To him, a rational person is that which the rest of us would call a rational person to whom has been added a particular and very specific kind of intuition. For those of us who lack that intuition (and therefore aren't "rational"?) I wish he would have supplied a coherent method of objectively determining what the races are and how to classify people into those races. Even though we aren't rational it might be helpful to us in exercising our approximation of reason.


SteveP: "But "race" as it seems to be understood by you and others in this comment section is a category invented by 19th century scientists and , EVEN the ones who are trying to salvage some kind of "racial" categories from the data. "

The broad, scientific view of race is modern, but read any classical text and you will find authors constantly talking about race (albeit smaller races, such as "Romans" or "Suebi"). The ancients repeatedly wrote about links by blood and ancestry -- not culture.

SteveP: "those kinds of categories have been abandoned by current scientists"

Tell that to Watson and Crick:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/01/francis-crick-james-watsons-partner-was.html

In part, such categories have been abandoned not because they have been found wanting, but because of the rise of the Boasian view of man. The Boasian view of man prohibits any discussion of ancestral ties or traits.

When James Watson brings up the concept of race and the Equality and Human Rights Commission threatens to bring criminal charges against him, you wonder why more scientists are not talking about race? Geeeeez, I wonder.

What you say above has already been exhaustively stated by nearly every left-wing Boasian in Academia. Funny thing is: fewer people are buying into it -- especially the Chinese who have not been browbeaten by Boasian PC thought.

SteveP: "This doesn't have anything to do with politics. I betcha dollars to donuts that I'm at least as reactionary as you if not more so."

Probably. I don't even know if I consider myself a conservative anymore.

SteveP: "I wish he would have supplied a coherent method of objectively determining what the races are"

You're right. I'm always confusing G.W. Bush and Michael Jordan. Can't keep their names with their faces.

How is nationalism, blood and soil-ism, etc. contrary to the Gospel? Nations couldn't exist without blood-and-soil-ism. Does the Gospel teach that nations should be abolished?

No, but one's allegiance to these must be subordiante to the gospel. If you value race or nation above your allegiance to the Body of Christ you're doing it wrong. Nor is this a recent development of post-Enlightenment bleeding hearts. The 2nd century Letter to Diognetus states that for Christians, every fatherland is a foreign country, and every foreign country is a fatherland.

Conventional wisdom suggests that we are all the same species, not the same race - but the Neanderthal DNA find even undercuts that.

No it doesn't. By definition, the fact that members of different races can have fertile offspring means that we're the same species. It also means that Neanderthals and modern humans are of the same species.

"But that doesn't allow for anything like the 19th century classification of races into "negroid," "caucasoid," "mongoloid."

Sailer points out that the cover of Cavalli-Sforza's book (for a quicker read check out his follow up "Genes Peoples and Languages") looks like what you'd expect if you gave Rudyard Kipling a blank outline map of the world and a box of crayons and told him to draw the races of mankind in.

"Most Africans appear, genetically, to be the basic general stock from which several "races" (according to a definition of race that is problematic and for most intents and purposes unhelpful) emerged by a process of genetic isolation and migration."

No, the archaic type appears to be the Khoisan/Hottentot/Bushman type.

M.A.

While some of the conclusions you referred to seemed to me to be out-of-date, I think maybe the Neanderthal thing is a little too recent. Anthropologists are still working through that and trying to figure out what it means. So I have no comment about that.

"Diversity between races is..." not meaningless.

There are ways, using genetics and statistics, to contrive "racial" categories. Those categories, while not "meaningless," do not mean what you would like to think they mean.

The people doing that work are engaged in statistical analysis. The meaning in their work is primarily mathematical. They do not usually use the word "race" because they generally would not like to be misunderstood the way you seem to be misunderstanding them. You haven't understood everything you've read and the scientific fact remains that there are no subspecies or breeds of men. We are "all the same" in precisely, I think, the ways you would like to find us different and our biological species is unusually genetically homogeneous.

I know you would have a better understanding of human nature if you gave up both the 19th century understanding of "race" which has been abandoned and your pagan ancestors' understanding of "our folk", which has also been abandoned and the incoherent "neopagan" mixture of the two which some people have tried to create but was definitely and finally discredited about six-and-a-half decades ago

Having respect for our pagan ancestors and their strivings for truth is different than trying to recover their idolatrous beliefs. Ultimately, the gods of the pagans are demons. Pagans at their best contributed greatly to western civilization, but neopagans are Satan worshippers.

"according to the current opinion of anthropologists"
According to the "official" opinion of contemporary anthropologists. Foresnic anthropologists will tell you they can detect a person's self-described race just from looking at their bones with 99+ % accuracy.
"The more basic problem is that the human species is simply not genetically diverse enough to be classified into races. Genetically we are really all the same race."
The human species shows a morphological/phenotypical diversity comparable to most GENERA. Phenotype is the expression of genotype. Genetic distances are quite large and have been shown to be comparable to that of dog breeds.
"and genetic diversity within those artificially contrived so-called races is still far greater than the genetic diversity between any two of those contrived races or between any of those races and the rest of us who don't belong to a genetic race."
Richard Lewontin's fallacy. True if you select a single allelle (and even then not always true). The 19th-20th century anthropologists didn't categorize based on a single phenotype. This is why they didn't classify Bantus, Dravidians, and Papuans into the same race even though they share the same skin and it's why you and I can tell them apart with 100% accuracy. Genetic clustering using correlations between alleles from multiple loci (principle components analysis is the mathematical method used to do this. Typically expressed in two dimensions where 1st principle component = source of max variation.) demonstrates the validity of race.

For crying out loud, he said he likes to read pagan works. Let's burn the Illiad, Aenid, Odyssey, Elder and Prose Edda etc. so we aren't accused of being Satanists.

"No, but one's allegiance to these must be subordiante to the gospel."

Who said it isn't? Why should we be forced to choose between racial leftism and racial idolatry?

Since I've been such a loudmouth here but haven't directly addressed what Mr. Culbreath wrote, I'll give you my two cents (it probably isn't even worth that)

I do not think race is a category in Christian anthropology and I do not think the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel has anything to do with race. I do not think the tower story should be read as an explanation for different cultural and ethnic groups (or even the existence of more than one language). We are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Some of the stories in Genesis are on the surface similar to pagan mythological explanations of why the world is as it is, but I think we ought to be looking for deeper meanings.

"They do not usually use the word "race" because they generally would not like to be misunderstood the way you seem to be misunderstanding them."

No, they don't want to be accused of the scientific study of race.

PS why aren't you picking on the entry since IT presumes the existence of race? You just don't like MARs views.


SteveP: "those kinds of [racial] categories have been abandoned by current scientists"

If you've ever read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, you'll know that most scientists tend to operate under paradigms. The current paradigm is the egalitarian Boasian - "race is meaningless" - paradigm. I expect this to change in the next 30 years or so because of recent discoveries in genetics. Yet, still, egalitarianism remains at war with evolution.

SteveP: "neopagans are Satan worshippers"

How can they worship something they see as foreign? It's contrary to the very essence of paganism. For the 100th time, I'm not a neopagan, but I know many pagans both in Europe and the US, and I can tell you that their critiques of modernity are far more interesting than what one today would read at First Things or National Review. But I suspect my view of religion is, let us say, a little less ideological than yours.

SteveP: Question

Do you think the Equality and Human Rights Commission should bring criminal charges against James Watson for discussing race and racial differences? Just curious.

Who said it isn't? Why should we be forced to choose between racial leftism and racial idolatry?

Bruce, I was only stating the proper relationship between race/nation and the Gospel. I didn't mean to imply that your own beliefs or practice were out of whack.

Months ago, someone posted an article here on W4 that was somewhat sympathetic to a return to Germanic paganism, since Christianity hadn't worked to preserve northern Eupropean identity. That's the sort of thinking I was speaking against.

Oprah and O.J. aside, I think you need to take your racial anecdotes from someplace other than People Magazine. For every story of racial conflict there are a hundred more of racial harmony (for lack of a non-cliche, sorry).


The color of crime ought not be discounted...

http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.html

How can they worship something they see as foreign?

Just because they're ignorant of what they worship doesn't mean they aren't, in fact, worshipping it. For those who believe the New Testament is true, Paul is as clear as can be on this point:

but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

There's also no such thing as discrete colors since the visible spectrum is a continuum bounded by ultra violet and short wave infrared. I mean, is blue 488 nanometers or 495 nanometers? Who can say? And the existence of green shows there's no such thing as blue or yellow.

There's no such thing as hot and cold because temperature is a continuum of molecular motion and there exist temperatures described as tepid. Who can say if 95 degrees is hot or if 60 degrees is cold. I'll remember that next time I'm cooking and put my hand in the pot of hot water.

If you ran around day-to-day arguing against categorization of things you encounter in life people would look at you like you're crazy. People categorize things unless they're some sort of radical nominalists. Denying the categorization of people by race has an ideological source/purpose. It ain't a conservative one.

Understood, CJ. I think neo-paganism is ridiculous, goofball garbage.

Bruce,

Dogs are also genetically very homogeneous. I said there are neither subspecies nor breeds within the human species to indicate both the idea that there are no living human subspecies and the idea that there aren't human breeds in the way that there are breeds among the genetically very homogeneous domestic dog species (or subspecies if you want to classify them as Canis lupus) Perhaps it would be theoretically possible to create morphologically very different breeds of men just as we have created breeds of dogs but that has not been done.

I knew that about the Hottentots and Bushmen, btw. I was oversimplifying and hoping no one would notice. I can't write a book in blog comments and no one would want to read a book I'd written anyway. I'm really embarrassed that I've said so much already but I'm trying to say something that I don't know how to state briefly. I think you are wrong about it being a matter of politics and political correctness. There are disagreements among anthropologists and maybe some anthropologists at some universities are afraid to frankly state their views but none of them ascribe to anything like the 19th century scientific conception of race.

I don't think you're a neopagan or attracted to neopaganism. I do have this suspicion or fear there are other readers of this blog who are.

M. A. Roberts:

Neopaganism is itself contrary to the very essence of paganism. I have no doubt neopagans are satanists and at some level they all eventually know it. I also have no doubt that the gods of the pagans are devils and nor should you since it says so in the Bible. I do doubt that you do know any pagans in Europe or the U.S., but if you do know any pagans (immigrants from countries where there are still pre-Christian cultures, perhaps) I'll betcha they or their children will embrace Christianity just as all the European pagans did.

The source of the morphological/behavioral differences between dog breeds seems to be located on a small number of genes. I'm not real fond of the dog-human comparison -it's not real dignified but it's instructive.

You could call it something besides "race" "subspecies", "breed." Call it "ancestral idenity" and I'll still want to conserve it.

I don't think it's just PC-induced fear at work among the academics. They want to beleive that there's just one race of man for ideological reasons. They're globalist egalitarians (who isn't at university).

Actually Steve P this discussion has been a bit of a distraction. The entry presumes the existence of race or whatever you'd like to call it. What's being addressed is what the relationship of race is to the Church, the Gospel, etc. If race doesn't exist then the entire entry is pointless.

Bruce,

I would say that what you want to conserve is not what you think it is.

There is no reason to doubt that the reason anthropologists don't believe in race is that they don't find races. If there were distinct races most anthropologists would be pleased as punch to find them and would have no trouble fitting them into their (diverse) ideologies and being positively activist in pursuit of those ideologies (lobbying for UN resolutions forbidding the contamination by missionaries and other cultural imperialists of Neanderthal culture for example).

Steve P.

Please click your heels together three times and repeat after me: "there's no scientific basis for race, there's no scientific basis for race, there's no scientific basis for:

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2010/08/connect-dots.html

[click on the link Professor Hsu provides for lots more -- you need to hang out at Steve Sailer's blog or Gene Expression for a proper education]

Bruce hit the nail on the head with his 3:35 PM comment.

But I'd like to associate myself with Jeff C's original post and this comment from the original article: "resolution of racial problems must be gradual and prudential." Remember, we all have to take up our cross and Christ reminds us all that it won't be easy. I think that's why He preaches in Luke 14:26

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple."

All earthly loyalties must come second to our loyalty to the King of all Kings!

I thought this from Jeff C., upthread, was particularly sensible:

Putnam's research is a case for lower, sensible levels of immigration and policies of gradual but deliberate assimilation. It is not a case for permanent and institutional separation of the races, not even close.

Just think how radical significantly lowered levels of immigration would be in our current milieu.

Just think how much more radical would be something Jeff C. doesn't discuss here but which I would endorse--namely, tying immigration to things like cultural and religious information that gives us reason to believe certain groups will or will not assimilate well. (Translation: Stop Muslim immgration; there's a ton of good reasons for doing so.) In other words, immigration policy should discriminate. A quota system from specific countries, based on factors that include America's relationship to those countries, the likelihood that immigrants will be terrorists, as well as other information about the nature of those countries, would be incredibly radical and would be of great value.

The source of the morphological/behavioral differences between dog breeds seems to be located on a small number of genes. I'm not real fond of the dog-human comparison -it's not real dignified but it's instructive.

You could call it something besides "race" "subspecies", "breed." Call it "ancestral idenity" and I'll still want to conserve it.

But with dogs the interbreeding between different breeds (in most cases) is actually good for the dog. The comparison would be the complete opposite of what your are actually trying to suggest, which is that the interbreeding of different races is bad.

In principle, I agree with a "permanent and institutional separation" of distinct peoples. Such an institution is traditionally called a "nation."

"But with dogs the interbreeding between different breeds (in most cases) is actually good for the dog. The comparison would be the complete opposite of what your are actually trying to suggest, which is that the interbreeding of different races is bad."

Not sure I follow you. Excessive imbreeding can cause cause congenital defects (though mixed breeds can have the same congenital defects - there's just less basis on which to predict the probability of them occurring.) Again, not a terribly dignified comparison and, anyway, the point was that small genetic differences can cause large difference in phenotype (a common reason given for the non-reality of race is that a small number of genes actually vary between the races i.e. the genetic differences are small and we're 99.XX-add as many significant digits as you want- percent genetically identical. My point wasn't "see we should breed ourselves how we breed dogs."


I didn't claim that the interbreeding of different races in medically bad.

You could call it something besides "race" "subspecies", "breed." Call it "ancestral idenity" and I'll still want to conserve it. That's what conservatives do. They conserve things.

Jeff,

You either didn't understand the previous discussion or you don't understand the import of the article referenced in the blog you linked to.

The human species is genetically very homogeneous and the 19th century conception of races does not correspond to any systematic relationship. Why do you think they had to deal with the global and the African data sets separately?

I'm not sure I know what the blogger's point was but if he was trying to hint that the reason anthropologists can't find a coherent theory of race that is significant and that includes the people of Africa as well as the rest of the world is political correctness, he is naive and lacks good sense.

This is plausible:
"scientists don't want to consider race a meaningful concept because of political correctness."
This may be plausible:
"biologists don't want to consider race meaningful because of p.c."
This is not plausible:
"anthropologists don't want to consider race meaningful because of p.c."

If you know much about anthropology and anthropologists you should understand this. One could could accept the idea that anthropologists might be careful about how they talk about race to the general public because of fear of a p.c. reaction (in fact I know of an instance where this happened). But anthropologists aren't afraid to study race and some anthropologists do have conceptions of "race" that they consider worth studying but these conceptions bear little relationship to the conception your dad learned as a child in the 1930s or that you may have learned from popular culture.

The reason anthropologists don't believe in race is because they can't find races. Don't you think any anthropologist would be thrilled to discover something like that? perhaps political correctness would stand in the way of his getting the Nobel prize but he would achieve much fame and other honors.

"My point wasn't "see we should breed ourselves how we breed dogs."
I didn't claim that the interbreeding of different races in medically bad.

I realize this but if your going to make human/dog comparisons someone is eventually going to point out that interbreeding is genetically beneficial to dogs, and hence human racial interbreeding must be good as well. Whither or not this is correct is a different matter, but you went from making a comparison between dogs and humans to claiming races shouldn't interbreed, hence leaving yourself open to a attack.

You could call it something besides "race" "subspecies", "breed." Call it "ancestral idenity" and I'll still want to conserve it. That's what conservatives do. They conserve things.

They conserve what is worth conserving, and you've not explained why we should conserve races within themselves, why is interbreeding bad and why is the opposite good. Most races have already mixed throughout history anyway, so what is it your actually conserving. I don't really find myself disagreeing that much with your point in general, I just don't think you've made a very good case for it.

Bruce

It's not a question of what you call "it." Your "it" doesn't exist, despite your Watsonian intuitions.

Of course there are related things that do exist in one mode of existence or another that deserve to conserved: cultural identity for example, and various cultures. A sense of connection to our ancestors and their history. Our family ties and ethnicity. Our attachment to our homelands and people. None of these things have much to do with "race" though, in fact an attachment to the erroneous concept of race can stand in the way of their preservation.

consider for example the young woman who, when asked where she is "from" has learned to say: "My biological parents were Korean but I grew up in Kazakhstan and I'm culturally Russian." Her ethnicity and race are Russian and she is a Russian American. Her children will be second-generation Russian Americans. Her parents (the people she refers to as "my mom" and "my dad") are Russian. when she is older and has more self-confidence she will simply call herself "Russian American" and it won't bother her at all that people are wondering how she can be Russian when she looks Japanese. There are real things here that ought to be conserved: Sasha's Russian pride and heritage, her sense of connection to the past, her love of Russia and it's culture, her language, Russianness itself, Russia, Korea, Kazakhstan, the people of those countries. But is there any good reason to conserve the tendency of people to jump to unwarranted conclusions based on physical appearance and our garbled cultural memories of some 19 th century eugenicists discredited theories? No. what we should do is try to learn not to judge a book by it's cover.

M.A. Roberts, the Putnam work you pointed to earlier does not clarify that it controlled for other possible sources of lack of trust than race, income, and some other superficial aspects of humanity. Did he also control for a complex of political/religious/philosophical outlook?

I am Italian and Irish by blood (Best of the best of the Old World, yea). But I don't trust Italians who mouth liberal claptrap, whatever they look like. And I am Catholic, but I don't trust Catholic New York Democrats, who largely voted for Obama. And I am a Thomist: I really, really don't trust new-age mental gloopies, even when they are from my own family, and are Italian/Irish, and claim Catholic roots.

One of the problems of doing a really good controlled study of the effect of racial / ethnic / conditioning diversity is that there are so few places not infected with the reality of diversity: even when the physical community remains mostly mono, TV brings in diversity of thought, perspective, etc.

Part of what makes us comfortable with "others" is the degree to which we feel that these "others" participate in things that we participate in, things that we identify ourselves with - ways in which their 'otherness' isn't significant, or isn't other. One of the basic ways of self-identity is ancestry: Ivan Petrovitch, where the ending tells us something important. But that way is hardly the MOST important, the MOST serious, the MOST definitive way each of us identifies by. Some people identify themselves, at the final, rock bottom as rich: if they lose all their money, they kill themselves. Some people's most basic identity is religion: they are willing to die for that identity.

Part of what happens when you fractionate a given population with multiple waves of immigration is that you create a vast complex of different avenues for one person to diverge from another: they can have the same religion, but be worlds apart philosophically. They can be the same race (even same family) but be totally diverse in religion. And in income, education, reading habits, politics, sports, foods, etc. As a result, the more fragmented the social sphere is, the more a given person's "likeness" group, in ALL of the ways that matter to him, is likely to shrink to nearly 1. The result isn't due to race, nor to income, nor to any other one thing.

Did Putnam control for complexity of a society?

@SteveP -- open your eyes...if you cannot see different races you are either on drugs or a fool...

there is no contradiction in loving your race and being christian....almost every white person before civil rights movement loved his own race and was conservative christian...no contradiction...read auster ...I'm christian and love the white race...but this doesn't mean i hate other races...but i don't want them all coming here

neopagans are mostly in conservative groups in europe...but i get the sense they are getting more popular in usa. differnt versions of this video explaining neopaganism in the usa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDvPdWBeEFc

keep appearing on different conservative forums

Steve P: You say that "race doesn't exist."

"Race" is the word that, by language convention, is given to a complex of observable traits. The observable traits do, individually, exist. The complexes of them exist in degrees. The most you can conclude, then, is that race exists in degrees, not in absolute terms. But that is sufficient.

If you take 1000 observers from all over the world and have each of them categorize 5000 random people photos out of magazines according to "black" or "white" person, here is what you would find:

For 100% of the observers, the average skin tone (or, the average amount of black ink used in black & white photos) of his or her "black" grouping would be darker than that of the "white" grouping.

For 100% of the observers, the average curly-hair attribute of the "black" grouping would be higher than the average curliness of the "white" grouping.

Clearly, "race" really does mean something to the people who use the language. What it means is repeatable from person to person without difficulty. Therefore, the fact that it is a matter of degree does not change its reality. Whether (or, how) its reality is substantiated in different underlying biology is really irrelevant, since the term's meaning originates in observable traits.

Steve P: "Of course there are related things that do exist in one mode of existence or another that deserve to conserved......None of these things have much to do with "race" though"

If you replace Englishmen with Africans you won't have England (no matter how slow you do the replacement).

Steve P thinks that if he repeats a self-evident platitude like "it doesn't exist" in different ways a thousand times then that makes it true. There's no concensus among physical anthropologists that race doesn't exist. Their organization has an "official" position. Given the ascendency of left-liberalism I'm not real shocked at what that "official" position is. You don't seem to have a good, basic understanding of leftist thought.

Forensic anthropolgists know race exists. Dr. George W. Gill of the University of Wyoming told the PBS series Nova: "The idea that race is 'only skin deep' is simply not true, as any experienced forensic anthropologist will affirm... I have been able to prove to myself over the years, in actual legal cases, that I am more accurate at assessing race from skeletal remains than from looking at living people standing before me."

Again this discussion is a distraction. The piece assumes that race exists and is about its relationship to the Church. Go find a "Does Race Exist?" column and comment there because your noodling is distracting.

TPB,

I don't care what people point out if they're entirely missing the point that I'm making. But since you want to go with the comparison... Cross breeding dogs destroys breeds. I like having a Newfoundland. Bloodlines from other breeds are usually (very selectively) infused into a breed when a breed has been devestated as did happen during the world wars. Breeding my Rottweiler with a Pomeranian isn't good from my point of view because there's a decent chance I'll get a useless little furball.

"They conserve what is worth conserving, and you've not explained why we should conserve races within themselves, why is interbreeding bad and why is the opposite good."

Conservatives have pre-rational attachments (read Kirk) that aren't subject to reason or rigorous mathematical proof. Attachments to what's close to you are especially important. The idea that we need a reasoned argument to conserve what we place value on is a liberal argument and that fact that you feel I need it suggests you're a liberal. I place subjective value on distinct peoples.

Cultures and ethnicities are not the same as races but cannot be meaningfully seperated from race. Africans aren't Englishmen and if you replace Englishmen with Africans (no matter how slowly or how much emphasis you put on "assimilation") you'll have a place that's "England" in name only (and maybe not even that).

Steve P. said:

This is plausible:
"scientists don't want to consider race a meaningful concept because of political correctness."
This may be plausible:
"biologists don't want to consider race meaningful because of p.c."
This is not plausible:
"anthropologists don't want to consider race meaningful because of p.c."

Q.E.D.: Anthropologists are not scientists.

M.A. Roberts said:

In terms of identity race seems to run deeper than gender.

I know of at least one study that appears to refute that. Interestingly, the study is really just about race; the gender aspect of it came out almost incidentally.
http://www.pnas.org/content/98/26/15387.full

Conservatives have pre-rational attachments (read Kirk) that aren't subject to reason or rigorous mathematical proof. Attachments to what's close to you are especially important. The idea that we need a reasoned argument to conserve what we place value on is a liberal argument and that fact that you feel I need it suggests you're a liberal. I place subjective value on distinct peoples.

I don't think this is quite true conservatives have rejected many things from the past for rational reasons or because of the adoption of Christianity. From sexual mores, to day to day pratices to our views on violence that up to that point had been considered traditions, were overturned when Christianity began to spread through Europe and began to exert its power and influence. If we believed morally and legally prohibiting racial interbreeding was contrary to Christian teachings we would most likely reject it. Now the point you could make is that having views that put you against interracial relationships wasn't considered to be contrary to Christian teachings up until the 1960's, hence the modern adoption of being pro-interraical relationships within Christianity is more a by product of liberalism than Christianity, which seemed to just mindlessly followed where liberal society was already heading and I think that would be a good answer.


Cultures and ethnicities are not the same as races but cannot be meaningfully seperated from race. Africans aren't Englishmen and if you replace Englishmen with Africans (no matter how slowly or how much emphasis you put on "assimilation") you'll have a place that's "England" in name only (and maybe not even that).

This is a good answer. I've seen Auster make the same argument. But to be fare by point was about interbreeding between races, where as your point seems to be more about immigration than interbreeding. I agree that interbreeding and the multiculturalism that comes with it will erode national identities, but the people of that country have to care about there national identity in the first place and want to preserve it, and I don't believe most people within most modern nations do care about there national identity, a country to them is nothing more than land and a government or a place to carry out economic transactions. But the fact is Interbreeding between races is higher in England than any other Western country in the world. And as Jeff pointed out earlier there's already so much racial interbreeding going on, that we already seem to have past a point where conserving races is likely, apart from say in small pockets of resistance.

Bruce,

I fear we already don't have England!

"If you replaced The english by Africans you wouldn't have England."

Africa isn't a country, it's a continent. Anyway, if you replaced the English by Frenchmen you wouldn't have England, either. same thing would happen if you replaced them with Germans, Russians, Chinese, or Cherokee. What does that have to do with race?

"Steve thinks that if he repeats 'it doesn't exist' a thousand times it makes it true...

Nonsense. Now you Are being a clown.

I am not sure why you are dwelling on replacing Englishmen with "Africans." (and not, say Dutchmen or Siamese) Doing any of those things would have the effect of changing England (catastrophically were it to happen quickly but in some ways even if it were done slowly with assimilation) The idea does not have anything to do with race, per se. Are you saying that it would be possible to contrive a genetic definition of "race" whereby Englishman and Africans could in the same contrived sense said to be races? That would be incorrect and you have it backwards. Africans are much more genetically heterogeneous than Eurasians. A definition that made Northern Europeans the same race, could if applied to some Africans, make two people of the same tribe living in the same village different races.

I wonder if this captures what you mean: "If the English people themselves changed, by which I don't mean they were replaced but if their bodies were magically changed in form so that anyone who looked at them, even people who lack the Watsonian intuition, would guess that their ancestors were from western subsaharan africa and their genomes were changed to be similar to those of some people from Africa, England would cease to exist--but if a similar magic trick changed their forms and genomes into those of Danes England would not cease to exist because in the one case the change would make them different races but in the other case the change would not change their race."

Because if that captures what you are getting at than you seem to be saying something racist.

Anyway, race does not seem to dictate who we are--I know American blacks whose ancestors come from Europe and at least at one white girl whose ancestors were black slaves. in the case of the immigrant from Kazakhstan I mentioned earlier the only effect that race had for her was to make other people (especially people with that watsonian intuition some here have mentioned) Jump to false conclusions about her. It must be tiresome enough for her to explain that there are a lot of Russians in Kazakhstan without also feeling she has to apologize for not looking Russian enough to other people.

Is

Jake Frievald: I qualified my statement about gender above. The two genders are in a symbiotic relationship. In a state of nature, each requires the other for survival. Traditional group (tribal) identities have never been based on gender. One has always belonged to tribes that contained both genders. Ergo, the criterion of tribe differentiation has always been something other than gender. This is what I was getting at.

SteveP: "the 19th century conception of races does not correspond to any systematic relationship"

Looking at the above comments, I cannot see a single one that states we should return to a concept of race exactly identical to the 19th century. You are creating a strawman. Most of those I know have a more Sailer-esque notion of race: race is a very extended family demarcated by common ancestry. To deny race in this sense is to deny ancestry. There are also various circles to show how closely or distantly a group of people are related, as suggested by genetic distance:

"Cavalli-Sforza's team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the "genetic distances" separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danish, and the Japanese 59 times greater. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish."

http://www.isteve.com/realityofrace.htm

SteveP: "those kinds of categories have been abandoned by current scientists"

Do James Watson and Francis Crick not count as "current scientists"?

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/01/francis-crick-james-watsons-partner-was.html


SteveP: Do you think the Equality and Human Rights Commission should bring criminal charges against James Watson for discussing race and racial differences? Just curious. You never answered this question.


What Bruce says above is entirely correct. The race denial business DOES have political implications. The reason why leftists so adamantly push for a Boasian view of man is because it reenforces their view of the malleability of human nature. The more malleable human nature is, the more easily cultural forces can shape it. What SteveP is arguing for is a modified form of Cultural Marxism - but wishful thinking nonetheless.

Bruce,

"comment there because your noodling is distracting."

But let you to have the last word here, right? Because if I reply to what you said it will distract people. :-)

Seriously, though, I hope you're not angry at me about something. Maybe we need to meet in person and have a coffee or a beer together. What part of the world do you live in? You're a nice guy and I like you. You also like me. Really. Or if you don't that's all the more reason we should try to meet in person. You can meet my wife, too, she's also very nice. Maybe we don't live near each other and this would be impractical but I really think it would be good for the two of us to try to like each other even though we don't see eye-to-eye.

M.A.:

About the Equality and Human rights commission thing I have no idea what you are talking about. You've mixed me up with someone else. I think Bruce had some ideas along that line, maybe that's who you're thinking of.

Bruce:

"Useless" fur ball? What do you use your Rottweiller for? :-)

Speaking of utility, what use does the concept of race have for you? If it contributes to your sense of rootedness and identity that could be useful. If it causes you to jump to false conclusions about other people (like that self-conscious Russian girl I mentioned) It isn't really helping you it's confusing you.

Cultures and ethnicities are not the same as races but cannot be meaningfully seperated from race. Africans aren't Englishmen and if you replace Englishmen with Africans (no matter how slowly or how much emphasis you put on "assimilation") you'll have a place that's "England" in name only (and maybe not even that).

We're seeing this in Africa as well, now that the Chinese are colonizing Africa en masse (if you find the idea of Chinese colonialism, just do a Google search on the subject and you'll get a ton of information). Two cultures largely undiluted by liberalism. The Chinese see themselves as one tribe/race, the Africans as others.

"Because if that captures what you are getting at than you seem to be saying something racist."

Yes, I say lots of things that are racist. Yes, I'm saying that sub-saharan west Africans don't have the genetic endowments to create or continue English civilization and that Danes do and that an England with sub-saharan west Africans would likely be an awful place to live and that it would be an awful place to live because of the race of it's inhabitants. Clear enough?

And I'm saying that Chinamen might very well have the genetic endowments to create or continue English civilization but they probably won't because THEY believe they are a race and when they look in the mirror they see a Chinaman and not an Englishman no matter what Steven J. Gould says.

Your anecdotes are interesting but useless. What matters is the aggregate effects not whether you know a black from Europe who acts like a European.

"what use does the concept of race have for you?"
I can figure out which neighborhoods I'm most likely to have my head bashed apart in. Ditto the rape of female acquaintences like the friend of my aunt's who was raped in my aunt's own bed by a (raceless) west african.

I'm not mad at you but Rem Tene. The point of the article is the relationship of race to the Church and assumes that race is real. The blog authors have obviously lost interest and this is getting real boring, real fast. I think this thing's about petered out.

If it causes you to jump to false conclusions about other people (like that self-conscious Russian girl I mentioned) It isn't really helping you it's confusing you.

Societies never taken on the characteristics of their exceptions. Your "Russian girl" would happen to be one of those exceptions.

Bruce wrote:

How is nationalism, blood and soil-ism, etc. contrary to the Gospel?

It isn't the existence of races, nations, blood or soil that is contrary to the Gospel, but the "-ism" sometimes attached to them - the elevation of these things, not bad in themselves, as a supreme value or organizing principle.

The Gospel bids men to love their neighbors. In this country, it is likely that at least some of your neighbors are of another race. You owe them greater love and loyalty than you owe your fellow "whites" in Podunk, Finland or wherever.

Does the Gospel teach that nations should be abolished?

Of course not. Neither does the Gospel teach that the racial composition of nations is inviolable or sacrosanct, or that existing nations are to be preserved at all costs.

Phantom wrote:

And as Jeff pointed out earlier there's already so much racial interbreeding going on, that we already seem to have past a point where conserving races is likely, apart from say in small pockets of resistance.

Racial and ethnic groups are a natural consequence of geographical, linguistic, religious and cultural barriers. Within the United States these natural barriers are weak, and sometimes removed entirely. People who live in the same place, speak the same language, and participate in the same economy and culture, even if they be of different races, will of course not rank "racial preservation" particularly high on their list of priorities.

Yes, I'm saying that sub-saharan west Africans don't have the genetic endowments to create or continue English civilization and that Danes do

Somebody should've told this to Alfred the Great.

Just think how much more radical would be something Jeff C. doesn't discuss here but which I would endorse--namely, tying immigration to things like cultural and religious information that gives us reason to believe certain groups will or will not assimilate well. (Translation: Stop Muslim immgration; there's a ton of good reasons for doing so.) In other words, immigration policy should discriminate.

Absolutely. Muslim immigration, in particular, needs to be stopped immediately and permanently. But I'm obviously not one who has a problem with "third world" immigration per se. The immigration of serious Christians, which should be one of the top critera of American immigration policy, will come almost exclusively from the "third world".

Thanks Jeff C. for getting it back on track.

The existence of distinct nations of men literally requires/necessitates a certain degree of loyality towards one's own and a certain degree of insularity. If the -ism attached to these things bothers you then forget that I attached it (in quoting you). Everything on this earth is, of course, subordinate to Jesus Christ. But if we are to live in a world of nations, then to some degree the things/attitudes necessary for the existence of a nation can't be contrary to the Gospel.

I don't want a nationalist relationship with my 8th cousins twice removed in England and Germany let alone Finns. Good point, but not applicable to my beliefs. Let the Finns be Finns. I don't call whites "brotha."

I do not think that racial barriers are God-ordained barriers that are holy things. If that were the case, He would not have made us compatible in the ways that we are compatible - psychologically, sexually, etc. I do not think existing nations should be preserved at ALL costs. I do not think we have a right to do WHATEVER we want to others to preserve nations.

"People who live in the same place, speak the same language, and participate in the same economy and culture, even if they be of different races, will of course not rank "racial preservation" particularly high on their list of priorities."

We have lived with Africans on this continent for 400+ years, speak the same language, and both groups were historically Christian. If we didn't have racial preservation high on our priority list we'd all be (forgive the term) Mulattos. It wasn't till the 1960s that these barriers were taken down. I think history suggests you are wrong.

I had reason to believe we were talking about modern English civilization. My point stands. England inhabited by Danes would be a better place to live than England inhabited by Africans.

"The immigration of serious Christians, which should be one of the top critera of American immigration policy, will come almost exclusively from the "third world"."

How do we screen them for seriousness? Membership in the Roman Communion? We already have mass immigration of third world Christians (from Mexico and Central America, for example). I don't think it's working out real well.

Bruce:

"Yes, I say lots of things that are racist. Yes, I'm saying that sub-saharan west Africans don't have the genetic endowments to create or continue English civilization and that Danes do and that an England with sub-saharan west Africans would likely be an awful place to live and that it would be an awful place to live because of the race of it's inhabitants. Clear enough?"

Clear enough. Thank you for being frank. I know you won't like this and think I'm beating a dead horse but you have by being frank changed the question: Do you think anthropologists, whose field of scientific study is human nature and race, in particular the ones who use the word "races" frankly and unapologetically to refer to the current state of the human species, would agree with what you are saying about subsaharan west africans and about the magnitude and import of racial differences? If not, do you really think it's because of their political views or fear or what have you or is it because they objectively haven't found races in the sense YOU find them. That's a rhetorical question. I believe I already know the answer but I wanted you to consider the question to make a point.

Yes, up until know I have found it hard to make my position clear and some here have misunderstood me but that is in part because you refrained from being frank about what your position was. I can say it more clearly now: According to YOUR understanding of what races are and what the import and significance of racial differences are, scientists do not find races and I am certain that it is not because they have avoided looking for them. Don't take my word for it. Tell ANY anthropologist exactly what you told us about subsaharan africans lacking the genetic endowments to continue western civilization and ask him if he thinks you are right about what human races are.

Mike T:

No, societies never take on the characteristics of their exceptions but the concept of race doesn't really help you to understand what other people are. You'd have far better luck simply asking the person in question rather than jumping to conclusions based on his physical appearance. Furthermore (for most people), race per se only helps you to understand who YOU are if you insist on artificially dragging race into the question or someone else has forced you to think that way.

I'm a Minnesotan. I'm a White Lutheran Minnesotan, in fact, but racial categories don't help me understand that or really enter into the question (in America "white" and "back" seem to be cultural and ethnic categories rather than racial ones though they are related to the concept of race of course). An englishman (probably, maybe nowadays that's changed because of immigration) just thinks of himself as an englishman. Race doesn't enter into it except in the not-strictly-biological sense you talk about the "english race."

As for immigration (in the U.S.) race no longer enters into that question either.

The biggest problem we have right now in terms of immigration is the massive illegal immigration of Mexicans. The problem isn't that they are a different race the problems are the ongoing destruction of Mexico by NAFTA, the Mexican government and its policies, the IMF, inaction by the U.S. government, and many other non-racial forces.

Another problem that has been identified is the immigration of Moslems. Again that's not a question of race.

Race doesn't help us understand the problems or present us with a solution.

We have lived with Africans on this continent for 400+ years, speak the same language, and both groups were historically Christian. If we didn't have racial preservation high on our priority list we'd all be (forgive the term) Mulattos. It wasn't till the 1960s that these barriers were taken down. I think history suggests you are wrong.

The minority population is always going to be more racially mixed than the majority. To that end 58 percent of American blacks have at least 12 percent European ancestry, and 19.6 percent of blacks have at least 25 percent European ancestry. Those are pretty strong numbers, but still not as strong as that which exists in Latin America and the Philippines, where the races were in some ways more compatible. Furthermore the Spanish Catholics did not have the extreme race-consciousness of the English, the latter being fortified by the Jewish racialism of the Old Testament, which Protestantism resurrected, and the racial theories of Charles Darwin, which many Englishmen adopted as an achievement of national pride.

Although I believe you greatly exaggerate both the importance of race and the magnitude of differences between races, the real differences which do exist could not be greater than that which exists between Africans and Englishmen. This reality obviously impedes assimilation - though a partial assimilation is clearly achievable and, in my opinion, greatly preferable to the difficulties and inevitable injustices of legal and institutional segregation.

We already have mass immigration of third world Christians (from Mexico and Central America, for example). I don't think it's working out real well.

1) I don't favor "mass immigration" from anywhere, as a rule.

2) Current immigration from Mexico can hardly be characterized as devout. The status of religious seriousness can be confirmed using certain proxies - letters from clergy and American sponsors, parish records, etc..

I mean, let's be clear on one thing, Bruce. "Permanent and institutional separation of the races", which you advocate, cannot be achieved in the United States apart from acts of grave immorality and injustice. Even if the end were a good thing in itself, which it isn't. So why even entertain the idea? It's just pure nonsense.

No, societies never take on the characteristics of their exceptions but the concept of race doesn't really help you to understand what other people are. You'd have far better luck simply asking the person in question rather than jumping to conclusions based on his physical appearance.

That is an incredibly inefficient way of dealing with humanity. You are jettisoning the "cheap information" as Walter Williams calls it, likely because of a liberal bias on subjects such as this.

When I look at someone who is East Asian, I can be reasonably certain that they are either from Asia or the United States (or, far less likely, but still more probable than other possibilities, Canadian); They rarely are from Latin America, Africa or Europe.

It would be irrational for me to ignore this cheap information.

I'm a Minnesotan. I'm a White Lutheran Minnesotan, in fact, but racial categories don't help me understand that or really enter into the question

That's probably a function of you living in one of the more racially homogenous areas of the country. It is not that race is a primary defining characteristic, but when you grow up in a very diverse area of the country as I did, you can't help but notice that you are biologically different and that there are certain subtle cultural differences between your group and the others even if you share the same culture on the surface.

Race is simply a defining characteristic because it is so subtly intertwined in our perception of what we are. Who we are is inherently derived, in part, from what we are.

That should have read:

It is not that race the a primary defining

Steve P. asks"

Do you think anthropologists, whose field of scientific study is human nature and race, in particular the ones who use the word "races" frankly and unapologetically to refer to the current state of the human species, would agree with what you are saying about subsaharan west africans and about the magnitude and import of racial differences? If not, do you really think it's because of their political views or fear or what have you or is it because they objectively haven't found races in the sense YOU find them.

This from Carleton Putnam's Race and Reason, published in 1961:

I read Boas before learning these things because I wanted to approach his ideas with an impartial mind, on their merits and not on the merits or demerits of the author. Yet page by page my amazement grew. Here was clever and insidious propaganda posing in the name of science, fruitless efforts at proof of unprovable theories, which I would be only too glad to point out to the Attorney General. I went on to Herskovits and others until the pattern began to repeat itself, the slippery techniques in evading the main issues, the prolix diversions, the sound without the substance. Was it possible that a whole generation of Americans had been taken in by such writing as this? My wife and I began to read seriously and earnestly—after a few evenings we found ourselves laughing out loud.

Still I was not satisfied. Surely there must be some explanation. It was hardly possible that schools were being closed in Virginia, men threatened with jail in Ohio, on the basis of a hoax as transparent as this. Were there no professional scientists in America who saw what I saw?

And so I took the third step in the preliminaries to my letter to the Attorney General. By mail, by telephone, and finally by personal visits, North and South, I found professional scientists aplenty who saw what I saw. And I discovered something else. One prize-winning Northern scientist whom I visited at his home in a Northern city asked me, after I had been seated a few minutes in his living room, whether I was sure I had not been followed. Another disclosed in the privacy of his study that he had evidence he was being checked by mulattoes at his lectures. All, when first approached, were hesitant, withdrawn and fearful, and the reason was not far to seek. Their employers on whom their livelihood depended—the universities, the museums, the foundations—were either controlled by equalitarians or were intimidated by the race taboo. The scientists whom these institutions employed, if they were ever to hint at the truth, must do so deviously, under wraps over wraps, half seeming to say the opposite.

But as they grew to know me they gave me the facts without varnish. In long conversations and letters they provided the confirmation I needed. Many were internationally known. Some had received the highest prizes. Any public official who will guarantee their livelihood can get their names from me, on one condition—that the scientists themselves agree.

I do not hold a brief for or against the attitude of these men. Most of them expressed their reluctance in terms of a temporary condition. One was about to publish a book and he felt it more important in the long run to keep the track clear for the book than to declare his position now. Another had a confidential assignment for his state that he must first perform. Another said, “I cannot commit academic suicide. I still have work to do. But when I retire—!” Another was simply “biding his time.” How much of this was rationalization, arising from a timidity that ought to be overcome, I would not venture to say. It was easy enough for me, a man entirely independent of control, to speak—indeed it made my obligation unavoidable. It was less easy for them.


Mike:

The Twin Cities is not nearly as homogeneous as people think, and furthermore I live and grew up in the inner city. I'm not ignoring cultural differences nor do I agree with you that cultural differences between different cultural and ethnic groups are subtle. I called myself "White Lutheran Minnesotan" to distinguish myself from people of other ethnic groups, who are culturally different than me (and not subtly so).

What I basically ignore are racial differences. They are irrelevant and virtually nonexistent compared to cultural differences and ethnic (abstracted from the bare category of "race") differences. And I think you are incorrect if you think "but the differences between white Americans and black Americans are racial differences." It may seem that way to you but it is an illusion. Some people of European ancestry are ethnically and culturally black and some people of African ancestry are ethnically and culturally white. What seems to people who have decided to think in racial categories an incoherence between their appearance and ethnicity no doubt creates a problem for them but the problem is not essentially a racial problem it is a problem created by the way they are treated by other people jumping to conclusions.

OK, Andrew, do YOU think that anthropologists have found races IN THE SENSE that Bruce uses the word? Please read everything Bruce said and think about what geneticists and anthropologists say about human differences before you answer.

With your 2:43 PM comment Jeff, you have essentially made the same point that I was trying to make to Bruce, though much better than I was personally capable of.

Jeff @ 2:27

I think the Judaizers were the Calvinists/Puritans and not so much, say, the Episcopals or Protestants in general. But I'll gladly accept correction on this point if I'm wrong.

I don't think I'd describe not blending with Africans to be "extreme racial consciouness" and there's 250 years or so before Darwin to account for. What we had historically WAS a partial assimilation of Africans into English Protestant culture.

What I basically ignore are racial differences. They are irrelevant and virtually nonexistent compared to cultural differences and ethnic (abstracted from the bare category of "race") differences. And I think you are incorrect if you think "but the differences between white Americans and black Americans are racial differences." It may seem that way to you but it is an illusion. Some people of European ancestry are ethnically and culturally black and some people of African ancestry are ethnically and culturally white. What seems to people who have decided to think in racial categories an incoherence between their appearance and ethnicity no doubt creates a problem for them but the problem is not essentially a racial problem it is a problem created by the way they are treated by other people jumping to conclusions.

What I said was that racial differences are simply a defining characteristic of a group. There are few real multi-racial ethnic identities. Most of the ones that have survived are rather contrived.

We would do well to understand that the United States is a unique phenomenon that is unlikely to be repeatable in any other context.

As to your example about Europeans, Europeans are notorious for not accepting one another any better than Asians are of one another. I find your example to be unlikely to be sustainable in the future. Europe is already showing signs of a resurgent sense of "us and them" viz a viz their immigrant populations. In fact, Russia's federal government is even backing an openly, virulently racist youth league.

I think you're just struggling to avoid the fact that humans are tribal and that that tribalism is based on a fusion of like appearance and behavior. Call that race and culture, ethnicity, doesn't matter. We tend to prefer people who look and act like us and regard those different as some class of "Other."

Jeff @ 2:43

That's one reason why I qualified my statement with "in principle." "By any means necessary" is not part of my vocabulary. I'd certainly like to see the North American continent divided up. I have no idea if this could be achieved without grave acts of immorality. Your argument is the same one used by those who say we can't do anything about illegal immigration. We'd have to do grave immorality and injustice to 20 million people so entertaining the idea is pure nonsense. We HAVE to become Mexico North.

Permananent and institutional seperation worked for 400+ years until the 60's. Part of this was based on slavery and laws but part of this was based on social attitudes that are now taboo.
According to both secular AND contemporary Christian society, I'm not free to choose social seperation. If my wife dies and I remarry, I can't use "white" as a criteria. I can't politely object to Tyrone or Paco courting my daughter. Don't believe me? Ask a Christian. It's "mean", "un-Christian", "contrary to the Gospel" etc. So while you act like the existence of distinct peoples (presumably as accidents as opposed to something deliberate) is Ok in Christianity, even the mildest action to promote the existence of distinct peoples is deemed un-Christian. Well you can't have it both ways. If I can't do things to promote the existence of white people, then the Gospel says that the existence of white people is illegitimate.

According to both secular AND contemporary Christian society, I'm not free to choose social seperation.

That's correct. Because choosing social separation for Bruce also means imposing social separation on everyone else. Some things you just have to deal with. Sorry.

If my wife dies and I remarry, I can't use "white" as a criteria. I can't politely object to Tyrone or Paco courting my daughter.So while you act like the existence of distinct peoples (presumably as accidents as opposed to something deliberate) is Ok in Christianity, even the mildest action to promote the existence of distinct peoples is deemed un-Christian.

I have no beef with people who include race in their basket of marriage considerations, nor does the Catholic Church. I did the same thing, and I'm interracially married. The problem for Christians is adopting a worldview of racial determinism, which is not only false but is a recipe for an immensely frustrating life.

Steve P asks:


OK, Andrew, do YOU think that anthropologists have found races IN THE SENSE that Bruce uses the word? Please read everything Bruce said and think about what geneticists and anthropologists say about human differences before you answer.

I'm not that interested in what Bruce thinks but I am very interested in what good anthropologists think. This from the Introduction to Putnam's Race and Reason:

Biological scientists seldom find themselves writing an introduction to what is essentially a study of a social problem. However, the problem in this instance is of such great importance from both the scientific and social standpoints, and the two are so closely interrelated, that we cannot dissociate ourselves from the task.

Our professional interest lies in the scientific foundations on which Mr. Putnam rests his thesis. We are in complete accord with what he has to say concerning these foundations. We agree with his balanced presentation of genetic and environmental factors in the area of both racial and individual biology. We believe they deserve this sharp reappraisal in the light of current problems in the world at large. We can also confirm Putnam’s estimate of the extent to which non-scientific, ideological pressures have harassed scientists in the last thirty years, often resulting in the suppression or distortion of truth.

The intrusion of political thought into the social and anthropological sciences which has occurred on a massive scale during this period, has been a very great disservice to scientific investigation and to the guidance which scientific work and its conclusions ought to be able to render to human society. Man must be guided by science, but scientific thought must not be moulded to preconceived political ideas.

We, as signatories to this introduction, although we may differ over some aspects of genetic, biological, anthropological and sociological theory, believe that statesmen and judges today frequently take positions based upon an inadequate knowledge of the facts so far as they relate to the nature of man. Therefore, we have no hesitation in placing on record our disapproval of what has been all too commonly a trend since 1930. We do not believe that there is anything to be drawn from the sciences in which we work which supports the view that all races of men, all types of men, or all ethnic groups are equal and alike, or likely to become equal or alike, in anything approaching the foreseeable future. We believe on the contrary that there are vast areas of difference within mankind not only in physical appearance, but in such matters as adaptability to varying environments, and in deep psychological and emotional qualities, as well as in mental ability and capacity for development. We are of the opinion that in ignoring these depths of difference modern man and his political representatives are likely to find themselves in serious difficulties sooner or later.

Whatever may be said for or against minor or detailed points made by the author of this book, we feel that it deserves the serious attention of both scientists and public men wherever racial problems exist. The facts in it cannot much longer be ignored. It probes to the core of an abscess, yet does so with a healing touch. There is logic and common sense in these pages; there is also inescapable scientific validity.

R. Ruggles Gates, M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S.
Henry E. Garrett, Ph.D., D.Sc.
R. Gayer Of Gayer, M.A., D.Phil., D.Pol.Sc., D.Sc.
Wesley C. George, MA., Ph.D.


No, I'm not free to choose social seperation for myself and mine.

We'd have to do grave immorality and injustice to 20 million people so entertaining the idea is pure nonsense. We HAVE to become Mexico North.

There is no injustice in deporting people (apart from legitimate refugees) who have crossed our borders illegally, if done in a timely manner before families are created and roots established. I'm convinced we need some deportations, but it's a complicated problem. I'm offline for awhile ... cheers.

Phantom @ 3:18,

Jeff has a knack for doing that, doesn't he? I deleted the post I was working on and will just co-sign his comment @ 4:15.

No, I'm not free to choose social seperation for myself and mine.

Sure you are (unless you run a place of so-called "public accommodation") but others are free to disapprove of your decision and voice that disapproval. You are free to have a white wife, exclusively white friends, etc. However, you cannot have permanent, institutional separation of the races without infringing the rights of those who don't share your beliefs.

A few thoughts from adam Smith,

"As it is this disposition [to truck, barter, and exchange] which forms that difference of talents, so remarkable among men of different professions, so it is this same disposition which renders that difference useful. Many tribes of animals acknowledged to be all of the same species derive from nature a much more remarkable distinction of genius, than what, antecedent to custom and education, appears to take place among men. By nature a philosopher is not in genius and disposition half so different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from a greyhound, or a greyhound from a spaniel, or this last from a shepherd's dog. Those different tribes of animals, however, though all of the same species, are of scarce any use to one another.... Among men, on the contrary, the most dissimilar geniuses are of use to one another; the different produces of their respective talents, by the general disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, being brought, as it were, into a common stock, where every man may purchase whatever part of the produce of other men's talents he has occasion for..."

Other considerations are just in the way.

Andrew,

Then we have that in common. I'm also interested in what anthropologists think. I would add that while I'm interested I'm also skeptical. You may have misunderstood what I was saying because, as I indicated once Bruce frankly stated his position, is that in order to understand what I was saying you need to understand what the people I was responding to (Bruce and MARoberts) were saying.

I don't want to write a danged book here to explain carefully and in detail what I think about race, science, etc. Who cares what I think anyway? I was just reacting to some of the things that MARoberts Bruce said.

As for your apparent concern that the speech, academic freedom, and very livelihood of anthropologists (and many other academics) has been limited and continued to be threatened by the forces of political correctness, I share that concern. Do you want me to interact further with anything you've said? If you think I've been cavalier about the subject, all I can say is that I often say things in a way that is so precise and that in a way that might almost perversely seem to undercut my own deeply-felt beliefs that I am misunderstood (because people generally expect a broader brush and a more rhetorically persuasive approach). Or to put it another way I often become perversely interested in particular trees even when the forest is what I ought to be concerned about.

You're legally free to do what you want but when you're called "mean" and "un-Christian" by fellow Christians and of course the ubiquitous "racist" (which in newspeak has the same function today that "n_gg_r" once did-see Jim Kalb's essay) that's not exactly "free to chose." Wierd because Jeff seems to suggest that Christianity is neutral towards this thing.

Oh, come, Bruce. If everybody is unfree because he gets called "mean" for some things he might want to do, then none of us is free. Pull up your socks, for goodness' sake! That sounds like liberal whining to me, "Waaaaah! I'm not free to live with my girlfriend if people are going to call me _immoral_ for doing so!"

Steve P.,

It is fairly clear to me that the implications of solid anthropological and genetic science suggest overwhelmingly that the restoration of something like the national origins immigration quota system put in place during the 1920's is the minimum political action required if the American nation and culture is to be saved and preserved (assuming that is even still possible at this point). Is this what Bruce and others are saying? I don't know but I think any American conservative should be saying it.

Yes Lydia, cause objecting to being called "racist" and "un-Christian*" (you conviently chose to emphasize the petty word I used - "mean") for holding the same belief towards multi-culturalism and multi-racialism that prior to the 1960s almost everyone held is similar to two lesbos shacking up and complaining about moral objections to their sodomy.

People call you "racist" and my priest Father John says racial discrimination (which includes deciding you'd only marry a white girl or politely objecting to Tyrone or Chong-Lee or Paco courting your daughter-as Father will be happy to confirm) is "EVIL" (in a REALLY loud,booming Irish voice). If the Church is somehow neutral on race then why are almost all Christians anti-racists?

Isn't "un-Christian" pretty close to being definded out of Christianity??

Don't pretend Christians don't compel this sort of thing or are somehow neutral when they use this sort of language.

You can write what you want but I don't care much for being talked to in the way you did.

But not to worry. We ONCE got Father John to say that abortion is evil. Of course he won't stand up to the abortionists in Church ("No man's gonna tell me what to do with MY body") but he sure jumps on the "racists."

You are all mean!

I feel drunk with power. I just took away everyone's freedom.

Honestly I think that trivializes p.c. We are talking about people's careers being destroyed, not people feeling bad because someone called them mean or called them names.


Andrew:

I see. Then no I don't agree with you. Did you really find an anthropologist who said that culture (meaning those aspects of human culture that differ from one human culture to another not supposed universals) is a product of one's race, that it is transmitted genetically? I wonder how he would explain the changes in racially homogeneous cultures over a few decades. Would he say it's due to genetic evolution that occurred during that time? I'd check that guy's credentials, frankly.

Honestly I'm sure I am on solid ground in saying that all but an insignificantly miniscule fraction of anthropologists (if even that many, like I say I wonder if the anthropologist you got your information from was bona fide) would say that culture (again, meaning those aspects of culture that differ from one society to another or that change in time over a period of centuries or generations, not supposed universals) is transmitted through environment, not genes. And I also am sure I am on solid ground in saying they say it because they think it's true not because of P.C. fear. That's just one of those things that anthropologists will agree on.

Of course immigration can (and does!) change our culture but if immigration destroys our culture it will be a case of another culture or other cultures, transmitted in the ordinary way by parents and peers and education, etc.--not genetically--overwhelming ours. It won't be a case of racial change per se.

Maybe it's being a Protestant, Bruce, but honestly, I would be more inclined mentally to tell Fr. Irish to go pound sand than feel really upset about it. And if your Fr. John the Irishman also hesitates on abortion, I'd be outta there. Who needs it? Even as a Catholic you're allowed to find any valid mass in your area. Find one where they preach on, I dunno, the Real Presence or something other than racism, for goodness' sake. And then warn your daughters as you think fit about induction, the inner city view of women, and racial categories in dating.

Steve P.,

The important question to focus on is what the different races, as groups, are capable of. The white race is capable of Western culture/civilization. The other races--as races, not as various individuals here and there--are not, full stop. If we want America to maintain a lineage with Western civilization then it needs, at minimum, to have a large white majority (among other things such as a large Christian majority). How large? Very hard to know but I would say at least 80%.

Steve P.,

Your visit here has been interesting. I suggest you hang around as I think your thinking will be...challenged...on a regular basis.

Good anthropologists are now comfortable using genetic data, and if you are confortable with genetic data, you aren't going to freak out when someone says race:

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/

To the extent most anthropologists don't like to use the concept of race, see Jake's comment from 8:53 AM. As for culture -- you say it's shaped by the environment. O.K. But what else does the environment shape that comes before culture? Oh yeah, genes.

I could also really go off about your amusing comments concerning Mexican immigration and Mexico's problems, but I need to get the girls to bed.

I did want to make one comment concerning sub-Saharan Africans and their ability to carry on English civilization. This question has already been answered in the negative -- for the details see the past 30 years of Rhodesian history.

Andrew,

I'm not sure I understand what you mean but if I am getting what you are saying I cannot imagine what kind of evidence can have lead to your (edited) conclusion 1 "the 'other races' being incapable of western civilization" or if conclusion 1 is granted by what mathematical formula you computed conclusion 2 ~80%

As for 'other races' being capable of western culture a kid is 'capable of' and is usually only capable of, the culture he is reared in. It depends on who your parents or adoptive parents are, your siblings, peers, and the community you grow up in. A person whose biological parents are nonwestern but who is reared in a western culture will only have the culture he is reared in. he will not genetically inherit his biological parents' culture.

Jeff

I'm good at math and am never intimidated by data, per se. If it's it too much to digest all at once and it seems important enough I'll take the time to subject it to statistical analysis or whatever it takes to extract some kind of meaning out of it.

I didn't say culture is shaped by the environment (though now that you mention it I suppose it probably is). I said that it is transmitted environmentally--that it is not genetically inherited. Your culture comes from the parents who rear you and the cultural environment you are raised in and is not genetically transmitted from your biological parents via DNA That's an uncontroversial fact. Surely you don't doubt it.

As for the environment shaping genes I don't know what you are getting at. If you're saying you believe in Lamarckian evolution that's fine but why don't you come up with an argument or find some evidence.

As for Illegal immigration (across the Mexican border primarily) being our most pressing immigration issue (by far, I would say), this seems obvious to me and I'm surprised you doubt that as well. It's a question of sheer magnitude. Sure Moslem immigration would seem more troubling, all else being equal, but there is such a huge NUMBER of illegal immigrants from Mexico that it seems to me to dwarf other immigration issues in terms of importance.

The white race is capable of Western culture/civilization. The other races--as races, not as various individuals here and there--are not, full stop. If we want America to maintain a lineage with Western civilization then it needs, at minimum, to have a large white majority (among other things such as a large Christian majority). How large? Very hard to know but I would say at least 80%.

I must disagree, though mildly. It is true that only those of European racial extraction can sustain Western civilization as it existed - and to a horribly diminished extent, still exists - in Europe and its satellites. But it is not true that the "white race" is necessary in majority numbers "to maintain a lineage with Western civilization" - not a majority, not even a minority. History cannot and will not repeat itself. But any race, or amalgamation of races, is capable of maintaining some degree of continuity with its inheritance as Christians, and that inheritance is inescapably Western and European. The end product will depend upon which racial groups or their derivatives pick up the cultural baton; what bothers some people is that it will not look or feel sufficiently "white" to be comfortable. But if a society is seriously Christian (or, especially, Catholic) there will be a discernible and powerful "lineage with Western civilization".

I would disagree with those on this thread who say that interracial marriage threatens Western civilization. How does this couple in any way pose a threat to Western civilization?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zMBZ767jnA

There is no injustice in deporting people (apart from legitimate refugees) who have crossed our borders illegally, if done in a timely manner before families are created and roots established. I'm convinced we need some deportations, but it's a complicated problem. I'm offline for awhile ... cheers.

Mass deportation can be done in a very effective and humane manner. Eisenhower did it in the 50s when we had an illegal immigrant problem proportionally as bad as the one we have now. The way it worked was that the US gave them advanced notice and then federal law enforcement began wave after wave of mass arrests, loaded the illegals on buses and sent them deep into Mexico. In some cases, they were put on ships and dropped off in southern Mexico.

I don't see why the forming of families or "roots" has any bearing on the justice of the matter. The sovereignty of the United States is superior to the justice claims of the illegal immigrants and their children to be here. They violated federal statutes that are rooted in the God-ordained natural jurisdiction and raison d'etre of government. If their kids wants to claim birth-right citizenship, let them do so at 18.

I'm not sure I agree with Andrew E. For all I know the Chinese might very well be intellectually capable of sustaining Western Civilization. I just don't think they will.

And there's other aspects of Western Civilization besides the Catholic Church that I want to conserve and of course there's things besides Western Civilization that I want to conserve.

Lydia, since I'm Anglican I can't just walk into a Roman Church and continuuing churchs are very few and far between.

You seem to sieze on certain details of what I write (e.g. "free") and miss the main point. What Fr. says isn't the central point I was trying to make. The post claims that the Church takes a neutral position (admittedly the Church means different things to Protestants and Catholics). Racial integration is neither compelled nor forbidden. Well when Christians mimick our leftist culture, then racial integration is effectively compulsory to Christians. I'm thick-skinned because I'm familiar with non-liberal thought but most Christians don't read the hard right.

Oh, sorry, Bruce. I should have remembered. But that only makes it simpler. If you aren't Catholic, you are even less bound to your particular continuing church. I know if my priest drove me nuts with annoying sermons over and over again, I'd certainly leave and go lower Protestant. And if it's just one sermon here or there, it's not really that big of a deal.

For the record, I do not consider interracial marriage inherently problematic. It depends on a whole host of factors, including the ethnic groups involved.

Bruce,

My understanding of "the church is neutral" is that individuals may hold different opinions without official sanction (Eucharistic discipline, barred from office, etc). It does not mean that each individual will hold the same opinion or refrain from criticizing those with whom they disagree.

You seem to feel that you've been "done wrong" because people question your Christianity because of your racial beliefs. I have to agree with Lydia that this is similar to liberals who equate disagreement or criticism with oppression.

SteveP:

Your ideas of "culture" and "race," and their relationship, are superficial at best.

Regarding culture, it cannot be repeated enough that this notion, in its modern sense, is largely a creation of the 19th century. But even the 19th century notion of Culture (from the German Bildung) still had a racial component. The contemporary notion of culture, however, is largely Boasian.

In pre-culture societies, one hears of ancestral tradition -- tradition, like the mos maiorum, that is passed on by blood and progeny. Ancient political terms, like natio, imply link by blood.

Regardless, race affects culture. For example, a Dane can more easily participate in English culture. In one generation, people would not even know the Dane's son had non-Enlish ancestry. This would not be true for a Bushman. Using ethnic nepotism as a point of departure, whether one is perceived as part of an in-group or out-group helps determine how readily they will adopt or be adopted into a culture. Does the group want to help him? Do they perceive that they share an ethnic/racial heritage with him? Is he one of "them"? Your example of the Korean girl only highlights this point . She may have been raised in Kazakhstan culture (which is different in some respects from Russian culture). Even if she wants to identify as "Russian," people constantly question this identity -- as you yourself pointed out. Society will never perceive her as part of the in-group. She is perceived as an anomaly - a Korean raised in some Kazakhstan/Russian culture.

This would be no problem for the ancients to comprehend. In the Suppliants by Aeschylus, the girls were raised in Egypt. That is their "home" and where they were raised. Yet they flee to Greece, saying that although raised in Egypt, by blood they are Argives (Greeks). The king and people deliberate, and decide, yes, they are Argives. Blood trumps culture.


Jeff Culbreath: "But it is not true that the "white race" is necessary in majority numbers "to maintain a lineage with Western civilization" - not a majority, not even a minority. History cannot and will not repeat itself. But any race, or amalgamation of races, is capable of maintaining some degree of continuity with its inheritance as Christians, and that inheritance is inescapably Western and European."

This is nearly utopian thinking. First, as historians tirelessly point out, demographics are destiny. If you change the demographics, the culture and its trajectory will change. For instance, mestizo culture may contain Western elements, but it's not entirely Western, and over time it becomes less and less so.

Regarding Christianity, at its very essence Christianity is a MIDDLE EASTERN - not a European - religion. True, as it later evolved, there are expressions of Christianity that are European (those branches that where changed via syncretism with European paganism), but this is not the trend today. As I pointed out in the other thread, Philip Jenkins has aptly demonstrated that Christianity is fast becoming not only a non-Western, but anti-Western, religion. But I won't keep repeating myself....

Lydia: It's nearly comical that the Colors of Beneton family is the norm today for both liberals like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and for American Christian globalists. But what influenced what? Did the liberal-globalist notion of family influence Christianity? Or is it an offspring of Christianity (perhaps in the same way that Spengler thought Bolshevism a Christian heresy)?

I understand Jeff will define "the Church" differently from a Protestant. Mimicking the language of the left isn't just "disagreeing" and "criticizing."

It isn't just about my personal experiences and shouldn't be reduced to them or a feeling that "I've been done wrong" which I don't have. I can deal with it and don't require personal device. My shared experiences were illustrative.

It don't buy for a minute the Nietzschean, Spenglerian, Gibbon-esque, et.al. attack on Christianity's right flank that's popular on the hard-right and that Burton seems to think is at least possibly valid. I do think most all Christians outside .html right-wingery have absorbed all sorts of liberal and leftist beliefs and tendencies and I'm interested in talking about them and understanding them when and where it's appropriate. An article called "Race and the Church" presents an appropriate time and place.

I don't agree that Christianity is a "middle-eastern" religion. Christianity is a universal religion that has different expressions within different cultures. As a non-Catholic, I don't see it, for example, as essentially Latin. I'm ok with different cultural expressions e.g German Lutheranism as long as they don't descend into heresy.

Bruce: We are not in disagreement. I meant at its origin its Middle Eastern. Yes, there are different expressions. Christianity where it travels melds with local pagan religions (e.g. European paganism in Europe; Amerindian paganism in Mexico, African paganism in Haiti, etc.).

Bruce: As you probably know, unlike Nietzsche and Spengler who think that at its heart Christianity is egalitarian and anti-tradition, Thomas Fleming in the Morality of Everyday Life makes a good case that many of the modern liberal aspects of Christianity (e.g. international charity, universal brotherhood of man, hyper-globalism, support of mass immigration, etc,) are largely a result of the Enlightenment influencing Christianity and not necessarily hard-wired into Christianity.

Jeff C:

"The Gospel bids men to love their neighbors. In this country, it is likely that at least some of your neighbors are of another race. You owe them greater love and loyalty than you owe your fellow "whites" in Podunk, Finland or wherever."

As I asked in the other thread, why do American Christians have to do their version of the peace corps & Brad and Angelina when they don't really evangelize their neighbors (yes, a few strike up conversations and invite someone to church at the local internet cafe). If we owe our actual neighbors more love and loyalty why is it that the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are the only ones trying to re-evangelize our once Christian country while everyone else goes off and plays their Christian version of Brad and Angelina?


Matthew, I haven't read Fleming's book yet. It's on the reading list I can't ever seem to get through.

Steve P.,

I'd like to associate myself with M.A.'s 10:06 AM comment, but I'd also add a couple of points. You say:

"I didn't say culture is shaped by the environment (though now that you mention it I suppose it probably is). I said that it is transmitted environmentally--that it is not genetically inherited. Your culture comes from the parents who rear you and the cultural environment you are raised in and is not genetically transmitted from your biological parents via DNA. That's an uncontroversial fact. Surely you don't doubt it."

Well, actually I do doubt it. My question back to you is: where does culture come from? Why do we have different cultures and not one human culture? I contend that biology and culture are mixed up (as M.A. explains) -- so it is true that you can have individuals adopt "foreign" cultures and it is also true that cultures evolve -- I would also argue there are biological origins to culture (probably via language) and constraints on what different races are capable of with respect to cultural achievements. One example -- until sub-Saharan Africans raise their IQs, their cultures will never produce scientists and engineers that compare to the West.

As for my comment about genes and the environment -- all I was trying to say is that through the process of natural selection some genes will be better adapted to the environment than others and therefore be selected for over time. This is relevant to culture through the whole lactose tolerance/intolerance question, as just one example.

Finally, with respect to Mexican immigration -- believe me, I'm as hardcore as you can get when it comes to our immigration problem (which I believe is both an illegal and a legal immigration problem). I was reacting to your amusing story for why Mexican immigrants are undesirable for the U.S. and why Mexico has the problems it has right now. Let's just say we agree to disagree.

M.A.,

I'm not a big fan of Fleming, but his book The Morality of Everyday Life sounds like it would be worth my while to wrestle with.

Bruce write:

I'm not sure I agree with Andrew E. For all I know the Chinese might very well be intellectually capable of sustaining Western Civilization. I just don't think they will.

I don't think they will either. But civilization is about more than just intellectual firepower. Borrowing again from the intro to Race and Reason:

We believe on the contrary that there are vast areas of difference within mankind not only in physical appearance, but in such matters as adaptability to varying environments, and in deep psychological and emotional qualities, as well as in mental ability and capacity for development.

Humans are complex and races differ not just in average intelligence and intelligence at the tails of the distribution but also in "deep psychological and emotional qualities." Takuan Seiyo, in one part of his From Meccania to Atlantis series discussed the unique and unmatched beauty of Western classical music and how the Chinese are capable of producing virtuosos who can perform the music from a technical standpoint but, in his opinion, cannot bring out the soul of the music. The Chinese, as a people or race, are simply not equipped to experience the music at its deepest levels in the way that Westerners can.

Takuan Seiyo, in one part of his From Meccania to Atlantis series discussed the unique and unmatched beauty of Western classical music and how the Chinese are capable of producing virtuosos who can perform the music from a technical standpoint but, in his opinion, cannot bring out the soul of the music. The Chinese, as a people or race, are simply not equipped to experience the music at its deepest levels in the way that Westerners can.

You could also claim that the reason they are incapable of experiencing it is due to a disconnect with Christianity. This makes them incapable of seeing the music as anything more than just music. So much of what makes the West superior to the rest of the world in artistic achievement and creativity, is due to our historic connection with Christianity, especially of the Roman Catholic variety. So much of the creativity within Western Culture, Science, Art, Music and Literature is tied to Christianity in some way, even if it is just the open rejection of its principles and teachings, this thread can be seen through going through the best composers, painter's, writers, sculptors and artists in general. It will be interesting to see if as Christianity spreads throughout Asia especially China (recent calculations say there could be over 100 million Chinese Christians) will there artistic achievements increase with it.

So much of what makes the West superior to the rest of the world in artistic achievement and creativity, is due to our historic connection with Christianity, especially of the Roman Catholic variety.

There is good musicological evidence to suggest that Western chant was a complex development in that Greek chant was introduced to Turkey and then re-introduced to the West in a modified form that sounds more like modern chant. What really defines the West in music is the concept of scales, which is a direct adaptation of the Greek system, later modified. The scalar structure was adapted to chant, it did not develop from chant.

Music, just as language, is processed differently in the Oriental brain. This accounts for a large portion of the difference in perceptions.

The Chicken

The Chinese, as a people or race, are simply not equipped to experience the music at its deepest levels in the way that Westerners can.

I find this highly unlikely, especially when there is a connection with the Faith and early exposure to western categories of thought.

M.A. Roberts (first and at the end of this comment I respond to Jeff Singer):

We were talking about anthropology and genetics. A scientist might find it charming to hear DNA referred to as "traditions passed on by blood and birth," but in his own field of study distinguishes those traditions from the traditions passed on by example and demonstration by the parents, siblings, peers and other members of the particular community.

The former he calls "genetic inheritance" the latter he calls "culture."

It's not a question of superficiality vs. depth it's a question of using the terms appropriate to the subject of discourse (and using language to make real distinctions since inheriting something from your parents' DNA is a distinctly different thing from inheriting something from your parents by learning it from them).

So a Dane, more easily than a Bushman, can participate in English culture BECAUSE his children will look English. That may often be true but it is not true because English culture is genetically inherited it is true because people who look different are often treated differently by strangers. Nevertheless, people who look different can and do participate fully in the culture into which they are born (or adopted into at a young age). This happens in all Christian cultures in every generation, not just because of immigration but also because everywhere and in every generation people are born who look different, sometimes because of identifiable birth defects and sometimes because they just accidently look different for no clearly-identifiable reason.

The Russian-American girl I was talking about is not part of the "in group" because she is an immigrant. That would be true even if she looked European (not all bred and born Russians look entirely European btw but a typical Minnesotan might not know that). I cannot tell you what her experience would have been if she still lived in Kazakhstan but I can tell you that there is a substantial Russian minority there (and for all I know there may be a lot of Koreans). Her problem is essentially that she is a young woman who is at an age where young people in America are still working out their identities, she is shy and unsure of herself, very self-conscious and eager to please, and especially to please men. All this can be explained by her personal history and experiences. If you knew her you would understand. I was using that girl (actually I invented her but I have good reasons, which I won't get into here, to believe the scenario is not implausible) to illustrate a particular point. You are using her to illustrate a different point, thus inviting her inventor to correct you. ;-)

Oh, and she's not Korean. She's Russian. I thought I made that clear. Her biological parents were Korean but she never knew them, she did not grow up in Korea, she knows nothing about Korean language or culture (so I guess her blood and birth must not have been working correctly, huh?), is not a Korean citizen and her real parents (just ask her) were indeed Russian. If people like you react to her physical appearance by jumping to conclusions about her and perversely trying to define her as something she is not that does not so much tell us what she is it tells us what you are.


Jeff Singer,

"where does culture come from?"

We learn it from our parents, other relatives, siblings, and wider community we were reared in ("how wide" varies from individual to individual). Who could doubt it?

"Why do we have different cultures and not one human culture?"

Because different people are reared by different parents, siblings, peers and wider cultures. Only someone who delights in being a contrarian pretends to doubt that.

"I contend that biology and culture are mixed up"

I think something is mixed up. We don't have to be mixed up if we define our terms carefully and reason carefully.

"I would also argue there are biological origins to culture (probably via language)"

It has been empirically well demonstrated that language is not genetically inherited but learned after birth from other people. Children adopted at a young age never learn the language of their biological parents and always learn the language of their adopted parents and culture (and that perfectly well).

Sub-Saharan Africa already produces first-class scientists and engineers (especially when it has the opportunity to finish them at American Universities). It doesn't produce nearly as many as Europe does but it produces enough to disprove your "never."

I don't know what "story" you are referring to, but...OK! Thank you! If it was the Russian girl that wasn't a story so much as a character sketch. "Whatever," I'm glad you found it amusing.



SteveP: You are missing a very important point. The example you give of the Korean girl: although she might have been raised in another culture, by BLOOD she is Korean. No matter how much you try to ignore this glaring fact, it won't go away.

There is an exchange between race and culture. Race often influences and limits culture.

Statistically, at some point in the future, I suspect this Korean girl will be more like to study Korean language and culture than almost any other test group. (I read a study a while back on the statistics of ethnic Chinese who later study Chinese in the U.S.) Why will she? Why will she probably be more curious about the Korean language and culture than, say, your average Englishman or German? The call of the ancestral. People want to know about themselves, about their ancestral past.

This would be no problem for the ancients to comprehend. In the Suppliants by Aeschylus, the girls were raised in Egypt. That is their "home" and where they were raised. Yet they flee to Greece, saying that although raised in Egypt, by blood they are Argives (Greeks). The king and people deliberate, and decide, yes, they are Argives. Blood trumps culture.

So, Steve, now matter how much you try to trumpet Boasian / Cultural Marxist charge, the call of the ancestral will remain.

Carl Jung realized this some time ago. Carl Jung's collective unconscious served as a reservoir of primordial images that he called archetypes, which were ancestral predispositions and potentialities. These archetypes, Jung believed, were are result of evolution and thus varied by different ancestral groups / ethnicities / races. These ancestral memories were not universal.

Interestingly, this idea of ancestral memories corresponds to the beliefs of pagans. Unlike creedal religions, European pagan religions were ancestral and were passed on by blood and progeny. The religious memories included those of one's ancestors as well as those that would be passed on to one's descendants. Over time, one's religious outlook would be interwoven with a rich tapestry of ancestral obligations and duties, as well as expectations for the next generation. Thus, the pagan religions at large, become expressions writ large of the ancestral memories of a particular groups of people.

Jeff Culbreath: "I find this highly unlikely, especially when there is a connection with the Faith and early exposure to western categories of thought"

By 2025, 75% of all Catholics will be non-Western (mostly African and mestizo). By 2050, more than 90% of the world's Christians will be non-Western. As Philip Jenkins points out, these Christians are dropping European elements left and right only to add African, mestizo/Amerindian, Asian and other elements to Christianity. These "categories of thought" will in no way be Western. But I'm repeating myself....

Steve P.,

As I said earlier, you should hang out here more often, you'll learn a thing or two, including how to properly respond to the arguments of your fellow combox bloggers.

You have failed to answer my questions, except in a superficial sense. I am forcing you to ask yourself if you are so convinced that genetics has nothing to do with culture, then why are there multiple human cultures? You say the evidence suggests we learn language from other people -- that's fine, but I'm not interested in how we learn language today. I'm interested in why the human race developed many languages in the first place (40,000+ years ago). I'm interested in how cultures developed in the first place (40,000+ years ago). It is the origin of the mysterious thing we call culture that I am speculating about (as I think the origins are unclear to everyone involved). It seems absurd to me to say, given everything we know about biology and race, that these genetic factors had no impact on the world's different cultures. Let me close with something John Derbyshire once said about culture that I found very smart:

As for the culture stuff: arguments from culture are really circular. Culture is just customary collective behavior. If I ask: “Why do people in this place behave in this way?” and you reply, “Because of their culture,” you are asserting that they behave in this way because that’s how they behave. “Culture” is a sort of phlogiston or luminiferous æther that sounds as if it’s explaining something, but actually isn’t. I’d advance it as a good candidate for a word that should be banned from serious social and political discussions.

Until sub-Saharan African scientists start winning Nobel prizes and/or developing major theories in particle physics, biological chemistry, etc. I stand by my earlier statement. (Also, when I said "compare to the West" I meant in a broad sense via the number of patents filed every year, the total number of new drugs developed, the number of engineering breakthroughs -- come up with your own metrics and the West will come out ahead for years to come).

Finally, the "story" I was referring to was obviously your story about the problems of Mexico -- you know, how the IMF and NAFTA ruined their country, etc. Although you'll be happy to know that some of the bloggers here do support your attacks on globalization, just for the record, I do not believe Mexico's problems are in any way related to the benefits of free trade.

M.A. Roberts

I'm from Missouri Your theory about mystical magic calls magically moving people is romantic and would be fun if it didn't have that whiff of the dark side to it. But I'll believe it when it is proven empirically, scientifically.

Since the Russian girl I mentioned was my invention, you aren't bullying a real 19 year old girl, one who can fight back, by stubbornly telling her she something she's not--so I guess I'm not impressed.

Jeff Singer,

Well I already answered your question. Different people have different cultures and languages because they group up in different cultures among people who speak different languages--and it's been demonstrated countless times that people always absorb the language and culture of the people they grow up in and never inherit the language and culture of their biological parents (in those cases where their biological parents are different). Since that's been true throughout recorded history there's no reason to think it wasn't true in prehistory.

John Derbyshire is right. Instead of answering "they act that way because of their culture" you should say "they act that way because they learned to" or "they learned their culture." It's more direct and to-the-point.

The fact that the racial composition of geographical areas changes and shifts constantly doesn't scare me at all. The idea that this may happen is scary and depressing:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7986528/Muslims-will-become-majority-in-Europe-senior-Vatican-official-warns.html

Steve P.,

You have answered nothing. I ask a question -- how do different cultures evolve? -- and you answer by saying people learn different cultures because different cultures exist. Do you understand why this is almost willfully obtuse? I'm not denying folks absorb the culture they live in (constrained by their biology) -- I'm asking you do you think different cultures came into existence in the first place. You insist, despite all the scientific evidence (not to mention old fashioned common sense) we now have about racial differences between people, that culture has absolutely nothing to do with race. M.A. and I think this is an absurd idea. M.A. was trying to convince you by demonstrating what culture meant to older civilizations -- I was trying to convince you using a thought experiment. I guess we both failed.

M.A.,

I guess I need to now check out another book, but I really do find it hard to believe Jenkin's thesis that non-Westerners who embrace Christianity will somehow be "dropping European elements left and right only to add African, mestizo/Amerindian, Asian and other elements to Christianity." I mean, if I go to a Catholic Mass in China, or in Nigeria, or in Brazil I doubt I would feel out of place in any of these locales. I suspect I might feel much more out of place in an American liberal Protestant church presided over by a woman pastor who doesn't believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ than I would in deepest, darkest Catholic Africa. And as you can tell from my above comments, I say this as someone who does believe in the reality of racial differences and thinks Steve P. has crazed ideas about culture. But I just don't think our differences are such that God and Christ's death and resurrection can't overcome. And I also think that Christendom can help spread civilization (slowly, over time) among the savages, despite our biological and cultural differences.

Jeff Singer,

People's biology (by which I assume you mean the identity of their biological parents as opposed to their adopted parents) does NOT constrain how well they absorb the language and culture they grow up in. There are countless examples that demonstrate that it does not matter. Regardless of their biology they absorb the language and culture they are immersed in fluently and perfectly. Empirical evidence has shown this and not only is there no scientific evidence to the contrary their have has been at least one systematic study supporting this.

Different cultures evolve by simply constantly changing, gradually from generation to generation, in usually random ways. They don't come into existence. When people have tried to see what language and culture would spontaneously emerge when children are left to themselves the result was just what you'd expect from neglect. Often the children simply die for no apparent reason, just lack of nurture. We don't need to rely on thought experiments there have been real examples.

Don't let SteveP see this: http://racialreality.blogspot.com/2007/01/biologists-take-definitive-stance-in.html

SteveP. Yes, Jung's archetypes are not really falsifiable - but they're interesting to think about. I brought them up not to buttress any points I made but only as an illustration. Regarding the Korean girl, I assumed she was not reading your computer screen (hence I wasn't worried about "bullying" her with a point from Aeschylus) but now, after admitting you made her up, you must have envisioned a situation where she could read what I was writing. Hmmmm. Odd. And to top that off (your inventing this girl), you accused me earlier of being dishonest when I stated I knew neopagans in the U.S. and Europe (something that is true and not very implausible). And, yet, as the icing on all the above, you seem to have a fascination with satan worshipers. Weird indeed.

Jeff Singer: Yes, we seem to agree on many things - at least we're not out in Boasian land with SteveP living with an imaginary Korean girl who is truly Russian although society will not recognize her as such ("but everyone else is messed up in the head, not her!"). After reading Jenkins you could be depressed, but small intransigent pockets of Western Christianity could survive.



MARoberts

Oh I never accused you of being dishonest. Reread. You said you know "many pagans" both Europe and the U.S. The pagans of Europe converted to Christianity hundreds of years ago so that's implausible. And I'm not fascinated by Satan worshippers I feel sorry for them. They don't know what they're missing.

"Everyone else" isn't like you. You're a unique individual. "Everyone else" isn't "messed up in the head," either; their heads are alright. Don't you worry about their heads.

SteveP: I was being sarcastic. Life is too short not to joke around.

From the beginning of Chapter II of Philip Jenkin's Next Christendom (Revised and Expanded Edition):

"As Christianity moves South, it is in some ways returning to its roots. To use the intriguing description offered by Ghanaian scholar Kwame Bediako, what we are now witnessing is 'the renewal of a non-Western religion.'"

Steve P.,

We know from various twin studies that IQ is only impacted in a small way by the social environment (except in cases of extreme deprivation) -- so while I agree that individuals can absorb the culture that surrounds them; it is obvious that they will be constrained by their biological endowments. The fact that you doubt this is just bizarre. You claim to have a "systemic study" in support of your theory -- as I said above I have a real world case study: the British left sub-Saharan Africans their English civilization in Rhodesia and it took those Africans about 25 years to totally screw it up.

Anyway, you say:

"Different cultures evolve by simply constantly changing, gradually from generation to generation, in usually random ways. They don't come into existence."

??????

The world is filled with different cultures. I'm assuming you believe in pre-history and the basic contours of evolution. So my question remains -- why do we have multiple cultures and not one.

Jeff Singer,

"We know from various twin studies that IQ is only impacted in a small way by the social environment"

That's irrelevant since a low IQ with no diagnosable mental abnormalities is sufficient for absorbing the local language and culture fluently and perfectly. It is isn't bizarre that I happen to be aware of that fact. It's bizarre that you doubt it. Honestly.

As for your question about why there are multiple cultures I've answered it several times, it is the normal commonplace answer that just about any reasonably well-educated person would give. I cannot help but think that you must not be phrasing your question clearly. Why don't you take some time to think about it, get a pencil and paper and try to find a way to phrase your question that will VERY SPECIFICALLY target your ignorance. I really feel bad that I don't seem to be able to help you with this.

Anyway, I'm being repetitive but so are you so here's the answer again:

The reason we have multiple cultures is that we did not all grow up in the same place surrounded by the same people. As you have indicated you understand, there is no historical data that would suggest that hasn't always and everywhere been the case. As for pre-history, the most reasonable guess is that it has always been that way, as far back in time as there have been groups of people who did not live together.

Perhaps you are referring to some primeval time, when everyone in the world lived together, the years, let's say, after the time of Adam and Eve. At that time of course everyone must have shared the same culture. So if we imagine ourselves placed in that time the answer to your question would be, "The question is invalid. We all live together here near the place our grandparents Adam and Eve landed when they were expelled from paradise and we all share the same language and culture. The world is in fact NOT filled with multiple cultures."

Distinct cultures would only have begun to evolve after groups of people began to live separately from each other.

And the obvious reason the native inhabitants of Rhodesia didn't absorb English culture is that they were reared by and among people who had different cultures. People don't adopt the culture of the rulers of the country (or colony) they live in; as I've mentioned several times now, children absorb the culture of their parents, siblings, peers, and communities.

Steve P.

Finally, I think you understand:

"Distinct cultures would only have begun to evolve after groups of people began to live separately from each other."

Yes, this is what I'm asking you to think about. The question is why? Why did distinct cultures evolve? Wouldn't it make sense to think that genetics had something to do with it since that is how race evolved as well?

As for Rhodesia -- you also claim that culture can be easily learned and so when the African parents adopted English culture (because many did) why didn't their kids?

Jeff Singer,

I'm glad you finally think I understand.

"Why did distinct cultures evolve" (after groups of people began to live separately from each other)?

Because once they lived separately from each other, there was no longer constant communication between the people in the now distinct cultures to prevent those cultures from diverging, from evolving in a divergent way.

I still don't think I understand what you are asking me about genetics and race but perhaps it would help if you remind yourself that I am positive that race does not exist, in the sense you and Bruce understand race. If your reaction to that reminder is "but a bunch of people, including me posted links to show that scientists DO say that race exists" (in the modern human species), "I don't know what Steve is talking about!" remind yourself of an earlier exchange:

Read this:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/09/race_and_the_church.html#comment-152248

Then read this:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/09/race_and_the_church.html#comment-152255

Then read this:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/09/race_and_the_church.html#comment-152263

What scientists mean by "race" is radically different than what you and Bruce mean by "race."

I think we're done discussing this. It would only be possible (if even then) for you to find a way to rephrase your question "wouldn't it make sense to think that genetics had something to do with it" in a way that would that I could meaningfully understand and answer the question if you, yourself came to an understanding of genetics (and race) that was not so...well...crude and unsophisticated, that was more rational and more honestly dealt with what the anthropologists and other scientists you've referred to are actually saying.

Steve P.,

No, I refuse to be bullied by your denials. I linked to some very smart scientists and anthropologists who are quite comfortable with the idea of race, in the same "crude and unsophisticated" way that Bruce and I use the term. These folks are physicists, geneticists, biologists, and anthropolgists

(here's another one just for fun: http://racehist.blogspot.com/).

You can disagree with their conclusions, and that's fine. But don't tell me I don't understand what they are saying, or that I'm not dealing with their work rationally or honestly.

You are the one who seems to have a hard time providing an answer (even a speculative answer) to a basic question -- how did cultures evolve? I took me five different blog comments to get you to understand the question and then when you finally understand you answer by saying different cultures evolved because they evolved! Well, that answers everything. And I'm the crude and unsophisticated one...

OK here's a more complete elaborate answer:

There is no reason for anyone to think they shouldn't evolve. Asking why cultures evolve is like asking why George Carlin doesn't keep telling the same jokes day after day and year after year (well to some extent he does, there is a common core of humor that he likes to repeat but his humor evolves). GC is capable of inventing new jokes and his species is one that naturally innovates.

In an analogous way, culture and language are human creations. There is an arbitrariness to them and to a substantial degree they are not determined by practical necessity or even utility. Some aspects of culture are weakly or strongly determined--a traditional plow design will be culturally selected for or against insofar that it is effective and turning the soil--and furthermore different parts of the world have different soils an example of environment leading to cultural divergence. A decorative design on the other hand is arbitrary. A plow builder may decide he's bored with the old designs and invent another just because likes the way it looks. This is an example of arbitrary change--not precisely random as I put it earlier but chaotic and unpredictable. divergence could then occur when different plow designers in different areas just randomly decide to put different designs on the plow handle for no particular reason. Since the two plow makers aren't in communication with each other the arbitrary change is one part of a divergent evolution.

Steve P.,

You say "culture and language are human creations" and yet you still maintain that biology has nothing to do with culture?! Human creations? Biology is at least partially the very stuff that makes us human (along with our souls) and yet you still can't entertain the possibility that race and culture are somehow linked? Strange.

But thanks for following along with me on this interesting thought experiment.

The problem of change is something that has vexed people for millennia. It is hard to understand and it was wrong of me not to take you seriously. Here's another analogy: let's say there's you're at a Roman Catholic Easter Mass and there's a procession from the school gym to the church (this is something I actually witnessed this year). There are a lot of people and it takes them awhile to get through the doors and to their destination. While they are processing they sing a hymn. By the time they get to the church they are not in "sync" anymore. They are singing different parts of the hymn. It isn't a radical change since they're singing the same song, but it's still a change. They sang at different rates. What caused the two groups to diverge? Is it because they are different races? Is it because the were processing in different environments. Really the best answer is that there is no reason for the divergence other than the two groups couldn't hear each other so they couldn't prevent divergence.

The same is true of much cultural divergence and all language divergence. The reason the two groups diverge is really best described as 'no reason,' it's random and arbitrary. The reason the groups diverge is that they aren't in contact with each other to prevent divergence. The reason Germans have "fusse" and Spaniards have " pies" is not because there is something racially different about them that caused them to diverge in different ways from the original protoindoeuropean word for "feet," the changes were arbitrary and random.

Steve P. writes:

T

hat's irrelevant since a low IQ with no diagnosable mental abnormalities is sufficient for absorbing the local language and culture fluently and perfectly.

Why is this necessarily so? See this article published at Auster's View From the Right by the pseudonymous writer Joseph Kay. In it Kay argues that the process of assimilation is complex and can be thought of as a series of tests that must be passed: "(1) popular culture; (2) English language; (3) cultural attachment and patriotism; and (4) political understanding." While the first three tests are passable, the fourth is not so simple. Here is the heart of Kay's essay:

But now comes the toughest test: acquiring and internalizing the political culture of the United States. This is what separates the democratic civilized West from Third-World autocracy and depravity. It entails many things: respect for the rule of law and the concept of the loyal opposition, opposition to the use of political force, willingness to let opponents plead their cases, support for elections--not violence--as the way to settle disputes, attachment to due process and the primacy of individual rather than group rights, suspicion of aggrandized power (the caudillo), and myriad other sometimes hazy mental habits that define America's political culture. Many who pass the first three tests fail this last exam. Wearing American clothes, eating at McDonalds, and enjoying American popular music imply nothing about being able to embrace our civic life. Just watching African rioters bedecked in Nike sweat suits who know all about Madonna's latest hit ought to confirm that political society involves more than clothing and pop culture.

And here is the bad news. This last test, perhaps the most critical for the quality of civic life, is not easily passed, and if the basic ability is lacking, no amount of schooling or indoctrination may suffice. Many residents--even citizens--find this final hurdle arduous. Though given perfunctory attention in schools, it is more like vocabulary that one unthinkingly absorbs than long-division that one laboriously masters. A person doesn't know, and can't explain, why he personally prefers elections over assassinations. To be very un-PC about it, African Americans, despite being Americans for centuries, still struggle with our political culture except when required to live under "white rules." It is no accident that black-run American cities--East St. Louis, Newark and Camden, New Jersey, Stockton, California, Washington, DC, Gary, Indiana, among innumerable others, almost uniformly differ drastically from white, "good government" cities such as Madison, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota. White residents flee the onset of "black power" because they recognize that this about-to-be-imposed political culture is totally alien to their own. While this problem is more easily understood in reference to blacks, because of their long established presence in the U.S. and their politically dominant position in many American cities, the same applies mutatis mutandis to Mestizos and to cities taken over by Mestizos, which rapidly cease to have anything resembling good government in the American sense of the term.

There is a simple explanation for this pattern: mastering American political culture requires a minimum level of intelligence. If this level of intelligence is absent, the fundamental requisite principles cannot be grasped, in the same way that algebra cannot be learned by young children. Factual knowledge is irrelevant here--what's needed is the ability to think abstractly, deal with seemingly contradictory propositions, and draw non-obvious conclusions. Consider the loyal opposition, a concept that joins two incongruous elements, namely that a person is both loyal to his government and criticizing it at the same time. Ditto for the rule of law: the person upholds laws despite a possible immediate personal disadvantage, because he knows that lawlessness is bad for everyone. Or letting one's enemies speak freely, since such generosity permits future reciprocity and may facilitate truth emerging. Or seeing the long-term personal advantage of preventing the government from confiscating a neighbor's property so as to give it to you.

These specific political culture building blocks require ample mental gymnastics, the analytical ability to prefer non-obvious utilities over and above immediate concrete pay-offs, and a knack for seeing costs/benefits in universal, over-the-horizon terms. Add a capacity for sequential thinking--the caudillo might cut rents in half, but that "help" will kill housing investment, engender capital flight across the economy, reduce housing maintenance, ensure that demand exceeds supply, and ultimately make benefit recipients worse off; so it is better to forego immediate gratification. Political culture and intelligence are inescapably linked. It is no accident that nations that are deficient in cognitive talent favor the same political style despite huge variation in language, history, and religion. Tyranny, corruption, and violence are the norm in low-IQ societies. IQ reflects mental age, and we see everyday what happens in societies where the average mental age is 11, corresponding with an IQ of 70, as is the case in sub-Saharan Africa. Even among groups whose average IQ is substantially higher than that of African blacks, such as American blacks, with average IQ of 85, and Hispanics, with average IQ of 90 (though there is circumstantial evidence that the average IQ of Mexican Mestizos who are coming to the U.S. is closer to 85), the average intelligence of thee groups is still substantially lower than that of white Europeans, with average IQ of 100.

Andrew,

We weren't talking about assimilation we were talking about socialization (enculturation). It's been demonstrated that perfect enculturation is achieved regardless of IQ (again, in the absence of a diagnosable abnormality or outright mental retardation).

Assimilation is a different process, one that I'd bet even uses different parts of the brain (I think it has been shown that when people are speaking or understanding 2nd languages different parts of the brain are used than when they are processing the language they learned in infancy).

Steve,

Enculturation, assimilation...the important question is what should American immigration policy be and what are the factors to consider? Kay's essay is directly relevant to that question and this thread.

A bit late to the discussion, but this blog post has a very interesting take on a related topic.

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