Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Research on Racial Differences

I don't want there to be differences between the races. I don't want there to be racial differences in abilities, in athleticism, in susceptibility to various diseases, etc. And if there are differences, I want them to be endogenous to environment, not genetic.

I was bothered 15 years ago when Phil Rushton, of the University of Western Ontario, put forth some of his ideas about racial differences. I had hoped that noted pinko left-wing interventionist geneticist, David Suzuki, would demolish Rushton's ideas in a debate. He didn't. All he did was react with moral outrage, but he did not refute the data or the ideas.

I know, in my scientific heart, I should support continued questioning and research. I know, in my emotional being, that I don't want it to happen. But it continues. From a very long article in the Globe and Mail [thanks to BenS for the link]:

...Western Ontario's infamous J. Philippe Rushton has seized upon modern genetics as an opportunity to make his case again, in the company of Arthur Jensen, a University of California psychology professor who argues that race determines IQ.

This month, the unpopular scholars have the lead article in the journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law , presenting 60 pages of evidence arguing that genes explain 50 per cent of the IQ differences between races, in which Asians rank higher than whites and whites higher than blacks. (The publisher, the American Psychological Association, invited scientists to rebut the paper in the same issue.)

And yet, despite all the social hazards of modern genetics, Dr. Scherer said scientists should not “have to fear discussing their results of their research, so long as they are open-minded and listen to criticisms and comments from others, including the public.

For more, check out Brian Ferguson's quotation of Julia Witt's detailed analysis. Her well-reasoned conclusion is
Instead of sticking our heads in the sand, and being naïve about thinking that scientific research should not reveal things that we may not want to know, we should be ready to deal with this information when (or as) it becomes available.
I may not like it, but I know she's right.
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