|August 7th, 2008||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Blog Entries: 34
Greats of Racial Science
The Tragic Sense of Life
Times Literary Supplement, July 25, 2008, p 12
The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought, by Robert J. Richards (University of Chicago Press), 512 pp. £20.50. ISBN:0-226-71214-7.
Review by P. D. Smith
Twenty-three-year old Henrietta (“Etty”) Darwin was an intelligent and vivacious woman who often felt bored by the quietness of life in the heart of the Kent countryside. Visitors provided some welcome excitement and were eagerly anticipated. On 21st October 1866, a tall, handsome German guest arrived at Down House, as she explained in a breathless letter to her brother George:
“On Sunday we had a gt visitation. One of Papa’s most thoroughgoing disciples, a Jena professor, came to England on his way to Madeira & asked to come down & see Papa. We didn’t know whether he cd speak English & our spirits was [sic] naturally rather low. He came quite early on Sunday & when first he entered he was so agitated he forgot all the little English he knew & he & Papa shook hands repeatedly, Papa reiteratedly [sic] remarking that he was very glad to see him & Haeckel receiving it in dead silence.”
According to Robert J. Richards, Ernst Haeckel was the “foremost champion of Darwinism not only in Germany but throughout the world”. The two scientists had exchanged letters and photographs (as was then the custom), and Haeckel had sent copies of his publications, which Darwin praised in no uncertain terms. But this was their first meeting. Once the initial language difficulties were overcome, Etty – always an acute observer of her father’s guests – noted that “some of his sentences were very fine”.
For Haeckel, it was a great moment – to meet the scientist whose revolutionary theory would, he believed, usher in a new, modern age in which superstition would be banished and humankind would finally live in harmony with Nature. Haeckel recalled the meeting with his scientific hero many years later:
“As the coach pulled up to Darwin’s ivy-covered country house, shaded by elms, out of the shadows of the vine-covered entrance came the great scientist himself to meet me. He had a tall, worthy form with the broad shoulders of Atlas, who carries a world of thought. He had a Jupiter-like forehead, high and broadly domed, similar to Goethe’s, and with deep furrows from the habit of mental work.”
Tragic sense of lifeHaeckel was born in Potsdam in 1834, the son of a privy councillor to the Prussian court. A “young, introverted boy”, he grew up listening to his mother recite Schiller’s poetry and discussing Goethe’s nature philosophy with his father. The travel journals of Darwin and Alexander von Humboldt filled his impressionable mind with dreams of scientific adventures in exotic lands. His father took a more down-to-earth view of his future scientific career and Haeckel enrolled to study medicine at Würzburg university. It was here he discovered the delights of the microscope. “Vivant cellulae! Vivat Microscopia!” the student exclaimed to his father in 1853. But Haeckel, like Darwin, soon realized he was not cut out to be a physician. Illness and disease filled him with revulsion. As he explained to his parents in 1854, he still dreamed of following Humboldt’s example and travelling to tropical countries, “where I can sit in some primeval forest with my wife (that is, my inseparable microscope) and…anatomise and microscopize animals and plants, to collect all sorts of zoological, botanical, and geographical knowledge, so that this material will allow me to accomplish something coherent”.
That same year, while collecting specimens with the famous physiologist and zoologist Johannes Müller, Haeckel realized that marine invertebrate zoology might offer him the opportunity to make that dream come true. A few years later the “tall, golden, and strikingly handsome young scientist” was following in the footsteps of another of his Romantic heroes, Goethe, and travelling around Italy, sketchbook in hand, toying with the idea of becoming an artist. Instead, he took out his microscope and began studying the creatures in the seas around Messina, which he described as “the Eldorado of zoology”. There Haeckel discovered a research subject that provided him with the material for his first monograph and launched his academic career.
He chose a group of animals that was almost unknown at the time – the Radiolaria, a class of one-celled marine organisms a mere one-thousandth of an inch in diameter that lived on the surface of the sea and secreted unusual skeletons of silica. Müller’s final publication had been a short monograph on these creatures. But Haeckel realized he had only scratched the surface. By the time Haeckel had finished, he had increased by almost half the number of known species and analyzed their internal structure, something not done before. This ground-breaking research provided the subject for his Habilitationsschrift, the Latin dissertation essential to obtain an academic position in German universities. It also formed the basis of a large two-volume illustrated monograph, Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda Radiaria) (1862). It was a brilliant study, one that announced the arrival in the scientific community of an immensely talented researcher.
Haeckel proudly dispatched a copy of his monograph to Down House. Darwin was astonished: the Radiolaria volumes were, he told Haeckel, “the most magnificent works which I have ever seen”. Haeckel had read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1860. Two of his colleagues described it as a “completely mad book”. But Haeckel was utterly enthralled. As a scientist at the beginning of his career, Darwin’s theory suddenly provided him with a direction and a purpose. Darwin had challenged “young and striving naturalists” to test his theory. Haeckel took up the gauntlet. Indeed, he felt his talents were ideally suited to establishing the theory empirically. He believed he could provide the positive proof of descent that would make Darwin’s dangerous idea into an irrefutable law of nature. So convinced was Haeckel by Darwin’s new controversial theory that he boldly claimed in his monograph that Radiolaria provided empirical support for the new theory. He began systematizing his species into some fifteen different families and drew up a genealogical table indicating descent relations.
In the year his monograph on the Radiolaria was published, Haeckel became a professor at Jena University. “I have been created for Jena,” wrote Haeckel. The university had been the powerhouse of Romanticism, an intellectual home to Schiller, Novalis, Fichte, Schelling, Oken and Hegel. More importantly, “the spirit of Goethe hovered over all”. Indeed, Richards points out that there’s even a charcoal drawing of him on the wall of the student Kerker (jail), drawn by an unfortunate but impertinent scholar-cum-prisoner who also sketched the university’s famous professors arm in arm with the town’s prostitutes.
That same year, 1862, Haeckel married the love of his life, his cousin Anna Sethe. She was, says Richards, “in many ways the young, long-haired, blond, blue-eyed scientist’s female double”. Haeckel described her to a friend as “a true German child of the forest…a completely unspoiled, pure, natural person.” Haeckel proudly informed the father of evolution that his wife called him “her German Darwin-man”. She was, writes Richards, “the lodestone of his life” and “he thought of her love as a kind of salvation, a lifeline that could pull him back from the dark abyss of materialism toward which he felt himself dragged by his science.” But tragically, just two years after they were married, on his thirtieth birthday, Anna died after a short illness. Haeckel was driven almost out of his mind with grief, “falling unconscious and remaining in bed for some eight days in partial delirium.”
The experience scarred him for life. On his birthday, the anniversary of her death, he could never again work or even eat. More than once his thoughts turned to suicide. Her sudden death left a void in his life, a void that gradually filled with a “great stridency, bitterness and ineluctable sadness”. These emotions crystallized around a great purpose, one that would energise him for the rest of his life. Haeckel decided to devote himself to Darwin’s theory. In the year of Anna’s death, he wrote to Darwin and told him the experience had made him “mature and resolute”. His one goal in life was now to “work for your descent theory to support it and perfect it”.
For a year he worked eighteen-hour days, like a man possessed. The result was a thousand-page monograph on evolution and morphology that “began in despair, advanced through anger, and ended in an encomium to transcendent nature”. Haeckel’s Generelle Morphologie der Organismen (General Morphology of Organisms, 1866), was a suitably monumental memorial to Anna, a volcanic work that “spewed fire and ash over the enemies of progress and radically altered the intellectual terrain in German biological science.” But this work that was born of an overwhelming existential anger at mortality, was also liberally sprinkled with “polemical bomblets”. The famous scientific materialist Ludwig Büchner praised “the sharpness and ruthlessness with which you have confronted the old school and the bloodless empiricists”. Many colleagues were appalled by this strident new tone in his work and the mild-mannered Darwin was taken aback by Haeckel’s savage attacks on fellow scientists. But Darwin’s bulldog – TH Huxley – was delighted: “I am much inclined to think that it is a good thing for a man, once at any rate in his life, to perform a public war-dance against all sorts of humbug and imposture.”
Next Haeckel took the fight for evolution to the general public. His Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (The Natural History of Creation, 1868) has been described by one biologist as “the chief source of the world’s knowledge of Darwinism”. It was among the most widely-read popularizations of science in the nineteenth century. Darwin praised it as “one of the most remarkable books of our time”. What was most striking – shocking even – was that Haeckel focused on the hugely controversial issue of human evolution. It was not until 1871 that Darwin tackled this delicate subject in The Descent of Man. In the introduction Darwin said of Haeckel’s book, “if this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it.” Haeckel understood immediately that for the general reader the central issue in evolution was the fraught topic of human descent. He therefore offered a “non-miraculous” theory of the development of humankind.
The book’s frontispiece took the bull by the horns and graphically depicted the races of humankind (or “species” of men, as he saw them) with their animal forebears in a scale of descent. An artist as well as a scientist, Haeckel was certainly innovative in his use of illustrations. No other popular science book had images that could compare in either quantity or quality. For a writer whose style could be prolix, his striking illustrations memorably encapsulated complex ideas. On occasion they also offered the iconoclastic Haeckel an irresistible excuse for social commentary. A comparison between a human and a dog embryo prompted this memorable attack on those aristocrats who regarded themselves as a breed apart:
“What must these members of the nobility think about that blue blood that rolls through those privileged arteries when they learn that all human embryos, noble as well as middle class, during the first two months of development, can hardly be distinguished from the tailed embryos of a dog or other mammals?”
But his illustrations also landed him in hot water. His drawings of embryos served to illustrate what Haeckel considered to be a central pillar in the evidence supporting Darwin’s theory: the biogenetic law, or the idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. As Richards explains, this means that “the embryo of a contemporary species goes through the same morphological changes in its development as its ancestors had in their evolutionary descent”. The many gaps in the fossil record frustrated Haeckel’s attempts to find incontestable proof of evolution and this alternative way back through time to the origin of species seemed to provide the vital evidence. Thanks to Haeckel, the biogenetic principle became “a dominant if controverted hypothesis”.
It was not his science, however, but his art that let Haeckel down. He cited an illustration juxtaposing three embryos (dog, chicken and turtle) as evidence for Darwin’s theory, claiming the three images were indistinguishable. Indeed they were. As one eagle-eyed reviewer noted, the same woodcut had been printed three times. The error was corrected in subsequent editions, but the charge of fraud stuck and haunted Haeckel for the rest of his life. It was, says Richards, a grave “error of judgment”, even a “moral failure”, although he clears him of “gross fraud”. This mistake unleashed a torrent of abuse directed at Haeckel, including death threats. It became so bad that he contemplated suicide in the 1870s. Huxley wrote in typically pugnacious terms to stiffen his resolve: “May your shadow never be less, and may all your enemies, unbelieving dogs who resist the Prophet of Evolution, be defiled by the sitting of jackasses upon their grandmothers’ graves!”
In 1867, Haeckel married Agnes Huschke, the daughter of a fellow Jena scientist. Although they had three children, it was not a happy marriage. Unlike Anna, she didn’t share his love of science, and objected to his frequent lecture tours and research expeditions, of which he undertook about twenty during his life, even venturing as far as the jungles of Java and Sumatra in his mid-sixties. Richards suggests these footloose wanderings were partly due to a desire to escape the “miasma of the spreading gloom in his house”. There are even suggestions of sexual liaisons in exotic locations (“many beautiful women flung themselves at him”).
But whatever his motives, there is no doubting his desire to further the cause of science: he had “an empirical curiosity and investigative energy of vast proportions”. In his lifetime Haeckel produced more than twenty large technical monographs on aspects of biology, books that remain standard reference works today. His “extraordinary morphological work” on invertebrate biology is meticulously analysed by Richards. Haeckel’s studies of the Radiolaria, sponges and corals (Die Kalkschwämme, 1872; Arabische Korallen, 1876), medusae (System der Medusen, 1879) contributed significantly to our knowledge of marine life as well as providing further evidence for Darwin’s theory. Richards admits these are “forbidding waters” for the non-specialist, yet he writes engagingly and convincingly, overturning the conventional view of Haeckel as “a mere coryphée, poorly dancing the choreography of the English master”.
Much of Haeckel’s scientific research has been ignored by historians; scholarship and science are both poorer as a result. Richards cites the example of Haeckel’s study of siphonophores, an order of hydrozoa in the phylum of Cnidaria, the stinging aquatic invertebrates such as jellyfish (Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren, 1869). Haeckel conducted “extraordinary experiments” on two-day old embryos of the Crystallodes genus of siphonophore, which he discovered. As Richards says, these showed that “all embryonic cells, at least early in development, were totipotent – they had the capacity to develop all parts of the organism”. Had such work been more widely known, it would have been hailed as the harbinger of the exciting new field of “evo-devo”, the evolutionary and genetic theory of species and individual development. But as Richards argues, by stepping into the limelight, Haeckel paid the price of obscurity for his scientific research:
“His experimental genius stood with the very best of his times. His industry, his daring, his imagination, and his inventive hypotheses should have made him, in the eyes of historians, Darwin’s rival. Yet his own success as a popularizer, ironically, did as much to cast his extraordinary science into the shadows as did the negligent attitude of subsequent scholars.”
How then to measure the significance of this remarkable yet neglected figure? Geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, one of many scientists who fled Germany in the 1930s, recalled the impact Haeckel’s work had on him as a young man: “I found Haeckel’s history of creation one day and read it with burning eyes and soul. It seemed that all problems of heaven and earth were solved simply and convincingly; there was an answer to every question which troubled the young mind.” Goldschmidt was not alone. Among his readers were such liberal luminaries as Edward Aveling (translator of Das Kapital), David Friedrich Strauss, Ernst Mach, Isadora Duncan, and Sigmund Freud. Darwin himself lauded Haeckel as “one of the few who clearly understands Natural Selection”. Before World War I, more people learned about evolutionary theory from Haeckel than any other source, including Darwin’s own writings. His best-selling popularization of monistic materialism Die Welträthsel (The World Puzzles, 1899) sold 40,000 copies in its first year of publication, more than Darwin’s Origin sold in three decades. By the Great War it had sold 400,000 copies.
Haeckel’s expertise touched morphology, paleontology, embryology, anatomy, and systematics. He also defined new fields such as chorology (biogeography, the geographical spread of organisms across the planet) and ecology, which he described as “the entire science of the relationships of the organism to its surrounding external world”. (Haeckel’s love of jaw-breaking neologisms, such as organology, tectology, promorphology, is exceptional even for a German.) His great achievement was to create an evolutionary synthesis that drew on new fields and data to provide powerful demonstrations and empirical evidence for the descent and modification of species: “He supplied exactly what the critics of Darwin demanded, namely, a way to transform a possible history of life into the actual history of life on this planet”. Indeed, Richards argues that Haeckel was Darwin’s “authentic intellectual heir”.
The Tragic Sense of Life is an immensely impressive work of biography and intellectual history, and a fitting testament to a complex and contradictory character, a “polymorphic scientist-artist-adventurer”. Richards succeeds brilliantly in re-establishing Haeckel as a significant scientist and a major figure in the history of evolutionary thought. Richards is particularly good at tracing the origins of Haeckel’s “Romantic evolutionism” in the ideas of Goethe, Humboldt and Matthias Jakob Schleiden. For Haeckel was unquestionably a Romantic and saw Darwin’s theory as the inevitable culmination of earlier German theories of descent and modification. As the author of an earlier and equally impressive study of how Romanticism shaped biological thought in the first half of nineteenth century, The Romantic Conception of Life (2002), Richards is ideally qualified for this task.
Richards portrays Haeckel as an unjustly forgotten genius, a figure of “startling creativity, tireless industry, and deep artistic talent”. He was a thinker of “extraordinary depth, scope and influence”. But Richards accepts that he was also “a man of contradictions”. In his own day he was a hugely controversial figure and a hate-figure for many Christians due to his relentless harrying of their cherished beliefs. The accusations of falsifying illustrations dogged him to his grave and posterity has not looked favourably on his work. Richards admits that Haeckel “has not been well loved – or, more to the point, well understood – by historians of science”. Indeed, many contemporary historians – among them Stephen Jay Gould and Daniel Gasman – have regarded his influence as pernicious and even accused him of furnishing the Nazis with racist theories, despite the fact that in the 1930s his works were banned along with those of Einstein. Richards examines these accusations in forensic detail and argues convincingly that they are misplaced.
However, he admits that he remains puzzled by the ferocity of the criticisms and “the warping of Haeckel’s scientific achievements” by some historians. Clearly, Haeckel’s personality – his “fanatic heart” and the “reckless abandon” with which he pursued Darwin’s theories – is partly to blame for this hostility. As Richards argues, the “overwhelming tragedy” of Anna’s death is the key to understanding this militant Darwinist, for it was an event that permanently scarred his psyche and explains his ruthless “baiting of the preachers”. Undoubtedly he was a brilliant scientist, artist and popularizer, but Haeckel was also a divisive figure, a scientific agitator and radical who alienated many colleagues and who was “largely responsible for fomenting the struggle between evolutionary science and religion”.
In Haeckel’s twilight years, his life was blighted by yet another tragedy. In 1898, he received a fan letter from a minor member of the aristocracy, Frida von Uslar-Gleichen. It was the beginning of an intense yet poignant love affair. Frida was born in the year Anna died (1864) and he came to see her as the reincarnation of his first love. She became his “intellectual and cultural confidante” and for Haeckel the experience was a “spiritual rebirth”. Their secret correspondence (over six hundred passionate letters) reveals that they dreamed of eloping together to a tropical island. In reality “they remained laced up in a fraying Victorian morality”. But Haeckel’s balmy Indian summer of love did not last. It was brought to a terrible end in 1903 when Frida – who was suffering from a debilitating heart condition – committed suicide. For Haeckel it was a particularly cruel blow, one compounded by the fact that he had supplied her with the lethal dose of morphine. Once again Haeckel tasted the “love that lifted him to ecstasy and then crushed him in despair”. He lived to the age of 85, writing and researching until the very end. For it was only thanks to his science that he was able to rise above the tragedy of life.
[NB. This is a longer version of the published review.]
|September 14th, 2011||#2|
Bread and Circuses
"Since the dawn of history the Negro has owned the continent of Africa - rich beyond the dream of poet’s fancy, crunching acres of diamonds beneath his bare black feet and yet he never picked one up from the dust until a white man showed to him its glittering light.
His land swarmed with powerful and docile animals, yet he never dreamed a harness, cart, or sled.
A hunter by necessity, he never made an axe, spear, or arrowhead worth preserving beyond the moment of its use. He lived as an ox, content to graze for an hour.
In a land of stone and timber he never sawed a foot of lumber, carved a block, or built a house save of broken sticks and mud.
With league on league of ocean strand and miles of inland seas, for four thousand years he watched their surface ripple under the wind, heard the thunder of the surf on his beach, the howl of the storm over his head, gazed on the dim blue horizon calling him to worlds that lie beyond, and yet he never dreamed a sail.”
— Charles Darwin
Only force rules. Force is the first law - Adolf H. http://erectuswalksamongst.us/ http://tinyurl.com/cglnpdj Man has become great through struggle - Adolf H. http://tinyurl.com/mo92r4z Strength lies not in defense but in attack - Adolf H.
Last edited by RickHolland; September 14th, 2011 at 09:47 PM.
|August 6th, 2013||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2013
Glayde Whitney: Ideology Contra-Science
The Occidental Quarterly
The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium
Joseph L. Graves Jr., 2001
Reviewed by Glayde Whitney
Part I. Genetics of Race in Homo sapiens
According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (on line) an ideology is:
1: visionary theorizingVisionary theorizing along with assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program has been of profound importance throughout written history. But it is not science.
Science is a method of gaining information, in which claims of fact are based on observable evidence. In science observations are made, observed facts are organized, and theories are constructed to account for the observations. Then predicting the results of further observations tests the theories. The hallmark of honest science is to follow the data [observations] wherever they may lead. Science is not about whether or not you like the results, or whether finding some particular result would facilitate or impede a preferred sociopolitical program. Science is about what is.
Science is the only approach to knowledge yet discovered that is inherently self-correcting. Mistakes may be made, theories may error, but when conducted honestly science is self-correcting. It is instructive to recall the motto of the world's first scientific organization, the British Royal Society: Nullius in Verba, "On no man's word, show me the evidence."
Karl Marx concocted an ideology, which he called a science ("scientific socialism"), probably because science was widely respected in 19th century Europe. But it was and is not a science; rather it was and is an ideology. In Marx's visionary theorizing all of the social ills and inequities among mankind are due entirely to human exploitation. Central planning along with the elimination of private property would lead to a better and more equitable world for all (today often referred to as "social justice" or "true justice").
In Marx's writing Charles Darwin is held in high esteem, largely for having developed a purely materialistic theory of the origin of man (no need for "the opiate of the masses"), and for the notion of evolutionary progress. In Marx's theorizing the natural outcome of man's progressive evolution will be socialism/communism. By a strange quirk of fate Marx knew nothing of Mendel's work and what would become the science of genetics.
Thus, when the Bolsheviks implemented Marxist/Leninism under communism in the Soviet Union, Darwin was revered while Mendel was excoriated. Evolution yes, but inherited individual and group differences, no. If individual and group differences were to some extent caused by inherited genetic differences instead of being the sole result of previous oppression, then socialist sociopolitical programs might not be capable of creating a utopian egalitarian society.
The resulting ideological travesty in the Soviet Union that came to substitute for honest biological science is called "Lysenkoism," after one of its main proponents. But it is important to realize that Trofim Lysenko did not subvert science by himself: the vast majority of biologists and previous-geneticists were willing to play the game. The alternative option was first social opprobrium, later exile, Gulag, and sometimes death.
The Lysenkoist "science" held that genetics, called "Morganism-Mendelism" was a western bourgeoisie fiction invented to justify slavery and oppression. The ideological position was that actually genes caused none of the differences among people or animals or plants. Instead all differences were due to the environmental conditions under which critters grew up. Proper "vernalization" (i.e. Head Starts) could turn one type into another, as required by Marxist/Leninist ideology.
The fellow most credited with introducing this bilge into American science is Franz Boas, a late-nineteenth century German-Jewish immigrant. Franz Boas is justly famous as the founder of "cultural" anthropology and was one of the most active propagandists of the communist ideology that race differences are caused not by genes, but by accidents of history and differences in environmental opportunities. As early as 1894 Boas was arguing that biological race was not a factor in intelligence or ability.
Boas himself proffered that the source of his ideas "was a German home in which the ideals of the Revolution of 1848 were a living force." (Notably the failed communist revolution that took place shortly after publication of The Communist Manifesto.) More a social activist than scientist, Boas was a member of over 40 organizations deemed communist or communist fronts. His work was funded in part by the same Jacob Schiff who financially assisted in undermining the Czarist regime, which eventually led to the Russian revolution. Boas' prime solution for "racism" was to deny inherited differences while encouraging miscegenation.
This is exactly the genre into which Professor Graves' little book The Emperor's New Clothes fits. We are told on the first page that
The story of the emperor's new clothes has become the time-proven metaphor for patently false theories. ... However, Anderson's fairy tale does not communicate the dire need to eliminate racist ideology. In his tale, the emperor is simply vain and foolish. Vanity and foolishness, though indeed problems, are not as grave as racism. Racism is more than foolish; it is evil and destructive. I have written this book because I believe that our society cannot progress toward true justice and equality until we exorcise racism from our collective consciousness.The introductory chapter proceeds to set the scene:
Demolishing the idea of biological race lays bare the fallacies of racism. If biological races do not exist, then what we call `race' is the invention not of nature but of our social institutions and practices. The social nature of racial categories is significant because social practice can be altered far more readily than can genetic constitution.It continues:
My personal experiences with racism as an African American intellectual have certainly given me perspective on the harm caused by racist thinking and practice. ... racial exploitation gave the United States license to exist. ... Thomas Jefferson and some other signatories of the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. ... Throughout our history, Anglo-Saxons and other northwestern European populations have often enjoyed prosperity at the expense of other groups. ... the American concept of race is a social construction, resulting from the unique political and cultural history of the United States. ... Only political orthodoxy in a racially stratified society has maintained the race concept for this long. If race does not exist at the biological level, then its use in social and political policy is profoundly flawed. Indeed, it is a falsehood in the service of social oppression. ... Finally, racist myths encourage support for the existing order.Whew! If this sounds like an old-fashioned revolutionary communist tirade, well, it is. Yes, yes, I know it has become faux pas to mention "communism" in this politically correct era, but, well, it is. Of course one could accuse me of selectively quoting out of context. If you suspect that, then read it for yourself. But please do not support this tripe by purchasing it, wait until it is available from some library. The biggest surprise after reading the whole thing is that a supposedly reputable university press accepted this pseudo-scientific volume for publication. But before getting ahead of myself, here is the substance of the case. The main empirical claims, both at the beginning and the end, are
The simple fact ... that science identifies no races in the human species, not because we wish there to be no races but because the peculiar evolutionary history of our species has not led to their formation. There is more genetic variability in one tribe of East African chimpanzees than in the entire human species! ... (p. 9).
The level of genetic variation that exists in the human species is not close to being high enough to allow the definition of subspecies (or races). ... Population genetics allows us to apprehend the fact that there are no biological or geographical races within the modern human species (pp. 70-71).To investigate the veracity of the "no biological races" assertion, we need to consider at minimum two empirical claims. First, how much genetic variation is there among humans? Professor Graves claims very little, largely because of the recent emergence of modern man. Second, whatever genetic variation there is, how is it apportioned among various historical geographical populations? Graves admits selection for different genes under different environmental conditions, but argues that there has always been so much gene flow [miscegenation] among all geographical groups that none have differentiated genetically from others. The claim is that what small amount of genetic variation exists is overwhelmingly distributed among individuals within local populations, and essentially none differentiates one population [race] from another.
So, first, how much genetic variation is there among humans? The new methods of molecular genetics, developed only in the last few decades, allow genetic claims to be tested with a precision never before possible. And in a strange way the politically correct rhetoric is getting further and further away from the scientific facts. For example, gaining attention for politically correct race denial is J. Craig Venter, chief scientist at Celera Genomics. At every opportunity, from White House press conference to formal interview, Venter assures us that sequencing the human genome has proven that races do not exist; "Race has no genetic or scientific basis." We are all too similar genetically for race to have a genetic basis. Venter was already making such proclamations when Celera had almost completed sequencing the DNA from exactly one individual - probably Venter himself.
However, since then Celera has begun selling access to its SNP database. SNP, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism [called `snip'], is what used to be called a "spot mutation." Change one nucleotide in a gene and the resulting protein can sometimes have a very different function (Sickle Cell Anemia, an example used repeatedly by Professor Graves, is the result of one nucleotide sub-stitution in the gene that codes for hemoglobin). Different SNPs of the same gene are alternative alleles, or forms, of that gene.
Celera's ad in the April 6, 2001 issue of Science offers access to "2.8 Million Unique SNPs Mapped to the Human Genome." Wow, at present it appears that the human genome has around 30,000 coding genes (some think more like 80,000), and here already is a treasure trove of almost 3 million alternative forms. Where did Celera find all these variants? Almost all are from sequencing the genomes of only five individuals. As J. Craig Venter explained on a recent PBS NOVA program - two Caucasians, one Oriental, one African, and one Hispanic.
Meanwhile at Celera's competitor Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, "We've looked at the largest number of individuals and diverse populations that's ever been done," said Gerald Vovis, Genaissance chief technology officer. They analyzed 313 genes from 82 Americans of four racial backgrounds; 21 whites, 20 blacks, 20 Asians, 18 Latinos, and three Native Americans. Researchers at Genaissance analyzed SNPs by looking at closely bunched sets that are inherited together, called haplotypes. Scientists estimate that there are about 30 million SNPs among humans, but Genaissance's team thinks analysis based on haplotypes is likely to be more helpful in medicine than analyses with individual SNPs. The number of different haplotypes for each of the 313 genes varied from two to 53, with an average of 14. Thus while a single human has only two sets (one from mom, one from pop), each of 30,000 genes, among all of mankind there could be 30 million variants arranged as 400,000 to 500,000 haplotype sets. The company says it hopes to catalogue the haplotypes of every human gene by analyzing DNA of 90 people from Africa, Asia and Europe.
Well then, with regard to the first empirical question: how much genetic variation is there among humans? Quite a lot. When emphasizing genetic similarity among all humans, it is often repeated that we are all the same for 99.9% of our genetic code. We differ one from another, on average, for only 0.1% of our nucleotides. However, one-out-of-a-thousand of the 3.2 billion nucleotides that make up the human genome leaves room for a lot of genetic variation. Throughout the species we have on the order of tens of millions of SNP variations and maybe over 400,000 variant haplotypes. Recall that Professor Graves wrote, "There is more genetic variability in one tribe of East African chimpanzees than in the entire human species!"(p. 9). That must be some tribe of chimps for chumps.
For the first question, there is plenty of genetic variation so that, if distributed as patterned differences among geographic populations, humanity could be composed of a number of genetically differentiated subspecies (races).
The second question then, how is the genetic variation apportioned among people and groups around the globe? Prof. Graves is unequivocal:
Despite the unambiguous character of the recent studies of human genetic diversity, the significance of these results for our understanding of socially constructed races has not been fully appreciated. The fact that no races exist in our species has not been adequately communicated to the lay public. (p.156) ... The fallacy of the biological race concept must be incorporated into our collective thinking on an everyday basis. (p.195) ... The United States still suffers from the huge political and economic disparities between those derived from northern European ancestry and those who are not. (p.196) ... How can we design programs that progressively eliminate the detriments caused by the history of racist injustice ... A cornerstone in this struggle will be the wide dissemination of the fact of the non-existence of biological races. (p.197).This clearly smacks of ideology more than science. But what of the science behind "the fact of the non-existence of biological races?" One recent article from Science, the premiere American science journal, contained the statement, "Ethnicity can be inferred from the frequencies of alternative forms, or alleles, of genes; allele patterns differ by racial origin." The article also pointed out the ease of identifying the race of a suspect from DNA in criminal cases.6
There are now known to be many genes (alleles), which are present in certain races but entirely absent among others. Even more common are genes that are present in various races, but at different frequencies. In recent years almost every issue of scientific journals, such as the American Journal of Human Genetics, contain articles dealing with genetic differences among "ethnic groups." Representative is a 1997 AJHG paper entitled "Ethnic-affiliation estimation by use of population-specific DNA markers." "Ethnic-affiliation" (AKA race) of an individual can in most instances be ascertained with near-certainty from analysis of DNA contained in a drop of blood or saliva.
A sampling of research reported within the last decade includes Cavalli-Sforza and colleagues' genetic comparisons of different "populations." Professor emeritus Cavalli-Sforza, the most prominent living geneticist to spend his career investigating human genetic variation, loudly proclaims at every opportunity that races do not exist; he says he studies the genetics of "populations," not races. For the monumental work The History and Geography of Human Genes , Cavalli-Sforza and colleagues collected data for about 100,000 gene frequencies from approximately 2,000 populations distributed around the world. That work used gene products, protein polymorphisms [blood antigens, enzymes, structural proteins, etc.]. They are adamant that they are not studying races, but rather populations of humans. Yet their nine main clusters, based on genetic similarity and differences have a familiar ring: "Africans (sub-Saharan), Caucasoids (European) ... Northern Mongoloids..." (p. 79). In their words, from their genetic data, "the greatest difference within the human species is between Africans and non-Africans. ... The cluster formed by Caucasoids, northern Mongoloids, and Amerinds is reasonably compact in all analyses" (p.83).
Another gene frequency survey was reported by the noted geneticists Nei and Roychoudhury, who looked at the distribution of 121 alleles of 29 genes among 26 sample populations. Their study also analyzed 15 populations with data for 33 variable genes. They report that the first major split of the phylogenetic tree separates Africans from non-Africans and that this split occurs with a 100% bootstrap probability. The second split separates Caucasian populations from all other non-African populations, and this split is also supported by bootstrap tests. The third major split occurs between Native American populations and the Greater Asians that include East Asians (mongoloids), Pacific Islanders, and Australopapuans (native Australians and Papua New Guineans), but Australopapuans are genetically quite different from the rest of the Greater Asians.
As mentioned by Prof. Graves, it so happens that there are three different patterns of gene inheritance that provide different information about relationships. First there are genes on chromosomes called autosomes that are inherited equally from both parents. Second, there are genes in mitochondria, called mtDNA, that are usually inherited only from the mother. Third, there are genes on the Y-chromosome that are transmitted only from father to son. The two studies mentioned above involved mostly genes on the autosomes. Another study compared Y-chromosome gene markers among a diversity of European, Mid-Eastern, North African and sub-Saharan (black) "populations." They found that "sub-Saharan African populations were characterized by an almost completely different set of [markers]", while the other (mostly Caucasian derived) groups shared many of the same markers, but at different frequencies. Another study that looked at mtDNA found a complete separation between sub-Saharan Africans and other humans.
The above genetic data from Nei and Roychoudhury were later subjected to a statistical procedure called factor analysis with varimax rotation. This is a strictly numerical procedure that reveals which components, if any, cluster together. By these standard statistical procedures the genetic data from the 26 populations clearly yielded six distinct clusters. The six clusters are easily identified as the following "population" groups:  Mongoloids,  Caucasoids,  South Asians and Pacific Islanders,  Negroids,  North and South Amerinds plus Eskimos,  aboriginal Australians and Papuan New Guineans.
These examples illustrate the scientific [data based] fact that modern studies of genetic diversity are converging on a human population genetic structure that is very similar to the racial classifications provided from the work of classical physical anthropologists. These genetic data are a virtually irrefutable demonstration ofthe biological reality of race: purely statistical analyses of allele frequencies gives results that are essentially identical to the racial groupings established by traditional physical anthropology.
Along with Lysenko and Professor Graves, as much as we might wish that biological (genetic) races do not exist, it simply isn't so. Biological race and "socially constructed" racial categories do not always map well onto one another, but simply denying the reality of biological races is not a useful route to "social justice."
Scattered amongst the deniers of the genetic reality of biological race, some thinkers continually grapple with reality. For example, African American Troy Duster (Sociology Professor, UC Berkeley) addressed a conference on "DNA and the Criminal Justice System" sponsored by the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.
Among Professor Duster's comments we find:
I want to address some of the inadvertent, sometimes hidden subterranean consequences of the DNA revolution in forensics. The CODIS database has hovering around it, it seems to me, a 400-pound gorilla, the social, political, cultural phenomena called - we use to call it race. Now we call it population-specific allele frequencies.It is fitting that Professor Graves chose to title his little book The Emperor's New Clothes, since he tells us that the story of the emperor's new clothes has become the time-proven metaphor for patently false theories.
Part II: Biobabble and simple rubbish
The first portion of this book review/essay concentrated on establishing the genre (Marxist agitprop) and scientific validity (non-existent) of the main arguments of Grave's The Emperor's New Clothes. This second installment will present and comment on some of the specific claims and assertions, most of which strike the reviewer as simply silly at best and useless bio-babble at worst. Still in all fairness, a few insightful passages were found.
The book starts right out with an introduction titled "Racial Thinking." Graves puts the non-scientific, ideological agenda right up front:
Racist ideologues have been accustomed to the luxury of hiding behind so-called reasoned objective argument while characterizing their critics as emotional or `politically correct.' By demonstrating that racist science is critically flawed, we lay bare their hidden agenda (p. 2).Graves continues;
[R]acial exploitation gave the United States license to exist (p. 3)... If race does not exist at the biological level, then its use in social and political policy is profoundly flawed. Indeed, it is falsehood in the service of social oppression (p. 9).Whatever these socially-concerned views may be, science they are not.
Chapter one deals with early theories of race, from biblical accounts through early Greek classifications, the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate's racial theory, and Medieval Europe. The presentation of historical views is in the main interesting, although flawed by shaky scholarship. Aristotle's famous chain of being, his scalae naturae is mentioned as central to later racial hierarchies, as is "his" (sic) book Systema Naturae. Of course the basis of modern taxonomic classification, presented in Systema Naturae was not provided by Aristotle (384 -322 BC). Rather, this famous work first published in 1735 AD was the magnum opus of the great Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus (1707- 1778).
It is maintained that the position of Jews in Medieval Europe "cannot be distinguished from modern racial prejudice" (p. 20). Furthermore;
Jewish persecution clearly illustrates that the idea of race can be socially constructed. The Jews were a cultural group rather than a biologically distinct population (to say nothing of a race) (p. 20).Rubbish. Don't attempt to sell this to Israeli geneticists, and their co-authors, who have recently published papers emphasizing the genetic unity of diaspora Jewery, and the genetic separateness of Jews from the host populations among whom they live.15 Graves is correct in his summary that
It seems clear that human beings have always noticed and recorded phenotypic differences. Throughout the ancient world humans also speculated about the source of these differences (p.22).Chapter two deals with the development of race concepts in light of the Age of Discovery with the co-existence of three very different races in the Americas - The European Cacasoid, the sub-Saharan African Negroid, and the American Indian. Graves points out that the Age of Discovery for the first time brought Europeans into extensive contact with different non-European peoples: "Under these new conditions, there are two possible explanations for the origin of ideas of European racial supremacy, one nonracist and the other racist" (p.23).
Graves favors the "racist" explanation which is essentially a rehash of the Marxist-inspired tripe that we are familiar with through the writings of Boas, Diamond, Gould and those of similar ilk. However, his "nonracist" alternative explanation rings true as most consistent with the best of modern science:
[R]acist ideology developed out of an objective examination of human diversity. If, for example, European scholars had fairly compared the biological and cultural characteristics of Europeans and non-Europeans and found the former superior, racist ideology would have been validated. In other words, if Europeans really did have larger heads and larger brains, and if these features did determine intellectual ability, we could not label a scientist reporting these facts as racist (p. 23).Yes. Exactly.
The next few chapters (3, 4, & 5) continue the historical development of race concepts before and after the appearance of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Once again shaky scholarship mars the presentation. For example, S. J. Gould's long-ago debunked and thoroughly discredited attack on the honesty of Morton's measures of cranial capacity is presented as though it remains important:
Stephan Jay Gould's classic 1977 reexamination of Morton's conclusions stands as one of the most important revelations of the fallacy of objectivity in science (p. 46).The finding from Morton's 1849 measurements, that races differ in cranial volumes with Europeans substantially larger than Africans, is consistent with the best of recent studies16.
Darwin is presented, through numerous quotes from The Descent of Man (1871) as opposing the distinctiveness of geographical races among humans:
Today, we know that Darwin's intuition about racial variation in humans was essentially correct. Population genetics allows us to apprehend the fact that there are no biological or geographical races within the modern human species (pp. 70-71).Conveniently omitted is Darwin's actual summary about the comparison of Europeans and Africans:
[H]e has diverged into distinct races, or as they may be more fitly called, sub-species. Some of these, such as the Negro and European, are so distinct that, if specimens had been brought to a naturalist without any further information, they would undoubtedly have been considered by him as good and true species. (Darwin, 1871/1874, p. 929).Bio-babble and rubbish finish out these chapters:
the core error of all social Darwinian thinking results from the inability to separate genetic from environmental sources of variation on the phenotype (p. 81).Were that the case it would negate all genetic epidemiology, genetic health studies, and the behavior genetics that has revolutionized psychology across the last few decades.
Capitalism was an advance over feudalism, but it was a stage on the way to socialism and communism, the stages of society that would allow the true expression of the human potential (p. 84).Eugenics and the early development of human genetics are handled in a similarly cavalier manner. Sir Francis Galton, the great 19th century polymath who founded much of modern statistics and quantitative genetics, as well as psychometrics, is dismissed:
Galton's scientific accomplishments are sufficient for some to still consider him an intellectual hero. Whereas for others (this author included) he was an intellectual mediocrity, a sham, and a villain (p. 100).Chapter 8 (Eugenics, Race, and Fascism - The Road to Auschwitz Went through Cold Spring Harbor) regurgitates the favorite lefty canard of smearing eugenics through argumentum reducto ad Hitlerium. Since World War Two there has been an intense and unrelenting propaganda campaign against eugenics that invokes the Nazi smear. However, as Marian van Court has pointed out, in the first half of the 20^th century at least 29 countries passed eugenic laws. Included were such paragons of social democracy as Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. One instance - Nazi Germany - out of 29 countries does not make a trend and does not document a slippery slope. Never in history have peoples felt it necessary to justify their holocausts and genocides by invoking eugenical science. The examples are unfortunately many, including the Bolshevik's elimination of 20 million Christian kulaks and the Hutus' handling of their Tutsi neighbors.
Chapter 10 (The Race and IQ Fallacy) is such off-the-wall rubbish, so out of contact with reality, as to constitute a good example of wall-to-wall bio-babble:
In the end, the data that the psychometricians rely on to demonstrate racial differences in intelligence are simply the racial differences we already observe (p. 168); even the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was originally invented to control Jewish entry into higher education (p.158).Graves points out that to be valid, tests of genetic hypotheses of race differences in intelligence must take environmental differences into account. Of course this is central to all genetic investigation and has been the focus of innovative statistical and experimental designs for more than a century. Even Sir Francis Galton in his earliest works on human variation was concerned about separating the effects of nature from those of nurture. But Graves goes on to claim that experiments which attempt to equalize environments between whites and blacks are not only impossible "under the existing political circumstances but also that the proponents of the link between race and IQ do not argue that the experiment should be performed to test their hypotheses" (p. 172). Statements of this sort are such monumental rubbish as to suggest either a stunning lack of scholarship or intentional deceitfulness. In fact it was for vociferously calling for such experiments that William Shockley got into trouble with the National Academy of Sciences. And furthermore, one variation of the experiment has been done and widely reported: When black babies are adopted and raised in educated middle class white homes (the ultimate Head Start), they grow up to perform not like their white family members, but rather they still perform intellectually and emotionally like blacks raised in typical black environments.
The concluding two chapters are bizarre. In "The Race and Disease Fallacy", it is argued that the medical community confuses ethnic groups with races: "Ethnicity is defined culturally, whereas the concept of race relies on presumed biological variation" (p.173). And after all, the central message of the book is that biological races simply do not exist. The other main problem is that "all humans have some risk" for various disease conditions, so therefore it is proper to give the same advice and conduct the same tests on everyone.
The problem is that many biomedical researchers and clinicians are still working under the yoke of the biological race concept. Hence, they see all biological differences between and within populations as potentially due to racial genetic composition. (p.174).Indeed, this is because biomedical researchers tend to be well-trained rational investigators.
Graves makes the valid point that medical diagnosis and treatment should be aimed at the individual and not at groupings such as races within which there is much variation. Of course this is a valid point and in some more advanced utopian future truly individualized medicine may be a reality. But at the present time we have neither the ability nor the resources to avoid utilizing group probabilities in making medical decisions. Recently, researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered and then developed a test to detect a gene associated with risk of colorectal cancer. The test is laborious and expensive, hence Johns Hopkins announced that the test was available, but only for persons of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Racial prejudice? No, rational decision making; the gene had been found only in the one "ethnic" group. When treating real people in the real world, it would be absurd to test for phenylketonuria among black natives of sub-Saharan Africa, as it is predominately a condition of northern Europeans. Similarly, when confronted with a blood/anemia problem among native Icelanders, any physician that places a high priority on testing for sickle cell anemia should be fired for incompetence. There is a real world and in the real world, so far every one of the genes discovered that predispose to various diseases has not been uniformly distributed among races.
The concluding chapter is a call to action, titled "What Can or Will We Do without Race?" Graves tells us that
Race as most people understand it now was socially constructed finally, in the early 1990s, [through accumulated biological data] the biological race concept was thoroughly dismantled." A crucial part of the battle against the legacies of the social construction of race is to get across the messages that biological races do not exist dictionaries and encyclopedias need to be revised The United States still suffers from the huge political and economic disparities between those derived from northern European ancestry and those who are not. the fact that there are no biological races in the United States is not a reason to end programs designed to remedy past discrimination. We have lived in the nightmare of racism too long We can change these institutions; we need only to have the political and moral will to do so (Pp. 193-200).Sound familiar? It should because an almost identical "political and moral" program has been proposed and implemented before. The prior travesty is well described by Valery Soyfer in his book Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science.
Glayde Whitney was professor of psychology and neuroscience at Florida State University, where he taught behavior genetics and history of science. He is past-president of an international organization, the Behavior Genetics Association.
Note: Endnotes removed; see website.
|November 4th, 2013||#4|
Join Date: May 2013
Blumenbach claimed that Adam and Eve were Caucasian (Georgian).
|November 4th, 2013||#5|
Join Date: May 2013
Jesus Davidic Caucase (Georgian) bloodline
House of David
Ancestral house Tribe of Judah
Titles King of Israel
Final sovereign Zedekiah of Judah
The Davidic line (also referred to as the House of David) (known in Hebrew as Malkhut Beit David (מלכות בית דוד) — "Royal House of David") refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament. The term "House of David" referring to the Davidic dynasty appears many times in the Bible.
David IV the Builder
Pharasmanes the Valiant (Aryan Pars).
|March 16th, 2014||#6|
Bread and Circuses
|July 9th, 2015||#7|
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Already in accordance with the future Repulsive Tapir Avatar Mandate
A Frenchman, a Swede and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who isolated the European into a 5th category:
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Location: Already in accordance with the future Repulsive Tapir Avatar Mandate
|May 4th, 2018||#9|
Bread and Circuses
|May 17th, 2018||#10|
Bread and Circuses
"... these two words [birth control] sum up our whole philosophy... It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks -- those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization."
-- Margaret Sanger, "High Lights in the History of Birth Control," Oct 1923.
"Apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring."
-- Sanger, Margaret. “My Way to Peace,” Jan. 17, 1932. Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress 130:198.
“Feeble-mindedness perpetuates itself from the ranks of those who are blandly indifferent to their racial responsibilities. And it is largely this type of humanity we are now drawing upon to populate our world for the generations to come. In this orgy of multiplying and replenishing the earth, this type is pari passu multiplying and perpetuating those direst evils in which we must, if civilization is to survive, extirpate by the very roots.”
-- Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, 1922
“Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman.” -- “Woman and the New Race,” 1920
"My own position is that the Catholic doctrine is illogical, not in accord with science, and definitely against social welfare and race improvement."
-- Margaret Sanger, "The Pope's Position on Birth Control," Jan. 27, 1932.
“I accepted an invitation to talk to the women's branch of the Ku Klux Klan... I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak...In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
-- Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography, published in 1938, p. 366