“The Emperor’s New Clothes” book review/critique

One of the tactics race-denialists love to use is the “thick-book” tactic, whereby they point to a thick book and proclaim that it refutes all the claims of racists.  They know full well that very few people will actually take the time to read it and, even if they do, few will read it critically.  Thus we find Tim Wise writing:

Needless to say, I far and away believe that the four premises of the anti-hereditarian, anti-racialist position are much closer to the truth than those of the so-called racial realists. Biologists like Joseph Graves, for instance, have utterly eviscerated the work of hereditarian racialists (who have no biology or genetics training whatsoever) like J. Phillippe Rushton, with scientific evidence and reasoning that the latter has never seen fit to rebut. Others like Richard Nisbett have presented further evidence indicating the malleability of intelligence and its tenuous link to racial heritage. Although the hereditarians have replied to Nisbett (in ways they have ignored Graves), they have done so selectively at best.

Joseph Graves has written two books that supposedly destroy what we call racial science (HBD) and they call “scientific racism”.  I was under the impression that “The Emperor’s New Clothes” was written in order to correct the wrong-headed thinking of people like me, so I went ahead and ordered it; it wasn’t very expensive and I figured the price was worth finding out what powerful arrows the Left has in its quiver that Rushton has been avoiding.

In the introduction, we are told that the book comes to cure us of “racism”:

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 (pg. 1).

It could be that if an ignorant, unlettered, “street-racist” were to read the book, and he lacked the knowledge and skills to seriously question it, he might turn into a race-denier.  But the fact of the matter is that it is so full of lies, half-truths, distortions and obfuscations, that were I to enumerate them all, this critique would be almost as long as the book itself.  I find myself forced to highlight but a few of them for the sake of brevity.

Graves writes:

Although professional scientists generally agree on the fallacy of race, this idea has yet to find its way into the public discourse (pg. 2).

The diversity of the modern research community makes it possible for one to take a contentious position without immediately destroying one’s career (pg. 124).

The fact that no races exist in our species has not been adequately communicated to the lay public (pg. 156).

Granted, the book was published way back in 2001, but the race-denialist bombardment had begun way before then.  To claim that the “non-reality of race” had not yet made it into public discourse is ridiculous.  It is also untrue that a majority of professional scientists deny the reality of race.  Considering that Graves is a professor at a university, it is difficult to see how he could not be familiar with the above political reality.  The ignorance of the middle statement is especially breathtaking and even if it were true that most scientists publicly deny the reality of race, this is because they have little choice in the matter, as Neven Sesardic puts it:

One of the leading physical anthropologists warned about the tendency of some scientists to misrepresent the true view of their scientific community. He said that the idea widely propagated by many scientists that race is only skin deep ‘‘is simply not true, as any experienced forensic anthropologist will affirm’’ (Gill 2000). He went further and stated that the bias of the race-denial faction ‘‘seems to stem largely from socio-political motivation and not science at all’’ (ibid.). And finally:  ‘‘At the beginning of the twenty-first century, even as a majority of biological anthropologists favor the reality of the race perspective, not one introductory textbook of physical anthropology even presents that perspective as a possibility. In a case as flagrant as this, we are not dealing with science but rather with blatant, politically motivated censorship (pg 157).’’

Graves seems to be confused concerning the definitions of “race” and “species”, for he writes:

In fact, early hominids might have been classifiable into valid racial categories, in which, for example, pairs of individuals from different races either had reduced capacity, or no capacity, to produce viable offspring (pg. 2).

As a matter of fact, there are several known cases of separate species being able to produce viable offspring.  Some great cats, ducks and owls come to mind.  When environmentalists strive to protect such varieties from extinction, we never hear them describe them as “races”; instead, they are invariably described as “species”.  The Spotted Owl, vis-a-vis the Barred Owl, is not a “race” but a “species” – even though the two interbreed.

Graves can’t quite make up his mind in the matter of  brain size.  He repeatedly references (pg. 3, 46 and 86)  Stephen Jay Gould’s research, which supposedly exposed Samuel Morton’s research (which showed negro skulls to be, on average, of lower capacity than Caucasian and Asian ones).  He writes:

Many assertions and assumptions about race and racial relations that were taken for granted during the Enlightenment have subsequently been proven false (such as the incorrect assertion that Negroes’ brains are smaller than those of white Europeans) (pg. 3).

But he also writes:

However, when unbiased measurements of human brains were made, there was no evidence for differences in brain size.  In 1838, Friedrich Tiedemann… measured the brains from fifty cadavars (both Negro and European) and found no weight differences… The twentieth-century anthropologist Ashley Montagu concluded that the average cranial capacity difference between blacks and whites was about 50 cubic centimeters (pg.  87 and bold mine).

Surely that last study, by Montagu, warrants further study – but Graves does not seem interested in such a study.  Does he believe that 50 cubic centimeters is not meaningful – even when taken together with other evidence?  How many neurons can fit into 50 cubic centimeters?  In any event, how unfortunate for Graves that it was Gould’s study that proved to be fraudulent, not Morton’s.  From Science Fair of June, 2011:

The late scientific icon, Stephen Jay Gould, botched and perhaps faked his critique of a racist 19th-Century scientist’s skull collection, suggests a second look at his efforts.  In a 1978 Science paper, Gould (1941 – 2002) , reported that the Samuel George Morton (1799-1851), “a prominent Philadelphia physician,” had mis-measured the cranial capacities of his 1,000-skull “American Golgotha” collection gathered from around the world, to suit his racist beliefs. The finding led to one of Gould’s best-known books, The Mismeasure of Man, a critique of scientific racism.  Overall, they find, Morton did make mistakes in measuring skull capacity (he first stuffed them with seeds, and later lead shot to measure their brain size). But the mistakes were random. The random mistakes didn’t favor any racial theory of larger brain sizes for white people over others…

Morton neither manipulated his skull samples, unfairly selected which data to report, skewed results by gender, or ignored his mistakes to favor racist interpretations of his skulls, the PLoS Biology study authors conclude — all charges made by Gould against the long-dead physician.

What’s more, the researchers found Gould made some mistakes in his re-analysis of Morton. “Our analysis of Gould’s claims reveals that most of Gould’s criticisms are poorly supported or falsified,” they conclude:

Samuel George Morton, in the hands of Stephen Jay Gould, has served for 30 years as a textbook example of scientific misconduct. The Morton case was used by Gould as the main support for his contention that ”unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”. This view has since achieved substantial popularity in ”science studies”. But our results falsify Gould’s hypothesis that Morton manipulated his data to conform with his a priori views. The data on cranial capacity gathered by Morton are generally reliable, and he reported them fully. Overall, we find that Morton’s initial reputation as the objectivist of his era was well-deserved.

We are told that…

Before Darwin, and thus for the vast majority of human history, no scientifically correct understanding of human diversity could have existed (pg. 13).

But it would seem that this rule can not be used in defense of people like Phillippe Rushton, for we read:

For example, the architectural historian Vitruvius (active around 46-30 B.C.) attributed the keen intelligence of Romans to the rarity of the atmosphere and the warm climate (consistent with the earlier, Greek worldview).  He also thought that the French, Germans, and Britons were mentally slow.  He reasoned that the humidity and cold produced in them “a sluggish intelligence [italics in original](pg. 18).”

Of course, modern racial theorists (for example, Rushton) now argue that it was precisely this “chill” that was responsible for the evolution of superior European and Asiatic intelligence.  These modern theorists thus have difficulty explaining the Roman claim of low intelligence for northern Europeans (pg. 19)…

I, for one, do not see any difficulty; the ancient Romans lacked the tools needed to gauge intelligence – and the ancient northerners had not yet developed the tools needed to express it.  In other words, “no scientifically correct understanding of human diversity could have existed.”

Furthermore, in his discussion of ancient history, Graves would like his readers to assume that “African” and “black African” are synonymous.  He writes:

Julian thought that Africans were civilized, intelligent, and mild-mannered, whereas he saw Aryans and Anglo-Saxons as warlike, barbaric, and cruel.  Precisely the opposite view emerged during the Age of Discovery (pg. 20).

It is extremely unlikely that an Ancient Roman would have referred to blacks as “Africans”.  “Africa”, back then, meant the Roman provinces (or former Roman provinces) of North Africa – which were inhabited by Caucasians.  Black Africans would probably have been referred to as “Ethiopians”.  For Graves to assume that “African” means “black”, and then pass this assumption on to his readers, is irresponsible.

One of the most outlandish ideas, presented in this dubious tome, is that the backwardness of black Africa can be attributed to the slave trade that was conducted by Europeans and Arabs:

Modern IQ theorists routinely compare Africans to African Americans to try to prove a generalized deficit in African intellect.  In the scheme of these theorists, the degraded conditions of blacks in the United States match the lack of social progress of blacks in Africa.

However, if we properly understand that the African slave trade affected both those who were enslaved and those who remained, we can see that this comparison is not relevant.  The reduction of African population due to slavery opened the way for the colonization of Africa.  Consider how many lives were lost in the slave trade (pg. 28)…

Quite a stretch, especially when we consider that slavery was practiced pretty much all over the world.  Can Graves point to even one non-African region that has remained backward for centuries due to it having been a major source of slaves?  Furthermore,  only a small segment of the African population was ever taken as slaves – at least according to  Graves.  These are his words, as he describes the concept of genetic drift:

The random sampling of gene frequencies from western Africa due to the Atlantic slave trade may serve as an illustration of genetic drift’s effect on human racial composition.  Only a small percentage of Africans were sold into slavery (pg. 114)…

Even obvious facts are questioned by Graves.  He cites research by Petrus Camper (1722-1789) documenting Negro prognathism and considering it evidence of primitiveness.  While one can easily dispute Camper’s conclusions, it is rather silly to dispute the fact that Negroes are, indeed, more prognathous than most other races.  Yet Graves writes:

It is not at all clear how many skulls Camper examined to calculate these values.  His description of his work suggests that these values were certainly not representative of the groups analyzed (he may have used only one sample).  In addition, it is not clear how the values of the facial angle can be said to support the idea that Negroes were closer to apes (pg. 41).

It is also not clear what, exactly, Graves is objecting to.  Is it the degree of prognathism claimed by Camper, or the fact that it exists at all?  If the former, then we might ask, what amount of prognathism is acceptable to Graves?  The illustration on page 41 shows what appears to be a typical Negro skull.  If Graves does not consider Negro prognathism to be a negative trait, then why does he try to deny its existence?

For a person who denies the biological reality of race, it is interesting that the author cannot see past his own race.  Clearly, he has a bone to pick with whites.  Graves relates how he suffered from racism as a child:

As a young child, I was tracked into a curriculum designed for those expected to have less intellectual ability.  In third grade, when I began to read books about the history of the Crusades, my teachers felt that I was compensating for my inability to read (the other children were still reading picture books with large print).  Finally, after one teacher decided to determine just how much I understood in this book, the teachers realized that they were dealing with a child of exceptional rather than limited ability.  The school system had assumed that because I was “c0lored” and my parents were poor, my learning potential was limited (pg. 198).

Oh the horror!  But let us put this example of “racism” in perspective and compare it with my own.  Thousands of other white children have suffered as I had.  Some lost their lives.  Is Graves concerned with this sort of racism?  Though he writes:

We do, however, need to recognize that there are infrastructural requirements for learning, such as adequate instruction, decent nutrition, safety from intimidation and violence, and an environment that fosters the development of self-esteem (pg. 198).

One gets the impression that Graves is not speaking of white children here – for there is not one mention, in the entire book, about the ongoing rampant abuse of white children in predominantly black schools.

As a black man, Graves worries about race-motivated crime against blacks and other non-whites.  He tells his readers (pg. 199) all about Buford O. Furrow Jr., who shot up the Jewish day care facility and killed a Filipino man in 1999.  He Calls the Columbine shooting a “racist hate crime… that targeted racial minorities” (pg. 193), though there is little evidence that race was a factor and most of the victims were white.  There is no mention of the Zebra Murders, where blacks targeted whites,  or the ongoing grossly disproportionate rape, by black men, of white women.  Apparently, these things are not important to Professor Graves.  Furthermore, Graves blames – you guessed it – whites for black crime:

The end of racial discrimination would also promote respect for law enforcement and for the peaceful settlement of disputes… Ask yourself, What might be the impact on African, Hispanic, Asian, or Native Americans if a member of one of these groups were elected president (pg. 199).

Well… we’ve had an African president for a few years now and, so far, not much has changed – at least not for the better.

Throughout the book, Graves assumes that whites are never the victims of racism, but always the perpetrators.  In fact, his attitude is simplistic and infantile.  For example, he writes:

Blacks and American Indians are not the only people who have been subject to racism in this country.  Few consider the origin of expressions like “not a Chinaman’s chance” or recognize the sacrifice that Chinese Americans made to extend the railroads in the American West.  Many never questioned the dubious logic of herding Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II while allowing German Americans to go free (pg. 4).

He completely ignores the blatant, and ongoing, discrimination against whites in America, under the guise of “Affirmative Action”, that has been going on for at least 50 years.  All Graves has to say about that is (pg.  197):

The difficult question is, How can we design programs that progressively eliminate the detriments caused by the history of racist injustice and yet simultaneously defend the rights of all individuals (pg. 197)?

Not once is Graves critical of blacks in any way, but he has no problem making negative generalities about whites.  For example:

However, as it does for many Euro-Americans, the subject of race tended to create a blind spot that objective scientific reasoning could not penetrate (pg. 123).

… Conversely, African Americans, in the main, rejected fascism and racism from the beginning (pg. 140).

The social bias was revealed in the way that whites refused to see their role in creating the economic and social conditions that fostered the extraordinary rates of infection in Clarendon County, Alabama (pg. 191).

Over and over again, the author refers to opinions he disagrees with as “racist”.  The definition of “racist” he most readily accepts is that of Websters, which defines it as (pg. 8) a doctrine without scientific support, that claims to find racial differences in character, intelligence, etc., that asserts the superiority of one race over others and that seeks to maintain the supposed purity of a race.  On page 53, the he hints that his real objection to racial science is not that it is scientifically wrong, but that it is heretical.  He even uses religious terminology to express this:

Thus, the race concept was immediately caught up in the Darwinian revolution sweeping through biology.  We shall see that there was no shortage of individuals willing to rush in where angels fear to tread.

An honest person should ask, “What is there to fear?  Should we not seek the truth, wherever it leads?”  According to Graves, the answer is “No.”

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” reads like a who’s who of outdated and discredited racial-egalitarian tactics.  He spills much ink on the past excesses, and crimes, of racialism and eugenics.  While it is important to be aware of those crimes, they do not disprove modern racial science any more than the inaccurate maps of yore discredit the discipline of geography.  Lewontin’s fallacy rears its ugly head at least twice in the book (pg. 87 and 155), though he does not refer to it by that name:

Scientists soon realized that the largest amount of genetic variation in our species resides at the level of the individual rather than the group (pg. 155).

Here is a brief explanation of Lewontin’s Fallacy by Robert Lindsay:

According to… (Lewontin’s) fallacy, most genetic variation is within groups and not between groups. 85% is within any given group, and only 15% is between the average of any one group with any other.

Why this is a fallacy can be easily shown. For instance, within Whites, IQ’s in a group of 1000 Whites have IQ’s ranging from 148 to 68 or so. There are 80 points variation within the group.

Now let us look at the average of 1000 Whites versus the average of 1000 Blacks. The 1000 Whites have an average IQ of 103. The 1000 Blacks have an average IQ of 89.8. There are 13.2 points variation between the averages of each group.

According to Lewontin’s Fallacy, the 13.2 point differences between Blacks and Whites is inconsequential to meaningless, since the difference within Whites ranges from geniuses to idiots! Yet that difference has real meaningful consequences at many levels, particularly societal and sociological but also political.

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is rife with grotesque errors of logic.  Errors that might be forgiven had they been made by a fourth grader.  Here are some examples:

Owing to intense selection and small population stocks, domestic animals, like dogs, also suffer from inbreeding effects.  Inbreeding tends to make the genome of a stock homozygous at many loci, which has the overall effect of lowering the fitness of a given line, even if that line is fixed for some desirable trait.  Inbred stocks will differ from one another in terms of the specific fitness defects.  The only reliable or interpretable results from the differences shown in personality or intellectual characteristics of domestic breeds is that genetic variation for these traits does not exist in the species in question.  Human populations have occasionally undergone population bottlenecks that have produced some inbreeding, but not at the level experienced in artificial selection.  Therefore, the idea that human races are differentiated in genes associated with intelligence because of regional differences in natural selection is theoretically and empirically ill-founded (pg. 96).

It appears that what Graves is trying to say is that since man-made selection is more directed, and effective, than natural selection, therefore natural selection cannot bring about differing abilities in different populations.  Perhaps it is just me – but I fail to see the logic here.

Thus when one examines gene frequencies, one must ask, Where does one race end and another begin?  The existence of pure races is intimately tied to an unambiguous statistical means to delineate such races.  We now know that collections of human genetic data reveal no such means to clearly delineate races (pg. 147).

This is a straw-man argument.  Though there are some people who believe in “pure races”, many race-realists do not.  The acknowledgment of the biological reality of race does not require a belief in pure races, nor is it necessary to have clear boundaries between one race and another.   There is no such clear boundary between the genders.  Does this mean Graves denies the biological validity of the concepts “male” and “female”?

Less than twenty-five years after Auschwitz, the scientific racist infrastructure was firmly reestablished.  Although the UNESCO statements of 1950 and 1951 had declared that race was not a useful concept in human biology, and that anthropologists generally should not utilize intelligence in racial classification schemes, race and intelligence would dominate American thought concerning integration (pg. 154).

The author seems to believe that UNESCO has the authority to determine what is, and what is not, a “useful concept” in biology.  Going back to a point I brought up earlier, Graves seems to believe that political pressure plays no role in influencing public statements by scientists.  He even has the nerve to come out and say so explicitly.

Here is another outlandish statement:

The first flaw is the difficulty of reconstructing the actual conditions under which natural selection could have operated during slavery.  Our ignorance about these conditions stems from our lack of strong historical interest in, or concern for, the actual nature of slavery and the rest of the African American experience (pg. 33).

Graves must have been living in a cave for the past 40 years.

Regarding the Flynn effect, he writes:

Herrnstein and Murray dismiss this fact by arguing that the increase is more likely a result of better testing than of a real change in mean I.Q.  Either way, this change indicates an environmental effect, since no significant genetic change could have occurred in this period.  This magnitude of environmental effect demolishes the case for the use of raw IQ data as a source of genetic information (pg. 165).

Another straw-man.  I am not aware of anybody who believes that IQ is entirely determined by genetics.  By this reasoning, since environment impacts virtually every human ability, there is no way to gauge the genetic element in any of them!  I have already cited clear evidence of I.Q.’s heritability here.

… if genes do influence intelligence, then we should expect that all races will have families that run the range of the genetic variability for intelligence.  Thus, given the large genetic overlap of human populations, our expectation should be that there is no significant racial difference in intelligence or other behavioral traits (pg. 167).

Let me get this straight.  Because each family will have members who are very smart, or very stupid, there cannot be average I.Q. differences between races.  Isn’t this a lot like saying that since there are both very tall, and very short, members of both Chinese and Nigerian families, there can be no difference in average height between the two groups?

Much ink is spilled trying to discredit eugenics.  We are told horror story after horror story.  And yet Graves agrees with the basic premise of eugenics, for he writes:

If individuals who would normally die without intervention reproduce, and their condition is heritable, the frequency of the genetic malady in the human species will increase (pg. 76).

His objections to eugenics seem to be threefold:  That there have been great abuses in the past (agreed), that eugenics has historically used social/economic class as a proxy for genetic fitness (pg. 113), and that any intervention on our part would take tens of thousands of years to make a dent in our genetic footprint (pg. 114).  But what Graves is doing is throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Eugenics is successfully practiced by Ashkenazi Jews in order to reduce the risk of Tay-Sachs disease.  Many women choose to abort their mongoloid babies rather than give birth to them.  Graves appears to define eugenics as “any crime that has been committed to improve the genetic fitness of the human race”.  If so, who can argue with him?  let us, instead, define eugenics as any policies taken to reduce the burden/suffering caused by genetic defects upon human society.  I have personally seen three generations of retards living at a group home – at tremendous cost to society.  Those retards are not borderline retarded, who might be considered “dull”.  No, they are bonafide, drooling, pinheads who absolutely cannot function on their own.  Who, in his right mind, would be in favor of perpetuating such a family?  Graves avoids the hard questions, instead resorting to equating eugenicists with Nazis (pg. 127).  We even find him saying:

The tragedy of Nazi Germany stands as the clearest example of what can happen if eugenics, racial hierarchy, and social Darwinism are taken to their logical conclusions (pg. 128).

It is difficult to understand how the extermination of Jews, who were among the brightest and most successful in Germany, is a “logical conclusion” of eugenics.

In asserting that black Africa is capable of producing advanced civilizations, Graves is rather vague – with one exception:  “The Great Zimbabwe”, which he emphasizes (pg. 89) as an example of the advanced state of the Shona civilization circa 1400 A.D.  It is not clear exactly who built the Great Zimbabwe but, for an old-world stone structure, it is not very old (it is slightly older than the new-world Machu Picchu) nor is it exceptionally impressive.

One of the basic tenets of science is that a theory must be falsifiable.  Graves’ theory is that race does not exist, and that there is no correlation between “so-called races” (his typical term for “race”) and intelligence.  Yet he writes:

Performances on standardized tests during the Plessy v. Ferguson era in the American South would not have been capable of revealing genetic differences in intelligence between the so-called races, even if such differences had existed.  This is simply because standardized tests do not take environmental factors into consideration.  “Blacks” and “whites” lived in different environments, one manifestly superior to the other in physical and biological infrastructure.  Thus, the core error of all social-Darwinian thinking results from the inability to separate genetic from environmental sources of variation in the phenotype (pg. 81).

… shortly thereafter, he writes:

Thus, for Spencer, evolutionary worth could be determined only by post hoc methods.  If one was poor, then that was the proof that one did not have the ability to succeed.  As tautologies, such statements cannot be falsified (pg. 82).

Can Graves’ earlier statement be falsified?  If blacks live among themselves, they are “segregated” and have inferior living conditions compared to whites.  If they live among whites, they are subject to “white racism”.  Either way, there can never be a situation where we can fairly (according to Graves) compare the abilities of one group to the other.  Therefore Graves’ assertion, that there is no innate I.Q. difference between whites and blacks, can never be falsified.

Along these lines, Graves holds race-realists to absurdly high standards.  His background involves working with fruit flies in laboratory conditions, where every variable can be meticulously controlled.  He expects race-realists to adhere to the same standards of evidence that his field demands of fruit fly studies:

This equation illustrates that one cannot infer that a phenotypic difference between two groups automatically indicates a genetic difference.  Under laboratory conditions we can control the environment such that we can eliminate the third and fourth terms of the equation.  For example, if we measure the longevity of fruit flies from two different populations and hold all environmental conditions the same for both groups, then we can safely assume that the third and fourth terms are close to zero… before we can make these measurements we must rear the flies under identical conditions for at least two generations because complex phenotypes are strongly influenced by maternal environmental effects.  The environmental conditions experienced during development can influence the expression of genes in the adult.  It should be clear that none of the rigorous controls that are required to identify genetic effects in the laboratory exist under the conditions in which attempts to measure human IQ have been made (pg. 166-167).

Here, Graves’ bias stands out in stark relief.  He assumes that the burden of proof is upon race-realists, that the default position is his, and that he requires no evidence to support his own claims – while, at the same time, he demands that the rest of us provide what is impossible to provide!

He shows us yet another example of his double standards when he writes:

Some pharmaceutical companies are now advertising the significance of race in the action of their products.  SmithKline Beechan included the following message concerning the benefit of calcium supplements on bottles of TUMS E-EX released in 1999:  “… Research shows that certain ethnic, age, and other groups are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis, including Caucasian and Asian teen and young adult women…”

… The second problem is that all humans have some risk for osteoporosis, and the recommendations made concerning a balanced diet and exercise are useful for everyone.  Thus, there was no need to make the statement that certain ethnic groups are at higher risk, when all groups have some risk (pg. 173-174).

But then he writes:

It is well known that environmental toxins do similar damage.  I have established in this book that these negative environmental parameters are disproportionately visited upon minority populations… (pg. 198)

To this we can respond:  “There was no need to make the statement that certain ethnic groups are at higher risk, when all groups have some risk”.  The Left loves to stress the importance of “disproportionate this” and “disproportionate that” when it suits their purposes – but when it comes to facts that are do not fit their agenda, they ignore them completely.

I found it most startling that Graves, after denying the biological existence of race, does admit to the existence of race when it suits him:

If we wish to explain biological factors important to sports performance, we should look to body forms, not to race.  For example, the Watusi people would be more likely to excel at basketball than the Pygmy, Yamamoto, or Aleut people because the former are very tall and the latter are short and stout.  Body forms do not map racial categories in any consistent way (pg. 36).

Might the Watusi People, or pygmies, be “races”?

Furthermore, although these populations differ in mean physical characters, no single individual may be uniquely identified by the group average in characters.  Negroes and Nordics might be relatively easy to separate.  However, many errors would ensue from attempting to assign Nordics, Alpines, and Mediterraneans (pg. 145).

In other words, some races are more distinct than others.

For example, differences in lung cancer rates between whites and blacks might be explained by allele frequencies for the enzyme NAT2… The frequency of this slower form differs for African Americans and Euro-American populations… Other polymorphisms have been reputedly associated with racial variation in general cancer incidence… (pg. 182).

In the final analysis, it would appear that even Graves doesn’t believe his own propaganda; like so many other black men, he has chosen to improve his own stock by rejecting black women and opting for a non-black wife, in this case an Asian one (implied in the Acknowledgments, where he thanks his wife, Suekyung).

Graves does make some accurate statements, among them:

One of the greatest enemies of research is the preconceived biases that scientists unconsciously bring to their work.  These biases can come from discipline-specific ways of thinking or from social pressures or from both (pg 190-191).

Apparently, he does not realize how much his statement applies to himself.

After having read “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, I mourn for the trees that were chopped down to print it, for the time that was wasted to read it, and for the feeble minds that may have been swayed by its existence.  I bought the book (used of course) and read it.  Rest assured, the above critique is far from exhaustive.  I could have gone on and on.  Let my sacrifice serve as a warning for the rest of y’all.  For those whose minds have already been contaminated by Graves’ drivel, the cure would be the outstanding essay “Race: a social destruction of a biological concept” by Neven Sesardic.

As for Tim Wise, I have no idea if he actually read the book – but he does hint to the possibility that he might have been wrong about the biological reality of race.  He may, at some level, understand that the scientific winds are changing:

Indeed, I would suggest that resting the claim for racial equity and just treatment upon the contemporary understanding of race and intelligence produced by scientists is a dangerous and ultimately unethical thing to do, simply because morality and ethics cannot be determined solely on the basis of science. Would it be ethical, after all, to mistreat individuals simply because they belonged to groups that we discovered were fundamentally different and in some regards less “capable,” on average, than other groups? Of course not. The moral claim to be treated ethically and justly, as an individual, rests on certain principles that transcend the genome and whatever we may know about it. This is why it has always been dangerous to rest the claim for LGBT equality on the argument that homosexuality is genetic or biological. It may well be, but what if it were proven not to be so? Would that now mean that it would be ethical to discriminate against LGBT folks, simply because it wasn’t something encoded in their biology, and perhaps was something over which they had more “control?”

On one point, I agree with Wise; we should treat individuals justly and with respect – until they give us reason to treat them otherwise.  I doubt that many readers of this blog would disagree.  Most of us are mature enough to acknowledge the biological reality of race and to treat each individual, regardless of his race, with decency.

About jewamongyou

I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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28 Responses to “The Emperor’s New Clothes” book review/critique

  1. JL says:

    Graves, from one of Wise’s links:

    I ran a search on BIOSIS using r- and K-selection as keywords for the period of 1995 to 2001, and found only one article. This appeared in the Journal of Environmental Biology, rather ironically concerning algal diversity in treated versus untreated sewage. Stearns (1992) and Roff (1992) presented r- and K-theory as a once useful heuristic that no longer serves any purpose in the discussion of life history theory. It should be noted that their conclusions appeared three years before Rushton published his analysis of human ‘racial’ variation, with r- and K-selection as its cornerstone. It is hard to understand how any serious student of life history evolution could have missed these developments in the theory.

    If you run a Google Scholar search on “r/K selection” & “life history” for the period 1995-2001, you will get 114 hits, most of them from well-known life sciences journals. Between 2000 and now there are 286 hits. Related search terms would produce many more hits. I don’t know what the status of that theory is currently, but it is certainly not as dead as Graves suggests. Moreover, even if the r/K theory is wrong, the racial patterns Rushton discovered are still there and something must explain them.

  2. JL says:

    Wise’s article is so jam-packed with factual errors that it would take hours to refute them all. I don’t feel like it. However, it seems that some of the arguments of his race realist interlocutors have truly startled him, making him write that incoherent ramble.

  3. Georgia Resident says:

    It seems to be a habit of educated negroes like Graves to point out their own “extraordinary” ability as a supposed refutation of racialist arguments-and then to make an argument chock full of factual and logical errors that make one wonder, “Is he lying, or just stupid?”

  4. Kiwiguy says:

    When I saw this I immediately went to Wise’s blog to post some comments. However, comments on that entry are closed. Why would that be? :)

    People like Wise are quite sickening, but I suppose the fact he felt it necessary to dedicate a long post to race realism shows that people of his ilk are concerned about it.

    Nice critique of Grave’s too, keep up the good work Jay. I remember the late David C Rowe had a critical review of the book in Nature.


  5. Graves’ autobiographical anecdote (if truthful) is evidence against the importance of the environment. He managed to succeed academically despite a hostile and poor environment, probably due to his (relative) genetic giftedness. All the poverty and racism that he claims keeps the black man stupid didn’t keep him (that) stupid. (Maybe he thinks he would be a Galton or a Gauss if whites weren’t so evil and racist.)

    Graves correctly points out that it is hard to disentangle genetic and environmental influence. This point cuts both ways, however, as the environment a black child develops in is not independent of the distribution of intelligence genes in blacks. Therefore even differences in IQ that appear to be environmentally modulated may have an ultimate genetic origin, due to different populations building different environments due to their genetic differences. Graves appears to be ignoring his own admonitions when pushing environmental differences as the sole, true and independent cause of population level differences in intelligence.

    Also, is there anything on adoption studies in Graves’ book? They may not be as rigorous as laboratory experiments on Drosophila, but their results surely require explanation in a “refutation” of hereditarian ideas.

  6. Ian says:

    Bravo, JAY.

    I’ve noticed that many black “intellectuals” (people like Raina Kelley, Cornell West, Skip Gates, Nell Irvin Painter, Charles M. Blow, Bob Herbert, Nathan McCall, William Raspberry, Randall Robinson, Lani Guinier, Alice Walker, Stanley Crouch, Leonard Pitts, Gwendolyn L. “Gwen” Ifill, Colbert King, Roland Martin, Eugene Robinson, Ta-Nehisi Coates) argue vehemently against the reality of race, and against any generalization about black people’s behavior that would lump them in with ghetto blacks – often, it would seem, because they want to be accepted as white by the white people they work with, conference with, and often date/marry.

  7. countenance says:

    It all boils down to this with Graves and (Un)Wise:

    “Who are you going to believe? Us or your own eyes?”

  8. Zimriel says:

    I have one nitpick so far: I don’t apply the term “Caucasian” west of the Black Sea or east of the Caspian.

    North Africa west of Egypt was Berber in the hinterlands and Mediterranean-mongrel along the coast. In Cyrene it was Doric Greeks (from Thera, IIRC). From Tripoli westward it was Phoenicians, and then the Romans moved in. Jews too settled in large numbers (and these would be more like Sephardic / Mizrahi). The average North African then likely looked and acted a lot like the average North African now.

  9. Annoyed says:

    You’re doing something a lot of us(including myself) don’t feel compelled to do and that’s spending your time carefully reading the sources of the race deniers and breaking down their absurdity. I find books such as that to be personally anger inducing and I don’t think I could force myself to read it.

    Excellent job.

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  11. Californian says:

    The fact that race realism is on the radar screen shows how powerful it is becoming. And this largely via the mechanism of the internet. Keep up the good work.

    The tragedy of Nazi Germany stands as the clearest example of what can happen if eugenics, racial hierarchy, and social Darwinism are taken to their logical conclusions (pg. 128).

    Of course, one could argue that the tragedy of Pol Pot’s killing fields, or Stalin’s gulags, or Mao’s cultural revolution, or Bob Mugabe’s wrecking of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, as examples of what can happen if marxism, egalitarianism and leftwingism are taken to their logical conclusions. The difference, of course, is that marxism, egalitarianism and leftwingism are promoted in one form or another by much academia, media and governments in the Western world.

    I want to take this further. The argumentum ad Hitlerum we see here does not hold up. After all, the Nazis had health care (for Germans, at least), public works for full employment, and traffic signals. Does that mean these things inevitably lead to totalitarianism? And why did other countries which had eugenics, racial hierarchy, and social Darwinism (like the USA for a period) not become totalitarian–indeed, the highpoint of these things was during the Progressive Era?

    But the argument does not even hold up on the grounds of race. After all, the Slavs were not, by the racial science of the pre-Nazi era, considered to be a separate race from the overall Caucasoid. Yet Hitler arbitrarily branded Slavs as separate and inferior. On the other hand, the Waffen SS recruited extensively from various Balkan nationalities who were not Germanic (including Muslims!) and even Cossacks (the latter were declared to be descendants from the ancient Goths). The Nazis seemed to make it all up as they went along without any regard for racial science.

    In any event, the Western world has rejected — even criminalized — eugenics, racial hierarchy, and social Darwinism. How’s that working out? Look at the open borders. The inter-racial crime rates, where whites are a disproportionate number of victims. The blatant discrimination against white people in their own countries. And the growth of repression with speech codes, “hate” crime laws, diversity indoctrination, persecution of dissenters (such as Rushton), flash mob violence, well, we all know the story on this.

    One can point out that the result of current liberal policies on race has been the destruction of countries such as Rhodesia-South Africa, and the ethnic cleansing of white people. But such commentary is not allowed in polite company these decadent days.

  12. JL says:

    Graves wrote: Although the UNESCO statements of 1950 and 1951 had declared that race was not a useful concept in human biology

    Actually, only the 1950 statement demanded that race not be used as a biological variable. The revised 1951 statement, which was published after the original statement was strongly criticized by prominent geneticists and physical anthropologists, declared that race was a useful concept. (The new statement, however, retained the original statement’s “neurological egalitarianism” in a somewhat diluted form.)

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  14. MiracleMile90 says:

    “On one point, I agree with Wise; we should treat individuals justly and with respect – until they give us reason to treat them otherwise. I doubt that many readers of this blog would disagree. Most of us are mature enough to acknowledge the biological reality of race and to treat each individual, regardless of his race, with decency.”

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with that based on the sheer number of so-called ‘race realists’ I have come across. Most of them are anything but ‘respectful’. Many, are even pro-genocide against groups such as the Jews, blacks, Chicanos, etc.

  15. Daniela says:

    Im really confuse with what Graves tries to argue.

    What are his major arguments that he explains about race?

  16. bannister says:


    Early in the article, you touch upon a crucial point when you say “Graves seems to be confused concerning the definitions of race and species”

    You are correct – but it’s not just Graves, it seems to be the entire “Egalitarian Establishment” that does this. In fact, I recently realized that much of the heated debate between the Race Believers (us) and the Race Deniers (them) stems from an initial misunderstanding. It goes something like this:

    Race Believers fully understand that humans are ONE SPECIES but also understand that a species can be further subdivided into sub-categories like “breeds” or “races” or whatever term you want to use.

    However – the Race Deniers MISTAKENLY think that WE (the Race Believers) believe that races are entirely different species. In other words, THEY think that WE think something totally different from what we are actually thinking. They are attributing a false belief system onto us – and then they delight in “correcting” us.

    I think most people (including Race Deniers) start out as children with a very basic concept of race in our head and don’t give it much thought. But when some people finally realize that races are NOT different species (as they might have originally thought) it is a revelation to them!

    And suddenly, they realized they could look VERY INTELLIGENT when they proclaim “there is no such thing as race!” and put all those stupid racists in their place. What they don’t realize is that the intelligent Race Believers were already one step ahead of them and already understood the distinction.

    Therefore – before beginning any debate with a Race Denier, it’s very important to agree on a definition of “race” and try to get the Race Denier to understand you are talking about a SUB-CATEGORY, not an entirely different species.

  17. jewamongyou says:

    Re: Eugenicist,

    That IS refreshing. Thanks! I should have known you’d come up with somebody.

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  19. Rob says:

    Regarding domestic animals and “inbreeding effects”, he actually appears to make quite an interesting point — though it’s not enough to redeem him, unfortunately.

    If I understand correctly, he’s saying that we can quite rapidly produce a great amount of ‘diversity’ in a species by introducing defects via selective (in)breeding — where essentially we’re taking a species, and ‘breaking’ it in many unique ways. For example, the variation in intelligence we see in domestic dog breeds may be due mostly to the countless genetic deformities that may result from inbreeding. In other words, after thousands of years of artificial selection, all we’ve produced is a diverse collection of profoundly disabled wolves.

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