Friday, September 22, 2006

The conservative by-products of science

It has been fashionable in recent times for people to engage in race denial (meaning that they claim that race does not exist as a biological reality, but is instead a social construct).

Why deny the existence of race? For the same reason that differences between men and women are claimed to exist only as social constructs.

If you're a liberal, and you believe that we are only human when we are self-determined, you won't like anything that seems to be a biological destiny. You won't want to recognise anything which seems important to us, but which is based on unchosen biology.

Hence the convenient idea that gender and race are social constructs, and can therefore be changed as we ourselves see fit.

Common sense ought to tell us that the liberal theory is wrong. It's not difficult to observe significant differences between men and women across all cultures; nor is it difficult to identify accurately the ancestry of most people based on their physical characteristics.

However, it hasn't really been common sense which has fatally undermined the liberal view. It has been science.

Science has vindicated the conservative view that gender differences are hardwired into us as part of our human nature, rather than being solely a product of culture. We now know too much about sex hormones and the structure of the brain for this to be denied.

Increasingly, too, science is undermining the race deniers. The latest evidence involves genetic research into SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms).

Scientists are now looking for genes which are associated with illnesses like arthritis. They have discovered, though, that genes differ according to our broad ancestry. If they control for a person's race (whether someone is of African or European ancestry, for instance) they reduce the amount of "false associations" in their research.

Already, scientists have found SNPs correlating to our continental ancestry (African, European, Asian etc). Now, SNPs have been identified which show not only European ancestry, but which distinguish between those of Northern and Southern European descent.

So as a by-product of medical research we have it confirmed that there is a biological basis not only for broad continental differences in race, but even for intra-continental ones such as those between Northern and Southern Europeans.

And scientists are now starting to investigate distinctions within the other continental groupings (which they will surely find).

I wonder how long it will take for such research to become commonly known and to complicate the established liberal views on race?


  1. It has always seemed to me that although people from different races are clearly of the same species to say that no such thing, in scientific terms as race is actually trying to suggest that by denying the distinction between groups of people they are trying to use semantics to undermine racism. A rather futile hope actually.

  2. A futile hope indeed.

    If liberals really want to handle racism and race differences constructively, they need to start by acknowledging that there probably are differences, some of them significant, between the races just as there are between the genders. Fully and openly admit the truth. And then work towards a vision where these differences are acknowledged and accounted for in public policy, but where every person's fundamental humanity and right to be left alone is protected. This futile liberial insistence on pretending there are no race differences when there obviously are can only lead to a much worse situation than need be when the inevitible backlash occurs.

  3. "Gender a Social Construct"?

    Go ask a Transsexual. Someone with Congenital Neurological Intersex.

    They'll tell you about the scientific studies showing differences in brain structures between the sexes (and that some have got the wrong type for their bodies). They'll show you data about differences down to the cellular level, not just gross anatomical features.

    Not opinions, Facts. Evidence.

    They'll show you the 30% suicide rate for people with this condition before age 25, and the 97% cure rate from hormonal treatment and surgery.

    Gender is not mutable: it's something you're born with. It's only a "spectrum" inasmuch as it's possible for the normal masculinisation of people with 46xy chromosomes to go partially or completely awry. Or more rarely, for those with 46xx chromosomes to end up being guys due to a hormonal glitch in the womb.

    But this satisfies no-one. Neither the Liberals who don't believe in any of that Fact-based stuff, nor some Arch-conservatives who think those with a congenital medical problem are Freaks and Perverts.

    "You can't change Gender". True. Not by electroshock, nor lobotomy (and both have been tried, with a 0% success rate). Not with psychotherapy, or psychobabble. Not with prayer nor meditation. It's between the ears, not between the legs. The best you can do is treat the symptoms, and that only partially.

    But the relief is indescribable. Not to have to supress instincts, to have a body that matches the brain's body-map pretty nearly, to be indistinguishable from those who think like you do.... to have the right peripherals for the device drivers in your skull...

    The tragedy is those you hurt in the process. Most crack at about age 45, it's either transition, or have your mind disintegrate.

    Too bad about your marriage. Too bad about your children. Because, you see, the maternal instinct is very strong, and the only way you can have kids is to be a biological father. You don't know that you'll crack. You think you can tough it out.

    A (lucky?) few don't have that problem, the same thing that caused the glitch in neural development in the womb also causes a glitch in other areas, and they start transitioning anyway.

    Then they get told that "Gender is a Social Construct" and it tends to upset them a bit.

  4. Liberals, rightly or wrongly, tend to be very concerned with peoples feelings.

    I think a lot of them are concerned that if for example, one race is shown to be better than another race at say, running or mathematics, then differences will be amplified beacuse people will talk themselves into failure.

    However, in the long run its better explore the truth than surpress it.

    In the 1980s there has a fair amount of racism directed at the Japanese by whites who just couldn't accept that the Japanese might be as good or better at manfacturing.

    Today, most westerners (unoffically)have accepted that the Japanese may be better than westerners in some areas. This hasn't destroyed Europe's car industry.

    If whites can accept that Asians may be better at some things then themselves other races should be able to accept race reality as well.

    Race reality may be painfull in the short term but in long run most people will feel better for it.

    Similarly, no one is denying that all races can have high achievers.