More on IQ and Race

I want to make one additional and brief post on the Race/IQ dust-up before letting it lie for now and moving on to other topics. First, I would encourage you to go and look at my exchange with Django in the comments to my original post, as they contain a much fuller exegesis of the points I originally raised.

The discussion has spread to various corners of the internet, but keeping with my starting point, you can also check in on Andrew Sullivan’s continued remarks here and here, as well as Ta-Nehisi Coate’s final comments (for now) on the subject here.

The reason why I initially said these discussions have limited value is because people actually still do lots of research on race and intelligence…it is just that they don’t often do so in those terms. Race is not a good category to use if you want to look at the biological basis for a trait because it is a transient and poorly defined category. If you want to talk about clustered genetic/biological variation, then study associations with clustered genetic/biological variation (which people do), not race. IQ is a poor way of measuring how the brain works, because it is highly context specific and is not, fundamentally, a strictly biological character. Studying how the brain works directly, or exploring in more nuanced ways aspects of performance in the real world, are far better approaches to the topic.

About Adam Van Arsdale

I am biological anthropologist with a specialization in paleoanthropology. My research focuses on the pattern of evolutionary change in humans over the past two million years, with an emphasis on the early evolution and dispersal of our genus, Homo. My work spans a number of areas including comparative anatomy, genetics and demography.
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