Talk:Carleton S. Coon

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Coon is wrong about the distribution of Caucasoid subraces[edit]

He names belgium as an example of the nordic race. I am Belgian and i should only take a look out of the window to see that is NOT the case. And i am not living amongst immigrants. He probably named "us" nordic because the language we speak, but you can see clearly people look rather alpine/dinaric.

Not true, Coon claimed that nordic, alpine and dinaric people were all present in Belgium. So you could only claim that he got the % wrong. Coon never claimed that any nation was composed of merely one of his subraces, in fact I don't think that he ever even claimed that any nation in Europe had >50% of any subrace. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.229.27.11 (talk) 02:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Dinarization? What the heck?[edit]

The text of this article mentions "dinarization," but there is no such word. If people are going to make up words they should take to writing novels. If they are importing technical terms that haven't made it to the dictionaries yet, then they owe their readers a definition. P0M 03:56, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Dinarization is a word from The Races of Europe far as I can tell....
Yes, it is very much a word from said text. Myrkkyhammas 14:56, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
"When reduced Upper Paleolithic survivors and Mediterraneans mix, occurs the process of dinarization which produces an hybrid with non-intermediate features."
Since when could people be "hybrids" ????? futurebird 04:23, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Since always, I'd imagine. People are animals as well, Futurebird. Myrkkyhammas 14:56, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't the entire historical controversy be centred around hybridisation/miscegenation?

Tamrhind 17:13, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

these people seem to take it pretty seriously. I think that gives us a good idea of the um... "usefulness" of this word. futurebird 04:27, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I take it you're not aware of the obvious fallacy your comment above suffers from. Myrkkyhammas 14:56, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Von Eichstädt mentions a dinaric type in his classification (that has fallen out of use now). The whole idea that Paleolithic and Mesolithic people in Europe were joined there (and mixed with) new arrivals from the Eastern Mediterranean area during the Neolithic has some modern evidence in favour of it. As has the idea that there were some migrations from Eastern Europe during the early Bronze Age. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 15:19, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Use of www.snpa.nordish.net as a source[edit]

I may be completely off-base, but www.snpa.nordish.net seems suspect. Although it claims not to have a political or racist POV, and I didn't find anything on there that appeared racist outside of the copy of Coon's work, I did find some discussion board posts on places like Stormfront which seem to be saying there used to be a racist forum there. Perhaps, even if that's true, the site no longer has an agenda, but it smells fishy to me. 71.82.214.160 23:03, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The site is devoted to the concept of race, which is now basically rejected by mainstream science, and it claims that "no significant studies on the topic have been made since the 50s" (I quote by memory). The very concept of "nordish" appears to be widely used by white nationalists. --91.148.159.4 14:59, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
The concept of race is not "basically rejected by mainstream science" unless by "mainstream science" you really mean "the Marxist/post-Marxist revisionist junta currently dominating anthropology." The rejection of the notion of race as a physical phenomenon becomes more and more common the further one gets from the hard sciences - that is, most biologists accept race as a physical phenomenon whereas most cultural anthropologists reject it. Be careful with what you say: it's because of people like you that the real bigots are gaining popularity via poking holes in all your fallacious revisionist claims. Myrkkyhammas 15:03, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, about 80% of biologists reject the notion of race as anything else than a cultural construct, and that number goes up to 89% for physical anthropologists (according to Lieberman in his paper from 2001), so I would say yes, it is rejected by most of mainstream science as a useful way to subdivide human genetic diversity.--Ramdrake 19:30, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Yep. Compare also what Britannica has to say, as well as our own article on race. Myrkkyhammas seems to adhere to an extreme minority view, and to be very emotional about it, too, judging from his wording above. I don't edit in this field, but I would recommend that more people should take a look at this, so as to avoid undue weight / a POV slant. --91.148.159.4 19:48, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
First, that 80%/89% statistic is highly suspect - what exactly are you citing? Second, I said nothing of "genetic diversity." I was talking about race as a physical phenomenon in general and while yes, DNA is an example of a measureable, physical entity, it is not the only one. Others include skin pigmentation, hair form, stature, skull form etc. - all of which are very real are physical entities. I, for one, am convinced that they have no influence on the meaningful aspects of humanity (e.g. intelligence, creativity, criminality etc.) but to deny that they exist altogether is dishonest and perhaps even dangerous. Myrkkyhammas 18:10, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
To answer your question, the reference can be found in Lieberman (2001)[1], an article called: How Caucasoids got such big crania and why they shrank - From Morton to Rushton. However suspect you may think it is, I didn't invent it.--Ramdrake 18:35, 31 May 2007 (UTC) —
The website may seem fishy but I have a copy of Coon's text and they seem to have it copied word for word. Myrkkyhammas 15:03, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
If so, the book itself should be cited, rather than the fishy website.--91.148.159.4 19:48, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. Myrkkyhammas 18:10, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

THIS WEBSITE SNAP NORDISH IS BIASED!!!

they have missed sections out of carelton coons races of europe on purpose.

they left out the 're-emergence of the mediterranean element in the british isles' section on purpose!

they are a bunch of nordicists.

The text of TRoE on the SNPA site is complete, no sections are missing. I have the book, and have checked. But the site should not be cited in citings from the text, as the racialist connotations are tangible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.92.146.74 (talk) 19:56, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Human species.[edit]

Different types of Human IE Carcasions and (for want of better words) Negroes and Mongoloids. Im guessing these aren't designated as separate species, are these classed as being a different Genus? BTW I'm not a white supremacist of nothing, I have black family and I'm part Jewish, I'm just interested.

Not even genus, I wouldn't have thought. At the VERY most, subspecies perhaps.

Tamrhind 17:20, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

The entire Coon article is a joke. Caleton Coon was a hard-core racists who "filled in the blanks" to make certain races and ethnicities appear superior or more advanced vis-a-vis others. It is a well known fact that he collaborated closely with one of the most despicable racists of the 20th century, his cousin, Carleton Putnam. Wikipedia should be ashamed of itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by London Hawk (talkcontribs) 17:08, 14 April 2010 (UTC)


Multiregional model and racial hierarchies[edit]

A reference is made to Proceedings of the NAS in 1999, regarding the finding of the skeleton in Portugal. The paper referenced does not say what the editor implies, however.--Parkwells (talk) 21:13, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

This article is lacking substance. The Criticism section needs to be supplemented so that people can understand what late 20th c and contemporary thinkers concluded about Coons. I don't think it's there yet, even though the abstract of an article on the reception of his 1962 book was copied.--Parkwells (talk) 21:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Falling into Disfavor[edit]

This paragraph notes that Coon couldn't absorb new work by several scientists (Lewontin and Gould) who were considerably younger than he. They began to do their important work late in Coon's life, and really started their careers after his major work on the European races had been published. They didn't seem to overlap much. Is this an accurate statement? Also, it mentions work of Boas, but Boas died 20 years before Coon published his 1962 work on races. Again, this needs more material so we understand more about the issues. --Parkwells (talk) 01:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, Wikipedia is not a soapbox, so I will list more concrete objections: Why do authors of this article want to refute Coon's racial ideas by a link at an academic debate that primarily concerns psychological differences among races? (14) What does it have in common with the "dismissing of race"? What we read in that article is Mr. Lieberman's yelling that since race doesn't exist, IQ differences among races also doesn't exist. But shouldn't we at first look at, if race really doesn't exist? Not speaking about that the debate full of well-known PC-stars also includes Mr. Loring Brace, a person with obvious mental problems, who himself classified human skulls into discrete groups corresponding with classical races (in an article ironically called "A Non-racial Craniofacial Perspective on Human Variation"), but passionately claims that race doesn't exist.

There is no contradiction in mr. Loring Brace`s classification of skulls and saying that race does not exist. His classification of skulls refers to anatomy, his saying that race does not exist refers to genetics. Both are based in fact, since forensic anatomists can distinguish "races" while studies of genetic variation clearly shows that race does not exist. One of the major constituents in mr. Loring Brace`s human evolution theories is just the unreliability of inferring genetics from anatomy. Any references for his "obvious mental problems"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.58.94.57 (talk) 13:17, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/37649/1/1330820310_ftp.pdf
Why is it that here on Wikipedia opinions of people defending traditional racial classification are often refuted by a single link on a PC-study, while the article about race clearly shows that the debate by far isn't settled and in fact, the arguments against race can be easily refuted as well? Centrum99 (talk) 14:00, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Boaz is inappropriate. Clearly if you were dead before WWII you didn't advance any ideas after 1962.Nitpyck (talk) 22:52, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Opening sentence of Coon's entry[edit]

It is pitifully biased and unfair to use as the opening paragraph that Coon was "an...anthropologist noted for books on race in which he proposed the superiority of Europeans". That is an oversimplification and to generalize about his career using what is, in contemporary discourse, an inflammatory and political statement, only belittles his career as a scientist. The "superiority" of certain or other races may have been an implication of his studies and writings, but he was an anthropologist first and foremostP, and people forget that pre-WWII, anthropology was the study of race. This was perfectly respectable and the norm at the highest levels of academia. All of this shifted radically with the wave of political correctness that swept campuses in the decades after the war. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.254.15.238 (talk) 19:51, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Why not rewrite it so it makes more sense - refer to his time and ours.--Parkwells (talk) 17:49, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Apart from that it is highly arguable that it is even factually correct. "Superiority" is more or less being used as a weasel word here. What specifically did he believe that is supposed to amount to a belief in "superiority"? In the same way that James Watson apologising for his statement on race and intelligence by saying that Africans are not inferior to Europeans said nothing to repudiate the factual content of what he actually said the use of "superiority" in this article says nothing much about Coon's actual beliefs either, particularly in the context of an academic scholar. It is a rhetorical device.80.229.27.11 (talk) 01:39, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Coon was not a racist in the pejorative sense[edit]

I have a special claim to authority on this subject as I am Carleton Coon's son. I grew up with him. He firmly believed that race is a legitimate field of scientific inquiry, in that subspecies have evolved and that differences between them can affect not only normative physical features, but also behavior. He detested adversaries like Ashley Montagu and most of the Boas school that decided ex cathedra that race doesn't exist, and he could express himself quite strongly when he got on the subject. But he never agreed that racial stereotypes could legitimately be applied to individuals. In fact he prided himself on the fact that his friends and correspondents were distinguished representatives of all racial groups. Here's what he had to say in his article, "What is Race?", in the December, 1957 issue of the Atlantic Monthly:

"...in most if not all races men of superior intelligence are born from time to time. In the past it was rarely possible for many of them to meet and exchange ideas, and even in social situations where they were accepted, much of their individual brainpower was wasted. Thanks to the new techniques of transport and communication of our century, world-wide meetings of the intellectual elite of all races are becoming common. In them it has often been observed that the world's most intelligent men find it completely natural to forget about race, for the mutual stimulation of intellectual exchange creates in such a group a new level of equilibrium, in which looking alike is of no importance.

"It seems safe to predict that the frequent association of the world's top minds in various disciplines can turn out to be the equivalent of that step in biological evolution for which many have been waiting:the appearance of a new and superior race based on a new adaptation, not to a special physical environment, but to the need of solving special problems which men have themselves created. As it will be drawn from many races, no master-race behavior need be feared."

In other words, my father was an elitist but not a racist, not in the present pejorative sense. But how about that opening reference to "most if not all races"? I am quite confident, on the basis of my recollection of my discussions with him, that he did not mean to include all negroes, or Congoids, or sub-Saharan Africans, as a blanket category incapable of producing superior minds. Africa being the cradle, there is probably at least as much racial variation within the region as outside it, and generalizations about race within the region always troubled him. (I recall his commenting on the large cranial capacity of the Ibo, for example). I infer that his phrase "most if not all races" referred to subgroups, perhaps some very minor groups, not to any of his five major categories.

That last point is arguable but with the increasing homogenization of the global gene pool it may also be becoming moot. Race as a whole, however, will never become moot. In his passion for analyzing its particulars, my father was not behind his times. I feel confident that future generations will look back on the record and judge that he was ahead of them.

Carl Coon (talk) 11:57, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

It must be difficult to have such a controversial father. I recall a short discussion I had with either a colleague or student of his, who claimed to have heard explicitly racist comments from him. Many in academia consider(ed) him a racist. [2][3] just as examples. Doug Weller (talk) 13:14, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. WP:COI is relevant so the best way to improve the balance is by showing good references on the talk page for incorporation into the article. Which brought me here – "Afarensis: Book Review: The Origin of Races by Carleton Coon". Retrieved 2008-10-13.  gives an interesting analysis. . . dave souza, talk 08:08, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

"Here's what he had to say in his article, 'What is Race?', in the December, 1957 issue of the Atlantic Monthly:" Did any one else fail to find such an article in that magazine's archive? Did any one else attempt to check that reference? 67.124.201.178 (talk) 13:32, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

"What is Race?" Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 200, No. 4, 1957, pp. 103-108. I have no reason to disbelieve the discussion I had, nor the statements of other academics. Obviously a large part, perhaps most, of his generation was also racist. Dougweller (talk) 14:13, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Both Criticism, and Disfavor?[edit]

It does not make sense to have both a criticism and a disfavor section. Likewise, it does not make sense to include criticism as the second to the last subsection under Coon's own theories. If there are no reasoned objections intend to move the criticism text under the disfavor text, and merge the two as Criticism so there is one section but with no deletion of the curent text. Kjaer (talk) 23:34, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Ok, but let's try to understand that the two sections are there to represent two different situations: criticism during his life upon reception of some of his work, and later utter fall into disfavor when racial typology became progressively obsolete. It might be worthwhile to keep the two ideas each with its own header, but in a single section. Just a thought.--Ramdrake (talk) 00:54, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
"New ideas introduced in work by academicians and scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Leonard Lieberman and others, argued that race is not a valid concept with which to classify human biodiversity."
LOL
And what are these "new ideas" based on? On blatant lies and misinterpretation of facts. 89.235.19.212 (talk) 17:30, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

multiregional evolution[edit]

Based on the following summary and the lack of any new reports in this century about Lagar Velho child I feel the paragraph about it should be removed from this article. http://www.pnas.org/content/96/13/7117.full Hominids and hybrids: The place of Neanderthals in human evolution 1. Ian Tattersall*,† and 2. Jeffrey H. Schwartz‡ In summary, the analysis by Duarte et al. of the Lagar Velho child’s skeleton is a brave and imaginative interpretation, of which it is unlikely that a majority of paleoanthropologists will consider proven. The archaeological context of Lagar Velho is that of a typical Gravettian burial, with no sign of Mousterian cultural influence, and the specimen itself lacks not only derived Neanderthal characters but any suggestion of Neanderthal morphology. The probability must thus remain that this is simply a chunky Gravettian child, a descendant of the modern invaders who had evicted the Neanderthals from Iberia several millennia earlier. However, in this contentious and poorly documented field, any new data are eagerly sought, and Duarte et al.’s courageous speculations will doubtless spur much-needed new research.
Further I'm taking Boaz out of the group new researchers since Boaz preceded Coon and Coon's work was in part an effort to refute the Boaz school of thought. Finally I'm changing Middle East to Greater Middle East for clarity; I believe Coon meant from Afghanistan across North Africa. Nitpyck (talk) 21:29, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

I noticed that the criticism section says that pretty much he was not liked; however, all criticism seems to be unspecific as it does not mention why his works were disputed, and on what grounds, just that they were. Where was his thesis criticized? Which of his concepts? And why? And were the other "more advanced" theories better at explained what he "failed" to explain? I say this because criticism sections aren't welcomed in the first place here on Wikipedia, let alone be ambiguous. --136.183.240.185 (talk) 14:19, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I disagree, criticism sections are common on controversial wikipedia articles, especially if there is a significant amount, which there is here - his views did not find acceptance, and I think this section does a good job of explaining with references to point one in the right direction as to why. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:34, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I did not advocate taking down the criticism section; all I asked was to provide actual criticism of where he was wrong -- no where in the section is explained, so it does not do a "good job of explaining with references to point one in the right direction as to why". --136.183.240.185 (talk) 22:54, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Coon was criticized in large part because many of his specific ideas were contrary to findings of other researchers. If we turn to the most reliable sources, we find that few of the ideas that Coon originated have stood the test of time. That should be reflected in the article, because articles on Wikipedia are to be verifiable and neutral in point of view. This article, and many more, still needs to be updated in light of better sources. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 13:06, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Quote in "Posthumous reputation" secn[edit]

   Legitimate use of square brackets in excerpted material is limited to saving the reader's time (usually by reducing text) while providing information about the intent of the source's author (Jackson in this case) that no reasonable reader of the source would dispute. But in this case our editing colleague saved

segregationist [and Coon relative] Carleton Putnam,

inserting the bracketed three-word phrase into the otherwise verbatim quotation of the Jackson's complete abstract (p. 247) of the 39-page paper that is the editor's stated source.
   It is true that Jackson put some significance on the information that Coon and Putnam were relatives. The untitled introductory section ends with two paragraphs (p. 250) that each mention Putnam. One 'graph presents "[interest] in the activities of" Putnam, within the first of his paper's three goals, and presents the second goal as

trac[ing] Putnam’s relationship with Carleton Coon [ -- ] a relationship I will argue is much closer than previously thought.

Those two 'graphs set the stage for the first titled section,

Carleton Putnam and the "Equalitarian Dogma"

which begins

The scion of an established New England family (and a cousin to Carleton Coon), Carleton Putnam ....

It would be easy (the more so if one read little or none of what follows that) to construe his interest as lying in nothing more nor less than that cousinhood (whose number of generations of remoteness goes unspecified by Jackson). Nevertheless, what follows only undercuts that construction. Jackson offers no suggestion that Putnam's solicitations to Coon were premised on their genetic relationship, but plenty that the congruence of their views made sense of Coons assistance to Putnam's project.
   Jackson's more detailed comment, at p. 255,

Coon’s response was to invite Putnam to his home to discuss the matter [of Putnam's writings on race] as well as to see some antiques that had once belonged to their mutual ancestor, Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam....

does not rule out his finding that their genetic link compounded the explicit covertness of their cooperation. But the early mention is of a "cousin", which technically includes anyone with a common ancestor other than a one or both parents (any other human, we now realize!), and he means "a cousin via a traceable common ancestor". And 1904-1718= 186 years suggests Izzy Putnam would have had around 500 descendants in Coon's generation -- if his line reproduced only enough to replace themselves (but didn't marry 1st thru 19th cousins). His failure to go beyond mentioning the fact that the Coon papers implicitly mention that link makes it unlikely that he found it much more than a coincidence; on the other hand, his detailing of forms of assistance of Putnam by Coon and his being satisfied to omit mention of the genealogy in the abstract, make that assistance the obvious object of his concern about the closeness of the relationship.
   Nevertheless, our colleague has "second-guessed" Sawyer, suggesting an editorial insight that that author intended the genetic relationship to be a major point in the paper, and has abused the reader by implicitly claiming that that unlikely view is essentially a mere rewording, for clarity or grammar, of the abstract.
   Mention of the genealogy, appropriately subordinated, would IMO be valuable. Mention in the colleague's fashion is a serious error and an instance of OR, and damages the article. I will provide some kind of revision remedying the damage.
--Jerzyt 21:25, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

"Biography" secn and related potential refactoring[edit]

   Ugh! I started trying to relieve the vagueness about TOoR in the Bio secn, without realizing that discussion of Coon's views is scattered in several sections.
   My draft may be of some value, but I'm not willing to undertake the bigger task of figuring out whether and how to refactor. Its text, following, may help some interested colleague, or not:

In his "Introduction", he recounted "decid[ing] that the framework for the study of fossil man should be built in two dimensions, time and space", in contrast to "most other writers", whom he saw as having "ignored or neglected geography." He contrasted them to Franz Weidenreich (died 1948), who had studied what was then called Sinanthropus, and concluded that (in Coon's wording) "From the evolutionary point of view, [he] was more primitive than any known living population [while] racially he was Mongoloid." Coon acknowledged that prevailing professional views saw races as subdivisions of homo sapiens that could arise only after the species itself had evolved, but had drawn on views he attributed to Ernst Mayr, G.G. Simpson, and others, to conclude that - - -

That's based on the Intro, and perhaps fragments of the early pages of the first chapter, which i expected to suffice to elucidate what i understand as a model of "racial characteristics persisting thru each race's evolutionary acquisition, at vastly different times, of the same constellation of traits that constitute a H.-erectus-to-H.-sapiens change of species".
   Happy editing!
--Jerzyt 04:33, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Photo is not Carleton S. Coon[edit]

The photo putatively of Carleton S. Coon is that of Alfonso Ribiero. Was the page vandalized? — Preceding unsigned comment added by TLauckBenson (talkcontribs) 16:23, 27 October 2011 (UTC)