Race, Evolution, and Behavior

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Race, Evolution and Behavior
Race evolution and behavior.jpg
Cover of the unabridged third edition of Race, Evolution and Behavior
Author J. Philippe Rushton
Country United States
Language English
Subject Evolutionary psychology
Publisher Transaction Books, later The Charles Darwin Research Institute
Publication date
1995, 1997, 2000
Pages 388
ISBN 978-0-9656836-1-6

Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective is a controversial book (first unabridged edition 1995, third unabridged edition 2000) written by J. Philippe Rushton. He served as a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario and, until his death from cancer on October 2, 2012, the head of the Pioneer Fund.

Rushton argues that race is a valid biological concept and that racial differences frequently arrange in a continuum across 60 different behavioral and anatomical variables, with "Mongoloids" (East Asians) at one end of the continuum, "Negroids" (Sub-Saharan Africans) at the opposite extreme, and "Caucasoids" (Europeans, Middle Easterners and North Africans) in the middle.[1]

The book was generally received negatively, its methodology and conclusions being criticized by many experts. The aggressive marketing strategy also received a lot of criticism. The book received positive reviews by some researchers, many of whom were personally associated with Rushton and with the Pioneer Fund which funded much of Rushton's research.[2] The book has been examined as an example of Pioneer's funding of "scientific racist" research,[2][3] while psychologist Michael Howe has identified the book as part of a movement, begun in the 1990s, to promote a racial agenda in social policy.[4]

Summary[edit]

The book grew out of Rushton's 1989 paper, "Evolutionary Biology and Heritable Traits (With Reference to Oriental-White-Black Difference)".[5] The 1st unabridged edition was published in 1995, the 2nd unabridged edition in 1997, and the 3rd unabridged edition in 2000.

Rushton argues that Mongoloids, Caucasoids, and Negroids fall consistently into the same one-two-three pattern when compared on a list of 60 different behavioral and anatomical variables. (Rushton's 2000 book, like other population history works, e.g. Cavalli-Sforza 1994, uses the terms Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Negroid to describe these groups broadly conceived, but these terms have since been replaced in the scientific literature—the MeSH terminology as of 2004 is Asian Continental Ancestry Group, African Continental Ancestry Group and European Continental Ancestry Group.)[6]

Rushton uses averages of hundreds of studies, modern and historical, to assert the existence of this pattern. Rushton's book is focused on what he considers the three broadest racial groups, and does not address other populations such as South East Asians and Australian aboriginals. The book argues that Mongoloids, on average, are at one end of a continuum, that Negroids, on average, are at the opposite end of that continuum, and that Caucasoids rank in between Mongoloids and Negroids, but closer to Mongoloids. His continuum includes both external physical characteristics and personality traits.

Citing genetic research by Cavalli-Sforza, the African Eve hypothesis, and the out of Africa theory, Rushton writes that Negroids branched off first (200,000 years ago), Caucasoids second (110,000 years ago), and Mongoloids last (41,000 years ago), arguing that throughout all of evolution, more ancient forms of life (i.e. plants, bacteria, reptiles) are less evolved than more recent forms of life (i.e. mammals, primates, humans) and that the much smaller variation in the races is consistent with this trend. "One theoretical possibility," said Rushton "is that evolution is progressive and that some populations are more advanced than others". Rushton argues that this evolutionary history correlates with, and is responsible for, a consistent global racial pattern which explains many variables such as worldwide crime statistics or the global distribution of AIDS.

Responses[edit]

According to Richard R. Valencia, the response to the first edition of Rushton's book was "overwhelmingly negative", with only a small number of supporters, many being, like Rushton, Pioneer Fund grantees, such as Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin and Richard Lynn.[7]

Valencia identified the main areas of criticism as focusing on Rushton's use of "race" as a biological concept, a failure to appreciate the extent of variation within populations compared with that between populations, a false separation of genetics and environment, poor statistical methodology, a failure to consider alternative hypotheses, and the use of unreliable and inappropriate data to draw conclusions about the relationship between brain size and intelligence. According to Valencia, "experts in life history conclude that Rushton's (1995) work is pseudoscientific and racist."

Validity of the concept of race[edit]

Richard Lewontin (1996) argued that in claiming the existence of "major races", and that these categories reflected large biological differences, "Rushton moves in the opposite direction from the entire development of physical anthropology and human genetics for the last thirty years. Anthropologists no longer regard "race" as a useful concept in understanding human evolution and variation."[8] The anthropologist C. Loring Brace (1996) concurred, stating that the book was an amalgamation of bad biology and inexcusable anthropology. It is not science but advocacy, and advocacy of 'racialism'".[9]

Defenders of the validity of the concept of race have countered that Lewontin and others have created straw-men, and perpetuated such over the years, such as in "Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin's Fallacy", a 2003 paper by A. W. F. Edwards. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "In effect, if the failure to satisfy the condition of discreteness and essentialism requires jettisoning the concept of race, then it also requires jettisoning the concept of biological species. But because the biological species concept remains epistemologically useful, some biologists and philosophers use it to defend a racial ontology that is “biologically informed but non-essentialist,” one that is vague, non-discrete, and related to genetics, genealogy, geography, and phenotype (Sesardic 2010, 146)."[10]

Mailing controversy[edit]

The 1st special abridged edition published under the Transaction Press name in 1999 caused considerable controversy when 40,000 copies were "mailed, unsolicited, to psychologists, anthropologists, and sociologists, many of whom were angered when they discovered that their identities and addresses had been obtained from their respective professional associations' mailing lists."[11] The director of Transaction Press Irving Louis Horowitz, although he had defended the original edition of the book, "condemned the abridged edition as a 'pamphlet' that he had never seen or approved prior to its publication."[11] A subsequent 2nd special abridged edition was published in 2000 with a rejoinder to Horowitz's criticisms under a new entity called The Charles Darwin Research Institute.[11]

According to Tucker, many academics who received the book unsolicited were outraged at its content, calling it "racial pornography" and a "vile piece of work"; at least one insisting on returning it to the publisher.[3] Hermann Helmuth, a professor of anthropology at Trent University, said, "It is in a way personal and political propaganda. There is no basis to his scientific research."[12] Francisco Gil-White wrote "Race, Evolution, and Behavior is a tiny, self-published book (a pamphlet, really), that Rushton takes the trouble to mail to people who never requested a copy, such as myself."[13]

As an example of Pioneer Fund activity[edit]

Race, Evolution, and Behavior has been cited as an example of the Pioneer Fund's activities in promoting "Scientific racism". Valencia notes that many of the supportive comments for the book come from Pioneer grantees like Rushton himself, and that a 100,000 copy print-run of the third edition was financed by Pioneer.[7] The book is cited by psychologist William H. Tucker as an example of the Pioneer Fund's continued role "to subsidize the creation and distribution of literature to support racial superiority and racial purity." The mass distribution of the abridged third edition he described as part of a "public relations effort", and "the latest attempt to convince the nation of 'the completely different nature' of blacks and whites." He notes that bulk rates were offered "for distribution to media figures, especially columnists who write on race issues".[3]

Reviews[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rushton, J. P. (1995). Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (PDF) (2nd special abridged ed.). Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute. ISBN 1-56000-320-0. 
  2. ^ a b Valencia, Richard R. (2010). Dismantling contemporary deficit thinking: educational thought and practice. Taylor & Francis. p. 53. 
  3. ^ a b c William H. Tucker (2002). The funding of scientific racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-02762-8. 
  4. ^ Howe, Michael J. A (1997). IQ in question: the truth about intelligence. Sage. 
  5. ^ Presented at the Symposium on Evolutionary Theory, Economics and Political Science, AAAS Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA, January 19, 1989)
  6. ^ The decline in usage of these terms can be seen year by year in a Google Scholar search, and the change of terms can be seen in, for example, the US National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), which in deleted the -oids (as well as terms such as Black and White) in favor of terms such as African Continental Ancestry Group:

    The MeSH descriptor Racial Stocks, and its four children (Australoid Race, Caucasoid Race, Mongoloid Race, and Negroid Race) have been deleted from MeSH in 2004 along with Blacks and Whites. Race and ethnicity have been used as categories in biomedical research and clinical medicine. Recent genetic research indicates that the degree of genetic heterogeneity within groups and homogeneity across groups make race per se a less compelling predictor.

  7. ^ a b Richard R. Valencia, Dismantling contemporary deficit thinking: educational thought and practice. Taylor & Francis, 2010, pg. 55
  8. ^ "Review: Of Genes and Genitals". Transition 0 (69): 178–193. 1996. JSTOR 2935246. 
  9. ^ "Review: Racialism and Racist Agendas". American Anthropologist, New Series 98 (1): 176–7. March 1996. doi:10.1525/aa.1996.98.1.02a00250. JSTOR 682972. 
  10. ^ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/race/
  11. ^ a b c Weizmann, Fredric (November 2001). "Race, Evolution, and Behaviour: A Life History Perspective (Review)". Canadian Psychology. 
  12. ^ UWO Gazette Volume 93, Issue 68 Tuesday, February 1, 2000 Psych prof accused of racism
  13. ^ Resurrecting Racism, Chapter 10, Francisco Gil-White.

External links[edit]