Four Simple Reasons Smart People Shouldn’t Believe in Races

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-12-27 01:44Z by Steven

Four Simple Reasons Smart People Shouldn’t Believe in Races

Psychology Today
About Thinking: Questioning everything with a hopeful skeptic

Guy P. Harrison

Today is a good day to wake up and join the human species.

Guess what I do almost every time race and racism are discussed in popular culture. I groan and turn away in discomfort. The curse of an anthropology education makes me painfully aware of how clueless politicians, writers, broadcasters, and virtually everyone else are on this topic. Whenever some celebrity utters the dreaded N-word or a person of one race does something horrible to a person of another race, the voices of authority take center stage and call for understanding, love and cooperation between races.

Blah, blah, blah.

Such reactions to race problems may feel nice and do some good but they are too shallow to be effective long-term. The problem is that they completely miss the core problem, which is race belief itself. Races are not naturally occurring subspecies of human beings. They are the artificial creations of our cultures. Therefore, attempting to solve the problem of racism by asking for tolerance between races is like turning up the air conditioner in a burning house because you don’t like the temperature. Overt racism and all other destructive but less obvious race problems are unlikely to ever go away no matter how much love and tolerance we pour on the fire. What is needed is a game-changer, an awakening to the reality of who we are as revealed by science.

The critical problem with biological races is the claim that we are all inherently limited or empowered based on our birth into a unique genetic group that contains millions of other similar people. Many good people who champion racial equality and would not be considered racists carry this destructive belief in their heads. But it can’t be true because the groups themselves are unnatural, inconsistent and illogical. The biological race group called “black people”, for example, makes no sense because of the deep genetic diversity within it. Two randomly selected “black” people from Africa, the Caribbean or elsewhere are likely to be more distantly related to one another than any one of them is to a typical “white” European…

1. The police lineup in your head. By far, the most common objection I hear to the rejection of biological races comes from what I call the “mental police lineup”. It’s easy to imagine a dark-skinned African, a light-skinned European, and a typical Japanese or Chinese person all standing side-by-side. The visible contrast is so great, I’m often told, that races must be real. There is an easy answer to this popular defense of the race concept, however…

Read the entire article here.

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Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Cultural Diversity

Posted in Books, Monographs, New Media, Social Science on 2009-11-23 20:43Z by Steven

Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Cultural Diversity

Prometheus Books
336 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59102-767-6

Guy P. Harrison

The concept of race has had a powerful impact on history and continues to shape the world today in profound ways. Most people derive their attitudes about race from their family, culture, and education. Very few, however, are aware that there are vast differences between the popular notions of race and the scientific view of human diversity. Yet even among scientists, who understand the current evidence, there is great controversy regarding the definition of the term race or even the usefulness of thinking in terms of race at all.

Drawing on research from diverse sources and interviews with key scientists, award-winning journalist Guy P. Harrison surveys the current state of a volatile, important, and confusing subject. Harrison’s thorough approach explores all sides of the issue, including such questions as these:

  • If analysis of the human genome reveals that all human beings are 99.9% alike, how meaningful are racial differences?
  • Is the concept of race merely a cultural invention?
  • If race distinctions are at least partially based in biological reality, how do we decide the number of races? Are there just three or maybe 3 million?
  • What do studies of racial attitudes reveal? Are we all, in one way or another, racists?
  • How does race correlate with environmental and geographical differences?
  • Are race-based drugs a good idea?
  • How does race influence intelligence, athletic ability, and love interests?

Harrison delves into these and many more intriguing, controversial, and important questions in this enlightening book. After reading Race and Reality, you will never think about race in the same way again.

Guy P. Harrison (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands) is the author of the highly acclaimed 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. He has won several international awards for his writing, including the World Health Organization‘s award for health reporting and the Commonwealth Media Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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