12 March 2011

JoAnn says I should go read 'The Bell Curve'.

You, JoAnn, say: Africa's share of world trade is only 3% compared with over 7% in 1948. Most of that trade comes from South Africa and African oil and gas producers. Crude oil comprises more than half of Africa's exports. In two-thirds of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, one or two products account for at least 60% of the country’s total exports. Only 3 African countries are in the world's top 50 exports — South Africa (39th), Algeria (42nd) and Nigeria (43rd). Africa's share of global FDI is a mere 3%. South Africa and Nigeria account for 54% of Sub Saharan Africa's GDP. 45% of SSA's population live in extreme poverty (compared with 41% twenty years ago) — this is the highest of any continent. And a further 30% live in moderate poverty. Life expectancy in SSA is 47 compared with 69 for East Asia and 78 for developed countries.

According to surveys, African countries are the most difficult in the world in which to do business. Access to finance, infrastructure, institutions and skills are the most severe constraints cited by entrepreneurs. African countries have the highest levels of corruption. Africa has a large number of failed states. (Everything you say I quote from this comment)

Rethabile says: I'd like to rebut you with a "so?" -- or with Mr Tladi's poem, The Sophisticated Skinhead. Especially the last stanza. But no, I think I'll reply to you directly, although I know from the arguments you put forth to prove that I am stupider than you are (I'm guessing your tan isn't very groovy), that you haven't read the post you commented on, nor the other commenters' remarks.

You can bring as many statistics as you want, and I may even agree with many of them, it still doesn't prove that white people or yellow people are smarter than black people. Unfortunately for you, there's history, things have happened that have had a major influence on how the world's populations fare today.

You want me to read The Bell Curve? Guess what, I have. And apart from its logic being flawed and non-inclusive, it's a dumb book. I want you to go read any book by Naomi Klein; to go read any book by Tim Wise.

(Don't worry, they're both white).

A meteor was the "slavery--colonisation--jim.crow--unfair.trade.practices--you.name.it" of dinosaurs. Think about that for a moment. Africa has the largest number of failed states. Well, dinosaurs have the largest number of dead individuals, in fact just about all of them are dead. If you apply your argument to this fact, what does it mean? Dinosaurs had more of which hormone? A lesser brain than whom? Statistics? I'll give you statistics.
...a total of 16% of Americans accept real evolution—purposeless and unguided by God. That’s up from 9% in 1982, and may be a real trend. Still, it’s dispiriting to realize that fewer than one in six Americans accepts evolution in the way scientists accept it.(1)
The writer above goes on to say that "acceptance of evolution is positively correlated with level of education; here’s the table from the Gallup survey. Still, only one in four Americans with a postgraduate degree accepts real, unguided evolution". So, is that due to education and exposure, or to levels of testoterone in the blood? Here's another stat.
"About 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half of Americans can name at least two members of the fictional cartoon family [The Simpsons], according to a survey.(2)
You have failed to ask yourself the fundamental question of why so few African countries are rich, but especially and more telling, why so many "developed" countries are. As a result, I refuse to address each of your statistics singly.

You say that "To some extent, Africa is the continent of lost hope. Most African countries seemed to be a much better starting position 50 years ago than the East Asian economies. While Asia exceeded all expectations, Africa dashed its hope. Biology is the great determiner of how or whether one orders one's life and delays gratification for greater, long-term gain."

Rethabile says: How much biology do you know? And is it from The Bell Curve? Or it is perhaps from de Gobineau, who "questioned the belief that the black and yellow races belong to the same human family as the white race and share a common ancestor"? (3). Reading your comment tells me you have nicked copiously from both Richard Herrnstein (author of The Bell Curve) and Arthur de Gobineau (crazy 19th century scientist quack). Here's some of what de Gobineau says, from link 3 above:
"[He] believed the white race was superior to the other races in the creation of civilized culture and maintaining ordered government. However, he also thought that the development of civilization in other periods was different than in his own and speculated that other races might have superior qualities in those civilization periods than in his own. Nonetheless, he believed European civilization represented the best of what remained of ancient civilizations and held the most superior attributes capable for continued survival. His primary thesis in regards to this theory was that European civilizational flowering from Greece to Rome and Germanic to contemporary sprang from, and corresponded to, the ancient Indo-European culture, also known as 'Aryan'."

You say: "IQ, testosterone and the sizes of the different parts of the brain, are genetic for the greatest part. Relatively low IQ and relatively high testosterone compel individuals to aggressive activity with little to no fore-planning. The different races are biologically different, and this includes IQ and internal chemistry (testosterone, etc.)."

Rethabile says: You have no idea how wrong you are. You just don't know what you're talking about. First off, I beg you to understand that I do not want my skin to be white. What I'm about to say is the plain truth. I'm happy being black, but any other colour, what difference would it make (except perhaps to enjoy better priviledges)?

You (if you're white, which you probably are) and I are the same. We are the same species. We are homo sapiens sapiens, come out of Africa eons ago. Our ancestors (yours and mine) include both Lucy and probably the Sahelanthropus tchadensis Toumaï. We are the same as a white pigeon and a grey one are the same. Black Africans have been shown to be closer genetically to white Europeans than to Australian aborigenes. Colour is superficial. A silver alsatian and a gold alsatian. A dapple-grey mustang (Equus ferus caballus) and a brown one. A red Volkswagen beetle and a pink one. I mean, what the hell are you talking about, JoAnn?

Genetics in fact proves the opposite of what you say (we're different). Genetics shows that people are the same all over the world. I do not know why anybody would expect the opposite.

Have you heard of stereotype threat?

You say: "Read the Bell Curve and check out 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations'."
Rethabile says: No, thank you. I've read one and I'm not interested in reading the other.

You say: "Caucasians do not have the highest, overall IQ of the three major races. Mongoloids (Asians) hold that claim. I postulate that the higher success of Caucasians versus the other races is due to their relatively higher average IQ’s in combination with a testosterone level higher than Mongoloids, and significantly lower than Negroes. This allows for a high level of fore-planning, and delayed gratification, and adequate, but not overpowering assertive/aggressiveness.

Rethabile says: IQ is another trap. And please stop using the word "races" so liberally. It implies that there are several human races. But the truth is that we're "the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family" [source]. Now back to IQ.

IQ doesn't mean anything as to the intelligence of a human being per se. It means something as to the intelligence of a human being in a white, occidental, colonialist setting. OK, I got carried away, but there's ample reason. I meant to say "in an occidental setting." Put me in your environment and give me your tests, I'll do badly. I'd like to see you or your smartest white person in my black environment with my black tests.
Modern genetic studies, published as "The History and Geography of Human Genes" (Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza), divides humanity into four major ethnic regions, African (Khoisan), Caucasoids (Basque), Mongoloids (American Indian) and Australians (Aborigine) (Time, No. 3, 1995). With fossil evidence these recent findings confirm the African origin of humanity. Africans have the greatest genetic distance from the rest of humanity, showing that on the human family tree, the split from the Africans occurred before the other branches. Australian aborigines are genetically the most distant from the Africans.(4)
Rethabile says: Where does that leave your colour argument for the greater, whiter (or yellower) civilisation (except in tatters), JoAnn? But wait, let me quote somebody else, because I just know you read neither my original post nor the ensuing comments, a post you commented on. Here goes:
What is intelligence, anyway? When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me. (It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP - kitchen police - as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too. Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests - people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron, and I'd be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again. He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me. One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: "Doc, a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand. The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?"

Indulgently, I lifted by [sic] right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers. Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, "Why, you dumb jerk, He used his voice and asked for them." Then he said smugly, "I've been trying that on all my customers today." "Did you catch many?" I asked. "Quite a few," he said, "but I knew for sure I'd catch you." "Why is that?" I asked. "Because you're so goddamned educated, doc, I knew you couldn't be very smart."

And I have an uneasy feeling he had something there (5).


Steve Hayes said...


Is it worth the effort to argue with such stupid people?

Rethabile said...

Not really, Steve. It spends me. But I tell myself, one won is not nothing.

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