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[evol-psych] Post modernism and anti-science thinking

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  • Jon Entine
    Salon.com Friday, January 28, 2000 THE BLACK EDGE Are athletes of African descent genetically superior? - - - - - - - - - - - - By Gary Kamiya EXCERPTS: As
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2000
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      Salon.com
      Friday, January 28, 2000

      THE BLACK EDGE
      Are athletes of African descent genetically superior?
      - - - - - - - - - - - -
      By Gary Kamiya

      EXCERPTS:

      As both black athletic domination and our knowledge of genetics,
      physical anthropology and physiology
      have grown, it has become increasingly hard to assert that environmental
      factors alone can explain black
      superiority in sports. Jon Entine's "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate
      Sports and Why We Are Afraid
      to Talk About It" will make it even harder.

      In support of his thesis, Entine relies on two different bodies of
      evidence: the undeniable, but
      scientifically "soft," record of black athletic achievement, and the
      still contested but increasingly
      accepted theories of anthropologists, physiologists and geneticists.
      Neither alone is decisive, but
      taken together, they are -- to a layman -- pretty convincing. Most
      important of all, Entine refutes
      the idea that there is any sinister corollary to black genetic
      superiority in athletics.

      It might be objected that Entine's entire argument is conceptually
      flawed from the outset, because
      "race" itself is a meaningless concept. In a lucid discussion, Entine
      demolishes the voguish
      assertion that "there's no such thing as race," explaining that the
      argument over the word is little
      more than semantic. "Limiting the rhetorical use of folk categories such
      as race, an admirable goal,
      is not going to make the patterned biological variation on which they
      are based disappear," he argues.

      Entine takes several gratifying swings at postmodern academic fog
      machines, who in their scholastic
      zeal to make sure everything comes out racially rosy simply throw
      science overboard. As Entine argues
      again and again in "Taboo," the mere fact that legitimate arguments may
      also have been advanced by
      racists, or that scientific facts may play into invidious stereotypes,
      is not sufficient reason to abandon
      those arguments or deny those facts. The mania against "essentialism,"
      taken to its logical extreme, is
      nothing but an assault on the spirit of scientific inquiry itself.

      It's hard to regard Entine as having dubious motives for writing this
      book. He approaches the subject
      with neutral curiosity about the fascinating variety of the human race.
      But despite this, "Taboo" is
      certain to provoke cries of outrage in some quarters.

      READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW AT:

      http://salon.com/books/feature/2000/01/28/taboo/index.html

      --
      Jon Entine
      6178 Grey Rock Rd.
      Agoura Hills, CA 91301
      runjonrun@...
      [818] 991-9803

      http://www.jonentine.com

      Author of "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are
      Afraid to Talk About It" (PublicAffairs], available January 2000;
      http://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/books/tab.html
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