Re: why does difference = war? (was Re: disparaging Gould)

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 01:28:45 -0500

Spike Jones wrote:

> Tim Bates wrote:
> > Why does knowing that IQ is "real" (read: "general ability is a valid
> > construct) and that it is heritable ( read: heritability is greater than
> > zero in any known environment) lead to racism and even race war?
> tim i am thinking about the closest thing we have seen to a modern
> race war is the well known example of the rwanda tutsis vs hutus.
> these two groups went at each other with no apparent motive (that
> i know of) other than the notion that ones own race is superior
> in some way to the other's. the examples you gave (germany vs
> the genetically indistinguishable english and french) was i think more
> political or economic, altho the retoric of the time was definitely racist.

The main reason why this could happen as a matter of race is the old esoteric/exoteric thing. As I mentioned in another post, everyone has a personal definition of 'what it means to be human', which obviously causes a person to consider some things as 'not human'. While most all people would agree that a rock is not human, but their twin brother is, we each have our individual threshold that is somewhere in between these two objective points.

IQ factors in, especially if, as studies like 'The Bell Curve' purport to show, people of one ethnic background have lower average IQs than people of other ethnic backgrounds. Since intelligence is generally considered the prime thing which separates human beings from other animals, then a lower average IQ ethnic group might be seen by narrow minded members of other, higher average IQ ethnic groups as being not quite as human as their own ethnic group is. They obviously are ignoring the fact that probably a large percentage of the low average IQ ethnic group has individual IQs that are above the average for a higher average IQ ethnic group, and that members of the high average IQ groups would be below the average of the low average IQ groups.

Now, we all have seen the sort of things that happen when people that are obviously members of homo spapiens, but might not be considered prime specimens by the majority in a given geographic area. Everything from 'mere' discrimination and disparagement, to outright racism and hate based crimes, up to actual race wars and genocides.

The only difference between these ranges of behavior is that they tend to occur in greater severity directly in proportion to how economically or socially stressed the majority population is. We have seen that it does not matter what society it is, any society is capable of such behavior when sufficiently stressed. Some people might be smug about why "That sort of thing never happens HERE", but they are usually stating this from the comfort of a ethnically homogenous and/or economically prosperous and secure setting. The old saw that "no population is more than two meals from revolution" might be paraphrased that 'no population is more than one economic cycle from anarchy, tyranny, and/or genocide.'

> the reason this is of interest to me as an extropian is this: it appears
> soon we will have the ability to identify the genetic patterns which give
> rise to high intelligence (if iq is real), then furthermore, to extract and
> fertilize in vitro several ova simultaneously, freeze, read the genome,
> subsequently reimplant a selected fetus. the implications of this alone
> are stunning in terms of the evolution of our species.

Yes. While I am actually confident that those with amplified intelligence will have a wider range of empathy for a broader range of people to consider members of their esoteric group, I am not confident at all in the common person's ability to accept such amplified humans as 'human' and not monsters.

> could the notion of interspecies conflict explain why there is today
> only one surviving branch of homonid? cro magnon hunted neanderthal
> and other homonids to extinction? are there other examples in nature
> of interspecies conflict, such as warfare between adjacent ant hills?
> is it not the nature of mammals to protect relatives against nonrelatives
> of the same species?

I actually think that this capacity to resort to violence to eliminate evolutionary rivals could be a reason why the natural evolution of the human mind has been stunted the last few thousand years. It could explain why IQ has risen so much the last century, since despite the world wars, genocides, etc. there has actually been a lower percentage of humanity that has died from warfare than previously.

   Michael Lorrey
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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