Re: Local Groups Wanted!

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Dec 23 2001 - 15:21:29 MST

On Sun, 23 Dec 2001, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Races are figments of the racist imagination. The sole purpose of
> postulating them is to divide humanity into artificial opposing
> factions. Let's all hear it for absolute colorblindness.

While I have no objection to the spirit of Eliezer's comments I
think it would be irrational to embrace the perspective without
a careful examination of where it becomes problematic.

I *agree* with the perspective that "races" are generated due to a
pre-programmed human "need" to create imaginary dividing lines
(e.g. tribalize) others. This is an important for a social animal
such as a human to establish "trust" relationships. (Who will
share food with me, who will try to steal my mate, etc.)

A quick Google gives a historical perspective here:

While "celebrating" colorblindness may be a noble idea, it ignores
reality. I believe it derives from the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration
of Independence:

> We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal,
> that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,
> that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The problem is with the phrase "all Men are created Equal".
Its *bunk*. We are *not* created equal and could not be unless
we were clones of one another. We all have 5-10 genetic polymorphisms
that can be considered "personal" handicaps that we share with some
other fraction of humanity. Some of us may have more some of us may
have fewer. The simple bell curve of intelligence and the fact that
a significant fraction of intelligence is heritable demonstrates that
we are not "created equal". The fact that some of us carry genetic
variants in melanin production is not a good basis for classifying
individuals. However, the facts are that there *are* genes that
cosegregate (e.g. genes physically close to those regulating melanin
production) and there are population groups with higher abundances
of certain alleles (e.g. hemoglobin polymorphisms causing sickle
cell anemia). So while the concept of "race" may not be useful,
"absolute colorblindness" is also undesirable in specific contexts
(e.g. medical diagnosis).

The idea that we can all be considered "equal" is fundamentally flawed.
What we should be striving for is enhancing inalienable rights,
such that everyone has equal opportunities for "Life, Liberty and
the Pursuit of Happiness" (as they define them).


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