Evolution in the News - November 2016
by Do-While Jones

Racist Beliefs

Racists present evolutionary “proof.”

This month’s feature article addresses the issue of people believing things that aren’t true. Here is a good example.

But first, lest there be any confusion, in the context of the article below, the word “environmentalist” has nothing to do with global warming. In psychological circles, an environmentalist is one who believes that human behavior is shaped by the cultural environment (that is, society) rather than by genetics.

Two scientific studies have definitively confirmed that genes determine brain size and intelligence—and that these are inherited traits, unaffected by environment.

The studies—both published in major scientific journals—conclusively disprove the lies put out by the race-denying “environmentalists” who claim that all races are equal and that all people are born “blank slates.”

The first study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, titled “Shared genetic aetiology between cognitive functions and physical and mental health in UK Biobank and 24 GWAS consortia,” revealed a definitive link between cranial capacity—that is, brain size—and intelligence. 1

Later, it goes on to say,

As detailed by Professor J. Philippe Rushton in his book Race, Evolution and Behavior, the average cranial capacity of Mongoloid Asiatics is 1,335 cm3, Caucasoids 1,341 cm3, and Negroids 1,284cm3—all differences, he notes, which are “highly significant within studies.”

What all these studies put together means is that brain size, intelligence, and cognitive ability vary from race to race, and are inherited and unaffected by environment.

These racial differences in intelligence are in turn the cause of differences in racial psychology and group racial behavior, as reflected in racial crime rates, social adaptability, and economic achievement. 2

In other words, the article claims that since the brains of blacks are 4% smaller than whites, they are just naturally dumber, more likely to commit crimes, and genetically doomed to poverty. Dr. Rushton believes there is a connection between race, evolution and behavior, and the anonymous staff writer for The New Observer thinks that a study in Molecular Psychiatry proves him right.

Why would the The New Observer staff writer think that? That writer probably saw this evolutionary diagram in school.

As man evolved, he got whiter, and his brain got bigger. This picture not-so-subtly suggests that black people are less highly evolved than white people, so they must be dumber and less civilized.

As proof, the The New Observer shows this screen shot of the article in Molecular Psychiatry.

You can’t actually read the article because The New Observer just shows the first few lines—but those few lines show a whole list of authors with PhDs, so their conclusions must be true! It is the consensus of experts! (Note to the sarcasm-impaired: That’s sarcasm.)

We did read the article, and discovered the article didn’t say anything about race! The abstract said,

In addition, highly significant associations were observed between the cognitive test scores in the UK Biobank sample and many polygenic profile scores, including coronary artery disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, major depressive disorder, body mass index, intracranial volume, infant head circumference and childhood cognitive ability. 3

It didn’t say anything about race, but they did find all sorts of dubious correlations. For example,

Greater polygenic risk for diastolic and systolic blood pressure (obtained from International Consortium for Blood Pressure), and body mass index were all associated with lower educational attainment (β of -0.02, -0.04 and -0.09, respectively) [in other words, they claim fat people with high blood pressure do slightly worse in school]. A polygenic profile for greater height was associated with higher educational attainment (β=0.07) [tall people do slightly better in school]. Higher verbal-numerical reasoning scores were associated with lower polygenic risk for body mass index (β=-0.03), and a polygenic profile for greater height (β=0.02) and higher systolic blood pressure (β=0.01) [if you are good at problem solving, you will probably be skinny, taller, and have higher blood pressure]. 4

By definition, correlation factors range from +1 to -1. Zero means there is no correlation whatsoever. If you tried to correlate winning lottery numbers with daily temperatures, the correlation should be exactly zero; but in practice it will probably just be very small due to some random variation.

The correlation factors are nearly zero, so the reasonable conclusion is that if there is any correlation, it is negligible.

The finding we liked best was this:

Perhaps counter-intuitively, our results indicated that the genetic variants associated with obtaining a college degree were also related to higher genetic risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism, which for bipolar disorder and autism support the findings from a previous study. 5

In other words, two different studies have shown that people who get a college degree are genetically disposed to be crazy!

The second study The New Observer cited came from Open Biology.

The second paper, published in the Royal Society journal Open Biology, discovered the actual genes responsible for bigger brain sizes after comparing the genomes of 28 mammals with different brain sizes. 6

Again, they included a screen shot of the beginning of the paper to create the appearance of credibility.

But the introduction of the article actually said,

Introduction
Increased brain size in mammals when compared with other vertebrate taxa is thought to have played an important role in the expansion of this clade. Increased brain size during evolution has been previously related to increased behavioural complexity and the ability to cope with a changing environment. However, the precise evolutionary drivers of brain size expansion in mammals and its relation to behavioural ability are still unclear and remain a topic of much interest and debate. 7

This article didn’t discover anything new about brain size. They just repeated that brain size is thought to have something to do with complex behavior, but the connection is still unclear and a topic of debate. (Perhaps it is unclear because ants and bees exhibit complex behavior, and they have brains much smaller than humans.) The article also said,

In the hominid lineage, the expansion of the neocortex is thought to have played a key role in the evolution of modern humans, including specialized areas involved in processing and production of language as well as areas involved in identification of faces and locations. 8

Again, nothing new was learned. They just repeated the conventional, unsubstantiated speculation.

Finally, the conclusion was,

5. Conclusion
In summary, we have identified a set of gene families whose sizes are positively associated with an expanded neocortex, providing new insights into neocortex evolution. Moreover, as aberrant development and degeneration of cortical neurons has been linked with a variety of mental health pathologies and dementias, identifying genomic signatures associated with the evolution of larger brain size and neocortex expansion will critically contribute to our understanding of the molecular pathways involved in the development and maintenance of cortical areas in highly encephalized mammals including humans. As these pathways may not be present or developed to the same extent in less encephalized mammalian species, our finding could help to fill existing gaps in current knowledge gained from widely used rodent models. 9

In other words, the purpose of the study was to find genetic explanations for mental diseases in humans, and to examine the difference between human brains and mouse brains to see if studies on rats have any relevance to human mental diseases.

Our Point

Historically, the theory of evolution has been used to justify racism. Even today, some people still twist scientific studies to prove evolution is true to support their racist ideas. The views of The New Observer are a current example of this.

Evolution doesn’t justify racism because the theory of evolution is false.

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Footnotes:

1 New Observer Online, October 5, 2016, ”Science Confirms: Genes Determine Brain Size”, http://newobserveronline.com/science-confirms-genes-determine-brain-size/
2 ibid.
3 Hagenaars, et al., Molecular Psychiatry, 26 January 2016, “Shared genetic aetiology between cognitive functions and physical and mental health in UK Biobank (N=112151) and 24 GWAS consortia”, pp. 1624–1632, http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v21/n11/full/mp2015225a.html
4 ibid.
5 ibid.
6 New Observer Online, October 5, 2016, ”Science Confirms: Genes Determine Brain Size”, http://newobserveronline.com/science-confirms-genes-determine-brain-size/
7 Atahualpa Castillo-Morales, et al., Open Biology, 5 October 2016, “Neocortex expansion is linked to size variations in gene families with chemotaxis, cell–cell signalling and immune response functions in mammals”, http://rsob.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/6/10/160132
8 ibid.
9 ibid.