Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=582ZE6cEtWw
Let’s leave race out of it for now. Just don’t think about it. Ignore it.
Let’s take a series of observations. If they are correct & accurate, and are empirical and we can independently verify them, we can call them facts. Data.
We’ll call that evidence. If they’re wrong, they’re not facts anymore, so we’ll try to ensure they’re correct. For some things that are fuzzier, harder to pin down, or are observations and subject to different interpretations, we’ll call them “observations”, opinions, anecdotal evidence, etc. This won’t mean they aren’t valid; we’ll just need to treat them differently. We can use both of these, but need to be sure we’re applying them properly.
From our general observations, and data collected already we can make a hypothesis.
Then we’ll collect more data, confirm the data where we can. Find established facts where we can.
Then, if we find the data supports our hypothesis, we may come up with additional hypotheses.
We repeat the process: collect more data, see if it does or doesn’t support our hypotheses.
If we do enough of this, and get a set of hypotheses that have supporting data, we can then come to one or more conclusions based on our hypotheses, and have ourselves a theory. “noun –
A system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.”
In cases where the above is more rigorous than we can easily accomplish, we can make a series of assertions based on our observations, get agreement on the truth or falsity of those observations. Then using logic, we can derive a conclusion, and we have, as a result, an argument in support of a position we hold. This is what we find in the realm of philosophy and debate generally. Opinions unsupported by facts, or statements where their truth-value is undefined, are not an argument. (Mollymeme)
“A discussion in which reasons are put forward in support of and againsta proposition, proposal, or case; debate. (Sometimes pl) a point or series of reasons presented to support or oppose a proposition”
OK, here’s a proposition: Culture has a genetic component. I’m going to make an argument for it.
Let’s start rather far away from this broad and maybe difficult to swallow argument, and look at discrete components.
I intend to defend some of the component positions in my argument with facts, data, hypotheses and theory, other aspects are going to be more broad and wide assertions that I’ll use the logic to back up.
Is a culture an emergent property of the actions of many many individuals, working more (or less) in concert? This is one of those broad statements. I ask you just to think about it. Do you accept this definition of “culture”?
“The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively”
We may agree (hopefully) that there are several ways an individual might contribute to the overall culture.
So, let’s look at individuals.
- Intelligence is heritable. Whether the heritability is .5, .8, it’s heritable. Use common sense if you like. (Demonstrate this from adoption studies, twin studies, and obvious other conclusions.)
- Genes influence behaviors (not just intelligence). (Behavior is heritable) Don’t think so? Think it’s all nurture? Really? Behavioral Genetics has its own Wikipedia page… and look. Nature has a beginner article. Nature is pretty much the top tier science journal out there. Can’t say it’s fringe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_behaviour_genetics
http://web.stanford.edu/~wine/202/g-and-b.html Older, but explains a bit.
Here’s a really good one: http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/07/21/genetic-influence-on-behavior/7237.html
“Researchers at Brown University and the University of Arizona have determined that variations of three different genes in the brain (called single-nucleotide polymorphisms) may help predict a person’s tendency to make certain choices.”
“The results suggest that the pattern of results emerging in psychiatric genetics is generally consistent with the findings of behavioral genetics in simpler organisms.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17012675
- Environment can only do so much, (affects the outcomes of 1 and 2). The converse of “well of course your genes have an effect, but environment is important, is that since genes are important, environment has a finite effect. This again is common sense but also has science supporting it. We can find frequent discussion of this in the literature. There is a LOT of back and forth on how much, and the role of nature vs nurture. I hope you see the point that genes always have some influence.
- Therefore, (socioeconomic) life outcomes of individuals and their subsequent behaviors have a genetic component (from 1, 2, and 3). Of course environment plays a role. But if you agree to the validity of the previous points, we agree that there is a genetic influence.
- Groups of individuals living together create group outcomes. Intentionally or not! Often there are intentional outcomes. Clearly. Group outcomes contribute to the passing on of behaviors, learned techniques, handed down rules, common activities, and stability (or not), etc. Socioeconomic groups have (or definitely can have) different cultures. (This is what the counter-argument actually is! That it’s a “social construct” or that you can transplant people into our culture and they just enculturate and contribute.)
- 1 and 2 vary between population groups, not just within them. This affects 4. We won’t spend the time here to go through the entire debate and re-hash the facts regarding population differences in behavior and intelligence. It’s real, it’s there, have some links.
I realize that detractors attack these scientists as racists and claim that their work is biased. Even if it were true, that doesn’t make them wrong. There are so many studies and so much evidence, that the quality work overshadows the few studies that weren’t great. And, we don’t find quality work that is replicable and that invalidates the results of all this work. There are good “refutations of the refutations” here:
- From the above, (1-4 affecting 5, and then considering 6) we conclude that population genetics influences behaviors and that the behaviors will vary between groups. And that the behaviors contribute to culture, as discussed in #5. Likewise, intelligence varies between groups and intelligence is an influence on culture and socioeconomic success of the group.
Therefore, to some extent, genes influence culture. QED.
Notice I did not say anything about “race” here until point 6. The above could apply with a random mix of people of all sorts of ancestry, various combinations, or an ethnically homogeneous population, etc. The above argument I believe valid independent of bringing race into it. You may say, “Well, obviously, that’s what you’re getting at! That was always your next move! You racist!”
Frankly: so what? That ad hominem attack doesn’t make the argument wrong. Even if the person making that argument is racist, that doesn’t invalidate the argument or change the facts, data, logic, or anything else.
The uncomfortable truth comes in when we align “populations” with the concept of geographic ancestry and DNA. When we bring “race” in as a population differentiator. (RACIST!)
So again, let’s leave the word race out then… yet again, if you have to.
Genes vary between population groups. The effects of these genes vary within and between populations. Genes affect behavior. Group behaviors are a defining component of culture. Population genetics affects culture.
Even if you scream “there’s no such thing as RACE!” that’s irrelevant to this argument, as majority ethnic groups in cultures share genetic makeups and those genes present across those groups in the combinations present have emergent properties in phenotypes OBVIOUSLY. This chant was started by very few people, some of whom have retracted their original statements, and picked up by non-scientists and hammered into us ad nauseam, ignoring the facts. Here’s a good explanation of what I believe is the truth of the matter: http://thealternativehypothesis.org/index.php/2016/04/15/human-race-are-real-race-is-a-valid-scientific-category/
Hopefully somewhere in your mind you recognize, even if you still don’t want to, that behavior is part of those emergent properties of our genes. Do I assert that our behaviors derive entirely from that? No, I didn’t say that. Can a dominant cultural pattern influence or override undesirable behaviors? Can one culture dominate another? Have we seen that historically? What seems to happen? What about when cultures mix? How do they change when ethnicities mix? What does History show us?
Population Genetics Influences Culture. I think I’ve shown this as a solid argument, and perhaps even a theory. How much influence exists remains to be seen. I ask that you keep in the back of your mind the conclusion that there IS a genetic influence when someone blames “Culture” for undesirable behavior. (“It’s dey culcha”)
P.S. Consider that groups might be more susceptible to the influence of biology (genes) in cases where a learned cultural behavior isn’t “overlaid” and replaces whatever default or “gene influenced” cultural behavior might be. Think it doesn’t matter. Consider something innocuous like handedness. There’s a predisposition (genetic) for right-handedness. Some people with a biological (genetic) left-handed preference were taught to use their right hand. The culture has this small, seemingly unimportant behavior of being “right handed” and that contributes to “reads left to right”, etc. Harmless seemingly irrelevant, etc. But consider that some cultures write in other directions (up down or right left) I don’t know offhand but I wonder about the rate of left-handedness in those or whether they are or aren’t pushed to use their right hands. Anyway, we can see that clearly a biological (genetic) definite behavior is overridden by cultural preferences.