Human biodiversity (or human bio-diversity or human biological diversity or HBD) are names for the scientific study of biological racial differences among humans. These are claimed racial differences in cognitive capacities like intelligence and personality, or in strength, endurance, and health. All these traits are said to differ measurably among racial groups.
The term is not publicly used by most scientists, who prefer human genetic variation (mostly the study of human biochemical differences), and is considered politically incorrect. Such research may be carried out "clandestinely", using race-neutral terms to hide the implications. Scientists who study human biodiversity assert that humanity can be sub-divided into many racial groups with more or less significant genetic variations, which affect their behaviors and skill distributions.
These differences are said to be significant for the understanding of human society, since different racial groups are likely to form different types of societies. It may also affect how these groups live together, and how they form symbiotic partnerships. Opponents assert that the differences between human races are superficial, and variations in social development are cultural and not biological. For example, Africa only appears less advanced than Europe because of the local environment and the legacy of colonialism.
Such research may be carried out by biologists such as geneticists, medical researchers such as neurologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, or statisticians. There are currently no university departments or specific degrees in human biodiversity. Workers in the field may start out trying to integrate data from other sources, or to make sense of puzzling differences in outcomes among various groups.
In general, they avoid using the word "race" but prefer the term "population". They also won't assert that one group is superior or inferior to another, but that each group has a statistical distribution of measurable capacities. Almost all attributes may be found in all racial groups, but all groups have specific strengths and weaknesses.
Human biodiversity research relies on a synthesis of intelligence and personality tests, economic indicators, crime statistics, archeological/anthropological and historical evidence, and health and mortality tables covering all population groups. It is important to use a consistent methodology.
Statistical analysis began in the 19th Century with Francis Galton who extended the work of Charles Darwin. More controversial was Lothrop Stoddard's hierarchical division of races, in direct opposition to the more mainstream work of Franz Boas, who denied the existence of meaningful differences between biological races. Later work was carried out by Margaret Sanger and Carleton Coon. Such research became discouraged after World war Two, but continued at a low rate. The work became widely known with Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's 1994 magnum opus The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. In the 2000s, much of the discussion moved online to academic and more political web forums.
A major opponent of this work was Stephen Jay Gould, who wrote both scholarly and popular works emphasizing the primacy of nurture and culture over genetics. HBD researchers allege that much of the work claiming that racial differences don't exist is biased or fraudulent.
Critics say these differences are due to cultural bias, instead of innate differences in cognitive capacity.
Sub-Saharan African runners have claimed the most endurance and sprint records. Most of the greatest boxers were black. They have higher muscle density, but northern people are said to be bulkier.
Critics say that blacks only perform better because they were mentally toughened by enduring persistent discrimination by whites.
Critics say this is due to long-term racial discrimination of blacks by whites, which has damaged the former's health. Those Asian countries that today have the longest lifespans generally managed to avoid significant Western colonization in the past.
Claimed reasons for the genetic differences
- Colder regions require a higher degree of social cooperation. Those unable to work together in complex groups received fewer group rewards, and left fewer descendants. This tended to select for pro-social traits or mutations.
- Since humans evolved in Africa, that continent's parasites are best adapted at exploiting humans, and may have kept human numbers in check there. Areas with fewer parasites may experience overpopulation, forcing new selection methods to emerge.
- Sexual selection may favor sociability or dominance depending on the nature of local resources. Human environments with high populations tended to select against antisocial genes by killing or confining criminals.
- Selection pressures for neotenic attributes in different populations may allow more or less time for learning, and different styles of social cooperation.
- Different human populations may have evolved R-selected or K-selected procreation strategies, having many or fewer offspring with about the same total parental investment. This has been compared to a quantity/quality trade-off.
- Highly cohesive groups like the Amish or Ashkenazi Jews may select for certain traits among themselves, expelling or suppressing those without such traits, who are then less likely to reproduce (a.k.a. "boiling off"). Similarly, assortative mating could cause separate populations to form.
If these claims are true, different racial groups could form different cultures that would promote their own strengths, or they could choose to exchange useful genes among each other. This could happen naturally over time, as all anatomically modern humans are capable of interbreeding, reducing the most important differences while keeping the appearance of different races. Alternatively, the issue could be transcended by the use of human genetic manipulation.
Discussion of alleged racial differences in intelligence and to a lesser extent athletic ability is considered offensive. Scientists who claim such differences exist may be fired or otherwise punished. Additionally, people who make racial claims may face legal prosecution under hate speech laws.
Pro HBD works
The Bell Curve, 1994
10,000 Year Explosion, Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, 2010.
Anti HBD works
Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1997
The Mismeasure of Man, 1981
- Fuerst, John (June 2015). "The nature of race" (PDF). Open Behavioral Genetics. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- Newsweek magazine, Nov 8, 2014, http://www.newsweek.com/there-no-such-thing-race-283123
- "The Myth of Race", Robert Wald Sussman, 2014
- Lahn, Bruce & Lanny Ebenstein. "Let's celebrate human genetic diversity." Nature 461, no. 35 (2009)
- MacDonald, Kevin. "The Boasian School of Anthropology and the Decline of Darwinism in the Social Sciences." In Culture of Critique. First Book Library, 2002, http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/chap2.pdf
- Jensen, Authur R. "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?" Harvard Educational Review 39 (1969)
- Cochran, Gregory. "Lewontin's argument." West Hunter, Jan 26, 2012. http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/lewontins-argument/
- Brown, Eryn. "Intelligence is in the genes, researchers report." Los Angeles Times, Aug. 10, 2011, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/10/news/la-heb-genetic-study-intelligence-20110809
- Epstein, David. The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. 2013
- Harry Edwards, "The source of the black athlete's superiority", Black Scholar 3, 1971. http://books.google.com/books?id=Z_4m0FbGbxcC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA5#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Health News. "A Few Extra Pounds May Harm Lung Function in Black, Hispanic Kids." Health, Feb. 22, 2013
- Hartshorn, Max. “How ethnocentrism evolves: a simulation of evolutionary dynamics.” Theory, Evolution, Games Group, June 30, 2013, https://egtheory.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/how-ethnocentrics-rule/
- Hamilton, W.D. "Selection of selfish and altruistic behavior in some extreme models." In Man and beast: Comparative social behavior, eds. J. F. Eisenberg and W. S. Dillon. Smithsonian Institute Press, 1971
- Neoteny.org, 2010. http://www.neoteny.org/what-is-neoteny/
- I. E. Elia, A Foxy View of Human Beauty: Implications of the Farm Fox Experiment for Understanding the Origins of Structural and Experiential Aspects of Facial Attractiveness, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Volume 88 Number 3, Sep 2013. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/671486
- Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran, Chapter 3, "Assortative Mating, Class, and Caste", http://www.gwern.net/docs/genetics/2015-harpending.pdf
- Ward, Peter. "The Future of Man--How Will Evolution Change Humans?." Scientific American, Dec. 17, 2008
- Nyborg, Helmuth. "The greatest collective scientific fraud of the 20th Century: The demolition of differential psychology and eugenics." Mankind Quarterly 60, no. 3 (2011), http://www.helmuthnyborg.dk/Global-Witch-Hunt/Collective%20Fraud%20Publication_MQLI3Nyborg.pdf