This is an archive site featuring a large number of articles which appeared in Spearhead magazine edited and produced by John Tyndall, founder and former Chairman of the British National party, who died on 19th July 2005. Mr Tyndall was an excellent writer, an uncompromising nationalist and tireless campaigner against mass immigration and the consequent threat to Anglo-Saxons and kindred people.
2. Studies contradict view that race doesn’t exist
Jan. 31, 2005 Special to World Science Racial differences among people are real, new studies suggest, contradicting claims by some of the world’s leading scientists and scientific institutions that race doesn’t exist.
These experts had said race is merely a “social construct,” or a creation of society’s collective imagination. But the new studies, some of which come from Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., suggest that the way people classify themselves by race reflects real and clear genetic differences among them.
This indicates there is some truth behind the racial distinctions that seem obvious to most ordinary people, the researchers said. But they added that it’s important to define race correctly, since dangerous misconceptions, such as the notion that some races are superior to others, persist and can serve to excuse racism.
Moreover, previous studies have shown that racial differences between population groups are small, much smaller than variations within the groups themselves. The newer studies didn’t specifically dispute this observation, but simply found that the between-group differences are also clear.
What is true, researchers said in light of the new studies, is that people of different races have different ancestries. This means different genes, since genes are inherited from ancestors. “The public in general is much more honest” about race than many academics are, “because the general public knows it signifies something rather than nothing,” said Jon Entine, a journalist and author of a critically well-received book, “Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It.” The title attests to the subject’s controversial nature, and the inflamed passions often triggered by any suggestion that racial differences reflect meaningful biological differences. The emotions surrounding the debate arise from its origins in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, which led to widespread efforts to wipe out racism from society. Recognizing the evils that racial classification had created, from slavery to genocides, many tried to fight racism by playing down racial differences as much as possible. Partly in order to further this goal of ending racial discrimination, some experts began to publicize the view that race didn’t exist at all.
“Race is a social construct, not a scientific classification,” the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals, editorialized on May 3, 2001. “In medicine, there is only one race—the human race.’’ In support of this claim, many scientists cited findings from the Human Genome Project that humans are 99.9 percent genetically alike. These findings recently turned out to be possibly wrong (see exclusive World Science story of Sept. 8, 2004, “New findings undermine basis of ‘race isn’t real’ theory.”) However, scientists, especially anthropologists, have continued to support the race-as-social-construct position. The American Anthropological Association’s official statement on race declares: “physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them.” The group’s president-elect, Alan H. Goodman, was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article of last Oct. 10 as saying, “Race as an explanation for human biological variation is dead,” and comparing the race concept to a gun in the hands of racists.
The latest research to challenge the race-as-social-construct theory is a study of 3,636 people from across America and Taiwan, led by Neil Risch, then of the Stanford University School of Medicine and now at the University of California at San Francisco.
It found that people’s self-identified race is a nearly perfect indicator of their genetic background, contradicting the race-as-social-construct view, Risch said. The study’s authors said it was the largest study of its kind. The participants identified themselves as either white, African-American, East Asian or Hispanic. For each participant, the researchers examined 326 DNA regions that tend to vary between people. These regions are not necessarily within functioning genes—some regions of the genome have no known use—but are simply genetic signposts that come in a variety of forms at the same place. Without knowing how the participants had identified themselves, Risch and his team ran the results through a computer program that grouped individuals according to patterns of the 326 signposts. This analysis could have resulted in any number of different clusters, but only four clear groups turned up. And in each case the individuals within those clusters all fell within the same self-identified racial group. “This work comes on the heels of several contradictory studies about the genetic basis of race. Some found that race is a social construct with no genetic basis while others suggested that clear genetic differences exist between people of different races,” a press release from Stanford said. “What makes the current study, published in the February issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, more conclusive is its size. The study is by far the largest, consisting of 3,636 people who all identified themselves as either white, African-American, East Asian or Hispanic. Of these, only five individuals had DNA that matched an ethnic group different than the box they checked at the beginning of the study.” Although it was reported as the largest study to find genetic differences between races, Risch’s study is not the first. Previous studies have found that Ashkenazi Jews are genetically more susceptible than average for Tay-Sachs disease, a fatal nervous system disorder, for instance. Black populations have been found to carry higher levels of a mutation that leads to sickle-cell anemia. Risch’s study, however, is not only the largest study but also the first to find that these genetic differences are not isolated cases involving a handful of genes, but are spread throughout the genome. These differences should be of more than passing interest to the medical community, Risch added, because recognizing them can help tailor treatments and prevention programs to better serve specific ethnic groups.
It can also help geneticists avoid skewed results in epedemiological studies, he wrote. For instance, failing to account for the gene-race relationship could make researchers think a particular difference between populations results from genes when in fact it stems from different cultural conditions.
Several scientists who have supported the view of race as a social construct did not respond to requests for comment on the new studies, including officials from the American Anthropological Association and the author of the New England Journal editorial, Robert S. Schwartz.
However, some other scientists reacted without surprise to the new findings.
“As an ordinary citizen educated in biology, it is self-evident that there are genetic differences between people who have been geographically segregated into mating populations, just as there are genetic differences for all species and subspecies,” wrote Michael Wigler, a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in an email.