Biological Race and Human Diversity |

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Biological Race and Human Diversity

I wonder how much experience those who say race is a “social construct” have of different ethnic groups (“Biological Race and the Problem of Human Diversity,” March/April 2016). No one with such experience could doubt the reality of racial difference.

The taboo is old. Anthony Smith, in The Body (1968), begins his chapter on race by saying that the word must be dismissed almost as soon as it is brought forward.

Krause unsurprisingly makes only one mention of Arthur Jensen (calling him “Jenson”), only the briefest reference to The Bell Curve (most of which isn’t about race), and no mention of Hans Eysenck, J. Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, etc., who presented evidence of real racial differences.

Nicholas Wade contends that academics fear for their careers, but more than careers are at stake: as well as demands that they be dismissed, some were vilified, forced from their homes, threatened in writing, by telephone, and in person—and even physically assaulted—for saying things that were well-known in the scientific world.

I detest racism and am utterly opposed to racial discrimination. I was a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and boycotted South African products. But I agree with Anthony Daniels: “That the concept of race has been used to justify the most hideous crimes should [not] inhibit us from examining it dispassionately.” Any such objective examination will confirm the reality of racial difference.

Do Guns Make Us Safe?

Editor’s Note: Psychologist Stuart Vyse’s Behavior & Belief column “Guns: Feeling Safe ≠ Being Safe,” March/April 2016, provoked a strong reader response—not surprising given the intensely contentious nature of this issue in the United States. Some letter writers appreciated his analysis, which was about gun deaths and “the myth that guns make you safer,” not gun control; most did not. One called it “an ideology-driven propaganda piece” and canceled his subscription. Here is a sampling of others, followed by Vyse’s response.

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Does Astrology Need to Be True? A Thirty-Year Update Does E = mc2 Imply Mysticism? Does the Universe Revolve around Me? A Skeptical Response to Science Denial Skeptical Inquirer’s 2016 Reader Survey Results