Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Mona Lisa Mystery Solved!

So it turns out to be the original suspect –  Lisa del Giocondo,  after all! What an anti-climax. Would have been good fun if it was Leonardo Da Vinci himself in drag or some hidden trick painting.

Mona Lisa

The stupid irony is that the Louvre Museum in Paris has ALWAYS maintained the painting’s title as “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo”. In other words, Miss Lisa del Giocondo… Duh!!!

Anyways, you can read the Reuters News report below:

German experts crack Mona Lisa smile

By Sylvia Westall Mon Jan 14, 2:00 PM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) – German academics believe they have solved the centuries-old mystery behind the identity of the “Mona Lisa” in Leonardo da Vinci‘s famous portrait.

Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, has long been seen as the most likely model for the sixteenth-century painting.

But art historians have often wondered whether the smiling woman may actually have been da Vinci‘s lover, his mother or the artist himself.

Now experts at the Heidelberg University library say dated notes scribbled in the margins of a book by its owner in October 1503 confirm once and for all that Lisa del Giocondo was indeed the model for one of the most famous portraits in the world.

“All doubts about the identity of the Mona Lisa have been eliminated by a discovery by Dr. Armin Schlechter,” a manuscript expert, the library said in a statement on Monday.

Until then, only “scant evidence” from sixteenth-century documents had been available. “This left lots of room for interpretation and there were many different identities put forward,” the library said.

The notes were made by a Florentine city official Agostino Vespucci, an acquaintance of the artist, in a collection of letters by the Roman orator Cicero.

The comments compare Leonardo to the ancient Greek artist Apelles and say he was working on three paintings at the time, one of them a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.

Art experts, who have already dated the painting to this time, say the Heidelberg discovery is a breakthrough and the earliest mention linking the merchant’s wife to the portrait.

“There is no reason for any lingering doubts that this is another woman,” Leipzig University art historian Frank Zoellner told German radio. “One could even say that books written about all this in the past few years were unnecessary, had we known.”

The woman was first linked to the painting in around 1550 by Italian official Giorgio Vasari, the library said, but added there had been doubts about Vasari’s reliability and had made the comments five decades after the portrait had been painted.

The Heidelberg notes were actually discovered over two years ago in the library by Schlechter, a spokeswoman said.

Although the findings had been printed in the library’s public catalogue they had not been widely publicized and had received little attention until a German broadcaster decided to do some recording at the library, she said.

The painting, which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, is also known as “La Gioconda” meaning the happy or joyful woman in Italian, a title which also suggests the woman’s married name.

(Editing by Giles Elgood)

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What does “Reem” mean?

So you are a fan of the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex (popularly called “TOWIE”) and want to desperately know what “Reem” actually means? Reem has often been used by Joey Essex to describe his hair. You have asked your neighbours, friends, everyone in office and are scratching your head for the answer! Like everyone else in the U.K. you finally hit the internet and type “Reem definition” or “what does Reem mean” and voila, you have reached this blog.  You have to suffer no longer mate as this post along with the detailed feedback from readers in the Comments section (I highly recommend you read all the comments)  is arguably your single best resource to know everything about the word “Reem”.

– Reem – Joining vajazzle, ohshatuuuup and jel in the Essex dictionary, we know have the word reem. Invented inside the mysterious empty void that is Joey Essex’s brain, we’re not entirely clear what the term means, but apparently it’s a phrase of endearment. It may seem idiotic right now (and it is), but trust us, you’ll all be saying it in a couple of months’ time. As Joey Essex so poetically put on his Twitter account today, “Look reem… smell reem… be reem… Reem.”

TOWIE is UK’s answer to  the “The Hills” or “Jersey Shore” and has gone insane on Social Media. The popularity among teenagers in Britain is really out of control prompting social commentators to research the phenomenon. Check out British blogger Ashe’s post on the same on ITBLOKE. Like what happens in modern day pop culture, Joey’s usage of the word “REEM”  has gone viral!

The slang usage is apparently derived from Swedish and is used to describe an incredibly sexy and physically talented individual. A “reem” is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach “reem status”.  This is now used like an adjective and to summarize the pop-culture meaning today in a single word, “reem” means “sexy”.  There is even a Facebook Community Page for the Joey Essex derived usage of the word Reem. The Telegraph though has opted for a slightly toned down definition calling it a  term of endearment to mean ‘cool’.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show. Photo: ITV

But what is the TRADITIONAL meaning of the word “Reem”, which is used as a first name by many (including myself)?

Many people have asked me what my name actually means…to which I have had no clear answer! While “Reem”is used as a female name in the Arab world (for ex: Reem Acra) and in Israel for males (ex:  Reem Aminoach) as well.  As one reader pointed out it is a family name or surname in Dutch (ex: van Reem) and surnames  are historically taken after a male patriarch in most societies. This confounds the matter even more.

Finally, after hours of searching & reading, the mysterious meaning of the semitic word “Reem” has been explained…that too in the most unexpected of places.

Read this early 19th Century report of a curious event which took place in Glasgow City published in the Glasgow Argus newspaper:

Glasgow Argus
MONDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 7, 1835

…Our visitor is of ancient lineage, though we are by no means certain that it can be traced quite so far back as his flatterers have attempted to do. Some have represented him as the lineal descendant of the Reem , of whom mention is made in the Books of Number and Deuteronomy, in the Psalms, in Job, and in Isaiah. The genealogy is not very clearly made out. In the kindred dialect of the Arabic, Rem denotes an antelope. Of course this does not prove that the Hebrew Reem was an antelope; for only from scientific zoologists can we expect critical accuracy in the matter of names, and we know well the carelessness with which colonists apply the names of the beasts and birds of their fatherland to those which they find in their new domicile. On the other hand, the text of the Septuagint favours the identity of the Reem with the rhinoceros, by translating it monoceros . The Ethiopic translation of the Scriptures renders it Arwe Harish , the names of the rhinoceros; this, however, is of little consequence, as it seems now to be admitted that that translation was made from the Septuagint. This latter, however, was effected before the birth of our Saviour, by Jews resident in Egypt, at a time when the rhinoceros was frequently exhibited there as a part of the royal pomp of the Ptolemies.

The account given of the form and habits of the Reem , in the sacred books, are far too slender to add anything satisfactory to this vague guess-work. In one passage it seems implied that the Reem was abundant on the north-east frontier of the Israelites, from Anti-Lebanon towards Bozrah. In “Job” the strength of the animal, and the impossibility of making it available in agricultural labour, is hinted at. The elevation of the horn is always the most prominent, if indeed not the only feature alluded to. In the twenty-second Psalm, it would almost seem, from the juxtaposition, that the “shooting of the lip” was the image which raised up the Reem in the poet’s imagination. Altogether, these combined hints produce a very faint and indistinct picture of the animal…

Read more of the Indian Rhino’s visit to the UK over here:
Rhino in Glasgow

Here’s an alternative definitions for “Reem” where scholars say it translates to a “wild ox” and not “rhinoceros or unicorn”. Click here: Unicorns and the KJV

In the Arab world, “Reem” is mistakenly understood to mean  “gazelles” or “pure white antelopes”  or ” young deers” or  “white rabbits” and even “seaweed formed on ocean surface” depending on who you speak to. This confusion is not surprising as lots of Arabic words have digressed from their original Semitic roots. Take for example the famous case of the word  “‘houris” which has been wrongly understood for centuries as “doe -eyed fair maidens” when they actually mean “white raisins of crystal clarity”.  (Source: The Guardian)

Interestingly, “REEM” is also the name of two Intelligent Humanoid Robots created by PAL ROBOTICS.

Another famous “Reem” is  Alistair “The Reem” Overeem a Dutch Mixed Martial Artist and kickboxer. “The Reem” made history by being the only fighter in combat sports to hold a world title in both MMA and in K-1 kickboxing at the same time.

a Swedish word used to describe an incredibly sexy, vulgar and physically talented individual. A reem is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach reem status as well as those who are.

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Do you love your monkey or do you love me?

Chimps, humans very similar at DNA level
Wed 31 Aug 2005 01:55 pm CST
MASSACHUSETTS (myDNA News)

The first comprehensive comparison of the genetic blueprints of humans and chimpanzees shows our closest living relatives share perfect identity with 96 percent of our DNA sequence, an international research consortium reported today. Led by scientists from the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO, the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium reported its findings in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal Nature.

Comparison of the chimpanzee and human genomes reveals extraordinary similarities, significant differences and new paths for biomedical research:

It provides unambiguous confirmation of the common and recent evolutionary origin of human and chimpanzees, as first predicted by Charles Darwin in 1871.
It provides key information for human medicine by revealing important properties of the human genome, including the types of genes that have been evolving most rapidly over millions of years and specific chromosomal regions that have undergone strong positive selection during recent human history. This sheds light on human biology and especially on human disease, because at least some of these reflect responses to recent infectious agents or evolutionary changes relevant to human health.
It demonstrates that the human and chimpanzee species have tolerated more deleterious mutations than other mammals, such as rodents. This confirms an important evolutionary prediction, and may account for greater innovation in primates than rodents, as well as a high incidence of genetic diseases.
“We now have a nearly complete catalog of the genetic changes that occurred during the evolution of the modern human and chimpanzee species from our common ancestor,” said the study’s lead author, Tarjei S. Mikkelsen of the Broad Institute. “By cross-referencing this catalog against clinical observations and other biological data, we can begin to identify the specific changes that underlie the unique traits of the human species.”

“The evolutionary comparison of the human and chimpanzee genomes has major implications for biomedicine,” said Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute. “It provides a crucial baseline for human population genetic analysis. By identifying recent genetic changes and regions with unusually high or low variation, it can point us to genes that vary as a response to infectious agents and environmental pressures.”

Among the major findings of the Consortium are:

The chimpanzee and human genomes are strikingly similar and encode very similar proteins. The DNA sequence that can be directly compared between the two genomes is almost 99 percent identical. When DNA insertions and deletions are taken into account, humans and chimpanzees still share 96 percent sequence identity. At the protein level, 29 percent of genes code for the same amino sequences in chimpanzees and humans. In fact, the typical human protein has accumulated just one unique change since chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago.
A few classes of genes are changing unusually quickly in both humans and chimpanzees compared with other mammals. These classes include genes involved in perception of sound, transmission of nerve signals, production of sperm and cellular transport of ions. The rapid evolution of these genes may have contributed to the special characteristics of primates.
Humans and chimpanzees have accumulated more potentially deleterious mutations in their genomes over the course of evolution than have mice, rats and other rodents. While such mutations can cause diseases that may erode a species’ overall fitness, they may have also made primates more adaptable to rapid environmental changes and enabled them to achieve unique evolutionary adaptations.
About 35 million DNA base pairs differ between the shared portions of the two genomes. In addition, there are another 5 million sites that differ because of an insertion or deletion in one of the lineages, along with a much smaller number of chromosomal rearrangements. Most of these differences lie in what is believed to be DNA of little or no function. However, as many as 3 million of the differences are found in crucial protein-coding genes or other functional areas of the genome. Somewhere in these relatively few differences lies the biological basis for the unique characteristics of the human species, including human-specific diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and HIV/AIDS.
Although the statistical signals are relatively weak, a few classes of genes appear to be evolving more rapidly in humans than in chimpanzees. The single strongest outlier involves genes that code for transcription factors, molecules that regulate the activity of other genes and that play key roles in embryonic development.
A small number of other genes have undergone even more dramatic changes. More than 50 genes present in the human genome are missing or partially deleted from the chimpanzee genome. The corresponding number of gene deletions in the human genome is not yet precisely known. For example, three key genes involved in inflammation appear to be deleted in the chimpanzee genome, possibly explaining some of the known differences between chimpanzees and humans in respect to immune and inflammatory response. On the other hand, humans appear to have lost the function of the caspase-12 gene, which produces an enzyme that may affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are six regions in the human genome that have strong signatures of selective sweeps over the past 250,000 years (selective sweeps occur when a mutation arises in a population and is so advantageous that it spreads throughout the population within a few hundred generations and eventually becomes “normal.”) One region contains more than 50 genes, while another contains no known genes and lies in an area that scientists refer to as a “gene desert.” Intriguingly, this gene desert may contain elements regulating the expression of a nearby protocadherin gene, which has been implicated in patterning of the nervous system.
A seventh region with moderately strong signals contains the FOXP2 and CFTR genes. FOXP2 has been implicated in the acquisition of speech in humans. CFTR, which codes for a protein involved in ion transport and, if mutated, can cause the fatal disease cystic fibrosis, is thought to be the target of positive selection in European populations.

The initial complete sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison to the human genome is an important milestone in what will be several years of intensive work at understanding human evolutionary history and applying these data to biomedical research. The fact that these data, and all future data from the Consortium, are being placed in the public domain means that scientists worldwide can contribute to this work.

The 67 researchers who took part in the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium share authorship of the Nature paper. The sequencing and assembly of the chimpanzee genome was done at the Broad Institute and at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO. In addition to those centers, the consortium included researchers from institutions elsewhere in the United States, as well as Israel, Italy, Germany and Spain. The work of the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium is funded in part by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health.

The team was co-led by Lander, Richard Wilson of the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO and Robert Waterston of the University of Washington, Seattle WA.

Filed under: Arts, History & Social Sciences, Media & Entertainment, Science & Technology, , , , , ,

What Women Want

What Women Want – New York Times

By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: May 24, 2005

Suppose you could eliminate the factors often blamed for the shortage of women in high-paying jobs. Suppose that promotions and raises did not depend on pleasing sexist male bosses or putting in long nights and weekends away from home. Would women make as much as men?

Economists recently tried to find out in an experiment in Pittsburgh by paying men and women to add up five numbers in their heads. At first they worked individually, doing as many sums as they could in five minutes and receiving 50 cents for each correct answer. Then they competed in four-person tournaments, with the winner getting $2 per correct answer and the losers getting nothing.

On average, the women made as much as the men under either system. But when they were offered a choice for the next round – take the piece rate or compete in a tournament – most women declined to compete, even the ones who had done the best in the earlier rounds. Most men chose the tournament, even the ones who had done the worst.

The men’s eagerness partly stemmed from overconfidence, because on average men rated their ability more highly than the women rated theirs. But interviews and further experiments convinced the researchers, Muriel Niederle of Stanford and Lise Vesterlund of the University of Pittsburgh, that the gender gap wasn’t due mainly to women’s insecurities about their abilities. It was due to different appetites for competition.

“Even in tasks where they do well, women seem to shy away from competition, whereas men seem to enjoy it too much,” Professor Niederle said. “The men who weren’t good at this task lost a little money by choosing to compete, and the really good women passed up a lot of money by not entering tournaments they would have won.”

You can argue that this difference is due to social influences, although I suspect it’s largely innate, a byproduct of evolution and testosterone. Whatever the cause, it helps explain why men set up the traditional corporate ladder as one continual winner-take-all competition – and why that structure no longer makes sense.

Now that so many employees (and more than half of young college graduates) are women, running a business like a tournament alienates some of the most talented workers and potential executives. It also induces competition in situations where cooperation makes more sense.

The result is not good for the bottom line, as demonstrated by a study from the Catalyst research organization showing that large companies yield better returns to stockholders if they have more women in senior management. A friend of mine, a businessman who buys companies, told me one of the first things he looks at is the gender of the boss.

“The companies run by women are much more likely to survive,” he said. “The typical guy who starts a company is a competitive, charismatic leader – he’s always the firm’s top salesman – but if he leaves he takes his loyal followers with him and the company goes downhill. Women C.E.O.’s know how to hire good salespeople and create a healthy culture within the company. Plus they don’t spend 20 percent of their time in strip clubs.”

Still, for all the executive talents that women have, for all the changes that are happening in the corporate world, there will always be some jobs that women, on average, will not want as badly as men do. Some of the best-paying jobs require crazed competition and the willingness to risk big losses – going broke, never seeing your family and friends, dying young.

The women in the experiment who didn’t want to bother with a five-minute tournament are not likely to relish spending 16 hours a day on a Wall Street trading floor. It’s not fair to deny women a chance at those jobs, but it’s not realistic to expect that they’ll seek them in the same numbers that men will.

For two decades, academics crusading for equality in the workplace have been puzzled by surveys showing that women are at least as satisfied with their jobs and their pay as men are. This is known as “the paradox of the contented female worker.”

But maybe it’s not such a paradox after all. Maybe women, like the ones who shunned the experimental tournament, know they could make more money in some jobs but also know they wouldn’t enjoy competing for it as much as their male rivals. They realize, better than men, that in life there’s a lot more at stake than money.

For Futher Reading:

Do Women Shy Away from Competition? by Niederle Muriel, and Lise Vesterlund (working paper)

Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences by Uri Gneezy, Muriel Niederle and Aldo Rustichini (Quarterly Journal of Economics, CXVIII, August 2003, 1049 – 1074)

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever (Princeton University Press, 240 pp., September 2003)

Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior by James McBride Dabbs with Mary Godwin Dabbs (McGraw-Hill, 256 pp., July 2000)

The First Sex : The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World by Helen Fisher (Random House, 377 pp., May 1999)

E-mail: tierney@nytimes.com

Filed under: Arts, History & Social Sciences,

Race: More than just skin deep?

Source : Mankind Quarterly, Winter98, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p231, 19p
Author : J. Philippe Rushton
Abstract : Presents information on a study which defends the concept of race against a coordinated political campaign to deconstruct basic biology. Information on a policy statement on race adopted by the American Association of Anthropology; Discussion on deconstructing race; Review on the differences among difference race.

Race is More Than Just Skin Deep: A Psychologist’s View.


This article defends the concept of “race” against a coordinated political campaign to deconstrunct basic biology. It briefly reviews some of the most reliably documented Black-White differences, such as those in brain size, IQ, violent crime, testosterone, sexuality and AIDs. Although these racial differences are now reliably found worldwide (not just within the USA), many in the media and scholarly associations continue to try and deny them or attribute them to “political circumstance.” “Statements on Race” made by organizations such as the American Association for Anthropology are discussed and found to be wanting.


Key Words: AAA Statement on Race, brain size, crime, evolution, intelligence.
I originally wrote this paper in reaction to a Knight-Ridder article (“Genetic Basis For Race Said To Be Just Skin Deep,” October 13, 1996), which argued that race has no validity as a biological concept when applied to man. I disseminated the paper on the Internet and elsewhere, seeking to defend the concept of “race” against a coordinated political campaign to deconstruct basic biology. Since then numerous other media stories have appeared purporting to debunk the reality of race, some playing off policy statements made by scholarly organizations. Worse, governments have become actively involved in propagating the misinformation.
The most recent example of a policy statement on race by a scholarly organization is the one adopted by the American Association of Anthropology on May 17, 1998 (to be discussed further below). Yet the AAA Statement on Race is empirically false when it argues that “physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them” and that any observed group differences are the result of social conditioning and “political circumstance” (September 1998 Anthropolgy Newsletter, p. 3). To take one relevant example, consider the relationship between brain size and intelligence.
During the 19th century, physical anthropologists found that Blacks averaged smaller brains than Whites. Whether measuring the weight of the brain or the size of the cranial cavity, they consistently found a difference equivalent to about 100 cubic centimeters. The difference was well documented as early as the 1840s by the “American school” of anthropology, which included Samuel G. Morton, Joshiah C. Nott, and George R. Glidden. It was corroborated from the 1860s to the 1890s by European anthropologists, such as Paul Broca and Paul Topinard in France, who compared Blacks and Whites from Africa and Europe. Broca (1873) wrote: “West Africans have a cranial capacity about 100 cm[sup 3] less than the European races.”
The data on race differences in brain size were so widely known that Charles Darwin (1871) was able to cite them as evidence in favor of his then controversial theory of human evolution in The Descent of Man. Even Franz Boas, who is often described as the “real” founder of American anthropology and the first to challenge “Eurocentric racism,” added further knowledge about brain size and race by emphasizing the amount of overlap in the distributions. On a visit to England in 1889, Boas had became acquainted with Sir Francis Galton’s work on biometrics and, in his 1894 article “Human Faculty Determined by Race,” pointed out that Topinard’s measurements revealed that 27 percent of Blacks exceeded the White average. His inference: “We might, therefore, anticipate a lack of men of high genius (among Blacks).” And, he wrote, “It would seem that the greater the central nervous system, the higher the faculty of the race and the greater its aptitude to mental development.”
In 1910, Boas again acknowledged that the “average” Black brain was “smaller than that of other races.” Remarkably, Boas published this in Crisis, the organ of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Boas wrote “We may, therefore, expect less average ability and also, on account of probable anatomical differences, somewhat different mental tendencies.” These early works were enlarged in his 1911 book, The Mind of Primitive Man.
To the modern eye it is astounding to see these data discussed so openly, and from scientists with such diverse viewpoints. Some were sympathetic to slavery (Nott and Glidden), some were anti-evolutionists (Morton), others in favor of evolution (Broca, Topinard), and some avowedly pro-Black and anti-racist (Boas). Unfortunately, today, the data can scarcely be mentioned in polite society, or even at scientific meetings.
In recent times, what I have dubbed the “hermeneuticist” perspective has so come to dominate anthropology that it has effectively removed the topic from the social scientific radar screen. Hermeneuticists approach race, brain size, and IQ, as epiphenomena, mere social constructions (Rushton, 1997c). They argue that political, economic, and even linguistic forces are the real causal agents that have created the concepts of “race” and “IQ” and deemed them worthy of study. Rather than research race, hermeneuticists research those who do. The current popularity of the hermeneuticist position might best be demonstrated using some vivid examples.
Deconstructing Race
“Race is a fiction, Racism is real” proclaimed the August 1998 placards on the Metro buses of Washington, D.C. The D.C. government is not alone in spending taxpayers money in the crusade against race. A 1995 campaign against racism by the British Commission for Racial Equality featured a slick Madison Avenue-like poster of four brains. Three of the brains are the same size and are labeled “African,” “Asian,” and “European.” The fourth brain, much smaller than the others, is labeled “Racist.” Because there are, in fact, significant differences between the races in average brain size (see below), the poster campaign by the Commission for Racial Equality constitutes state-sponsored misinformation.
The government campaigns are based on policy statements made by professional bodies. A resolution denouncing racism at the 1938 meeting of the American Anthropological Association broke the mold to the idea that scientific societies should be apolitical (Degler, 1991, p. 203). Ideological resolutions began in earnest with the 1952 “Statement on Race” issued by 14 anthropologists and geneticists under the auspices of UNESCO (Comas, 1961). Since then, several endorsements and modifications to the 1952 Statement have appeared. In December 1994, for example, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) adopted a “Statement on `Race’ and Intelligence” which read in part:
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is deeply concerned by recent public discussions which imply that intelligence is biologically determined by race. Repeatedly challenged by scientists, nevertheless these ideas continue to be advanced. Such discussions distract public and scholarly attention from and diminish support for the collective challenge to ensure equal opportunities for all people, regardless of ethnicity or phenotypic variation.
Earlier AAA resolutions against racism (1961, 1969, 1971, 1972) have spoken to this concern. The AAA further resolves:
WHEREAS all human beings are members of one species, Homo sapiens, and
WHEREAS differentiating species into biologically defined “races” has proven meaningless and unscientific as a way of explaining variation (whether in intelligence or other traits),
THEREFORE, the American Anthropological Association urges the academy, our political leaders and our communities to affirm, without distraction by mistaken claims of racially determined intelligence, the common stake in assuring equal opportunity, in respecting diversity and in securing a harmonious quality of life for all people.
The American Association of Physical Anthropologists soon followed suit. Their 1996 “AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race” was originally published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (which had earlier published the UNESCO Statement) and was reprinted in the 1998/99 Annual Edition of Physical Anthropology. In fact, the AAPA did not deny the validity of race but, by carefully worded ambiguity, attempted to obscure its meaning out of existence. Point 11 of the AAPA Statement reads:
Although heredity influences the behavioral variability of individuals within a given population, it does not affect the ability of any such population to function in a given social setting. The genetic capacity for intellectual development is one of the biological traits of our species essential for its survival. This genetic capacity is known to differ among individuals. The peoples of the world today appear to possess equal capacity for assimilating any human culture. Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations.
In September 1997, the AAA drafted yet another statement in Anthropology Newsletter and invited commentaries. A final version of the AAA draft was adopted by the Executive Board on May 17, 1998 and published in the September 1998 (p. 3) issue of Anthropology Newsletter. It not only denied that there were gene-based behavioral differences among the races but bordered on Europhobia when it accused White scientists of “fabricating” the concept of race in order to justify slavery, colonialism, and murder. It made no mention of efforts to explain natural variation.
As they were constructing US society, leaders among European-Americans fabricated the cultural/behavioral characteristics associated with each race, linking superior traits with Europeans and negative and inferior ones to blacks and Indians. Numerous arbitrary and fictitious beliefs about the different peoples were institutionalized and deeply embedded in American thought….
Ultimately race as an ideology about human differences was subsequently spread to other areas of the world….not limited to the colonial situation….During World War II, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler enjoined the expanded ideology of race and racial differences and took them to a logical end: the extermination of 11 million people of “inferior races” (e.g., Jews, Gypsies, Africans, homosexuals and so forth) and other unspeakable brutalities of the Holocaust….
At the end of the 20th century, we now understand that human cultural behavior is learned, conditioned into infants beginning at birth, and always subject to modification….
It is a basic tenet of anthropological knowledge that all human beings have the capacity to learn any cultural behavior….we conclude that present-day inequalities between so-called racial groups are not consequences of their biological inheritance but products of historical and contemporary social, economic, educational and political circumstances.

So now we know! Some discussion of the AAA Statement was hyped in the media. “No Biological Basis for Race, Scientists Say” proclaimed the San Francisco Chronicle (February 23, 1998). Science writer Charles Petit quoted the AAA as saying that “The concept of race is a social and cultural construction …. Race simply cannot be tested or proven scientifically…It is clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of `race’ has no validity…in the human species.” Petit went on to add supportive quotes from Jonathan Marks, a well known Berkeley anthropologist, Robert Sussman, an editor of the American Anthropologist, and Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, the Stanford University geneticist. He also cited Jefferson Fish, a psychologist at St. John’s University in New York who challenged President Clinton’s Initiative on Race because he believes the very concept of race is bogus. “This dialogue on race is driving me up the wall,” said Fish. “What is race?” The reporter answered for him: “It is a biologically meaningless category.”

Other scholarly associations and media pundits also weighed in, although with less extreme a position. “Scientists Dismiss Race as Key to Human Origins” declared Guardian writer David Beresford (July 8, 1998). This story, distributed widely by Scripps Howard News, reported on a “dual congress” held by the International Association for the Study of Human Paleontology and the International Association of Human Biologists at Sun City, South Africa. At the conference the question was raised whether the “Out of Africa” theory or the “Multi-Regional” theory of human origins had the most implications for current race differences. At the heart of this argument is whether the Homo erectus ancestor who left Africa 1.5 million years ago subsequently gave rise to Homo sapiens independently in several geographic regions (the Multi-Regional theory) or whether just one variety of erectus, in Africa, gave rise to modern Homo sapiens, who then went forth a mere 150,000 years ago to replace the remnants of erectus (the Out of Africa theory). Christopher Stringer of the British Museum and Sir Walter Bodmer of Oxford University were cited as part of the growing consensus in favor of the Out of Africa theory — and to argue this meant there had been too little time for the races to have genetically diverged very far.
In fact, of course, whether one adheres to the Multi-Regional or the Out of Africa theory (this author agrees with Out of Africa), the amount of racial variation in various traits (including brain size — see below) cannot be wished into non-existence. Like them or not, the observed racial differences are there for anyone who cares to observe them. No theoretical sleight of hand can make them disappear. The argument about too little time actually turns evolution upside down. As Sarich (1995, p. 86) points out, “it is the Out of Africa model, not that of regional continuity, which makes racial differences more functionally significant. It does so because the amount of time involved in the raciation process is much smaller, while obviously, the degree of racial differentiation is the same — large. The shorter the period of time required to produce a given amount of morphological difference, the more selectively important the differences become.”
Those objecting to the concept of race like to argue that taxonomic definitions are arbitrary and subjective. For example, race-critic Jared Diamond, in the 1994 issue of Discover Magazine, surveyed half a dozen geographically variable traits and was able to form a number of very different pseudo-races depending on which traits he picked. Classifying people using anti-malarial genes, lactose tolerance, fingerprint patterns, or skin color resulted in the Swedes of Europe being placed in the same category as the Xhosa and Fulani of Africa, the Ainu of Japan, and the Italians of Europe.
Diamond’s classifications, however, are nonsensical. They are far more arbitrary than the traditional classifications because the traits he singles out for classifying have little, if any, predictive value beyond the initial classification. Such schemes are not only confused, but dishonest, because they deliberately side-step the long accepted scientific meaning of race — a recognizable (or distinguishable) geographic population based on common descent.
Race as a Biological Concept
Deconstructing the concept of race not only goes against the tendency of virtually every known culture to classify and build family histories according to some measure of common descent, it also ignores the work of biologists studying non-human species. Ever since 1758, when the Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus created the classification system still used in biology today, most zoologists have recognized at least the four human subdivisions that Linnaeus categorized: Asians, American Indians, Europeans, and Africans. (Technically, some would group the first two Linnaean subdivisions together, thus yielding three major races, often termed, Mongoloids, Caucasoids, and Negroids.) Most researchers since Linnaeus have accepted these four and added the Australian Aborigines, Pacific Islanders, and some other numerically minor groups. Others have made finer subdivisions within each major group.
A race is what zoologists term a variety or subdivision of a species. Each race (or variety) is characterized by a more or less distinct combination of inherited morphological, behavioral, and physiological traits. In flowers, insects, and non-human mammals, zoologists consistently and routinely study the process of racial differentiation. Formation of a new race takes place when, over several generations, individuals in one group reproduce more frequently among themselves than they do with individuals in other groups. This process is most apparent when the individuals live in diverse geographic areas and therefore evolve unique, recognizable adaptations (such as skin color) that are advantageous in their specific environments. But differentiation also occurs under less extreme circumstances. Zoologists and evolutionists refer to such differentiated populations as races. (Within biology, races are termed subspecies.) Zoologists have identified two or more races (subspecies) in most mammalian species.
Scientists do not believe that human beings are exempt from biological classification. In everyday life, as in evolutionary biology, a “Negroid” is someone whose ancestors were born in sub-Saharan Africa, and likewise a “Caucasoid” is someone whose ancestors originated in Europe or the Middle East and a “Mongoloid” is someone whose ancestors originated in east Asia. This definition fits with the temporal bounds offered by the out of Africa theory of human evolution mentioned at the beginning of the article. Thus, according to the estimates prvided by Cavalli-Sforza et al (1994) since Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago, branched off into the Middle East and Europe about 110,000 years ago, and into Eastern Asia 70,000 years after that, a Negroid is someone whose ancestors, between 4,000 and (to accommodate recent migrations) 20 generations ago, were born in sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, a Caucasoid is someone whose ancestors were born in the Middle East or Europe, and mutatis mutandis for a Mongoloid.
On average, the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese are more similar to each other and are different from Australians, Israelis and the Swedes, who in turn are similar to each other and are different from Nigerians, Kenyans, and Jamaicans. Of course, individuals vary greatly within each racial group. It is correct to point out that the variation within each race is extremely large, that there is disagreement as to exactly how many races there are, and that there is a blurring of category edges because of admixture. But it is an error when critics claim that classifications are arbitrary. Although some social concepts of race correlate poorly with biological relationships (Hispanics, for example, are not biologically an identifiable “race,” but represent a variety of admixtures of diverse racial components), self-identification generally accords quite well with the physical evidence.
Also, just as some plant and animal sub-species represent either intermixed or historically intermediate forms, many human populations are also mixed. Thus while clear distinctions identify the central tendency of the Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Negroid people, many intermediate forms, representing genetic gradients, can be found. Interbreeding of diverse racial types, as a result of population mobility in today’s world, is also affecting the human biological scene.
Yet despite all this, human racial variation is still marked by obvious differences in skeletal morphology, hair and facial features, as well by blood groups and DNA fingerprints. Forensic anthropologists regularly classify skeletons of decomposed bodies by race. For example, narrow nasal passages and a short distance between eye sockets identify a Caucasoid person, distinct cheekbones characterize a Mongoloid person, and nasal openings shaped like an upside down heart typify a Negroid person (Ubelaker & Scammel, 1992). In certain criminal investigations, the race of a perpetrator can be identified from blood, semen, and hair samples. To deny the predictive validity of race at this level is nonscientific and unrealistic.
Some Historical Context
It is noteworthy that this Statement on Race is appearing in the Mankind Quarterly whose opening editorial in July 1960 (nearly 40 years ago) called for a new journal devoted to race research. That same editorial criticized the anthropology of its day for having abandoned the Darwinian evolutionary tradition. Appropriately enough, the very first article in MQ was by Sir Charles Darwin (18871962), grandson of the famous naturalist, on the subject of “World Population.”
Mainstream anthropology immediately charged MQ with “racism.” Current Anthropology opened its pages to Juan Comas (1961), who published a long article with the inflammatory title of “`Scientific’ Racism Again?” This article attacked the MQ and its editors, denied the evidence of Black-White differences in brain size, defended the culture theory of race differences in intelligence and crime, and reprinted the 1952 UNESCO “Statement on the Nature of Race and Race Differences” (commonly known as the “Statement on Race”). MQ was also denounced in such journals as Race, Man, and Science. However, the editors of MQ stuck to their guns and fired back. For example, Henry E. Garrett (1960a, 1960b) challenged the 100% culture hypothesis of Black-White differences in intelligence, set out the hereditarian perspective, and defended MQ against charges of racism.
Those 40-year-old debates over race differences clearly touched on deeply held values. Both sides often displayed an intemperate tone. Politics intruded then, just as it does today. But the debates of that time seem to me to have had more structure and substance than those of today. There appeared to be at least an illusion of possible scholarly resolution. Discussion in those days centered primarily on the causes of the gap in school achievement between Blacks and Whites in the U.S., and whether desegregation and school busing would diminish it. The protagonists were identified as “hereditarians” (those who believed in a partly genetic hypothesis for Black-White differences), and “environmentalists” (who attributed the differences to poverty, relative deprivation, poor schools, and racism). Today, unfortunately, the debate has been deconstructed.
Indeed, nothing in the history of the social sciences has been so persistently intrusive as the issue of the relative importance of genetic and environmental determinants of behavior, especially of Black-White differences (Degler, 1991). Ever since World War I, when widespread testing began, Blacks have averaged lower IQ scores than Whites, at several age levels, under a variety of conditions, and in Canada and the Caribbean as well as in the U.S. (see reviews by Shuey [1958, 1966], Osborne & McGurk [1982], Jensen [1998], and others). Despite an overlap of 10-30 percent, which means that many Blacks obtained scores above the White mean, the average differences persisted and were statistically significant.
The current instantiation of the controversy dates from the publication of Arthur R. Jensen’s (1969) controversial monograph in the Harvard Educational Review. Jensen presented several propositions: (1) IQ tests measure a general-ability dimension of great social relevance; (2) individual differences on this dimension have a high heritability; (3) educational programs have proved generally ineffective in changing the relative status of individuals and groups on this dimension; (4) social mobility is linked to ability, so social-class differences in IQ probably have an appreciable genetic component; and (5) Black-White differences in IQ probably have a genetic component.
The publication of The Bell Curve (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994) unleashed yet another torrent of debate. The book reported original analyses of 11,878 youths (3,022 of whom were Black) from the 12-year National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Most 17-year-olds with high scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (Black as well as White) went on to occupational success by their late 20s and early 30s whereas many of those with low scores went on to welfare dependency. The average IQ for African Americans was found to be lower than those for Latino, White, Asian, and Jewish Americans (85, 89, 103, 106, and 115, respectively, pp. 273-278).
Once more, the flashpoint of discussion was whether the Black-White difference in IQ was partly genetic in origin. It was the furor over The Bell Curve that had led the AAA to undertake its most recent round of policy statements. It also led the American Psychological Association (APA) to establish an 11 person Task Force to fill an “urgent need” for an authoritative report “about the meaning of intelligence test scores and the nature of intelligence” (Neisser et al. 1996). The Task Force accepted the substantial heritability found for IQ from studies of monozygotic twins who have been reared apart as well as from studies of other kinds of kinship (p. 85). But about race differences in IQ, they concluded: “There is certainly no [empirical] support for a genetic interpretation” (p. 97).
Having just written Race, Evolution, and Behavior (Rushton, 1995), describing three distinct racial profiles ranging over 60 anatomical and social variables including brain size, personality and temperament, sexual habits and fertility, and speed of maturation and longevity, I was struck by the amount of evidence sidestepped in the various “Statements” by the AAA, by the APA report, and by other critics. I responded in the February 1996 issue of Current Anthropology, in the January 1997 issue of the American Psychologist, and in a 1996 Internet posting. This is an update to the ongoing discussion.
Review of Current Race Differences
Much has been learned about Black-White differences since the original debates in this journal. Indeed, the debate has been greatly extended to include Orientals, and data from around the world, not just the U.S. The debate has also been widened to include variables beyond IQ. In my 1995 book, I review the behavioral, morphological, and physiological differences between the three major human races — Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Negroid — and show that these statistical differences are constant across both historical time, national boundaries, and political and economic systems.
Because the very earliest debates in MQ were primarily about the nature of Black-White differences in IQ, I will focus on this issue here. Those early protagonists, like Henry E. Garrett (1960a, 1960b), turn out to have been correct about the heritable nature of Black-White differences. Some of this confirmatory work was in fact published in the MQ, the best known of which is probably Richard Lynn’s (1991a, 1991b) review of the worldwide distribution of intelligence which was brought to wide attention by the publication of Herrnstein and Murray’s (1994) The Bell Curve. I will also review the relationship between intelligence and brain size, the worldwide distribution of brain size, and finally the heritability of intelligence. Few of the race debunkers are willing to acknowledge any of these data, though they grow stronger every day. Readers seeking a more extensive summary can consult Herrnstein and Murray’s (1994) The Bell Curve, Levin’s (1997) Why Race Matters, Jensen’s (1998) The g Factor, or my own (1995) Race, Evolution, and Behavior.
1. The geographical distribution of intelligence. As documented by these authors, one hundred years of research has established that East Asians and Europeans average higher IQs than do Africans. Various East Asian populations measured in North America and in Pacific Rim countries typically average IQs in the range of 101 to 111. Whites in North America typically average IQs between 100 and 105 African populations living south of the Sahara, in North America, in the Caribbean, and in Britain typically have mean IQs from 70 to 90 (see Lynn, 1997, for a recent review).
Parallel differences are found on relatively culture-free tests such as speed of decision making. Probably the simplest culture free mental tests are reaction time tests. In the “odd-man-out” test, Nine to twelve year-old children look at a set of lights. They have to decide which one goes on, and then press the button closest to that light. The test is so easy that all children can do it in less than one second. Even here, children with higher IQ scores are faster than lower IQ children. Around the world, Oriental children are faster than White children who in turn are faster than Black children (Jensen, 1998).
2. The relationship between intelligence and brain size. Remarkable discoveries have been made during the 1990’s Decade of the Brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These MRI studies, which construct three-dimensional models of the brain in vivo, show a correlation of about 0.40 between brain size and IQ, as replicable a set of results as can be found in the social and behavioral sciences. The first MRI/IQ studies were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s in leading, refereed, mainstream journals like Intelligence (Willerman et al., 1991) and the American Journal of Psychiatry (Andreasen et al., 1993). My article “Brain Size and Cognitive Ability” in the 1996 issue of the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review (Rushton & Ankney, 1996) surveyed all the published literature on this topic. The MRI brain size/IQ correlation of .44 is as high as the correlation between social class at birth and adult IQ.
3. The parallel geographical distribution of brain size. Racial differences in brain size have been established recently using wet brain weight at autopsy, volume of empty skulls using filler, volume estimated from head sizes, and MRI. Using brain mass at autopsy, Ho et al. (1980) reported a 100 gram difference in brain weight between Whites and Blacks in the U.S. Using endocranial volume Beals, Smith and Dodd (1984, p. 307, Table 5) analyzed about 20,000 skulls from around the world. East Asians and Europeans averaged 1,389 cm[sup 3] while Africans averaged 1,268 cm[sup 3]. Using external head measures to calculate cranial capacities, Rushton (1992) analyzed a sample of thousands of U.S. Army personnel. Even after correcting for body size, Asian and European Americans averaged 1,398 cm[sup 3], while African Americans averaged 1,359 cm[sup 3]. Rushton (1994) reported a study of tens of thousands of men and women collected by the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Head sizes (corrected for body size) were larger for East Asians and Europeans than for Blacks. Moreover, a recent MRI study found that people of African and Caribbean background averaged a smaller brain volume than did those of European background (Harvey, Persaud, Ron, Baker & Murray, 1994).
These racial differences in brain size show up early in life. In an analysis of data from the U.S. National Collaborative Perinatal Project on 35,000 children, Rushton (1997a) found that Asian and White children averaged a larger head perimeter than did Black children, even though, at age seven, Black children had the largest body size. Further, head perimeter at seven years correlates with IQ at age seven in all three racial groups.
4. The heritability of intelligence. The heritability of intelligence is now well established from numerous adoption, twin, and family studies. Particularly noteworthy are the heritabilities of around 80% found in adult twins reared apart (Bouchard, Lykken, McGue, Segal & Tellegen, 1990). Moderate to substantial genetic influence on IQ has also been found in studies of non-Whites, including African Americans and Japanese. Even the most critical of meta-analyses find IQ about 50% heritable (Devlin, Daniels & Roeder, 1997).
Transracial adoption studies suggest a genetic contribution to the between-group differences. Korean and Vietnamese children adopted into White American and Belgian families show that, although as babies many came from poor backgrounds and were malnourished, when they grew up they excelled in school. The IQs of the adopted Oriental children were 10 or more points higher than the national average for the country they grew up in (Frydman & Lynn, 1989). By contrast, Weinberg, Scarr and Waldman (1992) found that at age 17, Black and Mixed-Race children adopted into White middle-class families performed at a lower level than the White siblings with whom they had been raised.
5. Violent crime, AIDS, and sexuality. INTERPOL data from the 1980s and 1990s shows the same racial pattern in violent crime that occurs within the U.S. also occurs internationally. Asian and European countries have an average rate of homicide, rape, and serious assault that is less than one quarter that of African and Caribbean countries.
One neurohormonal contributor to crime is testosterone. Studies show that Black college students and military veterans have 3% to 19% more testosterone than their White counterparts. Sex hormones are circulated throughout the body and are known to activate many brain-behavior systems involving aggression and reproduction. For example, around the world the rate of two-egg twinning (caused by a double ovulation), is twice as high in Africans as in Asian and Europeans (16, 8, and 4 per 1,000, respectively). The differences in multiple birthing are known to be heritable through the race of the mother regardless of the race of the father, as found in European/African matings in Brazil.
Testosterone may also play a part in sexual behavior. A similar international racial pattern is found for measures of sexual activity and frequencies of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. The 1997 U.S. syphilis rate for Blacks was 24 times the rate it was for Asians and Whites. Racial differences in AIDS/HIV are increasingly well known. Currently 8 out of every 100 Africans are infected with the AIDS virus. In South Africa, the estimates are that about 10 % of the adult population is living with HIV. In some areas of Africa the AIDS rate reaches 70%. Less well known is that HIV infection rates are also high in the Black Caribbean, about 2%. Thirty-three percent of the AIDS cases are women. This high figure of women means the transmission is mainly from heterosexual intercourse. The high rate of HIV in the 2,000 mile band of Caribbean countries extends from Bermuda to Guyana, and it seems to be the highest in Haiti, with a rate over 5%.
Black Americans also have high HIV rates, similar to Blacks living in the Caribbean and Africa. Three percent of Black men and 1% of Black women in the U.S. are living with HIV. The rate for White and Asian Americans is less than 0.1%. Of course AIDS is a serious public health problem for all racial groups, but it is especially so for Africans and people of African ancestry.
Conclusion
The ongoing campaign to deconstruct race as a biological concept needs to be countered by a careful examination of what we do and do not know about human variation. Academicians, journalists, and editorialists have an obligation to review the evidence cited here before offering any further comment on this controversial topic. Moreover, those in academia and the media need to be aware that major efforts are being made throughout Europe and Canada to stifle free discussion of race by tightening so-called “hate-laws” and, in the U.S.A., to restrict the way research can be conducted (and funded). Implementation of such policies threatens the general principles of free speech, open inquiry, and academic freedom and tenure (Pearson, 1997).
Publication of Herrnstein and Murray’s (1994) The Bell Curve brought widespread public attention to the research on race that has been accumulating over the last 30 years in technical and specialist journals that demonstrably challenges each and every article of the dogma of biological egalitarianism. Startling, and alarming to many, is the conclusion that follows from these data that if all people were treated the same, most average race differences would not disappear. With egalitarianism under siege, there has been a major effort to get the “race genie” back in the bottle, to squeeze the previously tabooed toothpaste back into the tube, to suppress or deny the latest scientific evidence on race, genetics, and behavior.
Regardless of the extent to which the media promote “politically correct,” but scientifically wrong, resolutions from professional societies such as the American Anthropological Association, facts remain facts and require appropriate scientific, not political or ideological, explanation.
None of this should be construed as meaning that environmental factors play no part in individual and group differences. But with each passing year and each new study, the evidence for the genetic contribution to these differences becomes more firmly established than ever.
1. J. Philippe Rushton, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2 Canada
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By J. Philippe Rushton1, University of Western Ontario

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