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How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

– tekijä: Adam Rutherford

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näyttää 5/5
between 2.5 and 3 stars. this is interesting, but not quite what i was hoping it would be. still, it's nice to see science used like this, and there are some good ideas in here.

"There is more genetic diversity in Africa than the rest of the world. What this means is that there are many more points of genetic difference between Africans than between Africans and anyone else in the world. Two San people from different tribes in Southern Africa will be more different from each other in their genes than a Britain, a Sri Lankan, and a Maori. And there is more diversity in pigmentation in Africa than in the rest of the world, too. Only in the last few years have researchers begun to study the genetics of African skin, which is somewhat ironic given that five centuries of racism have been almost entirely based on it."

"Not only were we diverse in our skin color long before the dispersal from Africa, we were diverse in our skin color before we were our own species."

"...every Nazi has Jewish ancestors. Every white supremacist has Middle Eastern ancestors. Every racist has African, Indian, Chinese, Native American, Aboriginal Australian ancestors, as well as everyone else. And not just in the sense that humankind is an African species in deep prehistory, but in a minimum from classical times, and probably much more recently. Racial purity is a pure fantasy. For humans, there are no purebloods, only mongrels enriched by the bloods of multitudes."

"People are born different, with different innate capabilities and potential. How these abilities cluster within and between populations is not easily explained by fundamental biology, by genetics. Instead, when digging into the data as best we can, the answers lie not in DNA, but in culture."

"The colloquial use of race is a taxonomy that is not supported by our understanding of fundamental biology, meaning genetics and evolution."

"The sweet irony is that the whole science of human genetics was founded by racists in a time of racism, and singularly has become the field that has demonstrated the scientific falsity of race. As a result, the foundations of racism cannot be drawn from science." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Feb 12, 2021 |
Apparently the way to argue with a racist is to use the "argument from authority" and also appeal to his good intentions. What the book mostly says is that things are complicated and more research is needed - a phrase banned from science journals for good reason. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Geneticist Adam Rutherford dispels many racist stereotypes about race in his book How to Argue With a Racist including the idea that Black people are genetically predisposed to sports. He also talks about the popularity of genetic tests especially among white supremacists, and how little these tests can really show. He points out that the greatest genetic diversity is to be found anywhere on the planet is to be found in Africa.

Genetics is a complicated subject but Rutherford makes it accessible especially to people like me with little science background. He shows clearly, concisely, and with well-documented evidence, the fallacy of many common stereotypes. This is a highly readable and thought-provoking book about a very important subject and I recommend it highly.

Thanks to Edelweiss Plus and The Experiment for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Nov 29, 2020 |
This was an interesting book to read. It had a lot of points relevant to discussions around race and racism today. Although I learnt a good amount from the book, it did feel a little short on content with a lot of points stretched out to fill up a wordcount. Well worth reading though as the points it makes are thought provoking and grounded in scientific discussion. ( )
  fothpaul | Nov 21, 2020 |
Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, so who better to dispel the myths and stereotypes of race? Race science is a topic that is mentioned by supremacist groups, but it’s not actually a thing. In this book Adam Rutherford dispels many race-based myths, from why people believe Africans can run faster and Jewish people are better with money. Some of these myths are so commonplace, I hadn’t really ever stopped to think about whether they are evidence based or not.

(Spoiler: they’re not).

Genetics is a complex subject, so Rutherford has to take some time to explain the history and where the science is today. Ultimately we don’t know everything, but we know much more to know that some of the original ‘race science’ studies are very flawed and today, disproven. He discusses the flaws of taking genetic tests to discover your ancestry, how racial purity is a myth and why stereotypes that certain races have certain characteristics are completely flawed. The facts are told in a clear fashion. Rutherford has the science, the data and the statistics to back it up too. So if you were going to argue with a racist, this book has a very useful armamentarium to assist you.

Sometimes I found the book a little dry to read and I wished that specific studies had been used to illustrate a point rather than collating the information into an overall summary. More examples would have been useful to cement the ideas into my brain. Other parts were fascinating (such as the section on athletic ability), and led me to reflect on my own use of stereotypes. I enjoyed the scientific basis of this book which combined my own interests with my continuing education.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Aug 1, 2020 |
näyttää 5/5
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