A Reader Says Human-To Dog-Comparisons "Hijack Science"; Frank Miele Responds
April 08, 2008, 05:00 AM
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From: Emil Greene (e-mail him)

Re: Frank Miele`s Column: The K9 Comparison—What Dogs Tell Us About Humans

The big problem with "race" comparisons, in which "race" usually means skin color, is that practically no humans anywhere in the world are ethnically pure.

The American continents are less pure than any other place on the earth 

In addition, since we all evolved from a common African ancestor, somewhere along the line the race difference must have been caused by a mutation.

Another problem is that racial comparisons are in fact a hijacking of science to make a political point, i.e. to set up an absolute hierarchy of "superiority".

With dogs, what is being studied is the mere difference among them or at most, an adaptation to particular functions without a "this breed is the best" argument.

As Rene Magritte said, we have much to learn from dogs!

Miele replies: First, it is true that there are no genetically pure populations and that America has among the most diverse populations.

But this in no way undermines the reality of human races and race differences or the value of the K9 comparison.

The value of looking at dog breeds is that they provide the textbook example of evolution run in fast forward—sometimes before our very eyes.

Further, most of the differences— especially the most important ones to humans—morphological, biochemical and behavioral—did not derive from mutation but by selection from the underlying variability from the basic wolf genetic pool.

The experiment I cited in which foxes selected for coat quality quite unintentionally started to evolve toward dogs provided additional evidence of the power of selection.

It also argues strongly that a small number of regulator genes have cascading effects on other genes which then produce differences in morphology, body chemistry and behavior.

Second, if there has been any "hijacking of science for political purposes, " as Greene writes, it has been to dismiss the extensive scientific-based racial differences.

Political policy is a separate matter. Science, which by definition is always subject to change, should always influence policy. However, policy should be decided by society`s ethical values.

Finally, Greene missed a major point of my column. The Freeman study did not look at I.Q. but rather at whether infants are more or less responsive to certain conditions and stimuli. There is no culturally established hierarchy of which reactions are better or worse.

Yet even finding race differences in value-free infant behavior was too hot to handle for one of the two top English-language science journals. The findings only saw the light of published day in the second U.K. version because the editor courageously broke ranks.

To me, it`s obvious who`s doing the "hijacking." Better said it is editorial spiking—the term journalists use when a story is killed.

But I do thank Greene for reminding me what Magritte said: "We have much to learn from dogs!"

I like Magritte, Dali and the other surrealists but not as much as I like dogs—or the New York Yankees.

To Greene and other VDARE.COM readers, I`ll sign off as I always do:

"Fetch and play ball!"