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  1. 13 Apr '10 05:27
    http://tinyurl.com/y4ap223
  2. 13 Apr '10 05:28
    ...


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    Individuals with Rare Disorder Have No Racial Biases
    LiveScience.com
    Robin Nixon
    livescience.com – Mon Apr 12, 4:02 pm ET

    Never has a human population been found that has no racial stereotypes. Not in other cultures or far-flung countries. Nor among tiny tots or people with various psychological conditions.

    Until now.

    Children with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that makes them lack normal social anxiety, have no racial biases. They do, however, traffic in gender stereotypes, said study researcher Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg of the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

    Normally, children show clear preferences for their own ethnic group by the age of three, if not sooner, other research has shown.

    And, indeed, the children in this study without Williams syndrome reliably assigned good traits, such as friendliness, to pictures of people the same race as themselves. When asked something negative, such as "which is the naughty boy," they overwhelmingly pointed to the other race.

    Children with Williams syndrome, however, were equally likely to point to the white or black child as naughty or friendly.

    While this study was done with white children, other research has shown that blacks and people of other races also think more highly of their own, Meyer-Lindenberg told LiveScience.

    Williams syndrome is caused by a gene deletion known to affect the brain as well as other organs. As a result, people with Williams syndrome are "hypersocial," Meyer-Lindenberg told . They do not experience the jitters and inhibitions the rest of us feel.

    "The whole concept [of social anxiety] would be foreign to them," he said.

    They will put themselves at great peril to help someone and despite their skills at empathy, are unable to process social danger signals. As a result, they are at increased risk for rape and physical attack.

    ...
  3. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    13 Apr '10 10:09
    That's interesting -- genes need selection pressure to evolve. So why were racists able to better survive and reproduce in the past than non-racists?
  4. 13 Apr '10 10:16
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    That's interesting -- genes need selection pressure to evolve. So why were racists able to better survive and reproduce in the past than non-racists?
    We just discussed this in another thread:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection
  5. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    13 Apr '10 10:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    That's interesting -- genes need selection pressure to evolve. So why were racists able to better survive and reproduce in the past than non-racists?
    I'm not sure this supports that racism is genetic at all.

    Remember that the experiment shows that racial biases disappear when you have a genetic disorder that generates atypical social behaviour. It may mean that racism is a social behaviour children learn from a young age but are unable to when they have this disorder.

    As usual with evolutionary psychology, almost anything can be justified. You just have to find the right story by weighing the pros and cons in a way that suits you.
  6. 13 Apr '10 10:24
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I'm not sure this supports that racism is genetic at all.

    Remember that the experiment shows that racial biases disappear when you have a genetic disorder that generates atypical [b]social
    behaviour. It may mean that racism is a social behaviour children learn from a young age but are unable to when they have this disorder.

    As usual with evolutiona ...[text shortened]... d. You just have to find the right story by weighing the pros and cons in a way that suits you.[/b]
    Racism is usually a taboo in a modern society. It would seem overwhelmingly unlikely that the vast majority of parents would still teach their children to be racist at the age of 3.
  7. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    13 Apr '10 10:40 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Racism is usually a taboo in a modern society. It would seem overwhelmingly unlikely that the vast majority of parents would still teach their children to be racist at the age of 3.
    All you need to do is induce preference for similarity. It doesn't need to be active teaching at all. If a child has social behaviour, can answer questions, knows what it is to say someone is "naughty" then how can we say his behaviour is purely genetic?
  8. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    13 Apr '10 10:41
    At an early age some babies like to play with their own crap.

    That doesn't mean it's cool to keep doing it at the age of 40.
  9. 13 Apr '10 11:11
    Originally posted by Palynka
    All you need to do is induce preference for similarity. It doesn't need to be active teaching at all. If a child has social behaviour, can answer questions, knows what it is to say someone is "naughty" then how can we say his behaviour is purely genetic?
    Well, if you know that racism is an advantageous trait in an evolutionary sense, and you find it in all people particularly when they are very young it's at least very likely the explanation is genetic.
  10. 13 Apr '10 12:32
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    ...


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    Individuals with Rare Disorder Have No Racial Biases
    LiveScience.com
    Robin Nixon
    livescience.com – Mon Apr 12, 4:02 pm ET

    Never has a human population been found that has no racial stereotypes. Not in other cultures or far-flung countries. Nor among tiny tots or people with various ...[text shortened]... ger signals. As a result, they are at increased risk for rape and physical attack.

    ...
    Williams Syndrome is a lot worse than that.

    https://health.google.com/health/ref/Williams+syndrome
  11. 13 Apr '10 13:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    That's interesting -- genes need selection pressure to evolve. So why were racists able to better survive and reproduce in the past than non-racists?
    It seems logical that families or tribes whose people who are strongly loyal to their particular group while opposing other competing tribes, would fare better in the rough and tumble primitive world.

    But one of the negative side-effects of having "strong loyalties" is a tendency to regard people outside your group as being inferior or defective in some way.
  12. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    13 Apr '10 16:14 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Well, if you know that racism is an advantageous trait in an evolutionary sense, and you find it in all people particularly when they are very young it's at least very likely the explanation is genetic.
    Well... I can construct stories where it is advantageous in an evolutionary sense or disadvantageous. Again, you just need to weight the pros and cons to what suits you, surely you don't think it's all pros? And of course, I can bring up stories how it can be advantageous from a societal sense, especially in less global times.

    Stories are easy. If anything the authors argue that racial discrimination is strongly linked with social fear. Whether this social fear is genetically ingrained or learned remains open. Does the genetic difference block the learning of social fear or is the gene the source? We don't know.
  13. 13 Apr '10 18:04 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Well... I can construct stories where it is advantageous in an evolutionary sense or disadvantageous. Again, you just need to weight the pros and cons to what suits you, surely you don't think it's all pros? And of course, I can bring up stories how it can be advantageous from a societal sense, especially in less global times.

    Stories are easy. If anythin ...[text shortened]... enetic difference block the learning of social fear or is the gene the source? We don't know.
    Its interesting to look at fans of sports teams. You have a bunch of guys being paid to chase a ball around on a field or a court for a couple of hours. The result of these games means absolutely nothing for any fan's material well-being. So there is no logical reason why anyone should care about any of this.

    And yet, professional sports is a huge business that attracts large crowds and an immense TV and radio audience. Many fans follow their chosen team closely and feel euphoria when they win and can become very depressed when they lose. I guess its possible that all of this is a "learned behavior", but it seems likely that there is a strong genetic basis for identifying with a "team".

    I see a lot of racism (as well as most other "isms" ) as being based in the same dynamic. You pick a team (be it a race, ethnicity, nationality, political party, religion, or whatever) and you route strongly for that team, and you route strongly for the failure of your team's opponents.

    The thing with sports is that most fans are themselves aware of the absurdity of the whole thing. They know they LOVE it when their team wins and they HATE it when they lose, but they really can't tell you why and they're willing to admit this. Unlike racists or ardent nationalists, they don't try to come up with a "deeper" explanation for why their chosen team is inherently superior.
  14. 13 Apr '10 18:08
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Well... I can construct stories where it is advantageous in an evolutionary sense or disadvantageous. Again, you just need to weight the pros and cons to what suits you, surely you don't think it's all pros? And of course, I can bring up stories how it can be advantageous from a societal sense, especially in less global times.

    Stories are easy. If anythin ...[text shortened]... enetic difference block the learning of social fear or is the gene the source? We don't know.
    Well, it's not all pros, but the argument that the pros outweigh the cons seems convincing enough, especially considering racism is found all over the globe.
  15. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    13 Apr '10 19:58
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I'm not sure this supports that racism is genetic at all.

    Remember that the experiment shows that racial biases disappear when you have a genetic disorder that generates atypical [b]social
    behaviour. It may mean that racism is a social behaviour children learn from a young age but are unable to when they have this disorder.

    As usual with evolutiona ...[text shortened]... d. You just have to find the right story by weighing the pros and cons in a way that suits you.[/b]
    I'm not sure it matters whether the genetic tendancy is in the child to prefer similarity or in the parents to teach their child to prefer similarity. It is a genetic tendancy either way -- and both may be going on and reinforcing each other.

    The real question is, what advantage does preference for similarity bring the organism? Or, what disadvantage does an organism with no preference for similarity accrue?

    I think it may be less kin selection than sexual selection. By that I mean that the tendancy to stray from the archetype of sexual attractiveness that has been established around you is dangerous to both mating parents. Kids that result are less likely to look "archetypally beautiful" when viewed by potential mates from EITHER of the two pure strains the parents came from.