the only easy day was yesterday

Monday, October 22, 2007

I have to go take a test, but real quick... maddy had brought up in an email something about some guy saying africans aren't intelligent or some shit. today on the bbc's program 'world have your say' which is an hour conversation every weekday about some current issue, which features callers from all around the world who are all well spoken and seem objective and intelligent. what surprised me was that in the few minutes I caught of it after french class today, the best point I heard made was that it is a useless conversation to have and that we have much more important things to worry about. While I agree with that, it being my initial reaction to hearing the argument, the most prominent message coming through other than that was that he said it in a 'popular' newspaper and not in a scientific environment. I suppose, being that I've been studying biological anthropology for the last 674,934 hours, that Darwin's Origin of Species was treated as such when it first was published; but lo and behold evolution is a highly accepted theory now in (intelligent) society. Now it's not that I support this idiot, I'll prove that untrue, but it's that a refutation of the nature that I was hearing won't do as a formal rejection. I have and answer that I think does shut this theory up. This man is obviously a westerner, he's form london or something. The west has a clearly defined idea of intelligence, one that is not necessarily consistent with what other parts of the planet will find; that is, it is narrowly defined by whoever it is who sets the intellectual standards of the time in the west (by the way this guy won a nobel prize, im not sure what year, though). It's one thing to associate minorities in our country to a lack of intelligence because largely it's due to a poor educational system in poorly performing economi areas, but they still remain geared in the mindset of the west, the same type of intelligence knows that name to them as it does to this idiot making these remarks. But in africa, the learning experiences and the lifestyle are such that the childrens minds are adapted and learn a different way of life than our fast-moving, technology, blablabla, intelligence - the underdeveloped nations don't have nearly the resaources that the poorest city in the u/s have for educcation, the children are often malnourished (the mind demands 2/3 of the calorie input for humans), and exposed to a different type of life in which their minds develope; they are different minds which he's attempting to compare ours to, the difference in American's mind development and African's mind development is monumental; does this mean that our 'intelligence' is right? who knows. but what is important is that this in no way can take away ffrom the humanity of africans. they are the same as us, simply undergoing different experiences when they are young; that's why were interesteed in other people isnt it? why would we care if we were all raised the same way, we'd be the same damn people. it's an inherent violation of all black peoples human dignity to even suggest such a thing, the only difference in us is two especially human characteristics; our ability to see and perceive and organize different 'colored' people as the same species, that is human brain organization and advanced vision, as well as our minds, which are wholy created and shaped by our experiences as young children. this is silly. put it to rest. on to more important things...


Maddy said...

I came, I read, I commented...
Just to agree with you- It's pretty damn screwed up that Watson made the "less intelligent" comment in such a pejorative manner, and that he brought in the comment "anyone who has black employees will know what I'm talking about". But I really am happy that there is different intelligence than ours in Africa, and that there is conflict when they try to adapt the Western way of life. I don't know if you read about geographical isolation, but it is a biology term that comments on the relation between members of the same species that abode in different habitats. They end up evolving a bit differently. This is predominantly noticeable culturally now in what can be thought of as the human niche- In certain parts of Africa, our western resources have not been imported. WE can still exchange lives and survive, but our culture may be a bit to pendantic for comfort and for our own good.
anyone who is interested in biology and how humans are actually really reigned by the laws of life should check out the book Monkeyluv by Sapolsky, in this case the chapter i remember being most applicable it Of Mice and {Hu}Men Genes. Also there is a great excerpt in the book the Story of B By Daniel Quinn about the law of life.

just one last thought-
there's also something called convergence evolution which is when two species of no direct relation evolve to have similarities. An actual example would be the similarities between bat and bird in flight.
My thought, a bizzare example, would be the function of pedestrians and squirrels. I think that squirrels are possibly beginning to respond to the sounds of cars just as pedestrians are. Maybe one day theyll be accompanying us on sidewalks.

The W said...

skwurls say what?

Jasper Yate said...

veni vedi loqui

haha. unfortunatly squirells have evolved in a far different way than ourselves and our fellow primates, whom we still have some questions as to whether they can participate in 'cultural behavior,' I'm gonna assume you know the qualifications for that. They can't learn something as complicated as that, mostly because if squirrels get hit by cars they can't go back to tell other squirrels, but also because if they don't get hit by a car because they weren't on a street they really won't know how to impart that information to their fellow squirrels. I suppose it's possible that they've begun to be selected towards individuals who have better hearing or stronger reflexes agains loud noises or something that would prevent them from getting hit by cars, but that would take a very long time, much more that the 100 years since cars have been around.

anyway. the thing is i understand that it is a different way of life in Africa, and on some level it is their decision to live how they choose to live, but there are two things. The minds of these people are still human minds, and they still share the same general basis which thought and experience require within the mind, it's just how its lived and how the mind is nourished may play a part to change the way they are geared. The thing is that they have the same kind of mind, and they are capable of the same kind of intelligence that we know. and it is hard to deny that the kind of intelligence we have and the fruits of it that we enjoy are the kind of intelligence that the human mind is capable of; in other words the 'western intelligence' is geared in the direction which the human mind is geared in, in some senses it is at the height of where it can be as intelligence for human beings, and if we were to compare it to Africa, they are less developed and less geared for it, so they do not have the klind of 'intelligence' that we have, which is the only kind of intelligence that human beings can have, i think you overestimated what i meant about that, i may have myself. it is inappropriate both for us to be speculating whether their minds, and thus their humanity, is lesser than our own, and for us to be imposing our identity of intelligence (which as i've said I believe to be the correct one in the context of the human mind we all share) on another group of people.