Why Lewontin’s Fallacy is a Fallacy

Richard Lewontin is a Marxist Jew who has dedicated his career to attacking genetics as an explanation for human variation. He co-authored a silly book called Not In Our Genes along with some other nutty Marxist Jew.

According to his fallacy, most genetic variation is within groups and not between groups. 85% is within any given group, and only 15% is between the average of any one group with any other.

Why this is a fallacy can be easily shown. For instance, within Whites, IQ’s in a group of 1000 Whites have IQ’s ranging from 148 to 68 or so. There are 80 points variation within the group.

Now let us look at the average of 1000 Whites versus the average of 1000 Blacks. The 1000 Whites have an average IQ of 103. The 1000 Blacks have an average IQ of 89.8. There are 13.2 points variation between the averages of each group.

According to Lewontin’s Fallacy, the 13.2 point differences between Blacks and Whites is inconsequential to meaningless, since the difference within Whites ranges from geniuses to idiots! Yet that difference has real meaningful consequences at many levels, particularly societal and sociological but also political.

In contrast, the 80 point differences within Whites which Lewontin claims is the real enchilada is just normal variation in any White community, easily handled within the community. The geniuses go on to get advanced degrees, and the idiots get Special Ed, disability checks, easy government subsidized jobs, and state-subsidized group homes to reside in. Everything flows along pretty smoothly.

Pretty dumb analogy huh?

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11 thoughts on “Why Lewontin’s Fallacy is a Fallacy”

  1. When you look at “junk genes,” the genes that don’t do anything, there is more of a difference within a race then between them, but it is not the case with the genes that actually do something.

    And think about this: there is more variation within gorillas’ IQ range (the brightest are between 70-90 — more intelligent than your avg. Pygmy or Australoid Aborigine, by the way) than there is between the average gorilla and the avg. human; therefore, we must conclude that there is no difference, yada, yada…

  2. It is hard to believe that a Harvard prof can commit such a preposterous fallacy. By his transparently flawed reasoning, there can be no height difference between men and women because the height difference within the genders is much larger than the height difference betweeen the genders. Maybe we should bring about unisex Olympics.
    There is no economic difference between Mexicans and Americans either. After all, the income and wealth differences within the two countries are much wider than the difference between per capita American and Mexican income and wealth.
    While we are at it, a size difference between dogs and cat doesn’t exist either. After all, the smallest dog is smaller than the biggest cat.
    Still, Lewontin has a point. Differences between groups, which always apply to averages or frequencies, should not blind us to the overlap that usually exists between groups, as the more primitive racists and chauvinists are wont to do.

    Cheers. James

  3. “It is hard to believe that a Harvard prof can commit such a preposterous fallacy.”

    He didn’t actually believe it. More probable was that he believed in the “noble lie.” Lewontin was likely deeply affected by the persecutions against Jews during WW2; therefore, he promoted genetic Marxism.

  4. Wow. I keep trying to think of something worth saying here and come back to the conclusion that even trolls and the spammers are right sometimes.

    Therefore: (i) Get a life; and (ii) perhaps Viagra would help.

  5. If you want to convincingly demonstrate how Lewontin has gone wrong then you ought to use data comparing actual variability in DNA between groups, e.g. SNPs. Given our growing awareness of the complex spatial and temporal interplay between genes and environment, the use of IQ test variability data can provide only murky conclusions at best.

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