More slippery Leftist talk about race

The conclusion of a recent article by Matthew Syed in "The Times" is as follows: "The conclusion is unavoidable: those who invoke race as an explanation of real and perceived differences between humans have an agenda that is other than scientific"

How does he arrive at that conclusion? By pointing out, quite correctly, that there are well-known differences WITHIN races. West Africans are better at sprinting and East Africans are better at long-distance running, for instance. So therefore, he thinks, in a breathtaking overgeneralization, all talk of race is misleading.

That is an old quibble, however. While it is true that statements such as "Blacks make the best sprinters" are much less precise than they could be, they are nonetheless true statements -- as are other generalizations about race -- such as: "African-Americans commit violent crimes about 9 times as often as white Americans". Such statements are simple statements of fact and saying that anyone who utters such statements "has an agenda that is other than scientific" is just indulging in the usual fact-ignoring Leftist abuse.

Insofar as I can find any logic at all in Syed's pontification, I think he may be pointing out that what is true of any group is not necessarily true of all members in that group. I know of no-one who would dispute that, however, so Syed's attack is an attack on a straw man.

Syed also seems unaware that the usual racial classifications are well-reflected in the DNA of the people concerned. See e.g. here and here.

From his surname, I suspect that Syed is a Muslim. So let me give him another generalization to chew on: "The statements of prominent Muslims are not notable for their reliance on logic". That statement is of course a generalization and, as such, does not preclude some prominent Muslims from being very logical -- but Syed is clearly not one of those.

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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