Stephen Sanderson’s Race & EvolutionSpencer J. Quinn
Stephen K. Sanderson
Race and Evolution: The Causes & Consequences of Race Differences
Pittsburgh: Mount Lebanon Editions, 2022
With all the scientific research we now have on the topic of race realism, suggesting a starting point for beginners can be a challenge. Do you start with psychometrics, evolutionary biology, anatomy, anthropology, social science, genetics, or neuroscience? The issue has been tackled in numerous ways and from various directions. Realizing that race realism research has indeed built up a sizable body of work over the past half century — and can be quite bewildering as a result — sociologist Stephen Sanderson (official website here) has produced a highly useful survey of it all in his self-published work, Race and Evolution.
The primary purpose of Race and Evolution is to convince the skeptical. Anyone with an open mind or anyone seeking to honestly refute race realism should come away from this book with their worldview fundamentally challenged. Race realism is based in truth, after all. Anyone looking at the data must concede this eventually. Sanderson not only provides the right data, he also makes a tremendous effort to persuade. Like many academics he started out on the Left, believing the pernicious lies of racial egalitarianism. Today, although he has gone full circle, he has not forgotten this mindset, and it is those who are still in it who he attempts to persuade.
Sanderson first debunks racial egalitarianism, point by point, as it is presented by two leading authorities of racial science, the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. You’d think that obviously false statements such as “Race as a worldview was invented to assign groups deemed inferior to perpetual low status and to permit groups deemed superior access to privilege and power” and “Human traits known to be biologically adaptive do not occur with greater frequency in one population than in others” would not need refuting, but Sanderson does so quite thoroughly.
He takes on common “nonexplanations” (read: excuses) for racial differences such as discrimination, dysfunctional families, historical oppression, and Critical Race Theory. While debunking the first nonexplanation above, he clearly demonstrates that when you control for IQ blacks perform as well as whites in many areas, including income and university graduation. Disparity is therefore the result of cognitive ability, not discrimination. When deconstructing the dysfunctional family excuse, he introduces the reader to the famous 1965 Moynihan Report as well to researcher Heather Mac Donald’s observation that the breakdown of the black family “is the greatest social catastrophe facing contemporary America and is the principal cause of poverty and crime among poor blacks.”
Sanderson then reminds us of the uncomfortable fact that while only 21% of black households with dependent children were run by single mothers in 1960, that figure today is nearly 70%. He concludes by sympathizing with Mac Donald but stating that her theory is incomplete. Yes, the breakdown of the black family has led to bad consequences for black people (and for everyone else), but what caused the breakdown to begin with?
Next, Sanderson establishes the genetic reality of race by referencing, among many others, Arthur Jensen’s groundbreaking 1998 study The g Factor, in which Jensen performed factor analysis on a set of 26 world populations:
His [Jensen’s] analysis, which was based on 29 polymorphic genes containing 121 alleles, identified six factors: Northeast Asians, Caucasians (Europeans and West and South Asians), Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, sub-Saharan Africans, Amerindians and Eskimos, and Aboriginal Australians and Papua New Guineans.
Sanderson also includes the classic 2005 study by Hua Tang and others in which over 3,600 people of varying races were asked to self-identify with one of four racial groups: white, black, Hispanic, or Northeast Asian. The cluster analysis on the groups’ genetic markers revealed an astounding 99.86% correlation with the self-identification results. Sanderson helpfully provides a refresher course on statistics so the reader doesn’t get caught in the weeds when encountering factor analysis, regression analysis, and the like.
I was gratified to see his demolishing of Lewontin’s fallacy. Developed by evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin in the early 1970s as a means to bolster race denial, this fallacy claims that racial classifications have no value because genetic diversity is much greater within a racial population than between the races. In 2003, geneticist W. F. Edwards noted that Lewontin’s analysis looked only at genes on single locus points on a chromosome, which tells us little about the population to which its owner belongs. Genes must be viewed instead as aggregated networks. When viewing, say, 20 genes at a time, the chances of mischaracterizing a person’s race become infinitesimal.
Sanderson then dives into intelligence research, and offers a working definition of g as a key dimension of intelligence. He cites Richard Haier’s crucial 2017 work The Neuroscience of Intelligence, which states the high correlation between g and structures and functions of the brain, such as
. . . brain size, neurotransmitters, neural conduction velocity, degree of myelination of axons, the amount of dendritic branching, glucose metabolism during mental activity, and electrical activity in response to a stimulus.
Twin studies, trans-racial adoptions, the bell curve, fluid intelligence, IQ heritability, single nucleotide polymorphism — it’s all there. Predictably, J. Phillipe Rushton and Richard Lynn receive much attention in these chapters. So does Tatu Vanhanen and his prescient analysis of the IQs of nations. In all cases, Rushton’s Rule of Three is observed in which Northeast Asians score the highest in any category, followed by whites, and then by blacks. It’s interesting how many of the figures mentioned above, such as Jensen, Rushton, and Lynn, are considered “white supremacists” when Sanderson’s chapters on them highlight the supremacy of Northeast Asians.
One element that Sanderson introduces that I have not seen before is a population’s percent-black score. This consistently correlates negatively with many positive societal outcomes. For example, in all 50 US states, the percentage of the population that is black has a -0.626 correlation with life expectancy and a -0.286 correlation with income. (A correlation of 1.0 would mean a direct relationship, like the number of dollars contained in a person’s bank accounts and stock portfolios and that person’s overall wealth. A -1.0 correlation means an inverse relationship, like a person’s debt and his overall wealth. A correlation of zero would mean the relationship of the two variables is perfectly random.)
On the world stage, percent-black corresponds negatively with a country’s Gross Domestic Product (-0.495), literacy (-0.559), and average life expectancy (-0.704). IQ, by the way, corresponds positively with each of these indicators, respectively, by 0.719, 0.650, and 0.761. IQ corresponds negatively with political corruption, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (-0.596), while percent-black corresponds positively (0.339).
Sanderson delves into anthropology, primarily discussing the behavioral differences between blacks, whites, and Northeast Asians. Rushton’s Rule of Three is followed here as well, especially when it comes to sexual and familial behavior (or misbehavior, as it applies most often to blacks). Anatomy and physiology are covered as well. So are racial differences in AIDS rates, reproductive potential, and overall sexual activity. Temperament and time preference differences are also discussed, with a special emphasis on black anti-social behavior, which is both severe and endemic.
Sanderson mentions political scientist James Q. Wilson’s and psychologist Richard Herrnstein’s observation that moral reasoning correlates highly with IQ. He then references Colin Flaherty’s popular books on black crime (White Girl Bleed a Lot and Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry) and Edwin Rubenstein’s invaluable The Color of Crime as proof of Wilson and Herrnstein’s theory. Most crucially, Sanderson does not forget to include the role the MAOA gene plays in impulse control as reported by researcher Kevin Beaver and others.
Finally, Sanderson discusses the origins of racial differences as explained by evolution. He condenses important concepts such as the Out of Africa, Cold Winters, and Life History theories into several pages each. He also discusses the importance of EQ (Encephalization Quotient), which is the ratio of brain size to body size. For example, Neandertals are considered to have had larger brains than modern humans, but a lower average EQ. He also gives an excellent rundown of r/K life history strategies and how they differ across races.
As you can see, Sanderson references many of the heavy hitters in the fields of race and intelligence research — with many others not mentioned above. A person beginning his journey into race realism could not do better than starting with this mid-sized, 350-page volume. The prose is clear and engaging, Sanderson provides many tables to help visualize the data, and he contributes his own research in many places as well.
Like any book, Race and Evolution is not without its shortcomings. I was disappointed not to find Steven Farron’s excellent The Affirmative Action Hoax referenced in the chapter dealing with affirmative action. Sanderson’s coverage of the MAOA gene likewise neglects to include a finding presented in Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance demonstrating racial differences in the ownership of this impulse-reducing gene’s promoters. Some of the history dealing with slavery and skin color preferences which Sanderson offers in the latter half of the book might be beside the point regarding his central thesis, but are interesting nonetheless. And he could have included more discussion of white slavery, both in the New World, and in the Old. But these flaws, if they are flaws, are all minor.
In the final analysis, Sanderson performs the critical task of providing the rock-solid scientific basis for race realism. We cannot thank him enough for doing this, and this book should be read by everyone who cares about the most important issue of our day: race relations and racial differences. Sanderson also distinguishes race realism from racism, and makes it clear that we should eschew the latter while embracing the former. This basically means we should accept racial differences without malice or evil intent toward other races. It’s unfortunate that Sanderson must reiterate such a basic moral platitude, but I believe, given his audience, it was absolutely necessary.
Sanderson ends Race and Evolution on a high note — at least for his Caucasian readers. While he follows the Rule of Three throughout the book, underscoring the superiority of Northeast Asians over other races in many categories, he violates it when discussing human accomplishment, which is essentially the story of Europeans. While referencing Ricardo Duchesne’s indispensable The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, he ascribes the vast majority of scientific and academic accomplishments to whites and openly praises Eurocentrism:
The Europeans also possessed a unique cultural perspective, a Faustian spirit or a rational restlessness. This is a quest for truth, to understand nature, and to seek ultimate knowledge. It involves a restless inquisitiveness, a desire to explore and discover.
Nowhere can we find a better example of this unquenchable Faustian spirit than in Stephen Sanderson’s Race and Evolution.
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Sanderson also distinguishes race realism from racism, and makes it clear that we should eschew the latter while embracing the former. This basically means we should accept racial differences without malice or evil intent toward other races.
‘Racism’ is the only thing saving the White race from extinction. I’d throw out everything ‘race realism’ has discovered for an 1% increase in White racial identity.
To paraphrase Marx, our goal is not to understand race, but to win a race-war.
Consider Sanderson’s audience though: people who are either skeptical about race realism or open minded about it. Talking race war stuff with people like this would be a non-starter to say the least. If we want to recruit new people to our way of thinking, you could do a lot worse than Sanderson’s gentle race realism.
The way I see it, it’s entirely possible to be pro-White without being anti-anyone-else. That said, our survival is an imperative, not something up for debate or negotiation.
with respect to Sanderson’s audience, I doubt that he was aiming towards the fence-sitters. There have been a lot of books that have been “aimed” aimed at fence-sitters, many of which are cited in Sanderson’s book, including Baker’s “Race”, Herrnstein &Murray’s “Bell Curve” and Murray’s recent effort “Facing Reality”. Sanderson did not cite Taylor’s “Paved with Good Intentions” but this book was absolutely geared towards people who see with their eyes rather than believe what they are told.
Sanderson does go into culture and history, to layout the differences in behavior between non-whites in e.g. North America vs. South America, which is fair since genetics is some but not 100% of the basis of behavior. Indeed Sanderson’s mention of “a gene” is somewhat unfortunate as it is not “a gene” (e.g. MAOA) but a number of genes together that underline individual differences.
The enemies of the truth will salami slice it and move the goal post each time a new immutable fact of human biology is uncovered–eventually the argument grinds down to “Ok, fine, so what?” To the “so what”-er’s, Sanderson lays out a number of future scenarios (as history lessons) if we ignore the fact of race.
Where can you buy the book?
Oh nevermind. I found it at amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Race-Evolution-Stephen-Sanderson/dp/B0B148JKTH
Good review. Is there any discussion of Jews in the book? Does he consider them to be white a la Jared Taylor?
Jews are mentioned for their high average IQ, and as a refutation of the ‘historical oppression’ excuse for black failure Jews have faced oppression too. I’d say Sanderson is close to if not in the Amren camp. Kevin MacDonald might be a bridge too far for him at this point.
What is Sanderson’s status in the academic world? Will he be relentlessly attacked as happened to Rushton & McDonald or will he just be regarded as a slightly eccentric former liberal?
Not sure. His CV says he’s been a scholar in absentia at the University of California at Riverside since 2015. He also said he moved back to PA to be close to his kids and grandkids. He’s around 77. My guess is that he is semi-retired, and so somewhat insulated from the slings and arrows you mention. I wish him the best and many more fruitful years.
It sounds like a tremendous and welcome rebuttal to tendentious ‘bestsellers’ such as Oxford-educated science journalist Angela Saini’s recent Superior: The Return of Race Science, which was praised the skies in the liberal media and endorsed by leading scientific periodical Nature. But I fear that it will not attain the same exposure.
I’m so excited. At last there is an all-in-one book that debunks every fallacy that the Ashley Montagu/Richard Lewontin crowd always relies on. I’ll be recommending they read this book rather than trying to convince them with links to obscure websites that they don’t trust.
Good review. I had an interesting insight I might share with the community. The other day on amren they were talking about the Heather McDonald article about blacks and equity in medical schools, and the absurd lengths they’re going to to ensure ideology purity and to do away with the differences in representation. They mentioned the standard deviation difference between black and white step one scores for the licensure exam. The interlocutors observed that this is the same as the difference in black-and-white average IQ. I thought that was rather strange because step one is actually in achievement test, not an IQ test. Meaning you can study for it and do better. Or worse as the case may be. Why should it follow IQ? Because we’re dealing with cohorts here. In a large group they are bound to be people who are underachievers, grinds, people don’t test well, people test well, etc. etc. All these different personality types exist in roughly equal proportions in both the white and black groups, hence they sort of cancel each other out, they sort of naturally control for themselves on large scale. What’s left is the IQ differential between the groups.
I know. The elegance of race realism is impossible to ignore.
Spencer, the best book on Race Realism that I read was Michael Levin’s “Why Race Matters”. I wonder if you have read this book, and if so, do you think it is as good or better than the Sanderson book.
I own the Levin book but I have not read it. Sanderson cites it positively in R&E.
The Levin book was good and I thought there were many memorable passages:
“The topic of racial variation is admittedly disturbing, and in an ideal world might be passed over in silence, but accusations against whites have made such discretion impossible. The right of the accused to present his case includes the right to raise issues that distress his accuser. A plaintiff demanding damages for a broken leg cannot ask at the same time that his leg not be talked about, nor take offense when the defendant presents evidence that the injury was congenital. By claiming harm he opens the question of why his leg is game. Claiming racial harm has opened the topic of race differences.”
What I’ve come to understand is outside of war, and even within it since many wars are just proxy conflicts, nothing is straightforward. It is a series of passive-aggressive gestures, communiques and triangulations. Even conventional wisdom about black violence can only be described between white victims of it as ‘good schools/neighborhoods, bad areas etc,’ while realtors can only speak in coded language through zip codes because of discrimination statutes. So you have to virtually learn a new language to even have basic knowledge of crime-ridden areas. That’s why clueless immigrant Asians open up their liquor or takeout storefronts in the heart of the ghetto because they pounce at the cheap price.
But it is nothing new. Von Clausewitz wrote how ‘politics is war by other means.’ All of this indirectness is itself a form of politics: implicitness, metaphors, liaisons etc. Nothing but a stupid game that we all have to abide by in other areas of life too from managers, landlords, ex-spouses etc.
While nonwhites and their allies are allowed to speak freely about whites, they too play this game by using euphemisms for whites: ‘the man/system, poverty, guns/NRA, oppression/privilege, Republicans etc.’ So any talk about lobbying normies about IQ differences is pointless because everybody already knows all this.
Does the book reference Salter’s On Genetic Interests? That is a must read for white preservationists. And Murray’s Human Accomplishment is wonderfully bracing reading (I mean in implication, not literary style) for prowhites. This book sounds like a good basic summary for the average intelligent reader, but one like me not actually all that fascinated by the science of racial differences, both because I take some ultimate biological / hereditarian foundation for such demonstrable differences as a given, and because I think documenting racial differences, though important, is in itself insufficient to get whites to pledge their allegiance to racial preservation. The weirdoes bending knees, let alone shouting down Jared Taylor, are not going to be persuaded by facts (the cancellers aren’t going to be persuaded by anything; they need to be put down if they attempt to shout down). If black IQs are lower than whites, and we use that as an explanation to disprove the leftist hypothesis that racial disparities are the product of racism (as opposed to unequal distribution of talents and traits across races), liberals can logically respond that society should spend more money on remedial education for blacks.
To prevent white extinction, documenting racial differences and explaining their origins is helpful but far from sufficient either for persuading most delusional liberals to abandon their racial egalitarianism, or for persuading non-liberals to take the extreme measures necessary to save our race. One needs to make the leap from facts to values.
LS, yes to Murray, no to Salter. I noticed that while reading the book but forgot to chide Sanderson on it in my review. But his bibliography is extensive and can be forgiven for missing this one gem.
I don’t dispute your points above, but reiterate that Race and Evolution is well worth reading, regardless.
My mistake! He mentions Salter in the Acknowledgements and states how Salter read drafts of the book and made suggestions.
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