week 2 reflection post

I definitely agree that the concept of race and modern biological science grew up hand in hand. The statement suggests that the advent of race and the attempt to create ‘innate inheritable differences’ to solidify the racist societal structures spurred research into physical evidence to prove this theory. It can be argued that science can be inherently political and objective, since each researcher is able to choose the parameters of success in their own experiment. Each bias can influence the way results are interpreted, as we learned this week with the case of both Samuel Morton and Stephen Jay Gould. In the case of Samuel Morton, his research efforts were to correlate brain size with intelligence. It can be argued that his racial biases guided him to set these parameters in order to prove a concept of race that made Caucasians superior in intelligence. Stephen Jay Gould argues the opposite point from Morton in his work, yet still allows the concept of race to influence his work. By choosing not to include the full collection of skulls in Morton’s collection, he allowed his political bias to shape his research to prove a point. Both of these examples show how the concept of race spurred scientific growth because of the political nature of science. Because one drove the other, and vice versa, modern biological science grew together with the concept of race.

The characteristics of racism further support my point. Racism is when one ethnic group or ‘race’ seeks to dominate, exclude, and/or eliminate another on the assumption that their differences are inherent and unalterable. The Yerkes IQ test is a wonderful example of this. Through the use of the test, Caucasians were able to dominate and exclude other ethnicities such as blacks and immigrants from the country, schools, and businesses. This test driven by the growth of the concept of inherent racial differences became the standard for intelligence, despite its origins.

3 thoughts on “week 2 reflection post

  1. Hello Ben! I also agree the concept of race modern biological science grew up hand in hand because its all about the growth, distribution, and identity all tie in together because we all grow as one, we share something with one another, and we all have different identity which makes us different and unique from one another. Both Gould and Morton argued their opinions on how your skull measurement determines your intelligence, personally I don’t not believe in that or agree with how they determine your intelligence by your skull size. I really agree with your statement that racism is when one ethnic group or race seeks to dominate or exclude their differences are inherent and unalterable, I say that racism is one big ethnic group because of society we characterize other races and put them where we think they belong, but that’s what makes us different from each other.

  2. I also agree that the concepts of race and modern biological science go hand in hand. These two definition a very much similar because they both involve heredity. They both stress the importance of hereditary traits and characteristics. Gould and Morton had their opinions of how intelligent a person is based on the size of their skull. I disagree, because as another classmate said, those who have big brains are not always the smartest.
    I also agree with your definition of racism. George Fredickson states “Racism exists when one ethnic group or historical collectivity dominates, excludes, or seeks to eliminate another on the basis of differences that it believes are hereditary and unalterable”. I think this is connected to the European Enlightenment and the race concept. The European Enlightenment was when ethnologists began to divide us into different races. I believe this might be where race began and continued to grow.

  3. Your thoughts on the question about biological science and race are very interesting. Science is simply described as testing a hypothesis and coming to conclusions based on the results. For that to happen there has to be a theory that warrants spending money on the research. Often times people have a conclusion in mind which may lead to a bias. One of the biggest questions about race is what makes us different from everybody else. As modern biological science began to grow I can agree that it was influenced by many personal and political agendas. Everyone wanted to know if there were actual scientific facts that proved that one race was different from another in terms of biology. However, in recent history as technology has grown exponentially I believe that this bias towards conclusions has decreased. Because research is designed to be questioned by others, it is hard to produce noteworthy claims without being as “scientific” and honest as possible.

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