Angela Saini has an interesting review in Nature of Skin Deep, a ridiculous book about how racial differences have no role in sports achievement. Of course, that’s just nonsense, obviously so: some Kenyan and Ethiopian populations are way better at distance races,while people of west African descent always win the Olympic 100-meter. And so on.
Now you’d think that if if you were trying to defend blank slatism, you wouldn’t want to spend much of your time on your weakest possible point, any more than a PR-wise Stalinist would go on and on about how wise and good Katyn Forest was: how the Chekists killed those Polish POWs in self-defense, after a heroic struggle, etc. Arguing for zero physical differences between populations is that weak: everyone can see them, for Christ’s sake. And a lot of people are very interested in, and knowledgeable about, sports.
Yet, in Saini’s review, she does just that. She’s pushing obvious falsehoods – not just ones that can only be noticed by the elite that know how to do long division.
For example: “Some have speculated that Kenyans might have, on average, longer, thinner legs than other people,”
I wonder how anyone ever got that idea? In order to go full Saini, you have to ignore your lying eyes, apparently forever.
Now there’s a certain logic to this: if you admit that Kenyans have a different build than the Yoruba, one that works better in the marathon, or that Pygmies are short, or that Tibetans thrive at altitudes that would wreck you, you’re admitting that regional selection can make people noticeably different. And if they differ in those traits, they can differ in any trait. He who has said A must say Z (mathematical induction): so you fight at A. You try to stop them on the beaches.
So facts themselves are the enemy: “Arguing with racists on points of fact is a game with no winners. ” Facts are all against you – they all must die !
So is this triumphalism, or peak crazy? Time will tell.