Superior Book Summary By Angela Saini

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Superior (2019) is an in-depth exploration into the history of race science, and its hidden but growing presence in our modern society.

The author examines how race science has been used - both historically, and more recently - to justify inequality on the basis of “biology”.

By unpacking this extremely complex and provocative subject matter, Superior provides an eye-opening account of how we got here.

Through thorough research and document analysis, the book delves deep into the origins of race science, tracing it back to the Enlightenment period as well as revealing its contemporary manifestations.

It also discusses the overwhelming evidence that dispels any notion that certain races are genetically “superior” or “inferior” – a phenomenon which continues to lurk in our collective awareness.

With integrity and insight, Superior paints a fascinating picture of how we view race today – one which is full of hope for an equal future.

Superior Book

Book Name: Superior (The Return of Race Science)

Author(s): Angela Saini

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 28 Minutes

Categories: Science

Author Bio

Angela Saini is an award-winning British journalist and BBC radio presenter whose dedication to science writing has gained her worldwide recognition.

She was awarded the European Young Science Writer of the Year by the Association of British Science Writers in 2009 and has since won numerous awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Gold Award and Physics World Book of the Year honors in 2017 for her book Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong.

Her other two books are Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World and Superior: Why We Should Protect Our Planet.

Despite having achieved success across a range of science writing topics, Angela's strong focus on protecting our planet is clear in all her work.

How Do We Connect With Our Ancestors And Unpick Myth From Reality In The Study Of Race?

Myth From Reality

When you visit a museum, you might look for artifacts that reflect your own racial background and history.

But have you ever wondered why the concept of race is so deeply linked with our identity? Is there any scientific evidence that ties us to our race?

The answer is no.

Science has shown that race is nothing more than a social construct – it has no biological basis.

However, this hasn’t stopped some people from attempting to uncover a biological basis for race through research and experiments over the years.

If you want to investigate the history of race science and debunk the myths surrounding it, Superior Book Summary offers sections in which the mythology of race is explored and debunked.

They will take you on a journey through past human classification systems created by pioneers like Carl Linnaeus,which aimed to categorize humans into racial groups based on perceived physical characteristics.

It will also cover topics such as IQ gaps and how Hindu politicians are changing accepted historical narrations related to racism.

The Dangers Of Drawing Conclusions From Archaeology: How Racism And Prejudice Masquerade As Science

It’s widely accepted that Homo sapiens are the superior species, which can lead to a darker thesis: some of us are superior races while others are inferior.

This concept has existed throughout history, with ancient Egyptians and European colonizers in the sixteenth century both believing in this idea.

In fact, some have turned to archaeology for scientific proof that one race is better than another.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking can easily perpetuate racist beliefs.

During the Enlightenment period, European philosophers labeled themselves as being more human than those who didn’t match European standards – and colonization was then used as an excuse for oppression.

Even theories like the multiregional hypothesis (which suggests humans evolved from different parts of the world) leaves room for discriminatory thought processes – giving strength to the idea that certain “types” of humans are superior to others.

Ultimately, it is extremely difficult to determine humanity’s exact origin story – just as it’s impossible to prove one race is better than another.

That is why we should focus on our similarities instead and respect each other as equals regardless of race or ethnicity.

Racism Disguises Itself As Science: A Look At Historical Pseudosciences

Science has often been used to disguise racism, going back as far as the 18th century.

The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who is remembered for developing a universal system of classifying living organisms, used his knowledge to rank human “types” according to physical appearance and implied hierarchical superiority.

In the 19th century, American doctor Samuel Cartwright wrote about “drapetomania,” which he believed was a disease that caused enslaved Black people to want freedom.

Cartwright used this pseudoscience explanation to justify the continued oppression and enslavement of African Americans.

Racism was also bolstered by ideas from Darwin’s theory of evolution, giving rise to eugenics – the notion that those with desirable traits can be selectively bred.

This notion was embraced by Nazi Germany during World War II with horrific results: Jews, Roma people and other minorities were systematically rounded up and killed in pursuit of an “Aryan master race.” In addition, eugenic theory led several states in the US to pass laws that allowed for the involuntary sterilization of criminals, mentally ill people and individuals from lower socioeconomic classes.

The key take away from all this? Racism has adapted over time and often disguises itself in scientific garb in order to perpetuate oppressive systems.

The Global Rejection Of Race Science And Its Lasting Legacies

Global Rejection

Race science, a branch of pseudoscience in which natural and social differences between races are explained by biological factors, has largely been discredited.

Prominent anthropologist Ashley Montagu argued as early as 1942 that all humans share genetic similarity, and this was confirmed by a landmark paper presented by geneticist Richard Lewontin in 1972.

Hundreds of studies conducted afterward have only served to support the theory that there is more genetic diversity within groups than between them.

These research finding have not stopped some from clinging to outdated ideas about race and biology.

Even after World War II, when mainstream scientific journals began rejecting topics related to race science, some persisted in trying to establish “proof” that certain differences among racial groups were based on biology.

They began studying blood types and their geographical distribution in an attempt to uncover evidence of racial distinctions rooted in genetics.

Thankfully, their efforts have been disproven time and again – despite the unfortunate fact that this form of pseudoscience still continues today.

The Enduring Legacy Of Race Science: How “Race Realism” Distorts The Scientific Truth To Reinforce Inequality

In 1960, Reginald Ruggles Gates created the Mankind Quarterly, a journal dedicated to publishing papers on “race science” which were repeatedly rejected by mainstream science journals.

This idea was supported by a Nazi scientist and a British eugenicist in the hopes of making “race realism” appear scientific and eventually create political arguments.

Despite opposition from well-respected scientists, The Mankind Quarterly still exists today and is often circulated in the dark corners of the internet.

As an example, Jared Taylor, a white supremacist whose organization promotes race realism, has actually been called out by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.

In recent years, race science has been quickly gaining traction due to its backing from those on the right side of the political spectrum to reinforce inequality under the guise of reasonableness using science as justification and confusing cultural differences with biological race.

It’s clear that “race realists” today have been given more leeway for their views than ever before—and it’s up to us to recognize this trend and push back against their dangerous messages.

Rejecting Racializing Language Is Crucial For Moving Beyond The Constructs Of Race Science

The language used in race science has changed over time.

From the early days of race science, where the word “race” was often used to separate people, to now where more neutral terms like “human variation” are being employed.

It’s a sign of progress as we strive to end racism and prejudice by better understanding what beings us all together, rather than putting us into boxes and categories.

This evolution was most clearly seen when anthropologist Jonathan Marks received an email from Steve Sailer inviting him to join an email list for scientists and other intellectuals who were discussing human differences.

On that list, biodiversity meant something completely different than what it had traditionally meant – it was a new way of talking about race science.

Similarly, when the Human Genome Project began in 1991, Italian geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza launched the Human Genome Diversity Project with the goal of finding out how certain genes appear more often in certain populations than in others.

While this project’s intention was to counter racial myths, there was still a ring of 19th century race science they couldn’t quite escape with the vocabulary they chose.

It’s important that we continue to be diligent and aware of these subtle changes in our language when talking about human differences so as not to encourage division among population groups.

By striving for unity on this issue instead recognizing our differences, we can truly make progress towards combating racism today.

The Danger Of False Identities: How Attempts To Rewrite History Lead To Persecution

Rewrite History

Race is an important part of our identity; it tells us who we are and where we come from.

But it can also be a source of danger if used incorrectly.

This fact was made abundantly clear when the Cheddar Man was discovered in 1903 in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England.

Archaeologists then estimated that he was short, with curly hair, and had enjoyed a good diet and white skin with rosy cheeks.

However, in 2018, scientists unexpectedly determined that the genetic signatures on his bones indicated dark skin pigmentation – meaning he likely would have appeared differently from how archaeologists first thought.

This revelation caused a stir among the British public as it challenged their mistaken conception about their own identity.

It is important to remember that race is not just based on physical appearance; Recent genetic studies have shown that our ancestors were very different from how we look today and from each other – suggesting there has been more diversity throughout history than people may realize.

For example, while Southern African San hunter-gatherers have some of the oldest genetic lineages in the world, they also had light skin tones.

This evidence should encourage us to reconsider our modern notions on race and identity – yet unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

In India during 2018 for example, Hindu politicians formed a committee which set out to rewrite history so that places mentioned in ancient texts would ‘fit’ into their own narrative – even if they lacked historical accuracy or factual evidence to support them.

In such an environment of religious nationalism where dangerously false assumptions run rife – due people believing themselves descended from greatness– it is unsurprising that atrocities like religious persecution took place.

Thus, it must never be forgotten how powerful yet dangerous understanding race can be – It tells us a story about our identity that can easily become distorted for ultimately detrimental purposes if misunderstood or misused in any way.

Socioeconomic Factors, Not Genetics, Are The Most Influential On Iq Scores

The debate surrounding population-level differences in intelligence has been a polarizing one, especially in science and psychology.

And while many theorists have suggested that some genetic factors may play a role, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that environmental factors are the most important determinants of IQ.

Recent studies on twins suggest that genetics only account for 70% of the variance in their IQ scores, while environmental influences like family environment and access to educational opportunities take up the remaining 30%.

When it comes to race specifically, cross-cultural data has shown that black Americans are significantly less advantaged than white Americans both economically and socially which affects IQ.

In fact, when looking at black children adopted into middle-class families in 1986, those adopted into white families had 13 points higher than those adopted into black families.

These findings suggest environmental disparities can take a dramatic toll on intelligence.

In addition, a study from the UK showed that even when being white isn’t necessarily limiting one’s socioeconomic status, working-class boys still achieve lower IQ scores than their more privileged peers – highlighting once again how expansive an influence environment can have on intelligence.

All in all, it becomes clear that rather than genetics, external social pressures and unequal access to education and resources heavily impact individual intelligence – making it unquestionable that these forces are much more influential determiners of IQ than any kind of racial bias.

We Should Reject Genetic Determinism And Acknowledge The Clear Impact Of Racism In Health Care

Genetic Determinism

Genetic determinism is a theory that many have been reluctant to give up, leading to an over-exaltation of its role in determining health.

Despite tremendous leaps forward in understanding the root causes of various diseases and disorders, scientifically proven facts tell us that genetics does not serve as a single determinant for a person’s health.

Gregor Mendel’s experiments on pea plants starting the science of genetics were based on flawed assumptions; he bred his peas in a perfect environment, selecting only the best specimens for his work.

Real life is certainly far from perfect and these “perfect” Mendelian hybrids could never be achieved by regular breeders.

Nowadays genetic determinism is still incorrectly linked to health care outcomes – particularly when it comes to mental illness like schizophrenia.

In 2014, a study of more than 37,000 cases of schizophrenia revealed only minute genetic links in regards to increasing one’s risk of developing the illness.

Even hypertension – twice as common among black Americans compared with other groups in the US – has been found to have low rates worldwide when looking at those living in Africa; environmental factors such as diet or stress just may be linked here instead.

Therefore, it’s essential that we recognize genetics plays no defining role in someone’s overall health outcome and instead acknowledge any underlying racism which might be present within current societal norms.

In order to truly identify and treat illnesses we must base our findings upon facts given by scientific medical research rather than false pre-conceived notions regarding biological inheritance.

Wrap Up

In brief, the key takeaways from Superior: The Return of Race Science is that race has been a powerful concept throughout history.

It was used as a way to categorize people during the Enlightenment and post-WWII, and it even influenced the Holocaust.

Despite this, race is not a biological category—it cannot be defined on a scientific level because of the shoddy evidence used to support it.

Instead, it serves mainly as an identity and unifying factor for people who share common origins or backgrounds.

This book serves as a reminder that we should always question claims about race before making any conclusions.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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