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Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance: A Review

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Finally, someone who promises to straighten out this deeply puzzling mess about liberal creationism for us (in which Ash Jogalekar, former Scientific American columnist, disappeared in flames).

A shorter version of this piece, by Terry Scambray, appeared at The American Thinker:

When I read Nicholas Wade’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal of June 22nd admired his chutzpah and was equally intrigued by his emphasis on heredity and “race” as a counterpoint to the liberal-progressive myth that man is a malleable commodity to be reshaped by smart people in influential positions. No doubt the Journal gave him several columns because they also savored seeing this myth deflated.

But I am disappointed that Mr. Wade’s The Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, from which the Journal columns were taken ends up being all too representative of a lot of bad thinking and misinformation, not to mention truisms, that often pass for knowledge. And my disappointment deepens when I see that Mr. Wade has also held influential positions at respected publications like Nature, Science and The New York Times.

Wade’s theme is that “racial” differences are instrumental in determining the fate of a people. Such differences are genetic and, thus, are measureable and can potentially show why some “races” make it and others fail.

One such momentously influential change occurred in England between 1200 and 1800 when, according to Wade, the English tamed themselves into adopting a civilized parliamentary system which has become the standard for the rest of the world to imitate or at least pretend to imitate.

As the eloquent writer, Luigi Barzini, described this transformation: “How, in the first place, did a peripheral island rise from primitive squalor to world domination?” Wade calls this change, “bourgeoisification” which he says can be seen in the genetic changes that occurred in the British populace during that 600 year span.

To support this claim, Wade relies on a couple of examples of documented changes like the Tibetans “who have evolved a genetic variant that lets them live at a high altitude”, and the Northern Europeans becoming lactose tolerant because they had a lot of cows whose excess milk had to be consumed. Thus, Wade writes that if civility is also a trait that is esteemed in a society, then those who possess this trait will be rewarded and will flourish; consequently they will have more offspring and gradually they will come to dominate in that society.

All of which is good and fine though rather obvious and something that is a perennial goal of civilized societies: to encourage the selection of worthy traits while discouraging the destructive ones. And instead of leaving it at that Wade intones: “New analysis of the human genome establishes that human evolution has been recent, copious and regional.”

Sorry, but what Wade is talking about are “adaptations”, an organism’s limited capacity to adjust to a changed environment in order to survive and then, if necessary, to revert back when the threat is diminished. So what he calls “evolution” is not “evolution” as Charles Darwin used the word. Though it must be admitted that Darwin himself tried to pull off the same semantic bait and switch by conflating such tiny changes, as intriguing as they are, with “evolution” meaning big changes, the supposed process of creating something new as when a trout supposedly became a weasel or when an arm became a wing.*

However, Darwin guessed wrong. For, to use but one example, bacteria, the simplest form of life with generation times of a half hour, have never been shown to form even a new species in 150 years of laboratory observations let alone a new organism. And in hundreds, if not a couple thousand years of animal breeding directed by human intelligence, there are no reports of new species ever having been developed.

Despite this evidence, Wade’s mantra is that evolution is occurring faster than we thought. That this is Darwinian agitprop, Mr. Wade seems blissfully unaware of.
Wade also uses “race” in a way that satisfies his thesis, but is also misleading.

Sure, differences exist between cultural and geographical groupings each of which shares a cluster of genetic variations. And certainly in biology and anthropology, different definitions of race co-exist based upon criteria like morphology (physical structure), geography, skin pigmentation, heredity and so on. However, Darwin’s criteria for defining a species or in this case, a race, was whether those in the group can produce offspring. And since humans are a breeding community, Darwin was correct in thinking that there is only one race, the human race.

Besides if evolution were the force for such dramatic change as Wade avers, then human beings living in widely separated environments over thousands of years in the past would have “evolved” so as to be unable to breed.

I do admire Wade for discussing “race” because, despite it being a taboo subject, everyone is aware of the differences that separate the various peoples of the world which history and modern social studies have validated by showing that these distinctions are real. For example, Orientals and Jews are successful in whatever societies they live in.

Why is that? No one knows; for heredity and culture are too complex and inextricably mixed within human beings to make a case for “racial” distinctions in the same way that the English between 1200 and 1800 were subject to far too many outside factors in the form of cultural influences and immigration to determine the “genetic” reasons for their vast and penetrating influence throughout the globe.

Additionally, there are many individuals within all groups who are among the highest achievers in all areas. Also when people immigrate from underdeveloped regions of the world to the West or polities built on Western traditions, they improve according to various measures of intelligence as do their incomes, standard of living and capacities in various pursuits.

Thus, the more accurate description to use in this context is “ethnic differences” which encompasses both physical and cultural differences. And though Wade’s goal of explaining these differences – why Arab states violate human rights while others esteem them – is creditable, his analysis remains unconvincing.

Anyway, “adaptations” are fairly well understood and “racial” differences remain obvious though unexplained.

However, the important point is that Wade joins the long parade of materialist, physicalist philosophers who wish to reduce man to mere matter, the better to understand him – or so they think. Though this reductionist view dates back to ancient Greece and Rome with “atomists” like Democritus and Lucretius, its modern impetus came when Darwin sought to explain human behavior as a product of “instincts” because he thought that humans are only animals.

But this theory was discredited by the end of the 19th century, just as by the end of the 20th century, the “genes are destiny” theory fell into disrepute. The latter became embarrassingly clear when Richard Dawkins concocted his frothy notion of “selfish genes”. Strange, isn’t it, that materialists want to deny volition to humans while bestowing it on genes, which are, after all, only proteins.

The “genes are destiny” theory was discredited because scientists saw that genes exist within a highly complex set of bio-chemical interactions within the cell and beyond that within the exceedingly more complex combinations of factors within the human body which itself exists in a vast pool of physical and cultural stimuli.

Of course, medical science has been enhanced by the exploration of genes as indicators of the susceptibility to certain diseases among various types of individuals.
But here once again what crops up in Wade’s thinking is the fallacious argument that what is true of the part is necessarily true of the whole – which it is not in this case. That is, genetics is an invaluable tool when its limits are respected.

Wade admits as much when he writes that free will, human choice, can veto any genetic behavior predilection a person or a “race” has. This admission begins the unraveling of Wade’s argument as it does the argument of any materialist or positivist who thinks that the positive sciences of chemistry and physics can explain human behavior. For free will has no place in a materialist system such as Darwinism because within it, everything has to be instinctual, mechanical.

Too bad that Wade picked Darwin as his Explainer because Darwin is a jealous god; there can no other gods before him or, indeed, after him – for within the Church
of Materialism there can be no interfaith councils, no ecumenism, no “reaching out”.

Once committed to Darwinism, as David Berlinski curtly and accurately writes, “there can be no slippage.” Everything, and that means everything, within this worldview must contribute to an organism’s survival because survival is the absolute reason for an organism’s existence.

What surprises me is that Wade does not even see this as a tension, let alone a contradiction. As an editor at Science and Nature, he is certainly aware of the endless studies published in those respected journals which attempt to resolve this contradiction -studies which try to show that Mother Teresa’s self sacrifice, as one example, is actually a facade for her instinctual desire to survive.

Or a study published the other day from Georgia State University which claims that cooperation, another un-Darwinian trait, evolved because humans instinctively resent unfair treatment and as a consequence they see the need to cooperate which insures survival. Sounding as if they were presenting Democratic Party talking points, the researchers said: “This sense of fairness is the basis of lots of things in human society, from wage discrimination to international politics” and that those who get more “should be willing to give up a benefit in order to reach equal outcomes and stabilize valuable, long term cooperative relationships.”

The original paper was titled “Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay” because it was observed that monkeys became agitated by unequal treatment of fellow monkeys but would cooperate when treated fairly. So why would such silliness absorb the attention of otherwise smart people if it were not crucial to the survival of Darwinism?

Also under materialism the problem of self refutation becomes a stumbling block as first pointed out at the end of the 19th century by British philosopher and prime minister, Arthur Balfour, and later brilliantly fortified by C. S. Lewis. To wit: if Wade’s
own “thinking” results from the mere excretion of chemicals, why would it be reliable ?

And why would a materialistic, accidental, non-rational process like Darwinian evolution produce a reliable brain in the first place ? Even Darwin himself worried that since his brain was descended from a monkey’s brain, how could it be reliable? Is the “answer” that all ideas are explainable by physical processes, except when they are not? Thus, Wade would have to exempt himself from his own genetic proclivities.

Materialists and their common ancestor, relativists, invariably carve out space for their own exceptionalism while denying epistemological salvation to anyone else. This sounds like narrow minded fundamentalism to me.

Ideas, with the exception of the oxymoronic notion of “materialists’ ideas”, have no place in Wade’s economy. And this is the reason that he slights, say, the history of the English people between 1200 and 1800 when explaining their “bourgeoisification” because the English were subject to many variables, mainly ideas which are the engines of action. And these ideas originating in the minds of individuals were the sources of the great improvements in England that drove innovations in agriculture and weaponry as well as in politics, banking, commerce, literature, navigation and on and on.

Wade does admit that Western civilization was innovative, intensely interested in new knowledge and its dissemination beyond just its elites, all of which caused the West to prevail over Chinese and African civilizations. By way of contrast, he concedes that Islam forbade the printing press and squelched troublesome lines of inquiry.

And why was the West so advanced?

Wade, while quoting various historians, avoids answering this question. He often prefers labeling something rather than explaining it.

By not answering this question, Wade once again tries to maintain his shaky premise that genes, the microscopic directors of man, are the true movers and shakers,
thus specific credit need not be given to the ideas and individuals who have transformed the world.

This pseudo scientific perspective slips into bathos when Mr. Wade writes: “Religion was crucial in detribalization and then in instituting the rule of law.” Which religion? Islam? Has he read history or noticed the crucible of tribalism and anarchy in the Muslim Middle East and in parts of Africa and Asia ? So I guess that he must mean Judeo Christianity, the religion whose doctrines and practices have detribalized much of the world as well as established the rule of law in these same regions.

It is understandable that Wade refuses to offer credit to Christianity since he dismisses it with Marxist cant about how medieval Catholicism confiscated people’s wealth. And even more fundamentally, Judaism and Christianity are dismissed as accretions from prehistoric fertility cults which themselves originated to satisfy the instinctual drives of humans, an idea that Wade expands on in his earlier book, The Faith Instinct. So too Paul of Tarsus was merely caught up in the rituals of these fertility cults which he and the other disciples transferred to the remembrance and worship of Jesus of Nazareth. And in explaining away the Gospels, Wade tells us that they were written 70 plus years after Christ’s death so they can be disregarded.

However, the fact is that the Israelites repudiated the various pagan fertility cults that they were besieged by though at times they sinfully engaged in such practices. Paul in Romans and elsewhere also repudiates the slavish and repellent cults that he and the first Christians vigorously opposed. And in discussing the dating of the New Testament, Wade again enters a complicated and contentious area involving many separate disciplines; nonetheless, whether the New Testament was composed after 70 A.D. is not crucial to its reliability since a later composition could also mean that its perspective is enhanced. On the other hand, some scholars posit a much earlier composition; and one of their persuasive arguments is that if the New Testament were composed after 70 A.D., it would certainly have mentioned the apocalyptic destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. which it does not.

As expected, along with Wade’s narrow understanding of history, anthropology and theology, he also repeats the lie that Islam was more advanced than the Christian West up until the so called Renaissance. The reason that this lie has gained traction is that Islam in its conquests of advanced cultures in Egypt, Persia and Byzantium translated their works into Arabic, making it appear that the contributions of these cultures were products of Islam. But conflating Islam with these superior though subjugated civilizations is inaccurate.

Mr. Wade does accurately report on the origins of the eugenics movement, reminding us that Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin, was its founder and how intellectuals like George Bernard Shaw and “social radicals such as Beatrice and Sidney Webb” were at the forefront of the movement. Ignored is the fact that Shaw and the Webbs were also founders of Fabian Socialism, a softer, more palatable version of Marxist totalitarianism suited to the bourgeois predilections of the aforementioned Brits. Wade also reports that eugenics was strongly supported by many eminent scientists whom he names. However, when he credits scientists for rejecting eugenics by 1933, he strangely fails to name any of them. Besides that omission, shouldn’t it be pointed out that 1933 is mighty late to be disembarking from the bandwagon whose destination was the Final Solution? And then to be given credit for it ?

Pathetically, Mr. Wade ignores the fact that the Catholic Church as well as its brilliant convert, G. K. Chesterton, were consistent critics of eugenics as were Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists. Dare we call this omission bigotry? It certainly would be if Wade had failed to give credit to a “protected” group, one currently deemed to be deserving of emotional and financial set asides.

Wade’s sloppy scholarship continues when he repeats the myth dear to those who want to distance Darwin from “social Darwinism”. For though Herbert Spenser usually takes the rap for coining the phrase, Darwin in his Descent of Man wrote, “the civilised
races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

Yes, Darwin was a kind, generous man. Nonetheless, his vision was of a world racked by endless, bloody competition which improved and purified the stock of all organisms of which man was merely one – and certainly nothing special enough so as to be acquitted of this imperative. In this way, Darwin is one of the singularly important promoters of racism, as opposed to merely old fashioned prejudice, because he endowed
it with a respected scientific gloss.

Wade repeats other rumors which have gained currency such as: Marx wanted to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin which is not true; the “Reverend” Jim Jones, the despicable pastor of The People’s Temple, was “religious”; but Jones was a long time, dedicated Marxist, atheist who modeled his dystopian Jonestown on the likes of Castro’s Cuba. Along with these falsehoods, Mr. Wade offers bromides like: “Institutions are rooted in human behavior”; “Chinese, European and African societies differ because of their histories and geography.”

Certainly more waits to be said on ethnic differences and the shaping forces of culture, be they materialistic or non materialistic, but Mr. Wade’s work does not perform that service. In the meantime, read books by Thomas Sowell, most especially Race & Culture, for a rich perspective on the differences between various peoples and how they shape their environments and vice versa.

*Moreover, offering misleading definitions of evolution continues to be a tactic of the Darwin lobby. For example, read what propagandist Eugenie Scott representing the so called National Center for Science Education cynically suggests to science teachers: “Define evolution as . . . change through time. The present is different from the past. Evolution happened, there is no debate within science [about it].” Apparently the tactic is to define “evolution” as a truism and once the students digest this hors d’oeuvre, the teacher can then pour the real stuff down their sugar coated throats.

Gosh. It’s a lot for a Canuck hack to digest. People land immigrant every day at Toronto International and practically fall down and kiss the floor. I am ashamed to admit that I had taken for granted what was for them a Big Thing. No one means them harm, no one is trying to murder them.

The vast majority have no problem with English Common Law (the presumption of innocence) or parliamentary democracy (messy, but sort of works). It was more like the good news to them was:  You have the same rights as a five-generation Canadian (me).  True, I know more stuff than you, but never mind. You will learn what you need to know on the way. Onward!

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13 Replies to “Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance: A Review

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    ‘Materialists deny volition to humans while bestowing it on genes, which are, after all, only proteins.’

    Hilarious, Denyse! No wonder our dumb chums hate you! You have a wicked brain and tongue from their angle.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Guy wrote that. News didn’t.

  3. 3
    wd400 says:

    Strange, isn’t it, that materialists want to deny volition to humans while bestowing it on genes, which are, after all, only proteins.

    Lol.

    It’s not nearly as strange as anit-science folks inability to read a book beyond its title. And genes are not, at all, proteins (Scambray seems to be writing from 1951)

  4. 4
    News says:

    So wd400, what is your view about Wade’s basic thesis?

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Strange, isn’t it, that materialists want to deny volition to humans while bestowing it on genes, which are, after all, only proteins.”

    This mistake of Darwinists/Materialists of attributing volition where it ought not go, as Talbott has recently pointed out, goes far deeper than just genes. The whole of molecular biology is infused with misattributed volition

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    This working biologists agrees completely with Talbott:

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    Moreover, this misattribution of volition for materialists goes back to confusing a mere description of a lawlike regularity to the false belief that a law has agent causality within itself,,,

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    C.S. Lewis humorously stated the point like this:

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    The following ‘doodle video’ is also excellent for getting this point across:

    “In the whole history of the universe the laws of nature have never produced, (i.e. caused), a single event.”
    C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    As with the confusion of description of a law-like regularity with agent causilty, the same type of confusion can be found with the Materialist’s use of the word ‘chance’. When people say that something ‘happened by chance’ they are not actually appealing to a known causal mechanism but are instead using chance as a ‘placeholder for ignorance’ as to an actual causal mechanism. Stephen Talbott puts the situation like this,,

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Stephen L. Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    In other words, when people say that something “happened randomly by chance”, usually a mishap, they are in fact assuming an impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings which is, in fact, is impossible to separate from causal agency. i.e. ‘every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle’
    Although the term “chance” can be defined as a mathematical probability, such as the chance involved in flipping a coin, when Darwinists use the term ‘random chance’, generally it’s substituting for a more precise word such as “cause”, especially when the cause, i.e. ‘mechanism’, is not known. Several people have noted this ‘shell game’ that is played with the word ‘chance’..

    “To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.”

    Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’”

    Thus, when an atheist states that something happened by chance, we have every right to ask, as Talbott pointed out, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    In conclusion, contrary to how atheists imagine reality to be structured, they, in their appeal to random chance and law as to being causally adequate within themselves, have, in reality, appealed to vacuous explanations for a ‘causal mechanism’. Explanations of causality that are far more properly grounded in agent causality. ,,,

    etc.. etc..

  6. 6
    Learned Hand says:

    A shorter version of this piece, by Terry Scambray, appeared at The American Thinker…

    Of what piece? I can’t tell what your antecedent is, nor can I find a link or other reference. Are you talking about the chopped-up quotes you pasted below this paragraph?

    Guy wrote that. News didn’t.

    Who is Guy? News, please consider writing for comprehension rather than word count. The same effort that went into creating another “I’m Canadian!” word salad at the end of the post could just have easily clarified what you’re quoting and why.

    If your point was that Scambray is criticizing Wells, so what? Actual scientists have been criticizing Wade’s book for some time now. This creationist doesn’t seem to add anything of substance; just a few digs at Darwin and a racist aside about “Orientals” and Jews.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny how two groups of ‘actual scientists’, i.e. Darwinian atheists, can look at the same data and one group finds that it supports racism and another group finds that it doesn’t

    But Wade and Murray are both wrong. Structure didn’t simply identify five clusters. It also identified two, three, four, six, and seven clusters. (Rosenberg et al. 2002 actually identified up to 20 divisions, but 1-7 are the primary ones they discussed. They also divided their worldwide sample up into regions, and then ran structure within those regions, to look at more fine-scale population structure.)
    Why? Researchers using structure have to define the number (K) of clusters in advance, because that’s what the program requires. The program was designed to partition individuals into whatever pre-specified number of clusters the researcher requests, regardless of whether that number of divisions really exists in nature. In other words, if the researcher tells structure to divide the sampled individuals into 4 clusters, structure will identify 4 groups no matter what–even if there is really only 1 group, or even if there are really 14 groups.
    http://violentmetaphors.com/20.....ic-facade/

    I wonder if he will continue to question his Darwinian presuppositions when tree building when it is not politically correct to do so?

    The Biology of the Second Reich: Social Darwinism and the Origins of World War 1 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n900e80R30

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    I have several times said that I have read the book and find many of the reviews over the top one way or the other. Most of Wade’s book is speculation, some of it science. There is nothing in it that threatens ID.

    There is a field of science called behavioral genetics and this is nothing more than what Wade is speculating on. There are obvious morphological differences between groups based on geographical location that are due to genetics. So why not behavioral differences between groups based on geographical location based on genetics.

    We have all seen different personalities between siblings and peers so why it is not possible some behavioral characteristics are possible between groups that have been isolated geographically for tens of thousands of years.

    This is not a materialist thing. Wade may be a materialist but that has nothing to do with behavioral differences between people.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    Why? Researchers using structure have to define the number (K) of clusters in advance, because that’s what the program requires.

    It wasn’t when I was doing this years ago. I was working on individual reactions to external stimuli to differentiate different interests. The program would put people in one big group and then suggest a separation of one from the big group and then suggest the next separation and so on. At some level it is prudent to stop based on what the data shows or else you go down to individual elements.

    Now I have no idea of what techniques are used in genome comparison or on what sequences are being compared but if some sequences seem to separate one group from another, then that may be what was done. For example is sequence A separates the genomes geographically but sequence B does not then sequence A is of interest as a result of geographical isolation while sequence B is not.

    Maybe someone with more knowledge has an insight into just what is used to separate groups.

  10. 10
    Learned Hand says:

    Maybe someone with more knowledge has an insight into just what is used to separate groups.

    The linked Violent Metaphors piece (disclosure, written by my partner) goes into some detail. Apparently the STRUCTURE program requires the analyst to explicitly define, in advance, how many groups to use.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    wd400 says:

    STRUCTURE is one of these clustering methods like k-means etc, given a number of clusters will a assign individuals in the way that best satisfies a simple population genetics model. That such an algorithm can do a good job at assigning individuals to a continent of origin doesn’t imply that there is a sharp gap between the genetics of continents, just that human gene pool hasn’t been one big mixing pot for the last few thousand years (no surprise).

    Adding extra groups always leads to a better likelihood for the model, so there is noting magic about 3 or 5 or 7. There are various was to try and find the the “best” fitting ‘k’, but it’s not an easy thing to calculate for various reasons.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    As I said, it has been years since I have used clustering software and it was obviously different from what is used today. It would take a large group and first split off some sub group (group A) so there would then be two groups, a smaller group isolated from the total (A) and then the rest. The basis for the split was identified and it was possible to eliminate some criteria from the analysis.

    It would then suggest a second split and sometimes the split happened within the first isolated group (A) but most often it split the larger group into two groups so now there would be three groups (A), (B) and the rest which was usually larger than either A or B.

    This continued till one did not see any advantage in going further. Of course these were not people isolated geographically and by genome sequences but more differentiated by attitudes. Some of the attitudes could have been the result of geography as different regions of the country could affect attitudes and so could size of metro area where one lived.

    I assume such software today is still used to isolate segments of the population for marketing purposes. Anyway this is just an aside from what I was once familiar with.

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