Well-known science writer Nicholas Wade is about to publish a book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, attempting to reopen the discussion of racial differences based on modern genetics.
Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These “values” obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.
Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.
The elided part above is the usual disclaimers about how toxic racism is.
Not clear why Wade thinks a conversation on the importance of race is “overdue.” Did someone blink and miss a couple of hundred?
Wade believes that Darwinian evolution is ongoing. As we try to explain patiently here, what is usually called racism is an inevitable conclusion from explicitly Darwinian evolution theory, a conclusion Darwin himself drew. As noted earlier, it was not invented by Darwinians nor is it a position adopted out of bad will; it is simply the logic of the theory that over time human groups will diverge into higher and lower (by someone’s standard).
Some of us wonder just how much modern genetics contributes to all this besides talking points. Didn’t many people always think themselves superior to “those other people”? Who turned out to think the same of them?
Never mind, the people who whisper that this book will be controversial are in little danger of being wrong. Stay tuned.
DNA: More than one percent of Scottish men are direct descendants of the Saharan Berber and Tuareg tribes?
Follow UD News at Twitter!
Here’s Wade on the evolution of religion (can’t find a vid discussing the forthcoming book, but this may give a general idea of the approach):