The Scientist’s obit on Harvard evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin (1929–2021) notes his takedown of the notion of “race”

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Richard Lewontin, who died July 4, was famous for, among other things, doubting the concept of race. From The Scientist we learn,

In 1966, at the University of Chicago, Lewontin and John Hubby published two papers that pioneered the use of protein gel electrophoresis to study genetic variation within populations of wild fruit flies. Not only did the technique lay the groundwork for the field of molecular genetics, but it revealed a surprising amount of genetic diversity within the population …

Lewontin was well-known for his critiques of adaptationist programs—the idea that all organismal traits have been “optimized” due to natural selection. Rather, he argued that genetic variation within a population could also be the product of random chance, or due to selection on linked loci on the genome.

He also wrote a seminal 1972 paper in which he argued there is more genetic variation within members of a population of humans than there is between members of different groups, undermining the idea that there is a genetic basis for the idea of race.

Stephanie Melchor, “Evolutionary Biologist Richard Lewontin Dies at 92” at The Scientist

See also: Richard Lewontin (1929 – 2021) has died

3 Replies to “The Scientist’s obit on Harvard evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin (1929–2021) notes his takedown of the notion of “race”

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Misuse of stats. Everyone is different. Some of those differences align closely with ethnic and national groups. Some of those differences align with gender. “More genetic variation” blurs the whole picture together and ignores the observed alignments.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    Polistra @1 — YES!!! The fact that 2 people are both humans means more than 90% of their chemistry is the same. But you can’t take a Norwegian and an Aborigine and seriously argue there are no differences.
    Among other things, IQ varies by race. That is, the IQs have different distribution curves. And pudgy little Irishmen aren’t gonna beat Africans in long distance running, on average.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    If there are no races, then there can be no racism. No need for CRT.

    Will Lewontin get canceled?

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