Skip to comments.Book Review: 'A Troublesome Inheritance' by Nicholas Wade
Posted on 05/03/2014 1:51:51 PM PDT by globelamp
".. The orthodoxy's equivalent of the Nicene Creed has two scientific tenets. The first, promulgated by geneticist Richard Lewontin in "The Apportionment of Human Diversity" (1972), is that the races are so close to genetically identical that "racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance."
The second, popularized by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, is that human evolution in everything but cosmetic differences stopped before humans left Africa, meaning that "human equality is a contingent fact of history," as he put it in an essay of that title in 1984."
"Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, what is known by geneticists has increasingly diverged from this orthodoxy, even as social scientists and the mainstream press have steadfastly ignored the new research. Nicholas Wade, for more than 20 years a highly regarded science writer at the New York Times, has written a book that pulls back the curtain."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
If the subjects' ancestors came from all over the inhabited world, the clusters that first emerge will identify the five major races: Asians, Caucasians, sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans and the original inhabitants of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
What the heck are "Asians?
Turks, Arabs, Indians, Malaysians, Chinese?
Seems to me that's WAY too much diversity to consider a single race.
Haven´t read the book yet, but I would guess that “asians” are a joint term for north-east and south-east asians (I:e. turks and arabs are caucasians, not “asians”).
There is certainly a lot of diversity within every such “racial category”, but we are facing a problem of informational economy here with no fixed categories.
Turn out the lights, the party's over.
Over the long run, this tends to degrade the integrity of mankind's ancient search for truth, sometimes called "the Conversation."
The search for objective truth is the human race's best hope for a peaceful future. The degradation of that search process leads to division and - ultimately - violence.
Science is a system for discovering truth based on physical evidence. The language of Science - of which Mathematics is so large a part - is a medium of communication, but it is something more than that. It is a formal system, part of a larger system that enables people from different cultures, who speak different languages and live in different places... that enables all these people to make their contribution to the search of objective truth.
The Truth Shall Set You Free is much more than an aphorism.
Don’t know about the book, but the review misses two very important points.
Human evolutionary pressure since becoming intelligent has primarily operated between groups, not individuals. Losing groups were wiped out.
Or, more accurately, the males were. The females were generally kept alive as secondary wives for the victors.
So evolutionary pressures acted primarily on groups of males. IOW, the primary evolutionary pressure through most of human history was to be on the winning side of wars.
The genetic evidence shows this very clearly. The male line of inheritance is much less diverse than the female line, because of all the male lines that were wiped out when the females were allowed to live and breed.
As it didn't work out too well for the Nazis to reject modern physics as "Jewish science."
I realize you are probably right. Asians in this context are what we used to call Orientals, before the term became for some reason derogatory. Which is very odd, since all it means is “Easterners,” which is an indisputably accurate term.
My beef is that “Asian” not only is an imprecise term, it doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere even in the Anglosphere.
In US “Asian” means the north and south east Asians you described. In UK and I believe Oz “Asian” means South Asians from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Didn’t work out to great for the Jews, either.
OTOH, the Jews were able to develop despite being generally persecuted for the past 2,000 years.
Unless 2,000 years is too short a time to make much evolutionary difference.
You are talking about group selection, which has also been out of favor in the scientific community for a long time (in my view since it has been seen to have unpalatable implications).
My guess without having read the book is that Wade will probably touch on the topic.
But I think it underscores your point that ignoring scientific fact doesn't work out well eventually for those who do so, whether the German Nazis, or today's liberals.
I haven’t read the article yet,but globelamp is right. I was always told that there were only 3 races, caucasian, negro and oriental (Native Americans and Aborigines would be oriental in that system I think).
Not too too long ago on another thread here someone said there are something like 7 races,but I forget what they all were.
But it makes sense to me with the 5 groups described.
It is silly that so many groups who are,in fact, caucasians (that is to say WHITE) natter on about being “brown” or “asian” or “the other”. So much emphasis is put on skin color and then you watch a show like “Bones” or anything like that and the scientists tell you race just from looking at a skeleton. So clearly the difference in skin is probably the least of it.
Now on to read the article!
Yes, we should not overestimate group selection. But it is probably one factor that explains why we are the way that we are.
He says more elegantly what many of us figured out years ago on our own: cultures that develop in harsh climates have to be tougher and smarter than those who live where food grows all year round.
Yes, asking “how many races are there” is a bit like asking “how many categories of furniture are there?”. Well, it depends on how much resolution you want.
What the liberals did was essentially to jump from “You can´t say exactly how many kinds of furniture there is” to “Furniture does not exist”. Pretty dumb, but surprisingly effective at shutting down discussion for decades.
On a recent BBC documentary, I forget which one, they used genetics to somehow trace all human races and nationalities down their various branches to determine who was the most direct living descendent of the first human. It turned out to be a nomad living in tent somewhere in Kazakhstan. When the BBC film crew showed up to interview him and celebrate their discovery, they brought a doctor with them. When the man saw the doctor he was visibly disturbed because, as he said later, he thought that if the doctor brought such a crowed with him, it must be to tell him that he had some very serous disease.
Read some of the comments at the review.
Most common reaction seemed to be fear that real differences would be found, so let’s not do the research in the first place.
As if resolutely ignoring the facts will change them.
BTW, the author of this review, Charles Murray, wrote The Bell Curve 20 years ago and was crucified by liberals for doing so. The whole point of that book was to discuss differences in intelligence (defined as IQ in the book) and how modern life has less and less place for those with lower IQs. With the purpose of suggesting changes that might stop or slow their gradual explusion from any valued role in society. Their prescience has been eminently demonstrated since, as the changes they predicted are happening faster and faster. (Though nobody wants to talk about them except by means of euphemisms such as “income inequality.”)
But the book was trashed because it didn’t shy away from the implications of lower IQ among certain ethnic groups, so it was denounced universally as “racist.”
But the longer the penny stays screwed in behind the fuse, the bigger is the resulting fire.
You are quite right. The Jews are the obvious exception. But I know of no other ethnic group, at least not one that is widely distributed, that is identifiable from 3000 years ago.
There is obviously more than one possible evolutionary strategy. The Jews have for the last 2000 years followed a different one.
It should be noted that if a certain war 70 years ago had gone the other way, the Jews’ evolutionary strategy would have probably utterly failed by now.
The higher IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is widely attributed to evolutionary pressure selecting for intelligence of the bookish type, which didn’t operate very strongly in other societies.
It might be noted that in modern western societies, evolutionary pressures are apparently operating to select for lower IQ, lesser socio-economic success, etc. For the very first time in history, there is an inverse relationship between reproductive success and general success in life.
If these Third World immigrants coming to America have a gene for despotism, good night Irene.
My wife is Chinese. She has told me that she can read and understand written words found in ancient Chinese records 5000 years old.
I'm afraid that idea makes no sense at all to me. Aren't we all equally descended from the first humans? Who else could we be descended from?
I suspect they were probably trying to come up with the genotype closest to that of the first humans. If so, it seems highly likely to me he would be found somewhere in East Africa, where evolutionary pressures have probably been less diverse than elsewhere.
Very good piece - thanks for sharing it.
Murry lays out well how, again and again, the Left is anti-science, a role they like to ascribe to our side.
But I was struck by this “[the book discusses} circumstantial evidence that the genetic characteristics of the English lower class evolved between the 13th century and the 19th.”
That is interesting, but what is meant by “lower class”, esp.in that time frame? I mean, wouldn’t that be almost everybody?
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I agree that China has a very ancient culture. But it had many, many incursions from the steppe bringing in new blood, with the Mongols and Manchus only the most recent.
Chinese ideograms are astonishingly conservative, because they don’t have to change with the pronunciation of the language.
But I suspect Chinese of today would have a lot less in common with those of the early Chou dynasty than today’s Jews with King David.
HA! When I take over the world I will a. get the Jews on my side and b. not invade Russia. I have learned the lessons of history.
And as soon as my laundry is done....and my nail polish is dry....World - LOOK OUT!
I would guess that passage refers to Gregory Clark´s “A farewell to alms”:
And yes, the lower class would indeed be the bulk of the population - hence the relevance. ;)
“Read some of the comments at the review.
Most common reaction seemed to be fear that real differences would be found, so lets not do the research in the first place.”
This is the supreme irony: Liberalism was born as a rebellion against scripture and dogma, in favor of the Fearless Pursuit of Truth for the Betterment of Mankind (TM).
Now it is increasingly appearent that Liberalism has put that ambition aside, and is just sliding into becoming dogma without the benefit of metaphysical justification (indeed, without any philosophical justification whatsoever once the whole “truth” thing has been pulled out from under it...).
I think I know what this involves.
Extensive analysis of birth rates over 1000 years of English history have shown that the nobility, gentry and merchants had a significantly higher surviving number of children than the serfs/peasants/artisans.
In the economy of the times, not all could maintain their parent's status. So the younger sons all took a step down.
Noble younger sons became gentry. Gentry younger sons became farmers. Merchant younger sons became artisans, etc.
Over many generations this resulted in the lower classes gradually being changed genetically to be closer to the upper classes, and this is sometimes used to explain the gradual emergence of England as a world power.
Sorry I don't have more detail on the thesis, but I think that's the gist of it.
Apparently this didn't apply to the same extent on the Continent, I'm unsure why.
Widely distributed ethnic groups are rather rare - people have a tendency to stay put (with some spectacular exceptions during some periods, obviously)...
True. Which is of course another way the Jews are unique.
The Japanese are probably almost identical genetically to the Japanese of 2000 years ago, since nobody invaded Japan. (Except the Mongols, and it didn’t work out well for them.)
The Chinese probably much less so.
But the Jews were one of many small peoples around the eastern end of the Med. Where are the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites? Where are the Arameans and Chaldeans?
They’re gone, but the Jews are still here. To my mind, anyway, this is pretty much proof of something unique about them.
There are still Egyptians in Egypt and Greeks in Greece, but they don’t have much of anything in common with those who lived in those lands 3000 or 5000 years ago. So are they still “the same people” in the way the Jews and (possibly) the Chinese are?
That struck me too. What is he talking about?
For example, there's a movement now to reconstruct how English was actually pronounced in Shakespeare's time, and they're actually putting on plays in what they call "original pronunciation."
It sounds like the way movie pirates talk -- "war" for example is "waaahr", like the pirates' "aaarrrr!" One of the ways to try to reconstruct the pronunciation is to take old poems, like Shakespeare's sonnets, and assume that the words really do rhyme, where they don't rhyme in today's language. (I noticed the lack of rhymes when I was a kid, and wondered why. Apparently it's due to pronunciation changes.)
Anyway, the original pronunciation experts say the modern upper class British pronunciation only dates from the last 200 or 250 years. In Shakespeare's time there was no "upper class" pronunciation.
But if that's true, it would seem that "lower-class" eveolutionary genetic distinctions, if any, could hardly go back much more than say 250 years.
It was when the English language moved its vowels.
A couple of thoughts on this - I have heard that the English spoke in Appalachia (among the most heavily accented and that may all be being lost due to TV, etc.) is close to the English spoken in Shakespeare’s time. I have no idea if this is true, but I’ve heard it many times.
It does make sense to think the words in a poem would rhyme, I will say that!
Another thing, I watched that movie “gangs of new york” which takes place in the mid-1800s. I complained to my friend about the characters “noo yawk” accents, but she told me that it was actually historically accurate that the new york accent we know and love was actually that old.
How anyone knows this in the era before recording I have no clue!
Anyway, I figured it was impossible to ever know.
But then I heard about this idea of assuming that the old poems really did rhyme. Brilliant insight!
There are archaic words still spoken in Appalachia that go back that far but the structure and dialect are more Scottish. You have to go to the other end of Virginia and North Carolina to encounter spoken English with a structure and dialect that are very close to Elizabethan English, on isolated barrier islands and remote mainland communities on the bays and sounds. In NC, Hyde County is most associated with this. There’s an island in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia that’s well known for it as well, but the name of that island escapes me at the moment. Famous for shellfish I think, residents put out crab pots and such for a livelihood.
That makes sense, thanks for explaining it. Although you are right why would it not have occurred on the continent. But is that really “evolution”?
By law. Primogeniture law. Younger sons did not inherit, only the firstborn. This also drove many younger sons of minor nobility and merchants to the colonies. Many indentured themselves willingly. They had a word for doing this but can't recall it.
I guess that depends on your definitions.
It’s certainly differential survival of groups, but that might not result in real evolution unless those groups were significantly different from each other to begin with.
As I said, I’m a little vague on the details of the idea, but it seems to be based on the notion that the English upper classes of 1300 were genetically more competent than the lower classes. Which is at minimum a debatable proposition
The article seemed to be implying a divergence of genetic profiles between upper and lower classes, which I don't think makes sense.
Here's a review that I think makes a lot more sense than the book does.
Historically, rich people always had more surviving children than poor people. Rich people never starved, always had good clothing, and got better medical care. (To the extent there was any such thing.)
So it's likely that rich people throughout history have generally been more successful at reproducing their genes. Especially because upper-class men have generally had a lot more children than those borne by their wives.
Unless I’m mistaken, primogeniture applied to landed estates, not other forms of property.
Of course, in the earlier days we’re talking about, that would have been a distinction without much difference, since there wasn’t much in the way of other types of property.
Interestingly, when Anglicans dominated Ireland, they enforced equal division between his sons of the inheritance of a Catholic. Unless one of them converted, in which case he got it all.
Younger sons of nobles and gentry often had a commission purchased for them in the Army or Navy, or went into the Church.
In Catholic countries that generally meant their genes disappeared. In Protestant countries the clergy was often quite prolific.
Gentry and merchants often bought younger sons an apprenticeship in some trade, in which they could become journeymen and eventually masters. An apprenticeship, at least in one of the more desirable guilds, was expensive, and was viewed as the rough equivalent today of sending a child to college.
“Which is at minimum a debatable proposition”
Yes, I’m not sure those groups (one quite large, the other rather small) were different enough that differences in mortality can’t be explained by circumstances (food, shelter, etc.) rather than genetics.
I’m not sure about that for any group in historical memory actually.
The new tool also has implications when it comes to the study of the geographical origin of certain populations, such as the Roma Gypsies or European Jews. In fact, Dr. Elhaik believes that GPS may significantly alter our perception of ethnicity. "It is impossible for any of us to tick one box on a form such as White British or African as we are much [more] complex models with our own unique identities," he said. "The notion of race is simply not plausible."
For obvious reasons, there is no effective firewall between the two -- no matter how properly the social niceties are observed in choices of marriage partners, there are too many opportunities for hanky-panky between the gentry and the hired help.
Jews are a distinct group who are not (and I doubt they really see themselves as) White.
The Jews survive because they always as “is it good for the Jews?” unlike Whites who always ask “is it good for everyone else?”
Jews will viciously attack anyone who threatens (or even questions) their interests; Whites will invite hostile aliens into to their countries and hand over control.
Their high intelligence and intellectual aggressiveness allow them make best use of that ethnocentric outlook. That is why we have the American Israel Public Affairs Committee but not the American British Public Affairs Committee which would make much more sense given our historical, cultural, linguistic, and racial connections to Britain.
If Whites Westerners were to adopt the same attitudes we would not have many of the problems we do. It is interesting that Jews like Chuck Schumer for the Democrats and Sheldon Adelson for the Republicans push strongly for open borders for us but want to preserve the particular ethnic makeup of Israel.
These attitudes are why Jews survive and White nations are dying. We would do well to adopt these attitudes for ourselves.