The struggle of the Left with Darwin

The most succinct precis of Nicholas Wade’s new book I have found has been in City Journal. It sets out Wade’s arguments and draws attention to the fight that biological realism has with the political Left, which strongly desires that man have no nature, and if he has no nature, then he is capable of endless reformation under the wise guidance of – who else? – the political Left.

But if man is the product of evolutionary forces (in part or in whole), and that these forces have acted and continue to act on our genome, so that we are really different from one another, then, despite our biological unity as a species, humans have evolved into different races, ethnicities, and tribes, and hence are significantly inclined to different social behaviours as races, ethnicities and tribes..

Which is heresy to those who think race is a social construct. The future is not going to be kind to Marxism.

Stephen Malanga, citing Wade, writes:

Geneticists now estimate that about 14 percent of the human genome has changed under evolutionary pressures over the last 30,000 years, forging differences among us. Some scientists have discounted these changes as insignificant and merely cosmetic, but as Wade asserts, small shifts in isolated populations can produce enormous transformations over time in behavior, and hence in entire societies.

 

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Genstruct

99% of the human genome is shared by every single human. There is zero variability in that 99%.

Of the 1% remaining, 85% of the variability can be found in a given population. Less than 10% of that remaining distinguishes populations.

This means you are 8 – 16 times more similar to a members of a different ‘race’ than you are potentially to members of yours.

It’s a social construct.

And wade is a reporter, not a geneticist.

Dollops - Eric Doll

Thank you Genstruct. Now what is the variability among races of the bigotry gene? It dismays that so many buy into the superior race kampf.

Dalwhinnie

Genstruct: read the book. You remind me of that Cardinal who refused on principle to look through Galileo’s telescope lest his mind be informed of knowledge contrary to Aristotle.

The human species is one; despite this, the variation of alleles allows geneticists to identify people by race and ethnicity. Take the National Geographic genome test for $200 and see for yourself to whom you are most closely related. If you still wish to maintain that race is a social construct, how then is it possible to identify your forebears? By race, by geographic and migration origin, by percentage of modern human, Neanderthal and Denisovan? Is all this genetic analysis mistaken?

And if we can be so identified to any competent DNA analysis, what then is the prospect that despite our unity as a species, we are actually different in social behaviours, in part because of genetic differences? That is the question Wade poses. And yes he is a science reporter, but he shows a greater understanding of what we know as facts since the year 2000 than those who blindly react to him.

As to Dollops, I think you are not even wrong, in that you do not understand that Genstruct takes a wholly different position from what you appear to believe he takes. Genstruct is not arguing for racial superiority of anyone, he is arguing that race is a social construct. In that he is merely mistaken.

Dalwhinnie

Wade is arguing for an interplay between genetic variation and cultural behaviour. It is a plausible argument. He may be wrong, he may be largely right, but to treat his arguments as pure heresy shows a heresy-sniffer at work.

Genstruct

You’re able to find out your ancestry because there are genetic markers, specific to regions, but this doesn’t diminish the fact that there is around 20x more variation *within* a population than across a population. You can also establish markers for predisposition to various types of cancer, but there is no ‘predisposition-to-cancer’ race. The genetic argument for race basically boils down to that though.

And arguing that there is an interplay between genetic variation and cultural behaviour is essentially unfalsifiable. We know there are two things that cause variation, nature and nurture. Saying that both of these determine variation, and then calling specific types of variation ‘race’ doesn’t actually make any falsifiable predictions. You can move the goalposts to wherever you want with a hypothesis like that. Besides, nobody who would argue that race is a social construct would argue that there isn’t both genetic and cultural variation…

Dalwhinnie

This old canard: “20x more variation within a population”. See Wade at page 97, citing Neil Risch, a population geneticist at University of California: “Genetic differentiation is greatest when defined on a continental basis.Effectively, these population genetic studies have recapitulated the classical definition of races based on continental ancestry”.

I will tell you one thing which has been falsified by modern genetic findings, and it is the relevant falsification: that idea of Ashley Montagu, Franz Boas, Richard Lewontin, Stephen Jay Gould and other Jewish progressives of the mid-20th century that said that race is witchcraft, demonology, nonsense, of no scientific interest and importance, with no genetic underpinning.

Whether genes and culture interact to form the underpinning of distinct social behaviours is of great interest and importance.

You write: “Besides, nobody who would argue that race is a social construct would argue that there isn’t both genetic and cultural variation…” Well, they did so argue. You are giving away the game when you admit the interplay of genetic with cultural, not that I mind. They erected a profound ideological barrier around thinking accurately about race, a barrier you are still defending with false or irrelevant arguments.

Genstruct

The problem with the genetic basis for ‘race’ is definition. There is a lot of hand-waving and fairy tales about a succinct delineating of what a specific ‘race’ is, but at the end, if you’re arguing from a genetic standpoint, you need to provide sufficient definition.

The only genetic argument for race would be something like ‘people with genetic markers X,Y,Z, which are specific to individuals from that region’. This is possible, and how we trace ancestry. The problem though is that if our genetic definition of race is confined to a cluster of a few genetic traits, then it follows that any consistent cluster of n number of traits is sufficient to demarcate a group that is equivalent to a race, in terms of the definition.

But nobody talks about the ‘susceptibility to cancer’ race, because it doesn’t resonate with the social category ‘race’.

Also, read Long and Kittles, 2003. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14655871) — they find that in some African populations, around 100% of variation exists, meaning that there is about as much genetic variability in these populations, as there is everywhere else. Are these populations then some kind of uber race, that contain all the races?

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