originally posted on 05/06. latest update on 05/20 @4:40 p.m. (pdt). ten new links + one tweet from today at bottom of first section. click here to go directly to them.
i thought i’d compile a festival of links to reviews/commentaries/blogposts/tweets/etc. related to nicholas wade‘s new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. i’ll keep adding to this list as the week goes forward. (keep in mind, though, that’s there’s more to human biodiversity than just racial differences…):
– “Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle.” – nicholas wade in A Troublesome Inheritance.
– quote from nicholas wade from this interview: “I think it would be only to the good if we understood what part of our behavior had a genetic component, ’cause then we could focus our efforts, to the extent it might be relevant, on the remedial efforts that would reduce inequities.”
– read an excerpt at penguin books: New Nonfiction: A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History by Nicholas Wade.
– The Liberal Creationists from steve sailer – “To Wade, race isn’t just skin deep. In fact, he finds the visual differences between races less significant than the behavioral. Evolution’s strategy for adapting to radically different environments is to ‘keep the human body much the same but change the social behavior….’ Wade observes: ‘African populations have not gone through the same Malthusian wringer that shaped the behavior of the European and East Asian populations. Between 1200 and 1800, the English, adapting to the harsh pressures of an intense agrarian economy, became less violent, more literate and more willing to save for the future. In Africa, population pressure has long been much lower than in Europe and Asia….’ European cultures tried to keep population below the famine level by inculcating the sexual restraint and romantic choosiness conducive to relatively late marriages, while East Asian cultures cultivated grinding work ethics. In most of tropical Africa, however, the infectious disease burden was so lethal that dense populations could not be achieved due to epidemics. So the population could not form cities, nor even fully farm the countryside. The big danger in Africa was not Malthusian overpopulation, but underpopulation, which may account for how sexualized their cultures are. Not surprisingly, each continent’s culture seems to have bred people befitting its environment, and their traits live on in their descendants in modern America.”
– see also Charles Murray on Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” and “A Couple of Wild-Eyed Wackos: Me and the NYT” from steve sailer.
– John Derbyshire On Nicholas Wade’s A TROUBLESOME INHERITANCE – A Small, But Significant, Step For Race Realism – “In his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, scheduled for publication May 6th, Wade raises high the banner of race realism and charges head-on into the massed ranks of the SSSM. He states his major premise up front, on page two: ‘New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.’ Those last four words are repeated at intervals throughout the narrative. They are, as it were, the keynote of the book; Wade returns to them many times to anchor his observations — and some speculations — on the history and development of human societies.”
– A Troublesome Inheritance from greg cochran – “Nicholas Wade has a new book out, on the reality of human biological differences. Not just differences in color, but differences in traits that have social consequences, such as personality and cognition. The existence of such differences is obvious enough, and there’s nothing theoretically difficult about them – natural selection naturally takes a different course in different circumstances, nor does it take very long to generate differences of the kind and magnitude we see around us…. He thinks that different populations have different distributions of personality traits (a result of different selection pressures), and that a social institution that comes easily to some groups may not come easily, maybe not at all, to other populations, even when there are big payoffs and vigorous attempts. That is certainly what the world looks like. He thinks that this failure-to-copy is significantly influenced by genetic differences, and of course that’s very likely – although we don’t know a lot about the genetic basis of such traits at this time. IQ differences must also play a part in failure-to-copy.”
– Darwin’s Unexploded Bomb from ed west – “This book’s ideas are indeed fraught but beyond carefully explaining the dangers of misusing science, the consequences are not for scientists to ponder, but rather lawmakers and others of influence; they can choose either to consider the evidence and make things work as best as they can, using what knowledge we have, or they can continue to ignore the ticking of Darwin’s unexploded bomb, punishing anyone who raises the subject. This hostility faced by those with troublesome ideas is, of course, itself explained by evolution. As Wade mentions earlier on, we are social creatures, and we have evolved behaviours to live as such: ‘One is a tendency to criticise, and if necessary punish, those who do not follow the agreed norms.’ That is partly why, as a species, we find it easier to talk about how the world should be, rather than how it is.”
– Book Review: ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ by Nicholas Wade from charles murray – “To date, studies of Caucasians, Asians and sub-Saharan Africans have found that of the hundreds of genetic regions under selection, about 75% to 80% are under selection in only one race. We also know that the genes in these regions affect more than cosmetic variations in appearance. Some of them involve brain function, which in turn could be implicated in a cascade of effects. ‘What these genes do within the brain is largely unknown,’ Mr. Wade writes. ‘But the findings establish the obvious truth that brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene….’ As the story is untangled, it will also become obvious how inappropriate it is to talk in terms of the ‘inferiority’ or ‘superiority’ of groups. Consider, for example, the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. What are the ideal points on these continua? They will differ depending on whether you’re looking for the paragon of, say, a parent or an entrepreneur. And the Big Five only begin to tap the dozens of ways in which human traits express themselves. Individual human beings are complicated bundles of talents, proclivities, strengths and flaws that interact to produce unexpected and even internally contradictory results. The statistical tendencies (and they will be only tendencies) that differentiate groups of humans will be just as impossible to add up as the qualities of an individual. *Vive les différences*.”
– Nicholas Wade Takes on the Regime from jared taylor – “The physical differences we see in human groups reflect separate evolutionary paths that led to unmistakably biological differences. Hunter-gatherers left Africa about 50,000 years ago, and once they wandered into all of earth’s habitable spaces, they stayed put and bred with their neighbors. DNA testing shows there was essentially no crossing until the modern era. For tens of thousands of years, independently breeding populations developed distinct genetic patterns. Mr. Wade explains that the physical traits of populations are dramatically and consistently different even though there are very few alleles, or gene variants, that occur exclusively in only one group. This is because most traits are influenced by many genes. Norwegians, for example, need have only a *preponderance* of Norwegian-style alleles in their genes in order to give birth exclusively to Norwegians — and never to Malays or Pakistanis. As Mr. Wade puts it, ‘The fact that genes work in combination explains how there can be so much variation in the human population and yet so few fixed differences between populations….’ Mr. Wade’s boldest assertion: that different races behave differently because they are genetically different and genetic differences give rise to differences in social institutions. He is at pains to argue that the genetic differences are small — so small that they are almost undetectable at the individual level — but that once a group has been nudged even slightly in a particular genetic direction it may be receptive to institutions that completely change the nature of society. Mr. Wade cites one study that estimates fully 14 percent of the human genome has been under evolutionary pressure since the races separated, and that substantial differences are therefore inevitable…. Mr. Wade makes the crucial point that what is known as ‘national character’ is undoubtedly genetic, and that is why group behavior is consistent. Jews prosper everywhere they go. So do overseas Chinese. If the Malays and Indonesians envy the success of their Chinese minorities, why don’t they just copy their good habits? Mr. Wade argues that they can’t; they don’t have the genetic predisposition to act Chinese.”
– see also A Troublesome Inheritance from jared taylor.
– american anthropological association webinar with nicholas wade and anthropologist agustin fuentes discussing the new book/topic. (i haven’t listened to this yet.)
– Race Is Real. What Does that Mean for Society? from robert verbruggen @real clear science – “[A]s Wade notes, these small differences add up quickly, and scientists can use these ‘ancestry informative’ DNA markers to easily sort humans into population clusters — clusters that correspond almost perfectly to the casual classifications people have used since well before the genetic age. One can debate how broadly or narrowly to define the clusters — just how many races are there? — but it’s undeniable that human populations exhibit distinctive genetic patterns. Racial groupings are human decisions, and so is the social importance we attach to those groupings. But race, more broadly construed, is a feature of humanity itself. The big question is what these genes do — when natural selection acted, what exactly was being selected for? Researchers have figured some of it out; genetic differences account for racial differences in skin tone, resistance to malaria, etc. But for many genes that have apparently been subject to recent natural selection, all we have are vague indications of their function. Wade writes that these genes affect ‘fertilization and reproduction,’ ‘skeletal development,’ and ‘brain function’ — and no, ‘brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection.’ That’s what we know to a reasonable degree of certainty. Anything further requires speculation, and Wade boldly goes there.”
– The Trouble with Inheritance: A Review of Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance from bryce laliberte – “In the latter half he elaborates on the essential thesis that ‘Follow an institution all the way down, and beneath thick layers of culture, it is built on instinctual human behaviors.’ This at once acknowledges the role of society in developing the individual, but just like how a structure depends on its material, the society you will have depends in great part on the social material. The distribution of traits in a population cannot be discounted when inquiring as to the cause of social outcomes. Some people are rich, some people are poor, and many of them just are innately that way. The naïve view of any average person who lived from the 19th century or before that some people were just different has turned out to be true. This is important because it is *despite* an intensive and powerful investment by Western society in nearly all of the endeavors in the 20th century which were predicated on the notion that all peoples everywhere were essentially the same.”
– Get ready for Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” @savage minds – “Nicholas Wade’s new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, drops on Amazon today. Wade, a science writer for the New York Times, has been critical of cultural anthropology in the past — and the feeling has pretty much been mutual. Inheritance is set to create a ground swell of indignation in the anthropological community because it is one of the most biologically reductionist writings to come out in years. The AAA has, to its credit, been on top of the issue and has hosted a showdown between Wade and Augustín Fuentes. Expect more coverage from us, including a couple of guest blogs, in the next couple of months…. As this moves forward I hope people punch above the belt. It shouldn’t be hard, since Wade is such an easy target.“ – oohhh-kay. =/
– Race, Genetics, And Nicholas Wade from rod dreher.
– T-shirt slogans #9 @outside in. (~_^)
– Genetic disorder from anthony daniels (this one, NOT this one!) – “Nicholas Wade, the science editor of The New York Times, has written a book that will no doubt win him many brickbats. In it, he argues that race is a perfectly valid scientific concept and one that is supported by the latest genetic science. It is no criticism of race as a biological concept, he says, that races have no clear boundaries and that gradations between them obviously exist, for if clear boundaries existed and the races could not interbreed, they would be different species, not races. A race is a population of a single species with a cluster of genetic variants, the presence of none of which is either a necessary or a sufficient condition of being a member of that race, but which nevertheless in aggregate gives that population distinguishing characteristics. According to the author, there are five basic races of man, as revealed by the clustering of genetic variants: African, Caucasian (including Semitic and South Asian), East Asian, Amerindian, and Australian. There are also sub-variants within the races: for example Ashkenazi Jews, who are Caucasians but have managed for cultural reasons to maintain a genetic profile of their own. Furthermore, he says that race is of some explanatory value in world history, for the races evolved under different environmental pressures, and it is reasonable to suppose that these pressures gave rise to different psychological, as well as physical, characteristics. For example, the hypotheses that Chinese geography (unlike European) favored the emergence of a centralized state; that this necessitated the development of a powerful bureaucracy; that the kind of person who flourishes economically in such a bureaucracy, more of whose children survive to pass on their genes, is intelligent but conformist; and that therefore the Chinese are genetically more intelligent but by nature more conformist than Europeans. In point of scientific inventiveness, the effect of their conformism more than cancels out that of their superior IQ, which is why East Asian societies are still not scientific powerhouses. Fourteen percent of the human genome, says the author, has been subject to ‘evolution that has been recent, copious, and regional’ — not enough to divide humanity into species, but enough to make physical and mental differences between populations. In view of the potentially explosive nature of these claims, the author is at pains to point out that no policy prescription follows from them, certainly not exploitation or genocide of one race by another. Political equality is an ethical or metaphysical concept, not one that relies for its validity on an empirical fact other than that mankind is a single species. That the concept of race has been used to justify the most hideous of crimes should no more inhibit us from examining it dispassionately as a biological and historical reality than the fact that economic egalitarianism has been used to justify crimes just as hideous should inhibit us from examining the effects of modern income distribution.”
– Nicholas Wade Writes Again – And Again Anthropology Pays Attention from tony waters @ethnography.com – “Nicholas Wade has a new book out, and the Anthropologists are sharpening their indignation — complaining because he treads on their private territory. Sorry, anthro, you are not medicine or law, and do not have a monopoly over who practices what you preach. Let it go. Sometimes I think that the entire discipline is beset by a big-time inferiority complex. The solution? Simply do good anthropology, and more importantly, promote good anthropology…. Strawmen. Are. Not. Worth. Class. Time. Of. Which. There. Is. Too Little.”
– see also Nicholas Wade, Jared Diamond and Anthropology from tony waters.
– The Paradox of Racism – “Why the new book by the New York Times’ Nicholas Wade is both plausible and preposterous.” – from andrew gelman – “Wade’s argument has three parts: First, along with the divergence of physical traits such as skin color and types of earwax, racial groups have genetically evolved to differ in cognitive traits such as intelligence and creativity. Second, Wade argues that ‘minor differences, for the most part invisible in an individual, have major consequences at the level of a society.’ Third, he writes that his views are uncomfortable truths that have been suppressed by a left-wing social-science establishment…. Wade is clearly intelligent and thoughtful, and his book is informed by the latest research in genetics. His explanations seem to me simultaneously plausible and preposterous: plausible in that they snap into place to explain the world as it currently is, preposterous in that I think if he were writing in other time periods, he could come up with similarly plausible, but completely different, stories. As a statistician and political scientist, I see naivete in Wade’s quickness to assume a genetic association for any change in social behavior…. [i’m sure he doesn’t. – h.chick] I can’t say that Wade’s theories are wrong. As noted above, racial explanations of *current* social and economic inequality are compelling, in part because it is always natural to attribute individuals’ successes and failures to their individual traits, and to attribute the successes and failures of larger societies to group characteristics. And genes provide a mechanism that supplies a particularly flexible set of explanations when linked to culture…. But I think the themes of a book like Wade’s are necessarily contingent both on the era when it is written and the audience to which it is addressed…. The racial explanation tuned to our social group and our time period will look oh so reasonable, while all the others will just look silly, like either historical relics or desperate attempts to shore up the status quo…. I feel awkward giving this conclusion because it seems so *relativistic*, it makes me feel like such a *social scientist*. And I certainly don’t want to say that all racial arguments are equally valid. The theories of the book under discussion, for example, seem much more plausible than various crude racisms of the past. But that returns us to the paradox that today’s racism seems plausible in comparison to what came before. At any given time, racial explanations are a convenient and natural way to explain social economic inequality. Then, as relations between and within societies change, the racial explanations change alongside. The terms of race are simply too flexible given the limited information we have regarding the connections between genes and behavior.”
– First Mainstream Notice of ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ – jayman’s response to gelman’s review.
– nicholas wade, theories, and racism – my response to gelman’s review.
– Gelman on “A Troublesome Inheritance” in Slate – steve sailer on gelman’s review.
– Nicholas Wade and the paradox of racism – more (nonsense) from andrew gelman. – “One thing that the economists and the racists can agree on, though, is to hate on anthropology. So there should be some room for common ground here.” – “and the racists.” because nicholas wade is a racist. NOT!
– What I’ve Been Reading from ross douthat – “Nicholas Wade, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.’ The Times’ science correspondent’s argument for the reality and importance of race is both less and more controversial than I expected going in: Less because my colleague treads very carefully around the black-white-Asian I.Q. gap debate, more because he then embarks on some very wide-ranging and (as he acknowledges) speculative theorizing about genes, race, and cross-civilizational differences. I found the less-speculative first half of the book extremely persuasive, but await dissenting takes. Most of the reviews so far have come from the political right: Charles Murray raves, Robert VerBruggen has some anxieties; Anthony Daniels critiques. I would very much like to read a Ta-Nehisi Coates review.”
– Nicholas Wade’s *A Troublesome Inheritance* from tyler cowen – “Overall I was disappointed by my read of this book and I write that as someone who very much has liked Wade’s NYT pieces on similar topics. I appreciated the honesty and courage of the work, but I felt Wade needed to have pushed deeper in book-length form.”
– What I’m Reading from arnold kling – “It’s the book that you’re *not* supposed to read. A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade.”
– Nicholas Wade interview: A Troublesome Inheritance @steve hsu’s blog. steve offers a couple of brief thoughts, too.
– An interview with Nicholas Wade @american scientist – “‘[I]t’s bizarre, when you think of it, that people who wish to understand psychology in evolutionary terms need to call themselves “evolutionary psychologists.” It’s as if you have one group of chemists who believe in the table of elements and another that didn’t — the first don’t have to call themselves Mendeleevian chemists.'”
– Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance': race, genes and success – an interview @cbc radio. – “Over the last few decades a consensus has been reached over the controversial topic of race. Mapping the genome has taught us that genetically, humans are 99.9 percent identical and that there is no biological difference between races. But a new book, called A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, reopens that debate. In it, author Nicholas Wade argues there is a biological base for race, and speculates there is a genetic reason why some races are more successful than others. Brent speaks with Nicholas Wade about his controversial ideas, and with a critic of the book, Stanford medical anthropologist Duana Fullwiley.” (haven’t listened to this yet.)
– What Science Says About Race and Genetics in Time from nicholas wade – “Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not of science. That said, it is hard to see anything in the new understanding of race that gives ammunition to racists. The reverse is the case. Exploration of the genome has shown that all humans, whatever their race, share the same set of genes. Each gene exists in a variety of alternative forms known as alleles, so one might suppose that races have distinguishing alleles, but even this is not the case. A few alleles have highly skewed distributions but these do not suffice to explain the difference between races. The difference between races seems to rest on the subtle matter of relative allele frequencies. The overwhelming verdict of the genome is to declare the basic unity of humankind.”
– What if race is more than a social construct? from margaret wente (h/t 420blazeitfgt!) – “Part of his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is a summary of new findings in genetic science, and part of it is highly speculative. All of it is bound to be deeply unpopular among social scientists, because it challenges their entrenched belief that race is nothing more than a social construct. The wide diversity in human societies around the world can be explained entirely by culture, they insist. We’re all the same under the skin. Except we’re not quite. Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, evidence of subtle genetic differences has been piling up. As our ancestors branched out of Africa, different groups of people evolved in slightly different ways to adapt to local conditions. The most successful of those people passed on their adaptations to their offspring. The variations in human DNA correspond quite precisely to what we think of as the major races. They are associated not just with differences in hair and skin colour, but also with a range of other physical and (probably) behavioural traits. Another astonishing fact is that 14 per cent of the human genome has been under natural selection strong enough to be detectable. The evidence also shows that evolution can proceed remarkably quickly, and has never stopped.”
– Humans are not all the same under the skin from matt ridley (h/t chris!) – “For the first half of the last century, science generally exaggerated stereotypes of racial difference in behaviour and assumed that they were innate and immutable. For the second half, science generally asserted that there were no differences — save the obvious, visible ones — and used this argument to combat prejudice. Yet that second premise is becoming increasingly untenable in the genomic era as more details emerge of human genetic diversity.” – behind paywall.
– Genetic theory of West’s rise is denounced as racist (h/t chris!) – “A book claiming that genetics lies behind the emergence of Europe and parts of Asia as economic powerhouses has been widely criticised by scientists.” — really? i wonder where? there are hardly any reviews of it out there at all, afaik. article behind paywall.
– Nicholas Wade Interview – A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History from luke ford (h/t steve sailer!) – “‘I think the biggest challenge was that I had so few scientific sources to guide me in interpretation because this is an area where academics cannot tread for fear of being accused of racism and careers destroyed. All of the coverage of this topic in the scientific literature has the basic facts but few people draw them together. So I found the lack of guidance difficult, even more so when I came to the second part of the book. Historians and economics just never consider human evolution as a variable. They just assume all of the populations they are dealing with are interchangeable and that natural selection never need be an explanation to even consider. So there again, there was no guidance for someone trying to figure out the possible consequences of the fact that human evolution has continued and has never come to a stop.'”
– The hbd delusion from p.z. myers – “I considered reading his book, just to tear it up, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort, from the reviews — it’s just another collection of anecdotes dressed up with Wade’s sloppy understanding of genes.”
– Human Biodiversity Supports the Natural Right to Equal Liberty from larry arnhart – “Modern social scientists are afraid of such a Darwinian social science because they are afraid that it promotes two great evils — exism and racism. Wade’s book is part of a new intellectual movement to allay this fear by arguing that a Darwinian science of sexual and racial differences is both scientifically grounded and morally defensible, and that it does not support sexism or racism. I would also argue that this Darwinian science of human nature and human diversity sustains the classical liberal principle that all human beings have a natural right to equal liberty.” – hear, hear!
– Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology @biopolitical times – “Wade insists that his intent is absolutely not racist: ‘I think it’s best to say that racism is wrong as a matter of principle, as a matter of absolute principle, and that way you don’t care what the science says, because you’re not going to change your mind about your principles.'” – exactly!
– Off-Topic Comments, and Nick Wade’s Book from razib (emphases from razib, too) – “Human populations vary, and that variation matters. Human populations have specific historical backgrounds, and phylogenetics can capture that history through methods of inference. Moving from phylogenetics to population genetics, there is the question about whether population-genetic dynamics such as migration, drift, mutation, and selection have resulted in significant variation across human populations. Yes, they have. Human populations have significant functional differences which track regional adaptation, and also correlate to an extent with racial clusters, and phylogenetic history. The details here are empirical, and you need to take into account what we’re learning about human demographic history to make sense of how and when adaptation occurred. This where the controversial aspects of Wade’s book come in, because he argues that there are behavioral differences across populations due to distinctive evolutionary histories. Complex traits like behavior are often subject to numerous upstream causal variations, so untying the knot is not easy. But I don’t think it’s impossible, and I suspect there are indeed behavioral differences between populations due to genetic differences between populations. The problem is that we haven’t really done enough research in this area to talk about the genetics of it in anything more than a speculative fashion, and complex traits which are less controversial and more tractable than behavior or cognition, such as height, have already presented difficulties for researchers despite extensive devotion of resources.” – right. but, afaics, there’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as one is clear that it is speculation — and wade is very clear about that in the book.
– The Genes Made Us Do It from jonathan marks – “[I]n concert with that understanding of human evolution, immigrant studies show that people can fully adopt any different way of life in a generation or two. Names change, accents disappear and economic advancement over time seems to make the newcomers look just a bit less alien and threatening.”
– More “Misdreavus” Wisdom: ala A Troublesome Inheritance – comments on marks’ above review from both misdreavus and jayman.
– Human Biodiversity (2): The Genetic Evolution of Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues? from larry arnhart. – “Wade admits that ‘because the genes underlying social behavior are for the most part unknown, the parallel and independent evolution of such genes in the various races cannot be demonstrated’ (85). Throughout Wade’s book, he concedes that he cannot prove his case because genetic knowledge is too limited (see, for example, pages 4, 15, 40-41, 51-54, 56-57, 58, 61, 64, 105-106, 127, 172, 185, 190, 208, 237-38, 243-44). Consequently, much of his reasoning – particularly in the second half of the book — depends on highly speculative guesses as to what is happening at the genetic level to support his conclusions. The best that he can do is to try to persuade us that his speculations are plausible enough that they will be confirmed sometime in the future by advances in genetic science.”
– De IQ discussie. Nature wint. from joost niemöller. – in dutch (just in case you maybe thought your browser wasn’t rendering this text correctly (~_^) ).
– Genetics, gender and race – how will social policy cope with recent scientific discoveries? @rgambler – “The more we look, the more genetic variation we will find between races, as well as between individuals. We had therefore better get used to the idea and consider how human society and political policy will deal with these discoveries. Before discussing the explosive and vitriolic subject of genetics, sex and race we should first emphasise the strong arguments against sexual or racial discrimination. Genetic variation just gives tendencies in ability and behaviour at a population level. We cannot predict the behaviour and ability of individuals. There is so much overlap between different sexes and races regarding their different abilities (strengths and weaknesses) that any discrimination, against any individual, on any terms, is not in society’s best interest. It is in our interest as a society that we have the best people in the right jobs. We all benefit from a genuine meritocracy. Discrimination is also just clearly morally wrong. So there should be no discrimination based on colour, class or sex. But this includes ‘positive’ discrimination too. We should not be giving people a leg up because of a perceived injustice unless we can prove beyond doubt that they really have been disadvantaged.”
– “A Troublesome Inheritance” and the Hate Squad from steve sailer. – “Nobody ever said that figuring out what part is nature and what part is nurture is easy: that’s why it’s the Big Leagues of intellectual life.”
– Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology from pete shanks @psychology today – “Wade’s new book is promoted by racists, though he calls racism wrong.”
– Nicholas Wade vs. the anthropologists – from j. arthur bloom. – “Reading a review like Jon Marks on A Troublesome Inheritance, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that refusing to consider the implications of Wade’s argument has everything to do with protecting the academic turf anthropologists have carved out, and nothing to do with scientific inquiry or truth. It would be one thing if Marks just thought Wade was wrong; he’s a geneticist (as is Greg Cochran, who was also unnerved by some of the sources), Wade isn’t. But he doesn’t even bother to argue with the thing, he just calls it ‘idiocy,’ ‘fundamentally anti-intellectual,’ and ‘as crassly anti-science as any work of climate-change denial or creationism.'”
– Wade’s speculation disclaimer from steve sailer. not that anyone’s paying attention.
– Controversial Book Uses Genetics to Explain Western Dominance @breitbart london.
– Troublesome genetics and race – a good and fair review from tabitha powledge, although she overlooks the fact that wade did say [on pg. 15 of book] that the second half of the book was largely speculation. – “Nicholas Wade is brave, I suppose, stomping around where angels, not to mention lesser beings, have been reluctant even to tiptoe. Like the fine science writer he is, Wade explains in his just-published A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, that, yes, races do exist. And he lays out how and why. Race is a genetic fact, and has evolved quite recently. I am told this is an enormously controversial statement in some quarters. But I don’t operate in those quarters, and so this is not news to me. Nor, probably, to regular readers of GLP [genetic literacy project].”
– Things to Know When Talking About Race and Genetics from agustín fuentes, the guy who debated wade in the AAA webinar (linked to above). – “There are no genetic patterns that link all populations in just Africa, just Asia or just Europe to one another to the exclusion of other populations in other places.” – heh.
– IQ Denegrationism stopped in its tracks from dr. james thompson.
– Recent, Copious, and Regional @radix journal – “Jared Taylor and John Derbyshire join Richard [spencer] to discuss Nicholas Wade’s new book, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’, the response to it in the media and wider culture, and the future of race in America and the Occidental World.” (haven’t listened to this yet.)
– The 9 Most Influential Works of Scientific Racism, Ranked @io9 – galton, morton, cartwright, royer, linnaeus(!), charles murray, amy chua, margaret mead, and nicholas wade. heh.
– Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: John Derbyshire Reviews The Reviews – see also John Derbyshire On Wade vs. Cochran: A Correction and Arguing with Reviewers from greg cochran.
– What’s New Since Montagu? from steve hsu – “[W]hat about more complicated traits, such as height or cognitive ability or personality? All of these are known to be significantly heritable, through twin and adoption studies, as well as more modern methods. We can’t answer the question without understanding the specific genetic architecture of the trait. For example, are alleles that slightly increase height more common in one group than another? We need to know exactly which alleles affect height… But this is challenging as the traits I listed are almost certainly controlled by hundreds or thousands of genes. *Could population averages on these traits differ between groups, due to differences in allele frequencies? I know of no argument, taking into account the information above, showing that they could not.* In fact, in the case of height we are close to answering the question. We have identified hundreds of loci correlated to height. Detailed analysis suggests that the difference in average height between N and S Europeans (about one population SD, or a couple of inches) is partially genetic (N Europeans, on average, have a larger number of height increasing alleles than S Europeans), due to different selection pressures that the populations experienced in the recent past (i.e., past 10k years). Many who argue on Montagu’s side hold the prior belief that the ~ 50k years of isolation between continental populations would not be enough time for differential selection to produce group differences, particularly in complex traits governed by many loci. This is of course a quantitative question depending on strength of selection in different environments. The new results on height should cause them to reconsider their priors. It is fair to say that results on height, as well as on simpler traits such as lactose or altitude tolerance, are consistent with Wade’s theme that evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. Further extrapolation to behavioral and cognitive traits will require more data, but: 1) *The question is scientific — it can be answered with known methods….* 2) *There is no a priori argument, given what we currently know, that such differences cannot exist.* (Note this is NOT an argument that differences exist — merely that they might, and that we cannot exclude the possibility.)”
– Genes and Race: The Distant Footfalls of Evidence from ashutosh jogalekar @scientific american. – one of the best reviews so far! jogalekar seems to have actually read the book. – “In this book NYT science writer Nicholas Wade advances two simple premises: firstly, that we should stop looking only toward culture as a determinant of differences between populations and individuals, and secondly, that those who claim that race is only a social construct are ignoring increasingly important findings from modern genetics and science. The guiding thread throughout the book is that ‘human evolution is recent, copious and regional’ and that this has led to the genesis of distinct differences and classifications between human groups. What we do with this evidence should always be up for social debate, but the evidence itself cannot be ignored. That is basically the gist of the book. It’s worth noting at the outset that at no point does Wade downplay the effects of culture and environment in dictating social, cognitive or behavioral differences – in fact he mentions culture as an important factor at least ten times by my count – but all he is saying is that, based on a variety of scientific studies enabled by the explosive recent growth of genomics and sequencing, we need to now recognize a strong genetic component to these differences…. Overall I found this book extremely well-researched, thoughtfully written and objectively argued. Wade draws on several sources, including the peer reviewed literature and work by other thinkers and scientists. The many researchers whose work Wade cites makes the writing authoritative; on the other hand, where speculation is warranted or noted he usually explicitly points it out as such. Some of these speculations such as the effects of genetics on the behavior of entire societies are quite far flung but I don’t see any reason why, based on what we do know about the spread of genes among groups, they should be dismissed out of hand. At the very least they serve as reasonable hypotheses to be pondered, thrashed out and tested. Science is about ideas, not answers. But the real lesson of the book should not be lost on us: A scientific topic cannot be declared off limits or whitewashed because its findings can be socially or politically controversial….”
– “It’s the people, stupid”: a review of Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” from dr. james thompson – “Wade misses the main point: freedom means that you should be able to find out what is true because finding the truth is intrinsically better than being mistaken. If, as seems likely, data emerges to show that there is a large genetic component in intellectual ability and that this varies between racial groups, this *could* be used for foul purposes. The Hutus might lay into the Tutsis (or the other way around, though it is generally the bright minority who get attacked) with renewed vigour once it is made clear that they are intrinsically brighter. Knowledge can be used to do bad things. The scientific ideal is that we should push on with discovery nonetheless, making sure that our results are presented soberly, with due reference to error terms and limitations. We must be clear that knowledge has risks, but that ignorance is worse.”
– New book on race by Nicholas Wade: Professor Ceiling Cat says paws down from jerry coyne. – “Wade’s discussion of genetically differentiated subgroups, whether or not you want to call them ‘races’ — is not too bad. Although there aren’t a fixed number of ‘races’, we can identify individual humans’ ancestry very well by using an *assemblage* of genes, and in some cases even identify the particular European village from which an individual’s grandparents came. The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and ‘races’ are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong…. I am not absolutely opposed to all work on genetic differences in behavior between ethnic groups, populations, and sexes. That is a kind of scientific taboo which, as Steve Pinker has noted, has been enforced by social opprobrium based on the possibility of racism or sexism. I think the proper stand is that it’s okay to study those questions that are interesting (but make sure you ask yourself *why* you find them interesting), and realize that a). we don’t know the outcomes, and b). the fundamental equalities of all groups and all sexes don’t depend on the results of such analyses.”
– Review of A Troublesome Inheritance – ANOTHER review from jonathan marks. he really doesn’t like this book.
– Troublesome Nick and the Timid Echoes of the Blank Slate from helian – “Typical reactions among those whose moral emotions have been aroused by such truths have been denial, vilification of the messenger, and the invention of straw men that are easier targets than the truth itself. All these reactions occurred in response to what is probably the most familiar example of an immoral truth; the fact that genes influence behavior, or, if you will, that there actually is such a thing as ‘human nature.’ In that case, denial took the form of the Blank Slate orthodoxy, which perverted and derailed progress in the behavioral sciences for more than half a century. The messengers were condemned, not only with the long since hackneyed accusation of racism, but with a host of other political and moral shortcomings. The most familiar straw man was, of course, the ‘genetic determinist.’ Predictably, the response to Wade’s book has been similar. Not so predictable has been the muted nature of that response. Compared to the vicious attacks on the messengers who debunked the Blank Slate, it has been pianissimo, and even apologetic. It would almost seem as if the current paragons of moral purity among us have actually been chastened by the collapse of that quasi-religious orthodoxy.”
– Race, genes and history – “DNA explains more than you think.” – nicholas wade in the spectator.
– Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Difference – Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ from arthur allen @the nyt. – “The central problem here is that if significant genetic-controlled behavioral differences exist among races, with scant (at most) exception they haven’t been discovered yet. To build a case with the evidence at hand requires a great deal of speculation, with the inevitable protrusion of the nonscientific worldview. Mr. Wade presents a few scattered genetic studies and attempts to weld them into a grand theory of global history for the past 50,000 years. Where Jared Diamond argued in ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ that environment and geography enabled Europe to develop a highly successful civilization, Mr. Wade says environmental pressures led to genetic differences that account for much of that advantage.”
– NYT review of “A Troublesome Inheritance” from steve sailer.
– Podcast: Race, genes and history, Nick Clegg’s war and the curious case of Mo Ansar – podcast @the specatator. – “Is there a link between race, genes and history? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, author Nicholas Wade discusses his Spectator cover feature on what the last 11 years of human genome decoding tells us about human evolution. Is it racist to combine the politics of race and genes? Is there a link between historical events, such as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and genetics? And does Nicholas expect to be ostracised for writing on this controversial topic?”
– Human Biodiversity (3): Nicholas Wade, Abraham Lincoln, and Racial Genetics from larry arnhart – “The debate over Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ reminds me of the debate over whether Abraham Lincoln was a racist. In contrast to the myth of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator, his critics insist, he was actually a racist and a white supremacist. The reason for this debate is that while Lincoln affirmed the principle of the equal right to self-government as stated in the Declaration of Independence, he also acknowledged racial differences that might prevent the races from living together on terms of perfect social and political equality, which for his critics is an expression of his racist bigotry. (This debate over Lincoln is well surveyed in John Barr’s new book — ‘Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present’ [LSU Press, 2014].) Similarly, Wade rejects the racist assertion that any race is so superior to any other as to have the right to rule others, and yet he also recognizes racial differences that are genetic, which his critics condemn as racism. The question in both debates is whether one can see the reality of racial differences without being a racist, or whether the only way to avoid the evil of racism is to deny that race is real. My answer to this question is that one can recognize racial differences, such that races will not be equal in all respects, while also recognizing that all human beings are by their nature equal in their right to self-government, so that no one has the right to rule over others without their consent; and consequently one can condemn racism as a violation of that equal right to self-government. This is clearly stated by Lincoln, and it’s implicit in Wade’s book.“
– An Interview with Nicholas Wade by bryce laliberte! (^_^) – “Social science should be the most interesting of all the sciences. So why are sociology journals so unreadable? I suspect it’s because they make no use of the theory of evolution, which should be the central unifying theory of their subject. In this sense at least, sociologists are like chemists who ignore Mendeleev’s periodic table.”
– Stretch Genes by h. allen orr @new york review of books. – “There is, however, another distinction that Wade doesn’t seem to appreciate at all. He’s right that political sensitivities shouldn’t distort scientific truth: the facts are the facts. But as Pinker notes, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be particularly careful when discussing race. History has shown that this is an especially dangerous subject, one that has resulted in enormous abuses.” – by that “logic” everybody should be equally cautious when discussing religion or politics or equal rights or territory rights or property rights or…just living on the planet! (see here.)
– Is Cultural Anthropology Really Disembodied? from monica heller president of the american anthropological association. – “But what really concerns me, in the end, is the force of theories of race and cultural evolution. The fictive naturalization of what are fundamentally relations of power is, actually, terrifying. It would be lovely to think that they are too silly to waste our time on, but Wade’s book shows that they are not going away any time soon, and that we need to redouble our efforts to show them up for what they are: attempts to justify inequality.” – yes. because that what wade has said over and over — that he wants to justify inequality. oh, wait: “I think it would be only to the good if we understood what part of our behavior had a genetic component, ’cause then we could focus our efforts, to the extent it might be relevant, on the remedial efforts that would reduce inequities.”
– Another Robert Chambers? from peter frost – “Are there questionable points in Wade’s book? Undoubtedly. But we should not wait until all issues are settled before we put pen to paper. Writing is a process where ideas are shared with a broader audience for debate. We may forget that ‘The Origin of Species’ was written without any knowledge of Mendelian genetics. We may also forget, or simply not know, that Darwin’s path to public acceptance was cleared by an earlier book: ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ (1844). Although its anonymous author, Robert Chambers, had no understanding of natural selection, he nonetheless played a key role in familiarizing the public with the fossil record and the reality of biological change over time.”
– Selection? Let Us Compute from razib khan – “Over at The New York Review of books H. Allen Orr has put up a reaction to ‘A troublesome inheritance’. It’s very similar to Jerry Coyne’s take, the part about science (e.g., population structure being non-trivial) is deemed acceptable, but speculations in the second half of the book are not as appreciated. This is not surprising, and seems typical for working population geneticists (though do note that R. A. Fisher’s ‘A Genetical Theory of Natural Selection’ has quite a big of sociological speculation in the second half).”
– Allen Orr slams Nicholas Wade’s new book from jerry coyne.
– A Troublesome Inheritance: Wading in the Zeitgeist from fred reed.
new – The Troublesome Ignorance of Nicholas Wade – from augustin fuentes. lots wrong with this: lewontin’s fallacy, epigentics. if you read this, make sure to read Phenotypes vs genetic statistics from greg cochran.
new – “Jews are adapted to capitalism”, and other nonsenses of the new scientific racism – “Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance argues that the genetic differences between racial groups explain why the West is rich and Africa is poor – but beneath the new science lies an old, dangerous lie.” – from ian steadman in the new statesman. i haven’t read this. to be honest with you, i’ve started to lose interest in these sorts of pieces.
new – Do Hume and Smith prove Wade wrong? – “Of course, the Scottish Enlightenment was a product of the Lowland Scots, who had been settled English speakers for a long, long time. Orr is getting them confused with the Gaelic-speaking Highland Scot clans. As Thomas Babington Macaulay vividly pointed out in his 1855 History of England, his Highlander ancestors tended to be more or less barbarians into the 18th Century.” – from steve sailer.
new – A Brief Interview with Nicholas Wade – “The principal criticism of the book so far is that my arguments for the impact of evolution on human social behavior are speculative. Since I point this out prominently in the introduction, I find it hard to see what these critics think they are adding to the discussion. Nor does it seem unreasonable to give the reader one’s best guess as to the likely consequences of recent human evolution. Critics of the book seem to accept that human evolution has indeed continued to the present day, but none has said what the consequences might be, if different from those that I suggest. So far I see no reason to have written the book differently.” – @theden.
new – Reviewing A Troublesome Inheritance – “Not many people are aware of this anymore, but the first country to demonstrate a link between smoking and lung cancer was Nazi Germany. This was not a case of research being conducted by good scientists, and being subsequently misused by racists. One of the purposes of this research, *at the time when it was being conducted*, was to support the belief that cancer was somehow linked to racial impurity, and to further the goal of creating a cancer-free and racially pure utopia. At this point in history, Nazi Germany was the only country researching the link between smoking and lung cancer, so as a scientific hypothesis this idea was inseparable from the Nazis’ racial ideology. The Nazis’ research in this area is summarized in Richard Proctor’s book The Nazi War on Cancer. Scientists in the United States and England eventually reproduced this research in the 1950s, despite the resulting moral outrage at their attempting to prove an idea originally used to support the Holocaust. The historical connection between anti-smoking research and Nazism continued to be an objection to public health measures in this area until the 1990s, as described in this paper. As the connection between smoking and lung cancer has entered the scientific mainstream, the United States seems to be slowly forgetting the racist roots of this idea, although they haven’t been forgotten in Germany. The moral objections in Marks’ review are objections that could have been made, and in some cases were made, to publicizing the connection between smoking and lung cancer in the second half of the twentieth century.”
new – Inheritance battles – “Author Nicholas Wade argues that human genetic differences have played a powerful role in the success and failure of societies.” – epigenetics. snore.
new – Why “Race” Isn’t Biological from patrick appel @the dish. – “I disagree with Khan calling ‘phylogenetic clustering of human populations’ races, but Razib is far more intelligible here than Wade is in most of his book. Nevertheless, the biological definitions of race outlined above are problematic because they are not the same as the social definitions of race. There is significant overlap between the biological and social definitions but defining ‘race’ two ways only confuses matters.”
new – and from razib:
social & scientific definitions race are not isomorphic. but same is true of species.
— Razib Khan (@razibkhan) May 20, 2014
new – Nicholas Wade: Genes, culture, and history from mark liberman @language log. not much new here — just rehashing other people’s reviews.
– jayman’s recent post JayMan’s Race, Inheritance, and IQ F.A.Q. (F.R.B.)
– an older post from razib: Why race as a biological construct matters
– steve sailer’s The Race FAQ
– Roundup of Book Reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance @occam’s razor.
and some relevant tweets:
— J. Arthur Bloom (@j_arthur_bloom) May 6, 2014
Disagree w much of Wade (goes beyond data, gets some wrong) but he explodes race-is-only-a-social-construction myth. http://t.co/RabdNBbffh
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) May 3, 2014
“Knowledge is usually considered a better basis for policy than ignorance,” Nicholas Wade concludes, in A Trou… http://t.co/XS5uClFDWp
— Isegoria (@Isegoria) May 5, 2014
"Whether or not a thesis might be politically incendiary should have no bearing on the estimate of its scientific validity…" Nicholas Wade
— Outsideness (@Outsideness) March 15, 2014
"The rise of the West is an event not just in history but also human evolution." -Nicholas Wade
— Bryce Laliberte (@AnarchoPapist) May 6, 2014
"Human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional." Awkward, but should be understood. http://t.co/CiF2Lz85ym
— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) May 6, 2014
social institutions are "largely cultural edifices resting on a base of genetically shaped social behaviors…." #ATroublesomeInheritance
— hbd chick (@hbdchick) May 6, 2014
— Mangan (@Mangan150) May 5, 2014
"Most of the ideas of evolution are very intuitive if we could just set our minds free." W. D. Hamilton
— Erwin Schmidt (@Schmidt_Erwin) May 5, 2014
.@StatModeling "…Wade’s quickness to assume a genetic association for any change in social behavior." pretty sure wade doesn't think that.
— hbd chick (@hbdchick) May 8, 2014
@bswud The same thing has characterized all the reviews, even positive ones. The genetic evidence is what makes the book important.
— Charles Murray (@charlesmurray) May 8, 2014
NBA announces new interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, NYT genetics correspondent Nicholas Wade
— John Durant (@johndurant) May 9, 2014
Found this review just horrible: "Denisovans aren't mentioned." The kind of non-sequitur that would impress ignorant. http://t.co/a4KkM5fsIj
— Billare (@Billare) May 9, 2014
Just got the book. Will report after reading, but jacket flap says "Rejecting unequivocally the notion of racial superiority…"
— Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer) May 11, 2014
I have yet to see a critic of Nicholas Wade make a logically sound case. Is logical thinking really that hard?
— JayMan (@JayMan471) May 10, 2014
@charlesmurray: Social scientists' refusal to come to grips w/ "A Troublesome Inheritance" = proof of this era's intellectual corruption.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) May 12, 2014
— brent bambury (@notrexmurphy) May 8, 2014
— The Penguin Press (@penguinpress) May 8, 2014
Nicholas Wade will discuss his book "A Troublesome Inheritance" on Tuesday. http://t.co/yGGfhR6U1Z
— DCist (@DCist) May 9, 2014
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