Stretch Genes

H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

1.

Science and science journalism are different things. Though each is valuable, they require at least partly different skills. Science demands unrelenting skepticism about purported facts and theories, and science journalism demands an ability to make the complex clear. Despite my admiration for his work as a journalist, I’m afraid that Nicholas Wade’s latest book reminds us of the risks inherent in blurring the distinction between these endeavors. A Troublesome Inheritance goes beyond reporting scientific facts or accepted theories and finds Wade championing bold ideas that fall outside any scientific consensus.

Wade, now a freelance writer and reporter, is best known for his work as a journalist at The New York Times. He has also written several popular books on biology. The most recent–Before the Dawn (2006) and The Faith Instinct (2009)–focused on evolution in human beings, including the evolution of religion. In A Troublesome Inheritance, Wade maintains this focus on human evolution, though he turns to a far more controversial topic, human races. His goal, he says, is “to demystify the genetic basis of race and to ask what recent human evolution reveals about history and the nature of human societies.” He concludes not only that human races are real but that they probably differ genetically in surprising ways.

Wade’s main claim is that human races likely differ in social behavior for genetic reasons as a result of recent evolution. These slight differences in behavior may, in turn, explain why different sorts of social institutions appear among different peoples:

Institutions are not just sets of arbitrary rules. Rather, they grow out of instinctual social behaviors, such as the propensity to trust others, to follow rules and punish those who don’t, to engage in reciprocity and trade, or to take up arms against neighboring groups. Because these behaviors vary slightly from one society to the next as the result of evolutionary pressures, so too may the institutions that depend on them.

Evolutionary biology might therefore have something to say about why some peoples live in modern states and others in tribal societies, and why some nations are wealthy while others remain mired in poverty.

{snip}

A Troublesome Inheritance cleaves neatly into two parts. The first is a review of what recent studies of the genome reveal about our evolution, including the emergence of racial differences. The second part considers the part that genetic differences among races may play in behavior and in the social institutions embraced by various races. These two parts fare very differently.

2.

{snip}

As people dispersed about the planet, they ultimately settled into the five great “continental races”: Africans (sub-Sahara), East Asians, Caucasians (Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East), Australians, and Native Americans. Some of these groups are younger than others (America was peopled only in the last 15,000 years), but this division provides, Wade says, a reasonably realistic portrait of how human genetic diversity is partitioned geographically. Because of their geographic isolation from one another, these groups of human beings necessarily evolved mostly independently over the last tens of thousands of years. During this period of independent evolution, much of what we think of as characteristically human arose, including agriculture and settlement in permanent villages.

So what has study of the human genome over the last decade revealed? Wade’s chief conclusion here is that human evolution has been “recent, copious and regional.” The facts are fairly straightforward. The continental races of human beings differ somewhat from one other at the level of DNA sequence. As Wade emphasizes, these differences are “slight and subtle” but they can nonetheless be detected by geneticists who now have access to many genome sequences from around the planet.

The central fact is that genetic differences among human beings who derive from different continents are statistical. Geneticists might find that a variant of a given gene is found in 79 percent of Europeans but in only, say, 58 percent of East Asians. Only rarely do all Europeans carry a genetic variant that does not appear in all East Asians. But across our vast genomes, these statistical differences add up, and geneticists have little difficulty concluding that one person’s genome looks European and another person’s looks East Asian. To put the conclusion more technically, the genomes of various human beings fall into several reasonably well-defined clusters when analyzed statistically, and these clusters generally correspond to continent of origin. In this statistical sense, races are real.

{snip}

Wade’s survey of human population genomics is lively and generally serviceable. It is not, however, without error. He exaggerates, for example, the percentage of the human genome that shows evidence of recent natural selection. The correct figure from the study he cites is 8 percent, not 14, and even this lower figure is soft and open to some alternative explanation. And Wade generally assumes that evidence of selection reflects adaptation to the ecological environment, whereas some events might reflect the action of other evolutionary forces like sexual selection, in which individuals compete for mates, not for survival.

Worse, Wade says that biologists realized only in the last few years that natural selection might change a trait by causing slight changes in the frequencies of variants at many genes instead of a large change in frequency at one gene. In fact, the former hypothesis is the traditional view of evolutionary change and is nearly a century old. It would be unfair to suggest that these sorts of mistakes undermine Wade’s main claims in the first part of A Troublesome Inheritance. But they do suggest that he is not the surest guide to a technical literature.

{snip}

3.

In the latter half of A Troublesome Inheritance, Wade ventures into far more controversial territory. His claims are, in outline, simple enough.

As human beings evolved over the last tens of thousands of years, the genetic basis of people’s behavior may have changed, just as the basis of their skin color did. Some of these changes may have resulted from Darwinian adaptation to new forms of social life. For example, the “Great Transition” from nomadic life to permanent settlement that began some 15,000 years ago likely produced a profoundly altered social environment: populations grew larger, people interacted with more non-kin, and society became more hierarchical.

In response to this new environment, social behaviors may have changed by natural selection. In some societies, people who were less aggressive or more trusting, for instance, might have prospered under these conditions. {snip}

Crucially, Wade says that “evolution in social behavior has necessarily proceeded independently in the five major races,” reflecting their geographic and thus genetic isolation. The net result of all of this, during settlement as well as other events in recent evolutionary history, is that the continental races might well come to differ genetically in social behavior.

To Wade, the implications are big. While behavioral differences among races would surely be subtle, they can, he insists, become amplified at the level of entire societies. Slight differences in behavioral predisposition–to cooperation, aggression, trust, propensity to follow rules, and so on–probably pushed different races in directions that led to different social institutions. Indeed the “seeds of difference between the world’s great civilizations were perhaps present from the first settlements.”

Wade devotes much of his book to showing how this evolutionary thesis can help explain all manner of differences among peoples. These include why some peoples are tribal and others modern (modern life requires, among other things, extending trust to non-kin), why some are violent and others less so, why some are poor and others rich, why some are innovative and others conformist, and so on.

{snip}

Wade also thinks that “evolutionary differences between societies on the various continents may underlie major and otherwise imperfectly explained turning points in history such as the rise of the West and the decline of the Islamic world and China.” Here, and especially in his treatment of why the industrial revolution flourished in England, his book leans heavily on Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms (2007). Across these historical turning points, the details differ but the story remains the same: certain peoples were predisposed genetically to behaviors and thus institutions that paved the way for their success, whether, say, economic (the West) or intellectual (the Jews). Other peoples, alas, had other genes.

These are big claims and you’d surely expect Wade to provide some pretty impressive, if recondite, evidence for them from the new science of genomics. And here’s where things get odd. Hard evidence for Wade’s thesis is nearly nonexistent. Odder still, Wade concedes as much at the start of A Troublesome Inheritance:

Readers should be fully aware that in chapters 6 through 10 they are leaving the world of hard science and entering into a much more speculative arena at the interface of history, economics and human evolution.

It perhaps would have been best if this sentence had been reprinted at the top of each page in chapters 6 through 10.

One of the most frustrating features of A Troublesome Inheritance is that Wade wants to have it both ways. At one moment, he will concede that he writes in a “speculative arena” and, at the next, he will issue pseudofactual pronouncements (“social behavior, of Chinese and others, is genetically shaped”). This strategy lets Wade move in a kind of intellectual no-man’s-land where he gets to look like he’s doing science (so many facts about genomes!) while covering himself with caveats that, well, it’s all speculative.

Which might lead you to wonder: If Wade has little or no hard evidence for his evolutionary thesis, how does he hope to convince his readers to take it seriously? Part of the answer is by offering captivating narratives about how recent human evolution could have played out, as we saw earlier with the transition to permanent settlement. Wade also makes several arguments based on plausibility for the role of genes in behavioral differences among the races and, to a lesser extent, attacks those who have doubted such a role.

One of Wade’s main plausibility arguments involves the difficulty of transferring social institutions from one group of people to another. As he puts it, “one indication of such a genetic effect is that, if institutions were purely cultural, it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.” As we’ve learned, this isn’t always true. For example, “American institutions do not transplant so easily to tribal societies like Iraq or Afghanistan.” And that, it seems, is that. We are to conclude that the differences are probably partly genetic.

This argument is remarkably feeble. Suffice it to say that when we attempt to transfer an institution, say free elections, into another culture, we do not replace one entire culture with another. Instead, we transfer a piece of a culture into an existing one. Is anyone really surprised that this process causes friction? And is it really most plausible to conclude that the source of this friction is differences in genes? What about all those other differences–in history, language, distribution of wealth, religion, educational attainment, ravages of war, arable land, resentment toward perceived invaders, and so on? Among these factors, I suspect that genes are perhaps the one most similar between American and Afghan societies. This isn’t to say that Wade’s argument is necessarily wrong but it is to say that an important feature of a plausibility argument is plausibility.

Another of Wade’s plausibility arguments focuses on stability: “When a civilization produces a distinctive set of institutions that endures for many generations, that is the sign of a supporting suite of variations in the genes that influence human social behavior.” Really? Shouldn’t Wade say that stability “might” be a sign of genes? It’s true that some behaviors or institutions may persist for partly genetic reasons. (Milk-drinking by adults requires lactose persistence, a genetic trait that is more common among cultures that engaged in dairy farming historically.) But it’s also true that some behaviors or institutions persist for purely cultural reasons. The English have used a currency called the “pound” since Anglo-Saxon times. And Western music has been built on a diatonic scale since the Renaissance and probably much earlier. So why doesn’t Wade conclude that differences in currency and musical scale reflect differences in genes?

Conversely, it’s hard to see why profound instability in social institutions doesn’t trouble Wade more. He’s much taken, for instance, with the difference between tribal and modern societies, but one of the most tribal peoples on the planet, the Scots with their clans, are now identified with some of the most modern of ideas and attitudes. Were David Hume and Adam Smith precocious carriers of a mutation that swept Edinburgh?

{snip}

Wade obviously appreciates the distinction between behavior that “could be” genetic and “is” genetic. The problem is that he doesn’t seem particularly interested in hard evidence or even in the prospects that relevant hard evidence could ever be obtained.

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. There is nothing unscientific about recognizing this and treading carefully.

At times, Wade’s approach seems almost the opposite. Though he issues the requisite disclaimers about the dignity and moral equality of all peoples, he’s clearly tempted, under the cover of politics-shouldn’t-distort-science, to provoke. Indeed there is a species of bravado here, as though demonstrating that he, unlike others, is tough-minded enough to face unpleasant facts. But surely there is a difference between facing facts that are unpleasant and spinning tales that are improbable.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • JohnEngelman

    Troublesome Inheritance goes beyond reporting scientific facts or accepted theories and finds Wade championing bold ideas that fall outside any scientific consensus.

    – H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

    That is because the scientific consensus has been coerced. Scientists have learned that it is safest to lie in public about what they know to be true.

    • dcc2379

      Agreed. If one replaced race, people, and tribes with global warming, the article would be factual!

    • Berkeley Guy

      You beat me to that point I wanted to post on. Many other books fall into the category of “… go[ing] beyond reporting scientific facts or accepted theories and finds …” and those books will receive far less criticism. We all know why Mr. Wade’s book is receiving a deluge of critical reviews, while implicitly warning potential readers that Mr. Wade has challenged the status quo. If race was pubicly debated as much as everyone in private wishes it to be, or if we ever have the supposed “dialogue on race,” then books such as Mr. Wade’s would not require as many dead trees warning us of its content.

      • JohnEngelman

        I suspect that a lot of the people reviewing the book agree with it, but express doubts to provide themselves with cover.

        I wish Professor J. Philippe Rushton was still alive to write a review of “A Troublesome Inheritance.” Like “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,” Nicholas Wade’s book explain the evolution of racial differences Professor Rushton documented in “Race, Evolution, and Behavior”

        • journey

          The environment can only “accelerate”/enhance superior genes that are already there. The blacks migrated into Africa from India because it did not require much work to survive. They actually regressed because of a non challenging environment. But still their abilities to create an advanced civilization was capped by their lower inherent racial genome.

          • JohnEngelman

            There is no DNA or paleontological evidence that Negroes evolved in India, and migrated to Africa.

            All of us are descended from people who lived in Africa 100,000 years ago. Our ancestors back then resembled the San Bushmen more closely than any other existing race.

          • journey

            Again you are parroting what is currently the theory of the
            day. The man of today is missing massive amount of information of the events in the ancient past so theories are made up to compensate.

            The evolution of life on this planet and eventually leading
            to the appearance of man is richer and more complicated than the current man made theories of the day. For example, man presently cannot explain the reason for/or the appearance of the different
            human races, so he sweeps it all under the rug by stating there is no such thing.

          • NeanderthalDNA

            I wouldn’t be surprised to find one day that the Bantu African is actually a relatively recent product of evolution which displaced other groups from which descended populations outside Africa.

            This does not mean a more advanced form of homo sapien, simply one better adapted to its environment, which these days includes a world made by overly empathetic Whites to destroy.

          • JohnEngelman

            A team from CNRS and the Institut Pasteur (1), working with researchers in bioinformatics, ethnolinguistics, and epidemiology, (2) suggests that Central African Pygmies and Bantus, two physically very different ethnic groups, branched out from a common ancestral population some 70,000 years ago. (3)

      • NeanderthalDNA

        If yer following NeanderthalDNA, you might be interested in a fellow known as “propagandaoftruth” with a judge dredd icon who’s posting at a certain liblefty rag recently featured here. Interesting guy…

        Poot old Neando got banned long time back there, but free e-mails and disqus make e-reincarnation a snap.

        Currently getting a feel for it, pushing the limits lightly, seeing how far one can go. Subtlety is important.

        • Berkeley Guy

          The Nation has a history of scrubbing comments. I think someone showed this to the case a day or two ago. I’ll be following this friend of ours.

          • NeanderthalDNA

            They only scrubbed one so far. You have to be really sneaky and avoid certain words and phrases.

  • dcc2379

    The authors make two claims that are perplexing: science as unrelenting skepticism and scientific consensus.

    I agree with the unrelenting skepticism, but the New York Times does not when it comes to global warming. Why the double standard? The science of race is much more firmly established, yet the skepticism is to even deny facts. That is hypocrisy and lying, traits that serve Obama’s puppets well.

    Scientific consensus defies logic. Science is not about consensus, but rather it is about observable, provable phenomena.

  • JohnEngelman

    Wade’s survey of human population genomics is lively and generally serviceable. It is not, however, without error. He exaggerates, for example, the percentage of the human genome that shows evidence of recent natural selection. The correct figure from the study he cites is 8 percent, not 14.

    – H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

    I am interested in what Nicholas Wade has to say about this.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      “Despite my admiration for his work as a journalist, I’m afraid that Nicholas Wade’s latest book reminds us of the risks inherent to one’s career and reputation when one reports Truth to a lie besotted world. I’m scared.”

      Fixed!

  • JohnEngelman

    Odder still, Wade concedes as much at the start of A Troublesome Inheritance:

    Readers should be fully aware that in chapters 6 through 10 they are leaving the world of hard science and entering into a much more speculative arena at the interface of history, economics and human evolution.

    – H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

    ————

    Speculation points the way to testable hypothesis.

    When Charles Darwin wrote “On the Origin of Species” he acknowledged that the absence of fossils combining characteristics of apes and humans was a legitimate argument against what he was saying about human evolution. He predicted that fossil evidence would be found. It was.

    • journey

      You are saying man did not evolve from apes, correct? Man and apes are of different evolutionary branches. Both did evolve from primates, though.

      • JohnEngelman

        The human species evolved from the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. That common ancestor was an ape. Humans and chimpanzees are more closely related than either species are to gorillas.

        • journey

          Your belief system mirrors the currently accepted theories that humans evolved from the ape family (whether from chimpanzees or gorillas). Humans cannot evolve from the genome of apes. No more than the human race evolved from blacks. In other words, the
          ape family has their own genome which could never evolutionary produce a human.

          And current theories are always open to change as new data is discovered. And there is a lot for man to discover yet. After all, man is still in the semi barbaric stage of his evolution. And his study of the genome is just starting.

  • JohnEngelman

    Which might lead you to wonder: If Wade has little or no hard evidence for his evolutionary thesis, how does he hope to convince his readers to take it seriously?

    – H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

    He hopes to convince his readers by presenting plausible explanations of racial differences that are not in serious dispute.

  • Publius Pompilius Quitus

    When it comes to race, liberals often sound like religious people. They say we shouldn’t discuss innate racial differences because it is too unpleasant and it contradicts their morality too much. In other words, they only appriciate facts that support their preconvieved notions. This is the sort of thinking that has always stood in the way of scientific progress.

    • Berkeley Guy

      Many believe in private that scientific progress will steamroll the opinions of detractors of race realism. Subgroups of humans exist, such as the Japanese and the Australian Aborigines, and maybe the word “race” is very loaded in our society, but no matter how the terms are defined now, eventually they will have to align with scientific findings, no matter how unpeasant or seemingly contradictory. Witch hunts be damned.

      • Publius Pompilius Quitus

        There are 20,000 to 25,000 genes that human carry. If Whites and Black are 99 percent genetically similar, like is often said, then that is a difference of 200-250 genes. It is in investigation of those genes that race realism will be proven once and for all. Alas, it won’t be for a long time. I’m a young man–I hope I live to see the day.

        • Berkeley Guy

          It is amazing that some people believe that simply because there are only “a few” alleles that differ between humans that makes us all the same. And yet, few people who fall for this argument reflect on the fact that one or two random mutations or recessive traits can spell the difference between a long and healthy life and early death or lifelong disease. People also forget the compounding effects of seemingly small differences over time.

      • journey

        “Subgroups” = the different races, yes? How can there be subgroups of the overall human race? Each race should have equal standing with each other and treated with dignity and respect no matter the differences in genetic racial differences. For in each racial group, there are the “good and bad”.

        • Berkeley Guy

          Each race should have equal standing with each other and treated with
          dignity and respect no matter the differences in genetic racial
          differences. For in each racial group, there are the “good and bad”.

          No race can have equal standing or equality outside of basic human rights. If I understand “equal standing” as you do, that is innate ability, then each race differs–statistically–in IQ distributions, and different aspects of intelligence such as spatial and mathematical reasoning and natural language abilities. Despite the fact that many of us would love it if every race were treated equally (and still have homelands for each ethnicity where they enjoy both autonomy and a majority standing), egalitarian ideology such as communism and socialism is extremely difficult to implement in reality due to the competitive nature of all organisms. In each racial group there are “good and bad”, we agree, but how many statistically of the “good and the bad” are there in each race? And of what kinds are the “good and bad” such as rapists, murderers, violent offenders etc.?

          • journey

            But at the end of the day, each of us is a human and that is the underlying connection that bonds us all. It would be dangerous for anyone of us to forget the characteristics that make us a human. This is not to say that some difficult choices and burden will be placed on the higher capable individuals. Future generations of all races will be forced to deal with who can reproduce and who cannot. The reproduction of inferiors will have to be capped. Presently, we are living in a delusion that all humans are equal in abilities and just throw more money at it. Or that man is capable of managing an ever increasing population.

          • silviosilver

            But at the end of the day, each of us is a human and that is the underlying connection that bonds us all.

            Each of us is also a mammal, does that mean important distinctions should be drawn between mammals?

          • journey

            Do not know about you. But being a human is more than just a mammal in the animal kingdom. Do not know exactly what your point is but yes, there are distinct classifications of mammals. It is known as Taxonomy, the classification of living things.

          • JSS

            “No race can have equal standing or equality outside of basic human rights”.

            I agree with you in principle but sadly these days basic humans in practice means White people have no rights. Basic human rights has been turned into a monstrosity that means unlimited 3rd world immigration to White countries and only White countries. It has led to the criminalization of any criticism of the PC religion in many countries in Europe. Basically human rights has been turned into a weapon to disarm and silence Whites.

          • Berkeley Guy

            Well, if people think that is what is meant by basic human rights, then they are mistaken. And some people do think this, which you can see just by looking at the human rights put forth for consideration by the UN and others. Some would like to include food and clean water as basic rights. But as I have stated in previous posts in days past, the notion of a universal human right entails universal human obligations (Searle). A right to freedom of association and travel and speech entails that others respect that right by recognizing they are obligated to leaving you alone and not interfering with your expression of those rights. Rights to food and clean water would entail that others are under an obligation to provide you with food and clean water–violating your other rights. Your right to food is a right to raid my cupboard. Ridiculous. So-called “hate speech” laws are also ridiculous. However, me must soldier on against such ridiculous laws and notions.

    • shawnmer

      The Salem Puritans were open-minded rationalists compared to liberals rooting out “racism.” Fanatical religions disdain facts and burn heretics at the stake. What’s the difference?

    • So CAL Snowman

      My favorite part is how the extreme left unquestioningly accepts the science behind evolution and how evolution leads to different species, but they deny that evolution has any affect whatsoever on humans. The extreme left position does not make any sense and constantly contradicts itself. Even in the so called “Dark Ages” Whites were building magnificent castles, invented the blast furnace, tidal mill, eyeglasses, the spinning mill, the mechanical clock, etc. My point is that even in the “Dark Ages” the White race was still moving forward. Now not only has the White race been stopped in our tracks, we are moving backwards and regressing as a people. The worship of the black and brown people has retarded our forward progress as a race and as a result we are entering the REAL dark ages.

      • Publius Pompilius Quitus

        “… the extreme left unquestioningly accepts the science behind evolution and how evolution leads to different species, but they deny that evolution has any affect whatsoever on humans.”

        ————————–
        Yes, I believe John Derbyshire calls that ‘Human Exceptionalism’: the concept that the laws of nature don’t apply to human-kind.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        At least the Germanic barbarians who invaded and destroyed the western Roman empire had the genetic potential for advanced civilization. This is why they were able to reestablish the old civilization and develop an even superior one, albeit after a thousand years. Unfortunately for western civilization, the third world barbarians who are currently invading and destroying America and Europe do not have the genetic potential to build anything, apart from the corrupt and dysfunctional proletarian and peasant cultures of the third world.

        The new dark ages will probably last millions of years.

        • So CAL Snowman

          Yeah we don’t have the luxury of starting a “Byzantine America” in the eastern half of our empire.

      • JSS

        It never ceases to amuse me when modern scientist pat themselves on the back for being “skeptics” and objective people. As far as I can tell the faith of the modern scientist would make Tourqemeda blush. You can forgive medieval peasants for thinking the earth was the center of universe or was only a few thousand years old. But what excuse does the modern scientist have for their total lack of integrity and moral cowardice? To believe in the present day state religion of racial equality requires a belief in miracles and faith just like any other religion. We have the miracle that all branches of the human race are equal unlike any other species on earth. We have the new devils and demons in the form of the White male. We have the new saints in the form of mlk, trayvon, and Nelson Mandela. We have an inquisition of which the scientific establishment is a part. We have the new original sin which is simply being White. A heretic is anyone who challenge the faith and is liable to have their careers and lives ruined. The church never went away, it just has a new god now.

        • So CAL Snowman

          Masterful summation of the current religious zealotry that has taken over the Western world. Over at SBPDL they call this new religion “Crystal Methodism.”

        • Anna Tree

          More similarities:

          Salvation: for example read Harold Mitchell
          amren com/news/2013/02/multiculturalisms-here-to-stay-so-lets-embrace-it-and-look-to-the-future
          implying we were in danger, needed help and/or needed to be rescued.

          Blind faith: in all the religion’s, albeit secular, dogmas. Blind faith doesn’t always revolve around a god… Today blind faith revolve around liberal leftist dogmas, like wealth redistribution like affirmative action or the tax to reverse the human global warming (oops climate change), diversity is a strength, islam is a religion of peace, Dalai Lama is a saint, races/sexes don’t exist/are a
          social construct, multiculturalism is our salvation, hom0sessuality is innate, affirmative action is not racism, “no child behind” is good for all etc etc

          Martyrdom: liberal leftists are willing to die for their faith/dogmas, or maybe more correctly, the “priests” (politicians, journalists, elites) are ready for their flock to die : diversity triggers violence and wars, and miscegenation is suicide: mixed marriage kills half of one’s genes and one’s image (your descendants are different from you). It’s Avraham smashing the idols all over again: this time whites being the false gods: white idols have to be destroyed to give place to the new/”real” gods: the Non-white. Liberal leftists can redeem themselves by brainwashing their kids to miscegenate or at least adopt non-white children to take white children’s place. The martyrs are not those beaten by blacks or muslims (that’s a natural consequences of the whites’ actions and discrimination of course), their best saints and martyrs commit cultural and/or racial suicide willingly, by only helping, converting, adopting or marrying other races for the glory of the faith. If not then the least is to promote all of this strongly, by brainwashing new victims or giving money to the cause.
          Liberalists may not be ready to be tortured, executed or kill directly but they will have no children, adopt non-white children or miscegenate, same result, and are very ready for others to be tortured or executed: their actions (in elections, opinions, pathological altruism, through their work – from the judge who free illegal immigrant criminals to the teacher who brainwash our kids, etc) will put others in harm, usually poorer whites who don’t have the money to live in white neighborhoods or send their kids in white schools etc, notably because their jobs were outsourced to non-white countries by… liberal leftism or taken by non-white immigrants and illegals.

          Other religious aspects: evangelism, new world view, new institutions or converting existing, universities as the temples, new morals, like you said quasi witch hunts/inquisitions of dissidents and heretics, censuring of their books etc…

        • Anna Tree

          Here is another one!

          Turn the children against their parent

          amren com/news/2014/05/michelle-obama-would-like-students-to-monitor-family-members-for-racial-insensitivity/

      • JackKrak

        The Left is only “concerned” about research or ideas that “go too far” when it’s one of their pets in the crosshairs.

        Evolution, global warming (or whatever it’s called this week), being born gay – those are settled and the facts are set in stone and anyone asking too many questions needs to be stopped before feelings get hurt.

    • WhiteGuyInJapan

      They often act like the villagers in Frankenstein.

      • bilderbuster

        Like Pat Buchanan said we should be the ones to act like the villagers with our torches and pitchforks and storm the Franksteinberg temple.

  • Martel

    “It perhaps would have been best if this sentence had been reprinted at the top of each page in chapters 6 through 10.”

    A reflection on the fears of the reviewer. For myself, one single mention of Wade admitting “some speculation” would be more then enough.

    • willbest

      I am not all the way through the book, but I find his constant CYA approach detracts from what he is trying to say.

      He should have just stated his disclaimers clearly in the beginning and then just laughed at anybody who tried to attack him based on the lack of disclaimers as ignorant and in capable of reading for comprehension.

  • Feminists and liberals write ill-researched polemics all the time and do so without criticism. That’s because NOBODY reads their junk. The more this book is attacked (and this is a weak attack) the better for the book. You don’t attack what people are ignoring. You attack what is influencing people.

    That said, I just checked Amazon. The book is only at #391, with an average 3.7 stars. We can do better than that.

  • Alfred the Great

    I guess that I am going to be in trouble because my current book project deals with race throughout. Based on my research early nations or societies were formed around a family that grew into prominence. Abraham is an easy example of this with his descendants the Israelites. A family could literally grow into 100s of thousands, if not millions of related people; I mean that as related by blood. And they made their forms of government and their laws because of who they were. A people make their laws, laws do not make a people. This is a reason why America will go down the drain because the people for whom the laws were made are declining and other peoples are taking over.

  • Dave4088

    I don’t think Wade ever claimed his book would have all the answers unlike most race denying Marxists, but it does provide some very plausible explanations based on scientific evidence. And when Wade makes inferences based on these scientific findings he’s accused of “blurring the distinctions between science and journalism” so as to discredit the book. I expect other left leaning reviewers to insinuate that Wade is guilty of sloppy research to keep chipping away at the book’s reputation.

    While H. Allen Orr claimed that there is some sort of consensus in the scientific community that rejects the findings in Wade’s book, he failed to point the reader to any research that would prove it or include any contradictory evidence in his review.

  • journey

    Skin color is genetic. It does not change due to the environment. Humans did not evolve from blacks or out of Africa (Leakey’s theories won out, unfortunately). The different races are real. They part of the overall “human race”. The remaining races of today are “white” (an amalgamate of mainly superior genes), yellow, red, and black. The “brown” race (Southeast Asians/Hispanics) and present day Arabs are also an amalgamation of other races. Each race has its own genetic marks in intelligence and natural abilities.
    It is not a good idea for the lower capable races to mix with higher ones as it usually at the expense of the higher races. Superior races develop advanced civilizations due to inherent (born with) abilities. Therefore, no amount of money and super human efforts can change inherent racial genetic deficiencies. This has been shown by the last 50+ years and continuing of wasted trillions, social programs, dumbing down, etc. etc in this country. A good environment can enhance superior genes but makes no difference on inferior genes.

    This country is set on a self-suicidal deluded course in allowing whites to become a minority. An advanced civilization crashes once the inferior racial genes become the dominant. This has happened in ancient Egypt, India, Greece, Rome, etc. In each of those advanced ancient countries, the superior genes struggle to create and build an
    advanced civilization then become deluded into complacency in allowing the inferior racial genes to become the majority.

  • Luca

    “Hard evidence for Wade’s thesis is nearly nonexistent.” – H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books, May 21, 2014

    I like that word “nearly”.

    Columbus had “nearly” no hard evidence that the world was round. But he had enough to make an intelligent theory.

  • evilsandmich

    It’s only dangerous where white people live around darker races. For the rest of the world this book will just get chuked into the pile with other classics such as “Sunrise Schedule for the Next 10,000 years”.

  • MBlanc46

    “Science demands unrelenting skepticism about purported facts and theories.”

    Right. Like the kind that you get in anthropology and sociology.

  • Evette Coutier

    I have lost all faith in the scientific communities objectivity. Global warming/climate change is undisputed fact even though all weather pattern evidence for the 15 years completely refutes it as a theory, but over 100 years of intelligence testing across culture and society that absolutely establishes intelligence differences by race is rejected as evidence. The scientific community has sacrificed their credibility for political gain.

  • journey

    The following is a few citations from Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race. His statements are correct.

    “Man’s place of origin was undoubtedly Asia.” (Madison Grant, Chapter 8) It was in central Asia. Early man then mainly migrated to Europe then eventually to India and then back to Europe. The six colored races appeared later in the highlands of India. The colored races fanned out from the highlands of India. Each of the colored races migrated to different continents.

    “Evidence of the location of the early evolution of man in Asia and the geologically recent submerged area toward the southeast is afforded by the fossil deposits in the Siwalik hills of northern India, where have been found the remains of primates which were either ancestral…” (Madison Grant, Chapter 8)

    “This something which we call “genius” is not a matter of family, but of stock or strain, and is inherited in precisely the same manner as are the purely physical characters. It may be latent through several generations of obscurity, and then flare up when the opportunity comes. Of this we have many examples in America. This is what education or opportunity
    does for a community; it permits in these rare cases fair play for development,
    but it is race, always race, that produces genius.” (Madison Grant, Chapter 8) The correct genetic materials have to be present. Examples: The ancient Greeks along with the Aryans were carriers of the highest quality of genetic materials. All were submerged due to interbreeding with inferior genes.

    Because Madison Grant eventually became regarded as a “racist” his writings and thoughts were discarded.

  • JP Rushton

    “Science and science journalism are different things. Though each is valuable, they require at least partly different skills”

    How convenient. You can only say something definitive about race if you are a scientist specifically working in that field.

    But no one in that field would risk losing their job by saying something. Therefore, you can never prove that race really exists!

    The left is really good at tyranny.

  • bilderbuster

    As a boy in grade school learning about Heretics and Galileo in particular I remember finding it extremely difficult to believe people could actually behave that way.
    Before I graduated from high school I was already witnessing it happening before my very eyes in the classroom and in the following decades it’s only gotten worse.

  • paul marchand

    Reasons I can think of miscegenation occurring:
    1* legitimate love
    2* drug manipulation
    3* youthful naivete’
    4* misplaced sports hero worship
    5* rebellious nature
    6* money
    7* lack of recognition of dangers of interracial mixing (largely due to media non-coverage)
    Quick examination of the above…
    1) who can complain?
    2) blacks are about 10 times (using “disinterested” HIV figures, and from first-hand empirical evidence relayed to me) more likely to be IDUs, and distributors
    3) public schools : democrats love to mix mix mix, before a white girl has a brain
    4) sports heroes are over-rated. Some are great guys, some are thugs
    5) dumb white girls. Usually do drugs, smoke, tats, dress skimpily, etc.
    6) whoring. Also, the federal government is contributory with 2 sets of rules with affirmative action and quotas, not to mention forcing landlords (lest fined big $$ ) to allow almost any thug in
    7) b>w rape is 1000 x’s the opposite, black murder about 10 times that of whites, IDU about 10x, HIV about 7x, low academic performance.

  • MooTieFighter

    All these demands for “an honest discussion about race”. America is too soft for an HONEST discussion.

  • John R

    So, the article criticizes Troublesome Inheritance because it is saying something substantial. So what? Why are we so afraid of this? Rhetorical question: The modern day “Church of Liberal Multiculturalism” is afraid that it’s dogma is going to be found to be untrue. They are afraid their favorite “sun revolves round the earth” idea will be disproven.

  • Jim

    The article states:

    “Science and science journalism are different things. Though each is
    valuable, they require at least partly different skills. Science demands
    unrelenting skepticism about purported facts and theories, and science
    journalism demands an ability to make the complex clear. Despite my
    admiration for his work as a journalist, I’m afraid that Nicholas Wade’s
    latest book reminds us of the risks inherent in blurring the
    distinction between these endeavors.”

    So my question is, why is Nicholas Wade’s perspectives on science journalism trumped by THIS author’s perspectives on science journalism? I’m not saying that Wade’s book shouldn’t be scrutinized, but I am saying that the recurring subtext of these so-called “reviews” is the same – that Wade has violated a taboo…that his honesty, content and forthright arguments should be secondary to political considerations.

  • Peter Connor

    JOURNALIST Orr’s whole notion that “slight” changes in the genome can’t lead to major changes in the phenotype and resulting behavior is simply wrong, and very obviously so. See Greg Cochran’s comments at his blog Westhunter. But of course, your own lyin’ eyes will tell you that.

  • Berkeley Guy

    That is rainbow pony thinking.

    Good one there. I’ll have to remember that one.

  • fitz fitzgerald

    So many rooms, so many elephants in those rooms – unacknowledged here…

  • kikz2

    …..consistent pattern recognition 🙂

  • alwaysright21

    blacks have sex with monkeys, sniff butt, fling poo, and chimpout. mhmmm with a head bob.

  • Wholly Unconvinced

    Have you looked at africa, or the majority of its denizens lately ? I think that might lead to a bit of a bad taste when thinking one had evolved from such. (just to be clear, africa has a lowercase “a” intentionally, as it doesn’t really bear any semblance to a civilized, real country, so I don’t believe it deserves the standard grammatical treatment. nor do I wish to leave a bad taste in the mouth of any grown up members of the alphabet.)