A troublesome Inheritance

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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A troublesome Inheritance

#1

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 5:35 am

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History [Hardcover]
Nicholas Wade (Author)

From Amazon:
Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story

Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.

Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well.

Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These “values” obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#2

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 5:36 am

From the Blog of Vox Day ( author of the Irrational Atheist):
http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2014/05/genet ... ation.html

"The regional nature of selection was first made evident in a genomewide scan undertaken by Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago, in 2006. He looked for genes under selection in the three major races—Africans, East Asians and Europeans (or more exactly Caucasians, but European genetics are at present much better understood, so European populations are the usual subjects of study). Copious genetic data had been collected on each race as part of the HapMap, a project undertaken by the National Institutes of Health to explore the genetic roots of common disease. In each race Pritchard found about 200 genetic regions that showed a characteristic signature of having been under selection (206 in Africans, 185 in East Asians and 188 in Europeans). But in each race, a largely different set of genes was under selection, with only quite minor overlaps."

The primary theme of Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance is repeated over and over by Wade in the early chapters like a drumbeat, as if he knows the critical reader is not going to read very far into the book and will misrepresent what Wade is asserting: human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. It is also apparent that Wade knows why his words are likely to be twisted and attacked: "The fact that human evolution has been recent, copious and regional is not widely recognized, even though it has now been reported by many articles in the literature of genetics. The reason is in part that the knowledge is so new and in part because it raises awkward challenges to deeply held conventional wisdom."

Genetic science has already exploded most of the equalitarian mantras. We are not all the same under the skin. Race is not a social construct. Race is not only skin-deep. The content of your character can, on average, be estimated by, if not necessarily the color of your skin, the sum total of your superficial features. Human evolution did not stop at some point in the distant past. Civilization is not magically bestowed by geographic location. Education is not the answer.

The reason even professional biologists are afraid to discuss the current scientific evidence coming out of the genetic laboratories is because it leads to one inescapable conclusion: all of the social policies based upon the idea of basic human equality are doomed to failure. And worse, when combined with other evidence from other disciplines, it leads to a second conclusion: most of the social policies designed to improve the lot of the so-called disadvantaged are not merely doomed to failure, but are intrinsically dyscivic in nature and are more likely to drag the genetically advantaged populations down into semi-barbarism than to help the genetically disadvantaged populations become fully civilized on average.

Not all of the specifics of these known genetic differences are known, much less the full extent of their effects on human behavior. Some of them are, of course, trivial. But they are not all insignificant. Consider, for example, the example of the MAO-A gene, which is connected to the control of aggression.

"As it happens, the promoter for MAO-A is quite variable in the human population. People may have two, three, four or five copies of it, and the more copies they have, the more of the MAO-A enzyme their cells produce. What difference does this make to a person’s behavior? Quite a lot, it turns out. People with three, four or five copies of the MAO-A promoter are normal but those with only two copies have a much higher level of delinquency.... He and his colleagues looked at the MAO-A promoters in African Americans. The subjects were the same 2,524 American youths in the study by Shih mentioned above. Of the African American men in the sample, 5% carried two MAO-A promoters, the condition that Shih had found to be associated with higher levels of delinquency. Members of the two-promoter group were significantly more likely to have been arrested and imprisoned than African Americans who carried three or four promoters. The same comparison could not be made in white, or Caucasian, males, the researchers report, because only 0.1% carry the two-promoter allele."

Does this mean that all African-Americans are prone to violence? No, it proves the exact opposite. The vast majority are not. But it does mean that with regards to this single factor related to an individual's ability to control his own aggression, an African-American male is 50 times more likely to have a genetic handicap in comparison with a white male. Therefore, social policies that blithely assume that African-American males have the same intrinsic ability to control their aggression as white males are not only unscientific, but can be reliably predicted to fail. That is just one significant genetic distinction that has been discovered. There will be more. There will be many more.

Equality is not merely unscientific, at this point it is now objectively antiscientific. The undeniable fact of human genetic segregation does not intrinsically justify the eugenic excesses and ethnic cleansings of the past. But sooner or later, as the science advances, it will force the eventual discussion of whether the costs of playing equalitarian make-believe are too high for Western civilization, if that civilization wishes to survive.

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#3

Post by neo-x » Thu May 15, 2014 5:42 am

wow...speechless. :(
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#4

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 6:06 am

neo-x wrote:wow...speechless. :(
In what regard?

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#5

Post by RickD » Thu May 15, 2014 6:19 am

We're digging up the evolution/racism debate again?

Darwin, the father of modern evolution, believed certain races were less evolved than others. Of course his race was the most evolved.

You cannot separate evolution and racism. Not saying all evolutionists are racists, but the theory itself is inherently racist.

But why should I complain? I'm Caucasian.
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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#6

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 6:20 am

RickD wrote:We're digging up the evolution/racism debate again?

Darwin, the father of modern evolution, believed certain races were less evolved than others. Of course his race was the most evolved.

You cannot separate evolution and racism. Not saying all evolutionists are racists, but the theory itself is inherently racist.

But why should I complain? I'm Caucasian.
Are we having issues with that the science is stating or what we see it IMPLYING?

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#7

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 6:21 am

If science shows that a particular group is more predisposed to violence than another, is that racism or simply scientific observation?

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#8

Post by RickD » Thu May 15, 2014 6:27 am

PaulSacramento wrote:If science shows that a particular group is more predisposed to violence than another, is that racism or simply scientific observation?
If someone says a particular group is more prone to violence because of their race, then yes, that's racism. Were ALL other factors considered? All?

Racism is a horrible evil. This kind of crap just tries to justify it.

And again, Darwinian evolution and racism go hand in hand.
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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#9

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 15, 2014 6:39 am

RickD wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:If science shows that a particular group is more predisposed to violence than another, is that racism or simply scientific observation?
If someone says a particular group is more prone to violence because of their race, then yes, that's racism. Were ALL other factors considered? All?

Racism is a horrible evil. This kind of crap just tries to justify it.

And again, Darwinian evolution and racism go hand in hand.
No, it isn't racism to state that due to genetic factors a group is more predisposed to violence than any other, just as it isn't racism to state that due to genetic factors a group is more predisposed to run faster than any other.
It simply is (if it is) a scientific observation.
All OTHER factors are important as to WHY SOME in that group act out on that genetic trait and other don't.

IF science proved that blacks from Africa are more prone to sickle cell anemia, is that racism?

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#10

Post by RickD » Thu May 15, 2014 7:19 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
RickD wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:If science shows that a particular group is more predisposed to violence than another, is that racism or simply scientific observation?
If someone says a particular group is more prone to violence because of their race, then yes, that's racism. Were ALL other factors considered? All?

Racism is a horrible evil. This kind of crap just tries to justify it.

And again, Darwinian evolution and racism go hand in hand.
No, it isn't racism to state that due to genetic factors a group is more predisposed to violence than any other, just as it isn't racism to state that due to genetic factors a group is more predisposed to run faster than any other.
It simply is (if it is) a scientific observation.
All OTHER factors are important as to WHY SOME in that group act out on that genetic trait and other don't.

IF science proved that blacks from Africa are more prone to sickle cell anemia, is that racism?
You're doing the same thing evolutionists do when they conflate observable evolution with all evolution.

Of course it's not racism to say blacks are more prone to sickle cell anemia. Nor is it racism to say whites are more prone to getting a sunburn.

And yes, I believe it is racism to say blacks are more prone to violence more than any other ethnic group, because they're black.

It's akin to saying blacks at stupider than whites, because they're black.

Logic tells me there are other factors that are not being considered.
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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#11

Post by Seraph » Thu May 15, 2014 7:36 am

It's a fallacy of an appeal to consequence to try and discredit biological evolution by saying that it's racist. Whether or not one finds details of it reprehensible, that has no bearing on whether it is true or not. The fossil records do indeed point to the truthhood of biological evolution, tracing all living ancestors back to single celled organisms, whether the theory seems "racist" or not. Even if Charles Darwin was a mad racist, that alone doesn't falsify his theory. Although I have heard it said that he frequently uses "race" and "species" interchangibly, without necessarily referring to skin color in humans.

However, the theory of evolution isn't even racist. Even if white people arrived on the planet after black people did, that doesn't make them superior. In the very long term evolution "improves" upon species, but not so much in the very short time frame that humanity has been around. Genetic mutations occurring only within the past 50,000 years aren't necessarily improvement so much as just change. Plus, according to palentology and evolution, human skin color changed not due to "survival of the fittest" in action but adapting to different physical locations on the planet, with white people becoming lighter due to the colder temperature of their location.
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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#12

Post by Ivellious » Thu May 15, 2014 7:48 am

As for the overall point of the topic originally posted...There is no doubt that there are certain biological differences between races, at least "on average." The average person from Jamaica or Africa is biologically a better runner than the average East Asian person. The people living in the Himalayas are biologically evolved to live and thrive in high altitudes better than literally any person not from that population. Less ideally, certain Jewish populations have a major genetic disorder associated with their people that very few outside the populations do.

However, by and large, every race of humans is still extremely closely related on a basic level, with certain minor adaptations that have accumulated over the generations. Anyone arguing that certain racial traits make one race better than others, in this day and age and with our present knowledge of how genetics works, is assigning what are essentially ancient origins of traits certain values. That is an opinion at best. Sure, certain traits can help you in certain situations (like if you are a Jamaican Olympic sprinter, for instance), but saying that your race's average traits makes you superior is entirely subjective. Especially when Not every member of every race is even close to identical in what racial traits they carry, and when "mixing" of races is becoming increasingly commonplace.

As for behavioral genetics...There is no doubt, with what we now know, that genetic makeup plays a role in certain behaviors. Not just in humans, but in all animals as well. The real question is, how much can genetics actually predict future behaviors? I would argue that it's just not as simple as having your genome sequenced and then you can know your personality and lifestyle choices.

The first problem with someone who wants to link a single gene or group of genes with a certain behavior is that, quite simply, genetics is NEVER that simple. Ever. The sheer amount of interactions between genes is absurd. So even if one gene codes for a molecule that can potentially increase aggression, you can't just link that gene with future aggressive, violent behavior, because thousands of other genes are also potentially affecting aggression and behavior in totally different way.

The second problem is that genetics are not the only thing that affects behavior. There was a time when some biologists thought genetics were completely deterministic as far as behavior is concerned, but we now know that each person's personal experiences have a massive effect on personality and behavior. That MAO-A gene Paul's post referenced, for instance, is possibly linked to violent behavior, but in virtually all cases studied, those with the MAO-A version that supposedly increases violent tendencies also came from abusive or violent upbringings, which probably has a far greater impact on future violent behavior than any common gene.

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#13

Post by Ivellious » Thu May 15, 2014 7:56 am

And a quick note on linking evolution with racism. It is absolutely wrong to say that, because evolutionary theory has (incorrectly) been used to promote racism, that it is an inherently racist concept. Same goes for saying that, because Darwin and many others in his time had racist views, that evolution is also racist. By that logic, America and our Constitution is inherently racist and sexist, because this country was built on slavery and many of our founding fathers were incredibly racist and sexist.

As far as I'm concerned, evolution as we know it today is really anti-racism. As we have learned more about how various races are actually remarkably similar on an evolutionary/genetic scale, we have come closer to realizing that humanity as a whole is not quite as different as we have made ourselves out to be for ages.

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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#14

Post by RickD » Thu May 15, 2014 7:59 am

Seraph wrote:


It's a fallacy of an appeal to consequence to try and discredit biological evolution by saying that it's racist. Whether or not one finds details of it reprehensible, that has no bearing on whether it is true or not. The fossil records do indeed point to the truthhood of biological evolution, tracing all living ancestors back to single celled organisms, whether the theory seems "racist" or not. Even if Charles Darwin was a mad racist, that alone doesn't falsify his theory. Although I have heard it said that he frequently uses "race" and "species" interchangibly, without necessarily referring to skin color in humans.
First off,
I don't discredit Darwinian evolution because I believe it's racist. I believe it is racist because I read Darwin's own words about what he believed.

Second,
I don't believe the fossil record shows all living things point back to having evolved from single cell organisms. And no, single cell organisms to man has not been proven.

And anyone who pretends not to see the fact that Darwin believed blacks were less evolved than whites, and how that added to his racist beliefs, is just sticking his head in the sand.
However, the theory of evolution isn't even racist. Even if white people arrived on the planet after black people did, that doesn't make them superior. In the very long term evolution "improves" upon species, but not so much in the very short time frame that humanity has been around. Genetic mutations occurring only within the past 50,000 years aren't necessarily improvement so much as just change. Plus, according to palentology and evolution, human skin color changed not due to "survival of the fittest" in action but adapting to different physical locations on the planet, with white people becoming lighter due to the colder temperature of their location.
According to Darwin, whites were more evolved than black Africans. And black Africans were more evolved than Cro-magnon. And cro-magnon was more evolved than apes. Are you seeing why Darwinian evolution promotes racism yet?
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Re: A troublesome Inheritance

#15

Post by Ivellious » Thu May 15, 2014 8:02 am

Sure, Darwin had many racist views. So did virtually every white person on the planet for hundreds of years, including when Darwin lived. Should we call every discovery and new idea from that era racist because nearly every person who discovered them had racist tendencies?

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