Charles Murray reviews “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History” by Nicholas Wade.
How surprising: a conservative media outlet is championing a (poorly researched) book about race and genetics.
Let’s set the record straight: the author isn’t a geneticist, he’s a writer about science. That doesn’t make his conclusion’s wrong, but it should alert you to a key detail: does he actually understand the science he’s writing about? The answer is a very simple no. And I have nothing against the author for being wrong, people are often wrong. But holy crap, the way media just latches onto what it wants to be true is disturbing.
The first problem with the author’s book is that it’s not actually uncovering anything new! It’s making a vague claim about scientific possibility. Is it scientifically conceivable that there is a genetic (therefore biological) difference associated with race? Sure. Is it conceivable that this genetic difference leads to differences in behavior and outcomes? Sure.
But there’s no evidence. And the evidence the author tries to cite is horribly butchered misinterpretations of the research geneticists are doing. He references the Ashkenazi Jews and their high IQs and how they share a genetic similarity across them as perhaps indicating genetic inheritance of racial traits. Is it plausible that this genetic similarity explains their high IQs? Sure. Is that what the research actually indicates? NO. There’s so many other explanations, the research was only a small sub-section of Ashkenazi Jews and not extrapolable to the entire population and it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of social or cultural inheritance.
The modern state of genetic research and race is that RACIAL adaptations are not really a thing. The genetic variance between members of the same race is very high. There IS evidence of people in close proximity having genetic similarities, but we knew that already. That’s not the same thing as racially-based genetic inheritance. The two claims are vastly different.
So all the author really managed to do was point out a possibility and selectively cite some research that he then misinterprets (you can ask the geneticists that actually did the research) to defend a possibility. And right-wing media man here is off talking about a revolution and the dark forces of the left that refuse to consider true genetic research.
Hopefully the geneticists come out of the wood-works to defend their research.