Don’t Trouble Yourself

Philip N. Cohen in the Boston Review:

ScreenHunter_708 Jun. 26 19.40In his latest book, Nicholas Wade, a longtime science journalist, argues that evolution by natural selection created human races with different genetic predispositions for social behavior. As races evolved following divergent migrations out of Africa, their social behavior diverged and became written in their genes. This divergence fueled the development of disparate societal institutions, leading to contemporary inequalities between rich and poor countries according to their adaptability to modern economic imperatives. In Wade’s telling, the Caucasian and East Asian races comprise the richest and most powerful nations in the world because they are genetically better adapted to success in modern capitalist systems than are Africans and the other racial groups, who remain steeped in tribalism, the “default” human condition.

We might know all this already, Wade claims, if it were not for politically correct gatekeepers who are afraid to discuss the realities of genetic forces underlying racial differences. Of course, Wade says, no one wants to reignite the racism that gave us social Darwinism, eugenics, and the Holocaust, but enough with taboos. It is time to move on to a scientific examination of how genes explain racial differences.

The book has nothing to do with racial superiority, Wade assures us. Unless you consider economic, political, and cultural success—thanks to your genes—an indicator of superiority. It is a hard assurance to accept from a needlessly defensive book riddled with scientific errors, deaf to better-supported theories, and willfully blind to its own implications.

More here.