We have listed the many reviews of Wade’s book in the previous post: this is the last one, and overlaps with issues better discussed with the macro effect.
These liberals critics of Wade do a good job, as far as they can within the Darwin paradigm. Here it appears Wade’s thesis is so poorly argued that the issue of Darwinism hardly arises. But let us be clear: charging Wade with pseudoscience is the pot calling the kettle black. Social Darwinism, genetic determinism arise not just because the particular brand of darwinism is conservative-plied, but out of the theory of Darwin himself. Thus for Wade to argue that genetic variations have arisen since 50K BCE is a no-brainer. But clearly he sinks his own argument by trying to use this to pursue the question of race. It doesn’t work, and although genetic variations exist in a geographical spread, no doubt, Wade’s interpretations of this in particular cases sinks at once. And the concept of race appears to fail completely despite possible geographical spreads.
Wade uses an obvious fact: geographical variation spreads since 50K onward to correlate behavioral traits and historical innovations to genetical natural selection, but surely that is grossly off the mark. That there is some genetic correlation to certain types of behavior I would be wary of denying, but the particulars chosen by Wade fail completely.
Here the issue must be faced, although the critics of Wade can’t face it: Darwin’s theory of natural selection fails as a theory of evolution. Period.
It is important to consider that world history has its own ‘evolutionary matrix’ and this operates beyond the level of genetics. If we examine the ‘macro effect’: http://history-and-evolution.com, site of WHEE (world history and the eonic effect) we can see that most of Wade’s examples are easily shown to correspond to directional macro factors: the ‘rise of the West’, the Industrial Revolution, etc, etc,…are correlated with something completely different than the play of natural selection on populations.
Sit down and study the macro effect carefully, to see how far off Darwinian thinking is.
These darwinian critics of Wade are not really answering his argument, even given its nearly absurd reasoning. We can better deal with Wade’s fallacies by rejecting darwinism altogether.
A new book argues race and genetics explain “the rise of the West.” Bad science explains the downfall of its ideas.
“KKK” by Nathaniel Gold
Nicholas Wade is not a racist. In his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, the former science writer for the New York Times states this explicitly. “It is not automatically racist to consider racial categories as a possible explanatory factor.” He then explains why white people are better because of their genes. In fairness, Wade does not say Caucasians are better per se, merely better adapted (because of their genes) to the modern economic institutions that Western society has created, and which now dominate the world’s economy and culture. In contrast, Africans are better adapted to hot-headed tribalism while East Asians are better adapted to authoritarian political structures. “Looking at the three principal races, one can see that each has followed a different evolutionary path as it adapted to its local circumstances.” It’s not prejudice; it’s science.
Wade believes that in the 50,000 years since humans began leaving Africa in migratory waves different racial lines have evolved different social behaviors and that this explains the inequality between races today. Much like the old hypothesis that scales, feathers, and hair each evolved from a common root along the branches that became reptiles, birds, and mammals respectively, Wade argues that genetic adaptation can explain the behavioral and societal differences we observe in human racial groups.
Wade’s hypothesis faces a distinct challenge since, unlike the evolution of hair, few complex social behaviors — especially in humans — have identifiable genetic components. Genes are certainly involved in complex behavior, but no one knows which genes or how, and untangling the influence of genes from other possible factors such as interuterine hormones, environmental stress, epigenetics or even culture is a serious problem. This means that observable differences, such as behavior, could have a completely different explanation from the genetic story that Wade proposes. For example, the advance of genetic analysis has since revealed that the old story explaining the origin of hair was incorrect. Behavior, especially human behavior, is much more complicated and requires a high standard of evidence.
What makes Wade’s book so troublesome is that he offers no scientific evidence to support his racial hypothesis. None. In fact, Wade acknowledges himself that his ideas on this topic are “leaving the world of hard science and entering into a much more speculative arena at the interface of history, economics and human evolution.” Nevertheless, because he thinks academics have suppressed the importance of genetics and race in human history for political reasons, Wade charges ahead and concludes, confidently, that Western civilization is a Darwinian success story.
The rise of the West was not some cultural accident. It was the direct result of the evolution of European populations as they adapted to the geographic and military conditions of their particular ecological habitat…From an evolutionary perspective, an imminent decline of the West seems unlikely. Western social behavior, the source of the open society and open economy with their rewards to innovation, has been shaped by evolution as well as by culture and history and is unlikely to change anytime soon.