I have commented on Wade here many times, but a direct discussion of his geographical speculations as theory idiocy remains to be discussed.
Would biologists sit and read WHEE? Wade wishes to explain the the great take-off in England on genetic terms. That doesn’t work. I have frequently tried to expose this kind of mistake. And this isn’t even Darwinism. Wade thinks genetic changes between 1200 and 1800 created the surge of British modernity, etc..
That has to be nonsense even on Darwinian terms.
Please take a look at the macro model in WHEE: the phenomenon of the modern transition resolves most of the confusion, leaving its own mystery in its stead. The strangeness of the macro model makes those overtrained in scientism unable to consider a new perspective. The issue is not from 1200, but from 1500 onward. And it includes the ‘northern crescent’ Germany, Holland, England, France, and Spain, with Italy as a hybrid case better case discussed elsewhere. But the miracle transformation Wade speaks of is a clear case of the ‘macro effect’ and is totally precise in its timing. The Industrial Revolution appears, along with the democratic revolutions (actually in the sidewinder of England: The US..England’s ‘democratic’ revolution was the Civil War which was soone coopted), with eerie timing at what the model calls the ‘great divide’. Almost like clockwork the whole thing unfolds. This isn’t genetics at work. The macro effect gives clear examples with decisive hints that genetic givens (we must presume Wade is hinting at IQ) are not the key to the transformation.
Just here there is a strange new question: does the macro effect induce changes in genetics? I have never claimed so, and have always bypassed that kind of Lamarckian claim. But the possibility is there of some such effect. But in general the macro effects in world history provide their own energistic to fuel a transformation. It is not a function of the genetics of the populations involved.
The British case is uniquely fascinating: its expansion as a world power ignites globalization in a brief intensity, and then its imperialism recedes asap and the job is done. The British were a godsend to globalization with their ‘English language’ which was a unique combination of linguistic depth and near pidgin simplicity, rapidly displacing all rivals as a (transient) world language. Coincidence?
Wade’s theme is that “racial” differences are instrumental in determining the fate of a people. Such differences are genetic and, thus, are measurable and can potentially show why some “races” make it and others fail.
One such momentously influential change occurred in England between 1200 and 1800 when, according to Wade, the English tamed themselves into adopting a civilized parliamentary system which has become the standard for the rest of the world to imitate or at least pretend to imitate.
As the eloquent Luigi Barzini described this transformation: “How, in the first place, did a peripheral island rise from primitive squalor to world domination?” Wade calls this change, “bourgeoisification” which he says can be seen in the genetic changes that occurred in the British populace during that 600 year span.
To support this claim, Wade relies on a couple of examples of documented changes like the Tibetans “who have evolved a genetic variant that lets them live at a high altitude”, and the Northern Europeans becoming lactose tolerant because they had a lot of cows whose excess milk had to be consumed. Thus, Wade writes that if civility is also a trait that is esteemed in a society, then those who possess this trait will be rewarded and will flourish; consequently they will have more offspring and gradually they will come to dominate in that society.