The differentiation of human into races is not skin deep and mainly defined not exclusively by culture, but rather by genetics that has significant impact on social behavior, society and its culture. These genetic differences occurred due to different evolutionary paths that led to formation of different races over period of 50K years after humans moved out of Africa. This is a scientifically provable fact and it should be taken into account, however it in no way, shape, or form should impact equality of races and equality of opportunity for all individuals.
1. EVOLUTION, RACE AND HISTORY
Decoding of human genome at the end of XX century opened new options for research not only about human individuals, but also about human society. The new knowledge developed from genetics demonstrates that human biological evolution did not stop with advance of more or less efficient society about 200k ago, but rather has been recent, copious, and regional. The new knowledge also encountered strong cultural and psychological barriers created after racist horrors of XX century.
These barriers designed to established once and for all that all human beings are similar enough so no racial differences exists. Whatever difference could not be denied is just insignificant. However the simple facts discovered by genetics demonstrate that all humans, while coming from the same source in Africa, moved elsewhere around the globe and in processes developed via continuing evolution, somewhat different genetic ability to adjust to different environments. Examples provided are:
• Lactose tolerance in people of North European origin
• Tolerance to low oxygen in air in Tibetans
• Multiple genetic-medical parameters with statistically significant variation between races.
Overall evaluation provided that about 14% of genetic variance in humans is due to evolution occurring after human exit from Africa.
The other area where contradictions developed is the area of social sciences where denial of any significant genetic impact on human behavior and believe that it is completely defined by culture in which individual is raised is culturally required.
The author reviews differences between individuals coming from different races and cultures in various areas of societal activities and testing such as IQ tests, proficiency variation in sports, music, social behavior, economic disparities, and such.
2. PERVERSIONS OF SCIENCE
This chapter is a review of racial theories of the XIX and first half of XX centuries. It is pretty clear from this review that these theories where based on external characteristics of human beings and that empirical confirmation of their validity failed.
Moreover since all this was highly politicized despite failing to produce scientific prove of such differences, it winded up creating pseudo-science with practical actions leading to catastrophic consequences for humanity. Even in cases when empirical science could be more or less validated such as inheritance of features like individual height or blond hair, the approach to humans as cattle that could and should be subject of selective breading did not do any good to societies that tried to implement it.
3. ORIGINS OF HUMAN SOCIAL NATURE
This chapter compares chimpanzees’ and human society and reviews genetic differences between individuals who comprise societies and their evolution. One of the most interesting findings is that key difference between chimps and humans is genetically deep-seated ability of humans to cooperate and complete genetic inability of chimps for cooperation. This genetic ability to cooperate led to creation of family with male human cooperating with female greatly increasing chances for survival of the next generation.
The case is even made that invention of weapons greatly downgraded value of individual physical strength leading to increase in procreative chances of smaller and weaker males, who were smart enough to compensate it with superior weapon handling and tactical skills.
After that chapter goes into review of biological foundation of behavior such as oxytocin and MAO-A gene that was linked to individual ability to control aggression. The point is made based on research that genetics make significant impact on individuals’ inclination to cooperation and aggression, while these genetics are significantly and consistently different between races and even different groups within races.
The final point is made that society and its environment drive genetic evolution of individual belonging to this society so the trait such as lactose tolerance and aggressive behavior helped individual to survive in pastoral society where herd could be easily stolen and should be constantly defended, while impeding or being irrelevant for survival in agricultural society where harvest could not be easily stolen and compliance to the leader of big group defending territory is rewarded much better then undisciplined aggression.
4. THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT
This chapter is am attempt to answer question if races exists. One group of intellectuals is firmly rejecting the idea of different races claiming that differences are insignificant. Another group is accepting that races exist, but claims insignificance of this fact. There is an interesting difference between anthropologists. Among physical anthropologists (dealing with bones and bodies) 50% believe that races exist while among social anthropologists (dealing with people and cultures) only 29% believe that races exists. However the neutral evidence: ability of police departments correctly identify race of skull with 80% correctness indicate that it does exists.
The review of genetic evidence of human development over the last 50K years with different evolutionary pressures in different regions lead to conclusion that there are five races that developed in process of several divisions of population:
• First division separated Africans from the group who moved out of Africa to Europe
• The Second division separated Europeans from East Asians
• The next two separations were linked with population of two remote continents America and Australia which were reached relatively soon after exit from Africa about 46K years ago, but then where separated giving space to development of this group into separate races Australian Aborigines and American Indians.
Finally the races when they connected via landmass usually have a connection areas populated by individuals produced by continuing mixes of close by racial groups.
5. THE GENETICS OF RACE
This chapter is a bit more detailed technical review of genetic variance by race. It provides a nice Venn diagram showing distribution of about 400 genetic clusters with high level of variation developed by evolutionary pressures in 3 major different races: African, Asian, and Europeans. Interestingly, these 400 clusters are different for different races with only relatively small overlaps. Every group has about 120-140 clusters that were under selection exclusively for this group.
This follows by review of genetic mixes and how such mixes depend on separate portions of genome inherited from father or mother with different racial components. The second part of chapter dedicated to review of arguments against existence of human races and reasons to reject these arguments. The most important argument is that variation between individuals is higher the average variation between races. The response if that while it is correct, nevertheless the variation between races is significant enough to treat races as different entities.
6. SOCIETIES AND INSTITUTIONS
This chapter explores possibility of interconnection between genetic differences and cultural outcomes between different societies. As example development of religion reviewed with inference that it must be genetic predisposal for religion views in all human genomes since various religions were developed in all known human societies. Then human history reviewed with special consideration for impact on human genome of different evolutionary pressures created by transitions from hunter-gatherer to agriculture in both forms: settled and pastoral with different parameters for aggression, cooperation, and submission being most advantageous in different societies leading to diversity of races.
7. THE RECASTING OF HUMAN NATURE
This chapter reviews changes that occurred in human natures due to changing environment. The most important changes were decrease in propensity for violence and increase in literacy. As result individuals with beneficial traits obtain higher level of income leaving more children and pushing out from genetic pool early dying violent and ineffective people. In short in more recent societies being eaten by tiger was substituted by being poor and not able to feed ones children. The “long arc of domestication” is reviewed in details for various societies. At the end hypothesis of correlation between hereditary intelligence, as measured by IQ, and achieved level of wealth. There are plenty of correlations, but no causation was ever proved. The final section dedicated to review of institutions of different nation and their impact on prosperity or lack thereof.
8. JEWISH ADAPTATIONS
It seems to be impossible to talk about genetic intelligence, IQ, and wealth without bringing in Jews, their achievements, and history. This chapter is doing just that in process stressing evolutionary pressure on Jews’ intelligence due to requirements to accommodate to hostile environment in which Jewish history occurred and nature of professions open to Jews in Europe.
9. THE RISE OF THE WEST
This chapter brings an interesting and unusual angle to the question why Europe prospered, while other parts of the world did not. Example used of telescope, which in Europe caused dramatic changes in understanding Astronomy, world, and seagoing navigation, but, while demoed to Chinese and Muslims, generated no real interest. The point is made that European openness and acceptance of change and innovation has genetic component because all other conceivable explanations of differences seems to be failing. A special attention allocated to Jared Diamond’s ideas of Geographical determination and thesis that “societies are different due to different geo conditions not due to the different genetics of people.
10. EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES ON RACE
The conventional denial of genetic differences between races is implausible because of:
• Precise mix of genetics is not possible to identify and surmise that genetic component of 0 is not realistic
• All-culture position formulated as ideological position directed against racism. Ideology, even a decent one, does not provide for a scientific explanation of anything
• All-culture also fails to explain difficulties encountered in attempts to change cultures of third world in order to bring them into age of prosperity
• Supporters of all-culture failed to maintain this position by including newest research in genetics and culture.
This book attempts to include genetic component into analysis of differences between people with history viewed not as purely cultural development, but rather as combination of evolutionary genetic development with cultural evolution.
The important part of understanding is that while individuals of all races are very similar, the societies they created are very different and part of this difference could be explained by genetic evolution of part of genome that controls social behavior and eventually lead to specifics of society created.
MY TAKE ON IT:
I am fully agreeing with position that genetics of different races justify existence of this notion of race. However I do not agree that this difference is important and that social behavior of people defined by genes is strong enough to provide significant impact on characteristics of society.
The most important part of my disagreement is not with this book, but with whole tendency to assign to groups characteristics that are specific to individuals. For example the statistical distribution of IQ while moved to the right for Jews up to 110 points average IQ does not make any particular Jew any smarter then he/she is, but culture of learning and great encouragement of intellectual achievement, which is undeniably cultural phenomenon, makes every Jew try his/her best to be smart and educated or at least look as such. The resulted overachievement is more of the product of this culture then genetics.
Another consideration that make me think that genetic component while exist and pretty strong, is not that important, are ease with which people with the same genetic background accept superior culture if given chance either at individual level as immigrants from third world to the first world or even as societies as exemplified by Korea (South and North) and Germany (West and East).
My final reason for why genetics is not that relevant, is that in contemporary world people are intermixing at huge rate and with increasing speed so the fact that one’s grandparents include representatives of 4 different races is much more important then the fact that they all carry evolutionary differences developed over previous 50K years.