Although our understanding of the origins of modern humans and their biologically influenced behavior has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades, these world-changing developments seem to have received extremely scant coverage in the mainstream press, meaning that many of them have probably not penetrated into the public consciousness of those who are not academic specialists.
The assumptions and world-views of most American intellectuals and journalists often seem stuck in the 1980s, clinging to ideas that are almost completely outdated and incorrect.
One of the oddities of American intellectual life is that although a full-fledged scientific revolution in human genetics and evolution has been taking place for the last couple of decades, very little of this has been reported in the mainstream media, perhaps because the findings so totally contradict the numerous falsehoods that so many senior editors presumably imbibed during the introductory anthropology courses they took to satisfy their science distributional requirement as undergraduates.
While his former colleagues often focus on the transient and the trivial, New York Times’ Nicholas Wade has spent the last couple of years producing an outstanding book to bring awareness of the revolutionary discoveries of modern genetic research to a broader American audience. Generations of Soviets had been taught the inheritance of acquired characteristics in their universities, and I assume they must have been shocked to discover it was all an ideologically motivated hoax. I suspect that many complacent American intellectuals may have a similar reaction to Wade’s book, which focuses on the highly touchy subject of the genetic nature of our distinct human races and the implications for society and history, bearing the descriptive title A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History. I’d certainly rank Wade’s book as the most important popular presentation of these ideas at least since Pinker’s Blank Slate.
All too many socially conditioned Americans have absorbed the Lewontin-Gould mantra that “Race Does Not Exist” which from a scientific perspective is roughly similar to claiming that “Teeth Do Not Exist” or perhaps “Hills Do Not Exist,” with the latter being an especially good parallel. It is perfectly correct that the notion of “hill” is ill-defined and vague—what precise height distinguishes a pile of dirt from a hill and a hill from a mountain?—but nevertheless denying the reality or usefulness of such a concept would be an absurdity. Similarly, the notion of distinct human races—genetic clusters across a wide variety of scales and degrees of fuzziness—is an obviously useful and correct organizing principle, and one which was probably accepted without question by everyone in the history of the world except for deluded Americans of the last fifty years.
Read the full, original story: Does race exist? Do hills exist?