Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wading and Dancing with Darwin

Evolution is a package deal. A message to lefties: You can't just use Darwin to point out how silly and old-fashioned religion is, and then leave the dance with Marx, instead. You have to have all of Darwin or none of him. And if you get a kick out of enraging fundamentalist Christians by asserting the truth/fact/theory of evolution, you're stuck with it. In practice, of course, leftists are masters of doublethink, able to embrace evolutionary theory when they want to, and reject it when it becomes uncomfortable. It is, after all, an attempt to get at the truth of things, and that doesn't fit in with leftism at all. As the quibcag asserts, when you take evolutionary and genetic theory to their logical conclusions, just about every leftist dogma is discredited.

This is all about Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, which I've been blogging about lately, especially HERE and just the other day HERE.

Of course, all these sappy leftist ideas have been discredited piecemeal for decades now, but Wade's book shoves the whole thing into the face of the Zeitgeist, and we can only hope that it gets noticed, and if noticed, understood.

Vox Day tells us more about the book and its implications, from his site here:

Genetic segregation
"The regional nature of selection was first made evident in a genomewide scan undertaken by Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago, in 2006. He looked for genes under selection in the three major races—Africans, East Asians and Europeans (or more exactly Caucasians, but European genetics are at present much better understood, so European populations are the usual subjects of study). Copious genetic data had been collected on each race as part of the HapMap, a project undertaken by the National Institutes of Health to explore the genetic roots of common disease. In each race Pritchard found about 200 genetic regions that showed a characteristic signature of having been under selection (206 in Africans, 185 in East Asians and 188 in Europeans). But in each race, a largely different set of genes was under selection, with only quite minor overlaps."

The primary theme of Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance is repeated over and over by Wade in the early chapters like a drumbeat, as if he knows the critical reader is not going to read very far into the book and will misrepresent what Wade is asserting: human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. It is also apparent that Wade knows why his words are likely to be twisted and attacked: "The fact that human evolution has been recent, copious and regional is not widely recognized, even though it has now been reported by many articles in the literature of genetics. The reason is in part that the knowledge is so new and in part because it raises awkward challenges to deeply held conventional wisdom."

Quibcag: Amy, of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (翠星のガルガンティア Suisei no Garugantia), is delighted to hear that all this liberal piffle has been discredited.


  1. I think you may be taking Wade's thesis too far. The last thirty-odd years of evolutionary biology have shown that the majority of evolutionary change is not adaptational. Most of what happens at the genome level is, in fact, not adaptive but is, at best, neutral. Wade does demonstrate that current science indicates there are measurable genetic difference in populations that can be called "race". What he does not do is demonstrate how this matters at the individual level where natural selection actually happens. Ultimately I think the genetic evidence renders evolution fundamentally anti-collectivist. Groups -- whether called race or religion or whatever, are just a survival tool for the individuals that make them up, not a useful classification tool.

    BTW, I found, "You have to have all of Darwin or none of him." in juxtaposition with a quote from Vox Day to be amusing. I assume you do know he rejects all but the wimpiest version of biological evolution. He invokes Darwin when it is convenient but leaves the dance with Ken Ham.

  2. Vox Day is amusing, but he's far too cagey to "leave the dance with Ken Ham". Vox is not a YEC. Vox erects ridiculously high barriers of "proof" to TENS/"macro"evolution while accepting "micro"evolution and HBD/evolutionary psychology/group selection/sociobiology/whateveryouwanttocallit (or appearing to accept it for the sake of bashing leftists).

    Vox does this for reasons of his religion (whatever he calls his odd brand of Protestant Christian theology), which make it impossible for him to officially accept TENS no matter how well supported by empirical evidence; but he won't paint himself into a corner like the YECs do, so he obfuscates and tries to draw anyone who debates him on this into traps. Essentially, he is only interested in debate tactics for scoring points. I've never seen him actually state what he believes the science proves; he merely hints at "weaknesses" in TENS. You won't be able to pin him down on anything solid.

    Vox accepts sexual selection (for instance in Game) and yet he appears to think that sexual selection is incompatible with/unrelated to TENS, when in fact Darwin spent a good deal of time in developing TENS in considering the role of sexual selection. Sexual selection (and by extension, cultural selection, group selection, etc) is part of TENS and always has been (just because we chose, or take part in, the selection process, does not make it outside of/opposed to/contradictory to TENS), and yet Vox writes as though the two are unrelated/incompatible (the old religious urge to castigate TENS as "random" - and thus nihilistic and meaningless - when in fact TENS is not random at all). Vox is far too given to purely logical arguments; he misses the empirical here. One can construct endless logically valid arguments that are nevertheless untrue.

    However parabarbarian I must take you to task for this howler: "Wade does demonstrate that current science indicates there are measurable genetic difference in populations that can be called "race". What he does not do is demonstrate how this matters at the individual level where natural selection actually happens."

    Natural selection does not happen at the individual level. Natural selection happens at the group level. Evolution is population-based, not individual based. individuals do not evolve. Populations evolve. Only populations matter in evolution; not individuals. Individuals don't change; populations do. Evolution is about change in populations. Not individuals. Evolution is fundamentally collectivist. The fate of the individual does not matter; only the fate of the reproducing population matters. You have gotten evolution preciously backwards, upside down, and inside out!

    Groups are a useful classification tool without which we couldn't even begin to describe actual humans and their actual history. Individuals do not survive. Groups do survive, not forever but effectively indefinitely and for far longer than individuals do. An individual who looks on his group as merely a tool to be used for his own advantage is a poor individual indeed - and his group will soon be poorer still, if that selfish attitude infects the group too much. The best individuals realize their individuality in harmony with their group identity/identities, not in opposition to it, or merely using it to their own advantage.

    That's the problem with obsessively individualistic libertarianism for you: always in danger of exalting the sacred individual and losing sight of the fact that the individual is a product of his family, race, culture, tribe, nation, religion, and so on - without which he would literally not exist, and in the damaging of which, he too is damaged (we see in our own lifetimes the decline in the quality of individuals as the overall culture declines). Exalting the individual while dismissing what made that individual possible is foolishly short-sighted.