The orthodoxy's equivalent of the Nicene Creed has two scientific tenets. The first, promulgated by geneticist Richard Lewontin in "The Apportionment of Human Diversity" (1972), is that the races are so close to genetically identical that "racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance." The second, popularized by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, is that human evolution in everything but cosmetic differences stopped before humans left Africa, meaning that "human equality is a contingent fact of history," as he put it in an essay of that title in 1984.Those who still stubbornly cling to their antiscientific belief in human equality are the Flat Earth Society of our day. There is truly nothing surprising here except the name of the author; for a New York Times columnist to abjure liberal race orthodoxy is like a sitting cardinal of the Catholic Church publishing a book declaring that God does not exist.
Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, what is known by geneticists has increasingly diverged from this orthodoxy, even as social scientists and the mainstream press have steadfastly ignored the new research. Nicholas Wade, for more than 20 years a highly regarded science writer at the New York Times, has written a book that pulls back the curtain....
At the heart of the book, stated quietly but with command of the technical literature, is a bombshell. It is now known with a high level of scientific confidence that both tenets of the orthodoxy are wrong.
Mr. Lewontin turns out to have been mistaken on several counts, but the most obvious is this: If he had been right, then genetic variations among humans would not naturally sort people into races and ethnicities. But, as Mr. Wade reports, that's exactly what happens. A computer given a random sampling of bits of DNA that are known to vary among humans—from among the millions of them—will cluster them into groups that correspond to the self-identified race or ethnicity of the subjects. This is not because the software assigns the computer that objective but because those are the clusters that provide the best statistical fit. If the subjects' ancestors came from all over the inhabited world, the clusters that first emerge will identify the five major races: Asians, Caucasians, sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans and the original inhabitants of Australia and Papua New Guinea. If the subjects all come from European ancestry, the clusters will instead correspond to Italians, Germans, French and the rest of Europe's many ethnicities. Mr. Lewontin was not only wrong but spectacularly wrong. It appears that the most natural of all ways to classify humans genetically is by the racial and ethnic groups that humans have identified from time out of mind.
Stephen Jay Gould's assurance that significant evolution had stopped before humans left Africa has also proved to be wrong—not surprisingly, since it was so counterintuitive to begin with.
All the dogma goodthink with which we were raised, all the statements about "race is only skin deep" and "it's not genetics, its the culture" and "deep inside we're all the same" are nothing more than children's tale meant to obscure the frightening truth. Science is gradually peeling away the orthodox falsehoods; soon it will be impossible to conceal the important and necessary discussions about reality under nonsensical accusations of racism.
It will be interesting to see how science-loving equalitarians react to the discovery that they will have to choose between science and their faith. I expect that most of them will react as they did when economics made incontrovertibly clear the intrinsic contradictions of socialism and stubbornly cling to their antiscientific beliefs without admitting that they have openly rejected science.