Alan Goodman, a professor at Hampshire College, co-director of the American Anthropological Association’s Understanding Race project, and long-time friend of the ISE, has posted a review on Counterpunch.org of a disturbing new book by New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, which aims to revive long-discredited theories proposing a biological basis for racial divisions among peoples. Here’s an excerpt:
Nicholas Wade’s book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, is what the title suggests: a troubling view of human history. A Troublesome Inheritance is troublesome, but not for the reason he proposes: his “courageous” telling of hard truths about genetic differences among races.
Rather, Wade’s lack of understanding of history, the social sciences, population genetics, and the scientific process is troublesome. Not getting the basics right leads to his linking of all manner of lived inequalities to genetic differences among races. His logical errors set the clock back more than a century on public understandings of human genetic variation.
… Races as genetically real groups are the principal actors in Mr. Wade’s world: They are the forces of history. For centuries past, race was so used to explain human variation. We now know better. Unfortunately, Mr. Wade does not get the differences between the facts of human genetic variation and the idea of race, an old idea used to describe and explain variation…
Full review is at http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/23/a-troublesome-racial-smog/.