Monday, December 13, 2004

The genetics of race

Steve Sailer discusses genetic research on race:

This is Cavalli-Sforza's description of the map that is the capstone of his half century of labor in human genetics: "The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids … (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia."

Basically, all his number-crunching has produced a map that looks about like what you'd get if you gave Strom Thurmond a paper napkin and a box of crayons and had him draw a racial map of the world. In fact, at the global level, Cavalli-Sforza has largely confirmed the prejudices of the more worldly 19th Century imperialists. Rudyard Kipling and Cecil Rhodes could have hunkered down together and whipped up something rather like this map in honor of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

And here is the map showing Cavalli-Sforza's research:

race map


Sailer also provides an example showing how Cavalli-Sforza created his map:

Cavalli-Sforza's team compiled extraordinary tables depicting the "genetic distances" separating 2,000 different racial groups from each other. For example, assume the genetic distance between the English and the Danes is equal to 1.0. Then, Cavalli-Sforza has found, the separation between the English and the Italians would be about 2.5 times as large as the English-Danish difference. On this scale, the Iranians would be 9 times more distant genetically from the English than the Danish, and the Japanese 59 times greater. Finally, the gap between the English and the Bantus (the main group of sub-Saharan blacks) is 109 times as large as the distance between the English and the Danish. (The genetic distance between Japanese and Bantus is even greater.)

From these kind of tables, Cavalli-Sforza reached this general conclusion: "The most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans …"

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