More gene blues

Paris, Dec. 11, 2007 — The evolution of the debate on evolution is accelerating but still politically side-stepping the question. The latest developments are in today’s press and concern findings by two American anthropologists. 

Robert K. Moyzis (U of C, Irvine) and Henry C. Harpening (U of Utah) write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  this week that human evolution accelerated enormously in the last 40 000 years, that is to say well after the ‘theoretical’ “out of Africa” migration is said to have taken place.  And it just got faster and faster. “We’re more different from people 5,000 years ago than they were from Neanderthals,” said Harpening. 

So, what does that say about the ‘separate evolution’ of races?  Does this discredit evolutionary psychologists who say the mind has not evolved since the end of the last ice age 10 000 years ago?  Does it give credence to geneticist and Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson who suggested intelligence evolved less effectively in Africans and people of African descent? 

But wait. “An analysis of the genome of James Watson showed that 16 per cent of his genes were likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent” writes Robert Verkaik in today’s Independent. 

Watson had to resign as head of a New York Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory two months ago after saying he is “inherently gloomy about the prospects for Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really“. 

And you know what?  Watson is a smart guy. 

Behaviorists and those who favor environment may be uneasy with the findings.  They indicate it is the environment and culture we created which effected the way our genes evolved.  

Moyzis and Harpening say their studies did not measure intelligence.  I’m trying to figure out how everything can change so fast and the mind not and who’s asking the question in the first place and why? 

Let us make no mistake. We are just one short step away from hearing Third Reich arguments about uber menschen and unter menschen 

Down what slippery road is the science of the human genome taking us?