RACE IS NOT A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT - IT'S IN OUR DNA
Dr Salter holds a PhD. and has taught at universities in Britain and the U.S. and Europe. He is an authority on the biosocial study of ethnicity and nationalism.
A recent analysis by American geneticist Henry Harpending confirms his earlier finding that the genetic similarity of members of ethnic groups is typically that of first cousins (in the field of genetics, genetic similarity is known as “kinship”).
The finding has profound implications for the understanding of ethnic and racial solidarity and conflict. The first estimation was made in 2002 using old genetic assay data.
The new estimation is based on a much larger database recently collected by the Human Genome Project. The new data are also much more accurate than those available in the 1990s. The original gene assays looked at fewer than 100 sites in the genome.
With improvements in technology, the new methods look at up to a million sites spread throughout the genome.
The figures show the level of ethnic kinship in a mixed population of French and Japanese. Two French people or two Japanese people have a kinship measure of around 0.06, which is just below that of first cousins within an ethnic group (0.0625).
A French person and Japanese person have negative genetic kinship between them of –0.06.
Modern DNA testing can help us distinguish between them
Ethnic groups are closer genetically when they come from the same regional population, commonly known as a race. And they are further apart genetically when they belong to different races.
Koreans and Chinese are more similar than Koreans and Nigerians. So ethnic kinship varies, depending on the comparison being made. But based on comparisons around the world, ethnic kinship typically approximates that of first cousins.
Kinship in mixed populations, based on the Human Genome Data Base. Henry Harpending derived the top panel, which is a histogram of genetic kinship between all possible pairs of individuals in a synthetic ethnically diverse population created by pooling the French and Japanese HGDP samples. The bottom panel shows, for each individual, his or her closest kin in the sample. For almost everyone his or her closest genetic kinsman is equivalent to a great-grandchild.
In other words, an ethnic group, any ethnic group, is a very large genetic kin group, a genetic family.
All humans share 99.9% of their genes. (In fact, it’s 100%, if a gene is taken to mean a location on the genome; we share 99.9% of the variants, the genetic code, that occur at those locations).
The remaining 0.1%, which is one genetic variant in a thousand, is what gives us our differences. Geneticists focus on this difference when comparing ethnic groups.
Admittedly, 0.1% does not sound like much, but it is sufficient to create dramatic average racial differences that go far beyond skin colour, such as bone density, average height, the ratio of limb-to-body length, the capacity to digest milk and carbohydrates, brain size, temperament, resistance to different diseases, and the speed of childhood development.
Some racial groups didn't evolve in close proximity to lions
There is considerable overlap for most characteristics. The difference is between averages for these characteristics. But the differences are strong enough for us to notice, just as we can often see differences between families. Overlap is much less when multiple characteristics are taken into account.
To put this in broader context, humans share something like 98.5% of their genes with chimpanzees, leaving a difference of 1.5% That might not sound large.
And there is overlap, for example in body plan, some aspects of brain organisation, a relatively long childhood, the cognitive ability to have self identity, some blood groups, binocular vision, five digits and opposable thumb, capacity for upright gait, and so on.
"Those are not trivial differences"
Given these overlaps, we might conclude that genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are trivial if we accepted the argument used by leftist scientists to deny the reality of race.
All we would need to do is make the vague assumption that 1.5% genetic difference is very small, really only skin deep. The reality is that 1.5% genetic difference is sufficient to produce the obvious anatomical and behavioural differences between the two species.
The chimpanzee brain is one third the size of ours and lacks a speech centre. Those are not trivial differences. Racial differences are not as great but significant nevertheless. Clearly the genetic difference between human races – about one fifteenth as great as that between humans and chimpanzees – is sufficiently large to produce substantial anatomical and behavioural differences.
But let’s get back to differences of kinship and how it affects social cohesion.
Ethnic groups often number in the millions, which makes them very large stores of members’ genetic variants. If we were to consider the genes shared by one million ethnic French people in comparison to Japanese, we would find that the French group carries 120,000 copies of each member’s distinctive genes.
By comparison, three siblings carry only one and a half copies of each parent’s genome between them. (each child carries half of the parent’s genes).
So, if a mother were to lose three children, she would have lost one and a half copies of her own distinctive genes. However, if that person’s ethnic group were to suffer genocide, she would lose many thousands or even millions of copies of her genome.
Therefore, if children represent a person’s “reproductive interests” or “genetic interests”, so do ethnic groups, though on a much greater scale.
In light of this new understanding, emotions that so often mark ethnic affairs begin to make sense, even though our emotions evolved in small scale societies with a much smaller genetic pool.
All animal and plant species are evolved to perpetuate their genes. The love and protectiveness humans feel for their children evolved because those feelings help children survive and propagate, and children carry half of each parent’s genes.
This study shows that genetic survival is just as much at stake in the welfare of our ethnic groups as it is in the welfare of our family, though we are better evolved to care for offspring than for large ethnic groups.
This might seem simple, as if ethnic identity and human motivation related to it can be reduced to counting genes, but that is not how the human mind works. Suffice it to say that beliefs about descent are what define and motivate kinship systems.
Members of an ethnic group believe that they share ancestors as well as culture. This perceived kinship, expressed in folkloric metaphors such as “shared blood”, explains why ethnic motivation can be so strong.
Knowledge of genetics might, in principle, be a substitute for folklore, but we have not needed it for thousands of years. By and large, beliefs about ancestry are accurate, so that folkloric beliefs about tribe and culture, about shared “blood”, are generally reasonably accurate substitutes for scientific knowledge of ethnic kinship, though they are fallible.
This contradicts the theory which is currently accepted by many sociologists, that ethnicity and race are socially constructed with no biological underpinning. It also has profound implications for the current multiculturalist dogma that drives our immigration policy.
Multiculturalist ideology asserts that social cohesion can (and should) co-exist with ethnic diversity. So let’s discuss the distribution of cohesion and affiliation within society. Pools of cohesion exist in society which roughly correspond to pools of genetic kinship. The deepest pools of cohesion are the smallest – families.
Ethnic groups and nations are much larger but also much shallower in the intensity with which members are bound together. Some affiliation is better than none.
Homogeneous societies show relatively low levels of conflict and high levels of cohesion. These are forms of social capital worth defending.
The most intense form of cohesion is altruism, the willingness to sacrifice life and limb for “our people” in times of natural disaster and war. This might explain the overrepresentation of Anglo-Australians in the Australian armed forces.
Lee Rigby was prepared to fight for his people
So was Michael Adebolajo
When large numbers of people of different races are introduced into a homogenous racial community, things change. Levels of altruistic behaviour such as volunteering, caring and trust, begin to break down. Our carefully nurtured “pools of altruism” are degraded, even between members of the same ethnicity.
It is possible to create artificial and symbolic forms of ethnic kinship. People can bond to some degree through shared upbringing, shared language and accent, shared historical memories, shared political symbols such as monarchy, and shared religious affiliations.
Shared citizenship is a relatively ephemeral social glue, yet Australian governments wave this forlorn legal document as the underwriter of national unity at the same time that they open the borders to millions of diverse immigrants.
None of these “pseudo kinships” are substitutes for ethnic kinship, the mainstay of national cohesion in good and bad times.
Yugoslavia was a successful Multicultural country - until it wasn't
Social research suggests that the ethnic diversity being forced on Western countries will inevitably lead to the degradation of social and economic wellbeing, as rising conflict undermines trust and cooperation.
Islamist terrorism is only the most spectacular tip of the iceberg. This would not be happening if Western populations had been allowed to vote for or against mass non-European immigration.
To quote Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt of the Max Planck Institute in Germany:
“When humans are given democratic choice, they choose to opt out of multi-ethnic states and form a ‘truer union’ in a relatively homogeneous nation-state in which their own ethnic group is the majority.”
Eibl’s proposal for more ethnically federated states deserves attention. Economic research provides support for giving ethnic groups more autonomy. This trend is most pronounced in democratic states, where citizens have a say in shaping government.
These analyses also show that, contrary to free-market economic theory, ethnic homogeneity and small nation size are significant economic assets (think Switzerland, Austria and the Benelux and Scandinavian countries prior to recent waves of mass immigration).
Switzerland has prospered despite a crippling lack of diversity
As democracy spreads, large ethnically and geographically diverse (multicultural) states are fragmenting through secession. In other words, given the freedom to choose, people opt for independent ethnic states, resulting in more independent countries which are more successful.
Greater decentralization of government is the best means to counter this trend. But as Eibl suggests, it is not clear why the trend should be countered if it reflects democratic choice and results in a stronger economy and more generous welfare rights.
The fact is that humans have never lost their evolved preference for kin, and are happiest when allowed to form families and live among their own people. What our cultural elites call racism and xenophobia is what makes people content around the world.
In short, diversity in a society is not a strength, as we are constantly being told, but a significant and often debilitating weakness.
This article is based on a paper by Frank Salter and Henry Harpending in Personality and Individual Differences in 2013, which can be found here:
A fuller explanation of the original findings and their social and political implications can be found in Dr Salter’s book On Genetic Interests.