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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Non-Platonic family trees

Recently I discussed Steve Sailer (formerly promoted by Steven Pinker) and his odd use of the term "Platonic" and specifically his application of the term to human descent. I wondered what the point was in applying the concept to the biological reality.

Thanks to 23 and Me, which added a new feature since I last checked, it's clear that the human family tree is even more tangled than I realized.

The new feature "DNA Relatives" displays everybody in the 23 & Me database with DNA in common. I have a total of 1151 DNA relatives.

The closest relatives are two first cousins, one "MR" on my father's side and Sean on my mother's side.

I share 12.4% DNA with Sean and 6.36% DNA with MR. Curiously, I share more DNA with one of Sean's daughters, 8.66% than I do with my own paternal first cousin.

But what's even odder is that my maternal and paternal cousins are related to each other. In the table below there is my paternal cousin's name, MR (name redacted) in the first column, then my connection and percentage shared DNA in the second column, then Sean's connection to MR, which, true, is only "Distant Cousin" at 0.07% but still that is weird.

And they aren't the only ones, although they are the closest of my relatives on 23 and Me.

Thanks to 23 and Me it is even clearer than before that there is no good reason to talk of Platonic family trees. It's not the nature of family trees to be "Platonic" in any usable sense of the term.

Speaking of 23 and Me, while arguing with Bret Weinstein on Twitter - indirectly, he won't talk to me - I saw a tweet apparently in agreement with Weinstein from 23 and Me founder Linda Avey. I asked her if she was a proponent of race science but she didn't answer.

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