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The Brian Ferguson Interview

I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropo...

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Race, genetics and pseudoscience: an explainer

More from the good guys

by Ewan Birney, Jennifer Raff, Adam Rutherford, Aylwyn Scally
Human genetics tells us about the similarities and differences between people – in our physical and psychological traits, and in our susceptibility to disorders and diseases – but our DNA can also reveal the broader story of our evolution, ancestry and history. Genetics is a new scientific field, relatively speaking, merely a century old. Over the last two decades, the pace of discovery has accelerated dramatically, with exciting new findings appearing daily. Even for scientists who study this field, it’s difficult to keep up. 
Amidst this ongoing surge of new information, there are darker currents. A small number of researchers, mostly well outside of the scientific mainstream, have seized upon some of the new findings and methods in human genetics, and are part of a social-media cottage-industry that disseminates and amplifies low-quality or distorted science, sometimes in the form of scientific papers, sometimes as internet memes – under the guise of euphemisms such as ‘race realism’ or ‘human biodiversity’.

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