Is Genetic Divergence a Controversial Topic?

Genetic Divergence

Genetic divergence is an accepted concept in evolutionary science.

Genetic divergence is the process in which two or more populations of an ancestral species accumulate independent genetic changes (mutations) through time, often after the populations have become reproductively isolated for some period of time… The genetic differences among divergent populations can involve silent mutations (that have no effect on the phenotype) or give rise to significant morphological and/or physiological changes. Genetic divergence will always accompany reproductive isolation, either due to novel adaptations via selection and/or due to genetic drift, and is the principal mechanism underlying speciation.[1] __ Wikipedia

Genetic divergence takes place between isolated breeding populations via:

  • mutation,
  • selection,
  • genetic drift,
  • gene duplication,
  • and other processes

This is well accepted among evolutionary scientists.

Evolution and Dog Breeds

We recently discussed the profound differences in behaviours between the different dog breeds, and how such differences were both heritable and statistically linked to specific gene alleles. Genetic divergence in dog breeds is a combination of artificial selection by dog breeders, and the other natural mechanisms of divergence mentioned above.

This concept is generally accepted among evolutionary scientists.

Evolution and Human Ethnicity

Several human populations evolved in mostly isolated breeding populations for thousands of years on the various continents. The marked differences in physical appearance between these divergent ethnic groups cannot be denied. But did these physically divergent groups also evolve differences in brain gene alleles that can lead them to behave differently, on a statistical group level?

We recently looked at East Asian underachievement in the Nobel Prize arena, and saw that this “East Asian Lag” may be partially related to different gene alleles in those populations:

… the variance in scientific achievement is explained by differences in inquisitiveness (DRD4 7-repeat), psychological stability (5HTTLPR long form), and individualism (mu-opioid receptor gene; OPRM1 G allele). Northeast Asians tend to be lower in these psychological traits, which we argue are necessary for exceptional scientific accomplishments. __

We have also seen evidence that violent behaviours are linked to specific gene alleles that are more common in some ethnic groups than in others.

Do Different Ethnic Groups Behave Differently?

Clearly, based on the evidence, different ethnic groups exhibit different behaviours on a statistical level. Differences emerge in levels of affluence, levels of educational achievement, levels of criminality, levels of technological expertise in different populations, levels of trust and generosity, and so on. The big question is whether some of these different behaviours are genetically based in part.

There is a widespread belief that there has not been enough time for human populations on the different continents to diverge genetically during the long years of being mostly isolated from each other. But is that belief well supported?

Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole “races” but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.

Recent “sweeps” of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. __

Cochran and Harpending’s book The 10,000 Year Explosion illustrates how rapidly a human breeding population can diverge from the mainstream surrounding it, even while maintaining close physical proximity to outside groups.

The online book “The Nature of Race” by John Fuerst provides much evidence supporting the concept of evolved biological races — including races of men. Much more material on the “biological reality of race” can be found at the human biological diversity website.

In fashionable academia and among the elite pseudo-intellectual classes, the concept of genetically distinguishable human races which may differ statistically in behaviours and specific aptitudes is highly controversial. Nevertheless, evolutionary science strongly supports the concept of both genetic divergence and associated phenotypic divergence.

The idea that one group may win more Nobel Prizes because of statistically different levels of certain genetic alleles, is very controversial — and NOT! politically correct. But the evidence is highly suggestive of that possibility. The same principle applies to a large number of well known statistical ethnic and gender differences in aptitude and achievement across the range of human accomplishment, throughout history to the modern day.

Why bring up the idea of male – female differences when discussing genetic divergence? Because the genetic distance between males and females is the largest genetic gulf of all. The “Y” chromosome and the resulting ultra-high levels of testosterone in males compared to females, make such a difference in how the brain and body function that male – female divergence takes the prize.

… Many sex differences in adult brain structure and behaviors are the result of in utero organizational effects of gonadal steroid hormones, in particular androgens and their aromatized derivatives, estrogens, both of which are present in substantially higher concentrations in male fetuses due to testicular steroidogenesis. Brain differences between the sexes can also arise from diverse factors, including the expression of genes carried on the sex chromosomes…

The self-deception of political correctness is common among all groups of people. But certain modern organisations and institutions are particularly guilty of aggressively promoting political censorship of scholarly and scientific ideas. It is past time to point the public finger at these organisations and institutions.

It is not hard to find them. They are hiding in plain sight in the halls of higher education, in mass media, in government bureaucracies, in tax-free foundations that fund research, and among publishers and editors of scientific journals. In other words, if the “swamp of ideological censorship” in society is ever to be drained, the process will have to be extensive and prolonged.

Fortunately, we do have the internet which allows a constant proliferation of multiple streams of ideas. And we will always have private collections of books and papers, both electronic and physical. These ideas can all be tested against the validated and substantiated ideas of the past, to allow both contrarians and more mainstream-connected thinkers to keep a better set of books for corrective purposes. At least until society swings back to a different set of prejudices that allow more recent fads to be discarded and replaced by preserved and discovered knowledge that stand up better to challenges.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

This entry was posted in Genetics and Gene Expression and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Is Genetic Divergence a Controversial Topic?

  1. bob sykes says:

    Cavali-Sforza denies the existence of races (the price for grants and publications), but his own data suggest that humans are divided into 50 to 100 races assorted into 10 to 20 species, all in Homo.

  2. Will Brown says:

    One of the genetic divergence factors that deserves greater consideration (it doesn’t appear on the list proffered at all) is that of physiological stress on a given species. It has been speculated that the length of time human (and other) species are believed to have existed does not equate with the theorized time frames allotted to Darwinian processes of speciation – thus, the necessity for external existential stress imposed on a given species to accelerate that process (see: Randall Carlson’s work for one example of this line of thought).

    Much like the physical stress imposed by the meteorite/cometary impact speculations of Carlson among others, it seems to me that psychological stresses such as those imposed by “political correctness” and other artificial theories of human behavior may inflict their own class of human speciation influences. I suspect that such stresses aren’t of sufficient intensity or duration to cause measurable genetic differentiation, but added to stresses caused by other sources they may play a not-insignificant role.

    Contrarian enough? 🙂

  3. Pingback: Cantandum in Ezkhaton 10/20/19 | Liberae Sunt Nostrae Cogitatiores

Comments are closed.