The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Race and the Roads Not Taken
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Migration paths

A common semi-scientific, semi-sophistical way to claim that Race Does Not Exist is to argue that only “clines” exist. This is often combined with the argument that genetic diversity varies smoothly along migration pathways.

Above is a map I created for VDARE in 2005 showing major prehistoric migration routes. The wider the arrow, the easier the crossing from one continent to another (e.g., getting from West Asia to Europe across the Bosporus is easier than getting from East Asia to Australia.) Not surprisingly, people indigenous to both sides of the Bosporus are pretty similar.

On the other hand, here is a much more novel map I created of the roads not taken between continents until the modern world:

Migration Nonpaths

As I wrote in 2005 in VDARE:

The article ends with the Race-Does-Not-Exist-Pledge that is seemingly obligatory for geneticists who study race (and who don’t want their funding cut off by the enforcers of political correctness):

“The loss of genetic diversity along colonization routes is smooth, with no obvious genetic discontinuity, thus suggesting that humans cannot be accurately classified in discrete ethnic groups or races on a genetic basis.”

Two fallacies are readily apparent in this statement.



First, the whole argument is a little silly. You could walk from, say, Calais on the English Channel to Pusan in South Korea without dying of thirst. At either end of your vast journey, however, the people look quite different. In between you might run into, say, Boris Yeltsin, a blond man with features slightly reminiscent of East Asia, and other people of varying degrees of European and East Asian admixture. But, in the big picture, so what? Frenchmen and Koreans are still different and nobody would mistake one for the other.

Second, the geneticists’ statement applies only “along colonization routes,” and most possible directions were not major colonization routes. If you walk in the majority of directions, you will eventually fall into the ocean and drown. This causes the “obvious genetic discontinuity” that we see with our lying eyes. …

In contrast, up through 1492, there was a relatively massive genetic discontinuity between West Africa and South America, which are only 1,600 miles apart at their closest points. Why? Because the out-of-Africa colonization routes went the other way around the world. The Atlantic Ocean got in the way of walking directly from Africa to South America.

With water covering 7/10ths of the earth’s surface, the out-of-Africa dispersal pathways were, in reality, few and far between.

Even on dry land, there are vast regions where paths were few and arduous. For instance, between the peoples of West Africa and of the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) there was only a small amount of mating until historic times, because the Sahara got in the way. If you tried to walk from Senegal to the Pillars of Hercules, you would likely die of thirst. The eastern end of the Sahara, though, is more porous because of the Nile and some wetter highlands.

Likewise, the Himalayas form a sharp border even today between Caucasians and East Asians.

I’ll try to be semi-methodical about this. Let’s split the world up, quick and dirty, into seven effective continents: Sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, Europe, East Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. (You can suggest other breakdowns of continents, but the results will all be about the same).

Here is a table showing seven major continents and my guess as to how easy the potential direct colonization routes between each of them were during early human prehistory: A “2″ means easy, “1″ means difficult but used, and 0 means there was virtually no direct contact between the two continents before historic times. As you can see, it’s a sparse grid:

W Asia

Europe

E. Asia

Australia

N. Am

Sub-Saharan Africa

1

0

0

0

0

0

West Asia

2

1

0

0

0

Europe

1

0

0

0

East Asia

1

1

0

Australia

0

0

North America

2

[Note: last column is South America.]

Of the 21 possible connections between continents, there were 14 where there was virtually no contact until the last millennium. Above is an image you’ve never seen before: a map of the many intercontinental roads not taken by prehistoric man:

For example, there are relatively big genetic distances between Australians and Sub-Saharan Africans because the Indian Ocean got in the way of their mating. Similarly, Australians aren’t closely related to Europeans because Asia came between them, which was full of tribes that didn’t particularly want outsiders marching through their lands.

This is not to say that there was no contact at all along these routes. For example, prehistoric Southeast Asians rode rafts 4,000 miles across the Indian Ocean to colonize Madagascar, and they likely went on to leave a tiny genetic imprint on the Southeast African mainland.

Read the whole thing there.

But Southeast Asia to Madagascar remains a striking exception to the rule that before 1492, most of the potential transcontinental routes were very, very difficult. For example, it’s only 1600 miles between Africa and South America at its narrowest point. But before Columbus, gene flow between Africa and South America was excruciatingly difficult, typically going all the way around the world over the Bering Straits.

In general, it’s very hard for people, even scientists, to think about dogs that don’t bark.

 
Hide 5 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. A “cline” is basically another word for “gradient.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/race-and-the-roads-not-taken/#comment-557425
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Testing out your new comment section, Steve

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. the top row of the table of routes between continents is misaligned.

    It’s off by one: it should start with a blank cell. [testing comment syntax while i am at it]

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  4. Troy says:

    Razib made a very good point in his recent post on this subject — namely, that to the extent that human variation is gradual it’s often because of recent interbreeding rather than a historic continual gradation. So there were often isolated populations historically that then came together to form more recent admixed populations in, e.g., India.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. […] Agustín Fuentes: “Things to Know When Talking About Race and Genetics”  (A slightly more sophisticated version of Lewontin’s Fallacy, which is unsurprising given that Marxists Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould are Fuentes’ heroes (by his own account) and he seems to share their Marxist outlook. Parody of Fuentes: “Yes, I’m always confusing Northeast Asians and Sub-Sahara Africans.  I can barely tell them apart!” Sorry, Agustín, but race is real.  Fuentes writes more. Gregory Cochran posts on Lewontin’s Fallacy. Ron Unz responds here. Gregory Cochran responds here. Nicholas Wade responds. The Black Avenger responds. Major error uncovered in Fuentes’ hit pieces; see Steve Bloomberg’s response. B Weinberg on dishonest tactics of Raff and Fuentes. Steve Sailer responds.) […]

    Read More

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation