Meeting August 23, 2017

Genes and Society in the News:

Article for Discussion:

  • DeSalle- Tattersall. Chapter 14, Mr. Murray Loses His Bet, in book on taxonomy.

Discussion Points:

  • Earlier chapters cover in depth the ways by which taxonomists work and the scientific methods they employ. Use of hypothesis testing. Uses of the terms race/sub-species.
  • Critique of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance is extensive and gets at the core that Wade does not present hypothesis on human races, rather all the methods (e.g. STRUCTURE) are inductive approaches. Authors provide quotes from Wade’s book related to regionality, that misrepresents taxonomic science.
  • Wade critiqued for ignoring that greater and more continuous population sampling reveals much about human genetic variation. Instead Wade relies on the progression of studies that used a greater number of genetic markers on still relatively poorly sampled human populations.
  • He is critiqued for giving arbitrary meaning to the “five clusters” despite the studies (with greater population sampling) that produce other clustering arrangements.

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