Roundup of Book Reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance

Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History was officially released today.  Here at Occam’s Razor we previously discussed “How will the Cathedral deal with Nicholas Wade’s new book?”  Let’s see.  We’ll catalog the reviews here, adding them as they’re published.

An excerpt from A Troublesome Inheritance was published at Time: “What Science Says About Race and Genetics

Nicholas Wade writes about and discusses (audio clip) A Troublesome Inheritance at The Spectator:  “The genome of history: DNA explains more than you think

Nicholas Wade responds to critics: “In Defense of A Troublesome Inheritance

Nicholas Wade responds to critics again:  “Five Critics Say You Shouldn’t Read This ‘Dangerous’ Book

Nicholas Wade:  “Race Has a Biological Basis. Racism Does Not

Nicholas Wade: “A Letter to the NY Times: A Troublesome Inheritance

Positive Reviews:

James D. Watson (co-discoverer of DNA): “A masterful overview of how changes in our respective lineages let us begin to understand how human beings have evolved from ancestral hunter-gatherer forebears into effective members of today’s advanced human societies.” (From cover of book)

Edward O. Wilson (Harvard):  “Nicholas Wade combines the virtues of truth without fear and the celebration of genetic diversity as a strength of humanity, thereby creating a forum appropriate to the twenty-first century.” (From cover of book)

New Scientist:  “Wade provides a masterful summary of recent research.” (From cover of book)

Lionel Tiger (Anthropology, Rutgers): “Nicholas Wade has delivered an impeccable, fearless, responsible, and absorbing account….Bound to be the gold standard in the field for a very long time.”  (From cover of book)

Richard Cohen (Washington Post):  “[Wade] is a robust and refreshing critic of scientific political correctness.” (From cover of book)

Charles Murray: “A scientific revolution is under way—upending one of our reigning orthodoxies

Steve Sailer: “The Liberal Creationists,” “A Couple of Wild-Eyed Wackos: Me and the NYT,” “The Race FAQ,” “From the Steveosphere on ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’,” and “The Strange Evolution of Eugenics

John Derbyshire:  “A Troublesome Inheritance — A Small, But Significant, Step For Race Realism” and “John Derbyshire Reviews The Reviews

Jared Taylor: “Nicholas Wade Takes on the Regime” and “A Troublesome Inheritance

Ed West:  “Darwin’s unexploded bomb” (Great review at the Spectator)

Robert VerBruggen: “Race Is Real. What Does that Mean for Society?” (Kudos to Real Clear Science for such a good review.)

Bryce Lalibert: “The Trouble with Inheritance: A Review of Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance

Genetic Literacy Project:  “Genes and evolution trump culture in shaping human differences

Andrew Sullivan quotes from Wade’s new book on reality of race.

Ross Douthat: “I found the less-speculative first half of the book extremely persuasive….

Margaret Wente:  “What if race is more than a social construct?

Larry Arnhart: “Human Biodiversity Supports the Natural Right to Equal Liberty,” “Human Biodiversity (2): The Genetic Evolution of Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues?,” “Human Biodiversity (3): Nicholas Wade, Abraham Lincoln, and Racial Genetics,” “Human Biodiversity (4): The Importance of Culture in Gene-Culture Coevolution,” and “Human Biodiversity (5): Cultural Group Selection Through Migration and Assimilation,” “Human Biodiversity (6): Would the Recent Genetic Evolution of Human Beings Subvert Darwinian Natural Right?,” “Human Biodiversity (7): Rising IQ in Developing Nations

Joost Niemöller:  “De IQ discussie. Nature wint.” [“IQ debate . Nature wins.”]

RGambler: “Genetics, gender and race – how will social policy cope with recent scientific discoveries?

28 Sherman: “Nicholas Wade Shows Why the System Needs Feminist Biology”  And ThedenTV reprints it here.

John Derbyshire, Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer discuss A Troublesome Inheritance and its responses.

Ashutosh Jogalekar: “Genes and Race: The Distant Footfalls of Evidence” (Kudos to Scientific American for publishing such a thoughtful review. John Derbyshire responds.  Apparently, Ashutosh Jogalekar just got fired from Scientific American for preferring scientific inquiry to New Creationism; see here, here, here, etc.)

James Thompson: “‘It’s the people, stupid’: a review of Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance”  (Perhaps the most thorough review yet written. Steve Sailer comments. John Derbyshire responds.)

HBD Chick: “Human Biodiversity, Racism, Eugenics, and Genocide

Fred Reed: “A Troublesome Inheritance – #603

The Politically Incorrect Australian: “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History

Gregory Cochran: “Phenotypes vs genetic statistics” (Great comments.  More of a criticism of Wade’s critics than a defense of Wade.)

Gregory Cochran:  “Unknown Phenotypes” (More a criticism of race deniers than a defense of Wade)

Ron Unz: “Does Race Exist? Do Hills Exist?” (Good summary how Marxists like Stephen Jay Gould & Richard Lewontin have tried to silence the truth on racial reality. Sailer responds.)

Bo Winegard:  “Darwin ’s Duel with Descartes” (A good read from the journal Evolutionary Psychology.)

Cooper Sterling: “Reestablishing the Significance of Race: Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ rebuts the pseudoscience of race denial

Takuan Seiyo: “To Live and Die Under a Mentirocracy: Wading into a faked controversy

Steve Sailer: “Reconstructing Race,” “The biological construct of race in America” and “Race of the Amish” (In “Race of the Amish” Sailer surmises what’s really behind the criticisms of Wade.)

Chuck at OA: “The idiocy of race denialism

Gina O’Neill-Santiago: “No, Inquiring About A Possible Biological Basis for Race is not ‘Scientific Racism’

Steven Malanga: “A Biological Basis for Race?

Chemiotics:   “A Troublesome Inheritance – I,” and “A Troublesome Inheritance – II – Four Anthropological disasters of the past 100 years

Unsilenced Science: “The Warrior Gene, Back from the Grave” and “Christopher Irwin Smith is an Idiot

Henry Harpending: “At Least Erroneous in Faith

Unsilenced Science: “Correcting the Critics of Nicholas Wade & MAOA

Audacious Epigone:  “On A Troublesome Inheritance

Jonathan Anomaly: “Genes, Race, and the Ethics of Belief


Greg Cochran: “A Troublesome Inheritance” (John Derbyshire comments here.  Wade disagrees with Cochran on two alleged errors; Cochran writes, “These errors do not materially impact [Wade’s] arguments in the book.” Cochran follows up with a post on Lewontin’s Fallacy (used by critics of Wade).)

Tyler Cowen “appreciated the honesty and courage of the work” but felt Wade could have “pushed deeper in book-length form.”  (As is often the case at MR, the comments are more interesting than the post.  Here’s an interesting comment regarding Cowen’s review.)

Viscount Matt Ridley:  “Humans are not all the same under the skin” (full text)  (James Thompson and Richard Lynn respond here. Steve Sailer responds here. Ridley offers a follow up here. Greg Cochran responds.)

Steven Pinker on Twitter.

Tabitha M. Powledge: “Troublesome genetics and race

Emily Willoughby and Jonathan Kane: “Reviewing A Troublesome Inheritance

Steve Hsu offers initial impressions and a visual on the reality of race.  And:  “What’s New Since Montagu?

Pseudoerasmus: “Nicholas Wade and the Social Phenotype” (Not a review proper but thinks Wade should have focused more on IQ)

Black Avenger: “Review: Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance. Many of its critics seem to hate black people.”

Charles Bloch: “Nicholas Wade Wrong–1924 Immigration Cutoff Not Reponsible For The Holocaust

Ronald Bailey: “Different Races Exist. So What?

Noah Millman: “What Does Human Evolution Explain?”

appreciated the honesty and courage of the work
appreciated the honesty and courage of the work
appreciated the honesty and courage of the work

Negative Reviews:  (Could the vanguard of attacks end up being a strange coalition of Cultural Marxists and religious creationists?)

Anthony Daniels:  “Genetic Disorder” (Comment from James Thompson on this review: “Weak. Picks at a few points and ignores the broad sweep of evidence.”  John Derbyshire points out many flaws in Daniels’ review here.)

The Creationists are attacking Wade’s book (here and here) because, you know, “evolution is racist” and all.  LOL. (We discuss this phenomenon here.)

Andrew Gelman: “The Paradox of Racism” (Given that Gelman is a statistician, I was hoping for more than just the usual pointing and sputtering. Jayman responds to Gelman here. Sailer responds here and here.  HBD Chick responds here. Gelman writes more here.)

American Spectator editor (and rabid anti-evolution creationist) Tom Bethell criticizes Wade and defends Marxists Lewontin and Gould (yea, these frauds). What a joke.  For creationists like Bethell, it’s all about “racism”.  It’s noteworthy how religious creationists and liberal creationists seem to be motivated by the same things.  John Derbyshire responds here.

Noah Smith: “Academic racism has a K=N problem”  (It seems that Smith hasn’t even read the book. Sailer responds here. Jayman responds here.)

Pete Shanks tires to smear Wade by associating him with Stormfront and KKK.  Shameful.  More smearing from Pete Shanks here.

PZ Myers admits race is real but then goes off on some tangent about “hbd really is just the slick new marketing term for modern racism“.  Disappointing review, as it seems to imply that political correctness should trump scientific truth. Sailer responds here.

Jonathan Marks: “The Genes Made Us Do It:  The new pseudoscience of racial difference”  (This ideological hit piece is strong evidence that cultural anthropology is now more of a religion than an actual science.  Marks interestingly used to study genetics and hard science (and was briefly on Sailer’s email list), but then denounced science all in favor of Marxist critiques of culture.  Marks has even denounced genetics as a “political ideology“.  LOLs.   Old Sailer piece on Marks. Jayman responds. Outsideness parodying Marks: “Left-wing ideology is far more objective than genetic science. Hitler pretty much invented DNA out of pure hate.” Misdreavus responds here. J. Arthur Bloom comments here. Marks writes a second hit piece. Marks is obsessed with smearing Wade. Willoughby & Kane respond to Marks. Nicholas Wade responds. The Black Avenger responds. Jon Marks responds again. Chuck responds with “The idiocy of race denialism“)

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. Chuck responds with “The idiocy of race denialism“. Razib Khan responds about Structure and the biological reality of race.)

Annalee Newitz: “The 9 Most Influential Works of Scientific Racism, Ranked”  (A ridiculous smear job by someone with a degree in “American Studies” who previously authored a book on “white trash”.)

Jerry Coyne admits that race is real but doesn’t like the conclusions that Wade draws from this reality.  (Coyne seems not entirely familiar with the notion of fast evolution.  Has he read the 10,000 Year Explosion?  Does Coyne think human evolution for past 50k years has only occurred from neck down? Scharlach responds. Coyne replies (big debate in the comments). Peter Frost on recent evolution. Razib Khan responds to Orr & Coyne, noting Wade isn’t necessarily wrong about 14% of human genome being under recent selection. Gregory Cochran responds here. Pseudoerasmus responds.)

Arthur Allen:  “Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Difference” (Not a very substantive critique coming from Wade’s home publication. Comment: “At least the reviewer waited until the second sentence to bring up Hitler.” Steve Sailer responds here.)

Monica Heller: “Is Cultural Anthropology Really Disembodied?” (A hit piece, saying A Troublesome Inheritance “attempts to justify inequality.”  More proof that Cultural Anthropology today is more of a New Age religion than a serious academic discipline.)

H. Allen Orr: “Gene Stretch” (Like Coyne, Orr admits race is real (sort of) but doesn’t think conclusions can be drawn from this reality.  Like Coyne, does Orr think human evolution for the last 50k years has occurred only from the neck down? Orr has long railed against evolutionary psychology or any notion that biology might affect human behavior.  A sarcastic older piece on Orr by Razib Khan. Coyne replies (big debate in the comments). HBD Chick responds here. Peter Frost on recent evolution. Razib Khan responds to Orr & Coyne, noting Wade isn’t necessarily wrong about 14% of human genome being under recent selection. Sailer responds. Pseudoerasmus responds and responds again.)

Ian Steadman: “‘Jews are adapted to capitalism’, and other nonsenses of the new scientific racism”  (Deep review; sentence one dismisses book as “racist”.)

Patrick Appel:  here, here, here, here, here (An acolyte in the “race is a social construct” church of liberal creationism but I give him credit for quoting opposing views.)

Eric Michael Johnson:  “On the Origin of White Power”  (Hysterical hit piece with picture of KKK in article. Pseudoerasmus responds here. John Derbyshire responds. Genetics Literacy Project responds.)

Jennifer Raff:  “Nicholas Wade and race: building a scientific façade”  (Raff is a newcomer to the Cultural Marxist “race is a social construct” club.  Her piece is just another twist on Lewontin’s Fallacy.  Sorry, Jenn, race is real.   See Gregory Cochran’s: Phenotypes vs genetic statistics“.  Raff’s fallacy:  Just because accounts of number of races vary, it doesn’t follow race doesn’t exist.  Accounts of number of planets in our solar system and even shapes also vary, but planets and shapes are real.  Raff’s second fallacy:  Just because race is clinial in some areas of world (but not in all: mountain ranges, oceans, etc), it doesn’t mean individual races don’t exist (see Jayman).  See Razib Khan’s “Why race as a biological construct matters“.  Razib Khan responds. See Josh Rosenthal’s comment. Ron Unz responds here. Gregory Cochran responds here. Nicholas Wade responds. The Black Avenger responds. Raff responds, and ridiculed in comments. B Weinberg on dishonest tactics of Raff and Fuentes. Steve Sailer responds. Chuck responds with “The idiocy of race denialism“. Razib Khan responds about Structure and the biological reality of race.)

Seth Shulman: “Book review: ‘A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,’ by Nicholas Wade”  (At least the reviewer waits until the third sentence to bring up genocide.  Between the lines: This reviewer suspects HBD is true but doesn’t think it should be discussed publicly.  Sailer responds. Audacious Epigone responds.

Alan Goodman: “A Troublesome Racial Smog”  (A silly piece on Marxist website CounterPunch by another radical “race is a social construct” anthropologist.  Little wonder that no one really cares what anthropologists have to say any longer. Sorry, pal, race is real. Sterling Cooper responds. The Black Avenger responds.)

Jeremy Yoder: “How A Troublesome Inheritance gets human genetics wrong” (This suffers from the same logical fallacies as Jennifer Raff’s hit piece: Just because accounts of number of races vary, it doesn’t follow race doesn’t exist.  Accounts of number of planets in our solar system and even shapes also vary, but planets and shapes are real.  Second fallacy:  Just because race is clinial in some areas of world (but not in all: mountain ranges, oceans, etc), it doesn’t mean individual races don’t exist (see Jayman).  See Razib Khan’s “Why race as a biological construct matters“. Gregory Cochran’s: Phenotypes vs genetic statistics” and “Unknown Phenotypes“. Commenter finds major error in Yoder piece. Steve Sailer responds. Chuck responds with “The idiocy of race denialism“.  Razib Khan responds about Structure and the biological reality of race.)

Michael Eisen: “On Nicholas Wade and the blurring of boundaries between science and fantasy”  (JayMan demolishes Eisen.)

David Altshuler & Henry Louis Gates Jr.: “Race in the Age of Genomics” (Although Gates hosts show on DNA, I don’t think he really understands DNA. Steve Sailer responds.)

David Dobbs: “The Fault in Our DNA” (Dobbs responds here and here.  Sailer responds here.)

The Cathedral witch hunt is is growing too large to document in full, so here are some more New Creationist attacks on Nicholas Wade:  Sam Wang here (Dienekes Pontikos responds); Chris Smith here (Unsilenced Science responds), here (Unsilenced Science responds), and here (Unsilenced Science responds); Jenn Raff  here; Joe Graves here; Greg Laden here; John Terrell here; Dan Lende here; Philip Cohen here; Kenan Malik here; Alondra Oubré here (Unsilenced Science responds); etc.

Over 100 scientists (witch hunters?) publish anti-Wade letter essentially denouncing speculative part of Wade’s book as speculative (Nicholas Wade responds; Henry Harpending responds; Geoffrey Miller responds; Ron Unz responds; Unsilenced Silence responds; Nicholas Wade responds again); etc.

On Nicholas Wade and the blurring of boundaries between science and fantasy

– See more at:

Other Material:

Occam’s Razor: “How will the Cathedral deal with Nicholas Wade’s new book?

A Troublesome Inheritance – A discussion on genes, race and human history with author Nicholas Wade and Agustin Fuentes

HBD Chick also offers some summaries here.

A free PDF of Cochran and Harpending’s 10,000 Year Explosion (another very important book on recent human evolution).

A list of articles on the reality of race.

Rex Golub: “Get ready for Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’

Rod Dreher:  “Race, Genetics & Nicholas Wade

JayMan: “Race, Inheritance, and IQ F.A.Q.

Get your Troublesome Inheritance t-shirts:  “Recent. Copious. Regional.

Free Northerner: “Black Enlightenment

Nicholas Wade to appear on the Leonard Lopate show.

Interview with Nicholas Wade at American Scientist.

Nicholas Wade appears on CBC radio.

Razib Khan comments.

The Daily Caller ran a story saying Nicholas Wade was fired over a Troublesome Inheritance.  This story is false. (If it were true, it wouldn’t be surprising, as the USA now seems committed to anti-Darwinian liberal creationism.) Anyway, just heard from reliable source that Wade took a retirement package a couple of years ago.  The deal was that he could continue to make occasional contributions on a fee basis.   Info on NY Times buyouts is here.  Charles Murray tweets corrective here and here.  Nicholas Wade confirms here that he was not fired.

Luke Ford interviews Nicholas Wade.

Creationists accuse Occam’s Razor of “essentially defending Darwinian gene-based racism.”

Breitbart summarizes reviews of Wade.

Rosemary Bennett discusses reviews of Wade.

J. Arthur Bloom:  “Nicholas Wade vs. the anthropologists

James Thompson:  “Preparing for Wade?  Read Rindermann

Rex Golub on “What happened at the Fuentes-Wade Webinar

Henry Wolff on Nicholas Wade answering questions at Washington DC book signing.

Helian discusses blank-slate dogmatism.

Robert Lindsay (liberal HBD blogger) argues that acknowledgement of HBD could still entail left-wing political prescriptions.

JayMan writes on “Squid Ink”

Foolish Reporter:  “Nicholas Wade critics: Look around the world

Vox Day writes about pair-bonding discussed in Wade’s book.

Bryce Laliberte interviews Nicholas Wade.

Malcom Pollack discusses some of the reviews.

Peter Frost comments on recent evolution.

ThedenTV has a brief interview with Nicholas Wade.

James Fulford comments on human biodiversity, Kennewick Man and fast evolution.

Gregory Cochran posts on Lewontin’s Fallacy.

Brian Bethune surveys Wade debate (but only quotes people opposed to Wade).

Some “satire” of Wade and Dawkins, which tries to paint both as “racist”.

Holly Dunsworth comments on debate about reality of race: “If scientists were to make the arbitrary decision that biological race is real, can you think of a positive outcome?” (Why acknowledge the biological existence of race?  Because it’s the truth and the truth matters.)

Kevin MacDonald:  “Political correctness in reviews of Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance””

Jared Taylor interviews Nicholas Wade.

New Creationists:  Those who profess to believe in Darwinism but deny biological reality of race and seem to think that human evolution for past 50k years has occurred only from the neck down.  In other words, they believe in miracles.

“Race does not exist” – the Nicene Creed of New Creationists (orthodox version)

“Race is a social construct” – the Nicene Creed of New Creationists (reformed version)

For more on New Creationism, see here.

If you know of anything that should be added, please list it in the comments below and we’ll add it.

N.B.  We’re not including every blog post mentioning this book but focusing more on major reviews (in publications or blogs) about this book.



Human BioDiversity and the Dark Enlightenment

Here at Occam’s Razor we have previously discussed elements of the Dark Enlightenment / Reaction with the posts “What are Characteristics of the Dark Enlightenment?” and “The Laws of the Cathedral“. Now reader Zith Met has made the following contribution explaining what he thinks these elements are.


Dark Enlightenment / Neoreaction Summary

By Zith Met

Neoreaction, also known as the Dark Enlightenment, is primarily a critique of modern liberalism.  It is a reaction to the growing oppression of the left and the increasing ineffectiveness of the US and other Western governments.  It is not based on mainstream American conservatism–instead, it is defined by an attempt to use science and reason to uncover basic rules which govern human relations.  Where modern liberalism sees humans as blank slates molded by society and free will, neoreactionaries see people as governed by incentives and their own inherent natures.  This outlook unites such disparate areas as HBD (human biodiversity), economic commentary, and anti-democratic political theory.

Mainly approaching from the perspective of HBD, I have created a list of some important conclusions related to neoreaction:

1. All human traits are heritable.
2. Racial and ethnic groups form genetic clusters.
3. Genetic differences result in varying frequencies of behavioral traits between racial and ethnic groups.
4. Human evolution can be relatively fast, and even populations without significant migration can change significantly over the course of hundreds of years.
5. People are naturally happiest around others with similar traits.  Trust and other positive community attributes decline with increasing diversity.
6. People with different psychological traits tend to have different political preferences.
7. Culture, including politics and morality, is largely a manifestation of the collective traits of a group of people.  Society is not an accident of environment or history, but a result of the actions of people in that society.
8. IQ and other traits with strong genetic bases such as aggression levels explain most inequality between nations.
9. Racial inequality within the US is attributable to genetic factors rather than structural, institutional, or other forms of racism.
10. Favoritism toward one’s own group, known as clannishness, is an example of a trait that varies between racial/ethnic groups due to historic breeding patterns (particularly levels of inbreeding or outbreeding) and selection pressures.
11. Northern Europeans have evolved low clannishness due in part to a high degree of outbreeding historically encouraged by some forms of Christianity.
12. Low clannishness leads to progressivism/universalism, which is based on the idea that all groups of people are fundamentally equivalent, and so they all should be treated equally.  The Cathedral refers to all institutions that promote this and suppress any contrary views, particularly universities and most media sources.
13. In-group preferences are a prisoner’s dilemma.  A homogeneous, universalist society with low in-group preferences tends toward the optimal outcome (cooperation).
14. The introduction of more clannish people into a society with low clannishness results in a move away from the optimal outcome of the prisoner’s dilemma (defection).  People who favor their own group have an advantage over those who don’t.
15. The defection problem can be resolved by suppressing clannishness and promoting assimilation or by adopting one’s own clannishness and promoting separatism.  Note that each solution is prohibited by the Cathedral’s multiculturalist ideology.
16. Technological changes (the robot economy) are reducing the need for labor. This is increasing inequality and causing society to move in the direction of neofeudalism.  Socialism is one possible response to this.
17. Socialism is fundamentally incompatible with open borders.
18. Open borders create externalities in the emigrant countries–pressures that would prevent those peoples from overpopulating the land under their control are removed.
19. Open borders also result in intelligence declines in first-world countries.  Societies with declining intelligence will have a hard time supporting their people and maintaining their standard of living.
20. Many socialist policies also promote dysgenic breeding and a resulting decline in the intelligence of a population.
21. Affirmative Action and other racial preferences can be viewed as political spoils, so we may expect racial preferences in the US to grow stronger as minorities increase in number and power.
22. Institutions tend to grow, ossify, and become increasingly fragile over time.  Eventually, complex systems collapse.
23. A functional society keeps incentives, human nature, and society’s needs all in accord. Modern society does not, leading to anomie, atomization, economic malaise, and misery.