An interview with Nicholas Wade

Social Matter interviews the author of A Troublesome Inheritance: 

In writing A Troublesome Inheritance, what response did you expect to receive? What has been your impression of reviews so far?

I feared the book would be condemned out of hand and have been delighted that the preponderance of reviews so far have been favorable.  The two main themes of the book – that race is biological, evolution continuous – are not so hard to accept, and I hope that I’m pushing on an open door. 

In your book you write “The rise of the West is an event not just in history but also in human evolution.” How much do we miss in our understanding of the rise and fall of civilizations by not incorporating the role evolution plays in human populations?

A thesis of the book is that social institutions rest on human social behavior, which is shaped by evolution.  Institutions have a large cultural component, so it’s hard to know at present how important evolution has been.  But I think we should look out for it in all major social transitions, such as the foraging-settler transition, the escape from tribalism, and the Industrial Revolution, and if one accepts that the natural selection has been active here then all major societies probably have been shaped by evolution to some extent.

I think Wade’s reference to “evolution” is considerably broader than that customarily utilized by biologists when referring to evolution by natural selection, (for example, Wade occasionally uses “natural selection” to encompass selection that does not appear to be based solely on environmental pressures), but among other things, his book points to one obvious point of logical tension in the progressive dogma. If TENS is true, then a lot of progressive dogma is not merely false, but completely impossible. And if TENS is not true, then a lesser, but still considerable amount of progressive dogma has, contra to progressive assumptions, no greater basis in science than many competing non-progressive dogmas.

Which is precisely why most progressives attempt to avoid thinking about such matters. The relative silence with which Wade’s book has met from its anticipated critics is a strong indication that they at least suspect they are not merely outgunned, but scientifically outdated.