I have often maintained that there is no idea so stupid that a tenured professor from Harvard won’t profess it. A good recent example is geneticist David Reich’s recent New York Times editorial about how we have to stop ignoring the reality of genetic causes of human variation. According to Reich, there is an “orthodoxy” that comes from well-meaning but muddle-headed people “who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations.” These kind-hearted dopes are afraid of bad results that could possibly result from the study of such differences:
The concern is that such research, no matter how well-intentioned, is located on a slippery slope that leads to the kinds of pseudoscientific arguments about biological difference that were used in the past to try to justify the slave trade, the eugenics movement and the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews.
I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”
Reich claims his own research proves that such genetic differences in human populations cannot be ignored and are needed to understand, for example, differences in disease rates among different populations.