John Derbyshire, who reviewed A Troublesome Inheritance for VDare.com, thinks the book will cause casualties: “Ultimately, fantasy must yield to reality, falsehood to truth, superstition to science. Nick Wade’s calm, brave assault on the enemy’s lines will likely be repulsed, but not without enemy losses, making the next assault more likely to break through.”
Steve Sailer, in his review, makes no predictions about the book, but points out that Mr. Wade has been writing sensible science for years without changing the minds of anyone who matters: “The inability of a first-rate reporter like Wade, ensconced in the seeming bully pulpit of the New York Times, to make much of an impact makes for a fascinating case study of the zeitgeist’s power to cloud the minds of men.”
Last Friday, Charles Murray dealt orthodoxy a mighty blow with an enthusiastic review in The Wall Street Journal. “It is hard to convey how rich this book is,” he wrote, adding that real scientists will be able to say out loud what until now they could only whisper. However, he notes, the social “scientists” will fight back: “I expect that their resistance to A Troublesome Inheritance will be fanatical, because accepting its account will be seen, correctly, as a cataclysmic surrender on some core premises of political correctness.” They will be vicious: “Before they have even opened A Troublesome Inheritance, some reviewers will be determined not just to refute it but to discredit it utterly—to make people embarrassed to be seen purchasing it or reading it.”
Dr. Murray also knows from his experience with The Bell Curve 20 years ago that vitriol can smother science. If that happens yet again “it will be seen a century from now as proof of this era’s intellectual corruption.”
A hard-headed British author, Ed West, has written a good review for the Spectator of London. He presents Mr. Wade’s arguments fairly and, after a bit of worrying, comes down solidly on the side of truth:
This book’s ideas are indeed fraught but beyond carefully explaining the dangers of misusing science, the consequences are not for scientists to ponder, but rather lawmakers and others of influence; they can choose either to consider the evidence and make things work as best as they can, using what knowledge we have, or they can continue to ignore the ticking of Darwin’s unexploded bomb, punishing anyone who raises the subject.
People who understand race are clearly rooting for this book. What about the trade press, which writes short, unsigned reviews for librarians and publishers? Kirkus Reviews warns that Mr. Wade “strides into the political minefield of genetic influence on racial differences,” but calls the book “a freethinking and well-considered examination of the evidence ‘that human evolution is recent, copious, and regional.’ ” That is much more than I expected from Kirkus.
Publishers Weekly also frets that Mr. Wade “ventures into territory eschewed by most writers: the evolutionary basis for racial differences across human populations,” but it does not shriek. The book “argues persuasively” that there are biological racial differences and “makes the case that human evolution is ongoing and that genes can influence, but do not fully control, a variety of behaviors that underpin differing forms of social institutions.”
Just today, Real Clear Science posted a review that is likely to be typical of people who understand the science but are afraid. Robert VerBruggen points out that the Left insists that even noticing race is wrong. He then concedes Mr. Wade’s thesis by adding that “since human evolution has indeed been ‘recent, copious and regional,’ we are seeing that what we’ve been taught is ‘racist’ is actually just true.” Mr. VerBruggen then makes an unnecessary fuss: “One would hope an author presenting these theories at length would carefully explain how to stop this kind of information from causing great harm.” It is Mr. Wade’s job to write the truth as he sees it, not to treat readers as if they were children.
The priesthood has been strangely silent so far but not completely inactive. Just yesterday, the American Anthropological Association held a “webinar” debate between Mr. Wade and a true-to-the-faith disciple, Agustín Fuentes. Prof. Fuentes, who teaches anthropology at Notre Dame, is best known for Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You, in which he pushes the usual silliness: race does not exist, and men and women are largely interchangeable.