Data of prejudice: the uses and abuses of the science of race

The likelihood of prejudice trumping reason is to be expected. But what is more surprising, suggests the science writer Angela Saini in her new book, Superior , is the possibility that science informs prejudice or can be recruited into its service.

In writing that is as impassioned as it is elegant, Saini charts how the tide turned against eugenicist thought and research, with Unesco declaring in 1950 that all mankind “belongs to the same species, Homo sapiens”.

Further, in 1972 a landmark paper by the evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin spelled out that there was greater genetic difference within groups than between them. So, for instance, a black man in Nigeria had more in common genetically with a white man in Scotland than he did with a black man in Tanzania.

Can anyone find these two key papers?

The Apportionment of Human Diversity

And with updated data in 2016:


This is the first study to find a root for a tree of human populations without comparison to a nonhuman out-group, and it is one of the first studies to identify a signature of admixture with archaic hominins without reference to ancient DNA. Our findings complement previous studies of the apportionment of human diversity and provide a more solid evolutionary foundation for the rejection of biological race.