Thinking about the Psuedoscientific Genetics of "Replacement Theory"

That seems to conform pretty well to what I said?

[John H] The existential philosopher-novelist?
[Josh] Yup

Renaud ≠ Albert

Albert Camus has enough people misunderstanding him without having to deal with this!


It would make a lot more sense if the gunman was Native American and was going after those of European descent. Just sayin’.


Yes I know. But this Camus is a novelist too! He was most know for his LGBTQ novels, and he puts out the replacement theory in novel form too.

Though, I suppose “existential” should have tipped me off!

1 Like

I think that Albert has achieved such fame now that a reference to “Camus,” without more, will normally be taken to refer to him – sort of like Madonna but less pointy. I recall that when I was an undergrad (mid-Cretaceous), it appeared that there was some sort of government mandate requiring all undergraduate dormitory rooms to have at least one copy of that poster with the Camus quote on it visible at all times. I did not live in a dorm and so was exempt.


Leaving aside which Camus you intended, how can we say that this is a European version? Was the person who commented at you European? How can you tell what he meant by “indo-European genes”? (Incidentally, are your forebears Dravidian speakers? That would make his complaints slightly, though only slightly, less incoherent.)

Now, though Replacement Theory has gone through many iterations, it seems to me that the version we should be most concerned about in the U.S. is the one that shows signs of taking over the mainstream of the Republican Party. Most of the European parties that favor one version or another seem unlikely to ever gain power, not even Marine LePen.


I do believe there are strong ties to the European version here in the US, as is being documented extensively in the media right now.

The European origin also explains the paradox/contradiction of Europeans claiming to be “native” to North America.

Of course, there are also other ideologies and arguments that are truly native to the US that merge with the European story.

I resist the urge to politicize this. Few things are more counterproductive among the well intentioned than politicization.

It is easy to imagine a Republican Party that makes no appeals to replacement theory. It is also easy to see similar (and different) problems in the other side.

I’m far more concerned with stamping out a racist ideology than the political frame. And I’m very concerned the political frame actively makes that primary goal much more difficult.

1 Like

It’s become politicized. You didn’t do it. But failure to notice what’s already happened is not a good stance for you.

Yes, but you can’t make it go away by ignoring it or imagining a different world.

That’s whataboutism, also not a good look.

Ignoring the political reality will not help you stamp it out.

It does. But I didn’t create the frame; the Republican Party did, and ignoring it makes that goal impossible. Concentrating on the fringe while pretending the mainstream doesn’t exist is tilting at windmills while the real giants watch.


And here it is:

To The Editor of Science: I am reluctant to intrude in a discussion concerning matters of which I have no expert knowledge, and I should have expected the very simple point which I wish to make to have been familiar to biologists. However, some remarks of Mr. Udny Yule, to which Mr. R. C. Punnett has called my attention, suggest that it may still be worth making.

In the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (Vol I., p. 165) Mr. Yule is reported to have suggested, as a criticism of the Mendelian position, that if brachydactyly is dominant “in the course of time one would expect, in the absence of counteracting factors, to get three brachydactylous persons to one normal.”

It is not difficult to prove, however, that such an expectation would be quite groundless.

Now to find Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (Vol I., p. 165) …can anyone find it?

Of relevance also is this remarkable paper by Punnet (of the Punnet square):

I all too frequently hear people declare that “genetics” started in 1953 with the paper by Watson and Crick. Leaving out half a century of great work.


Oh I see now. That is a reference to Punnet’s explanation of Yule’s response to his lecture in the paper I just linked above. Remarkable.

Indeed. Ernst Mayr wrote a great piece on his 80 years of experience in genetics:

I’d say that Haldane’s dilemma and Kimura’s response with neutral theory was a major revision of the “Darwinian” paradigm, and that Kimura rightly framed it as such. Non-darwinian processes are quantitatively more important in molecular systems than positive selection alone.

@T_aquaticus , notably, that article includes no mention of Kimura or Neutral Theory. I’m suspect.

I agree with you. It might be time to go down the “What did Mayr think of neutral theory” rabbit hole.

And what exactly did he mean by “Darwinian paradigm”?

Took me literally 2 seconds of googling. “Ernst Mayr+neutral theory” gave this as the top result:

He didn’t like it, it seems, and while he seems to have accepted some of it’s postulates at various points in time, rejected others (in some instances apparently out of hand, as if axiomatically), and there’s that age-old debate about “importance” which always becomes a semantic quagmire.

1 Like

So that would mean Mayr is a famous evolutionary scientist (honestly, from a prior generation) that was wrong about the importance of neutral theory.

1 Like