Thinking about the Psuedoscientific Genetics of "Replacement Theory"


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In any case, by “genetics” I meant classical genetics, as practiced by people like Thomas Hunt Morgan, Barbara McClintock, Hermann J. Muller, and so on. Chromosome behavior, how genes act, and so on. 50 years of important work.

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When and what would you say marks the “beginning” of modern genetics?

The rediscovery of Mendel’s work in 1900 by Correns, by de Vries, and by von Tschermak-Seyssenig.

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Okay. This thread seemed less than coherent to me from the get-go, and seems to be drifting away from the stated topic. If my failure to understand is due to my lack of sufficient scientific background, then I apologise.

I’d like to clarify the following issues:

  1. My impression of ‘Replacement Theory’, as it is widely articulated, is that it is more about mass migration and differential birthrates than about interbreeding. Is this perception correct?

  2. I have yet to hear of a prominent articulation of ‘Replacement Theory’ (be it from Renaud Camus, Fox News, prominent Republican politicians, 4Chan, etc), that makes any strong connection to genetics (beyond the obvious implicit fact that different ethnic groups will likely have some genetic differences). Am I missing something?

  3. To what extent are ‘Indo-Europeans’ a sufficiently homogeneous gene pool that talking about “Indo-European genes” makes any sense?

  4. Which are these recessive “Indo-European genes” that people should care about their further dilution within the population? The only candidate I’ve heard to date is Brachydactyly. And even if that turns out to recessive (and what I’ve seen on that seems mixed), I’ve yet to hear of a Society for the Preservation of Short Fingers, or a histiographic theory that states that all the Indo-European advances in sciences and the Arts can be attributed to the influence of short fingers, or similar.


To no extent. “Indo-European” is a language family (or superfamily) with no particular connection to genetics. Though it began with, presumably, a single population, the languages have spread much farther than have any genetic innovations possessed by that population. Icelanders have about as much in common with Annamese as do any random assemblage of people outside of Africa.

You heard wrong. Brachydactyly is dominant, was considered a bad thing, and has nothing to do with any “Indo-European genes”. The topic has wandered far.

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The scientific question at hand is the same. While Brachydactyly is not “Indo-European”, the question of whether or not dominant alleles “extinguish” recessive alleles cuts to the heart of this poor guys confusion.

I think that there is also an assertion that “they don’t think like us and (for genetic reasons) never will”. Otherwise no one would be alarmed that immigration would permanently benefit one side of a political divide.


Do you have a citation for this claim? Is it a widespread part of ‘Replacement Theory’ or simply an idiosyncratic variation of it?

I had assumed that the ‘reason for alarm’ was that new immigrants are more likely to vote Democratic than for the (notoriously anti-immigrant) GOP.

The closest I’ve been able to come to a genetic/interbreeding component to ‘Replacement Theory’ was:

  1. the claim in this manifesto of the 2019 El Paso shooter which talks of “shameless race-mixers” who “destroy genetic diversity”, and

  2. the manifesto of the Christchurch Mosque shooter that:

Finally there are those that find themselves in the ethnic or racial minority and find their very own genes being bred out of existence through miscegenation and differing racial birth rates.

However neither of these examples would seem to make any substantive attempt to present themselves as being based in modern scientific genetics, and so I wouldn’t call them particularly ‘pseudoscientific’ (as opposed to simply old-fashioned bigoted). I have read that the 2022 Buffalo shooter’s manifesto makes references to the primary scientific literature, but have not been able to find a copy to confirm this for myself.

Can you fill in some more of this history for me please? Specifically, what was the commentary by early geneticists on the eugenics movement?

I seem to recall one story, but pointers to the key people would be helpful…

One idea Eugenicists pushed was sterilizing people with disabilities. But some geneticists (I recall?) argued that most disabilities were most likely caused by sporadic mutations, and therefore would not be eliminated by control of the “breeding stock.”

Am I recalling correctly? If so, who was making that argument? This is interesting because it’s the other side of the coin of this discussion we already had.

Beyond sorting out this recollection of mine, how caught up were geneticists “in the know” with Eugenics? Were they its proponents or its critics?

Not really. I was just reacting to people who seem to think that the study of genetics started with Watson and Crick. Also to some commentary here that talked about the Modern Synthesis as the development after the rediscovery of Mendel’s work. That was important but leaves out all the classical geneticists who were mostly involved with where genes were, how they interacted in determining phenotypes, and how chromosomes behaved. All of which is not just aimed at understanding evolution.

As for their opinions on eugenics, that is interesting but not mostly what they were doing day to day. There have been some recent historians who looked into that; I do not know their conclusions in detail.

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At the same time, the GOP has voiced strong support for people immigrating from countries they like, such as Nordic or other European countries. Trump once said that he wished more people from Norway would move to the US.

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I seem to remember them also being supportive of immigration from Cuba at one stage.

They would appear to be at one with Ralph Waldo Emerson in thinking that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. :roll_eyes:

I would also expect the average Republican to be absolutely horrified if they ever discovered the political views of even what passes as ‘Right Wing’ in the Nordic countries – would probably view them as ‘socialists’, let alone the center there.

Consistency often does not appear to be a hobgoblin that Republicans have even a passing familiarity with.

Republicans also voiced strong support of immigration from places like India. That’s a key concern of their business constituency, which Democrats have historically opposed (due to their union constituency).

The pro-/anti-immigrant categories don’t map neatly to US National politics. Though at times the categories do map well on to specific candidates/politicians.

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I think you’re talking here specifically about H1B visas. India is apparently not considered a shithole country. And besides, Indians are the most Aryan anyone can get.


Nothing in politics is ever perfectly “neat”, but the overall difference between Republicans and Democrats on immigration is stark:

  • Self-described Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to view
    immigration as a critical threat (78%, compared to 19%), to believe that
    restricting immigration makes the United States safer (78%, compared to
    24%), and to support the use of US troops to prevent immigration at the US-
    Mexico border (81%, compared to 23%).

  • Republicans are also far more likely than Democrats to consider strict
    immigration policy measures effective, like carrying out more arrests and
    deportations (82%, compared to 29%) and separating immigrant children from
    parents when they are accused of entering the United States illegally (40%,
    compared to 10%).

  • Likewise, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to view increasing
    border security (93%, compared to 55%) and imposing new fines on
    businesses that hire illegal immigrants (83%, compared to 54%) as effective

  • Americans are divided over legal immigration, too. Half of Republicans (47%)
    say legal immigration should be decreased, while a third of Democrats (36%)
    say it should be increased.


Citation for this? And how widespread a view is it in the Republican Party? Does their populist wing (ascendant under Trump) and their base support this position?


Interesting figure. Particularly that synchronous bump in anti-immigration sentiments throughout all three cohorts that occurs between 2014 and 2017. That’s the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump. And then again it goes into a strong increase leading up to the 2020 election, particularly for republicans. It’s almost like it’s an intentional election strategy to push on xenophobic sentiments by them.

Almost. :smile:

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