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  1. IN TRUE BORGIA STYLE The “unification council” in Kiev: how it went, conclusions and prospects On December 15, 2018, in Kiev, before a several thousand-strong crowd among whom stood a great number of specially transported state employees from various regions of the country as well as members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (Uniate) church, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko introduced the head of the new religious structure, which had received the name, “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. It is interesting that alongside the head of the country and “Metropolitan” Epiphany, on the stage stood only the parliament speaker Andrei Paruby. Neither Metropolitan Emmanuel nor the Constantinople exarchs, who prepared and conducted the council, were present. This looked very strange, because Patriarch Bartholomew’s emissaries’ deep involvement in the preceding events would have presupposed their direct participation in the presentation to the masses of the newly elected head of the OCU. Operation “Force” The final photo recording the first emotion of those present at the council after the announcement of the election results shows that the face of Metropolitan Emmanuel did not express any particular joy. The publications in Ukrainian media to follow during the next few days, which described the peripeteia that happened in that event, explained the reason for such an extremely restrained reaction from the Phanar representatives. This included information that the Greeks had placed their bets on Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa and Bar’s victory, which would have allowed them to place a canonical bishop at the head of the new structure. This could have increased the chances that a number of fence-sitting bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) could go over to the OCU, and might have eased Constantinople’s burden to provide recognition for the new organization on the level of world Orthodoxy. The buses that bussed in the crowd As certain publications confirmed, in order to make this plan succeed there were closed consultations held with the influential Volhynian “metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate” Mikhail, during which the necessity was discussed of supporting his candidacy at the elections for the head of the OCU, in order to split the unanimity of the “Kiev Patriarchate” episcopate and remove the possibility of a final victory for Philarets’ protégé, “Metropolitan” Epiphany, from the agenda. Besides this, the Phanariotes supposed that they would be able to confirm by council decision without any particular problems their own version of the OCU bylaws, in which points were prescribed that would make the OCU seriously dependent upon Constantinople, and the proposed autocephaly no more than a decoration. However it didn’t go as the guests from Turkey supposed it would. That scenario began to fall apart at the seams even on the eve of the council. First, even by applying administrative pressures, the Ukrainian authorities were unable to provide a presence in the Kiev St. Sophia Cathedral of a group of bishops from the UOC sufficient to, albeit with a stretch, call the council a “unification”. This not only significantly lowered Simeon’s chances of being elected, it also destroyed the foundation of a no less important process. The Greeks urgently needed at least ten bishops of the UOC who would vote for self-dissolution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this way the Phanar counted on receiving an additional weighty trump card on which it could base its future attacks against the UOC with the aim of liquidating it as a separate, active Church. Secondly, alarming signals were coming from the camp of the so-called “UOC Kiev Patriarchate”. The exarchs were informed of the uncompromising position of Philaret, who was ready to disrupt the council if it didn’t go according to his own plans. As the events to come would show, this was no idle rumor. The council was supposed to begin at 10:00 a.m. However it in fact began only after 1:00 p.m. The reason for the delay, as the media reports, was Philaret’s demands on Poroshenko and the Constantinople emissaries to provide for the refusal of “Metropolitan” Mikhail of the “UOC KP” of his candidacy at the elections for the head of the OCU. If he didn’t, the indispensible leader of the “Kiev Patriarch” threatened not to sign the document of his religious organization’s self-liquidation, which would automatically mean a derailment of everything that had been planned for the action in St. Sophia. After lengthy consultations with direct participation by the head of state, they were able to regulate the situation. Mikhail was forced to agree to Philaret’s demands, and the latter gave his “green light” to the “UOC KP’s” self-liquidation. Incidentally, this was only the first stage in the conflict within the “upper echelons” of Philaret’s structure. It became clear at the council that many of his participants were ready to vote for Mikhail, and that he would easily outrun Epiphany. Philaret again struck a threatening pose and demanded that his Volhynian colleague sign a written refusal of his candidacy to position number one of the OCU. At this Mikhail’s nerves snapped. He began openly contradicting Philaret, proclaiming that such an approach is not fair or democratic. His position found active support from the delegates sitting in the hall. The atmosphere became more and more heated. No one wanted to give in. Finally Mikhail and his supporters left the Little Sophia hall in protest. Philaret in turn threatened that if the ambitions of his Volhynian fosterling do not cool down, he himself will command his own supporting “bishops” to leave the cathedral. The blackmail worked. Poroshenko and Paruby had an emotional talk with Mikhail, after which the latter finally gave in and ceased his struggle for the position of leadership in the OCU. After this the voice of the episcopate of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”, the UOC KP, and the Greek participants of the council could no longer hinder the victory of Philaret’ protégé. Epiphany, as expected, outran Simeon and became the triumphant final elected leader of the present delegation. As a result of this development, Philaret scored two important victories. The first was over the “Greek party”, who thirsted to remove the leader of the “UOC KP” from front stage and take the newly organized structure under its complete control. The second was over the plans of Petro Poroshenko to place someone closer to him in the head of the OCU’s chair—someone who would heed the desires of the guarantor of the Constitution no less than, and even more eagerly than directives coming from ecclesiastical Istanbul. However these were not Philaret’s final victories. After the election of the head of the OCU, an extremely harsh debate broke out regarding the new organization’s bylaws. The passions reached unprecedented heights of intensity and fury. In part, reproaches were flung at the Phanar representatives about how it is not good to give the OCU the low status of a metropolia. However, the Greeks “showed their teeth” too sweet. The emissaries from Constantinople stated that there has never been a Patriarchate in Ukraine, and if there is something bothering them about this then Constantinople is also ready to rise up and leave the council before it ends. No less tense was the fight over the section on the format of the OCU Synod’s work. The Phanar representatives insisted that the Synod not have permanent members and that it be formed on the basis of rotation. Their opponents asserted the opposite view, pointing out that without the presence of permanent members on the Synod, the head of the OCU will find it difficult to conduct his politics and have an influence on the work of one of the most important mechanisms of rule in the given structure. In the final analysis a “hybrid” option won out. For a certain transition period there will be three permanent members on the Synod. This means Philaret, head of the “UAOC” Makary, and the loser of the final battle for position number one in the OCU, Metropolitan Simeon. Incidentally, for the Greeks, this was only the “blossom”. The “berry” was the decision to leave Philaret with the title “honorary patriarch”, which automatically fixed him in the OCU with the position of “kingmaker” and created good possibilities for “butting” against the Phanar for control over the new religious organization. Petro Poroshenko, "Metropolitan" Epiphany of the OCU, and Metropolitan Emanuel of Gaul Taking all of this into consideration, there is probably no need to be surprised at Metropolitan Emanuel’s stony face and why no one from the “Greek party” was present at Epiphany’s presentation before the crowd gathered on St. Sophia Square. The Phanar’s bad hangover Only a few days had passed after the council when the information space began shocking everyone with scandalous and absolutely unexpected announcements and publications made by participants of the above event. Letter of Patriarch Bartholomew First of all, on the Facebook page of Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) a letter was posted from Patriarch Bartholomew in which the latter announces that he hereby receives the former vicar bishop of the UOC under his omophorion. It was dated December 14, 2018—the day before the council in Kiev. A number of experts consider that the former head of the Vynnista diocese of the UOC, Simeon, received a similar letter. If that is so, then not even one bishop of the UOC participated in the council, because by the time it was conducted both Metr. Alexander and Metr. Simeon were already representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchate. And this means that now, not even by the most absurd stretch can what took place in the Ukrainian capital on December 15 be called a “unification” council of “three Churches”. In fact what took place was no more than the melding together of two groups recognized by the Orthodox world as schismatic—the “UOC KP” and “UAOC”—into one whole, under the direct control of Constantinople. “Metropolitan” Mikhail of Volhynia Secondly, Mikhail is still unable to cope with the insult dealt him by Philaret. He gave several emotional interviews in which he stated that he had become the victim of blackmail by the “honorary patriarch” of the OCU and does not intend to step down from any further battles for primacy over the new religious structure. Moreover the Volhynian “metropolitan’s” overwrought state led him to say a number of things permeated with a spirit of the Borgia epoch, coming very close to being direct threats against Epiphany. “There could be new elections even tomorrow. There could be several reasons for this—the death of the primate, or his stepping down from that position. Just because he’s young there is no guarantee that he won’t remain without a post for a long time,” weightily emphasized Mikhail. Thirdly, Epiphany himself made his own mark. At first, as the Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty reported, he allows for the possibility of the UOC eventually switching to the “new calendar”. Then, on air on ICTV television, Epiphany did not dismiss the scenarios of the OCU combining with Greek Catholics. In his words, they first need to unite Ukrainian Orthodoxy, and then we’ll see. However, as the head of the UOC noted, there is a mood within his structure for a deepening cooperation with the UGCC. And this cooperation will begin in the sphere of education. In this context we immediately recall the words of the head of the UGCC Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) that he pronounced on April 17, 2018 during a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Mary Jovanovich. At that time, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics noted that the unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox within the framework of a new religious structure will be only the first step, after which will come a second—the intensification of its ecumenical dialogue with the UGCC, which is supposed to result in the unification of the “churches of the St. Vladimir Baptism” within a united Local Kievan Church. Fourthly, the leader of the “Right Sector” Dimitry Yarosh has not remained outside of these processes. Calling himself a Greek Catholic, the leader of the “Ukrainian Volunteer Army” called on his Facebook page for a “hunt on Moscow popes [derisive word for priests].” Here is a direct quote from that text: “The so-called UOC MP is not a church. It is an FSB residency that is an “Iskander” [the name of a Russian missile] in the hands of the satanist Putin, just as it was before in the hands of Stalin, Beria, Zhukov, and other atheists. The hierarchy of the so-called UOC MP, which has not found the national courage, strength and argument to change over to the Ukainian Church, are also not servants of God but agents of the FSB and Putin’s network, and that means they are enemies of Ukraine. A hunt on Moscow popes who faithfully serve Putin and Kirill is a work pleasing to God and our Motherland.”3 It is interesting that this leader sees the future of Ukraine in the “unification of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the recognition of this unification by both Constantinople and the Vatican.” As the People’s Deputy sees it, this will be the next epochal step in the development of nation and state. Well, and the richest moment in the array of scandals was made by Philaret himself. On December 16, 2018, in his address in the St. Vladimir Cathedral, he announced that he will be ruling the OCU along with Epiphany. At that he basically placed his protégé in the role of merely “minister of foreign affairs” under his own “presidency”. In the words of Philaret, Epiphany will be representing the OCU in the international arena. Just the same, this will only last until the OCU is recognized as a patriarchate. As soon as that happens, the power of the “patriarch” will also extend over new religious structure’s sphere of external relations. Philaret’s words produced the effect of a bomb explosion. As it turns out, they thought they chose Epiphany as the head of the OCU, but in fact they chose Philaret. Incidentally, on December 17 he waltzed into the services at the St. Vladimir Cathedral wearing his patriarchal kukol [white, rounded hat/hood with a cross on top] as if nothing had happened. This was the “warning shot” at the head of all the Phanar’s ambitions. He showed Patriarch Bartholomew his place, and his true regard for Constantinople’s claims on its “Ukrainian inheritance”. Conclusions and predictions 1) The events that took place have demonstrated that Constantinople’s plan to represent its meddling in Ukrainian Church affairs as a unifying element of Ukrainian Orthodoxy fell through with a deafening crash. De facto, with the Phanar’s application there came about a mere legalization of a schismatic structure. As a result of this simplistic rebranding, the “UAOC” and the “UOC KP” are now called the “OCU”. Furthermore, the head of the new structure has to be considered not Epiphany but Philaret, who reserves the right to rule the new structure, giving his favorite no more than external church relations. 2) Mikhail, the main competitor of Epiphany at the elections, has not reconciled himself with his humiliation and is prepared to continue the battle. This means that both Philaret and the nominal head of the OCU may now run up against backstage sabotage and opposition to their authority from the Volhynian “metropolitan” and his supporters. After Philaret’s death, Epiphany will be in dire straights. That is if he is unable by that time to significantly strengthen his personal position and authority in the ranks of the OCU “episcopate”. 3) It is entirely probable that in his struggle with Philaret and Epiphany, Mikhail can rely on cadres from the “UAOC”. Everyone knows about the complicated relationship between Makary and Philaret, as well as about the latter’s desire to dissolve once and for all the “UAOC” into the structure under his control. If the irreplaceable leader of the recently sunk into oblivion “UOC KP” sets about his work in a format of “breaking” the opposition “over his knee”, Mikhail will certainly gain new allies. 4) The first official commentaries demonstrate an, albeit cautious, but nevertheless readiness by Epiphany for a marked transformation within the OCU. Here we are talking about the possibility of introducing the “new calendar”, as well as a serious deepening of cooperation with Greek Catholics, the strategic result of which may be the combining of the OCU and the UGCC into one whole structure. 5) Very soon we can expect the Ukrainian parliament to pass their “anti-church” projects, in which they will try to change the official name of the UOC4 and make it easier to transfer the UOC’s churches to the OCU. There are several interests standing behind these steps. The first is the transfer to the Phanar of church possessions under their numerous stavropegic establishments (it’s much easier to grab for this purpose the churches of the UOC than of Philaret and co.). The second step is to place additional pressure on the episcopate and clergy of the UOC with the intention of speeding up and broadening the scale of people and churches moving over from the UOC to the OCU (taking over churches requires after all a certain amount of time and resources, and here they are counting on the passing of laws to scare the unstable and make the wavering decide more quickly to change confessions). The third is the change of power distribution within the ecclesiastical milieu in favor of the OCU, so that it would become the largest confession in Ukraine (this would allow in part for the Phanar to claim widespread support for its actions among Orthodox Ukrainians, and strike a painful blow to structures close to the Russian Orthodox Church). The fourth is the solving of purely electoral aims in the style of a “final crushing of the ‘Russian world’ in Ukraine.” How these laws will be put into practice is shown by the situation with the seizure of the cathedral in Vinnitsa. In the dark of night, Metropolitan Simeon’s close supporters conducted a so-called “parish meeting”, at which it was resolved that they would transfer to the OCU. Then the church guards were replaced with new ones, and the church found itself fast in the hands of the bishop who had been defrocked by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It would not be difficult to organize similar “parish meetings” all over Ukraine. All that is needed are the desire, resources, and appropriate opportunities. And these will all increase a hundredfold with the passing of applicable legislature. 6) On the eve of receiving the tomos, the final battle will break out for the OCU bylaws (according to information from a number of media, it has not yet been ratified). Having given in on a number of important issues, Philaret will try to outmaneuver the situation with the establishment of the Phanar’s custody over the Ukrainian diaspora. In turn the Greeks will defend to the last their position that the tomos is more important than the bylaws and that no changes can be made to the bylaws without Patriarch Bartholomew’s approval. This will be done with the aim of leveling any threats by Philaret to rewrite the bylaws after receiving the tomos to his total advantage and total disadvantage of the Phanar. Perhaps Philaret’s appearance in a patriarchal kukol in the St. Vladimir Cathedral was a signal that the “honorary patriarch” may have some aces up his sleeve. It is not a fact that the liquidation of the “UOC KP” at the council was registered in the necessary legal manner. This means that the bylaws of the “Kiev Patriarchate”, registered in the appropriate governmental agencies, are still in effect. And Philaret can always return to them and reanimate the “UOC KP” should the Phanar suddenly try to make sections of the bylaws “indigestible” to Epiphany’s teacher. 7) The final outcome of the struggle for the bylaws show whether or not we can expect the Phanar to use their most powerful weapon after Philaret’s death to “force” the OCU into submission. The name of this weapon is the possibility of recalling the tomos at any moment convenient to the Phanar. After taking similar steps with regard to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Western European Exarchate’s Russian parishes, there are obviously no limits to such actions. Absolutely none. And it could very possibly turn out that after a certain period of time, the “festival of disobedience” in the OCU and the departure to another world of Constantinople’s most dangerous “church” competitor in Ukraine, the situation could again return to its original point—the restoration of the Kiev Metropolia of the Constantinople Patriarchate. However, up to that time the Phanar has to preserve itself as a power capable of dictating something and forcing other religious structures to do its bidding. Such a boldfaced and brazen legalization of a schism, striking a blow to the unity of the entire Orthodox World, is an extremely risky step. And this is not at all because Constantinople will have to answer for its lawlessness before other Orthodox Churches. There exists a Judgment that is much more terrible and impartial. The Lord examineth the righteous man and the ungodly; but he that loveth unrighteousness hateth his own soul. He will rain down snares upon sinners; fire and brimstone and wind of tempest shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous and hath loved righteousness; upon uprightness hath His countenance looked (Ps. 10:5–7). The author, Taras Melnick, is a Ukrainian journalist and native Kievan. http://orthochristian.com/118113.html
  2. How China Just “Reset” the Global Monetary System With Gold International oil trade is the crux of the issue. For decades, the world’s largest oil importers have paid for oil using the petrodollar, which supports the dollar’s value and fuels U.S. government deficit spending (primarily because the petrodollar is backed by Treasuries). But now, China is looking to upset the current petrodollar system by introducing gold-backed “petroyuan” oil futures contracts. And since China is the largest importer of oil globally, this massive shift away from the petrodollar could be bad news for the U.S. But it could be great news for gold owners. Here’s why…
  3. CreditAngie Wang In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it? Beginning in 1972, genetic findings began to be incorporated into this argument. That year, the geneticist Richard Lewontin published an important study of variation in protein types in blood. He grouped the human populations he analyzed into seven “races” — West Eurasians, Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Oceanians and Australians — and found that around 85 percent of variation in the protein types could be accounted for by variation within populations and “races,” and only 15 percent by variation across them. To the extent that there was variation among humans, he concluded, most of it was because of “differences between individuals.” In this way, a consensus was established that among human populations there are no differences large enough to support the concept of “biological race.” Instead, it was argued, race is a “social construct,” a way of categorizing people that changes over time and across countries. It is true that race is a social construct. It is also true, as Dr. Lewontin wrote, that human populations “are remarkably similar to each other” from a genetic point of view. But over the years this consensus has morphed, seemingly without questioning, into an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy maintains that the average genetic differences among people grouped according to today’s racial terms are so trivial when it comes to any meaningful biological traits that those differences can be ignored. The orthodoxy goes further, holding that we should be anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations. 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.” Groundbreaking advances in DNA sequencing technology have been made over the last two decades. These advances enable us to measure with exquisite accuracy what fraction of an individual’s genetic ancestry traces back to, say, West Africa 500 years ago — before the mixing in the Americas of the West African and European gene pools that were almost completely isolated for the last 70,000 years. With the help of these tools, we are learning that while race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real. Recent genetic studies have demonstrated differences across populations not just in the genetic determinants of simple traits such as skin color, but also in more complex traits like bodily dimensions and susceptibility to diseases. For example, we now know that genetic factors help explain why northern Europeans are taller on average than southern Europeans, why multiple sclerosis is more common in European-Americans than in African-Americans, and why the reverse is true for end-stage kidney disease. I am worried that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science. I am also worried that whatever discoveries are made — and we truly have no idea yet what they will be — will be cited as “scientific proof” that racist prejudices and agendas have been correct all along, and that those well-meaning people will not understand the science well enough to push back against these claims. This is why it is important, even urgent, that we develop a candid and scientifically up-to-date way of discussing any such differences, instead of sticking our heads in the sand and being caught unprepared when they are found. To get a sense of what modern genetic research into average biological differences across populations looks like, consider an example from my own work. Beginning around 2003, I began exploring whether the population mixture that has occurred in the last few hundred years in the Americas could be leveraged to find risk factors for prostate cancer, a disease that occurs 1.7 times more often in self-identified African-Americans than in self-identified European-Americans. This disparity had not been possible to explain based on dietary and environmental differences, suggesting that genetic factors might play a role. Self-identified African-Americans turn out to derive, on average, about 80 percent of their genetic ancestry from enslaved Africans brought to America between the 16th and 19th centuries. My colleagues and I searched, in 1,597 African-American men with prostate cancer, for locations in the genome where the fraction of genes contributed by West African ancestors was larger than it was elsewhere in the genome. In 2006, we found exactly what we were looking for: a location in the genome with about 2.8 percent more African ancestry than the average. When we looked in more detail, we found that this region contained at least seven independent risk factors for prostate cancer, all more common in West Africans. Our findings could fully account for the higher rate of prostate cancer in African-Americans than in European-Americans. We could conclude this because African-Americans who happen to have entirely European ancestry in this small section of their genomes had about the same risk for prostate cancer as random Europeans. Did this research rely on terms like “African-American” and “European-American” that are socially constructed, and did it label segments of the genome as being probably “West African” or “European” in origin? Yes. Did this research identify real risk factors for disease that differ in frequency across those populations, leading to discoveries with the potential to improve health and save lives? Yes. While most people will agree that finding a genetic explanation for an elevated rate of disease is important, they often draw the line there. Finding genetic influences on a propensity for disease is one thing, they argue, but looking for such influences on behavior and cognition is another. But whether we like it or not, that line has already been crossed. A recent study led by the economist Daniel Benjamin compiled information on the number of years of education from more than 400,000 people, almost all of whom were of European ancestry. After controlling for differences in socioeconomic background, he and his colleagues identified 74 genetic variations that are over-represented in genes known to be important in neurological development, each of which is incontrovertibly more common in Europeans with more years of education than in Europeans with fewer years of education. It is not yet clear how these genetic variations operate. A follow-up study of Icelanders led by the geneticist Augustine Kong showed that these genetic variations also nudge people who carry them to delay having children. So these variations may be explaining longer times at school by affecting a behavior that has nothing to do with intelligence. This study has been joined by others finding genetic predictors of behavior. One of these, led by the geneticist Danielle Posthuma, studied more than 70,000 people and found genetic variations in more than 20 genes that were predictive of performance on intelligence tests. Is performance on an intelligence test or the number of years of school a person attends shaped by the way a person is brought up? Of course. But does it measure something having to do with some aspect of behavior or cognition? Almost certainly. And since all traits influenced by genetics are expected to differ across populations (because the frequencies of genetic variations are rarely exactly the same across populations), the genetic influences on behavior and cognition will differ across populations, too. You will sometimes hear that any biological differences among populations are likely to be small, because humans have diverged too recently from common ancestors for substantial differences to have arisen under the pressure of natural selection. This is not true. The ancestors of East Asians, Europeans, West Africans and Australians were, until recently, almost completely isolated from one another for 40,000 years or longer, which is more than sufficient time for the forces of evolution to work. Indeed, the study led by Dr. Kong showed that in Iceland, there has been measurable genetic selection against the genetic variations that predict more years of education in that population just within the last century. To understand why it is so dangerous for geneticists and anthropologists to simply repeat the old consensus about human population differences, consider what kinds of voices are filling the void that our silence is creating. Nicholas Wade, a longtime science journalist for The New York Times, rightly notes in his 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” that modern research is challenging our thinking about the nature of human population differences. But he goes on to make the unfounded and irresponsible claim that this research is suggesting that genetic factors explain traditional stereotypes. One of Mr. Wade’s key sources, for example, is the anthropologist Henry Harpending, who has asserted that people of sub-Saharan African ancestry have no propensity to work when they don’t have to because, he claims, they did not go through the type of natural selection for hard work in the last thousands of years that some Eurasians did. There is simply no scientific evidence to support this statement. Indeed, as 139 geneticists (including myself) pointed out in a letter to The New York Times about Mr. Wade’s book, there is no genetic evidence to back up any of the racist stereotypes he promotes. Another high-profile example is James Watson, the scientist who in 1953 co-discovered the structure of DNA, and who was forced to retire as head of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in 2007 after he stated in an interview — without any scientific evidence — that research has suggested that genetic factors contribute to lower intelligence in Africans than in Europeans. At a meeting a few years later, Dr. Watson said to me and my fellow geneticist Beth Shapiro something to the effect of “When are you guys going to figure out why it is that you Jews are so much smarter than everyone else?” He asserted that Jews were high achievers because of genetic advantages conferred by thousands of years of natural selection to be scholars, and that East Asian students tended to be conformist because of selection for conformity in ancient Chinese society. (Contacted recently, Dr. Watson denied having made these statements, maintaining that they do not represent his views; Dr. Shapiro said that her recollection matched mine.) What makes Dr. Watson’s and Mr. Wade’s statements so insidious is that they start with the accurate observation that many academics are implausibly denying the possibility of average genetic differences among human populations, and then end with a claim — backed by no evidence — that they know what those differences are and that they correspond to racist stereotypes. They use the reluctance of the academic community to openly discuss these fraught issues to provide rhetorical cover for hateful ideas and old racist canards. This is why knowledgeable scientists must speak out. If we abstain from laying out a rational framework for discussing differences among populations, we risk losing the trust of the public and we actively contribute to the distrust of expertise that is now so prevalent. We leave a vacuum that gets filled by pseudoscience, an outcome that is far worse than anything we could achieve by talking openly. If scientists can be confident of anything, it is that whatever we currently believe about the genetic nature of differences among populations is most likely wrong. For example, my laboratory discovered in 2016, based on our sequencing of ancient human genomes, that “whites” are not derived from a population that existed from time immemorial, as some people believe. Instead, “whites” represent a mixture of four ancient populations that lived 10,000 years ago and were each as different from one another as Europeans and East Asians are today. So how should we prepare for the likelihood that in the coming years, genetic studies will show that many traits are influenced by genetic variations, and that these traits will differ on average across human populations? It will be impossible — indeed, anti-scientific, foolish and absurd — to deny those differences. For me, a natural response to the challenge is to learn from the example of the biological differences that exist between males and females. The differences between the sexes are far more profound than those that exist among human populations, reflecting more than 100 million years of evolution and adaptation. Males and females differ by huge tracts of genetic material — a Y chromosome that males have and that females don’t, and a second X chromosome that females have and males don’t. Most everyone accepts that the biological differences between males and females are profound. In addition to anatomical differences, men and women exhibit average differences in size and physical strength. (There are also average differences in temperament and behavior, though there are important unresolved questions about the extent to which these differences are influenced by social expectations and upbringing.) How do we accommodate the biological differences between men and women? I think the answer is obvious: We should both recognize that genetic differences between males and females exist and we should accord each sex the same freedoms and opportunities regardless of those differences. It is clear from the inequities that persist between women and men in our society that fulfilling these aspirations in practice is a challenge. Yet conceptually it is straightforward. And if this is the case with men and women, then it is surely the case with whatever differences we may find among human populations, the great majority of which will be far less profound. 398COMMENTS An abiding challenge for our civilization is to treat each human being as an individual and to empower all people, regardless of what hand they are dealt from the deck of life. Compared with the enormous differences that exist among individuals, differences among populations are on average many times smaller, so it should be only a modest challenge to accommodate a reality in which the average genetic contributions to human traits differ. It is important to face whatever science will reveal without prejudging the outcome and with the confidence that we can be mature enough to handle any findings. Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid. David Reich is a professor of genetics at Harvard and the author of the forthcoming book “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past,” from which this article is adapted. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/sunday/genetics-race.html?ref=oembed

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