Tuesday, April 14, 2015

We're ALL Out of Africa

 By Alan Caruba

I think if we were honest enough to admit it, we are all bigoted in some way. Our gender or religion doesn’t really qualify us as superior to anyone else, but we tend to fall back on these identities and, consciously or not, assume they give us a reason to feel that we are not only in possession of a special truth, but that it grants us the privilege to feel better than others.

When we examine the issue of race, however, the bigotry is inherent because racial groups are inclined to assign superior characteristics to their own. It’s called human nature.

There is something else “human” that we need to address, over and above skin color, eye color, hair and other visible differences.

“All human variants in DNA in all people alive today trace their origins to countless common ancestors, all of whom lived in Africa more than sixty thousand years ago. As humans, everyone is related by common ancient ancestry, and ultimately, everyone is African.”

That is the message of a new book by Daniel J. Fairbanks, the dean of the College of Science and Health at Utah Valley University, a distinguished research geneticist and author. “Everyone is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race” ($18.00. Prometheus Books, softcover). In a world where race is a component of our lives, Fairbanks says, “Unfortunately, few people are aware of how much is known about the genetic basis of race—or more accurately, the lack thereof.”

“To many, the notion that race is inherited seems self-evident. Yet extensive genetic research has demonstrated that the genetic variation associated with what most people perceive as race represents a small proportion of overall genetic variation. When viewed on a global scale, there are no discrete genetic boundaries separating so-called races.”
It’s hard to argue with DNA, a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions of all known living organisms. Its scientific name is deoxyribonucleic acid and, along with proteins and carbohydrates, it composes the three major macromolecules deemed essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer stands coiled around each other to form a double helix.

What we take to be “race” traces back some one hundred thousand years ago when our species, humans, all lived in Africa. Those early ancestors began to migrate from Africa eventually inhabiting the entire globe. That makes the “human race” one race.

So much evil has been done in the name of race that much of our history and the world’s stems from the notion that the variations, Caucasian, Negro, Asian, are determinative of various traits we attribute to these and other “races.”  If we step back a bit, we will conclude we are talking about cultural differences, often the result of geological differences. As Fairbanks notes, regarding the findings of DNA research, “According to their estimates, people worldwide differ on average by about 0.1 percent, evidence that all humans are genetically quite similar to one another.”

It is hard, if not impossible, to argue with the science involved. “The oldest remains of what anthropologists call ‘anatomically modern humans’ (skeletons with features that resemble modern humans) are exclusively from Africa, dating to about two hundred thousand years ago. By contrast, the earliest remains of anatomically modern humans outside of Africa thus far discovered are about one hundred thousand years old.”

The migration out of Africa is dated to about sixty thousand to seventy thousand years ago “and their descendants, through many generations, eventually populated the rest of the world.”

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, “most of the mutations that became variants affecting skin, eye, and hair pigmentation happened outside of Africa in the distant descendants of people who originally left Africa..” Those variations then spread through their descendants within broad geographic regions.”

Those other people you see around you? You are related to all of them.

© Alan Caruba, 2015


Harry Dale Huffman said...

Sorry, but we knew the basic message already, as: "All men are created equal." That we are all "out of Africa" is, however, a modern myth, based as it is upon a religious belief among academic scientists in undirected (Darwinian) evolution--within which, genetic variations among the peoples of the Earth is ASSUMED to be due to serial variations over time, in an ASSUMED original population having essentially no genetic variations within it. They also ASSUME their identification of and dating of "anatomically modern humans", in every region of the Earth, are all accurate. That is too many assumptions for anyone to state that science knows where the human race originated on Earth. And note my use of the term "human race", which is as old as the hills and shows that science and other bigots don't know what they are talking about in their pettier, divisive definitions of "race", so it means little when scientists pretend to have debunked those petty definitions, already known to be wrong by those who have come together and easily interbreeded, and lived in close association in their respective societies, throughout history. Like the climate scientists today, they just want to have people believe them to be THE EXPERTS(TM), the sole judges whose opinions matter. I won't even try to communicate in this short space what I--also a scientist, but an independent one--have uncovered in my own researches into the origins of "modern" mankind (and the origins of the major landmasses, for of course they themselves have moved over the Earth, and not over hundreds of millions of years, either, as today's earth scientists religiously believe, but over mere thousands).

Alan Caruba said...

Well, Harry, you're going to have to write your own book on this topic. You might want to read the one I mentioned.

Alan Caruba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerry Rzeppa said...

Have to say that I'm with Mr. Huffman on this one: way too many unproven (and unprovable) assumptions -- many of them philosophical -- to speak with scientific certainty on such matters. See here:


for at least three different views on the matter.

TexasFred said...

We're ALL aliens...

Spacemen, ancient astronauts seeded the earth millions of years ago and we're the result...

No, seriously... :)

JR said...

That's a bit shallow, Alan

Just ONE gene can make a big difference in some cases