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Race: Can We See It In Our DNA?

Race: Can We See It In Our DNA?

Update: 2019-04-1918


For decades, we've heard that race is a social and cultural idea — not scientific. But with the changing world of genetics, is race science back? We speak to sociologist Prof. Dorothy Roberts, evolutionary biologist Prof. Joseph L. Graves Jr. and psychological methodologist Prof. Jelte Wicherts.

Check out the full transcript here:

Selected references:  Dorothy’s book on the history of scientific racism One of Joseph’s books unpacking raceThe 2005 paper on population structureA handy FAQ from a population geneticistA paper on the knowns and unknowns about genes and the environment on IQ


This episode was produced by Rose Rimler, with help from Wendy Zukerman, as well as Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, Meryl Horn, and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Botte Jellema and Shani Aviram. A huge thanks to Stillman Brown, Morgan Jerkins, Amber Davis, Cedric Shine, Emmanuel Dzotsi, and to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Noah Rosenberg, Rasmus Nielsen, Mark Shriver, Garrett Hellenthal, Sarah Tishkoff, Kenneth Kidd, John Protzko, Dan Levitis, and others. Finally, thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 

Comments (10)

Mae Lee Arant

just a footnote that some IQ resesrch testing show Asians scoring about 8 points higher than whites. With all this white privilege , money and health on their side, why are white IQs significantly lower.? Environment, genetic history ( African Americans actually have genetic stress markers associated with the crime of slavery), cultural differences all impact IQ. Often Asians are systematucally taught to memorize well but associative and higher order out of the box thinking are not necessarily nourished. IQ does not necessarily denote other types of intelligence. White supremacists cherry pick bits of information to rationalize their anger and bizarre sense of superiority by being unwilling to actually commit to the act of thinking. Chug away.

Oct 14th
Reply (1)

Dave Rocha

Way to use a sound bite to make Sam Harris sound like he's making the exact opposite argument than he ends up making. He's stated a number of times that these tests reflect cultural biases and socially-imposed disadvantages.

May 24th

Shelby Lynn Sloan

You (Science Vs) took Sam Harris out of context.

May 6th
Reply (3)

Scott Robertson

does anyone check these sources? I'm not buying any PDF papers myself. and does it feel like the science says there's evidence actually showing the intelligence difference in race? definitely not proof but there's equal evidence saying there isn't at the very best. I don't believe there's an intelligence difference but this podcast kind of felt like global warming deniers just poking holes in the evidence without providing any to the point.

Apr 26th
Reply (1)

Omar Jaffrey

Like in a horror movie: the "Does race exist?" question is a monster that won't die—screw scientific consensus. Congrats to Wendy & Science Vs for fighting it.

Apr 19th
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Race: Can We See It In Our DNA?

Race: Can We See It In Our DNA?