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Race may be genetic in that scientists, who have sequenced the genomes of thousands of people from around the world, can distinguish between races based on an individual's genetic code. But beyond that, there is no positive evidence to suggest that race is a determining factor in how people or peoples behave. Ironically, the truth of this statement has arisen because of a book claiming the opposite. In A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, respected science journalist Nicholas Wade claims that broad social differences, reflected in the different institutions established by different societies, comes down to race.

What's the Big Idea?

In his review of Wade's book, H. Allen Orr concludes that the author plays too fast and loose with a subject--race--that has notoriously justified violent oppression against disfavored groups. And while Wade acknowledges that his thinking on the matter moves beyond scientific consensus into the realm of speculation, he nonetheless ignores substantial observational counter evidence. Why, for example, do North and South Koreans have vastly different political institutions while sharing a nearly identical genetic make up? Or argues that until Wade can support his speculation with evidence, he is playing a dangerous game.

Read more at the New York Review of Books