A House hearing on the origins of COVID-19 on Wednesday unraveled almost immediately as Democrats impeached one of the GOP witnesses: Nicholas Wade, author of a 2014 book that made outrageous, racist claims that blacks are more susceptible to the disease. violence and Jews more economically successful because of their genetic makeup.
Wade, a British author and former New York Times science writer, wrote a book called “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History” that it was largely he complained by the scientific community for misrepresenting research into human population genetics.
A quote from his book says, “Populations living at high altitudes, such as Tibetans, represent another adaptation to extreme environments. The adaptation of the Jews to capitalism is another such evolutionary process.’
In another quote regarding the economic conditions of Africans, Wade wonders whether “variations in their nature, such as their time preference, work ethic, and propensity for violence, have any effect on the economic decisions they make.”
Wednesday’s hearing had barely begun when Rep. Raul Ruiz (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, blasted Wade as a “dangerous” and “extreme” Republican choice to appear at a hearing that was supposed to that it focused on facts. and science.
“I was concerned when I saw someone who wrote a book being applauded by white supremacists,” Ruiz said, noting that former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke praised Wade’s book on his radio show in 2014.
“[Wade] claims that some populations were slow to experience an evolutionary change that he described as “a transformation of the social characteristics of a population from the violent, short-term, impulsive behavior that characterizes many hunter-gatherer and tribal societies” to “the most disciplined, future-oriented behavior observed in other populations,” he said.
The California Democrat said he wrote to the chairman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), earlier Wednesday, urging him to call Wade from the hearing, “so as not to give legitimacy to a man with such discredited, unscientific and harmful views . “
“His participation hurts the credibility of this hearing,” Ruiz added, with Wade sitting directly in front of him. “These views … have no place in a hearing examining the origins of a pandemic that has disproportionately and overwhelmingly harmed communities of color.”
Wenstrup briefly tried to defend Wade by noting that he is his former editor Nature and Science periodicals, and went on to say that he expected the witnesses to stay on the topic at hand, COVID-19.
But in his opening remarks, Wade lamented that his book was becoming a “giant distraction” at the hearing and said Ruiz’s claims about it weren’t true.
“This was a decidedly non-racist book,” Wade said. “It has no scientific error that I know of. It has no racist statements. It emphasizes the theme of unity that we are all variations on the same human genome.”
“I have nothing to be ashamed of in my book,” he added.
Ruiz later asked Wade if he knew Duke had praised his book. An employee held a poster behind Ruiz that contained a quote from Duke’s website stating that Wade had “essentially embraced the scientific racial truth” that Duke had championed for years.
“When my book first came out, Mr. Ruiz, I think the far right thought it would help their cause,” Wade said. “But pretty soon they stopped referring to it because when they actually read it, as many people who talk about my book haven’t, they found . . .”
“David Duke read your book,” Ruiz interjected. “In fact, he had a whole radio talk show about it and he described it in detail. And he approved of your views.”
As Wade testified at the hearing, at least one anthropogeneticist on Twitter begged to disagree with his claim that his book is based on science.
Jennifer Ruff, New York Times bestselling authorOrigins: A Genetic History of America», he tweeted that he reviewed Wade’s book when it came out 10 years ago and shared it a link to her review for anyone interested in what a fellow geneticist made.
“Wade’s book is all pseudoscientific garbage,” Raff wrote in her 2014 HuffPost review, “because it fails to justify its first and foremost point: its claim that the human racial groups we now recognize culturally are scientifically significant , distinct biological divisions of man. This claim provides an immediate basis for the entire second half of the book, in which he makes speculative arguments about national character. In other words, the whole book is a house of cards.”