Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vikings vs Arabs: An Evolving Contrast

John Derbyshire at The Corner writes about

Another sensational genetics paper from the Henry Harpending/Greg Cochran team. (They did that paper on the evolution of Ashkenazi intelligence [Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (PDF)] three years ago.)

Among their claims, which are based on some careful data-mining of the HapMap:

  • Human beings are evolving rapidly.
  • "We aren’t the same [i.e. biologically] as people even 1,000 or 2,000 years ago."
  • Our evolution may be accelerating.
  • Human races have evolved away from each other, getting more different, and this is still going on: "We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity."
  • Over the past 5,000 years, new genetic variants have been emerging at a rate 100 times faster than in any other period of human evolution.
He then finishes off with a comment:
If you ever wondered how those wild, bloodthirsty Vikings turned into the hygienic, pacifistic Swedes of today, there's your answer: biology. A great many longstanding conundrums about human nature are turning out to have that same answer.
Let's see. According to Wikipedia, vikings were :
Scandinavian seafaring traders, warriors and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the late 8th to the 11th century.
Raiding and colonizing...sounds like the Muslim conquests and occupation during their heyday--except that unlike the Vikings, Muslims are still talking about taking back land liberated from their rule. Places like Spain, for instance.

If Vikings prove evolution, what do Muslim Arabs prove?

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