The Left eats its own: The New Yorker criticizes Elizabeth Warren for checking her ancestry, asserts that idea of biological differences among people is “pernicious”

The more I read the New Yorker, the more I realize two things. First, it’s rapidly become a sophisticated version of HuffPo, a liberal magazine marinated in Authoritarian Leftism. That became palpably clear when the editor, David Remnick, who was scheduled to interview Steve Bannon onstage at this month’s New Yorker Festival, disinvited Bannon. (Several speakers, equally craven and eager to parade their virtue, said that they’d withdraw were Bannon to appear.) From now on Remnick will bear the middle name of “Invertebrate”, sharing that moniker with Evergreen State College President George Bridges.

The second issue, which I’ve mentioned before, is that in general the New Yorker is anti-science, touting “other ways of knowing” and attacking science in oblique ways. A while back, during the Siddhartha Mukherjee epigenetics fracas (one in which Remnick again was resistant to correcting his magazine’s bad science), I reproduced part of an email written to me by a colleague:

The New Yorker is fine with science that either serves a literary purpose (doctors’ portraits of interesting patients) or a political purpose (environmental writing with its implicit critique of modern technology and capitalism). But the subtext of most of its coverage (there are exceptions) is that scientists are just a self-interested tribe with their own narrative and no claim to finding the truth, and that science must concede the supremacy of literary culture when it comes to anything human, and never try to submit human affairs to quantification or consilience with biology. Because the magazine is undoubtedly sophisticated in its writing and editing they don’t flaunt their postmodernism or their literary-intellectual proprietariness, but once you notice it you can make sense of a lot of their material.

. . . Obviously there are exceptions – Atul Gawande is consistently superb – but as soon as you notice it, their guild war on behalf of cultural critics and literary intellectuals against scientists, technologists, and analytic scholars becomes apparent.

Well, the anti-science has once again surfaced in a big way, in a new column by Masha Gessen in the online magazine. Click on the screenshot to read it:

The premise of the article is that Elizabeth Warren, by publicizing genetic tests showing that she has a small part of Native American DNA in her genome—more such genome than does the average American—is playing into the Trumpian and racist idea that different ethnic groups are genetically different. Here we have the Left consuming the Left.

However, the idea that ethnic groups are genetically different, and can be identified with great accuracy by using a combination of different genes, is uncontestably true. It is not racist to say that, but scientifically accurate. Gessen is not only wrong, but denies scientific fact in the service of her (and the New Yorker‘s) anti-Trump politics.

Warren released the data, of course, to confirm that, as she had earlier asserted several times, she did indeed have Native American ancestry: ancestry that Trump denied and mocked by calling her “Pocahontas”. (Whether it was Cherokee ancestry, as Warren claimed, isn’t at all clear.)

Trump was an idiot to use the “Pocahontas” slur, but nevertheless there’s evidence that, before she had the DNA data, Warren was touting her “minority” status without knowing it for certain. The Snopes investigation of her claim says this, for example:

. . .the senator has often spoken of her Native American ancestry.

. . . The legitimacy of Warren’s claims to Native American heritage has certainly been challenged by many critics, and it is true that while Warren was at U. Penn. Law School she put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list as Native American) in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools, and that Harvard Law School at one time promoted Warren as a Native American faculty member. But specific evidence that she gained her position at Harvard (at least in part) through her claims to Native American heritage is lacking. Warren denied applying for special consideration as a person of Native American heritage during her career, and when the matter was examined in 2012 in response to Brown’s claims, people with whom Warren had worked similarly denied her ancestral background’s factoring into the professional opportunities afforded her. . .

So Warren did represent herself as a “minority law teacher” without knowing if that was the case, though it’s pretty clear she gained no personal benefit from so doing. Well, if a tiny fraction of Native American DNA makes her a minority, so be it, but I can’t be bothered much about it, even if Trump makes a big deal of it. Warren may have stretched the truth a bit when she didn’t know her background for sure, but that’s nothing compared to the lies that our “president” emits daily; and I’d vote for Warren over Trump any day.

The release of that data, and the video that Warren just released (below), suggests that she will indeed be a Democratic candidate for President in 2020. (I’d rather vote for Biden, even if he is a bit long in the tooth, but Warren is better than any Republican candidate I can imagine.)

But back to the science and the New Yorker. First, here’s Warren’s new video:

Well, the video is a bit self-serving, but remember that Warren is up for re-election for her second term as a senator, although she’s not going to lose no matter what Trump says. The video is, I think, largely about her future candidacy for the Presidency.

But New Yorker author Masha Gessen criticizes Warren for playing into Trump’s “Pocahontas” rhetoric by even trying to determine her ancestry:

Warren ended up providing one of the clearest examples yet of how Trumpian rhetoric shifts the political conversation. The woman who is hoping to become the most progressive Democratic nominee in generations is not merely letting herself get jerked around by a Trumpian taunt. She is also reinforcing one of the most insidious ways in which Americans talk about race: as though it were a measurable biological category, one that, in some cases, can be determined by a single drop of blood.

Ross Douthat at the New York Times also argues that Warren’s “Cherokee fight” will hurt her chances of being elected, saying “But what Warren should have done when the story resurfaced, what she obviously should have done, was to simply express mild regret for letting her enthusiasm for family lore carry her away into identifying as someone who might possibly receive affirmative-action consideration, apologize to Cherokee groups for any offense, and literally never speak of the matter again.”  Well, this will all be forgotten in two years, I suspect, so I’m not a fan of this Monday-morning quarterbacking.

I’ve talked about race before, and yes, there is no finite number of biological races, like “Blacks” or “Caucasians”, into which everyone can be neatly slotted. Not only are a lot of people the result of admixture between ethnic groups, but the groups themselves are not absolutely distinguishable by using a single gene. We have a constellation of genetic differences that shifts as one moves from area to area across the planet.

But using a combination of genes, one can determine one’s ancestry with pretty good accuracy; one can tell where one’s ancestors came from and what ethnic group someone belongs to. This is because different geographic populations differ on average in the frequency of different genetic variants, and by combining a lot of variants, as DNA tests now do, you can get a good idea of someone’s genetic makeup. The small frequency differences between groups can, when combined, add up to a good diagnosis of someone’s background. That is why DNA tests are generally accurate.

But look how Gessen gets it wrong:

It is important to understand that, contrary to the impression created by television and online advertising, a DNA test can never provide definitive information about one’s heritage. Ancestry-testing services deal in correlations: they collect data on genetic markers on the one hand and personal narratives on the other. If all or most of the people who identify as, say, Ashkenazi Jewish have a certain genetic marker, the database will learn to recognize the marker as “Ashkenazi Jewish”; chances are, most Palestinians in this world would have this marker as well, but as long as none of them has used this particular service, the marker will be known as “Jewish.”

The errors here include the claim that DNA databases rest on a correlation between “personal narratives” and DNA markers. In fact, much of the data come from collecting DNA from people in different places in the world, not relying on “personal narratives.” The rest of the paragraph, which rests on using a single marker, not only is wrong about how the databases are constructed, but is further wrong in implying that single markers are how companies like 23andme determine ancestry. They do it in fact by using a combination of many variants that differ geographically, markers that have been associated with ethnicity largely by sampling people from different areas. Doesn’t Gessen know that? After all, she does have some background as a science journalist.

Gessen steps deeper into the quicksand when she says this:

Genetic-test evidence is circular: if everyone who claims to be X has a particular genetic marker, then everyone with the marker is likely to be X. This would be flawed reasoning in any area, but what makes it bad science is that it reinforces the belief in the existence of X—in this case, race as a biological category.

Note that she’s using in her argument a single genetic marker, not a combination of markers, which was used to diagnose Warren’s background. And his “circularity” argument is just plain wrong, not just in using a single marker, but in how people’s backgrounds are diagnosed, which is based on using a database of known background.

Well, race (ethnicity if you will, or geographic origin if you will further) is correlated with genetic composition; if this were not the case, DNA companies would be wrong nearly all the time. True, there are no fixed differences between “races”, and no finite number of easily identifiable groups, but rather a constellation of populations around the world that grade into each other, but which can be identified quite accurately by looking at a lot of genetic markers.

If, to Gessen, race is not a “biological category”, what does it mean to her? Is it, as many anti-science Leftists claim, simply a “social construct”? The “social construct” idea is wrong because there are genetic differences underlying different populations and ethnic groups that enable an individual’s ancestry to be identified quite accurately. The idea that ethnic groups differ on average in their genes is NOT a social construct, but a biological reality. You do not gain Black “racial identity” by being a Caucasian and simply claiming you’re black, as Rachel Dolezal learned to her sorrow. But if race was a social construct with no genetic underpinning, Dolezal could say she was of whatever ethnic background she wanted.

And this paragraph is where Gessen really goes off the rails (my emphasis):

Warren, meanwhile, has allowed herself to be dragged into a conversation based on an outdated, harmful concept of racial blood—one that promotes the pernicious idea of biological differences among people—and she has pulled her supporters right along with her.

The pernicious idea of biological differences among people? Really?

Here we see the real reason why Gessen objects to using DNA to determine ancestry and ethnic background:  because it is pernicious. Gessen is clearly one of those benighted souls prepared to deny biological reality in the service of her (and her magazine’s) ideology.

It happens to be true that there are biological differences among people—among groups of people living in different places in the world, among different ethnic groups. That’s not “pernicious” but a fact, and Gessen denies that fact because she wrongly believes that such denial will eliminate the racism supposedly based on biological essentialism. In this rejection of fact for ideology, Gessen is no different from a Biblical creationist who rejects evolution because it threatens her faith.

It is a staple of Leftist anti-science that it denies inconvenient truths, like biological differences between groups as well as between men and women (the latter two sexes contain largely the same genes, but the genes are turned on and off differently, and thereby affect behavior, morphology, and physiology).

Leftists reject genetic differences because they think that admitting those differences will promote sexism and racism. This has indeed happened in the past, but it need not be true now, as I’ve written repeatedly. People deserve equal opportunities regardless of their genetic background, but you can decide that even knowing that people of different backgrounds are genetically or behaviorally different. In general, morality and social welfare should not rest on a fulcrum of ethnicity or gender.

I have to restrain myself from calling Gessen names, as I have no use for those who deny the scientific truth in service of their ideology. Gessen is simply a latter-day Lysenko who thinks she’s helping the world by distorting genetic data. I have no use for the woman, or for the magazine that would publish such blather about genetics.

I’ll close with a quote from the reader who called my attention to Gessen’s piece. I asked this reader what he/she especially disliked about the piece, and the response was this (“SJW” is, of course, “social justice warrior”):

Well, that last sentence in particular! 😉 [JAC: the one I’ve put in bold above.] What is it about science that SJW-type leftists hate so much? On the one hand, they want all sorts of special treatment for—what do we call races when we deny the concept of races?—for people of, um, certain lineages, with grievances; but at the same time they argue against any sane bases for defining, let alone identifying, said populations.

I am not renewing my subscription to the New Yorker when it expires—not unless they start taking science seriously. Did anybody actually vet Gessen’s article or check the validity of her scientific claims? Is there a scientist on the staff, or anyone with a respect for the scientific truth?

 

221 Comments

  1. RQA
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Gessen is a woman.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      You racist. You are probably stating that based on some genetic factor. 😁

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        We’ll be back to that Life of Brian clip before you know it

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          😎

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c

          Just in case anybody on the planet doesn’t know it yet 😉

          cr

        • darrelle
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Just exposed the kids to Life Of Brian for the first time this past weekend. Lots of laughs. And amazing to me, not haven’t seen it in ages, is how current it is.

          • Merilee
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            +1
            How old are your kids?

            • darrelle
              Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

              They’re 14. They thought it was hilarious that it had been banned for a time England.

              • Merilee
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

                They must have loved it😂

              • darrelle
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

                It was fun for me watching them watch it!

              • Merilee
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

                I’ve forgotten. One boy one girl?

              • darrelle
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

                Merilee,

                Yes indeed, instant family!

              • Merilee
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

                Lucky you😍

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

                That was probably about the age I was exposed to Life of Brian but I grew up on Monty Python.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes, my error. I’ve fixed all that now.

      • KiwiInOz
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        There is still one in there.

        “And his “circularity” argument is just plain wrong, not just in using a single marker, but in how people’s backgrounds are diagnosed, which is based on using a database of known background.”

        [/redpen]

  2. Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The Blank Slate was published in 2003. Can we chip in to get Masha a used copy for like $2?

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was thinking of Pinker’s book while reading Gessens’s b.s. It would do her well to read some good science.

    • AC Harper
      Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      …and The Bell Curve in 1994. You can argue about various aspects of the book but Charles Murray is still persona non grata because he trod on so many toes. Particularly those who who detested the inconvenient truth of genetic differences having real world effects.

  3. eric
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I do find it a bit troublesome that she (and the schools she taught at) advertised her as minority, even if there was no material gain from it. It’s a lie in practice if not in technicality, and she’s (and they) are smart enough to know that; this was intentional deception. Would that stop me from voting for her? No. But it counts as something like “room for improvement on cultural sensitivity, going forward.”

    Having said that, I think Douthat actually got something right this time around. Warren’s best response would’ve been something like “look folks, this is just a bit of my family history that got blown out of proportion. My family claimed one ancestor 6 or so generations back, and the test shows one ancestor 6 or so generations back. That’s it. There’s no greater claim to tribal membership or cultural participation here.”

    Politically, I think she had to address this, or be slammed on it over and over again by Trump in 2020. The result may not have improved her chances of being President, but not addressing the issue would’ve been worse.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I imagine Trump will continue calling her Pocohantes regardless of this DNA proof. He and his cult love bigotry and denigrating women, so Trump gets two digs for the price of one.

      Just like Trump continued denying Obama was a US citizen after Obama supplied his birth certificate.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        He’ll probably call it a “fake test”.

      • Posted October 31, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        To me, this proof is ridiculous, and Trump is right on spot here.

  4. Adam
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I hope you will write a letter to the magazine protesting the inaccuracies of Gessen’s article. Whether it will motivate better writing on the part of the author is doubtful but we need educated people to call out the uneducated ones whenever possible in the hope that journalism will shift toward more fact-based reporting. Thank you for all you do!

  5. Michael G. Sternberg
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Masha Gessen clearly missed the mark here. But I suggest not to fall into the tribal trap of dismissing her entirely henceforth.

    Her other writings have a refreshing perspective on the authoritarian tendencies of the Trump administration because of her upbringing in the Soviet Union and activism in Russia.

    • Merilee
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      +1 on both counts. She’s a pretty good writer on things geo-political.

  6. Historian
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Masha Gessen was born in the Soviet Union and emigrated with her parents to the United States in 1981, per Wikipedia. She has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights and a staunch critic of Putin. It’s too bad she wandered into areas (such as genetics) that she apparently knows little about. I have read many of her other columns for the New Yorker and have found them quite informative. From the political point of view, whether Warren should have taken Trump’s bait can be debated. Her heritage will almost certainly not change how any person will vote.

    Gessen has written about her background in this article published in the New York Review of Books. She should not be judged by this one New Yorker article alone.

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/02/08/to-be-or-not-to-be/

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I have looked at several biographies and none report Gessen’s academic qualifications/training beyond mentioning short courses in architecture and design. She claims her family fled the Soviet Union to the US in 1981 because of religious persecution. After returning to Moscow in the early 1990s, she fled again because she and her partner were fearful of being persecuted for being gays with children. She is fearful of Warren’s racist claims. She is fearful of the bully Putin. Gessen fits in perfectly with the NY (or should I say Northeastern) intellectual bubble. [. . . or am I letting my bias hang out?]

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Excellent post and is just the science this story needs. I also suspect in Warren’s case, she comes from a large part of the population that finds it desirable to have some native American in your background. Just like some find it exciting when they find some Italian or Greek or Scottish in their past. However, in today’s world the minefields and traps are all over the political world and Warren has discovered this the hard way. The sad part is, if she were a prejudice and disgusting person such as our president, it wouldn’t matter, because then it would just be another normal day.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Masha Gessen is a she — one who’s adopted a bit of butch look, perhaps, but a woman nonetheless.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, as I noted above, I’ve corrected that, and apologize for the error.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t mean to be duplicative. As is my wont whenever you link to an article, I opened a new window to read it in full before reading you analysis (so I could form my own impressions first). When I came back and read the rest of your post, I saw the gender-pronoun error but, since I hadn’t refreshed my screen, didn’t realized another commenter had pointed it out already. Apologies.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          That happens to me all the time. I comment on some point and then post the comment without refreshing my screen and find that in the interim someone else has said the exact same thing.

          cr

  9. BJ
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    This article, with all its incredibly obvious “mistakes” (that, among other things, completely change the nature of how DNA testing is done and what it means), and with the fact that these “mistakes” end up serving Gessen’s agenda, makes it clear that he’s either a “journalist” who is willing to lie again and again to support his views, or he’s extremely incompetent and incredibly lucky that his incompetence produces the results he needs.

    That excerpt from your colleague’s email was an excellent description of why I stopped reading The New Yorker and other publications in its sphere. I wish I could express myself as well as your colleague does.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It’s a shame to be sure, but there is a LOT of good writing in the rag. No publication is going to be ideologically pure, but one would hope the New Yorker would make some effort to be scientifically accurate when it drifts into that territory.

      • Merilee
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • BJ
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Oh, no doubt about it. And I don’t look for ideological purity. There’s a certain threshold, though, that I can’t get past. There’s alsoi the disappointment factor: if I used to really love a publication and have had to watch it go downhill, that threshold gets lower.

  10. BJ
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I assumed Gessen was a man based on Jerry’s post, so my mistake.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    That Ashkenazi Jew thing was convoluted. No, it doesn’t negate others from being Jewish, it shows that the type of Jew you are is Ashkenazi because that particular type of Jew has particular genetic markers. I was actually surprised I had no Ashkenazi in me because my great-grandmother was German and Jewish. I suspect, she introduced the genes from N. Africa/middle east as those markers showed up in my DNA and was only from my mom’s side (my dad also had his DNA analyzed & it wasn’t from him) but it didn’t make her not a Jew FFS.

  12. Historian
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The reason liberals tend to deny the scientific validity of the reality of genetic differences in regard to race and ethnicity is that this condition has been used countless times by dominant groups as a rationale to discriminate against, enslave, or even kill those people they didn’t like. Liberals should avoid the scientific argument because it gets them nowhere. They should emphasize that in all the important aspects of life, ethnic or racial differences play no inherent role in an individual’s abilities or moral worth. This is the best way to fight white supremacists, anti-Semites, and all the other haters. Being on the losing end of a scientific argument does not serve their cause.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      In the larger sense I agree, Historian. Since I assume you believe that genes do matter (at least somewhat), do you think whether and to what extent biological differences do play a role in society, including things like intellectual preferences and abilities, medical therapies and childhood development, etc, they ought to be studied? The anti-science left has made it so that these questions cannot even be broached, much less studied. IMO, as a result, we are condemned to making the same mistakes over and over.

      • Historian
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        You seem to imply that the scientific investigation of possible differences in intellectual abilities between various ethnic and racial groups should proceed apace. I have very mixed feelings as to whether this should happen. Generally, I am very opposed to any effort to impede scientific research. But, in this particular situation, a nest of very dangerous hornets may be unleashed. Suppose through incontestable scientific research it is shown that group X has a slightly lower intellectual ability than group Y. Suppose also that it is pointed out that this finding represents an average and that many people in group X are intellectually superior to many people in group Y. Would this caveat play any role in the thinking of the general public? I think not. It is likely that the finding would open members of group X to the severest discrimination. It would provide justification for what racists have been saying for centuries. You may say that this represents a gross distortion of the findings and you would be right. But, so what? Political debate is hardly characterized by rational discourse. People like Trump and David Duke would be overjoyed at such a finding.

        On the other hand, perhaps scientific research would reveal that there is no intellectual difference between group X and group Y. This would be a good thing. But, is this a risk we want to take? Do we want to risk the shattering the ideals that the American republic has evolved to over the last 250 years? You may retort that scientific truth should come out regardless of the consequences. I respect such a view. I am open to hearing arguments from all sides on this issue. It is an extremely important one that could shape the future of world history.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          It has been shown. Why should it matter any more than all the other reasons we prefer some humans to others? Adding numbers to it really doesn’t add anything of relevant value. Of course some people have higher IQs than others–just as some people are taller, fatter, more conscientious etc than others. So what? Where is it written that one’s moral or legal worth is closely attached to such numbers?

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          More pointedly, it is a charming thought that the readers of Daily Stormer are agog at the latest publication in Nature: Genetics, to see if they are allowed to be racist. Racism isnt going to go away by denying genetics, any more than it comes about through studying genetics. I suggest that a better approach is to detach moral worth from these sorts of facts. As we do all the time.

        • mikeyc
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          Thanks, Historian. I think you’ve teased out many of the real problems here. I agree it’s a hornet’s nest and, like the homes of our Vespian neighbors, we must be very careful when messing with it.

          I agree that we cannot just bomb ahead with any scientific inquiry as they can touch deeply on issues of ethics and morality, which must be carefully examined. But to ignore the help that properly constructed science can give us is to ignore one of the most powerful and useful tools we have invented. There has to be a middle way.

        • darrelle
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          To add one more argument to HelenaHandbasket’s, opposing such science is going to make you look bad. It’s going to make it look like you want to hide something. Actually, that is what you are saying, that this kind of data should stay or remain hidden or undiscovered. Then, when the science is done and does indicate differences between groups the “optics” are even worse.

        • Taz
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Do you think such research should be forbidden? That seems like a drastic step. If not, someone will probably be doing it. And if the research is going to be conducted, I would rather it were done openly and with as many eyes on it as possible. Things done “in the shadows”, so to speak, are not usually done well.

          • Historian
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            You are right that the forbidding of such research probably would not work. But, the point is whether doing such research would be wise. Scientific research does not necessarily result in the betterment of human kind. The development of nuclear weapons is the classic example. There was no way that they would not have been invented. It is a simple fact that the fruits of scientific research have the potential to create a better life on earth or to radically change for the worse the existence of humankind.

            • Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

              I suspect that the “we’d be better off not knowing” meme will be a hard sell to this crowd.

              • Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

                That would be correct.

            • Taz
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

              Would it be “wise”? Hard to say. I don’t want the only people doing the research to be those with no regard for the misuse of it. Or worse yet, a deliberately harmful agenda.

              To push your nuclear weapons analogy, would it have been wise for the Americans to beg off and let the Germans get there first?

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          On the other hand, it also prevents that group from getting the help they need because of their lower IQ.

          This is the *technology* decision: do we use the pattern in the world one way or the opposite way (or do nothing, which is often one or the other way).

          The scientific finding (were it one) cannot say; it is morally neutral.

          Do we, then, want to protect from the Trumps of the world by denying us the possibility of doing any *good* either? I personally don’t think there are many (if any) domains in which that is true. Race, sex and intelligence is a common example (including by Philip Kitcher, whose work I admire greatly) but I don’t even know how to decide which are the relevant areas to consider. K. suggests that the “communities affected” should veto the research but you can’t know until one does the research what community might be the relevant one. Nor is he clear enough to me on what counts as “affected” to boot: for example, should the Committee of Offended Sunworshippers and Goethe Fans allow vetoing work in optics because it shows that white light is composite?

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            “be allowed to veto” rather.

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            […] but I don’t even know how to decide which are the relevant areas to consider.

            This is easy: let us form a committee of people that share my political view.

            • Diane G
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

              That’s the problem in a nutshell.

              • Merilee
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

                Diane G., are you having email issues again? Just got a bounce back from you.

              • Diane G
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:55 am | Permalink

                In spades! My ISP says they’re working on it…haven’t been able to receive email for 7 hours now…Apparently, this is true of a large swath of their customers…I just hope the mail I’ve missed will ultimately be recovered.

                BTW, what did the message say?

              • Merilee
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

                I can’t remember; a whole bunch of gobbledygook (whoah, I just typed gobbledy and autocorrect filled in the gook!)

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          “People like Trump and David Duke would be overjoyed at such a finding.”

          Assuming that this hypothetical difference in the intellectual abilities of the groups in question was in the direction they want. It could just as easily be the case that the results would be in the ‘wrong’ direction from their point of view!

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            Pseudo arguments of the class “People like Trump and David Duke would be overjoyed at such a finding” are a convenient variation of “shut up I am ideologically opposed to your research.” It is always possible to find some despicable character enjoying the outcome of a research field, but this has nothing to do with the merit of the research.

            • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

              It is also silly, since *the same finding* can also be used to say (for example): Group X is born without Y; we’d better build a social program to help them out!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          As a practical matter, doctors use ethnic origin (whether they admit it or not, and I’m sure they have a less contentious word for it) as an aid to diagnosis all the time. I think it’s uncontested that certain ethnic groups are more predisposed to particular diseases or ailments than others. Some of this may be lifestyle (including diet), some of it is undoubtedly genetic.

          Public health initiatives are frequently slanted towards the more at-risk populations (which are frequently ethnically determined). To do otherwise would be a pointless waste of resources.

          And these things come from research or observation that indicate that ethnic Group A is more likely to have condition X than ethic group B.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Aagh! I see mikeyc already said exactly that. (sigh). What was it I said to Ken upthread? – oh yes, “in the interim someone else has said the exact same thing.”

            I rest my case 😦

            cr

        • AC Harper
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:47 am | Permalink

          Perhaps we should not investigate ‘racial’ genetics which inform doctors about genetic diseases and suitability of particular medicines?

          Should we therefore also ban scientific investigation of personality types because *on average* left wing and right wing people cluster differently on the Big Five personality traits?

          Once you start censoring scientific investigation because of cultural or political worries then you have to ask ‘who decides’ and why?

          Lysenkoism anyone?

          • Posted October 31, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            Those who decide are those who fund research, e.g. NIH.

    • Giancarlo
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Historian, I agree with you. Setting aside Gessen’s ignorance regarding the study of human population genetics, I’m willing to be a bit lenient toward her statement about “the harmful concept of racial blood,” by expanding it just a bit. I think (I hope) she meant “one that promotes the pernicious idea of biological differences among people as determinant of their worth in society.”

      • mikeyc
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I’m pretty sure that’s what she meant but if so, she said it badly. She’s right that that kind of thinking is pernicious, but what do we do when we are faced with, for example, evidence that a certain kind of medical therapy seems to have worse side effects among Black women vs White or Asian women? I am sure no one would object to investigating that. Now extend that to other evidence of biological differences where knowledge about them might help solve other problems. It eventually gets into the pernicious area, if left unchecked, but there’s a whole lot gray before then.

      • josh
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        But the “concept of racial blood” is exactly what is used by some American Indian tribes to determine membership by their own standards! You have to show you had a “full-blooded” tribal ancestor, sometimes within so-many generations. It’s weird to go after scientists for genetically answering a question that exists quite independently of technology.

        The question of whether Warren should identify herself as “native” in some sense is separate, and seems to be what some people on the left are complaining about, but the question of whether she has a native ancestor is scientific, and the importance of ancestry in determining tribal membership isn’t some fiction invented by white people.

        • Giancarlo
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure that Gessen is going after scientists in the article, as much as the “insidious ways in which Americans talk about race,” meaning the use of genetic data by the public to assign worth to people. Now, as you point out, someone might want to alert Gessen that she may have just labelled those American Indian tribes that use the concept of “racial blood” to determine membership as “promoting a pernicious idea.”

          • josh
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            The problem is that Gessen’s “insidious ways” are almost a contemporary fiction. Yes, “one drop” rules were once used to determine whether someone fell into a legal and social underclass, but it’s a complete anachronism to bring them up as though they are a modern concern. I don’t know what Klan members talk about in their basements, but in the discourse of the overwhelming majority, no one subscribes to a “one-drop” rule and racial identity is not codified by ancestral purity *except* in the case of formally recognized native tribes. Insofar as people do identify by race, they do not face any legal loss of status, and if they face any unofficial bias, the way we talk about it is that it should not happen! The whole native issue with Warren is that claiming membership is seen as a special, protected privilege, not as some taint used to exclude people.

            Gessen just makes a hash out of several issues and managed to drag science down with her confused social commentary.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Historian, that is an important point.
      The ‘peaceful noble savage’ should not be valued/protected/respected as a human being because he (she) is so noble or peaceful. Because if it turns out he (she) is not so noble or peaceful after all -and we know they were not-, you are left empty handed.
      “They should emphasize that in all the important aspects of life, ethnic or racial differences play no inherent role in an individual’s abilities or moral worth.” Except for ‘abilities’ (arguably), I can agree 100%.

      • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Paraphrasing my Inuk friend, Raven: “I am not a savage, and whether or not I am noble, who the fuck cares? I am a human being who wants the freedom to live the way I want, just like you.”

    • Posted October 18, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      That argument cannot be made because there is no evidence that it is true until the research has been done.
      Genetics is the best information we have now do play s role in an individual’s abilities. To deny that is true is denying science.

      Genetics also determines personality and to that extent can be said to affect moral worth.

  13. Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Warren’s mendacity is clear. Matt put up a series of comments on the other post, if anyone has doubts. It extended over a long period. That she gained no advantage is neither clear nor particularly relevant; that she tried to is clear and quite relevant. The Democrats can and should do better.

    Neither will this be forgotten in two years. Her candidacy is over. Voters will rush off certain kinds of lies, but not this kind.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks for all that clear news. Trump does more lying before breakfast everyday than she does in a lifetime. It’s really killing him.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Warren is a fabulist, and her detachment from reality stretches far beyond her bogus American Indian ancestry claims.

        One bizarre example: what likely began as a joke – that she was the first nursing mom to pass the NJ state bar — became a formal accomplishment on her CV.

        She’s also lied about her family’s supposed poverty and that her father was a janitor.

        Warren also depicted her brokering the sale of a nuclear power plant as ‘bringing renewable energy to Louisiana’, setting up a shell corporation to allow Dow-Corning to pay only a few dollars per claimant in product damages as ‘helping the victims’, and setting up a shell corporation with nothing on the ledger but liabilities and the pension plan as ‘helping retired workers.’

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          I dunno about those ‘beyond’ claims, but her claim she had a GGGgrandmother that was amerindian just turned out not to be bogus. If you want to be taken seriously you should leave the ‘bogus’ out, methinks (amicable advice). I would agree that would not make her an ‘amerindian’, but I can feel for her identifying/empathising with an amerindian GGGgrandmother. I see no harm there.
          For Ms Warren personally it must be satisfying that a family story turned out to be correct.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            Her claim about a specific Cherokee ancestor has been definitively disproven. In her video, she repeats the farcical story about her parents eloping. This has also been definitively disproven. Her family stories are counterfeit, spurious, sham.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Actually it did not turn out not to be bogus. She has less NA ancestry than the average American white; could that include her *other* ancestors? Unless they are lily white her tiny fraction cannot be ascribed to a one ancestor as she claims.
            Plus the test does not test for specifically Cherokee ancestry anyway.

            • johnw
              Posted October 18, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

              You’re wrong. The analysis indicated she has and unadmixed NA ancestor 6-10 generations back. That means she has NA DNA matching segment(s) that are fairly large, though overall a small part of her genome. And average white American NA DNA is meaningless as most Americans have none, and s small percentage have some, so taken together you get a bimodal distribution that is useless for comparison. The facts on this appear to on her side.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          As far as being a fabulist, can anyone really compete with Trump and his supporters? Talking about any mistakes or even lies by Warren in this context is a completely false equivalence. There is no Pocahontasgate!

        • Diane G
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          There’s some Reddit thread opposed to Warren, amirite? IIRC, the last time you were challenged to provide proof of your assertions, a Reddit subthread was all you came up with. (And–also, IIRC–a blatantly misogynist one at that.)

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            I don’t read reddit, and cited no reddit thread here.

            • Diane G
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

              Sorry, Matt, that was obviously someone else.

              Where are you getting all your Warren smears from?

              • Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

                I object to the term “smear”. I refer to well-documented facts which appeared in numerous credible, often left-leaning, publications, and some of which were produced by Warren herself.

                Much of this came out in 2012, but if there’s a particular point you’re curious about, I can try to track it down. Otherwise, I do strongly recommend consulting Twila Barnes’ exhaustive documentation, which includes links to articles.

        • Adam M.
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          I think you’re right to some degree, but I’d still vote for her. Perhaps it’s an indictment of politics in this country, but there are worse things to be, like craven and corrupt. She at least talks the talk to some degree on some of the issues I care about which is sadly more than most politicians do. With a bit of nudging I believe she might even walk the walk.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            At some point, we need to start demanding higher standards of our politicians, and not just settle for warm fuzzies from demagoguery . This is a good place to start.

            • Historian
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

              Warren only needs 1,997 more lies this year to catch up with Trump. How many more lies does she need to tell to catch up with Mitch “the gravedigger of American democracy” McConnell? Until she matches them, I’ll consider Warren no different than the vast majority of politicians where stretching the truth is a job qualification.

              • Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

                It’s Okay When We Do It.™

        • johnw
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          But her NA ancestry claim isn’t bogus. A premier genomics lab just confirmed it You seem to be having a hard time dealing with that.

          • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            A premier genomics lab has just confirmed Warren has genetic markers consistent with New World ancestry. You seem to have a hard time grasping that DNA has f*ck all to do with claims of minority status based on American Indian identity.

            Her claim of Cherokee heritage is unsubstantiated by the DNA test, and has been conclusively disproven by genealogical research. Her family stories, which she repeats in her new video, are bogus — they have been conclusively disproven.

    • Posted October 31, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree. She should not aspire to US presidency. Unless she wants to try her best to saddle the world with another term of Trump.

  14. Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    One of the things I find intriguing about this approach is that it implies that human worth could be based on genetic differences. Hence the desperate claim that no such differences (could or must) exist. Given that biological differences most certainly do exist, then ones morals are being held hostage to science–and thats not a terribly stable situation.
    An escape would be to keep facts and values separate–unless there is a pressing need to collpase one into the other. I submit that nothing about genetics forces us to rank people in terms of value, so why not leave genes to the the geneticists? While we are about it–those humanties types could actually earn an honest living by rejecting post-modernism and offering some more insightful work on what makes human life meaningful. Like novelists, artists, and playwrights used to do before POMO poisoned the arts

    • eric
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      People are weird when it comes to the brain (perhaps reasonably so, given what it does). Nobody AFAIK feels any temptation to link moral or societal worth to whether an adult can digest dairy – a clear genetic factor that can be linked in part to race – but start talking about differences in brains, and all hell breaks loose.

      So while I agree with you in theory, just saying “we ought not draw this connection” isn’t going to solve the problem that many people do draw the connection, for brains at least.

    • Giancarlo
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Helena, having agreed with you that facts (I take this to mean in the context scientific evidence) and values (I assume moral) should be decoupled, I felt a void open. If it isn’t scientific evidence that should inform our values, or religious dogma, or the genocidal modernist grand narratives the postmodernist rebelled against, or the squishy moral relativism they themselves promoted, what’s left to create a moral outlook framework? Our innate moral compass just seems too weak and malleable to do the job.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I think Historian addressed that already under comment 12. I can’t but agree.
      And I particularly agree with your rejection of POMO. While it started as a reasonable -and correct- idea, basically that circumstances, social status, civilisation, education, etc., influence one’s views, it has degenerated into a vehicle for denying reality.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    You are undoubtedly correct on the science, professor, and I’m surprised Gessen’s errors regarding genetic testing made it past The New Yorker‘s once-vaunted fact-checkers.

    But there’s no gainsaying that the traditional use to which “biological differences” have been put has indeed been “pernicious,” especially as it pertains to the concept of (as Gessen puts it) “racial blood” — the notion that a single despoiling drop can condemn one for life to a disadvantaged category, the way a drop of ink irreparably taints a bowl of milk.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      There is indeed something essentialist in the way Warren presents things. And that is as you say the way genetics has often been used.
      That,s why it’s funny watching kluckers react to 23andMe tests.

  16. darrelle
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    This “racism is a social construct” is such a bad argument in so many ways. To use it is to accept the battle on the terms of the “bad guys,” those that argue that science supports their racist ideas. It forces “SJWs” into the position of having to deny science which only plays directly into the hands of their opponents. It’s a twisted version of the naturalistic fallacy. It’s as if they believe the naturalistic fallacy is not fallacious and that the only recourse is ideological propaganda to cover up the truth.

    This bad argument also divides them from their allies. People like Jerry, me and many others here that also detest racism but would never accept denying the science except when it is demonstrated to have been in error by the continuation of further science.

    By far the better tactic would be to not play by the bad guy’s rules and to simply maintain that racism is morally wrong. This tactic provides no pressure to deny science and creates no divisions between you and your allies.

    • eric
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Racism is clearly a social construct. 🙂 I think you meant to quote “race is a social construct.”

      Sadly it’s hard to get away from since in some ways, it’s true. JAC is right in that there are genetic differences between people depending on their area of origin. But the leftists are correct that what most people think of as race genetically isn’t. Racists don’t think of native Australians as being ‘smart, because they’re Asian,’ for instance, they think of them as black. Racists also seem to have a blind spot for the ‘spanic’ in Hispanic, touting European superiority while they turn away the descendants of European settlers.

      Or put simply, Jerry is right that there is a set of races, but the leftists are right in pointing out that neither racists nor normal people tend to use that set when they talk about race, make racial generalizations, or racial categories.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        According to Luigi Cavalli-Sforza there are tens of thousands of races, and I guess he meant that only partially tongue in cheek.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Everyone is their own race! Perhaps it only makes sense to talk about groups of people that share a specific set of genes whenever we need to talk about shared genetic heritage.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        “Racists also seem to have a blind spot for the ‘spanic’ in Hispanic, touting European superiority while they turn away the descendants of European settlers.”

        Well, of course it’s only the northern Europeans who are decently white who are truly superior. Mediterranean types like Dagos and Eyeties have always been suspect.

        (I shouldn’t need to say [/sarcasm] but I probably do)

        cr

      • darrelle
        Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Good catch, I did indeed mean to write “Race” rather than “racism” in that first sentence.

    • Diane G
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Excellent description of the current state of affairs and I agree with your chosen tactic. Those who argue that some topics are too hot to handle and always will be need to take a look at how rapidly the conversations about sexism, LGBT rights, and atheism have advanced in just a few decades. When those issues first arose they too had their share of don’t-rock-the-boat-ers and some-concepts-are-just-too-volatile-to-mention-ers.

      Of course Trump, et al, use the controversy to not only ignite their own base but to splinter the left at a time when unity is more critical than ever. Let’s stop letting ourselves be played like that.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Yeah, ignoring or burying too hot to handle issues doesn’t ever seem to work. Seems to always make things worse in several different ways.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Good catch, I did indeed mean to write “Race” rather than “racism” in that first sentence.

  17. Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Gessen’s analysis is flawed but she got a few things right. Warren’s response to Trump’s trap was over the top. She needed to do the DNA test in order to counter the accusation that she was lying but her announcement should have been brief, telling of the DNA test, giving a link to the details, and calling out Trump for yet another fake conspiracy theory. Her video makes it a bigger issue than it should have been.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Her timing is also incredibly self-serving and bad for her fellow Democrats.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        I suspect that she genuinely believed that she was proving Trump wrong with the test results.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          And she played right into his hands, letting him control the narrative.

          • Diane G
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            I disagree. I thought the video was well-done and the sort of thing necessary in today’s political climate. Now the left need to get on Trump about following through with his million-dollar pledge…and Warren needs to pick the perfect charity to annoy the fuck out of him and his benighted fan base.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

              I’m not talking about the video. I’m talking about humouring him and getting her DNA tested. She should take a page out of his book and ridicule him for even asking then change the discussion to be about him and his lies and his tax returns a a conflicts of interest. Instead, this is going to be brought up over and over by trump when she runs against him to chants of “lock her up” and to the point that people will simply say, without thinking, “she should be in jail”. The left needs to stop playing the Right’s game.

              • Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

                +1

              • Diane G
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                I see it as calling his bluff (about giving a million to charity). Either he does so–a positive outcome–or he wiggles out of it, which would be great material for the Dems.

                IIANM, she did first try to belittle his charges but of course he didn’t let that stop him, so she pretty much had to call his bluff.

              • Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

                Just in case you missed it, Trump already wriggled out of giving the million. What is really frustrating is that no one really cares. In fact, his followers like it as they see it as Trump being tough and giving no ground. The rest of us see it as predicable Trump behavior.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

                Well we will see what happens. There is a reason all his is coming up now and why the Left is playing right along as they always do in attacking the Left. I just don’t see Democrat’s winning by being logical and fair with this president.

              • Diane G
                Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:25 am | Permalink

                @ Paul–Yep, I missed that. Sigh. Why am I not surprised?

            • Merilee
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

              Planned Parenthood!

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Well, didn’t she?

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            No, unless we relax enough the requirements to be Native Americans to make it impossible to determine who is Native American.

            • Diane G
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              Huh? All she claimed was some fraction of genetic input from distant ancestors and the DNA test proved it. Or didn’t you read Jerry’s post?

              • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

                That is not all she claimed. This is ridiculous. Did you not see the stuff about calling herself a Cherokee? About specific claims about her family? These are not “oh like virtually every white person in America I have some autochthonous ancestry.”
                Having less of that ancestry than the average white American does not prove the claims she actually made.

              • Adam M.
                Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

                To be fair, Warren probably has more Indian ancestry than the average white American. Supposedly the average is about 0.18% or 1/556 and she’s reportedly somewhere between 1/1024 and 1/64. I.e. if her Indian ancestor was 6-8 generations back, she has more than the average; if it’s 9, she’s average; and if it’s 10, she has less than the average. Under both a uniform or a Gaussian probability distribution it seems more likely to be 6-8 than to be 10.

                But I agree it’s miniscule in any case, and doesn’t meet any normal standard for calling yourself a Native American, let alone a Cherokee specifically.

              • Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

                No Adam. She has LESS.

  18. Roo
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I feel like this is the Left’s version of Creationism. Conservatives are skeeved out by the idea that we have animal DNA and Progressives are skeeved out by the fact that we have non-identical DNA. For whatever reason, DNA and evolution are just one of those topics that people are prone to getting really weird about.

    Seeing as how 90% of the merchandise I am passively exposed to whilst shopping now assures me that I am not actually a human but rather a unicorn or mermaid, I myself am DEEPLY offended when someone does not recognize that I have mermaid DNA, and quite frankly think 23&Me should apologize to me for not including “ocean” in my DNA background profile.

  19. Davide Spinello
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Contributions like this one are especially welcome and much needed in a tragic time of the year like the one approaching Halloween. It is never enough to remind us all (especially to unwoke unallies) of how much we still need to fight the horrible problem afflicting humanity: cultural appropriation.

  20. Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Warren’s response to Trump was foolish. What she should have said to Trump is “I will release my DNA history when you release your tax history.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      “I’ll release my DNA test results as soon as the audit is over.”

      Maybe, like you-know-who, she could’ve even gotten a silk-stocking law firm to draft an artfully written letter supporting the bogus contention her results were under audit.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Or, “My DNA isn’t really the issue. I trust my grandparents, but what really matters is values …” and go from there.
      I think this issue is bad for her because she lied, but she really screwed up fatally here.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Where did she lie? She said she had some Native American ancestors, and she was vindicated. And even more, how did she screw up fatally?

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Warren regularly declared herself a Cherokee, naming a specific ancestor (O.C. Smith IIRC). That has been definitively disproven. Her DNA test, showing some vague markers consistent with New World ancestry, in no way confirms her false claim.

          More importantly, Warren claimed minority status as an American Indian, despite not meeting the requirements.

          Finally, her belated, en passant acknowledgement of tribal citizenship requirements is six years late, while her continued insistence on claiming Cherokee / Delaware heritage is completely disrespectful to true American Indians.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          That’s not actually what she claimed. Matt sums it up well.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        She tried that repeatedly but Trump ensured the issue would never die as it played to well to his base. This is exactly like the whole Obama birth-certificate circus.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          After everything — including the release of his long-form birth certificate and Donald Trump’s own half-assed disavowals — fully 57% of Trump voters remain committed “birthers,” maintaining to this day that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This represents Trump’s hardcore, deplorable, white-nationalist base.

          Dafuq is wrong with such people?

          • Diane G
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:03 am | Permalink

            Right? Sadly, some of the Warren detractors here are sounding very similar in their denial of what Warren has in fact demonstrated.

            • Merilee
              Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              @Ken, is Dafuq next door to Darfur?😊

              • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                You mean a war-torn nasty place torn apart by xenophobes? Maybe so.

            • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

              She has demonstrated that her native American identity she had checked on official forms is 63/64 false (by most generous assumption).

              • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

                She probably also picks her nose! She’s definitely out!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                😆

              • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

                Commenters here, on average, may believe and like Warren, but I bet that US voters in key states do not.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, she played right into his hands by answering his demands. Trump doesn’t do that. People ask for his tax returns and he doesn’t do it and he diverts and controls the narrative. She needs to do that.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I also want to see the Dems fight back but, in this case, the DNA test should end it, IMHO. If Trump brings up her heritage again, it should be simply called yet another petty lie with no further discussion.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Trump did not bring up her ancestry. He brought up her lies about her ancestry and her attempts to extract advantage from those lies.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      She actually did contrast her taking the test with Mr Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, a far more important issue, as she contended, and I think we all can agree there.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and it’s discouraging how many here are asserting the opposite.

  21. Robert Seidel
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of some long discussions I had with a colleague on blind people. She argued that we shouldn’t think about it as a disability or loss, but (to paraphrase) just as a different way of being normal. I assume because, once you say it’s a disability, you somehow lay the basis for discriminating against them.

    • Adam M.
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Oy, it surely is a disability and not normal, but I guess that’s your point.

      By saying they’re disabled you also open the door to getting them special help, which blind people actually do need.

      Reminds me of Deaf people (as opposed to deaf people), who believe deafness is not a disability and that all difficulties associated with deafness are caused by societal prejudice and not, you know, being deaf.

      • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        One of the most frustrating arguments I’ve ever had was with someone who thinks it’s all our fault for their disability being, well, disabling.

        -Ryan

        • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          This is where they’d say that in a way it is *sometimes*. For example, we design traffic lights to have position *and* colour indicators. If the former were not used then it would introduces a problem for those with so-called red-green colour-blindness. Hence here the disability *is* due to our actions. Not *all* is like this, though.

  22. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    She claims that DNA testing for racial background is bad science, but it is not. Even if it is, science has protocols for self-correction and so it can get better.

    Then there is bad science reporting. Unfortunately I see no tendency to cure that problem when it arises.

  23. Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    It is debates like this that the “Boldt-Raven” idea I keep mentioning is supposed to stop. If group X has purely merit criteria for membership, then both the “what does the blood test mean”, the worrying about “blood quanta” and the Dolezal problem all go away.

    • Diane G
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I want to be male, please.

      • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Then the existing males have to put together merit criteria first, with presumably some sort of oversight.

        It is unlikely that this will happen to sex or gender groups, needless to say.

  24. AD
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Typo alert if nobody else has mentioned it. “Not that he’s using in his argument a single genetic marker,” should I think say “Note that”

    • PatrickQ
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Also “he’s” should be “she’s” and “his” should be “her.”

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        These have been fixed, as I’ve said twice.

        • PatrickQ
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I see that you have now said so twice. However, my post was made before you fixed the errors or made your two posts. I apologize for trying to help out, and promise that I won’t do so again.

  25. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to HelenaHandbasket for the points made so well in post #14. Dead right both about the elitism underlying the pop-Left insistence that DNA (and by implication all population genetics) is “pernicious”; and about the way POMO types poison the arts as a substitute for earning an honest living. Bhuel dúirt!

    I should add that Masha Gessen’s biography of Vladimir Putin (“The Man With No Face”) was strong stuff, so her grossly ignorant assertions about DNA testing were disappointing. They no doubt passed NYer editorial review because her factual errors were Progressive, and thus not “pernicious”.

  26. Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Warren released the data, of course, to confirm that, as she had earlier asserted several times, she did indeed have Native American ancestry….

    Warren specifically claimed to be Cherokee through her Crawford ancestors, and then, more vaguely, to also be Delaware. Twila Barnes’ exhaustive genealogical research has conclusively shown these claims to be false.

    http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/p/elizabeth-warren-information.html

    The origin of her genetic markers typical of natives of North, Central, or South America is indeterminable, but their presence in no way confirms her specific claims.

    Further, Warren officially declared herself an American Indian / Alaska Native minority, which requires one to both have native ancestry and formal tribal membership. Even if Warren suspected she possessed the former, she was well aware she did not the latter. She knowingly and repeatedly lied.

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Did ELizabeth Warren “officially declared herself an American Indian / Alaska Native minority” and if so did the form indicate that it was an official declaration and it required tribal membership? “Knowingly and repeatedly lied” are strong words that I would only at this time apply to Donald Trump.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Again the tu quouque with Trump. If Trump had never been born would Warren’s claim be any truer or any falser? Trump is irrelevant to whether Warren lied, and to whether she is more or less honest than other Democrat candidates.

        • andrewilliamson
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          A thousand times, this.

      • Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        She definitely did so when applying to Penn. The requirements — which Warren knew fully well she did not meet — are clearly printed on the application form.

        And please check the TDS.

        • josh
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          Documentation shows that Warren was considered white when applying to Penn.
          https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/09/01/did-claiming-native-american-heritage-actually-help-elizabeth-warren-get-ahead-but-complicated/wUZZcrKKEOUv5Spnb7IO0K/story.html
          The department specifically had to argue that she was better qualified than competing minority candidates.

          • Posted October 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            Ok. As that link shows, Warren still falsely changed her status on her Penn records to “American Indian / Alaska Native” and Penn formally listed her as a minority employee.

            Whether she waited to lie until after her hire does not excuse the lie, nor does it nullify the tangible benefit both she and her employers derived from that lie.

            • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

              Even if Warren fibbed on this, which I do not admit, is this really that important? Can you imagine if Trump or other GOP politician was submitted to the same level of scrutiny? I’m all for honesty in politics but there are small things and big things. This is definitely a very tiny thing.

              • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

                She declared herself a minority and allowed her employers to do so also.

                Throughout this saga, she has, when not simply ignoring them, insulted American Indians with her false claims and complete disregard for their concerns, her use of DNA to bolster her claims the most insensitive offense yet.

                No, it is not ‘a tiny thing’: it’s a clear revelation of her ugly character. And I have truly had it with all this but-what-about-trump? nonsense.

              • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

                I stand by what I said. Your accusation of Warren is on the level of the once ubiquitous “He/she hired an illegal as a gardener 20 years ago” level. That used to matter but doesn’t any more. Unfortunately, we have much bigger fish to fry these days.

              • Posted October 20, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

                So, when American Indians all say this is a very big deal, you just tell them to calm down and be good Democrats?

                Okay, how big a fish is practicing law without a license?

                What do you think of Warren’s work for Dow-Corning, or the ruling she sought on behalf of Piper?

              • Posted October 20, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

                The Cherokee are just playing their designated role of identity gatekeepers: “She ain’t Cherokee unless we say she’s Cherokee!” If she were claiming that she’s a member of their tribe, that would be important but, since she isn’t, it’s not.

                I don’t follow your “fish law” comment and I have no idea about Warren’s work for Piper or Dow-Corning. If she runs for president someday and I have to make a decision about voting for her, I an sure we’ll all learn more about these things.

              • Merilee
                Posted October 20, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

                Matt, please glance at Da Roolz…the part about not monopolizing a thread.

              • Posted October 22, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

                I stepped back from the first Warren thread to avoid the risk of monopolizing. Here, I am trying to limit my responses to specific challenges and inquiries.

  27. JohnE
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The most authoritative investigation of how, when and why Ms. Warren claimed to be “Native American” was done by the Boston Globe, who’s findings are here:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/09/01/did-claiming-native-american-heritage-actually-help-elizabeth-warren-get-ahead-but-complicated/wUZZcrKKEOUv5Spnb7IO0K/story.html

    I would encourage anyone who is genuinely interested in knowing the facts of this situation (I suspect there are many on both sides who actually aren’t) to read this article, which seems to include pretty much everything that is known or can be known about this, based on the review of every available document and interviews with every available witness.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      You keep linking to that bit of pro-Warren yellow journalism, so I’ll keep linking to the research of Cherokee genealogist, Twila Barnes. If you want “pretty much everything” on the subject, try 149 documents stretching back 188 years:

      http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/p/elizabeth-warren-information.html

      • Diane G
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Quote from Barnes: “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest she actually had a Cherokee or American Indian ancestor.”

        I’m afraid there is; did you actually read Jerry’s post? Genealogy is not science. (And there are all sorts of reasons for people not showing up in extant databases.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          Does having one distance ancestor make you an Indian. Trump said the test had to show she was an Indian.

          • Posted October 18, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            Trump challenged Warren’s claim of having “Indian” ancestry, essentially calling her a liar. His million dollar bet was on her claim being false. He doesn’t get to now set conditions for paying. Of course, we all know this guy would never pay under any circumstances, except to silence a woman he’s slept with of course.

            • Posted October 18, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

              It was not a beg. It was an offer. He said he would pay if she got the nomination and a test he gave to her showed that she was an Indian.
              An offer can only be accepted by meeting the exact terms of the loffer. That has not been done. She can’t change the terms of the offer.
              Having one Indian ancestor six generations back does not you am Indian. Plus she has not yet won the nominstion and Trump has not chosen the test kit.

          • josh
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

            Warren never claimed to be “an Indian”.

            • Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

              No, but Trump only offered to pay if the test showed her to be an Indian.
              I believe Warren checked a form saying she was Native American. That means she said she was an Indian according to common usage of the term.

        • Posted October 18, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Don’t patronize me by questioning whether I read the post. I read every post here with great interest. I’ve also read Bustamante’s summary of his test.

          The best that Warren’s DNA test can indicate is that she has some New World ancestry. The genealogical and historical evidence is conclusive that Warren has no Indian ancestors.

          Throughout her life and in her professional career, Warren repeatedly made the specific claim of being a Cherokee Indian. She declared official federal minority status based on that.

          The only criterion for claiming Cherokee status is descent from a person registered on the Dawes Rolls (plus, for two of the three tribes, blood quantum that Warren would not meet). A requirement for claiming federal minority status as an American Indian is membership in a federally-recognized tribe. Warren lacks both.

          From where in her family tree Warren’s trivial amount of New World DNA came, is indeterminable. It in no way confirms her claims of a Cherokee ancestor. More importantly, the DNA ‘science’ is irrelevant to what is an historical/genealogical matter. For Warren and her supporters to continue to insist her bogus claims are confirmed by DNA is highly insulting to the concerns of American Indians. The only thing it ‘confirms’ is Warren’s callous and self-serving nature.

      • JohnE
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Really, Matt? Whatever you don’t like is yellow journalism? And by the way, to quote Inigo Montoya, “that word you’re using — I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Do you have any evidence whatsoever that contradicts anything in the Boston Globe investigation? Anything?

        And really? Your authoritative, “non-yellow journalism” source is the website “Thoughts from Polly’s Granddaughter”? Remind me, Polly’s Granddaughter has how many Pulitzer Prizes for journalism?

        In any event, you’re willfully missing the point that Warren was told by her family that she had Cherokee ancestry and she had no reason to doubt it. The genealogical study that was done years later does nothing to contradict the reasonableness of her initial belief.

        That said (brace yourself) I AGREE WITH YOU that we NOW know that her Native American ancestry is remote at best. I ALSO AGREE WITH YOU that even assuming that she had reasonable cause to believe she had “some” Native American ancestry at the time, it was inappropriate for her to list herself as “Native American” at Penn State and Harvard AFTER she was accepted as a tenured professor at those institutions. However, once again, other than your supposition that she “must have” have had something to gain from doing so, the only evidence seems to be that she did this for her own vanity. And yes, that may have been wrong, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m wondering how would you rank her transgression as compared with, say, a guy who was forced to pay $25 million to the defrauded students of Trump University, who stole from his own charity, who had sex with porn stars while his wife was home nursing her newborn son, who then paid his porn star and other adulterous lovers six figure sums to keep quiet, and who bragged about sexually assaulting women? If THAT guy can be elected president, is there really any reason we can’t forgive poor Elizabeth Warren for her harmless, victimless “Native American” fantasy?

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Well put! It is yet another Trumpist “what about her emails?” episode.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            I most wholeheartedly agree.

            If the *worst* thing the Trumpets can find to belabour Warren with is that bit of trivia, it just shows how desperate they are.

            cr

        • Diane G
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Great response!

        • Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Really, Matt? Whatever you don’t like is yellow journalism?

          That particular piece is editorial in nature, relying primarily on opinion, including that of the author and Warren herself, coupled with biased spins of equivocal evidence.

          FTR, I originally had no dog in this fight. I am a liberal; prima facie Warren’s political positions align with mine. I only came to dislike Warren after observing her behavior and learning of her background.

          And really? Your authoritative, “non-yellow journalism” source is the website “Thoughts from Polly’s Granddaughter”? Remind me, Polly’s Granddaughter has how many Pulitzer Prizes for journalism?

          Appeal to Authority.
          Now, point out any observed flaws in Barnes’ genealogical methodology.
          (Be advised: in chronicling Warren’s claims, Barnes cites the Globe among other sources.)

          In any event, you’re willfully missing the point that Warren was told by her family that she had Cherokee ancestry and she had no reason to doubt it. The genealogical study that was done years later does nothing to contradict the reasonableness of her initial belief.

          Except that’s not the point. Her unsubstantiated family lore gave Warren no justification whatsoever to present herself throughout her professional career as a Cherokee or as a legal minority. Those claims required genealogical confirmation and were explicitly refuted by the genealogical study.

          .… other than your supposition that she “must have” have had something to gain from doing so, the only evidence seems to be that she did this for her own vanity.

          If all this is due solely to her vanity, then she is clearly an unstable individual, unfit for high office. Given Warren’s track record of astute, avaricious business transactions, however, I remain unpersuaded by your supposition.

          Whatever Warren’s motivation, tangible benefit was definitely derived from her false declarations (including in a hiring guide and at least once on a job application). Both Harvard and Penn received a boost to their public goodwill. Harvard especially was taking a lot of heat for its lack of diversity hiring, and touted Warren as their first female minority law school hire. Thus did Warren also benefit to a non-trivial extent by her increased value to her employers.

          And yes, that may have been wrong, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m wondering how would you rank her transgression as compared with, say, a guy who was forced to pay $25 million to the defrauded students of Trump University, who stole from his own charity, who had sex with porn stars while his wife was home nursing her newborn son, who then paid his porn star and other adulterous lovers six figure sums to keep quiet, and who bragged about sexually assaulting women?

          tu quoque.

          is there really any reason we can’t forgive poor Elizabeth Warren for her harmless, victimless “Native American” fantasy?

          Have you not seen the numerous statements from Cherokees and other American Indians? Warren’s dogged insistence on persisting in these claims, especially her doubling down by dragging in irrelevant DNA tests, is causing great harm and insult.

          As with BK, any specific falsehood is not critical, rather the persuasive pattern of mendacity and disregard for others. Warren is a fabulist and a hypocrite who thinks she gets to play by her own set of rules. The Dems don’t need her, and indeed can do much better.

  28. Mark R.
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m just wondering when Trump is going to give Warren the million bucks for proving him wrong. On the campaign trail, he said if she could prove she had Native American ancestry he would give a $million to the charity of her choice.

    She should bring this up and tell him to donate the money to the #metoo movement.

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Come on Mark, as loathsome and shitty as Trump is, Warren did not prove him wrong. That she has Amerind genes is the not the same as being Native American, which was her claim and his challenge.

      It’s all just so stupid. Both of them. Trump because he is foul human being and Warren for doing what Democrats are so renowned for – playing the fool and paying for it.

      As I learn more about her, she seems almost as craven and duplicitous as Hillary Clinton. That she remains a favorite of the Dems in 2020 is both unsurprising given the penchant of the Dems to fail when it is most important that they do not and very discouraging that they have not learned their lessons.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, the obtuseness is the most discouraging part.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Oh I know, I was just being facetious.

        At the same time, what if Trump is an adherent of the one-drop rule? 😉

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. And part of the problem is seeing a frank acknowledgement of her unsuitability as the left eating its own. A certain autophagy is a good thing. She’s a dreadful candidate whom Trump would slaughter. Frustration at that should not blind anyone to its truth.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Donald Trump couldn’t “slaughter” anyone. Never before in the history of this Republic has a candidate backed into the presidency by minus three million votes. And never before in this history of this Republic has a president’s popularity been this consistently under water, with an approval rating that has held remarkably steady at a meager 40%, only rarely varying from the figure by more than plus or minus two percent (and, then, only barely).

          Trump has maintained this miserable popularity record despite being the beneficiary of a thriving economy. His prospects are unlikely to improve once the report of the special counsel investigation (which has been completely leak-proof) has been released and (if the Democrats win at least one house of congress next month) once congress has resumed its traditional role of conducting government oversight with probing public hearings into the Trump administration’s myriad misdeeds.

          Trump is a bad bet to again be taking the oath of office (and to again be lying about the size of crowds) come inauguration day 2021, and certainly not after “slaughtering” any Democratic opponent.

        • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Exactly!

      • josh
        Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Warren doesn’t claim to be Native American. She claims she has native ancestry, which she almost certainly does, and that this ancestry was a story passed down in her family.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like inviting him to make a giant cheque for 1/1024 of the million, and keep the joke running for longer.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Yes I think that would be a hilarious troll on his part.

        Best joke so far: 1/2020th

        • Mark R.
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          I agree this is a stupid affair all around, but Trump wouldn’t make this particular joke (does he even have a sense of humor?) because he already said he never made the wager. Just another lie…he doesn’t get into the nuance of her claims. He just says he never made the bet/claim in the first place.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            No, you are the one making the false statement. I have posted a lin to a video of what Trump said. So did Kukec.
            Does the truth matter here?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            “… does he [Trump] even have a sense of humor?”

            I’ve never seen the guy have a good laugh (going back decades), and the only joke-like comments I’ve ever heard him speak have been insults directed at his perceived enemies. AS far as I can tell, the only thing that might make the rotten bastard laugh would be the sight of a handicapped voter trying to cast a ballot for a Democrat, but unable to reach the the voting-booth lever.

            • Diane G
              Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:32 am | Permalink

              His recent address to the UN sure engendered some laughter, though. Whomever the Dems nominate should make a vid of that moment a prominent part of their campaign ads.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            It was an offer. Not a bet or a claim. n offer to pay if she did certain things which he specified.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      He said she had to take a test he provided that would show she was an Indian. Definition of what is an Indian varies by state law, federal law and by tribal law.

  29. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    That last comment by your reader is absolutely right-on.

    “at the same time they argue against any sane bases for defining, let alone identifying, said populations.”

    It reduces the whole notion of, errm, social justice to absurdity. These victimised individuals are *only* victimised because they choose to self-identify as members of a victimised minority. It’s self-inflicted.

    It follows inescapably that any persecution they suffer is their own fault, since they chose to be that way. So I can persecute them as much as I like because it’s their choice to be persecuted. [big evil grin]

    cr

    • Diane G
      Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      Love your logic there. 😀

  30. KiwiInOz
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    So is she pro-diversity or anti-diversity?

  31. Chris
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Read Kim TallBear on this. She wrote an entire book on the topic. It’s called Native American DNA.

  32. Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Not doing research because you are afraid it might uncover some truth you do not like is totally alien to my point of view and is one of the worst arguments I have ever heard.

  33. PeteT
    Posted October 18, 2018 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Wow. I might just go and place my bet on Trump’s second term. 13/8 looks good right now.

    • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! By all likelihood, the Democrats will have their election chances wasted by another unelectable lady apparently thinking that she is entitled to the White House.
      We also see that affirmative actions policies, controversial enough as they are, can easily be hijacked by lily white frauds.

  34. johnw
    Posted October 18, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    But her NA ancestry claim isn’t bogus. A premier genomics lab just confirmed it You seem to be having a hard time dealing with that.

    • Posted October 18, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      One ancestor six to ten generations may not be believed be completely bogus but it is pretty close to it.

  35. johnw
    Posted October 18, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Seems a lot of comments from people who get their understanding of genetics/genomics from political websites (and perhaps ones with Storm in the name)…. Glenn Kessler has a good summary of the validity of her NA ancestry claims at WAPO. The word unadmixed is key.

    • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Which WEIT readers, in your opinion, are misinformed about genetics/genomics, and in what way, precisely?


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