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Population Geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza & Academic Conformity in Science

Academic politics and culture distortion: Italian population geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza [1]

Academic politics and culture distortion: Italian population geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza

1,250 words

French translation here [2]

Academia is a key pillar of the contemporary ruling class. It is a “synagogue” in which a privileged, carefully selected Left-wing “rabbinate” works out the content and parameters of the Permanent Revolution subsequently implemented by the centralized state. 

Academia socializes for ideological conformity and ruthlessly attacks, purges or marginalizes intellectual non-conformists.

Academics are particularly obsessed with race. Race denial, the absurd claim that biological races do not exist and that race is a “social construct,” is a major tool for enforcing acceptable dogma on the subject, in science as well as the humanities. Of course, no one really believes it, including the academics who mouth it. But it is a useful fiction, an effective method of social control and justification for politically correct racial discrimination, supremacy, oppression, and genocide.

Canadian anthropologist and independent scholar Peter Frost has published a paper examining how this ideological process played out in the career and work of the Italian-born “dean of population geneticists” L. L. Cavalli-Sforza.  Peter Frost, “L. L. Cavalli-Sforza: A Bird in a Gilded Cage [3],” Open Behavioral Genetics (March 2014), 39 pp. (Click on “Download booklet” to read the PDF.)

Frost maintains a blog, Evo and Proud [4], to which he contributes a new article every Saturday. His scholarly work focuses primarily on the evolutionary basis of European hair, eye, and skin color, which he believes originated by sexual selection. Less conformist than his peers, Frost strongly opposes censorship, a heretical position.

Stanford University-based Cavalli-Sforza, a prominent race denier, is best-known for his major work The History and Geography of Human Genes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), co-authored with Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza. Race denial gained a sheen of respectability in no small part because of Cavalli-Sforza’s public adoption of the claim that human races do not exist.

The book had this effect thanks to his enormous reputation and academic prestige. Frost recalls the only time he met the man, when Cavalli-Sforza sat in on his thesis committee. “Of the three other professors present, only one seemed to know how important he was. Afterwards, that one professor was dumbfounded by our ignorance: ‘You think [Jewish anthropologist] Claude Lévi-Strauss is important? This is the Lévi-Strauss of human genetics!’”

Yet, as Frost notes:

On the one hand, he has publicly backed those who assert that human races do not exist. On the other hand, by aggregating large volumes of genetic data, he has proven the existence of large continental races, as well as smaller regional and micro ones. By developing the theory of gene-culture co-evolution, he has also shown that humans did not stop evolving genetically when they began to evolve culturally. In fact, the two processes have fed into each other, with humans having to adapt not only to the natural portion of their environment (climate, vegetation, wildlife, etc.) but also to the portion they themselves have created [5] (mode of subsistence, behavioral norms, gender roles, class structure, belief system, etc.). (Hyperlink added. — A.H.)

Frost points out that Cavalli-Sforza did not abandon racial science until the 1990s. Previously he had no problem with it, and continued to employ race terminology as late as 1988. In the 1970s Cavalli-Sforza had written:

The differences that exist between the major racial groups are such that races could be called subspecies if we adopted for man a criterion suggested by [Jewish evolutionary biologist Ernst] Mayr (1963) for systematic zoology. Mayr’s criterion is that two or more groups become subspecies when 75 percent or more of all the individuals constituting the groups can be unequivocally classified as belonging to a particular group. As a matter of fact, when human races are defined fairly broadly, we could achieve a much lower error of classification than 25 percent, implying, according to Mayr, the existence of human subspecies.

Cavalli-Sforza was born in 1922 and is now 92 years old. He was a young academic in Fascist Italy and did genetic work in wartime Nazi Germany. Frost outlines this little-known background using some comparatively inaccessible sources, including the geneticist’s wartime papers published under his birth name of L. L. Cavalli, his autobiography available only in Italian and French, and Frost’s personal knowledge of an abandoned project on gene-culture co-evolution.

In his 2008 autobiography, Cavalli-Sforza wrote of Germany during the war:

[W]e spoke of the government with much precaution, whereas in Italy the criticisms against fascism were frequent and overt. Among all the people we met in Germany, none had heard about the Shoah or the concentration camps. We learned about their existence, in Italy, only after the war.

The same was true of the German leaders tried and hanged at Nuremberg, whose members also learned of the “Holocaust” only after their Jewish-Allied-Communist captors told them about it.

Frost exhibits less naïveté than most. Though he doubts that Cavalli-Sforza actually altered his views on race, he emphasizes the opportunism involved, adding, “Or perhaps he received a letter one day, detailing his wartime record, the people he worked with . . .”

Certainly Cavalli-Sforza realized that his wartime associations were a stain on his record given the post-war Zeitgeist, and minimized them as much as possible. They made him vulnerable to both blackmail and a chronic fear of blackmail.

Cavalli-Sforza stopped citing his wartime publications after 1947, and in 1950, at age 28, took the unusual step of legally changing his name from L. L. Cavalli to L. L. Cavalli-Sforza through the process of having himself adopted. Frost compares his situation to that of other post-war figures in comparable ideologically compromising positions: UN Secretary-General and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, French Socialist President François Mitterrand, and Left-wing Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Jewish academics also played a role in the Cavalli-Sforza story. When he came to California’s Stanford University from Italy in 1968, he had no tenure, and his only friends were Stanford’s leading geneticist, Jewish molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg, the 1958 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, and Lederberg’s protégé, half-Jewish geneticist Walter Bodmer (Jewish father, German mother).

Frost refers to their “triangular relationship.” Lederberg helped Cavalli-Sforza rebuild his career after the war, got him the position at Stanford, and, together with Bodmer, guided him through the ins and outs of US academia and textbook publishing.

During this period Lederberg and Bodmer were preoccupied with attacking and discrediting psychologist Arthur Jensen’s landmark paper “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Academic Achievement?” (1969), which demonstrated that intelligence was heritable and contained a racial component. (Jensen was a quarter-Jew.) The two men wanted to shut down research on race and IQ, and block all government funding for it. They enlisted Cavalli-Sforza in their scheme, and he obliged.

“There was thus an implicit exchange of services,” Frost writes. “In return for past and future favors, Cavalli-Sforza lent [scientific] credibility to an article [and subsequent book] that might otherwise never have been published.” The article by Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza, “Intelligence and Race,” appeared in Scientific American in 1970. By co-authoring the article, “Cavalli-Sforza helped legitimize an unofficial system of censorship [about race] that would take on a life of its own.”

If you check Cavalli-Sforza’s biographical entry on Wikipedia [6] you will be struck by how brief, evasive, and uninformative it is given his substantial reputation and body of work. Anyone familiar with the history of Communism will be reminded of former Party dignitaries quietly airbrushed out of the picture.

Peter Frost’s paper sheds useful light on L. L. Cavalli-Sforza’s academic career and the ideological compromises made by one of the 20th century’s leading population geneticists.