July 15, 2015

Lord Matt Ridley:

Dear Lord Ridley:
I was steered to your site by a fellow alumnus of Harvard Medical School and I approach you as a brilliant and independently minded scientific journalist.

Geniuses come along rarely and, John the Baptist not withstanding, even a genius cannot predict a genius.  But anybody can predict a First Follower.  And that is a much more desirable place to be: you’d rather be Brigham Young then Joseph Smith Jr., rather Lancelot than Arthur, rather Huxley then Darwin.  The position of First Follower, like genius, is a once in a generation sort of opportunity, and such an opportunity now presents itself.

Everybody is aware of the efforts of the “advantages of genetic diversity” industry.  It is as bumptious (And I shall explicitly judge the merits of the case.) as the “we’ll all die of global warming” industry (And I explicitly do not judge the merits of the case herein.  But years ago I noticed with irony that during the cold months we had the “nuclear winter” warnings, “If there is a nuclear exchange there will be all this smoke and stuff going up and we’ll all be frozen,” while every summer we had warnings, “If we don’t stop making a living there will be all this smoke and stuff going up and we’ll all be parboiled.”  How things do change.). 

Of course genetic diversity is a good thing up to a point.  It helps you maintain an optimal immune system.  But as population size increases, the point of optimal immune system is soon reached.  After that the assumption is, “Well a modest amount of diversity is good, so an unlimited amount must be enormously better; that’s common sense.”  Of course that would make diversity unique.  Anything else you need will kill you in overdose.

The ground has now been broken by a chapter written by Professor Robin Fox, “Marry in or Die Out,” which is the 19th chapter of the recently published textbook, Handbook on Evolution and Society.  I think the whole book is a good read, but it’s that chapter which is revolutionary.  I had taken an interest in the subject for some time.  My most recent summary is the posting of last January 1st on “nobabies.net.”  And I had an article published in an African journal which you can access through “http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.4001/003.021.0113

But I think history will date the breakthrough to the publication of that textbook.  The first person with the proper resources and skills to herald it widely will bask in glory.  Now that text is not so very cheap but I have bought a copy I leant a friend and I might be getting it back within a week.  So if you think $200 is too much to spend on a tip that you might suspect is a bit of a long shot (I kind of feel we should be sitting in the corner of a dingy café, you resplendent in your grey morning suit and I in ragged vesture of doubtful provenance wondering whether I am going to get a cigarette out of this) let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.

All the best.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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