November 1, 2009

Professor Bruce T. Lahn, Ph.D.
929 E. 57th St. ... W503
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773.834.4065
Fax: 773.702.0271.

Dear Dr. Lahn:

Reading “Let’s Celebrate Human Genetic Diversity” was a breath of fresh air.  You aver that human genetic diversity, like human cultural diversity, is to be celebrated rather than denied.  Not very long ago I was talking with someone quite dear to me, and who had a much more mainstream perspective, about the subject.  I said, “Surely there is more than one good answer to the question of what it is to be human.”  I hope you arouse in nobody the hostility I incurred with that little conversational gambit.

Actually the matter of even respecting diversity is moot.  As the enclosed DVD will make clear, we need to identify and marry people within a rather tight circle of kin, out to about 5th cousin.  Otherwise our fertility will continue to decline.  In the developed world fertility is already below replacement levels, which would be fatal even if it did not continue to decline.  (There is one recent paper that shows a rebound in the most socially developed countries, but it is still not adequate and anything more than a cursory glance at the data provided indicates that the birth rate will continue to decline even after that rebound.)  It will continue to decline unless there is a profound and widespread change in mating strategy.

Of course not everybody needs to get aboard, just those who are willing to make their children their first priority.  We may have too many people, but I doubt we will ever have too many people who put their children above all other interests. 

Fifth cousins are hardly distinct enough to represent detectable diversity.  But in a few generations, those who have not adopted such a strategy will simply fade out of the demographic picture.

So we might as well celebrate our diversity.  We are stuck with it if we are going to survive at all. 

Thank you for a thought provoking and well done article.  I shall be posting this as an open letter on, which is my website.  If after spending ten minutes with the DVD you think you want to take an interest in this issue, (and it utterly baffles me that anybody can not take an interest, as if there were a more important matter for humanity than survival) please get in touch with me.


M. Linton Herbert  MD

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