Henry Harpending

Henry Cosad Harpending (January 13, 1944 – April 3, 2016) was an American anthropologist and distinguished professor at the University of Utah.[1][2] Harpending received his A.B. degree from Hamilton College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1972.[2] He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.[3]

Henry Harpending
Born
Henry Cosad Harpending

January 13, 1944 (1944-01-13)
DiedApril 3, 2016(2016-04-03) (aged 72)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materHamilton College
Harvard University
Known forThe 10,000 Year Explosion
Theory of Ashkenazi Intelligence
Scientific career
FieldsAnthropology
Population genetics
InstitutionsUniversity of Utah
Pennsylvania State University
University of New Mexico
Thesis!Kung hunter-gatherer population structure. (1971)
Doctoral advisorWilliam W. Howells

Education and careerEdit

Harpending was born in Dundee, New York in 1944. He graduated from Dundee Central High School in 1961, Hamilton College in 1964, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. Harpending studied population genetics.

After graduating from Harvard, he worked at Yale (1972-1973), the University of New Mexico (1973-85), Penn State (1985-1997), and the University of Utah (1997-2016). Over his career, he contributed to over 120 publications.[4]

Harpending's first wife was Patricia Draper, with whom he had two children. He married his second wife, Renee Pennington, around 1995. They had one son.[4] He died on April 3, 2016 at the age of 72, following a stroke.[5][6]

WorkEdit

Population geneticsEdit

According to a biography by Alan R. Rogers, in the 1970s Harpending pioneered the study of the relationship between genetics and geography, developing methods that are still in use. He also overturned the prevailing understanding of group selection, by showing that group selection is most likely to operate when there is strong gene flow between groups, rather than when they are isolated from one another.[7] Harpending also developed the approach of analyzing populations using R-matrix methods, and together with Trefor Jonkin, wrote the most highly-cited chapter in the 1973 handbook Methods and Theory of Anthropological Genetics.[8]

!Kung and HereroEdit

Harpending did fieldwork in Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia) and spoke the !Kung language.[3][9]:24 In 1981, while with the University of New Mexico, Harpending studied the group during the South African Border War. Harpending described the !Kung society as "like Rorschachs" because anthropologists could draw contradictory conclusions.[10] His fieldwork was the basis of the 1993 monograph The Structure of an African Pastoralist Community, with Pennington.[11][4]

Harpending also did extensive fieldwork on the Herero people, a cattle-herding group in the Botswana area. Herero are locally known for "their traditionalism, their wealth in cattle and their dominating older women". Harpending's previous experience with the !Kung people was useful because many Herero are bilingual in !Kung. Harpending had previous contact with Herero from earlier research trips.[9]:xxii

In 1973, Harpending helped start the Kalahari People's Fund. The KPF was an outgrowth of the multidisciplinary Harvard Kalahari Research Group led by Richard Lee and Irven DeVore. Newsweek described the KPF as one of the first people's advocacy organizations in the US with professional anthropological expertise behind it.[12]

Ashkenazi intelligenceEdit

Harpending's hypothesis about Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence has attracted both praise and criticism, with some scientists regarding the theory as highly implausible, while others regard it as worth considering.[13] According to cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, this theory "meets the standards of a good scientific theory, though it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken."[14] On the other hand, geneticist David Reich has argued that the hypothesis is contradicted by evidence that the higher rate of genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews is in fact due to genetic drift.[15]

The 10,000 Year ExplosionEdit

In The 10,000 Year Explosion, which he co-authored with Gregory Cochran, Harpending suggests a common belief that human genetic adaptation stopped 40,000 years ago is incorrect and that humans evolved increasingly rapidly in response to the new challenges presented by agriculture and civilization. The result was accelerating evolution which has varied according to new niches or environments that particular populations inhabit.

The final chapter of The 10,000 Year Explosion expands on their paper from the Journal of Biosocial Science[16] on the issue of Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence. Harpending and Cochran argue the cause of the claim of Ashkenazim having higher mean verbal and mathematical intelligence than other ethnic groups (as well as having a relatively high number of genetic diseases, such as Tay–Sachs disease, Canavan disease, Niemann–Pick disease, Gaucher's disease, familial dysautonomia, Bloom syndrome, Fanconi anemia, cystic fibrosis and mucolipidosis IV) is due to the historically isolated population of Jews in Europe.[17]

Harpending and Cochran's book The 10,000 Year Explosion was reviewed in many several academic journals, including the American Journal of Human Biology, Evolutionary Psychology, Evolution and Human Behavior, Explorations in Anthropology, and the Journal of Anthropological Research. Reviews by Milford H. Wolpoff, Gregory Gorelik and Todd K. Shackelford, and Edward Hagen all praised the book as creative and insightful, and argue that it presents a valuable contribution to our understanding of human evolution. However, these reviewers criticized some of the book's hypotheses as not adequately supported.[18][19][20] A pair of negative reviews by Cadell Last and Keith Hunley criticized the book for its regarding race as a biological category and for presenting an overly simplistic view of the influence of genetics on human behavioral variation.[21][22]

Views on raceEdit

The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Harpending's works and statements on race, noting his association with white supremacist groups and referring to his work as an attempt to perpetuate scientific racism. The SPLC notes he attributed stereotypes of different human populations to genetic differences, often saying that Africans, Papua New Guineans, and "Baltimore"[23] (African-Americans) possess the same genetic temperamental predispositions which he said are characterized by "violence, laziness, and a preference for 'mating instead of parenting'",[24] while Europeans and northern Asians "have evolved higher intelligence and 'tend to be more disciplined than people who take life for granted'";[24] that he favored mass deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States using FEMA camps as part of the process and did not believe that more money should be spent on education in the United States because he thought the race-based disparities are based on genetics rather than disparities in funding; that he gave conferences at what the SPLC designates as white supremacist groups; and that he supported eugenics, crediting it in the form of the death penalty for the "genetic pacification" of the western European population.[23]

Harpending once stated that people of sub-Saharan ancestry do not have the same genetic propensity for "hard work" as Eurasians do. According to geneticist David Reich, "there is simply no scientific evidence to support this statement."[25]

Harpending denied being a racist.[26] During a talk on race and intelligence at the H.L. Mencken Club, a white nationalist conference founded by Paul Gottfried and Richard Spencer,[27][28][29] he said that "somebody'll call you a racist, but that's the way the world is".[30] In a 2012 blog post, he wrote "if [belief in witchcraft] is nearly pan-African then perhaps some of it came to the New World", with the result being that "talkers from the American Black population come out with similar theories of vague and invisible forces that are oppressing people, like “institutional racism” and “white privilege”".[26][31]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Renee Pennington; Henry Harpending (1993). The Structure of an African Pastoralist Community: Demography, History, and Ecology of the Ngamiland Herero. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-852286-7.
  • Jennie Keith; Christine L. Fry; Anthony P. Glascock; Charlotte Ikels; Jeanette Dickerson-Putman; Henry C. Harpending; Patricia Draper (22 September 1994). The Aging Experience: Diversity and Commonality Across Cultures. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4522-5484-5.
  • Gregory Cochran; Henry Harpending (2009). The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books. ISBN 0-4650-0221-8.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Henry C. Harpending – Biography – Faculty Profile – The University of Utah". faculty.utah.edu. Archived from the original on October 31, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  2. ^ a b American Men & Women of Science: A Biographical Directory of Today's Leaders in Physical, Biological and Related Sciences. Detroit, Michigan: Gale. 2009. p. 509. ISBN 1-4144-3303-4.
  3. ^ a b "Henry Harpending". nasonline.org. National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "HENRY COSAD HARPENDING Obituary". Deseret News. 16 Oct 2016.
  5. ^ "Henry Harpending". Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  6. ^ West Hunter blog – Henry Harpending
  7. ^ Rogers, Alan R. Henry C. Harpending: 1944-2016." Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences, 2018.
  8. ^ Crawford, Michael H. "History and Evolution of Anthropological Genetics". In A Companion to Anthropological Genetics (2019), edited by Dennis H. O'Rourke, pp. 3-15.
  9. ^ a b Keith, Jennie (1994). The Aging experience diversity and commonality across cultures. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. ISBN 1-4522-5484-2. The Herero research team was headed by Henry Harpending. His American research assistant was Renee Pennington, then a graduate student in anthropology at Penn State University. Harpending spoke !Kung because of his previous fieldwork in the area, and many Herero speak !Kung.
  10. ^ Kolata, Gina Bari (1981). "!Kung Bushmen Join South African Army". Science. 211 (4482): 562–564. doi:10.1126/science.211.4482.562. JSTOR 1685565.
  11. ^ Renee Pennington; Henry Harpending (1993). The Structure of an African Pastoralist Community: Demography, History, and Ecology of the Ngamiland Herero. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-852286-7.
  12. ^ Biesele, Megan (2003). "The Kalahari Peoples Fund: Activist Legacy of the Harvard Kalahari Research Group". Anthropologica. 45 (1): 79. doi:10.2307/25606115. ISSN 0003-5459.
  13. ^ "Researchers Say Intelligence and Diseases May Be Linked in Ashkenazic Genes". The New York Times, June 3, 2005.
  14. ^ Pinker, S. "Groups and Genes". The New Republic, June 26, 2006.
  15. ^ Reich. D. Who We are and How We Got Here. Pantheon books, 2018, p. 261.
  16. ^ G. Cochran, J. Hardy, H. Harpending. "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" Archived 2013-09-11 at the Wayback Machine, Journal of Biosocial Science 38 (5), pp. 659–693 (2006).
  17. ^ "Henry Harpending." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Biography In Context. Web. 1 Sept. 2013.
  18. ^ Milford H. Wolpoff (2010). Book Review: The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilizations Accelerated Human Evolution. Edited by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending. xiii 1 288 pp. New York: Basic Books. 2009. $27.00 (cloth). American Journal of Human Biology. 22:137–142. Wolpoff, M. H. (2010). "Book review: The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilizations Accelerated Human Evolution" (PDF). American Journal of Human Biology. 22: 137–138. doi:10.1002/ajhb.21004. hdl:2027.42/64524.
  19. ^ Gorelik, Gregory; Shackelford, Todd K. (1 January 2010). "Book Review: Why Genes Still Matter". Evolutionary Psychology. 8 (1): 147470491000800111. doi:10.1177/147470491000800111. ISSN 1474-7049.
  20. ^ Hagen, Edward H. (2009). "Human natures - A review of The 10,000 Year Explosion". Evolution and Human Behavior. 30 (6): 453–455. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.07.006. ISSN 1090-5138.
  21. ^ Last, Cadell Nicholas (2013). Book Review: The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.
  22. ^ Hunley, Keith (2009). "Review of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution". Journal of Anthropological Research. 65 (4): 643–644. doi:10.1086/jar.65.4.25608265. ISSN 0091-7710. JSTOR 25608265.
  23. ^ a b Henry Harpending, quoted in "Henry Harpending". Extremist Files. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  24. ^ a b Double quotes: SPLC; single quotes: Henry Harpending; both quoted in "Henry Harpending". Extremist Files. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  25. ^ Reich, David (2018-03-23). "How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of 'Race'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  26. ^ a b Phillips, Jon (August 20, 2014). "Troublesome Sources". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  27. ^ Piggott, Stephen (November 4, 2016). "White Nationalists to Gather in Baltimore for the Ninth Annual H.L. Mencken Club Conference". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  28. ^ Rodgers, Marion (December 9, 2018). "The Alt-Right Loves H.L. Mencken. The Feeling Would Not Have Been Mutual". Reason. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  29. ^ Merlan, Anna (July 10, 2013). "Is the H.L. Mencken Club an Extremist Hate Group, or Just a Bunch of Weary Old White Guys?". Village Voice. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  30. ^ Sommer, Will (2011-11-09). "Academia's Favorite Group of Racists Holds Annual Meeting". Generation Progress. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  31. ^ Harpending, Henry (2012-01-16). "My friend the witch doctor". West Hunter. Retrieved 2019-07-22.

External linksEdit