Talk:Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza

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Why is this article about race[edit]

I was under the impression that this was supposed to be an article about Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza was a pioneer in population genetics, yet somebody has edited the page so as to make it appear that his prime interest was race. Further, there was an image that attempted to categorize racial groups; I for one know this image did not come from Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza’s work, and is a forgery. -- 09:24, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Shouldn't who Steve Sailer is be clarified. "Professional racist Steve Sailer" perhaps? Or maybe something less POV... john k 01:41, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

LOL! Steve Sailer might be a racist asshole. In fact, I think he is. But that does not excuse you, John Kenney from making an ad hominem on him. Granted Sailer, is a right-wing lunatic, and has a nack for being a jerk, but occasionally he says something reasonably intelligent. (At least he is not as far to the right as America's favorite "conservative" pundits, actually seems liberal compared to Coulter.) Case in point, because he is fringe, Sailer would not suffer a backlash for politically incorrect statements, and therefore will say some inconvenient truths. Case in point, there is no doubt that Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza accepts the reality of race in some form (though obviously not the obsolete version of race associated with Linnaeus, Blumenbach, Huxley, and Coon). Nevertheless, Cavalli-Sforza must pretend that race is invalid. Jared Diamond often speaks on Cavalli-Sforza's behalf. If I understand you correctly, you were referring to the time when Sailer stated that Cavalli-Sforza does not reject the race concept. Here is a good response from Sailer: "Nor is trying to define races as populations that differ in physical characteristics a persuasive starting point for thinking about race. Jared Diamond followed this logic out to the point of logical absurdity in his October, 1994 Discover Magazine article "Race Without Color" by claiming that we could define races on any physical characteristic we chose, with say Norwegians and Nigerian Fulanis belonging to the Lactose Tolerant race and Japanese and Nigerian Ibos belonging to the Lactose Intolerant race. Obviously, Diamond's logic leads to a travesty of reality. It is difficult to determine whether he meant it seriously. Diamond is far too logical and realistic to normally write something that stupid, yet on one subject, he often writes nonsense: race. Whether this article was an amusing hoax, or whether he really believes it, or whether he was just pandering to a market hungry for politically correct obfuscation is impossible to determine by anyone who doesn't have access to his conscience. Despite, or, more likely, because of its high flapdoodle content, "Race Without Color" has become quite influential, inspiring in part a subsequent Newsweek cover story claiming that race doesn't exist. That biological realists have not successfully buried such a transparently bogus claim is evidence that they are neither making themselves clear, nor that they are even thinking that clearly themselves. The reason that defining Fulanis and Ibo as belonging to separate races is ridiculous is because the true definition of races is not built on any particular trait, it's built on ancestry. We all intuitively know that Fulanis and Ibos are more racially similar with each other because they have more recent ancestors in common with each other than they do with Norwegians or Japanese. Race starts with boy meets girl, followed by baby." (go to for the whole article) Just because Sailer says a lot of mean and stupid things (He is a good mix of stupid, full of shit, and f***ing nuts 90% of the time.) does not mean he will not occasionally share some truth. In this case, he provided a good rebuttal to Jared Diamond's claim. Frankly, I think Diamond did not believe what he wrote, but merely trying to distract from the fact that he agrees with the (modern) concept of race. You don't believe me, just look at the map in the chapter "How Africa Became Black" in Guns, Germs, and Steel where he describes four racial groups in Africa. This just goes to show that even if Diamond is antiracist that does not mean he is "anti-race". Of course, I do not agree with everything Sailer says on race, because while many of his premises are correct, he also accepts social darwinist premises, and thus his conclusions are invariably worthless.

Ten clusters[edit]

User:Nectarflowed, I don't see any foundation for this statement. The book mentions 9 clusters at one point, and I think they are arbitrary groupings for analysis, not experimental results. --JWB 16:47, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Review Sailer was doubled, so I deletd one. 13:17, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


Gee, I hate to bring up TECHNICAL issues, but the assertion:

His papers in the mid-1960's with Anthony Edwards pioneered statistical methods for reconstructing evolutionary trees (phylogenies). They introduced the first parsimony method, which searched for the tree that connected the populations with the least change in gene frequencies. They also were first to use maximum likelihood methods to estimate phylogenies.

is incorrect in that I wrote the first solution of this problem in the proceedings of the Hong Kong U. Symposium on Statistical Genetics in 1968. I solved the problem as a post-doc under Cavalli at Pavia.

Gomberg 23:33, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Can you identify yourself or provide a link to the reference so that the article can be corrected? apers0n 16:02, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, my home page is, click on my name for a mini-bio. I am working with the department of genetics at HKU trying to find a copy of the paper. I have a draft that was typed at Pavia, but ALL copies of the original proceedings which had the best copy of the paper may have disappeared. The final work on the subject by me was a continuation of my post-doc at UCSF in 1968-9 where I was able to program and run a Monte Carlo simulation on the 360/95 at UCLA from Presbyterian Medical Center with Arnold Baranco while continuing my post-doc under Bob Elashoff and Cavalli. If I find a good copy of the paper, I will put it online. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This article badly needs up-to-date sourcing for neutral point of view.[edit]

This is a biography of a living person, so this article needs much better sourcing to make clear what Cavalli-Sforza's current views are and how other scientists have evaluated his scientific work. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:29, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Helpful sources for updating this article[edit]

You may find it helpful while reading or editing articles to look at a bibliography of Anthropology and Human Biology Citations, posted for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human genetics and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in these issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research. You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human genetics to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:34, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Views on the concept of race in humans[edit]

Just pointing out that without more context -- specifically, "criterion suggested by Mayr (1963) for systematic zoology" -- we can't tell whether these quotes actually contradict each other. (talk) 22:57, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Formulation hard to understand if not wrong[edit]

I read: "Cavalli-Sforza's interest in hypothesized large-scale language families is as a basis for comparison ...". Does the word "as" need removing or expanding?Redav (talk) 00:22, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for mentioning that mangled sentence. The article should be edited more with the sources mentioned in the article bibliography used as reliable secondary sources for further article updates. Most of those books are interesting and well worth reading. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:28, 13 May 2014 (UTC)