Nicholas Wade

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This article is about the science journalist. For the psychologist and academic, see Nicholas J. Wade.
Nicholas Wade
Nicholas Wade.png
Born May 1942 (age 73)
Aylesbury, England
Nationality British
Alma mater Eton College
King's College, Cambridge
Occupation Science journalist, writer

Nicholas Wade (born May 17, 1942)[1] was formerly a staff writer for the Science Times section of The New York Times.[2][3] He is also an author, who most recently has written the controversial book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History that has been widely criticized by scientists.[4][5][6]


Wade was born in Aylesbury, England[1] and educated at Eton College.[citation needed] He is the grandson of teacher and author Lawrence Beesley, a survivor of RMS Titanic.[7] He earned a BA and an MA from King's College, Cambridge in 1960 and 1963.[1] Wade emigrated to the US in 1970.[1]

Wade has been a science writer and editor for the journals Nature, from 1967 to 1971, and Science, from 1972 to 1982. He joined The New York Times in 1982[1] and retired in 2012 but freelances occasionally for his former employer.[8] He had been an editorial writer covering science, environment and defense, and then an editor of the science section.

Two of his books deal with less savory aspects of scientific research. His 1980 book, The Nobel Duel: Two Scientists' Twenty-one Year Race to Win the World's Most Coveted Research Prize, described the competition between Andrew Schally and Roger Guillemin, whose discoveries regarding the peptide hormone led to them sharing the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. According to the Washington Post Book World, it "may be the most unflattering description of scientists ever written." Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science (1983), co-authored with William J. Broad, discusses historical and contemporary examples of scientific fraud.

His A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (2014) was criticized in the New York Times Book Review of Sunday July 13, David Dobbs wrote that it was "a deeply flawed, deceptive, and dangerous book" with "pernicious conceits". However, Edward O Wilson of Harvard University says of the book, “Nicholas Wade combines the virtues of truth without fear and the celebration of genetic diversity as a strength of humanity, thereby creating a forum appropriate to the twenty-first century.” And Ashutosh Jogalekar of Scientific American wrote, “Extremely well-researched, thoughtfully written and objectively argued…. The real lesson of the book should not be lost on us: A scientific topic cannot be declared off limits or whitewashed because its findings can be socially or politically incendiary." Some biologists, however, categorically dismissed his view of race in a joint letter published in The New York Times on August 8, 2014: "Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork."[9] Nonetheless, Wade replied: "I make no such statement. To the contrary, my book explicitly takes no position on the cause of racial differences in I.Q. results, given the difficulty of assessing the many factors other than genetics that heavily influence I.Q. scores. I find it hard to see how any reader of the book could have missed this point, and can only assume that the organizers of the biologists’ letter induced many signatories to condemn a book they had not read."[10]

Other books by Wade include Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors (2006), about human evolution, and The Faith Instinct (2009), about the evolution of religious behavior.

Wade has criticized anthropology, particularly cultural anthropology, as lacking in scientific rigor, saying in a 2007 lecture, that cultural anthropologists should become trained in genetics. In a review of a book by Napoleon Chagnon he criticized the American Anthropological Association for its treatment of Chagnon.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Nicholas Wade." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Biography in Context. Web. 8 July 2014.
  2. ^ Amos Esty (May 25, 2006). "The Bookshelf talks with Nicholas Wade". American Scientist. 
  3. ^ Gitschier J (2005) Turning the Tables—An Interview with Nicholas Wade. PLoS Genet 1(3): e45
  4. ^ Michael Hiltzik (August 12, 2014). "Racism, the Misuse of Genetics and a Huge Scientific Protest". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Wade, Nicholas (9 April 2012). "As Hundreds of Men Perished, One Ignored a Rumor to Survive". New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Nicholas Wade Interview – A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History". Luke Ford. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]

4. Eric Michael Johnson (May 21, 2014)"On the Origin of White Power" Scientific American [3]

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