On Genetic Interests

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On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration is a 2003 book by Frank Salter. "Genetic interests" is a non-technical term designating an organism's inclusive fitness or copies of its genes. Salter's book is the first attempt to map the distribution of human genetic interests.[1] Salter adopts the second meaning: copies of an individual's gene patterns. The need to have this gap in knowledge filled is evidenced by the enthusiasm with which the book was received.

Criticism and response[edit]

Kevin B. MacDonald also wrote that Frank Salter has written a very important – and a brilliant – book that deserves the close attention not only of evolutionists and social scientists, but of policy-makers as well.[2]

Criticism came from Kenan Malik, an Indian-British public intellectual specializing in ethnic affairs. Malik rejected the reality of ethnic kinship because it is based on gene frequencies. He also criticized the theory of ethnic nepotism, and argued that the field studies of favoritism shown to beggars of the benefactor's ethnic group are best explained by cultural factors.[3]

In his introduction to the Transaction edition (2007, p. 13)[1] Salter agreed with one criticism made on Gene Expression but considers the remainder to be already answered in the book. He responded to one criticism at length, the assertion that On Genetic Interests commits the naturalistic fallacy, i.e. attempts to deduce values from facts. Salter's defense drew on a longer unpublished reply[4] to a negative review by Peter Gray, an evolutionary psychologist from Boston College.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b On Genetic Interests
  2. ^ MacDonald, K. B.: Genetic Interests of Ethnic Groups. National Observer. No. 62 - Spring 2004
  3. ^ "Malik website".
  4. ^ "Reply to Peter Gray".
  5. ^ Gray, P. (2005). "Misuse of evolutionary theory to advocate for racial discrimination and segregation: A critique of Salter's On genetic interests." Human Ethology Bulletin 20(2): 10-13.
  6. ^ Available at http://media.anthro.univie.ac.at/ishe/index.php/bulletin/bulletin-contents/doc_view/44-bulletin-2005-volume-20-issue-2