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Featuring guest Joseph L. Graves

Joseph Graves | The Genetics of Race (Part 1)

Dr. Graves tells the story of his journey through higher education discusses some basics of evolution and what it even means to be a species.


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Dr. Graves tells the story of his journey through higher education discusses some basics of evolution and what it even means to be a species.

Description

A podcast that shows the harmony between Christian faith and current scientific discoveries by sharing the stories of interesting people who have found a better way of understanding science and Christian faith.
  • Originally aired on June 25, 2020
  • With 
    Jim Stump

There is probably no one who has done more scientific work on the genetics of race than Dr. Joseph L Graves. Dr. Graves has been writing, thinking, and doing research on this topic for almost 30 years. In the midst of a national uprising of anger and frustration at the continued systemic racism in this country and around the world, this conversation probes the scientific reality that there is no genetic basis for race and addresses some common misconceptions as well. 

We split our conversation up into two parts. In this first part Dr. Graves tells the story of his journey through higher education, which was not without hardships. Then, as a precursor to talking about the genetics, we discuss some basics of evolution and what it even means to be a species or a subspecies.


Transcript

Graves:

The vast majority of time for which our species has existed, it existed in a very narrow geographic range, so that the traits we see in humans today are things that occurred in the last one third of our existence, as those humans began to leave Subsaharan Africa and migrate around the world and acquire specific adaptations to their new geography and that many of these adaptations such as blue eyes, blonde hair are relatively recent.

Dr. Joseph Louis Graves Jr., Professor of biological sciences at the Department of Nanoengineering, which is part of the Joint School of Nanosciences and Nanoengineering at North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro.

Stump:

Welcome to Language of God. I’m Jim Stump. For the last several weeks, we at BioLogos, like many others around the country who have the privilege to not think about racism every day, have been consumed by the uprising of anger and frustration over the continued systemic racism in this country and around the world. And one of the ways we have processed this issue is through the lens of science. 

We were thrilled to be put in touch with Dr. Joseph L Graves, who received his PhD in evolutionary biology, the first african american to do so. He has appeared in the recent PBS documentary on James Watson and the Ken Burns documentary on The Gene. He was on the Science Vs. podcast in their episode on race. He has been studying the genetics of race for nearly 30 years. He’s written several books on the subject including The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millenium and The Race Myth. And he has numerous scholarly articles and essays.

Dr. Graves is also a Christian, having grown up in an African American church, and now part of the Episcopal church.

We connected with him like we do with all our guests these days, over the computer and talked for almost an hour and half about his background, his story of finding his way through higher education when not many who looked like him were able to do so, and then we really dig into the biology and genetics of race.

We have split our conversation into two episodes. In this first episode we hear Dr. Graves’ personal story, a story which highlights both his perseverance and some of the systemic racism which still exists in academia today. Then as a precursor to talking about the genetics of race, we discuss what it even means to be a species or a subspecies. Then in part two we will focus entirely on the science of race. You can find that episode following this one in your podcast feed. 

Let’s get to the conversation. 

Interview Part One

Stump:

Well, we’d like to start by hearing some of your own story, if we could. You’ve had a long and impressive career in biology and higher education, but I read that you were the first African American to earn a PhD in evolutionary biology. So I’m guessing there were probably some challenges along the way. I wonder if you start by telling us, what do you recall from your childhood growing up that may have inclined you in that direction and then maybe what some of those challenges were?

Graves:

Well, I’m a first generation college student. My mother and father were born in the Jim Crow South and thus had limited access to education. My father didn’t leave the state of Virginia until he was on a troop train to Fort Dix in New Jersey. And didn’t leave the United States until he was on a troop ship on his way to England and landed in France on Utah beach on June 6th, 1944. I actually didn’t learn until after his death that he was actually three times decorated in the European campaign and had actually helped to build the bridge across the Rhine. My mother stayed in Virginia and didn’t move to New Jersey until after the war was over and there she met my father at a club for African Americans in Scotch Plains, New Jersey called Jersey Land. She was introduced by her brother who was actually a veteran of the Pacific campaign.

So my parents made the decision to live in a predominantly—and I’m going to use color euphemisms for groups because it’s easier for people to understand, but we’ll get into…

Stump:

We’ll talk about the details of that later.

Graves:

…the details of that later. But, you know, it was predominantly white, upper middle class town. It was a bedroom community of Manhattan. Many of the kids who I went to school with had parents who worked on Wall Street or Madison Avenue, or were professionals such as doctors and lawyers. And so there was an operational assumption at that elementary school that I was mentally inferior and the teachers sort of ignored me for the most part and the other African American kids or black kids until my third grade class. And I was in the library reading out of Harold Lambs, A History of the Crusades, which, by the way, is a graduate level text in history. And finally a student teacher came by, and by the way, the other teachers had assumed that I was opening these big books because I couldn’t read and I was attempting to show out and make it look as if I could read. So finally, a student teacher who didn’t wear that implicit bias came up to me and asked me, little boy, what are you reading? And then I told her all about the history of the first, second and third Crusades and all my favorite characters and all my favorite moments, such as the children’s crusade, the rescue of the Holy land. And then they realized they actually had something different on their hands. And so the next day I was actually in the advanced classes with the children of all the rich families and the rest, they say, is history.

Stump:

Well, what about a science in particular? Why didn’t you become a historian? Given that story?

Graves:

History was definitely my first love. There was no doubt about it. But I also loved science and I wanted to answer the big questions. And one of those big questions was the origin of the universe and then the origin and purpose of life. And so that’s why I was attracted to evolution in college because it allowed me to answer those big questions in biological systems.

Stump:

So where’d you go to college as an undergrad and then take us through the path of grad school and, you know, the first PhD in evolutionary biology by an African American.

Graves:

So again, being a first generation college student, I had really no idea of where I should be going to college. Now, of course I knew of the big names like Harvard, Yale, MIT, places like that. But when I went to college recruitment fairs, I didn’t see any material sent by these big schools that had people who look like me in their brochure. The only school that had students who looked like me on their brochure was Oberlin college in Ohio. Now, I didn’t know anything about the history of Oberlin. I was just attracted to that brochure. So I ended up applying to three schools, MIT, which had actually brought me up for a visit to their campus in my senior year of high school, Lafayette college in Indiana, which was mainly engineering school and Oberlin College. And so the first letter I got back was from MIT, and it was a rejection.

So since I only applied to three schools, I was sort of getting nervous at this point. The next day I got the letter from Oberlin college offering me a full ride and work opportunities because we were a poor working class family. So I couldn’t have afforded to go to college. My parents couldn’t pay for that. But Oberlin gave me essentially a full scholarship and work study as well. So when I saw that I was like, okay, I filled it out. I literally ran down to the post office and sent back the reply that day. The next day I got a call from Lafayette college in Pennsylvania. They literally called me and said they were offering me a full scholarship as well, but I told them, sorry, you guys are a day late, already sent my acceptance back to Oberlin college.

So I get to Oberlin as a freshmen. And again, as a first generation college student, I just don’t know anything about what college is going to be like. Most of the kids who are in my incoming class were, again, children of upper middle class individuals. Some parents were millionaires. Some were the children of famous Hollywood actors, like, James Coburn’s daughter was in my class. But Oberlin, I soon found out, was a top tier liberal arts college. And there were really a lot of smart people there. And there were some outstanding faculty there, particularly the chemistry department was really well known, as well as the math department. So my initial interest was in astrophysics. And I took a course called advanced mechanics and relativity in my freshman year. Now I gotta tell you, this was a really difficult course. There was at least one Nobel Laureate who was on…it was team taught…there was one Nobel Laureate amongst the faculty.

And I struggled in that class, I mean honestly. But I wasn’t the only person struggling in that class. And so I earned a C plus grade. But on my final exam, one of the professors wrote, “you have no talent for physics. You should never take another physics class at this college.” Now there was one other black student in the class and he got the same note, both in red ink. And we were the only two students. And as I said, we weren’t the only people who struggled in that class, who are the only ones that get C pluses. But we’re the only two to get that red note. Now to the other person’s credit, they ended up staying in physics. And then the next time I saw him was in the 1990s when I was walking through Harvard yard. And it turns out that he had earned his PhD in plasma physics and he had an appointment at MIT.

So he did really well. However, I switched to biology because in part I really got along well with my biology advisor, Dr. David Miller. He was a botany professor. So there were really cool guys in the botany department. And so I ended up going with them. And then when I left Oberlin I went to a Master’s program at the Institute for Tropical Disease, at what is now UMass Lowell, then was called Lowell Technological Institute. And again, there, I really got a hard slap in the face with regard to racism in higher education in ways that I didn’t get at Oberlin. I mean, even though that physics case was bad, it got a lot worse when I got into graduate school. And so when I got into that program, people had a really hard time with me because they wanted to believe that I was there to fulfill some sort of affirmative action quota, but they couldn’t square that with the fact that I was the best student there. So they had cognitive dissonance with regard to my accomplishments in the program and my black skin. So I dealt with a lot of what we today call microaggressions or passive aggressive insults. But I managed to make my way through those, mainly through hard work. 

I didn’t particularly get along well with my master’s thesis advisor. But he ended up writing me a really good letter of recommendation that got me into the university of Michigan’s PhD program in ecology and evolution. And again, it was a story of some faculty believing that I was there to fulfill an affirmative action quota. But I didn’t know this. There were ten incoming graduate students that year in my class and one of the faculty members told me, he says, “no, you know, you received the highest score of any student we admitted in quantitative reasoning.” So again, there’s a disconnect between my capacity and the belief of those faculty and students around campus concerning what the expectations were.

Now there, I got really involved in the first time in understanding the institutional aspects of the oppression that I was suffering as an African American or black student in higher education. Before that time, I’d always believed that it was my fault, there was something wrong with me, that I was the problem, that I just wasn’t working hard enough, or my attitudes were wrong, or my working class background. I always looked for the fault in myself. And so when I began to develop a theoretical understanding of the way institutional racism operated in the American Academy, I began to become politically active. And so I was involved in two major actions, one of which there’s historical knowledge of—The Graduate Employees Organization at the university of Michigan had, before I got there, gone on strike for recognition against the University. The University resolved the strike but they didn’t sign a contract with the Graduate Employees Organization. So I was one of the people who was instrumental in bringing the University of Michigan to the table and finally signed that contract recognizing the Graduate Employees Organization as a union.

Now that took time away from my studies. And I was also involved in round two of what was called the Black Action Movement. So I arrived at Michigan in 1979. Shortly before that time there had been a strike by African American employees on campus to increase the enrollment of African American students on the campus. So while you might’ve watched Michigan football games in the seventies and saw a lot of African American athletes and football and basketball, there weren’t a whole lot of students who weren’t athletes on that campus. And so Black Action Movement, one brought the University into a recognition that they needed to actually recruit and establish support for African American students to make it into the campus and to succeed there. So there was some movement, but when I got there, there were only about four or five African American, black graduate students in the sciences.

Stump:

Out a total population of what?

Graves:

Out of a total population of several hundred. So we then moved for Michigan to start hiring black faculty when there were very few black faculty on at that time. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but again, you could probably count them on one hand. And so I got involved in that work and between the two things I literally stopped going to class. And so my academic average fell and I was summarily drummed out of the University of Michigan when my grade point average fell below 3.0. And I wasn’t given any probation. It was 2.7 something and the letter came and I was out. So at that time I was really struggling about what I was going to do for a future. So I ended up going to Detroit, getting involved in labor organizing and in the service employees unions and the auto factories. And eventually it came down to a question of—you know, by this time I’d also gotten married—so it came down to a question of how I was going to eat and how I was going to feed my family. 

And so I decided, on a cold winter’s day, to get in the Chrysler K car that I’d bought for a ridiculously high auto loan and drive myself down to Wayne State University in a blowing snow storm. So I like to think of it as I was the scientist who came in from the cold. And I met with the graduate advisor and that was Dr. Bill Moore and I told him I wanted to come back to school to finish my PhD. And Moore was rather indignant about this person walking off the street and asking for an appointment to come to his graduate school. And he said, “well, you know, this is a very prestigious institution.” And I said, “yes, Dr. Moore, that’s why I want to come here.” And so I handed him my CV and he took a look at my background, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, et cetera. And he starts dialing a phone right away and calls up Leo Luckinbill and says, “Hey, Leo, you know, I’ve got this kid here who would be really great for your lab.” And so I ended up going back to the graduate program at Wayne State. 

And I still had one more demon to face and this time. I probably didn’t say anything about the fact that throughout my entire academic career, I was also an avid chess player. And what I mean by that, United States Chess Federation player, who was really good. And I grew up with people who became grandmasters and senior masters, and I’d beaten some of those people. And so I was spending a lot of time in Hart Plaza, downtown, playing chess and not doing any research. So, and this was really the…and I credit Leo for this because he did something that none of my previous advisors did. I mean, he called me on the carpet. He said, “you know, Joe, nobody here doubts that you’re a really smart guy, but if you don’t get in the laboratory tomorrow and start working on your dissertation work, I am cutting you loose.”

And that wake up call changed my life, literally changed my life, because the next day I went into the lab in the morning, did some thinking. And by the afternoon had an experiment designed, which I went to work on, which got me my PhD and got me noticed by some really smart people who are doing experimental evolution. So that’s sort of how it happened.

Stump:

Well, I’m glad you persevered and that the outcome is the way it was. That’s fantastic. Given that BioLogos and this podcast are about science and faith, can you tell us a little bit about the latter? What was your faith tradition or practice of that today, if you don’t mind?

Graves:

Well, I come from a very faithful family and quite frankly, for many African Americans, and I’m going to say it, we wouldn’t be here without our faith because we, as a people, I think really exhibit the attributes that a Christian should have. And there’s all sorts of theological discussion about suffering and the way of the cross. And that’s the tradition that I was born into. I was baptized when I was, I think, 11 or 12 years old at Bethel Baptist Church in Westfield New Jersey. And the church is literally right across the street from the high school. And our Reverend, Reverend Brown, used to give some really fiery sermons in the African American tradition. My mom was an usher at the church. Her sisters were all active in the church and their sons, by the way, grew up to be pastors. So my cousin, Reverend Edward Allen is a pastor of Philemon Baptist Church in North New Jersey. And my cousin, Ronald Allen is a pastor of a Pilgrim Baptist Church in Summit, New Jersey. And I have a cousin on my father’s side, Reverend Bernard Johnson. I think he just got a pastorship and I don’t remember exactly where. But I come from a family in which faith was always a portion of our lives, an intimate portion of our lives. But I will admit to you that I lost my faith in the middle of all the stuff I was telling you about. And it took a while for me to see that by losing my faith, I made tremendous personal errors in my life. And quite frankly, it took the death of my brother for me to come around and recognized what I had been doing wrong. And those events sort of brought me back to God, brought me back to the church.

Stump:

Have these two aspects of your life, the science and the faith informed each other, or been in conflict at times, or how have you sorted that out?

Graves:

Early on, they were in conflict. And so from early age, you know, when I read On the Origin of Species—and that was when I was like 12 or 13 years old—I immediately begin to come in conflict with creationist narratives, because I never thought that God was trying to trick people. And so when you read, and I was again being raised in Southern Baptist tradition, actually more accurately, National Baptist Convention, because that was the African American Baptist in the South. But being raised in that tradition, you read scripture and you read it consistently. And so reading Genesis and reading the narrative there about the order of creation and what you learned in science from paleontology concerning the origin of various animal and plant groups, the two just don’t jive. And so the more you learn about the chemistry and physics of the early earth and the conditions you begin… I didn’t know how to reconcile what science was saying and what scripture was saying. It took me to become far more mature, both in my science and in my theology to understand that the two did not have to be in conflict with each other. Now I understand scripture to be symbolic and hence, since it was never meant to be a text in natural history, there’s no reason to hold the two against each other.

[musical interlude]

BioLogos: 

Hey Language of God listeners. If you enjoy the conversations you hear on the podcast, we just wanted to let you know about our website, biologos.org, which has articles, videos, book reviews, and other resources for pastors, students, and educators. We also have an active online forum. We discuss each podcast episode, but it goes far beyond that, with lots of open discussions on all kinds of topics related to science and faith. Find it all at biologos.org.

Interview Part Two

Stump:

Our main topic that we wanted to talk to you about today is the genetics of race. But before we get there, I wonder if we might first at least discuss a little bit, one of the conceptual difficulties that too often stays in the background in these discussions. And that’s essentialism. We have these terms like race and species and the proponents of essentialism claim that these refer to something real over and above the arbitrary collection, supposedly arbitrary collection of individuals we lump together. Philosophers, the discipline I come from, often call these natural kinds, but evolution has made this problematic, right? So I’m wondering if we can learn something about race in this regard from first considering the development of species over time. So can we say definitively where one species stops and a new one starts on an ancestral lineage like this?

Graves:

So, Jim, it sounds like you’ve read my first book, The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race At The Millennium, because that’s exactly the argument I lay out in that book. Although I think I’ve done it better in some later essays that I’ve written on this subject. But essentialism was a huge boulder that stood in the way, the progress, of the biological sciences for centuries. And so if you look at my book, I define biology as essentially having two periods, the essentialist or pre Darwinian period, which is basically all biology going back to the ancient Greeks.

Stump:

Aristotle right?

Graves:

Aristotle. Plato. So remember Plato was first and Aristotle was his student. And Plato didn’t really do much in biology. It was Aristotle who was sort of the first serious Greek thinker in biology. And the Hebrews really weren’t scientifically interested in this question of species, but of course their views were dictated by what their reading of their scripture. But this held back the development of biology for thousands of years. And so until Darwin destroys essentialism in On the Origin of Species, or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, biology was a set of disconnected empiricisms that sometimes got something right, but most of the time was simply wrong. So going forward then, once we have an evolutionary understanding of how species come into existence, this allows us to more accurately think through the meaning of variation within any species with regard to how that plays a role in the formation of new species or not the formation of new species.

Stump:

So we sometimes get a question along the lines of, well, there had to be a first  , right?

Graves:

When you say first Homo sapiens, this is again one of these conceptual difficulties. When we think about evolution, we need to think about it with regard to populations. Now individuals make up populations. So there’s a transition—so we think of evolution as descent with modification—there’s a transition through time and this is a gradual transition from previously existing species to new ones. Sometimes this occurs by what we call a cladistic event in which one species splits into two. And sometimes a lineage that was one thing in the past, over time, becomes something new in the future. And in the case of human evolution, we have both the splitting of species and the transition of species occurring in what became anatomically modern humans.

Stump:

So the splitting of that species 6 million years ago or so, we have common ancestors or common population ancestors with chimpanzees. What do we know from that time of the splitting or the cladistic changes that happened to become modern Homo sapiens?

Graves:

So and when we think about that, you basically have a lineage that splits into what we identified by fossils as the Australopithecines and the Hominids or homo. And when you look at these past hominids, the Australopithecines had some characteristics which they shared with the human lineage and vice versa. So one of the most famous fossils is the fossil entitled Lucy—Lucy was Australopithecus africanus—and she was more human in the pelvis and more chimpanzee-like in the brain.

Stump:

And so her dates are a couple of million years ago?

Graves:

Couple of million years ago. Without the actual diagrams in front of me, it’s hard to give specific dates, but that would be about right. So then you have other Australopithecines that really sort of go on the Australopithecine way. So they don’t end up being like us at all. And then in our lineage, the homo lineage, there were a number of species—and again, without all the names in front of me—there were some archaic human species like Homo erectus, which left Africa and migrated around the world and adapted to different regions around the world. And this would have probably been around a million years ago. And then you had things like Homo neanderthalensis. So there now, and I will say that there is an active debate as to whether the Neanderthals were really another species or whether they were a geographically adapted race of the same species living in Europe and Eurasia, but the Neanderthals adapted to these regions. And then the current thinking is that around 300,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans, the species we call Homo sapiens sapiens evolved in Subsaharan Africa. And it lived there for 200,000 years.

Graves:

And this is something that I continually point out to my students is that the vast majority of time for which our species has existed, it existed in a very narrow geographic range. So that the traits we see in humans today are things that occurred in the last one third of our existence, as those humans began to leave Subsaharan Africa and migrate around the world and acquire a specific adaptations to their new geography and that many of these adaptations such as blue eyes, blonde hair are relatively recent. For example…

Stump:

That time before Homo sapiens left Africa, we would have all looked the very similar?

Graves:

We would have been very similar and those phenotypes would have been the phenotypes that we see now in modern Africans. So brown eyes, brown skin, coarse, curly hair. Those would have been everybody on earth. The recent adaptations, such as lighter skin, lighter, eye colors, lighter hair color, all of those things occurred relatively recently. I was about to say, the blue eye gene is probably only about 6,000 years old. Similarly the European blonde hair gene is probably around 10,000 years old. But the Malaysian blonde hair gene is actually older and it occurred on a separate genetic locus, but it resulted in the same phenotype. In other words, the blonde hair phenotype was caused by a mutation in a different gene than the mutation that causes the blonde hair phenotype in Europeans.

Stump:

One more question on this essentialism before we move completely into race here. What do you understand the term human to be in relation to Homo sapiens? Do you use those synonymously or sometimes it’s used for the entire homo genus? Is this an important question?

Graves:

It is a very important question. And there is some scholarly debate about the use of the term. When I say humans referring to the species we are now, I always modify it with the term anatomically modern human. That means that there were humans that aren’t anatomically modern. So there are humans that were called archaic humans. And then there were other human species such as Homo erectus, Homo althusis and one that was called Homo naledi, which was a sub Saharan African human species. And Homo neanderthalensis. And then there’s the Denisovan humans. And again, there’s an active debate as to whether the Denisovan humans were in fact a separate species of humans or whether they were a geographically circumscribed race of humans. And a lot of this debate comes down to, this again, this definition of what a species is. And the traditional definition is the ability to mate with the opposite sex in your species and produce fertile offspring.

Now that definition has limitations because we know full well that closely related species can mate and produce fertile offspring. Now, often times, those offspring have lower fitness than the pure breeds within their separate species, but they still can produce offspring. And so a lot of the debate can be found in David Reich’s new book, Who We Are and How We Got Here that came out in 2018 with regard to, you know, he saw the Denisovans and then the Neanderthals more as geographically adapted human races. Whereas I see them more as separate species that hybridized with humans. But there’s no, at least at this point, I don’t think there’s any definitive answer to…you could hold both of those positions and not be wrong.

Stump:

So does this next question also betray our centralist leanings when I ask, is there something that it is to be human?

Graves:

Yeah. Again, when we say what does it mean to be human? That again, if we take this from a taxonomic perspective, there are grades. So what does it mean to be human? It has to do with the size of the brain and it has to do with walking upright. It has to do with utilizing tools. It has to do with culture and language. But those were traits that were also seen in other hominids. And some of these traits in fact are seen in organisms that are not hominids at all, such as whales and chimpanzees. So, you know, you need to be careful in understanding the notion of variation and continuous variation, both within and between species, when it comes to the traits that we use to define species.

Stump:

So one of the implications of that, that I think is of special interest to our audience, is when we bring into conversation with theology and one of the foundational Christian claims that human beings are created in the image of God. Have you thought about that at all?

Graves:

I have thought about that a great deal.

Stump:

How does that interact with this science that you just gave us in the continuity, the continuous variation, as opposed to a punctiliar event of some sort, that we say, and now we have human beings created in the image of God.

Graves:

Well, and my problem is that I am never so arrogant to think that I know the mind of God.

Stump:

Probably a good start for all of us.

Graves:

Yeah. And unfortunately there’s been a lot of, again, scriptural interpretation of what people thought God was saying in Genesis. And I think that that leads us down some very unfortunate roads. So when we talk about created in the image of God, I mean that the symbolic symbolism there, it makes it really difficult to understand what you mean by image. I mean, is it, for example, free will? Is that the primary thing that God allowed to evolve in anatomically modern humans? Or is it a set of physical traits like standing upright or being hairless, et cetera? I mean God is a Supreme being, and of course I believe that God is the God of the entire universe. So the big question will be if we ever meet extraterrestrials and talk to them about what their scriptures say about what their God looks like, because they’re obviously going to think that their God looks like their, you know, octopus type, eight limbed form and ours looks like us. So, I mean, at the end of the day, I’m going to go back to not answering your question in a sense that I don’t really know what that scripture means. I do know what I can determine using the methods of science, which I believe are not inconsistent with understanding…which would allow us to understand nature and are not inconsistent with at least my understanding of the purpose and will of God.

[musical interlude]

Stump: 

Back here in the studio. In the next episode we continue our conversation with Dr. Graves, jumping right into the science of race and exploring some of the common misconceptions of race in our culture, like whether race accounts for athletic abilities, and what you really learn from sending your saliva in for genetic and ancestry testing. You can find that episode following this one in your podcast feed. 

Credits:

BioLogos

Language of God is produced by BioLogos. It has been funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation and more than 300 individuals who donated to our crowdfunding campaign. Language of God is produced and mixed by Colin Hoogerwerf. That’s me. Our theme song is by Breakmaster Cylinder. We are produced out of the remote workspaces and homes of BioLogos staff in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

If you have questions or want to join in a conversation about this episode find a link in the show notes for the BioLogos forum. Find more episodes of Language of God on your favorite podcast app or at our website, biologos.org, where you will also find tons of great articles and resources on faith and science. Finally, if you’re enjoying the show and want to help us out, leave a review on iTunes, we love hearing from and it helps other people find the show. Thanks.


Featured guest

Dr Joseph L Graves

Joseph L. Graves

Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr. is a professor of biological sciences at the Department of Nanoengineering, which is part of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at North Carolina A&T State University and University of North Carolina Greensboro. He received his B.A. in Biology from Oberlin college and his PhD from Wayne State University. His research includes the evolutionary theory of aging and the biological concepts of race. He has published two books, The Emperor’s New Clothes: BioLogical Theories of Race at the Millennium and The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America and has appeared on several documentaries including the PBS documentary Decoding Watson and the Ken Burns documentary The Gene. Graves is a confirmed Episcopalian and has spent time on the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission of the Diocese of North Carolina.


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