Yes, it’s true that PZ probably gets ten times the amount of crank e-mail that I do. It’s also true that, because he has the most popular ScienceBlog, his readers have a tendency to put extra effort into their “correspondence” with him. But I do occasionally get the long, rambling screed from an alternative medicine aficionado or a tirade from a Holocaust denier telling me that Hitler was actually a really great guy who couldn’t possibly have ordered the extermination of European Jewry. But, what am I to make of this e-mail? (Below the fold):
From: Adam Smith
Date Oct 1, 2007 2:14 PM
Subject Autism increasing with ethnic diversity
I write to you about the subject of autism and other genetic conditions which I hope you will find of as much interest as I do. I will explain why I believe there has been a ten fold increase in autism over the past decade according to research.
The rise in autism is happening in Britain and America but not other countries across Europe like Germany or France or Austria. I will explain the reason why.
The British and Americans are much more ethnically diverse than other nations,
The Germans are only part German.
The Austrians are only part Austrian.
The French are only part French.
The Dutch are only part Dutch.
The Irish are only part Irish.
The Russians are only part Russian.
The British and Americans however are part French, part German, part Dutch, part Irish or perhaps part Swiss, part Italian or part Russian, part Spanish. Etc ( i.e. multi ethnic)
Higher rates of genetic conditions in Britain and America are because the sub races or ethnic groups like the French, English, Germans , Austrians, Australians, Irish are mixing the most there.
If the mixing of the sub-race continues , Autism and other genetic conditions will grow and grow. With mass immigration into Britain hitting an all time high it will hit there the hardest. Evidence points to that it already has.
Autism is caused by the mixing of different ethnic groups.
Get it? According to “Adam Smith,” the autism “epidemic” (which, by the way, is not really an epidemic) is due to race-mixing! You know, I may have to ask PZ for his style sheet that allows his blockquoting of wingnuts to be so distinctive. Let’s be clear here. What’s almost certainly bothering this “Adam Smith” is not the “mixing” of Russians with Dutch or Spanish with Irish or French with British. What is almost certainly really bothering “Adam Smith” is the influx of all those nasty dark-skinned races into Europe and the increasing acceptance of mixed race marriages (or “miscegenation,” as Smith no doubt would have preferred to phrase it if he weren’t trying ineffectively to mask his racism).
Of course, “Smith” has it all wrong, although it is true that evidence suggests that autism has a strong genetic component. In general, closed populations with little interbreeding with other populations, start to accumulate genetic disorders. Think old order Amish or Mennonite or Ashkenazi Jews. However, I will give him “credit” (such as it is) for having come up with the most bizarre “real” cause of autism that I’ve yet heard.