Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race.
Gavin Evans

Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race.

Skin Deep digs beneath the surface of race science, which is experiencing a revival with the rise of the alt-right, particularly in the United States. It examines new discoveries in archaeology, genetics and IQ studies that show decisively that there are no innate differences between population groups when it comes to intelligence or character.

Everything you need to know about race (but were afraid to ask).

  • There was no 'cognitive revolution' 70,000 years ago as claimed by Yuval Noah Harari – nor 50,000 years ago as claimed by Jared Diamon. Recent archaeological discoveries show that modern intelligence evolved tens of thousands of years earlier.
  • We had the genes for light skin before we moved out of Africa 60,000 years ago.
  • It was Russian farmers that brought light skin to Europe and India, and blue eyes came from a separate population.
  • The early Europeans, including the builders of Stonehenge, had dark skin, black, curly hair and blue eyes.
  • The Kenyans don't have a 'running gene' - but sub-Saharan Africans are more genetically diverse than Europeans. So they have a higher proportion of top-level runners and of terrible runners!
  • Nature and nurture can’t be parcelled up in terms of percentages. They inter-relate.
  • The ‘general intelligence’ measured as a single number by IQ tests does not exist as a biological reality.
  • Dominic Cummings helped end the government's Sure Start programme based on a misunderstanding of IQ theory.
  • Jordan Peterson's reading on IQ 'is very limited and very dated' – prompting him to reach the wrong conclusions on race and intelligene..
  • Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson are wrong in claiming Ashkenazi Jews have innately superior intelligence – none of the biological arguments stack up.


Book Details:

  • Author: Gavin Evans
  • Published Year: 2019
  • Rights Sold
    • South Africa: Jonathan Ball Publishers

Gavin Evans

  Gavin Evans was born in London but grew up mainly in Cape Town. After a year studying in Texas, he returned to South Africa to become intensely involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in various capacities. Along the way he studied economic history and law before completing a PhD in political studies. He worked as a journalist for several South African newspapers and as a foreign correspondent for a Rome-based news agency.   He returned to London with his wife and first daughter in 1993, initially working as a freelance journalist (for The Guardian, Esquire, Men’s Healt...
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Book Reviews

  • "Smart, accessible and stimulating, Black Brain White Brain is by far the most important book yet written to systematically debunk society’s lingering attachments to race science and its pet topics of intelligence, genetics and civilization. This book is at once a work of serious scholarship as well as an easy-to-read educational reference book on the major controversies spanning a century of provocations on the subject of race and capability. In our still race-obsessed country, Black Brain White Brain should be required reading in every undergraduate university course, in every high school and in every home. "
    Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of the Free State
  • "Punchy and perceptive, Evans’ passionate and wide-ranging debunking of hereditarian views of race in areas ranging from archaeology to IQ and sport deserves wide readership in South Africa and beyond."
    Professor Saul Dubow, Queen Mary, University of London
  • "GAVIN Evans studied economic history and law, has a PhD in politics and has worked as a journalist for 25 years. He has read widely on evolutionary biology, palaeontology, biological anthropology, archaeology, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. He needed all this for his latest book, Black Brain White Brain. It plunges deep into the world of racist science and demolishes its myths quickly and smartly."
    Business Day
  • "Evans debunks racist science and centuries-old beliefs that Africans are predisposed to being less intelligent than their European counterparts."
    The Herald
  • "In Black Brain, White Brain, Evans lays out the reasons he believes science does not support the idea that intelligence is determined by race, with an impressive list of scientific references and interviews to back up his rationale."
    Mail & Guardian
  • "Ripping apart theories about the link between race and intelligence Evans is able to decipher fact from fiction and illustrate how history has shaped perceptions of race."
    The Herald
  • "The title of Gavin Evans’ new work, Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? is seemingly problematic. Surely we know the answer to that question? Evidently not. Spend a few moments with this valuable and indeed welcome work and it becomes quite clear there are a lot of supposedly learned folk out there who, frankly, should know better. "
    The Times
  • "Over the course of 300 well-written and accessible pages [this book] answers its own subtitle in the negative. Intelligence is definitely not a matter of skin tone, hair texture or any of the other phenotypical features used to classify human beings into race groups."
  • "Ripping apart theories about the link between race and intelligence, Evans is able to decipher fact from fiction and illustrate how history has shaped perceptions of races. The years of thinking about race and racism have paid off through this book, in which he skilfully pulls apart scientific rhetoric and discredits historical allegations about the diminutive intelligence of “inferior” races."
    Weekend Post
  • "In Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? Evans evaluates mountains of research by both racist scientists and the mainstream researchers who have debunked the myths, in an accessible and engaging way. The book is methodical and meticulous (there are 14 pages worth of footnotes and citations) in its explanations but still reads easily. … As someone who is not a fan of the non-fiction genre, I found this a fascinating read."
    Rant and Rave Review.
  • "I am quite a fan of Gavin Evans’s and have always followed his writing – since the late 1980s. He writes very well. Here he’s given an overview of all the research on race of the last few years and I think he’s done a very good job. He’s taken complex ideas and put them in very clear language, which is very accessible and easy to read - and it’s a compelling narrative. I hope that many South Africans across the racial spectrum will read this book."
    Professor William Gumede, Radio 702
  • " extensively researched and clearly articulated work of popular scholarship."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "extensively researched and clearly articulated work of popular scholarship."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "systematically dismantles the pseudoscientific claims about racial differences that focus on purported differences in intelligence. … It is hard to imagine anyone reading these passages and not coming away convinced that such claims are spurious."
    Literary Review
  • "  In this extensively researched and clearly articulated work of popular scholarship, …Evans provides antiracists with responses to outdated, disproven, but nevertheless still-often-aired racist ideas. Evans dismantles a wide variety of claims, including that adapting to cold climates made Europeans more advanced than their African relatives, that Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than other races, and even that white men can’t jump. The main focus of the book is on various weak claims about race and intelligence: Evans ably demonstrates that the research meant to support race-based claims often confuses correlation with causation and ignores that more genetic difference exists within a given race than between members of different races."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Race cannot be discussed without appreciating the subtle effects of language, politics, habits, religion and diet, which constitute the bulk of what many perceive to be ‘racial’ difference. I read too many popular-science books that treat these factors as peripheral, as if having a grasp of genetics is all you need to debunk scientific racism. With his sensitive knowledge of place and people, Evans avoids this trap… Racists don’t care if their data are weak and theories shoddy…That said, we still need scientific arguments refuting biological race, of the sort found in Skin Deep."
  • "As Evans points out, many psychologists, particularly in the United States, …, have held onto race theory ideas….[H]e argues that IQ does not measure intelligence; it measures more abstract verbal and non-verbal reasoning, and that environment, not genes, are the determining factor. …Evans is confident that the tide of race science can be halted. If this is because he lives in the UK, it may show that environmental conditions more than genes are the crucial factor."
    Irish Times