Racialist arguments are tricky. Like most cons, there are underlying bits of accuracy, even though they’re strung together with fuzzy thinking.

One of the shibboleths of modern racial paganism is a general confusion among categories of identity. One that particularly stands out for me is the way some of the them extrapolate from tribe to race and nation.

Saying, “There really was a Proto-Indo-European culture” hides several problems. Yes, there was a PIE culture. That’s not really in dispute. But we don’t have physical remains. We can’t. By definition. Scholars have not yet reached general agreement about who the PIEs were. Maybe a group in modern Turkey; maybe a group in modern Russia.

Along the same lines it’s not possible to assign yDNA haplogroups to particular ethnicities, whether ancient or modern. New mutations in the y chromosome would have appeared in men who lived in heterogeneous cultures. Within relatively few generations the male line descendants of a man with a new mutation would almost certainly be spread among different groups.

Then too, it’s not possible to use “Proto-Indo-European” as a proxy for “Indo-European.” The first is a hypothetical ancient culture that spoke the ancestral language from which the Indo-European languages descend. The second are the speakers of a group of modern, related languages.

No doubt there are cultural and genetic continuities. Many modern speakers of Indo-European languages will have connections to the original Proto-Indo-Europeans to a greater or lesser degree. That’s not the piece that’s in dispute. But those connections are many thousands of years old, funneled through extensive cultural and genetic mixing.

Nevertheless, it’s sloppy thinking to suppose you can grab some random white guy with European ancestry, and find an essential Indo-European racial identity. It doesn’t work that way.

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How Long Do You Live After Death?

Researchers at NYU’s Langone Medical Center have conducted a study of patients who have experienced near-death experiences, and the results are intriguing and chilling. Dr. Sam Parnia, the director of resuscitation research at NYU Langone, joins CBSN to discuss the findings of this mind bending study.

People who have died, who shouldn’t be able to remember anything, sometimes come back with memories. They see and hear things after the moment of death. Does that mean consciousness survives death? That’s a very controversial interpretation.