Benjamin Franklin and "White and Red"

Since "larch" has some reading comprehension problems, and for anyone else who is easily confused, "Red" in the following passage does not refer to Amerindians :
Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Compexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind. ["Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind"]

"White and Red" clearly refers to ruddy NW Europeans (as opposed to sallow southern and eastern Euros). Franklin unambiguously describes American aborigines as "wholly" tawny, and acknowledges his partiality to the "Complexion of [his] Country".

On a related note, people are sometimes puzzled that Franklin counts Swedes among the "swarthy"-complected. Bear in mind that the most of the "Swedes" who settled the Delaware valley evidently were, in fact, Finns, and their descendants may be the "Swedes" Franklin refers to. While we don't usually think of Finns as swarthy, according to Coon:

The pigmentation of the Finns is as abundantly documented as are their stature and head form. Skin color, however, has been tabulated in only one study104 of 154 males, of whom 121 were found to be "white," presumably in the extreme Scandinavian sense, while the others were listed as "yellowish" or "brunet." General observation of Finns, however, and descriptions by various authors, lead to the conclusion that the skin color of these people is as a rule unusually fair, but that in many cases it lacks surface vascularity.

Update: Franklin, writing in France:
On the road yesterday we met six or seven country women in company, on horseback and astride; they were all of fair white and red complexions, but one among them was the fairest woman I ever beheld. Most of the men have good complexions, not swarthy, like those of the North of France in which I remember that, except about Abbeville, i saw few fair people.

Kari Stefansson "doubts [. . .] whether the 16 percent figure will hold up"

Such tests are surrounded in controversy. These ancestral percentages are easily confused with cultural definitions of race and ethnicity. (For example, "African ancestry" does not equal "black.") The accuracy of the tests is also debatable. Some critics charge that the sample populations used to determine which SNPs are associated with which ancestries are too narrow. Sequencing technology continues to improve, but even a small percentage of mistakes can lead to a large number of misread bases when scanning tens of billions of nucleotides. (A genome must be read several times for accuracy.) The company that did the sequencing claims that each base was read an average of 7.4 times, but Kari Stefansson, whose company assessed Watson's heritage, says he found enough errors in the public genome to have doubts about whether the 16 percent figure will hold up. For example, he says there are places where it appears that Watson has two X chromosomes, which would make him a woman. ["What does it mean to say James Watson is 16 percent African?"]

Stefansson is basically admitting he will trade scientific credibility for publicity and PC status points. (Link via a comment by "larch" at MR).

James Watson admixture claims are invalid: graphic evidence

Last month, newspapers gleefully circulated deCODE Genetics' claim "that 16% of [Watson's] genes are likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent [and] a further 9% of Watson’s genes are likely to have come from an ancestor of Asian descent." This alleged result of deCODE's analysis of Watson's DNA is absurd on its face (especially considering what is known about Watson's ancestry).

So what's going on here (ignoring, for the moment, that estimates of this sort provided [as deCODE do] without information on, e.g., confidence intervals, are meaningless)?

The images above are comparisons between an individual of European ancestry (Brian Smolenyak) and, from left to right, James Watson, Craig Venter, and South African Bantus. These images were generated by the "compare me" feature at deCODE's deCODEme website (stills are from this video; the Watson and Venter comparisons start about 15 minutes in, with the Bantu comparison appearing around 14:00) . Teal indicates "low sharing"; kelly green indicates "medium sharing"; and red indicates "high sharing". Notice anything? The video's creator did:
I was rather startled when I compared my husband's genome to that of James Watson. My initial reaction was that they must be different species. Well, I went to one of my favorite gurus, Ann Turner, who explained:

" . . . Watson's genome is very incomplete, with "too many" homozygous sites. If they were actually reading both chromosomes, there should be a number of heterozygous sites (different alleles)."

So Watson's incomplete genome accounts for the almost total lack of sharing.

Since the widely reported admixture analysis was done using a tool on the same website, there can be little doubt the same incomplete Watson data was used in that analysis. Ignoring any potential methodological flaws, bad data clearly invalidates deCODE's analysis. Stefansson surely knows this (he hinted as much to the NYT), but evidently for business and/or ideological reasons he is only too happy to spread lies.

A few more deCODEme genome comparisons are available here (details). Notice that all the comparisons (between predominantly European individuals) look a lot like the Venter comparison above, and very unlike the Watson comparison, in the ratio of green to teal.