I Learned It on Wikipedia

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

Related Post Roulette

8 Responses

  1. Aaron says:

    I’ve heard a similar claim before, only when I heard it, it was Charlemagne, not Confucius.Report

  2. Hyena says:

    This was actually a popular line of articles back when “The Da Vinci Code” came out. Here’s Steve Olson:


  3. FreeDem says:

    The Math is pretty definitive, with the number of places for an ancestor, doubling with each generation, you exceed the present world population in about 600 years, and it continues doubling. Even the slightest drift, where each generation connects at only a few hundred miles, it is not long to spread to everyone.

    Most folk misunderstand Darwin, it is not actual people that succeed or fail but traits as even if one person does not have kids they still have siblings or cousins that can pass on traits for whatever reason, many having little to do with the quality of the trait itself.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to FreeDem says:


      The math assumes we’re not all completely inbred.

      On what evidence do you make this assertion?Report

      • FreeDem in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @Jason Kuznicki, Even with some inbreeding a single outsider will add all of their background to the mix. Then the issue is not whether Confucius was your ancestor but how many times. If you are Han Chinese he would show up a lot, if isolated South American Native perhaps only once or twice. Even where there was isolation, the odd neighbor from a few miles away would still show up, and thus add their ancestry to the entire mix eventually, and so on and so on, so while the drift would be slower it would not cease to exist.

        A good example is the natives around Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, where one woman arrived who was European (and also had and died of Huntington’s disease) so now nearly everyone there has her as an ancestor and half of them are subject to this horrid disease, but through her at least they also have Charlemagne as an ancestor, while many Han Chinese may not as the time since has not been as long as for Confucius, and so the world wide spread for him may not yet be total.Report

      • FreeDem in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @Jason Kuznicki, In another example from animals, the common sail fin molly is a common fish in brackish shallows of Florida and does not breed with those even a hundred feet much less a mile away, but in every case the genetic spread is such that 50-100 miles away the fish of one place are indistinguishable from another. However, over very long distances slight differences can be seen and by the time you get to Yucatan it is a completely different species! Yet still the slow genetic drift can be seen stretched out around the Gulf Of Mexico.Report

  4. North says:

    Well genetically it’s been determined that at some point during pre-history the human race teetered on the verge of extinction with a population measuring in the thousands. So it’s entirely possible that we’re all related.
    And biblically of course we started out from a population base of 2. So definitly there’s some close relationship there.Report