Tuesday, February 22, 2005

# Posted 12:16 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

JEFFERSON AND HEMMINGS -- NO "DEFINITIVE" EVIDENCE: Let me apologize for using the word "definitive" in my initial post on the Jefferson paternity suit. As this excellent post by Jim Hu points out, both scientists and historians have a bad habit of exaggerating the evidence which might indicate that Jefferson was the father of Hemings youngest child.

In addition, Jim links to this website (also mentioned by reader RT) which quotes a respected historian to the effect that there were 25 male Jeffersons living in the vicinity of Monticello, all of whom had the same Y chromosome that was passed on to Hemings child. Thus, OxBlog should certainly not have suggested that TJ was the only one who had a reasonable probability of being the father. That was simply an unfounded paraphrasing of what I learned at Monticello.

Now, does this mean there is only a 1-in-25 chance that Jefferson was the father? No, not really. Some have argued that Jefferson's brother Randolph is the probable father. But TJ himself is still very much in the running.
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