July 2, 2010

Political Evolution in Tibet

Nick Wade writes in the NY Times:
Tibetans live at altitudes of 13,000 feet, breathing air that has 40 percent less oxygen than is available at sea level, yet suffer very little mountain sickness. The reason, according to a team of biologists in China, is human evolution, in what may be the most recent and fastest instance detected so far.

Comparing the genomes of Tibetans and Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in China, the biologists found that at least 30 genes had undergone evolutionary change in the Tibetans as they adapted to life on the high plateau. Tibetans and Han Chinese split apart as recently as 3,000 years ago, say the biologists, a group at the Beijing Genomics Institute led by Xin Yi and Jian Wang. The report appears in Friday’s issue of Science.
 
If confirmed, this would be the most recent known example of human evolutionary change. Until now, the most recent such change was the spread of lactose tolerance — the ability to digest milk in adulthood — among northern Europeans about 7,500 years ago. But archaeologists say that the Tibetan plateau was inhabited much earlier than 3,000 years ago and that the geneticists’ date is incorrect.

When lowlanders try to live at high altitudes, their blood thickens as the body tries to counteract the low oxygen levels by churning out more red blood cells. This overproduction of red blood cells leads to chronic mountain sickness and to lesser fertility — Han Chinese living in Tibet have three times the infant mortality of Tibetans.

... The biologists found about 30 genes in which a version rare among the Han had become common among the Tibetans. The most striking instance was a version of a gene possessed by 9 percent of Han but 87 percent of Tibetans.

Such an enormous difference indicates that the version typical among Tibetans is being strongly favored by natural selection. In other words, its owners are evidently leaving more children than those with different versions of the gene.

The gene in question is known as hypoxia-inducible factor 2-alpha, or HIF2a, and the Tibetans with the favored version have fewer red blood cells and hence less hemoglobin in their blood.

The finding explains why Tibetans do not get mountain sickness but raises the question of how they compensate for the lack of oxygen if not by making extra red blood cells.

... Genetic differences between Tibetans and Chinese are a potentially delicate issue, given Tibetan aspirations for political autonomy. Dr. Nielsen said he hoped that the Beijing team’s results would carry no political implications, given that it is cultural history and language, not genetics, that constitute a people. There is not much genetic difference between Danes and Swedes, he added, but Denmark and Sweden are separate countries.
 
Well, it's a little more complicated than that. The Chinese government is encouraging Han Chinese to flood into Tibet and demographically overwhelm Tibetans. Is this strategy doomed by the Han's genetic lack of adaptation for living and reproducing at roughly the top of Pike's Peak? Or do these new findings hold out hope to the Chinese government that they could start a program to genetically screen potential Han colonists to find the small percentage with the right gene variants to thrive and reproduce in Tibet? After all, there are a lot of Han to choose among.

50 comments:

John said...

The implications of recent evolutionary discoveries are fascinting, and indirectly supportive of HBD.

Neandertal DNA in whites and Asians, but not blacks, pushing the black/white split to over 100,000 years ago. And now, we see that significant differences can develop in as little as 3,000 years.

saltyclovis said...

I'm a Mediterranean with thalassemia (slightly deficient red cell count) Is this because I have HIF2a like the Tibetans? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese government is encouraging Han Chinese to flood into Tibet and demographically overwhelm Tibetans.

Maybe a little off-topic, but Tibetan Buddhism is very explicitly nihilistic [see e.g. Derbyshire here], and the Dalai Lama has repeatedly expressed his preference for Communism over Capitalism [see e.g. here and here],

By contrast, China is trending strongly towards private property rights [see e.g. here and here] and might soon become the world's largest Christian nation [see e.g. here and here].

Thrasymachus said...

I think your second guess is correct. Finding colonists now must be difficult, and the ones they send not doing very well. Now they can screen and select, and offer incentives with the confidence the settlers will adapt better. We can expect to have our dysgenic asses eugenically kicked sooner rather than later.

chicagopeasant said...

I was born in the alps, so I do not suffer Colorado high altitude mountain sickness. I'm good to at least 14,000 ft., even though I live in the flat lands. I am pushing the bounds of evolution thru the liberal use of vodka, the drink of my forefathers.

dearieme said...

Scientifically, why are the Han the natural comparator for the Tibetans? Are they suggesting that the Han conquered Tibet 3000 years ago, slaughtered the inhabitants, and then evolved in place?

Peter Frost said...

"Scientifically, why are the Han the natural comparator for the Tibetans?"

They share a common ancestry. The ancestral Tibetans spread south and west from northern China into the Tibetan Plateau and northern Burma.

Anonymous said...

Because Tibet and Han Chinese not only are genetically related, the cultural split can be calculated (roughly) by diversions in the Sino-Tibetan language group.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Han colonization of Tibet has indeed been failing because Han can't live up there. (Especially women during childbirth.) On the other hand, a lot of Han are marrying Tibetan women down in the lowlands, because the minority peoples are allowed more than one child.

Nanonymous said...

chicagopeasant:
I am pushing the bounds of evolution thru the liberal use of vodka, the drink of my forefathers.

Keep pushing. Vodka did wonders for Russians.

Anonymous said...

Uh, maybe what happened is that the Tibetans - with the right genes were fruitful and multiplied- and the other ones without the right genes died out.

Which doesn't mean Tibetans "evolved".

Anonymous said...

Maybe a little off-topic, but Tibetan Buddhism is very explicitly nihilistic

Define "nihilistic."

[see e.g. Derbyshire here], and the Dalai Lama has repeatedly expressed his preference for Communism over Capitalism [see e.g. here and here],

That doesn't prove anything. Prince Charles ain't such a great supporter of capitalism either, but does that make the British Monarchy "nihilist?"

By contrast, China is trending strongly towards private property rights

That may be true, but China right now is in a similar phase as Pinochet's Chile - property rights without human rights. A free country needs both.

and might soon become the world's largest Christian nation

I heard that before, in 1946.

More likely, China will become like Japan - modern, capitalistic, and proudly pagan.

Otto Kerner said...

I'm a die-hard Tibet sympathiser and advocate of independence or autonomy for that beleaguered nation, but I don't think it's quite accurate to say that the Chinese government is encouraging mass migration into Tibet. Indeed, there has been no mass migration so far. Actually, the idea that the People's Republic tends to do that is quite overblown. The only territory that has been the target of centrally-planned migration policy is Xinjiang, and that was accomplished mostly in the 50s and 60s. Even so, northern Xinjiang has been ethnically mixed ever since the Chinese slaughtered the Mongol indigenes in the 18th century. Southern Xinjiang is still mostly Uighurs. As for Inner Mongolia and Manchuria, those areas were majority-Chinese long before the PRC; we have late Qing policies to thank for that. The southwest is a whole 'nother dynamic, inhabited as it is by a complex network of tribes that have had off-and-on contact with the Chinese for 2,000 years and that have been politically dominated by China since at least the late 17th century.

I suspect the fact that the PRC had a policy at one point of sending Chinese settlers to Xinjiang probably has less to do with a desire to swamp the locals and more to do with a desire to placate the Chinese peasantry with some cheap land. This depends on the desire of Chinese people live there, because it is good land that you can farm. The same cannot be said of Tibet. In any event, Chinese people today don't to move somewhere for good farmland -- they want to move to the city for a good job.

The Dalai Lama is a very admirable person, but the statistics he has cited for the demographic assault on Tibet cannot be taken seriously. They apparently include the populations of Chinese cities such as Golmud and Xining which lie at the very edges of the traditional Tibet, counting the people who live there as settlers. I don't mean to say that there's no problem with migration into Tibet. The outer boundaries of the Tibetan world have receded a bit and, what's more, Chinese migrants are swamping the locals if you look at the capital of Lhasa by itself. My point is that little or none of this appears to be an intentional manouevre by the Chinese government. If anything, it's an unintended consequence of the money that Beijing drops onto Tibet from helicopters: poor Chinese people show up there to grab handfuls of it for themselves.

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks for the information, Otto Kerner.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't prove anything. Prince Charles ain't such a great supporter of capitalism either, but does that make the British Monarchy "nihilist?"

Odd that you would mention him, since almost everyone who has studied the matter believes that Charles has secretly converted to Islam.

[For instance, note that Charles is "Patron" of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which just so happens to employ Huma Abedin's brother, Hassan Syed Abedin.]

And I don't know how you could call Elizabeth II [ostensible Defendress of the Faith] anything other than a nihilist, given the utter destruction of her nation over which she has presided.

michael farris said...

One of the most interesting cases of genetic adaptation to extreme environments were the earliest inhabitants of extreme south america such as the Yaghan and Alacaluf.

Melykin said...

Anonymous wrote:
Uh, maybe what happened is that the Tibetans - with the right genes were fruitful and multiplied- and the other ones without the right genes died out.

Which doesn't mean Tibetans "evolved".

===========================

Yes it does. That's what "evolved" means.

Anonymous said...

"... The biologists found about 30 genes in which a version rare among the Han had become common among the Tibetans. The most striking instance was a version of a gene possessed by 9 percent of Han but 87 percent of Tibetans."



"Likewise in Cyprus, it is extremely hard to tell a Greek from a Turk. The two peoples have been on the same island for so long that they even suffer from a common sickle-cell blood disease called thalassemia."


Really astonishing examples of adaptation taking place faster than we have been told it does. I wish the NYT or WaPo would highlight the above for elite digestion.

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese government is encouraging Han Chinese to flood into Tibet and demographically overwhelm Tibetans."

The Chinese government isn't doing this. In the Chinese hinterlands there are enough energetic Han people who are willing to go to a business opportunity anywhere (in Lhasa the Han are the shopkeepers).

Tibet is 95% Tibetan. Only the small urban core of Lhasa has lots of Han people.

The region is just not economically active enough to support a lot of Han people.

Stop believing in Amnesty International bullshit all of a sudden when the subject isn't the White Man.

Anonymous said...

"China ....... and might soon become the world's largest Christian nation [see e.g. here and here]."


Thank you for those links. Wow! That would be terrific news if it unfolds like that (although I know many would disagree with me about that). If an agnostic or atheist had to live in a world dominated by either Islamicists from anwyhere or Christian Chinese, I know which option I'd suggest he'd take. Easy choice there.

Anonymous said...

People think the minorities of China, Tibetans and Turkic Muslims, are oppressed because their desires for autonomy and independence are suppressed. However, the government does a very good job of using authoritarian power to keep these outsider minorities of China safe.

Take the Urumqi riots of 2009. Hundreds, maybe 1000, poor and unemployed Uighur men from West and South Xinjiang who migrated East to Han/Hui majority Urumqi in search of jobs went on a rampage and killed over 100 Han/Hui civilians. The state controlled media made sure that the most grisly details were not reported.

The Times reported stories that were far more violent, provacative than anything that was allowed to run in the Chinese media. Take this article headline: "Search for Han Chinese sister whose family were butchered by Uighurs"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6677379.ece

The Chinese paramilitary police were deployed the morning after and blocked the huge armed crowds of Han/Hui people who gathered to get a revenge massacre.

So-called Indian democratic values weren't at work when the Gujarati government during the 2002 Godhra riots allowed a long Hindu pogrom against Muslims, after Muslim terrorists killed a train full of Hindu pilgrims, to go unabated for days.

Like most Westerners, your ideas about China and its minorities are very wrong. The Communist Party has a strong interest in protecting minorities from large scale violence. Large scale violent mob action can turn into organized action against the state.

Anonymous said...

Off topic of course, but, I was interested to see:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7658/is_200807/ai_n32289463/

"IQ and Mathematics Ability of Tibetans and Han Chinese by Lynn, Richard

...

The intelligence and mathematical ability of Tibetan and Han Chinese junior and senior secondary school and college students in Tibet was assessed by a modified version of the Standard Progressive Matrices and a mathematics test. Among junior secondary school students, the Tibetans obtained a lower IQ than the Chinese by 12.6 IQ points, and also scored lower on mathematics. Tibetan senior secondary school students and college students also obtained lower IQs and lower scores on mathematics tests than the Chinese."


Presuming this is IQ gap is hereditary and the idea that Tibetans are mostly descended from the same ancestors as the Chinese back at 1000 BC, that really sets the time frame for the evolution of high (supraEuropean) IQ among the Han (presuming the Han are the derived state on this trait).

dearieme said...

"Scientifically, why are the Han the natural comparator for the Tibetans?"

Thanks for the answers, Peter Frost and Anon.

P.S. Does this imply that the first Han to settle in Tibet killed or expelled the people who already lived there?

Anonymous said...

although I know many would disagree with me about that

Screw them, and what they think [and the horse they rode into town on].

Anonymous said...

It means nothing Steve. The Free Tibet hippies would say otherwise and claim that the Tibetan urheimat is suited only for the Tibetan master race and that the Han efforts to live there are doomed to failure, but they are clearly ignorant of statistics. An infant mortality rate three times higher than average is worrying, but three times 0.2% of all births only ends up at 0.6%. Which is where China was at during the 70's. For most of Human history, infant mortality was two orders of magnitude greater than it is today.

People underestimate the effects that modern technology and medicine can have on the environs in which people can reasonably live. Moreover, the media has reasons to up-play the "uniqueness" of Tibetans (colorful minorities), omitting the fact that they are still biologically homo sapiens and that their ancestors who did not possess this adaptation nor all of the wonders of the modern world were able to survive and procreate at high altitudes.

Also Otto, the post communist Han settlers of Xinjiang were not awarded good land. Most of the areas they settled in were uninhabited desert, but like the Israelies they made the desert bloom through work. Neither was it true that all of the settlers were willing participants. The reason they were sent was to counter-balance the Soviet threat to the area. Also your claim that the Chinese simply want farmland seems to fly in the face of urbanization statistics. More than ten million Chinese per year are leaving their villages for the cities.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you're missing the point. The Han bring ethnic diversity, which is good for the Tibetans!

NeverBelieveNewspapers said...

dearieme: Are they suggesting that the Han conquered Tibet 3000 years ago, slaughtered the inhabitants, and then evolved in place?

Good catch. "People have been living on the Tibetan Plateau for more than 15,000 years."

Anonymous said...

I agree with Otto Kerner. went to Tibet a few years ago. Most Han Chinese in Lhasa were poor uneducated peasants from Sichuan which border Tibet. In other parts of Tibet, there were hardly any Han Chinese. The economic development in the past 10, 20 years has forced many Chinese to leave their hometown to seek opportunity elsewhere. In Southern China Shenzen, Canton, the common language is not Cantonese but Mandarin, because 95% of the residents are not Cantonese. People just flock to places where they can make a better living.

Anonymous said...

People think the minorities of China, Tibetans and Turkic Muslims, are oppressed because their desires for autonomy and independence are suppressed. However, the government does a very good job of using authoritarian power to keep these outsider minorities of China safe.

Like Tito's Yugoslavia?

josh said...

The body makes more red blood cells...hmmmm. "Hello.Room to let? My name is Lance Armstrong..."

Dutch Boy said...

This is an example of genetic drift rather than evolution. No new species is being created, the genetic endowment of Tibetans has been pared down by differential survival rates in response to the environment.

Daniel said...

If you are not indigenous to a high altitude region you may wish to stay away from Tibet and other alitplano type geographies altogether. Here is a link to an alarming study, reported in Scientific American, which has not received much notice. The study holds that ascending to around 14,000 feet and above (the damage may even be incurred at lower altitudes!) can cause permanent brain damage to those not acclimated to these regions. The study has not been replicated but there is a reason for caution. Wait at least to you have made your mark and money in the world before you take these hippy backpacking sojourns, when you don't need as many functioning brain cells.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brain-cells-into-thin-air

Anonymous said...

I believe I first read about this race-altitude effect in Carlton Coon's 1962 book on race. He wrote about the Indians in the Andes. He said, as I remember, that Caucasian women couldn't bear children at those heights so the Andes remained Indian five hundred years after Columbus.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: the Tibetans obtained a lower IQ than the Chinese by 12.6 IQ points

NeverBelieveNewspapers: "People have been living on the Tibetan Plateau for more than 15,000 years."

That would tend to jibe with my ballpark rule-of-thumb which holds that it takes about 1000 years to breed a single point's worth of IQ improvement into a population.

[The aboriginal people of the Americas have average IQs which are about 25 points lower than those of the Japanese and the Koreans and the Han, and the two continents have been separated by the Bering Sea for roughly 25,000 years.]

Nanonymous said...

Dutchboy:
This is an example of genetic drift rather than evolution.

Genetic drift is part of evolution.

No new species is being created, the genetic endowment of Tibetans has been pared down by differential survival rates in response to the environment.

This is selection, not genetic drift.

WRT the quoted piece: "results would carry no political implications, given that it is cultural history and language, not genetics, that constitute a people".

This can be alternative definition of wishful thinking: Pretending that genes have no bearing on culture.

Anonymous said...

That would tend to jibe with my ballpark rule-of-thumb which holds that it takes about 1000 years to breed a single point's worth of IQ improvement into a population.

But the point is that "The Han Chinese and Tibetans are as different from one another as if the Han completely replaced the Tibetans about 3,000 years ago" (regardless of what actually happened).

Robert said...

Let's see, what possible political advantage could accrue to the Chinese government by spreading the idea that Tibet has always been inhabited by Han Chinese, in one form or another?

Steve Sailer said...

If Tibet had its independence, it would impose immigration restrictions.

Reg Cæsar said...

There is not much genetic difference between Danes and Swedes, he added, but Denmark and Sweden are separate countries.


Separate countries with an open border and a customs union, dating long before the EU, and even EEC. Scanians (skånske) are proud Swedes today, but it wasn't all that long ago they were proud Danes.

Anonymous said...

We can always tell when something truly moronic is about to spew forth on the iSteve comments board, as soon as someone (the same someone, over and over) starts ranting against "nihilism":

"Maybe a little off-topic, but Tibetan Buddhism is very explicitly nihilistic [see e.g. Derbyshire here],"

You, sir, are either a liar, or too stupid to understand the sources you are linking to. Derbyshire didn't say Tibetan Buddhism is nihilistic; he said it was atheistic - which it technically is, or most forms of Buddhism are anyway, in that there is no belief in a personal God or gods, or any belief for that matter in an impersonal God, as opposed to for instance Hinduism which is pantheist or panentheist.

Wrap this concept around your tiny pea-brain: atheism is not nihilism. Do I have to draw you a Venn diagram, or can you figure this stuff out on your own? Just because one does not believe in a God or gods, does not mean that one "believes in nothing"; there might be a very very slight overlap but the vast, vast, VAST majority of atheists are NOT nihilists.

Actual nihilists - if they could be said to exist at all, as they may SAY that they "believe in nothing" but they don't act that way - could hold a convention in a phone booth, there are so few of them. Nihilism is a self-contradicting belief and not a very useful one either. People claiming to be nihilists seldom are in actual practice.

I know simpletons like you love sweeping everyone you disapprove of into the same category, but you really need to grow up. Not believing in your personal fairytale spooks does not make one a "nihilist"; it just makes one rational and sane and someone who DISAGREES with you, not someone who "believes in nothing".

Hint: reading idiots like that loon "Spengler" over at the Asia Times, and taking what he has to say seriously, is a sure ticket to Cranksville; a Cranksville of the Zionist-Christian, crypto-Jewish, cypto-Noahide, Patriotard, Rapture Bunny variety.

Also Derbyshire is writing in APPROVAL of atheism, if you would bother to actually read what he wrote. He cites China as an example of an atheist civilization in that it was run by a Confucian elite that did not believe in God or gods. So by your "logic" Derbyshire is a "nihilist", and not a useful source for your agenda.

Try reading what you cite as your sources, for a change. You might be surprised what you might learn if you would take off your mental blinders.

Anonymous said...

We can always tell when something truly moronic is about to spew forth on the iSteve comments board, as soon as someone (the same someone, over and over) starts ranting against "nihilism":

"Maybe a little off-topic, but Tibetan Buddhism is very explicitly nihilistic [see e.g. Derbyshire here],"

You, sir, are either a liar, or too stupid to understand the sources you are linking to. Derbyshire didn't say Tibetan Buddhism is nihilistic; he said it was atheistic - which it technically is, or most forms of Buddhism are anyway, in that there is no belief in a personal God or gods, or any belief for that matter in an impersonal God, as opposed to for instance Hinduism which is pantheist or panentheist.

Wrap this concept around your tiny pea-brain: atheism is not nihilism. Do I have to draw you a Venn diagram, or can you figure this stuff out on your own? Just because one does not believe in a God or gods, does not mean that one "believes in nothing"; there might be a very very slight overlap but the vast, vast, VAST majority of atheists are NOT nihilists.

Actual nihilists - if they could be said to exist at all, as they may SAY that they "believe in nothing" but they don't act that way - could hold a convention in a phone booth, there are so few of them. Nihilism is a self-contradicting belief and not a very useful one either. People claiming to be nihilists seldom are in actual practice.

I know simpletons like you love sweeping everyone you disapprove of into the same category, but you really need to grow up. Not believing in your personal fairytale spooks does not make one a "nihilist"; it just makes one rational and sane and someone who DISAGREES with you, not someone who "believes in nothing".

Hint: reading idiots like that loon "Spengler" over at the Asia Times, and taking what he has to say seriously, is a sure ticket to Cranksville; a Cranksville of the Zionist-Christian, crypto-Jewish, cypto-Noahide, Patriotard, Rapture Bunny variety.

Also Derbyshire is writing in APPROVAL of atheism, if you would bother to actually read what he wrote. He cites China as an example of an atheist civilization in that it was run by a Confucian elite that did not believe in God or gods. So by your "logic" Derbyshire is a "nihilist", and not a useful source for your agenda.

Try reading what you cite as your sources, for a change. You might be surprised what you might learn if you would take off your mental blinders.

Truth said...

"We can always tell when something truly moronic is about to spew forth on the iSteve comments board,...
You, sir, are either a liar, or too stupid to understand the sources you are linking to. Derbyshire didn't say Tibetan Buddhism is nihilistic;"


It is tiresome, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"If Tibet had its independence, it would impose immigration restrictions."

Like Bhutan, a small economy built on selling hydro power, I don't think an independent Tibet would have much going on to draw in immigrants.

Otto Kerner said...

"If Tibet had its independence, it would impose immigration restrictions."

FnA right, they would. It's ironic that most Free Tibet people are liberals and therefore are presumably mostly against immigration restrictions in the U.S. The best one can say in their defense is that quanititatively, Tibet is in a very different position than we are: perhaps these Tibet hippies are consistently in favour of immigration restrictions for small, backward countries.

Dutch Boy said...

Dear Nanonymous: genetic drift is a feature of species isolation (in a place, say, like the Himalayas). It involves a loss of genetic information as the species adapts to the isolated environment. The best you could get out of it would be a race or sub-species (such as we observe with humans). Evolution of a new species requires the creation of new genetic information which isolation and genetic drift do not provide.

Otto Kerner said...

"Like Bhutan, a small economy built on selling hydro power, I don't think an independent Tibet would have much going on to draw in immigrants."

That's an ironic example, since Bhutan has its own controversy regarding the expulsion of ethnic Nepalis. Per Wikipedia, "Beginning in 1985 Bhutan expelled nearly 100,000 ethnic Nepalis, the status of whom has been a source of ongoing debate; many claim to be descended from 19th and early 20th century Nepali immigrants, whereas the government of Bhutan claims they are recent illegal immigrants." Note that Bhutan's total population may be less than 1 million even today, so that would have been a very large proportion of their population.

Note also that the neighboring kingdom of Sikkim (now a state of India) once had a culturally and linguistically related population, prior to being swamped by Nepali settlers in the late 19th century.

asdfasdfsadf said...

Tibet is a huge chunk of land, so I suppose the Chinese can settle in the lower parts.

Nanonymous said...

Evolution of a new species requires the creation of new genetic information which isolation and genetic drift do not provide.

Nonsense. New genetic information is new alleles/mutations. They can get fixed. Or not. What exactly happens in any particular case is determined by an interplay of random drift and selection. The relative importance of these two main mechanisms of evolution can vary depending on many things (population size is only one of them).

Anonymous said...

So by your "logic" Derbyshire is a "nihilist", and not a useful source for your agenda.

Of course Derbyshire is a nihilist - I [and countless others] have sat here for the last ten years watching his slow but inexorable slide into hopelessness & despair [and, more recently, a sort of aggressively propagandistic cynicism of purposelessness].

His nihilism is so severe now that I can't even stand to exchange emails with him anymore.

rob said...

This is an example of genetic drift rather than evolution. No new species is being created, the genetic endowment of Tibetans has been pared down by differential survival rates in response to the environment.

genetic drift is a feature of species isolation (in a place, say, like the Himalayas). It involves a loss of genetic information as the species adapts to the isolated environment. The best you could get out of it would be a race or sub-species (such as we observe with humans).
Genetic drift is when allele frequency changes independently of selection. Drift is not directional. The Tibetans were under directional selection. That's the exact opposite of drift. One would expect the selection to make the Tibetans function better at high altitudes by changes in multiple things that all lead to the same outcome. One would expect drift to change them randomly.

Evolution of a new species requires the creation of new genetic information which isolation and genetic drift do not provide.

The Tibetans are not a new species: they are a population of humans adapted to high altitude. Isolation, drift, (and selection!!! selection is the biggy) don't create new genetic information. Mutation creates new genetic "information." Variation and selection. Why is this so hard for creationists to understand?