Archives for posts with tag: race – it’s not just a social construct anymore

and, incidently, sex. from The Ancestor’s Tale — h/t to the person who linked to this on twitter the other evening. i forgot who it was! (*^_^*) (sorry!) [pgs. 406-408 -- links added by me]:

“It is genuinely true that, if you measure the total variation in the human species and then partition it into a between-race component and a within-race component, the between-race component is a very small fraction of the total. Most of the variation among humans can be found within races as well as between them. Only a small admixture of extra variation distinguishes races from each other. That is all correct. What is not correct is the inference that race is therefore a meaningless concept. This point has been clearly made by the distinguished Cambridge geneticist A. W. F. Edwards in a recent paper called ‘Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy’. R. C. Lewontin is an equally distinguished Cambridge (Mass.) geneticist, known for the strength of his political convictions and his weakness for dragging them into science at every possible opportunity. Lewontin’s view of race has become near-universal orthodoxy in scientific circles. He wrote, in a famous paper of 1972:

“‘It is clear that our perception of relatively large differences between human races and subgroups, as compared to the variation within these groups, is indeed a biased perception and that, based on randomly chosen genetic differences, human races and populations are remarkably similar to each other, with the largest part by far of human variation being accounted for by the differences between individuals.’

“This is, of course, exactly the point I accepted above, not surprisingly since what I wrote was largely based on Lewontin. But see how Lewontin goes on:

“‘Human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. Since such racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance either, no justification can be offered for its continuance.’

“We can all happily aggree that human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. That is one reason why I object to ticking boxes in forms and why I object to positive discrimination in job selection. But that doesn’t mean that race is of ‘virutally no genetic or taxonomic significance’. This is Edwards’s point, and he reasons as follows. However small the racial partition of the total variation may be, if such racial characteristics as there are are highly correlated with other racial characteristics, they are by definition informative, and therefore of taxonomic significance.

“Informative mean something quite precise. An informative statement is one that tells you something you didn’t know before. The information content of a statement is measured as reduction in prior uncertainly. Reduction in prior uncertainty, in turn, is measured as a change in probabilities…. If I tell you Evelyn is male, you immediately know a whole lot of things about him. Your prior uncertainty about the shape of his genitals is reduced (though not obliterated). You now know facts you didn’t know before about his chromosomes, his hormones and other aspects of his biochemistry, and there is a quantitative reduction in your prior uncertainty about the depth of his voice, and the distribution of his facial hair and of his body fat and musculature….

“Now to the question of race. What if I tell you Suzy is Chinese, how much is your prior uncertainty reduced? You now are pretty certain that her hair is straight and black (or was black), that her eyes have an epicanthic fold, and one or two other things about her. If I tell you Colin is ‘black’ this does not, as we have seen, tell you he is black. [he might be mixed race.-h.chick] Nevertheless, it is clearly not uninformative. The high inter-observer correlation suggests that there is a constellation of characteristics that most people recognise, such that the statement ‘Colin is black’ really does reduce prior uncertaintly about Colin. It works the other way around to some extent. If I tell you Carl is an Olympic sprinting champion, your prior uncertainty about his ‘race’ is, as a matter of statistical fact, reduced. Indeed, you can have a fairly confident bet that he is ‘black’.”

of course, don’t forget: there’s more to human biodiversity than just racial differences! see: most of this blog.

see also: Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy @wikipedia.

(note: comments do not require an email. ancestor’s tail?)

h. allen orr thinks that nicholas wade should’ve tread more carefully in A Troublesome Inheritance:

“There is, however, another distinction that Wade doesn’t seem to appreciate at all. He’s right that political sensitivities shouldn’t distort scientific truth: the facts are the facts. But as Pinker notes, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be particularly careful when discussing race. History has shown that this is an especially dangerous subject, one that has resulted in enormous abuses. There is nothing unscientific about recognizing this and treading carefully.”

sometimes i think i must’ve read a different version of the book than all these reviewers. here’s an excerpt [kindle edition pgs. 71-72]:

“Races are a way station on the path through which evolution generates new species. The environment keeps changing, and organisms will perish unless they adapt. In the course of adaptation, different variations of a species will emerge in conditions where the species faces different challenges. These variations, or races, are fluid, not fixed. If the selective pressure that brought them into being should disappear, they will merge back into the general gene pool. Or, if a race should cease to interbreed with its neighbors through the emergence of some barrier to reproduction, it may eventually become a separate species.

“People have not been granted an exemption from this process. If human differentiation were to continue at the same pace as that of the past 50,000 years, one or more of today’s races might in the distant future develop into a different species. But the forces of differentiation seem now to have reversed course due to increased migration, travel and intermarriage.

“Races develop within a species and easily merge back into it. All human races, so far as is known, have the same set of genes. But each gene comes in a set of different flavors or alternative forms, known to geneticists as alleles. One might suppose that races differ in having different alleles of various genes. But, though a handful of such racially defining alleles do exist, the basis of race rests largely on something even slighter, a difference in the relative commonness, or frequency, of alleles, a situation discussed further in the next chapter.

“The frequency of each allele of a gene changes from one generation to the next, depending on the chance of which parent’s allele is inherited and whether the allele is favored by natural selection. Races are therefore quite dynamic, because the allele frequencies on which they depend are shifting all the time. A good description is provided by the historian Winthrop Jordan in his history of the historical origins of racism in the United States. ‘It is now clear,’ he writes, ‘that mankind is a single biological species; that races are neither discrete nor stable units but rather that they are plastic, changing, integral parts of a whole that is itself changing. It is clear, furthermore, that races are best studied as products of a process; and, finally, that racial differences involve the relative frequency of genes and characteristics rather than absolute and mutually exclusive distinctions.'”

i dunno, but that seems pretty careful — and reasonable — to me. i guess maybe wade could’ve been even more careful — and not publish the book at all!

also, previously: human biodiversity, racism, eugenics, and genocide

(note: comments do not require an email. treading carefully.)

originally posted on 05/06. latest update on 05/20 @4:40 p.m. (pdt). ten new links + one tweet from today at bottom of first section. click here to go directly to them.
_____

i thought i’d compile a festival of links to reviews/commentaries/blogposts/tweets/etc. related to nicholas wade‘s new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. i’ll keep adding to this list as the week goes forward. (keep in mind, though, that’s there’s more to human biodiversity than just racial differences…):

- “Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle.” – nicholas wade in A Troublesome Inheritance.

- quote from nicholas wade from this interview: “I think it would be only to the good if we understood what part of our behavior had a genetic component, ’cause then we could focus our efforts, to the extent it might be relevant, on the remedial efforts that would reduce inequities.”

- read an excerpt at penguin books: New Nonfiction: A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History by Nicholas Wade.

- The Liberal Creationists from steve sailer – “To Wade, race isn’t just skin deep. In fact, he finds the visual differences between races less significant than the behavioral. Evolution’s strategy for adapting to radically different environments is to ‘keep the human body much the same but change the social behavior….’ Wade observes: ‘African populations have not gone through the same Malthusian wringer that shaped the behavior of the European and East Asian populations. Between 1200 and 1800, the English, adapting to the harsh pressures of an intense agrarian economy, became less violent, more literate and more willing to save for the future. In Africa, population pressure has long been much lower than in Europe and Asia….’ European cultures tried to keep population below the famine level by inculcating the sexual restraint and romantic choosiness conducive to relatively late marriages, while East Asian cultures cultivated grinding work ethics. In most of tropical Africa, however, the infectious disease burden was so lethal that dense populations could not be achieved due to epidemics. So the population could not form cities, nor even fully farm the countryside. The big danger in Africa was not Malthusian overpopulation, but underpopulation, which may account for how sexualized their cultures are. Not surprisingly, each continent’s culture seems to have bred people befitting its environment, and their traits live on in their descendants in modern America.”

- see also Charles Murray on Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” and “A Couple of Wild-Eyed Wackos: Me and the NYT” from steve sailer.

- John Derbyshire On Nicholas Wade’s A TROUBLESOME INHERITANCE – A Small, But Significant, Step For Race Realism“In his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, scheduled for publication May 6th, Wade raises high the banner of race realism and charges head-on into the massed ranks of the SSSM. He states his major premise up front, on page two: ‘New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.’ Those last four words are repeated at intervals throughout the narrative. They are, as it were, the keynote of the book; Wade returns to them many times to anchor his observations — and some speculations — on the history and development of human societies.”

- A Troublesome Inheritance from greg cochran – “Nicholas Wade has a new book out, on the reality of human biological differences. Not just differences in color, but differences in traits that have social consequences, such as personality and cognition. The existence of such differences is obvious enough, and there’s nothing theoretically difficult about them – natural selection naturally takes a different course in different circumstances, nor does it take very long to generate differences of the kind and magnitude we see around us…. He thinks that different populations have different distributions of personality traits (a result of different selection pressures), and that a social institution that comes easily to some groups may not come easily, maybe not at all, to other populations, even when there are big payoffs and vigorous attempts. That is certainly what the world looks like. He thinks that this failure-to-copy is significantly influenced by genetic differences, and of course that’s very likely – although we don’t know a lot about the genetic basis of such traits at this time. IQ differences must also play a part in failure-to-copy.”

- Darwin’s Unexploded Bomb from ed west“This book’s ideas are indeed fraught but beyond carefully explaining the dangers of misusing science, the consequences are not for scientists to ponder, but rather lawmakers and others of influence; they can choose either to consider the evidence and make things work as best as they can, using what knowledge we have, or they can continue to ignore the ticking of Darwin’s unexploded bomb, punishing anyone who raises the subject. This hostility faced by those with troublesome ideas is, of course, itself explained by evolution. As Wade mentions earlier on, we are social creatures, and we have evolved behaviours to live as such: ‘One is a tendency to criticise, and if necessary punish, those who do not follow the agreed norms.’ That is partly why, as a species, we find it easier to talk about how the world should be, rather than how it is.”

- Book Review: ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ by Nicholas Wade from charles murray – “To date, studies of Caucasians, Asians and sub-Saharan Africans have found that of the hundreds of genetic regions under selection, about 75% to 80% are under selection in only one race. We also know that the genes in these regions affect more than cosmetic variations in appearance. Some of them involve brain function, which in turn could be implicated in a cascade of effects. ‘What these genes do within the brain is largely unknown,’ Mr. Wade writes. ‘But the findings establish the obvious truth that brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene….’ As the story is untangled, it will also become obvious how inappropriate it is to talk in terms of the ‘inferiority’ or ‘superiority’ of groups. Consider, for example, the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. What are the ideal points on these continua? They will differ depending on whether you’re looking for the paragon of, say, a parent or an entrepreneur. And the Big Five only begin to tap the dozens of ways in which human traits express themselves. Individual human beings are complicated bundles of talents, proclivities, strengths and flaws that interact to produce unexpected and even internally contradictory results. The statistical tendencies (and they will be only tendencies) that differentiate groups of humans will be just as impossible to add up as the qualities of an individual. *Vive les différences*.”

- Nicholas Wade Takes on the Regime from jared taylor – “The physical differences we see in human groups reflect separate evolutionary paths that led to unmistakably biological differences. Hunter-gatherers left Africa about 50,000 years ago, and once they wandered into all of earth’s habitable spaces, they stayed put and bred with their neighbors. DNA testing shows there was essentially no crossing until the modern era. For tens of thousands of years, independently breeding populations developed distinct genetic patterns. Mr. Wade explains that the physical traits of populations are dramatically and consistently different even though there are very few alleles, or gene variants, that occur exclusively in only one group. This is because most traits are influenced by many genes. Norwegians, for example, need have only a *preponderance* of Norwegian-style alleles in their genes in order to give birth exclusively to Norwegians — and never to Malays or Pakistanis. As Mr. Wade puts it, ‘The fact that genes work in combination explains how there can be so much variation in the human population and yet so few fixed differences between populations….’ Mr. Wade’s boldest assertion: that different races behave differently because they are genetically different and genetic differences give rise to differences in social institutions. He is at pains to argue that the genetic differences are small — so small that they are almost undetectable at the individual level — but that once a group has been nudged even slightly in a particular genetic direction it may be receptive to institutions that completely change the nature of society. Mr. Wade cites one study that estimates fully 14 percent of the human genome has been under evolutionary pressure since the races separated, and that substantial differences are therefore inevitable…. Mr. Wade makes the crucial point that what is known as ‘national character’ is undoubtedly genetic, and that is why group behavior is consistent. Jews prosper everywhere they go. So do overseas Chinese. If the Malays and Indonesians envy the success of their Chinese minorities, why don’t they just copy their good habits? Mr. Wade argues that they can’t; they don’t have the genetic predisposition to act Chinese.”

- see also A Troublesome Inheritance from jared taylor.

- american anthropological association webinar with nicholas wade and anthropologist agustin fuentes discussing the new book/topic. (i haven’t listened to this yet.)

- Race Is Real. What Does that Mean for Society? from robert verbruggen @real clear science – “[A]s Wade notes, these small differences add up quickly, and scientists can use these ‘ancestry informative’ DNA markers to easily sort humans into population clusters — clusters that correspond almost perfectly to the casual classifications people have used since well before the genetic age. One can debate how broadly or narrowly to define the clusters — just how many races are there? — but it’s undeniable that human populations exhibit distinctive genetic patterns. Racial groupings are human decisions, and so is the social importance we attach to those groupings. But race, more broadly construed, is a feature of humanity itself. The big question is what these genes do — when natural selection acted, what exactly was being selected for? Researchers have figured some of it out; genetic differences account for racial differences in skin tone, resistance to malaria, etc. But for many genes that have apparently been subject to recent natural selection, all we have are vague indications of their function. Wade writes that these genes affect ‘fertilization and reproduction,’ ‘skeletal development,’ and ‘brain function’ — and no, ‘brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection.’ That’s what we know to a reasonable degree of certainty. Anything further requires speculation, and Wade boldly goes there.”

- The Trouble with Inheritance: A Review of Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance from bryce laliberte – “In the latter half he elaborates on the essential thesis that ‘Follow an institution all the way down, and beneath thick layers of culture, it is built on instinctual human behaviors.’ This at once acknowledges the role of society in developing the individual, but just like how a structure depends on its material, the society you will have depends in great part on the social material. The distribution of traits in a population cannot be discounted when inquiring as to the cause of social outcomes. Some people are rich, some people are poor, and many of them just are innately that way. The naïve view of any average person who lived from the 19th century or before that some people were just different has turned out to be true. This is important because it is *despite* an intensive and powerful investment by Western society in nearly all of the endeavors in the 20th century which were predicated on the notion that all peoples everywhere were essentially the same.”

- Get ready for Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” @savage minds – “Nicholas Wade’s new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, drops on Amazon today. Wade, a science writer for the New York Times, has been critical of cultural anthropology in the past — and the feeling has pretty much been mutual. Inheritance is set to create a ground swell of indignation in the anthropological community because it is one of the most biologically reductionist writings to come out in years. The AAA has, to its credit, been on top of the issue and has hosted a showdown between Wade and Augustín Fuentes. Expect more coverage from us, including a couple of guest blogs, in the next couple of months…. As this moves forward I hope people punch above the belt. It shouldn’t be hard, since Wade is such an easy target. – oohhh-kay. =/

- Race, Genetics, And Nicholas Wade from rod dreher.

- T-shirt slogans #9 @outside in. (~_^)

- Genetic disorder from anthony daniels (this one, NOT this one!) – “Nicholas Wade, the science editor of The New York Times, has written a book that will no doubt win him many brickbats. In it, he argues that race is a perfectly valid scientific concept and one that is supported by the latest genetic science. It is no criticism of race as a biological concept, he says, that races have no clear boundaries and that gradations between them obviously exist, for if clear boundaries existed and the races could not interbreed, they would be different species, not races. A race is a population of a single species with a cluster of genetic variants, the presence of none of which is either a necessary or a sufficient condition of being a member of that race, but which nevertheless in aggregate gives that population distinguishing characteristics. According to the author, there are five basic races of man, as revealed by the clustering of genetic variants: African, Caucasian (including Semitic and South Asian), East Asian, Amerindian, and Australian. There are also sub-variants within the races: for example Ashkenazi Jews, who are Caucasians but have managed for cultural reasons to maintain a genetic profile of their own. Furthermore, he says that race is of some explanatory value in world history, for the races evolved under different environmental pressures, and it is reasonable to suppose that these pressures gave rise to different psychological, as well as physical, characteristics. For example, the hypotheses that Chinese geography (unlike European) favored the emergence of a centralized state; that this necessitated the development of a powerful bureaucracy; that the kind of person who flourishes economically in such a bureaucracy, more of whose children survive to pass on their genes, is intelligent but conformist; and that therefore the Chinese are genetically more intelligent but by nature more conformist than Europeans. In point of scientific inventiveness, the effect of their conformism more than cancels out that of their superior IQ, which is why East Asian societies are still not scientific powerhouses. Fourteen percent of the human genome, says the author, has been subject to ‘evolution that has been recent, copious, and regional’ — not enough to divide humanity into species, but enough to make physical and mental differences between populations. In view of the potentially explosive nature of these claims, the author is at pains to point out that no policy prescription follows from them, certainly not exploitation or genocide of one race by another. Political equality is an ethical or metaphysical concept, not one that relies for its validity on an empirical fact other than that mankind is a single species. That the concept of race has been used to justify the most hideous of crimes should no more inhibit us from examining it dispassionately as a biological and historical reality than the fact that economic egalitarianism has been used to justify crimes just as hideous should inhibit us from examining the effects of modern income distribution.”

- see also this tweet from dr. james thompson and this one from outsideness.

- Nicholas Wade Writes Again – And Again Anthropology Pays Attention from tony waters @ethnography.com – “Nicholas Wade has a new book out, and the Anthropologists are sharpening their indignation — complaining because he treads on their private territory. Sorry, anthro, you are not medicine or law, and do not have a monopoly over who practices what you preach. Let it go. Sometimes I think that the entire discipline is beset by a big-time inferiority complex. The solution? Simply do good anthropology, and more importantly, promote good anthropology…. Strawmen. Are. Not. Worth. Class. Time. Of. Which. There. Is. Too Little.”

- see also Nicholas Wade, Jared Diamond and Anthropology from tony waters.

- The Paradox of Racism“Why the new book by the New York Times’ Nicholas Wade is both plausible and preposterous.” – from andrew gelman“Wade’s argument has three parts: First, along with the divergence of physical traits such as skin color and types of earwax, racial groups have genetically evolved to differ in cognitive traits such as intelligence and creativity. Second, Wade argues that ‘minor differences, for the most part invisible in an individual, have major consequences at the level of a society.’ Third, he writes that his views are uncomfortable truths that have been suppressed by a left-wing social-science establishment…. Wade is clearly intelligent and thoughtful, and his book is informed by the latest research in genetics. His explanations seem to me simultaneously plausible and preposterous: plausible in that they snap into place to explain the world as it currently is, preposterous in that I think if he were writing in other time periods, he could come up with similarly plausible, but completely different, stories. As a statistician and political scientist, I see naivete in Wade’s quickness to assume a genetic association for any change in social behavior…. [i'm sure he doesn't. - h.chick] I can’t say that Wade’s theories are wrong. As noted above, racial explanations of *current* social and economic inequality are compelling, in part because it is always natural to attribute individuals’ successes and failures to their individual traits, and to attribute the successes and failures of larger societies to group characteristics. And genes provide a mechanism that supplies a particularly flexible set of explanations when linked to culture…. But I think the themes of a book like Wade’s are necessarily contingent both on the era when it is written and the audience to which it is addressed…. The racial explanation tuned to our social group and our time period will look oh so reasonable, while all the others will just look silly, like either historical relics or desperate attempts to shore up the status quo…. I feel awkward giving this conclusion because it seems so *relativistic*, it makes me feel like such a *social scientist*. And I certainly don’t want to say that all racial arguments are equally valid. The theories of the book under discussion, for example, seem much more plausible than various crude racisms of the past. But that returns us to the paradox that today’s racism seems plausible in comparison to what came before. At any given time, racial explanations are a convenient and natural way to explain social economic inequality. Then, as relations between and within societies change, the racial explanations change alongside. The terms of race are simply too flexible given the limited information we have regarding the connections between genes and behavior.”

- First Mainstream Notice of ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ – jayman’s response to gelman’s review.

- nicholas wade, theories, and racism – my response to gelman’s review.

- Gelman on “A Troublesome Inheritance” in Slate – steve sailer on gelman’s review.

- Nicholas Wade and the paradox of racism – more (nonsense) from andrew gelman. – “One thing that the economists and the racists can agree on, though, is to hate on anthropology. So there should be some room for common ground here.” – “and the racists.” because nicholas wade is a racist. NOT!

- What I’ve Been Reading from ross douthat – “Nicholas Wade, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.’ The Times’ science correspondent’s argument for the reality and importance of race is both less and more controversial than I expected going in: Less because my colleague treads very carefully around the black-white-Asian I.Q. gap debate, more because he then embarks on some very wide-ranging and (as he acknowledges) speculative theorizing about genes, race, and cross-civilizational differences. I found the less-speculative first half of the book extremely persuasive, but await dissenting takes. Most of the reviews so far have come from the political right: Charles Murray raves, Robert VerBruggen has some anxieties; Anthony Daniels critiques. I would very much like to read a Ta-Nehisi Coates review.”

- Nicholas Wade’s *A Troublesome Inheritance* from tyler cowen – “Overall I was disappointed by my read of this book and I write that as someone who very much has liked Wade’s NYT pieces on similar topics. I appreciated the honesty and courage of the work, but I felt Wade needed to have pushed deeper in book-length form.”

- What I’m Reading from arnold kling – “It’s the book that you’re *not* supposed to read. A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade.”

- Nicholas Wade interview: A Troublesome Inheritance @steve hsu’s blog. steve offers a couple of brief thoughts, too.

- An interview with Nicholas Wade @american scientist – “‘[I]t’s bizarre, when you think of it, that people who wish to understand psychology in evolutionary terms need to call themselves “evolutionary psychologists.” It’s as if you have one group of chemists who believe in the table of elements and another that didn’t — the first don’t have to call themselves Mendeleevian chemists.'”

- Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance': race, genes and success – an interview @cbc radio. – “Over the last few decades a consensus has been reached over the controversial topic of race. Mapping the genome has taught us that genetically, humans are 99.9 percent identical and that there is no biological difference between races. But a new book, called A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, reopens that debate. In it, author Nicholas Wade argues there is a biological base for race, and speculates there is a genetic reason why some races are more successful than others. Brent speaks with Nicholas Wade about his controversial ideas, and with a critic of the book, Stanford medical anthropologist Duana Fullwiley.” (haven’t listened to this yet.)

- What Science Says About Race and Genetics in Time from nicholas wade – “Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not of science. That said, it is hard to see anything in the new understanding of race that gives ammunition to racists. The reverse is the case. Exploration of the genome has shown that all humans, whatever their race, share the same set of genes. Each gene exists in a variety of alternative forms known as alleles, so one might suppose that races have distinguishing alleles, but even this is not the case. A few alleles have highly skewed distributions but these do not suffice to explain the difference between races. The difference between races seems to rest on the subtle matter of relative allele frequencies. The overwhelming verdict of the genome is to declare the basic unity of humankind.”

- What if race is more than a social construct? from margaret wente (h/t 420blazeitfgt!) – “Part of his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is a summary of new findings in genetic science, and part of it is highly speculative. All of it is bound to be deeply unpopular among social scientists, because it challenges their entrenched belief that race is nothing more than a social construct. The wide diversity in human societies around the world can be explained entirely by culture, they insist. We’re all the same under the skin. Except we’re not quite. Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, evidence of subtle genetic differences has been piling up. As our ancestors branched out of Africa, different groups of people evolved in slightly different ways to adapt to local conditions. The most successful of those people passed on their adaptations to their offspring. The variations in human DNA correspond quite precisely to what we think of as the major races. They are associated not just with differences in hair and skin colour, but also with a range of other physical and (probably) behavioural traits. Another astonishing fact is that 14 per cent of the human genome has been under natural selection strong enough to be detectable. The evidence also shows that evolution can proceed remarkably quickly, and has never stopped.”

- Humans are not all the same under the skin from matt ridley (h/t chris!) – “For the first half of the last century, science generally exaggerated stereotypes of racial difference in behaviour and assumed that they were innate and immutable. For the second half, science generally asserted that there were no differences — save the obvious, visible ones — and used this argument to combat prejudice. Yet that second premise is becoming increasingly untenable in the genomic era as more details emerge of human genetic diversity.” – behind paywall.

- Genetic theory of West’s rise is denounced as racist (h/t chris!) – “A book claiming that genetics lies behind the emergence of Europe and parts of Asia as economic powerhouses has been widely criticised by scientists.” — really? i wonder where? there are hardly any reviews of it out there at all, afaik. article behind paywall.

- Nicholas Wade Interview – A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History from luke ford (h/t steve sailer!) – “‘I think the biggest challenge was that I had so few scientific sources to guide me in interpretation because this is an area where academics cannot tread for fear of being accused of racism and careers destroyed. All of the coverage of this topic in the scientific literature has the basic facts but few people draw them together. So I found the lack of guidance difficult, even more so when I came to the second part of the book. Historians and economics just never consider human evolution as a variable. They just assume all of the populations they are dealing with are interchangeable and that natural selection never need be an explanation to even consider. So there again, there was no guidance for someone trying to figure out the possible consequences of the fact that human evolution has continued and has never come to a stop.'”

- Academic racism has a K=N problem from noah smith. make sure to read jayman’s response there!

- The hbd delusion from p.z. myers – “I considered reading his book, just to tear it up, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort, from the reviews — it’s just another collection of anecdotes dressed up with Wade’s sloppy understanding of genes.”

- Human Biodiversity Supports the Natural Right to Equal Liberty from larry arnhart – “Modern social scientists are afraid of such a Darwinian social science because they are afraid that it promotes two great evils — exism and racism. Wade’s book is part of a new intellectual movement to allay this fear by arguing that a Darwinian science of sexual and racial differences is both scientifically grounded and morally defensible, and that it does not support sexism or racism. I would also argue that this Darwinian science of human nature and human diversity sustains the classical liberal principle that all human beings have a natural right to equal liberty.” – hear, hear!

- Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology @biopolitical times – “Wade insists that his intent is absolutely not racist: ‘I think it’s best to say that racism is wrong as a matter of principle, as a matter of absolute principle, and that way you don’t care what the science says, because you’re not going to change your mind about your principles.'” – exactly!

- Off-Topic Comments, and Nick Wade’s Book from razib (emphases from razib, too) – Human populations vary, and that variation matters. Human populations have specific historical backgrounds, and phylogenetics can capture that history through methods of inference. Moving from phylogenetics to population genetics, there is the question about whether population-genetic dynamics such as migration, drift, mutation, and selection have resulted in significant variation across human populations. Yes, they have. Human populations have significant functional differences which track regional adaptation, and also correlate to an extent with racial clusters, and phylogenetic history. The details here are empirical, and you need to take into account what we’re learning about human demographic history to make sense of how and when adaptation occurred. This where the controversial aspects of Wade’s book come in, because he argues that there are behavioral differences across populations due to distinctive evolutionary histories. Complex traits like behavior are often subject to numerous upstream causal variations, so untying the knot is not easy. But I don’t think it’s impossible, and I suspect there are indeed behavioral differences between populations due to genetic differences between populations. The problem is that we haven’t really done enough research in this area to talk about the genetics of it in anything more than a speculative fashion, and complex traits which are less controversial and more tractable than behavior or cognition, such as height, have already presented difficulties for researchers despite extensive devotion of resources.” – right. but, afaics, there’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as one is clear that it is speculation — and wade is very clear about that in the book.

- The Genes Made Us Do It from jonathan marks“[I]n concert with that understanding of human evolution, immigrant studies show that people can fully adopt any different way of life in a generation or two. Names change, accents disappear and economic advancement over time seems to make the newcomers look just a bit less alien and threatening.”

- More “Misdreavus” Wisdom: ala A Troublesome Inheritance – comments on marks’ above review from both misdreavus and jayman.

- One person hates Nicholas Wade from steve sailer from 2010. (h/t hbd bibliography!)

- Human Biodiversity (2): The Genetic Evolution of Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues? from larry arnhart. – “Wade admits that ‘because the genes underlying social behavior are for the most part unknown, the parallel and independent evolution of such genes in the various races cannot be demonstrated’ (85). Throughout Wade’s book, he concedes that he cannot prove his case because genetic knowledge is too limited (see, for example, pages 4, 15, 40-41, 51-54, 56-57, 58, 61, 64, 105-106, 127, 172, 185, 190, 208, 237-38, 243-44). Consequently, much of his reasoning – particularly in the second half of the book — depends on highly speculative guesses as to what is happening at the genetic level to support his conclusions. The best that he can do is to try to persuade us that his speculations are plausible enough that they will be confirmed sometime in the future by advances in genetic science.”

- De IQ discussie. Nature wint. from joost niemöller. – in dutch (just in case you maybe thought your browser wasn’t rendering this text correctly (~_^) ).

- Genetics, gender and race – how will social policy cope with recent scientific discoveries? @rgambler – “The more we look, the more genetic variation we will find between races, as well as between individuals. We had therefore better get used to the idea and consider how human society and political policy will deal with these discoveries. Before discussing the explosive and vitriolic subject of genetics, sex and race we should first emphasise the strong arguments against sexual or racial discrimination. Genetic variation just gives tendencies in ability and behaviour at a population level. We cannot predict the behaviour and ability of individuals. There is so much overlap between different sexes and races regarding their different abilities (strengths and weaknesses) that any discrimination, against any individual, on any terms, is not in society’s best interest. It is in our interest as a society that we have the best people in the right jobs. We all benefit from a genuine meritocracy. Discrimination is also just clearly morally wrong. So there should be no discrimination based on colour, class or sex. But this includes ‘positive’ discrimination too. We should not be giving people a leg up because of a perceived injustice unless we can prove beyond doubt that they really have been disadvantaged.”

- “A Troublesome Inheritance” and the Hate Squad from steve sailer. – “Nobody ever said that figuring out what part is nature and what part is nurture is easy: that’s why it’s the Big Leagues of intellectual life.”

- Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology from pete shanks @psychology today – “Wade’s new book is promoted by racists, though he calls racism wrong.”

- Nicholas Wade vs. the anthropologists – from j. arthur bloom. – “Reading a review like Jon Marks on A Troublesome Inheritance, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that refusing to consider the implications of Wade’s argument has everything to do with protecting the academic turf anthropologists have carved out, and nothing to do with scientific inquiry or truth. It would be one thing if Marks just thought Wade was wrong; he’s a geneticist (as is Greg Cochran, who was also unnerved by some of the sources), Wade isn’t. But he doesn’t even bother to argue with the thing, he just calls it ‘idiocy,’ ‘fundamentally anti-intellectual,’ and ‘as crassly anti-science as any work of climate-change denial or creationism.'”

- Wade’s speculation disclaimer from steve sailer. not that anyone’s paying attention.

- Controversial Book Uses Genetics to Explain Western Dominance @breitbart london.

- Troublesome genetics and race – a good and fair review from tabitha powledge, although she overlooks the fact that wade did say [on pg. 15 of book] that the second half of the book was largely speculation. – “Nicholas Wade is brave, I suppose, stomping around where angels, not to mention lesser beings, have been reluctant even to tiptoe. Like the fine science writer he is, Wade explains in his just-published A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, that, yes, races do exist. And he lays out how and why. Race is a genetic fact, and has evolved quite recently. I am told this is an enormously controversial statement in some quarters. But I don’t operate in those quarters, and so this is not news to me. Nor, probably, to regular readers of GLP [genetic literacy project].”

- Things to Know When Talking About Race and Genetics from agustín fuentes, the guy who debated wade in the AAA webinar (linked to above). – “There are no genetic patterns that link all populations in just Africa, just Asia or just Europe to one another to the exclusion of other populations in other places.” – heh.

- IQ Denegrationism stopped in its tracks from dr. james thompson.

- Recent, Copious, and Regional @radix journal – “Jared Taylor and John Derbyshire join Richard [spencer] to discuss Nicholas Wade’s new book, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’, the response to it in the media and wider culture, and the future of race in America and the Occidental World.” (haven’t listened to this yet.)

- The 9 Most Influential Works of Scientific Racism, Ranked @io9 – galton, morton, cartwright, royer, linnaeus(!), charles murray, amy chua, margaret mead, and nicholas wade. heh.

- Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: John Derbyshire Reviews The Reviews – see also John Derbyshire On Wade vs. Cochran: A Correction and Arguing with Reviewers from greg cochran.

- What’s New Since Montagu? from steve hsu – “[W]hat about more complicated traits, such as height or cognitive ability or personality? All of these are known to be significantly heritable, through twin and adoption studies, as well as more modern methods. We can’t answer the question without understanding the specific genetic architecture of the trait. For example, are alleles that slightly increase height more common in one group than another? We need to know exactly which alleles affect height… But this is challenging as the traits I listed are almost certainly controlled by hundreds or thousands of genes. *Could population averages on these traits differ between groups, due to differences in allele frequencies? I know of no argument, taking into account the information above, showing that they could not.* In fact, in the case of height we are close to answering the question. We have identified hundreds of loci correlated to height. Detailed analysis suggests that the difference in average height between N and S Europeans (about one population SD, or a couple of inches) is partially genetic (N Europeans, on average, have a larger number of height increasing alleles than S Europeans), due to different selection pressures that the populations experienced in the recent past (i.e., past 10k years). Many who argue on Montagu’s side hold the prior belief that the ~ 50k years of isolation between continental populations would not be enough time for differential selection to produce group differences, particularly in complex traits governed by many loci. This is of course a quantitative question depending on strength of selection in different environments. The new results on height should cause them to reconsider their priors. It is fair to say that results on height, as well as on simpler traits such as lactose or altitude tolerance, are consistent with Wade’s theme that evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. Further extrapolation to behavioral and cognitive traits will require more data, but: 1) *The question is scientific — it can be answered with known methods….* 2) *There is no a priori argument, given what we currently know, that such differences cannot exist.* (Note this is NOT an argument that differences exist — merely that they might, and that we cannot exclude the possibility.)”

- Genes and Race: The Distant Footfalls of Evidence from ashutosh jogalekar @scientific american. – one of the best reviews so far! jogalekar seems to have actually read the book. – “In this book NYT science writer Nicholas Wade advances two simple premises: firstly, that we should stop looking only toward culture as a determinant of differences between populations and individuals, and secondly, that those who claim that race is only a social construct are ignoring increasingly important findings from modern genetics and science. The guiding thread throughout the book is that ‘human evolution is recent, copious and regional’ and that this has led to the genesis of distinct differences and classifications between human groups. What we do with this evidence should always be up for social debate, but the evidence itself cannot be ignored. That is basically the gist of the book. It’s worth noting at the outset that at no point does Wade downplay the effects of culture and environment in dictating social, cognitive or behavioral differences – in fact he mentions culture as an important factor at least ten times by my count – but all he is saying is that, based on a variety of scientific studies enabled by the explosive recent growth of genomics and sequencing, we need to now recognize a strong genetic component to these differences…. Overall I found this book extremely well-researched, thoughtfully written and objectively argued. Wade draws on several sources, including the peer reviewed literature and work by other thinkers and scientists. The many researchers whose work Wade cites makes the writing authoritative; on the other hand, where speculation is warranted or noted he usually explicitly points it out as such. Some of these speculations such as the effects of genetics on the behavior of entire societies are quite far flung but I don’t see any reason why, based on what we do know about the spread of genes among groups, they should be dismissed out of hand. At the very least they serve as reasonable hypotheses to be pondered, thrashed out and tested. Science is about ideas, not answers. But the real lesson of the book should not be lost on us: A scientific topic cannot be declared off limits or whitewashed because its findings can be socially or politically controversial….”

- “It’s the people, stupid”: a review of Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” from dr. james thompson – “Wade misses the main point: freedom means that you should be able to find out what is true because finding the truth is intrinsically better than being mistaken. If, as seems likely, data emerges to show that there is a large genetic component in intellectual ability and that this varies between racial groups, this *could* be used for foul purposes. The Hutus might lay into the Tutsis (or the other way around, though it is generally the bright minority who get attacked) with renewed vigour once it is made clear that they are intrinsically brighter. Knowledge can be used to do bad things. The scientific ideal is that we should push on with discovery nonetheless, making sure that our results are presented soberly, with due reference to error terms and limitations. We must be clear that knowledge has risks, but that ignorance is worse.”

- New book on race by Nicholas Wade: Professor Ceiling Cat says paws down from jerry coyne. – “Wade’s discussion of genetically differentiated subgroups, whether or not you want to call them ‘races’ — is not too bad. Although there aren’t a fixed number of ‘races’, we can identify individual humans’ ancestry very well by using an *assemblage* of genes, and in some cases even identify the particular European village from which an individual’s grandparents came. The idea that human populations are genetically identical, and ‘races’ are purely social constructs, reflecting nothing about genetic differences, is simply wrong…. I am not absolutely opposed to all work on genetic differences in behavior between ethnic groups, populations, and sexes. That is a kind of scientific taboo which, as Steve Pinker has noted, has been enforced by social opprobrium based on the possibility of racism or sexism. I think the proper stand is that it’s okay to study those questions that are interesting (but make sure you ask yourself *why* you find them interesting), and realize that a). we don’t know the outcomes, and b). the fundamental equalities of all groups and all sexes don’t depend on the results of such analyses.”

- Review of A Troublesome Inheritance – ANOTHER review from jonathan marks. he really doesn’t like this book.

- Troublesome Nick and the Timid Echoes of the Blank Slate from helian – “Typical reactions among those whose moral emotions have been aroused by such truths have been denial, vilification of the messenger, and the invention of straw men that are easier targets than the truth itself. All these reactions occurred in response to what is probably the most familiar example of an immoral truth; the fact that genes influence behavior, or, if you will, that there actually is such a thing as ‘human nature.’ In that case, denial took the form of the Blank Slate orthodoxy, which perverted and derailed progress in the behavioral sciences for more than half a century. The messengers were condemned, not only with the long since hackneyed accusation of racism, but with a host of other political and moral shortcomings. The most familiar straw man was, of course, the ‘genetic determinist.’ Predictably, the response to Wade’s book has been similar. Not so predictable has been the muted nature of that response. Compared to the vicious attacks on the messengers who debunked the Blank Slate, it has been pianissimo, and even apologetic. It would almost seem as if the current paragons of moral purity among us have actually been chastened by the collapse of that quasi-religious orthodoxy.”

- What happened at the Fuentes-Wade Webinar from savage minds. the webinar is here. (i still haven’t watched it yet.)

- keep an eye out on the spectator tomorrow [05/15]! via sebastian payne:

spectator cover - wade - sm

- Race, genes and history“DNA explains more than you think.” – nicholas wade in the spectator.

- Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Difference – Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ from arthur allen @the nyt. – “The central problem here is that if significant genetic-controlled behavioral differences exist among races, with scant (at most) exception they haven’t been discovered yet. To build a case with the evidence at hand requires a great deal of speculation, with the inevitable protrusion of the nonscientific worldview. Mr. Wade presents a few scattered genetic studies and attempts to weld them into a grand theory of global history for the past 50,000 years. Where Jared Diamond argued in ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ that environment and geography enabled Europe to develop a highly successful civilization, Mr. Wade says environmental pressures led to genetic differences that account for much of that advantage.”

- NYT review of “A Troublesome Inheritance” from steve sailer.

- Podcast: Race, genes and history, Nick Clegg’s war and the curious case of Mo Ansar – podcast @the specatator. – “Is there a link between race, genes and history? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, author Nicholas Wade discusses his Spectator cover feature on what the last 11 years of human genome decoding tells us about human evolution. Is it racist to combine the politics of race and genes? Is there a link between historical events, such as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and genetics? And does Nicholas expect to be ostracised for writing on this controversial topic?”

- Human Biodiversity (3): Nicholas Wade, Abraham Lincoln, and Racial Genetics from larry arnhart – “The debate over Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ reminds me of the debate over whether Abraham Lincoln was a racist. In contrast to the myth of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator, his critics insist, he was actually a racist and a white supremacist. The reason for this debate is that while Lincoln affirmed the principle of the equal right to self-government as stated in the Declaration of Independence, he also acknowledged racial differences that might prevent the races from living together on terms of perfect social and political equality, which for his critics is an expression of his racist bigotry. (This debate over Lincoln is well surveyed in John Barr’s new book — ‘Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present’ [LSU Press, 2014].) Similarly, Wade rejects the racist assertion that any race is so superior to any other as to have the right to rule others, and yet he also recognizes racial differences that are genetic, which his critics condemn as racism. The question in both debates is whether one can see the reality of racial differences without being a racist, or whether the only way to avoid the evil of racism is to deny that race is real. My answer to this question is that one can recognize racial differences, such that races will not be equal in all respects, while also recognizing that all human beings are by their nature equal in their right to self-government, so that no one has the right to rule over others without their consent; and consequently one can condemn racism as a violation of that equal right to self-government. This is clearly stated by Lincoln, and it’s implicit in Wade’s book.

- An Interview with Nicholas Wade by bryce laliberte! (^_^) – “Social science should be the most interesting of all the sciences. So why are sociology journals so unreadable? I suspect it’s because they make no use of the theory of evolution, which should be the central unifying theory of their subject. In this sense at least, sociologists are like chemists who ignore Mendeleev’s periodic table.”

- Stretch Genes by h. allen orr @new york review of books. – “There is, however, another distinction that Wade doesn’t seem to appreciate at all. He’s right that political sensitivities shouldn’t distort scientific truth: the facts are the facts. But as Pinker notes, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be particularly careful when discussing race. History has shown that this is an especially dangerous subject, one that has resulted in enormous abuses.” – by that “logic” everybody should be equally cautious when discussing religion or politics or equal rights or territory rights or property rights or…just living on the planet! (see here.)

- Is Cultural Anthropology Really Disembodied? from monica heller president of the american anthropological association. – “But what really concerns me, in the end, is the force of theories of race and cultural evolution. The fictive naturalization of what are fundamentally relations of power is, actually, terrifying. It would be lovely to think that they are too silly to waste our time on, but Wade’s book shows that they are not going away any time soon, and that we need to redouble our efforts to show them up for what they are: attempts to justify inequality.”yes. because that what wade has said over and over — that he wants to justify inequality. oh, wait: “I think it would be only to the good if we understood what part of our behavior had a genetic component, ’cause then we could focus our efforts, to the extent it might be relevant, on the remedial efforts that would reduce inequities.”

- Another Robert Chambers? from peter frost – “Are there questionable points in Wade’s book? Undoubtedly. But we should not wait until all issues are settled before we put pen to paper. Writing is a process where ideas are shared with a broader audience for debate. We may forget that ‘The Origin of Species’ was written without any knowledge of Mendelian genetics. We may also forget, or simply not know, that Darwin’s path to public acceptance was cleared by an earlier book: ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ (1844). Although its anonymous author, Robert Chambers, had no understanding of natural selection, he nonetheless played a key role in familiarizing the public with the fossil record and the reality of biological change over time.”

- Selection? Let Us Compute from razib khan – “Over at The New York Review of books H. Allen Orr has put up a reaction to ‘A troublesome inheritance’. It’s very similar to Jerry Coyne’s take, the part about science (e.g., population structure being non-trivial) is deemed acceptable, but speculations in the second half of the book are not as appreciated. This is not surprising, and seems typical for working population geneticists (though do note that R. A. Fisher’s ‘A Genetical Theory of Natural Selection’ has quite a big of sociological speculation in the second half).”

- Allen Orr slams Nicholas Wade’s new book from jerry coyne.

- A Troublesome Inheritance: Wading in the Zeitgeist from fred reed.

new links

newThe Troublesome Ignorance of Nicholas Wade – from augustin fuentes. lots wrong with this: lewontin’s fallacy, epigentics. if you read this, make sure to read Phenotypes vs genetic statistics from greg cochran.

new“Jews are adapted to capitalism”, and other nonsenses of the new scientific racism“Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance argues that the genetic differences between racial groups explain why the West is rich and Africa is poor – but beneath the new science lies an old, dangerous lie.” – from ian steadman in the new statesman. i haven’t read this. to be honest with you, i’ve started to lose interest in these sorts of pieces.

newDo Hume and Smith prove Wade wrong?“Of course, the Scottish Enlightenment was a product of the Lowland Scots, who had been settled English speakers for a long, long time. Orr is getting them confused with the Gaelic-speaking Highland Scot clans. As Thomas Babington Macaulay vividly pointed out in his 1855 History of England, his Highlander ancestors tended to be more or less barbarians into the 18th Century.” – from steve sailer.

newA Brief Interview with Nicholas Wade“The principal criticism of the book so far is that my arguments for the impact of evolution on human social behavior are speculative. Since I point this out prominently in the introduction, I find it hard to see what these critics think they are adding to the discussion. Nor does it seem unreasonable to give the reader one’s best guess as to the likely consequences of recent human evolution. Critics of the book seem to accept that human evolution has indeed continued to the present day, but none has said what the consequences might be, if different from those that I suggest. So far I see no reason to have written the book differently.” – @theden.

newPolitical Correctness Makes Race and Genetics Taboo in the West, Which is Why China is Winning

newReviewing A Troublesome Inheritance“Not many people are aware of this anymore, but the first country to demonstrate a link between smoking and lung cancer was Nazi Germany. This was not a case of research being conducted by good scientists, and being subsequently misused by racists. One of the purposes of this research, *at the time when it was being conducted*, was to support the belief that cancer was somehow linked to racial impurity, and to further the goal of creating a cancer-free and racially pure utopia. At this point in history, Nazi Germany was the only country researching the link between smoking and lung cancer, so as a scientific hypothesis this idea was inseparable from the Nazis’ racial ideology. The Nazis’ research in this area is summarized in Richard Proctor’s book The Nazi War on Cancer. Scientists in the United States and England eventually reproduced this research in the 1950s, despite the resulting moral outrage at their attempting to prove an idea originally used to support the Holocaust. The historical connection between anti-smoking research and Nazism continued to be an objection to public health measures in this area until the 1990s, as described in this paper. As the connection between smoking and lung cancer has entered the scientific mainstream, the United States seems to be slowly forgetting the racist roots of this idea, although they haven’t been forgotten in Germany. The moral objections in Marks’ review are objections that could have been made, and in some cases were made, to publicizing the connection between smoking and lung cancer in the second half of the twentieth century.”

newInheritance battles“Author Nicholas Wade argues that human genetic differences have played a powerful role in the success and failure of societies.” – epigenetics. snore.

newWhy “Race” Isn’t Biological from patrick appel @the dish. – “I disagree with Khan calling ‘phylogenetic clustering of human populations’ races, but Razib is far more intelligible here than Wade is in most of his book. Nevertheless, the biological definitions of race outlined above are problematic because they are not the same as the social definitions of race. There is significant overlap between the biological and social definitions but defining ‘race’ two ways only confuses matters.”

new – and from razib:

newNicholas Wade: Genes, culture, and history from mark liberman @language log. not much new here — just rehashing other people’s reviews.
_____

see also:

- jayman’s recent post JayMan’s Race, Inheritance, and IQ F.A.Q. (F.R.B.)

- an older post from razib: Why race as a biological construct matters

- steve sailer’s The Race FAQ

- Roundup of Book Reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance @occam’s razor.
_____

and some relevant tweets:

_____

(note: comments do not require an email. races of the world.)

andrew gelman reviews nicholas wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance in slate: The Paradox of Racism: Why the new book by the New York Times’ Nicholas Wade is both plausible and preposterous.**

it’s a rather bizarre review — as jayman (or jayman’s friend, rather) points out, the criticism seems to be an argument by analogy in which the problem with wade’s book is somehow connected to the fact that some people in the past had different (and terribly racist, of course) ideas about racial differences. or something.

gelman doesn’t seem to like any of this theorizing about possible biologically-based racial differences because the theories or hypotheses keep changing. uuuhhhhh…isn’t that what’s supposed to happen in science? people formulate theories and then test them — try to falsify them — and if those theories are found to be false, formulate new theories. right?

gelman writes:

“Wade is clearly intelligent and thoughtful, and his book is informed by the latest research in genetics. His explanations seem to me simultaneously plausible and preposterous: plausible in that they snap into place to explain the world as it currently is, preposterous in that I think if he were writing in other time periods, he could come up with similarly plausible, but completely different, stories.

so? so what? so people (including scientists) develop theories based on the information they have available to them. [edit: i mean the cumulative information which they have available to them to date.] is this a surprise to anyone? how else should we humans work out theories? peer into the future with crystal balls? jump into a tardis?

nicholas wade is one of the last people on the planet that anybody should criticize about theories and theory building. i am one hundred percent certain that if/when science demonstrates that there are absolutely no or even insignificant genetic differences connected to behavioral patterns between races, he would be the first to announce it from the rooftops and admit that the theories he’s presented in this book are wrong. why am i one hundred percent certain about that? because wade has already written about how no one should be wedded to their scientific theories (“Theories”, actually, with a capital “T”):

“Evolution All Around”
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: October 8, 2009

“…There is one point on which I believe Dawkins gets tripped up by his zeal. To refute the creationists, who like to dismiss evolution as ‘just a theory,’ he keeps insisting that evolution is an undeniable fact. A moment’s reflection reveals the problem: We don’t speak of Darwin’s fact of evolution. So is evolution a fact or a theory…?

“Dawkins is aware that evolution is commonly called a theory but deems ‘theory’ too wishy-washy a term because it connotes the idea of hypothesis. Evolution, in Dawkins’s view, is a concept as bulletproof as a mathematical theorem, even though it can’t be proved by rigorous logical proofs. He seems to have little appreciation for the cognitive structure of science. Philosophers of science, who are the arbiters of such issues, say science consists largely of facts, laws and theories. The facts are the facts, the laws summarize the regularities in the facts, and the theories explain the laws. Evolution can fall into only one of these categories, and it’s a theory.

“Other systems of thought, like religion, are founded on immutable dogma, whereas science changes to accommodate new knowledge. So what part of science is it that changes during intellectual revolutions? Not the facts, one hopes, or the laws. It’s the highest-level elements in the cognitive structure — the theories — that are sacrificed when fundamental change is needed. Ptolemaic theory yielded when astronomers found that Copernicus’s better explained the observations; Newton’s theory of gravitation turned out to be a special case of Einstein’s.

If a theory by nature is liable to change, it cannot be considered absolutely true. A theory, however strongly you believe in it, inherently holds a small question mark. The minute you erase the question mark, you’ve got yourself a dogma.

“Since the theory of evolution explains and is in turn supported by all the known facts of biology, it can be regarded as seriously robust. There’s no present reason to think it has any flaws. But when we learn how life evolved on other planets, evolution could turn out to be a special case of some more general theory.

nicholas wade fully understands how theorizing and theories — and Theories — work in science. not so sure about andrew gelman.

and then there’s this:

“Wade does not characterize himself as a racist, writing, ‘no one has the right or reason to assert superiority over a person of a different race.’ But I characterize his book as racist based on the dictionary definition: per *Merriam-Webster*, ‘a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.’ Wade’s repeated comments about creativity, intelligence, tribalism, and so forth seem to me to represent views of superiority and inferiority.”

well that’s just a fancy way of saying DATS RACISS! afaict. sheesh.

yes, an individual or a group of individuals may be superior to others in certain traits such as creativity or intelligence or athletic ability or whatever, but that doesn’t necessarily make them superior to others *overall*. and it’s extremely unlikely that any one individual/group is superior to all others in all traits, so no population is the most superioriestest of all.

just because gelman apparently can’t hold those two thoughts in his head at the same time doesn’t mean that nicholas wade can’t. i certainly can.

again, i say: sheesh.
_____

**an earlier title of gelman’s article which still appears in the title bar of the browser (the typically navy band all the way at the top of your browser) and the article’s url perhaps offer some extra hints as to gelman’s opinion (or somebody at slate’s opinion) of wade’s book: “Troublesome inheritance critique: Nicholas Wade’s dated assumptions about race, genes, and culture.”

(note: comments do not require an email. races of the world.)

holy toledo! two week’s worth of links! happy friday! (^_^)

John Derbyshire On Nicholas Wade’s A TROUBLESOME INHERITANCE – A Small, But Significant, Step For Race Realism“Wade raises high the banner of race realism and charges head-on into the massed ranks of the SSSM. He states his major premise up front, on page two: ‘New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.’ Those last four words are repeated at intervals throughout the narrative. They are, as it were, the keynote of the book; Wade returns to them many times to anchor his observations — and some speculations — on the history and development of human societies.” (my emphasis there – h.chick)

henry harpending on science“[T]his is perhaps at the heart of the slander of the so called hbd-crew that circulates. Most of us are really interested, in our hearts, in theory and models. This is the way that most of science works…. You state somewhere that the hbd crew is obsessed with IQ. Seems so, but wait! IQ is literally the only thing that can be reliably measured of a whole constellation of interesting traits. It really does work in the sense of telling one whom to hire or whom to admit to graduate school. You also speak of what we ‘believe’ but the whole fun of science is falsifying hypotheses, not believing them. I would give my eye teeth (if I had them) to come up with something besides IQ to look at.” (my emphasis again – h.chick)

Digging For Gold: Study Says Your Race Determines Your Earwax Scent – h/t hbd bibliography!

Austronesians Out of the Cauldron“…the emergence of Austronesians. Linguistics and archaeology already were rather clear on the pattern of expansion, and when. But now an ancient DNA remain from off the coast of Fujian dated to ~8,000 years ago solidifies in totality the where and when. This is not an argument anymore.” – from razib.

New Diet, Sexual Attraction May Have Spurred Europeans’ Lighter Skin“[A] new study of ancient DNA concludes that European skin color has continued to change over the past 5000 years, suggesting that additional factors, including diet and sexual attraction, may also be at play.” – see also: Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years.

It made their brown eyes blue…“A recent report in PNAS shows the inhabitants of the Ukraine and its environs had much darker hair, skin, and eyes back in the Bronze Age and earlier.” – from greg cochran.

Did Europeans become white in historic times? – from peter frost.

Pause Is Seen in a Continent’s Peopling“Using a new method for exploring ancient relationships among languages, linguists have found evidence further illuminating the peopling of North America about 14,000 years ago. Their findings follow a recent proposal that the ancestors of Native Americans were marooned for some 15,000 years on a now sunken plain before they reached North America.”

The place of the Armenian language in the Indo-European family“A very interesting talk at the Library of Congress making a good case for a Greek-Phrygian-Armenian clade within the Indo-European family.” – from dienekes.

One Million Brits ‘Descended from Vikings” DNA Study Claims“Around one million Britons, or one in 33 men across the UK, can claim direct descent from Vikings, according to a new DNA study. Men from the far north of Scotland were most likely to provide a direct match with almost a third (29.2%) of the men from the Shetland Islands testing positive for Viking blood.” – h/t ed west!

Genetic Architectures“The point is that the genetic architecture of a quantitative trait does not have to be the same in different populations of the same species. For example, I have the impression that height is not as highly polygenic in Pygmies as it is most other human populations. There’s a particular region on chromosome 3 that seems to influence height- you don’t see such a concentration in Europeans.” – another from greg cochran.

Molecular genetic contributions to socioeconomic status and intelligence – h/t billaire! who tweeted: “21% of the var. in education level, 18% of SES, 29% of cognitive ability explained by COMMON SNPs in Scottish sample.”

Study finds genetic link between height and IQ“A team of researchers at Edinburgh University in Scotland has found a correlation between genes associated with height and those associated with intelligence. In their paper published in the journal Behavior Genetics, the group describes how they studied the DNA of 6,815 unrelated people and discovered what they describe as a direct correlation between height and intelligence—taller people are smarter, they say.”

HVGIQ: Puerto Rico – from jason malloy.

Population differences in intellectual capacity: a new polygenic analysis – peter frost on davide piffer’s work.

Evidence for the general factor of personality as social-effectiveness

Intelligent people are more likely to trust others“Intelligent people are more likely to trust others, while those who score lower on measures of intelligence are less likely to do so, says a new study. Researchers based their finding on an analysis of the General Social Survey, a nationally representative public opinion survey carried out in the United States every one to two years.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

Openness to experience and aesthetic chills: Links to heart rate sympathetic activity“These results suggest links between openness to experience and sympathetic nervous system activity explaining, at least in part, relationships of openness to such traits as aesthetic chills.” – h/t stuart ritchie!

Psychological refractory period in introverts and extraverts“Evidence for faster stimulus analysis in extraverts compared to introverts.”

‘Free to Be’ Boys and Girls: 40 Years After the Failed Gender Revolution“1974’s ‘Free to Be…You and Me’ feels like an eternity ago. And, amazingly, kids and adults have yet to morph into mutually respectful, non-gendered human persons.” – from christina hoff sommers.

Personality Regions: The Friendly Midwest, the Left Coast and the Wicked (Possibly Irish) Witch of the Northeast – from staffan.

Want Success? Choose the Right Parents“Gregory Clark’s startling new book, ‘The Son Also Rises,’ asks you to rethink everything you thought you knew about social mobility. His research, if it’s correct, isn’t good news. It says that socio-economic status is mostly a matter of nature not nurture, and suggests that trying to help the disadvantaged move up won’t make much difference.” – h/t alice teller! – see also: Social mobility: Have and have not“Mr Clark follows his logic to an unexpectedly egalitarian end. Redistribution is sensible, he argues, not in order to boost mobility but because mobility is intractably low. The cream will rise regardless, and so paying extraordinary salaries to capable workers is unnecessary. If high rates of mobility are used to excuse or justify inequality, he suggests, then the reality of low mobility implies something quite different: t hat great inequality serves little purpose and redistributing income from the rich to the poor might raise overall welfare at little economic cost. This makes for uncomfortable reading for those of all ideological persuasions.”

Why HBD“As I have tired to explain in my earlier post, Environmental Hereditarianism, the behavioral and physical traits of people are environmentally context-dependent. The broad environmental context regulates the expression of the genes. There is *not* a dichotomy between genes and ‘environment’. Nor could there be one – we are always ‘with’ both. The broad environment includes geography, climate, technology, and prevailing social landscape (otherwise known as ‘culture’). When the social-technological-geographic landscape changes, you can have broad behavioral change all without genetic change. This explains secular changes that occur too quickly to be a result of evolution, such as the sexual revolution, the modern rise in irreligiosity, the increase in the obesity rate, etc.” – from jayman.

Key connection“Biologists zero in on role of plasticity in evolution. For more than a century, scientists have suggested that the best way to settle the debate about how phenotypic plasticity — the way an organism changes in response to environment — may be connected to evolution would be to identify a single mechanism that controls both. Harvard researchers say they have discovered just such a mechanism in insulin signaling in fruit flies. Cassandra Extavour, an associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and grad student Delbert André Green II were able to show that a single molecular pathway plays a role in both heritable changes in the flies’ number of ovarioles — egg-producing compartments in the ovaries — and in how they react to their environments by shutting down some ovarioles. The study is described in a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. ‘This is the first example, to my knowledge, that shows this link — between heritability and plasticity — being controlled by the same mechanism,’ Extavour said. ‘What we’ve done with this paper is show that an important trait that controls how many offspring a fruit fly will have exhibits both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity, and that both are controlled by insulin signaling.'” – h/t steven pinker!

Morality and the Lament of the Liberal Atheists“Moral relativism is the ground state of living things. It doesn’t work for a social species like ours. If every one of us tried to monopolize all the available resources within his grasp at the cost of everyone else, the chances that any given individual would survive and reproduce would be drastically reduced. Therefore, morality. It exists because, from an evolutionary perspective, it works. It will continue to function just as it always has, even if 100,000 philosophers shout at the top of their lungs that it’s irrational. Of course it is, but it doesn’t matter. We will continue to perceive the good and evil that seem so real to our imaginations as absolutes. It is our nature to do so….” – from helian

coolest. story. ever. (in the past two weeks.): The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body – h/t keith laws!

Hypothesis on Why Northwest Europe Began Outbreeding“It could just be coincidence that the outbreeding areas that coincide with other positive hajnal line traits were also lands conquered by men from tribes with the traditions of Germanic kingship. These kings were illiterate barbarians seeking legitimacy and thinking long term at the security of their line ruling…. This is a hypothesis, but the position these rulers were in was one of new conquerors in foreign lands. They needed to create and encourage loyalty in the natives as well as find a way to secure their individual line as king in a manner that was different from what their people, the conquerors, were accustomed to. The Church, an institution eager for power in a new area as well, offered an opportunity to import a political infrastructure and change the social make up of their new lands. Even moreso in England than the rest of core Europe, the Church and the elite’s motivations and goals overlapped perfectly. Christianity was new to them and new to the Britains, but as conversions mounted, it was a shared trait amongst them all. That shared identity was the warrior-chiefs’ way to have rule and kingship legitimized. That shared identity made the natives and newcomers men of Kent or East Anglia, later England, and not of the clan.” – good stuff from son of brock landers!

Rise of the West and the Hajnal line – from mr. mangan, esq.

The Low Fertility Of Urban Liberals Is A Feature Not A Bug – from heartiste.

The Achilles’ Heel of Northern Europeans: Outbreeding? – from alfred clark.

The Medieval Mind“The medieval character was not just about poisoning rivals and raping their daughters. That picture misses the raw and unquestioned nationalism, the impulsivity, the superstition, the childishness (in Barbara Tuchmann’s words), the present time-orientation.” – from elijah.

On Digit Ratio and its Implications – from sisyphean the mad contrarian.

psychO – from the awesome epigone. linking to this mostly for the pictures – awwww! (^_^)

The genes that mean you have a good ear for music“Musical aptitude may be partly down to genes that determine the architecture of the inner ear.” – h/t simon makin! – alternatively: you, too, can have perfect pitch! (~_^)

The Origin of Ideology“Are left and right a feature (or bug) of evolution?” – review of a couple of books.

Do Women’s Mate Preferences Change Across the Ovulatory Cycle? A Meta-Analytic Review – answer: yes. – see also: Intersexual conflict across women’s ovulatory cycle“Results indicate that (a) men are particularly self-assertive toward partners when their partners are fertile; (b) similarly, women are especially self-assertive toward partners when they are fertile; (c) women report engaging in more behaviors that resist male vigilance and mate-guarding when they are fertile, especially in ways that are unobservable to male partners; (d) these effects are especially strong when women themselves report greater attraction to men other than partners when they are fertile, compared to the luteal phase.” – h/t robert burriss!

Study finds less cooperation among women than among men where hierarchy is involved“‘When I studied young children, I noticed that boys were typically interacting in groups, and girls tended to focus on one-on-one relationships,’ said Benenson, the study’s lead author, who explored similar questions in her book Warriors and Worriers. ‘There is even evidence that these differences exist in six-month-olds – but you can see it with the naked eye by about five or six years old, where boys form these large, loose groups, and girls tend to pair off into more intense, close friendships.’ What makes those differences particularly provocative, Benenson said, is that chimpanzees organize their relationships in nearly identical ways. ‘Chimpanzee males usually have another individual they’re very close with, and they may constantly battle for dominance, but they also have a larger, loose group of allies,’ Benenson said. ‘When it comes to defeating other groups, everybody bands together. I would argue that females don’t have that biological inclination, and they don’t have the practice.'”

The Reason Early Humans May Have Practiced Infant Cannibalism – mmmmmmm! – h/t diana fleischman!

Personality Traits and Body Mass Index in a Korean Population“Compared with the normal weight groups, overweight and obese men scored higher on openness to experience and lower on conscientiousness. Overweight and obese women scored lower on neuroticism and openness to experience and higher on agreeableness. Extraversion was positively associated with BMI in men (β = 0.032, P<0.05). BMI and waist circumference were significantly increased in individuals who were less dutiful. In women, neuroticism was inversely associated with BMI (β = −0.026, P<0.05). Openness to experience was negatively, and agreeableness was positively, associated with BMI (openness to experience: β = −0.072, agreeableness β = 0.068) and waist circumference (openness to experience: β = −0.202, agreeableness: β = 0.227) (P<0.05).”

The Supergene That Paints a Liar

This Island Life“The strange biology of island populations highlights the role of chance, not just selection, in evolutionary change.” – h/t john belmont!

Competition May Not Be the Driving Force of Species Diversity After All – h/t robert ford!

Big Testicles Drive Genetic Evolution: Size Does Matter After All“[A]nimals with larger testis having an increased speed of genome evolution, researchers have found.”

Bye bye RNA world

The Phylogeny of Everything, the Origin of Eukaryotes, and the Rules of Taxonomy: Death to Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya! Long live Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Eukaryota, and Prokaryota!

Genomics/Bone Marrow Donation: Next-gen DNA sequencing enables reliable donor matching service

Is Ed Houben Europe’s most virile man?“Ed Houben has an unusual pastime. He has slept with scores of women who seek him out for his legendary powers of insemination…. Ed Houben has come to see his daughter for the first time. He talks gently to the six-week-old baby, and little Madita looks up at him. She is, he says, his 98th child.”

The Costume of Shangri-La: Thoughts on White Privilege, Cultural Appropriation, and Anti-Asian Racism – it’s worth quoting the whole abstract: “This piece poses cultural appropriation as an undertheorized aspect of white privilege in White Privilege Studies. By way of narrative exploration, it asserts that a paucity of scholarship on Orientalism and anti-Asian racism has created a gap in White Privilege Studies that curbs its radical transformative potential. It argues for the value of a structural and historically focused lens for understanding the issue of cultural appropriation, and extends questions of culture and race relations beyond the borders of the United States. It also explores the complex ways that interracial and transnational relationships can influence white racial identity, and illustrates the disruptive potential that queer interracial relationships can offer to dominant historical patterns of white behavior.” – (~_^) h/t ben southwood!

bonus: mr. mangan’s book! (^_^): Smash Chronic Fatigue: A Concise, Science-Based Guide to Help Your Body Heal, and Banish Fatigue Forever

bonus bonus: Backing the Big Bang“In breakthrough, astronomers find evidence of speedy ‘cosmic inflation’ of universe”

bonus bonus bonus: Does Time Flow? (video) – d*mn physicists! (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Elephants Hear Age, Gender, Ethnicity in Human Voices – elephants are awesome!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Dinosaurs are not Extinct – YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! – h/t steve stewart williams!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The stripy stick insect that walked with dinosaurs“This is the earliest known plant-mimicking stick insect, its fragile body preserved for 126 million years in the dusty rocks of north-east China.” – h/t jason moore!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Flies That Do Calculus With Their Wings“The wings of fruit flies beat about 250 times a second.” – h/t kyle hill!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Portolan Charts ‘Too Accurate’ to be Medieval – h/t heresiarch!

(note: comments do not require an email. polite elephant steps over fence.)

DNA USA*“[A]bout about 4 percent of whites have at least 1 percent or more African ancestry. Although it is a relatively small percentage, the percentage indicates that an individual with at least 1 percent African ancestry had an African ancestor within the last six generations, or in the last 200 years. This data also suggests that individuals with mixed parentage at some point were absorbed into the white population. Looking a little more deeply into the data, Kasia also found that the percentage of whites with hidden African ancestry differed significantly from state-to-state. Southern states with the highest African American populations, tended to have the highest percentages of hidden African ancestry…. Previous published studies estimate that on average African Americans had about 82 percent African ancestry and about 18 percent European ancestry. But in self-identified African Americans in 23andMe’s database, Kasia found the average amount of African ancestry was closer to 73 percent. Kasia found significant differences in state-to-state comparisons. African Americans in the northern and western states have more mixed ancestry than those in the southern states…. On average Latinos had about 70 percent European ancestry, 14 percent Native American ancestry and 6 percent African ancestry. The remaining ancestry is difficult to assign because the DNA is either shared by a number of different populations around the world, or because it’s from understudied populations, such as Native Americans.” – from 23andMe.

Common Variants in the CDH7 Gene are Associated with Major Depressive Disorder in the Han Chinese Population“Recent genome-wide association study also demonstrated that CDH7 was significant associated with bipolar disorder…. Our results support CDH7 to be a risk factor of MDD in the Han Chinese population. However, further studies with more markers and independent samples were suggested to validate our findings.”

Humans May Have Been Stuck on Bering Strait for 10,000 Years“In the new Perspectives article, published today (Feb. 27) in the journal Science, the researchers compile existing data to support the idea, known as the Beringia standstill hypothesis. Among that evidence is genetic data showing that founding populations of Native Americans diverged from their Asian ancestors more than 25,000 years ago. In addition, land in the region of the Bering Strait teemed with grasses to support big game (for food) and woody shrubs to burn in the cold climate, supporting a hard-scrabble existence for ancient people.” – razib is skeptical.

Was skin cancer a selective force for black pigmentation in early hominin evolution?“[D]ata on age-associated cancer incidence and lethality in albinos living at low latitudes in both Africa and Central America support the contention that skin cancer could have provided a potent selective force for the emergence of black skin in early hominins.”

Neanderthal Introgression at Chromosome 3p21.31 Was Under Positive Natural Selection in East Asians“Studies of the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes demonstrate archaic hominin introgression in Eurasians. Here, we present evidence of Neanderthal introgression within the chromosome 3p21.31 region, occurring with a high frequency in East Asians (ranging from 49.4% to 66.5%) and at a low frequency in Europeans. We also detected a signal of strong positive selection in this region only in East Asians…. [S]uggestive evidence supports latitude-dependent selection, implicating a role of ultraviolet-B.”

Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech“Neanderthals, may well have spoken in languages not dissimilar to the ones we use today…. [I]n terms of mechanical behaviour, the Neanderthal hyoid was basically indistinguishable from our own, strongly suggesting that this key part of the vocal tract was used in the same way. ‘From this research, we can conclude that it’s likely that the origins of speech and language are far, far older than once thought.'” – h/t billare (who is 0.1% neanderthal)!

READ THIS (yes, there *will* be a pop quiz on the material later in the week (~_^) )!: Environmental Hereditarianism“[T]here is little evidence linking most ‘measurable’ aspects of the environment to human physical or behavioral traits…. Most of the solid evidence we do have for environmental impacts come in the forms of things that do physical damage (e.g., maiming limbs or traumatic brain injury) – a category which includes poisons; or are developmental deficits, such as malnutrition. Much of the rest of it (take your pick) is lacking.” – from jayman. – previously: it’s not nature and nurture….

Outliers – from greg cochran.

New evidence confirms link between IQ, brain cortex“Rate of change in the thickness of the brain’s cortex is an important factor associated with a person’s change in IQ, according to a collaborative study by scientists in five countries…. This study is the first to show the association between cortical thickness and development in full scale IQ, and has potentially wide-ranging implications for the pedagogical world and for judicial cases in which the defendant’s IQ score could play a role in determining the severity of the sentence.”

The Germ Theory of Democracy, Dictatorship, and All Your Most Cherished Beliefs“What kind of government do you live under? Who are your sexual partners? How do you treat strangers? All of these questions may mask a more fundamental one: What germs are you warding off?” – h/t jason collins! – but see this previous post: pathogens and consanguinity“the BIG outliers, though, are the arabs and all their middle eastern/north african/south asian muslim buddies. they are the ones throwing off the correlation completely…. these societies are amongst those that have the highest consanguinity rates, and yet some of their pathogen index scores are *very* low.” that part of the world also does not do well when it comes to (liberal) democracy. – see also jayman’s response.

Nicholas Wade Takes on the Regime – jared taylor reviews nicholas wade’s upcoming book on race. – h/t hbd bibliography! – see also this comment from jayman. – and see also Harmful, toxic equalism from the awesome epigone.

The Nature of Race – from karl boetel and john furest. see also here.

12,000 year old prehistoric art shows woman hunting – maybe. kinda/sorta. (not really.) – from adam benton.

Altruism and the Dark Side of Agreeableness“[B]eware of really nice people. If they seem too good to be true, they usually are.” – from staffan.

Forgotten fathers: paternal influences on mammalian sex allocation“A growing body of evidence suggests that the assumption that males produce an unbiased proportion of X- and Y-chromosome-bearing spermatozoa is not always valid with significant between- and even within-individual variation.” – a mechanism for trivers-willard? – h/t lars penke!

Digit Span: the modest little bombshell and What does IQ 70 mean for black and white kids? – from dr. thompson.

The paradox of the Visual Word Form Area“The VWFA functions differently in different human populations. The difference is striking between people who use alphabetical script, where each symbol represents a sound, and those who use logographic script, where each symbol represents an idea. Chinese subjects process their idea-based symbols with assistance from other brain regions, whereas Westerners process their sound-based symbols only in the VWFA.” – from peter frost.

The man who destroyed America’s ego“How a rebel psychologist challenged one of the 20th century’s biggest—and most dangerous—ideas…. Among the most egregious errors they discovered were those in the papers that focused on academic performance. A correlation had been repeatedly found between high self-esteem and good grades. So, the logic went, if you boosted self-esteem you’d also boost grades. But the authors had made one of the most elementary mistakes in science. ‘When they tracked people over time,’ says Baumeister, ‘the grades came first, and then the self-esteem. High self-esteem was a *result* of good grades, not a cause.'” – h/t matthew wygant!

Genetic Influences on Political Ideologies: Twin Analyses of 19 Measures of Political Ideologies from Five Democracies and Genome-Wide Findings from Three Populations“Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled…. We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one’s genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.”

Why Americans Are So Polarized: Education and Evolution“Improvements in learning — which correlates with stronger partisanship — and the tendency to choose likeminded mates may be helping to create divided politics.” – from avi tuschman. – h/t eddy elmer!

Conservatives generally more willing to take business risks, study finds

Paternal Age at Childbearing and Offspring Psychiatric and Academic Morbidity“In the study population, advancing paternal age was associated with increased risk of some psychiatric disorders (eg, autism, psychosis, and bipolar disorders) but decreased risk of the other indexes of morbidity.”

A Genotype-First Approach to Defining the Subtypes of a Complex Disease – h/t kevin mitchell who tweeted: “Increasing recog’n that ‘common disorders; like autism really umbrella terms for many rare diseases.”

Researchers look at boy-girl differences in autism“Boys, it seems, can develop autism from a relatively small genetic hit, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics. It takes more of a genetic wallop, though, to cause autism in girls – so when they do get it, they’re worse off. The same explanation holds true, researchers think, for the gender imbalance in ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia.” – see also: A Higher Mutational Burden in Females Supports a “Female Protective Model” in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

China Cracks Down on DNA Testing – h/t jayman!

Epigenetics: The sins of the father – big story in nature today. – “The roots of inheritance may extend beyond the genome, but the mechanisms remain a puzzle.” – but swedish scientist on twitter says: “But Rando misquotes Swedish human data in his Cell paper on mice. Caution for epigenetic hype!” – hmmmm. =/

The Consequences of Natural Morality“Good and Evil are not objective things. They exist as subjective impressions, creating a powerful illusion that they are objective things. This illusion that Good and Evil are objects independent of the conscious minds that imagine them exists for a good reason. It ‘works.’ In other words, its existence has enhanced the probability that the genes responsible for its existence will survive and reproduce.” – from helian.

Digit ratio predicts eminence of Polish actors – this one’s for sisyphean! (^_^) – h/t ben southwood!

Sex differences in color preferences transcend extreme differences in culture and ecology.

In Academia, Women Collaborate Less With Their Same-Sex Juniors“‘Some older women treated us younger women almost worse than some men did,’ she says. ‘We called it the “Queen Bee syndrome.”‘” – heh. – h/t claire lehmann!

Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs – behind paywall.

Women ‘subconsciously outdo other females’ during ovulation“But what the researchers found really surprising is that ovulating women did not appear to want a higher standing over men – they became kinder to them. When playing the dictator game, non-ovulating women shared 45% of their money with men, while ovulating women were willing to share 60% of their money with men. These findings are unlike anything we have ever seen in the dictator game. You just don’t see people giving away more than half of their money,’ says Prof. Durante.” – (~_^)

Women Outperform Men in Ultra-Distance Swimming – The ‘Manhattan Island Marathon Swim’ From 1983 to 2013. – because we float better (because we have that extra layer of fat)? (~_^)

Sameness and the self: philosophical and psychological considerations.“[H]ow can a person maintain a belief in the sameness of self over time in the face of continual psychological and physical change?” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Young Children Can Be Taught Basic Natural Selection Using a Picture-Storybook Intervention – but not politically correct people, apparently. (~_^) – h/t stuart ritchie!

Study: Racial bias in pain perception appears among children as young as 7 – see also: Psychologists use baby-cam to study infants’ exposure to faces.

Mixed-race children ‘are being failed’ in treatment of mental health problems“Children of mixed race are at greater risk of suffering from mental health problems and are not getting the support they need, says a report.” – in the u.k.

Inferring Character From Faces: A Developmental Study.“This research suggests that the predisposition to judge others using scant facial information appears in adultlike forms early in childhood and does not require prolonged social experience.”

Los europeos no inventaron la desigualdad en Hispanoamérica – from eduardo zugasti.

Native American city on the Mississippi was America’s first ‘melting pot’carcosa cahokia. – “By analyzing the teeth of those buried in different locations in Cahokia, Emerson, state archaeological survey bioarchaeologist Kristin Hedman and graduate student Philip Slater discovered that immigrants formed one-third of the population of the city throughout its history (from about AD 1050 through the early 1300s).”

Two-hundred-year drought doomed Indus Valley Civilization“Monsoon hiatus that began 4,200 years ago parallels dry spell that led civilizations to collapse in other regions.”

HBD 101 – from malcolm pollack. (*^_^*)

bonus: A ‘Second Great Wave’ of immigration?“‘Once again, the country is approaching a percentage of foreign-born not seen since the late 1800s and early 1900s,’ the Census Bureau wrote on its blog this week.” – =/ – h/t ray sawhill!

bonus bonus: Muhammad’s birthplace to be razed – remember that the najdis hate the hejazis and vice versa.

bonus bonus bonus: Giant Virus, Awakened From 30,000-Year Slumber, Is Still Infectious – ruh roh (if you’re an amoeba)!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Crawling Through The Brain Without Getting Lost“Do the wasps taste their way through a cockroach brain?” – mmmmmm! =/

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Australia: Snake eats crocodile after battle – WITH PICTURES! =o – h/t ed west!

(note: comments do not require an email. g-8 selfie. (~_^) )

may 6th:

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History – by nicholas wade

“Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story.

“Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.

Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well.

“Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These ‘values’ obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

“Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.”

previously from mr. wade: Evolution All Around

‘Rare’ Gene Common in African Descendants, May Contribute to Heart Disease“Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that a genetic variation that is linked to increased levels of triglycerides — fats in the blood associated with disorders such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke — is far more common than previously believed and disproportionally affects people of African ancestry…. The finding offers a clue as to why Africans and people of African descent have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes compared to many other populations, says the study’s senior author, Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell. African Americans with the variant had, on average, 52 percent higher triglyceride levels compared with blacks in the study who did not have the variant…. The gene variant the scientists studied is a single point mutation — a replacement of one of DNA segment with another — in the ApoE gene, which carries fats and other molecules through the blood.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found“UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking…. [M]ice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol…. Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: ‘It’s amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.’ – see also Firewater from greg cochran.

Predicting Human Body Height from DNA“Predicting tall stature from these 180 DNA variants resulted in an accuracy of 0.75 on a scale from 0.5 (meaning random prediction) to 1.0 (completely accurate prediction). ‘Although the achieved DNA-based prediction accuracy for tall stature is still somewhat lower than we previously established for eye color, hair color and age,’ said Kayser, ‘I expect that upcoming new knowledge on height genetics will further increase the accuracy in predicting tall stature, and eventually the full range of body height, from DNA.'”

Study Connects Dots Between Genes, Human Behavior“The team studied individuals with a rare disorder known as Williams syndrome. By measuring neural activity in the brain associated with the distinct language skills and facial recognition abilities that are typical of the syndrome, they showed that Williams is due not to a single gene but to distinct subsets of genes, hinting that the syndrome is more complex than originally thought.”

Different Gene Expression in Male, Female Brains May Help Explain Brain Disorder Differences“UCL scientists have shown that there are widespread differences in how genes, the basic building blocks of the human body, are expressed in men and women’s brains. Based on post-mortem adult human brain and spinal cord samples from over 100 individuals, scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology were able to study the expression of every gene in 12 brain regions…. They found that the way that the genes are expressed in the brains of men and women were different in all major brain regions and these differences involved 2.5% of all the genes expressed in the brain.” – h/t heartiste!

Only two genes maketh the man…or mouse“The defining genetic feature of maleness, the Y chromosome, contains only two genes that are absolutely essential for male function – at least in mice.” – “male function” = producing sperm, apparently. and taking out the garbage of course. (~_^)

Male facial masculinity as a cue to health outcomes“Although both attractiveness and rated health were associated with better actual health in the past and future (mainly indexed by lower antibiotic use), results were mixed for masculinity. With respect to respiratory illnesses, facial masculinity (assessed using morphometric techniques) was associated with better past health but with worse future health.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus“Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer — leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.” – h/t john durant!

Gut bacteria could make cancer treatments more effective, researchers find“[M]ice with reduced levels of bacteria in their gut were less responsive to treatments than mice that had a normal microbiota.”

When We Lose Antibiotics, Here’s Everything Else We’ll Lose Too – *gulp* =/

Arroyo del Vizcaíno, Uruguay: a fossil-rich 30-ka-old megafaunal locality with cut-marked bones – evidence for humans in uruguay 30,000 years ago? hunting giant sloths?

Who Built Serpent Mound? – dunno.

Sexual selection on the American frontier – re. nineteenth century mormons – from jason collins.

Jealousy in a small-scale, natural fertility population: the roles of paternity, investment and love in jealous response – jealousy rates in a non-w.e.i.r.d. population (the himba of namibia) – “In this population, the majority of both men and women report greater distress over a sexual infidelity, with men reaching an almost unanimous consensus (96%). Despite the skew for both men and women, there is a significant sex difference in the direction predicted by the evolutionary hypothesis….” – h/t andrew badenoch!

Study examines potential evolutionary role of ‘sexual regret’ in human survival and reproduction“[The results] suggest that men are more likely to regret not taking action on a potential liaison, and women are more remorseful for engaging in one-time liaisons.”

A Hot Wife Means A Happier Marriage“[M]en are happier with attractive women and women don’t care as much about men’s looks. Stop the goddamned presses! You mean men and women are…*GASP*…different?” – @chateau heartiste. (^_^) – original research article.

Oxytocin leads to monogamy: Hormone stimulates the brain reward system when viewing the partnerthe luuuuuuuuv hormone! (^_^)

Promiscuous mouse moms bear sexier sons“Males make more pheromone if mama had access to many mates”

We can’t ignore the evidence: genes affect social mobility“Why do so many people fail to accept the overwhelming evidence that genes contribute to academic achievement and thereby social status?” – h/t ed west!

The Sour Grapes of Pisa – from staffan.

The envirome and the connectome: exploring the structural noise in the human brain associated with socioeconomic deprivation – from neuroskeptic: “People from deprived parts of Glasgow have brains that are more ‘random’ structurally than those from rich areas.” – and from jayman: “Of course IQ has nothing to do with it… ;)”

Poor people’s poor sense – from the awesome epigone.

Meat, egg and dairy nutrient essential for brain development“Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs.”

Different rates of first admissions for psychosis in migrant groups in Paris“Our findings suggest that Sub-Saharan migrants were identified as the most vulnerable migrant group for developing psychosis in France, but additional work is warranted to confirm these trends.” – h/t neuroskeptic! – see also Redneck Psychiatrists from greg cochran.

Nations of Canada – from jayman.

Another Look at ‘The Rise of the West’ – But With Better Numbers“The North Sea begins to diverge from the rest of Europe long before the ‘West’ begins its more famous split from ‘the rest….’ [W]e can pin point the beginning of this ‘little divergence’ with greater detail. In 1348 Holland’s GDP per capita was $876. England’s was $777. In less than 60 years time Holland’s jumps to $1,245 and England’s to 1090. The North Sea’s revolutionary divergence started at this time.” – from t.greer.

When it comes to diversity, most of us vote with our feet“Liberals are almost as likely to flee diversity as conservatives, according to new research by Prof Eric Kaufmann for Demos. Some 61 per cent of white people who were ‘very comfortable’ with mixed marriages (the best indicator of views on race) moved to whiter areas during the period, compared to 64 per cent of those who were ‘fairly uncomfortable’.” – from “utterly sh** in every way” ed west.

Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race“*Race is real*. In aggregate, human populations *differ*. Because of those differences, their interests can differ, too — and that can lead to various kinds of unpleasantness. Birds of a feather, whether we approve or not, still tend to flock together.” – from malcolm pollack.

How to have a sensible conversation about immigration“The poor of the world are on the move, eager to live and work in rich nations. What are the consequences? Talking about them cannot be a taboo.” – h/t steve sailer!

3 Reasons Diversity Isn’t Working – @theden.

How Britain became ashamed of being Great: Major new book argues liberal self-loathing threatens the values that define our nation – a MUST READ from daniel hannan! buy the book, too: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters.

Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican – i thought it was democrats? – and on that note: Does Having Sisters Make You Conservative? – h/t avi tuschman!

Atheists get sweaty when daring God“When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips. And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare god to do horrible things, they get sweaty.” – heh! (really small sample size, tho.) – h/t anatoly!

The brains of high functioning autistic individuals do not synchronize with those of others“Our ISC [InterSubject Correlations-ISCs] results suggest that the minds of ASD individuals do not ‘tick together’ with others while perceiving identical dynamic social interactions.” – no kidding?! (~_^)

Cleansing the scientific literature – from peter frost. see also Danish Progress in Suppressing Thoughtcrime from helian.

In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted“The country has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, according to a World Health Organization report. And some leading scientists here are advocating what may be the first national screening campaign to test women for cancer-causing genetic mutations common among Jews — tests that are already forcing young women to make agonizing choices about what they want to know, when they want to know it and what to do with the information.”

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath – h/t naturalismo!

10,000-year-old house uncovered outside Jerusalem“‘Here we have evidence of man’s transition to permanent dwellings'” – cool!

Here’s why wine snobs should probably be called bacteria snobs“Differences in wine quality between vineyards have long been attributed to processing techniques and seasonal variation. But research now suggests that regional differences between wines are shaped by microbes — specifically, fungi and bacteria. Cultivating certain grape microbes may actually improve wine flavor.”

bonus: FDA may begin seizing [23andMe] home DNA testing kits – losers. (the fda, i mean.)

bonus bonus: Do We Live in the Matrix? – yes.

bonus bonus bonus: Economics of Violence: What would it cost you if you didn’t fight back?“In my 30 years of researching violence, every victim of violence who lived to tell the tale said they had a ‘bad feeling’ before the actual attack…. If an alarm goes off, respond to it. Got a bad feeling? Address it. Something nagging at you? Stop and look into it. Don’t ignore these signals. Don’t rationalize and mentally correct them. Don’t dismiss them without assessing them. Your body is built for survival and one of its hard-wired systems is designed to alert you to danger.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Sexual violence in gang neighbourhoods [in the u.k] is ‘like that in war zones’ with girls as young as 11 being groomed and raped” – =/

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Latest restaurant receipt hoax – from chuck @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Banks Warn Fed They May Have To Start Charging Depositors – =/ – h/t charles!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Over 50,000 illegal Ethiopian workers sent home from Saudi Arabia

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fabulous example of helpful Muslims in the UK: solving local blood feud – terrific. =/ – from frau katze.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: China’s rich fleeing the country — with their fortunes – h/t randall parker! – also: China’s villages vanish amind rush for the cities.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Man sells testicle so he can buy a Nissan 370Z – (o_O)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: We’d rather eat turkey“Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when we take a break from our hectic everyday lives to spend quality time with our loved ones, rediscovering all the reasons why we don’t actually live with them.” – (~_^) – from dave barry.

(note: comments do not require an email. giant sloth!)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 305 other followers