Archive for June, 2005

Ideology, evolution and the culture-wars

Mark Kleiman says: Most of my friends…the blue team…are genuinely puzzled by the anti-evolution fury evident among elements of the red team…. To which I say, I am genuinely puzzled by the anti-genetic fury often in evidence among elements of the blue team. Just because we are animals doesn’t imply we should behave like other […]

Super-size this!

Here is the explanation of Judaism and Islam in the “devout Christian spends a month as a Muslim” episode of “30 Days”.Jews believe in the existence of one true God and are still waiting for his son, the Messiah, to save them.…[Muslims] base their religions on the writings of a later prophet, MuhammadLet’s start with […]

Developmental stability, symmetry and heterozygosity

Specific questions regarding general rules in organismic biology can sometimes be rather tricky to answer…because of variation between taxa and environmental context there are usually exceptions. A visitor to this website had a few questions regarding asymmetry and heterozygosity, and I responded that the relationship between the two (generally assumed to be a negative one, […]

North African mtDNA lineages in Iberia

Dienekes has an interesting post which summarizes a recent paper that surveys “African” (north and sub-Saharan) mtDNA lineages in Ibera. Here is a snip of interest: …However, the observed geographic structuring for one of the haplogroups does not fit the expected distribution provided by simplistic historical considerations. In fact, although for haplogroup L the north-south […]

localization of g

The extreme localization of g strongly confirms that psychometric tests are measuring something real, but also strongly suggests that g is only an aspect of intelligence. After all, the rest of the brain is also doing information processing of a variety of types. This information processing is vital to goal accomplishment. Ultimately, this should not […]

Euro-radical Islam

Swung by a book store where I saw a Foreign Affairs article titled Europe’s Angry Muslims. You can’t read it online, but that’s OK, the piece is mostly a hurried jumble of assertions. Instead, check out this report, Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11, which is clearly the source of the […]

Euro-radical Islam

Swung by a book store where I saw a Foreign Affairs article titled Europe’s Angry Muslims. You can’t read it online, but that’s OK, the piece is mostly a hurried jumble of assertions. Instead, check out this report, Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11, which is clearly the source of the […]

AI and the Human Brain

(I decided to reply to this comment with a post.) Been Lurkin’: “What exactly (i.e. which books, websites, etc.) have you been reading on these topics? I used to be somewhat into this kind of thing like five years ago – I read Kurzweil’s book and a lot of the transhumanist stuff on the web […]

The Rebirth of Hebrew

I have at times been critical of the usual story of the rebirth ofHebrew as a spoken language (last time here). Usually they focus on thefactthat the ancient Hebrew language lacked vocabulary for many aspects ofmodern life, and onthe heroic story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who discovered and inventedmany of the missing terms, and raised […]

honest disagreement

I would like to suggest that many of the people who argue against large genetic influences on behavior are actually doing so in good faith. They assert that environment influences behavior more than genes do because it is obvious that this is the case. It is, for instance, obvious that the difference between the behavior […]

other psychometrics

It occurs to me that many of the people interested in IQ would find it worth their time to investigate other psychometrics. Here (doc) and here would be a few places to start. I would like to know how well major intellectual accomplishments can be predicted from the combined knowledge of IQ and big 5 […]

Empire (Rome that is, though really it is the Principate)

ABC unveils a miniseries, Empire, about the rise of Augustus tonight (6 parts). Normally I don’t watch the toob anymore, but I might check this out, the review in The New York Times suggests that the series is to ancient Rome what Taco Bell is to Mexican food. But hey, are you going to Oaxaca […]

Corpus Juris Civilis and Common Law

People should really read these two encyclopedia entries, Corpus Juris Civilis and Common Law. It is a big part of the “Who we are” as Westerners…. Posted by razib at 03:14 PM

Iranian secularism?

Free Inquiry1 has two articles online, The Next Secular Revolution? and A Secular Student in Tehran Committed to Change, highlighting the situation for secularism in Iran.2 The timing is a bit off, juxtaposed against the recent victory of the religious conservative in the Iranian elections, but to some extent this is probably the result of […]

Eurasian faces….

This Sydney Morning Herald piece summarizes a paper that asserts that: …In experiment 1, Caucasian participants rated own-race composites as more attractive than other-race composites, but only for male faces. However, mixed-race (Caucasian/Japanese) composites were significantly more attractive than own-race composites, particularly for the opposite sex. In experiment 2, Caucasian and Japanese participants living in […]

Endless Forms not so important….

Jerry Coyne, coauthor of Speciation, has a mildly negative review of Sean Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful (my short take here) up at Nature. Coyne states that, “…but its faintly self-congratulatory message – that the most important problems in understanding the evolution of development have been solved – left me feeling uncomfortable.” He goes on […]


Great article about King of the Hill in The New York Times Magazine, the only point where I would demur is that the “Hank Hills” of the world could ever be part of a Democratic coalition again. The red-meat-eating, Wal-Mart shopping and gun-owning lifestyle induces such a visceral reaction (and vice versa) among a certain […]

No surprises….

This story that offers that prostitution is legal in Turkey prompted me to survey the legal status of prostitution in nations which are members of the Organization of Islamic Conference. Well, Turkey is an exception, and since I used the The World Sex Guide (not work friendly!) there was little data on many countries without […]

Brown and out? (so I thought)

An, another story in The New York Times about the craze in India to get into an I.I.T…. The opening paragraphs: ANUPAM KUMAR, 17, is the eldest son of a scooter-rickshaw driver. He lives in a three-room house made of bricks and mortar and a hot tin roof, where water rarely comes out of the […]

God and the doctors

Religious Characteristics of U.S. Physicians: The response rate was 63%…Compared with the general population, physicians are more likely to be affiliated with religions that are underrepresented in the United States, less likely to say they try to carry their religious beliefs over into all other dealings in life (58% vs 73%), twice as likely to […]