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January 18, 2003

Educational Hell

This article about the hell that inner city schools have become (from the perspective of a young TEACH FOR AMERICA graduate) is getting a lot of play. But, it ends on a high-note:

I know for sure that inner-city schools don’t have to be hellholes like Emery and its District of Columbia brethren, with their poor administration and lack of parental support, their misguided focus on children’s rights, their anti-white racism, and their lawsuit-crazed culture. Some of my closest TFA friends, thrilled to be liberated from the D.C. system, went on to teach at D.C. charter schools, where they really can make a difference in underprivileged children’s lives. For example, at Paul Junior High School, which serves students with the same economic and cultural background as those at Emery, the principal’s tough approach to discipline fosters a serious atmosphere of scholarship, and parents are held accountable, because the principal can kick their children back to the public school system if they refuse to cooperate. A friend who works at the Hyde School, which emphasizes character education (and sits directly across a field from Emery), tells me that this charter school is quiet and orderly, the teachers are happy, and the children are achieving at a much higher level—so much higher that several of the best students at Emery who transferred to Hyde nearly flunked out of their new school.

The problem with this statement is that charter schools probably attract the best students and most involved parents already. The parents that don't care if their kids are kicked back to the regular system are the ones that wouldn't send their kids to the charter schools in the first place-removing one of the major difficulties. I am curious if charter schools can change the character of a random sample of children-and so we might know that the lessons learned can be applied generally rather than to a particular subset.

Posted by razib at 07:59 PM | | TrackBack

Antwone Fisher

Just went to see Antwone Fisher today. Good movie. But there was one thing that kind of confused me....

Look at this picture of the two actors that play the main couple in the story:

Now here is a picture of Salli Richardson-the half-Irish actress that plays Denzel's film wife:

Antwone's aunt, who was portrayed in a good light, was of medium brown complexion, but his mother, who was not depicted with any great sympathy by the film's conclusion, was played by a very dark-skinned woman.

I just bring this up because the film addresses black color consciousness-as Antwone says: "First the light-skinned girls were adopted, then the light-skinned boys, and then the dark-skinned girls, and finally the dark-skinned boys." Antwone recalls how his foster-mother would compare him unfavorably with his half-white foster brother ("He has good hair & skin & is better than you!").

So in light of all this, the stereotypical portrayal of light-skinned women as the ideal mate or relative seems out of place. But perhaps it was just me that noticed it (though the two light-skinned actresses were in my opinion very attractive, so I'm not complaining about that)....

Posted by razib at 07:07 PM | | TrackBack

WHO looks kindly on genomics

The WHO is actually recommending (link requires registration) that developing countries invest in genetic services as part of more holistic and complete health care system.

I'm surprised that the WHO has not thought through some of the obvious unintended consequences of this recommendation. Several cultures in developing countries have a rather, well, different view of what is considered a genetic defect and what is not. In addition, the rapid pace of change in genomics research can quickly overwhelm and twist traditional practices.

An egregious example would be its effects on premarital screening. Arranged marriages are very common from Iran to China (and with a big pit-stop in India). The rationale behind "arranging" a marriage is to allow for maximum cultural and tribal compatibility between two complete strangers. Today, the search for compatibility in arranged Indian marriages has led most communities away from old-fashioned astrology and to the medical history of the family. Now throw the family genetic history in the mix, and it becomes easy to envisage the rise of widespread, populist eugenic practices in these cultures.

I happen to think that both our ability and the desire to alter our genetic landscape heralds one of the most exciting events of this century. It's going to be fun to watch, and even more fun to be a part of. I can't wait!

Razib adds: Great Suman, now I've got to worry about my mom stealing some cells to get tested so she can have the results on hand when she's looking for a wife for me. Grrrr....

Posted by suman at 07:03 PM | | TrackBack

The causes of suicide

Scientific American has a little article on suicide. Some quotations: "I'm not saying that suicide is purely biological, but it starts with having an underlying biological risk." What's the biological risk? "At a conference of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2001, Arango reported that the brains of people who were depressed and died by suicide contained fewer neurons in the orbital prefrontal cortex, a patch of brain just above each eye. What is more, in suicide brains, that area had one third the number of presynaptic serotonin transporters that control brains had but roughly 30 percent more postsynaptic serotonin receptors."

As we discover more about brain architecture, we'll be seeing more discussions on the chemical basis for emotions and intelligence. Of course, the chemistry is controlled to a large degree by genetics...

Posted by david at 11:36 AM | | TrackBack

January 17, 2003

Joe Millionaire

Michelle Cottle hates Joe Millionaire and Noy Thrupkaew tells you why it degrades both genders. Yeah, but people are flocking to watch it.

Unfortunately, I think as contrived and artificial as these shows are, they are shedding light on a few of the strands that makes people select their mates. Intelligence & humor are always the number #1 criteria that both men and women declare in their prospective partner, but what is left unsaid is that there is a general level of physical attractiveness that is necessary (or barring that, financial success) that must be met before you would even allow the process of discernment to begin. Personally, what I find most amusing is watching men having to create rationales for their choices of women for what they know is a predominantly female audience. It seems clear that their selections of women are based on physical appearence and willingness to "put out" (let's be honest, how well can you get to know someone in a week anyhow? The first rounds are all about meat-inspection).

Posted by razib at 11:37 PM | | TrackBack

Ching-chong-chang out of Shaq's big mouth....

OK, when ESPN spends a lot of time reporting on this Yao/Shaq insensitivity thing-it's getting wwwaaayyy out of hand in our society [1]. Do you know how many times a month I have people asking me to talk like Apu Nahasapeemapetilon?. I mean, I can do it, so I indulge them. Laughs all around. I mean, I make jokes about Irish people being drunks (sorry Jason M. & duende), who am I to protest? (I spent my grade school years in Albany, NY, dominated by an Irish Catholic machine political system and most of my classmates were from working class Celtic backgrounds)

Just watched the Houston-L.A. game on T.V.-did you see Yao's huge Chinese parents (I think they were his parents?) in the stands? They were clapping in the most subdued Asian manner. It was hilarious to me for some reason, they were like no other parents I'd seen being focused in on by the cameras during game-time....

[1] And what is not being said is that our society does have a milder standard for making fun of east, south and west Asians than say for Latin Americans, and especially for black Americans (imagine Yao doing some faux ebonics). But, I'm all for keeping that mild standard intact, I think one reason that whites and Asians get along in the US is that whites are less stressed out about offending them. "Sensitivity" tends to put up barriers between groups I think, rather than relaxing tensions. And if there's one thing I oppose with a passion, it is barriers between me & women of northern European heritage on account of "sensitivity" (though true, "sensitivity" can be turned to one's advantage....)

Posted by razib at 11:12 PM | | TrackBack

My resume

For those of you who have read some of my comments and posts, you know I'm desperately seeking employment as I wrap up grad school. I'd prefer a job in strategic/management consulting for biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies or in the analysis of equities in those categories.

If you're in that field, or know someone who is and can connect me up with him/her, I'd appreciate any leads.


Here is the resume-also present to the left indefinitely....

E-mail me at [email protected]

Razib adds: "GENE EXPRESSION helping the cognitive elite get their foot in the door of life...."

Posted by david at 04:27 PM | | TrackBack

January 16, 2003

Transgressing Burqas

This City Journal article titled Why Feminism Is AWOL on Islam is important. One thing though that those of the West-PoMo-types and defenders of the tradition-might forget is that sometimes women want to be "oppressed." Check out this article relating the far greater number of Islamists, many women, protesting equalization of the medieval Muslim divorce laws in Morocco (this is a moment where Robert Kaplan’s enlightened despot shines above the froth of anarchy).

Why would women oppose their own liberation? With rights come responsibilities (so goes the theory), and I suspect many of these women have been socialized to exist in an almost quasi-infantile state without a conception of self-determination and delude themselves that they are "protected" (at least to western eyes) [1]. Of course, there are different roles that men and women traditionally have. But the problem is that behavior between the genders overlaps, and absolute dictates do not take into account personal choice and autonomy.

[check out this related article in Beliefnet about Muslim-Christian custody disputes, I don't know where I stand on this, but it raises confusing questions. They should raise them atheists and allow them to pick gods when their grow up I say!]

[1] All my liberal friends seem to have heard or encountered traditional Muslim women telling them that they feel "protected" and "respected" by Islam. There might be something to this, but children are also protected and respected. While to a westerner an educated Muslim woman wearing a head-scarf might say that "she is a pearl to be cherished," in my personal experience as a child, the prime justification that Muslims of South Asian origins made for purdah was that a woman was for the eyes of her man only (perhaps Muslims of other nationalities are more noble in inclination, I have no knowledge of that…). A far less edifying reason, but logical insofar as I believe that most Muslim men view their women-folk as property owned by the extended family which they are head. This explains the story recounted in the article of a father beheading his seven year old daughter because she was raped by her uncle, she was damaged property that blemished the appraisal value (social standing) of the clan. There's a reason I think the terms "civlization" and "barbarism" should make a comeback....

Posted by razib at 09:55 PM | | TrackBack

Average military IQ

Someone on the message board is asking about the average IQ of the enlisted soldier. Anyone know? The military is REALLY into testing, but he claims he can't find it via google.

Posted by razib at 01:34 AM | | TrackBack


Please e-mail ?'s you want added to the FAQ to [email protected].

Posted by razib at 12:05 AM | | TrackBack

January 15, 2003

For shame!

Ian Murray has just been fired for blogging. This sucks. Glenn linked to it, so I'm sure Ian will get some $$$ thank gods....

My employment was terminated this morning, with this blog stated as the reason....

I am of course looking for work, and if anyone has any leads on where a respected (except in my former organization) public policy analyst whose work has been published in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Washington Post and USA Today could end up, please let me know.

In the meantime, I have a wife and daughter to feed and no recourse to unemployment insurance. Contributions to the tip-jar would be very gratefully received.

Posted by razib at 06:32 PM | | TrackBack

I'm shocked...shocked.

From Gregory Kane (black columnist) who takes a non-orthodox view of the death penalty in Maryland: http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-md.kane15jan15,0,2514410.column.

An excerpt:

With an African-American annual body count that should stagger the imagination, Baltimore's state's attorneys -- and not just Patricia Jessamy because this reluctance goes back a ways -- routinely refuse to seek the death penalty. Adolf Eichmann couldn't get the death penalty here.

Here are a couple of suggestions for future studies that won't get done. Let's have a study of exactly why state's attorneys in Baltimore, where most of the black victims are, shy away from the death penalty.

Then -- in the interest of investigating a real racial disparity -- let's have a treatise on why black murderers choose white victims far more frequently than white murderers choose black ones.

Ye shall know the truth...

Posted by razib at 01:12 PM | | TrackBack

And you shall be as the gods....

Scientists Create Brand New Organism. The story is a bit less interesting to the lay person on closer inspection-it's a form of e. coli that synthesizes a strange amino acid, but hey, the building blocks of life....

Posted by razib at 12:52 PM | | TrackBack

The Reality of Race (?)

This article from Scientific American titled "The Reality of Race" is very Zen. Read and see if you agree.

Posted by razib at 12:21 PM | | TrackBack

The Content of My Character, or of My Nuclei?

Fascinating article over at Frontpage. Just a few notes:

"To the racist, the individual's moral and intellectual character is the product, not of his own choices, but of the genes he shares with all others of his race."

By "intellectual character" I think that he means preferences, say, of Toni Morrison over Joyce Carol Oates. He skirts the IQ question, but also postulates this:

"This philosophy is why racial division is growing at our colleges. The segregated dormitories, the segregated cafeterias, the segregated fraternities—these all exist, not in spite of the commitment to "diversity," but because of it. "

I agree that constant preaching of diversity and identity politics can increase self-segregation, but the author doesn't seem to note that many people self-segregate on their own, without any prompting from Diversity Consultants. Interesting article, otherwise, though I must quibble with his use of "skin color" as a synonym for race. By that method Gong Li and I are the same race, at least when she stays out of the sun.

Posted by duende at 10:37 AM | | TrackBack

What's My Muthaf***in' Name?

Steve Sailer linked to this study showing that people sending resumes with black-sounding forenames. Throughout the my life, I've noticed that people who refuse to discuss black crime rates and illegitimacy rates will laugh about names like Vershawn and Tamala. Why can't people who believe that the CIA gave Bob Marley cancer conceive that most white people think that typically black names are ridiculuous?

This got me wondering how this works for Asians. If you put "Yuriko Watanabe" on your resume would an employer be more likely to hire you than if you signed yourself "Mary Margaret Sullivan"? Would an employer say, "She's probably a drunk. Hire the Japanese chick." Are Asians with English first names like "Sarah Kim" more likely to be hired than those with ethnic first names?

Posted by duende at 09:22 AM | | TrackBack

Milwaukee not that segregated?

This article explodes the 'myth of segregation' by using a new method:

The UWM researchers offer a definition that measures the percentage of residents in a metro area who live on blocks that are at least 20% black and 20% white - with the remaining 60% made up of any combination of black, white or other ethnicity.
In contrast to this "20/20" approach, the traditional segregation index takes a metro area such as Milwaukee, which is 16% African-American, and computes how many blacks would have to move to disperse them evenly in each census tract of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. By that standard, both a census tract with a 15% black population and one with a 20% black population would be rated as segregated - one too white, the other too black.

Of course, there is this caveat:

"I don't think the dissimilarity index measures the degree to which the average white is exposed to blacks in their neighborhood or the average black is exposed to whites in their neighborhood," said John Logan, a sociology professor and demographer at the State University of New York at Albany. Logan is perhaps the most quoted researcher in America on the segregation rankings.

Thanks to The Edge of England's Sword for the link.

Posted by razib at 02:06 AM | | TrackBack

Stand up and be counted

After all the controversy these past few days, I decided to take stock, and note what the ethnicities of the people who have accounts on this blog are. Of the people that are active in posting or moderating, you have two brown guys (Suman is a Hindu Bengali and I am a Muslim one, though we are both atheists), duende & Jason M. are Irish-American, while David is 1/4 African-American and I know some of the rest is German. Jason Soon is Chinese Malaysian by origin, Australian by nationality. Of people with accounts that haven't been active there's one brown guy (Christian by origin, not religious), two Scots, a Jew and a white guy who's ethnicity (and name) I don't know.

We could make some bizarre satire about a race-hatred group that can't figure out who to hate because we include too many types of people.

Posted by razib at 01:51 AM | | TrackBack

Family values & Cloning

The always provocative Stanley Kurtz addresses the negative effects of cloning on the two-parent family structure. First, I think Kurtz is overestimating the number of reproductive clones that will be produced in the near future-the first human clones will probably be very sick and die quickly in misery, discouraging the vast majority of narcissists from investing so much $$$ into a project so likely to produce an imperfect version of themselves.

But what if clones are healthy? Kurtz makes some good points-and I'm not going to address them right now, but there is one thing I thought of: who better to raise you than yourself? After all, if 50% of behavior and personality is genetic, a cloned parent will have already won half the battle in anticipating the mischief and needs of their clone-child. Evolutionary psychologists will often assert that one reason step-parents are much more likely to abuse is because they have no genetic relationship to the child. By this logic, clone-parents should be especially doting and attentive (something they are likely to be already, as the only thing a narcissist could love besides themselves, is a reflection of themselves at a more youthful and beautiful stage). It should be especially easy to have empathy with someone who is, though autonomous and differentiated from you, made of the same raw materials. Of course, this sort of thing can lead to problems as well. I just bring these issues up because cloning can be more complicated after the repugnance wears off.

Posted by razib at 01:37 AM | | TrackBack

January 14, 2003

The Truth is too easy an answer

We all knew Charlie Rangel's race angle for reinstating the draft (ie; more blacks will die, while a draft would equalize the risk) was suspect, and the Pentagon report that just came out confirms it (blacks concentrate in administrative and support positions). But it doesn't matter-Rangel will still repeat the same mantra.

Update: This article over at NRO is pretty good. Seems that blacks are somewhat overrepresented, but not to the magnitude that one would assume from the rhetoric.

Posted by razib at 01:01 PM | | TrackBack

Does the free man bend his knee to man or god?

I've been having a discussion with John Ray over Christianity and western civilization, especially liberty. Below is a response I e-mailed John (with minor editorial corrections):

Good post-I might jump into this at some point, I've had debates about this
before, back on the newsgroups. My general position about the generalizations about Christianity (and its special characteristics that fostered liberalism) is "perhaps" to a lot of the assertions-but it seems that (as you would probably point out) not all Christian cultures become liberal-the Orthodox, Monophysite and to some extent Catholic cultures never developed liberalism (one could argue that the modern day liberalism of Catholic western Europe is a function of the imposition and domination by Anglospheric values because of American conquest of Europe after WW II).

Goes to your ideas about Germanic paganism-though I would qualify that I
think it was a coincidence of particular cultures at different stages that happened to come into contact on equal footing-a powerful and articulate Greco-Roman tradition that melded with a basically pre-literate tribal system which managed to somehow not be overwhelmed by the centralist tendencies that civilization seems to find so natural. In other words, many groups, in India, East Asia, even the Middle East, had ancient traditions of liberty (Greeks, Romans, Sakyas, Hebrews, Hittites, etc.) that eventually became subsumed by their absorption into a larger cultural matrix (culminating in the Pax Romana in Europe, the Middle Kingdom in China, and the social claustrophobia of caste in India). In contrast, northern Europe managed to preserve its tribal liberties in the face of the late Greco-Roman tradition of government autocracy exemplified by Diocletian.

Posted by razib at 01:44 AM | | TrackBack

Human Biodiversity Redux

Long time readers can basically ignore this post-it deals with general and specific points and the logic behind my ideas about human biodiversity. Not too long or detailed.

1) As Jason Soon notes, there is a persistent difference in "g" between a variety of groups (Ashkenazi Jews at the high end-various tribal peoples in the Old World the low end)

2) We know IQ is 30-80% genetic (I'm giving the most wide range, though somewhere on the high side of 50 is probably the modal value that would come up if you polled "experts")

3) The black-white IQ gap in the United States has been rather steady (shifting between 10-15 points) for about 100 years

4) Social conditions (and the income gap between) of both blacks and whites have changed, but the IQ gap has remained

5) Some new immigrant groups, and some non-white groups overseas, especially those of Northeast Asian extraction (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) seem to score high on g-loaded tests. Especially in visual-spatial skills

6) Blacks from middle and upper-middle income backgrounds score rather low-even compared to low income whites and Asians

7) Some groups initially scored rather low (southern and eastern Europeans during World War I), but later came up to the mean of their new nation (or higher, as in the case of European Jews). Others on the other hand perform poorly on g-loaded tests. This indicates that bias and acculturation are factors, but some groups may lack aptitudes that others have but do not express on first blush

8) Races exists. There are rough clusters of humans that have branched off from each other via population bottlenecks. Roughly, the Bantu peoples of Congo and those of South Africa can be genetically shown to have more affinity with each other on average than to a Swede or a Korean. But, as Steve Sailer would say, they are fuzzy sets. African mt-DNA lineages for instance are found in all branches, because they are the most diverse, and Eurasian (and New World populations) are the result of founder effect from base populations in Africa that emigrated ~80,000 years ago. In their turn, the various Eurasian branches of humanity separated from each other, so that Europeans and Northeast Asians parted ways as genetically relatively isolated populations (from each other) by ~40,000 years ago. This does not imply gene flow did not occur, but geographic boundaries such as the Sahara, the central Asian massifs and various forms of agriculture dictated by climate created sharp clines in some regions that delineate boundaries between geographic races [1]

9) The tripartite separation between Europeans, Africans and East Asians and analysis of a variety of traits seems to map well on the genetic relatedness, Europeans and East Asians, though different, tend to cluster with each other, while Africans tend to express different phenotypes

10) The picture is incomplete, many groups are not willing to give blood because of historical distrust of scientists (Australian Aborigines and Native Americans), while detailed analysis of behavior and standardized testing are far from rigorous for most of the world outside of Europe, the United States and Eastern Asia (African Americans, about 20% European, are used as a proxy for West African in my mind)

11) There are certain physiological traits that can not be disputed-black Africans have the highest twinning rates & fasted physical development (early puberty), while East Asians show results at the other extreme

All these facts, and more that I can't think of at this moment, hint to me that there might very well be differences on average that are non-trivial and might have public policy and social implications. There are counter-examples, the rise and fall of the Sephardic Jewry, the low IQs of Koreans in Japan, the small closing of the black-white IQ gap, etc. But none of these are compelling enough for me to reject the hypothesis that human biodiversity is factually probably correct-and just as those who accept that "race does not exist" can explain away the points I have made above, I believe I can formulate plausible explanations within an HBD paradigm for these "anomalous results." The key is that I think my explanations are less strained than those who reject the idea of race.

Finally, let me add this, we know that human populations do start out from small groups and expand, and hint at population bottlenecks and rapid growth. Iceland and Ireland are two examples. What are the chances that historically separated populations will have all the exact same aptitudes?. To me the answer is that it is unlikely, that by chance and genetic drift various human populations will develop their own frequencies of various alleles that code for phenotypes. They will have their own response to environments and adapt both culturally and biologically. ‘tis nature as work. Man is a social animal, but biology is still the bedrock of our nature.

[1] You walk from Brittany across Europe and cross the Bosporus and go through the Middle East and into South Asia. The cline would be slow and gentle, as white Europeans merge into olive Middle Easterners who somewhere in the mountains of the Hindu Kush start to become brown South Asians. This whole western stretch of Eurasia has traditionally been the home of the "Caucasoid" race-but once in India, there is a relatively sharp demarcation between the Tibeto-Burman peoples of the highlands around the subcontinent's northern and eastern fringe and the brown Indians of the lowlands. Why is this? I suspect that different forms of agriculture and lifestyle issues (the rather precipitous rise in elevation that creates vastly different microclimates over a short distance) played a part in preventing too much intermarriage, though the mixed phenotypes in Nepal and to a lesser extent Assam and Bengal illustrate that it did happen. Similarly, the Bantu people spread no further than the central region of modern South Africa because the western Cape was not conducive to their tropical agriculture with its Mediterranean climate. This coincidence of geography preserved the Khoisan peoples so that they lasted until the Dutch appeared on the scene to execute the inevitable genocide

From Jason Malloy:

It is especially important to note that for both racial groups the head
size X IQ correlation exists within-families as well as between-families,
indicating an intrinsic, or functional, relationship, as explained in
Chapter 6. Equally important is the fact that within each sex, whites and
blacks share precisely one and the same regression line for the regression
of head size on IQ. When blacks and whites are perfectly matched for
true-score IQ (i.e., IQ corrected for measurement error), either at the
black mean or at the white mean, the overall average W-B difference in head
circumference is virtually nil.

Taken together, these findings suggest that head size and IQ are similarly
related to IQ for both blacks and whites. Although matching blacks and
whites for IQ virtually eliminates the average difference in head size,
matching the groups on head size does not equalize their IQs. This is what
we in fact should expect if brain size is only one of a number of brain
factors involved in IQ.

[source Jensen's G FACTOR]

Posted by razib at 01:04 AM | | TrackBack

January 13, 2003

There Are No Illegitimate Children, Just Illegitimate Feminists

Today, Steve Sailer asks this question:
"Why did "widows with children" become "single mothers?" There used to be a hierarchy of respect and sympathy for young mothers without husbands: widows were at the top, divorcees in the middle, and never married single mothers at the bottom. Now, even widows call themselves "single mothers." Is society better off because of this? Let's be frank: women who have children without a husband are harming society. Why should they be treated as sympathetically as a mother whose husband has died?"

I once told Razib that Sailer educated me far more than my classes have. But if I've learned anything useful studying English, it's been how to handle any feminist, on any campus, by noting the similarities in their education, tastes, and philosophy.

One of feminsts' major goals is not to hurt the feelings of women. Well, not women at large as Christina Hoff Sommers can attest, but women with the right sympathies. The single mother hierarchy is rather reminiscent of high school hierarchy, e.g. the girls who got along best with boys were on top. This causes horrifying flashbacks for the feminists who were on the bottom of this totem pole (so was I, but I grew up and got a life). Out of their own immaturity, as well as misguided sympathy and empathy, they smashed these hierarchies to improve the self-esteem women who have illegitimate children.

These are dully materialistic people who see things in terms of victims and victimizers, rather like ignorant anti-Americans who argue moral equivalence attack on the World Trade Center and bombing accidents like the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Goals, plans, and the moral importance of individual choices and motivations are unknown in this flat, monochrome worldview that sees effect but is so uninterested in the individual that it can't be bothered to distinguish between ethical and unethical causes.

Another covert cause is to protect the feelings of black women. 69% of black children are illegitimate.. Even though illegitimacy occurs at all levels of society, it is most common among blacks. To an extent, tolerance of illegitimacy is simply an extension of our attitude regarding other largely black pathologies that white liberals admonish everyone to politely ignore.

P.S. Dennis Prager has an insightful article on this subject. As usual it fails to mention race, but still a good read.

Posted by duende at 04:04 PM | | TrackBack

January 12, 2003

So now GNXP is racist..?

Over at Richard Bennett's Blog, Gene Expression has been charged with being racist.. oh well!

Honest debate about HBD and the consequences to social policy is not racism, but then I doubt that Richard bothers to read past the headlines and blog-bytes gnenerated on GNXP.

Razib adds: Racist? God-that-I-don't-believe-in I'm tired of this crap. I've addressed these issues before. I believe in equality before the law. But, I believe different groups probably have different aptitudes (not moral inferiority or superiority)-and the axiom of equality-that all groups have the exact same tendencies as our common evolutionary heritage, could cause serious problems when applied to public policy.

One more thing: I've said this before, but this needs repeating (from The New White Nationalism by black sociologist Carol Swain):

At least one important survey suggests that a belief in the biological inferiority [notice the loaded terminology here] of some races in regard to intelligence is more common than generally supposed. Smith College professor Stanley Rothman and Harvard researcher Mark Snyderman surveyed a sample of mostly scientific experts in the field of educational psychology in the late 1980s and found that 53 percent believed IQ differences between whites and African Americans were at least partly genetic in origin, while only 17 percent attributed the IQ differences to environmental factors alone (the remainder either believed the data was currently insufficient to decide the issue or refused to answer the question).

The footnote pinpoints the study as the Survey of Expert Opinion on Intelligence and Aptitude Testing, in American Psychologist 42 (1987): 127-44.

In 1994, when I was disgusted by The Bell Curve like any decent human being-and politically liberal high school senior, I read an article in Newsweek that reported the findings. I just tucked them away in a distant corner of my brain, not wanting to believe any of it.

More good points: My friend and guest blogger Jason Soon has some very level headed things to say on the message board (check out some of the comments-I used to joke with godless that we were "Darwin's Wolves," but my readers are a veritable pack!):

This is a matter of True Vs False - end of story - and taking a position on this one way or the other doesn't make anyone a cross burner. Anyone who implies otherwise is no different from the sorts of relativists who can't separate the political from the Truth. As for interest - some people are interested in this human biodiversity stuff because it's intrinsically interesting. Not because it supports an agenda, not because they wear white hoods in their spare time but because they find it interesting. I find it interesting and fascinating. Perhaps people like Richard don't believe people are capable of finding this interesting for its own sake because he's a political hack and like all political hacks everything is about Politics (that sounds a bit like the relativists too). The Positive and the Normative are 2 different things, Richard, get it?....

Couldn't say it better myself.

From the message board:


I think this conversation has been too important to keep in this archived little comment box, so I created a thread with all the text copied over to Razib's newly created message boards. I think it would be cool if people could register in, and the conversation could continue over there instead.

Here's a link to the boards:


Posted by Jason M. at January 14, 2003 02:56 PM

Posted by suman at 05:55 PM | | TrackBack

Hell No, We Won't Go! We're Having Kids!

Rangel and others want to reinstate the draft. Do we have enough young people to "man" an imperial army without tapping immigrants? I doubt it, and I doubt that the immigrants we need will have such loyalty to America. This reminds me of the Roman Army filling its ranks with foreigners after the Romans lost their taste for citizen-soldiering.

The author seems to favor drafting single, childless women ages 18-26. I think this would set off a baby boom among women in those age groups, as well as a few marriages of convenience. I'd do one or the other myself, if I couldn't wiggle out of the draft some other way. But at 5'1 I'm not soldiering material, so I'm probably safe. Still, Razib might be called to save a 6 foot St. Pauli Girl look-alike from the dogs of war.

A few points from Razib: The men that manned the legions were all citizens. The men that manned the "auxilliaries" were non-citizens, given citizenship after completion of their service, though some auxilliaries were local levies raised by tributary monarchs and nations (generally about half the army were auxilliaries-the system changed in the 4th century and mobile mounted units came to the fore). The Italian character of the Roman army was negligible by the 3rd century-this was the era of Syrian and Illyrian Emperors who defended the empire with their blood and guts (one was captured and decapitated by the Persians-Valerian, who popularized December 25th as a holiday because of his devotion to Sol Invictus). The real breakdown happened when German foederati were allowed to settle throughout and "defend" the empire (particularly after the defeat of Valens at Adrianople late in the 4th century). They had tribal loyalties and it showed. But remember that the Emperors after Domitian were almost all non-Italian by birth, though not necessarily by extraction [1]. Some like Theodosius II were ineffectual puppets, others like Diocletian saved the empire for another generation.

And yes, I would fight off the dogs of war for some of this:

[1] Trajan (Italian origin family that had settled in southern Spain), Antoninus (similar, but from Narbonensis Gaul-the Provence), Marcus Aurelius (from Trajan's extended family), Septimius Severus (partially Italian origin, partially Punic, from Libya-married to a Syrian woman), Diocletian & Constantine (Illyrian peasant origins), and Theodosius (from Galicia in Spain).

Posted by duende at 05:47 PM | | TrackBack

The Carnival of Race

A month ago a study came out that showed that most white Brazilians had a large number of non-white ancestors (over half their female progenitors in fact). This was shown as proof by some that race is a social illusion. But many ignored this quote:

"First of all, let me stress that the conclusions of this study apply to Brazil, and should not be naively extrapolated to other countries," Dr. Sergio D. J. Pena, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health in an interview.

And almost simultaneously, results were produced by other scientists that indicated that there were five geographical groups of human beings-races.

How do we resolve this? The short answer-it's complicated, and obvious answers are not always correct.

Brazilians are obviously a racial mix-and this mixing has been happening for 300 years. It seems that certain genes associated with selected phenotypes have been assorted over the generations to various segments of the populace to produce the illusion of relative whiteness, despite the underlying genome still attesting to a large quotient of non-white ancestry.

Say what? OK, assume you have two individuals, half-Swedish and half-Nigerian, who marry and have children. Let us say that the grandparents who were Swedes were blue-eyed, and the Nigerians brown-eyed. In the most simple explication of mendelian inheritance, the two individuals of mixed-race would have brown eyes but still carry a blue eyed gene. 1/4 (statistically) of their children would be homozygous for blue eyes, and so would display that phenotype. In fact it seems not implausible that if these two individuals had 10 children some of these ten would look more "white" and others would be more "black" in appearance, while the balance would be somewhere in between.

The ones who looked more "white" expressed more of their Swedish grandparent's genes for easily identifiable phenotypes (for instance, blue eyes, or possibly blonde hair). The opposite would be true for those who looked more black. In Brazilian society people who could "pass" as white but were genetically considerably non-white still might have mostly European genes for phenotypes that are traditionally markers of what it means to be white-light hair, eyes or wavy rather than kinky hair, etc. The light hair and eyes are recessive, as I believe is non-kinky hair (this is up for debate, lots of these traits are polymorphic, with multiple genes contributing to a phenotype), so would "breed true" and their children with other "white looking" people would also be white despite their considerable non-white ancestry (still evident in the Y chromosome and mt-DNA as well as many other genes that are coding for processes not noticed with the eye but might be different between races-for instance, the difference in processing carbohydrates that leads to obesity in black women).

Brazil-where race mixture has been much more common historically than in most parts of the world, is a particular case. For most Europeans in Sweden, their phenotype is a good signature of their overall genome, while most Nigerians are Nigerian, explaining why though there are specific exceptions to mapping phenotype to overall genotype (Brazil, individuals of mixed race), it is still generally a good rule of thumb.

But the key is that it is a rule of thumb. This is why I reject the almost religious appeals to racial solidarity made by race activists, whether white, black, brown or yellow. If someone has many non-white ancestors, but are physically white, are they part of the "racial soul"? But what if someone has white ancestors, but by some chance of nature is more racially ambiguous in appearence:

(Bjork of Iceland)

My final point would be this: many Brazilian whites carry genes that might code for phenotypes that we don't think of when we think "race." I believe elements of behavior are strongly influenced by genotype, and if these factors were not assorted by Brazilian social norms ("good hair" = not kinky, "good features" = European, etc. are easy to see, r vs. K selection a la Rushton's rule is not), than Brazilian whites might not act how we believe whites would act based on adaptation to Ice Age conditions in Europe, but more like their African or Amerindian forbears.

Update: Juan points me to this article debunking the Brazilian study's claims. Not totally convinced-the Brazilian study still surprised me even though I do agree the authors overplayed their hand. But, it makes the same point that I just did above, that it is particular to Brazil and shouldn't be generalized.

Posted by razib at 02:33 PM | | TrackBack

Not A Girl, Yet Not A Woman

I'm a bit perturbed that so many of the staggeringly high-IQ individuals on this forum thought I was a man. Hopefully this won't spark another identity crisis. I thought they were over when I hit 20.

A while ago, one of you all referenced this link. I spent $10 to print it out, and I'm eager to discuss it. Will that person, and anyone else interested in this topic, please email me?

Posted by duende at 11:30 AM | | TrackBack

Christianity & Civility

John Ray is having an excellent exchange on Christianity with the rest of the blogosphere-and as a fellow non-Leftist and one of irreligious inclination, I sympathize with his position. Jason Soon is right-Northeast Asians are almost certainly the most irreligious people in the world. Even in the United States, 20-25% of "Asian Americans" (which includes many South & Southeast Asians that would almost certainly give a religious preference) do not have a religion, compared to 10-15% among the general population. In places like London, the white population is very irreligious, while Christianity is seen as a non-white, in particular Afro-British, thing. See the statistics in the chart below to illustrate the faith's salubrious effect....

Posted by razib at 03:10 AM | | TrackBack