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October 04, 2003

All American Brown Boy

Bobby Jindal is tops in the Louisiana primary . The general election will be tougher, the two Democrats combined received more votes. This is in Louisiana, a state where David Duke won a majority of white voters several times in the early 90s. I think this result points to two things:

  • We overemphasize how important race is to voters (Duke won the white vote for more than racial reasons. Though racism might have been part of his appeal, he packaged himself as a pretty standard conservative)
  • And racial attitudes, like acceptance of homosexuality, have shifted at warp speed in the past 15 years. What was once the work of generations is now closer to a cycle of MTV V-jays.

Back specifically to Jindal-his possible victory points to a mode of assimilation for new non-white minorities, especially ones who are economically successful[1]-he is a conservative Christian (though the top google news site for "bobby jindal" is an Indian operation!). I assumed that Jindal's family was Christian when they came to the United States when I saw it mentioned that he was a Roman Catholic-there are a non-trivial number of Catholics in India, and a disproportionate number of Indian immigrants are Christian. But tonight after a little googling, I found that Bobby Jindal converted to Catholicism from Hinduism in college. His Indian American wife, Supriya Jolly, is also of that faith, and they are raising their daughter as a Catholic[2]. Additionally, it is curious that "Bobby" gave himself that name when was 5, his "real" name is "Piyush." His brother Nikesh apparently does not go by "Nick."

Things that make you go hhhmmm.... I don't deny Bobby Jindal is sincere, but becoming a conservative Catholic while you are majoring in public policy and seem on the fast-track to prominence, added to the fact you are from a predominantly Catholic region of the country, seems a bit fortuitous to me. I am all for assimilation, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that Christian conversion as a path to acceptance kind leaves me a bit unenthusiastic. I'm not the only one (check out this funny cartoon, though as a sell-out & Republican I don't agree with the substance of it-via Manish Vij). Bobby has been pushing his religious conservative creds by wooing the Christian Coalition (control-f "Christian Coalition") & speaking about the importance of the Ten Commandments. Oh, and Creationism in the public schools, from a guy who studied Biology in college & almost went to medical school! All the hot-button issues....

But Jindal is not my vision of the brown future. First, he's married to a brown chick, which doesn't foster the emergence of a Jeurasian class. Second, as a secular humanist, I'm a bit suspicious of religious traditionalists and their cosmic vision, though as a conservative & Republican I acknowledge their place of primacy on the American Right. Just as secularized Jewish intellectuals lost their Jewishness without becoming Christian, I envision the absorption of Western values & outlook by non-white non-Christian immigrants without necessarily becoming Christian. Personally, I think it's probably an improvement if Muslims convert to Christianity, but I don't see a great gain in Hindus converting, because that religion seems rather innocuous in comparison and more congenial to the liberal order[3].

If you read this blog frequently, I think you can intuit that a future for Asian immigrants where they maintain their racial identity and become conservative Christians is not my fantasy. Rather, I imagine a Jeurasian Reconstructionist/Episcopalian/Unitarian-Universalist/Brahmo Samaj/Zen Budddhist/Secular Humanist ethnos more defined by their broadly liberal values & mobility than race or religious devotion.

So Bobby, good luck, especially on the economic front, from one brown sell-out Republican to another. But you ain't no brotha to me!

Update: Shanti posts on this issue. I put a comment over there. I want to reiterate that when I say Jindal is no brotha to me-it's a rejection of a racialized (he looked up a brown chick when he moved to Louisiana when he could have dated anyone) and religiously focused (he's a zealous convert, at least by appearance) life that seems to characterize the South-and which Jindal seems to be falling into the pattern of recapitulating. Please note that I'm not saying that southerners are racist. It's easy to point fingers when you live in Imbler where most people are white so race isn't an issue. I am deeply concerned about the racialization of California that is happening just across the border. I am a Republican and I'm satisfied that Jindal won, as a Republican, not as a brown guy.

Susanna in her comment seems to have misinterpreted me-I don't want Jindal to hew to the old time religion (though Hinduism is not Druidism after all, not matter how pagan you think it-it is a viable world religion), rather, I would have preferred that he as a professional and educated South Asian would become a citizen of the bobo class. I know many people have problems with bobos-hell, most of them are too liberal and complacent about Islam for my tastes-but they are the closest thing to a people I have. I think bobos are natural defenders of the bourgeois liberal order and I want to see them prosper and multiply (and focus on their own personal life rather than railing against the traditionalist masses)...the crystallization of a South Asian identity, and the conversion of Hindus to Christianity, is an impediment to boboization. Therefore, I stand opposed.

Also, check out Susanna's post Tell me about racist Republicans. I don't think Republicans, especially the elite, is racist at all. They are somewhat classist, and also a bit anti-secularist, but those are different things alltogether. Steve Sailer is supposed to write a piece at some point about conservative Republicans marrying Asian women-when is that going to happen Steve? "Racism" is an overused word that has been devalued like "Fascist" or "Nazi." Perhaps we need a new term of abuse to heap upon "bigots"-oops, another overused word....

Update II: Another post on Jindal.

Update III: American atheist Republicans of Bengali origin seem to agree on Jindal.

fn1. To save you time-Jindal has degrees in Biology & Public Policy from Brown University and went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, yada, yada, yada. His brother graduated from Yale Law School and his father is an engineer (the only one of 9 siblings to graduate high school).

fn2. His parents are still Hindu.

fn3. Present fanatical outbursts excepted.

Posted by razib at 11:12 PM | | TrackBack

Mooney is back

Chris Mooney is back with a new site and a blog called The Intersection-that is, between science and politics. Also, the C-man pointed me to this blog that's newly speciated (Sept 26th) from the blogosphere titled The Loom, "A blog about life, past and future." On the blogroll now, hopefully we'll drive some hits that way....

Posted by razib at 08:37 PM | | TrackBack

Voltaire or Luther?

Enter the following into google & google news and you get....

The "Reformation" hits for the news stories often dealt with Irshad Manji's book. But in any case, it seemed that the "Islamic Enlightenment" hits were usually due to the words Islamic & enlightenment being on the same page (though not always), while the phrase "Islamic Reformation" is in pretty wide usage as a duet.

I think that this is interesting in light the following comment by Diana:

However...I find this phenomenon of Islamic freethinkers/apostates/what-have-you's fascinating. It's kind of like what the Jews went thru in the 19th century. Freed from the ghetto and pouring into the universities in one generation. Educated daughters of illiterate mothers. And so on. We are seeing the same thing, but on a more gigantic scale, because there are so many more Muslims.

While I have heard of the Jewish Enlightenment (the Haskalah), I rarely hear of the "Jewish Reformation." Though Hasidism and Reform Judaism might be conceived as "Reform" Jewish traditions[1], it seems that Jews have succumbed to secularism (or been liberated by) to a greater degree than Christians.

This might be the result of the special nature of the Jewish people. But, I would like to note that there are many similarities between traditional Jewish practice & Muslim practice. Jews & Muslims, less Hellenized than Christians, have always emphasized orthopraxy over orthodoxy (right practice rather than right belief). Sharia ~ Halakhah, Halal ~ Kosher, etc. It seems that the popular conceptions of religious change in Islam look to Christianity, but one might find the Jewish experience instructive as well....

More later.

fn1. Lutheranism and many of the Protestant Reformations yearned for a more primitive Christianity, less sullied by pagan accretions, whether in ritual or thought. Sola Scriptura and Justification by Faith alone. Hasidism to me more resembles Pietism and Reform Judaism seems like some of the more de-racinated forms of liberal Protestanism, despite their protests that they look back to pre-Pharisaic Judaism (Reform Jews ~ Christians with curly hair?).

Posted by razib at 07:00 PM | | TrackBack

Weird story about rape

Economist article attached below.

Rape in Kenya

Who did what to whom?
Oct 2nd 2003 | DOL DOL
From The Economist print edition

Rape is always hard to prove. Especially when lots of money is at stake

IT WAS a heart-rending scene. A hundred Masai women trekked to the British High Commission in Nairobi on August 14th, coddling 40 pale-faced children against their ebony skin and scarlet robes. They said they had been raped by British soldiers. Another 800 women, mostly from the Masai tribe or their Samburu cousins, are making similar claims. For the past 30 years, there has been an “epidemic of rape” by British troops on exercise in central Kenya, said Martyn Day, a British lawyer organising a civil action against Britain's Ministry of Defence.

Rose, a 26-year-old prostitute from the Indian Ocean resort of Malindi, says that the first she knew of the rally was when friends told her they had seen her two children among the marchers on the evening news. Far from being the offspring of a rape, she says, both were born after professional liaisons with Italian tourists. Rose's mother, who lives near Nanyuki, the British army's base in central Kenya, was accompanying them.

Last week, a British diplomat revealed that a six-month British investigation had found that the police reports supporting the women's claims had been forged. Local hospital registers also seem questionable, with the entries that detail the rapes typically scrawled at the very bottom of the page.

Confronted with Rose's claim, Mr Day admitted that he did not know all the children at the rally, but said all had been vouched for by their chiefs, making any deception nearly impossible. He stressed the physical evidence of some 60 mixed-race children, and the women's testimonies. He has heard 80 women's accounts so far, mostly through an interpreter.

Typically, the women claim to have been gang-raped by at least three British soldiers while herding goats or collecting water. Some say they were lured by their assailants with biscuits. Elizabeth Naeku, a 58-year-old alcoholic in Dol Dol, a nearby town, said she and a friend were raped at home by around six British soldiers. When she delivered a half-caste son, she said, her husband abandoned her.

Mr Day unearthed the rape allegations in 2000, while preparing a suit on behalf of hundreds of Masai herders blown up by ordnance left lying on firing ranges used by the British. Initially, around ten women claimed they had been raped. Then, Britain settled the munitions case for £4.5m ($7m), with some victims receiving hundreds of times the Kenyan average annual income. More alleged rape victims subsequently came forward. Mr Day says he is sure that most are sincere, and predicts that over 400 of their cases will be proved, implicating 2,000 British soldiers.

The British investigation is continuing. Mr Day is hoping to seek corroboration for his clients' claims from local elders and chiefs. He did something similar during his previous case against the British Defence Ministry, but some bogus claimants may still have slipped through the net. One Masai claims to have won compensation for injuries caused, not by British bombs, but by a hyena. Meanwhile, the 600 British soldiers resident in Nanyuki are confined to barracks, crippling the economy of a town that once depended on their carousing for its livelihood.

Posted by razib at 03:14 PM | | TrackBack

Knock on wood

Origin of the phrase & custom: TOUCH WOOD/KNOCK ON WOOD.

Posted by razib at 02:41 PM | | TrackBack

October 03, 2003

A possible solution to the high IQ fertility crisis?

OK, this piece on shotgun weddings in India is just too hilarious to go unnoticed.

It is a big mistake to venture out at night if you are young, male and unmarried in the Indian state of Bihar.

Subhash Kumar, a bank clerk in Patna, let his guard down and paid the price by being kidnapped. Four days after being carried off by a gang of thugs, manacled to a bed, starved and severely beaten, Kumar found himself married to a girl he had never seen before.

His tears and offers to pay ransom led to beatings, at least until the nuptials were complete. During the marriage ceremony a rope was tied around Kumar's waist in case he disgraced the bride's family by trying to flee. But by then, the resistance had been beaten out of him.

In those dark hours, all he wanted was for the nightmare to end, even if it meant being married to a complete stranger. The next day a sullen Kumar took his wife home, vowing vengeance against his in-laws.

But, like thousands of similarly married Bihari grooms, he feared the kidnappers' vengeance. Unwilling to face more beatings, he resigned himself to marriage ...

This is marriage season in Bihar, in India's east, and it is a dangerous time for young men. Bihari social workers say excessive dowry demands by grooms has forced the parents of young women to hire men to organise such "shotgun alliances".

Bihar is among the most violent of India's 28 states, where politicians and landlords own private armies and the rule of law barely exists. Officials in the state capital, Patna, said scores of bachelors were abducted each year in the state's Gaya, Darbangha and Purnea districts and, after being beaten senseless, were married according to Hindu rites, in a custom that had gained tacit social approval.

Posted by jason_s at 10:49 PM | | TrackBack

This ain't Martin Luther

Since 9-11 it seems that the Western media has been on the look-out for the "Muslim Martin Luther." Astute observers have noted that the Reformation ushered in over a century of religious wars, the destruction of Roman Catholic artistic masterpieces and the emergence of robust European nationalisms. Nevertheless, the quest continues.

So here comes The New York Times with an article titled An Unlikely Promoter of an Islamic Reformation. The individual in question is a lesbian. Let me repeat, a lesbian. As the probability approaches zero, we might change unlikely to impossible. In an age where being black, lesbian and a quadriplegic can give you a leg up in a literary or artistic career, it makes sense that a publisher is open to a Muslim version of Martin Luther's 95 Theses from someone who is totally marginal in relation to the mainstream of her community. But where being a member of a small ignored (reviled?) minority is a bonus in getting a book published, it detracts from the project of moving the discussion forward and affecting genuine change. Traditional Muslims are going to be angry about the book, but they'll be more enraged by the homosexual provocateur who is trying to be honest about the faults of their religion[1].

I'll be candid myself and admit that getting published in Frontpage & The American Conservative had in large part to do with my background as an apostate Muslim. But because I'm an apostate, an atheist, I'm not going to lecture Muslims about the details of their religion or how they should change-I'm hopeful that the religious tradition can evolve-but my primary focus is on alerting Westerners to possible erosions of the liberal status quo that might occur because of accommodation with Islamic illiberalism. Islam is going to change from within, perhaps due to prodding from non-Muslims, but all we as Westerners can do is wait & watch and be steadfast in maintaining our own liberal values[2].

Update: She's got a website (thanks Diana).

Update II: Interesting site titled Apostates of Islam.

fn1. I agree with the distillation of her substance as presented by The Times-but I assume she'll be ignored and discounted just because of her background, in addition to the revisionism of her beliefs.

fn2. Yes, the standard objection is that there is no conflict between being Muslim and Western, but I don't buy that this is a normative mode of thinking in immigrant Muslim communities. Perhaps it will be in the future, but it isn't now.

Posted by razib at 10:31 PM | | TrackBack

One building?

Titled The Meltingest Pot, this story in The New York Times Magazine should be novelized. As it is, there is a forthcoming book. The key to note is that the balanced pluralism seems to prevent ethnic rivalry, since they are all small fish in a small pond.

Godless comments:

I'm reminded of a particularly apposite Onion article:

UNITED NATIONS—In a bold gambit hoped to resolve dozens of conflicts around the world, the U.N. announced Monday the establishment of Ethniklashistan, a multinational haven in the West Bank that will serve as a new homeland for Irish Protestants, Hutus, Serbs, and other troubled groups.


Though hopes are high for Ethniklashistan—a name created by a team of linguists who combined 17 different languages' words for "sanctuary"—the establishment of the new homeland has proven rocky. Of the more than 500,000 people relocated there so far, approximately 97 percent have responded with violent resistance, swearing oaths of eternal vengeance against U.N. volunteers conducting the forced relocations.

Bloodshed also marred the "Festival Of Human Brotherhood," a weeklong, nationwide event celebrating the founding of Ethniklashistan. On Monday, 11 people were killed in a skirmish between Basques and Sikhs near Nablus. The same day, six were killed and dozens injured on the streets of Bethlehem when Somalis and Greek Cypriots exchanged gunfire and grenades.

I don't know what the statistical profile of the neighborhood is, and I always get suspicious when I read Times articles without hard numbers. Poverty is one thing - one expects new immigrants to be poor (sometimes even if they're educated) - but high crime rates are quite another...

Posted by razib at 07:46 PM | | TrackBack

Quick hack-Most Popular Entries + Formatting options

OK, I did a quick hack, there is now a Most Popular Entries page. It's a permlink to the left, underneath "Recent Entries." I'll make it more nifty later-but right now it is sorted based on how many comments have been posted. There is an MT plugin that sorts based on apache log files that show particular pages being pulled up-but I really don't care too much what people coming in through search engines look @ unless they post comments (thanks to "R" for the suggestion).

Update: I added a few formatting options, incumbent on cookies being turned on, and targetted to regular readers & those on slow connections (dial-up). You can now suppress the .gif banner display, as well as the sidebar (which has a lot of hidden text that can slow the load) as well as the body of the article text (so if you want to read the article, just click the permlink). The format option page will be linked at the top of the sidebar. Remember, cookies must be on!.

Posted by razib at 01:41 AM | | TrackBack

October 02, 2003

Boys vs. girls

Vinod points me to this post by enfant terrible of cultural economics (?) Tyler Cowen commenting on a Steve Landsburg piece titled "Do girls cause divorce"? The only thing I suggest is that the authors read papers like this one, titled: Differential infant mortality viewed from an evolutionary biological perspective (pdf)-or articles like these. Humans are jigsaw puzzles-one should examine all the pieces before putting it all together....

Update: FuturePundit comments.

P.S. my maternal grandmother had 7 children, 6 sons, 1 daughter. My mother has had 5 pregnancies, 4 sons and 1 daughter (one of the sons was stillborn). I know a woman who is one of many sisters, and all her sisters have only daughters as well.

Posted by razib at 04:36 PM | | TrackBack

Culture schmulture....

I watched a bit of a preview on the Independent Film Channel yesterday of a movie called Casa de Los Babys. Click the link for details, it has to do with baby adoption from Mexico, but what caught my attention was this assertion from Mary Steenburgen, friend of Bill Clinton, wife of Ted Danson, (paraphrase follows), the children need to be raised with knowledge of their culture, because there is a genetic ancestral memory.... My first thought, what a load of Jungian bullshit. This was probably heightened by the fact that a friend of mine was considering adopting a baby from India (a place he visits very frequently), and some of his acquaintances objected that the child needed to be raised in its own culture.

If you read this blog at all, you know that this sort of thing would set me off the edge. I then tried to put myself in the place of an adoptee from India, what if my own mother had to give me up??? Sensitive liberal white parents who wanted to expose me to my culture would probably introduce to me the gods of my forefathers, Hanuman, Ganesha and Kali. Of course, if racial memory really exists, I would want to burn & destroy any images proferred to me for the purpose of cultural enrichment. The fact that 30% of the brown people in the world (narrowly speaking-South Asians) are Muslim is something that many white Americans seem generally oblivious of[1].

Back to this issue of "genetic...memory," I am kind of disturbed by these ideas coming out of the Left, especially the culturally & racially sensitive Left. They probably got these ideas from Jung, but if you read much of Jung's biography, you start to realize he was a conventional racial essentialist of his day. GNXP is of course about biological realities-we acknowledge that for instance twins tend to share religious zealoutry, but, it is important to note there is little correlation of specific religion within a cultural context. Thou shalt not be sloppy in ascribing statistical truths to individuals, and though shalt not make the mistake of overstretching your paradigm and opening yourself up to criticisms of reductio ad absurdum thinking.

The confluence of identity politics on the Left with racial identity politics of the Right isn't that surprising, the extreme ends of the political spectrum often converge, whether it be population control, environmentalism or even anti-clericalism. The point is not that these positions are invalid (as ideologues on the center will attempt to discredit others by association with "Nazis" or "Communists")-but their emergence in disparate factions indicates deeply rooted modes of thinking that lack nuance and evince a tendency toward intellectual extremism.

I doubt Mary Steenburgen and her husband will raise their children with particular knowledge of the Scandinavian heritage that is embedded in their "genetic ancestral memory." This is in fact a case of exoticization and a sympton of the Orientalist syndrome. The culture, race and other traits someone is born to informs, but humans are capable of self-evolution (wow! incredible concept). Those on the identity Left are free to have their opinions on this issue, I just wish they would be more self-reflective of the deep axioms they are espousing, rather than patting themselves on the back for being sensitive of the cultures of Other groups. Additionally, they should note with caution who else shares this viewpoint, Jungian thought and metagenetics have influenced the thinking of Asatru, the reconstructed religious tradition of the ancient Scandinavians. I doubt that Ted Danson is taking his son to the local kindred, because the way of the ancestors is a distant memory, and his son is an American first, unrestricted by the dictates of blood & soil. One would hope he would be as sensitive in allowing any adoptive children of non-white ancestry the same freedom of self-definition. As for Asatru, it is not necessarily racist, but the Odinist faction clearly states that religious belief in the Scandinavian gods is contingent upon northwest European ancestry (the irony of American Asatru is that some of the most prominent thinkers & practioners are of Celtic ancestry). Respect for ancestral traditions, and wanting to associate with kith & kin isn't something inherently problematic, but in the context of our current culture it tends to blend into exclusivism and cultural chauvanism (whatever culture that might be). The logical endpoint of this racial essentialism is the idea of a bioculture.

The conflict between those who wish to exoticize and "respect" native cultures and those who wish to assert the superiority of one culture and capacity of others to evolve beyond organically formulated but backward cultural motifs dates back several centuries. James Mill, father of the early liberal John Stuart Mill, argued that the British should change India, his position was that of liberal imperialism-bringing the fruits of the Enlightenment to the heathen. Orientalists and even the great "conservative" thinker Edmund Burke argued that the native cultural traditions should be allowed to develop at their own pace and that intrusion would only invite chaos and incite disruption. Many of the orientalist scholars and statesmen, portrayed in the book White Mughals, had a deep love for the indigenous culture and had gone "native." Some of them defended customs like caste and suttee. The Evangelical party, who wanted to Christianize India, tended to side with the liberal Utilitarians, and were horrified that some of the factors of the East India Compay had taken up idolatry and abandoned Christianity.

My point is reccounting this historical moment is to highlight the two extreme positions. Either a society must be changed, or it must be allowed to develop on its own. Ultimately I think in the modern context that such top-down thinking is unecessary. If you judge people as individuals, you can allow them to make their own transition out of whatever "heathenry" you perceive. The orientalists and conservatives of the day have been vindicated by the chaos and social disruption caused by the insertion of Western forms of governance and culture in the non-Western world. But the liberals and Evangelicals have also been proven right, with the spread of the liberal ideal and modern science as the ancien regime recedes the world over. An ultimate balance must be achieved-though I believe that to change a culture precipitously can be disastrous, individuals must be given free reign to make their own choice, to not be constricted by artificial restrictions of race, ethnos or religious community. Let us return to a Golden Mean, think locally, change globally!

fn1. On a specific level, they know that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are Muslim, but contextually, they associate "India" with "Hinduism," failing to acknowledge the real diversity of any given cultural categorization.

Posted by razib at 02:51 PM | | TrackBack

Eugenics for Intelligence

Aarhus University professor Helmuth Nyborg made a statement that rang around the world today as he called for the government to practice selective breeding among humans to prevent the cognitive decline of the human race.

While many will be quick to equivocate his statements to Hitler's policy of eugenics, Nyborg preemptively says that Hitler practiced extermination along racial lines, removing the intelligent with the not-so-intelligent from the gene pool.

"Intelligence is hereditary," said Professor Helmuth Nyborg, the dean of the Psychology Institute at Aarhus University. "The 15 to 20 percent of those at the lower levels of society -- those who are not able to manage even the simplest tasks and often not their children -- should be dissuaded from having children. The fact is that they are having more children and the intelligent ones are having fewer."

The story has been picked up by many major news sources around the world, including The Age, The Straits Times, The Washington Times, and The Telegraph.

Posted by A. Beaujean at 10:31 AM | | TrackBack


British TV this weekend premiered the TV film BOUDICA, starring Alex Kingston, previously best known as Moll Flanders (oh, all right, Dr Corday from ER). I think the film will be showing on American PBS later this month with the title WARRIOR QUEEN.

I wish they wouldn't keep changing the poor woman's name - I had only just got used to calling her BOUDICCA instead of BOADICEA.

The film is scripted by veteran TV writer Andrew Davies. It has been criticised as 'unhistorical', but in fact sticks pretty closely to the events desribed in Tacitus (Annals xiv). Davies has deliberately used modern slang, like 'playing ball', but why not? No doubt the Romans and Britons had their own slang. Davies also injects some echoes of modern conflicts, with references to 'client states', and 'harbouring terrorists'.

Anyway, I thought it was an enjoyable romp. Alex Kingston is splendid as the flame-haired warrior queen of the Iceni, though maybe not as athletic as Lucy Lawless. The dramatic highlight (well, the turning point) comes when Boudica is bound, gagged, and flogged, while watching her daughters being gang-raped by Roman soldiers. Not sure how this will play in Peoria.

Posted by David B at 03:20 AM | | TrackBack

October 01, 2003

Rush, Donovan & black quarterbacks

Rush Limbaugh has resigned from NFL Countdown. I haven't watched Countdown much since the end of college and frankly my following of the NFL has been pretty cursory the past few years. I think Rush was probably pretty stupid not to realize that this would blow up in his face. But the thing is...the issue of black quarterbacks is still around after all these years. I remember a few years back when ESPN had a sit down talk with Dante, Donovan and Akili about the issue of black quarterbacks. I really don't see what the big deal is, almost a third of the starting quarterbacks are black, and Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham were standouts for much of the 1990s. Hell, there was open talk that Bill Cowher gave Kordell Stewart more chances to redeem himself because he was black.

As for Rush's assertion about the Eagles-I haven't followed to the team to comment with any great authority, but I remember a few years back with Donovan seemed to take the team on his back and carry them. Rush was wrong on the facts from where I stand (but all sports commentary is bullshit remember)-but I think it's pretty asinine to use the race issue against him when there are plenty of laudatory stories about black quarterbacks breaking the barrier out in the media to make you wonder why they pay attention to someone. It's not like sports commentators aren't allowed to be offensive assholes-I remember last year when Tony Kornheiser basically accused Curt Schilling of being an anti-semitic German on his show (and went on about how funny his last name was). Remember, it's a bunch of millionaires throwing balls around all day, let's get some perspective....

Update: Check out The Yglesias Take. I disagree...but whatever....

Update II: The Countdown crew comments.

Update III: New Sailer column on the Rush & McNabb controversy-a must read!

Posted by razib at 11:36 PM | | TrackBack

Soc 101

A friend of mine is taking a sociology class. He sayeth: 'The worst of all is Sociology- what a bogus study! "The study of the freakin' obvious"..

Posted by razib at 08:00 PM | | TrackBack

Intellectual trickle down please

If a traditionally liberal (read: paleoliberal) magazine like The American Prospect can publish an obit that is mildly critical of the excesses of Edward Said-why is it that the majority of culturally "sensitive" liberals can not do the same??? To see the extreme case, check out this report of the push toward criminalization of "Islamophobia". I am not asserting that most latte liberals know much about the details of Orientalism, but the terror of criticizing and critiquing non-Western culture that the Said's of the world enforced has now spread horizontally far into the "cowboy" culture of the Right-note G.W. Bush's consistent refrain that Islam = Peace.

Posted by razib at 05:14 PM | | TrackBack


SARS susceptibility may have a genetic element according to a new study (the full report is availabe at the link, a newspaper article for the more timid). Here is the conclusion:

Densely populated regions with genetically related southern Asian populations appear to be more affected by the spreading of SARS infection. Up until recently, no probable SARS patients were reported among Taiwan indigenous peoples who are genetically distinct from the Taiwanese general population, have no HLA-B*4601 and have high frequency of HLA-B*1301. While increase of HLA-B*4601 allele frequency was observed in the "Probable SARS infected" patient group, a further significant increase of the allele was seen in the "Severe cases" patient group. These results appeared to indicate association of HLA-B*4601 with the severity of SARS infection in Asian populations. Independent studies are needed to test these results.

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system contains more than 100 genes and is highly polymorphic. You have the variety of HLA alleles to thank for tissue rejection. HLA even has transpecies polymorphisms, so you may have a variant that is more genetically similar to a chimpanzee than your next door neigbhor (ever wonder about the wack projects to use pig hearts?). The connection of race to health is crucial, at least before full genomic sequencing becomes cheap, especially for people of small racial minorities.... (I wonder when SARSPundit will comment)

Posted by razib at 01:53 PM | | TrackBack

September 30, 2003

The Racial Democracy part n

This article addresses (again) the difficulties in using racial quotas in determining higher education admissions in the Byzantine racial mix that is Brazil. A few points....

  • Racial self-classifications are subjective & personal (some "whites" by phenotype, and even persons of recent and un-mixed European ancestry, are claiming pardo, racially mixed, status)
  • Many students admitted under quotas are failing (40%-and the interview with an Electrical Engineering student is instructive)
  • The writer is conflating & mixing & matching American and Brazilian racial terms and paradigms (the former seem to be spreading in Brazil)
  • The writer did not present the complexity of Brazilian racial classifications-which go beyond a black-white spectrum, to people who have "white" features and dark complexion to those who have a white complexion and black features
  • The following quote is interesting: "We pay our taxes," he added, "so why shouldn't we receive this public service we're paying for, and which supposedly belongs to everyone?" It reminds me of things I've heard from Latino politicians in California and frankly this sort of wrangling makes the case for pragmatic libertarianism (yes, you heard those two words in sequence!) in a racially diverse polity

Posted by razib at 11:16 PM | | TrackBack

Elephant Phylogenetics

The New York Times reports that the Elephants of Borneo are a phylogenetically distinct population from other Asian Elephants (who are themselves separable into two clades). The full paper can be accessed over at The Public Library of Science.

Posted by razib at 10:41 PM | | TrackBack

Islam, women, freedom & all that

Andrew Reeves ruminates on the freedoms and restrictions that Muslim women are subject too:

First off, since my own social views are usually closer to grumpy old fart than most, I actually have a great deal of sympathy for what Islam says is the proper role of a woman, and the whole porno chic thing combined with my growing disgust at the commodification of what should be an act of commitment between two people leads me to further sympathize with Muslims who find what goes on here in the House of War to be disgusting. Of course, as I am a man, it is much, much easier for me to say that Islam has the right idea, since even under a sha'ria regime I would not be subject to social control by the male members of my family and subject to beatings and death in the event of an infraction of my honor. So it is, then, that I must in fact take issue with our Islamic friends.

As I say, to get an idea of how a society works, note how they treat (control?) their women.

Posted by razib at 06:59 PM | | TrackBack

Conservatives in Academia

Seems the blogosphere has been chattering away about the new David Brooks piece that discusses the hate relationship between conservatives and academia[1]. A post by Virginia Postrel brings up the supply & demand issue-there are hundreds of English Ph.D.s out there for every job (I hyperbolize, perhaps), so your academic creds are almost a given, and you can be filtered out on other criteria (including politics). I get the impression that this isn't as extreme in the natural sciences (the imbalance between supply & demand)-though there is the same problem in getting a tenure track position (as opposed to ending up teaching chemistry to community college students). But cultural issues might be at work in the natural sciences too-for instance, the 90% rate of non-religiosity in the NAS seems so high, I wouldn't be surprised if scientists that aired their religious views were simply considered irrational and dismissed by the Great Men[2]. Anyway, if you want more info on this topic, follow the link that Mrs. Postrel provides and read away.....

On a mildly related note...as a follow-up to godless' post on academic hierarchy of difficulty-when I graduated from my university, there were about 30 graduates with chemistry & biochemistry degrees, and almost 250 biology grads (out of about 2,000 graduates I think). I think it was safe to say that many of the biology majors were kind of stupid-but I wouldn't be surprised if there were as many or more intelligent biology graduates in absolute numbers as chemistry graduates. In other words, the biology majors had a lower threshold to graduate-they did not have to take physical chemistry for instance-so they had a full spectrum of intellectual aptitudes and interests, from sociology-dumb to physics-smart, while people in the chemistry department were more self-selected and would switch majors if they couldn't pass organic or physical chemistry (especially the latter). Once you get really high up in the sciences, I think the difference in mean g between fields (say biology & chemistry) shrinks, possibly because as godless alludes to, many prominent biologists, economists, etc. have strong mathematical backgrounds (E. O. Wilson taught himself population genetics while Francis Crick was by training a physicist, Keynes was very mathematical in orientation and ventured into economics almost as a personal challenge to his comparatively poor results in that field as opposed to math)[3].

fn1. This includes libertarians of course, I knew people who read Reason as their token far Right publication.

fn2. Carl Sagan was denied a spot in the NAS for a different reason-he was a big popularizer the last half of his career, which probably cancelled out the value of his earlier work.

fn3. I once went to a small talk given by Richard Dawkins to about 20-30 students as an undergrad. He is by training an ethologist-a researcher of animal behavior-traditionally a rather soft field, though population genetics and mathematical modelling have come to the fore recently. In any case, he is often dismissed as a "popularizer," and not strictly speaking an original thinker. This is true as far as it goes-but I was surprised to note that he tangentially went off into the details of the physics of sound and threw up a few equations and went on to relate how it affected animal auditory systems. My point? The guy might be a popularizer & an anti-religious crank, but he does strike me as rather intelligent and his drift into popular writing might be a calculation of the impact he might have on the public rather than a reflection on his inability to do original research.

Posted by razib at 05:56 PM | | TrackBack

Australia - antipodean bizzaro world

The following finding cited in this article speaks for itself and suggests that the generalisation that 'Jews vote left' (expanded into something sinister by the likes of Kevin Macdonald) does not necessarily hold true in countries other than the US, even those with roughly the same cultural foundations,

Evidence suggests that most Australian Jews follow their socioeconomic interests and vote conservative. A 1991 survey of the Melbourne Jewish community conducted by John Goldlust found that 24.5 per cent favoured the ALP and 63.5 per cent the Coalition. Equally, a 1995 survey of Jewish leaders in Australia, conducted by Professor Bernard Rechter for the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs, found that 26 per cent would vote ALP and 64 per cent Liberal.

Even without the strong pro-Israel record of the Prime Minister, John Howard, Jewish support for the Coalition is unlikely to waver much. The same applies to the minority of Jews who vote ALP. Many of them are concerned about other issues, such as Aboriginal rights, support for asylum seekers, and defending Medicare. A minority of left-leaning Jews may even support the ALP taking a more critical position vis-a-vis Israel.

Exceptions, as always, prove the rule. The only parliamentary seat significantly affected by a Jewish vote is the inner city area of Melbourne Ports: according to demographics; an estimated 15-20 per cent of voters in Melbourne Ports are Jews.

Many swinging Jewish voters support the sitting Labor MP, Michael Danby, because he is Jewish and passionately pro-Israel. For this reason, they also are unlikely to change their vote simply because some other Labor MPs express contrary views. The appearance of a few perceived hostile backbenchers is likely to confirm, not undermine, their decision to support Danby.

*Note to US readers - in the bizzaro world of Australia, Liberal = conservative

Posted by jason_s at 05:06 PM | | TrackBack

New Mx script/data library made available

For those interested in behavior genetic modeling, there is now on online Mx scripts library, with practice data!!!!

Here is an excerpt from the the e-mail I received:

The site is on air since sept 1st 2003 and now contains around
70 mx scripts that can be downloaded with an example datafile so the user
can fiddle around with the script before modifying it to run on ones own

There are scripts for continuous/categorical datasets, uni- or
multivariate, linkage analyses, association analyses, longitudinal data,
extended kinships, sex limitation models etc. We are frequently
contributing scripts and others are wellcome to contribute scripts as well.
The library also includes a section containing tips on how to use Mx.

We advise people to register, because then you will receive e-mail alerts
on updates. Feel free to download and use the scripts.

Posted by A. Beaujean at 08:19 AM | | TrackBack


In comments on a previous post, I mentioned that I had seen a study of the IQ of immigrants to the Netherlands.

Here is the full reference:

Jan te Nijenhuis and Henk van der Flier: ‘Group differences in mean intelligence for the Dutch and Third World immigrants’, Journal of Biosocial Science, 33 (2001), 469-475.

The authors’ Summary is as follows:

“Evidence from eleven samples indicates that the mean IQ of third world immigrants in the Netherlands is lower than the Dutch mean by approximately one standard deviation for Surinamese and Antillians, and by approximately one and a half standard deviations for Turks and Moroccans. Since IQ tests provide the best prediction of success in school and organizations, it could be that the immigrants’ lower mean IQ is an important factor in their low status on the Dutch labour market. The IQs of second-generation immigrants are rising.”

For more details......

The article is a review of Dutch studies of immigrant IQs. It is stated that ‘only studies of acceptable methodological quality were included in the review’. Unfortunately not much is said about the tests used, which are identified by their (Dutch?) acronyms, such as ‘RAKIT’, ‘GATB’, or ‘DAT’. If any Dutch readers know what these are, please tell!

The four immigrant groups studied are Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese, and Antillians. You all know who Turks and Moroccans are, but Surinamese are from the South American former Dutch colony of Surinam (Dutch Guiana), and Antillians are from the Dutch Antilles islands in the Caribbean. The Surinamese and Antillians are predominantly black, with maybe a touch of white and Amerindian ancestry.

It is not explictly stated whether mixed-race individuals are excluded from the studies. Clearly it would be misleading to describe them simply as ‘Turkish’, etc., if they are Turkish-Dutch. If anyone has access to the original Dutch studies maybe they could check?

The data from the various studies are given in a table. There are a few studies of adults, and more of children. The children’s studies are classified as ‘1st generation’, ‘2nd generation’, or ‘Mixed generations’.

I give the key results below. A = Antillians, S = Surinamese, T = Turkish, M = Moroccan. In some of the studies Surinamese and Antillians are grouped together, and in some Turks and Moroccans are grouped together. I have omitted two studies which cover ‘various’ immigrant groups. [For those who consult the original table, I have assumed that the study by van der Vijver covers Surinamese and Antillians, like the one immediately above it in the list.]

You can all group and average the data however you wish. I have calculated averages for Surinamese and Antillians together, and for Turks and Moroccans together, if only because many of the raw data are grouped in this way. For children, I have averaged 2nd generation and mixed generations combined, as there are so few studies which distinguish 2nd generation as such.

So here are the data. The mean IQ of the samples is stated in standard deviations below the Dutch mean:

Surinamese and Antillians
S: 1.05, 1.08. A: 1.17. Average: 1.1
Turks and Moroccans
T: 1.43 M: 1.86 Average: 1.5

Children (1st generation)
Surinamese and Antillians
S: 0.93, S & A: 1.09 Average: 1.01
Turks and Moroccans
T: 1.45. M: 1.70. T & M: 1.13. Average: 1.43

Children (2nd generation and mixed generations)
Surinamese and Antillians
S & A: 0.77 (2nd gen.), 0.81 (2nd gen.), 0.22 (mix), 0.67 (mix), S: 0.70 (mix),
A: 0.21 (mix) Average: 0.56
Turks and Moroccans
T: 1.20 (2nd gen.), 1.16 (mix), 1.47 (mix), 0.60 (mix) M: 1.43 (2nd gen.), 0.82 (mix), 1.38 (mix), 0.79 (mix). T & M: 0.89 (mix) Average: 1.08.

It will be seen that Turks and Moroccans perform considerably worse than Surinamese and Antillians. Presumably no-one will argue from this that Turks and Moroccans are innately less intelligent than Surinamese and Antillians. The obvious fact is that Surinam and the Antilles are former Dutch colonies, and their people presumably speak reasonable Dutch, while the Turks and Moroccans wouldn’t know Dutch from douche. Both groups perform better after the first generation, as the authors point out.

It is odd that the studies do not cover people of Indonesian origin. As anyone familiar with the Netherlands will know, there is a large Dutch Indonesian community, especially from the Moluccas. Te Nijenhuis and van der Flier say that data on the IQs of various generations of Moluccans are not available. This is surprising.

Posted by David B at 04:05 AM | | TrackBack

I thank Allah I was born a man

A strict Muslim who slit his daughter's throat because he believed she had become too Westernised pleaded with a judge yesterday to sentence him to death. Read the full story from the link-it's wack. And what's up with Kurds? Fadime, shot by her father in Sweden, was also Kurdish....

Posted by razib at 12:17 AM | | TrackBack


NOVA is doing Archimedes. I'll be there, God-willing.

Posted by razib at 12:00 AM | | TrackBack

September 29, 2003

Two wave model?

New article out from The American Journal of Human Genetics. I have cut & pasted the abstract below in the "extended entry." The title is: Haplotypes in the Dystrophin DNA Segment Point to a Mosaic Origin of Modern Human Diversity. Yes, a mouthfull, but basically it is suggesting an added layer of complexity to the standard Out-Of-Africa One-Wave model. I have already expressed doubt about the simplistic Great Leap Forward and summarized the position of some researchers that the Out-Of-Africa scenario is perhaps multi-pronged rather than an explosive blitzkrieg. I'm not saying this particular study will be validated (three dozen locii does not a new model make)-but the flat serene simplicity of the Out-Of-Africa model pioneered by Chris Stringer and reinforced by Alan Wilson is going to get some wrinkles. Age does that to you....

Haplotypes in the Dystrophin DNA Segment Point to a Mosaic Origin of Modern Human Diversity

Ewa Zitkiewicz,1,4 Vania Yotova,1 Dominik Gehl,1 Tina Wambach,1 Isabel Arrieta,5 Mark Batzer,6 David E. C. Cole,7 Peter Hechtman,3 Feige Kaplan,3 David Modiano,8 Jean-Paul Moisan,9 Roman Michalski,10 and Damian Labuda1,2

1Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine and 2Département de Pédiatrie, Université de Montréal, and 3Departments of Human Genetics and Pediatrics, McGill University, Montréal; 4Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland; 5Departamento Biologia Animal y Genetica, Universidad del Pais Vasco, Bilbao, Spain; 6Department of Biological Sciences, Biological Computation and Visualization Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; 7Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto; 8Fondazione Pasteur Cenci-Bolognetti, Istituto di Parassitologia, Universita "La Sapienza," Rome; 9Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire, Nantes, France; and 10Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, Victoria Hospital, Prince Albert, Canada

Received March 31, 2003; accepted for publication July 23, 2003; electronically published September 25, 2003.
Although Africa has played a central role in human evolutionary history, certain studies have suggested that not all contemporary human genetic diversity is of recent African origin. We investigated 35 simple polymorphic sites and one Tn microsatellite in an 8-kb segment of the dystrophin gene. We found 86 haplotypes in 1,343 chromosomes from around the world. Although a classical out-of-Africa topology was observed in trees based on the variant frequencies, the tree of haplotype sequences reveals three lineages accounting for present-day diversity. The proportion of new recombinants and the diversity of the Tn microsatellite were used to estimate the age of haplotype lineages and the time of colonization events. The lineage that underwent the great expansion originated in Africa prior to the Upper Paleolithic (27,00056,000 years ago). A second group, of structurally distinct haplotypes that occupy a central position on the tree, has never left Africa. The third lineage is represented by the haplotype that lies closest to the root, is virtually absent in Africa, and appears older than the recent out-of-Africa expansion. We propose that this lineage could have left Africa before the expansion (as early as 160,000 years ago) and admixed, outside of Africa, with the expanding lineage. Contemporary human diversity, although dominated by the recently expanded African lineage, thus represents a mosaic of different contributions.

Posted by razib at 11:52 PM | | TrackBack

Genetics of Social Evolution

David Quellar of Rice University will explore the genetics of the social evolution of the amoeba. Full story here. I suggest anyone with further interest browse Dr. Quellar's publications. I really don't know much about protist sociality, and it's not as sexy as human evolutionary psychology, but at least it's not drosophila!

Posted by razib at 11:26 PM | | TrackBack

Single GNXP reader

"Jaqueline" is single (her personal info). Never say we never provide "reader services."

Posted by razib at 10:58 PM | | TrackBack


Diana, Dienekes has a post about Guanches. They probably are "Berbers"....

Posted by razib at 10:03 PM | | TrackBack

All the children in Merry Old England are above average

Quotes from this article:

The guidelines, for marking key national curriculum exams, recommend that the current F grade, for 'fail', should be replaced with an N grade, for 'nearly'.
They include instructions that maths exam answers should be marked as either 'creditworthy' or 'not creditworthy', rather than correct or incorrect.

Via Fox News.

Posted by razib at 12:44 AM | | TrackBack

September 28, 2003


This article on the ambiguities of Muslm Spain, its famed pluralism & toleration, is interesting in the light of my previous post titled Dar-al-Europa. The author of the Tech Central Station article arguing for a coming "melange civilization" focused on early Ottoman Turkey, a culture that has not been idealized and scrutinized to the same dgree-which I think is a clue as to the present status of Al-Andalus as a Muslim pluralist exemplar. I have stated that I believe many Muslim cultures have a pluralistic & tolerant moment, only to give way to a more assertive Islamic polity, but I am beginning to wonder, do we live in the liberal moment, before the emergence of a more conventional human ordering of things?

Posted by razib at 11:37 AM | | TrackBack