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ChatGPT 4.0 Tries to write a Razib Khan style essay

Query: write a razib khan style essay on the genetic history of india

Title: The Genetic Kaleidoscope: A Razib Khan Style Essay on the Genetic History of India


India, a land of diversity and ancient civilizations, has long been a genetic melting pot that has captured the interest of researchers and historians alike. Drawing from a Razib Khan style perspective, this essay aims to delve into the intricate genetic history of India, unraveling the complex tapestry of its people and their origins.

Section 1: The Arrival of Ancestral South Indians (ASI) and Ancestral North Indians (ANI)

The genetic story of India begins with two ancestral groups: the Ancestral South Indians (ASI) and the Ancestral North Indians (ANI). The ASI descended from hunter-gatherers who inhabited the subcontinent around 50,000 years ago, while the ANI arrived later, around 15,000 to 12,000 years ago, as a result of human migrations from Central Asia and the Middle East.

Section 2: Dravidian and Indo-Aryan Interactions

The linguistic and cultural differences between the ASI and ANI led to the formation of the Dravidian and Indo-Aryan language families, respectively. Genetic studies have shown a gradual mixing of these populations, resulting in the diverse gene pool of modern-day Indians. The Harappan civilization, which thrived between 2600 and 1900 BCE, likely played a critical role in facilitating this genetic exchange.

Section 3: The Aryan Migration Theory and the Steppe Hypothesis

One of the most debated topics in Indian genetic history is the Aryan migration theory. The Steppe Hypothesis posits that the Indo-European language family, which includes Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, originated from the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Around 1500 BCE, Indo-European-speaking pastoralists migrated into the Indian subcontinent, where they

Query: write a razib khan style essay on the heritability of IQ

Title: The Inheritance of Intelligence: A Razib Khan Style Essay on the Heritability of IQ


The heritability of intelligence has been a topic of debate and fascination for decades, with implications for education, social policy, and personal identity. Drawing inspiration from Razib Khan’s analytical style, this essay delves into the complex relationship between genetics and intelligence, highlighting the heritability of IQ and its implications on our understanding of human potential.

Section 1: Understanding Heritability and Intelligence

To effectively discuss the heritability of IQ, it is crucial to understand the concept of heritability itself. Heritability is the proportion of phenotypic variance that can be attributed to genetic variance within a population. This means that heritability is not an absolute measure of the genetic contribution to a trait but rather a reflection of the relationship between genetic and environmental factors.

Intelligence is a multifaceted construct that has been widely studied and measured through IQ tests. While IQ is not a perfect representation of intelligence, it serves as a useful proxy for the cognitive abilities that contribute to problem-solving, reasoning, and learning.

Section 2: Twin Studies and the Heritability of IQ

Twin studies have been instrumental in estimating the heritability of IQ. By comparing the IQ similarity of monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins, researchers have been able to ascertain the extent to which genetic factors contribute to intelligence. Meta-analyses of twin studies have suggested that the heritability of IQ ranges from 50% to 80%, with the remaining variance attributed to environmental factors.

Section 3: The Complex Interplay of Genes and Environment

The heritability of IQ underscores the importance of genetic factors in shaping cognitive abilities. However, it is essential to recognize that intelligence is a product of the intricate interplay between genes and environment. For instance, environmental factors such as nutrition, education, and early life experiences can significantly impact cognitive development.

Moreover, gene-environment correlations and interactions further complicate the relationship between genetics and intelligence. These phenomena occur when genetic factors influence the likelihood of encountering specific environmental conditions, or when environmental factors modify the expression of genetic traits.

Section 4: Implications for Society and Education

Understanding the heritability of IQ has profound implications for society and education. Recognizing the role of genetics in shaping cognitive abilities can inform personalized educational approaches and interventions. However, the potential for genetic information to be misused or lead to discrimination must be carefully considered.

Moreover, acknowledging the importance of environmental factors in intelligence highlights the need for equitable access to resources and opportunities that foster cognitive development. This awareness can inform policies and initiatives that aim to reduce disparities in educational outcomes.


The heritability of IQ sheds light on the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that shape intelligence. While genetics play a significant role in determining cognitive abilities, environmental factors and their interaction with genes are equally important. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of intelligence can inform more effective and equitable approaches to education and social policy, promoting a deeper understanding of human potential.

I see no reason to be worried.

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The Scandinavian sequence

It is done.

After the Ice: how foragers and farmers conquered ScandinaviaChariots of Ice, Coursers of the Sun, The 100-year-winter and the coming of Ragnarök and Fury out of the North: from pagan slavers to Christian kings.

Also, from a few years back, on Finland: Finnish brains, baiting and bottlenecks
, Weirdness as a national pastime, Go west, young Siberian, From deepest Siberia to Europe’s edge and Frontier Finns: cabins, rakes & Indians.

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The Yamnaya probably did ride horses…

One of the major weak points of The Horse the Wheel and Language is that there isn’t good evidence for horsemanship during the period of Yamnaya expansion. More recently, the genetic evidence seems pretty clear that modern horses descend from Sintashta populations after 2000 BC. Nevertheless, it’s pretty weird how fast the pastoralist Yamnaya moved. I suspect that a more primitive form of horse utilization was the norm for the Yamnaya. They didn’t have cavalry, but they may have ridden ponies to get to a location or escape the site of a raid.

A new paper looking at human skeletons does indicate such horse-riding, First bioanthropological evidence for Yamnaya horsemanship:

The origins of horseback riding remain elusive. Scientific studies show that horses were kept for their milk ~3500 to 3000 BCE, widely accepted as indicating domestication. However, this does not confirm them to be ridden. Equipment used by early riders is rarely preserved, and the reliability of equine dental and mandibular pathologies remains contested. However, horsemanship has two interacting components: the horse as mount and the human as rider. Alterations associated with riding in human skeletons therefore possibly provide the best source of information. Here, we report five Yamnaya individuals well-dated to 3021 to 2501 calibrated BCE from kurgans in Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, displaying changes in bone morphology and distinct pathologies associated with horseback riding. These are the oldest humans identified as riders so far.

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The great modern vs. Neanderthal see-saw

Bow-and-arrow, technology of the first modern humans in Europe 54,000 years ago at Mandrin, France:

Consensus in archaeology has posited that mechanically propelled weapons, such as bow-and-arrow or spear-thrower-and-dart combinations, appeared abruptly in the Eurasian record with the arrival of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans and the Upper Paleolithic (UP) after 45,000 to 42,000 years (ka) ago, while evidence for weapon use during the preceding Middle Paleolithic (MP) in Eurasia remains sparse. The ballistic features of MP points suggest that they were used on hand-cast spears, whereas UP lithic weapons are focused on microlithic technologies commonly interpreted as mechanically propelled projectiles, a crucial innovation distinguishing UP societies from preceding ones. Here, we present the earliest evidence for mechanically propelled projectile technology in Eurasia from Layer E of Grotte Mandrin 54 ka ago in Mediterranean France, demonstrated via use-wear and impact damage analyses. These technologies, associated with the oldest modern human remains currently known from Europe, represent the technical background of these populations during their first incursion into the continent.

One of the questions is whether this could be Neanderthals. I think at this point there is a fair amount of genetic evidence for Neanderthal-modern contact well before the Upper Paleolithic expansion associated with non-African ancestry today. The Altai Neanderthal seems to have “modern-like” ancestry and Neanderthals have modern/African-like Y and mtDNA.

Could Neanderthals do bows and arrows? No idea. But this could clearly be modern humans, who seem to have pushed into Neanderthal territory several times. Did Neanderthals ever move into Africa? Who knows?

I do wonder though about William Calvin’s ideas that human brain development was triggered by throwing things. Perhaps Neanderthals didn’t have the locomatory abilities in this domain? Who knows.

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America is turning into India: our coming “caste wars”

Seattle may become the first U.S. city to outlaw caste:

One of Kshama Sawant’s earliest memories of the caste system was hearing her grandfather — a man she “otherwise loved very much” — utter a slur to summon their lower-caste maid.

The Seattle City Council member, raised in an upper-caste Hindu Brahmin household in India, was 6 when she asked her grandfather why he used that derogatory word when he knew the girl’s name. He responded that his granddaughter “talked too much.”

Now 50, and an elected official in a city far from India, Sawant has proposed an ordinance to add caste to Seattle’s anti-discrimination laws. If her fellow council members approve it Tuesday, Seattle will become the first city in the United States to specifically outlaw caste discrimination.

In India, the origins of the caste system can be traced back 3,000 years as a social hierarchy based on one’s birth. While the definition of caste has evolved over the centuries, under both Muslim and British rule, the suffering of those at the bottom of the caste pyramid – known as Dalits, which in Sanskrit means “broken” — has continued.

Sawant is a socialist, and she believes in social justice. Her family’s background is Tamil Brahmin, like Kamala Harris’ mother. Though currently married to Calvin Priest, Sawant’s surname is from her first Indian husband (who was not Brahmin).

Caste is a big deal in India, both socially and genetically. My two posts on my Substack are popular with Indians in part because I look at the issue with some detachment. Caste isn’t a thing in the US. But you wouldn’t know it by what the media is telling you.

Caste in California: Tech giants confront ancient Indian hierarchy:

The update came after the tech sector – which counts India as its top source of skilled foreign workers – received a wake-up call in June 2020 when California’s employment regulator sued Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) on behalf of a low-caste engineer who accused two higher-caste bosses of blocking his career.

Most media write-ups and social justice activism around caste focus on this single alleged case. Was this person discriminated against based on caste? We don’t know. Could he have been? Sure.

But the idea that caste discrimination is pervasive in the US is a manufactured narrative by a few activists, woke Indians, and useful non-Indian idiots who have never seen a social justice cause they could say no to (also some frog-nazis who just hate Indians on racial/ethnic competition grounds). Many of the “data” on caste discrimination comes from Equality Labs, an activist organization that used “snowball sampling.” That means the survey went out to people in the Equality Labs network. 

The Carnegie Foundation’s more methodologically sound survey paints a much more mixed picture. Basically, around half of Indian Americans are Hindu, and about half of Hindus have identification with a caste group. That identification is much stronger among the foreign-born.

Most Indian Americans were raised in India because of the massive wave of post-2000 immigration. When you say “Indian American,” you mean immigrants, not people like Nikki Haley or Vivek Ramaswamy. It’s entirely plausible that these immigrants have some sensibility of caste and might engage in discrimination…but there are severe problems with how this would play out in America more than theoretically.

– About 1% of Americans are of Indian origin, and only half are Hindu. The vast majority of Indians exist in an overwhelmingly non-subcontinental professional world and, to a great extent, a very cosmopolitan social world. Systemic caste discrimination’s social and cultural instruments are not operational in the US. There just aren’t levers that people can pull to engage in discrimination.

– About 60% of Hindus in India are “backward” or “scheduled castes.” The rest are basically “high caste” in some way. In the US, 80% of Indians are “high caste.” In India, 20% of Hindus are Dalit, formerly called outcastes. In the US, the figure is 1%. Not only is the social context for caste discrimination not operative in the US, but there are also very few “low castes” or “outcastes” to discriminate against.

– Caste discrimination still exists in a stark manner in rural India, but it is much more subtle in urban areas. There is self-segregation and self-dealing within communal networks. 90-95% of Indians marry within their jati, one of the thousands of subcastes in the subcontinent. The situation in the US among the immigrant community is very different. There is a strong skew toward “progressive” and “modern” outlooks, and many Indian techies are married to people from different jatis or regions. I haven’t seen a survey, but if you are familiar with the H1-B class, you know this is true. By definition people from different ethnolingusitic groups are from different castes, and this is very common.

The problem of course, is that most Americans are not familiar with the subtle gradations among Indians. Brown is brown. From an American perspective, a Bengali Brahmin married to a Gujarati Brahmin is an endogamous marriage. In India, it would be exogamous and against caste principles just a few generations ago (it is much more common in urban professional circles in India today, though).

More generally, Americans have certain perceptions of caste that are often contradicted by reality.

On the left is Rho Khanna, a Punjabi Hindu. On the right is Nikki Haley, a Punjabi Christian from a Sikh background. Khanna is a Khatri, which is definitely a “higher” caste than the Jats, from which Haley’s family comes. But, because Haley is much closer to “passing” for white than Khanna, I am 100% sure most non-brown Americans who are “woke to caste,” which is probably less than 5%, would guess that she is “higher caste.”

But wait, it gets more complicated. Here is the Wikipedia entry on Jats:

Jats are classified as Other Backward Class (OBC) in seven of India’s thirty-six States and UTs, namely Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. However, only the Jats of Rajasthan – excluding those of Bharatpur district and Dholpur district – are entitled to reservation of central government jobs under the OBC reservation. In 2016, the Jats of Haryana organized massive protests demanding to be classified as OBC in order to obtain such affirmative action benefits.

In the state of Punjab, where Haley’s parents are from, Jats are the dominant caste politically and in terms of land ownership. But in other states, they are not so powerful, so their status within the caste hierarchy is conditional on where they are. Regarding religious status, there are arguments about the Jats, but most would argue that they are Sudras, the lowest of the official castes (Dalits are outside of the caste system). But in many parts of India, ritually Sudra castes are the dominant ones politically and regarding rural land ownership (Patels, who are quite prospery in the US, are ritual Sudras).

Americans are taught a simple model of Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (commoners and merchants) and Sudras (servants and peasants). But the reality is in India, caste is operationalized as 3,000 local and regional jatis. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu there are two significant groups of Brahmins, Iyers and Iyengars, and within both there are subgroups that traditionally do not intermarry.

This stuff is extremely complicated, and most Indians don’t know how caste functions in other parts of India. But we expect this woman can make decisions about caste discrimination:


Several things are going on here.

First, caste is one of the few things many Americans know about Hindus. But many Indian American Hindus consciously do not tell their children about their caste because they are aware it doesn’t matter in the US, and the type of Indians who come to this country are often somewhat embarrassed by the institution (though most do know caste identities/origins by surname if they are born in India). I have a friend who did not know his caste, and I guessed based on his genotype (he had to call his mother to ask what I was talking about).

Second, some groups, like subcontinental Muslims, seem to think Hindu Americans are very casteist. I don’t want to explore the issue deeply, but subcontinental Muslims and Hindus hate each other, and in the US many of them have very negative perceptions of the other group. So, when someone who looks Hindu, like me, talks about caste, white people listen, because I look Hindu, but my name makes it clear to any South Asian I’m from a Muslim background. Brown Muslims have strong, often uninformed, opinions on caste, and the “brown face” makes their views more credible to non-browns.

Third, this points out what happens once the interrogation of caste becomes the norm: non-Hindu brown people will start to be asked about it. After all, we look Hindu, unless we ostentatiously dress in ways that signal we are not (hijab). Caste is just a highly racialized institution, so you will have the farce of DEI professionals who are not brown interrogating confused Indian Americans who grew up in the US about their caste status.

The whole situation frustrates me because many lies buttress this new truth that people are starting to get woke to. It’s really harder when you see the consent of the dull masses manufactured out of whole cloth right before your eyes.

This particular issue won’t affect non-browns very much because no non-brown will ever be asked about caste discrimination. But, it will serve as a template to bringing every social justice concern in the whole world to the US. This means more jobs for DEI bureaucrats but a total swamp in terms of America’s genuinely diverse society. We’ll be drowning in identity categories soon. We need to stop dividing Americans. 

Note: When Paragh Agrawal became CEO of Twitter frog-Nazis, brown anti-caste SJWs started decrying Brahin supremacy. The problem is Agrawal is a clear non-Brahmin Bania name. It would be like people assuming Ron DeSantis is of Mayflower stock. Yes, they’re that stupid.

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What the Neanderthal could do

These Extinct Elephants Were Neanderthals’ ‘Biggest Calorie Bombs’ – A study of butchered bones from 125,000 years ago offers what researchers call “the first clear-cut evidence of elephant-hunting in human evolution.”:

By calculating the intensity and nutritional yields of the Neanderthals’ well-documented butchering activities, the research team offers further proof that our hominid cousins were cooperative hunters who knew how to preserve meat and might have lived a settled existence in large groups. The findings challenge the assumption that Neanderthals were basically nomads who lived in bands of no more than 25, in isolation from one another.

Central African Pygmies butcher forest elephants, so it’s not like we don’t know how this would work. So I guess all the old Neanderthal limitations are falling apart. Not entirely surprised. But we shouldn’t assume they were exactly like us…we need to find a balance.

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They forgot to teach and advise

Survey: Many MIT Faculty Fear Speaking Freely While Students Support Barring Speakers with Opposing Views:

The MIT survey shows that we are raising the most speech-intolerant generation in our history with students taught for years that speech is harmful and must be controlled, censored, or confined. It is not enough to protest, it is a license to silence speakers and to prevent access to events or lectures. It is the face of the new American orthodoxy that has taken hold of our institutions of high education.

The most depressing thing in the last few years is seeing and hearing academic friends see student intolerance and wonder out loud whether “the young might be right.” They forgot what wisdom was. They just just go home, they’re not teachers, they’ve taken the “flipped classroom” model too far.

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Open Thread: Ash and Elm…

I’m rereading Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings, along with some other books on the Vikings and Scandinavians. Also revisiting papers like Population genomics of Mesolithic Scandinavia: Investigating early postglacial migration routes and high-latitude adaptation, which I believe reports the first individual that almost certainly had light hair and eyes in the ancient DNA record (look at “Sbj”). You can probably guess why I’m doing this, why I’m reading these papers and books. At the same time I also have started listening to “Viking music,” which is its own genre. It’s a nice juxtaposition.

I do not have much time for this blog right now, between the Substack and my primary focus, GenRAIT, which we introduced to the world at PAG 30 (we’re still rai$ing, so if you an angel you know to reach me).

But I’ll keep posting here now and then as usual. This blog has been going for more than 20 years now (since the spring of 2002).

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The Hui Muslims, two pulses of “western” ancestry 1,000 and 500 years ago, mostly male mediated

There are 20 million Hui people in China. These are traditionally Chinese-speaking Muslims. Though they are found in every region of China (and in the Chinese Diaspora), they are concentrated in the northwest, in Gansu and Ningxia in particular. Their origins have always been curious. They speak the local Chinese dialect, and look mostly Chinese, but they are traditional Muslims. Are they purely the descendants of local converts?  The Hui do not believe so, and some of them physically do look more West Eurasian.

Thanks to genetics we know the answer,  Genetic Origins and Sex-Biased Admixture of the Huis:

To investigate whether there was a sex-biased admixture in the history of NXH, we compared the admixture results obtained from autosomes, X chromosome, mtDNA, and Y chromosome. We estimated the admixture proportion assuming two major ancestral components, that is, western and eastern (fig. 3 and supplementary tables S2 and S3Supplementary Material online). The estimated genetic contribution of the western ancestry into NXH was 8.6% for autosomes, 5.9% for X chromosome, 3.6% for mtDNA, and 39.3% for Y chromosome, respectively. The results of Y chromosome and mtDNA were consistent with the previous studies (Yao et al. 2004Wang et al. 2019Xie et al. 2019). Additionally, though the difference in genetic contribution was small, there was a significant difference in admixture proportions between autosomes and X chromosome (Student’s t-test, P<10710−7). This pattern was consistent across different regions in Ningxia (fig. 3C). These results indicated that the admixture of NXH was sex biased to the combination of Eastern females and Western males.

The 39% western Y chromosomes is key. This is probably a floor for the fraction of originally Muslim lineages. The Hui likely had Iranian and Turkic precursors, and the latter would have had eastern Y chromosomes. But the point is that cultural continuity was maintained in paternal lineage systems, and over the generations intermarriage with local Han women resulted in 90% of the genome being replaced over time.

This is a common pattern in large parts of the world. Paternal cultural transmission is a thing.

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Epigenetics, what it is, and ain’t

In case you didn’t see, I have a post on epigenetics up, You can’t take it with you: straight talk about epigenetics and intergenerational trauma, which will probably be my last word on this. But coincidentally, this preprint came out, Lack of evidence supporting transgenerational effects of non-transmitted paternal alleles on the murine transcriptome:

Transgenerational genetic effects are defined as the effects of untransmitted parental alleles on the phenotype of their offspring. Well-known transgenerational genetic effects, in humans and other mammals, are the effects of a parental genotype on the nurturing ability of the parents, coined “genetic nurture”. However, there exist examples of transgenerational genetic effects in model organisms that are independent of nurturing effects and support the epigenetic transmission of a memory of the parental genotype possibly mediated by small RNA species. To test whether such transgenerational epigenetic effects might exist in mammals, we generated 833 isogenic C57BL/6J (B6) mice that differed only by the presence in the genome of their sire of one copy of four A/J chromosomes (MMU 15, 17, 19 or X). We measured 25 anatomical traits and performed RNA-Seq on five distinct tissues (heart, liver, pituitary, whole embryo, and placenta). There was no evidence of a significant effect from untransmitted A/J sire chromosome alleles, whether on anatomical traits or gene expression level. We observed an effect on Mid1 expression levels in multiple tissues, but this was shown to be due to a de novo mutation that occurred in one of the sire lines. We conclude that transgenerational epigenetic memory of non-transmitted paternal alleles – if it exists – is uncommon in mice and likely other mammals.

I didn’t want to get into a mud-slinging contest, but a lot of people in epigenetics are pretty skeptical of a lot of the work that’s published that shows inter-generational transmission of any sort in animals.