Open Thread, 07/23/2018

Sale Code: GET20

Doing a Summer Sale at DNAGeeks, 20% off with the GET20 code. I believe GNXP-helix themed stuff is still the most consistent/popular item.

Reading T. N. Ninian’s Turn of the Tortoise: The Challenge and Promise of India’s Future. It’s a relatively dry book with an academic orientation. No complaint from me. So far the most interesting, and unfortunate, thing I’ve learned is that Indian men will take a 50% pay cut to work in a white-collar as opposed to blue-collar manufacturing job. Ninan contends that this may be due to caste aversion to manual labor. Men who have lower-paying white-collar jobs have better marriage prospects than those who have higher-paying blue-collar jobs.

James Gunn Fired From ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Franchise Over Offensive Tweets. I’ve seen some people suggesting that you need to evaluate the “whole person” and that “people grow.” These are almost always the same people who gleefully crucify anyone to the Right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for anything they’ve ever said in any context. I see no end to this cyber-Maoism until cultural “mutually assured destruction” becomes reality. To maintain civilization we must be barbarians!

Someone on Twitter suggested replacing libraries with bookstores and Amazon. This elicited outrage. I have opinions on this because I’m confident that among the population I’ve been a top 1% utilizer of libraries over my lifetime. I’ve seen slowly as libraries transform from book repositories to internet access portals and community centers. But, a minority of the population using the library is still using it for books.

And of that minority, many are nerdy kids for whom the library is a window upon the whole world. True, the internet is great, but the internet is broad and shallow. The minority of overutilizers of the book lending function of the library probably make a big impact in other ways later on in their life.

Before the age of 12, I probably had my parents buy me about a half a dozen books, ever. I bought more as a teen, and as an adult, I probably buy/purchased half the books I’ve read. This is a “think of the children” issue. Libraries are distribution centers for essential free “gateway drugs” of cognition. Not for most. But for those who care.

Last week on Secular Right I wrote On the semiotics of secularism and nakedness of village atheism in the culture war. As I told a friend of mine, people were tweeting almost word-for-word the exact same Islamophilic sentiments in the Left-progressive Twittersphere (he was one of them). Reactions to Richard Dawkins have become tribal measuring sticks. It’s tiresome for many apostates from the Islamic religion. Most Left-progressives don’t care about Islam or Muslims that much. They just care that they’re “tolerant” and follow their crowd as to who is, and isn’t, marginalized (1.8 billion Muslims, marginalized!).

Sexual Dichromatism Drives Diversification Within a Major Radiation of African Amphibians.

If you liked the Stuart Ritchie podcast from a few months back, you need to listen this week. If you subscribed I don’t need to remind you. Also, if you are subscribed to my total content RSS or follow my “gnxp posts” Twitter, you know I’ve been pushing my work-blog content into those feeds now (since people keep complaining that they’re missing them). Initially, I kept my work-blogs more “lay-friendly,” and they are still more soft-touch than the stuff I put here, but I’ve noticed that the more technical one still get shared a lot. I’ll have a write-up of a paper that’s going to be quite big (mega-sample size) out on the work-blog this week.

Looks like a justification for the two-fold cost of sex (the male part):

Inferring Continuous and Discrete Population Genetic Structure Across Space. This was out as a preprint a while back. These issues require more thought than people in pop-genomics have been doing.

Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Super Hot Peppers.

Neandertal fire-making technology inferred from microwear analysis.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap:

… Consistent with the Nielsen data, they found that blacks with comparable incomes to whites spent 17 percent less on education, and 32 percent more (an extra $2300 per year in 2005 dollars) on ‘visible goods’—defined as cars, jewelry, and clothes….

Next, they asked if education accounted for the differences in financial habits by limiting the comparison to middle-aged families with advanced degrees. Surprisingly, they found that the racial gap in financial health-scores didn’t shrink; it widened. Highly-educated Asian families scored 3.49, comparable whites scored 3.38, comparable Hispanics scored 2.94, and comparable blacks remained far behind at 2.66. Thus, the study authors concluded, neither “periodic shortages of time or money” nor “lower educational attainment” were the driving forces behind the differences in financial decision-making.

Elizabeth Holmes’ Downfall Has Been Explained Deeply-By Men. The author of this Wired piece is Virginia Heffernan, who I know for having an impeccable pedigree, but whose writings are substantively often total tripe. Heffernan, who has a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, once wrote a weird piece titled Why I’m a creationist, which begins “As a child I fell in love with technology, but I have to admit I never fell in love with science.”

In any case, Holmes’ case is clearly one where a person from a upper-class WASP background with Stanford connections leveraged all that into a lot of money. Heffernan’s attempt to transform it into a gendered issue is totally predictable, but also incredibly reductive.

New criteria for sympatric speciation in the genomic era.

Gene expression drives the evolution of dominance. Old debates made new.

Nathan Lents’ new book, Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes, looks interesting. Here’s a write-up by Lents’ in Skeptic.

Though I do wonder if Creationism as a cultural force has lost some steam. After all, conservative Protestants are probably more worried about their catastrophic losses in the culture wars right now than somewhat abstruse meta-scientific questions. I mean, I have more Twitter followers than The Discovery Institute!

If you want to analyze Tibetan genotypes, I converted some files I found in the Jorde lab website to plink. It has an OK overlap with HGDP.

What podcasts do you listen to?

Also, the India ancient DNA story should get a major breakthrough within the next week or so. “Watch this space” and all that.

46 thoughts on “Open Thread, 07/23/2018

  1. “I see no end to this cyber-Maoism until cultural “mutually assured destruction” becomes reality.”

    Apropos of this, I noticed on your twitter feed that you mentioned “Jeffersonian reeducation camps.” What exactly do you mean by Jeffersonian?

    “Heffernan’s attempt to transform it into a gendered issue is totally predictable, but also incredibly reductive.”

    The upper classes have discovered that ID politics is an incredibly effective way to get the common people to sympathize with their struggles for power… for now.

    (I think ID politics will blow up in their, and everyone else’s, faces before long.)

  2. Libraries:

    I get what you are saying, but the cost of these institutions has become way too high (at least in my corner of the US).

    I live in a wealth-ish NJ suburb. Our tax bill for the library is $2.6 million — 10% of the entire municipal (ex-school district) budget. It’s almost exactly the amount we spend on public works!

    The library building is beautiful, but is really a municipal daycare center. It is also used by the local teachers to privately tutor the students they are supposed to be teaching in their day job.

    The unfortunate truth is that we cant really afford libraries in their current state.

  3. Highly recommend Fearless McWhorter’s “Lexicon Valley” podcasts–very entertaining discussions of ongoing evolution of American English, very much including Black (African- American) English subset and its ever-yeasty creative bubblings.

    “The Pronouning of Profanities: Words like f— and sh– are increasingly standing in for it and that.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2018/06/john_mcwhorter_on_linguistic_assimilation_and_softening.html

  4. Podcasts I subscribe to and never skip:
    WTF
    Very Bad Wizards
    Hardcore History
    The Weeds
    Rationally Speaking
    This American Life
    Waking Up with Sam Harris
    Elucidations
    The Titanium Physicists
    Conversations with Tyler
    Revisionist History
    Tides of History
    The Insight
    Philosophy Bites
    In Our Time

  5. “Also, the India ancient DNA story should get a major breakthrough within the next week or so. “Watch this space” and all that.”

    I’ve been waiting to see what the follow up will be to the ridiculous proclamations of the Indian newspapers of how the lack of steppe in ancient DNA actually means there was no migration/invasion. It is disheartening to see that Indian newspapers pander/kowtow to the hindutva/indo-aryan OIT crowd. It’s as if something like the young earth creationist view was trumpeted by western newspapers “no humans discovered past 500,000 years ago, so evolution never happened”. I wait with anticipation!

  6. never was interested before, but i’m getting into hot sauce a tiny bit. i actually really like it but don’t know if i’ll continue unless someone can solve the ass fire problem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3VUZYxr0MA

    read “War, what is it good for?” liked it. good thesis.
    now i’m on to “A generation of sociopaths” about baby boomers. it’s a little harsh. not sure if they’re THAT bad.

    i don’t really do too many podcasts except for the Insight. i find them to be too broad.

  7. @JJ,

    It’s not just the Hindutva crowd that’s taking this line. The Aryan Invasion theory has in the past created division between northerners and southerners, and has the potential to do so again in the future. Anyone who is invested in the idea of India remain India (and not breaking up again) has misgivings about the theory. But they must eventually succumb to scientific evidence and logic.

  8. Carreyrou’s book on Holmes is worth reading. I honestly don’t know what to make of Holmes – there was rampant dishonesty in the development and marketing of the Theranos tests, but she didn’t have any “end-game” out of it. Either Theranos was going to be brought down before it mass-released its product, or it was going to be brought down by lawsuits and fraud charges once it became clear it couldn’t deliver.

    Also, the book unintentionally makes the case for very strong Anti-SLAPP lawsuit protections (Theranos kept the wolves away by being belligerently litigious, including trying to intimidate Carreyrou’s sources).

    RE: Gunn

    I think he really got fired because he was vocally anti-Trump while being in a prominent position at Disney, and Disney was seriously afraid that it might jeopardize the acquisition of 20th century Fox. Weighing that on one hand, Gunn for GOTG 3 on the other, I doubt it was any contest.

  9. My favorite is the (defunct) Bret Easton Ellis podcast, interviews with filmmakers and musicians (not authors). Don’t take my word for it—I got it from Steve Hsu.

  10. I’m going to interpret “Radiation of African Amphibians” as being something about radioactive frogs. Please don’t correct me.

    Is it terrible to point out that the “humans not hominins” design looks like a penis at first glance? I assume this is because of too much time on the internet.

    The Tides of History and Revolutions podcasts are both amazing as were the Fall of Rome and History of Rome podcasts that preceded them. Oh, and there’s a great podcast called The Insight but maybe you’ve heard of that one.

  11. I read the Holmes article. At least she doesn’t blame the patriarchy. I think that Holmes made an important feminist point. Women can be just as big crooks as men. They can be even more effective if they are 29 years old with long blond hair and a nice figure.

  12. At the moment, I listen to
    The History of Byzantium
    Tides of History
    Approaching Shakespeare
    The History of English
    Saga Thing
    The Greatest Generation
    and of course The Insight. I’ve finished Fall of Rome and sporadically listen to a half dozen other history shows.

  13. I dabble in a lot of podcasts. I’ll recommend specific episodes from them when I can, since episode quality varies so much for me. I liked these:

    1. 80,000 hours. The Robin Hanson and Bryan Caplan interviews are excellent.

    2. The Economics Detective Radio episode with Ennio Piano dealt with the economics of biker gangs, among other things–very interesting.

    3. The Classicist… A weird one that involves a guy basically asking questions to a ranting Victor Davis Hanson I enjoy for some reason. Hanson is a Trump-supporting military historian.

    4. I sometimes like the Ezra Klein Show, if he has a good guest on. His podcast with Sam Harris is terrible, avoid it like the plague; I think I stopped listening to it for a while after that. He’s got solid interviews with Patrick Collison, Moby, David Chang, Rachel Maddow, David Remnick, and an episode call “What life is like in North Korea” with Barbara Demick (note this interview takes place last December; it was where I found out that Kim Jong Un legalized markets in North Korea).

    5. The Weeds is good if they have Yglesias, Kliff, and Klein (rare nowadays). Otherwise I don’t listen.

    6. Econtalk. Last episodes I really enjoyed were with Ryan Holiday, Nassim Taleb, and Jordan Peterson. The episode he did with Sam Quninones is a knock-out. The archived episodes with Tyler Cowen from March 17, 2008 and Garett Jones on October 8, 2012 are great.

    7. Conversations with Tyler. My favorite interview was with Luigi Zingales. Dani Rodrik, Mark Miller, Peter Thiel, Ross Douthat, and Joseph Henrich all were great as well.

    8. Macro Musings. Noah Smith on immigration economics, Brad DeLong on Hamiltonian Political Economy and American Economic History, and Mark Koyama on the macroeconomics of Ancient Rome were all very good.

    9. The Axe Files with David Axelrod is okay–I stopped listening a while ago. The episode he did with Theo Epstein is still great (even if you don’t like baseball), for the meta reason of finding out why CEOs get paid so much.

    That’s all for now, and I’ve said too much already.

  14. Gold-mine list of podcasts here. Thanks to all who contributed.

    I live in Toronto, which has a massive public library system (the largest in the world by per-capita circulation IIRC) The system has achieved an “economy of scale” in which it has become feasible to offer all kinds of goodies to cardholders. Lots of e-books, streaming audio and video services, digital magazines and newspapers, training courses, makerspaces, musical instrument rentals, etc. Our family very rarely buys books (except as gifts for others).

    A former municipal politician — the brother of our late infamous crack-smoking mayor — proposed reducing the size of the library system, and was excoriated for it. His proposal went nowhere. It didn’t help that he referred to them as “lieberries” (like a five-year-old would).

    The libraries take up about 2% of the city budget.

  15. “Jeffersonian reeducation camps.”

    joke about how iraqis were jeffersonian democrats i think?

    Is it terrible to point out that the “humans not hominins” design looks like a penis at first glance? I assume this is because of too much time on the internet.

    yeah. i thought it was a weiner too. not my design 😉

  16. @Numinous

    “The Aryan Invasion theory has in the past created division between northerners and southerners, and has the potential to do so again in the future. Anyone who is invested in the idea of India remain India (and not breaking up again) has misgivings about the theory. But they must eventually succumb to scientific evidence and logic.”

    Fair warning a little bit of rant ahead, not aimed at you but at what I see has been being pushed so far.

    It would be nice to have a science free from religious and political agendas. One of the greatest gifts to mankind was and is impartial science. For that is how progress is made, that is how trust is built up. Why would you think this would break up India? Are these Hindutva types afraid southerners will forget their place as subordinate to the north? Dalits and lower castes discovering they are the descendants of the Indus valley civilization that were subjugated by the incoming Indo aryans. Even worse, will this give the lower sections (so called low castes and Dalits) of society a greater pride in past they did not have before make demands for societal change that the upper castes aren’t read for. The ridiculous revisionist histories that have been pushed and peddled by both media and hindutvist that claimed that caste was only due to fluid labor system and then it got mistakenly solidified is despicable (merit based system as they said, F them!). Genetics aside proving what we already knew of a Latin American style conquest/racism (paternally DNA of the conquerors, maternally of the conquered the more steppe it seems to be the more higher the caste). When the majority of south indian Dravidian speakers aside from brahmins and a couple of other castes are at most “Sudra” level caste wise, then something needs to be hashed out. (with specialization, i.e. sudra warriors like the nairs, though recently there is damage control to cover it up as a mistake or typo of some sort, don’t you know it actually was supposed to be full Kshatriya all along!). Please forgive the tinge of bitterness as it probably has nothing to do with your views and some of the others you’re describing, but these are things I feel need to be faced and acknowledged by the people of India today if they wanted a more united future.

  17. @JJ,

    I don’t understand why caste (Jati) should be related to steppe invasion. Caste was around before steppe and after steppe. It is not like AASI is really even all across jatis.

    I don’t know how much you looked into caste system but castes did move up and down the ladder of varnas based on their prosperity. eg. Reddy kings, Goudas.

    Jatis are an Indian thing. Varna is an Aryan thing but seriously who cared about varna more than jati? If anyone did, why are vysyas so endogamous and not intermarried with other jatis of same varna? I don’t understand this constant conflating of Varna and Jati and ranting against varna for issues with Jati.

    But I do wish people didn’t bring in political and racist rhetoric to AIT.

  18. Why do those who know more than I say that birds are a kind of dinosaur or birds are dinosaurs rather than that birds are descended from some species or species’s (-;) of dinosaurs? What is the substantive difference between these two? I’ve found a number of cladograms online but none of the ones I’ve found seem to get at this issue.

  19. Joe – anecdotally, most non-North American native English speakers including Brits pronounce ‘library’ clipped, as in ‘lie-bree’, I think just because saying it as written is too awkward.

  20. @JJ,

    I’m not sure if you intended to do so, but you only bolstered my concern with your latest comment.

    Clearly there’s been caste discrimination in the subcontinent, but it has always been rationalized in religious terms (and accepted on the basis of “karma”.) If there ever was a narrative of conquistador-like conquest and oppression, it was forgotten long ago.

    That applies doubly to north-south relations. Never have southerners considered themselves oppressed or subordinate to northerners until the AIT was propounded. Not in myth, scripture, or in practice. Southern kingdoms lived side-by-side with northern ones, sometimes skirmishing, but otherwise fairly peaceful. Only recently with the language question (Hindi being set up as the national language) have south-north relations even been an issue. But that’s a very recent modern phenomenon.

    Everything you said in your last comment is basically a distillation of the kind of identity politics that follows from the AIT. How can it not lead to strife and breakup, if people interpret the theory the way you have stated it?

    We are dealing with caste in our own ways. (The Hindutva brigade is quite progressive on the issue.) It’d be good to keep scientific research on Indian history restricted to academics and not allow it to seep into contemporary politics. As and when India gets more prosperous and equal, people will learn to deal with their past in non-self-destructive ways. We don’t need any kind of “discoveries” and “hashing out” at this point.

  21. @Violet

    Violet: “I don’t know how much you looked into caste system but castes did move up and down the ladder of varnas based on their prosperity. eg. Reddy kings, Goudas.”

    Not a good example of moving up the ladder, Reddy kings (and goudas), are already “up the ladder”, they are Kings! This is a Dravidian/south Indian region where Indo aryan speakers have not taken over, so it’s not “prosperity” it’s power, no Indo-aryan population or brahmin made them king or power, all they got was religious sanction from the brahmin for being the guy they want to please. If a Reddy is in control, a brahmin who migrated down there and is working in that kingdom I think will be wise to make sure the ruler or those in power at the very least feels like they’re on top for the sake of his livelihood.

    I looked up reddys Wikipedia and there is an interesting excerpt in the “varna status” section:

    “The varna designation of Reddys is a contested and complex topic. Even after the introduction of the varna concept to south India, caste boundaries in south India were not as marked as in north India, where the four-tier varna system placed the priestly Brahmins on top followed by the Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. In south India, on the other hand, there existed only three distinguishable classes, the Brahmins, the non-Brahmins and the Dalits. The two intermediate dvija varnas — the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas — did not exist.[11][12][13][14]

    The dominant castes of south India, such as Reddys and Nairs, held a status in society analogous to the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas of the north with the difference that religion did not sanctify them,[4][15][16] Historically, land-owning castes like the Reddys have belonged to i.e. they were not accorded the status of Kshatriyas and Vaishyas by the Brahmins in the Brahmanical varna system. the regal ruling classes and are analogous to the Kshatriyas of the Brahmanical society.[17]

    The Brahmins, on top of the hierarchical social order, viewed the ruling castes of the south like the Reddys, Nairs and Vellalars as sat-Shudras meaning shudras of “true being”. Sat-shudras are also known as clean shudras, upper shudras, pure or high-caste shudras.[18][19] This classification and the four-tier varna concept was never accepted by the ruling castes.[20][21] ”

    Let me be clear as I get the impression you’re trying a switch and bait or trying to vague things up. I’m not talking about occupations, I’m talking about religiously sanctioned hereditary hierarchy, one where non-indo-aryan origin groups seem to get the short end of the stick.

    line from excerpt above:
    “i.e. they were not accorded the status of Kshatriyas and Vaishyas by the Brahmins in the Brahmanical varna system.”

    So, in the Dravidian speaking regions of the south a distinction seems to be made to the indo-aryan areas of India. Most of the population is not good enough to be in the top 3 classes but they get to be the fourth class, shudras, but to maybe to make them feel better they get to “sat-shudras” clean shudras.

    From excerpt above:
    “The Brahmins, on top of the hierarchical social order, viewed the ruling castes of the south like the Reddys, Nairs and Vellalars as sat-Shudras meaning shudras of “true being”. Sat-shudras are also known as clean shudras, upper shudras, pure or high-caste shudras.[18][19]”

    Violet: “But I do wish people didn’t bring in political and racist rhetoric to AIT.”

    Who said anything about racist? This is religious sanctioned bigotry, you bring a political slant using the word “racist” to shut down discussion, this is a tired tactic.

    I will continue to make my comments freely (please learn from them) and you’re free to do yours as well. Please have a good rest of your day and all the best to you.

  22. @ Numinous

    Numinous: “I’m not sure if you intended to do so, but you only bolstered my concern with your latest comment.”

    The present genetic findings in research can be troubling for certain worldviews in south asia.

    I apologize if I, in present PC parlance, “triggered” you, but this is not a “safe space” to worry about not bolstering your concern.

    We are having discussions and if you feel you get concerned by facts presented, there are plenty of more Hindutva leaning websites, now that you’ve mentioned you are of that persuasion, to comfort your worldview.

    Numinous: “Clearly there’s been caste discrimination in the subcontinent, but it has always been rationalized in religious terms (and accepted on the basis of “karma”.)”

    I don’t see how that is an effective counter-argument, if anything, it strengthens the positions that Indo-Aryan based religion used a mental method of subjugation after the physical subjugation. This was so effective, this system of hierarchical separation has been continuing for more than 2000 years if not even longer, and is still ongoing today, despite whatever “progressiveness” your Hindutva side is supposedly doing. The slave holding American south could only keep the system going for a couple hundred years, South Africa’s apartheid and the Spanish Latin american system as well couldn’t complete with the staying power of this religiously sanctioned hierarchy that can be seen in genetic research even today. How do people living right next to each other for thousands of years become so genetically isolated from each other?!

    I am not going to discuss the rest of your comments, they are the common hindutvist revisionist fantasies i mentioned earlier but this one:

    Numinous: “We are dealing with caste in our own ways. (The Hindutva brigade is quite progressive on the issue.) It’d be good to keep scientific research on Indian history restricted to academics and not allow it to seep into contemporary politics.”

    The problem is that contemporary politics is either suppressing or twisting scientific research in the media, if anything contemporary politics needs to keep out of stopping or compromising the findings coming out of the current amazing discoveries.

    As far as your sides progressiveness, please read this article:

    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/elections/assembly-elections/uttar-pradesh/news/dalit-nominee-sits-on-floor-carries-own-cup/articleshow/57044512.cms

    So, for those of you who are too busy to read this, this Dalit BJP candidate sits on the floor when he goes to upper caste houses, bring his own cup as to not defile any dishes and when riding around with the other BJP teams he sits in the back and lets the upper castes ride in the front (shades of reverse Rosa Parks!).

    Here’s a quote from the article about Diler, Dalit BJP candidate:

    “Diler’s supporters say people of all castes love him for his desire to remain steeped in discriminatory casteist practices”

    Hindutva has inspired this Dalit to keep the status quo, I guess this what you call “dealing with caste in our own ways”.
    Your statements do not inspire confidence.
    Please have a good day and all the best.

  23. @JJ,

    As far as your sides progressiveness

    If you try to impute motivations to me again and assign me to some “side” based on cherrypicking from my comments and your own projections, I’m going to treat you as a troll and stop engaging with you.

    I’m not on the Hindutva brigade’s side. I dislike their ideology. What I mentioned about their progressiveness on caste is a fact, whether you like it or not. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t go far enough (and I’ll believe the example you give above), but they are better than most upper caste people have been on any side of the political spectrum.

    I don’t see how that is an effective counter-argument

    It was not meant to be a counter-argument to anything. Just a plain fact. Nor was I justifying it. I’m an atheist and I loathe the caste system, and would like to see it go. All I was objecting to is your extrapolation of a grand oppression theory of caste based on recent discoveries in “Aryan” genetics, and using it to make political points.

    I apologize if I, in present PC parlance, “triggered” you

    As I mentioned in my very first comment, I believe the naysayers will have to succumb to scientific evidence. Clearly that escaped your attention. The rest of my comments were attempts at conveying why this theory can be sensitive in the South Asian political context. Also, I attempted to convey that the facts do not provide prima facie evidence of oppression by conquerors from outside nor of any historical north-south conflict. That is one extreme interpretation of the current data, which you seem wedded to. Unfortunately, it’s only too easy to jump to that conclusion, and if a lot of people in India start to do that, there will be strife. On the other hand, a more nuanced reading of the data and its possible interpretations may ensure a peaceful transformation of the Indian social landscape.

    (I’m done on this thread. Don’t want to test our host’s patience any more.)

  24. @JJ,

    Clearly you don’t know anything about castes or jatis. You clearly didn’t look up Goudas either. They were palm toddy makers at one time.

    If you have to use by birth hierarchical subjugation as only the realm of Brahmins. lol.

    That mass of people you seem to lump under Dalits or Sudras are not one class either. Malas and Madigas don’t intermarry even though progressive warriors seem to lump them under Dalits. No Brahmin ever told them not to marry each other.

    Also, not just Reddys, Naidus were also kings. Deccan was occupied by Delhi Sultanate because Reddys and Naidus refused to cooperate in the war led by Kakatiyas. Yeah, great Sudra coalition there. And don’t tell me Brahmins invited Muslim rule too.

    Do your google about how Aryans supposed to be blond blue-eyes Europeans bringing civilization to natives. That’s where racism comes from. This amount of ignorance on display in Razib’s blog is frankly disappointing.

  25. “thing I’ve learned is that Indian men will take a 50% pay cut to work in a white-collar as opposed to blue-collar manufacturing job”

    I am a leery of phrases just start as “Indian men —-“. India is not a unified country. There is not many common mores between south, east, west and north, and Punjab/Haryana. The IQ, skill supply, cultural mores are all so varied, and it is possible to picture different parts of the nation are at different levels of state development, that averaging them produces some vague results.

    In the south (TN, AP, Kerala) government jobs were the plump pickings in 70s. However, the switch to private sector jobs and blue collar jobs from agriculture was essentially complete by 90s. Starting in Kerala, escape to middle east and Malaysia/singapore was a choice for young men.

    In the north, i.e., Bimaru, WB government white color jobs are still the fashion.

    A very strange phenomena that is seen in Indian industry is a serious shortage of skilled techs. Technicians need more IQ than white color counterparts, where a lack of skills can be hidden; and those that pick up blue color positions often drift to white color, when they cannot produce. This is not a choice; simply, in blue color positions you need to make actual output. My experience in industry in the 80s estimate that there is a large supply of unskilled labor in any state; however, skilled labor is in shortage and they often escape to middle east. Once labor gets into workforce, and into unions, white collar lateralization is an easy way to escape firing. Because of the shortage, skilled labor work is often stressful, and many people find it harder to do beyond their 40s. Often, crew will be composed of 2/3 foremen/assistant foreman and one skilled worker.

    The lack of skilled technical workers is one reason for the sub ten% growth. White collar workers do earn 50-75% of blue collar jobs, and the movement is not by choice; they are pushed out there.

  26. Why do those who know more than I say that birds are a kind of dinosaur or birds are dinosaurs rather than that birds are descended from some species or species’s (-;) of dinosaurs?

    In cladistics, to say that “birds are descended from some species or species’s (-;) of dinosaurs” is the same as saying “birds are a kind of dinosaur or birds are dinosaurs.” If you descend from a member of that group (“clade”), you are a member of that group.

    Humans are hominins, and we are also apes because we are descended from a species of ape (the Last Common Ancestor of chimps and humans). We are also primates, mammals, animals, vertebrates, and eukaryotes.

    To say birds are “descendants of a species of dinosaur” but are not themselves dinosaurs is like saying four is not two squared. It is like saying humans are not primates, mammals, etc.

    At least to most systematists. But the human brain tends to think, if they don’t look and act like dinosaurs any more, they aren’t. They are a separate group called “birds.” (And, of course, many people who believe in evolution used to say, “Humans descended from apes but we aren’t apes; we are unique and different, in a class by ourselves.”)

  27. So, a few years back on this blog, I remember musing about Malagasy admixture.

    It always struck me as funny that the Malagasy are in terms of ancestry majority African, but in terms of culture and language they are mostly Austronesian. In addition, the admixture profile between the highlands and lowlands are substantively different, with highland groups like the Merina about 2/3rds Asian in terms of ancestry, but the lowlanders mostly (in some cases overwhelmingly) African in ancestry. Yet everyone on the island essentially speaks the same language, with the Bantu influence mostly limited to certain loanwords. I mused that perhaps the modern-day admixture of the Malagasy is an artifact of selection – that the primal population was more heavily Southeast Asian.

    Looking this morning I saw a paper about just this hypothesis was published back in March. The authors found evidence that there had been selection for the Duffy negative antigen in order to provide resistance against Malaria. This selection event decreased the overall proportion of Asian ancestry by about 10%.

    Interestingly, although 85.6% of Malagasy are now Duffy-negative the proportion who are positive is still high enough that P. vivax is still transmitted – something which apparently is almost unknown elsewhere in Africa outside of Sub-Saharan Africa. Hence the selection event has not yet totally completed. Those still Duffy positive are mostly in the central highlands – where Asian ancestry is highest, but also presumably where due to altitude transmission of mosquito-borne illness was less common. So it may be that the correlation of Asian ancestry with altitude relates to a significant degree to malaria.

    This makes me wonder the extent to which selection played a role in admixture more recently in the New World as well. I mean, we know that historically islands in the Carribbean (like Barbados) had at certain times majority-European populations which effectively died out due to high mortality and outmigration. But was the environment so hostile to those who didn’t have the duffy-negative antigen that even mixed-race people tended to die off, resulting in the African proportion of the islands climbing over time not just due to importation of slaves, but natural selection?

  28. @Numinous
    My apologies if I mistook you of the Hindutva bent, this statement you made here:

    “We are dealing with caste in our own ways. (The Hindutva brigade is quite progressive on the issue.)”

    When you said “We” and then followed with Hindutva brigade I took that as you are aligning yourself with that political spectrum.

    I hope I also mistook the condescension in these statements in excluding or being dismissive of others contributing their views or ideas for this discussion.

    My own understanding of the issues and stance is in disagreement with yours, but I welcome the enriching of the discussion with opposing viewpoints and additional information, which is one of the great things about Razib’s site.

    That’s all I will say and take your example of not taxing our host’s patience.

    Razib I apologize if I stepped over any lines or had a misunderstanding, I look forward to more great posts on your website.

  29. @Violet: “Do your google about how Aryans supposed to be blond blue-eyes Europeans bringing civilization to natives. That’s where racism comes from. This amount of ignorance on display in Razib’s blog is frankly disappointing.”

    Okay…..

    You seem frustrated by what I shared, so will discontinue this discussion with you, good day and peace of mind.

  30. JJ, i think your initial “rant” (as you stated) was not very clear. i honestly didn’t understand the point of it. i think from that has ensued da lot of confusion.

  31. I thought Heffernan’s Wired piece wasn’t all that bad, although not particularly revelatory. That creationist article though, hoo boy. If I thought most of my fellow liberals reasoned like that, I’d join Razib as a conservative.

  32. Brian SchmidtIf I thought most of my fellow liberals reasoned like that, I’d join Razib as a conservative.

    This perfectly expresses stated values & political positions as tribal markers or expressions of identity & is a major problem today. In an idealized world, where people behaved rationally, they would define their values upstream from their (economic, social… however defined) notion of self-interest rather than reasoning backward from their self-interest to their values, & they would largely ignore the identity of their allies. In this world the focus would be on how best to attain important goals: if that involved working with people who are otherwise distasteful, well so be it. I may be a fool, but as far as possible I try not to let others define me. Limits exist as to how far one can do this, but it seems worth resisting current norms as far as possible.

    OTOH, I am male, affluent & white (by contemporaneous standards), so have much leeway for this sort of behavior. Also middle-aged, bordering on elderly, so my point of view likely reflects the state of the world a generation or so ago.

  33. marcel proust, “cladistics” has led to some results that though correct in terms of evolution, describe the present a little weirdly. For example, if dinosaurs are part of the larger class reptiles, and birds are surviving dinosaurs, then birds are reptiles! So you have to redefine or get rid of the idea of reptiles.

  34. Roger Sweeny: In the relatively brief googling I did before posting my question about birds & dinosaurs, I got the impression that cladistics essentially put the idea of reptiles to bed largely fro the reason you state.
    Is my impression not correct?

  35. Your response is so telegraphic as to be ambiguous.

    Pretty much correct or pretty much not correct.

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