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May 11 2014

The hbd delusion

A confession: I have long disliked Nicholas Wade’s science journalism. He has often written about biology in the NY Times, and every time he seems to make a botch of the reporting, because he actually doesn’t understand biology very well. For example, in his very last article for the NYT, he described some work that identified 12 genes found on the Y chromosome that are globally expressed — they aren’t just involved in testis development, for instance. This is no surprise. There are genes required for sperm differentiation found on autosomes, for instance, and the Y chromosome is not a gentleman’s club with “No Girls Allowed” tacked on the door. But Wade turned it into a phenomenon that explained the differences between men and women.

Differences between male and female tissues are often attributed to the powerful influence of sex hormones. But now that the 12 regulatory genes are known to be active throughout the body, there is clearly an intrinsic difference in male and female cells even before the sex hormones are brought into play.

I can sort of see his thinking: if there are genes that are found only on the Y chromosome that are expressed in all the cells of the body, then maybe they confer a non-sexual difference on only male behavior and physiology.

But that’s all nonsense. Those genes aren’t found only on the Y chromosome: they have homologs on the X chromosome. They aren’t “male” genes at all! As Sarah Richardson explains:

The 12 genes residing on the Y chromosome exist to ensure sexual similarity. The genes are “dosage-sensitive,” meaning that two copies are needed for them to function properly. We’ve long known that those 12 genes exist on X chromosomes. Females have the 12 genes active on both of their X chromosomes. If males, who have just one X, didn’t have them on the Y, they would not have a sufficient dosage of those genes. Now we know they do. Just like women.

You see what I mean? I’ve never trusted Wade’s science reporting, because it’s always been grossly wrong on the subjects I know well. I wouldn’t want Wade defending evolution education, either, especially since he argues for an evolutionary ladder. I’m not very interested in his ideas about the origin of life, which are rather bogus.

So you can imagine how I groaned when I heard that Wade was coming out with a new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. Wade doesn’t understand genes, so now he’s going to misapply his incomprehension to a hot-button issue like race? Great. Expect all the ‘scientific racists’ to come out cheering. Steve Sailer, the racist ignoramus who likes to cloak himself in pseudoscience, considers it another shot in Wade’s long-running war with liberals. John Derbyshire, the guy who was too racist for the National Review because he wrote a grossly bigoted screed (published on the same site that published Sailer’s review!), who also serves up large dollops of sexism, thinks it is a significant step for race realism.

Oh, a hot tip: these new racists really hate being called racists, so they’ve been struggling for years to come up with a new label. “Scientific Racism” and “Academic Racism” didn’t test well; they’ve still got “racism” in the name. For a long time they called themselves “Race Realists”, which I always read as “really racist”. That’s gone by the wayside now, mostly. The term of art you’re looking for now is “Human Biodiversity”, or “hbd” for short. Notice — “race” isn’t in the label any more. But don’t be fooled, hbd really is just the slick new marketing term for modern racism.

A good (but too generous) review of Wade’s book by Andrew Gelman notes that racism never really seems to change — it’s just that the targets always shift to reflect current stereotypes.

I suspect that had this book been written 100 years ago, it would have featured strong views not on the genetic similarities but on the racial divides that explained the difference between the warlike Japanese and the decadent Chinese, as well as the differences between the German and French races. Nicholas Wade in 2014 includes Italy within the main European grouping, but the racial theorists of 100 years ago had strong opinions on the differences between northern and southern Europeans.

We don’t even have to go back a century — racial presuppositions have changed within my lifetime.

One of Wade’s key data points is the rapid economic growth of East Asia in the past half-century: “In the early 1950s Ghana and South Korea had similar economies and levels of gross national product per capita. Some 30 years later, South Korea had become the 14th largest economy in the world, exporting sophisticated manufactures. Ghana had stagnated.” Wade approvingly quotes political scientist Samuel Huntington’s statement, “South Koreans valued thrift, investment, hard work, education, organization, and discipline. Ghanaians had different values.” And Wade attributes these attitudes toward thrift, investment, etc., to the Koreans’ East Asian genes.

This all fits together and could well be true. But … what if Wade had been writing his book in 1954 rather than 2014? Would we still be hearing about the Korean values of thrift, organization, and discipline? A more logical position, given the economic history up to that time, would be to consider the poverty of East Asia to be never-changing, perhaps an inevitable result of their genes for conformity and the lack of useful evolution after thousands of years of relative peace. We might also be hearing a lot about Japan’s genetic exclusion from the rest of Asia, along with a patient explanation of why we should not expect China and Korea to attain any rapid economic success.

Isn’t that convenient? Somehow, the reality of race realists — excuse me, hbd proponents — always seems to mirror our prejudices. And most strangely, when asked for evidence, they always simply point to current trends or current sweeping characterizations of whole groups as supporting their contentions…never mind that we see rapid shifts in the overall behavior or status of those cultures that cannot be explained by genetics.

Noah Smith has an excellent explanation of the pseudo-scientific strategem of the hbd crowd. It’s all about overfitting.

Here’s how academic racism generally works. Suppose you see two groups that have an observable difference: for example, suppose you note that Hungary has a higher per capita income than Romania. Now you have a data point. To explain that data point, you come up with a theory: the Hungarian race is more industrious than the Romanian race. But suppose you notice that Romanians generally do better at gymnastics than Hungarians. To explain that second data point, you come up with a new piece of theory: The Romanian race must have some genes for gymnastics that the Hungarian race lacks.

You can keep doing this. Any time you see different average outcomes between two different groups, you can assume that there is a genetic basis for the difference. You can also tell "just-so stories" to back up each new assumption – for example, you might talk about how Hungarians are descended from steppe nomads who had to be industrious to survive, etc. etc. As new data arrive, you make more assumptions and more stories to explain them. Irish people used to be poor and are now rich? They must have been breeding for richness genes! Korea used to be poorer than Japan and is now just as rich? Their genes must be more suited to the modern economy! For every racial outcome, there is a just-so story about why it happened. Read an academic-racist blog, like Steve Sailer’s, and you will very quickly see that this kind of thinking is pervasive and rampant.

There’s just one little problem with this strategy. Each new assumption that you make adds a parameter to your model. You’re overfitting the data – building a theory that can explain everything but predict nothing. Another way to put this is that your model has a "K=N" problem – the number of parameters in your model is equal to the number of observations. If you use some sort of goodness-of-fit criterion that penalizes you for adding more parameters, you’ll find that your model is useless (no matter how true or false it happens to be!). This is one form of a more general scientific error known as "testing hypotheses suggested by the data", or "post-hoc reasoning". It’s a mistake that is by no means unique to academic racism, but instead is common in many scientific disciplines (cough cough, sociobiology, cough cough).

Wade continues in this fine tradition. I considered reading his book, just to tear it up, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort, from the reviews — it’s just another collection of anecdotes dressed up with Wade’s sloppy understanding of genes.

119 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    By the way, Wade is no longer with the NYT, which is a plus for their science coverage. The Daily Caller speculates that his departure might have something to do with the book, but hey, it’s the Daily Caller — they have no reason to suggest that, other than that the timing was coincidental, and the NYT is such a well-known liberal paper…wait, stop, there’s no point in going on if that’s one of their premises.

  2. 2
    David Marjanović

    Now, it’s normal for science journalists to not understand what they’re writing about. So far, so good. But most of them notice they don’t understand this stuff well, so they refrain from writing books about it.

    Like, WTF? The Dunning/Kruger effect is strong in him.

  3. 3
    Jennifer Raff

    I forced myself to read it, because I think that the anthropological genetics community has an obligation to respond. Your hunch that it’s “just another collection of anecdotes dressed up with Wade’s sloppy understanding of genes” is a very accurate characterization, PZ.

    If anyone’s interested in seeing an expert school Wade, Agustin Fuentes had an online “debate” with him hosted by the American Anthropological Association. It’s archived here
    (You have to log in, but it’s free). Note how Wade never answers Fuentes’ pointed question about what exactly defines a race? He never defines it in his book, either.

  4. 4
    Steven

    I haven’t read the book by Wade so I can’t say anything about it, but there are parts in that review that are ridiculous.

    “This all fits together and could well be true. But … what if Wade had been writing his book in 1954 rather than 2014? Would we still be hearing about the Korean values of thrift, organization, and discipline? A more logical position, given the economic history up to that time, would be to consider the poverty of East Asia to be never-changing, perhaps an inevitable result of their genes for conformity and the lack of useful evolution after thousands of years of relative peace. We might also be hearing a lot about Japan’s genetic exclusion from the rest of Asia, along with a patient explanation of why we should not expect China and Korea to attain any rapid economic success.”

    That is an absurd statement. The racism against East Asia used to overwhelmingly be about how they were a rival civilization and a threat. The whole yellow peril thing was racism of course, but a different kind of racism than the attitude against Africans. In 1954 we had already seen Japan’s very rapid industrialization and rise to be a world power. Korea was it’s colony at the time and had also undergone some industrialization, but then been destroyed by the war. China, of course, was known to have been an advanced civilization well before Europe and the fear was that they would rise again and dominate the world.

    PZ, how about you dig into the biology stuff more and show why he’s wrong there instead of quoting some moron from Slate?

  5. 5
    sharkjack

    The 12 genes residing on the Y chromosome exist to ensure sexual similarity. The genes are “dosage-sensitive,” meaning that two copies are needed for them to function properly. We’ve long known that those 12 genes exist on X chromosomes. Females have the 12 genes active on both of their X chromosomes. If males, who have just one X, didn’t have them on the Y, they would not have a sufficient dosage of those genes. Now we know they do. Just like women.

    Hang on a second, isn’t one of the two X chromosome copies turned into a barr body that is completely transcriptionally inactive? The Nature article talks about the evolution of sex chromosomes, so there it’s not an issue, but if we’re talking about humans specifically shouldn’t gene dosage be the last thing you point to to account for y chromosomal expression?

    On the other hand, X chromosomal inactivation doesn’t happen until gastrulation, so that would mean the dosage effect would be important until then. It would be interesting if we could see the gene expression pattern of these genes match that time frame. It would make sense for those genes to be selected to remain on the Y chromosome, as X-inactivation couldn’t have diminished their importance.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    Wade never answers Fuentes’ pointed question about what exactly defines a race? He never defines it in his book, either.

    But….. How could something be so important to a person if they don’t even know what it is?! (Templeclutch)

  7. 7
    mikeyb

    Don’t forget Wade wrote The Faith Instinct which argued terribly that like the title suggests faith is an adaptation and is needed for morality in a group selection manner, all with rampant speculation and no evidence to back it all up. I don’t recommend the book at all, unless you like confusion and want to be told that faith is a good positive thing we need to get along.

  8. 8
    chris61

    sharkjack @5

    One of the two X chromosomes in female cells is largely inactivated but there are still some genes expressed.

  9. 9
    howardhershey

    Gee. The economy of *North* Korea remains stuck pretty much at the level of Ghana. Must be due to the genetic difference between North and South Korea. Either that or there is some sort of non-genetic reason for the difference. Wonder which one makes more sense?

  10. 10
    xaurreaux

    I recently read Wade’s The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures. He is trying to make the case that religion itself is evolutionary adaptive behavior. It left me with a “something’s not quite right” feeling. I’m not so much questioning his data as I am the conclusions he draws from the data.

  11. 11
    David Marjanović

    In 1954 we had already seen Japan’s very rapid industrialization and rise to be a world power. Korea was it’s colony at the time

    WTF, no. WWII resulted in Korea’s independence.

  12. 12
    zenlike

    3 Jennifer Raff

    Note how Wade never answers Fuentes’ pointed question about what exactly defines a race? He never defines it in his book, either.

    A scientific book that talks about a concept would first start with defining the concept. And that’s why all off the ‘scientific racism’ bullshit is pseudo-scientific nonsense: the concept of race is central to their arguments, yet they can never come up with a coherent definition of that concept, and most of the time blatantly refuse to even try.

    Also, what howardhershey said above. Yeah, taking South Korea as an example is a bad idea, since we actually have a control group of people who by any definition would be part of the same ‘race’, but who had a very different history the last century.

  13. 13
    azhael

    Of course they don’t define “race”…the moment they did it would be inmediately obvious that no such things is applicable to human populations and their entire premise goes to shit.

  14. 14
    Jennifer Raff

    The other interesting thing that Wade does is set up a false dichotomy: Those of us who disagree that race is a valid biological category (for humans) must therefore ALSO reject the fact that humans are subject to continued evolutionary pressures, and in fact that patterned genetic variation in human populations doesn’t exist.

  15. 15
    mudpuddles

    A scientific book that talks about a concept would first start with defining the concept. And that’s why all off the ‘scientific racism’ bullshit is pseudo-scientific nonsense: the concept of race is central to their arguments, yet they can never come up with a coherent definition of that concept, and most of the time blatantly refuse to even try.

    Similarly, their efforts to adopt the the term “human biodiversity” also shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what biodiversity actually means. They seem to have their own concept of biodiversity, for which I have never seen them provide any explanation or definition – at least, not any that’s in any way logical or consistent with current scientific usage of the term.

  16. 16
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I just posted about criticisms of EP and related approaches, speculating at the end that I wasn’t especially optimistic that the public discussion of Wade’s new book would mark any progress. I hope I’m wrong…

    mikeyb:

    Don’t forget Wade wrote The Faith Instinct which argued terribly that like the title suggests faith is an adaptation and is needed for morality in a group selection manner, all with rampant speculation and no evidence to back it all up. I don’t recommend the book at all, unless you like confusion and want to be told that faith is a good positive thing we need to get along.

    I knew his name sounded familiar from some other context. Goes to show how much overlap there is among the gender/race/religion/economic aspects of these arguments, all of which support a conservative political agenda.

  17. 17
    Steven

    @11

    I was a bit unclear perhaps. Korea was a colony at the time of Japan’s first rapid industrialization before the war.

  18. 18
    ChasCPeterson

    Hang on a second, isn’t one of the two X chromosome copies turned into a barr body that is completely transcriptionally inactive?
    My first thought as well, but so I looked it up and learned something new.

    But don’t be fooled, hbd really is just the slick new marketing term for modern racism.

    It might be, in many or even most cases (I don’t know), but not necessarily. There reallty are patterns of geographically clustered genetic diversity among human populations (the anthropologically safe catch-all term) which fit certain reasonable definitions of ‘race’. Imputing functional differences among those populations is the problem, not identifying the very real patterns. But even that does not fit the locally favored definition of ‘racism’ that necessarily includes systematic oppression. It’s just so easy to weasel around with implied definitions that rational discussions of the topic are well nigh impossible, even (especially) here.

    I suspect that had this book been written 100 years ago

    How is a speculative suspicion a valid criticism?

    Here’s how academic racism generally works.

    How is a generalized fictitious ‘example’ scenario, offered without a single actual example, a valid criticism?

    their efforts to adopt the the term “human biodiversity” also shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what biodiversity actually means.

    do tell, O Expert “mudpuddles”-on-the-internet.

  19. 19
    kayden

    I was an undergraduate when Phillippe Rushton came out with his nonsense about Blacks having large penises and small brains versus Asians having small penises and large brains. I was at York University in Toronto at the time, and will never forget one of my teachers saying that White supremacy never changes — it just juggles who is at the top of the racial hierarchy. So true.

  20. 20
    raven

    The Daily Caller speculates that his departure might have something to do with the book, but hey

    1. Malware Alert!!! The Daily Caller is often loaded with malware!!! It’s a known malware site. I won’t ever go there.

    I’ll let people who love their computers less find out if they’ve cleaned up their website or not by now.

    This is a general problem with xian and rightwing sites BTW. A recent study found that you are more likely to get malware from a xian site than a porn site.

    2. Neurotoxin Alert!!! The Daily Caller is a black hole of stupidity. You can feel IQ points being sucked out of your brain just reading it. It’s not know if having an IQ equal to a rutabaga is permanent or not, but why takes chances?

  21. 21
    raven

    Daily Caller Now considered by Google a Malware Threat …

    www. mfs-theothernews.com/…/daily-caller-now-considered-by-google.h…

    Jul 30, 2012 – Update: Via Twitter, the Daily Caller is telling its readers to ignore the warnings and come on in: “. … Load more. … I have been busy a lot lately with work and my other website(s) but I wanted to share some random photos I …

    FYI.

  22. 22
    Efrem Zecarias

    I see that CBC radio has done an interview with Nicholas Wade.

    It’s pretty good, they clearly state the current scientific option that race is socially determined and they also included commentary from Stanford medical anthropologist Duana Fullwiley (who takes Wade to task for constantly misrepresenting the findings of scientists).

  23. 23
    cervantes

    Is it worth pointing out that Korea is actually divided into two countries, the border severing innumerable extended families? That one of those countries is prosperous and democratic, and the other tyrannical and starving? And that this division happened scarcely 50 years ago? Apparently they have already become separate races . . .

  24. 24
    Efrem Zecarias

    URL for the cbc radio podcast is below.

    http://www.cbc.ca/day6/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2455355662#

  25. 25
    skaduskitai

    Appearantly they know nothing about history. You could go further back in history, say anywhere before the 14th century, and conclude that the northern europeans must have had really shitty genes. And how will they explain the great depression last century? Suddenly a retrovirus spread all across the western world and gave the white man temporarily bad genes?

  26. 26
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It’s just so easy to weasel around with implied definitions that rational discussions of the topic are well nigh impossible, even (especially) here.

    Oh, I recall one rational discussion in which, after linking to a post at Gene Expression about the Rosenberg and Bamshad structure studies,* you finally learned several things from Deborah Bolnick’s chapter in Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age (which can still be read in full on Google Books) that countered the suggestions you/Khan were making about the program’s “finding” a handful of clusters. I believe you actually admitted in that case that you had been mistaken.

    *Which had been discussed in depth in the talk I’d previously linked to by Troy Duster, but as usual you were too busy sneeringly dismissing sociology to actually watch it.

  27. 27
    PZ Myers

    It might be, in many or even most cases (I don’t know), but not necessarily. There reallty are patterns of geographically clustered genetic diversity among human populations (the anthropologically safe catch-all term) which fit certain reasonable definitions of ‘race’. Imputing functional differences among those populations is the problem, not identifying the very real patterns.

    Yes, that is what both critiques I cited say. You know nobody believes human beings are genetically uniform, right?

    But even that does not fit the locally favored definition of ‘racism’ that necessarily includes systematic oppression. It’s just so easy to weasel around with implied definitions that rational discussions of the topic are well nigh impossible, even (especially) here.

    Again, both critiques include specific definitions, quite unlike Wade (which is interesting: ID creationists are also reluctant to specifically define their terms, too). Here’s the very first paragraph from the Smith article:

    Let’s use the term “academic racism” to mean ““a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” (the Merriam-Webster “full definition” of “racism”), in order to differentiate it from bigotry (the common-use definition).

    The Gelman review cites several instances of Wade pulling racial parameters out of his ass and then making judgments about which is ‘better’, so it’s pretty hard to argue that it isn’t a work of racism.

  28. 28
    raven

    Is it worth pointing out that Korea is actually divided into two countries, the border severing innumerable extended families?

    Sure. Being Korean doesn’t guarantee a world class economy. If you looked at just the north, you could say they can’t even farm well enough to feed themselves.

    AFGHANISTAN: Fifth least developed country in the world
    www. irinnews.org/…/afghanistan-fifth-least-developed-country-in-the-w…

    The NHDR ranks Afghanistan as the poorest country in Asia, with a gross … Widely devastated by over 25 years of armed conflict, Afghanistan has one of the …

    One of the most Caucasian looking countries in Asia is…Afghanistan, one of the poorest, least civilized countries in the world. In the pictures a lot of them look pretty European and have blue or green eyes. It’s thought with some evidence that some of their gene pool derives from Alexander the Great’s army which ended there.

    You could go further back in history, say anywhere before the 14th century, and conclude that the northern europeans must have had really shitty genes.

    Or even a century or two ago. Back then Scandinavia, homeland of the Nordics, was a poverty stricken, illiterate backwater of Europe. These days they are the richest and most well off countries in the world.

    The racists are taking a snapshot of a time period and saying it is all genetically determined.

    It’s clear from recent history that culture and religion play a far more important role.

  29. 29
    Enopoletus Harding

    I think there is a way to test this Hungarian/Romanian scientific racist hypothesis- set up some large and well-designed adoption studies. As for the Irish, carefully study the demographic history of Ireland-especially the fecundity, death rates, and propensity to immigrate of Ireland’s various classes for the past 500 years. If the most intelligent and productive classes were the most selected against in Ireland throughout the past 500 years by these variables, the scientific racist hypothesis for Ireland’s recent economic growth is easily shown false.

    Also, some of the comments above are just silly. No scientific racist believes institutions don’t matter at all. Note that I know little of biology. I’m glad if anyone can show how my thoughts above are mistaken.

  30. 30
    Enopoletus Harding

    One of the most Caucasian looking countries in Asia is…Afghanistan, one of the poorest, least civilized countries in the world.

    -Afghanistan also has high rates of cousin marriage. That’s one genetic explanation I’ve heard some scientific racists expound. I also note that Afghanistan is landlocked, mountainous, and has no navigable rivers, so even if it had exactly the same heredity-based potential for economic growth as, say, the Netherlands, these factors would still lead it to be poorer than the Netherlands.

    The racists are taking a snapshot of a time period and saying it is all genetically determined.

    -[citation needed].

  31. 31
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    URL for the cbc radio podcast is below.

    Thanks for the link. Fullwiley does a good job of communicating the science. It’s annoying to imagine that in the US there will be few such presentations. The likelihood is that the geneticists and anthropologists and other scientists who’ve seen their work and their field misrepresented and misused will write articles and books that few will pay attention to and Wade and his cheerleaders (who apparently include Steven Pinker – shocker) will continue to claim that his arguments are being rejected because they’re emotionally troubling and politically incorrect, with the media covering the “controversy” in the most unscientific way possible (“Nicholas Wade: The Man People Love to Hate”). Again, I hope I’m wrong. Maybe this one will be the turning point.

  32. 32
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    You don’t have to go as far afield as North and South Korea. Here in this country we had our own North Korea from the end of “The War of Yankee Aggression” </s> until they were dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th Century to contribute to the WWII war effort. So for ~75 years there, Southern USAians were “racially inferior”. Now that they’re the tail that’s wagging the dog, I guess their genes got a lot better.

  33. 33
    raven

    Afghanistan also has high rates of cousin marriage. That’s one genetic explanation I’ve heard some scientific racists expound.

    So what?

    Wikipedia Cousin marriage:
    United States[edit]
    Cousin marriage was legal in all states before the Civil War
    and

    Marriages between first and second cousins account for over 10% of marriages worldwide.[1]

    Japan’s Prime Minister and First Lady Are First Cousins …
    www. japanprobe .com/…/japans-prime-minister-and-first-lady-are-first-c…
    Jun 8, 2010 – Whilst first cousin marriage is the most common form of marriage in pre-modern societies …

    So what? The existence of first cousin marriages is irrelevant.

    They were common in the USA up until a century ago. In fact, Rudy Guiliani, former mayor of NYC and former GOP presidential candidate married his…first cousin.

    Today they are still common all over the world, including in Japan. It doesn’t explain anything.

  34. 34
    twas brillig (stevem)

    So “race” is determined by genes? Whoodathought? So, are Blue eyes a separate race from Brown eyes, and, are lactose-intolerant a separate race from lactose-tolerant? And what about “Gingers” vs Blondes? I know, part of, current Race concepts include the shape of hair follicles, (African vs Asian hair) but hair-color is never included, isn’t that also genetic? I was taught that two blondes can ONLY have blonde children (recessive gene, that is).

    I included the eye-color part based on the story of how a teacher taught about racism (in elementary school). She told the kids that all the brown-eyed kids were Average, and the blue-eyed kids were Smart. She then watched how the kids treated each other based on eye-color.

  35. 35
    raven

    also note that Afghanistan is landlocked, mountainous, and has no navigable rivers, so even if it had exactly the same heredity-based potential for economic growth as, say, the Netherlands, these factors would still lead it to be poorer than the Netherlands.

    So what? Irrelevant and wrong again.

    You could say the same thing about Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Colorado, or North Dakota.

  36. 36
    Enopoletus Harding

    @raven #33
    According to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_prevalence_of_consanguinity.svg
    rates of cousin marriage in the MENA region and India are much higher than elsewhere in the world. So your arguments seem to have no value.

  37. 37
    cockfart
  38. 38
    cockfart
  39. 39
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m wondering, is it worth arguing with somebody who calls themself “cockfart”?
    OTOH, arguing would require them to actually make an argument instead of just throwing a tantrum.

  40. 40
    cockfart
  41. 41
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    My statement is the argument itself. Any objective observer[1] can see the significant[2]physical and behavioural differences[3] between the sexes[4] and the races[5].

    [1] Definition, please
    [2] Significant as is “statistically significant”?
    [3][4][5]citation needed as to the biological origin of these differences

  42. 42
    azhael

    My statement is the argument itself. Any objective observer can see the significant physical and behavioural differences between the sexes and the races.

    In that case it should be very easy for you to tell us what are those races and how to tell them apart. Looking forward to it.

  43. 43
    azhael

    *what those races are….sorry.

  44. 44
    cockfart
  45. 45
    David Marjanović

    Any objective observer can see

    that the Earth is flat, that the sun goes around it, and that the speed of light is infinite.

    Your point?

  46. 46
    cockfart
  47. 47
    David Marjanović

    Do you need scientific proof that water is wet?

    First of all we need you to explain what “wet” is. In other words, you need to disprove the null hypothesis.

    (Outside the metaphor, wetness is electrostatic attraction.)

  48. 48
    Galactic Fork

    We can be wrong about things we only have a partial view of. Other people are in full view.

    Wow, you have a complete view of human behavior throughout history, defining and tracking each individual race to make sure each difference is based only on genetic racial traits? Are you a wizard?

  49. 49
    cockfart
  50. 50
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh, Jebus. Do you need scientific proof that water is wet?

    Are you going to provide evidence for your claims or not? I guess not. If you had that evidence you’d easily provide it, right?

  51. 51
    cockfart
  52. 52
    timgueguen

    Yeah, what is a race? Are African-Americans still the same race as Africans? After all a significant percentage of them have European and/or Native American ancestry. For that matter are an Oromo and a Zulu the same race? They both come from Africa, but you can see physical differences between them. My ancestors are all various breeds of white folks, but are they the same race? They wouldn’t have been perceived as so by some people in previous eras.

  53. 53
    Enopoletus Harding

    @raven #35
    Actually, my statements are relevant and correct.

    You could say the same thing about Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Colorado, or North Dakota.

    -North Dakota isn’t mountainous and has navigable rivers: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Media/FactSheets/FactSheetArticleView/tabid/2034/Article/2652/section-10-waterways.aspx
    The same is true of the Czech Republic and Hungary. Slovakia has access to the Danube. Switzerland has some access to the Rhine. Colorado has the Colorado river, but, as it has little relevance to Colorado’s economy, I consider Colorado to be your only correct example. In any case, Colorado would be nothing were it not for it being part of the rest of the United States.

  54. 54
    Enopoletus Harding

    Yeah, what is a race?

    -Steve Sailer’s not-very-helpful definition is basically (my phrasing) “as extended a family as you want to consider”.

  55. 55
    unclefrogy

    what gets me about all racist racial logic is how they always take some characteristic that is easily seen like appearance skin color, eye shape hair and then make some causal connection with behavior (or is a correlation) with success in the current civilization mostly it seems as a justification of why US got da money or big guns.
    In talking with some of them it seems like they think somehow current knowledge is inherited through our genes and not learned. That it does not take the same abilities and talents to survive and thrive for the poor and uneducated as well as the rich and privileged. In fact a case could be made that it takes greater skill to survive and pass-on your genes if you are poor then if you inherited wealth and power in the current ruling classes. The other factor that is never taken into consideration is the deep time involved in real genetic change in populations.
    just so stories indeed!
    uncle frogy

  56. 56
    azhael

    Steve Sailer’s not-very-helpful definition is basically (my phrasing) “as extended a family as you want to consider”.

    So one single extant human race? Yeah, that works.

  57. 57
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    as extended a family as you want to consider

    As in: “Would you want your sister to marry one?”

  58. 58
    Bronze Dog

    I appreciate the heads up on this attempted rebranding of racism.

    One thing that really sticks out to me with the racists I encounter is how oblivious they are about the messiness of humanity. There are numerous non-genetic factors that determine the prosperity of cultures as well as individuals. Thinking back to one troll, I should have probably called him a geography denialist since he was quite dismissive of my assertion that geography and consequently the available resources have an impact on a region’s cultural and technological development. I did point out that it seemed like he naively believed that the world was a game of Civilization where every culture started out exactly the same time on a world map with a perfectly uniform distribution of resources.

  59. 59
    lpetrich

    Forensic anthropologists seem to have a lot of success as identifying people from their skulls as Caucasoid (European, North African, Middle Eastern, South Asian), Negroid (South-of-Sahara African), or Mongoloid (Eastern Asian, “Native” American). There are also variations in sports performance (Sport and Ethnicity): West Africans tend to be very good at sprinting, East Africans at distance running, whites at weightlifting and throwing, eastern Asians at diving and gymnastics, etc.

    In this time when sequencing of whole genomes has almost become an everyday affair, it ought to be possible to find which genetic variations correlate with which “racial” features. That may be rather difficult, however, since most genetic variation is shared between populations.

  60. 60
    lpetrich

    Racehorse Research Identifies Speed Gene

    Some earlier work on whippets, a common breed of racing dogs, revealed that those with two versions of MSTN did bother than those which had only one – either the wild-type one or one for making extra muscle.

    Horse-race distances typically range from 5 furlongs (5/8 mi or 1 km) to 20 furlongs (5/2 mi or 4 km). Racehorses are often divided into categories depending on which race distances they do best at: sprinters ( 8 f).

    Emmeline Hill’s team sequenced MSTN genes from several racehorses, and found 6 alleles of which only 2 were common (C and T). Comparing the alleles with how the horses performed, she found that sprinters were usually C/C, milers C/T, and stayers T/T.

    So C is optimized for short bursts of speed, while T for long stretches of speed.

  61. 61
    lpetrich

    Molecular genetics of human pigmentation diversity is one of several papers I’ve found on the genetics of human skin, hair, and eye color. There are several genes involved, because melanin biosynthesis involves several proteins. It may also be necessary to consider gene regulation, since most lighter-skinned people also have plenty of melanin in their hair.

    But craniofacial features are likely more difficult. Features like width of head, length and width of nose, etc.

  62. 62
    Endorkened

    So, I’ve bumped into the folks PZ is talking about on Twitter. My god, they’re oblivious–one just tried to claim victory by Godwin because I’ve pointed out that he is an actual, self-professed Nazi.

  63. 63
    Jafafa Hots

    EVERY time I’ve read an article about a subject I know well it has been full of errors.
    When I was interviewed for an article about a museum exhibition of one of my collections they couldn’t even quote me correctly – they made it sound like I was saying the exact opposite of what I’d said.
    Other “quotes” were things I never said anything about at all… and were not things I would EVER say.

    I could tell when the “reporter” was interviewing me that she wasn’t even bothering to take notes, and was not recording, etc.

    They have the story they want to write in mind, and they look for names and terms to drop into it to support their preconceived (and usually incoherent) idea.

  64. 64
    Jafafa Hots

    In any case, Colorado would be nothing were it not for it being part of the rest of the United States.

    There were very valuable mineral deposits there. They caused these things called “rushes.”

    Plus it’s pretty.

    Colorado would be something no matter what country it was part of.

  65. 65
    Enopoletus Harding

    They caused these things called “rushes.”

    -After it became part of the U.S.

  66. 66
    Ichthyic

    ^^that is the most fuck up logic ever.

  67. 67
    lpetrich

    What’s most interesting to the “race realists” / “human biodiversity advocates” is mental abilities, like the ability to perform well in IQ tests. So one ought to look for variation in genes involving brain development. PLOS Biology: A Map of Recent Positive Selection in the Human Genome notes that there is some, but it’s not clear what its significance is.

  68. 68
    Jafafa Hots

    After it became part of the U.S.

    yeah… because as mining and transportation technology developed, NOBODY would have wanted all that gold and silver and whatnot unless it was AMERICAN gold and silver.

    (I honestly can’t believe you typed that…)

    Ever hear of Greenland? Not many people there.
    Lots of new prospecting areas opening up and the ice retreats, and you know what?

    PEOPLE HAVE NOTICED.

    Imagine that.

  69. 69
    A. Noyd

    From a brief article about when basketball was a Jewish sport (which I think I saw on Tumblr but might have been linked here, too):

    Today we refer to stereotypes about Black men to explain why they dominate basketball, but this is an after-the-fact justification. At the time, very different characteristics — stereotypes associated with Jews — were used to explain why they dominated professional teams. Paul Gallico, sports editor of the NY Daily News in the 1930s, explained that “the game places a premium on an alert, scheming mind, flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart aleckness.” All stereotypes about Jews.

  70. 70
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Forensic anthropologists seem to have a lot of success as identifying people from their skulls as Caucasoid (European, North African, Middle Eastern, South Asian), Negroid (South-of-Sahara African), or Mongoloid (Eastern Asian, “Native” American).

    Interesting, because what I was told by a former forensics professional turned high school teacher was that “caucasoid,” “mongoloid,” “negroid,” and “aboriginoid” population assignment had nothing to do with external features, and were diagnosable solely by features of blood composition and hair structure. I have no idea if that’s current or was even ever correct, but…

  71. 71
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Switzerland has some access to the Rhine.

    Which is a very important factor when we talk about times when many people in rural Europe never travelled further than, say, 20 miles from the place they were born in. When you live in some remote place in the Alpes your choice of mates is clearly influenced by the fact that somewhere in the country there’s a big river called Rhine…
    Sounds a lot like some current underdeveloped part of the world, I think

  72. 72
    michaelnewsham

    One of my favorites for wackiness is the guy with the website explaining why white women are prettier than black women. See, darker-skinned women evolved in warm climates, where they can grow or forage their own food and thus are valuable as mates no matter what they looked like.

    Whereas up in the cold countries all the food was brought in by men from hunting, so the women had to evolve objectively attractive features like blonde hair and blue eyes. This explains why black men are attracted to white women,but white men are not attracted to black women.

    I’m not sure where “XXX Hot Thai/Filipina Babes” fits in his theory….

  73. 73
    David Marjanović

    There’s a surprising amount of discussion on the ScienceBlogs version of this thread.

    I did point out that it seemed like he naively believed that the world was a game of Civilization where every culture started out exactly the same time on a world map with a perfectly uniform distribution of resources.

    The distribution of resources is not all that uniform; in Civ3 onwards it’s perfectly possible to have a whole country without any iron. And at least in Civ2, when a civilization is wiped out, a new one appears in some unsettled place (if there’s one left), so you do get a civilization starting later than the others.

  74. 74
    lpetrich

    Here’s a site on identifying races with skull features: ANTH 6 – Forensic Anthropology: Ancestry

  75. 75
    Simon March

    Why don’t you argue with two of the smartest guys around who think race is real and believe genetics influences behavior:

    http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/a-troublesome-inheritance/

    Have you read the 10,000 Year Explosion? It is one of the best books out there about race and genetics.

  76. 76
    Enopoletus Harding

    @Jafafa Hots
    -Do you have any historical examples of rushes happening in the 19th century, in territory controlled by Mexico throughout the rush, and attracting any substantial number of Americans?

  77. 77
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- #71
    -I detect an unsuccessful attempt at sarcasm from you, but I can’t see your point. The Rhine was and is undeniably important in integrating Switzerland into the rest of the European economy. What was the “underdeveloped part of the world” you were referring to?

  78. 78
    Bronze Dog

    @David #73

    Yeah, in a normal Civ game, there’s enough randomness to provide significant geographic inequity that can influence how well a player is going to do. I meant to imply that on top of thinking in oversimplified terms much like those used in Civilization-like/4X games, he also oversimplified by assuming that the map is custom designed to be perfectly fair.

    Given his persistent refusal to even acknowledge the possibility of non-genetic factors like luck or different starting conditions influencing an outcome, he came across as a narcissist who’d brag about his mad and genetically determined skillz if he drew a first turn snowflake in Candy Land.

  79. 79
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Enoleptus Harding#76
    What the fuck do you think your point is? Why do you imagine the number of Americans (by which I assume you mean USAnians) participating in Mexican mineral rushes a counterpoint to Jafafa Hots’ proposition that someone other than people from the U.S would have exploited the mineral resources of Colorado if it hadn’t been part of the U.S? What the fuck are you blithering about?

  80. 80
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’ll drop this here (pdf) for Ipetrich.

  81. 81
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    The link doesn’t work.

  82. 82
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy #81
    -Seconded.

  83. 83
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy #79
    -Do you have any evidence anyone was exploiting Colorado’s mineral resources on a substantial scale before it became part of the U.S.?

  84. 84
    Sikes Pico

    Hey PZ Myers, you are fractally wrong, a liar, a fraud and a troll looking for people to GIVE you words that you don’t have the intelligence to understand, much less conjure by yourself.
    I have been following your bullshit for too long not to notice your pattern of what passes for composition, a supreme lack of ability to compose an essay, or even a decent paragraph that is not vague, flawed, full of assumptions, stupidity and hate.
    FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!!

  85. 85
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!!

    Yawn, boring, boring boring boring idjit. Zzz……

  86. 86
    chigau (違う)

    Sikes Pico #84
    What are you on about?
    I can’t tell from your comment.

  87. 87
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    lpetrich @ 67

    What’s most interesting to the “race realists” / “human biodiversity advocates” is mental abilities, like the ability to perform well in IQ tests. So one ought to look for variation in genes involving brain development.

    *sigh* Galton was discredited more than 100 years ago, and yet we see this same bullshit come up again and again–that some “races” (you have not yet defined that term) possess more or less “intelligence” (you have also not defined this term) than others. Notwithstanding that anyone with a shred of knowledge knows that IQ tests are 1. culturally biased and 2. based on the faulty assumption that intelligence is a concrete, single thing that can be quantified by a number. They completely fails to account for measures of intelligence that most people think of when they think of ‘mental abilities’–like being able to deal with complex social situations, make emotional intuitions and possessing imaginative thinking abilities. Notwithstanding also that all variation found (and there is very little–most of the studies seem to rely on faulty data) can be explained more parsimoniously with environmental factors rather than genetic ones. The very few that can’t have nothing at all to do with intelligence (yes, I read the paper you linked. It doesn’t mean what you say it does.)

    Your shitty posts have squeaked by the regulars here because there isn’t a lot of commenting in the thread atm, but I have noticed your racist bullshit and enjoin you to GTFO with that.

  88. 88
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Enoleptus Harding#83
    You still seem to think you’re making a point of some kind, but you’re not.

  89. 89
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sikes Pico:

    Hey PZ Myers, you are fractally wrong,

    What is PZ wrong about?

    a liar,

    What is PZ lying about?

    a fraud

    Any minute now you’re going to provide some proof to support this strong accusation…right?

    and a troll looking for people to GIVE you words that you don’t have the intelligence to understand, much less conjure by yourself.

    Are you familiar with projection?

    I have been following your bullshit for too long not to notice your pattern of what passes for composition,

    Do you have examples of PZ’s problems with composition?

    a supreme lack of ability to compose an essay,

    golly. A *supreme* lack, huh? You must have multiple examples of this at hand. In fact, you must have an overwhelming number of examples. I’m assuming by ‘essay’, you’re talking about PZ’s blog posts (if I’m incorrect, I’m sure you’ll inform me). Can you document the blog posts in 2012 (randomly picked year) that demonstrate PZ’s inability to compose an essay?

    or even a decent paragraph that is not vague, flawed, full of assumptions, stupidity and hate.
    FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!! FAIL!!!

    I’m sure you have countless examples to provide us.
    Please do so, or trot on back to the fringes of the net where you scuzzbuckets inhabit.

  90. 90
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Forensic anthropologists seem to have a lot of success as identifying people from their skulls as Caucasoid (European, North African, Middle Eastern, South Asian), Negroid (South-of-Sahara African), or Mongoloid (Eastern Asian, “Native” American).

    Strike two, lpetrich. See the American Anthropological Association’s statement on race (which, btw, comports with pretty much all anthro associations, including exclusively forensic ones.) http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

    In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within the human species based on visible physical differences. With the vast expansion of scientific knowledge in this century, however, it has become clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic “racial” groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within “racial” groups than between them. In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic (physical) expressions. Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact, they have interbred. The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species.

    Physical variations in any given trait tend to occur gradually rather than abruptly over geographic areas. And because physical traits are inherited independently of one another, knowing the range of one trait does not predict the presence of others. For example, skin color varies largely from light in the temperate areas in the north to dark in the tropical areas in the south; its intensity is not related to nose shape or hair texture. Dark skin may be associated with frizzy or kinky hair or curly or wavy or straight hair, all of which are found among different indigenous peoples in tropical regions. These facts render any attempt to establish lines of division among biological populations both arbitrary and subjective.

    No, forensic anthropologists do not identify groups by skull. They can only ever say, “This bone may be consistent with Asian ancestry because of this particular feature.” It is not a science–it’s a numbers game–maybe, if a person has enough markers, they could be a little more definite, but not much. Anthropologists are very hesitant to make these sorts of predictions. The stuff you see on TV isn’t true.

  91. 91
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    lpetrich:

    What’s most interesting to the “race realists” / “human biodiversity advocates” is mental abilities, like the ability to perform well in IQ tests

    Why is that interesting?
    http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/04/what-does-iq-really-measure

    Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity. Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence.

    Researchers have long debated what IQ tests actually measure, and whether average differences in IQ scores–such as those between different ethnic groups–reflect differences in intelligence, social and economic factors, or both. The debate moved heavily into the public arena with the 1994 publication of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which suggested that the lower average IQ scores of some ethnic groups, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, were due in large part to genetic differences between them and Caucasian groups. That view has been challenged by many scientists. For example, in his 2009 book “Intelligence and How to Get It,” Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, argued that differences in IQ scores largely disappear when researchers control for social and economic factors.

  92. 92
    chigau (違う)

    also
    Hi Cyranothe2nd
    I hope things are well with you.

  93. 93
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    chigau–they’re fantastic, thanks! Just getting ready to move into our first house. :) How’s things with you?

  94. 94
    chigau (違う)

    Cyranothe2nd
    Mostly good.
    I think it’s finally Spring so my mood is improving.

  95. 95
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    lol yes, the sun came out in Seattle and practically no one’s shown up for class since. :D Can’t blame them–gotta get that Vitamin D when you can.

    /derail

  96. 96
    Sikes Pico

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! #89

    Jesus wept, you’re too stupid to know what science is, but you think you can carry out a philosophical argument? You’re a shallow bigot using small words you don’t understand in an impotently one-size-fits-all manner, which is a symptom of Classical Narcissism. Pity that having said issue makes you incapable of realizing that you need treatment.

    Enjoy your solipsism.

  97. 97
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    And the first goalpost shift is to an irrelevant attack ad hominem. Pathetic.

  98. 98
    Sikes Pico

    Xanthë, I know you’re used to making mistakes. Afterall, you’re an atheist. If you wanna believe you are a descendant of the apes, you wont get any argument from me.

  99. 99
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Sikes–

    No one believes that humans are descended from apes. We had a common ancestor. If you want to (ignorantly) critique it, at least get it right.

  100. 100
    Sikes Pico

    Cyranothe2nd, 70% of a Banana’s DNA is shared with humans so i think we evolved form Banana’s, not monkeys.

  101. 101
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sikes Pico:
    Your failure to answer any of the questions I asked is noted. I suppose you think people should just believe the truth of your words despite the lack of supporting evidence.

    Jesus wept, you’re too stupid to know what science is, but you think you can carry out a philosophical argument?

    • you’ve no clue what my level of intellect is, so it’s rather odd that you claim I’m stupid.

    • I thought science was an evidence based, systematic approach to acquiring and applying knowledge of the world around us. I’m no scientist, and I’ve never claimed to be, so if that definition is off the mark, I’m sure I’ll be corrected.

    • At no point was I attempting to engage in philosophical discussion with you. I’m merely asking you to provide evidence in support of your various assertions @84. Perhaps you’re unaccustomed to demands for proof to back up your opinions. Bless your heart.

    You’re a shallow bigot

    This would be *another* assertion (and a whopper of a false one at that) presented with no evidence. Please present proof that I’m a bigot of any sort. Feel free to search through the Pharyngula archives for evidence of such. My posting history largely began in 2010, so you have almost 4.5 years worth of material to pour through.

    As for being shallow…meh…I can cop to that. I’ve been shallow before and I’m sure I’ll be shallow at some point in the future. Doesn’t mean much though.

    using small words you don’t understand in an impotently one-size-fits-all manner, which is a symptom of Classical Narcissism.

    which small words are you referring to and why do you think I do not understand them? Be specific.

    Pity that having said issue makes you incapable of realizing that you need treatment.

    Back to projecting (with a side of Internet diagnosis) I see. It probably won’t surprise you to know that I don’t take much stock in your wholly unsupported opinion.

    Enjoy your solipsism.

    It’s rather funny that you used this term. When composing my comments, I typically make a conscious effort to *not* use words I do not understand. If I feel the need to use a particular term, chances are I’ll look up that word so that my usage is correct. In this case, I do not know what solipsism means, so I’m going to have to look it up. Wikipedia defines solipsism as:

    the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist

    Ok, I’m really confuzzled now. I have an understanding of what the word means, but for the life of me, I’ve no idea what gives you the impression that I hold that philosophical view. I’d ask for evidence-again-but you don’t seem keen on providing any.

  102. 102
    Sikes Pico

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! #101
    Feel free to look up the word “pseudointellectual”, then go check out a mirror, Projectums.
    From a starting point of absurdity, you’ve arrived at a destination of terminal intellectual suicide. It’s so satisfying to witness my opponent stumble home with his tail between his legs.
    The fact that you posted so hastily is evidence aplenty that A) you are ranting, much to my delight, and B) that my assessment of your shallow thinking was spot-on.
    Perhaps one day you and Paul Myers can include yourselves in an adult forum. Until then, enjoy your collection of new-aged fairy tales.

  103. 103
    ck

    Cyranothe2nd, there’s no such thing as a moderate ally wrote:

    No one believes that humans are descended from apes.

    Because we still are apes? Unless I’m mistaken, the classification of the great apes (hominidae) generally includes humans.

  104. 104
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sikes Pico:

    Feel free to look up the word “pseudointellectual”, then go check out a mirror, Projectums.

    Oh, I see. I’m an example of a classic narcissism because I made reference to psychological projection. Gotcha. You could have simply stated that, rather than being vague. Either way, you’re wrong.

    From a starting point of absurdity, you’ve arrived at a destination of terminal intellectual suicide.

    Is this supposed to make sense? What destination are you talking about? What are you basing this on? Why do you continue making baseless assertions?

    It’s so satisfying to witness my opponent stumble home with his tail between his legs.

    Sure thing dungnuggett.

    The fact that you posted so hastily is evidence aplenty that A) you are ranting, much to my delight, and B) that my assessment of your shallow thinking was spot-on.

    The speed with which I responded to you has no bearing on the quality of my thinking. I find it amusing that you think I’m ranting (I’m not), when the bulk of my responses to you center around trying to understand what the fuck you’re on about. If you’re going to accuse me of shallow thinking, you need to back that up. What have I said that is shallow, and why?

    Perhaps one day you and Paul Myers can include yourselves in an adult forum. Until then, enjoy your collection of new-aged fairy tales.

    New aged fairy tales? This is probably one more thing you won’t explain.

    Sigh. Your trolling is rather pathetic.

  105. 105
    ck

    @Sikes Pico,

    Assertions are not evidence, no matter how much you might wish that were the case.

  106. 106
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    100Cyranothe2nd, 70% of a Banana’s DNA is shared with humans so i think we evolved form Banana’s, not monkeys.

    Haha, you are beyond parody. Love your work.

  107. 107
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    ck–please don’t be a pendant. You know very well what Sikes meant.

  108. 108
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    enopoletus harding

    The Rhine was and is undeniably important in integrating Switzerland into the rest of the European economy[1]. What was the “underdeveloped part of the world” you were referring to?[2]

    [1] You mean we can in fact agree that it is NOT a question of marrying your first and second cousin for the last 1000 years but about socioeconomic development?
    [2] It means that right now many people are living in conditions not unlike those of Europeans in the 18th and 19th century. There’s no reason to believe that there is something in their genetic heritage that would prevent them from undergoing a similar socioeconomic development.

  109. 109
    timgueguen

    The name Sikes Pico made me think of Pikachu. Unfortunately for Pico Pikachu makes more sense than he does.

  110. 110
    David Marjanović

    No one believes that humans are descended from apes. We had a common ancestor. If you want to (ignorantly) critique it, at least get it right.

    Uh, no. All apes except the very first are descended from apes – and we are apes. What we’re not is descended from chimpanzees or gorillas or orang-utans or gibbons.

  111. 111
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Sikes Pico

    Feel free to look up the word “pseudointellectual”, then go check out a mirror, Projectums.

    taptaptapitty tap in teh googly:

    a general term of abuse for intellectuals one dislikes or disagrees with.

    Jaaa…ah , Okaaaaaay….er … Snookums…

  112. 112
    Enopoletus Harding

    @Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- #108
    [1]-I don’t see why “it” (whatever you were referring to) can’t be a question of both.
    [2]-I agree. If Botswana and Barbados can achieve an extended period of economic development despite their populations’ average below-world-average IQs, there’s no reason the Belgian Congo (in my opinion, the country with the greatest potential in the world) can’t do the same some decades into the future. Rwanda, assuming no further mass killings and further development in its educational and legal systems and infrastructure, may well lead the African continent in economic growth a decade or two from now.
    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy #88
    -Same to you.

    Also, the Preview feature still fails to display links in normal text. I might have to contact the technical department here.

  113. 113
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    theophontes:
    Do you think Sikes Pico will return and explain why xe believes the label pseudointellectual applies to me? I was thinking of holding my breath in anticipation…

  114. 114
    daniellavine

    ChasCPeterson@18:

    How is a speculative suspicion a valid criticism?

    I can’t help but wonder whether you willfully misunderstood that criticism or if you honestly missed it. Presumably because of some sort of ideological commitment because I know you’re not this stupid.

    If you really need to be spoon-fed on this:

    The “speculative suspicion” (redundant) was not, in itself, the criticism. The point of the “speculative suspicion” was to voice the criticism in an easily-understood form (and yes, it was easily understood, Chas). The criticism, as PZ made perfectly explicit, is that inevitably these sorts of hbd arguments conform to modern concepts of race as opposed to any of the thousands of “traditional” concepts of race.

    This is not a direct argument against the claims of hbd arguments but an attempt to synthesize a pattern observed about hbd arguments as a class. It is similar to characterizing, say, a religious argument as a form of “special pleading” rather than engaging directly with that religious argument.

    How is a generalized fictitious ‘example’ scenario, offered without a single actual example, a valid criticism?

    Now I don’t see how this one couldn’t be a willful misunderstanding because everything you need to understand it is right there in the quoted paragraph. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that the ideological commitment that prevented you from understanding the “speculative suspicion” somehow pushed your mind into a state that is not geared towards complex stuff like “reading words” and “understanding what they mean.”

    The paragraph in question characterized hbd/academic racist arguments as “overfitting” and then provided the “example scenario” to explain in what sense such narratives qualify as “overfitting.” You may note that the author of this quote said the following:

    Read an academic-racist blog, like Steve Sailer’s, and you will very quickly see that this kind of thinking is pervasive and rampant.

    That is, the author does not mind if you do not believe him. He invites you to go to Steve Sailer’s blog, read his material, and compare to the “example scenario” to see whether the author of the quote has correctly characterized the work of Steve Sailer and similar “scholars”.

    do tell, O Expert “mudpuddles”-on-the-internet.

    Relax, Chas. I don’t think mudpuddles is the guy who cut you off in traffic today (or whatever else it is that put a bug in your pants).

    I’m curious why you’re “defending” the hbd crowd’s conception of biodiversity here, though. You don’t make any direct argument for it but your…umm…unsolicited hostility towards mudpuddles saying the hbd crowd don’t know what they’re talking about suggests you think they do know what they’re talking about. (Of course, since you didn’t make a direct argument I could just say something like “How is a sarcastic swipe with no content an argument?”, right?)

    But there’s some pretty good reason to think the hbd crowd don’t have a clear idea of what biodiversity means. I mean, presumably they think it’s a good thing because it’s in their name, but then their actual arguments always seem to suggest that only rich white people should breed which, unless I am hugely mistaken, would actually undermine human biodiversity. So mudpuddles has kind of a good point after all, no?

    Your criticisms of the Pharyngula commentariat don’t seem quite as credible when you make such idiotic comments as #18.

  115. 115
    neuroguy

    Arguments against hbd pretty much boil down to the following:

    1) Race is a social construct.
    2) Intelligence tests are culturally biased, and besides there’s no one thing we can really univocally call “intelligence”, so we’re not sure what intelligence tests really measure anyway.
    3) Environment has a lot to do with what we refer to as “intelligence”.
    3) HBDers are the newest reincarnation of the scientific racists of old.

    These are all correct, although more shouldn’t be interpreted than is there. Race is a social construct because it is based on features we deem important; however, these features often can and do have strong genetic correlates. That intelligence tests are culturally biased doesn’t mean they are worthless when used in culturally homogenous populations. Intelligence must be defined in terms of performance on tests we deem “relevant”: the latent construct follows from the observed variables; it is not prior to them. Of course many things in the brain will be contributing to better or worse performance. But arguing that a “better” test or series of tests would be a “better” metric for intelligence is putting the cart before the horse, unless you’ve already defined intelligence as g. And yes there is certainly overwhelming evidence that environmental factors contribute in a large way to intelligence. One of the biggest we know of is lead exposure.

    Nevertheless the fact still remains there is overwhelming evidence that what we colloquially refer to as “intelligence” is, to a large extent, heritable (probably around 50% or so). This is not going to go away by wishing it so and we social justice types really need to come to grips with it and ask seriously whether it is in accordance with our principles that the more intelligent people should be achieving so much more financial (as well as other types of) success.

  116. 116
    JamesY2

    Hey, Sikes Pico, now that medic0506 seems to have wandered off, I don’t suppose you’d care to be our new “font of creationist idiocy”? At least there you’ll be closer to on-topic there.

  117. 117
    JamesY2

    Aargh, redundant “there”. That’s what I get for not proofreading.

  118. 118
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    JamesY2:
    Can we just have a completely new “font of creationist idiocy”.

  119. 119
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    JamesY2:
    I’ll borrow your extra word.
    There should be a “?” at the end of my 118 :)

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