Tell about yourself. While you’re at it, tell me what you find interesting in this blog. Suggestions, too – I’ll read ’em, although I make no promises.
I am a Geologist and Palaentologist. I find your views fascinating. The trouble is that I am also German. We had somebody in the past who come to early conclusions about ongoing evolution and tried to take this into his own hands.
Europe is wedged together by colliding Microcontinents. Spain run into France, Italy into Bavaria, everything in the Permian province of Russia. Then we merged and split twice with the Americas. That all is quite unique on a worldwide scale.
And we also seem to have the most astonishing mixing of roaming human groups going on. Can this be a coincidence? Or should one also look into the relation of Geology to all this? And I do not mean Geomorphology (Geography) and not Climate (or only the Geology driven aspect, like orogenic events blocking of air streams).
In particular Mr Wade forgets Geology. The sole reason that Great Britain was first in industrial revolution is rooted in Geology. They had iron and coal at the same spot. One shaft could dig out coal, the next one Iron. Germany was next in proximity (Ruhr valley to Salzgitter), Then comes France, then Italy… There you have your ranking. (I need to write to Mr Wade one time…)
Again, this is Geology and needs a place in the analyses of human evolution.
I’m a mathematician with extremely varied professional experience and particular expertise in logic, game theory, and statistics. I’m interested in several mysteries of genomics and anthropology. The one I’d most like you to address is what I call the haploid number puzzle–how did closely related species with differing numbers of chromosomes diverge? It’s hard to see how such a speciation could have happened without a much more severe genetic bottleneck than DNA sequencing indicates could have occurred.
Oops, my screen name got lost somehow before, I’m the mathematician whose post came out as from “anonymous”. I understand that Henry doesn’t have as much time to blog here as Greg, but I’d like to see him at least comment more!
The ancestral karyotype of the house mouse (Mus musculus) consists of 40 acrocentric chromosomes, but numerous races exist within the domesticus subspecies characterized by different metacentric chromosomes formed by the joining at the centromere of two acrocentrics. An exemplary case is present on the island of Madeira where six highly divergent chromosomal races have accumulated different combinations of 20 metacentrics in 500-1000 years.”
The tentacle monster from Minnesota wrote a bit about that. When he stays off the political stuff and sticks to the biology he can be quite readable. That was especially true in the early days, before he gathered his rabid cult followers.
I don’t think he ever discussed the surprising diversity that somehow manages to survive a chromosome number change, though.
Everything he said, I’d figured out for myself, but I haven’t seen a good explanation of how a small subpopulation with a different chromosome number 2N+/-2 that has reduced fertility when combining with the co-habitating main population with chromosome number 2N or the hybrid population with chromosome number 2N+/-1 can avoid extinction unless there happens to be a habitat separation which by chance creates a subgroup with a preponderance of the 2N+/-2 population. This seems extremely unlikely unless the genetic bottleneck involved is very narrow, even if you assume a promiscuous species and a lucky trait on the newly split/fused chromosome that allows members of the subpopulation to identify each other.
I read this blog because it’s an incredible source of insight porn – I’ve learned about things like the breeder’s equation, contagious tumors, gay germ theory, and more.
It also has a comment section of unusually high quality – probably due to a policy of banning polite but stupid people.
Suggestions, too – I’ll read ’em, although I make no promises.
An occasional link dump, so we can see what you’re reading.
More stories from Greg’s past, and Henry’s time in Africa.
An occasional “ask Greg/Henry questions” post. It would cut down on the number of people who barge into random posts asking “what do you think of X paper? / What do you think of X hypothesis? / Does my ass look fat in these jeans?” etc.
Well I’d certainly be interested in you guys developing that policy idea for child benefits payments being paid to dad’s. I mean that was one aspect of it at least – I’m sure there was more.
In general I suppose econ/pol implications from all this anthropology would be interesting – at least as speculations.
That said – be careful what you wish for – politicising this excellent blog/resource would perhaps be a place you don’t want to go to.
Either way, keep it up guys. Happy New Year!
Well, I’m a housewife with multiple kids and an educational background in STEM. I’ve been reading your blog for at least a couple of years, probably since Amazon recommended the 10,000 Year Explosion for me.
I appreciate the way you guys bring insights (and common sense) from multiple different disciplines/points of view. I always learn something new from your posts.
I don’t have any particular requests; just keep doing what you do. 🙂
I’m a web developer, and I’ve also been reading the blog since I read the 10,000 year explosion. Six kids and an interest in HBD and your thoughts on the matter. I’d second the recommendations above, but what I’ve actually enjoyed most is the more science-fictional speculations. That’s just fun.
Keep up the good work, and a happy new year to you both.
What a great idea for an end-of-year post.
Would it be out-of-place to just link my “About Me” page here? 🙂
I would say that this blog is THE primary HBD(-esque) blog. I wouldn’t say top of the list, only because it’s probably not where novices should start (The 10,000 Year Explosion is where they should), but I think this place should be thought of as “the final word” – or, more accurately, the reality check.
I don’t have any specific suggestions at the moment other than to keep on keepin’ on. Two important functions of this blog is to put the kibosh on popular nonsense and to explore mysteries in novel ways, and you’ve been doing that. Should something scream for debunking/investigation, I’ll be sure to make a note.
Don’t pay too much attention to readers. Write what you think.
The exception perhaps being when you insult and ban people, that’s great.
An exception being, please do continue to insult and ban those who post nonsense. Not only is it entertaining, but I feel that it is perhaps one of the most important ways in which you educate.
36, Dutch male, MBA.
HBD started to interest me when I worked as a demographer in a thinktank earlier in my life; all my colleagues seemed clueless about the implications. Their cluelessness made me search for like-minded people on the net.
I’d like this blog to stay as it is.
That said, I’m curious what intellectuals, country & political systems Cochran admires or who influenced his ideas.
STEM-inclined individual who took a wrong turn and ended up in the law, and in the government. (I know, I know).
I’d like to respectfully request a series of posts which could bring some clarity to the confusion which reigns in discussions of theories related to group selection.
It’s a meme in much of the Internet to call your enemies k selected or R selected, because one of those sounds freedomistic or whatever, it made more sense when I heard it from liberals but I hear it more often from conservatives like it’s some kind of secret knowledge the liberals wouldn’t dare talk about.
I’m guessing that Whites are supposed to have as many children as they can reasonably expect to be able to get in a position to reproduce, while Blacks are supposed to have as many children as possible, and political persuasion has nothing to do with basic reproductive strategy except to the extant that political persuasion is a direct result of reproductive strategy, since reproductive strategy is the most important thing.
(I’m also guessing that they gay germ theory is meaningless because gays, defined as broken men who wouldn’t have sex with a woman if she was available, do not exist, but, rather, all gays are bi, where bi means following a promiscuous reproductive strategy. Also I expect that most transgender men are like the transgender male salmon who want to sneak onto the egg pile when the normie male salmon are fighting each other. Reproductive strategy is üeber älles, and all this ideological individualism is just lies to get in womens’ pants and the government’s pocketbook, and yes, saying you’re bi does work to get in womens’ pants, I’ve done it)
I second this call for some clarification of “group selection”, in particular why if there is no “brotherhood of warm blood”, people are willing to sacrifice themselves for the tribe, nation or race? Is it simply a morbid “mind virus” like religion can be?
Religion isn’t a mind virus. Even Dawkins noted that that was a silly concept.
After a misspent youth, in which my personal addictions eventually and inevitably spilled over into genuine anti-social acts, I was exiled by the Time Lords to the section of history that we refer to in the year 3743 as “the punishment century.”
I would like to see daily posts!
Me: Ph.D. in sociology, work in a research institute (with no links to a university).
I read the blog for biologically-informed, unsentimental perspectives on social issues. And the swearing. As I have no background in the life sciences, some of the more technical stuff is above my head.
I second Handle’s request for something regarding group selection.
69 yo engineer. Started school with an interest in anthropology/ethology but let the need to make a living shift me to engineering (plus the fact that I really didn’t like the way the leftist/blank slaters were dominating anthro in the ’60s).
I like your insights into the finer details of science/life/history and the links, especially the links. I probably should have stuck it out in anthro/ethology. Engineering is mostly drudgery to me, but it’s a living.
61 year old dentist. After Sailer recommended the “10,000 year explosion”, I started reading for insight into the human condition regarding societal observations that I made and everyone knows but we are not allowed to acknowledge or speak about. Plus Greg C has titanium stones with some of his comments.
Hopefully you won’t be upset, but I was hoping you could dumb it down a bit.
36-year-old, work in finance in NYC, just married and looking to start a family. I took biology/chemistry in high school. I get the gist of what you’re saying most times, but a lot of stuff flies over my head. Maybe hotlink more of your sentences to papers and/or Wikipedia entries, where the unlearned could go learn more what you’re talking about? Or maybe use more analogies?
I really like how you deal with trolls, although maybe you could demean them via a new post on why they are completely wrong and not just shut them down in the comments section.
I also found your insights on aging really intriguing. Why no one is really dedicating resources to the problem but expending a huge amount on cancer or other medical research, when most chronic diseases are diseases of an aging body?
Rather than “dumbing it down” a list of good books for background reading would be serve the same purpose (on a separate page, not a blog post which will soon get lost).
I majored in Math/Physics but ignored biology altogether. (I didn’t like dissecting frogs). I’ve looked a few times for a good beginner’s book but there are so many!
» why do 24 year old women go on parades and people spend money for raising awareness of breath cancer, but no one really seems to do anything about the actual problems
remember when liberal academics in the ’20s said that the future will be a scientifically managed democracy in which from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs?
Igor Shafarevich couldn’t figure out why people ever thought that, but today’s cutting edge social science research, not conducted in the university of course, suggests that it’s mainly about social signaling.
Social signaling probably occurs among vampire bat colonies as well as in human cities, but we have large-scale civilizations in which resources are anonymously transferred through a number of third parties from the people who build to the people who bullshit.
As busy professional with small corporation to look over, I occasionally read blogs out of intellectual curiosity. Like some else suggested, blog about what you think important, not what reader think. As scientist, social validation or social approval is last thing you care. Evidences are the only things matter.
Your candor is refreshing. (A cliche, but true.)
Since you ask, I’m a 25-year-old (single, no kids) attending college with an English Lit major and a Comp Sci minor and working tech support in a call center. I read your blog because I think it’s important to stay up-to-date on the opinions of those with whom you disagree. To that end, I try to have five or six blogs I follow but disagree with, to get a more complete view of the range of opinions and arguments I might not get if I just stuck to what I like.
I majored in biology and taught middle and high school science for ten years, then went back to grad school and now evaluate education and early childhood programs, mostly for the feds (as you remarked a few weeks back, people like me are the problem.) I guess I’ve been looking for a bridge between biology and the social sciences for years now, as well as being personally interested in topics like ancient history and the development of language.
No suggestions. Keep it up.
I’m a laser physicist. I was in college when the controversy erupted over Arthur Jensen’s paper on intelligence; witnessed the vitriolic, unscientific response. Promptly forgot about it, only to see history rhyme when Herrnstein and Murray published The Bell Curve. Hmmm… maybe there’s something interesting here. But my gateway drug into human biodiversity was The 10,000 Year Explosion, from which came a flood of new ideas that contradicted what I had previously learned about human evolution. Next came The Blank Slate (Steven Pinker) – more insights that upended my beliefs! After that, JayMan’s blog, hbd chick, Henry Harpending’s lectures on YouTube, the paper on Ashkenazi intelligence.
No suggestions except to continue with the fearless truth-telling. Maybe someday it will sink into the brains of the politically correct. Otherwise, we’re doomed. We’re probably doomed anyway.
Hopefully we are just doomed to keep evolving. The current dysgenic trends will not survive the coming collision with reality. If we can just avoid an all-out nuclear exchange between major powers the future will be quite bright for those who make it through the bottleneck.
‘Dysgenic’ breeding is an example of evolution. As water seeks the lowest level, biological populations meet the minimum requirements for persistence of survival traits.
Dysgenic breeding can also occur when selection pressure is artificially and temporarily removed.
Quite right. But the ‘artifically’ is too limiting – any time a selection pressure is eased, populations tend to express the traits that pressure had been controlling. This can be ‘dysgenic’ in the long-term, and it’s still evolution.
Evolution itself does not give a shit about right or wrong. Only final judgment is survival. If you fit, you survive. If you don’t, you are doomed. In eyes of mother nature, we are no better than cockroach.
So don’t be so sentimental
For people want to learn about basic of evolution, this is a good introduction.
This is quite literally the most unintentionally funny thing I’ve seen in a while.
Sorry, Wrong link above.
The effect of empirical evidence may cause some of the more moderate people on the left to modify their beliefs but many of them will simply become more extreme and delusional. Many of them already make Mao Tse-tung look sensible.
I have a philosophy background and work in Software. If you took a few years of symbolic logic, programming, software design is quite easy to pick up.
My subscription to your blog started after reading your book. I have an interest in all things epistemological, blank-slatism has always been a pet-peeve of mine. Evo-psyh, Evo-Bio also interests me from a similar perspective how can we know certain things, how do we make claims we can prove.
I’ve kept reading your blog because you’ve had interesting insights on problems I’ve often thought about. Although I do think your gay germ theory is wrong.
There are many more gay men then woman. Thus is more likely the consequence of nature taking more risks with men, have more men at the tails of the distribution. Thus for a man having a feminine face like mine, or like Leonardo DiCapro is advantageous, but it’s a risky strategy, and if you go to far you end up on the tail, and gay. Since nature takes fewer chances with woman, their are less lesbians.
I am a retired systems analyst. I am interested in “inbreeding” (e.g., first cousin marriage) and how it causes one population’s behavior to differ from another.
Life is good, because I am not worn out and get to work when I feel like it. It seems obvious to me that we are fast heading to a singularity where we can fix stupid. Just last week this paper came out, http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.4205.html . This paper, if true, is what I am talking about. The scientists are going to crack the code, they are going to find out the gene networks that lead to high intelligence or are not optimal and make a human dead average.
God damn, we live in interesting times. All this stuff is breaking loose now. Cochran is a lot more than an entertaining writer, he is a cutting edge theorist, he reads the latest scientific papers and keeps us peons updated on the latest breakthroughs and new possibilities.
We are all hopelessly self centered, we look out from our eyes our whole life and rarely bother with caring about the big picture. It has only been half a billion years since evolution concocted a new sense. The eyeball made for a vastly different world, full of chasers and the chased, now the minds eye has evolved far enough so that we are just a generation or two away from manipulating human intelligence so that we can hand out mind glasses to the next generation.
And all this will make for grand entertainment. We will get to see the look on the dumbshits faces when they realize not only is evolution real, they are next. We will all be dead when this new technology transports us to a world where genius is average, but it is coming and it is coming fast. What we can do is enjoy the show and thank Mr Cochran for giving us front row seats.
Retired custom home builder, who always loved to read. Found Razib back in 2005 and have been an avid consumer of non fiction ever since. ADHD tendencies pushed me into physical labor, discovered that cutting the roofs of millions dollar houses satisfied my needy brain so I did that until the body said cut it out.
I’m an academic economist and the author of Singularity Rising. I would love to read more on your views concerning enhancing human intelligence. Do you think CRISPR will soon let someone create babies that grow up to be super-geniuses? What’s the time frame?
Time to shed the anonymity. I’m Ryan Baldini – male, 28, CA. Recently left the world of academia and evolutionary anthropology to make money in the general modeling/data scientist world.
I come here because Greg seems to be unusually smart and creative – good at connecting dots. Rather than trying to describe what content I like, I’ll link to one of my favorite past posts: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/brain-wave/
Still waiting on the Cochran Curriculum.
I’m 33, I live in nyc and I work in finance lite (Cush job with high pay and little real effort expected). Can we do more posts about theory? Like why is epicen epigenetics a logical problem? (Or is it a lack of evidence problem?) I’d like more systems biology theory, especially with topics involving statistical reasoning.
I studied cog sci in undergrad, I’m a South Indian Brahmin and I like to sing.
I’m a tutor for university level math, physics and electrical engineering. I’m a longtime lurker on this blog, and according to my dad, a distant relative of Dr. Harpending.
I enjoyed the10,000 year explosion and recommend it to everyone I can.
I can’t get enough of posts detailing ancient population movements, especially the PIE expansion, and also the sci-fi premises on what would happen if we made everybody more intelligent.
I have imagined an alien race with tens of millions of years of genetic engineering and selective breeding and some of the things I’ve read here made me realize that I drastically underestimated the things such a race could do.
Keep up the good work and happy New year!
If you like stuff on the Indo Europeans, try this long blog post out
Background in tech, originally math.
The posts on messy biological are the most enjoyable, e.g. Mycoplasma pulmonis.
Young structural/civil engineer from the southern part of Brazil here.
I’ve read the 10’000 year explosion after hearing about it in the daily shoah.
I strongly like debunking of biased “science”.
Philosopher by training and manage to make living doing it. Had to write a review of a book on race (had never thought much about it before and had the usual ‘skin deep’ view). In researching for the review I had my eyes opened at GNXP and have been a learning lurker since. Strangely, this opening also converted me to Bayesianism in both Stats and Phil of Science, both of which I’ve put to use in my day job. My Math training ended with second semester Calc so much of what happens here sends me scurrying to reference material; but I have learned so much. Thanks and keep up the good work.
c. 35 year old, engineering background with Phd who now works in investment banking in NYC (sold out for the money). Originally a Slav from Eastern Europe. I read this blog because much like iSteve I feel like you are focused on truth above all else and this is interesting to me. Double interesting because I view the hypocrisy of faux liberal ibankers who push all of the latest doublethink but when it comes to their own kids act like HBD was the gospel. Like many others here I am always keen to hear when you recommend a good book to read and have gone through many books on your past reading lists and enjoyed them.
25-year-old underemployed late-bloomer/autodidact, degree in physics, interested in psychology, cognition, computation, philosophy, anthropology, all sorts of stuff. I’ve been exposed to a lot of cool ideas on this blog, but mostly I just like being able to hear a smart old dude saying un-PC curmudgeonly things. It makes the current zeitgeist seem a little less overbearing.
I’m a software developer in my late twenties, in Chicago. I’ve been reading Cochran since the GNXP days. I don’t follow many blogs as closely as I used to, but this is one where pretty much any additional content is quite welcome.
I’m a 30 year old stock picker.
The main reason I read Greg is because he’s right about everything. I’m young and humble enough that I’ve got a list of a half dozen guys, a list which Greg tops, who I’m basically not willing to disagree with. If I can’t entirely follow the reasoning, I’m reminded of a lot of school/life advice that makes more sense at 30 than it did at 20. “I wish I knew then what I know now”, etc. I’ll cheat off Greg’s answers, where necessary (it’s a big world), until I can do the problem myself.
Another reason is the style of problem solving, i.e. that one about rail gauge, WW2, spherical cows, etc. And everything you’ve ever written on Iraq. Analytical style is such a tacit thing that it’s hard to describe exactly what it is – but I want to emulate it.
And of course the beautiful scorn.
It’s good to identify sources that are reliable, as well as those that aren’t. But you should never assume that everything one person says is correct. You should critically evaluate everything you read. Even when written by Greg. I think even Greg would agree with that.
I agree in principle but in practice people are way to willing to deviate from people (or institutions like stock/prediction markets) that have proven their accuracy.
When Greg (or someone like robin hanson or david friedman) makes a claim that surprises me, that I wouldn’t have agreed with before, I like to try the idea on for awhile, search for and notice relevant evidence, give it time. Often the thing becomes obvious in retrospect, working backwards from the answer to the evidence.
It’s much like taking asset price movements seriously when you’re trying to explain economic events, i.e. if Obamacare was gonna wreck the economy then why’d the stock market brush off the period where the odds of implementation changed so much?
I don’t want a worldview that conflicts frequently and in important ways w/ things that are smarter than me.
Greg, my favorite posts, the ones I’d like more of, are the ones about problem solving in general, i.e. the thick/thin talk, Wizard War, the stuff you’ve had to say about how just plain knowing lots of stuff is underrated; also intrigued by your recommendation of Polya’s book on problem solving, interested in your thoughts on that, etc.
69-year-old cranky cartoonist. Right-wing unlike most of my breed. Evolutionist in orientation since I read Ardrey back in high school. Keep doing what you’re doing. You clarify all kinds of things for me.
68 yo, swm; ba in physics/math, ph.d. in demography; work experience all over the map including survey research, software development, non-linear dynamic models, criminology, epidemiology, national security policy, et al. I enjoy the eclecticism and rigor of your analyses (a very rare combination) and its constructive iconoclasticism. I also enjoy your acerbic wit and unwillingness to suffer fools gladly, although I’ve been scorched by both on one or two occasions. I am grateful for the existence, thoughts and writings of you and your colleague. Please continue as you have. One minor wish is that you might promote material on your blog more often and more regularly; but not if this might somehow interfere with the uniformly high quality of what you’ve produced to date.
Just turned 27.
Way back in Summer 2005, I read about the authors’ article about the evolution of Ashkenazi intelligence. The article blew away everything I thought I knew. I’ve been into HBD ever since, though I’ve never told anyone who knows me in person about what I think about the matter.
It amazes me that anyone who lived in an area with a substantial number of Ashkenazi Jews wouldn’t notice their relatively high average intelligence without having it to be pointed out to him.
I’m a freelance front-end web developer. I used to post here under my real name, but I’m looking for work and can’t risk having my name pop up for thought crime.
When I was in college, I double-majored in physics & math, but I dropped out to join the priesthood. I finished all of my classes in seminary before being rejected for ordination. I was told that I was better suited for research.
I learned of you through Steve Sailer’s weblog. I read you because you seem to actually think things through and to know a thing or two about a thing or two (imagine that!).
Undergrad, majoring in computer science. I was unusually interested in politics, economics, and the like in high school and would spend my free time and class time(I had a smartphone, makes class a lot less boring) surfing the web and reading stuff. Eventually I found the alt-right/HBDsphere.
Professor of philosophy and economics with an interest in evolutionary biology and genetics. I found this blog after reading your book. I go here for an honest account of the genetic basis of human differences, scientifically informed speculation about the origins of interesting traits and behaviors, etc.
Lets see… Thanks to pissing away a perfectly good full scholarship in favor of a technical education .I had my reasons, no phD. Im a stylist in the Atl area. You may have seen me on Bravo networks, Tabitha’s Salon Takeover, but since i was trying not to be seen, as in (nothin to see here folks..Move along) I doubt i made an impression. I love Gerald Schroeder, and after reading some of his books, (the hidden face of god in particular) Ive been very interested in genetic mutation from a scientific point of view as well as a spirtiual one. Maybe God gave humans sickle cell to save them… Since its an ecosystem its not as easy as killing all the mosquitos?? Ive also been curious about the genes i carry. There’s alot of research on the horrific outcome of two copies but not much information otherwise. I cant wear contacts because I have enlarged foveas’ and cant see indoors with them on. I also have a very slight enzyme imbalance that would go unnoticed but made storing breastmilk for more than a few minutes a science project (it Involved heating it). Im facinated by the idea that since theres no fitness advantage to homosexuality youre probably on to something. Not very socially popular but maybe in a few years that and autism will probably be linked to gut bacteria either in utero or early infancy. Fecal transplant cures for everyone!! Ha!
54, nurse. I like the wide variety of topics, with angles I hadn’t considered before. I’d like to see more frequent posting. Keep the comment section well-moderated and ban trolls. Your comment section is one reason I read here.
Retired aerospace engineer, 67, outside LA. A bit more detail would be nice when you shoot down other theories/opinions–it may be obvious to you, but more information is better. When your posts are often brief, they don’t provide much education
38-year-old without a job agreeing with you. I was originally attracted to the blog by the willingness to call a spade a spade, but after the 50th “shooting down” you start to feel that the guy likes expressing disdain more than being correct.
60, physicist, curious about many things. I’ve found some things here I didn’t know I didn’t know, and therefore decline to make suggestions.
32 year old in NYC, social sciences and humanities (and left-wing) background, Came upon this, 10k, and related blogs a couple years ago, and a decade of blank slatism collapsed in short order, with Greg playing an outsize role in the corruption. I like the blog the way it is, just wish there was a bit more of it. I’m happy to donate come the next fundraiser (wasn’t previously in a position to help.) Happy New Year, good health, and thanks for doing what you do.
I am a software developer who despairs for his country.
When we know the N (Razib says 10) thousand SNPs for IQ differences how much will embryo selection between 6 or 12 (making up numbers) embryos with IVF boost average offspring IQ?
How hard is the problem of finding the N thousand IQ SNPs and other genetic variants? 5 years? 10 years? DNA sequencing costs have plummeted 4 orders of magnitude in less than 10 years.
Do you think large copy variation plays a substantial role in causing IQ differences?
Will the 3-D shape of chromosomes (and histones and other such) prevent CRISPR-Cas9 from being used to edit some sections of human chromosomes?
When a large fraction of the genetic variants for cognition and behavior become known will this shift the Overton Window on any policy issues? Which ones? On which policies will America remain as stupid as ever? Will government policies become even dumber on some issues once the truth is known at the genetic sequence level?
Do you expect genetic variants for cognition will be used for job screening in America? China? Other places?
Will the human race fork as a result of genetic engineering of offspring?
Jonathan Haidt has used the phrase “moralistic death spiral” on Twitter to refer to what is happening with political correctness in academia. Will progress in research on human nature eventually be entirely blocked by this problem in the United States?
61, taught high school math & science when I was a youngster. Got married and started a family, so needed a vocational upgrade and there was a perfectly good school of pharmacy right down the road. Now I’m in poison control, operating out of the ED of a state teaching hospital where I watch human evolution in action, for a living. Anyone doubting that our species is reeling under often overwhelming selective pressure (and doing so quite variously) should hang with me for a shift. Professional Southerner, Episcopalian, looking forward to dining on teal and venison my son shot this week. My wife is from Alabama, and went to Ann Arbor, so my life is going to get interesting in about two minutes.
I also look forward for any insight you might shed on the group-selection-as-an-emergent-property thing. Please keep up the fascinating work!
21, applied math major still in university. A few people have recommended more political content and tangents; I actually prefer the blog in its snarky, empirical, and largely apolitical (though still, I find, subtly rightwing) form.
I second the request for an occasional link dump, so that we can know what you’re reading.
Most of all, I enjoy your candor and your scorn for blank slaters and idiots anywhere and everywhere.
Government and organized warfare cause group selection.
Fair enough to say they select groups, but they can only select what is there, they cannot cause.
Language is a funny thing.
I’m a retired Managing Director of a resort/sailing complex. Social Science grad of a medium-sized Midwest U. Served as civilian in s providing counseling and commo svcs to troops of RVN in 101st Airborne. Traveled widely and captained yachts in Atlantic, Gulf, & West Indies. Write for American Thinker web site on occasion.
I have a great interest in human evolution/development and subsequent social, cultural, and political/exploratory activities.
Great insights gaind from reading this site.
Are there genes that increase iodine retention similar to C282Y allele increasing iron retention?
I am a retired San Francisco police officer (inspector) who spent over thirty years observing and trying to understand human behavior. I dismissed may of the things I learned in college, specifically the sociological/psychological explanations of human behavior and was drawn to the study of genetics as a possible answer. I picked up Steven Pinkers “The Blank Slate” about twelve years ago and that changed everything. Next, of course, I had to read Edward Wilson et.al. I now have a library of books on genetics, evolutionary psychology and HBD, which leads into the whole issue of determinism. I read “The 10,000 Year Explosion” and learned much and continue to read your blog. I’m currently reading about epigenetics and find the disease implications interesting, and I enjoy you views on this controversial subject.
Since you are interested in crime, are you aware of Beaver, et al.?
Thank you for the information. I’ve read about MAOA alleles and their connection to violent behavior before but have not read this specific study. Thanks.
There are a multitude of factors involved in crime and social disorder and I am particularly interested in the biological i.e. heritable factors in altruism, impulse control, mirror neurons, substance abuse, etc. Cops tend to be empiricists and certainly not shy to challenge liberal orthodoxy when it comes to crime and social disorder. Consequently, I abandoned the notion of the environment being the sole cause of crime and disorder a long time ago.
I’m interested in your thoughts about how widespread adaptive polymorphisms are, related to behavior–schizophrenia, bipolar, and autism. We need pessimists and risk-takers, and these conditions may be the extreme recessive-like manifestations.
Oh, and I’m a lawyer, but a lapsed anghropologist. The orthodoxy that rejects biological explanations is foolish.
I enjoy your work and your bluntness.
I am Ph.D. in Human Geography (not physical, human) with long standing interests in urbanization and migration, including migrant self-help societies and human capital. At the moment I don’t work in academia, which gives me more time to read blogs.
I probably found this blog from Steve Sailer’s work, or from someplace in the Steve-O-Sphere. I often suspect Sailer’s analysis suffers from an “omitted variables problem,” but no matter. As Linus Pauling said, “The way to have lots of good ideas is to have lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” Some people are best suited for careful empirical research, while others debunk or generate hypotheses. Bruce Charlton made a similar point: it is valuable to propose ideas, and our current society seems squeamish about doing so outside a certain (narrow?) range of beliefs. Mostly we are encouraged to be “Blank Slatists,” as Steven Pinker would put it.
Your blog posts are provocative whether I agree with them or not–and much of the value of your blog comes from the comments. Imagine my surprise when I learned that a co-author of this blog is listed in “The Extremest Files” compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center! I wonder–what does it take to get included in the “Extremist FIles”? Deleted from the list? Investigated but cleared of “extremist” tendencies?
Your book Ten thousand year explosion I have browsed but not read with intense focus. I hope to get back to it this year and give it a more thorough reading. So many books, so little time.
78-year-old woman here with two middle-aged sons, two teen-aged grandchildren, and an 81-year-old husband who is my life’s joy. I studied history and joined the foreign service in my early twenties. I spent many years employed by a well-known U.S. private foundation, working as a grant administrator in the fields of international public health, demographic social science research, and contraceptive development. My life’s work has centered on being a good wife and mother, not my official job. The older I get, the more I realize that this was, for me, a wise decision.
I found this blog from 2blowhards.com. Working in the government taught me that the larger the agency the less efficient the results, and surviving in the politically correct world of a private foundation where “diversity” is lauded except in crucial areas, such as political opinion, have given me a true appreciation for blogs such as this one which give even an ordinary housewife the opportunity to learn from intelligent people with wide-ranging and spanking new ideas and opinions. Many thanks for your blog, and for all your outstanding commenters.
I’m not a scientist at all, I am a middle aged guy in the corporate world (small time analyst). I just love reading about cutting edge ideas and original insights.
This blog provides that for free along with intelligent commentary from readers.
I like anything that has the potential to overthrow stale, established orthodoxy.
23 year old ethnic Chinese residing in Britain (second generation immigrant); currently in my first year of medical school (though I have a Chemical Engineering BEng too).
I attended a comprehensive ‘inner London’ high-school where non-Whites (mostly Muslim) made up ~ 60% of the pupils so I was an intuitive HBDer from the start. And then, when I was about 17, I discovered the whole HBD world on the internet and eventually came to read the 10,000 year explosion – and I’ve read my share of non-PC books by now (e.g. Lynn, Rushton etc) but still your book remains one of my favorites in the genre.
Adding to James Miller and Randall Parker in requesting your commentary on the feasibility of IQ enhancing reproductive technologies (which, in my humble opinion, is likely the only way to reverse the global dysgenic trends conduced by the demographic transition). And finally, adding my thanks to many others here for doing what you guys do!
Head of Strategy for a medium-sized international oil company, 45 years old. Came here by way of iSteve. I read your blog because I find your insights fascinating, and because you ignore the usual taboos.
27-year-old computer science student from Germany who minored in biology, trying to make sense of the world a little more. This blog and its comments are insightful to me in terms of questioning and assessing personal notions (moral, scientific, political) as well as learning more about statistics, biology and scientific conduct. At times it’s a little hard to pick up on the implied messages in posts, but I appreciate the challenge and reading the comments usually allows me to get an idea of what you’re trying to get at.
I am a semi-literate 66 year old Scotch-Irish redneck. I spent most of my life suffering from the Blank Slate/Noble Savage syndrome while having a wonderful life with wife, kids and grandkids. From an early age I have kept an eye on politics. It is impossible for me to have accumulated the hatred and contempt I have for politicians during one short lifetime; I had to have inherited some of it. I thought people smarter than me would be in leadership positions and would keep the venal and criminal under control and our country would muddle through. Ha!
I have two daily struggles: keep my anti-intellectualism under control and remember that the commie solution of killing everybody that gets in the way is not a good thing.
During the new year we need for you to consider offering some practical solutions to some of the problems that you are so good at identifying and explaining.
Just a software guy who has worked on a number of open source software projects.
My current interesting question is: Are males inherently more co-operative than females because of different behavioral selection pressures. Here I am thinking of male chimps co-operating to hunt monkeys etc.
A subsidiary question is: Did the change of meaning of baring one’s teeth occur before serious language development?
However, I would also be interest in why 10,000 seems to be a special number, as in, selection seems to find it difficult to reduce nasty things below about 1/10,000.
Some many readers also appreciate high quality of comments on this blog. Some even come here for the comments section. The high commentary quality thanks to moderation of the blog owner, Gregory Cochran .
He applies standard of scientific journal peer-review on comment section mostly. Many other bloggers were not able to do critical analysis on comments and could not differentiate critical opinions vs trolls. Some these bloggers moderation is close to coercion with personal insult. The problems of these bloggers mistake social approval (social validation) as proof of their own correctness . It is no difference from mafia boss who use shotgun to make everybody agree with him. However typical scientists only pay attention to whether objective evidence (like data, less degree anecdotes) agree with various hypothesis (idea, speculation etc.).
People intuitively believe anyone with different opinion as idiot who actually might be way above our own intelligence (dunning kruger effect). Like I said before, you need leap of intelligence or faith to avoid this kind of egocentric point of view (like geocentrism, ethnocentrism or racism, many similar ideas). Unfortunately it takes intelligence to avoid dunning kruger effect. Some people are hopelessly (actually happily) trapped in their self-centered universe. Stupidity is indeed a bliss.
Additional point is that some blogs lack adequate moderation. Such bloggs become troll-heaven which actually discourage reasonable readers to visit or comment. Most trolls have some psychological or psychiatric issue who can not participate normal human interactions. If you ever did a medical residency in psychiatric ward, you know how hopeless these patients are to be reasoned with. Only option is to avoid them if possible.
At other level, people understand others with similar mental ability. It is no surprise that most intellectuals befriend with other intellectuals beside social connection. If one is appreciated mostly by underclass, one is more likely one of them (politicians are exception because they are basically salesmen who will say any things to get social approval).
I have noticed that the comment section has become self policing. Before Cochran can tell someone that they are wrong other commentators do it. There isn’t a shrill rudeness that you find on other blogs just a factual correction. When someone is stubborn and verbose about their misguided opinions then it gets funny because Cochran really lets them have it.
Lawyer and consigliere to a couple of (non-tech) Indian-American entrepreneurs in the SF Bay Area. I remember the protests against Vince Sarich when I was a student at Berkeley sparking my curiosity about HBD way back then. With no genetics/biology background, the fun part for me is treating posts and comments here as puzzles: I have to go learn new stuff to be able to comprehend them. My only request would be “don’t dumb it down,” but I can’t imagine any chance of that happening anyway.
Early-fifties engineer (specializing in physical modeling and feedback control), in coastal SoCal. Having children jump-started an interest in genetics and how the brain works, which led me to Dawkins (The Selfish Gene and more recently, The Ancestor’s Tale) and Pinker (The Blank Slate is brilliant, and I also love his language books), HBD, and eventually this blog. Specific topics of interest are the genetics of behavior, human population origins, and human intelligence. I like the willingness of this blog to explore knowledge fearlessly, without concern to where it leads – the antithesis of odious political correctness.
26 year old, philosophy and history background. I’ve always been fascinated by the explanatory power of human evolution. Got here a couple years ago when I discovered Sailer. Although plenty of posts go over my head with my very small formal STEM education, I read them all (and at least imagine I learn something). Got a few posts in, then went and bought 10K Year Explosion the next day. So many things make much more sense after reading this blog (and related books, etc).
My suggestion: continue the “It must be said”/’hatefact’ series you suggested here: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/it-must-be-said/ As a member of the rising generations, I need more corrupting!
Physics undergrad at a mid-tier British university. I have an amateur interest in psychometrics and anthropology since reading books like The Bell Curve and The Blank Slate years ago. I’ve got little tolerance for muddled thinking and Greg’s posts are a breath of fresh air compared to the official PC crap you have to wade through in the human sciences.
Suggestion: more illuminating anecdotes, like those posts about Henry’s time in Africa.
I am a commercial photographer and I am interested in everything I can understand and everything else I would like to understand. My brain is always hungry . Thank you for keeping up this blog .
Where does the name Balkans come from?
Happy New Years to all
I’m an anthropologist at the University of Utah, with an office a few doors over from Henry Harpending’s. Here’s my blog, https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/ and my website, https://cargshome.wordpress.com
As for westhunt content: I vote for more of the same.
However, I’m also curious whether Greg has any particular thoughts about the Iran nuclear deal. It’s an important topic on which I don’t feel qualified to have an opinion.
Also, if it’s not too personal, I’m curious to hear more about Greg’s religious views. He’s a Christian, if I’m not mistaken, which is unusual, but not unheard of (Fisher, Dobzhansky, Price) among evolutionary types.
I’m 76, female (pretty clear “male” is the unmarked gender in this neighborhood), former journalist (mostly retired) and also former math professor (long, long ago). I have been reading Cochran, with delight, since the Ashkenazi paper, and I interviewed him for a column I wrote then.
I’d like to see him think seriously about why people are transgender, and not just dismiss them as deluded in some way. My son is married to a trans guy. They began exploring that idea about 10 years ago (they’ve been married 21 years) and, as he said, “it explained so much.” It’s like giving up on Ptolemaic epicycles in favor of Copernican (also Kepler and Newton) orbital mechanics. Everything is simpler that way.
This Christmas Day, there were six people at his house for dinner. Three, or maybe four, are trans (two in each direction). Three, or maybe four, are autistic (not the same three). And some other assorted brainweirds were represented as well. Clearly, there’s a lot of self-selection in such a gathering; but it seems obvious that there is something real out there that such people are recognizing. None of these people is a publicity hound (like Caitlyn Jenner, possibly, or Chelsea Manning); none of them is a sexual predator using a trans claim to gain sexual access to members of the opposite sex (which sex is opposite, anyway?).
Some people are born with their brains wired up in one of many possible non-standard ways; given how weird and complicated biology is, it doesn’t seem prudent to rule out “transgender” as one of the possible ways.
Spin some ideas about this for us, Greg.
Copernicus had epicycles as well. Plus worse predictions and/or required even more epicycles. It didn’t really become simple until Kepler and natural until Newton.
Yeah, I shoulda said that instead.
Yes, Kepler’s use of ellipses was a huge breakthrough. Hipparchus had tried eccentric circles and I vaguely recall reading somewhere that somebody had tried Cassini Ovals before Kepler. Kepler hit upon the right idea after trying virtually all the wrong ideas. After he had published his results Galileo rejected them because he considered elliptical orbits to be too complicated.
When Edmund Halley was visiting Newton one day he remarked to him on the question of whether an inverse square law would imply Kepler’s Laws. To Halley’s astonishment Newton replied that he had a proof of that. He told Halley that he would find the proof and show it to him. Later Newton told Halley that he had misplaced the proof. Newton had lost one of the very greatest scientific discoveries of all time!
At Halley’s urging Newton then wrote the Principia. When he sought to have the work printed the publishers told him they would only do it for a fee (no doubt a sound business decision). Newton wasn’t willing to part with any of his money to get the Principia published but fortunately Halley arranged to pay out of his own pocket for the publication.
Transsexuality is characterized by a conviction of having been born in the wrong body. The prevalence of transsexuality is 1:10,000 for male-to-female transsexuals and 1:30,000 for female-to-male transsexuals.
Seems to be much less prevalent than homosexuality.
I’m in my late 30s and am the mother of seven, whom I homeschool. My children range in age from 2-16; I’m married to a STEM guy though I personally only like the “S” in that acronym.
I have commented less and less over the last couple of years (in the Steveosphere), and now have stopped because I simply do not have the time or energy to think deeply at all about anything anymore. Cochran’s style works perfectly for me: just telling me what’s what 🙂
I read Cochran (and Agnostic) from time to time at GNXP, but it was “The New Germ Theory” that rocked my world. I love 10,000 Year, too. And don’t get me started on the series of posts on Paternal age and de novo mutations 🙂
Simply, I read Cochran because he’s the smartest and wisest person I’ve ever come across. What makes him special is that he is strong in all his senses; not only did his intuition not get short-changed by being strong mathematically, he’s richer in that area than most.
I only wish Cochran commented more.
If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, you can look for Greg’s comments in other places. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I am an engineer with a background in physics and mathematics. I almost had a career in warhead development for the company that used to be Hughes Missile Systems, but I ended up in medical devices instead. I recently made a move into pharma. When Greg talks about eebers and robbers, I definitely know what he means. Fortunately, I married a microbiologist, so someone can explain the o chem to me. I am also further proof that Greg pitched this blog too damn high, since I missed out on the National Merit Scholar love fest earlier.
I come here because I enjoy it. Greg has a somewhat similar background to me, so I understand the way he makes his points. Greg does his homework, and is very careful in the way he constructs an argument. On the other hand, I also appreciate a man who tells it like it is. There comes a point at which I just want it all laid out there. On the gripping hand, I also appreciate that Henry is here to occasionally rein Greg in. I need that myself from time to time. I also come here because this is where i learn something new. I like to find people who know things I do not, and read what they have written.
I’m a philosopher in the Bay Area. Working on what David Chalmers calls “psychophysical laws” (translation principles from physical systems to qualia). I enjoy the blog as-is; my favorites have been (1) infectious causation of disease stuff, (2) genetic load stuff, (3) your bio of Haldane.
48-year-old, male, published novelist (unsuccessful), financial journalist (reasonably successful). Former foreign correspondent. Was about to study physics at university until I won a scholarship meant to encourage science students which meant spending summer holidays in a physicist’s lab.So studied English Lit instead.
Interested in human evolution, and genetic links to behaviour and intelligence. Also read Razib, James Thompson, JayMan. Never comment, but you asked for this one.
Should have added: British, socially fairly conservative.
I’m a 20-something agricultural economics undergrad in Australia. No suggestions.
I’m 37, male, from the Midwest. I work in IT and I write novels in my free time, eventually hoping to go pro with that. Love your writing style and the way you smash harmful nonsense to smithereens. You are warriors for the truth in a time of lies.
With respect to suggestions, I’d love an occasional book review or recommendation. A while back you recommended Horse, Wheel, Language to me – about halfway through it now and I’m enjoying it.
The 10,000 Year Explosion was an incredible book. If you write another one I’ll preorder the hardcover.
PhD in social sciences (US university). Eastern European, former commie country. Spent years north (Nunavut) and south (like South Carolina). UK and Russia as well (I mean living, not traveling). Other countries too. Unsatisfied with the state of the social theories at first, came to the believe that they intend to create artificial stupidity and plant it at the end (either cthulhu or the aliens must have taken over in an all-out war that no one remembers or without anyone noticing – i mean, except Greg).
Came to the conclusion that no social theory can be satisfactory without taking into account biology. Came to an understanding that most sociologists and anthropologists of culture do not realise that in fact humans do have bodies – they did not know that. Never had heard of it. They were mysteriously lacking that awareness. Came across http://www.froes.dds.nl/ and learned more than in 5 years of graduate studies. Enjoyed 10 000 years of evolution more than anything I’ve ever red. Great fun, smart and entertaining, elegantly and easily broke the icebergs that had crowded the field up to the horisont at this time. A reader here once said that Greg have so much talent he could have been another Mark Twain if he wanted to (referring to his sharp style and affinity to sniff and expose the absurds). Compliments to Prof. Harpending as well. Happy New Year. Godspeed to both and keep writing. Wander who is Greg’s favorite sci fi author and what would be his take on doomsday argument, Nick Bostrom’s ideas and the AI singularity event. Are we living in a pivotal times?
Yes, the fundamental fact about humans is that they are biological organisms. They are not fallen angels, transcendental entities or exemplifiers of the Hegelian dialect. They are biological organisms (like wombats but not as cute).
As biological organisms humans are the result of an extremely complex evolutionary process that is totally meaningless.
Hey Jim. What I meant was that History of Sexuality by M. Foucault is a major part of the mandatory curriculum in most PhD programs in 1.Sociology; 2.Anthropology 3. History (perhaps other programs as well). In his book F. sincerely believes that he examines sex and human sexes; so do the course instructors. F. disproves about 20 different hypotheses about the nature of sex. You would think he’d reveal at the end the true nature of the subject. But there is nothing in the end. It’s null. He suggest that sex and sexualuity do not exist. Nor human sexes. There is nothing there, it does not really happen. Never. It is all social construct – no substance. So it is sort of disappointing ending, no secret is revealed because there is no secret . Of course, one would think that Foucault was probably influenced by his own homosexuality and has been working his way back to the human norm by stretching the norm long enough to accommodate his own sexuality. I guess he made it, there is global change in most social norms nowadays. And in the norms of social sciences as well. So, forget Hegel and the fallen angels. Forget Sociology and History as well. Imagine F. makes it to the curriculums in biology? Remember Solomon Asch experiments from the 70-es?(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA-gbpt7Ts8). Cochran and Harpending blog is a bit like an antidote. Or a refreshing drink.
Why are gaga guys like Foucault so popular among some academics?
I am a beekeeper and father of three youngsters with a long standing interest in botany, ornithology and taxonomy in general. Like many previous commenters, The 10,000 Year Explosion (will it become available on tape?) Sailer and Hjernevask really got the ball rolling for my interest in human differences. Sorry, but I offer no suggestions other than to say: keep up the good work and I hope your recovery from surgery is going well.
Retired from a largely academic career in good to excellent universities in three countries. PhD in mathematical modelling (before division of labour made modelling so easy that it unleashed all sorts of rubbish on the world). Country boy, and therefore instinctively dismiss the notion that inheritance doesn’t matter for any animal, including us: happy that the evidence backs my intuition. I like evidence, unlike many who make that claim.
Request: keep cantankerous and carry on.
Late 40s, northern european, former STEM lecturer but now a business man of sorts and contemplating retirement in a year or two. Currently member of an advisory board for an EU scientific funding program, which gives the occasional amusing view of the sausage factory. Increasingly conservative as the years roll on.
I found you through the general HBD complex, can’t remember how. While I’ve written a couple of comments here previously, I’ll keep this anonymous because that’s just how untrusting I am. Most of what is written here is worth reading and beyond my usual interests, so I have no complaints. Oh wait, I too think more anecdotes would be great.
I’m a Russian born mischling in my late twenties, I have a STEM background. The experience of living in New York compelled me to do an internet search for “race and IQ” a few years ago, which led me into the “Sailer-sphere”. You have a unique ability to concisely cut through the obfuscation and disinformation that are prevalent in politically sensitive areas of research. I have come to greatly respect your judgement and insight.
As far as I know, you are the only public thinker who has openly espoused the gay germ theory. The gay germ theory is the best explanation for human male exclusive homosexuality that I have encountered. This theory also has some disquieting implications, particularly in relation to the possible modes of transmission and certain behavioral pathologies. It has been my experience that otherwise conventionally minded people are generally quite open to the gay germ theory, far more so than they are to the topic of race and IQ. I would like there to be a published paper on the topic or at least a thorough blog post to which I can link interested parties. Entering “gay germ” into wikipedia currently redirects to a section of the “biology and sexual orientation” page that no longer exists https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gay_germ&redirect=no This theory needs more intellectual weight behind it before biologists can feel safe to pursue the topic.
Genetic data over the last few years has given us great insight into human ancestry, but the data has yet to be organized into a coherent picture of the human population movements before 10,000 BC. As I understand it, the modern humans that left Africa had a negroid phenotype. The caucasoid and mongoloid phenotypes seem to have emerged from a northern population within the last 40,000 years. As these northerners migrated south they pushed the older negroid phenotypes to the peripheries of Eurasia. This is according to my readings of anthropologist Peter Frost. I recall that you have written very evocatively about the migration of the Early Farmers into Europe and their interactions with the Western Hunter Gatherers, it would be great if you could use your knowledge of genetics to extend this sort of analysis further back in time, to put a face to some of the older and more obscure populations that have contributed to our ancestry. Human prehistory is a series of Conanesque sagas waiting to be told.
I would like to know about your thoughts on the life extension movement. Do you take any supplements or nootropics?
The migration of humans out of Africa goes back something like 100,000 years ago so I would be cautious about using terms like “negroid”, “caucasoid” etc. that to most people
primarily refer to present day phenotypes. For example present-day Sub-Saharan African populations could be very different from the first humans to reach the Eurasian continent.
“For example present-day Sub-Saharan African populations could be very different from the first humans to reach the Eurasian continent.”
There currently exist ancient human populations in Southeast Asia whose phenotypes would not look out of place in the Congo, this despite being no more closely related to Africans than to other Asians. This fact, along with some scattered anthropological evidence, strongly suggests that the “negroid” phenotype was basal in Eurasia. This is one of the issues that I would like for Greg to clarify.
I’m a 52-yr old PhD in Engineering; have been working in finance for the last twenty years. Married with one child, living in North Carolina…
I believe (together with professor Kevin Macdonald) that the Darwinian theory has been unjustly suppressed from social sciences, in particular from anthropology – that’s why I like your blog.
Early 20s biochemist. Really liked your posts on Ashkenazi intelligence and European prehistory. Still skeptical of “gay germ”. I think someone else suggested it, but it would be really nice if you kept a public reading list with brief reviews.
Bio: Small-fry academic social scientist. Cosmopolitan. Prefer my music psychedelic.
The most fascinating things I read here relate to ancient DNA–I like the speculations even more than the explanations.
As Nietzsche said, one finds truth by looking cynically… I appreciate the cynicism in this blog, and the intelligence–truth lives here, and that’s why I keep coming back. Plus, now and then, you make me laugh and laugh…
Almost all of the other blogs I read are on Unz.com. Comments are better here than at Unz (some great comments there, but also a lot of tiresome anti-semites).
Late twenties; teacher at a private school–I teach history and English. I think I got into your blog as a result of learning about Razib’s, in 2012 or thereabouts. I am quite satisfied with the content here; just wish posts came more often, and that we heard from Henry more.
I would like you to review Joe Henrich’s new book The Secret of Our Success and comment on how your views on gene-culture coevolution interact with his ideas. I thought the book was extremely well done but would like your input. More posts on culture in general would be good too.
Like some other readers, I would like more posts on group selection as well. I read some posts in this debate on Edge, but it seemed to resolve nothing. Why are scientists so unable to get to the bottom of this issue?
Evolutionary biologist in training, aka PhD student at the U. of Utah. My main interests at the moment are in how random processes of decay at the cellular timescale translate into decay throughout the body much later in life, or aging.
I read “The 10,000 Year Explosion” and met you once or twice when you were visiting Henry here in SLC. I enjoy reading your blog because it’s a breath of fresh air. You pull no punches. And that’s refreshing! I wish more scientists would follow your lead.
Not sure how my name got lopped-off above.
I suppose I ought to make a full confession. I am an actuary who will be retiring this year.
Age: 54, degree: Classics and Modern Languages, career: computing, politics: UKIP, background: white Englishman. I am not a scientist and I know nothing about genetics but something about historical linguistics. To me the main interest of the blog is the new light being shed on prehistory and I have been pleased to see so many results from linguistics corroborated by hard science. I can’t remember how I got here, probably Sailer or Derbyshire. It is also a pleasure to see left wing dogma about intelligence, sexuality and race being eroded by science. On no account dumb the blog down, I like being stretched.
I came here today because I read this article and wondered if you had addressed the topic. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/science/ants-can-change-their-roles-study-finds.html?_r=0
This is a fairly typical example of a trigger that might bring me here. Sometimes I come just to browse. I’m no specialist but I find evolution/biology interesting and I’m fairly certain the information presented to the general public on these topics is, for the most part, heavily filtered for political/ philosophical hygiene. Whereas, I believe you will approach such topics as a truth seeker.
I also put effort into following Razib Khan’s posts over at Unz but I find he has a narrower range of interests. Unsolicited recommendation: how about posting on the Unz site? I imagine they’d love to have you.
Unsolicited recommendation: how about posting on the Unz site? I imagine they’d love to have you.
27 year old daycare worker/preschool teacher (child wrangler), though I actually went to school to be a funeral director. I particularly enjoy anything about lost civilizations and history; besides that viruses/parasites/real causes of disease. I like reading your blog in general. I hear a lot of BS during the day about all kinds of things and being able to read a new post is light at the end of the tunnel.
25-year-old Australian male. I like reading about anecdotes from academia like your friend’s professor who was forced to whisper, group selection, homosexuality, violence, and Henry’s anthropology posts.
I’m a university professor of anthropology. My specialty is European and Near Eastern Paleolithic. My memory of how I found this blog is patchy, but I think it involved familiarity with Henry’s publications and your book (10,000 Year Explosion). I became a regular reader because I wanted to stay up to date with genetic research, and you are one of the few people who can speak about the big, sweeping issues without sounding like an ideological buffoon. That you are able to shine a light, in such a crushing fashion, on such ideological silliness in modern science and public opinion, keeps me coming back. I can’t get enough of your posts on prehistoric genetics, and I’m always happy to see more from Henry.
43, male, from Macon GA living in Hong Kong. Two outbred children. Math background working in finance.
I appreciate the brevity of your posts.
What did anthropologists think of Mao’s China at the time?
We were busy gushing over leftist tyrants elsewhere.
48 year old guy, Ph.D. in physical anth. Went to 1992 HBES as an undergraduate and never looked back. That, in spite of not understanding one damn word of Hamilton’s evening plenary! Tenured at a low end college for many years. Modest ev psych contributions.
I check in here every week or so and just read, smile, and lurk. I’ve read all the usual hbd and ev psych stuff, but often learn new things here. No grand suggestions, but would love more Henry stories. Recently saw picture of Henry next to Land Rover during an HBES session memorial to Irven Devore.
Agnostic, libertarian, mixed race family, open to hbd because it can’t not be so.
I am a 29 year old farmer in the mid-west. I’d be interested to know more about what your metaphysical perspective is. What are your thoughts on God and what do you see our meaning for being here is (if you believe in that sort of thing)?
I really enjoy this blog. Love the wit. Love the problem solving. I too would appreciate more book recommendations.
Thanks for teaching!
Business Analyst. 31 years. 3 kids. 2 degrees (Engineering & Economics). Russia.
Found you from a Russian history & politics forum, which referenced some obscure USA blog, which referenced this site. Liked it. Saved the link.
You’re making a great work. Please, continue with it.
76 yo retired engineer from the true north. Appreciate the direct and concise reasoning by the author and civility by the readers. Topic I would like to see raised: Human microbiome has become an important topic but the discussion seems elementary (superficial?) and (perhaps) driven by ideology. Are microorganisms not parasite by default? Is there competition for nutrients (energy)? If so, what are plausible energy partition limits?
I am a programmer, mid-30’s, currently residing in the US. Have a BA in physics and CS, from an American Uni. I got into your blog after reading the 10K Year Explosion (I think I read it after Razib’s recommendation), around 2011. Since then, I’ve been a regular.
I think pretty much all of your posts are interesting: terse and to the point. I wish Prof. Harpending participated more often, but I understand that there are factors beyond his control that impose negatively.
… Oh, and also, I have a nagging question: I understand that the Yamnaya is what is now recognized as official PIE people. However, I am a bit less clear on Funnelbeaker, the megalithic-burial people. It looks like, matrilineally, they are LBK-descended. However, I have not seen enough information on their genetic background.
We know that the LBK, culturally, were in decline by 4500 in Central Europe, at least a full millennium before the Yamnaya people’s arrival. What was the cause of LBK’s decline there? Who were the TRB people replacing them: farmer-admixed descendants of Ertebølle hunter-gatherers in the North or someone else, possibly from the East? If the former, what happened to the LBK, who had been successfully overcoming other hunter-gatherers, to cede to these arrivals? Internal cultural collapse? Ecology? Funnelbeaker/TRB were a somewhat more primitive culture, it looks like…
If you’re interested in a complete overview of the Indo-European issue, you may find this post illuminating.
Thanks for the good input. Many points in the essay align with all that I’ve read so far via westhunt, gnxp, and eurogenes. Albeit the 2nd part of the article concentrates on the eastern wing of the steppe expansion (which is less interesting to me), I broadly liked/agreed with most. The only dislike I have is for the brief epilogue, regarding worldview from “Afro-Asiatic milieu” (whom exactly: Amorites? Jews? Muslim Arabs?). I am of different opinion.
Anyway, my original question on Funnelbeaker vis-a-vis LBK circa 4500 BC still remains. Something happened in Central Europe, pre-3000 BC, pre-Yamnaya/Corded Ware.
63 y.o. semi-retired attorney. Interested in the social consequences of the findings of HBD.
readers (mostly) dumb. just look at individual page loads 😉
37 yr old solicitor, married and expecting our second daughter in a few months.
I think I first came across your work via Steve Hsu’s site, Sailer and GNXP (I would love to see ‘Godless Capitalist’ return to blogging). I own a copy of ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion’.
I would second the person above who was interested in more on life-extension and nootropics.
I’d be interested in your views on the work Davide Piffer is doing – he recently posted about the difficulty he had with a paper he submitted to ‘Intelligence’. http://openpsych.net/forum/showthread.php?tid=262&pid=3737#pid3737
Wishing you and Henry all the best for the year ahead.
Lifelong history/linguistics enthusiast. REH fan. I live at the edge of the Great Plains on the farm my ancestor homesteaded in 1869. Thought “Explosion” was great. Keep up the good work.
71 yr old retired dentist. Interested in HBD; role of infection in chronic disease; many topics you cover. Live in Maine…
newish reader. I was wondering to myself one day if humans were something like dog breeds. I did a google search, found your book, and here I am. So, I am playing catch up on all things genetic and HBD, and find the evidence interesting, fairly compelling, and enjoy the speculation on things in general.
The last couple of days I’ve been reading some old interviews with you regarding the Middle East (mainly Iraq), and wondered if your views on the Islamic world, terrorism, etc. have changed in the past 10 years?
It’s interesting, for example, that Jayman’s first comment to your last post about numeracy was the exact opposite of my assumptions about the implications of numeracy as it regards jihadis. I note that you make the same argument in these interviews way back when: numeracy tells us that Islamic terrorism is of little consequence. Do you think the same today?
In any case, I really appreciate all of your work and wish you the good health to keep it up.
I’m a gay gypsy masochist with a mean streak, which is why I visit WestHunter regularly. I like the blog because it’s an adult voice in an adolescent world.
What I’d like to see here:
• A solution to the hard problem of consciousness — can’t think why this hasn’t already been posted.
• Posts about the evolution of language and literacy.
• GC’s views on Kevin MacDonald.
Married, mother of 8. STEM background (math & vs, did research published on genetic algorithms,.)
I teach remedial classes, now. It is depressing.
I am very interested in improving human intelligence. A world full of people with double digit IQ cannot support the Western Civilization that I so love. Also, if anything can be done to decrease various inherited social pathologies.
I found you from some commenter on ‘ no ma’am’ blog.
“double digit IQ cannot support the Western Civilization that I so love”
They were indispensable to the creation of Western Civ, they just had better triple digit IQ leadership than what we have now. We peons are good at what we do; it is the failure of the upper classes that bring ruin and destruction.
40 years old, Ph.D. microbiologist who works in industry. I think I found this blog through Steve Sailer, read 10,00 Year Explosion, general interest in human biodiversity.
I especially like the infectious diseases posts but all content is interesting and refreshingly blunt. Would like to see more posts if possible. Thanks!
I’m a lay person. I have a non-STEM degree from an adult education “university”. After a self-imposed Christianity trip of about 15 years I’m back to reason with a passion. While my dad believed we were just carriers for our DNA, he could never see the genetic diversity in humans that I believed was very obvious. I was curious, so I googled human diversity and found your book, 10,000 Year Explosion and I was off to the races. I found Dr. Cochran’s recommendation for The Horse, the Wheel, and Language in this blog and read it.
This blog is interesting to me because since coming back to reason my interests in science are varied, from early human history to quantum physics, to cosmology and this blog talks about all that and more! I don’t have any suggestions, I’d rather continue looking to this blog for ideas to help me continue learning. Thanks for the information!
Mother of small children, housewife, humanities background. Interested in infectious diseases, human health, human intelligence. Would be especially interested to read anything you think noteworthy about MTHFR polymorphisms or congenital CMV disease.
I”m 54 with an MS in Geology (Google “Goldstein Peak zircons”. I have taught HS Science and Engineering for 32 years. I found this site through the zman blog about 2 years ago, and love it. Haven’t read the 10,000 Year Explosion book yet, but it’s now on the queue. I recently came upon something that implied that the Navajo and Apache arrived in the Four Corners about the same time that the Puebloans disappeared, and not a coincidence. Anyone have anything on the Athabascans (with a truly Mongolian ancestry) ‘upending’ the Puebloans? Other than that topic, I’ve been really interested in this whole HBD subject, and look forward to more. Good stuff, Greg.
The Southern Athabaskans are mostly relatively recent arrivals in the American Southwest probably in the last 1000 years or so. They probably came across the Great Plains since their languages are more similar to languages like Chipewayan, Sarcee, Beaver spoken in Canada than they are to West Coast Athabaskan languages. The Toboso, Jumano and related people who lived in the Conchos River Valley are thought by some to have been Athabaskan but they became extinct in the 18th century and little information is available about their language. They were sedentary and the Spainish never called them “Apacheria”. It they are actually Athabaskan they may have come from an earlier migration.
The abandonment of Mesa Verde and other Northern Pueblos probably had more to do with pressure from Ute raiders rather than Athabaskan. The Hopi are descendents of Ute raiders. However climatic factors may perhaps have been more important.
The Jicarilla were first repotrted by Coronado in the Llano Estacado. The Southern Athabaskans were driven to the South and West by the Comanches who were a Shoshoni band who entered the Llano Estacado about 1700.
The relations between Southern Athabaskans and the various Pueblo people varied. There was trade as well as raiding. The Southern Athabaskans were part of the conspiracy that lead to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
I’m a poor fool who is doing his best to discard his foolishness. In particular, no longer writing a bunch of things that were wrecking up my life as “personality” and instead nuking them out of my skull with medication.
Anyway for a suggestion, how about a post on a basic reading list for the various subjects the blog touches on? The things that can get you an understanding of the fundamentals if you don’t go squirrely with the implications.
Suggestions seem to come up piecemeal in the comments but a master list would be useful even if it’s not comprehensive.
24 year old with an English BA, going back for Psychology. Intense meditation practitioner as of 2015. Reach high level of attainment and help other beings is the plan, Psychology as one of the levers.
I can tell you are much more intelligent than me. I’m submerged in PC balderdash in most of my courses, and there’s much more to go. Reading this blog is refreshing. I look forward to getting good at statistics so I can sit at the big boy table.
I disagree with a lot of what you have to say, and this is why I keep reading this blog. While I think you are prone to abusing facts to support your preconceived notions, the reported facts are informative and hard to find summarized elsewhere.
Certainly this blog is the best newsfeed I’ve ever seen for the news regarding research into the genetic history of humans.
Be more professional: proofread to correct typos, link to the sources and articles you post about, explain things instead of just assuming everyone knows what you’re talking about, don’t be so condescending, set your display name to your full name instead of your ‘gcochran9’ handle (oh, and stop linking it to your damn test blog).
Write more posts about homosexuality/transsexuality, feminism/gender and population genetics, especially reviewing/debunking the latest research.
I am a software engineer in my 2010s, who got into HBD via Moldbug.
My request is the second part of https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/when-public-policy-meets-elementary-biology/ and an explanation of your proposal “welfare payments are to be given only to males.”
“I am a software engineer in my 2010s, who got into HBD via Moldbug.”
Would it bother you much if I didn’t take your word for it?
I meant to leave a comment when this was posted, but then got drunk and forgot. I swore I’d never leave comments on here while drunk again.
I’m an MSc-level private sector economist. Basically I code econometric things in R and Stata, undergrad in statistics so I’m quite familiar with some of the statistical techniques used in population genetics, particularly the PCA plots. Economics is badly hobbled by its refusal to accept the theory of evolution as it pertains to human beings, so I’ve soured on the field to a large extent as it’s become a well-funded wanking session. I believe I found this blog from Steve Sailer pushing the 10k Year Explosion a few years back.
I’d be keen to hear more about the outlook for practical applications of embryo selection, particularly as it pertains to catching dangerous rare variants and predicting IQ.
I’m a software developer with a biomedical engineering degree and an interest in human genetics.
My absolute favorite post on this site has been “Get Smart” where you discuss the more practical options for improving human genetics. I’d like to hear more detail on those subjects. Specifically more about the possibility of “spell checking” the genome. Is anyone working on that?
I’d also like to see coverage from Cochran about the big biotech industry developments. What is Editas Medicine doing, etc.
Attorney, interested in causes of individual and group differences. Also, would be interested to know, as a physicist, whether you had any views on the ‘truther’s’ claims about the collapse of the Twin Towers & WTC 7 building.
“truthers” – full of it.
Not being a truther, I still find confusing the manner in which building 7 fell. Do you think that skyscrapers are flawed in some way?
WTC 7 had ~40,000 gallons of diesel fuel in tanks built into its basement, connected by a system of pressurized pipes to generators on its fifth floor. It had multiple multi-floor sized gashes torn out by falling debris, at least one of which can be seen in photographs to be approximately in the area where the fuel lines were. When the rubble was excavated no fuel was found left in the tanks, in the pipes, or in the soil around them. It was all just gone.
So it seems likely that the damage that WTC1 inflicted on WTC 7 as it collapsed was severe enough to both breech the fuel lines and render the leak detection system inoperable. With the pressure in the lines dropping and no alert from the leak detection system, the pumps in the basement kicked on and start pumping fuel. Without anyone there to turn the system off the pumps emptied the entire load of fuel onto whichever floor(s) the leak(s) were on, feeding the massive fires which then went entirely unopposed.
Add to this the 20 odd electrical transformers quite capable of exploding under stressful conditions like being left in a huge fire for hours on end and all the other structural damage falling debris caused besides breaching the emergency power system’s fuel lines. I hope that dispels some confusion.
It doesn’t, since tbe NIST report refutes the notion that the diesel system had anything to do with the collapse.
“Do you think that skyscrapers are flawed in some way?”
Some designs were more precise and interconnected so that failure of one component could compromise an entire structural system. Older buildings were more robust because they were designed on rougher approximations with larger safety factors. After the failure of the front portion of the Murrah Building exposed this flaw this became something of a topic in design and changes were made, but many buildings exist that would not be built today because of the lack of redundancy.
But didn’t the NIST report leave unanswered the question of where the 40,000 gallons of fuel actually went??
My background is math, physical sciences, economics and practicing business law….I am most fascinated by your “big picture” posts, like the one on canalization yesterday, but I find almost everything you write about interesting…
I was once a welder and have worked at a number of other trades. I have been robbed by affirmative action more than once. I hate White multi-cults. I like to read, and I read your book, The 10,000 Year Explosion. I was once a schoolteacher, the best job ever. I was a good fit for the students, but not, apparently, for the administrators. I like woodworking, dogs, motorcycles, and I don’t understand most of your posts, but I check in to learn what I can.
College dropout retiree stuff to learn nothing to add. The peopling(s) of the world are of long abiding interest. Read 10,000yr from sailers blog and have followed along. No comment lest blog proprietor cuff ears yikes.
I’m a 35 year old medical doctor (it’s a living!) on the GP career path, close to the border with Northern Ireland. My first degree was in CS, linguistics and French. I worked in software for six years before starting medicine. I’ve a persisting strong interest in foreign languages and linguistics, together with anthropology and history as a natural consequence. I share dearieme’s country background and anything too tabula rasa bumps uncomfortably against my observations of reality.
I find pretty much everything interesting in this blog. Going heavier on the statistics would be helpful to me, I don’t get that side of my thinking exercised as much as I should, but I appreciate it might turn others off. I know the history of World War II well, and little to nothing about the US civil war, so examples from the latter are likely to be more educational.
35 year old software developer. I visit the site because I am interested in anthropology. As a hobby I make interactive historical atlas websites. My latest one is an interactive atlas of human evolution: AtlasoftheHumanJourney.com.
I’d like to see more data analysis rather than just musings.
I’m a biomechanical custodial engineer. (Yes, I clean fecal matter.)
I have an HBD slash political blog at http://strongestevidence.blogspot.com/
A subject that I would like to see explored is the “Flynn effect”.
As far as I can see, the observed effect is real, and the evidence suggests that it is a robust, general effect. On the other hand, there aren’t any claimed general explanations for it.
Herrnstein and Murray, in “The Bell Curve” generally follow their data wherever it takes them, considering that observations indicate the true state of the world. But they only briefly discuss the Flynn effect and they dismiss it as some sort of measurement error, without giving any support or explanation for that decision.
The Flynn effect is what you would expect as a consequence of natural selection in societies where success is significantly correlated with IQ. And the observed differences in national IQ averages seem to be correlated with the length of time that their populations have had cultures that reward merchantile or bureaucratic success — China has the highest average and Congo has the lowest. And if those differences aren’t purely environmental, they must be due to natural selection.
The Flynn effect varies in strength between tests. This paper claims that the Flynn effect is stronger in tests that exhibit a larger learning effect, how much the score goes up on taking them a second time. I don’t remember exactly what conclusion they draw from this, but it suggests to me that the Flynn effect is superficial.
“The Flynn effect is what you would expect” – not from selection, it isn’t. insufficient time, and the selective pressure likely has the wrong sign.
Well, the sign of the selective pressure is hard to estimate. Yeah, it looks like the idiots are protected and have more children than they ought. OTOH, who are the real fathers? Women who aren’t tied to financial support from a husband must be much more willing to get pregnant by a high-status male who won’t marry them.
I’d love to see some real data as to who is actually having the children, but I’ve never seen any. Perhaps you have? I’ve mused that if we could get DNA sequences from everybody on the planet, we could reconstruct genealogies going back many generations.
About the only data point I know is that the term “man sharing” turns up in discussions of American blacks and marriage. That would suggest that the population of black fathers is biased toward the more successful black men. Certainly, if I wanted to devise a program to apply natural selection to a human population, affirmative action for the most successful males and jail for the least successful males would be one way to increase the variance in male success and increase the selective pressure on any heritable success factors.
I’ve heard it mentioned before, but I’ve never seen the slightest bit of evidence for the trend you’re suggesting. I doubt it like anything: not so much the possibility infidelity is higher in this population, but that it’s as high (and as directional) as would be necessary to have the kind of effect you’re suggesting.
Somebody who isn’t blinkered by the common prejudices needs to investigate this in some detail. It seems to be universal that people think that the average IQ of a population is fixed for all time. (E.g., as the basis of the liberal terror of the idea that average IQs differ between ethnic groups.) But there seems to be no evidence for this idea, and a considerable amount of evidence that it is false: Measured IQ averages are rising. The average IQs of different nations differs substantially. The IQ of American blacks seems to be considerably above that of West Africans, more than can be accounted for by European admixture — and certainly the West Africans didn’t pick their best and brightest sell into slavery. As one shrewd writer observed, “This notion that ongoing natural selection is not the default — that it only happens on national holidays or whatever — is fairly common among biologists.” It sure looks like natural selection on IQ happened, and is still happening.
Hi West! I have a “normal” job and no academic background (although I come from a family of high academic achievers), I find your blog absolutely fascinating, albeit sometimes a bit of a slog. I understand that your ideas will be automatically contested and that you have to incorporate academic thoroughness as a preemptive defensive precaution, buuuut! I’d love to see a more accessible iteration of your ideas; I suppose I’m looking for the Bill Bryson of anthropology. I wonder if you’d achieve a wider audience if you interspersed your more academic posts with more polemical and user friendly posts? Perhaps I’m just a bit thick?
Great blog anyway?
I am a retired school teacher who started out in the social sciences but later switched to maths. I enjoy your website principally because of its uncensored and always fascinating HBD content, and your refusal to be cowed by political correctness.
It still amazes me that mainstream thinking insists there is no HBD, particularly inside the skull. Mainstreamers seem to believe that tens of thousands of years of human evolution, in all sorts of different environments, has led to absolutely no average population differences in behavioural or other mental traits. If any of them read this blog it would be interesting to see their positive evidence for this politically comforting but highly unlikely hypothesis.
Keep up the good work guys.
16 year old male. Found the blog after reading 10kYE, particularly like Cochran’s writing style and how up-to-date the commentary is. Having been interested the HBD/genetic anthropology scene for a nice bit of time, this is probably my favorite blog there.
I am enjoying this blog and read your book twice — high praise from a non scientist.
I would be interested in your take on how the current changes in birth rates from various groups might affect the world going forward. Low birth rates among Europeans and elites.
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