Yet another interview up (on Blueprint)

Talking with James Miller about Blueprint, here.

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63 Responses to Yet another interview up (on Blueprint)

  1. josh says:

    Does divorce have any lasting impact on children? Or growing up fatherless?

    • gcochran9 says:

      In the old days, being fatherless greatly decreased the chance that you would live to grow up.

    • Thersites says:

      No idea what the social science literature say about growing up fatherless, nor how much of said literature can be really considered reliable, but longstanding folk wisdom and anecdotal observation return a resounding “Yes” on the negative effects of not having dad at home. It’s the sort of common-sense thing everybody’s grandmother knew growing up.

      That said, if I had to guess, the negative consequences probably peak in adolescence and diminish down to nothing in later adulthood- but there’s no shortage of things you can do to yourself between the ages of 15 and 25 to permanently mess up your life.

    • Maciano says:

      I liked this divorce essay by SA, he basicly argues that divorce makes teens lose time on school/study, while non-parent-divorce teens move on. This has later life effects.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      if genes which make divorce more likely are also responsible for other bad outcomes then yes.

      (so on average you may be better off marrying someone who’s parents had the opportunity to divorce but didn’t)

  2. Lior says:

    Hey Greg, you talk about how people in the US being veterans of past wars made them not want future wars.
    What do you think of the following statement in Steven pinker’s “The better angels of our nature” that wars follow a Poisson distribution and therefore:
    “The Poisson nature of war undermines historical narratives that see constellations in illusory clusters. It also confounds theories that see grand patterns, cycles, and dialectics in human history. A horrible conflict doesn’t make the world weary of war and give it a respite of peaceable exhaustion. Nor does a pair of belligerents cough on the planet and infect it with a contagious war disease. And a world at peace doesn’t build up a mounting desire for war, like an unignorable itch, that eventually must be discharged in a sudden violent spasm.”

    • gcochran9 says:

      Pinker is wrong: a good thumping war does shape peoples behavior for some time after. On average, not forever.

      • Lior says:

        Another point in pinker’s book that you disagreed with in the interview is whether people have become more averse to stuff like watching cats being tortured or violence in general.
        What do you think of evidence in favor of that view presented in his book such as juries being less likely to convict people who are facing the death penalty and criminal law in general becoming less harsh since 18th century England who had capital punishment for things like theft.
        I remember reading that since capital punshiment was only given above stealing a certain sum of money juries would often unreasonably estimate that the sum stolen was lower than the requirement.

        Somewhat related what do you think of stuff like the World value survey ( which shows that countries values changes over time as they get richer ,over time people say they care more about other’s welfare,self expression, democratic representation , stuff like that and care less about material things and security.

  3. DataExplorer says:

    There are many good reasons to move to a neighborhood with good public schools:

    -They correlate with low crime areas
    -Your kids are less likely to get bullied
    -Your kids are less likely to get involved with bad crowds (drugs, gangs, etc.)
    -Your kids will get better networking chances for their future
    -Your kids will have a higher quality dating pool
    -Often the better school neighborhoods are actually cheaper by square footage than inner city areas with lower performing schools.

  4. OriginalJ says:

    Off topic question for Greg Cochran: In essence, your hypothesis for high average Ashkenazi intelligence is that during 500 years of money-lending, coin-clipping, tax-farming, estate management, tavern proprietorship and, importantly, endogamy, intelligence was selected for among the Ashkenazi. The more intelligent made more money, more money allowed larger families.

    All human populations show some degree of xenophobia, so mental modules for xenophobia must exist as particular neuronal pathways. Therefore, in all populations genetic variation must exist among individuals for greater or lesser degrees of xenophobia. It is highly plausible, given the economic niches of the Ashkenazi, that greater xenophobia was also favored in that population. Intelligence would not have led to more children if an individual was genetically predisposed to be sympathetic to the counterparty of the host race. Better to hate members of the host race, smile at and joke with them, cheat the hell out of them, and then go knock-up the wife again.

    Other than a higher degree of genetically-based xenophobia, I can see no explanation for the long and unprovoked war by Ashkenazi against Caucasians in North America, particularly as it is carried out by non-religious Askenazi. Beyond my lack of evidence, what arguments can you make against my hypothesis?

    • Lior says:

      A gene for altruism can increase in frequency if the altruism it causes is directed toward individuals that are likely to share the same gene.
      Siblings and parents share 50% of their genes on average, 1st cousins 12.5%, 2nd Cousin 3.13%, and by the time you reach 3rd Cousin it’s 0.78%.
      So a gene for altruism toward 3rd Cousin has on average 99.2% of directing it’s altruism toward members of the specie that don’t share the same gene, Because of that there is no argument from inclusive fitness toward intra-racial cooperation because races are enormous families containing members who are too far removed from one another to make altruism ‘worthwhile’ from the point of view of the gene.

      So we would expect Jews to treat members of their ethnic group similarly to the way they treat everyone,How do they treat everyone?
      You claim that their optimal strategy is to defraud them and move on (like a one time prisoner dilemma), but since the majority of Jews were business owners and providers of financial services they had to have repeated interactions with their customers to stay in business and the optimal strategy in repeated prisoner dilemma is not defection but cooperation.
      Would you continually go to a business that deceive you and have the reputation of deceiving others?, would you respect contracts made with that business or would you go to the sympathetic authorities to dispute said contracts?

      If anything that would select for a lack of xenophobia which is much more consistent with the evidence, given that Jews that have ‘progressive’ views on race and immigration are not religiously devout members of their communities and tend to marry outside their ethnic group more often than their religious counterparts.That Ashkenazi Jews in the past have voluntarily desegregated their own schools ( and that Ashkenazi Jews in Israel are also significantly more left wing, progressive and pro immigration than other groups of Jews and non-Jews.

      • OriginalJ says:

        “specie” is a type of currency, not a taxonomic category; the word you’re looking for is “species.” I am interested in xenophobia, not intra-racial altruism. You’ve thrown up a red herring. Further, I am interested in Ashkenazi, not all Jews.

        I did not say that the Ashkenazi cheated and moved on. He cheated subtly and smoothed it over. He calculated carefully how far he could go with giving the counterparty the short end of the stick. You fail to recognize that the counterparties with whom most Ashkenazis dealt were people far less powerful than they, peasants and craftsmen. Tax-farming is the quintessential situation that calls for squeezing blood from a turnip. The Ashkenazi owner of the only tavern in the village had a monopoly on alcohol. Monopolies lead to exploitation of the buyers. Of course Ashkenazi who dealt with other merchants and the nobility eschewed blatant cheating, but they were the minority of the Ashkenazi population.

        Ashkenazi in North America and Europe express their xenophobia toward the native Caucasians exactly by being pro-immigration. Except in Israel, third world immigration is a weapon used to weaken the native population. You don’t understand the game being played.

        • Lior says:

          “I am interested in Ashkenazi, not all Jews.”
          I understood that and my previous was in reference to Ashkenazi Jews ,although you might notice that the term ‘Jews’ is shorter which is why in the following comment I use the term in the same manner.

          ” I am interested in xenophobia, not intra-racial altruism. You’ve thrown up a red herring.”
          Your claim is that Jews cooperate as a race to exploit other races (by using immigration) that is a form of intra-racial altruism that is unlikely to be selected for.
          The Individual who invest time and energy to promote policy x ‘for the good of the race’ gets no benfits from it that he could not get anyway by doing nothing and free riding on other people’s investment.
          Your statement on tax farming is wrong, the majority of Jews were small time business owners, anyhow government in the middle ages didn’t have massive bureaucracies that could employ the majority of jews.
          “The Ashkenazi owner of the only tavern in the village had a monopoly on alcohol”
          And so he defrauds his customers until he loses them all to another Jew who opens a tavern (in an area where they were hardly any barriers to entry to any profession) that does not dilute his alcohol hence selection for honesty.
          It’s also not a good idea to cheat people when you live in a small town where justice was enforced harshly and often personally (‘baker’s dozen’ is 13 in order to avoid punishment for even accidentally selling underweight bread)

          “Ashkenazi in North America and Europe express their xenophobia toward the native Caucasians exactly by being pro-immigration. Except in Israel”
          Ashkenazi Jews in Israel are the most pro-immigration, ethnic group in the country and around 2/3 of them vote consistently to left wing parties who are more pro-affirmative action (which exist in Israel) and pro-immigration.
          My previously mentioned facts that Ashkenazi Jews in the past have voluntarily desegregated their own schools and that the ‘not religiously devout members of their communities that tend to marry outside their ethnic group’ are more supportive of immigration are also inconsistent with the idea that they are not genuine believers of their ideology and only use it as a mean to advance in-group interest.

          • OriginalJ says:

            No my claim is that, given their means of making money, Ashkenazi in central Europe 500 years ago would have been more successful if they did not pity their counterparties, so that said counterparties could be exploited to the full degree that was compatible with continued, long-term exploitation. Such a situation selects, at the level of the individual Ashkenazi, for xenophobic tendencies.

            You have avoided addressing my claim, instead bringing in kin selection and altruism, which are not part of the process I believe would have been concomitant with selection for higher IQ in Ashkenazi.

            Your claim that economic conditions would not have allowed Ashkenazi to exploit, for example, Polish peasants is ridiculous.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “what arguments can you make against my hypothesis?”

      an alternative version might be

      1) money-lending selects for sociopathy and those individuals who aren’t suitable for that “boil off” and become tailors or butchers or whatever so you end up with a small group of sociopathic banker families surrounded by a larger group of non-sociopath tailors and butchers.

      2) the sociopthic banking families use their wealth to change the host environment to be as conducive to them as possible e.g. corrupt the political system, deregulate the banks, make the population dumber and more divided etc

    • Ursiform says:

      It was xenophobia on the part of Christians that created the environment that led to the evolution of the Ashkenazim. It’s not like a bunch of them sat around and decided that if they inbred enough they could take over banking. Sure, they were insular. But it was enormously magnified by Christian xenophobia.

      Until recent decades there was a great deal of prejudice against Jews in the US, even though they weren’t prevented from leading successful lives. You make it sound like were evil for trying to do the best they could in unfavorable circumstances.

      • josh says:

        Tax-farming and usury aren’t nice ways to make a living even if you aren’t allowed to be a peasant subsistence farmer.

      • et.cetera says:

        “Until recent decades there was a great deal of prejudice against Jews in the US, even though they weren’t prevented from leading successful lives.”

        What did that prejudice consist in then?

        • Ursiform says:

          Some people wouldn’t hire them, some people wouldn’t do business with them, some people wouldn’t sell houses to them or rent to them, many universities had quotas so not too many got in. But there were still sufficient opportunities that many got ahead, although they often had to be much better than the competition to get the opportunity.

    • Ryan Baldini says:

      Your argument boils down to this:
      “Intelligence would not have led to more children if an individual was genetically predisposed to be sympathetic to the counterparty of the host race”
      But I don’t think that follows. The right economic environment can select for increased intelligence, without any need for increased xenophobia. Sure, one needs to avoid giving all his money away to strangers, but then the race of the stranger is pretty much irrelevant as far as selection is concerned. And no one does that anyway, so no special circumstances are needed.
      Now there is a sense in which some xenophobia is useful here: to maintain endogamy. Hard to move the needle much with even a modest amount of genetic inflow.

  5. Greying Wanderer says:

    “In a preliminary conference report, the researchers suggested that the variants are associated with heterosexuals having more sexual partners than usual, and that heterosexual men with some of the variants are more attractive than those without. Those traits would give heterosexuals a greater chance to pass the variants on to offspring, keeping those DNA differences in the gene pool.”

    homosexuality as a side-effect of genes for promiscuity?

    (attractiveness as a function of promiscuity i.e. putting more effort into grooming?)

    • Jokah Macpherson says:

      Maybe if you’re the kind of person who just likes to fuck lots of people, you’re more susceptible to fucking people of the same sex if something else goes wrong, but unless the heterosexual persons with these variants are having two more children on average, it’s not due to selection.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        i was thinking promiscuity might involve some kind of manipulation of what a person finds attractive e.g. making a man more attracted to a wider range of body shapes e.g. flatter chest and narrower hips – which might be caused by some kind of bug? and maybe in some cases that manipulation might create a fixed attraction for only flatter chest and narrower hips.

        if correct then maybe there are genes which make a person more susceptible to that kind of manipulation e.g. maybe they have some genetic difference in their sense of smell – so not genes for promiscuity but genes which somehow magnify a promiscuity bug.

        “but unless the heterosexual persons with these variants are having two more children on average, it’s not due to selection.”

        yeah i’m still thinking it’s a bug but if it’s a bug there must be a mechanism so i’m thinking messing with what people find attractive is a possible mechanism – so genes that make that manipulation easier in some way might explain any genetic component.

        also even if it’s a bug you’d think it would spread better if it’s net effect was positive in the region where it evolved so if it’s a bug that induces promiscuity then it would likely come from a region where it did produce 2+ more children among the ones who weren’t turned exclusively homosexual?

        (basically i think Gibbon may have been right and empires and slavery import distant pathogens which cause “decadence” which if correct means China is about to be hit by a massive wave of paraphilia)


      • RCB says:

        Not sure where you’re coming up with that last figure, but I don’t believe that follows.

        Consider a model case where there are a few dozen genes that contribute to this supposed effect. Each gene contains at least two alleles, one of which makes you more attractive. For whatever reason though, if you have too many, such that your overall score is high, you’re more likely to be gay. The fitness function overlying this space is basically a slowly increasing slope (increasing attractiveness zone), eventually turning to a steep drop off at the high end (gay).
        The population will evolve to be centered somewhere along this function, with variation around the mean. If the population is very low, it will evolve upward, and vice versa. The equilibrium state may well be one where homosexuality is nontrivially common on the right tail of the population.
        Such a case would show fairly low heritability for homosexuality: you need a combination of many of these genes to be gay, but a model that considers even the additive effect of each would be pretty weak (which is what heritability is).

  6. Jokah Macpherson says:

    One possible counter-example to people exposed to war not being enthusiastic about them was the McKinley presidency. McKinley was a grunt in the Civil War and saw about as rough shit as anyone else but he managed to bring the US into a war of conquest against Spain. Just an exception to the rule?

    • gcochran9 says:

      It’s a rough rule. Hitler saw loads of combat in WWI and didn’t learn a thing.

      McKinley listened to bad guys like T.R.

      • JP Irwin says:

        He learned that bolt action rifles are the best. Which was why he held up the disastrous Stg44 project, greatly helping his cause.

      • Cantman says:

        It is probably just wrong. People evolved to fight and saw what it was “really” like in the ancestral environment all the time. It is only the recent-ish creation of nationstates that allows people to strongly separate violence they order or approve from violence they see. Why would people have an in-built aversion to violence as soon as they see it?

        • Pincher Martin says:

          “Why would people have an in-built aversion to violence as soon as they see it?”

          A young George Washington, as sane a great man as has ever existed and possessed with an utter lack of romance about warfare, once wrote about the “charming” sound of bullets that flew past him in the French and Indian War.

          • stopped doomsday clock says:

            Now, look at actual wars, for example Syria. Thousands are coming to Syria to join the war – and millions are running away from the war.

            • Pincher Martin says:

              You’re an idiot if you think colonial wars weren’t actual wars. King Phillip’s War, for example, was as bloody and devastating as any war fought in American history.

              As for refugees, they are an extravagance the modern world can afford. In pre-modern times, they either died in the war they were fleeing or they moved to find new enemies that were easier to conquer.

              • stopped doomsday clock says:

                If people “evolved to fight war”. why are there any refugees at all? Why are people running away from war, and not the other way?

              • If people “evolved to fight war”. why are there any refugees at all? Why are people running away from war, and not the other way?

                Because survival trumps everything, including an instinct for violence.

    • stopped doomsday clock says:

      “war of conquest against Spain”

      At the time, war against Spain was sold as “humanitarian intervention” to protect the people of Cuba. The more things change…

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      some people love war cos adrenaline

    • David says:

      I think a curse should rest on me — because I love this war. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment — and yet — I can’t help it — I enjoy every second of it.
      Winston Churchill, A letter to a friend (1916).

  7. Aidan Kehoe says:

    A pleasure to listen to. Can you remember the name of the Mexican university hospital or the director where the more ineffective chemotherapy regimen was used? Searching for it seems to be overshadowed by this case, which was a more barn-door issue of giving water instead of chemotherapy drugs.

  8. dearieme says:

    Almost the whole of a generation of French and British politicians was so put off war by WWI that Hitler was able to exploit their fears to launch WWII on terms favourable to him. Fortunately he was a strategic dolt. Or, perhaps, it might be better to say that his strategic purposes were so mad that they doomed his efforts.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      The reaction to World War One seemed to differ significantly from country to country. It certainly put many British and French politicians off of war as a general concept, but, aside from Hitler (winner of the Iron Cross) Hermann Goering, Rudolph Hess, Ernst Røhm, Admiral Canaris, “Sepp” Dietrich, Erwin Rommel, and lots of other German veterans of WWI did not seem to exactly turn into pacifists. It makes you wonder how much of the revulsion to the war was culturally mediated. Doubtlessly all of the above thought that the war was horrific, but it certainly did not seem to sour them on war in general.

      • albatross says:

        Yeah, the weird thing to me is that the guys who came out on the losing side of WW1 were the ones who had a taste for having another go 30 years later. This isn’t the way I would have expected things to work out.

        I mean, Japan’s change after WW2 is the way I would have expected things to go–you get into a war where you get resoundingly thumped, so you have a generation or two that has decided that getting into wars is a pretty bad idea. But Germany lost a war in a way that made a bunch of people in Germany want to go have another war against the same bunch of countries that had trounced them before.

        • ghazisiz says:

          I never fought much, but I do remember from middle school the feeling of completion and satisfaction at winning a fight, and the lingering feeling of resentment and anger when losing one. It’s always the losers who want another go.

          • Jim says:

            Not necessarily always and winners often become more aggressive. But France’s losses in WW I were horrific. The French had no appetite for another round.

        • JerryC says:

          That’s kinda the thing, the Germans didn’t feel like they were trounced in WWI. At least a lot of ’em didn’t. The Allies decided on their “unconditional surrender” war aim at Casablanca to make damn sure the Germans knew they had been trounced in WWII.

      • Jim says:

        France was a “winner” in WW I but comparing their situations before and after the war their gains such as Alsace-Lorraine came at an enormous cost.

  9. Citizen A says:

    Interesting how the host laughed nervously when Greg killed a few of his sacred cows.
    The libertarian movement is interesting to see how narcissistic behavior can find excuses and unscientific bias as well as any religion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Miller doesn’t seem like a dogmatic libertarian. A lot of people hang around the libertarian scene because they’re relatively less insane than the Leftists, cuckservatives, and white trashionalists.

  10. crew says:

    Meanwhile, more money is required, I am sure:

    Study documents paternal transmission of epigenetic memory via sperm

    While the study shows that epigenetic information transmitted by sperm is important for normal development, it does not directly address how the life experience of a father can affect the health of his descendants. Strome’s lab is investigating this question with experiments in which worms are treated with alcohol or starved before reproducing.

  11. NobodyExpectsThe... says:

    The helium thing really picked my interest.

    But what about starting testing with the easy stuff.

    They are even breathing through a mask already

    • NobodyExpectsThe... says:

    • caethan says:

      Cursory literature searches suggest that 8 hours of heliox costs around $80-200 or so. So a full working year of heliox — clock in, put on your respirator, clockout — is only $25K. Of course, the price would start going up once it gets widespread traction. Luckily, the US has the National Helium Reserve (still, though the feds have been trying to drop it for a while) so we’ll maintain a strategic advantage.

      • caethan says:

        The other way to go is just to look at altitude effects – 15% lower N2 partial pressure in Denver. Supplement folks with oxygen and see if they do better in Denver vs. LA.

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