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This week’s big story on the CultMarx front was the firing of Google employee James Damore. The firing offense was, he had written a document titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber and circulated it on Google’s internal network. The document was leaked to journalists, the nation’s CultMarxists threw a collective fit of hysteria, and Damore got... Read More
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John Derbyshire writes: I gave a half-hour PowerPoint presentation under this title to the AmRen Conference on July 29th 2017. Video of the event will be posted at the AmRen website some time soon. As a pre-Information Age relic, my default format is the essay. For events like this, I first write out an essay,... Read More
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What a technologically tremendous time we’ve been living through this past few decades! That thought was inspired by the death last week of Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation, and a key player in the computing revolution of the past half-century. I made my living for thirty years in Big Iron, the grand old... Read More
A few days ago I received an email from Mike Berman, a good friend and Dissident Right supporter. I reproduce it here with Mike’s permission. The precise statement of that is in Chapter 13 of The Bell Curve: “It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with... Read More
I'm a race realist. What does that mean? It means I don’t doubt that race is a real and important thing; more than that, it’sfundamental to biology. The foundational text of modern biology is Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, subtitle: “The Preservation of Favored Races in the... Read More
Bill Nye the Science Guy gave a commencement speech at Rutgers on Sunday. Reading the speech left me thinking that if this is America’s designated Science Guy, I can be the nation’s designated swimsuit model. Up to now I have had only the slightest, vaguest awareness of Bill Nye. Readers have occasionally pointed me to... Read More
Yesterday (i.e. Thursday) morning I was reading this article about a raft of new names hired to post at the New York Times blog. To my surprise, I saw the name Razib Khan among them. “Wow,” I thought, “Things are looking up.” I’ve known Razib for 15 years or so, since we both belonged to... Read More
While I was indisposed a couple of weeks ago the VDARE.com editorsposted a transcript of my talk to the Mencken Club last December. The topic was “The Left and Human Nature.” There is a great deal more to be said on that topic than my few impromptu remarks at Mencken. The best concentration of insights... Read More
[John Derbyshire is ill this week, which gives us an opportunity to post this talk, delivered to the H.L. Mencken Club Conference, November 1, 2014. The audio of the original is here—slight adaptations have been made for print purposes.] I was told that I was to be on a panel discussion, but I never quite... Read More
Reflections on medicine.
Reading the November issue of Literary Review (a British monthly, somewhat like the New York Review of Books but less claustrophobically liberal), the following thing caught my attention. It’s in Donald Rayfield’s review of Stalin, Vol. 1: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, by Stephen Kotkin: That brought to mind a remark I’ve seen attributed to Winston... Read More
Although they probably aren't worth it.
Some boffins at Harvard University claim to have transmitted information from one person’s mind to another by telepathy. Reading through the paper, I thought the content transmitted wasn’t very impressive—just the Spanish and Italian words for “hello”—but hey, baby steps. Is telepathy a thing we should hope for? I have mixed feelings, based on long... Read More
Future population trends.
A new study on world population trends came out last week from the University of Washington in Seattle. If you’re one of those people who worry about an overpopulated world, the news is bad: total human population, currently a tad over seven billion, will likely be eleven billion by the end of the century and... Read More
The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language, John H. McWhorter
Chinese has an extraordinary number of verbs meaning “carry.” If I carry something on a hanging arm, like a briefcase, the verb is ti; on an outstretched palm, tuo; using both palms, peng; gripped between upper arm and body, xie; in my hand, like a stick,wo; embraced, like a baby, bao; on my back, bei;... Read More
The title I wanted for my 2009 call to pessimism was We Are Doomed, Doomed. The publisher thought that was too dark, though, so I settled at last for just one “Doomed.” A good thing, perhaps, as the original title is now available to authors reaching for a deeper level of despair. David Archibald might... Read More
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Does the relatively muted reaction to Nicholas Wade’s recent A Troublesome Inheritance mean that the Political Correctness Ice Age is receding—and that we might even have another interglacial, like thebrief period in the 1990s which saw the publication of books like Jared Taylor’s Paved With Good Intentions, Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve... Read More
Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts, by Charles Fernyhough
How far back is your earliest memory? What age? In a recent Canadian study cited by Charles Fernyhough, the average was four and a quarter years. “Very few memories dated from before the age of about two and a half.” I’m out in the early tail of that distribution. My family moved from cramped rented... Read More
Writing The Principles of Mathematics in the spring of 1901, Bertrand Russell got stuck on a simple problem in the theory of classes (we would nowadays say "sets"): "Whether the class of all classes is or is not a member of itself." In his autobiography Russell recalled: "It seemed unworthy of a grown man to... Read More
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Within the sphere of writing for a living, I don’t know that there is any trade more socially useful than science journalist. Most of what scientists do is difficult for a lay person to follow. There are also issues out in the borderlands of current understanding where scientists themselves hold different opinions. Explaining what is... Read More
[JD Note: In what follows I use the abbreviations “HBD” and “BIP.” The first stands for “Human Bio-Diversity,” a field of discussion embracing all those aspects of human nature that can reasonably be supposed to have some biological component. “BIP” stands for the collection of human traits that can be put under the heading “Behavior,... Read More
The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity, by Pedro G. Ferreira
On November 25, 1915, Einstein presented his new equations to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in a short three-page paper,” this author tells us. Thus was the General Theory of Relativity born, after of course some years of gestation inEinstein’s remarkable brain. With the centenary of that event almost upon us, a historical survey is... Read More
What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night, Edited by John Brockman
Fifty-five years ago British novelist, mandarin, and ex-scientist C.P. Snow gave a lecture at Cambridge university titled "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution." Snow deplored the mutual aloofness that, he said, existed between scientists and those educated in the humanities. The lecture set off a major public debate, and the phrase "two cultures" was... Read More
Two conferences in one week.
That was me last week. It was a doubleheader. Sunday the 20th I flew to Tucson for the “Toward a Science of Consciousness” conference at the university there. (Shouldn’t that be “towards”? Fowler: “Of the prepositions the –s form is the prevailing one, and the other tends to become literary on the one hand and... Read More
The contradiction between the vigorous, unapologeticethnonationalism of Jews in Israel and the horror of other peoples’ ethnonationalism expressed by Jewselsewhere has been a recurrent topic here on VDARE.com—see, most recently, Is Immigration Really A ‘Jewish Value’? by Kevin MacDonald. I think this contradiction is not hard to understand. If you are the ethnic majority in... Read More
The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting, by Alfie Kohn
Child-raising is something everyone can have an opinion about. We were all children once. We interacted with other children—siblings, classmates. If we are middle-aged, we have probably raised children of our own. Many of us have worked as teachers, struggling to engage with half-formed juvenile minds. Practically everyone has a good base of experience to... Read More
Thinking: The New Science of Decision-Making, Problem-Solving, and Prediction, edited by John Brockman
Before mass media came up in the mid-twentieth century there was the public lecture, at which some person of eminence or accomplishment would address a hall full of curious citizens. The Internet equivalent is supplied by nonprofit foundations like Edge.org and TED.com, which spread interesting ideas by inviting thinkers to give online talks. Thinking is... Read More
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Every Tuesday the print edition of theNew York Times includes a Science section. I don’t bother with it much, in spite of having been a science geek since infancy. Like most aspects of our metropolitan culture, the NYT Science section has been colonized by the hipster lifestyle. Girly concerns dominate, and there is very little... Read More
Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, by John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, and John A. Alford
The sentry in Iolanthe wondered at how “Nature always does contrive / That every boy and every gal / That’s born into the world alive / Is either a little Liberal / Or else a little Conservative!” He was right to wonder. For most of the past few decades, however, his suggestion that our personal... Read More
Jeer politicians, not scientists.
This year is the centenary of the late great pop mathematician Martin Gardner (1914-2010). A posthumous autobiography (you don’t see that phrase often) appeared last fall. In 1957, Gardner published a book titled Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, debunking things such as extrasensory perception and Dianetics. I read the book in my... Read More
Human exceptionalism, pro and con.
A concerned reader sent me a link to this video in which, he said, my name was taken in vain. Yes, I know, it’s an irritating imposition on readers to open a column by linking to a 31-minute video clip. I’ll be offering a concise executive summary in just a moment, with links into the... Read More
Psst! Want a nice racy read about genetics?
The university I attended was (and still is) in west-central London. A fifteen-minute walk from the main campus got you to Tottenham Court Road tube station, with Charing Cross Road heading off to the south toward the theater district and the National Gallery. I was not much of a theater- or gallery-goer, but I did... Read More
The problems with Intelligent Design.
————————— Why can't the purveyors of Intelligent Design (ID) get a break? They have been plowing their lonely furrow for 20 years now, insisting on their right to a seat at science's banquet and promising that their ideas will bring about a revolutionary overthrow of orthodox biology (which they call "Darwinism" for propagandistic reasons) Any... Read More
In a recent edition of Radio Derb I mentioned the advantages of moving to Iceland but added: “The downside is, you have to not mind living on a volcano.” One listener—there’s always one—saw my volcano and raised me a supervolcano, attaching this news clip: This hasn’t actually happened since 637,987 BC, but the boffins reckon... Read More
Computing: A Concise History, Paul E. Ceruzzi
This time last year all I was hearing about was MOOCs—Massive Open Online Courses, in which university-level instruction, sometimes by big-name lecturers, is provided free over the Internet to anyone who wants it. Some visionaries were talking about MOOCs eventually bankrupting traditional universities. Apparently that’s not going to happen. There is a niche for MOOCs,... Read More
Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars, by Lee Billings
In The Principles of Philosophy (1642) Descartes lamented: "We do not doubt but that many things exist, or formerly existed and have now ceased to be, which were never seen or known by man, and were never of use to him." Descartes didn't know the half of it. As our understanding of the natural world... Read More
Too much humanity gets in the way.
Human nature is in the news: intelligence and prejudice. First, disgraced conservative analyst Jason Richwine published a piece on Politico.com under the rather plaintive title “Why Can’t We Talk About IQ?” (In case you’ve lost track of all the political-incorrectness defenestrations, Richwine’s was the one before Paula Deen’s. His was in May; hers, in June.... Read More
As a science geek from way back—Andrade and Huxley were favorite childhood companions—I try to keep tabs on that side of things. This can be disheartening. To quote from that intergalactic bestseller We Are Doomed: Scientific objectivity is a freakish, unnatural, and unpopular mode of thought, restricted to small cliques whom the generality of citizens... Read More
The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide, by William H. Waller
A Palette of Particles, by Jeremy Bernstein
The British philosopher J.L. Austin coined the handy phrase "medium-sized dry goods" to describe the world of everyday phenomena that the human nervous system is best suited to cope with, phenomena ranging in size from a grain of dust to a landscape. Within that range our senses and cognition are at home. All our intuitions... Read More
Understanding the fundamentals.
A couple of months ago here on Taki’s Mag I reviewed responses to geek website edge.org‘s Annual Question. The 2013 question was: What should we be worried about? The leadoff answer was from evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who thought we should be worried about Chinese eugenics. I expressed some skepticism. Leaving aside my skepticism, which... Read More
Lefties discover the Dissident Right.
An occasional point of discussion among us commentators on the dissident right is the degree to which our stuff is read by respectable pundits seeking inspiration. Steve Sailer, for example, is convinced that David Brooks is a regular reader of Steve’s blog. Others among us are dubious. I used to be with the dubious. As... Read More
Keeping up with the eggheads.
Although not afflicted with a crippling deficiency of self-esteem, I once in a while get to wondering whether my opinions on the passing charivari are perhaps ill-informed, warped by personal prejudice, absurdly reactionary, derivative, shallow, jejune, incoherent, or worthless. (Commenters, please restrain yourselves.) “Once in a while” actually translates to “about once a year.” That... Read More
What does the future hold?
Predictions are in the air, or at least in the dwindling little pocket of air from which I breathe, down here in my diving bell a thousand feet beneath the surface of Liberalism Ocean. Nassim Taleb, the Black Swan bloke, has a new book out; Nate Silver, who is famous for reasons I haven’t bothered... Read More
Sleepless from Seattle? Not me.
I am just recovering from a splendid weekend in Seattle, a conference organized by my good friend Guy Wolf, editor of an alternative-right blog. (You never know how people will react to having their names publicized in this context. To be on the very safe side, I have substituted pseudonyms of my own devising for... Read More
Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, by George Dyson
This year marks the centenary of British mathematician Alan Turing, whose researches in the unlikely and very abstruse field of mathematical logic did much to create the world in which we now live. In 1936 Turing published a paper titled "On Computable Numbers" in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. The paper received almost... Read More
I'll admit it, I was apprehensive about the chemo. Some decades ago a female relative of mine — not long married, infant daughter — was diagnosed with cancer and subjected to the treatments of the time, both radiology and chemotherapy. The results were appalling. She lost her hair; her face and body shape changed horribly;... Read More
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker
In this, his most ambitious book to date, Steven Pinker describes, and attempts to explain, a curious historical phenomenon: the decline in all kinds of violence among human beings, from pre-civilized times to the present. The first thing one wants to ask is: Has there actually been such a decline? Given the tremendous wars and... Read More
Meet Ragle Gumm
Did you see this news story the other day? The name that leaps to mind here is Ragle Gumm. At any rate, that's the name that leaps to mind if you are an old Philip K. Dick addict. Gumm is the hero of Dick's 1959 novel Time Out of Joint, which my early-teen self consumed... Read More
Climate change is the health of the state.
I see Al Gore's been at the sauce again. Like racists! What could be worse than that? That was Big Al's second excursion in the month of August. At the former end of the month he took on global warming deniers at an Aspen Institute forum, in a manner quite startlingly vituperative. He actually cursed... Read More
Curious little article here in the New York Times: Genetic Basis for Crime: A New Look. And so the wheel turns. In economics you have the business cycle: in the human sciences you have the nature-nurture cycle. Two or three hundred years ago it was all nurture, so far as enlightened people were concerned. From... Read More
Did you know that four percent of the U.S. population — one in 25 of us — are now "cancer survivors"? This I read in the current issue of Time magazine, whose cover story concerns what John Wayne called "the big C," its diagnosis and treatment. That means that twelve million of us are entitled... Read More
The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance, by Jim al-Khalili
I used to attend regularly at an office of the New York City government to transact some business with a very pleasant young female African American city employee. On the wall of her office was a poster listing, in quite small print, all the scores of inventions and discoveries that, according to the poster, African... Read More
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John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.


Personal Classics
Limbaugh and company certainly entertain. But a steady diet of ideological comfort food is no substitute for hearty intellectual fare.
Once as a colonial project, now as a moral playground, the ancient continent remains the object of Great Power maneuvering