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Considering that I spent 7 years studying the cognitive effects of cortical lesions sustained in childhood, I should have been open to the possibility that brains might have increased in size over the last century. If I thought about it at all, I think I assumed that any such increase was too small to notice.... Read More
The fact that black immigrants to the United States have shown achievements that are superior to native black Americans has been a phenomenon studied since at least the 1970's. At first it was just the Caribbean blacks who were a subject of this unexpected outcome. As black Africans kept immigrating into the US, they showed... Read More
Every now and then a blockbuster paper comes along which, like the 1939 top grossing $1,640,602,400 movie “Gone with the Wind”, carries all before it. It may be that “Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies” byTinca Polderman, Beben Benyamin, Christiaan de Leeuw, Patrick Sullivan, Arjen van Bochoven,... Read More
With the recent spate of mass shootings, (at least four high-profile incidents occurring in the U.S. and Canada in the last two weeks), the issues of guns and violence inevitably come up. Naturally, the politically correct wisdom, which is founded on the blank slate (or at least, a bare slate), wants to blame these events... Read More
A vigorous discussion has been triggered by the release of Gregory Clark's The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility. In this book, Clark details his work which shows a large transmission of status from generation to generation, all across the world, going back centuries. The discussion has raged on the mode... 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
Digit Span must be one of the simplest tests ever devised. The examiner says a short string of digits at the rate of one digit a second in a monotone voice, and then the examinee repeats them. The examiner then tries a string which is one digit longer, and continues in this fashion with longer... Read More
Updated, 10/17/15. See below! In this post, I will review Gregory Cochran's "gay germ" hypothesis. I wanted to make an index of Cochran's posts from his and Henry Harpending's blog West Hunter that discuss it. These posts don't seem to all show up under the "Homosexuality" category there, and I wanted links to them to... Read More
Courtesy super-commenter "misdreavus", over at West Hunter: let me point out that with notably few exceptions, so-called “HBD” (or “human biodiversity”) is a movement that exists largely within the confines of the internet. This, of course, has done absolutely no favors to its dispersal within society at large, because if technology has taught us anything,... Read More
Eyed sewing needles from Ice Age Europe (17,000 to 10,000 BP). (source: Didier Descouens) As early modern humans spread farther north, they entered more challenging environments. This was particularly so when they left the boreal forests and entered the open steppe-tundra that covered much of northern Eurasia. Food was plentiful but largely took the form... Read More
Now that we have some British politicians talking about IQ it seems the right time to rush out a summary I was slowly preparing about the lives and achievements of different intelligence bands. Please accept this as a general overview, subject to revision, to which more illustrative details and precise boundaries will be added at... Read More
Togolese representation of a white man (source) In a previous post, I wrote that the recently published book De quelle couleur sont les Blancs ? was originally supposed to provide a new perspective on French race relations. How do the Français de souche perceive, imagine, and experience their increasingly multiracial society? What does it mean... Read More
Slate recently featured an article written by Roy F. Baumeister, Do You Really Have Free Will? In it, he claims that human do indeed have free will, something that regular readers will know that I have emphatically argued against. Baumeister doesn't make any supernatural appeals in this article; he does not appeal to some sort... Read More
Here is a snapshot from Ian Deary’s lecture “Ten Quite Interesting Things About Intelligence Test Scores” (Teaching Intelligence http://www.unz.com/?p=75592) which aims to show the difference in the distribution of boy’s and girl’s intelligence scores. The point of interest is that even when boys and girls have exactly the same levels of intellect, differences in the... Read More
Continuing my on-going series on the regional differences – genetic regional differences – between the different Euro-Americans in the United States and Canada, here I will present a series of maps demonstrating some of the evidence for the existence and significance of these differences, beyond the historical circumstances explored by David Hackett Fischer (DHF) in... Read More
Crystal Gayle, American country music singer (source). In humans of Eurasian origin, head hair can grow down to the mid-back and even farther. Long silky hair must have evolved relatively late, certainly no earlier than the last 50,000 years. All of us are born pale, and this infant pallor is striking in otherwise dark-skinned families.... Read More
(This nostrum, attributed to St. Francis Xavier, also works for girls and women, though separate equations are required, because of interrupted careers). In popular culture, in academic debate, and in the nitty-gritty of medico-legal battles about the bright future which might otherwise have been enjoyed by a damaged child seeking compensation, there is much interest... Read More
Credit: Characterizing the admixed African ancestry of African Americans
My own inclination has been to not get bogged down in the latest race and IQ controversy because I don't have that much time, and the core readership here is probably not going to get any new information from me, since this is not an area of hot novel research. But that doesn't mean the... Read More
“‘How could any man in our village claim that his family had been poor for three generations? If a man is poor, then his son can’t afford to marry; and if his son can’t marry, there can’t be a third generation” China’s poor were continually removed from the gene pool, their places taken by downwardly... Read More
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A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.
During the three decades following Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, China achieved the fastest sustained rate of economic growth in human history, with the resulting 40-fold rise in the size of China’s economy leaving it poised to surpass America’s as the largest in the world. A billion ordinary Han Chinese have lifted themselves economically from oxen... Read More
Squamous cervix cells covered with rod-shaped bacteria, Gardnerella vaginalis(source) Bacterial vaginosis is a common disease among reproductive-aged women: Its incidence correlates with the number of lifetime sex partners, and this correlation holds true even when one controls for a series of socioeconomic variables: poverty, smoking, body mass index, douching frequency, education, and oral contraceptive use... Read More
EDIT, 5/30/15: [Post updated with results of new meta-analyses of behavioral genetic studies. See below!] Edit, 1/3/13: [Post updated to reflect additional information provided in the comments. See below and see the comments.] The time has come for a little reminder of the First Law of behavioral genetics. In my final post of 2012, I... Read More
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What the facts tell us about a taboo subject
At the end of April, Charles Kenny, a former World Bank economist specializing in international development, published a blistering attack in Foreign Policy entitled “Dumb and Dumber,” with the accusatory subtitle “Are development experts becoming racists?” Kenny charged that a growing number of development economists were turning towards genetic and other intrinsic human traits as... Read More
A few years ago I put up a post, WORDSUM & IQ & the correlation, as a "reference" post. Basically if anyone objected to using WORDSUM, a variable in the General Social Survey, then I would point to that post and observe that the correlation between WORDSUM and general intelligence is 0.71. That makes sense,... Read More
Children making pillow lace for a home workshop. Germany, 1847. During the early stages of Europe’s market economy, successful entrepreneurs would expand their workforce by having more children. There are several obstacles to our understanding of geographic variation in human mental performance. First, the subject is taboo. When people do discuss it, they often resort... Read More
John Hawks illustrates what can be gained at the intersection of old data and analysis and new knowledge, Quote: Boyd on New World pigmentation clines: Looking at what was said about pigmentation generations ago is of interest because it's a trait which in many ways we have pegged. See Molecular genetics of human pigmentation diversity.... Read More
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In the early 20th century there was a rather strange (in hindsight) debate between two groups of biological scientists attempting to understand the basis of inheritance and its relationship to evolutionary processes. The two factions were the biometricians and Mendelians. As indicated by their appellation the Mendelians were partisans of the model of inheritance formulated... Read More
In 2003 a groundbreaking historical genetics paper reported results which indicated that a substantial proportion of men in the world are direct line descendants of Genghis Khan. By direct line, I mean that they carry Y chromosomes which seem to have come down from an individual who lived approximately 1,000 years ago. As Y chromosomes... Read More
An urban myth, often asserted with a wink & a nod in some circles, is that a very high proportion of children in Western countries are not raised by their biological father, and in fact are not aware that their putative biological father is not their real biological father. The numbers I see and hear... Read More
The Hapsburgs are one of those royal families who are relatively well known, and in the minds of the public are to a great extent the emblems of the downsides of inbreeding. To painting to the left is of Charles II, king of Spain, the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs, and an imbecile whose premature... Read More
Carl Zimmer pointed me to a new paper, A genome-wide genetic signature of Jewish ancestry perfectly separates individuals with and without full Jewish ancestry in a large random sample of European Americans. The title is so informative that pasting the abstract is almost unnecessary, but here is the conclusion which gets to the point: There... Read More
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Sources and Authorities
We should never be more vigilant than at the moment a new dogma is being installed. The claque endorsing what is now dignified as "the mainstream theory" of global warming stretches all the way from radical greens through Al Gore to George W. Bush, who signed on at the end of May. The left has... Read More
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Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
I was about fifteen when I began to think about evolution. I was then just discovering the sciences systematically, and took them as what they offered themselves to be, a realm of reason and dispassionate regard for truth. There was a hard-edged clarity to them that I liked. You got real answers. Since evolution depended... Read More