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"JonF"
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    Last year I published Race, IQ, and Wealth, presenting the overwhelming evidence that group IQs were far more malleable and shaped by social influences than is widely acknowledged in many quarters. The result was a lengthy and ferocious Internet debate, including an overwhelmingly negative and even hostile response to my suggestions, mostly by bloggers who...
  • Also, Red, looks can be very deceiving and merely looking at superficial appearances and drawing conclusions will lead to errors galore (e.g., the Earth is not flat). A friend has a black female cat which had kittens– one was black and white, two were yellow tabbies, one calico, and one a gray tabby. By your “looks will tell” theory that is impossible. Of course cats are not people, but even among people, those who look alike aren’t necessarily closely related. The Negritos of Melanesia are as black as the Bantu– but more genetically distant than any other population.

  • Glaivester, everyone makes minor factual errors. You do too. However I am not wrong here. Biology recognizes no human subspecies even though the racialists love to pretend otherwise.

    Re: To suggest that there aren’t relatively pure populations of Negroids, Caucasoids, Mongoloids, Australoids is silly.

    I did mention the Australian aborigines as the main exception. However you should chew on this: we humans are promiscuous and migratory. Excluding those populations, both then and now, which were truly isolated, it is mathematically high probable every person alive now is descended from every person who was alive 5000 years ago and whose lineage did not die out. You probably have Africans far back in your family tree, so do all us white folk. And people in Nigeria have genes from ancient folk in the Middle East and Europe. We really are one unitary species. Why does this horrify people like you? I would think that genetic determinism is the last thing anyone who calls himself conservative would want to embrace, since it’s a denial of individual freedom and responsibility. Nor is it consonant with any orthodox (small “o”) Christian anthropology.

  • JonF says:

    Re: English, Irish, and Scottish are sub-races of European, which is a sub-race of caucasian.

    The English are not “inbred”. Good grief, successive waves of invaders and migrants have washed over the British isles over the millennia– the Celts themselves, Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans and French (the latter kept coming during the Plantagenet era), later on assorted refugees from Continental fracases and hangers-on of William of Orange and the Hanoverians, now a variety of Third World people. They are as “mongrelized” as any other people.

  • JonF says:

    Re: or one thing, we would put more of the focus on helping blacks into getting there to be more reasonably-paying blue collar jobs rather than trying to get the black college acceptance/graduation rates reflect their percentage of the population.

    Um. we should be doing that anyway, and for lots and lots of white people who are not college material too. We do not need to muck around in the badly polluted IQ swamps to see this as good (and color-blind) policy.

  • JonF says:

    Re: Do you seriously think that the idea that different populations of humans may have different genetic capacities for intelligence is a crackpot idea?

    If there really were genetically pure populations and if intelligence were a simple, clearly defined trait, then that might be tenable as a hypothesis. However there are very few populations that have not mixed their genes substantially with others in the last 190K years (the Australian Aborigines are the only ones who come to mind there) and intelligence is a multi-faceted and rather fuzzily-defined trait (yes, we know it, and it lack when we encounter it– but unlike, say, height there no simple, single measurement that captures it).

  • In mid-March, the Wall Street Journal carried a long discussion of the origins of the Bretton Woods system, the international financial framework that governed the Western world for decades after World War II. A photo showed the two individuals who negotiated that agreement. Britain was represented by John Maynard Keynes, a towering economic figure of...
  • Re: Just a few months after 9/11 New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued that the sudden financial collapse of the Enron Corporation represented a greater shock to the American system than the terrorist attacks themselves, and although he was widely denounced for making such an “unpatriotic” claim, I believe his case was strong.

    I sure don’t. Show of hands: who remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard about Enron? Now, who remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard about 9-11.

    Re: Although the name “Enron” has largely vanished from our memory

    Actually no, it’s the butt of various jokes, and occasionally held up by the Left as a sample of unregulated capitalism.

    • Replies: @Bill

    Show of hands: who remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard about Enron?
     
    And that's what's called irony.
    , @FKA Max

    Our American Pravda: How the Media Misleads


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QLjqslhnKM

    TomWoodsTV
    Published on May 18, 2018
    Ron Unz -- theoretical physicist, software developer, political candidate, and author -- joins me to discuss themes from his "Our American Pravda" article, which explores stories the media suddenly dropped, or never covered.

    Source: http://www.unz.com/video/tomwoodstv_our-american-pravda-how-the-media-misleads/
  • The notion of a Gay Germ---homosexuality transmitted as some sort of infection---probably horrifies many mainstream intellectuals unfamiliar with the details of modern evolutionary biology. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that my recent column discussing that subject quickly provoked a striking example of Internet censorship. But the circumstances were different than people might naively expect. Most...
  • Re: I merely pointed out that to the extent powerful selective pressures would have weeded out any hypothetical Gay Gene

    Um, no: until very recently most gay people (especially lesbians) bowed to familial and social pressure and married and had kids– and then loved and philandered on the side (as many straight men and some women also did when they tired of or were incompatible with their spouses). So being gay never meant “no kids”. Even today it’s not hard to find gay men and lesbians with children from former straight marriages.
    Moreover there’s no evidence that homosexuality is simply inherited, as blue eyes or hemophilia are. Or that there’s “a” gay gene (I am agnostic on the genetic question, though the evidence is that it’s innate, much like handedness– which is not genetic– is overwhelming). If homosexuality is the result of several genes coming together, like getting a royal flush in poker, they would survive quite handily in the gene pool despite the occasional exclusive homosexual.

  • Given the unprecedented peace and prosperity currently enjoyed by nearly all Americans, it's hardly surprising that a symbolic issue such as Gay Marriage has now moved to the forefront of the public debate, not least among the contributors to my own magazine. Personally, it’s not the sort of issue that keeps me in a state...
  • Peace– yes, our wars are distant.
    But prosperity? Um, we are still miserably convalescent from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and there are indications that we not have a true recovery at any time in the foreseeable future.

  • With Americans still trapped in the fifth year of our Great Recession, and median personal income having been essentially stagnant for forty years, perhaps we should finally admit that decades of economic policies have largely failed.
  • Re: how about the REALLY conservative prospect of admitting that many jobs just aren’t going to pay very well, and that’s life.

    How about also admitting that sometimes criminals victimize people and that’s just life, so why bother having police? That sometimes buildings catch of fire and maybe we’re better off if they burn to the ground. That some people get sick and die and we’re never going to cure that 100% so why bother having healthcare?

    I don’t think nonchalant fatalism of this sort is remotely conservative.

    Re: Most economists believe that the minimum wage is bad for poor people and the economy as a whole.

    Most economists can’t come to a conclusion if you laid them end to end.

  • In what for me illustrates the use of confusing labels, George Will recently complained about attacks of "cognitive dissonance" in trying to understand our political terms. Although Americans identify overwhelmingly as “conservatives,” many of them vote differently from the way they describe themselves. They lean theoretically toward Thomas Jefferson, who advocated very limited government, but...
  • The infant US was not “homogeneous culturally” at its founding. The Constitution bridged (but only with paper) a deep chasm between North and South, but could not fill it in. 70 years later that chasm erupted with the epic blood-letting of the Civil War. And even that did not fill in the chasm, as a look at the older states (those in the Union before 1860) shows that the old free-slave divide is now echoed strongly in the red-blue divide (with Maryland and Delaware having changed sides– though Virginia may also follow*). Yes, the issues are different today, and things get a bit messy out west, but at the end of the day we are still two different nations yoked together.

    * Florida? Old (19th century) Florida is solidly red; new (20th century) Florida, which was a mostly empty frontier land in 1860, is the purple swing state region.

  • Listening to Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers give her (and the Democratic Party leadership’s) reaction to the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate the other day, I thought my ears had suddenly failed. Powers began to rail against Romney’s “dangerous” ideological choice; she assured the TV-viewers that this “is exactly what President...
  • Apparently the Rush Limbaugh set is checking in. Alas, I’m used to more thoughtful analysis on this site than a parroting of shop-worn talking points.

  • Richard Lynn has now produced a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to my article Race, IQ & Wealth questioning his theories, as has Helmuth Nyborg, another leading IQ expert and strong supporter of Lynn. Their analyses have been published or highlighted on several prominent racialist websites, and I am herein providing my own rejoinder. First, I...
  • Regardless of the genetic origins of the Ashkenazim, the Turkic people of central Asia are from the same gene pool as the Uralic and IndoEuropean peoples, their close neighbors for much of history. And the Turkic folks expanded over an area mainly populated by IndoEuropeans, and so absorbed a large dose of those genes.

  • Re: Lynn claims these very low Balkan IQs are due to substantial African and Middle Eastern ancestry, but I have never heard of this being the case for Balkan Slavs, and would like to see some evidence.

    I’m puzzled by such a claim too. Sure, there were Turks in Bulgaria, but the Turks are sourced in Central Asia, not Africa or the Middle East, and what other Middle Eastern or African people were ever in the Balkans? Darius’ Persians tramped through Thrace once upon a time, but didn’t stay long. Meanwhile the Greeks and Romans were there for a quite a while, and the Goths (who were Germanic people) also set up shop there for some generations too. Plus there were assorted Avars, Bulgars and so forth– but all Turkic people from central Asia, the same gene pool that (mainly) gave rise to the Ashkenazi Jews*, whom no one accuses of being low IQ.

    * East European Jews started out as a Turkic tribe, the Khazars, who converted to Judaism in the early Middle Ages, with some later inflow from West European Jews who fled east to escape medieval persecution attendant on the Crusades and the Black Death.

  • 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...
  • Re: IQ is as much as 80% heritable within countries.

    IQ scores have one steadily up for all groups since the test was first introduced. Unless you think evolution has gone into hyper-drive that right there disproves its hereditability.

  • Re: most people have accepted that IQ scores seem to constitute a rough and measurable proxy for this trait,

    Really. I am not aware if any such agreement. In fact it’s usually agreed that a single score on a single test is a very poor way of measuring a complex, multi-dimensional trait.
    I’m a bit sympathetic to arguments about intelligence, but whenever IQ rears its head I conclude that I am hearing arguments by people who scored well on that test and are royally peeved that vast riches and overweening power have not fallen into their laps as a result.

  • The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the...
  • China is not a homogenous country; it too has diversity, albeit mainly from peoples it has conquered over the centuries rather than through immigration.
    And when was the USA not diverse? Jim Crow did not mean black people did not exist, and in times past Italians, Irish, Slavs, etc. played the “foreigner” role that Hispanics are assigned today.

  • James Guest,

    I suppose I ought explain myself a bit more fully.
    First off, I do not believe in genetic determinism, at least not beyond the level of blue eyes, hemophilia and the like. We are not preprogrammed robots.

    By low-tech society I do not mean modern China. I don’t even mean ancient China, or Bronze Age Sumeria. I am speaking of hunter-gathrers or very simple agriculturalists. You say such people *might* pracrtice female infanrticide, but is there any evidence they did so, and secondly, why would they do so? Infanticide of infants born sickly or deformed– yes, I don’t doubt they would do that. But in primitive societies a healthy child, male or female, was a valuable resource for the family or band– just about the only resource in fact since, other than maybe dogs, they had no source of labor except human labor– and daughters could work just as hard as sons, if not at all the same tasks, but still at tasks crucial for survival. You really do not find women being devalued until you start seeing a economic surplus develop in societies and daughters become less useful for labor– and even for childbearing, as a population surplus develops as a result of agriculture. In very primitive groups however childbearing is a of numinous value (it’s debated when and how humans even learned how conception comes about) and women are to be valued for that reason above all else.
    So no, I do not see primitive societies developing a surplus of males, but to the contrary a (slight) surplus of females as the men were liable to killed in hunting mishaps or in some cases in violent confrontations with other peoples.
    Also, do not read back modern American mating customs on the distant past (or even the recent past). Young people, and especially young women, are not known for making wise choices about such things, and for much of history families did everything they could to steer their children toward more suitable matches than the emotional follies of youth might lead them to. So it would not have have been *women* making those choices, but families, perhaps the community as a whole. And yes, this may have produced good pairings, but again, beware genetic determinism. Surely a short history of any noble or royal family in historical times is proof against the notion that “great” men and women always produce “great” offspring. Regression to the mean (and sometimes to less than it) would seem to be the rule instead.

  • Re: Civilisation started 7,000 years ago in modern day Iraq by people who spoke a language that the Rev. A.H. Sayce described as recognisable in modern Baghdad and Cairo.

    Quibbles:
    Ancient Sumerian, which was totally unrelated to any modern language (except maybe at prehistoric remove), would not be recognized by anyone in Baghdad today. Ancient Egyptian might be recognized as something vaguely familiar by a modern Copt since the Coptic liturgy still uses a language descended from it.
    And if civilization means written language, organized govermment, organized religion, metallurgy, civic works etc. then it started a little over 5000 years ago (c. 3200BC) not 7000.

    James Guest,
    I have a certain healthy skepticism about genetic determinism in any guise, especvialkly since women are not always known for the sagacity of their choices in mates in our own era. And again, given that men and women are born in approximately equal numbers and that neither sex is more vulnerable to childhood illnesses than the other, the only mechanisms I can conceive of to produce a huge male-heavy gender imablance in a low-tech society would be if the society was subject to routine woman-stealing by outsiders. That’s possible, but I’m not sure you can find very good evidence for it.
    By the way, modern hunter-gatherer societies are suspect as stand-ins for the prehistoric sort. For one thing they are all subject to the influence of modern high-tech cultures around them, and the few that remain are under enormous deforming stress from the outside world.

  • Re: Azar Gat’s “War in Human Civilization” (page 75) shows about 25 examples of modern hunter-gather, pastoralist, and horticulturalist societies with persistently far more males than females

    Not credible. There’s no mechanism for that result (assuming the human birth ratios are constant across all populations in all times). Probably the women (at least the young and high status ones) were to some extent kept secluded from the researchers.
    Or maybe ceredible in one limited case: if the clan in question had recently suffered defeat by it neighbors and some of its women had been kidnapped as a result (a la he rape of the Sabine women). But that would be a transient result that natural borth rates would eventually rectify.

    Re: I see more and more qualified and educated Americans coming to Australia

    In a country of 300 million you will find anything happening that does not violate the basic laws of nature. However there is zero evidence that the US is experiencing a large outflow of population.
    And why would (truly) educated people anyone need to emigrate to Australia? There’s no job shortage for people with good skills and experience; the jobs drought is for people without useful skills (which, yes, may include college graduates with fairly useless degress)

  • Also, Bob, people are not born into the world with skills; they acquire them. And if there is a demand for those skills (and compensation offered for gaining them, and a means to do so) then people will acquire them.
    Last I checked the US (and indeed much of the world) has high unemployment and is not demadning much in those terms. But I am not much worried that if things turn around in that respect people will not gain the skills they need, assuming only that there exists a means by which they may do so.
    We’ve been fussing and fretting about a “‘skills gap” since the days of Sputnik yet that gap has always been more mythical than real. And people have fretting that the “wrong people” are having children since at least the days of Caesar Augustus, yet believe it or not humanity has not regressed into imbecility. America’s demography and its openness to immigration and to innovation are strengths not weakness. The societies of East Asia are much more likely to grow sclerotic than we are. Yes, there are a lot challenmges facing us– and all the world. But as I said I expect the US to have a better opportunity to weather them than China.

  • Bob Arctor,

    Yes, some societies have had an excess of women after many men have been killed in warfare: Germany and France after WWI, or the American South after the Civil War. But an excess of men is pretty much unprecedented.

  • Re: Over half of the American voting population are net tax consumers

    This is simply not true. While it may be true that about half the country pays no federal income tax (although I am skeptical as to that claim), they are still paying other taxes.
    Moreover you cannot determine who is a net tax consumer and who is not from a single slice of time: that needs to be considered over the course of an entire lifetime. Every single child, for example, is obviously a net tax consumer, but that’s always going to be true (assuming we do not return to sending five year olds to the coal mines).

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    When someone pays no federal income tax -- and in fact gets "back" money that he never paid, though the Orwellian "refundable(sic) earned income tax credit", for decades on end, it is little consolation that he is still paying federal payroll tax (FICA for social security, and Medicare tax).

    Would his FICA and Medicare taxes even offset the EITC subsidy?

    And even for people receiving nothing through EITC, how often do their paltry FICA and medicare taxes cover even their own basic retirement and seem decent portion of their children's medical care? Rarely, if ever.

    It is indeed a grave budgetary and moral problem when a large portion of US residents (I won't say "Americans") pay no fed income tax, and the other fed taxes don't nearly make up for it.

  • Re: This failure suggests another reason for the decay of US (and Western European) society: political correctness

    Huh? And while demographics may not be destiny, demography should not be ignored either. The US is likely to have a younger population structure than China which, as others have noted, is going to grow old without first growing rich– not an enviable situation. Moreover that population is likely to include a fair number of unmarried men for whom no women are available. That’s pretty muich unprecedented in history (although the reverse has occasionally happened due to wars), and I have no idea how it will play out, but I suspect it will not be a mark in China’s plus column.

    This piece whistewashes China’s enormous challenges while exaggerating America’s. That’s not to say we have no challenges nor that China does not have its strengths. Still, I would sooner bet the farm on the US coming through this century without major political calamity than China doing so. (Note: I said “calamity”, I did not say “change”. Both countries, will need to change a lot– something true of the whole world)

  • Since neoconservative journalists, at least to my knowledge, have not been lately slamming the “German connection,” I rejoiced at a feature article in yesterday's New York Post (March 20) going after the “series of German outrages” that helped push us into World War One. A commentary by Thomas A. Reppetto, on German saboteurs during World...
  • Re: The Bolsheviks (try to spell it right, please) were on the ropes and could have been easily crushed by the Central Powers, had they not been distracted in the West.

    Referring to any sort of war in Russia as “easy” is a huge mistake: one made by the Swedes, the French and the Nazis in succession. It was one thing to actually defeat the Russians on the border; quite another to march deep into their territory and attempt to occupy their country. I doubt Germany would have any easier time of that in 1918 than it did in 1941-42, or Napoleon had in 1812.

  • Allow me to vent an old complaint. It’s something that I can’t get off my chest, although I have written about it many times. Every time I hear a politician utter the word “values,” I throw my shoe at the TV. I throw both shoes at the screen when I hear the term “family values.”...
  • At the very least I wish they would retire the phrase “family values”. It’s not as if single people are hopelessly depraved. why not bring back the old fashioned word “morality” or at least “ethics”?

  • Nate Silver has an important post, Herman Cain and the Hubris of Experts. It's not really about Herman Cain. Rather, it's about the reality that pundits tend to underestimate uncertainty and complexity. Saying you don't know isn't as satisfying as making a definitive categorical assertion. This manifests particularly in the domains of sports and politics...
  • There’s a Jonah Lehrer piece from a couple of years back that I’m sure you’re aware of (called “Expertise”) in which he outlined a study wherein political pundits were wrong more often than chance. I’m not entirely sure if this is applicable here but I think it’s worth noting that it seems like a story to tell – any story to tell – is likely to be received better than post hoc analysis. Another cognitive bias I think that’s important here is telescoping. We tend to hone in on the one correct prediction made years ago and not on the litany of poor ones made in the mean time. I could have predicted every year in March over the past 90 years that the Red Sox would win the World Series. Most times I’d be wrong but in 2004 I was a genius.

  • Will mass immigration destroy the GOP? Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels? Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties? Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this...
  • JB,

    By “non-white” I think the author (and others who make this comment about past immigrants) really means that those immigrants were considered “people not like us” and often “people inferior to us” by Americans whose families were well-established here. Not a matter of skin color or putative race a such.

  • As some of you know, I have a problem. An addiction that is. For most of the year I stock up on fresh habanero pepper. Usually I try to limit myself to 1-2 peppers per meal...but when not in the company of others who may civilize me I can lose control and eat more than...
  • Trouble is, now you’re starting to max out on what you can get by the time you’re hitting pure capsaicin [verb choice intentional]. If only there was some way for you to be able to endogenously overexpress your oral TrpV1 receptors you might be able to re-capture your sensitivity to peppers without suffering the GI consequences later. Ah, the frontiers of genetic engineering!