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    In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • […] IQ and Death Trans Fat Hysteria and the Mystery of Heart Disease […]

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  • […] Health and body weight follow similar patterns (high heritability, zero shared environment). See my page Obesity Facts for more, or my post IQ and Death. […]

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  • Recently, it has become a craze to demonize hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is seeking to outright ban this class of substances, since they are, after all, "artery-clogging" and "a threat to public health." Trans fats are found in most pre-packaged foods, especially anything...
  • @Pat Boyle
    I find it hard to get excited about trans fats. Some people are claiming that they are bad for you. I distinctly remember when my mother gave me butter because it was better for me than margarine. Then my wife made us eat margarine because it was better for us. Now I'm back to eating butter - since the divorce. My relationship with the women in my life seems to correlate with my fat consumption.

    I read Linus Pauling's little book on Vitamin C and was blown away. What an argument! No wonder that guy had two more Nobel prizes than I had. He was brilliant but not as it happened correct. But then I placed my faith in Vitamin E. It cured both cancer and heart disease - everyone said so. That is until someone actually ran a real study and not just observe correlations,

    Now of course we have regressed in the alphabet. My doctor and all the wise men of earth now recommend Vitamin D. OK , I take Vitamin D and I have to admit I like it better than Vitamin E - the pills are smaller.

    I try to eat lamb chops and asparagus only. That way I can ignore trans fats discussions.

    “that guy had two more Nobel prizes than I had”: true, but one was the pishy, politicised Peace Prize. If, like any rational man, you count that as minus one, and add it to his well-earned prize in Chemistry, you can see that effectively he had the same number of Nobel Prizes as you.

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  • In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • […] post a series of tweets I made on the subject. Much of the matter is discussed in my post IQ and Death (see also my post “Squid […]

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  • […] correlation between IQ and longevity is said to be about 0.2, which means high IQ people have a small tendency to live longer (actually, since IQ tests are imperfect measures of intelligence, typically having a […]

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Recently, it has become a craze to demonize hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is seeking to outright ban this class of substances, since they are, after all, "artery-clogging" and "a threat to public health." Trans fats are found in most pre-packaged foods, especially anything...
  • At the start of the article you present 2 graphs with butter consumption in them. One shows a large, almost monotonic increase over the reported time scale. The second shows a shallow decline over the same period. The absolute numbers of each graph for butter are also wildly different. Why is this?

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  • In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • […] quite a few other HBD’ers, I try not to focus so much on IQ. Although it is of preeminent importance, it is not the be-all end-all of when it comes to human traits, particularly traits that differ […]

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  • Recently, it has become a craze to demonize hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is seeking to outright ban this class of substances, since they are, after all, "artery-clogging" and "a threat to public health." Trans fats are found in most pre-packaged foods, especially anything...
  • […] but what do we have to show for it? Not much, as previously discussed in my posts on the matter (Trans Fat Hysteria and the Mystery of Heart Disease and Even George W. Bush Has Heart Disease). Of course, we are likely to run into trouble with […]

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  • […] category of my posts on health, particularly my posts Even George W. Bush Has Heart Disease and Trans Fat Hysteria and the Mystery of Heart Disease), the “lifestyle” causation model of most of these diseases is in pretty poor shape. […]

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  • In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • @franklindmadoff
    Jayman,

    You may want to check out this study: "Reaction Time and Mortality from the Major Causes of Death: The NHANES-III Study"

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0082959


    "Adjusted for age, sex, and ethnic minority status, a 1 SD slower reaction time was associated with a raised risk of mortality from all-causes (HR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.12, 1.39) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.17, 1.58). Having 1 SD more variable reaction time was also associated with greater risk of all-cause (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.19, 1.55) and CVD (HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.33, 1.70) mortality. No associations were observed for cancer mortality. The magnitude of the relationships was comparable in size to established risk factors in this dataset, such as smoking."

    Yup, Mangan tweeted it. Of course, Mangan’s explanation was that reaction time was some marker of physical conditioning training, when the paper itself discusses the known association between IQ and longevity. It’s just another for the pile… ;)

    Thanks for linking to it!

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  • Jayman,

    You may want to check out this study: “Reaction Time and Mortality from the Major Causes of Death: The NHANES-III Study”

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0082959

    “Adjusted for age, sex, and ethnic minority status, a 1 SD slower reaction time was associated with a raised risk of mortality from all-causes (HR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.12, 1.39) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.17, 1.58). Having 1 SD more variable reaction time was also associated with greater risk of all-cause (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.19, 1.55) and CVD (HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.33, 1.70) mortality. No associations were observed for cancer mortality. The magnitude of the relationships was comparable in size to established risk factors in this dataset, such as smoking.”

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    @franklindmadoff:

    Yup, Mangan tweeted it. Of course, Mangan's explanation was that reaction time was some marker of physical conditioning training, when the paper itself discusses the known association between IQ and longevity. It's just another for the pile... ;)

    Thanks for linking to it!

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Recently, it has become a craze to demonize hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is seeking to outright ban this class of substances, since they are, after all, "artery-clogging" and "a threat to public health." Trans fats are found in most pre-packaged foods, especially anything...
  • @Richard Seiter
    This 2009 paper http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v63/n2s/abs/1602973a.html
    claims: "Five retrospective case–control studies and four prospective cohort studies demonstrated positive associations between TFA consumption and CHD events."
    and concludes: "Controlled trials and observational studies provide concordant evidence that consumption of TFA from partially hydrogenated oils adversely affects multiple cardiovascular risk factors and contributes significantly to increased risk of CHD events."

    The randomized controlled trials they mentioned were few, small, and of short duration. None looked at actual adverse health events. The best they looked at was LDL vs. HDL, finding trans fat consumption seems to raise the former and not the latter (and the short duration didn’t allow us to establish if this result wasn’t only temporary). However, since the role that cholesterol plays in cardiovascular health is far from from fully understood, even if this LDL effect is real, it’s unclear if it’s of concern.

    Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

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  • So much debate has been going on about Trans fat and its effect on people’s health. I would say that there are other more risk behaviors that might contribute more to the upsurge of heart condition as well such as smoking. intergratedmedicine.com

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  • This 2009 paper http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v63/n2s/abs/1602973a.html
    claims: “Five retrospective case–control studies and four prospective cohort studies demonstrated positive associations between TFA consumption and CHD events.”
    and concludes: “Controlled trials and observational studies provide concordant evidence that consumption of TFA from partially hydrogenated oils adversely affects multiple cardiovascular risk factors and contributes significantly to increased risk of CHD events.”

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Richard Seiter:

    The randomized controlled trials they mentioned were few, small, and of short duration. None looked at actual adverse health events. The best they looked at was LDL vs. HDL, finding trans fat consumption seems to raise the former and not the latter (and the short duration didn't allow us to establish if this result wasn't only temporary). However, since the role that cholesterol plays in cardiovascular health is far from from fully understood, even if this LDL effect is real, it's unclear if it's of concern.

    Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

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  • In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • […] IQ and Death […]

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  • Recently, it has become a craze to demonize hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is seeking to outright ban this class of substances, since they are, after all, "artery-clogging" and "a threat to public health." Trans fats are found in most pre-packaged foods, especially anything...
  • […] Previously: Trans Fat Hysteria and the Mystery of Heart Disease […]

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  • […] Trans Fat Hysteria and the Mystery of Heart Disease | JayMan’s Blog […]

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  • I find it hard to get excited about trans fats. Some people are claiming that they are bad for you. I distinctly remember when my mother gave me butter because it was better for me than margarine. Then my wife made us eat margarine because it was better for us. Now I’m back to eating butter – since the divorce. My relationship with the women in my life seems to correlate with my fat consumption.

    I read Linus Pauling’s little book on Vitamin C and was blown away. What an argument! No wonder that guy had two more Nobel prizes than I had. He was brilliant but not as it happened correct. But then I placed my faith in Vitamin E. It cured both cancer and heart disease – everyone said so. That is until someone actually ran a real study and not just observe correlations,

    Now of course we have regressed in the alphabet. My doctor and all the wise men of earth now recommend Vitamin D. OK , I take Vitamin D and I have to admit I like it better than Vitamin E – the pills are smaller.

    I try to eat lamb chops and asparagus only. That way I can ignore trans fats discussions.

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    "that guy had two more Nobel prizes than I had": true, but one was the pishy, politicised Peace Prize. If, like any rational man, you count that as minus one, and add it to his well-earned prize in Chemistry, you can see that effectively he had the same number of Nobel Prizes as you.
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  • @chrisdavies09
    @ Staffan:

    "If you look at deaths per 100K inhabitants according to Eurostat we have, Norway 66, Sweden 84 and Finland 120. Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate."

    Also follows 'Pure alcohol consumption among adults (age 15+) in litres per capita per year':-
    Total:
    Norway 7.81; Sweden 10.30; Finland 12.52;
    (World Health Organisation recent data).

    But as Jayman would point out it's all correlational. Clearly there are many factors at play.

    I think that the people who consume cheap low quality foods which contain 'trans fats' would probably be more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes [at least in UK where I live]; those types of people are also far more likely to be smokers too. So Jayman makes a key point about the worthlessness of observational/correlational studies [one that I've only recently started to take note of].

    True a lot of factors to consider. Eastern Europeans drink and smoke and have lower IQs than the rest of Europe. It’s hard to separate the variables. And the world is changing; Mexico is now the most obese country. Poor people around the world can now access junk food and cigarettes. This trend should increase the importance of IQ and traits like impulsivity and conscientiousness.

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  • @Staffan
    Climate sure looks like a strong candidate. Especially interesting is the fact that northern countries (in Europe) that have an oceanic climate have relatively few deaths from heart disease. If you look at deaths per 100K inhabitants according to Eurostat we have, Norway 66, Sweden 84 and Finland 120. Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate. Maybe it has something to do with really low temperatures?

    Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate. Maybe it has something to do with really low temperatures?

    Maybe it does have something to do with low temperatures. Indeed, the cardiovascular death rate is higher in Quebec than it is in France. Maybe cold isn’t so good for you? But it just as easily be evolution – differing climatic adaptations – even across Scandinavia (the Finns are actually quite distinct from other Europeans genetically) may have affected likelihood of developing CVD. That’s the guess I’m currently running with.

    That said, on the direct environmental impact of climate, CVD death rates are much lower in Australia than in any other Anglo country…

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  • @chrisdavies09
    @ Staffan:

    "If you look at deaths per 100K inhabitants according to Eurostat we have, Norway 66, Sweden 84 and Finland 120. Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate."

    Also follows 'Pure alcohol consumption among adults (age 15+) in litres per capita per year':-
    Total:
    Norway 7.81; Sweden 10.30; Finland 12.52;
    (World Health Organisation recent data).

    But as Jayman would point out it's all correlational. Clearly there are many factors at play.

    I think that the people who consume cheap low quality foods which contain 'trans fats' would probably be more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes [at least in UK where I live]; those types of people are also far more likely to be smokers too. So Jayman makes a key point about the worthlessness of observational/correlational studies [one that I've only recently started to take note of].

    The problem with alcohol consumption.

    Of course, different peoples are differently adapted to alcohol, so that may have something to do with it. To be honest, I don’t suspect that it does.

    I think that the people who consume cheap low quality foods which contain ‘trans fats’ would probably be more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes [at least in UK where I live]; those types of people are also far more likely to be smokers too. So Jayman makes a key point about the worthlessness of observational/correlational studies [one that I've only recently started to take note of].

    Precisely. Actually, I was going to include some studies on trans fat consumption by socioeconomic class. As you’d expect, the lower classes consume more…. :

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  • @ Staffan:

    “If you look at deaths per 100K inhabitants according to Eurostat we have, Norway 66, Sweden 84 and Finland 120. Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate.”

    Also follows ‘Pure alcohol consumption among adults (age 15+) in litres per capita per year’:-
    Total:
    Norway 7.81; Sweden 10.30; Finland 12.52;
    (World Health Organisation recent data).

    But as Jayman would point out it’s all correlational. Clearly there are many factors at play.

    I think that the people who consume cheap low quality foods which contain ‘trans fats’ would probably be more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes [at least in UK where I live]; those types of people are also far more likely to be smokers too. So Jayman makes a key point about the worthlessness of observational/correlational studies [one that I've only recently started to take note of].

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    @chrisdavies09:

    The problem with alcohol consumption.

    Of course, different peoples are differently adapted to alcohol, so that may have something to do with it. To be honest, I don't suspect that it does.


    I think that the people who consume cheap low quality foods which contain ‘trans fats’ would probably be more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes [at least in UK where I live]; those types of people are also far more likely to be smokers too. So Jayman makes a key point about the worthlessness of observational/correlational studies [one that I've only recently started to take note of].
     
    Precisely. Actually, I was going to include some studies on trans fat consumption by socioeconomic class. As you'd expect, the lower classes consume more.... :
    , @Staffan
    True a lot of factors to consider. Eastern Europeans drink and smoke and have lower IQs than the rest of Europe. It's hard to separate the variables. And the world is changing; Mexico is now the most obese country. Poor people around the world can now access junk food and cigarettes. This trend should increase the importance of IQ and traits like impulsivity and conscientiousness.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Climate sure looks like a strong candidate. Especially interesting is the fact that northern countries (in Europe) that have an oceanic climate have relatively few deaths from heart disease. If you look at deaths per 100K inhabitants according to Eurostat we have, Norway 66, Sweden 84 and Finland 120. Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate. Maybe it has something to do with really low temperatures?

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Staffan:

    Those are big difference on genetically and culturally similar populations but they follow the degree of oceanic climate. Maybe it has something to do with really low temperatures?
     
    Maybe it does have something to do with low temperatures. Indeed, the cardiovascular death rate is higher in Quebec than it is in France. Maybe cold isn't so good for you? But it just as easily be evolution – differing climatic adaptations – even across Scandinavia (the Finns are actually quite distinct from other Europeans genetically) may have affected likelihood of developing CVD. That's the guess I'm currently running with.

    That said, on the direct environmental impact of climate, CVD death rates are much lower in Australia than in any other Anglo country...

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  • On the question of animal fat my attitude — which annoys my wife — is that anything that tastes that good can’t be bad for you.

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  • In my previous post, I noted that the oft-mentioned association between obesity and poor health and "early" death may be a function of the lower average IQ of obese people. I suggested that the true correlate of these things was in fact low IQ. And indeed, I've stumbled on additional studies that suggests that this...
  • […] ask the question of how well IQ correlates to shortened lifespan. And I did that with my 99th post, IQ and Death. Looking at a meta-analysis of several studies of IQ and mortality, it was found that IQ is […]

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  • Dan
    “I don’t buy the link between IQ and ‘genetic load’ at all, for many reasons.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders”

    I think there are two ways to raise average IQ.

    1) Select specifically on IQ which by definiton means you’re not selecting as strongly on things like health. A population that did this *ought* to have higher IQ and lower average health.

    2) Select on general fitness. This will include IQ alongside, health, symmetric looks, height etc.

    The correlation between IQ and health might still partially exist for option 1 simply because brain function involves such a lot of genes but ought to be substantially higher for populations who’d undergone the second type of selection (which i think is provided by the northwest european marriage model).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line

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  • @Steve Sailer
    It would be interesting to disentangle intelligence and conscientiousness, which tend to get wrapped together in low-stakes cognitive testing where the conscientious people work harder on the test because they've been told to work hard by legitimate authority figures. I think some of the predictive power of IQ testing comes from measuring willingness to work hard.

    I agree. I believe there was a study that did just that. Another project of mine will be to look at the correlates of mortality with IQ and personality combined.

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  • @Steve Sailer
    A good very long term study is Ian Deary's follow-ups to the 1932 Scotland testing of all 11-year-olds in the realm.

    Thanks! I saw that, it was one of the studies in the Calvin meta-analysis. It was one of the studies that reported a stronger association between IQ and earlier death. There wasn’t a huge amount of spread in the studies though, so the pattern is pretty solid.

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  • […] ask the question of how well IQ correlates to shortened lifespan. And I did that with my 99th post, IQ and Death. Looking at a meta-analysis of several studies of IQ and mortality, it was found that IQ is […]

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  • @Travis
    So stuffing myself with Cheetos and Coke every day will not raise the probability that I will get adult-onset diabetes?

    As much as I like the sound of that, I suspect it is not true.

    I didn’t say that in the post. I suspect that diet does influence the incidence of diabetes for people with a genetic susceptibility to it…

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  • So stuffing myself with Cheetos and Coke every day will not raise the probability that I will get adult-onset diabetes?

    As much as I like the sound of that, I suspect it is not true.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    I didn't say that in the post. I suspect that diet does influence the incidence of diabetes for people with a genetic susceptibility to it...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • It would be interesting to disentangle intelligence and conscientiousness, which tend to get wrapped together in low-stakes cognitive testing where the conscientious people work harder on the test because they’ve been told to work hard by legitimate authority figures. I think some of the predictive power of IQ testing comes from measuring willingness to work hard.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    I agree. I believe there was a study that did just that. Another project of mine will be to look at the correlates of mortality with IQ and personality combined.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • A good very long term study is Ian Deary’s follow-ups to the 1932 Scotland testing of all 11-year-olds in the realm.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    Thanks! I saw that, it was one of the studies in the Calvin meta-analysis. It was one of the studies that reported a stronger association between IQ and earlier death. There wasn't a huge amount of spread in the studies though, so the pattern is pretty solid.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @panjoomby
    thank you for your blog & your empirical insights - & for your comments at other blogs - e.g., your comments at www.wiringthebrain.com/2013/05/the-new-eugenics-same-as-old-eugenics.html
    are WAY better than the article! your blog conversations with hbdchick are casually brilliant. i hope someday there will be an HBD blog convention. i had paypal tell you hi - wish it could be for more - you HBD bloggers deserve it.

    Thank you, I greatly appreciate it!

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  • thank you for your blog & your empirical insights – & for your comments at other blogs – e.g., your comments at http://www.wiringthebrain.com/2013/05/the-new-eugenics-same-as-old-eugenics.html
    are WAY better than the article! your blog conversations with hbdchick are casually brilliant. i hope someday there will be an HBD blog convention. i had paypal tell you hi – wish it could be for more – you HBD bloggers deserve it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    Thank you, I greatly appreciate it!
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  • @Dan
    I don't buy the link between IQ and 'genetic load' at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is 'genetic load' anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as 'deleterious mutations' but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don't see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It's possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. 'Genetic load' is not the explanation.

    Yes, Trivers does suggest that possibility in his book, doesn’t he? Good point.

    Trivers doesn’t cite any scientific source in that book, but then again he is a giant in his field, and he surely knows a bit about the topic.

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  • @Dan
    " The brain, being the place where most genes are expressed, is the biggest mutational target."

    Is this true? Is it true that a majority of genes are involved with the brain? Certainly genes that relate to things like metabolism or the immune system could indirectly affect the brain, but does the brain really express 'most genes'?

    Do you have evidence for this statement (links are great!), because if it is true I suppose I'd have to concede a lot of the argument.

    See here.

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  • Dan says:
    @Dan
    I don't buy the link between IQ and 'genetic load' at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is 'genetic load' anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as 'deleterious mutations' but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don't see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It's possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. 'Genetic load' is not the explanation.

    ” The brain, being the place where most genes are expressed, is the biggest mutational target.”

    Is this true? Is it true that a majority of genes are involved with the brain? Certainly genes that relate to things like metabolism or the immune system could indirectly affect the brain, but does the brain really express ‘most genes’?

    Do you have evidence for this statement (links are great!), because if it is true I suppose I’d have to concede a lot of the argument.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    See here.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    You are right to be skeptical of that Victorian study. It is full of factual and basic conceptual errors and I am amazed that it was ever published.

    At 65, men could expect another ten years of life; and women another eight [24,32,33] (the lower figure for women reflects the high danger of death in childbirth, mainly from causes unrelated to malnutrition). This compares surprisingly favourably with today’s figures: life expectancy at birth (reflecting our improved standards of neo-natal care) averages 75.9 years (men) and 81.3 years (women);

    This, for example, which contains two howling errors, betrays the authors' profound lack of understanding about basic demography and disqualify them from seriously writing about it.

    Yes, and it was obvious. I mean lack of drinking in Victorian England? Really? REALLY?!?

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  • Dan says:
    @Dan
    I don't buy the link between IQ and 'genetic load' at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is 'genetic load' anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as 'deleterious mutations' but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don't see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It's possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. 'Genetic load' is not the explanation.

    “That smart 98 lb weakling would be fine today. In pre-modern times, not so much.”

    That smart 98 lb weakling probably could have done fine as a craftsman or scholar or financier or trader or range of other professions that would have existed over the last 800 years in England or other places.

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  • JayMan says: • Website
    @Dan
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    I might have more thoughts but here are few for now...

    (1) First I will concede that genetic load does have *some* explanatory power, in the sense of broadly debilitating things such as Down's Syndrome and a few others. But I think most genetic defects are not syndromic like that.

    (2) Good prenatal and childhood nutrition have large positive effects on both IQ and lifelong health. Folks like Richard Lynn, James Watson, or Arthur Jensen would certainly have had good prenatal and childhood nutrition.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11244286

    (3) People who are nearsighted (a clear defect) are on average *substantially* more intelligent that their non-nearsighted peers. The reasons are not known, but the stereotype is true.
    http://blog.zennioptical.com/are-people-with-nearsightedness-smarter/

    which leads me to

    (4) I would theorize that high IQ types can actually tolerate a *higher* genetic load. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot but who has a high IQ, I will probably manage just fine. There are lots of things I can do. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot and is also not that smart, there is not a lot I can do and there is not a lot that is a attractive about me. Stephen Hawking would have died of neglect in a care facility decades ago if he wasn't smart.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GsUl3_1ezpI/S_S45B31mPI/AAAAAAAAAGA/3UKCUfJmwbI/s1600/stephen-hawking.jpg

    I would make a Dungeons and Dragons analogy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_gameplay#Ability_scores

    The fitness of a player is based on scores in a number of categories. Surely someone who has excellent intelligence, wisdom and charisma needs a lot less of the other things (strength, dexterity and constitution/health) to do well whereas someone who is poor in these categories needs a lot more of the other things to get by.

    I wouldn't be surprised if people ultimately discover that high IQ types actually have more genetic load on average, although I repeat that I don't quite know what I mean by genetic load since it is so situational. Heck, Hawking's condition, which looks like a horrible defect from all angles, has been an overwhelming positive for his career and his fame.

    Good prenatal and childhood nutrition have large positive effects on both IQ and lifelong health. Folks like Richard Lynn, James Watson, or Arthur Jensen would certainly have had good prenatal and childhood nutrition.

    Where these things matter at all, I’d suspect it’s in a mostly negative sense; you can be harmed if you don’t get an adequate supply, but you almost certainly won’t be helped by anything that goes past your minimum baseline. Most people in developed countries receive well past that baseline.

    People who are nearsighted (a clear defect) are on average *substantially* more intelligent that their non-nearsighted peers. The reasons are not known, but the stereotype is true.

    Myopia is more like those Ashkenazi diseases. It boosts your IQ but represents a trade-off between increased performance in one area at the cost of decreased performance elsewhere. To people in civilized societies, poor distance vision wouldn’t have been as big as a fitness hit as it would be to say a hunter-gatherer.

    I would theorize that high IQ types can actually tolerate a *higher* genetic load. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot but who has a high IQ, I will probably manage just fine.

    I’d say probably not. That smart 98 lb weakling would be fine today. In pre-modern times, not so much.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if people ultimately discover that high IQ types actually have more genetic load on average, although I repeat that I don’t quite know what I mean by genetic load since it is so situational.

    This is pretty much impossible. The brain, being the place where most genes are expressed, is the biggest mutational target. IQ, being highly polygenic, would be quite easy to screw up with deleterious mutations. There is evidence that indicates lower IQ is correlated with a host of diseases and fitness hits, including, as noted in the post, reduced symmetry, indicating higher levels of mutational load in the low-IQ.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Dan says:
    @Dan
    I don't buy the link between IQ and 'genetic load' at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is 'genetic load' anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as 'deleterious mutations' but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don't see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It's possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. 'Genetic load' is not the explanation.

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    I might have more thoughts but here are few for now…

    (1) First I will concede that genetic load does have *some* explanatory power, in the sense of broadly debilitating things such as Down’s Syndrome and a few others. But I think most genetic defects are not syndromic like that.

    (2) Good prenatal and childhood nutrition have large positive effects on both IQ and lifelong health. Folks like Richard Lynn, James Watson, or Arthur Jensen would certainly have had good prenatal and childhood nutrition.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11244286

    (3) People who are nearsighted (a clear defect) are on average *substantially* more intelligent that their non-nearsighted peers. The reasons are not known, but the stereotype is true.

    http://blog.zennioptical.com/are-people-with-nearsightedness-smarter/

    which leads me to

    (4) I would theorize that high IQ types can actually tolerate a *higher* genetic load. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot but who has a high IQ, I will probably manage just fine. There are lots of things I can do. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot and is also not that smart, there is not a lot I can do and there is not a lot that is a attractive about me. Stephen Hawking would have died of neglect in a care facility decades ago if he wasn’t smart.
    I would make a Dungeons and Dragons analogy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_gameplay#Ability_scores

    The fitness of a player is based on scores in a number of categories. Surely someone who has excellent intelligence, wisdom and charisma needs a lot less of the other things (strength, dexterity and constitution/health) to do well whereas someone who is poor in these categories needs a lot more of the other things to get by.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if people ultimately discover that high IQ types actually have more genetic load on average, although I repeat that I don’t quite know what I mean by genetic load since it is so situational. Heck, Hawking’s condition, which looks like a horrible defect from all angles, has been an overwhelming positive for his career and his fame.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan

    Good prenatal and childhood nutrition have large positive effects on both IQ and lifelong health. Folks like Richard Lynn, James Watson, or Arthur Jensen would certainly have had good prenatal and childhood nutrition.
     
    Where these things matter at all, I'd suspect it's in a mostly negative sense; you can be harmed if you don't get an adequate supply, but you almost certainly won't be helped by anything that goes past your minimum baseline. Most people in developed countries receive well past that baseline.

    People who are nearsighted (a clear defect) are on average *substantially* more intelligent that their non-nearsighted peers. The reasons are not known, but the stereotype is true.
     
    Myopia is more like those Ashkenazi diseases. It boosts your IQ but represents a trade-off between increased performance in one area at the cost of decreased performance elsewhere. To people in civilized societies, poor distance vision wouldn't have been as big as a fitness hit as it would be to say a hunter-gatherer.

    I would theorize that high IQ types can actually tolerate a *higher* genetic load. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot but who has a high IQ, I will probably manage just fine.
     
    I'd say probably not. That smart 98 lb weakling would be fine today. In pre-modern times, not so much.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if people ultimately discover that high IQ types actually have more genetic load on average, although I repeat that I don’t quite know what I mean by genetic load since it is so situational.

     

    This is pretty much impossible. The brain, being the place where most genes are expressed, is the biggest mutational target. IQ, being highly polygenic, would be quite easy to screw up with deleterious mutations. There is evidence that indicates lower IQ is correlated with a host of diseases and fitness hits, including, as noted in the post, reduced symmetry, indicating higher levels of mutational load in the low-IQ.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • If high iq people live longer than low iq people,can it reduce the effect of dysgenics on society.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • JayMan says: • Website
    @Dan
    I don't buy the link between IQ and 'genetic load' at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is 'genetic load' anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as 'deleterious mutations' but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don't see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:
    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It's possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. 'Genetic load' is not the explanation.

    You raise some interesting points.

    What is ‘genetic load’ anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as ‘deleterious mutations’ but what is deleterious depends on circumstances.

    Yes, whether a mutation is “deleterious” is generally dependent on the environment. That said, there many mutations that would be always negative, regardless. Clearly, anything that causes death (especially before reproduction) or interferes with major systems would be deleterious in any environment. But even milder mutations are likely to be generally negative for the simple reasons that there are many more ways of screwing something up than making it better.

    I just don’t see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated.

    Manwho much? IQ is correlated with health, not commensurate with it. One good manwho deserves another, what about Richard Lynn, James Watson, or even the late Arthur Jensen? Many brainy folks live to a ripe old age with minimal sign of impairment. The above studies show a clear positive relationship between IQ and health.

    Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    Are we talking within race, or between them? Genetic load is probably responsible primarily for within race variance. Between race variance is largely another matter. But indeed, there is evidence that athletes die earlier than others, so just how healthy are they?

    Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups

    Ashkenazis recently went through fairly intense selection for intelligence. That probably promoted a whole host of sub-optimal “quick fix” IQ-boosting genes. That said, a good question is are more intelligent Jews healthier, overall, than less intelligent ones?

    It’s possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    You’re probably quite correct. Razib Khan raised a similar point. In general, I suspect genetic load is a part of the story with health, not the whole story. But thinking of IQ as a measure of general fitness is a fairly good approximation.

    Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    This may very well be thanks to their Iberian component. Southwestern Europeans are known for longevity. An interesting question on this matter is how Latin American lifespans compare to their source populations’.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. ‘Genetic load’ is not the explanation.

    I think it’s clear at this point that you can’t make that declaration. There is evidence that suggests that the longer life of higher-IQ people isn’t just due to better self-care, as noted above.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Dan says:

    I don’t buy the link between IQ and ‘genetic load’ at all, for many reasons.

    (1) What is ‘genetic load’ anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as ‘deleterious mutations’ but what is deleterious depends on circumstances. A big brain could be a deleterious mutation if you live a hot climate where big brains lead to heatstoke or if it has big caloric requirements or causes your mom to die in labor. Or it could be an absolute necessity if you happen to be a member of the banking caste in middle ages Europe.

    (2) I just don’t see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated. Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.

    (3) Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups:

    http://www.jewishgenetics.org/?q=content/what-are-jewish-genetic-disorders

    There have been tons of Jewish Nobel laureates but very few Olympic champions, even though the former is more rarified.

    (4) It’s possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

    (5) Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. ‘Genetic load’ is not the explanation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    You raise some interesting points.

    What is ‘genetic load’ anyway? It is not even defined properly. It is described vaguely as ‘deleterious mutations’ but what is deleterious depends on circumstances.
     
    Yes, whether a mutation is "deleterious" is generally dependent on the environment. That said, there many mutations that would be always negative, regardless. Clearly, anything that causes death (especially before reproduction) or interferes with major systems would be deleterious in any environment. But even milder mutations are likely to be generally negative for the simple reasons that there are many more ways of screwing something up than making it better.

    I just don’t see generally greater health in high-IQ types. Lots of smart people I know are nearsighted, lanky, or physically uncoordinated.
     
    Manwho much? IQ is correlated with health, not commensurate with it. One good manwho deserves another, what about Richard Lynn, James Watson, or even the late Arthur Jensen? Many brainy folks live to a ripe old age with minimal sign of impairment. The above studies show a clear positive relationship between IQ and health.

    Meanwhile, lots of top athletes, the pictures of genetic fitness, fill remedial classes and need tons of tutors to get through the easiest majors at their universities.
     
    Are we talking within race, or between them? Genetic load is probably responsible primarily for within race variance. Between race variance is largely another matter. But indeed, there is evidence that athletes die earlier than others, so just how healthy are they?

    Jews are generally agreed to have a higher average IQ than other groups. And they also have a whole host of genetic diseases not common to other groups
     
    Ashkenazis recently went through fairly intense selection for intelligence. That probably promoted a whole host of sub-optimal "quick fix" IQ-boosting genes. That said, a good question is are more intelligent Jews healthier, overall, than less intelligent ones?

    It’s possible to be extraordinarily well adapted and not have a high IQ. IQ is emphatically not the measure of fitness for most creatures and most creatures do not even try to have a high IQ. A hypothically genetically perfect creature may be naturally dumb. It seems clear that to me that this variation in what the target even is applies to different humans and human groups too.

     

    You're probably quite correct. Razib Khan raised a similar point. In general, I suspect genetic load is a part of the story with health, not the whole story. But thinking of IQ as a measure of general fitness is a fairly good approximation.

    Hispanics in America have a considerably longer life expectancy than whites.
     
    This may very well be thanks to their Iberian component. Southwestern Europeans are known for longevity. An interesting question on this matter is how Latin American lifespans compare to their source populations'.

    Why, then do high IQ types live longer? Many reasons, all added up. They will do a better job avoiding danger, finding good living conditions, staying active and more. ‘Genetic load’ is not the explanation.

     

    I think it's clear at this point that you can't make that declaration. There is evidence that suggests that the longer life of higher-IQ people isn't just due to better self-care, as noted above.
    , @Dan
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    I might have more thoughts but here are few for now...

    (1) First I will concede that genetic load does have *some* explanatory power, in the sense of broadly debilitating things such as Down's Syndrome and a few others. But I think most genetic defects are not syndromic like that.

    (2) Good prenatal and childhood nutrition have large positive effects on both IQ and lifelong health. Folks like Richard Lynn, James Watson, or Arthur Jensen would certainly have had good prenatal and childhood nutrition.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11244286

    (3) People who are nearsighted (a clear defect) are on average *substantially* more intelligent that their non-nearsighted peers. The reasons are not known, but the stereotype is true.
    http://blog.zennioptical.com/are-people-with-nearsightedness-smarter/

    which leads me to

    (4) I would theorize that high IQ types can actually tolerate a *higher* genetic load. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot but who has a high IQ, I will probably manage just fine. There are lots of things I can do. If I am a 98 pound weakling who gets sick a lot and is also not that smart, there is not a lot I can do and there is not a lot that is a attractive about me. Stephen Hawking would have died of neglect in a care facility decades ago if he wasn't smart.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GsUl3_1ezpI/S_S45B31mPI/AAAAAAAAAGA/3UKCUfJmwbI/s1600/stephen-hawking.jpg

    I would make a Dungeons and Dragons analogy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_gameplay#Ability_scores

    The fitness of a player is based on scores in a number of categories. Surely someone who has excellent intelligence, wisdom and charisma needs a lot less of the other things (strength, dexterity and constitution/health) to do well whereas someone who is poor in these categories needs a lot more of the other things to get by.

    I wouldn't be surprised if people ultimately discover that high IQ types actually have more genetic load on average, although I repeat that I don't quite know what I mean by genetic load since it is so situational. Heck, Hawking's condition, which looks like a horrible defect from all angles, has been an overwhelming positive for his career and his fame.

    , @Dan
    "That smart 98 lb weakling would be fine today. In pre-modern times, not so much."

    That smart 98 lb weakling probably could have done fine as a craftsman or scholar or financier or trader or range of other professions that would have existed over the last 800 years in England or other places.

    , @Dan
    " The brain, being the place where most genes are expressed, is the biggest mutational target."

    Is this true? Is it true that a majority of genes are involved with the brain? Certainly genes that relate to things like metabolism or the immune system could indirectly affect the brain, but does the brain really express 'most genes'?

    Do you have evidence for this statement (links are great!), because if it is true I suppose I'd have to concede a lot of the argument.

    , @Dan
    Yes, Trivers does suggest that possibility in his book, doesn't he? Good point.

    Trivers doesn't cite any scientific source in that book, but then again he is a giant in his field, and he surely knows a bit about the topic.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anthony
    Malnutrition depresses IQ, and most adults in Romania spent some of their lives under Communism, which wasn't always so good at keeping its subjects fed. Romania is *still* poor, and food is expensive relative to incomes, so Romanians are less *able* to get fat despite any greater propensity to fatness.

    Perhaps. I’m not sure that’s the explanatory variable in Eastern Europe. But, Belarus does seem to be an outlier there for some reason. They also claim to have very low unemployment…

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  • @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    It's a good point with some validity, but it doesn't explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU's slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU's fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is harmful ("traditional American cuisine"), then the masses will tend to default to harmful behaviour. (Pizza and burgers every day) The cognitive elite will be better able to identify and avoid these harmful behaviour patterns. (Eat a salad).

    This applies to other life decisions, like marriage. A large marriage gap is developing between the masses and the cognitive elites. Although in that case there are obvious cheater strategies that some segments of the masses can adopt.

    Of course, this is oversimplified, as it ignores the role of the cognitive elite in destroying traditions, creating a situation where the cognitive elite can thrive (or at least do alright) while the masses really, really struggle to make their own decisions.

    Malnutrition depresses IQ, and most adults in Romania spent some of their lives under Communism, which wasn’t always so good at keeping its subjects fed. Romania is *still* poor, and food is expensive relative to incomes, so Romanians are less *able* to get fat despite any greater propensity to fatness.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    Perhaps. I'm not sure that's the explanatory variable in Eastern Europe. But, Belarus does seem to be an outlier there for some reason. They also claim to have very low unemployment...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Some anti-HBD, anti-manosphere genetic denialist nonsense by Mark Manson, ex-PUA. The kind of stuff you specialize in debunking. Check it out:

    http://postmasculine.com/the-biology-bias

    I clicked on the link and nothing he wrote was debunkable;

    “In psychology, there’s a well-observed phenomenon known as the actor/observer bias and it states that we’re basically all a bunch of assholes.

    The actor/observer bias states that all of us unconsciously assume others to be more responsible for their negative actions than their environment, and for ourselves to be less responsible for our negative actions than our environment.

    For example, if you are at an intersection and someone runs through the red light and almost hits you, you think, “Wow, what a shitty driver. That guy is an idiot.” But when it’s YOU who runs the red light and almost hits somebody, you think, “It’s not my fault. The guy in front of me was driving slow and the light changed too quickly for me to stop.”

    When it’s us, it’s not our fault. When it’s someone else, they’re a shitty person.

    But it gets worse. The opposite happens with positive actions, too. In our own case, we over-estimate our own responsibility for the great things we do and under-estimate the responsibility of others. For example, if someone else wins a prestigious award, we make assumptions that they got it because of their connections or some sort of conspiracy and not of their own work. But if we win an award, we assume it was all because of the great work we did.

    The actor/observer is a natural bias that afflicts us all. We can be mindful and try to be better about it, but we’re never completely rid of it. ”

    ….. The rest of his article is similarly not debunkable. We are a combination of nature and nurture. Otherwise there would be no point to education or culture at all. All we should just do then is be born, exist, and let chips fall where they may. Which is not what humans do.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @EvolutionistX
    It's my personal observation that high-IQ people develop more slowly, physically/social-maturity-speaking. They are children longer, they hit puberty later, etc. So it is not surprising that they would die later, too. I've read (probably here) that higher-IQ populations have longer gestations. It all adds up to more time for brain development. (By implication, then, environments which encourage high fertility would depress IQ because early adolescence would limit brain development.)

    The smart kids end up socially "behind", smaller than their peers, and too smart for the material being taught. Poor kids!

    Staffan, “Human civilization with its safer environment creates an opportunity for people to stay more childlike, which increases crystallized intelligence. That is, the more civilized a society is, the more advantageous neoteny becomes. And since the level of civilization is almost by definition a matter of intelligence, this means that neoteny is a way for smart people to get even smarter. (Just speculating a little here.)”

    Then the US is in trouble because I find kids here to be sexually maturing earlier and earlier.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Some anti-HBD, anti-manosphere genetic denialist nonsense by Mark Manson, ex-PUA. The kind of stuff you specialize in debunking. Check it out:

    http://postmasculine.com/the-biology-bias

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I clicked on the link and nothing he wrote was debunkable;

    "In psychology, there’s a well-observed phenomenon known as the actor/observer bias and it states that we’re basically all a bunch of assholes.

    The actor/observer bias states that all of us unconsciously assume others to be more responsible for their negative actions than their environment, and for ourselves to be less responsible for our negative actions than our environment.

    For example, if you are at an intersection and someone runs through the red light and almost hits you, you think, “Wow, what a shitty driver. That guy is an idiot.” But when it’s YOU who runs the red light and almost hits somebody, you think, “It’s not my fault. The guy in front of me was driving slow and the light changed too quickly for me to stop.”

    When it’s us, it’s not our fault. When it’s someone else, they’re a shitty person.

    But it gets worse. The opposite happens with positive actions, too. In our own case, we over-estimate our own responsibility for the great things we do and under-estimate the responsibility of others. For example, if someone else wins a prestigious award, we make assumptions that they got it because of their connections or some sort of conspiracy and not of their own work. But if we win an award, we assume it was all because of the great work we did.

    The actor/observer is a natural bias that afflicts us all. We can be mindful and try to be better about it, but we’re never completely rid of it. "

    ..... The rest of his article is similarly not debunkable. We are a combination of nature and nurture. Otherwise there would be no point to education or culture at all. All we should just do then is be born, exist, and let chips fall where they may. Which is not what humans do.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • szopen says: • Website
    @EvolutionistX
    It's my personal observation that high-IQ people develop more slowly, physically/social-maturity-speaking. They are children longer, they hit puberty later, etc. So it is not surprising that they would die later, too. I've read (probably here) that higher-IQ populations have longer gestations. It all adds up to more time for brain development. (By implication, then, environments which encourage high fertility would depress IQ because early adolescence would limit brain development.)

    The smart kids end up socially "behind", smaller than their peers, and too smart for the material being taught. Poor kids!

    There could be something about it – definetely I matured much, much later than many of my less gifted friends. Moreover, males height is rising only up to 20s, right? I was 179 at 18, 181 at 30, and NOW I am 182 meaning I have raised another cm AFTER 30, clearly impossible, right? And people claim I look as if I was ten years younger …

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  • JayMan says: • Website
    @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    I think the points you raise play a role, but on the other hand, the Anglo-American populations that currently suffer from high levels of obesity were much thinner only 50 years ago. They could have afforded fattening food back then, if they'd really wanted it. The genes haven't changed, but the environment has.

    Fattening foods (modern junk food) largely didn’t exist back then. As well, the much higher rate of smoking could have been keeping people thinner.

    That said, you are correct. The environment did change. The relevant questions are can we change it to one where people are thinner, and if yes, how?

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  • @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    It's a good point with some validity, but it doesn't explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU's slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU's fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is harmful ("traditional American cuisine"), then the masses will tend to default to harmful behaviour. (Pizza and burgers every day) The cognitive elite will be better able to identify and avoid these harmful behaviour patterns. (Eat a salad).

    This applies to other life decisions, like marriage. A large marriage gap is developing between the masses and the cognitive elites. Although in that case there are obvious cheater strategies that some segments of the masses can adopt.

    Of course, this is oversimplified, as it ignores the role of the cognitive elite in destroying traditions, creating a situation where the cognitive elite can thrive (or at least do alright) while the masses really, really struggle to make their own decisions.

    I think the points you raise play a role, but on the other hand, the Anglo-American populations that currently suffer from high levels of obesity were much thinner only 50 years ago. They could have afforded fattening food back then, if they’d really wanted it. The genes haven’t changed, but the environment has.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    Fattening foods (modern junk food) largely didn't exist back then. As well, the much higher rate of smoking could have been keeping people thinner.

    That said, you are correct. The environment did change. The relevant questions are can we change it to one where people are thinner, and if yes, how?

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  • JayMan says: • Website
    @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    It's a good point with some validity, but it doesn't explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU's slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU's fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is harmful ("traditional American cuisine"), then the masses will tend to default to harmful behaviour. (Pizza and burgers every day) The cognitive elite will be better able to identify and avoid these harmful behaviour patterns. (Eat a salad).

    This applies to other life decisions, like marriage. A large marriage gap is developing between the masses and the cognitive elites. Although in that case there are obvious cheater strategies that some segments of the masses can adopt.

    Of course, this is oversimplified, as it ignores the role of the cognitive elite in destroying traditions, creating a situation where the cognitive elite can thrive (or at least do alright) while the masses really, really struggle to make their own decisions.

    BTW, it’s worth noting that cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is largely flipped between Western and Eastern Europeans with respect to obesity: CVD increases as you go from SW to NE in Europe. See:

    A Fat Problem With Heart Health Wisdom « JayMan’s Blog

    and

    And Yet Another Tale of Two Maps | JayMan’s Blog

    In other words, the thinnest Europeans aren’t necessarily the healthiest.

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  • JayMan says: • Website
    @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    It's a good point with some validity, but it doesn't explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU's slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU's fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is harmful ("traditional American cuisine"), then the masses will tend to default to harmful behaviour. (Pizza and burgers every day) The cognitive elite will be better able to identify and avoid these harmful behaviour patterns. (Eat a salad).

    This applies to other life decisions, like marriage. A large marriage gap is developing between the masses and the cognitive elites. Although in that case there are obvious cheater strategies that some segments of the masses can adopt.

    Of course, this is oversimplified, as it ignores the role of the cognitive elite in destroying traditions, creating a situation where the cognitive elite can thrive (or at least do alright) while the masses really, really struggle to make their own decisions.

    It’s a good point with some validity, but it doesn’t explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU’s slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU’s fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    I don’t think IQ explains much of the difference between groups, but it probably explains a lot of the difference within groups.

    For more on regional differences in body weight, see here:

    A Fat World – With a Fat Secret? | JayMan’s Blog

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    This echoes something Peter Frost recently wrote. While it probably plays some of a role in obesity, I don’t think it plays much. Genetic propensity (both in terms of metabolism and junk food addictive potential) is probably the overwhelming factor.

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  • It’s a good point with some validity, but it doesn’t explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU’s slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU’s fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/

    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is harmful (“traditional American cuisine”), then the masses will tend to default to harmful behaviour. (Pizza and burgers every day) The cognitive elite will be better able to identify and avoid these harmful behaviour patterns. (Eat a salad).

    This applies to other life decisions, like marriage. A large marriage gap is developing between the masses and the cognitive elites. Although in that case there are obvious cheater strategies that some segments of the masses can adopt.

    Of course, this is oversimplified, as it ignores the role of the cognitive elite in destroying traditions, creating a situation where the cognitive elite can thrive (or at least do alright) while the masses really, really struggle to make their own decisions.

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    • Replies: @JayMan

    It’s a good point with some validity, but it doesn’t explain everything.

    Romania has an average IQ of 94, but it is the EU’s slimmest nation.

    The UK has an average IQ of 100, but it is the EU’s fattest nation.

    http://www.romania-insider.com/eu-obesity-report-slim-trim-romania-big-fat-britain/41647/
     

    I don't think IQ explains much of the difference between groups, but it probably explains a lot of the difference within groups.

    For more on regional differences in body weight, see here:

    A Fat World – With a Fat Secret? | JayMan's Blog


    My thought is that functional traditions can take much of the burden of thinking away from the lower IQ segments of the population.

    If a society is traditional with regard to a certain life decision and that tradition is beneficial, then the masses will tend to default to beneficial behaviour.

    If a society has no tradition or weak tradition with regard to a certain life decision, then the masses will have to make their own decisions, with disastrous consequences. The cognitive elite will be better able to handle this added complexity. (They still make a lot of mistakes though.)
     

    This echoes something Peter Frost recently wrote. While it probably plays some of a role in obesity, I don't think it plays much. Genetic propensity (both in terms of metabolism and junk food addictive potential) is probably the overwhelming factor.
    , @JayMan
    BTW, it's worth noting that cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is largely flipped between Western and Eastern Europeans with respect to obesity: CVD increases as you go from SW to NE in Europe. See:

    A Fat Problem With Heart Health Wisdom « JayMan's Blog

    and

    And Yet Another Tale of Two Maps | JayMan's Blog

    In other words, the thinnest Europeans aren't necessarily the healthiest.

    , @Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes
    I think the points you raise play a role, but on the other hand, the Anglo-American populations that currently suffer from high levels of obesity were much thinner only 50 years ago. They could have afforded fattening food back then, if they'd really wanted it. The genes haven't changed, but the environment has.
    , @Anthony
    Malnutrition depresses IQ, and most adults in Romania spent some of their lives under Communism, which wasn't always so good at keeping its subjects fed. Romania is *still* poor, and food is expensive relative to incomes, so Romanians are less *able* to get fat despite any greater propensity to fatness.
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  • [...] and IQ and IQ and Death – from [...]

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  • @panjoomby
    "...it would seem that the conventional wisdom – that we need to eat “right”, exercise, keep thin, etc., to live a long, healthy life is ...BS." amen, Jay-buddy! wonder if there are data from twin studies re: whether the higher-IQ twin lived longer... to get more out of that data with mainly Nordic-European stock, throw in some australian aborigines, etc. the more variability in that data, the stronger the relationship between IQ & age. hmm, then we could compute stats such as a "140" can smoke a pack a day & live to be the same age as a "125."

    Very good point! I will look and see of there are sibling studies. I’d imagine the data can easily be extracted from the Swedish conscript study, as there must be many brothers in the sample…

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  • “…it would seem that the conventional wisdom – that we need to eat “right”, exercise, keep thin, etc., to live a long, healthy life is …BS.” amen, Jay-buddy! wonder if there are data from twin studies re: whether the higher-IQ twin lived longer… to get more out of that data with mainly Nordic-European stock, throw in some australian aborigines, etc. the more variability in that data, the stronger the relationship between IQ & age. hmm, then we could compute stats such as a “140″ can smoke a pack a day & live to be the same age as a “125.”

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    Very good point! I will look and see of there are sibling studies. I'd imagine the data can easily be extracted from the Swedish conscript study, as there must be many brothers in the sample...
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  • @EvolutionistX
    It's my personal observation that high-IQ people develop more slowly, physically/social-maturity-speaking. They are children longer, they hit puberty later, etc. So it is not surprising that they would die later, too. I've read (probably here) that higher-IQ populations have longer gestations. It all adds up to more time for brain development. (By implication, then, environments which encourage high fertility would depress IQ because early adolescence would limit brain development.)

    The smart kids end up socially "behind", smaller than their peers, and too smart for the material being taught. Poor kids!

    Human civilization with its safer environment creates an opportunity for people to stay more childlike, which increases crystallized intelligence. That is, the more civilized a society is, the more advantageous neoteny becomes. And since the level of civilization is almost by definition a matter of intelligence, this means that neoteny is a way for smart people to get even smarter. (Just speculating a little here.)

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  • It’s my personal observation that high-IQ people develop more slowly, physically/social-maturity-speaking. They are children longer, they hit puberty later, etc. So it is not surprising that they would die later, too. I’ve read (probably here) that higher-IQ populations have longer gestations. It all adds up to more time for brain development. (By implication, then, environments which encourage high fertility would depress IQ because early adolescence would limit brain development.)

    The smart kids end up socially “behind”, smaller than their peers, and too smart for the material being taught. Poor kids!

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    • Replies: @Staffan
    Human civilization with its safer environment creates an opportunity for people to stay more childlike, which increases crystallized intelligence. That is, the more civilized a society is, the more advantageous neoteny becomes. And since the level of civilization is almost by definition a matter of intelligence, this means that neoteny is a way for smart people to get even smarter. (Just speculating a little here.)
    , @szopen
    There could be something about it - definetely I matured much, much later than many of my less gifted friends. Moreover, males height is rising only up to 20s, right? I was 179 at 18, 181 at 30, and NOW I am 182 meaning I have raised another cm AFTER 30, clearly impossible, right? And people claim I look as if I was ten years younger ...
    , @Anonymous
    Staffan, "Human civilization with its safer environment creates an opportunity for people to stay more childlike, which increases crystallized intelligence. That is, the more civilized a society is, the more advantageous neoteny becomes. And since the level of civilization is almost by definition a matter of intelligence, this means that neoteny is a way for smart people to get even smarter. (Just speculating a little here.)"

    Then the US is in trouble because I find kids here to be sexually maturing earlier and earlier.

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  • Good post! I agree that I think it is a utopian fantasy that weight is going to be kept in BMI correct portions in the modern era. It shocks me how many people who follow HBD and understand human limitations in other fields suddenly sound like nurture based egalitarians when questions of weight and diet come up. I suspect if there is to be a reduction in weight among the general American population in the future it will come from something like mimAB1 or beloranib and not constant starvation diets.

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  • Aye I suppose the USA is the main example. Of course it could be argued both ways…some might say if you’re highly likely to die of a number of things, and your IQ is so low you’re not likely to make any worthwhile contribution to society, then why should everyone else support you and keep you alive for a few more frivolous years? Very cruel world sometimes.

    Oh and thanks for the article there, reminds me a wee bit of ‘A Social History of Dying’ by Allan Kellehear.

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  • @Stakhanovite
    Let's say you're right and there is a link, it would certainly provide an interesting debate on the future of healthcare. As an example, in those countries without universal health-care, would an officially-recorded IQ start to influence how much you pay on your premium?

    With some real end-of-life Conversations at that:

    How Not to Die – Jonathan Rauch – The Atlantic

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  • @Stakhanovite
    Let's say you're right and there is a link, it would certainly provide an interesting debate on the future of healthcare. As an example, in those countries without universal health-care, would an officially-recorded IQ start to influence how much you pay on your premium?

    In the developed world, that’s the United States, right? I don’t know how well the pattern holds for non-Europeans (I’d imagine it does hold). I guess this is an argument for universal healthcare.

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  • Let’s say you’re right and there is a link, it would certainly provide an interesting debate on the future of healthcare. As an example, in those countries without universal health-care, would an officially-recorded IQ start to influence how much you pay on your premium?

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    In the developed world, that's the United States, right? I don't know how well the pattern holds for non-Europeans (I'd imagine it does hold). I guess this is an argument for universal healthcare.
    , @JayMan
    With some real end-of-life Conversations at that:

    How Not to Die - Jonathan Rauch - The Atlantic

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  • You are right to be skeptical of that Victorian study. It is full of factual and basic conceptual errors and I am amazed that it was ever published.

    At 65, men could expect another ten years of life; and women another eight [24,32,33] (the lower figure for women reflects the high danger of death in childbirth, mainly from causes unrelated to malnutrition). This compares surprisingly favourably with today’s figures: life expectancy at birth (reflecting our improved standards of neo-natal care) averages 75.9 years (men) and 81.3 years (women);

    This, for example, which contains two howling errors, betrays the authors’ profound lack of understanding about basic demography and disqualify them from seriously writing about it.

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    • Replies: @Toddy Cat
    Yes, and it was obvious. I mean lack of drinking in Victorian England? Really? REALLY?!?
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  • It's Friday the 13th. So why not a morbid post? I stumbled onto to some "life tables" for 2007. Actually what the link gives you is the probability of death and life expectancy at a given age for males and females. This is obviously important for purposes of private and public insurance. The tables are...
  • I’d rather see the quartiles. In science we give the mean and variance of our estimates.

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  • In the American data, as in most countries, wars are trivial as a cause of death.

    Think traffic, violence, drug use, suicide…

    Young men are the big risk takers.

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  • My first thought was that the boys become slightly more prone to take risks than girls. I thought there was a suicide difference also. And wars.

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  • Yea, I’m kinda curious. Why do males have such a higher death probability at 15-35 (3x !). Are we more prone to a particular disease (heart disease maybe?)?, higher suicide rates?, more likely to die in violence?

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  • My over / under is 2027. My genetics would make me older than the norm, but my lifestyle probably cancels that.

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  • I’m surprised to see that a significant fraction of the life expectancy difference between men/women is actually from higher death rates among 14-35 year olds in males.

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  • @Brian
    This may come as a shock, but eventually the probability of death for both men AND women is exactly the same: 100%.
    < /gentleribbing >

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  • I didn’t know about the gender convergence at extreme old age. Interesting.

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  • 1. Long Live Death! Why is everyone so afraid of death? Granted, it is directly opposed to our instinct of self-preservation; but in reality, our intellect should recognize it as the road to the ultimate freedom - a world free of boxes, restrictions, the prison of existence itself. As the Japanese saying goes, "while duty...
  • @Ombrageux
    Then why not suicide? Camus posed the question but never arrived at anything like a remotely relevant answer.

    Miguel de Unamuno answers the question better, perhaps.

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  • Then why not suicide? Camus posed the question but never arrived at anything like a remotely relevant answer.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Miguel de Unamuno answers the question better, perhaps.
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  • Thank you all – Greg, Brett, Lloyd, Natalie – for your insightful and meaningful comments.

    @вебмастер,
    Yes, there’ll be a continuation. As soon as I get another three Facebook Notes of a similar nature.

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  • А будет продолжение?

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  • Your thoughts on death reminded me of one of my favorite passages from Shakespeare, from Measure for Measure:

    Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
    To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
    This sensible warm motion to become
    A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
    To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
    In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
    To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
    And blown with restless violence round about
    The pendant world; or to be worse than worst
    Of those that lawless and incertain thoughts
    Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!
    The weariest and most loathed worldly life
    That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
    Can lay on nature is a paradise
    To what we fear of death.

    Of course, if I am interpreting it correctly, that passage assumes that there is an afterlife, and therefore something concrete to fear. Perhaps one would not have such fears if one were convinced that there is no afterlife, that death is simply nothingness? Even then, that is a scary thought to me.

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  • I’ve recently seen both my parents die. Neither seemed terribly afraid at the very end, although that could be an individual quirk rather than a universal attribute. But I feel moderately unmoved by the thought of death myself these days, so I expect I have may have inherited that indifference. When I was younger I was much more afraid, which is probably part of the reason I have survived into my late fifties reasonably unmarked and unscarred.

    Fear of death is instinctive, but the old, having done most of the business of life and now living on into functional uselessness, can safely leave instinct behind.

    I would therefore expect the fear of death, at least partly, to be more marked in a society with a younger demographic.

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  • I think it makes sense to be scared of death for at least two reasons:

    1. Dying is often very painful and protracted. It is entirely natural to be afraid of pain.

    2. People we love will (hopefully!) be very sad when we die and they survive us. It is entirely natural to want our loved ones to avoid protracted sadness. If extreme sadness is also a form of pain, then we are afraid of our loved ones being in protracted pain as a result of our death.

    Apart from the above, I don’t really know any other reasons for fearing our death that is not somehow bound up in our own egotism at not existing any longer.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts here.

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  • But a reproduction that yields order cannot be all bad. Better to annihilate nihilism itself from the conscious awareness of people. Man cannot survive long under a reign of nihilism.

    Nietzsche’s abyss is profound, his effort to transcend it, in the end, I believe failed. Those who inherit his insight would do well to understand his limits and his failure. He was right to desire the conquest of nihilism, yet his aesthetic methodology for accomplishing this failed because it was ultimately inhuman.

    While man may wish to transcend himself, and may one day if we reach the so-called singularity, however, until then, his transcendence can and must be ethereal. Should the singularity not be reached, that ethereal transcendence will, by necessity, be eternal. Indeed, that may be the only place where the truly sublime resides.

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  • You likely saw the news story: The 62-year-old said he was told by doctors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske that he only had a short time left to live. So he quit his job and stopped paying his mortgage, instead splashing out on a lavish lifestyle of hotels, restaurants and holidays. Then the...
  • This post makes me hate the Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying”, even more than I do already.

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