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People don’t believe me when I say that way back in the early 1970s, neoconservatives were often first-rate social scientists interested in empirically studying domestic issues rather than merely the Israel Booster Club. As I wrote in 2016:

Back in the 1970s, the first generation of Jewish neoconservatives, such as sociologist Nathan Glazer in his 1975 anti-racial-preferences book Affirmative Discrimination, lamented that the white-privilege logic that imposed racial quotas upon whites in general could easily be used to inflict even more onerous burdens on the most successful group of whites, Jews.

After all, if statistics showing that whites saved more money, did better in school, and committed fewer crimes than blacks were considered prima facie evidence of white racism, what would the same rationale imply about statistics revealing that American Jews enjoy advantages over other whites roughly as large as whites enjoy over blacks? Surely, the pseudo-logic of “€œwhite privilege”€ would ultimately be bad for the Jews?

But this proved to be an example of smart Jews overthinking a potential problem by assuming that he who says A (“€œwhite privilege”€) must say B (“€œJewish privilege”€).

In reality, if Jews sufficiently reward blacks for saying A and punish gentiles for saying B, there isn”€™t much danger of logical consistency after all. For example, in 1990, the media suddenly stopped praising film director Spike Lee for excoriating whites and turned on him for poking fun at greedy Jewish nightclub owners who financially exploit unworldly black jazz musicians, such as Spike’s dad. The artist’s career never quite recovered, and the message was delivered: Europhobia can be a good career move, but criticizing Jews will bring instant retribution down on your head.

Not surprisingly, in the 1990s, Glazer changed his mind and started supporting affirmative action.

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In 1995 leftist anthropologist Jonathan Marks coined the term “human biodiversity” in his book of that name. I came up with the phrase independently but second in history, as I immediately discovered by entering the phrase into the early Alta Vista search engine. In the later 1990s, Dr. Marks and I agreed to propose to magazines that we debate whether race exists for the edification of their readers. But, it turned out, editors were not as enthusiastic about the idea as he and I were.

Here’s a comment to a book review in Aero by Cody Moser of Is Science Racist? by Marks:

A New Radical Centrism (@a_centrism) says:
January 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm
This review only flits around the reason that I believe that the scientific method is coming under intensified and coordinated attack from the activist left in academia –- and that reason is preemption. It has to do with cutting off the opposing army before it can land the final devastating and humiliating blow: Direct evidence for the genetic basis of important group differences.

2018 was a year in which you began to get the sense that the environmentalists in the nature-versus-nurture debate on differences in individual cognitive and behavioral traits finally threw in the towel. Huge genome-wide-association studies (GWAS) and tools like polygenic risk scoring took over where twin studies had fairly convincingly left off, but added the coup de grace –- hundreds of specific genes and variants were identified and associated with traits and outcomes like cognition and educational attainment

As the year faded, standard bearers for the left like the New York Times, the Guardian, and New Statesman -– each aggressively hostile over the years to genetic arguments (the case of Nicholas Wade at the NYT is an example of what happens when you dare to go against the environmental orthodoxy) –- began to start to walk a tightrope across the chasm between what their readers (indoctrinated in the pleasantries of the blank slate religion) wanted to read and what science was actually saying. Sometimes you had to read between the lines, but the message was clear: We’ve got some bad news for you. To be able to maintain any credibility among the scientists doing the most important research, these papers all realized that they had to back down from their pro-environment positions, and they did.

And so, with respect to individual differences in these traits, the verdict appeared to be in: Genes had finally won. This was especially true with respect to intelligence. It is now estimated -– based upon large studies conducted over the last several years — that by mid-adulthood about eighty percent of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by genes. With respect to certain executive cognitive functions, a large study found that up to 100 percent of these are heritable.

But the genes-versus-environment battle over individual differences isn’t the big one for the left. The big one -– potentially Armageddon –- is the battle over group differences. A genetic basis for the consistent and significant gaps in IQ between racial groups (e.g., a staggering twenty-point difference between African Americans and Asian-Americans) has the potential of destroying the foundation upon which much of the progressive-left project in the US has been built, leaving it no more excuses, no more facile blame-throwing at “oppressive social forces.” The statistical and empirical evidence for a genetic basis for racial IQ gaps –- called “circumstantial” by the left –- is already overwhelming, consisting as it does of IQ data from over 500,000 persons obtained through a variety of different scientifically-validated tests (some actually deliberately designed to skew toward blacks or against Asians), adoption studies, racial admixture studies, controlled-for-SES studies, brain studies, and so on. The desperation of the left, evidenced in tactics such as its endless smear campaigns against honorable and respected scientists like Arthur Jensen, suggests that it quietly (and perhaps even subconsciously) suspects that the worst is true. Otherwise, why would it so aggressively fight against the idea of funding for rigorous scientific research which should, to their way of thinking, ultimately produce the promised egalitarian result?

If 2018 was the year in which the genes-versus-environment battle over individual differences was finally decided in favor of genes, then 2019 is already shaping up as a year in which a preemptive strike by the activist left in the battle over group differences is going to be launched. Is Science Racist? is just a bit player in this spectacle. Most of it is going to play out in places like the New York Times, which in the past two weeks alone has gone after after James Watson (low-hanging fruit) and now –- predictably after his courageous NYT op-ed back in March 2018 attacking the scientific validity of the notion of race as a purely social construct — even the formidable David Reich. The attacks will be shameless, involve diversions and strawmen like “white supremacy” — shouldn’t it be “northeast Asian supremacy” or “Ashkenazi Jewish” supremacy, anyway? — and, as always, be thin on the actual science. Politically-motivated hacks like Amy Harmon, the NYT’s hitwoman (a science reporter with no training in a scientific field), will interview third-rate scientists with deep activist resumes (or will simply avoid interviewing scientists at all) and avoid eminent figures (like Richard Haier or even James Flynn) who she knows will tell her things that she and her editors and readers don’t want to hear. Institutions like the Times may believe that morality and compassion are on their side, but their fervor and desperation suggest that they already know that science isn’t.

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Marie Kondo is a Japanese consultant on tidying up who writes extremely Japanese bestsellers about how you should thank every item you own before ritually throwing it away.

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From the New York Times:

Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder at Indigenous Peoples March

By Sarah Mervosh, Jan. 19, 2019

They were Catholic high school students who came to Washington on a field trip to rally at the March for Life.

He was a Native American veteran of the Vietnam War who was there to raise awareness at the Indigenous Peoples March.

They intersected on Friday in an unsettling encounter outside the Lincoln Memorial — a throng of cheering and jeering high school boys, predominantly white and wearing “Make America Great Again” gear, surrounding a Native American elder.

The episode was being investigated and the students could face punishment, up to and including expulsion, their school said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

In video footage that was shared widely on social media, one boy, wearing the red hat that has become a signature of President Trump, stood directly in front of the elder, who stared impassively ahead while playing a ceremonial drum.

So a child stood his ground while an adult banged a drum in his face?

Some boys in the group wore clothing associated with Covington Catholic High School, an all-male college preparatory school in Park Hills, Ky., near Cincinnati.

Probably some second cousins of Brett Kavanaugh went there, if you know what I mean.

The school had advertised that students would attend this year’s March for Life Rally, which took place in Washington on Friday. In a letter to parents, the trip was described as an opportunity for students to live out their faith and demonstrate in support of all life “born and unborn.”

In a statement, the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School condemned the behavior by the students and extended their “deepest apologies” to the elder, as well as to Native Americans in general. …

Of course, that wasn’t exactly the way it happened.

“What is not being shown on the video is that the same youth and a few others became emotional because of the power, resilience and love we inherently carry in our DNA,” another organizer, Nathalie Farfan, said.

See, the aggressive drum-banging adult has good DNA while the self-restrained child has evil DNA. That’s all you need to know these days.

Update: This kind of thing seems to happen to this “Native Elder” a lot. From in 2015:

Native American claims racial harassment by EMU students dressed as indians

By: Dave Spencer
POSTED: APR 22 2015 12:01AM EDT

An Ypsilanti man says he was trying to teach a few students dressed in American Indian theme party about respecting Native Americans.

Not long afterward, Nathan Phillips said that an interaction with party-goers and students turned ugly.
Nathan Phillips says he was out for a noon walk on a Saturday in mid-April. He walked by a home where he saw Eastern Michigan University students dressed as Native Americans.

“They had little feathers on, I was just going to walk by,” Phillips said. “A group of them said ‘Come on over, come here.'”

He says he walked over to the fence and saw roughly 30 to 40 students involved in a theme party.

“They had their face painted,” Phillips said. “I said what the heck is going on here. ‘Oh we are honoring you.’ I said no you are not honoring me.”

It was a statement he says they took offense to.

“Then started whooping and hollering,” he said. “I said that wasn’t honoring, that was racist. Then at that time, it really got ugly.”

Phillips says he was bombarded with racial slurs.

“(They said) ‘Go back to the reservation, you blank indian,'” he said.

One student, he says, threw a beer can at him.

Nathan Phillips appears to surface in the media quite regularly. For example, here’s a video by some Scientologist called Skrillex that has 380 million views. It appears to star Phillips in a completely non-cliched role as the wise tribal elder. Warning: this music by Skrillex sounds as awful as you’d expect from how the name “Skrillex” sounds. It sounds like the B side of a 1979 Clash single. Didn’t musical styles used to change?

Phillips should do a Spanish-language public service announcement in which he cries at all the littering done by Hispanics.

And is he really a Vietnam Vet? When was he born? Wasn’t he born in 1955, which means he didn’t turn 18 until 1973, and the U.S. got out of Vietnam in the winter of 1973, when he’d still be at best in boot camp. (On the other hand, lots of guys are said to have joined the military before their 18th birthday.

Granted, the concept of a “Vietnam Era Vet” can be pretty expansive. My cousin was in the military in the late 1960s, but instead of being sent to Vietnam, he served as a typist in a NATO headquarters in Venice, Italy. He commuted to the office each day in a gondola. But he’s still a Vietnam Era Vet.

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Apparently, the President will make an announcement on Saturday. What should it be? What shouldn’t it be?

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At West Hunter, Greg Cochran unloads on the New York Times:

Primitive tribesmen complain about technologically superior invaders

Posted on January 18, 2019 by gcochran9

There is a new article in the New York Times Magazine (Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps?) , in which some pinhead repeats complaints about David Reich crushing his enemies [archaeologists] , driving them before him, and hearing the lamentations of their women. He doesn’t give them much respect.

They don’t deserve respect. Sure, he has a far more powerful method. Sequencing DNA gives you billions of bits, orders of magnitude more than staring at potsherds. But it is fair to look at how archaeologists did with the tools they had: terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. They really, really wanted to create detailed stories of local social change, stories that didn’t sound like something by Robert E, Howard, full of thud and blunder. Not stories about barbarian conquest, population replacement, and mating with nonhuman races.

But that’s what happened….

Aryan Invasion theory: An Aryan invasion (!) , offensive to local feelings in India, sounds almost like colonialism, blah blah blah. But correct….

And so on, and so on. They had one job…

Does this mean that David Reich is without sin? No. He occasionally genuflects to the PC powers that be, sometimes smearing the innocent in the process. Is his success going to his head – might he tend to underrate peer review when he has Nick Patterson on his side? Maybe. Should he think very carefully about sample conservation, perhaps saving some for improved future methods? Sure.

But he’s contributing to knowledge, while the archaeologists were sliding backwards, less correct in 2018 than in 1930.

Read the whole thing there.

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Around 1990-91 I started writing op-eds for newspapers as a hobby. The pay wasn’t much $75 to $150 per 750 word essay, but it was fun to get paid. But that brought up the question of whether I should use my real name or pick a pseudonym. Going with a realistic sounding pseudonym (e.g., Mark Twain rather than Publius) sounded most prudent. But I really wanted to cash checks for my writing, and I couldn’t figure out how to do that. So I didn’t.

Now, all these years later, I wish I had gone with a pseudonym.

What’s the best guide to keeping your confidentiality while getting paid?

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From the Daily Caller:

10:10 PM 01/16/2019, Peter Hasson | Reporter

A Google executive sparked a fierce backlash from employees by using the word “family” in a weekly, company-wide presentation, according to internal documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Many Google employees became angry that the term was used while discussing a product aimed at children, because it implied that families have children, the documents show. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive.

One employee stormed out of the March 2017 presentation after a presenter “continued to show (awesome) Unicorn product features which continually use the word ‘family’ as a synonym for ‘household with children,’” he explained in an internal thread. That employee posted an extended rant, which was well-received by his colleagues, on why linking families to children is “offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong.”

He wrote:

This is a diminishing and disrespectful way to speak. If you mean “children”, say “children”; we have a perfectly good word for it. “Family friendly” used as a synonym for “kid friendly” means, to me, “you and yours don’t count as a family unless you have children”. …

“Using the word ‘family’ in this sense bothers me too,” wrote another employee, who felt excluded by the term because she was neither married nor a parent. …d

“My family consists of me and several other trans feminine folks, some of whom I’m dating. We’re all supportive of each other and eventually aspire to live together. Just because we aren’t a heterosexual couple with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog doesn’t mean we’re not a family,” another employee added in agreement. …

By the way, English really ought to have more words for different meanings of “family.” For example, it would be convenient to have different terms for the nuclear family that you were born into and the nuclear family that you form. For example, “Where is your family from?” for me would be either Los Angeles, if it’s referring to where I was born, or Chicago if it’s referring to where I was married and my children were born. 95% of the time you can tell by context, but I bet some other languages have separate words.

In general, English is rather lacking in family words. For example, we have “siblings” as a somewhat rare but convenient word for brothers and sisters, but we don’t have any similar word for nephews and nieces. My impression is that the English tended to less interested in extended families than just about anybody, and not even very interested in them: e.g., the rather horrifying English goal is to be rich enough to pack your children off to boarding school when they reach 7 or 8. Even tough guys like Winston Churchill found it incredibly traumatic.

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Oddly, the New York Times has published a second article summarizing the message of its long article on David Reich and other Ancient DNA scientists:

5 Takeaways From the Ancient DNA Research Story

By The New York Times Magazine
Jan. 17, 2019

In only the past few years, as a new report in The New York Times Magazine describes, this burgeoning science of “paleogenomics” has begun to offer surprising revisions to the story of humanity. But at the same time, this research has generated significant controversy, including among some of the archaeologists, anthropologists and other academics who have collaborated with geneticists on this work.

This kind of Vox-like explainer about a New York Times article appearing in the New York Times is pretty weird. Presumably, the NYT, having recently Watsoned for crimethinking geneticist James Watson now wants to Watson fellow crimethinker geneticist David Reich.

Here are some key takeaways.

The study of ancient DNA has upended many of our assumptions about prehistoric times.

For decades, it was commonly believed that ancient communities tended to stay in one place — and thus didn’t mix very much with their neighbors.

The idea of “pure” groups with identifiable “origins” has been largely reconsidered.

Many of the new findings say the same thing: that these groups mixed together in the process of great and previously unknown migrations.

For example, ancient DNA research seems to indicate that about 5,000 years ago, when Europe was populated with a mix of hunter-gatherer groups and early farmers, a group of outsiders suddenly arrived — nomadic herders from the Asian steppes — and within a relatively short time their own ancestry became prevalent. Sometimes these prehistoric migrations seemed to result in “admixture” between groups on an even footing. Other times, however, researchers describe population “replacement” or “turnover” — the near-wholesale shift from one predominant ancestry to another. Contemporary Europeans owe a significant amount of their genetic inheritance to the incoming herders.

So, the history of Western Europe being invaded by Aryans in the 25th Century BC should make you favor North America being invaded by Central Americans in the 21st Century AD and Eastern Europe being invaded by Aryans in the 20th Century AD.

Oh … what? Uh-oh … OK, the takeaway is to change the name Aryans to Indo-Europeans. Forget all about Aryans.

For peoples around the world today, these new theories about origin and migration can have destabilizing implications. …

Archaeologists have collaborated with geneticists on these academic papers, but many of them now worry that the papers are trafficking in some old, discredited ideas.

Many archaeologists feel as though they’ve been here before. For the first half of the twentieth century, archaeology tended to believe that large migrations of superior peoples shaped the landscape and culture of the ancient world. That idea was easily exploited by nationalists…

In the early 1960s, a new generation of archaeologists came to question these grand historical narratives and the unwarranted assumptions that supported them. They turned away from simplistic stories about the distant past in favor of much more detailed attention to specific societal dynamics. Now, some worry that their geneticist colleagues are making similarly grand claims on the basis of a small number of samples.

As opposed to the reigning Social Constructionist conventional wisdom, which was based on no number of samples, just wishful thinking.

Razib Khan responds:

One thing I want to address is a critique, expressed by some academics in the piece, that researchers in ancient DNA do not have the number of samples to make the generalizations that they make. This seems reasonable on the face of it, but one thing you have to consider is that when you obtain an individual’s DNA you get a window onto their whole pedigree. A single individual is actually a pedigree if you have its genome. A genome provides an enormous amount of data. It is an endpoint of a historical process of sexual reproduction that extends back many generations.

Of course, it could be that the one ancient skeleton available happened to be some shipwrecked guy from far away or whatever, but over time you get more samples so this problem isn’t terribly permanent. One thing you can say in defense of David Reich is that he is not hoarding evidence. Data is getting churned out to the public at remarkable speed.

Because, of course, the social constructionist Old Guard whose fundamental worldview is being proven wrong were never “bewitched” by ideology.

David Reich has peeved a lot of people for reasons good and bad. He’s put himself near the top of a cartel of super labs that are doing astonishing research at the cost of demanding that everybody else play ball with them or be relegated to the minor leagues of ancient DNA research. It’s kind of like it’s 1890 and the Standard Oil Company will sell you high quality fuel practically all over the world, but don’t even think about going into the oil business if you don’t want to play ball with John D. Rockefeller.

Reich and Paabo seem to have an agreement that Reich deals with the more recent skeletons and Paabo the older ones. Reich’s big competitor is evidently Eske Willerslev, who isn’t mentioned in the NYT article.

The ideological questions are mostly a cover for these business questions. We’ll see if Reich has thrown enough Russians peasants out of his sleigh ideologically to save his operation from the wolves on his tail. As I wrote last year:

Despite Reich’s occasional need to stop his otherwise lucid narrative to spew irrational rage against his fellow race-science heretics such as James D. Watson, the genome expert conclusively demolishes the post-Boasian anthropologists’ conventional wisdom.

For poorly explained reasons, Reich feels it satisfying to occasionally vilify some of his own admirers, such as Watson, New York Times genetics reporter Nicholas Wade, the late genetic anthropologist Henry Harpending, reporter Jason Hardy, physicist Gregory Cochran, and economic historian Gregory Clark. In the funniest line in the book, Reich exclaims:

Writing now, I shudder to think of Watson, or of Wade, or their forebears, behind my shoulder.

Evidently, Reich has…issues. But a close reader of his book can enjoy his prodigious research without taking terribly seriously Reich’s prejudices.

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What exactly does being genetically Mexican mean? Being mestizo?

How many famous Mexican movie directors like Cuaron and Del Toro would pass a genetic test as “Mexican” if it meant mestizo?

By the way, 23andMe reported that the ancestry of its self-identified non-Hispanic white American customers was less than 0.2% Amerindian on average.

I’m not a big gun-grabber, but the last time I vacationed in Mexico there were too many guys with fifth-grade educations standing around holding AK-47s for my peace of mind.

Similarly, former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda wrote a book touching on how Mexico could attract more paying American tourists and, especially, retirees: one of his suggestions was to install more traffic lights to make crossing the street in Mexico less terrifying. But his biggest suggestion was that Mexicans retire the use of the ethnic slur gringo.

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As I’ve been pointing out for years, recent genomic breakthroughs have, on the whole, done more to validate old, politically incorrect scientific theories than the newer politically correct conventional wisdom about everything is Socially Constructed.

One obvious example is Ancient DNA research, as practiced by David Reich, Svante Paabo, and the like, where 19th Century ideas like, yes, the Aryans really did invade India, are often being upheld by scanning the DNA found in ancient skeletons that have been (more or less) grave-robbed.

Now the New York Times Magazine attempts to strike back against the new science with a massive chin-stroking article about how it’s All Very Complicated (which no doubt it is):

Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps?

Geneticists have begun using old bones to make sweeping claims about the distant past. But their revisions to the human story are making some scholars of prehistory uneasy.

By Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Jan. 17, 2019

… In 1967, the molecular biologist Allan Wilson at the University of California, Berkeley, along with one of his students, Vincent Sarich,

I knew Vince, a great guy.

demonstrated that evolutionary relationships between species could be determined not only from fossils but also, via a quantitative analysis of blood proteins, from living specimens. Humans and apes, Wilson found, diverged only five million years ago — far more recently than previously believed.

Within the decade, researchers trained in the discipline of population genetics would get in on the historical act. Every contemporary genome is a mosaic of individual tiles passed along from thousands of ancestors; each of us thus contains not only our “own” ancestry but those of multitudes. With each new generation, random mutations, like misspellings, are introduced into a population; some of these will disappear over time, but others will increase in frequency until they are common enough to become a statistically significant part of a population’s genetic signature. If two populations have been distinct for a long time — that is, if people from one don’t tend to mate with people from the other — they will share fewer of these mutations; if they encountered each other and were fruitful, their mutation frequencies will overlap. These insights could be made relevant to prehistorians insofar as they could demonstrate that modern human populations were forged in the mixture of ancient ones. It was still mostly impossible, though, to conclude anything about when these groups might have mixed, or where, or how.

The answers to those questions required not just contemporary genetic data but actual prehistoric DNA. The idea that it might be preserved in old specimens has been around since 1984, when Wilson announced that his lab had extracted DNA from the salted skin of a quagga, an extinct equine species with the head of a zebra and the haunches of a donkey. The further possibilities suggested by ancient DNA were awarded a special place in the public imagination by the 1993 release of Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.” …

Over the past few years, a growing cohort of scientists has at last produced a fantastic answer. Ancient DNA, they believe, not only allows us to cut through what scholars once wrote off as “wrapped in a thick fog” of “heathendom.” It promises nothing less than what the Harvard geneticist David Reich has called “the genome revolution in the study of the human past.”

3. The Revisionist
David Reich’s lab is folded into a corner of a glassy, long-corridored labyrinth at Harvard Medical School. …

In his recent book, Reich ranks the “ancient-DNA revolution” with the invention of the microscope. Ancient DNA, his research suggests, can explain with more certainty and detail than any previous technique the course of human evolution, history and identity — as he puts it in the book’s title, “Who We Are and How We Got Here.”

I wrote three Taki’s Magazine essays on Reich’s book last spring:

Reich’s Laboratory

A Pair of Giants

Ghosts of Africa

The NYT Mag continues:

… Reich inherited from his parents a humanistic bent: His mother, Tova, is a novelist of some renown; his father, Walter, is a psychiatrist who was the first director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Tova’s comic novel My Holocaust fictionalizes David’s dad’s travails with more ethnocentric donors to his Holocaust museum.

… After abandoning medical school at Harvard for a postdoc at M.I.T., Reich returned to Harvard to establish his own medical-genetics lab. His chief interest lay in the effort to design novel statistical approaches to better explain how populations were related to one another. He showed, for example, on the basis of contemporary genetic data, that modern Indians are in fact a product of two highly distinct groups, one that had been on the subcontinent for thousands of years and another that formed more recently.

I.e., the Aryan invaders (e.g., Zarathustra) who fascinated Schopenhauer and Nietzsche:

He got his first opportunity to study ancient DNA when Svante Paabo — a Swedish geneticist who had worked with Wilson

Paabo, who will likely win a Nobel Prize eventually, is the secret biological son of 1982 Nobel Laureate Sune Bergstrom, obviously disproving all this hereditarian nonsense.

— enlisted Reich in his efforts, based out of a lab in Leipzig, to sequence the entirety of the Neanderthal genome. Reich’s analysis helped demonstrate that most living humans, with the general exception of sub-Saharan Africans, have some Neanderthal ancestry.

… So in 2013, Reich, along with a veteran of Paabo’s lab and a longtime mathematician collaborator

Nick Patterson

, retooled his shop at Harvard Medical School as one of the country’s first dedicated ancient-DNA labs….

Reich believes he has proved, to the contrary, that human history is marked not by stasis and purity but by movement and cross-pollination. People who live in a place today often bear no genetic resemblance to people who lived there thousands of years ago, so the idea that something in your blood makes you meaningfully Spanish is absurd.

After all, what is fifty or a hundred generations? Enough time to evolve traits useful in your environment, such as lactose tolerance, but who is counting?

Paabo had shown that early humans mated with Neanderthals, but that was only one small part of the swirling “admixture” that characterized human interbreeding. …

Ancient DNA’s “big bang,” as more than one geneticist described it to me, came with the 2015 publication, in Nature, of a Reich paper called “Massive Migration From the Steppe Was a Source for Indo-European Languages in Europe.” On the basis of genetic information culled from 69 ancient individuals dug up by collaborating archaeologists in Scandinavia, Western Europe and Russia, the paper argued that Europeans aren’t quite who they thought they were. About 5,000 years ago, a “relatively sudden” mass migration of nomadic herders from the east

I.e., Indo-Europeans or Aryans.

— the steppes of eastern Ukraine and southern Russia — swept in and almost entirely replaced the continent’s existing communities of hunter-gatherers and early farmers. These newcomers were known to exploit many of the cutting-edge technologies of the time: the domestication of horses, the wheel and, perhaps most salient, axes and spearheads of copper. (Their corpses sometimes featured cutting-edge wounds.)

The Reich team inferred that the major source of contemporary European ancestry — and probably Indo-European languages as well — was not, in fact, from Europe but from far to the east.

Uhhh, no, the Urheimat of the Aryans appears to be either in Eastern Europe or in Western Asia: Ukraine, Russia, or Kazakhstan. Stalingrad would be not a terrible guess: perhaps crossing the Volga might have been an important achievement in the Aryans breaking out of their homeland to invade either Western Europe or South Asia. (Nietzsche might have liked this speculation of mine as a possible example of “eternal recurrence.”)

With the relatively recent rise of everything we associate with “culture” — technologies like agriculture, metallurgy and eventually writing — much of this continuous “admixture” began to give way, it seemed, to discontinuous episodes better characterized as “replacement” or “turnover.” That is, about 5,000 to 9,000 years ago, human history was, at least in a few crucial places, less about various groups coming together and more about some groups blotting out their neighbors.

Robert E. Howard had a better understanding of ancient history than today’s cultural anthropologists.

This was not only relevant as an eccentricity of prehistoric demography, but broadly consequential for the ongoing study of culture itself — of where new ideas come from and how they proliferate. When we thought of populations as stationary and largely stable, we assumed that whatever evolutionary progress they made, from toolmaking to agriculture, reflected either a native innovation or the incorporation of some adjacent group’s avant-garde practice. Now it seemed as though culture was less about the invention and spread of new ideas and more about the mass movements of particular peoples — and the resulting integration, outcompetition or extermination of the communities they overran. Previously, it was possible to think about prehistory as a kind of grand bazaar. Now the operative metaphor (as multiple science journalists observed) was more like Risk, or even “Game of Thrones.”

… He [Reich] observed that “essentially everybody was surprised.” They were surprised, in part, because archaeologists since the 1960s had been trained never to assume the purity or coherence of a people, a slippery slope to the conclusion that certain peoples came by their advantages “naturally.”

…. Archaeologists, who feel as though they learned this lesson long ago, thus survey the rapid rise of ancient DNA with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. By once again giving “migration” pride of place in the story of prehistory, paleogenomics has resurrected some old intellectual ghosts.

By the time radiocarbon dating had come of age, in the postcolonial ferment of the 1960s, archaeology was already primed to relinquish its emphasis on narratives of migration. …

This new generation of practitioner agreed that just because similar pots were found in various places didn’t mean they were all made by one homogeneous group of people.

I.e., the Pots Not Peoples orthodoxy of later 20th Century academia: if, say, England of about 4,500 years ago suddenly had an all-new material culture — what old archaeologists called the Battle-Axe Culture but new ones renamed as the Corded Ware Culture in order to discourage heterosexual boys from taking an interest in their field — that must have been because a new interior decorating fad had swept Europe. Heaven forbid that anybody think that a bunch of battle-axe wielding barbarians had conquered England. That would be barbaric!

Instead, archaeologists retreated to a much more modest and fine-comb preoccupation with what they called the “processual”: very particular inquiries into very particular societal dynamics. They paid much closer attention to how individual cultures appeared to change and grow over time and much less attention to how Culture Had Changed — to the fantasy

Uh … the academics whose old theories are being disproved by the new data are the actual fantasists.

that some special key will unlock the secrets of history. This left a big-picture vacuum that paleogenomicists like Reich have been eager to fill.

…The more meaningful division is between two alternate intellectual attitudes: those bewitched by grand historical narratives, who believe that there is something both detailed and definitive to say about the very largest questions, and those who wearily warn that such adventures rarely end well.

Uh … the leftist dogmatists imperialized academia. How did that adventure end?

… But in practice, the paleogenomicists have totally altered the environment in which prehistory is being studied by everyone. The landscape is dominated by four well-funded, well-connected labs, three of which — Paabo’s in Leipzig, along with those of two of his protégés, Reich at Harvard and Johannes Krause, who runs a newer outfit in the small German city Jena — collaborate closely with one another, to the point that some critics accuse them of collusion. The power of these top labs extends to samples, data and even technology: Proprietary chemical reagents let them isolate and enrich ancient samples much more accurately and cost-effectively than other labs can. …

The selective pressure to collaborate with this state-of-the-art oligopoly is extremely strong, not only because of their advantages in funding, speed and operational scale but also because of the relationships they enjoy with the top-tier journals. …

So, part of what is going on is that Reich, Paabo, and a few others have set up a cartel of the best labs (which are much more technically proficient than the next tier of labs) and you have to play ball with them if you want to compete in the big leagues. Lots of good scientists like John Hawks are mad at Reich over his business practices.

There thus reigns, in the world of ancient DNA, an atmosphere of intense suspicion, anxiety and paranoia, among archaeologists and geneticists alike….

… As one ancient-DNA researcher in Turkey put it to me, “Certain geneticists see the rest of world as the 19th-century colonialists saw Africa — as raw-material opportunities and nothing else.” …

It has not gone unnoticed that the stunning, magisterial sweep of genetic revisionism, on the one hand, and a genetic emphasis on radical prehistoric migrations, on the other, bear more than a little in common. Some anthropologists and archaeologists accept this analogy with gallows humor. One told me that I should model this article after the format of the standard Nature paper: “Ancient DNA Reveals Massive Population Turnovers in the Humanities,” she suggested as a title, and proposed this as an abstract: “The aristocratic lab scientists arrived with their superior technology and displaced the pre-existing researchers and their primitive truth-implements and overcomplicated belief systems.”

Others saw less to laugh at. Some archaeologists who had collaborated on the 2015 paper about Indo-European invasions withdrew their names to protest conclusions they saw as echoes of Kossinna — the mass migrations of advanced Indo-Europeans into Central Europe. (Reich got the critics back on board by adding a note, on Page 138 of their paper’s 141-page supplementary materials, that said their work in fact contradicted Kossinna, not because he was wrong about mass migration but on a technicality: The European ancestral homeland had, in fact, been far to the east, near the Caucasus and nowhere near present-day Germany.) The analogue was hard to counter. Geneticists had indeed swept down from their laboratory enclaves to extend their sovereignty over what had always been the terrain of archaeology. And no single individual had as much influence or power as Reich.

Since David is the third person in his nuclear family to become prominent, does that make him the third Reich?

A lot of resentful cultural anthropologists seem to think so.

… Some critics believed that any association with Reich represented a betrayal, too, not only of the ni-Vanuatu but of anyone who believed that culture was as powerful a human determinant as the gene. Shortly before the publication of his book, Reich wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times in which he warned that the future was likely to demonstrate some meaningful genetic differences among populations and that we needed to be honest about such truths, lest they be abused by racist pseudoscience. He was careful to differentiate the idea of a genetic population from the old idea of race, which he agreed was a social rather than biological fact. But he nonetheless gave comfort to those who maintain that on the deepest of all levels our destiny is written into our genetic signature. It was hard not to see that conviction reflected in the findings of Reich’s papers, which seemed to blithely recapitulate discredited theories of Pacific expansion, making categorical claims not only about four individual skulls but about the shape of human history — claims that were essentially indistinguishable from the racialized notions of the swashbuckling imperial era. …

Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a writer at large for the magazine. His last feature story was about a private-jet dealer.

In answer to the article’s title question — “Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps?” — ancient DNA science appears to be revealing Old Truths.

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Yet another data point for my theory that late onset M-to-F trans ex-men tend to be right-of-center: Jewish billionaire and retired Army Reserve colonel “Jennifer” N. Pritzker, who is a GOP donor despite several of his cousins, such as new Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and former Obama cabinet member Penny Pritzker, being leading Democrats.

James Pritzker is a scion of the famous Chicago Jewish Democratic clan that more or less picked out Obama to be President, but he is so rightist by nature that he is a Republican, reached colonel in Army Reserve, and founded a military museum.

Now Pritzker is an ex-man calling himself “Jennifer.”

From the Washington Post:

Maybe being one of these late onset ex-men is a symptom of actual Toxic Masculinity in which you are so arrogant that you think you can bully everybody else into letting you get away with even this? For a certain kind of extreme masculinity personality, what could be more gratifying than bullying people into humiliating themselves by submitting to your will that they call you a woman?

On Twitter, billybobmcmanus asserts:

the pritzkers sponsored an english translation of the Zohar. Kabbalah is arguably the inspiration for a lot of gender bending. Not suggesting colonel Jen is a kabbalist but that she may have soaked in the same waters so to speak

Interesting …

Late onset M-to-F transgenderism seems to hit high IQ nerds hard: computer geeks, baseball sabermetricians, libertarian economists, defense analysts, sci-fi fans, etc.

Kabbalah, with its numerology obsession, seems to me like an early manifestation of Nerdism. But about all I know about it is from watching Darren Aronofsky’s fun movie Pi about a Jewish math genius whose breakthrough is wanted by Wall Street, the Deep State, and an ultra-Orthodox rabbi.

Warning: Darren Aronofsky movies are not necessarily utterly realistic:

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iSteve commenter Grumpy observes:

“It’s amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he’s paid a small fortune not to understand it.” — John C. (“Jack”) Bogle (paraphrasing Upton Sinclair).

Mr. Bogle was referring to money managers, but his observation probably explains most of the willful ignorance that Mr. Sailer has been pointing out for years.

Mr. Bogle died today, at the age of 89.

From the NYT obituary:

Mr. Bogle built Vanguard, which is based in Malvern, Pa., on a cornerstone belief that was anathema to most mutual fund companies: that over the long term, most investment managers cannot outperform the broad market averages. He popularized and became the leading proponent of indexing, the practice of structuring an investment portfolio to mirror the performance of a market yardstick, like the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. …

“My ideas are very simple,” he told the financial columnist Jeff Sommer of The New York Times in 2012. “In investing, you get what you don’t pay for. Costs matter. So intelligent investors will use low-cost index funds to build a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and they will stay the course. And they won’t be foolish enough to think that they can consistently outsmart the market.”

Vanguard is now managing (not very actively) $4.9 trillion. Indexing makes sense based on the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, but what happens when Vanguard takes over the world? Does the EMH still work if most everybody is trying to free ride on those few who do try to outsmart the market?

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Border walls and fences seem to work pretty well in Israel:

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New York Times Opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo offers the umpty-umpth NYT Op-Ed that summarizes as: You stupid Americans let my nuclear family in, so now I’m going to hector you until you let my entire extended family in, and then they are going to hector you until you let their extended families in. And so on forever.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Open Borders
Why a brave Democrat should make the case for vastly expanding immigration.

By Farhad Manjoo, Opinion Columnist, Jan. 16, 2019

… Yet there’s one political shore that remains stubbornly beyond the horizon. It’s an idea almost nobody in mainstream politics will address, other than to hurl the label as a bloody cudgel.

I’m talking about opening up America’s borders to everyone who wants to move here.

Imagine not just opposing President Trump’s wall but also opposing the nation’s cruel and expensive immigration and border-security apparatus in its entirety. Imagine radically shifting our stance toward outsiders from one of suspicion to one of warm embrace. Imagine that if you passed a minimal background check, you’d be free to live, work, pay taxes and die in the United States. Imagine moving from Nigeria to Nebraska as freely as one might move from Massachusetts to Maine.

There’s a witheringly obvious moral, economic, strategic and cultural case for open borders, and we have a political opportunity to push it. As Democrats jockey for the presidency, there’s room for a brave politician to oppose President Trump’s racist immigration rhetoric not just by fighting his wall and calling for the abolishment of I.C.E. but also by making a proactive and affirmative case for the vast expansion of immigration.

It would be a change from the stale politics of the modern era, in which both parties agreed on the supposed wisdom of “border security” and assumed that immigrants were to be feared.

As an immigrant, this idea confounds me. My family came to the United States from our native South Africa in the late 1980s. After jumping through lots of expensive and confusing legal hoops, we became citizens in 2000. Obviously, it was a blessing: In rescuing me from a society in which people of my color were systematically oppressed, America has given me a chance at liberty.

Farhad is of South Asian ancestry, not black, but let’s not make that clear to readers. By the way, who was doing the oppressing in South Africa in 2000?

But why had I deserved that chance, while so many others back home — because their parents lacked certain skills, money or luck — were denied it?

When you see the immigration system up close, you’re confronted with its bottomless unfairness. The system assumes that people born outside our borders are less deserving of basic rights than those inside. My native-born American friends did not seem to me to warrant any more dignity than my South African ones; according to this nation’s founding documents, we were all created equal. Yet by mere accident of geography, some were given freedom, and others were denied it.

“When you start to think about it, a system of closed borders begins to feel very much like a system of feudal privilege,” said Reece Jones, a professor of geography at the University of Hawaii who argues that Democrats should take up the mantle of open borders. “It’s the same idea that there’s some sort of hereditary rights to privilege based on where you were born.” …

Farhad Manjoo became an opinion columnist for The New York Times in 2018. Before that, he wrote The Times’ State of the Art column. He is the author of “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.” @fmanjoo • Facebook

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If Congressman Ed were to suddenly claim he is a woman trapped in a man’s body, nobody would be allowed to express public doubt … but an Asian trapped in a white body? That’s ridiculous, a scientific impossibility! From the Washington Post:

Rep. Ed Case said he’s ‘an Asian trapped in a white body.’ His apology didn’t help.

… At a reception intended to be a “celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the 116th Congress,” Case reportedly told the crowd that he was “an Asian trapped in a white body,” according to National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu. ….

“I just oof’d so hard I blacked out for a sec,” one Twitter user wrote.

“As a haole who lived in Japan for 7 years and now lives in Hawai’i, I couldn’t imagine saying something like this,” another said, using a Hawaiian term for someone who is a foreigner. “Check your privilege Ed Case.” …

“Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures,” Case said. “They and not my specific ethnicity are who I am, and I believe that this makes me an effective advocate on national issues affecting our API community.”

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From Vox:

Almost all of the actresses who’ve played Cleopatra have been white. But was she?

Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga are rumored to be contenders to play the queen in a new biopic.
By Nadra Nittle Jan 14, 2019, 6:20pm EST

Since meaty roles for women are still too few in Hollywood, landing the character could be the chance of a lifetime for any actress. But the Twitter debate about Cleopatra isn’t so much about which actress most resembles the ancient queen as whether a white woman should be playing her at all.

Historically, white actresses such as Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, and, most famously, Elizabeth Taylor have portrayed Cleopatra. The thinking during Hollywood’s Golden Age seemed to be that kohl eyeliner and a black wig was all it took to transform any white woman into the Queen of the Nile.

… but the long history of shutting out actresses of color from contention has proven offensive to people of color who believe the queen was not white.

… Historians have long described Cleopatra as ethnically Greek, but during the past decade, that assumption has increasingly been called into question. …

Today, people who consider Cleopatra to be a woman of color have suggested performers as diverse as Jennifer Lopez, Priyanka Chopra, and Rihanna play the Egyptian ruler. …

So it’s disconcerting to see white women like Jolie and Gaga named as the sole contenders for the role, even if their participation in the project is just a rumor for now — especially given all of the discussions that have taken place about Hollywood’s whitewashing of history, be it in newer films like Gods of Egypt, Exodus, or The Prince of Persia, or in classics like Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra.

There really are a lot of people out there reading Vox who sincerely believe: “If Rihanna gets cast as Cleopatra, my life will be better.”

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From the Washington Post opinion section:

Steve King says he was just defending ‘Western Civilization.’ That’s racist, too.

By David Perry and Matthew Gabriele, January 15 at 4:45 PM

After years of making racist statements and promoting racist policies, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) may finally have gone too far. In a recent interview, he told the New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

King says, plausibly, that he was libeled via mispunctuation. He says the dash should come before “Western civilization:” he was complaining that “Western civilization” is now treated as same as “White nationalist, white supremacist.”

The Washington Post authors explain that, yes, they are calling “Western civilization” “white nationalist, white supremacist.”

King’s GOP colleagues have stripped him of his committee assignments, and he faces possible censure. In response, the congressman claims that he was misrepresented — that his fellow Republicans and other observers did not understand his syntax. In a statement, he said he was not defending white supremacy or white nationalism but only “Western Civilization” from those who say the term has become “offensive.”

Given that King has frequently used “Western civilization” as a shorthand for whiteness, his defense is hardly credible, but the attempt is revealing. The term has been used to justify racism since it was coined. When King says, “No one ever sat in a class listening to the merits of white nationalism and white supremacy,” he’s conveniently overlooking this fact — and relying on the similar reluctance of many academics to acknowledge it. That needs to change.

Part of the project of modernity has been to justify itself. During and after the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries, citizens of the monarchical European powers attempted to explain how they got to where they were by looking to their roots. They started from the idea that their world was “better” than what had come before. Europe had supposedly crawled out of the “Dark Ages” and into the light. Those familiar terms — dark and light — mirrored the value judgment behind this investigation of the past, one that selectively privileged white skin.

Uh … the term Dark Ages was applied to the Barbarian Invasions carried out by teutonics into the southern Mediterranean.

These were, after all, countries ruled by rich white men for other rich white men. So in searching for the history of “the West,” they ignored stories they didn’t recognize — stories of people who didn’t act, think or look like them. That was true even when those stories were central to European and Mediterranean history, as was the case with a history of “the West” told in other languages such as Arabic, Turkish and Hebrew; written by women; or enacted by medieval people of color.

Just watch the BBC’s Troy: Fall of a City to find out that Achilles was black:

Although the histories of Europe began as national ones, thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries looked to 4th-century Germanic tribes as their pure, white ancestors. In alliance with the “scientific” study of the past, scientific racism, the international slave trade and colonialism, this approach began to change the way people understood the past. No longer individual nations — and also no longer simply “Europe” because of the need to include North America — these thinkers used the term “the West” to encompass one (supposedly) common heritage that explained why white men ought to rule the world. …

… Since the late 20th century, however, that premise has been challenged as scholars have begun to incorporate other stories into the tapestry of history. We talk about the role of women, about what gender meant at different moments in the past, about the construction of race as an idea, about the diversity of Europe’s peoples. The research in these areas is original and convincing. …

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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The High Price of Affordable L.A.
by Steve Sailer, January 16, 2019

With my hometown of Los Angeles coming back into fashion again, it’s worth wondering whether some of its traditional problems are fixable. Or do urban-planning mistakes tend to be forever?

There’s glib talk these days about the need to build affordable housing, but much of Los Angeles is testimony to the pitfalls of affordability.

Read the whole thing there.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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