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Charles Murray and James Thompson Asked Their Opinions in "Post" Article on Brain Size; World Hasn't Ended, Yet

From the Washington Post:

New brain science shows poor kids have smaller brains than affluent kids

By Lyndsey Layton April 15 at 7:27 PM

New research that shows poor children have smaller brains than affluent children has deepened the national debate about ways to narrow the achievement gap.

Neuroscientists who studied the brain scans of nearly 1,100 children and young adults nationwide from ages 3 to 20 found that the surface area of the cerebral cortex was linked to family income. They discovered that the brains of children in families that earned less than $25,000 a year had surface areas 6 percent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 or more. The poor children also scored lower on average on a battery of cognitive tests.

Over the years, I’ve observed that your hat size correlates pretty closely with whether you believe brain size correlates with intelligence. I wear a 7 and 5/8ths hat, which is Extra Large, so the notion that brain size and intelligence are correlated always seemed pretty plausible to me.

My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier. I’ve always been an extremely slow runner, while the Kenyan Olympic champion runners looks to me like they have remarkably narrow heads.

I wonder, though, what Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size was? Gould got himself highly agitated in his 1981 bestseller The Mismeasure of Man over a 19th Century scientist who measured a sample of skulls of different races and found racial differences in skull volume. Gould accused the scientist of unconscious bias, but when the 19th Century experiment was redone recently, it turned out that old guy was right and Gould was in the wrong due to his flagrant bias. (See the 2011 New York Times Editorial “Bias and the Beholder” for details.)

The region of the brain in question handles language, memory, spatial skills and reasoning, all important to success in school and beyond.

The study, published last month in Nature Neuroscience, is the largest of its kind to date. It was led by Kimberly Noble, who teaches at both Columbia University’s Teachers College and the university’s medical school. Elizabeth Sowell, of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, was the senior author.

“We’ve known for so long that poverty and lack of access to resources to enrich the developmental environment are related to poor school performance, poor test scores and fewer educational opportunities,” Sowell said. “But now we can really tie it to a physical thing in the brain. We realized that this is a big deal.” …

The research comes at a time when a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families and the academic achievement gap between poor and more-affluent children is growing. Policymakers are increasingly concerned about ways to reduce the gap, which is apparent as early as kindergarten.

In the last few years, there appears to have been a decision to blame racial differences in intelligence on differences in income level, although, of course, that’s not very plausible. That’s what people said way back in 1965, but then the federal Coleman Report of 1966 showed that affluent black students weren’t setting the world on fire academically on average, and vast amounts of data have accumulated validating the Coleman Report ever since.

But a half century later we’re back to asserting the same untested theories as in 1965.

In another study that has been accepted for publication in Psychological Science, a team led by neuroscientist John Gabrieli of MIT found differences in the brain’s cortical thickness between low-income and higher-income teenagers. The study linked that difference for the first time to standardized test scores: Fifty-seven percent of the poor children scored proficient in math and reading tests given annually in Massachusetts, compared with 91 percent of the higher-income students.

“The thing that really stands out is how powerful the economic influences are on something as fundamental as brain structure,” Gabrieli said. “It’s just very striking.”

Or perhaps brain structure has influences on economic performance? Or some of both?

The new research does not explain possible reasons for the brain differences. And that has created concern that the findings will harden stereotypes and give an impression that children who are born into poverty lack the physical capacity to succeed academically.

“Some people feel if you show these brain differences, you’re politically condemning the poor,” Gabrieli said. “Which is the opposite, I think, of what we need to do. I think we want to understand adversity and minimize adversity.”

Noble and Sowell have two theories about why poor children have smaller brains. One is that poor families lack access to material goods that aid healthy development, such as good nutrition and higher-quality health care.

That’s why there aren’t any poor blacks in the NBA. Their height and athletic abilities are stunted by poverty.

The other is that poor families tend to live more chaotic lives, and that stress could inhibit healthy brain development.

Could be. A more refined theory would be the one that Harpending and Draper put forward in 1982: father-absence causes kids, especially girls, to reach physical/sexual maturity faster, which stunts the final development of higher cognitive functions in favor of the development of low cunning. I don’t know if the evidence is there for this idea, but it’s not utterly implausible. I had a stable, organized childhood and grew up to be an unworldly intellectual.

Noble has embarked on a new study to try to answer that question.

She’s doing MRIs on the parents of her subject to see if it’s hereditary?

Nope.

She has begun a pilot study to investigate whether giving low-income mothers a small or large monthly sum of cash impacts the cognitive development of their children in the first three years of life. She plans to recruit 1,000 low-income mothers from around the country, half of whom would receive $333 a month, while the other half would receive $20 a month for three years. That research is expected to take five years.

Strikingly, the Steveosphere is given a chance to sound off on this study:

But James Thompson, a psychologist at University College London, has a third theory.

“People who have less ability and marry people with less ability have children who, on balance, on average, have less ability,” he said. Thompson noted that there is a genetic component to intelligence that Noble and Sowell failed to consider.

“It makes my jaw drop that we’ve known for years intelligence is inheritable and scientists are beginning to track down exactly how it happens,” Thompson said. “The well-known genetic hypothesis has not even had a chance to enter the door in this discussion.”

Charles Murray, a conservative political scientist who argues there is a relationship between intelligence and economic class in his book “The Bell Curve,” said genetics cannot be ignored.

“It is confidently known that brain size is correlated with IQ, IQ measured in childhood is correlated with income as an adult, and parental IQ is correlated with children’s IQ,” Murray wrote in an e-mail. “I would be astonished if children’s brain size were NOT correlated with parental income. How could it be otherwise?” …

Good question.

Allow me to point out that a national newspaper has asked a couple of guys who know what they are talking about to punch holes in the latest bit of goodthink and, as of press time, the American public hasn’t dug up Hitler’s DNA and elected it President. So maybe we’re actually mature enough to discuss reality rather than lie all the time?

… The Obama administration has increasingly promoted the idea that the country should provide early childhood education for low-income 3- and 4-year-olds to give them a boost before they get to kindergarten. Last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said if he had one more federal dollar to spend on education, he would funnel it to early childhood.

Six decades from now, the Education Secretary of the hereditary Bush-Clinton Administration will be declaring the key periods for federal intervention are the eight months and 29 days before birth … but not a day sooner!

 
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  1. Steve Sailer:
    I wonder, though, what Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size was? Gould got himself highly agitated in his 1981 bestseller The Mismeasure of Man over a 19th Century scientist who measured a sample of skulls of different races and found racial differences in skull volume. Gould accused the scientist of unconscious bias, but when the 19th Century experiment was redone recently, it turned out that old guy was right and Gould was in the wrong due to his flagrant bias.

    Jason E. Lewis, et al’s article on Gould & Morton has recently been subject to criticism by Jonathan Michael Kaplan, et al.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Flinders Petrie
    Interesting - thanks for the link.

    In a nutshell, they are not refuting the findings by Lewis et al. (that Morton's empirical data were correct and that Gould's data were flawed), but they are saying that there is no way to use the data to test phrenological questions.

    The article says:

    We take strong exception to Lewis et al.’s thesis that Morton was “right.”
     
    But Lewis et al. were very careful to focus only on the empirical data (skull size) and avoid Morton's conclusions, even openly condemning said conclusions as racist.

    So Kaplan et al. are fighting a straw man. To them, the empirical data do not matter because racism is bad.
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  2. She plans to recruit 1,000 low-income mothers from around the country, half of whom would receive $333 a month, while the other half would receive $20 a month for three years.

    Science says: Brain size is a function of welfare-check size.

    If this is true, mankind, just by forking over bigger bucks to unmarried Black mothers on welfare, would be able to create a race of Uber-Blacks, a race of Neil deGrasse Tysons who can dunk.

    Read More
  3. Have you noticed that WaPo has for some reason become one of the top smugglers of Steveosphere ideas into the mainstream? Obviously they played a laudatory role in the the UVA thing, but that wasn’t the first or the last time…

    Anyone know why?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Never underestimate the networking skills of Reihan Salam.
    , @MW
    This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I've noticed the same thing, and it seemed to begin around the time that Bezos purchased the paper.
    , @BurplesonAFB
    Because Bezos wants it to happen (I hope)
    , @Ariston
    WaPo also decided to take up the SPLC's crusade against hatethinkers using Amazon Associates, so I would consider that when considering the Bezos impact, as well.
  4. @Esquire
    Have you noticed that WaPo has for some reason become one of the top smugglers of Steveosphere ideas into the mainstream? Obviously they played a laudatory role in the the UVA thing, but that wasn't the first or the last time...

    Anyone know why?

    Never underestimate the networking skills of Reihan Salam.

    Read More
  5. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Steve, have a look at the original Nature Neuroscience study that this is all based on. In order to obtain the result that got all the publicity the researchers had to correct for racial differences in brain size. The single largest effect (larger than the poverty result), and the most statistically significant, is the association of cortical surface area with African ancestry.

    .25 increase in African ancestry is roughly equivalent to reduction in income by $77k (from mean of ~$100k), in terms of effect on brain surface area. (See Table 1.)

    Strange that all the people who wrote or blogged about this article failed to notice this. It stands out like a flashing red light in the paper, if you read with comprehension.

    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3983.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @gcochran
    I noticed it. But I'm waiting for some more analysis results.
  6. Would it tie into a correlation with body size? Are ‘little people’ dumber than big headed athletes? Not only can’t they dunk, they can’t thunk?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There's a formula for correlating brain size with body size that is relatively valid across species: e.g., whales have really big brains in an absolute sense, but not relative to the body size of humans. A lot of the brain volume appears to be devoted to monitoring the body: Ouch that hurts. Of course it helps that whales can support a lot of mass because they are in the water.

    Some birds, such as parrots and crows, are amazingly smart for their tiny bird brains.
  7. being the inevitable except to the rule I have a small head but still a pretty decent IQ and I am very much convinced that bigger head => bigger brain => on average higher IQ.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    It is interesting that there is a moderate correlation between IQ and brain size, but it's by no means 100%. That means that there are individuals who have an impressive IQ/brain volume. Thus, there are those who do far better than you think they would judging by brain volume alone. There are also those who have big brain volumes but only mediocre intelligence.

    I was wondering recently where my father got his IQ from. It is about 145 or so. His maternal side has a doctor or two, but I would not have called my grandmother brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. Probably above average somewhat. My grandfather was relatively intelligent and very humorous, though far from a genius. I think they were probably similar in intelligence, maybe he was smarter than she was. Neither would have been capable of much above high school algebra, if at all. So when I was looking at a photo of the family, the flash of insight hit me. My grandmother had a high forehead, and my grandfather did not. My Dad has a high forehead. So it seems reasonable that he inherited both the brain volume and the high IQ/brain volume that would boost his IQ above that of either of his parents.

    There are siblings with lower IQ than either parent too, which is what you would expect if you coupled a relatively low IQ/brain volume with a low brain volume. In fact, I would say that there is quite a bit more IQ variance in that family than is typical, which would tend to support my hypothesis.
  8. @Blobby5
    Would it tie into a correlation with body size? Are 'little people' dumber than big headed athletes? Not only can't they dunk, they can't thunk?

    There’s a formula for correlating brain size with body size that is relatively valid across species: e.g., whales have really big brains in an absolute sense, but not relative to the body size of humans. A lot of the brain volume appears to be devoted to monitoring the body: Ouch that hurts. Of course it helps that whales can support a lot of mass because they are in the water.

    Some birds, such as parrots and crows, are amazingly smart for their tiny bird brains.

    Read More
  9. “Noble and Sowell have two theories about why poor children have smaller brains. One is that poor families lack access to material goods that aid healthy development, such as good nutrition and higher-quality health care.”

    Social service agencies have ways to determine whether a child is malnourished. Were the poor children with smaller brains malnourished? Were they unusually short or underweight? I doubt it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    LeBron James is clearly malnourished. If his 16-year-old single mother had been well fed, he's be 9 feet tall and 600 pounds of solid muscle.
  10. African-Americans probably produce world class athletes at a greater rate than any other population in the world. Amazing to think of the level of athletes they wuould produce if they were well nourished.

    I’ve read claims of nutritionists that “soul food” is actually a healthier diet than what a lot of white Americans eat. Actually I like hog jawls and black-eyed peas and its probably better for you than cheeseburgers or french fries.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Maybe it wasn't a wise idea to give the entire black population of the US food stamps then, because the stamps have caused them to switch their diet from healthy and inexpensive items like collards and black-eyed peas to all sorts of processed junk food produced by Agri-business. Soul food AIN'T what they are eating in the hood nowadays. When I visit supermarkets in the ghetto, the carts of the patrons are piled high with junk and I have literally NEVER seen such a cartful paid for with anything but an EBT card. The rare cash purchaser buys a few modest items.
  11. @Beliavsky
    "Noble and Sowell have two theories about why poor children have smaller brains. One is that poor families lack access to material goods that aid healthy development, such as good nutrition and higher-quality health care."

    Social service agencies have ways to determine whether a child is malnourished. Were the poor children with smaller brains malnourished? Were they unusually short or underweight? I doubt it.

    LeBron James is clearly malnourished. If his 16-year-old single mother had been well fed, he’s be 9 feet tall and 600 pounds of solid muscle.

    Read More
  12. There is a factor that has sound evidence for affecting the mental abilities of infants that will carry through their lives, more breast feeding, but there is no practical way for the government to take on that responsibility so there is little interest among the wonks.

    But, like most things in life, intelligence is “determined” (eek!) by multiple factors, and more breast feeding is not going to erase the differences. It has the added disadvantage of requiring personal responsibility.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim
    I'm no expert but I have read that the association between breast-feeding and IQ may just be due to the fact that breast-feeding is more common among higher IQ mothers. Apparently this is also the explanation for the suppossed "Mozart" effect. Aren't some plants said to like Mozart? Are they more inteeligent than plants who prefer rap?
  13. Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where in order to test the claim that penguins are as intelligent as humans they need to find a 40 foot tall penguin in order to equalize brain size. You can hear the mockumentary narrator “we gave the subjects cash every month to observe it’s effects on brain size.”

    Read More
  14. What’s even more interesting is that this article appears to be an updated/expanded version of a shorter article from a couple of weeks ago. That article included only quotes and comments from Noble and Sowell, who, of course, couldn’t fathom the idea that perhaps the kids’ and their parents’ IQ had something to do with the study’s results.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/poverty-linked-to-brain-structure-in-children-new-research-shows/2015/03/31/25fe6f10-d7df-11e4-8103-fa84725dbf9d_story.html

    In the comments section under the moniker disappointedindependent, I pointed out some of the issues that Thompson and Murray bring up. Interestingly, a defender of Noble and Sowell’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” method even mentions Steve by name. Apparently, Steve’s name is migrating from the upper echelons of journalists and scientists to regular-Joe liberal commenters, which, I would believe, is a good sign. Even if they hate him, they’ve read his ideas.

    Regardless, I’m not sure why the WaPost updated the article. It may have been the other study by Gabrieli. However, the Post didn’t need to add in the Thompson and Murray quotes. They could have just stuck with the party line. Maybe, just maybe, somebody in the news room felt compelled by, you know, journalist ethics and a quest for the truth. But why here, why now?

    One thing that I do know is that adding Thompson and Murray spiced things up. The original article had 20 comments, three or four of them mine. This article has 110 comments and counting.

    Read More
  15. In the days of flat earth, there must have been skeptics who said the earth was round and maybe the reporters in the Padua Times even printed their dissenting views and they were not burned at the stake. But all the RESPECTABLE scientists debated whether the earth was shaped like a dinner plate or like a square and mostly ignored the cranks who said it was a sphere. We’re at that stage now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.
  16. @Jim
    African-Americans probably produce world class athletes at a greater rate than any other population in the world. Amazing to think of the level of athletes they wuould produce if they were well nourished.

    I've read claims of nutritionists that "soul food" is actually a healthier diet than what a lot of white Americans eat. Actually I like hog jawls and black-eyed peas and its probably better for you than cheeseburgers or french fries.

    Maybe it wasn’t a wise idea to give the entire black population of the US food stamps then, because the stamps have caused them to switch their diet from healthy and inexpensive items like collards and black-eyed peas to all sorts of processed junk food produced by Agri-business. Soul food AIN’T what they are eating in the hood nowadays. When I visit supermarkets in the ghetto, the carts of the patrons are piled high with junk and I have literally NEVER seen such a cartful paid for with anything but an EBT card. The rare cash purchaser buys a few modest items.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim
    No doubt the invention of Twinkies was one of the most racist things in American history unless it turns out that a black guy invented them.

    I've always liked black-eyed peas but I had never eaten hog jawls until recently and to my surprise they are actually very tasty. Collards are like spinach, I had never understood why anybody ate them until I had some just picked perfectly fresh out of the ground. Then they are delicious. Food preservation today is certainly a lot better than it used to be but I think many urban people have no idea what fresh food, say just caught fish, really tasts like. When I was a child I lived on Guam and we had a bannana tree in our backyard which constantly produced huge bunches of fresh bannanas. The ones you buy in a grocery store are OK but the ones we got from our tree were divine.

    Next I need to try out sassafras tea and see if its as good as its cracked up to be.

  17. > And that has created concern that the findings will harden stereotypes and

    Obviously, we need to have a conversation. That is, another Holder-style National Conversation, where goodthinking elites can instruct flyover country trogdolytes and lyin’-eyes cryptoracists on how to best appreciate the Emperor’s new clothes.

    Paging George Soros. Paging NPR.

    Read More
  18. “surface area of the cerebral cortex”

    Doesn’t that mean the amount of folding of the surface of the cerebral cortex is what is important and not its radius or ‘hat size’?

    Why do Blacks have so many musical geniuses? Shouldn’t they stink at everything except some sports?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    Define musical genius. Do they need to write their own music? Play instruments? Mix and engineer? I don't think there are too many black musical geniuses, just a lot of very talented singers and performers. Same could be said about whites, as well.
    , @unit472
    Interesting question but were there ANY musical geniuses until Western musical instruments and form? Likely there were a few Beethoven's and Bach's in ancient times but until musical instruments, scales, melody and the like were available music was pretty threadbare. So your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.
  19. @Jack D
    Maybe it wasn't a wise idea to give the entire black population of the US food stamps then, because the stamps have caused them to switch their diet from healthy and inexpensive items like collards and black-eyed peas to all sorts of processed junk food produced by Agri-business. Soul food AIN'T what they are eating in the hood nowadays. When I visit supermarkets in the ghetto, the carts of the patrons are piled high with junk and I have literally NEVER seen such a cartful paid for with anything but an EBT card. The rare cash purchaser buys a few modest items.

    No doubt the invention of Twinkies was one of the most racist things in American history unless it turns out that a black guy invented them.

    I’ve always liked black-eyed peas but I had never eaten hog jawls until recently and to my surprise they are actually very tasty. Collards are like spinach, I had never understood why anybody ate them until I had some just picked perfectly fresh out of the ground. Then they are delicious. Food preservation today is certainly a lot better than it used to be but I think many urban people have no idea what fresh food, say just caught fish, really tasts like. When I was a child I lived on Guam and we had a bannana tree in our backyard which constantly produced huge bunches of fresh bannanas. The ones you buy in a grocery store are OK but the ones we got from our tree were divine.

    Next I need to try out sassafras tea and see if its as good as its cracked up to be.

    Read More
  20. Fetal alcohol syndrome also diminishes brain size. That could be part of a one-two punch hitting kids.

    Read More
  21. @another fred
    There is a factor that has sound evidence for affecting the mental abilities of infants that will carry through their lives, more breast feeding, but there is no practical way for the government to take on that responsibility so there is little interest among the wonks.

    But, like most things in life, intelligence is "determined" (eek!) by multiple factors, and more breast feeding is not going to erase the differences. It has the added disadvantage of requiring personal responsibility.

    I’m no expert but I have read that the association between breast-feeding and IQ may just be due to the fact that breast-feeding is more common among higher IQ mothers. Apparently this is also the explanation for the suppossed “Mozart” effect. Aren’t some plants said to like Mozart? Are they more inteeligent than plants who prefer rap?

    Read More
  22. @Esquire
    Have you noticed that WaPo has for some reason become one of the top smugglers of Steveosphere ideas into the mainstream? Obviously they played a laudatory role in the the UVA thing, but that wasn't the first or the last time...

    Anyone know why?

    This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I’ve noticed the same thing, and it seemed to begin around the time that Bezos purchased the paper.

    Read More
  23. Steve – Regarding you remark about intervening 8 months and 29 days before birth. That is probably the time when the environment in general has the most influence. Imagine if a virus pops in on a just fertilised egg cell. Could have major consequences. As the fetus grows and develops its ability to buffer itself from environmental perturbations rapidily increases.

    Read More
  24. @Esquire
    Have you noticed that WaPo has for some reason become one of the top smugglers of Steveosphere ideas into the mainstream? Obviously they played a laudatory role in the the UVA thing, but that wasn't the first or the last time...

    Anyone know why?

    Because Bezos wants it to happen (I hope)

    Read More
  25. @B.B.
    Steve Sailer:
    I wonder, though, what Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size was? Gould got himself highly agitated in his 1981 bestseller The Mismeasure of Man over a 19th Century scientist who measured a sample of skulls of different races and found racial differences in skull volume. Gould accused the scientist of unconscious bias, but when the 19th Century experiment was redone recently, it turned out that old guy was right and Gould was in the wrong due to his flagrant bias.

    Jason E. Lewis, et al's article on Gould & Morton has recently been subject to criticism by Jonathan Michael Kaplan, et al.

    Interesting – thanks for the link.

    In a nutshell, they are not refuting the findings by Lewis et al. (that Morton’s empirical data were correct and that Gould’s data were flawed), but they are saying that there is no way to use the data to test phrenological questions.

    The article says:

    We take strong exception to Lewis et al.’s thesis that Morton was “right.”

    But Lewis et al. were very careful to focus only on the empirical data (skull size) and avoid Morton’s conclusions, even openly condemning said conclusions as racist.

    So Kaplan et al. are fighting a straw man. To them, the empirical data do not matter because racism is bad.

    Read More
  26. My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier.

    That’s precisely the hypothesis proposed to explain why the gestational period for black babies is so much shorter than that for white babies.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants. [Meconium is the first BM. --UR]
    [...]
    One hypothesis for shorter average gestational length amongst black infants is that earlier maturation of the feto-placental unit relates to the maternal pelvic size. A smaller pelvis benefits the mother in evolutionary terms in relation to posture and stability when running. However, a smaller pelvis is also associated with a higher incidence of both obstructed labour and maternal mortality. Indeed, Africans have been observed to have amongst the highest emergency caesarean section rates. In fetal terms it is advantageous for the fetus to have a large head because of the improved brain growth. Thus, this creates conflict in the maternal/fetal relationship. It therefore would be in the interest of the fetus to mature faster and deliver earlier to avoid the complications described.

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/107.full

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    When my husband and I got married, my brother-in-law, a radiation oncologist, joked that we should schedule our c-section immediately given the size of our heads. I’ve broached the subject with my OB, who was dismissive. Her own babies’ heads were in the 99th percentile and she had vaginal deliveries. Still, “perineal tearing” and “episiotomy” are words that send chills into my heart.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Uptown resident: Find a new OB. My mom had small pelvis, and I had a big head. She was in labor for a day and I almost died. Should have been a c-section. It was a crummy old military base hospital.
    , @Bad memories

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.
     
    Note that Asians here means South Asians, ie Pakistanis and Indians.

    My experience with East Asians does not give me the impression that they have shorter gestation periods ...
    , @IBC

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans.
     
    Interesting, but keep in mind that the study isn't referring to East Asians but to South Asians which it defines as people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. In the UK, that's what most people mean when they use the term "Asian" in a racial or ethnic sense.

    I'm not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I'd suspect that they'd have been a minority of that group anyway.

    , @Stan D Mute
    My wife and I both have head size in the 99th percentile. Our child's head size is expectedly enormous. Delivery was natural. One word comes to mind having witnessed delivery and the aftermath: "wrecked." Sadly, we were supposed to do a C-section but my never easy child opposed that and turned around between the last ultrasound and arrival at the pre-ordained time for the surgery. So the OBGYN and wife agreed to hasten him along and induce labor while he was cooperative. Again, "wrecked" is the word and I use it only in full faith that I am completely anonymous here...
  27. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    OT: Did Noah Smith tell one big lie in his “diversity increased productivity by 20% article“?

    I believe so.

    His claim:

    Between 1960 and 2008, 20% of the growth in productivity was due to a decline in discrimination against women and minorities.

    According to Smith, the study “explicitly allow[s] for the possibility that different groups might have different average ability levels with respect to different occupations.”

    By this he implied that the study allows for differences in innate ability between races. I dug into the study and found this:

    “More important for our purposes is the potential that the T’s differ across groups
    within a given occupation. We allow for this possibility between men and women but
    not between blacks and whites.

    By “Ts”, I believe the authors are referring to innate ability or talent. The study continues:

    “Specifically, in some occupations, brawn may be a and desirable attribute. If men are physically stronger than women on average, then one would expect to observe more men in occupations requiring more physical strength,such as firefighting or construction. To account for this, “Tig” may be higher in these occupations for white and black men relative to white and black women.”

    That passage confirms that the authors were indeed referring to innate talent by “T.”

    So it looks like Noah Smith told one big lie.

    Anyone who is able to decipher those complicated mathematical models and notations should have a look for themselves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Veracitor

    So it looks like Noah Smith told one big lie.
     
    No surprise.
    , @Drake
    Nice find.
  28. Care should be taken with hat size; it needs a birth-order control. A woman’s birth canal will deform from giving birth (absent cesarean), the result is less stress on a baby’s head as a function of how many times she’s given birth. Second and third born would probably have larger hat sizes than first born as a result.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    When I worked on an IT project in Las Vegas in the late eighties-they still called it "data processing" then-I was going out with a woman whose mother had been a key casino employee at several properties in the 1950s and early 1960s. She told me her theory on how so many of Las Vegas showgirls were so shapely even though a lot of them were in their thirties and forties and occasionally beyond, even back in the Rat Pack days. A disproportionate number of them were girls who got pregnant at 15, 16 or 17, had to put the child up for adoption, and got kicked out of the family house, and if they didn't get married and fat or turn to prostitution, the convent, or the military, and buffed up a little, they made ideal showgirls because their breasts had enlarged and their pelvises widened and hardened. Many went on to marry and have children and, when not pregnant, remained showgirls for many years.

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women, currently working and retired, were present and I had not realized how many of the working ones were married and had high school or college aged children. The average age of the working ones was certainly over 40. Up close, their faces had lines, but from a distance they looked fantastic.
  29. I have a 7 1/2 hat size, and have been sharing my father’s hats since I was 6 or 7. So kuh-LEER-lee bigger heads are linked to higher IQ, amirite?

    Read More
  30. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    A more refined theory would be the one that Harpending and Draper put forward in 1982: father-absence causes kids, especially girls, to reach physical/sexual maturity faster, which stunts the final development of higher cognitive functions in favor of the development of low cunning.

    Over at West Hunter, Henry responded to the following question:

    Is that these girls are facultatively adopting a development path based on the presence or absence of their fathers, or is it that their parents had a set of genes for earlier sexual development that they passed on to their offspring

    with “that is the question!” or something similar.

    It should be noted that males that engage in high levels of parental investment have likely been selected to be able to detect females that are likely to cuckold them and females that require high levels of paternal investment in their partners have likely been selected to detect incipient caddish behavior. So, it seems likely that genes for ‘sluttish’ and ‘caddish’ behavior occur together or are co-evolved.

    Read More
  31. @Jack D
    In the days of flat earth, there must have been skeptics who said the earth was round and maybe the reporters in the Padua Times even printed their dissenting views and they were not burned at the stake. But all the RESPECTABLE scientists debated whether the earth was shaped like a dinner plate or like a square and mostly ignored the cranks who said it was a sphere. We're at that stage now.

    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim
    Yes, medieval scholars were well aware that the Earth is a sphere and knowledge of this fact goes back to well before Aristotle in the 4th century BC. Eratosthenes determined the radius of the Earth in the 3rd century BC.
    , @syonredux

    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.
     
    There wasn't much hustle in the gentle, day-dreaming Irving, I'm afraid.After all, he did graciously step aside when Prescott informed him of his plans to write a book on the conquest of Mexico.

    As for Irving and the myth of the Medieval Flat Earth:

    French dramatist Cyrano de Bergerac in chapter 5 of his The Other World The Societies and Governments of the Moon (published 2 years posthumously in 1657) quotes St. Augustine as saying "that in his day and age the earth was as flat as a stove lid and that it floated on water like half of a sliced orange."[10] Robert Burton, in his The Anatomy of Melancholy[11] wrote:

    Virgil, sometimes bishop of Saltburg (as Aventinus anno 745 relates) by Bonifacius bishop of Mentz was therefore called in question, because he held antipodes (which they made a doubt whether Christ died for) and so by that means took away the seat of hell, or so contracted it, that it could bear no proportion to heaven, and contradicted that opinion of Austin [St. Augustine], Basil, Lactantius that held the earth round as a trencher (whom Acosta and common experience more largely confute) but not as a ball.

    Thus, there is evidence that accusations of flatearthism, though somewhat whimsical (Burton ends his digression with a legitimate quotation of St. Augustine: "Better doubt of things concealed, than to contend about uncertainties, where Abraham's bosom is, and hell fire"[11]) were used to discredit opposing authorities several centuries before the 19th. Another early mention in literature is Ludvig Holberg's comedy Erasmus Montanus (1723). Erasmus Montanus meets considerable opposition when he claims the Earth is round, since all the peasants hold it to be flat. He is not allowed to marry his fiancée until he cries "The earth is flat as a pancake". In Thomas Jefferson's book Notes on the State of Virginia (1784), framed as answers to a series of questions (queries), Jefferson uses the "Query" regarding religion to attack the idea of state-sponsored official religions. In the chapter, Jefferson relates a series of official erroneous beliefs about nature forced upon people by authority. One of these is the episode of Galileo's struggles with authority, which Jefferson erroneously frames in terms of the shape of the globe:[12]

    Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex.


    In 1834, a few years after the publication of Irving's book, Jean Antoine Letronne, a French academic of strong antireligious ideas, misrepresented the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth in his On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers.[22] Then in 1837, the English philosopher of science William Whewell, in his History of the Inductive Sciences, identified Lactantius, author of Institutiones Divinae (c. 310), and Cosmas Indicopleustes, author of Christian Topography (c. 548), as evidence of a medieval belief in a Flat Earth. Lactantius had been ridiculed much earlier by Copernicus in De revolutionibus of 1543 as someone who "Speaks quite childishly about the Earth's shape, when he mocks those who declared that the Earth has the form of a globe."

    Other historians quickly followed Whewell, although they could identify few other examples.[23] The American chemist John William Draper wrote a History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), employing the claim that the early Church fathers thought the earth was flat as evidence of the hostility of the Church to the advancement of science.[24] The story of widespread religious belief in the flat earth was repeated by Andrew Dickson White in his 1876 The Warfare of Science[25] and elaborated twenty years later in his two-volume History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, which exaggerated the number and significance of medieval flat earthers to support White's model of warfare between dogmatic theology and scientific progress.[26] As Draper and White's metaphor of ongoing warfare between the scientific progress of the Enlightenment and the religious obscurantism of the "Dark Ages" became widely accepted, it spread the idea of medieval belief in the flat earth.[27]


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

    He was far from alone
    , @syonredux
    MMM, interesting.It seems that the Englishman William Whewell (and his English-born American follower Draper) were quite important in spreading the notion of the Medieval Flat Earth among the learned:

    John W. Draper (1811-1882) was born in England into a devout Methodist family. In 1832, he emigrated to the U.S., studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and later became professor of chemistry and biology at New York University and head of the medical school. Along the way he rejected his family's religion and acquired an intense antipathy for Catholicism. Two factors were pivotal in shaping his attitude: the debates over Darwinian evolution erupting shortly after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, and the reactionary attitude of Pope Pius IX toward liberal progressivism encapsulated in his Syllabus of Errors published in 1864.

    In 1874, Draper published The History of Conflict Between Religion and Science, in which he argued that current (nineteenth-century) events were reflective of the totality of Christian history. Christianity was currently opposing progress because it has always been an impediment to science, reason, and progress. An especially egregious example of this was the Church's insistence on a flat earth, a laughable dogma that stubbornly persisted until Columbus demolished it, bravely prevailing despite the ignorant protests of the Spanish cardinals.

    Draper, with a little help from Washington Irving, thus popularized the "flat earth" myth, the idea that prior to Columbus there was a widespread, religiously-inspired belief that the earth was flat.
     

    So from where did Draper get the idea of a medieval Christian belief in a flat earth? He read William Whewell's book History of Inductive Sciences, published about three decades earlier. Whewell, a Cambridge Vice-Chancellor and Anglican priest, made intellectual stars out of two minor Christian authors, Lactantius and Cosmas Indicopleustes. Lactantius was a fourth-century pagan convert to Christianity who took particular delight in arguing against pretty much everything any pagan philosopher ever said, including that the earth was round. Christians wanted converts, but even they couldn't stomach Lactantius, whose works were posthumously condemned.

    Cosmas Indicopleustes was an even more peculiar specimen. A sixth-century merchant-sailor who later adopted monasticism, Cosmas boasted a hopelessly literal mind. To him, the projected rectilinear-shaped maps of Strabo and Eratosthenes meant that the earth was physically flat. Furthermore, they confirmed a literal interpretation of Biblical descriptions such as the "four corners of the earth" (which most everyone else took allegorically). Unlike Lactantius, Cosmas' ideas were too silly to condemn. He was just ignored. But Whewell dug him up along with Lactantius, and Draper ran with the corpses. Thus did a long-forgotten heretic and an oddball nobody become the standard-bearers for medieval Christian geography.
     
    somewhat later, Andrew Dickson White contributed:

    Draper was followed in 1896 by Cornell University president Andrew Dickson White, who published the two-volume set History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. A better historian than Draper, White realized that the case for the medieval flat earth was pitifully thin. His tactic was to stealthily misrepresent a few church fathers as flat-earthers (Basil, Chrysostom) and to argue that the non-flat-earthers were a few brave soles swimming against a colossal tide. Exactly how folks such as Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Clement, and Aquinas could be swimming against a tide of their own creation was never explained. But no matter. Facts only confuse a good story. The narrative was bold, simple, and eagerly embraced by the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, who asserted that today, as always, religion subverts knowledge and progress. It was a classic fight of good vs. evil, progress vs. regress, ignorance vs. enlightenment -- just what the papers needed to sell copy.
     
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-j-rossano/starting-a-war-with-a-fla_b_707471.html
    , @syonredux
    And here's another source that notes that Irving's contribution to the Medieval Flat Earth is a bit overblown:



    https://books.google.com/books?id=UB0Tao4oikEC&pg=PA342&lpg=PA342&dq=william+whewell+flat+earth&source=bl&ots=u9tZn968B2&sig=4ddXBjV056QwxxzuZYXpODk_7BU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rywwVf-xGISwyQSaxoCAAQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=william%20whewell%20flat%20earth&f=false

    He seems to favor the role of Letronne
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Eratosthenes not only knew the Earth was round in ancient times, but also calculated its circumference fairly accurately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measurement_of_the_Earth.27s_circumference

    That Wiki article says if Columbus accepted Eratosthenes' circumference calculation, he would have known he'd landed in the New World instead of Asia, but, in truth, he probably would have never attempted the voyage. Since he didn't know the Americas existed, he would have figured he couldn't carry enough food and water to make it to Asia traveling west from Europe.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Eratosthenes not only knew the Earth was round in ancient times, but also calculated its circumference fairly accurately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measurement_of_the_Earth.27s_circumference

    That Wiki article says if Columbus accepted Eratosthenes' circumference calculation, he would have known he'd landed in the New World instead of Asia, but, in truth, he probably would have never attempted the voyage. Since he didn't know the Americas existed, he would have figured he couldn't carry enough food and water to make it to Asia traveling west from Europe.
  32. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Since very few men these days wear hats – if we ignore those truly horrible baseball caps with the ‘strip’ adjustment at the back – the notion of ‘hat size’ has pretty much fallen off the agenda – how many men reading this actually know their hat size, or have actually been to a hatter’s shop and even purchased a fedora, Homburg or whatever? – as a side note, I’ve always wanted to buy myself a Homburg and to actually have the guts to wear it in public, but belonging to the be-jeaned and be-sneakered uglified generation, it’s a hard thing to do.
    Anyhow, Steve’s ‘hat-size -IQ’ correlation is an interesting theory. In my inimical way, just to drag down the blog, it reminds me of some of the late JP Rushton’s more interesting little quips of theories and correlations. Believe it or not, Rushton came up with a ‘phallo/cerebral’ inverse correlation index. No need to guess which ethnicities scored at either extremes. But, one wonders, if freely given the choice, the preference in that particular contest might not be what the casual observer thinks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    An old 'joke'from the celebrated British 'blue comic' Jim Davidson - 'I'm sure that Linford Christie is hiding Chris Eubanks in his shorts'.
  33. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Are terms like “low income” and “poor” just euphemisms for black/brown? When they use these terms are they making any distinctions such as those who are long term multi-generational welfare clients compared to recent immigrants from, say, Ukraine who haven’t yet gotten a good foothold? They mention early intervention; have they heard of Head Start? Handing out $333 p/mo to a thousand “low-income mothers” adds up to quite a bit of money. Would this be a supplement to their welfare checks or paychecks (if employed)? Perhaps the key period for federal intervention is not nine months minus a day prior but the ten years prior. Or perhaps it’s a hundred years.
    Since brain size has been increasing since Homo Habilis it seems reasonable to infer that it is related to increased intelligence.

    Read More
  34. Last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said if he had one more federal dollar to spend on education, he would funnel it to early childhood.

    Well that one dollar would not be wasted.

    Read More
  35. No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies

    Asians tend to be smaller overall, so shorter gestation?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    In this, British, context, 'Asian' is a euphemism for sub-continental Indian.
    Sub con Indians are an ethnicity well known for small birth weights. Possibly this is an evolutionary selection bias of a rapid breeding tendency, a response to very high infant mortality due to disease and parasite burden.
    , @Uptown Resident

    Asians tend to be smaller overall, so shorter gestation?
     
    But what matters (as far as I can tell) is the size ratio of the infant's cranium to the mom's pelvis. Do Asian women have smaller pelvises than white women, relative to their babies' cranium sizes?
  36. Aside from the fact that he is six feet under, Gould can not attribute the findings of this study to unconscious bias. The researchers are strict environmentalist. And the lead researcher is a woman! So the findings can not be dismissed as part of the cis-gendered white male conspiracy.

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  37. Anyone watch the PBS TV NOVA show last night? It was on the nature of mathematics and an 11 year old math whiz who had scored 800 on the SAT math was asked to solve some math problems while he had a CAT scan done of his brain. The back of his brain lit up as blood entered some lobes associated with math began firing. Scans of other children’s brains did not exhibit this effect to the same degree. Whether this effect was innate or the result of practice much as a child ‘prodigy’ playing a musical instrument might induce a similar effect in another part of the brain could be difficult to determine but that there is an observable biological response in the brain associated with greater function is interesting.

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  38. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Lurker

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies
     
    Asians tend to be smaller overall, so shorter gestation?

    In this, British, context, ‘Asian’ is a euphemism for sub-continental Indian.
    Sub con Indians are an ethnicity well known for small birth weights. Possibly this is an evolutionary selection bias of a rapid breeding tendency, a response to very high infant mortality due to disease and parasite burden.

    Read More
  39. I think it is accepted common sense that brain size correlates with intelligence, the problem is that it’s hard to define the correlation: weak, strong, or practically determinative. The reason why phrenologists and physiologists got into so much trouble is that they tended to take any correlation and raise it to the level of a natural law. Hence the well deserved ridicule.

    I remember in the ’60′s when we read about how Neanderthals had larger craniums (I recall 1500 cc vs modern average of 1350 cc) how that led to discussions that perhaps they were smarter than we are; this was well before the idea of Neanderthal-human linkage became common, and long before the current notion that a distinguishing characteristic of non-Africans is “3% to 4%” of Neanderthal DNA.

    Wide hips are important for human baby delivery, because of evolved skull size. Precisely for that reason, too, the well known helplessness of human babies is probably associated with the fact that a human baby must be born while the mother can still deliver it; I remember reading somewhere that human babies engage in practically fetal rates of growth for some time after birth. I would guess that African and Asian early births are correlated to hip/pelvis size.

    There seems to be something Lamarckian (or is that epigenetic?) about taking a small craniumed baby and attempt to “force feed” its intellect. It makes me wonder if the head shaping tendencies in some ancient cultures (e.g., Egypt) had its root in the common sense awareness that big skulls = big mind, such that there were deliberate attempts to increase Pharaonic IQ by binding infant skulls. At any rate, good luck with this idea that giving people money will increase the intelligence of their progeny.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Flinders Petrie

    At any rate, good luck with this idea that giving people money will increase the intelligence of their progeny.
     
    There's actually a study that tests exactly this premise. It examines Swedish lottery winners. Conclusion: the effect of large amounts of money on infant health, drug consumption, scholastic performance and cognitive and non-cognitive skills is exactly zero.

    https://files.nyu.edu/dac12/public/Wp1060.pdf

  40. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width.”

    Anecdotally, at my high school quite a few of the guys on the cross country team were very smart. At my son’s school, the kids in his elementary school class who are the best runners on their cross country team seem to have a tendency to be very smart, especially in math. Anyway, these two observations have led me to recently wonder if there might be some correlation between running ability and intelligence – or at least math ability.

    Read More
    • Replies: @prosa123
    Cross country is the sort of sport that appeals to smarter kids.
  41. Ah, so all of those actors and newscasters with abnormally large heads really are our society’s cognitive elite?

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  42. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Uptown Resident

    My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier.
     
    That's precisely the hypothesis proposed to explain why the gestational period for black babies is so much shorter than that for white babies.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants. [Meconium is the first BM. --UR]
    [...]
    One hypothesis for shorter average gestational length amongst black infants is that earlier maturation of the feto-placental unit relates to the maternal pelvic size. A smaller pelvis benefits the mother in evolutionary terms in relation to posture and stability when running. However, a smaller pelvis is also associated with a higher incidence of both obstructed labour and maternal mortality. Indeed, Africans have been observed to have amongst the highest emergency caesarean section rates. In fetal terms it is advantageous for the fetus to have a large head because of the improved brain growth. Thus, this creates conflict in the maternal/fetal relationship. It therefore would be in the interest of the fetus to mature faster and deliver earlier to avoid the complications described.

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/107.full
     

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    When my husband and I got married, my brother-in-law, a radiation oncologist, joked that we should schedule our c-section immediately given the size of our heads. I've broached the subject with my OB, who was dismissive. Her own babies' heads were in the 99th percentile and she had vaginal deliveries. Still, "perineal tearing" and "episiotomy" are words that send chills into my heart.

    Uptown resident: Find a new OB. My mom had small pelvis, and I had a big head. She was in labor for a day and I almost died. Should have been a c-section. It was a crummy old military base hospital.

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    • Replies: @Uptown Resident
    Your poor mother!! I wonder what year that was. The problem nowadays is OB's doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.

    The risk of c-section goes up if you have a petite mom and a big-and-tall dad. That's why Asian moms carrying the babies of white men have higher rates of c-sections. I think Razib Kahn has written on this. I'm 5'10'' and my husband 6' so I'm not worried about a baby unmatched to my pelvis. I'm more worried about bad fetal positioning (if the baby is facing the back rather than the front, the dreaded "back labor") or wimping out and going for an epidural, which can slow down labor and increase the risk of c-section.
  43. @Lurker

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies
     
    Asians tend to be smaller overall, so shorter gestation?

    Asians tend to be smaller overall, so shorter gestation?

    But what matters (as far as I can tell) is the size ratio of the infant’s cranium to the mom’s pelvis. Do Asian women have smaller pelvises than white women, relative to their babies’ cranium sizes?

    Read More
  44. I’d be curious to know what the average hat size is of, say, the faculty of physics at Harvard or the mathematicians at the Institute of Advanced Study. How would they compare with the Sociology or Education departments at Princeton and Harvard?

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  45. @Uptown Resident

    My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier.
     
    That's precisely the hypothesis proposed to explain why the gestational period for black babies is so much shorter than that for white babies.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants. [Meconium is the first BM. --UR]
    [...]
    One hypothesis for shorter average gestational length amongst black infants is that earlier maturation of the feto-placental unit relates to the maternal pelvic size. A smaller pelvis benefits the mother in evolutionary terms in relation to posture and stability when running. However, a smaller pelvis is also associated with a higher incidence of both obstructed labour and maternal mortality. Indeed, Africans have been observed to have amongst the highest emergency caesarean section rates. In fetal terms it is advantageous for the fetus to have a large head because of the improved brain growth. Thus, this creates conflict in the maternal/fetal relationship. It therefore would be in the interest of the fetus to mature faster and deliver earlier to avoid the complications described.

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/107.full
     

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    When my husband and I got married, my brother-in-law, a radiation oncologist, joked that we should schedule our c-section immediately given the size of our heads. I've broached the subject with my OB, who was dismissive. Her own babies' heads were in the 99th percentile and she had vaginal deliveries. Still, "perineal tearing" and "episiotomy" are words that send chills into my heart.

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    Note that Asians here means South Asians, ie Pakistanis and Indians.

    My experience with East Asians does not give me the impression that they have shorter gestation periods …

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  46. Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size

    I don’t have a dog in this fight but I recall years ago seeing Gould on TV rubbishing someone’s work – was it Philippe Rushton? – that involved measuring cranial cavities through the use of small steel balls. Gould claimed that the scientist found different sizes because he subconsciously tamped down harder on the ones he wished to show were larger.

    I’m no scientist but even as a kid I wondered how one could tamp down that hard on steel balls. If it wasn’t a direct comment on Rushton’s work it certainly was a program out to discredit him.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, that was the essence of Gould's complaint, for which he had no evidence.
    , @syonredux
    Razib Khan:

    I would say The Mismeasurement of Man is one of the most commonly cited books on this weblog over the years (in the comments). It comes close to being “proof-text” in many arguments online, because of the authority and eminence of the author in the public mind, Stephen Jay Gould. I am in general not particularly a fan of Gould’s work or thought, with many of my sentiments matching the attitudes of Paul Krugman in this 1996 essay:

    ….Like most American intellectuals, I first learned about this subject [evolutionary biology] from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould. But I eventually came to realize that working biologists regard Gould much the same way that economists regard Robert Reich: talented writer, too bad he never gets anything right. Serious evolutionary theorists such as John Maynard Smith or William Hamilton, like serious economists, think largely in terms of mathematical models. Indeed, the introduction to Maynard Smith’s classic tract Evolutionary Genetics flatly declares, “If you can’t stand algebra, stay away from evolutionary biology.” There is a core set of crucial ideas in his subject that, because they involve the interaction of several different factors, can only be clearly understood by someone willing to sit still for a bit of math. (Try to give a purely verbal description of the reactions among three mutually catalytic chemicals.)
     
    But many intellectuals who can’t stand algebra are not willing to stay away from the subject. They are thus deeply attracted to a graceful writer like Gould, who frequently misrepresents the field (perhaps because he does not fully understand its essentially mathematical logic), but who wraps his misrepresentations in so many layers of impressive, if irrelevant, historical and literary erudition that they seem profound.


    Yes, I am aware that some biologists would disagree with this assessment of Gould’s relevance. But I remain generally skeptical of his arguments, though over the years I have become more accepting of the necessity of openness to a sense of ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the forces which shape evolutionary processes. And certainly there is interesting exposition in a book like The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but there was no need for ~1500 pages (Brian Switek did fine with a little over ~300 pages in covering similar territory as the first half of the book). Whatever valid positions Gould staked out in opposition to excessive adaptationist thinking on the part of the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the mid-20th century, his penchant for self-marketing and repackaging of plausible but not particularly novel concepts was often destructive in my experience to the enterprise of a greater public understanding of science.

    When I was in 8th grade my earth science teacher explained to the class proudly that he was not a “Darwinian,” rather, he accepted punctuated equilibrium. One must understand that much of his audience was Creationist in sympathy because of the demographics of the region, but I was frankly appalled by his explicit verbal rejection of “Darwinism,” because I knew how the others would take it (my best friend in the class was a Creationist and he kept chuckling about “monkeys turning into men” throughout the whole period). I remained after to further explore this issue with my teacher. I expressed my bewilderment as best as I could, and it came to pass that my teacher explained that he had arrived to his skepticism of the rejected model of Darwinism via the works of Stephen Jay Gould. With his silver tongue Gould had convinced him that the future of evolutionary science lay with punctuated equilibrium, which had already overthrown the older order. A 13 year old can only go so far, and so I moved on.

    But this incident made be very suspicious of Gould’s influence on people from that point onward, and I became even more skeptical after I found out that the sophistic proponent of what later become Intelligent Design, Phillip E. Johnson, was mining his more rhetorical jeremiads against Darwinism like it was Tombstone in the 19th century. To his credit Gould delivered an aptly savage review to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial for his lawyerly misrepresentations, but Stephen Jay Gould himself sowed the seeds for this by portraying himself to the public as the scourge of the priests of the Church of Darwin. His contributions to the broader canvas of evolutionary biology (that is, outside of his academic specialty in paleontology) are probably as substantive as Richard Dawkins’ ideas are to the understanding of the role of religion in society. Gould was an intellectual polemicist of the first order.

    This goes back decades. In the 1970s he was a member of the Sociobiology Study Group, whose intellectual weight helped lead to a groundswell of activism against E. O. Wilson’s project of a biologically informed approach to social science. Eventually Wilson was accused of genocide and doused with cold water at the 1979 AAAS meeting (Gould disassociated himself from that sort of “infantile” behavior, but in Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate it seems clear that Wilson believed that the Harvard professors who saw dark intentions behind his project of fusing social science with biology helped foster the atmosphere of intimidation).

    This is all a long way of saying that I give Gould his due and acknowledge his influence on the ideas of Elisabeth Vrba. But when he steps outside of the domain of paleontology in general I dismiss appeals to Gouldian authority, whether it be in evolutionary biology on a grand philosophical scale, or the triviality of human races as biological entities.

    And so we come to a paper in PLoS Biology, The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. Now, let me make one thing clear: the authors are not racists. They make that clear repeatedly; they abhor racism. But they also abhor falsity. They find that Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that Samuel Morton’s cranial measurements of 19th century skulls were influence by his bias due to his belief in the superiority of the white race is false. Why? While Gould reanalyzed the data, the authors measured the original skulls (or more precisely, half of the original skulls). Here’s the abstract:

    Stephen Jay Gould, the prominent evolutionary biologist and science historian, argued that “unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm” because “scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”…a view now popular in social studies of science…In support of his argument Gould presented the case of Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist famous for his measurements of human skulls. Morton was considered the objectivist of his era, but Gould reanalyzed Morton’s data and in his prize-winning book The Mismeasure of Man…argued that Morton skewed his data to fit his preconceptions about human variation. Morton is now viewed as a canonical example of scientific misconduct. But did Morton really fudge his data? Are studies of human variation inevitably biased, as per Gould, or are objective accounts attainable, as Morton attempted? We investigated these questions by remeasuring Morton’s skulls and reexamining both Morton’s and Gould’s analyses. Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould. In fact, the Morton case provides an example of how the scientific method can shield results from cultural biases.

     

    In their measurements they found that there were errors in Morton’s methods: but they were not systematically biased in the direction which his preference for white racial superiority would have led him to. On the contrary, if anything his errors went in the other direction. The prose in the paper is pretty straightforward, eminently polite, and charitable to Gould in light of the fact that he is no longer with us and able to respond forcefully. Here’s Box 2 for a flavor:

    Box 2. Did Morton manipulate his samples? Gould states that “as a favorite tool for adjustment, Morton chose to include or delete large subsamples in order to match grand means with a priori expectations”…This criticism stems from the fact that each of Morton’s broader racial samples (e.g., “Indian”) were composed of multiple population subsamples, typically with differing mean cranial capacities. Thus it is possible to alter the overall “race” means by manipulating their constituent subsamples, and Gould charges that Morton did just that in order to obtain the results he expected.

    For example, Gould compares the cranial capacities in Morton’s 1839 and 1849 publications and finds that “Morton’s Indian mean had plummeted to 79 in3.… But, again, this low value only records an increasing inequality of sub-sample size. Small-headed (and small-statured) Peruvians had formed 23 percent of the 1839 sample; they now made up nearly half the total sample”…However, the “Indian” mean was 79.6 in3 in Morton 1839 and 79.3 in3 in Morton 1849, so the “plummet” Gould refers to was all of 0.3 in3. More importantly, Morton in 1849…explicitly calculated his overall “Indian” average by taking the mean of three subgroups: Peruvians, Mexicans, and “Barbarous Tribes”—this is readily apparent in Morton’s table reprinted in Gould…As such, the percentage of the overall “Indian” sample composed of Peruvians is irrelevant to the overall mean, as it is only the Peruvian average which impacts the overall value. The Peruvian average changed by less than 1 in3 from Morton 1839 (n = 33) to Morton 1849 (n = 155).

    Clearly, Morton was not manipulating samples to depress the “Indian” mean, and the change was trivial in any case (0.3 in3). In fact, the more likely candidate for manipulating sample composition is Gould himself in this instance. In recalculating Morton’s Native American mean, Gould…reports erroneously high values for the Seminole-Muskogee and Iroquois due to mistakes in defining those samples and omits the Eastern Lenapé group entirely, all of which serve to increase the Native American mean and reduce the differences between groups.
     
    And so it goes on. The authors are concerned that Gould’s “proof” of Morton’s bias is now a case study in many universities. But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

    Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion). Darwin may have been a liberal of his age, but he was still a man of his age at the end of the day. This does not negate his greatness as a scientist. Reality is. We may see through the mirror darkly, but there is something on the other side beyond our imaginings. Darwin, for all his flaws that we perceive in our own time due to the values which we hold dear and essential, nevertheless grasped upon a critical fragment of objective reality. Whatever chasm which time imposes because of the waxing and waning of cultural values, we are anchored within the same stream of objective reality and the truths which undergird that reality. I caution against excessive reliance on one paper, one figure, on result, because of the darkness through which we muddle. But reality does exist, and we sometimes need to set aside expectation or preference when we go about ascertaining its true shape.


    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/06/a-mismeasured-mismeasurement-of-man/#.VTAP29zF_LM
  47. re: pelvic size, head size, intelligence, pain of childbirth.

    Recall that Eve’s curse is pain in childbirth. For those who. like me, think the myth is about the invention of agriculture, which made conquest and servitude viable human institutions (hard to enslave hunter/gatherers because they can always run away), it was if to say that if Eve hadn’t been so smart (women invented agriculture) all this servitude and hard work would never have happened. In other words, human intelligence did us in.

    As for Eve being created out of Adam’s rib, that signifies the original equality between the man and the woman (hunter/gatherer societies are relatively egalitarian, early horticulatural societies even more so, hence fertility goddess worship), whereas after “the fall” inequality is the rule, not only between the social classes (nobility and farmers) but between the sexes. It’s all about patriarchy. I forget how the myth expresses that — does Eve now have to obey her husband? It’s been a long time since I read it. I know there was something about the heel and the head, the high and the low, no more of this rib stuff.

    We’ve forgotten how to read these pre-literate texts. They pack a lot of knowledge, in this case historical.

    Read More
    • Replies: @keypusher
    Gosh, I wish there was some way to access this esoteric work. I wonder if it's on the internet somewhere.
    , @Uptown Resident
    Interesting interpretation of Genesis.

    Midwives and the alternative childbirth movement get really exercised about Eve's curse, and what they believe is a mistaken cultural perception that childbirth has to be excruciatingly painful. Their foundational text is Dr. Grantly Dick-Read's 1959 "Childbirth without Fear," which argued that modern obstetrics has made childbirth more painful than it needs to be. For instance, laboring on your back is probably the absolutely worst posture for getting a baby through the pelvis and out the birth canal. Squatting or laboring on all fours is what women traditionally did, and what works much better. Gravity and pelvis position matter tremendously. The sacred cow of midwifery, Ina May Gaskin, has written books on childbirth that are full of positive unmedicated birth stories (accounts from the midwifery center on "the Farm," some hippy commune in Tennessee) that pregnant women are supposed to read to replace anxiety-producing stories of horrific hospital births with calming stories about euphoric unmedicated childbirths. I was extremely skeptical about this all until I read her "Guide to Childbirth," which was assigned in my childbirth class. They totally transform your expectations for childbirth. I'd recommend Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth" to any woman who wants to prepare for an unmedicated childbirth.
  48. @Uptown Resident

    My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier.
     
    That's precisely the hypothesis proposed to explain why the gestational period for black babies is so much shorter than that for white babies.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants. [Meconium is the first BM. --UR]
    [...]
    One hypothesis for shorter average gestational length amongst black infants is that earlier maturation of the feto-placental unit relates to the maternal pelvic size. A smaller pelvis benefits the mother in evolutionary terms in relation to posture and stability when running. However, a smaller pelvis is also associated with a higher incidence of both obstructed labour and maternal mortality. Indeed, Africans have been observed to have amongst the highest emergency caesarean section rates. In fetal terms it is advantageous for the fetus to have a large head because of the improved brain growth. Thus, this creates conflict in the maternal/fetal relationship. It therefore would be in the interest of the fetus to mature faster and deliver earlier to avoid the complications described.

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/107.full
     

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    When my husband and I got married, my brother-in-law, a radiation oncologist, joked that we should schedule our c-section immediately given the size of our heads. I've broached the subject with my OB, who was dismissive. Her own babies' heads were in the 99th percentile and she had vaginal deliveries. Still, "perineal tearing" and "episiotomy" are words that send chills into my heart.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans.

    Interesting, but keep in mind that the study isn’t referring to East Asians but to South Asians which it defines as people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. In the UK, that’s what most people mean when they use the term “Asian” in a racial or ethnic sense.

    I’m not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I’d suspect that they’d have been a minority of that group anyway.

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    • Replies: @Uptown Resident
    good point.
    , @Uptown Resident

    I’m not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I’d suspect that they’d have been a minority of that group anyway.
     
    That was my first reaction, too. But an M.D. friend pointed out that many black women look like have wide hips not because they have wide pelvises, but because they have a lot of extra muscle/fat in that area. I.e., the size of the butt doesn't indicate pelvis size.
  49. I attempted to buy a baseball cap off street vendors in the US. Always too small. I was told they were adult sizes. The ones in the stores weren’t much bigger. Don’t have that issue here in the north.

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  50. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factor"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    And women who work at Hooters have bigger boobs than those who don’t.

    Who knew?

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  51. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    Since very few men these days wear hats - if we ignore those truly horrible baseball caps with the 'strip' adjustment at the back - the notion of 'hat size' has pretty much fallen off the agenda - how many men reading this actually know their hat size, or have actually been to a hatter's shop and even purchased a fedora, Homburg or whatever? - as a side note, I've always wanted to buy myself a Homburg and to actually have the guts to wear it in public, but belonging to the be-jeaned and be-sneakered uglified generation, it's a hard thing to do.
    Anyhow, Steve's 'hat-size -IQ' correlation is an interesting theory. In my inimical way, just to drag down the blog, it reminds me of some of the late JP Rushton's more interesting little quips of theories and correlations. Believe it or not, Rushton came up with a 'phallo/cerebral' inverse correlation index. No need to guess which ethnicities scored at either extremes. But, one wonders, if freely given the choice, the preference in that particular contest might not be what the casual observer thinks.

    An old ‘joke’from the celebrated British ‘blue comic’ Jim Davidson – ‘I’m sure that Linford Christie is hiding Chris Eubanks in his shorts’.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Driving through the monotonous anomie of decaying Edwardian north London one day, past a typical low-income 'High Street' littered with the usual Bookies, charity shops, kebab shops and KFC clones, my eye alighted on a typical British 'transport caff' of the type that does good OK' fashioned fried breakfasts and steaming cups of tea, although these typically are run by Italians, Greeks or Turks. Anyway, it was the name of the caff, on the signboard which drew my attention. Not the usual 'Tony's or Steve's or Ron's Cafe' - as these establishments are invariably named, but this proudly sported the legend 'Linford's Lunch box'.
    A reference, alas, which must befuddle the vast bulk of American and other non British iStevers, but is bound to raise a titter or two from viewers of 1980s British TV sport or comedy.
  52. I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help – whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    In other words, there is more justification for society intervening and helping out those who are impaired through no fault of their own, rather than people who are voluntarily lazy and shiftless.

    On the other hand, the Fox News types likely would not buy the smaller brain/lower IQ hypothesis, and instead would argue that these folks are voluntarily lazy and shiftless – which is a good rationale to deny them benefits.

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    • Replies: @Anonym
    One should remember that it was not a group of factory workers or janitors who came up with Marxism, or financed and orchestrated the Russian Revolution. Maybe people like Gould don't like being identified as being different and smarter than others.
    , @Unladen Swallow
    You wonder why? The whole premise of the left's ideology is based on egalitarianism, noblesse oblige isn't going to inspire followers or rally the troops. Besides which, affirmative action not only in the US but around the world is a vehicle for the advancement of the elites in the protected group in the name of the poor of that group. When the Ivies discriminate against whites and Asians they are not giving their seats to poor blacks, they are giving them to rich and well connected ones, so socioeconomic inequality is widened as a result. Therefore the Asian and white poor who are smart are pushed to the side in favor of lower performing black elites and the poor blacks are not getting anything from the bargain other than their name being used to justify the programs.

    As Steve as pointed out the courts view any test in which blacks perform at under 80 percent as well as whites as discriminatory even though that is a virtual certainty if the test has any validity for the job. So the government entity has to dumb down the test so much that it hires practically everybody, which it can't do, or it has to settle out of court. Most of the blacks not hired are just given a settlement check, not a job. In law schools, the mismatch effect of blacks being admitted to better schools than they are qualified for results in the median black law school student being in the 8th percentile of law school students. Among medical school grads it leads to to over half of black med school graduates never being licensed to practice medicine, whereas the comparable percentage for whites is 12 percent. You are assuming affirmative action works like it's proponents claim it does, when in fact it doesn't.

    , @Bill

    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help – whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.
     
    Why, it's almost as if equality isn't the motivating force of "leftism" any more.
    , @Kenneth A. Regas
    You make a good point, but as a "Fox News type" I'd take it in an entirely different direction.

    Affirmative action, for example, is IMHO foolish and deeply un-American. But on the other hand, why do we tolerate illegal immigration, which floods the low-skill (largely low IQ) labor force with competitors? We would do the least among our compatriots a huge service if we'd politely but firmly identify and repatriate all the foreigners living in our country in defiance of law.

    Similarly, in the concluding chapter of The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray pleaded for society to be more accepting and understanding of the unintelligent. But if you're a "lefty lawyer", you probably don't like their prescriptions, such as that laws and social norms should be simpler: You want to have sex with that girl? You gotta marry her - with all the responsibilities that implies. As Murray further elaborated in Coming Apart, American collegiates have long treated the sexual revolution as permission to play without strings attached, but generally follow the implicit rule that there will be no children without marriage first. The low IQ crowd has gotten the permission to play, just not the expectation that children will have married parents. So we're swimming in bastards and chaotic families. This is a societal wound inflicted by self-indulgent people with high IQ's.

    So maybe the left is unwilling to hear the message of Charles Murray and other like-minded scholars because they tend to be Fox News types with entirely different societal prescriptions in comparison to those offered by lefty lawyers.

    Any chance that as a lefty lawyer you'll ever be able to imagine that we Fox News types express the ideas we do out of benevolence toward the unintelligent as great as your own?

    Ken
  53. Why do you ellide the name of the 19th c scientist?

    The French scientist Paul Broca deserves to be remembered.

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  54. @SPMoore8
    I think it is accepted common sense that brain size correlates with intelligence, the problem is that it's hard to define the correlation: weak, strong, or practically determinative. The reason why phrenologists and physiologists got into so much trouble is that they tended to take any correlation and raise it to the level of a natural law. Hence the well deserved ridicule.

    I remember in the '60's when we read about how Neanderthals had larger craniums (I recall 1500 cc vs modern average of 1350 cc) how that led to discussions that perhaps they were smarter than we are; this was well before the idea of Neanderthal-human linkage became common, and long before the current notion that a distinguishing characteristic of non-Africans is "3% to 4%" of Neanderthal DNA.

    Wide hips are important for human baby delivery, because of evolved skull size. Precisely for that reason, too, the well known helplessness of human babies is probably associated with the fact that a human baby must be born while the mother can still deliver it; I remember reading somewhere that human babies engage in practically fetal rates of growth for some time after birth. I would guess that African and Asian early births are correlated to hip/pelvis size.

    There seems to be something Lamarckian (or is that epigenetic?) about taking a small craniumed baby and attempt to "force feed" its intellect. It makes me wonder if the head shaping tendencies in some ancient cultures (e.g., Egypt) had its root in the common sense awareness that big skulls = big mind, such that there were deliberate attempts to increase Pharaonic IQ by binding infant skulls. At any rate, good luck with this idea that giving people money will increase the intelligence of their progeny.

    At any rate, good luck with this idea that giving people money will increase the intelligence of their progeny.

    There’s actually a study that tests exactly this premise. It examines Swedish lottery winners. Conclusion: the effect of large amounts of money on infant health, drug consumption, scholastic performance and cognitive and non-cognitive skills is exactly zero.

    https://files.nyu.edu/dac12/public/Wp1060.pdf

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  55. It must take a lot of mental energy for “correct” thinkers to force themselves to pretend that the obvious isn’t there and act shocked that anyone would actually notice or think that.

    Also, for some reason, every time I see progressives attempt to identify things like cause and effect with respect to taboo subjects, I can’t help but think about Navin Johnson concluding that his sniper hates the cans he’s hitting. That they would immediately conclude that poverty is causing the statistical difference in brain structure rather than the other way around is so predictable and funny.

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  56. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    An old 'joke'from the celebrated British 'blue comic' Jim Davidson - 'I'm sure that Linford Christie is hiding Chris Eubanks in his shorts'.

    Driving through the monotonous anomie of decaying Edwardian north London one day, past a typical low-income ‘High Street’ littered with the usual Bookies, charity shops, kebab shops and KFC clones, my eye alighted on a typical British ‘transport caff’ of the type that does good OK’ fashioned fried breakfasts and steaming cups of tea, although these typically are run by Italians, Greeks or Turks. Anyway, it was the name of the caff, on the signboard which drew my attention. Not the usual ‘Tony’s or Steve’s or Ron’s Cafe’ – as these establishments are invariably named, but this proudly sported the legend ‘Linford’s Lunch box’.
    A reference, alas, which must befuddle the vast bulk of American and other non British iStevers, but is bound to raise a titter or two from viewers of 1980s British TV sport or comedy.

    Read More
  57. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    It’s in the interest of the people in the very lucrative “closing the gap” industry to not find a solution.

    Personally I think a lot of the gap – not all – is probably to do with nutrition, not in a magic box sense but in the sense of very specific nutrients and those nutrients could probably be found if they were looked for but they’re not being looked for.

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  58. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factor"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Is our culture of shamelessness having a spillover effect on all sectors of society?

    A society that isn’t outraged by the antics of Kardashian, lunacy of Larry Kramer, the greed of Donald Trump, and the foulness of Lena Dunham may have become habitually numbed to all manner of abuses in other sectors.

    So, we now have a society where Snowden has to go into hiding but Sabrina Rubin, the Bernie Madoff of journalism, gets to keep her job. She hasn’t even the decency to remove herself.
    And stuff in government that used to freak out journalists in the Watergate Era are accepted as business as usual.
    As shamelessness has become the norm in society, so many people in so many sectors are brazen in their lies and dirty tricks.

    People are not even shocked by what happens in GONE GIRL. It is the new normal of me, me, me-ism.
    If homos can brazenly remake the meaning of marriage, anything goes.
    If Jews in the media can get away with all sorts of lies about Iran, Russia, white Americans, conservatives, and etc. they just keep doing it. Hillary and Benghazi? Just shrug our shoulders. Move along. Soros and Ferguson. Oh, never mind.

    The only ones burdened with shame are whites, especially white males. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what foulness you pull. Look how Al Sharpton is treated with kid gloves even by conservatives.

    A people who cannot be shocked and outraged–except by white male behavior, of course, even when fantastic, as with Duke Lacrosse and UVA–by filth in culture will be more tolerant of outrages and abuses in government, finance, law, education, and etc.

    Ironically, those who feign the most shock and outrage–the PC police–keep getting away with the most shocking and outrageous behavior without repercussions. The dean of UVA should be fired or should resign for prematurely vilifying the fraternity. But she goes on with her work.
    The message to everyone like her? They can get away with anything.
    And the lesson of Wall Street in 2008? The sharks got away with everything. If anything, they got richer since 2008 at the expense of everyone else. No shock. But how can people who aren’t shocked by filth like Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj be shocked by anything?

    The Liberal narrative would have us believe that the culture of shock/outrage is conservative and elitist, and of course it can be. It was used by conservatives in the past, especially those Catholic Groups calling for censorship on everything.
    Liberals said easing or opposing the culture of shock would lead to more liberation and freedom for the people, the masses. True to some degree.

    But there was another side to this. The culture of shock/outrage also favors the People against the elites because a people capable of moral outrage about vice-filled behavior will be more likely condemn the rich and powerful who lie, cheat, abuse, exploit, act swinish, pull all sorts of dirty tricks.
    Once the culture of shock wears off among the wider populace, the people will be more tolerant of filth not only among themselves but among the elites as well.
    Once the rich are not shamed for acting like Donald Trump, Donald Sterling, all those Hollywood scuzzos, and pop music sleazebags, the rich in all sectors of power can get away with more since few things outrage anyone anymore. No wonder Netanahayu gets away with so much. And notice there’s no outrage over Adelson’s ‘nuke Iran’ remark.
    Iran has been falsely accused of saying ‘wipe Israel off the map’, but Adelson is feted even though clearly said US should drop a big one on Iran.

    Of course, PC still allows, indeed mandates, outrages on issues related to insensitivity toward Negroes, homos, and Jews, but this actually undermines the culture of true outrage since blacks, homos, and Jews tend to be associated with the most outrageous behavior in sports, pop culture, finance, government, law, finance, etc.

    When the biggest moral outrage in America is the sin of noticing the morally outrageous behavior of Jews, Negroes, and homos, then we’re all in some deep shit.

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  59. @IBC

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans.
     
    Interesting, but keep in mind that the study isn't referring to East Asians but to South Asians which it defines as people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. In the UK, that's what most people mean when they use the term "Asian" in a racial or ethnic sense.

    I'm not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I'd suspect that they'd have been a minority of that group anyway.

    good point.

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  60. @Luke Lea
    re: pelvic size, head size, intelligence, pain of childbirth.

    Recall that Eve's curse is pain in childbirth. For those who. like me, think the myth is about the invention of agriculture, which made conquest and servitude viable human institutions (hard to enslave hunter/gatherers because they can always run away), it was if to say that if Eve hadn't been so smart (women invented agriculture) all this servitude and hard work would never have happened. In other words, human intelligence did us in.

    As for Eve being created out of Adam's rib, that signifies the original equality between the man and the woman (hunter/gatherer societies are relatively egalitarian, early horticulatural societies even more so, hence fertility goddess worship), whereas after "the fall" inequality is the rule, not only between the social classes (nobility and farmers) but between the sexes. It's all about patriarchy. I forget how the myth expresses that -- does Eve now have to obey her husband? It's been a long time since I read it. I know there was something about the heel and the head, the high and the low, no more of this rib stuff.

    We've forgotten how to read these pre-literate texts. They pack a lot of knowledge, in this case historical.

    Gosh, I wish there was some way to access this esoteric work. I wonder if it’s on the internet somewhere.

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  61. @Luke Lea
    re: pelvic size, head size, intelligence, pain of childbirth.

    Recall that Eve's curse is pain in childbirth. For those who. like me, think the myth is about the invention of agriculture, which made conquest and servitude viable human institutions (hard to enslave hunter/gatherers because they can always run away), it was if to say that if Eve hadn't been so smart (women invented agriculture) all this servitude and hard work would never have happened. In other words, human intelligence did us in.

    As for Eve being created out of Adam's rib, that signifies the original equality between the man and the woman (hunter/gatherer societies are relatively egalitarian, early horticulatural societies even more so, hence fertility goddess worship), whereas after "the fall" inequality is the rule, not only between the social classes (nobility and farmers) but between the sexes. It's all about patriarchy. I forget how the myth expresses that -- does Eve now have to obey her husband? It's been a long time since I read it. I know there was something about the heel and the head, the high and the low, no more of this rib stuff.

    We've forgotten how to read these pre-literate texts. They pack a lot of knowledge, in this case historical.

    Interesting interpretation of Genesis.

    Midwives and the alternative childbirth movement get really exercised about Eve’s curse, and what they believe is a mistaken cultural perception that childbirth has to be excruciatingly painful. Their foundational text is Dr. Grantly Dick-Read’s 1959 “Childbirth without Fear,” which argued that modern obstetrics has made childbirth more painful than it needs to be. For instance, laboring on your back is probably the absolutely worst posture for getting a baby through the pelvis and out the birth canal. Squatting or laboring on all fours is what women traditionally did, and what works much better. Gravity and pelvis position matter tremendously. The sacred cow of midwifery, Ina May Gaskin, has written books on childbirth that are full of positive unmedicated birth stories (accounts from the midwifery center on “the Farm,” some hippy commune in Tennessee) that pregnant women are supposed to read to replace anxiety-producing stories of horrific hospital births with calming stories about euphoric unmedicated childbirths. I was extremely skeptical about this all until I read her “Guide to Childbirth,” which was assigned in my childbirth class. They totally transform your expectations for childbirth. I’d recommend Gaskin’s “Guide to Childbirth” to any woman who wants to prepare for an unmedicated childbirth.

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    • Replies: @IBC

    laboring on your back is probably the absolutely worst posture for getting a baby through the pelvis and out the birth canal. Squatting or laboring on all fours is what women traditionally did, and what works much better.
     
    Yes, this was common in parts of Mexico until fairly recently. The Nahua Indians (descendants of the Aztecs) living just outside of Mexico City were doing it until at least the 1950s. Giving birth while lying down was seen as something that only whites and mestizos did. Squatting and sweat lodges was the indigenous way.

    A couple of years ago in Oaxaca, a hospital ran into some controversy after it refused to admit a pregnant indigenous woman who subsequently was filmed giving birth while squatting on the hospital's front lawn.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/woman-gives-birth-on-hosp_n_4073416.html
  62. @IBC

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans.
     
    Interesting, but keep in mind that the study isn't referring to East Asians but to South Asians which it defines as people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. In the UK, that's what most people mean when they use the term "Asian" in a racial or ethnic sense.

    I'm not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I'd suspect that they'd have been a minority of that group anyway.

    I’m not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I’d suspect that they’d have been a minority of that group anyway.

    That was my first reaction, too. But an M.D. friend pointed out that many black women look like have wide hips not because they have wide pelvises, but because they have a lot of extra muscle/fat in that area. I.e., the size of the butt doesn’t indicate pelvis size.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    That was my first reaction, too. But an M.D. friend pointed out that many black women look like have wide hips not because they have wide pelvises, but because they have a lot of extra muscle/fat in that area. I.e., the size of the butt doesn’t indicate pelvis size.
     
    Correct! There is so much confusion on this issue. East Asian women have wide pelvic bones because they have to be able to give birth to large-headed babies. With black women the opposite holds.

    The confusion stems from the fact that black women have much greater fat accumulation in the area than European and Asian women do. Asian women have flatter, but wider hips.
  63. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factor"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Hyman Roths of the world lost Cuba but they somehow took over the ‘friendly government’ of the US.

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  64. @Anonymous
    Steve, have a look at the original Nature Neuroscience study that this is all based on. In order to obtain the result that got all the publicity the researchers had to correct for racial differences in brain size. The single largest effect (larger than the poverty result), and the most statistically significant, is the association of cortical surface area with African ancestry.

    .25 increase in African ancestry is roughly equivalent to reduction in income by $77k (from mean of ~$100k), in terms of effect on brain surface area. (See Table 1.)

    Strange that all the people who wrote or blogged about this article failed to notice this. It stands out like a flashing red light in the paper, if you read with comprehension.

    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3983.html

    I noticed it. But I’m waiting for some more analysis results.

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  65. Lol.

    When it’s settle science on what gene does what to what part of the brain and functions, a lot of well meaning and not so well meaning papers will have to be vanished.

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  66. @SDMatt
    Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size

    I don't have a dog in this fight but I recall years ago seeing Gould on TV rubbishing someone's work - was it Philippe Rushton? - that involved measuring cranial cavities through the use of small steel balls. Gould claimed that the scientist found different sizes because he subconsciously tamped down harder on the ones he wished to show were larger.

    I'm no scientist but even as a kid I wondered how one could tamp down that hard on steel balls. If it wasn't a direct comment on Rushton's work it certainly was a program out to discredit him.

    Yes, that was the essence of Gould’s complaint, for which he had no evidence.

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  67. @SDMatt
    Stephen Jay Gould’s hat size

    I don't have a dog in this fight but I recall years ago seeing Gould on TV rubbishing someone's work - was it Philippe Rushton? - that involved measuring cranial cavities through the use of small steel balls. Gould claimed that the scientist found different sizes because he subconsciously tamped down harder on the ones he wished to show were larger.

    I'm no scientist but even as a kid I wondered how one could tamp down that hard on steel balls. If it wasn't a direct comment on Rushton's work it certainly was a program out to discredit him.

    Razib Khan:

    I would say The Mismeasurement of Man is one of the most commonly cited books on this weblog over the years (in the comments). It comes close to being “proof-text” in many arguments online, because of the authority and eminence of the author in the public mind, Stephen Jay Gould. I am in general not particularly a fan of Gould’s work or thought, with many of my sentiments matching the attitudes of Paul Krugman in this 1996 essay:

    ….Like most American intellectuals, I first learned about this subject [evolutionary biology] from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould. But I eventually came to realize that working biologists regard Gould much the same way that economists regard Robert Reich: talented writer, too bad he never gets anything right. Serious evolutionary theorists such as John Maynard Smith or William Hamilton, like serious economists, think largely in terms of mathematical models. Indeed, the introduction to Maynard Smith’s classic tract Evolutionary Genetics flatly declares, “If you can’t stand algebra, stay away from evolutionary biology.” There is a core set of crucial ideas in his subject that, because they involve the interaction of several different factors, can only be clearly understood by someone willing to sit still for a bit of math. (Try to give a purely verbal description of the reactions among three mutually catalytic chemicals.)

    But many intellectuals who can’t stand algebra are not willing to stay away from the subject. They are thus deeply attracted to a graceful writer like Gould, who frequently misrepresents the field (perhaps because he does not fully understand its essentially mathematical logic), but who wraps his misrepresentations in so many layers of impressive, if irrelevant, historical and literary erudition that they seem profound.

    Yes, I am aware that some biologists would disagree with this assessment of Gould’s relevance. But I remain generally skeptical of his arguments, though over the years I have become more accepting of the necessity of openness to a sense of ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the forces which shape evolutionary processes. And certainly there is interesting exposition in a book like The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but there was no need for ~1500 pages (Brian Switek did fine with a little over ~300 pages in covering similar territory as the first half of the book). Whatever valid positions Gould staked out in opposition to excessive adaptationist thinking on the part of the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the mid-20th century, his penchant for self-marketing and repackaging of plausible but not particularly novel concepts was often destructive in my experience to the enterprise of a greater public understanding of science.

    When I was in 8th grade my earth science teacher explained to the class proudly that he was not a “Darwinian,” rather, he accepted punctuated equilibrium. One must understand that much of his audience was Creationist in sympathy because of the demographics of the region, but I was frankly appalled by his explicit verbal rejection of “Darwinism,” because I knew how the others would take it (my best friend in the class was a Creationist and he kept chuckling about “monkeys turning into men” throughout the whole period). I remained after to further explore this issue with my teacher. I expressed my bewilderment as best as I could, and it came to pass that my teacher explained that he had arrived to his skepticism of the rejected model of Darwinism via the works of Stephen Jay Gould. With his silver tongue Gould had convinced him that the future of evolutionary science lay with punctuated equilibrium, which had already overthrown the older order. A 13 year old can only go so far, and so I moved on.

    But this incident made be very suspicious of Gould’s influence on people from that point onward, and I became even more skeptical after I found out that the sophistic proponent of what later become Intelligent Design, Phillip E. Johnson, was mining his more rhetorical jeremiads against Darwinism like it was Tombstone in the 19th century. To his credit Gould delivered an aptly savage review to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial for his lawyerly misrepresentations, but Stephen Jay Gould himself sowed the seeds for this by portraying himself to the public as the scourge of the priests of the Church of Darwin. His contributions to the broader canvas of evolutionary biology (that is, outside of his academic specialty in paleontology) are probably as substantive as Richard Dawkins’ ideas are to the understanding of the role of religion in society. Gould was an intellectual polemicist of the first order.

    This goes back decades. In the 1970s he was a member of the Sociobiology Study Group, whose intellectual weight helped lead to a groundswell of activism against E. O. Wilson’s project of a biologically informed approach to social science. Eventually Wilson was accused of genocide and doused with cold water at the 1979 AAAS meeting (Gould disassociated himself from that sort of “infantile” behavior, but in Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate it seems clear that Wilson believed that the Harvard professors who saw dark intentions behind his project of fusing social science with biology helped foster the atmosphere of intimidation).

    This is all a long way of saying that I give Gould his due and acknowledge his influence on the ideas of Elisabeth Vrba. But when he steps outside of the domain of paleontology in general I dismiss appeals to Gouldian authority, whether it be in evolutionary biology on a grand philosophical scale, or the triviality of human races as biological entities.

    And so we come to a paper in PLoS Biology, The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. Now, let me make one thing clear: the authors are not racists. They make that clear repeatedly; they abhor racism. But they also abhor falsity. They find that Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that Samuel Morton’s cranial measurements of 19th century skulls were influence by his bias due to his belief in the superiority of the white race is false. Why? While Gould reanalyzed the data, the authors measured the original skulls (or more precisely, half of the original skulls). Here’s the abstract:

    Stephen Jay Gould, the prominent evolutionary biologist and science historian, argued that “unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm” because “scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”…a view now popular in social studies of science…In support of his argument Gould presented the case of Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist famous for his measurements of human skulls. Morton was considered the objectivist of his era, but Gould reanalyzed Morton’s data and in his prize-winning book The Mismeasure of Man…argued that Morton skewed his data to fit his preconceptions about human variation. Morton is now viewed as a canonical example of scientific misconduct. But did Morton really fudge his data? Are studies of human variation inevitably biased, as per Gould, or are objective accounts attainable, as Morton attempted? We investigated these questions by remeasuring Morton’s skulls and reexamining both Morton’s and Gould’s analyses. Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould. In fact, the Morton case provides an example of how the scientific method can shield results from cultural biases.

    In their measurements they found that there were errors in Morton’s methods: but they were not systematically biased in the direction which his preference for white racial superiority would have led him to. On the contrary, if anything his errors went in the other direction. The prose in the paper is pretty straightforward, eminently polite, and charitable to Gould in light of the fact that he is no longer with us and able to respond forcefully. Here’s Box 2 for a flavor:

    Box 2. Did Morton manipulate his samples? Gould states that “as a favorite tool for adjustment, Morton chose to include or delete large subsamples in order to match grand means with a priori expectations”…This criticism stems from the fact that each of Morton’s broader racial samples (e.g., “Indian”) were composed of multiple population subsamples, typically with differing mean cranial capacities. Thus it is possible to alter the overall “race” means by manipulating their constituent subsamples, and Gould charges that Morton did just that in order to obtain the results he expected.

    For example, Gould compares the cranial capacities in Morton’s 1839 and 1849 publications and finds that “Morton’s Indian mean had plummeted to 79 in3.… But, again, this low value only records an increasing inequality of sub-sample size. Small-headed (and small-statured) Peruvians had formed 23 percent of the 1839 sample; they now made up nearly half the total sample”…However, the “Indian” mean was 79.6 in3 in Morton 1839 and 79.3 in3 in Morton 1849, so the “plummet” Gould refers to was all of 0.3 in3. More importantly, Morton in 1849…explicitly calculated his overall “Indian” average by taking the mean of three subgroups: Peruvians, Mexicans, and “Barbarous Tribes”—this is readily apparent in Morton’s table reprinted in Gould…As such, the percentage of the overall “Indian” sample composed of Peruvians is irrelevant to the overall mean, as it is only the Peruvian average which impacts the overall value. The Peruvian average changed by less than 1 in3 from Morton 1839 (n = 33) to Morton 1849 (n = 155).

    Clearly, Morton was not manipulating samples to depress the “Indian” mean, and the change was trivial in any case (0.3 in3). In fact, the more likely candidate for manipulating sample composition is Gould himself in this instance. In recalculating Morton’s Native American mean, Gould…reports erroneously high values for the Seminole-Muskogee and Iroquois due to mistakes in defining those samples and omits the Eastern Lenapé group entirely, all of which serve to increase the Native American mean and reduce the differences between groups.

    And so it goes on. The authors are concerned that Gould’s “proof” of Morton’s bias is now a case study in many universities. But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

    Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion). Darwin may have been a liberal of his age, but he was still a man of his age at the end of the day. This does not negate his greatness as a scientist. Reality is. We may see through the mirror darkly, but there is something on the other side beyond our imaginings. Darwin, for all his flaws that we perceive in our own time due to the values which we hold dear and essential, nevertheless grasped upon a critical fragment of objective reality. Whatever chasm which time imposes because of the waxing and waning of cultural values, we are anchored within the same stream of objective reality and the truths which undergird that reality. I caution against excessive reliance on one paper, one figure, on result, because of the darkness through which we muddle. But reality does exist, and we sometimes need to set aside expectation or preference when we go about ascertaining its true shape.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/06/a-mismeasured-mismeasurement-of-man/#.VTAP29zF_LM

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    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion)."



    But was his assertions in DOM inaccurate? At times the words racist and racism can be subjectively applied. As far as his larger points in DOM, were they entirely inaccurate or were they quite on the mark, for the times during which he wrote?
    , @Flinders Petrie

    But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.
     
    It is unfortunate that Gould was such a good writer, given his tendency for self-aggrandizing, embellishment, and throwing caution to the wind. The authors of the new study bashing Lewis et al. for revealing Gould's fraud claim that the re-measurement of Morton's skull collection was "completely pointless" because Gould didn't doubt the data from skulls measured with lead shot, compared to those that were measured with seed.

    But ask any undergraduate anthropology student (or hell, even most PhDs), about Morton, and they will tell you that he fudged his data by jamming more seed into caucasian skulls with his thumb to erroneously increase the brain volume according to his a-priori beliefs.

    This comes from Gould's vivid psychoanalysis of Morton's intentions. From Mismeasure:

    Plausible scenarios are easy to construct. Morton, measuring by seed, picks up a threateningly large black skull, fills it lightly and gives it a few desultory shakes. Next, he takes a distressingly small Caucasian skull, shakes hard, and pushes mightily at the foramen magnum with his thumb. It is easily done, without conscious motivation; expectation is a powerful guide to action.
     
    It is this type of wordsmithing that everyone who reads Gould's book remembers. So, in addition to analyzing and discrediting Gould's statistical manipulation of Morton's data, it was very smart for Lewis et al. to remeasure the skulls. It helps dispel this myth about Morton wickedly jamming his thumb into skulls to falsify data.

    By the way, there was a huge error in Gould's first paper about Morton, published in 1978 in Science. He incorrectly calculated the mean cranial capacity for modern Caucasians as 85 cubic inches, after "correcting" Morton's data, and placed this number in his final table to show how a corrected calculation places Caucasians beneath the mean for Native Americans (86). It was a huge error on Gould's part, based on miscalculating the mean for Semitic skulls - a blatant error right there in a previous table. Didn't this article get peer reviewed?

    Gould's friend had to tell him about the error, because apparently nobody else noticed. So in a rare mea culpa, Gould confessed in a footnote in Mismeasure:

    My original report (Gould, 1978) incorrectly listed the modern Caucasian mean as 85.3. The reason for this error is embarrassing, but instructive, for it illustrates, at my expense, the cardinal principle of this book: the social embeddedness of science and the frequent grafting of expectation upon supposed objectivity. Line 7 in Table 2.3 lists the range of Semitic skulls as 84 to 98 cubic inches for Morton's sample of 3. However, my original paper cited a mean of 80—an obvious impossibility if the smallest skull measures 84. I was working from a Xerox of Morton's original chart, and his correct value of 89 is smudged to look like an 80 on my copy. Nonetheless, the range of 84 to 98 is clearly indicated right alongside, and I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean. The 80 therefore "felt" right and I never checked it. I am grateful to Dr. Irving Klotz of Northwestern University for pointing out this error to me.
     
    I wonder if this smudged xerox still exists in his archives? Regardless, he's admitting his own bias, noting that he really wanted to prove that Morton was a quack. But of course, this only proves his point that you can't separate bias from the researcher (he probably slept just fine at night, reassuring himself that he erred on the side of righteousness rather than on the side of racism).
  68. Paper: Income was logarithmically associated with brain surface area. Among children from lower income families, small differences in income were associated with relatively large differences in surface area, whereas, among children from higher income families, similar income increments were associated with smaller differences in surface area.

    This kind of nonlinear relationship is interesting.

    If ability scales linearly (if extremely noisily) with brain size (a big assumption), it indicates that there are relatively low income returns to ability at the low end of the ability scale, while there are very high income returns to small differences in ability at the high end.

    Or it could be that variation in brain size drives the emergence of abilities that don’t matter much at the low end of ability, and matter a lot more at the high end.

    Either one could have some interesting implications.

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  69. @cthoms
    Care should be taken with hat size; it needs a birth-order control. A woman's birth canal will deform from giving birth (absent cesarean), the result is less stress on a baby's head as a function of how many times she's given birth. Second and third born would probably have larger hat sizes than first born as a result.

    When I worked on an IT project in Las Vegas in the late eighties-they still called it “data processing” then-I was going out with a woman whose mother had been a key casino employee at several properties in the 1950s and early 1960s. She told me her theory on how so many of Las Vegas showgirls were so shapely even though a lot of them were in their thirties and forties and occasionally beyond, even back in the Rat Pack days. A disproportionate number of them were girls who got pregnant at 15, 16 or 17, had to put the child up for adoption, and got kicked out of the family house, and if they didn’t get married and fat or turn to prostitution, the convent, or the military, and buffed up a little, they made ideal showgirls because their breasts had enlarged and their pelvises widened and hardened. Many went on to marry and have children and, when not pregnant, remained showgirls for many years.

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women, currently working and retired, were present and I had not realized how many of the working ones were married and had high school or college aged children. The average age of the working ones was certainly over 40. Up close, their faces had lines, but from a distance they looked fantastic.

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    • Replies: @Lurker

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5i1cJIwE7M
  70. Over the years, I’ve observed that your hat size correlates pretty closely with whether you believe brain size correlates with intelligence. I wear a 7 and 5/8ths hat, which is Extra Large, so the notion that brain size and intelligence are correlated always seemed pretty plausible to me.

    Count me as someone with a very average sized noggin–7-1/4 usually works for me and i just cord measured my noggin at 23″–who has a decent (99%+) SAT type IQ, who nonetheless thinks it’s *obvious* there should be at least some sort of correlation with intelligence. After all, we are descended from primates who had much smaller brains, getting bigger and bigger as we approached being “modern man”.

    But then i’m someone who also thinks its blindly obvious that various races would be expected to differ at least slightly in intelligence–and in fact all other traits not yet fixed–due to different selective environments, and who is unshocked that men and women have different mental aptitudes and inclinations. Contrary results would make no evolutionary sense.

    ~~

    BTW my best friend–a buddy from physics grad school at Texas–is a very sharp Indian guy (40th all India on the JEE) who also has a very unspectacularly sized head.

    So i’m pretty sure–again as you’d obviously expect–that intelligence is a highly multifaceted domain with a bunch of biological factors like volume of gray matter, neural density, cortical structure, neurotransmitter production and ratios, etc. all entering into the picture.

    Put simply “size matters”, but at least for intelligence it’s not just size that matters.

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  71. @george
    "surface area of the cerebral cortex"

    Doesn't that mean the amount of folding of the surface of the cerebral cortex is what is important and not its radius or 'hat size'?

    Why do Blacks have so many musical geniuses? Shouldn't they stink at everything except some sports?

    Define musical genius. Do they need to write their own music? Play instruments? Mix and engineer? I don’t think there are too many black musical geniuses, just a lot of very talented singers and performers. Same could be said about whites, as well.

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  72. @anon
    OT: Did Noah Smith tell one big lie in his "diversity increased productivity by 20% article"?

    I believe so.

    His claim:

    Between 1960 and 2008, 20% of the growth in productivity was due to a decline in discrimination against women and minorities.

    According to Smith, the study "explicitly allow[s] for the possibility that different groups might have different average ability levels with respect to different occupations."

    By this he implied that the study allows for differences in innate ability between races. I dug into the study and found this:

    "More important for our purposes is the potential that the T’s differ across groups
    within a given occupation. We allow for this possibility between men and women but
    not between blacks and whites.
    "

    By "Ts", I believe the authors are referring to innate ability or talent. The study continues:

    "Specifically, in some occupations, brawn may be a and desirable attribute. If men are physically stronger than women on average, then one would expect to observe more men in occupations requiring more physical strength,such as firefighting or construction. To account for this, "Tig" may be higher in these occupations for white and black men relative to white and black women."

    That passage confirms that the authors were indeed referring to innate talent by "T."

    So it looks like Noah Smith told one big lie.

    Anyone who is able to decipher those complicated mathematical models and notations should have a look for themselves.

    So it looks like Noah Smith told one big lie.

    No surprise.

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  73. “Allow me to point out that a national newspaper has asked a couple of guys who know what they are talking about to punch holes in the latest bit of goodthink and, as of press time, the American public hasn’t dug up Hitler’s DNA and elected it President. So maybe we’re actually mature enough to discuss reality rather than lie all the time?”

    “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”—John Ford

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  74. @Esquire
    Have you noticed that WaPo has for some reason become one of the top smugglers of Steveosphere ideas into the mainstream? Obviously they played a laudatory role in the the UVA thing, but that wasn't the first or the last time...

    Anyone know why?

    WaPo also decided to take up the SPLC’s crusade against hatethinkers using Amazon Associates, so I would consider that when considering the Bezos impact, as well.

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  75. @syonredux
    Razib Khan:

    I would say The Mismeasurement of Man is one of the most commonly cited books on this weblog over the years (in the comments). It comes close to being “proof-text” in many arguments online, because of the authority and eminence of the author in the public mind, Stephen Jay Gould. I am in general not particularly a fan of Gould’s work or thought, with many of my sentiments matching the attitudes of Paul Krugman in this 1996 essay:

    ….Like most American intellectuals, I first learned about this subject [evolutionary biology] from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould. But I eventually came to realize that working biologists regard Gould much the same way that economists regard Robert Reich: talented writer, too bad he never gets anything right. Serious evolutionary theorists such as John Maynard Smith or William Hamilton, like serious economists, think largely in terms of mathematical models. Indeed, the introduction to Maynard Smith’s classic tract Evolutionary Genetics flatly declares, “If you can’t stand algebra, stay away from evolutionary biology.” There is a core set of crucial ideas in his subject that, because they involve the interaction of several different factors, can only be clearly understood by someone willing to sit still for a bit of math. (Try to give a purely verbal description of the reactions among three mutually catalytic chemicals.)
     
    But many intellectuals who can’t stand algebra are not willing to stay away from the subject. They are thus deeply attracted to a graceful writer like Gould, who frequently misrepresents the field (perhaps because he does not fully understand its essentially mathematical logic), but who wraps his misrepresentations in so many layers of impressive, if irrelevant, historical and literary erudition that they seem profound.


    Yes, I am aware that some biologists would disagree with this assessment of Gould’s relevance. But I remain generally skeptical of his arguments, though over the years I have become more accepting of the necessity of openness to a sense of ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the forces which shape evolutionary processes. And certainly there is interesting exposition in a book like The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but there was no need for ~1500 pages (Brian Switek did fine with a little over ~300 pages in covering similar territory as the first half of the book). Whatever valid positions Gould staked out in opposition to excessive adaptationist thinking on the part of the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the mid-20th century, his penchant for self-marketing and repackaging of plausible but not particularly novel concepts was often destructive in my experience to the enterprise of a greater public understanding of science.

    When I was in 8th grade my earth science teacher explained to the class proudly that he was not a “Darwinian,” rather, he accepted punctuated equilibrium. One must understand that much of his audience was Creationist in sympathy because of the demographics of the region, but I was frankly appalled by his explicit verbal rejection of “Darwinism,” because I knew how the others would take it (my best friend in the class was a Creationist and he kept chuckling about “monkeys turning into men” throughout the whole period). I remained after to further explore this issue with my teacher. I expressed my bewilderment as best as I could, and it came to pass that my teacher explained that he had arrived to his skepticism of the rejected model of Darwinism via the works of Stephen Jay Gould. With his silver tongue Gould had convinced him that the future of evolutionary science lay with punctuated equilibrium, which had already overthrown the older order. A 13 year old can only go so far, and so I moved on.

    But this incident made be very suspicious of Gould’s influence on people from that point onward, and I became even more skeptical after I found out that the sophistic proponent of what later become Intelligent Design, Phillip E. Johnson, was mining his more rhetorical jeremiads against Darwinism like it was Tombstone in the 19th century. To his credit Gould delivered an aptly savage review to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial for his lawyerly misrepresentations, but Stephen Jay Gould himself sowed the seeds for this by portraying himself to the public as the scourge of the priests of the Church of Darwin. His contributions to the broader canvas of evolutionary biology (that is, outside of his academic specialty in paleontology) are probably as substantive as Richard Dawkins’ ideas are to the understanding of the role of religion in society. Gould was an intellectual polemicist of the first order.

    This goes back decades. In the 1970s he was a member of the Sociobiology Study Group, whose intellectual weight helped lead to a groundswell of activism against E. O. Wilson’s project of a biologically informed approach to social science. Eventually Wilson was accused of genocide and doused with cold water at the 1979 AAAS meeting (Gould disassociated himself from that sort of “infantile” behavior, but in Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate it seems clear that Wilson believed that the Harvard professors who saw dark intentions behind his project of fusing social science with biology helped foster the atmosphere of intimidation).

    This is all a long way of saying that I give Gould his due and acknowledge his influence on the ideas of Elisabeth Vrba. But when he steps outside of the domain of paleontology in general I dismiss appeals to Gouldian authority, whether it be in evolutionary biology on a grand philosophical scale, or the triviality of human races as biological entities.

    And so we come to a paper in PLoS Biology, The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. Now, let me make one thing clear: the authors are not racists. They make that clear repeatedly; they abhor racism. But they also abhor falsity. They find that Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that Samuel Morton’s cranial measurements of 19th century skulls were influence by his bias due to his belief in the superiority of the white race is false. Why? While Gould reanalyzed the data, the authors measured the original skulls (or more precisely, half of the original skulls). Here’s the abstract:

    Stephen Jay Gould, the prominent evolutionary biologist and science historian, argued that “unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm” because “scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”…a view now popular in social studies of science…In support of his argument Gould presented the case of Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist famous for his measurements of human skulls. Morton was considered the objectivist of his era, but Gould reanalyzed Morton’s data and in his prize-winning book The Mismeasure of Man…argued that Morton skewed his data to fit his preconceptions about human variation. Morton is now viewed as a canonical example of scientific misconduct. But did Morton really fudge his data? Are studies of human variation inevitably biased, as per Gould, or are objective accounts attainable, as Morton attempted? We investigated these questions by remeasuring Morton’s skulls and reexamining both Morton’s and Gould’s analyses. Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould. In fact, the Morton case provides an example of how the scientific method can shield results from cultural biases.

     

    In their measurements they found that there were errors in Morton’s methods: but they were not systematically biased in the direction which his preference for white racial superiority would have led him to. On the contrary, if anything his errors went in the other direction. The prose in the paper is pretty straightforward, eminently polite, and charitable to Gould in light of the fact that he is no longer with us and able to respond forcefully. Here’s Box 2 for a flavor:

    Box 2. Did Morton manipulate his samples? Gould states that “as a favorite tool for adjustment, Morton chose to include or delete large subsamples in order to match grand means with a priori expectations”…This criticism stems from the fact that each of Morton’s broader racial samples (e.g., “Indian”) were composed of multiple population subsamples, typically with differing mean cranial capacities. Thus it is possible to alter the overall “race” means by manipulating their constituent subsamples, and Gould charges that Morton did just that in order to obtain the results he expected.

    For example, Gould compares the cranial capacities in Morton’s 1839 and 1849 publications and finds that “Morton’s Indian mean had plummeted to 79 in3.… But, again, this low value only records an increasing inequality of sub-sample size. Small-headed (and small-statured) Peruvians had formed 23 percent of the 1839 sample; they now made up nearly half the total sample”…However, the “Indian” mean was 79.6 in3 in Morton 1839 and 79.3 in3 in Morton 1849, so the “plummet” Gould refers to was all of 0.3 in3. More importantly, Morton in 1849…explicitly calculated his overall “Indian” average by taking the mean of three subgroups: Peruvians, Mexicans, and “Barbarous Tribes”—this is readily apparent in Morton’s table reprinted in Gould…As such, the percentage of the overall “Indian” sample composed of Peruvians is irrelevant to the overall mean, as it is only the Peruvian average which impacts the overall value. The Peruvian average changed by less than 1 in3 from Morton 1839 (n = 33) to Morton 1849 (n = 155).

    Clearly, Morton was not manipulating samples to depress the “Indian” mean, and the change was trivial in any case (0.3 in3). In fact, the more likely candidate for manipulating sample composition is Gould himself in this instance. In recalculating Morton’s Native American mean, Gould…reports erroneously high values for the Seminole-Muskogee and Iroquois due to mistakes in defining those samples and omits the Eastern Lenapé group entirely, all of which serve to increase the Native American mean and reduce the differences between groups.
     
    And so it goes on. The authors are concerned that Gould’s “proof” of Morton’s bias is now a case study in many universities. But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

    Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion). Darwin may have been a liberal of his age, but he was still a man of his age at the end of the day. This does not negate his greatness as a scientist. Reality is. We may see through the mirror darkly, but there is something on the other side beyond our imaginings. Darwin, for all his flaws that we perceive in our own time due to the values which we hold dear and essential, nevertheless grasped upon a critical fragment of objective reality. Whatever chasm which time imposes because of the waxing and waning of cultural values, we are anchored within the same stream of objective reality and the truths which undergird that reality. I caution against excessive reliance on one paper, one figure, on result, because of the darkness through which we muddle. But reality does exist, and we sometimes need to set aside expectation or preference when we go about ascertaining its true shape.


    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/06/a-mismeasured-mismeasurement-of-man/#.VTAP29zF_LM

    “Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion).”

    But was his assertions in DOM inaccurate? At times the words racist and racism can be subjectively applied. As far as his larger points in DOM, were they entirely inaccurate or were they quite on the mark, for the times during which he wrote?

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    Well, those are Razib's opinions, not mine.So, those questions are more properly addressed to him, not me
  76. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    Yes, medieval scholars were well aware that the Earth is a sphere and knowledge of this fact goes back to well before Aristotle in the 4th century BC. Eratosthenes determined the radius of the Earth in the 3rd century BC.

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  77. So you can’t have any big dumb oafs?

    The Circle Theory – Page 125 – Google Books Result

    https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0557407710

    D.R. Busha
    “I’ve been resting overnight using a large bush for cover. … “‘Wow, we don’t get many strangers here,’ the faerie begins, ‘especially big dumb oafs like you!

    You’re no fun!

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  78. @Anon
    Uptown resident: Find a new OB. My mom had small pelvis, and I had a big head. She was in labor for a day and I almost died. Should have been a c-section. It was a crummy old military base hospital.

    Your poor mother!! I wonder what year that was. The problem nowadays is OB’s doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.

    The risk of c-section goes up if you have a petite mom and a big-and-tall dad. That’s why Asian moms carrying the babies of white men have higher rates of c-sections. I think Razib Kahn has written on this. I’m 5’10” and my husband 6′ so I’m not worried about a baby unmatched to my pelvis. I’m more worried about bad fetal positioning (if the baby is facing the back rather than the front, the dreaded “back labor”) or wimping out and going for an epidural, which can slow down labor and increase the risk of c-section.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    The problem nowadays is OB’s doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.
     
    Absolutely. However, C-sections are less risky, and given the legal climate, OBs practice "defensive medicine" and go for the cutting when in any doubt. Patients nowadays expect perfect outcomes no matter what, and tend to get extremely angry and litigious when there are bad outcomes, so physicians follow the incentive structure of the society.

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman's health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.
  79. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    There wasn’t much hustle in the gentle, day-dreaming Irving, I’m afraid.After all, he did graciously step aside when Prescott informed him of his plans to write a book on the conquest of Mexico.

    As for Irving and the myth of the Medieval Flat Earth:

    French dramatist Cyrano de Bergerac in chapter 5 of his The Other World The Societies and Governments of the Moon (published 2 years posthumously in 1657) quotes St. Augustine as saying “that in his day and age the earth was as flat as a stove lid and that it floated on water like half of a sliced orange.”[10] Robert Burton, in his The Anatomy of Melancholy[11] wrote:

    Virgil, sometimes bishop of Saltburg (as Aventinus anno 745 relates) by Bonifacius bishop of Mentz was therefore called in question, because he held antipodes (which they made a doubt whether Christ died for) and so by that means took away the seat of hell, or so contracted it, that it could bear no proportion to heaven, and contradicted that opinion of Austin [St. Augustine], Basil, Lactantius that held the earth round as a trencher (whom Acosta and common experience more largely confute) but not as a ball.

    Thus, there is evidence that accusations of flatearthism, though somewhat whimsical (Burton ends his digression with a legitimate quotation of St. Augustine: “Better doubt of things concealed, than to contend about uncertainties, where Abraham’s bosom is, and hell fire”[11]) were used to discredit opposing authorities several centuries before the 19th. Another early mention in literature is Ludvig Holberg’s comedy Erasmus Montanus (1723). Erasmus Montanus meets considerable opposition when he claims the Earth is round, since all the peasants hold it to be flat. He is not allowed to marry his fiancée until he cries “The earth is flat as a pancake”. In Thomas Jefferson’s book Notes on the State of Virginia (1784), framed as answers to a series of questions (queries), Jefferson uses the “Query” regarding religion to attack the idea of state-sponsored official religions. In the chapter, Jefferson relates a series of official erroneous beliefs about nature forced upon people by authority. One of these is the episode of Galileo’s struggles with authority, which Jefferson erroneously frames in terms of the shape of the globe:[12]

    Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex.

    In 1834, a few years after the publication of Irving’s book, Jean Antoine Letronne, a French academic of strong antireligious ideas, misrepresented the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth in his On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers.[22] Then in 1837, the English philosopher of science William Whewell, in his History of the Inductive Sciences, identified Lactantius, author of Institutiones Divinae (c. 310), and Cosmas Indicopleustes, author of Christian Topography (c. 548), as evidence of a medieval belief in a Flat Earth. Lactantius had been ridiculed much earlier by Copernicus in De revolutionibus of 1543 as someone who “Speaks quite childishly about the Earth’s shape, when he mocks those who declared that the Earth has the form of a globe.”

    Other historians quickly followed Whewell, although they could identify few other examples.[23] The American chemist John William Draper wrote a History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), employing the claim that the early Church fathers thought the earth was flat as evidence of the hostility of the Church to the advancement of science.[24] The story of widespread religious belief in the flat earth was repeated by Andrew Dickson White in his 1876 The Warfare of Science[25] and elaborated twenty years later in his two-volume History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, which exaggerated the number and significance of medieval flat earthers to support White’s model of warfare between dogmatic theology and scientific progress.[26] As Draper and White’s metaphor of ongoing warfare between the scientific progress of the Enlightenment and the religious obscurantism of the “Dark Ages” became widely accepted, it spread the idea of medieval belief in the flat earth.[27]

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

    He was far from alone

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  80. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion)."



    But was his assertions in DOM inaccurate? At times the words racist and racism can be subjectively applied. As far as his larger points in DOM, were they entirely inaccurate or were they quite on the mark, for the times during which he wrote?

    Well, those are Razib’s opinions, not mine.So, those questions are more properly addressed to him, not me

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  81. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    MMM, interesting.It seems that the Englishman William Whewell (and his English-born American follower Draper) were quite important in spreading the notion of the Medieval Flat Earth among the learned:

    John W. Draper (1811-1882) was born in England into a devout Methodist family. In 1832, he emigrated to the U.S., studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and later became professor of chemistry and biology at New York University and head of the medical school. Along the way he rejected his family’s religion and acquired an intense antipathy for Catholicism. Two factors were pivotal in shaping his attitude: the debates over Darwinian evolution erupting shortly after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, and the reactionary attitude of Pope Pius IX toward liberal progressivism encapsulated in his Syllabus of Errors published in 1864.

    In 1874, Draper published The History of Conflict Between Religion and Science, in which he argued that current (nineteenth-century) events were reflective of the totality of Christian history. Christianity was currently opposing progress because it has always been an impediment to science, reason, and progress. An especially egregious example of this was the Church’s insistence on a flat earth, a laughable dogma that stubbornly persisted until Columbus demolished it, bravely prevailing despite the ignorant protests of the Spanish cardinals.

    Draper, with a little help from Washington Irving, thus popularized the “flat earth” myth, the idea that prior to Columbus there was a widespread, religiously-inspired belief that the earth was flat.

    So from where did Draper get the idea of a medieval Christian belief in a flat earth? He read William Whewell’s book History of Inductive Sciences, published about three decades earlier. Whewell, a Cambridge Vice-Chancellor and Anglican priest, made intellectual stars out of two minor Christian authors, Lactantius and Cosmas Indicopleustes. Lactantius was a fourth-century pagan convert to Christianity who took particular delight in arguing against pretty much everything any pagan philosopher ever said, including that the earth was round. Christians wanted converts, but even they couldn’t stomach Lactantius, whose works were posthumously condemned.

    Cosmas Indicopleustes was an even more peculiar specimen. A sixth-century merchant-sailor who later adopted monasticism, Cosmas boasted a hopelessly literal mind. To him, the projected rectilinear-shaped maps of Strabo and Eratosthenes meant that the earth was physically flat. Furthermore, they confirmed a literal interpretation of Biblical descriptions such as the “four corners of the earth” (which most everyone else took allegorically). Unlike Lactantius, Cosmas’ ideas were too silly to condemn. He was just ignored. But Whewell dug him up along with Lactantius, and Draper ran with the corpses. Thus did a long-forgotten heretic and an oddball nobody become the standard-bearers for medieval Christian geography.

    somewhat later, Andrew Dickson White contributed:

    Draper was followed in 1896 by Cornell University president Andrew Dickson White, who published the two-volume set History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. A better historian than Draper, White realized that the case for the medieval flat earth was pitifully thin. His tactic was to stealthily misrepresent a few church fathers as flat-earthers (Basil, Chrysostom) and to argue that the non-flat-earthers were a few brave soles swimming against a colossal tide. Exactly how folks such as Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Clement, and Aquinas could be swimming against a tide of their own creation was never explained. But no matter. Facts only confuse a good story. The narrative was bold, simple, and eagerly embraced by the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, who asserted that today, as always, religion subverts knowledge and progress. It was a classic fight of good vs. evil, progress vs. regress, ignorance vs. enlightenment — just what the papers needed to sell copy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-j-rossano/starting-a-war-with-a-fla_b_707471.html

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  82. Over the years, I’ve observed that your hat size correlates pretty closely with whether you believe brain size correlates with intelligence. I wear a 7 and 5/8ths hat, which is Extra Large, so the notion that brain size and intelligence are correlated always seemed pretty plausible to me.

    I wear 3XL to 4XL headgear (also hat, helmet, goggles, safety glasses, sunglasses, etc.). It’s a royal pain in the behind to find specialized head equipment for that size in the U.S. (and also because my head shape is flatter than the typical Euro-American shape, which exacerbates the difficulty). It’s only in the recent years that Asian-specific gear has been available in the U.S. in any significant quantity. But the problem with even the Asian-specific gear is that my head (and body) is too large even for Asians. I am also 6′ 2″. Imagine me trying to find things that fit me in Asia.

    My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier. I’ve always been an extremely slow runner, while the Kenyan Olympic champion runners looks to me like they have remarkably narrow heads.

    I’ve always been a good runner, despite my massive head size, but only at long distance, not sprinting (and there have been some very good East Asian long-distance runners, including four Korean Olympic marathon medalists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwang_Young-cho#South_Koreans.27_Olympic_marathon_medals).

    In any case, my mother almost died giving birth to me due probably to my massive head size (she was in labor close to two days). It was a miracle that both my mother and I survived. “There but for the Grace of God go I.” But sadly she could not have any more babies after she had me. I literally broke the mold, as the saying goes. I’ve felt guilty and sorry about that my whole life.

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  83. @Uptown Resident
    Your poor mother!! I wonder what year that was. The problem nowadays is OB's doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.

    The risk of c-section goes up if you have a petite mom and a big-and-tall dad. That's why Asian moms carrying the babies of white men have higher rates of c-sections. I think Razib Kahn has written on this. I'm 5'10'' and my husband 6' so I'm not worried about a baby unmatched to my pelvis. I'm more worried about bad fetal positioning (if the baby is facing the back rather than the front, the dreaded "back labor") or wimping out and going for an epidural, which can slow down labor and increase the risk of c-section.

    The problem nowadays is OB’s doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.

    Absolutely. However, C-sections are less risky, and given the legal climate, OBs practice “defensive medicine” and go for the cutting when in any doubt. Patients nowadays expect perfect outcomes no matter what, and tend to get extremely angry and litigious when there are bad outcomes, so physicians follow the incentive structure of the society.

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman’s health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.

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    • Replies: @Stan D Mute

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman’s health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.
     
    It was also the case that midwives had the unpleasant but pragmatic job of taking severely defective infants into another room immediately upon identification where they were then pronounced as "still born." Today, we put those infants into a lifetime of hideously expensive medical care typically at taxpayer expense. Some, no doubt, go on to sexual maturity and even reproduce themselves. I have seen how the lives of these severely retarded individuals completely consumes the family into which they were born, how it robs healthy siblings of parental involvement and resources, and wonder at the morality of this. Is it moral to wreck the childhood of healthy children to sustain a sibling incapable of ever functioning as an independent self-willed adult? To impose this burden on the family or the state? Obviously abortion is an option if identified in utero via amniocentesis, but today a traditional midwife would be on death row as a murderer.
  84. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.
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  85. @syonredux
    Razib Khan:

    I would say The Mismeasurement of Man is one of the most commonly cited books on this weblog over the years (in the comments). It comes close to being “proof-text” in many arguments online, because of the authority and eminence of the author in the public mind, Stephen Jay Gould. I am in general not particularly a fan of Gould’s work or thought, with many of my sentiments matching the attitudes of Paul Krugman in this 1996 essay:

    ….Like most American intellectuals, I first learned about this subject [evolutionary biology] from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould. But I eventually came to realize that working biologists regard Gould much the same way that economists regard Robert Reich: talented writer, too bad he never gets anything right. Serious evolutionary theorists such as John Maynard Smith or William Hamilton, like serious economists, think largely in terms of mathematical models. Indeed, the introduction to Maynard Smith’s classic tract Evolutionary Genetics flatly declares, “If you can’t stand algebra, stay away from evolutionary biology.” There is a core set of crucial ideas in his subject that, because they involve the interaction of several different factors, can only be clearly understood by someone willing to sit still for a bit of math. (Try to give a purely verbal description of the reactions among three mutually catalytic chemicals.)
     
    But many intellectuals who can’t stand algebra are not willing to stay away from the subject. They are thus deeply attracted to a graceful writer like Gould, who frequently misrepresents the field (perhaps because he does not fully understand its essentially mathematical logic), but who wraps his misrepresentations in so many layers of impressive, if irrelevant, historical and literary erudition that they seem profound.


    Yes, I am aware that some biologists would disagree with this assessment of Gould’s relevance. But I remain generally skeptical of his arguments, though over the years I have become more accepting of the necessity of openness to a sense of ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the forces which shape evolutionary processes. And certainly there is interesting exposition in a book like The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but there was no need for ~1500 pages (Brian Switek did fine with a little over ~300 pages in covering similar territory as the first half of the book). Whatever valid positions Gould staked out in opposition to excessive adaptationist thinking on the part of the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the mid-20th century, his penchant for self-marketing and repackaging of plausible but not particularly novel concepts was often destructive in my experience to the enterprise of a greater public understanding of science.

    When I was in 8th grade my earth science teacher explained to the class proudly that he was not a “Darwinian,” rather, he accepted punctuated equilibrium. One must understand that much of his audience was Creationist in sympathy because of the demographics of the region, but I was frankly appalled by his explicit verbal rejection of “Darwinism,” because I knew how the others would take it (my best friend in the class was a Creationist and he kept chuckling about “monkeys turning into men” throughout the whole period). I remained after to further explore this issue with my teacher. I expressed my bewilderment as best as I could, and it came to pass that my teacher explained that he had arrived to his skepticism of the rejected model of Darwinism via the works of Stephen Jay Gould. With his silver tongue Gould had convinced him that the future of evolutionary science lay with punctuated equilibrium, which had already overthrown the older order. A 13 year old can only go so far, and so I moved on.

    But this incident made be very suspicious of Gould’s influence on people from that point onward, and I became even more skeptical after I found out that the sophistic proponent of what later become Intelligent Design, Phillip E. Johnson, was mining his more rhetorical jeremiads against Darwinism like it was Tombstone in the 19th century. To his credit Gould delivered an aptly savage review to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial for his lawyerly misrepresentations, but Stephen Jay Gould himself sowed the seeds for this by portraying himself to the public as the scourge of the priests of the Church of Darwin. His contributions to the broader canvas of evolutionary biology (that is, outside of his academic specialty in paleontology) are probably as substantive as Richard Dawkins’ ideas are to the understanding of the role of religion in society. Gould was an intellectual polemicist of the first order.

    This goes back decades. In the 1970s he was a member of the Sociobiology Study Group, whose intellectual weight helped lead to a groundswell of activism against E. O. Wilson’s project of a biologically informed approach to social science. Eventually Wilson was accused of genocide and doused with cold water at the 1979 AAAS meeting (Gould disassociated himself from that sort of “infantile” behavior, but in Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate it seems clear that Wilson believed that the Harvard professors who saw dark intentions behind his project of fusing social science with biology helped foster the atmosphere of intimidation).

    This is all a long way of saying that I give Gould his due and acknowledge his influence on the ideas of Elisabeth Vrba. But when he steps outside of the domain of paleontology in general I dismiss appeals to Gouldian authority, whether it be in evolutionary biology on a grand philosophical scale, or the triviality of human races as biological entities.

    And so we come to a paper in PLoS Biology, The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. Now, let me make one thing clear: the authors are not racists. They make that clear repeatedly; they abhor racism. But they also abhor falsity. They find that Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that Samuel Morton’s cranial measurements of 19th century skulls were influence by his bias due to his belief in the superiority of the white race is false. Why? While Gould reanalyzed the data, the authors measured the original skulls (or more precisely, half of the original skulls). Here’s the abstract:

    Stephen Jay Gould, the prominent evolutionary biologist and science historian, argued that “unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm” because “scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”…a view now popular in social studies of science…In support of his argument Gould presented the case of Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist famous for his measurements of human skulls. Morton was considered the objectivist of his era, but Gould reanalyzed Morton’s data and in his prize-winning book The Mismeasure of Man…argued that Morton skewed his data to fit his preconceptions about human variation. Morton is now viewed as a canonical example of scientific misconduct. But did Morton really fudge his data? Are studies of human variation inevitably biased, as per Gould, or are objective accounts attainable, as Morton attempted? We investigated these questions by remeasuring Morton’s skulls and reexamining both Morton’s and Gould’s analyses. Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould. In fact, the Morton case provides an example of how the scientific method can shield results from cultural biases.

     

    In their measurements they found that there were errors in Morton’s methods: but they were not systematically biased in the direction which his preference for white racial superiority would have led him to. On the contrary, if anything his errors went in the other direction. The prose in the paper is pretty straightforward, eminently polite, and charitable to Gould in light of the fact that he is no longer with us and able to respond forcefully. Here’s Box 2 for a flavor:

    Box 2. Did Morton manipulate his samples? Gould states that “as a favorite tool for adjustment, Morton chose to include or delete large subsamples in order to match grand means with a priori expectations”…This criticism stems from the fact that each of Morton’s broader racial samples (e.g., “Indian”) were composed of multiple population subsamples, typically with differing mean cranial capacities. Thus it is possible to alter the overall “race” means by manipulating their constituent subsamples, and Gould charges that Morton did just that in order to obtain the results he expected.

    For example, Gould compares the cranial capacities in Morton’s 1839 and 1849 publications and finds that “Morton’s Indian mean had plummeted to 79 in3.… But, again, this low value only records an increasing inequality of sub-sample size. Small-headed (and small-statured) Peruvians had formed 23 percent of the 1839 sample; they now made up nearly half the total sample”…However, the “Indian” mean was 79.6 in3 in Morton 1839 and 79.3 in3 in Morton 1849, so the “plummet” Gould refers to was all of 0.3 in3. More importantly, Morton in 1849…explicitly calculated his overall “Indian” average by taking the mean of three subgroups: Peruvians, Mexicans, and “Barbarous Tribes”—this is readily apparent in Morton’s table reprinted in Gould…As such, the percentage of the overall “Indian” sample composed of Peruvians is irrelevant to the overall mean, as it is only the Peruvian average which impacts the overall value. The Peruvian average changed by less than 1 in3 from Morton 1839 (n = 33) to Morton 1849 (n = 155).

    Clearly, Morton was not manipulating samples to depress the “Indian” mean, and the change was trivial in any case (0.3 in3). In fact, the more likely candidate for manipulating sample composition is Gould himself in this instance. In recalculating Morton’s Native American mean, Gould…reports erroneously high values for the Seminole-Muskogee and Iroquois due to mistakes in defining those samples and omits the Eastern Lenapé group entirely, all of which serve to increase the Native American mean and reduce the differences between groups.
     
    And so it goes on. The authors are concerned that Gould’s “proof” of Morton’s bias is now a case study in many universities. But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

    Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion). Darwin may have been a liberal of his age, but he was still a man of his age at the end of the day. This does not negate his greatness as a scientist. Reality is. We may see through the mirror darkly, but there is something on the other side beyond our imaginings. Darwin, for all his flaws that we perceive in our own time due to the values which we hold dear and essential, nevertheless grasped upon a critical fragment of objective reality. Whatever chasm which time imposes because of the waxing and waning of cultural values, we are anchored within the same stream of objective reality and the truths which undergird that reality. I caution against excessive reliance on one paper, one figure, on result, because of the darkness through which we muddle. But reality does exist, and we sometimes need to set aside expectation or preference when we go about ascertaining its true shape.


    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/06/a-mismeasured-mismeasurement-of-man/#.VTAP29zF_LM

    But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

    It is unfortunate that Gould was such a good writer, given his tendency for self-aggrandizing, embellishment, and throwing caution to the wind. The authors of the new study bashing Lewis et al. for revealing Gould’s fraud claim that the re-measurement of Morton’s skull collection was “completely pointless” because Gould didn’t doubt the data from skulls measured with lead shot, compared to those that were measured with seed.

    But ask any undergraduate anthropology student (or hell, even most PhDs), about Morton, and they will tell you that he fudged his data by jamming more seed into caucasian skulls with his thumb to erroneously increase the brain volume according to his a-priori beliefs.

    This comes from Gould’s vivid psychoanalysis of Morton’s intentions. From Mismeasure:

    Plausible scenarios are easy to construct. Morton, measuring by seed, picks up a threateningly large black skull, fills it lightly and gives it a few desultory shakes. Next, he takes a distressingly small Caucasian skull, shakes hard, and pushes mightily at the foramen magnum with his thumb. It is easily done, without conscious motivation; expectation is a powerful guide to action.

    It is this type of wordsmithing that everyone who reads Gould’s book remembers. So, in addition to analyzing and discrediting Gould’s statistical manipulation of Morton’s data, it was very smart for Lewis et al. to remeasure the skulls. It helps dispel this myth about Morton wickedly jamming his thumb into skulls to falsify data.

    By the way, there was a huge error in Gould’s first paper about Morton, published in 1978 in Science. He incorrectly calculated the mean cranial capacity for modern Caucasians as 85 cubic inches, after “correcting” Morton’s data, and placed this number in his final table to show how a corrected calculation places Caucasians beneath the mean for Native Americans (86). It was a huge error on Gould’s part, based on miscalculating the mean for Semitic skulls – a blatant error right there in a previous table. Didn’t this article get peer reviewed?

    Gould’s friend had to tell him about the error, because apparently nobody else noticed. So in a rare mea culpa, Gould confessed in a footnote in Mismeasure:

    My original report (Gould, 1978) incorrectly listed the modern Caucasian mean as 85.3. The reason for this error is embarrassing, but instructive, for it illustrates, at my expense, the cardinal principle of this book: the social embeddedness of science and the frequent grafting of expectation upon supposed objectivity. Line 7 in Table 2.3 lists the range of Semitic skulls as 84 to 98 cubic inches for Morton’s sample of 3. However, my original paper cited a mean of 80—an obvious impossibility if the smallest skull measures 84. I was working from a Xerox of Morton’s original chart, and his correct value of 89 is smudged to look like an 80 on my copy. Nonetheless, the range of 84 to 98 is clearly indicated right alongside, and I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean. The 80 therefore “felt” right and I never checked it. I am grateful to Dr. Irving Klotz of Northwestern University for pointing out this error to me.

    I wonder if this smudged xerox still exists in his archives? Regardless, he’s admitting his own bias, noting that he really wanted to prove that Morton was a quack. But of course, this only proves his point that you can’t separate bias from the researcher (he probably slept just fine at night, reassuring himself that he erred on the side of righteousness rather than on the side of racism).

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    • Replies: @Stan D Mute

    I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean.
     
    The sheer audacity of this buffoon accusing others of "racism" is almost unbelievable. And likewise that he would so blithely admit his bias without the slightest concern he would be discredited. I am surprised he didn't describe himself as "anti-white" in the foreword or dust jacket blurb about the author.
  86. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    Eratosthenes not only knew the Earth was round in ancient times, but also calculated its circumference fairly accurately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measurement_of_the_Earth.27s_circumference

    That Wiki article says if Columbus accepted Eratosthenes’ circumference calculation, he would have known he’d landed in the New World instead of Asia, but, in truth, he probably would have never attempted the voyage. Since he didn’t know the Americas existed, he would have figured he couldn’t carry enough food and water to make it to Asia traveling west from Europe.

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  87. @dearieme
    The notion that medieval scholars believed in a flat earth is tripe, publicised mainly by one of those crooked American hustlers. Not Thomas Jefferson this time though, but Washington Irving.

    It was, apparently, intended to blacken the name of the Roman Catholic church, which was rather silly since it was well capable of doing the job itself.

    Eratosthenes not only knew the Earth was round in ancient times, but also calculated its circumference fairly accurately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measurement_of_the_Earth.27s_circumference

    That Wiki article says if Columbus accepted Eratosthenes’ circumference calculation, he would have known he’d landed in the New World instead of Asia, but, in truth, he probably would have never attempted the voyage. Since he didn’t know the Americas existed, he would have figured he couldn’t carry enough food and water to make it to Asia traveling west from Europe.

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  88. Oval head, black, 145 IQ. Husband is pumpkin headed, white, 150IQ. Some of our kids are oval headed and some are pumpkin headed. None of them are kindy-aged though, so we’re still waiting to see what cognitive variations show up as they mature into school age. They are very physically gifted and have huge vocabularies and advanced speech and excellent numerical abilities, but still have trouble with writing the old name. But I wouldn’t expect that from 2 and 4 and 3yos, it’s usually something that kids pick up best a bit later.

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  89. @Uptown Resident
    Interesting interpretation of Genesis.

    Midwives and the alternative childbirth movement get really exercised about Eve's curse, and what they believe is a mistaken cultural perception that childbirth has to be excruciatingly painful. Their foundational text is Dr. Grantly Dick-Read's 1959 "Childbirth without Fear," which argued that modern obstetrics has made childbirth more painful than it needs to be. For instance, laboring on your back is probably the absolutely worst posture for getting a baby through the pelvis and out the birth canal. Squatting or laboring on all fours is what women traditionally did, and what works much better. Gravity and pelvis position matter tremendously. The sacred cow of midwifery, Ina May Gaskin, has written books on childbirth that are full of positive unmedicated birth stories (accounts from the midwifery center on "the Farm," some hippy commune in Tennessee) that pregnant women are supposed to read to replace anxiety-producing stories of horrific hospital births with calming stories about euphoric unmedicated childbirths. I was extremely skeptical about this all until I read her "Guide to Childbirth," which was assigned in my childbirth class. They totally transform your expectations for childbirth. I'd recommend Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth" to any woman who wants to prepare for an unmedicated childbirth.

    laboring on your back is probably the absolutely worst posture for getting a baby through the pelvis and out the birth canal. Squatting or laboring on all fours is what women traditionally did, and what works much better.

    Yes, this was common in parts of Mexico until fairly recently. The Nahua Indians (descendants of the Aztecs) living just outside of Mexico City were doing it until at least the 1950s. Giving birth while lying down was seen as something that only whites and mestizos did. Squatting and sweat lodges was the indigenous way.

    A couple of years ago in Oaxaca, a hospital ran into some controversy after it refused to admit a pregnant indigenous woman who subsequently was filmed giving birth while squatting on the hospital’s front lawn.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/woman-gives-birth-on-hosp_n_4073416.html

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  90. It’s well known in the neuroimaging community that the brain shape of East Asians doesn’t fit well the brain templates that have been in use, which are based on European (in fact, probably mostly Western European) brains. Brain templates are necessary to warp individual brain images into standardized (“normalized”) space for group analyses. This is also a problem for EEG studies, because EEG caps made for (Western) Europeans don’t fit East Asian heads well, because of the rounder heads of the latter.

    Therefore, East Asian templates have been created . Some interesting findings from a recent large Chinese brain template study: Chinese brains are much less in length (front-to-back), somewhat less in height, but wider. The male brains were found to be quite a bit larger as well than the female brains. I don’t know if such a study was done with Korean brains, but some Korean males in my experience have very large heads.

    Furthermore, if the environmental/nutritional hypothesis holds any water, comparing North and South Korean populations would be an excellent test of it. It’s been reported that NKs are something like 6 inches shorter than SKs, though I don’t know whether it’s all due to poorer living conditions or reflects regional differences as well.

    Lastly, with modern neuroimaging equipment and software it’s fairly trivial to compute measures such as the cortical surface size,cortical thickness, gyral/sulcal patterns and density, white matter volume and structural integrity, and of course the cranium and overall brain size. Most of these measures are computed automatically as part of the processing stream in some popular neuroimaging software packages, so it would be a little more difficult for Gould disciples to claim any experimenter prejudice in computing them. Of course, they could fall back on the race of the folks who wrote the software and invented and built MRI scanners.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Furthermore, if the environmental/nutritional hypothesis holds any water, comparing North and South Korean populations would be an excellent test of it. It’s been reported that NKs are something like 6 inches shorter than SKs, though I don’t know whether it’s all due to poorer living conditions or reflects regional differences as well.
     
    I think the North and South Korean differences today are entirely environmental. Prior to the Korean War, the northern part of the peninsula was more modernized (industry, education, etc.) as the south was heavily agrarian (the Japanese built more industry in the northern part to supply their armies in Manchuria and used the southern plains areas as their bread basket).

    Also, as I understand, roughly 1/4th of the southern population today is made up of northern refugees and their descendants, and I believe they are indistinguishable physically from southern natives although I do recall reading a while back that northerners in the south are slightly more prosperous than the native southerners on average.

    The big regional difference in South Korea is southeast vs. southwest. There is a mountain range that separates the two regions, and there has been a great deal of historical animosity between the two areas for a long while. During the military rule, for example, most of the ruling generals and elites came from the southeast while the southwest was the hotbed of dissent. In fact, there was a big armed uprising in a southwestern city in 1980 or so and the ROK military (led by southeasterners) crushed it with extreme prejudice. We (the U.S.) ended up being "implicated" in the repression and the deaths because U.S. and ROK forces operate as a combined forced command and the ROKG needed our permission to withdraw their army troops from the American operational command, and it requested and received such a release. The released troops formed a part of a multi-division force that stormed the city and put down the uprising with great brutality (not that the dissidents should have expected less given that they were armed rebels).
  91. @Erik Sieven
    being the inevitable except to the rule I have a small head but still a pretty decent IQ and I am very much convinced that bigger head => bigger brain => on average higher IQ.

    It is interesting that there is a moderate correlation between IQ and brain size, but it’s by no means 100%. That means that there are individuals who have an impressive IQ/brain volume. Thus, there are those who do far better than you think they would judging by brain volume alone. There are also those who have big brain volumes but only mediocre intelligence.

    I was wondering recently where my father got his IQ from. It is about 145 or so. His maternal side has a doctor or two, but I would not have called my grandmother brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. Probably above average somewhat. My grandfather was relatively intelligent and very humorous, though far from a genius. I think they were probably similar in intelligence, maybe he was smarter than she was. Neither would have been capable of much above high school algebra, if at all. So when I was looking at a photo of the family, the flash of insight hit me. My grandmother had a high forehead, and my grandfather did not. My Dad has a high forehead. So it seems reasonable that he inherited both the brain volume and the high IQ/brain volume that would boost his IQ above that of either of his parents.

    There are siblings with lower IQ than either parent too, which is what you would expect if you coupled a relatively low IQ/brain volume with a low brain volume. In fact, I would say that there is quite a bit more IQ variance in that family than is typical, which would tend to support my hypothesis.

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    • Replies: @Anonym
    I would also expect that there are limits to IQ/brain volume. There should be, if computers are anything to go by. Thus I would also expect the very high IQ (IQ 160-180) to have large cranial volumes almost uniformly.

    If you wanted to create some supergeniuses, you might purposely seek out high IQ/volume people and mate them with the people who currently set the curve, so to speak.

    Along thinking along the lines of engineering, perhaps also the reason why genius and insanity is often linked is that a high IQ brain may be more intricate and so, harder to "manufacture". Thus, some brains that don't come out right, so to speak. And some that are brilliant but somewhat malformed.

  92. @Anonym
    It is interesting that there is a moderate correlation between IQ and brain size, but it's by no means 100%. That means that there are individuals who have an impressive IQ/brain volume. Thus, there are those who do far better than you think they would judging by brain volume alone. There are also those who have big brain volumes but only mediocre intelligence.

    I was wondering recently where my father got his IQ from. It is about 145 or so. His maternal side has a doctor or two, but I would not have called my grandmother brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. Probably above average somewhat. My grandfather was relatively intelligent and very humorous, though far from a genius. I think they were probably similar in intelligence, maybe he was smarter than she was. Neither would have been capable of much above high school algebra, if at all. So when I was looking at a photo of the family, the flash of insight hit me. My grandmother had a high forehead, and my grandfather did not. My Dad has a high forehead. So it seems reasonable that he inherited both the brain volume and the high IQ/brain volume that would boost his IQ above that of either of his parents.

    There are siblings with lower IQ than either parent too, which is what you would expect if you coupled a relatively low IQ/brain volume with a low brain volume. In fact, I would say that there is quite a bit more IQ variance in that family than is typical, which would tend to support my hypothesis.

    I would also expect that there are limits to IQ/brain volume. There should be, if computers are anything to go by. Thus I would also expect the very high IQ (IQ 160-180) to have large cranial volumes almost uniformly.

    If you wanted to create some supergeniuses, you might purposely seek out high IQ/volume people and mate them with the people who currently set the curve, so to speak.

    Along thinking along the lines of engineering, perhaps also the reason why genius and insanity is often linked is that a high IQ brain may be more intricate and so, harder to “manufacture”. Thus, some brains that don’t come out right, so to speak. And some that are brilliant but somewhat malformed.

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  93. @Lefty Lawyer
    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help - whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    In other words, there is more justification for society intervening and helping out those who are impaired through no fault of their own, rather than people who are voluntarily lazy and shiftless.

    On the other hand, the Fox News types likely would not buy the smaller brain/lower IQ hypothesis, and instead would argue that these folks are voluntarily lazy and shiftless - which is a good rationale to deny them benefits.

    One should remember that it was not a group of factory workers or janitors who came up with Marxism, or financed and orchestrated the Russian Revolution. Maybe people like Gould don’t like being identified as being different and smarter than others.

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  94. So maybe we’re actually mature enough to discuss reality rather than lie all the time?

    I’m not much of an HBD guy, and I’m probably the biggest immigration dove here (although that has changed significantly in the last two or three years), but the real reason I come to iSteve is that I can’t take the Megaphone’s constant lying.

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  95. @george
    "surface area of the cerebral cortex"

    Doesn't that mean the amount of folding of the surface of the cerebral cortex is what is important and not its radius or 'hat size'?

    Why do Blacks have so many musical geniuses? Shouldn't they stink at everything except some sports?

    Interesting question but were there ANY musical geniuses until Western musical instruments and form? Likely there were a few Beethoven’s and Bach’s in ancient times but until musical instruments, scales, melody and the like were available music was pretty threadbare. So your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    There are a few authentic black musical geniuses out there, but just as few as the bell curve would predict, or perhaps fewer. For a given level of overall IQ blacks probably have a higher musical capacity than whites, depending on how one views musical capacity.

    I have interacted with several quite famous black pop music figures, and while most have been smarter than the average underclass black as far as I could sense, none have given me any great impression of being very smart overall by white standards. While several white musicians have, although several were surprisingly dumb too.

    One phenomenon I have observed with musicians in general is that many are not necessarily low IQ but have an overall level of world-awareness that is quite poor, while others are astonishingly well versed about a wide variety of arcane topics.
    , @george
    The west invented the printing press which allowed printed sheet music and publicity. So the world could know about Bach. Scot Joplin had no patron, he was mostly supported through sheet music sales, and maybe piano rolls.
    , @Stan D Mute

    your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.
     
    Not just the white invented instruments and recording/playback/amplification devices, but also the drugs. Without drugs does Hendrix exist?

    I always grind my teeth when I hear the "black musical genius" trope. If we compare indigenous Bantu music with indigenous Western European music, the differences are stark. Bach vs beating on a hollow log with a stick. There are many examples on YouTube of African tribal music although these too may be presumed to have some modern (ie white) contributions in clothing and/or refinement of instruments. Fast forwarding several centuries to modern era and I still don't see much negro involvement in development of instruments or recording/playback. They do have some original composition (AFAIK) within some narrow genres like R&B, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. The quality of these contributions, however, is 100% subjective and certainly has not withstood the test of time like Classical Orchestra and Opera. Also, I think that today's negro "artists" are often credited for work done by whites in the background (and vice-versa in all fairness) like "producer" Scott Storch who is a beta-male dweeby sort now multi-gazillionaire living on Miami Beach. All in all, current popularity doesn't provide much for objective evaluation.
  96. @Former Darfur
    When I worked on an IT project in Las Vegas in the late eighties-they still called it "data processing" then-I was going out with a woman whose mother had been a key casino employee at several properties in the 1950s and early 1960s. She told me her theory on how so many of Las Vegas showgirls were so shapely even though a lot of them were in their thirties and forties and occasionally beyond, even back in the Rat Pack days. A disproportionate number of them were girls who got pregnant at 15, 16 or 17, had to put the child up for adoption, and got kicked out of the family house, and if they didn't get married and fat or turn to prostitution, the convent, or the military, and buffed up a little, they made ideal showgirls because their breasts had enlarged and their pelvises widened and hardened. Many went on to marry and have children and, when not pregnant, remained showgirls for many years.

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women, currently working and retired, were present and I had not realized how many of the working ones were married and had high school or college aged children. The average age of the working ones was certainly over 40. Up close, their faces had lines, but from a distance they looked fantastic.

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Well, yes and no. I mean , one, they are (pretty much) all married and two, I am going out with this woman whose mom is the one that got me in there. I figured it was a test.

    The daughter later told me that's just what it was. They wanted to see how I would behave. I must have passed, because we were together for quite awhile-I actually proposed to her, but she said she wasn't ready-and we are still on good terms.
  97. @Lurker

    She later got me in to an event where there were a good many of these women
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5i1cJIwE7M

    Well, yes and no. I mean , one, they are (pretty much) all married and two, I am going out with this woman whose mom is the one that got me in there. I figured it was a test.

    The daughter later told me that’s just what it was. They wanted to see how I would behave. I must have passed, because we were together for quite awhile-I actually proposed to her, but she said she wasn’t ready-and we are still on good terms.

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  98. @unit472
    Interesting question but were there ANY musical geniuses until Western musical instruments and form? Likely there were a few Beethoven's and Bach's in ancient times but until musical instruments, scales, melody and the like were available music was pretty threadbare. So your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.

    There are a few authentic black musical geniuses out there, but just as few as the bell curve would predict, or perhaps fewer. For a given level of overall IQ blacks probably have a higher musical capacity than whites, depending on how one views musical capacity.

    I have interacted with several quite famous black pop music figures, and while most have been smarter than the average underclass black as far as I could sense, none have given me any great impression of being very smart overall by white standards. While several white musicians have, although several were surprisingly dumb too.

    One phenomenon I have observed with musicians in general is that many are not necessarily low IQ but have an overall level of world-awareness that is quite poor, while others are astonishingly well versed about a wide variety of arcane topics.

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  99. @anon
    OT: Did Noah Smith tell one big lie in his "diversity increased productivity by 20% article"?

    I believe so.

    His claim:

    Between 1960 and 2008, 20% of the growth in productivity was due to a decline in discrimination against women and minorities.

    According to Smith, the study "explicitly allow[s] for the possibility that different groups might have different average ability levels with respect to different occupations."

    By this he implied that the study allows for differences in innate ability between races. I dug into the study and found this:

    "More important for our purposes is the potential that the T’s differ across groups
    within a given occupation. We allow for this possibility between men and women but
    not between blacks and whites.
    "

    By "Ts", I believe the authors are referring to innate ability or talent. The study continues:

    "Specifically, in some occupations, brawn may be a and desirable attribute. If men are physically stronger than women on average, then one would expect to observe more men in occupations requiring more physical strength,such as firefighting or construction. To account for this, "Tig" may be higher in these occupations for white and black men relative to white and black women."

    That passage confirms that the authors were indeed referring to innate talent by "T."

    So it looks like Noah Smith told one big lie.

    Anyone who is able to decipher those complicated mathematical models and notations should have a look for themselves.

    Nice find.

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  100. Somewhere I recall reading that Marin County had, at least at one time, the highest percentage of home births in the US. IIRC it was in the thirty to forty percent range. So assuming a home birth is a vaginal delivery with no episiotomy, could one derive useful statistics in determining what effect on cranial shape, brain volume, etc. these deliveries might have on the adult children now? Nowhere else ( in the US, at least) would there be such a statistical base to compare against, I would think.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, a lot of 1960s ideas became common in Marin in the 1970s, so it would be interesting to look at the effects after four decades.
  101. @Former Darfur
    Somewhere I recall reading that Marin County had, at least at one time, the highest percentage of home births in the US. IIRC it was in the thirty to forty percent range. So assuming a home birth is a vaginal delivery with no episiotomy, could one derive useful statistics in determining what effect on cranial shape, brain volume, etc. these deliveries might have on the adult children now? Nowhere else ( in the US, at least) would there be such a statistical base to compare against, I would think.

    Yes, a lot of 1960s ideas became common in Marin in the 1970s, so it would be interesting to look at the effects after four decades.

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  102. “I would be astonished if children’s brain size were NOT correlated with parental income. How could it be otherwise?” …

    Six decades from now, the Education Secretary of the hereditary Bush-Clinton Administration

    Right there. Nepotism. When people are born into a family of wealth and privilege they inherit some non genetic, non biological and unearned advantages.

    And the same with poverty and the lack of a high social status network.

    Where would the Bush brothers be with out Reagan putting their Daddy on the ticket.

    If Reagan had picked Howard Baker he would have won and done just fine.

    Think how much better the world would be without a Vice President Bush!!!!!!!!

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  103. @SportsFan
    It's well known in the neuroimaging community that the brain shape of East Asians doesn't fit well the brain templates that have been in use, which are based on European (in fact, probably mostly Western European) brains. Brain templates are necessary to warp individual brain images into standardized ("normalized") space for group analyses. This is also a problem for EEG studies, because EEG caps made for (Western) Europeans don't fit East Asian heads well, because of the rounder heads of the latter.

    Therefore, East Asian templates have been created . Some interesting findings from a recent large Chinese brain template study: Chinese brains are much less in length (front-to-back), somewhat less in height, but wider. The male brains were found to be quite a bit larger as well than the female brains. I don't know if such a study was done with Korean brains, but some Korean males in my experience have very large heads.

    Furthermore, if the environmental/nutritional hypothesis holds any water, comparing North and South Korean populations would be an excellent test of it. It's been reported that NKs are something like 6 inches shorter than SKs, though I don't know whether it's all due to poorer living conditions or reflects regional differences as well.

    Lastly, with modern neuroimaging equipment and software it's fairly trivial to compute measures such as the cortical surface size,cortical thickness, gyral/sulcal patterns and density, white matter volume and structural integrity, and of course the cranium and overall brain size. Most of these measures are computed automatically as part of the processing stream in some popular neuroimaging software packages, so it would be a little more difficult for Gould disciples to claim any experimenter prejudice in computing them. Of course, they could fall back on the race of the folks who wrote the software and invented and built MRI scanners.

    Furthermore, if the environmental/nutritional hypothesis holds any water, comparing North and South Korean populations would be an excellent test of it. It’s been reported that NKs are something like 6 inches shorter than SKs, though I don’t know whether it’s all due to poorer living conditions or reflects regional differences as well.

    I think the North and South Korean differences today are entirely environmental. Prior to the Korean War, the northern part of the peninsula was more modernized (industry, education, etc.) as the south was heavily agrarian (the Japanese built more industry in the northern part to supply their armies in Manchuria and used the southern plains areas as their bread basket).

    Also, as I understand, roughly 1/4th of the southern population today is made up of northern refugees and their descendants, and I believe they are indistinguishable physically from southern natives although I do recall reading a while back that northerners in the south are slightly more prosperous than the native southerners on average.

    The big regional difference in South Korea is southeast vs. southwest. There is a mountain range that separates the two regions, and there has been a great deal of historical animosity between the two areas for a long while. During the military rule, for example, most of the ruling generals and elites came from the southeast while the southwest was the hotbed of dissent. In fact, there was a big armed uprising in a southwestern city in 1980 or so and the ROK military (led by southeasterners) crushed it with extreme prejudice. We (the U.S.) ended up being “implicated” in the repression and the deaths because U.S. and ROK forces operate as a combined forced command and the ROKG needed our permission to withdraw their army troops from the American operational command, and it requested and received such a release. The released troops formed a part of a multi-division force that stormed the city and put down the uprising with great brutality (not that the dissidents should have expected less given that they were armed rebels).

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  104. An interesting pattern between working and middle class people, is that the former are more likely to have problems with the left (verbal, logical) side or their brain, while the later tend to have issues with the right (spatial, intuitive) side of the brain.

    For example, anxiety, depression, Asperger’s Syndrome and ADD without hyperactivity (disorders which seem to be more common among the middle classes) tend to be related to problems with neurotransmitters in the right side of the brain, while ADHD, conduct disorder, addictions and Tourette’s Syndrome (more common among the working classes) are related to problems with the left side of the brain.

    As far as IQ and brain size goes, I wonder if anyone has specifically studied the correlation between spatial intelligence/visual memory and head size. In computing, visual information uses up a lot more processing power and memory than verbal information, and women (with smaller brains) tend to be slightly stronger in terms of verbal intelligence but weaker in terms of spatial intelligence.

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  105. […] Average Joe Neuroscientists who studied the brain scans of nearly 1,100 children and young adults nationwide from ages 3 to 20 found that the surface area […]

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  106. @Uptown Resident

    I’m not disputing the study, but to me it looks like many women of West African background actually have wider hips than people from other groups, especially East Asians. East Africans do seem to be narrower overall, but the study puts all black Africans in the same category and I’d suspect that they’d have been a minority of that group anyway.
     
    That was my first reaction, too. But an M.D. friend pointed out that many black women look like have wide hips not because they have wide pelvises, but because they have a lot of extra muscle/fat in that area. I.e., the size of the butt doesn't indicate pelvis size.

    That was my first reaction, too. But an M.D. friend pointed out that many black women look like have wide hips not because they have wide pelvises, but because they have a lot of extra muscle/fat in that area. I.e., the size of the butt doesn’t indicate pelvis size.

    Correct! There is so much confusion on this issue. East Asian women have wide pelvic bones because they have to be able to give birth to large-headed babies. With black women the opposite holds.

    The confusion stems from the fact that black women have much greater fat accumulation in the area than European and Asian women do. Asian women have flatter, but wider hips.

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  107. Okay, enough about skulls. How does genital size relate to parental income?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The most successful brokers on Wall Street weren't (deferentially) referred to as 'big swinging dicks' for nothing.
    , @Former Darfur
    "Okay, enough about skulls. How does genital size relate to parental income?"


    Well, Haitians and Dominicans usually have a father who was positively equine in his virility, and Dominicans are almost all pretty poor and Haitians are much poorer yet.

    I'm of average size but my half brother-same father, different mother- is a clone of Rocco Siffredi in that way. His mother says her dad was average but her mother's brothers were all noted for being well above average. Could size of the male member go through the female line?
  108. @unit472
    Interesting question but were there ANY musical geniuses until Western musical instruments and form? Likely there were a few Beethoven's and Bach's in ancient times but until musical instruments, scales, melody and the like were available music was pretty threadbare. So your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.

    The west invented the printing press which allowed printed sheet music and publicity. So the world could know about Bach. Scot Joplin had no patron, he was mostly supported through sheet music sales, and maybe piano rolls.

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  109. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Reg Cæsar
    Okay, enough about skulls. How does genital size relate to parental income?

    The most successful brokers on Wall Street weren’t (deferentially) referred to as ‘big swinging dicks’ for nothing.

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  110. Brain size is a variable. The physiological composition expressed human intelligence is not limited to brain size, although the relationship is large. The problem, the big problem perhaps is that many of the studies that look for this correlation, seem to despise the ratio between the height and the size of the head. As a result, we make a great comparison only between these variables, ” intelligence ” and ” head size ”.
    The lateralization of the brain should also be an important factor for comparison. I have the impression that the IQ tests express how well the brain is lateralized. Maybe that’s why the correlation between IQ and brain size is small. If indeed, head size physiologically express even be more correlative with ” intelligence ” then this will be just another evidence that the imperfection of the cognitive tests as fully comprehensive measurement methods.
    A ‘good’ lateralization of the brain can result in a more even capacity (however, it will be also mediocre) to function in complex societies where it needs to be able to be multifunctional.
    The black talent for music (read, with many exceptions) appears to occur through physiological similarities of their brains as weak lateralization (although no studies have found a higher proportion of left-handed and ambidextrous among blacks) creative people (and also many gifted).
    By the idea of ​​structural and labor organization of civilizations, more lateralized brains appeared as providers ” fundamental ” these complex gears where we live, while the less need of organization for mutual survival between the equatorial populations, kept their brains weakly lateralized. And it is noteworthy that primates tend to have large percentage of ” left-handed ” and ‘ambidextrous”.

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  111. @Lefty Lawyer
    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help - whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    In other words, there is more justification for society intervening and helping out those who are impaired through no fault of their own, rather than people who are voluntarily lazy and shiftless.

    On the other hand, the Fox News types likely would not buy the smaller brain/lower IQ hypothesis, and instead would argue that these folks are voluntarily lazy and shiftless - which is a good rationale to deny them benefits.

    You wonder why? The whole premise of the left’s ideology is based on egalitarianism, noblesse oblige isn’t going to inspire followers or rally the troops. Besides which, affirmative action not only in the US but around the world is a vehicle for the advancement of the elites in the protected group in the name of the poor of that group. When the Ivies discriminate against whites and Asians they are not giving their seats to poor blacks, they are giving them to rich and well connected ones, so socioeconomic inequality is widened as a result. Therefore the Asian and white poor who are smart are pushed to the side in favor of lower performing black elites and the poor blacks are not getting anything from the bargain other than their name being used to justify the programs.

    As Steve as pointed out the courts view any test in which blacks perform at under 80 percent as well as whites as discriminatory even though that is a virtual certainty if the test has any validity for the job. So the government entity has to dumb down the test so much that it hires practically everybody, which it can’t do, or it has to settle out of court. Most of the blacks not hired are just given a settlement check, not a job. In law schools, the mismatch effect of blacks being admitted to better schools than they are qualified for results in the median black law school student being in the 8th percentile of law school students. Among medical school grads it leads to to over half of black med school graduates never being licensed to practice medicine, whereas the comparable percentage for whites is 12 percent. You are assuming affirmative action works like it’s proponents claim it does, when in fact it doesn’t.

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    • Replies: @Lefty Lawyer
    Interesting statistics - no reason to doubt them, but I think sources would be useful for all of us.

    I can certainly speak to the (perhaps) unintended consequences of affirmative action in the legal profession. The Black and Latino lawyers who make it through, pass the bar, and are really on top of things get sucked up (i.e., hired) by the big corporate firms that want to get their diversity numbers up. The result is that, with certain exceptions, the Black and Latino lawyers who go back and serve "the community" tend to be at the bottom of the barrel both in ability and ethics.

    But I think my point is that the left is so hung up on as you put it "egalitarianism" - assuming by that you mean an ideology that we are all born equal - they miss their most persuasive arguments. I don't think the argument that these folks are born with less so let's help them out is noblesse oblige. I think Americans are very willing to help those with less so long as the fact they have less is through no fault of their own.

    I noticed this during the Prop 209 affirmative action initiative ballot in California. The proponents were saying don't worry, the universities will still be able to look at socio-economic factors and cut people a break on that basis. What the opponents wouldn't say (even though it was true) was that Blacks tended to score less on the SAT than whites from similar income brackets - which would of course mean that the Black students would not be taken care of by using socio-economic status.

    I'm not arguing for or against affirmative action here - but simply making the point that I think the left ignores the best arguments in favor of affirmative action because of the unacceptability of the premise.
  112. @Uptown Resident

    My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width. The fastest runners tend to have very narrow hip bones, but that makes birthing babies with big heads dicier.
     
    That's precisely the hypothesis proposed to explain why the gestational period for black babies is so much shorter than that for white babies.

    Does gestation vary by ethnic group? A London-based study of over 122 000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labour
    [...]
    Results The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5–24.9 kg/m2) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants. [Meconium is the first BM. --UR]
    [...]
    One hypothesis for shorter average gestational length amongst black infants is that earlier maturation of the feto-placental unit relates to the maternal pelvic size. A smaller pelvis benefits the mother in evolutionary terms in relation to posture and stability when running. However, a smaller pelvis is also associated with a higher incidence of both obstructed labour and maternal mortality. Indeed, Africans have been observed to have amongst the highest emergency caesarean section rates. In fetal terms it is advantageous for the fetus to have a large head because of the improved brain growth. Thus, this creates conflict in the maternal/fetal relationship. It therefore would be in the interest of the fetus to mature faster and deliver earlier to avoid the complications described.

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/107.full
     

    No hypothesis to explain shorter gestational length for Asian babies.

    When my husband and I got married, my brother-in-law, a radiation oncologist, joked that we should schedule our c-section immediately given the size of our heads. I've broached the subject with my OB, who was dismissive. Her own babies' heads were in the 99th percentile and she had vaginal deliveries. Still, "perineal tearing" and "episiotomy" are words that send chills into my heart.

    My wife and I both have head size in the 99th percentile. Our child’s head size is expectedly enormous. Delivery was natural. One word comes to mind having witnessed delivery and the aftermath: “wrecked.” Sadly, we were supposed to do a C-section but my never easy child opposed that and turned around between the last ultrasound and arrival at the pre-ordained time for the surgery. So the OBGYN and wife agreed to hasten him along and induce labor while he was cooperative. Again, “wrecked” is the word and I use it only in full faith that I am completely anonymous here…

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    • Replies: @Truth

    I use it only in full faith that I am completely anonymous here…
     
    If that's the deciding factor, I get the feeling that you could say anything just about anywhere.
  113. A more refined theory would be the one that Harpending and Draper put forward in 1982: father-absence causes kids, especially girls, to reach physical/sexual maturity faster, which stunts the final development of higher cognitive functions in favor of the development of low cunning. I don’t know if the evidence is there for this idea, but it’s not utterly implausible.

    It’s not. Children-of-twins studies (among others) rule it out.

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  114. @Flinders Petrie

    But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.
     
    It is unfortunate that Gould was such a good writer, given his tendency for self-aggrandizing, embellishment, and throwing caution to the wind. The authors of the new study bashing Lewis et al. for revealing Gould's fraud claim that the re-measurement of Morton's skull collection was "completely pointless" because Gould didn't doubt the data from skulls measured with lead shot, compared to those that were measured with seed.

    But ask any undergraduate anthropology student (or hell, even most PhDs), about Morton, and they will tell you that he fudged his data by jamming more seed into caucasian skulls with his thumb to erroneously increase the brain volume according to his a-priori beliefs.

    This comes from Gould's vivid psychoanalysis of Morton's intentions. From Mismeasure:

    Plausible scenarios are easy to construct. Morton, measuring by seed, picks up a threateningly large black skull, fills it lightly and gives it a few desultory shakes. Next, he takes a distressingly small Caucasian skull, shakes hard, and pushes mightily at the foramen magnum with his thumb. It is easily done, without conscious motivation; expectation is a powerful guide to action.
     
    It is this type of wordsmithing that everyone who reads Gould's book remembers. So, in addition to analyzing and discrediting Gould's statistical manipulation of Morton's data, it was very smart for Lewis et al. to remeasure the skulls. It helps dispel this myth about Morton wickedly jamming his thumb into skulls to falsify data.

    By the way, there was a huge error in Gould's first paper about Morton, published in 1978 in Science. He incorrectly calculated the mean cranial capacity for modern Caucasians as 85 cubic inches, after "correcting" Morton's data, and placed this number in his final table to show how a corrected calculation places Caucasians beneath the mean for Native Americans (86). It was a huge error on Gould's part, based on miscalculating the mean for Semitic skulls - a blatant error right there in a previous table. Didn't this article get peer reviewed?

    Gould's friend had to tell him about the error, because apparently nobody else noticed. So in a rare mea culpa, Gould confessed in a footnote in Mismeasure:

    My original report (Gould, 1978) incorrectly listed the modern Caucasian mean as 85.3. The reason for this error is embarrassing, but instructive, for it illustrates, at my expense, the cardinal principle of this book: the social embeddedness of science and the frequent grafting of expectation upon supposed objectivity. Line 7 in Table 2.3 lists the range of Semitic skulls as 84 to 98 cubic inches for Morton's sample of 3. However, my original paper cited a mean of 80—an obvious impossibility if the smallest skull measures 84. I was working from a Xerox of Morton's original chart, and his correct value of 89 is smudged to look like an 80 on my copy. Nonetheless, the range of 84 to 98 is clearly indicated right alongside, and I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean. The 80 therefore "felt" right and I never checked it. I am grateful to Dr. Irving Klotz of Northwestern University for pointing out this error to me.
     
    I wonder if this smudged xerox still exists in his archives? Regardless, he's admitting his own bias, noting that he really wanted to prove that Morton was a quack. But of course, this only proves his point that you can't separate bias from the researcher (he probably slept just fine at night, reassuring himself that he erred on the side of righteousness rather than on the side of racism).

    I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean.

    The sheer audacity of this buffoon accusing others of “racism” is almost unbelievable. And likewise that he would so blithely admit his bias without the slightest concern he would be discredited. I am surprised he didn’t describe himself as “anti-white” in the foreword or dust jacket blurb about the author.

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    • Replies: @Flinders Petrie
    Serious chutzpah. And it was such a painfully obvious mistake - his mean (80) fell below the range of values (84-90). This was plain as day in a previous table in the same paper. I cannot believe that it was ever published in Science.

    Here's the original table; look at the Semitic row:

    http://i.imgur.com/1mKrCJt.png
  115. @Twinkie

    The problem nowadays is OB’s doing unnecessary c-sections, not unnecessary vaginal deliveries. The general consensus is that vaginal delivery is better for mom and baby for myriad reasons.
     
    Absolutely. However, C-sections are less risky, and given the legal climate, OBs practice "defensive medicine" and go for the cutting when in any doubt. Patients nowadays expect perfect outcomes no matter what, and tend to get extremely angry and litigious when there are bad outcomes, so physicians follow the incentive structure of the society.

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman's health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman’s health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.

    It was also the case that midwives had the unpleasant but pragmatic job of taking severely defective infants into another room immediately upon identification where they were then pronounced as “still born.” Today, we put those infants into a lifetime of hideously expensive medical care typically at taxpayer expense. Some, no doubt, go on to sexual maturity and even reproduce themselves. I have seen how the lives of these severely retarded individuals completely consumes the family into which they were born, how it robs healthy siblings of parental involvement and resources, and wonder at the morality of this. Is it moral to wreck the childhood of healthy children to sustain a sibling incapable of ever functioning as an independent self-willed adult? To impose this burden on the family or the state? Obviously abortion is an option if identified in utero via amniocentesis, but today a traditional midwife would be on death row as a murderer.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    I totally agree and I suspect that in past times that it was just accepted as the done thing.
  116. @Reg Cæsar
    Okay, enough about skulls. How does genital size relate to parental income?

    “Okay, enough about skulls. How does genital size relate to parental income?”

    Well, Haitians and Dominicans usually have a father who was positively equine in his virility, and Dominicans are almost all pretty poor and Haitians are much poorer yet.

    I’m of average size but my half brother-same father, different mother- is a clone of Rocco Siffredi in that way. His mother says her dad was average but her mother’s brothers were all noted for being well above average. Could size of the male member go through the female line?

    Read More
  117. @Lefty Lawyer
    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help - whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    In other words, there is more justification for society intervening and helping out those who are impaired through no fault of their own, rather than people who are voluntarily lazy and shiftless.

    On the other hand, the Fox News types likely would not buy the smaller brain/lower IQ hypothesis, and instead would argue that these folks are voluntarily lazy and shiftless - which is a good rationale to deny them benefits.

    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help – whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    Why, it’s almost as if equality isn’t the motivating force of “leftism” any more.

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  118. @unit472
    Interesting question but were there ANY musical geniuses until Western musical instruments and form? Likely there were a few Beethoven's and Bach's in ancient times but until musical instruments, scales, melody and the like were available music was pretty threadbare. So your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.

    your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.

    Not just the white invented instruments and recording/playback/amplification devices, but also the drugs. Without drugs does Hendrix exist?

    I always grind my teeth when I hear the “black musical genius” trope. If we compare indigenous Bantu music with indigenous Western European music, the differences are stark. Bach vs beating on a hollow log with a stick. There are many examples on YouTube of African tribal music although these too may be presumed to have some modern (ie white) contributions in clothing and/or refinement of instruments. Fast forwarding several centuries to modern era and I still don’t see much negro involvement in development of instruments or recording/playback. They do have some original composition (AFAIK) within some narrow genres like R&B, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. The quality of these contributions, however, is 100% subjective and certainly has not withstood the test of time like Classical Orchestra and Opera. Also, I think that today’s negro “artists” are often credited for work done by whites in the background (and vice-versa in all fairness) like “producer” Scott Storch who is a beta-male dweeby sort now multi-gazillionaire living on Miami Beach. All in all, current popularity doesn’t provide much for objective evaluation.

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    • Replies: @Truth

    If we compare indigenous Bantu music with indigenous Western European music, the differences are stark. Bach vs beating on a hollow log with a stick...Also, I think that today’s negro “artists” are often credited for work done by whites in the background
     
    LMFAO! "Yeah, I know, and such small portions..."
  119. @Unladen Swallow
    You wonder why? The whole premise of the left's ideology is based on egalitarianism, noblesse oblige isn't going to inspire followers or rally the troops. Besides which, affirmative action not only in the US but around the world is a vehicle for the advancement of the elites in the protected group in the name of the poor of that group. When the Ivies discriminate against whites and Asians they are not giving their seats to poor blacks, they are giving them to rich and well connected ones, so socioeconomic inequality is widened as a result. Therefore the Asian and white poor who are smart are pushed to the side in favor of lower performing black elites and the poor blacks are not getting anything from the bargain other than their name being used to justify the programs.

    As Steve as pointed out the courts view any test in which blacks perform at under 80 percent as well as whites as discriminatory even though that is a virtual certainty if the test has any validity for the job. So the government entity has to dumb down the test so much that it hires practically everybody, which it can't do, or it has to settle out of court. Most of the blacks not hired are just given a settlement check, not a job. In law schools, the mismatch effect of blacks being admitted to better schools than they are qualified for results in the median black law school student being in the 8th percentile of law school students. Among medical school grads it leads to to over half of black med school graduates never being licensed to practice medicine, whereas the comparable percentage for whites is 12 percent. You are assuming affirmative action works like it's proponents claim it does, when in fact it doesn't.

    Interesting statistics – no reason to doubt them, but I think sources would be useful for all of us.

    I can certainly speak to the (perhaps) unintended consequences of affirmative action in the legal profession. The Black and Latino lawyers who make it through, pass the bar, and are really on top of things get sucked up (i.e., hired) by the big corporate firms that want to get their diversity numbers up. The result is that, with certain exceptions, the Black and Latino lawyers who go back and serve “the community” tend to be at the bottom of the barrel both in ability and ethics.

    But I think my point is that the left is so hung up on as you put it “egalitarianism” – assuming by that you mean an ideology that we are all born equal – they miss their most persuasive arguments. I don’t think the argument that these folks are born with less so let’s help them out is noblesse oblige. I think Americans are very willing to help those with less so long as the fact they have less is through no fault of their own.

    I noticed this during the Prop 209 affirmative action initiative ballot in California. The proponents were saying don’t worry, the universities will still be able to look at socio-economic factors and cut people a break on that basis. What the opponents wouldn’t say (even though it was true) was that Blacks tended to score less on the SAT than whites from similar income brackets – which would of course mean that the Black students would not be taken care of by using socio-economic status.

    I’m not arguing for or against affirmative action here – but simply making the point that I think the left ignores the best arguments in favor of affirmative action because of the unacceptability of the premise.

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    • Replies: @Kenneth A. Regas
    Lefty, you're killing me here.

    I’m not arguing for or against affirmative action here – but simply making the point that I think the left ignores the best arguments in favor of affirmative action because of the unacceptability of the premise.
     
    The left ignores these arguments because they belie the premise of AA, namely that traditionally unsuccessful ethnic groups are unsuccessful because of race discrimination. It isn't just that black students' SATs are quite low even after family income in taken into account. It's that there are white ethnic groups - French Canadians, Scotch-Irish - that distinctly underperform compared to other white people. And there are black ethic groups - Nigerians, Jamaicans - that do quite well in our supposedly racist society. Then there are the Jews, fabulously successful white people, who received a less than enthusiastic reception from upper-class culture until they became upper-class culture. And don't get me started about how the northeast Asians - including Japanese Americans who were dispossessed 7o years ago - outperform everyone else. It's traits and behaviors folks, not race. Traits and behaviors.

    I think you know all these things and still think that there is a case to be made for affirmative action. Good Lord.

    You know, there are ways to help people born into poor circumstances besides promoting them to places in society that they don't qualify to occupy. Progressive taxation comes to mind. The right may think that we've gone overboard, as I would be happy to argue. But the basic idea, even of a negative income tax, is considered quite respectable on the right. Ditto all the merit-based scholarships and the like intended to see that the deserving poor get a chance to join the middle class.

    What will it take to get you on our side?

    Ken

  120. @Stan D Mute
    My wife and I both have head size in the 99th percentile. Our child's head size is expectedly enormous. Delivery was natural. One word comes to mind having witnessed delivery and the aftermath: "wrecked." Sadly, we were supposed to do a C-section but my never easy child opposed that and turned around between the last ultrasound and arrival at the pre-ordained time for the surgery. So the OBGYN and wife agreed to hasten him along and induce labor while he was cooperative. Again, "wrecked" is the word and I use it only in full faith that I am completely anonymous here...

    I use it only in full faith that I am completely anonymous here…

    If that’s the deciding factor, I get the feeling that you could say anything just about anywhere.

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  121. @Stan D Mute

    It used to be that the biggest threat to a woman’s health/life was childbirth, and people used to accept tragedies during childbirths stoically as natural, frequent occurrences in life. No more. Now people are entitled to positive health outcomes always and woe onto the providers with negative outcomes.
     
    It was also the case that midwives had the unpleasant but pragmatic job of taking severely defective infants into another room immediately upon identification where they were then pronounced as "still born." Today, we put those infants into a lifetime of hideously expensive medical care typically at taxpayer expense. Some, no doubt, go on to sexual maturity and even reproduce themselves. I have seen how the lives of these severely retarded individuals completely consumes the family into which they were born, how it robs healthy siblings of parental involvement and resources, and wonder at the morality of this. Is it moral to wreck the childhood of healthy children to sustain a sibling incapable of ever functioning as an independent self-willed adult? To impose this burden on the family or the state? Obviously abortion is an option if identified in utero via amniocentesis, but today a traditional midwife would be on death row as a murderer.

    I totally agree and I suspect that in past times that it was just accepted as the done thing.

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  122. prosa123 [AKA "Peter"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    "My guess would be that head size is a tradeoff with running speed, via the mechanism of your mother’s pelvis width."

    Anecdotally, at my high school quite a few of the guys on the cross country team were very smart. At my son's school, the kids in his elementary school class who are the best runners on their cross country team seem to have a tendency to be very smart, especially in math. Anyway, these two observations have led me to recently wonder if there might be some correlation between running ability and intelligence - or at least math ability.

    Cross country is the sort of sport that appeals to smarter kids.

    Read More
  123. I’m no expert on this stuff, but I’ve read that geneticists can tell that the genes which control for brain size are not subject to substantial environmental influence. For example, if you have reasonable nutrition your brain will grow to its anticipated size.

    So, it isn’t plausible to argue that if you read to your child, take him to a museum, send him to a good school then he gets smarter and smarter and his brain gets bigger and bigger.

    -DR

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  124. @Stan D Mute

    I never saw the inconsistency—presumably because a low value of 80 fit my hopes for a depressed Caucasian mean.
     
    The sheer audacity of this buffoon accusing others of "racism" is almost unbelievable. And likewise that he would so blithely admit his bias without the slightest concern he would be discredited. I am surprised he didn't describe himself as "anti-white" in the foreword or dust jacket blurb about the author.

    Serious chutzpah. And it was such a painfully obvious mistake – his mean (80) fell below the range of values (84-90). This was plain as day in a previous table in the same paper. I cannot believe that it was ever published in Science.

    Here’s the original table; look at the Semitic row:

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  125. @Lefty Lawyer
    I always wonder why the left shies away from the conclusions reached by Murray/Thompson.

    The idea that when nature dealt out smaller brains it also dealt out lower IQ/lower earning potential seems to be a reasonable rationale for giving those people some more help - whether it be financial assistance, more time on tests, affirmative action, etc.

    In other words, there is more justification for society intervening and helping out those who are impaired through no fault of their own, rather than people who are voluntarily lazy and shiftless.

    On the other hand, the Fox News types likely would not buy the smaller brain/lower IQ hypothesis, and instead would argue that these folks are voluntarily lazy and shiftless - which is a good rationale to deny them benefits.

    You make a good point, but as a “Fox News type” I’d take it in an entirely different direction.

    Affirmative action, for example, is IMHO foolish and deeply un-American. But on the other hand, why do we tolerate illegal immigration, which floods the low-skill (largely low IQ) labor force with competitors? We would do the least among our compatriots a huge service if we’d politely but firmly identify and repatriate all the foreigners living in our country in defiance of law.

    Similarly, in the concluding chapter of The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray pleaded for society to be more accepting and understanding of the unintelligent. But if you’re a “lefty lawyer”, you probably don’t like their prescriptions, such as that laws and social norms should be simpler: You want to have sex with that girl? You gotta marry her – with all the responsibilities that implies. As Murray further elaborated in Coming Apart, American collegiates have long treated the sexual revolution as permission to play without strings attached, but generally follow the implicit rule that there will be no children without marriage first. The low IQ crowd has gotten the permission to play, just not the expectation that children will have married parents. So we’re swimming in bastards and chaotic families. This is a societal wound inflicted by self-indulgent people with high IQ’s.

    So maybe the left is unwilling to hear the message of Charles Murray and other like-minded scholars because they tend to be Fox News types with entirely different societal prescriptions in comparison to those offered by lefty lawyers.

    Any chance that as a lefty lawyer you’ll ever be able to imagine that we Fox News types express the ideas we do out of benevolence toward the unintelligent as great as your own?

    Ken

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lefty Lawyer
    Not to get folks here into hyper-ventilating mode - but has anyone ever done any study of what would happen if we sent all the illegal aliens home tomorrow?

    Perhaps then the crops really would be "literally rotting in the fields?" Would citizens and legal residents then take those jobs? If so, would the salaries be higher? I always thought the idea that illegal aliens "do jobs Americans won't do" really is illegal aliens "do jobs that Americans won't do for the wages that are currently being paid." So, if the illegal aliens all went home, assuming these jobs would be filled by legal folks, then presumably the pay would be higher. Which perhaps means that there would major inflation, businesses close, etc. Or maybe not. I really have no idea, but would like to see some neutral/non-results oriented analysis of this.

    Simple real-life example - a lot of not too rich people rely on inexpensive illegal alien childcare when their kids are very young to enable them to continue working. Most white people will not hire non-Carribean Blacks to watch their kids. So, if the inexpensive illegal aliens all leave, do the people that utilized the nannys leave the workforce?

    I have been around long enough that I see the law of unintended consequences constantly playing out.

    In fact, these arguments might be similar to the mainly Republican arguments against raising the minimum wage - higher pay for the lower tier jobs = job lots and businesses closing. I have a client who is closing her business (a laundry) because she cannot afford to pay the the minimum wage which is about to be implemented in her city.

    However, here is the real difference between right and left - for better or worse, while the left prioritizes the well-being of American Citizens/Legal Residents, it still gives some weight to the needs of people in the US illegally. There is kind of a sliding scale here - with people just caught at the border being at one end of the continuum (send them back unless they will be tortured or killed), and illegal kids who moved here at a young age with their parents being the other end (let them stay.)

    The right is more of the mind that if you are illegal, you are in violation of the law and should go home.
  126. @Stan D Mute

    your question has a Zen like quality to it. If there were no Fender electric guitars and amps does Jimi Hendrix exist.
     
    Not just the white invented instruments and recording/playback/amplification devices, but also the drugs. Without drugs does Hendrix exist?

    I always grind my teeth when I hear the "black musical genius" trope. If we compare indigenous Bantu music with indigenous Western European music, the differences are stark. Bach vs beating on a hollow log with a stick. There are many examples on YouTube of African tribal music although these too may be presumed to have some modern (ie white) contributions in clothing and/or refinement of instruments. Fast forwarding several centuries to modern era and I still don't see much negro involvement in development of instruments or recording/playback. They do have some original composition (AFAIK) within some narrow genres like R&B, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. The quality of these contributions, however, is 100% subjective and certainly has not withstood the test of time like Classical Orchestra and Opera. Also, I think that today's negro "artists" are often credited for work done by whites in the background (and vice-versa in all fairness) like "producer" Scott Storch who is a beta-male dweeby sort now multi-gazillionaire living on Miami Beach. All in all, current popularity doesn't provide much for objective evaluation.

    If we compare indigenous Bantu music with indigenous Western European music, the differences are stark. Bach vs beating on a hollow log with a stick…Also, I think that today’s negro “artists” are often credited for work done by whites in the background

    LMFAO! “Yeah, I know, and such small portions…”

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  127. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Short summary of the MIT/Harvard study:

    “Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income”, ScienceDaily, April 17, 2015.

    The MIT press release:

    “Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income: In middle-schoolers, neuroscientists find differences in brain structures where knowledge is stored.”, Anne Trafton, MIT News Office, April 17, 2015.

    Read More
    • Replies: @unit472
    Amazing that the study authors resort back to the argument that family income is the cause and not the result of brain difference. This is itself extremely insulting for it implies that low income people do not make good parents or even love their children. It also ignores reality. A very low income woman might spend MORE time with her children than a middle or upper income mother for the very reason that she does not work. High income fathers are often absent from the home too as with high income also come increased demands on ones time be it business trips or simply running a family business.
  128. I asked the question of whether brain size development was highly heritable, and someone over at Prof. Thompson’s blog posted a link to an article that apparently shows it is.

    http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/10/2313.full.pdf+htm

    -DR

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  129. @anonymous
    Short summary of the MIT/Harvard study:

    "Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income", ScienceDaily, April 17, 2015.


    The MIT press release:

    "Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income: In middle-schoolers, neuroscientists find differences in brain structures where knowledge is stored.", Anne Trafton, MIT News Office, April 17, 2015.

    Amazing that the study authors resort back to the argument that family income is the cause and not the result of brain difference. This is itself extremely insulting for it implies that low income people do not make good parents or even love their children. It also ignores reality. A very low income woman might spend MORE time with her children than a middle or upper income mother for the very reason that she does not work. High income fathers are often absent from the home too as with high income also come increased demands on ones time be it business trips or simply running a family business.

    Read More
  130. […] intervention are the eight months and 29 days before birth … but not a day sooner! [“Charles Murray and James Thompson Asked Their Opinions in ‘Post’ Article on Brain Size; …,” The Unz Review, April 15, […]

    Read More
  131. I had a stable, organized childhood and grew up to be an unworldly intellectual.

    I had a stable, organized childhood and grew up to be an unworldly pseudo-intellectual, so no promises on that front…

    “It makes my jaw drop that we’ve known for years intelligence is inheritable…”

    Sigh…

    On the other hand, maybe dispensing with the good ship Heritable is the key to getting your name in mainstream publications… add “in-” or perish..

    Read More
  132. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “Amazing that the study authors resort back to the argument that family income is the cause and not the result of brain difference.”

    Heh, they are from MIT and Harvard. Must throw in a few lines as to how it is all as foretold by the Glorious Chairman Mao…

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  133. “The stars, McGee, look down on a world where thousands of 4-H kids are raising prize cattle and sheep. The Green Bay packers, of their own volition, join in the Lord’s Prayer before a game. Many good and gentle people have fallen in love this night. At this moment, thousands of women are in labor from the fruit of good marriage.

    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2015/01/john-d-macdonald-look-at-some-aspects.html#.VNHn89L

    Read More
  134. @Kenneth A. Regas
    You make a good point, but as a "Fox News type" I'd take it in an entirely different direction.

    Affirmative action, for example, is IMHO foolish and deeply un-American. But on the other hand, why do we tolerate illegal immigration, which floods the low-skill (largely low IQ) labor force with competitors? We would do the least among our compatriots a huge service if we'd politely but firmly identify and repatriate all the foreigners living in our country in defiance of law.

    Similarly, in the concluding chapter of The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray pleaded for society to be more accepting and understanding of the unintelligent. But if you're a "lefty lawyer", you probably don't like their prescriptions, such as that laws and social norms should be simpler: You want to have sex with that girl? You gotta marry her - with all the responsibilities that implies. As Murray further elaborated in Coming Apart, American collegiates have long treated the sexual revolution as permission to play without strings attached, but generally follow the implicit rule that there will be no children without marriage first. The low IQ crowd has gotten the permission to play, just not the expectation that children will have married parents. So we're swimming in bastards and chaotic families. This is a societal wound inflicted by self-indulgent people with high IQ's.

    So maybe the left is unwilling to hear the message of Charles Murray and other like-minded scholars because they tend to be Fox News types with entirely different societal prescriptions in comparison to those offered by lefty lawyers.

    Any chance that as a lefty lawyer you'll ever be able to imagine that we Fox News types express the ideas we do out of benevolence toward the unintelligent as great as your own?

    Ken

    Not to get folks here into hyper-ventilating mode – but has anyone ever done any study of what would happen if we sent all the illegal aliens home tomorrow?

    Perhaps then the crops really would be “literally rotting in the fields?” Would citizens and legal residents then take those jobs? If so, would the salaries be higher? I always thought the idea that illegal aliens “do jobs Americans won’t do” really is illegal aliens “do jobs that Americans won’t do for the wages that are currently being paid.” So, if the illegal aliens all went home, assuming these jobs would be filled by legal folks, then presumably the pay would be higher. Which perhaps means that there would major inflation, businesses close, etc. Or maybe not. I really have no idea, but would like to see some neutral/non-results oriented analysis of this.

    Simple real-life example – a lot of not too rich people rely on inexpensive illegal alien childcare when their kids are very young to enable them to continue working. Most white people will not hire non-Carribean Blacks to watch their kids. So, if the inexpensive illegal aliens all leave, do the people that utilized the nannys leave the workforce?

    I have been around long enough that I see the law of unintended consequences constantly playing out.

    In fact, these arguments might be similar to the mainly Republican arguments against raising the minimum wage – higher pay for the lower tier jobs = job lots and businesses closing. I have a client who is closing her business (a laundry) because she cannot afford to pay the the minimum wage which is about to be implemented in her city.

    However, here is the real difference between right and left – for better or worse, while the left prioritizes the well-being of American Citizens/Legal Residents, it still gives some weight to the needs of people in the US illegally. There is kind of a sliding scale here – with people just caught at the border being at one end of the continuum (send them back unless they will be tortured or killed), and illegal kids who moved here at a young age with their parents being the other end (let them stay.)

    The right is more of the mind that if you are illegal, you are in violation of the law and should go home.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kenneth A. Regas
    I wish all lefties - and righties - were as quick to see both sides of an issue as you are.

    Do we really need a study to know what would happen if the illegals were sent home? I should think that we could agree on a few things:

    1) More opportunities for native-born mentally retardeds, ex-cons, and other marginal employees to get paying work

    2) Low-value labor done at higher wages and lower productivity: busing tables, cleaning hotel rooms, elder care, agricultural field work

    3) Less domestic work, including child-rearing, farmed out

    4) The prices of restaurant meals, hotel rooms, car washes, agricultural produce, etc. go up

    5) Accelerated automation of high-unskilled-labor occupations, like the ordering kiosks that now appear in fast food joints

    6) Lower rents and population density in the illegals' former neighborhoods

    7) Fewer "underperforming" schools, in light of Jason Richwine's analysis

    8) Interestingly, no reduction in crime (besides working illegally), in light of analyses by Ron Unz and La Griffe Du Lion

    9) Some businesses would shrink or close and others open or expand, in light of the new balance of labor, kinda like when a new technology sweeps the consumer world. Do you remember video stores? Well, the business of wiring money to Mexico would go down. Carlos Slim's telephone profits might go down. Ditto American agriculture's. On the other hand, businesses that cater to work from home moms might boom. Creative destruction it's called. It's all good, dawg.

    Ken
  135. […] Science: Executive functions are almost entirely heritable. Related: IQ can be estimated using MRI’s. Related: Being victimized as an adolescent is genetically heritable. Related: Murray and Thompson on brain size. […]

    Read More
  136. @Lefty Lawyer
    Not to get folks here into hyper-ventilating mode - but has anyone ever done any study of what would happen if we sent all the illegal aliens home tomorrow?

    Perhaps then the crops really would be "literally rotting in the fields?" Would citizens and legal residents then take those jobs? If so, would the salaries be higher? I always thought the idea that illegal aliens "do jobs Americans won't do" really is illegal aliens "do jobs that Americans won't do for the wages that are currently being paid." So, if the illegal aliens all went home, assuming these jobs would be filled by legal folks, then presumably the pay would be higher. Which perhaps means that there would major inflation, businesses close, etc. Or maybe not. I really have no idea, but would like to see some neutral/non-results oriented analysis of this.

    Simple real-life example - a lot of not too rich people rely on inexpensive illegal alien childcare when their kids are very young to enable them to continue working. Most white people will not hire non-Carribean Blacks to watch their kids. So, if the inexpensive illegal aliens all leave, do the people that utilized the nannys leave the workforce?

    I have been around long enough that I see the law of unintended consequences constantly playing out.

    In fact, these arguments might be similar to the mainly Republican arguments against raising the minimum wage - higher pay for the lower tier jobs = job lots and businesses closing. I have a client who is closing her business (a laundry) because she cannot afford to pay the the minimum wage which is about to be implemented in her city.

    However, here is the real difference between right and left - for better or worse, while the left prioritizes the well-being of American Citizens/Legal Residents, it still gives some weight to the needs of people in the US illegally. There is kind of a sliding scale here - with people just caught at the border being at one end of the continuum (send them back unless they will be tortured or killed), and illegal kids who moved here at a young age with their parents being the other end (let them stay.)

    The right is more of the mind that if you are illegal, you are in violation of the law and should go home.

    I wish all lefties – and righties – were as quick to see both sides of an issue as you are.

    Do we really need a study to know what would happen if the illegals were sent home? I should think that we could agree on a few things:

    1) More opportunities for native-born mentally retardeds, ex-cons, and other marginal employees to get paying work

    2) Low-value labor done at higher wages and lower productivity: busing tables, cleaning hotel rooms, elder care, agricultural field work

    3) Less domestic work, including child-rearing, farmed out

    4) The prices of restaurant meals, hotel rooms, car washes, agricultural produce, etc. go up

    5) Accelerated automation of high-unskilled-labor occupations, like the ordering kiosks that now appear in fast food joints

    6) Lower rents and population density in the illegals’ former neighborhoods

    7) Fewer “underperforming” schools, in light of Jason Richwine’s analysis

    8) Interestingly, no reduction in crime (besides working illegally), in light of analyses by Ron Unz and La Griffe Du Lion

    9) Some businesses would shrink or close and others open or expand, in light of the new balance of labor, kinda like when a new technology sweeps the consumer world. Do you remember video stores? Well, the business of wiring money to Mexico would go down. Carlos Slim’s telephone profits might go down. Ditto American agriculture’s. On the other hand, businesses that cater to work from home moms might boom. Creative destruction it’s called. It’s all good, dawg.

    Ken

    Read More
  137. @Lefty Lawyer
    Interesting statistics - no reason to doubt them, but I think sources would be useful for all of us.

    I can certainly speak to the (perhaps) unintended consequences of affirmative action in the legal profession. The Black and Latino lawyers who make it through, pass the bar, and are really on top of things get sucked up (i.e., hired) by the big corporate firms that want to get their diversity numbers up. The result is that, with certain exceptions, the Black and Latino lawyers who go back and serve "the community" tend to be at the bottom of the barrel both in ability and ethics.

    But I think my point is that the left is so hung up on as you put it "egalitarianism" - assuming by that you mean an ideology that we are all born equal - they miss their most persuasive arguments. I don't think the argument that these folks are born with less so let's help them out is noblesse oblige. I think Americans are very willing to help those with less so long as the fact they have less is through no fault of their own.

    I noticed this during the Prop 209 affirmative action initiative ballot in California. The proponents were saying don't worry, the universities will still be able to look at socio-economic factors and cut people a break on that basis. What the opponents wouldn't say (even though it was true) was that Blacks tended to score less on the SAT than whites from similar income brackets - which would of course mean that the Black students would not be taken care of by using socio-economic status.

    I'm not arguing for or against affirmative action here - but simply making the point that I think the left ignores the best arguments in favor of affirmative action because of the unacceptability of the premise.

    Lefty, you’re killing me here.

    I’m not arguing for or against affirmative action here – but simply making the point that I think the left ignores the best arguments in favor of affirmative action because of the unacceptability of the premise.

    The left ignores these arguments because they belie the premise of AA, namely that traditionally unsuccessful ethnic groups are unsuccessful because of race discrimination. It isn’t just that black students’ SATs are quite low even after family income in taken into account. It’s that there are white ethnic groups – French Canadians, Scotch-Irish – that distinctly underperform compared to other white people. And there are black ethic groups – Nigerians, Jamaicans – that do quite well in our supposedly racist society. Then there are the Jews, fabulously successful white people, who received a less than enthusiastic reception from upper-class culture until they became upper-class culture. And don’t get me started about how the northeast Asians – including Japanese Americans who were dispossessed 7o years ago – outperform everyone else. It’s traits and behaviors folks, not race. Traits and behaviors.

    I think you know all these things and still think that there is a case to be made for affirmative action. Good Lord.

    You know, there are ways to help people born into poor circumstances besides promoting them to places in society that they don’t qualify to occupy. Progressive taxation comes to mind. The right may think that we’ve gone overboard, as I would be happy to argue. But the basic idea, even of a negative income tax, is considered quite respectable on the right. Ditto all the merit-based scholarships and the like intended to see that the deserving poor get a chance to join the middle class.

    What will it take to get you on our side?

    Ken

    Read More

Comments are closed.

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