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Is Geneticist Cavalli-Sforza Ever Going to Get Many Obituaries?
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It’s been almost two weeks since Stanford professor L.L. Cavalli-Sforza, the top population geneticist of the late 20th Century, died at age 96 on August 31. Presumably due to end-of-summer vacations and the like, he’s barely gotten any obituaries yet outside of Italy except in scientific journals.

So I’m being a nag about this.

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  1. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:

  2. Ron Unz says:

    Hmm… Weren’t his theories pretty effectively debunked by Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin? And if he were important, why wasn’t he ever mentioned by the most towering intellectual polymath of our modern era, Ta-Nehisi Coates?

    My guess is that he was just some sort of scientific charlatan, whose passing should be best ignored by all our respectable media outlets…

  3. Unfortunately it didn’t help that both Aretha Franklin (August 31), and John McCain’s (August 25) respective funerals took up most of the national coverage around Labor Day. Much like C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley both being overshadowed in world coverage due to JFK.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  4. vinteuil says: • Website

    I’m being a nag about this to try to help having this important figure be overlooked in this country.

    If I’m interpreting this uncharacteristically puzzling sentence correctly, then yeah: it’s prob’ly best if the American media overlooks C-S’s death – ’cause if they noticed, and understood, they’d trash him.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
    , @dr kill
  5. Anonym says:

    His map was a huge redpill for me back in the day, courtesy of iSteve. Strom Thurmond and crayons IIRC.

    • Replies: @Unladen Swallow
  6. vinteuil says: • Website

    Or did you mean to say that you wanted to prevent this important figure being overlooked in the USA?

  7. Paleo says:

    In all seriousness, Cavalli-Sforza was a pioneer in the study of human population genetics and was no charlatan. He had to put up with criticism from the academic left that he was “reifying” racial categories when everyone knows that we’re all the same. Just the same, his accomplishments have been diminished in the last 3 years due to the revolution in sequencing ancient DNA from skeletal remains of archaic people. Cavalli-Sforza participated in the presumption of the anthropology community that all important events in human evolution took place in Africa and that there were 4 separate migration out of the Dark Continent, after which modern humans remained put in their places. His central hypothesis that present-day human genetic makeup would reconstruct ancient migrations proved simplistic. Nevertheless, his accomplishments in developing statistical methods and conceptual tools for studying human populations deserves recognition, as Steve says.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  8. Population genetics, bah! All you need to know is Trump voters are stupid. If they were smart, they would live in a gated community to keep them away from the non-existent problems caused by diversity.

    • LOL: AnotherDad
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  9. He’s “important” of course because he “proves” blacks inferior.

    All you people just have these a priori prejudices, look around for justifications for them, ignore any evidence to the contrary. Typical. Many people do it, so don’t feel special. Except for intelligent and honest people.

  10. dr kill says:

    Another Hall of Fame sentence, something similar to this beauty. —– Personally, I approve of boys and girls and don’t want to see no more of them. But that’s just me, I guess.

  11. trelane says:

    He was a “populationist” and who needs that anyway?

  12. J.Ross says: • Website

    OT leaked video shows Russian* (and others) conspiring to use uniquely massive internet resources to interfere in the results of the election, to commit sedition against the office of President of the United States, to spread doubt about American institutions, and to sow division in our society.

    *Sergei Brin was born in Moscow.
    They say Trump supporters are stupid and we will alter how search results work to ensure that elections work the way we want them to (to ensure this is a blip or a hiccup in a historical arc that bends to ward progress).

    • Replies: @Prester John
  13. TheBoom says:
    @Ron Unz

    If the Genius Coates didn’t write about Cavalli-Sforza’s studies about the genetic effect of redlining then they must not have been too noteworthy

  14. AndrewR says:

    Why don’t you write his definitive English language obituary, Steve?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  15. Lot says:

    No, he won’t get many US obits. NYT seems to have passed on him, and they are the only US paper that aim to cover notable deaths worldwide.

    It would be easy enough to just do a rewrite of this Stanford press statement, with handy pull quotes from his peers:

  16. newrouter says:

    “Presumably due to end-of-summer vacations and the like”

    The blank slaters went blank on this guy.

  17. J.Ross says: • Website

    OT Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is claimed to be missing: this, after claims that she wasn’t paying her taxes, and her social credit score (which has harder criteria for rich celebrities) was very low.

    Reports are also mentioning a recently released 2017-2018 China Film and Television Star Social Responsibility Report, which, according to the BBC, ranks Chinese celebrities according to “professional work, charitable actions and personal integrity.” Bingbing reportedly received a 0 percent rating and came in last place.

    The world is flat. It takes a lot of tamping what with all the bodies.

  18. pyrrhus says:
    @Ron Unz

    Because even if Genius T. Coates doesn’t know what a gene is, he’s a certified genius.

  19. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:

    Didn’t he experiment on gypsies or something during the war? Like with viruses or something?

  20. Lot says:

    Dark forces are gathering against Trump and his completely super-awesome China tariffs.

    “The Americans for Free Trade coalition grew out of weekly meetings featuring industries organized by the National Retail Federation (NRF), whose members include (AMZN.O), Macy’s Inc (M.N) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N)”

    Once again, the elites in both parties for Red China and against Trump and the working man of America:

    “The coalition is a joint effort with Farmers for Free Trade and will target Republican members of Congress in five states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee”

    Please if you live in these states call your Senators and Congressman and tell them you support China tariffs.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Reg Cæsar
  21. Anon[384] • Disclaimer says:

    If you squint your eyes, as the Economist did in 2000, he’s a Good Guy:

    His work challenges the assumption that there are significant genetic differences between human races, and indeed, the idea that ‘race’ has any useful biological meaning at all.

    Razib Khan should have at least tried to get something into the National Review, in addition to his blog.

    I think the window of time for obituaries has closed on him, although the New York Times sometimes does a late obituary, sometimes years late:

    Mr. McFadden’s curiosity was piqued. Had Mr. Duncan’s death been reported elsewhere? Not that he and Ms. Burke could find. Only The Courier had noted his passing, but apparently without fully understanding who he had been.

    The news media silence was critical. If another news organization, particularly one with national reach, had run an obituary in 2009, we would have stood down, acknowledging that we had been napping back then and that it was way too late now to make up for the lapse. A competitive daily newspaper isn’t keen on reporting something that happened seven years ago.

    Unless, of course, virtually no one else had reported it.

    We decided to pursue the obituary, the seven years notwithstanding. The thinking was, We would have written about Mr. Duncan immediately after he died had we known, so we should apply the same standard now. His death, in a sense, was still news, and his story still deserved to be told. What’s more, in an odd way, the very obscurity of his death added an unexpected, even poignant, element.

    The immediate task at hand was to fill in the gaps in Mr. Duncan’s biography. Mr. McFadden called Mr. Duncan’s former parish priest in Madison to see what he knew. He called River Valley Resources, an antipoverty agency that Mr. Duncan had helped found and that had been mentioned in the Courier obituary. More important, he reached the next of kin. Two daughters had been identified in The Courier, along with their towns of residence, in New Jersey. Mr. McFadden found their phone numbers and called.

    Not unexpectedly, the daughters, Valerie Casey and Luise Wilson, were completely nonplused that The Times would be calling about their father after all this time. They also proved to be unhesitatingly cooperative and even eager to help The Times remember him. Before their father’s death, they told Mr. McFadden, they had lost track of him for many years, and their own knowledge of his past was sketchy, but they retained memories.

    Also, “Remarkable People We Overlooked in Our Obituaries”:

    There is a form at the New York Times for nominating “overlooked obituaries.”

    I hesitate to put this here, because if all of Steve’s readers simultaneously nominate Cavalli-Sforza and the 27-year-old SJW journalist and Wellesley alumna in charge of vetting nominations will do a reverse Google, figure out where people found the link, decide that Cavalli-Sforza was beloved by alt-right Nazis, and memory hole him. Maybe we should identify ourselves as former students or the like.

  22. Lagertha says:

    what confuses me: I thought Alibaba would take out Amazon (Alibaba is quite good). Is Bezos shorting his own company? – all the others, the Walmarts, etc, are yesterday’s companies. China is not really fond of other people besides its Chinese….so, enlighten me, if you are willing.

    • Replies: @Lagertha
  23. istevefan says:

    OT – Earlier this week the United Farm Workers tweeted out a video of some of farm workers picking radishes. It was impressive for sure.

    Next time you enjoy radishes in your salad, remember the farmworkers like these Oxnard workers, who harvest the food that we eat. #WeFeedYou #Calor #Ovetime4FarmWorkers— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) September 9, 2018

    Some guy on twitter posted a youtube video in response. The youtube video shows an automatic radish harvester in the Netherlands.

    Watch the two clips. In the American clip from the United Farm Workers at least 20 workers are manually harvesting radishes. In the European clip just two guys are doing the same thing only much, much faster.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  24. @Lot

    Dark forces are gathering against Trump and his completely super-awesome China tariffs

    We had far better tariffs on China 45 years ago. The only Chinese item in our house was a bamboo pen I smuggled home from a trip to Toronto.

  25. Sean says:

    7) Question #3 hinted at the powerful social impact your work has had in reshaping how we view the natural history of our species. One of the most contentious issues of the 20th, and no doubt of the unfolding 21st century, is that of race. In 1972 Richard Lewontin offered his famous observation that 85% of the variation across human populations was within populations and 15% was between them. Regardless of whether this level of substructure is of note of not, your own work on migrations, admixtures and waves of advance depicts patterns of demographic and genetic interconnectedness, and so refutes typological conceptions of race. Nevertheless, recently A.W.F. Edwards, a fellow student of R.A. Fisher, has argued that Richard Lewontin’s argument neglects the importance of differences of correlation structure across the genome between populations and focuses on variance only across a single locus. Edwards’ argument about the informativeness of correlation structure, and therefore the statistical salience of between-population differences, was echoed by Richard Dawkins in his most recent book. Considering the social import of the question of interpopulational differences as well as the esoteric nature of the mathematical arguments, what do you believe the “take home” message of this should be for the general public?

    Edwards and Lewontin are both right. Lewontin said that the between populations fraction of variance is very small in humans, and this is true, as it should be on the basis of present knowledge from archeology and genetics alike, that the human species is very young. It has in fact been shown later that it is one of the smallest among mammals. Lewontin probably hoped, for political reasons, that it is TRIVIALLY small, and he has never shown to my knowledge any interest for evolutionary trees, at least of humans, so he did not care about their reconstruction. In essence, Edwards has objected that it is NOT trivially small, because it is enough for reconstructing the tree of human evolution, as we did, and he is obviously right.

    Gould is a relentless critic of gradualist orthodoxy – i.e., that substantial adaptive change usually takes long periods of time, and one might think of him as an advocate of a new more Hegelian genetics. Of course, there is not much difference between an incipient species and a “race”, and in Gould’s world of sudden genetic revolutions, there is not necessarily any difference at all: one moment a race, the next a new species. So, in Gould’s world, populations commonly undergo sudden and significantly differentiating evolutionary changes, with one eventually emerging victorious as the forebears of a new species destined to inherit the world from those being extinguished (one shrinks from saying “the inferior” but Gould does intimate that competitive ability between sibling species is often the deciding force). One way such an event can be defeated is through too much interbreeding – if the group that has undergone the hopeful evolutionary changes breeds too much with other populations, their distinctiveness is diluted, and they become reabsorbed into the general ruck.

  26. O/T – Prediction: The Dems win the House but do not take the Senate in November. The economy then tanks, mostly for cyclical reasons. Trump successfully blames the Dems and sails into an 8-year term in 2020. The Republicans retake Congress completely in 2020 or 2022, and Trump has an historic American presidency.

    Why? Because God makes a special Providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America.

    • Replies: @Whiskey
  27. Anon[325] • Disclaimer says:


    In the New York Times Frank Bruni profiles St. Johns, a college where everyone learns the same thing, the Classics, and everyone studies ancient Greek.

    The comments are surprisingly positive, with lots of alumni chiming in. But this person is not amused:

    The lack of serious attention to the nuances of gender and race is a pretty unforgivable and egregious flaw in St. John’s philosophy of education.

    This kind of intense focus on the Westernized cannon just perpetuates Eurocentric neocolonialism and its well-documented, centuries-long history of conquest, colonialism, prejudice and capitalism.

    Classical western thought is still prominent today, chiefly because Western nations systematically pillaged, subjugated, and otherwise murdered foreign societies and peoples who espoused alternate thoughts & philosophies.

    The study of marginalized people and the continuing ill effects of colonialism should not, under any circumstances, be optional. To center the Westernized cannon instead of scholarship produced by women and people of color is essentially to perpetuate white supremacy.

    Colleges should focus on teaching the humanity of “othered” people.

    One college out of thousands, yet it should not be allowed to exist.

    Interestingly, some commenters said that they got good professional jobs simply based on the name of the school, because the employers needed people who could read and understand material, write coherent text, and speak well, something tht they are not getting from graduates of most colleges.

    Another commenter, probably a woman, said that there was a frat boy atmosphere (although the don’t have frats or sports or anything like that) that was uncomfortable for women when she was there in the ’90s. Maybe the school should admit just men if that is a problem? Let guys be guys.

  28. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @Ron Unz

    Well, I can believe he hasn’t ever been at a conference with someone who’s said something racist. I can also believe he hasn’t at least once made someone uncomfortable by making a pass, or committed some higher order of sexual harassment. But what are the chances both are true? Better not chance praise. We can’t let mere accomplishment make women and minorities feel uncomfortable or inferior.

    By the way, is McCainFest still going?

  29. Whiskey says: • Website
    @Uilleam Yr Alban

    More likely the Dems impeach Trump and Pence, install Pelosi or Waters as a caretaker. McConnell loathed Trump and deplorables. Elaine Chai reportedly wrote the anon nyt editorial

  30. @Anon

    Maybe the school should admit just men if that is a problem?

    There’s a highbrow great books junior college called Deep Springs out in “Misfits” territory on the California Nevada border that’s all male (last I heard). You have to rope steer as part of mandator work study. That’s probably the single weirdest college in America.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Karl
  31. anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    No society can survive having its own wealthiest and most powerful members bent upon its destruction. Of course, few have ever had to try.

  32. anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    Another commenter, probably a woman, said that there was a frat boy atmosphere (although the don’t have frats or sports or anything like that) that was uncomfortable for women when she was there in the ’90s. Maybe the school should admit just men if that is a problem? Let guys be guys.

    The only colleges which come to mind which are less ‘frat boy’ than St John’s are religious.

    She’s likely just signalling about the ‘Dead White Male’ curriculum.

  33. anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s probably the single weirdest college in America.

    Seriously, though. There are so many contenders.

    Says Deep Springs now accepts women. “No Facebook” though–that’s definitely a college I could support.

  34. Lagertha says:

    hahaaa…I know this is so ridiculous, but, sometimes, guys like LL C-S had a smokin’ hot babe, and he blew it…he lost his moment.

    • Replies: @Lagertha
  35. I think the reasons are more banal than in the case of Henry Harpending. When Harpending died two years ago there were no obituaries at all in the mainstream media. The Salt Lake Tribune didn’t have one, even though he was a well-known professor at The University of Utah. He had become a non-person.

    Cavalli-Sforza’s case is very different. He rested on his laurels for the past quarter-century in comfortable semi-retirement. Insofar as he made public statements on sensitive issues, they were made to support, and not criticize, mainstream thinking. Ron is misinformed on this point. After a twenty-year silence on Lewontin’s paper (i.e., the finding that there is more genetic variation within than between human races), he finally came out and endorsed it, albeit in a vaguely worded way. He never pointed out the obvious: we see the same genetic overlap between many incipient species that are nonetheless anatomically and behaviorally distinct.

    If you read anything by Cavalli-Sforza since the early 1990s, you’ll find the usual stuff: there is no such thing as pure races, there is no agreement on the number of human races, etc. — all of which is true but irrelevant.

    Cavalli-Sforza’s death has gone unnoticed because he said nothing controversial over the past quarter-century. If a tree falls in a forest of political correctness nothing really happens. Everything goes on as before.

  36. @AndrewR

    It would be a lot of work for me to get back up to speed on 20th Century population genetics (if I was ever up to speed).

  37. DuanDiRen says:

    OT: Steve, I know you are a big fan of Anne Applebaum, so here she is with a great explanation of how the voters keep getting it wrong.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  38. @Paleo

    Population genetics is hot news in 2018. C-S was the #1 guy in pop gen up through 1994, which, granted, was a long time ago, but that’s what obituaries are for: remembering top guys.

  39. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Frost

    With all due respect to the late Henry Harpending, wasn’t Cavalli-Sforza a far more significant scientific figure?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  40. @Redneck farmer

    „they would live in a gated community to keep them away from the non-existent problems caused by diversity.„

    Most people who live in gated communities are Trump voters. At least on the East Coast.

  41. @DuanDiRen

    She’s a loyal wife. That is admirable.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Romanian
  42. @Anonymous

    Henry -> more interesting ideas.
    C-S -> ran a big lab, did a huge amount of work.

    Both are worthy of recognition.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Pat Boyle
  43. Lagertha says:

    only Caltech is a real university in the USA; the last one that only accepts the most intelligent students. Every other Uni, is full-on lowering standards to accept students who are not 90+% in IQ to pretend we live in a pretend world of HC Andersen’s stories.

    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    , @Anon
  44. cta says:

    Not the least area of interest in a serious obituary would be his own ancestry, given his august name. UK newspapers often appear a few weeks post mortem and he was at Cambridge with R.A. Fisher so there’s a chance one turns up there.

    Tangentially related: how many upper class / higher bourgeois Italians ended up in America? The eminent law professor Guido Calabresi (maternal ancestry from the famous Finzi-Continis) would be another. These people inhabit another world from the typical sources of Italian immigration. Connecticut bluebloods and their coethnics in deepest Appalachia probably have have more in common.

  45. @Steve Sailer

    How about a joint effort? Razib provides the bones, you ad the meat or maybe only the side dishes, there are others that could help, too. IMO dissidents could make good use of a Steve Jobs that cajoles folks to work together efficiently. Steve Bannon is trying to do this, Soros, the hell hound, is doing it, we need more of that.

  46. @Lagertha

    > 90+%

    Shouldn’t we rather restrict it to 130 + X? I probably wouldn’t make the cut but what the hell…

    • Replies: @Lagertha
    , @Lagertha
  47. @Steve Sailer

    For a popular audience, like some of us in the peanut gallery, you could probably do it off the top of your head, if you can reach up there.

  48. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Harpending did fieldwork following Bushmen around. Not a knock on the guy, it’s just standard anthropologist stuff. While Cavalli-Sforza pioneered new research in population genetics.

    • Replies: @Peter Frost
  49. @cta

    Tangentially related: how many upper class / higher bourgeois Italians ended up in America?

    Good question. What were the Italian backgrounds of the Giamattis? The Coppolas?

    What about winemakers like Gallo or Mondavi?

    Did visiting Americans collect Italian husbands or wives? Writer Margaret Fuller married an Italian around 1850 but it was big to-do, and then their ship sank off Long Island. Herman Melville went out and searched but they were all lost.

  50. Anon[325] • Disclaimer says:

    CalTech does seem to fudge on the women. The acceptance rate is more than double that of men, and you can speculate that men are more competitive to begin with. Or are they? Some say that women applying to science schools are more self selecting. But that acceptance gap is huge, 6 percent vs. 16 percent.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Lagertha
  51. Lagertha says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Inglenook wines (cool bottle) was established by a Swedish ship captain who decided that CA was a-ok. My family, actually knew him. If you must go back to wine country in CA, you have to go back to the Gold Rush. The Gold Rush spurred a lot of business. Most of all, servicing the men who went to mine, and, the people who supplied stuff (Nordstrom) and those who looked around Cali and thought, “damn, mighty fine land.”

  52. Lagertha says:
    @theo the kraut

    In a perfect world where you rule, my friend.

  53. Lot says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The only large scale migrations of upper class people to the United States have been the result of religious or political persecution. Italy hasn’t had such problems on a large scale since 1492.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  54. @Lot

    Are you sure? What about all the Brahmins from India? Were they persecuted, or have they come just because their country is a shithole? Or is that not large scale enough? Or am I wrong and are they just ordinary Indian schmoes who used to drive rickshaws?

    • Replies: @Lot
  55. robot says: • Website

    OT: the genre of ‘reality show’ typically invites the viewer to guess who’s going to be ‘voted off the island’ next. Are white males obviously getting the shaft there, too? I’ve only watched British Baking and Project Runway– the former seems exemplary in starting with a rainbow of candidates and judging on their real performance. Project Runway by its nature must have a hard time finding het males to even compete, but has there ever been one who was treated poorly on that show?

  56. @Anon

    C’mon, the guys just want as many smart girls on campus as they can get. The long-term strategy is brilliant, being that there will arise mating pairs who will produce geniuses. It’s a eugenics experiment.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  57. Lot says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Many Brahmins live in poverty and yes the percentage who have immigrated to the US is tiny. The ones who are upper class are not signing up to be h1b coolies in the USA.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Buzz Mohawk
  58. Lot says:

    As Peter Frost notes on his blog, Sforza was his step-grandfather’s name, and he may have taken it circa 1954 to disassociate himself from germ warfare articles he published with Nazi support. He specifically may have been researching a biological-chemical superbomb combining anthrax and mustard gas.

  59. @Lot

    Well there ya go. The internet is a font of information. Thanks.

    Now tell me about the Russian Jews. (Seriously, because I’m not clear on that.)

    My favorite example is the Cubans. There is a difference between “persecution” and having to leave because you’ve earned the scorn of your neighbors.

    Those Cubans are pretty nice, but some of the upper classes that come here to escape “persecution” are assholes who soon end up acting the same way they did in their home countries.

    • Replies: @Karl
    , @Lot
  60. Joe Walker says: • Website

    If you were familiar with his work you would know that he was important because he showed that there is a biological basis for race.

  61. @Anonymous

    If we’re talking about the last quarter-century, Harpending did far more original work than did Cavalli-Sforza (who was essentially in semi-retirement). More importantly, he asked questions that were more original and insightful. Even if we go further back in time, it’s inexact to say that Cavalli-Sforza was “pioneering new research.” For the most part he was collecting and re-analyzing data collected by other researchers. In terms of original field research, the contributions of the two scientists were about the same.

    As for awards, public recognition, and adulation by one’s peers, yeah, Cavalli-Sforza was far ahead. But he paid a high price for that status. Sometimes it’s better to be a bit less mainstream and a bit more true to oneself. Anyway, at some point in the 2000s the mainstream decided he was no longer useful, despite his kowtowing and self-compromising. Where are his obituaries?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @res
    , @Anonymous
  62. Joe Walker says: • Website

    He didn’t prove that blacks are inferior. He didn’t need to. Blacks are quite capable of proving that they are inferior all by themselves.

    • LOL: jim jones
  63. @Lot

    I should specify that in my other reply I am referring to the first wave of affluent Cubans who had to escape Castro’s communist revolution, because, you see, their country was what mine is becoming: rich and poor, with the poor living like dogs. That’s a recipe for communist or socialist revolution. You will note how the “Left™” is evolving in that direction here now, with many takers.

    I still say that when upper class people have come to America because they were “persecuted,” that often means they were living in a stratified society in which they lived on top and those below had had enough of them.

  64. @vinteuil

    One definition of help is to keep from occurring (see definition 4c from Merriam-Webster).

    I see the confusing sentence has since been truncated to “So I’m being a nag about this.”

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  65. @Peter Frost

    Cavalli-Sforza stopped collecting data for his big 1994 book in 1986.

  66. @Anon

    Also OT but related to this comment

    “One in four graduates in England and Northern Ireland are working in jobs for which they are overqualified and do not require a degree, according to a major international education report.

    The study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that while graduate unemployment rates in the UK are among the lowest in the world, students are more likely to end up in non-graduate jobs associated with lower incomes.”

    Not surprising in one sense – nearly half the UK population go on to higher education now, insane in a world where there aren’t graduate level jobs for half the population.

    Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education and skills, said too many young people emerging from university were ending up in low-paid, non-graduate jobs in the UK because they lacked the basic numeracy and literacy skills that should be expected from a university education.

    Basic numeracy and literacy skills should be expected from a 16 year old school child, not a graduate. And how much maths is there in the average arts degree?

    The findings, based on data from an OECD survey of adult skills among workers aged 25-64, found that in England 28% of adults with a degree said they were overqualified for their jobs, while in Northern Ireland it was 24%. The problem was far less acute elsewhere, with an average of 14% of university-educated workers across OECD countries in jobs suitable for school leavers.

    Schleicher said: “What we see is that a lot of people in the UK get a university degree but end up in a job that does not require that degree. When you test the skills of those people you actually see that those people don’t have the kind of skills that would be associated with a university degree.”

    If you put half the population into higher education, by definition the left side of those people will be near-average intelligence. Couple that with the textspeak generation,an education system that thinks enforcing good English is racist and teaches this rather than Tennyson – it’s not shocking to find a lot of grads who can’t cut it.

    But Scheicher speak with forked tongue. When wages are dragged down to the minimum-wage bottom (we didn’t need a minimum wage before mass immigration), it drags down wages right along the continuum (until you get to the top few % and their supporters/enforcers). That’s another reason why you find guys with 2/1 degrees from Russell Group universities earning £15,000 a year.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  67. @Steve Sailer

    “She’s a loyal wife. That is admirable.”

    If she’d never married her husband, would her views be very much different?

  68. @Peter Frost

    I think he did both: politically correct till about page 20, then gave the facts as he saw them, secure in the knowledge that most people wouldn’t notice

  69. slumber_j says:

    Tangentially related: how many upper class / higher bourgeois Italians ended up in America?

    I knew a bunch in college, and I know that a good number of them stayed in the US. Frank Lloyd Wright’s protege Giovanni del Drago was from my late ex-grandmother-in-law’s fancy Italian family. I imagine there’s long been a certain amount of that going on.

  70. Karl says:


    I’d be satisfied if RonUnz sponsored some much overdue love for Cavalieri, whose horribly turgid texts managed to discourage Newton (and his immediate predecessors) from actually reading them, so that the guy would get credit for his mathematical breakthroughs.

    Torrecelli usually gets the credit, nothwithstanding that T. wrote several times in his own books that he was merely re-explaining what Cavalieri had invented.

  71. Karl says:
    @Steve Sailer

    30 iSteve> You have to rope steer as part of mandator work study

    one of my best achievements in life, was importing the collected works of Bud Williams (of “stockmanship” fame) to the agri college in Katzrin, on the Golan Heights

    In a properly operated cow-calf operation, dogs are never used, and you almost never need a piece of rope. You let the bovine instincts do all the heavy lifting.

    Selecting for weight-gain per unit of feed and per unit time…. is only part of the breeding industry. The second most important part, is selecting for deep-rooted PREDICTABLE instincts

    Bud Williams is a credit to the White race

  72. Karl says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    59 Buzz Mohawk > Those Cubans are pretty nice, but some of the upper classes that come here to escape “persecution” are assholes who soon end up acting the same way they did in their home countries

    oh you poor poopsie

    i’ll order up a shipment of Sudanese “refugees” to your neighborhood, to save you from having to live in a neighborhood full of prosperous Cubans

  73. @istevefan

    Spare the farm workers. Spare the machines. Don’t eat radishes, they’re not fit for human consumption.

    –Peter Rabbit

  74. @YetAnotherAnon

    The salesman helping me at a sporting goods store the other day made passing comments about being in law school.

    True, he was really good at his job, and if he stays there he’ll be a manager, but maybe law school was a bit over the top?

    • Replies: @Marty
  75. @J.Ross

    At last! Proof of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  76. @Steve Sailer

    One Italian family which comes to mind immediately is the Taliaferro family who settled in VA colony in the 17th century. They became quite prominent in VA cavalier society I believe. Also The NY Jets had a qb named Mike Taliaferro (pr. “Tolliver”) who preceded Broadway Joe. Not sure if he was part of that family though.

  77. res says:

    More just different (genetically) than inferior. That you interpret it as inferior says more about your own prejudices than anyone else’s.

  78. woolrich says:

    The reason the New York Times didn’t write an obituary for him is because he never threw his shoe at Cardi B.

  79. Anon[331] • Disclaimer says:

    St. John’s isn’t all that hard to get into: The school accepts 75 to 80 percent of applicants, primarily based on three written essays and, to a certain extent, grades. There is no application fee, and standardized tests, like the Scholastic Assessment Test, are optional. About three-quarters of the enrolled students ranked in the top half of their high school class, but only one fifth graduated in the top tenth.

    The college is admirable (Leo Strauss used to teach there) but I wonder about this level of selectivity. As someone who has witnessed plenty of +2SD IQ’s struggle with learning Latin, how many people of moderately above average intelligence can hope to get far with Greek?

    Not my idea but it’s been said that reintroduction of strict language requirements would increase the diminishing prestige of undergraduate humanities; just as a mathematics degree proves a high minimum level of intelligence and application, translating Thucidydes is going to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  80. res says:

    The Economist weighs in:

    Though they seem to focus more on where he was wrong than where he was right; which I find interesting. (emphasis mine)

    This theory stood until the 2000s, when new technology reversed it.

    From Belluno he witnessed the overturning of many other conclusions.

    Then there was this:

    Even more controversial was his Human Genome Diversity Project, which he set up in the 1990s. He wanted to study isolated populations in order to understand where all the others came from; to measure the background of drift, or genetic change, that takes place without marauding or migration. Some people thought this racist, and a more worldly man might have realised that. A few critics even brought up his membership of Benito Mussolini’s fascist youth organisation, compulsory before the war.

    I think this shows vinteuil was on target in comment 3.

    For some other obituaries to wash the taste of that hit job away (some from links above, thanks):

    Peter Frost’s 2014 paper is informative:
    The paper refers to Cavalli-Sforza’s autobiography, and I think references it in the text as (Cavalli-Sforza & Cavalli-Sforza, 2008), but I do not see it in the references at the end.
    Some commentary on that paper:
    Peter Frost also wrote a series of blog posts about Cavalli-Sforza in 2010. Here is the first of 7.:

    Those contain a reference to the autobiography:
    Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. and F. Cavalli-Sforza (2008). La génétique des populations : histoire d’une découverte, Paris: Odile Jacob. (translation of Perché la scienza : L’aventura di un ricercatore).

    Has anyone here read this biography?

    Here is a 22 page 2010 interview (can be read online with a free account):

  81. Cortes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Colloquial expression is “the bleeding obvious.” Apologies in advance.

  82. res says:
    @Peter Frost

    Anyway, at some point in the 2000s the mainstream decided he was no longer useful, despite his kowtowing and self-compromising.

    Any thoughts on why exactly this happened? Were the underlying ideas just too toxic?

    Regarding the comparison with Henry, it seems like some relevant dimensions are original, interesting, significant, and influential. The original comment referred to “significant” which seems difficult to assess without the benefit of more hindsight. RIP to both.

  83. @Anonym

    I thought it was Queen Victoria and Cecil Rhodes with crayons, or those two drawing a map of the world.

    • Replies: @Anonym
  84. Pat Boyle says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think it’s important to recognize that Cavalli-Sforza’s “big lab” as you say, was only in in terms of science. In ordinary business or government most people in management command larger forces.

    I reached this realization when I was reading Svante Pääbo’s book. Pääbo wrote about how he came start his career in science. After many years of work and success he got what he called a huge grant and could put together a full team. And of course he did so and changed the world. He pioneered lab techniques that allowed a new standard of cleanliness and we can now see the genomes of ancient peoples.

    But then I realized that the ‘giant’ grant he had won was only five million dollars and the staff were only about a half dozen. When I was a young manager I had a personal budget $23M. In my next job I had a staff of a couple hundred. That was in just one government department in one county in California.

    The point is I was not important or unusual. Science just operates on a shoe string. I had had a bigger staff and a bigger budget in non-profit when I was in my early twenties than Pääbo had until he was a scientific celebrity. I wasn’t especially successful or resourceful. I just applied for a government grant. They sent me money, I rented an office and hired people. Lots of the readers here have had similar experiences.

    Cavalli-Sforza may have run a big lab by science standards but it was probably not much of an operation by business standards and tiny by government standards.

  85. @obwandiyag

    He’s “important” of course because he “proves” blacks inferior.

    All you people just have these a priori prejudices, look around for justifications for them, ignore any evidence to the contrary. Typical. Many people do it, so don’t feel special. Except for intelligent and honest people.


    It’s been a long long time since i read his book–the little non-specialist one, not the big one. But what he did is–my rough take:

    a) show that you could use genetic data–for him, blood proteins as DNA sequencing was not there yet–to pull out relatedness, clustering and gain some insight into past migrations, conquests, minglings

    b) show that the genetic distances and clustering more or less mirrored the common sense understanding of the world’s races and reinforced the validity of an old “out of Africa” expansion

    That’s called “science”. And we do it primarily because we–or at least me and people like me–are curious and like understanding the world and ourselves.

  86. @obwandiyag

    He’s “important” of course because he “proves” blacks inferior.

    All you people just have these a priori prejudices, look around for justifications for them, ignore any evidence to the contrary. Typical. Many people do it, so don’t feel special. Except for intelligent and honest people.

    Beyond this being a weird mis-characterization of Cavalli-Sforza’s work …

    “Inferior” is a value judgement that requires some sort of metric.

    Sub-saharan blacks are presumably not inferior–but in fact well adapted–to the geography and material culture of sub-saharan Africa, especially pre-European-contact. White guys like me usually just quickly died.

    Europeans while inferior at living in tropical sub-Saharan Africa (they did fine way down in South Africa with its Mediterranean climate) are well adapted to the geography of and the material culture they developed in Europe.

    Where blacks are indeed “inferior” is living in the modern industrial/post-industrial civilized societies developed by Europeans. Evolution/selection in sub-Saharan Africa didn’t prepare them well for that. Hardly a big surprise.


    Finally, if some person has an issue with how other groups of people preceive their particular racial or ethnic group, they should … look in the mirror!

    Sure just “not us” is emotionally powerful. But stereotypes and hostility do not jump up from thin air. They come from people’s learned experience. “This is what those people are like.”

    Speaking as a white guy in the US, i can tell you that far and away the reason for negative opinions of blacks–crime. And more generally the sort of anti-social assholery that is attitudinally associated with crime. I don’t have any problem with my black friends and neighbors. Why not? Because they aren’t criminals!

    But lots of blacks are criminals and many more display broadly anti-social tendencies and/or tolerate criminals and criminality. And thus make their presence highly negative for others.

    If you are black and don’t like the reputation blacks have? Don’t look at me. Talk to your fellow blacks and demand they cut that shit out.

    • Replies: @Marty
  87. Anonym says:
    @Unladen Swallow

    Kipling could have also produced such a map, and some pithy text in the margins no doubt.,%20Steve.%20%22The%20Reality%20of%20Race.%22%20VDare,%20May%2025,%202000.pdf

    I was reading Steve before he was cool.

  88. @obwandiyag

    You people are incredibly clueless. I mean how old ARE you?

    YOU want to prove blacks inferior. That is the only purpose of this whole site and your comments and cavallo whatever etc. And apparently you don’t even know thyself. Or, more likely, you’re liars.

    • Troll: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @J.Ross
  89. J.Ross says: • Website

    Very important point: one objective, apolitical criterion to follow in examining the CultMarx question is that the safe spacers have no capacity for rigor. That’s why what traditionalism survives in the academy happens to appear in classes that require you to do stuff with numbers.

  90. J.Ross says: • Website

    What do you mean “you people”?

  91. eah says:

    Why not write one yourself and publish it in Taki’s — or anywhere else you can.

  92. @Buzz Mohawk

    C’mon, the guys just want as many smart girls on campus as they can get. The long-term strategy is brilliant, being that there will arise mating pairs who will produce geniuses. It’s a eugenics experiment.

    Buzz nails it. Sure Caltech cheats on female admissions. But so what. Physics is tough enough without not having girls around.

  93. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Frost

    Cavalli-Sforza was already in his 70s a quarter century ago.

    It’s understandable that you have a bit of a favorable bias for a fellow anthropologist. There is a subjective element to valuing contributions, but in general research in something like population genetics is going to be regarded more highly and significant than anthropological fieldwork.

  94. Lot says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    With certain notable exceptions, Russian Jews, including the later waves of quarter and half-breeds, are awesome!

    The best Jews, however, are Anglosphere Germanized-Ashkenazi such as some of my family, and this guy:

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  95. @Peter Frost

    I had no idea that Henry got no obituary coverage even in Utah. I was under the impression that in 1980′s-2000′s he was the go to guy for biological anthropologists regarding population genetics, because he was the rare individual who was knowledgeable about both fields, when did that change? I remember even reading a critical review of the Miele and Sarich’s book by an obviously very liberal anthropologist who said words to the effect that Henry would never make the particular argument that they did because Henry knew a lot more than they did about genetics. Although it was meant to be critical of those authors it was obvious that this guy regarded Henry as something of a population genetics guru for anthropologists.

  96. vinteuil says: • Website
    @the one they call Desanex

    I see the confusing sentence has since been truncated to “So I’m being a nag about this.”

    So I see. Sailer just wants Cavalli-Sforza to get a little more rispetto.

    I sort of think the original was more interesting.

  97. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Also forgot to mention that Burt Reynolds passed last week (Sept. 6). So how could Cavalli-Sforza possibly compete with RIP’s Aretha Franklin, John McCain, and Burt Reynolds all within a few weeks of each other?

    Come on. It’s Burt Reynolds. And Aretha. People are supposed to just overlook that they passed around the same time? After all, America does have its priorities.

  98. JamesG says:

    Another opportunity to post my favorite Gould quote from the March 29, 1984 issue of The New York Review of Books:

    “I am hopeless at deductive sequencing…I never scored particularly well on so-called objective tests of intelligence because they stress logical reasoning… ”

    And as a bonus, my own encounter with the fraud: The Axillae of San Stefano


    • Replies: @vinteuil
  99. @cta

    Tangentially related: how many upper class / higher bourgeois Italians ended up in America?

    I used to watch Lorenzo Borghese and his American mother sell lotion on HSN (the Home Shopping Network). Lorenzo is the second son of Prince Francesco Marco Luigi Costanzo Borghese, the 17th Prince of Sant’Angelo and San Polo.

    robot wrote:

    OT: the genre of ‘reality show’ typically invites the viewer to guess who’s going to be ‘voted off the island’ next. Are white males obviously getting the shaft there, too?

    Lorenzo Borghese appeared on the ninth season of the US reality show The Bachelor.

  100. Marty says:

    When I was 1L one of my classmates was a cocktail waitress on the SF Embarcadero. Thirty years later she handles negotiations for many of the biggest construction projects for the new skyline. But those were the days when your Bar Number barely topped 100,000.

  101. Marty says:

    Around ‘05 I was walking in downtown Berkeley and came upon a group of five cabbies, all middle-eastern muslims. I asked them straight out what they thought of U.S. blacks. One immediately answered, “there’s something wrong with those people.” Another said, “they hate everyone but their own group.”

  102. @Lot

    Amazingly the 1903 Mond nickel works in Swansea still exist, still smelting nickel.

    The wonderful golf course and sports facilities he created for the workers have been sold off, of course.

    When Aldous Huxley was looking for samples of the 10,000 surviving world surnames he made one of the Ten World Controllers Mustapha Mond.

  103. Lefty says:

    I’m curious if Cavalli-Sforza was a descendant of the Sforza nobility in Italy.

  104. Lagertha says:
    @theo the kraut

    I goofed: I meant at least 90th percentile (HS kid in the top 90+%; or 90% smarter than his peers) on his SAT (IQ test…well, at least it used to be). But, completely agree: Caltech, Stanford, Harvard etc. should not accept anyone with a score less than 1450. Of course, admitted athletes are the only ones that may have average scores. Caltech is the last of the Mohicans – none of its teams win games because they don’t care about sports! :)

  105. Lagertha says:

    They definitely fudge on women. My son’s friend got in (in our town; you know what that means as he applied, too – had the scores, the athleticism in 2 sports that were desirable even for Caltech; had the grades) even if she was a so-so student, but a good athlete…and she majored in English – what a waste! She is definitely not doing something STEM-amazing in NYC. But, she came from money, so whatever.

  106. Lagertha says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think my kids’ biggest gripe about lack of Italian immigrants, rich or poor, is the low quality of pizza in the flyover states (Chicago is the exception, but they like thin crust)…at Christmas break, pizza wins as far as dinner plans….and no one calls it flatbread, at least East Coast Italians.

  107. vinteuil says: • Website

    Wow – what a great post, JamesG. Beautifully written, beautifully thought. Many thanks for the link.

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