This is my 100th blog post. Upon reaching this milestone, I thought that this would be a great time to take moment to look back at my experience as a blogger in Human BioDiversity (HBD) and share my thoughts on the things to come.
What an adventure this has been! In writing this blog, I’ve learned a great deal about human nature, genetics, and a variety of topics. I’ve uncovered a variety of truths about humanity – many of them truths just waiting to be found – “low-hanging fruit” in the words of Greg Cochran.
I’ve always suspected genetic roots of behavior. This suspicion was solidified upon reading Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate. There I learned of the existence of an enduring human nature – an enduring human nature that makes it impossible to “train” people out of certain undesirable behaviors. That was a great revelation in itself, but one of my biggest takeaways from that book was that established beliefs – even beliefs held by many experts – can be dead wrong. One of these was the belief in power of parenting.
This belief was the subject of my very first blog post (Taming the “Tiger Mom” and Tackling the Parenting Myth), and is something that I still argue about to this day from time to time.
It turns out that parenting doesn’t matter as much as we think. Indeed, short of extreme abuse or neglect, parents don’t affect how their children turn much at all. This includes not only children’s intelligence or their broad personality traits, but their life outcomes (including the things that “really” matter), like how much they earn, or whether or not they get in trouble with the law. This even includes how fat or thin they become, as was the subject of my second post (Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Kids?). It also doesn’t matter if they grow up with a father present or with a single mother. It doesn’t matter if their parents are gay or straight. All those things are symptoms, of the true causes, not causes in themselves (the true cause being heredity).
Knowledge of this accustomed me to the reality of holding an unpopular, but nonetheless true, belief. If only I had any idea what was to come!
Thanks to the knowledge of the heritability of behavior, I’ve long held the suspicion that heredity was responsible for persistent differences between human races. In their books, both Pinker and Harris went to great lengths to assure us that the differences between racial groups didn’t have genetic roots, but I still knew it was possibility. Then one day I stumbled across the article “Getting Darnell Off the Corners: Why America Should Ride the Anti-Drug-War Wave” by John McWhorter. McWhorter claims that it is the War on Drugs that leads to the maladies suffered by the Black community, such as poorer educational attainment, higher crime rates, and more poverty than American Whites. One of the commenters there, in a moment of frustration which I am all too familiar with today, left a comment noting the lower average IQ of Blacks with respect to Whites. Another mentioned that Blacks do poorly across the globe. I decided it was time to take racial differences seriously and looked into the evidence on that matter. Eventually, I found the late Arthur Jensen’s and the late J. Philippe Rushton’s paper responding to Richard Nisbett’s book Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count:
In this, I discovered that the evidence for genetic roots to racial differences in intelligence and behavior was far more robust than I was led to believe. Voracious curiosity ensued, which led me to the site VDARE.com, and particularly, the work of Rushton, Richard Lynn, and especially Steve Sailer. There I found a whole hidden world of knowledge that lay suppressed in the popular culture. I spent quite some time getting to know this topic, and the people who talk about it.
Particular among them was the blogger known as “HBD Chick“, who runs a neat data-rich blog. I found her hypotheses to be far more comprehensive and convincing explanations for the great variety of human behavior than the “standard” HBD theory favored Rushton and Lynn. HBD Chick’s main hypothesis proposed that human mating patterns, particularly historical rates of consanguinity, imposed an important selective pressure on human populations, and those pressures were important for what we see today, particularly the degree of kin-altruism (as opposed to extra-familiar altruism). She noted that Northwestern Europe, in a region roughly enclosed by the Hajnal line, was unique in that it had a long tradition of marrying outside the family. This had big implications for the evolution of Northwestern European behavior. In particular, their attitude on the societal common good. I spent a good amount of time getting to know her stuff.
I eventually wrote a succinct summary of HBD Chick’s findings: An HBD Summary of the Foundations of Modern Civilization.
My research into HBD led me to the work of physicist Gregory Cochran and anthropologist Henry Harpending. Their book The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution further opened my eyes. It is a treasure trove of information on the topic, and I wondered how I got along without it. I regard this book to be the definite sequel to Pinker’s The Blank Slate. Cochran and Harpending take natural selection’s impact on mental modules to its natural conclusion. Within, they argue that evolution has in fact sped up since the dawn of civilization, as expanding populations provided more mutations and more opportunities for specialization. I continue to follow their work on their blog, West Hunter.
Cochran, Harpending, and HBD Chick taught me that understanding human behavior and human behavioral differences is actually a wide open field, with many gaps in our knowledge waiting to be filled. One of them centered on the issue of sub-replacement fertility in the modern developed world. That is, modern people were having fewer children than is necessary to maintain the population (about a lifetime number of 2.1 children per childbearing woman). Also discussed commonly in the HBD world was the issue of dysgenic fertility, where less educated (and hence, lower-IQ) individuals are having more children than the most educated. Since IQ is highly heritable, it stood to reason that, left unchecked, this would reduce the average IQ of the population over time (whether signs of this are already visible is a hotly debated topic right at this moment). I sought to see what I could find on this.
I found quite a bit. I found that, at least in America, fertility is highly correlated to political orientation. In my monster post Liberalism, HBD, Population, and Solutions for the Future, I detailed a breakdown of fertility rates as gleamed from the General Social Survey (GSS). I noted a distinct directional skew in fertility rates, with conservatives greatly outbreeding liberals. Indeed, conservative fertility is not sub-replacement. This appears to be closely linked to education; matched for IQ, conservative women are much less likely to pursue lengthy education; they are more oriented to marriage and motherhood. This pattern first seemed to appear in earnest in the post-World War II Baby Boom, but really got going in the following generation – with the arrival of birth control – as my later posts found (The Liberal/Conservative Baby Gap: Time Depth). EDIT: Added the chart:
Indeed, I found that the liberal-conservative baby gap couldn’t be completely accounted for by reduced desire for children, since liberals want far more children than they end up having (see my post Expectations and reality: a window into the liberal-conservative baby gap). Indeed, in writing that post, I found a paper that showed that fertility could also be traced to personality differences (particularly, those scoring higher on the trait “openness to experience” have significantly fewer children). In short, is seems a distinct mindset is being selected against in today’s world.
Continuing my investigation into fertility, and expanding on Steve Sailer’s “affordable family formation” theory, I found that in the developed world, fertility rates could be inversely correlated to population density (see Another Tale of Two Maps). In short, the more crowded the area, the fewer children people tended to have. This is likely partly due to higher costs of living in denser areas. Indeed, put together with my previous findings, this suggested that a type of “population cycle” has come to exist in high-latitude advanced societies. These peoples respond to the forces brought to bear by population pressure, limiting or accelerating their reproduction accordingly. Indeed, the up and down cycle of population growth that ensued through the Great Depression, the Baby Boom, and the “demographic transition” that followed was a response to economic circumstances. When citizens are wealthy – that is, when affording that car that house with the white picket fence, and the 2.3 kids is easy – fertility is high. When affording these things is hard, fertility is low. This implies that the “gloom and doom” associated with sub-replacement fertility then is largely misplaced, made glaringly evident by overcrowded Japan (see my post Why sub-replacement fertility is not necessarily all that bad). Fertility rates in the developed world will rebound as time progresses, as is already evident in Eastern Europe.
If there are demographic challenges facing the developed world, the question becomes what, if anything, to do about them. I had my own ideas about what could be done, such as curbing immigration and encouraging high-IQ fertility (see Solutions, Again). I noted that liberal policies, such as paid maternity leave, have proven generally more effective in accomplish that goal than the more conservative ideas that permeates the Dark Enlighment-sphere. Steve Sailer blogged on my post (Steve Sailer: iSteve: JayMan on Danish fertility) which noted that the nation of Denmark may have in fact accomplished these goals (see A Success Story?).
Owing to the relationship between wealth and fertility, I have suspected children were related to happiness. The modern world is a buzz with the concept of happiness, and how one finds it. I thought that the solution was right under our noses: spouse, car, the house with the white picket fence, the 2.3 kids – in short, the “American dream”. It has been said that happiness in America peaked in the 1950s – right in the middle of the Baby Boom. As well, I have heard that colonial Americans were quite happy, despite having fairly rough lives. They also bred like rabbits. I set out to see if happiness and fertility were related, and sure enough, they are:
As I detailed in my post A Tale of Three Maps, in Europe there is a distinct positive association between reported happiness levels and fertility rates. My next post on the matter, Fertility and Happiness: A Global Perspective finds that this pattern is indeed global, particularly in the developed world, with fertility rates and reported happiness levels correlated at r2 = 0.55 in developed countries:
The apparent contradictory conventional wisdom, that kids subtract from happiness, turns out to be rubbish. Properly conducted longitudinal studies find the exact opposite. Part of the reason people in modern societies are less happy than they’d like to be (though Anglo-Celts are apparently in general quite happy) is because the rat race is getting so much harder – or at least harder than people would like (also, mentioning the rat race, see this brilliant metaphor for the rise of modern humanity after the birth of agriculture by Greg Cochran, House O’Rats).
Armed with this finding, I decided to prod some of my slow-breeding liberal friends (I mean friends I know personally) to reproduce, and wrote Another reminder… summing up the state of affairs, and where their behaviors would lead if left unchecked:
But then it turned out that my post was found by some actual liberals, who didn’t like my “problematic assertions.” I can only hope that wasn’t representative of how the truth of the matter will be received by most people. Greg Cochran later made his own post on preserving civilization for the future (Sustainability | West Hunter).
Unfortunately, this illustrates the rarity of people with my way of thinking (liberal race realists), but fortunately, not the absence.
I’ve mentioned the economic boom and bust cycle, and its relationship to fertility. I wondered why this economic cycle it existed in the first place. Then I ran across this post by Dennis Mangan, Spot the Correlation: Wealth vs. Immigration, where he featured a neat little graphic:
That, coupled with this post by Steve Sailer illustrated the depressing effect immigration has on wages:
What we’ve learned since the early Victorian Era is that the world works in ways more responsive to intelligent effort than was imagined by Thomas Malthus:
High wages can often spur technological advances that more than make up for their costs.
The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital.
In contrast to Dickensian England, with its Scrooge-like obsession with cheap labor, Americans traditionally enjoyed high wages because the country was underpopulated relative to its natural resources. This inspired American entrepreneurs to invest in labor-saving innovations, which, in a virtuous cycle, allowed even higher wages to be paid.
In short, immigration increases the supply of labor relative to the demand for it. And when the supply of labor is too high, its “price” must be low. Hence, immigration depressed wages. The stagnant real wages and growing wealth inequality we’ve seen is driven in good part by the large influx of foreigners into the country. Peter Turchin wrote a nice series of posts detailing the mechanics of the situation in 20th and early 21st century America:
The End of Prosperity: Why Did Real Wages Stop Growing in the 1970s?
Cutting through the Thicket of Economic Forces (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing II)
A Proxy for Non-Market Forces (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing III)
Putting It All Together (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing IV)
More on Labor Supply (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing V)
Edit: My own commentary on the matter was to note that liberals aren’t universally for continued mass immigration. For one, there was the organization Progressives for Immigration Reform. Then there is the venerable old school leftist Ralph Nader. The point is that being against immigration isn’t incompatible with liberal principles, especially if you have any compassion for those on the bottom of our economic pyramid, who are most heavily impacted by competition from immigrant workers. Please see my posts Liberalism and Immigration and Here’s an idea.
Turchin researches an interesting area called “cliodynamics”, that is, understanding the forces behind historical trends. One of his unsettling findings is an apparent roughly 50-year cycle of between flare-ups of violence and social unrest which seems to occur in America. Unfortunately, according to this cycle, we are due for an upswing in 2020s, as was the subject of my post Dark Times Ahead? The much missed M.G. noted that many of the spikes in Turchin’s graphs could be correlated to eras of Black liberation:
The biggest spikes on Turchin’s graph are ‘racially motivated violence,’ around the 1870 and 1920. I have a hypothesis that when Afros in America have been granted a new freedom/right, they’ve often reacted with a wave of violence. During Reconstruction, with the slaves freed and the Euro South under northern occupation, black-on-white violence jumped (and was the origin of many lynchings).
The ‘Great Migration’ of southern Blacks to the industrial north began around 1910, after which crime spiked in northern cities. (Incidentally, many segregation laws date to this era–abolitionist northerners had a sudden change of heart when the objects of their affection moved in next door.) Authors at that time speculated black crime in the North came from this ‘new freedom’–moved from the countryside to the big, anonymous city and free from the vigilant, often violent surveillance of the southern White, the Black ‘gave in to every impulse.’
1960s, again, we see the biggest black riots occurred after the landmark 1965 Civil Rights Act. Black criminality in cities exploded during this era of de-segregation; it wasn’t until the harsh clampdown in the 80s and 90s that it was brought somewhat under control.
I suspect something similar is happening now with the black flash mobs and general intensification of black-on-white violence since Obama’s inauguration. A few such attacks have been accompanied by cries such as ‘it’s a black world now’ and ‘we president now’; I suspect the sentiment is widespread. We’ll see if this current wave is just a blip, if it continues or intensifies.
Since there doesn’t seem to be a similar event comparable to the end of slavery of the enactment of Civil Rights occurring today, if M.G. is correct, then Turchin’s cycle may not continue. However, I would like to add there is another element may be involved in the apparent cycle of these unsettled times. That is a clash between the historical regional nations of America:
Perhaps, as Turchin notes, 50 years is enough time for people to forget the scars of the previous battles these regional nations fought (particularly the long-time rivals “Yankeedom” and the Deep South).
Last year, Greg Cochran reiterated what I have called his “gay germ” hypothesis, that is, that obligate male homosexuality is caused by a pathogen, likely a virus. Through a lot of erudite discussion, and not without much contention – including from me – Cochran deconstructed every alternate explanation for homosexuality. Homosexuality was long an evolutionary mystery, as one would think that lack of interest in the opposite sex would be highly counterproductive in a Darwinian sense. And it turns out that this is correct. Between the low concordance between identical twins (Cochran noted it as 25%; subsequent study has shown that that number is even lower, at 11%), the lack of compensatory selection, the absence of the trait in hunter-gatherers, Cochran was led to believe that a pathogen was only explanation (see Greg Cochran’s posts on the subject). I have come to agree, and indeed, I noted a possible connection between this pathogen and the behavioral trait of homophobia (see A Gay Germ? Is Homophobia a Clue?). Homophobia appears to be oriented towards keeping gays away from children, which may suggest a sensitive period for infection that may exist in childhood. Indeed, in the height of irony for the “born that way” meme about homosexuality, homophobia appears to be much more heritable, being closer to 50% heritable. Homophobes are far more “born that way” than are homosexuals (also see this recent article by Sean Thomas: Homosexuality is natural. Fine. But what if homophobia is natural, too?)
My quest to uncover the truth and test the veracity of the conventional wisdom led me to another topic, that of diet, exercise, health, and weight. I came across an interesting post by comedian Tom Naughton detailing a distinct national differences in cardiovascular disease deaths. There seemed to be a clear pattern, at least in Europe, that moved from southwest to northeast:
The pattern roughly follows that of ancestral relationship. It seemed obvious to me that a partial genetic explanation was likely (A Fat Problem With Heart Health Wisdom). This pattern could not be fitted to exercise habits (Exercise, weight loss, and keeping you alive – yet another tale of maps), but I did find a striking association between this pattern and climatic zones (And Yet Another Tale of Two Maps). In short, it appears that areas that were colder historically have much higher rates of cardiovascular death, and vice versa. The cause of this is unknown, but it may have something to do with dietary adaptations.
Indeed, the regional association with health doesn’t just exist for cardiovascular disease, but the highly sensitive topic of obesity. See A Fat World – With a Fat Secret? In short, obesity is hardly everybody’s problem, as people within countries with high obesity rates might believe. Instead, it follows a distinct regional pattern, with countries in the New World resembling their ancestral nations in the Old World:
There appears to be a distinct variation in the genetic propensity to obesity of different peoples in the modern environment. Peter Turchin has suggested that this may be related to historical grain/carbohydrate consumption. The peoples who seem to have the least problems adapting to modern diets, East Asians, have also had a long history of rice consumption. Perhaps they have the most physiological and psychological adaptation to grain-rich diets. By contrast, you see progressively more problems as you move to peoples who have had less time to become adapted to modern diets. In the future, I will test this hypothesis quantitatively.
My most recent projects turned back to the obesity, health, diet and conventional wisdom thing. A fundamental flaw with most of the advice commonly given is that it is based on methodologically poor studies, as called attention to by John Ioannidis. The fundamental problem is the enormous over-reliance on observational studies, which have no way to disentangle cause and effect. As Gary Taubes put it (quoted in my post Gary Taubes on Obesity and Bad Science):
Another problem endemic to obesity and nutrition research since the second world war has been the assumption that poorly controlled experiments and observational studies are sufficient basis on which to form beliefs and promulgate public health guidelines. This is rationalised by the fact that it’s exceedingly difficult (and inordinately expensive) to do better science when dealing with humans and long term chronic diseases. This may be true, but it doesn’t negate the fact the evidence generated from this research is inherently incapable of establishing reliable knowledge.
The shortcomings of observational studies are obvious and should not be controversial. These studies, regardless of their size or number, only indicate associations—providing hypothesis generating data—not causal relations. These hypotheses then have to be rigorously tested. This is the core of the scientific process. Without rigorous experimental tests, we know nothing meaningful about the cause of the disease states we’re studying or about the therapies that might work to ameliorate them. All
we have are speculations.
Upon learning this, I started to question how good the research that supported the notion that exercise was important for health, the wisdom of dietary advice, the actual health hazards posed by obesity. The suspicion dawned on me that the connection between mortality and obesity could be mostly, if not entirely, a result of IQ.
And sure enough, I found something that strongly suggested this. It turns out that the venerable Satoshi Kanazawa did a study that found, in a White British sample, IQ measured in childhood predicts obesity at age 51. I discussed this in a post, that is currently experiencing decent readership thanks to the Geoffrey Miller fiasco: Obesity and IQ
The next logical step was to ask the question of how well IQ correlates to shortened lifespan. And I did that with my 99th post, IQ and Death. Looking at a meta-analysis of several studies of IQ and mortality, it was found that IQ is associated with longer lifespan. Indeed, at least one study in the meta-analysis did look at other possible attenuating factors. It found that IQ was by far the strongest predictor of death. Indeed, “marital status, alcohol consumption, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, blood glucose, body mass index, psychiatric and somatic illness at medical examination) was negligible (10% attenuation in risk)!”
The association between obesity and shortened life, and perhaps most health problems, is mostly, and perhaps entirely, a result of obesity’s association with IQ. As I have noted, and as I have been embroiled in a little controversy over, the “conventional wisdom” on diet, exercise, obesity, health, and death is pretty much bullshit. As we see with both the recent study on sodium restriction (no evidence sharply limiting sodium has a benefit), and obesity and weight (evidence of the effect of obesity and death is weak), additional findings are demonstrating this point. Clinical trials prescribing exercise have found it to be completely ineffective for weight loss on its own. Long term, diet fare little better, this includes low-carb diets. Better still, going past weight loss, there is little good evidence that diet and exercise improve the thing they claim to improve: health. Studies have found that exercise negatively impacts some people, and studies claiming to show that exercise benefits some people have thus far failed to show that it actually leads to longer life. And most damningly, a study that took the conventional wisdom and applied it to a population with a properly controlled clinical trial, a study on the effects of diet and exercise on diabetics, failed to show any reduction in cardiovascular mortality:
The study randomly assigned 5,145 overweight or obese people with Type 2 diabetes to either a rigorous diet and exercise regimen or to sessions in which they got general health information. The diet involved 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day for those weighing less than 250 pounds and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for those weighing more. The exercise program was at least 175 minutes a week of moderate exercise.But 11 years after the study began, researchers concluded it was futile to continue — the two groups had nearly identical rates of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.
But the outcome is clear, said Dr. David Nathan, a principal investigator and director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We have to have an adult conversation about this,” he said. “This was a negative result.”
Even if diet and exercise offer no health benefits, there’s the aesthetic benefits to weight loss. But even still, this suffers from the problem of having no known reliable effective solution. It does no good to note that past environments led to lower obesity rates in the Anglo world (as I’ve heard repeatedly), because we are no longer in the past environment! We don’t know what, exactly, changed from the past environment (though there are some guesses, like my own: Fun Facts About Obesity, though what, exactly, is the problem is still very much far from clear), and even if we did, we have no idea how to change it to one that leads to more thinness. Despite the doctors and others that rant on about the “obesity crisis”, it may be that there is no solution, and that may be no big deal – aesthetics and controversial tweets notwithstanding.
And this brings me to the Geoffrey Miller Twitter kerfuffle. Miller’s now infamous tweet (for 15 minutes anyway, until we’ve move on to something else), that obese Ph.D. hopefuls somehow lack the willpower to complete a dissertation because they lack the willpower to refrain from eating carbs, has started a firestorm. Now, it is true that there are fewer obese people in the upper reaches of society in general, and in academia. Blogger Staffan has recently made a post complementing my own that gets at why this is. Obesity is correlated with impulsiveness, so, in that manner, obese people, do, on average, have less “willpower”. Now, where Miller was wrong, as I pointed out to him, was regarding this being true in an absolute sense. This would mean there are NO obese Ph.D. holders anywhere (and there shouldn’t be any who smoke, drink, do drugs, etc…). Since that’s clearly not the case, that’s a poor selection criterion, and shouldn’t be used as one. Is it even predictive in a statistical sense? Well, I did say that what he said does have some statistical truth. Of course, this means with respect to the general population, not with respect to Ph.D. candidates. As Razib Khan notes, all the other markers that Ph.D. candidates have, including their GRE scores and body of work signal both their IQ and determination. But Razib also noted that concerns in academia and other establishments about obesity aren’t about ability, but conformity. It is indeed a type of willful discrimination against the obese. They don’t just seek conformity on body weight; they do this for a lot of things. Just look around academia and see if you can find many regional accents…
That said, this brings me to the example of the witch hunt that is on going. Needless to say, though Miller was wrong, this doesn’t mean he needs to be shut down, as academics before him have been. Indeed, very recently, at least two academics have been “disciplined” for putting forward politically incorrect, but true statements. One of course was the infamous Jason Richwine case, who was forced out of his position at the Heritage Foundation for his doctoral dissertation noting the lowered average IQ of Hispanics, and the ensuing cost to social problems Hispanic immigrants will bring. Also was (again) Satoshi Kanazawa, who’s page and posting over at Big Think were removed.
On the topics of debating the merits of HBD, there was a flash of interest in prospect of eugenics via embryo screening. Kevin Mitchell wrote a lengthy post criticizing this prospect, to which I had a few things to say. Razib Khan’s response to the topic summed up the situation quite well:
Kevin makes the accusation of elitism against those academics, such as Steve, who support selection for intelligence. Let me suggest something here: Steve has much to lose in a selfish zero sum sense because he’s already rather assured of intelligent offspring. He’s smart. His wife is smart. Standard quantitative genetics implies that even if they regress to the mean his offspring will be quite bright. There may not be much more juice to squeeze out of that genetic background. It may be very different for a couple with more average endowments. So sorry to turn this upside down, but personal eugenics may in fact be a boon for the ugly, stupid, and psychologically unstable, because it gives them a opportunity to close much of the gap with those who were lucky in the genetic lottery. Some of you may object to terms such as “ugly,” “stupid,” or “psychological unstable.” But people with these issues have to deal with them in their day to day. One can make all the platitudes one wants to make about “inner beauty,” but very few people live by this ideal. (Emphasis in original.)
So that was my history in HBD, an up-to-the minute account. But what lies ahead? For my next 100 posts, I have several ideas in mind. One post will be to address a serious issue in the HBD world: how will the world react to knowledge of HBD? Greg Cochran mentioned something of the sort about his pathogenic hypothesis of homosexuality (Heads exploding | West Hunter). More recently, HBD Chick thoughtfully discussed a comment of mine on this prospect (hbd fallout | hbd* chick). This is a serious question I plan to examine.
As well, I’d like to revisit the concept of attractiveness, and the notion that Europeans have the most attractive features (see this recent post by anthropologist Peter Frost on the topic: Evo and Proud: Just for show?)
Also, I still have the upcoming post discussion the historic ethnonational divisions between the different American regions, as detailed in David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed and Colin Woodard’s American Nations.
Additionally I plan to take a critical look at the “hygiene hypothesis“, the idea that lack of exposure to dirt and infectious agents in childhood, thanks to our sanitary environment, is pushing a rise in allergic reactions in today’s people. I remain unconvinced, but I’d like to take a look into it and see if there’s anything there.
I’ll leave off with the closing music from the score of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the real one), which premiered 31 years ago yesterday (you must go to YouTube for it to work. I suggest popping it out into a new window):