The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Several years ago there was a famous exchange between Ben Affleck and Bill Maher & Sam Harris on the nature of Islam. In response I published a post titled "ISIS' Willing Executioners". The overall point was that Affleck's comments were not informed by the nature of Islam or Muslims, but broader political currents. As for... Read More
Selection is one of the major parameters which population geneticists investigate. The easiest way to investigate selection is to have omniscience as to the change in allele frequencies over time. If you are a Drosophila geneticist this is feasible, as you control the reproduction of your model organism in the lab. It is obviously much... Read More
One might argue that this marked the high-tide of adaptationism and acceptance for the role of selection in shaping all the picayune details of biological phenomena. But even then there were those who were more cautious (there are arguments over whether Sewall Wright, one of the fathers of population genetics, did or did not argue... Read More
The figure above popped up on Twitter to show that even within a socialized medical system, in this case in the United Kingdom and its NHS, ethnic differences in infant mortality remain. But what jumped out at me immediately was the high rate for infants whose mothers were born in Pakistan, as opposed to India... Read More
Southern Africa is kind of a big deal. Not because it is the seat of human origins; I am beginning to think that question is "not even wrong." Nor because it contains the "oldest human population" in the world; we are all the oldest human population in the world. Rather, the genetic variation one can... Read More
To a great extent it recapitulates the results of the 2009 paper Reconstructing Indian Population History. What you see to the left is the "ANI-ASI cline." Basically South Asians, from Pashtuns all the way to Paniyas fall along a spectrum of genetic distance from West Asian and European populations. A secondary element is that some... Read More
Several years ago I read a book, The Origins of the Irish, by the famed archaeologist J. P. Mallory. Unfortunately, I remember very little of this work, and recall thinking that it was published just a bit too early, as archaeogenetics was clearly going to revolutionize our understanding of the prehistory of Northern Europe, though... Read More
The human genome is littered with many genes from diverged lineages. That is, any given human has segments from lineages which are deeply diverged from the dominant demographic element in our ancestry, which diverged from an African population which flourished on ~200,000 years ago, and among non-Africans a population derived from Northeast Africa ~50,000 years... Read More
The question of Italy population genetic structure comes up rather often for various reasons. I haven't visited this topic in much detail since reading Consanguinity, Inbreeding, and Genetic Drift in Italy, a very old book using classical genetic techniques. L. L. Cavalli-Sforza did not find much structure in Italy at the time, but it turns... Read More
I recently watched the above video of a Demi Lovato song. I like Michelle Rodriguez's stomach as much as the next guy (OK, perhaps more), but one thing that struck me in particular is that throughout the whole narrative arc Lovato, a 5'3 tall female, beats the crap out of many much larger men. Obviously... Read More
Over the past few years we have seen ancient DNA researchers "carve nature at its joints" when it comes to the paleohistory of Europe after the end of the last Ice Age. In relation to this historical reconstruction we aren't at the end of the road, but I do think that the terminus is within... Read More
- Rig Veda Five years ago I found out that my friend Daniel MacArthur and I are members of the same Y chromosomal haplogroup, R1a. Both of us thought it was rather cool, that ~5,000 years ago there lived a man who was ancestral to us both on the direct paternal line. Five years on,... Read More
The media is blowing up with a new story about the phylogeography and phylogenetics of the domestic dog.* The New York Times has a good write up, and I like its title: Central Asia Could Be Birthplace of the Modern Dog (the headline was changed to "15,000 Years Ago, Probably in Asia, the Dog Was... Read More
Remember interactive television? In the mid-1990s Microsoft was betting the farm on this new technology. As it happens they had to make a course correction. The Mosaic browser was the first "killer app" of the internet (sorry e-mail and usenet), creating the world wide web as we know it. The the rest is history. The... Read More
14 - And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. 15 - And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 16 - Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to... Read More
If you read Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People you will learn that the white race is a social construction of relatively recent vintage. When I read her work in 2011 I was a touch annoyed by it, because a lot of interesting empirical data was shoehorned into her thesis and preferences. In... Read More
The plot to the left roughly shows groups which share haplotypes when comparing the Mixe people of Mexico to other Amerindians. The stronger red shading shows an affinity between pairwise groups due to the putative admixture event. What you can see that various Australasian groups, as diverse as the Andaman Islanders and and Papuans show... Read More
Human Population Curve. Credit: Wikipedia
In the culture of science you occasionally run into the sort of person who believes as an apodictic fact that if one is religious one can not by their fact of belief be a good scientist. You encounter this sort of person at all levels of science, and they exhibit a range of variation in... Read More
What sort of a #secular country allows bloggers to be murdered in broad daylight. With such impunity #Bangladesh follows #Pakistan. — Raza Rumi (@Razarumi) May 12, 2015 By now you are aware that another blogger who happened to be an atheist was killed. The modus operandi is pretty familiar. It looks like there are now... Read More
I am often asked by people online to give an "elevator pitch" as to the genetic history of the Indian subcontinent. At this point we've got ~90 percent of the story I think. Modern humans arrived in the Indian subcontinent ~50,000 years ago, and pushed onward to East Asia, but over the past ~10,000 years... Read More
I do like to suggest that the genetic and archaeological record support the conjecture of Conan the Barbarian in terms of what our male ancestors thought was "good in life." Basically, to conquer your enemies and seize their women, which is a distillation of a disputed quote from Genghis Khan. Conan may be fiction, but... Read More
In relation to what happened in Paris today, Ezra Klein ends a passionate post with this:
Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at"