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  #101  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:00 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
I see a few folks here still sneering at The Bell Curve, but we all should notice that there has never been any serious academic criticism of that book.
To add to what tomndebb mentioned already:

http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/carl-sagan
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Head Start is criticized in a 1994 book called The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Their argument has been characterized by Gerald Coles of the University of Rochester:

First, inadequately fund a program for poor children, then deny whatever success is achieved in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and finally conclude that the program must be eliminated because the children are intellectually inferior.

The book, which received surprisingly respectful attention from the media, concludes that there is an irreducible hereditary gap between blacks and whites—about 10 to 15 points on IQ tests. In a review, the psychologist Leon J. Kamin concludes that “the authors repeatedly fail to distinguish between correlation and causation”—one of the fallacies in our baloney detection kit.

The National Center for Family Literacy, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has been implementing programs aimed at low-income families to teach both children and their parents to read. It works like this: The child 3 to 4 years old, attends school three days a week along with a parent, or possibly a grandparent or guardian. While the grown-up spends the morning learning basic academic skills, the child is in a preschool class. Parent and child meet for lunch and then “learn how to learn together” for the rest of the afternoon.


A follow-up study of 14 such programs in three states revealed:

1. Although all of the children had been designated as being at risk for school failure as preschoolers, only 10 percent were still rated at risk by their current elementary school teachers.

2. More than 90 percent were considered by their current elementary school teachers as motivated to learn.

3. Not one of the children had to repeat any grade in elementary school.

The growth of the parents was no less dramatic. When asked to describe how their lives had changed as a result of the family literacy program, typical responses described improved self-confidence (nearly every participant) and self-control, passing high-school equivalency exams, admission to college, new jobs, and much better relations with their children. The children are described as more attentive to parents, eager to learn and—in some cases for the first time—hopeful about the future. Such programs could also be used in later grades for teaching mathematics, science, and much else.
- The demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark By Carl Sagan
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  #102  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:02 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
What are you talking about? Pretty much the entire Berkeley Sociology Department published a book looking at problems with the authors' methodology.
The Sosh Dept? He said serious academic criticism...
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  #103  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:15 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
WRT the murder rate in Iraq: recall that the expansion of Islam in the seventh century may have been accompanied by a lot of population replacement.
The cerebrally stagnant barbarian population overran and replaced the people whose IQs had been boosted by six thousand years of continuous urban civilization. Yep, I'd say the OP's thesis is rock-solid....
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Last edited by Steve MB; 04-24-2011 at 03:15 PM..
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  #104  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:20 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Originally Posted by New Deal Democrat View Post
But as the human population sizes increased, particularly with the advent of agriculture, favorable mutations occurred more and more often.
Hint -- the relevant You Fail Statistics Forever example is this one:

Quote:
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly argued that life expectancy was lower in the US than in Canada because the US has ten times as many people, and therefore has ten times the number of accidents.
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  #105  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:26 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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And those Orientals are crafty little buggers!
Especially the Japanese. The archeological evidence that they were very late to the urban civilization game must have been created by Satan to deceive us, or something....
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  #106  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:30 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Originally Posted by New Deal Democrat View Post
I have difficulty understanding the high murder rate in Russia.
Perhaps if they'd quit taking their porridge with sugar, their murder rate would fall into line with your theories.
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  #107  
Old 04-24-2011, 03:49 PM
Belowjob2.0 Belowjob2.0 is offline
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
That would be next, this has been almost a constant in these discussions, when one checks if the writers agree with the extreme conclusions or solutions that some think the research leads them to, a closer look shows more often than not that the researchers would most likely spit on many of the conclusions that some are getting from the research papers.

However, in this case, the more I look for the background on the paper on the Jews that was used also in the book, the more it seems likely that the paper and book writer was helped by some peers at the journal that was used to publish that paper.

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/cultur...78/index6.html


I will have to say that this controversy has many parallels with global warming deniers or creationists that abuse the scientific journals or I should say, there are some journals that have a very suspect peer review system that allows bad papers to poison the research well.

The pattern is that the contrarians look for a journal that has lax standards or an agenda to follow, once the paper is published, they publicize the hell out of it.

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticle...ll_over_again/


As for the shredding, one has to point at the ones reported by the New York magazine linked early:

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/cultur...78/index1.html
Good work, GIGO.

I hadn't realized mainstream academia had handed them such a sound thrashing.
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  #108  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:36 PM
harpend harpend is offline
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"What are you talking about? Pretty much the entire Berkeley Sociology Department published a book looking at problems with the authors' methodology."

Have a look at their stuff--it is pretty bad.

But what this discussion needs is to descend to the concrete. From my humble perspective the Berkeley sociology department is a bunch of California snowflakes. On the other hand there may be something useful that some one of them had to say. What?

I especially like the "standards of traditional scientific scholarship" quote. In fact that editor asked us for the paper, then the Dean told her that if she published it it would be the end of the journal.

A lot of the discussion here and elsewhere doesn't grasp the distinction between whether or not something is pleasing and whether or not it is true. Take the Gilman quote: he is insulted. Very well, but what on earth does that have to do with whether or not it is true? Ostrer is a medic and does not, from what he has published, have a clue about population genetics. Or Risch:"I see no positive impact from this." Neither do I, but that has nothing in this world to do with whether or not it is true.
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  #109  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:39 PM
Hank Beecher Hank Beecher is offline
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Is there any reason to doubt that heritable traits provided some human groups advantages that helped them to expand at the expense of other groups? When did this stop happening?
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  #110  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:48 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
"What are you talking about? Pretty much the entire Berkeley Sociology Department published a book looking at problems with the authors' methodology."

Have a look at their stuff--it is pretty bad.
With no cite on why it is bad.

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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
"But what this discussion needs is to descend to the concrete. From my humble perspective the Berkeley sociology department is a bunch of California snowflakes. On the other hand there may be something useful that some one of them had to say. What?
Uh, you just said that it is bad, so it would be easy for you to mention something specific.

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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
I especially like the "standards of traditional scientific scholarship" quote. In fact that editor asked us for the paper, then the Dean told her that if she published it it would be the end of the journal.
As has been my experience with climate change deniers and other fringe, I will have to doubt that was the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harpend View Post
A lot of the discussion here and elsewhere doesn't grasp the distinction between whether or not something is pleasing and whether or not it is true. Take the Gilman quote: he is insulted. Very well, but what on earth does that have to do with whether or not it is true? Ostrer is a medic and does not, from what he has published, have a clue about population genetics. Or Risch:"I see no positive impact from this." Neither do I, but that has nothing in this world to do with whether or not it is true.
That was not the point, you claimed that there wasn't any serious academic criticism of that book, there was, and what you affirmed before now puts all of your follow ups in doubt.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-24-2011 at 04:48 PM..
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  #111  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:51 PM
Dissonance Dissonance is offline
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
Throughout Europe there was approximately a hundred-fold decline in the homicide rate from 1200 to 1900. "Culture changes", some would say, but there are never any models nor mechanisms given, as if all change is random and meaningless. On the other hand a quantitative genetic model (i.e. AgSci 101) fits the data very nicely.
Do you have a cite for a 100 fold decline in murder rate? Assuming for the moment that it is accurate, you can't find any models or mechanisms to explain this any better than genetics? There were a few changes in the fabric of European society between 1200 and 1900. The first one that springs to mind is the shift from a feudal society to an industrial one.
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Similarly Frost describes how the barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire simply walked in and the indigenous Romans welcomed their new neighbors.
That's a rather odd take on several centuries of violence as Rome decayed.
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  #112  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:54 PM
harpend harpend is offline
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GIGO quoted someone as saying "A follow-up study of 14 such programs in three states revealed:", etc.

I don't know the ages of people here, but I am likely senior. I have been reading this kind of thing in the New York Times since the mid 1970s. They come out regular as clockwork--miracle schools, miracle programs, and so on. None of them have ever panned out, none. That is not to say that this particular one will not pan out, we must wait and see.

I do expect that if any of this stuff worked at all the private school industry would have picked it up and run with it. Nevertheless we can hope.

Last edited by harpend; 04-24-2011 at 04:55 PM..
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  #113  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:59 PM
Chen019 Chen019 is offline
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Originally Posted by Belowjob2.0 View Post
Good work, GIGO.

I hadn't realized mainstream academia had handed them such a sound thrashing.
Not really. Are Mel Konner & Harvard's Steven Pinker "mainstream academia"?

Last edited by Chen019; 04-24-2011 at 05:01 PM..
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  #114  
Old 04-24-2011, 05:02 PM
harpend harpend is offline
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"Do you have a cite for a 100 fold decline in murder rate?"

Eisner (2001). Modernization, self-control and lethal violence: The long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective. Brit J Criminol (41): 618-38.

Eisner (2003). Long-term historical trends in violent crime. Crime & Justice (30): 84-142.
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  #115  
Old 04-24-2011, 05:13 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Originally Posted by Chen019 View Post
Not really. Are Mel Konner & Harvard's Steven Pinker "mainstream academia"?
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H&H, then, have provided prima facie evidence for each of the hypotheses making up their theory. But all the hypotheses would have to be true for the theory as a whole to be true--and much of the evidence is circumstantial, and the pivotal hypothesis is the one for which they have the least evidence. Yet that hypothesis is also the most easily falsifiable. By that criterion, the CH&H story meets the standards of a good scientific theory, though it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken.
Yep that the best he can do with that paper.

We did this before, Pinker would say in the end that

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articl...1_20_time.html
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None of this means that social and personal improvement are a waste of time. Even if each of us is born with a range of temperament and talent, we can try to reach the best point in that range. And even if we have a nature, part of that nature is an open-ended ingenuity that can think up possible solutions to our problems. Using our genes as an excuse for fatalism is unwise.
And true, also denying that genes are part of the equation is silly, but what is really silly is to pretend genes are all. As I saw Pinker saying that people like the OP would be wasting his time with the conclusions and solutions he offers, I would have to assume that you guys are imagining levels of support that are not there.

As for the Bell Curve getting a shredding:
http://mediamatters.org/blog/200704040003
Quote:
Once experts in the fields of psychometrics, dysgenics, and genetics began to weigh in on the book, not much of it was left. Scholarly examination repeatedly demonstrated that the statements that form the very core of The Bell Curve's arguments were either highly questionable or demonstrably false. For instance, Hernstein and Murray insisted, "it is beyond significant technical dispute that cognitive ability is substantially heritable". But as a group of British geneticists and psychometricans pointed out in response, "Research in this field is still evolving, studies cited by Herrnstein and Murray face significant methodological difficulties, and the validity of results quoted are disputed. " [1]

The mistakes grow even graver. Herrnstein and Murray actually seek to quantify the degree to which such intelligence is heritable. "Half a century of work, now amounting to hundreds of empirical and theoretical studies," they write, "permits a broad conclusion that the genetic component of IQ is unlikely to be smaller than 40 per cent or higher than 80 per cent. ... For purposes of this discussion, we will adopt a middling estimate of 60 per cent heritability." They appear to the unsuspecting reader to be the soul of caution in this regard. Alas, as Nicholas Lemann reported in Slate, another study by three scientists at Carnegie Mellon University employing exactly the same data base, suggested "a narrow-sense heritability of 34 per cent and a broad-sense heritability of 46 per cent," a far cry from the figures employed by Murray and Hernstein.

In perhaps the key test of the honesty of the underlying science of the book, trained experts in the field found they could not reproduce its results. For instance, one chart in The Bell Curve purports to show that people with IQs above 120 have become "rapidly more concentrated" in high-IQ occupations since 1940. But Robert Hauser and his colleague Min-Hsiung Huang retested the data and came up with estimates that fell "well below those of Herrnstein and Murray." They added that the data, properly used, "do not tell us anything except that selected, highly educated occupation groups have grown rapidly since 1940."
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  #116  
Old 04-24-2011, 05:16 PM
harpend harpend is offline
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Brain Glutton said:

"Primitive justice systems punish trivial crimes with death because their detection methods and organization are . . . primitive and they despair of catching every culprit, or even most; so they have to make an example of those they do. Which has little effect on the gene pool."

I have spent several years living with "primitive" people in Africa as well as in Appalachia where I grew up . My own experience is precisely the opposite. Everyone knows everyone else, and their parents and their grandparents and their children. Culprits are well known. WRT the effect on the gene pool, it depends on whether or not sanctions, like executions, are accurately mapped to additive genetic variance of the trait. I can't imagine there would be little effect on the gene pool unless punishment was completely random.

Do you have literature to support your idea?
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  #117  
Old 04-24-2011, 05:27 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
Throughout Europe there was approximately a hundred-fold decline in the homicide rate from 1200 to 1900. "Culture changes", some would say, but there are never any models nor mechanisms given, as if all change is random and meaningless. On the other hand a quantitative genetic model (i.e. AgSci 101) fits the data very nicely.
Uh, I would think that the changes brought by something like the Black Death would be a mechanism that should not be ignored.

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

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-24-2011 at 05:30 PM..
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  #118  
Old 04-24-2011, 05:56 PM
Chen019 Chen019 is offline
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
H&H, then, have provided prima facie evidence for each of the hypotheses making up their theory. But all the hypotheses would have to be true for the theory as a whole to be true--and much of the evidence is circumstantial, and the pivotal hypothesis is the one for which they have the least evidence. Yet that hypothesis is also the most easily falsifiable. By that criterion, the CH&H story meets the standards of a good scientific theory, though it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken.

Yep that the best he can do with that paper.
So it meets the standards of a good scientific theory. And it would be easy enough to test:

Quote:
It would be easy to test the theory, said Steven Pinker, a Harvard cognition researcher: "See if carriers of the Ashkenazi-typical genetic mutations score higher on IQ tests than their noncarrier siblings."

Last edited by Chen019; 04-24-2011 at 05:58 PM..
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  #119  
Old 04-24-2011, 06:02 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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So it meets the standards of a good scientific theory.
Saying that does not mean that one then should use the paper to set policy, any conclusions are therefore premature. Heck, if the best they can do is to report that it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken, then it follows that it has been silly to expand it into a book.
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  #120  
Old 04-24-2011, 06:06 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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And it would be easy enough to test:
I take it that you did not read the thread:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...crank_scie.php
Quote:
Mr Cochran's flaw is in his premise. There is no reason to assume that the frequency of every allele in a population must be the product of a selective advantage. The mathematics was worked out in the last century, and we know that even deleterious alleles can go to fixation in a population. His frenzied scribblings and off-the-wall database searches were driven by a need to reconcile the facts with his naïve and erroneous vision of evolution, and are not very convincing.

Here's another explanation: this isolated subgroup of Ashkenazi Jews also had a culture with a deep historical respect for scholarship, and emphasized and supported education and learning to a greater degree than the larger culture surrounding them. Their children therefore begin life with a leg-up on intellectual pursuits. We don't need a genetic explanation for their better performance (on average) on academic tests. Note also that this does not exclude a genetic component, but now at least we're talking about an environmental factor that favors selection for intelligence. Again, though, I haven't seen any convincing evidence for such a thing; personally, I think our intelligence is built on a shared genetic/development core that enables a wide range of kinds and degrees of intelligence to be expressed in response to environmental conditions.

But here's the final confirming evidence that Cochran is a crank and a non-scientist.

Quote:
It would be easy to test the theory, said Steven Pinker, a Harvard cognition researcher: "See if carriers of the Ashkenazi-typical genetic mutations score higher on IQ tests than their noncarrier siblings."

Cochran and Harpending readily acknowledge the need for such experiments. But they have no plans to do them. They say their role as theorists is to generate hypotheses that others can test.

"One criticism about our paper is 'It can't mean anything because they didn't do any new experiments,' " Cochran said. "OK, then I guess Einstein's papers didn't mean anything either."
I don't agree with Pinker that it would be easy — there's going to be a lot of individual variation in performance, and I think it's very hard to split the variables of culture and genetics apart in these kinds of tests. But at least he's offering a positive approach to the problem, and that would be a good starting point.

But Cochran isn't interested in doing them? He's just a theorist? That's where he begins to sound exactly like an intelligent design creationist.
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  #121  
Old 04-24-2011, 06:17 PM
Chen019 Chen019 is offline
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
I take it that you did not read the thread:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...crank_scie.php
Yeah, I read that at the time. Cochran wrote on Gene Expression, in a discussion about the LA Times article, that they had in fact been interested in testing it. However, research groups like Robert Plomin's weren't interested. Apparently the words "unemployable pariah" were used in relation to what would happen to researchers who did something that controversial.

You have already cited some comments showing how controversial it is & why there might be resistance to that type of research.

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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
if the best they can do is to report that it is tentative and could turn out to be mistaken, then it follows that it has been silly to expand it into a book.
It's one chapter in the book.

Last edited by Chen019; 04-24-2011 at 06:20 PM..
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  #122  
Old 04-24-2011, 06:22 PM
orcenio orcenio is offline
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
Brain Glutton said:

"Primitive justice systems punish trivial crimes with death because their detection methods and organization are . . . primitive and they despair of catching every culprit, or even most; so they have to make an example of those they do. Which has little effect on the gene pool."

I have spent several years living with "primitive" people in Africa as well as in Appalachia where I grew up . My own experience is precisely the opposite. Everyone knows everyone else, and their parents and their grandparents and their children. Culprits are well known. WRT the effect on the gene pool, it depends on whether or not sanctions, like executions, are accurately mapped to additive genetic variance of the trait. I can't imagine there would be little effect on the gene pool unless punishment was completely random.

Do you have literature to support your idea?
harpend, welcome to the SDMB. There is a quote tag button above the textbox, as well as one below every post. As is, your post are easy to read, but it would be easier if you made use of these buttons.

Also (as I, nor anyone else, has done so yet) welcome to the SDMB gcochran. I'm still very interested on your opinion in my last post. Due to your writings/book I'm sure that you are of the opinion that:

1) racial categories can be legitimately used as a proxy for genetic similarity
2) one can take a genetically deterministic approach towards (undefined and poorly understood) complex behavioural traits (like "cognitive ability")
3) that "accelerated evolution" provides a way for humans to undergo recent genetic differentiation (largely along ethnic/racial lines -see point 1)
4) that this "accelerated evolution" provides a genetic framework for behavioural differences in Ashkenazi Jews.

Using the assumptions found in your book, NND has merely changed point 4) to focus on "Blacks," instead of Ashkenazi Jews (he also added other poorly understood behavioural traits like "tendency for violence," etc). He, constantly, quotes directly from your book and uses it's arguments in his preachings of Black mental inferiority (among other "black qualities").

I'd say that his arguments suffer from many of the same unfounded speculation and assertions as your book did but that just brings me back to the same question...

So what do you think of the OP? Has he warped your ideas/assumptions? Is he on the right track? Have you read the OP? Do you have any opinion at all? You have our ears.

Last edited by orcenio; 04-24-2011 at 06:23 PM..
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  #123  
Old 04-24-2011, 07:04 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Originally Posted by Chen019 View Post
Yeah, I read that at the time. Cochran wrote on Gene Expression, in a discussion about the LA Times article, that they had in fact been interested in testing it. However, research groups like Robert Plomin's weren't interested. Apparently the words "unemployable pariah" were used in relation to what would happen to researchers who did something that controversial.

You have already cited some comments showing how controversial it is & why there might be resistance to that type of research.
As my experience with other fringe artists like creationists and global warming deniers has shown, it is more likely that the pariah status was earned.


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Originally Posted by Chen019 View Post
It's one chapter in the book.
And I already referred to that fact, pay attention.

What I still see is good science mentioned together with bad in an attempt to make readers swallow the bad pill with the good info.

I will let TVtropes explain what is happening in more mundane terms:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...EggsMilkSquick
Quote:
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick

When a mundane conversation goes bad. You're winding up a boring conversation, and throw in one last thing in there. And that one last thing was praise for Adolf Hitler, or a plan to kill the Mayor, or an offhand comment that you pick your nose, when you had been talking about options for where to eat dinner or something.

"So yeah, we'll just run out for pizza, catch a movie, maybe go out for a couple drinks, and lynch that bastard. Sound good?"

Bonus points for the listener asking with a horrified tone "What was that last one again?" and the last harmless option before the horrifying one being repeated instead.

A common variation has one additional, harmless (but often comically inappropriate) item tacked on to the end of the list. This allows other characters to react in horror — to the wrong thing. : "So yeah, we'll just run out for pizza, catch a movie, murder my next door neighbor, and, if we have time, go skydiving." "Are you crazy? I'm afraid of airplanes."
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  #124  
Old 04-24-2011, 08:09 PM
New Deal Democrat New Deal Democrat is offline
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But as the human population sizes increased, particularly with the advent of agriculture, favorable mutations occurred more and more often. Sixty thousand years ago, before the expansion out of Africa, there were something like a quarter of a million modern humans. By the Bronze Age, 3,000 years ago, that number was roughly 60 million. Favorable mutations that had previously occurred every 100,000 years or so were now showing up every 400 years.

- Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, from The 10,000 Year Explosion, Chapter 3, "Agriculture: the Big Change," page 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve MB View Post
Hint -- the relevant You Fail Statistics Forever example is this one:
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly argued that life expectancy was lower in the US than in Canada because the US has ten times as many people, and therefore has ten times the number of accidents.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...tisticsForever

Steve MB,

You obviously do not understand what you are talking about. Favorable mutations spread. Accidents do not.
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  #125  
Old 04-24-2011, 08:14 PM
Dissonance Dissonance is offline
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Originally Posted by harpend View Post
"Do you have a cite for a 100 fold decline in murder rate?"

Eisner (2001). Modernization, self-control and lethal violence: The long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective. Brit J Criminol (41): 618-38.

Eisner (2003). Long-term historical trends in violent crime. Crime & Justice (30): 84-142.
Would you care to share what Eisner says with the rest of the class? Or respond to the question assuming for the moment that it is accurate, you can't find any models or mechanisms to explain this any better than genetics?
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  #126  
Old 04-24-2011, 08:31 PM
New Deal Democrat New Deal Democrat is offline
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Crank science is as crank science does

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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
I take it that you did not read the thread:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...crank_scie.php
Category: Evolution • Kooks • Skepticism
Posted on: April 20, 2009 11:29 AM, by PZ Myers

Gregory Cochran has always been drawn to puzzles. This one had been gnawing at him for several years: Why are European Jews prone to so many deadly genetic diseases?

Tay-Sachs disease. Canavan disease. More than a dozen more.

It offended Cochran's sense of logic. Natural selection, the self-taught genetics buff knew, should flush dangerous DNA from the gene pool. Perhaps the mutations causing these diseases had some other, beneficial purpose. But what?

...

The "faulty" genes, Cochran concluded, make Jews smarter...

Mr Cochran's flaw is in his premise. There is no reason to assume that the frequency of every allele in a population must be the product of a selective advantage.

-------

Jewish genetic diseases are passed down through the generations the way sickle cell anemia is among black populations threatened by malaria. This is thoroughly explained in The 10,000 Year Explosion. One gene is responsible for both the problem and the benefit. However, the gene is dominant for the benefit, and recessive for the problem. If you have one gene you get the benefit without the problem. If you have both genes, you get the benefit and the problem.

Those with sickle cell anemia also are resistant to malaria. They die from sickle cell anemia, but they may have siblings who only have one of the genes. Those siblings do not have sickle cell anemia, and they are less likely to die from malaria.

Jews with the genetic diseases are of superior intelligence. Their siblings may carry one of the genes. They will have the superior intelligence without the disease.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:41 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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So after all that we are still stuck with "may".

That figures.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:50 PM
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So after all that we are still stuck with "may".

That figures.
A good scientist is not dogmatic. Also, a good scientist understands probability. If two parents, each with one gene for Tay-Sachs disease have four children the odds are best that one of those children will get both genes, a higher IQ, and the disease. Two of the children will get one gene. They will not get the disease, but they will have a higher IQ. One child will get no genes, no disease, and no IQ benefit. On the other hand, all of them may get both genes, all of them may get one gene, and all of them may get none.

It's like flipping a coin four times. You may get four heads. You may get four tails. You may get a mixture.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:56 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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A good scientist is not dogmatic. Also, a good scientist understands probability. If two parents, each with one gene for Tay-Sachs disease have four children the odds are best that one of those children will get both genes, a higher IQ, and the disease. Two of the children will get one gene. They will not get the disease, but they will have a higher IQ. One child will get no genes, no disease, and no IQ benefit. On the other hand, all of them may get both genes, all of them may get one gene, and all of them may get none.

It's like flipping a coin four times. You may get four heads. You may get four tails. You may get a mixture.
Yeah, so then proposing premature political solutions based on probabilities does not make sense until better research is made, no?

Of course if the support for the conclusions is even more iffy among most scientists and politicians have to check what most of them recommend them, it is safe to say that a snow ball in hell has a better chance.

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Old 04-24-2011, 09:08 PM
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Yeah, so then proposing premature political solutions based on probabilities does not make sense until better research is made, no?
In The 10,000 Year Explosion Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending present no political solutions. The book does have political implications, but those are for the reader to draw.

One of the quotes in the book praising the book reads, "It is a work destined to launch a thousand careers." Charles Darwin's books had much the same effect. They launched the careers of physical and cultural anthropologists.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:08 PM
Belowjob2.0 Belowjob2.0 is offline
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A good scientist is not dogmatic. Also, a good scientist understands probability. If two parents, each with one gene for Tay-Sachs disease have four children the odds are best that one of those children will get both genes, a higher IQ, and the disease. Two of the children will get one gene. They will not get the disease, but they will have a higher IQ. One child will get no genes, no disease, and no IQ benefit. On the other hand, all of them may get both genes, all of them may get one gene, and all of them may get none.

It's like flipping a coin four times. You may get four heads. You may get four tails. You may get a mixture.

Your opinion of scientific practice isn't worth much. You think that people with different skin colors are as different from each other as breeds of dogs.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:16 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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In The 10,000 Year Explosion Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending present no political solutions. The book does have political implications, but those are for the reader to draw.

One of the quotes in the book praising the book reads, "It is a work destined to launch a thousand careers." Charles Darwin's books had much the same effect. They launched the careers of physical and cultural anthropologists.
I was not referring to them but to the OP, you are not fooling anyone.

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Old 04-24-2011, 09:30 PM
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does not meet the standards...

Why would you reference an article in New York Magazine about the scientific merits of our Ashkenazi paper, when you could be quoting People or Tiger Beat?

The lady who wrote that article (Jennifer Senior) thought that it must not be a real scientific paper because we didn't use footnotes. I doubt if she had ever read a scientific paper in her life before covering ours.

We did have difficulty getting published. That is true. The process was interesting. For example, the editor vetting the paper at Quarterly Review of Biology thought that we had to be wrong when we said that very few Ashkenazi Jews had farmed during the Middle Ages - we (relying on histories and such) had said that they had mostly had white-collar jobs, with an increasing fraction of crafts and low-level retail in the last quarter of that period, due to an expanding population. I wondered where he had gotten the idea of medieval Jewish farmers - and guessed that he had developed his picture of Jewish history from watching Fiddler on the Roof. And he had: he confirmed it when I asked him. After I showed lots more documentation, he agreed that we were right on that point, and that the paper was reasonable - but of course they would never publish anything that controversial. Six months lost.

Sometimes the process was more efficient: we asked an editor who ran a journal on human evolution if she would be interested. She was, but called us back later, crying: the Dean of her department has said that he'd kill her journal and hinted at firing her if she published it. That took only a few days.

We convinced Takahata, at Genetics, that our genetic analysis made sense, and that the Ashkenazi genetic diseases were most likely a side-effect of selection rather than founder effect, particularly since they concentrated in a couple of enzyme paths. The most striking cluster of genetic diseases involved the build-up of sphingolipids that , when increased, cause more growth of dendrites, and longer axons with more branches... But he didn't want us to talk about what we thought had driven that selection - what trait had changed - even though his old friend and co-author Klein had reviewed the paper favorably and asked him to 'have the courage' to publish it. He didn't, so we went elsewhere.

There have some people interested in testing it. One Israeli evolutionary biologist
was quite excited: thought that they should throw the kitchen sink at the problem, bring a real team, with population geneticists and psychometricians and historians.
Look at the mutation carriers in the Israeli army and check against cognitive tests. But that didn't go anywhere: it turns out that hardly anyone in Israel wants to know this, although not for the reasons you might expect. You see, the explanation for increased intelligence only applies to the group that actually has it, the Ashkenazi Jews: it doesn't predict a similar effect in non-Ashkenazi Jews, who make up about half of the Jewish population in Israel - and who score about a standard deviation lower on IQ tests, are about three times less likely to finish college, etc.
This is not a subject that most Israelis wish investigated.

A grad student at Harvard was also interested: he thought it would be easy to check for increased IQ in carriers among Harvard students, many of whom are Jewish. But his enthusiasm decreased when his adviser - not a bad guy by the way - explained that doing this would make the student an "unemployable pariah" and get the adviser in trouble as well.

BGI, in China, is a big genomics shop, full of young and mathematically talented people, along with tons of new equipment. They're looking for alleles that affect cognition. That means ones that are important in explaining variation over the normal range (which we don't know much about), not ones that cause retardation (where we know quite a lot). A friend, a member of my secret army of the night, suggested that they should check out some Ashkenazi Jewish samples. They do, after all, have the highest average IQ of any ethnic group, and there are fairly strong hints suggesting that mutations in some of the characteristic Ashkenazi genetic diseases - many of which are neurological - may boost IQ in carriers. For example, if you have the Ashkenazi version of torsion dystonia,- your neurologist will talk about the muscle-spasm problems, which range from awful to trivial, and then try to cheer you up by pointing out that "it makes you smart".

But they didn't bite, for two reasons, First, largely because these guys don't know any theory and in fact know very little biology at all (as they freely admit), they didn't see why you might want to look at an outlier population like the Ashkenazi Jews, Second, the non math-geeks who run the place didn't want to do it, because they were afraid it would piss off the Jews. This in Beijing !

Parenthetically, it appears that IQ is highly heritable, especially in adulthood - at least in contemporary Western society. About as heritable as height. No single allele accounts for much of the variation in the populations studied so far (all European, as far as I know): instead variation between individuals, although strongly influenced by genes, is caused by hundreds or thousands of genes that each have a small effect. This in no way keeps a trait from being heritable. And since it is heritable, natural selection can cause changes in trait value. So could artificial selection. One suspicion is that rare deleterious mutations account for a significant fraction of the variation: this is looking more and more likely for things like schizophrenia and autism.

Let me say it again: if a trait is heritable, natural or artificial selection can change it. We don't have to know the genetic details (although it _is_ nice). The genetic influences can be one gene, a few genes, or many genes. Selection is still possible.

And what traits are heritable enough to be easily changed by selection? Virtually everything. Intelligence is highly heritable. Personality traits are moderately heritable, but still heritable enough that selection could easily change the distribution in a human over historic time. Strength, height, disease resistance, metabolism, etc etc.. all heritable.
About the only trait that is hard to select for is sex ratio: it's very hard to get a ratio that is very different from 50:50.
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  #134  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:35 PM
New Deal Democrat New Deal Democrat is offline
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Your opinion of scientific practice isn't worth much. You think that people with different skin colors are as different from each other as breeds of dogs.
They differ enormously in terms of average IQ, crime rates, and sexual behavior.

This is what Professor J. Philippe Rushton writes in Race, Evolution, and Behavior, "For the past twenty years I have studied race differences in brain size, intelligence, sexuality, personality, growth rate, life span, crime, and family stability. On all of these traits, Orientals fall at one end of the spectrum, Blacks fall at the other end, and Whites fall in between."
http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org...n_Behavior.pdf

This is what Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpediing write about it, "The relative ease with which old agricultural civilizations (many of them, anyhow) have managed to adopt complex new technologies and forms of social organization, compared to populations that have had less experience with agriculture and dense hierarchical societies, suggests that gradual biological changes in cognition and personality played a key role in the birth of industrial and scientific revolutions."

The 10,000 Year Explosion explains the evolution of racial differences that everyone knows about.
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  #135  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:39 PM
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harpend, welcome to the SDMB. There is a quote tag button above the textbox, as well as one below every post. As is, your post are easy to read, but it would be easier if you made use of these buttons.

Thanks, this is a try of your suggestion. And how does one enter URLs properly here?

Also (as I, nor anyone else, has done so yet) welcome to the SDMB gcochran. I'm still very interested on your opinion in my last post. Due to your writings/book I'm sure that you are of the opinion that:

1) racial categories can be legitimately used as a proxy for genetic similarity

Depends on what you mean by "legitimately." If you are a physician with a pregnant US black patient with periodontal disease you damned well better notice race and get ready for prematurity, low birth weight, or worse.

On the other hand there is a drug, Bidil, approved for black patients. The epidemiology certainly comes from US blacks, with much of their DNA from tropical Africa. If I were a Somali, for example, I would do my own research before I would let a doc give me Bidil just because of my black skin. The long-term ecological history of NE Africans is completely different from that of tropical Africans.


2) one can take a genetically deterministic approach towards (undefined and poorly understood) complex behavioural traits (like "cognitive ability")

I am not sure that cognitive ability is any more poorly understood than "milk production" or "egg weight" or any other quantitative trait. If our ancestors had insisted on better understanding of, say, calorie production before doing any selection we would not have wheat, rice, millet, corn, chickens, cows, nor labrador retrievers today.

I don't know what is supposed to be "deterministic" about any of this.


3) that "accelerated evolution" provides a way for humans to undergo recent genetic differentiation (largely along ethnic/racial lines -see point 1)

Evolution does, again I don't know what accelerated evolution has to do with it, nor with the question.


4) that this "accelerated evolution" provides a genetic framework for behavioural differences in Ashkenazi Jews.

Again I don't know what the question is. Framework??


Using the assumptions found in your book, NND has merely changed point 4) to focus on "Blacks," instead of Ashkenazi Jews (he also added other poorly understood behavioural traits like "tendency for violence," etc). He, constantly, quotes directly from your book and uses it's arguments in his preachings of Black mental inferiority (among other "black qualities").

I don't remember this, I suppose I have to go read his review again. It certainly is true that in many ways the sociology of the US black population is pretty grim. But what good does it do anyone to stand up and deny such things? Black kids killed by drive by shootings? Black women molested?

So what do you think of the OP? Has he warped your ideas/assumptions? Is he on the right track? Have you read the OP? Do you have any opinion at all? You have our ears.
I don't have any idea what OP means.
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  #136  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:40 PM
New Deal Democrat New Deal Democrat is offline
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I was not referring to them but to the OP, you are not fooling anyone.
What am I trying to fool anyone about? I am quite open in expressing my opinions.
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  #137  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:40 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Meh, I'm not impressed at all gcochran, I have seen the same excuses from creationists and global warming deniers.

BTW we are still waiting for your answer on what orcenio asked to you 2 times already.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-24-2011 at 09:44 PM..
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  #138  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:41 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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I don't have any idea what OP means.
The Original Post, or Original Poster.
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  #139  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:44 PM
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I don't have any idea what OP means.
OP Original Poster
****** OP Original Poster (internet newsgroups and message boards)

http://www.acronymfinder.com/OP.html

In this thread, I am the OP.
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  #140  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:48 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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I see a few folks here still sneering at The Bell Curve, but we all should notice that there has never been any serious academic criticism of that book.
Actually, you can find quite a bit of it in The Bell Curve Wars and The Bell Curve Debate.

Also, this looks like serious academic criticism and you don't need to go far to find it.
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  #141  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:53 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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They differ enormously in terms of average IQ, crime rates, and sexual behavior.

This is what Professor J. Philippe Rushton writes in Race, Evolution, and Behavior, "For the past twenty years I have studied race differences in brain size, intelligence, sexuality, personality, growth rate, life span, crime, and family stability. On all of these traits, Orientals fall at one end of the spectrum, Blacks fall at the other end, and Whites fall in between."
http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org...n_Behavior.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race,_E...,_and_Behavior
Quote:
Evolutionary Biologist Joseph L. Graves (2002) criticized Rushton's application of r/K selection and Life History theories arguing that Rushton doesn't understand the concepts:

Quote:
I ran a search on BIOSIS using r- and K-selection as keywords for the period of 1995 to 2001, and found only one article. This appeared in the Journal of Environmental Biology, rather ironically concerning algal diversity in treated versus untreated sewage. Stearns (1992) and Roff (1992) presented r- and K-theory as a once useful heuristic that no longer serves any purpose in the discussion of life history theory. It should be noted that their conclusions appeared three years before Rushton published his analysis of human 'racial' variation, with r- and K-selection as its cornerstone. It is hard to understand how any serious student of life history evolution could have missed these developments in the theory. In fact, I had the opportunity to present these same observations to J.P. Rushton personally. This occurred at a panel discussion held at the John Jay College of Criminal Law, City University of New York, 20 March 1997. Yet his newly released abridged version of Race, Evolution and Behavior would still claim that r- and K-life history theory was 'a basic principle of modern evolutionary theory'. This would indicate that either Rushton does not agree with the theoretical and experimental work invalidating r- and K-theory, does not understand the argument, or has consciously chosen to ignore it. If the first possibility were true, then we would expect some theoretical justification to appear in his work that addresses these specific criticisms. Yet absence of such a response only supports my view that Rushton does not understand life history theory. Thus he employs it incorrectly and through this error his work serves racist ideological agendas.[44]
Psychologist and Peace Studies Researcher David P. Barash wrote (1995) in a review:

Quote:
I don't know which is worse, Rushton's scientific failings or his blatant racism. [...] At least Rushton has a theory, namely, r- and K-selection. In brief, he argues that `Negroids' are relatively r-selected, `Mongoloids' K-selected, and `Caucasoids' in between. All racial distinctions are then seen to derive from this grand pattern, from differences in genital anatomy, to reproductive regimes, to IQ, etc. He even points to the higher frequency of low birth weight babies among black Americans, data that are undeniably consistent with an r-selection regime, but which might also be attributed to poor nutrition and insufficient prenatal care, and which, not coincidentally, have other implications for behaviour, IQ not the least. [...] I suspect that r- and K-selection does in fact have some relevance to variations in human behaviour, notably the so-called demographic transition, whereby economic development characteristically leads to reduced family size, and, moreover, a greater reliance on a variety of `K-type' traits. But this is a pan-human phenomenon, a flexible, adaptive response to changed environmental conditions of lowered mortality and greater pay-off attendant upon concentrating parental investment in a smaller number of offspring [...] Rushton wields r- and K-selection as a Procrustean bed, doing what he can to make the available data fit[...]. Bad science and virulent racial prejudice drip like pus from nearly every page of this despicable book"[45]
Quite open....
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  #142  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:54 PM
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After I showed lots more documentation, he agreed that we were right on that point, and that the paper was reasonable - but of course they would never publish anything that controversial. Six months lost.

Sometimes the process was more efficient: we asked an editor who ran a journal on human evolution if she would be interested. She was, but called us back later, crying: the Dean of her department has said that he'd kill her journal and hinted at firing her if she published it. That took only a few days...

his old friend and co-author Klein had reviewed the paper favorably and asked him to 'have the courage' to publish it. He didn't, so we went elsewhere...

This is not a subject that most Israelis wish investigated...

A grad student at Harvard was also interested: he thought it would be easy to check for increased IQ in carriers among Harvard students, many of whom are Jewish. But his enthusiasm decreased when his adviser - not a bad guy by the way - explained that doing this would make the student an "unemployable pariah" and get the adviser in trouble as well.
This is simply outrageous.

How much longer will this censorship continue?

I thought liberals believed in self expression.
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  #143  
Old 04-24-2011, 09:58 PM
New Deal Democrat New Deal Democrat is offline
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As soon as someone accuses someone else of being a racist, I know the accuser is in trouble. Such an accusation is an appeal to emotion that has no place in a scientific discussion.

Last edited by New Deal Democrat; 04-24-2011 at 10:01 PM..
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  #144  
Old 04-24-2011, 10:01 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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This is simply outrageous.

How much longer will this censorship continue?

I thought liberals believed in self expression.
I do, and once again, that is not credible, How many times I have seen controversial researchers be refused for more technical reasons than political ones? Too many to count, and many times the ones refused then go running to their fans to report how mean scientists were to them. By general rule one has to assume that there were other reasons why this researcher's paper was refused.


And research can still be done, or I have to assume that the Pioneer Fund is running out of money to fund it.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:02 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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As soon as someone accuses someone else of being a racist, I know the accuser is in trouble. Such an accusation is an appeal to emotion that has no place in a scientific discussion.
Funny, I did not said that, the reviewer of the book did. But that it was a racist book, there is little doubt.

And after one checks the pit thread there is no need to claim emotion, racist ideas are clearly being pushed in books like the one mentioned.

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  #146  
Old 04-24-2011, 10:05 PM
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Funny, I did not said that, the reviewer of the book did. But that it was a racist book, there is little doubt.
So what? What matters is whether or not Rushton's assertions are true or not.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:06 PM
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I'd like to point out Darwin hated the term evolution because it carries with it the implication of advancement. Nothing could be further from the truth and Darwin continually went out of his way to say so. Creatures don't get better, they just get picked off until the ones left are better at a specific niche. Darwin preferred the term 'Speciation through natural selection', but because it's harder to say and requires more effort from the reader to determine the entire meaning it got left behind.

It appears Darwin's intent didn't survive the evolutionary process. Ironic.
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  #148  
Old 04-24-2011, 10:07 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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So what? What matters is whether or not Rushton's assertions are true or not.
And the other reviewer showed why it was not good research.

So yeah.
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  #149  
Old 04-24-2011, 10:14 PM
Belowjob2.0 Belowjob2.0 is offline
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They differ enormously in terms of average IQ, crime rates, and sexual behavior.

This is what Professor J. Philippe Rushton writes in Race, Evolution, and Behavior, "For the past twenty years I have studied race differences in brain size, intelligence, sexuality, personality, growth rate, life span, crime, and family stability. On all of these traits, Orientals fall at one end of the spectrum, Blacks fall at the other end, and Whites fall in between."
http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org...n_Behavior.pdf

This is what Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpediing write about it, "The relative ease with which old agricultural civilizations (many of them, anyhow) have managed to adopt complex new technologies and forms of social organization, compared to populations that have had less experience with agriculture and dense hierarchical societies, suggests that gradual biological changes in cognition and personality played a key role in the birth of industrial and scientific revolutions."

The 10,000 Year Explosion explains the evolution of racial differences that everyone knows about.
You've been trying to make genetic arguments, but you don't understand the basic fact that human populations are much closer together genetically than breeds of dogs. This is fundamental human genetics. If you don't get this, you can't really go any further.
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  #150  
Old 04-24-2011, 10:28 PM
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Race, Evolution, and Behavior

Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective is a controversial evolutionary psychology book (first unabridged edition 1995, third unabridged edition 2000) written by J. Philippe Rushton, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, and the current head of the Pioneer Fund.

Rushton argues that race is a valid biological concept and that racial differences frequently arrange in a continuum across 60 different behavioral and anatomical variables, with Mongoloids (Orientals, East Asians) at one end of the continuum, Negroids (blacks, Africans) at the opposite extreme, and Caucasoids (whites, Europeans) in the middle.[1]...

The book argues that Mongoloids, on average, are at one end of a continuum, that Negroids, on average, are at the opposite end of that continuum, and that Caucasoids rank in between Mongoloids and Negroids, but closer to Mongoloids. His continuum includes both external physical characteristics and personality traits...

Citing genetic research by Cavalli-Sforza, the African Eve hypothesis, and the out of Africa theory, Rushton writes that Negroids branched off first (200,000 years ago, Caucasoids second 110,000 years ago, and Mongoloids last 41,000 years ago)...Rushton argues that this evolutionary history correlates with, and is responsible for, a consistent global racial pattern which explains many variables such as worldwide crime statistics or the global distribution of AIDS...

Rushton argues that the survival challenges of making warm clothes, building durable shelter, preserving food, and strategically hunting large animals all selected genes for greater intelligence and social organization among the populations that migrated to cold climates...

Rushton and Templar in a 2009 study argued that violent crime (murder, rape, and serious assault) was lower in countries with higher IQs, higher life expectancies, lighter skin color, and lower rates of HIV/AIDS. Higher national incomes or higher rates of infant mortality did not affect the results. Differences in testosterone was suggested as one possible explanation for some of these differences, as well as for differences in aggression and some measures of sports performance between different races.[38][39]...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race,_E...,_and_Behavior

-----

In Race, Evolution, and Behavior Professor Rushton argues that whites and blacks divided racially 110,000 years ago. I wonder if he still believes that. According to most recent theories based on DNA evidence, modern humans evolved in Africa over 100,000 years ago. About 50,000 years ago 100 to 200 of these modern humans left Africa. Everyone who is not a Negro is descended from them. In other words, the division between Negroes and everyone else happened 50,000 years ago. The non Negro races divided after then. I have read that the separation between whites and Orientals happened about 30,000 years ago.

Also, Rushton's theory that whites and Orientals owe their higher average IQs to evolving in a colder climate is unconvincing to me. Neanderthals lived in Europe during several ice ages, but remains of their camp sites indicate that they were less intelligent than the Cro Magnons who replaced them.

In The 10,000 Year Explosion Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending claim that the differences between Negroes on one hand, and whites and Orientals on the other can be explained by the number of generations each race has practiced agriculture and urban living. However, agriculture and urban living developed two or three thousand years later in the Far East than in the Near East. Cochran and Harpending do not explain why Orientals tend to be more intelligent and less promiscuous and prone to crime than whites.
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