« Response to comments on race and intelligence | Main | Aftermath of the NY Times article »

November 11, 2007


"But my question is whether this celebrating is premature? After all, way back in 1979, Time Magazine printed an article about Arthur Jensen's book, and it was ignored. In 1994, The Bell Curve was published, and even though it sold a million copies, race realism did not go mainstream."

The mainstream press has been reporting on differences in racial intelligence since the days of crainology. This, as Half Sigma said, is definitely nothing new. These guys are just happy to see their names in the press this time. It's a sort of validation of their efforts (as if being mentioned in an article validates anything). But these people will never be taken seriously by "real scientists" because of statements like the following:

There is much dispute over whether combinations of common mutations cause disease or whether rare mutations are more likely to do so..

There are real scientists out there disputing that genetic mutations can cause disease? Really? Who are they? This "gc" person really show why the "amateur" label fits so nicely.

It might be different this time, if "this time" coincides with the onset of an economic Great Depression. Then the cost of all the lies may be too great to tolerate for much longer.


It's different because this isn't about science anymore. It's about engineering. And that's all the difference in the world.


There are real scientists out there disputing that genetic mutations can cause disease? Really?

You seem to have impaired reading comprehension. If you go back and look again, the technical issue I mentioned was whether common genetic diseases are primarily caused by *rare* or *common* variants. The former theory holds that common disease happens mostly through random mutations in critical genes. The latter theory supposes that disease is more predictable, in that susceptibility alleles are hitchiking with nearby favorable alleles -- or are favorable in their own right (with sickle cell being the canonical example).

That debate was very topical in 2002 when there was some dispute over the original justification the Hapmap (namely the common disease/common variant hypothesis promulgated by Lander and Kruglyak). Today it's apparent that at least some common diseases are caused in part by common variants (e.g. macular degeneration; see papers by Haines et al, Klein et al., and Edwards et al. in Science. 2005 Apr 15, esp. Klein's molecular data), though most other complex disease association studies have only turned up susceptibility alleles with low odds ratios. Jury's still out on this one, though, as once the CNV data starts flooding in it may indeed turn out that there *are* some common variants affecting disease after all, albeit in terms of loci dosages rather than base pairs.

This "gc" person really show why the "amateur" label fits so nicely.

Heh. Look, you really shouldn't bring a knife to a gun fight. Run along home now.

I will point out that I knew about these issues since the late 1980s, but I did read about them at the Gene Expression blog before I ever blogged about them myself.

Oh yeah, and HS, I wasn't trying to take anything away from you with my remarks. We haven't interacted much, mainly b/c you really started getting into this area after I entered emeritus status in Jan 05, but I wanted to say that you and Inductivist have been doing great stuff with the GSS data (among other things).

The reason I commented was that I laughed with glee when I saw that my writings on the Hapmap had spread. I'm not sure how you came across it, but in addition to several dozen posts on the Hapmap over the years, we definitely had several posts comparing SNPs in IQ related regions between ethnic groups on GNXP. I'm not sure if all of those threads are still around, but this one is from 9/2005.

Anyway, that said, one point that I do want to mention is that whole genome association right now *is* a very technically challenging area. Simple univariate regressions of case/control status on SNP matrices so far don't produce odds ratios that are replicable, let alone of diagnostic relevance (meaning that odds ratios that are decent in a balanced case/control scenario are wildly insufficient for diagnosis when cases are much less frequent than controls).

To remedy this, the chip technology will have to improve (e.g. by adding more covariates, esp. CNVs) . In the meantime, for once it *isn't* lefty obscurantism to say that we want to replicate associations in multiple populations to make sure they hold up. CHRM2 and DNTB1 are pretty good bets (and there are others besides) but the geno/pheno association signal is (as of today) nowhere near as strong as the manifest evidence for phenotypic differences. Moreover, there are a fair number of phenotypes that switch sign or do all kinds of weird things when moving between different populations (in other words, SNP effects cannot be assumed to be linearly superposable between populations). These are technical challenges that can be solved and I don't want to overstate the issues -- we know that the geno/pheno map exists from many other data sources, and we basically just need to add more rows to our samples and more columns to our predictors till we get there.

Response to "gc": I was lucky to have written about the HapMap, in a way that was accessible to the layman, at the same time that Amy Harmon was doing research for her article.

FYI,,GNXP's GC let fly with a lot of great writing on these topics recently in some comments on a posting over at my blog. Go here and enjoy.

HS -- props duly accorded. You've got a great site and have pulled up some real gems. Keep it real and I'm sure I'll see you around.

(PS: Since you're a fan of Jensen, I recommend picking up his 2005 book on Mental Chronometry.)

Heck, Nicholas Wade has been tirelessly writing about many of these issues for over a half decade as the New York Times' own genetics reporter (!) and practically nobody outside of a few thousand people in the human biodiversity sphere has even noticed what Wade is getting at! Wade's 2006 book "Before the Dawn" was barely reviewed anywhere.

The zeitgeist is very powerful and has tremendous momentum. One semi-fair article in the NYT won't make a dent in it.

If you are coming to this site from the NYT and you've never heard of Steve Sailer, then you don't know what you've been missing. You would do well to get acquainted with the man who is probably the single most insightful blogger around on this kind of issues. Here is his site - bookmark it, rummage through his archives, and enjoy.

around on this kind of issues.

PIMF. "around on these kind of issues."

To answer your question, it will take tremendous momentum to keep the ball rolling and I don't see it happening. I think the NYT may not revisit the issue for years after this article. We can hope that isn't the case, but better make the most of it now.

This whole thing has certainly put the usual suspects back on their heels, but they will be back and looking for blood. I would urge you to go over a read Auster's stuff here:


It is articulated more clearly than what I could say. There are some interesting comments about what the next phase of this situation will take. But make no mistake, this is undermining a pillar of liberalism and leftism, not to mention public policy that includes everything from schooling to taxation to crime, etc...And they will fight back using anything and everything. I am sure the death threats have started already.

Do you know why it's relevant? Most people were too lazy to read the tome that was the Bell Curve. Most people were too lazy to pick up a copy of G factor.

However, people only have to click to get to Malloy's article, which gets to the point relatively succintly.

We have something called the internet. And the article on the internet (ranked #3 in emails) links directly to this blog and GNXP. You don't think that's big?

In 94 and before people had to actively search out HBD material. They are lazy. But in this day, they can click right onto a GNXP or wikipedia site that will tell them everything.

PC dogma has only been able to keep the lid on this by shutting down all public discussion, and your blog was not mainstream. However, the scientific evidence on genetics is stronger today. Combined with Watson's statements, ooo, questions will be asked! And there are now answers that can be easily obtained!

People's access to information can no longer be controlled. People know about your blog and will read.

But don't get too drunk. There's alot of work ahead. But at least this tells us that the truth can emerge soon. Keep up the fight. You may have won the battle, but this war will be won gradually. I doubt there will be a seminal event that will allow you to declare that the argument is over. More hapmap investigation will lead to more questions.

It will be more interesting, though, when the emphasis comes off blacks and shifts to other races.

John Smith

"It will be more interesting, though, when the emphasis comes off blacks and shifts to other races."

And the predicted to come introgression evidence will really get the philosophical underpinnings of biological human reality twisting! Exciting times ahead.

We really need to get the facts properly, and HONESTLY interpreted for the lay folks before whole crops of conspiracy theorists are given undue credence just because they are the only ones telling some facts without being dragged kicking and screaming into openness.

Anecdote pertinent to your question: Got on NYT web site for the first time today. Read the DNA article. Started linking to blogs. Spent much of the day at it. Had not known that, even with the anonymity of the internet, there were places where race realism could be discussed or expressed. Would not have known without DNA article and links. The change will be incremental, not revolutionary. This is no more than a pinhole letting sunlight into The Truman Show we live in.

It will be more interesting, though, when the emphasis comes off blacks and shifts to other races.

That's already happened to some extent, what with Asian I.Q. scores often being a topic of discussion. Hispanic scores have gotten less attention, but that may be unavoidable given that most Hispanics are of mixed racial backgrounds.


My view about the battle for HBD realism hasn't changed: We are still waiting for DNA sequencing technology to get cheap enough.

Sure, some smart and curious and active minds - even a few at the NY Times - have figured out which way the wind is blowing. But the breeze is still pretty light. We aren't going to see the really earth shattering shift until we have got some really good IQ-affecting alleles well characterized and with their distributions between populations measured. The existing system of taboos isn't going to crumble without a lot more evidence.

Mostly what we can do now is persuade some scientifically minded liberals that the foundations that their camp has anchored itself on are about to crumble. They'll try to shift the position of liberals while hiding their real motives for doing so. Some of the people in the closet can become better informed. But they can't work out the implications of the truth because they can't reason out loud with the truth.

This NY Times article represents a pretty small step. I'm sorry but I'm not as excited by it as you are. I'm far more excited by the rate of advance of DNA testing technologies and the rate of drop of DNA sequencing costs. That matters far more.

Anybody kept up with the letters to the editor written in response to this article? Or any op-eds? That might help gauge the reaction. I don't have a registration/subscription to the NYT.

The comments to this entry are closed.