Posts Tagged ‘Genetics’

Genetic Interests

‘n/a’ provided a link to Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests. (Available in a variety of formats.)

That gift follows from the latest exchange on the topic, based on this Jayman post. Some (Salterian) contention from Pumpkin Person (here) and n/a (here). It’s a fascinating discussion, that has divided Cochran and Harpending, which is an indication of its seriousness. Sadly — if understandably — it tends to generate massive rancor very quickly, as is evident in the tone of some of these posts. That’s especially unfortunate because, heated race politics aside, there’s a massive amount of philosophical substance underlying it. (Maximum coldness would certainly be appreciated here.)

A suggestive remark from Salter (p.28), on the disrupted equilibrium between ‘ultimate’ and ‘proximate’ interests (a crucial and thought-provoking distinction):

The equilibrium applying to humans has been upset in recent generations, so that we can no longer rely on subjectively designated proximate interests to serve our ultimate interest. We must rely more on science to perceive the causal links between the things we value and formulate synthetic goals based on that rational appraisal.

So (subject to correction as the argument progresses) Salter proposes an explicit, rational proxy for the ‘ultimate interests’ of genetic propagation, now inadequately represented by change-shocked phenotypes (and, most importantly, brains). This is a Principal-Agent problem, applied to human biology.

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August 3, 2015admin 47 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Fertility

Quote note (#168)

The level of apocalypticism to be found in scientific abstracts rarely reaches the Dark Enlightenment threshold, but there are always exceptions. Here’s Olav Albert Christophersen, on ‘Thematic Cluster: Focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder’, originally published in Microbial Ecology in Health & Disease (2012). Indicatively, the paper is subtitled ‘Should autism be considered a canary bird telling that Homo sapiens may be on its way to extinction?’ The full abstract:

There has been a dramatic enhancement of the reported incidence of autism in different parts of the world over the last 30 years. This can apparently not be explained only as a result of improved diagnosis and reporting, but may also reflect a real change. The causes of this change are unknown, but if we shall follow T.C. Chamberlin’s principle of multiple working hypotheses, we need to take into consideration the possibility that it partly may reflect an enhancement of the average frequency of responsible alleles in large populations. If this hypothesis is correct, it means that the average germline mutation rate must now be much higher in the populations concerned, compared with the natural mutation rate in hominid ancestors before the agricultural and industrial revolutions. This is compatible with the high prevalence of impaired human semen quality in several countries and also with what is known about high levels of total exposure to several different unnatural chemical mutagens, plus some natural ones at unnaturally high levels. Moreover, dietary deficiency conditions that may lead to enhancement of mutation rates are also very widespread, affecting billions of people. However, the natural mutation rate in hominids has been found to be so high that there is apparently no tolerance for further enhancement of the germline mutation rate before the Eigen error threshold will be exceeded and our species will go extinct because of mutational meltdown. This threat, if real, should be considered far more serious than any disease causing the death only of individual patients. It should therefore be considered the first and highest priority of the best biomedical scientists in the world, of research-funding agencies and of all medical doctors to try to stop the express train carrying all humankind as passengers on board before it arrives at the end station of our civilization. [XS emphasis]

(Mutational load is, of course, genomic entropy — and the kind of ‘Social Darwinian’ or eugenicist mechanisms that might dissipate it are all, today, strictly unthinkable.)


June 13, 2015admin 21 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Apocalypse
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Chaos Patch (#63)

(Open thread + links)

Possibly an ‘Order Patch’ this week (we’ll see). The function of filters. Diasporic social capital. The role of the remnant. Fear of endarkenment. Hail harshness. Madmen melancholy. On inclusion. All publicity is good publicity (hmmm), relevant, plus monarchy stuff. Future Primaeval gets going. Friday fragments. The lightning round.

Murray is starting to scare people. Just wrong.

America’s mad Frankenstein foreign policy. The desert grows. Why the left loves Islam. Imprisoned assets. South Africa’s slide into the abyss. What sound government looks like.

Warring trendlines. Doomed Britannia.

Raspail’s vision.


Meta-processed twin data. Galactic collisions.

Alexander on AI risk and concern representation.

The history of racism. Black ice.

RIP John Nash.

May 24, 2015admin 44 Comments »
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Chaos Patch (#59)

(Open thread + links)

Discrimination watch. Rehabilitated inquisition. More on de Jouvenel, plus. Eucivic engineering. Criminal law collapses. The corporate slave class. Scharlach on Dyal on D&G. Fragged Friday. Weekly roundups.

SoBL on Yemen (linking this), Russia, and Venezuela. Euro-American comparisons (1, 2). Smart-nation Singapore. World Bank make-work.

“In a fiat currency system, perception is, by definition, everything.” From Georgism to propertarian cities. The use of ‘silliness’.

Genetics of IQ (related?). Wishful thoughtlessness.

When Malcolm X met the Nazis. Down the Jewish rabbit-hole (video). Outsider trolling. Bonald on racism.

On Bork on liberalism. Can free association be recovered? Hood and Neovictorian on Hillary. Safe spaces.

A hole in the universe. Entropy and aliens. Space-elevator update.

April 26, 2015admin 68 Comments »
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After the counter-revolution, when the most ludicrous Lysenkoists have been cast down from power, it will be necessary to undertake a scrupulous examination of horizontal genetic transfer. Among the stream of data received from Existoon on the topic, this line of inquiry is definitely notable. The phenomenon in question is introduced well here:

Within our bodies resides a dynamic population of microbes forming a symbiotic super-organism with whom we have co-evolved. Recent investigations indicate that these microbes majorly impact on cognitive function and fundamental behavior patterns, such as social interaction and stress management. The collective microbiome comprises a myriad of bacteria of approximately 10^14 cells, containing 100 times the number of genes of the human genome. Despite evolution of this microbiome for 500 million years, only recent advances in sequencing technology have allowed us to appreciate the full complexity of the host–microbe interrelationship. The gut microbiota is a highly developed organ of immense metabolic complexity and has approximately the same weight as the human brain. It is now clear that the gut microbiota plays a key role in the life and health of the host by protecting against pathogens, metabolizing dietary nutrients and drugs, and influencing the absorption and distribution of dietary fat. However, the influence of the microbiota extends beyond the gastrointestinal tract, playing a major role in the development and functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). Among the many substances produced by the gut microbiota are key central neurotransmitters whose influence extends beyond the enteric nervous system to the brain. [See original for references.]

Under present cultural conditions, in which the imperatives for wishful thinking — and even raw, institutionally mandated dishonesty — are so extraordinary, I doubt that significant cognitive resources can be spared from the primary task of defending basic Darwinism against the aggressions of Cathedral religious ideology. That does not mean the rhizomatic (lateral-reticulated) model has been addressed with any detailed adequacy, but only that, in a ruined culture, its time has not yet come. Perhaps the Chinese can get on with it in the interim …

ADDED: Contagious insanity (via).

April 17, 2015admin 7 Comments »


While this blog generally seeks to spread dismay whenever the opportunity arises, it cannot pretend to a huge obsession with what might be described as ordinary racism. When perusing the thought-crimes of the mainstream racist community, it is continually afflicted by a sense of overwhelming unreality. This is not (of course), because races do not exist, or do not differ significantly, or … whatever. The most politically incorrect cognitive position on almost every point of this kind is reliably closer to reality than its more socially-convenient and comforting alternatives.

The problem with ordinary racism is its utter incomprehension of the near future. Not only will capabilities for genomic manipulation dissolve biological identity into techno-commercial processes of yet-incomprehensible radicality, but also … other things.

First, a sketch of the existing racism-antiracism contention in its commonplace or dominant form. The antiracist, or universal humanist position — when extracted from its most idiotic social-constructivist and hypocritical alt-racist expressions — amounts to a program for global genetic pooling. Cultural barriers to the Utopian vision of a unitary ‘human’ gene pool, stirred with increasing ardor into homogeneous intermixture, are deplored as atavistic obstructions to the realization of a true, common humanity. Races will not exist once they are reduced, by practical politics and libidinal indiscriminacy, into relics of contingent historical partition. In contrast, racial identitarianism envisages a conservation of (comparative) genetic isolation, generally determined by boundaries corresponding to conspicuous phenotypic variation. It is race realist, in that it admits to seeing what everyone does in fact see — which is to say consistent patterns of striking, correlated, multi-dimensional variety between human populations (or sub-species). Its unrealism lies in its projections.

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September 29, 2014admin 76 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Quote notes (#98)

A passing comment from Peter Frost, on the changing tides of civilization:

Lab work will probably have to be offshored, not because it’s cheaper to do elsewhere but because the “free world” is no longer the best place for unimpeded scientific inquiry. A Hong Kong team is conducting a large-scale investigation into the genetics of intelligence, and nothing comparable is being done in either North America or Western Europe. Cost isn’t the reason.

July 27, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations
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Misbehaving Science

Comedy gold at New Scientist — it really needs to be read to be believed. Kate Douglas reviews Aaron Panofsky’s book Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the development of behavior genetics, rising to a glorious crescendo with a restatement of Lewontin’s Fallacy (without giving any indication of recognizing it). If this book and review are panic symptoms, which seems highly plausible, Neo-Lysenkoism has to be sensing the winter winds of change. In any case, it somehow all went wrong for them:

The founding principles of social responsibility suffered, usurped by a responsibility to the discipline itself and to scientific freedom. And controversy bred controversy as the prospect of achieving notoriety attracted new talent. In short, the field became weak and poorly integrated, with low status, limited funding, and publicity the main currency of academic reward. This, according to Panofsky, is why it is afflicted with “persistent, ungovernable controversy” …

As a guide to what regional Cathedral breakdown looks like, this works quite well.

July 15, 2014admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn
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The Prussian

If you’d asked me what I think about The Prussian yesterday, I’d probably have assumed you were talking about Frederick the Great. Today I’m seeing his stuff mentioned all over the place (at least, by Bryce on Twitter, and Scott Alexander at his place). The two pieces being especially recommended share a tack (interesting) and a tone (impressive). The Outside in response to both is unsettled, but already uneven. At the very least, they initiate a conversation in a way that is unexpected and worthy of respect.

The highlight for me was this (to repeat the second link):

… when differences in African and Caucasian distributions of the ASPM gene that is involved in brain development, racialists jumped to argue that this was the long looked for basis for white cognitive supremacy (Derbyshire’s line). Unfortunately for them, it turned out that the variation does not affect IQ, but does affect the ability to hear tones, and is associated with a lack of tonal languages.

To be honest, this is a lot more interesting than any IQ mumbo-jumbo; that Indo-European languages (‘Aryan’ languages to use the term correctly, and not in the disgraceful way it was used) are non-tonal is one of the big puzzles, and may be a reason why civilization got started in these regions. This is a variant of Joseph Needham’s hypothesis of why China ‘got stuck’ at a certain level of technology. Needham argued that the Chinese failed to make the break to the conceptual level of science that the ancient Greeks did, and part of this is to do with the concrete-level of Chinese vocabulary. By contrast, the reduced sound range and hence, reduced word range available to Indo-European languages may have played a crucial role in making that initial great breakthrough.

Has the case just been made for a clearly identifiable genetic predisposition to digitization? It sounds that way to me.

ADDED: Theden gets serious on the genetics of tonal language.

ADDED: A critique of the Anti-Racialist Q&A at The Right Stuff.

April 19, 2014admin 56 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations