Fumento and Wikipedia

Michael Fumento
complains about his Wikipedia article:

An Aussie named Tim Lambert has as his raison d’etre attacking anybody who is more intelligent, more successful, and more relevant than he is. That leaves him with 6.3 million targets — more or less. But I ended up on his radar screen by making fun of him, as I am now. So he attacks me in any way he can, which as it happens is limited to the only two outlets in the whole world that will deign to publish him — his blog and Wikipedia. (Perhaps at some point his blog will say “Enough is enough!” but probably not.) Nor will Wikipedia reject him. I have many outlets because I work for a living.

Indeed as Fumento will tell you over and over again, his column goes out to over 350 newspapers. Oops, I almost forget — Scripps Howard dropped him because of an undisclosed $60,000 payment from Monsanto.

But Lambert does nothing but teach a few computer science courses so he has something I don’t, namely time. So he blogs, and blogs, and blogs and frequently enough attacks me. Worse yet, he uses Wikipedia to the same end. At one time I tried to pull one of his false attacks down from my Wikipedia entry but Lambert, with far more time than I have, simply kept putting it back up. Moreover, he then accused me — horror of horrors! — of having the temerity to change my own Wikipedia entry. Ultimately Lambert won out simply because, as I said, he has more time. That doesn’t seem quite fair; but that’s the way the Wiki works.

Fumento used a sock puppet to repeatedly remove a link to some of my criticism of him. If you look at the page history you’ll see that he is wrong to claim that I kept putting it back up. I didn’t add the link originally and only restored it twice. The other ten times it was replaced by others who did not believe Fumento’s claim that it was a “false attack”.

The way the Wiki works is that even someone like Fumento who is determined to get his way and is willing to put in the time to repeatedly edit his entry will not succeed if he acts unreasonably because many others will undo his changes.

Comments

  1. #1 Nabakov
    July 12, 2006

    My rational, sober, judicious, reasoned and objective view of Michael Fumento is that he really looks like a real creep.

    The kinda wannabe Alpha male who bellows a lot at servicepeople, stiffs hospitality workers on tips, clicks his fingers at flight attendants and freaks out airport hotel callgirls with unusual requests – “I am a single serve of reheated Chicken Kiev brimming with melted cheese and you are a spork in heels”.

    Of course I could be utterly wrong here. Callgirls aren’t that easily freaked out. But I think it’s pretty clear he’s one humourless man who spends a lotta time impressed by the view in the mirror but never sees the joke.

    Of course yer no fashion plate yerself Tim but at least there’s a twinkle in your eye unlike Fumey boy’s black-eyed hammerhead shark stare.

    I say this kinda shit so you don’t have to. No need to thank me. I like doing it.

  2. #2 Meyrick Kirby
    July 12, 2006

    Tim Lambert … attacks me in any way he can, which as it happens is limited to the only two outlets in the whole world that will deign to publish him — his blog and Wikipedia (my emphasis added)

    While Fumento has published his criticism on … err … his blog.

  3. #3 Peter Bickle
    July 12, 2006

    Hello Tim
    When is this blog going to start dealing with science? To call it a science blog is a bit mis leading! All this site is dealing with is character assaination and politics.
    Wikipedia is hardly a great science reference as it seems to crop up here a lot.
    Regards
    Peter Bickle BSc, MSc (Hons)

  4. #4 Meyrick Kirby
    July 12, 2006

    Peter,

    Your comment displays 2 traits:

    1 – It’s wrong and demonstrates you haven’t read much of this site.
    2 – It’s ironic since you’re clearly coming from a politically biased perspective.

    Regards, Meyrick Kirby BAcc (Hons, 1st class) MSc (& hopefully soon PhD)

  5. #5 Bill O'Slatter
    July 12, 2006

    How did he come up with the 6.3 million people smarter than you Tim. Take the population of the planet and divide by a 1000?

  6. #6 Jack Lacton
    July 12, 2006

    Meyrick,

    In fact, in recent times I have been thinking of posting a similar comment to Peter’s. This blog seems to have degenerated somewhat with Tim making more posts about individuals he has issue with (Fumento, Trott etc) rather than actually posting anything of scientific value. Even his posting re global warming have been somewhat softer, and lacking in analysis, than has been the case.

  7. #7 Peter Bickle
    July 12, 2006

    Hi all

    Thanks for your support Jack. Meyrick, how much of this site do you think I have read? Also, how is this ironic, because I am right leaning politically? I am interested in seeing how much you know about me!
    What I wrote is pretty factual. I am right on the political spectrum, but so what. There is no real analysis of science here at all presently.
    BTW, what is your PhD in?

    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  8. #8 Steve B.AgSci (Hons) Mphil PhD Bll Sht
    July 12, 2006

    Peter and Jack, you’ve provided me with a good laugh. Can’t fault Tim’s arguments so, as a last resort, you’re picking on the style of his blog. Good science and the Right have never been further apart.

  9. #9 Peter Bickle
    July 12, 2006

    Hi Steve
    In fact Tim’s arguments are not about science, it is about personalities recently, quite frankly a lot of it is personal opinion about ones actions, no science at all, take for instance this subject we are blogging on. BTW, I did my BSc and MSc in chemistry, did you get your PhD in the contents of bullshit:).
    Does the new world order state that to show good science you have to be a limp wristed liberal lefty? I have done good science in my time in R&D but I am a right winger, does this mean what I achieved was wrong and lies?
    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  10. #10 Steve Prmy. Schl. High Schl.
    July 13, 2006

    Peter, whether replication involves using the exact same original methodology to reproduce a particular set of results not a suitable topic for science blog? Hmmmmmmmmmm……..

    Perhaps instead of bravely posting your almighty scientific qualifications and questioning others you’d care to comment on the topic at hand?

  11. #11 Meyrick Kirby
    July 13, 2006

    Peter,

    how much of this site do you think I have read?

    Judging by a Google search, not much.

    It’s ironic, because you seem to be implying political bias.

    Does the new world order state that to show good science you have to be a limp wristed liberal lefty?

    No, but providing reasoned logic with evidence is not a bad start towards good science. My own minor contribution to this site is noting the errors in the work of Dr Peiser, for example.

  12. #12 Harald Korneliussen
    July 13, 2006

    If there were only 6.3 million people in the world who were “more intelligent, more successful, and more relevant” than me, I’d be quite content with that.

  13. #13 Ian Gould
    July 13, 2006

    Yes according to Michael Fumento, tim is smarter, more successful and more relevant than 99.9% of the qworld’s population.

  14. #14 Peter Bickle
    July 13, 2006

    Hi Meyrick
    So if I do not leave a message, I have not read the site? A quick google search is desperate, must have so much free time doing a PhD. Anyway, like I said there is no science here at all, if you want real science go to sites that deal with issues and proof of workings. Talking of reasoned logic what do you think of McIntyres splintering of the Hockey Stick? Funny how clones on this site do not say anything about this. That is real science.
    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  15. #15 Bongob
    July 13, 2006

    Dear me, this is all getting very bad tempered very quickly.
    I’m sure I’ve never ever become any calmer as a result of being thus advised by a stranger on the internet but who knows, perhaps it may work this time.

    I’m sure we’d all agree that these blogs shouldn’t just restrict themselves to pure research: one of the things blogs do best is keep track of the wider debate surrounding science issues, and that will necessarily involve the claims and counter-claims of individual advocates in that debate. If Blogosphere Celebrity Advocate #1 makes a claim with which BCA#2 disagrees (let alone can prove to be simply factually incorrect), how is the debate served by remaining silent? How is it better science not to refute incorrect claims?

    Never mind who started it, Fumento posts claims about Lambert. OK, he actually posts a personal attack on Lambert, but let’s be nice for now. Several of the claims are factually incorrect (or is that in any doubt?), and Lambert posts to rebut them. You can disagree or disapprove of Lambert’s style, but the substance of his post was a response to specific claims and criticism. If you don’t like the personal attacks on Fumento made by Nabakov, those are his own comments, not Lambert’s post. What should he, or any scientist have done?

    As it happens, I do have reservations about some of Lambert’s prose stylings, but have been unable to fault his science, and have been impressed by his contribution to several key areas of scientific debate. It doesn’t matter if his style or conclusions are inconvenient to me – his evidence and reasoning are persuasive (and if you have any specific criticisms of them, I’d be keen to hear them).

  16. #16 per
    July 13, 2006

    >he is wrong to claim that I kept putting it back up. I … only restored it twice.

    !

    Peter Bickle’s point seems well made. It is not clear to me where the science is in TimL’s post, nor in Nabakov’s “he really looks like a real creep”.

    As I say, it seems like a reasonable comment, so it is no surprise to see rather emotional backlash, rather than reason.

    yours

    per

  17. #17 Peter Bickle
    July 13, 2006

    Hi all
    Bongog, I am not getting bad temperered. But as I have stated before, hardly any science going on here. Science blog by name, but hardly any science to be seen.
    there was a lot more science on TLs last blog site.
    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  18. #18 Ian Gould
    July 13, 2006

    “Talking of reasoned logic what do you think of McIntyres splintering of the Hockey Stick? Funny how clones on this site do not say anything about this.”

    Yeah, you won’t find any discussion of the Hockey Stick here. None at all. no sirree.

  19. #19 Ian Gould
    July 13, 2006

    “… a limp wristed liberal lefty?”

    Nothinmg like a bit of reflexive homophobia to elevate the tone of the conversation and establish one’s intellectual superiority.

    But I’m just a dirty yid so what would I know?

  20. #20 Meyrick Kirby
    July 13, 2006

    Peter,

    So if I do not leave a message, I have not read the site?

    I’m willing to bet it’s a pretty good indicator. Got any better ideas? You have failed to provide any evidence that you have read any substance amount of this site. You know, evidence, tends to figure largely in science and other academic disciplines.

    A quick google search is desperate, must have so much free time doing a PhD.

    Taken literally your statement is contradictory. I guess your claiming that PhD students are lazy. Funny, you were so quick to strut out your own qualifications, but when it turns out that others have superior academic credentials, suddenly qualifications don’t matter. Logically inconsistent wouldn’t you say? You know, logic, again something that figures largely in science.

    Talking of reasoned logic what do you think of McIntyres splintering of the Hockey Stick?

    If you had been reading this site you would know I have stayed quite on the Hockey Stick debate. Until I get round to learning more about PCA and other latent variable statistics I will keep my thoughts to myself … unlike you I only state things when I’ve carefully thought things through, rather than throwing aimless tantrums.

    Anyway, like I said there is no science here at all, if you want real science go to sites that deal with issues and proof of workings.

    Duh, read my previous link. I can provide more if you want.

  21. #21 John Cross
    July 13, 2006

    Peter:

    You got me good. I thought you were serious until you mentioned Climate Audit. Tim has repeatedly tried to engage one of the administrators of the site on the topic of thermodynamics and has been shut down by Steve and insulted by others. I myself have been subjected to personal insults by members of the CA site for things I did not even post on CA.

    However if you wish to discuss the science I have an idea. Why not discuss why the hockeystick matters to the science of global warming. Or if you wish to stay on topic perhaps you could justify Fumento’s view of global warming.

    Regards,
    John

  22. #22 Ben
    July 13, 2006

    Peter,

    Perhaps it might be better to put it this way. Tim’s blog is particularly interested in the politics of science and in particular how it various personalities and groups cherry pick and misrepresent it in order to present a distorted picture.

    Tim addresses this in two ways – by identifying a pattern of behaviour among the protagonists and by showing their “scientific” arguments to be false.

    Sure, it’s not all pure science all the time, but the unifying theme of the blog is “science” broadly, and more particularly the intersection of science and politics.

  23. #23 Mark Shapiro
    July 13, 2006

    John Cross and Ben –

    Here, here. Thanks especially to John for posing the question:

    “Why not discuss why the hockeystick matters to the science of global warming?”

    That is a question I ask myself nearly every time I read ClimateAudit. The other question that comes to mind is: well, what has the global average temperature been for the last 1,000 years or so?

    By the way, the one time that CA actually tried to add to the science, didn’t they confuse degrees with radians or something? And didn’t TIm L catch this huge error?

  24. #24 Mark Shapiro
    July 13, 2006

    BTW, I do believe that ClimateAudit has asked many reasonable questions and helped get the data out to the public. They might have made a sizeable contribution.

    If only there wasn’t such meanness there.

  25. #25 JB
    July 13, 2006

    When it comes to misinterpretation, misrepresentation and sometimes outright distortion of science, it is difficult if not impossible to separate the action from the actors. So, discussing one necessarily means discussing the other.

    Just one person with misconceptions and/or distortions and a media mechanism for spreading them can a do an inordinate amount of damage (even if unwittingly).

    It is important that the inaacurate claims of such people be exposed and corrected.

    Some may not think this is science, but it is important nonetheless.

  26. #26 Ompus
    July 13, 2006

    Ian Gould hinted at this earlier, but let me make it more clear…Fumento states:

    An Aussie named Tim Lambert has as his raison d’etre attacking anybody who is more intelligent, more successful, and more relevant than he is. That leaves him with 6.3 million targets — more or less.

    With a world population of @6,500,000,000, Fumento’s assertion may be restated thusly: Lambert is smarter, more successful and more relevant than that 99.903% of potential target. This begs the question… Tim, with enemies like these, who needs friends?

  27. #27 Jim
    July 13, 2006

    “I have many outlets because I work for a living.” And I guess Tim doesn’t work for a living. Wow.

  28. #28 JB
    July 13, 2006

    Logically, it would make some sense that Fumento meant to say: “That leaves him with 6.3 billion [as opposed to million] targets — more or less.” (ie, he meant to say that “Nearly everyone in the world is smarter than Tim Lambert”).

    But then again, perhaps Fumento is using some alternative logic by which there is no difference between a “million” and a “billion”:

    If 1 zero means nothing, then 6 (or even 9) zeros mean nothing as well.

  29. #29 Tim Lambert
    July 13, 2006

    Dear everybody: please do not feed the concern trolls.

  30. #30 Tim Lambert
    July 13, 2006

    I think JB has twigged what Fumento was trying to say. Too bad he didn’t have number 2 around to correct him.

    Fumento: That leaves him with 6.3 MILLION targets
    Number 2: Ahem. Well, don’t you think you should say that he has *more* targets that that? I mean, 6.3 million people is only 0.1% of the population so that would be an IQ of 146.
    Fumento: Really?
    No.2: Mm-hmm.
    Fumento: Okay then. That leaves him with …..One hundred..BILLION TARGETS!!”

  31. #31 z
    July 13, 2006

    “How did he come up with the 6.3 million people smarter than you Tim. Take the population of the planet and divide by a 1000?”

    This is what I was wondering. Is it a symptom of innumeracy to attempt to insult someone by suggesting that their intelligence is at merely the 99.9th percentile?

  32. #32 z
    July 13, 2006

    “So he attacks me in any way he can”

    Evidence of a sheltered life, I would say.

  33. #33 Bill O'Slatter
    July 13, 2006

    No.2: Mm-hmm.
    Fumento: Okay then. That leaves him with …..One hundred..BILLION TARGETS!!”
    No2 : Do you mean life forms in the universe , sir ? That’s still in his favor.
    Dr Evil: Curse that blasted Lambert he sets traps for me at every stage.

  34. #34 Jack Strocchi
    July 14, 2006

    Nabakov | July 12, 2006 03:16 PM

    Callgirls aren’t that easily freaked out.

    Nabakov, on what basis do you hold yourself forth as an expert on the psychology of “airport hotel callgirls”?
    Just curious.

    Also, why, when you are making a critical comment, do you typically take the “oppo research” stance towards the subjects personality? This inevitably leads to casting sexual innuendo, which is likely unfounded.

    It also looks like you are trying hard to be cool and above it all. That would seem to be uncool, at least in the eyes of those who presume to advise us in such matters.

    I am sure that you have squatted in one or two glass houses, now and then. So your propensity to throw stones could lead to a nasty cut if your true identity were revealed.

    In general it would be nice if the blogosphere lost a little of the personal bitchiness and macho ego shown by Fumento and others.

    I do not exclude myself from this stricture.

  35. #35 Jack Strocchi
    July 14, 2006

    Posted by: Steve B.AgSci (Hons) Mphil PhD Bll Sht | July 12, 2006 11:24 PM

    Good science and the Right have never been further apart.

    Not entirely true. Its true that the political Right are definitely hostile to science, particularly in the USA. This is a major danger to both science and technology, particularly so long as Bush runs the show.

    But many so-called paelo-conservatives on the Right are very well tuned in to good science, particularly the life and mind sciences. For example, “Right-wingers” such as Greg Cochran, John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer and others associated with American Conservative are abreast with the exciting developments in behavioural genetics and evolutionary biology. Cochran is even breaking ground here.

    And don’t try and tell me straight-faced that the political Right is the only main ideological enemy of science otherwise I will split my sides laughing. The cultural Left have shown an equal hostility to science. Large parts of the (non-Darwinian) Left have been at war with science, especially socio-biological disciplines.

    We have just coming out of a generation of non-Darwinian cultural constructivism in the social sciences and humanities. It has left us with the diastrous legacy of political correctness, post-modernist theory and identity politics practice. The Broad Left has suffered by becoming the laughing stock of persons who still believe the evidence of their own ‘lyin eyes, not to mention other more formal sources, such as HGP.

    For some reason Tim L. is loathe to admit the fact that opposition to science strongly corrupts agents on both sides of the ideological border. Despite the fact that sympathetic sources, such as Chris Mooney, are candid enough to concede this point. This ideological bias is the main defect in Tim L’s otherwise worthy efforts.

  36. #36 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    “Cochran is even breaking ground here.”

    Not really, homophobes have been terrified of “catching the gay” for decades if not centuries.

    Describing homosexuality as a “pathogenic disease” isn’t much of an advance on that.

    Nor do I find his arguments for that theory any more convincing that the mainstream view that the persistence of (male) homosexuality despite its reducing the number of offspring is due to a recessive gene which causes the sisters of homosexual men to have more children than the average.

    Then there’s his theory about the intellectual superiority of ashgenazic Jews – but modesty prevents me from commenting on that one.

  37. #37 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    Actually I will make one comment about Cochran’s hypothesis re. Ashkenazic intelligence – it makes a specific testable prediction that IQ will be higher amongst Ashkenazim with a single copy of the recessive gene for Tay-Sachs syndrome than amongst Ashkenazim who aren’t Tay-Sachs carriers.

    Given that many Ashkenazim these days get tested for Tay-Sachs before marrying it should be quite simple to test that prediction.

    “Natural History of Askenazi Intelligence” was published in 2005. Even allowing for academic publishing schedules, I’d expect a follow-up paper fairly soon.

    A further point, Cochran et al assert that there’s no evidence for a “bottleneck”/founder effect to explain the high incidence of Tay-Sachs disease amongst Ashkenazim.

    I guess they must have missed this paper http://www.ftdna.com/pdf/43026_Doron.pdf

    “The Matrilinear Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portait of a recent founder event” (Note – I haven’t checked the publication date on that. If it turns out to have been published after Cochran’s paper spare me the faux-outrage about my “slandering” Cochran.)

    I’m also curious as to how the Tay-Sachs gene can produce higher IQ in Ashkenazic Jews but not in Sephardic Jews when the disease is prevalent in both groups.

    So Jack is that scientific enough for you?

  38. #38 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    As for self-described racist,homophobe and illegal-immigrant-turned-scourge-of-illegal-immigrants Derbyshire, a brief web search reveals little of scientific relevance other than authoring a popular book on matnematics.

    Then again Derbyshire’s ability to simultaneously support the invasion of Iraq, defend the torture of Iraqi prisoners and advocate an immediate and total US withdrawal from Iraq may be indicative of a certain familiarity with uncertainty – be it it quantum or otherwise.

  39. #39 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    Turning now to Sailer, his remarkably ugly homepage doesn’t appear to have anything as mundane as a biography but I don’t see any evidence there or elsewhere of him ever having published anything in any peer-reviewed journal or possessing any qualifications in science.

    Tell me Jack does his research ever reach a higher level than this effect:

    http://www.vdare.com/sailer/latin_american.htm

    “But, then, has creativity ever been the strong suit of the Hispanic world? Can we really expect to find much scientific or artistic talent among immigrants from Latin America?”

    “Murray found 4,002 “significant figures” who qualified for inclusion in his database because they were mentioned in at least half the top reference books in their field. He reserved eight of his twenty categories for Asian subjects such as Japanese Painting and Indian Philosophy. That leaves 3,404 significant figures in the twelve fields open to Westerners.

    So how did Latin Americans do?

    Not terribly well at all: just half of one percent of the most famous scientists and Western artists came from Latin America. ”

    Murray, of course, is the laughable Charles Murray, author of “Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950″.

    Do I really need to take him apart too?

  40. #40 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    http://www.apa.org/journals/features/rev1082346.pdf

    Murray’s arguments re. the genetic basis of IQ (which I assuem Saielr also subscribves to) are pretty well-debunked here:

    http://www.apa.org/journals/features/rev1082346.pdf almost in passing.

  41. #41 Tim Curtin
    July 14, 2006

    Ian: I am still waiting for your own (or anybody else’s)peer-reviewed regression analysis of temperature against CO2 in the atmosphere for anywhere whatsoever on this planet.

  42. #42 z
    July 14, 2006

    “Large parts of the (non-Darwinian) Left have been at war with science, especially socio-biological disciplines.”

    While perhaps correct literally, nevertheless I really doubt the election of officials who give Intelligent Design equal time with evolution in Kansas schoolbooks was by anti-science socialists.

  43. #43 z
    July 14, 2006

    “Describing homosexuality as a “pathogenic disease” isn’t much of an advance on that.”

    Basically, one step up from studying the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. If you don’t believe that there is some anomaly there that can be eventually rectified, then you wouldn’t study it. Nobody is studying the neurobiology of being blond, or of AGW denial. On the other hand (at the risk of being called on whatshizname’s law) the Nazis spent a lot of time and effort trying to elucidate the biological basis of Jew-ism.

  44. #44 z
    July 14, 2006

    “But, then, has creativity ever been the strong suit of the Hispanic world? Can we really expect to find much scientific or artistic talent among immigrants from Latin America?”

    Latin Americans are notoriously underrepresented amongst scholars of the Koran. (I was going to say the Talmud, but then I thought of quite a few, actually).

  45. #45 stewart
    July 14, 2006

    I’m impressed. This is one discussion that followed the usual trajectory of being interesting, then tedious, and is now even more interesting than the source comments. Bravo (and have we stopped posting all our academic credentials now? – pity…)

  46. #46 Jack Strocchi
    July 14, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 14, 2006 07:18 AM

    Describing homosexuality as a “pathogenic disease” isn’t much of an advance on that.

    Cochran did not describe homosexuality as “pathogenic disease” in the sense that the flu is a pathogenic disease. Some other political corrector did that, trying to score a puerile ideological point.

    Your digestion is aided by bacteria. If a gasterentologist concluded that you were harbouring “food germs” would you accuse him of hate speech against the digestive tract?

    Homosexuality is maladaptive from a Darwinian point of view, as is chlmydia or any bacterial product that is contraceptive (alchohol?). Cochran simply hypothesised that bateria might be in part responsible for the expression of this behaviour.

    Ian Gould says:

    Then there’s his theory about the intellectual superiority of ashgenazic Jews – but modesty prevents me from commenting on that one

    .

    I had that theory in mind when I referred to Cochran as “breaking ground”. I will your take your cute remark as a part concession to my point.

    Cochran says:

    Should we drop a theory that has a chance of being correct on the grounds that it might upset people?…The facts of the natural world don’t seem to care what we feel, and our feelings don’t always help in figuring out how things really work.”

    Obviously the same point about the “amorality” of science follows if a theory has a chance to uplift people eg Jews skiting about the geneology of their big brains. Nature plays no favourites, neither should scientists.

  47. #47 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    How about dropping theories because there’s no good evidence to support them?

  48. #48 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    Cochran expounds on his pathogenic theory of homosexuality:

    http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/backup/An_Evolutionary_Look_at_Human_Homosexuality.htm

    “most common and serious diseases that have been around a long time and hit in early life are caused by germs – bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, etc. Evolution doesn’t necessarily make them rare, because evolution is playing on both sides in this struggle: they’re evolving too.’

    So if a disease is common (> a tenth of one percent), hits in early life, has been around a long time (so we know it’s not caused by some new industrial chemical or whatever), and it’s not restricted to people from the malaria zone – it’s probably caused by some bug.�

    But what about homosexuality?�� Well, from this biological perspective, it’s surely a disease. Disinterest in the opposite sex reduces reproduction quite a bit – around 80% in American conditions. Does it hit in early life?��� Sure. Has it been around a long time?��� Certainly.�� Do you find it in non-African populations, people who never lived with malaria?�� Yes.

    So it’s a bug.

    Now that we know that human male homosexuality looks like a disease caused by some infectious organism, the next question is how that could happen – how could some virus change sexual interest?”

    Sounds to me like he’s sayin you can catch the gay.

    Better put some toilet paper down on that public toilet seat.

  49. #49 Jack Strocchi
    July 14, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 14, 2006 07:56 AM

    As for self-described racist,homophobe and illegal-immigrant-turned-scourge-of-illegal-immigrants Derbyshire, a brief web search reveals little of scientific relevance other than authoring a popular book on matnematics.

    Make that two popular books on mathematics. Must have been a pretty brief search.

    Ian, your resort to ideological name calling is juvenile and cuts no ice with me. JD married an Asian, fer crissake. That makes him less racist, in real terms, than you or me. He does not like homosexuality and is honest enough to say it. Maybe he should lie about it, but then that would not be very scientific would it? He is against illegal immigration because…it is illegal. Take it up with Congress.

    Most of the Derb’s science-related journalism consists of bringing ideologically unpleasant science tidings to an unsympathetic audience at National Review. In that sense the Derb shows more independence of mind than most science journalists, since he is definitely biting the hand that feeds him.

  50. #50 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    From the artricle you cite: “To an increasing extent, Derbyshire has differed from his fellow writers at National Review on important subjects. For example, Derbyshire supported Michael Schiavo’s position in the Terri Schiavo case, shows sympathy for class-warfare themes in movies such as Titanic, was critical of Pope John Paul II, ridicules George W. Bush’s “itty-bitty tax cut, paid for by dumping a slew of federal debt on your children and grandchildren”[3], has derided Bush in general for his religious faith and “rich-kid-ness”[4], dismisses small-government conservatism as unlikely to ever take hold (although is not unsympathetic to it), has called for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (but favored the invasion), opposes market reforms or any other changes in Social Security, defended Michael Jackson as harmless, is pro-choice on abortion, supports euthanasia in a fairly wide range of circumstances, and has suggested he might vote for Hillary Clinton as president.”

    Other than his support of euthenasia how do any of the controversies mentioned have anything to do with science?

    For that matter, euthenasia is more a matter of the ethics of science than hard science.

    And isn’t the secular left generally supportive of euthenasia?

    So what you’re saying in effect is that Derbyshire’s writing on the one scientific topic he actually deals with is being unfairly ignored by the left bcause he agrees with them?

  51. #51 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    “JD married an Asian, fer crissake. That makes him less racist, in real terms, than you or me.”

    Only because my Thai girlfriend turned me down.

  52. #52 Jack Strocchi
    July 15, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 14, 2006 08:05 AM

    Turning now to Sailer, his remarkably ugly homepage doesn’t appear to have anything as mundane as a biography but I don’t see any evidence there or elsewhere of him ever having published anything in any peer-reviewed journal or possessing any qualifications in science.

    Ian,

    Please read what I said before going off half-cocked. I said some “paelo-conservatives on the Right are very well tuned in to good science, particularly the life and mind sciences.” My point was that public intellectuals on the Cultural Right had some competent exponents of science journalism in their midsts. This is true even if they think bad thoughts and say them out loud.

    I did not say that the Right wingers I mentioned were out there competing for scientific honours. So your tiresome litany of sins is irrelevant. Not to mention your automatic tendency to stand on credentialism, an intellectual vice that seems pretty common in this blog.

    Obviously I could point to some Right wingers in the H&SS, such as Milton Friedman, Samuel Huntington, who have received scientific plaudits. Right wingers are not so common as Left wingers in the physical sciences, mostly because of the Green sympathies of natural scientists. I am happy about this.

    The general conclusions of evolutionary biologists are certainly punching some pretty big holes in the world view of “social constructivist” Left wingers. The evidence suggests that the observed diversity in social stratification is, in some measure, “biologically conserved”.

    This is kind of a Right-wing finding. But I do not accept it for that ideological reason. I accept it on the basis of evidence. Just as I accept anthropogenic warming, a kind of Left-wing finding.

    Sailer was a originally a market researcher specialising in statistical number crunching of social research. He has broken a number of interesting stories which reqired the scientific analysis of human bio-diverse behaviour.

    He was the first to spot the gigantic hole in Levitt’s abortion-cuts-crime theory way back in 1999. This put him well ahead of the social scientific fan club that emerged to worship at the cult of Levitt’s celebrity.

    His work has also led him to slay a number of sacred ideological cows on both Left and Right wings of public culture. With predictable results for his bank balance. If only more science commentators followed that example, no names no pack drill.

    Ian Gould says:

    Murray, of course, is the laughable Charles Murray, author of “Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950″.
    Do I really need to take him apart too?

    Good luck. There have been plenty of bigger guns than you who have had a go but somehow Murray still keeps punching. Every decade or so puts out another monumental science-related opus that sets the agenda of public discourse. Quick review:

    Losing Gound in the eighties – which gave the intellectual lead to “the end of welfare as we knew it”;

    Bell Curve in the nineties – with the hard ideological edges rubbed off the significant diversity and heritability of IQ is pretty much the scientific consensus as the anaysis of the HGP develops;

    Human Accomplishment in the noughties – just in time to wrap up the Culture Wars debate. This book at least tries to put the CW on an empirically measurable footing.

    This is an impressive achievement which competent intellectual critics and ideological opponents acknowledge. I dont agree with everything that Murray has to say, either ideologically or epistemologically. But he deserves critique by facts and logic, not the “splutter and point” method favoured by Leftist political correctors on this blog and others.

  53. #53 Ian Gould
    July 15, 2006

    Jack, I’ve doen considerably mroe than “splutter and point” unless you’re counting pointing at peer-reviewed articles that contradict your pet theories.

    “Right wingers are not so common as Left wingers in the physical sciences, mostly because of the Green sympathies of natural scientists. I am happy about this.”

    I think you mean “life sciences” here and even then I’m uncertain that you’re correct.

    “This is kind of a Right-wing finding. But I do not accept it for that ideological reason. I accept it on the basis of evidence. Just as I accept anthropogenic warming, a kind of Left-wing finding.”

    I don’t think of either finding as left-wing or right-wing. cienctific theories and findings are either validated (they’ve survived attempts to date to falsify them) or invalidate them.

    As to my “credentialism” I was tryign to find any connection between Sailer and the sciences.

    I should point out here that when I hear sicences I tend to think of the physical sciences and the life sciences first (despite my own academic background being in the social sciences).

    To be honest, Leavitt’s hypothesis stikes me as a trivial and secondary issue and I’ve hardly ever come across mention of it except when you denounce it.

    Even if valid, Sailer’s critique of Leavitt hardly constitutes the massive scientific upheaval you seem to think it does.

  54. #54 Jack Strocchi
    July 15, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 14, 2006 11:34 PM

    Other than his support of euthenasia how do any of the controversies mentioned have anything to do with science? So what you’re saying in effect is that Derbyshire’s writing on the one scientific topic he actually deals with is being unfairly ignored by the left bcause he agrees with them?

    Not even close. Your oppo research into JD is abysmal and does not fill me with confidence. Especially when you talk as if peer-reviewed scientific research is the closest thing to your heart.

    The biggest scientific bee in JD’s ideological bonnet is his crusade to debunk the ID theorists who infest Right wing ideological organs. There are 18,800 google references to John Derbyshire + Intelligent Design so it is no big secret.

    JD is a good science journalist who spends quite a bit of time trying to popularise science amongst an audience which we have seen is not altogether amenable to it. He makes a point of summarising recent findings in behavioural genetics and evolutionary biology and bringing the bad tidings to social constructivists of all parties. That would include the leader of the party he votes for.

    He should be given credit for this, rather than be subjected to a barrage of largely irrelevant or misrepresentative mud slinging.

    This thread expresses symptoms of exactly the kind of ideological bias in science commentary that caused me to make the original comment.

  55. #55 Ian Gould
    July 15, 2006

    “This thread expresses symptoms of exactly the kind of ideological bias in science commentary that caused me to make the original comment.”

    In that cae Jack, take the high road.

    For starters take a look at my comments regards Cochran’s work on Ashkenazi IQ.

    Look at the paper on the genetic evidence for a founder effect and consider what it does to Cochran’s claim that there’s no evidence of a founder effect to explain the high prevalence to Tay-Sachs.

    Go research the incidence of Tay-Sachs in Sephardic as opposed to Ashkenazic Jewish populations and see what it implies for his hypothesis that a Tay-Sachs-linked recessive gene is responsible for the claimed IQ difference between the two groups.

    By the way, my “oppo research” was abotu 30 minutes last night in fornt of the computer with a glass of wine.

    My starting point with Derbyshire was the exact same wikipedia article you referenced. It’s not my fault that the reference which yourself supplied failed to support your position.

  56. #56 Jack Strocchi
    July 15, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 14, 2006 11:08 PM

    How about dropping theories because there’s no good evidence to support them?

    This is a good recipe for epistemological paralysis. It would require all theorists to drop new theories since they usually arrive in their minds without “good evidence to support them”.

    Cochran and Murray’s theories, like all bold and controversial ideas, require more research. Not instant dismissal on the grounds that they violate political correctness.

    In this context, the scientists and public intellectuals I refer to favourably argue that observed social hierarchy is, in part, due to heredity of biological diversity ie they are hereditarians. Anyone who thinks that this Darwinian research program is at odds with good science is intellectually bogged in a quagmire of political correctness.

    I admit that this position obviously has “right wing” implications. Thats life and we shall just have to be brave about it.

  57. #57 Ian Gould
    July 15, 2006

    “Cochran and Murray’s theories, like all bold and controversial ideas, require more research. Not instant dismissal on the grounds that they violate political correctness.”

    Who said anything about “political correctness”?

    Ever hear of Occam’s Razor?

    Why postulate a completely hypothetical connection between Tay-Sachs and intelligence when the founder effect explains the same phenomena and has actual evidence to support it?

    Ditto for the homosexuality and the reporductive success of the sisters of homosexual men.

    Now it occurs to me that Cochran’s pethogenic disease hypothesis, could equally apply to playing Dungeons & Dragons; volunteering for miltiary service and joining celibate religious orders.

    How much time and energy do you suggest we devote to these “bold and controversial hypotheses”?

  58. #58 Jack Strocchi
    July 15, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 15, 2006 03:26 AM

    Who said anything about “political correctness”? Ever hear of Occam’s Razor?

    Oh really? Ian, you started this debate with an ad hominum attack on Cochran.

    homophobes have been terrified of “catching the gay” for decades if not centuries. Describing homosexuality as a “pathogenic disease” isn’t much of an advance on that.

    Then, after I made made mincemeat of this bait, you switched to talking about the validity of Cochran’s other work on Jews. This has very little to do with the thread, which is the uneasy relationship between Right wing intellectuals and scientific methods.

    I contradict this by reference to Cochran et al. And I turn the table by pointing out the veil of political correctness thrown by Left wingers over science that slays their cherished ideological nostrums.

    Your specific criticisms of Cochran’s work are also not very convincing. His work on Azkhenazi IQ is still very much “in play” in scientific circles. See the work of Plomkin and Lahn on the recent evolution of “intelligence genees”. This work obviously substantiates the socio-biological position. Or is this just another con put out by right wing anti-scientists?

    Now it occurs to me that Cochran’s pethogenic disease hypothesis, could equally apply to playing Dungeons & Dragons; volunteering for miltiary service and joining celibate religious orders.
    How much time and energy do you suggest we devote to these “bold and controversial hypotheses”?

    Quite a bit, going by recent developments at the top end of medical sci-tech. These people don’t sound like Dungeons and Dragons freaks to me. But I dont know much about D&D.

    Cochran was a pioneer in the field of the evolutionary theory of bacterial pathogen. He is published in peer-reviewed journals accross the sciences. Perhaps you might care to familiarise yourself with his work before writing him off as some kind of light-weight or dilettante or crank. You might save yourself embarassing revelations.

  59. #59 Ian Gould
    July 16, 2006

    “Your specific criticisms of Cochran’s work are also not very convincing.”

    Then by al means refute the specific counterarguments I provided.

    There’s a difference between arguing for a genetic component for IQ and postulating a completely unproven link between the Tay-Sachs gene and high IQ.

    The latter hypothesis should be easily testable in a number of ways.

    For example, Israel’s Jewish population in 1947 was primarily Ashkenanic. The migration of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews and various other smaller groups occurred later. Over the past twenty or so years there’s been increasing integration between the Ashkenazic community and other groups as witnesseed, for example, by the decline of such languages as Yiddish and Ladino in daily use in favor of Hebrew and this has been accompanied by increasing intermarriage.

    As the percentage of Israeli Jews possessing the Tays-Sach recessive gene has declined, so should the average Israeli IQ – got any evidnece for that occurring?

    As for your claim to have “shredded” my criticism of Cochran re. homosexuality you’ve done nothing of the sort.

    Take the case of Heliobacter and stomach ulcers. The researchers didn’t simply postulate a hypothetical infectious agent and stop.

    They looked for and found a likely candidate, demonstrated that infection with Heliobacter caused a condition believed to be antecedent to stomach ulcers and demonstrated that treating heliobacter infection cured stomach ulcers.

    When cochran et al given any indication of even attempting any of that they will have advanced beyond the “you can catch the gay from a toilet seat” stage.

  60. #60 Ian Gould
    July 16, 2006

    As for the relevancy of the Ashkenazic research to the right wing abuse of science: a difference in observed IQ between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews would be evidence for the importance of cultural as well as genetic factors in measured IQ.

    So the rightists have to manufacture a genetic basis for the observed difference. (Of course, if you conducted the IQ test in Israel, in Hebrew amongst Sabra of Ashkenazic and Sephardic descent it’d probably go away but that’s a different issue.)

    Oh and by the way Jack I can tell you from first-hand experience that any evidence of innate Jewish intellectual superiority will simply be used ot argue that we have an unfair advantage.

    I lose track of the number of tiems I’ve heard variations of “Oh, you;re Jewish? Well no wonder you have such a successful business.”

    No, dickhead, I have a successful business because I worked seven days a week for ten years.

  61. #61 Jack Strocchi
    July 16, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 16, 2006 12:09 AM

    As for your claim to have “shredded” my criticism of Cochran re. homosexuality you’ve done nothing of the sort.

    You have missed my point, or are ducking and weaving. I did not claim to have shredded your criticisms of Cochran’s theory. I shredded your claim that you did not engage in a “point and splutter” politically correct baiting of Cochrans personality.

    I pointed out that you started out by calling him a “homophobe” and suggested he was on a par with homophobes of the past eg Nazis and Inquisition etc. Then you changed tack and got onto the brass tacks of his science.

    But it was too late, you already proved my case by resorting to pee-cee rather than facts and logic.

    Ian Gould says:

    Then by al means refute the specific counterarguments I provided.

    Ian, I did not want to get into a detailed analysis of Cochran’s theories of the genesis of Jewish intelligence. My point is not to prove that Cochran or Jews are geniuses, both of which propositions would be true if his theory was proved true.

    I raised Cochran’s case to show that there was a Right wing public intellectual who was also doing good hard science. This contradicts the opinions often voiced on this blog who deny this probability. Who at the same time turn a blind eye to grotesquely anti-scientific propositions about human nature put out by cultural constructivist Left.

    Cochran’s scientific credibility is established by the fact that the evolutionary theory of pathogenic diseases, which he is a something of a leading light in, is now a high priority med research area. The fact that the gay bug, a possible example of such evolutionary process, has not been found does not refute the validity of his general research programm. It took a long time to find the ulcer bug. They tend to be quite small.

    As to the validity of Cochran’s theories about the evolution of intelligence genes, esp in the Azkhenazis, this is still in play. It depends on the further investigation of the HGP which we both know is in its infancy. Clearly results by scientists like Plomkin and Lahn suggest that this is an enticing area of research.

    All I want to say is covered by the Economist, which points out that Cochran’s theory is consistent with basic evolutionary theory, is in line with our growing knowlege of the HG and makes an empirically testable prediction, the canons of good science:

    the thesis also has a strong point: it makes a clear and testable prediction. This is that people with a single copy of the gene for Tay-Sachs, or that for Gaucher’s, or that for Niemann-Pick should be more intelligent than average. Dr Cochran and his colleagues predict they will be so by about five IQ points.

    So top med-tech researchers are now right into studying the evolution of bacterial phenes. And top genetic researchers are right into studying the evolution of intelligence genes. Cochran, a right wing public intellectual, is a leading light in both fields of research.

    This refutes the claim that Right wing public intellectuals are invariably anti-scientific. The claim that anti-Right wingers do not engage in politically correct attempts to shut down intellectual debate is proven by your own deplorable lapse from normally high standards.

  62. #62 Jack Strocchi
    July 16, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 16, 2006 12:16 AM

    As for the relevancy of the Ashkenazic research to the right wing abuse of science: a difference in observed IQ between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews would be evidence for the importance of cultural as well as genetic factors in measured IQ…So the rightists have to manufacture a genetic basis for the observed difference.

    No, this would not be comparing genetic apples to apples. Azkhenazis are mainly Eastern Europe. Whereas Sephardic Jews are more Middle Eastern. There is sufficient genetic distance between the two groups to render a comparative study inconclusive. In any case there are better tests of this thesis, see above.

    I do not deny the influence of cultural factors in the expression of intelligence. No competent geneticist, whether thought-criming right-winger or holier-than-thou left-winger, would deny this. In fact no sane person could deny the influence of the cultural on a species that evolved culture.

    I merely affirm the influence of natural factors. I used to think that denial of this was insane. But clearly there are many sane people who do deny biology influences psychology. Something else must be going wrong with their thoughts.

    “Rightists” did not manafacture the biological theory of intellectual heredity. It was cooked up by Galton, a liberal, and later somewhat corrupted by the British Eugenicists, who were Left-wingers. No one talks about that skeleton in the Left wing closet that much these days. I wonder why.

    There are some contemporary Left-wingers who accept that sociological stratification is partly caused by biological diversification. Peter Singer, for example.

    Ian Gould says:

    Oh and by the way Jack I can tell you from first-hand experience that any evidence of innate Jewish intellectual superiority will simply be used ot argue that we have an unfair advantage.
    I lose track of the number of tiems I’ve heard variations of “Oh, you;re Jewish? Well no wonder you have such a successful business.”
    No, dickhead, I have a successful business because I worked seven days a week for ten years.

    Congratulations. But of course many others have worked comparable amounts to develop unsuccessful businesses. Capitalist economic rationalism selects for rationality.

    I have always suspected that there was an element of Jewish self-regard that caused so many Jews to become hurt and resentful whenever anyone accused them of being natural-born geniuses. This comment reinforces my suspicion.

    But the most likely cause of Jewish hereditary IQ-phobia is the obvious eugenic implications. Since Jewish superiority in social performance may be partly genetic in origin, the easiest way to compete with Jews would be to commit genocide. The Nazis banned IQ testing when they found Jews outperformed Aryans. As Steve Sailer points out, this is a plausible reason for political correctness about IQ:

    For a decade, I’ve assumed that the Bell Curve controversy wasn’t really about blacks having lower than average IQs, but about Jews having higher than average IQs. After all, history shows it’s much more dangerous to be thought of as smarter than to be thought of as dimmer. So, if all mention of IQ could be banned as insulting to blacks, the thinking went, then nobody would notice how smart Jews are.

    [Full Disclosure: I let out one of my rooms to an Azkhenazi Jew, who certainly tests my brain power with his complicated schemes for calculating rent.]

  63. #63 Ian Gould
    July 16, 2006

    >Azkhenazis are mainly Eastern Europe. Whereas Sephardic Jews are more Middle Eastern.

    Without opening up a huge new area for deabte I will point out that “ashkenaz” means “German” and Sephard means “Spanish”.

    The Sephards migrated to North Africa during the inquisition. The generic term for Jews of middle eastern origin (well recent middle eastern origin) is Mizrahi.

    The paper I referred you to on mitochondrial DNA evidence for a middle eastern genetic origin for the Ashkenaz tends to militate against the idea that they form a distinct separate population to the Sephardim. So does the earlier research showing that amongst Rabbinical families at least there’s been very little outbreeding in the male line. When the Rabbis refer to themselves as Sons of Levi they aren’t kidding.

    I don’t think we’re getting anywhere here.

    Where you see doctrinaire rejection of good science I see special pleading for questionable science.

  64. #64 Jack Strocchi
    July 16, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 16, 2006 05:38 AM

    Where you see doctrinaire rejection of good science I see special pleading for questionable science.

    So Ian, do you in general reject the notions that:

    – molecular genes may be significantly responsible for the linear inheritance of, hitherto inexplciable, diversity in psychology?

    – cellular pathogens may be responsible for the lateral imprinting of, hitherto inexplicable, diversities in physiology?

    And that both kinds of “transmission mechanisms” are subject to Darwinian selective pressure?

    These are the working hypotheses that underly Cochran’s work. They are also obviously central to the Darwinian-Mendelian model of biological development. Maybe Cochran is wrong in his specific hypotheses.

    But his general line of research is very strongly grounded in fundamental principles of the life sciences. Although obviously picking his way through a political correct minefield.

    It would take a brave man to wave all this away as “questionable science”. Or foolhardy.

  65. #65 Ian Gould
    July 16, 2006

    Jack, check the date on the Heliobacter paper in The Lancet that seems to have kick-started the renewed interest in pathogens as causes of diseases previously assumed to be due to environmental or behavioural factors.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=6145023

    I haven’t seen any evidence in my fairly brief examination of the subject of Cochran publishing anything on the topic prior to that.

    His article on the disease theory of human homsoexuality is apparently undated but must have appeared before 1999 when it was referenced in this article, orginally from Out magazine.

    Has Cochran produced any peer-reviewed papers on the patheogenic theory either as it applies to homosexuality or to other diseases?

    For that matter has he published anything more on the topic in the six or more years since?

    A google search for scholarly articles containing the terms “pathogenic theory of disease” and “Cochran” doesn’t produce any papers by, or referencing a “G. Cochran” in the first several pages of results.

    I’m not sure Cochran be said to be doing science, questionable or otherwise, in this field.

  66. #66 Ian Gould
    July 16, 2006

    Actually I have found one paper by Cochran on the topic.

    http://www.isteve.com/Infectious_Causation_of_Disease.pdf

    Cochran, Gregory M. “Infectious Causation of Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective”
    Perspectives in Biology and Medicine – Volume 43, Number 3, Spring 2000, pp. 406-448
    The Johns Hopkins University Press

  67. #67 jade
    July 16, 2006

    Rightists” did not manafacture the biological theory of intellectual heredity. It was cooked up by Galton, a liberal, and later somewhat corrupted by the British Eugenicists, who were Left-wingers. No one talks about that skeleton in the Left wing closet that much these days. I wonder why.

    Oh, what utter nonsense. This is just a rejigged version of the Creationist line that Darwin is responsible for Nazism. People of all political allegiances pontificated about eugenics; in fact, some rightists wanted not only to sterilise people but to stop all poor relief as well.

    Making excuses for “revolutionary” violence is the skeleton in the left-wing closet. There’s no need to make stuff up.

  68. #68 Harald Korneliussen
    July 17, 2006

    “He is against illegal immigration because…it is illegal”

    A citizen in a democracy has to take responsibility for the laws, because he is one of the people making them. The question should be if and why that immigration which is today regarded as illegal _should_ be illegal.

  69. #69 Jack Strocchi
    July 17, 2006

    Posted by: Ian Gould | July 16, 2006 10:54 AM

    Actually I have found one paper by Cochran on the topic.

    Thankyou for this honest, if belated, concession. For a minute there I was going to write: “Oh for Gods sake Ian come off it, you are trying my patience with this ridiculous nit-picking and blatant point-evading.” But you appear to have reared back from the brink in the nick of time.

    Incidentally the Wikipedia article reports that Cochran’s work has been favourably recognised by the highest authorities in the field:

    In 2005, the American Academy of Microbiology endorsed liberalizing Koch’s Postulates, which have been the basis for determining if a disease is infectious since the 19th Century, along the lines Cochran and Ewald proposed.

    I take it that this settles the matter of Cochran’s scientific ability and crediblity.

    Cochran has worked on applying Darwinian theory to the evolution of genes for intelligence. The “Azkhenazi brain gene” is another spin-off.

    Cochran & Ewald have been working on applying the Darwinian theory to the evolution of pathogenic diseases. The gay germ theory is just a spin-off. A good summary of Cochran’s work on Darwinising pathogenic disease theory can be found in this article.

    Cochran is a good scientist. He is also a Right winger. Therefore at least one Right winger is capable of good hard science. It follows that the contrary assertion, given much credence on this blog, is refuted.

    END.

  70. #70 Tim Lambert
    July 17, 2006

    Congratulations on beating up that straw man, Jack.

  71. #71 gcochran
    July 21, 2006

    We looked at some 150 nuclear genes in the Ashkenazi: there was not evidence for a strong bottleneck. Now that recent paper on Jewish mitochondrial ancestry did find that about 40% of Jewish mtDNA came from just four fairly recent women. Interesting. One of the lineages (the one that wasn’t in the K mtDNA haplogroup, I think in the N haplogroup) looked quite likely to be Middle Eastern: that might be true of the two less-common K lineages, while the big K lineage, which accounts for about 20% all by itself, certainly looks as if it is _not_ from the Middle East, since none of its sister lineages are found there. Instead they are found in the Western Mediterranean. I can’t see why those authors said it was from the middle east. Now most Ashkenazi y-chromosomes are from the Middle East – still, if you look at genetic distances (in nuclear genes), the Ashkenazi are three times closer to Europeans than other purely Middle Eastern groups. Has to mean substantial admixture.
    But function is more interesting than origins. Why such a high level of K lineages? Might be selection actring on mtDNA.

    But I suspect I’m being a bit too technical. Let me name-drop: Bill Hamilton thought that my ideas of the causation of homosexuality made sense, so does Trivers.
    Jim Crow and Steve Pinker, among many others, think my ideas on the Ashkenazi make sense. Not proven beyond a doubt, but reasonable and consistent with the data.
    Strocchi just remembers the names I called him for thinking that invading Iraq would be gangs of fun. I am not sure that knowing the cost and requirements of the nuclear weapons production cycle (combined with knowledge of the capabilities of US ‘national technical means’ such as spy satellites) along with googled basic numbers on the cash available to the Iraqi government – leading to the simple conclusion that Iraq had no nuclear program at all – combined with a working knowledge of the history of guerrilla warfare and anticolonial resistance (everything from the Rif War to Vietnam) is exactly the same as being a paleoconservative. But it does help you tell shit from shinola.

    But mostly I do adaptive optics and signal processing when I’m not doing genetics or evolutionary medicine.

    The stuff I’m working on now nis a bit more important than the Ashkenazi work. Just a bit.

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