Sunday, July 29, 2018

What to say if someone tells you America hasn't done enough to stigmatize racists

If someone complains that America has not done enough to stigmatize racism, you tell them this:

Jeffrey Dahmer killed, mutilated and ate many victims, and nine of them were black. When prosecutors asked him if he had something against blacks, he answered, "Whoa, whoa, slow down! Yes, I killed, mutilated, and ate a lot of black guys, but I did it because I LIKED them. I may be a lot of things, including a cannibal, but I am NOT, I repeat, NOT A RACIST!!!" (True story, I just paraphrase.)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Meta-analysis: Iodine supplementation raises IQ

Studies have shown that individuals with a moderate to severe iodine deficiency have an average IQ that is 13.5 points lower than others.

These studies, however, were only based on correlations or were quasi-experimental designs. This meta-analysis located two random clinical studies that administered iodine supplementation to children who lived in areas (one study was in Albania, the other in New Zealand) with mild to moderate iodine deficiency.

Here is the impact on IQ:

If we focus on the adjusted numbers, children who received the iodine supplement scored more than 1/2 standard deviation (sd) higher on perceptual reasoning (a moderate improvement) and more than a 1/4 of an sd higher on the global cognitive index (a noteworthy improvement).

Two studies of less than 500 kids is not bad, but it would be nice to see more studies of this type and the experimental effects on kids when you give pregnant moms the iodine supplement.

This type of research gets little attention from liberals because: 1) it recognizes the reality of intelligence, 2) it is biologically oriented, and 3) it is the type of intervention that is way too easy, inexpensive, and sensible.

Friday, July 27, 2018

A black in 2018 is a person, not some grand symbol of America's sins

Watching Roseanne's interview on Hannity got me thinking about how elite Americans think about blacks. When they think of Valerie Jarrett, they don't think of one person with a particular biography. They think of this enormous black organism that lives now and suffered the wounds of slavery and Jim Crow in the past. Blacks born in, say, 1980, are regarded with reverence, as if they are Holocaust survivors, as if they were whipped many times by their owner.

Ordinary Americans like myself look at someone like Jarrett and simply see a person. A person who has had a good life and should be regarded as anyone else. She doesn't live in a system where she is a second-class citizen. She's not some grand symbol of America's sins, she's just Valerie. She should be judged just like anyone else.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

UNIVERSAL finding: 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants are MUCH more criminal than parents/grandparents

I ran across an interesting study that looks at immigration and crime. In typical fashion, it doesn't do a good job of looking specifically at illegal aliens because the government does not keep good stats on this population.

The author reviews 125 studies from many countries. He cites the well-known finding that immigrants overall have lower crime rates than native-borns. He fails to stress that this is not the case in Europe. Immigrants are more criminal there. He does acknowledge that not all immigrant groups are the same: some have high rates of criminality, some don't.

He does a decent job of explaining why immigrants sometimes have lower crime levels: 1) they are typically older than the most crime-prone age group (15-24); 2) they are sometimes better educated; 3) they are typically employed here; and 4) their foreignness makes them self-conscious. I would add that being in a foreign country makes a person more fearful, and fearful people try to stay out trouble. Immigrants are much more fearful of police than natives.

But then we get to the headline of this review. ALL research indicates that second- and third-generation immigrants are much MORE criminal that their parents and grandparents. This is a universal finding. The author chalks it up to social factors like not being able to mainstream, etc.

You should consider a genetic perspective to make sense of these research findings. You've got to be a risk-taker to leave your home country and start a new life in a new place, especially if the move is very difficult. You have to be the type of person who sees a distant goal, typically more money, and will do whatever the hell it takes to get it. So immigrants have more of these traits than the average compatriot they leave behind.

But the children of the immigrants for genetic reasons tend to turn out not much different than the typical person from the Old Country. And so it goes for future generations.

Americans need to take the long view. When a person, legal or illegal, moves to our country, we don't get an individual, we get a family line. That person might leave 100 descendants over the next few decades. What kind of population do you get?

For example, first-generation Mexican immigrants probably have been risk takers and goal-oriented, but many years and tens of millions of people later, you have a population that is comparatively poor, prone to gang formation and crime, allergic to education, and that votes Democrat. And neither the free market nor all the social programs in the world will change that brute reality.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The American Journal of Public Health twists data to make cops look racist

This new study by the prestigious American Journal of Public Health reports that the rate that US males are killed by police is 1.9 to 2.4 per 100,000 population for blacks, 0.8 to 1.2 for Hispanics, and 0.6 and 0.7 for whites. The authors then stress that we need to reduce this racial disparity in killings by police.

The authors conveniently leave out the fact that people who get shot by law enforcement are the ones: 1) who interact with the police the most, and 2) who resist the police the most. These two facts explain the higher numbers among blacks and Hispanics. But why explain that when you have an opportunity to portray cops as racist?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

You would think a continent this size could produce at least one First World country.

Check out this map. You would think a continent this size could produce at least one First World country.

Does perceived racial discrimination screw up teenage victims?

This new meta-analysis of 214 studies and more than 90,000 participants found that adolescents who perceive more racial discrimination tend to be more depressed, distressed, aggressive, sexually risky, drug abusing, and they have more deviant friends. They have poorer self-esteem, lower academic motivation and achievement. In other words, they are the problem kids.

Of course, all these liberal researchers assume that racial discrimination is driving victims to negative behavior. It's more likely that disagreeable, cynical, suspicious, and hostile people interpret ambiguous interactions as racist, buy into the message that their society is oppressive, and at the same time they have more emotional and behavior problems than trusting, agreeable people.

This is a huge analysis conducted by researchers who seem very concerned with the well-being of adolescents. All racial groups are studied here... except whites. The possibility of white teens suffering from racial mistreatment doesn't seem worth even looking into. Not in 214 studies. Whites are the oppressors, after all.

Of course, the reader who is paying attention may accuse me of being suspicious and cynical for suggesting that anti-white discrimination exists. Well, I never claimed to be a sweetheart.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Which oil for cooking is the healthiest? A meta-analysis of 54 trials

This new meta-analysis of 54 randomized studies looked to see which oils improve your cholesterol the best.

The authors found that you can bring down your bad cholesterol (LDL) by eating the following oils instead of butter: safflower, sunflower, canola, flaxseed, corn, olive, soybean, palm, coconut, and even beef fat. All these were better than butter for total cholesterol, and safflower, sunflower, canola, corn, and soybean oil beat lard for total cholesterol.

Compared to lard, safflower, sunflower, canola, corn, and soybean did better on LDL. And sunflower was better than olive and palm oil.

For raising the good cholesterol (HDL), safflower turns out to be the loser. Sunflower, olive, palm, coconut and even beef fat are improvements. Sunflower, olive and beef fat are better than soybean. Coconut and palm beat soybean as well as corn oil. The researchers, however, say there's evidence that high HDL might not reduce your cardiovascular disease risk, so LDL seems to be more important.

For triacyglycerols--fat levels--sunflower, soybean, and palm oil are superior to butter, while safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and palm are better than beef fat.

Maybe you didn't need all that, but the big depressing news is that butter--which I love--stinks, and it looks like sunflower oil is the grand champion. I don't see it around as much as other oils, but according to experimental research, it seems to be the healthiest choice.

Myself, I like it when science contradicts the cool people who tell me I need to eat olive and coconut oil 24/7.

UPDATE: The Russians like sunflower oil, but I swear I did not post this research because they have something on me.

Friday, July 20, 2018

New study: High rate of underweight black newborns due to genes, not racism

A new study finds that several gene variants in African-Americans help explains why they have underweight newborns twice as often as whites. For example, two of the DNA points (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) that affect birth weight vary a great deal by race; for one point, 69% of pure Africans carry the weight-lowering version, while only 2% of Europeans have it. For the other point, it was 91% for Africans and 23% for Europeans.

Now the race-deniers tell us that blacks and whites don't differ on genes, but do these percentages seem the same to you?

Next question, why would Africans frequently have genes that make their babies smaller--a trait that predicts health problems down the road?

The honest answer is, I don't know. But this does remind me of Phil Rushton's theory that blacks and whites have different "evolutionary strategies"; that evolutionary pressures have shifted blacks toward a more "quantitative" approach to reproduction, whereas whites and East Asians are shifted toward "quality" offspring--fewer of them, but greater investment in each one. Baby-enlarging genes have supposedly been selected for among whites and Asians.

Whatever the explanation, this study shows strong evidence that black newborns tend to be smaller, not because of some social disadvantage imposed by racist whites, but because of genes and evolutionary differences.    

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meta-analysis of clinical trials: Eat walnuts

I am always looking for easy eating choices that are good for you. This new meta-analysis of 26 clinical trials looked to see if walnuts make a difference. The authors found that daily consumption of walnuts significantly lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol--the "bad" stuff that clogs arteries. It also reduced triglycerides or fats in the blood. HDL, the "good" cholesterol, remained unchanged.

The researchers found that subjects who ate enough walnuts so that it was 10-24% of their daily energy intake got more benefit than those at the 5% level. So for someone about my size--5' 10", 180 pounds--you should probably eat roughly 2 ounces per day.

Of course, all of this assumes that conventional medicine is right about cholesterol and triglycerides.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Consciousness explained naturally? Doubt it

From Amazon's description of a new book on consciousness:
How can the seemingly immaterial experience of consciousness be explained by the material neurons of the brain? There seems to be an unbridgeable gap between understanding the brain as an objectively observed biological organ and accounting for the subjective experiences that come from the brain (and life processes). In this book, Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt attempt to demystify consciousness―to naturalize it, by explaining that the subjective, experiencing aspects of consciousness are created by natural brain processes that evolved in natural ways. Although subjective experience is unique in nature, they argue, it is not necessarily mysterious. We need not invoke the unknown or unknowable to explain its creation.
I haven't read the book (it's not out yet), and maybe I can find the time, but call me a big skeptic. My experience from the inside IS immaterial and is categorically separate from the material universe as understood by science. I assume these authors will more or less argue that my subjective experience is some sort of trick generated by my brain. This is simply absurd. I THINK the material world is real, but like the philosophers tell us, for all I know some demon is causing me to hallucinate the world. But I KNOW with utter certainty that I am really experiencing stuff right now. If that is to be doubted, all bets are off.  

A new book will tell you who you really are

I'm excited to read this new book by leading behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin. From the book description:
A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent life-long sources of our psychological individuality―the blueprint that makes us who we are. This, says Plomin, is a game-changer. It calls for a radical rethinking of what makes us who were are. Plomin has been working on these issues for almost fifty years, conducting longitudinal studies of twins and adoptees. He reports that genetics explains more of the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Genetics accounts for fifty percent of psychological differences―not just mental health and school achievement, but all psychological traits, from personality to intellectual abilities. Nature defeats nurture by a landslide.
The science should have flipped our understanding of human nature by now, but cultural elites are so allergic to reality, educated Americans still understand people to be a product of their upbringing. If a kid is a drug addict and white, they blame the parents. If he's black, they blame an unjust society. If public opinion reflected the science, people would say, "Poor bastard--he's got bad genes." Sure, there are other factors, and choices matter, but genes are the 800 pound gorilla.

This just shows that people, even those at the top of society, form their opinions based on what they want to believe, not based on the data. For years I didn't want to believe the genetic research, but it's simply too compelling.   

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How to be right about people

If you want to be right about people, taking biology and evolution seriously is a big help.

A few years ago, researchers started telling us how the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin make us more loving and caring toward others; that biologically, we have this kumbaya side to our nature.

I was skeptical because I know that human genes, like those of all animals, have been selected over deep history to produce people who care about themselves and their families at the expense of others. We're not put together to sacrifice for all humanity like we would for a daughter.

So I was not surprised to learn from more recent research that, yes, oxytocin and vasopressin make us more nurturing, but only towards the ingroup; you know, friends and family. Towards outsiders, the hormones cause us to feel more, shall we say, ill-disposed.

It's almost as if you have two kinds of people: 1) those who are selfish and don't care about groups, and 2) those who love and sacrifice for the ingroup, and dislike the outgroup. And the true humanitarian--the man who would lay his life down for a stranger as quickly as he would his mother--is a rare specimen, indeed.

New study finds hundreds of genes that affect IQ

Gene studies of intelligence these days are mind-blowing. There's a new one practically every week. This new one is a meta-analysis of 14 studies of whites that totals 270,000 individuals. 

The researchers examine the link between 9.2 million gene variants and IQ. Turns out that it's difficult to detect the impact of a single gene because most traits--and intelligence is no exception--are caused by hundreds if not thousands of genes. The authors found that between 139 and 1,016 genes influence IQ, depending how strict the method used. Collectively, all the single points that varied (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) and were found to matter explained around 20% of the variation in intelligence. That number will likely go up as studies get more powerful.

Further analysis revealed that the relevant genes are linked to how the brain develops and functions: neurogenesis, neuron differentiation, regulation of nervous system development, regulation of synapse structure and activity. Being smart simply means you've got a brain that works really well. 

The authors also found that the genes that explain IQ also increase longevity and lower one's risk of Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and ADHD. The picture emerging is that some people are lucky and have genes that lead to a wide range of healthy outcomes, while the unlucky ones might suffer from a range of problems. The only exception reported in the study was autism: IQ genes were linked to more autism. 

A bi-directional relationship was found for IQ and educational attainment; while IQ led to more schooling, more school also boosted IQ. 

Since our culture creates unrealistic expectations by telling us, "You can be whatever you want," one goal of this blog is to inject a little adulthood with Clint Eastwood's, "A man must know his limitations." There is wisdom in the view that you do have some say in your life, but where you end up is partly beyond your control. At the risk of sounding like a liberal, go easy on yourself and others.   


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What causes a person to climb the ladder of success?

Here's the abstract from a new genome-wide association study on social mobility. Sounds about right to me: 
A summary genetic measure, called a “polygenic score,” derived from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of education can modestly predict a person’s educational and economic success. This prediction could signal a biological mechanism: Education-linked genetics could encode characteristics that help people get ahead in life. Alternatively, prediction could reflect social history: People from well-off families might stay well-off for social reasons, and these families might also look alike genetically. 
A key test to distinguish biological mechanism from social history is if people with higher education polygenic scores tend to climb the social ladder beyond their parents’ position. Upward mobility would indicate education-linked genetics encodes characteristics that foster success.  
We tested if education-linked polygenic scores predicted social mobility in >20,000 individuals in five longitudinal studies in the United States, Britain, and New Zealand. Participants with higher polygenic scores achieved more education and career success and accumulated more wealth. However, they also tended to come from better-off families.  
In the key test, participants with higher polygenic scores tended to be upwardly mobile compared with their parents. Moreover, in sibling-difference analysis, the sibling with the higher polygenic score was more upwardly mobile.  
Thus, education GWAS discoveries are not mere correlates of privilege; they influence social mobility within a life. Additional analyses revealed that a mother’s polygenic score predicted her child’s attainment over and above the child’s own polygenic score, suggesting parents’ genetics can also affect their children’s attainment through environmental pathways. Education GWAS discoveries affect socioeconomic attainment through influence on individuals’ family-of-origin environments and their social mobility.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Natural selection led to racial differences in susceptibility to disease, Part II

In Part I, I introduced the idea that blacks and whites differ in how their immune systems react to pathogens, and this is due, in part, to evolution having affected relevant genes.

Here in Part II, I lay out the research evidence summarized in this study. Compared to whites, the immune systems of blacks have a stronger gene response to immune stimulation, especially the genes related to the activation of inflammatory responses. Blacks often have higher frequencies of alleles (i.e., one variety of a gene) associated with stronger proinflammatory responses to infection.

Two studies illustrate this. One tested how macrophages (i.e., a type of large white blood cell) responded to two different types of infections, and the other on monocyte (i.e., another large white blood cell) response to several pathogens such as the human seasonal influenza A virus. On average, 21% of the relevant genes appeared to show different expression between whites and blacks, and 16% of the genes reacting to immune stimulation showed that blacks had a more intense response.

Differences in genes that regulate other genes explain much of the racial difference in immune response. One variant is found in 67% of whites but only 4% of blacks. The authors found that this one difference explained from 27 to 91% of the black-white difference in immune response to various infections.

While the authors write that we have not studied very much the extent to which positive selection has contributed to racial differences in immune response, they cite at least seven studies that report signs that evolutionary pressures have caused the racial differences. Some of the relevant diseases include malaria, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), celiac disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and systemic sclerosis.

The researchers suggest the possibility that there is an "evolutionary conflict between mounting a strong inflammatory response to effectively fight pathogens and avoiding the detrimental consequences of acute and chronic inflammation, which can lead to tissue damage and the development of autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases."

We have recently learned that 2% of the ancestry of humans outside of Africa is Neanderthal. This may help explain the black-white differences in immune response. Higher levels of Neanderthal admixture can be detected in immune system genes in Europeans and Asians. Regulatory gene variants from Neanderthals have been found to affect the immune responses of Europeans, especially the responses to viruses.

All these racial differences in genes and immune systems are really weird since "race experts" tell us that this race stuff is just an hallucination dreamed up by evil white people.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Natural selection led to racial differences in susceptibility to disease, Part I

Here's a figure from a new study that reviews research on racial differences in immune system response. Notice how the regions with the highest abundance of pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) are the northern half of South America, central sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and southeast Asia.

The graph also traces important moves humans have made over the past 65,000 years, and the right panel shows that people with European ancestry suffer from high rates of death from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, while those with SSA ancestry experience a high incidence of mortality from cardiovascular disease, surgical complications, meningitis, diabetes, septicemia (blood poisoning), kidney inflammation, perinatal death, asthma, childbirth, and HIV.

In the next post, I'll summarize the evidence presented in the study that immune system genes show signs of evolutionary adaptation to the different pathogen environments that races have lived in.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Another benefit of white male privilege: High rates of brain cancer!

Liberals instruct us that white male privilege is all-powerful and pervasive. Then they compare black and white statistical differences to support their contention. Of course, they are very selective since blacks and other so-called oppressed groups come out ahead all the time.

Take, for instance, brain cancer. This new study of the US between 2000 and 2014 (almost 250k cancer patients were identified) reported that the incidence of glioblastomas--the most common (and very deadly) type of brain cancer--is around 1.5 times higher in men than women. The chart below shows that whites face more than twice the risk of getting a glioblastoma compared to all minority racial groups. (Even Hispanics who identify as white have a significantly lower rate.)

Not only do whites suffer from higher rates of brain cancer, the study concluded they are significantly less likely to survive for 1 or 5 years, so there is no evidence that whites get health care biased in their favor.

If oppression by whites produces these kinds of results for minorities, please God turn me brown!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Testosterone makes men prefer high-status goods

Here's a new study on the impact of testosterone (T). In a placebo-controlled experiment of 243 men, giving a dose of T increases preference for status brands over brands of similar perceived quality but lower status. T also makes men have more positive attitudes toward high-status goods, but does not affect how they feel about power-enhancing or high-quality goods.

Interesting how T makes us like status, not power. I guess the difference is that power is not necessarily socially-approved, but status is. 

This study did not include women, but it appears that T makes men more concerned with rising in the social hierarchy, and we signal our position through status goods. This has gotten to be a more subtle game as elites have embraced the t-shirts and shabby jeans of the working man, but our nature cannot escape hierarchy. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...