It’s not sexist to accept that biology affects behaviour. Sex differences would be less controversial if everyone understood some statistics, or at least distributions. As it is, I have had a friend with a college degree (albeit, this was a sociology graduate) explain that on average men do not have greater upper body strength, as she had known men who had less upper body strength than she did (she was a relatively tall female, so I could accept this contention in relation to her and some smaller male she had encountered). And yes, she was refuting an assertion about an average with one counter-example, and frustration ensued when I tried to point out that her one counter-example was not refutation of the possibility of an average difference! I know that behavioral differences are much more controversial, but there isn’t even a point in going this far when a substantial proportion of the population is skeptical of basic physical differences like size and strength.
In Darwin Family, Evidence of Inbreeding’s Ill Effects. Charles Darwin worried about this a great deal (this was a theme in Creation). The risks of first cousin marriage, assuming no other inbreeding in earlier generations (as among inbred clans and ethnic groups), can be stated innocuously or ominously. Innocuously: “There is a 1 out of 50 chance of your child having a recessive disease.” Ominously, “You increase the probability of your children having a recessive disease by a factor of 10.” The ominous warning presages the societal problems that ensue when consanguinity is widespread. Saudi Arabia for example is developing a world-class specialty in rare recessively expressed diseases because of the combination of widespread cousin marriage (in fact repeated cousin marriage within lineages probably produces far higher inbreeding coefficients than with typical first cousin marriages in the West) and oil-generated wealth to invest into a robust health sector.
Monday Pets: Where Did Cats Come From? If cats had not domesticated humans, some other mammal would have.
What’s the Greek Economy Really Like? Bryan Caplan infers that the Greeks deceived about their GDP because most government workers in Greece (25% of the work force) don’t add any value to the economy. Unless you’re an old school command economy socialist I suspect most people can accept the contention that beyond a basic and necessary level public sector employment in many societies tends to turn into avenues for patronage, rent-seeking, and a basket of sinecures. Great story…but it turns out that Caplan’s number on the proportion of Greeks in government employ was wrong. I just heard on the radio a commentator point to the fact that 25% of Greeks are on the government payroll as the primary systemic issue. But if the premise is wrong, so is the inference.