Daily Data Dump – Friday

By Razib Khan | August 6, 2010 12:35 pm

Have a good weekend.

DNA Dilemma, Day Five: Time to Decide. Mary Carmichael of Newsweek is going to get a personal genomics kit. I predict it will confirm that she is a female of European descent.

Diabetes or Not, Dietary Habits of Aftrican-Americans Are Similar. Remember that there’s variance in white ancestry among African Americans. People with the same environmental inputs may have different risks due to genetic variation.

Recovery Summer. This time it’s different. For real.

A Grand Unified Theory of Palinisms. Jacob Weisberg, Yale grad and Rhodes Scholar, wonders why Sarah Palin says “stupid and ridiculous things.” An easy answer is that she’s stupid. But I think the truth is that Sarah Palin is closer to the norm in intelligence and polish than the typical American politician. In fact she’s probably somewhat above average in intelligence. The fact that she’s a social conservative means that it’s easy for Left-leaning elites to mock her, but if you go to a liberal college town in the Berkshires I’m sure you could talk to plenty of people with the “right” ideology who are totally incoherent and obviously have no grasp of what they’re trying to talk about. I’ve met plenty of liberals, as an example, who regurgitate Paul Krugman columns in a manner which makes it pretty clear they have no idea what he was trying to say (they make errors in transmission which would be obvious to them if they actually understood how the pieces of the argument cohere together, so it seems likely they’re repeating verbatim without any real comprehension).

The Collapse of Complex Societies. This is why productivity growth is so important. We can’t go back, we can only go forward. Else we’ll sink like the Great White Shark.

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  • bioIgnoramus

    One of the signs of a decadent society is that one can get a reputation from recycling old nostrums. Could that be what Tainter did?

  • dan

    I love the comprehensive list of rss feeds you got goin’ at GNXP classic. using coolpreviews i can skim through the best of the best so easily! very cool, thanks.
    here’s one you found already but didn’t include in your link dump is anyone’s interested. CNVs give a 17x increase for schizophrenia.

  • luz


    Your characterization of Palin as above average in intelligence clearly reveals your strong right-wing bias. On what grounds does she seem above average in intelligence? Where’s your evidence that she’s sharper than other politicians? You report to present objective evidence. Yet, you clearly do not. Have you seen any of her interviews? Where has she revealed above average intelligence? Beyond the faux populism there is no substance. I wonder…if she were a different race…say one that you think is lower in intelligence and had a different political orientation would you make such an assertion?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i let luz’s comment through because he/she is a funny retard. i said:

    But I think the truth is that Sarah Palin is closer to the norm in intelligence and polish than the typical American politician.

    and luz-the-retard said:

    Where’s your evidence that she’s sharper than other politicians?

    i think the implication was clear that i think sarah palin is less intelligent than the average national politician. mouth-farters should really bother to read the post before they exhale. college graduates in the 1980s had an IQ of 108. palin graduated college. considering her checkered college career i could push her to the low end, but she managed to have an OK career, and her father is a middle class professional. so i assume she’s above 100 in IQ. but, i would bet she’s below 115, which is why she sounds so painfully dumb. but she’s actually just a normal human being, albeit a bit smarter than average one in all likelihood. IOW, painfully dumb.

    and of course i have a right-wing bias. i’m right-wing. and i’m not a fan of sarah palin, as i have ambivalent feelings at best toward the dull ones. but i don’t let my emotions get out of control to the point where i can’t comprehend what i’m reading, as you obviously did above. or, you could just not be smart enough to understand the implication embedded in that sentence and inverted its direction :-) lol.

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  • luz

    But I think the truth is that Sarah Palin is closer to the norm in intelligence and polish than the typical American politician. In fact she’s probably somewhat above average in intelligence.

    I won’t engage in a back and forth with you because that will be fruitless. I’m simply responding to what you wrote. Conservatives like to give her a break, yet even a dimwit could answer a question like, “what do you read?” That doesn’t take an IQ above 100. This liberal bias characterization just won’t hold.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    luz, you’re a moron, just admit you misread me because you were hysterical. and most people don’t read retard. that’s why she couldn’t answer the question. most people are not very intelligent. perhaps you don’t comprehend that because you’re like most people.

  • luz

    Maybe you’re like most people yourself. Most people result to petty name-calling when someone points out ridiculous statemcents they make. Yet, I digress. This bantering has been entertaining. Yet, I have better things to do to occupy my time. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    here’s the method of discussion i really hate

    1) person 1 assumes that person 2 has said X, instead of !X, because of an ambiguity in prose (being generous here)

    2) person 2 corrects the misimpression

    3) person 1 does not admit that they were wrong, and continues the argument as if their initial impression was correct

    this is not competitive debate. if you think this is, to quote william shatner, get a life. the asshole above doesn’t even know that i’m on the record as saying that there are more liberals at the high IQs than conservatives. the main difference in opinion seems to be that he/she thinks that people in the 100-115 IQ range can seem intelligent when talking “on-the-fly” about policy issues, so sarah palin must be below that threshold. i don’t think that that range is sufficient, and i suspect she’s in that range.

  • Eric Johnson

    > I predict it will confirm that she is a female of European descent.

    LOL, I thought you were saying that the Newsweek writer believed she might be an XY female and part Armenian or something. I scanned it for like 30 seconds, then realized you meant something else.

  • https://bluetenlese.wordpress.com M. Möhling

    razib, why don’t you pet the katz or hug the missus instead? btw, luz = Spanish: light). A low watt bulb it seems. You’re funny sometimes–maybe these transhumanist brain enhancing pills have side effects like steroids.

  • https://bluetenlese.wordpress.com M. Möhling

    that’s funny, no preview or confirmation message for my preceding (otiose) comment. It contained links, aren’t they allowed? It should say so.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i guess 2 is the limit. i let it through though.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i’m an equanimous person in real life :-) but i have found that not tolerating shitty behavior is the best way to discourage the slide toward usenetism in the comments.

  • Yawnie

    Bush’s IQ is supposed to be about 130 .

    John Gotti’s IQ was tested at 150 in high school

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    more like 125. such values are subject to error, but you might as well use the real value if you’re going to be repeating a orecise number. and lots of people with high IQs get real high scores at some point in life because of measurement error + repeated tests for those with higher than average IQ.

  • Tom Bri

    It is probably pointless to say anything about Sarah Palin, but it is just possible that she sounds dumb in political conversation simply because she hasn’t much experience in it. A small town mayor then governor for a short time, in a very isolated political environment, she simply is not experienced in the national political debate.

    Razib, a person with an IQ of 115 can speak very intelligently about politics, if that has been his interest for a long period. A genius IQ would speak stupidly if they had spent the last few decades uninterested in politics.

    Consider the even dumber things Joe Biden spits out, and he has been at the top of the national scene for decades. And claims to be a genius.

    Palin strikes me as a very average person, but her political success in Alaska, against entrenched political cronyism suggests to me that she must have something besides just looks going for her.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Razib, a person with an IQ of 115 can speak very intelligently about politics, if that has been his interest for a long period. A genius IQ would speak stupidly if they had spent the last few decades uninterested in politics.

    i agree with the first. but i am not as sure on the second. many super-brilliant people i know say many dumb, uninformed, and incoherent things about politics. but they do not sound dumb. to the non-intelligent their arguments often “feel smart.” if you really know facts the transparency of their lack of knowledge is clear, but it’s a matter of substance, not style.

    john mccain has an IQ of around 130 according to a navy test. he’s lazy and not intellectually oriented, but he’s quick on his feet, and is a serviceable bullshit artist.

    And claims to be a genius.

    he’s lying. he graduated near the bottom of his law school class at a tier-three or something. unlike mccain he doesn’t seem like a serviceable bullshit artist, and is more like palin. the difference is that he’s had a lot of time to practice faking it.

    the person i’m interested in is lindsey graham. his SAT score was about 100 points below the national norm at 800 (on a 1600 scale). that could be a low ball estimate that came through measurement error; he passed the bar apparently. but i have a hard time believing that unless he has an undiagnosed learning disability that he could score so low and have an IQ 115 or above. it could be that graham is mccain’s inversion; he does through hard work and caution what mccain can manage by being quicker than average.

  • Yawnie

    John Gotti astounded everyone by testing at 150 in high school , ( teachers thought he must have cheated somehow ), as a young man in prison his IQ tested at 140 ( a much later one came out as 110 but there was no incentive for Gotti to be thought clever at that stage). FBI agents listening in on Gotti holding court despised him but they had to admit he was a good storyteller. So Gotti came across as intelligent in conversation. Palin does not.

    Mega don Carlos Marcello (a self made billionaire in todays dollars) found it impossible to do basic arithmetic. The point is that Marcello had virtually no competition in Louisiana compared to what Gotti faced in New York . Governor in Alaska counts for not very much against the impression she gives of being dim.

    Joining the army is a strange choice for a young lawyer, Graham’s decision is probably a sign he worried about his ability to succeed .

  • Tom Bri

    Well, I did say I thought her fairly average. I just find her success, even in Alaska, against experienced pols who despised her, to be an indicator of something, either intelligence, or character, or maybe extraordinary luck. Her continued ability to drive Democrats to raving lunacy entertains me. She does to the left what Bill Clinton did to the right: make them look like idiots by stealing their punch lines.

    She strikes me as a right-populist, and we haven’t had a real one of those on the national stage in a while.

    I am all in with your comment about very smart people sounding intelligent, even when saying stupid things. I don’t comment here very often, simply because I know I don’t know a lot about cutting edge science, even though I studied it twenty plus years ago. I am not smart enough to carry it off, and I don’t care to argue with people who are probably not only smarter than me, but up to date on the science as well. Every once in a while you write about something I have experience in.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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