Daily Data Dump – Wednesday

By Razib Khan | August 4, 2010 3:56 pm

Does Coffee Work? Maybe.

Interfaith Marriages Stir Mixed Feelings. In regards to the mixed Jewish-Methodist Mezvinksy-Clinton marriage. American Jews worry a fair amount about intermarriage. As a small religious minority (with ethnic connotations because of the descent-group national understanding of Judaism) Jews are right to be worried about intermarriage rates on the order of 25-50%. But I do have to suggest that a probabilistic understanding of the threat that intermarriage poses to Jewish religio-ethnic integrity would help. It stands to reason that it is easier for two people from Jewish backgrounds to foster a Jewish household than in the case where one person is from a Jewish background and another is not. But there is no categorical guarantee in any of the combinations of the matrix, and in a world where intermarriage is a reality switching from dichotomous/categorical models to more probabilistic ones probably yields more juice.


Relatives of Individuals With Autism Tend to Display Abnormal Eye Movements. If the heritable component of autism has a “threshold” aspect I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised.

Culture Wires the Brain: A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective. In the early 2000s The Geography of Thought presented the cognitive psychological literature in this domain, so I’m not that surprised. But, it would be nice to compare continental Europeans to Anglo-Americans and East Asians. It turns out that in terms of many cognitive biases continental Europeans are mid-point between Anglo-Americans and the rest of the world. If the neural differences are an outcome of cultural input then you’d see that continental Europeans would be at mid-point. If the differences are hard-cored through genetics somehow then one would expect continental Europeans to but indistinguishable from Anglo-Americans.

Virginia Heffernan Is Our Target Audience. “Inside baseball,” but still of interest.

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  • http://occludedsun.wordpress.com Caledonian

    Do people actually have rational reasons for wanting to perpetuate a cultural identification? Or it just an instinctual urge that they rationalize post-hoc?

  • dan

    “Do people actually have rational reasons for wanting to perpetuate a cultural identification?”

    if i were a Jew then heck yeah. they’re so ridiculously successful i wouldn’t want to dilute the bloodline either. keep mating with your own and order up another 200 Oscars, Emmys and Nobel Prizes. probably the same for southeast asians, japanese and whites ([-joke which might be misinterpreted redacted -razib])

  • http://occludedsun.wordpress.com Caledonian

    Are there any reasons for maintaining cultural identity other than dubious eugenic goals?

  • dan

    “Are there any reasons for maintaining cultural identity other than dubious eugenic goals?”

    there’s nothing dubious about it. this is how reality works, has worked and will work for generations. you might want to familiarize yourself with things called “facts.”

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

    fight! fight!

  • dan

    HOLD ME BACK, RAZ! HOLD ME BACK. …………..HEY, YOU WANNA TUMBLE, BRO?!?

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

    re: cal’s original point and cultural perpetuation. i think the question is like asking someone whether they have a rational reason for being them, and not someone else.

  • dan

    yeah, it is. “Hey, do you guys really have any good *reason* for wanting to continue being awesome??” probably hasn’t seen the actual list of Jewish Nobel winners vs. everyone else…

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

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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