Daily Data Dump – Thursday

By Razib Khan | September 30, 2010 11:21 am

Should you go to an Ivy League School? “Clearly, going to a top-ranked school seems to deliver far higher earnings at age 28 than poorer ranked schools. In fact, the relationship is highly non-linear. Contrary to what you may have heard (“All top-ranked schools are the same”); it in fact looks like the difference between top-ranked Harvard and 9th ranked Dartmouth is on the order of ~$4,000 a year (perhaps $100,000-$200,000 over the course of a lifetime?).”

The Other Social Network. Speaking of non-linearities: “And of course there’s the H-Factor. “I think the name had a lot to do with it,” says Ting. “When we go to a school and say this site is from Columbia, it doesn’t carry the same marketing punch as, This is from Harvard.”


Bronze Age Mediterraneans may have visited Stonehenge. “The new evidence shows that ‘the Boy with the Amber necklace’ spent his childhood in a warm climate typical of Iberia or the Mediterranean. Such warm oxygen values are theoretically possible in the British Isles but are only found on the extreme west coast of South West England, western Ireland and the Outer Hebrides. These areas can be excluded as likely childhood origins of his on the basis of the strontium isotope composition of his teeth” Migrations in the days of yore….

The Uncanny Accuracy of Polling Averages*, Part I: Why You Can’t Trust Your Gut. The Cowles Commission found that stock market newsletters weren’t effective in increasing returns to subscribers. But they also concluded that the “demand” was too strong for them ever to not be a part of the investment scene. The same with verbal punditry which doesn’t take model-based quantitative form. Of course the proof is in the pudding, macroeconomic models haven’t done better than simple heuristics in predicting economic performance, but the economy is a more complex system than an election.

The Judgment of the Future. Remember that history is not always Whiggish. Secular intellectuals in the 19th and early 20th centuries of a progressive bent, such as Jack London and H. G. Wells, were amongst the most enthusiastic promoters of a systematic and more efficacious race-based Social Darwinism. Even though conservatives, whether they be Christians in the West or Confucians in the East, were racialist in any modern sense, they were much more moderate than the more ‘scientific’ progressives in their attitudes toward the ‘lower races,’ and definitely closer to contemporary ‘right thinking’ norms than the secular futurists of 1900.

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  • onur

    I think progressive racialist thinkers didn’t perceive the innovativeness of their own racial attitudes as something negative but, quite the contrary, something positive, because, as the term implies, they were progressive and innovative in their way of thinking.

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

    because, as the term implies, they were progressive and innovative in their way of thinking.

    from my cursory reading of wells’ racial thinking i think he rationalized it by assuming that in terms of utility white people experienced more fullness of life. it was an evolutionary framework. london is an example of someone who though more obviously rationalized preexistent racial sentiments, common among american whites, into a left-progressive socialist frame.

  • Diarmid Logan

    The new evidence shows that ‘the Boy with the Amber necklace’ spent his childhood in a warm climate typical of Iberia or the Mediterranean.

    Why is this such a surprise? The builders of Stonehenge were probably R1b which is very common in both Britain and Iberia.

  • Anthony

    Item #4 – this is why American political creationism exists. Political/social conservatives of the late 19th/early 20th century were faced with some really awful ideas from the Social Darwinists, who claimed that Darwin’s theory of evolution logically led to eugenics, etc. Most non-social-darwinist intellectuals of the time weren’t really up to the task of showing that Social Darwinism, eugenics, etc. does not logically follow from evolution of species through natural selection, and therefore, combated the eugenicists by attacking their root premise.

    The Catholic Church, since it has intellectuals in the sciences and humanities, was able to figure out that a) Social Darwinism does not logically follow from Darwinism, and b) that Darwin was pretty much right. Since their intellectuals already knew that literal trutherism was not something they could accept (for reasons which have nothing to do with evolution), they were able to escape the trap.

    Recent protestant political conservatism tends to rely on being anti-abortion to keep their flocks from voting for liberals, but there are still plenty of battles over other moral issues where the left appears to be animated by a darwinistic theory, and so the creationists come back, denying evolution and insisting on the literal truth of the Bible in order to combat sexual promiscuity, for example.

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

    the two faces of williams jennings bryan illustrate the difficulty of mapping modern terms to those of 1900. he was a radical populist on economics, but also opposed to social engineering predicated on darwinism.

  • miko

    “other moral issues where the left appears to be animated by a darwinistic theory”

    I’m intrigued…like what? Reforming agricultural practices?

  • Katharine

    I thought we had pretty much gotten past the ridiculous notion of scientifically-justified discrimination – I’d say the vast majority of us in the sciences think it’s bullsh*t, anyway. Evolution, while it happens, is not an excuse for that sort of social discrimination and doesn’t even really make a judgment at all about human races, especially with more modern knowledge of human genetics and statistics. (Although there are times these days when I wish natural selection might make it harder for people with very little brain.)

    Apparently most of the rest of the population hasn’t gotten it.

  • miko

    Katharine, my experience on this blog is that you will soon be informed by a slew of non-biologists exactly why human biology provides us with reasons for accepting–if not actively enjoying–all sorts of social inequality.

  • Anthony

    Miko – I probably shouldn’t have used the word “darwinistic” there – really, it’s a more general animus against supposedly rationalist/scientistic policies, including support for homosexuality “because it’s inborn/genetic”, support for more immigration based on arguments which boil down to “they’re just like us”, demands for more regulation and higher taxes based on exaggerated statements of scientific findings, etc.

    Razib – is William Jennings Bryan really so different from, say, Mike Huckabee?

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

    is William Jennings Bryan really so different from, say, Mike Huckabee?

    yes. huckabee talks about being against the economic conservatives by tacking to the middle. jennings really was an economic populist.

  • miko

    “… support for homosexuality “because it’s inborn/genetic””

    No, it’s because it’s no one’s business + equal protection clause + freedom from the religious mores of others. Welcome to America.

    So there’s an animus against “scientistic” policies but demands for policies based on scientific findings? I’m trying to tease this apart, but I think you’re the confused one.

  • Yawnie

    The composition of the population in Western societies of the future will make it inevitable that current Western society will be judged harshly for attitudes to race which are now regarded as enlightened.

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

    yawnie, that makes total sense. that’s why white racial sentiment was always so much stronger in new england than in the american south. now that new england is getting more diverse people can speak less freely, just like in the south. similarly, the sweden democrats entered parliament only because the swedish electorate is getting more homogeneous and they could freely express their opinions.

  • Yawnie

    HG Wells was 100 years ago, so go 100 years into the future, I’m not talking about getting more diversity.

    They’re going to be the majority, nothing can stop that now.

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

    didn’t know i have a mathematical modeler in the house! and one who can predict 100 years into the future with certitude! though i guess it makes sense, look at latin america, whites are in the majority and they’re forced to be so racially sensitive. that’s how they manage monopolize the commanding heights of politics in most of these societies. it all makes sense now.

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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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