Open thread, 9-5-2012

By Razib Khan | September 5, 2012 10:59 pm

Forgot to post this last week I think. Same as usual. Be nice. And I’ll be nice too!

  • Darkseid

    How much of the disparity in intellectual abilities between Indian castes is due to genes? Have they been isolated for so long that this is measurable? I looked this up and didn’t find much of use for a “normal” person to understand.

  • Superfast Jellyfish

    In light of Razib’s recent comments about comments, here’s the comments policy from Barry Ritholtz’s blog:

    “Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.”

    (That said, I seem to remember he didn’t see eye to eye with Steve Sailer.)

  • Superfast Jellyfish

    I got to wondering about the effects of the internet on religious belief and found that this guy had a go at it using GSS data:

    Any thoughts on this? He finds that internet usage reduces religious affiliation, though obviously it’s hard to tease out causation vs correlation and I don’t know that there’s a great way to do so.

  • Andrew Selvarasa

    #3. Worked for me. When I was sixteen, I was spent my nights on Wikipedia, and over a period of six months, eased my way out of devout Evangelical Christianity to…a grumpy atheism akin to that of Walt Kowalski’s from “Gran Torino”.

  • Joe Q.

    Razib, I’m interested in what your “day job” is (generally speaking). The biographical sketch in the side-bar gives some info about your past experience, but I’m curious about how someone with such broad interests as yourself actually “pays the bills”.

  • J

    Question for Razib or anyone-Do we have any inkling what the heritable component of religiosity is? Clearly there is no “God gene”, but what combination of heritable character traits have the phenotypic effect of making someone prone to believe in imaginary persons and magical explanations for the world around them? And why does this suite of behaviors also lead to higher fertility, etc?

  • J

    J – just search for it there’s been countless posts on that

  • Brel

    Razib, when will we get that survey that you promised us a couple of weeks ago?

  • Razib Khan

    #1, yes, they’ve been isolated long enough i think. according to the reich et al paper from 2009.

    day = 1
    end = 365
    while (day < end)
    system(shower, etc.)
    system(check blog comments)
    system(into office, shell scripting for breakfast)
    system(perl for lunch)
    system(R for dinner)
    system(shell scripting for dessert)
    system(dinner, daughter, etc.)

    perhaps i'll get more specific some day, but i like to keep my life at least moderately separated :-)

    #8, i'll get to it. just been busy with shit.

  • Ed

    #1 “How much of the disparity in intellectual abilities between Indian castes is due to genes?”

    Would we ever truly know until Indians reach a comparable standard of living across castes? Especially considering most of the environmental factors negatively affecting cognitive development are associated with substandard living.

    On a side note, how do we add formatting to our comments?

  • Karl Zimmerman

    1. I’ve seen “trait maps” before of hair color and eye color. I’m wondering if anyone knows of, and hopefully has links to, maps which show global incidence of traits like hair curliness, hairiness, and male pattern baldness? I know I’ve heard anecdotal things, particularly about the latter two, but I’m unaware of any scientific study.

    2. My results from 23andme came in today, and I downloaded my genome and ran it through gedmatch for ANCESTRY information. I wonder if someone could give me some guidelines on how to interpret it. I am, according to the Dodecad 12Kb:

    North_European – 42.41%
    Atlantic_Med – 38.06%
    Caucasus – 9.34%
    Gedrosia – 7.25%
    Northwest_African – 1.18%
    Siberian – 1.08%
    Southwest_Asian – 0.53%
    Sub_Saharan – 0.09%

    My ancestry is, officially 1/2 German, 1/4 Irish, 1/8 English, 1/16 Swedish, and 1/16th Portuguese (or maybe Sephardic), although since I’m only approximately 25% of each grandparent (etc) the actual results may differ, even if I’m correct on my actual ethnic ancestry four generations back.

    Regardless, Oracle matches me to German/Dutch and British Isles populations overall, which isn’t surprising. But I’m curious about the smaller portions of my ancestry. My Gederosia component seems low for a Northern European population, while the other minor components seem high. I’d be inclined to assume that my 1/16th Portuguese/Sephardic ancestry is the reason for most of this, barring the Siberian, which is just plain weird (Saami?).

    But am I really reading too much into the data, given I’m just a single data point and not a population? Does looking at your own admixture really tell you anything?

  • Razib Khan

    Does looking at your own admixture really tell you anything?

    yes. you’re talking 1 million SNPs. if someone is 1% SS african, and they’re europe. that’s significant. i doubt 0.1 is though. i have a little bit middle eastern from my mom. i looked at where it clustered, and the different middle eastern elements tend to be “near” each other. this comports with what i know about my mom’s family. her maternal grandfather had significant persian ancestry (he was from the muslim upper class of delhi, and relocated to bengali).

  • Razib Khan

    1. I’ve seen “trait maps” before of hair color and eye color. I’m wondering if anyone knows of, and hopefully has links to, maps which show global incidence of traits like hair curliness, hairiness, and male pattern baldness? I know I’ve heard anecdotal things, particularly about the latter two, but I’m unaware of any scientific study.

    look at google books. anthropologists used to be interested in this stuff.

  • Razib Khan

    On a side note, how do we add formatting to our comments?


  • Karl Zimmerman


    When I look at the GEDmatch chromosome mapping, my Caucasus ancestry seems mainly on a few chromosomes, and mainly in big chunks. It makes me wonder if I had a more recent ancestor with elevated Caucasus ancestry (maybe Askenazic) within the last 5-10 generations, that such large chunks remain uncombined.

    Also, I tried to use the Dodecad populations as composites to see how I differed from expected norms (e.g., 50% German, 25% Irish, etc). Since I don’t know if my Portuguese ancestry is Sephardic or not, I ran it both ways. My N European, Gederosia, and SW Asian ancestry still come out too low, and my Atlantic_Med, Caucuses, NW African, Siberian, and SSA ancestry too high. The variation is actually far greater, measured as a percentage difference from the expected composite, for the lesser components than the greater, but I’d suppose this would be expected, as once you’re down to a few percent of something, provided it’s still somewhat “chunky” and not evenly distributed on the genome, it would be easy to be enriched or denuded.

  • Razib Khan

    if you send me your data i can add it to my list for further analysis.

  • S.J. Esposito

    I wonder how many of us here have daily schedules that look eerily similar to Razib’s up there…

  • Chuck

    “#1, yes, they’ve been isolated long enough i think. according to the reich et al paper from 2009.”

    I came across this paper which shows moderate differences (i.e., around 0.5 SD) between “upper” and “lower” castes in PPVT and Raven’s based on a nationally representative sample. That doesn’t seem to be a super large difference, given the socioeconomic disparities.

  • Razib Khan

    #18, i don’t know about the psychomet. just sayin’ that endogamy seems to be on the order of 2,000 years genetically.

  • pconroy


    I’m Irish with no known Jewish ancestry, yet have a number of 100% Jewish matches, as do my parents. On more detailed analysis – fastIBD – my father shows, Ashkenazi, Moroccan/Sephardic and Iraqi/Sephardic segments. My wife’s results show greater Jewish admixture, likely Ashkenazi on her mother’s side and Sephardic on her father’s side.

    If you are interested in small amounts of “exotic” ancestry, them try the Harappan World Calculator in MixedMode, which tried to seperate admixed individuals into 2 components that best match their DNA.

    As an example, here are the results for my youngest 2 kids, just in:
    [1,] “15.3% druze_hgdp_42 + 84.7% utahn-white_hapmap_18” “0.8393”
    [2,] “14.7% georgia-jew_behar_4 + 85.3% n-european_xing_25” “0.8876”
    [3,] “14.4% azerbaijan-jew_behar_8 + 85.6% n-european_xing_25” “1.1317”
    [4,] “13.9% druze_hgdp_42 + 86.1% n-european_xing_25” “1.1905”
    [5,] “14.5% iraq-jew_behar_10 + 85.5% n-european_xing_25” “1.2678”
    [6,] “14.5% assyrian_harappa_6 + 85.5% n-european_xing_25” “1.2973”
    [7,] “14.3% iranian-jew_behar_4 + 85.7% n-european_xing_25” “1.3465”
    [8,] “14.4% armenian_yunusbayev_16 + 85.6% n-european_xing_25” “1.4815”
    [9,] “16.3% cypriot_behar_12 + 83.7% n-european_xing_25” “1.5218”
    [10,] “16% lebanese_behar_7 + 84% n-european_xing_25” “1.7611”

    [1,] “19.5% azerbaijan-jew_behar_8 + 80.5% utahn-white_1000genomes_100” “1.1832”
    [2,] “19.5% armenian_yunusbayev_16 + 80.5% utahn-white_1000genomes_100” “1.2893”
    [3,] “21.4% armenian_yunusbayev_16 + 78.6% british_1000genomes_99” “1.3607”
    [4,] “19.8% georgia-jew_behar_4 + 80.2% utahn-white_1000genomes_100” “1.3895”
    [5,] “19.7% assyrian_harappa_6 + 80.3% utahn-white_1000genomes_100” “1.4202”
    [6,] “21.3% azerbaijan-jew_behar_8 + 78.7% british_1000genomes_99” “1.4824”
    [7,] “78.4% british_1000genomes_99 + 21.6% georgia-jew_behar_4” “1.5852”
    [8,] “21.7% armenian_behar_19 + 78.3% british_1000genomes_99” “1.6119”
    [9,] “27% cypriot_behar_12 + 73% orcadian_hgdp_15” “1.6661”
    [10,] “23.2% turk-kayseri_hodoglugil_23 + 76.8% utahn-white_1000genomes_100” “1.6974”

  • Karl Zimmerman

    Razib –

    Thanks for the offer. I’ll send it to you shortly. Take your time.

    Pconroy –

    on Harappa I am:

    NE-Euro – 47.16%
    Mediterranean – 32.91%
    Caucasian – 8.86%
    Baloch – 8.83%
    American – 0.77%
    Siberian – 0.7%
    SW-Asian – 0.37%
    Beringian – 0.2%
    W-African – 0.2%

    My top match is Utahn White, and my number one mix is Utahn White/Italan. That said, I actually don’t know if Zach’s data set is superior to Deinekes here, given it’s South-Asian focused and has a less sampling of Europe. For example, there are no German pops in the data set.

    The Caucasian/Baloch elements are a bit different than the analogous components in Dodecad, and less outside the norm. It also seems like I really do have unusually low Near Eastern ancestry for a European (I thought it would be more without NW African), and a trivial amount of West African.

    More odd though is the small amounts of American/Beringian/Siberian ancestry, which add up to 1.67%, which is a lot for someone who (AFAIK) has no Eastern European ancestry at all. It can’t be some nth generation Mongol/Turkic blood, as there would probably be NE Asian as well in that case.

  • pconroy


    Well I’m Irish and here are my results:

    10.62% Gedrosia
    0.00% Siberian
    0.00% Northwest_African
    0.00% Southeast_Asian
    39.26% Atlantic_Med
    46.46% North_European
    0.00% South_Asian
    0.46% East_African
    0.03% Southwest_Asian
    0.00% East_Asian
    3.16% Caucasus
    0.00% Sub_Saharan

    0.00% S-Indian
    11.07% Baloch
    5.81% Caucasian
    50.58% NE-Euro
    0.07% SE-Asian
    0.03% Siberian
    0.00% NE-Asian
    0.00% Papuan
    0.60% American
    0.00% Beringian
    31.59% Mediterranean
    0.02% SW-Asian
    0.07% San
    0.16% E-African
    0.00% Pygmy
    0.00% W-African

    Many Americans have a little “Colonial” ancestry (aka minor Native American and/or Sub-Saharan African) somewhere, but your results look fairly typical European to me. Also as you move West from Ireland towards Pakistan – including Central Europe/Germany – the values of Gedrosia/Caucasus reverse, until you pass the Caucasus, when they reverse again.

  • Grey

    “And why does this suite of behaviors also lead to higher fertility, etc?”

    The current dominant culture is extremely anti-natal imo so i think it’s more a case of a culturally reduced fertility rate being reduced slightly less among people who have a level of vaccination from the dominant culture.

  • Brel

    Well, if we’re going to compare admixture results, here are mine.

    Dodecad K12b:

    Gedrosia – 8.13%
    Northwest_African – 1.43%
    Southeast_Asian – 0.40%
    Atlantic_Med – 37.05%
    North_European – 41.73%
    South_Asian – 1.22%
    Southwest_Asian – 0.18%
    Caucasus – 9.84%

    So what does it mean if your Caucasus value is higher than your Gedrosia? My mtDNA haplogroup is R0a2. Is this consistent with Jewish ancestry? I don’t get any declared Jewish hits on 23andme. And I wonder where the South Asian component comes from? I really don’t know much about how to read these.


    S-Indian 1.42%
    Baloch 9.77%
    Caucasian 8.20%
    NE-Euro 47.85%
    SE-Asian 0.49%
    Siberian –
    NE-Asian –
    Papuan –
    American –
    Beringian 0.31%
    Mediterranean 30.64%
    SW-Asian 0.88%
    San –
    E-African 0.37%
    Pygmy –
    W-African –

  • JayMan

    Razib, in response to our discussion here, I have gathered more data, discussed in my latest blog post:

    Further Testing the Pioneer Hypothesis: Canada and Russia | JayMan’s Blog.

    I initially proposed my hypothesis here, and add follow-up data here.

  • Hassan

    Wanted to bring this paper to your attention…

    The “Out of Africa” Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development

  • Karl Zimmerman

    I saw this quote from David Brin, and I thought it was appropriate for this blog…

    The real difference between the far-right and the far-left? Both extremes are crazy. Both despise science. But one of them owns and operates an entire political party and ran the nation off a cliff. The other dominates a hundred university soft-studies departments, and almost nothing else. Big deal.

  • Sandgroper

    Only in men. “Studies show that the paralysis is common in southern Chinese but rare in northern Chinese.”


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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


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