Open Thread, 11-22-2012

By Razib Khan | November 22, 2012 1:11 am

If you aren’t too stuffed, ask! I plan to get my simultaneous review of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t and Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society up over the holiday weekend, but I’m going to be focused on other things besides the blog obviously. That being said, to be frank I don’t personally feel that the regular reader of this weblog would get much value from The Signal and the Noise (Nate Silver interviews Robin Hanson. I didn’t need to read his book to be aware of Robin Hanson’s ideas, he quite freely shares them to all curiosity seekers on the internet and in person).  Uncontrolled adds more value in my opinion because experiments in social science are more difficult, and probably more genuinely ground-breaking (if less sexy), than statistical inference.

MORE ABOUT: Open Thread
  • Razib Khan
  • Razib Khan
  • ķīšezers

    Can anyone comment on historical accuracy of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt? Is it worth reading?

  • cerebus


    There’s an enjoyably excoriating review here.

  • Emma

    I have a question about heritability and selection, possibly one whose answer is obvious but anyway…

    It is usually assumed that trait with high heritability are under low selective pressure, because otherwise selection would have erased all genetic variation long ago and thus decreased heritability. I was wondering if high heritability and high selection could coexist fort traits influenced by a very large number of loci, like IQ or height? Mutation rate for these traits is probably very high and it seems to me that frequent new mutations, usually deleterious and thus selected against, could perhaps produce high heritability. Does that make sens?

  • Riordan

    Regarding the electoral map of California’s Prop 37, its interesting to note the differences in passage/opposition to the measure in the SF Bay Area and San Diego county, despite both being the most prominent of biotech/pharma hubs in the nation. Perhaps the ambient political ideologies in those areas, i.e. leftwing populism in Marin/SF/Berkeley and market libertariansim of Orange County played far more influences than ostensible proximity to life science hubs.

  • BB

    Snyderman and Rothman surveyed a number of experts about the nature of the black-white IQ gap and found “Amongst the 661 returned questionnaires, 14% declined to answer the question, 24% voted that there was insufficient evidence to give an answer, 1% voted that the gap was “due entirely to genetic variation”, 15% voted that it “due entirely to environmental variation” and 45% voted that it was a “product of genetic and environmental variation”. ”

    Based on your personal experiences with your colleagues, do the above numbers seem reasonable? I know that the experts S & R surveyed were generally social scientists, not biologists and geneticists, but nevertheless I am curious about what attitudes you have observed.

  • http://www.isteve.blogspot Steve Sailer

    It’s kind of a question whether Nate Silver’s book should be compared to Jim Manzi’s or to Malcolm Gladwell’s. I suspect Silver comes a little closer than Manzi did to appealing to the mass market of 115 IQ middle managers who buy nonfiction books to read on airplanes, and that’s not a bad thing.

  • AnonymousReader

    A team of “experts” claim to have sequenced Bigfoot DNA and determined it is a hybrid species of human and unknown primate descent.

    Sounds pretty legit doesn’t it?

  • Sandgroper

    Not exactly news, but interesting.

    In fact, Dorian Fuller’s whole blog is interesting to me – much more than I would have expected.

  • Razib Khan
  • Razib Khan

    I suspect Silver comes a little closer than Manzi did to appealing to the mass market of 115 IQ middle managers who buy nonfiction books to read on airplanes, and that’s not a bad thing.


  • Darkseid

    if anyone cares to watch this Sapolski lecture on behavior genetics i’d be interested in feedback. towards the end it seemed he was going WAY out of his way to emphasize the role of environment in determining behavior.


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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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