Open Thread, 09/01/2013

By Razib Khan | September 1, 2013 1:01 am

This is probably the longest stretch of time with me not posting much since May/June of 2010. But I’ll be back to offering my opinions and analyses soon enough. Also, I should probably mention that I’ll be presenting at the 7th International Conference on Advances in Canine and Feline Genomics and Inherited Diseases (a.k.a. the cat & dog conference) at the end of the month (I’ll be in Cambridge/Boston 23rd to 29th). I’ll be rather busy the whole week, but I thought I would mention it in case some readers see someone who looks like me around the Broad Institute and are curious. Higher chance than normal that it is me.

MORE ABOUT: Open Thread
  • Robert Ford

    re: Kashawn Campbell

    It is fun to think about how all the nerd traits are preserved between populations except for the IQ potential. Each race has their nerds (who act basically the same) but some are of a different caliber. I presume this happened because IQ was selected for once people got to Europe and Asia but wouldn’t this mean that IQ is totally independent from “nerd traits”? It seems highly correlated with nerd traits but must not be tied in an absolute sense as the dumber, much less nerdy Euro and asians tend to be about as smart as the “smarter” nerdier types in other races.

    Am I on the right track there? I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on that but go easy in me – I tried my best. (I’m one of those dumber, much less nerdy Euros:)
    here’s a cool boulder video if anyone missed it.

    • Sandgroper

      The challenges to reduce landslide and boulder fall risk in Taiwan are daunting, made more difficult because they have both earthquake induced landslides and rainfall induced landslides.

    • Tobus

      I think you’ll find that is you give your “low IQ races” the same
      resources, infrastructure and role models as your “high IQ races” that
      the IQ differences would all but disappear. Indigenous Australians,
      indigenous Americans and Polynesians are all much closer genetically to
      Asians than they are to Africans (or Europeans), yet they score lower
      than Africans on IQ tests. Less wealthy Asian nations (Myanmar,
      Cambodia, India, Malaysia etc.) score lower than richer European
      nations. The major factor here is socio-economic status, not genetics. Stories like
      the one criticised in your link may show signs of positive
      discrimination, but they are important in that they help normalise the
      breaking down of what is primarily a socially constructed problem.

      • dxie48

        Poverty only accounted for appr. 13 IQ points

        Poverty impairs cognitive function

        On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night’s sleep.

        National IQ can be roughly calculated from the OECD PISA test, i.e. sum of math and science score divide by 10,

        Shanghai is current top.

        If your theory is true, then Shanghai will be further ahead when the per capita GDP improved.

        • Tobus

          Given that the average black/white IQ gap in the US is 15 points, I think you just proved my point – poverty only accounts for pretty much all of it… and that’s just *thinking* about being poor, factor in the lack of resources, infrastructure, role models etc. on top of the lack of cash and there’s not a whole lot of room left for genetics.

          If my theory were true I’d expect to see wealthier Euopean nations performing better that the poorer Asian ones, and look – Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand are all up there in the top 20, while Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India don’t even make the top 50.

          If genetics were the significant factor then you’d expect to see the poorer Asian countries up there with the more wealthy Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan etc.), and the Europeans left way down below, but instead it’s the other way round.

    • dxie48

      The question of whether or not there’s a word for “nerd” in Chinese has recently come up …


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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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