Re: Moorad's comment is sound

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Thu Jun 23 2005 - 11:08:13 EDT

On 6/21/05, <> wrote:

> In a message dated 6/21/2005 1:33:35 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:
> Rich commented: "Moorad has made an excellent statement. I concur. There
> is no more advanced work on the social sciences than the Bible."
> With impeccable logic such as this, who am I to argue?
> jb
> There is no argument. If you've been following the saga of the K.
> MacDonald's evolutionary strategy of Judaism then you might be interested in
> Henry Harpending's paper on Ashkenazi IQ. It was discussed in the NY Times
> and the Economist recently, only the authors did not know enough about
> religion to conclude that self selection was the cause of the high mean
> Ashkenazi IQ. Harpending is on the evolutionary psychology list at
> yahoogroups and I posted the quotes below from Lamm because Harpending did
> not conclude correctly as to where the selection stresses were coming from.
> They're internal. Harpending did not raise a counter argument. There is
> none.
 Yeah. Let's fight bad science with bad science.

Already the Utah study has attracted national attention, and won tempered
praise from high-level cognitive scientists such as Steven Pinker, in a
recent New York Times article. But the authors of research on Jewish genetic
diseases on which the new study is based were quick to question whether
the connections made in the new study are sound.

"The only controversy among geneticists is how polite to be about this
study," said Montgomery Slatkin, a mathematician at the University of
California, Berkeley. Slatkin has written papers tracing the genetic history
of sphingolipid disorders, a cluster of four common diseases. "I don't know
anyone who thinks it's true."

Cochran, the lead study author, is an independent researcher who was trained
as a physicist and moved into population genetics late in life. He has not
been afraid to dive into controversial material, and he has argued with
mathematical modeling that homosexuality can be attributed to a viral


The work of Cochran's team has been criticized on a number of levels, but at
the most basic, Cochran's critics say his study provides only statistical
speculation, not physical proof of a link between the sphingolipid diseases
and higher intelligence and the study team makes no attempt to find the
genetic location of the genes responsible for heightened intelligence.

"There's no original data in this," said Harry Ostrer, director of the human
genetics program at New York University. "From that point of view, I would
argue this is bad science. Bad science is what got eugenics into trouble in
the past."

Cochran acknowledges that his team's work is a product of historical and
statistical modeling, but he said that its goal from the beginning was to
find a plausible hypothesis for other scientists to fully test.


For his part, Cochran said he hopes that someone takes up his team's
challenge to test his hypothesis. To begin, he proposes a study looking at
whether people with Gaucher disease have higher IQ scores than siblings
without the disease. But even once the findings come in, he is not sure they
could make a dent in conventional wisdom.
"I predict that if we turn out to be right," Cochran said, "we'd change the
minds of maybe 100 people worldwide."

Does this approach sound familiar to anyone?
Received on Thu Jun 23 11:10:12 2005

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