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Evolution and Genomics

Attempting a constructive take on the Sam Harris/Ezra Klein/IQ disagreement. The Nerd and the Manager.

Section 1. The backstory. Last year Sam Harris had Charles Murray on his podcast to talk about IQ, race and Murray’s reputation. Vox published a critique. Also see the counter, and the counter counter. Then last week, spurred on by a twitter discussion of David Reich’s new book, Ezra Klein wrote 6000 words Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the […]

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Evolution and Genomics

Homo naledi and the braided stream of humanity. It’s miscegenation all the way down.

Above are reconstructions of three famous fossil hominins by paleo-artist John Gurche. From left to right: Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy), Homo erectus (Turkana boy) and recently discovered Homo naledi (paper). The Homo naledi announcement last month of fossils discovered in a cave in South Africa was a blockbuster for human origins. Even better, two more big origins papers were published in the […]

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Evolution and Genomics

Let’s get real about Selfish Genes, Group Selection and Altruism. Towards a less impoverished view of humanity.

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Evolution and Genomics

Homo Erectus – not so different from modern humans

Ancient Greeks believed ”whoever is not Greek is a barbarian.” Viewing other groups as subhuman is as old as humankind. In fact one way to measure historical progress is to note the expanding definition of what it means to be human, including more races, genders, cultures. Today we include every human on the planet. But let’s […]

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Evolution and Genomics

In favor of the Super Early Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch to add to the Geologic Time Scale (GTS), marking the start of human dominance of Earth’s climate and ecology. Our current Holocene epoch started 11,700 years ago and runs to present. At this point it seems likely the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which decides such things, will approve the Anthropocene epoch. But picking […]

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Evolution and Genomics

Race and IQ. Can’t we all just get along?

Jason Richwine resigned from the conservative Heritage Foundation a few weeks ago because his PhD thesis titled IQ and Immigration Policy came to light with this choice media quote: “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is […]

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Evolution and Genomics

What are the risks of a global pandemic?

David Quammen’s latest book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic is wonderfully written. As expected from someone the New York Times says “is not just among our best science writers but among our best writers, period.” And the Times is right, Quammen is awesome. I loved his widely praised The Song of the […]

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Evolution and Genomics

What sport are humans best evolved for?

Cheetahs are the fastest land animal. Sailfish the fastest swimmers. Pumas the highest jumpers. So which sport do humans excel at? Slate claims it’s endurance running. They made this claim as part of their coverage of the totally awesome Man versus Horse marathon, a 22 mile long annual Welsh race of humans versus horses. Now […]

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Evolution and Genomics

Perfect meritocracy replaces class with caste

The still above is from the movie The Time Machine based on H.G. Wells’ book. It’s the scene where the uber-Morlock meets the time traveling human, who had been hanging out with the Eloi. This dystopia came to mind as I was thinking about Razib Khan’s post “The end of environmental inequality means the rise of genetic inequality”. […]

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Evolution and Genomics

The Genomic Tsunami. Reshaping arguments for Human Equality.

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. In part 1, we saw how the 10,000 fold decease in genome sequencing costs is creating a golden age for genomics biology. In part 2, we reviewed recent debates about race, genetics and intelligence. Now we can put this together […]