Human Biodiversity – Things You Are Not Supposed to Know About

June 5, 2013

As someone interested in personality, I find the field known as Human Biodiversity (HBD) to be fascinating. For those who are unfamiliar with it, HBD is a field in which controversial issues regarding human nature are explored, debated, and above all, brought out into the open. HBD is about things ordinary scientists and journalist would prefer you didn’t know about. Plausible but suppressed facts and theories on things like how inbreeding has turned people in the Muslim world more “tribal” than others, resulting in corruption and violence and low national IQs. Or how homosexuality actually has a very low heritability and may be caused by a pathogen. Or how low intelligence may be a greater health problem than overweight, how ethnic groups may differ in behavior for genetic reasons and how this affects society. And so on.

Often discounted as amateurs, racists, sexists etc, HBDers are a mixed bunch of people who pursue these issues with little or no funds at their disposal. They are rarely prominent experts in their fields – because that would no doubt get them fired – but they have plenty of education and intelligence, and I think any honest person who listens to what they have to say will have to agree that they offer more than just shock value. Human nature includes our dark and problematic sides too. A true scientist delves into that as well, because he holds the truth above all other considerations. In that sense HBD is more science than a lot of what passes as science in Academia.

There is no official introduction to HBD as yet, but as a next best thing you can read Jayman’s 100th post  published today, which offers a well-written overview of the field.


A Few Thoughts on Gun Control and Media-Driven Politics

January 21, 2013
Making a difference?

Making a difference?

Obama’s recently declared plan on gun control in response to mass shootings like that in Sandy Hook aims at reducing this sort of violence by stricter legislation. Some of the main points are better background checks, a ban of assault rifles, and limiting magazines to 10 rounds.

This sounds pretty reasonable but will it really have an effect? To get this problem in proportion we need to look at some basic stats. According to FBI, homicides involving three or more victims are very rare. They account for less than one percent of all homicides, and they have done so since 1980, which is as long as they’ve kept records on this type of crime. In 2008 homicide with four victims were at 0.2 percent and five or more victims at 0.1 percent. It’s not that I want to diminish the fact that children in elementary school were gunned down but according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics some 500-700 children under the age of five have been killed annually since 1975 in America, hardly anyone of them were victims of mass shootings. Are they somehow less dead?

Also, does less guns mean less gun violence?  There was a ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 with no discernable impact on gun violence. Another way to look at it by comparing how armed a state is in comparison to its firearm deaths. The Daily Beast made ranking based on background checks. If we compare that to death by firearm (provided by Statemaster) there is not much of a connection either. Using a calculator from easycalculation.com, I typed in every state (except Kentucky which has a different policy making their numbers completely different from the other states). It turns out, Washington DC, the least armed state, had the most number of deaths by firearm.  And heavily armed states, like Utah and the Dakotas, were under the average in deaths by firearm. The overall correlation was a meagre 0.246. So the old argument that guns don’t kill people makes sense.

As for background checks, well that actually also makes sense. It’s not a controversial claim that the prisons are full of boys and men with personality disorders. Banning them from owning guns might actually accomplish something. But all in all, Obama is handling this pretty much like any politician: he focuses on problems that make headlines and that make him look good. Around 600 children under the age of five will be killed in America this year. They will not be making any headlines or creating photo-ops, so they won’t be a priority for the president,


The WordPress Ad Invasion – Or, Now I’m Pimping Hookers From Eastern Europe

December 6, 2012

Since a few days back my and other blogs here on WordPress.com have been featuring ads. I know this platform is free and you get what you pay for, but still, this a bit much.

I wouldn’t mind a few discrete ads relevant to the content of the blog, but these are large attention grabbing ads, selling things that clearly look like scams – “Earn 379 dollars a day using Google” – and “match making” ads which is an obvious euphemism for prostitution.

Is this the end of WordPress as we know it? If they keep this up I will seriously consider finding a new platform – and it won’t be WordPress.org.


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