The Jews, Reloaded

Barnett, T.P.M. (2006). Israeli nationalism v. globalism. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. December 31, 2006. Available online:

My post which criticized Tom Barnett’s attack on Israel now is just one response amongst many. Jimmy Carter’s intellectual dishonesty is well known, but now Tom Barnett says that such is not important:

Carter’s argument needs to be dealt with head on, not seemingly discredited on the basis of factual errors and interpretations.

Dr. Barnett doesn’t rehash “identity” (whatever he means by that), but now is concerned with the concept of race:

In the end, Israel’s biggest long-term problem is that its nationalism is race-specific in a globalizing world where such state-sponsored “affirmative action” comes off as hopelessly discriminatory, whether you’re talking Muslims in Tel Aviv or Paris or Los Angeles.

The central claim in the above sentence is that Israel is a Racist State.

Very lefty, and very wrong. Israel is a “Jewish State,” certainly, but what does this mean? A race is a genetically related breeding population, of which “Jews” are not. There are historical breeding populations, such as the Cohenim, who make a disproportionate percentage of Israel’s population, but then the Cohanim make up a disproportionate percentage of America’s population, as well.

The “Jewish” in “Jewish State” refers to membership in a recognized a hybrid patrilineal/matrilineal tribe, and membership is not effected by skin color, skull formations, height, degree of genetic relatedness, etc. Barnett would be accurate to say that Israel is a patriotic state, but then so is America. Barnett would be accurate to say that Israel is a tribal state, but then are the Indian Reservations he describes as “prosaic.”

Still, Barnett’s post was good to read before I begin the Spring 2007 semester. One of the classes I am taking, Genetic Development, features a discussion on Leftist interpretations on race (see my four part series on the subject: 1, 2, 3, 4). Clearly, that brand of pseudo-racialist mumbo-jumbo has spread beyond the halls of psychology departments to infect even top-notch globalization pundits.

MMVI tdaxp

Earlier this month tdaxp celebrated two years. Now tdaxp celebrates its first calendar year — one that saw my most popular month ever (April 2006) and the second most popular month ever (December 2006).

tdaxp is on a roll!

Of everything on this blog, I am most proud of two posts

As I said last year:

Readers make the blog, comments make the stories.

Without you, tdaxp is nothing.


What is the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims?

A recent question from a highly intelligent tdaxp reader made me think about the arrogance of much of the blogosphere. Many of us bloggers have been dismissive of politicians who confuse Shia and Sunni, but we never take the take to actually lay-out those differences.

The difference between Sunni and Shia is the difference between the Holy Roman Empire and the Priori of Sion (from The DaVinci Code). Like the Holy Roman Empire, the Sunni Caliphate was determinedby “elections” which were designed to make sure that powerful elements in the community were OK with the new leader. This may have lasted for a short while, but quickly it became a title that was passed, father-to-son, in some family. In the Holy Roman Empire the family were the Habsburgs, and in the Sunni Caliphate the last family to own the title were the Ottomans. Humorously, just as the Holy Roman Empire ended life as a secular German confederacy during the Napoleonic Wars, the Sunni Caliphate ended its life in in the secular Turkish republic following World War I. After the fall of the last Caliph, some individuals tried to revive the title (for themselves), but nothing came up this. So there is no current Caliph, just as there is no current Holy Roman Emperor.

Meanwhile, the Shia Imamate (like the secret society in the DaVinci Code) is based on blood-descent from a Holy Figure (Jesus Christ through Mary Magdeline, or Muhammed’s son-in-law Ali through his daughter, Fatima). Both the Priori of Scion and Shia believe that their current leader (or “Imam”) is hiding. Shia additionally believe that this Imam is several hundreds of years old, persecuted by the wicked religious establishment (in this case, the Sunnis), and perhaps hiding in a well. The Imam, like the leader of the Priori of Scion, will reveal himself when the time is right.

Now, in spite of the quirky Shia view of leadership, actual religious Shia organization makes more sense to me. A Shia Muslim “Ayatollah” is a combination of a Bishop and a Doctor of Theology. The reason that no one calls Sadr an “ayatollah” is that he hasn’t completed the coursework. So he’s a cleric which, like political priests, are a dime a dozen. Shia Islam is run similar to the Catholic Church, except with no strong “Pope.”

Ayatollah Khomeini called himself “imam,” or “leader,” but claimed that this was separate from Imam, the hiding guy. In a similar way, the Catholic Church calls its leader Papa, or “Father,” while recognizing this is a very different title than God-the-Father. This didn’t catch on though, and the title has not remained in use. So Shia Islam is where the Catholic Church would have been if the First Vatican Council — which established papal infallibility — had failed.

Meanwhile, the Sunni Muslims run their religion similar to low-church protestants. How do you get to be a Sunni Muslim cleric? Say you are, and get other Sunni Muslims to follow you. Thus Osama bin Laden is a real Sunni Muslim cleric in the same sense that a KKK prayer-leader was a real baptist cleric.

In short: Sunni Muslims have to wait until some mass movement declares a new Caliph — an event exactly as likely as the European Union naming some person Holy Roman Emperor. Shia Muslims, for their part, have to wait until their hidden Imam reveals himself and the world ends. In the meanwhile, Sunni Muslims operate similarly low-church protestants while Shia Muslims operate similarly to Lutherans.

And that’s the difference between Sunni and Shia.

Video Footage of the Execution of Saddam Hussein

As I wrote elsehwere:

Saddam, his sons, and his grandson are now dead, because of his actions. Bush has now demonstrated the sort of moral courage that our country has not seen since Truman: executing an enemy head-of-government [the last one was Tojo, Japan’s wartime Prime Minister].

“Official” video of the execution of Saddam Hussein is available from Google Video, such as this BBC feed:

Additionally, Catholicgauze has obtained unofficial video of the execution, which he is hosting on his blog:

Examples like this, of course, have a long history.

Tom Barnett and ZenPundit have written their reactions.

Roll back Russia. Support Belarus

I’m no fan of Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. He is a third-rate goon in the mold of Slovak strongman Vladimir Mecier. I’ve previously called for Lukashenko’s overthrow. However, while Belarus is a beach of authoritarianism to the island of democracy that is Europe

Democracies in Green. Belarus (dictatorship) in Pink and Russia (dictatorship) in Red

But Russia is much, much, much more dangerous than Belarus could ever be. Indeed, seen in the proper context, Belarus is infinitely more useful if she is a buffer to Russia than if she serves that Bear

Democracies in Green. Belarus (dictatorship) in Pink and Russia (dictatorship) in Red

Roll back Russia. Support Belarus.

Free Belarus from Russia. Then Free Belarus

Democracy can come to a Belarus free of Russia faster than it can come to a Belarus that belongs to Russia. Europe and the west must take Russia’s blackmailing of Belarus as the opportunity it is to splinter Moscow’s hold on the Eurasian Heartland.

Don’t let Russia threaten Belarus.

History Lesson

And Ehud hath come unto him, and he is sitting in the upper chamber of the wall which he hath for himself, and Ehud saith, `A word of God I have unto thee;’ and he riseth from off the throne

and Ehud putteth forth his left hand, and taketh the sword from off his right thigh, and striketh it into his belly; and the haft also goeth in after the blade, and the fat shutteth on the blade, that he hath not drawn the sword out of his belly, and it goeth out at the fundament.

Judges 3:20-22 (Young’s Literal Translation)

Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

Graves’ begins the last section of his book (“Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium,” starting on page 155) with a discussion of psychometry. It should be quickly noted that Graves chooses to criticize the field, in part, for its belief in “g” — a single-measure of intelligence. Belief in the power of “g” has been criticized even by those who believe genetic factors do help determine intelligence (Gardner 1983, 2003). Thus there could be significant, group variations in verbal ability, or abstract thinking, or analogical thinking, or some other domain without there being any different in general intelligence.

The author then proceeds to make several questionable assertions. He claims that the President and the Chief Justice discussing a case is a “violation of the principle of the separation of powers” (162) without evidence. On the very next page he argues that The Bell Curve was “uncritically accepted by elements of the popular press” (163) — a strange accusation considering how the book was controversially received (a controversy that no-doubt increased its sales). He questions “the correlation between SAT scores and intelligence” (164), which is as brave an assertion as wondering if Europe and Australia are separate continents, as the SAT is an achievement and aptitude, not an intelligence, test. Similarly, Graves shows ignorance of the concept of an ecological niche. He writes that “There is no reason to suppose that these should have produced intellectual inferiority only in sub-Saharan Africans… one would have to suppose some form of natural selection was operating” (169). Well, actually, all one would have to assume is that in some way high intelligence and the increased energy consumption that goes along with it was somehow maladaptive in in sub-Saharan Africa or that, alternatively, it was high intelligence which led the ancestors of non-African humans to be able to leave that continent. Are any of these true? I have no idea. But Graves’ dismissal of these claims is flimsy.

I’ve criticized Graves’ poor grasp of statistics before, so I will not retread old arguments. However, he makes two new fallacies in his work’s last section. He argues that assuming that Asians have genetically different rates of disease is spurious because, while this holds true for specific Asian nationalities, “when the individual Asian groups are combined into one large category, these data no longer support this idea” (179). How is Graves’ poor use of statistical aggregation evidence of anything? Likewise, on the same page notes that even though “Japanese and Korean populations are genetically closely related” they show different rates of cancers. Yet earlier in the book Graves notes that Volga Germans suffer from maladies at different rates than other Germans. How can this news possibly be surprising?

Unfortunately for a book that focuses on social views of race, Graves’ view of race’s cultural role is either simplistic or extremist. On page 196 he asks us to imagine what life would be like if “we had recognized that there are no races in the human species.” An obvious explanation is nearly nothing: race serves as just one of many markers of in-group and out-group. Recognition of race as a salient factor can trivially be erased merely by altering the membership in coalitions (Kurzban, Tooby, & Cosmides, 2001). If race doesn’t matter, than some other feature would.

The last pages of the conclusion show this. Graves spills some ink describing hate crimes around the turn of the millennium, supposedly stemming from “the idea held among white supremacists that the millennium would signal the start of the final race war” (199). On the next page there is hope, however: “There can be no race war if there are no races.” True, I guess. Black churches would then be burned in the name of Satan (“National News Briefs…”, 2000), instead of the white race. And whites would no longer have to worry about local rioters destroying their office building: Islamists will happy fill the gap. War was with us – it was part of our genetic adaption to our environment – long before humans discovered racism, or chimpanzees became humans (Wrangham, 1999).

However, race (whether or not it is a social construction) covaries with other categories that surely do matter. Even if we did not recognize “race,” would cultural or geographic? Graves maintains “There would have been no reason to maintain marital prejudices in such a society” (196) but this claim surely is not true. Geography and race are independent variables in determining the dependent variable of mate selection – eliminating one does not eliminate the other. (To put this is concrete terms, even if there was never any social stigma toward white-black miscegenation, there are all sorts of cultural and practical stigmas with a northerner marrying a southerner – or for that matter someone from the Bronx marrying a Log Angelino).

This is my final reaction paper for this class, so it is appropriate I state my beliefs. Are there separate breeding populations within the human race? Yes, obviously – any inbred family would count for that. Are there large-scale breeding populations with the human raec? Yes. If you do not live in the same country, speak the same language, have similar cultural mores, and are in the same height quintile (for the appropriate sex) of a potential mate, mating is unlikely. Do these constitute “races”? Probably. Are their racial differences in intelligence? I have no idea. Would racial differences in these traits effect anyone’s worth as a human being? No.

The Apostle writes, in Galatians 3:28, that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The New Testament is the founding document of western civilization and clearly it states that whether the difference between two individuals is clearly genetic (as with sex), clearly socially constructed (as with enslavement), or the result of genetic-environmental interaction (one’s nationality, or race), no one is more important than any other. We should not be afraid of race, just as we are not afraid of culture. Because regardless of our race, regardless of our culture, we are all created equal.

Gardner, H. (1983). Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books: New York, NY.
Gardner, H. (2003). Multiple Intelligences After Twenty Years. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Kurzban, R., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2001). Can race be erased? Coalitional computation and social categorization. PNAS 98(26):15387-15392.
“National News Briefs; Satanist Pleads Guilty to 26 Church Fires.” (2000). New York Times: 12 July 2000. Available online:
Wrangham, R. (1999). Evolution of Coalitionary Killing. Yearbook of Anthropology 42 1-30.

Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes, part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

The Wary Guerrilla, Part IX: Political Implications

This project asserts that politics – specifically, Absolutism – predicts Wary Guerrilla behavior.

Further experiments are expected to confirm this finding. As this orientation appears to have a significant genetic factor, we believe that wary guerrillas represent a genotypic polymorphism in the human population. Though it is beyond the scope of this study to distinguish between, environmental, genetic, and genetic-via-environmental factors, an application of this theory – the discovery and use of a war guerrilla “greenbeard” (Dawkins, 1976; Wilson, 1983; Sterelny, 1996) – could save many to save lives could well use genetic screening. This section discusses the potential pitfalls of such an application.

For generations, analysis of human behavior was limited to environmental determinism (Corning, 1971; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; Deech, 1998; Ridley, 2003).Perhaps because of a interwar fascination with genetics (Harwood, 1987) a belief in genetic efficacy was blamed for all sorts of ills while environmental-determinism was wrecking havoc (Muller, 1948; Wrinch, 1951; Cassinelli, 1960). Suicide and ADHD, for example, were blamed on social conditions exclusively (Johnson, 1965 ; Pope 1975; Elkind, 1997), while important explanatory biological factors (Kolata, 1986; 1987; Lubar, 1985; Ding et al., 2002) were not brought up.

During the 1960’s, many initial breakthroughs in genetics research occured (Hamilton, 1964; Caspari & Marshak, 1965). The false nature-nurture dichotomy has now been attacked for generations (Means, 1967). Stalled research programs began again (Healy, 1914; Mednick & Volavka, 1980). Likewise, by now attempts to determine how human evolution influences human behavior (Tiger & Fox, 1966; Shaw & Wong, 1987 ; Fowler, Baker, & Dawes, 2006; Hammond & Axelrod, 2006) and values (Alford & Hibbing, 2004, 2006a) are well established, in spite of occasional heavy criticism (Kamin, 1995; Gould, 2000; Kurzban, 2002).

We now recognize that biology places an important role in our behavior. Rationality and good decisions, for instance, can be encouraged through emotions (Morris, Squires, Taber, & Lodge, 2003; McDermott, 2004; Camerer, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2005; Lupia & Menng, 2006), while reflection has been shown to be often unreliable (Lieberman, Schreiber, & Ochsner 2003; Shergill, 2003). Biology also influences society. Humans are social animals and automatically react and judge other humans (Olson & Marshuetz, 2005; Todorov, et al., 2005 ) while some chemical balances change interpersonal interaction (Zak, Kurzban, & Matzner 2004; Kosfeld, et al., 2005; Zak, 2006). We also know that we are not clones of each other, but that different bodies may be differentially impacted by chemicals (Caspi et al., 2003; McDermott, 2006). But if emotions are so important for functional human behavior, if reflection can be so dangerous, and if social interaction chemically effects some people more than others, may there be a biological cause of terrorism? Could the wary guerrilla’s behavior express itself in violent suicide explosions as well as in peaceful laboratory conditions?

If so, does our current form of “solidarity insurance,” where all people suffer the same hassles because of a possible threat (O’Neill, 1998), make sense?

If wary guerrillas are more likely to become terrorists, might this polymorphism be larger in some populations than in others? Could we “go back” to an era where genetic markers are used in policy decisions (McClean, 1998; Wells, 1998). After all, different populations tend to exhibit genotypic and phenotypic polymorphism (Kiple, 1986 ; Harpending & Cochran, 2002; Pinker, 2002; Rockmen et al., 2005; Rushton & Jensen, 2005; Rosenberg, et al., 2006; Pimenta, et al., 2006; Wade, 2006).

Science must not stop. Social science has a history of controversy when it tries to inform the law on sensitive matters (Solovey, 2001; Stuntz, 2002). Yet that is because social scientists have a history of academic bravery (Bowman, 2000; Craemer, 2006). Science is the exploration of the unknown, and our reaction to scientific discoveries is a function of whether we view the unknown with fear or hope.
We choose hope.

The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism

With the determination of a naked emperor walking down the street, Graves continues his confused attack on the concept of race (a largely factual division of humanity into localized breeding population) and the concept of racism (a normative argument that membership in a certain historical breeding population should determine one’s lot in life). The third section of his presentation of Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, entitled “Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism,” runs from page 105 to page 154.

However, I wish to begin by stepping up from Graves-style rhetoric and present a testable hypothesis. Describing an early racist named Fritz Lenz, Graves writes that “Lenz considered liberal politics, money-making, and sexual proclivities as racial and genetic characteristics of the Jews” (132). Stripping down this statement to that which most interests me, Lenz is saying there is some Jewish genotype whose presence correlates with support for liberal policies. Both of these can be measured. One might measure Jewish blood through mitochondrial (female-line) allelles that tend to predominate in self-reported Jews, Y-chromosome (male-line) allelles that tend to predominate in the send, or perhaps some combination thereof. If you wanted sacrifice some scope for precision, you could measure the genetic Cohenim population that is spread throughout the world (Behar, et al., 2003, etc.). Then measure political persuasion through standard scales. Once you’ve defined your independent and dependent variables, such a statement becomes factually testable and loses much of its emotionality. It is known that politics that genetic background explains much of the variation in political persuasion (Alford, Funk, & Hibbing 2005; Alford & Hibbing 2006), so I would not be surprised if it is true. And if it is false, it is false.

Should there be any outrage, or horror, or distaste, or any emotional reaction at all to an experiment like the proposed mentioned above? I don’t think so. To do so implies that there are some questions that are morally wrong to ask. However, if we are confident of the answer, then they should be asked and answered with abandon. If we are confident that the median political orientation of Jews is not atypically liberal, or that the median political orientation of Germans for that matter (at least before 1933, see below) is not atypically authoritarian, then we can confidently predict exactly what answers a well designed experiment will not give. Indeed, scientific taboos only make sense when we are not sure of the answer. When we are afraid of the truth.

Another such factual question is found a few pages later in Graves’ book on page 139. He describes how Germany lost a greater percentage of her citizenry in the Second World War than did the Russian and Slavic Nations. Certainly it would be fair to describe this as selection, whether natural or artificial, as not all citizens were equally at risk of dying. It would be determine how the German nation was changed by this tragedy. If one would test a random sample of living Germans, and a random sample of buried bodies, for instance, could one establish that the selection was on some meaningful genetic basis? For instance, did those who tend to be bravery, or more political, die at a greater risk than others. It seems logical that Dopamine, which correlates with risky behavior — “too much gambling, too much sex, too much drinking… How would one define ‘too much politics’?” (Carmen, 2006, 21) – was selected against. So perhaps there was a reduction in high-Dopamine Germans. Are we to believe this has no impact on Germany’s policies, domestic and international?

However, I enjoyed Graves’ discussion of the “ostensibly scientific” tests that were at the heart of the Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka decision, among others, which ended segregation. Reflecting on Graves’ description, it occurred to me exam amounted to an Implicit Association Test. Implicit Association Tests attempt to get at internal beliefs that are not accurately reported through standard questionnaires. IATs can be powerful, and similar technology has been used to predict vote choice (Todorov, Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005). However, as measured by IATs, half of blacks have negative attitutes toward blacks (Bower, 2006). If changing IAT performance was the purpose of Brown, has this happened? Alternatively, if IAT performance is not a purpose of school integration (and so academic achievement, income equality, etc, are), then why the focus on IATs in the first place?

Alford, J., Funk, C., & Hibbing, J. (2005) Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted? American Political Science Review, 99(2), 154-168.
Alford, J., & Hibbing, J. (2006). Could Political Attitudes Be Shaped by Evolution Working Through Genes? Tidsskriftet Politik: August 2006 edition.
Behar, D.M., Thomas, M.G., Skorecki, K., Hammer, M.F., Bulygina, E., Rosengarten. D., Jones, A.L., Held K., Moses, V., Goldstein, D., Bradman, N., & Weale, M.E. (2003). Multiple origins of Ashkenazi levites. American Journal of Human Genetics 73: 768-779.
Bower, B. (2006). The Bias Finders: A Test of Unconscious Attitudes Polarizes Psychologists. Science News, 169(16), 250.
Carmen, I. (2006). Genetic Configurations of Political Phenomena: New Theories, New Methods. Paper presented at the Hendricks Conference on Biology, Evolution, and Political Behavior.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Todorov, A., Mandisodza, A.N., Goren, A., & Hall, C.C. (2005). Inferences of competence from faces predict election outcomes. Science 208(5728): 1623-1626.

Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes, part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

The Jews

Barnett, Thomas P. (2006). Jimmy Carter’s new book. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. December 28, 2006. Available online:

An unusually poorly thought-out piece from Thomas PM Barnett on Israel and the Jews

Barnett, like much of the Franco-Arab pseudo-intelligentsia, is under the mistaken assumption that identity matters and that, more specifically, people are willing to fight for it:

Israel’s fears [with regards to] to a loss of cultural identity are just a precusor to that of the Arab world’s fears [with regards to] to a loss of cultural identity.

Israel’s paranoia regarding a return to non-Jewish hegemony over the last remaining concentration of Jews has a lot less to do with “identity” and a lot more to do with a history of genocide. The foolishness of allowing the same play twice would be equivalent to, say, accepting an Islamist guerrilla-state in the horn of Africa.

As Israel is a diverse country with multiple societies (think secular, Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox, etc), I have little idea what Tom means when he writes:

Both cultures [Israeli and Arab] reach for apartheid-like defenses, feeling completely justified in that response, because the preservation of cultural identity is crucial in their minds, as in, worth fighting and dying over.

I’ll chalk up his unfortunate post to too-clever-by-half-ism, a common curse of gifted writers who get carried away by their own rhetorical brilliance.