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I don't see Michelle Malkin in Hawks' links, perhaps mart would like to show
us where to find that?

MB

On Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 5:10 PM, mart <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> if i recall, hawks links to michelle malkin (right wing talk host i
> think)on his blog.  his blog often is fairly interesting especxially on
> issues like 'out of africa'/multiregional  theory, but there is also some
> questionable stuff on there.
>
> the UNC/Duke sociology and genetics faculty really have some highly
> questionable people.  studies from there use fairly complex data analyses,
> but on very shoddy research designs (exceedlingly small sample sizes,
> self-reporting type psychological questionaires, etc.)  to try to find
> single-gene (typically seretonin, etc.) influences on behavior (eg gene plus
> no family breakfast=gang membership).
> my fave is the guy who is learning beahviro genetics on the job (since
> thats not his field) and so he does linear regrtessions to correlate child
> performance with iq scores.   thats since he can only solve linear
> regressions---and you get results--- so dealing with higher order effects
> isn't neccesary. there'sd another one in Va. too (who also specializes in
> average state iq scores/percantage blacks on the state budget---keeps him
> out of jail!).
>
>  its quite similar to 'general equilibrium' modeling in econ, which uses
> vast firepower to find answers to ill-posed problems (eg maximizing or
> projecting GDP).
>
> most of theses single issue types are too lazy to try to deal with
> formulating well-posed problems and solving them.  but that is partly a
> function of the organization of research, which favors publish/perish so you
> have to find something you can 'solve' (even if the result is thrown out in
> 5 years---you only live once, so what if you're wrong? you got your
> tenure!!!   i wonder whether that 'gay gene' stuff by levay, etc has ever
> been replicated---probably there are mixed results).
>
>
>    --- On Sun, 6/28/09, Jon Beckwith <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > From: Jon Beckwith <[log in to unmask]>
> > Subject: Re: "Our brains are fluid and plastic"
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Date: Sunday, June 28, 2009, 9:32 AM
> >
> >
> > Michael-  I am suspicious about Hawks
> > in terms of where
> > he is coming from.  Witness his statement after the
> > first
> > Microcephalin paper appeared in Science.
> >
> >
> > New Scientist
> >
> > September 17, 2005
> >
> >
> > "Whatever advantage these genes give, some groups have
> > it and some
> > don't. This has to be the worst nightmare of people who
> > believe strongly
> > there are no differences in brain function between
> > groups," says
> > anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin in
> > Madison.
> >
> >
> > I agree with you that scientific reports on genetics
> > and behavior
> > should not be rejected out of hand, but given its long, sad
> > history, we
> > certainly should look at them suspiciously.
> > Particularly, when it
> > is coming from people who have a history of getting things
> > wrong or have
> > known biases.  For example, when the study of Caspi et
> > al came out
> > reporting a correlation between an MAOA polymorphism,
> > individuals with it
> > being exposed to child abuse and subsequent anti-social
> > behavior, the
> > data seemed OK to me, although in such cases, one awaits
> > replication.  Problem is that attempted replications
> > have given
> > different results.  I was also suspicious because I
> > was on a panel
> > with one of the authors of that paper, who expressed some
> > views that
> > sounded quite classist to me
> >
> >
> > Now, we have
> > to look at this new study that reports MAOA as the
> > "Gangsta
> > gene."  I'm not sure the article is out yet
> > in Comprehensive
> > Psychiatry.  Does anyone have a copy?
> >
> >
> > As far as
> > EvPsych goes, I just don't see this as providing
> > scientific evidence for
> > anything.  I never say never, so maybe some day
> > scientists in this
> > field will develop approaches that will allow them to make
> > hypotheses
> > with more backing, but right now is not the day.
> >
> >
> >
> > Jon
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > t 08:25 AM 6/28/2009, you wrote:
> >
> > From
> > University of
> > Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist John Hawks.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Sent to you by Michael via Google
> > Reader:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > "Our brains are fluid and
> > plastic"
> >
> > via john hawks weblog by John
> > Hawks on
> > 6/26/09
> >
> >
> > For some reason, it's "bash evolutionary
> > psychology" week.
> > First, Sharon Begley writes a 7-page essay in
> > Newsweek,
> > "Don't
> > Blame the
> > Caveman.", and now David Brooks gamely takes on
> > the subject in
> > the New York Times:
> >
> > "Human Nature Today".
> >
> >
> > Brooks' target is Geoffrey Miller's new book,
> >
> > Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior. I
> > haven't seen
> > Miller's book yet, maybe they'll send me one. I
> > have a feeling there's
> > more to it than Brooks' two-paragraph synopsis.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > We are all narcissists, Miller asserts. We spend much
> > of our lives
> > trying to broadcast our excellence in these traits in order
> > to attract
> > mates. Even if we’re not naturally smart or
> > outgoing, we buy products
> > and brands that give the impression we are.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > It seems to me that an evolutionary analysis of
> > consumer behavior is
> > a tall order. You have to account for the fact that nature
> > didn't set up
> > the mall; a lot of clever advertising people did. Just as
> > David Kessler pointed
> > out for
> > restaurants, stores are busy trying to exploit innate
> > biases toward
> > products and to manipulate learned responses to them. Some
> > of it is a
> > novel environment, other parts are fairly old applications
> > of information
> > foraging. The combinations of old and new, cultural
> > variations, and
> > varying levels of group participation may make cooking a
> > better analogy
> > than foraging.
> >
> >
> > Putting the intrinsic challenge aside, I think David Brooks
> > shoots wide
> > of the mark. He lists a catalog of alleged excesses in
> > Miller's book, and
> > tries to pivot into the point that evolutionary psychology
> > in general is
> > overreaching in its interpretations of human behavior.
> > These
> > "criticisms" of evolutionary psychology are
> > hardly new. Some of
> > them may have some force yet, but in Brooks' hands they
> > hardly slap
> > harder than Ann Landers' famous "wet noodle":
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > But individuals aren’t formed before they enter
> > society.
> > Individuals are created by social interaction. Our
> > identities are formed
> > by the particular rhythms of maternal attunement, by the
> > shared webs of
> > ideas, symbols and actions that vibrate through us second
> > by second.
> > Shopping isn’t merely a way to broadcast permanent,
> > inborn traits. For
> > some people, it’s also an activity of trying things
> > on in the
> > never-ending process of creating and discovering who they
> > are.
> >
> >
> >
> > So what? Many kinds of sexual and status displays in
> > nature are
> > highly learned -- bowerbirds construct displays from
> > physical objects,
> > many songbirds learn songs based on features of the songs
> > they hear.
> > They're all trying to create and discover (which is
> > highfalutin' way to
> > say, learn) what to do. That doesn't mean that the
> > behaviors don't evolve
> > under selection -- it just means that an evolutionary
> > account of the
> > behaviors must explain the learning mechanism.
> >
> >
> > In humans, there's no question that status displays are
> > part of mating
> > and social competition. The outcomes of mating and social
> > competition
> > influence fitness. What remains unknown is the extent to
> > which learning
> > may be influenced by innate biases. How do we choose who to
> > copy? Why do
> > we respond to some signals (nowadays, products) and not
> > others? Is
> > familiarity enough -- old-fashioned, blank-slate type
> > learning? How much
> > do developing minds depend on cues other than repetition?
> >
> >
> > Nobody really knows the answers to these questions, at
> > least not well
> > enough to persuasively test hypotheses about the evolution
> > of human
> > minds. But Brooks implies that such questions aren't
> > worth asking. He
> > thinks that it's enough to claim that humans aren't
> > "hard-wired" -- as if that (false) dichotomy
> > actually conveys
> > any information. In doing so, Brooks confuses the currency
> > of evolution
> > (that would be, fitness) with the currency of individual
> > fulfillment.
> > They're not the same, and in many cases they work
> > against each other.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Things you can do from here:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Subscribe to john hawks weblog using Google Reader
> > Get
> > started
> > using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
> > favorite
> > sites
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Jon Beckwith
> >
> > Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
> >
> > Harvard Medical School
> >
> > 200 Longwood Ave.
> >
> > Boston, MA 02115
> >
> >
> > Tel. 617-432-1920
> >
> > FAX 617-738-7664
> >
> > e-mail [log in to unmask]
> >
> > website
> > <
> > http://beck2.med.harvard.edu/>
> >
> > At my website you can find the
> > Spring 2008
> > syllabus of a
> > course I teach, Social Issues and
> > Biology.  Go to
> > "People", then to me
> > and click on the Microbiology 213 line.
> >
> >
> > Related: My book, a memoir: Making
> > Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science, Harvard
> > University
> > Press (2002)  Harvard
> > University
> > Press.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
>


-- 
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
Boston University

Email:           [log in to unmask]

Website:       michaelbalter.com
Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
******************************************