December 15, 2007

82% of Top 100 liberals are white and 81% male

UPDATED: A point I've made repeatedly is that at the upper reaches of American life, status competition is overwhelmingly a white vs. white struggle, with nonwhites playing largely token roles to help whites For example, 98+% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 94% of studio movie screenwriters are white (and typically male).

Audacious Epigone
documents this for politics by figuring out the demographics of the London Daily Telegraph's list of the 100 most influential American liberals and 100 most influential American conservatives. Who's on the list and in what order they appear is arguable (that's one purpose of these lists -- to generate arguments).

But these kind of lists are very useful for advancing demographic understanding because they typically are developed for other purposes than to advocate a particularly point about demography. They don't have to be all that accurate to give a reasonable picture of elite demographics.

So, what we find is that whites and males still dominate on both sides of the ideological divide:

Average Age58 years, 7 monthsJust under 58 years
Outed homosexual3%2%^

Openly atheist3%1%



My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 14, 2007


From my review in The American Conservative:

Many successful date movies, such as "Casablanca" and "Gone with the Wind," combine a love story for the ladies and a war for the gentlemen. With his 2001 bestseller Atonement, the immensely clever Ian McEwan pulled off the novelistic equivalent, pasting together a scandalous country house romance and the Fall of France. The film adaptation is a likely nominee for the Best Picture Oscar because it's yet another purported attack on the English class system that actually revels in gorgeous Period Porn.

Moreover, McEwan constructed his novel not only for both sexes, but also for the middle and upper brows. For the book-buying masses, Atonement delivers a pre-modern melodramatic plot, and for the critics, a self-conscious postmodern commentary on the novelist's privileges and responsibilities.

One dark night in 1935, Briony, a writing-obsessed 13-year-old girl, briefly glimpses a tuxedoed man ravishing her sultry 15-year-old cousin Lola. A budding novelist eager to connect the dots, Briony leaps to the conclusion that the statutory rapist is the housekeeper's son, Robbie, the ardent new lover of her older sister Cecilia. (Robbie is played by James McAvoy, the callow doctor in "The Last King of Scotland," and Cecilia by the bony beauty Keira Knightley of "The Pirates of the Caribbean.") The more often Briony tells her story to the police, the more she almost believes it.

Five years later, the wronged Robbie is out of prison and in the defeated British Expeditionary Force, trudging toward the beach at Dunkirk, hoping to return to the still-waiting Cecilia. Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Briony pens a novella about the 1935 incident in the style of Virginia Woolf, full of fine writing about "light and stone and water" but no plot, and sends it to the literary magazine Horizon. Its real-life editor Cyril Connolly, whom Evelyn Waugh often skewered in his books, replies with a kind rejection note, advising that even her "most sophisticated readers … retain a childlike desire to be told a story, to be held in suspense, to know what happens." McEwan himself told an interviewer that Atonement is an attack on "modernism and its dereliction of duty in relation to what I have Cyril Connolly call 'the backbone of the plot.'"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

So, is Greg Maddux the best pitcher of all time?

The release of former Senator George Mitchell's report on baseball players using steroids and/or human growth hormone names lots of names, most of them obscure, but some of them famous, most notably Roger Clemens, who probably has the best pitching statistics of all time. Of course, they're also kind of silly looking statistics, with three separate peaks in his career: age 23-28, when he won three Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher in the league, 34-38 when he won 3 more, and 41-42 when he won one and was even better the second year with a 1.87 ERA. He pitched for the Yankees last year age 44. You might think that a sure Hall of Famer like Clemens wouldn't keep coming back with the risk of steroid exposure over his head, but Clemens was never really into this whole growing old gracefully thing.

In contrast, unimposing-looking Greg Maddux, who is second among active pitchers with 347 wins to Clemens's 354, is not named in the report, and he has grown old gracefully. His peak was age 26-29, when he won four straight Cy Young Awards. He remains a quite productive major league starter, but in his last five seasons, from age 37 through 41, his ERA has ranged from 3.96 to 4.24, just slightly better than the league average over that time.

While Clemens puts himself through a famously rigorous weightlifting regimen during the off-season, Maddux spends six days a week on the golf course.

Of course, not all the juicers are named in this report -- it's mostly just people who got squealed on by a handful of connections, like a New York clubhouse attendant who sold drugs.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 13, 2007

Famous people who actually were significantly black

It's easy to forget that two of the most famous European authors of the 19th Century were significantly black:

- Alexandre Dumas the Father, the colossally popular author of "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" was the grandson of a Haitian slave woman. Here's a picture. (His not quite as famous, but still well-remembered illegitimate son of the same name, the author of "Camille," the inspiration for Verdi's "La Traviata," was therefore the great-grandson of a slave. Here's a picture.)

- Alexander Pushkin, the national poet of Russian, the first great writer in the Russian language, isn't that well-known in the West because he was a poet whose genius is notoriously lost in translation, but to Russians, he's The Man. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, are all very fine, but Russians venerate Pushkin with an unparalleled passion. Pushkin was the great-grandson of an Ethiopian (or perhaps Cameroonian or Chadian -- it's all kind of murky) slave renamed Abram Petrovich Gannibal, who became, apparently, a godson of Peter the Great, then a general in the Czarist army, a military engineer, and the governor of a Russian province. (It's a wild story. Somebody ought to make a movie about this guy's life!) Voltaire supposedly called Gannibal "the dark star of the Enlightenment," although it's hard to nail down the facts about him. What we do know is that Pushkin identified closely with his African ancestor, and began a book about him called "The Blackamoor of Petersburg." Pushkin often played up his African ancestry, which just made him even more exotic and charismatic to Russians. Pushkin said, "The black African who had become a Russian noble lived out his life like a French philosophe."

By the way, a village on the Russian Black Sea coast was found in Czarist times to consist of 500 African-looking people, who became known as the "Batumi Negroes."

For a quick review of the charmingly comic opera-ish relations between Czarist Russia and Africa, including Russia's aid to Christian Ethiopia in fighting off Italian invasion in 1896 and the Cossack attempt to conquer Ethiopia in 1898, see here.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 12, 2007

A lesson for the GOP: Bush's favorite PM loses own seat due to legal immigrant voters

America's politics don't have any exact analogs in foreign countries, but Australia's politics are probably closest to ours. (For example, my theory of "Affordable Family Formation" has received more positive response from Australians than from any other country.) Australian politics are confusing at first glance, because the Liberals are the more conservative party, while Labour is on the left, but they can provide an early warning system for American politics.

Ex-Prime Minister John Howard, who won four general elections before losing last month, is perhaps the closest foreign leader to an American Republican politician. Now that the ballot counting is finally over, it turns out that not only did Howard get booted out of the Prime Minister's job, but he also got booted out of the Australian parliament entirely, losing his seat largely due to Asian voters.

Australia doesn't have too much of an illegal immigration problem, but it's important to note that in Australia, prosperous East Asian voters have now proven a natural constituency for the left.

How Labor's machine won Asian votes for McKew

Phillip Coorey, Chief Political Correspondent
December 13, 2007

JOHN HOWARD conceded defeat in Bennelong yesterday. But less than a year ago the woman who vanquished him, Maxine McKew, thought her partner, Bob Hogg, was mad for recommending she try to depose the prime minister.

It was the audacity of Hogg's suggestion that horrified McKew. Stanley Melbourne Bruce was the only prime minister to lose his seat, and that was in 1929.

"I said to him: 'Are you insane? People would think that would be the ultimate vanity? Who does she think she is, taking on the prime minister?"' McKew told Margot Saville, whose book The Battle For Bennelong will be launched next week.

… On November 24 McKew ousted Howard from the seat he had held for 33 years.

As the book reveals, it was due largely to a clinical targeting of Bennelong's above-average number of non-English-speaking, foreign-born and predominantly Asian voters. …

Labor headquarters sent into action a "crack team" of "Chinese- and Korean-speaking twentysomethings" to liaise with the Asian communities. Saville told the Herald the operatives were groomed through the Young Labor movement and worked the party's Electrac data system incessantly to target Asian voters with emails and visits.

They later integrated themselves into the largely Asian Maxine Support Group, or MSG. [!]

McKew's campaign office secured a phone number that ended in 888 because many Chinese believe 8 to be a lucky number.

Thousands of how-to-vote guides in Chinese and Korean were printed and delivered, as were testimonials from prominent members of the Asian community.

Rudd's daughter, Jessica, and her new Hong-Kong-born husband, Albert Tse, were used frequently.

In the final week of the campaign they accompanied McKew at a function at the Eastwood Chinese Senior Citizens Club. Tse gave a speech in Cantonese, Jessica Rudd in Mandarin. The Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao ran the story on its front page.

Rudd's own affinity with China, evidenced by his command of Mandarin, was pivotal, as was Howard's earlier attitude to Pauline Hanson's One Nation and his controversial 1988 comments on Asian immigration.

On the last day of the campaign, Sing Tao's front page carried the story of the race-hate pamphlet scandal in the seat of Lindsay. Next to it was a story mentioning Howard's 1988 comments.

A day later, voters handed Maxine McKew her place in history.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"The New Yorker" retracts Malcolm Gladwell's potential libel of Charles Murray

On Monday, I linked to Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article "None of the Above: What race doesn't tell you about IQ." Several of my commenters alertly called attention to Gladwell's line:

"... and in 1994 Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in “The Bell Curve,” notoriously proposed that Americans with the lowest I.Q.s be sequestered in a “high-tech” version of an Indian reservation, “while the rest of America tries to go about its business.""

Obviously, this is flatly wrong. As "yo" acidly observed,

"'Proposed' and 'argued against' are so close in meaning that its easy to get them confused."

This afternoon, following earlier critical comments by "Rain And" and "rone," I posted on the blog:

Dear Malcolm:

Don't they have fact checkers at The New Yorker anymore?

Are you going to issue an apology to Charles Murray for your possibly libelous claim, ""Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in “The Bell Curve,” notoriously proposed that Americans with the lowest I.Q.s be sequestered in a “high-tech” version of an Indian reservation""?

Soon after, Gladwell posted this on his blog:


To my chagrin, I made an error in my New Yorker piece "None of the Above." In the "Bell Curve," Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein did not advocate a "high-tech Indian reservation" for low-IQ groups. Rather, they warned that if current welfare policies continued, we would end up having to build high-tech reservations for those with low IQs--which is a very different argument, obviously (although not, if you think about it, any less ridiculous). I regret the error. The New Yorker will be running a correction.

The potentially libelous line remains in the online version of the New Yorker article, but an apology (a more graceful one that Malcolm's, by the way), has been appended to the bottom of the article:

"CORRECTION: In his December 17th piece, “None of the Above,” Malcolm Gladwell states that Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, in their 1994 book “The Bell Curve,” proposed that Americans with low I.Q.s be “sequestered in a ‘high-tech’ version of an Indian reservation.” In fact, Herrnstein and Murray deplored the prospect of such “custodialism” and recommended that steps be taken to avert it. We regret the error."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

James Watson and "passing"

The widely-repeated assertion by the Icelandic firm deCODE genetics that James Watson is 16% sub-Saharan black and 9% Asian (see, for instance, the new NY Times article "DNA Pioneer's Genome Blurs Race Lines") reminds me of one of the least understood contradictions in the conventional wisdom that Race Doesn't Exist:

- The existence of the One-Drop Rule shows that race is an arbitrary social construct.

- Therefore, lots of white Americans must have lots of black ancestors.

But when you stop and think about it, you realize the opposite is true: that the One-Drop Rule is the reason that so few self-identified white Americans have much black ancestry. As I wrote in 2001, when racial admixture testing via DNA was in its infancy:

Among self-identified whites in Shriver's sample, the average black admixture is only 0.7 percent. That's the equivalent of having among your 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (who lived around two centuries ago), 127 whites and one black.

It appears that 70 percent of whites have no African ancestors. Among the 30 percent who do, the black admixture is around 2.3 percent, which would be like having about three black ancestors out of those 128.

In contrast, the lack of the One Drop Rule meant that Mexico's black minority has been almost completely absorbed into the general population.

As I've said, racial admixture testing is not always reliable for individuals, but for large sample sizes it works reasonably well. (If anybody has any more recent data than this on American whites, let me know.) As I pointed out in regard to IQ testing, people tend to make a 180 degree wrong assumption about testing in the human sciences: the unexpected reality is that it's much easier to be accurate about a group, whether IQ or racial admixture, than it is to be accurate about an individual.

The lesson that needs to be learned is that social constructs impact genetic reality. If your society cruelly sanctions people who marry across racial lines and won't let their children easily assert membership in the dominant race, as America long did, you'll end up with the white-identifying people of America being whiter genetically than the white-identifying people of, say, Brazil.

(That's why affirmative action benefits in America works are distributed largely on the honor system -- you just check whichever race box you want on the job or college application and they usually take your word for it, and there have been surprisingly few controversies, at least over people claiming to be black. In contrast, the new affirmative action system in Brazil for college admissions has set up boards to visually evaluate each candidate claiming to be black.)

It was fairly hard to pass visually, but the emotional toll of passing was particularly difficult. A 1953 study by anthropologist C. Stern estimated that 1/4 of people who were 1/4th black and 3/4th white could pass for white. (See Carleton Coon's Living Races of Man, p. 307).

The One-Drop Rule made it wrenchingly hard for even the whitest-looking person with socially-identified black relatives to pass into being socially-identified as white. To pass from black to white socially, an individual typically had to move to a new part of the country and cut himself off from his family because at least some of them would be visibly part-black.

For example, one of the best-known cases of passing is that of the late Anatole Broyard (1920-1990), the distinguished literary critic. His parents were New Orleans "creoles of color," but when he moved to New York to make his career in books, he more or less dropped the black part of his black identity (which, as a native of New Orleans, where the One Drop Rule was an alien Anglo imposition, presumably didn't mean that much to him) and let people assume he was white. His career probably would have been even more successful if he had been publicly black, but he wasn't interested in being pigeonholed as a "black critic."

But this liberation came at a human cost: he cut himself off from his family. His children never met his darker sister until his funeral.

Broyard championed the novelist Philip Roth, and after his death, Roth published a novel, The Human Stain, inspired by Broyard's life.

The 2003 movie version suffers from the casting of Anthony Hopkins as the protagonist, Professor of English Coleman Silk, because Sir Anthony, the laziest of actors, made no effort to appear even subliminally black (he didn't even use an American accent!). And the filmmakers didn't dare put any makeup on Sir Anthony to make him look a little black. But the flashbacks to Silk's life in Newark in the 1940s before passing, featuring the part-black Wentworth Miller of Prison Break as the young Silk, are excellent. (By the way, if anybody wants to make a movie of Broyard's life, Miller looks a lot like him. And, he's got star power.)

Roth's novel makes clear the emotional cost of passing, when the young Silk's clearly part-African mother's responds to his announcement with this moving soliloquy:

"'I’m never going to know my grandchildren,’ she said. ‘You're never going to let them see me,' she said. ‘You're never going to let them know who I am. "Mom," you'll tell me, "Ma, you come to the railroad station in New York, and you sit on the bench in the waiting room, and at eleven twenty-five A.M., I'll walk by with my kids in their Sunday best." That'll be my birthday present five years from now. "Sit there, Mom, say nothing, and I'll just walk them slowly by." And you know very well that I will be there. The railroad station. The zoo. Central Park. Wherever you say, of course, I'll do it. You tell me the only way I can ever touch my grandchildren is for you to hire me to come over as Mrs. Brown to baby-sit and put them to bed. I'll do it… I have no choice.'"

And then there was always the fear among individuals who were passing that they'd have a child who was clearly part-black. (Your child can inherit from you genes that aren't evident in your looks.)

But, if you can successfully pass, your descendants will tend to be increasingly white by ancestry, while the descendants of your siblings' who didn't pass will tend to get blacker because they will be in socially different gene pools for choosing spouses. (For example, there are, I believe, two lineages descended from Sally Hemings's 1/8th black sons: Madison's is socially identified as black and Eston's as white. That's because Eston moved to the Old Northwest and lived as a white man and married a while woman, while Madison lived as a black man.)

So, with a reasonable picture in our heads of just what was required of an individual to pass, let's see how credible the claim that James Dewey Watson Jr. is 25% nonwhite now sounds. I'm going to spend some time going over this because it might help people understand how to evaluate genetic claims (by seeing, for example, if they make sense in human terms of who marries whom), and because it explains a little about what America was like.

Not surprisingly, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA is very interested in his own genealogy, as he shows in the first chapter of his new autobiography Avoid Boring People, which is available as a five megabyte PDF file, complete with pictures of his parents and maternal grandmother.

On his mother's side, his grandfather was a Scottish immigrant, Lauchlin Alexander Mitchell (son of Robert Mitchell and Flora MacKinnon of Scotland), while his mother's mother (Lizzie Gleason - see picture to the right) was the daughter of Irish immigrants (Michael Gleeson and Mary Curtin) who initially took up farming in the Midwest. So, the search for blacks and Asians should concentrate on his father's side of the family, who were of old Anglo-American stock.

But that would mean his father would be 50% nonwhite, and one of his paternal grandparents might well be be 100% nonwhite.

How likely is that? One place to start is by looking at the photo (not online) on p. 265 of Watson's new autobiography, Avoid Boring People. It shows Watson at the 1967 wedding of his cousin Alice. Standing alongside him are his sister, his father, and his paternal grandfather.

In other words, the Watsons were not split up like the Broyards were by the brutal necessities of passing. Indeed, Watson lists the names of his father's three brothers and of his paternal grandfather's four brothers, so the Watsons were a very cohesive clan, quite proud of their genealogy. They were addicted to high-WASP practices of passing names down within the family, and converting prestigious last names to middle names. For instance, the scientist's full name is James Dewey Watson Jr., with his first name coming from his father James Sr. and his middle name from the maternal grandfather of his mother, Nellie Dewey Ford, who was descended from a Puritan named Thomas Dewey who arrived in Boston in 1633.

Further, just from looking at the wedding picture, I'd say these Watsons are just about the five whitest people in the whole world. If they are significantly non-white genetically, it sure doesn't show on any of them.

The reality is that the Watson family was way too socially fashionable for too long to be significantly black in a profoundly anti-black America. For example, Watson's paternal uncle William Weldon Watson IV was appointed chairman of the Yale Physics Department in 1940. If somebody who was one-third black was a Yale department chairman in 1940, it would be big news.

Watson's father (see picture to the left) started work at the Harris Trust Company in Chicago before WWI. Watson's paternal grandfather was a stockbroker and his paternal grandmother an heiress. The scientist's paternal great-grandfather was a hotelkeeper in ritzy Lake Geneva, WI and married a banker's daughter.

His paternal great-great-grandfather William Weldon Watson II was a friend of Abraham Lincoln. Watson writes: "With his wife and brother Ben, he later accompanied Lincoln on the inaugural train to Washington." I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that Lincoln didn't invite a family of prosperous mulattoes from Springfield along on his train ride to take power in Southern-sympathizing Washington D.C., not while trying to head off Civil War as hotheads accused him of wanting to foster "miscegenation."

You could hypothesize, I suppose, that Watson was the product of an illicit affair between his mother and a man who was half nonwhite, or between his paternal grandmother and a man who was completely nonwhite, but the circumstantial evidence makes this unlikely. Watson was the first-born child, born three years after his parents wedding. His parents had his sister a couple of years later and stayed together for the rest of their lives. So, it doesn't sound like Mrs. Watson stuck Mr. Watson with a cuckoo's egg.

Similarly, Watson's father was the first-born of four sons, a couple of years after his parents' wedding. And he was born in northern Minnesota!

Or you could hypothesize that James Watson had several different ancestors who were all part non-white, but that's just pushing the passing problem back farther in time, and multiplying the improbability of it all.

Broyard came from a creole of color subcaste in New Orleans that had social institutions, such as debutante's balls, designed to foster marriages among lighter-skinned people. But that's a very public system -- if you are socially prominent within your subcaste, it's hard to claim to be all-white. At a minimum, the blacker people you discriminate against in your clubs will talk about how you aren't as white as you might look.

In contrast, the Watsons were prominent in Upper Midwest social circles for generations, and its extremely doubtful that they were involved in some sort of surreptitious subcaste of in-marrying white-looking mulattoes.

Now, it's quite possible that Watson's distant frontier-era ancestors include blacks and American Indians (I'm dubious about the 9% Asian figure). When people were moving around and communications were slow, it was easier to pass. But, their descendants would tend to get whiter because they had passed into the white marriage pool.

So, what likely happened is that Watson had a few nonwhite ancestors fairly well back in the past, and their versions of the genes used as genetic markers in deCODE's analysis , via the luck of the draw in the sexual reproduction shuffle, kept turning up in Watson's ancestors, greatly exaggerating his overall nonwhite ancestry. But the great majority of his functional genes were inherited from his white ancestors.

Enough detail. The point is that when you think about genes, you need to think about genealogy.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 11, 2007

John Hawks iFAQ

Coauthor John Hawks is a blogging his list of infrequently asked questions about his new paper on the speeding up of human evolution, including his answer to P-ter's criticism on GNXP.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 10, 2007

Is James Watson black?

From the Times of London:

JAMES WATSON, the DNA pioneer who claimed Africans are less intelligent than whites, has been found to have 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European.

An analysis of his genome shows that 16% of his genes are likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent. By contrast, most people of European descent would have no more than 1%.

The study was made possible when he allowed his genome - the map of all his genes - to be published on the internet in the interests of science.

“This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African,” said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. “It was very surprising to get this result for Jim.

Watson won the Nobel prize, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, after working out the structure of DNA in 1953. However, he provoked an outcry earlier this year when he suggested black people were genetically less intelligent than whites.

This weekend his critics savoured the wry twist of fate. Sir John Sulston, the Nobel laureate who helped lead the consortium that decoded the human genome, said the discovery was ironic in view of Watson’s opinions on race. “I never did agree with Watson’s remarks,” he said. “We do not understand enough about intelligence to generalise about race.”

The backlash against Watson forced him to step down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York state, after 39 years at the helm. He had said he was “inherently gloomy about the prospects for Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really”.

The analysis by deCODE Genetics, an Icelandic company, also shows a further 9% of Watson’s genes are likely to have come from an ancestor of Asian descent.

of Long Island "reports:"
"News that geneticist James Watson inherited 16 percent of his DNA from an African ancestor may provide the Nobel Prize winner with a new perspective on his ancestry. But experts Monday said the percentage of Watson's DNA possibly contributed by someone of African descent illustrates that race is a counterfeit concept, having more to do with social notions than biological ones."

And the NYT leaps in here.

It could be true that Watson is 25% nonwhite (although the graph in the Times says 27%), but it sounds unlikely to me, based on simple genealogical arithmetic that nobody else seems to have done. The only evidence I can see for this claim is that Watson has wavy or curly hair and that his father spent a year at Oberlin, the most racially liberal American college of the 19th Century. Otherwise, this claim fails most reality checks.

Watson's new autobiography, Avoid Boring People, has a fair amount of information about his ancestors, including several old photos. His mother's side of the family were recent immigrants from the British Isles:
"Mother was the only child of Lauchlin Alexander Mitchell, a Scottish-born tailor, and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Gleason, the daughter of an Irish immigrant couple (Michael Gleason and Mary Curtin) who had emigrated from Tipperary during the potato famine of the late 1840s."

So, if his mother was 100% white, as this family history suggests, then his father would have to be 50% nonwhite, which sounds extremely improbable. There's a picture of James D. Watson Sr. on p. 5, and he looks like your average white guy. (Granted, old black and white pictures can be somewhat misleading, but still ...).

Further, his father's upper middle class family history suggests that his father's side of the family sure didn't suffer from racial discrimination. If his father was 50% nonwhite, then his paternal grandparents had to average 50% nonwhite (e.g., one was 100% nonwhite, and the other 100% white). Yet, if one or both were significantly nonwhite, nobody in late 19th Century America seemed to notice! His paternal grandparents were both Episcopalians. His grandfather was a stockbroker, his grandmother was an heiress from wealthy Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The odds that two individuals who were, on average, one-third black could have thrived in such an anti-black social environment seems absurd.

Further, Watson's father had three brothers. Did any of them displays signs of being part black? For a mulatto attempting to pass into white society, there are many fraugh passages, such as what to do with their loved ones. Today, we hear about how Race doe not exist, but for those who passed from black to white it was terribly traumatic, generally leaving behind your family and and taking on a new identity. Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain gives a strong picture of what it is like to pass from black to white. It's based on the literary critic Anatole Broyard.

I don't see any more of a such a troubled passage of the Watsons

This reminds me of this great article I wrote in 2001 about a population geneticist doing a pioneering racial admixture study, who noticed that one of his subjects was determined to be 22% black. So, he looked into it more and discovered it was him! This came as a big surprise to him and all his relatives. I wrote it up and it was a wonderful human interest story. The only problem was that it wasn't true. As a reader pointed out to me, 22% means that, say, one grandparent was 7/8ths black, which somebody would have likely noticed. Later, the population geneticist took a look at his DNA again with better methodology and found he had been way, way off originally.

I hate being wrong ...

Racial admixture analyses are reasonably good for groups, but for individuals, at present, they can throw off some funny results. For example, one commercial firm often reports that Jewish customers are a little bit American Indian. Brent Staples, a black editorial writer for the NYT, took a racial admixture test and was told he was 18% Asian, which is another unlikely finding.

I don't doubt that the paternal side of Watson's family tree, which in the case of Watson's paternal grandmother goes back to a Thomas Dewey who landed in Boston in 1633, could include some blacks and American Indians. Yet, simple arithmetic shows that the chance of him being 25% nonwhite is vanishingly small.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

20th anniversary of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities"

From the New York Times:

No Longer the City of ‘Bonfire’ in Flames


Twenty years ago, the acid-penned journalist Tom Wolfe unleashed his first novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” Skewering everyone from self-absorbed Wall Street millionaires to hucksterish street politicians, the sprawling satire painted a picture of a New York declining inexorably into racial conflict, crime and greed. …

The novel tapped, to electrifying effect, a vein of anxiety that defined 1980s New York. … To some New Yorkers, Mr. Wolfe’s satire was bitingly accurate, nailing both a racist criminal justice system and the politicians who played on white fear and minority anger for personal gain.

To others, it was a cynical endorsement of racial stereotypes that did not so much critique white paranoia as cater to it.

Barnard at least admits that Bonfire of the Vanities didn't so much "reflect" as "predict" most of the events it now appears to have been based on:

From the moment it was published in November 1987, new episodes in the drama of the metropolis seemed to unfold like chapters in Mr. Wolfe’s story.

Four white youths from Howard Beach, Queens, were already on trial for beating a black man who fled to his death in traffic on the Belt Parkway.

That same month, a black teenager named Tawana Brawley, who was found smeared with feces in a garbage bag, said she had been assaulted by white men with badges, sparking a prosecution that later collapsed when it was determined that she had fabricated the story.

Wall Street convulsed as its stars were investigated for white-collar crime, culminating in the 1990 securities fraud conviction of Michael R. Milken, the “junk bond king.”

In the 1990s, America's most distinguished jurist-intellectual, Richard A. Posner, admitted in his book Overcoming Law:

"When I first read The Bonfire of the Vanities … it just didn't strike me as the sort of book that has anything interesting to say about the law or any other institution…. I now consider that estimate of the book ungenerous and unperceptive. The Bonfire of the Vanities has turned out to be a book that I think about a lot, in part because it describes with such vividness what Wolfe with prophetic insight (the sort of thing we attribute to Kafka) identified as emerging problems of the American legal system… American legal justice today seems often to be found at a bizarre intersection of race, money, and violence, an intersection nowhere better depicted than in The Bonfire of the Vanities even thought the book was written before the intersection had come into view."

Of course, the NYT's article doesn't remember to mention the NYT's long campaign last year to frame the Duke Lacrosse team, even though they were more innocent than Sherman McCoy -- headlines ripped from the story of Bonfire.

Barnard goes on

Mr. Wolfe’s real-life characters remain deeply divided, like their fellow New Yorkers, over what changed their city.

Mr. Hayes — using some of the eyebrow-raising ethnic language of his “Bonfire” character, Tommy Killian — gave credit to “the war on crime in New York City, which was basically won by white Catholic men from the boroughs.”

Minorities in the courts “got treated like dogs, and if you were a legitimate guy in a poor neighborhood you had no shot at all,” Mr. Hayes said. But in his view, New York crippled itself by blaming “society” for crime until Rudolph W. Giuliani came into office in 1994.

Wolfe himself says in an accompanying series of interviews with the models for various characters such as Al Sharpton ("Rev. Bacon"):

New York’s demographics were already shifting shortly after he finished the book, he noted.

"I first noticed this when “Bonfire” was being filmed [in 1990]. There was a slightly outrageous scene —night on the street in the Bronx. Two cars are on fire — I mean, come on — on this block . Everyone on the block is a black drug dealer, black drug taker, black wino, black pimp, black hustler — it really was an outrageous caricature. There’s a big Hollywood movie being made at night — lights, stars. The whole neighborhood turned out, they’re watching this and saying — what’s this thing all about? Because they’re all Thais and Cambodians and Vietnamese."

The long financial boom that began in August 1982 simply made the city too expensive for a lot of marginal characters. That's why the crime rate has fallen less than the national average in a lot of nearby cities that they moved to.

By the way, this reminds me of what a remarkably bad job of casting Brian De Palma and company did in the 1990 movie adaptation. The whole project was pretty hopeless from the get-go. The problem is that the central character, Sherman McCoy, is a stuffed shirt bore, but the minor characters, such as Killian, his uber-Irish defense attorney, are wonderful. A 2-hour movie that concentrates on Sherman was bound for trouble from the beginning.

But the casting didn't have to be so catastrophic. William Hurt, who was a big star at the time (before his drinking became a problem), was the obvious choice for Sherman, with Steve Martin a more daring selection. but instead they picked Tom Hanks, then still in his boyish era, and changed Sherman from an old money WASP to a young yuppie, which threw off the rest of the film. Of course, casting Bruce Willis as the villain, the poisonous British journalist Peter Fallow (based on Anthony Haden-Guest, Christopher Guest's illegitimate brother) was insane. Fallow had to be rewritten into a hero! There was no time left for great characters like Kramer, the assistant DA, and Killian, so little known actors were given their role. Morgan Freeman is in the movie, and he would have made a terrific Rev. Bacon (Al Sharpton), but instead he was cast as the fierce Jewish judge, but then the character couldn't be Jewish or fierce, but had to be black and numinous. Oh, man, what a catastrophe ...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Here's the link

Here's the link for "Recent acceleration of adaptive human evolution" by Cochran, Harpending, Hawks, Moyzis, and Wang:

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

More press coverage

From the LA Times:

Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly

By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
2:44 PM PST, December 10, 2007
The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historic levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today.

By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.

Until recently, anthropologists believed that evolutionary pressures on humans eased after the transition to a more stable agrarian lifestyle. But in the last few years, they realized the opposite was true -- diseases swept through societies in which large groups lived in close quarters for a long period.

Altogether, the recent genetic changes account for 7% of the human genome, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The advantage of all but about 100 of these genes remains a mystery, said University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist John Hawks ...

Most of the genetic changes the researchers identified were found in only one geographic group or another. Races as we know them today didn't exist until fewer than 20,000 years ago, when genes involved in skin pigmentation emerged, Hawks said. Paler skin allowed people in northern latitudes to absorb more sunlight to make vitamin D.

"As populations expanded into new environments, the pressures faced in those environments would have been different," said Noah Rosenberg, a human geneticist at the University of Michigan, who wasn't involved in the study. "So it stands to reason that in different parts of the world, different genes will appear to have experienced natural selection."

Hawks and his colleagues from UC Irvine, the University of Utah and Santa Clara-based gene chip maker Affymetrix Inc. examined genetic data collected by the International HapMap Consortium, which cataloged single-letter differences among the 3 billion letters of human DNA in people of Nigerian, Japanese, Chinese and European descent.

The researchers looked for long stretches of DNA that were identical in many people, suggesting that a gene was widely adopted and that it spread relatively recently, before random mutations among individuals had a chance to occur.

They found that the more the population grew, the faster human genes evolved. That's because more people created more opportunities for a beneficial mutation to arise, Hawks said.

In the last 5,000 to 10,000 years, as agriculture was able to support increasingly large societies, the rate of evolutionary change rose to more than 100 times historical levels, the study concluded.

Among the fastest-evolving genes are those related to brain development, but the researchers aren't sure what made them so desirable, Hawks said.

There are other mysteries too.

"Nobody 10,000 years ago had blue eyes," Hawks said. "Why is it that blue-eyed people had a 5% advantage in reproducing compared to non-blue-eyed people? I have no idea." [MORE]

And from The Telegraph in Britain:

Humans 'evolving to have children later'

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 10:01pm GMT 10/12/2007

Good news for future generations of career women: we are evolving to have more children later in life, according to a recent study.

Humankind has evolved more rapidly in the past 5,000 years, at a rate roughly 100 times higher than any other period of human evolution. And an author of the study predicts that this suggests humans will further evolve to have more children later in life. [MORE]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution"

Here's the abstract and last paragraph of the big paper. (Click the title in blue for the 8 page PDF of the full paper.)

Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution

John Hawks, Eric T. Wang, Gregory Cochran, Henry C. Harpending, and Robert K. Moyzis

Genomic surveys in humans identify a large amount of recent positive selection. Using the 3.9-million HapMap SNP dataset, we found that selection has accelerated greatly during the last 40,000 years. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed age distribution of recent positively selected linkage blocks is consistent with a constant rate of adaptive substitution during human evolution. We show that a constant rate high enough to explain the number of recently selected variants would predict (i) site heterozygosity at least 10-fold lower than is observed in humans, (ii) a strong relationship of heterozygosity and local recombination rate, which is not observed in humans, (iii) an implausibly high number of adaptive substitutions between humans and chimpanzees, and (iv) nearly 100 times the observed number of high-frequency linkage disequilibrium blocks. Larger populations generate more new selected mutations, and we show the consistency of the observed data with the historical pattern of human population growth. We consider human demographic growth to be linked with past changes in human cultures and ecologies. Both processes have contributed to the extraordinarily rapid recent genetic evolution of our species.

The last paragraph of the discussion:

It is sometimes claimed that the pace of human evolution should have slowed as cultural adaptation supplanted genetic adaptation. The high empirical number of recent adaptive variants would seem sufficient to refute this claim. It is important to note that the peak ages of new selected variants in our data do not reflect the highest intensity of selection, but merely our ability to detect selection. Due to the recent acceleration, many more new adaptive mutations should exist than have yet been ascertained, occurring at a faster and faster rate during historic times. Adaptive alleles with frequencies under 22% should then greatly outnumber those at higher frequencies. To the extent that new adaptive alleles continued to reflect demographic growth, the Neolithic and later periods would have experienced a rate of adaptive evolution more than 100 times higher than characterized most of human evolution. Cultural changes have reduced mortality rates, but variance in reproduction has continued to fuel genetic change. In our view, the rapid cultural evolution during the Late Pleistocene created vastly more opportunities for further genetic change, not fewer, as new avenues emerged for communication, social interactions, and creativity.

Linda Seebach has a column about it:

The old story was that around the time agriculture started to replace hunting and gathering as a way of life for human beings, biological evolution faded into insignificance because it was so much slower. There’s hardly been enough time – only about 10,000 years or so – for human biology to have changed enough so’s you’d notice.

Not so, as studies of the human genome are demonstrating. When people began domesticating animals, planting crops, and living in settled communities, they created environments for themselves quite different from any environments the human species had occupied before, and natural selection proceeded, as it always does, to favor survival and reproductive success for individuals who were, by chance, better adapted to those environments.

The marquee example is retaining the ability to digest milk into adulthood, which is nearly universal among people of European descent, and quite rare elsewhere.

But the shift to agriculture was also important, Cochran said, because agriculture can support a larger population. Any individual might be the next one to draw a winning ticket in the genetic lottery, and the human species was suddenly buying a lot more lottery tickets.

Think of the genes as a crew of thousands of extras, swarming around the sets and the studio lots, auditioning for jobs. They play more than one role, in lots of different movies, for different directors, as circumstances permit.

One day on the set where they’re filming a swords-and-circuses epic, the director spots a spear-carrier who has given an especially elegant performance, impaling a charioteer.

“You there, with the spear? Could you do that again? Yeah?! I’m gonna make you a star!” And – for a quick glimpse into how biology and culture drive each other – if the spear-carrier proves to be bankable, he’ll get more roles, the director will get more movies, the studio will tilt toward making more epics and the extras with good spear-carrying traits will be more likely to succeed in that environment.

Success, in the gene world, is reproductive success – leaving descendants – but given the role of the casting couch in Hollywood, maybe that’s not pushing the metaphor too far.

On the next set over, the director is casting a chick flick. He says to his assistant, “see that looker over there, the one with the purple eyes? Ask her whether she can ride a horse.”

Now the aspiring starlets competing with Elizabeth Taylor for a role in “National Velvet” can take riding lessons. But they can’t do anything to give themselves violet eyes.

The hunter-gatherers competing with pastoralists for food resources could certainly have learned to keep domesticated animals. But if they and their children could not digest milk much past the average age of weaning, it wouldn’t do them any good. In hard times they’d starve while the meek drinkers of milk inherit the earth.

Or at least a broad swath of it from Iceland to South India.

Accelerated biological evolution in humans doesn’t mean that we’re turning into aliens, but there is evidence that hundreds of human genes are under selection pressure, having to do with such things as diet, vitamin metabolism, the functioning of the central nervous system, disease resistance, hair, skin and eye color, the shape of the skeleton and behavioral traits better suited to living in large groups. “We’re tamer,” Cochran said.

I asked him why we’re not developing floppy ears like the silver foxes bred for tameness. [MORE]

Co-author John Hawks is promising an FAQ about it later on Monday evening.

The indefatigable Jason Malloy of offers this summary of initial media reaction:

First wave of media articles:

[AP] Researchers: Human evolution speeding up

"Science fiction writers have suggested a future Earth populated by a blend of all races into a common human form. In real life, the reverse seems to be happening.

People are evolving more rapidly than in the distant past, with residents of various continents becoming increasingly different from one another, researchers say."

[Reuters] Rapid acceleration in human evolution described

"Genes have evolved relatively quickly in Africa, Asia and Europe but almost all of the changes have been unique to their corner of the world."

[Eureka] Genome study places modern humans in the evolutionary fast lane

"Adds Hawks: "We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals.""

[Wired News] Humans Evolving More Rapidly Than Ever, Say Scientists

"Asked about James Watson's controversial claims that intelligence evolved less effectively in people of African descent, Harpending said the study wasn't designed to test such characteristics. He also cautioned against interpreting the findings as suggesting that people are becoming fundamentally better...

"Evolution is a double-edged sword," he said. "What evolution cares about is that I have more offspring. If you can do it by charming and manipulating, and I'm a hardworking farmer that's going to feed the kids ten years down the road, then you're going to win. Hit-and-run, irresponsible males are reproducing more. That isn't good for anyone except those males, but that's evolution.""

[Times UK] Why the human race is growing apart

"Armand Leroi, Reader in Evolutionary Biology at Imperial College, London, said: "In principle, this could have led to speciation if it had continued, but in practice, it has got to be the case that that cannot happen now. The reason is that this study has looked at largely separated populations in the past, but everything about human history since the industrial revolution weighs overwhelmingly against separation and thus against speciation too. Huge increases in gene flow are going to wipe this trend out.""

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Are humans evolving faster?

Here's the press release from the U. of Utah about the big Cochran - Harpending - Hawks - Moyzis - Wang paper. (Look for more coverage tonight and tomorrow in the press.)

Are Humans Evolving Faster?

"We used a new genomic technology to show that humans are evolving rapidly, and that the pace of change has accelerated a lot in the last 40,000 years, especially since the end of the Ice Age roughly 10,000 years ago," says research team leader Henry Harpending, a distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

Harpending says there are provocative implications from the study, published online Monday, Dec. 10 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

-- "We aren't the same as people even 1,000 or 2,000 years ago," he says, which may explain, for example, part of the difference between Viking invaders and their peaceful Swedish descendants. "The dogma has been these are cultural fluctuations, but almost any temperament trait you look at is under strong genetic influence."

-- "Human races are evolving away from each other," Harpending says. "Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity." He says that is happening because humans dispersed from Africa to other regions 40,000 years ago, "and there has not been much flow of genes between the regions since then."

"Our study denies the widely held assumption or belief that modern humans [those who widely adopted advanced tools and art] appeared 40,000 years ago, have not changed since and that we are all pretty much the same. We show that humans are changing relatively rapidly on a scale of centuries to millennia, and that these changes are different in different continental groups."

The increase in human population from millions to billions in the last 10,000 years accelerated the rate of evolution because "we were in new environments to which we needed to adapt," Harpending adds. "And with a larger population, more mutations occurred."

Study co-author Gregory M. Cochran says: "History looks more and more like a science fiction novel in which mutants repeatedly arose and displaced normal humans - sometimes quietly, by surviving starvation and disease better, sometimes as a conquering horde. And we are those mutants."

Harpending conducted the study with Cochran, a New Mexico physicist, self-taught evolutionary biologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Utah; anthropologist John Hawks, a former Utah postdoctoral researcher now at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; geneticist Eric Wang of Affymetrix, Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif.; and biochemist Robert Moyzis of the University of California, Irvine.

No Justification for Discrimination

The new study comes from two of the same University of Utah scientists - Harpending and Cochran - who created a stir in 2005 when they published a study arguing that above-average intelligence in Ashkenazi Jews - those of northern European heritage - resulted from natural selection in medieval Europe, where they were pressured into jobs as financiers, traders, managers and tax collectors. Those who were smarter succeeded, grew wealthy and had bigger families to pass on their genes. Yet that intelligence also is linked to genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher in Jews.

That study and others dealing with genetic differences among humans - whose DNA is more than 99 percent identical - generated fears such research will undermine the principle of human equality and justify racism and discrimination. Other critics question the quality of the science and argue culture plays a bigger role than genetics.

Harpending says genetic differences among different human populations "cannot be used to justify discrimination. Rights in the Constitution aren't predicated on utter equality. People have rights and should have opportunities whatever their group."

Analyzing SNPs of Evolutionary Acceleration

The study looked for genetic evidence of natural selection - the evolution of favorable gene mutations - during the past 80,000 years by analyzing DNA from 270 individuals in the International HapMap Project, an effort to identify variations in human genes that cause disease and can serve as targets for new medicines.

The new study looked specifically at genetic variations called "single nucleotide polymorphisms," or SNPs (pronounced "snips") which are single-point mutations in chromosomes that are spreading through a significant proportion of the population.

Imagine walking along two chromosomes - the same chromosome from two different people. Chromosomes are made of DNA, a twisting, ladder-like structure in which each rung is made of a "base pair" of amino acids, either G-C or A-T. Harpending says that about every 1,000 base pairs, there will be a difference between the two chromosomes. That is known as a SNP.

Data examined in the study included 3.9 million SNPs from the 270 people in four populations: Han Chinese, Japanese, Africa's Yoruba tribe and northern Europeans, represented largely by data from Utah Mormons, says Harpending.

Over time, chromosomes randomly break and recombine to create new versions or variants of the chromosome. "If a favorable mutation appears, then the number of copies of that chromosome will increase rapidly" in the population because people with the mutation are more likely to survive and reproduce, Harpending says.

"And if it increases rapidly, it becomes common in the population in a short time," he adds.

The researchers took advantage of that to determine if genes on chromosomes had evolved recently. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, with each parent providing one copy of each of the 23. If the same chromosome from numerous people has a segment with an identical pattern of SNPs, that indicates that segment of the chromosome has not broken up and recombined recently.

That means a gene on that segment of chromosome must have evolved recently and fast; if it had evolved long ago, the chromosome would have broken and recombined.

Harpending and colleagues used a computer to scan the data for chromosome segments that had identical SNP patterns and thus had not broken and recombined, meaning they evolved recently. They also calculated how recently the genes evolved.

A key finding: 7 percent of human genes are undergoing rapid, recent evolution.

The researchers built a case that human evolution has accelerated by comparing genetic data with what the data should look like if human evolution had been constant:

-- The study found much more genetic diversity in the SNPs than would be expected if human evolution had remained constant.

-- If the rate at which new genes evolve in Africans was extrapolated back to 6 million years ago when humans and chimpanzees diverged, the genetic difference between modern chimps and humans would be 160 times greater than it really is. So the evolution rate of Africans represents a recent speedup in evolution.

-- If evolution had been fast and constant for a long time, there should be many recently evolved genes that have spread to everyone. Yet, the study revealed many genes still becoming more frequent in the population, indicating a recent evolutionary speedup.

Next, the researchers examined the history of human populationsize on each continent. They found that mutation patterns seen in the genome data were consistent with the hypothesis that evolution is faster in larger populations.

Evolutionary Change and Human History: Got Milk?

"Rapid population growth has been coupled with vast changes in cultures and ecology, creating new opportunities for adaptation," the study says. "The past 10,000 years have seen rapid skeletal and dental evolution in human populations, as well as the appearance of many new genetic responses to diet and disease."

The researchers note that human migrations into new Eurasian environments created selective pressures favoring less skin pigmentation (so more sunlight could be absorbed by skin to make vitamin D), adaptation to cold weather and dietary changes.

Because human population grew from several million at the end of the Ice Age to 6 billion now, more favored new genes have emerged and evolution has speeded up, both globally and among continental groups of people, Harpending says.

"We have to understand genetic change in order to understand history," he adds.

For example, in China and most of Africa, few people can digest fresh milk into adulthood. Yet in Sweden and Denmark, the gene that makes the milk-digesting enzyme lactase remains active, so "almost everyone can drink fresh milk," explaining why dairying is more common in Europe than in the Mediterranean and Africa, Harpending says.

He now is studying if the mutation that allowed lactose tolerance spurred some of history's great population expansions, including when speakers of Indo-European languages settled all the way from northwest India and central Asia through Persia and across Europe 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. He suspects milk drinking gave lactose-tolerant Indo-European speakers more energy, allowing them to conquer a large area.

But Harpending believes the speedup in human evolution "is a temporary state of affairs because of our new environments since the dispersal of modern humans 40,000 years ago and especially since the invention of agriculture 12,000 years ago. That changed our diet and changed our social systems. If you suddenly take hunter-gatherers and give them a diet of corn, they frequently get diabetes. We're still adapting to that. Several new genes we see spreading through the population are involved with helping us prosper with high-carbohydrate diet."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

And another Eyferth sighting!

From The New Yorker:

None of the Above
What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race.
by Malcolm Gladwell

And it shouldn’t make much of a difference where a mixed-race child is born. But, again, it does: the children fathered by black American G.I.s in postwar Germany and brought up by their German mothers have the same I.Q.s as the children of white American G.I.s and German mothers. The difference, in that case, was not the fact of the children’s blackness, as a fundamentalist would say. It was the fact of their Germanness—of their being brought up in a different culture, under different circumstances.

Judging by how often this unreplicated 1961 study gets cited in 2007, you'd have to say that one side in this debate is a little short on evidence.

Anyway, I just had time to skim Malcolm's new piece looking for Eyferth so I can't say how good it is overall. It's a review of James Flynn's recent book, so that's a good omen. Malcolm's modus operandi is essentially to fall into a deep, credulous infatuation with whichever social scientist he's writing about, but, fortunately, Flynn is a worthy subject, a gentleman and a scholar. So, hopefully, Malcolm won't go too far off the rails this time.

Here's my review of Flynn's book from last Labor Day, which both Dr. and Mrs. Flynn liked very much. And here's my preview of the 2006 Flynn-Murray debate. And here's my 2006 article with graphs showing that the long-assumed Flynn-effect convergence in IQs hasn't happened yet on a global scale.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 9, 2007

"The Demographic Disaster of 2006"

An excerpt from my new column:

I've been following the birth statistics published annually by the federal National Center for Health Statistics since the late 1990s. I thought I'd seen it all.

But even I was shocked by the new data for 2006 released last Wednesday, December 5.

The bottom line: 2006 was a demographic disaster. All the bad trends of this decade suddenly got worse while the good trends turned around and started moving in the wrong direction.

(This is "preliminary data," but it includes 99.9 percent of all births in 2006, with most of the 0.1 percent missing concentrated in Louisiana and South Carolina.)

The Main Stream Media [MSM]'s take on this report: the big news was that the teen birthrate went up in 2006 after 15 years of decline. That's because being against teen pregnancy is the only "value judgment" about demographic trends that is mentionable in polite society.

But there are a lot more alarming numbers buried in the data. For example:


1] The Illegitimacy Tidal Wave of 2006.

From 2005 to 2006, the number of babies born to married women went up 0.5%, but the number born to unmarried women went up 7.6%. (The increase in teen births is only a minor factor in the illegitimacy surge—most of the growth in out-of-wedlock births was to women in their 20s.)

The number of babies born to married white women went down by 0.4 percent, while the number of babies born to unmarried Hispanic women increased by 9.6 percent.

# of babies: 2006 v. 2005



All Races












Maybe, as President Bush has assured us, "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande". But marriage sure seems to. An amazing half (49.9 percent to be exact) of all Hispanic women who gave birth in 2006 were unmarried.

Rutgers sociologist David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project, wrote recently:

"…Hispanics seem to have assimilated into the American culture of secular individualism more than the reverse. For example, the unwed birth percentage among Hispanics has jumped from 19 percent in 1980 to 48 percent in 2005 and stands well above the percentage for the non-Hispanic White population. Hispanics have the same divorce rate as non-Hispanic Whites, and in recent years their rate of non-marital cohabitation has grown faster than that of any other immigrant group. These trends contradict earlier expectations that Hispanics might bring this nation a new wave of family traditionalism."[The State of Our Unions |The Social Health of Marriage in America]

The percentage of Hispanic babies born illegitimate still trails the black percentage. But the birth rate for unmarried Hispanic women is now substantially higher than for unmarried black women—and three times higher than for unmarried white women.

The illegitimacy rate is not only increasing—it's accelerating, as you can see by comparing the change from 2005 to 2006 (+1.6 percentage points for the whole country) versus the change from 2004 to 2005 (+1.1 percentage points).

% illegitimate





All Races




















I don't think anybody knows for sure what caused 2006’s unexpected surge in illegitimacy.

But I'll make a suggestion: [MORE]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer