Yesterday (i.e. Thursday) morning I was reading this article about a raft of new names hired to post at the New York Times blog. To my surprise, I saw the name Razib Khan among them. “Wow,” I thought, “Things are looking up.”
I’ve known Razib for 15 years or so, since we both belonged to Steve Sailer’s Human Biodiversity email group. He’s a brilliant guy; better read in the human sciences than anyone I know — and I know Steve Sailer, Nicholas Wade and Steven Pinker.
Just to give you a flavor of Razib, here is the kind of thing he posts. This is extracted from his own blog, March 9th, a post titled “Genetics of why Finns are less anxious than Italians.” Extract, just for the flavor:
The point of this post is not to suggest that variation within the FAAH locus is not relevant to phenotypic differences in individuals or populations. There’s a lot of epidemiological, and now molecular, biochemical, and neurological, evidence that this missense mutation is important in a functional sense.
It is likely to make a difference in outcomes. In The New York Times piece the author speculatively suggests that variation at this SNP somehow perpetuates personality heterogeneity in our species, and is a boon to a society.
Granted, this doesn’t seem to be true in all cases, as the Mbuti Pygmies and Papuans may lack polymorphism here.
But, it is interesting to me that the derived mutation is found at variable frequencies all across the world. There’s probably a evolutionary and biomedical story here to be told about some sort of balancing selection.
But, as with many narratives which are fixated upon endophenotypes, the scientific conclusions aren’t quite cut and dried, and rather are still developing, because the endophenotypes themselves are at the end of a long causal chain.
…So, having known Razib all these years and admired his erudition; and having met him a few times and found him articulate, witty, and charming; I was glad to see him elevated to the status of New York Times contributor.
Glad, but also surprised. Razib is of course a race realist, as anyone who knows as much genetics as he does is bound to be…
…What seems to have happened is that Gawker.com, a Cultural Marxist website, did a hit piece on Razib exposing his associations with such racist white-supremacist racist far-right racist bigots as racist Taki Theodoracopulos, racist Steve Sailer, and oh my God! racist John Derbyshire…
Note: Razib Khan is from Bangladesh and was born a Muslim but is no longer a believer. Seems an odd candidate for calling a racist.