Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bad boys and Sex partners

Relatively self explanatory. Bad boys get more girls

Jonason and his colleagues subjected 200 college students to personality tests designed to rank them for each of the dark triad traits. They also asked about their attitudes to sexual relationships and about their sex lives, including how many partners they'd had and whether they were seeking brief affairs.
“High 'dark triad' scorers are more likely to try to poach other people's partners for a brief affair”

The study found that those who scored higher on the dark triad personality traits tended to have more partners and more desire for short-term relationships, Jonason reported at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society meeting in Kyoto, Japan, earlier this month. But the correlation only held in males.

Human nature sucks. Go robots! I suppose this is the epitome of the question: why do bad things happen to good people?

Because being good wouldn't be a virtue if it was rewarded. At the same time, religion requires us to rationalize injustice in the world by assuming that people get their just desserts in the afterlife or their next life. What bs.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Religion Gets Life Wrong

So, two important articles recently.

Again from slate a convincing theory on male homosexuality having genetic roots:

It holds that a gene can be reproductively harmful to one sex as long as it's helpful to the other. The gene for male homosexuality persists because it promotes—and is passed down through—high rates of procreation among gay men's mothers, sisters, and aunts.
This is an example where the results of scientific research can have important social implications," he tells LiveScience. "You have all this antagonism against homosexuality because they say it's against nature because it doesn't lead to reproduction. We found out this is not true because homosexuality is just one of the consequences of strategies for making females more fecund."

Important stuff.

And also, just as earth shattering, we have the ingredients for life on mars

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past, present or future,” said Samuel P. Kounaves of Tufts University, who is leading the chemical analysis, during a telephone news conference on Thursday. “The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard.”

Mars today is cold and dry, and the surface is bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, making life unlikely, but conditions could have made the planet more habitable in the past. Plants that like alkaline soil — like asparagus — might readily grow in the Martian soil, provided that other components of an Earth-like environment including air and water were also present.

Pretty crazy stuff. Either way, backwards faiths such as Islam have to prepare for the possibility of two things:

1) Their hatred of homosexuality as against Islam will ultimately prove delusional, as homosexuality is a function of nature and NOT a free will choice.

2) Intelligent life exists outside this planet. Most religions will fall apart, as Earth not being the center of the universe reduces the centrality of the human god as well as showing that the existence of beings apart from the human-soul dichotomy is possible, beings that likely have 0 connection with anything the religions dictate about how to live one's life.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Interesting Essays

So, some posts to look out for:

Different environments favor different genes in this slate article on ADHD and the differences between nomads and pastoral peoples.

DRD4 7R+ genotypes were associated with indices of better nutritional status among nomads, particularly higher fat free mass, but worse indices in the settled individuals. This suggests that the 7R allele confers additional adaptive benefits in the nomadic compared to sedentary context.

Increased impulsivity, ADHD-like traits, novelty-seeking like traits, aggression, violence and/or activity levels may help nomads obtain food resources, or exhibit a degree of behavioral unpredictability that is protective against interpersonal violence or robberies.

So this makes sense, right? An ADD kid would probably thrive in a dynamic environment more than a stable one. So different environments select for different genes. Basic evolutionary biology, but something most try to ignore.

And another article, again from slate on genes and homosexuality.

In overall symmetry and amygdala activity, the brains of gay men resembled the brains of straight women, whereas the brains of lesbians resembled the brains of straight men. Previous work has connected such differences to fear, anxiety, aggression, and verbal, spatial, and navigational ability. It's not just a matter of preferring men or women. The broader implication, one expert argues, is that "in gay men, the brain is feminized."

Are the differences genetic? Not likely. "As to the genetic factors, the current view is that they may play a role in male homosexuality, but they seem to be insignificant for female homosexuality," the authors conclude. "Genetic factors, therefore, appear less probable as the major common denominator for all group differences observed here."

So, what's the common factor? If the study's design rules out learned influences, and if the results in women rule out genetics, that leaves what the authors call "hormonal influences" or noncognitive differences in the infant environment.

This is standard stuff, but important to get on paper. Chemicals cause homosexuality. So, it is not a sin. It's a sexual preferences. But at the same time, there is nothing wrong with changing something that someone doesn't like. If parents don't want gay kids, there is nothing wrong with altering the chemical balance in prenatal conditions to achieve that. I see gays advocating for marriage and parading during pride weekend. Good for them, but it seems strange. After all, the marriage is simply their desire to get societies' approval. The march is simply to shove it in our faces.

Ice on Mars.

Enough said. But, either way, we're getting closer and closer to alien contact. It's going to upend everything that we've ever assumed about ourselves. The question is merely whether it happens before or after the singularity. Nation states, religion, relationships, philosophy, animal rights, everything changes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

RIP Tim Russert. What a shame we won't have him in this election. Sure, I know I and the HBD community fall out of the mainstream media on many issues, but he was one of the few pundits who I really listened to and appreciated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A great step forward

Recognizing the importance of animal sentience chimps are human, too.

The Left is confused

Again, evidence that left wingers are strange. They support Islam and women's rights and sexual freedom.

There is a clear contradiction that is easily exposed in this Times article.

I like how Half sigma put it:

I don’t have very much sympathy for these Muslim women who get the surgery. Apparently they think it’s OK to deceive their husbands and families about an issue that’s obviously very important to them. If they don’t respect their traditions (which aren’t worthy of much respect), they should abandon their families and their crazy religion. Instead, they lie to everybody about their virginity and then bring up children in this toxic Islamic environment. Sometime in the future, the female children will be beaten and possibly killed by their Muslim fathers if they behave the same was as their mother did.

It's a stupid religion. We have to call people out on it. Listen to what Sam Harris said in this article:

The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for "racism" and "Islamophobia."

Our capitulations in the face of these threats have had what is often called "a chilling effect" on our exercise of free speech. I have, in my own small way, experienced this chill first hand. First, and most important, my friend and colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali happens to be among the hunted. Because of the failure of Western governments to make it safe for people to speak openly about the problem of Islam, I and others must raise a mountain of private funds to help pay for her round-the-clock protection.

What kind of world do we live in?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

immigration delusions

So, a recent disturbing editorial in the times about immigration here. Very disturbing. One quote that was really bad was this:

Someday, the country will recognize the true cost of its war on illegal immigration. We don’t mean dollars, though those are being squandered by the billions. The true cost is to the national identity: the sense of who we are and what we value.

You want to debate national identity? What about a simple one: respect for laws established by a democratic society.

And to specifically focus on the Mexicans, Huntington has a great comment here:

Unlike past immigrant
groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have
not assimilated into mainstream U.S.
culture, forming instead their own political
and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles
to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-
Protestant values that built the American
dream. The United States ignores this
challenge at its peril.

So...rejecting illegal hispanic immigration does NOT threaten our national identity.

This is not about forcing people to go home and come back the right way. Ellis Island is closed. Legal paths are clogged or do not exist. Some backlogs are so long that they are measured in decades or generations. A bill to fix the system died a year ago this month. The current strategy, dreamed up by restrictionists and embraced by Republicans and some Democrats, is to force millions into fear and poverty.

This does not mean that the solution is letting millions of illegal Mexicans in without recourse.

The restrictionist message is brutally simple — that illegal immigrants deserve no rights, mercy or hope. It refuses to recognize that illegality is not an identity; it is a status that can be mended by making reparations and resuming a lawful life. Unless the nation contains its enforcement compulsion, illegal immigrants will remain forever Them and never Us, subject to whatever abusive regimes the powers of the moment may devise.

Every time this country has singled out a group of newly arrived immigrants for unjust punishment, the shame has echoed through history. Think of the Chinese and Irish, Catholics and Americans of Japanese ancestry. Children someday will study the Great Immigration Panic of the early 2000s, which harmed countless lives, wasted billions of dollars and mocked the nation’s most deeply held values.

Not fair. We do not advocate restricting their rights. We merely demand that they be treated as law breakers, WHICH THEY ARE. How do we treat any other criminal?

And the past is not a good lesson for the future this time. Mexicans have failed to integrate after several generations in the US. You can't compare them to the Irish and the Jews, who did very well just a generation after arriving.