Shaheed Rani; Remembering Benazir Bhutto

I am reposting last year’s post on Benazir. Dont miss Hasan Mujtaba’s poem at the end.

Benazir Bhutto was murdered on December 27th 2007.  She and her father made many mistakes and had many weaknesses and flaws, perhaps fatal ones. But they mobilized the common people of Pakistan like no one before or since, and they did so using a left-liberal vocabulary that always seemed to get on the nerves of Pakistan’s deep state. And of course, whatever their flaws, no one could accuse either father or daughter of lacking courage.  Benazir knew the risks when she came back to Pakistan. She survived one assassination attempt in Karachi in which nearly 200 of her most ardent supporters were killed. But she continued to hold public meetings and she continued to speak out and paid the ultimate penalty…

Look at the crowds who danced for her (and who will mourn her in Garhi Khuda Baksh) and you will see why, in spite of all disappointments and mistakes, she is now “Shaheed Rani” (the martyr queen); she represents something larger than her actual political achievements. In her death she has become a potent symbol of people’s rights and democracy and a permanent thorn in the side of Pakistan’s establishment.

Incidentally, those too young to remember and getting extremely excited at the crowds who gather at Imran Khan’s public meetings may wish to see some clips in this video of Benazir’s arrival in Lahore in 1986. That was, bar none, the largest crowd ever seen in the history of Pakistan… and they were not sitting on chairs..

Some clips in her own voice.

A very nice photo and video montage in her memory, set to a famous ghazal by Shad Azeem Abadi : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmzN7Z_GgIc

btw, the ghazal lyrics are quite appropriate and can be seen alongside a somewhat pedestrian translation here.

another montage here. Beena Sarwar’s collection of photographs from her arrival in Karachi, and a really good video and photo montage to round it off.

PPP tarana (anthem), arrangement by Stewart Copeland of The Police, vocals Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari (her daughter) and Azra Malik. Original composition by Zahoor Khan Zeibi

Hasan Dars poem on her death, sung by Mazhar Hussain

Raza Rumi’s poem and his own translation: http://razarumi.com/2008/02/13/people-of-this-murderous-city/

Sidelined leader Aitazaz Ahsan in fine form at her anniversary, skip to minute 20 for his recitation of yet another poem with karbala references (lashkar e yazeed main, ik kaneez e karbala…in the midst of Yazeed’s army, one maid of Karbala…where would protest literature in the Islamicate world be without karbala?): http://tribune.com.pk/multimedia/videos/312770/

Bilawal Bhutto’s tribute today. And one by Suleman Akhtar on the progressive PPP website. 

In a media dominated by anti-PPP forces, Hamid Mir of Capital Talk presented a very good program on her death anniversary.

Mohammed Hanif, author of “a case of exploding mangoes” and “our lady of Alice Bhatti” has a piece.

The well planned assassination can be seen in this video

Hasan Mujtaba’s famous poem on the occasion is an absolute classic. I have translated it with his approval (I have taken some poetic license at places, and I am not a poet..so beware):

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

This lament is heard in every house

These tears seen in every dwelling place

These eyes stare in the endless desert

This slogan echoes in every field of death

These stars scatter like a million stones

Flung by the moon that rises so bright tonight

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

 

The one you killed is now fragrance in the air

How will you ever block its path?

The one you killed is now a spell

That is cast upon your evil head

Every prison and every lock

Will now be opened with this key

She has become the howling wind

That haunts the courtyards of this land

She has come to eternal life by dying

You are dead even while being alive

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

 

You men in Khaki uniforms

You dark and long bearded souls

You may be blue or green or red

You may be white, you may be black

You are thieves and criminals, every one

You national bullies, you evil ones

Driven by self or owned by others

Nurtured by darkness in blackest night

While she has become the beauty that lives

In twilights last glimmers and the break of dawn

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!
She was the nightingale who sang for those who suffered

She was the scent of rain in the land of Thar

She was the laughter of happy children

She was the season of dancing with joy

She was a colorful peacock’s tail

While you, the dark night of robbers and thieves

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

 

She was the sister of those who toil in the fields

The daughter of workers who work the mills

A prisoner of those with too much wealth

Of clever swindlers and hideous crooks

Of swaggering generals and vile betrayers

She was one solitary unarmed girl

Facing the court of evil kings

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

 

She was the daughter of Punjab

Of Khyber and Bolan

She was the daughter of Sindh

Karbala of our time

She lay drenched in blood in Rawalpindi

Surrounded by guns and bullets and bombs

She was one solitary defenseless gazelle

Surrounded by packs of ruthless killers

O Time, tell the long lived trees of Chinar

This tyrant’s worse nightmare will come true one day

She shall return, she will be back

That dream will one day come alive

And rule again. And rule again.

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas!

Because of the nature of modern American ‘work-life balance’ the next week or so is going to be my longest period of being the ‘primary caregiver’ for my daughter in her short life. Needless to say I’m quite excited! Especially because this will be her first Christmas.

I spent most of my childhood in a region on the margins of lake-effect, so I am familiar with a white Christmas in a classical fashion. More recently I’ve been resident on the maritime fringes of the western United States, and snow is rare in the lower elevations of this region. But I persevere!

Over the next week I will likely be blogging a great deal from my daughter’s playroom, where I’ll have a makeshift encampment. But rest assured this will be a great leisure for me. I hope readers of this weblog can find time to relax as well. Hopefully the comments will come back to a civilized state after the New Year….

History as intellectual hydrography

One of the great aspects of owning a Kindle has been that I have been able to load it with cheap copies of “classics.”* As it happens I had physical copies of many of these works, but often it became difficult to keep track of various books in even my modest personal library. Generally scientific references were placed prominently, and I made use of them often, and so always was able to mark exactly where they were. But when it came to Nicomachean Ethics or The Critique of Pure Reason, I would proactively seek them on only rare occasions. Now with a compact and well organized personal digital library I find that I revisit the ancients much more often to engage with them in dialogue. Here I recall what Niccolò Machiavelli once asserted:

When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.

Meghna River

I am far too much a Whig in instinct to agree with this sentiment without reservation. When I trudge through the extended diatribe that is City of God I cannot help but scoff at St. Augustine’s screed, 1,600 years on. And yet this contempt instills in me a sense of deep humility, for surely generations future will look toward our own orthodoxies and sneer and laugh. We are all embedded in our own presuppositions, and the ecology of ideas which nourish our prejudices, for good or ill.

It is as if we are an element of a broad and powerful river, flowing through familiar territory. If you asked a stream of the river to describe its place in the context of the whole, it would be at a loss, because the river is one, and as a category is indivisible. But step back, rise up, and you can see the topography and the overall course of the flow, from headwaters down to the floodplain. Similarly, ideas have history, and people have history, even if they are not aware of that history as it flows past them.

Human cognition is such that there is a strong bias to imagine that we are idealized rationality machines, who derive our own positions by force of our free will. But the reality is that much of our cognition is socially and historically contingent. This does not mean that beliefs are arbitrary, but, they are flexible and strongly shaded by context. The folly of the most brilliant of ancients brings home to us the reality that pure force of mental acuity can not break free of the shackles of history. What follies do we adhere to? What positions are we “evolving” toward at this very moment?

During a typical day my own interactions are with young people of a very precise and specific technical bent. There is no lack of cognitive processing power, but when conversation drifts away from areas of deep technical fluency, then St. Augustine begins to strike me as a man of objective ahistorical clarity. The technics of the modern age are humans who sustain our civilization, but they often lack background or interest in the human past, or a more expansive view of the present. There is a very definite poverty of imagination in regards to the range of human opinion, and a conceit that the shape of the world is as precisely defined as the arc of planetary motions.

Whereas before I had held to the position that a minimal level of liberal classical education was critical in tying together the higher orders of a social system through a common set of narratives and frames, today I believe that a canon is essential to allow people at any given moment to see that human experience is broad, and that we are all creatures in a specific time and place. I cannot help but wonder if the occasional outbursts of extreme relativism which issue out of the academy may simply be a function of the inability of narrowly trained moderns to comprehend that one can hold onto one’s values and views, while at the same time appreciating differences of perspective. It may be to difficult to withhold ill will across the chasms of contemporary partisanship, but surely one must acknowledge Aristotle’s brilliance and his folly!

* You may wonder why I would pay even a nominal fee when these are public domain. My personal experience is that a minimal amount of commentary and attention to formatting is worth a few dollars.

The “Asian quota” and implicit cultural knowledge

The Myth of American Meritocracy, Ron Unz

A recent conversation I had with a friend whose parents are immigrants from Germany made me reconsider and reflect on the power of implicit information in shaping one’s life; that information being culturally mediated. Though my friend was raised in the United States, because of her parents’ immersion in the German expatriate community her upbringing was very bicultural. In fact, she is much more German than I am Bangladeshi. Despite the fact that to anyone who is a Baby Boomer or older she looks American, and I do not, there are many similarities in outlook due to our 1.5 generation background. Both of us are from families where graduate educations in the sciences are the norm. We succeeded in academics and pursued higher education without much effort or obstacles. This is not a story of overcoming the odds in a conventional  sense. In explicit terms we are entirely American, but there are nevertheless implicit aspects of being American of a particular social class which we had to experience after leaving home at 18.

This brings me back to the issues which were highlighted in Ron Unz’s recent piece in The American Conservative, The Myth of American Meritocracy (note: I was an Unz Foundation Junior Fellow between February 2007 and February 2012). You can see further discussion of the topic at The New York Times, as well as Unz’s weblog. Steve Hsu has also been discussing the results as well. My primary focus here is not going to be on the article itself. I broadly accept many of the empirical findings. The chart above shows to me that it is clear there has been implicit collusion between Ivy League universities in regards to the proportion of people of Asian ancestry who attend these institutions. In hindsight it should not be too surprising. I commend you to read Austin Bramwell’s perspective in the Top of the Class, where he outlines exactly how elite prep schools cooperate with the admissions offices of Ivy League universities to perpetuate the pipeline which maintains the generations of the customary American gentry (of which he is a member).

Institutions like Harvard exist to shape the nature of the American ruling class. It makes sense that they would be keen toward particular demographic considerations. I am personally not particularly pleased as the prospect of racial quotas, but then again my image of an “elite university” is that it should be elite in scholarly terms, rather than as a finishing school for the next generation of America’s rulers (and I have no interest in the types of demographic diversity which are of concern for most). But I am not the dictator of this world, and I am rather confident that no matter what the Supreme Court rules in the near future, a de facto quota system will continue, with some marginal modifications, at private universities for the indefinite future. The American ruling class, whether it be intellectuals, politicians, or corporate executives, favors some form of affirmative action and diversity, and I am convinced that they will get their way, no matter legal obstacles or populist sentiments.

Reality is what it is, and it is on the matter of transparency, and explicit comprehension, where I think we need to make our stand. There are many people who have long been aware of the “Asian quota,” or the fact that “holistic admissions” serve to allow particular universities to modulate their demographic outcomes appropriately. But not everyone is aware of this. I am thinking, for example, of a friend who was raised by a single mother. He happens to be 1/4 Asian in ancestry, and when applying to elite private universities he made sure to put “Asian” as his race, under the false assumption that being a minority would aid his chances of admission. Raised by a white single mother he was not in a milieu where the “real rules” on what counts, and doesn’t count, as a minority, were understood. We live in a system where the child of Korean shopkeepers is not an underrepresented minority, while the child of a Venezuelan doctor most certainly is. Similarly, when elites talk about “diversity,” it is implicitly clear that this alludes to very particular and specific demographic diversities. Race, sex, and the reality of some ancestry derived from Latin America most certainly. Our modern elites may give a rhetorical nod to socioeconomic diversity, but there will never be any substantive action in this direction which might jeopardize the chances of their own children ascending the ladders of power. The extant scholarship on elite university admissions suggests that non-Hispanic whites who are below the middle class are extremely underrepresented at elite private institutions, but there is no prospect to my knowledge that this deficit in the texture of the future ruling classes will be addressed. This is just understood by all who count, and requires no great public discussion.

Success in life in the United States today demands that you understand the implicit and subtextual filaments which thread their way through the American cultural landscape. My daughter is an Asian American because her father is an Asian American (thanks to the reclassification of South Asians as Asian Americans in 1980). But the reality is that her physical appearance strongly favors her Northern European heritage. With that in mind we quite consciously gave her a series of names which allowed her own ethnic identity to be optional and situational. As I have no great emotional interest or preoccupation with collective identities I feel no pang of guilt or regret about this. The world is a bureaucratic machine, and there are those born who understand that the machine must be manipulated, and those who allow themselves to be tossed about by its machinations. If you don’t have a cynicism and mercenary attitude toward the machine, you will be consumed by it. The children of the American elite take the machinery for granted by dint of the implicit cultural wisdom they receive with their mother’s milk. The machine will always load the die so as to favor then. Those who are outside can only even the odds through information, and being better than those who are to the American manor born.

Of course there are many serious issues to address in regards’ to Unz’s piece. Many point out that perhaps there are rational reasons to discount the academic successes of Asian Americans (i.e., are these tests truly representative of intellectual vigor and curiosity?). But these honest discussions can only be had once honesty and transparency is the foundation and starting point. Until then we will continue to muddle on, trying to make sense of a complex world.

Cultural differences in film

One of the issues which I occasionally bring up on this weblog is that despite all the talk about diversity and multiculturalism which most people air rhetorically, I live with diversity and multiculturalism because of my family background everyday (more honestly, whenever I have to engage with my parents). Though aspects such as food and religion are visible and obvious, sometimes it is the small things which are striking. Just today my mother-in-law stumbled upon some old photographs of her mother and uncle as infants. They were fraternal twins, born right at the end of World War I to Norwegian immigrants. Interestingly, my daughter bears a notable resemblance to her great-uncle, more so than to her own great-grandmother!

11438_190710812983_5574912_nThe peculiar aspect of this is that there are no photographs of me at an equivalent age to serve as a ‘control’ on this comparison. Despite their parents being working-class immigrants (my daughter’s great-great-grandfather was a longshoreman from Norway) my mother-in-law still has nearly century old photographs of her mother and aunts and uncles. In contrast, my father was a college professor in 1970s Bangladesh, whose wife was the daughter of a medical doctor, and yet my parents and their relatives couldn’t be bothered to take and preserve photographs of me. The image on the left, from when I was three years old, is the earliest that is preserved. I can count on one hand the number of photographs of me before the age of five.

I’d be curious about the experiences of readers.

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The causes of evolutionary genetics

A few days ago I was browsing Haldane’s Sieve,when I stumbled upon an amusing discussion which arose on it’s “About” page. This “inside baseball” banter got me to thinking about my own intellectual evolution. Over the past few years I’ve been delving more deeply into phylogenetics and phylogeography, enabled by the rise of genomics, the proliferation of ‘big data,’ and accessible software packages. This entailed an opportunity cost. I did not spend much time focusing so much on classical population and evolutionary genetic questions. Strewn about my room are various textbooks and monographs I’ve collected over the years, and which have fed my intellectual growth. But I must admit that it is a rare day now that I browse Hartl and Clark or The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection without specific aim or mercenary intent.

R. A. Fisher

Like a river inexorably coursing over a floodplain, with the turning of the new year it is now time to take a great bend, and double-back to my roots, such as they are. This is one reason that I am now reading The Founders of Evolutionary Genetics. Fisher, Wright, and Haldane, are like old friends, faded, but not forgotten, while Muller was always but a passing acquaintance. But ideas 100 years old still have power to drive us to explore deep questions which remain unresolved, but where new methods and techniques may shed greater light. A study of the past does not allow us to make wise choices which can determine the future with any certitude, but it may at least increase the luminosity of the tools which we have iluminate the depths of the darkness. The shape of nature may become just a bit less opaque through our various endeavors.

Figure from “Directional Positive Selection on an Allele of Arbitrary Dominance”, Teshima KM, Przeworski M

So what of this sieve of Haldane? As noted at  Haldane’s Sieve the concept is simple. Imagine two mutations, one which expresses a trait in a recessive fashion, and another in a dominant one. The sieve operates by favoring the emergence out of the low frequency zone where stochastic forces predominate of dominantly expressing variants (i.e., even if an allele confers a large fitness benefit, at low frequencies the power of random chance may still imply that it is highly likely to go extinct). An example of this would be lactase persistence, which in the modal  Eurasian variant seems to exhibit dominance. The converse case, where beneficial mutations are recessive in expression suffer from a structural problem where their benefit is more theoretical than realized.

The mathematics of this is exceedingly simple, a consequence of the Hardy-Weinberg dynamics of diploid random mating organisms. Let’s use the gene which is implicated in variation in lactase persistence as an example, LCT. Consider two alleles, LP and LNP, where the former confers persistence (one can digest lactose sugar as an adult), and the latter manifests the conventional mammalian ‘wild type’ (the production of lactase ceases as one leaves the life stage when nursing is feasible). LP is clearly the novel mutant. In a small population it is not unimaginable that by random chance the frequency of LP rises to ~10%. What now? At HWE you have:

p2 + 2pq + q2 = 1, where q = LP allele. At ~10% the numbers substituted would be:

(0.90)2 + 2(0.90)(0.10) + (0.10)2

This is where dominance or recessive expression is highly relevant. The reality is that LP is a dominant trait. So in this population the frequency of LP as a trait would be:

(0.10)2 + 2(0.90)(0.10) = 19%

Now imagine a model where LP is favored, but it expresses in a recessive fashion. Then the frequency of the trait would equal q2, the homozygote LP-allele proportion. That is, 1%. Though population genetics is often constructed on an algebraic foundation, the results lend themselves to intuition. A structural parameter endogenous to the genetic system, dominant or recessive expression, can have longstanding consequences in terms of the likely trajectory of the alleles. Selection only “sees” the trait, so a recessive trait with sterling qualities may as well be a trait with no qualities. In contrast, a dominantly expressed allele can cut like a scythe through a population, because every copy “counts.”

In preparation for this post I revisited the selection on Haldane’s Sieve in the encyclopediac Elements of Evolutionary Genetics. The authors note that this phenomenon, though of vintage character as these things can be reckoned is a field as young as evolutionary genetics, is still a live one. The dominance of favored mutations in wild populations, or the recessive character of deleterious ones in laboratory stock, may reflect the different regimes which these two genes pools are subject to. The nature of things is such that is easier to generate recessive mutations than dominant ones (i.e., loss is easier than gain), so the preponderance of dominant variants in wild stocks subject to positive selective pressure lends credence to the idea that evolutionary rather than development forces and constraints shape the genetic character of many species.

And yet things are not quite so tidy. Haldane’s Sieve, and the framework of dominant versus recessive alleles, operates differently in the area of sex chromosomes. In many lineages there is a ‘heterogametic sex’ which carries only one functional chromosome for most of the genome. In mammals this is the male (XY), while in birds this is the female (ZW). As males have only one functional copy of most genes on the sex chromosome, the masking effect of recessive expression does not apply to them in mammals. This may imply that because of the exposure of many deleterious recessive variants to natural selection within the heterogametic sex one would see different allelic distributions and genetic landscapes on these chromosomes (e.g., more rapid adaptation because of the exposure of nominally recessive alleles in the heterogametic sex, as well as more purifying selection on deleterious variants). But the reality is more complex, and the literature in this area is somewhat muddled. More precisely, it seems phylogenetically sensitive. Validation of the theory in mammals founders once one moves to Drosphila.

And that is why research in evolutionary genetics continues. The theory stimulates empirical exploration, and is tested against it. Much of the formal theory of classical evolutionary genetics, which crystallized in the years before World War II, is now gaining renewed relevance because of empirical testability in the era of big data and big computation. This is an domain where the past is not simply of interest to historians. Scientists themselves, chasing the next grant, and producing the expected stream of publications, may benefit from a little historical perspective by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Holiday reading

Christmas is a time when I accelerate my reading, and catch-up for lost time. Here’s my three books I plan to get through:

The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization. I’ve read this twice already. This short book has been one of the most influential works in my own personal thinking. Even if you don’t agree with the thrust of Bryan Ward-Perkins’ thesis, it will clarify your own position.

Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. The author, Peter Brown, is the modern day eminence on ‘Late Antiquity’. I’ve read many of his earlier works, and always found his exposition enjoyable. But I’m re-reading The Fall of Rome in part to have a good counterpoint in my head to Brown’s arguments, which are subtle and difficult to box in (for what it’s worth, I think Brown makes a bit too much of Late Antiquity, but to some extent this is a normative judgement).

The Founders of Evolutionary Genetics: A Centenary Reappraisal. This is an exciting time to be interested in evolution and genetics (see Haldane’s Sieve and prepare to be overwhelmed!). But I also think it is useful to have some historical perspective. Science is a human enterprise, and it is critical to step outside of the flowing river, and observe the parameters which shaped its past course and trajectory, and therefore where it may be going.

With that, an “open thread” for what you are reading, and why.

Note: The comments systems should be improved in the near future. Or so I’m told.

Buddy, can you spare some ascertainment?

The above map shows the population coverage for the Geno 2.0 SNP-chip, put out by the Genographic Project. Their paper outlining the utility and rationale by the chip is now out on arXiv. I saw this map last summer, when Spencer Wells hosted a webinar on the launch of Geno 2.0, and it was the aspect which really jumped out at me. The number of markers that they have on this chip is modest, only >100,000 on the autosome, with a few tens of thousands more on the X, Y, and mtDNA. In contrast, the Axiom® Genome-Wide Human Origins 1 Array Plate being used by Patterson et al. has ~600,000 SNPs. But as is clear by the map above Geno 2.0 is ascertained in many more populations that the other comparable chips (Human Origins 1 Array uses 12 populations). It’s obvious that if you are only catching variation on a few populations, all the extra million markers may not give you much bang for the buck (not to mention the biases that that may introduce in your population genetic and phylogenetic inferences).


To the left are the list of populations against which the Human Origins 1 Array was ascertained, and they look rather comprehensive to me. In contrast, for Geno 2.0 ‘ancestrally informative markers’ were ascertained on 450 populations. The ultimate question for me is this: is all the extra ascertainment on diverse and obscure groups worth it? On first inspection Geno 2.0′s number of SNPs looks modest as I stated, but in my experience when you quality control and merge different panels together you are often left with only a few hundred thousand SNPs in any case. 100-200,000 SNPs is also sufficient to elucidate relationships even in genetically homogeneous regions such as Europe in my experience (it’s more than enough for model-based clustering, and seems to be overkill for MDS or PCA). One issue that jumps out at me about the Affymetrix chip is that it is ascertained toward the antipodes. In contrast, Geno 2.0 takes into account the Eurasian heartland. I suspect, for example, that Geno 2.0 would be better for population or ancestry assignment for South Asians because it would have more informative markers for those populations.

Ultimately I can’t really say much more until I use both marker sets in different and similar contexts. Since Geno 2.0 consciously excludes many functional and medically relevant SNPs its utility is primarily in the domain of demographics and history. If the populations in question are well covered by the Human Origins 1 Array, I see no reason why one shouldn’t go with it. Not only does it have more information about biological function, but the number of markers are many fold greater. On the other hand, Geno 2.0 may be more useful on the “blank zones” of the Affy chip. Hopefully the Genographic Project results paper for Geno 2.0 will come out soon and I can pull down their data set and play with it.

Cite: arXiv:1212.4116

Gene surfing with David Dobbs

Over at National Geographic David Dobbs of Neuron Culture has an eminently readable and engrossing piece up, Restless Genes. I have never really read about ‘allele surfing’ on the wave of demographic expansion in the way that Dobbs’ rendered it. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to produce that sort of spare but informative prose.

On Twitter there was some concern about the focus on DRD4. The issue is a general one in much of behavioral genomics, and I’m not too interested in rehashing the point. But the broader question of heritability of behavior remains. It seems to me that we have some ‘natural experiments’ now. For the past 50 years there have been a series of cross-cultural adoptions from Asia to North America and Europe. If human behavior variation across and within populations is substantially heritable than this might be a good place to start. Rather than focusing on genes, we need to focus on heritability first.