This piece in Slate indicates to me that as always the porn industry will be early adopters of cloning. I won’t quote-it’s a short article, go read it!
Month: December 2002
This article about Israeli-Arab porn is great. Excellent to get snippets from too. Check them out:
“The whole town is satisfied and dissatisfied at once,” said local man Fathi Sultan. “Satisfied at what happened, because we tried to protect our honor, but on the other hand dissatisfied because she (Kashua) didn’t die, nor her husband.”
“This is a blow to the sensitivity of Muslims everywhere,” said Tira attorney Ihab Galgoly, who was representing two men arrested on suspicion of leading the assault on the couple.”We are considering suing the producers for breach of the law guaranteeing human dignity and freedom.”
“There is considerable demand from the Arab sector for porn which ‘speaks to them’, as it were. So we wanted to emphasize that this was a precedent-setting ethnic film,” he said.
Kashua’s brother endorsed the attack on the couple. “If I could, I would eat them both raw and spit them out,” he told Israeli television, his face obscured and first name withheld. [sounds kinky]
“Since this whole story over ‘Yussuf and Fatima’ broke out, we have sold hundreds of copies, most of them in the Arab sector,” he said. “We may make another Arabic film. It pays.”
Why is that that Muslims want everyone to be sensative about their cultural feelings but we are expected to understand people celebrating the WTC attack are simply acting out on decades of oppression?
Porn for the people I say!
Change is always in the air
Steve Sailer points me to this article by J.P. Zmirak titled Tolkien, Hitler, and Nordic Heroism. Interesting reading, but there is one thing that caught my eye:
Tolkien saw in this literature a great, unsung moment in the birth of the West. Like the Baron de Montesquieu, Tolkien saw as specifically “Nordic” the individualism and hatred for tyranny that pervades these sagas, which set medieval and modern man apart from the obedient subjects of Rome and Byzantium. (See David Gress’ From Plato to NATO for more on this fascinating connection.)
I’ve read Gress’ book, it was very erudite. But I’m always perplexed by this idea that Germans barbarians introduced the idea of freedom to the west. What happened to those Greeks who resisted the Persians? The Roman Republic conquering decadent Oriental despotisms? Or the idea that National Socialism took root in Germany because of its authoritarian cultural orientation?
Both the Greeks and Romans did move toward authoritarian despotisms. And Scandinavia and Germany have moved toward “Social Democracy” and the “Social Market” polities. Is there much of a difference?
The standard reasons for why the people of southern Sudan or northern Europe are tall is that their height is climatically adaptive (greater surface area: volume for the slim Dinka, while the Swedes tend to be more robust and so reduce their ratio). I wonder, has anyone done work that indicates that populations that have practiced cereal agriculture longer might be on average smaller (Syrians and Swedes for instance have thousands of years between them, and the type of agriculture practiced differs)?
My reasoning (which might be fallacious, I would like to know from someone more in the know than I): Taller men tend to be preferred by women the world over, so why are some groups taller than others? There must be something that favors short men. Perhaps with the onset of cereal agriculture and the drop in protein intake and the periodic reality of famine, larger men were more likely to die of malnutrition than shorter men who could make it through lean times because of their lower caloric needs. Anyone done work on this area?
(note-I don’t discount the climatic explainations, I just wonder if this might be another factor. Also, please realize that I am not a “heightist” who believes in the inferiority of short men! It is just a fact that women prefer taller ones)
Wow-times have changed, but it's still whitey's fault!
An LA Times article:
“I don’t have a problem with separate but equal. It’s just that this isn’t equal,” said Ruben Hopkins, 43, a financial analyst, who is black.
Huh? The article is about segregation in Milwaukee. It seems to imply that prejudice from the white population is keeping blacks away (probably somewhat true), but note this one sentence:
In the city too, they remain in traditionally black neighborhoods north of the Menomonee River. Whites live in the south, joined by a growing number of Latino and Asian immigrants.
Those articles titled “America in black & white,” should be retitled “America in black & non-black,” because the irrational white hatred of the colored seems to fall disproportionately on African-Americans. Why? See below:
Woodrow Reed, now a middle-age car mechanic, crossed the river on those marches as a defiant black teen. He is proud, even now, of the victory. But he has long since retreated to what he calls “the heart of the ‘hood.”He does not stray south of the river, does not cross the wasteland of the Menomonee River Valley, with its tangle of railroad tracks and old brick smokestacks. He stays where he feels comfortable.
“I’m back where I came from,” Reed said.
“I have a question for Truth Teller, is it THEORETICALLY possible for someone to honestly believe in HBD things like genetic differences in IQ among races and not be racist?Posted by -R at December 31, 2002 07:36 PM “
“Of course not, fool. The fact someone would rush to claim racial superiority is in itself evidence of racism since there is no support for that belief. Your belief in white supremacy is no different than the Raelians belief in extraterrestial seeding. There is no evidence of either, but the adherents believe because they want to.Posted by Truth Teller at December 31, 2002 08:08 PM “
For what it’s worth, I believe that one need not be racist (and use normative language like “superior” and “inferior”) and still accept human biodiversity. I also think one can be reasonable in expressing skepticism while still taking in the facts that are out there. Some who post on the message board are clearly human biodiversity skeptics, but they don’t go around saying “Dodo” and “Fool” to whoever disagrees with them because their position is so obviously correct.
Laugh out loud funny-really
I was watching History Channel International the other day. It was about the “Chinese mob.” One of the most amusing lines went as follows:
The Emperor became concerned that the mafia were an organization that was undermining the dynasty.
My friend who was was watching it with me laughed. She’s a student of Chinese history, and commented that “the Emperors think that anyorganization might undermine the dynasty.” I added that I suspect the Chinese government today lives in fear that Friday-night card games run by old men in Shanghai will lead to the collapse of their state because of the development of a parallel organization that rivals the Communist Party. It is a grave development….
The Chinese state is so busy looking down trampling the little bugs underfoot that it’s going to slam its head against a tree branch one of these days. And boy will that be fun to watch.
The second amusing thing that happened was that the commercial for Joe Millionaire aired on E!, and it was longer than the one on Fox. Boy, these women are going to humiliate themselves. I was crying I was so laughing so hysterically. And it’s just the teaser commercial! I hope it doesn’t turn out to be like a movie trailer that promises a lot more action (read: humiliation) than turns out to be the case in the full length feature. (the premise is that a bunch of women are given the false impression that the bachelor is inheriting $50 million dollars when he actually only makes $19,000 a year)
An Honest Question for the Believers
Is there any organized Sunni Islamic group today that dissents from the position that the Koran is
Uncreated? It seems that all arguments about the essential differences between Islam and Christianity
come back to this foundational chasm. The Bible is a record of the God of History of the Christians and
the Jews-the Koran records the literal words of God.
Posted by razib at December 30, 2002 02:02 AM| TrackBack | Email this article
The question of “Biblical Inerrancy” is really the same question – some Christian groups believe that the
Bible is the revelation given by God to man. See: (the cached article for the first listing on Google searching for “Biblical Inerrancy”)
Posted by: Anthony at December 30, 2002 07:56 AM
not totally, look at the statement and it indicate that the spirit of god guides people toward inerrancy. the
koran was the words of god, given to muhammed via gabriel. it was as if god was dictating, not guiding
people toward absolute accuracy. the more important point though is that muslims consider the Koran
more than just a record-because it HAS ALWAYS BE IN EXISTANCE, like god himself.
Posted by: razib at December 30, 2002 12:49 PM
I don’t get how the uncreatedness of the koran is the source of differences between Christianity and Islam.
I’m more of the view that the interpretation of texts is highly mutable, particularly religious texts. The
bible and the koran mean exactly what I say they mean (so long as i can convince a few million others).
Posted by: at January 1, 2003 09:30 PM
Sour Grapes and Vatican Posturing
It’s a case of sour grapes for the maverick Dr. Severino Antinori. He thinks the Raelians are giving science a “bad name”…. I’m not sure whether to snicker politely, or roll off my couch in rib-splitting laughter. This from a man who is hiding his own cloning research in some unknown (?) Arab country, and who plans on producing his own little clone-baby next month.
Methinks the good doctor protests too much.!
Then there is the Vatican.. you know, the ones having a hard time dealing with pedophilic priests. They think cloning is “an expression of a brutal mentality, lacking all ethical and human consideration”. No word yet on whether rearend-loving priests who continue to serve the will of the Church have equal claim on the “brutal mentality” or not. The Church has squandered much of it’s moral authority, particularly amongst American Catholics, and even non-Catholics who often look to the church as a moral bell-weather. For the Church to expect to be taken seriously in the cloning debate is laughable.
The bigger question is this. Why the absurd amount of attention to the claims of a cult with a philosophy that makes Scientology look tame in comparison? If the Hare Krishnas came out with a statement that they had cloned Lord Krishna from a sample of his freeze-dried dung, would world leaders and theocrats jump on their throats as well? Despite the absurdity of such a claim..?
Update from Razib: Check out Randall Parker’s take over at Story Pundit.
What next? “Chuckles the Clone”?
Posted by razib at December 29, 2002 12:46 PM| TrackBack | Email this article
The Church hasn’t been this decadent since the days of the Borgia Popes.
Posted by: at December 30, 2002 10:01 AM
The Church doesn’t have a ‘pedophile priest’ problem; that’s a gloss on the real issue, which is that the priesthood is ~50% homosexual, and a particularly immature homosexuality that avoids adult sexual relationships and prefers the seduction of vulnerable teenage boys. But these boys for the most part are post-pubescent, and therefore not the victims of pedophiles. Just the targets of emotionally disturbed, immature, and socially retarded deviants.
Posted by: misanthropyst at December 30, 2002 02:50 PM
To the contrary, the bulk of the catholic church’s misconduct cases are not child molestation but rather hetereosexual misconduct. The pedophile stuff gets the most headlines. I’ve not seen any evidence that the church has more such abuse than similar organizations – I do believe that the church has been criminal in its coverups however.
Posted by: Robin Roberts at January 2, 2003 12:32 PM
At least someone else started the conversation this time!
Charles Murtaugh says the unsayable-the short-term benefit of swamping Africa (southern Africa) with antiretrovirals might not be so good in the long-term (thanks to Future Pundit for the link):
This won’t make me any friends, I realize. As long as I’m not making friends, let me ask another un-p.c. question about AIDS in Africa and here. If the superinfection problem is real, it means that unsafe sex (here or abroad, gay or straight — but see my previous post for qualifications) could rapidly spread drug-resistant virus through a population on antiretrovirals. The result is that broader access to antiretrovirals in Africa could produce a breeding ground for drug-resistant HIV. How will this affect the international AIDS advocacy dynamic, if First Worlders start to see Third World antiretroviral drug access as a threat to their own public health?
I’ve been verbally attacked in public places by close friends for even mooting this line of thinking. The objection seemed to be that “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” right now “we need to save lives.” But the fact remains that sometimes we do have to think in the long-term, that’s why we have these complicated neo-cortical systems that have the ability to override our emotional impulses (in theory).
Not only are there negative long-term consequences epidemiologically, I also believe there are negative social consequences of swamping the market with cheap drugs that treat the symptoms, but do nothing to the underlying illness and mitigate the consequences of risky behavior. The results from trials in Zimbabwe and Botswana do indicate that Africans do stick to their regimens rather well, so the nay-sayers, I included, were wrong when we asserted that the drugs would be wasted by improper application. Nevertheless, I do believe that this catastrophe that is causing such problems in Africa and to a lesser extent the rest of the world highlights the risks for certain types of behavior that were culturally or biologically favored in a different context.
As I have stated repeatedly, Thailand was supposed to be the center of the “post-African AIDS epidemic,” but seroposivity remains ~2%. In contrast, Uganda is touted as a “success” at 5% seroposivity. In fact, previously unaffected southern Africa became the center of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. Does anyone doubt that the fact that this region of the world exhibits polygamous mating patterns is part of the cause? The fact is that human beings, in relatively literate and stable societies (Botswana), still engage in risky sexual behavior when the HIV infection rates in the surrounding population hovers around 25%! We have seen the same behavior among homosexual men. It is clear that in much of the world women serve as a restraint on male sexual recklessness (as best as they can), but in southern Africa (and other regions as well), the traditional expectation of multiple simultaneous sexual partners for men undermines this. In addition, Christianization and the concomitant “official” abolition of polygamy, has spread the sexual network far and wide as women no longer live under same roof and must have several “boyfriends” to support them. You can also look at this chart and see that the AIDS epidemic in the United States is concentrated among blacks and to a lesser extent Latinos.
Liberal whites can make grandiloquent gestures of altruism, because the epidemic is not tearing through white or Asian societies in the same manner as it is in black or brown cultures. Whether the difference is cultural or biological, we must explore it. Some of us have met the enemy and it is us.
Blondes do have more fun
While looking up some data for this post, I found a great site chock full of fun-facts: Neoteny.org. The site has a scientific theory to sell you, but his data is what really caught my attention.
Check this out:
Of the 50 subjects with learning disabilities, 10 (20%) were blond. In contrast, 121 of 1067 subjects without learning disabilities were blond (11%)… subjects with learning disabilities were nearly twice as likely to be blond compared with non-LD subjects…. These results raise the possibility that melanin may be involved both in the development of motor dominance and independently in the devilment of neural systems which, when maldeveloped, result in learning disabilities. (Schachter, Ransel & Geschwind (1987) Associations of Handedness with hair color and learning disabilities Neuropsychologia 25: pp. 275)
Not conclusive (the sample with learning disabilities is hell-of-small), but some more information which indicated that blondes had higher rates learning disabilities and were more likely to be left-handed was very interesting. I don’t really know what to make of this. But food for thought (the idea that “blondes are dumb” might come from learning disabilities perhaps?).
Diane of Letter From Gotham (soon to be in new digs) took up the baton that I received from Cut on the Bias on the whole black-women-angry-at-white-women-for-stealing-their-men-schtick. Diane brought up the issue of “blondeism,” the lower bar that fair-haired women have to jump in attractiveness (thanks for the correction Diane). The data is light on the ground and speculation rife in the air. So I’ll pile on.
Blonde hair dye outsells other colors by five to one. Only a small minority of American women are natural blondes as adults, but look at Playboy or watch television and blondes are far more prominent. A roommate of mine back in college, who had a marketing minor, told me that blondes sell 5% more on a magazine cover, so they are more of a safe bet. Ancient Roman women wore blonde wigs. It seems that there is a natural preference for blondes. If it was cultural, one would find at least one European culture where there is a preference for dark hair among women, but I know of none (readers can correct me here). I think it is clear that there is sexual selection for blondism because it is a childish trait that accentuates a woman’s youth (the one other region of the world where blondism is common, among the central Australian tribes, the trait is associated with women and children).
On the other hand, is the blonde preference cross-racial? Is it part of a “peacock” effect where humans have no natural speed limit but gorge their eyes on golden hair if possible? I am not so sure about this. I would like to see data on whether isolated tribal people prefer blondes to non-blondes. I read in
Journal of Ethnic Studies years ago that though Asian people admired the light skin of Europeans, they were less impressed by blonde hair and blue eyes . In fact, the people of east Asia often portrayed people with red hair and green eyes as witches and trolls (European hair is as red as Chinese skin is
yellow remember). The Chinese did have some knowledge of people with European features, the barbarians of Eastern Turkestan were often portrayed as having Western features and red hair (some of them still do even after centuries of intermarriage with Mongoloid people from the north and east). My
own personal experience from my cultural background (South Asian Muslim) is similar in that though the light skin of Europeans is admired, the blonde hair and blue eyes are considered less interesting. It seems to me that not having black hair is associated more with sickliness than anything else . This implies that the peacock effect is not at play, that people tend to prefer those who are lighter than the mean of their population, but not as light as can be (makes sense, otherwise albinos would all be supermodels).
In the context of American culture this preference for blondes favors white women. Blacks and Asians who bleach their hair blonde look ridiculous. I know, I’ve done it twice (I did it for the ridiculousness of it, but don’t plan on it anytime in the future). On the other hand, most whites can become bottle blondes and if it is done well can pass as one of the fair-haired elite (ever take a look at pictures of mouse-brown haired Norma Jean?).
When I was in 8th grade one of the classes I took was about social interaction and public issues. We split up into groups. I happened to have the token black girl at our school (her father was black, her mother white) in my group. There were about six groups, and only our group did not include “blonde” as a physical feature of the “perfect girl.” I don’t suspect this was a coincidence, because it is not a large leap in logic to conclude that because non-white women can never look naturally blonde they can never aspire toward physical perfection. And let’s be honest, for young men physical perfection is the only type there is for women.
What can I say? Life sucks.
 The modern vogue in Japan for brown hair and eye surgery to mimic the Western look is very much going against historical norms. It is a classic case of cultural emulation. On the other hand, light skin has always been associated with beauty and class.
 My sister has very dark reddish-brown hair (obviously more brown than red). In a crowd of white people her hair looks basically black, but when set next to the blue-black hair of my brothers & I, the difference is instantly noticeable. My mother hoped it was a childhood related condition, but her hair
color remains stubbornly “abnormal,” despite all my mothers attempts to mitigate it with ointments (both my parents dye their grey hair black-I have mild premature greying and might have more showing now than my father).