Open Thread, 11/4/2017

A disproportionate number of submissions to the South Asian Genotype Project have been Bangladeshi. That surprised me. Though I’ve gotten a few obscure submissions, so all for the good. I’ll update submitters by email in the next day or two and probably note something on next week’s open thread.

If my original post wasn’t clear: I really hope to get more samples from the “cow belt.”

One thing I should be explicit about: my reading of history leads me to believe that social and cultural revolutions can happen really fast because of nonlinear dynamics. This is why ‘predicting’ history is such a mug’s game. The way it seems to work is that everything is fine, then next thing you know you’re face is smashed against a windshield with no warning. To give a concrete example, in 1785 it would have been hard to imagine the religious dimension in the War in the Vendée less than 10 years later. Similarly, Germany in the 1920s was one of the most socially liberal societies on the planet. And, in the Europe-wide context for several decades German Jews were among the most assimilated and tolerated populations on the continent.

Been busy with work and stuff leading up to Holidays. What’s going on?

3 thoughts on “Open Thread, 11/4/2017

  1. Per your recommend, I am reading “Ultrasociety : How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators On Earth”.

    I’m only halfway through, but I will say that the author, your friend Peter Turchin, is a thoughtful and entertaining writer, and that the subject of this book is, at this world-historic moment, exceedingly germane.

    What’s particularly intriguing to me is that, while it seems to me that he is attempting to wield (or, as he would no doubt assert, disinterestedly allowing) the, ah, “scientific method” to decimate the Randian-Libertarian-AlphaCEO premise, yet, given that he grew up in the former Soviet Union and escaped that regime’s inarguably evil ‘communist’ excesses, so, in the context of current polarized thinking, it would seem he should personally be all-in for the anti-statist sentiment that drives tea-party/2nd amendment-identifications. I’m sure many will find his thinking to be an uncategorizable challenge.

    Having said that, yes, but centrally I’m also curious about Turchin’s claims to methodological rigor. I appreciate that he enjoys the imprimatur of Personage who is associated with a respected blahbedy–so I assume there is at least an arguable tether to adamantine empiricism. You’d be the better one to judge, while perhaps making due allowance that his science of Cliodynamics (tin-eared name, change it!) is still in chrysalis stage…

  2. I’ll second that bit about the Vendee and the French Revolution. I worked my way through Mike Duncan’s podcast segments on it, and wow did that move quickly. Granted, the dysfunction of the Bourbon regime was decades in the making, but once it broke it really broke.

    I keep hoping something like that doesn’t happen in the US. It’s why I was amused and somewhat frightened by the Article V constitutional convention movement. The proponents have some narrow objectives they want to call it for, but just opening up that door seems like it might lead to much more radical change in the same way that calling the Estates General did.

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