User talk:Captain Occam/Archive 3

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Blog postings[edit]

You made the comments yourself, and you posted a link to those comments on your wikipedia talk page [1]. I learned of your blog post from your talk page. If you don't want Wikipedians to see your blog postings, then don't bring them to Wikipedia. Wapondaponda (talk) 12:42, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's talk about this on your user page, rather than on mine. --Captain Occam (talk) 12:54, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Did you know...?[edit]

...that "there is less mtDNA difference between dogs, wolves and coyotes than there is between the various ethnic groups of human beings?"[1] Or that there is a greater genetic difference within a single dog breed such as that of the Poodle than there is between dogs and wolves?

I wonder what the genetic variation within the herring population is? --Aryaman (talk) 23:00, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, and I suspect that I know this for the same reason that you do. It sounds to me like you’ve found some of Jason Malloy’s writings.
He’s one of my favorite writers about this topic. If you haven’t already, you should read his article about James Watson.
I think it's a very old lie and one can gather a lot about where it came from. Time to do something about it. Fixentries (talk) 17:15, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I wrote this after reading the article The Genetic and Evolutionary Significance of Human Races by Alan R. Templeton, purportedly one of the best presentations on why "race is a biologically defenseless concept". His argument struck me as potentially compelling until I realized what it meant in terms of "the big picture". Templeton writes: "One should note that many current evolutionary biologists completely deny the existence of any meaningful definition of subspecies, as argued originally by Wilson & Brown, 1953." I almost fell off my chair when I read that. Of course, Templeton does not take this position himself; he instead takes an intermediary position which gives very specific requirements for what is and what is not a subspecies - safely placing humans just below the threshold. So I wanted to find out what these requirements meant in relation to other species.

Now, in my opinion, domesticated animals such as the dog, the horse, and the cow provide us with a great frame of reference, because (a) we are most familiar with these animals, with their "breeds" and their well-documented physiological and behavioral differences, and (b) we have had a large hand in shaping these animals, applying selective breeding techniques not unlike those we have applied to ourselves over much of our history. Formulated in a different way, my question became: What would happen if we applied the same rules regarding human "races" to one of these animals? I took the Canis family, and did some research. The information above comes from Cambridge University, so I assume it is relatively reliable. And it tells us that "there is less mtDNA difference between dogs, wolves and coyotes than there is between the various ethnic groups of human beings". This amazed me. Dogs, wolves and coyotes? We're talking about members of a genus here. But, those are the facts, biologically speaking. Dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals, despite their differences in physiology, can all interbreed. In fact, the current state of genetic research tells us that no one breed of domestic dog is "closer" to the wolf than any other, and that, biologically speaking, the wolf is simply another kind of "dog" in that it is not to be seen as the predecessor of the dogs we keep in our homes. And what about the degree of variation within populations versus variation between populations? Apparently, the same rule holds true for Canis: regardless whether we take Poodles or Doberman Pinschers, a single dog breed shows more genetic variation within its population than there is between dogs and wolves collectively. Amazing, isn't it?

I wanted to pursue this line of thinking further. In particular, I wanted to know if experts considered animal breeds to be "social constructs" in much the same way as human races to be "social constructs". And what do you know? That holds true, too. As the Wikipedia article on dog breed explains: "Dog breeds are not scientifically defined biological classifications, but rather are groupings defined by clubs of hobbyists called breed clubs." Simply amazing!

Now for the really interesting part: tests have been developed to measure "canine IQ". According to Stanley Coren, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, the Border Collie, the Poodle, and the German Shepherd are the three most adaptively intelligent dog breeds. The Basset Hound, the Bulldog and the Beagle rank near the bottom. Cohen notes that "the dogs that are the brightest dogs in terms of school learning ability tend to be the dogs that are much more recently developed". At this point, my eyebrows arched. Think of the implications! Ah, but maybe Coren's results are less than ideal, primarily because he's testing for obedience, merely one trait which could be construed as "intelligence" among canines. Fair enough. In fact, Coren himself distinguishes between three types of canine IQ: (1) Adaptive intelligence (individual dependent; measured by IQ); (2) Instinctive intelligence (individual dependent; measured by IQ): and (3) Working/Obedience Intelligence (breed dependent). Other researchers have found that results vary depending upon what exactly is being tested for. As Scott & Fuller note in their Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog:

On the basis of the information we now have, we can conclude that all breeds show about the same average level of performance in problem solving, provided they can be adequately motivated, provided physical differences and handicaps do not affect the tests, and provided interfering emotional reactions such as fear can be eliminated. In short, all the breeds appear quite similar in pure intelligence. On the other hand, we have evidence from the delayed-response test that there are enormous individual differences within breeds for developing certain capacities. Whether or not these are inherited can only be determined by selection and crossbreeding experiments within breeds.

Well, that is comforting to all the Bulldogs out there, I suppose. But, where are the aptitude differences in breed which affect performance in IQ testing, such as motivation levels and emotional reactions, coming from? Well, Scott & Fuller were interested in knowing this, too. So, they did studies on cross-fostered pups, on pups reared in a mixed-breed setting, and on pups reared in isolation. Guess what they found:

The outcomes of all such experiments were consistent: breed characteristics persisted in all cross-fostered pups, in isolation-reared pups, and in pups transferred after some weeks or months to a litter of a different breed. Because of these consistent results, we believe that genetic contributions to breed differences overshadow environmental contributions.

In other words, if you correct for the genetic contribution to the differences in breed, you arrive at an equivalent result in IQ for all breeds. Well now! That is informative!

Suddenly I was reminded of a passage from Jensen where he discusses the correlation between cranial volume, neural density and IQ performance. Simply put, if you take people with an equivalent cranial volume and neural density and test them for IQ, you will find the two correlate to an amazing degree, just as the Default Hypothesis predicts. Now, it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that (a) cranial volume is determined by genes, and (b) average cranial volume varies considerably between human populations (i.e. "races" or "populations sharing a particular genetic cluster" or whatever term we're allowed to use). And, as Jensen points out, if we control for cranial volume, we can all but eliminate differences in IQ between populations, racially defined or otherwise. Jensen points out, however, that not enough research has been done to show whether these populations actually have the same neural density. If that is the case, however - and there seems to be no evidence pointing in the other direction - then what we have here is a clear-cut case of genetic influence upon overall IQ.

But, wait. What am I saying? Dog breeds are not "scientifically defined biological classifications", they are "social constructs", in much the same way that human races are "social constructs". Any research which claims that there is a predominately genetic contribution to breed differences in dogs is just as wrong-headed as research which claims there is a predominately genetic contribution to racial differences in humans. Right? Um... right? --Aryaman (talk) 16:34, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

One problem I see in this line of reasoning is that it relies on evidence from mitochondrial DNA. This evidence only tells how many generations removed two individuals are. It does not say anything about the actual genetic difference between two individuals (as the mitochondria are separate from the cell nucleus). As the original source of the above quoted statement points out, this is actually proof that genetic differentiation within dogs (in their actual genetic code) happened extremely rapidly. "On the other hand, it is often said that no other group in the animal kingdom has achieved such a diversity of form in so short a time as C. Familiaris. Variation within this species is greater than between all the rest of the canids." T34CH (talk) 16:53, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
It's not a 'line of reasoning', T34CH. It's a series of more or less random observations I made while reading various pieces of literature related to this general topic. Templeton's article is well-written and well-argued. I was honestly surprised to learn that the very notion of subspecies is under attack as being nearly impossible to objectively define and thus biologically meaningless. If that's true, then I can certainly see Templeton's presentation as a persuasive one, and it certainly is a clever solution to the "problem" of race. But then arises the question: is such a division - even a more moderate one such as Templeton proposes - useful outside this particular domain? Does it correspond with our real-world experience? While it might work well for a geneticist in the laboratory (and even that is questionable), it directly confounds the knowledge humans have gained about "breeds" and "races" through generations of practical, hands-on experience. Tell a "simple" cowhand that the behavioral differences between two breeds of working dog are the product of environment and not "in its blood", and he'll laugh all the way down to the watering hole and back again. Maybe, however, genetic research is overstepping its boundary by making these kinds of claims. We still have an enormous amount to learn. That's the stance that Jensen takes on the issue, and I am strongly inclined to agree with him. I do think that, if research is allowed to continued unhampered by socio-political ideologies, much of Jensen's research will be confirmed. If not, that's nothing to cry about, either. But it must be remembered that all he is arguing for is that genes play some role in the development of IQ. His real opponents are those who say IQ is 100% determined by the environment. I personally do not see how anyone could claim such a thing, as there is an overwhelming body of evidence which demonstrates the opposite. The articles here on WP should reflect that. Instead, it's reflecting the position of those who are morally outraged and scandalized by the very hypothesis that IQ could be, in part, genetically influenced. That is a sad but true fact. --Aryaman (talk) 17:33, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

The "line of reasoning" I was referring to relates to the comments you made about dog breeds. Your statement "Dog breeds are not "scientifically defined biological classifications", they are "social constructs". Any research which claims that there is a predominately genetic contribution to breed differences in dogs is just as wrong-headed as research which claims there is a predominately genetic contribution to racial differences in humans." does not follow from Coppinger & Schneider's statement about mtDNA. The mtDNA evidence does not establish that the genetic similarity of dog breeds, only the evolutionary proximity. T34CH (talk) 17:51, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
In classic T34CH style, you've missed the point entirely. Besides that, you're misrepresenting what I said. But what's new? --Aryaman (talk) 18:23, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I gathered you were being highly sarcastic, but the fact is that equating dog breeds to human races is not a valid comparison. You seem to be asking, "If dog DNA is so similar but creates so much phenotypic differentiation, shouldn't we expect human DNA (which according to Coppinger & Schneider is even more differentiated than dog DNA) to also create phenotypic differences... such as intelligence?" Unfortunately, if that is your thesis, it fails because it conflates DNA with mtDNA; just because mtDNA is so similar does not mean the actual DNA is similar. If that is not your thesis, please, what is it? T34CH (talk) 18:47, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Someone previously brought up the discussion of the diversity of dog DNA. I think the Serpell book from 1995 is somewhat dated now. this study states that wolves, coyote and dogs share a common ancestor who lived 1.5-4.5 million years ago. Human share a mitochondrial ancestor who lived 150,000- 200,000 years ago so the Serpell statement doesn't add up. Humans are indeed genetically more diverse than the domesticated dog. But this is because the domesticated dog is said to have first appeared 16,000 years ago, while anatomically modern humans are thought to have emerged 200,000 years ago. It also should be noted that of the 200,000 years since the emergence of homo sapiens, about 150,000 years humans were confined to the African continent, it is during this time that the bulk of human mitochondrial diversity evolved. When humans migrated out of Africa, there was a population explosion, from a few thousand individuals to the 6 billion today. This explosion has also contributed to mtDNA genetic diversity as genetic diversity is proportional to population size. In short the Serpell statement about humans being more diverse than canids might be misleading.
The dog is an interesting case in population genetics because it is interfertile with other canids and technically still the same species. Despite this the dog has enormous variation in morphology and even behavior( Great Dane to Chihuahua). The problem is can we impose what we know about dogs and other domesticates onto humans. Yes and no. Yes because the evolution of dogs and canids has been by natural selection, the same as any other species. No, because the evolution of dogs has involved artificial selection by humans. Dogs reach reproductive maturity anywhere between 4 months and 18 months, and can have up 14 pups per litter and three litters in a year. A generation for humans is roughly 20 years and humans typically only have one child at a time. So within a single human generation there is enough time for several thousand puppies to descend from a single dog. All this means by breeding dogs, there are enough reproductive events for evolution to take place within the lifetime of a person. Dimitri Belyaev selectively bred over 45,000 wild foxes in 40 years to end up with the domesticated silver fox. One more factor to consider is that humans practice incest avoidance whereas breeders encourage inbreeding, so for humans some genetic diversity has been desirable to avoid inbreeding depression. In summary artificial selection operates at a much faster rate than natural selection, so the evolution of the dog and other domesticates has been much faster than human evolution. This should be kept in mind when comparing dog breeds to human "races". Wapondaponda (talk) 19:11, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I suppose some of the confusion here has to do with the statement "there is less mtDNA difference between dogs, wolves and coyotes than there is between the various ethnic groups of human beings" - the inference being that I am somehow claiming something to the tune of: (A) If there is more difference between human racial/ethnic groups than between dogs, wolves and coyotes, and (B) If dogs, wolves and coyotes are to be considered subspecies, then (C) Human racial/ethnic groups should also be considered subspecies. I'm sorry if I was insufficiently clear, but this is most certainly not my point. My point is that, if this is the best genetic research can give us regarding the very real, observable, measurable, testable, heritable behavioral differences between "breeds" of dogs, horses, cows, (or humans, for that matter), then either (a) genetic research has not yet advanced to the level at which it can say anything of real value on this matter, or (b) genetic research, with the limitations it places upon itself, is inherently incapable of ever providing a satisfactory answer. However, that is assuming that the concept of subspecies is, in fact, genetically indefensible. I'm still pondering that issue. Given the discussion in Templeton, I sense myself leaning strongly towards that view. At least, I can see that there is a lot of truth in the statement that most of our divisions of species into subspecies have been based upon a superficial examination of outward appearances (which is really all we had to go on when we started classifying animals) and not upon genetic evidence, which has only become an object of study relatively recently. And really, isn't that the aspect we most commonly use to identify human races? The color of skin, the shape of hair cross sections, the shape of noses, cranial volumes and proportions, etc.? Genetic research could show that the very practice of classifying animals into subspecies is wholly misguided. However, if this does end up being the final word of genetics on this matter, then it will only go to show that genetics is not where the answer is to be found. At least, not all of the answer. And to preempt the obvious rebuttal: it's not to be found in sociology alone, either. That has been sufficiently proven.

I have seen this very debate come up in other disciplines, particularly in the field of linguistics. In that context, the question is whether a particular historic language such as Old High German ever really existed, and whether it makes any sense to speak of it as a real thing. It is a fact that Old High German was never standardized, and only existed as a collection of regional dialects which made some sound changes in something resembling unison. It is also true that each of those dialects made changes which the other dialects in the continuum did not make, some of those being unique to the dialect, while others were shared with neighboring dialects. In fact, to be as accurate as possible, we would have to say that each monument preserves its own unique dialect. If you look at the phenomenon of language in a particular way long enough, it becomes tempting to think of individual sound laws as the real "entities" under observation, and the "languages" as nothing more than the medium in which they are born, grow and move, consuming parts of former dialectical continuums as they do so, and then dying out as they are overtaken by new sound laws, yet passing on their own kind of "genetic residue" to the next generation. Thought of in this way, a "language" is merely a clustering of particular sound laws at a particular point in time, nothing more than an idea which serves to denote something with no basis in objective reality. No pre-modern "language" was a clearly demarcated entity which did not share attributes with other neighboring languages, and if pressed, the existence of Old High German as a linguistic reality relies upon one sound law only - and even that law has come under attack as being incapable of providing the necessary evidence to support the claim. Fortunately, however, linguists realized that, though this kind of thinking is certainly very interesting, it is ultimately fruitless and perhaps even counterproductive when viewed in light of the ultimate purpose of linguistics itself. While understanding sound laws is a very important part of linguistics, we cannot allow our fascination with them lead us to deconstruct the very thing an understanding of which linguistics intends to promote. Thus, every textbook on linguistics still refers to Old High German as a language, though it will certainly mention the fruits of the discussion related above.

Given my reading of Templeton, it is my belief that this general discussion has entered the same kind of impasse. Is "race" a real thing? Well, we certainly can deconstruct it to the point of meaninglessness. Yes, we can identify clusters of genes which more or less correspond with conventional notions of race, but this is to assume that the concept of race is a meaningful one to begin with. And that's the point. Is "race" a meaningful concept? We might as well be asking: Is "language" a meaningful concept? Yet, why is it that we can answer the latter question so unhesitatingly in the affirmative, yet the former question causes even the greatest of minds to take a deep breath before attempting an adequate response? Of course, that's a rhetorical question and the answer is obvious. But I share Jensen's hope that this socio-politically driven deconstructionism will one day halt in favor of good sense, and that the academic community can return to simply reporting the results of well-conducted, meaningful research, and not merely commenting upon the supposed moral depravity of some of its members. --Aryaman (talk) 00:26, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

We actually agree on many points. One thing I think is important to keep in mind is context. Is race a meaningful concept when dealing with social issues, geo-political disputes, and heretable diseases? Of course. Is it important to keep race (and in this case I mean cultural background) in mind when approaching a classroom or writing a test question? Yes. Does genetic race figure into differences in general intelligence? I honestly don't think that a study with enough controls has been constructed to answer that definitively, and I think that's what reviews--such as Knowns and Unknowns--tell us. The issue I have with Jenson et al is (ironically) the pedigree of his research... those who preceded him and mentored him were obviously prejudiced. Many of those who helped popularize mass testing in the early/mid 1900s did so with an aim towards eugenics. But the field is clearly moving towards a day when suspicions of prejudice (from "both" sides of the debate) will fade, and focus will fall upon how to create truly meaningful studies. I just don't think we've reached that point yet. T34CH (talk) 02:24, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
While I’ve got some suspicions of prejudice towards a few researchers in this area (mainly Richard Lynn), Jensen is one person for whom I’ve always been confident that this isn’t the case. If you know anything about Jensen’s politics, you’ll be aware that he’s always been a fairly liberal Democrat, and that with the exception of his views on race and IQ, his opinions are the polar opposite of what one would expect from a person who’s prejudiced against minorities. In one of the interviews with him about this that I’ve read, he described how he was active in the social justice movement of the 1960s, and it was difficult for him to bear the way his colleagues from that community reacted to his IQ research. But he continued pursuing it anyway, because he believed that scientific impartiality had to come before politics. I think this is pointed out in Frank Miele’s book Intelligence, Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen.
Whether his theories are correct or not is another question, but I think that based on Jensen’s political background, we can be fairly certain that the motives for his research don’t have anything to do with prejudice, and only with a genuine desire for scientific inquiry. --Captain Occam (talk) 04:40, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
What makes you think people don't lie about their politics/loyalties? Fixentries (talk) 07:06, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I certainly believe that many people do lie about such things. But one thing I truly admire about Jensen is that he has never used his racial/ethnic background to silence his opponents who claim he must have some "racialist agenda". --Aryaman (talk) 07:19, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Re: Reliability of self-identification[edit]

I saw that you're involved in a discussion which touches on this subject - you also found the Nature article which explains why blanket rejections of race are inaccurate - so I thought I'd drop you a note.

Studies which have been conducted with the purpose of testing the reliability of self-identification methods confirm that there is a very high correspondence between the results of self-identification and objective expert (specifically trained) identification. A 2002 study which tested this correlation in regards to skin color as a phenotypic trait indicative of race found an "excellent" correlation for white and black participants, and a "good" correlation for persons of mixed ancestry (check the study for the specific numbers). They conclude that self-identification is a reasonably reliable method for ascertaining race in health-related (epidemiological) surveys. A somewhat earlier (1995) study reports similar findings, i.e. very high reliability for whites, somewhat less for blacks, and much less for Asians/Pac. Islanders and Native Americans. A 1997 study again confirms the same thing, giving an overwhelming overall consistency (96.7%), very high for whites and blacks, and showing inconsistencies for people of "other" race (Hispanics were apparently the main source of confusion). Smith (1997) points out:

On the one hand, the absence of precise, scientific standards for racial classification in general and the problem of assigning mixed-race people in general argues in favor of self-identification. Race, so this point of view goes, is a matter of psychological affiliation with a group and only the individual can express his/her identification. On the other hand, while acknowledging the absence of codified and purely objective standards, race is not a groundless concept and most researchers and respondents have a shared idea of what the term refers to.

Admittedly, this merely confirms that the popular conceptions of race among (a) members of the general population and (b) specifically trained observers are nearly uniform (up to ca. 97%). It does not show that the popular conceptions of race actually correspond to anything which which concerns science. For that, we have to turn to specific studies:

  • "Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers produced four major clusters [White, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic], which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories. Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity."[2]

That's a 99.86% correspondence. Even studies which are highly critical of the use of self-identification admit that there is a direct correlation between self-identification results and genetic differences:

  • "It is clear that genetic differences exist between human populations. These genetic differences are loosely correlated with socially defined race which is largely based on skin color."[3]

Thus, to argue that "that the traditional conceptions of race have little to nothing to do with biology", as Ramdrake appears to be doing, is simply not backed up by the research. --Aryaman (talk) 20:03, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. What would you think of getting involved in the discussion with Ramdrake and Alun about this? If the information I quoted from the Nature study isn't enough to convince Ramdrake that his opinion about this is mistaken, perhaps he would be convinced by the additional material you've found. --Captain Occam (talk) 20:26, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes thanks for fact checking those guys. Fixentries (talk) 05:08, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Snyderman and Rothman (study)[edit]

I noticed you found the original AfD on this article. I'm not sure if you're aware of the drama which followed, but I'm sure you can find it with a little searching if you care to inform yourself. Judging by the current voting pattern, the article will be saved for now, and will be eligible for re-listing at AfD in about a month's time. Something tells me T34CH will push for deletion as soon as it becomes possible, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now I'm focused on improving the article, and if you review the recent history, you'll see that I've made some drastic changes - which, when viewed together, result in a dramatic improvement (in my opinion). I'd like to request that you use any resources you may have at your disposal to help out. I've done just about everything I can do from here barring making a trip to the library - which I may do sometime soon anyway. Any help - even if it's only a sourced statement or two - would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, --Aryaman (talk) 19:50, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I’ll look sometime soon, but I’m pretty busy with the race and genetics article at the moment. I find that it gets too hectic for me when I’m trying to devote this kind of attention to more than one article at a time. This is the same reason why I haven’t been working on the race and intelligence article lately, although I intend to get back to it eventually. --Captain Occam (talk) 20:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Topic ban[edit]

Hi Occam. :)

I've tried to inject some neutrality in some of the race-related articles here (Race and crime in the United States, Race and intelligence, Race and genetics, Snyderman and Rothman (study), etc.), but with little lasting result. Now Mathsci is talking about a topic ban on the grounds that I'm a "disruptive" editor. My stomach turned when I read that, as I was already pretty sick of the antics around here. In the absence of a truly "right" orientation, the "left" manages to portray the center as "the new right". If you don't take sides in a controversy, you're automatically suspect of taking a "racialist" perspective, and you're labeled a "disruptive editor" with the audacity to propose that Wikipedia treat a subject with impartiality. I requested that he go ahead with filing a report to get me banned, as I consider it an easy litmus test as to whether I want to continue contributing to this project. As for the present, I'm taking a short break from active editing. I can't assume anything resembling "good faith" on the part of several editors. I understand that this project has inherently low standards, but this is past the point of acceptability. Feel free to contact me on my talkpage if I can do some research or something specific for you. Thanks, --Aryaman (talk) 16:46, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Where is the idea of a topic ban being discussed? I’d like to be able to participate in this discussion. --Captain Occam (talk) 17:07, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
After looking at the Race and Intelligence talk page as well as as Mathsci's userpage, I think I probably misunderstood your comment. I was under the impression that Mathsci had already reported you for this, but it looks like he hasn't yet.
I think he probably isn't going to. Despite his bias with regard to this topic, I think he's probably aware that most other editors wouldn't consider your contributions "disruptive". --Captain Occam (talk) 17:44, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

0RR restriction for both of you on Race and Genetics[edit]

Let's make this easy for you...
You're both edit warring over the image. I don't care to delve into correctness of the content issue.
Rather than pick one of you as "at fault" here I am simply imposing the following - you are both on 0RR (may not revert, in any way) on the article Race and Genetics, for the next month (as you've been doing this for at least that long so far). You both should have known better than to do this, and could have handled it in another nonconfrontational manner. Both of you are playing the abusive edits game - and you're both on time out.
If you can edit the article without reverting anyone over the next month, feel free. I don't see any sign you're being disruptive other than with the edit warring. But revert and be blocked.
Cc'ed at ANI, User talk:Captain Occam, and User talk:Muntuwandi Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 05:10, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Sad to see this result. Your contributions are much appreciated. David.Kane (talk) 17:04, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I don’t consider this a total loss, though. As I said here, I think the important thing is just that Muntuwandi can’t keep pushing his POV there by continuing to revert, and I trust you and Varoon Arya to do a good job making the article balanced even if I can’t help with this much anymore. --Captain Occam (talk) 17:30, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Ferahgo the Assassin[edit]

Could you please explain this edit [4]? This editor had never prior to this point edited any Race articles. He has, however, been doing so very recently. It looks like a sockpuppet account. Mathsci (talk) 10:10, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

I know this user outside of Wikipedia, so I know from my interaction with her elsewhere that she sometimes cares about topics such as these. However, she rarely gets involved in them (at Wikipedia or elsewhere), and doesn’t always agree with me about them. As you can see from the fact that she didn’t respond to my request about the race and crime article, the fact that I know her elsewhere isn’t a guarantee that she’ll take my side about any particular issue here.
The request I made on her userpage about this article was something I copy-pasted to several users who I thought might care about it; I didn’t bother re-wording it for users who hadn’t actually been involved in it before. I suppose you could consider this to have been canvassing (although the editors I contacted included those who disagreed with me about the re-creation of this article), but it doesn’t justify accusations of sockpuppetry.
I don’t consider this situation considerably different from the situation with T34CH, assuming T34CH isn’t an actual sockpuppet account. He obviously isn’t a new user, and the comments on his talk page make it clear that Slrubenstein already knows him. --Captain Occam (talk) 20:33, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
The sudden appearance of a "friend", aka a meatpuppet, for !votes is fishy. You contacted your inactive "friend" in September and she suddenly became active in November, just when you needed her. T34CH is quite a different type of user with a quite different editing history to your "friend". I think it highly unlikely that Slrubenstein knows T34CH. Mathsci (talk) 06:10, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Let me try to understand what you’re accusing me of here. Are you claiming that this user is actually a sockpuppet account that belongs to me, despite the fact that they’ve been editing articles here for over a year, and this is the first time they’ve edited any of the same articles that I have? If that’s what you’re getting at, you may as well give up on trying to convince anyone of this, because two edits are never enough to justify an accusation of sockpuppetry.
There’s a much simpler explanation for why she became involved in this article, which is that it had just been posted about at the NPOV noticeboard. If someone requests input from uninvolved users at the NPOV noticeboard, the input they get is going to be from other users who care about this topic, and it may end up being from someone who’s familiar with another user already involved in the article.
On the other hand, if your claim is that I shouldn’t have requested help with the Race and crime article from someone I already knew elsewhere, you need to keep in mind the most basic point about this: she didn’t help me with that article. A meatpuppet is an editor who edits articles just because someone they know wants them to, whereas in this case most of the edits she’s made were to articles that had nothing to do with me, and when I requested her help with this article, I didn't get any from her.
You don’t really seem interested in accusing me of any specific policy violation here, so much as trying to make other editors suspicious of this user by making nebulous insinuations about her being "fishy", as though that would influence the outcome of the discussion about the race and intelligence article. I hope you aren’t actually expecting this to influence its outcome, though, since now that Ramdrake is requesting mediation, which users have expressed which opinions about it is no longer all that important. --Captain Occam (talk) 07:47, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


Maybe we can diffuse some of the tension at Race and intelligence by putting effort into expanding this article accordingly. One would naturally expect it to contain a more detailed discussion of the hereditarian position, and moving the focus to that article might satisfy Ramdrake/Mathsci/T34CH/Slrubenstein's concerns that hereditarianism has too much coverage at Race and intelligence. With a proper application of WP:SS, we could reduce the size of that section greatly, without reducing the detail of coverage in the encyclopedia as a whole. Of course, we have to avoid a POV fork. I'm not suggesting anyone make the hereditarian case in regards to intelligence at Hereditarianism, just that any reasonably detailed discussion might better be located there, with a summary at Race and intelligence. What do you think? --Aryaman (talk) 13:37, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree that covering this topic in the hereditarianism article would be helpful, but it still ought to be covered in a fair amount of detail at Race and intelligence also. If the race and intelligence article goes into as much detail as it currently does about environmental explanations, the genetic hypotheses needs to be described in a fair amount of detail there also (although not quite as much, since it's a less popular viewpoint). If we let Ramdrake and T34CH have their way about the race and intelligence article exclusively supporting the environmental view, while only explaining the hereditarian view in detail in the hereditarianism article, it seems like it would be hard to avoid a POV fork resulting from this.
One other article related to this topic that I also think ought to be expanded is the one about Jensen’s book The g Factor. Considering Jensen is the most prominent living supporter of the hereditarian viewpoint, and The g Factor is the book in which he explains his viewpoint about this in the greatest detail, it seems like Jensen’s arguments in favor of this viewpoint in his book ought to be described in that article. (Not that this should be to the exclusion of any of the other topics covered by the book, of course.)
Since I prefer to focus on one article at a time, I probably won’t try to work on either of these articles until I’m reasonably satisfied with the Race and intelligence one, but you’re welcome to add more content to either of them if you like. --Captain Occam (talk) 01:31, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Coppinger, Raymond; Schneider, Richard Evolution of Working Dogs in: Serpell, James (1995) The Domestic Dog: It's Evolution, Behavious, and Interactions with People. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pg. 33).