Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

June 5, 2017

A reply to a stupid, ignorant, or malicious commenter

Filed under: Comments — Razib Khan @ 11:39 am

A commenter below who probably scores OK on an IQ test left a note which is worth responding to.

First, “If this was a Christian or Muslim emigrant to US who wanted to marry within religion.” In the original post I focused on marrying within subcaste for a reason. It’s generally socially acceptable to marry within religion for ideological reasons in American society. I’m not talking about within-religion marriage because that’s considerably more exogamous than what Ravi Patel was talking about. So the whole thrust of this element of the response either consciously misreads (malicious) what I’m saying, or, does not read in the first place (stupid).

Also, this is Brown Pundits. I think a tendency for Hasidic Jewish sects to in-marry is not optimal for individuals or society…but this is not a blog focused on Judaism.

Next, “Two, you link jati affiliation to hindu-muslim violence.” No I don’t. Please note that I don’t like it when readers engage in “close reading.” Because that’s usually an excuse to impute. I do think that a certain sort of jati-based endogamy is part of a cultural context where communal violence has also emerged. Left-wing Indian American commenters bring up these connections, often obnoxiously in my opinion. But this film was aimed at non-South Asians. So I just wanted to bring up what the obnoxious Indian Lefty would bring up just so that the contrast between Ravi’s liberal West LA lifestyle with a very regressive set of values even in the modern Indian middle class milieu would be more stark (it actually makes the documentary more powerful).

Finally:

Finally, on Nicholas Dirks, he like others notices the standard story of jatis classifying into 4 varnas is not correct. He mentions local accounts which are very different. But this was noticed by colonial anthropologists in the 19th century itself. See quote by CF Margath on Page 39 here, https://www.academia.edu/25376339/The_Impossibility_of_Refuting_or_Confirming_the_Arguments_about_the_Caste_System ,

But instead of noticing that the current theory is wrong, and doesnt correspond to the phenomena on the ground, they come with notions like ‘Hinduism’ and ‘caste-system’ where constructed in the colonial era. The fact that many Indians repeat these ideas can be used to support that they were constructed in the 19th century. But mostly, this talk is incoherent. Most people are not able to name 4 varnas and are dimly aware of groups beyond their local region, but would repeat textbook, newspaper accounts which in turn is based on 19th century scholarship.

I read the Dirks’ book about 15 years ago. It is a good and persuasive book, and certainly many aspects are true. But the last 15 years of genetics and genomics has confirmed in fact that broadly speaking varna maps onto real patterns which are at least 2,000 years ago. That is, genetic affinities and relatedness exist on a spectrum that maps very well onto varna spectrum, beyond Brahmins and Dalits.

Priya Moorjani’s paper Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India is probably the best single recent summary. Though please see The promise of disease gene discovery in South Asia.

Dirks’ work, and others who emphasize constructionism, capture elements of the truth (e.g., Bengali Kayastha genetic profiles [my maternal grandfather’s family background for what it’s worth] seem a lot like other non-Brahmin Bengalis I’ve seen, so the recent “elevation” of this caste is plausible). But taking it to heart totally misleads people have the depth and nature of caste and jati in the South Asian context.

If you’re not a geneticist you’ll probably not understand the papers above, which is fine. But don’t expect your ignorant comments to be posted on my threads.

Stupidity and ignorance are obviously forgivable sins. The latter is even fixable. But misreadings with the aim of bolstering a rhetorical position are really unforgivable, because they’re a waste of everyone’s time.

September 16, 2013

Comments

Filed under: Admin,Comments — Razib Khan @ 12:18 am
Because of registration spam being a persistent problem on this weblog I have moved comments to a Disqus system. In the future I will allow WordPress comments to be displayed for archives, though they are gone for now….

April 22, 2013

Natural selection in the comments

Filed under: Admin,Comments — Razib Khan @ 10:47 am
I’ve been busy with things besides blogging (in any case, this is not my primary blog; I have one I actually get paid to write for another one). But when I read the comments I’m a little surprised at how … Continue reading

May 25, 2012

A quick note on comments policy

Filed under: Administration,Comments,Comments Policy — Razib Khan @ 4:43 pm

Happy Memorial Day weekend to Americans. In light of my various time pressures which are going to be operationally indefinite in their temporal scope for me I need to consider various options about optimizing the comments. I generally do rather well on reading comprehension tests, so I’ve decided that if your comment strikes me as incoherent or irrelevant on first inspection I’m likely to simply remove it without warning. This means that there will be false positives, and those of you who have unfortunately been caught in the spam filter may worry, but I think in the interests of useful comments which address the substance of the posts and time management this is probably for the best. Those of you who are caught in the spam filter can email me as is the usual case; this seems to be a sporadic issue. There are of course a whole host of comments/comment styles which will result in banning, but these transgressions are usually one-off affairs by “newbies.” But again in the interests of optimal use of time I’m probably going to not bother warning people anymore, aside from directly engaging with individuals as I usually do to clarify any points made.

December 31, 2011

Top 20 posts in 2011 by comments for GNXP

Filed under: Blog,Comments,Year End — Razib Khan @ 10:39 am

In this list I’ve limited it to posts which were published in 2011. For much of the blog’s history I didn’t autoclose comments after 2 weeks, so the comparisons aren’t appropriate. And comments tend to be less timeless in any case. Comments are a double-edged sword on a weblog, because they often invite the stupid to come out and play in people. But there are a non-trivial subset from whom I’ve learned a fair amount from. That learning doesn’t always have to be a case where you even change your mind. Discussion in good faith can usually sharpen comprehension of your own perspective.

Your genes, your rights – FDA’s Jeffrey Shuren misleading testimony under oath
Which undersampled groups would you like to see?
Relative angels and absolute demons
On structure, variation, and race
Culture differences matter (even within Islam)
A college degree as contraceptive
Richard Feynman’s intelligence
Real three dimensional PCA!
Think right, not deep
The perils of human genomics
Is “Game of Thrones” racist? Not even wrong….
Atheism as mental deviance
America has had ‘non-Christian’ presidents!
The end of Arab Christianity
The poverty of multiculturalist discourse
The Assyrians and Jews: 3,000 years of common history
Rick Perry is not too smart
A game of numbers, a matter of values
The Republican fluency with science
The last 100,000 years in human history

July 11, 2011

Comments getting caught in spam

Filed under: Admin,Blog,Comments — Razib Khan @ 9:39 am

This occurs every now and then…legit comments without copious numbers of links get caught in the spam filter. Regular commenter Michelle has had her comments tagged as spam twice since she’s changed her back-link URL to Scientific American. Today she tweeted me, and I noticed 4 other people who were also false-positived in the filter. To my knowledge these were all people whose comments I’d approved before. If your comment doesn’t show up after 24 hours (or immediately if you are a regular who has been approved already), please feel free to ping me via twitter, facebook, or email me at contactgnxp -at- gmail -dot- com. I apologize in advance for the inconvenience. There’s no way I can scan the spam manually, since there’s always thousands of fake-comments about how awesome my blog is in passable English to wade through. So make sure to tell me what your handle is.

May 31, 2011

Hold the praise (re: comments)

Filed under: Administration,Comments — Razib Khan @ 11:11 pm

So over the past few months there has been an issue where manual comment spam is getting more sophisticated. The strategy is to leave an anodyne comment with really vague references to how the post is “great” and “very informative” or something like that. The English would usually pass a grammar check, but there’s a strangeness that suggests to me that the commenter isn’t a native speaker, and quite often they link back to some spam site. Obviously I don’t post these and tag them as spam, but it’s kind of becoming harder & harder to avoid false positives while also keeping a check on false negatives.

What I’m asking is that if you want to leave a short comment to the effect of “thanks, great post!”, please think twice. The spammers have ruined this sort of polite and human interaction at this point, as I’m often suspicious now that someone who is expressing heartfelt praise is trying to get me to approve the comment so that they can get a little PageRank.I’m prompted to put this post up mostly because I’ve had some “near misses” where I assumed that an individual was leaving comment spam, when they were just being ...

May 27, 2011

Comments in the republic of Khan

Filed under: Admin,Administration,Blog,Comments,Comments Policy — Razib Khan @ 11:09 am

So today I received an email from regular commenter German Dziebel:

Razib, what’s your relationship with the Discover Magazine? Up until now I thought of your blog as more or less a public forum, rather than a private franchise. Please clarify, so we don’t bicker about ethics in public.

I have no idea what German precisely means by “public forum” or “private franchise,” though I have a general sense. Discover Magazine pays me to blog. I also have an editor who I consult now and then. For example when I discussed traffic patterns to this website I asked if that would be OK, since I know that sort of information is often material sites like to keep somewhat private. When Marnie Dunsmore threatened to sue me for “stealing her ideas” I shot an email to the editor to notify him of her strange accusations. But in general my communication with Discover Magazine is limited to technical issues, as well as some exchanges of ideas and topics to post on (this isn’t formal, the editor knows the kind of stories and papers I dig, and will send me an email or point a tweet my way).

I like it that way. It gives me ...

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