David Reich and The New York Times

“Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” – Luke 6:42, or Robert Trivers

I have to apologize because my last blogpost was about The New York Times, but they won’t stop publishing stories that need to be attended to. For anyone who is following, on Thursday they published a hit piece on Harvard Med School professor David Reich. At 12,000 words, the piece was somewhat difficult to coherently sift through (they have a tendency to do this lately), but it made a number of accusations against both Reich’s lab and the field of ancient DNA in general ranging from scientific racism to methodological sophistry to the use of scare tactics to harass others out of the field and away from valuable skeletal samples in order to monopolize science. Continue reading “David Reich and The New York Times”

The New York Times Won’t Stop Profiling Smart People Who Talk About Race

I’ve developed this view of journalists lately as the mouthpieces of the intellectual world. That’s not much of a compliment, and if anything they exist on the bottom rung, where their modal operation is flapping their gums without being forced to put much thought into it. At one point there was an internal hierarchy in journalism with amateurs in local news and blogs being on the bottom and entrenched institutions like the New York Times being on top. But now the New York Times is nearly indistinguishable from BuzzFeed: it’s all click bait, no substance, no thought towards the impact of the drivel they’re putting out, and a complete condescension towards the intellects of its readers. Continue reading “The New York Times Won’t Stop Profiling Smart People Who Talk About Race”

Upending a Sense of Placelessness

“The greatest story ever written is the one you carry in your DNA.” – Spencer Wells

I’m back in Texas and have been arguing with some other graduate students about why ancestral DNA tests are important for people since it seems to be something that white Americans in particular are exclusively interested in. I don’t know if this is true, but their questions and criticisms highlight a number of concerns about DNA testing. One student said there is a racist aspect in it, a desire to be known as European (which I think is silly because if your desire was to be European, you would probably rather not look at a DNA test which might tell you otherwise). Another said that we shouldn’t be focusing on race and heritage in the United States to begin with so that we can focus on forming more organic groups (that will never happen with the current state of racial affairs in America and obvious issues with a human tendency towards visibility). I disagree with both of these statements, and strongly believe that ancestral DNA testing is an important component in fighting, rather than producing, prejudice.

Continue reading “Upending a Sense of Placelessness”

Insitome Ancestry Results

I recently had my exome sequenced through Helix for my birthday as a gift from my mother with Insitome’s Regional Ancestry kit to see what’s up with my DNA. My racial background is fairly unambiguous and much of my family is into genealogy as a hobby, so I wasn’t shocked by any of my results. It is neat to see what I got though:

Continue reading “Insitome Ancestry Results”