## October 15, 2005

### The Cochran-Harpending theory is the cover story in the new New York magazine:

The Cochran-Harpending theory is the cover story in the new New York magazine: "Are Jews smarter? Why the controversial new study of Jewish intelligence has everybody plotzing," by Jennifer Senior. Cochran wants to know what "plotzing" means. The magazine is supposed to be on newsstands on Monday, October 17. I don't know if the article will be online or not. (I don't know what "plotzing" means either, but I assume that's Larry David on the cover.)

For non-Yiddish speakers, to plotz means to explode, crack, or burst. Apparently metaphorical. It might be related to explode in English.

"Plotz" means something like "freak, freak out"---it means something totally takes you by surprise, you don't know how to respond, your mouth's agape, you kinda panic a little.

## October 12, 2005

### Do more white benchwarmers more wins in the NFL?

I hypothesized, following J.B. Cash's suggestions, that perhaps having lots of white nonstarters on an NFL team makes for a more successful team, perhaps because white utility players are more likely to master the playbooks for multiple positions (as suggested by their higher average IQ scores on the Wonderlic test mandated by the NFL) or because they are better team players about sitting on the bench without complaining and poisoning the atmosphere.

The social scientist who has been crunching the numbers has complete data on white starters and nonstarters only for 2003. He finds a positive correlation between the number of white nonstarters on a team and its winning percentage of r = 0.38.

It's definitely worth looking at multiple years to see if that stands up over time, because that's getting to be a pretty high number. In the social sciences, the convention is that 0.2 = low correlation, 0.4 = medium, and 0.6 = high. So, 0.38 is just under "medium." That says that 14% (038 times 0.38) of the variation in winning percentage in the 2003 season is associated with the number of white benchwarmers, which is a quite large percentage in something as overwhelmingly complicated as winning in the NFL.

Can anybody collect starter & nonstarter statistics by race by team for other years?

There are almost twice as many American whites with IQs below the African-American average as there are blacks below that point. Conversely, about one out of six blacks has a higher IQ than the 100 million whites with IQs below the white average.

### Remind me again about why we're so lucky to be ruled by the Bushes ...

The Washington Post reports:

Laura Bush Echoes Sexism Charge in Miers Debate
By Jim VandeHei Washington Post Staff Writer

Laura Bush said yesterday that some critics of Harriet Miers may be motivated by sexism, echoing an allegation that earlier infuriated conservative activists opposed to the Supreme Court nominee.

On NBC's "Today" show, Laura Bush joined President Bush in defending Miers as the "most qualified" person her husband could have appointed to the Supreme Court. She also said it's "possible" that questions about Miers's intellectual qualifications are sexist in nature, a charge other defenders of Miers have made publicly and in private conservations with conservatives opposed to the nomination.

Ed Gillespie, one of Bush's top advisers on the confirmation process, raised the sexism issue in a private meeting with conservatives last week, participants said, prompting hot denials that caused Gillespie to say he was speaking generally, not referring to anyone in the room. Since then, other Republican backers of the nominee have raised the possibility that Miers's sex is causing her to be judged by a harsher standard.

Do conservatives really need to be abused by the unelected First Lady for the high crime of diversity insensitivity toward First Family cronies? We could have had Teresa Heinz Kerry do that for us, couldn't we?

As Archie Bunker might have said, "Stifle yourself, Laura."

## October 11, 2005

### The war between white culture and white nationalism

To follow up on my citizenist critique of white nationalism, let me discuss further why one of the practical problems with the white nationalist movement is that white nationalists unavoidably but unproductively spend a lot of their energy arguing with each other over is: Who is white? The persistence of this question for them turns out to be not a technical problem, but a fundamental one for their whole project.

While ethnocentrism is a natural inclination, converting it into a formal political ideology requires defining the "ethny" that one is ethnocentric about. The problem for American white nationalist intellectuals is that in America over the centuries, this has kept changing, broadening.

And the reason for that goes to the core of white American culture, which primarily has its roots in Northwestern Europe and its distinctive culture of individualism, nuclear families, and the freedom to marry your true love.

The Washington Post reports:

When the Family Went Nuclear

Why, it seems like only yesterday that large extended families lived together and shared their lives from cradle to grave, men ruled their households with an iron fist and everyone got married young to spouses selected by their parents.

Dream on, says Arland D. Thornton, a University of Michigan sociology professor. In Western Europe, those family structures were as dead as the dodo centuries before the last dodo died, Thornton claims in his new book, Reading History Sideways: The Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life (University of Chicago Press).

Many key characteristics of the "modern" family make their appearance as early as the 1300s -- during the Middle Ages, a time more closely associated with intrigues in Europe's royal courts than with the emergence of the nuclear family. He says this era saw the appearance in northwest Europe of small parent-child families, weakened family ties, independent teenagers and marriages between men and women who had chosen each other.

In contrast, in much of the non-European world, the ethnies are dramatically more stable because of arranged marriages. For example, a few hundred Samaritans, good, bad, and indifferent, are still around after 2000 years, living on two hilltops in the Middle East. Why, like so many other Middle Eastern groups, have the Samaritans managed to survive as a distinctive people? Because they don't have the freedom to marry their true loves. If a Samaritan girl falls in love with a Druze boy, well, tough, she can't marry him. The same for the Druze boy. Their personal happiness doesn't count compared to the perpetuation of their sharply-defined ethnies.

This clear-cut ethnic distinctiveness makes ethnocentrism a terrifically effective political organizing principle in the Middle East. For example, Druze nationalism is so strong that that Druze in Lebanon, in effect, went to war with the United States of America in 1983. Remember when our U.S.S. New Jersey battleship was shelling Druze villages? Eventually, Reagan decided our whole involvement with all these various groups of Lebanese crazies was just as nuts as they were, and so he got our troops out of Lebanon.

And that points out a big problem for American white nationalists: white Americans don't want to act like the rest of the world, as the white nationalists advise them to, they want to act like white Americans. They don't want to subordinate their individual freedom to their extended families, they want to marry whom they want to marry and then focus on their nuclear families rather than their extended families. They want the law to treat people not as members of an ethny or extended family but as individual and equal citizens under the law.

That's why citizenism embodies white American culture far better than white nationalism does.

## October 10, 2005

### More on NFL discrimination

It's starting to look like there may well be a modest level of irrational anti-white discrimination in the NFL after all, although it's hardly as bad as J.B. Cash imagines. A social scientist reader has gone over some more data and finds consistently positive (but low) correlations between percentage white players on the roster and winning percentage. He finds that the correlation between 2005 percent white and 2005 wins so far is positive r = 0.27. And in 2003 for the full season, the correlation was r = 0.33. (He had previously found a correlation of 0.11 between 2005 % white and 2004 wins.)

The correlation between % of starters who were white and % wins appears lower (r = 0.13 in 2003 and r = 0.17 in 2002). This might validate Cash's theory that having whites sitting on the bench is better for team spirit because blacks who aren't playing are more likely to raise a stink about their not starting, poisoning the atmosphere on the team.

After all, our society for the last 40 years has lavishly encouraged blacks to claim to be victims of injustice, so it would hardly be surprising that among pampered athletes, all of whom were stars in high school, whites might tend to be more likely to keep quiet for the good of the team when they feel they are being mistreated than are blacks.

The increasingly bad performances of the U.S. Olympic basketball team from its awesome Dream Team peak in 1992, when four of the seven nonstarters were white, to the all black 2004 team's multiple losses also suggests the value of having white benchwarmers -- especially as black professional athletes were now mostly raised on gangsta rap, with its glorification of selfishness. (During the NBA's peak years in the mid-1990s, the stars were mostly teenagers before gangsta rap emerged around 1988. Michael Jordan, for example, whose musical tastes developed during the funk years of the 1970s, liked to listen to rap to get psyched up for a game, but didn't much like listening to it for enjoyment.

It's not surprising that the best NBA team in recent years, the San Antonio Spurs, has been among the least African-American by culture. Their three best players in 2005 were raised outside African-American culture: Tim Duncan in the Virgin Islands, Tony Parker in France, and Manu Ginobili in Argentina. And their great African-American star of years past, David Robinson, was hardly a representative of the 'hood -- he is an Annapolis grad who served as a Naval officer for two years before beginning his NBA career. The admirable characters of Robinson and Duncan allowed them to play together for years without tearing the team apart in the usual competition who-da-man? squabbling between aging and upcoming superstarts. (The strong performance of the Detroit Pistons over the last two years, though, shows African-Americans can still get the job done if they get their act together and play like a team.)

So, what are the chances that the sports media will pick up and run with this story about discrimination against whites in the NFL? I'd estimate, somewhere in the range from zero to negative infinity.

Two years ago I showed in a UPI article "Baseball's Hidden Ethnic Bias" that baseball teams had long been irrationally discriminating against American players, black and white, in favor of more free-swinging Latins who weren't actually as good as their gaudy batting averages suggested. That story got picked up by some baseball sabremetrician stathead blogs, but the rest of the professional media showed no interest whatsoever.

Here's an article from the Toronto Star. Capsule summary: Canadian blacks need their own (taxpayer-financed) institutions (like the French and First Nations tribes have) because white racism is causing blacks to shoot each other. And, even if that doesn't stop blacks from shooting each other, well, it will provide a lot of cushy government jobs for black activists, so it's a no-lose proposition for the black leaders.

A call for 'separateness'
Partnership of 22 groups seeking distinct programs
Gun violence and deaths behind controversial initiative
Toronto Star
ANDREW CHUNG STAFF REPORTER

Decades after the civil rights movement fought for racial integration, a Toronto coalition of 22 black community groups disgusted by gun murders in the city wants a separate set of rules and institutions for blacks — from a government department to a diversion program for minor crimes. The ambitious demands are, black leaders say, a turning point.

Fifteen years ago, you would not have seen so many in the black community "so frustrated that they are willing to consider this a positive — this formation of separateness," said Zanana Akande, a former principal and an Ontario cabinet minister in Bob Rae's New Democratic Party government.

"But blacks have now reached the point of such disgust, such frustration, such a feeling of rejection around these issues, that well-trained, well-qualified, capable people have given up and said, `You know what? Maybe we should have our own,'" said Akande, past-president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, which is not a member of the coalition.

"The more unhappy people are with the systems that are in place, the more acquiescent they are to some special services. And people shouldn't feel good about that," she said.

"We're not calling it segregation," said Sandra Carnegie-Douglas, president of the Jamaican Canadian Association and a coalition spokeswoman.

"We know what we need. We live it. We attend the funerals. We deal with the dropouts and the children expelled from school. As it stands now, our communities are, in many ways, being destroyed."

Gun deaths have ravaged Toronto's black community more than ever this summer. Out of more than 60 homicides this year, a record 41 have involved a firearm. Black community leaders say "90 per cent" have involved blacks.

The Coalition of African Canadian Organizations was spawned in August as a response to the bloodshed. It now represents a wide swath of the black community, which it believes is one of the most underserviced, underemployed, poverty-stricken and encumbered by racism.

Among the more far-reaching solutions proposed is a new provincial ministry office on African-Canadian affairs, created to help black Ontarians get access to services that alleviate poverty, help keep youth in school and allow them to thrive culturally.

The coalition is also calling for:

# A court diversion program for blacks who commit minor offences.
# An economic development agency for blacks.
# A skills training and employment access program focused on blacks.
# Police to keep race-based statistics.
# Repeal of the zero-tolerance school discipline policy, which the Ontario Human Rights Commission is investigating for accusations that it deals more harshly with blacks.
# A federal-provincial and cross-border task force to address trafficking in weapons and drugs.
# An independent civilian review of police misconduct.
# A halt to a large youth detention facility planned for Brampton, which it calls a "superjail."

The coalition also supports calls for a black-focused school and envisions a vibrant [it's about time that word showed up in this article!] African-Canadian cultural centre.

The focus of these proposals on a single group makes them highly controversial. Some of the ideas — such as a diversion program and a black-focused school — were broached more than a decade ago but vilified as segregationist.

Last month, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was "not comfortable" with the concept of a black-focused school.

That rationale now infuriates these community leaders.

Society is already segregated for certain groups who have been granted their own schools and social services, such as aboriginals and francophones, they point out.

"For them, it's all about creating a level playing field. But when it comes to blacks, it's segregation," said Margaret Parsons, executive director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, a coalition partner.

"If this crisis cannot convince them, if these shootings cannot convince them, I don't know what major catastrophe could."

In the couple of months since its creation, the coalition has become a powerful voice. It excoriated Prime Minister Paul Martin, McGuinty and Mayor David Miller in the media, questioning how much value they placed on black lives after none of the three responded initially to their calls for a summit meeting. Within days, McGuinty was meeting with them at Queen's Park, and Miller plans to meet with them Tuesday.

... "It comes down to money," Fynn said. "Government will have to find resources to put back into these agencies.... You have worsening gun violence. How much of a priority is that?"...

The idea of a government office to oversee African Canadian affairs is modelled after one formally established in Nova Scotia last year, after clear data showed the degree to which blacks were falling behind.

... Parsons went further, saying Canada's vaunted policy of multiculturalism has blinded authorities to systemic racism against blacks, even as they adopt policies of inclusion and integration. "It has done a disservice to us," she said. "It doesn't allow us to focus on communities that are in crisis and need a targeted approach. It does not address racism." Victims of recent shootings are waiting, desperate for changes.

Well, to be precise some of the victims of recent black-on-black shootings have all the time in the world (or the next world, for that matter).

A black coalition and the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste will complain to the federal broadcast regulator after a well-known psychiatrist said blacks have lower IQs than other people.

Dr. Pierre Mailloux, a popular radio host in Quebec who has been called to criminal proceedings as an expert-witness, says he based his comments on U.S. studies.

But the psychiatrist, better known to Quebecers as "Doc" Mailloux, was unable to name the studies when he made the remark on a popular TV program last Sunday.

The most comprehensive investigation of the size of the white-black IQ gap was carried out by Philip L. Roth of Clemson and colleagues in a 2001 article, "Ethnic Group Differences in Cognitive Ability in Employment and Educational Settings: A Meta-Analysis," in the academic journal Personnel Psychology.

They looked at 105 different studies covering 6,246,729 individuals and found an overall average difference between whites and blacks of 16.5 IQ points, or 1.1 standard deviations. The 95 percent confidence interval runs merely from 1.06 to 1.15 standard deviations (in other words, there is strong agreement among the 105 studies).

Of course, this does not mean all whites have IQs higher than all blacks. There are something like 6 million African-Americans who have IQs higher than the 100 million white Americans with IQs below the white average.

Dan Philip, head of the Black Coalition of Quebec, and Jean Dorion of the sovereigntist Societe Saint-Jean Baptiste say they want the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to investigate.

Philip believes the CRTC should threaten broadcasters with the loss of their licence if they air such comments.

He and Dorion also want the Quebec College of Physicians to investigate in the hope Mailloux will be sanctioned or have his licence stripped.

## October 9, 2005

### Anti-white discrimination in the NFL?

J.B. Cash has been arguing for years on his Caste Football website that pro and college football teams discriminate against white players. Most of the racial patterns in football are clearly due to obvious physical and cognitive differences between the races, but are they all?

Cash has assembled a fair amount of anecdotal evidence for his discrimination hypothesis, but I'd like to see a thorough statistical study because in competitive markets like the NFL, irrational discrimination is punished by losing. Of course, the NFL is a cartel that shares the wealth and spreads the good seasons around using the draft and manipulating the schedule to prevent dynasties and to build up bad teams, so the pressure of the marketplace on NFL teams not to discriminate isn't as strong as in say, the British Premiere soccer league where teams with bad records get "relegated" down to the minor leagues.

I correlated 2005 percent white by NFL team with 2004 percent regular season wins and got .11.

That's very low, suggesting little discrimination. Of course, that's an oranges to tangerines comparison of 2005 rosters to 2004 wins, and there is much variation from season to season in both wins and roster makeup.

If anybody out there wants to go through the old Caste Football write-ups of the racial make-up of the teams for the last several seasons, this social scientist says he would be happy to do a more definitive correlation analysis.

He also writes:

Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there was a correlation between whether the coach was white in 2004 and percent white in 2005. It turned out to be .15. Also, there was no association between race of coach and wins in 2004.

Another interesting analysis would be to look at assistant coaches by race. For example, the best team in recent years, the New England Patriots, has a white head coach and 12 of the 14 assistant coaches are white.

One of the more sophisticated aspects of Cash's critique of the football establishment is embodied in his use of the term "caste." He contends that, as among the Hindus, different jobs are reserved for people of different ancestries. Some positions are open to whites -- offensive lineman, kicker, punter, tight end, quarterback (although to a diminishing extent) -- while some positions are somewhat open to both races -- linebacker, safety, defensive tackle, blocking back -- while others are just about off-limits -- tailback, cornerback, wide receiver.

So, teams can vary racially on two dimensions -- both percentage of whites overall and percentage of whites at typically black positions. For example, the class act of the NFL, the Patriots, have had an above-average percentage of whites on their team during their dynasty, but their white players have been mostly found at stereotypically white positions, with the partial exception of linebacker, where they've had an above average percentage of white linebackers. Overall, though, the Patriots have been just whiter at mostly white positions than other teams, rather than say, starting white tailbacks and cornerbacks.

So, when collecting data for analysis, it would be good to collect it at the position-level within each team.

One thing that strikes all observers of India is the incredible stability of the caste system. I wonder whether football coaches use this caste-like division of labor among the races to cut down on racial conflict within the team. In big time football, blacks mostly compete with blacks for starting jobs and whites with whites. This reduces the likelihood of disappointed players stirring up racial divisiveness within the team and in the media, where lots of white sportswriters are quick to denounce anything they perceive as discrimination against blacks (while remaining wholly silent on the questions Cash brings up).

For example, if a coach decided he had to bench an insubordinate black superstar receiver like Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, this traumatic event would probably go more smoothly if he replaced the loudmouth black with another black.

Of course, you are probably better off as a coach avoiding signing in the first place players who would play the race card. New England seems like a team that goes for solid citizens.

A related phenomenon that hasn't been covered much in the press is the decline of black high school football teams.

Back in my day, the best high school football team in the San Fernando Valley was San Fernando H.S., from the black enclave in the north valley. It featured a famous 4-man ultrafast offensive and defensive backfield in which Charles White, future Heisman trophy winner and NFL rushing leader, was merely first among equals.

Today, in Southern California, in contrast, the dominant football powers are typically exurban white schools like Hart and Mission Viejo (traditionally, more famous for its swim teams, but now ranked #2 in the country by USA Today), along with mostly white Catholic schools. (Typically, these schools have a few black stars at positions like running back.) Only the huge Long Beach Poly school (#15 until being upset Friday) maintains the great black tradition in SoCal.

There are still individual black superstars in SoCal high school football, but generally the mostly black teams aren't very good.

There's a certain amount of evidence that blacks in general aren't as good at the kind of cooperative ventures that they used to be good at (e.g., the U.S. Olympic basketball team's defeat in 2004), suggesting that black culture is either falling apart or, more optimistically, hasn't recovered yet from the crack/gangsta rap years. The media's glorification of black superstars seems to have hurt black youths' willingness to sacrifice for the team.

Over the years, I've heard many comments from white people that presume a superiority in sports in black athletes. Our high school football coach complained that we would win more games if we had low income housing so we would have faster kids at the time we were losing to other all white high school teams. When my husband recommended a fast kid, who played safety and wide receiver to an Ohio State recruiter, the recruiter asked if the kid was "black fast or white fast." Strange question when a stats question should have been asked.

The percentage of black kids who actually play sports has declined over the years, at least by my observation. It is almost counter culture now for black kids to play high school sports. Some of it may be that the kids now have to have a certain grade point average to play and getting good grades is acting white and so something to be avoided, but I don't know the reason. In our area, kids can choose the school they want to attend and we usually have one or two public high school in the city with a good team and the other schools can barely support a team.

The school bands have also changed. In past years, the black high school bands would have lots of horns and fancy marching as compared to the straight lines and variety of instruments in the white schools. Now, the black schools rarely have a band and the ones that do have very few kids as compared to the large number of kids in white high school marching bands.

### Levitt finds time to deal with a truly pressing issue:

Dr. Steven D. Levitt is such a busy man that he hasn't had time all week to clear up the many misstatements in the national press by poorly informed pundits who mistakenly claim on his behalf that his abortion-cut-crime theory has never had anything to do with race.

But in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Levitt found time to respond to a truly pressing issue: dissent in the Comments section of his Freakonomics blog! Indeed, what could possibly be more disturbing than unwanted facts and logic popping up in the Comments section? It just ruins for all the True Believers that nice comfy feeling that everybody agrees with the guru on everything!

Levitt blogged:

The downside of blogs

To all who enjoy this blog, I apologize for the onslaught of comments from Steve Sailer and the various pseudonyms he operates under. Apparently he believes that if he says the same thing over and over it will turn into the truth, or at least direct some traffic to his website.

As far as I can tell he is still making the same arguments I dispatched in 1999 on Slate, and again in this blog in May. If you are interested in what I had to say then, here is a link to my earlier post. (I can't tell whether every single comment about Sailer is actually posted by him, or maybe there are one or two other people who might have some interest in the subject).

Dubner and I value the free and open discussion that comes with anonymous comments, but at times it has a cost. Once before we had thought seriously about banning anonymous posts, but then our dear Deb Frisch grew kinder and the change didn't seem necessary. We are open to what people have to say about moving towards a system in which one must be registered to make comments.

If you'd like, you can comment on Levitt's commentphobia here.

Apparently the last straw for Levitt was the following open letter to him I posted:

Let me offer Dr. Levitt some unsolicited career and personal advice.

It wasn't your fault, Dr. Levitt, that your draft paper of your abortion-cut-crime theory was leaked to the Chicago Tribune in the summer of 1999. It was just an unpublished draft based on a quick and dirty look at the crime rates in 1985 and 1997 based on a uselessly crude over and under age 25 breakdown. But it became a huge media sensation that summer.

But when I pointed out to you in Slate in 1999 that you should have looked at the crime rate trends in between 1985 and 1997 and should have looked at them by detailed age breakdowns, you had an important decision to make.

The problem for you was that your name, through no intention on your part, had become publicly entangled with a slapdash piece of theorizing that couldn't stand up to the facts. Yet, the press response in 1999 (as in 2005) showed that a whole lot of influential people in the media clearly loved your theory. They wanted it to be true and they didn't much care about what actually happened. Even the pro-lifers, who don't have much influence in the press or on campus, mostly wanted your theory to be true so they could show how moral they were -- who cares if abortion makes me safer from crime, I'm still against it! And of course, all sorts of individuals who had a guilty conscience about some episode in their past could now tell themselves, "I wasn't weaseling out of a sticky situation, I was actually ... fighting crime! Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Or you could tough it out, put up a brave face, thump your chest about how the state-level data supported you, and rely on the massive sympathy for your theory within the media and academia to get you past the empirical rough spots like the teen murder rate among the first cohort born after abortion was legalized was _triple_ that of the last cohort born before legalization.

So, you BSed your way through. And it paid off. You are now the most glamorous economist in the world this side of Alan Greenspan. You're now a brand name: the Freakonomist!

So, here's my question... Why keep the charade up any longer? Your name is no longer tied only to the abortion-crime theory. If you quietly admitted maybe it wasn't such a hot idea, you wouldn't have to go back to being an obscurity. You're the freakin' Freakonomist! Nobody cares anymore about whether you were right or wrong about some boring statistical analysis. They've seen you on TV.

You're a celebrity for life. You think all those guys who whooped up the Iraq War on TV in 2002 and 2003 have lost their jobs just because they helped get us into a quagmire? Hell, no. In our celebrity pundit culture, which you've joined this year, nobody cares if you're right or wrong. All they care about is if you're on TV. If so, they'll pay you tens of thousands of dollars just to bask in your TV-certified presence while you read a speech.

But here's the problem for you. You're like a character in an old film noir, some highly respectable pillar of the community who has a dark secret about what he did to get so rich and popular.

And there's somebody out there -- some hotshot 20-something economist out there with all the credentials that maybe Joyce, and Lott lack (and that certainly I lack) and he's looking to make his mark by taking down the most celebrated theory of the most celebrated hotshot of the previous generation, namely, Steven D. Levitt.

And in the Age of Google, the facts are all out there. All it's going to take is the right young fellow to put them together in a way that will grab the attention of the profession and the media.

It's only a matter of time. I don't know how many years it's going take, but that upcoming superstar who is going to take you down is already out there. And when he does, it's going to be ugly for you, like it was for Margaret Mead when Derek Freeman took her down.

So, why not preclude him? Just admit that this abortion-crime thing is complicated and you really aren't sure what happened. Walk away from it. The abortion-crime theory helped make you a celebrity, but you don't need it anymore. Just put it down and walk away and enjoy your life without the constant awareness that your nemesis is coming for you.

### Gregory Cochran's New Germ Theory endorsed:

Gregory Cochran's New Germ Theory endorsed: More than anybody else, Gregory Cochran introduced to medicine the concept that infectious germs are likely to be the cause of many chronic diseases because, as we evolve new defenses, the bugs evolve new offenses.

Madeleine Drexler writes in the LA Times:

An infectious discovery: The Nobel in medicine honors a paradigm shift: It may be a bug, not your bad habits, that's killing you.

BARRY MARSHALL won this year's Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery that peptic ulcers were caused by an infection — not stress, smoking or alcohol. The nearly mythical story of how he proved this has been widely told this week: He swallowed a noxious solution of beef broth and bacteria, giving himself severe gastritis.

But there's a larger story inside the jaunty Australian's brash discovery in the early 1980s. Along with fellow laureate J. Robin Warren, Marshall opened up a line of research that has utterly changed the way scientists think about infection and illness. Simply put: Many deadly, chronic ailments typically blamed on lifestyle — heart disease, cancer, diabetes and others — may actually be triggered by viruses and bacteria. If true, the repercussions are almost beyond imagining.

When we think of emerging infections, we usually think of sudden doom: avian flu, SARS, Ebola fever. But after Marshall and Warren shed light on the role of Helicobacter pylori in ulcers, it became clear that countless other emerging pathogens also may be quietly lurking in our bodies, causing not lethal scourges but familiar and insidious afflictions.

In the years since Marshall's and Warren's debut scientific papers were published, researchers have proved that infections cause cervical cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma (a malignant complication of AIDS), a childhood form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (from strep), most liver cancer and many cases of paralytic Guillain-Barre syndrome (from food-borne infections). Further, scientists strongly suspect that infections provoke such ills as atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, Crohn's disease, gallstones, schizophrenia and even many cases of premature birth (because of untreated gum disease in the mother).

A quarter of a century ago, the very notion that these conditions were infectious in origin would have been laughed out of the room — as were Marshall's and Warren's first claims that bacteria cause ulcers.

HOW DO microorganisms set in motion the slow-forming illnesses we usually blame on bad diet, lack of exercise and other lifestyle sins? No one knows for sure. But consider that our bodies contain at least 10 times more bacterial cells than human ones, making us walking Petri dishes and blurring the line between where microbes end and humans begin. Scientists are only starting to realize how much they don't know about what's living in and on modern Homo sapiens. Moreover, it's estimated that less than 1% of all bacterial species have been identified. Only a tiny fraction of bacteria and viruses can be cultured with standard lab methods.

In probing this dearth of knowledge, scientists are also realizing that the one germ/one disease idea — the cornerstone of 19th-century germ theory — is too simple to account for all the interactions of our bodies' teeming microbial hordes. Yes, mosquito-transmitted parasites cause malaria, rod-shaped bacteria cause tuberculosis and Rhinoviruses cause the common cold. But in addition, scientists now believe that the bacteria and viruses unobtrusively inhabiting our bodies are working covertly and in concert to bolster or undermine our health.

Because of Marshall's and Warren's research, ulcers are no longer treated with surgery but with antibiotics. If infections prove to be the culprit behind a host of other chronic illnesses, doctors might be able to use vaccines and antibiotics to prevent and cure these maladies, rather than relying on toxic last-hope drugs or hard-to-follow lifestyle advice. On the other hand, the success story of antibiotics and ulcers might turn out to be an exception. Vaccines or antibiotics may not work for MS or plugged coronary arteries, or might give rise to such untoward complications as autoimmune disease or antibiotic resistance.

In other words, it's impossible to know just where this breakthrough will lead or how it will be applied. What's important is that Marshall and Warren helped reveal a new way of looking at disease — a "new germ theory," as it's been called, enthusiastically taken up by researchers around the world.

By the way, the first publication to give Marshall's and Warren's 1983 breakthrough publicity was the National Enquirer seven years later. As I wrote in 2001:

The medical profession cured few peptic ulcers until patients who had read an accurate 1990 National Enquirer article entitled "Breakthrough Pill Cures Ulcers" [typically, while sitting in their doctor's waiting room] began demanding antibiotics from their doctors.

Here's Cochran and Ewald's big 2001 scientific article "Infectious Causation of Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective."