When I first got into HBD back in 2012, one of the first things I came across—along with the research on racial IQs from Rushton, Lynn, Jensen et al—was that the races differed in a gene called MAOA-L, which has a frequency in Caucasians at .1 percent (Beaver et al, 2013), 54 percent in Chinese people (Lu et al, 2013; 56 percent in Maoris (Lea and Chambers 2007) while about 60-65 percent of Japanese people have the low-frequency version of this gene (Way and Lieberman, 2007).
So if these ethnies have a higher rate of this polymorphism and it is true that this gene causes crime, then the Chinese and Japanese should have the highest rates of crime in the world, since even apparently the effect of MAOA and violence and antisocial behavior is seen even without child abuse (Ficks and Waldman, 2014). Except East Asian countries have lower rates of crime (Rushton, 1995; Rushton and Whytney, 2002). Though, Japan’s low crime rate is relatively recent, and when compared with other countries on certain measures “Japan fares the same or worse when compared to other nations” (Barberet 2009, 198). This goes against a lot of HBD theory, and I will save that for another day. (Japan has a 99 percent prosecution rate, which could be due to low prosecutorial budgets; Ramseyer and Rasmusen, 2001. I will cover this in the future.)
The media fervor—as usual—gave the MAOA gene the nickname “the warrior gene“, which is extremely simplistic (I will have much more to say on ‘genes for’ any trait towards the end of the article). I will show how this is a very simplistic view.
The MAOA gene was first discovered in 1993 in a Dutch family who had a history of extreme violence going as far back as the 1890s. Since the discovery of this gene, it has been invoked as an ultimate cause of crime. However, as some hereditarians do note, MAOA only ’causes’ violence if one has a specific MAOA genotype and if they have been abused as a child (Caspi et al, 2002; Cohen et al, 2006; Beaver et al, 2009; Ferguson et al, 2011; Cicchetti, Rogosch, Thibodeau, 2012;). People have invoked these gene variants as ultimate causes of crime—that is, people who have the low-expressing MAOA variants are more likely to commit more crime—but the relationship is not so simple.
Maoris are more four times more likely to have the low-expressing gene variant than Europeans, the same holding for African Americans and Europeans (Lea and Chambers, 2007).
There is, however, a protective effect that protects whites (and not non-whites in certain cases) against antisocial behavior/violent attitudes if one has a certain genotype (Widom and Brzustowicz, 2006), though the authors write on page 688: “For non-whites, the effect of child abuse and neglect on the juvenile VASB was not significant (beta .08, SE .11, t 1.19, ns), whereas the effect of child maltreatment on lifetime VASB composite approached significance (beta .13, SE .12, t 1.86, p .06). For non-whites (see Figure 2), neither gene (MAOA) environment (child abuse and neglect) interaction was significant: juvenile VASB (beta .06, SE .28, t .67, ns) and lifetime VASB (beta .01, SE .29, t .14, ns).” So as you can see, there are mixed results. Whites seem to be protected against the effect of antisocial behavior and violence but only if they have a certain genotype (which implies that if they have the other genotype, then if abused they will show violent and antisocial behavior). So, we can see that the relationship between MAOA and criminal behavior is not as simple as some would make it out to be.
MAOA, like other genetic variants, of course, has been linked to numerous other traits. Steven J. Heine, author of the book DNA is Not Destiny: The Remarkable and Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and Your Genes:
However, any labels like “the warrior gene” are highly problematic because they suggest that the this gene is specifically associated with violence. It’s not, just as alleles from other genes do not only have one outcome. Pleiotropy is the term for how a single genetic variant can influence multiple different phenotypes. MAOA is highly pleiotropic: the traits and conditions potientially connected to the MAOA gene invlude Alzheimer’s. anoerxia, autism, body mass index, bone mineral density, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, extraversion, hypertension, individualism, insomnia, intelligence, memory, neuroticism, obesity, openness to experience, persistence, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, social phobia, sudden infant death syndrome, time perception and voting behavior. (59) Perhaps it would be more fitting to call MAOA “the everything but the kitchen sink gene. (Heine, 2017: 195)
Something that I have not seen brought up when discussions of race, crime, and MAOA come up is that Japanese people have the highest chance—even higher than blacks, Maoris, and whites—to have the low repeat MAOA variant (Way and Lieberman) yet have lower rates of crime. So MAOA cannot possibly be a ‘main cause’ of crime. It is way more complex than that. “However intuitively satisfying it may be to explain cultural differences in violence in terms of genes“, Heine writes, “as of yet there is no direct evidence for this” (Heine, 2017: 196).
Numerous people have used ‘their genes’ in an attempt to get out of criminal acts that they have committed. A judge even knocked off one year off of a murder’s sentence since he found the evidence for the MAOA gene’s link to violence “particularly compelling.” I find it “particularly ridiculous” that the man got less time in jail than someone who ‘had a choice’ in his actions to murder someone. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous to you that someone gets less time in jail than someone else, all because he may have the ‘crime/warrior gene’?
Aspinwall, Brown, and Tabery (2012) showed that when evidence of a ‘biomechanic’ cause of violence/psychopathy was shown to the judges (n=191), that they reduced their sentences by almost one year if they were reading a story in which the accused was found to have the low-repeat MAOA allele (13.93 to 12.83 years). So, as you can see, this can sway judges’ perception into giving one a lighter sentence since they believe that the evidence shows that one ‘can not control themselves’, which results in the judge giving assailants lighter sentences because ‘it’s in their genes’.
Further, people would be more lenient on sentences for criminals who are found to have these ‘criminal genes’ than those who were found to not have them (Cheung and Heine, 2015). Monterosso, Royzman, and Schwartz (2010) also write: “Physiologically explained behavior was more likely to be characterized as “automatic,” and willpower and character were less likely to be cited as relevant to the behavior. Physiological explanations of undesirable behavior may mitigate blame by inviting nonteleological causal attributions.” So, clearly, most college students would give a lighter sentence if the individual in question were found to have ‘criminal genes’. But, if these genes really did ’cause’ crime, shouldn’t they be given heavier sentences to keep them on the inside more so those with the ‘non-criminal genes’ don’t have to suffer from the ‘genetically induced’ crime?
Heine (2017: 198-199) also writes:
But is someone really less any responsible for their actions if his or her genes are implicated? A problem with this argument is that we would be hard-pressed to find any actions that we engage in where our genes are not involved—our behaviors do not occur in any gene-free zones. Or, consider this: there actually is a particular genetic variant that, if you possess it, makes you about 40 times more likely to engage in same-sex homicides than those who possess a different variant. (66) It’s known as the Y chromosome—that is, people who possess it are biologically male. Given this, should we infer that Y chromosomes cause murders, and thus give a reduced sentence to anyone who is the carrier of such a chromosome because he is really not responsible for his actions? The philosopher Stephen Morse calls the tendency to excuse a crime because of a biological basis the “fundamental psycholegal error.” (67) The problem with this tendency is that it involves separating yout genes from yourself. Saying “my genes made me do it” doesn’t make sense because there is no “I” that is independent of your genetic makeup. But curiously, once genes are implicaed, people see, to feel that the accused is no longer fully in control of his or her actions.
Further, in the case of a child pornographer, one named Gary Cossey, the court said:
The court predicted that some fifty years from now Cossey’s offense conduct would likely be discovered to be caused by “a gene you were born with. And it’s not a gene you can get rid of.” The court expressed its belief that although Cossey was in therapy, it “can only lead, in my view, to a sincere effort on your part to control, but you can’t get rid of it. You are what you’re born with. And that’s the only explanation for what I see here.”
However, this judge punished Cossey more severely due to the ‘possibility’ that scientists may find ‘genes for’ child pornography use in 50 years. Cossey was then given another, unbiased judge, and was given a ‘more lenient’ sentence than the genetic determinist judge did.
Sean Last over at The Alternative Hypothesis is also a big believer in this so-called MAOA-race difference that explains racial differences in crime. However, as reviewed above (and as he writes), MAOA can be called the “everything but the kitchen sink gene” (Heine, 2017: 195), as I will touch on briefly below, to attribute ’causes’ to genes is not the right way to look at them. It’s not so easy to say that since one ‘has the warrior gene’ that they’d automatically be violent. Last cites a study saying that even those who have the MAOA allele who were not abused showed higher rates of violent behavior (Ficks and Waldman, 2014). They write (pg. 429):
The frequency of the ‘‘risk’’ allele in nonclinical samples of European ancestry ranges from 0.3 to 0.4, although the frequency of this allele in individuals of Asian and African ancestry appears to be substantially higher (*0.6 in both groups; Sabol et al. 1998).
So, why don’t Asians have higher rates of crime—along with blacks—if MAOA on its own causes violent and antisocial behavior? Next I know that someone would claim that “AHA! TESTOSTERONE ALSO MEDIATES THIS RELATIONSHIP!!” However, as I’ve talked about countless times (until I’m blue in the face), blacks do not have/have lower levels of testosterone than whites (Richards et al, 1992; Gapstur et al, 2002; Rohrmann et al, 2007; Mazur, 2009; Lopez et al, 2013; Hu et al, 2014; Richard et al, 2014). Though young black males have higher levels of testosterone due to the environment (honor culture) (Mazur, 2016). So that canard cannot be trotted out.
All in all, these simplistic and reductionist approaches to ‘figuring out’ the ’causes’ of crime do not make any sense. To point at one gene and say that this is ‘the cause’ of that do not make sense.
One last point on ‘genes as causes’ for behavior. This is something that deserves a piece of its own, but I will just provide a quote from Eva Jablonska and Marion Lamb’s book Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (Jablonska and Lamb, 2014: 17; read chapter one of the book here; I have the nook version so the page number may be different):
Although many psychiatrists, biochemists, and other scientists who are not geneticists (yet express themselves with remarkable facility on genetic issues) still use the language of genes as simple causal agents, and promise their audience rapid solutions to all sorts of problems, they are no more than propagandists whose knowledge or motives must be suspect. The geneticists themselves now think and talk (most of the time) in terms of genetic networks composed of tens or hundreds of genes and gene products, which interact with each other and together affect the development of a particular trait. They recognize that whether or not a trait (a sexual preference, for example) develops does not depend, in the majority of cases, on a difference in a single gene. It involves interactions among many genes, many proteins and other types of molecule, and the environment in which an individual develops.
So to say that those who have low-functioning MAOA variants have an ‘excuse’ as to why they commit crime is incorrect. I know that most people know this, but when you read some people’s writings on things like this it’s like they think that these singular genes/polymorphisms/etc cause these things on their own. In actuality, you need to look at how the whole system interacts with these things, and not reduce whole complex physiological systems to a sum of its parts. This is why implicating singular genes/polymorphisms as explanations for racial differences in crime does not make sense (as can be seen with the Japanese example).
To reduce behaviors simply to gene X and not look at the whole system does not make any sense. There are no ‘genes for’ anything, except a few Mendelian diseases (Ropers, 2010). Stating that certain genes ’cause’ X, as I have shown does not make sense and, wrongly, in my opinion, gives criminals less of a sentencing since judges find stuff like this ‘very compelling’. If that’s the case, why implicate any murderer? ‘Their genes made them do it’, right? Though, things are not that simple to implicate one gene as a cause for crime or any other complex behavior; in this sense—like for most things to do with the human body—holism makes way more sense and not reductionism. We need to look at how these genes that are ‘implicated’ in criminal behavior interact with the whole system. Only then can we understand the causes of criminal behavior. Looking at singular genes impedes us from figuring out the true underlying reasons why people commit crime.
Remember: we can’t blame “warrior genes” for violent crime. If someone does have a ‘genetic predisposition to crime’ from the MAOA gene, then wouldn’t it make more sense to give them more time? Though, the relationship is not so simple as I have covered. So to close, there is no ‘simple relationship’ between race, crime and MAOA. Not in the way that other hereditarians would like you to believe. Because if this relationship were so simple, then East Asians (Chinese, Japanese) would have the highest rates of crime, and they do not.
Excellent article! I’ve been waiting for you to cover this topic (I’ve been a sort of silent fan of your site for the last year or so) and you did not disappoint. I’ve had some of the same thoughts on the purported MAOA/antisocial behavior link (and the studies showing its frequency in the various races) and have found myself rather suspicious of the oversimplified, not to mention exaggerated, explanations touted by the press of its relationship with violent crime.
Also, if I may ask, any ETA on the continuation of your more recent article on IQ, job performance, and medical school admissions, dropouts, etc.?
“However, as I’ve talked about countless times (until I’m blue in the face), blacks do not have/have lower levels of testosterone than whites”
Did you rather mean to say?
“…blacks do not have higher levels of testosterone than whites”
(I would think you might have meant to say that given the context)
Also, I was wondering what your opinion was on the 2R/2-repeat version of MAO.
It is claimed (found in a study by Beaver) that the 2R version (supposedly more likely to cause crime) of MAO is higher in African Americans than US whites (other black groups have not been tested and I could not find much 2R data on Asians—though the Lu 2013 study you linked in its tables 1 and 2 does seem to show it/MAO 2R a bit higher in the Chinese than in US whites i.e. the Chinese “community control group” at 1.3% vs. White American at .1% in Beaver 2013. I also recall a study that found it (MAO 2R) even higher in Saudi Arabians/a Saudi control group (than in US blacks), which I linked somewhere in a comment in this blog a while back (and will try to find).
The Lu 2013 study (tables 1 and 2pages 891-892)—MAO 2R in Chinese “community control group” apparently at 1.3%, MAO 3R at about 54%:
Click to access 10.1111%40j.1530-0277.2003.tb04412.x.pdf
It also seems that the different variants of MAO may even affect different groups slightly differently (though perhaps with different environments also having something to do with this).
“In Caucasian populations, the 7-repeat allele is the second most common allele, followed by the 2-repeat allele. However, in East Asian populations, the 2-repeat allele is the second most common after the 4-repeat, and the 7-repeat is extremely rare (Chang et al., 1996). Studies with Caucasian samples have usually shown that risky/antisocial tendencies are highest among people with the 7-repeat allele (Ebstein et al., 1996) but sometimes show that these tendencies are highest among people with the 2-repeat allele (Keltikangas-Jarvinen et al., 2004). Studies on East Asian samples typically show that these tendencies are highest among people with the 2-repeat allele (Zhong et al., 2010) or the 2- and 7-repeat alleles combined (Reist et al., 2007).2”
I think you might mistakenly at the beginning have put 54% for Chinese MAO 2R vs. white .1% Mao 2R (when 54% is for Chinese 3R, and the Chinese 2R appear to be 1.2% vs. white American 2R at .1%, so still higher in the Chinese apparently—3R is of course much also higher in whites than .1% but significantly lower than the Chinese, black, Japanese and Maori 3R rates)
Edit: “…Chinese 2R appear to be 1.3% vs. …”
Edit: “—3R is of course much higher in whites than .1% but significantly lower…”
Indeed the Asian rate both of 2R (at least with the Chinese) and 3R seems to be substantially (especially substantially in the case of 3R) above the white American rate.
But the MAO alleles (both 2R and 3R) were apparently not (or not significantly) associated with antisocial behavior/personality in the aforementioned Chinese Lu 2013 study (entitled “Neither Antisocial Personality Disorder Nor Antisocial Alcoholism Is Associated With the MAO-A Gene in Han Chinese Males”)—where the rate of MAO 2R seemingly ranges from 1.3% to about 2% or so (though the higher estimates . The Beaver 2013 study claimed to find a significant association esp. with MAO 2R in African American males whose rate was about 5%, but it seems it could not really determine whether the gene was significantly causal (for the behavior) partly because it could not establish/test for a similar correlation in white males, because the white male rate at only .1%, was too low to test (for the correlation).
Correction: “…seemingly ranges from 1.3% to about 2% or so. The Beaver…”
“…males whose rate was about 5%, but it seems it could not really determine whether the gene was significantly causal (for the behavior)—and whether or not the higher rate in American blacks vs. whites was a cause of racial differences in crime/behavior etc.—partly because it could not establish/test for a similar correlation in white males, because the white male rate at only .1%, was too low to test (for the correlation).”
The Saudi study I mentioned:
It suggests that Saudis have high rates, higher than African Americans, of the 2 repeat MAO allele.
I believe (though it seems one can no longer read the full version of the study) that in the Saudi control group, the 2 repeat/2R MAO-A frequency was 15.6% and the 3R repeat 40.6%, making the total short repeat frequency 56.3%.
Edit: “I believe (though it seems one can no longer read the full version of the study at that link, and I can’t seem to find one at present—one would have to fine one as the 2R rate information does not seem to be in the abstract)”
If this gene only encourages aggression if the individual is in a poor environment, then this may explain why the Japanese have become less prone to criminal acts. If the pattern were switched and whites and Japanese were more poor than Africans. Eirasians might actually have more aggression than the average hoodrat.
I doubt it. I showed that crime is more complex than having one gene. But it pretty much only activates when one is abused or maltreated. Intentional negligence is rare (one of the risk factors for MAOA activation). So it’s much more complex than to point to one gene as the culprit. Even then this effect is supposed to hold ( as cited) even if no abuse or neglect occurs. The Japanese don’t look too criminal to me.
Well of course but the connection is still there, intentional neglect is rare but neglect in general is spectral in intensity. The Japanese don’t look criminal but at one point their crime was much higher
By the way there’s a picture of a dick in your comment thread.
Right, but to imply that a single gene “causes” a behavior is really reductionist and, looking at genes how most phenotypes get expressed. Child abuse and neglect is a huge risk factor for MAOA activation.
And the point about the Japanese serves two purposes. 1) as shown in Ficks and Waldman (2014), the effect holds even when abuse nor neglect occurs. What could have possibly changed in the Japanese environment? I did add a cite saying that their high arrest/conviction rate is due to low prosectutorial budgets. I’m going to look into that claim from the paper I cited.
This gene cannot be “blamed” for crime. If a murderer has a history of abuse and neglect as a child, and he had the MAOA 2r allele, and his lawyer argued that “he couldn’t help it” due to his “life circumstances” and that his criminal behavior was “in his genes “, should he get a lighter sentence since, supposedly, they have “less control over their actions”?
Just because some gene is associated with something doesn’t mean that it’s its ultimate cause. There are a lot of “exceptions” to this rule as a hard-line HBD proponent would state. The real world isn’t that simple to be broken down into one singular gene for X behavior. Genes don’t work like that, as describe in the quote from Jablonka and Lamb.
I don’t think a single gene would affect all of crime. Which study of ducks and waldman are you citing? This one?
The study I linked showed that abuse affected the phenotypic expression quite considerably. The aggressive phenotype has a higher chance of expression if the subject was sexually abused
There are 200 million whites and 40 million blacks. Whites are only twice as likely to be sex offenders despite the fact they are more than quadruple the population size of blacks. Most sexual offenders were sexually abused in the past
Yes here is the paper.
So you’re in agreement with me then? Most HBDers see the distribution of this allele in the races and jump to the erroneous conclusion that it’s an ultimate cause of crime. Though you’d have to ignore tons of “exceptions” to this “rule” to believe that MAOA is an ultimate cause of crime.
I agree with you, and I don’t doubt that there is a large effect from sexual abuse on human psychology but you also need to think of genetic confounds.
The point of this article is to show that simple reductionist explanations for things such as crime, in this case MAOA, don’t make sense because the expression of the phenotype is, obviously, controlled by tens, hundreds, thousands of genes. Crime is way more complex than “he got abused and has the low functioning MAOA allele, therefore that’s the cause of why he led a life of crime.
I understand RR. I wasn’t disagreeing, I just thought it was an interesting pattern that may have SOME explanatory power.
I get that the pattern is interesting, but to fully believe it you need to take a lot of exceptions. For something to hold like this, things, in my opinion, need to line up perfectly to say that one gene has a definite causal effect.
I used to fully believe it back when I was new to HBD but, as you know, my views have undergone considerable “descent by modification” (see what I did there?).
In regards to P-FIT, I didn’t forget about that. I need to do a lot of reading on it. I’ll write a new piece soon and we can take our discussion there. Busy as hell with school and work. Don’t really have enough time to write long comments at the moment and research things.
On another note, are you aware that there is a neural basis for Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory? I’ll link the paper later. Interesting stuff.
I don’t think the one gene has a perfect causal effect, I just thought it might explain some of the variance.
The weakness of Gardner’s theory wasn’t the empirical reality, it was the fact that even though you can split intelligence and the brain into parts with differing function it’s still all intergrated, but I’ll wait till you have more time. Neurology is a fascinating subject I’ve been into lately. I think I might make it my new “Anthropology” if you catch my meaning.
Explaining a tiny amount of variance? Sure. Full on cause? No. I know of an article that looks at prison rates and the MAOA gene. I’ll link it later.
Neurology deals with disorders of the nervous system. Do you men neuroscience? Yea I get your drift. My new area of interest is ‘g’ and physiological variation. Expect a piece looking at the heritability of physiological variation in human traits and how ‘g’ ties into that too. But I’m too damn busy studying to jump into something and do a lot of research for what I want to do. Maybe during winter break. But I’ll definitely return to our P-FIT conversation in the near future after I familiarize myself with the literature on it.
Yeah, technically both. I have an interest in epilepsy but the reason is more personal than for simple education.
Uh, maybe mutualism or childhood family extensible collectivism DNA/RNA/ribozyme/intermediate code snippets/protein signalling cascade systems/hypothalamus switch controllers(sensitivity,receptivity, etc) have to do with it. Just think about it. All individuals of all gene-cluster groups have acted in aggregate to do ‘heinous’ acts of torture, rape, killing in terms of wars with one another – meaning everyone has the potential to do so.
I’m guessing the extent or degree of hostility is expressed and attenuated/mediated by g. Instead of violently attacking X, just ostracize X and prevent X from establishing any ‘social’ relationships with members of your own gene group – like foreign businesses in China, etc – since it has a lower ‘cost’ (a.k.a not expending effort to directly hurt X and be retaliated).
The ways in which ‘violence’ are expressed are simply ‘augmented’ by g – economic exploitation – scams, frauds, substitution of cheap into expensive products, corruption/nepotism/bribes. I see white people being less ‘utilitarian’ and ‘hostile/violent’ in this regard towards one another, and other people. Bit more charitable/altruistic, more ideological, less ruled by mass opinion and more openly ’emotional’ when they do become ‘violent’.
So perhaps this ‘violence’ does occur in the mongloid population more often than white/black populations, but just suppressed by ‘g’ because cooperation or the pretense of cooperation (like modern geopolitical games) rewards you more – lying or making claims to continually ‘tax’/gain ‘reputation’/etc. Meaning you can kill hundreds of millions with drone strikes, weapons, poison, entire lakes, prison camps, defraud insurance, etc, etc without even a bat of an eye due to the combinatorial effects of these ‘violence-associated’ or ‘hostile/propensity/proneness for antagonism’ ‘gene, related gene products, mediated-gene up/down regulation factors, etc’.
Also, the ‘risk’ of getting caught and the unfavourable circumstances are weighted against ‘value-producing labour’ from ‘g’. I’m guessing risk aversion and potentiality extrapolation / contingency planning may suppress these ‘instincts’ due to biased downward trajectorial adjusted-outcomes (focus on highest inheritance, highest genetic fidelity information transfer, highest survivorship over fecundity), but is fully wholly possible if there is no ‘law’. Besides, having a higher ‘g’ means all agents within the society reach to equilibrium strategy faster, since one can perceive what other people are going to do based on their self-interests and yours and what gives the highest reward. Following ‘loot, pillaging – etc’ is a short-term strategy that will never give you civilization, it is a maximal high-risk low-reward low-effort maximum-offspring one-time off strategy that probably was selected for due to low capacity for energy expenditure into brain development/delayed developmental progress due to highly variable highly time-sensitive environments which subject you constantly to diseases, predators, etc – unable to build up or conjure up instruments, since this requires time/energy/collective resources/collective man research hours – which probably is where confucianism arised from..
The environment where intellect fluorishes must predominately be one in which :
humans face invariable environments with regards to circumstances of nature –
disease, food, predators, etc
humans are competing intraspecies or with similar ancestral species predominately for resources within a defined artificial system of selection for value (all born on an island like Hong Kong), or a natural environment in which intellect increases fitness
fitness can only be mediated by intellect in the indirect manner of increasing survivability, but not fecundity due to physical limits – but intellect allows one to make environments relatively invariable (climate control, safety from predators, etc – and soon self-gene editing…) or avoid dangers
whether it be cliffs, poisonous critters, hot arid desert, cold winter..
you need energy for brain development; it kind of follows that body fat % increases as a function of decreasing annual median temperature – or hair density
on the other hand.. in hot climates, thermoregulation is an issue to such an extent that maximizing surface area, minimizing volume, high lean mass
primary productivity.. hmm.. more variable environments, increased species adaptiveness rate/biodiversity – more threats, faster bacteria, faster virus evolution, faster transmissibility, more vectors, higher parasitic loads
Care to elaborate?
I agree. But some groups are more violent than others and it needs explaining—whether through biological, social-psychological, socio-economic factors, etc.
Prove that ‘g’ exists as an actual measurable physiologic variable. (My thoughts on it: Do Physiologists Study General Intelligence?)
True. (Whatver ‘g’ is.) However, you can’t look at one snapshot in time and then attempt to create an evolutionary theory to explain observed differences between racial groups at a present moment in time. Looking at things, say, in the 1200s would lead to completely different conclusions.
I addressed ‘genes for’ traits in the article.
Most societies who do not have complex, industrialized first-world societies are tribal—getting rid of our tribalistic behavior is one of the key foundations of civilization building. Nicholas Wade talks about this in A Troublesome Inheritance.
How do you define ‘intelligence’? In regard to ‘disease, food, predators’, why doesn’t this select for ‘intelligence’ in African populations? I would agree that temperate environments are more suitable for the development of ‘intelligence’, though only because of parasite burden which is energetically demanding on growing person (see Christopher Eppig’s work).
(See Eppig, Fincher, and Thornhill, 2010; Hassall and Sherratt, 2011; Venkataramani, 2010. Also see Eppig, Fincher, and Thornhill, 2011 to see that the parasite load hypothesis holds even in America. When controlling for education and wealth, infectious disease stress was the best predictor of average state IQ.) So temperate environments are the best for the cultivation of ‘intelligence’ since parasite and disease burden sap energy from the growing brain. Malnutrition is also a big deal in regards to IQ and violent behavior (Birch, 1972; Liu et al, 2003; Liu et al, 2004; Walker et al, 2007; Galler et al, 2011, 2012a, 2012b; Spratt et al, 2012; Gesch, 2013; Kuratko et al, 2013; Waber et al, 2014; Raine et al, 2015; Thompson et al, 2017).
As does a smaller compact body for less surface area and larger brains to better thermoregulate.
Tropical climates select for long slender bodies for heat dissipation (Lieberman, 2015); colder temperatures select for shorter, stockier bodies to better conserve heat (Daanan and Lichtenbelt, 2016). (I wrote an article on human physiological adaptations to climate as well.)
Further, Leon (2018) shows that geography acts on variables such as education, cognitive abilities, greater wealth and strong institutions are mediated by physiological processes and psychological constructs.
Some of those are negatively correlated with ‘intelligence’ due to physiologic factors—such as disease burden since they are so metabolically demanding.
Anyways, my point still stands: MAOA does not cause crime and reducing complex human behaviors to singular ‘genes for’ anything doesn’t make any sense.
I will go in depth in regards to what I believe causes a lot of the variance in criminal activity among racial groups: sleep (Ingravallo et al, 2014) and malnutrition as referenced above.
Also, like Saudis, Chinese and African Americans, Jews seem to have higher rates of both the MAO 2R and 3R than white Americans/white American samples (at least according to Unsilenced Science):
As a commenter quoted at unz: “(Jews (2R 1.3%; 3R 62%) carry low-activity MAOA at much higher rates than Whites (2R 0.2%; 3R 36%) according to Unsilenced Science”
Search “Monoamine Oxidase A Bibliography”
(Hopefully this is not a duplicate post. I did not intent to duplicate post, but the post did not show up the first times and so I thought it might be the link I had in it—which is now removed)
And of course Jews also do not have a particularly high—or higher than average in Western countries—violent crime rate, more the reverse as far as I know i.e. a much lower violent crime rate at least in the US (at least not currently, though they may have initially had a higher crime rate for a while when they first came to the US in the late 18-early 1900s).
Edit: “…though they likely—I believe they did, as did the Italians, Irish, and many other European immigrant groups—have a higher crime rate initially…”