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Cold Winter Theory, the Vitamin D Hypothesis and the Prediction of Novel Facts

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Charles Darwin

Denis Noble

JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

Goodreads

2400 words

HBDers purport that as one moves further north from Africa that IQ raises as a function of how the population in question needed to survive. The explanation is that as our species migrated out of Africa, more “intelligence” was needed and this is what explains the current IQ disparities across the world: the ancestors of populations evolving in different areas with different demands then changed their “IQs” and this then is responsible for differential national development between nations. Cold winter theory (CWT) explains these disparities.

On the other hand is the vitamin D hypothesis (VDH). The VDH purports to explain why populations have light skin at northern latitudes. As the migration north out of Africa occurred, peoples needed to get progressively lighter in order to synthesize vitamin D. The observation here is that as light skin is selected for in locations where UVB is absent, seasonal or more variable whereas dark skin is selected for where UVB is stronger. So we have two hypotheses: but there is a problem. Only one of these hypotheses makes novel predictions. Predictions of novel predictions are what science truly is. A predicted fact is a novel fact for a hypothesis if it wasn’t used in the construction of the hypothesis (Musgrave, 1988). In this article, I will cover both the CWT and VDH, predictions of facts that each made (or didn’t make) and which can be called “science”.

Cold winter theory

The cold winter theory, formulated by Lynn and Rushton, purports to give an evolutionary explanation for differences in national IQs: certain populations evolved in areas with deathly cold winters in the north, while those who lived in tropical climes had, in comparison to those who evolved in the north, an “easier time to live”. Over time as populations adapted to their environments, differences in ‘intelligence’ (whatever that is) evolved due to the different demands of each environment, or so the HBDers say.

Put simply, the CWT states that IQ differences exist due to different evolutionary pressures. Since our species migrated into cold, novel environments, this was the selective pressure needed for higher levels of ‘intelligence’. On the other hand, humans who remained in Africa and other tropical locations did experience these novel, cold environments and so their ‘intelligence’ stayed at around the same level as it was 70,000 years ago. Many authors hold this theory, including Rushton (1997), Lynn (2006), Hart, (2007) Kanazawa (2008), Rushton and Templer (2012; see my thoughts on their hypothesis here) and Wade (2014). Lynn (2013) even spoke of a “widespreadonsensus” on the CWT, writing:

“There is widespread consensus on this thesis, e.g. Kanazawa (2008), Lynn (1991, 2006), and Templer and Arikawa (2006).”

So this “consensus” seems to be a group of his friends and his own publications. We can change this sentence to ““There is widespread consensus on this thesis, including two of my publications, a paper where the author assumes that the earth is flat: “First, Kanazawa’s (2008) computations of geographic distance used Pythagoras’ theorem and so the paper assumed that the earth is flat (Gelade, 2008).” (Wicherts et al, 2012) and another publication where the authors assume hot weather leads to lower intelligence. Oh yea, they’re all PF members. Weird.” That Lynn (2013) calls this “consensus” is a joke.

What caused higher levels of ‘intelligence’ in those that migrated out of Africa? Well, according to those who push the CWT, finding food and shelter. Kanazawa, Lynn, and Rushton all argue that finding food, making shelter and hunting animals were all harder in Eurasia than in Africa.

One explanation for high IQs of people who evolved recently in northern climes is their brain size. Lynn (2006: 139) cites data showing the average brain sizes of populations, along with the temperatures in that location:

LynnBrainIQWint

Do note the anomaly with the Arctic peoples. To explain this away in an ad-hoc manner, Lynn (2006: 156-7) writes:

These severe winters would be expected to have acted as a strong selection for increased intelligence, but this evidently failed to occur because their IQ is only 91. The explanation for this must lie in the small numbers of the Arctic Peoples whose population at the end of the twentieth century was only approximately 56,000 as compared with approximately 1.4 billion East Asians.

This is completely ad-hoc. There is no independent verifier for the claim. That the Arcitic don’t have the highest IQs but experienced the harshest temperatures and therefore have the biggest brain size is a huge anomaly, which Lynn (2006) attempts to explain away by population size.

Scott McGreal writes:

He does not explain why natural selection among Arctic peoples would result in larger brain sizes or enhanced visual memory yet the same evolutionary pressures associated with a cold environment would not also produce higher intelligence. Arctic peoples have clear physical adaptations to the cold, such as short, stocky bodies well-suited to conserving heat.

Furthermore, the argument that Lynn attempts is on the mutations/population size is special pleading—he is ignoring anomalies in his theory that don’t fit it. However, “evolution is not necessary for temperature and IQ to co-vary across geographic space” (Pesta and Poznanski, 2014).

If high ‘intelligence’ is supposedly an adaptation to cold temperatures, then what is the observation that disconfirms a byproduct hypothesis? On the other hand, if ‘intelligence’ is a byproduct, which observation would disconfirm an adaptationist hypothesis? No possible observation can confirm or disconfirm either hypothesis, therefore they are just-so stories. Since a byproduct explanation would explain the same phenomena since byproducts are also inherited, then just saying that ‘intelligence’ is a byproduct of, say, needing larger heads to dissipate heat (Lieberman, 2015). One can make any story they want to fit the data, but if there is no prediction of novel facts then how useful is the hypothesis if it explains the data it purports to explain and only the data it purports to explain?

It is indeed possible to argue that hotter climates need higher levels of intelligence than colder climates, which has been argued in the past (see Anderson, 1991; Graves, 2002; Sternberg, Grigorenko, and Kidd, 2005). Indeed, Sternberg, Grigorenko, and Kidd (2005: 50) write: “post hoc evolutionary arguments … can have the character of ad hoc “just so” stories designed to support, in retrospect, whatever point the author wishes to make about present-day people.” One can think up any “just-so” story to explain any data. But if the “just-so” story doesn’t make any risky predictions of novel facts, then it’s not science, but pseudoscience.

Vitamin D hypothesis

The VDH is simple: those populations that evolved in areas with seasonal, absent, or more variable levels of UVB have lighter skin than populations that evolved in areas with strong UVB levels year-round (Chaplan and Jablonksi, 2009: 458). Robins (2009) is a huge critic of the VDH, though her objections to the VDH have been answered (and will be discussed below).

The VDH is similar to the CWT in that it postulates that the adaptations in question only arose due to migrations out of our ancestral lands. We can see a very strong relationship between high UVB rays and dark skin and conversely with low UVB rays and light skin. Like with the CWT, the VDH has an anomaly and, coincidentally, the anomaly has to do with the same population involved in the CWT anomaly.

Arctic people have dark-ish skin for living in the climate that they do. But since they live in very cold climates then we have a strange anomaly here that needs explaining. We only need to look at the environment around them. They are surrounded by ice. Ice reflects UVB rays. UVB rays hit the skin. Arctic people consume a diet high in vitamin D (from fish). Therefore what explains Arctic skin color is UVB rays bouncing off the ice along with their high vitamin D diet. The sun’s rays are, actually, more dangerous in the snow than on the beach, with UVB rays being 2.5 more times dangerous in the snow than beach.

Evolution in different geographic locations over tens of thousands of years caused skin color differences. Thus, we can expect that, if peoples are out of the conditions where their ancestors evolved their skin color, that there would then be expected complications. For example, if human skin pigmentation is an adaptation to UV rays (Jablonski and Chaplan, 2010), we should expect that, when populations are removed from their ancestral lands and are in new locations with differing levels of UV rays, that there would be a subsequent uptick in diseases caused by vitamin D deficiencies.

This is what we find. We find significant differences in circulating serum vitamin D levels, and these circulating serum vitamin D levels then predict health outcomes in certain populations. This would only be true if sunlight influenced vitamin D production and that skin progressively gets lighter as one moves away from Africa and other tropical locations.

Skin pigmentation regulates vitamin D production (Neer, 1975). This is due to the fact that when UVB rays strike the skin, we synthesize vitamin D, and the lighter one’s skin is, the more vitamin D can be synthesized in areas with fewer UVB rays. (Also see Daraghmeh et al, 2016 for more evidence for the vitamin D hypothesis.)

P1) UV rays generate vitamin D in human skin
P2) Human populations that migrate to climates with less sunlight get fewer UV rays
P3) To produce more vitamin D, the skin needs to get progressively lighter
C) Therefore, what explains human skin variation is climate and UV rays linked to vitamin D production in the skin.

Novel predictions

Science is the generation of novel facts from risky predictions (Musgrave, 1988; Winther, 2009). And so, hypotheses that predict novel facts from risky predictions are scientific hypotheses, whereas those hypotheses that need to continuously backtrack and think up ad-hoc hypotheses are then pseudoscientific. Pseudoscience is simple enough to define. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines it as:

“A pretended or spurious science; a collection of related beliefs about the world mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method or as having the status that scientific truths now have.”

All theories have a protective belt of ad hoc hypotheses. Theories become pseudoscientific when they fail to make new predictions and must take on more and more ad-hoc hypotheses that have no predictive value. If the ad-hoc hypotheses that are added to the main hypothesis have no predictive value then the new explanations for whichever hypothesis that is in danger of being falsified are just used to save the hypothesis from being refuted and it thus becomes pseudoscience.

In the case of CWT, it makes no prediction of novel facts; it only explains the data that it purports to explain. What is so great about the CWT if it makes no predictions of novel facts and only explains what it purports to explain? One may attempt to argue that it has made some ‘novel’ predictions but the ‘predictions’ that are proposed are not risky at all.

For example, Hart (2007: 417) makes a few “predictions”, but whether or not they’re “risky” or “novel” I’ll let you decide (I think they’re neither, of course). He writes that very few accomplishments will be made by Africans, or Australian or New Guinean Aborigines; members of those groups will not be highly represented in chess; and that major advances in scientific fields will come from those of European ancestry or the “Monglids”, Koreans, Chinese or Japanese.

On the other hand, Hart (2007: 417) makes two more “predictions”: he says that IQ data for Congoid Pygmies, Andaman Islanders, and Bantu-speaking people are few and far between and he believes that when enough IQ testing is undertaken there he expects IQ values between 60 and 85. Conversely, for the Lapps, Siberians, Eskimoes, Mongols and Tibetans, he predicts that IQ values should be between 85-105. He then states that if these “predictions” turn out to be wrong then he would have to admit that his hypothesis is wrong. But the thing is, he chose “predictions” that he knew would come to pass and therefore these are not novel, risky predictions but are predictions that Hart (2007) knows would come to pass.

What novel predictions has the VDH made? This is very simple. The convergent evolution of light skin was predicted in all hominids that trekked out of Africa and into colder lands. This occurred “because of the importance of maintaining the potential for producing pre-vitamin D3 in the skin under conditions of low annual UVB (Jablonski and Chaplin, 2000; Jablonski, 2004)” while these predictions “have been borne out by recent genetic studies, which have demonstrated that depigmented skin evolved independently by different molecular mechanisms multiple times in the history of the human lineage” (Chaplan and Jablonksi, 2009: 452). This was successfully predicted by Chaplan and Jablonski (2000).

The VDH still holds explanatory scope and predictive success; no other agent other than vitamin D can explain the observation that light skin is selected for in areas where there is low, absent or seasonal UVB. Conversely, in areas where there is a strong, year-round presence of UVB rays, dark skin is selected for.

Conclusion

Scientific hypotheses predict novel facts not known before the formulation of the hypothesis. The VDT has successfully predicted novel facts, whereas I am at a loss thinking of a novel fact that the CWT predicted.

In order to push an adaptationist hypothesis for CWT and ‘intelligence’, one must propose an observation that would confirm the adaptationist hypothesis while at the same time disconfirming the byproduct hypothesis. Since byproducts are inherited to, the byproduct hypothesis would predict the same things that an adaptationist hypothesis would. Thus, the CWT is a just-so story since no observation would confirm or disconfirm either hypothesis. On the other hand, the CWT doesn’t make predictions of novel facts, it makes “predictions” that are already known and would not undermine the hypothesis if disproved (but there would always be a proponent of the CWT waiting in the wings to propose an ad-hoc hypothesis in order to save the CWT, but I have already established that it isn’t science).

On the other hand, the VDT has successfully predicted that hominins that trekked out of Africa would have light skin which was then subsequently confirmed by genomic evidence. The fact that strong UVB rays year-round predict dark skin whereas seasonal, absent, or low levels of UVB predict light skin has been proved to be true. With the advent of genomic testing, it has been shown that hominids that migrated out of Africa did indeed have lighter skin. This is independent verification for the VDH; the VDH has predicted a novel fact whereas the CWT has not.

Skincolorrace

From Jablonski and Chaplan, 2000


28 Comments

  1. Name says:

    Vitamin D theory has been proven wrong already. Specially because dark-skinned humans lived in Ice-age conditions for most of their existence in the north, with depigmentation being a fairly new innovation.
    Also, the benefits of light skin have less to do with Vitamin D than with energy/resource efficiency and self-domestication.
    Also, sexual selection was crucial, not so much natural selection.

    See “Evolution of Skin Color”, chapter 19 of Peter M. Elias and Mary L. Williams book “Basics in Human Evolution”.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Vitamin D theory has been proven wrong already. Specially because dark-skinned humans lived in Ice-age conditions for most of their existence in the north

      No it hasn’t. It’s been independently verified and the hypothesis predicted a novel fact which was verified through molecular genetic means.

      See “Evolution of Skin Color”, chapter 19 of Peter M. Elias and Mary L. Williams book “Basics in Human Evolution”.

      Their hypothesis is not supported by the data. See Jablonksi and Chaplan, (2013).

      Increased skin melanization is only provoked by increased UVR. The hands experience the highest abrasion loads and are one of the most likely body parts to come into contact with parasites but are unpigmented. Sexual dimorphism in skin color is the same in all native tribes. It doesn’t account for the evolution of eumelanin concentrations in the body. It doesn’t account for the high correlation between skin color and solar strength, either worldwide or locally, both within Africa and within Europe.

      Like

    • Name says:

      Still not convinced, specially because temperature =/ = sunlight and humans just went from one tropic to another. Italy is very sunny.
      Now, the energetic explanation also passes through the same process in which mtDNA U passed through, selecting for energy conservation, which further strengthens the cause.
      You know, Lamarck was the loser, not the winner.

      Also, the genetics of light skin evolved in humans while in Africa still, and merely resurfaced in Eurasia later, there are some papers about this.

      Like

    • Richie says:

      I don’t see how the fact that dark skinned humans lived in ice age conditions is evidence against vit D theory, to me it supports it. If most of our history we were dark skinned and lived in icey weather, doesn’t that fit with why artic people are light skinned? I don’t know the literature so may have misunderstood, but just from your comment it seems the opposite.

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    • RaceRealist says:

      name,

      Still not convinced, specially because temperature =/ = sunlight and humans just went from one tropic to another. Italy is very sunny.

      Was Italy like that 70 kya? If course it’s not only temperature but UVB radiation.

      Now, the energetic explanation also passes through the same process in which mtDNA U passed through, selecting for energy conservation, which further strengthens the cause.
      You know, Lamarck was the loser, not the winner.

      Their argument is untenable and also cannot account for the high correlation between skin color and UVB radiation even within geographically restricted areas.

      Lamarck did nothing wrong. Lamarck is being vindicated.

      Also, the genetics of light skin evolved in humans while in Africa still, and merely resurfaced in Eurasia later, there are some papers about this.

      Light skin evolved about 8kya.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Richie,

      It’s sound logic. Strong or weak UVB selects for either dark or light skin. Dark skin is selected when UVB is strong, light skin is selected when UVB is not strong, seasonal or variable. Arctic people are exposed to ice, the sunlight bounces off the light giving them vitamin D and high levels of UVB radiation. They further eat a diet high in vitamin D. This is why they have dark skin and it does not hurt the VDH.

      Like

    • Name says:

      No, “Race Realist”.
      Light Skin appeared in Africa.
      And when it reappeared in Eurasia, it wasn’t in the cold, dark north, but in the Middle East and Southern China – it was merely selected for more in the north, when mixing happened.
      As I said, you just had to read the paper.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29195075

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      I read the paper when it came out and it doesn’t refute anything I’ve written here.

      Like

  2. rw95 says:

    Good article. Was hoping you’d write about the Cold Winter Theory.

    Do you have any links towards other articles/journals critical of the CWT? Want to save them for when I may need them.

    Like

  3. Thomas Richardson says:

    I liked this a lot, and agree with what you’re saying, just a comment:

    “But the thing is, he chose “predictions” that he knew would come to pass and therefore these are not novel, risky predictions but are predictions that Hart (2007) knows would come to pass.” How did he know they would come to pass, other than by predictions of his theory though? I might have misunderstood, but this appears to be circular logic.

    Also, one thing i rarely see in these articles correlating geography with something else is any form of control for the fact that countries are rarely independent data points. To do most statistics such as correlations data points must be independent of each other, but the skin colour of countries are not independent of each other, because neighbouring countries have similar skin colours for the same reasons. This can create tons of false positives. good article on this: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/372/1729/20160317

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    • RaceRealist says:

      How did he know they would come to pass, other than by predictions of his theory though? I might have misunderstood, but this appears to be circular logic.

      A risky prediction would have the chance to falsify a theory or hypothesis. What Hart (2007)proposes will not falsify the theory if it doesn’t come to pass. It’s also a very broad range. Hardly good ‘predictions’.

      Thanks for the article I’ll read it later and get back to you.

      Like

  4. rr is censoring jimmy.

    Like

  5. it’s not a theory if the theor-ists are LYING.

    that east asian temperature data is a LIE.

    Like

  6. the cold winter “theory” requires more special pleading…

    the bushmen’s native land has much colder winters than the bantus’, yet they have smaller brains and lower IQs.

    bantus haven’t been in what is today south africa long enough to adapt, but they have been in the ruwenzori and highlands of ethiopia where it can get below freezing at night.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Cold winter theory is full of special pleading. Afro showed that Nigerians have pretty large skulls. Need an explanation for that too.

      The CWT is not a tenable hypothesis. It attempts to explain everything while simultaneously predicting nothing. That’s not science.

      Like

  7. windhoek’s average temperature in july is 55.6 F. same in gaborone. in cape town it’s 53.4.

    by comparison palermo’s average january temperature is 53.2. hong kong’s is 66.4.

    AND europe’s ice age climate was worse than chiner’s.

    yet more special pleading is required because islands have much more equable temperatures than continents.

    this means that melanesians, polynesians, micronesians, malays, andamans, etc. should all have lower IQs than continental groups at similar latitudes like bantus and amazonians ans maya etc.

    Like

  8. even more special pleading is required for the tasmanians.

    tasmania has a british like climate. yet…

    People crossed into Tasmania approximately 40,000 years, ago via a land bridge between the island and the rest of mainland Australia, during the last glacial period. According to genetic studies, once the sea level rose, flooding the Bassian Plain, the people were left isolated for approximately 8,000 years, until the time of European exploration, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    so lynn and flushton would have to predict that these people had european or china people IQ levels. somthing tells me they wouldn’t.

    the last full blooded tasmanian:

    they don’t have light skin either.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      so lynn and flushton would have to predict that these people had european or china people IQ levels. somthing tells me they wouldn’t.

      Of course they wouldn’t. It goes against their main hypothesis. The CWT is full of holes and anyone who continues to cite it is either a fool or idealogue. Or both.

      Like

  9. […] (which are similar enough to the VDH to where they can be absorbed into the VDH). Most importantly, the VDH predicted a novel fact—that molecular genetic evidence would show that light skin evolved independently numerous […]

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  10. FactualMan says:

    You just don’t understand anything to the cold winter theory… You are just distorting the facts and misrepresenting them.

    This is completely ad-hoc. There is no independent verifier for the claim. That the Arcitic don’t have the highest IQs but experienced the harshest temperatures

    The people of the Artic didn’t need much forward planning since there are no seasons, despite a cold climate. They still have an higher IQ than African populations due to the fact that they didn’t live in a warm climate where there is an abundance of resources that would lead to lazyness and absolute lack of forward planning.

    It is indeed possible to argue that hotter climates need higher levels of intelligence than colder climates, which has been argued in the past (see Anderson, 1991; Graves, 2002; Sternberg, Grigorenko, and Kidd, 2005).

    I have read their arguments and they are pretty weak.

    None of them touch on the fact that food is abundant in the tropics, and rather ignore it. This is of critical importance because this is the core of the cold winter theory. Yet none of them touch that. Especially considering that there are no seasons.

    Sternberg for example claims that tropical populations required forward planning by using the example of folk herbal medicine in Kenya that are learned at early ages to cope with diseases. What he forgets is that most of those things are based on pure superstitions, rather than learned experience of the plants and their properties. Mixing random herbs together while reciting incantations won’t make you intelligent. And this is something that all humans did and isn’t special to tropical populations.

    Graves use an argument based on outdated claims from a paper written in 1950 by Dobzhanksy, claiming that tropical climates are more predictable. Maybe, but what does this have to do with intelligence? They still do not need forward planning and/or urgency, as food is abundant, and can live relatively easy with a small population.

    Anderson’s paper is outdated and was written in 1991. His claims are similar to those of Sternberg, so I will not give further comments.

    “post hoc evolutionary arguments … can have the character of ad hoc “just so” stories designed to support, in retrospect, whatever point the author wishes to make about present-day people.”

    Except that there are no post-hoc evolutionary argument here. This is just comperative climatology. There are no challenges in the tropics other than knowing which animals and plants are dangerous and which are useful, the rest is easy and doesn’t require much forward planning.

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    • ThatGuy CalledPhil says:

      “None of them touch on the fact that food is abundant in the tropics, and rather ignore it. This is of critical importance because this is the core of the cold winter theory. Yet none of them touch that. Especially considering that there are no seasons.”

      That probably because the rainforests in Africa can’t provide human-safe consumption on hunting and gathering alone.

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/32171200_The_Management_of_Wild_Yam_Tubers_by_the_Baka_Pygmies_in_Southern_Cameroon

      “Sternberg for example claims that tropical populations required forward planning by using the example of folk herbal medicine in Kenya that are learned at early ages to cope with diseases. What he forgets is that most of those things are based on pure superstitions, rather than learned experience of the plants and their properties. Mixing random herbs together while reciting incantations won’t make you intelligent. And this is something that all humans did and isn’t special to tropical populations.”

      And what background in herbal medicine in human cultures do you have to justify this in regards to how they treat the medicine regarding experience?

      “Graves use an argument based on outdated claims from a paper written in 1950 by Dobzhanksy, claiming that tropical climates are more predictable. Maybe, but what does this have to do with intelligence? They still do not need forward planning and/or urgency, as food is abundant, and can live relatively easy with a small population.”

      How do you know the paper is outdated?
      Predictability is a relevant factor on explaining climates and racial intelligence/behavior by Rushton.

      “Anderson’s paper is outdated and was written in 1991. His claims are similar to those of Sternberg, so I will not give further comments.”

      Again, saying “outdated” by itself doesn’t prove anything. It would be actually more meaningful that R/K strategy described and applied accurately (which Rushton even failed on that level) was outdated by the time he proposed his explanation.

      Like

    • FactualMan says:

      ThatGuy CalledPhil,

      That probably because the rainforests in Africa can’t provide human-safe consumption on hunting and gathering alone.

      Do you have any evidence for this? The paper that you sent about paracultivation doesn’t support this claims, it just shows something about management of wild tubers by Baka Pygmies, but we don’t even have dates on how old this practice is. Plus all Africans are not Baka Pygmies. But still, it doesn’t talk about the African rainforests not being able to provide human-safe consumption on hunting-gathering alone. So I still wait for a citation

      And what background in herbal medicine in human cultures do you have to justify this in regards to how they treat the medicine regarding experience?

      They mix albino skin with crocodile piss and believe that it will cure them. It should be enough, no?

      How do you know the paper is outdated?

      Something written in 1950 could be easily wrong as they didn’t have the evidences that we today have. Carleton Coon once said that Negroids were the result of inter-mixing between Caucasoids and archaic Pygmies. Today, we know that this theory is stupid, even though Carleton Coon was a great Harvard scientist and his theories were sound at the time, but it’s not the case no more as we have genetics.

      Like

    • ThatGuy CalledPhil says:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672516/

      This study explains how pygmy cultivation lead to large patches of wild yams due to dependence on this food source since the forest otherwise supports them little.

      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/14756366.2013.848204

      I mentioned pygmies in particular because the rainforest is assumed, due to it’s vegetation, to promote “laziness”, there for pygmies being the most adapted would show the trait more. The problem is actually examining of their lifestyle and environment shows this not to be the case.

      Otherwise, one would suggest the Savannah as the place that promotes laziness, which would be absurd due to it’s drier conditions, frantic hunting game who became that way due to the continent having a high density of predators.

      This explains the actual effectiveness of a herbal genus used in traditional medicine.

      I’m familiar with Coon, but that doesn’t explain what information arosed between Anderson and now that refutes the paper’s assertion.

      Like

    • FactualMan says:

      ThatGuy CalledPhil,

      This study explains how pygmy cultivation lead to large patches of wild yams due to dependence on this food source since the forest otherwise supports them little.

      That’s nothing but a bunch of theories. Infact, this same article gives examples of studies contradicting this with
      “On the other hand, Bahuchet et al. (1991), Hladik and Dounias (1993), and Sato (2001, 2006) argued that for the Aka and Baka in the western Congo Basin enough wild yams existed for their subsistence”

      and

      “During fieldwork with the Baka in southeastern Cameroon, I (2006a; 2009a) recorded all of the harvests during … the dry and early rainy season, i.e., the period during which the forest was thought to be barren (Hart and Hart 1986), and found that the forest provided a plentiful food supply, 65 % of which (on a calorie basis) was made up of wild yams, and in particular annual species.”

      Nobody is denying that they may have a few problems during the dry season and early rainy season. However, it doesn’t require much planning to cope with those problems, as the forest still provides them everything they need(as said in your article).

      And again, Baka Pygmies are not representative of all tropical African populations. Why do you give so much attention to this small subset of another smaller subset, but not to very interesting anecdotes of this kind about people like the Khoisan :

      Each day, the Kung San walked long distances to the mongongo groves to collect their fruits. 
      He asked a tribesman why nobody had ever made an attempt to grow mongongo trees near some of the water holes where the tribe resided.  “You could do that if you wanted to,” he replied, “but by the time the trees bore fruit, you would be long dead.””
      –Anthropologist Richard Lee

      Otherwise, one would suggest the Savannah as the place that promotes laziness, which would be absurd due to it’s drier conditions, frantic hunting game who became that way due to the continent having a high density of predators.

      The tropical savannah climate promotes laziness, actually.

      They are usually hot. It is known that hot promotes laziness
      https://qz.com/750567/theres-a-scientific-excuse-for-why-summer-makes-you-so-lazy/

      The “frantic hunting game” that you mention are actually a very good thing, as we can eat them! If Africans developed a better IQ and didn’t develop in an environment that promotes laziness and short-term planning, they would have probably go as far as domesticating those “frantic” hunting game, as most domesticated animals in the world were “frantic” when they were still wild, but humans who were intelligent decided to tame and domesticate them to then have long-term profit from it. Africans couldn’t dream of the opportunities they and their descendants would have in domesticating “frantic” animals like Zebras, however… Wild animals in the rest of the world were just as “frantic” as those of the African savannah before taming and domestication.

      This explains the actual effectiveness of a herbal genus used in traditional medicine.
      Not to offends you, but this is cherry-picking

      High disease burden lowers IQ.

      Limited biological and nutritional resources must be allocated, unless you think Africans were developing penicillin and antiviral drugs in 5,000 BCE or something.

      A high IQ does nothing for the man or woman who dies from malaria and has no descendants.

      Faster gestation times (which is seen in Africans) would be selected against diseases, not High IQ
      https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/33/1/107/668109

      Like

    • ThatGuy CalledPhil says:

      “That’s nothing but a bunch of theories. Infact, this same article gives examples of studies contradicting this with
      “On the other hand, Bahuchet et al. (1991), Hladik and Dounias (1993), and Sato (2001, 2006) argued that for the Aka and Baka in the western Congo Basin enough wild yams existed for their subsistence”

      and

      “During fieldwork with the Baka in southeastern Cameroon, I (2006a; 2009a) recorded all of the harvests during … the dry and early rainy season, i.e., the period during which the forest was thought to be barren (Hart and Hart 1986), and found that the forest provided a plentiful food supply, 65 % of which (on a calorie basis) was made up of wild yams, and in particular annual species.”

      You barely read the article and ripped those quotes from their original context. One, the first quote was a record of the end result of pygmy cultivation of wild yams, not the original state of the forest prior to management. The area that you are describing was the managed western region as opposed to the nutrient poor eastern region with less cultivation of yams. Therefore, using JUST the natural resources without management makes the area not ideal for a pure foraging lifestyle.

      “However, the question remains as to how yams have become so densely distributed in this area. I (2009a) noted that, within the area containing numerous yam patches, small settlements had been created before the colonial period. Moreover, the forests of Cameroon have been considerably disturbed by shifting cultivation for centuries (Chujo 1992; Van Gemerden et al. 2003), and contain many trees that prefer a disturbed environment (Yasuoka 2009b). Therefore, it is possible that forest disturbances via shifting cultivation might have affected the distribution of light-demanding annual species of wild yam (Yasuoka 2009a).”

      And

      “More importantly, this study provides two conclusions that advance the historical ecology of the African rainforests. First is the significance of “semi-cultivated” resources, which are not domesticated but persist under substantial interactions with humans. This study suggests that hunter-gatherers have depended on the rainforest ecosystem as a habitat through the exploitation of resources such as wild yams along a continuum ranging between pure gathering and complete cultivation depending on local conditions.

      “Para-cultivation” of wild yams (Dounias 2001) is an example of such variability. The Baka sometimes rebury part of a yam tuber with the intention of promoting its regeneration. As Dounias (2001) emphasized, para-cultivation does not necessarily lead to complete cultivation but rather remains in an initial state or can revert back to a gathering state if conditions change. Compared to the period when the Baka lived in smaller and migratory settlements in the forest, the population is now more concentrated around the village, and it is unlikely that the Baka’s exploitation has led to the accumulation of enough genetic mutations in yams to adapt to conditions under high population density (Yasuoka 2012). Without para-cultivation as the case in Zoulabot Ancien, to maintain yam patches requires considerable distances between settlements and yam patches to avoid negative human impacts on the formation of yam patches.

      The second conclusion is a consequence of external factors in the distribution of forest resources. The Baka’s resource use and thus the distribution of annual yams have been influenced by a variety of political and economic factors, i.e., their relationship with cultivators, sedentarization, road construction, commercial logging, and forest conservation projects. If the Baka were not sedentarized, their method of yam exploitation would be different. The molongo I described in earlier work (2006a) is neither their original hunting-and-gathering lifestyle nor the pure hunting-and-gathering lifestyle that depends heavily on the environment.

      For other Pygmy groups that do not engage in molongo, it is possible that yam patches were developed but then disappeared with changes in resource use. The Aka, in northern Congo-Brazzaville, do not eat D. praehensilis as frequently as the Baka, and they also consume considerable amounts of agricultural crops during the dry season (Kitanishi 1995). For the Mbuti, in eastern Congo-Kinshasa, the dry season is their hunting season and they obtain agricultural crops in exchange for the meat they hunt (Ichikawa 1983). However, the current absence of yam patches does not necessarily mean they never existed.

      Yam patches in southeastern Cameroon can also diminish if the Baka cease using them. There are two significant factors that decrease the frequency of molongo. One is the expansion of cultivation. The dry season is the suitable period for clearing fields and it falls within the molongo season. The second factor is the forest conservation projects that have been promoted since the 1990s (Ichikawa 2006; Njounan Tegomo et al. 2012). In 2005, Nki National Park was established adjacent to Zoulabot Ancien (Fig. 1) and molongo became illegal because camping in national parks is prohibited.

      The molongo of the Baka presents a challenge in understanding and preserving the inscribed histories of interactions between the people and forest resources of the African rainforests. This challenge must be addressed to improve existing forest conservation schemes, which have significant and often negative effects on the lives of forest peoples.”

      “Nobody is denying that they may have a few problems during the dry season and early rainy season. However, it doesn’t require much planning to cope with those problems, as the forest still provides them everything they need(as said in your article).”

      No, it said that yams themselves provided their dietary needs, otherwise the jungle doesn’t have much variety as stated in the beginning of the article. If that were the case as you said, then why would yams make up 65%
      as your quote said, and why would they go as far as to depend on farmers from a different group if the forest allowed them to “cope” with it?

      “And again, Baka Pygmies are not representative of all tropical African populations. Why do you give so much attention to this small subset of another smaller subset, but not to very interesting anecdotes of this kind about people like the Khoisan ”

      You really can’t read can you?
      From my last comment.

      “I mentioned pygmies in particular because the rainforest is assumed, due to it’s vegetation, to promote “laziness”, there for pygmies being the most adapted would show the trait more. The problem is actually examining of their lifestyle and environment shows this not to be the case.

      Otherwise, one would suggest the Savannah as the place that promotes laziness, which would be absurd due to it’s drier conditions, frantic hunting game who became that way due to the continent having a high density of predators.”

      “Each day, the Kung San walked long distances to the mongongo groves to collect their fruits.
      He asked a tribesman why nobody had ever made an attempt to grow mongongo trees near some of the water holes where the tribe resided. “You could do that if you wanted to,” he replied, “but by the time the trees bore fruit, you would be long dead.””
      –Anthropologist Richard Lee”

      That quote is irrelevant as to bolstering either my arguments or yours. It only explains how hard it is in the Bushmen’s circumstances to become de novo farmers.

      Unless you have a real argument, move on.

      “The tropical savannah climate promotes laziness, actually.”

      Summer in first world sedentary societies =/= Hot climates in dry grasslands. Likewise the article did not say “long time laziness” and points out how people adapt to it. Living under heat requires more extertion of energy, as the article says, so by that logic people their are less lazy.

      “But the good news is, we can adapt relatively quickly. “Even within one or two sessions [of heat exercise], the body is already adapting,” says Santiago Lorenzo, a physiologist teaching medicine at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida. “Then the more that you do it, the better you start feeling.”

      After only a day or two in the heat, we start producing more plasma, the liquid portion of our blood. Some evidence has suggested that our bodies generate as much as 13% more (pdf, p. 478) plasma once our bodies have become fully adjusted to the heat, which means that a larger volume of blood gets circulated through our bodies. Not only does this bring more oxygen to the muscles (which they then use to generate energy), it also help regulates body temperature: ”You can increase more blood flow to the skin to help you cool off,” Lorenzo says.

      If we stay active in the heat for a week to 10 days, our bodies continue to adapt. Our sweat glands kick into high gear in an effort to cool our skin off more quickly, and our hearts even start to pump blood more efficiently to the rest of our bodies. We’re also able to take in more oxygen when breathing heavily. Generally, after about two weeks of being in the heat—whether you’re just going about your day or exercising—your body will have adapted to handle more heat.

      For athletes, heat acclimatization can actually help with training. Lorenzo, who himself is a former Olympian decathlete, found in a small trial that athletes’ performance improved when they added some training at about 100°F with 30% humidity. He worked with 12 cyclists who visited his lab once a day for 10 days to cycle in a hot environment. At the end of the 10 days, those cyclists were able to generate 8% more power on an hour-long performance test compared to a control group of eight athletes.”

      “The “frantic hunting game” that you mention are actually a very good thing, as we can eat them! If Africans developed a better IQ and didn’t develop in an environment that promotes laziness and short-term planning, they would have probably go as far as domesticating those “frantic” hunting game, as most domesticated animals in the world were “frantic” when they were still wild, but humans who were intelligent decided to tame and domesticate them to then have long-term profit from it. Africans couldn’t dream of the opportunities they and their descendants would have in domesticating “frantic” animals like Zebras, however… Wild animals in the rest of the world were just as “frantic” as those of the African savannah before taming and domestication.”

      Actually African wild life is particularly Frantic, as Zebras as you mentioned were failed to be domesticated despite attempts of colonists. Africa has a higher preservation of herbivore conditions compared to Eurasia.

      “The first hints of abnormal rates of megafaunal loss appear earlier, in the Early Pleistocene in Africa around 1 Mya, where there was a pronounced reduction in African proboscidean diversity (11) and the loss of several carnivore lineages, including sabertooth cats (34), which continued to flourish on other continents. Their extirpation in Africa is likely related to Homo erectus evolution into the carnivore niche space (34, 35), with increased use of fire and an increased component of meat in human diets, possibly associated with the metabolic demands of expanding brain size (36). Although remarkable, these early megafauna extinctions were moderate in strength and speed relative to later extinctions experienced on all other continents and islands, probably because of a longer history in Africa and southern Eurasia of gradual hominid coevolution with other animals.

      Outside of these core hominid regions, the timing of megafaunal loss coincides closely with the global expansion of H. sapiens (2, 14, 16): Australia ∼45 kya (37), Europe over 50–7 kya, Japan (∼30 kya), North America over 15–10 kya, South America over 13–7 kya (38), the Caribbean (∼6 kya), the Pacific islands (1–3 kya), Madagascar (∼2 kya), and New Zealand (∼700 y) (2). The overall global pattern has been rapid loss in regions experiencing sudden arrival of H. sapiens (14, 38), with no overall correlation with climatic variation. Approximately 1 billion individual large animals were lost from the Earth’s land surface (39).

      Although still much discussed, there is increasingly strong evidence for a causal link between megafaunal extinction and the arrival of H. sapiens (2, 14, 38, 40). The predominant reason is that humans were effective and generalist superpredators that were able to hunt even the largest mammals that had previously faced little predation pressure. Being omnivorous and generalist, humans were able to maintain predation pressure even when prey abundance was low. Large-bodied species, with long generation times and slow reproduction rates, are particularly susceptible to even moderate sustained increases in predation pressure (13). In addition, the accompanying domestic dogs may have competed with endemic carnivores (41), and some domesticates may have introduced diseases. The loss of keystone large herbivores may have triggered cascades of extinctions through ensuing vegetation change, changing fire regimes, and the loss of a prey base for megacarnivores (9, 12).”

      https://www.pnas.org/content/113/4/838 See figure one as well. This is because in Africa the wildlife evolved with humans present in their ecosystem, while Eurasia had less of that pressure and as a result megafauna reacted worse to human introduction.

      Also, herding began by manipulating huddled groups of animals like sheep while hunting, while the only antelopes domesticated were Elands from Southern Africa by Russians. By that time, early 20th century, Africans have received herding animals from Asia that started 9k BCE in areas where they could survive and eventually migrated them to areas where they were selected to survive in.

      https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10963-010-9042-2

      They had no incentive to domesticate animals that were historically better off as game meat and unsuited typically for domestication.

      Another restriction was that pastoralism is typically done in the Savannah or deserts, while approaching the rainforests in central Africa it kills herding animals more effectively due to the tsetse fly.

      http://www.fao.org/docrep/v8180t/v8180T0s.htm

      MesoAmerica and Southern America likewise lack large domestic animals aside from the Llama.

      “Not to offends you, but this is cherry-picking”

      It’s not, it’s an example of a medicine used that has actually effectiveness. It;s one of many genuses mentioned in RR’s article citation.

      “High disease burden lowers IQ.

      Limited biological and nutritional resources must be allocated, unless you think Africans were developing penicillin and antiviral drugs in 5,000 BCE or something.”

      The point still stand nonetheless that Africans have used medicine that was effective. I admit, mainly due to the lack of research of a wide array of medicine tests beyond the one I offered as well as the variety of plants used, I lack more data.

      The argument was that your generalization was unwarranted compared to what was offered by RR.

      “A high IQ does nothing for the man or woman who dies from malaria and has no descendants.

      Faster gestation times (which is seen in Africans) would be selected against diseases, not High IQ
      https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/33/1/107/668109”

      “This research suggests that normal gestational length is shorter in Black and Asian women compared with white European women and that fetal maturation may occur earlier.”

      Black AND Asian. And what do we know about these two populations? They both recently acquired industrial lifestyles that europeans had longer. This pattern fits better with the fertility data with other countries compared to “disease load”.

      http://theconversation.com/why-african-families-are-larger-than-those-of-other-continents-84611

      And obviously, as other psychometrics would obviously point out, disease load impairs IQ because of health and development, not because of a result of selection.

      Like

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