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Kenyan Marathon Runners

1850 words

The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest continuous running marathons around. The 122nd just finished today, and—surprise surprise—a Kenyan man and Ethiopian woman took first place. For the men, Lawrence Chereno (time at 2:07: 57) barely edged out the second place winner Lelisa Desisa Benti (2:07:59; an Ethiopian) while for the women Worknesh Degefa (2:23:31) beat Edna Kiplagat (2:24:13; a Kenyan). For the men, all 5 of the top placers were East African, whereas for the women all 3 were East African. What explains Kenyan marathon success? Incredibly, from 1992 onward—with the exception of 2001 and 2018—East Africans have won the Boston Marathon. We know that athleticism is irreducible to biology, and while genes do play a part in morphology and other things that are conducive to running success, they do not—of course—tell the whole story. A whole slew of factors needs to come together to make an elite athlete, while one thing does not fully explain marathon success.

Back in September of 2017, I covered many factors that make both elite marathoners and sprinters. All of the factors that make an elite athlete combine, no one factor is more important than any other, but if one does not have the will to train and win, of course, they will not do well.

When it comes to Kenyans, a small tribe in Kenya explain the success of—the Kalenjin, most specifically, the Nandi sub-tribe and a complex interaction of genotype, phenotype, and socioeconomic factors explain their success (Tucker, Onywera, and Santos-Concejero, 2015). The Kalenjin account for a whopping 84% of Kenya’s Olympic and world championship medals, 79 percent of Kenya’ top 25 marathon performances, contributing to 34%. Kenyans have won 152 medals, compared with 145 with other African countries—42-61% being Ethiopian—while the rest of the world combined won 153 medals. The Nandi sub-tribe has won 72 medals, accounting for 47& of the total for Kenya. What accounts for the insane disparity between East African marathoners (specifically Kalenjin, and a more specific sub-tribe at that) and the rest?

In his book The Genius in All of Us, David Shenk (2010: 102) writes:

Take the running Kenyans. Relatively new to the international competitions, Kenyans have in recent years become overwhelmingly dominant in middle- and long-distance races. “It’s pointless for me to run on the pro-circuit,” complained American 10,000 meter champion Mike Mykytok to the New York Times in 1998. “With all of the Kenyans, I could set a personal best time, and still only place 12th and win $200.”

The Kenyan-born journalist John Manners describes a just-so story to explain how and why Kenyans dominate these competitions: The best young men who were the fastest and had more endurance acquired more cattle, and those who acquired more cattle could then get a bride and have more children, Shenk explains. “It is not hard to imagine that such a reproductive advantage might cause a significant shift in a group’s genetic makeup over the course of a few centuries” (John Manners, quoted in Shenk, 2010: 103).

However, no matter what the origin of Kenyan running success is, the Kalenjin have a passionate dedication to running. Kipchoge Keino was the one who put Kenya on the map regarding distance running. Shenk quotes Keino saying:

I used to run from the farm to school and back … we didn’t have a water tap in the house, so you run to the river, take your shower, run home, change [run] to school . . . Everything is running.

However, when Keino entered 1968 Olympics in Mexico, he came down with gallstones and his doctor told him not to race. However, he took a cab to Aztec Stadium, and when he get caught in traffic he ran the last mile to the stadium and barely got there before the race started. Even though Keino was sick, he destroyed the then-world record by 6 seconds.

Sports geographers don’t point to one variable that explains Kenyan running success—because they all interact. They train at high altitude—and while high altitude is not the only factor regarding long-distance running success, it is crucial. Because training at a high altitude and then running at a lower altitude can change running time by a large amount. One with a normal running economy who goes by the mantra “live high, train low” can shave off about 8 minutes of their time in a 26.2-mile marathon (Chapman and Levine, 2007). Further, socioeconomic variables also explain the success, with it being part of what drives them to succeed, along with favorable morphology, a strong running economy, high intensity training (living at and training at high altitude) and a slew of psychological factors related to social status and socioeconomic factors (Wilbur and Pitsiladis, 2012). This paper speaks perfectly to the slew of variables that need to come together to make an elite athlete.

Shenk (2010: 108) then reverses John Manner’s just-so story:

… it’s an entertaining theory that fits well with the popular gene-centric view of natural selection [it fits well because it’s selected to be so]. But developmental biologists would point out that you could take exactly the same story line and flip the conclusion on its head: the fastest man earns the most wives and has the most kids—but rather than passing on quickness genes, he passes on crucial ingredients. such as the knowledge and means to attain maximal nutrition, inspiring stories, the most propitious attitude and beliefs, access to the best trainers, the most leisure time to pursue training, and so on. This nongenetic aspect of inheritance is often overlooked by genetic determinists: culture, knowledge, attitudes, and environments are also passed on in many different ways.

Further, Shenk also cites sports scientist Tim Noakes who states that the best Kenyan runners cover 230 km (about 143 miles) a week at 6,000 feet in altitude—and this, of course, would be conducive to running success when the event is held at lower altitudes.

David Epstein wrote a solid book on athleticism in 2014—The Sports Gene. Chapters 12 and 13 are pivotal for this discussion. Chapter 12 titled Can Every Kalenjin Run? In this chapter, Epstein, too, cites John Manners, explaining the same thing that Shenk did, but adds this:

In the next breath of the very same chapter [after describing the just-so story about cattle-gathering and wife-acquisiton], though, Manners seems to doubt the suggestion as soon as he raises it. “The idea just occurred to me, so I just put it in.” (pg 184)

Manners came to see his just-so story as less powerful since, over the years as he interviewed Kalenjin runners because “other “hot spots” of endurance running talent have materialized in East Africa, and the athletes responsible are also from traditionally pastoralist cultures that once practiced cattle raiding” (Epstein, 2014: 184-185).

Epstein then discusses how 17 American men in history have run a marathon better than 2:10—or 4:58 per mile—while 32 Kalenjin men did it in October of 2011 alone. Five American high-schoolers have run a sub-4 minute mile, while one high-school in Kenya alone produced 4 sub-4 mile runners!

Kenyan runners have long legs for their height, along with “upper leg length, total leg length and total leg length to body height ratio were correlated with running performance” (Mooses et al, 2014)—which means that they can cover more distance than one with shorter legs. This is critical for running success—of any kind. Kenyans have a high number of type I muscle fibers, but, of course, this alone does not explain their running success. Elite Kenyan distance runners are characterized by low BMI, low fat mass and slim limbs (Kong and de Heer, 2008).

So now let’s discuss altitude adaptation. One objection to this variable—out of many others, of course—that are conducive to running success is why are Tibetans and Andeas not succeeding in these types of competitions as well as the Kalenjin? The answer is simple—because they do not have the long, ecto-dominant (Vernillo et al, 2013) body types. There is also another, perhaps more critical, component to altitude training—hemoglobin, since the amount of oxygen one has in their blood is dictated by two factors—how much hemoglobin one has in their blood and the amount of oxygen the hemoglobin carries. Altitude increases the number of red blood cells in the body, since it is a good way to get oxygen in an environment with less oxygen.

Epstein (2014: 208) writes:

Preferable to moving to altitude to rain is being born there. Altitude natives who are born and go through dilchood at elevation tend to have proportionally larger lungs than sea-level natives, and large lungs have large surface ares that permit more oxygen to pass from the lungs into the blood. This cannot be the result of altitude ancestry that has altered the genes over generations, because it occurs not only in natives of the Himalayas, but also among American children who do not have altitude ancestry but who grow up in the Rockies. Once childhood is gone, though, so too is the chance for this adaptation. It is not genetic, but neither is it alterable after adolescence.

Epstein (2014: 213) quotes the first man to run a sub-4 minute mile, Roger Bannister who says:

The human body is centuries in advance of the physiologist, and can perform an integration of heart, lungs, and muscles which is too complex for the sciencist to analyze.

This, of course, is a hard pill to swallow for some people, who may not believe this. I believe this is true—though we can point to certain factors, each individual’s trajectory into X is unique, and so, explaining Y for all will be close to impossible.

Finally, Epstein (2014: 214) cites Claudio Berardelli:

Berardelli believes that Kenyans are, in general, more likely to be gifted runners. But he also knows that no matter their talent or body type or childhood environment or country of origin, 2:05 marathon runners do not fall from the sky. Their gifts must be coupled with herculean will.

Although that, too, is not entirely seperable from innate [whatever that means] talent.

Hamilton (2000) concludes that:

It seems that the presumed causes of such domination are often recycled, out of date, and based on misinformation and myth.

This, however, betrays understanding of a systems view of running success. Just because North Africans are beginning to show up in these types of competitions it does not mean that the systems view of athleticism is false.

Of course, the East African running advantage is more than ‘genetic’, it is also cultural—which, rightly, shows how every part of the system interacts to produce an elite athletic phenotype. As Louis (2014: 41) notes “The analysis and explanation of racial athleticism is therefore irreducible to biological or socio-cultural determinants and requires a ‘biocultural approach’ (Malina, 1988; Burfoot, 1999; Entine, 2000) or must account for environmental factors (Himes, 1988; Samson and Yerl`es, 1988).Genetics alone cannot explain the running success of East Africans.

In sum, what explains the success of East African runners? A whole slew of factors that are irreducible, since the whole system interacts. Of course, I do not deny the role that physiological and anatomic factors have on running performance—they are crucial, but not the only, determinant for running success. Reducing a complex bio-system to X, Y, or Z does not make any sense, as every factor interacts to create the elite athlete. East African dominance in middle- and long-distance running will, of course, continue, since they have the right mix of factors that all interact with each other.


No, Black Women Do Not Have Higher Testosterone than White Women (And More On Hereditarian Claims on Racial Testosterone Differences)

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It has been over a year since I wrote the article Black Women and Testosterone, and I really regret it. Yes, I did believe that black women had higher levels of testosterone than white women due to one flimsy study and another article on pregnant black women. I then wised up to the truth about testosterone and aggression/crime/race/sex and revised the articles (like I have done with r/K selection theory). However, after I revised my views on the supposed differences in testosterone between black men/white men and black women/white women, people still cite the article, disregarding the disclaimer at the top of the article. I quoted Mazur (2016), who writes (emphasis mine):

The pattern [high testosterone] is not seen among teenage boys or among females.

There is no indication of inordinately high T among young black women with low education.

Honor cultures are cast as male affairs, but with T data in hand for both sexes, it is worth exploring whether or not a similar pattern exists among women. Mean T was calculated as a function of age for the four combinations of race and education used in Table 1 but now for women. All plots show T declining with age, from about 35 ng/dL in the 20–29 age group to about 20 ng/dL among women 60 years and older. The four plots essentially overlap without discernible differences among them. Given the high skew of T among adult females, both raw and ln-transformed values were analyzed with similar results. There is no indication of inordinately high T among young black women with low education.

In the present study, at least, the sexes differ because the very high T seen among young black men with low education does not occur among young black women with low education.

This is very clear… Mazur (2016) analyzed the NHANES 2011-2012 data and this is what he found. I understand that most HBD bloggers do believe this, well, like a lot of their strong assertions (which I have rebutted myself), they’re wrong. They don’t get it. They do not understand the hormone.

The reason why I’m finally writing this (which is long overdue) is that I saw a referral from this website today: who writes about the aforementioned black women and testosterone article:

It is known that blacks have the highest levels of testosterone out of the major races of humanity. However, what’s not known is that black women have higher rates than white women. The same evolutionary factors that make it possible for black men to have high testosterone make it possible for women as well.

…..No. It seems that people just scroll on by the disclaimer at the top that is bolded and italicized and just go to the (now defunct) article and attempt to prove their assertion that black women have higher testosterone than white women with an article that I have stated myself I no longer believe and have provided the rationale/data for the position. This shows that people have their own biases and no matter what the author writes about their views that have changed due to good arguments/data, they will still attempt to use the article to prove their assertion.

I’ve written at length that testosterone does not cause 1) aggression, 2) crime and 3) prostate cancer. People are scared of testosterone mostly due to the media fervor of any story that may have a hint of ‘toxic masculinity’. They (most alt-righters) are scared of it because of Lynn/Rushton/Templer/Kanazawa bullshit on the hormone. Richard Lynn doesn’t know what he’s talking about on testosterone. No, Europeans did not need lower levels of aggression in the cold; Africans didn’t need higher levels of aggression (relative to Europeans) to survive in the tropics. The theory that supposed differential testosterone differences between the races are “the physiological basis in males of the racial differences in sexual drive which form the core of the different r/K reproduction strategies documented by J.P. Rushton” (Lynn, 1990: 1203). The races, on average, do not differ in testosterone as I have extensively documented. So hereditarians like Lynn and others need to look for other reasons to explain blacks’ higher rate of sexual activity.

Rushton’s views on the testosterone and supposed r/K continuum have been summarily rebutted by me. These psychologists’ views on the hormone (that they don’t understand the production of nor do they understand the true reality of the differences between the races) are why people are afraid of testosterone. No, testosterone is not some ‘master switch’ as Rushton (1999) asserts. Rushton asserts that racial differences in temperament are mediated by the hormone testosterone. He further dives into this assertion stating “Testosterone level correlates with temperament, self-concept, aggression, altruism, crime, and sexuality, in women as well as in men (Harris, Rushton, Hampson, & Jackson, 1996). It may ‘correlate’ with aggression and crime, but as I have documented, they do not cause either.

The aggression/testosterone correlation is only .08 (Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Davies, 2005). Furthermore, the diurnal variation in testosterone does not directly correlate to when testosterone levels are highest in the day (at 8 am and drop thereafter), with adults peaking in crime at 10 pm and kids at 3 pm, with rises at 8 pm and 12 pm (not surprisingly, kids go in to school around 8 am, go to recess at 12 and leave at 3).


(Source: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP))

If you’ve read as much Rushton as I have, you’ll notice that he begins to sound like a broken record when talking about certain things. One of the most telling is Rushton’s repeated assertions that blacks average 3-19 percent higher testosterone than whites. The 3 percent number comes from Ellis and Nyborg (1992) and the 19 percent number comes from Ross et al (1986) (which Rushton should know that after adjustments for confounding, it decreased to 13 percent). These are the only studies that hereditarians ever cite for these claims that blacks average higher testosterone than whites. That seems a bit fishy to me. Cite a 30-year-old study along with a 25-year-old study (with such huge variation from Rushton and those who cite him for this matter—3-19 percent!!) as ‘proof’ that blacks average such higher levels of testosterone in comparison to whites.

Ross et al (1986) is one of the most important studies to rebut for this hereditarian claim that testosterone causes all of these maladies in black American populations. Ross et al (1986) propose that higher levels of the hormone lead to the higher rates of prostate cancer in black American populations. However, meta-analyses do not show this (Zagars et al, 1998; Sridhar et al, 2010).

Rushton et al’s assertions—largely—lie on this supposed testosterone difference between the races and how it supposedly leads to higher rates of crime, prostate cancer, aggression, and violence. However, the truth of the matter is, this is all just hereditarian bullshit. Larger analyses—as I have extensively documented—do not show this trend. And even accepting the claim that blacks have, say, 19 percent higher levels of testosterone than whites, it still would not explain the supposed prostate cancer rates between the races (Stattin et al, 2003Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). Even if blacks had 19 percent higher testosterone than whites, it would not explain higher levels of crime nor aggression due to such a hilariously low correlation of .08 (Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Davies, 2005).

Finally, I have a few words for Michael Hart and his (albeit sparse) claims on testosterone in his 2007 book Understanding Human History.

Hart (2007) writes:

(Many of these differences in sexual behavior may be a consequence of the fact that
blacks, on average, have higher levels of testosterone than whites.7) (pg. 127)

And….. footnote number 7 is…. surprisingly (not): 7) Ross, R., et al. (1986). Not going to waste my time on this one, again. I’ve pointed out numerous flaws in the study. (I will eventually review the whole thing.)

It seems unlikely, though, that the higher testosterone level in blacks — which is largely genetic in origin — has no effect on their sexual behavior (pg. 128; emphasis mine)

This is bullshit. People see the moderately high heritability of testosterone (.60; Harris, Vernon, and Boomsma, 1998) and jump right to the “It’s genetics!!!” canard without even understanding its production in the body (it is a cholesterol-based hormone which is indirectly controlled by DNA, there are no ‘genes for’ testosterone). Here are the steps: 1) DNA codes for mRNA; 2) mRNA codes for the synthesis of an enzyme in the cytoplasm; 3) luteinizing hormone stimulates the production of another messenger in the cell when testosterone is needed; 4) this second messenger activates the enzyme; 5) the enzyme then converts cholesterol to testosterone

I have documented numerous lines of evidence showing that testosterone is extremely sensitive to environmental factors (Mazur and Booth, 1998; Mazur, 2016), and due to the homeodynamic physiology we have acquired due to ever-changing environments (Richardson, 2017), this allows our hormones to up- or down-regulate depending on what occurs in the environment. The quote from Hart is bullshit; he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

For females in Siberia, the disadvantages of failing to find a man who would
provide for her and her children during their childhood were much greater than they were in tropical climates, and females who were not careful to do so were much less likely to pass on their genes. Furthermore, because females in harsh climates were so demanding on this point, males who seemed unlikely to provide the needed assistance found it hard to find mates. In other words, there was a marked sexual selection against such males. Such selection could result, for example, in the peoples living in northerly climates gradually evolving lower levels of testosterone than the peoples living in subSaharan Africa. (pg. 131)

This is a bullshit just-so story. Africans in Africa have lower levels of testosterone than Western men (Campbell, O’Rourke, and Lipson, 2003Lucas and Campbell, and Ellison, 2004Campbell, Gray, and Ellison, 2006).

Note also that a difference in testosterone level frequently affects not
only the sexual behavior of a young male, but also his aggressiveness.

No it does not (Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Davies, 2005).

Thankfully, that’s all he wrote about testosterone. There is so much bullshit out there. Though, people who like and seek out the truth will learn that there are no racial differences and that testosterone does not cause crime/aggression/prostate cancer and that it’s just hereditarian bullshit.

The evidence I have amassed and the arguments I have given point to a few things: 1) the races do not differ in testosterone/there is a small negligible difference; 2) testosterone does not cause crime; 3) testosterone does not cause aggression; 4) black women do not have higher levels of testosterone than white women; 5) high levels of testosterone do not cause prostate cancer; and 6) even allowing a 19 percent black/white difference will not have hereditarian claims hold true.

So for anyone who comes across my old articles on testosterone and sex/race, do a bit more reading of my newer material here to see my new viewpoints/arguments. DO NOT cite these articles as proof for your claims of higher levels of black men/women. DO cite the old articles ALONG WITH the new ones to show how and why my views changed along with the studies I have cited that changed my view. (Actually understanding the production of testosterone in the body was a huge factor too, which I talk about in Why Testosterone Does Not Cause Crime.)

What Caused Human Brain Size to Increase?

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People talk a lot about intelligence and brain size. Something that’s most always brought up is how the human brain increased in size the past 4 million years. According to PP, the trend for bigger brains in hominins is proof that evolution is “progressive”. However, people never talk about a major event in human history that caused our brains to suddenly increase: the advent of fire. When our ancestors mastered fire, it was then possible for the brain to get important nutrients that influenced growth. People say that “Intelligence is the precursor to tools”, but what if fire itself is the main cause for the increase in brain size in hominins the past 4 million or so years? If this is the case, then fire is, in effect, the ultimate cause of everything that occurred after its use.

The human brain consumes 20-25 percent of our daily caloric intake. How could such a metabolically expensive organ have evolved? The first hominin to master fire was H. erectus. There is evidence of this occurring 1-1.5 mya. Not coincidentally, brain size began to tick upward after the advent of fire by H. erectus. Erectus was now able to consume more kcal, which in turn led to a bigger brain and the beginnings of a decrease in body size. The mastery and use of fire drove our evolution as a species, keeping us warm and allowing us to cook our food, which made eating and digestion easier. Erectus’s ability to use fire allowed for the biggest, in my opinion, most important event in human history: cooking.

With control of fire, Erectus could now cook its foods. Along with pulverizing plants, it was possible for erectus to get better nutrition by ‘pre-digesting’ the food outside of the body so it’s easier to digest. The advent of cooking allowed for a bigger brain and with it, more neurons to power the brain and the body. However, looking at other primates you see that they either have brains that are bigger than their bodies, or bodies that are bigger than their brains, why is this? One reason: there is a trade-off between brain size and body size and the type of diet the primate consumes. Thinking about this from an evolutionary perspective along with what differing primates eat and how they prepare (if they do) their food will show whether or not they have big brains or big bodies. How big an organism’s brain gets is directly correlated with the amount and quality of the energy consumed.

There is a metabolic limitation that results from the number of hours available to feed and the low caloric yield of raw foods which then impose a trade-off between the body size and number of neurons which explains why great apes have small brains in comparison to their bodies. Metabolically speaking, a body can only handle one or the other: a big brain or a big body. This metabolic disadvantage is why great apes did increase their brain size, because their raw-food diet is not enough, nutritionally speaking, to cause an increase in brain size (Azevedo and Herculano-Houzel, 2016). Can you imagine spending what amounts to one work day eating just to power the brain you currently have? I can’t.

Energy availability and quality dictates brain size. A brain can only reach maximum size if adequate kcal and nutrients are available for it.

Total brain metabolism scales linearly with the number of neurons (Herculano-Houzel, 2011). The absolute number of neurons, not brain size, dictates a “metabolic constraint on human evolution”, since people with more neurons need to sustain them, which calls for eating more kcal. Mammals with more neurons need to eat more kcal per day just to power those brains. For instance, the human brain needs 519 kcal to run, which comes out to 6 kcal per neuron. The brain is hugely metabolically expensive, and only the highest quality nutrients can sustain such an organ. The advent of fire and along with it cooking is one of, if not the most important reason why our brains are large (compared to our bodies) and why we have so many neurons compared to other species. It allowed us to power the neurons we have, 86 billion in all (with 16 billion in the cerebral cortex which is why we are more intelligent than other animals, number of neurons, of course being lower for our ancestors) which power human thought.

The Expensive Tissue Hypothesis (ETA) explains the metabolic trade-off between brain and gut, showing that the stomach is dependent on body size as well as the quality of the diet (Aiello, 1996). As noted above, there is good evidence that erectus began cooking, which coincides with the increase in brain size. As Man began to consume meat around 1.5 million years ago, this allowed for the gut to get smaller in response. If you think about it, it makes sense. A large stomach would be needed if you’re eating a plant-based diet, but as a species begins to eat meat, they don’t need to eat as much to get the adequate amount of kcal to fuel bodily functions. This lead to the stomach getting smaller, and along with it so did our jaws.

So brain tissue is metabolically expensive but there is no significant correlation between brain size and BMR in humans or any other encephalized mammal, the metabolic requirements of relatively large brains are offset by a corresponding gut reduction (Aiello and Wheeler, 1995). This is the cause for the low, insignificant correlation between BMR and our (relatively large brains, which correlates to the amount of neurons we have since our brains are just linearly scaled-up primate brains).

Evidence for the ETA can be seen in nature as well. Tsuboi et al (2015) tested the hypothesis in the cichlid fished of Lake Victoria. After they controlled for the effect of shared ancestry and other ecological variables, they noted that brain size was inversely correlated with gut size. Perhaps more interestingly, they also noticed that when the fish’s’ brain size increased, increased investment and paternal care occurred. Moreover, more evidence for the ETA was found by Liao et al (2015) who found a negative correlation between brain mass and the length of the digestive tract within 30 species of Anurans. They also found, just like Tsuboi et al (2015), that brain size increase accompanied an increase in female reproductive investment into egg size.

Moreover, another cause for the increase in brain size is our jaw size decreasing. This mutation occurred around 2.4 million years ago, right around the time frame that erectus discovered fire and began cooking. This is also consistent with, of course, the rapid increase in brain size which was occurring around that time. The room has to come from somewhere, and with the advent of cooking and meat eating, the jaw was, therefore, able to get smaller along with the stomach which increased brain size due to the trade-off between gut size and brain size. Morphological changes occurred exactly at the same time changes in brain size occurred which coincides with the advent of fire, cooking, and meat eating. Coincidence? I think the evidence strongly points that this is the case, the rapid increase in brain size was driven by fire, cooking, and meat eating.

The rise of bipedalism also coincided with the brain size increase and nutritional changes. Bipedalism freed the hands so tools could be made and used which eventually led to the control of fire. Lending more credence to the hypothesis of bipedalism/tools/brain size is the fact that there is evidence that the first signs of bipedalism occurred in Lucy, our Australopithecine ancestor who had pelvic architecture that showed she was clearly on the way to bipedalism. There is more evidence for bipedalism in fossilized footprints of australopithecines around 3 mya, coinciding with Lucy, tool use and eventually the advent and use of fire as a tool to cook and ward off predators. Ancient hominids could then better protect their kin, have higher quality food to eat and use the fire to scare off predators with.

The nutritional aspect of evolution and how it co-evolved with us driving our evolution in brain size which eventually led to us is extremely interesting. Without proper nutrients, it’s not metabolically viable to have such a large brain, as whatever kcal you do eat will need to go towards other bodily functions. Moreover, diet quality is highly correlated with brain size. Great apes can never get to the brain size that we humans have, and their diet is the main cause. The discovery and control of fire, the advent of cooking and then meat eating was what mainly drove the rapid increase of brain size starting 4 mya.

In a way, you can think of the passing down of the skill of fire-making to kin as one of the first acts of cultural transference to kin. It’s one of the first means of Lamarckian cultural transference in our history. Useful skills for survival will get passed down to the next generation, and fire is arguably the most useful skill we’ve ever come across since it’s had so many future implications for our evolution. The ability to create and control fire is one of the most important skills as it can ward off predators, cook meat, be used to keep warm, etc. When you think about how much time was freed up upon the advent of cooking, you can see the huge effect the control of fire first had for our species. Then think about how we could only control fire if our hands were freed. Then human evolution begins to make a lot more sense when put into this point of view.

When thinking about brain size evolution as well as the rapid expansion of brain size evolution, nutrition should be right up there with it. People may talk about things like the cold winter hypothesis and intelligence ad nauseam (which I don’t doubt plays a part, but I believe other factors are more important), but meat-eating along with a low waist-to-hip ratio, which bipedalism is needed for all are much more interesting when talking about the evolution of brain size than cold winters. All of this wouldn’t be possible without bipedalism, without it, we’d still be monkey-like eating plant-based diets. We’d have bigger bodies but smaller brains due to the metabolic cost of the plant-based diet since we wouldn’t have fire to cook and tools to use as we would have still been quadrupeds. The evolution of hominin intelligence is much more interesting from a musculoskeletal, physiological and nutritional point of view than any simplistic cold winter theory.

What caused human brain size to increase is simple: bipedalism, tools, fire, cooking, meat eating which then led to big brains. The first sign of big brains were noticed right around the time erectus had control of fire. This is no coincidence.

Bipedalism, cooking, and food drove the evolution of the human brain. Climate only has an effect on it insofar as certain foods will be available at certain latitudes. These three events in human history were the most important for the evolution of our brains. When thinking about what was happening physiologically and nutritionally around that time, the rebuttal to the statement of “Intelligence requires tools” is tools require bipedalism and further tools require bigger brains as human brains may have evolved to increase expertise capacity and not IQ (more on that in the future), which coincides with the three events outlined here. Whatever the case may be, the evolution of human intelligence is extremely interesting and is most definitely multifaceted.

Human Culture is Lamarckian

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Before Darwin thought up his theory of evolution, there was another game in town: Lamarckism. Lamarckism is the idea that an organism can pass on characteristics that it has acquired in its lifetime to its offspring. His theory was wrong, obviously, because organisms pass on traits through genes, while what an organism acquires throughout its lifetime is not inherited by any future offspring. However, just because Lamarck was wrong on how traits were passed down doesn’t mean that Lamarckism has no utility in our understanding of ourselves. (Lamarckism is also a precursor to the new and budding field of epigenetics—“the study of heritable gene expression that does not involve changes to the underlying gene sequence”, see here for another view on epigenetics.) Human culture is Lamarckian in a sense—along with memes are why cultural change put such strong selective pressures on humans.

Lamarckism is the inheritance of acquired characteristics, the transformational pattern of evolution and the concept of directed changes. Thinking of about this in a way that pertains to human culture, we can say that cultural tendencies starting at 1 generation can be passed down to successive generations; culture can transform itself in the blink of any eye, really, and completely change how people’s live as well as how they evolve; and finally directed cultural change (ie if a new cultural trait passed down will continue in successive generations). Stephen Jay Gould wrote in his 1996 book Full House:

In this sense, I deeply regret that common usage refers to the history of our artifacts and social organizations as “cultural evolution.” Using the same term – evolution – for both natural and cultural history obfuscates far more than it enlightens. … Why not speak of something more neutral and descriptive — ‘cultural change,’ for example?

But cultural change, on a radical other hand, is potentially Lamarckian in basic mechanism. Any cultural knowledge acquired in one generation can be directly passed to the next by what we call, in a most noble word, education.

This uniquely and distinctively Lamarckian style of human cultural inheritance gives our technological history a directional and cumulative character that no natural Darwinian evolution can possess.

This uniquely and distinctively Lamarckian style of human cultural inheritance gives our technological history a directional and cumulative character that no natural Darwinian evolution can possess.

Human cultural change is an entirely distinct process operating under radically different principles that do allow for the strong possibility of a driven trend to what we may legitimately call “progress”.

The common designation of “evolution” then leads to one of the most frequent and portentous errors in our analysis of human life and history – the overly reductionist assumption that the Darwinian natural paradigm will fully encompass our social and technological history as well.

Gould also wrote in his essay “Bully for Brontosaurus“:

I am convinced that comparisons between biological evolution and human cultural or technological change have done vastly more harm than good — and examples abound of this most common of all intellectual traps. Biological evolution is a bad analogue for cultural change because the two are different for three major reasons that could hardly be more fundamental.

First, cultural evolution can be faster by orders of magnitude than biological change at its maximal Darwinian rate — and questions of timing are of the essence in evolutionary arguments.

Second, cultural evolution is direct and Lamarckian in form: [t]he achievements of one generation are passed directly to descendants, thus producing the great potential speed of cultural change. Biological evolution is indirect and Darwinian, as favorable traits do not descend to the next generation unless, by good fortune, they arise as products of genetic change.

Third, the basic topologies of biological and cultural change are completely different. Biological evolution is a system of constant divergence without subsequent joining of branches. In human history, transmission across lineages is, perhaps, the major source of cultural change.

Great explanations on how human culture is Lamarckian; education is one of the most important aspects of how we transfer ideas from one generation to the next. Put in that context, since education is how we (partly) teach our culture to the next generation, culture and education are both inherently Lamarckian.

Gould, being the Darwinist that he is,  obviously accepts that H. Sapiens arose through Darwinian/Mendelian changes as a result of the long-term evolutionary process. But, he asserts, culture is more Lamarckian—that is, it can be literally passed down from one generation to the next. When you really think about culture, this is how it works. Human culture is a Lamarckian, not Darwinian process.

We do have gene-culture co-evolution, which explains that human behavior is a product of two interacting variables—genetics and culture. When you really think about it, this is correct. Culture is the environment that we make for ourselves. The environments we make for ourselves are dependent on our genetics, therefore any cultural change SHOULD coincide with a change in genotype (since culture is phenotype). But when a new cultural tendency is introduced from an outside source, it can be especially powerful (like all cultural traits), enough to change the environment and, with it, make a new selective pressure that spreads new and beneficial mutations in that environment.

I, however, don’t think that ‘evolution’ is a good term for cultural changes. “Evolution” in this sense implies “progress”. Progressive evolution makes no evolutionary sense, so, in this case, cultural change makes much more sense than cultural ‘evolution’ (Gould, 1996); implying a teleological meaning to anything and everything is ridiculous, when what we’re really doing is anything to survive and pass our selfish genes on to the next generation. Culture, on the other hand, can be transferred to one person from another from generation to generation (in a Lamarckian way or in terms of memes).

As I stated in my article about Stephen Jay Gould’s tirade against hereditarianism, I fully understand exactly why Gould espoused anti-hereditarian views—his and Eldredge’s punctuated equilibria theory, which is when an organism spends a long time in stasis before a quick genetic change (like what happened with human brains, a long period of stasis before a quick change) which he obviously applied to Man after we became ‘Man’ around 50kya and his (correct) views on human culture being Lamarckian. In my opinion, Gould assumed that since culture was Lamarckian and we all have ‘the same brains’ (we don’t), that the only differences between Man comes down to his culture. We know this is not true as differing selection pressures led to differences in brain size and, in turn, differences in culture. The diverse array of culture that Man has is a testament to the different evolutionary selection pressures that we had to weather in the differing environments that we settled in coming out of Africa.

There is also one more way in which culture can be spread: memes. (I wonder how many of the people who use the term ‘meme’ know where it originated [The Selfish Gene, 1976] or even who coined the term [Richard Dawkins].) Take, for example, birth control. The Catholic meme of birth control can have adherents of said meme not take birth control, facilitating the “reproductive success” of the meme, so to speak, which does the same for the memer. Thusly, in this context, memes are subject to the same evolutionary selection pressures— so if a meme is ‘unfit’ it gets ‘thrown out’, just like if a meme is ‘fit’ it stays in the culture (eventually becoming a new selective pressure for that population), which makes new pheno and genotypic changes in that population completely independent of all other genetic changes throughout the world in genetically isolated human populations. Memes are one huge way that culture gets transmitted between generations, and even differing human cultures. Memes are a form of Lamarckian inheritance

Finally, this brings me to human races. We all have different cultures, we all have different genetics and we all have different memes that we pass to the next generation. Differing human cultures arise from differing selective pressures in that ancestral environment. These differing selective pressures in the environment led to differing institutions between the modern-day races—which is why some populations are less ‘advanced’ (whatever that means) than others; because they didn’t have the right selective pressures to select for those strong institutions like what occurred in northerly climes. Each race and ethny have their own memes, their own ways of getting new cultural information to the next generation. This, in turn, leads to even more differing selection pressures betwixt the isolated human populations leading to even more distinct pheno and genotypic change amongst them.

Human culture is Lamarckian. Lamarck’s theory is perfect for the multi-generational transmission of cultural information. Along with memes (a form of Lamarckism), these two phenomena both shape human culture as well as behavior (along with genetics). Moreover, Lamarckism is pretty much an archaic form of the new and budding field epigenetics (which the jury is still out on that for me, I’m leaning towards no [see Steven Pinker for more information on this]). Lamarckism is the inheritance of acquired characteristics, the transformational pattern of evolution, and the concept of directed changes. These three variables perfectly describe human culture, describing it as change, and not evolution, which is the perfect way to put it. Differing human races also have different memes which permeate their culture and, given enough time, put new and different selective pressures on the population that is pushing a certain meme. This forces new differences between human populations on top of the already genetic differences from isolated evolution.

Lamarck was wrong to say that acquired traits during an organism’s lifetime carried over to the next generation, but his theory perfectly explains the transmission of human culture from generation to generation. If there is an inheritance of acquired traits, along with the transformational pattern of evolution and the concept of directed changes, therefor, human culture is Lamarckian.

All of these are true, so human culture is Lamarckian.

Stephen Jay Gould and Anti-Hereditarianism

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Stephen Jay Gould was one of the biggest opponents of hereditarianism, one of Rushton and Jensens’s biggest opponents. He is the author of The Mismeasure of Man, which is still given to college students to read as a “definitive refutation of The Bell Curve” and an all out attack on factor analysis, IQ testing and the whole hereditarian position at large. A passage from the very end of his book Full House perfectly explains his thought process on this matter:

“The most impressive contrast between natural evolution and cultural evolution lies embedded in the major fact of our history. We have no evidence that the modal form of human bodies or brains has changed at all in the past 100,000 years—a standard phenomenon of stasis for successful and widespread species, and not (as popularly misconceived) an odd exception to an expectation of continuous and progressive change. The Cro-Magnon people who painted the caves of the Lascaux and Altamira some fifteen thousand years ago are us—and one look at the incredible richness and beauty of this work convinces us, in the most immediate and visceral way, that Picasso held no edge in mental sophistication over these ancestors with identical brains. And yet, fifteen thousand years ago no human social grouping had produced anything that would conform with our standard definition of civilization. No society had yet invented agriculture; none had built permanent cities. Everything that we have accomplished in the unmeasurable geological moment of the last ten thousand years—from the origin of agriculture to the Sears building in Chicago, the entire panoply of human civilization for better or for worse—has been built upon the capacities of an unaltered brain. Clearly, cultural change can vastly outstrip the maximal rate of natural Darwinian evolution.” (Gould, 1996: 220)

He wrote Full House as a sequel of sorts to his book Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (currently on the way to my home which I will read in a few days of getting it), where he argues that progress is not the driver to evolution and that complexity does not rule as bacteria rule the planet. He argues that we are not in the “Age of Mammals”, but the “Age of Bacteria”. But how could you argue that there was no change in humanity from our most recent ancestors to today?

Eldredge and Gould pioneered the theory of punctuated equilibria in 1972. The theory states that species lie in a state of stasis (that is, a period of inactivity or equilibrium) and there is little morphological change before there is a rapid burst of change, which perfectly explains why there are few transitional fossils to be found. Punctuated equilibria is the missing piece to Darwin’s theory of evolution. But what does it have to do wth the evolution of Man?

As you can see, Eldredge and Gould’s theory states that all species spend an extremely long time in stasis, and for any phenotypic change to be noticed in the fossil record, the rapid burst in change had to occur.

Quoting Gould on culture and evolution (1996, page 219-20):

But human cultural change is an entirely distinct process operating under radically different principals that do allow for the strong possibility of a driven trend for what we may legitamately call “progress” (at least in a technological sense, whether or not the changes ultimately do us any good in a practical or moral way). In this sense, I deeply regret that common usage refers to the history of our artifacts and social orginizations as “cultural evolution.” Using the same term—evolution—for both natural and cultural history obfuscates far more than it enlightens. Of course, some aspects of the two phenomena must be similar, for all processes of genealogicallt constrained historical change must share some features in common. But the differences far outweigh the similarities in this case. Unfortunately, when we speak of “cultural evolution,” we unwittingly imply that this process shares essential similarity with the phenomenon most widely described by the same name—natural, or Darwinian, change. The common designation of “evolution” then leads to one of the most frequent and portentious errors in our analysis of human life and history—the overly reductionist assumption that the Darwinian natural paradigm will fully encompass our social and technological history as well. I do wish that the term “cultural evolution” would drop from use. Why not speak of something more neutral and descriptive—“cultural change,” for example?

From the two passages I cited above, to his work on punctuated equilibria, I can definitely see how and why he would believe that there has been no relevant human evolution in the past 50,000 years. These two quotes, one from Stephen Jay Gould and the other from evolutionist Ernst Mayr show the “conventional wisdom” about human evolution:

There’a been no biological changes in humans in 40,000 or 50,000 years. Everything we call culture we’ve built with the same body and brain

—Stephen Jay Gould

Something must have happened to weaken the selective pressure drastically. We cannot escape the conclusion that man’s evolution towards manness suddenly came to a halt.

—Ernst Mayr

These quotes are from page 1 of The Ten Thousand Year explosion. Many great thinkers have suggested that human evolution has halted ever since the emergence of behavioral modernity, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I fully understand why such great evolutionists like Gould and Mayr believe that human evolution has halted and their arguments make complete sense based on the data (punctuated equilibria for one). But to any knowledgeable race-realist, they know that these claims are bunk and that human evolution has most definitely accelerated within the last 10,000 years (due to agriculture, the advent of farming) that made it possible for a bigger population and, along with it, a higher chance for high IQ alleles and other positive traits to spread throughout the population as it increased fitness in the environment.

HOWEVER, agriculture was good and bad for us. The good increased our population size that made it possible for high IQ alleles to spread throughout the population. The bad was along with an increase in population size, living in one spot with large groups of people upped the chances for disease acquisition, that of which are not found in hunter-gatherer populations (because they’re constantly moving, not staying in one place). According to John Hawks, our brain size has decreased, going from 1500 cc on average to 1350 cc on average, and the cause is, and this is hard to believe with the advent of agriculture (and thus, supposedly better nutrition) worse nutrition due to the advent of agriculture. Another reason I can posit is that due to more group behavior and social cohesion, we could work together with others and that, over time, would shrink our brains since we wouldn’t have to “do all the thinking”, a type of “self-domestication”, if you will.

The denial of any human change over the past 50,000 years is clearly ridiculous, however it is grounded in solid science. But with the advent of The Ten Thousand Year Explosion by Cochran and Harpending, they blasted all of the misconceptions away about no genetic change in humanity over the past 50,000 years. But, to the dismay of those who believe in “progressive evolution”, the same agriculture that was responsible for this boom—this explosion—over the past ten thousand years is also the cause of our decreasing brain size and stature. I’ve documented the change of erectus or habilis into floresiensis, this is proof enough that evolution can “work backward” (whatever that means) and have an organism become “less complex” (going back to left and right walls of complexity, which I just wrote on last night). Floresiensis is the perfect example that an organism can become less complex than a predecessor and the cause, in this context, is due to less energy on the island which led to a decrease in caloric consumption and along with it a decrease in brain size since that was what was best for that environment (due to less caloric energy being available).

While Gould makes a compelling argument in arguing against the explosion of Man in the past 50,000 years, modern data tells us otherwise. This explosion was due, in part, to agriculture which led to more social cohesion (both of those variables are also leading to a decrease in brain size). With the understanding of Eldredge and Gould’s punctuated equilibria theory, you can then see how and why Gould denied the genetic change in anatomically modern humans over the last 50,000 years. He, however, is wrong here.

I fully agree with Gould that cultural change can outstrip Darwinian evolution—he is right there. But, to make the leap and then say that there is no basis for genetic change in AMH (anatomically modern humans) is clearly wrong. I know that Gould was driven by his politics, partly, to deny any change in human nature and genetics in the past 50,000 years. Though, I don’t care about that. I care about looking at one’s perspective through a scientific lens. While Gould is wrong on his views of hereditarianism, he is 100 percent correct on “progressive” evolution and that there is no so-called “drive to complexity”. It’s his views on human evolution as a whole that are wrong. We know that faster evolution gives rise to more racial differences, and, obviously, more “differences” can either be “good” or “bad” depending on the environmental context. In my tirades over the past 6 weeks on the non-progressiveness and non-linearity of evolution, I’ve shown that these differences can either go to the “left wall” or “right wall” of complexity.

To deny the speed of evolution ever since modern behavior, and even the agricultural revolution is wrong. Too much evidence has piled up for that position. I do, after reading a lot of Gould’s work recently, understand how and where he came from with that argument, all though he was clearly wrong. Culture is learned—not biologically inherited. The cultural norms we know well are learned behaviors.

Finally, and what it seems Gould didn’t realize, is that there is gene-culture coevolution. Learned social information is central to our adaptations as humans. New cultural tendencies may force a novel and new evolutionary selection pressure that may incur new phenotypic changes. In this sense, genes and culture simultaneously evolve side-by-side with each other. Again, stressing that there is no “unilateral direction” in which these changes go, they just occur based on new environmental pressures. Thusly, to say that there is any “progress” or any inherent “drive” in evolution makes no sense. Due to which cultures we “inherit” that will drive which changes occur in that population but not another, they’d be different (as we know all genetically isolated humans are), but none would be “better” than another since they have incurred new traits to better survive in that environment; each different culture will further gain a different phenotype due to the differing culture which puts a differing selective pressure on that population.

The notion of no change in humans over the last 50,000 years is wrong. It has been driven by the rise in agriculture (giving us both positive and negative traits) along with each culture that each population adopted due to the differing selection pressures and environments over the course of their evolution genetically isolated from every other human culture. These differing cultural tendencies also gave rise to slightly faster evolution and different and novel environments in comparison to other populations. With these variables working in harmony with each other, these then accelerated human evolution (for better or worse). That same advent of behavioral modernity 50,000 years ago gave rise to the Out of Africa event. Humans then spread across the planet. In time, after being differing “founding populations” for the current races/ethnies today, differing cultures were adopted due to the differing evolutionary pressures. This is the main reason why genetically isolated human populations show such stark differences between them: Because evolution has sped up since the advent of behavioral modernity, agriculture and the adoption of culture by humans that have all contributed to making Man so different compared to the rest of the Animal Kingdom.

North/South Differences in Italian IQ: Is Richard Lynn Right? Part II

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In my first article on this matter, I showed how Richard Lynn claims the average IQ in Italy is around “89-92” for Sicily and the South and around 103 for the North. I showed how he was wrong and what data he overlooked to fit his hypothesis. Lynn’s 2011 article IQs in Italy are higher in the north: A reply to Felice and Giugliano was a reply to Myth and reality: A response to Lynn on the determinants of Italy’s North–South imbalancesFelice and Giugliano brought up Lynn’s four main theses: a) the South’s “economic backwardness” in terms of economics ‘throughout history’; b) the evidence provided by Lynn wasn’t enough to ‘prove’ a cause of lower IQ for S. Italians; c) the evidence provided by Lynn wasn’t enough to show that S. Italians score lower than N. Italians; and d) the supposed ‘high rates of MENA admixture’ in S. Italians. I blew up all of  these claims in the beginning of the year, more specifically I blew up up the claims about MENA admixture back in January. I’ll be going through Lynn’s 2010b article correcting any discrepancies. It’s worth noting that he still pushes the so-called ‘MENA admixture’ as being a substantial CAUSAL factor when there is NO evidence for this big of a ‘gap’ between the North and the South. The Lynn quotes will be from his 2010 paper linked above. I had also thought that ‘migrants’ from MENA countries could have contributed to the gap between the North and South, but since this isn’t the case for France then it shouldn’t be so for Italy. However, since Italy is a hub for these people when they first illegally enter Europe, they may stay and get counted as citizens and the children of these immigrants grow up and get accounted in the data. This is plausible, since a lot of ‘migrants’ may stay where they first get which is Southern Europe, mainly Sicily and Southern Italy.

We now present new data showing that IQs are higher in the north of Italy than in the south. In the previous study, data were presented for 12 Italian regions from the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2006 study of the reading comprehension, mathematics and science performance of 15 year olds, regarded as measures of intelligence. We are now able to give similar data on the reading comprehension, mathematics and science performance of 15 year olds in 20 Italian regions obtained in the 2009 PISA study (OECD, 2010). These are given in Table 1. This shows, reading from left to right, the latitude of the Italian regions, the mean PISA scores for 12 regions for 2006 given in Lynn (2010a), the mean scores of 15 year olds on reading comprehension, mathematics and science understanding for the 20 Italian regions obtained in the 2009 PISA study, and the averages of the three 2009 PISA scores given because it provides a convenient summary of the scores on the three tests.

I already went through this in my previous article, but for clarity, I’ll go through this again.

Cornoldi, Giofrè, and Martini (2013) showed how there are problems inferring Italian IQ from the very PISA data that Lynn cites. There was a relevant decrease between the North and South. If the PISA test showed genetic proclivities between the North and South, why was there a relevant decrease in the three-year period? Because it is not an intelligence test, but a test of educational achievement. D’Amico et al (2011) conclude:

Our examination of intelligence test score differences between the north and south of Italy led to results that are very different from those reached by Lynn (2010a). Our results demonstrate that by using intelligence tests to assess differences in ability rather than using achievement scores as a proxy for intelligence, children from the south of Italy did not earn lower scores than those from the north of Italy. Rather, they were even higher in Raven’s CPM. However, we see no advantage in claiming that children in the south are “more intelligent” than children in the north, because these groups are different on a number of variables (e.g., environmental factors, educational influences, composition of the samples) that influence differences in test scores.

Either no difference or Southern Italians scored higher. When using purer measures of intelligence (Raven’s Progressive Matrices) so-called “differences” in “intelligence” disappear.

Lynn says:

It will be noted that the regional differences in both language and math ability increase with age. For example, in language ability the regional differences in the youngest children (P2) range between 1.6 and −3.8, a difference of 5.4, while the differences in the oldest children (2S) range between 3.6 and −4.4, a difference of 8.0. Similarly, in math ability the regional differences in the youngest children (P2) range between 0.8 and −1.0, a difference of 1.8, while the differences in the oldest children (2S) range between 4.3 and −5.4, a difference of 9.7. These age differences would be predicted from the thesis that the regional differences have a genetic basis, because the heritability of intelligence increases during childhood (Plomin, DeFries, & McClearn, 1980, p. 334).

On other measures of achievement, such as the INVALSI examinations, Southern Italians do not score lower, and in some cases may even score higher (Robinson, Saggino, and Tommasi (2011). Moreover, the N/S differences in ‘cognitive ability’ don’t exist at age 7, the IQ/income relationship didn’t exist in the past, and the MENA admixture in Southern Italians is minute (Daniel and Malanima, 2011). The so-called MENA admixture that Nordicists and Lynn like to say is the subject of my next point.

Lynn says:

Further data for the proportion of North African ancestry in the Italian regions are available in the frequency of the haplogroup E1b1b allele. This is a marker for North African ancestry, where it reaches frequencies above 50% and peaks at around 82% in Tunisia (Zalloua et al., 2008). The frequencies of the haplogroup xR1 and the E1b1b alleles are taken from Capelli et al. (2006), Capelli et al. (2007), Di Giacomo et al. (2003), Balaresque et al. (2010), Scozzari et al. (2001), and Semino et al. (2000). These data are given in columns 11 and 12 of Table 1 and the correlations between these and the other variables are given in Table 2.

As said and cited above, the so-called admixture from MENA populations in Southern Italians accounts for an extremely small fraction of the overall Southern Italian genome. The cause for lower achievement (“IQ” according to Lynn) in Southern Italians rests on this very pertinent point. And it’s wrong. Furthermore, and this is for Sicilians, the contribution of their genome by the Greeks is 37 percent, with the North African contribution being 6 percent. Daniel and Malanima (2011) ask ” Can the Greek heritage to the Western culture really be associated to a lower IQ?” The answer is, clearly, no. Moreover, a Central Italian province has the highest amount of MENA admixture, yet they have higher scores than Southern Italy. What does that tell you?

Richard Lynn’s Italian IQ data is garbage. Purer measures of intelligence such as Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices show a decrease in the “intelligence gap” and in some cases, Southern Italians score higher than Northern Italians. When using measures of “IQ” from PISA data, these so-called differences disappear. Lynn’s data he cites in his 2010a paper don’t control for socio-cultural differences and school quality. There is numerous data that suggests the school quality in Southern Italy is worse than that of the North; this difference in school quality then affects educational achievement. Since PISA is a test of educational achievement and not intelligence (D’Amico et al, 2011), what accounts for these differences in achievement in the various studies may (and in my opinion, does) account for the differences in educational achievement between Northern and Southern Italians. The measurements in various studies may be influenced by the larger between-schools variability that is present in the South (Cornoldi et al, 2010; Daniel and Malanima 2011).

Finally, some people may point to the GDP differences between North and South Italy as proof of genetic/intelligence differences between them. However, the Mafia accounts for around a 20 percent drop in GDP in Southern Italy. To say that any differences in GDP can be accounted for without first controlling for things like this is dishonest. The presence of Mafia in areas shows lower growth and a sharper increase in murders. Each time homicides rise, GDP falls between 16-20 percent (Pinolli 2012). The presence of the Mafia had a devastating effect on the economies in that area between the 70s and 00s.

In sum, PISA is garbage to infer intelligence from as they are tests of achievement and not intelligence. Other tests of achievement show a decrease in the gap and/or Southern Italians scoring higher. Moreover, no substantial genetic differences exist between the North and the South, falsifying Lynn’s thesis for the causality of the differences between the North and the South. The oft-cited GDP difference between Northern and Southern Italy can be accounted for by the presence of the Mafia. Whenever the murder rate rises (due to Mafia activity), the GDP decreases. None of these factors have been taken into account and they explain the difference between the North and the South. It is environmental in nature–not genetic. Lynn’s Italian IQ data is garbage and should not be cited. It’s just a Nordicist fantasy that Southern Italians score lower than Nothern Italians.


Guns, Germs, and Steel: A Refutation

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I first heard of Guns, Germs, and Steel (GGS) a few years ago while in a discussion about racial differences and their causes. The person linked me to the Wikipedia page on GGS. I then looked into it and it seemed to be an OK hypothesis. However, after reading the book myself and then reading critiques he got on it, it’s clear that Jared Diamond was attempting to pick and choose what to put into the book to come to the conclusions he already has come to. There are some interesting tidbits in the books, my favorite being only 14 beasts of burden have been tamed for human use out of 148 large wild creatures that can be tamed. Other than that, he spins facts and data from hereditarians to suit his own agenda.

Jared Diamond started wondering about the reasons for human inequalities after his New Guinean friend, Yali, asked Diamond why Westerners had so much more “cargo” (material possessions) than the New Guineans. Diamond then set forth to find out why human inequality existed. Diamond attempts to say that immediate environment and only environment is the cause of racial inequalities. However, what Diamond fails to say is that genetic isolation over thousands of years is the cause of racial differences in intelligence, muscle fiber typings, crime differences, age of first period, sleep, obesity and metabolic differences, racial/sex differences in testosterone, differences in climate which, over tens of thousands of years cause distinct phenotypic/genotypic differences, child rearing and age of first birth, slow and fast life history (r/K selection), etc. He also fails to bring up brain size differences between races/ethnicities. All of these factors are responsible for racial/ethnic inequalities.

Diamond’s main thesis in GGS is that human inequalities all boil down to amount of resources in the land and how they are able to be used with the geography of the area. He never brings up brain size as it pertains to  modern-day humans, EXCEPT in regards to New Guineans and how they are more intelligent than Europeans: (Diamond, 1997: 20, 36, 38, 40, 159, 198, 260):

My perspective on this controversy comes from 33 years of working with New Guineans in their own intact societies. From the very beginning of my work with New Guineans, they impressed me as being on the average more intelligent, more alert, more expressive, and more interested in things and people around them than the average European or American is. At some tasks that one might reasonably suppose to reflect aspects of brain function, such as the ability to form a mental map of unfamiliar surroundings, they appear considerably more adept than Westerners. Of course, New Guineans tend to perform poorly at tasks that Westerners have been trained to perform since childhood and that New Guineans have not. Hence when unschooled New Guineans from remote villages visit towns, they look stupid to Westerners. Conversely, I am constantly aware of how stupid I look to New Guineans when I’m with them in the jungle, displaying my incompetence at simple tasks (such as following a jungle trail or erecting a shelter) at which New Guineans have been trained since childhood and I have not.

It’s easy to recognize two reasons why my impression that New Guineans are smarter than Westerners may be correct. First, Europeans have for thousands of years been living in densely populated societies with central governments, police, and judiciaries. In those societies, infectious epidemic diseases of dense populations (such as smallpox) were historically the major cause of death, while murders were relatively uncommon and a state of war was the exception rather than the rule. Most Europeans who escaped fatal infections also escaped other potential causes of death and proceeded to pass on their genes. Today, most live-born Western infants survive fatal infections as well and reproduce themselves, regardless of their intelligence and the genes they bear. In contrast, New Guineans have been living in societies where human numbers were too low for epidemic diseases of dense populations to evolve. Instead, traditional New Guineans suffered high mortality from murder, chronic tribal warfare, accidents, and problems in procuring food.

Besides this genetic reason, there is also a second reason why New Guineans may have come to be smarter than Westerners. Modern European and American children spend much of their time being passively entertained by television, radio, and movies. In the average American household, the TV set is on for seven hours per day. In contrast, traditional New Guinea children have virtually no such opportunities for passive entertainment and instead spend almost all of their waking hours actively doing something, such as talking or playing with other children or adults. Almost all studies of child development emphasize the role of childhood stimulation and activity in promoting mental development, and stress the irreversible mental stunting associated with reduced childhood stimulation. This effect surely contributes a non-genetic component to the superior average mental function displayed by New Guineans. That is, in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners, and they surely are superior in escaping the devastating developmental disadvantages under which most children in industrialized societies now grow up. Certainly, there is no hint at all of any intellectual disadvantage of New Guineans that could serve to answer Yali’s question. (Diamond, 1997: 20-21)

This is laughable. To say that a tropical people, pretty much isolated from the rest of the world is more intelligent than Europeans is not true at all. Just as Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence fails to explain away racial/ethnic differences in intelligence, so does Diamond’s. Jared Diamond clearly, by his own admission, wants to prove that these differences between humans only come down to immediate environment and are not genetic in nature. The fact that Diamond says that New Guineans are “probably superior to Westerners” … “escaping the devastating developmental damages under which most children in industrialized societies now grow up” shows how biased he is with this whole entire book. IQ tests are great predictors of g, general intelligence, and Westerners clearly are superior in terms of intelligence in comparison to New Guineans. Yea, you can’t build a shelter like they can and you look stupid to them because you can’t do what they can in their society. Duh, of course. The fact that he uses that as any type of evidence or revelation that New Guineans are smarter than Westerners is a wrong and 100 percent ideologically driven statement.

Rushton had some nice words for Diamond on brain size, intelligence:

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond joins the debate over racial
differences in IQ. In a few ex cathedra pronouncements, Diamond brands the
genetic argument "racist" (pp. 19-22), declares Herrnstein and Murray's
(1994) The Bell Curve "notorious" (p. 431), and states: "The objection to
such racist explanations is not just that they are loathsome but also that
they are wrong" (p. 19). He summarises his solution to one of philosophy
and social science's most enduring questions in one credal sentence: 
"History followed different courses for different peoples because of
differences among people's environments, not because of biological
differences among peoples themselves" (p. 25).

Of course the allegations of “racism” arise, as usual when in discussions of racial differences in intelligence and level of civilizational achievement. Rushton also says:

Racial differences in brain size and IQ map very closely to the same cultural histories Diamond explains. Although Diamond dismisses such research as "loathsome", he fails to tell his readers what, if anything, might be scientifically wrong with any of it. One hundred years of research has
established that East Asians and Europeans average higher IQs than do Africans. East Asians, measured in North America and in Pacific Rim
countries, typically average IQs in the range of 101 to 111. Caucasoid populations in North America, Europe, and Australasia typically average
IQs from 85 to 115 with an overall mean of 100. African populations living south of the Sahara, in North America, in the Caribbean, and in Britain
typically have mean IQs from 70 to 90.Racial differences in brain size and IQ map very closely to the same cultural histories Diamond explains. Although Diamond dismisses such research as
"loathsome", he fails to tell his readers what, if anything, might be scientifically wrong with any of it. One hundred years of research has established that East Asians and Europeans average higher IQs than do Africans. East Asians, measured in North America and in Pacific Rim
countries, typically average IQs in the range of 101 to 111.  Caucasoid populations in North America, Europe, and Australasia typically average IQs from 85 to 115 with an overall mean of 100. African populations living south of the Sahara, in North America, in the Caribbean, and in Britain typically have mean IQs from 70 to 90.

Diamond fails to bring any of this up and blames everything on the immediate environment and what one population did or did not have. On page 199 Diamond writes:

From the microbes’ (smallpox) point of view, however, they’re just a useful device to enlist a host’s help in inoculating microbes into a body cavity of a new host. The skin lesions caused by smallpox similarly spread microbes by direct or indirect body contact (occasionally very indirect, as when U.S. whites bent on wiping out “belligerent” Native Americans sent them gifts of blankets previously used by smallpox patients).

This is hilariously wrong and a myth. Smallpox dies in a few minutes outside of the human body, so to say that a large amount of ‘Natives’ died due to ‘smallpox-infected blankets’ is wrong.

So basically what Diamond and other egalitarians like him say is that different levels of civilization can be traced to environmental differences and not innate differences of the people, which are environmental in nature, but over tens of thousands of years, not in the immediate present as Diamond thinks. Egalitarians then make the leap that since physical environment can explain civilization differences, that means all of these populations we call races are the same on average. Not only is that a non-sequitur, but the whole argument is a strawman. No one says that environment doesn’t matter. We can look at two countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and Botswana. We can look at their level of economic freedom and see that they are the most wealthy countries in Africa despite the declines from the ANC. They are the second wealthiest in Africa.

Natural resources and human capital are also important, but the lack of the proper natural resource requisite for civilization in the past is not the reason for them being poor today since we can see actual African countries that are better off than the rest of Africa just by having economic freedom. The gap between SA and Botswana and Congo, is evidence that Congo’s poverty today is not traceable to the disadvantages to the dawn of civilization.

The hereditarian model is more sophisticated than Diamond’s environmental determinism since hereditarians incorporate innate intelligence as a factor in national wealth, whereas Diamond, by assuming all races are the same in the brain, has one less factor to work with in explaining the world. Hereditarians do consider the environment, but how it affects different populations in each environment over tens of thousands of years. With Diamond’s assumption that all of the races are the same in the brain, he, like all other egalitarians, makes the assumption that all racial inequalities come down to the immediate environmental differences and not innate intelligence differences which are the result of the environment over tens of thousands of years. Diamond attempts to say that racial differences are only skin deep. However, with modern genomic technology we can see that this is wrong. with racial differences in intelligence also affecting the average lifespan of that group, shows that there are genetic differences between genetically isolated groups of humans.

Diamond then makes a remark, as seen above, that the New Guineans are smarter than Europeans. So are all races the same in the brain except New Guineans? Does Diamond then accept that different environments can differently affect human brain development depending on where they are located? All this is to say that his work is completely irrelevant, he does nothing to explain why the different races perform differently in different parts of the world. Factors you may name are not in play today.

If egalitarians think it’s caused by environmental poverty in the past, they still have to argue about it today because that evidence still exists. GGS doesn’t invalidate the hereditarian argument. At all. It’s yet another failed attempt like The Mismeasures of Gould…. I mean The Mismeasures of Man, to show that racial differences only come down to the immediate environment and that there are no innate differences between the races.

Jared Diamond is a Marxist, and thus let his political views cloud his supposed objectivity to the actual data. Another self-professed Marxist, Richard Lewontin, has admitted that his political views have clouded his conclusions on scientific data. It has also been suggested by other researchers that Lewontin let his politics affect his scientific views. Another notorious and infamous Marxist ideologue who let politics come before science, who I’ve covered here a bit is Steven Jay Gould, a man who has denied sex differences in the brain and the factor, among numerous other things. Lewontin and Gould, due to the fact that they had a bigger impact on the publics’ perception on race and racial differences and their causes (Gould’s book being pushed for 30 years until Lewis et al, 2011 showed that he lied was dishonest in his reanalysis of Morton’s data and Lewontin being quoted, fallaciously I may add, that race doesn’t exist, which today is a modern myth).

All three of these men put into the publics’ mind that recognizing racial differences in intelligence and any other trait is ‘racist’ and ‘not worth discussing’ as humans are ‘all the same’. However, as our genomic technology gets better we will see that these small differences in genotype between humans do mean a lot in regards to intelligence and other factors that affect quality of life. The fact that Marxists such as Lewontin, Gould, and Diamond put their political ideology before the actual science speaks volumes on the strength of the hereditarian hypothesis. That they have to jump through so many hoops in an attempt to disprove it with either outdated information or outright lies spun in a fashion to give their side more credence shows that their beliefs and theory of human inequalities stands on shaky legs and will fall over once thoroughly looked over by anyone with an analytical mind for rooting out biases in science. The fact that people need to outright lie and spin facts in order to suit their agendas in an attempt to disprove the hereditarian hypothesis of human inequalities shows that genetic differences between populations are the cause for inequalities between races/ethnicities.

Diamond et al were exposed as the lying Marxist ideologues that they were. The study of racial differences is better off that these three men were shown to put their political ideology over science. Equality between humans doesn’t exist. The fact that there are phenotypic differences between genetically isolated populations shows that there are differences in the genome. These genomic differences are the product of tens of thousands of years of evolving in different habitats/climates. To downplay genetic differences (as Lewontin did) or attempt to say that the factor is ‘reified’ (as Gould did) or downplay evolutionary selection pressures on brain size and intelligence (as Diamond did) shows a huge bias as they completely overlooked anything that went against their hypotheses.

Diamond’s book is best looked at as what one thinks of the hereditarian argument through a Marxist persepctive (as is the case with The Mismeasure of Man) and how their biases make them completely disregard the factual truths on racial differences and their causes.

Nordicist Fantasies: The Myth of the Blonde-Haired, Blue-Eyed Aryans and the Origins of the Indo-Europeans

750 words

Nordicists say that the Aryans, the Indo-Europeans, had blonde hair and blue eyes. Though, recent genetic evidence shows that the origin of the Indo-European language is from the Russian steppe, originating from the Yamnaya people. The originators of the Indo-European languages weren’t blonde-haired and blue-eyed, but dark-haired and dark-eyed. Better known as the ‘Kurgan Hypothesis’, this is now the leading theory for the origin of Indo-European people.

Haak et al (2016) showed that at the beginning of the Neolithic period in Europe (approximately 7 to 8 kya) that a closely related group of farmers appeared in Germany, Hungary, and Spain. These ancient populations were different from the indigenous peoples from the Russian steppe, the Yamnaya, who showed high affinity with a 24000-year-old Siberian sample. Approximately 5 to 6 kya, farmers throughout Europe had more hunter-gatherer ancestry than their predecessors from the early Neolithic, but the Yamnaya from the Russian steppe were descended from the Eastern European hunter-gatherers, but also from a population with Near East ancestry (Ancient North Eurasians, ANE). Further, the migration of haplotypes R1b and R1a traveled into Europe 5000 years ago.

The Late Neolithic Corded Ware culture from Germany trace approximately 75 percent of their ancestry to the Yamnaya, which confirms a massive migration from Eastern Europe to the heartland of the continent 4500 years ago. This ancestry from the Yamnaya persisted in all of the Europeans sampled up until approximately 3000 years ago, and is common in all modern-day Europeans. The researchers then conclude that this provides evidence for a steppe origin for some of the Indo-European languages from Europe.

As mentioned above, Haber et al (2016) show how, as I alluded to above, that the Yamnaya people share  distant ancestry with the Siberians, which is probably the source of one of the three ancient populations that contributed to the modern-day European gene pool (Ancient North Eurasians, West European hunter-gatherers, and Early European farmers from Western Asia with the fourth population being the Yamnaya people).

Olade et al (2015) show that since the Basque people speak a pre-Indo-European language that this indicates that the expansion of Indo-European languages is unlikely to have begun during the early Neolithic (7 to 8 kya). They, like Haak et al, conclude that it’s in agreement with the hypothesis of the Indo-European languages coming out of the East, the Russian steppe, around 4500 years ago which is associated with the spread of Indo-European languages into Western Europe.

Finally, it is known that the Yamnaya people had dark skin (relative to today’s Europeans), dark hair, and dark eyes. Knowing what is presented in this article, this directly goes against the Nordicist fantasy of the blue-eyed, blonde-haired Indo-Europeans. Nordicists also like to claim that the Indo-Europeans had blonde hair and blue eyes, when genetic evidence goes directly against this claim:

For rs12913832, a major determinant of blue versus brown eyes in humans, our results indicate the presence of blue eyes already in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers as previously described. We find it at intermediate frequency in Bronze Age Europeans, but it is notably absent from the Pontic-Caspian steppe populations, suggesting a high prevalence of brown eyes in these individuals.

Further, the Yamnaya were a tall population. Since the Yamnaya had a greater genotypic height, it stands to reason that Northern European populations have more Yamnaya ancestry.

The Yamnaya herded cattle and other animals, buried their dead in mounds called kurgans, and may have created some of the world’s first wheeled vehicles. They were a nomadic population that, some linguists say, had a word for wheel. The massive migration into Western Europe from the Russian steppe contributed large amounts of North Asian ancestry in today’s Europeans. The Yamnaya are also shown to be the fourth ancient population that is responsible for modern-day Europeans.

Modern-day genetic testing is shattering all of these myths that are told about the origins of Europeans and Proto-Indo-European peoples and languages. The ACTUAL basis for most PIE languages is from the Russian steppe, from a relatively (to modern Europe) dark-skinned, dark-haired, and dark-eyed people who then spread into Europe 4500 years ago.

The Nordicist fantasies of the Aryans, the originators of Proto-Indo-European languages has been put to rest. It was originally proposed based off of myths and stories, mostly from ancient Indo-European cultures who were situated thousands of miles away from the original Indo-Europeans (the Yamnaya).

The Kurgan Hypothesis is now the theory that’s largely accepted by the scientific community as being the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The Yamnaya people now make a fourth founding population for Europeans, with the other three being West European hunter-gatherers, Ancient North Eurasians, and Early European Farmers.

The Evolution of Morality

Summary: Moral reasoning is just a post hoc search for reasons to justify the judgments people have already made. When people are asked why, for certain questions, they find things morally wrong, they say they cannot think of a reason but they still think it is wrong. This has been verified by numerous studies. Moral reasoning evolved as a skill to further social cohesiveness and to further our social agendas. Even in different cultures, those with matching socioeconomic levels have the same moral reasoning. Morality cannot be entirely constructed by children based on their own understanding of harm. Thus, cultural learning must play a bigger role than the rationalists had given it. Larger and more complex brains also show more cognitive sophistication in making choices and judgments, confirming a theory of mine that larger brains are the cause of making correct choices as well as making moral judgments.

The evolution of morality is a much-debated subject in the field of evolutionary psychology. Is it, as the nativists say, innate? Or is it as the empiricists say, learned? Empiricists, better known as Blank Slatists, believe that we are born with a ‘blank slate’ and thus acquire our behaviors through culture and experience. In 1987 when John Haidt was studying moral psychology (now known as evolutionary psychology), moral psychology was focused on the third answer: rationalism. Rationalism dictates that children learn morality through social learning and interacting with other children to learn right from wrong.

Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget focused on the type of mistakes that children would make when seeing water moved from different shape glasses. He would, for example, put water into the same size glasses and ask children which one had more water. They all said they held the same amount of water. He then poured water from one glass into a taller glass and then asked the children which glass held more water. Children aged 6 and 7 say that the water level changed since the water was now in a taller glass. The children don’t understand that just because the water was moved to a taller glass doesn’t mean that there is now more water in the glass. Even when parents attempt to explain to their children why there is the same amount of water in the glass, they don’t understand it because they are not ready cognitively. It’s only when they reach an age and cognitive stage that they are ready to understand that the water level doesn’t change, just by playing around with cups of water themselves.

Basically, the understanding of the conservation of volume isn’t innate, nor is it learned by parents. Children figure it out for themselves only when their minds are cognitively ready and they are given the right experiences.

Piaget then applied his rules from the water experiment with the development of children’s morality. He played a marble game with them where he would break the rules and play dumb. The children the responded to his mistakes, correcting him, showing that they had the ability to settle disputes and respect and change rules. The growing knowledge progressed as children’s cognitive abilities matured.

Thus, Piaget argued that like children’s understanding of water conservation is like children’s understanding of morality. He concludes that children’s reasoning is self-constructed. You can’t teach 3-year-old children the concept of fairness or water conservation, no matter how hard you try. They will figure it out on their own through dispute and do things themselves, better than any parent could teach them, Piaget argued.

Piaget’s insights were then expanded by Lawrence Kohlberg who revolutionized the field of moral psychology with two innovations: developing a set of moral dilemmas that were presented to children of various ages. One example given was that a man broke into a drug store to steal medication for his ill wife. Is that a morally wrong act? Kohlberg wasn’t interested in whether the children said yes or no, but rather, their reasoning they gave when explaining their answers.

Kohlberg found a six-stage progression in children’s reasoning of the social world that matched up with what Piaget observed in children’s reasoning about the physical world. Young children judged right and wrong, for instance, on whether or not a child was punished for their actions, since if they were punished for their actions by an adult then they must be wrong. Kohlberg then called the first two stages the “pre-conventional level of moral judgment”, which corresponded to Piaget’s stage at which children judge the physical world by superficial features.

During elementary school, most children move on from the pre-conventional level and understand and manipulate rules and social conventions. Kids in this stage care more about social conformity, hardly ever questioning authority.

Kohlberg then discovered that after puberty, which is right when Piaget found that children had become capable of abstract thought, he found that some children begin to think for themselves about the nature of authority, the meaning of justice and the reasoning behind rules and laws. Kohlberg considered children “‘moral philosophers’ who are trying to work out coherent ethical systems for themselves”, which was the rationalist reasoning at the time behind morality. Kohlberg’s most influential finding was that the children who were more morally advanced frequently were those who had more opportunities for role-taking, putting themselves into another person’s shoes and attempting to feel how the other feels through their perspective.

We can see how Kohlberg and Piaget’s work can be used to support and egalitarian and leftist, individualistic worldview.

Kohlberg’s student, Elliot Turiel, then came along. He developed a technique to test for moral reasoning that doesn’t require verbal skill. His innovation was to tell children stories about children who break rules and then give them a series of yes or no questions. Turiel discovered that children as young as five normally say that the child was wrong to break the rule, but it would be fine if the teacher gave the child permission, or occurred in another school with no such rule.

But when children were asked about actions that harmed people, they were given a different set of responses. They were asked if a girl pushes a boy off of a swing because she wants to use it, is that OK? Nearly all of the children said that it was wrong, even when they were told that a teacher said it was fine; even if this occurred in a school with no such rule. Thus, Turiel concluded, children recognize that rules that prevent harm are moral rules related to “justice, rights, and welfare pertaining to how people ought to relate to one another” (Haidt, 2012, pg. 11). All though children can’t speak like moral philosophers, they were busy sorting information in a sophisticated way. Turiel realized that was the foundation of all moral development.

There are many rules and social conventions that have no moral reasoning behind them. For instance, the numerous laws of the Jews in the Old Testament in regards to eating or touching the swarming insects of the earth, to many Christians and Jews who believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness, to Westerners who believe that food and sex have a moral significance. If Piaget is right then why do so many Westerners moralize actions that don’t harm people?

Due to this, it is argued that there must be more to moral development than children constructing roles as they take the perspectives of others and feel their pain. There MUST be something beyond rationalism (Haidt, 2012, pg. 16).

Richard Shweder then came along and offered the idea that all societies must resolve a small set of questions about how to order society with the most important being how to balance the needs of the individual and group (Haidt, 2012, pg. 17).

Most societies choose a sociocentric, or collectivist model while individualistic societies choose a more individualist model. There is a direct relationship between consanguinity rates, IQ, and genetic similarity and whether or not a society is collectivist or individualistic.

Shweder thought that the concepts developed by Kohlberg and Turiel were made by and for those from individualistic societies. He doubted that the same results would occur in Orissa where morality was sociocentric and there was no line separating moral rules from social conventions. Shweder and two collaborators came up with 39 short stories in which someone does something that would violate a commonly held rule in the US or Orissa. They interviewed 180 children ranging from age 5 to 13 and 60 adults from Chicago and a matched sample of Brahmin children and adults from Orissa along with 120 people from lower Indian castes (Haidt, 2012, pg. 17).

In Chicago, Shweder found very little evidence for socially conventional thinking. Plenty of stories said that no harm or injustice occurred, and Americans said that those instances were fine. Basically, if something doesn’t protect an individual from harm, then it can’t be morally justified, which makes just a social convention.

Though Turiel wrote a long rebuttal essay to Shweder pointing out that most of the study that Shweder and his two collaborators proposed to the sample were trick questions. He brought up how, for instance, that in India eating fish is will stimulate a person’s sexual appetite and is thus forbidden to eat, with a widow eating hot foods she will be more likely to have sex, which would anger the spirit of her dead husband and prevent her from reincarnating on a higher plane. Turiel then argued that if you take into account the ‘informational assumptions’ about the way the world works, most of Shweder’s stories were really moral violations to the Indians, harming people in ways that Americans couldn’t see (Haidt, 2012, pg. 20).

Jonathan Haidt then traveled to Brazil to test which force was stronger: gut feelings about important cultural norms or reasoning about harmlessness. Haidt and one of his colleagues worked for two weeks to translate Haidt’s short stories to Portuguese, which he called ‘Harmless Taboo Violations’.

Haidt then returned to Philadelphia and trained his own team of interviewers and supervised the data collection for the four subjects in Philadelphia. He used three cities, using two levels of social class (high and low) and within each social class was two groups of children aged 10 to 12 and adults aged 18 to 28.

Haidt found that the harmless taboo stories could not be attributed to some way about the way he posed the questions or trained his interviewers, since he used two questions directly from Turiel’s experiment and found the same exact conclusions. Upper-class Brazilians looked like Americans on these stories (I would assume since Upper-class Brazilians have more European ancestry). Though in one example about breaking the dress-code of a school and wearing normal clothes, most middle-class children thought that it was morally wrong to do this. The pattern supported Shweder showing that the size of the moral-conventional distinction varied across cultural groups (Haidt, 2012, pg. 25).

The second thing that Haidt found was that people responded to harmless taboo stories just as Shweder predicted: upper-class Philadelphians judged them to be violations of social conventions while lower-class Brazilians judged them to be moral violations. Basically, well-educated people in all of the areas Haidt tested were more similar to each other in their response to harmless taboo stories than to their lower-class neighbors.

Haidt’s third finding was all differences stayed even when controlling for perceptions of harm. That is, he included a probe question at the end of each story asking: “Do you think anyone was harmed by what [the person in the story] did?” If Shweder’s findings were caused by perceptions of hidden victims, as was proposed by Turiel, then Haidt’s cross-cultural differences should have disappeared when he removed the subjects who said yes to the aforementioned question. But when he filtered out those who said yes, he found that the cultural differences got BIGGER, not smaller. This ended up being very strong evidence for Shweder’s claim that morality goes beyond harm. Most of Haidt’s subjects said that the taboos that were harmless were universally wrong, even though they harmed nobody.

Shweder had won the debate. Turiel’s findings had been replicated by Haidt using Turiel’s methods showing that the methods worked on people like himself, educated Westerners who grew up in an individualistic culture. He showed that morality varied across cultures and that for most people, morality extended beyond the issues of harm and fairness.

It was hard, Haidt argued, for  a rationalist to explain these findings. How could children self-construct moral knowledge from disgust and disrespect from their private analyses of harmlessness (Haidt, 2012, pg. 26)? There must be other sources of moral knowledge, such as cultural learning, or innate moral intuitions about disgust and disrespect which Haidt argued years later.

Yet, surprises were found in the data. Haidt had written the stories carefully to remove all conceivable harm to other people. But, in 38 percent of the 1620 times people heard the harmless offensive story, they said that somebody was harmed.

Haidt found that it was obvious in his sample of Philadelphians that it was obvious that the subjects had invented post hoc fabrications. People normally condemned the action very quickly, but didn’t need a long time to decide what they thought, as well as taking a long time to think up a victim in the story.

He also taught his interviewers to correct people when they made claims that contradicted the story. Even when the subjects realized that the victim they constructed in their head was fake, they still refused to say that the act was fine. They, instead, continued to search for other victims. They just could not think of a reason why it was wrong, even though they intuitively knew it was wrong (Haidt, 2012, pg. 29).

The subjects were reasoning, but they weren’t reasoning in search for moral truth. They were reasoning in support of their emotional reactions. Haidt had found evidence for philosopher David Hume’s claim that moral reasoning was often a servant of moral emotions. Hume wrote in 1739: “reason is, and ought to be only the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

Judgment and justification are separate processes. Moral reasoning is just a post hoc search for reasons to justify the judgments people have already made.

The two most common answers of where morality came from are that it’s innate (nativists) or comes from childhood learning (empiricists), also known as “social learning theory”. Though the empiricist position is incorrect.

  • The moral domain varies by culture. It is unusually narrow in western education and individualistic cultures. Sociocentric cultures broaden moral domain to encompass and regulate more aspects of life.
  • People sometimes have gut feelings – particularly about disgust – that can drive their reasoning. Moral reasoning is sometimes a post hoc fabrication.
  • Morality can’t be entirely self-constructed by children based on their understanding of harm. Cultural learning (social learning theory, Rushton, 1981) not guidance must play a larger role than rationalist had given it.

(Haidt, 2012, pg 30 to 31)

If morality doesn’t come primarily from reasoning, then that leaves a combination of innateness and social learning. Basically, intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.

If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you. But if you think about moral reasoning as a skill we humans evolved to further our social agendas – to justify our own actions and to defend the teams we belong to – then things will make a lot more sense. Keep your eye on the intuitions, and don’t take people’s moral arguments at face value. They’re mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives (Haidt, 2012, pg XX to XXI).

Haidt also writes on page 50:

As brains get larger and more complex, animals begin to show more cognitive sophistication – choices (such as where to forage today, or when to fly south) and judgments (such as whether a subordinate chimpanzee showed proper differential behavior). But in all cases, the basic psychology is pattern matching.

It’s the sort of rapid, automatic and effortless processing that drives our perceptions in the Muller-Lyer Illusion. You can’t choose whether or not to see the illusion, you’re just “seeing that” one line is longer than the other. Margolis also called this kind of thinking “intuitive”.

This shows that moral reasoning came about due to a bigger brain and that the choices and judgments we make  evolved because they better ensured our fitness, not due to ethics.

Moral reasoning evolved for us to increase our fitness on this earth. The field of ethics justifies what benefits group and kin selection with minimal harm to the individual. That is, the explanations people make through moral reasoning are just post hoc searches for people to justify their gut feelings, which they cannot think of a reason why they have them.

Source: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion

Climate, Violence, r/K Selection Theory and the Vindication of JP Rushton

1850 words

Why do violent crimes increase as temperatures increase? Why do violent crimes decrease as the temperatures decrease? These phenomena are noticed every year, and criminologists set out to find the relationship between climate and violence and whether or not there is a curvilinear hypothesis, which crime increases as the temperature increases, but at extremely high temperatures the crime rate begins to dip down.

When the weather gets colder, crime decreases. All though crime does decrease in the Winter months, crimes that take more planning, such as property crime and robbery increase. This is due, obviously, to the fact that people don’t want to spend too much time outside so they plan their crimes ahead to minimize the time spent outside whereas in hotter temperatures this does not occur. It is known that when it’s colder, resulting criminal actions are less random than those committed in hotter temperatures.

The two trains of thought for the temperature/crime theory are the curvilinear hypothesis, as noted above, and the linear hypothesis, which argues for that as the temperature increases, so does crime without a drop in extremely high temperatures.

Mishra (2014) showed that the relationship is not a curvilinear one, but that crime rises steadily as the temperature increases. Looking at Allahabad city, India from a 62 year period from the years 1952 to 2013 with the variables being temperature, humidity and rainfall, the results of the analysis shows that temperature has a significant effect on the proclivity to commit crime, as well as murder. Relative to the temperature, humidity shows a strong correlation with crime with rainfall showing a negative correlation.

Mishra took annual data from the National Crime Record Bureau with monthly data taken from the various police stations of Allahabad city. The temperature and rainfall data was taken from local news stations and the Indian Meteorological Department.

Results of his analysis showed significant correlations with violent crime and temperature (r=.75) with murders increasing as temperatures increase. The relationship between relative humidity and crime was strong as well (r=.68) with rainfall having a negative correlation (r=-.14). Out of all three of these variables, the average temperature has more of an effect on crime than relative humidity. Using a regression model, Mishra discovered a correlation of .56, showing that temperature alone accounts for 56 percent of the variation in crime pattern. Including all three variables in the regression model shows a correlation of .61. This confirms that among the climate elements tested that temperature itself had the highest effect on crime.

Figure 2 of the paper shows that as temperatures rise (starting at about 25 degrees celsius), that the crime rate increases.Since very high temperatures are associated with rainfall, there is a reduction in crime when this occurs, thermal stress is reduced. However, when rainfall and humidity were both unchanged, higher temperatures would not cause a decrease in violence. This result is inconsistent with the curvilinear hypothesis and does not support the claim that extremely high temperatures cause decreased violence.

Van Lange, Rinderu, and Bushmen (2016) thought of the model CLASH (CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans) which shows differences within and between countries and their proclivities for aggression and criminal behavior. With lower temperatures, along with seasonal variation like what is seen in Northern Europe, peoples had to adopt a slower life history strategy with more focus on planning for the future as well as a need for self-control due to the differing variations in climate and how that has an effect on acquiring food. The CLASH model further shows that slow life history strategy, thinking into the future and self-control are important determinants in predicting violence.

As I have discussed here before, r/K Selection Theory (Life History Theory) shows that those who live in colder temperatures adopt slower strategies which lead to more future planning along with more self-control along with more altruistic behaviors shown. In a more harsh environment, such as Africa, Latin America and other locations situated near the equator, faster life history strategies are needed to offset the harsh environment, which leads to evolutionary causes for earlier menarche in black and Mexican-American girls. Faster life history strategies are needed in locations near the equator due to the harshness of the environment. This is why Africans and other peoples located at or near the equator have more children, to offset the harsher environment. No planning ahead was needed, as most likely populations near the equator wouldn’t have lived long enough to see the delayed payoff. Conversely, those in northerly climes live longer due to the need to plan ahead,  and along with this ability to plan ahead came higher intelligence, which leads to yet another selector for high intellect in populations that evolved further from the equator, earlier childbirth. On top of that selector, deleterious Neanderthal alleles decreased historic fitness levels 1 percent in non-African populations, which further lead to evolution of the ability to think into the future due to less children beared. Since the future becomes more predictable the further you travel away from the equator, it becomes adaptive for peoples to adopt a slower life history strategy out of necessity, as that’s the only way to survive and they will see the fruits of their self-control due to having a longer life expectancy due to superior future time orientation in comparison to those in southerly climes.

Since a faster life history strategy is correlated with threats of harshness and higher morbidity and mortality, from the life history perspective we would reason that those with lower SES would have to adopt a faster life history strategy in order to offset the fact that they are more likely to suffer premature disability or death. Lower SES is also correlated with other r-selected strategies such as earlier sexual activity (a variable correlated with lower IQ), higher rates of childhood pregnancy and childbearing, greater number of offspring and less care and attention shown to those offspring, this study. For the third time this month, proves Rushton right with his application of r/K Selection Theory on the three races of humanity.

Van Lange, Rinderu, and Bushmen state that neighborhood deterioration, assaults, muggings, drug addicts, and presence of gangs are associated with earlier and higher rates of sexual activity. Not coincidentally, this is seen in many majority black and ‘Hispanic’-majority cities in America. They also say that as resources become scarce that women gravitate towards men with more access to resources and those that will invest in their children’s reproductive values. Though this is hardly seen in low-income communities around America, you do see a lot of black women who gravitate towards the drug dealer or another black male who is involved with illegal activities who then acquire mass amounts of capital. This is an evolutionary strategy for all women, since money is correlated with intelligence and therefore a mate with more money has better means to take care of any offspring conceived.

The CLASH model extends r/K Selection Theory, particularly where r/K Selection Theory emphasizes unpredictability and harshness as a source of environmental stress, the CLASH model emphasizes predictability over environmental stress. That is, those who evolved in northerly climes can deal with stress better than those who evolved near the equator, therefore lessening the amount of crime in those populations due to them being able to constrain themselves more. The CLASH model proposes that the combination of predictability and control shape a slow life history strategy, future time orientation, with a focus on self-control. Moreover, in an analysis of 40 work-related values in 40 countries, it was found that the countries located the furthest from the equator tended to place a greater value on future rewards, such as perseverance and thrift.

In countries closer to the equator, according to the 2014 World Fact Book, the average age of first birth for a female was 20 years of age (the countries were the Gaza strip, Liberia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and  various other middle African countries). Conversely, for countries further away from the equator, the average age of first birth was 28 years of age (Japan, Canada, and most European countries). Those populations that evolved in warmer climates where the changes in season are minimal with unpredictable harshness tend to enact faster life history strategies than those in colder climates.

The researchers state on page 31:

One standard deviation increase in temperature was associated with a 11.3% increase in intergroup conflict and a 2.1% increase in interpersonal conflict. Examples of interpersonal conflict include spikes in domestic violence in India and Australia, greater likelihood of assaults and murders in the USA and Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, and civil conflicts throughout tropical climates. Hence, we conclude that it is both differences in average temperature and differences in seasonal variation in temperature that help explain cross-national differences in aggression and violence around the world.

And on page 41:

Assuming CLASH is accurate, it is interesting to consider that people’s thoughts and behaviors may be quite different, based on the physical circumstances their ancestors faced and that they face themselves. The world is getting smaller and smaller. Electronic and social media (e.g., WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, email) connect us to people all over the world. Yet, people coming from differing ancestral histories and living in different locations face challenges of self-control in a variety of ways. A businessperson from London may expect a response the next day, but the alliance in Nairobi may want to take at least an extra day. If CLASH is correct, the same pattern should hold for within-country differences between a businessperson working in Chicago and the alliance working in New Orleans, or between a businessperson working in Melbourne and the alliance in Brisbane or Cairns (with London, Chicago, and Melbourne being relatively more remote from the equator, and facing greater variation in climate).

The correlation between temperature, crime and life history strategies is shockingly high. JP Rushton is now vindicated from all of the derision he experienced in the 30 plus years he was pushing his r/K Theory. This shows implications for the European ‘refugee’ crisis as well, due to the higher rates of all violent crime occurring ever since this mass exodus from MENA (Middle Eastern North African) countries.

The CLASH model is a great compliment to r/K Selection Theory and goes deeper into why behaviors differ in human populations based where ancestral evolution occurred. As temperatures increase, so does crime starting at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, with there being a negative correlation for crime committed during rainfall. The CLASH model vindicates Rushton’s supposedly ‘wacky theories’ on race, evolution and behavior. Further, the CLASH model also shows another cause for the current situation occurring in Europe. The people flooding into the continent have ancestral ties to hotter climes. They then bring their genetic proclivity to commit crimes with them to the new area, which then increases crime. This is one of many  reasons for the cucking of Europe. As we look more into evolutionary causes for behavior and those behaviors that lead to more crime committed, Rushton and others will be further vindicated and when this occurs, with ample data, of course, sensible immigration policy can be had to quell the amount of crime committed by ‘migrants’ and other immigrants into our countries.