Archives for posts with tag: islam

anybody else getting a little bored with europe and europeans? yeah, i thought so. here’s a little diversion! (i will return to the mating patterns of europeans shortly.)

the arabs. and by “the arabs” i mean the ones on the arabian peninsula. even more specifically, i mean to contrast the arabs living in the hejaz on the west coast with the arabs from the najd in the interior. for a very long time, the hejazi arabs have been quite comopolitan and internationally-oriented, whereas the najdi arabs were mostly camel-herding nomads or settled in and around desert oases. the balance of power between the two shifted beginning in the 1700-1800s when the al saud clan — from the najd region — gained control of the region, and, most importantly, when they eventually acquired de facto control of the nation’s oil.

consang.net tells us that the saudi arabians today inbreed a LOT: 50%+ of all marriages are consanguineous (between second cousins or closer). there is variation within the country though.

from Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian population (1995) [click on table for LARGER view] …

consanguinity among the saudi arabian peninsula - table 02

… the total consanguinity rate in what the authors refer to as the “north western province” (i think this must be some former provincial designation), which is basically the hejaz region, was 67.7% in 1995. the “central province” — the northern part of the najd region — had a consanguineous marriage rate of 60.8% — so lower than the hejaz region.

i don’t think that this was always the case, that consanguineous marriage was more common in the hejaz region than in the najd region. in fact, i think that the hejazis have adopted cousin marriage more and more over the course of the last couple of centuries thanks to a process of “najdification” that, presumably, the entire country has been undergoing since the al saud clan came to prominence. (also, perhaps many najdis have moved to places in the hejaz region like mecca.)

from Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for an Arabian Identity (2004) [pgs. 77-81]:

Of key interest here is the introduction of what may be called the ‘tribalisation’ of marriage relations amongst the Hijazis. In contrast to past practices of marriage with non-Arab Muslims, marriages now take place within the Hijazi cultural group. The definition of what constitutes a Hijazi for marriage purposes has become more strict….

One implication of ‘tribalisation’, however, is that it draws the cultural form of association that sets the standards for the Hijazis from Najdi life. The emphasis placed on lineage, purity and related ideas confirms the superiority of a particular conception of what a social group should be: a tribe….

“For members of the Hijazi *’awa’il*, establishing and dissolving contemporary marriage relationships is now regulated by several sets of rules and considerations, most of which are relatively recent in origin…. All of these changes are best understood in light of the contrast between the period prior to and that following the Hijaz’s political unification under Saudi rule….

“In the period before Saudi political unification the rules governing marriage derived from largely religious sources, reflecting a very different relation between state and society to that which exists in the present. All contemporary marriage rules are closely related to these earlier ones, either as refinements or entailing new but subordinate principles.

“At the most general level, the Quran is broadly permissive of potential marriage partners: ‘Oh! Mankind! We have created you from a single [pair] of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you.’ There are, however, some qualifications to this open-ended approach. The first is that Islam permits marital ties between Muslim men and non-Muslim women, provided the latter are ‘people of the book’, *ahl al kitab*, i.e. Jews or Christians. The Quran tells male Muslims that, ‘lawful for you are the chaste women from among those who have been given the book’. Muslim women, on the other hand, are absolutely prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. A Muslim woman’s marriage to a non-Muslim is considered to entail illegal intercourse and thus produces illegitimate offspring who are prohibited from inheriting the father’s wealth….

“In addition to religion, considerations of the nature of wider family life have been most influential in regulating marriage. Here the promotion and defence of patrilineal group status is of central significance. Family status is related to the *’ird* (honour) of its male members, which is defended by ensuring the chastity of female dependants. The idea of *’ird* is a key reason why marriage based on overt love has traditionally been considered *’ayb* (shameful): admitting love implies a clandestine pre-marital relationship. Indeed, the idea that marriage should be based on an emotional bond between husband and wife conflicts with the primacy of maintaining well-integrated families; it implies putting one’s personal interests and needs above the extended family’s wellbeing. In this, Hijazis conform to general Arabian attitudes but, as ever, the Hijazi preoccupation with family creates a specific distrust of bonds based on emotion or sentiment….

Accounts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries clearly show that these rules did indeed regulate Hijazi marriages. For instance, being Muslim, regardless of other origins, provided a sufficiently strong basis on which to build marriages. Mecca was a melting pot for the Islamic world, so mixed marriages were common. Marriage made a significant contribution to the heterogeneous and cosmopolitan nature of Hijazi society.

By contrast, Najdi marriage was, and remains within the same lineage, with bonds among the tribal families usually reinforced by patrilineal parallel-cousin marriages. There is, however, an important distinction between *khadiri* (non-tribal, i.e. ‘non-pure’ Najdi), and *gabili* (tribal ‘pure-blooded’ Najdi). Strict patrilinearity allowed *gabili* men to marry outsiders, such as Egyptian, Moroccan or Lebanese women, but their female relatives have never married outside the tribe. In principle, then, men from the Hijaz would not have been able to marry into a pure-blooded Najdi family, while women would, although Hijazi women were not, as a rule, given in marriage to Najdi families, nor were they asked. In this intricate system of social boundaries expressed through marriage practices, Hijazis — both men and women — married from the Asir tribal region more easily than from the tribal Najd….

“Among elite Najdi men polygamy has also been more prominent.”

so it sounds as though the najdi arabs have had a longer history of closer inbreeding than the hejazi arabs.

if we go even further back, there are more hints that the hejazis may have been comparative outbreeders, as far as arabs go anyway. from Close Relationships: Incest and Inbreeding in Classical Arabic Literature (2005) [pgs. 78-81]:

“Much has been written on the extent to which Islam changed or confirmed the existing customs in pre-Islamic Arabia. Data on these customs are scanty…. As for the forbidden degrees of marriage, early Muslim authorities explain that the main differences between pre-Islamic and Islamic customs concerned the marriage of stepmothers and sons, and being married to two sisters simultaneously. Muhammad ibn al-Saib al-Kalbi (d.146/763) praises the Arabs in the Jahiliyya, the period of ‘ignorance’, for anticipating the Qur’anic prohibitions:

“‘The Arabs, in the time of their Ignorance, held things for forbidden that the Qur’an was to declare forbidden. They did not marry daughters or mothers, nor sisters or aunts from the mother’s side or the father’s side. The worst thing they used to do was to be married to two sisters at the same time, or to succeed one’s deceased father as husband to his wife. They used to call someone who did this *dayzan*….

“‘(…) If a man died, leaving a wife, or divorced his wife, his eldest son would stand up and throw his cloak over her if he wanted her. If he did not want her, one of his brothers would marry her, with a new brideprice.’

“Ibn Habib (d. 245/860), who has a nearly identical passage, adds that ‘Islam has separated men from the wives of their fathers; they are numerous’….

“Ibn Habib also states that the Arabs used to marry two sisters….”

not too much about marrying cousins there, but there’s this…

Against the tendency of presenting the pre-Islamic Arabs as being very close to Islam already, others restrict this virtuous behaviour to the inhabitants of Mecca, contrasting them with the Bedouins, as did Yaqut in the passage quoted above….

and that passage from yaqut [pg. 60]:

“In his ‘Kitab al-Arab’ (‘Book of the Arabs’), devoted to the virtues of the Arabs, Ibn Qutayba praises especially Quaysh, the Prophet’s tribe, for preserving something of the old Abrahamic religion, inherited through Abraham/Ibrahim’s son Ismael/Imail; these remnants included ‘circucision, ritual ablution, repudiation of women, manumission of slaves, and the prohibition of marriage with forbidden family members, through kinship, milk relationship, or affinity by marriage’. Yaqut (d. 626/1229) rephrases the same idea: the pre-Islamic Meccans:

‘were not like the uncouth Bedouins. They used to circumcise their sons, to perform the Hajj at the Kaaba; … they shunned marriages with a daughter, a daughter’s daughter, a sister, and a sister’s daughter, because of their sense of jealous honour and in order to keep aloof from the Magians.’”

in other words, perhaps the pre-islamic hejazi were not at all like the pre-islamic najdis (bedouins) … and, perhaps, the hejazi — the population from whence mohammed hailed — didn’t inbreed so much [pg. 81]:

In general, as far as may be ascertained, inbreeding was not very common in pre-Islamic times. It is difficult to obtain precise information. The genealogies of tribes and clans in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods, though very detailed, are notoriously unreliable, loaded as they are with politics and sentiments; an alliance between tribes was often cemented by fabricating a common ancestor. Moreover, the genealogies normally present the male lines only and give very little information on females. Among the exceptions are the lineages of the Prophet Muhammad and other prominent early Muslims. Thus Ibn Habib gives Muhammad’s ancestors in the all-female line, going back seven generations. Similar but shorter matrilinear lines are given for Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, and al-Hasan. Only two lines are given in full in these lineages: the all-male and the all-female, out of the theoretical maximum of 128 (2 to the 7th) lines of ascendants that go with a full picture of seven generations in Muhammad’s case. Therefore it is hazardous to draw any firm conclusions. Yet the general picture that emerges from this admittedly limited sample is clear: there may have been ‘irregularities’ by Islamic standards, such as the above-mentioned stepmother-marriages, but the spouses are not closely related and even first-cousin unions, often assumed to be dominant in Arab society, are almost absent as far as can be observed. In the Prophet’s lineage, one finds that his great-grandmother Umm Habib and her husband Abd al-Uzza had a great-grandfather (Qusayy) in common; Uthman’s maternal great-great-grandmother Sakhra bint Abd ibn Imran married her first cousin Amr ibn Aidh ibn Imran.”

perhaps mohammed — who invented a fairly (fairly) universalistic religion — came from a comparatively not-so-inbred population [i.e. the hejazi arabs - mohammed's tribe, the quraysh tribe, was from mecca]. -?- dunno. difficult to tell, but it’s an interesting question, i think.

previously: inbreeding and the ancient hebrews (and the arabs) and father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage

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Monkey brain area keeps count of kindnesses“The primates have an altruistic ‘tally chart’ that keeps track of social rewards and gifts.” – mine’s on an excel spreadsheet. (~_^)

Are Babies Born Good?“New research offers surprising answers to the age-old question of where morality comes from.”

Xenophobia Upside: Ethnic And Religious Diversity Correlated To Less Environmental Action“Scandinavian countries, low in ethnic and religious diversity, take more collective action than more diverse nations, like the UK, China and the United States.” – reminiscent of putnam’s findings [pdf]. via amren.

It’s not the cads, it’s the tramps – from jayman.

Latin Americans Most Positive in the World“Singaporeans are the least positive worldwide” – from gallup.

Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution

Shape of human hand may have evolved for fighting, scientists say

Birdsong study pecks at theory that music is uniquely human“‘[T]he same neural reward system is activated in female birds in the breeding state that are listening to male birdsong, and in people listening to music that they like….’ For male birds listening to another male’s song, it was a different story: They had an amygdala response that looks similar to that of people when they hear discordant, unpleasant music.”

Virtual women reveal more skin, regardless of body proportions“71% of male avatars covered between 75-100% of their skin, while only 5% of females did. In contrast, 47% of the virtual females they studied covered between 25-49% of their skin, compared to 9% of males.”

Indonesia’s Islamic spirit of tolerance“Indonesia is rather middling in terms of attitudinal religious tolerance.” – from the awesome epigone.

Are fathers necessary? – @mangan’s.

DNA of Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza to be examined for ‘evil’ gene in first study of its kind ever conducted on a mass murderer“The study of the killer’s DNA has been ordered by Connecticut Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver who carried out the post mortems on all the victims. He has contacted geneticists at University of Connecticut’s to conduct the study.”

bonus: Judeo-Christian, Not So Much – from assistant village idiot.

bonus bonus: No heir to run the company? Why adult ‘adoption’ is big business in Japan

bonus bonus bonus: Why Do We Blink So Frequently?“[B]riefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Even in same vineyard, different microbes may create variations in wine grapes“Yeast species may cause differences in otherwise identical grapes from the same vineyard.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Buried Christian Empire Casts New Light on Early Islam“Archeologists are studying the ruins of a buried Christian empire in the highlands of Yemen.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Unsexing the Language“Every day, the left is beavering away at the language. Fight back. Proudly use such sentences as ‘Man is a mammal so he suckles his young.’” – heh! i love jared taylor. (^_^)

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i said last week that the week would be devoted to the woodley & bell consanguinity and democracy paper … and then i got distracted. typical. so, now, back on track…

aside from looking for any straight up connection/s between consanguinity and democracy (see previous post), woodley & bell also looked at consanguinity and democracy and several other possible factors that might affect the success of democracy in the nations included in the study: economic freedom, inequality, exports of fossil fuels (the “resource curse”), pathogen load (i’ll come back to that one!), and islam.

using path analysis, they found that islam seems to have a direct impact on democracy in muslim nations and ALSO that islam has an indirect impact on democracy via consanguinity.

recall that woodley & bell used two different indices of democracy: data from the polity iv project and the eiu democracy index. so they worked up two path analyses (click on charts for LARGER view). percent muslim for each country came from pew:

both analyses indicate: “that Islam has both direct effects on democracy and effects that are mediated by consanguinity, although the direct path from percentage Muslim to democracy [in the first model] only approached the conventional cutoff for significance (p = .096).”

from the paper (pg. 12):

“The largest impacts on consanguinity in the path models were produced by pathogen load and the effect of the percentage of Muslims within a nation. In the first path model the latter variable did not have a significant direct path to democracy, which suggests that its effects on democracy are largely mediated by consanguinity. Both pathogen prevalence and the influence of Islam have been described in the literature as having an inhibitory effect on democracy (e.g., Fincher et al., 2008; Fish, 2002; Fukuyama, 2001; Huntington, 1984; Thornhill et al., 2009). Here we indicate that these variables, which had previously been posited to have independent effects on democracy, are actually mediated by consanguinity.”

so, if a nation is islamic, that will affect how democratic it is (or not!), but what seems to be more important is if the population practices cousin marriage. it’s islam+consanguinity that is the key here, not just islam.

i think it makes sense that the effects islam has on democracy are “mediated” by how much cousin marriage there is in a society. cousin marriage directly affects the genetic relatedness between the individual members of a population, making individuals more related to their family members than would happen in an outbred society, while making those same individuals less related to non-family members, again unlike in an outbred society. i think this pretty clearly leads to clannish or tribal behavioral patterns which, as woodley and bell point out, are not conducive to liberal democracy at all.

islam doesn’t demand cousin marriage, but it doesn’t prohibit it either. since muslims are supposed to emulate mohammed (who married a cousin – see below), it probably rather encourages it. and anyway — which came first, cousin marriage or islam? yup. cousin marriage. one of mohammed’s wives was a cousin of his (his fzd) — and ali (yes that ali), who was mohammed’s cousin, married mohammed’s daughter, ali’s first cousin once removed. cousin marriage was very much the norm amongst the arabs in mohammed’s day. and, unlike roman catholic church policy makers, neither mohammed nor any imam since him (at least none that count) seem to have come down against cousin marriage afaik.

furthermore, good ol’ father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage, the form of cousin marriage that leads to the most inbreeding, and that is still the preferred form amongst many muslims, was probably already well established amongst the arabs in mohammed’s day. fbd marriage was probably introduced to the arabs by jewish tribes from the levant who migrated into the arab peninsula starting in the second century b.c. so not only is cousin marriage amongst the arabs old, it’s really old — and it’s fbd marriage to boot. the arabs went on to introduce fbd marriage to the peoples of north africa, the mashriq and south asia (like the pakistanis and the afghanis).

my guess is that it’s not just the amount of consanguinity in a nation that negatively affects the success of democracy in that country, but the length of time the people have been practicing cousin marriage AND how close that cousin marriage is. like i said in the previous post, i think the evolution of “genes for altruism” comes into play here, not just the immediate genetic relatedness between the individuals in these societies, although it’s important, too.

so, i would bet that democracy would fare the worst in the levant, where fbd marriage originated, and the arab peninsula, where fbd marriage has been present for so very long, and that distance from that core region would predict better odds of democracy working at all.

kinda looks that way, don’t it? (eui democracy index 2011 – click on map for LARGER view):

syria, saudi arabia, yeman and oman have the worst scores for democracy in the muslim world (in the world!). iran, turkemenistan and uzbekistan have similar scores and all three of those countries were “arabized” in the early- to mid- seventh century a.d. pakistan was not brought under the arab sphere of influence until later (the early eighth century) and conversion to islam and arabization (and, presumably, the adoption of fbd marriage) took some time. this, i think, might partially explain why, even though pakistan today has similar consanguinity rates to saudi arabia, it does better as far as having a democratic state goes — the pakistani populations haven’t been marrying their fbd for as long as arabs.

similarly, at the other end of the “arab” world, north africans are relatively better at democracy than the saudis since they, too, were arabized — and adopted fbd marriage — comparatively late. the far flung islamic nation, indonesia, manages democracy fairly ok since they’ve hardly adopted fbd marriage at all, although they’ve probably been marrying their mother’s brother’s daughters for a while like other east asian populations.

previously: consanguinity and democracy

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according to a new survey from pew:

“Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws, although a growing minority expresses reservations about the increasing influence of Islam in politics….

“When asked which country is the better model for the role of religion in government, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, 61% say the latter….”

“However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women….

“There is no consensus among Egyptians as to whether American financial assistance to their country is primarily economic or military. A plurality (34%) believes the aid is mostly to help Egypt develop economically, while 23% say the aid is mostly military. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) believe it is divided equally between economic and military assistance, and 14% offer no opinion.

Both types of American aid are viewed negatively by Egyptians. About six-in-ten (61%) say U.S. military aid has a harmful influence on Egypt, while just 11% believe its impact is positive, and 25% say it has no impact. Similarly, 61% consider U.S. economic aid harmful, while the remainder of the public is split between positive views (21%) and the belief that the aid has no impact (17%)….

well, if they don’t want it….

i should ‘fess up right now that i have an inexplicable** soft spot for egypt and egyptians. i really do wish them well and hope it all works out for them as best as it can work out.

previously: what egyptians want and aígyptos

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so we’ve seen that, starting in the early medieval period, european populations went through some pretty big changes (some more than others) including: changes in mating and family patterns largely thanks to the christian church, a big agrarian revolution, and a new socio-economic structure (manorialism). but things we’re a-changin’ in other parts of the world, too, right around the same time — namely in what became the muslim world (arabia, middle east, maghreb, mashriq, and all the way over to pakistan) AND in china.

islam burst out of the arabian peninsula and most likely introduced a new mating practice to the populations living beyond the middle east/arab world — father’s brother’s daughter marriage (and some of the probable knock-on effects from that are here and here). there may or may not have been an agrarian revolution in the islamic world at this time — that’s not clear to me. the fundamental socio-economic forms of the regions don’t seem to have shifted much — there were tribes before islam, and there were tribes after — there wasn’t a shift from tribes to more open societies like there was in europe.

meanwhile in china — rice production was wildly improved during the song dynasty. i don’t know specifically about changes to socio-economic structures, but there were definitely changes to the mating patterns and family structures — or, rather, a change of direction — a u-turn — that reinforced more ancient family structures — i’m talking about neo-confucianism (i know! who knew?). here from my friend mitterauer [pgs. 82-83]:

“China is an ancient, advanced civilization shaped by ancestor worship in a special way: the practice has been called the ‘key to Chinese culture.’ This is certainly true of its family and kinship relationships…. [I]n the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) Confucianism rose to become the state orthodoxy. But strong competition was to follow, first from Taoism, then especially from Buddhism. At the same time that Christianity was being established as the state religion of the Roman Empire in the West, Buddhism became the dominant religion in China in the East. Both religions are remarkably similar in their attitude toward family matters. Both are strongly oriented toward asceticism; they call for a person to leave the family — the Chinese phrase for ‘to become a monk’ is chu-chia, ‘to leave the family’ or ‘to leave home.’ Leading a communal life with other monks is valued more highly than living with the family. Both are religions of salvation that strive for the perfection of the individual. Both give preference to moral behavior over descent…. It follows that both reject any thought of sacrificing to one’s ancestors. Buddhism in China inevitably had to come into conflict with Confucianism…. The monk would renounce his family name and take on a new one placing him within a continuum with his teachers or the Buddha. He would be celibate, thereby refusing to carry on the male line of the family….

“Buddhism was preeminent in the early Tang dynasty (618-906). Then Neoconfucianism began its ascent, bringing an anti-Buddhist reaction along with it. All Buddhist monasteries were disbanded between 842-845, and any monks and nuns in them were forced to join the laity…. Neoconfucianism brought about the complete triumph of ancestor worship; its rites were now clarified, standardized, and canonized. For its part, Buddhism continued to be an important factor in Chinese life and made some compromises with traditional views of the family.

“And so two developments in the history of religion — in western Europe and the Far East — that at first ran parallel ultimately went in diametrically opposite directions during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. In the West, a Christianity inimical to the rights of genealogical descent maintained supremacy. In the East, a Neoconfucianism supportive of genealogical descent won out. These divergent developments are significant not merely for the history of the family and kinship; taken together, they provde a key to our understanding of how two cultures and societies can develop so differently.

not to mention the evolutionary histories of both these populations!

and marriage practices in china during this time period (and since then)? [pgs. 84-85]:

“The traditional rules of marriage in China display the same basic outlines of a strict patrilineal ordering of kinship that is found in the terminology of kinship. From the Tang dynasty on, legal codes prohibited marriage to a woman from four classes of relatives: first and foremost, marriage to women with the same surname, then to widows of members of the same household, to women of another generation of fairly close kinship on the mother’s side or by marriage, and finally to sisters from the same mother by a different father (half-sisters). In China identical surnames meant in principle descent from the same patriline. The ban on marriage was valid even if the common ancestor was a long way back in the male line. The Chinese family held to these basic principles of exogamy, which can be found in many other cultures in Eurasia with an analogous kinship structure. In early medieval Europe, far-reaching rules concerning exogamy were also established, but they were confined to certain degrees of relatedness. They mainly concerned the paternal and maternal lines completely symmetrically. In China, on the other hand, the emphasis on the father’s line led to crass inequalities when it came to enlarging the list of banned female marriage partners. The fact that marriage to one’s sister from the same mother but by another father had to be expressly forbidden clearly shows that greater importance was granted to the father in determining kinship…. Marrying relatives from the mother’s side was not forbidden in principle. In earlier times, marriage in China even between cross-cousins not only used to be permitted but was common practice. Among China’s neighbors it can be found up to this day as a preferred form of marriage.”

it’s my understanding that, while cousin marriage on the father’s side was prohibited in china, marriage to a maternal cousin was not and was often even preferred (see here and here and here [opens pdf]). (not anymore — cousin marriage is now [technically] illegal in china and has been since 1980.) mother’s brother’s daughter marriage — the most common form of cousin marriage in the world — seems to have been the preferred form in china. if done continuously amongst several lineages, you can create broad ties between rather large clans — but they’re still clans.

finally, family structures in china — or extended-family structures — really extended-families (i.e. clans) — are very different from those in (core) europe in the middle ages or since then [pgs. 86-88]:

“[D]uring Neoconfucian times … [there was an] … increased impact of patrilineal descent groups, corporate lineages, and clans. On the one hand, Neoconfucian texts propagated a mindset that thought in terms of lineages; on the other hand, colonization in the new rice-growing regions in the Southeast during the Song dynasty provided an opportunity to institutionalize lineage groups. Southeast China is where clans are most firmly anchored to this day. Patrilineal lineage groups held land in common there, principally to serve the needs of a common ancestor worship…. The lineage group’s common land served other, nonreligious purposes as well; for example, a common granary could be built there. The land was frequently used for clan schools that were intended to open the door to a career in the civil service. Any member taking this route would then beneift the entire clan. Land lying next to the undivided common land of a descent group was split among different branches and houses. Land division within the family was the organizing principle for new peasant farms in rural areas; divisions of this kind always occurred between agnates, brothers, or cousins in the same male line…. In this way villages were created that belonged entirely to a single lineage group. In this way, too, surnames turned into village names. Given these conditions, neighbors in a village were also related as agnates….

The situation in western Europe stood in strong contrast to the circumstances in China. In the European hide system, it was not at all the norm for a neighbor to be a relative. To be sure, there were parallels with the Chinese patterns in the eastern and southeastern parts of the continent, where equal male inheritance of land was operative. Villages, or districts within them, were founded according to the division of land among agnates. In the western Balkans, we can find organized lineage groups founding settlement units. But there is no evidence in Europe, with few exceptions, of common religious institutions within lineage groups that were similar to the ancestral shrines of Chinese clans. Ancestor worship simply did not become the dominant form of worship anywhere in Europe. Its fiercest opponent among world religions won out instead: Christianity.”

why should anyone interested in hbd care about any of this? four things. (at least!)

previously: behind the hajnal line and the middle ages and four things and china today…

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from the christian science monitor:

“Mexico’s ‘temporary’ marriages: till death – or two years – do us part”

“Mexico City is studying a plan to introduce ‘temporary’ marriage licenses – letting couples choose after two years to split or renew the license for life – in an effort to mitigate the effects of divorce….

“The left-leaning assembly is studying a new initiative to introduce temporary marriage licenses that would expire after two years if the couple so desires.

“The proposal, intended to reduce the bureaucratic costs and emotional toll of divorce, has garnered as many fans as foes: Some see it as a pragmatic alternative, while others, including the Roman Catholic Church, see it as an attack on family values. It comes as Mexico grapples with its own culture war in the world’s second-largest Catholic country.

“‘The centrality of family in Mexico is changing,’ says Norma Ojeda, a sociologist at the San Diego State University who has studied the evolution of marriage in Mexico since the 1970s. ‘That is something that is part of a global social change in many countries.’

“To its authors, the proposal reflects social changes in Mexico City, where they say most divorces occur in the first two years. If after two years, couples decide to until ‘death do us part,’ they can renew their licenses. If not, the proposal specifies how children and property are handled.

“‘The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,’ Leonel Luna, the assemblyman who co-wrote the bill, told Reuters. ‘You wouldn’t have to go through the tortuous process of divorce.’”

plenty of societies have or had laws providing for temporary marriages. many muslim societies (primarily shi’a ones?) have a temporary form of marriage known as nikah mut’ah. it can be used as a way of covering up prostitution (“get yer four hour marriages!”), but that’s not the only reason the practice exists.

temporary marriage was also an option amongst the early medieval irish [pg. 302]:

“The adaltrach [one type of wife in early medieval ireland] may not have brought much property at all, since in many cases, the primary intention of the union was merely to achieve social acceptance of a sexual relationship and its progeny. Another goal was to set up a temporary working relationship, in which the man supplied the farm and the woman supplied the labor. Where CL [Cain Lanamna, 'the law of marriage'] discusses spouses who were brought in to live on another’s farm, it emphasized the labor aspect of the spouse’s relationship; this was as true of a man supported on a woman’s farm as it was of a woman supported on a man’s property. CL #28 depicts the woman in this case as keeping half her handiwork, and one-ninth of the milk, corn and bacon produced during the time the couple lived together. The relationship envisaged as likely to end at Beltene, the spring festival of May 1, which was also the time many women traditionally moved with the livestock to the summer pastures. The departing woman was supposed to have ‘a sack (of produce) for every month’ she had spent on the man’s farm.”

the thing is, tho, that no society with temporary marriages ever invented things like science or succeeded with liberal democracy. those seem, for complex reasons, to go along with strong monogamy (not to mention a relatively high iq).

mating practices affect the patterns of genetic relatedness amongst the members in any given society; and those patterns, in turn, affect the historical and evolutionary trajectories of societies.

(note: comments do not require an email. strong monogamy.)

pay more attention to ideologies.

bruce charlton suggests that i underestimate the power of ideology, and he’s probably right. i’m not a very ideological creature myself, so i think overlook what different ideologies mean to different people and the role it plays in their lives.

i mean, i know they’re there — ideologies, that is. most of the time, tho, i just think of them as neat, abstract ideas to discuss after dinner — like you might discuss an interesting chess opening, for instance.

the thing is, it’s hard to put yourself in other people’s shoes sometimes. i’ve operated most of my life without thinking much at all about any religious belief or political ideology. i forget that other people have a different experience in life.

anyway, i should pay more attention to them because i’ve even written (or commented) here on the ol’ blog about two different ideologies that have either profoundly affected the genetic relatedness in a population, or affected a population’s historical trajectory — and in both cases ideology affected the success of the populations — so obviously ideologies are important!

the first is what we’ve been discussing recently: that the spread of christianity in europe directly altered the degree of genetic relatedness within european populations when the roman catholic church (as well as the political powers of the day) imposed mating restrictions on the population.

the other is islam: that the spread of islam throughout the arab peninsula enabled mohammed’s tribe to unite the arabs and conquer large parts of the middle east and north africa.

HUGE effects on history by ideologies! not to be ignored. definitely not.

it’s interesting to compare the outcomes of the effects of these two ideologies on the populations in question. in the arab world, islam managed to unite the otherwise warring tribes (of course, the promise of a share in war booty also helped), but did not do away with the tribal system which still exists today and remains a cause for problems in the same old ways. in europe, christianity managed to (i think) do away with tribes (or, at least, it had a hand in it) which enabled broader cooperation amongst the peoples of europe. this worked pretty good (overlooking a couple of world wars here and there) for quite some time.

an interesting point to note: both ideologies replaced polytheistic religious systems with monotheism, but only one of them actually did away with tribes.

(note: comments do not require an email. nor do you have to be a card-carrying member of any ideology whatsoever.)

so, i finally got my hands on “the explanation of ideology” by emmanuel todd. flipped through it today and it looks pretty interesting, altho a little heavy on the marxism for my tastes (french academics!).

this passage really caught my eye [pgs. 134-36]:

“The paradoxical process by which a taboo [inbreeding] becomes an endogamous preference allows us to explain the expansion of Islam. Invented by the Arab world which practised systematic patrilineal endogamy, the Muslim religion moved into all the surrounding regions where exogamous prescriptions were weak or non-existant. It did not create an endogamous model but regulated and organized one by eliminating only the most extreme forms of incest: the marriage between brother and sister of ancient Egypt, that between brother and sister of Zoroastrian Iran, and that between half-brother and half-sister of ancient Palestine. Islam stops in the West, in southern Spain, at the limits of the area once under Carthaginian rule, Phoenician in anthropological terms.

“From the beginning Christianity chose an exogamous ideal. In ‘The City of God’ Augustine developed an evolutionary idea of the incest taboo, according to which the prohibitions gradually became more extensive. In fact Christianity simply inherited the Roman kinship prohibitions which forbade marriage between first cousins. The story of the kidnapping of the Sabines is a typical exogamous foundation tale.

“The conversion of the northern barbarians to Christianity from the sixth century onwards marked the beginning of an extension of the exogamous ideal, which was apparently more strictly applied among the Germanic peoples than among the Romans. Even today penal legislation covering incest, while moderate or non-existent in Latin countries — France, Italy, Spain — in northern Europe and particularly Germany betrays a phobia and abhorrence of sexual relations between close relatives. Between 1950 and 1955, 400 people were sentenced each year in West Germany for breaking the incest laws. There is nothing in the French criminal code on the subject: it punishes only when an adult takes advantage of a position of authority over a minor, whether it be as father or guardian.

“The movement of the fiercely exogamous Germanic peoples, then of the endogamous Arabs towards the Mediterranean, therefore polarized a situation which was originally extremely diverse. The Christian world embodied the ideal of exogamy, the Muslim world that of endogamy. Two monotheistic forms of universalism confronted each other, trapped by an anthropological differnce. Christians and Muslims saw each other as savages, incompatible with one another because of their sexual and family morality.”

iow, because of their mating patterns and the degrees of relatedness between the members of their respective societies. they were trapped not by an anthropological difference, but by a biological one.

talk about a clash of civilizations!

(note: comments do not require an email. i’m warning you about those sabine women…!)

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