Archives for posts with tag: u.s.a.

here’s the latest re. the most recent pisa test results (various news outlets are reporting that the below also applies to the u.s. and canada – check google news for pisa+oecd):

“China’s poorest beat our best pupils”

“Children of factory workers and cleaners in Far East achieve better exam results than offspring of British lawyers and doctors, says OECD.

“British schoolchildren are lagging so far behind their peers in the Far East that even pupils from wealthy backgrounds are now performing worse in exams than the poorest students in China, an international study shows.

“The children of factory workers and cleaners in parts of the Far East are more than a year ahead of the offspring of British doctors and lawyers, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development….

“As part of the study, children were asked to name their parents’ occupation to determine its effect on pupil performance. Across the world, children whose parents work in professional careers generally outperform those in elementary jobs such as caterers, cleaners, factory workers and labourers.

“The study, involving more than 500,000 pupils worldwide, found children of elementary workers in many Far Eastern nations outperformed the sons and daughters of professional British children.

“The children of UK professionals scored an average of 526 points in maths. But this was overshadowed by an average score of 656 registered by the children of professionals in Shanghai-China and 569 among children of the country’s elementary workers. The children of parents in unskilled jobs in the UK scored an average of 461, the equivalent of two and a half years behind.

“Elementary workers’ children in Hong Kong (542), South Korea (538) and Singapore (534), also outperformed more affluent British peers. In Japan, Vietnam, Liechtenstein, Japan and China-Taipei, relatively poor children were only marginally behind the wealthiest British pupils.

“The report said: ‘In the United States and the United Kingdom, where professionals are among the highest-paid in the world, students whose parents work as professionals do not perform as well in mathematics as children of professionals in other countries — nor do they perform as we as the children in Shanghai-China and Singapore whose parents work in manual occupations….’”

no idea if any of these results were broken down by race, ethnicity, etc.

and a related story from a while back:

“Report: Chinese Third-Graders Falling Behind U.S. High School Students in Math, Science”

“According to an alarming new report published Wednesday by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, third-graders in China are beginning to lag behind U.S. high school students in math and science.

“The study, based on exam scores from thousands of students in 63 participating countries, confirmed that in mathematical and scientific literacy, American students from the ages of 14 to 18 have now actually pulled slightly ahead of their 8-year-old Chinese counterparts.

“‘This is certainly a wake-up call for China,’ said Dr. Michael Fornasier, an IEA senior fellow and coauthor of the report. ‘The test results unfortunately indicate that education standards in China have slipped to the extent that pre-teens are struggling to rank among even the average American high school student….’”

(~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. or an average pisa score above ca. 450.)

Skull Fossil Suggests Simpler Human Lineage“Early, diverse fossils — those currently recognized as coming from distinct species like Homo habilis, Homo erectus and others — may actually represent variation among members of a single, evolving lineage. In other words, just as people look different from one another today, so did early hominids look different from one another, and the dissimilarity of the bones they left behind may have fooled scientists into thinking they came from different species.” see also: Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray @the guardian. see also john hawks: The new skull from Dmanisi. and greg cochran: All One Species?

speaking of species: Roe Deer × Domestic Sheep“This rather distant cross, which represents a case of interbreeding between separate mammalian families (Cervidae × Bovidae) was reported in the last decade of the 18th century by the Finnish academic Carl Niklas Hellenius (1745-1820), also known as Carl Niklas von Hellens (or af Hellens).” – say what?!

Mysterious Ancient Human Crossed Wallace’s Line“Scientists have proposed that the most recently discovered ancient human relatives — the Denisovans – somehow managed to cross one of the world’s most prominent marine barriers in Indonesia, and later interbred with modern humans moving through the area on the way to Australia and New Guinea.”

Blood-filled mosquito is a fossil first – JURASSIC PARK!!

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds“The Minoans, the builders of Europe’s first advanced civilization, really were European, new research suggests…. ‘They were very similar to Neolithic Europeans and very similar to present day-Cretans,’ residents of the Mediterranean island of Crete.”

People Born With Certain Gene More Likely to Suffer Cognitive Decline After Heart Surgery“Long-term memory loss, difficulty understanding verbal or written communication or impaired ability to pay attention may still occur five years after heart surgery if a patient has a certain gene variation…. This gene was found to be related to a decline in cognitive capabilities compared to those who do not have the variation…. ‘Our study found that if a patient has this gene variation (APOE4), that person is more likely to have cognitive decline five years after surgery.’” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Genetics of eye colours in different rural populations on the Silk Road“[R]egression tree analysis showed that individuals carrying a given combination of haplotypes have a significant probability to show a blue or green/grey iris colour as compared with brown, with a gradient from west to east.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Scanning for Recent Human Evolution

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity“[T]he fact that the highly complex larval muscular bodyplan is so similar in both groups [aplacophorans and chitons] but is only carried over into the adult stage in one of them — the chitons — strongly suggests that the common ancestor of both groups was of similar complexity; thereby implying that the worm-like groups lost these complex traits and became secondarily simplified over evolutionary time.”

Genomics England and the 100,000 genomes

National Geographic Agrees: The Human Alpha Male Is Real – from heartiste. see also “Manosphere” Community Beliefs: Truths and Nonsense from jayman.

Japan: A north-south cline in mental and behavioral traits – from peter frost.

What I actually said about genes, IQ and heritability“Rational public debate about genes and intelligence…has proved impossible in Britain and America….”

Heritability estimates and the analysis of variance“In terms that R.A. Fisher might have used, if you plant different strains of wheat in uniformly well ploughed, well mixed, well fertilised soil, then the differences between the different strains will be due to their inherent qualities, and not the vagaries of the soil. On the other hand, if the soil varies considerably then the yields will vary partly because of seed quality, and partly because of soil quality.” – from dr. james thompson.

Intelligence is just another privilege you inherited from mummy and daddy“[I]t is considered bad form for the clever to point out that their advantage is inherited. Yet this has the effect of giving the intellectually privileged the false idea that they have earned their advantage, and eroding the feeling of *noblesse oblige* that the wealthy once felt when they knew their fortune depended on luck. Rather we should regard intelligence as just another privilege you inherit from mummy and daddy…. That would make the world a more, not less, just place.” – from ed west.

The Stability of Intelligence From Age 11 to Age 90 Years: The Lothian Birth Cohort of 1921“The correlation of Moray House Test scores between age 11 and age 90 was .54 (.67 when corrected for range restriction).” – h/t john durant!

Can political polarization become baked in through assortative mating? – @steve sailer’s.

On the Unbearable Lightness of Objective Morality“Evolved behavioral predispositions are the ultimate reason for the existence of human morality. Absent those predispositions, our morality as we know it would cease to exist.” – from helian.

US regions exhibit distinct personalities, research reveals“Americans with similar temperaments are so likely to live in the same areas that a map of the country can be divided into regions with distinct personalities, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. People in the north-central Great Plains and the South tend to be conventional and friendly, those in the Western and Eastern seaboards lean toward being mostly relaxed and creative, while New Englanders and Mid-Atlantic residents are prone to being more temperamental and uninhibited, according to a study published online by APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”

Book Review: Why Evolution Is True (2009) by Jerry Coyne – book review from staffan.

Neanderthals Used Toothpicks to Alleviate the Pain of Diseases Related to Teeth, Such as Inflammation of the Gums – h/t andrew badenoch!

Women like their men with low voices, but only for a night“[W]omen were more attracted to men with low-pitched voices, which are produced by larger vocal cords. However, the research also showed women believed men with deeper voices were more likely to cheat.”

Epigenetics: How to alter your genes – well, you don’t really alter your genes with epigenetics, but your gene expression.

Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess

bonus: Analysis of Racist Red Lobster Receipt Casts Doubt on Original Story and More restaurant receipt handwriting analysis – total race hoax – @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus: New botox super-toxin has its [dna] details censored

bonus bonus bonus: Evolutionary Question Answered: Ants More Closely Related to Bees Than to Most Wasps. see also: Key to Ants’ Evolution May Have Started With a Wasp.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fossil scans reveal origins of teeth“Tooth-like structures originated from outer-body coverings.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A new law of biology: All mammals pee for about 21 seconds @Why Evolution is True.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Top Ten New Species: Snub-Nosed Monkey, More

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Thirty million people are slaves, half in India

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Greek authorities appeal for help in finding real family of girl found in Gypsy camp.

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…in the united states! (just as you all suspected.) amongst white folks anyway (that’s who was included in the study below).

from a study published in 2009, Measures of Autozygosity in Decline: Globalization, Urbanization, and Its Implications for Medical Genetics:

This research has definitively shown the existence of a trend for decreasing autozygosity with younger chronological age in the North American population of European ancestry. The ROHs we identified, larger than 1 Mb, are clearly representative of autozygosity due to distant consanguinity in our outbred populations, and not chromosomal abnormalities or common copy number variants. Using our predictive models of decreasing Fld, we show a quantifiable decrease in consanguinity over the twentieth century. Based on data provided in Carothers et al, this decrease in Fld found in our discovery population is on the order of individuals transitioning from a single inbreeding loop 4–5 generations prior, to no inbreeding loops within <6 generations. We postulate that the increased mobility, urbanization and outbreeding in North America in the last century has led to less consanguinity (and thus less homozygosity and homogeneity) in younger individuals.”

the researchers looked at two different sets of genomes — one from the ninds repository @the coriell institute, the other from the baltimore longitudinal study of aging (blsa). the blsa is, obviously, biased towards people on the east coast of the u.s. (in and around baltimore). glancing through the list of submitters to ninds, there’s also something of an east coast bias there, although many samples do come from other areas of the country (see the list of locations at the end of this post).

amongst the findings in this study are that 1) the number of runs of homozygosity (roh) has decreased in white americans over the last one hundred years or so, and 2) the lengths of the roh have shrunk as well. both of these are good indicators of outbreeding.

here are a couple of tables/charts from the paper (click on images for LARGER views):

measures of autozygosity in decline - table 02

measures of autozygosity in decline - percent of genome in roh

what’s interesting to contemplate, i think, is what this might mean wrt selection pressures on americans going forward? especially, what might it mean in light of european-americans encountering other, newer groups within american society that are not outbreeding so much (at least not at the moment) — newly arrived immigrants from many muslim countries, for example — or even, perhaps, latin americans (although i’m not 100% sure about how much they’ve been inbreeding over the past few hundred years or so — stay tuned!). how is that all going to play out? interesting times.

possibly related footnote — here is an abstract from the 2013 ashg conference:

“Reconstructing the Genetic Demography of the United States”

“The United States (U.S) is a complex, multiethnic society shaped by immigration and admixture, but the extent to which these forces influence the overall population genetic structure of the U.S is unknown. We utilized self-reported ancestry data collected from the decennial U.S Census 2010 and allele frequency data from over 2000 SNPs for over 40 of the most common ancestries in the U.S. that were available from the Pan Asian Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (PASNP), Population Reference Sample (POPRES), 1000 Genomes, and Human Genome Diversity Panel (HGDP) databases. We utilized the relative proportions of individuals of each ancestry within each county, state, region and nation and calculate the weighted average allele frequency in these areas. We reconstructed the genetic demography of the U.S by examining the geographic distribution of Wright’s Fst. Shannon’s diversity index, H was calculated to assess the apportionment of genetic diversity at the county, state, regional and national level. This analysis was repeated stratifying by race/ethnicity. We analyzed households with spouses, using the phi-coefficient as a measure of assortative mating for ancestry. This analysis was repeated stratifying by age of the spouses (older or younger than 50). Most of the genetic diversity is between ancestries within county, but this varies by race/ethnicity, and ranges from 95% for Whites to 43% for Hispanics illustrating that the White ancestries are relatively homogeneously scattered throughout the U.S whereas the Hispanic ancestries show significant clustering by geography. Analysis of the mating patterns show strong within ethnicity assortative mating for American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asians, Blacks, Hispanic, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and Whites, with φ = 0.30, 0.864, 0.92, 0.863, 0.478 and 0.832 respectively (P<1×10-324 for each) and significantly less correlation in the younger cohort. These results show demographic patterns of social homogamy which are slowly decreasing over time. One major implication is that data collected from different locations around the U.S are susceptible to both within- and between-location population genetic substructure, leading to potential biases in population-based association studies.”
_____

origin cities of the ninds samples (from a quick-ish glance):

Burlington, VT
Lebanon, NH
Boston x 10
New York x 7
Albany
Rochester, NY x 4
New Haven x 3

Bethesda x 7
Baltimore x 5
Philadelphia
Washington, D.C.

Winston-Salem, NC
Charleston, SC

Atlanta
Birmingham x 3
Augusta

Jacksonville x 4
Tampa
Gainesville

Cincinnati x 5
Cleveland
Lexington
Louisville
Memphis
Indianapolis, IN
Ann Arbor

Chicago x 3
Springfield, IL
Rochester, MN
Minneapolis
Englewood, CO
Kansas City

Houston x 4

Phoenix
Salt Lake City

Los Angeles
Irvine, CA
Fountain Valley, CA
San Diego x 2
San Francisco x 3
_____

previously: runs of homozygosity and inbreeding (and outbreeding) and runs of homozygosity in the irish population and western europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and outbreeding and russians, eastern europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and inbreeding

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the walled family compounds of kandahar

kandahar

…vs. the invisible boundaries of levittown

levittown

previously: there’s no place like home

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from brietbart (via drudge):

“Harvard Study: No Correlation Between Gun Control and Less Violent Crime”

“A Harvard Study titled ‘Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?’ [pdf] looks at figures for ‘intentional deaths’ throughout continental Europe and juxtaposes them with the U.S. to show that more gun control does not necessarily lead to lower death rates or violent crime.

“Because the findings so clearly demonstrate that more gun laws may in fact increase death rates, the study says that ‘the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths’ is wrong.

“For example, when the study shows numbers for Eastern European gun ownership and corresponding murder rates, it is readily apparent that less guns to do not mean less death. In Russia, where the rate of gun ownership is 4,000 per 100,000 inhabitants, the murder rate was 20.52 per 100,000 in 2002. That same year in Finland, where the rater of gun ownership is exceedingly higher — 39,000 per 100,000 — the murder rate was almost nill, at 1.98 per 100,000….

“And when the study focuses on intentional deaths by looking at the U.S. vs Continental Europe, the findings are no less revealing. The U.S., which is so often labeled as the most violent nation in the world by gun control proponents, comes in 7th — behind Russia, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine — in murders. America also only ranks 22nd in suicides.

“The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, is 30.6; the rate in the U.S. is 7.8….”

oops. =/

so, the official gun ownership rate in russia is low. could there be a large cache of illegal guns out there? still — much higher homicide rates in eastern europe than in western.

here’s a table from the report for you to enjoy:

european gun ownership and murder rates

and here are some bits about my favorite little country that could:

“A second misconception about the relationship between firearms and violence attributes Europe’s generally low homicide rates to stringent gun control. That attribution cannot be accurate since murder in Europe was at an all‐time low *before* the gun controls were introduced. For instance, virtually the only English gun control during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the practice that police patrolled without guns. During this period gun control prevailed far less in England or Europe than in certain American states which nevertheless had — and continue to have — murder rates that were and are comparatively very high….

“Stringent gun controls were not adopted in England and Western Europe until after World War I. Consistent with the outcomes of the recent American studies just mentioned, these strict controls did not stem the general trend of ever‐growing violent crime throughout the post‐WWII industrialized world including the United States and Russia. Professor Malcolm’s study of English gun law and violent crime summarizes that nation’s nineteenth and twentieth century experience as follows:

‘The peacefulness England used to enjoy was not the result of strict gun laws. When it had no firearms restrictions [nineteenth and early twentieth century] England had little violent crime, while the present extraordinarily stringent gun controls have not stopped the increase in violence or even the increase in armed violence.

“‘Armed crime, never a problem in England, has now become one. Handguns are banned but the Kingdom has millions of illegal firearms. Criminals have no trouble finding them and exhibit a new willingness to use them. In the decade after 1957, the use of guns in serious crime increased a hundredfold.’

“In the late 1990s, England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban of all handguns and many types of long guns. Hundreds of thousands of guns were confiscated from those owners law‐abiding enough to turn them in to authorities. Without suggesting this caused violence, the ban’s ineffectiveness was such that by the year 2000 violent crime had so increased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States….

“[T]he conclusions of the premier study of English gun control. Done by a senior English police official as his thesis at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology and later published as a book, it found (as of the early 1970s), ‘Half a century of strict controls…has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of [handguns] in crime than ever before.’ The study also states that:

‘No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less [in England before 1920] when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction….

hmmmm. i wonder what’s different about england now as opposed to back then?

read the whole report here [pdf] — you really should, because it’s chock-full of info. (harvard is certainly proving to be quite the den of politically incorrect thinking, isn’t it? (~_^) )

edit: see also Guns & Homicide, Map Form from jayman.

previously: outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence and what pinker missed

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Emergence of Individuality in Genetically Identical Mice“Our results show that factors unfolding or emerging during development contribute to individual differences in structural brain plasticity and behavior.” – the nuture side of nature-nuture. – see also Mice, Men, and Fate.

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds“[T]he research team analyzed DNA from ancient Minoan skeletons that were sealed in a cave in Crete’s Lassithi Plateau between 3,700 and 4,400 years ago…. The researchers found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern-day Europeans — and especially close to modern-day Cretans, particularly those from the Lassithi Plateau. They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans, but distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations.” see also dienekes.

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius“Bid to unravel the secrets of brainpower faces scepticism.”

Dogs and Humans Evolved Together, Study Suggests“[B]oth species underwent similar changes in genes responsible for digestion and metabolism, such as genes that code for cholesterol transport. Those changes could be due to a dramatic change in the proportion of animal versus plant-based foods that occurred in both at around the same time, the researchers said. The team also found co-evolution in several brain processes — for instance, in genes that affect the processing of the brain chemical serotonin. In humans, variations in these genes affect levels of aggression.”

How to spot a murderer’s brain“Do your genes, rather than upbringing, determine whether you will become a criminal? Adrian Raine believed so – and breaking that taboo put him on collision course with the world of science.”

Clark/Frost Domestication“Thinking about the response of the pacified and submission Roman population to barbarian invaders immediately brings to mind the response of contemporary North Americans and Atlantic Europeans to barbarian invaders. It reads just the same: ‘welcome new neighbor!’” – from henry harpending.

Ovulation and politics“‘Ovulation led single women to become more liberal, less religious, and more likely to vote for Barack Obama. In contrast, ovulation led women in committed relationships to become more conservative, more religious, and more likely to vote for Mitt Romney.’” – from mr. mangan.

The Personality and Geography of the Entrepreneur“German psychologists Martin Obschonka and colleagues…used Rentfrow’s [big five personality] data to create a measure of Entrepreneur-prone personality profile for the different states in America.” – another really cool post from staffan!

Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’“A team of researchers has come up with a list of two dozen ‘ultraconserved words’ that have survived 150 centuries. It includes some predictable entries: ‘mother,’ ‘not,’ ‘what,’ ‘to hear’ and ‘man.’ It also contains surprises: ‘to flow,’ ‘ashes’ and ‘worm.’ The existence of the long-lived words suggests there was a ‘proto-Eurasiatic’ language that was the common ancestor to about 700 contemporary languages that are the native tongues of more than half the world’s people.”

The Mating Advantage of Male Musicians: Women Find Guitars Sexy“Studies from two countries suggest women are more attracted to a man if he’s holding a guitar.” – more science proving what everybody already knows! (~_^)

More men than women harassed in the military, often by other men – from the awesome epigone.

Redheads are at increased risk of skin cancer even if they DON’T spend time in the sun

Children with Autism Hypersensitive to Motion

Privacy protections: The genome hacker“Yaniv Erlich shows how research participants can be identified from ‘anonymous’ DNA.”

Tajikistan to Ban Cousin Marriage“Formal prohibition unlikely to stamp out widespread tradition.” – h/t anatoly!

Tutankhamun’s death and the birth of monotheism

bonus: USG Pushing Unconstitutional College Speech Codes“The government which rules over Americans is trying to further reduce free speech on college campuses…. Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind, sees this new federal mandate as a threat to the ability to teach the truth about human nature.” – from parapundit.

bonus bonus: Could Lighning Come from Space? – that would be FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!

bonus bonus bonus: from the u.k. – Former minister admits Labour deliberately engineered mass immigration and A fifth of murder and rape suspects born abroad, shock survey finds.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Immigrant workers undermine wage growth“Immigrant workers, mainly from other Nordic countries, have a negative effect on the pay checks of Norwegian employees. Workers with minimal skills and little experience are the most vulnerable.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: First land animals kept their fish faces

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Genome shows macaw is one smart bird

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Study: Plants communicate with each other via underground fungi

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gonna need more knife control … in china:

“Not Just Sandy Hook: China’s Terrifying Knife Attacks”

“In a grim coincidence, a 36-year-old man rampaged through a Chinese elementary school with a knife on Dec. 14, the very same day as the horrific attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which killed 20 students.

“The Chinese knife attack wounded 22 kids and an 85-year-old woman at Chenpeng village in the southern province of Guangxi. (Gun ownership is tightly controlled in China, where mass attacks usually involve men with a knife, cleaver, or machete….)”

see also: Newtown, Gun Control, And The MSM’s Continuing Ability To Shape The Narrative

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“A man has a right to defend his family.”William Anderson ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield [Albion's Seed]

that’s ‘devil anse’ there in the second row — sitting down, second from the left, long beard and shotgun in his hand.

i haven’t seen the show (yet) about america’s most famous family feud in which something like eleven people were killed — i count 9 to 2 with the hatfields in the lead (i.e. nine mccoys dead and only two hatfields) — but judging from the traffic over the last two days, a lot of people have!

the mccoys are/were scotch-irish and hatfield is an anglo-saxon name, probably from up yorkshire way. in Albion’s Seed, david hackett fischer describes how the settlers of appalachia were scotch-irish, or came from the border areas between england and scotland, and all had a unique culture with a long history based on extended families and clans and traditions of cattle raiding and battles between clans, traditions that they brought to the united states with them. from Albion’s Seed [links added by me]:

“Backcountry Family Ways: Border Ideas of Clan and Kin

“From the perspective of an individual within this culture, the structure of the family tended to be a set of concentric rings, in which the outermost circles were thicker and stronger than among other English-speaking people. Beyond the nuclear core, beyond even the extended circle, there were two rings which were unique to this culture. One was called the derbfine. It encompassed all kin within the span of four generations. For many centuries, the laws of North Britain and Ireland had recognized the derbfine as a unit which defined the descent of property and power. It not only connected one nuclear family to another, but also joined one generation to the next.

“Beyond the derbfine lay a larger ring of kinship which was called the clan in North Britain. We think of clans today mainly in connection with the Scottish Highlands. But they also existed in the lowlands, northern Ireland and England’s border counties where they were a highly effective adaptation to a world of violence and chronic insecurity.

“The clans of the border were not precisely the same as those of the Scottish Highlands, and very different from the Victorian contrivances of our own time. They had no formal councils, tartans, sporrans, bonnets or septs. But they were clannish in the most fundamental sense: a group of related families who lived near to one another, were conscious of a common identity, carried the same surname, claimed descent from common ancestors and banded together when danger threatened.

“Some of these border clans were very formidable. The Armstrongs, one of the largest clans on the Cumbrian border in the sixteenth century, were reputed to be able to field 3,000 mounted men, and were much feared by their neighbors. The Grahams held thirteen towers on the western border in 1552, and bid defiance to their foes. The Rutherfords and Halls were so violent that royal officials in 1598 ordered no quarter to be given to anyone of those names. The Johnston-Johnson clan adorned their houses with the flayed skins of their enemies the Maxwells in a blood feud that continued for many generations.

“These North British border clans tended to settle together in the American backcountry….”
_____

i posted previously on how the border clans probably praciticed some form of inbreeding or endogamous mating (like the irish perhaps) and that that’s why they were clannish in nature. hackett fischer backs me up on that with an example from northern england — and inbreeding/endogamous mating certainly happened in appalachia:

In many cases the husband and wife both came from the same clan. In the Cumbrian parish of Hawkshead, for example, both the bride and groom bore the same last names in 25 percent of all marriages from 1568 to 1704. Marriages in the backcountry, like those on the borders, also occurred very frequently between kin….

“These clans fostered an exceptionally strong sense of loyalty, which a modern sociologist has called ‘amoral familism,’ from the ethical perspective of his own historical moment. In its own time and place, it was not amoral at all, but a moral order of another kind, which recognized a special sense of obligation to kin. That imperative was a way of dealing with a world where violence and disorder were endemic. Long after it had lost its reason for being, family loyalty retained its power in the American backcountry.

“An example was the persistence of the family feud, which continued for many centuries in the southern highlands. These feuds flowed from the fact that families in the borderlands and back-country were given moral properties which belonged mainly to individuals in other English-speaking cultures. Chief among them were the attributes of honor and shame. When one man forfeited honor in the backcountry, the entire clan was diminished by his loss. When one woman was seduced and abandoned, all her ‘menfolk’ shared the humiliation. The feuds of the border and the backcountry rose mainly from this fact. When ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield was asked to explain why he had murdered so many McCoys, he answered simply, ‘A man has a right to defend his family.’ And when he spoke of his family, he meant all Hatfields and their kin. This backcountry folkway was strikingly similar to the customs of the borderers.

“Historians of a materialist persuasion have suggested that the feud was a modern invention in the southern highlands. One has called it a ‘response to industrialism.’ Another has interpreted it as the product of changes in the means of production. These modern processes would indeed provide many occasions for feuds. But they were not the cause of the feuding itself, which had deeper cultural roots. Other historians have argued that southern feuds were mainly a legacy of the Civil War. But feuds occurred in the backcountry before 1861. They were part of the brutal violence of the American Revolution in the backcountry. Strong continuities in family feuding may be traced from the borders of North Britain to the American backcountry — a pattern that persisted throughout the southern highlands even into the twentieth century.
_____

people become clannish or tribal when they marry/mate closely repeatedly over generations. if you want to understand, and perhaps get rid of, clans and family feuds and killings in the name of family honor, then you have to understand/get rid of the close marriages.

an interesting note about the mccoy clan (via wikipedia):

“Hatfield-McCoy feud blamed on ‘rage’ disease

“Rare, genetic condition may have fueled violent tempers across generations

“The most infamous feud in American folklore, the long-running battle between the Hatfields and McCoys, may be partly explained by a rare, inherited disease that can lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.

“Dozens of McCoy descendants apparently have the disease, which causes high blood pressure, racing hearts, severe headaches and too much adrenaline and other ‘fight or flight’ stress hormones.

“No one blames the whole feud on this, but doctors say it could help explain some of the clan’s notorious behavior….

“Von Hippel-Lindau disease, which afflicts many family members, can cause tumors in the eyes, ears, pancreas, kidney, brain and spine. Roughly three-fourths of the affected McCoys have pheochromocytomas — tumors of the adrenal gland.

“The small, bubbly-looking orange adrenal gland sits atop each kidney and makes adrenaline and substances called catecholamines. Too much can cause high blood pressure, pounding headaches, heart palpitations, facial flushing, nausea and vomiting. There is no cure for the disease, but removing the tumors before they turn cancerous can improve survival.

“Affected family members have long been known to be combative, even with their kin. Reynolds recalled her grandfather, ‘Smallwood’ McCoy.

“‘When he would come to visit, everyone would run and hide. They acted like they were scared to death of him. He had a really bad temper,’ she said….”

previously: “culture” of honor and traditional family systems in medieval britain and ireland and start here

(note: comments do not require an email. the mccoys.)

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