linkfest – 1/30/11

Individuals differ in the attentional blink: Mental speed and intra-subject stability matter via inductivist

God may work in mysterious ways–but cognitive science is getting a handle on them

Men More Likely to Stick With Girlfriends Who Sleep With Other Women Than Other Men via diversityischaos

An Argument for “Astrology” @hailtoyou

Women, the Big Five, and feeling sexual pleasure @inductivist

Ancient Tools May Mark Earlier Path Out of Africa

retarded teenagers

i’m with parapundit on this one:

“As part of a rant about a double standard with regard to child pornography where movies and TV shows produced by large corporations can portray very sexualized teenagers Ferdinand Bardamu points out children are entering into puberty about 4-5 years sooner than they used to be. Where he gets it wrong is by arguing those kids are ready to handle their sexuality at the age of 12 or 13…. My take: The early puberty is a recent development that teens are not ready to handle. Sexual development should be delayed in order to give kids time to grow up and to avoid the cost for the rest of us that come from teen pregnancies.”

humans are probably not adults until well into their 30s and 40s (explains a LOT, doesn’t it?). there’s no way 12 and 13 year olds are “clearly capable of taking on adult responsibilities at younger ages” as f. bardamu says. just ’cause they’re hitting puberty at a younger age does not mean they’re capable of taking on adult responsibilities like raising kids properly. they’re just capable of reproducing, that’s all.

in fact, i’ve long thought that the discrepancy between age of puberty and age of brain maturity was kinda funny. it’s off. by a long shot.

i’d bet anyone a brewski that this has actually been selected for. i.e. being “retarded” has meant a greater number of kids than there would’ve been otherwise. no sense + a strong sexual drive (like most teenagers) = greater number of offspring than if u had sense. you know, just like how low iq folks have more kids than high iq folks.

natural selection in action, my friends.

a separate point that f. bardamu makes is:

“There. I admit it. I’m a sicko who gets off on underage girls.”

i presume he’s not talking about 6 year olds (pedophilia) but, rather, 16 (ephebophilia) or even 14 year olds (hebephilia) and that, obviously, is perfectly natural and makes sense. wouldn’t throw you in jail for that, f.b.! (~_^) (btw – olivia hussey was 17 or 18 in that fantastic version of “romeo & juliet” – not 13, of course.)

which came first?

(the culture or the biology?)

so, some researchers found a rare variation of the 5-HT2B gene in finns that correlates strongly with violent, impulsive behavior. (see @gnxp: “hotheads by nature”)

which brought to my mind this paper by richerson and boyd: “Culture is Part of Human Biology: Why the Superorganic Concept Serves the Human Sciences Badly.”

in it, the researchers, referring to cohen & nisbett’s work, have this to say…

“Rates of violence in the American South have long been much greater than in the North. Accounts of duels, feuds, bushwhackings, and lynchings occur prominently in visitors’ accounts, newspaper articles, and autobiography from the 18th Century onward. According to crime statistics these differences persist today. In their book, Culture of Honor, Richard Nisbett and Dov Cohen (1996) argue that the South is more violent than the North because Southerners have different, culturally acquired beliefs about personal honor than Northerners. The South was disproportionately settled by Protestant Scotch-Irish, people with an animal herding background, whereas Northern settlers were English, German and Dutch peasant farmers….

“Their [Cohen & Nisbett] laboratory experiments are most relevant to our argument here. Cohen and Nisbett recruited subjects with Northern and Southern backgrounds from the University of Michigan student body, ostensibly to work on an psychological task dealing with perception. During the experiment, a confederate bumped some subjects and muttered ‘asshole’ at them. Cortisol (a stress hormone) and testosterone (rises in preparation for violence) were measured before and after the insult. Insulted Southerners showed big jumps in both cortisol and testosterone compared to uninsulted Southerners and insulted Northerners….”

…and then richerson & boyd go on to say…

“Nisbett and Cohen’s study illustrates the two main points we want to make in this essay.
– Culture is fundamental to understanding human behavior.
– Culture causes behavior by causing changes in our biology.”

yeah. sure. terrific.

but what if, also, our biology causes human behaviors which collectively become human culture(s).

i mean, in cohen & nisbitt’s study, there’s cortisol and testosterone levels going up. that sounds like biology to me!

personality is heritable. so is intelligence. what if different frequencies of whatever genes (alleles) it is that contribute to, say, flying off the handle happen to be more common in protestant scotch-irish people than in the english, german or dutch? couldn’t that account for why the culture of the american south is more violent?

i’m sure that there’s constant feedback here between our biology(ies) and our culture(s), but how come researchers never even bother to ask the sort of question i’m asking here? seems kinda, you know, obvious.

see also: Warrior gene prevalent in Maori: study

previously: extraversion and culture

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bunch o’ gelotophobes! (*snicker*)

via gov, a danish researcher, martin führ, has found that danish people are the least likely to give a f*ck if u make fun of them, while people in the middle east are the most likely to blow themselves up in retaliation to your lame jokes to be weally, weally offended (don’t make fun of allah, allah-d*mn you!).

here’s a google translation re. his findings:

“Humor Researcher and psychologist Martin Fuhr from Aalborg University have studied how sensitive the Danes is for others scorn. He has done so by measuring a particular social phobia, called gelotofobi, which means that they fear others’ ridicule and consider it humiliating. According to Martin Fuhrer study is 1.67 percent of Danes gelotofobe to a slight degree. In comparison, between 11 and 13 percent of British, Germans and Spaniards gelotofobe and in Asia and the Middle East is the figure as high as one in six and one third of citizens. So Denmark is one of the nations of the world which are least gelotofobisk.”

also, a google translation of a related article in a danish newspaper.

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on sarrazin on the bbc

i listened to this beeb program (via dennis – thnx, dennis!) — Thilo Sarrazin live in Berlin (2 days remaining in which to listen to it) — and i thought sarrazin sounded much more well informed on biology|genetics than any news articles about him had suggested. (most news stories i saw talked about how he said there was a “jewish gene.” i’m sure now, after listening to him speak on this program, that he doesn’t think that. he clearly understands alleles and frequencies of alleles in different populations, etc., etc.)

what was really irritating — besides the self-parody-like political correctness of the bbc host and the retardness of most of the callers — was the fact that the host was completely unable, or completely unwilling, to understand what sarrazin was saying about alleles. unfortunately, sarrazin never actually used the word allele during the discussion. that might’ve helped. even if the host|listeners had no idea what an allele was, it might’ve (might’ve) helped sarrazin to explain to them that different populations have different frequencies of different variations of genes.

the host “framed the discussion” by saying that he didn’t believe that some groups, like ashkenazi jews, had certain “genes for intelligence” while other groups, like turkish kurds, did not. the host was trying to claim — and i think he, unfortunately, succeeded in making it seem — that sarrazin believed that kurds were lacking certain “genes for intelligence” altogether.

that’s obviously not what sarrazin meant. he tried to illustrate his point by saying that we all, for example, have genes for height, but some of us are short while others are tall. in other words, some of us have the “alleles for short” while others have the “alleles for tall” (all else being equal, of course).

it didn’t sink in. probably because the beeb host didn’t want it to.

the beeb host, in his pc-ignorance, also dismissed differences in iq between different groups just by saying in an offhand manner that “those ideas went out of fashion 60 years ago” (or words to that effect).


oh, to be pc-ignorant.

the other funny part was when sarrazin said he was a little frustrated when, during discussions of his book, he experienced many people arguing on the basis of their emotions rather than the facts, he being interested in the facts. then, a turkish-german woman called in to respond|discuss the point with him, and she was sooooo emotional! and sarrazin remained calm and just reiterated the facts. it was an amusing illustration of the bio-cultural differences between germans and turks, and pretty much made his point perfectly. (~_^)

previously: say it ain’t so, thilo!

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linkfest – 01/23/11

Mammoth ‘could be reborn in four years’

Average IQ by occupation (estimated from median income) – by mr. audacious

Roman rise and fall ‘recorded in trees’“An extensive study of tree growth rings says there could be a link between the rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe’s climate.”

Dieting while pregnant can lower your baby’s IQ – (duh)

Religiosity and the origins of civilization – @evo and proud – “The causes of civilization are not to be found in early art, writing, or architecture. These are merely the consequences of a preceding mental revolution.”

Best friends forever: It’s all in our genes, say scientists – genetic similarity theory. see also Brain Genes Influence Friend Choices @futurepundit.

Blood group O ‘protects against heart attacks’

Watch out feminists: Why acting like a man at work won’t get you promoted at work

White ethnic groups more likely to vote Republican than whites in general and More on ethnicity and voting among whites from inductivist. “Americans of English/Welsh, Dutch, and German descent are significantly more likely to vote Republican, compared to other whites.”

Dumb Farmers @overcoming bias. see also If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

Miscellaneous musings on the Ainu, I @ahnenkult. via race|hist|evo notes.

Worm Sperm“Sperm built to resist being sucked out after copulation.” see also The sexual battles of flatworms: barbed sperm, mating rings, traumatic insemination, and going down on yourself

9,000 Years Ago, North Americans Tamed–and Ate–Dogs