updates

fyi – i occasionally make updates to some posts (you’ll find them @the bottom of posts — with a date if the update happened on a day subsequent to the post). if a post has fallen off the front page, then i post a little notice down below in the left-hand column under (cleverly named) “Updates” — just under “Recent Posts.” just left one there now, for example.

teh onion is funny

Government Official Who Makes Perfectly Valid, Well-Reasoned Point Against Israel Forced To Resign

“WASHINGTON—State Department diplomat Nelson Milstrand, who appeared on CNN last week and offered an informed, thoughtful analysis implying that Israel could perhaps exercise more restraint toward Palestinian moderates in disputed territories, was asked to resign Tuesday…. [Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said,] ‘U.S. policy toward Israel continues to be one of unconditional support and fawning sycophancy.’ Milstrand, 63, will reportedly appear at an AIPAC conference to offer a full apology as soon as his trial concludes and his divorce is finalized.”

heh.

via.

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father’s brother’s daughter marriage

or fbd marriage (or patrilateral parallel cousin marriage). i mentioned this before (and i’m sure i’ll mention it again).

cousin marriage is pretty common in the world. but most peoples prefer to marry their cross cousins, i.e. (from the point-of-view of a son) father’s sister’s daughter or mother’s brother’s daughter.

however, a few groups of peoples preferentially follow the fbd system. korotayev (2000) convincingly showed that those peoples are mostly to be found in those areas of the world that were a part of the eighth century islamic caliphate. or, here:

he said (in that same article):

“Islamic law does not prohibit FBD marriage, nor does it impose (or even recommend) it (Schacht 1964; al-Jazi:ri: 1990:60-61). But most traditional cultures have a clear perception that marriage between a man and his FBD is incestuous. This is evident in the fact that in most languages a kinship term for FBD (or MSD) would be identical with a kinship term for one’s sister. This normally implies that marriage with a FBD (or MSD) would be perceived as equivalent to marriage with a sister (Korotayev 1999). There appears to be something here that Kronenfeld (pers. comm.) called a ‘cognitive problem’….”

i think fbd marriage is considered incestuous by most peoples because it creates strongly endogamous lineages. look here — here’s fbd marriage versus fzd (father’s sister’s daughter) marriage. look what happens: in fbd marriage, the men and the women all stay within the same clan. that’s hyper-endogamy if you ask me. in fzd marriage, in contrast, the women move between clans. (the straight lines are men, the dotted lines are women, and the big dots are, well, the union of a man and woman.)

continuing with korotayev, where on earth did fbd marriage come from?:

“At the time of its origin, FBD marriage had nothing to do with Islam. The cognitive problem solution seems to have occurred somewhere in the Syro-Palestine region well before the birth of Christ. Rodionov (1999) has recently drawn attention to the fact that this marriage pattern is widespread in the non-Islamic cultures of this area (e.g., Maronites or Druze) and that it has considerable functional value in this non-Islamic context in facilitating the division of property among brothers after their father’s death (Rodionov 1999). Like Rodionov (1999), I believe that this marriage pattern could hardly be attributed to Islamic or Arab influence here. It seems, rather, that this marriage pattern in the Islamic world and the non-Islamic Syro-Palestinian cultures stems from the same source.

“But prior to the time of Islam, the diffusion of the FBD marriage pattern was rather limited. The only adjacent area where it diffused widely was the Arabian Peninsula (Negrja 1981; Kudelin 1994), where its diffusion can be linked with a considerable Jewish influence in the area well before Islam (Crone 1987; Korotayev 1996; Korotayev, Klimenko, and Proussakov 1999). In any case, by the seventh century, preferential parallel-cousin marriage became quite common among several important Arab tribes (Negrja 1981; Kudelin 1994). In the seventh and eighth centuries, an explosive diffusion of this pattern took place when Arab tribes, backed by Islam, spread throughout the whole of the Omayyid Khalifate. Although preferential parallel-cousin marriage diffused (together with Islam and Arabs) later beyond the borders of the Omayyid Khalifate, the extent of this diffusion was very limited. Hence, the present distribution of FBD marriage was essentially created by the Muslim Arab conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries….”

interesting, huh?

i mentioned over here that i thought the practice should really be called father’s brother’s son marriage — not ’cause i’m a raving feminst who wants everything to be considered from the point-of-view of women (you should know me better than that by now!) — but, rather, because it seems to me to be the father-of-the-bride [“C” in chart below] who really wins out here genetically speaking (which is all that matters, right?). the father-of-the-bride gets to “reunite” his y-chromosome (that he shares with his nephew, his brother’s son) with a quarter of his autosomal dna (his daughter carries half of his autosomal dna) in any male grandkids that he has. what other grandfather gets to do that?:

so what?, you say. here’s what, says i (i.e. relatedness matters).

i also think it’s not a coincidence that, in these societies where fbd marriage exists, you also get these extremely paternalistic societies where women are shrouded in burkas or aren’t allowed to drive or whatever. also, the whole honor killing thing. like rs said here, the males in such societies become “super homies” with each other. exactly! why? ’cause they are really closely related genetically.

i suspect that both the degree and type of genetic relatedness in a society affect all sorts of behaviors of its members (especially those related to reproduction) as well as societal norms and even ideologies (again, especially those related to reproduction).

emmanuel todd seems to have gotten close to this idea as well, although i don’t think he got the genetic side of it (i haven’t actually gotten my hands on a copy of this book yet — gosh-d*rnit!). here’s a blurb about his book, “The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structure and Social Systems (Family, Sexuality and Social Relations in Past Times)”:

“Some parts of the world are dominated by communism, others by Catholicism or by Islam and yet others by liberal doctrines. Why should this be? And why has communism triumphed in Russia, China and Cuba, yet failed in Poland, Cambodia and Indonesia? No one knows. Certainly no clear answer lies in variation of climate, environment, race or, even, economic development. The argument of this book is that world variations in social ideology and belief are conditioned by family structure. The author analyzes the distribution of family forms throughout the world, and examines the relations between particular structures, and (for example) communism, totalitarianism and individualism, as well as the links between these forms and a variety of social phenomena – illegitimacy, suicide, infanticide, marital stability and inheritance laws. He offers evidence to support the belief that family structures and kinship patterns lie behind the ideologies that have shaped the history of the 20th century.”

yes, kinship patterns. and what do kinship patterns reflect? mating patterns.

here’s a little hint at what todd had to say about kinship patterns in the once-part-of-the-caliphate muslim world from a helpful reviewer:

“Endogamous Community Family:
a. Spouse selection: Custom, frequent marriage between the children of brothers.
b. Inheritance: Egalitarian – equality between brothers.
c. Family Home: cohabitation of married sons with their parents.
d. Representative Nations, Peoples, Regions: Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan.
e. Representative Ideology: Islam.”

it’s not the family structure that matters, it’s the mating patterns i say.

relatedness matters. a LOT, i think.

previously: cousin marriage conundrum addendum and all cousins are not created equal

edit – a nifty diagram of father’s sister’s daughter (fzd) marriage:

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boilerplate

everything is biology. how we look. how we behave. how we think. how we feel. these characteristics are affected by our genomes (nature). they are also affected by the evironment (nurture, epigenetics).

humans are products of biology. we’re organisms existing in environments.

some people say that genes only code for proteins. yes, that’s true(-ish). but organisms are built of proteins, and those proteins (and the amounts and their arrangements) that you happen to be made of clearly must affect what you are like. therefore, genes affect what you are like (since they coded for the proteins).

human cultures are emergent properties of the characteristics of groups of humans. in other words, human cultures are also emergent properties of biology, since humans are biological organisms (are there any other kind?). however, there are also “accidental” aspects to cultures that are contingent upon the environments in which the groups exist as well as some goofy mechanisms like cultural exchange (which is really just an element of a group’s environment, isn’t it?).

note that there are feedback mechanisms in all directions here: genes affect human behavior may affect environment which may in turn affect genes again. or, genes affect human behavior affects culture may effect genes again.

update 10/27: see also boilerplate 2.0

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hbd chick heartless and uncaring (or, what to do about haiti?)

on a recent post where i said i couldn’t understand why someone (a white woman, in fact) would want to live on a violent and dangerous caribbean island, one commenter suggested that i, basically, have no heart:

“hbd It is called wanting to make the world a better place for your children and for your children’s peers. I appreciate that you don’t understand that mindset.”

i’m not heartless — of course i want to make the world a better place — for everybody — i just have different ideas about how to solve the world’s problems than swpl people.

the same commenter asked how i suggest we help haiti. well, i’ve thought about that a bit.

first of all, i don’t understand why we have to help haiti. (ok, so maybe i am heartless and uncaring.) seriously — i believe that charity does begin at home and we have plenty of homeless and hungry people right here in this country that need help. we don’t have to go to all sorts of far-flung corners of the world just to prove how good we are. and, lest someone out there thinks i mean we should only be helping po’ white trash — no, i mean we should be helping all american citizens who need it. immigrants? well, they can head home if they need assistance.

haiti’s been an independent nation since — what? — 1804 or something like that. why don’t they sort out their own problems for themselves? okay, okay — so we occupied the place for a couple of decades starting in 1915 — but we’ve been outta there since 1934. i think that’s plenty of time for the haitians to have sorted out most of their problems.

but, if we must help the haitians, i do have a couple of suggestions:

1) NO financial aid. zero, zip, zilch. at least none given to any papa docs or baby docs or ANY leader of the country. we have plenty of experience in handing out financial aid to african peoples and it’s always been a disaster. african economists agree with me on this one. if anything, one of those micro-financing systems ought to be set up in the country where individuals get small loans to improve their farms or small businesses or whatever. NO CASH TO LEADERS.

2) no assistance whatsoever would be given until the haitians get their birth rates under control. the country is waaaay over-populated — i don’t think they can feed themselves (isn’t it haiti where people eat dirt cakes? i can’t remember.). they need to do like the chinese and have a one-child — or, at least, a two-child — policy for a generation or two. i repeat, NO ASSISTANCE WHATSOEVER until birth rates are under control (or they agree to work on that with our help). you can’t continue feeding people and letting them have tons of babies which we will then have to feed in turn. that is just exacerbating their problems. frankly, it’s cruel.

3) they (and all sorts of other poor people around the world for that matter) need to get their priorities straight. you don’t get aid if you spend whatever money you do have on luxury items before food and clothing and healthcare and education for your kids. that is a no brainer, afaiac.

4) they obviously need help with healthcare and education. i say send in the missionaries to sort those problems out. and i don’t mean some “tolerant” presbyterians (or peace corps volunteers) who think all peoples are just the same. i mean send in some hellfire-and-brimstone catholic nuns (if there’s any of that sort left in the world) or some hard-core evangelical preachers. someone who, while building and running hospitals and schools, will also put the fear of god into the haitians. ’cause they need it. maybe that will help to sort out the crime rates, too. (of course, being lifted out of poverty ought to alleviate some of those problems.)

those are my few modest proposals. fixing haiti is a tall order and these four points won’t do it, i’m sure. i don’t have all the answers, but swpl people DEFINITELY don’t since they base their ideas about humans on wishful thinking not reality. that’ll getcha nowhere reeeeeal fast.

edit: 5) maybe we should also encourage some haitians to take senegal president, abdoulaye wade, up on his offer to let haitians settle back in his country — if that offer still stands, that is. that could alleviate some of the population problems on haiti itself.

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