inbreeding in europe’s periphery

so, we’ve seen that, starting in the early medieval period, the church and tptb put the brakes on inbreeding in europe. by the eleventh century, you weren’t allowed to marry even your sixth cousin (although this was knocked back to fourth cousin in the following century). most of this happened in the heart of europe, starting in frankish territory and spreading outwards through what is today france, germany, england, northern italy and northern spain, plus at least parts of scandinavia.

but what about the more peripheral regions of europe? what happened in places like the iberian peninsula and sicily and the balkans? russia and slavic countries east of the hajnal line? ireland and scotland? things didn’t play out in those regions like in the core of europe. let’s start with what happened in … (*hbd chick throws dart at map*) … ireland.

in pre-christian ireland [pg. 289]:

“Although … as in the rest of early Europe, there were no hard and fast rules governing the choice of marriage partner (other than a taboo on primary incest), there was a preference for marriage between close kin (in-marriage), and for matches between children of fathers of equal rank (isogamy).”

not a big surprise there. the christian church, as per usual, tried to put a stop to in-marriage in ireland like they did elsewhere, but without much success [pg. 291]:

“Connected to the practice of dowering women was the preference for marriage with close kin; this tended to conserve property within the fine [paternal kin], or between pairs of fine branches that repeatedly intermarried. Clerical complaints offer indirect testimony to the Irish preference for canonically ‘incestuous’ marriage. The seventh-century source, the ‘Second Synod of St. Patrick’, records that the Romani — a faction of the Irish clergy advocating greater conformity to Roman Catholic practices — attempted to insist upon ‘what is observed among us, that they be separated by four degrees’, i.e. that men should not marry their first cousins (the fourth degree kinswoman). The nativists protested that they had ‘never seen nor read’ such a rule.

Again, in the eleventh century, churchmen singled out tolerance of ‘incest’ (marriage of kin) as a major fault of the Irish church. Such laxity was a scandal to Canterbury in the later middle ages, not only in cases involving famous families, but apparently amongst the general population. So weak were the sanctions against in-marriage, that incidents are recorded in which men were sexually involved with aunts and nieces — not in covert relationships, but marriages for which the parties tried to gain sanction and blessing. Even in the law tracts there survives a hint that Roman Catholic complaints were not without foundation, for Corus Bescna [one of the brehon law tracts] asks:

“‘What is the corus fheini? (laws of the farmers) Joint-plowing, marriage, giving in charge, lending … (Commentary) marriage — the daughter of each to the other, i.e., to such as one as is not cursed by the patron saint of the land.’

“A curse from the local saint could be incurred on a large number of grounds, such as associating with the various categories of society tainted with paganism, not paying one’s tithes, or simply belonging to a hostile group. The point is that a neighbor, even a close kinsman, was preferred as a husband because his exact social position was well-known — a sentiment shared by the Welsh and expressed in the proverb, ‘marry in the kin and fight the feud afar.‘”

so, even by the eleventh century, close-relative marriage was still the way to go in ireland — and not just cousin marriage, but even closer (genetically speaking) uncle-niece and aunt-nephew marriages. that’s very different from what was happening on the continent at the same time.

the normans tried to put a stop to the inbreeding practices in ireland; but they actually went native after a century or two and adopted a lot of the local irish laws and practices, so i’m not sure how successful they were at eliminating close-relative marriage in ireland. i don’t think they can have had much luck (o’ the irish), because as goody points out [pg. 16]:

“In the period of the classical civilisations, forms of clan organisation apper to have existed right round the Mediterranean, as it still does among the pastoral peoples of North Africa and some hill tribes of the Balkans, and in very residual forms in Ireland and Scotland.”

very residual forms of clans still exist in ireland (and scotland) because in-marriage practices must’ve existed until quite recently.

mitterauer discusses at some length how the medieval irish also did not adopt the new agrarian practices that peoples on mainland europe did, but rather stuck mostly to cattle herding [pg. 10]:

“There were also strong contrasts in the extreme northwest of the continent, in the British Isles. Whereas in England, parallels with agrarian developments in France could be found early on, particularly in its fertile southeast, the situations in Ireland and Scotland were vastly different. In England, wheat and barley had predominated in Roman times, but rye and oats had also been introduced, possibly to supply the army. These two grains subsequently brought about the expansion of agriculture onto poorer soils, thus making an important contribution to the process of cerealization. In Ireland there was no such development, even in the High Middle Ages; an animal-based economy was clearly predominant. This is reflected in the variations in social prestige among different population groups depending on whether they raised animals or farmed. Oats took pride of place in grain growing, followed by barley, wheat, and rye, with rye, the new grain for making bread, coming last.”

in addition, since the irish remained tribal or clannish (as a result of the inbreeding practices), the manorial system of mainland europe did not take hold, either.

inbreeding = tribalism/clannishness ≠ corporate structures in society [pgs. 42-3]:

“The situation in early medieval Ireland can shed light on the inter-connections between the predominance of cattle breeding and lordship over the land and its people. Structures analogous to the Frankish manorial system did not emerge there, but manorial forms certainly did. Irish lords distributed arable land to unfree, homeless people, the so-called fuidri….

“These patron-client relations did not generate a familia as they did on Frankish estates; social structuring was still maintained through kinship. It seems that mills and kilns were typically owned by kinship groups in common, and it was only at monasteries that these buildings were the key facilities on a manorial estate. Given that a livestock economy was dominant, these facilities were much less significant in Ireland than even the rather anemic Irish crop production. In this respect, too, there were no institutions that would enable the bipartite estate to gain a toehold. Because of these agrarian contexts and the aligning of its social structures with kinship, the organization of power developed very differently in early medieval Ireland that in the Frankish Empire. ‘Cattle lords’ and lower-level kings dominated the scene.

for “lower-level kings” read: the heads of clans or tribes.

when a society’s marriage practices are based on inbreeding, you get a nepotistic society (think daley-dynasty machine-style politics or tammany hall) because, due to inclusive fitness related drives, people favor their own more than strangers. in medieval irish society, they didn’t even manage to adopt feudalism because who on earth would swear fealty to some lord that you weren’t related to?! the whole concept prolly just didn’t make any sense to the medieval irish — because the church hadn’t managed to persuade the population to quit inbreeding.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

(note: comments do not require an email, sure and begorrah!)

44 Comments

  1. Wow, that sure explains a lot about Ireland’s issues down to the present day (my maternal grandfather came over on the boat so I can say bad things about the Irish). =)

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  2. People in 19th century England were still marrying their first cousins. Read Trollope.

    Inbreeding isn’t bad in and of itself. It maintains what is there. Ashkenazis are inbred and have the highest IQ on the planet.

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  3. @tom – “People in 19th century England were still marrying their first cousins. Read Trollope.”

    not to the same extent as what happens in clannish/tribal societies. the rate was only something like 3.5% of middle-class marriages in england.

    @tom – “Inbreeding isn’t bad in and of itself.”

    no, it isn’t. but it does affect the way people behave towards one another (you saw my ‘inclusive fitness stuff’ post). that is the point i’m interested in.

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  4. @polynices – “Wow, that sure explains a lot about Ireland’s issues down to the present day….”

    i think it does! at least partially, anyway. relatedness isn’t everything (there’s iq and personality and all that other stuff) — but the degree and type of relatedness in a society does matter.

    i think the fact that the other peripheral parts of europe also failed to get rid of inbreeding the way that the core did explains why those areas are also comparatively dysfunctional: portugal, italy, greece, spain … hmmmmm. now where have i heard that list before…?

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  5. ” let’s start with what happened in … (*hbd chick throws dart at map*) … ireland.”

    HOOOOOORAYYYY!

    “mitterauer discusses at some length how the medieval irish also did not adopt the new agrarian practices that peoples on mainland europe did, but rather stuck mostly to cattle herding [pg. 10]:”

    Which explains what I always tell people “my favorite vegetable is….MEAT. It’s preprocessed, digested, condensed, energized and ready to eat in convenient little pacakges…”

    “In Ireland there was no such development, even in the High Middle Ages; an animal-based economy was clearly predominant. ”

    Which explains why we totally kicked Roman tucuous all the way back to whence they came. AND why it took the Anglos something like three million and eight hundred thousand years to “conquer” us. (And that was when we were LETTING them so that we had an excuse to breed the fugliness out of them..I mean you ever SEE an Anglo? By the gods no wonder they were always trying to wander, just to get away from each other…)

    “inbreeding = tribalism/clannishness ≠ corporate structures in society [pgs. 42-3]:”

    So that might be the solution then to eliminating government controls.

    “the whole concept prolly just didn’t make any sense to the medieval irish — because the church hadn’t managed to persuade the population to quit inbreeding.”

    Or convince them to stop worshiping in the old ways, practicing homosexuality, polygamy, Sila na Gig’ing (ok don’t have a name for the practice so that’s what you get…) and all sorts of other very anti-authoritarian practices. In any case this post is funny because I have a real afinity for the Irish and their form of Natural Law. In particular it’s interesting just how we being a Cattle culture lead to so few controls. It also probably made the men really full of protein to totally kick Scottish Arse when those big guys
    tried to invade. And though I just said that in jest I do wonder the results of so much protein in the diets of persons as a remedy against invaders…

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  6. Actually, Ashkenazi have normal homozygosity.

    English might have been paying somewhat reduced attention to their obligations under canon law in the 19th century, compared to the 18th and 17th, not to speak of the 13th. It’s easy to underrate the amount of agnosticism in France-England-Germany at the time – at least I often do so despite knowing Voltaire’s approximate dates, or have done, and then felt surprised when I get a strong indication of it. Of course this would be much less true in America or Russia. Nietzsche felt in the 1870s and 80s that a huge fraction of educated Germans and French were not very serious at all, perfunctory churchgoers if anything. He found matters different in Italy.

    While I’m sure agnosticism was much more advanced in France than England, the German situation might’ve been about the same as the English one.

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  7. I’m guessing that besides Ireland, clannishness and cousin-marriage survived in Scotland (the Clans), southern Italy (mafia families?), and Albania.

    (BTW, are mafia families known to be inbred?)

    Looking forward to finding out who the inbreeders are as the series continues…

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  8. @rs – “Actually, Ashkenazi have normal homozygosity.”

    interestingly — and i don’t know any more about it than this one brief quote — jews in europe also seem to have picked up on the “don’t marry your cousin” meme during the middle ages (from mitterauer again):

    “We find it difficult to comprehend today just how preoccupied the era was with the fear of incest — and not only in the various Christian churches but in Jewish circles as well….”

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  9. @harmonious jim – “I’m guessing that besides Ireland, clannishness and cousin-marriage survived in Scotland (the Clans), southern Italy (mafia families?), and Albania.”

    yeah, that’s pretty much the list! also, lots o’ endogamous practices on the iberian peninsula (remember, they were under muslim rule for a large part of the medieval period, and muslims aren’t exactly opposed to cousin marriage). i think there’s more groups in the balkans, too, but i don’t really know at this point (got more reading to do!)

    interesting question about mafia families specifically. dunno! and i’d be kinda afraid to ask them…. (~_^)

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  10. > And though I just said that in jest I do wonder the results of so much protein in the diets of persons as a remedy against invaders…

    Yeah, that’s the going theory.

    While the Romans managed decently in the North even so, they definitely found Nords to be huge. I don’t know if it’s protein (or particular amino acids) in specific, but the leading theory today is that this reflected mixed animal economy vs an economy of almost all cereals. I can imagine it might also reflect more violence and/or disease, which pull you away from the malthusian red zone.

    It must have sucked to fight much larger men. In spite of whatever advantages they might have had – not sure who might have lacked it, but the pilum seems a nasty little invention – I assume they just had to accept unfavorable kill ratios most of the time, and cable Rome for more reinforcements.

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  11. @aoirthoir – “In particular it’s interesting just how we being a Cattle culture lead to so few controls.”

    well, i wouldn’t say “few” controls. if you take a look at “Cattle-lords and clansmen” (which is a really interesting, altho a bit dense, read), there were lots of controls in early irish society. they were just different controls from what the normans and anglos brought.

    that sounds very hippy and pc of me, but i don’t mean it like that. trust me. there were all sorts of regulations in early irish society — the laws, for instance, stipulated that you ought to marry a clansman, whereas on mainland europe the laws were telling people they couldn’t marry clansmen. that’s the difference.

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  12. @aoirthoir – “AND why it took the Anglos something like three million and eight hundred thousand years to ‘conquer’ us.”

    i have a different view of it. what i see in the anglo-norman invasion (and eventual take-over) of ireland is that the irish were a divided society that didn’t manage to unite together to repel the invaders precisely because they were still tribal (or clannish). h*ck, mac murchada invited the anglo-normans in because he was one of these petty kings trying to regain his rule.

    really, it’s not correct of me to refer to “irish society” — it was really irish societies. there were several tribal groups in early medieval ireland — and a high king. that’s a society that is very tribally structured — local leaders reporting to kings reporting to a high king. sounds a lot like saudi arabia really!

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  13. “i thought you might enjoy it if i started with ireland. (~_^)”

    Wait, did I mention being Irish or something?

    “interesting question about mafia families specifically. dunno! and i’d be kinda afraid to ask them…. (~_^)”

    I’m not quite sure. If I recall my readings of the Mafia in Italy, they started out as hired guns (only not with guns…). More akin to an Italian version of Shogun, or that other NOT Shogun thing? Ronin? Anyhow they basically were like…I protect…you pay…

    “Yeah, that’s the going theory.”

    Really? That makes like TWO times I am right in one lifetime. I also figured we had Neanderthal DNA, I was convinced. So now this meat thing. And as it so happens I am eliminating all simple (read “feminine”) carbs from my diet and going for more MANLY things like meat, protein, and DIET COKE WITH CHERRY. (And little umbrellas too).

    But in any case since I’ve gone to a high protein diet I am almost never exhausted like I was, unless I go three or four days without sleep (happens). But now my typical 2 to 4 hours of daily sleep doesn’t bother me at all. Cause you got to have energy to fight and stuff. I’ma be back later, right now going to the lavoratory to beat my chest in the mirror, growl and then come back and paint my toes.

    “well, i wouldn’t say “few” controls… there were lots of controls in early irish society. they were just different”

    Yes and no. For instance, a blacksmith was required to wake you when he got to smithy type stuff. So you could figure that some poor sap once got all sparkly and was like OUCH. So they made a law. Then the law said he only had to try to wake you THREE times. Which tells you some OTHER poor sap was too out of it and kept sleeping no matter what. So those two are controls..but reasonable.

    However, the real trick here were what were the RESULTS of violating these controls. The vast majority were honor based. The wronged party would make accusation and the cat what they was accusin would be like, yo! Dude! I neva did that shite like eva! But, ima cool cat so ima pay yo fine. What is it? So then the other one would be like, yo I want like 2 diet cokes, a hot dog with onion (said UN YUN like in the Bayou) and like also I want like three locks of your mom’s hair cause DAYUM she be fine! So then they’d like duke it out cause he was like crosswise hittin on his mom without even askin her opinYUN (bayou accent again) and then they’d like get the diet coke and eat some french Vanilla ice cream (which is the ONLY thing they ever did right cause they don’t even get credit now for freedom fries).

    :D But you get my point. A lot of the results (read “penalties”) were victim laid fines. Sometimes pretty harsh. But you did it as a matter of honor, not out of fear.

    “that sounds very hippy and pc of me, but i don’t mean it like that. trust me.”

    Trusting a woman is like loving her. Both, dangerous acts.

    “there were all sorts of regulations in early irish society — the laws, for instance, stipulated that you ought to marry a clansman, whereas on mainland europe the laws were telling people the couldn’t marry clansmen. that’s the difference.”

    Yes. So we have the victim deciding the fine as I just mentioned and lots of other cases it’s ..idealism vs punishmentism. In addition there were ALL SORTS of constraints on individuals that had nothing in particular to do with the society or “laws”. Gaes were applicable to the individual beyond the agreed to laws. I am still in speculation if the laws were really just Gaes of their own. Squirrels had theirs, birds, the wind, rocks and so on. So I have long speculated that which Anglos (and thus those of us accursed with Anglish) call laws, the Irish might have considered Gaes (or Geis…).

    Another thing we had was Fit fir, fair play..or rightness of things or right speech…that you did what you did because it was right (Gaes). Not because doing so got you in trouble (Law). That the world just had an order of things and we all had our place in it. So you fit into that order. To not do so was simply…as perplexing as us wondering why I would stand on my hand in the pub restroom to do my bizniz…It’s not “evil” just…you wouldn’t do it.

    So it’s not to say there aren’t a lot of things you do or “restrictions” in the very real sense of the word. Gravity, restriction, the rightness of things, water flowing, restriction, fire burning vs not burning..restriction. So too in social things, its a restriction that you marry or host persons in your home or don’t murder and so on. But all not restrictions in the sense of the anglos carry you away and drop you in a hole restrictions.

    Now I know that was a bit of a ramble. I hope it makes sense though.

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  14. “really, it’s not correct of me to refer to “irish society” — it was really irish societies. there were several tribal groups in early medieval ireland”

    Correct.

    ” — and a high king.”

    We only really had a high king twice that I can think of. Brian Boru and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of course perhaps my history is a bit off and I missed one or two. But there weren’t too many that actually got to get the seat.

    “that’s a society that is very tribally structured — local leaders reporting to kings reporting to a high king. sounds a lot like saudi arabia really!”

    Except generally they didn’t report too much in a hierarchy. Any such that did exist was very very loose at best. They did however share common codes of honor (laws to the Anglos) and participated together in creating those codes and modifying them every so many years as situations warranted. Which is amazing in itself considering how loosely they were organized.

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  15. @aoirthoir – “…going for more MANLY things like meat, protein, and DIET COKE WITH CHERRY. (And little umbrellas too).”

    ok. you’re making me laugh! out loud. (^_^)

    @aoirthoir – “But in any case since I’ve gone to a high protein diet I am almost never exhausted like I was, unless I go three or four days without sleep (happens). But now my typical 2 to 4 hours of daily sleep doesn’t bother me at all.”

    actually, you sound like maybe a nap would do you good. (~_^) it’s not a requirement, tho! carry on. you’re doing fine. (^_^)

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  16. “ok. you’re making me laugh! out loud. (^_^)”

    Yes well I AM working on that insult thing. I tried with the trust and women thing and that didn’t seem to work. I’ve tried the Anglo/French thing so either you’r not of’n or you’ve something else also. I f’n hate, HATE dealing with conserves who aren’t easily offended. If this were a leftist spot I’d have already had like 6 calls for banning. NOT good for my rep people!

    “actually, there were quite a few [High Kings of Ireland].”

    “The role of High King of Ireland was primarily titular and rarely (if ever) absolute. [Except in the case of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of course, may Mhuire bless his soul.]”

    and…

    “Between 846-1022, and again from 1042–1166, kings from the leading Irish kingdoms made greater attempts to compel the rest of the island’s polity to their rule, with varying degrees of success, until the inauguration of Ruaidri Ua Conchobair (Rory O’Connor) in 1166,”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_King_of_Ireland

    “The High Kings of Ireland (Irish: Ard Rí na hÉireann) were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland. ”

    Without getting into too much of the modern politicking, the claims of this or that person being definitively Ard Ri, unquestioned and “successful” must be taken with great caution. Particularly when those claims are of Ulstermen who should be subjected to all manner of examination before their words are laid as stone. I mean for cryin’ out loud they were struck by the curse once a year wherein they would experience BIRTH PANGS. The Ulster Annals should be viewed with great dubiousness just on this fact alone. :D

    As to the Anglish claims, I immediately dismiss claims of the Crown and Parlaiment to the Irish throne. Declaring themselves owners of those estates did not make them so.

    I will examine the details of the rest of the kings another day. I have to stop though because I had to wipe away many tears just for the sheer beauty of their histories. Seeing Gaeilge names always makes me want to run around beating my chest and singing important Irish chants like YEAAAAAAAAAH! GUINNESS!!!!!!!!!! WHERE’S MY TOOTHBRUSH!?!?! and other such things.

    Thanks for the links! And the stories and stuff. This is one of the neatoest blogs I’ve read in a long time. Who knew a broad could write about blog posts entitled something other than “take back the night while I dress really skimpy then get mad at men that look at me”.

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  17. @aoirthoir – “Who knew a broad could write about blog posts entitled something other than ‘take back the night while I dress really skimpy then get mad at men that look at me’.”

    d*mn! that’s what i was gonna call tomorrow’s post. sheesh. now i gotta think of a new title….

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  18. By the Gods. I choked so hard when I saw that last comment in my email. I almost spit my dentures out from laughin’ and chokin’. As the Anglos say (or is it the Brits in this context?), that was Brilliant.

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  19. In a sense, in an population that has been isolated for a long period of time (e.g. a race) there automatically will be inbeeding.

    As Henry Harpending noted in “Kinship and Population Subdivision” (Population and Environment 24, 2002):

    Any two people of the same race or sub-race probably share the same amount of genes as a grandparent-grandchild or half-siblings. It probably doesn’t make much genetic difference whether a German marries a first cousin vs. a random ethnic German from his area.

    As Frank Salter notes:

    “Recent population-genetic research has quantified the genetic similarity
    between random members of an ethnic group as up to three
    orders of magnitude greater than that computed from
    genealogies. The kinship between random co-ethnics can exceed
    that between grandparent and grandchild. Quantifying ethnic
    kinship, whether within bands, tribes or modern ethnies, is
    theoretically significant because it is essential for developing and
    testing evolutionary theories of ethnic altruism, just as
    understanding the evolution of nepotism began with the
    quantification of kinship within families. Quantifying ethnic
    kinship is a prerequisite for eselection theory to ethnicity.”

    http://www.mankindquarterly.org/samples/SalterMQXLVIII-3.pdf

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  20. Interesting is brother-sister marriage, which Europeans have always frowned up, but which was common among nobility in the Middle East and N. Africa (e.g. Mithridates, Persians, Ptolemies, etc.).

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  21. > h*ck, mac murchada invited the anglo-normans in because he was one of these petty kings trying to regain his rule.

    I hear that is usually a bad idea. That’s what the Brythonic king did with the Anglo-Saxons c. 600, invited them as mercenaries to tangle with the Scots or proto-Scots. It didn’t go real well in the long run. I guess the Romans did similar by hiring German mercs. It’s one thing to muster fighters from Gaul, when it’s been in the empire for a while and is partly assimilated in respect of culture and ‘lifeworld’. (Eg, the Gauls syncretized their religion from Rome’s – and it sounds to me like they did it earnestly rather than pro forma.) Hiring from some completely unbowed and unassimilated barbarian group is a /whole/ nother story – also rather dubious is having sons of little-assimilated provinces run around the capital in various high-elite roles.

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  22. > Any two people of the same race or sub-race probably share the same amount of genes as a grandparent-grandchild or half-siblings. It probably doesn’t make much genetic difference whether a German marries a first cousin vs. a random ethnic German from his area.

    These are Harpending’s words? Assuming so, it’s probably foolish of me to feel like his claim is just wrong prima facie, when he stands well above me in popgen learning and very probably in mathematical intelligence – but, I do. I can well imagine that if I am French, I am about as close to a randomly-selected French as I am to a cousin of mine who is half-German. But if my first cousin and I both totally French – I think we are necessarily more related than we each are to the random average Frog.

    This from Salter is also confusing:

    > The kinship between random co-ethnics can exceed that between grandparent and grandchild.

    Sure, that /can/ happen, but how often? I mean, if you and I are two Frenchmen, who have very little in the way of recent common ancestry, we can still be quite genetically similar by chance. I imagine you could in fact be closer to me not only than my own grandchild, but even closer than my own first-degree relative. Why not? All we need to do is ‘collect’ the same alleles in the ancestral ‘funnel’ leading up to our birth, and the great majority of these alleles are ‘out there’, ‘available’ from many different sources. They aren’t new.

    Only, our being genetically closer than brothers by accident would be very rare – of all pairs of French, this would be true for only some minute fraction of them. There might need to be like 100 billion French people before such rare events could occur, or a trillion. Or who knows, maybe it only takes a million. In any case it must be quite rare so I’m not sure what Salter means by saying that it ‘can’ happen. It /can/, but it mostly doesn’t – so why does it matter? Surely what matters is the average case? What I am adapted to deal with is the average life of my particular ancestors – weighted by how many times over each one is an ancestor of mine, since most of them will be my ancestors in more than one line.

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  23. More from Salter:

    Having an estimate of ethnic kinship allows us to calculate
    the break-even point at which the personal fitness cost of ethnic
    altruism yields a counterbalancing inclusive fitness benefit to the
    ethny and hence to the actor. To paraphrase Hamilton, how
    many fellow ethnics must be saved to make an ethnic nepotist’s
    sacrifice adaptive? Is it one, or ten, or perhaps ten thousand?
    Quantitative information about ethnic kinship is necessary to
    apply Hamilton’s Rule at the level of populations.

    It turns out that ethnic kinship can be surprisingly high,
    because it is equal to the inter-group variance among
    populations, based on a derivation by Henry Harpending
    (2002), originally argued by Hamilton in an appendix to an
    early paper (Hamilton 1971, p. 89).

    http://www.mankindquarterly.org/samples/SalterMQXLVIII-3.pdf

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  24. @tom – “In a sense, in an population that has been isolated for a long period of time (e.g. a race) there automatically will be inbeeding…. Any two people of the same race or sub-race probably share the same amount of genes as a grandparent-grandchild or half-siblings. It probably doesn’t make much genetic difference whether a German marries a first cousin vs. a random ethnic German from his area.”

    i’ve seen that harpending has said this and, to be honest, i think he must be wrong.

    i don’t have the scientific or mathematical smarts to explain (properly) why it is wrong, but intuitively i can see it.

    the argument strikes me as a mini version of lewontin’s fallacy. let me explain why.

    my people come from one of the countries in the “inbred” periphery of europe and i have been back there a few times to visit (there’s still some family back in the old country). now, all the locals can spot — with a fair amount of accuracy (over chance, i’m sure) — people from different regions of the country. i don’t mean that they just recognize a stranger in the neighbor — i mean that the locals back there can say that that person is from so-and-so place. some people with an even better eye can spot what village someone is from. i’ve even gotten good at doing that for the villages nearby where my family is from — and i don’t really know anyone back there, so i’m not cheating.

    i think the genes are backing me up on this, too: Genes predict village of origin in rural Europe

    you can also just know this on an intuitive level by looking at families. familiy members look more like each other than they do to strangers of their own ethnic group.

    i’m not sure what harpending is missing here in his calculations. the fact that we inherit clusters of (linked) genes? i dunno. like i say, i’m not a scientist. (i don’t even play one on the internet!)

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  25. It is a little hard to put into words, but one way to formally illustrate it is this: ego gets /further/ relatedness or partial identity to his father through his /mother/, assuming both are French, or more specifically Breton or Rhenish or whatever. Because the mother and father have their own relatedness. And likewise he gets further relatedness to his mother via his father.

    His relatedness to his father, we may partition. Half of his genome is of course identical by descent to his father, so that’s an invariant 50% identity right there to start with. But his mother also has n% identity with the father, because on average a random Breton is n% identical with another random Breton. What value n has, depends on what population we are talking about, and in what century. But no matter how high the population’s relatedness goes – no matter high n goes – the relatedness to the father is always higher because it equals (50 + n)%. Or is it (50 + 0.5n)% ….?

    Perhaps that’s not quite the right formula. My weakness here is I’m using identity or whatever in a way not entirely clear in my mind. But the core illustration I’m making is true: the general relatedness of the population is /added/ to the ego-father identity through the /mother/, ‘after’ the identity with the father is already 50% by descent.

    If that /does/ happen to be the right formula more or less, I think it is true that the geometric /difference/ in relatedness between a first-degree relative and a random coethnic, does decline as overall relatedness among Bretons increases (and maybe so does the arithmetic difference?). The geo difference will always be positive – and, it seems(?), nontrivial – but it is not constant.

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  26. > the relatedness to the father is always higher because it equals (50 + n)%. Or is it (50 + 0.5n)% ….?

    Oh, it’s definitely the latter. Mother is n% identical to the father and ego gets half those genes – ‘half the n’ – by descent.

    So, (50 + 0.5n)%, or more pleasingly 0.50 + 0.005n, is the relatedness to each parent.

    Or if we redefine n as a fraction not a percentage, it is 0.50 + 0.5n

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  27. > This from Salter is also confusing:

    >> The kinship between random co-ethnics can exceed that between grandparent and grandchild.

    Lol I probably misread what he was saying, and/or he didn’t phrase it perfectly. He probably meant, “there can be a pop where coethnics have 0.25 identity on average”.

    I understood, “there are cases where two coethnics with little recent identity by descent, are more related than second-degree relatives in the same pop typically are”. And that’s what seemed true (I wouldn’t say it I’m certain it is), but interesting only as a bizarre curiosity.

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  28. @rs – “His relatedness to his father, we may partition. Half of his genome is of course identical by descent to his father, so that’s an invariant 50% identity right there to start with. But his mother also has n% identity with the father, because on average a random Breton is n% identical with another random Breton. What value n has, depends on what population we are talking about, and in what century.”

    exactly! couldn’t have said that better myself. actually, i couldn’t have said that at all. (~_^) but i understand it!

    and, then, the mother’s n% identity with the father (also) depends on if they are members of the same family or not, i.e. if they are brother & sister, first-cousins, fourth-cousins etc., etc. at some point, the familial relationship drops off and they’re just like random bretons to each other.

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  29. Yeah, makes sense.

    Feeling half-assed, I have hardly distinguished in my foray between ‘actual genetic identity’ (whatever it is properly called by real scholars) and whatever we call r — which is always defined as 0.50 for first degree relatives, right? Obviously they’re different. The ‘actual identity’ is what’s real, and by comparison r seems a rather second-rate thing to employ in one’s meditations — or maybe its a good shorthand in limited contexts.

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  30. @rs – “Feeling half-assed, I have hardly distinguished in my foray between ‘actual genetic identity’ (whatever it is properly called by real scholars) and whatever we call r — which is always defined as 0.50 for first degree relatives, right? Obviously they’re different.”

    yes. i look forward to the day when whole populations have their full genomes sequenced so that we can see what’s really going on. that is going to happen one day, right? (^_^)

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  31. I think I may have overstated Harpending’s claim. Been a long time since I read his paper.

    I think the idea is that a random co-ethnic can be as closely related as a cousin…but this isn’t always necessarily so.

    Does anyone have a copy of his paper?

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  32. @tom – “Does anyone have a copy of his paper?”

    i don’t, gosh durnit. need to get my hands on it. i think it’s in the back of salter’s book, but i don’t have that either. definitely would like to think/chat about this more. (^_^)

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  33. ” (i don’t even play one on the internet!)”

    LOOK! If no one is around that speaks Gaeilge, I am FLUENT. Hope that helps clarify my position on your need to play one on the internet.

    —-

    Now regarding Harpending’s claim, the problem is that R ignores 2nd Cousin “perogative” X. So we arrive at 50% + N/X * .05%. Now once you’ve done that you have to account for the allele dispersion (G^X). Which finally gives us the calculation: (50% G^X * .5%) / population (radius).

    This was in a paper I was reading a few months back by Gerald Nortin the Third. His explanation of course is much more verbose as he had accounted not only for Population radius factors but also the loci of separation. Which far too many geneticists and biologists ignore entirely.

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  34. I just started doing Gibbon on librivox. Real long I think, but it doesn’t seem very boring. Certainly apropos to our day and age.

    He says the sort of thing you (hbdchick) say about Ireland, tribality didn’t help very much against Roma… only he’s applying this to England… suggesting that the Brythonic Celts were ferocious warriors, but their ability to reserve their hostility for Rome alone, was pathetic compared to their level of valor. I haven’t heard of them behaving that way, very much, during the long conflict with the Anglosaxons.

    He says Rome planned on attacking Ireland, I already forgot why they didn’t get around to it.

    By the way, I understand the miles and miles of ditch fortification lines are still there in England, from the Brythonic-Germanic hostilities. You can go recline therein with the ghosts. As an American who’s barely been to the father continent, that’d be so totally awesome… many an 18th century site I’ve seen in this land – 7th century not so much.

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  35. He’s wrong though. Evidence of Roman fortifications and other Roman artifacts in Eire suggest that they ddi attack. They just never made good headway. Little Italians are good at fighting bigger warriors like the British Keltoi because the brits like everyone else would have had a hard time swinging their swords at so tiny (and a mockery) of an enemy. Eire Gaels on the other hand could match the Tiny Italians in size, and we had attitude to boot. So they just weren’t any match for us.

    Plus we are prettier than they are. So it was a given we would win.

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  36. Tom
    “Inbreeding isn’t bad in and of itself. It maintains what is there.”

    I’m not sure i believe this. I don’t know for sure but my gut feeling is it will always degrade on balance unless you cull or the environment culls for you. In very primitive times when everyone was in-breeding naturally the environment would have done the culling automatically. Later on, when people were still in-breeding but the environment had been partially tamed then maybe like the Spartans every child was inspected and any with defects left to die. Sad thought really.

    .
    hbdchick
    “i think it does! at least partially, anyway. relatedness isn’t everything (snip) — but the degree and type of relatedness in a society does matter.”

    Among other things i think it’s absolutely fundamental to a people’s concept of morality. I wonder if people who are very in-bred can even concieve of universal morality (unless they have an above average level of empathy) whereas i think universal morality comes naturally to out-bred people even with low empathy.

    .
    hbdchick
    “the anglo-norman invasion (and eventual take-over) of ireland is that the irish were a divided society that didn’t manage to unite together to repel the invaders precisely because they were still tribal (or clannish)”

    Yes i think this is the pushme-pullyou effect of endogamy vs exogamy. Endogamy is strong at small-scale co-operation but weak at large scale. Exogamy the opposite. Hence the great strength of the exogamous western nations in external competition with more endogamous groups but their great weakness when competing with the same groups internally.

    Reply

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