consanguinity + corruption = correlation

the awesome epigone has found a correlation of .44 between the amounts of (mostly) current consanguineous (first-/second-cousin) marriages in various societies as indicated by the data available on consang.net and perceptions of corruption by the people in those societies as found by transparency international (thnx, a.e.!). that’s higher than i would’ve guessed beforehand — i gave a bunch of reasons for that over @m.g.’s place which the epigone included in his post, so i won’t bother repeating them here.

i know that correlation is not causation, but it does “waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there,” so i’ll bet anyone a nickle — no, a dime! — that there is a connection here (and that connection is altruism/other innate social aptitudes [pg. 329+]).

i think audacious’ correlation would be even larger if there was some time depth to the inbreeding/endogamy data. what i’d like to see is:

– all the genes for altruism (and other innate social aptitudes) in man discovered so we (meaning teh scientists) can see the hbd differences in altruism, etc., in different populations and trace the evolutionary histories of all these genes in different populations. then someone could check for correlations between the gene frequencies and corruption (and other neat behaviors like nepotism).

in lieu of that, what i’d like to see is:

– all, or at least lots, of the people on the planet getting their dna sequenced so we (meaning teh scientists) can work out the degrees of relatedness within different populations so we (meaning teh scientists) could at least guess at the evolutionary histories of all these genes for altruism. then someone could check for correlations between the actual degrees of relatedness in different populations and corruption (and other neat behaviors like nepotism).

in lieu of that, what i’d like to see/do is:

– what the audacious epigone did but just with some time depth added to the inbreeding/endogamy data. plus, also, some consideration given to the fact that some forms of cousin marriage (i.e. fbd marriage) amount to more inbreeding than other forms of cousin marriage (e.g. mbd marriage).

for example, maybe two points could be awarded for each (likely) generation in which consanguineous marriages were common (haven’t considered what the cut off oughta be), and one point for each (likely) generation of endogamous marriage. zero points for marrying out. bonus point for fbd marriage. add ’em all up and then compare/contrast with corruption, et. al.

the problem is figuring out exactly how much inbreeding happened at any given point in the past for a population. i know there are ways to get at it by looking at dna — maybe what should be looked for are any correlations between runs of homozygosity in populations and corruption, etc. that would still be looking at a sort of proxy for the presence/frequencies of different sorts of genes for altruism, but it might be interesting anyway.

(note: comments do not require an email. awwww!)

Advertisements

18 Comments

  1. @hbd chick That sounds right to me. Corruption and consanguinity would correlate. Altruism could well be part of it. On the other hand, within the past generation somebody did a study of corruption country by country asking buisness people what countries you could trade with without corrupting officials. The answer was you can trade with the US and UK. Everyplace on earth if you want to do business you have to corrupt officials. Of course the US has elevated consanguinity to the status of a mortal sin and I think the UK pretty much takes it’s cue from us.
    So are the US and UK more altruitis than other countries. I think there are data related to that. Charles Murray in the book “Coming Apart” reports some for the US.

    Reply

  2. I just put in a word for you over at Walter Russell Mead’s blog:

    Luke Lea says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    June 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    What do all these societies have in common besides Islam?

    Answer: extended families, clans, tribes, consanguinity, in a word, inbreeding. Inbreeding shapes culture, a lesson that we are only beginning to understand. Hbd* chick blogs it 24/7:

    https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/

    Who is she? One of those obscure gifts of the digital age.

    Reply

  3. @linton – “Of course the US has elevated consanguinity to the status of a mortal sin and I think the UK pretty much takes it’s cue from us.”

    well, i think we got it from the english first. (~_^)

    Reply

    1. @ hbd chick “, i think we got it (consanguinity phobia) from the english first” [Second try. There may bit a piece of this already somewhere] Yes, that would be consistent with the manorial system you described. However, more recent times (with better statistics?) seem to show the upper class reveling in cousin love during early Victorain times. That’s according to “Incest and Influence” by Adam Kuper. Then they did a turnaround, and by late Victorain times it was given up. Charles Darwin railed against it even though his own son did a study that showed LESS insanity among chidren of couples of cousins. I don’t know why they changed. Earlier there had been an inversion of the usual barren rich, fecund poor pattern. This was described in “Farewell to Alms” by Gregory Clark. Anyway it went from being de rigeur to haraam there as well as here. In that time scale, which direction do you suppose it went? And why? It wasn’t the Catholic church. Anyway, Britain went from being the superpower to being sort of an embarassment, although by now the whole continent is an embarassment, and so far as I can tell is marching to the same drummer.

      “inbreeding shapes biology shapes culture” And shapes history, too. I swear it. Did you ever look at my analysis of Southern Mesopotamia, Rome, Egypt, Classical Mayans, China, Japan and AnasazI? Same pattern every time. Well, almost. It does take a certain amount of handwaving since Asian dyansties tend to start with founding peasants while empires tend to be won by cultures that already have a track record.

      Reply

  4. @luke – “Who is she? One of those obscure gifts of the digital age.”

    (*^_^*) (*^_^*) (*^_^*) awwww, shucks. (*^_^*) (*^_^*) (*^_^*)

    Reply

  5. @luke – “Inbreeding shapes culture….”

    i woulda phrased it…

    inbreeding shapes biology shapes culture

    …but that’s just me. (~_^)

    Reply

  6. @linton – “That’s according to ‘Incest and Influence’ by Adam Kuper.”

    well that sounds like just the book for me! thanks! (^_^)

    @linton – “However, more recent times (with better statistics?) seem to show the upper class reveling in cousin love during early Victorain times.”

    does kuper have statistics in his book? because g.h. darwin found in 1876 that 4.5% of english peerage marriages were between first-cousins and landed gentry first-cousin marriages were at 3.75%. presumably there was the same again in second-cousin marriages.

    those rates are high-ish, but not by any means through the roof. certainly nowhere near the neighborhood of arab cousin marriages. and the cousin marriage rates of english victorian commoners seems to have been even lower.

    @linton – “‘inbreeding shapes biology shapes culture’ And shapes history, too.”

    i agree!! (^_^) i haven’t read your analysis … yet. i will definitely come over and have a look!

    Reply

  7. I was expecting a strong correlation and if it was possible to add some time depth e.g. runs of homozygosity (is that the same as IBD?), i think the correlation would be quite dramatic.

    I think the mechanism underlying this is very simple. Relatedness is like a gravitic or magnetic force. A suitable analogy might be a moral compass with “us” on the left and “them” on the right and “objective fairness” in the centre with a magnet being applied to one side which pulls the compass needle to the “us” mark with a strength almost directly proportional to relatedness (plus/minus a bit for culture nad other factors).

    Reply

    1. @ Greying Wanderer “Relatedness is like a gravitic or magnetic force.” I like that. You are getting down to basics. A law of nature rather than a rare fluke of economics.

      Reply

  8. I was so glad to see A.E. run these numbers. I know the consang.net data is very hard to work with, for the reasons you enumerated, and that the time depth is totally lacking too.

    What I wonder about is the lack of academic interest in this subject. I have seen plenty of studies about ‘familism,’ ‘clannishness,’ and the like, where people make connections about how attached one is to one’s family vs. how attached one is to the larger society.

    I’ve also seen a fair number of studies on consanguinity itself, but almost always in the context of health risks (rare recessive diseases, etc.).

    It seems that, like chocolate and peanut butter, no one in academia has yet thought to put these two great tastes together. Is that your sense, HBD Chick, or have you stumbled upon ‘official’ studies that connect the two? (also, it’s amazing how the vast amount of info. available on the internet allows regular folks to do work that was once the preserve of academics.)

    Reply

  9. @g.w. – “I was expecting a strong correlation and if it was possible to add some time depth … i think the correlation would be quite dramatic.”

    i think so, too! (^_^)

    Reply

  10. @m.g. – “It seems that, like chocolate and peanut butter, no one in academia has yet thought to put these two great tastes together. Is that your sense, HBD Chick, or have you stumbled upon ‘official’ studies that connect the two?”

    no, i haven’t seen anything connecting the two. i haven’t even seen anyone linking inbreeding with altruistic behaviors in other animals (meerkats would make for a great study, i think!).

    the only research i’ve been able to find on inbreeding and altruism is wade and breden’s work from the early 1980s, but the whole topic seems to have been dropped/ignored/avoided since then.

    bill hamilton obviously talked a lot about relatedness and altruistic behaviors — like how the genetic relatedness between ants explains their über-altruistic natures — but afaik, he didn’t consider inbreeding & altruism in humans — not directly anyway (indirectly, yes).

    nope. any thoughts i’ve seen on inbreeding and the “social aptitudes of man” have come from the hbd-o-sphere, starting with parapundit and steve sailer. (^_^)

    Reply

  11. @m.g. – “also, it’s amazing how the vast amount of info. available on the internet allows regular folks to do work that was once the preserve of academics.”

    cool, huh?! (^_^)

    Reply

  12. not exactly, no: runs of homozygosity vs. identity by descent.

    ah ty. i need to start saying runs of homozygosity then as that’s what i’ve been meaning when i’ve said IBD.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s