linkfest – 08/12/13

Is Beauty in the Face of the Beholder?“We concluded that individuals, if given the opportunity, seek to promote ‘positive assortment’ for Self’s phenotype, especially when the level of similarity approaches an optimal point that is similar to Self without causing a conscious acknowledgment of the similarity.” – on assortative mating, via race/history/evolution notes.

3.4-7.9% Neandertal admixture in Eurasia?“‘Our analysis allows us — for the first time — to formally reject a history of ancestral population structure and instead reveals strong support for admixture from Neandertals into Eurasian populations at a higher rate (3.4%-7.9%) than suggested previously.'” – @dienekes’.

and speaking of neanderthals: Neanderthals made leather-working tools like those in use today.

Genetics and alcoholism“Abundant evidence indicates that alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is a complex genetic disease, with variations in a large number of genes affecting a person’s risk of alcoholism. Some of these genes have been identified, including two genes involved in the metabolism of alcohol (ADH1B and ALDH2) that have the strongest known affects on the risk of alcoholism. Studies continue to reveal other genes in which variants affect the risk of alcoholism or related traits, including GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6 and AUTS2.”

Sense of smell has a genetic flavour“Richard Newcomb of the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research (IPFR) in Auckland and his colleagues have found the most convincing evidence yet of a genetic basis to the differences in people’s odour perception.” – via hbd bibliography.

Immigration and inbreeding“[T]he more inbred a country is, the more restrictive the attitudes of its population are on the issues of immigration and citizenship. Conversely, the more outbred a country is, the more its inhabitants tend toward unrestricted open borders.” – from the awesome epigone.

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, analysis of over 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades concludes“Study found ‘a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity’ in 53 out of 63 studies.” – via nelson.

Jason Richwine and some Hispanic data“In summary, if one uses scholastic data as a measure of ability, then there was some significant narrowing of the White/Hispanic gap in the early 1980’s, but that reduced gap has persisted thereafter. This finding discomforts those who predicted that the gap would never change, and those who said it was closing fast and would shortly disappear. Both are wrong, are partially right.” – from dr. james thompson.

Why can’t we talk about IQ? – from jason richwine. (in case you live in a cave. (~_^) )

ORIGINAL PAPER: Strong genetic influence on a UK nationwide test of educational achievement at the end of compulsory education at age 16 – @dr. james thompson’s blog. also Revealed: how exam results owe more to genes than teaching“New research by Professor Robert Plomin shows genes are more important than we like to think.”

Archaeology: The milk revolution“When a single genetic mutation first let ancient Europeans drink milk, it set the stage for a continental upheaval.” – @nature. see also Impressed Ware and Linear Pottery – Linearbandkeramik from greg cochran.

Variable mutation rates – age of puberty and There can only be one! from greg cochran.

A Tentative Ranking of the Clannishness of the “Founding Fathers” and The Cavaliers – from jayman.

Race matters when a patient needs a stem cell or marrow transplant“If you become ill with a blood cancer or other disease that requires a stem cell transplant, here’s an uncomfortable fact: Your race matters.” – why that fact should be *uncomfortable*, i have no idea, but i do admit that i’m odd. – via nelson.

Population Structure of Hispanics in the United States: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis“By comparing genetic ancestry of MESA Hispanic participants to reference samples representing worldwide diversity, we show major differences in ancestry of MESA Hispanics reflecting their Caucasian, African, and Native American origins, with finer differences corresponding to North-South geographic origins that separate MESA Mexican versus Central/South American samples. Based on our analysis, we define four subgroups of the MESA Hispanic cohort that show close agreement with the following self-identified regions of origin: Dominican/Cuban, Mexican, Central/South American, and Puerto Rican.” – via nelson.

Perception of skin color in sub-Saharan Africa and Great hair … and how it evolved – from peter frost.

Book Review: The Righteous Mind – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012) by Jonathan Haidt – from staffan. also James Q. Wilson and the Defense of Moral Judgment.

Why We Profile – from m.g. @thosewhocansee.

Classical eugenics and genetic engineering – from elijah armstrong.

Smart Enough to Know Better: Intelligence Is Not a Remedy for Racism“Smart people are just as racist as their less intelligent peers — they’re just better at concealing their prejudice, according to a University of Michigan study.”

Maternal urge decreases by a QUARTER for every 15 extra IQ points – from satoshi kanazawa.

Autistic girls have more ‘masculine’ brains and are ‘affected by the condition in a different way to men’

Personality May Predict If You Like Spicy Foods“Those in the group who fell below the mean AISS [adverse to risk taking] rapidly disliked the meal as the burn increased. People who were above the mean AISS [prone to risk taking] had a consistently high liking of the meal even as the burn increased. Those in the mean group liked the meal less as the burn increased, but not nearly as rapidly as those below the mean.”

Gherardini DNA Sample Could Identify “Mona Lisa”

bonus: BBC is biased toward the left, study finds“The BBC is twice as likely to cover left-wing policy proposals than those that are right-wing, a study has found.”

bonus bonus: The smell of fear more powerful than previously realised

bonus bonus bonus: Psychological adaptation to urbanization, technology reflected in word usage over last 200 years

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Paying Teens Not to Have Sex: What Mississippi Can Learn From Malawi. also The amazing, surprising, Africa-driven demographic future of the Earth, in 9 charts via michael anissimov.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Monsters, Marvels, and the Birth of Science“History: How the unlikely and unexplainable, strange and terrifying, spawned the age of science.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The lost voices of Britain before WW1: German recording of British PoWs reveals a rural society rich in now extinct accents that varied from village to village

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany“Collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: and funniest online sentence from last week – from the derb (of course!): “The latest round of revelations about Weiner, reported by Radio Derb last week, have certainly caused his poll numbers to detumesce.” – heh! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. awwwww?)


  1. – I’ve long been curious about Neanderthal genetics research. I noticed that following Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals first living in the same region of Levant there was a great tool-making leap in human society. That seems like too big of a coincidence. Maybe some combination of genetics between the two species created hybrid qualities that allowed new cognitive abilities. Why didn’t humans develop anything overly interesting until after this Levant period?

    – The religious meta-analysis is unsurprising. I’m sure that religiosity is correlated to clannishness and inbreeding just as is the case with IQ. I’m not sure why such correlations should be surprising. As always, the interesting part is the source and direction of causation, assuming the correlations are proven to be causal.

    – I suppose the study on IQ and racism shouldn’t be surprising either. IQ seems like a small part of the cognitive and personality factors that form a person. Rates of racism would probably be more related to particular personality traits or combination thereof. There are other factors as well. Higher IQ people are disproportionately found among the upper classes and minorities are disproportionately found among the lower classes. Higher IQ people are probably more often isolated from minorities and so naturally lack the empathy that comes from familiarity. I’m willing to bet that high IQ people who have spent more time around minorities would be less racist. Research does show those who grow up in multicultural environments are more socially liberal as adults.

    – The IQ and maternal urge study gets one thinking. Maybe high IQ is a bit of an aberration or outlier in human evolution. Aberrations and outliers can have positive effects, but there maybe is an evolutionary reason they don’t become the norm. Kanazawa has written a lot about the correlations with evolutionarily unique behaviors. His research has shown the correlation between higher IQ and liberalism. Maybe liberals are like Shamans in tribal societies. They serve a purpose and so you want a few around, but you don’t want them overbreeding. A society only needs a minority of people thinking innovatively, experimenting and exploring. The decrease of maternal urge is maybe an inbuilt mechanism to keep the population of innovative thinkers low enough so that they don’t destabilize the social order too much. The problems with this personality trait is that, such as with liberals as Kanazawa found, the tendency to experiment leads to problems such as drug addiction and alcoholism.

    – I liked hearing about the British accent recordings. That is what I would call traditional multiculturalism. Britain has had a long multicultural history of people with different ethnic backgrounds and some of those distinctions apparently survived in the rural regions into very recent history. This is why I’m always complaining about pleas for nationalist assimilation. The destruction of this traditional multiculturalism is a sad fate of modern society. It gets destroyed and most of the time we don’t even know what was lost, except in rare instances like this where recordings survive.

    – New German fairytales!?! Sweet!!!! :)


  2. How fascinating that a left-wing paper like The Independent is quite happy to consider IQ a valid measure of intelligence–if it reaches the conclusion that religious people are less intelligent. Bet any money they would never publish about IQ discrepancies in race/ethnicity.

    Look, either it is a valid measure or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways–it is valid only when I like the conclusion it reaches.


  3. “Race matters when a patient needs a stem cell or marrow transplant ” – Definitely does.

    See also:-

    “Race/ethnicity affects the probability of finding an HLA-A, -B, -C and -DRB1 allele-matched unrelated donor and likelihood of subsequent transplant utilization.”

    Bone Marrow Transplant. 2013 Mar;48(3):346-50. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2012.150. Epub 2012 Aug 6.


  4. They define religiousity and intelligence but not atheism. Does it include agnosticism? And also, what religions are included? It may also seem impressive to combine so many studies but it only means that your sample will be dominated by college students – who are in an atheist and liberal environment. It’s not a mass of evidence but essentially the same study done over and over again.

    There is already a high quality study using a more representative sample but with a result not pleasing to the typical atheist psychologist,

    It found something like -0.13 between Christian fundamentalism and IQ and less than -0.10 for other dimensions of belief. In social science, that’s nothing or next to nothing.

    Regarding spicy foods, it would be interesting to turn this around and use reaction to food as a test of personality. It would perhaps remove socially desirability and other noise and make for a more valid test.


  5. @Staffan:
    Even the findings of the meta analysis might amount to “next to nothing” (media coverage notwithstanding); the overall correlation they found between IQ and religiosity was -0.24 (meaning this relationship explains just 5.76% of the variation in the data). Like you, I’d like to see how they defined religiosity, what controls (other than gender, education, and age) they used, and the populations from which the samples were drawn.


  6. @benjamin – “I’ve long been curious about Neanderthal genetics research…. Maybe some combination of genetics between the two species created hybrid qualities that allowed new cognitive abilities.”

    there’s quite a lot of research out there these days wrt modern humans’ genetic admixture with neanderthals. i haven’t been keeping a close eye on it, but it all seems to be very cool! you should have a look, if you haven’t already, at greg cochran and henry harpending’s book The 10,000 Year Explosion — they’ve got a chapter on neanderthals and us.

    i’m not a neanderthal — at least when looking at 84 identified “neanderthal snps.” dr*t!



  7. @lolkatzen – “Look, either it is a valid measure or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways–it is valid only when I like the conclusion it reaches.”

    yes, the inconsistency in the “thinking” is always amusing (and frustrating!).

    similar cognitive bias when it comes to evolution, too. *facepalm*


  8. Staffan and Nelson got here before me. It’s amazing how important it is to nonbelievers to keep trying to study this so often and try to raise it triumphantly..

    There may indeed be some correlation between IQ and religious doubt, or disbelief. If I had to bet, I would bet there is some. But look at what we have here.

    1. The differences are small.

    2. The comparisons mix their fruit. It may indeed give added weight to the idea that if apples, plums, pears, and cherries are all larger in different soil, the soil is key. But if the apples, plums, pears, and cherries vary in how much they are affected, that is likely a deeper truth. Comparing British Anglicans, Mexican Catholics, Arab Muslims, and Georgian AME’s just doesn’t tell you much. Digging deeper, one does indeed find that the phenomenon is more pronounced among some groups.

    3. Any study that is so self-congratulatory should be regarded with extreme suspicion, not because people are trying to be dishonest, but because they get so quickly carried away with themselves. If you bap around to the sites and comments sections reporting on this study/these studies, you read people leaping immediately to conclusions about why this should be – because atheists are logical, or believers don’t question things, or a dozen similar theories. Very quick to explain, we are. But correlation is not causation. In fact, some of the writers who pride themselves on their strict reasonablenss and will point out 51 times a year that correlation is not causation, but just have to theorize about this one.

    Relatedly, even if the correlation were large, it would neither prove nor disprove any set of beliefs. European intellectuals were noted for getting just about everything wrong in the 20th C.


  9. @staffan – “There is already a high quality study using a more representative sample but with a result not pleasing to the typical atheist psychologist….”

    ah ha! very interesting. thanks for the link!


  10. @nelson – “…and the populations from which the samples were drawn.”

    yeah, this is pretty critical (for obvious reasons)!

    @avi – “Digging deeper, one does indeed find that the phenomenon is more pronounced among some groups.”

    oh, that’s interesting! are those differences apparent in this study (if one digs more deeply), or are you referring to other studies?


  11. Sub-Saharan (ie polygynous) population explosion means social bomb for African countries. They will export the problem of young men without women, and from what I have seen “assortative mating” will count for very little. IMO the majority of white mothers 100 years from now will not be having white babies. Certainly not in Britain (or Ireland, which BTW is currently admitting more immigrants than ever).


  12. @hbd chick- I shuld check out that book. I’ve come across the title before. And it is a catchy title. But I didn’t know that it included a discussion on neanderthals. I have no doubts that intriguing research will be coming out about the significance of this genetic inheritance.

    I don’t know that I’m neanderthal. But I’d think the probability would be high that one of my distant ancestors was neanderthal. I have done some genetic testing. And I plan on doing a test that will show neanderthal results. Then again, such results are never absolutely conclusive as genetic markers don’t always get passed on.


  13. @any and all – about the religious issue, I don’t have a dog in that fight. I’m radically skeptical about all dogmatic positions, religious and anti-religious. I’m agnostic in not knowing, but belief is a whole other matter.

    I would guess that the correlation between religiosity and IQ, like everything in life, is complex and nuanced with various exceptions to the rule. As such, it would matter which demographic(s) your sampling, which religions your focusing upon and which aspect of religiosity you are measuring.

    There are some aspects of religiosity that would be closely correlated to such things as clannishness, but other aspects less so or else more contingent. It is also obvious that particular religions are more common among more clannish people and particular kinds of religiosity are probably common in those particuar religions.

    I’d be surprised if no IQ correlation was found at least in terms of some religiosity measures. But maybe a more diverse picture would appear if a wide variety of religiosity measures were used. For me, it always gets interesting in the details.


  14. OT but I thought you might like this from Bruce Charlton:

    Creative Genius requires both Intelligence and Psychoticism to be high – so eventually a complex agricultural society will become Smart but Tame – highly intelligent but uncreative.

    However, it is possible that the selection pressure for increasing intelligence may (under certain circumstances) be stronger than the selection pressure for reducing Psychoticism: thus the smartening may happen faster than taming.

    In such a situation, there would be a temporary period when the population was both intelligence and also creative.

    This is the ‘sweet spot’ for Creative Genius.

    On this basis, it is plausible that the European population underwent selection both for Higher Intelligence and lower Psychoticism during the medieval period; but that Intelligence increased faster than Psychoticism reduced, and led to a few centuries of Western Creative Genius, before the taming selection reduced creativity.

    I’m guessing this somehow ties in to the transition from clans to individuals.


  15. @ hbd chick: “there’s quite a lot of research out there these days wrt modern humans’ genetic admixture with neanderthals.”

    From the Wikipedia page on the link which you provided:-

    “There is evidence that some immune related genes are of Neanderthal origin. HLA-C*0702, found in Neanderthals, is common in modern Europeans and Asians but rarely[32] seen in Africans. It is thought that this immune gene may have been picked up by humans after leaving Africa to help deal with European diseases that the Neanderthals had evolved defenses for.[33]”

    In my view HLA C*07:02 is almost certainly of not of Neanderthal origin.

    Imo It likely pre-dates both HSS and Neanderthal; while I don’t dispute that *some* presence in Europeans and Asians is due to Neanderthal admixture, I wouldn’t consider it rare in Africa:-

    HLA C*07:02 Frequencies in sub-Saharan Africa

    Cameroon Baka Pygmy 15.0% ; Cameroon Sawa 11.5% ; Cameroon Bamileke 7.1% ; Cameroon Beti 6.6% ; Uganda Kampala 6.1% ; Mali Bandiagara 4.7% ; Zimbabwe Harare Shona 4.6% ; Kenya 4.4% ; Zambia Lusaka 4.4% ; Kenya Luo 3.8% ; Uganda Kampala Pop2: 3.7% ; Senegal Niokholo Mandenka 2.1%.

    Not really rare in Africa.

    For comparison, HLA C*07:02 range in Western Europe is:-

    Spain Andalusia 5.5% [Lowest] ->
    Northern Ireland 18.6% [Highest].


  16. Re. A Tentative Ranking of the Clannishness of the “Founding Fathers. The native Americans in ‘New England’ must have been so glad that they were colonised by a kind peace loving group like the Puritans. But the actual end result of conflicts of interest with the colonists seems to have been the same all over the US, the supposed differences in the trait of clannishness notwithstanding.


  17. @sean – “The native Americans in ‘New England’ must have been so glad that they were colonised by a kind peace loving group like the Puritans.”

    guess you must’ve missed this post.


  18. @Sean – You have to keep in mind that the Puritans were a minoity right from the start. Yes, they were the ruling minority. However, they also were a constantly challenged ruling minority.

    Along with the Puitans, there were many other religious dissenters, political dissidents, other persecuted folks and social reformers: Quakers, Seekers, Levellers, etc. There was a constant struggle for power and negotiation about how to govern. Puritans had to deal with the likes of Thomas Morten and Roger Williams, among the most radical of radicals, among the most egalitarian of egalitarians.

    The end result was not entirely what the Puritans intended. It is similar to the Quaker colony. William Penn allowed for such diversity and freedom that it ended up becoming more democratic than even a radical like Penn envisioned and sought to create.


  19. @tomás – “I just mentioned you in a comment in JayMan’s blog and, well, I found it fair to let you know.”

    thanks, tomás! (^_^) i responded to some of your comments over there.


  20. Yes OK you had a post about Puritans exterminating the natives.
    Chimps look out for and share with their own extended family. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that people do so. If the concept of clannishness means treating people as members of your extended family when they are, then it does not mean much beyond simply favouring relatives.

    It seem to me that Jayman is including groups that are not comparable when he talks about ‘clannishness’ (treating others as members of your extended family when they are actually related). I think he is including symbolic communities not genetic ones.
    Surely Quakers were largely a symbolic community and cannot be ranked for clannishness along with groups that are supposed to have hailed from certain districts of Britain. That’s comparing apples (genetic) and oranges (symbolic) groups.

    If you look at the founding of Georgia there was quite a mix of nationalities, and a lot of people from English prisons. No Liquor! No Slaves! No Lawyers! No Catholics!. Slavery came in because the land was immensely profitable for cotton when worked by Africans (resistant to malaria). The south started off Puritan and idealistic.


  21. @sean – “If the concept of clannishness means treating people as members of your extended family when they are, then it does not mean much beyond simply favouring relatives.”

    noooo. it’s more than that, and you know it. or at least you ought to know it, since you commented on this post which is one of several in which i describe what “clannishness” involves (there’s also the universalism vs. particularism ideals).

    just leave it for now, though, if you’re still confused on what i mean by clannishness. i’m working up a post on defining it — hopefully to be published this week.


  22. @Sean – I should note that I’m not an HBD proponent. I just find it an interesting perspective. I consider it a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole puzzle. I’m more convinced of the founding effect of symbolic communities.

    I’d argue culture includes but is not limited to genetics and breeding patterns. Culture is the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts (a holon in a holarchy), so it seems to me at present. Nonetheless, like hbd chick, I humbly admit that I’m just speculating (theory with a lowercase ‘t’).

    Issues of clannishness aside, I want to clarify a point. The founder of Georgia was apparently a Freemason and obviously a social reformer, but he wasn’t motivated by religious dissent. He was an Anglican and part of the British elite both before and after the American Revolution. By the way, the banning of Catholicism and slavery sounds more like it was for practical rather than principled reasons. Bordering Spanish Florida, Catholics were feared to be potential spies and slaves potential insurrectionists.

    If you wanted to find influential religio4us dissenters in the South, you’d hae to look primarily to North Carolina and secondarily to Virginia. Quakers governed North Carolina at one point before the Anglicans got rid of them. Virginia actually was started by the Puritan-controlled Virginia Company before the king took their colony away and so the Cavaliers gained control.

    Oglethorpe’s Georgia had the same fate as Quaker North Carolina and Puritan Virginia. None of them were able to establsh a long-lasting ruling elite and so were unable to enforce a founding effect. Oglethorpe had the further problem of not being part of a tightly knit elite group, unlike William Pennwith the Quakers.

    The founding effect is a interesting theory. It is hard to explain the regional cultures without it. In every colony, the ruling elite were a very small minority and yet had an immensely disproportionate impact upon the majority with whom they shared little if any ethnic genetics. Still, they had great influence in who was allowed to immigrate to, settle in and remain in their colonies. In this way, they may have unintentionally selcted for particular cultural traits and possibly correlated genetics.


  23. “Archaeology: The milk revolution”

    When you look at their map of lactose tolerance around the world

    you see the west africa, arabia and nw india distribution takes the form of a high level of LP in a source region declining with distance from the source.

    But in europe they say it is the other way round with the source region having the lowest levels increasing to a maximum the furthest away from the source.

    Not only are they saying LP is on an increasing cline from minimum levels in the source region they are saying this *only* happened in one direction – from the source to the northwest. Why not also north, north-east, east, south etc?

    I think it’s plainly nonsense based on the assumption that expansion into Europe must have come from the east – and it did – but by boat around the atlantic bringing cattle with them and leading LP to expand from a source in the west.

    (along with the euro clades of R1b which more or less map onto the same distribution as LP)


  24. @Luke Lea
    “OT but I thought you might like this from Bruce Charlton”

    Very interesting.


  25. @ Greying Wanderer [Re: “Archaeology: The milk revolution] –

    Cattle genetics might be worth investigating (I know very little about this however). Here is an interesting paper:-

    “Prehistoric contacts over the Straits of Gibraltar indicated by genetic analysis of Iberian Bronze Age cattle.”

    The geographic situation of the Iberian Peninsula makes it a natural link between Europe and North Africa. However, it is a matter of debate to what extent African influences via the Straits Gibraltar have affected Iberia’s prehistoric development. Because early African pastoralist communities were dedicated to cattle breeding, a possible means to detect prehistoric African-Iberian contacts might be to analyze the origin of cattle breeds on the Iberian Peninsula. Some contemporary Iberian cattle breeds show a mtDNA haplotype, T1, that is characteristic to African breeds, generally explained as being the result of the Muslim expansion of the 8th century A.D., and of modern imports. To test a possible earlier African influence, we analyzed mtDNA of Bronze Age cattle from the Portalón cave at the Atapuerca site in northern Spain. Although the majority of samples showed the haplotype T3 that dominates among European breeds of today, the T1 haplotype was found in one specimen radiocarbon dated 1800 calibrated years B.C. Accepting T1 as being of African origin, this result indicates prehistoric African-Iberian contacts and lends support to archaeological finds linking early African and Iberian cultures. We also found a wild ox haplotype in the Iberian Bronze Age sample, reflecting local hybridization or backcrossing or that aurochs were hunted by these farming cultures.

    Interesting paper on LP:-

    “Impact of Selection and Demography on the Diffusion of Lactase Persistence”



    “The lactase enzyme allows lactose digestion in fresh milk. Its activity strongly decreases after the weaning phase in most humans, but persists at a high frequency in Europe and some nomadic populations. Two hypotheses are usually proposed to explain the particular distribution of the lactase persistence phenotype. The gene-culture coevolution hypothesis supposes a nutritional advantage of lactose digestion in pastoral populations. The calcium assimilation hypothesis suggests that carriers of the lactase persistence allele(s) (LCT*P) are favoured in high-latitude regions, where sunshine is insufficient to allow accurate vitamin-D synthesis. In this work, we test the validity of these two hypotheses on a large worldwide dataset of lactase persistence frequencies by using several complementary approaches.”


  26. “European intellectuals were noted for getting just about everything wrong”: no doubt that would have been true too of American intellectuals, had there been any.


  27. Benjamin David Steele ,”In every colony, the ruling elite were a very small minority ”
    Yes and in Massachusetts bay under the Puritans only a ‘visible saint’ (one of the elect) was allowed to exercise authority; it was necessary to convince the congregation in speech and writing that you had received grace before you were even allowed in to worship . By my way of thinking a community where the leaders were chosen for their ability to manipulate symbols in referring to religious beliefs was, in important respects, a symbolic community and divorced from genetic decent, unlike a clan’s hereditary leadership. I don’t see that distinction represented in Jayman’s analysis.

    As for ‘ethnic genetics’, early on they accepted Indians as converts while Catholics like Goody Glover were not regarded as Christians.

    Sure Oglethorpe was not any kind of a nonconformist, but his banning of Catholicism and slavery was principled and in line with the established views of the dominant establishment ideology. The reason why slavery grew so strong in the south had much to do with the profits to be made from a certain type of land found in the South though growing cotton. The malarial nature of that land, and the fact that Africans (resistant to malaria) were already used as slaves led to practical considerations overcoming principled ones. The Southerner’s had a very different environment; the increasing differences of the Southern social system from the Northern’s stemmed from the opportunities that were presented to the Southern colonists.

    David P. Goldman(Spengler):”General W T Sherman, the scourge of the South, explained why this would occur in advance. There existed 300,000 fanatics in the South who knew nothing but hunting, drinking, gambling and dueling, a class who benefited from slavery”

    Most modern writing minimises the early colonial mainstream ethical-religious objection to slavery and makes it seem as if the South retained an original ethos. While there were differences in the origin of the colonial ancestors (including, in the South transported criminals) I think that overstates things.

    I would point out that l objections to alcohol did eventually succeed it getting it in the entire US banned: Prohibition. The Puritan style of thought didn’t disappear with the genetic continuity of the community that originated it.


  28. Re: “Re: “Archaeology: The milk revolution”:-

    Sorry, just a couple more articles:-

    “Once-Green Sahara Hosted Early African Dairy Farms”

    “The sandy dunes of the Sahara may seem an unlikely place for a dairy farm, but about 7,000 years ago, herders tended and milked cattle in what is now desolate desert, new research shows.

    About 10,000 years ago, the Sahara desert went through a phase called the Holocene African Humid Period. Fossilized bones show that by the sixth millennium B.C. (or about 7,000 years ago), cattle, sheep and goats roamed over green savanna, and rock art depicts cows with full udders. The occasional image even shows milking, said study researcher Julie Dunne, a doctoral student at the University of Bristol. But it’s difficult to get a firm date for those images.

    By analyzing pottery fragments, Dunne and her colleagues have now shown that these early herders were not only milking their livestock, but also processing that milk into products like yogurt, cheese and butter.”


    “The origin of European cattle: Evidence from modern and ancient DNA”

    “T1 [African cattle mtdna type] sequences are relatively common (with frequencies ranging from 5% to 30%) in different breeds from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece.

    The presence of T1 mainly along the Mediterranean shores of Europe (near Africa), but not in central and northern Europe, is suggestive of the occasional introduction of cattle by boat from North Africa into southern Europe and is difficult to reconcile with any gene flow process unrelated with the sea.”

    My hypothesis is that dairy farming spread into Europe in Neolithic by multiple different routes, including N.Africa —> S.Europe directly across the Mediterranean.


  29. @sean – “By my way of thinking a community where the leaders were chosen for their ability to manipulate symbols in referring to religious beliefs was, in important respects, a symbolic community and divorced from genetic decent, unlike a clan’s hereditary leadership.”

    sean, you’re confusing peoples who exhibit “clannish” behaviors with peoples who actually live in clans — those two groups overlap, but are not exactly the same.

    edit: actually, what i should’ve said is: all peoples who live in clans are “clannish,” but not all “clannish” peoples live in clans.


  30. Jayman isn’t making important distinctions clear. Quakers have far more diverse origins than French Canadians. The manipulation of symbols can be used to make universalistic arguments that can be taken over by completely different clannish peoples in their own inclusive fitness interests. An inclusive fitness perspective is genetic and no one could misunderstand it


  31. @chrisdavies

    “My hypothesis is that dairy farming spread into Europe in Neolithic by multiple different routes, including N.Africa —> S.Europe directly across the Mediterranean.”

    Yes, if you look at various maps of the neolithic expansion you see that as well as the main thrust up the Danube there are other routes including across the med to Southern Iberia / North Africa. I think those Iberian / North African settlements were the source of the secondary expansion along the Atlantic coast.


  32. @Sean
    “Re. Gregory Cochran on mutations. If you take Pakistan where there has been intensive consaguinity for 1000 years, the deleterious mutations in the inbred. would be burned out. So why are Pakistanis not the most intelligent people in the world eh?”

    Over a 1000 years i expect there may have been a few new ones.


    I think you need to look at the marriage system as a whole not just the inbreeding / outbreeding aspect of it.

    “West of this line, the average age of marriage for women was 23 or more,men 26, spouses were relatively close in age, a substantial number of women married for the first time in their thirties and forties, and 10% to 20% of adults never married. East of the line, the mean age of both sexes at marriage was earlier, spousal age disparity was greater and marriage more nearly universal.”

    When talking about load the comparison isn’t just between “inbreeding” and “outbreeding” but the whole marriage pattern. That 10% to 20% who never married in the euro late marriage pattern would have been crucial in getting rid of load – both old and new mutations. Alternatively I think the way inbreeding populations got rid of load traditionally was through early marriage and the high fertility / high mortality combo. The high fertility provided a lot of throws of the dice and the high mortality weeded out the sickly.

    However how the two systems compared in the past is difficult to judge as neither are the same now.

    1) Modern medicine has reduced the mortality rate of a lot of close-cousin marrying populations and so the problems may have become worse in modern times than in the past.

    2) Similarly the late euro marriage pattern is not the same now as in the past as it was combined with an average age of puberty of around 17 so the load since industrialization may have increased up quite rapidly with the drop in the age of puberty.

    To see the historical effect of close-cousin marriage on load you’d probably need to view a population that still had a historical mortality rate. Looking at Irish Travellers the survivors of their particularly high mortlaity rate are pretty healthy looking.


    Also, another possibility is even if the high fertility / high mortality combo worked well as a very harsh way of keeping close-cousin marrying populations physically healthy the pressure of a high mortality rate on deleterious mental load might not be as fatal as the pressure on physical load i.e. mental load didn’t necessarily cause early death so people with that problem survived and were carried by the rest of the group. This might be especally true in environments with low cognitive needs e.g. goat herding. So the result of the high fertility / high mortality combo may have been a physically healthy but dumb population.


  33. @grey – “When talking about load the comparison isn’t just between ‘inbreeding’ and ‘outbreeding’ but the whole marriage pattern. That 10% to 20% who never married in the euro late marriage pattern would have been crucial in getting rid of load – both old and new mutations.”

    that’s really good! at least it sounds good to me. wonder what the guys who can do “the math” would say about it? (^_^)

    (btw – late night or early morning? (~_^) )


  34. @sean – “Re. Gregory Cochran on mutations. If you take Pakistan where there has been intensive consaguinity for 1000 years, the deleterious mutations in the inbred. would be burned out. So why are Pakistanis not the most intelligent people in the world eh?”

    you should prolly ask greg cochran.

    the only inbreeding population that i’ve read about in which they figure that lots o’ deleterious mutations have been “burnt out” are southern indians (as in call-centers). they’ve had a habit of marrying uncles & nieces, so they could really get rid of all those bad mutations pretty rapidly — that’s according to what i read in an article a while ago and which, annoyingly, i haven’t been able to locate again. there must be other populations like that, too, but i don’t know which ones they are.

    i have my own theory as to why some clannish populations are dullards. it only applies, though, if there are no other strong selection pressures for smarts (like what happened with ashkenazi jews). it’s just a thought, though — nothing more.


  35. @hubchik

    “that’s really good! at least it sounds good to me. wonder what the guys who can do “the math” would say about it? (^_^)”

    It is possible to imagine ways in which certain patterns of selection could limit the increase in mutation load. For example, suppose that only a certain fraction of people could mate – say the top 30% in fitness – while others never reproduced. That would severely limit the increase in mutational load, since each genetic death would eliminate many bad alleles. This model, truncation selection, is halfway plausible in a dog-eat-dog Malthusian world, but nobody knows how close it is to reality.

    Or actually happened in a less extreme form with the euro late marriage model from whenever it started – i’d guess manorialism but maybe earlier as tacitus (yeah i know but i like him) mentions the german tribes not being hurried into marriage so maybe late marriage was a northern latitude thing already? – up to at least the 1840s when (according to wiki) the age of puberty starting to drop would have increased the mutations per generation.

    (Also the average age of puberty may not have dropped at the same rate for all social classes so the beneficial effects may have lasted longer with some groups more than others.)


    “(btw – late night or early morning? (~_^) )”

    Both usually – sleep and ideas don’t cohabit too well :)


  36. Just to re-iterate, variations in marriage form will have both the inbreeding vs outbreeding aspect and the shedding of mutational load aspect. It’s not just the rate of gaining mutations it’s the rate of shedding.

    The unique aspects of the euro late marriage model may have evolved somehow from the cousin ban or may have been driven separately but by the same manorial environment or some parts of it may have developed earlier for latitude regions.


    “if you take Pakistan where there has been intensive consaguinity for 1000 years, the deleterious mutations in the inbred. would be burned out.”

    From the same blog post linked above

    “The mutation rate for any particular locus is low: for a typical gene, something like 10-5. But over the genome as a whole, the total rate is on the order of 1 per generation, or maybe a bit larger than that.”

    So you get new mutations all the time.


    Also when you say “burned out” does that mean something other than people dying without reproducing?


    It seems to me the early close-cousin marriage model with both high fertility and high mortality is likely to both create large amounts of load and remove large amounts. It seems to me this model requires a very high mortality rate to work.

    The euro late marriage model with no close cousins and 10% to 20% not marrying seems likely to me to create less load – both because of the cousin ban and the longer generation times – and to reduce large amounts of load through the 10% to 20% not marrying as a substitute for a much higher mortality rate. I think this model requires both a) lots of voluntary assortative mating on tho basis of overall fitness – King and Queen of the May – so the 10% to 20% are those with the most load and not just random and b) a high average age of puberty so the load benefits of longer generation length through late marriage isn’t countered by more paternal mutations*.


    (* see

    If one group has a generation length of 25 and a second group have a generation length of 20 then the second group will have 1.25 generations for each 1 of the first group. So if the two groups had the same rate of paternal mutations per generation then the longer generation group will have fewer mutations.

    If paternal mutations are based on the number of years between the end of puberty and first reproduction then the only way a late reproducing group could have the same (or fewer) paternal mutations than the faster reproducing group (at the same latitude) is if they have puberty later.

    Unless i’ve missed something.


  37. Last point also from

    “In a simple model, a given mutant has an equilibrium frequency μ/s, when μ is the mutation rate from good to bad alleles and s is the size of the selective disadvantage. To estimate the total impact of mutation at that locus, you multiply the frequency by the expected harm, s: which means that the fitness decrease (from effects at that locus) is just μ, the mutation rate.”

    In a low cognitive environment the selective disadvantage of mental defects may be less than the disadvantage directly related to physical health i.e if a dumb hunter gatherer dies more easily than a dumb goat herder then i think it’s possible that the close cousin model with a high mortality rate might burn off physical defects faster than mental ones.

    This might segue into an industrialization / urbanization effect i.e. if in a clannish rural environment the dummies are carried by the rest of the group they may still reproduce but if they move to the cities without that clan support maybe they don’t – unless the same clannish village marriage form (literally same village) is still maintained after the move to the cities like it is with some south asian populations in the west.


  38. After generations of cousin marriage the offspring would tend to have the same mutations. (which is the opposite of hybrid vigour, eg Obama). With 70% first cousin marriage being common in a society for for 1000 years like it has been in Pakistan the mutations a couple of cousins shared and passed on would aggravate inbreeding depression in the children who happened to get them. So if IQ is a trait controlled by many genes and depressed by mutations that everybody has, then in societies with a history of intensive consanguinity should produce higher IQ by making the variegated annoying little mutations have been less viable as a result of them often being inherited on both sides. Therefore when people in societies with a history of intensive consanguinity mated the consequence would would be magnified deleterious effect and serious deficits in reproductive fitness. Presumably they would have less success in reproducing as a result. (If the dual inheritance mutations got that far. I dare say there would be a lot more miscarriages too).


  39. culture is merely the thin onion skin covering the onion of biology.
    weird metaphor – & if you cut into it, it can make you cry!
    b/c biology is not fair. & overlapping normal curves are difficult to understand, b/c they’re not black & white, but that’s how biology plays. culture plays by preserving the onion longer, & keeping it safe from insects :) & that’s what we’re here for – mainly to feed insects. insects rock, & so does biology. but neither are fair. diversity actually means “equalness need not apply.” quite orwellian how it’s come to mean the opposite. i’ll try to be more uplifting next time, tho insects are really cool. here in the great plains, the wheel bugs have been out lately, but are now turning away to let the argiopes come out & play! (wheel bugs & argiopes are awesome & beyond cool & i would prefer to live among them over many cultures on earth). cheers!


  40. @panjoomby – “& that’s what we’re here for – mainly to feed insects.”


    from william hamilton:

    “I will leave a sum in my last will for my body to be carried to Brazil and to these forests. It will be laid out in a manner secure against the possums and the vultures just as we make our chickens secure; and this great Coprophanaeus beetle will bury me. They will enter, will bury, will live on my flesh; and in the shape of their children and mine, I will escape death. No worm for me nor sordid fly, I will buzz in the dusk like a huge bumble bee. I will be many, buzz even as a swarm of motorbikes, be borne, body by flying body out into the Brazilian wilderness beneath the stars, lofted under those beautiful and un-fused elytra which we will all hold over our backs. So finally I too will shine like a violet ground beetle under a stone.”



  41. Culture like consciousness is an emergent property. Insects can feast upon our brains and corpses. But no insect shall ever feast upon an emergent property. What emerges disappears again, never to be caught.

    Culture like consciousness is the whole greater than the sum of the parts. You can slice into human skin and dissect what is inside. You can pull out the brain and organs. But you will never find that greater whole that makes us human.

    Culture like consciousness isn’t just the supericial skin between us and reality. No, it is the lense through which we know reality at all. It is our reality and we cannot know anything outside of it for through it our perception and experience is filtered, is formed.

    We are the very thing we seek to understand.


  42. @benjamin – “Culture like consciousness is an emergent property.”

    yes, but it’s not wholly inexplicable.

    the maori have high frequencies of “the warrior gene,” and then they have (had) a pretty violent society and violent-ish cultural practices like their (fantastic! — i’m a big fan) haka dances.

    english people, otoh, came up with morris dancing as a part of their culture.

    obviously, you can’t predict exactly what a culture will look like from the package of genes that a population has (on average), but i think you can predict the flavor it will have.

    frankly, i think understanding consciousness is waaaaay harder.


  43. “‘Our analysis allows us — for the first time — to formally reject a history of ancestral population structure and instead reveals strong support for admixture from Neandertals into Eurasian populations at a higher rate (3.4%-7.9%) than suggested previously.’”

    Or higher with particular individuals of course.


  44. @panjoomby – “thank you for that William Hamilton quote/beetle poetry – that’s beautiful — amen:)”

    sadly, hamilton didn’t get his wish to be “buried” by the beetles in brazil — he was interred in england in an old-fashioned grave. dunno what happened — maybe he didn’t get that fund together in time — probably didn’t expect to go so soon.

    wheel bugs rock! (^_^)


  45. @hbdchick – “yes, but it’s not wholly inexplicable.”

    I suppose nothing is wholly inexplicable, but somethings more than others.

    The complication for culture is that it is in some ways an all-purpose category to fit in all the things we don’t fully understand about human nature and society. You see a culture and you can recognize it as something unique. Yet it is so hard to define what makes it unique. Culture is the meeting point of human reality, the whole of human experience that is the greater than the parts of hard data.

    Maybe cultures can only ever fully be understood by those who are at least partly within a culture. From the outside, all you can see is data points that are challenging to connect into a coherent picture of lived social relationships. Culture is more of a subjective experience than an objective thing. I think that is why it is easy to dismiss. It feels real to someone within a culture, but you can never prove it is real to someone not experiencing it for themselves. This is why atheists have a hard time seeing the validity in religious experience. Religions are cultures with experiences that only make sense within the reality tunnel of the religion.

    “obviously, you can’t predict exactly what a culture will look like from the package of genes that a population has (on average), but i think you can predict the flavor it will have.”

    I was thinking about what you wrote here. I liked the way you phrased that: the ‘flavor’ of a culture. Maybe the flavor of a culture is to a culture what personality is to consciousness. We can measure personality traits which tells us something about the flavor of consciousness for an individual. On the larger scale, we can test populations for personality traits and capture a flavor of a culture, even if only a single flavor amidst many other flavors.

    “frankly, i think understanding consciousness is waaaaay harder.”

    I probably would agree with that. However, I still think consciousness is easier to define than is culture. Consciousness is a single thing whereas culture is many things. The difficulty of consciousness is its deceiving appearance of simplicity.


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