misdreavus on human biodiversity

if you’re not on twitter, and even if you are, you may have missed this. in response to social anthropologist a.j. west’s post ‘HBD’, misdreavus has pretty much completely — and valiantly! — explained ALL of the whys and wherefores of human biodiversity in just six short paragraphs.

if you’re on twitter and not following misdreavus, you should be! and if you’re not on twitter, you should get on twitter JUST to follow misdreavus! (^_^)

his comments @west’s blog start here. i’ve only cut-and-pasted some of them here — there’s more on west’s blog. much more. you should definitely head over there and read them all!

note that misdreavus never mentions that hbd is a political or social or ideological movement. THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S NOT! (all emphases are misdreavus’ — except for the all caps in the previous sentence. yes, that was me SHOUTING! (*^_^*) )

“The scientific basis behind so-called ‘human biodiversity’ (or HBD) is blessedly simple in its obviousness, albeit one that goes shockingly under-acknowledged by most who call themselves authorities in the human sciences. We already have enough evidence that genetic variation in the human species must account, in some non-trivial way, for the variation in phenotypic diversity we see among the major extant human populations living today. By that I refer not only to salient differences such as the height gap between Aka Pygmies and Congolese Bantus, or that fact that west Africans have more prognathous jaws than northern Europeans, but also artifacts of our biochemistry such as Type II diabetes (which usually correlates with obesity) or alcohol metabolism (a large percentage of east Asians have abtabuse built into their genomes — Greenland Inuits don’t). Of course. We get it. There is inter-ethnic (or inter-demic, or inter-population — feel free to choose whatever taxonomic subdivision *du jour* is fashionable these days among the PC crowd) variation for virtually every single trait for which there exists variation among members of a single ethnic group: no two Irishmen have noses that are exactly the same shape, and neither do any two races, on average. No two Koreans have skin color that is exactly the same hue, and there is a vast gap in skin color between Norwegians and Dinka. No two Russians are of exactly the same height — not even identical twins, and virtually every single Swede is taller than every single Mbuti pygmy. This much is obvious to anyone with an unimpaired frontal lobe.

“And we can extend this reasoning not only to the aforementioned physical traits (and much more), but also cognitive skills, however they are defined in every single culture — for virtually every single behavioral trait *ever* documented among human beings is heritable. We know that two children who are reared by the same pair of parents can be *strikingly* different in their behavior and temperament, and that these differences almost always persist long past childhood. It matters not how ‘personality’ and ‘temperament’ are defined, or that there are not, never have been, and likely never will be any precise definitions of these terms that are useful to psychological science. (Let us avail ourselves of the postmodernist obscurantism, trenchant reality denial, and casual know-nothingness that you decried earlier in a post about social anthropology. It is enough for us to acknowledge that no two humans are alike in behavior, and that the human mind is not a blank slate.) Behavioral differences between any two people, even identical twins, manifest themselves starting from birth, and they only magnify throughout the lifespan. Not surprisingly, it has been demonstrated that babies from different ethnic groups also demonstrate behavioral differences from the cradle. East Asian babies, on average, tend to remain placid and calm when a soft cloth is dropped over their faces — west African and European babies are the polar opposite. See here.

“If, indeed, it is the case that human beings vary in behavior, and if it has been proven that much of this variation in behavior may be attributed to hereditary causes, then *this alone is sufficient to demonstrate that heredity must explain some of the variation in cognition between any two human populations who vary in their evolutionary history*. Well, has this been proven? Of course it has. ‘Heritability’, as the term is implemented in quantitative genetics, refers to the portion of variation in a phenotype within a population that may be attributed to heritable differences, given a certain range of genotypes and phenotypes: H^2 = Var(G)/Var(P). The classical twin study, as much as it is ballyhooed by idiots in the social sciences who are reality-averse, has provided heritability estimates for a wide array of psychological dimensions ranging from IQ and its subscores (visuospatial, verbal, mathematical, etc.), to reaction time, to the ‘big 5’ (e.g. extraversion/intraversion, neuroticism, etc.), to all psychiatric disorders (e.g. autism, schizophrenia), to what brand of cereal you prefer in the morning, and much more. In virtually all cases, these heritability estimates are higher than zero — often substantially higher than zero. They are not only consistent with studies of identical twins reared apart, but also longitudinal adoption studies: studies with sample sizes ranging in the multiple thousands have demonstrated consistently that adopted children, even when adopted during early infancy, resemble their biological parents to a vastly higher degree than they resemble the adults who actually raised them (i.e. ‘adoptive’ parents).

“And one of the most common, and in fact the overarching application of heritability estimates is evolution. Heritability estimates tell you precisely how much a trait will change in a population, over time, as a response to selection. In other words, if the smallest 25% of all cattle in a herd failed to reproduce every generation, how much would you expect that trait to increase over time? Given even modest selection on any trait from height, to violence, to ‘visuospatial IQ’, to extroversion, and much more — just about how much heritable variation would you expect see between the disparate human populations on Earth since the time we migrated out of east Africa?

“The answer is obvious. if you have read ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion’ by Cochran and Harpending (which I’m not sure you have), the authors provide ample evidence that substantial heritable change is possible in the relative blink of an eye — hundreds or thousands of years, not just tens of thousands. (Evolutionarily speaking, of course.) It is a trivial matter to ensure that a population, twenty generations from now, will be on average as bright as the brightest 2% within that population today. Today’s Scandinavians are not yesterday’s Vikings. Han Chinese in Sichuan Province today are not genetically exchangeable with Chinese during the reign of the first Qin Emperor. Swedes are not Norwegians, Egyptian Copts are not Muslims, and Hejazi Arabs are not Najdi Arabs. I could belabor this point ad nauseam, but I believe I have made my point sufficiently clear.

“Of course, this is not to say that all of the variation in behavior you see among human beings is hereditary in origin. Nobody ever claimed that — a heritability estimate below 1.0 proves some source of variation that is exogenous to the germ plasm, or perhaps a statistical artifact that is generated in the process of (imperfectly) measuring the trait in question.”

(^_^)
_____

the big m also had something to say about the ideas tossed around on this blog (thanks, misdreavus!). i’m thinking i’m gonna just hand the reigns over to him, because he’s summarized the theory (with a small “t”) better than i can! (~_^)

“You also misrepresent some of the basic claims of some of the bloggers in the HBD sphere. HBD-chick, for one, who does a lot of blogging about consanguineous marriages and its implications for human evolution. You claim:

“‘That account also makes bizarre claims, like the idea that altruism is greater in societies that have complex marriage systems and that ‘marry out’ of the family unit – because, apparently, when you marry out of your circle for generation after generation, everyone you meet is almost guaranteed to be your relative and therefore worthier of compassion!’

“No. The point is that human populations vary considerably, throughout the ages, in the *degree and prevalence of consanguineous marriages*, and that basic arithmetic would show you that this will increase the relatedness of two members within an extended family beyond what may be expected from random mating. The Gulf Arabs have been marrying their cousins for *centuries*, and this practice possibly dates earlier than the prophet Muhammad — Norwegians and Danes *haven’t*. This means that Saudis, on average, are much more inbred than your typical northern European, and that this difference can be measured through segments of DNA that are ‘IBD’ (identical by descent) — Arabs share a lot more of these than ethnic groups where cousin marriage is taboo.

“The coefficients of relatedness work somewhat like this: normally, your brother shares half of your DNA that is identical by descent, as do your biological parents. Your nieces and nephews share 1/4. Your cousins share 1/8. So on, and so forth. Hamilton’s laws demonstrate altruism (e.g. reducing your own fitness, on the behalf of someone other than yourself) can boost an organism’s fitness, on average, if the recipient of the altruism increases *its fitness* in a way that is commensurate with the relatedness of the altruist and the recipient. In other words, rB > c.

“Imagine that by sacrificing your life to save your brother who is drowning, you thereby ensure that your brother would have three additional children that he would not have otherwise had, had he been permitted to sink (and drown). On average, this would ensure a net benefit of fitness for yourself, despite the fact that you have totally abandoned the carrier of your genes (your body) by sacrificing yourself on behalf of your brother. Why? Because 3 multipled by 1/2 (the fraction of genes that your brother, on average, shares in common with you) is greater than 1. You will have increased your contribution to the gene pool. And any alleles that promote such an altruistic behavior on behalf of a person, for his blood relatives, should increase in frequency through selection. This is especially the case for populations that have been inbreeding throughout the ages — because brothers, in this circumstance, are more related to each other than ordinary brothers.

“The idea is that this sort of consanguinity would increase the fitness rewards for altruism *on behalf of blood relatives* to an unusually high degree that is absent among populations that have been out-breeding. In other words, it increases the odds of nepotism, clannishness, and feuding between clans, among other anti-social behaviors that make a civil society very difficult, among other destructive consequences. (Without peeking, who is more likely to help his brother cheat on a standardized test to qualify for a job — the average Najdi Arab, or the average Finn?)

“For societies that have been deliberately *outbreeding*, the exact opposite scenario occurs — distant relatives, whether you realize it consciously or not, are more related to you than they would be in a society with perfectly random mating, and hence you see higher levels of the low-degree altruism that makes the sort of society you see in Woebegon Lake or Sweden possible. The idea is that Swedes are much more willing to sacrifice their fitness in a modest way on behalf of complete strangers who are members of their ethnic group, e.g. by paying higher taxes, and that this tendency has been selected for since the introduction of Christianity during the medieval era, which forbade consanguineous marriages throughout much of western Europe. Like I said earlier. You only need hundreds of years to see a noticeable change.

“If you remain skeptical of this theory, all is fine, but let me tell you something — it does a decent job explaining why the Swedish welfare state works perfectly fine for Scandinavians, but results in utter dysfunction for Somali refugees. It explains why democracy persistently fails in certain parts of the world, despite billions of dollars spent on aid, foreign advisers, and the best advice of seasoned policymakers — some people don’t give a damn about people outside their extended family, and you can’t change that. It explains why there is a west-east cline in Europe for corruption, social trust, and civic mindedness, inasmuch as they can be measured by political scientists — Ukrainians are much more corrupt than the Norwegians, and they’ve been this way for a long time. It does NOT say that all human behavior is genetically mediated, or that altruism is automatically greater in societies were people have been marrying unrelated persons.”

everyone should be skeptical of this theory! i am. (or, at least, i try to keep reminding myself to be. (~_^) )

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

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90 Comments

  1. Love these comments, incisive, well written (in the sense that they are clear and easy to read quickly), logical. Though I have to say I do prefer Gengar.

    ~S

    Reply

  2. Quote: ““You also misrepresent some of the basic claims of some of the bloggers in the HBD sphere. HBD-chick, for one, who does a lot of blogging about consanguineous marriages and its implications for human evolution. You claim:”

    Lost me there. Who is you?

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  3. @jayman – “You beat me to it Chick…”

    wheee! i’ll have to tell my mother that i finally did something before somebody else. she’s been complaining my whole life that i’m such a slowpoke (no, not THAT one!) — always the last one off the school bus, always the last one out of bed in the morning (*ahem* afternoon), always the last one off the plane when she meets me at the airport. (*^_^*)

    Reply

  4. Human biodiversity argues that some populations are naturally stupider and more violent than others, and that these traits are immutable is by definition political, and in fact is despotic, since your position states that the dumb and violent must always be controlled by the intelligent. Your movement has to be fascist; it is incompatible with democracy to assume that easily identified groups are unfit for modern life. I don’t understand why you are offended at the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from your premises.

    Reply

      1. On the other hand people will naturally want to know where something leads. I think the slippery slope argument is somehow ingrained in many people and they assume that their interpretation of which way the dominoes must fall is the only possible choice. It might do HBD some good to look at a range of possible social policies/outcomes given a future where HBD is taken as objective reality. I’ve been thinking about this a lot actually. The comments on your recent post were exceptional in that regard, but I don’t think they go far enough.

  5. @karenjo 12 – “Human biodiversity argues that some populations are naturally stupider and more violent than others, and that these traits are immutable is by definition political, and in fact is despotic, since your position states that the dumb and violent must always be controlled by the intelligent.”

    nope. human biodiversity is not a political or social or ideological movement. it does not — and, in fact, cannot — argue anything. human biodiversity does not have/cannot have a “position” either.

    human biodiversity is very simply what it says: human + biological + diversity. that’s IT.

    in other words: human biodiversity is the diversity found among and between human populations that has a biological basis.

    nothing more.

    saying that human biodiversity “aruges” something or has “a position” would be like saying gravity feels that democrats are better than republicans. or like saying that the third law of thermodynamics prefers kittens to puppies. aspects of the natural world can’t have opinions or positions on issues.

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  6. @jayman – “It’s always something when people confuse moral/normative arguments with facts about the world.”

    *sigh*

    to be geneous for a sec, i wonder if some people out there are being thrown off by the acronym. i mean, “human biodiversity” shouldn’t be confusing — it means exactly what it says (although my friend karenjo12 doesn’t seem to have understood it).

    what’s so confusing about “human biodiversity”? human. biological. diversity. -??-

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  7. @ Sisyphean

    Appreciate the compliment, but I’m not a big fan of dual ghost/poison types myself.

    @ HBD Chick

    *tips hat*

    Hamilton’s rule should be rB > C — where did that equal sign come from? looks like I made a typo there.

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  8. “It’s always something when people confuse moral/normative arguments with facts about the world.”

    Well, what is at issue is where the action is. Genes or intellectual culture. HBD is an intellectual culture consisting of statements about the genetic basis of society. To the extent that you suceed in popularising certain ideas about HBD you will change the nature of society, but by changing minds, not the putative genetic psychological traits like open trusting behaviour. If HBD was true in a strong sense, it becoming popularised couldn’t change society. West is acting as if he is sincere in thinking HBD’s main importance lies in the social context. Are HBDers?

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  9. aspects of the natural world can’t have opinions or positions on issues”

    Talking about the facts concerning genes is not the same as being a gene.
    Lets say HBDers is so convincing that HBD gets to be the recieved wisdom throughout western society in a few years. There would not be a change in genes, but it would be the most profound change imaginable. Intellectual culture is where the action is, HBD is a type of argot for trying to bring about non genetic change. It’s almost like HBDers think the opinion of society is the fundamental level of reality, and determines everything.

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  10. re: hbd*chick – “nope. human biodiversity is not a political or social or ideological movement. it does not — and, in fact, cannot — argue anything. human biodiversity does not have/cannot have a “position” either.”

    True. On the other hand you have to admit that hbd is a challenge in our mutli-racial, multi-cultural American democracy. My nightmare scenario is that we are headed for — in fact, are well along the way to — a racially stratified, class society, a six layer cake the layers of which I will leave to our readers to name.

    So, what is the challenge? Well, like JayMan I consider myself a liberal (my new Polish girlfriend, who’s an outspoken conservative, cringes when I describe myself that way!) and so, for me, the challenge is how to preserve the ideal of a society in which everyone’s happiness is, so far as government policy is concerned, equally important. Thus, for example, our current trade and immigration policies favor capital (including human capital, i.e., brains plus education) over those who earn their livings with their hands and their feet. New labor-saving technologies have the same effect.

    So the challenge, in other words, is how to offset, compensate for, or otherwise reverse these effects without crippling the efficiency and dynamics of a market economy. Most “policy experts” will say this is not possible. However I beg to disagree. For details you’ll have to read my upcoming voluntary utopia, A Part-time Job in the Country (and, no, the answer is not part-time jobs in the country for everyone) in which I outline a political platform for the next generation, namely, the one that comes into power after my generation dies out. I can hardly wait for the latter. Too bad I won’t be here to see it.

    Like Reagan, I have faith that America’s best days are still ahead.

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  11. So, do you take it as fact that some human populations, who can be easily identified by their appearance, are in fact stupider and more violent than others? Do you think that being stupid and violent is a neutral or beneficial characteristic?

    Reply

  12. ” It might do HBD some good to look at a range of possible social policies/outcomes given a future where HBD is taken as objective reality”

    Indeed, that is the point at issue. Not how much HBD opinions correlate with reality, but whether they will be widely believed. Because as West says: “Humans can change culturally without genetic change […] They can take in and improve new ideas, given sufficient means and stimuli. Genetic variation is absolutely **** *** compared to that”. HBDers are talking about genetic change but they are actually longing (see the ‘how much longer’ post) for a change in opinion. The medium is the message

    A bit of a straw man argument West makes, has merit as a rather good point “Here’s a big problem for HBD-ers to resolve. For thousands of years, western European societies were full of superstition, religion, religious bigotry, and religious (and other) violence. To be a heretic, or to agree with heresies or heretics, was sufficient cause for arrest and brutal murder, meaning that religious belief and religious orthodoxy were actively selected for. To disagree with the imposition of the death sentence for a heretic, to seem unorthodox, to not rejoice at the discovery and burning of witches – all of these could lead to execution. This went on for hundreds of years, was extremely widespread, and was strongly selected for. This is the kind of selection that, if such things were possible, would certainly lead to higher levels of superstition or religious hatred encoded at some genetic level”.

    Much truth in that, if we translate it into modern belief systems that actually have power in the West. Hmmm, if West is right, HBD keyboard commandos can easily bring about a revolution in a few years. If HBD is right, HBDers will have to do it with their kinfolk for several generations before the important determinants of social interaction could alter. Which to choose?

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  13. “Human biodiversity argues that some populations are naturally stupider and more violent than others, and that these traits are immutable

    The entire point of evolution is that traits aren’t immutable (at least over generations). It wouldn’t work otherwise.

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  14. @Sisyphean:

    “On the other hand people will naturally want to know where something leads. I think the slippery slope argument is somehow ingrained in many people and they assume that their interpretation of which way the dominoes must fall is the only possible choice. It might do HBD some good to look at a range of possible social policies/outcomes given a future where HBD is taken as objective reality.”

    Sure. We have done so here already. But, like I said, it’s important to keep the facts separate from any putative social consequences of those facts. They are not one and the same, and that needs to kept crystal clear at all times.

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    1. @jayman Ah yes, that discussion appeared before I started reading/commenting on these blogs so I was largely ignorant of it. I maintain (my acknowledged neophyte opinion) that HBD could use more of precisely that kind of discussion, though maybe with narrower focus. I also noticed that the slippery slope reared its head pretty quickly in the comments. I swear there is something hard wired for that, I see it so often and in every intellectual camp. I wonder if it has to do with a predisposition for serial thinking.

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  15. @Luke Lea:

    “So the challenge, in other words, is how to offset, compensate for, or otherwise reverse these effects without crippling the efficiency and dynamics of a market economy. Most ‘policy experts’ will say this is not possible. However I beg to disagree.”

    I would as well. Contra certain thinkers out there, typically free marketers and other capitalistic types, the “market” and the “economy” are not ends in themselves, but merely means to an end. Namely, maximizing human well-being. That end should, in my view, be kept at the forefront at all times.

    But then, what do I know, pinko socialist I am and all?

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    1. @Jayman “the “market” and the “economy” are not ends in themselves, but merely means to an end”

      Agreed. A market is like a dog in my mind, if it is trained well and cared for it can be a powerful ally but if not, no one is safe from its bite.

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  16. @Sisyphean:

    “I also noticed that the slippery slope reared its head pretty quickly in the comments. I swear there is something hard wired for that, I see it so often and in every intellectual camp. I wonder if it has to do with a predisposition for serial thinking.”

    Well, it’s worth keeping in mind that people aren’t exactly rational (far from it) and most people can’t keep separate facts (especially facts about ourselves) separate from moral assignment to those facts. It’s the nature of the beast. Which is why when we’re trying to have a factual discussion, that sort of thinking needs to be admonished quickly and surely whenever it appears.

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  17. @misdreavus – “Hamilton’s rule should be rB > C — where did that equal sign come from? looks like I made a typo there.”

    oops! no, that was probably me. attempted to add spaces between the variables for clarity, and changed mind a few times — between spacing and backspacing, must’ve hit = at some point. (*facepalm*)

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  18. @anonymous – “HBD is an intellectual culture consisting of statements about the genetic basis of society.”

    no. hbd is not an “intellectural culture.”

    once again, for those with reading comprehension problems, human biodiversity = human + biological + diversity

    in other words: human biodiversity is the diversity found among and between human populations that has a biological basis.

    that’s IT. period. full stop.

    it is not a political movement. it is not an ideology. it is not an intellectual culture. it is an aspect of the natural world that exists independently from human beliefs about the world and ambitions for it (although, ironically, human biodiversity goes a long way to explaining those beliefs and ambitions!).

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  19. @sean – “HBD is a type of argot for trying to bring about non genetic change.”

    complete and utter rubbish!

    once again, for those of you with reading comprehension problems, human biodiversity (hbd) is the diversity found among and between human populations that has a biological basis.

    it exists without you and me discussing it, in straightforward language or in some secret code.

    which, btw, the scientists who study various aspects of hbd and us laypersons who are simply interested in it are not trying to bring about some non genetic change by talking about hbd. WE’RE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD AS IT REALLY WORKS! if you want to help people at all, you need to understand how things really work. otherwise you’re just operating in the dark.

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  20. @sisyphean – “It might do HBD some good to look at a range of possible social policies/outcomes given a future where HBD is taken as objective reality.”

    you mean, i take it, the hbd community, not hbd itself — which can’t reflect upon itself. (~_^)

    i dunno. i must be very special or kinda crazy — isn’t science just…science…and don’t all the policy discussions happen elsewhere? amongst the public/politicians? if it’s not, oughtn’t that to be how it works?

    maybe i’m really naive, but i thought the job of teh scientists was just to find out about the world and relay that information to the rest of us.

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    1. @hbdChick “maybe i’m really naive, but i thought the job of teh scientists was just to find out about the world and relay that information to the rest of us.”

      You’re right, I meant the HBD community. However human biological differences isn’t actually a ‘thing’, it just is, like all knowledge, like the earth revolving around the sun just is. But ‘HBD’ is a brand and if you don’t manage your own brand others will do it for you and not to your benefit or the benefit of the free expression of knowledge, for their own benefit. This is what (I believe) others have been trying to do recently with their hit pieces: tarnish the brand.

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  21. @luke – “On the other hand you have to admit that hbd is a challenge in our mutli-racial, multi-cultural American democracy.”

    well, that’s not reality’s fault. that the fault of humans for ignoring reality for so long.

    besides, human biodiversity affects our lives everyday — ALL OF THE TIME. that is THE WHOLE POINT.

    does anyone really think that by NOT thinking about/discussing human biodiversity that any problems therein will just go away? if they do, they’re wrong, because those problems won’t go away. instead what we’re doing on the one hand is ignoring invaluable knowledge that could acutally HELP people, while on the other hand compounding other problems that are based up human biological differences (or whatever).

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  22. @karenjo12 – “So, do you take it as fact that some human populations, who can be easily identified by their appearance, are in fact stupider and more violent than others?”

    if you mean ON AVERAGE (and i hope you understand what that implies, i.e. that there can be large overlaps between groups and that, by definition, not every individual will meet the average for their group), then, yes — obviously.

    @karenjo12 – “Do you think that being stupid and violent is a neutral or beneficial characteristic?”

    depends on what circumstances you’re in. depends on your environment.

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  23. @sean – “Indeed, that is the point at issue. Not how much HBD opinions correlate with reality, but whether they will be widely believed. Because as West says: “Humans can change culturally without genetic change […] They can take in and improve new ideas, given sufficient means and stimuli. Genetic variation is absolutely **** *** compared to that”. HBDers are talking about genetic change but they are actually longing (see the ‘how much longer’ post) for a change in opinion. The medium is the message.”

    no, sean. you are always wrong, in every instance. impressive, really.

    first of all, there are no such things as “hbd opinions.” human biodiversity (hbd) cannot hold opinions. see above.

    there are, yes, people who are interested in hbd, but we cannot have “opinions” on hbd, either, because human biodiversity is simply a set of facts — many of which still need to be worked out, of course. we can have opinions on what to do with those facts, but NOT about those facts. facts are facts. when you’re close enough to planet earth, you fall down towards it thanks to gravity, no matter what your opinions about gravity might be.

    i am longing, yes, for a public change of opinion on political correctness, because it’s wrong and harmful to society and many of the individuals in it, but i don’t think that human opinions are something separate from our biologies. humans are not rational. humans are stupid. we see these bubbles and busts in opinions in human societies (mostly western?) because humans are herders and will believe whatever the crowd believes. THAT’S THANKS TO OUR INNATE NATURES. not to any independent, free-willed, rational thinking that people do. i don’t think that we have to change our biology to get a change in opinion — but i DO worry that the next bubble in opinion could be WORSE than the one we have right now (see my “how much longer” post), precisely because the herd is dumb. by nature.

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  24. @grey – “The entire point of evolution is that traits aren’t immutable (at least over generations). It wouldn’t work otherwise.”

    yup! (^_^)

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  25. @jayman – “[I]t’s important to keep the facts separate from any putative social consequences of those facts. They are not one and the same, and that needs to kept crystal clear at all times.”

    this seems to be really hard for a lot of people. =/

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  26. @karenjo12 – “Please tell me how being stupid is beneficial? I can sorta see violent, but how is being an idiot ever useful?”

    i thought you meant that some populations have lower average iqs than others, which is what you said in your earlier comment.

    look, if you’re just here to be provocative because you hate human biodiversity and your goal is just to get me to say somethng stupid (which i do all the time anyway) by trapping me in some sort of semantics game or to say something “controversial,” just forget it. i won’t approve any more of your comments if i suspect that’s what you’re up to. i’m not interested in playing games.

    if you want to genuinely discuss human biodiversity or issues related to it, fine. but GROW UP!

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  27. @karenjo

    “So, do you take it as fact that some human populations, who can be easily identified by their appearance, are in fact stupider and more violent than others?”

    If there were then it would be a good idea to do something about it.

    .

    “Do you think that being stupid and violent is a neutral or beneficial characteristic?”

    All the more reason to do something about it then.

    .

    This is the sort of research people like you try to prevent from ever happening

    http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Dr-Brownstein/iodine-pregnancy-IQ-ADHD/2014/01/22/id/548448/

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  28. karenjo:

    Imagine you take a group of people. You then divide them into two groups from the same population, raised in the same environment completely at random. There is high chance that the average IQ of one group would be lower than average IQ of other group. The statement “average IQ for group A is lower than average IQ for group B” will be objectively true. Moreover, since group A and B are from the same population, the whole difference in average IQ would be accounted for by differences in genes between A and B.

    The question is: can you say “people from group A are stupider from people from group B” ? I hope you will say no.

    I guess I try to say that the problem is not HBD, but the way statistics is understood by some people.

    (Yeah, i know my example is somewhat lame due to regression to mean, but I hope you get what I wanted to say)

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  29. Having a low IQ means lower caloric requirements, since the brain is a huge energy-hog. In some environments, that may limit the selection *for* intelligence. Also, lower IQs tend to track with smaller head size, which makes giving birth easier and thus lowers infant mortality.

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  30. karenjo12 – policy informed by HBD will (hopefully) be more successful than policy informed by a refusal to face the facts of HBD. You can read Steve Sailer’s take on how to construct policy to help the less-intelligent half of the population here.

    For a simpler example, I used to be one of those people who thought we needed better teachers, and that schools had gone downhill – typical conservative stuff you hear all the time. But reading about HBD, and looking at results broken down by race, etc., I’ve come to realize that American teachers are actually doing a pretty damn good job, and probably no worse than they were 25 or 50 years ago. The decline in test scores (and other results) appears to be entirely due to demographic changes. As a result, I don’t believe that a lot of conservative policy towards education actually makes any sense, except as a way to bash progressives by forcing them to live up to their mistaken ideas. (I still think we pay teachers too much, but I’m in California; they aren’t as well-paid elsewhere.) I’m also ok with sending my kids to a public school with non-stellar test scores, because those scores reflect the large hispanic population in the school’s attendance area; white kids get about the same test scores at every school in town, even as the school average varies over 100 points.

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  31. As a result of pointers from hbd chick and JayMan, I read misdreavus’ comments in their entirety at A.J. West’s blog. Thanks to misdreavus for putting in the effort to write those lucid and sweeping summaries. And kudos to Prof. West for letting them stay. It’s encouraging to see a proponent of the conventional wisdom who nonetheless holds to the open exchange of ideas.

    In composing my remarks at West’s site, I came up with a potentially useful term, HBU — Human BioUniformity. (Google did find five earlier usages, though — so much for originality!)

    Prof. West and his acolytes believe that HBU is a more accurate description of reality than is HBD. Apparently.

    Two points on that.

    (1). HBU and HBD each make predictions about the physical world. As scientific concepts, they are both meaningful, i.e. falsifiable. That’s great!

    (2) Nobody with eyes connected to a working brain can believe a “strong form” of HBU*. E.g. Chinese kids adopted by black African parents still have epicanthal folds and pale skin. But that points to the Special Pleading aspect of the doctrine. “I don’t care about skin color and eye shape per se, so HBD may exist for those attributes. However, when it comes inter-group distribution of Big Five personality traits — it’s HBU all the way down!”

    .
    * Likewise, sensible people reject Strong HBD, i.e. All-Nature-No-Nurture. This condition is satisfied by my reading list (West Hunter, Sailer, hbd chick, JayMan, ParaPundit, etc.).

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  32. Hbd Chick
    ”note that misdreavus never mentions that hbd is a political or social or ideological movement. THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S NOT! (all emphases are misdreavus’”

    I like to think like that, BUT, maybe the average people will don’t understand this way.
    Maybe, the hbd will turn into a ideology movement (or not). What happens today is

    science is not the trivial tongue of the average normal people.
    I believe who we are naives. Without any political or cultural power, HBD never will leave this ”similar blogospheric thought circles”.

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  33. ”Human biodiversity argues that some populations are naturally stupider and more violent than others, and that these traits are immutable is by definition political, and in fact is despotic, since your position states that the dumb and violent must always be controlled by the intelligent. Your movement has to be fascist; it is incompatible with democracy to assume that easily identified groups are unfit for modern life. I don’t understand why you are offended at the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from your premises.”

    Freedom in excess is despotic by excellence. Democracy CAN work with hbd arguments, on fact, hbd IS the answer for many problems, is like the third iluminism. Do not exist any divine law that impossibilite the cooperation between both.

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  34. I was thinking about the rate of incidence of sexually transmissible diseases among the lesbian population, compared to the male homosexual population. I have read that is considerably lower, especially when there is not some form of paraphilic penetration. Also that the risks for oral sex are considerably lower. All very interesting and applicable to the male homosexual population. It seems that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among them is especially true because of anal sex and a lot less because of other paraphilic variants.
    I am proposing that gay men review their modes couple have sex and do it without penetration. A healthy, low-risk sexual practice style, keeping the practice of oral sex but with all the caveats already announced.
    If this kind of awareness can be spread, we can improve the quality of life of this niche. And most importantly,
    make a better world
    AWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNN

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  35. It’s disingenuous to say that studying HBD has no consequences.

    For example, take climate change due to increased CO2. I read around about this a few years ago and it’s look like it is real. That’s just the way the science is pointing.

    But now it’s become hugely politicized, with large camps of the population who won’t believe it because of what the consequences are. It’s not as obvious as HBD, which at one time virtually everyone just “knew”, instinctively.

    But the consequences are even more unpalatable for our society as it exists now. The indoctrination of the blank slate is deeply, deeply entrenched. It’s not going away easily.

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  36. @Frau Katze (03/14/2014 at 10:51 PM) —

    Your climate change example is more apt than you realize.

    As you note, many of those who question the broadly-shared “alarmism” of the climate-science community appear to be motivated by their opposition to the implications of those views.

    On the other side, the posture of mainstream climate scientists has been tainted by revelations of their actions in suppressing the publication of scientifically-legitimate work that questions the dominant consensus. I think of it as a “climate-industrial complex,” motivated by “noble cause corruption” and careerism as much as anything.

    The poisoned fruits of this sorry mess are Bad Science and Bad Public Policy. Regarding AGW (anthropogenic global warming), they are plain to see.

    Links if you need ’em. Or, Google “Climategate” or “Hide the decline” to start.

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  37. “it’s HBU all the way down!”
    HBD says the action is at the level of the genes. Yet on this site we are told a pivotal event was European in-breeding prohibitions, enacted at the behest of the Church to serve its worldly interests. If a social institution, not the individual or collective genetic interests of the the members of that institution, is the root cause of western out-breeding. It would seem to follow that social institutions have emergent properties not explained by HBD or any genetic fitness theory of the people in the institutions.

    There is too much about trait psychology in HBD. If you read Gerd Gigenrezer or Martin Nowak you will understand how important it is that the same strategy can result in opposite results, depending on what others are up to. Tit for tat in a peaceful land o’ plenty will not result in the behaviour it does in a in a hell hole. When they’re up against it, people are going to be looking for back up. I don’t care how outbred they are. AJ West understands that: ” If the state broke down in England, that’s how it would be again in a fairly short time.” (Didn’t Steven Jay Gould’s punctuated equilibrium touch on competitiveness in similar ways)

    Misdreavus and AJ West are a bit dogmatic about either social relations or gene level explanations of society being where all the action is. Neither view explains things particularly well.

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  38. @sean – “Misdreavus and AJ West are a bit dogmatic about either social relations or gene level explanations of society being where all the action is.”

    i can assure you that misdreavus has never said that “all the action” is at the genetic level. neither have i. you’re making sh*t up again in your own head. or you’re purposefully creating strawman arguments.

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  39. @Sean:

    “HBD says the action is at the level of the genes. Yet on this site we are told a pivotal event was European in-breeding prohibitions, enacted at the behest of the Church to serve its worldly interests. If a social institution, not the individual or collective genetic interests of the the members of that institution, is the root cause of western out-breeding. It would seem to follow that social institutions have emergent properties not explained by HBD or any genetic fitness theory of the people in the institutions.

    Whoa there. I’m surprised HBD Chick didn’t bring this up, but where do institutions come from? Institutions are a product of the genetic traits of the people who comprise them. Sometimes this can operate in “unpredictable” (or, perhaps more accurately, chaotic) ways, especially when a small set of people gains much of the power.

    As for the rest of your comment, I know you don’t read my blog, but I suggest you look at this:

    Why HBD | JayMan’s Blog

    There I talk about how social institutions and practices – and rapid changes in such – arises from genetic traits.

    I’d also suggest learning about the idea of gene-culture co-evolution.

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  40. @Sean,

    > Misdreavus and AJ West are a bit dogmatic about either social relations or gene level explanations of society being where all the action is.

    Half-right, half-wrong. Prof West’s essay (linked in the OP) shares his absolutist view that inter-ethnic genetic diversity explains nothing, because it’s trivial or non-existent. Cite: “it is possible to believe that humans are not biologically diverse (at least cognitively)…

    You declare that misdreavus is dogmatic. I can’t find where he asserts that genes dictate rather than influence culture. Since his remarks are reprinted above by hbd_chick, it would have been easy to quote him. IMO you should do so now, or risk having your own assertions dismissed.

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  41. ”I believe who we are naives. Without any political or cultural power, HBD never will leave this ”similar blogospheric thought circles”.”

    Answer myself, yes, is important create it, but without repeat the ideological sameness, because the true is anti-ideology by nature. Hbd IS anti-ideology by nature. Probably, will the first time that humans will can work into a objective and direct political project with imediate results.

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  42. Jayman, I suppose you have read what I think of you being used as a reference by Peter, . Now you have the dubious distinction of being the HBDer whose reflexive genetic determinism AJ West keeps citing as representative of HBD. Confirmation I was right.

    “social institutions and practices – and rapid changes in such – arises from genetic traits.”

    Outbreeding led to genetic change and the Church was the root cause of out-breeding. The Church was not an extended family, it consisted of genetic strangers who were celibates. Their behaviour may have been influenced by genes in some second or third order effect, but it can’t be analysed in inclusive fitness or standard natural selection terms for reasons which may be obvious.

    ‘Ensembles sometimes have system-level properties that exert causal powers with regard to their own constituents’. The Church’s institutional interests were overriding everything in the case of the Church’s prohibition of consanguinity; the action is not obviously at the gene level and it’s dogmatic to insist on reduction to the level of genes as Misdreavus does when he said : “That being said, despite the best efforts of religious hardliners, the local temperament (or culture, or whatever) of the people will always seep through the actual practice of the faith itself.”.

    .

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  43. Sean

    “It would seem to follow that social institutions have emergent properties not explained by HBD or any genetic fitness theory of the people in the institutions.“

    So?

    Bunch of people sail to an island. Priest says let’s cut down all the trees because one of them looks like my aunt, cut down all the trees, can’t build new fishing boats, starve.

    Different bunch of people sail to an island. Priest says lets pray to the trees because one of them looks like my aunt, don’t starve.

    The outcome is what makes it adaptive or not. The input can be any kind of random nonsense but the output is determined by genetic fitness theory.

    And by a process of evolution cultural ideas that survive will mostly be adaptive – at least in the time and place they arose – but not necessarily for all times and all places.

    .

    The various standard human mating patterns have self-evidently worked fine for a very long time. The Euro specific one may under the right circumstances prove to be more adaptive or not regardless of how it arose, time will tell.

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  44. @grey/sean

    nice explanation. Evolution is an organising principle rather than a predetermined plan of action. It’s true that, “the action is not obviously at the gene level”, and yet…”the output is determined by genetic fitness theory.” It’s not an easy idea at all.

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  45. @jayman – “I’m surprised HBD Chick didn’t bring this up….”

    i spent what felt like weeks of my life in 2012 trying to explain to sean that i am not making it up that many or even most (probably all) of the pre-christian european populations practiced cousin marriage to some extent or another, but that this is a set of facts widely acknowledged by medieval historians. the details are fuzzy, of course, but the basic facts are well-established. i repeatedly gave him references so that he could double-check what i’ve been saying — i literally begged him at one point to look at them — but, as far as i can tell, he never did.

    now he seems to have a bug in his head that hbd-ers believe that genes dictate everything about human behavior and culture. me offering examples of how that is simply not true (for example here and here and here) is unlikely to change his opinion, because in my experience, he simply doesn’t want to know the facts.

    at some point you just have to give up and let people wallow in their willful ignorance.

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  46. WellIdon’t think you are wrong . I was just saying it that inclusive fitness consequent on inbreeding causing nepotism is not always where the action is. If many or all of Europeans practiced it and the Church, which was made up of Europeans, banned it at a certain point, then where did the idea to ban inbreeding come from? You think the Church banned it for a reason of its own, WHICH PAID OFF BIG TIME FOR the Church. You explained all this to me. Why object to object to me saying I think that the institutional level is where the action is in that case.

    It has to be said that this is not an obscure or trivial instance,; isn’t it the ruling that was a turning point in world history? So to claim as Misdreavious did that ” despite the best efforts of religious hardliners, the local temperament (or culture, or whatever) of the people will always seep through the actual practice of the faith itself”.is not true for the most important case we know of. The gene level explains absolutely nothing about the origin of the Church ban on inbreeding. Misdreavious was over generalising and you would be able to see that if he was not an HBDer.

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  47. for people like AJ West., HBD is wrong on the face of it. Misdreavus thinks AJ is just obviously wrong. Neither one can accept that the other isn’t wrong about everything. If you read their discussion both accuse the other, of accusing them, of totally (cultural or genetic) deterministic explainations. They’re both discounting arguments without really weighing them up, just because they come from the other side. They want to give the minimum to win outright so they give culture or genes a minimal role .

    The utimatum game shows that never works, because no-one will accept injustice. Misdreavus is worse than West. If HBD is going to be sold as ‘just the facts’ it needs less dogmatic advocates who will be gracious enough to see and acknowledge a good point, even when it doesn’t come from their side of the controversy. And maybe exercise a little forbearance, as in the champion of strategies: ‘ Generous Tit For Tat’ . Being dogmatic might work for ‘always defect’ opponents, but there are very few of those around at this late stage of the game.

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  48. @BNK

    “Evolution is an organising principle rather than a predetermined plan of action.”

    Yeah. I think a lot of people see fitness as the engine whereas chaos is the engine, fitness is the *filter* on chaos.

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  49. Today, i’m not believe in genetic determinism like some months before. On fact, genetic is a basis that determine your personal choices by variable probabilities. Genetics works like a ”box with materials”. Y could have screwdriver and X not. ”In fact”, there a ”free will” but without ‘enviroextremism’ like liberals thinking. The best answer is the middle.
    You have a limited and bio-determined choices but still you have.

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  50. @amac78
    “Hide the decline” is wrong example, because scientists were not actually hiding anything – they were referering to the publicly announced (in journals) techniques to deal with well known phenomenon – that for some temperature proxies (e.g. tree rings) there is rising discrepancy between actual temperature observed and the temperatures obtained by the known algorithms from said proxies. In other words, for _some_ proxies you have to introduce constant change in order to “hide the decline” i.e. suddenly appearing differences between real temperatures, and temperatures obtained from using just single proxy.

    That’s why you don’t use only one proxy, but many proxies, to estimate temperatures in the past when directly observed temperatures are unavailable.

    This is the same thing with other aspects of “climategate”. They are usually taken out of context, or misunderstood. I stopped to be climate denialist after climategate, because only then I had time to actually discuss with Polish climatologists and they metodically explained me one doubt after another. Not to mention I analysed the fortran programs and I found out nothing unusual, which I wouldn’t knew from my practice as a programmer.

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  51. @szopeno —

    It’s off-topic so I’ll be brief. “Hide the decline” was about scientists hiding the decline — the post-1960 decline in tree-ring widths that cast doubt upon their reliability as temperature proxies (the “Divergence Problem”). Judy Curry has a balanced essay on the topic here.

    “Denialist” — thus, any dissent from “alarmist” beliefs on greenhouse gas sensitivity (3 C to 8 C) must be akin to Holocaust denial. As a Lukewarmer, I roll my eyes.

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  52. It’s all understood is it szopeno? There were good scientific reasons to doubt Copernicus, even Galilio’s observations appeared to be compatible with Brahe’s theory. It was hundreds of years before the experts understood why the apparently logic and scientific observations against Copernicus’s idea didn”t stand up. Climate science may be mistaken, like Einstein about a static universe.

    Do we know what the effect of closing a major road in a busy city will be? NO WE DO NOT (see Braess’s paradox We still don’t understand how genes work, and Braess’s paradox has been suggested to have implications for the biological networks, which presumably includes the brain, see synthetic rescue) Reasoned objections to HBD can not be dismissed out of hand in a lordy manner.

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  53. amac78 Thanks for the Judy Curry article. She (? with english names you never know) pretty much summarised the issue. However, just as guy she quoted said, the problem was discussed in literature so this is not so much “hiding” everything. And, finally, tree-rings are not the only proxies used and reconstruction of past temperatures does not depend on one proxy only – I have not found her mentioning that simple fact in her article. Finally, Mann et al. are not the only people working on climate or even on paleoclimate.

    As for “denialist”, I use this to describe my own position pre-climategate. I was seriously thinking global warming is a hoax and I was making fun of climatologists. Indeed, when I started reading about scientific basis of the theory, I am of opinion that while sensitivity of climate to the CO2 may be discussed (i.e. the amount of warming) anyone who denies the effect at all is usually either someone who does not actually read the theory, or someone with someone limited cognitive capacities, or someone with ideological prejudices so strong that he is unable to think beyond those prejudices. There are so few exceptions to this pattern in my experience, that I think using “denialist” is more appriopriate than “sceptic” or any other descriptive term.

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  54. @szopeno — Yes, in the technical peer-reviewed literature, the Divergence Problem was (and is) discussed. “Hide The Decline” was part of a campaign to present a misleading picture to the publc, and to policy makers. Curry (a climate scientist herself):

    There is no question that the diagrams and accompanying text in the IPCC TAR, AR4 and WMO 1999 are misleading. I was misled. Upon considering the material presented in these reports, it did not occur to me that recent paleo data was not consistent with the historical record. The one statement in AR4 (put in after McIntyre’s insistence as a reviewer) that mentions the divergence problem is weak tea.

    It is obvious that there has been deletion of adverse data in figures shown IPCC AR3 and AR4, and the 1999 WMO document. Not only is this misleading, but it is dishonest (I agree with Muller on this one). The authors defend themselves by stating that there has been no attempt to hide the divergence problem in the literature…

    Re: non-dendro proxies — yes, of course. You may find my answer to this Yahoo! question of interest.

    Re: “denialist” — There are numerous Internet warriors who passionately believe that greenhouse gasses cannot exert a warming effect on Earth. Attacking the underlying phyiscs of the Stefan-Bolzmann Law and the Radiative Transfer Equations on the basis of weather station records — silly. These “slayers of the sky dragon” (as they call themselves) are a sideshow.

    The important scientific and policy question is “What is the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gasses?” The “consensus” view is that it must be somewhere between 3 C and 6 C per [CO2] doubling. I don’t see that the instrumental temperature record supports this conclusion; look for yourself. Prof Mann and his allies portray my opinion as akin to Holocaust Denial. Such is the regrettable state of mainstream thinking in this field.

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  55. Agreed, mostly. Except Mann et al – well, I was discussing with Polish climatologists, and definetely never get the idea that someone discussing sensitivity is holocaust denier. On contrary, I read several discussion on possible sensitivity with a lot arguments for 0.5-1C and 3-6C throwing here and there, but at one point discussion became so technical that I stopped being able to follow.

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  56. @szopeno — After a quick Google search, I retract what I implied at 6:06 AM, that Prof Mann is on record as labeling “unbelievers” as Denialists, expressly to tar them as being akin to Holocaust Deniers. This short post by prominent skeptic Anthony Watts is relevant. Whether intended or not, the unsavory association is present.

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  57. @sean – “Reasoned objections to HBD can not be dismissed out of hand in a lordy manner.”

    problem is, most of the objections out there to human biodiversity aren’t reasoned. certainly a.j. west’s aren’t. the guy doesn’t seem to know anything about biology. (not that there’s anything wrong with that — everybody can’t be an expert in everything — but then they [we] ought at least to listen to the experts and try to understand the evidence. [note that i’m not saying that i’m an expert!])

    @sean – “We still don’t understand how genes work….”

    we don’t need to know exactly how genes work to know that human biodiversity is a fact when we know that 70-80% of our behaviors are heritable. but it’ll be a lot cooler when we do know exactly how genes work!

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  58. In the dictator game German children gave half away, Germany was National Socialist a few years ago, now it’s fanatically environmentalist. Both ideologies require cooperative behavior, which presumably has a genetic basis, and most important there is a reluctance to defect. AJ West has got the idea that you and Jayman are saying culture does not make a difference. Boiling everything down to a bald proposition (as in the latest post) is a very bad habit when you are trying to loosen alleigence to the symbolic community that is identified with and instinctively defended.

    “Charles Maurras who, outwitting his better credentialed opponents, argued that this action by Henry was not evidence against the plot in which Dreyfus was implicated but evidence for. […] Henry’s forgery and suicide were not an admission of guilt but, on the contrary, the heroic actions of a man who, knowing the judiciary and press were corrupt, made a last desperate attempt to get his message out to the people in a way they could not prevent. As Zizek says of Maurras’ masterstroke: ‘It looked at things in a way no one had thought or dared to look’”

    That kind of thing is appreciated by those on the same side. It’s a lordly interpretation. Do you realise what HBD is asking of people like West? A explicit refutation, no matter how qualified, is not going to illuminate them; that would be equivalent to supporters of Dreyfus being convinced by Maurras’s masterly narrative. The context for the beliefs of the West’s of this world is as wide and real as the world itself; you can’t explicitly refute them in the propositions of a a dialectical screed. And the same goes for him trying to refute HBD.

    I think we can say that the case for Europeans being to blame when non whites fail to flourish in European society is not proven,and the burden of proof is not on HBD but on those who claim HBD has no significant implications for society. Yes, most of the objections out there to human biodiversity are rhetoric (not ‘reasoned’) but that just shows the action lies in things not being explicitly stated. What clear minded scientists can say, or will be able to say at some point in the future is a very superficial part of the picture.

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  59. “We still don’t understand how genes work”

    We don’t understand how gravity works either.

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  60. I stated learning about this topic because I was interested in racial differences in IQ. I wanted to reassure myself that the average differences were not for genetic reasons. The more I have learnt and understood, the more I have leant towards the view that those differences probably are for genetic reasons. I now pretty much accept the principles of HBD outlined in this article because I have been led to by what I understand of evolution and genetics and by my own observation of the world, of humans and dogs (which have obvious innate breed specific traits). Nobody can accuse me of being ideologically driven. I can honestly say its always been the truth I cared about most. For better or worse, the truth will probably come out in the end… then hopefully we will be able to deal with it maturely.

    Thanks for the statement…its very good.

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  61. For what its worth, my investigation of climate science a few years ago led me to the view that the mainstream view is correct. I analysed all the possible explanations for the warming trend (I could find) as rigorously as I was able. I’m not quite as sure anymore but I still go with that view. There’s been a lot of stuff about no warming trend for 10 or 15 years but I’ve taken into account which years were el nino and la nina and I expect the warming to pick up again soon…you’ve got to go on a timescale of decades really. I like what Elon Musk said- I’m heavily paraphrasing but we are running a big experiment pumping all the greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and we should probably not do that.

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  62. It’s worth just noting that there is definitely room for historical contingency in addition to genetic explanations. That European societies are more altruistic owing to outbreeding over many generations may be true, but the only reason they were outbreeding was because they had converted to a religion which forbade it. But there is no reason to think they were genetically predisposed to convert to that religion, and if they were, you have to wonder why they hadn’t come up with that prohibition before they converted. So a historical accident set the preconditions for later evolution.

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  63. Sorry should have said “the only reason they were outbreeding was because they had converted to a religion which forbade inbreeding”.

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  64. “European societies are more altruistic”

    The connotation of ‘altruistic’ is very misleading.

    Germany is the cash cow for less successful economies, and so fanatically environmentalist it’s replacing nuclear power with windmills. If their genetic default is such aforementioned altruistic behaviors, in the Nazi era Germans must have been making a tremendous moral effort to overcome their hereditary kind and peace loving proclivities. Obviously they were not. There is a different social order in Germany now and what is considered ‘good’ is different than it was. All you can say is Germans want to be thought ‘good’.Whatever that means at the time.

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    1. Of course, this same religion that forbade inbreeding, i.e. Christianity, also commands its followers to practice altruism regardless of blood relationship. It would be nice to get some evidence that the altruism found throughout Western societies can be attributed to inherited behaviors due to outbreeding, rather than simply the teaching of the religion until recently shared by everyone.

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  65. “European societies are more altruistic”

    I think it’s more the case of how altruism is distributed.

    If you had 1000 people divided into 10 very closely related extended families of 100 people each then the case might be that each individual within that population is *very* altruistic to their extended family members and *very* anti-altruistic to everyone outside their extended family.

    On the other hand if you had 1000 people in an exogamous population who were all equally related to each other then maybe they would all be *moderately* altruistic to everyone in the whole group.

    Same total, different distribution.

    (Personally I think it’s likely to be the mathematics of group scale kin altruism that provides the fitness logic for any genetic changes caused by the outbreeding process.)

    .

    “It would be nice to get some evidence that the altruism found throughout Western societies can be attributed to inherited behaviors due to outbreeding, rather than simply the teaching of the religion until recently shared by everyone.”

    There have been lots of comparisons on here between different national groups of the same religion.

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  66. @jonathan – It would be nice to get some evidence that the altruism found throughout Western societies can be attributed to inherited behaviors due to outbreeding, rather than simply the teaching of the religion until recently shared by everyone.”

    i agree. but for now, until some hard evidence comes along: sweden vs. sicily (for one example). on just about any sort of “altruism” metric you can think of.

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    1. @hbd chick: Good point about Sicilians versus Swedes. On the other hand, we know that Sicilians appear to be generally bad at following Christian teaching, whether altruism towards non-kin or avoiding consanguineous marriages. It makes me think there are some cultural features in that area that prevent a fuller compliance with the Church. Why did inbreeding Scandinavians more readily accept the Church’s teaching than inbreeding Sicilians? There just seems to be more going on.

      Reminds me of that scene in Godfather III where the Cardinal (future Pope John Paul I) talks to the aging Don about how Sicilians are like this rock sitting in a pool. As the rock is wet on the outside but dry on the inside, so Sicilians are Christians only in outward practice only, but not in their hearts.

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  67. No question that Sweden is altruistic compared to Russia or Lithuania. What would altruism mean in a political system? I think it would mean willingly paying for others’ free lunch. The free market ideologues at the Economist say Sweden is the best governed country in the world, but that does not mean it’s the most egalitarian. “Cuts to income, wealth and corporate taxes. Sweden’s tax burden has fallen by four percentage points of GDP – now lower than France”. It has the fastest growing economic inequality of any OECD nation.

    DENMARK is such an interesting case because it so closely resembles the kind of society I think the political philosopher John Rawls had in mind in his magnum opus, “A Theory of Justice”: economically dynamic egalitarianism. But Mr Rawls ruled out emigration, as a simplifying stipulation. The Times article does an excellent job of showing how supra-national mobility rights in a not-so-simple world limit the feasibility of egalitarian welfare states that rely on punishingly high tax rates.”

    I think the geographic centre of the west of the hajnal line area is where you would expect to see the most extreme altruistic inclinations, because in a market or business transaction there, everyone would be dealing with people who were similarly altruistically inclined even when outside their home town or in a neighbouring statelet. According to Martin Nowak, in simulations of prisoners dilemma type interaction, there is an evolution toward altruistic forms of tit for tat (forgiving the occasional defection). Eventually extreme altruism begins to appear. There was a lot of pilgrimages and the locals gave charity to the pilgrims in medieval Germany. The Gypsies were accepted as pilgrims and given massive amounts of charity when they appeared in western Europe.

    By my way of thinking ‘Germany’ (which is sort of Denmark) is an area where altruistically inclined cooperation could far more easily have become the default, than in Sweden. The mainly German movement called Anabaptists had social equality, goods held in common. Thomas Müntzer in 1524: “True Christian believers are sheep among wolves, sheep for the slaughter… Neither do they use worldly sword or war, since all killing has ceased with them”. Paradoxically, the Germans proved to be very effective soldiers, when that was their thing.

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  68. @jonathan, “If their genetic default is such aforementioned altruistic behaviors, in the Nazi era Germans must have been making a tremendous moral effort to overcome their hereditary kind and peace loving proclivities.”

    Perhaps they did. Perhaps they put up with the Versailles treaty and hyperinflation and the complete economic and social disaster for so long for precisely this reason, but then eventually snapped.

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  69. @sean – “I think the geographic centre of the west of the hajnal line area is where you would expect to see the most extreme altruistic inclinations, because in a market or business transaction there, everyone would be dealing with people who were similarly altruistically inclined even when outside their home town or in a neighbouring statelet.”

    middle easterners have been engaged in trade since the days of hammurabi, if not before, and they’re not altruistic — not outwardly altruistic towards non-family, that is — not oriented towards the commonweal.

    it’s not trade or commerce.

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  70. @Sean, “Cuts to income, wealth and corporate taxes. Sweden’s tax burden has fallen by four percentage points of GDP – now lower than France”

    And in the bigger picture how lacking in altruism is that?

    You also mention old Sweden’s “strong” anti-gypsy policies, but how strong were they compared to other countries. If you look in the news here gypsies are always mentioned when they are victimized but if they victimized others they are always referred to as “Romanians.” When gypsies recently were evicted from camps they put up in Sweden the media were very sympathetic of them. But a leading politician in Romania, Damian Draghici, himself gypsy, said to Swedish media “they like to depict themselves as vicitims and oppose others. They like to blame others.” The word “blame” doesn’t really cover it because in the article (in Swedish) it says “skuldbelägga”, which means putting guilt on others.

    But he Draghici can explain all he like, few people here understand what’s going on – because they are pathologically altruistic.

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  71. Well yes, the western economic type trade could not have been the origin of Western open societies that would be a circular argument. Still. trade could have turned into a fully fledged market economy W. Europe because of outbreeding, and the lack of suspiciousness genes.

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  72. Sicilians is like many brazilian religious. They tend to be hypocrites and unconcious about that, probable because the difference of intelligence, they are not understand the many incongruences of religious discourse. Swedes and leftists in general destroy or deny the inner christian speech ”Do what I say but not do what I do” to action. Is a signal to (more) higher intelligence than sicilians and brasilians. If all christians was exactly like bible advise all would like as ”São Francisco de Assis”.
    Many smart people want to turn your ideological beliefs in a reality, is like that as cultures rise.
    Probably, when church prohibited cousins to marry, many people be terrified because was a cultural rule, like as miscigenation or homossexual marriage today.

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