linkfest – 03/31/14

Why We Fight (Over Land)“In the most recent issue of the journal International Security, Monica Duffy-Toft and Dominic Johnson, political scientists at Oxford, argue that a new theoretical framework is needed to analyze such behavior, one rooted in evolutionary biology…. As Duffy-Toft told me an interview today, ‘It comes back to survival and reproduction. There’s an instinct that we need land in order to exist. We need to have the capacity to get resources to live our lives….’ Duffy-Toft acknowledges that the thesis is controversial. While their piece is currently the lead article in International Security, one of the more prestigious journals in the field, it took almost 10 years to get it published. ‘We’re pushing up against real biases in our field,’ she says. ‘Scholars don’t want to admit that our behavior can be constrained by the fact that we’re animals.’ – *sigh* – original research article here [pdf].

Oldest modern human genome from Siberia ~45 thousand years ago“The femur belonged to an H. sapiens man who had slightly more Neandertal DNA, distributed in different parts of his genome, than do living Europeans and Asians.” – @dienekes’.

Human evolution: The Neanderthal in the family“Thirty years after the study of ancient DNA began, it promises to upend our view of the past.”

The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a – h/t razib!

Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas“[T]he ancient rock art depicts fierce battles among tribesmen….” – h/t steven pinker! who tweeted: “refutes frequent claim of no war before agriculture.”

Cochran-Harpending paper on “Amish Quotient”“‘[T]heir social pattern probably drives strong selection for a particular flavor of personality, which is downright fascinating and worthy of further investigation. One could, with difficulty and a lot of investment, identify dimensions of a hypothetical AQ. It would likely include affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, community orientation, and so on. We proposed (Cochran, Hardy, & Harpending, 2006) a similar mechanism to account for Ashkenazi Jewish evolution in Medieval times selecting for ability and success in white collar occupations.'” – from steve sailer. previously @west hunter: Inferring an AQ.

The Son Becomes The Father“The failure of parents to appreciably affect the outcomes of their children affirms Gregory Clark’s findings, and indicates that much of the transmission of status from one generation to the next is ultimately genetic in origin…. Almost certainly, throughout history, and across the diverse societies, that has been a huge amount of ‘noise’ in the transmission of status, especially on the individual level and in the short run. The vagaries of the circumstances no doubt imbued good fortune on some and dashed the success of many others. But through it all, the thing that is at the root of continuity – DNA – remained the active ingredient to propagate lineages in their respective places through out the ages.” – from jayman.

First comprehensive atlas of human gene activity released – h/t mike anissimov!

Sperm competition and Heteropaternal Superfecundation – from greg cochran.

The Holocene Lattice“First, it is now clear that long-range migration, admixture and population replacement have been the rule rather than the exception in human history. Second, the serial founder effect model is no longer a reasonable null hypothesis for modeling the ancient spread of anatomically modern humans around the globe.” – from razib. (emphases in original.)

Percentage of DNA shared amongst the various archaics (including our sapiens sapiens lineage), from a review in Cell – from billare.

Neural portraits of perception: Reconstructing face images from evoked brain activity – whoa. h/t mo costandi!

We Are All Mutants“On the hunt for disease genes, researchers uncover humanity’s 
vast diversity.”

Puerto Rico and IQ: Same as it ever was – from steve sailer.

About That Gene-Environment Interaction Study by Turkheimer et al.“The upshot is that while environmental deprivation may render genetic differences less important in the determination of children’s IQ, the typical black child in this large and downscale sample had apparently not been raised in deprived circumstances any more frequently than the typical white child in the sample. The lower IQs of blacks in this sample cannot therefore be put down to them having been exposed to environments less conducive to the expression of genetic variance in IQ than the environments experienced by whites.” – @human varieties.

People can predict the IQ of men — but not women — by looking at their face, study finds – see also dr. james thompson: The mind’s construction in a face.

Dopamine D4 receptor gene variation influences self-reported altruism“[T]he DRD4 7-repeat allele is associated with lower scores on the NEO-PI-R Altruism facet scale, accounting for about 2% of the variance. As the DRD4 7-repeat allele has been associated with higher scores in impulsive personality traits and ADHD, our result suggests that individual differences in impulsive behavioral tendencies may play a role in the propensity to behave altruistically.” – h/t tom farsides!

How Social Darwinism Made Modern China“A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.” – from ron unz. h/t eduardo zugasti!

Kinder, gentler speech“In sum, when the State imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, it set in motion a process of gene-culture co-evolution with many consequences. Among other things, this process may have favored not only learned ways of speaking but also unlearned ways as well.” – from peter frost.

Crows Understand a Fundamental Part of Logical Reasoning“Crows are far more rational than we had realized. New research shows that wild New Caledonian crows can compete with 7-year-old children when it comes to understanding causality, or how one action causes another.” see also: Crows understand water displacement at the level of a small child: Show causal understanding of a 5- to 7-year-old child.

Do animals have a sense of humour? – koko the gorilla “once tied her trainer’s shoelaces together and signed ‘chase’.” (^_^) (^_^) (^_^) – h/t steve stewart williams!

On “Male” vs. “Female” Brains – twitter convo on sexual dimorphism in human neuro-whatsits. kevin mitchell ftw!

“Natural Law” and Other Rationalizations of Morality“People worry about a ‘grounding’ for morality. There’s really no need to. As Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce pointed out in Wild Justice – The Moral Lives of Animals, there are analogs of moral behavior in many species besides our own…. Other animals don’t wonder why one thing is good and another evil. They’re not intelligent enough to worry about it. Hominids are Mother Nature’s first experiment with creatures that are smart enough to worry about it. The result of this cobbling of big brains onto the already existing mental equipment responsible for moral emotions and perceptions hasn’t been entirely happy. In fact, it has caused endless confusion through the ages.” – from helian.

Inclusive fitness theory for the evolution of religion“We describe and evaluate an integrative hypothesis for the origin and evolution of human religious cognition and behaviour, based on maximization of inclusive fitness. By this hypothesis, the concept of God is represented by one’s circle of kin and social salience, such that serving God and serving this circle become synonymous. The theory is supported by data from anthropology, evolutionary theory, psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, endocrinology and genetics.” – h/t claire lehmann!

Are liars ethical? On the tension between benevolence and honesty“[I]ndividuals who tell prosocial lies are perceived to be *more* moral than individuals who tell the truth.” – h/t zhana vrangalova!

Speculations on the Evolution of Awareness“The ‘attention schema’ theory provides one possible account of the biological basis of consciousness, tracing the evolution of awareness through steps from the advent of selective signal enhancement about half a billion years ago to the top-down control of attention, to an internal model of attention (which allows a brain, for the first time, to attribute to itself that it has a mind that is aware of something), to the ability to attribute awareness to other beings, and from there to the human attribution of a rich spirit world surrounding us. Humans have been known to attribute awareness to plants, rocks, rivers, empty space, and the universe as a whole. Deities, ghosts, souls-the spirit world swirling around us is arguably the exuberant attribution of awareness.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Mugshots Built from DNA Data“A computer program crudely predicts facial structure from genetic variations.”

The Oldest Living Things On Earth“Starting in the 1960s, evolutionary biologists have searched for an overarching explanation to account for all the different ways to grow old. The best-supported ones so far are variants on the old truth that a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. An organism can collect a finite amount of energy, whether it’s a lion killing gazelles, a tulip capturing sunlight, or a microbe breathing iron at the bottom of the sea. It can use that energy to grow, to produce offspring, to defend itself against pathogens, to repair damaged its damaged molecules. But it has a limited budget. The energy spent on one task is energy that can’t be spent on others. Molecular repair and pathogen defense are both good ways to live longer. But a long-lived organism that produces few offspring will not pass on many copies of its genes to future generations. The organisms that will succeed are the ones that do a mediocre job of keeping their bodies in order, leaving more energy for making babies.” – h/t billare!

Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution – according to masatoshi nei: “Every part of our body is controlled by molecules, so you have to explain on a molecular level. That is the real mechanism of evolution, how molecules change. They change through mutation. Mutation means a change in DNA through, for example, substitution or insertion [of nucleotides]. First you have to have change, and then natural selection may operate or may not operate. I say mutation is the most important, driving force of evolution. Natural selection occurs sometimes, of course, because some types of variations are better than others, but mutation created the different types. Natural selection is secondary.”

End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution“They insist that characteristics many researchers assume to be the result of epigenetic inheritance are actually caused by something else. The authors list four possibilities: Undetected mutations in the letters of the DNA sequence, behavioral changes (which themselves can trigger epigenetic tags), alterations in the microbiome, or transmission of metabolites from one generation to the next. The authors claim that most epigenetic research, particularly when it involves human health, fails to eliminate these possibilities.” – h/t jayman!

New warning about ‘Celtic Curse’ blood iron disease“Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease, linked particularly to Irish and those of Irish origin. It causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you consume. The excess iron becomes stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. It can lead to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart problems and liver disease. Those with Irish heritage have a significantly greater chance of carrying the gene mutation that can contribute to the deadly disorder. Some experts believe that hemochromatosis originated more than 40,000 years ago in Ireland when genes mutated allowing the population to over-absorb iron, to compensate for a poor iron diet.” – h/t 23andMe!

The state is the worst wicked stepmother of all“[T]he number of children raised without one of their parents has increased sharply in recent years, partly due to changing sexual mores but also the involvement of the state itself; the largest increase in non-marital births came after the 1977 Homeless Persons Act gave lone mothers priority on housing lists. The Tory MP behind this proposal wrote, ‘The sad truth is that, until now, the Wicked Stepmother would have got away scot-free.’ Possibly, but there would not have been so many wicked stepmothers, or stepfathers, or mother’s current boyfriends, without the state in the first place.” – from ed west.

Pseudoescepticismo y biodiversidad humana“Desde hace años, sin embargo, existe una tendencia ideológica inflacionaria en el movimiento escéptico que tiende a alejarse del ‘núcleo’ original, cuyos contornos de todos modos son imprecisos (¿es la parapsicología una ciencia?). El inconveniente es que este alejamiento del núcleo, yo lo llamaría ‘escepticismo inflacionario’ o simplemente pseudoescepticismo, desdibuja los criterios de demarcación y hace que los nuevos temas sean más y más propensos a la contaminación moral e ideológica…. Un caso bastante claro es la campaña ‘escéptica’ de descrédito contra la psicología evolucionista, que sólo ha convencido a un pequeño grupo. ¿Pudiera ser que el empeño de grupos ‘escépticos’ de asimilar el movimiento de biodiversidad humana con el ‘racismo científico’ y con la ‘pseudociencia’ (la falacia moralista siempre merodeando) corriera una suerte parecida?” – @la revolución naturalista.

Response to ‘Fists of furry: at what point did human fists part company with the rest of the hominid lineage?’“A Swedish study on interpersonal violence reported 63 facial fractures and 57 concussions inflicted by fists, but only eight fractures of the metacarpal or phalangeal bones (Boström, 1997). Thus, human fists are effective weapons and, when humans fight, faces break more frequently than fists.” – h/t john hawks!

Sexually Transmitted Virus Sterilises Insects, Turns Them On“[O]ne particular insect virus can sterilise crickets, but also change their behaviour so they continue to mate with each other. By doing so, they pass the virus on to uninfected hosts.”

Ancient African cattle first domesticated in Middle East, study reveals“The genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world has been completed by a group of researchers. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the ‘Fertile Crescent,’ a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.” – h/t anthropology tip!

Autism characteristics differ by gender, studies find – h/t hbd bibliography! also: Autism begins in pregnancy, according to study: Cortical layers disrupted during brain development in autism – h/t mr. robert ford!

Men ‘size-up’ male competition by watching dance moves” The results revealed that handgrip strength and arm movements of the dancers were predictors of dance quality ratings. Both men and women rated stronger males with larger, more variable and faster arm movements as better dancers. However, men picked up clues of upper-body strength from male dancing more accurately than women.” – previously: “you should be dancin’ yeah!”

A Study of Twins, Separated by Orbit“While circling the earth aboard the International Space Station for a full year — the longest single space adventure for any American astronaut — and after his return, scientists will closely monitor Commander Kelly to see what changes space has wrought. NASA has been studying the effects of long stays in space on astronauts for years, but this set of 10 investigations will be different: The scientists will be doing the same poking, prodding and analyzing on Commander Kelly’s identical twin brother, Mark, a retired astronaut.”

A simple but elegant method to detect election fraud and irregularities. – from randy olson.

bonus: Game of Thrones tells the story of Britain better than most histories“The popular TV drama gives a vivid idea of how people might have behaved in the Middle Ages – which is brutally” – from ed west. and coming out on thursday!: Ebook on the history behind ‘Game of Thrones’ – by ed west. what does he mean, “there aren’t really dragons”??!?

bonus bonus: L.L. Cavalli-Sforza. A bird in a gilded cage. – new ebook from peter frost!

bonus bonus bonus: Advice for a Happy Life“Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ (again).” – from charles murray.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The War Nerd: Who exactly are the Jihadis (and why aren’t there more of them)?“There’s one simple generalization you can make from these stats: Jihadis from Muslim-majority countries are generally higher-status than those from countries where Muslims are a minority.” – h/t michael “the sailor” story!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Neurosurgeons successfully implant 3D printed skull – whoa.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Woolly Mammoths Suffered Major Birth Defects Before Extinction“According to the researchers, this influx of birth defects could have come about in two different ways. The genetic mutations could have arisen from inbreeding depression. As mammoths were reduced in number, genetic diversity would have plummeted and the number of mutations would have risen sharply. The other explanation offered states that expecting mothers would have been under considerable stress as the population dwindled. This prenatal stress could have had negative consequences for fetal development.” – h/t avi tuschman!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A Day in the Life of an Ancient Athenian Citizen – from blowhard, esq. h/t ray sawhill! (for some reason, i always crave a cocktail after visiting uncouth reflections…. (^_^) *hic*)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Greatest Invention in Human History Helps You Avoid Certain People“The era of antisocial networking has begun with the development of apps such as Cloak, which identifies locations of your contacts so you don’t have to see them.” – FIIIInally!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Absurd Creature of the Week: The 6-Foot Earthworm That Sounds Like a Draining Bathtub – h/t charles (aka the doctor! (^_^) )!

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

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36 Comments

  1. OT, but in my readings of the history of Protestantism and how it led to republican and democratic theories of government beginning in the 15th century (see here and here ) the following proposition occurs to me, to wit, “that in clan- and tribal-based societies there are no ideas, only customs.” My question: does this conclusion fit with Hbd*chick’s over-all thesis on the influence of inbreeding vs. outbreeding?

    Reply

  2. “People can predict the IQ of men — but not women — by looking at their face, study finds” Fascinating. A long face with a small chin and longish nose as described in the article sounds a lot like stereotypical upper class English features, particularly the Norman nose.

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  3. We describe and evaluate an integrative hypothesis for the origin and evolution of human religious cognition and behaviour, based on maximization of inclusive fitness. By this hypothesis, the concept of God is represented by one’s circle of kin and social salience, such that serving God and serving this circle become synonymous.

    I’m surprised that a proponent of the idea that religion was a primary cause for outbreeding would quote this without note!

    Reply

  4. About meritocracy in China.
    If all public exames to public jobs are structurally derived to China, so its meritocracy was specified to limited cognitive styles and this disfavors creativity. Low ‘intense personality’ and higher superficial and general memorization, like decorate the subject who you dislike. (is a torture for me). Very smart people turn progressivelly themselves knowledge specialized (trait derived to autistic style intelectual and specific obsession). My fathers are like that, they have higher iqs but they don’t have ”psychological characteristics” found in gifted populations, the ”smart personality”. They are like ”average joey” who is very good to execute technical functions, or in other words, they are super normal people with above average technical intelligence. I like to called this capacity to see the whole image even without any pre-acquire specific knowledge like wisdom or ”real and non-contextualized intelligence”. I have also many direct relatives who are like my fathers, with higher technical intelligences or iq, but without or with few traits that determine the ”smart personality”.

    Reply

    1. Excellent comment Gottlieb. I find this pattern at lot in technical professions: lots of guys (yes mostly guys, but there are some rare females) with excellent math skills but taciturn with poor vocabulary and little interest in things outside of the normal, little curiosity, little to no sense of wonder. These are the kind of people Myers Briggs would class as Sensing/Thinking I think. I don’t believe that they aren’t ‘smart’ but that they aren’t the kind of smart that leads to novel things. They seem to be more about following the patterns that exist, give them concrete plans or a well defined goal and they implement them beautifully, give them a more nebulous need and they are lost.

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  5. Regarding the face-IQ link, I wonder if this is related to the low testosterone levels of gifted boys. The study’s representative “intelligent face” certainly strikes me as more juvenile looking, except perhaps for the long nose, while the low-IQ face looks decidedly criminal.

    Regarding the humor of animals, it’s difficult to watch of those videos of Macaques stealing from human tourists and interpret their chatting noises as anything but laughter, but maybe I romanticize monkeys a little too much.

    Regarding dancing, I maintain that pumping hands above the head in a modified pride stance is the ultimate dance move.

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  6. “Some experts believe that hemochromatosis originated more than 40,000 years ago in Ireland when genes mutated allowing the population to over-absorb iron, to compensate for a poor iron diet.”

    And people bearing that gene hung out there right through the Ice Age?

    Reply

  7. Sisyphean – “People can predict the IQ of men — but not women — by looking at their face, study finds” Fascinating. A long face with a small chin and longish nose as described in the article sounds a lot like stereotypical upper class English features, particularly the Norman nose.

    On this, the study is actually a little more interesting than this.

    In the study, there is a different face shape for men perceived to be more intelligent. And men perceived in the study to be are generally more intelligent are more intelligent.

    However, there aren’t actually real face shape differences between the more intelligent and less intelligent men in the study.

    So what this means is that, although people are perceiving intelligence at a degree better than chance, the face shape differences associated with the perception of intelligence aren’t actually associated with intelligence.

    Essentially, we can perceive intelligence from face at a degree better than chance, but our perceptions of intelligence include a face shape element that doesn’t appear to be accurate. There is a “real” part and an “fictional” part to the perception of intelligence and the shape difference in faces found is part of the “fictional” part….

    In the authors’ words http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081237

    We (also) showed that IQ has no statistically significant association in facial morphology in both men and women (at least as it was delimited by the landmark configuration used within this study). This means that our raters accurately assessed intelligence from faces of men based on visual cues that simply are not explicable from shape variability in men’s faces. It is important to recall that our subjects were prompted to assume a neutral expression while their photo was taken and only photos of subjects with a neutral expression were included in the study. We can speculate about attributions of intelligence based on particular configurations of eyes or gaze, colour of eyes, hair and skin, or skin texture. These hypotheses should be tested in future studies.

    I agree with you about how it does have some similarity to the “upper class” stereotype. As the authors say “The face shape associated with a higher perception of intelligence also shows the characteristics of higher perception of attractiveness, while the face shape associated with a lower perception of intelligence shows traits of higher perceived dominance. The positive correlation with attractiveness and trustworthiness and negative correlation with dominance may explain the attribution of higher intelligence to longer, narrower faces.” The upper class stereotype may exist because having a face with the appearance of low dominance and high trustworthiness (possibly for maximum effect in conjunction with real personality traits quite opposite) may have generally helped people to socially climb in our history (it may be part of Clarke’s “social success” trait)….

    (Note the face shape differences which can be considered by the study include only some markers of shape difference, so there could be face shape differences between more intelligent and less intelligent men that the study doesn’t capture).

    Reply

  8. “Some experts believe that hemochromatosis originated more than 40,000 years ago in Ireland when genes mutated allowing the population to over-absorb iron, to compensate for a poor iron diet.”

    It could be possible.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0609.2008.01078.x/abstract;jsessionid=639A668882F9EF1BDCDF0893AA702B0A.f03t01
    “The hemochromatosis mutation, C282Y of the HFE gene, seems to have originated from a single event which once occurred in a person living in the north west of Europe carrying human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A3-B7.”

    A3-B7 has bi-modal distribution in Europe in Ireland and Switzerland:-

    HLA A3-B7:-
    Switzerland 9.1%
    Ireland 8.6%
    Austria 7.4%
    Netherlands 6.6%
    Northern Ireland 6.5%
    Spain Pas Valley 6.5%
    Russia South Ural Russian 6.5%
    Belgium 6.0%
    Sweden 5.7%
    Germany 5.7%
    Poland 4.9%
    Romania 3.8%
    Armenia 3.7%
    Portugal 3.4%
    Great Britain 3.4%
    Czech Rep 3.1%
    Georgia Svans 2.7%
    Albania 2.7%
    Italy Tuscan 2.7%
    Spain 2.6%
    Spain Basque 2.5%
    Italy 1.6%
    Greece 1.3%
    Bulgaria 1.1%

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  9. @Matt:

    “In the study, there is a different face shape for men perceived to be more intelligent. And men perceived in the study to be are generally more intelligent are more intelligent.

    However, there aren’t actually real face shape differences between the more intelligent and less intelligent men in the study.

    So what this means is that, although people are perceiving intelligence at a degree better than chance, the face shape differences associated with the perception of intelligence aren’t actually associated with intelligence.”

    This screams for replication, especially given that their sample was so small and restricted in range. I’d love to see the results from a sample 20 times as large.

    Reply

  10. Re oldest living things: ” It can use that energy to grow, to produce offspring, to defend itself against pathogens, to repair damaged its damaged molecules. But it has a limited budget. The energy spent on one task is energy that can’t be spent on others. Molecular repair and pathogen defense are both good ways to live longer.”

    This theory runs into a problem with calorie restriction. Decreasing the amount of food an animal consumes makes them healthier and live longer. It would seem from the theory that more food would mean that an organism could have a robust immune system, repair itself, and reproduce better, all at the same time, because resources are not limited. But in fact limiting the resources causes better repair, immune system, etc.

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  11. “which once occurred in a person living in the north west of Europe”: (i) NW Europe isn’t the same as Ireland. (ii) How do they know where the chap was when he was subject to the mutation? (iii) I’m astonished that anyone would think it remotely plausible that humans managed to hang on in Ireland from 40k BP to now.

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  12. @dearieme – “And people bearing that gene hung out there right through the Ice Age…? (iii) I’m astonished that anyone would think it remotely plausible that humans managed to hang on in Ireland from 40k BP to now.”

    yes, i cringed at that sentence, too, but i was too lazy to go find whatever the original research article(s) is/are related to this story. maybe i shall have to! (don’t believe for a second that teh scientists think this.)

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  13. @luke – “[T]he following proposition occurs to me, to wit, ‘that in clan- and tribal-based societies there are no ideas, only customs.’ My question: does this conclusion fit with Hbd*chick’s over-all thesis on the influence of inbreeding vs. outbreeding?”

    i dunno! i certainly have the impression, too — but it’s just a vague sort of impression — that in inbreeding societies there seems to be less innovation. dunno if that’s right or not, but if murray’s conclusions in Human Accomplishments are correct, then most — and the most important — innovations of the last 2500 years have largely happened in outbreeding nw europe. and the pace of those innovations really ramped up starting in the high middle ages.

    this question has been bandied about here in la casa de hbd chick: is there something about inbreeding and/or clannish societies that keeps innovation, or innovative individuals, down? maybe holds people back? even the chinese, who are so clever, have a long history of putting a stop to explorations and innovations, etc., etc.

    thanks for those links! (^_^)

    Reply

  14. @gottlieb – “If all public exames to public jobs are structurally derived to China, so its meritocracy was specified to limited cognitive styles and this disfavors creativity.”

    yeah, could very well be. a lot of it was all about rote memorization.

    Reply

  15. @adbge – “Regarding the humor of animals, it’s difficult to watch of those videos of Macaques stealing from human tourists and interpret their chatting noises as anything but laughter, but maybe I romanticize monkeys a little too much.”

    (^_^)

    @adbge – “Regarding dancing, I maintain that pumping hands above the head in a modified pride stance is the ultimate dance move.”

    this is the stuff that really makes the monkeys point and laugh! (~_^)

    Reply

  16. Among British football superstars, David Beckham has a narrower face than Wayne Rooney, so he looks more high class and intelligent, although they actually seem pretty similar in background:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/03/facial-width-and-class.html

    Interestingly, Beckham seems to have followed his face into a higher social stratum, marrying Posh Spice, dressing classy, and hanging out with high class people (e.g., they were the best dressed couple at the recent royal wedding).

    Reply

  17. @Steve Sailer

    “Among British football superstars, David Beckham has a narrower face than Wayne Rooney, so he looks more high class and intelligent, although they actually seem pretty similar in background:”

    I think if you morphed Rooney’s skull shape to Beckham’s they would look very similar.

    I wonder if the squarer/rounder skull is better at resisting damage and the more cylindrical skull better for brain development?

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  18. Quote: “Some experts believe that hemochromatosis originated more than 40,000 years ago in Ireland”

    There were no modern humans in Ireland 40,000 years ago.

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  19. This screams for replication, especially given that their sample was so small and restricted in range. I’d love to see the results from a sample 20 times as large.

    Haha, I expected the Jayman skepticism but I totally agree we should see replication, although doing a sample that large would be hard.

    One of the guys involved previously ran a replication of his “blue eyed faces are viewed as untrustworthy” paper with a much larger sample size and got a null result, so this is presumably something they at least care about (http://web.natur.cuni.cz/filosof/images/stories/kleisner/Kocnar_2012_p25-31.pdf – but not enough to publish it and clean up the literature, apparently). Also, the sample here had the issue “problem” that it was composed of major overachievers with a very high mean, so while that may give statistical power it may not translate as well to differences among average people.

    Another issue with this study is that it only looks at mean differences. Any other facial shape differences between the intelligent and unintelligent might be more on the order of the Anna Karenina principle, where every low intelligence face is “funny looking” in its own way (due to a greater load of certain mutations) but there’s no mean difference because it all averages out.

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  20. Re: Unz and the Chinese, he here cited Clarke, who has now found that underlying mobility rates don’t really differ much between societies.

    Comparing modernity to the Middle Ages (and we are surely vastly more meritocratic than the ancient Chinese, although Unz might labor this point), the scions of the West that benefited from primogeniture didn’t really seem to get much out of the deal, while those of common surname didn’t seem to be greatly impeded by the noble system compared to today (over the large scale average, not individual cases, which is where things become more certain to be genetic on any trait, due to regression to the mean, rather than individuals who score equally above and below their genetic potential, due to various effects).

    That really weakens the force of his argument.

    He could still argue then that the importance of force of arms in society indicates a difference in selection for intelligence, but the example of Japan vs China seems to indicate that this is of negligible impact (the Japanese are probably as smart as the Chinese, and their relative differences in present day economic dynamism seem pretty likely to have very recent historical, cultural, economic roots).

    Of course, Unz didn’t know this a year ago when he wrote that article, because Clarke hadn’t studied and written (although knowing Unz, he’ll either not raise the subject again, or not discuss it while never admitting his theory didn’t match up). Intelligence differences have evolved, but his theory does not seem sound to how they have evolved.

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  21. @ joe walker: “There were no modern humans in Ireland 40,000 years ago.”

    Given peaks of A3-B7 in Ireland & Switzerland, perhaps C282Y expanded out of Franco-Cantabrian refuge after the Last Glacial Maximum. Origin might well be Aurignacian however.

    “Humans ventured as far as Torquay more than 40,000 years ago”

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/nov/02/humans-torquay-ice-age

    If humans reached south-west England 40kya they could equally have reached southern Ireland I suppose.

    Reply

  22. “If humans reached south-west England 40kya they could equally have reached southern Ireland I suppose.” Aye, but did they stick around?

    Reply

  23. I agree with Sisyphean (& therefore Gottlieb:) the bright engineer types you describe don’t have creative intellectual curiosity – but the research is (Lubinski, et al) among those folks, the more gifted their spatial ability, the more likely they are to have patents, published research, etc. so they may lack creativity, except when they are extremely gifted in spatial ability – assuming patents mean creativity:) but yeah, they are not good at “thinking outside the box” or understanding those who do! (sadly, “thinking outside the box” & “creativity” are fairly nebulous terms – & would therefore not be meaningful to the non-creative engineer type)

    Reply

  24. @ dearieme –

    I think that the C282Y mutation associated with hemochromatosis in populations of north west European descent and with the A3-B7 extended HLA haplotype, probably arose at the very least 20kya, maybe in the Franco-Cantabrian refuge or at some point further north.
    Because the full A3-B7 haplotype extends </=6 Mb and is in strong linkage disequilibrium, many people assume it must be of very recent derivation, ie < 2000 years. However given its vast geographical spread and peak nodal frequency in the Irish and Swiss, in my opinion it appears to follow a similar distribution to the A1-B8 superhaplotype and the most likely scenario in my opinion is a founder effect (a small population in an ice age refuge got compressed down to a handful of individuals, which then massively expanded after the ice retreated).
    The actual origin of A3-B7 itself however could extend back much further in time, perhaps even earlier than 40000 years ago.

    Reply

  25. @Matt:

    “Comparing modernity to the Middle Ages (and we are surely vastly more meritocratic than the ancient Chinese, although Unz might labor this point), the scions of the West that benefited from primogeniture didn’t really seem to get much out of the deal, while those of common surname didn’t seem to be greatly impeded by the noble system compared to today (over the large scale average, not individual cases, which is where things become more certain to be genetic on any trait, due to regression to the mean, rather than individuals who score equally above and below their genetic potential, due to various effects).

    That really weakens the force of his argument.”

    You’re misunderstanding Clark’s findings. That there is strong persistence of status throughout the ages doesn’t mean either that regression to the mean doesn’t happen or that selection doesn’t happen. Clark’s earlier book found that the wealthy had a distinct selective advantage, an advantage that would have increased the size (and, in cases, the prestige) of certain families.

    Peter Frost did extensive review of Unz’s (and by extension, Clark’s) work:

    East Asia’s Farewell to Alms
    Does the Clark-Unz model apply to Japan and Korea?
    Final thoughts on the Clark-Unz model

    Reply

  26. You’re misunderstanding Clark’s findings. That there is strong persistence of status throughout the ages doesn’t mean either that regression to the mean doesn’t happen or that selection doesn’t happen.

    I’m not saying either of those things.

    Selection from differential reproduction among the wealthy, shifting traits in the direction of the socially successful may have happened.

    Unz’s argument here (as I recall when I read it a year ago) is that it selection for social success traits across the population was stronger in China due to higher upward and downward mobility, due to “meritocratic” social structure differences, which led to higher mobility. Clarke’s findings cast down on this proposition, as he finds more or less uniform rates of social mobility between modern meritocratic and medieval Western societies (and thus by extension any meritocratic ancient Chinese society).

    Of course differences in Chinese social structures may have led to different selection For instance, if the socially successful tended to have jobs with higher incomes and own more capital [income inequality] they could have used this to have more children, or the underlying social success factor could be differently constructed, yet somehow about equally heritable. it just seems that a different underlying rate of mobility / meritocracy as such is not one.

    Reply

  27. Sisyphean@ ”Excellent comment Gottlieb. I find this pattern at lot in technical professions: lots of guys (yes mostly guys, but there are some rare females) with excellent math skills but taciturn with poor vocabulary and little interest in things outside of the normal, little curiosity, little to no sense of wonder. These are the kind of people Myers Briggs would class as Sensing/Thinking I think. I don’t believe that they aren’t ‘smart’ but that they aren’t the kind of smart that leads to novel things. They seem to be more about following the patterns that exist, give them concrete plans or a well defined goal and they implement them beautifully, give them a more nebulous need and they are lost.”

    Thanks Sisyphean,
    well, this part of ”my theory” about the definition of cognitive styles. I read something about ”traits related to giftdness”. I see, many high iq people indeed are very good to make functions in society, but only this. Many them (include my fathers and many other high iq relatives) are super normal people. We have, higher iq + ”smart personality” (psychological traits related to giftdness), higher iq and non-”smart personality” and (why not) low or non-higher iq (120 above) and ”smart personality”.
    As i see the gifted and the genius. The gifted are the people who make better the structural functions, to maintain the system (higher verbal iq’s without ”smart personality” are very good to maintain the ‘official discourse’ for example), but without the natural criticism derived by ”smart personality”. At the same way that they memmorize very well the answers of a hypotetical exame, they make superficially vey well their structural functions like as administrate the ”diversity campus”. In other words, the most and powerfull enemies of anti-ideologic movements are exactly this people.

    Reply

  28. ”I agree with Sisyphean (& therefore Gottlieb:) the bright engineer types you describe don’t have creative intellectual curiosity – but the research is (Lubinski, et al) among those folks, the more gifted their spatial ability, the more likely they are to have patents, published research, etc. so they may lack creativity, except when they are extremely gifted in spatial ability – assuming patents mean creativity:) but yeah, they are not good at “thinking outside the box” or understanding those who do! (sadly, “thinking outside the box” & “creativity” are fairly nebulous terms – & would therefore not be meaningful to the non-creative engineer type)”

    Panjooby,
    unfortunatelly many dishonest and ideoilogically tendencious people live in psychology. Yes, ”thinking outside”, specially today is very ilogical (as my leftoid brother write in a shirt ”subvert”, subvert why, huhuhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) but not so ilogical if you think in centuries. But i understand this as ”people who are not conditioned by chrono-contextual-normative (left) or solid normative (right) rules”. Out box depend who box you to be talking but generallly, are people who create their own way of lifes or personal cultures, without buy them by official supermarket of ideas like great majority does.
    Creativity is not ”super higher convergent functions”. In other words, savantism is not like as creativity. Savantism is a extreme of convergent thinking.
    All of us are creative but measure creativity by levels and not by ”have or not”. So, a prodigious pianist if he don’t have talent to create own compositions or to be technically inovative, is not to be creative but work in a cultural job and creative by excellence, many people enjoy creativity but don’t have higher level of this trait. This happen.

    Reply

  29. Nice pick on your first link (Why we fight!) That’s one I didn’t want to miss. It’s a wonderful illustration of how gross distortions of history gain a life of their own. First Pinker manages to write a whole tome about the Blank Slate in which he manages to ignore the contribution of the man who, by the Blank Slater’s own account, was their most influential and effective opponent – Robert Ardrey – other than to claim that he was “totally and utterly wrong!!” And why? Because of his support for group selection, no less! If ever a man has been vindicated by history, it was Ardrey. He stood for the truth that there is such a thing as human nature. That’s what all his books were about, not group selection.

    Now along come Johnson and Toft, like two Pinkeresque parrots, claiming that, “Robert Ardrey’s popular book The Territorial Imperative, published in the 1960s, championed the role of territorial instincts in human conflict. This account, however, suffers from some now outdated views of evolution, for example, the idea that behaviors are ‘hard-wired,’ or that they evolved because they helped the group or the species as a whole.” That is such mendacious BS it boggles the mind. I’m not sure if Ardrey ever used the term “hard-wired” or not, but it’s a straw man regardless. He always insisted that our behavior was influenced by predispositions, that could be shaped by culture and experience, or “nurture.” He never, ever claimed that aggression was some kind of an unavoidable human instinct, and suggested several ways that its worst manifestations (war, etc.) might be avoided. When Ardrey wrote that certain behaviors tend to enhance the “good of the species,” he was stating a simple truth. He in no way implies that evolution works through “species selection.” Read, for example, page 100 of “The Territorial Imperative” and see for yourself.

    Using these flimsy excuses, Johnson and Toft then proceed to basically copy down many of Ardrey’s hypotheses from “The Territorial Imperative” as if it were some kind of an “original work.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What will they do next? Say that Darwin doesn’t matter because he supported group selection (and he did!) and then proceed to claim the Theory of Evolution as their own work? Say that E. O. Wilson doesn’t matter because he, too, strongly supported group selection in his latest book, and proceed to copy down the main themes of “Sociobiology” and “Human Nature” and claim them as their own, too?

    In other words, Johnson and Toft are doing exactly what the German poet Heinrich Heine observed the academics of his day doing as long ago as the 19th century. They’re uprooting little “paperkins” from Ardrey’s garden and transplanting them to their own. The saddest thing about it all is that they’re likely to get away with it. After all, the academics and other “men of science” hate Ardrey. How dare he be right when almost all of them were embracing the mirage of the Blank Slate! How dare a mere playwright do such a thing?

    Reply

  30. Hbd Chick@ ”yeah, could very well be. a lot of it was all about rote memorization.”

    Some people are very good to memorize whole specific knowledge (majority of above mean IQ) but creativity is a combination of some components (peripheric or central sides) of divergent subjects. Creative people create new puzzles when technical smart people complete the yet existent puzzles. I find the impression that average creative people generally do not have ”elephant memories” because of ”attention deficit” (unifocal attention, adhd people specially, have multifocal attention, your ”attention deficit”). People who take higher scores in public exames generally dedicate three months or more of most part of our life-time to memorize their non-obsessive subjects, they are pragmatics, as most of modern asians. Pragmatic people have socia-subjective minds, so, Like i said, pragmatism is a extreme opposite of creativity, of course that in the middle this traits mix, and most of the higher creative people can to be also pragmatic, but the majority of higher pragmatic people are not creative and most of higher creative people are not pragmatic.
    Pragmatism can be contextual or local (as asians today behave, tend to be…) and or global ( capacity to see the whole image), both to seems very differents one wich other.

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  31. […] Neat study from PLoS one: a man’s IQ is reflected in his face and can be “read” by observers, while a woman’s IQ cannot. Or, to put it another way, if you think you know how smart some woman is after looking at her, you’re wrong. They found no correlation between actual IQ and attractiveness, but there was a correlation between perceived IQ and attractiveness. (HT: hbd* chick) […]

    Reply

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