the derb on jayman

here’s some high — much deserved! — praise for jayman from the derb! (^_^) much better reading than the last post (because the content is actually accurate!):

“John Derbyshire On JayMan — A Righteous Jamaican-American”

“JayMan writes about human nature, with particular attention to human differences. As such he has particular appeal to Us of the Cold Eye. That is to say, he’s a stone empiricist who scoffs at happy talk and wishful thinking about human nature, and goes to the research studies. Just a brief digression here on the nature and content of those studies.

“We are now at the point in our understanding where it is beyond dispute that all the interesting traits of human behavior, intelligence, and personality are heritable to some degree….

“Bill Maher, for example, in a TV spot about Amy Chua’s 2011 Tiger Mom book, swallowed the whole parenting-style-shapes-adults shtick. JayMan, who is a fan of Maher’s (more on this below) wrote Maher a long letter setting him straight. The letter is reproduced in the second post here.

“‘It is not at all surprising that bright, hard-working and successful parents would have bright, hard-working and successful children. It is the same reason that tall, freckled parents tend to have tall, freckled children: their genetic endowment. [Taming the ‘Tiger Mom’ and Tackling the Parenting Myth, November 16th, 2011]’

“Maher did not favor JayMan with a reply to his letter.

“Conservatives are even more clueless about the human sciences than liberals. It is for example a perennial theme in conservative social commentary that fatherlessness is the cause of much social dysfunction and many poor life outcomes. If only poor people could be persuaded to get married and stay married!

“Sounds nice, and gets your timid conservative commentator off the ‘racist’ hook, since ceteris paribus fatherlessness is much more common among blacks than nonblacks.

“But…’Happy talk!’ scoffs JayMan.

“‘Even if there was more marriage among those in the lower class, the next generation, having inherited all the same traits, would be no different. The poor outcomes of children who were raised in fatherless homes stem not from the much maligned single motherhood — in and of itself — but rather from the traits these children inherited from their parents, who were the type of individuals likely to have their children end up being raised by single mothers. [Liberalism, HBD, Population, and Solutions for the Future, June 1, 2012]’

“So the arrow of causation is not from fatherlessness to poor life outcomes: It is from certain features of the parental genomes inclining to single motherhood and pump’n’dump fatherhood, and thence, by genetic transmission, to similarly feckless offspring.

“This latter picture makes much more sense given what we know about the heritability of behavioral and personality characteristics. Which is a lot: JayMan has put together an excellent reference post, spelling it all out, with numerous links….”

read the whole thing @vdare! and for god’s sake, read jayman’s blog AND his twitter feed! first place i go every morning. (^_^)

edit: see also The Derb on the JayMan from jayman!

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


  1. JayMan’s position on this is insane – specifically because of a very elementary truth about evolution. Costly behaviors that don’t increase fitness get weeded out.

    High investment fatherhood is costly.


  2. @steve – “High investment fatherhood is costly.”

    there’s a difference between providing food and protection for your kids and playing mozart to them when they’re in the womb (in the hopes that they’ll become smarter than they would’ve otherwise). (~_^)


  3. “High investment fatherhood is costly.”

    But have the costs shifted?

    For most of history just feeding and providing shelter was a struggle. Men who can do that part easily and still have surplus left over might be *driven* to want to do more than that by their paternal investment genes.

    Which creates a niche for people to write books about hot-housing.


  4. Food and protection are pretty minor compared to learning proper behavioral norms – which fathers understand and inculcate and mothers simply don’t because they aren’t treated like men and so have no understanding of male interactions.

    It’s not about smarter – it’s about being civilized and able to survive in society without getting yourself killed by the other men.

    Why can’t women teach their sons proper behavior?

    Because women are inherently valuable – no matter how feral a woman is she still has a womb and isn’t as strong and potentially violent as a man. Men have no inherent value by simply being a living breathing fertile man – their only value to the tribe is if they can fight or produce – both of which are learned behaviors. Because men have no inherent value just as a body they are treated way more harshly if they step out of line – lose a feral male and the tribe carries on with no problems. Women behave in ways that would get men beaten or killed all the time – and it’s fine because women aren’t as dangerous and are more valuable – lose a feral female and the tribe’s birth rate drops and you get out bred.

    Humans as a species are all about learned and social behavior and women simply don’t learn any of the cues and expectations that men have for other men – why would they?


  5. @steve – “It’s not about smarter….”

    but it is about being smarter. all the evidence seems to show that success in life is down to intelligence and personality, and those things are inherited from parents, not inculcated by them. apart from starving their kids or severely abusing them, most things parents do to and for their kids don’t seem to matter much. at least that’s what the evidence to date shows.


  6. @G.W.,

    Precisely! Very well said, by the way. A simple look at childhood mortality rates from way back when (and I mean just 100 years ago) should clue people in to how hard it was to raise a healthy, well-fed child to adulthood.


  7. @Steve Johnson – look one level deeper. It does not seem to be that you, as Dad, provided support for your offspring, but that you are genetically the sort of guy who would. It gets into some odd loops, I admit. But if you are that sort of guy who would be an involved dad, the fact that you got killed in Iraq, or by a bus in Denver, or in a mining accident in Wales in the 19th C, doesn’t seem to matter as much as your genetic contribution. Your genes, selected for over dozens of generations as Good Ol’ Dad genes, are pretty good in and of themselves.

    If you reflect on the sex-selection advantage among females of being a guy who at least looks courageous enough to defend the cave, this will come clear.


  8. @Steve Johnson:

    Well, I hate to say it (though I’ve said it a million times before), but, you’re wrong.

    “Food and protection are pretty minor compared to learning proper behavioral norms – which fathers understand and inculcate and mothers simply don’t because they aren’t treated like men and so have no understanding of male interactions.”

    “Why can’t women teach their sons proper behavior?”

    Come on now. That’s complete bullsh*t. You are simply preaching the gospel here without a shred of proof. How about you step back for a second and ask yourself just how do you know the things you think you know?

    “Humans as a species are all about learned and social behavior”

    Be careful about all about. Just because the content of behavior is learned (e.g., language, dress) doesn’t mean that’s where all of it comes from.

    In the future, I’d suggest don’t preach, but look at the evidence. Be sure you actually know what you think you know, I’d advise.


  9. “that fatherlessness is the cause of much social dysfunction”

    Surely Jayman doesn’t mean that the general social environment plays no role, let alone a very significant role, in the behavior of children? How else explain changes in, say, rates of criminality, drub abuse, teenage pregnancy, etc.. over time.

    i know his answer, i think. He admits that the general cultural and social environment can and does matter, sometimes in very significant ways. I think he should put way more emphasis on this particular factor precisely because it is the only one that good social policy has a chance of changing.


  10. @Luke:

    “i know his answer, i think. He admits that the general cultural and social environment can and does matter, sometimes in very significant ways. I think he should put way more emphasis on this particular factor”

    I think I try to emphasize that a lot. ;)

    “precisely because it is the only one that good social policy has a chance of changing.”

    But I don’t put too much stock in it because of this:

    While we know the grand-scale environment can make a difference, as seen with rapid secular changes, this seems to primarily occur because of alterations in the incentive structure or through hitherto unavailable possibilities (e.g., cars, internet, oral birth control). Changes here quite likely aren’t easy to execute in a way that achieves controlled outcomes.

    What you get out is often unpredictable. But some smart people can pull it off.


    1. If I were to list Jayman’s faults as a reader of his I would list his occasionally gruff attitude towards contrary opinions but that’s probably less him than the fact that I have an inordinately high threshold for such things (also, there are other HBD bloggers who blow Jayman out of the water on the irascibility scale.) That he is willing generalize and consider grand theories is one of the chief reasons I read him. There’s nothing wrong in my mind with thinking out loud about what the facts might mean in the bigger picture. The world needs people with the temerity to do so.


  11. Maybe I should give JayMan another chance. I stopped reading Steve Sailer when he went over to Unz’s blog. I figured I had read just about everything he had to say after years of following him. I took the opportunity to also drop JayMan at that time. He just wasn’t original enough. I dropped Razib Khan too but in his case it was because he has such a vile personality.

    I started routinely reading this blog and Cochran and Harpending’s. I also moved onto ‘Information Processing’ and John Hawks weblog.

    I read Nicolas Wade’s new book last week and found it very light reading. I tried again to read ‘The Great Deformation’ but found it too much. I’ve read at least a half dozen economic books this last year and I was an econ undergraduate at one time but Stockman’s macro-econ book is just too dense for me.

    I’m coming around to the notion that HBD is a pretty simple subject. Read a few of Lynn’s books and a few of Rushton’s and that’s about it. They built on Jensen’s work but modern readers can probably skip him now.

    The math in HBD is pretty simple too. I taught business statistics as a second job for many years. I found to my surprise that I couldn’t follow Steve McIntire’s blog on climate because the math was beyond me.

    I’m trying now to learn some genetics because I have aspirations of writing a book on genetic policy. Genetics doesn’t seem too tough so far. Macro economics and times series statistics are challenging but most of the HBD related topics seem relatively elementary.

    No offense intended.


  12. Patrick would rather give way too information about his BDSM lifestyle in totally inappropriate venues where no one wants to read about it.


  13. @bleach – “Patrick would rather give way too information about his BDSM lifestyle in totally inappropriate venues where no one wants to read about it.”

    say what?!

    no, wait. don’t answer that. in fact, don’t ANYONE ever mention ANYTHING about it again!


  14. HBD is fairly simple, yes.There are a few central concepts. Expanding on that can get more complicated.

    what happens is that those few simple concepts get attacked on illogical grounds so continually that a lot of time is wasted repeated them. They do get attacked on logical grounds as well, which is more fun.


  15. The kids of smart, accomplished parents will do well at some things because of genetics and some because of upbringing.

    There’s a reason that Greg Cochran both sent his kids to a public school (rather than an elite school) and also made (or encouraged?) his daughter to read vast volumes of WWII history. She sure as hell wouldn’t have done that without a father.

    I think Cochran’s grasp of the proportion of things is probably intuitively correct here.

    For abilities where knowledge is all around you, teachers are good at teaching it kids are interested to learn it and the limiting factor is their brute neurological efficiency, then its not worthwhile to spend too much effort. For most normal degree of social success, knowledge and resources is all around you – kids will learn successful social norms themselves.

    Not all abilities or areas of knowledge are like this. If knowledge about WWII is something you’re not immersed in, and don’t seek out, you won’t just accumulate it as a function of neurological ability (the same for kinship structures or whatnot). Some parents, from some demographics, do what Greg did with WWII history with mathematics, or piano lessons. It probably has some effect since math and playing the piano are these kind of corner case abilities that there’s not much social focus on.


  16. The HBD movement deals with psychology, but do not know to apply it in the sociopolitical sphere. People do not want to hear that” belong” to cognitively inferior groups. Therefore, it is necessary to seek ways of mitigating or distract the attention of these people. Like anesthesia. So I invented, which necessarily is not only a clever liar, on the high skills of verbalization of many sub-Saharan Africans and Gypsies, as these skills are derived from their oral cultures.
    When considering that all have advantages and disadvantages, you will achieve impose HBD science topics without the need of encountering problematic hysterical people. Surprisingly, you will be able to allocate the dictates of the hierarchy of skills and therefore the antithesis of equality within the dogma. All equal in their differences.


  17. Jayman is not righteous. He is a fan of Bill Maher. Once he gets over that I’ll make an appeal personally to Yad Vashem to get him proclaimed a “righteous among the nations.”


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