a few thoughts

jayman’s got a cool new post up on clannishness and western inventiveness! here are a few thoughts from me…

jayman said re. the abstract thinking type of westerners vs. the holistic thinking type of easterners (a la nisbett) [my emphasis]:

“[A]nother key difference between Western vs. Eastern (i.e., WEIRDO vs. clannish) thought: the former see things (and themselves) as atomized individuals, while the latter view objects in the world as part of an interconnected whole. This is a defining aspect on the clannishness dimension: low-clannishness peoples (WEIRDOs) see themselves as atomized individuals, who form associations voluntarily and not necessarily based on kinship. High-clannishness peoples see themselves as inherently part of the group (e.g., family, clan, tribe, village/town, etc.)….

“How did this penchant for abstraction come about among NW Europeans? I suspect that part of it has to do with the rise of high-trust and social atomization (i.e., individualism) in NW European societies. As clannishness disappeared, and as people were no longer bound to their families or clans (and indeed, we were free to interact with non-relative in cooperative ventures), people became more free to engage in intellectually stimulating thought. Mental space previously devoted understand one’s place in society and keep ahead of schemers now could be used on more abstract pursuits.

while it’s an interesting idea, i don’t think that freed up mental capacity once dedicated to clannish traits was co-opted in the brains of westerners (nw europeans) in their post-clannishness state and then devoted greater abstract thought. maybe. but i suspect the connection is (somehow) much more direct: i think (theorize, speculate, etc.) that in simply becoming more independent individuals — i.e. less genetically like others around them thanks to outbreeding — that the mindset simply shifted. atomized individuals, atomized (and, therefore, abstract) thinking. please don’t get your panties all in a bunch. yes, this is complete and wild speculation on my part. i can’t even guess what the mechanism might have been, so don’t sue me if i’m wrong. (nw europeans, btw, began to think of themselves as individuals in the middle of the eleventh century a.d.)

another much more informed guess: that nw europeans’ exceptional ability for inventiveness especially in science (which cannot be divorced from their high average iqs — as jayman pointed out, africans are pretty inventive, but without enough iq points, no one there’s going to the moon) has a LOT to do with the selection pressures that happened thanks to the manor system which was found in nw europe during the middle ages, specifically bipartite manorialism.

to back up for a sec: inventiveness/creativity/scientific reasoning in east asians, or the relative lack of it. jayman suggests that their tendency for holistic — and, therefore, not abstract — thinking hobbles east asians when it comes to inventiveness, etc. that, i think, makes a lot of sense. i do think, though, that the cochran-harpending idea of conformity in east asia (“nails hammered down”/low levels of adhd) also makes a lot of sense. the two ideas go well together, imho. wrt the “nails hammered down” hypothesis, my bet is that that selection process goes waaaay back. complex chinese civilization (that centered around the yellow river valley) is three or four thousands of years old. i think they’ve been hammering down the contrarians/independent thinkers there for a very long time. greg cochran has mentioned that the high-altitude adaptation of tibetans works better than those of other groups adapted to living in the clouds because the tibetan adaptations have been under selection for longer (even some acquired from the denisovans and/or other archaic humans?). i suspect that this is why conformism/lack of independent thinking is so strong in east asia: it’s been under selection there for a very long time. northwest europe’s civilization is obviously much, much younger.

now, to return to northwest “core” europeans: i strongly suspect their inventiveness/abstract thinking style/scientific thinking (and other behavioral traits, for that matter) were selected for thanks to the the following medieval trifecta:

– outbreeding (i.e. the abandonment of close cousin marriage) which meant that the selection for nepostic altruism was curbed since family members would no longer share so many “genes for altruism” in common (see: renaissances), PLUS individuals became “atomized” (therefore more abstract thinking arose, etc.);
– change in family types from extended to nuclear, which again would limit the selection for nepotistic altruism since individuals would interact more with non-kin than family;
bipartite manorialism, which began in frankish territories in northeastern france/belgium and spread across nw and central europe in areas that are pretty much coterminous (prolly not coincidentally) with the hajnal line.

oh. and the ostsiedlung.

bipartite manorialism, in which tenant farmers would work for (later pay rent to) the head of a manor but also farm for themselves, operated as a sort-of franchise system in which the tenants on their individual farms had to make it or break it independently (i.e. without support from an extended family/clan, the dumber members of which would no longer be a drag on our independent farmers). there was, no doubt, cooperation between the tenant farmers which, once the outbreeding reduced the selection for nepotistic altruism, could’ve resulted in the selection for a more general, reciprocal altruism. but bipartite manorialism, i think, would’ve also selected for other traits like a propensity to be hard working, delayed gratification, and inventiveness: those individuals who came up with new ideas for improving their farming (or related) techniques could’ve bettered their place on the manor and been more successful reproductively.

chonologically, bipartite manorialism came first, arising out of the abandoned latifundia system in what had been roman gaul perhaps as early as the 500s. there also appears to have been pressure from very early on on these manors for nuclear families, so the reduction in family size may very well have come next. finally, the avoidance of cousin marriage came into full swing in the frankish territories in the 800s.

the final stage — at least as far as the medieval period goes — in the selection for “core” europeans was the ostsiedling: this was The Big Self-Sorting to the east of individuals who were already well underway to being outbred/manorialized in western germanic regions — in other words, they were well underway to being westernized as we know it. i don’t think it can be a coincidence that the heart of human accomplishment in western europe (which is also pretty much the heart of human accomplishment) is found in the manorialized regions of europe and very much where the ostsiedlung happened (see also here). my bet is that it was very much hard-working, innovative (especially, at the time, in agricultural/engineering techniques), high-achievers who went forth into the east during the medieval period. and they prospered and multiplied once they were there.

so that’s the picture as i see it so far. i reserve the right to change my mind/be utterly and completely wrong. (~_^)
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oh. wrt to thinking like a westerner (abstract/atomized) vs. thinking like an easterner (holistic/group), i still suspect that peripheral europeans (like me!) might think more like easterners (i.e. holistically) than northwest “core” europeans. dunno for sure, and i didn’t have enough data to confirm or refute this little idea, but i’m still hanging on to it for now. really wish an actual scientist would check it out.
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jayman also said [his emphases]:

“The reality is that evolution proceeds much quicker than you think. Just as HBD’ers generally understand that human evolution didn’t stop 50,000 years ago, it also did not stop 10,000 years ago, or even 1,000 years ago, or even 500 or 200 years ago. Evolution continues right up to the present day. The reason I bring this up is because I keep hearing about how X group was doing this 2,000 years ago or about how Y group was doing this 1,000 years ago, so how could they be so different now? The reason is that they have changed since that time.

hear, hear! and…duh! human evolution is recent, both global and local, ongoing, and can be pretty rapid. not in one generation, obviously, but twenty or forty is plenty of time. also, gene frequencies in populations move upwards or downwards over time — they do not (have to) remain stagnant. i quoted stephen stearns recently (here):

“Well I think what is very probably going on is that selection is moving a population up and down all the time. It goes off in a certain direction for a while, and then it goes back in the other direction. It’s only if you get a significant change in the environment that it will then continuously go in a new direction.”

and average differences in gene frequencies in populations is all you need for average differences in behavioral traits, etc. for example, i think the ancient greeks might’ve moved from a shame to a part-guilt and back to a shame culture again thanks (at least in part) to changes in mating patterns over the course of several hundreds of years. evolution does not have to be unidirectional.
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anatoly karlin said:

“Ancient Greeks did a lot of abstract thinking, and produced the greatest cultural/scientific peak until the Renaissance (according to the same Charles Murray’s figures). During the Middle Ages, in pure scientific terms, the Islamic world was most advanced. The Renaissance began in northern Italy. Only in the 17th century did the bulk of scientific discoveries move to NW Europe.”

as i mentioned above, it looks like the ancient greeks (the athenians) went from inbred to outbred and back to inbred again. mind you, i only have some pretty slim historic/literary evidence for that, so you should take my claim with a large grain of salt, but i’ll keep working on the Greek Question. the romans, who were also pretty sharp, at least when it came to engineering, were very clearly outbred (they bequeathed their outbreeding practices to us). the renaissance did begin in northern italy, and that doesn’t come as a big surprise to me ’cause northern italy was the most heavily manorialized part of italy (i’ll tell you more about this in my long overdue series on manorialism). northern italians were also prboably quite outbred during the medieval period, although further research is required on that front, too. the scientific revolution, however — especially the development of the scientific method — was very much a north european baby, though. from what i understand of science in the medieval islamic world, most of that was down to the persians. can’t tell you anything about medieval persian society, unfortunately, ’cause i don’t know anything about it.

that’s it. outta energy. more soon!

(note: comments do not require an email. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.)

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35 Comments

  1. I blame it on cows. People who were able to drink milk and digest lactose had huge advantage in their acquisition of bioavailable calcium. The lactase persistence gene underwent extreme selective pressure through the last 2 millennia of European history, and the advantages it gave those who inherited it caused the gene to be widely popular. If you could drink milk, you had a better chance at survival. In addition, these same people had a symbiotic relationship with cows, in particular they exercised intelligent selective breeding to encourage cows that fit their lifestyle.

    The added bioavailable calcium that cow’s milk gave Europeans resulted in their robust physique and higher intelligence. Calcium is critical for the firing of neurons, and the high-energy brainpower Europeans evolved was symbiotically dependent on drinking cow’s milk for both calcium and lactose sugar. Milk drinkers have been shown statistically to have longer, stronger and straighter bones that non milk-drinkers. In addition, milk drinkers have more children over a longer time span, and with a higher survival rate. Milk drinkers also typically produce more maternal, a huge reproductive advantage. This meant mothers could give birth to younger babies with a larger braincase and still see a good survival rate due to colostrum.

    So all these physiological and mental differences in Europeans is the long-term result of the “lactase persistence gene” that only Europeans had. It is important to note that the gene is inherited autosomal dominant, meaning that the more people in your ancestry had it the more likely you would be to inherit it. Assuming the mutation started in exactly one person, it has taken a few thousand years to see the societal difference that one genetic mutation has made. I would even say that many of the accomplishments of Europeans has been thanks to cows.

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  2. Gnarlodius – that theory has gotten a lot of play, but more for older changes in our evolution, thousands rather than hundreds of years ago.

    As the changes in behavior started on the North Sea coast(s) and spread to its coastal areas, I have to speculate that the difficulties of dealing with a small, but cold and dangerous body of water was important, It gave everyone in the area some balance or midpoint between the safety of isolation but rapid exposure to minor (ahem) technological improvements such as the moldboard plow or three-field system, which were huge. I think it was James Hannam who pointed to the flow of information between monasteries across tribal and natural boundaries as pushing metallurgy and agriculture forward, but that is greatly aided by the relative closeness in terms of the transportation of the day. The Hajnal line is largely formed by the Alps, and its extrremities are those areas where seafarers had enough work nearby without having to go to the North Sea. As land transportation was much more difficult in those centuries, the opposite of Western Civ today, it sometimes helps to visualize an area reversing which is land and which is water to imagine who connected with whom. This is true of NW Europe c 1000-1700AD.

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  3. “outbreeding (i.e. the abandonment of close cousin marriage) which meant that the selection for nepostic altruism was curbed since family members would no longer share so many “genes for altruism” in common”

    The other thing about outbreeding if it’s *within* an endogamous boundary is although it reduces close family relatedness, over time it also makes everyone within the boundary more related to each other.

    So C < rB

    is actually C < sumof(rB)

    hence why it might make sense for one type of population to chip in for an ambulance service but not others.

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  4. I do not think NW are more inventive – they, however created a culture which promotes inventive people. Polish people become quite inventive when they go to UK or US. Simply, without proper insititutions and cultural practices, inventive people here quite often end up like Karpiński (the guy virtually unknown outside Poland, destroyed by communists, who was pioneer of computer making and made an amazing computer – for its time). Or think Wozniak – would he co-create Apple if he would live in Poland? I don’t think so.

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  5. “lactase persistence gene” that only Europeans had

    Isn’t lactase persistence like malarial defense in that there are different forms in different populations?

    @szopeno

    they, however created a culture which promotes inventive people

    Yes, I agree, but how long before the “negative” culture for inventiveness starts reducing the % of the population that can be thought of as inventive?

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  6. Hi hbd chick. It’s been a while since I commented on your blog, I hope that your recovery is going well. It’s good to see you blogging regularly again!

    “nw europeans’ exceptional ability for inventiveness especially in science (which cannot be divorced from their high average iqs — as jayman pointed out, africans are pretty inventive, but without enough iq points, no one there’s going to the moon)”

    It must be related (at least partially) I think to dopamine – the density or sensitivity of the dopamine receptors in the brain. Related to motivation, reward, pleasure, and particularly sensation seeking. Coupled with high iq and certain suites of personality traits, this dopamine sensitivity can lead to great scientists, artists, etc. Or in the other direction (eg. lower iq, &/or other personality traits, etc.) to, eg. addiction, hypersexuality, criminality, violent behaviour, etc. – all potentially selected for in the right environment.

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  7. The answer lies in cider (or maybe apple pie). The people who advanced most lived in the parts of Europe where you can make cider (or ditto). Wine areas, and schnapps area, less so. This was a reversal of the situation at the time of classical Athens. I wonder whether we should look for an explanation in terms of apple varieties?

    P.S. It’s spelled “cyder” in Suffolk, but so what?

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  8. @szopen:

    “I do not think NW are more inventive – they, however created a culture which promotes inventive people.”

    Dude…how do people say things like that at this point? Isn’t the abundant evidence of NW European performance over everyone else enough to make the reality of the situation clear?

    “Polish people become quite inventive when they go to UK or US.”

    Not exactly a random sample of the Polish population…

    “Simply, without proper insititutions and cultural practices, “

    I’m trying very hard to lay that idea to rest. Consider my post its last rites.

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  9. @Gnarlodious:

    “I blame it on cows. People who were able to drink milk and digest lactose had huge advantage in their acquisition of bioavailable calcium. The lactase persistence gene underwent extreme selective pressure through the last 2 millennia of European history, and the advantages it gave those who inherited it caused the gene to be widely popular.”

    “So all these physiological and mental differences in Europeans is the long-term result of the “lactase persistence gene” that only Europeans had. “

    Northeast Europeans. ‘Nuff said.

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  10. “Coffee.” Nah, the Italians make the best coffee. Anyway, coffee reached the West via the Turks, who certainly never had a Golden Age of invention. So cider (or apple pie) it is.

    P.S. My mother made wonderful apple pies.

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  11. Cider, including of course the hard cider that Johnny Appleseed enabled, is a fascinating theory. Like my North Sea theory, it has the disadvantage of being difficult to measure, as the coffee and tea theories are. Still, it is worth contemplating. Some theory of preferred beverages might be worthwhile.

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  12. “i think (theorize, speculate, etc.) that in simply becoming more independent individuals — i.e. less genetically like others around them thanks to outbreeding — that the mindset simply shifted. atomized individuals, atomized (and, therefore, abstract) thinking.”

    Amish.

    Notice that a whole suite of personality traits were selected for. Selection often acts on multiple alleles at once. This is because they act together to produce a certain type of person that’s more successful in the environment in question.

    Indeed, today, this very same penchant for abstraction is being selected against selected against. Much of these features being selected for/against could be similarly incidental.

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  13. The Middle Easterners are more abstract-minded than the Chinese. So are the Indians.

    The Middle Easterners invented most things starting with “-al”.The Indians invented the zero. (Despite a likely much lower IQ). Medieval China invented very practical the compass, gunpowder, paper, and the printing press but made negligible contributions in the pure sciences.

    Both the Middle Easterners and Indians (either today or a millennium ago) are far more clannish than the Chinese.

    Clannishness or the lack of it has zilch to do with inventiveness. It’s a function of IQ, literacy, and curiosity. Clannishness matters only insofar as it lowers IQ through too much inbreeding but as a systemic problem this only really affected the Muslims and to a lesser extent, the Indians. The real question is why Mongoloid peoples are so much less curious than Caucasoids.

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  14. All human populations present disposition to simpler types of abstract thought. what differentiates the Eastern than Western, as well as the populations of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, is not only the greater or lesser capacity for abstract thought, but the quality of these differences that are permeated by cultural differences.

    Buddhism originated the other Eastern religions ?? But that was not invented by Indians (Indians with mongoloid or Caucasoids strains) ??

    ”The Middle Easterners invented most things starting with “-al”.The Indians invented the zero. (Despite a likely much lower IQ)”

    This sentence does not make sense because were not Indians or Arabs ” with ” low IQ who made these innovations.

    I have the impression that the average intelligence of Eurasian or Eurasian origin population has varied greatly since the appearance of complex civilizations (at least those that are historically known) and language (subsaharians, probably but less than eurasians). Therefore, it is unlikely that great ancient civilizations had not been a smart fractions demographically large or at least demographically enough to keep them.

    So the Indians and the Arabs (and definitely no idea of ​​their racial origins) who made these inventions were definitely not people of very low technical intelligence, only if they were autistic. And it is likely that human intelligence has varied greatly since the appearance of the first civilizations historically recognized. I would not doubt if the average Roman ” had ” average ‘very close to the average American IQ.

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  15. @AKarlin:

    “The Middle Easterners are more abstract-minded than the Chinese. So are the Indians.

    The Middle Easterners invented most things starting with “-al”.The Indians invented the zero. (Despite a likely much lower IQ).”

    Were their average IQs lower than NW Euros’ back then? That we don’t know.

    Also, what are these respective societies doing now?

    The last half millennium or so speaks for itself.

    “Clannishness or the lack of it has zilch to do with inventiveness. It’s a function of IQ, literacy, and curiosity. Clannishness matters only insofar as it lowers IQ through too much inbreeding but as a systemic problem this only really affected the Muslims and to a lesser extent, the Indians. The real question is why Mongoloid peoples are so much less curious than Caucasoids.”

    Eastern Europe?

    I suppose this a James Thompson matter. What do the per capita Nobel rates look like when you look at the smart fractions across the world? In this case, I guess the super-smart fraction, IQ 130+.

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  16. @jayman – “Much of these features being selected for/against could be similarly incidental.”

    yeah, that could be right.

    but it just seems more than coincidental to me that the pattern should be clannish=holistic thinking vs. unclannish=atomized thinking. why, if it’s simply a matter of using freed up brain space/power for new purposes (for a new way of thinking), did it go that way? (and it appears like maybe it did that with the ancient athenians, too.)

    dunno. haven’t thought about it enough yet! (~_^)

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  17. @anatoly – “Both the Middle Easterners and Indians (either today or a millennium ago) are far more clannish than the Chinese.”

    today, yes, definitely. a millennium ago? i don’t know about that at all. i doubt they were (much) more clannish than the southern chinese, anyway. (or the manchurians or other raiders that came down from the wild north.)

    @anatoly – “The Middle Easterners invented most things starting with ‘-al’.The Indians invented the zero. (Despite a likely much lower IQ). Medieval China invented very practical the compass, gunpowder, paper, and the printing press but made negligible contributions in the pure sciences.”

    yes, but that was then. evolution doesn’t stop and those populations may very well have changed over the course of the last 1000 years. their selection pressures undoubtedly changed. (plus, those inventive medieval middle easterners were mostly *not* arabs, as far as i understand it.)

    in the middle east — from the fertile crescent all the way up to persia — mating patterns changed. big time. thanks to the arabs. also, arabs themselves migrated into the area. (and other pops did, as well, obv). in india, the mating patterns also changed — the caste system was invented. (what other selection pressures changed there, i couldn’t tell you.) the chinese (like most east asians) also very much preferred cousin marriage (altho not the close form of the arabs) for most of the last thousand years, with some abandonment of cousin marriage in the last 100 years or so. the question is (my question is), what were chinese mating patterns like before that? dunno.

    i’ve wondered before if the middle east went through a sort-of reverse renaissance thanks to the introduction of fbd marriage to the region. once upon a time, mesopotamia was a place full of great thinkers — now the place is a basket case. something definitely changed. maybe it was just iq, but i suspect it’s more than that. (and, of course, perhaps the change is due to other selection pressures and not the mating patterns. or all of the above.) something similar might’ve happened to the indians and chinese. (or perhaps some very different things.)

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  18. “Clannishness or the lack of it has zilch to do with inventiveness. It’s a function of IQ, literacy, and curiosity. Clannishness matters only insofar as it lowers IQ through too much inbreeding but as a systemic problem this only really affected the Muslims and to a lesser extent, the Indians. The real question is why Mongoloid peoples are so much less curious than Caucasoids.”

    At least everyone seems to agree inventiveness is a mixed function of (IQ + x) where x is still up for debate.

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  19. Jayman, you either seem not to understand my stand or I was not clear enough with writing. I am not arguing that cultures appears out of nowhere. I am arguing that cultures created by people may have different, unexpected effects.

    People can be “inventive” – they can, given proper resources, start to invent things.
    However, inventive people not necessarily create cultures which are good in promoting and sustaining inventiveness.

    A culture which is good in promoting inventiveness is a culture, when an inventor gets a credit for its invention, when he is respected for inventions, when he is not tied up in petty fights with other “clans”. In such cultures, trying to do something is sometimes “swimming in jelly” (actually not jelly, surprisingly my dictionary gives “kisiel” as “jelly-type dessert made with potato starch”). You can do it, but it requires a lot more energy.

    Societies full of inventive people do not necessarily create cultures which promotes innovations, since “inventiveness” could be channelled into dealing with beaur– bearau,.. (shit. you know what.), fighting with other clans and so on. Cultures which are good in promoting inventiveness could be created by people not especially inventive. This is not a contradiction, because the base characteristic of such a culture is respect for law, good institutions, individualism and so on, and THOSE characteristics are crucial in encouraging people to be inventive.

    And, moreover, I still point to you that sometimes cultures do NOT come from the people. Sometimes they are imposed from the outside. Then that culture may be adapted (because it is well-fit to the people), changed (to suit mkore the people) or rejected – and, of course, this culture will also change the people. There will be however period of time when culture is imposed by force, and still none of the three option has happen.

    I would be never tired of reminding you that communism in Czech, Slovakia, Poland and so on was NOT created by local populations and it was kept BY FORCE by keeping there significant military forces.

    Just a final remark – I already wrote that before. I think that it is possible that any population at any point of time may have different “fitness” wrt different cultures, i.e. you can argue that range of cultures for any population to enjoy is limited, or range of cultures created by any population is limited. I am however arguing that you cannot made the opposite argument, that is: from the fact that population A created culture X, and population B created culture Y, conclude that (a) X and Y are necessary and only possible cultures for A and B (b) B could not create X (c) B could not adapt X.

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  20. As it seems I have messed up with something, I am writing again an answet to Jayman, HBDChick, please be gentle and do not hire assassins to chase me if this will end as double-post.

    @Jayman
    Either you have not undestand me or I was not clear enough in my wrting. I am not arguing that culture promoting inventiveness just fall from the sky out of nowhere. I am arguing rather, that inventive people do not necessarily create invention-friendly cultures (and invention-friendly cultures may be actually created accidentally by people, which are not particularly inventive).

    Inventive people can channel they creativeness into different things. They may fight the system and the beauraucracy (I hate that word). They may fight other clans. Or they may be encouraged by the system to create new things.

    A culture which promotes inventiveness is a culture where corruption is low, individual accomplishments are valued, solid institutions are created and so on. A culture which prevents creative people from being inventive is a culture of corruption, with nepotism, valuing family and personal ties and where institutions are weak.

    A personal anecdote: I hold a patent now. I actually never thought about filling a claim, however we participated in a EU grant and patent numbers created by a project was
    one of metrics the project success was measured. So our bosses found the funds, we reviewed what could be possibly patented and sent the claim. I’d never think before to fill the patent claim; it just wouldn’t cross my mind i could do it. My bossed would never give me money to do it. But right now I have contributed to the statistics of “innovativeness” of Poland (it’s not that the patent is actually worth anything. It’s not, in my opinion). You could now take the “patent per capita” statistics and take it as measurement of inventiveness – Poland would be quite behind. But at least in my case I got the patent not because I suddenly became more inventive, but because we were forced to fill the claims by external institution.

    To restate my position: I believe it is possible that for any human population in any given time, it may have different “fitness” to different cultures, i.e. the range of cultures it may create or adapt may be limited.

    However, I do not think you can argue from the other side, e.g. population A created culture X, population B created culture Y, therefore you conclude (and I strongly disagree) that (a) A necessarily created X (b) X couldn’t be possibly created or adapted by B.

    Finally, kind of PS and an answer to your (and chicks) eternal question: sometimes the cultures ARE imposed from the outside. Communism in Poland, Czech, Slovakia and so on was imposed by force and kept by force, by keeping strong military forces and my physical liquidation of any opposition, via censorship and killing dissidents. When a culture is imposed, then, in time, few things may happen

    (a) a culture is adapted by a population, because the population was “fit” to this culture
    (b) culture is changed by a population to better fit its predispositions
    (c) culture is rejected by a population, and finally:
    (d) given enough time, culture may change the population.

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  21. @szopeno – “As it seems I have messed up with something, I am writing again an answet to Jayman, HBDChick, please be gentle and do not hire assassins to chase me if this will end as double-post.”

    =P no worries!

    sorry, the first version of your comment went to spam for some reason, i have no idea why. (stupid wordpress! (>.<) ) i just approved it, so both are here now. (^_^)

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  22. @Jayman

    Shamelessly invoking Golden Mean Fallacy in population genetics now, but maybe NW Europeans simply have just the right balance in their genomewide ancestry?

    Of course Irish would be in that big NW blob too..

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  23. Came for HBD, stayed for milk, and coffee, and cider…
    Re: inventors. Perhaps individualistic cultures actually give thinkers/tinkers time/space to just think and try out new things.

    When you are considered a part of a tribe, your free time is your tribe’s time, and you better not waste it on some stuff might or might not work/be beneficial for all ( See if a tiger mom will allow to waste HER investment to play sports/tinker in a garage).

    But if you do succeed, your success will be the tribe’s success ( see how some countries praise/claim native innovators who succeeded ABROAD).

    It is also true, to some extend, with the black communities in the States.

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  24. Congrats, Szopeno on the patent!

    To play a devil’s advocate: why does a certain population allow itself to be conquered? #victimshaming

    My understanding is that Poland was conquested oh so many times because of weak if extremely brave military forces. Polish army never had enough funds because of faulty taxing policies that went back hundreds of years ( before the First Partition).

    India is even better an example: conquered by a bunch of merchants, basically. The ‘civilizing’ effect? Tremendous!
    But of course never ask an Indian in a polite conversation if they think the Raj helped/benefitted India’s modern ‘culture’ in any way ;)

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  25. @2ponder
    Not that many times. If you look at the history from 966 to 2015, we were completely overidden by Swedes in XVII century but quickly expel them, and then we were turned into satellite state of Russians in XVIII century, until being conquered in the end of that century and spending 125 years or so under partitions.

    As for the reasons, it was faulty institutions, which were well suited to the culture of consensus when Polish was ethnic Polish kingdom, but proved to be disastrous when we united with Lithuania. In GDL there were HUGE domain of extremely wealthy magnates, who quickly found how easy it is to misuse Polish institutions (e.g. Liberum Veto). Another thing is free election, when we elected series of monarchs who were completely unfit to rule and fought hard to completely alienate the society.

    When you compare late XVI century and political culture (and political writings) with late XVII century, you would see drastic changes. For one, system has not changed, but Liberum Veto was first used in __1652__, 52 times by envoys from the former GDL, 21 times by envoys from Poland. Poland was more populous part of the union – in 1340, before the union, about 1.5 to 2 times more populous than GDL.

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  26. @iffen
    Sorry for the delay – I was so annoyed by the fact by disappearance of my comment taht I forgot about answering you.
    The answer is that it depends. If the culture actively punishes innovators in a way which reduces their reprodactive success, then yes. But if it simply does not encourage innovativeness without reducing reproductive success of potential innovators, then no.

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  27. In a couple hours of reading HBD blog posts I’ve yet to see mention of religious authority separate from political authority. Perhaps it’s not relevant at the level of granularity of discussion, but in my view there is a sharp distinction between societies where people are locked into a unipolar political matrix (where religious & political authority are one, e.g., Eastern Christianity and all non-Christian systems found south or east of Western Europe) and Western Europe where for many centuries people could find a degree of individual initiative in the shadow of conflict between religious and secular authority.

    Now that an ostensibly secular religion (Progressivism in the USA, Fabianism elsewhere in the West) yields a unipolar matrix, junk science proliferates and political dogma drowns open inquiry (the fate of Peter Duesberg is instructive), and science gives way to collective passion (groupthink.) I suppose this means I’d love to see data or even conjecture about the role HBD plays in constructing the dominant mechanisms for social control all societies must exhibit, because as I see it, today’s apogee of political mechanisms of social control promises much hardship, if not a complete breakdown of high civilization.

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