Archives for posts with tag: greeks

am reading edith hall’s Introducing the Ancient Greeks. good stuff! (^_^) here’re some excerpts that i posted to twitter:

read all about phalaris, the most tyrannical of (sicilian) greek tyrants, here. *gulp*

(i know! i know! the greeks didn’t wear togas, it was the romans. i know!)

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it finally clicked in my head while thinking about polygamy what the importance of family types — nuclear vs. extended, etc. — might be in the selection for altruistic behavioral traits, especially nepotistic altruism or clannishness. i should’ve thought through polygamy sooner instead of putting it off, but hey — procrastination is heritable, too, so in the words of h. solo, it’s not my fault! (~_^)

the logic of the mating patterns/inbreeding-outbreeding theory goes that, given the right set of circumstances (i.e. certain sorts of social environments), selection for nepotistic altruism/clannishness ought to go quicker or be amplified by inbreeding (close cousin marriage or uncle-niece marriage) simply because there will be more copies of any nepotistic altruism genes (alleles) that happen to arise floating around in kin groups. in other words, inbreeding should facilitate the selection for clannishness…if clannish behaviors are being selected for in a population.

the thing is, though: the individuals carrying certain versions (alleles) of nepotistic altruism genes need to direct their nepotistic behaviors towards other individuals carrying those same alleles, otherwise their actions will be for naught. (yeah. kin selection.) if they direct their nepotistic actions towards people who don’t share the same alleles, then the actions will be “wasted” and the behavioral traits won’t be selected for — or at least not very strongly — and they might fizzle out altogether.

let’s take an imaginary society as an example: say everyone in our pretend population always marries their first cousins. their father’s brother’s daughters (fbd) even, so that we get a lot of double-first cousin marriage. h*ck! let’s throw in some uncle-niece marriages on top of it all. the inbreeding coefficients in such a society would be very high, and if clannishness was being selected for in our highly inbred population, the selection ought to move pretty quickly.

but suppose we separated all the kids at birth from their biological families and set them out for adoption by unrelated individuals — people with whom they likely did not share the same nepotistic altruism alleles. think: the janissary system, only on a population-wide scale. if we did that, there should be virtually no selection for clannishness despite all the inbreeding since pretty much no one’s nepotistic behaviors would be directed towards other individuals with the same nepotistic altruism genes. in this case, kin selection would just not be happening.

such a society does not exist, and i don’t think ever has. but there are societies out there with certain family types — namely nuclear families (or even post-nuclear family societies!) — which ought to have a similar dampening effect on any selection for clannishness.

northwestern “core” europe has had very low cousin marriage rates since around the 800s-1000s, but it has also, thanks to manorialism, had nuclear families of one form or another (absolute or stem) since the early medieval period — nuclear families are recorded in some of the earliest manor property records in the first part of the ninth century from northeastern france [see mitterauer, pg. 59]. on the other hand, eastern europeans, like the russians and greeks, while they also seem to have avoided very close cousin marriage for several hundreds of years (which is not as long as northwestern europeans, but is quite a while), have tended to live in extended family groupings. you would think that nepotistic altruism could be selected for, or maintained more readily, in populations where extended family members lived together and interacted with one another on a more regular basis than in societies of nuclear family members where individuals interact more with non-kin. societies comprised of nuclear families are more like my hypothetical janissary society above where the altruism genes that might’ve been selected for via kin selection instead fade away in the wash.

we have to be careful, though, in identifying nuclear family societies. the irish of today, for instance, are typically said to be a nuclear family society, but the extended family does still interact A LOT (i can tell you that from first-hand experience). same holds true for the greeks and, i suspect, the southern italians. i would say that these populations have residential nuclear families, but not fully atomized nuclear families which have infrequent contact with extended family (think: the english). the early anglo-saxons in england were also characterized by residential nuclear families — the extended family (the kindred) was still very important in that society. the individuals in a residential nuclear family society probably do interact with non-family more than individuals in a society structured around extended families or clans, but less so than a true nuclear family society.

the thought for the day then?: family types can also affect the selection for clannishness/nepotistic altruism.

that is all! (^_^)

previously: polygamy, family types, and the selection for clannishness and “l’explication de l’idéologie”

(note: comments do not require an email. irish nuclear family.)

Ethics: Taboo genetics and Dangerous work – not very subtle careful or you won’t ever be able to find work in this town again “advice” from the invertebrates @nature (no offense to invertebrates elsewhere). see also: steve hsu, steve sailer, and dr. james thompson. previously: alternate nature poll.

Genomics England“This project will sequence the personal DNA code – known as a genome – of up to 100,000 patients over the next five years.”

Your Genome Is a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland“Your 25,000 genes reside in a genetic landscape littered with the rubble of ancient and ongoing battles with hordes of viruses, clone armies of genetic parasites, and zombie genes that should be dead but aren’t. Our messy genomic landscape is a dynamic, miniature ecosystem, and scientists are learning how its inhabitants play a big role in human health and disease.”

Morality and the Perspicuity of the True Believers“Consider, for example, a piece Dennis Prager just wrote for National Review Online, packaged as ‘A Response to Richard Dawkins.’ Prager cuts to the chase with the following: ‘If there is no God, the labels “good” and “evil” are merely opinions. They are substitutes for “I like it” and “I don’t like it.” They are not objective realities.’ Thank you, Mr. Prager. I couldn’t have said it better myself.” (^_^) – from helian.

Debate on Evolution of Multicellular Organisms Starts to Gain Focus“Cassandra Extavour and her colleagues, who study the origins of multicellular organisms and the evolution of cooperation, still disagree on the meaning of key concepts such as cooperation, competition and fitness.”

Let the good times roll?“The Frogs have had it rougher than the Canucks.” – from greg cochran. see also: French Canadians: The unexplained genetic diversity from peter frost.

Migration from Sweden to Poland during the Early Bronze Age“‘”Over 3800 years ago, a young male, possibly born in Skåne, made a journey of over 900 kilometers south, to Wroclaw in Poland. He died violently in Wroclaw, killed by Úněticean farmers, possibly due to romance with two local females, who were murdered together with him.”‘” @dienekes’.

Please Pass the Microbes“Once the animal had been processed more or less, I was amazed to see all three [hadza] men take a handful of the partially digested plant material from the recently removed stomach to scrub off the copious amounts of blood that now covered there hands and foreman’s. This was followed by a final ‘cleaning’ with dry grass for good measure. While I was fascinated by the microbe-laden stomach contents being used as hand scrubber – presumably transferring an extraordinary diversity of microbes from the Impala gut to the hands of the Hadza – I was not prepared for what they did next….” – you’ve GOT to read this! (^_^) – h/t john durant!

First physical evidence of why you’re an owl or a lark“They found a reduction in the integrity of night owls’ white matter – brain tissue largely comprised of fatty insulating material that speeds up the transmission of nerve signals – in areas associated with depression. ‘We think this could be caused by the fact that late chronotypes suffer from this permanent jet lag,’ says Rosenberg, although she cautions that further studies are needed to confirm cause and effect.”

Human brain boiled in its skull lasted 4000 years“Seyitömer Höyük – the Bronze Age settlement in western Turkey where this brain was found – is not in the mountains. So how did brain tissue survive in four skeletons dug up there between 2006 and 2011?”

Alien DNA could be ‘recreated’ on earth“Humans will be able to recreate alien life forms and ‘print out’ organisms using the biological equivalent of a 3D printer in the future, a DNA pioneer has predicted.” – craig venter.

Loci number and group difference“This paper shows that the debate about ‘variation within races is bigger than variation between races’ depends largely on the number of loci being analysed, and the assumptions being made about the significance of the revealed differences.” – from dr. james thompson.

Social Constructs are Social Constructs – heh. (^_^) – @handle’s haus. h/t konkvistador!

Human Hair Confirmed in Prehistoric Hyena Feces“The fossilized dung, part of a ‘hyena latrine,’ will be described in the upcoming October issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science…. Our ancestors there lived around a literally wild bunch about 257,000 years ago.” – #PaleoDiet! (O_O)

The earliest art predated humans – h/t psychtweet!

Why Clans Persist (h/t hbd bibliography!) and What Overcame the Clan in England? (h/t t.greer!) – on mark weiner‘s The Rule of the Clan and bennett and lotusAmerica 3.0.

Mapping the Road to American Disunion and A Second Great Depression? – from jayman.

Testosterone Promotes Reciprocity in the Absence of Competition – in women. h/t charles!

The Fat-Fueled Brain: Unnatural or Advantageous? – ketogenic diet @scientific american. h/t neuroskeptic! and speaking of diet: How one in ten could be wheat intolerant – but not even know. If you’re feeling bloated or are always tired, you might be a victim of this hidden epidemic.

Oxytocin Makes Other Faces Look More Pleasant – @futurepundit.

Mothers of Autistic Children: Lower Plasma Levels of Oxytocin and Arg-Vasopressin and a Higher Level of Testosterone [pdf] – h/t simon baron cohen!

Large study concludes LSD and other psychedelics reduce risk of mental health problems – peyote, ftw! (stay away from that krokodil sh*t, tho. (O_O) )

Academic fraud in China is getting out of hand“In a few short years, China has metamorphosed from a middling contributor to scientific knowledge into one of the most prolific research entities on the planet. But the country’s meteoric ascent to scientific prominence – widely attributed to a flawed incentive system – has given unintentional rise to a lucrative industry of academic fakery.” – see also: Looks good on paper @the economist.

Poll Shows Major Shift in Identity of U.S. Jews“The first major survey of American Jews in more than 10 years finds a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish — resulting in rapid assimilation that is sweeping through every branch of Judaism except the Orthodox.”

Electric Shock Therapy May Cut Crime By Stimulating Brain Region For Social Norm Compliance“An original way to reduce crimes rates could lie in regulating neural activity in a person’s front of the brain — right lateral prefrontal cortex. Scientists from the University of Zurich have found a brain mechanism responsible for social norm compliance is separate from the processes that represents a person’s knowledge and beliefs about societal norms. The neurons in this specific brain region may be controlled by electric shock therapy which could potentially stop criminals from breaking the law….” – see also: Brain Stimulation Can Control Compliance with Social Norms“Human beings are utterly dependent on a complex social structure for their survival. Since all behavior is controlled by the brain, human beings may have evolved specialized neural circuits that are responsible for compliance with society’s rules.” h/t михаи́л анисимов!

News Flash: Science proves important people pay less attention to unimportant people – from steve sailer.

Ah, There’s Nothing Like New Baby Smell – meh.

8,000 Year Old Evidence of Human Activity Found in Alps

20 Roman-era skulls uncovered beneath a London railway station may have belonged to decapitated 1st century rebels – some of boudicca’s crew?

Melting Snow Reveals Ancient Bow and Arrows in Norway“A melting patch of ancient snow in the mountains of Norway has revealed a bow and arrows likely used by hunters to kill reindeer as long ago as 5,400 years.”

bonus: Female Fruit Flies Like One Mate, or His Brother

bonus bonus: Cockroaches have neighborhoods, too

bonus bonus bonus: Pakistan quake highlights Balochistan ethnic fractures“Villagers in Teertaj turned away soldiers when they arrived after the quake with tents and food supplies.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Are Greek Neo-Nazi Mercenaires Fighting For Assad In Syria? – terrific. =/ – h/t ed west!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Roma gypsy gang sold their women for stealing skills and children were used like conscripts in a criminal army, French court told at start trial

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: where are my dragons?!

(note: comments do not require an email. my dragon?! (^_^))

man, clannish peoples have looooong memories.

i was searching last night for some good turkish music on youtube — you know, as one does — and i came across…

…well, first of all — who knew there was so much ottoman classical music to choose from on youtube?! that was my first surprise. then i came across…

… (heh) THIS raging “debate” between what appears to be some turks, greeks, albanians, croatians, and i don’t know who else (trolls, prolly). here’s just a taste of the discussion — and these are some of the most reasonable, rational bits of it (sorry ’bout the language – click on image for LARGER view):

never got transylvania

old grudges die hard.

oh. i did find some good near eastern music in the end, but it wound up to be some syrian stuff rather than turkish. nice music!

previously: tribalism on the innerwebs

(note: comments do not require an email. never got transylvania.)

a day late. sorry! sometimes sh*t just happens. (~_^)

Ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival remain despite socioeconomic similarities“All-cause survival was worse for African-Americans and better for Latinas and Asian-Americans compared with non-Latina whites after adjusting for age, study and tumor characteristics. When the researchers additionally adjusted for treatment and reproductive and lifestyle factors, they found that African-Americans had similar survival rates to non-Latina whites, but the survival rates of Latinas and Asian-Americans remained better.”

Diversity may be fatal, says new government health study“[P]eople suffer less cancer and heart disease when they live among their racial or ethnic peers.” – via mangan’s.

If Smart Is the Norm, Stupidity Gets More Interesting“Human intelligence varies.” – you don’t say?! (it’s in the nyt, believe it or not!)

Do Intelligent People Drink More Alcohol? – yes. yes, we do. (*hic*)

A detour through Europe?“The lithic technology of southwestern France (c. 22,000-17,000 BP) strangely resembles that of the first paleo-Amerindians (c. 12,000). Some people speculate that early Europeans reached North America by crossing the Atlantic. The truth is even more incredible. Early Europeans spread eastward and became the ancestors not only of the Amerindians but also of East Asians.” – from peter frost.

Secular change in the B/W IQ gap (in the US) – from chuck. see also steve sailer.

Penis size and infant mortality – from the autistic nerdling epigone.

Placebo effect may be ‘down to genes’“Those with a particular version of the COMT gene saw an improvement in their health after placebo acupuncture.”

The Evolution of Female Bisexuality – from jayman.

Pitch Perfect: It’s All In The Genes” – maybe/prolly. see also you, too, can have perfect pitch!

Hispanic Bio-Diversity: A Primer – from nelson.

Smoking causes asthma in second generation offspring – epigenetic effects in rats.

Epigenetic inheritance is a wild goose chase“Epigenetics matters, but not between generations.”

Appearance-based politics: Sex-typed facial cues communicate political party affiliation – republican women more feminine looking than democrat women.

Men better multi-taskers than women: study

Who Would Win in a Fight: a Modern Human or a Neanderthal?“We beat them at evolution. But what about fisticuffs?”

The Island Where People Forget to Die“[P]eople on Ikaria were, in fact, reaching the age of 90 at two and a half times the rate Americans do. (Ikarian men in particular are nearly four times as likely as their American counterparts to reach 90, often in better health.) But more than that, they were also living about 8 to 10 years longer before succumbing to cancers and cardiovascular disease, and they suffered less depression and about a quarter the rate of dementia.”

bonus: More Intelligent Birds (Like More Intelligent Humans) Have Evolutionarily Novel Preferences

bonus bonus: Electric Bugs: New Microbe Forms Living, Deep-Sea Power Cables

bonus bonus bonus: New study sheds light on how and when vision evolved“Opsins, the light-sensitive proteins key to vision, may have evolved earlier and undergone fewer genetic changes than previously believed….”

(note: comments do not require an email. intelligent bird.)

look who else builds tower houses!:

the maniots are peloponnesian greeks who live — or, up until pretty recently, lived — in a clannish society (or so says wikipedia — ctrl+f for “clan” on this page). the mani peninsula is the middle of the three peloponnese “fingers” that stick southwards into the med — and up until modern times it was hard to get to (or into):

“The terrain is mountainous and inaccessible…. Until recent years many Mani villages could be reached only by sea.”

the explanation given for these tower houses is that they were built to protect the maniots from the ottomans, but look what else characterized maniot society — vendettas (see also here)!:

“Another important aspect of Maniot culture were the vendettas which frequently plagued Mani. Usually, the decision to start a vendetta was made at a family gathering. The main aim of a vendetta was usually to wipe out the other family. The families involved locked themselves in their towers and whenever they got the chance murdered members of the opposing family. The other families in the village normally locked themselves in their towers in order not to get in the way of the fighting.

“Some vendettas went on for months, sometimes years. In vendettas, the families could have a truce or treva, if one family needed to attend a religious ceremony or when it was time to harvest the crops. As soon as the treva ended, the killing could resume. Vendettas usually ended when one family was exterminated or when the defeated family left the town. Sometimes families came to terms, and vendettas stopped when the Turks invaded…. Vendettas continued after the liberation of Greece even though the Regency tried to demolish the towers. The Maniot vendetta is considered the most vicious and ruthless. One of the last vendettas on record required the Greek Army with heavy artillery support to force it to a stop.”


the maniots eagerly joined the fight for greece’s independence, but then they didn’t want to be governed from athens — or anywhere else. they wanted rid of the ottomans and didn’t want anyone to govern them but themselves. here’s what happened (from here and here):

“The last bey of Mani, Petros Mavromichalis, was among the leaders of the Greek War of Independence. He proclaimed the revolution at Areopoli on March 17, 1821. The Maniots contributed greatly to the struggle, but once Greek independence was won, they wanted to retain local autonomy. During the reign of Ioannis Kapodistrias, they violently resisted outside interference to the point of killing Kapodistrias….

“After the revolution, Petrobey [petros] became a member of the first Greek Senate, under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias. The two men soon clashed as a result of Kapodistrias’ insistence on establishing a centralized regional administration based on political appointees, replacing the traditional system of family loyalties. Petros’ brother Tzanis led a revolt against the appointed governor of Lakonia; the two brothers were invited to meet Kapodistrias and negotiate a solution but when they showed up, they were arrested. From his prison cell, Petros tried to negotiate a settlement with Kapodistrias; the latter refused. The crisis was then settled by more traditional means: Petros’ brother Konstantinos and his son Georgios assassinated Kapodistrias on October 9, 1831.”

mountain people just want to be left alone.

the maniots, btw, are rumored to be the descendants of the spartans. if true — cool!

and, speaking of tower houses and inbreeding and clannishness and tribalism and all that: shibam!

previously: more on albanians and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people and ελλάδα and more on greece

(note: comments do not require an email. woman from mani. cover your neck!)

ron unz has a new post up: Unz on Race/IQ: The Rural/Urban Divide. he says:

“[O]ne very intriguing pattern is that according to Lynn’s IQ data certain European populations such as the South Italians, Irish, Greeks, and South Slavs tended to have IQs much lower than other European populations such as the British and the Dutch. However, according to the Wordsum-IQ data, this pattern is exactly reversed in the United States, with the descendents of immigrants from Southern Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia having much higher IQs than Americans of British or Dutch ancestry.”

as i (and others) have already pointed out to ron, he has no way of knowing from the gss data if italian- or irish- or greek- or slavic-americans are comparable to the italians and irish and greeks and slavs back in europe. for one thing, there is the problem with the irish of which irish we’re talking about, both in the u.s. and in the republic of ireland. native irish? scots-irish? anglo-irish? for another thing, how italian or slavic is someone who self-identifies themself as italian or slavic on the gss? fully? one-half? one-quarter? (is obama black or white?) if you don’t have your populations sorted out from the start, any comparisons will be a waste of time.

also, where are the wordsum data for all these groups? i mean, i know they’re in the gss, but how about a chart or a link or at least some search terms for the searches conducted. most sciencey bloggers nowadays present their data, not just write lengthy articles with barely any references. ron is making some strong, and possibly very interesting, claims here. someone out there might like to try to replicate his findings.

and how about looking at other data in additon to the gss (if possible)? chuck (the occidentalist) has shown that the gss wordsum scores for mexican-americans aren’t in accord with other iq measurements for that population, so maybe it would be a good idea to look at some additional data, too. just to be on the safe side. (note that i’m not discounting the gss wordsum data completely. i understand that it’s a fairly good proxy for iq scores.)

ron also again rejects the idea that european immigrants to the u.s. (and elsewhere) might have “self-sorted” themselves — i.e. higher iq folks emigrating leaving lower iq folks behind, thus resulting in low average iqs back in europe and higher iqs for these populations in their new homes. because he believes this, ron concludes that nineteenth century european immigrants to the u.s., and europeans back in europe, have experienced extraordinary increases in their iqs in the last couple of generations:

“Finally, let us consider the European evidence. Today, the international PISA academic tests are widely regarded as one of the best means of estimating national IQs, and if we consider the 2009 PISA scores, we find that the scores were extremely similar for Ireland, Poland, Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and several other countries. Since Lynn standardizes the British IQ to 100, that indicates that Ireland and Poland today have IQs around 100, which seems quite plausible.

“However, a huge sample placed Ireland’s IQ at 87 in 1972, and Lynn himself has stated that his own Ireland research in the late 1960s convinced him that the Irish were a low IQ population, whose only hope for the future lay in a strong eugenics program. So the evidence indicates that the Irish IQ was around 87 at that point, and has risen nearly a full standard deviation in the four decades which followed. Lynn also provides two additional very large samples, which placed the Irish IQ at around 92 in the early 1990s, so at the half-way mark, the Irish IQ had risen by half the difference between the endpoints, which seems remarkably consistent.

“Obviously, for the Irish to raise their Flynn-adjusted IQ by nearly a full standard devision in just over one generation is a total absurdity from a genetic perspective; thus, the huge rise must be due to some class of ‘environmental’ factors. When we consider that Ireland had been one of most rural European countries and rapidly urbanized during exactly that period, the impact of urbanization seems a plausible possibility.”

to repeat, i don’t think ron has convincingly shown what the iqs of italian- and irish-, etc., americans are, so it remains difficult to compare the old and new world iqs for each of these populations. and several commenters (like in this discussion thread) have suggested that the one figure of 87 for the irish in 1972 is just one figure, so perhaps it’s not all that reliable. (the data on which that 87 score is based upon are from a master’s thesis, btw. i found the reference here – opens pdf.)

but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that that figure was correct. ron doesn’t think that this low score could’ve been the result of selective migration because he thinks the immigrants would’ve been from the lowest classes of european society (i.e. presumably those with the lowest iqs):

“Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible…. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation — rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable….”

this, however, is an erroneous assumption. from thomas sowell’s Ethnic America: A History (pgs. 22-23):

“Although the cost of a trip to the United States in the hold of a cargo vessel was less than ten pounds sterling (less than fifty dollars at contemporary exchange rates), the poorest of the Irish could not afford even that, so that immigration was very low from the poorest fourth of the Irish population. Those a notch above them on the economic scale emigrated in large numbers, often by selling their belongings, using up savings, and spending money sent by relatives already in America. From one-third to three-quarters of the Irish immigrations to America in the 1830s and 1840s was financed by money sent from North America.”

so, as i said in my previous post, it wasn’t “the poorer and most miserable”, or even “the smartest small slice of their generation” that emigrated from ireland to the u.s. (or britain or australia), but folks in the middle — individuals above “the poorest fourth of the Irish population”. in other words, people of average-ish iqs.

and they left in the millions. for 140-150+ years.

if that wasn’t a dysgenic brain drain, i don’t know what was.

and all that emigration (and famine-related deaths) is reflected in this population graph for the republic of ireland:

the population of the republic of ireland seems to have bottomed out just around the time of lynn’s 87 iq score for the irish in the 1970s. the irish economy improved in fits and starts in the decades after that, and really took off in the heydays of the celtic tiger nineties and noughties (how’d that work out for them anyway?). then there wasn’t any need for anyone with half a brain to leave the country anymore — and there was an additon of something like 1.4 million individuals in two-and-a-half generations (ca. a 35% increase in the population) — and the iq scores started to improve (as ron points out the average iq was measured to be 93 in the early 1990s) — possibly (i’d say likely) as the national average regressed to its natural mean (whatever that might be, presumably higher than 87). (plus the usual flynn effect and possibly effects of better nutrition and other stuff like that.)

that scenario is a strong possibilty anyway, which ron just dismisses based on very shaky evidence.

speaking of dysgenic brain drains, how about southern italy? according to wikipedia (so it must be true!), 80% of immigrants from italy to the u.s. came from southern italy. and look at the iq (pisa) scores there today.

(btw, i don’t think this mass emigration scenario is the whole story re. the low iq scores for the peripheral european countries, but it certainly shouldn’t be discounted as easily as ron has done.)

ron theorizes that these differences in average iqs have something to do with urban vs. rural living, which is an interesting idea, but he hasn’t made a convincing argument i think. he talks, for instance, about differences in iqs between urban and rural white americans:

“Next, consider the aggregate IQs of rural and urban/suburban whites. During the 1970s according to Wordsum-IQ data, the intelligence gap between whites raised on farms and those who grew up in an urban/suburban background was enormous, almost exactly equal to the white/black gap.”

well, that’s interesting, but again i ask — where are the data? (show me the data! (~_^) )

finally, ron says:

“Unfortunately, this discussion has been almost entirely restricted to narrow racialist circles, with virtually all non-racialist journalists or pundits maintaining a studious silence on the matter and giving the controversy a very wide berth, although I would argue that issues of race and intelligence have considerable importance in American society.”

i agree! the situation is unfortunate. very unfortunate. i wish everybody would think and talk about human biodiversity all the time! (ok, maybe not all of the time.) i wish it were a regular topic on oprah! (does she even have a show anymore?) i can’t see how we’re gonna solve even half the world’s problems if we don’t — but then i’m beginning to suspect that most people aren’t really interested in that (prolly me, neither). *sigh*

thanks to ron for bringing up the subject at all! (^_^) (although i think there are big holes in his argument. (~_^) )

previously: ron unz and iq and mexican-american iq and a message for ron unz

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

i hate taking time out from my usual routine of thinking/reading/writing about all-things-altruistic, especially when it means thinking/reading/writing about iq, ’cause 1) i’m far, far from being any sort of expert on iq, and 2) i’m not really interested in the topic (although i know, i know — iq is interested in me!) — but ron unz’s latest on iq (which i’m sure you’ve all heard about if you haven’t actually read) has forced me, ever so unwillingly, out of my comfort zone. plenty of folks smarter than me have already pointed out some of the ways that unz has got his thesis wrong — the thesis being that mexicans will catch up iq-wise to european-americans any day now just like previous immigrant groups to the u.s. did — but i’m going to add a couple of more to the innerwebs anyway.

here they are in no particular order:

– who are these irish-americans unz is talking about?

in his original article, unz makes a big deal out of the low-iq scores of irish people back in the 1970s and earlier versus their higher scores today. for example, unz says:

“The evidence today is that the tested IQ of the typical Irish-American — to the extent it can be distinguished — is somewhat above the national white American average of around 100 and also above that of most German-Americans, who arrived around the same time.”

a lot of “self-identified” irish-americans that i have met are, in fact, scots-irish folks (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). scots-irish people are a whole other kettle of fish than the native irish, and they’re not really found in the republic of ireland where, as i’ll talk about below, the modern pisa scores for “the irish” come from. rather, the scots-irish are found in ulster which is part of the u.k. so you’d have to weed out those irish-americans who are scots-irish and not native irish in order to compare irish-american iq scores with irish iq scores.

you’d also have to weed out anglo-irish scores from both irish-americans and the irish back in ireland ’cause they, too, are a whole other kettle of fish, and an awful lot of them have been quite clever so they might inflate either the irish-american or the irish iq scores if there were too many of them included in one of those groups.

also, like peter frost said:

“As for Irish American IQ, just what is an ‘Irish American’? Is Mariah Carey Irish? (She’s one quarter Irish, like me). It all comes down to self-identification and interest in Irish culture, music, etc. That factor alone would bias your sample towards the better educated.”


– who emigrated from europe?

unz dismisses the idea that there might’ve been any “self-sorting” amongst the immigrant groups that he talked about — southern italians, greeks or irish:

“Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible. It has long been established on both theoretical and empirical grounds that IQ scores generally follow a mean-reversion pattern, in which the children of outlying individuals tend to regress toward the typical levels of their larger population or ethnic group. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation — rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable — roughly half their relative IQ advantage would have dissipated after a single generation. Thus, the apparent one standard deviation gap between American Irish and Ireland Irish a few decades ago would have required an initial gap of something closer to two standard deviations at the time the immigration occurred, a difference so large as to be totally implausible.”

so unz doesn’t think that, perhaps, smarter individuals may have emigrated from europe leaving dullards behind, something which could account, for example, for the very low irish iq score of 87 from the 1970s. he thinks it more likely that it was “often the poorer and most miserable” — and presumably, therefore, those with the lowest iqs — that emigrated.

but that wasn’t the case. at least not according to thomas sowell, who unz actually referenced in his article (pgs. 22-23):

“Although the cost of a trip to the United States in the hold of a cargo vessel was less than ten pounds sterling (less than fifty dollars at contemporary exchange rates), the poorest of the Irish could not afford even that, so that immigration was very low from the poorest fourth of the Irish population. Those a notch above them on the economic scale emigrated in large numbers, often by selling their belongings, using up savings, and spending money sent by relatives already in America. From one-third to three-quarters of the Irish immigrations to America in the 1830s and 1840s was financed by money sent from North America.”

so it was not those with the least resources who immigrated to the u.s. — nor was it the “smartest small slice of their generation” either. the wealthy and, therefore, likely smartest people would probably have had little reason to leave their native countries. no. nineteenth century european immigrants to the united states were people who could afford passage to the new world — people with some resources — but also people with a reason to leave. in other words, most likely people with average-ish iqs. not on the top, but not on the bottom either.

emigration from ireland to britain, the u.s. and australia went on for 150 years (and counting!). and the population in ireland hit rock bottom in the 1960s and 1970s — just when lynn’s average iq of 87 for the irish was obtained (as part of a master’s thesis, btw):

iq scores started going up in ireland from the 1970s onwards not (just) because living standards improved (although better nutrition has probably helped), but because smarter irish folks chose to remain in the country (especially since the nation joined the e.u. which created more economic/job opportunities).

the irish iq score of 87 from the 1970s most likely reflects the fact that a vast majority of the average-to-bright irish individuals had left the country between roughly 1840 and 1960. the increase since the 1970s probably does have to do with some sort of regression to the mean (whatever it is). but it’s not obvious that this increase should give anyone hope that the same thing will happen in the mexican population since, afaik, they haven’t experienced the same sort of brain drain that ireland did.

– who’s taking these pisa tests?

unz said:

“Furthermore, the most recent 2009 PISA international student academic tests sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provide us with results that raise further doubts about the correctness of the Lynn/Vanhanen IQ scores from a wide range of European countries…. During the early 1970s, a huge national sample had placed the Ireland IQ at 87, the lowest in all of Europe, but today Ireland’s PISA scores are about average for the continent and roughly the same as those for France and Britain, while Irish per capita incomes have pulled a little ahead.”

i wondered over @evoandproud about which irish kids in ireland have been taking the pisa tests. i was concerned that perhaps the pisa tests were mostly conducted in and around dublin which would bias the sample (i.e. include more anglo-irish and smarter folks who had moved to the city), but i’ve read (quickly) through the 2009 pisa report for ireland [opens pdf] and the samples seem to have been drawn from around the country, so … never mind!

however … there does seem to have been a slight bias in the selection of participating schools which may have resulted in an inflation (perhaps only slight, i dunno) of the 2009 irish pisa scores.

there are, apparently, different sorts of high-schools in ireland: voluntary secondary schools, vocational schools, and comprehensive or community schools. the breakdown of what percentage of students attends each type of school looks like this:

voluntary secondary schools = 57%
vocational schools = 28%
comprehensive/community schools = 15%

but the breakdown of schools included in the 2009 pisa tests looks like this (pg. 129 – opens pdf):

voluntary secondary schools = 61.5%
vocational schools = 23.1%
comprehensive/community schools = 15.4%

so, 28% of high-school age kids in ireland attend vocational schools — you know, where you can learn a trade — but the kids at these schools only made up 23% of the pisa test takers. the missing 5% seems to be over in the voluntary secondary schools which are privately owned.

somehow i imagine that more well-to-do parents in ireland prolly try to get their kids into such private schools rather than vocational schools. i smell a bit of a bias in the irish pisa scores. maybe they wouldn’t be quite as high as they are without this bias. dunno for sure. just a thought.

furthermore — re. who’s taking these pisa tests? — unz also said:

“During the early 1970s, a huge national sample had placed the Ireland IQ at 87, the lowest in all of Europe, but today Ireland’s PISA scores are about average for the continent and roughly the same as those for France and Britain, while Irish per capita incomes have pulled a little ahead.”

indeed, the overall 2009 pisa scores for france, britain and ireland were (respectively): 496, 494, 496. so, yeah, the irish are just as smart nowadays as the french and the british, right? not necessarily.

today’s “french” population includes ca. 19% (11.8M) foreign born immigrants or their direct descendants, about one-third (4M) of whom are from north africa. and the u.k. had 7.86% minorities as of the 2001 census (and it’s well known that those rates have gone up since then). ireland just had ca. half that as of 2011. in other words, we’re just not comparing apples with apples here. it’s very possible that the average pisa/iq scores of ethnic french or british kids are higher than their current national scores and, therefore, higher than the pisa score for ireland.

you don’t think the immigrants in these countries could bring down the pisa scores? think again. the irish have actually experienced this even with the comparatively small number of immigrants they have (pg. 188 – opens pdf):

“There have been some marked demographic changes in the school-going population in Ireland since 2000. One such change was the increase in both the percentage of students with immigrant status and the percentage who spoke a language other than English or Irish at home (Table 9.2; see also Tables 6.19 and 6.20). Furthermore, the relationship between immigrant status, language spoken at home and achievement changed since 2000. In 2000, immigrant and ‘other language’ students had higher mean scores than native students, while in 2009, immigrant students and ‘other language’ students did significantly less well than native students. This is likely to be due to the differing composition of these two groups in 2000 and 2009 (e.g., in 2000 ‘other language’ students had a higher socioeconomic status than the students who spoke English or Irish whereas in 2009 the socioeconomic status of the two groups did not differ) (Cosgrove, et al., 2010).”

so, the more immigrants ireland got, the lower their pisa scores became. terrific.

– what about new mexicans?

plenty of other people have pointed this out in comments elsewhere, but what about the success rates — or lack of — of the mexicans that have been in new mexico for several generations now? steve sailer has repeatedly written about this (see here and here for example), and the awesome epigone found that new mexico ranks 49th as far as average state iqs go (just in front of mississippi and washington d.c.). why haven’t the mexicans in new mexico caught up with european-americans given they’ve been here for several generations now?

– what about african americans?

african americans apparently haven’t caught up with european-americans iq-wise either even after a couple hundred years. why not?

and given those last two points, why would ron unz conclude that the average iq of mexicans in america will increase to match those of european-americans? even if that did happen with the southern italians, greeks and irish, which is by no means certain, we already have examples of that not happening with mexicans (and african americans) so … well, i dunno … i don’t know what he’s thinking.

i’m not a “hard hereditarian.” environment matters. nutrition matters. neglecting kids when their brains are developing seems to matter. the flynn effect is a real phenomenon. h*ll, evolution happens! — so a population’s average intelligence is hardly written in stone for eveh. but different populations are different because we’ve had different evolutionary histories. differences that prolly won’t be overcome overnight — or even in a generation or two, no matter how much ron unz (or i) would wish that to be possible. and it seems very cavalier to me to risk an entire society on the basis of a wish.

and don’t forget: iq isn’t the only thing to consider when thinking about the immigration of masses of people.

tomorrow … back to the regularly scheduled programming.

footnote: pardon me for indulging for a sec in one of those annoying innate behaviors that women (apparently) possess: shaming.

in this debate over his article, ron unz has resorted on more than one occasion to personal attacks on commenters. example:

“All in all, it appears that an enthusiastic interest in engaging in IQ debates is no strong sign of actually possessing much of the attribute under discussion.”

unnecessary and uncalled for. the points of the discussion — the evidence — will stand or fall on merit. there is no need for argumentum ad hominem.

that is all.

(note: comments do not require an email. italian immigrants.)


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