linkfest – 05/19/13

J.P. Rushton’s theory of ethnic nepotism [pdf] – “Ethnic nepotism due to similarity is a weak social force compared to social identity. However its pervasiveness makes it a potential driver of evolutionary and social change, a potential borne out by sociological studies of the impact of ethnic diversity on social cohesion and public altruism. Genomics confirms the theory for interactions within populations with sufficient genetic diversity, such as ethnically mixed societies. GST [genetic similarity theory] applied to ethnicity is promising for further research in evolutionary social science because it unifies evolutionary and behavioral mechanisms in a single theory.” – from salter and harpending. h/t hbd bibliography!

Tibet – looks like selection for adaptations to high-altitude living in tibetans started waaaay back. – from greg cochran. see also: The genome sequence of Tibetan antelope sheds new light on high-altitude adaptation.

The Connection Between Tipping and Corruption (and Tribalism)“[C]ountries in which tipping is common are more corrupt than others, according to the Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI).” – from staffan – h/t jayman!

Corruption influences migration of skilled workers“Countries that have higher levels of corruption struggle to attract and retain skilled workers….”

A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries“Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant…. India, Jordan and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant…. The Middle East not so tolerant…. Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries…. Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier.” – h/t nelson!

The Call of the Clan“Why ancient kinship and tribal affiliation still matter in a world of global geopolitics.”mark weiner in foreign policy.

The Ancestral Logic of Politics: Upper-Body Strength Regulates Men’s Assertion of Self-Interest Over Economic Redistribution“In studies conducted in Argentina, Denmark, and the United States, men with greater upper-body strength more strongly endorsed the self-beneficial position: Among men of lower socioeconomic status (SES), strength predicted increased support for redistribution; among men of higher SES, strength predicted increased opposition to redistribution.”

High-Testosterone Competitors More Likely to Choose Red“[M]ales who chose red as their color in a competitive task had higher testosterone levels than other males who chose blue.”

Complex Societies before Agriculture: Göbekli Tepe – from peter turchin.

Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff – hmmmm.

New discovery of ancient diet shatters conventional ideas of how agriculture emerged“[P]eople living in Xincun [southern subtropical china] 5,000 years ago may have practised agriculture –before the arrival of domesticated rice in the region.”

“More Genomes From Denisova Cave Show Mixing of Early Human Groups” – @race/history/evolution notes.

Geoffrey Miller: ‘Why the seduction crowd picked up on my work’ – ’cause it works? (~_^)

The evolution of lying.

‘Overspending Has Become a Modern Form of Mating Deception’“Living beyond one’s means can make dating easier, but it leads to problems as a relationship gets more serious.” – h/t geoffrey miller.

“Nice guys finish last.” Really? What does the research say? – from barking up the wrong tree.

Company creates DNA test that reveals whether you carry the redhead gene – (^_^)

bonus: In Defense of Jason Richwine“His resignation is emblematic of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse.” – charles murray is sick of it. me, too!

bonus bonus: Malaria Infected Mosquitoes Express Enhanced Attraction to Human Odor – more miiiind control!

bonus bonus bonus: Water bubbling deep in Canadian mine may be oldest on Earth“A reservoir deep underground in Canada holds water that may be 1 billion years old, possibly the oldest water on Earth, researchers say.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Unusual Offshore Octopods: The See-Through “Glass” Octopus [Video]

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

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linkfest – 04/15/13

Born to run: genetic test can reveal those best able to run marathons“[T]o run a marathon in a good time requires the right combination of genes and that nearly a fifth of the population lack this special mix. For runners with the right genes, it means their bodies can quickly adapt to carry large amounts of oxygen to their muscles, allowing them to run faster and for longer. Those who lack these genes, however, will never improve, no matter how much they train, and their performance may even get worse the harder they push themselves.”

Scientists Breed Exercise-Crazy Rats“While a wide biological gap exists between humans and rats, the researchers do propose that some people could be genetically predisposed against exercising.”

Genetic discovery found to influence obesity in people of African ancestry

New Studies Shake Up Human Family Tree“[I]n a spate of new studies, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, of the University of the Witwatersrand, and a team of collaborators have put forward a controversial claim that another hominin — *Australopithecus sediba* — might be even closer to the origin of our lineage [than *australopithecus afarensis,* the most famous example being “lucy”]….” — see also: Special Collection – Australopithecus sediba @science.

Fish Fossil Shows Why Humans Have Two Arms, Legs

Castaways“We may have yet another story of long-distance prehistoric contact. A new paper in PLOS genetics suggests that people from the Jomon culture in Japan may have reached northwestern South America.” – from greg cochran. also from south america: Southern Native American Y-DNA: no correlation with language – @for what they were…we are.

Fluctuation of Fertility with Number in a Real Insect Population and a Virtual Population“Real fruit fly fertility increases with average consanguinity thus decreasing with population size in a pattern that is modelled successfully with a virtual population. This invites the deliberate manipulation of wild insect populations for the control of vectors of human disease.” – from our very own linton herbert! yay! (^_^)

Do drugs for bipolar disorder ‘normalize’ brain gene function? U-M study suggests so“Brain tissue study shows gene expression in patients treated with antipsychotics is similar to expression in non-bipolar brains.”

Serenity“If the realities of human nature render your hope on how to make a better world impossible, merely wishing it were not so is not going to help your cause. But instead, better results can be attained to by working *with* what we learn about human nature.” – from jayman. hear, hear!

HVGIQ: Dominican Republic – from jason malloy.

Napoleon Chagnon’s “Noble Savages” – The Life of an Anthropological Heretic“Napoleon Chagnon’s ‘Noble Savages’ is a must read.” – from helian unbound.

Frequent texters more shallow, racist, study finds – w.e.i.r.d. students. (psychology students, no less! (~_^) ) also: Texting, social networking and other media use linked to poor academic performance.

Study: we assume people stare at us“People often think that other people are staring at them even when they aren’t, vision scientists have found. In a new article in Current Biology, researchers at The Vision Centre reveal that, when in doubt, the human brain is more likely to tell its owner that they’re under the gaze of another person.”

Political organization in a hunter-gatherer tribe – @mangan’s.

First Encounters of the Close Kind: John Derbyshire’s Address To The 2013 American Renaissance Conference – from john derbyshire.

Jared Taylor Remembers Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen

Our Inconsistent Ethical Instincts – read also: The Pro-Death Movement from jim goad – “[T]here’s an almost universal human definition of good and evil: If it enhances my survival, it’s good. If it harms it, it’s evil.” – yup.

Individual Donation Amounts Drop When Givers Are in Groups, Says MU Researcher“Numerous studies have provided evidence that people are less likely to help when in groups, a phenomenon known as the ‘bystander effect.'” – see also this old post from steve sailer: Chinese kindness.

The Fraud Of America’s “Rape Culture” – from anatoly. see also his earlier post Much Ado About Rape: Quantifying A Big Taboo“[I]t is ironic that the public panic over rape and sexual assault has risen to fever pitch at precisely the moment in history when the real lifetime risk of becoming a victim of rape has never been lower.”

Monkey chatter smacks of human speech, researcher says

How Parents Around the World Describe Their Children, in Charts“A fascinating new study reveals that Americans are more likely to call their children ‘intelligent,’ while European parents focus on happiness and balance.”

DNA Shows It: Birds Are Promiscuous“Here’s the warm and fuzzy part of this column: most birds really do mate for life. But here’s the cold side: They mess around. And here’s the switch: Blame the ladies.”

How to blackmail your parents for food“Fledglings extort food by putting themselves in danger.”

When Animals Mourn: Seeing That Grief Is Not Uniquely Human – cr*p. i hate sad animal stories. *sniff*

Hawking: Humans Will Not Survive Another 1,000 Years ‘Without Escaping’ Earthmanifest destiny!

In Defence of Pseudonyms in Science: Defending the Right to Write

bonus: read this!>> Sam Parnia – the man who could bring you back from the dead“This British doctor specialises in resurrection and insists outdated resuscitation techniques are squandering lives that could be saved.”

bonus bonus: James Lovelock: A man for all seasons – lovelock thinks there are too many people on the planet.

bonus bonus bonus: and this week’s “bras in the news” stories >> Bras Make Breasts “Saggier”, 15-year French [of course! – h.chick] Study Reveals and How your under-wired bra could kill you… if you’re a keen walker“Metal in under-wired bras can cause compasses to be reversed because of the magnetic effect”. (sorry, no naked boobies at either of those pages.)

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

“the selfish gene”

i recently persuaded someone of my acquaintance to read dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene,” and as i’m guessing — or, rather, hoping — that they’ll prolly want to discuss it, i’ve started re-reading it — refresh the ol’ memory (i read it several years ago now).

i also decided that i may as well babble about it here, too, since it’s right on topic! (^_^) i’m sure most or many of you have already read it, but if you haven’t, i suggest you run out (or log on to amazon) and buy it asap! (or check it out of the library!) it’s a marvelous book, even tho it has its faults (mostly because dawkins has his faults. heh — don’t we all?).

so, chapter one (i’ve got the 1989 edition, reissued in 1999): “Why are people?” i think the three most interesting points he introduces in this chapter are the individual vs. group selection debate, inclusive fitness being the reason for many altruistic behaviors, and how much genes “control” our altruistic (or not) behaviors.

the individual vs. group selection debate? i dunno — i’m about as familiar with it as, i think, a non-specialist layperson can be, but i’m really in no position to come to a conclusion about who’s right or who’s wrong here. i know that most evolutionary biologists have concluded that natural selection operates only on individuals (or, really, on genes) and not groups, but that there is a minority group (messrs. wilson, et. al.) who object.

i’m staying agnostic on the issue for now because i’m neurotic i just don’t have the knowledge base to conclude one way or another. individual selection sure makes logical sense to me, like i say, as a layperson. and i haven’t given much thought to group selection, really. but i will note that both william hamilton and george price seemed persuaded by it — or, at least, didn’t rule it out. from hamilton’s “Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Vol. 1” (this is as quoted by david sloan wilson, btw):

“A manuscript did eventually come from him [price] but what I [hamilton] found set out was not any sort of new derivation or correction of my ‘kin selection’ but rather a strange new formalism that was applicable to every kind of natural selection…. His voice was squeaky and condescending, rather guarded on the phone…. He spoke of his formula as ‘surprising for me too — quite a miracle’ … ‘Have you seen how my formula works for group selection?’ I told him, of course, no, and may have added something like: ‘So you actually believe in that do you?’ Up to this contact with Price, and indeed for some time after, I had regarded group selection as so ill-defined, so woolly in the uses made by its proponents, and so generally powerless against selection at the individual and genic levels, that the idea might as well be omitted from the toolkit of a working evolutionist….

“I am pleased to say that, amidst all else that I ought to have done and did not do, some months before he died I was on the phone telling him enthusiastically that through a ‘group-level’ extension of his formula I now had a far better understanding of group selection acting at one level or at many than I had ever had before.”

well, if it was good enough for william hamilton….
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now — inclusive fitness and how that leads to altruistic or selfish behaviors. this from dawkins relates to individuals vs. groups again [pg. 8]:

“The individual-selectionist would admit that groups do indeed die out, and that whether or not a group goes extinct may be influenced by the behavior of the individuals in that groups. He might even admit that if only the individuals in a group had the gift of foresight they could see that in the long run their own best interests lay in restraining their selfish greed, to prevent the destruction of the whole group…. But group extinction is a slow process compared with the rapid cut and thrust of individual competition. Even while the group is going slowly and inexorably downhill, selfish individuals prosper in the short term at the expense of altruists…. [E]volution is blind to the future.”

well, this is related to what i was complaining about the other day — that people have no foresight! at least not when it comes to thinking about the fate of humanity a hundred or hundreds of years into the future. but i understand — how on earth would that ever be selected for when you’ve got individuals vs. individuals in everyday life?

*sigh*
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my big complaint about dawkins is that his opinion on the nature vs. nurture debate leans too far towards the nuture side for my tastes. thus his crusade against religion (good luck with that!) — and his belief that we might be able to fight our altruism/non-altruism genes. well, yeah, maybe a bit — but dawkins really thinks such a thing would be possible [pg. 3]:

“As a corollary to these remarks about teaching, it is a fallacy — incidentally a very common one — to suppose that genetically inherited traits are by definition fixed and unmodifiable. Our genes may instruct us to be selfish, but we are not necessarily compelled to obey them all our lives. It may just be more difficult to learn altruism than it would be if we were genetically programmed to be altruistic.”

meh.

rushton, et. al., found that the heritability of altruistic behavior was something like 50% (in modern britons in the 1980s). seems like altruistic behaviors, then, like many of our personality traits and behaviors, are pretty strongly heritable. no one’s gonna change that fact that much by edumacation or culture or anything like that. if anything, the more environmental circumstances for individuals were to be equalized (either make society wonderful and easy for everybody, or make it an absolute dog-fight for everybody) the more the genetics would come into play — ironic but true.

also, whether or not individuals behave altruistically shifts (on average) depending upon with whom they are interacting — that’s the whole point of inclusive fitness! interact with a family member and an individual is likely to be pretty altruistic — interact with a stranger and eh … not so much altruism.

therefore, make a society multi-cultural and you just have to expect altruism to drop. especially in bad economic times. people can afford to be pretty altruistic when times are good. when times are bad — look out. you’re just never going to get everyone to be altruistic under such circumstances. not without some futuristic genetic engineering or something! teaching people to be altruistic ain’t gonna cut it. (of course, there’s reciprocal altruism, too, but since that’s based even more directly on “what’s in it for me?” sort-of thinking, i would think that’ll be the first to go in dire economic times.)
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btw, one of the best parts of “The Selfish Gene” is the cover! at least on the edition that i have. look! LOWERCASE letters only in the title! (~_^)

update 10/04: see also “the replicators”

(note: comments do not require an email. altruism — workin’ for this guy!)

genetic similarity theory in play on MyFace

well, whaddya know!:

“Study: Race plays a minor role in forging Facebook friendships”

“Social pressure and ethnic, social and geographic origins appear far more influential

“… True to past research, the sociologists initially saw same-race friendships develop rapidly: White students befriended each other one-and-a-half times more frequently than would be expected by chance, Latino students befriended each other four-and-a-half times more frequently, and African American students befriended each other eight times more frequently. But when the researchers dug deeper, race appeared to be less important than a number of other factors in forging friendships.

“‘Much of what at first appeared to be same-race preference, for instance, ultimately proved to be preference for students of the same ethnic background,’ Lewis says. ‘Once we started controlling for the attraction of shared ethnic backgrounds or countries of origin, the magnitude of racial preference was cut almost in half….'”

whew! thank god people aren’t pickin’ their MyFace friends ’cause of waaaaycism! what a welief! *wipes brow* now i can sleep better at night!

point is, tho, that the peeps ARE picking and choosing their friends to a large degree based on ETHNICITY – in other words, they’re picking friends that are A LOT like themselves genetically speaking.

genetic similarity theory (see here, here and here) in play on MyFace, yessiree. (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

interesting that latinos and african americans befriendster fellow ethnics at greater rates than white(r) people.

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