best laid plans 2015

at the beginning of last year, i outlined my best laid plans for 2014 — what topics i hoped to post about during the year — and, looking back on that post, i kinda-sorta stuck to that plan, but i did drop the ball in some instances (assimilation, for example — did i even post on that in 2014? don’t think so. did i ever mention that i come from a population that’s not very strong in future-time orientation? (~_^) ).

so, lemme try again this year. topics i plan on blogging about in 2015, not necessarily in this order (and with no guarantees!):

assimilation: “you keep using that word….” (hint: i don’t think assimilation is as easy as most people assume it is. example: the four anglo “folkways” of north america, a la albion’s seed, which STILL haven’t assimilated to one another after 300 to 400 years. and they all originated from the same country/broad cultural background!)

– speaking of assimilation, i’d also like to look at how populations and subpopulations self-sort (egs. the Albion’s Seed populations mentioned above, the American Nations pops discussed at length by jayman on his blog, The Big Sort, etc.) and the significance of that. the migration of populations/subpopulations basically.

manorialism: going to continue (and hopefully complete!) my planned series on the history of manorialism in europe and its different regional types.

– i will also dig in further into the origins of The Outbreeding Project in christian europe. (hint: i think it wuz the romans.)

violence: want to look more into the decline in homicides/impulsive violence in western european populations. last year i wrote a sneak preview of where i think my readings on this are leading, at least for england. we shall see how it pans out.

shame vs. guilt cultures: more on this, too.

the tswana: i’m VERY keen on taking a close look at the tswana of southern africa, because they are the one group outside of the arabized world which has a history of father’s brother’s daughter marriage (see here), but botswana is one of the most successful and functional nations in subsaharan africa. ‘sup with that?!

the french: i have started reading The Discovery of France (thanks to everyone who recommended it!), so i want to discuss the french a bit.

italians: my christmas present to myself was a copy of Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy by robert putnam et al., so i want to discuss the italians a bit, too.

democracy: really want to look at the histories/evolution of and differences between liberal and other forms of democracy (like consensus democracy). this is important, i think.

history of mating patterns in various populations: i’ll probably just continue trawling around for more info/data on the historical mating patterns of various populations. it’s what i do.

hbd between individuals (as opposed to between groups): ’cause i think we need to talk about that.

– prolly other stuff, too.

note that i do take reader requests! (especially if i find the topic interesting.) (^_^)

i will also have to find someone who can clone me so that i have the time to do all this blogging! (~_^)

also, my new year’s resolution is to no longer enter into “discussions” with people who feel that the existence of human biodiversity or having an interest in it is somehow wrong or waaaaycist or whatever. that is just a waste of my time. from now on, those people will simply be directed to my what is human biodiversity (hbd)? series.

that is all! (^_^)

previously: best laid plans 2014

(note: comments do not require an email. on planning.)


best laid plans 2014

sorry for the slow posting lately. yes, i’m still slacking off. (~_^) regularly scheduled programming should resume this weekend. (^_^)

in the meantime, i thought i’d steal a blogging idea from peter frost, and give ya’ll an idea of what to expect from this blog during 2014. (tl;dr: more of the same, really. (~_^) )

– more on mating patterns: long-term inbreeding and outbreeding practices in human societies and why some peoples go for inbreeding and why others do not. also, the relationship(s) (if any) between mating patterns and family types (think emmanuel todd). also, more on the connections between mating patterns and clannishness (or not) and behavioral patterns like civicness, corruption, and nepotism.

– i hope to explore further how different long-term mating patterns and family types create/affect selection pressures for various innate social behaviors in populations.

individualism/collectivisim vs. familism/non-collectivism

universalism vs. particularism

democracy: including the contrasts between liberal vs. consensus democracy and the idea that there are democratic tendencies in a lot of societies — probably the majority of societies — but very few places where you’ll find liberal democracy and even fewer places where liberal democracy works.

– i want to look further at how renaissances and reformations happen, and why human accomplishment has most definitely not been uniform across the globe.

violence: mostly the differences (if any) between societies where feuding is common vs. those that engage in large-scale warfare (thanks, grey!).

– also, i’ll continue to ask (in a hopefully annoying, gadfly-like way): where does culture come from?

– i’ll also be asking: how does assimilation happen? and i’ll be asking/looking for evidence for if/how it does.

this past summer, i started posting about the history of mating patterns in europe, and i had a plan all worked out, but i got (seriously) side-tracked. typical! i’m going to pick up that posting plan!…right after i post about the history of mating patterns/family types/social structures in the nordic nations…right after i post about the mating patterns/family types/social structures of the franks.

got all that? good. (^_^)

p.s. – oh. i also take reader requests! (^_^)

previously: top ten list 2013

(note: comments do not require an email. keep calm and… (^_^) )

friends vs. family

*update below*

luke asks: “How important is friendship — between-non relatives that is — in highly inbred societies?”

good question.

there are two questions that relate to this on the world values survey (2005-2008 wave):

– For each of the following aspects, indicate how important it is in your life. Would you say it is: Family.
– For each of the following aspects, indicate how important it is in your life. Would you say it is: Friends.

i’m assuming that “friends” means non-relative friends to all of the respondents.

possible responses:

1 Very important
2 Rather important
3 Not very important
4 Not at all important

i looked at just those that responded “very important” to each question. i haven’t sorted any of the nations by ethnicity, so … you know … some nations (like the u.s.) are kinda mixed up ’cause they’re multi-ethnic.

here are the nations sorted by those who responded that family was the most important to them. all five father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marrying societies in this world values survey wave (in red) are above the global average, four of them towards the top. of my “core” nw europeans (in blue), the netherlands, germany, france, and norway are all below the global average. the anglo nations scored, for the most part, below the fbd nations, but above the global average. i’m surprised at how low china and hong kong score:

wvs - family very important

and here are the nations sorted by those who responded that friends were the most important to them. the “core” europeans are all above the global average, but so are jordan, iraq, and morocco. again china and hong kong score very low:

wvs - friends very important

finally, here’s the data sorted by the difference between the “family” responses and the “friends” responses (family responses minus friends responses). towards the top are the societies with the widest difference between how important they feel family is versus friends — so they, presumably, value family much more than friends. towards the bottom are the societies with the smallest difference between how important family and friends are. all of my “core” europeans are below the global average, most well below. great britain, the netherlands, norway, and sweden are in the lowest quarter of the table, showing how — comparatively speaking — there’s not a very great difference in how these populations view family and friends. three of the five fbd marriage societies are above the global average. hong kong scores surprisingly low — as does ethiopia! maybe i shouldn’t be so surprised at that:

wvs - family friends very important - difference

update 12/29: i took a look at the documentation of the values surveys for some of the countries for which i or someone else thought the results were kinda surprising (china, ethiopia, georgia, cyprus). here’s what i found:

– china: seems to be a pretty good quality survey. the researchers (from the Research Center for Contemporary China, Peking University) did conduct surveys in all regions of the country (i was concerned that maybe they only focused on beijing or something). two things that are a little concerning to me: 1) the sample size is 1,991. is that representative for a population of 1.3 billion? seems to me like it wouldn’t be, but what do i know about stats (not much)? 2) they interviewed more older people than younger people (aged 18-29). they figured that’s ’cause so many younger people are migrant workers and so just weren’t at “home” when these surveys were done. which is interesting given the results ’cause i would’ve thought that family would be more important to older generations in china than to younger ones, but perhaps not.

– ethiopia: there was a big problem with the ethiopia survey. i’ll just quote from the report [pg. 13]:

“Respondents (and interviewers) had IMMENSE difficulty interpreting scales with opposing statements on either side of a 10 point scale. They tended to give an answer of agreement or not for either statements separately rather than selecting a number to indicate their answer on the continuum between the two statements. A large amount of time had to be spent in each interview explaining (over and over again!) that a score below 5 indicated agreement in varying degrees of strength with the statement on the left, 5 and 6 meant a lack of agreement or neutral feeling towards both statements with a forced preference to one, and a score between 7 and 10 indicated varying degrees of agreement with the statement on the right. Attempts at utilising the ‘counting stones’ scale assistance technique AND attempts at adapted show card representations failed as respondents were too confused by the fact that there were two statements involved in each question.”

the friends and family answers were not on a ten point scale, but they were on a four point scale (very/rather/not very/not at all important). perhaps that confused the respondents as well?

also, the report says that the interviews were conducted in amharic. well, iwitbb** only 29% of the ethiopian population speaks amharic. hmmmmm.

**if wikipedia is to be believed.

– georgia: seems to be a pretty good quality survey, except — abkhazia and ossetia were NOT included (*sigh* — well, what can you do?) — neither were some regions that were occupied by the russians at the time (are they still?).

– cyprus: the respondents in cyprus comprised 550 greek cypriots and 500 turkish cypriots [pg. 24 of report]. however, iwitbb, ca. 80% of cypriots are greek while only ca. 18% of cypriots are turkish. having said that, i would’ve thought that the presence of so many turkish cypriots in the survey would’ve made the difference between the “family” vs. “friends” score higher. it would be interesting to know — which i don’t — the areas of turkey from which the ancestors of today’s turkish cypriots hailed.

(note: comments do not require an email. “I have no friends, only relations!”)

familism in the u.s. – whites by region

jayman says/asks:

“Theoretically, Red Staters are more able to depend on extended family. But here’s a question on the matter: is that true *today*? Are Whites in the South and West *today* more kin-centric? My (somewhat limited) experience in those parts of the country seems to indicate that they’re just about as individualistic as Blue Staters. I understand that kin-groups are still a major feature in Appalachia, but how about the rest of red America?”


ok. so i looked at the “behavioral familism” related questions in the 2002 gss to see how whites in the different regions of the u.s. responded to the following questions:

– “How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”
– “How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”
– “How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

the possible answers were:

– “More than twice in last 4 weeks.”
– “Once or twice in last 4 weeks.”
– “Not at all in last 4 weeks.”
– “I have no living relative of this type.”

as before, i collapsed the first two possible answers together to make a sorta “yes” repsonse (“yes, i’ve contacted that person in the last 4 weeks”).

here’s what i found (sorry, you might need your glasses to read these — wordpress has fixed it so that you can’t see a LARGER image in a new tab/window anymore. grrrrrr!):

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact uncles & aunts

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact newphews & nieces

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact cousins

the patterns i see are:

east south central (alabama, kentucky, mississippi and tennessee), a consistently red state area, comes in twice with the highest ranking — and is above the national average on those two questions.
new england, a consistently blue state area, comes in once with the highest ranking — and, in fact, is above the national average on all three questions. so no one can accuse the new englanders of not being oriented towards the extended family!

the above average scorers on the three questions were (map of regions here):

new england – above average 3 times
east south central – 2 times
east north central (wi, il, mi, in, oh) – 2 times
west south central (tx, ok, ar, la) – 2 times
west north central (nd, sd, ne, ks, mn, ia, mo) – 2 times
south atlantic (de, md, dc, va, wv, nc, sc, ga, fl) – once

– the pacific states (ak, wa, or, ca, hi), a mostly blue region (with the exception of alaska), came in twice with the lowest ranking.
– the mountain states, a mostly red region, came in once with the lowest ranking.

the below average scorers on the three questions were (map of regions here):

pacific – 3 times
mountain – 3 times
middle atlantic (NEW YORK! nj & pa) – 3 times
west north central (nd, sd, ne, ks, mn, ia, mo) – one time
south atlantic (de, md, dc, va, wv, nc, sc, ga, fl) – one time
east north central (wi, il, mi, in, oh) – one time

to me, it seems like there’s an east-west divide — white familism decreases around the rocky mountains and gets even lower on the west coast. i should’ve made some maps. maybe i’ll work on that.

so, back to jayman’s question: “Are Whites in the South and West *today* more kin-centric?”

yes, whites in the south are pretty kin-centric, but not so much in the west. and new englanders are very kin-centric — so there! (^_^) new yorkers are not.

i’ve got the data for african-americans, too, so i’ll check them out in another post.

previously: familism in the u.s. of a. and hispanic family values

(note: comments do not require an email. baby polar bear!)

historic mating patterns in japan

readers (luke & jayman) request: what about the japanese? well, we aim to please… (^_^)

the japanese definitely have a history of cousin and endogamous marriages. i’m not sure, yet, how far back it goes (although i’m going to guess pretty d*rn far), but between 1912 and 1925 the consanguinity (first-/second-cousin) marriage rate for japan was 22.4% [pg. 29]. compare that to italy toward the beginning of the twentieth century or to some of the arab countries today. compare it also to the first cousin marriage rate amongst rural english folks in the 1870s: 2.25% (4.5% for the peerage).

but it’s been decreasing ever since (looks like a stock market crash – pg. 30):

by wwii the rate was only about 12.3%, and nowadays it’s like 4% (3.9% in 1983).

imaizumi, the author of the article to which i’ve linked above, also found in the early 1980s that 27% of recently married japanese folks had married endogamously, while amongst the oldest folks studied, 40% had married endogamously [pg. 39]. so endogamous marriages have also declined in japan over the course of the twentieth century. still, more than 1 in 4 japanese entered into an endogamous marriage in the ’80s (or maybe the late 1970s).

seems like the shintoists practice cousin marriage most frequently, followed by buddhists, and is lowest amongst catholics. farmers/fishermen, blue collar workers, the self-employed and people working in services (like transportation) inbreed the most, whereas white collar workers, salesmen and professionals inbreed the least.

note: the type of cousin marriage practiced in japan is mostly mother’s brother’s daughter (mbd) marriage as in china. more on that in the next post on japan. that’s important because mbd marriage amounts to less inbreeding (i think) than the arab type of cousin marriage (father’s brother daughter or fbd marriage) since all of the marriages do NOT occur exclusively in one lineage. in mbd marriage, at least more than one other lineage is involved.

the events of the meiji period obviously shook up the social structures in japan a LOT, but i wonder if cousin marriage/endogamy was officially — or even unofficially — discouraged in any way during that time period. i’m wondering if what happened in europe starting in the early medieval period regarding mating patterns has sorta been repeated in japan, only starting in the nineteenth century. -?-

goes to show, too, how rapidly cousin marriage rates can drop — within one generation in japan cousin marriage rates halved. maybe this could happen only amongst east asians who are big into conformity, but it’s something to keep in mind when trying to imagine what happened in europe in the medieval period, i.e. that things could’ve moved pretty quickly.

more anon!

previously: on the non-violent japanese of today

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

reading list

anonymous asked if i could work up a bibliography (good idea!). here’s a partial list of some reading material on both altruism and human mating patterns (particularly for europe). please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments! especially if you can recommend some good stuff on reciprocal altruism — i’d like to read more about that myself. thnx!

you can also find more references related to specific populations down in the left hand column (down there ↓) under the different “Mating Patterns in…” series. and see also the “Everybody Does It!” series in the middle column down below (↓) for real world examples of altruism in action.

altruism | the evolution of altruism | inbreeding and altruism

Cousin Marriage Conundrum by steve sailer – good layman’s introduction to altruism, inclusive fitness and kin selection.

The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness – read the chapter on bill hamilton … and then read the whole thing.

Human Biological Variation – if you don’t know anything about population genetics, chapter 3 — Population Genetics and Human Variation — is a good introduction. not too math intensive (*whew!*).

– The genetical evolution of social behaviour I and II [pdfs] by william d. hamilton – if you’re good at math, these are the papers for you! you can also find the papers in this volume (thnx for the link, luke!). there’s also this paper: Innate social aptitudes of man: an approach from evolutionary genetics [pdf].

Grandma plays favourites: X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality – for an example of how relatedness affects altruistic behaviors even within families.

The Natural History of Inbreeding and Outbreeding – read the chapter by richard michod … and the one by bill hamilton just for fun! the rest of the book is good, too.

An Experimental Study of Kin Selection – if you like beetles, this is the paper for you! also deals with how inbreeding affects altruistic behaviors.

Effect of Inbreeding on the Evolution of Altruistic Behavior by Kin Selection – more math. important paper, tho (given the metatopic of this blog).

human mating patterns | kinship | family types

Family structure, institutions, and growth – the origin and implications of Western corporatism [opens pdf] by avner greif – greif discusses how the roman catholic church’s ban on cousin marriage in europe did away with kinship-based clans and opened the door for a more “corporate” society based on individuals rather than extended families.

The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe by jack goody – never judge a book by its cover … except this one! offers great background on how the mating patterns in europe changed radically during the medieval period.

Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special Path by michael mitterauer – especially chapter 3 — The Conjugal Family and Bilateral Kinship: Social Flexibility through Looser Ties of Descent — but the whole book is terrific, too.

A Millennium of Family Change: Feudalism to Capitalism in Northwestern Europe by wally seccombe – another terrific book summarizing the changes to mating patterns and family structures in europe from the middle ages until today. it’s so good, i might even read it myself! (~_^)

The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind by robin fox – especially chapter 3 — The Kindness of Strangers: Tribalism and the Trials of Democracy — but the whole book is good, too.

Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective by robin fox – a good introduction to all the different cousin marriage forms.

Parallel-Cousin (FBD) Marriage, Islamization, and Arabization by andrey korotayev – korotayev offers an explanation for why the highly unusual fbd marriage is found where it is found.

The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structure and Social Systems by emmanuel todd – some good stuff from emmanuel todd on how family forms affect ideology. i don’t think he got it quite right (the references to freudian ideas are really far out, for instance), but he still noticed something very interesting.

previously: european consanguinity bibliography

(note: comments do not require an email. books, books, books. (^_^) )

the canonical family tree

following up on a reader request, here is an extended family tree for ya with names (boy, it's HARD to pick names for kids!).

everything is from the point-of-view of “jack” (ego). i went for double-barrelled names in order to give some sort of hint as to any given individual’s relationship to jack. so, his father’s brother (his paternal uncle) is “frank bob.” and his father’s brother’s daughter (his paternal first-cousin) is “frances betty” (see what i did there?).

here they all are (click on charts for LARGER images – should open in new tab/window):

now, in father’s brother’s daughter marriage (i can see your eyes glazing over already!), jack marries his uncle frank’s daughter, cousin frances. in a society where this is a common practice (eg. arab world), they do this over and over again, although maybe not in every generation. if it were every generation, it would look like this:

so, all of the jacks marry their cousins frances betty. see how the lineage keeps folding back in on itself? this is some close inbreeding.

also, see the left side of the canonical family tree? — where uncle mike and aunt martha are? mom’s brother and sister? that side of the family tree doesn’t really exist in an fbd system, ’cause mom’s brothers and sisters are ALSO dad’s paternal cousins. in an fbd system, the left side of the family tree should really be over on the right side. (*facepalm*) maybe i’ll try to draw that one day. it’s no wonder that most peoples in the world consider fbd marriage to be too incestuous — interesting that most people figured that out and avoid it.

now, here’s mother’s brother’s daughter marriage, the most common variant of cousin marriage and the most common form found (traditionally) in china:

again, all of the jacks marry their mother’s brother’s daughter (mbd) — mary beth. but this time, dad is NOT related to mom’s side of the family via his patrilineage. this is a sort-of inbreeding, but not so close as fbd marriage above. not always within the same lineage. mom’s brother, mike, is probably married to a woman from some other lineage, so cousin mary beth is not so closely related to jack. dad’s brother, frank, on the other hand, is probably also married to a woman from the patrilineage, so (in fbd marriage) jack and frances betty are probably more closely genetically related.

what the canonical family tree needs, really, are surnames. (why didn’t i think of that sooner?!)

imagine the fbd marriage system above — jack’s new wife, cousin frances betty, doesn’t have to change her last name ’cause she’s in the same patrilineage as jack. jack smith, let’s say, marries his father’s brother’s daughter — uncle frank bob smith’s daughter, cousin frances betty smith. see?

in the mbd marriage system, on the other hand, jack smith marries his mother’s brother’s daughter — uncle mike bill jones’ daughter, cousin mary beth jones. mary beth needs to change her name ’cause she’s from another patrilineage. like confucius say marriage is “the union of two surnames, in friendship and in love.”

previously: genealogical terminology

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the “happiest, healthiest” community in the u.s.

rural south dakota! (^_^) no, really.

luke asked: “OT, but maybe you can do some posts in the future on the ‘happiest, healthiest communities’ in the U.S., assuming there are some. Putnam, for example, has shown an inverse relationship between diversity and trust. So presumably he found some high-trust communities somewhere? Are they just neighborhoods in large metro areas? What about Lake Wobegons?”

well, i looked up putnam’s “E Pluribus Unum” paper [opens pdf] and, yes, he did indeed find some high-trust communities somewhere: rural south dakota, bismarck (north dakota), new hampshire, (moving to) montana, lewiston (maine)…. omg! it’s proximity to canada, again!

putnam looked at racial homogeneity in communities and inter-racial trust, racial homogeneity in communities and trust of neighbors, racial homogeneity in communities and intra-racial trust, and racial homogeneity in communities and ethnocentric trust. on each of these metrics, those communities with greater homogeneity just had more trust in all directions — the opposite was true in heterogeneous communities.

if trust means “happiest and healthiest” — and it sure seems to be important in having a functioning society (at least functioning as we know it) — then homogeneity is the way to go. of course, another important thing might be the *type* of population/subpopulations in a society — diversity might work okay if your diverse society is (mostly) composed of non-clannish groups.

here are some of putnam’s graphs for you to enjoy. click on graphs for a LARGER view (should open in a new tab/window — you might have to give ’em a click there, too, to view them full-size):

note that rural south dakota should NOT be confused with north minneapolis, which is a very vibrant community.

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