linkfest – 03/31/14

Why We Fight (Over Land)“In the most recent issue of the journal International Security, Monica Duffy-Toft and Dominic Johnson, political scientists at Oxford, argue that a new theoretical framework is needed to analyze such behavior, one rooted in evolutionary biology…. As Duffy-Toft told me an interview today, ‘It comes back to survival and reproduction. There’s an instinct that we need land in order to exist. We need to have the capacity to get resources to live our lives….’ Duffy-Toft acknowledges that the thesis is controversial. While their piece is currently the lead article in International Security, one of the more prestigious journals in the field, it took almost 10 years to get it published. ‘We’re pushing up against real biases in our field,’ she says. ‘Scholars don’t want to admit that our behavior can be constrained by the fact that we’re animals.’ – *sigh* – original research article here [pdf].

Oldest modern human genome from Siberia ~45 thousand years ago“The femur belonged to an H. sapiens man who had slightly more Neandertal DNA, distributed in different parts of his genome, than do living Europeans and Asians.” – @dienekes’.

Human evolution: The Neanderthal in the family“Thirty years after the study of ancient DNA began, it promises to upend our view of the past.”

The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a – h/t razib!

Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas“[T]he ancient rock art depicts fierce battles among tribesmen….” – h/t steven pinker! who tweeted: “refutes frequent claim of no war before agriculture.”

Cochran-Harpending paper on “Amish Quotient”“‘[T]heir social pattern probably drives strong selection for a particular flavor of personality, which is downright fascinating and worthy of further investigation. One could, with difficulty and a lot of investment, identify dimensions of a hypothetical AQ. It would likely include affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, community orientation, and so on. We proposed (Cochran, Hardy, & Harpending, 2006) a similar mechanism to account for Ashkenazi Jewish evolution in Medieval times selecting for ability and success in white collar occupations.'” – from steve sailer. previously @west hunter: Inferring an AQ.

The Son Becomes The Father“The failure of parents to appreciably affect the outcomes of their children affirms Gregory Clark’s findings, and indicates that much of the transmission of status from one generation to the next is ultimately genetic in origin…. Almost certainly, throughout history, and across the diverse societies, that has been a huge amount of ‘noise’ in the transmission of status, especially on the individual level and in the short run. The vagaries of the circumstances no doubt imbued good fortune on some and dashed the success of many others. But through it all, the thing that is at the root of continuity – DNA – remained the active ingredient to propagate lineages in their respective places through out the ages.” – from jayman.

First comprehensive atlas of human gene activity released – h/t mike anissimov!

Sperm competition and Heteropaternal Superfecundation – from greg cochran.

The Holocene Lattice“First, it is now clear that long-range migration, admixture and population replacement have been the rule rather than the exception in human history. Second, the serial founder effect model is no longer a reasonable null hypothesis for modeling the ancient spread of anatomically modern humans around the globe.” – from razib. (emphases in original.)

Percentage of DNA shared amongst the various archaics (including our sapiens sapiens lineage), from a review in Cell – from billare.

Neural portraits of perception: Reconstructing face images from evoked brain activity – whoa. h/t mo costandi!

We Are All Mutants“On the hunt for disease genes, researchers uncover humanity’s 
vast diversity.”

Puerto Rico and IQ: Same as it ever was – from steve sailer.

About That Gene-Environment Interaction Study by Turkheimer et al.“The upshot is that while environmental deprivation may render genetic differences less important in the determination of children’s IQ, the typical black child in this large and downscale sample had apparently not been raised in deprived circumstances any more frequently than the typical white child in the sample. The lower IQs of blacks in this sample cannot therefore be put down to them having been exposed to environments less conducive to the expression of genetic variance in IQ than the environments experienced by whites.” – @human varieties.

People can predict the IQ of men — but not women — by looking at their face, study finds – see also dr. james thompson: The mind’s construction in a face.

Dopamine D4 receptor gene variation influences self-reported altruism“[T]he DRD4 7-repeat allele is associated with lower scores on the NEO-PI-R Altruism facet scale, accounting for about 2% of the variance. As the DRD4 7-repeat allele has been associated with higher scores in impulsive personality traits and ADHD, our result suggests that individual differences in impulsive behavioral tendencies may play a role in the propensity to behave altruistically.” – h/t tom farsides!

How Social Darwinism Made Modern China“A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.” – from ron unz. h/t eduardo zugasti!

Kinder, gentler speech“In sum, when the State imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, it set in motion a process of gene-culture co-evolution with many consequences. Among other things, this process may have favored not only learned ways of speaking but also unlearned ways as well.” – from peter frost.

Crows Understand a Fundamental Part of Logical Reasoning“Crows are far more rational than we had realized. New research shows that wild New Caledonian crows can compete with 7-year-old children when it comes to understanding causality, or how one action causes another.” see also: Crows understand water displacement at the level of a small child: Show causal understanding of a 5- to 7-year-old child.

Do animals have a sense of humour? – koko the gorilla “once tied her trainer’s shoelaces together and signed ‘chase’.” (^_^) (^_^) (^_^) – h/t steve stewart williams!

On “Male” vs. “Female” Brains – twitter convo on sexual dimorphism in human neuro-whatsits. kevin mitchell ftw!

“Natural Law” and Other Rationalizations of Morality“People worry about a ‘grounding’ for morality. There’s really no need to. As Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce pointed out in Wild Justice – The Moral Lives of Animals, there are analogs of moral behavior in many species besides our own…. Other animals don’t wonder why one thing is good and another evil. They’re not intelligent enough to worry about it. Hominids are Mother Nature’s first experiment with creatures that are smart enough to worry about it. The result of this cobbling of big brains onto the already existing mental equipment responsible for moral emotions and perceptions hasn’t been entirely happy. In fact, it has caused endless confusion through the ages.” – from helian.

Inclusive fitness theory for the evolution of religion“We describe and evaluate an integrative hypothesis for the origin and evolution of human religious cognition and behaviour, based on maximization of inclusive fitness. By this hypothesis, the concept of God is represented by one’s circle of kin and social salience, such that serving God and serving this circle become synonymous. The theory is supported by data from anthropology, evolutionary theory, psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, endocrinology and genetics.” – h/t claire lehmann!

Are liars ethical? On the tension between benevolence and honesty“[I]ndividuals who tell prosocial lies are perceived to be *more* moral than individuals who tell the truth.” – h/t zhana vrangalova!

Speculations on the Evolution of Awareness“The ‘attention schema’ theory provides one possible account of the biological basis of consciousness, tracing the evolution of awareness through steps from the advent of selective signal enhancement about half a billion years ago to the top-down control of attention, to an internal model of attention (which allows a brain, for the first time, to attribute to itself that it has a mind that is aware of something), to the ability to attribute awareness to other beings, and from there to the human attribution of a rich spirit world surrounding us. Humans have been known to attribute awareness to plants, rocks, rivers, empty space, and the universe as a whole. Deities, ghosts, souls-the spirit world swirling around us is arguably the exuberant attribution of awareness.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Mugshots Built from DNA Data“A computer program crudely predicts facial structure from genetic variations.”

The Oldest Living Things On Earth“Starting in the 1960s, evolutionary biologists have searched for an overarching explanation to account for all the different ways to grow old. The best-supported ones so far are variants on the old truth that a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. An organism can collect a finite amount of energy, whether it’s a lion killing gazelles, a tulip capturing sunlight, or a microbe breathing iron at the bottom of the sea. It can use that energy to grow, to produce offspring, to defend itself against pathogens, to repair damaged its damaged molecules. But it has a limited budget. The energy spent on one task is energy that can’t be spent on others. Molecular repair and pathogen defense are both good ways to live longer. But a long-lived organism that produces few offspring will not pass on many copies of its genes to future generations. The organisms that will succeed are the ones that do a mediocre job of keeping their bodies in order, leaving more energy for making babies.” – h/t billare!

Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution – according to masatoshi nei: “Every part of our body is controlled by molecules, so you have to explain on a molecular level. That is the real mechanism of evolution, how molecules change. They change through mutation. Mutation means a change in DNA through, for example, substitution or insertion [of nucleotides]. First you have to have change, and then natural selection may operate or may not operate. I say mutation is the most important, driving force of evolution. Natural selection occurs sometimes, of course, because some types of variations are better than others, but mutation created the different types. Natural selection is secondary.”

End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution“They insist that characteristics many researchers assume to be the result of epigenetic inheritance are actually caused by something else. The authors list four possibilities: Undetected mutations in the letters of the DNA sequence, behavioral changes (which themselves can trigger epigenetic tags), alterations in the microbiome, or transmission of metabolites from one generation to the next. The authors claim that most epigenetic research, particularly when it involves human health, fails to eliminate these possibilities.” – h/t jayman!

New warning about ‘Celtic Curse’ blood iron disease“Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease, linked particularly to Irish and those of Irish origin. It causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you consume. The excess iron becomes stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. It can lead to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart problems and liver disease. Those with Irish heritage have a significantly greater chance of carrying the gene mutation that can contribute to the deadly disorder. Some experts believe that hemochromatosis originated more than 40,000 years ago in Ireland when genes mutated allowing the population to over-absorb iron, to compensate for a poor iron diet.” – h/t 23andMe!

The state is the worst wicked stepmother of all“[T]he number of children raised without one of their parents has increased sharply in recent years, partly due to changing sexual mores but also the involvement of the state itself; the largest increase in non-marital births came after the 1977 Homeless Persons Act gave lone mothers priority on housing lists. The Tory MP behind this proposal wrote, ‘The sad truth is that, until now, the Wicked Stepmother would have got away scot-free.’ Possibly, but there would not have been so many wicked stepmothers, or stepfathers, or mother’s current boyfriends, without the state in the first place.” – from ed west.

Pseudoescepticismo y biodiversidad humana“Desde hace años, sin embargo, existe una tendencia ideológica inflacionaria en el movimiento escéptico que tiende a alejarse del ‘núcleo’ original, cuyos contornos de todos modos son imprecisos (¿es la parapsicología una ciencia?). El inconveniente es que este alejamiento del núcleo, yo lo llamaría ‘escepticismo inflacionario’ o simplemente pseudoescepticismo, desdibuja los criterios de demarcación y hace que los nuevos temas sean más y más propensos a la contaminación moral e ideológica…. Un caso bastante claro es la campaña ‘escéptica’ de descrédito contra la psicología evolucionista, que sólo ha convencido a un pequeño grupo. ¿Pudiera ser que el empeño de grupos ‘escépticos’ de asimilar el movimiento de biodiversidad humana con el ‘racismo científico’ y con la ‘pseudociencia’ (la falacia moralista siempre merodeando) corriera una suerte parecida?” – @la revolución naturalista.

Response to ‘Fists of furry: at what point did human fists part company with the rest of the hominid lineage?’“A Swedish study on interpersonal violence reported 63 facial fractures and 57 concussions inflicted by fists, but only eight fractures of the metacarpal or phalangeal bones (Boström, 1997). Thus, human fists are effective weapons and, when humans fight, faces break more frequently than fists.” – h/t john hawks!

Sexually Transmitted Virus Sterilises Insects, Turns Them On“[O]ne particular insect virus can sterilise crickets, but also change their behaviour so they continue to mate with each other. By doing so, they pass the virus on to uninfected hosts.”

Ancient African cattle first domesticated in Middle East, study reveals“The genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world has been completed by a group of researchers. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the ‘Fertile Crescent,’ a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.” – h/t anthropology tip!

Autism characteristics differ by gender, studies find – h/t hbd bibliography! also: Autism begins in pregnancy, according to study: Cortical layers disrupted during brain development in autism – h/t mr. robert ford!

Men ‘size-up’ male competition by watching dance moves” The results revealed that handgrip strength and arm movements of the dancers were predictors of dance quality ratings. Both men and women rated stronger males with larger, more variable and faster arm movements as better dancers. However, men picked up clues of upper-body strength from male dancing more accurately than women.” – previously: “you should be dancin’ yeah!”

A Study of Twins, Separated by Orbit“While circling the earth aboard the International Space Station for a full year — the longest single space adventure for any American astronaut — and after his return, scientists will closely monitor Commander Kelly to see what changes space has wrought. NASA has been studying the effects of long stays in space on astronauts for years, but this set of 10 investigations will be different: The scientists will be doing the same poking, prodding and analyzing on Commander Kelly’s identical twin brother, Mark, a retired astronaut.”

A simple but elegant method to detect election fraud and irregularities. – from randy olson.

bonus: Game of Thrones tells the story of Britain better than most histories“The popular TV drama gives a vivid idea of how people might have behaved in the Middle Ages – which is brutally” – from ed west. and coming out on thursday!: Ebook on the history behind ‘Game of Thrones’ – by ed west. what does he mean, “there aren’t really dragons”??!?

bonus bonus: L.L. Cavalli-Sforza. A bird in a gilded cage. – new ebook from peter frost!

bonus bonus bonus: Advice for a Happy Life“Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ (again).” – from charles murray.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The War Nerd: Who exactly are the Jihadis (and why aren’t there more of them)?“There’s one simple generalization you can make from these stats: Jihadis from Muslim-majority countries are generally higher-status than those from countries where Muslims are a minority.” – h/t michael “the sailor” story!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Neurosurgeons successfully implant 3D printed skull – whoa.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Woolly Mammoths Suffered Major Birth Defects Before Extinction“According to the researchers, this influx of birth defects could have come about in two different ways. The genetic mutations could have arisen from inbreeding depression. As mammoths were reduced in number, genetic diversity would have plummeted and the number of mutations would have risen sharply. The other explanation offered states that expecting mothers would have been under considerable stress as the population dwindled. This prenatal stress could have had negative consequences for fetal development.” – h/t avi tuschman!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A Day in the Life of an Ancient Athenian Citizen – from blowhard, esq. h/t ray sawhill! (for some reason, i always crave a cocktail after visiting uncouth reflections…. (^_^) *hic*)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Greatest Invention in Human History Helps You Avoid Certain People“The era of antisocial networking has begun with the development of apps such as Cloak, which identifies locations of your contacts so you don’t have to see them.” – FIIIInally!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Absurd Creature of the Week: The 6-Foot Earthworm That Sounds Like a Draining Bathtub – h/t charles (aka the doctor! (^_^) )!

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infanticide in the u.s.

i came across these stats from the bureau of justice statistics while looking for something else. i thought i’d post them, even though they make me sad. =(

from Homicide Trends in the U.S. (2007) [pdf]:

infanticide rates - u.s. - graph

well that table pretty much speaks for itself.

parents are the perpetrators in most homicides of children under the age of five…

infanticide rates - u.s. - relationship with offender

…but the key thing to remember here is that the bureau includes STEPPARENTS in these figures. then you’re (naturally) gonna get the cinderella effect — mostly men getting rid of the offspring of other men.

and it is mostly men. from page 34 of the report (remember “fathers” includes stepfathers):

“Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 —
– 31% were killed by fathers
– 29% were killed by mothers
– 23% were killed by male acquaintances
– 7% were killed by other relatives
– 3% were killed by strangers

“Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.”

and they’re mostly young, reproductive-age men (and women) — again, naturally. on page 23 we learn that 81.3% of the perpetrators of infanticide were between the ages of 18 and 34.

also, a gruesome fact that i posted about before: stepparents, typically, kill their stepkids (when they do kill their stepkids) in a more brutal fashion than biological parents do. =/

and … i didn’t realize … men kill more male children than female. very interesting:

infanticide rates - u.s. - by sex

males getting rid of rival males’ male offspring. fascinating.

also interesting, the younger the child, the greater the risk for infanticide:

infanticide rates - u.s. - by age

i wonder if this has to do with very young children — babies — not really having a “personality” yet? yes, i know that they do when you really know them, but you know what i mean — a five year old kid has a more … observable, noticeable … personality than a five month old. maybe it’s kinda “easier” to kill something without much personality than a little person that talks back to you? dunno.

if i were to give women any advice, i’d say be very, very careful in picking your second husband or next boyfriend/baby daddy if you’ve got a young kid(s). and i’d be extra very, very careful if picking an african american man as a second husband/boyfriend/baby daddy. if i were to give men any advice, i’d say keep a watch on your ex’s choice of any subsequent partners if you’ve had a kid(s) with her.

previously: the cinderella effect, again and more on the cinderella effect and evo psych in need of a little hbd? and killing kids & step-kids, part ii

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linkfest – 10/23/11

Transporter of delight“Happiness is in your DNA; and different races may have different propensities for it” – via diversity is chaos.

Big-Game Hunt Adds to Evidence of Early North American Settlement

Who becomes a sperm donor: personality characteristics in a national sample of identifiable donors – swedish study finds: “[D]onors in general feel less worried and suffer less from uncertainty, shyness and fatigability than controls.”

Percentage of ancestral Mexicans racially self-identifying as white by state – from mr. a. epigone, esq.

Culture in humans and apes has the same evolutionary roots

Life’s Extremes: Tightwads vs. Spendthrifts“24% had difficulty spending money, 60% were unconflicted, 15% had difficulty controlling spending.”

Parasite Turns Wasps Into Outsider Zombie Queens

Racial differences in child abuse deaths – from the inductivist.

Why women will gossip about you behind your back (but men will tell you to your face)

Non-Conformists Better At Working Toward Common Good – yes. yes, we are. (~_^) from parapundit.

bonus: 10 Words You Might Think Came from Science (But Are Really From Science Fiction


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more on the cinderella effect

greying wanderer suggested the other day that a murderous person would prolly stab a stranger with a knife up “to the hilt,” but if he went to stab his brother, he might, at the last second, have a change of heart and only stab the blade in an inch or two.

there might be something to that notion. what he said reminded of something i read a while ago now, around the time i had a couple of posts about the cinderella effect, i.e. that step-parents generally don’t treat their step-kids as well as biological parents do. this makes sense, of course, if you keep inclusive fitness in mind, ’cause step-parents are (usually) not related to their step-kids.

what i read was a really interesting, but depressing (esp. for a chick, i think), article entitled “Some Differential Attributes of Lethal Assaults on Small Children by Stepfathers versus Genetic Fathers.” what the researchers found was that, not only do step-parents kill their step-kids at much greater rates on average than biological parents, but that when they do, it’s usually a more violent, brutal affair. when biological parents do kill their own kids, they tend to do it in a rather clean, almost humane way. and they more often kill themselves as well afterwards.

“Killings of children less than five years of age by stepfathers versus (putative) genetic fathers are compared on the basis of Canadian and British national archives of homicides. In addition to previously reported differences in gross rates, the two categories of killings differed in their attributes. Beatings constituted a relatively large proportion of steppaternal homicides, whereas genetic fathers were relatively likely to shoot or asphyxiate their victims. A substantial proportion of killings by genetic fathers, but almost none of those by stepfathers, were accompanied by suicide and/or uxoricide. These contrasts lend support to the hypothesis that the differential risks incurred by children in different household types reflect the differential parental solicitude that is predictable from an evolutionary model of parental motivation.”

here are some charts.

methods of killing of children under five, canadian study — that first category is “beat”:

methods of killing of children under five, uk study — the categories from left to right are “hit, kick, blunt object,” “shoot,” “suffocate, strangle, exhaust fumes,” and “all other”:

relatedness matters. even — or maybe especially — in the most gruesome scenarios.

so, if you’re a parent, and you’re thinking of re-marrying (or re-shacking-up, altho that’s prolly a bad idea anyway), CHOOSE CAREFULLY.

btw — you would think that it would also make a difference if, say, a child was mixed-race or mixed-something. in such a case, the biological parent would clearly be less genetically related to their child than in a family that was 100% swedish or chinese, for example. not to mention all the cousin-marriage scenarios i’ve been talking about (ad nauseum). you would think, all else being equal (like economic circumstances), that there ought to be less child killing by parents in a place like saudi arabia.

and, that’s all i’m going to write about this subject (for now anyway), ’cause it’s just too d*rn sad.

previously: evo psych in need of a little hbd? and killing kids & step-kids, part ii and the cinderella effect, again… and even plants do it and more plants playing favorites

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the cinderella effect, again…

An evolutionary perspective on perceived parental care and closeness in adolescents. How do biological and social kinship play out within families in the U.S.?


“Consistent with inclusive fitness theory, evolutionary biologists predict that individuals care more for their biological than their social children and hence that biological children assess the relationships to their parents better than stepchildren. To test this assumption, we use data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Unlike many other studies that have been conducted so far, this survey allows us to analyze the consequences of the dynamic between social and biological parent-child relationships within the same families. We use comparisons of sibling pairs and fixed-effects regression to achieve the within-family comparison. Both the descriptive and multivariate regression results confirm that – even after controlling for other relevant influences – biological parenthood matters with regard to children’s relationship assessments (perceived parental care and closeness of the parent-child relationship) and in both the relationships to resident fathers and mothers. In the discussion, we comment on the possible integration of the evolutionary and sociological perspectives and close with some recommendations for future data collection that could allow researchers to analyze the relative influence of biological and social influences on parent-child relationships on a more fine-grained level….


“Starting point of this paper was the assumption that from an evolutionary perspective, parental care should differ between biological and social children in a way that disadvantages the latter, and that this difference should be mostly visible in families in which biological and social parent-child relations coexist…. The conclusion of the analysis is that biological parenthood matters: In all respects stepchildren do provide lower assessments of the relationships to their parents than biological children do.”

previously: evo psych in need of a little hbd? and killing kids & step-kids, part ii

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more on kid killing (god it’s so depressing)

(at least for a chick.)

tggp writes:

“In ‘Demonic Males’ Richard Wrangham discusses how murdering a female’s children is an effective tactic for bachelor males among gorillas and lions to show harem-members that their current male isn’t doing an effective job of protecting them. The Darwinian perversity of its effectiveness I found one of the most memorable parts of the book. For human beings we would certainly classify that kind of behavior as among the worst examples of war and rape, but it’s just part of that circle of life for animals. Human beings are animals, and in the past our species more closely resembled its peers.”

oh, i don’t think we’ve changed all that much. i guess we’re not all cannibals all of the time anymore, so we’ve got that going for us. but we’re still animals in the base sense of the word.

the big reason to kill unrelated offspring is, of course, to get rid of competing genes and supplant your own. showing that the current alpha-male is not doing his job right is part of that, but more-or-less secondary really. the point of getting rid of the alpha-male is to stop him from reproducing and to get yourself in there.

one of the commenters over @entitled to an opinion says:

“A tom [cat] will kill kittens indiscriminately, whether they are fathered by him or by another, so appeal to the suggested need by females for superior ‘protection’ by a stronger male doesn’t adequately explain the behavior.”

i must look that up ’cause, frankly, i don’t believe it. it’s definitely not the case with lions (who do kill the offspring of rivals) — and it doesn’t make any sense from an evolutionary perspective. why would you regularly kill your own offspring? obviously it does happen from time to time (even in humans), but such behaviors would NOT be selected for in the long run. how could they be?

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killing kids & step-kids, part ii

on sat i posted evo psych in need of a little hbd? in which i tossed in my two cents worth about some recent research on the cinderella effect that dennis mangan posted about.

dennis mentioned what i said on sat in a new post on his blog:

“HBD Chick writes about the Cinderella effect, referencing my post at Alt Right on a recent challenge to the discipline of evolutionary psychology. The challenge is a recent study that showed that stepfathers are more likely to have records of criminal violence, thus casting doubt on the notion that the status of being a stepparent in itself makes stepchildren more likely to be abused.

“HBD Chick points out that the recent study was carried out in Sweden, where families are more likely to be ethnically homogeneous, as compared to the U.S., Canada, and England, where they are not. It might be the case that a stepparent who is of the same ethnicity as a stepchild is less likely to abuse that child….

“So, both the Swedish study on stepparents and Florida’s study on gun deaths omit any mention of race or ethnicity. This is the topic that many otherwise scientific observers won’t go near.”

yup. there’s almost no one who will rationally discuss race or ethnicity or genetic relatedness except for a handful of scientists (you know who they are) and another handful of bloggers and commenters who obviously have no social sense (you know who you are!). (~_^) that is where we are today in our looney pc world, alas, alack — but i’m not gonna rant about that now ’cause, well, we’ve been down that well trodden path plenty of times. another day perhaps.

no. i just wanted to try and clarify what i said in my previous post ’cause i’m a cr*ppy writer (so glad i took up blogging! *facepalm*) and one of my points may have gotten lost-in-translation (from my brain to the binary code zooming around on the interwebs).

in my previous post, i suggested two possible reasons for why a recent study from sweden found that step-kids were not killed at a rate greater than biological kids, in contrast to several previous studies.

1) the one that dennis mentioned: that in sweden, families may be more ethnically homogeneous (especially in earlier decades) than in the u.s. or canada or even the u.k. (where the previous research was done). i suggested that it would be less likely that a step-parent in sweden would murder their step-kid since they would both be swedish and, therefore, more genetically related than many step-parents/step-kids in the u.s./canada/u.k. where a step-parent might be italian-american and the step-kid puerto-rican-american, for instance — or a whole slew of other multi-cultural combinations.

less genetically-related ethnicity-wise = more likely to murder an unrelated kid. just a thought.

2) my second suggestion was more subtle and, therefore, more difficult for me to explain.

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, when html coding was the norm on the interwebs, steve sailer wrote an article called cousin-marriage conundrum in which he explained that “democracy building” would never work in places like iraq and afghanistan because the people there inbreed (i.e. marry their cousins — a LOT) and, therefore, have these strong tribalistic sentiments because they are more related to their extended family members than to the extended family next-door.

i think of it this way. if you marry your cousin, your kids are not just your kids, they’re your cousins, too. so, imagine the sentiments you have towards your kids — and then imagine the sentiments you have towards your cousins — and add them together. yes, i know, it might not work out mathematically exactly like that, but you get my point. peoples who inbreed on a regular basis must feel more strongly attached to their relatives ’cause they are genetically more like them than most of us westerners are to our families.

anyway. so, back in sweden, they haven’t been inbreeding for a very long time (first-cousin marriage was banned in sweden in 1680 and required dispensation until 1844). and they certainly haven’t been doing it in such an institutional way as, say, the afghanis.

so, what do you get if a population inbreeds on a local basis, like in afghanistan? you get small-ish groups of people who are more related to each other than they are to their neighbors and, so, they (all the groups in the population) develop tribalistic sentiments.

what should you get if a population doesn’t inbreed locally, like in sweden? you get a large-sized group of people who are all quite related to each other and, so, they don’t develop tribalistic sentiments. they are all quite like each other genetically. at least much more so than in a place like afghanistan.

at least i think that’s what should be happening.

then, from a genetic point-of-view, all the individuals across this society are more alike — and kinda/sorta interchangeable (if you’ll pardon the expression).

sooooo, if you’re a low-life scum and you feel like killing a kid, it shouldn’t matter sooooo much if you kill your own kid or your step-kid — ’cause they and you are all rather similar. see what i mean?

this is just another thought and obviously i could be way off. but it would be interesting, for comparison, to know if the murder rates of step-kids was higher in another mono-ethnic society that was more inbred than sweden (italy? spain? ireland?).

but no. nobody’s gonna “go there” either.

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evo psych in need of a little hbd?

dennis mangan has a post over @altright about some recent research from sveeeeeden which appears to refute the “cinderella effect.” (see also kanazawa.)

and maybe it does, which would be real interesting.

the sveeeeedish researchers found that the step-kids and real-kids they looked at were killed at pretty much the same rate, and that the common thread running through all the cases was that the step-dads had a violent, criminial history. this latter part doesn’t seem surprising. you’d think most murderous people are violent people, so it’s not a big shocker that these low-lifes had violent histories.

but i think the sveeeeedish researchers mighta overlooked something.

all of the previous research done on the cinderella effect — at least the research referenced by the sveeeeedish researchers — has been about north american (u.s. & canukian) and engrish families [see here, here and here]. the currect research by the sveeeeedish researchers relates to — you guessed it! — sveeeeedish families.

so, gee. might there be any differences between the sveeeeedish families and, say, americun families? any differences at all? hmmmmm. i wonder….

well, the first thing that pops into my head is that the sveeeeedish families are likely more homogeneous** than the americun families. and by homogeneous i mean genetically homogeneous. u know — sveeeeedes mating with other sveeeeedes unlike in the states where sveeeeedes might mate with germans or italians or irish or blacks or, worst of all, some of those norveeeeegians!

why should that matter?

well, the whole point here is that step-parents are less genetically related to their step-kids than to their real-kids and are, therefore, more likely to kill their step-kids than their real-kids (if they’re gonna kill them at all, that is). killing your real-kids does NOT help with your inclusive fitness. killing your step-kids — sure. why support some other guy’s|woman’s kids? that’s no good for your genes.

but what if the population is very homogeneous genetically speaking? what if the individuals across a population are quite alike in their genetic make-up? what if the population has, for a very long time, avoided inbreeding on a very local basis (unlike some other populations which have become very “tribal” as a result of their localized inbreeding)?

in such a society in which individuals are quite alike genetically you’d expect to see lots of altruism across the board — more than in, say, afghanistan. you wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if they were quite happy to share with everyone else in their society ’cause they’d be “thinking”, hey, all those other people share a lot of my genes anyway! and if the individuals are quite alike genetically, then you’d also think they’d be, well, more interchangeable.

and then, on the flip-side, would it matter soooo much if you killed your step-kid or your own-kid? meh. not so much.

obviously it would still matter, i think, but maybe not soooo much. (especially not so much if you’re a violent, low-iq low-life.) ’cause they’re kinda interchangeable, remember?

it certainly wouldn’t matter so much as if your step-kids are actually german-american while you’re sveeeeedish-american. or if your step-kids are italian-american while you’re irish-american. maybe then it makes even more sense to get rid of your step-kids, if you’re so inclined.

i suspect that there are different rates of filicide by natural- and step-parents in different populations due to varying “levels of relatedness” within different populations. the more unrelated you are to your step-kid, the more it makes sense to not favor that kid or even to get rid of him altogether.

that’s just a thought, of course.

in any case, a little hbd in evolutionary psychology might go a long way. evo psych needs to shake off the cosmides & toby notion that all of our drives evolved when our ancestors were hunters & gatherers. we’ve moved past that now and evolutionary psychologists need to start taking human biodiversity into account more often.

**well, the sveeeeedish researchers looked at homicides of kids between 1965 and 2009. in the earlier part of their sample i’d guess that these families were pretty much all swedish since sweden has only recently become a multi-cultural society. as for the last decade, i dunno. would be interesting to know the ethnic|genetic backgrounds there.

update 01/17: see also killing kids & step-kids, part ii

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