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August 4, 2017 / JayMan

The Five Laws of Behavioral Genetics

(This is also published at The Unz Review.)

The time has come for a review post on the laws of behavioral genetics. I will talk about why these laws are laws and why they are important. Eventually, this will be merged into my Behavioral Genetics Page, but for now, I will start with this primer.

The five laws of behavioral genetics are:

  1. All human behavioral traits are heritable
  2. The effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes.
  3. A substantial portion of the variation in complex human behavioral traits is not accounted for by the effects of genes or families.
  4. A typical human behavioral trait is associated with very many genetic variants, each of which accounts for a very small percentage of the behavioral variability.
  5. All phenotypic relationships are to some degree genetically mediated or confounded.

All are simple. All can be said in one sentence. Yet all are incredibly profound and terribly underappreciated in today’s society.

For most of the history of the laws, there were only three. The first three were coined by Eric Turkheimer (who has since spent his time trying to undermine his own discovery). Recent genomic studies have added the fourth (Chabris et al, 2015). And Emil Kirkegaard has proposed the fifth based on multivariate behavioral genetic studies. Allow me to review the five laws and their everyday significance.

First Law: All human behavioral traits are heritable.

Derivation:

  • Identical twins raised apart will be similar – and usually highly similar in every conceivable measurement
  • More generally, behavioral and other phenotypic similarity is predicted by genetic similarity for all behaviors and phenotypes, across all human relations, regardless of environmental circumstances. That is, identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins or full siblings, who are more similar than half-siblings, who are more similar than first cousins, and so on ad infintum.

This is underappreciated because this means that all human characteristics, including the things we feel are products of “free choice” or “free will” are in fact heavily dependent on genetic forces. This includes life circumstances, such as where and how you live – even how you grew up. Free will doesn’t exist. Political, religious, and moral views are themselves partly enshrined in the genes. This (or, more specifically, additive heritability) is responsible for continuity within families and within social and ethnic groups. And this is why human societies and behavioral quirks persist, resistant to change.

Second Law: The effect of being raised in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes.

Derivation:

  • Identical twins raised apart are no less similar than identical twins raised together
  • Non-related individuals reared together are no more similar than random strangers
  • More generally, people growing up together are no more similar than you’d expect from their genetic relationship alone

Also under appreciated, the Second Law talks about the “shared environment” – parents, peers, schools, neighborhoods – all the things children growing up in the same household share. The effect of all those things on any behavioral trait or other phenotype is nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. All the things people (especially in the modern West) think matter to children’s development have no effect at all. This includes expensive schools, nice homes, strict discipline, religious indoctrination – none of it matters. No adult outcome shows any effect of shared environment, this includes criminality, marital stability, income, adult happiness, and substance abuse (though note, educational attainment seems to be affected by shared environment, but even here, the effect of education goes away when you look at income). It just doesn’t matter. This strikes squarely against popular belief, making the second law the most vehemently denied of them all.

Third Law: A substantial portion of the variation in complex human behavioural traits is not accounted for by the effects of genes or families.

Derivation:

  • Identical twins (even raised together) are in fact far from identical and differ in significant ways
  • In general, there will be variance left over once genes and shared environmental effects are accounted for

Identical twins may have different handedness, have different fingerprints, and indeed, can differ in criminal history (such as perpetrating a mass shooting).

 

More poignantly, identical twins can (and in fact, in cases where at least one is gay, usually do) differ in sexual orientation.

Twins differ substantially for cancer incidence – despite having very similar lifestyle habits, indicating that these factors don’t do as much as many think.

Now, while a good bit of this of left over variance turns out to actually be measurement error (i.e., twins are even more similar than they first appear when you watch them long enough/better), the Third Law means that there is more to the story that straight-up genetic forces. Many commenters here try to fill in the blanks with the usual environmental suspects (e.g., schools, peers, differential parental treatment) – ignoring the lessons of the Second Law which shows the nonexistence of any effect of these things. As fingerprints indicate, there are deep developmental forces at work that render many of these ideas unnecessary – indeed, nonsensical in many cases. Or, in the case of sexual oriental, the distinguishing force may be something largely outside our control, such as pathogens (see Greg Cochran’s “Gay Germ” Hypothesis – An Exercise in the Power of Germs). The Third Law indicates that chance effects can dash our best laid plans.

Fourth Law: A typical human behavioral trait is associated with very many genetic variants, each of which accounts for a very small percentage of the behavioral variability.

Derivation:

  • Genomic studies have found few genetic variants that have a large effect on behavioral traits

This is mostly of concern for breeding or for genetic engineering. This puts the kibosh on simplistic notions of a “gene for X”, because in reality there are a plethora of genetic variants at play in a given behavioral trait. This is why, despite the progress being made in genetic modification, it will be still a while yet before “made to order” designer babies are a reality.

Fifth Law: All phenotypic relationships are to some degree genetically mediated or confounded.

Derivation:

  • Whenever there is an association between two phenotypes (such as poverty and crime), there will be a genetic association driving both

And finally, I come to Emil Kirkegaard’s newly coined law, one that is vastly underappreciated. This was drawn from studies like those of Amir Sariaslan’s and others showing the confounded nature of phenotypical associations (even extended phenotypes like social circumstances). This essentially strikes at the heart of modern social science (and for that matter, medical science), which assumes, wrongly, that association between social and/or behavioral factors is an indication that one causes the other. In reality, genetic forces cause both. Indeed, we see this with health and lifestyle: people who exercise more have fewer/later health problems and live longer, so naturally conventional wisdom interprets this to mean that exercise leads to health and longer life, when in reality healthy people are driven to exercise and have better health due to their genes.

* * *

I could go on and also talk about another thing that bugs me, namely twin control studies, which basically apply a version of the confounded wisdom seen in the Fifth Law. Namely such studies assume that correlations in unshared environment (i.e., the matter of the Third Law) as causal, ignoring the substance of the Third Law in the process (i.e., unshared biological forces could cause both factors of interest). But, this will be a topic for another day.

These are dangerous times for biosocial science – societal and political forces make this matter difficult to discuss or research. A reckoning is approaching, and it is unclear how it will turn out. In the mean time, technology and our understanding of the forces at play marches on, waiting for our society to catch up.

 

 

 

 

February 8, 2017 / JayMan

The Genetics of the American Nations

(This is also published at The Unz Review)

Throughout my American Nations series (based on the books American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard and Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer) I’ve talked about how North America is divided into distinct ethnocultural regions based on historic settlement patterns.

North American Nations 4 3

These various regions are visible in many ways, from dialect, politics, enlistment in the military, support for marijuana, average IQ (Maps of the American Nations), attitudes towards the death penalty, abortion, guns, same-sex marriage, and school corporal punishment, as well as overall health, lifespan, and behaviors such as smoking and drug use (More Maps of the American Nations & HBD Is Life and Death):

US_enlisted_recruits_by_state_map


Support for same-sex marriage

Support for same-sex marriage

White Age-Adjusted traffic death rates county 2004-2010

Previously I’ve established that these boundaries reflect genetic differences among different Americans in different places. This is because all human behavioral traits are heritable, with “nurture” (as it’s commonly thought of) playing a minimal to nonexistent role in each. This means that genetic differences between different peoples lead to differences in their behavioral traits, which, collectively, manifests as cultural differences. As John Derbyshire put it, “if dimensions of the individual human personality are heritable, then society is just a vector sum of a lot of individual personalities.” See my Behavioral Genetics Page for more.

It’s also important to note that (as I’ve discussed previously in this series) assimilation is largely an illusion. Cultural and behavioral characteristics can persist for many generations as long as the people who exhibit them remain.

And now, a new paper in Nature bears out the genetic roots of the American nations. In “Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America” (Han et al, 2017), we see that Americans can easily be partitioned into distinct regional clusters:

These clusters map very closely to the boundaries of the American nations, as we can see when they’re superimposed:

american-nations-genetics-nature

Using the vast genomic database of Ancestry.com, the authors were able to partition Americans into distinct clusters. As the authors report:

Here we identify very recent fine-scale population structure in North America from a network of over 500 million genetic (identity-by-descent, IBD) connections among 770,000 genotyped individuals of US origin. We detect densely connected clusters within the network and annotate these clusters using a database of over 20 million genealogical records. Recent population patterns captured by IBD clustering include immigrants such as Scandinavians and French Canadians; groups with continental admixture such as Puerto Ricans; settlers such as the Amish and Appalachians who experienced geographic or cultural isolation; and broad historical trends, including reduced north-south gene flow. Our results yield a detailed historical portrait of North America after European settlement and support substantial genetic heterogeneity in the United States beyond that uncovered by previous studies.

They describe their methods:

To investigate recent, fine-scale population structure in the United States, we leveraged one of the largest human genetic data sets assembled to date: genome-wide genotypes of 774, 516 individuals born (96%) or currently residing (4%) in the United States (Supplementary Table 1; Supplementary Fig. 1). All individuals were genotyped at 709, 358 autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the Illumina Human OmniExpress platform as part of the AncestryDNA direct-to-consumer genetic test, and have consented to participate in research (Methods). In this sample, we analysed patterns of identity-by-descent (IBD)16, which have been shown to reveal signatures of recent demographic history3,17,18,19,20,21. If two individuals share an ancestor from the recent past, they will likely carry one or more long chromosomal segments inherited IBD from that ancestor.

In short, their giant sample and rich genealogical data allowed them to detect large patterns of shared ancestry in living Americans. And, as expected the American nations clearly emerge from the genetic data. 

How did this pattern emerge? In short, this is ultimately the result of the four British folkways of Albion’s Seed. Here the genetic data show that they remain alive and well. Previously, in my post Genes, Climate, and Even More Maps of the American Nations, we saw that the founding British colonists came from distinct parts of the British Isles and settled in different parts of North America. The founding British stock are themselves visible in the genetic data, as we saw from fine-scale analysis of Britain (Leslie et al 2015, ungated link here):

1.17136UK-origins3

As I put it in Genes, Climate, and Even More Maps of the American Nations:

Genetic differences between groups of people, once established, persist as long as the different groups do until diluted or erased by admixture (this is known as the Founder effect). As well, new differences can emerge within a single population as selective migration leads this initial population to fission into two or more daughter populations (see here and here – more on that to follow).

In short, tiny genetic differences between two groups of people can lead to large differences in behavioral traits. This extents to all facets of human behavior – a point driven home by a recent paper correlating linguistic diversity across Europe with genetic diversity there (Longobardi et al, 2015).

But why do the American nations follow the pattern that they do? It turns out that this pattern was hardly a coincidence.

The founding colonial groups landed at various spots across the North American east coast:
wood_landing

From there, the nations spread westward across the continent. However, they did so in a certain way, as the next map will show:

Climate North America Nations

[…]

Geography dictated the settlement of the country:

wood_expansionAn example of this process can be seen in the settlement of the “upper Midwest” (Hudson, 1986):

yankeeland.middle.westSettlers moved to places where they could easily transplant their way of life. Areas of similar climate obviously aided in that aim. In the upper Midwest, Yankee and Midland settlers were joined by German and Scandinavian immigrants (as detailed in the preceding posts), who were also coming to areas climatically similar to their old homes.

These settlements have left their genetic as well as cultural mark across the continent.

Now, it’s important to understand what these data actually mean. These clusters do not mean that the descendants of the colonial settlers are numerically dominant in their respective regions, because they are not. Over the course of the continent’s history, the descendants of the original settlers were joined by subsequent immigrants, mostly other Europeans, who themselves settled in different parts of the country. As we saw previously in Demography Is Destiny, American Nations Edition:

ancestries mapped fulford

ancestry timeline

(Tables are from Fulford, Petkov, and Schiantarelli, 2015). These other ethnic groups have a huge impact on the character of the modern United States (and Canada), as we saw on display during the recent presidential election (see The Donald Trump Phenomenon: Part 1: The American Nations).

So what then do the clusters of Han et al mean? While the original colonial ancestry of the country has been overrun by subsequent migrants, the founding stock remain as a genetic undercurrent – a common genetic thread – within each American nation. This is especially true in the nations of the American South, where the colonial settlers received less subsequent migration and the original stock remains strong. As Han et al put it:

Taken together with the IBD network clustering results (Table 1), the visualizations of the genealogical data in North America (Fig. 3) highlight broad-scale demographic trends, as well as patterns specific to individual populations

The five largest clusters (third set of rows in Table 1), which we describe as assimilated immigrant clusters, account for a large portion (60%) of the IBD network and exhibit a markedly different profile. Lacking distinctive affiliations to non-US populations, they show almost no differentiation in allele frequencies (FST at most 0.001; Supplementary Table 5) and high levels of IBD to non-cluster members (Supplementary Data 2), suggestive of high gene flow between these clusters. Moreover, few members of these clusters could be assigned to a stable subset, indicating that this clustering is largely driven by continuous variation in IBD. Genealogical data reveal a north-to-south trend (Fig. 5), most consistently east of the Mississippi River (Fig. 3). These findings imply greater east-west than north-south gene flow, which is broadly consistent with recent westward expansion of European settlers in the United States, and possibly somewhat limited north-south migration due to cultural differences.

The descendants of the Puritans, for example, while hardly the dominant genetic group across Yankeedom, nonetheless cluster together because people across Greater New England share that ancestry. This is true for the other nations as well.

Curiously, Han et al seem to have found two distinct currents of Appalachian settlement. I’m unclear about what this represents.

Some more interesting bits of information appear when you dig into Han et al’s supplementary info:

yankee-anno

For Yankeedom, we see that the inferred genetic origin area is encompasses East Anglia and Kent, the home of the Puritan settlers. We also see the Scandinavian signal that is the home of many Mormon converts.

This group is also evident along the Left Coast, reflecting the Yankees’ historical settlement there.

quaker-anno

For the Midlands, we see that the inferred source area is around Yorkshire in England. Also, the strong German signal corresponds to the Palatine.

appalachia-anno-1

appalachian-anno-2

For some reason, two Appalachian populations seem to appear. The main difference in Europe appears to be a stronger signal from Germany in the northern population.

cavalier-anno

For the Tidewater and Deep South, the home of the English Cavaliers (see The Cavaliers) in Southwest England is evidence. The Scottish link (presumably Scots-Irish that settled in the Deep South) is also visible.

east-euro-german
These are the “Midwestern immigrants”. As expected, this group is heavily Scandinavian and Eastern European (mostly Polish and Czech/Slovak). However, what’s interesting to me here is that the German settlement here is different from the Germans that settled in the east. These Germans aren’t so heavily from the Palatine, but are from farther north and east. This is interesting in light of my earlier post Germania’s Seed?; different German-Americans in different parts of the country hail from different parts of Germany. Behavioral differences among these different German-Americans are expected.

The genetic data now serve as the final confirmation of the existence of the American nations (if the mass of other data wasn’t already sufficient). These regional differences have and continue to have huge implications for American society, including the ongoing cultural and political struggle that is now playing out.

Indeed, even in the 2016 presidential election (despite being a bit less regionally skewed than previous years) the American nations still were clearly divided in same ways they were previously:

vote-by-nation-2016

This is from Woodard’s How Colin Woodard’s ‘American Nations’ explains the 2016 presidential election. There he gives a fine analysis of the regional split in the vote. Rest assured, the divide would be more stark if the White vote alone were examined, especially for the Tidewater, the Deep South, and the Far West.

Trump did manage to pick up considerable support in Yankeedom and the Midlands relative to 2012 and 2008, but the regional split remains.

2012-2008-vote-by-nation

As it has remained throughout the country’s history. Understanding these divides will be key to understanding our country and its future.

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January 26, 2017 / JayMan

Broken Links/Images

Things go offline on the internet (a massive pain in the butt). If you find any broken links or missing images on my many posts, columns, and pages, please do report them here. Once I get a list compiled, I’ll try to fix them.

 

January 16, 2017 / JayMan

Clannishness – The Series: A Finer-Grained Look at How It Happened

(This is also published at The Unz Review)

In my earlier entry (Clannishness – The Series: How It Happened), we saw that the thing that made the difference between WEIRD Northwestern Europeans and their more clannish neighbors was the selective pressures that each underwent during their histories – particularly since the fall of Rome until the present. This era in time established the conditions in which different sort of individuals survived and reproduced, eventually leading to the modern world as we know it.

As before, it is to be understood that these differences have a genetic basis. That is, they are heritable. This means that genetic differences between different peoples lead to differences in their behavioral traits, which, collectively, manifests as cultural differences. We should be clear that all human behavioral traits are heritable, with “nurture” (as it’s commonly thought of) playing a minimal to nonexistent role in each. As John Derbyshire put it, “if dimensions of the individual human personality are heritable, then society is just a vector sum of a lot of individual personalities.”. See my Behavioral Genetics Page for more. The rest of this entry proceeds assuming an understanding of this reality.

To recap, in Northwestern Europe it was bipartite manorialism that selected for a certain type of people not seen elsewhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

In Eastern and Southern Europe, and much everywhere else in the world, it the selective factor was the various forms of “vicious” societies, where heavy dependence on relatives for social life selected for individuals who were “particularist” (as opposed to universalist NW Euros) and distrustful of outsiders. As HBD Chick put it:

part of william hamilton‘s theory of inclusive fitness/kin selection, which explains how altruism ever could’ve arisen at all (altruism here having a very specific definition), is that it should be possible for genes for altruism to be selected for if close kin interact regularly. kin don’t need to recognize one another for altruism to be selected for. as long as closely related individuals don’t move far from one another — that is, if a population is viscous — selection for altruism might happen.

i can’t see why this couldn’t also apply to lesser forms of altruism, not just the kind where you sacrifice your life for two brothers or eight cousins. you know what i mean. like: reciprocal altruism or nepotistic altruism. or just pro-social behaviors. whatever you want to call them. seems to me that nepotistic behaviors ought to be selected for more easily in viscous populations (if they increase fitness, of course).

and some populations are more viscous than others

But beyond this, there are great differences between different NW European countries, along with great differences between different clannish societies. Why is this? No doubt, part of the answer is the precise selective pressures each experienced. Let us try to take a look at what those may have been.

This entry will also be a sequel to my earlier post, More on Farming and Inheritance Systems – Part I: IQ – consider this Part II to that post. There I discussed the IQ differences across Europe, and how they could have arose. I will return to that topic and expand on it a bit here.

The differences among peoples of Europe proceeds on a sort of gradient, which is visible when you look at the World Values Survey data:

Indeed, as HBD Chick’s modifications (from the one where i draw squiggly lines all over the welzel-inglehart cultural map | hbd chick) make it clear:

The left image are the countries within the Hajnal line, while the right are countries that have practiced father’s brother’s daughter marriage.

Across these regions, many social indices proceed along this broad gradient. WEIRDness peaks in the areas bordering the North Sea (England, the Netherlands, northern France, southern Scandinavia) and diminishes in all directions from there. This area is also the area of peak human accomplishment (see Clannishness – The Series: Zigzag Lightning in the Brain and “core europe” and human accomplish-ment | hbd chick), which likewise roughly diminishes in all directions from there.

WVS axes

Why is this? I’d argue that two main selective factors are involved, at least with respect to HBD Chick’s theory. (I will also discuss two other important selective pressures not directly related to HBD Chick’s theory below).

One was simply the length of time under the manorial system. The longer a selective pressure is (consistently) applied, the stronger the evolutionary change that occurs. The manor first appeared in Austrasia (roughly northern France) and spread outward from there.

The second factor is the farming and inheritance systems that arose – in part due to geography and climate, in part due to the characteristics of the people who adopted them:
todds-family-system-map-rings

 

We see that the farming and inheritance systems form roughly concentric rings outward from the North Sea. One could imagine that the social systems of each became steadily more “viscous” as you moved away from the North Sea.

Indeed, by the time you reach Eastern Europe, you find that there was a period of actual communal living. In Russia, farming peasants (the bulk of the population) lived in communes, the Obshchina, an arrangement that persisted into the 20th century. Wikipedia has this to say about these (emphasis added):

The organization of the peasant mode of production is the primary cause for the type of social structure found in the Obshchina. The relationship between the individual peasant, the family, and the community leads to a specific social structure categorized by the creation of familial alliances to apportion risks between members of the community. In the Obshchina alliances were formed primarily through marriage and common descent of kin. Usually the eldest members of the household made up the Mir to govern the redistribution of land. The families came together to form a community that depended on making taxes more equitable and the concept of mutual help. Jovan E. Howe writes, “The economic relations so established are essentially distributive: through various categories of exchanges of both products and labor, temporary imbalances such as those occasioned by insufficient labor power of a newly-established family unit or a catastrophic loss, which places one unit at an unfair reproductive disadvantage in relation to its allies, are evened out.[2] In addition the alliance system had residual communal rights, sharing exchanges during shortages as well as certain distributive exchanges. Furthermore the structure defined by these alliances and risk-sharing measures were regulated by scheduling and the ritualization of time. Howe writes, “the traditional calendar of the Russian peasants was a guide for day-to-day living. The names attached to calendar dates, the calendrical periods into which they were grouped, the day on the week on which each fell, and the sayings connected with them encoded information about when to undertake tasks, but also about when not to work, when it was necessary to perform symbolic actions, take part in rituals and compulsory celebrations”.[3]

Peasants (i.e. three-quarters of the population of Russia) formed a class apart,[4] largely excepted from the incidence of the ordinary law, and governed in accordance with their local customs. The mir itself, with its customs, is of immemorial antiquity; it was not, however, until the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 that the village community was withdrawn from the patrimonial jurisdiction of the landowning nobility and endowed with self-government. The assembly of the mir consists of all the peasant householders of the village.[5] These elect a Village Elder (starosta) and a collector of taxes, who was responsible, at least until the ukaz of October 1906, which abolished communal responsibility for the payment of taxes, for the repartition among individuals of the taxes imposed on the commune. A number of mirs are united into a volost, which has an assembly consisting of elected delegates from the mirs.

This is a quintessential viscous society, and vastly different from the corporate, more atomized ways of Northwestern Europeans at the time. (See also M.G.’s post on the matter: Those Who Can See: The Tsar is Far).

Whereas the circum-North Sea peoples depended on free movement of people and impressing themselves among non-relatives, the inhabitants in the more peripheral European areas had to rely on family or distinct structured alliances with particular people. Democracy flourishes in Northwestern Europe (for better or worse) and is distinctly weaker to the south, east, and in the Celtic fringe – where particularism and strategic social alliances reign.

It should be said here for those that don’t notice that the gradient along the WEIRDO-clannish dimension exists within various European countries.

Great Britain:

UK-origins31.17136

Ireland:

France:

From Differences Between the North and South of France – As Told By Dana

 French people all over are wonderfully nice (I was even published about it!). However, I find people in the north to be friendlier and less superficial than people in the south. Although people in the north may tend to be a bit more initially reserved, they quickly become so friendly when you get to know them! On the other hand, southerners are upfront quite nice, but it is often only surface level.

I am cat-called and harassed on the street a billion times more in the south than I ever was in the north.

Life’s pace in the south, especially when it comes to work, is much slower and more leisurely.

This may be contrary to the “leisurely lifestyle” but many French people here in the south (as well as Paris) drive like absolute maniacs!

The styles of houses are very different. Houses in the south, specifically in the Côte d’Azur, are very colorful … In the north of France, houses are built with wood or stone, but in a very different Nomadic or Germanic style.

(Indeed, many of these differences within France sound like the broad difference between Northern and Southern Europe.)

This map of the results of the 2012 French presidential election (from Wikipedia):

2012_french_presidential_election_-_first_round_-_majority_vote_metropolitan_france_communes-svg

french-2012-election-key

Spain (from Comparing PISA With GDP Per Capita In Spain And Italy | A Reluctant Apostate):

spaincompare640

GDP per capita left, 2009 PISA scores right.

Italy:

Also from Comparing PISA With GDP Per Capita In Spain And Italy | A Reluctant Apostate, GDP per capita left, 2009 PISA scores right:

italycompare640

See also Those Who Can See: Chalk and cheese

Germany:

See also my earlier entry Germania’s Seed?

Scandinavia:

All of these differences exist in the direction of the gradient of clannishness radiating from the North Sea.

Of course, by the time you reach the Middle East and the Maghreb, you have life in actual clans, with high levels of inbreeding even up to the present day: (image sources here and here):

Inclusive fitness and highly viscous societies select for the highly nepotistic and incredibly corrupt societies we see there. See Those Who Can See: Why Re-Colonization? Commonweal Orientation and The Clannish World of Organized Crime | Staffan’s Personality Blog for more.

The key fact is that the fine details of the selective pressures explain the traits of the people, which in turn explains the society they create. (Which of course goes on to shape selective pressures, and hence the traits and hence societies of future people – gene-culture co-evolution).

Geography and climate is a big factor in social organization, as discussed before at More on Farming and Inheritance Systems – Part I: IQ:

The left is a map of the average minimum winter temperatures across Europe; the right is a map of average annual precipitation. While Europe has experienced several climatic swings throughout the Middle Ages, a general pattern can be seen here. While Eastern Europe is in general colder and drier than Western Europe, the Northeast is much colder than the Southeast, leading to the infamously brutal Russian winters.

Farming systems were in large part influenced by climate, which in turn affected social and inheritance systems. Indeed, as noted about France here: Differences Between the North and South of France – As Told By Dana:

because the weather in the south is so much better, people naturally spend more time outside, and therefore consequently meet and interact with more people on a daily basis. However, it’s sometimes hard to spend quality time with so many people, so the relationships are not always as deep. In the north on the other hand, people spend much more time inside because the weather is not so good during the winter, and as a consequence they spend time with fewer people. However, the people they do spend time with they are very close to. So, although it takes a much longer time to meet people in the north, once you’re friends, you’re friends for life, and you’ll tend to have long, meaningful relationships.

Introversion is more common in colder areas generally, as discussed in my earlier post Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality.

But, as we’ve seen before, one thing that varies across Europe, particularly in a roughly north-south gradient is average IQ. HBD Chick’s theory alone doesn’t completely explain the IQ differences that exist, which brings me to another key force, Clark-Unz selection.

As Gregory Clark discussed in his book A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World – and as Ron Unz posited in How Social Darwinism Made Modern China | The American Conservative, in medieval times, the wealthiest, most intelligent (see also Tollnek & Baten 2012) individuals had more surviving offspring in Europe and in Northeast Asia (see also Peter Frost Does the Clark-Unz model apply to Japan and Korea?). Over time, this led to the evolution of of increased average IQ in these areas, leading to their modern levels.

However, average IQ is significantly lower in south. Why? One factor is that without harsh winter conditions, Clark-Unz selection is less efficient. Poorer and less intelligent individuals also survived and reproduced in sufficient numbers.

Finally, an important selective factor in shaping the modern world, in addition to HBD Chick’s selection and Clark-Unz selection, is state pacification, Frost-Harpending selection:

BydoE2BIgAA43cP.jpg large

As Peter Frost writes:

While war has always been with us, personal violence has been declining in Western societies over the last millennium.

Courts imposed the death penalty more and more often and, by the late Middle Ages, were condemning to death between 0.5 and 1.0% of all men of each generation, with perhaps just as many offenders dying at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, the homicide rate plummeted from the 14th century to the 20th, decreasing forty-fold. The pool of violent men dried up until most murders occurred under conditions of jealousy, intoxication, or extreme stress.

The immediate causes were legal and cultural: harsher punishment and a shift in popular attitudes toward the violent male—who went from hero to zero. This new social environment, however, also tended to favor the survival and reproduction of individuals who would less easily resort to violence on their own initiative. Given that aggressive behavior is moderately to highly heritable, as shown by twin studies, is it possible that the high rate of capital punishment gradually removed propensities for violence from the gene pool? This hypothesis is modeled by Frost and Harpending, who conclude that such natural selection could explain a little over half of the reduction in the homicide rate. The rest of the decline may have partly resulted from violent men being increasingly marginalized in society and on the marriage market.

We see a steep decline in rates of violence across Europe:

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HBD Chick had noted that the timing of this pattern follows the Hajnal line (see historic european homicide rates … and the hajnal line | hbd chick):

pinker-eisner-reduction-of-homicide-in-europe-over-time-02

Frost and Hapending 2015 analyze the effects of historic executions and rates of violence across Europe. (This process likely also occurred across much of Northeast Asia.) They themselves note that the selective coefficient they devised explains much of what we see, but it insufficient to explain all of the decline.

I posit that it is the combination of all three of these forces, “HBD Chick selection (bipartite manorialism and subsequent atomized/corporate societies), Clark-Unz selection (tendency for the wealthiest and brightest to have more surviving offspring), and Frost-Harpending selection (execution of violent individuals) acted in concert in a synergistic arrangement to produce the NW Europeans we know today. The precise combination of all these forces (along with basic geographic, climatic, and food production factors) produced the varying degree of traits we see across Eurasia and North Africa today.

Indeed, beyond evolution by natural selection itself, it is amazing that there are other general trends. But geographic realities (as well as simple proximity) served to create a geographic pattern to selective pressures, and hence the societies we see today. For better or worse, these explain the features of these societies, and the consequences of such.

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January 11, 2017 / JayMan

JayMan Jr. Turns Three!

The little man has turned three years old! Doesn’t it feel like yesterday that you were reading an irreverent HBD’er and heard the great news?

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December 25, 2016 / JayMan

Merry Christmas!

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December 19, 2016 / JayMan

Clannishness – The Series: How It Happened

(This is also published at The Unz Review)

My earlier entry (Clannishness – the Series: Zigzag Lightning in the Brain) established that there are deep distinctions between Northwestern European peoples and most of the rest of the world, and that these differences have a huge impact on the world, including on levels of human development, the strength of democracy and democratic institutions, scientific output, and levels of social trust. If you’re unfamiliar with this division, the previous entry and materials linked within cover it all in extensive detail.

But the question is, how did it happen? How did these divisions come to be? Well, of course, my answer is evolution through natural selection – specifically, gene-culture co-evolution.

Before we can ascribe these differences to evolution, it must be understood that these differences have a genetic basis. That is, they are heritable. This means that genetic differences between different peoples lead to differences in their behavioral traits, which, collectively, manifests as cultural differences. We should be clear that all human behavioral traits are heritable, with “nurture” (as it’s commonly thought of) playing a minimal to nonexistent role in each.  As John Derbyshire put it, “if dimensions of the individual human personality are heritable, then society is just a vector sum of a lot of individual personalities.”. See my Behavioral Genetics Page for more. The rest of this entry proceeds assuming an understanding of this reality.

Now, it’s also very important to understand that evolution proceeds quicker than you’ve been led to believe. Certainly a lot faster than mainstream ideology posits (i.e., claiming that human evolution somehow came to a halt 50,000 years ago) which is demonstrably nonsense:

Global-Lactose-Intolerance

As seen in both the age of genetic variants and the distribution of lactose tolerance, much human evolution took place within the last 5,000-10,000 years.

But evolution can proceed within the space of a few centuries, as governed by the breeder’s equation. A few centuries of sustained selective pressure can make a considerable impact on the characteristics of a human group. We see that with Ashkenazi Jews, whose high IQ (and many other traits) evolved only within the last 2,000 years.

With all of this out of the way, what selective pressures explain the differences between Northwestern Europeans and the rest of the world? Here, we can, for now, only hypothesize. As opposed to the reality of the differences, which is easy to establish, how these differences came to be is a harder puzzle to untangle. That said, we do have some good ideas.

One aspect is that cousin marriage rates were historically very low in Northwestern Europe as opposed to the rest of the world. This would have an effect on the relationship coefficient between related individuals, having an impact on the returns for kin altruism and hence kin selection (see a table and short discussion in my earlier entry “Ethnic Genetic Interests” Do Not Exist (Neither Does Group Selection). Now while kin selection was involved, it couldn’t have been a dominant force, because kin selection is relatively weak in humans. But maybe factors that came into play along with this were involved.

In Northwestern Europe, that was likely predominantly bipartite manorialism:

 

The areas of Northwestern Europe that exhibit their peculiar suite of traits also went under the peculiar institution of bipartite manorialism. As HBD Chick describes here (from medieval manorialism’s selection pressures | hbd chick):

“every society selects for something.” — greg cochran

every society selects for something. it does take some time for selection pressures to make a difference when it comes to the frequencies of “genes for” various behavioral traits, of course (unless the culling is extreme): twenty generations, maybe. forty is probably better. a few hundred?

working theory is that manorialism set up selection pressures for a whole suite of traits including perhaps: slow life histories; future time orientation; delayed gratification; the good ol’ protestant work ethic; a general compliant nature and even rather strong tendencies toward conformity; perhaps even a high degree of gullibility; perhaps a few extra iq points; and even more cooperation and trust between unrelated individuals.

manorialism — “classic,” bipartite manorialism (more on that below) — started with the franks in austrasia by at least the 600s or perhaps earlier and spread gradually southwards with the frankish conquest of, well, france and eastwards during the ostsiedlung. we find it just across the channel in southern england very early as well — there are references to what sounds like features of a manor system in the laws of king ine of wessex (688-726) [see mitterauer, pg. 43]. the medieval european manor system originated, then, roughly in the area outlined in green below (yes — this is the very same area where the Outbreeding Project began.

classic manorialism was introduced to southern france (but bypassed some more remote areas like the massif central) as those regions were conquered by the merovingians and carolingians between the fifth and eighth centuries and to northern spain around the eighth and ninth centuries. the bipartite manor system never reached the southern regions of spain that were controlled by the moors. there was a rudimentary form of manorialism in northern italy even before the area was made a part of the carolingian empire, but the region was heavily manorialized (especially by ecclesiastical monasteries) after charlemagne conquered the lombard kingdom in the 770s. classic, bipartite manorialism was never adopted in central or southern italy or sicily — nowhere in the byzantine world, in fact.

the franks also pushed eastwards, introducing the manor system to central europe, beginning in the eighth century. the border of this eastward movement was, for a couple hundred years or so, the eastern boundary of the carolingian empire (look familiar?)

the “classic” form of manorialism never reached the farthest parts of eastern europe.

in scandinavia, denmark was heavily manorialized relatively early i believe (probably around the time of the first wave of the ostsiedlung, although i must check the dates), and manorialism was also very much present southern sweden (scania). the more northerly parts of scandinavia — norway, northern sweden (or sweden north of scania), the swedish-settled areas of finland — didn’t have manors per se, but were covered by a unique version of “manorialism” in which much of the population was under the thumb of the church (and sometimes petty aristocratic landowners).

This details the spread of bipartite manorialism. Here HBD Chick talks about the selective pressures it imposed:

– the bipartite estate. the bipartite estate was a key aspect of classical (north)western european manorialism. basically, the manor was divided into two parts: the lord’s part — his farm or demesne — and the peasants’ or serfs’ parts — all their individual farms. the serfs or villeins or whatever you want to call them (there were multiple categories of these peasant farmers and a range of names for them) each had farms to work which were granted to them by the lords (keep in mind that sometimes those “lords” were bishops or monks who ran the monasteries). in the earlier part of the medieval period, the serfs owed labor to the lord of the manor as payment — they were obliged to help work the lord’s demesne — but they also independently worked the farms which they were granted, both to sustain themselves and perhaps make a little profit by selling any extra produce to the neighbors or in a market. there were other obligations, too, but the above was the fundamental gist of the whole system. later in the medieval period, the duty to provide labor switched over to a more simple and direct rent system.

also early on in the period, serfs were given (or assigned) farms to work by the lord of the manor. as a young man, you might not be given the same farm that you grew up on — that your parents had worked — especially not if your father/parents were still productive workers. the lord of the manor, or his steward, would just grant you another farm on the manor to work…if there was one available…and if he chose to do so (presumably based on your merit or your familiy’s record). this system eventually changed as well into one in which a son (typically the eldest son) would “inherit” the farm that his father/parents had worked. not sure when this happened. must find out.

not everyone who was a member of a manor operation would be granted a farm to run. some individuals were just laborers on the manor (“cottagers” in england, for example), and there were plenty of domestic servants serving in the manor house, too.

not everyone who was a member of a manor operation would be granted a farm to run. some individuals were just laborers on the manor (“cottagers” in england, for example), and there were plenty of domestic servants serving in the manor house, too.

i think that there are potentially selection pressures here for several different traits or qualities. if we ask ourselves, what sort of individual would’ve done best living in this bipartite estate system, i.e. which individuals with which sorts of traits would’ve managed to reproduce the most, i think it might’ve been people with qualities including: being hard-working or industrious — those that made the most of the farm grant and produced the most food to support the most number of kids and even to sell extra produce for a profit; perhaps smarter than some of the neighbors (like the cottagers) — for the same reasons as hard-working; future time oriented — you had to be patient and wait for a farm to become available, or later in the period wait for your father to hand over the farm or die, and not start philandering about the manor before you could afford to raise kids (you also might not be granted a farm, or acquire yourself a husband, if your reputation was ruined beforehand); slow life histories — those individuals who could hold off on reproducing too early would’ve been rewarded with farms, those that did not would’ve been shunned and would lose the opportunity to reproduce further; and compliancy — you didn’t rail (too much) against the man in the manor, and anyone that did wouldn’t have gotten a farm and may have, if they caused too much trouble, been shipped off to a monastery for life.

a classic (north)western european manor, then, almost sounds like a 1960s hippie kibbutz, at least when it came to the relatedness of the individuals on the estate. (unlike a hippie kibbutz, though, The Man was clearly in charge.) the people living and working on a medieval manor in (north)western europe were not all members of one extended family or clan (which you do see elsewhere, like in eastern europe, especially russia, or southern china). this system, along with the Outbreeding Project, might’ve encouraged the selection for individuals who were willing to cooperate with other (comparatively speaking) unrelated persons. it might even have helped, along with the Outbreeding Project which got rid of much nepotistic altruism imho, to select for highly trusting — and quite highly trustworthy — individuals.

open-field system. another key feature of (north)western european manorialism was the open-field system in which shares of large “fields” were apportioned out to each family on the manor — each household would get a long strip or strips within one of these huge fields in which to grow their crops. open-field systems were used by the pre-christian germans and slavic populations (iirc), but in those contexts, extended family/kindred/clan members typically shared the fields. again, in the classic manor system, we have more unrelated individuals/families sharing these fields. residents of the manor regularly policed one another, bringing each other to the manorial court if they thought someone was cheating in the open-field system (and also in the usage of the commons), so, again, here we might have the selection for cooperative and trustworthy individuals.

– ecclesiastical manors. i think the presence (or absence) of ecclesiastical manors in any given area might be very important. apparently, ecclesiastical manors exercised more control on their residents, and until later in the period, than those headed by lay lords (more on this in a later post). so, i’d expect all of the behavioral traits associated with manorialism to be even more pronounced in areas/populations that had more than their fair share of ecclesiastical manors: south-central england, france, germany, and northern italy (and northern scandinavia?).

By the time the age of the manor in Northwestern Europe came to an end, the selective pressures it established would have allowed for the development of corporate societies. As we seen in the corporate nature of european societies and liberal democracy | hbd chick:

economist avner greif explains in “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations” how the new, individualistic europeans developed a corporate society, one which eventually lead to democratic nations in europe [pgs. 309-10]:

“The decline of large kinship groups in Europe transpired during a period in which the state was also disintegrating and the church’s secular authority was diminishing…. A new solution was needed to solve problems of conflict and cooperation, and people got together to form corporations.

“These corporations were voluntary, interest-based based, self-governed, and intentionally created permanent associations. In many cases, they were self-organized and not established by the state. Participation was voluntary in the sense that one had to be attracted to be a member and, therefore, corporations had to cater to their members’ interests….

“By the late medieval period, economic and political corporations dominated Europe….

“Monasteries, fraternities, and mutual-insurance guilds provided social safety nets against famine, unemployment, and disability. The majority of the population belonged to such fraternities and guilds, at least in England. Because corporations provided social safety nets that were alternatives to those provided by kinship groups, they enabled individuals to take risks and make other economic decisions without interference by members of such groups. Relative to a society dominated by kinship groups, the nuclear family structure increased capital per worker by encouraging later marriages and fewer children, and it led to a more efficient distribution of labor and knowledge by facilitating migration.

“Craft guilds regulated production, training, and the protection of brand names. Universities, monastic orders, and guilds developed and distributed scientific and technological knowledge. Merchant guilds and communes protected property rights at home and abroad, secured brand names, and provided contract enforcement in exchange. Corporations, such as the Italian citystates and military orders, mustered armies to expand the European resource base.

“Many late medieval corporations were political; they had their own legal systems, administrations, and military forces. The Italian city-republics were literally independent, but most European cities west of the Baltic Sea in the north and the Adriatic Sea in the south were also political corporations (communes). Political corporations also prevailed among Western European peasants. Because such corporations preceded the pre-modern European states, they often provided these states with indispensable services, such as tax collection, law and order, and an army. Self-interested rulers were constrained in adopting policies that hindered these corporations’ economic interests or abusing their property rights (Greif, 2005). Indeed, by the thirteenth century, most European principalities had representative bodies to approve taxation and communes were represented in all of them. Economic corporations, therefore, had the ability to impact policies and, in the long run, they were influential in transforming the European state into a corporation in the form of a democracy.”

Northwestern European society was now one where the most successful types of individuals were ones not bound to kin, but rather cooperated in voluntary exchanges with non-relatives. This continued the selective pressures similar to those of the bipartite manorial system and furthered NW Europeans down the path of their individualistic, “wikified” society. This eventually led to the Scientific and Industrial revolutions as well as the rise of democracy and all the things that followed for from that.

How about the rest of the world? Why didn’t Southern or Eastern Europe or East Asia follow down this path? Well, their societies were structured differently. As HBD Chick put it in viscous populations and the selection for altruistic behaviors | hbd chick:

part of william hamilton‘s theory of inclusive fitness/kin selection, which explains how altruism ever could’ve arisen at all (altruism here having a very specific definition), is that it should be possible for genes for altruism to be selected for if close kin interact regularly. kin don’t need to recognize one another for altruism to be selected for. as long as closely related individuals don’t move far from one another — that is, if a population is viscous — selection for altruism might happen.

i can’t see why this couldn’t also apply to lesser forms of altruism, not just the kind where you sacrifice your life for two brothers or eight cousins. you know what i mean. like: reciprocal altruism or nepotistic altruism. or just pro-social behaviors. whatever you want to call them. seems to me that nepotistic behaviors ought to be selected for more easily in viscous populations (if they increase fitness, of course).

and some populations are more viscous than others:

1) inbreeding populations where close relatives marry frequently over the long-term. mating with relatives must be highly viscous [insert sweaty/sticky incest joke here]. not only do the individual members of the population likely interact fairly regularly (can depend on your mating pattern), they pass many of the genes they share in common on to the next generations — who then also interact and mate. that’s what i call viscous! and, as you all know by now, some human populations inbreed more than others, and some have been doing so for longer than others. and vice versa. (see: entire blog.)

2) populations where extended families are the norm. societies where two or three generations of families all stay together, work together, play together. viscous. plenty of opportunity for nepotistic behaviors to be selected for. on the other hand, societies of nuclear families where more distant relatives are seen only once a year on thanksgiving, and then only to argue, and where your your heir is your pet cat…not very viscous. (see:family types and the selection for nepotistic altruism.)

3) socio-economic systems which push for close relatives to remain together rather than dispersing. if that sounds vague, that’s ’cause it is. sorry. i haven’t thought through it all yet. i do have an example of the opposite for you — a socio-economic system which pushed for close relatives to disperse — and that is the post-manorialism one of northwest europe. already by the 1500s, it was typical for individuals in northwest europe to leave home at a young age (as teenagers) and live and work elsewhere — often quite long distances away (several towns over) — before marrying. then it was not unusual for them to marry someone from their new locale. not viscous. conversely, many societies outside of the hajnal line (northwest europe) have had systems which encouraged the opposite.

In most of the rest of world, regular interaction with non-relatives was a much rarer occurrence. Families were more tightly bound and were the basic medium through which most social interaction took place. This would make the successful individual in such a society a much different kind than would get ahead in Northwestern Europe. Certainly not one that would freely give trust to strangers, would expect favors from others without the other party getting something out of the deal, or would be very universalistic in their view of the world. A fundamentally different kind of person would thrive in these settings, leading to the differences we see.

This lack of voluntary cooperation may even hold back science and discovery (in addition to other large-scale ventures) in clannish parts of the world:

Even though manors of sort existed in Russia and China, as HBD Chick describes, they didn’t operate like the bipartite manorialism of NW Europe:

the “classic” form of manorialism never reached the farthest parts of eastern europe. eventually, a form of manorialism was adopted in russia and areas of eastern europe bordering russia, but it was quite different than the version western europe had had. this serfdom-heavy manor system in eastern europe also arrived very late compared to manorialism in western europe — in the fifteenth century (iirc) or in some areas even much later. classic manorialism had practically disappeared in western europe by this point

a classic (north)western european manor, then, almost sounds like a 1960s hippie kibbutz, at least when it came to the relatedness of the individuals on the estate. (unlike a hippie kibbutz, though, The Man was clearly in charge.) the people living and working on a medieval manor in (north)western europe were not all members of one extended family or clan (which you do see elsewhere, like in eastern europe, especially russia, or southern china)

Selection there operated in far more “viscous” milieus.

One way we see this expressed today is that “familial” organized crime is a general feature of clannish societies, as Staffan had noted in his post The Clannish World of Organized Crime | Staffan’s Personality Blog.

Classic organized crime outfits like those out of Southern Italy are based (or at least rooted) in clan loyalties. By contrast, in Russia, organized crime, while functionally similar, is nonetheless distinctly non-familial in nature. As Anatoly Karlin pointed out:

The Cosa Nostra is extremely hierarchic, whereas the Bratva is far more “horizontal.” … The Cosa Nostra clans are strongly familial, territorial, and substantially hereditary (though more so in the US than in Italy itself). This directly extends to the name of their basic organizational unit: The family. Membership in most Sicilian families is limited to men of Sicilian ancestry or even specific regional ties or bloodline associations.

The Russian mafia is completely different, even in etymology. It is not a “family” but a “brotherhood.” And a brotherhood not in any literal blood sense, but in a way that evokes associations with a “fraternity,” or a “band of brothers.” Organization is strongly hierarchic, as is the case in every strongly masculine institution from the army to the priesthood, but the direct control the pakhan exercises over matters such as personnel policy is far more limited relative to the godfather

By far the most striking difference is that the “Russian” mafia is strongly multiethnic. It has its origins in the heavily Jewish port city of Odessa in Tsarist times

Fast forwarding to the 21st century, some of the most prominent Russian mafia bosses of recent years were the Kurdish Aslan Usoyan

Though it is necessarily incomplete, what statistical evidence exists indicates that ethnic minorities, especially the Caucasians, are so massively overrepresented in the ranks of the Russian mafia that ethnic Slavs are a minority within it. As such, the Bratva is a highly multiethnic and universalistic organized criminal group.

Selective forces produced a form of distinctly un-WEIRD type of behavior in Eastern Europeans even if not literally clan based. Clannishness, as HBD Chick and I use the term, doesn’t mean literally based on clansViscous societies selected for viscous behaviors – low-trust in strangers, particularism, corruption.

In short, the Northwestern European manor system (and the subsequent selective pressures of the society it created) produced the guilt culture, where one’s behavior is regulated by one’s own internal feelings of guilt. By contrast, the rest of the world has some variant of the shame (or honor) culture, where behavior is regulated by societal disapproval. (See Honor, Dignity, and Face: Culture as Personality Writ Large | Staffan’s Personality Blog). These are fundamental human differences and are largely intractable in our world.

I wanted to address one final point, as I suspect critics will bring this up. Often we hear that the clannish/honor-based behavior of those from beyond the Northwestern European world can be corrected through “assimilation.” Unfortunately, assimilation is largely an illusion:

What we see as “assimilation” is largely when the “assimilated” group adopts superficial aspects of the host group. Other behaviors remain (Those Who Can See: Were you Assimilable?). As well, intermarriage with host group and selective migration can both give the appearance of assimilation, as can long-run secular changes (the kind that affect everyone, such as the move towards secularism, for example).

Also, Merry Christmas to all of you out there!

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