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March 13, 2014 / JayMan

Why HBD may have to make “misdreavus” a co-blogger here at some point, considering how I quote him here. But, in defending HBD (Human BioDiversity), he has made a nice basic summary of the reasons why we believe in HBD (that is, overwhelming evidence).

This was all in response to social anthropology scholar A. J. West, who some of you may remember from Cochran’s & Harpending’s. West wrote a post critical of HBD. I’m not going to recite anything from it, because it is a long drawn-out collection of strawman arguments and nonsense. But misdreavus’s response to West was an impressive review of the case for HBD. I am going to annotate it with links to references to his claims (emphasis in original):

1) The scientific basis behind so-called “human biodiversity” (or HBD) is blessedly simple in its obviousness, albeit one that goes shockingly under-acknowledged by most who call themselves authorities in the human sciences. We already have enough evidence that genetic variation in the human species must account, in some non-trivial way, for the variation in phenotypic diversity we see among the major extant human populations living today. By that I refer not only to salient differences such as the height gap between Aka Pygmies and Congolese Bantus, or that fact that west Africans have more prognathous jaws than northern Europeans, but also artifacts of our biochemistry such as Type II diabetes (which usually correlates with obesity) or alcohol metabolism (a large percentage of east Asians have abtabuse built into their genomes — Greenland Inuits don’t). Of course. We get it. There is inter-ethnic (or inter-demic, or inter-population — feel free to choose whatever taxonomic subdivision du jour is fashionable these days among the PC crowd) variation for virtually every single trait for which there exists variation among members of a single ethnic group: no two Irishmen have noses that are exactly the same shape, and neither do any two races, on average. No two Koreans have skin color that is exactly the same hue, and there is a vast gap in skin color between Norwegians and Dinka. No two Russians are of exactly the same height — not even identical twins, and virtually every single Swede is taller than every single Mbuti pygmy. This much is obvious to anyone with an unimpaired frontal lobe.

And we can extend this reasoning not only to the aforementioned physical traits (and much more), but also cognitive skills, however they are defined in every single culture — for virtually every single behavioral trait ever documented among human beings is heritable. [see All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable] We know that two children who are reared by the same pair of parents can be strikingly different in their behavior and temperament, and that these differences almost always persist long past childhood. It matters not how “personality’ and “temperament” are defined, or that there are not, never have been, and likely never will be any precise definitions of these terms that are useful to psychological science. (Let us avail ourselves of the postmodernist obscurantism, trenchant reality denial, and casual know-nothingness that you decried earlier in a post about social anthropology. It is enough for us to acknowledge that no two humans are alike in behavior, and that the human mind is not a blank slate.) Behavioral differences between any two people, even identical twins, manifest themselves starting from birth, and they only magnify throughout the lifespan. Not surprisingly, it has been demonstrated that babies from different ethnic groups also demonstrate behavioral differences from the cradle. East Asian babies, on average, tend to remain placid and calm when a soft cloth is dropped over their faces — west African and European babies are the polar opposite. See here: [see also this video]

If, indeed, it is the case that human beings vary in behavior, and if it has been proven that much of this variation in behavior may be attributed to hereditary causes, then this alone is sufficient to demonstrate that heredity must explain some of the variation in cognition between any two human populations who vary in their evolutionary history. Well, has this been proven? Of course it has. [see How Much Hard Evidence Do You Need?]. “Heritability”, as the term is implemented in quantitative genetics, refers to the portion of variation in a phenotype within a population that may be attributed to heritable differences, given a certain range of genotypes and phenotypes: H^2 = Var(G)/Var(P). The classical twin study, as much as it is ballyhooed by idiots in the social sciences who are reality-averse, has provided heritability estimates for a wide array of psychological dimensions ranging from IQ and its subscores (visuospatial, verbal, mathematical, etc.), to reaction time, to the “big 5” (e.g. extraversion/intraversion, neuroticism, etc.), to all psychiatric disorders (e.g. autism, schizophrenia), to what brand of cereal you prefer in the morning, and much more. In virtually all cases, these heritability estimates are higher than zero — often substantially higher than zero. They are not only consistent with studies of identical twins reared apart, but also longitudinal adoption studies: studies with sample sizes ranging in the multiple thousands have demonstrated consistently that adopted children, even when adopted during early infancy, resemble their biological parents to a vastly higher degree than they resemble the adults who actually raised them (i.e. “adoptive” parents). [See Taming the “Tiger Mom” and Tackling the Parenting Myth]

And one of the most common, and in fact the overarching application of heritability estimates is evolution. Heritability estimates tell you precisely how much a trait will change in a population, over time, as a response to selection. In other words, if the smallest 25% of all cattle in a herd failed to reproduce every generation, how much would you expect that trait to increase over time? Given even modest selection on any trait from height, to violence, to “visuospatial IQ”, to extroversion, and much more — just about how much heritable variation would you expect see between the disparate human populations on Earth since the time we migrated out of east Africa?

The answer is obvious. if you have read The 10,000 Year Explosion by Cochran and Harpending (which I’m not sure you have), the authors provide ample evidence that substantial heritable change is possible in the relative blink of an eye — hundreds or thousands of years, not just tens of thousands. (Evolutionarily speaking, of course.) It is a trivial matter to ensure that a population, twenty generations from now, will be on average as bright as the brightest 2% within that population today [see The breeder’s equation | West Hunter]. Today’s Scandinavians are not yesterday’s Vikings. Han Chinese in Sichuan Province today are not genetically exchangeable with Chinese during the reign of the first Qin Emperor. Swedes are not Norwegians, Egyptian Copts are not Muslims, and Hejazi Arabs are not Najdi Arabs. I could belabor this point ad nauseam, but I believe I have made my point sufficiently clear.

Of course, this is not to say that all of the variation in behavior you see among human beings is hereditary in origin. Nobody ever claimed that — a heritability estimate below 1.0 proves some source of variation that is exogenous to the germ plasm, or perhaps a statistical artifact that is generated in the process of (imperfectly) measuring the trait in question.

Now, on to some specific points you made in your post:

3) You also misrepresent some of the basic claims of some of the bloggers in the HBD sphere. HBD-chick, for one, who does a lot of blogging about consanguineous marriages and its implications for human evolution. You claim:

That account also makes bizarre claims, like the idea that altruism is greater in societies that have complex marriage systems and that ‘marry out’ of the family unit – because, apparently, when you marry out of your circle for generation after generation, everyone you meet is almost guaranteed to be your relative and therefore worthier of compassion!

No. The point is that human populations vary considerably, throughout the ages, in the degree and prevalence of consanguineous marriages, and that basic arithmetic would show you that this will increase the relatedness of two members within an extended family beyond what may be expected from random mating. The Gulf Arabs have been marrying their cousins for centuries, and this practice possibly dates earlier than the prophet Muhammad — Norwegians and Danes haven’t. This means that Saudis, on average, are much more inbred than your typical northern European, and that this difference can be measured through segments of DNA that are “IBD” (identical by descent) — Arabs share a lot more of these than ethnic groups where cousin marriage is taboo.

The coefficients of relatedness work somewhat like this: normally, your brother shares half of your DNA that is identical by descent, as do your biological parents. Your nieces and nephews share 1/4. Your cousins share 1/8. So on, and so forth. Hamilton’s laws demonstrate altruism (e.g. reducing your own fitness, on the behalf of someone other than yourself) can boost an organism’s fitness, on average, if the recipient of the altruism increases its fitness in a way that is commensurate with the relatedness of the altruist and the recipient. In other words, rB > c.

Imagine that by sacrificing your life to save your brother who is drowning, you thereby ensure that your brother would have three additional children that he would not have otherwise had, had he been permitted to sink (and drown). On average, this would ensure a net benefit of fitness for yourself, despite the fact that you have totally abandoned the carrier of your genes (your body) by sacrificing yourself on behalf of your brother. Why? Because 3 multipled by 1/2 (the fraction of genes that your brother, on average, shares in common with you) is greater than 1. You will have increased your contribution to the gene pool. And any alleles that promote such an altruistic behavior on behalf of a person, for his blood relatives, should increase in frequency through selection [see inclusive inclusive fitness | hbd* chick]. This is especially the case for populations that have been inbreeding throughout the ages — because brothers, in this circumstance, are more related to each other than ordinary brothers. [See technical stuff | hbd* chick]

The idea is that this sort of consanguinity would increase the fitness rewards for altruism on behalf of blood relatives to an unusually high degree that is absent among populations that have been out-breeding. In other words, it increases the odds of nepotism, clannishness, and feuding between clans, among other anti-social behaviors that make a civil society very difficult, among other destructive consequences. (Without peeking, who is more likely to help his brother cheat on a standardized test to qualify for a job — the average Najdi Arab, or the average Finn?)

For societies that have been deliberately outbreeding, the exact opposite scenario occurs — distant relatives, whether you realize it consciously or not, are more related to you than they would be in a society with perfectly random mating, and hence you see higher levels of the low-degree altruism that makes the sort of society you see in Woebegon Lake or Sweden possible. The idea is that Swedes are much more willing to sacrifice their fitness in a modest way on behalf of complete strangers who are members of their ethnic group, e.g. by paying higher taxes, and that this tendency has been selected for since the introduction of Christianity during the medieval era, which forbade consanguineous marriages throughout much of western Europe [see setting the stage? | hbd* chick]. Like I said earlier. You only need hundreds of years to see a noticeable change.

If you remain skeptical of this theory, all is fine, but let me tell you something — it does a decent job explaining why the Swedish welfare state works perfectly fine for Scandinavians, but results in utter dysfunction for Somali refugees. It explains why democracy persistently fails in certain parts of the world, despite billions of dollars spent on aid, foreign advisers, and the best advice of seasoned policymakers — some people don’t give a damn about people outside their extended family, and you can’t change that. It explains why there is a west-east cline in Europe for corruption, social trust, and civic mindedness, inasmuch as they can be measured by political scientists — Ukrainians are much more corrupt than the Norwegians, and they’ve been this way for a long time [see big summary post on the hajnal line | hbd* chick]. It does NOT say that all human behavior is [completely] genetically mediated, or that altruism is automatically greater in societies were people have been marrying unrelated persons. Which is why one or two generations of marrying more distant relatives – or marrying outside the group entirely – won’t produce a substantial change in a people’s behavioral traits. Long-term selective pressures are necessary [see this comment of mine].

Being invaded doesn’t explain why you suspect that your neighbor might rob you if he thought he could get away with it (and of course, your suspicions are valid). It doesn’t explain why, if a friend of yours ever lands any sort of government job, he instantly uses it as a mechanism to rip off other people, and to instantly hire dozens of his unqualified relatives and near-relatives. It doesn’t explain why you can’t get anything done in your neighborhood without paying a thousand bribes, from obtaining a drivers’ license to calling the police in the event of a home intrusion.

Poverty doesn’t explain this well, either. In fact, you might expect the direction of causality to be in the other direction. Hard to get an advanced economy going when people are constantly at each others’ throats, is it? But I digress.

Both Japan and Germany had relatively low rates of these anti-social behaviors when they were being bombed to the Stone Age by the allies. Compare the coordination of Japanese civilians during the war effort to the bumbling of south Italians. (And thank goodness that at least one group of fascists was incompetent.) These behaviors can be fixed through social institutions, but they don’t work all the way — and you have to get them running in the first place, which can be difficult if people in a society simply do not trust each other at all.

You know something is strange when the descendants of Scandinavian immigrants in America are practicing a variant of Jante Law multiple generations after the first stock of founding immigrants — long after they have forgotten how to speak Swedish or Danish or whatever. It might even make you wonder sometime. Why haven’t the corrupt institutions of America polluted them yet? [See Maps of the American Nations and Rural White Liberals – a Key to Understanding the Political Divide]

Why are members of the Chinese disapora from Malaysia to Peru considered a model minority, no matter what the local circumstances? There’s a wide variation in social circumstances between Japan, Malaysia, Canada, France, Indonesia, and the rest — yet in any case, the Chinese tend to behave more similarly to each other than they do to the local people. Their IQ scores are dead similar, as is their record of academic achievement. (In Malaysia they were imported as poor tin miners and laborers — and yet the Malays need race quotas to restrict their entry into universities.)

You’d think you’d find one place on Earth where a Chinatown looks closer to Haiti than it does to Shenzhen, but you don’t. Culture matters, but invoking it to explain all the commonness you see around you simply defies the imagination.

You might think it makes sense, but I don’t.

You can blame just about X on any Y as long as you find an association between the two variables. But here is what I consider most troublesome about “culture only” explanations. They violate Occam’s Razor in just about every way imaginable.

For instance, how is white supremacy responsible for both higher IQs among Ashkenazi Jews AND lower IQs among African Americans?

How are aerial bombings to blame for the high trust and cooperation among Japanese during WWII, yet be simultaneously responsible for lower social trust in eastern Europe or elsewhere?

Why do economists blame natural resources for the social dysfunction and internecine warfare in the Congo, yet also attribute natural resources to the success of western settler nations? Why do Gulf Arabs and Equitoreal Guineans behave so currently when they land upon oil? The former have actually built a society of sorts, while the latter nation has children staving in the streets despite a per capita GDP in excess of $36,000. Why?

Why is a culture of rabbinical scholarship to blame for higher rates of achievement among Ashkenazi Jews, despite the fact that Mizrahi Jews have a parallel culture and yet much lower IQ scores?

Why do different populations react so differently to “white supremacism, racism, and poverty”? Why do some people respond to extreme material deprivation with high rates of violent crime, and others with low crime? How on Earth does poverty boost the athletic abilities of African Americans (while depressing their academic abilities), if both are largely socially determined, which is a standard opinion among sociologists? How does one go up while the other goes down? How on earth can anyone blame high rates of sexual assault on outsider prejudice? [See Richard Lynn’s The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ, and Inequality Worldwide, Welcome Readers from Portugal!, and “Racial Reality” Provides My 150th Post]

If a single social variable has very different impacts on two different kinds of people, perhaps it is time to explore alternative explanations.

Various other commenters have left responses to West, including me, Greg Cochran, and Henry Harpending. I’m convinced that A. J. West is only able to selectively acknowledge facts. He is very much like a creationist in that regard. Normally, I don’t bother make commentary about the personal attributes of people I debate with, but West’s seeming highly limited and selective regard for facts demands some explanation. His post was quite useful in that it led HBD’ers to review the basics of why we think the notions that fall under the category of “human biodiversity” are correct, much as creationists do for evolution itself. But then, I’m not the first person to draw parallels between HBD-deniers and creationists (see Will Saletan’s Liberal Creationism).

I do want to make a statement on one of the points that misdreavus brought up, a point of much confusion within the HBD world and without. As I have tired to explain in my earlier post, Environmental Hereditarianism, the behavioral and physical traits of people are environmentally context-dependent. The broad environmental context regulates the expression of the genes. There is not a dichotomy between genes and “environment”. Nor could there be one – we are always “with” both. The broad environment includes geography, climate, technology, and prevailing social landscape (otherwise known as “culture”). When the social-technological-geographic landscape changes, you can have broad behavioral change all without genetic change. This explains secular changes that occur too quickly to be a result of evolution, such as the sexual revolution, the modern rise in irreligiosity, the increase in the obesity rate, etc.

(I know that this will still not sink in with some people, but I repeat it anyway.)

A note about “culture” though – the “social landscape”, or even changes in such, don’t exist in a vacuum divorced from genes. As HBD Chick so often asks, where does culture come from? Culture is itself an expression of the genes. Yes, behavior – and for that matter selective pressures – are affected by culture. Which in turn is affected by the genes. Which affects the culture, and so on. This is the essence of gene-culture co-evolution. Even rapid “cultural” change, such as the much bemoaned (by social conservatives) sexual revolution has a genetic influence. Rapid change can result when an idea receives widespread appeal among the people. Both components of this – the origin of the idea itself (a reflection of the heritable temperament of its progenitors) – and its reception among the masses (a reflection of the heritable temperament of adherents) are influenced by genes. In a way then, social revolutions can reflect pent-up genetic “potential” in a population, which may express itself when enough people accept that the idea is “OK” and hence can successfully overturn the established order. This is the essence of HBD Chick’s ideas, and Staffan’s remark on needing to “account” for the “history of communism” when looking at the current state of Eastern European societies (“We can’t adjust for their entire history”). The sexual revolution wasn’t the only revolution of consequence in relatively recent history. The American Revolution itself, the Protestant Reformation, the abolition of slavery in the U.S., the rise of communism in Russia, etc are as well. Historical revolutions are in essence, in many respects, a “changing of the genetic guard”, where the genetic dam “bursts” so to speak. More loosely attached individuals may convert if the idea attains a critical mass (see how much longer? | hbd* chick).


To be clear: this is not to say that “genetic potential” is the only factor. As mentioned, other realities, such as technology and the geographic/climatic landscape affect the viability of new ideas/behaviors, and facilitate or quench their dispersal. However, we do see the role of bursting genetic potential when new groups fission from earlier ones, such as the Quakers, the Puritans, or the Mormons (who are descended from Puritans). And this leads to my observation (so lamented by A. J. West):

But, as I and others have so tirelessly tried to show, the innate differences between people, between individuals, between the sexes, and between groups, is of paramount significance to explaining the world. Indeed, how could it be any other way? This is like trying to explain chemistry without knowing the properties of molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, etc. Taking heredity and its effects on people is simply science, as is human biodiversity in general. How foolish and intellectually stifling is it for “educated” people to act otherwise.



Leave a Comment
  1. panjoomby / Mar 14 2014 4:27 PM

    you & misdreavus make a formidable tag team. that was wonderful writing & superb logic by both.

    psychology made the horrible mistake of originating from philosophy instead of science —
    psychology is based on 2 wrong ideas:
    Plato’s mind/body separation & Locke’s blank slate idea –
    this led to the idea that humans (& culture) are so special they are somehow separate from biology.

    the only legitimate (science-y) way to study living organisms (including humans!) is thru evolutionary BIOLOGY (which would of course include paleo-anthropology & many other sciences).

    • JayMan / Mar 14 2014 4:28 PM

      Very well said!

    • erica / Mar 14 2014 10:11 PM

      Yes, thanks to both you, Jayman, and Misdreavus for this easy 1, 2, 3. I’ve sent it to several people.

    • Guerrero / Mar 17 2014 9:46 PM

      If some of you know the complete list of Monocle soft power survey 2013 top 30, please let me know right now, i only have this data: 1-Germany 2-United Kingdom 3-United States 4-France 5-Japan 6- Sweden 7-Australia 8-Switzerland 9-Canada 10-Italy 12-Spain 14-Korea 17-Singapore 19-Brazil 20-China 24-Mexico 26-Turkey 27-Russia and 30-Poland and i know Chile is somewhere, so i miss 10 places!

  2. misdreavus / Mar 14 2014 5:40 PM

    Thanks 🙂

    I’d like to start blogging, but there is so much I have to learn about natural history and not enough time for me to do it. A plausible mechanism for the germ theory of homosexuality, for one. I wish I knew enough about immunology to start tackling the problem on my own. Hopefully brighter minds than mine will get started on that object before I do. Have they?

    • erica / Mar 14 2014 10:13 PM

      Misdreavus, I suggested not long ago to Jayman that he contact Dr. Charles Roselli, the “ram man.”

      Have you ever exchanged correspondence with him?

    • Gottlieb / Mar 20 2014 3:38 PM

      More or less, i want to understand why a minority non-reproductive group should be eliminated. Is interesting because i don’ see the same enthusiasm to erradicate to psychopathy for example.
      Jayman, i’m waiting your answer about my assumptions.
      Is important use the wisdom to understand the human biology and ”why is so important and imperative to eliminate a non-reproductive behavior”. Is not was more important think in practice ways to mitigate the problems caused ‘by’ this behavior?
      Some times when i see to Hbd, i see ”victorian times”, well, there here a blogger who love this dark period of England. Is very, very easy when you like about something and to say with natural way ” well, we will eliminate homossexuality or other paraphilia because is morally wrong ” or better, because ”is genetic wrong”. The morality of the future will the genetics??
      Yes, have fever is not good, but even the fever have its importance. If, even a sintomatic response of body to infection was to be good to our evolution.
      Again, i don’t believe that all is black or white, and don’t believe that even if homossexuality is like a ”infection”, because is not, to seems like a atypical infection or cooperative or maybe… Aspergerism, will go to eliminate them?
      Think that ” this X behavior is not good and should be eliminate”, remember me about some place in Africa, Nigeria??
      Hbd couldn’t turn a fundamentalism, but if there a people here who like by ”Victorian times”, when majority of british people live very bad and insane rules dominated the existence of the population, is like a trotskian teen who like Cuba or Nazi boy who like Nazi Germany.
      To be a infection, ”homossexuality” or ism should have very bad result in organism like a typical infection promove but we are not talking about autism (specially classical autism) or schizophrenia. Schizopnrenia in your own concept IS a atypical neuro-funcionality, very near to a disease. Homossexuality in your own concept is a sexual choice OR behavior (long time, during a period or experimentalist), like ”James like blonde than brunettes”. Autism is not a preference like schizophrenia also is not. Bacterias there in our entire body, like the bacterias in the language that contributes to our taste preference.
      Whatever, this subject is so complex and we know so little about that, i think to introduce any vaccine, is necessary a cultural and biological reform, because this idiocratic peoples are not able to understand its complexity and make the best choice.

  3. erica / Mar 14 2014 10:08 PM

    Jayman, you need to sent you post(s) on HBD to both the University of Michigan and now Michigan State. Seems the latter is contemplating forcing their students to take a one unit class in diversity. Unfortunately I don’t need to see a syllabus to know that its contents have nothing to do with the diversity course they ought to require of their students, the one on human Biodiversity.

    Things look darkest before the dawn?

    • erica / Mar 14 2014 10:15 PM

      Sorry for failing to edit: “Jayman, you need to send your post(s)….”

  4. A. J. West (@AlWest13) / Mar 15 2014 5:30 AM

    “Normally, I don’t bother make commentary about the personal attributes of people I debate with”

    That isn’t actually the case. It’s your default setting: people who disagree are delusional or idiotic, or like creationists in some way. As for being selective with the facts – look in the mirror, please.

    “the only legitimate (science-y) way to study living organisms (including humans!) is thru evolutionary BIOLOGY (which would of course include paleo-anthropology & many other sciences).”

    See, it’s comments like this that, if attacked, would be considered straw men. Such a view is pitiful and moronic, and it is no wonder HBDers know little about real human history or social science beyond their own straw men.

    • panjoomby / Mar 15 2014 8:51 AM

      @AJWest: hey, that’s my quote!:) i was speaking in regard to psychology – sadly, a field i’ve had a PhD in it for 25 years & worked in multiple aspects of for over 30 (schools, academia, research, test development, applied, private practice, non-profit, etc.) i scoff at the arts & humanities from time to time but i enjoyed Patrick O’Brian’s series – it had more psychology than many textbooks:).

      you took my “straw man” quote out of context – i prefaced it with grumpy digs at philosophy. my “bias” is “smart” (a concept i buy into, b/c of evidence) people like YOU (or us) would be better off going into more science-y fields, instead of being led down the primrose path by less science-y fields – such as mine (!) which practices the format of a science, yet without much content —

      as Feynman called it: “a cargo cult science,” viz., a field that prefers long-winded socio-cultural “just so” stories over occam’s razor facts (!) the default answer for most questions in my field should probably begin at “biology” rather than with rambling socio-cultural “just so” stories.

    • JayMan / Mar 15 2014 10:29 PM

      @A. J. West:

      The only reason I’m allowing your comment here is to showcase the folly in the whole situation with your writing on the matter. Please note comment rules, no personal attacks, thanks.

      At this point, I’m just going to let the facts speak for themselves. So much has been said on the topic, and readers can see what you said and read the responses to it. It’s pretty clear your objections have been addressed, but like a gyroscope, you always return to the same course no matter what evidence is presented to you.

      We get nice exposition of the basics of HBD out of this, and indeed, similar situations is what led me to compile my HBD Fundamentals page in the first place. But that’s only so useful or interesting.

  5. Patrick Boyle / Mar 16 2014 10:31 PM

    Somehow I ended up defending you to A. J. West. No one can be as crazy as he claims you are.

    Although I didn’t quite manage to read the whole thread. That’s the longest political blog thread I’ve ever read. It reminds me of the War Bird blogs – incredibly longwinded and heated exchanges about the merits of the P-51 versus the P-38 or the Allison versus the Merlin. You know, the important issues of the day.

    I’m afraid I can’t quite manage the emotional pitch that is on exhibit on West’s blog. But I expect I would be classified by West as an evil HBDer too. I certainly don’t feel strongly enough about it to work as hard as you do – much less hbd chick. In fact I usually just consider racial differences to be part of ‘settled science’. Unfortunately the Climate Alarmists have spoiled that term. That’s one reason I’m working on a video on Global Warming, which is almost a completely rejected concept with the electorate now but is still influential with mainstream Democrats and federal bureaucrats.

    I also don’t consider ‘The 10,000 Year Revolution’ to be pivotal. I would like to think that their really important book is yet ahead. Lynn’s books or maybe Rushton’s or Jensen’s are probably the key writings in HBD.

    If you haven’t read Paabo’s book on Neanderthals yet, do so ASAP. A great read.

    BTW you’re quite wrong about homosexuality. You should read some of Levay’s later books.

    • misdreavus / Mar 17 2014 3:20 AM

      If you have an alternate theory for the genesis of male homosexuality that makes more sense than Gregory Cochran’s, I’d be interested in hearing about it. I’m sure Jayman is as well.

    • Staffan / Mar 18 2014 4:07 PM

      I watched Pääbo’s TED talk and it was depressingly PC. All about how we are so mixed with little or no absolute differences between groups, just a little different allele frequencies, with the obvious implication that we are all essentially the same, although he doesn’t say that explicitly. As if absolute differences was somehow a big deal. Here’s the transcript,

    • panjoomby / Mar 18 2014 6:31 PM

      Staffan, might i recommend a good antidote to paabo’s watered down TED talk (those last 4 words are redundant!): the new books in history podcast where marshall poe bravely interviews greg cochran is one for the ages – & cochran lays bare the trope about differences adding up to nothing
      i just started reading paabo’s book – so far, so good:)

  6. Patrick Boyle / Mar 17 2014 2:21 PM

    It seems to me that the relationship between history and human genetic characteristics is best understood in the light of the recent history of Korea.

    South Korea has a bad climate. When I was finishing up Basic Training in the Army the troops got the notices of their next assignments. This was a shock for many because the recruiting sergeants seem to have promised most of them electronics school in Hawaii. Whereas in fact many of them were assigned to infantry units in Alaska. But the consensus was that Korea was worse yet – just as cold and less scenic.

    Korea has no natural resources. Korea imports coal. The US is blest with Natural Gas. The Middle East enjoys sitting over a huge pool of ‘sweet light crude’. Nearby China is full of coal. Every nation has some natural resources it seems – but not Korea.

    Korea has very little in the way of cultural-industrial history. China has been a civilizational hotspot for millennia. Italy had Rome and the Renaissance. England had the Industrial Revolution. Korea has always been a backwater on the world stage.

    Korea was poor and desolated. When I studied world development as an undergraduate Korea had a GNP around that of Tanzania. After the Korean War it was one of the poorest places on earth. We never thought about Korea. It seemed to have no prospects.

    Yet today South Korea is prospering. The World Bank predicts that its GNP will surpass of the US by 2150. Hyundai makes engines bigger than my house. My house is filled with Samsung products. So is yours.


    There is one remarkable feature about South Korea that accounts for all this. South Korea has the highest national population IQ in the world. Korea has only its smart population to thank for its remarkable rapid emergence from destitution after 1952. This surely is compelling evidence that genetics matter. The history of South Korea is proof certain of the Lynn/Vanhanen conclusion that wealth follows IQ.

    But North Korea wallows in misery. Dick Cheney kept a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula on his desk. It showed South Korea lit up at night – and above the thirty eighth parallel darkness. You can find this same image on the web with very little difficulty. What does that mean?

    It means that history in the sense of random contingencies is environmental whereas history in the sense of major trends is genetic. Had the original invasion from the north been only a little more successful or had the Inchon landing run into some major glitch, then all of a united Korea would today be poor and dark, They all would be eating tree bark and growing shorter. But if Truman had listened to MacArthur and bombed north of the Yalu, perhaps all of Korea – not just the South – would be an economic powerhouse today. All sorts of happenings in history took place because of unique random happenings. Many of these had huge consequences.

    For example Harold and his men were holding their own against William at Hastings when he was shot in the eye. Had that arrow been only a inch to the side – there might have been no Norman Conquest. They might have driven the Normans back into the sea and the language of the British today would have more regular spelling.

    But on the other hand there are no trivial random events that are sufficient to bring industrialization to Tanzania. The genetic composition of the indigenous population rules out any ‘Great Leap Forward’. Or to put it another way, Deng’s success is because of genetics, while Mao’s succession of catastrophic failures with the same population is environmental.

    If Mr. West were correct and that HBD like effects had no explanatory power, you couldn’t account for the rise of South Korea. In large scale, the genetic structure of populations determines the major course of history but the exact details are subject to stochastic environmental processes.

    Population genetics has always been important in world history but today it seems it is more important than ever before. England initiated the Industrial Revolution for largely geographical reasons. It had an innovation and industrious population, but so did many other European nations. Before railroads only water transportation of heavy loads was economical. England had both iron ore and coal in proximity and both united by Channel ships or canals. But today they indeed ‘take coal to Newcastle’. England imports coal from Brazil because global transportation is so cheap and available that distance no longer matters. The brains of your population is now even more determinative than formerly.

    • JayMan / Mar 17 2014 2:52 PM

      @Patrick Boyle:

      Excellent comment, but there are a few points I need to quibble with:

      It means that history in the sense of random contingencies is environmental whereas history in the sense of major trends is genetic.

      I wouldn’t say that. Yes, the vagaries of history can have a big impact on the outcome of different peoples and societies, but it’s a bit of a fool’s errand to try to partition what is definitely genetic and what’s definitely non-genetic.

      Population genetics has always been important in world history but today it seems it is more important than ever before. England initiated the Industrial Revolution for largely geographical reasons.

      Was that it? Was there not something special about the English, even vs other NW Euros?

      But, those quibbles aside, I agree with your comment – an excellent summary of the situation.

  7. Staffan / Mar 19 2014 10:21 AM

    @panjoomby, Thanks for clarifying. I might have a go at Paabo’s book then, although Cochran and Harpending is still on my to do list (I’m embarrased to say) so I’ll start with that one.

    • panjoomby / Mar 20 2014 11:23 AM

      @staffan: don’t tell anyone, but if you listen to marshall poe’s interview with cochran, & also to poe’s interview with marlene zuk
      those 2 hours yield many of the take home points of the 10,000 year book & are most entertaining:)

      also, cochran & harpending’s $3.99 kindle “west hunter” book is chock full of fascinating (& refreshingly poorly edited!) ideas – it’s their early blog posts without the comments:( plus some is not at their blog – & addresses many of the 10,000 years topics. short attention spans (comme moi) may like it more than their more formal book:)

      sigh – if only marshall poe would interview paabo, i wouldn’t need to read the latter’s dang book! 🙂

    • Staffan / Mar 20 2014 12:22 PM


      I just wish they had a transcript because it’s takes less time reading it than listening to it. But then again it’s for free so I probably shouldn’t complain too much.

    • panjoomby / Mar 20 2014 8:54 PM

      you sound like me – i can only endure listening if they talk really fast! John Hawks’s recent MOOC on human evo that just ended was fantastic – not only b/c of the superb info & his enthusiasm, but b/c all the videos could be played with closed captions on & at 1.75 speed! i need that info fast or i go crazy:)

  8. Gottlieb / Mar 20 2014 4:33 PM

    A doubt seems here, How do you know that the pathogen is caused by a post-birth infection and hence to uterine life?

    • Gottlieb / Mar 21 2014 5:54 PM

      I wait your answer Jayman?
      How you and Cochran know that ”infection to gay pathogen” happens during the early childhood?

  9. Jesse / Mar 21 2014 4:28 PM


    I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I’m a long time reader, tho and uneducated layman. I ran across this bit from a marxist magazine called Jacobin.

    The author, a physicist, makes the argument that genes explain very little. I think genes work in tandem with each other tho, and he’s an ignoramus enough to still be making “food desert” excuses for why the poor are fat. But, still he does show schizophrenic genes don’t predict schizophrenia very well, etc.

    Wondering what your opinions are.

  10. Patrick Boyle / Mar 22 2014 4:21 PM

    Sorry for getting back to you so late. Yes Britain led the Industrial Revolution as opposed to France, Germany or Italy for largely geographical reasons. I don’t believe this is in any way a fringe viewpoint. Even rabid Anglophiles like James Burke admit that England had a set of unique geographical advantages over other Northern European nations.

    The dominant technologies of the day were steam, iron and coal. Even before steam Britain had plenty of power from its abundant water wheel exploitable streams. Steam gave power to pump out the mines. Coal let to coke and that led to steel. England had lots of ports from which to ship. Germany also had iron ore and coal but before railroads all such heavy loads needed to be transported on water. Britain had a head start which it didn’t relinquish till the beginning of the twentieth century.

    In the Napoleonic Wars these same geographical advantages allowed British to build ships from parts assembled at ports whereas France (especially after the British blockade) had to transport heavy timbers and guns overland. British ocean going ships were assembled from parts transported on canals and small coastal freighters.

    There is some statistic somewhere that no part of England is more than 20 miles (or whatever) from a waterway.

    The work of Lynn and Vanhatten show clearly that there are two genetic ‘hotspots’ on earth. One in in East Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul) and another is in West Asia (London, Berlin, Paris). Almost every notable accomplishment in the last millennium has come from these two areas. (OK, maybe a little hyperbolic). But specific events within those areas are the result of other contingencies like geographical advantages.

    • JayMan / Mar 22 2014 4:33 PM

      @Patrick Boyle:

      Except that we’re discovering that it doesn’t work that way.

      Broadly speaking, HBD doesn’t stop at continental margins. It doesn’t even stop within countries as the American nations series shows the considerable differences within the English population. So no, an Englishman and a Frenchman aren’t necessarily interchangeable, and some of the differences between these countries historically and at present are due to the heritable differences between them.

  11. 5308 / Mar 22 2014 8:40 PM

    I actually agree with most AJ West’s takedown of HBD. I saw this takedown of HBD on, I agree with the points therein.

    Nobody says that there is some phenomenon of human genetic diversity. However, there is this meme that genes determine IQ which determines wealth that predominates in this corner of the blogosphere. I’ve posted faintly skeptical musings in the comments sections of HBD blogs before and usually receive abuse and insults but never a serious response, which makes me even more suspicious that the genes-IQ-wealth idea is nonsense.

    Here are a few off-the-cuff comments and questions from an honest skeptic. I have no agenda or political ax to grind, not that I expect this fact to ward off attacks and insults.

    1. Why are there populations of blacks that outperform whites in school and careers? . West Indians in Brooklyn and Queens do better than whites in most places. I had a Jamaican friend in college who earned a math degree in three years and is now an actuary.

    Blacks outperform Whites in Queens in measures of income and educational attainment.

    I can only imagine a comparison with between Queens blacks and backwater whites from say, West Virginia would be even more striking. Anyway, why is WV, which is more than 95% white, one of the poorest states in the country?

    2. Ron Unz has pointed out how there was a big disparity in average IQ scores between the UK and Republic of Ireland (two populations with significant common ancestry) that no longer exists. Similarly, there is a large gap in IQ scores between Southern Europeans and their Middle Eastern neighbors, who are also two groups share common genes. Why? Because environmental factors, duh.

    3. Every point in this debate is a rehash of arguments that are decades old. I’ve never seen and HBD blogger like John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer, take down the arguments made in Chapter 4 of Michael Howe’s book IQ: The Truth About Intelligence ie there are studies

    It seems like most people agree that both genes and environmental factors like society, culture, poverty cause differences in group outcomes. But AJ West is right, environment is way more important than genes.

    • 5308 / Mar 22 2014 8:43 PM

      Edit: one sentence should read *Nobody says there is no phenomenon of human biological diversity.

    • JayMan / Mar 23 2014 1:27 AM


      First let me say I hope you’re just trolling. But if you are trolling, don’t do it here.

      1. Why are there populations of blacks that outperform whites in school and careers? . West Indians in Brooklyn and Queens do better than whites in most places. I had a Jamaican friend in college who earned a math degree in three years and is now an actuary.

      It may have helped you to read my About Me. You are talking to someone from a Jamaican immigrant family with Ivy League graduates. Basic statistics apparently means nothing to you. Immigrants, especially from many of the poorer parts of the world, are an “elite” sample. They are not representative of their home populations. I’ll let you figure out how this works.

      I saw this takedown of HBD on, I agree with the points therein.

      He’s mostly wrong. That’s being discussed.

      Anyway, why is WV, which is more than 95% white, one of the poorest states in the country?

      Because it seems to have an average IQ of 96.. ”
      “White” not necessarily = “smart”.

      2. Ron Unz has pointed out how there was a big disparity in average IQ scores between the UK and Republic of Ireland (two populations with significant common ancestry) that no longer exists.

      Ron Unz was full of you know what. That’s been handedly debunked. I was sick of that situation then and I am sick of it now. Don’t ever bring Unz and that nonsense up again here.

      Every point in this debate is a rehash of arguments that are decades old. I’ve never seen and HBD blogger like John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer, take down the arguments made in Chapter 4 of Michael Howe’s book IQ: The Truth About Intelligence ie there are studies

      You need to read a few things:

      HBD Fundamentals.

      It seems like most people agree that both genes and environmental factors like society, culture, poverty cause differences in group outcomes. But AJ West is right, environment is way more important than genes.

      When it comes to differences in group outcomes, that, of course, is complete bullshit. See above.

      Fair warning: I’m a gracious but impatient host. Please read what I have presented to you and absorb what they have to say before commenting again. If you comment, and I don’t see you engaging in honest discussion, I will assume you are trolling. This is not the place for pontification.

  12. Emil OW Kirkegaard / Mar 31 2014 4:55 PM

    >If, indeed, it is the case that human beings vary in behavior, and if it has been proven that much of this variation in behavior may be attributed to hereditary causes, then this alone is sufficient to demonstrate that heredity must explain some of the variation in cognition between any two human populations who vary in their evolutionary history.

    This is not true. This is the fallacy of inferring between group heritability from within group heritability that critics again and again said that Jensen committed. Jensen, in fact, did not, but the author of this quote did.

    See: Jensen 1998 p. 447, and Sesardic 2005, section 4.1.

    Jensen, Arthur Robert. The g factor: The science of mental ability. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.
    Sesardic, Neven. Making sense of heritability. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    • JayMan / Apr 1 2014 12:05 AM

      @Emil OW Kirkegaard:

      This is not true. This is the fallacy of inferring between group heritability from within group heritability that critics again and again said that Jensen committed. Jensen, in fact, did not, but the author of this quote did.

      While in principle that would be true, in reality no environmental modulates of heritability between groups have been found.

      Indeed, at this point, considering the non-effect of the great extent of environmental variation within groups, it seems somewhat silly posits that there would be.

      The fundamental point however stands. Since individual variation is known to be partly a result of heredity, it follows that group variation must also be a result, in part, of heredity. It would have been a very shocking discovery if we found that it did not.

  13. pseudoerasmus / Apr 11 2014 7:01 AM

    These comments are late and concern topics discussed in another blog, but…

    Jayman’s link to Staffan’s comments on communism lead to a discussion at the latter’s site about “IQ breaking points”, which involve a brief digression on Chile. It is alleged, there is something anomalous and exceptional about Chile within Latin America. One commenter notes that Chile is not as European as Argentina, yet the former outperforms the latter in almost every way :

    “For the record, Chile is significantly less European than Argentina. The majority of Chileans have around 35-40% Amerindian ancestry. Yet, bizarrely enough, it outcompetes Argentina on just about every measure: GDP per capita, PISA scores, low corruption, standard of living, etc. Chile is basically a lower tier First-World country. Not quite as spotless as Switzerland, but the average European could adjust to life there rather easily. You HBDers might want to actually look at the data rigorously rather than manipulate it to fit your preconceived views of the world.”

There were numerous responses to the above, but I don’t think most of them were very good.

    The most European places in Latin America are Argentina, Uruguay and the southern states of Brazil. In terms of aggregate racial admixture Chile is more in keeping with the rest of Latin America than with the Southern Cone. It is possible that the Amerindian contribution to the Chilean aggregate is distributed differently from, say, Mexico or Colombia, but the last study along those lines in Chile date from the late 1990s and don’t use genomic analysis.

    All the same, Chile’s economic performance relative to Argentina is actually a recent thing, and its exceptionalism is a little exaggerated, in my opinion.

    GDP per capita relative to USA/UK, 1820-present

    GDP per capita relative to Latin America, 1820-present

    • JayMan / Apr 12 2014 11:15 AM


      Thanks, great find! Indeed, it does seem like Chile lagged behind Argentina for much of its history. However, the fact that its pulled ahead of Argentina today is still significant. It even seems to be ranked as being less corrupt. Something strange there.

    • pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 11:56 AM

      I think the mystery is less that Chile has (very recently) pulled ahead of Argentina, than why did Argentina lose its place so much in the 20th century. Actually you can ask the same question of Chile : why was its relative income so much higher in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and why did it spend most of the 20th century declining ? A little more than 100 years ago Argentina’s income per head was 75-90% of the UK-US level and Chile’s peaked at 60%. ( I set the comparison in the charts to the UK until 1900 and USA after 1900, the year when the US caught up with the UK. ) Today’s Chile, at less than 50%, has not even fully recovered the relative position that it had had more than a century ago. (Personally, I speculate that 50-60% is Chile’s “natural” position, while Argentina’s steady-state position “should” be higher.)

      The simplest explanation is that in 1870-1900 Argentina, Uruguay and Chile were commodity exporters with very rich land and low population density. In the case of Argentina all you had to do was throw some cattle onto the rich pampas, let them run free, cull them periodically and export them, in order for the population to become some of the richest people in the world at the time. But with more population, and decreasing returns in agriculture, an economy must diversify to maintain its living standards. Argentina did that only partially, and very gradually, and certainly not to the extent necessary to maintain its relative position vis-à-vis the western industrial core. (Chile had greater population density from the beginning, and was more dependent on mining, thus a lower “steady state” income relative to the core.)

      In their economic structure Australia and New Zealand of 1900 were just like Argentina — rich agricultural exporters. New Zealand could not quite diversify away from that unlike Australia. Australia became part of the western industrial core. New Zealand became the poorest of the rich countries, probably because it’s in the middle of nowhere, but at least it did not stagnate like the “Plata 3” — Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

      The question is why Argentina and Uruguay, which are both Ibero-Italian societies, could not achieve a growth trend at least comparable to Spain, Portugal and southern Italy ???

  14. pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 12:33 PM

    Anyway there are many little mysteries like this in economic growth & development and I believe there are HBD-friendly explanations for them. But there has to be a better synthesis of HBD and neoclassical economics.

    • Paul / Apr 12 2014 2:53 PM

      Many little mysteries, many BIG ones… Some of them are the size of China and Japan. Is a third or a quarter of Humanity “little” for you guys?

      You cannot HBD-ify them all. I’ve already shown this to @Pseudoerasmus, but he doesn’t like the taste of crow.

      Europe’s (without Russia) steel production in 1700 a.D. was smaller than China’s steel production by the time of the Song Dinasty ~1080 a.D (see Pomeranz, Kenneth, 2000). Chinese were using steam engines to power blast furnace bellows some hundreds of years before European dimwits.

      Yet, they stagnated. Yet they fell. Yet their initial privilege amounted to very little in the end, and only now they are putting their shit together, by immitating us and becoming bourgeois.

      Let me be even more specific (you can’t HBD-IFY this: I dare you, because it would be… funny).

      Compare the reforms introduced in Japan by the Meiji** on the late 19th century with the “reforms” introduced by empress dowager Cixi* in China at the same time.

      China had been always the richer, bigger, more civilized country. A fast change in ideology (occidentalization) and all that changed: Japan gained the upper hand and used it really badly (atrociously, murderously, infamously) in the early 20th century against China and other countries in the Pacific rim – including yours (Pearl Harbour).

      Changes in economic destiny caused by ideological turns can be really fast. See what happened to Argentina when it adopted Peronism (a kind of socialistic populism) in the 1940s:


      * “Reforms” introduced by empress dowager Cixi* in the late 19th century in China

      “Scholars sometimes attribute the failure of China’s foreign programs to Cixi’s conservative attitude and old methods of thinking, and contend that Cixi would learn only so much from the foreigners, provided it did not infringe upon her own power. Under the pretext that a railway was too loud and would “disturb the Emperor’s tombs,” Cixi forbade its construction. When construction went ahead anyway in 1877 under Li Hongzhang’s recommendation, Cixi asked that they be pulled by horse-drawn carts. Cixi was especially alarmed at the liberal thinking of people who had studied abroad, and saw that it posed a new threat to her power. In 1881, Cixi put a halt to sending children abroad to study, and withdrew her formerly open attitude towards foreigners.”

      * Reforms introduced in Japan by the Meiji* on the late 19th century in Japan

      “The rapid industrialization and modernization of Japan both allowed and required a massive increase in production and infrastructure. Japan built industries such as shipyards, iron smelters, and spinning mills, which were then sold to well-connected entrepreneurs. Consequently, domestic companies became consumers of Western technology and applied it to produce items that would be sold cheaply in the international market. With this, industrial zones grew enormously, and there was massive migration to industrializing centers from the countryside. Industrialization additionally went hand in hand with the development of a national railway system and modern communications.”


    • pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 3:01 PM

      Oh this Anônimo guy again. His preferred explanation for everything is that people suddenly change ideology (he calls it “bourgeois dignity) and, presto, economic magic happens. Maybe you can and maybe you cannot “HBDify” everything. All I know is that it is even more funny to say that Meiji Japan, Communist China and Congress India suddenly became “bourgeois-dignified”.

  15. pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 3:08 PM

    Many historical accidents can cause some countries to remain stuck in stagnation. But if China does catch up with the western industrial core, and does it faster than Chile (as it is at this very moment catching up much faster), then the pattern is already “HBD-friendly”. It would be even more “HBD-friendly”, if Chile does have a “steady-state” income relative to the western industrial core (for example, 50-60%) and never fully catches up.

    • Paul / Apr 12 2014 6:28 PM

      @Pseudoerasmus: Meiji Japan, Communist China and Congress India suddenly became “bourgeois-dignified”.

      They became more friendly to free initiative, and entrepreneurs, and they opened their countries to foreign (occidental) ideas. It was very sudden in all three cases: the Japanese were forced to end Sakoku (“chained country”) by you Americans and in Meiji made it legal for its citizens to leave Japan (many studied “new plebeian arts” in European universities) , promoted industrialization (@Pseudoerasmus recommended a book about the Japanese Bismarck) and defeudelized their society. Maybe this was not “bourgeois dignity” but it is clearly pretty better than “whatever they were doing in the previous millenia” so. But sure: they did even better after cleansed from some militaristic and other stupid ideological detritus after the American occupation in the end o World War II.

      Communist China only really took off (it’s income per capita was no better in the 1970s than in the 1930s, and bad Communist IDEAS (@Pseudoerasmus think ideas cannot really impact anything, because they aren’t materialistic causes). Shangai was the economic and financial hub of East Asia until the thirties. After that, we can see what a bad ideology can do to your economic development by comparing this city with equally ethnically Chinese Hong Kong.

      India ended a lot of restrictions to its domestic entrepreneurs in the eighties, and opened its economy in the nineties, ending the License Raj and the humorous “Indian rates of growth”. You can see how abruptly this happened (the cause and it’s effect) by reading De Long (2001) or Rodrik (2004) or any Economist whose pseudonym isn’t @Pseudoerasmus, really. Or, if you’re lazy, just take a quick look on this graph:

      I’ll repeat : this is not HBD-ify able: at least not easily or completely. What you can do is this: point to the fact that in well governed societies like USA, high IQ minorities (or people : I’m a mulatto with high IQ, like our host Jayman) will fare better than low IQ people. This is probably true for other genetically mediated traits, like personality (CONSCIENTIOUSNESS from the big five is probably even more important than IQ).

      What you cannot say is that genetics is most of the story. It is not: it doesn’t explain Chinese underachievement until the late 1970s (unless you make up some phlogiston) and it doesn’t explain why Buenos Aires e Porto Alegre (white cities) are so much “stupid” (memetically at least) and economically stagnant than Santiago del Chile (a heavily Amerindian-European mixed city).


    • pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 7:53 PM

      Oh brother.

      HBD does NOT have to explain why Japan took the path to westernisation when it did ; nor why China took the path to westernisation much later ; nor why China turned communist and adopted bad ideas ; nor why India began market reforms in the early 1990s. Other theories and disciplines can do that job (although it is possible HBD can contribute).

      HBD is well suited to explaining persistent inequality. So it can explain why Russia and China did central planning better than India, or why China will probably outperform India under capitalism, or why Shanghai and Hong Kong under western-imposed capitalism outperformed British India under optimal neoliberal conditions, or why some countries which adopt the same neoliberal market policies do better than others.

      (2) On India, Paul just doesn’t understand that you need to look at growth RATES, not levels of per capita income over time, to notice changes in growth trend. Growth rates in Indian GDP per capita : was there really such an abrupt change in trend, or a combination of volatility reduction and trend increases after 1980 ?

      (3) Chile’s growth rates of per capita income are very unequally distributed, so they are a little misleading as an indicator for households. I looked up household income information from the CEDLAS-World Bank data. ( ) Household average income per decile is given in local currency units for the major countries of Latin America. You can convert these into Gheary-Khamis international dollars using the PPP conversion factors from the PWT. ( )

      In 2009, Chilean households earned more income than Argentinian households ONLY at the top and bottom deciles. In between the top and the bottom, average earnings were about the same.

      anyway, I don’t want to hijack jayman’s blog like paul and I did with aj west’s blog. I will set up a temporary WordPress blog if he wants to continue.

    • JayMan / Apr 12 2014 10:56 PM


      You are (temporarily) on moderation. This is because, broadly, you are wrong, and I don’t have the time to address your points now. I will momentarily, but you need to slow down here, my friend.

  16. pseudoerasmus / Apr 12 2014 10:40 PM

    “Porto Alegre (white cities) are so much “stupid” (memetically at least) and economically stagnant than Santiago del Chile (a heavily Amerindian-European mixed city).”

    Chile as a whole is “heavily Amerindian-European mixed” but you can’t say Santiago is a mirror of the country.

    All the same, based on I calculate the per capita monthly income of Porto Alegre to be 2159 reais (based on 80% white, 10% black, 10% brown) or $1154 in Gheary-Khamis international dollars for 2010.

    As for Metropolitan Santiago, per worksheet 3 of , under “Región metropolitana”, the “ingreso promedio per cápita” is 272,500 Chilean pesos or $815 in G-K international dollars for 2011.

    Of course the idiotic Brazilian census bureau excludes children under the age of 10 in the “mean income” figure. So it’s not really per capita income. It’s more like “total income of Porto Alegre, divided by everyone aged 10 or over”. Who the hell does that ?

    Anyway, this income can be adjusted by assuming that 15% of Porto Alegre is under the age of 10. Then the mean income comes to GK $981 or so.

  17. Alex / May 31 2016 3:15 PM

    I’m a molecular biologist and must say that you’re conclusions are all wrong. I can’t begin to break down your conclusions because you base them on bad data. Your premise that phonotypes arise from genotype is akin to leaping logic. You completely disregard environmental impact on development. Africans tend to be malnourished and living in poverty across the world, so they develop poorly. This says nothing about their genotype, but their phenotypes will most certainly be affected. In short I ask you to ask yourself what’s the point of all this hbd nonsense? How do you reconcile human evolution with your hypotheses? Do you know about homeobox genes? And as to twin studies you only mentioned identical twins but you never differentiated between gastrular or blastular zygotic cleavage. Have you ever even heard about epigenetics? My point is your theoretical basis for phenotype development is fractured from scientific reality.

    • JayMan / May 31 2016 5:16 PM

      I’m a molecular biologist

      Great! Did they teach you about heredity (The Behavioral Genetics Page) or the breeder’s equation?

      I can’t begin to break down your conclusions because you base them on bad data. Your premise that phonotypes arise from genotype is akin to leaping logic.

      No. See the aforementioned Behavioral Genetics page.

      You completely disregard environmental impact on development.

      I’m pretty certain I specifically addressed that in this post.

      Africans tend to be malnourished and living in poverty across the world, so they develop poorly.

      Yes, they do live in poverty across the world – even when they live in First World countries. Why? Blacks in the West are hardly malnourished, as obesity rates will tell you. And even with the benefit of First World conditions, they still do worse on IQ tests. This is true even when they come from wealthier families.

      In short I ask you to ask yourself what’s the point of all this hbd nonsense? How do you reconcile human evolution with your hypotheses?

      Well I think it’s stated clearly in the post you just read. If you missed it, read it again.

      And as to twin studies you only mentioned identical twins but you never differentiated between gastrular or blastular zygotic cleavage.

      With good reason. It doesn’t seem to matter:

      Have you ever even heard about epigenetics?

      I wish I hadn’t:

      Epigenetics Has Become Dangerously Fashionable – Facts So Romantic – Nautilus


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