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May 10, 2014 / JayMan

My Most Read Posts

It’s been nearly three years since the JayMan has been chugging away on the innerwebs about all this heritable biological impact on human behavior and society. I thought I would leave a quick snapshot of my most time-honored posts here at JayMan’s blog. Now this is only for its life on WordPress. For about the first year of its life, my blog lived on Blog.com, so I don’t have stats for that. But, this should give you an idea of my most time-honored posts.

Of course, many of my posts have attained fairly widespread popularity for some time, but they haven’t been “repeat offenders,” so may not be included here. Any ways, here goes, starting with my most popular:

ColinWoodard_AmericanNations_map1.Maps of the American Nations – My post based on the works of David Hackett Fischer (Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: A Cultural History) and Maine’s own Colin Woodard (American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America). Here, I recount the story as told by these men and add supporting evidence for the existence of the ethnocultural nations as delineated by the latter. In addition, I give background on and evidence for the genetic underpinnings of these distinctions, relying on the work of the venerable hbd* chick. I feature plenty of maps, showing how the American nations live on in our politics, our language, even our drugs. The primary message is that HBD works within nation states, and that a group, like White Americans, should NOT be thought of a monolithic collection at all, but a highly diverse and significantly varied collection of distinct peoples.

Megan-Jennifer-s-Body-Hot-Topic-Fan-Event-megan-fox-8183006-420-6002. The Evolution of Female Bisexuality – Here I engage in some spirited conjecture about the nature and possible evolutionary function – if any – of female bisexuality. Unlike its counterpart, male homosexuality, the reason female bisexuality exists largely mysterious and poorly understood.

 

 

 

Inbreeding Gradient Europe3. How Inbred are Europeans? Post where I display, graphically, the suspected distribution of fractured inbreeding and clannishness across Europe. Here I index links to hbd* chick‘s work upon which these estimations are based, as well as provide links to key posts summarizing her work. Through the discussion here, the apparent difference between close mating (that is, almost exclusively within historical clans) and slightly less close mating (that occurs across within medium-sized networks in small or isolated nations), differentiating Europeans and Near Easterners into three broad types of people: atomized unclannish reciprocal altruists; clannish kin-altruists; and “in-betweeners,” who display mixes of both sets of traits and are often highly nationalistic.

 

T1.large_4. All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable – With the First Law of behavioral genetics as the title, I talk about the fact that heredity impacts (to some extent) all aspects of human behavior and differences between individuals in that behavior. That is, genetic differences are involved in every aspect that makes any two individuals different from one another. From politics – to religion – to personality – to body weight – to intelligence – to income – genes play a role in each, and I talk about these. I discuss the evidence we have for this, coming from twin studies, adoption studies, as well as the newer direct genomic analyses of Peter Visshcher et al that confirm previous results. The non-effect of parenting and the impact for HBD is discussed. A key post that remains high on my list on intro posts.

 

todd-traditional-family-systems-of-europe-hajnal-line5. An HBD Summary of the Foundations of Modern CivilizationA synopsis of hbd* chick’s work. I tell the tale as inferred by the investigation of hbd* chick, starting in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. I discuss the Catholic Church’s ban on cousin marriage in Northwestern Europe, which – as hbd* chick’s theory goes – sent people there on a unique evolutionary trajectory. The loosening of family ties and the rise of independent individuals allowed for the development of corporate societies and social institutions that are the hallmark of Northwestern European nations and their derivatives around the world, according to hbd* chick’s ideas.

 

 

puppet-on-a-string-367x5006. No, You Don’t Have Free Will, and This is Why – I make a detailed case against the existence of free will, which is a nonsensical concept in any rational analysis. I denounce even best latest attempts to restore some watered-down version of it. I note that since all actions have causes, human behavior is no less the result of physical processes than any other event in the universe – physical processes which include genes, environmental impacts, and random chance. Behavior is always the result of these forces, and arguments otherwise are merely obsfuctionary quasi-to-fully religious attempts to confuse the matter. I note the irony in the fact that inability of some to let go of the idea of free will is itself explained by its nonexistence (i.e., we can’t escape the physical reality laid out by the structure of our brains, regardless of exactly how our brains got that way).

 

Left Coast2 7. Flags of the American Nations – Here I discuss each of Colin Woodard’s American Nations, talking about the characteristics of each as well as a bit about each nation’s origins. The enduring features that make up Greater Appalachia, The Left Coast, the Deep South, etc. that live on in today’s America (and Canada and Mexico) can be traced to these ethnic differences in each region’s settling and subsequent immigration.

sci-dna-strand18. How Much Hard Evidence Do You Need? – Quite pertinent at the moment, my post discussing the various bits of solid evidence for biological bases for racial differences in behavior, including gene frequencies and differences in newborn behavior.

 

 

Childs9. Expectations and reality: a window into the liberal-conservative baby gap – As part of my series on fertility rates, I investigate the persistent (since the middle of the 20th century) fertility gap between White liberals and White conservatives in the United States. I examine whether this may be attributed to liberals wanting fewer children. I find that while there does seem to be a gap between the ideal family size between liberals and conservatives, it is often small. Quite commonly, liberals seem to fail to realize their ideal number of children. Also notes that fertility gaps can be correlated to personality, particularly the trait openness to experience.

 

bachmann_rect10. Who’s Having the Babies? – Also my fertility series, I examine in detail the frequency break down of White American liberal vs. conservative fertility, comparing each by IQ and education. I examine the dysgenic fertility for White liberals and the eugenic fertility for White conservatives. I find that eugenic fertility for White conservatives is primarily driven by smart conservative men, while dysgenic fertility for White liberals is driven by both sexes.

Earth-Sunrise (2) 11. 100 Blog Posts – A Reflection on HBD Blogging And What Lies Ahead – A review post, where I talk about the major themes and findings after 100 posts HBD blogging. These include my findings on fertility, including the apparent relationship between fertility rates and happiness in the developed world. I also discuss my major exposé on health and lifestyle wisdom, nothing many of the commonly health beliefs are false. This is due to a failure to appreciate the impact of heredity on health and an over-reliance on uncontrolled observational studies.

So there you have it. Now, these are underestimates, because they exclude hits that come directly to my main page and not to the individual posts themselves. That skews these numbers. This is more a picture  of enduring popularity than of initial impact. But they should give a rough guide to my most popular writing. We’re talking a high of just under 10,000 views with my most popular post. When we’re talking pages, like my HBD Fundamentals, they views are even higher. Not bad for a day’s work at all.

Here’s for hoping for the day when we can discuss HBD out in the open.

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12 Comments

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  1. Luke Lea / May 12 2014 1:06 PM

    I’m beginning to think you are right on the free will issue, at least on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Maybe the ancients were right. Fate and fortune shape each individual’s course through life.

    OTH, individuals must be held responsible for their actions. The idea that absence of free will somehow negates that proposition needs to be addressed more forcefully than you have thus far.

    • Luke Lea / May 12 2014 1:09 PM

      What do you call it when individuals choose to seize the moral opportunities that history presents? For example, what Lincoln did? Or Jesus (the man) as far as that goes? Aren’t certain of our decisions more of a toss up than others?

    • JayMan / May 12 2014 10:07 PM

      @Luke Lea:

      I’m beginning to think you are right on the free will issue, at least on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Maybe the ancients were right. Fate and fortune shape each individual’s course through life.

      OTH, individuals must be held responsible for their actions. The idea that absence of free will somehow negates that proposition needs to be addressed more forcefully than you have thus far.

      A key problem with human sciences in general, especially behavioral sciences, is that while the facts by themselves are value free, and don’t have any inherent implications, because of the nature of the way the human brain works, people automatically attach value and perceived implications to the facts. That is part of the reason that HBD is meeting such pitched resistance.

      In the case of free will, its nonexistence just is, and it will be so whether we accept or not (as is the case with all facts). Because the human brain is not a perfectly empirical evaluator of facts, but rather relies on hitherto useful heuristics and emotions, some people feel that in order for their to be a social concept of culpability for wrong doing, there must be free will, when that is obviously ludicrous.

      No, the nonexistence of free will doesn’t mean we should do away with our legal apparatus or the idea of holding people accountable for their actions. If anything, I would imagine that recognition of the nonexistence of free will means that these institutions are all the more important. It is important that if certain people are going to want to behave a certain way, we need to give them deterring factors to consider to affect their mental calculus that leads to the decision to transgress. That, and we need a system in place to keep dangerous people away from innocents.

      What do you call it when individuals choose to seize the moral opportunities that history presents? For example, what Lincoln did? Or Jesus (the man) as far as that goes? Aren’t certain of our decisions more of a toss up than others?

      What do you call it when the chess computer checkmates your king? The program is working as intended. The purpose of brains is to take the enormous amount of input our senses provide and turn it into output: output that has historically served the purpose of aiding our survival and reproduction. The lack of free will doesn’t preclude the existence of comtemplation and self (and other) awareness.

      “since all actions have causes, human behavior is no less the result of physical processes than any other event in the universe”

      Aren’t you assuming here what you are trying to prove? I refer to Hume’s demonstration of the irrationality of induction.

      Luke, all science is based on Hume’s Dictum and Occam’s Razor. We cannot absolutely prove that the universe is internally consistent or that our sense are in fact telling us the truth. But we have absolutely no reason to think that either of these aren’t the case. Combining these two principles gives us our answer: since the universe overwhelming appears to be that way, the explanation with the fewest terms is that it is in fact that way.

      Then, too, there is the assumption that the objective (empirical, physical) world is prior to the subjective, the objective world as we actually experience it.

      Why do we feel pain, to take the most primitive (and powerful) example? Wouldn’t it be enough for evolutionary purposes if we were simply impelled away from the sources of biological damage by the mere act of perception without any accompanying feelings? Is the feeling of pain a scientific fact?

      Hopefully you get the point.

      What is a fact?

      A fact is something for which the likelihood of truth is very high, such that it takes every more incredible propositions to render it false. That the Sun will rise tomorrow is one example, as are the things you’re positing.

      The simplest explanation is that we experience pain because the response aided our reaction to injury. Sure, the existence of chronic pain shows the system has its draw backs, but like all evolutionary adaptations, it’s more advantage than handicap.

      Just look at people who “suffer” from congenital analgesia.

      The behavior of an individual human being is not predictable in most circumstances of life the same way an electron is

      Sure it is. Just ask highly Machiavellian people, or people who know someone else well.

      If supernatural events are events which violate the laws of nature (in highly improbable ways)

      The problem with the concept of the “supernatural” is this: at what point do we declare something is “outside” of nature? If our universe is the realm of our existence and all within it, then how could something “supernatural” even exist?

      It is merely for the purpose of introducing a note of uncertainty. It is one thing to have a powerful drive to know, especially when you are young (I’ve been there), another to have a capacity to tolerate uncertainty

      Isn’t the whole point of science to reduce uncertainty, by improving our knowledge of the universe?

  2. Luke Lea / May 12 2014 2:44 PM

    “since all actions have causes, human behavior is no less the result of physical processes than any other event in the universe”

    Aren’t you assuming here what you are trying to prove? I refer to Hume’s demonstration of the irrationality of induction.

    Then, too, there is the assumption that the objective (empirical, physical) world is prior to the subjective, the objective world as we actually experience it.

    Why do we feel pain, to take the most primitive (and powerful) example? Wouldn’t it be enough for evolutionary purposes if we were simply impelled away from the sources of biological damage by the mere act of perception without any accompanying feelings? Is the feeling of pain a scientific fact? What is a fact?

    The behavior of an individual human being is not predictable in most circumstances of life the same way an electron is, and even the electron’s behavior is only governed by laws of probability: identical situations do not lead to identical results. If supernatural events are events which violate the laws of nature (in highly improbable ways) what do you call human actions which are within the laws of nature but have added human significance for the actor and his audience? I would call it the realm of the supra-natural. It encompasses everything that we hold most valuable, as, for example, the collective action of our Founding Fathers.

    None of this is by way of proof. It is merely for the purpose of introducing a note of uncertainty. It is one thing to have a powerful drive to know, especially when you are young (I’ve been there), another to have a capacity to tolerate uncertainty, which has its advantages also. Cock-sureness is a word that comes to mind, no offense.

  3. Luke Lea / May 13 2014 11:21 AM

    Jayman: “A fact is something for which the likelihood of truth is very high, such that it takes every more incredible propositions to render it false. ”

    Close, but no cigar. A fact, by which I mean a scientific fact, is an inter-subjective phenomenom, a datum outside our heads, such that two or more heads (observers) agree that it is there.. In other words, a fact is an external event in time and space. This is not my own definition. I learned it from Karl Popper, the only philosopher of science ever worth a flip.

    What goes on inside our heads therefore are not scientific facts. Pain is not a scientific fact. Consciousness itself is not a fact. It is not part of the empirical world. It is a subjective experience, part of our own private world. It lies beyond the realm of science, and always will. Inter-subjectivity is the key word here.

    Now you may say, you probably will say, that there is a correlation between the physical activity going on in the brain and our conscious experience as reported by a subject. Let me grant such a correlation for the purposes of argument. Correlative phenomena are like the two sides of a coin. You cannot have one without the other. It is perfectly conceivable — not provable, conceivable — that their is interaction between them. As long as there is no violation of the statistical laws of physics it is perfectly conceivable that the subjective side influences the objective side. You cannot rule that out a priori. Nor can you prove it false a posteriori. You can jump up and down and yell that it is blindingly obvious one way or the other. But you are just jumping up and down yelling.

    Moving on, let us look at the interplay of ideas, not only in ones head, but between heads, as in this conversation, or as what goes on when one is reading the writings of another person. There is no conceivable way of proving anything approaching a strict causal relationship between these ideas, right down to the last jot and tittle of the way we try to express them. Why not? Because ideas are subjective phenomena. The same idea can (and very often does?) mean different things to different people. Thus the whole world of intellectual discourse lies in the realm of the supra-natural: beyond science, available for understanding (verstehen) only by our “theories of mind,” which themselves are not part of science.

    One metaphysical model that I entertained in my youth was that space-time itself is conscious, and that it is only the things (particles, events) that occur in space and time that constitute the empirical world. We conscious entities are like bubbles of space time floating within and yet somehow cut off from (except through our senses) by a wall or membrane of interference from that larger field of space-time in which we float. We perceive the external world, the empirical world of matter and energy, through our senses. And if there is a kind of symmetry here then, who knows, maybe that larger field sees into the world inside our heads. And when we die, what was on the inside looking out suddenly becomes on the outside looking in.

    I no longer think about such matters much, but at one time they satisfied my itch. Just a possible metaphysics and nothing more.

    • JayMan / May 13 2014 11:53 AM

      @Luke Lea:

      Jayman: “A fact is something for which the likelihood of truth is very high, such that it takes every more incredible propositions to render it false. ”

      Close, but no cigar. A fact, by which I mean a scientific fact, is an inter-subjective phenomenom, a datum outside our heads, such that two or more heads (observers) agree that it is there.. In other words, a fact is an external event in time and space. This is not my own definition. I learned it from Karl Popper, the only philosopher of science ever worth a flip.

      I’m going to stick with my definition. The idea that multiple observers will agree on something is, ultimately, just another way of increasing certainty, not an inherent quality of facts themselves.

      at goes on inside our heads therefore are not scientific facts. Pain is not a scientific fact. Consciousness itself is not a fact. It is not part of the empirical world.

      No offense now, but you see this is what drives me nuts when most people try to talk philosophically about things: they often end up making absolutely no sense. Let’s even apply your own standard here: when Rafiki whacks Simba over the head, would all outside observers not agree that it appears Simba is in pain? If you asked him (taking the cartoon example to its limits), would he not tell you he’s in pain?

      The same thing goes for consciousness, or all other brain states. Every single observation we can make, down to sticking the subject in an fMRI, sure makes it look like the subject is conscious or having whatever experience is in question (pain, sight, etc), observations which include simply interacting with the individual. So if it looks that way – Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanation is it is that way.

      Now you may say, you probably will say, that there is a correlation between the physical activity going on in the brain and our conscious experience as reported by a subject. Let me grant such a correlation for the purposes of argument. Correlative phenomena are like the two sides of a coin. You cannot have one without the other. It is perfectly conceivable — not provable, conceivable — that their is interaction between them. As long as there is no violation of the statistical laws of physics it is perfectly conceivable that the subjective side influences the objective side

      Luke, Hume’s Dictum & Occam’s Razor again. We cannot absolutely prove that life isn’t all a dream, that we are not in the Matrix, and everything we assume to be a physical law isn’t just a sham. That’s accepted. But again, the simplest explanation is that things are as they appear.

      You can append any of an infinite number of “hidden”, effectively invisible propositions to the way the world works. The requirement (and the problem) is that they are all superfluous: we can apparently make things work without them. This includes the soul or things beyond that level. So why do we need them? Answer? We don’t.

      The rest of your notion rests on these points. You could drive yourself batty pondering the “possibilities”, because like I said, there are infinitely many. But not only are they unsolvable, they are also (thankfully) unnecessary.

      In the end, even if it doesn’t bother you, because so being the case, I proceed from this view, and draw my conclusions accordingly. And that is why I say what I say, and why I say free will does not exist, for one.

    • Michael / May 13 2014 5:03 PM

      Luke, sorry for the awkward intrusion, but have you checked your Facebook messages lately?

  4. Luke Lea / May 14 2014 11:29 AM

    Jayman writes: “You can append any of an infinite number of “hidden”, effectively invisible propositions to the way the world works. The requirement (and the problem) is that they are all superfluous: we can apparently make things work without them.”

    You are always a challenge Jayman! Still, when it comes to understanding history and human interactions, I think hard, empirical science has very little to offer, not only now, but forever. You cannot “make things work” in any satisfactory way using the limited set of tools to which you are restricting yourself.

    This is true even if there is no interactionism (? is that a word) between the subjective and objective sides of experience.

    The nexus between ideas and human behavior is too subtle for science to penetrate. There will never be a satisfactory “science” of history. Or even of economics. Useful understanding in these areas will forever remain an art to which only a few exceptional individuals (statesmen) with a lot of wordly experience and knowledge of history combined with high intelligence (of course!) plus intuitive heuristic “theories of mind” (as evolutionary psychologists use that term) will achieve valuable verstehen (understanding).

    But then these are the subject areas with which you are little concerned at the present time — or else with which you switch to more informal modes of analysis along the lines I suggest.

    But then I may be wrong about all this. Style is the deference which action pays to uncertainty. I think Oppenheimer said that.

    Cheers to you and your good work.

    • JayMan / May 14 2014 11:42 AM

      @Luke Lea:

      The advantage of the scientific method is that it helps you get to the truth independent of content. Allow me to show you by applying it here.

      You cannot “make things work” in any satisfactory way using the limited set of tools to which you are restricting yourself.

      This is true even if there is no interactionism (? is that a word) between the subjective and objective sides of experience.

      The nexus between ideas and human behavior is too subtle for science to penetrate. There will never be a satisfactory “science” of history. Or even of economics. Useful understanding in these areas will forever remain an art to which only a few exceptional individuals (statesmen) with a lot of wordly experience and knowledge of history combined with high intelligence (of course!) plus intuitive heuristic “theories of mind” (as evolutionary psychologists use that term) will achieve valuable verstehen (understanding).

      If this was true, we wouldn’t be making the progress that we’re clearly making, which has been the focus of this entire blog. We are making clear strides towards explaining both human behavior and the course of history. Indeed, my key tweet:

      …shows this.

      If the methods of science were useless at explaining human behavior, then behavioral genetics at the very least certainly wouldn’t work.

      Now, in order for these extra postulates of yours to have a place, we would need to show that the simple hard materialism was incapable of explanation what we see. Einstein’s take on Occam’s Razor: as simple as you can, but no simpler. We invoke ideas as needed. The problem is they’re not needed, so we don’t invoke them.

      Thanks for the compliments! 🙂

  5. Luke Lea / May 14 2014 12:08 PM

    “Before I would argue with you, define your terms.” Voltaire

    Since this whole argument began over the question of whether free-will exists or not, maybe you should define your terms. Define free will.

    The absence of free will does not mean that all human decisions are determined, does it? After all, indeterminacy is a fundamental, bedrock principle of modern physics. And while most macroscopic events are deterministic for all practical purposes, even Lubos Motl (my authority for all things physical) acknowledges that certain neural events — whether a particular neuron fires or not at a particular moment — may, in certain well-balanced situations, be due to something as elementary as a quantum fluctuation. Thus certain decisions may be indeterminate in that sense.

    So, please define free will rigorously. I can’t imagine what it means. Nor its absence.

    • JayMan / May 14 2014 12:18 PM

      @Luke Lea:

      A lot of clever commenters on the matter have tried to play with the definition of free will such that it would be possible that it exists. We can say free will is that actions and behaviors originate from something other than the physical processes that occur in the brain. Clearly such a phenomenon cannot exist without invoking something supernatural.

      But even then, Sam Harris showed that even if that were the case, it wouldn’t rescue free will since human behavior is predictable, based on physical correlates. Invoking the supernatural wouldn’t solve anything, it would merely shift explanation elsewhere – in a way that add extra postulates without increasing explanatory power.

      Yes, human behavior is “deterministic” in the sense of being physically determined. But as we know, quantum mechanics shows that there exists a certain level of indeterminism in the world: events are only probabilistically deterministic. That too doesn’t rescue free will, since behavior is the still result of physical processes, just with the vagaries of nature’s random element involved.

      For the record, I don’t buy Lubos Motl in that the macro world is functionally deterministic. That’s simply impossible when its constituents are not. There’s just no way to square that circle without logical legerdemain (Motl’s tactic) or invoking magic.

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