(This is also published at The Unz Review)
It’s that time again. There’s been another horrific high-profile mass shooting. And as usual, all the nonsense that typically circulates when that happens is circulating again. “We need more gun control!” “The problem is mental illness!” Or “it’s not mental illness!” “It’s racism!”
Chris Harper Mercer added another layer to the matter – the fact that he was an atheist, indeed, a literal antitheist who specifically targeted Christians adds another lay to this whole thing. Conversations about atheism and religion are sure to follow.
The key thing about this however is that I’ve written about all this stuff before. I don’t even need to add anything new, it seems, so far.
So with that said, check out my posts:
I showed that the relationship between the prevalence of guns and homicide, globally, was pretty weak:
Homicide rate per capita on bottom.
this should make clear the foolhardiness of trying to identify causal factors – especially those from life experience – that are responsible for any given individual’s behavior. How interesting would it be if Elliot Rodger had a twin brother with similar difficulties – including one or more violent episodes – but was raised in some far away place in quite different circumstances?
But none of that stops people from trying, cooking up all manner of explanations for Elliot Rodger’s killing spree, and in so to doing, executing, broadly, the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy in the process.
Religion comes to the religious because that’s how their brains are wired. A believer cannot think any different … Believers literally have God/Earth spirits/Buddha on the brain. To such a person, their deities are as real as the Sun in the sky (since, after all, the believer’s brain is the only brain he’s got). Religiosity is highly heritable (as are all behavioral traits)…
religious belief – or lack there of – is largely intractable. It is a futile effort to get people to give up religion en masse (or, for that matter, to get non-believers to believe). You may have some individual “successes”, largely because of changing the environmental context of people who already had the genetic potential for whatever belief you want to instill, but you’re not going to achieve broad change in the population.
However, it’s worth mentioning here that while there seems to be genetic underpinnings to religion – even the particular religion one adheres to (at least on the level of ethnic groups) – for the religious there is quite a bit of flexibility in what particular beliefs one holds. Many belief systems can fit the various “god-shaped holes” in people. Indeed, today’s atheists evolved from quite theistic earlier people. We can see that all across the developed world, where previous traditional religions have given rise to de facto and nominal atheism.
Of course, in many of these societies “atheism” is a bit of a stretch. Even in many of these nominally atheist societies, belief – or more accurately faith – is not absent. Secular religions have replaced spiritual ones. The belief in the supreme rational faculties and universal similarity of man that New Atheism (and for that matter, much of modern liberalism) is predicated on – essentially a watered-down blank-slatist view – is such an example.
(Note, don’t bother me about posting the killer’s name and face. That information is clearly relevant to what I discuss here.)
For that matter, you may want to see my posts on Peter Turchin’s work:
Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut, has discovered the violent upheavals seems occur along a roughly 50 year cycle. If he is correct, and if this pattern holds, with the violence of the 1960s and ‘70s considered, it seems that we are on course for rough times around the year 2020. The current signs are not at all promising.
While we’re at it, check out M.G.’s post Those Who Can See: Reacting to Spree Killings, Progressively.
I’m just sayin’. This matter is clearly not as mysterious as the mainstream press makes it out to be. Nor are the usually proposed solutions likely to be effective (in fact, I think there is no solution). But that doesn’t stop the usual nonsense discussions from taking place. ‘Round and ’round in circles we go, where we stop, nobody knows.
In any case, here’s all you need for this discussion in one place. There are plenty of graphs and data in these posts, so, they should prove useful.
(This is also published at the Unz Review.)
This will be the first column in a series on the broad human behavioral dimension dubbed “clannishness” by HBD Chick. I’ve talked quite about clannishness here, and of course it is the main theme of HBD Chick’s blog.
(Note: the above links are here for a reason. Before commenting about confusion about something I talk about here, try checking to see if it was discussed in the above.)
Yes, clannishness is a real human quality (as the above make abundantly clear). It is a distinct cluster of behavioral traits and attitudes (see Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality) that correlate with each other globally (and to an extent on an individual level). All human groups (particularly post agricultural/horticultural ones) fall somewhere on this dimension:
In this series, I will explore different facets of this clannishness dimension. (Each entry in this series probably won’t be sequential, but they will come.) In this entry, I’ll look at one particular aspect of this divide: the “curious” phenomenon of Western inventiveness.
There is little question that Northwestern Europeans have excelled in arena of discovery and science. Indeed, it was Northwestern Europeans that gave us science as we know it. Northwestern Europeans brought about the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions and continue to be at the forefront of discovery today. The modern world as we know it would not exist without Northwestern European contributions.
Why is this case? Why has one corner of the world contributed so much? Various (mostly stupid) ideas have been put forward to explain this. Most discount the role of biology in leading to these outcomes. As we’ve seen previously (e.g., Demography is Destiny, American Nations Edition), societal differences are driven by biological differences between people. In short, the people make the society. Northwestern European inventiveness is no exception.
Many of those who are biologically aware credit average IQ as having a role, and indeed it does. There won’t be much progress or discovery without raw brain power. Let’s look at the average IQ across the world:
And taking to account the European diaspora:
We see that IQ is indeed important. However, as the following maps will show, IQ is clearly not the only factor operating here:
As we can see, average IQ is part of the story, but far from all of it. Particularly, despite having roughly the same average IQ, Eastern Europeans and East Asians underperform relative to Northwestern Europeans (and their offshoots). This isn’t even entirely of matter of lack of “manpower”, as this map of the number of researchers per million shows (from here):
Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, lag noticeably behind the Northwest. Japan and South Korea underperform both in total output (somewhat) as well as in the top prizes (they do perform much better in patents per capita, however). The latter two countries indicate that it’s not just a matter of national wealth or funding that drives these patterns.
A recent paper (discussed by James Thompson – Psychological comments: Asians: bright, but not curious? ) looked specifically at the East Asian-European gap in top prizes. But as we see, there is a noticeable gap within Europe. Particularly, the Northwestern countries are quite a bit ahead both the Southern and Eastern countries (as is the case with so many other things). The north-south disparity is to be expected due to the IQ cline:
But what about the east-west disparity? That’s harder to explain solely with IQ.
Even among the Northwestern countries, the more Germanic countries stand ahead of the rest.
Northwestern Europe, particularly the Germanic countries, have long been centers of development and progress. Indeed, Charles Murray wrote a whole book on that. In Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, Murray noted where the great scientists, mathematicians, and artists tended to originate. Overall, the pattern looks like this (as cited by HBD Chick – “core europe” and human accomplish-ment | hbd chick):
This pattern of innovation stemming from “core” Europe persists to the present day, as seen by patent applications per capita there (from here):
Indeed, a project tracing the place of birth and place of death of historically notable people across the world (and particularly Europe and North America) reproduces this pattern. See The History Of Cultural Migration, Mapped. Indeed, the animated visualization of this process over the last 2,000 years is mesmerizing to watch. You can actually watch civilization appear before your very eyes:
This video explains more of the process:
Interestingly, the latter video shows the rise of modern Europe and its siring of the American Nations. In essence, it is a visualization of much of what HBD Chick and I have discussed in our writing.
What is responsible for this pattern? Kura, te Nijenhuis, and Dutton blame the difference on a composite of novelty-seeking, social anxiety, fear of exclusion, and individualism. In their paper, they claimed that “Europeans” (all Northwestern Europeans) were less socially anxious, less fearful of exclusion, more novelty-seeking, and more individualistic than East Asians. Readers here will be familiar with this pattern: these are elements of personality differences as described previously in Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality, where I discuss variation in global personality in the HEXACO system. Particularly, more individualistic and more novelty seeking are facets of high Openness to experience. Fear of exclusion is an aspect of high Emotionality (and possibly high Agreeableness). And social anxiety is a facet of low eXtraversion. See also Staffan’s post on the Northeast Asian variant of the shame culture, the face culture: Honor, Dignity, and Face: Culture as Personality Writ Large | Staffan’s Personality Blog
The HEXACO captures variation in clannishness across the world. However, I wouldn’t want to reduce the difference to variation in personality dimensions, because ultimately the HEXACO is a theoretical construct (and an incomplete one) which partially captures the underlying variation. The variation is real; the system of personality traits and our various other measures merely approximate it. In any case, I think something deeper and more fundamental is going on here than just personality.
Others have suggested that the difference is creativity; East Asians are simply less creative than Westerners, so the story goes. The title of this entry is a reference to a quote “Genius is a zigzag lightning in the brain which other men have not,” which itself was quoted by Steve Sailer in an old VDare article discussing Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms. Sailer noted that Clarkian selection produced intelligence in both Northern Europe and East Asia, but it could not have been responsible for the apparent creative ability of some of the former. I suspect that raw creative ability is involved, but I think that’s hardly the whole story.
For one, I’m not sure we can say Northwestern Europeans are the most creative people in the world. Blacks have demonstrated substantial creativity, particularly in music and entertainment. But likely this doesn’t translate into scientific ability in good part because of Blacks’ lower average IQ. But nonetheless, I think here’s something more fundamental going on here:
To which group does the flower on the bottom belong? This was the subject of a few of HBD Chick’s posts (do you think like a westerner? ; do you think like a westerner? (repeat); and east vs. west?). Essentially, research pioneered by Richard Nisbett found that “Westerners” (all Northwestern European in descent) tend to group the flower with group B, while “Easterners” (East Asians) group the flower with group A. Essentially, this is a test of abstract vs. holistic thinking between each group. This videos discuss it in further detail:
In the flower example, NW Europeans will group the flower with group B, because they all share the same stem. It’s a crisp rule that sharply delineates one from type of flower from the other. East Asians, on the other hand, will group the flower with group A, because they share “superficial” characteristics. The first video gives another example at time point 36:57. A set of three objects, a giant panda, a monkey, and a banana, were presented to Whites and to East Asians. Participants were asked to group two of the objects together. Westerners grouped the panda and the monkey (since they’re both animals). Easterners, on the other hand, grouped the monkey and the banana (since monkeys eat bananas).
This may seem like a simple and seemingly meaningless difference, but it goes to the core of one of the key ways WEIRDO people are different from the rest of humanity. The ability to think abstractly and understand crisp linear rules of how things relate to each other is fundamental to being an effective scientist. I’ll argue that development of the Northwestern European penchant for abstraction is directly responsible (among other traits) for the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions.
Additionally, the video discusses another key difference between Western vs. Eastern (i.e., WEIRDO vs. clannish) thought: the former see things (and themselves) as atomized individuals, while the latter view objects in the world as part of an interconnected whole. This is a defining aspect on the clannishness dimension: low-clannishness peoples (WEIRDOs) see themselves as atomized individuals, who form associations voluntarily and not necessarily based on kinship. High-clannishness peoples see themselves as inherently part of the group (e.g., family, clan, tribe, village/town, etc.). Kura et al were correct in that a penchant for individualistic thought is an essential ingredient for new discovery. Here I highlight the underlying characteristic (i.e., clannishness) of which individualism is an aspect.
Together, abstract thought along with individualism helped foster NW European development. East Asians and others may have made many discoveries and possessed fair technological ability throughout their history (in line with their high average IQ), but they, by and large, lacked the ability to put it all together in a coherent system of analysis and discovery – i.e., science. East Asians (and for that matter, Northeastern Europeans) didn’t begin to excel in these areas until they were introduced to the scientific method (and by that, I mean the whole linear abstract way of thinking) by NW Europeans.
Now, some may be wondering the following: East Asians are known for mathematic ability, and indeed, they do seem to posses higher average mathematic ability than NW Europeans. And math is perhaps the most abstract matter there is (with good reason, I believe). Yet we see less by way of top ability from East Asians. This is not due to East Asians possessing a narrower standard deviation in IQ than NW Euros. Nonetheless, the Fields Medal statistics clearly show East Asians (and Eastern Europeans) lagging well behind NW Europeans in top accomplishments. This confirms that their worse Nobel performance isn’t just due to institutional barriers or other social limitation, but lower ability to make novel advancements.
Despite all this, one thing that abstract thinking is NOT all that good for is understanding people. It’s difficult to brute-force “reason” through what makes people think and how they’ll behave. You have to understand this intuitively. Indeed, the human brain is heavily dedicated to social reasoning and understanding how people think. Clannish peoples have taken this a step further because of the low trust that prevails in clannish societies. Referring back to my post Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality, the H of the HEXACO, Honesty-humility, captures one key element of the clannish dimension. Clannish peoples are much lower on this dimension than WEIRDOs. Machiavellianism – talent at deceptive manipulation – requires an intuitive understanding of how people tick. Indeed, to illustrate, let’s hear it as told by a master:
“Holistic” thinking is better for understanding people and anticipating their motives (and for figuring out how to take advantage of them). This reigns in clannish societies because deception (and hence, the need for the ability to detect deception) are par for the course in them.
By contrast, in WEIRDO societies, excessive abstraction is common, particularly when it comes to people (example: all of libertarianism). NW Euro liberals are susceptible to this naive abstraction about people. An example from Sweden (quote Google Translated from Swedish):
Municipalities will be required to accept refugees if it is not possible to reach a voluntary agreement. The distribution between the municipalities should take greater account of their economy.
There is a big difference on how many refugees Swedish municipalities receive. Labour Minister Ylva Johansson (S) is now presenting a proposal on how the distribution will become more even.
– My assessment is that this skewed distribution is not sustainable. It must become fairer and more reasonable, says Ylva Johansson.
This is one reason (in addition to high-trust, guilt culture, and WEIRDO reciprocal altruism) that NW Europeans have open their doors immigrants from around the world:
Indeed, there’s a fairly good correlation between Nobels per capita and the fraction Muslim in the country (data source for Muslim population). In this analysis, I excluded Bulgaria and Russia (as their Muslim populations stem more from conquest than from immigration). I also excluded Luxembourg as an outlier:
As well there is a modest correlation between Nobels per capita and those reporting positive attitudes towards immigration from outside the European Union (source for attitudes here):
And indeed, a recent study by Thomas Talhem, Jonathan Haidt, et al found that Liberals Think More Analytically (More “WEIRD”) Than Conservatives. They ran various tests of abstract vs. holistic thinking on American, British, and Chinese subjects. They found that the more liberal ones in each country trended towards more abstract thinking. Now, in the Anglo countries, there may have been some ethnic confounding. But if so, this would still be consistent with the apparent global pattern. Nonetheless, for greater certainty, we need tests of abstract vs. holistic thinking from more countries, especially more non-WEIRDO ones.
Staffan has previously noted that this divide between WEIRDO and clannish thinking is visible in entertainment, particularly movies:
it seems like archetypes are something like hardwired predispositions, and that a good story is one which will resonate with this wiring … Now, given that a modern [WEIRDO] person is partly freed of moral foundations and clannishness, it would make sense to argue that such a person is also partly freed from his archetypal predispositions too … he is also less prone to archetypal thinking, which should make him a pretty poor storyteller.
there was a brief period of time when modern people were dominant in Western culture – the 1960s and 1970s – and they could do pretty much as they pleased. They made arty, existential, surrealistic and generally experimental films. Given the amount of modern films created during this period the film studios no doubt thought it was the next big thing. But like any stories that lacks that archetypal magic, they appealed to the critics – a group that is clearly modern – but they were never a big hit with the broader audience.
Modern movies have fared better when they returned to more archetypal-bases. A good example may be the difference between 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the following film in the franchise, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The former film is very abstract and cerebral, and didn’t resonant with people all that well. By contrast, Star Trek II is still generally regarded as the greatest film in the franchise. Director Nicholas Meyer took Star Trek II in a more archetypal direction. It depicts a classic battle of good vs. evil between forceful characters, and that gave us a memorable film.
How did this penchant for abstraction come about among NW Europeans? I suspect that part of it has to do with the rise of high-trust and social atomization (i.e., individualism) in NW European societies. As clannishness disappeared, and as people were no longer bound to their families or clans (and indeed, we were free to interact with non-relative in cooperative ventures), people became more free to engage in intellectually stimulating thought. Mental space previously devoted understand one’s place in society and keep ahead of schemers now could be used on more abstract pursuits. Indeed, perhaps this was favored in the NW Euro way of life. I will discuss the evolution of NW Euro traits further in future entries in this series.
The Northwestern European penchant for abstraction (along with many other unique psychological characteristics of this group) gave us the modern world as we know it. What allowed NW Europeans to once dominate the world now leads to poor decisions, such as allowing mass migration from clannish societies into NW European countries. As I said, demography is destiny, and the people make the society. Allowing mass migration large enough possibly lead to partial population replacement – as NW Europeans are now doing – will greatly erode what sustains modern civilization. Left unchecked, NW European society will disappear – just as the Roman Empire did before it. This would objectively be a great loss to the entire world. Hopefully, things turn around before the situation gets that bad, but, only time will tell.
For the ending theme, one interesting exercise in the contrast between abstract and holistic thinking is to compare German classical music with Italian operas. The contrast between mechanistic structure in one and emotion and human interest concerns in the other is fascinating. Look up the lyrics for this.
First of all, I’ve updated my earlier posting Genes, Climate, and Even More Maps of the American Nations. I’ve included a few more maps, including a map of the American Nations superimposed on average annual precipitation:
Second, here’s my occasional periodic F.U. to the more vile White Nationalist elements out there. JayMan Jr., taken two days ago:
Third, the sex of the new baby. Little Miss JayMan is on her way:
(This was also posted on the Unz Review, 9/11/15)
Some really interesting and quite significant publications have appeared in recent days. Each adds key pieces of evidence to the topic of HBD, and I wanted to talk about each here. I may do review columns like this periodically, somewhat akin to HBD Chick’s (get well soon!) linkfests.
This is nothing short of a brilliant and comprehensive summary and description of distinction between clannishness and its polar opposite, WEIRDO traits. M.G., the author there, vividly illustrates the distinction with examples, telling anecdotes, as well as statistics and graphs. As she put it (M.G.’s emphasis):
For those of us born in high-trust societies, it may come as a surprise that low commonweal orientation, also known as low trust, clannishness, or amoral familism, is anything but rare–globally, it is not the exception but the rule.
1) Low-trust: Don’t be a sucker
Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:
A freier, in Israeli eyes, is a shopper who waits in line to pay retail. It is a driver who searches for legal parking rather than pulling onto the sidewalk with the other cars. … The fear of being a sucker turns driving into a bumper-car competition and makes grocery shopping as trying as arm wrestling.
If you are stronger, why should you give way to someone weaker? In a debate, the British will say, ‘You have a point.’ In a debate here, no Israeli will admit he has been persuaded to change his mind. That shows weakness.’
Americans often find the Israeli attitude intolerably rude. Israelis, meanwhile, find Americans to be the biggest freiers of all. They are naive idealists. … Americans are perceived as innocents who follow the rules and who believe a person will actually do what he promises to do. ‘An American is willing to trust until someone proves to be untrustworthy,’ Shahar said. ‘Israel is much more like the rest of the world, where the basic assumption is that people . . . should not be trusted until proven trustworthy.’
Most, if not all the time in Iranian culture and society, a zerang person is seen in a positive light … a person who is able to wittingly cheat people, companies, businesses, governments of money is zerang and an idol for many Iranians. …We Iranians, although outwardly criticize corruption, internally glorify it and wish to master it.
2) High-trust: Living among the suckers
In stark contrast to the above, NW Europeans–and first and foremost the English–are famous for their notion of ‘fair-play’. Salvador de Madariaga, in his Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards (1929):
the English sensitiveness to the ‘laws of things’–the law of the road, the law of the sea, the law of the hunting field. … the English are the teachers of the world, not merely in their quickness to perceive these natural laws, but in their cordial and sincere obedience to the restrictions which they impose upon each individual for the good of the whole.
Each Englishman is his own regulator. … The need of outside safeguards or guarantees of any kind is therefore less urgently felt than in other countries. The average level of honesty in English civil life is singularly high, as is shown in the usual disregard for detailed precautions against fraud or deceit.
… No bureaucracy in the world can vie with the English Civil Service in its devotion to the interests of the country. … it owes much also to that instinct for co-operation, that objectivity, that absence of self-seeking, of vanity and of personal passion which are typical of the whole race.
Building a better life for my family’ often means fleeing the corruption and fraud which flower among the low-trust.
In nepotistic countries, political fraud is not so much a mark of shame as a national sport.
Perhaps most helpful are the scatterplots she provides:
1) General trust level
As a tentative proxy for general trust, we took two questions.
- “Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance, or would they try to be fair?” (WVS) (1-10 where 1 = “people would take advantage,” 10 = “people would try to be fair” –>; Respondents who said “1” only)
- “How much do you trust people you meet for the first time?” (WVS) (1-4 where 1 = completely, 4 = not at all –>; Respondents who said “4” only)
2) Trust vs. Familism
Does familism correlate with trust? As a proxy for the former, we used the statement
- “One of my main goals in life has been to make my parents proud.” (WVS) (1-4 where 1 = agree strongly, 4 = disagree strongly –>; Respondents who said “1” only)
- “Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance, or would they try to be fair?” (WVS) (1-10 where 1 = “people would take advantage,” 10 = “people would try to be fair” –>; Respondents who said “1” only)
The great depth of this global pattern (appearing across many different societal variables) speaks to the basic reality of this human division. This runs square contrary to the recent paper by Aleman and Woods which claims that the two dimensions of the World Values Survey aren’t real.
Whatever the true latent factors are, and whatever the correct way to measure them is, it is clear that they are capturing real phenomena, because they have significant predictive validity, as seen so plainly in M.G.’s post.
See also my early postings:
Also this by Staffan:
James Thompson reports on a new paper he co-authored with Heiner Rindermann. They deliver a brutally thorough dissection immigrant ability in Europe. Thompson and Rindermann look not only the performance of first generation immigrants, but their progeny as well. As Thompson put it:
Europe is experiencing enormous inflows of people from Africa and the Middle East, and in the midst of conflicting rhetoric, of strong emotions and of a European leadership broadly in favour of taking more migrants (and sometimes competing to do so) one meme keeps surfacing: that European Jews are the appropriate exemplars of migrant competence and achievements.
One major ingredient of the leadership’s welcome to migrants is the belief that they will quickly adapt to the host country, and become long term net contributors to society. Is this true?
However, there is now data on first and second generation immigrant scholastic achievements, and these serve as a cautionary tale. Acculturation requires plenty of high quality educational input, and substantial gaps remain into the second generation.
Rindermann created a composite score based on PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS data so as to provide one overall competence score for both the native born population and the immigrants which had settled in each particular country. For each country you can seen the natives versus immigrant gap. By working out what proportion of the national population are immigrants you can recalculate the national competence (IQ) for that country
The analysis of scholastic attainments in first and second generation immigrants shows that the Gulf has gained from immigrants and Europe has lost. This is because those emigrating to the Gulf have higher abilities than the locals, those emigrating to Europe have lower ability than the locals.
European leaders assume that acculturation is assured: it is merely a matter of additional investment in education and training.
Differences between immigrants of second and first generation. Generally, students of the second generation show better results, in the order of 1.84 IQ points (or 12 scholastic competence points). The gains are tending to become smaller, a hint that acculturation becomes weaker, e.g. due to creating own milieus leading to social and cultural separation, facilitated by increasing immigrant groups and world views such as Islamic religion.
However, there are countries in which second-generation migrants do worse: Qatar -57, Emirates -38, Chile -34, Latvia -25, Czech -24, Azerbaijan -22, New Zealand -19, Costa Rica -16, Trinidad -14, Ireland -3 and Jordan -2. These negative results show that acculturation is not the whole story in second- vs first-generation differences, but probably also that there are differences in origin among immigrant groups.
(Of course, I would add that differences between first and second generation immigrants can’t be taken at face value, as there are a myriad of factors that could lead the apparent shifts: testing errors, admixture with locals, selective emigration, etc.)
This paper is a huge blow to the general assumption of acculturation and “assimilation” that is believed to occur with immigrants. As we’ve seen before, immigrants don’t assimilate, except perhaps in the most superficial ways (language, dress, perhaps cuisine – things that depend heavily on content).
3. Piffer, Davide (2015), A review of intelligence GWAS hits: Their relationship to country IQ and the issue of spatial autocorrelation, Intelligence 53
Davide Piffer’s paper on polygenic IQ score has now been published in the journal Intelligence. Here’s the abstract:
Published Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS), reporting the presence of alleles exhibiting significant and replicable associations with IQ, are reviewed. The average between-population frequency (polygenic score) of nine alleles positively and significantly associated with intelligence is strongly correlated to country-level IQ (r = .91). Factor analysis of allele frequencies furthermore identified a metagene with a similar correlation to country IQ (r = .86). The majority of the alleles (seven out of nine) loaded positively on this metagene. Allele frequencies varied by continent in a way that corresponds with observed population differences in average phenotypic intelligence. Average allele frequencies for intelligence GWAS hits exhibited higher inter-population variability than random SNPs matched to the GWAS hits or GWAS hits for height. This indicates stronger directional polygenic selection for intelligence relative to height. Random sets of SNPs and Fst distances were employed to deal with the issue of autocorrelation due to population structure. GWAS hits were much stronger predictors of IQ than random SNPs. Regressing IQ on Fst distances did not significantly alter the results nonetheless it demonstrated that, whilst population structure due to genetic drift and migrations is indeed related to IQ differences between populations, the GWAS hit frequencies are independent predictors of aggregate IQ differences.
As Piffer explains (quote of Piffer from a discussion on his paper):
My hypothesis is that these hits represent signals of polygenic selection. They are not directly predictors of differences between countries, rather they stand for something else, which is millions more SNPs that have the same intelligence-increasing effect. Since these show a strong correlation, as can be seen via factor analysis and ANOVA, their frequencies are not randomly distributed across populations, it is reasonable expectation that were targets of selection, hence selection pressure differences cause different frequencies at thousands more SNPs that we have not observed yet.
Here is a scatter plot from the paper:
Steve Hsu and Jonathan Wai discuss the results of a study on the rate that the alumni of various colleges and universities go on to win top prizes, such as the Nobel (emphasis mine):
We examined six groups of exceptional achievers divided into two tiers, looking only at winners who attended college in the US. Our goal is to create a ranking among US colleges, but of course one could broaden the analysis if desired. The first level included all winners of the Nobel Prize (physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, literature, and peace), Fields Medal (mathematics) and the Turing Award (computer science). The second level included individuals elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE) or Institute of Medicine (IOM). The National Academies are representative of the top few thousand individuals in all of STEM.
We then traced each of these individuals back to their undergraduate days, creating two lists to examine whether the same or different schools rose to the top. We wanted to compare results across these two lists to see if findings in the first tier of achievement replicated in the second tier of achievement and to increase sample size to avoid the problem of statistical flukes.
Simply counting up the number of awards likely favors larger schools and alumni populations. We corrected for this by computing a per capita rate of production, dividing the number of winners from a given university by an estimate of the relative size of the alumni population. Specifically, we used the total number of graduates over the period 1966-2013 (an alternative method of estimating base population over 100 to 150 years led to very similar lists). This allowed us to objectively compare newer and smaller schools with older and larger schools.
In order to reduce statistical noise, we eliminated schools with only one or two winners of the Nobel, Fields or Turing prize. This resulted in only 25 schools remaining, which are shown below:
Rank Nobel, Fields or Turing prize Frequency Per capita ratio below top school 1 California Institute of Technology 11 1 2 Harvard University 34 2.82 3 University of Chicago 15 2.92 4 Swarthmore College 5 3.72 5 Columbia University 20 4.06 6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 14 4.45 7 Yale University 13 5.44 8 Amherst College 4 5.51 9 CUNY – City College of New York 13 7.52 10 Carnegie Mellon University 7 7.66 11 Case Western Reserve University 4 11.02 12 Princeton University 5 11.92 13 University of California at Berkeley 19 17.04 14 Stanford University 5 18.75 15 US Naval Academy 3 18.83 16 Dartmouth College 3 18.88 17 Cornell University 6 29.63 18 University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 7 39.76 19 University of California at Los Angeles 7 43.9 20 University of Pennsylvania 3 45.63 21 Oregon State University 3 52.32 22 University of Wisconsin at Madison 5 62.87 23 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 5 68.49 24 University of Minnesota at Twin Cities 3 107.67 25 University of Washington 3 118.72
As a replication check with a larger sample, we move to the second category of achievement: National Academy of Science, Engineering or Medicine membership. The National Academies originated in an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Lifetime membership is conferred through a rigorous election process and is considered one of the highest honors a researcher can receive.
Rank NAS, NAE, or IOM membership Frequency Per capita ratio below top school 1 California Institute of Technology 78 1 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 255 1.73 3 Harvard University 326 2.09 4 Swarthmore College 49 2.69 5 Princeton University 109 3.88 6 Amherst College 35 4.46 7 Yale University 112 4.48 8 University of Chicago 56 5.54 9 Stanford University 117 5.68 10 Haverford College 15 6.51 11 Oberlin College 38 6.91 12 Columbia University 78 7.38 13 Cooper Union 10 7.86 14 Rice University 31 8.7 15 Johns Hopkins University 42 9.27 16 Dartmouth College 43 9.34 17 CUNY – City College of New York 74 9.37 18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 41 9.83 19 Cornell University 128 9.85 20 Case Western Reserve University 28 11.17 21 Bryn Mawr College 9 11.65 22 Brown University 45 11.89 23 Pomona College 11 12.47 24 Carleton College 13 12.58 25 Wellesley College 17 12.73
Sports fans are unlikely to be surprised by our results. Among all college athletes only a few will win professional or world championships. Some collegiate programs undoubtedly produce champions at a rate far in excess of others. It would be uncontroversial to attribute this differential rate of production both to differences in ability of recruited athletes as well as the impact of coaching and preparation during college. Just as Harvard has a far higher percentage of students scoring 1600 on the SAT than most schools and provides advanced courses suited to those individuals, Alabama may have more freshman defensive ends who can run the forty yard dash in under 4.6 seconds, and the coaches who can prepare them for the NFL.
One intriguing result is the strong correlation (r ~ 0.5) between our ranking (over all universities) and the average SAT score of each student population, which suggests that cognitive ability, as measured by standardized tests, likely has something to do with great contributions later in life. By selecting heavily on measurable characteristics such as cognitive ability, an institution obtains a student body with a much higher likelihood of achievement. The identification of ability here is probably not primarily due to “holistic review” by admissions committees: Caltech is famously numbers-driven in its selection (it has the highest SAT/ACT scores), and outperforms the other top schools by a sizeable margin.
This shows the clear importance of raw ability in producing great achievement. The schools with the strongest pool of students end up having those students go on to have the greatest real-world achievement.
We cannot say whether outstanding achievement should be attributed to the personal traits of the individual which unlocked the door to admission, the education and experiences obtained at the school, or benefits from alumni networks and reputation.
Yeah well, I can tell you that the evidence isn’t pointing of the direction of education mattering much beyond student ability (and I’ll have more on that in a future posting). See:
But maybe the particular institution matters when it comes to breakthrough achievement? Who knows? That’s not where I’m inclined to put my money, though. See also Greg Cochran on that (get well soon my good man!).
The Marine Corp wanted to test the effectiveness of female marines in combat situations. So they “carried out … a nine-month long experiment at both Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Twentynine Palms, Calif. About 400 Marines, including 100 women, volunteered to join the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, the unit the Marine Corps created to compare how men and women do in a combat environment.” (Quote source)
Here’s what they found:
Summary of Research Findings
- Combat Effectiveness
- Overall: All-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on 69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134) as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews. Gender-integrated teams performed better than their all-male counterparts on (2) events.
- Speed: All-male squads, regardless of infantry MOS, were faster than the gender-integrated squads in each tactical movement. The differences were more pronounced in infantry crew-served weapons specialties that carried the assault load plus the additional weight of crew-served weapons and ammunition.
- Lethality: All-male 0311 (rifleman) infantry squads had better accuracy compared to gender-integrated squads. There was a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system (i.e. M4, M27, and M203) within the 0311 squads, except for the probability of hit & near miss with the M4.
- Male provisional infantry (those with no formal 03xx school training) had higher hit percentages than the 0311 (school trained) females: M4: 44% vs 28%, M27: 38% vs 25%, M16A4w/M203: 26% vs 15%.
- All-male infantry crew-served weapons teams engaged targets quicker and registered more hits on target as compared to gender-integrated infantry crew-served weapons teams, with the exception of M2 accuracy.
- All-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties. For example, when negotiating the wall obstacle, male Marines threw their packs to the top of the wall, whereas female Marines required regular assistance in getting their packs to the top. During casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups, except in the case where teams conducted a casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who “evacuated” the casualty).
Yet certain voices insist on allowing women in combat situations. I’m just sayin’.
This is certainly not new, but I recently saw it again and it is definitely worth taking another look at. Here’s the abstract:
We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and 1500 A.D. for the predecessors of today’s nation states. We find that this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly significant for today’s national development outcomes. Although our strongest results are for 1500 A.D., we find that even technology as old as 1000 B.C. is associated with today’s outcomes in some plausible specifications.
And here is a scatterplot:
Obviously, countries which have had their populations replaced by Northwestern Europeans stand as outliers. When they controlled for that, this is what they got:
Needless to say, this is exactly as expected given that the development of society depends on the characteristics of the people who comprise it – average IQ being a major one of those characteristics.
The pattern is visible further back, from 1000 B.C.:
Here we primarily see the effect of the early agricultural adopters. However, my readers will know that there has been a lot of evolution since then. As to be expected, we see a somewhat stronger relationship when we look more recently, roughly 2000 years ago:
So there you have it. The reality of HBD is clear and evident. Yet, the politically correct crazy has been only getting more crazy. With the ongoing “refugee” crisis in Europe, the paramount importance this information is all too plain. In the end, it is the people that make the society. More and more I’m starting to feel like I and the other HBD researchers are Galileo facing the Vatican. When will the official doctrine collapse?
(This was also posted on the Unz Review, 8/27/15)
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) current “Featured Extremist” (their words) is none other than the mild-mannered Henry Harpending of West Hunter.
They go into a fair amount of detail about Harpending and his work, but take a look at what they say. Are they actually trying to discredit him (emphasis mine)?
Henry Harpending is a controversial anthropologist at the University of Utah who studies human evolution and, in his words, “genetic diversity within and between human populations.” Harpending is most famous for his book, co-authored with frequent collaborator Gregory Cochran, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, which argues that humans are evolving at an accelerating rate, and that this began when the ancestors of modern Europeans and Asians left Africa. Harpending believes that this accelerated evolution is most visible in differences between racial groups, which he claims are growing more distinct and different from one another. The evolution of these racial differences are, in Harpending’s account, the driving force behind all of modern human history.
You don’t say? I did:
He is also a eugenicist who believes that medieval Europeans intuitively adopted eugenic policies, and that we should recognize the importance of eugenics in our own society.
In His Own Words:
“The reason the Industrial Revolution happened in 1800, rather than the year one thousand, or zero, which it could have, the Romans certainly could have done it, is that a new kind of human evolved in northern Europe, and probably northern Asia. And that this led to the Industrial Revolution—this new kind of human was less violent, had an affinity for work. When you view your parents or grandparents, and you know that they’re retired, they could relax. But afterwards they can’t just sit on the couch and relax, they’ve got to go and get a shop and work on a cradle for their grandchildren… I’ve never seen anything like that in an African. I’ve never seen anyone with a hobby in Africa. They’re different.”
—“Preserving Western Civilization” conference, 2009
Yup (see National Prosperity).
“Group differences, as far as we know, are in the DNA. Nobody yet has found any credible environmental effect on IQ or academic achievement. And believe me, people have been frantically looking for one for sixty, seventy years. Nothing. If you look at the quantitative genetic analyses, they’ll talk about a contribution from genes, and a contribution from environment. What that contribution from environment is, is random error. It doesn’t matter who raised you, as long as they didn’t hit you on the head with a hammer. It doesn’t matter whether you have high or low self-esteem. Everything has been shown just not to be there.
The gap between ethnic groups is not closing in this country. There have been announcements that it’s closing for at least the last twenty years, usually in the New York Times, it’s not there, there’s no difference. There’s no change. Nothing changes.”
—H.L. Mencken Club meeting, 2011
“Among Herero there is no such thing as an accident, there is no such thing as a natural death, witchcraft in some form is behind all of it. Did you have a gastrointestinal upset this morning? Clearly someone slipped some pink potion in the milk. … Our [African] employees were so adamant to show me the truth that they pooled their money so they could take me to the local witch doctor, who would turn me into a frog. ‘Of course he can do that, it is easy for them to do, even to white people’ they said. … A colleague pointed out a few weeks ago, after hearing this story, that if it is nearly pan-African then perhaps some of it came to the New World. Prominent and not so prominent talkers from the American Black population come out with similar theories of vague and invisible forces that are oppressing people, like ‘institutional racism’ and ‘white privilege’.”
—“My friend the witch doctor,” West Hunter blog
I will say that many (primarily poorer) Jamaicans are similar in that regard. See also bewitched | hbd chick
They continue (emphasis added):
According to Henry Harpending, innate racial differences are the defining element of human society. Harpending believes that all variation between racial and ethnic groups—including cultural differences, social and economic disparities, and achievement gaps—are the result of recent and ongoing human evolution. Harpending’s most thorough elaboration of these beliefs is found in his book, co-authored with Gregory Cochran, called The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Much of what Harpending and Cochran claim in The 10,000 Year Explosion builds on the work of economist Gregory Clark, who believes that the Industrial Revolution and British global dominance can best be explained evolutionarily.
According to Clark’s book A Farewell to Alms, which Harpending has described as “one of the greatest books in human biology,” most living Britons descend from the upper classes of the medieval period. Because the wealthy left approximately twice as many surviving children as did the poor, Clark argues that the traits that defined the wealthy were selected for, and became prevalent in British society. And, unsurprisingly, Clark argues that the wealthy achieved their wealth by virtue of superior qualities like peacefulness, diligence, and intelligence; these traits were thus bred into the genetic heritage of white Britons. This became what Harpending calls the evolution of a “new kind of human,” found only in populations of western European and East Asian descent.
Harpending takes Clark’s argument further. He believes that present-day hunter-gatherer societies prove that the “old kind” of human is “impulsive, violent, innumerate, illiterate, and lazy.” He insists that everyone knows this to be true about non-European, non-Asian populations, but that anthropologists aren’t allowed to say so because these are considered “hate facts.”
Wait, so they’re saying they’re not? What’s this page for then, exactly?
Instead, academics are forced to pretend “that these are really all charming, lovely people who are just the victims of capitalism.”
Harpending and Cochran are also co-authors of one of the most prominent “HBD” blogs, West Hunter. HBD, or “human biodiversity,” is the latest iteration of a long tradition of scientific racism. Proponents of HBD maintain a vocal online presence, and are at the forefront of efforts to mainstream white supremacist thought. West Hunter features a mixture of anthropology, HBD, and generic racist, far-right musings.
I guess they couldn’t take the “mega-aggressions” offered at West Hunter.
In other articles and book chapters, Harpending has made often bizarre claims about race, biology, and social structures. These include the idea that sociopathy and “hysteria” are adaptive traits in men and women respectively, as well as support for Jean-Philippe Rushton’s idea that a genetic “ethnic nepotism” explains racial solidarity and racism, and that “diversity decreases national cohesion and the ability of governments to make rational economic decisions”.
As readers here know, I have disagreed with Hapending’s and Rushton’s ideas of ethnic nepotism (since “Ethnic Genetic Interests” Do Not Exist). A key difference is that I went into great detail on why this is so. This SPLC piece is heavy on incredulity but light on specific counterarguments.
In one article, coauthored with Peter Frost, an HBD blogger and columnist with no current academic affiliation, Harpending proposed another explanation for why western Europeans were supposedly genetically predisposed to be less violent than other racial groups. In this article and in talks he has given to friendly, non-academic crowds, Harpending has argued that the introduction of the death penalty in medieval Europe contributed to the “genetic pacification” of the population through “the steady removal of individuals who were more genetically prone to personal violence.” He has even suggested that this took place because medieval Europeans invented institutions like governments, courts, and contracts,
Indeed, see here (also on the Unz Review): Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification).
which Harpending apparently believes had never existed anywhere before being introduced in 11th century England.
Actually, Peter Frost wrote a paper saying that a similar process may have occurred in the Roman Empire (Frost, Peter 2010, The Roman State and genetic pacification).
Possibly his strangest argument is that Amish populations in the United States experience evolutionary selection towards “Amishness,” which can be expressed in terms of an “Amish Quotient,” or “AQ.” According to Harpending, a high “Amish Quotient” translates to increases in “affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, and community orientation.”
The model for “Amishness” is based on earlier work found in Harpending’s most controversial paper, coauthored with Cochran and Jason Hardy, “A Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence.” The piece, in their own words, “elaborates the hypothesis that the unique demography and sociology of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe selected for intelligence.”
That it was.
In 2009, Harpending participated in a conference on “Preserving Western Civilization,” where he spoke alongside notorious racists like Peter Brimelow (president and chief contributor to the white nationalist VDARE.com) and Jean-Philippe Rushton (president of the eugenicist Pioneer Fund from 2002 until his death in 2012).
Harpending’s talk at the conference was a full-throated defense of scientific racism. In it, he argued that anthropological analysis could identify and explain traits he claimed were shared by people from central Africa, Papua New Guinea, and Baltimore (his favorite metonym for the African-American community as a whole). These included violence, laziness, and a preference for “mating instead of parenting.” This is especially the case in Papua New Guinea, where, according to Harpending, “[w]hat these guys do is kill their neighbors. That’s their favorite activity—oh, they love it! They love it! It’s the high point of their lives. They get their DNA into the next generation by being killers, and violent. And if there’s evolution going on, that kind of society is selecting for unpredictable, violent males.”
These inherent traits mean that in societies where males are provided with necessities like food, whether from female farmers or from welfare checks, you find that “when there’s plenty of food, men do male stuff like putting on make-up, fighting, raiding, and telling stories. Male effort seems to be competitive effort, rather than parental effort.”
Reaffirming his belief in the fundamental similarities between Papuan gardening societies and African-American communities largely dependent on welfare, he later asked: “Where are these [traits] found? In post-industrial cities, among the underclass, you know, street corner males with fancy sneakers, looking good, combing their hair, males strutting around, macho. This is absolutely typical whether it’s highland New Guinea or Baltimore.” These traits were contrasted with those of Europeans and northern Asians who have evolved higher intelligence and “tend to be more disciplined than people who take life for granted.”
Harpending has also spoken several times at Paul Gottfried’s Baltimore-based H.L. Mencken Club, which hosts an annual meeting of prominent far-right thinkers and academic racists. In his 2011 talk at the Mencken Club, Harpending argued that money spent towards education is wasted, because variation in test scores is due entirely to the racial makeup of the test-taking populations. He claims that “Anglo” students in every state perform equally well on standardized tests regardless of education expenditures, and that black students are also comparable across state lines, thus the gap between white and black students’ scores is entirely genetic and has nothing to do with the educational environments. He does acknowledge that the data shows there have been gains in average scores of black students relative to white students, but insists that these are not “real.”
Education Realist might have a thing or two to say here.
Harpending also used his 2011 Mencken Club talk to promote eugenics. Hearkening back to his ideas of “genetic pacification,” Harpending claimed that “[w]hat happened in medieval Europe was brutal enforcement of laws. We didn’t go to the movie on Saturdays, we went to the public hanging. Criminals were treated without mercy.” He added that “this is eugenics. … [W]e killed off the violent folks, we replaced poor folks with the offspring of the prosperous… . Most of us are descended from exactly this process, another point being that the rest of the world isn’t like us.”
He goes on to claim that because the rest of the world has not enjoyed the centuries of eugenic policies that transformed Europeans into a “new kind of human,” non-European peoples are fundamentally incapable of adopting western, democratic norms. This, in Harpending’s view, is the only reason the war in Afghanistan failed to produce a stable, democratic government.
It concludes this way:
Harpending’s work provided a great deal of the foundation for Nicholas Wade’s controversial 2014 book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History. Wade relied entirely on the Harpending, Cochran, and Hardy paper on Ashkenazi intelligence for one chapter of his book, and much of the rest relied on Harpending’s gloss on Gregory Clark’s work. Notably, when around 140 prominent population geneticists wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times complaining that Wade’s book had radically misinterpreted their research, Harpending sneeringly dismissed this as “preening and posturing,” and a “pretentious pronouncement claiming that ‘they were genetics’ and that Wade was abusing ‘their’ knowledge.”
Anyone notice something? In their piece to discredit Harpending, they’ve selected quotes and claims that pretty much make the case for HBD, much like my earlier post (featuring “Misdreavus”) Why HBD. A novice reader coming to this SPLC piece would realize that there must be something to this HBD thing, presuming they were not deterred by the SPLC’s God-like decree that this topic matter is evil and hence verboten.
For the record, here’s the evil extremist, “White Nationalist” in action…
I have said that the case for HBD will soon become impossible to ignore. The Church can make only so many sanctions before more Galileos with their own telescopes see the real truth. As the wall of dogma collapses under its own weight, the powers on high will scramble to suppress the truth even more. Donald Trump and his recent success may be a sign that the Gatekeepers are failing in this aim (see time 13:00, courtesy The Audacious Epigone):
The problem is simple: try as you might to suppress them, facts about the world do not go away, and will continue to be discovered and re-discovered over time. Dogma can keep the truth shrouded for a while, but this is an ultimately limited process. The awful truth (see “Squid Ink“) becomes known.
The theme for this post, something to really capture the threat posed by the evil extremist Henry Harpending…
Future posts will appear as columns there, but will also be published here, at least for now. I’ve re-enabled comments here, but you may want to consider commenting to my publications over at Unz.com.
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