Such a thing

“there’s no such thing as race” is a standard sentence in the United States and Europe. Conventional wisdom, and like so much conventional wisdom, false.

Of course there is.

First you need to define your terms. I would suggest that any population – a group whose members have mated within that group, almost entirely, for some time – and has experienced strong-enough natural selection to change significantly in some trait that we give a shit about can usefully be considered a race. Or a ‘goklu’, where goklu has exactly the same operational meaning as race, without having yet acquired any toxic associations. Low levels of inward gene flow allow selection to change the frequencies of alleles, so mating within the group is important. Usually this endogamy is a natural consequence of geography (not much gene flow across the Atlantic before Columbus) but sometimes it has been caused by social rules, as in the case of the Ashkenazi Jews or the Hindu castes.

low inward gene flow: in order for significant differences in the neutral genome to accumulate, there must have been < 1 immigrant per generation for tens of of thousands of years or more. That has happened sometimes, and not just with Neanderthals: sub-Saharan Africans and Eurasians were that separate until fairly recently, and have that kind of differences in their neutral genomes. For that matter, Bushmen and Bantu were genetically distinct for an even longer period. So it takes only a little gene flow to stop drift in its tracks.

Selection can be a lot stronger, and it takes more gene flow to scotch it. You could have effective selection for IQ among the Ashkenazi Jews even in the presence of as much as 0.5% inward gene flow per generation from the general European population. 2% would have been too much, though.

A long period of genetic isolation does not automatically generate differences in any particular trait: but it does show that there has been an extended opportunity for selection to operate effectively and generate population differences.

So when we see differences, how old are they? and how can we tell? Plausible selection pressures could generates one-std trait differences in as little as a thousand years, and in some cases, like the Ashkenazim, it likely has. In other cases it may have operated over tens of thousands of years, even as much as quarter of a million years (Bushmen/Pygmies versus other humans).

If the trait in question is characteristic of a geographically extended population, you might suspect that selection had operated over a long time. But since we now know that there have been many population expansions and replacements, you might be wrong. Ancient DNA may be a better guide.

So sometimes the explanation for the differences between two populations may go back deep into the Ice Age, but it might also have happened since the birth of agriculture, or even since the fall of Rome.

Suppose you have a one-std difference in some trait between two populations? What can we say about the genetic architecture? Well, sometime it boils down to the presence or absence of a single allele. Other times it is caused by a shift in the frequencies of a number of alleles that each have a small effect on the trait.

African-Americans average about 1-std lower in white count. That’s all due to the Duffy allele. All else equal, northern Europeans are a couple of centimeters taller than southern Europeans: that is caused by frequency differences in hundreds of alleles affecting height, a shift that on the whole has increased the frequency of plus variants.

So what to say to someone that asks about the ‘race gene’? First, you tell her that she’s an idiot. The complex of shovel-shaped incisors, thick hair, small breasts, more eccrine sweat glands, and a different shape to the hangy-down part of the ear, fixed in northeast Asia, is indeed caused by a single allele, an EDAR variant that is essentially nonexistent in Europe or Africa. On the other hand, Pygmy height, or the lack of it, is influenced by a number of alleles.

But the genetic architecture isn’t all that important: it’s the differences that matter. Pygmies are really short – that’s what matters.

Along those lines, Lewontin and other bullshit artists have tried to argue that genetic statistics are such that human groups can’t really be different. Most genetic variation in humans is within-group, rather than between-group: so fucking what? the same is true for dogs: am I supposed to think that pit bulls and Chihuahuas and border collies are ‘really the same’?

Having more plus variants in the alleles that affect a particular quantitative trait doesn’t show up in these genetic statistics (like Fst) at all. Neither would a big frequency difference in a single allele that had a big effect, like EDAR.

People are mostly about as different as they seem to be. There are exceptions, cases where an environmental insult makes a fair amount of difference. This is particularly the case with height, where nutritional status can easily create a 1-std difference. But height is influenced by genetics, too, and the shortest people (the Pygmies) are short for genetic reasons, not because they’re starving.

What about the magic immunity of the brain to natural selection? That’s nonsense, of course. We know, for sure, that different goklus have different distributions of personality traits – because they act significantly differently with 24 hours of birth. All the psychometric results indicate that goklus vary in intelligence too [perhaps 3 stds from highest to lowest] probably largely because of differences in the frequency of many alleles with small effects.

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163 Responses to Such a thing

  1. AnonymousCoward says:

    Speaking of Lewontin: Dr. Cochran, have you read Prof. Kevin MacDonald’s take on Lewontin, Gould, Boas et al’s motivations for the ideas which they have disseminated? If you’re willing to speak out about Goklu, would you be willing to speak out about Marx?

    • Anonymous says:

      MacDonald is nuts, but I think the fact that so many troublesome lefty movements have been full of Jews does demand an explanation. I propose a combination of genetic and historical factors: as a minority group, Jews are oblivious to some of the inherited folk wisdom that informs the worldview of Gentiles, making them the ideal evangelists for myopic liberalism. They’ve also been unusually zealous about promoting the social causes they believe in — because of their history, progressive Jews were more inclined than Gentiles to see all opposition as a tribal outgroup who must be struggled against and outmaneuvered, rather than as their fellows in a cooperative society who simply see the world differently. I mean, do we really think American feminism would’ve had anywhere near the same appetite for contention and conflict if we didn’t have Jews? I doubt it.

      At the same time, being that this is a hereditarian-focused blog it must be acknowledged that sociological explanations don’t always stand up against genetic ones. If Jewish leftists display this kind of obliviousness and resentment, maybe Jews just have a genetic predisposition to obliviousness and resentment. I.e. they’re a bit aspie and a bit high-strung, which certainly jibes well enough with Jewish stereotypes. Maybe some of those IQ-boosting alleles came at the expense of social and emotional intelligence.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        Most minorities have a propensity for left-wing politics for historical reasons. The Jews are just really smart for genetic reasons, so they tend to end up running the leadership of left-wing political organizations. That combination would be enough to explain most everything.

        • JayMan says:

          “Most minorities have a propensity for left-wing politics for historical reasons.”

          Not really. Most “minorities” (presumably you mean non-NW Euros in NW-Euro majority countries) aren’t big on social liberalism. They favor redistribution – to them,

          • Bob says:

            In the US, “NW Euros” tend to be the most socially conservative, and various “non-NW Euros” tend to be the most socially liberal.

            • JayMan says:

              Generally, “NW Euros” excludes the Celts. The Dixie nations are understood to be conservative. The pattern is more complex generally in the U.S. thanks to the various assortative migrations that have taken place.

          • Bob says:

            The Celts are NW European.

            The South actually isn’t very Celtic. It’s generally English. The people of the British Isles are genetically closely related, more so than they are to Continental groups.

            The Midwest and Mountain West is also very socially conservative.

            • JayMan says:

              “NW European” when said by me and HBD Chick means “inside the Hajnal line” (Finland is sometimes included).

              Greater Appalachia is mostly Scots-Irish in ancestry – heavily Celtic.

              There are plenty of Scots-Irish in the lowland South as well, even though it was settled by the English (Cavaliers). Technically the English are primarily Celtic in ancestry as well.

              The upper Great Plains isn’t as conservative as you think. See the current election. In any case there was a lot of self-sorting (mostly boiling off in that case).

              See the whole series:

              American Nations Series

          • Bob says:

            Ok but that’s not what NW European means.

            The Scots-Irish actually aren’t heavily Celtic. The Highland Scottish are heavily Celtic. The Scots-Irish are from Lowland Scotland, which was heavily Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon. Their language, Scots, is a Germanic language unlike the Scottish Gaelic spoken in the Highlands. The Scots language is similar to the Scandinavian languages, and it’s more similar to the original Anglo-Saxon language than English is:


            I think in general the Midwest and Mountain West are among the most socially conservative areas of the country.

          • John Hostetler says:

            JayMan, there is a lot under the surface with the ‘Celts’ in Britain. As you know, Celtic languages are IE, and there is every reason to think the original Celts were yet another Yamna-derived subset in Europe, like the Greeks, Thracians, Latins, Germanics, etc. Moreover, there is good evidence that the Celtic urheimat of the Urnfield or Hallstatt culture was in the middle of the continent, far from the British Isles.

            My guess is that Celtic cultural identity is so strong in the extremities of those Isles, particularly in Ireland, because that is where one finds the strongest traces of the pre-IE, megalithic people of Northern Europe.

            After all, you don’t go to Connecticut to see Indians anymore, even though they operate casinos there. Better to go to Greg and Henry’s part of the country. And it’s no coincidence Basque is spoken in a tiny extremity of Europe tucked in behind the Pyrenees, not in some crossroads like the middle Danube.

            I think what happened is that just about the time the descendants of the megalithic people had become reasonably comfortably with a Celtic identity ( nominally IE), the Germanics arrived in the form of the English and the Vikings, re-igniting the identity issue: bloods runs deeper than language. Ultimately, I think this is why Ireland was long an island beyond the Hajnal line, and why the Catholic-Protestant dispute has been so ancient, deep and intractable in Ireland (though multi-culti may now destroy in decades a dispute that has simmered millennia).

            In Ireland, Protestantism, the religion of the Ulster Scots, appears to be a proxy for Germanic, but is really a proxy for Yamna. Catholicism appears to be a proxy for Celtic, but is really a proxy for EEF. My guess is that by now, most of this is cultural, but that a few genetic traces remain. I would bet good money that more EEF genes show up in rugged Kerry, and fewer in Protestant Belfast, with IE genes the other way around.

            • gcochran9 says:

              “where one finds the strongest traces of the pre-IE, megalithic people of Northern Europe.”

              Guess again. By the Bronze age the Irish show no sign of any significant ancestry derived from the previous tenants.

              • John Hostetler says:

                Thanks Greg. I do realize that most of what I proposed can as well be explained by ‘if you want to see Celts, go to the fringes (ie Ireland)’ as ‘if you want to see the EEF in Northern Europe, go to the fringes.’ Mostly, like Bob, I wanted to emphasize to Jayman that a distinguishing ethnic feature of the Ulster Scots is their Germanic-ness, for their locale, not their Celtic-ness.

                But my general idea of Northwest Europe has been that there’s not a huge difference in behavioral predisposition between the Celtic genetic contribution and the Germanic, especially on key issues surrounding trust: commerce, manorialism and nuptiality. It seems either that’s wrong, or that package is mostly cultural, for areas on the margins that are strongly Celtic were much slower to see the effects of high trust than the Germanic core.

        • tommy says:

          I suspect Jewish involvement with the left (and the pseudo-conservative right) lies, in some ways, between that of blacks and non-Jewish whites in the spectrum: Jews, like blacks, seem remarkably concerned about their own ethnic identity at all times and untroubled by their own hypocrisy when it comes to protecting that identity even while demanding others avoid doing likewise but, like non-Jewish whites, they also seem to be shallow, often self-aggrandizing, altruists and virtue-signaling moral poseurs of the worst sort..

      • Dale says:

        If your group has traditionally been discriminated against (and maintains consciousness of that idea as an almost doctrinal part of the group self-image), you’re going to have a favorable view of ideologies that oppose group discrimination.

        • Henry Scrope says:

          you’re going to have a favorable view of ideologies that oppose group discrimination, except where that discrimination favors your own group.

          Fixed it for you.

      • Ziel says:

        I’ve always assumed that because Jews are smarter and are more liberal (both highly heritable) they’re over represented among the more fringy and kooky tails on the left

      • John Hostetler says:

        The courage and specificity of disavowing Kevin MacDonald with your first three words is impressive.

      • History with communism
        High IQ leading to feelings of classism against the White proles
        Being of a difference race than their subjects exacerbates said disdain
        Having a history of beating us up and being beaten up by us exacerbates it again

        Basically we’ve left them to run embarrassingly large chunks of academia, media, banking and so on, and it was a terrible idea because they don’t like us.

    • marcel proust says:

      So i googled “goklus” and got back “goggles”! After seeing this comment, I tried “goklu” in google and wikipedia. The former gave me a lot of results that look to be Turkish, the latter said there’s no such page.

      So for the less knowledgable among us WTF is a goklus? Sounds like one of the tests given to newborns to check their overall health.

      Thank you,

      • John Hostetler says:

        Re-read the 3rd paragraph of the blog entry – imaginary PC word for ‘race’.

        • marcel proust says:


          Thank you. I read the post in 2 parts several hours apart, and did not reread the 1st part when I came back to it.

    • jackmcg says:

      Its just ethnocentrism, which makes sense since Ashkenazi Jews are so closely related to each other. Jews are frequently right-wing in regards to Jewish interests (see: Israel, anti-miscegnation, etc.), but left wing in regards to foreign societies. Each position is rationally in an ethnocentric Jew’s interest.

  2. ckp says:

    I’m confused about something. If such small amounts of introgression can kill drift, how did Northern and Southern Europeans maintain that height difference? I didn’t think they were so isolated from each other. Or is it selection keeping them apart?

  3. gcochran9 says:

    Drift is slow random change in gene frequencies. Take two populations that originally differ in a quantitative trait and let them drift – no selection, no gene flow between them. Not considering the slow accumulation of deleterious variants, the two populations would continue to differ in that trait.

    Northern Europeans and southern Europeans were fairly different populations five thousand years ago. They still are, although less so: so far there’s hasn’t been enough gene flow to homogenize things. Selection might also be keeping or making them different, but the genetic differences (different amounts of Yamnaya vs LBK/Cardial farmer ancestry) show up in the neutral genome as well.

  4. JayMan says:

    “What about the magic immunity of the brain to natural selection? That’s nonsense, of course.”

    Especially considering the fact that at least 84% of all genes are expressed in brain, the bulk primarily or exclusively so.

  5. pyrrhus says:

    Lewontin, Gould, et al are of course just spouting cultural Marxist dogma. Too bad there’s no accountability in Academia for advocating rubbish, and even faking evidence to support it….

  6. “We know, for sure, that different goklus have different distributions of personality traits – because they act significantly differently with 24 hours of birth.”

    I’ve often seen mainstream academics casually acknowledge sex differences by citing studies that show newborn babies behaving differently within their first 24 hours of life. I wonder how quickly they would dismiss this methodology if you swapped “sex” for “race”.

    As more genetic evidence becomes available in the next 5-10 years I hope you’ve got another book planned for us, Mr. Cochran. Charles Murray hinted that he would do a book on genetics, maybe you two kids should team up, since you’ve both sadly lost your partners in (thought)crime.

  7. NobbleCock says:

    How can there be different races when the most recent common ancestor of all humans only lived about 3000 years ago?

    • eurogenes says:

      It only takes 6 generations of mating withing a gene pool to lose all genetic traces of an ancestor from outside that gene pool.

      So what are the chances that you or I have any DNA from that hypothetical common ancestor from 3,000 years ago?

    • gcochran9 says:

      The same way that there are different breeds of dogs, or different races of wolves.

      Suppose that there was minimal gene flow between, say, some population in the Old world and the Americas 3,000 years ago. One guy. In principle the Old world genes could gradually spread across the Americas, purely by people intermarrying neighbors, until everyone in the Americas descended (slightly) from that Eurasian dude. And if you assume that similar diffusion had already happened in Eurasia, then we could trace everyone back to a fairly recent ancestor. This wouldn’t mean that Amerindians were noticeably genetically different from a situation in which the amount of cross-Pacific gene flow was exactly zero: we’re talking about a teeny tiny fraction of ancestry. Now if that wanderer had a really useful allele, it might spread – but even in that case the most likely outcome
      would have that useful allele disappearing by chance, thus having no effect. And if the Eurasian coding genes didn’t work as well in the New World, they’d gradually be lost.

      By the way, that model, the one predicting that you can find a single guy who lived 3,000 years ago from which everyone is now descended (a tiny amount) is almost certainly wrong. Intermarriage across cultural and linguistic barriers is slow. The Na-Dene came across about 8,000 years ago and penetrated as far as Arizona and New Mexico, but I doubt that you could find the slightest trace of their DNA deep in South America. People managed to colonize all of the Americas in less than 2k years, probably, but that was when there no one there – at least no-one capable of stopping them.

      There certainly are examples of far-flung migrations that have left genetic traces: Bushmen, most of them anyhow, are ~ 2% descended from a Middle Eastern population (Joe Pickrell’s work).
      But for the benefit of all my Ivy League readers, 2% is a lot smaller than 98%.

      • ohwilleke says:

        “The Na-Dene came across about 8,000 years ago and penetrated as far as Arizona and New Mexico, but I doubt that you could find the slightest trace of their DNA deep in South America.”

        The Na-Dene were pretty much entirely north of the 48th parallel until around 1000 CE, when the proto-Inuitis created a push factor and stuff going on in the American SW created a pull factor. An estimate that their ancestors arrived in Alaska ca. 8kya would be quite extreme (not beyond the range of respectable academic opinion but at that extreme of that range), relative to the archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence. A date ca. 4-5 kya is much better fit to the evidence.

        Also, per that study and some related ones, the Middle Eastern ancestry in Bushmen predates Bantu expansion by only a few centuries, probably via admixed pre-Bantu herders. Before that, you have tens of thousands of years are near complete genetic isolation from, e.g. West Africans, and you have more regional hunter-gatherer subpopulations than you have now. For example, there was basically an entire “lost Paleo-African race” of people in the vicinity of Mozambique that now exists only in Bantu admixed form that is distinct from Bushmen and from Sandawe and from Hadza and from Pygmies and existed pretty much unadmixed as recently as 5 kya.

        • Jim says:

          The date of 1000 AD is probably about right for the arrival of Southern Athabaskans in the American Southwest. The Pacific Coast Athabaskans do extend well south of the 48th parallel though. The Southern Athabaskan languages are not as close to Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages as they are to Athabaskan languages spokan near the US-Canadian border such as Sarcee and Beaver. So the Southern Athabaskans probably came down over the Great Plains from Canada.

      • NobbleCock says:

        No way. Maybe you’re just a fucking racist (even though race don’t real) who can’t accept it’s been mathematically proven we’re all descended from a black man who lived just a few thousand years ago.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      120 generations is a lot.

  8. teageegeepea says:

    I was confused by the phrase “white count”. For others as ignorant as me, that presumably refers to white blood cell count, one of the measures included in a complete blood count.

  9. jms says:

    For example, here in the UK we have Adam Rutherford ( ), poster-boy
    for several flagship BBC popular science programmes:
    He is on a political mission. His mission is to convince everybody of the biological non-existence of “race”. This is his “truth” and anybody who disagrees, deserves to be ostracised:

    • Julian says:

      Yes, I pointed him to Jerry Coyne’s post on the existence of races. He noted he respected Coyne, but disagreed (although without providing a coherent argument why).

      • epoch2013 says:

        That surprised me with the Nicholas Wade affair: Countless scientists making statements that it was all very, very unscientific without ever telling what they could disprove, and how it is proven wrong. At least Mr. Rutherford tries to explain why he thinks races don’t exist.

    • Henry Scrope says:

      “Rutherford, who is half Guyanese Indian”

      On a personal mission to prove race isn’t real. One would feel sorry for these people if they weren’t so keen to have their opponents deplatformed, dismissed from employment and arrested.

  10. RCB says:

    I think your definition is too strict: why require selection?

    Of course, if I were trying to confuse things, I would say “how different do populations have to be in the phenotypes in question?” I’d then say that the the number of races one creates depends crucially on this decision; but since the decision is arbitrary, the whole process seems contrived and problematic. If you set the standard as “1 std dev difference in phenotype”, for example, I’d point out that this can lead to contradictory outcomes. For example, if the height of group A < group C by more than 1 std dev, then they are different races. But suppose there is a group B between them that does not satisfy this condition. Then case A is the same race as B and B is the same race as C. But if A=B and B=C, then shouldn’t A = C? Contradiction.

    And so on.

    All of that arises from an attempt to cluster the world into hard lines of discrete groups. In general, we know that’s not really what the world looks like. But races are immensely useful constructs: they have strong predictive power for biological outcomes. Genes are a primary reason for this. None of this talk explains away the genetic differences that are known to exist between particular sets of groups.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I think selection is the ultimate generator of the significant differences. But if I’m wrong and drift generated some significant between-population phenotypic differences, well then it would have. The phenotypic differences are what matters, but causes of the differences are still interesting.

      Sure, there could be groups that are clinal, and people from two ends of the cline could be mighty different. To a large extent that is not what has happened: geographical barriers have been potent, at least in separating continental-scale groups.

      • RCB says:

        My real point is that I think the question “are there races?” is mostly a dumb question. It’s the kind of vague question that invites endless pontification and redefining of terms. It’s the kind of question a philosopher of science can build a useless academic career on – likely edit a few volumes with contributions from Mark Feldman and such. Everyone can have his own answer.

        Time spend answering this question can better be spent answering more precise questions – the kind that can (at least in principle) be answered with data. Like, “Do genetic differences underly the IQ divergence between blacks and whites?” Of course, many have attempted to obfuscate this topic, but at least you don’t have to begin addressing the question by saying “let’s define some terms…”.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I don’t think it’s all that dumb, but I get your point.

          I’ve run into Feldman some. He seems silly.

          “Do genetic differences underly the IQ divergence between blacks and whites?” An easy question to answer: just run an admixture study.

        • Toddy Cat says:

          “Nobody has done it with powerful, modern genetic techniques.”

          That’s because most white liberals are terrified of what they think the answer is going to be. If they really thought that the differences weren’t genetic, they would be pushing to do it, but they don’t.

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            “If they really thought that the differences weren’t genetic, they would be pushing to do it, but they don’t.”

            Exactly. They know the answer, feel guilty about it and so blank it out.

            Only way to get them out f it is persuade them that it can only be fixed if they accept reality first.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          “My real point is that I think the question “are there races?” is mostly a dumb question.”

          The academic side of the argument ought to be a completely straightforward test of evidence – the only thing preventing that is politics.

          The blank slate ideology was originally partly pushed to change US immigration policy and now there is a large constituency whose livelihood relies on maintaining the lie – so it’s political.

          The political aspect needs to be addressed with political tactics – one of which is have some people act as a battering ram and others in a more moderate tone in a kind of good cop, bad cop routine.

          So having the bad cop insist on races while the good cop says goklu or whatever is a worthwhile tactic.

          Another aspect of the politics is looking at the coalition that currently supports the blank slate for any weak spots. The most obvious one is the component who are generally benign by nature but too soft-hearted. A lot of those people will think that genetics means “carved in stone” and they can’t handle that level of finality. The way to get to them is to point out that over generations genetics doesn’t mean carved in stone and the only way to achieve what they want is through genetics.

          If they want the various nations of the earth to get to their own localized versions of Denmark the only way is through genetics…

          or they can carry on equalizing downwards till everyone starves.

  11. Jim says:

    It’s amazing and also scary that so many people can be brainwashed into believing or professing to believe the most preposterous nonsense. This doesn’t bode very well for the future stability of our society.

    • gcochran9 says:

      It’s a problem. I have no doubt that a huge majority of the graduating class of Harvard would sign on to “there’s no such thing as race”, and many other downright silly statements.


      • anon says:

        my simple definition of race is this:

        race is a natural phenomenon whereby there is a correlation between genetic similarity and where one’s ancestors came from. My definition doesn’t care about the why;it just observes an empirical reality.

        For two individuals, determine their genetic similarity and their “ancestral similarity — where their ancestors came from. What you will find is that two individuals whose ancestors came from roughly the same place tend to be more genetically similar.

      • TWS says:

        Have them spend a week in the ‘duck bay’ or intake area of a prison. If they can’t accurately sort the different folks by race by then they’ll be dead.

      • Patrick Boyle says:

        I find it hard to understand how anyone can believe this whole ‘race is a social construct’ notion. The taxonomists tell us there are four subspecies or races of chimpanzee. There used to be five but bonobos got promoted recently to a full species.

        We are told that we humans separated from the chimps about five to seven million years ago. We are also told that humans and chimps share a lot of genes. All this is standard and well accepted. If you don’t believe this you are some kind of Creationist. But most modern Americans believe in Darwin and that we descended from some chimp like ancestor.

        So chimps have races, gorillas have races, most mammals and birds have races, But humans are supposed to not have races? Isn’t that odd?

        We have had some smart people like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens as well as newscasters and entertainers (often had to tell apart) debating the question of God’s existence on broadcast and cable TV endlessly. Why don’t they take on the race reality issue instead? God’s existence is a fascinating question when you are fourteen but hardly concerns adults. Race is the all consuming political issue of the day and we have this bizarre stream of thought that claims it is just an illusion – a will-of-the-wisp. Yet no one speaks against this loony idea on the public media.

        What’s up?

        • gcochran9 says:

          Dawkins has a brain, although I can’t say that’s he’s done much with it in years. He knows (and says) that racial differences exist, although he minimizes (lies about) their nature and magnitude.

          Christopher Hitchens was just a lying sack of commie shit.

        • Jim says:

          Of course no natural process produces anything like the supposed pattern of exact equality that the left claims for human cognition. Differences in cognitive functioning are no more surprising than differences in height or other biological traits.

          But I think many people have a deep desire or tendency to believe that reality must follow a moral pattern such as strict equality in important human traits. The world must be run by a God of perfect justice who cares for our personal struggles and problems.

          We can understand that reality doesn’t give a shit whether life is fair for a random chimpanzee. It’s harder to accept that reality doesn’t give a shit whether life is fair for Australian aborigines or for us.

        • jark says:

          Dawkins wrote this in The Ancestors’ Tale. Not sure what else.

          It is genuinely true that, if you measure the total variation in the human species and then partition it into a between-race component and a within-race component, the between-race component is a very small fraction of the total. Most of the variation among humans can be found within races as well as between them. Only a small admixture of extra variation distinguishes races from each other. That is all correct. What is not correct is the inferene that race is therefore a meaningless concept. This point has been clearly made by the distinguished Cambridge geneticist A.W.F. Edwards in a recent paper “Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy.” R.C. Lewontin is an equally distinguished Cambridge (Mass.) geneticist, known for the strength of his political convictions and his weakness for dragging them into science at every possibile opportunity. Lewontin’s view of race has become near-universal orthodoxy in scientific circles. He wrote, in a famous paper of 1972:

          It is clear that our perception of relatively large differences between human races and subgroups, as compared to the variation within these groups, is indeed a biased perception and that, based on randomly chosen genetic differences, human races and populations are remarkably similar to each other, with the largest part by far of human variation being accounted for by the differences between individuals This is, of course, exactly the point I accepted above, not surprisingly since what I wrote was largely based on Lewontin. But see how Lewontin goes on:

          Human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. Since such racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxnomic significance either, no justification can be offered for its continuance.

          We can all happily agree that human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. That is one reason why I object to ticking boxes on forms and why I object to positive discrimination in job selection. But that doesn’t mean that race is of “virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance.” This is Edwards’s point, and he reasons as follows. However small the racial partition of total variation may be, if such racial characteristics as there are highly correlated with other racial characteristics, they are by definition informative, and therefore of taxonomic significance.”

      • Henry Scrope says:

        The solution is power. The majority will go along with the people in power.

    • RCB says:

      I sometimes think (not too deeply) about what would happen if there were widespread, official, academic acceptance of the idea that there are racial differences in mental characteristics that matter – mostly intelligence. Of course I’m sure a lot of people already believe this – but I’m talking about it being a widely accepted fact among academics, politicians, business owners, journalists, etc., and one that is openly spoken about as acceptable fact.

      I’m young, which is probably why I have a hard time imagining it. I have no problem thinking of some negative consequences of this. For example, lots of people probably wouldn’t understand that distributions overlap; they’d simply think that all black folks are dumb, all asians smart, etc. A smart black person might have a hard time in this world.

      I realize, of course, I wouldn’t have to read too far back into the past to find such a world.

      • Sandgroper says:

        What you need to get your head around is that the large majority of people you will encounter in ordinary every day life have never formally been taught even the most basic statistics. They have some intuitive grasp of the word ‘average’, or think they do, but if you start talking about means, standard deviations and normal distributions, they will just stare at you slack-jawed, because they really don’t understand what you are talking about.

        You must already encounter this repeatedly – like if you say that Chinese have a higher mean IQ than Europeans, someone will immediately jump in with “But I know a really dumb Chinese guy.” This is the most common response I get from just about everyone whenever I try to talk about populations. They have real trouble visualising overlapping distributions, and when it comes to standard deviations, they’re totally out of it.

        It’s like the LBGTQRXYZ crowd – most people don’t seem to get it that collectively we are talking about something less than 5% of the total population, and that it’s just plain weird that such a small minority is able to dominate public political discourse to the degree that they do, when in reality the other 95% have no real interest in what the hell they do, so long as they don’t run around shoving it in everyone’s faces.

        I would support same sex marriage simply because (a) I can’t conceive how it could possibly be any kind of threat to traditional heteronormative marriage, and (b) I just want to remove it from the agenda to make them to shut up and go away. They are irrelevant to me, and there are much more important things to talk about.

        • Emblematic says:

          But can you conceive how same sex marriage could possibly be any kind of threat to – the children who have to grow up without ever knowing the love of a mother?

          • Sandgroper says:

            I can conceive of all sorts of threats to children, all of them very real. If I could fix them all, I would. I can’t. I have fixed quite a few, which is something I’m moderately proud of.

            Personally, if I had grown up without a mother rather than the one I had, I actually think I might have been somewhat better off. There are mothers and mothers, you know – they’re not all standard Grade A American Moms, who I’m sure are absolutely wonderful.

            I’m certainly not going to get dragged into some brainless debate about it. I survived my parents and made it to adulthood relatively unscathed, more or less. I’m just thankful for that.

          • JayMan says:

            “But can you conceive how same sex marriage could possibly be any kind of threat to – the children who have to grow up without ever knowing the love of a mother?”

            You’re not familiar with what’s talked about here, are you?

            Apples, Oranges, and Lesbians: The Nurture Assumption Just Will Not Die

            • Michael says:

              I think Clark’s work argues fairly persuasively that nurture (culture/mores/manners/religion) matters over the long haul–1000 years or so. So, if we had a culture where high IQ women were encouraged to breed above replacement, and low IQ’s were not, and this would require some kind of mythos, it seems to me, then it would certainly lead to even more innovation over many generation. Similar to what happened in England leading up to the Industrial Revolution.

        • Jim says:

          Of course at this point it is difficult to see how the courts can avoid ruling that polygamy is a constitutuional right.

          • Ziel says:

            You seem to believe that these rulings are based on some sort of logic that is carried forward from one decision to the next. I don’t believe this is true. Court decisions are really just based on how judges/justices think things ought to be. Sure,higher courts don’t like to have chaos in the lower courts, but this isn’t enforced via logical argument, but via careful signaling of who are to be considered victims and who the victimized. Polygamy is still considered an oppressive institution I believe, so I can’t see it being legitimized by court decree.

          • Jim says:

            But it’s important to try to maintain the fiction that there’s something more to their rulings then their personal views. This fiction is important to their legitimacy. If they cease to try to maintain this fiction their legitimacy and hence their power could quickly disappear.

            So maintaining this fiction is important to them and constrains them to some extent.

        • JayMan says:

          The thing to remember is that most people are pretty much innumerate. They simply don’t think quantitatively. This applies to many “smart” people as well.


          Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.

          Map of the week: Europe overestimates the size of its Muslim population

          • Erik Sieven says:

            concerning the wrong estimation of the muslims share of the population in Europe I think this can in part explained by demographic structure. When people say they think muslims make up 20-30 % percent of the population what they actually mean is maybe: they make up 20-30% of the population under the age of 20 or 40 and will be 20-30% of the general population in some years. This of course not what was asked. But saying muslims currently make up only 5-6 percent of the population of the UK does not really catch the reality, too. For people over the age of 70 there are actually very few muslims in Europe, but as life expectancy has risen there are millions of people older than 70 in Europe right now.

        • anon says:

          right, gay marriage in and of itself probably doesn’t matter. The problem is that gays have hogged the media megaphone and have thus distracted from the real marital crisis: that of not enough smart(white?) straight people getting married and having kids.

        • TWS says:

          I don’t feed other people’s delusions. Plus they are never happy and ‘just go away’. Forever forcing people to celebrate with them. One town in Idaho made it a crime not to. They’ve walked it back but they thought they were in the right.

          It’s like any other silly delusion they don’t want you to just leave them alone. They want you to share it.

    • Dale says:

      Throughout history, lots of people have believed the most preposterous nonsense. Of course, society hasn’t been all that stable, either. But as long as you don’t personally need to make important choices based on topic X, whether you believe the politically correct thing about X is more important for your well-being than whether you believe the correct thing about X. For that matter, we hide a lot of politically incorrect stuff in our subconscious; witness the outcomes of “implicit bias” experiments.

      Also, many choices aren’t about what we proclaim them to be, so the fact that we proclaim we made the choice on incorrect principles may not be what it seems. Yes, it’s hard to justify a lot of affirmative action programs on the basis that the beneficiaries have received test scores that don’t reflect their true abilities, but it’s very easy to justify them on the grounds that society is more stable if each group is given a certain slice of high-value opportunities. (It’s also easy if the highly-skilled people who have control of these systems aren’t themselves at risk of being denied opportunities that they theoretically “deserve”; the people who are denied are lower-skilled people with less political clout.)

      • Jim says:

        Yes, human history has been a pretty rough ride. It’s still pretty scary when one considers how irrational people can be and how quickly seemingly stable societies can be destabilized.

  12. jb says:

    Most genetic variation in humans is within-group, rather than between-group: so fucking what? the same is true for dogs

    I’d love it if someone could link to a study that measured between-group variation for dog breeds, and produced numbers directly comparable to the numbers Lewontin got for human groups. If the numbers for dogs are smaller than those for humans, that would be a powerful — and easy to understand! — refutation of Lewontin’s fallacy.

    • Erik Sieven says:

      I am not sure. There are a lot people who invest a lot in the thesis that there are no personality differences between dog breeds

    • gcochran9 says:

      About 30% of dog genetic variation is between-breed. I think that’s not counting wolves and coyotes.

      About 15% of human genetic variation is between-race.

      But the relevant quantity is differences in the genes that affect a given trait. There may be some traits in which human populations differ more than dog breeds do, although I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Dog breeds are pretty variable.

      • lomb says:

        Do you have any reference for genetic variation between dog breeds? When I google “genetic variation within dog species” the top result is this and it states
        “We also showed that the genetic variation between dog breeds is much greater than the variation within breeds. Between-breed variation is estimated at 27.5 percent. By comparison, genetic variation between human populations is only 5.4 percent. Thus the concept of a dog breed is very real and can be defined not only by the dog’s appearance but genetically as well.”

  13. Some Troll's Serious Discussion Alt says:

    You could have effective selection for IQ among the Ashkenazi Jews even in the presence of as much as 0.5% inward gene flow per generation from the general European population.

    Could a highet purpotion be tolerated if the incoming Europeans are also highly selected? e.g. If the same forces selecting for intelligence within the Jewish population are filtering the newcomers as well.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Like that ever happened. The number of converts to Judaism in the Middle Ages could probably have been counted on one hand.

      I would wager that the typical example of inward gene flow among the Ashkenazi Jews in the Middle Ages involved some Ashkenazi chick getting pregnant by some outsider and convincing her boy-friend or husband that it was his. And I think such events were rare.

      • Some Troll's Serious Discussion Alt says:

        Oh, I agree that it doesn’t seem likely to have happened as a question of historical fact.

        I was just curious about the practicality of it in terms of the math.

      • Frank says:

        You can see it clearly by looking at the 23andme matches of any Ashkenazi.

        My mother is all Jewish and my father is a big mix of Western Europeans. All 1000 ‘close relatives’ they let me see are related through my mother with crazy high estimated relatedness, like 2nd cousin.

        But, they are clearly not actually close relatives at all. Looking at the shared segments, there are usually 10-15 smaller bits all over the genome. We all share a small set of common ancestors multiple times over.

        • Thanks1887 says:

          Thanks for pointing that out. I can confirm what you say. I’m Ashkenazi — 98.1% according to 23andMe — and they show 216 second and third cousins for me. As far as I can tell, none of these people are really my second or third cousins. It hadn’t occurred to me that 23andMe is generating these spurious numbers due to peculiarities of Ashkenazi genetic history.

      • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        Possibly even on a butcher’s left hand.

  14. The belief pendulum is always swinging. It isn’t about complex reality, it’s about popularity swings.

    Once we were all sold that people were so different that we could make some of them slaves. We could kill the bad people.

    Then presto chango we found goodness.

    No! Stop this terrible crime! We are all equal! Spit on the vile believers in racism, we shall overcome this wicked behavior.

    People believe bullshit. Past, present, and future, people believe bullshit. Complex reality doesn’t give a shit about your fervent beliefs. Science is about really bright people getting disciplined and looking at what can be proven. If it can’t be proven then let other wastrels chatter about it.

    So Cochran talks about race…

    listen… reason…and leave emotion out of it.

    • TWS says:

      I doubt that it was all about equality. It was more about what was the correct paternalistic response to blacks in society. Slavery is bad the opinion of the day gradually was moving that way but I don’t see a big push to replace it with complete equality.

      • If you don’t toe the politically correct line in a lot of professions, you get fired. i call that a big push.

        • TWS says:

          I was talking about when Abolition was an actual thing. When slavery was still practiced. If you’re talking about modern day then there is the continual revolution. It will never end and the goalposts will always move. It’s a feature not a bug of modern Western society. I would think everyone would be used to it by now.

  15. Purple Furple says:

    If Bushmen and Pygmies (and Aborigines?) are low-mid 50s, and Ashkenazi Jews are around 112, then wouldn’t that be 4 SD? Or do you consider the former three to be distinct human species?

    • gcochran9 says:

      I don’t feel all that confident about the Bushman numbers: it’s not been looked at much.

      • MawBTS says:

        I think the ~50 figure comes from Richard “in case of no data, interpolate IQ scores from surrounding countries” Lynn.

        Not to be trusted.

        • Sandgroper says:

          Yes, Lynn is not to be trusted – at least in part because of his ignorance of parts of the world that he pretends to know about, and because he does stuff like you said.

          For example, he took IQ scores from Hong Kong as a proxy for Cantonese, and that’s just wrong. The HK population is very far from 100% ‘indigenous’ Cantonese – you only have to look at where the upper class folks from Shanghai bailed out to before the Japs got there to know that; and where a lot of the illegal immigrants came from when they snuck out during/after ‘Liberation’. There are still largely endogamous groups in HK that are not Cantonese, and they do not make up a small proportion of the Chinese population.

          Not that I expect it to make a huge difference to the scores, but Lynn is definitely not rigorous. He takes liberties with data that he should not.

          Australian Aborigines (full bloods, if you can still find any) are alleged to have a mean IQ of 65. That feels about right. A real bush Aboriginal person with no white admixture has real genuine difficulty functioning at any reasonable level in a modern city without very quickly getting into trouble. Some of that is cultural, but a lot of it is just not having the cognitive abilities to cope with the urban landscape in a way that won’t get him into difficulty.

          In remote communities, they now also have real trouble functioning because they no longer live the way they did in the Pleistocene, because they can’t. For one thing, if they kill each other in tribal fights, the cops arrest them. There’s other traditional behaviour that is also illegal, and should be.

          It’s tragic, because they have their endearing side, and they deserve to exist and be respected, and even loved for being who they are. They do OK at primary school, if you can get the little buggers to turn up to school, but that’s about it. Anything beyond that and they are floundering, much as I would if I attempted a PhD in Quantum Physics.

          • Jim says:

            Isn’t Austrailian aborigine average brain size about 85% of European?

          • Sandgroper says:

            Someone who can’t spell probably shouldn’t bother himself about Aboriginal brain size. They have cognitive abilities that I bet you don’t have; they’re just abilities that are not hugely useful in the 21st Century.

          • MawBTS says:

            It’s tragic, because they have their endearing side, and they deserve to exist and be respected, and even loved for being who they are.

            Yeah, I hear you. It’s definitely tragic. I had a friend who was a cop in the Arnhem mining towns – Aboriginal Australians are not able to function in the context of Western civilisation. It’s completely obvious on the ground. They’re specialised for a way of life that doesn’t exist any more.

            On the bright side, there’s government assistance for people who tick “Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander” on a form, like these girls did.

            There’s really no solution, that’s the hard part to accept. A century ago, we thought we could assimilate Aboriginal Australians by putting them in Catholic boarding schools. These ideas existed long before the advent of political correctness, or cultural Marxism, or whatever you want to call it. HBD has a bitter pill at its heart that’s almost impossible to swallow: some of us aren’t going to make it.

          • Jim says:

            Sorry, I am a poor speller. I’ve read that Australian aborigines have an extremely good sense of direction and extraordinary visual memories, traits that are no doubt highly useful to nomadic hunter-gatherers. I’ve no doubt that Australian aborigines are extremely well-adapted to the the type of life they have lived for perhaps 40,000 years.

          • JON says:

            David Gulpilil is 100% aboriginal and seem to have made it ok at least

            • Sandgroper says:

              Ya think? Have you checked on him since he got out of jail? Even if David was OK, which sadly he isn’t, you’re just giving the usual stupid response of citing one individual when we are talking about distributions within and between populations.

          • nester says:

            median 65 IQ would mean half the population mildly to moderately retarted. When we start talking about Bushman being at median 55 IQ I think it then follows the majority are moderately to severely retarted. Can that be possible? Are these IQs levels in Eurasians manifestly different than other groups?

            • Anon says:

              “Are these IQs levels in Eurasians manifestly different than other groups?”

              Yes. That IQ level in Eurasians is usually due to some sort of congenital health issue, like Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, severe autism, etc. Children with these issues are typically born to relatively normal parents (especially in the case of Down Syndrome), and when you interact with them, you can tell immediately that something is seriously wrong with them.

              Among populations where the average IQ is that low, it’s not due to an abnormality, and it’s not immediately obvious that there’s anything wrong with the average person from that group. They can feed themselves, dress themselves, talk normally, and engage in whatever form of work their cultural group does to survive (subsistence farming, hunting and gathering, etc). It only becomes apparent that they have such a low IQ when you ask them to do things their evolutionary history didn’t prepare them for, like abstract mathematics, reading, or anything that would show up on an IQ test.

              So yeah, a 55 IQ person from an ethnic group with a 100 IQ average will act a lot different than a 55 IQ person from an ethnic group with a 55 IQ average, because it takes severe brain malfunction to bring a person from the former group down to an IQ that low.

            • ursiform says:

              Almost every creature on this planet has an IQ far below the level at which a human can survive. That doesn’t make them defective humans, it makes them normal whatever-they-ares.

              A median Bushman is is quite capable of being a successful Bushman.

  16. MawBTS says:

    I always liked Steve Sailer’s idea that race = your BIG family.

    You start out with your immediate family (brother), then your extended family (first cousin, second cousin, third cousin…), and as you zoom out through the cousins, at a certain level of resolution it makes sense to talk about a “race.”

    This is a misleading idea in some ways. Your family cares for you and shares a significant portion of your DNA. Neither of these things are true for a random other member of your race.

    But it illuminates why the “race is a social construct” idea can suck out farts and die. People have this idea that social constructs are like traffic intersections (that is, they’d cease to exist if everyone stopped believing in them). But there’s social constructs that are “constructed” to describe an objective reality.

    Your family is a social construct. But who gives a shit? Your dad still shares 50% of your DNA, whether you have the concept of family or not. It’s the same with race.

    • Jim says:

      In a certain trivial sense any human understanding of reality is a “social construct” since it’s encoded in human language which is a “social construct”. Humans don’t have direct unmediated contact with “objective reality” but only know it as representation. So our knowledge of the moon is a “social construct” in a trivial sense. Of course that doesn’t mean that the tides depend on our representation of the moon. If we decide that the moon is a goddess the tides would be affected in the slightest.

      • epoch2013 says:

        The concept species, part of a genus, part of a family etc etc is certainly a social construct. We even know who constructed it: Linnaeus. But that fact doesn’t make a donkey a horse.

      • John Hostetler says:

        Good example from one end of the science ‘hardness’ hierarchy, astronomy. At the other end however, we find psychology, where social constructs become extremely important. If we decide, for example, that ‘psychology is not a real science because psychologists cannot perform amazing feats like stealing your girlfriend,’ that depends a great deal on who the psychologist is (I’m not referring to professional psychologists only here) and what society he’s operating in.

        If it’s a modern social psychologist spouting male feminism, he’ll have a lot less luck than if he’s just a guy who has read up on what one could call the ‘applied evolutionary psychology of sex,’ has absorbed that knowledge and especially, has practiced and fully internalized the key role of confidence. And even the latter guy would have little luck in a society constructed not to award woman-poaching, ie a society where fathers and brothers guard the mate choices of their women, and customs and laws regarding divorce, adultery and inheritance greatly reduce women’s predilections to being stolen in the first place.

        • Jim says:

          Well yes, society is a social construct.

          • John Hostetler says:

            Ah, but society isn’t a social construct, not entirely. The whole point of the HBD project is to examine the genetic roots of societies. And if a society decides that women are goddesses, that has such a large effect on the tide of mating behavior that it becomes difficult to see the science behind it.

    • Dale says:

      You write, “Your family cares for you and shares a significant portion of your DNA. Neither of these things are true for a random other member of your race.”

      But that’s not true; people generally do treat people they perceive as part of “their group” better than they treat people they perceive as part of “the other group”. Often that doesn’t rise to the level of “caring” but rather “treating less nastily”. You don’t have to go back very far before killing strangers because they are always a threat and/or for your personal amusement was normal behavior.

      • MawBTS says:

        But that’s not true; people generally do treat people they perceive as part of “their group” better than they treat people they perceive as part of “the other group”.

        Yes, humans have a general in-group bias, but that has nothing to do with your race. Suppose you’re a white American fighting in Italy in WWII. Who’s your in-group, the black GIs, or the white Germans on the other side of the pillboxes?

        Altruistic behavior towards strangers = fitness loser. See this discussion for more. It’s like giving money to random white people. Unless you have some way to enforce reciprocity, you go broke.

  17. Erik Sieven says:

    it has been a sleight of hand all the time. When somebody talks about relevant differences antiracists change to the meta-level and “there is no such as race”. When one tries true that there is such a thing as race, they change to the specific level and say “maybe theoretical, but there are no relevant differences”.
    In the end it should be all about relevant differences. People are different in a million ways, and there are many meaningful ways to group them, race is one amongst them.
    When I walk outside of my house and walk for 2 hours I will with high likelihood see a pair of a white female with a westafrican male. Yet I could walk around for ten years without ever seeing a white female with as east asian male. Does anybody really believe that this is the result of random selection?
    Concerning the new-born behavior this was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. In my opinion this should be publicized more, it would really make interesting things with the people who say “there is no such thing…”

  18. Dale says:

    You write, “in order for significant differences in the neutral genome to accumulate, there must have been < 1 immigrant per generation for tens of of thousands of years or more.”

    Is that what you meant to write? It seems to me that if a population is large enough, then only 1 immigrant per generation wouldn’t swamp genetic drift. There’s got to be some sort of scaling here.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Drift goes down as the population size goes up. It’s what I meant to write: anti-intuitive but correct.

    • RCB says:

      Counterintuitively, no. Classic population genetics, Sewall Wright stuff.

      For a two-population model (or is it many populations? can’t remember; in any case, it has to be island-style migration: with population sizes N and per-generation migration rate m, the Fst is derived to be 1/(1+ 4Nm). So the quantity Nm is the essential quantity. But note that Nm is (number of people) (number of migrants / number of people), so its dimensions are in (number of migrants). So it doesn’t matter how big the populations are; it is simply determined by the number of migrants. Just one migrant every generation will keep Fst at 0.2 – pretty low, I guess.

      The intuitive explanation is this: for a given number of migrants, the migrants’ share of the population goes up as population size goes down. So a higher proportion of genes are swapped in a smaller population – which has the effect of decreasing divergence. But smaller populations also experience stronger drift, which has the effect of increasing the rate of divergence. The two effects cancel out.

  19. candid_observer says:

    The deep and true scientific questions about races and IQ are of the exact opposite cast from those ordinarily posed.

    The issue isn’t: how could such large discrepancies in IQ across races develop, but rather: why are those differences so small?

    It’s easy enough to come up with plausible scenarios whereby a group increases IQ by a point, or half a point, per generation. Ashkenazi Jews may be a good actual example of raising IQ by half a point per generation.

    But if such increases are plausible and in some cases actual, how do we explain that, over the vast range of time during which modern man has existed, and especially since the founders of the four non-African races left Africa, only a 3 SD difference in IQ has arisen? The Bushmen/pygmies have been effectively separated for 300,000 years — roughly 12,000 generations — and the four non-African races have been separated for at least 50,000 years — about 2,000 generations. If selection pressures per generation effected a difference of 1/2 point IQ per generation, that would amount to a difference of about 130 SDs for the Bushmen/pygmies, and over 20 SDs for the four non-African races from subSaharan race(s). Instead, we see differences of roughly 3 SDs.

    The real scientific question, therefore, is: why are these numbers one or two orders of magnitude less than those we might expect based on very natural set of events? The small magnitude of the differences seem especially surprising given the vast differences in the means of existence for the different races, ranging from the meanest sort of hunter-gatherer existence to that of fully agricultural and civilized peoples.

    It also seems surprising that, within races, the magnitude of IQ differences between peoples seems so small — probably in the range of 1 SD.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Outside of Pygmies and Negritos, apparently adapted to tropical jungles, the range of height isn’t all that large either. Sure, selection can do almost anything,but usually it doesn’t – there are decreasing returns.

      • candid_observer says:

        Height I would take to be pretty different, in that there are clear downsides in many situations to great height, or very small height. One would expect a fairly narrow range of heights, therefore.

        But what is the downside to being a smarter hunter gatherer than average? Or a smarter farmer? Within the known range, it all seems to be upside — more problems solved, better prospects for your own survival, for your getting a mate, for the survival of your children. Even if at the very upper range of IQ now there may be some dysfunctional stuff, such as aspergy behavior, higher IQ seems to be nothing but upside at the lower levels of most peoples.

        • Ursiform says:

          Thinking takes energy.

        • RCB says:

          The cheap answer is usually “tradeoffs”, without necessarily explaining what they are. It may well be true that just increasing someone’s intelligence, without changing anything else, is only likely to improve his fitness. Unless, of course, they spend all day proving abstract theorems and inventing contraptions instead of farming, hunting, mating, or whatever…

          But suppose an allele arises that increases intelligence by 1 point. It has to work through some biochemical cellular process, and that process may well produce side effects. I’m not a good enough biologist to know what those are likely to be, but it’s easy to imagine examples. One such side effect might be a bigger head, which makes childbirth more dangerous. Maybe energy shifted to growing a brain takes away from growing the gonads (

          Now, maybe the boost to intelligence is strong enough to overcome that side effect and go to fixation. Now the population has a mean of 102, instead of 100 (you have two alleles at the locus). Suppose this process continues for a while until the mean is 110. Now perhaps diminishing returns means that adding 1 point to 110 isn’t as useful as adding one point to 100 – it doesn’t make you that much better of a hunter, or vanquishing your enemies, or whatever. Then the side effects overpowers the benefit, and you get stasis.

        • candid_observer says:

          I realize that there might be tradeoffs to a degree even with higher IQ — but it’s hard to see how they apply to the cases at hand.

          It would appear that IQ is positively correlated with all manner of good things for survival — greater health, greater athleticism (obviously not a perfect correlation), greater social skill and dominance, even greater physical attractiveness. If there’s any direct evidence that it’s correlated with, say, higher infant or mother mortality, I haven’t heard about it. There really doesn’t seem to be a tradeoff anywhere that would significantly tamp down a runaway positive selection for it.

          And, again, higher IQ at least seems to be a big positive in any kind of human society — hunter gatherers would seem to be better hunter gatherers for it, farmers better farmers, warriors better warriors.

          My own guess is that IQ has been pretty highly selected for across all human groups across time. But it remains a puzzle that the differential rates have been so small that we have only about a 3 SD difference, given how large the plausible absolute rates would appear to be.

          I speculate that one important contributor to the low range of IQ differences across populations is the effect of conquest, subjugation, and extermination. Essentially, the effect would be a leveling one, eliminating populations that weren’t bright enough. Probably, there’s a limit to how different neighboring populations can be in IQ without the smarter conquering and eliminating the dimmer — I’d guess maybe a portion of a SD. Perhaps some of the dimmer population would manage to survive — but only if that subpopulation were closer in IQ to the dominant population. (Obviously this would only work fairly locally, but it might have the overall effect of raising the IQ of people in a larger region to that of the smartest group in that region.)

          Of course, the irony of this is that what “equality” we have might owe itself to our most destructive, dominant traits.

          • RCB says:

            Re: “It would appear that IQ is positively correlated with all manner of good things for survival”

            You have to remember that tradeoffs don’t necessarily show up as correlations because of inequalities in energy/robustness/wealth/etc between individuals.

            I recall in the past seeing an argument that there is no quantity-quality tradeoff in a particular human tribe, because there was no negative correlation between # of infants and infant survival rate. The actual reason for this is that women vary in health and wealth. Richer/healthier women can generally afford to have better babies AND take better care of them. If you take any particular woman, though, and double the number of babies she has, she is probably gonna have a harder time taking care of each. An individual tradeoff may not show up as a population correlation.

            A closer-to-home example: There’s a pretty simple rule that relates change in net wealth to expenditures: if you spend more, your net wealth goes down by the same amount. But if you look across a population, you will probably see that people with more money also spend more money: a positive correlation between wealth and expenditure. Does that invalidate the first rule? Of course not. Rich people simply have more to spend.

            I don’t know what constrains selection for IQ. My point is just that the lack of an observed negative correlation between IQ and other “good” traits is not good evidence that IQ-boosting genes don’t have fitness trade-offs.

    • RCB says:

      I first read your last paragraph as “within races, the magnitude of IQ differences between people seems so small — probably in the range of 1 SD.” I.e., people, instead of peoples, plural. Imagine my delight.

      • Interesting argument that intelligence differences should be bigger, though to me the 3 to 4 sd difference between European Jews and Aborigines seems big enough. Intelligence was very probably selected for, but perhaps not always very strictly in relatively benign environments. However, like you I wondered what was meant by IQ differences between people/peoples. There is at least a 4 sd range of abilities within populations, which again seems big to me. A simple reason for it not being bigger is that within any population the very lowest ability people are avoided as partners, so the low end is always trimmed in that way.

        • candid_observer says:

          You point out that the existing difference between average IQ of various human populations, and within any given human population, seems already “big enough”. But the point that these differences already seem very substantial, because of the consequences both within and between populations, actually just reinforces the ultimate puzzle as to why the gaps across populations aren’t bigger. If the range of IQs which are extant, and which we are familiar with appear to be so very consequential, in terms for performance in any kind of activity relevant to reproductive success, then why isn’t it the case that over 2,000 or 12,000 generations, the gap isn’t far larger?

          It’s probably fair enough to say that, across all human populations, and including the differences within human populations, there exist a considerable number of human beings at 7 SD distance in IQ from each other — taking at the top those at 2 SD above the median for the brightest existing human population, and at the bottom those who are 2SD below the least bright existing human populations (3 SD separated the averages of those human populations).

          We aren’t so familiar with the lowest populations, and in particular not with the lowest performing members of those populations. But within the ranges we are familiar with, IQ seems to be a tremendous boon to reproductive success.

          So, again, why, ultimately, is the gap so small?

    • candid_observer says:

      I just realized that the numbers I quoted — which I pulled out of my spreadsheet — I mischaracterized in my post, and in a direction actually less favorable to my argument.

      In fact, if one assumes a period of 300,000 years or 50,000 years, and a rate of change of .5 IQ point per year, then one would expect a cumulative change of 400 and 66 SDs respectively. The ratios of those numbers to the assumed difference in gap between races of 3 SD, are, respectively, 133 and 22 (more or less the numbers I quoted of 130 and 20). It’s worth noting, though, that the gap between most non-European races and the populations of SubSaharan Africa we are most familiar with (as represented by African-Americans), is probably only bit more than 1 SD, and so the ratio would be closer to the 66.

      Again, these numbers render it only more puzzling that the gaps are so small.

  20. epoch2013 says:

    One of the main arguments against the existence of races seems to be that there is no gene where race A is fixed with type A and race B is fixed with type B. That makes me wonder if this actually is the case with animals that are divided in certified subspecies such as bears or wolves. Are there gene variants for which e.g. the Eurasian wolf is fixed while e.g. the Arabian wolf is fixed for another?

  21. Greying Wanderer says:

    John Hostetler

    “But my general idea of Northwest Europe has been that there’s not a huge difference in behavioral predisposition between the Celtic genetic contribution and the Germanic, especially on key issues surrounding trust: commerce, manorialism and nuptiality.”

    The base genetics are very similar. I think the real (imo) average differences within that base similarity are related to how long ago the populations switched from herd-centric to crop centric.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence all the surviving Celtic and pre-Celtic regions are exceptionally rainy and / or hill country on the western fringe of various expansions that were the least suitable for living in big crop-centric villages.

    • Matt says:

      But the explanation here seems pretty much military historical though, not driven by an ecological boundary on the means of agricultural production.

      We don’t really have a full extent of the Celtic languages. It just seems like they pretty much got whomped by the Romans and then in the last island where they remained, by post Roman invasions. Presence of actual Celtic language east of Central Europe still seems relatively speculative. We know they were in Czechia, and south Germany, for sure. Other than that, to me, it seems like a pan West European language family that got whomped by Latin culture. No real need for an ecological explanation here.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        Sure, my comment was related to the “there’s not a huge difference in behavioral predisposition” bit.

        I don’t think the difference is Celtic vs Germanic genetics. I think it’s a correlation between the last bits of Celtic culture surviving in certain relatively remote regions and those regions producing certain behavioral differences. The Celts in those regions may have been different from the Celts in the nice fertile bits of Gaul as well.

      • Jim says:

        The Galatians of Central Anatolia were Celtic speakers.

  22. Joachim Strobel says:

    There is no reason why Marxism or left oriented people should oppose racist ideas. This common believe, and right wings embracing this subject, seems to be the main problem.
    I understand, that people mix much less as one would think. Hence, even north and south Europeans seemed to have stayed as separate “groups”. Same is true for aristocrats and the like. Ok. Consequence is, that a social mixing does not happen and groups stay separate. Policies that encourage well being of all social groups hoping for mixing amongst them (and between countries) have and will not work. Social reforms that force mixing by forced equilibration and other means seem to be the correct answer then. So Marxism is good. Not because it tries to give all people the same money and education hoping to foster the best possible development, but because it forces mixing – hoping that the sum of all a is better than the composite made up of its constituents. That may have to be proved. I am afraid to know the answer, but my altruistic side, that seemed to have been favored by evolution over the last 50000 years, does not aprove that.

  23. Pingback: WEST HUNTER’s Greg Cochran (And Ron Unz) Vs. The “No Such Thing As Race” Mantra | VDARE - premier news outlet for patriotic immigration reform

  24. Pingback: WEST HUNTER’s Greg Cochran (And Ron Unz) Vs. The “No Such Thing As Race” Flapdoodle | VDARE - premier news outlet for patriotic immigration reform

  25. Sandgroper says:

    Sorry, I have to share this – quote of the week from a Swedish economist: “Height is just a social construction.” I didn’t know they had a sense of humour. Well, that sense of humour.

  26. Pingback: » [译文]根本没有种族这回事

  27. dlr says:

    “…there must have been < 1 immigrant per generation for tens of of thousands of years or more.”

    When you say less than 1 immigrant per generation, how big of a breeding population are you assuming? less than 1 immigrant for every 100 breeding age non-migrants? for every 1000?

  28. Reblogged this on The Daily Walk and commented:

    There can surely be no doubt in the mind of anyone who has been exposed to genuine diversity that there are clear differences between not only races but ethnicities within races. Why this is controversial at this point baffles me. You are not a racist for simply pointing out observable and/or scientifically proved contrasts. Only ideologues and/or those shielded from true diversity will ever find these type of articles offensive. May the truth prevail, in all things.

  29. Pingback: Diversity – Why It Is A Complex Issue. – The Daily Walk

  30. Dieter Kief says:

    Stephen Fry learned his lesson from Adam Rutherford’s “A Brief History of Everyone who ever Lived – The Human History Retold Through Our Genes”.

    Fry gives the most entertaining and charming version of Rutherfords quite popular ideas, especially the one, that there are no human races of any telling difference:

  31. Dieter Kief says:


    If only he wasn’t so widely read and praised. His book about how we are all equal is now out in Germany and I was dumb enough, to criticize it, which resulted in the usual accusations of me being no friend of mankind etc.

    I think Fry’s speech follows Rutherford 1:1.
    This is a little bit strange, because Fry sided with Jordan Peterson, to defend free speech, and he was good at it.

    What about an article of yours – in Quillette, maybe – about Rutherford and Fry?

    I’d love to read it!

  32. Joseph Ratliff says:

    Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum.

  33. Pingback: THE ECONOMIST Magazine Behind Curve—Race Racketeers Have Rejected Color-Blindness In Favor Of Arrogant Extortion – FOR GOD AND COUNTRY

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