You don’t need a weatherman

This is very nice, very interesting new paper out by Yair Field, Evan Boyle et al: they present a new method that can detect human adaptation over the past couple of thousand years. And there is some, of course. They found strong signs of selection at lactase and HLA, and in favor of blond hair and blue eyes. This new method (SDS, Singleton Density Score) can also detect signs of polygenic selection, and they found that selection for increased height ‘has driven allele frequency shifts across most of the genome’.

They found evidence for selection acting on other polygenic traits: favoring increased infant head circumference, increased female hip size, and later sexual maturation in women.

You can do a million cool things with this method. Since the effective time scale goes inversely with sample size, you could look at evolution in England over the past 1000 years or the past 500. Differencing, over the period 1-1000 AD. Since you can look at polygenic traits, you can see whether the alleles favoring higher IQs have increased or decreased in frequency over various stretches of time. You can see if Greg Clark’s proposed mechanism really happened. You can (soon) tell if creeping Pinkerization is genetic, or partly genetic.

You could probably find out if the Middle Easterners really have gotten slower, and when it happened.

Looking at IQ alleles, you could not only show whether the Ashkenazi Jews really are biologically smarter but if so, when it happened, which would give you strong hints as to how it happened.

We know that IQ-favoring alleles are going down (slowly) right now (not counting immigration, which of course drastically speeds it up). Soon we will know if this was true while Russia was under the Mongol yoke – we’ll know how smart Periclean Athenians were and when that boost occurred. And so on. And on!

Feel free to mention some of the theories (distilled horseshit, mostly) that are likely to bite the dust, between SDS and aDNA.

“The pace has been so rapid that humans have changed significantly in body and mind over recorded history.”

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116 Responses to You don’t need a weatherman

  1. Lee Wang says:

    Wow. This is huge. Could hbd chick’s inbreeding hypothesis be checked with similar methods?

  2. Greying Wanderer says:

    Very cool.

    Shoots down one of my pet theories that LP shot up in the copper age to compensate for low crop yields and then stabilised or even declined afterwards.

    It will be interesting to see how many more.

  3. I’m curious to see how the results, once discovered, will be hidden.

  4. MawBTS says:

    Sounds like big news. A black box record of the agricultural explosion. Maybe we can figure out stuff like Han China and Hellenistic Greece.

    Why the strong selection on height? Is it sexual – women preferring taller mates? You’d think height would push against contravening evolutionary pressure, as with skull size (more spinal problems, more wear and tear on the joints, etc).

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      Is it like a peacock’s tail – height as a signal everything is working efficiently so there’s a surplus left over? In which case are height genes necessarily height genes but efficiency genes for some bodily process or other that leads to greater height?

    • Matt says:

      Re: spinal problems, and wear and tear on joints, some of those might be problems with increasing weight more than height and there is apparently an inverse correlation between genetic BMI and height in European populations. (Essentially this works out so genetic weight seems to remain static while height increases and decreases, thus lower BMI, and taller Europeans have less muscle, fat, etc. relative to height).

    • Height gives you an advantage in physical combat. Due to the symmetry with arm span, taller men have longer arms which therefore means a longer reach. Possibly relevant.

    • Height could be attractive because it’s an advantage in fights, and in intimidating others.

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      Paraphrasing Jay Gould the noted Robber Baron – height is God’s way of saying -“This is my own my beloved son”.

      I’m 6’4″.

    • Bob says:

      Height is associated with parental authority and dominance. That may carry over to social relations more generally. Sort of like how some authority figures like priests get called “father”. “papa” (pope), etc.

      • melendwyr says:

        More to the point, malnutrition is associated with being short. So we tend to perceive height as a marker for quality phenotypes… and genes which make people taller are favored ‘accidentally’ as a side-effect. The original, valuable clue is swamped by signalling.

  5. Grels says:

    There is some evidence suggesting that selection for infant head circumference, at least, is not a pan-European phenomenon or even a pan-Northern European phenomenon. UK is an outlier (as are Sweden and Finland), while Norway, Poland, Germany and Russia are not.

  6. JayMan says:

    This IS huge, indeed. A whole slew of theories about human evolution can now be tested and see if they hold up, including all HBD ones.

    Though on the present-day selection for IQ, I did find that for 1930s-1950s born White Americans, selection was for lower IQ and educational ability. However, I found the opposite for 1960s-born Americans, thanks to a strong eugenic trend among White men. It’s hard to say what’s going with even younger folks.

    Idiocracy Can Wait?

    • Lot says:

      “Though on the present-day selection for IQ, I did find that for 1930s-1950s born White Americans, selection was for lower IQ and educational ability. However, I found the opposite for 1960s-born Americans, thanks to a strong eugenic trend among White men. ”

      Jayman, it looks more like to me that you did not find the dysgenic trend reversed itself for the post 1960 cohort. Rather you found a strongly dysgenic trend for the pre-1950 cohort, it went to neutral for the 60’s cohort, and looks to be at least mildly dysgenic for the 70’s cohort. The method of looking at post-fertility cohorts also will understate IQ decline because it does not account for earlier reproduction of the low IQ groups.

      Finally, even if high-IQ men are completely making up for high-IQ women’s extremely low fertility, there is still the problem of such a trend causing the rapid disappearance of high IQ genes located on the very large X chromosome.

      • Maybe we’re seeing selection for women having a lower average intelligence than men. It happened with height.

        I can’t imagine present conditions lasting long enough, though.

  7. reiner Tor says:

    The one theory that will hold up well will be zhe one telling us that there’s but one race, the human race, and that all genetic differences between human groups are basically nonexistent, except the ones that cause darker superior intelligence in New Guineans and superior management skills in women.

    • benjamin9000 says:

      This confirms what I have been reading in the New York Times for years! I knew it had to be right!

  8. Matt says:

    Should be very interesting to apply to groups who we know are admixed at a specific date, through methods like ROLLOFF, such as the Uyghurs. We could see selection in variants from one ancestral background or another.

  9. “For EA, my estimates imply a rate of selection of about -1.5 months of education.”
    Okay, I guess. As a wise lady from the Education Testing Service once said “we can’t measure what’s important, so we measure what we can”. It would really help to have a more valid measure of educational attainment than time spent in school. It is a mistake to measure education in units of time. “A year of Algebra I” and “three credit-hours of Genetics” make as much sense as “a pound of friendship” or “a square meter of curiosity”. How educated is a PhD in American Studies?

    • Once we can measure what is important, a significant portion of what is an individuals genetic IQ capacity, attitudes will have to radically change. Distilled horseshit that has long persevered regarding denial of intelligence variation being ultra important in professional success will rapidly diminish.

      I predict this will pave the way for public acceptance of genetic engineering that enhances intelligence. Sure there will always be stubborn fools that protest us meddling with God’s will, ect, ect, but instead of being an overwhelming majority they will become an amish like minority. Of course this transition will take a few generations but it will happen.

      Presented with the option of a baby that has an IQ of one standard deviation higher than the parents (predicted possible by Razib Khan by 2020 via fertilized egg selection) rational parents are going to take that option. That is just the first genetic engineering method of higher intelligence to come down the pike, there will be plenty of more refined and effective means in the near future. It is highly distasteful to many people to fertilize 100 eggs, then measure their IQ potential and kill 99 out of 100. It is probable that science will move quickly, much like it did with stem cell research, to better methods that only the superstitious can find offense to.

      • “Presented with the option of a baby that has an IQ of one standard deviation higher than the parents (predicted possible by Razib Khan by 2020 via fertilized egg selection) rational parents are going to take that option.”
        Depends on the trade-offs, doesn’t it? Ashkenazi selected for intelligence an they got Tay-Sachs also. Across mammalian species, adult body size is positively correlated with longevity (compare elephants with shrews). Yet, when humans select dogs for size, larger means shorter-lived, since artificial selection must operate on human time scales and selection for maximum size means selection for rapid growth, which is why Lucy, my Great Dane, died of cancer at 9 years old.
        Suppose the genetic engineer said “we can give your son a 180 IQ but he’ll have a four-inch penis as an adult”?
        Even without that trade-off issue, there’s the arms-race issue. “One standard higher than today’s mean” is a moving target, as “today” keeps advancing.

        • You have a point that there will be trade offs if this type of genetic engineering is pushed too far too fast. However I seriously doubt that will happen. It will be easy to sell to the public that your child will be a little bit smarter than you because genetic load has been removed. It will be easy to sell to the public that your child will have a far brighter future.

          It will be incredibly hard to prevent parents who want this from getting it even if it is highly illegal. How well did the drug war work?

          This is not forced evolution, which can cause negative side effects, some of which you have cited. It is carefully directed evolution which prevents deleterious side effects, not cause them. This is a multi generational project that could possibly kick off after 2020. I do not underestimate the difficulty, complexity, risk, and powerful opposition, that will prevent the genetic engineering of brighter people.

  10. Pictures says:

    When they say ‘strong selection in favor of blond hair and blue eyes’, does this mean (in layman’s speak) merely that these traits have increased in the population, or is it something more specific? Presumably this could be most obviously explained by invasions of blond haired and blue eyed Germanic people with their consequent high breeding possibilities.

    • gcochran9 says:

      More specific: distorted genealogy for variants that cause blue eyes or blondness. I’m not sure how, or how well, they can parcel out the effects of Anglo-Saxon invasion.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Seems the authors have been very careful about checking for substructure. So it’s blondness and blue-eyed ness being favored, not Germanitude.

        • candid_observer says:

          Since the technique is new, my guess is that there’s going to be a process of peer assessment before it’s broadly accepted.

          Of course, because the results are so unpalatable to many, one wonders how fair the criticisms will be.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Since the technique is a fairly simple consequence of coalescence theory, the only factor limiting application will be availability of suitable data sets.

            • candid_observer says:

              So do you have any idea why it hasn’t been used before?

              Is it just that nobody hit upon the idea?

              • gcochran9 says:

                You need several thousand fairly high-quality sequences. I think that England is the first place sufficient data was available.

  11. Greg took a wild flyer a few years ago for The Edge that there might turn out to be something to the Bicameral mind theory that was so fashionable a generation ago. Not the specifics so much as noticing “something seems to have happened here.” On that basis I tried the Julian Jaynes book again – no cannabis needed for that book – and remained unconvinced, but could at least grant Something Happened. Alleles related to information transfer in the brain, and especially across the hemispheres, should be stared at with furrowed brow. Something to infuriate everyone.

    • James Miller says:

      It’s here:

      My wife is a classics professor and I have asked her and a few other classicists if there is anything in the old stories that would indicate something fundamentally different about how the ancients thought, and the answer is always no. Classicists tend to reject political correctness so I don’t think that we can attribute their answer to a strong belief in blank slate dogma.

      • Pincher Martin says:

        “My wife is a classics professor and I have asked her and a few other classicists if there is anything in the old stories that would indicate something fundamentally different about how the ancients thought, and the answer is always no.”

        Perhaps you’re not asking the question in the right way. Or perhaps you asked a bunch of classicists who weren’t prepared to understand your question, even if you did ask it correctly.

        • reiner Tor says:

          I guess the problem was the definition of what was meant by “fundamentally different”.

          But yeah, probably no bicameral mind, so if the question referred explicitly to that one, then that’s a plausible answer.

          • Pincher Martin says:

            But Cochran wasn’t pushing for a bicameral mind. He was using Jayne’s thesis loosely to suggest that maybe the psychologist was “on to something.” Something else.

            What would you expect with that question about “fundamentally different”? That the ancient Greeks perceived in ten dimensions?

            • James Miller says:

              “What would you expect with that question about “fundamentally different”? That their most complex stories would seem simple to us, or at least that some of what motivated them was alien to our way of thinking.

  12. Hokie says:

    “You could probably find out if the Middle Easterners really have gotten slower, and when it happened.”

    My understanding was that the clever and industrious Mesopotamians who created civilization were replaced by duller Bedouins resettling the region after Tamerlane’s invasion. Am I wrong?

    • biz says:

      Probably well before Tamerlane, and well after the Mesopotamians. The settled, predominantly Christian population of the Levant was conquered by nomads in the 7th century with the initial Islamic conquest as it spread out from the Arabian peninsula.

  13. dearieme says:

    I wonder why and when the Japanese developed defective eyesight (if the stereotype is correct – I have no idea if it is). I wonder if their eyesight is a bit like the Ashkenazi’s bunch of horrible genetic diseases – a price paid for being clever.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Ashkenazi Jews all have high levels of myopia. Australian Aborigines have almost none, I think.

      • melendwyr says:

        If the hypothesis that exposure to high levels of outdoor lighting, and looking far distances, affects the development of the eye is correct, then it’s entirely possible that those differences are environmental rather than genetic.
        Perhaps all that time I spent indoors as a child reading books ruined my vision. Well worth the price, if so.

        • Sandgroper says:

          The hypothesis is not correct. The genetic cause of myopia in East Asians has already been identified. When you see four year old Chinese kids wearing prescription eye glasses for myopia, it’s a bit of a clue. A few Dr Seuss and Dick Bruna books don’t do that to a kid’s eyes before she’s even old enough to read.

          And, in the absence of eye disease, Aboriginal eyesight is not just better than European eyesight, it’s something like 7 times better. A healthy Aboriginal young adult from the Western Desert can see things on the horizon that Europeans need high powered binoculars to see. That’s not just the result of not reading books during childhood; at a guess I’d say it’s long term adaptation to a desert environment.

          What long term exposure to high levels of outdoor light will give you, in a country with the levels of solar radiation that Australia has, is macular degeneration, which will make you blind in old age. European eyes are not adapted to long term exposure to such blindingly strong light.

    • Anonymous says:

      China has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world, which is in large part a function of the fact that they don’t get outdoors enough, which interferes with normal development. People used to think that reading too much caused myopia; turns out that reading isn’t the problem, it’s what you’re not doing instead.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Major league baseball hitters usually have excellent eyesight. They are not, shall we say, a bookish bunch. (Pitchers, on the other hand, might be a little more literary.)

    • Bob says:

      Myopia is environmental:

      It’s caused by reading and near work, which becomes compounded by glasses. The reading and near work induce initial nearsightedness, which gets corrected with glasses. The glasses are then usually worn while the person persists in extensive reading and near work, and the glasses project the image even further back, which induces even more nearsightedness.

      The genetic component would involve the tendency to be interested in reading. But now with smartphones and the like that command everyone’s attention, it will likely affect more people, even those uninterested in reading.

  14. James Miller says:

    My (distilled horseshit, possibly) theory: Genetic analysis is going to show that different groups have different adaptations to a post-hunter gatherer diet, and putting all Americans on a paleo diet would significantly lower achievement gaps.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I like how in this field you can be totally blase about publishing something like this despite the potential uncomfortable implications, while in sociology or something you wouldn’t even be allowed to acknowledge this paper’s existence.

    • gcochran9 says:

      It probably helps that the average geneticist doesn’t see the implications. Although that is changing.

      • tautology123 says:

        Isn’t that more looking away than not seeing? I have quite a few suspicions regarding some I know.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Not too long ago, a friend talked to a group of graduate students in genetics. Only one out of the group really knew that there were (1 std) big between-group differences in IQ.

          • tautology123 says:

            Sure. My experience with students is similar, though I was thinking more about the professors I interacted with. There were some hints. Maybe I am seeing things.

  16. Greying Wanderer says:

    Anything related to the processing of sugar?

    (from eating more grain)

  17. RK says:

    Some of the most interesting signals we see here are for increased first age at menarche, increased infant head circumference and increased hip width in women, which is expected due to corresponding requirements for a wider birth canal with increased head size. This gives some evidence that agricultural-commercial civilisation pushed directionally on human life history strategy, in Britain at least, with a more K-selected phenotype being favoured, and later reproduction and more costly offspring. If we also include height, the complex signal seems to point towards more investment in growth and maintenance at early ages at the expense of reproduction.

    It would be great if this study were repeated across Europe. We could check if signals for K-selection are especially strong within the Hajnal Line, where late reproduction was culturally favoured.

  18. reiner Tor says:

    One interesting thing would be when and how quickly the Ashkenazim got their smarts.

    I know Greg disagrees with me, but I think the ancient Hebrew or Jewish elites from whom the Pharisees and later present-day Jews descended were smart enough to begin with (though perhaps that’s not true of the Hebrew masses who later converted to Christianity and Islam), at least they produced some very high level literature (the Bible), but maybe that was largely concealed from contemporaries because of their solipsism. Same thing of the Sephardim: they aren’t as smart as the Ashkenazim, but they still produced a number of significant figures (like Maimonides, Spinoza, David Ricardo, or Disraeli), and in medieval Spain they engaged in activities like commerce, tax farming and banking, which requires some explanation for a half-Middle Eastern population. Actually, the Spanish are noted by Murray for their relative under-performance, so Sephardi performance seems to be more remarkable compared to the population among whom they resided.

    In any event, all of these things will be quickly sorted out: we’ll know on what timeframe and speed the selection operated. It’s possible that there was some mild selection among Jews for intelligence, followed by a rapid burst of selection in the Middle Ages (only affecting the Ashkenazim).

    • gcochran9 says:

      I only disagree with you because you’re wrong.

      There is no evidence that the founding population of the Ashkenazim was descended from some kind of Jewish elite. I’ve heard it claimed, but there is no evidence for it at all – fairly strong evidence against, considering the big POW influx.

      Looks as if the founding population came from Roman Jews, and maybe from other similar populations in Italy and maybe southern France. And where did the Roman Jews come from? Originally, a mix of merchants and traders and POWs from the Jewish-Roman Wars (a lot of POWs) – that married local Italian girls. I doubt if those local girls were drawn from some elite.

      In Classical times the Roman Jews (also in the rest of their diaspora) seem to have had a job mix like that of their neighbors – not all white-collar as was the case in the Middle Ages.

      Maybe something similar to the Ashkenazi story happened in Spain: I count Ricardo and Cantor, and some recent Moroccan Jewish physicists and mathematicians.. I’m not impressed much by Maimonides or Spinoza or Disraeli.

      In principle, if there was an elite that was noticeably smarter than the average bear, a colony drawn from than elite might be smarter than average. If it was highly endogamous, and if the local selection pressures favored it or were at worst neutral. Altogether, a rare event, I think. Likely to happen with a Lunar colony, of course, if we don’t dissolve into madness first.

      • reiner Tor says:

        I think you have a not negligible likelihood of being right (I’m not totally convinced of what I wrote anyway), and hopefully we’ll know more really soon, so all we need to know is wait.

        a mix of merchants and traders and POWs

        The merchants and traders might have been smarter than average. The POWs and the local girls maybe average. Altogether slightly above average. By the time they reached Ashkenaz, they were mostly merchants and traders. (Maybe self-selection: cobblers etc. were left behind and either converted to Christianity or disappeared for other reasons, since they weren’t quite mobile.) Who were, I think, at least slightly above average.

        But again: we’ll see, and I’m not totally convinced I’m correct in my assessment.

      • George Greene says:

        See Paul Johnson’s book A History of the Jews. He discusses much of this from an historian’s view.

    • Ilya says:

      Gedaliah Alon, in his The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age, disagrees with you also. Pharisees, as priests and teachers of people, came from all kinds of backgrounds: some from aristocracy/scribal class, yes, but more (possibly, many more) from artisans and common land-working folk.

      Historians whom I read agree: What distinguished Jews (and still does!) from everybody else (both in Judea and the Diaspora) was not their IQ or appearance but stubbornness in following their own ways.

      There were instances of Jews refusing to fight on Shabbat, which Greeks used to their advantage to slaughter them (it became their favorite day to fight the Jews), until Jews had to make a halakhic exception. I don’t remember where I read it, but it was stated that constipation was not uncommon among higher priesthood in the Temple (before the Destruction), as the priests often refused to eat fruits, for fear of ingesting worms and breaking laws of kashrut (which is certainly no longer true by the time of Maimonides, post-Gemara).

      The Qumran sect (the Essenes who emerged as a branch from Pharisees, and among whom Jesus was most likely a chief rabbi), were more extreme: e.g. it was considered a sin to defecate on the holy day of Shabbat, the original Temple was considered to be defiled beyond repair.

      And let’s not forget the zealots and the sicarii (somewhat reminiscent of modern day Naturei Karta, except that the former two actually did much more damage).

    • DataExplorer says:

      I think the Levantine coast may have been like the Western Europe of the Bronze Age / Early Iron Age. Judging by the ancient ships that the Carthaginians built, I think they must have been a pretty smart people. Hanno undertook a massive expedition involving 30,000 colonists down the Atlantic Coast of Africa, he reached Cameroon in just 2 months after building colonies along the way and documented the journey. Yet the Moors of the Medieval era seemed to have been uninterested in exploration, they did not even reach the Canary Islands. When the Romans destroyed Carthage (150 BC) and then scattered the Jews (70 AD), they may have wiped out the last remnants of the smart ancient Semites. Probably not as smart as the Ancient Greeks or the Romans, but close.

  19. Rick says:

    The age of first menarche and pelvic size genes are very interesting, and their selection may also be complicated.

    None of the genes that have been implicated (out of dozens) are on the X chromosome. Many seem to be involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis and body weight.

    We know that most of the genomes examined in this study arose in the Bronze Age in populations that were highly mobile and patriarchal. When the moved into the British Isles, that changed.

    In their earlier setting, selection on men (fathers/sons) may have actually highly driven selection on all of these these alleles towards being lean and slim and tough. (Just as it drove Y haplogroups to mostly R1b).

    We know that for millions of years (even way before humans existed), the selection for the female ideal alleles of these particular genes was somewhat detrimental to males, because they were all transferred off of the X chromosome.

    So maybe selection against the variants (within the strong cultural selection of the male lines) which were better for females lines, was eliminated once these mobile people settled down and started farming.

    So maybe this has less to do with females, and more to do with mediocre males with wider hips and some extra fat being able to finally have 20 children each, even if they take their time about doing so.

    • Matt says:

      Selection looks like for lower male BMI here though, right? (With a signal near as strong as the female hip size, though weaker than height).

      Which makes sense in light of selection for greater height at the Malthusian limit without more calories around for muscle and fat. Selection for ectomorphy in a population relaxed for selection towards heavier mesomorphy?

      Farmers in an increasingly packed country seem more likely to be at the Malthusian limit than earlier populations of herders with a more plentiful environment, perhaps giving an evolutionary spur to a sort of toughness of a particular sort (resilience and being able to work well on not much food).

      May slightly depends on how much selection for lower male BMI is selection for being able to better cope with an agricultural diet.

      • Rick says:

        In any case. A lot of these look like growth related genes that had parental conflict issues.

        Whenever a major change in nutrition levels (like lactose tolerance) arose, there was probably a shift in selection of all of the genes that had previously been under purifying selection.

      • MawBTS says:

        Selection looks like for lower male BMI here though, right?

        Not universally. Eskimoes are very stocky. Some Pacific islands have obesity rates of 40-50%.

        • Matt says:

          You’re right certainly not universally, only the selective signature for Male BMI is negative in this study. Possibly many populations like, stereotypically, Mongolians would not have a signal for lower BMI (seeing Mongolian vs Korean / North Chinese are like for height related signals could be interesting).

  20. JS says:

    God it is going to be glorious to crush the enemies of HBD, to see them driven before us, and to hear their lamentations.

    • MawBTS says:

      I suspect that a lot of beloved HBD pet theories aren’t going to survive, either.

      We should be ready.

      • IC says:

        Great Minds Discuss Ideas;
        Average Minds Discuss Events;
        Small Minds Discuss People.

        • IC says:

          so you can figure out people’s intelligence and social class based on their main topic contents.

          Great Minds Discuss Ideas;
          They are mostly represented by scientists who have fun to solve puzzles in the world. They are not much interested in human relationship based issue (autistic trait). High IQ and low social interaction are features here. Detached from most people average behavior – nerdy interest – blog like this are magnet for such type of people. Self-actualizers are in this category too. High IQ people are mostly in this group.

          Average Minds Discuss Events;
          That is what mainstream interest is. Major media and entertainment are for average mind.

          Small Minds Discuss People.
          Gossiping about people are low level people do because their main interest is human relationship. Poor people need social support to survive. Their main focus is popularity competition among people. Popularity with more friends give them good feeling due to survival advantage over less popular one in this group of people. So they will try make themselves popular and others less popular. Low IQ people are mostly in this group.
          Politicians focus is on this sort of people.

      • gcochran9 says:

        I think that forthcoming information may well deliver surprises about the evolutionary forces that caused differences in IQ between different populations. But what the differences are, we already know. Probably.

      • JS says:

        Actually, I agree with this. There’s a lot I don’t agree with. (I don’t believe that the Industrial Revolution was caused by British genetics, for example.)

  21. Economic Sophisms says:

    I’m particularly keen to see what’s been going on in Greece and western Anatolia. Maybe the fall of Byzantium had an HBD component. Or maybe it was just a case of ‘nothing lasts forever’.

    • DataExplorer says:

      I expect that the fall of all great empires is based on long term dysgenic trends. There is no logical reason why so many empires and civilizations throughout history could grow so big and then not simply keep growing, except for dysgenics.

      • gcochran9 says:

        I can think of about twenty other possible explanations off the top of my head, but dysgenics is a possible cause.

        • JayMan says:

          Sounds like an interesting blog post to me!

        • DataExplorer says:

          The usual explanations: political instability, economic decline, military weakness, ideological shifts, etc. I could believe them if it happened just once or twice. But all of these great empires seem to follow a similar cyclical pattern of growing exponentially bigger, then gradually declining and then a final collapse. Perhaps “dysgenics” is not a broad enough term to encapsulate what I mean, maybe “genetic factors” is a better. It may be that IQs were not actually dropping in the Roman Empire but they were just not increasing at the same rate as the barbarians at the gate.

      • Jim says:

        The fall of the Aztec Empire had nothing to do with dysgenic decline.

      • melendwyr says:

        Perhaps there is a sociological equivalent of the engineering principle of the Square-Cube Law. Dysgenics need not be invoked.

      • Thomas Montgomery says:

        I agree with DataExplorer. The largest factor in the decay of civilizations is dysgenics. The discussion by R. A. Fisher 1930 p. 193 is very cogent on this matter. Soon we will know for sure.

  22. deuce says:

    The early English did legally select against the native Britons/”Welsh”, who were probably more brunette. IIRC, you could get half-price when paying weregild upon murdering a Welshman. “Welsh Lives Matter!”

    • Sean says:

      Anglo Saxon’s taking their pick of indigenous women, and a gradual purging of the indigenous ancestry through elite reproductive sucess could explain it

      The lightening (skin and the some extent hair and eye allele) 374F of SLC45A2 was found to be under selection in Southern Europe a few years ago. For that allele in England I suppose it could be just Anglo Saxon (basically Danish) ancestry winning out in subsequent generations of the Anglo Saxon men/ British women. The 374F allele is higher in Denmark than anywhere else.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Obviously you’re wrong, since the selection is concentrated on a few genes. How about this: wait until you have something reasonable to say. Perhaps after the Satya Yuga begins.

        • Rick says:

          Do you ever just get tired of listening to the same old shit? I mean… population genetics isn’t even that complicated, and these new papers are certainly clever, but it doesn’t change how selection actually works.

          The entire point is that you are filtering for the few genes that were passed on more than the average one.

          These are special magic genes that make you have more babies that survive to have more babies.

  23. IC says:

    Well, gentlemen prefer younger girls. When every body can lie about their ages, only youthful physical features you can depend on are baby-ish hair (blonde), light eyes and less body hair.

    Gentlemen prefer blonde for good long term fertility to produce many offsprings in many years. If you can afford, you all want new cars which can offer longer service time than old cars.

    Today, female can lie with cosmetic and plastic surgery to advertise their reproductive potential falsely.

    • Sandgroper says:

      It depends on the car.

      • IC says:

        Never know any brand of car can age well like wine.

        For the same kind of car, new is always worth more money. Antique car is collected for different purpose. Also true that marring old women is for non-reproductive purpose.

        George Washington married old lady for money and power.

        • MawBTS says:

          Even wine doesn’t age like wine. A few varieties get better with age. Some stay about the same. Most get worse. Any pygmy sommelier will tell you the same.

    • IC says:

      Females with deceptive youthful features (genes) have edge against other females competitors. In the long run, this selective pressure causes entire population change since most those feature coded on autosomes.

    • RCB says:

      “When every body can lie about their ages, only youthful physical features you can depend on are baby-ish hair (blonde), light eyes and less body hair.”

      Maybe you know something I don’t. Do eyes darken as we age – after sexual maturity? Do we get hairier after sexual maturity? Does hair get darker (this one I’m less sure about, although I know it tends to get very light in old age)?

      I understand that infant eye color changes within the first year or so of life. As for hair color – I was blonde as a toddler and young boy, but had my current (light) brown hair by the time I was 10, probably.

      It sounds like you’re suggesting that men like blue eyes, blonde hair, and little body hair because it was adaptive to be attracted to infants and children. Consider me skeptical.

      • IC says:

        Just one of my many hypothesis on skin/hair/eye change. Your skeptical point is very much reasonable since I favor devolution of pigment in sheltered live over sexual selection process. Maybe both are involved complicated process.

        Maybe long time ago, most Caucasoid people had their skin/hair changing color right at puberty. Any adult looking girls with some residual infant features were marks of such prime age for males mate choice. Any mutation causing permanent skin/hair change would give such women deceptive longer period such `prime’ age appearance. Certainly pedophile is considered pathological with a grey zone for right taste.

  24. ghazisiz says:

    So, after Britain, which region has the most data?

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  26. reiner Tor says:

    Gedaliah Alon, in his The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age, disagrees with you also. Pharisees, as priests and teachers of people, came from all kinds of backgrounds: some from aristocracy/scribal class, yes, but more (possibly, many more) from artisans and common land-working folk.

    Historians whom I read agree: What distinguished Jews (and still does!) from everybody else (both in Judea and the Diaspora) was not their IQ or appearance but stubbornness in following their own ways.

    Self selection is mentioned by Greg Clark about how Coptic Christians became an elite group in Egypt: the easier someone could afford the jizya, the lower the likelihood of conversion to Islam. From what I know about human nature and societies with a dominant religion, something similar must have happened to Jews in Italy (and elsewhere), the ones on the lowest rungs of the social ladder were the least able to cope with pressures to convert. Elite Jews stayed Jewish, especially those who engaged in commerce, because they could form ethnic networks. Converting meant losing access to those network. This must be the reason why Ashkenazim by the early Middle Ages were already a middleman minority.

    Of course this is just speculation on my part, and could be totally wrong, as I have already written.

  27. reiner Tor says:

    Jewish landowners, for example, didn’t need ethnic networks much, so even though they might have coped with pressure to convert longer, they had little incentive to do so. Societies might have put rules in place where believers of The One True Belief couldn’t be serfs of infidels, and so probably landowning Jews eventually converted (or got poor). Merchants were the best positioned not to convert for many reasons: they were wealthy, their wealth was easier to move in case wealth itself didn’t provide enough protection, they could afford to stay outside society’s norms, and they even had the incentive to stay in the middleman diaspora.

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  29. anon says:

    “You can (soon) tell if creeping Pinkerization is genetic, or partly genetic.”

    I tried, but my google searches bore no fruit– could someone clue me in on what “Pinkerization” refers to? Thank you.

    • Sandgroper says:

      The Gentle Angels of Our Nature. Look it up on Amazon Books.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Sorry, that’s wrong. It should be The Better Angels of Our Nature. Subtitled: Why Violence Has Declined. I believe Steve Pinker stole the book title from a speech by Abraham Lincoln, but I’m far from well educated in American history.

  30. Michael A. Pearlman says:

    How about blue eye selection working Peter Frost -style (male choose female) but being amplified via Greg Clark’s mechanism? That is, blue eyes were rare, beautiful and favored by successful men in their mate selection. Thus, successful men had more children and because they tended to pick blue eyed women for novelty/status marker reasons, blue eyed kids were more numerous/successful.

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