Every now and then a group secedes from general society and goes its own way. Sometimes they end up living a very different kind of life. Less often, that different way of life persists.

I’m thinking of the Puritans, the Quakers, the Amish, the Oneida Community, the Nation of Islam, California communes, and of course the Harshmanites.

Do those different ways of life influence intelligence? According to the sociologists they could, and maybe should. According to the psychometricians and behavioral geneticists, they could if they had differential recruitment [ immediate results] , or if they were reproductive isolated and had different internal selective pressures [ slow ].

Has there been such a change caused by the new social environment? In other words, could such a subsociety just decide to be smarter?

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155 Responses to Subsocieties

  1. pyrrhus says:

    “Has there been such a change caused by the new social environment? In other words, could such a subsociety just decide to be smarter?”

    Sure, if the subsociety systematically excluded those who were not deemed sufficiently productive in ways that require above average g…Perhaps the Coderites could be an example….

    • gcochran9 says:

      I’m talking because of environmental effects, not sorting.

      • not my name says:

        That seems like an very important qualification. And as I read over all the comments below, I don’t see anyone offering up a way that a group could proactively increase intelligence, over time, only though the application of environment (and the healthy living ideas strike me as one-time, non-persistent gains).

        So, we can’t have the town elders to decide who gets to marry who based on some kind of intelligence test. And I can’t imaging constructing a physical environment that limits survival to only the most intelligent (I mean, what are you going to do, make eligible for breeding only the survivors of a hunting contest in the Arctic? Ok, i can imagine it, but I can’t imagine it flying).

        What practical ways are there of giving smarter people a relative advantage in survival or mating? General societal shaming of being a dumbass? Making pop stars out of the MathCounts team? Might work of time but is way too susceptible to outside influence.

        I’m left with fairly misogynistic sounding solutions: Giving nerds piles of money or PUA techniques, so that they have one of those primitive advantages in attracting women.

        • James says:

          What makes you assume that all nerds are either wimps or even all that smart?

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          “and the healthy living ideas strike me as one-time, non-persistent gains”

          If early brain development requires specific nutrients then ensuring mothers and young children have enough of those nutrients is one time but persistent (for that generation)

          (when people talk about development, Flynn effect etc they often talk about “better diet” but mostly don’t seem to drill down into what specific aspect of diet has the impact)

          (and maybe metabolism has an indirect effect also)

          • uncommonman says:

            Yeah, sorry, certainly the one-time part is (more or less) true. Not sure what (if anything) i was really thinking that would make it hard to persist.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              no worries

              it wouldn’t persist over generations (unless repeated with each generation)

              for example a sub-society that gave cod liver oil to their kids to prevent rickets – if they stopped doing it any permanent effect would still persist for 60+ years until the last of those kids had passed on

  2. dearieme says:

    Only if they are Russians. Because the Russians are behind everything, at least in the US.

    • Garr says:

      The Russians are certainly heavily involved in the comments-sections (at least) of several major “conservative” websites, whose “conservative” readers laugh off concern about Russian propaganda as “McCarthyism”, as though there wasn’t in fact a hive of Soviet agents in the U.S. government in the 30s and 40s. (Just read Chambers’ WITNESS.)

      • Toddy Cat says:

        There does seem to be something of a difference between posting comments on a website and being the agent of a totalitarian power with a high government position. I only wish that our friends on the Left had been this concerned about Russian (actually Soviet) influence on our elections back when Ted Kennedy was asking the Politburo to help defeat Ronald Reagan.

      • dearieme says:

        “there wasn’t in fact a hive of Soviet agents in the U.S. government in the 30s and 40s”: how very unhistorical of you.

        • Garr says:

          I’m asserting that there WAS such a hive. I cite WITNESS, by Whittaker Chambers, who testified about this hive. My point is that many so-called “conservatives” today speak in a way that assumes the truth of the leftist denial that the U.S. government was in fact infested with Russian agents such as Alger Hiss. You left out the “as though” in front of what you quote from my comment. Why did you do this? Did you read my comment carelessly? Or do you intend to deceive careless readers of this comments-page? Toddy Cat, my point is that aside from the Russian agents who are quite certainly posting on major American “conservative” websites under what they take to be American-sounding names that really overplay the tough-ordinary-guy persona, their pro-Russian dupes accuse those who detest this infestation of the American internet by Putin’s agents of “McCarthyism” and “witch-hunting”, thus siding with those Commie-sympathizers who denied that there was a significant Russian infestation of the U.S. government itself. Understand me, dearieme? (Moreover, the “alt-right”‘s adoration of Putin is really disgusting; they’re like teenage girls kneeling in front of their 5’4” rock star eager for a chance to fellate him.)

          • Salger says:

            Moreover, the “alt-right”‘s adoration of Putin is really disgusting; they’re like teenage girls kneeling in front of their 5’4” rock star eager for a chance to fellate him.)

            I don’t see Putin supporting Muslim antics like Saudi Arabia does.

          • Toddy Cat says:

            I have no doubt that there are Russian operatives trying to influence opinion on the Internet, as are American, Israeli, Saudi operatives, and who knows who else; but I think that it’s a real stretch to equate this with the Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt Administration in the 1940’s. As for conservatives yelling “McCarthyism”, that’s the “Dems are the Real Racist” crowd – as far as I’m concerned, McCarthy was a (deeply flawed) hero, or at the very least, he was on to a real problem. As for Putin, I think that the attraction on the Alt-Right, is the perception that Putin is a strong leader who stands up for his people, as opposed to Bush II and Obama, who often were perceived (perhaps unfairly, perhaps not) of placing the welfare of other peoples and countries before that of the US, and that the US and Russia (as opposed to the old USSR) really have no reason to quarrel and that tensions with Russia are being stoked by the same policy geniuses who brought us the Iraq War. These perceptions may or may not be true, but they are not insane, and are far from a desire to “fellate” Putin. Of course, Milo may be an exception to this…

            • gcochran9 says:

              The non-classified report released on this went on and on about RT [channel formerly known as Russia Today], neglecting to mention that it has a teeny, tiny audience, far smaller than other cable news channels, themselves small.. I saw an estimate of 30k viewers.

              Why would you go on and on about something so insignificant?

              • ursiform says:

                Because intel people watch it to follow the latest Russian propaganda vectors. So it looms larger to them.

              • gcochran9 says:

                I figure it’s their indirect way of boasting about their Densa membership.

              • ursiform says:

                They probably also figure it cues fellow travelers about what stories to spread.

              • gcochran9 says:

                “fellow travelers”? wannabee Orthodox autocrats?

              • ziel says:

                the RT stuff is quite a distraction from the report’s message. They highlight the kind of anti-American stories RT likes to push – Occupy Wall Street, anti-Fracking, Civil Liberties and police abuses of minorities, the ‘surveillance state’ – not exactly the signature Trump issues that turned out blue-collar workers in the upper Midwest. Very odd.

              • gcochran9 says:

                I could make up more compelling crap, from whole cloth, by myself, over the weekend, while simultaneously playing Left for Dead. Which I don’t even like.

                I don’t ask much, but what can you say about a government that can’t even produce decent bullshit?

              • ursiform says:

                Supporters of an Orthodox autocracy.
                OK Greg, I get your contempt for our intel community.
                So cough up your opinion.
                Was Putin trying to muck with our election?

              • gcochran9 says:

                The declassified report gives no evidence about the emails, and maunders on about Russia Today, which is entirely irrelevant. Makes them sound like idiots. Remember what Groucho said.

                Could the Russians have gotten those emails? Sure. But so could you have, or damn near anyone else. Apparently easily downloadable, moderately obsolete software was used. Did they do it? I don’t know.

                Did the Russians prefer Trump? Sure. Lots of people did.

                Do I have a lot of faith in CIA pronouncements – as to their technical expertise, or their judgment, or their truthfulness? No. On a number of topics, I’ve had a kind of informal prediction contest running with them for a long time, and I’ve done better than they have [on the fall of the Soviet Union, on Saddam attacking Kuwait, on Iraqi WMD, other things) . Admittedly, I don’t have their constraints – I don’t have to worry about keeping the boss happy – but that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? And considering the relative funding levels, it’s embarrassing.

                The CIA never understood the Soviet Union: not the economy, not the politics. At classic espionage, humint, they were terrible. Utter failures. And understanding the Soviet Union was their main job. You could argue that the social class they were drawn from made that failure inevitable – and you might be right – but it doesn’t make the failure go away.

                The CIA had a role in recon development, stuff like the early spy satellites. They’re still involved in the National Recon Office. That’s useful.

                I’ve been told that there was a single guy in the CIA who could have done the back-of-the-envelope capacity analysis I did about an Iraqi nuclear program, and he was working on something else. At least four of my personal friends could have done that.

              • Jonah says:

                I don’t understand the report’s emphasis on RT “reporting.”

                There are a lot of foreign news sources that report on US stories. Are all these reports outrageously reprehensible attempts to influence US policies and elections? Should we be outraged by BBC reporting? By Vicente Fox’s comments?

                I don’t get it.

            • ursiform says:

              I haven’t even read what they released, because I assume that if there is any real evidence they won’t publicly release it.

              The intel community is much better at gathering huge amounts of data than it is at making sense out of it. I’ve read reports which had conclusions that had little to do with the data that was presented.

              If they have intercepts of communications from Putin or his senior lieutenants directing actions they have a strong case. But they would never release that information.

              So we have to decide what to believe from people who have been briefed who are making self-serving pronouncements without revealing details.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Since, in foreign affairs, nearly everything the Feds touch turns to shit, you have to think that they have really special sources of information.

          • danielchieh says:

            Putin hates us less than you do. Its not supercomplicated like we like him. No one wants to be hated for who we are.

      • Erik says:

        There was a hive of Soviet agents in the U.S. government, McCarthy was right, Chambers was right, Bentley was right, there should have been a purge of Communists, there should still be a purge of Communists, and I nonetheless laugh off the present-day “blame Russia” madness which blames Russia for everything from election hacking to pedophile panics. “Russians in my comment section” is one of those.

        You want to find a hive of communist propaganda agents today, try the American official press. That’s small-c communists, not Party members; the Party is withered, but the madness remains.

  3. JW Bell says:

    The Flynn effect.

  4. hronrade says:

    I’m going to court ridicule and say, yes, subculture could improve intellectual output if it shields you from doing dumb things, such as chopping your dick off or majoring in something math-free. When much of the rest of society has gone crazy, cultural technology might help protect you from the madness.

  5. ohwilleke says:

    There is some evidence that national IQ increases with economic development and not merely visa versa. IQ may be strongly hereditary only in the domain of applicability of people living within more or less the same society with environmental effects mainly at the macro-cultural level.

    Historically, the whole notion of hereditary leadership is basically a way to get maximum results out of minimum expenditure in training a next generation of leaders in a resource scarce society. If you only have to train 0.1% of the population with the skill sets needed to rule, it is a lot cheaper than training 25% of the population or so to do so as we do today in Western societies. But, it only works to use this approach if you know which 0.1% to train.

  6. Paul Conroy says:

    I would say the “Anglo-Irish” are a good example of this.
    The Anglo-Irish are a group in Ireland, formed by some of the descendants of English who converted to the Anglican/Episcopal church – “Church of Ireland” in Ireland – together with many of the Native Irish gentry, French Huguenots and Sephardic Jews.

    At one time they were about 20-25% of the population, but most emigrated to the US in the 1700’s, leaving about 4% behind. These few people are responsible for 4 Noble prizes!

    • dearieme says:

      “most emigrated to the US in the 1700’s”: I didn’t know that. But are you quite sure that you’re not confusing them with the Presbyterians who left Ulster in large numbers for the US?

      • Paul Conroy says:

        No, not Presbyterian. I’ve never seen any literature to suggest that Presbyterians as a group are especially smart.
        Anglo-Irish OTOH, are well known to be especially smart.

    • deuce says:

      Lord Dunsany was one of the Anglo-Irish that stayed. He was basically very good (if not great) at everything he did. A world-class chess player, excellent rifleman and, of course, one of the literary titans of the 20th century. Still admired and in print today. His father was also an exceptional man. Richard Burton, a cousin, is another noteworthy exemplar of the Anglo-Irish ethnic group.,_18th_Baron_of_Dunsany#Interests

  7. Bob says:

    Shiksas do it, or does joining an existing group not count?

  8. There are ways to stop being dumber. A society could forbid first-cousin marriages and gain a few points in a generation. You can get rid of lead, and anything else you find that damages developing brains. Keep the vitamins and key nutrients coming in. Those all have a pretty quick ceiling, though.

    Daviess County, KY tried a noble experiment (1997-2010) of intensely teaching all its K-12 students foreign language, chess, music, and patterned folk dancing in order to build brain power, brick by brick. Preliminary results were encouraging, but it ended up showing no effect. I would very much have liked for it to work, but it didn’t. I suspect any society-wide attempts that didn’t rely on initial sorting would similarly fall short.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Dropping cousin marriage, adding iodine, inculcating a weltanschauung that isn’t batshit crazy – all possible and worthwhile. The first two really would make your smarter. the last effectively saner.

      Other people with fancy enrichment programs have had the same results – nichevo.

    • engleberg says:

      Stephen Barnes wrote a very good near-future SF novel, Charisma, about something close. They find an olympic athlete war hero who went from the ghetto to billionaire, model every aspect of his personality, then secretly set up a bunch of daycare centers to mold kids in his image. Going for charisma, not intelligence as such.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with such hyper-stimulation approaches is that they assume a roughly linear effect, while you actually get saturation.

      A severe lack of mental stimulation certainly inhibits intelligence. Adding back moderate stimulation rectifies this. Stimulation beyond that has rapidly diminishing returns. Hyper-stimulation puts you in a saturation regime.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      First cousin marriage is terrible, don’t get me wrong, I have read it lowers the expected IQ 6 points of the child from where it should be. But the negative effects of inbreeding aren’t accumulative. One generation of outbreeding and the effects are pretty much gone.

      What really can screw up a society big time because it does accumulate is a tradition of older men taking on younger wives. Mutational load greatly increases with older fathers and unlike inbreeding there is no fix in the next generation.

      Mohammad could not have set a worse example than taking on a bunch of young wives, one of them being his brothers daughter.

      • gcochran9 says:

        It has disadvantages, but I don’t think we know the degree to which it increases genetic load. Truncation selection is very effective at eliminating load – if a society with older fathers had stronger truncation selection, it could easily compensate for the elevated mutation rate.

        • dave chamberlin says:

          Correct me if i am wrong but doesn’t older fatherhood have big disadvantages? From a selfish gene standpoint it has to. If old men begat healthy children than wouldn’t baldness have been weeded out of the gene pool a long time ago. Viagra wouldn’t have a market because old men would remain ummm..frisky.

          I have a hunch nature has lots of ways of reducing mutation load we don’t know about, but i think human intelligence is very fragile to mutational load.I can’t prove it but I’ll bet i’m right.

          • gcochran9 says:

            I would have thought that the children of older fathers would suffer some IQ depression – the kids do have a higher schizophrenia risk – but apparently not.

          • dave chamberlin says:

            There is only one method I know of that mankind has developed to “spell check” mutations and it is pretty crude. Spontaneous abortion. One third of human fetuses spontaneously abort presumably because of mutations. It is very interesting this is a relatively recent development, an earlier westhunter thread informed me that one of the very first branches of humanity that still exist, the San Bushman spontaneously abort at a much lower percentage.

            I still find it likely, not proven by any means but likely, that those cultures that encourage polygamy, which frequently results in older men taking on younger wives are dragged down eventually because of seriously increased mutational load. It perplexes me that the children of older men do not show signs of their fathers genetic decline, but it is what it is.

  9. MawBTS says:

    The Amish have very low rates of autism. About 0.02%, vs 1.470588% in the general population.

    Anti-vaccine activists used to bring that up a lot. It’s got to be something other than vaccines, though, because about 60% of the Amish are vaccinated (so you’d expect an Amish autism rate of 0.882%).

  10. j says:

    Of course, the Spartans. For 600 years they practiced eugenic infanticide, harsh selection system through the agoge, they did not marry or accept foreigners. Spartiates were recognized in Greece as splendid individuals, yet their numbers declined and became insignificant. The experiment had a tremendous human cost (for themselves, mainly) and it was a failure.

    • j says:

      P.S.: Spartans did not select for intelligence, because they had no way of measuring it, but health and leadership qualities, which are broadly related to IQ.

    • Garr says:

      So Spartans might have been smarter on average than Athenians, just as Chinese are smarter on average than Scotsmen. And Sparta produced nothing interesting. More evidence that IQ is a necessary but not sufficient condition for doing interesting stuff. I wish people who like to think about genetics would focus a little less on IQ and a little more on other things such as imagination and wanting to be alone now and then.

      • James says:

        If the Spartans produced nothing interesting what accounts for their enduring persistence in our imaginations over the millennia?

        • gcochran9 says:

          Military prowess and memorable one-liners.

        • jp says:

          The spartans practiced infanticide but then so did a lot of other people, romans, chinese etc.
          Their real inovation was to separate boys from their families aged 7 and bring them up in dedicated schools until adulthood. Something also done by the ottomans with the janissary system and the british with their public school system. Creates society in which old school more important than family, with millitary edge.

          • j says:

            All the Greeks practiced infanticide – the father or the mother exposed the baby, mostly for economic reasons. The Spartans practiced a formal examination of the newborn, without participation of the parents, with a clear purpose of race amelioration. The agoge had similarities with the Public School system, except that it was exceptionally rigorous to the point that the children were beaten (frequently to death) and famished. After the agoge, they had to find a mess that would accept them as an Equal, if no table wanted them they were dropped from the list of Spartiates.

      • IQ is measurable, and so goes to the top of the list. Track and field attracts their attention for similar reasons. It’s not that they necessarily consider those events superior to lacrosse as a sport, but that it’s very easy to measure who ran a marathon faster.

  11. Maciano says:

    The Raelians come close. They believe in cloning (for eternal life) and value intelligence; started in France in 70s, they number in the 100k now. They reach into Korea and Japan.

    The sect was the main topic of Houellebecq’s novel “The possibility of an island”

  12. The Z Blog says:

    I’m think that the ability to think associatively is now a very useful skill, while fifty years ago it was not in high demand. For instance, memorizing poems is of no use today, but it was a sign of education and breeding 100 years ago. Knowing how to quickly locate the stanza from a poem on Google, on the other hand, is very useful today.

    Knowing what a thing is by its association with other things is how you quickly find things on-line. It’s also how you discover new things that are also associated with that thing you seek. This skill with a high normal intelligence would make someone appear better informed and more intelligent.To cut to the chase, the internet sub-cultures could be such an example you have in mind.

  13. Greying Wanderer says:

    makes sense imo – a population might have the genetic potential for an average IQ of 105 but operate on an average of 100 due to factors which impair development or function. Another might have a potential for 90 impaired down to 85.


    any groups with different dietary rules might create such a society – in either direction and mostly by accident

    for example, eating fish on fridays as a religious thing


    drinking organic milk (as apparently – according to the internet – organic cows are fed clover a lot which for some reason inhibits iodine getting into the milk)

    or both at once – like drinking organic milk and lots of seaweed

    plus stuff like are there any differences between sea fish vs farmed fish

    whole milk vs skimmed milk

    consumption of fish in developed vs developing world


    plus on the other side of the equation possible growth in the use of inhibitors like bromide, flouride and chloride


    if people who accept genetics could figure out the optimal diet for brain development and function then that would create a sub-society who could make themselves smarter – or at least make sure their kids reached maximum potential

    • James says:

      Might the fact that Hillary Clinton recently received a majority of the presidential vote indicate that Starbuck’s decision to use 2% instead of whole milk as their default has led to a decrease in cerebral brain function among the middle classes?

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        i wouldn’t be at all surprised

      • whyteablog says:

        I appreciate this comment, but there hasn’t been a substantial association between IQ and political preference. Usually political belief seems to be more predicated on pre-existing cognitive biases which alter how people perceive reality.

        As best as I can tell from the research I’ve seen, liberalism is built around the propensity to lie for social brownie points, and conservatism is based on fear of “the other.”

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          just to be clear i was joking earlier – i don’t think changes in diet would affect adult IQ (although it could effect metabolism which might have a knock-on effect on applied IQ e.g. laziness, cloudy thinking?)

          i think the genetic root of liberalism is “desire for change” and conservatism “resistance to change” which imo makes sense from an evolutionary pov.

          One, a majority who are wired up to think that if something worked for previous generations then don’t change it

          but also

          Two, a minority who are open to change so if the environment changes they jump in and figure out how to adapt to that change – which then becomes the new conservatism until the next environmental change

          that would work fine as long as the conservative majority dominated the culture – which they did until the invention of TV

        • guest says:

          “liberalism is built around the propensity to lie for social brownie points”
          I agree that many people lie about their true beliefs(for various reasons), but the liberal values that many of us are forced to agree with publicly have to have a significant amount of real backers(maybe disproportionately among the rich and powerful) for them to be so non-negotiable.

  14. Jerome says:

    “Has there been such a change caused by the new social environment? In other words, could such a subsociety just decide to be smarter?”

    Mormons don’t drink.

  15. dearieme says:

    The experiment has been done twice by the Jews. In the Iron Age they formed themselves as a people by adopting a religious cult that distinguished themselves from fellow-Canaanites, complete with dietary restrictions, adoption of a pseudo-history of foundation myths, and restrictions on out-marrying. Yet, as our blogger repeatedly points out, there’s no sign that it made them any brighter.

    Then some of their male descendants married Italian women, and their descendants formed an isolated people first in the Rhineland and then further east (as I understand the history). Because of the social niche they filled – banking and whatnot – and as a consequence of those who prospered having most children, they ended up brighter. Or so the story goes. Meantime those of their descendants who stayed at home and filled no special niches ended up as Palestinians.

    So, in a hand-waving way, I might look at the Jews to see if there’s going to be a third wave of social actions that might lead to measurable results. For instance, I’ve read about Jews in NYC using eugenic counselling to avoid making marriages that would bring children with nasty hereditary afflictions. But once one has the genetic data to hand, would one really restrict oneself only to avoiding disease? It would only be human to go a bit further, wouldn’t it?

    • James says:

      “It would only be human to go a bit further, wouldn’t it?”

      Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.

      • Darin says:

        The most prophetic book of 20th century, this is last place where I expected people to diss it. This is what scientifically literate, HBD aware society would look like at its best.

        • James says:

          I’m afraid you are right as it is probably the best case scenario in regards to the fate of civilization. I used to think “1984” was the most likely worst case but as I grow older it looks to me as if “A Canticle For Leibowitz” is more on the money.

    • j says:

      Ashkenazi communities practiced universal marriage, that is even the ugliest and incapacitated were married off by the community. Jews always brought up all the children at community expense. I cannot conciliate these practices with selection for IQ.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Marriage was almost universal – but the kehilla often banned marriage for people that survived on community aid. As far as I can tell children were not brought up at community expense: wealthier families had better homes ( warmer), better food, could afford a wet-nurse if needed, etc. Prosperous Jews had considerably larger numbers of surviving children. “There are some indications that poorer families were small (some figures show that they had between 1.2 and 2.4 children per family). In contrast, a number of genealogies of of business leaders, prominent rabbis, community leaders, and the like disclose that such people often had four,six and sometimes even eight or nine children
        who reached adulthood.” quote from The Jews of Poland, Bernard Weinryb.

        Which is entirely consistent with selection for IQ.

        • j says:

          I meant that orphans and destitute children were brought up by institutions financed by the community. Of course, wealthy and prominent people’s children enjoyed much better conditions. English parishes had similar institutions, Polish peasantry did not. What was peculiar to Jews was the communal effort to marry off even the poor and the misfit. May be I have a romantic idea of shtetl life – those living it hated it with passion.

    • MawBTS says:

      Ancient/classical Judaism was very different to modern Judaism – mind the gap! In particular, the concept of Judaism as an ethic identity is pretty modern.

      Temple Judaism (about 900-500BC) was a universalist faith. You could just convert, and presto, you’d be Jewish (fun fact: the term “Presbyter” originally meant a Jewish convert – look it up.) This is exactly what you DON’T want to happen to select for a trait in a group. You see this cavalier attitude in the Bible. Joseph married an Egyptian. Moses married a Midianite. Boaz married a Moabite.

      Yes, the Torah forbids marriage between Israelites and Caananites, but that precept was probably politically motivated and pretty standard in the ancient world. Even if it selected for intelligence (how?), the Israelites wouldn’t gain any net advantage over the surrounding tribes.

      Then in the time of the Ezra/Nehemiah reforms, Judaism transformed from an all-inclusive faith to one based around ethnicity. Jews participating in interracial and interfaith marriages were excommunicated.

      “In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people. 25So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26“Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 27“Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?”

      Notorious Jewish endogamy starts here. It didn’t help when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, turning Jews into perennial outsiders.

      It’s strange how Jewish scientists tend to be the biggest promoters of blank-slatism (Gould, Lewontin, Rose, Kamin), as well as hyper-aggressive forms universalism like communism, given the history of their faith. But that’s what pendulums do, they swing.

      • labayu says:

        Actually the conception of Judaism as strictly a religion is what is a fairly modern concept, arguably an innovation of Moses Mendelssohn in the late 18th Century, proposed for the purpose of assimilation. Judaism evolved out of the state cult of the Kingdom of Judah. The Ezra/Nehemiah reforms served the purpose of preserving the traditions of “the people of Israel” in a stateless multi-ethnic environment. Forced population relocation by Mesopotamian rulers had been two-way. That is why non-Jews have traditionally been referred to as goyim – literally “people of other nations”.

      • Ilya says:

        labayu is correct and you’re wrong. It’s the other way around. In fact, after the Egyptian sojourn, Judaism transformed from a tribal cult of Judah and Southern tribal confederation into a state cult of the United Monarchy, to then into (after Babylonian exile of nobility, scribes, and priesthood) a portable codex of laws and way of life. Upon return from exile it was re-established, with great success, as the official and all-encompassing system of worship. Further on, it then became even more strongly established sometime after the Maccabean revolt, undergoing a certain kind of “universalization.” That is, around 2nd century BC Jews were actually proselytizing to surrounding peoples in both Judea (among local Edumeans and Itureans) and the diaspora (Alexandria, Babylon, and, later, Rome). Ancestry of kings (Herod) and some Tannaite Talmudic scholars (like Rabbi Meir) attests to the fact. This lasted until around 4th century AD. Thereafter, Judaism closed: both due to internal and external pressures (i.e. due explicit outlawing by de-Judaized, Pauline Christianity, after Nicene).

        The evolution of Judaism continued after that. But I’ll skip the last 1500 years. There is now another major split within Judaism. The so-called “progressive” (i.e. Reform and Conservative/”Open Orthodox”) strain, which espouses universalism as the end-goal, at the cost absolute principles, and the more traditional Judaism, which insists on following absolute laws derived from Torah and tradition, with everything else locking into place naturally. In some way, this situation mirrors what the assimilated Jews of Alexandria were facing two millennia ago.

        The selection for intelligence thing is kind of a lucky accident of history of some communities, as “The 10000 Year Explosion” described..

        • MawBTS says:

          Excuse the late reply.

          Maybe I’m wrong, but you disagree with my source. His claim is that precepts of “Jewishness”/national identity arose with Ezra and Nehemiah, and that before then it was much more porous.

          I can’t argue for this in-depth, but my basic knowledge of the Bible backs this up.

          If ancient Israelites were endogamous, how could Moses, Joseph, Boaz, David, etc all marry non-Jews? And how do you explain verses like Exodus 12-38, which describes a “mixed multitude” joining the sons of Israel (and then, I assume, merging into them)? That doesn’t sound like a strongly endogamous culture.

          In scripture, all of the prohibitions against outmarriage begin in Ezra and Nehemiah. In the Torah, there’s nothing. The Deuteronomic Code forbids marriage with seven specific tribes, but that’s in the context of war, not to enforce Jewish racial purity.

          We know nothing about crypto-historical events like the flight from Egypt, not even whether they occurred. What can we really say about Jewish cultural norms from this period?

          I accept that the distinction between tribe and faith is very much a modern conceit, and I’m sure there are granularities in the data (certain enclaves of Jews were more open to outsiders than other enclaves at various times, etc.) But ultimately I’m not convinced.

          • Ilya says:

            You misunderstood me. I stated that you were incorrect regarding universality of early Judaism, as a system of laws and beliefs, vis-a-vis its universal monotheistic content, as practiced by majority of the masses (with exception of Levites and Aaronides/Cohens), and openness to proselytism of such content to other peoples outside of the nation. I said that very early Judaism was a tribal cult, no too different (if one excludes the genuinely monotheistic Levites and priesthood) from other ones out there

            However, the question of endogamy, while related, is a different one. True, marrying out was not doctrinally explicitly prohibited till Ezra’s time. Nonetheless, ancient Israelites were a tribal, pastoralist set of clans, with corresponding norms. Those norms did include strong endogamy: in fact, marrying one’s cousin or other such close relative was encouraged (see Bedouins, for example). Marrying one’s half-sister was perfectly OK. This certainly lasted for a long time.

            The leaders of those clans and tribes always had more options (see Bedouins here as well), but even those were limited, especially in Moses’s days. The fact that Solomon had foreign wives, is not necessarily very telling. For a king (a few centuries after Exodus) marrying a foreign princess for a familial alliance is not something exotic. However, notice that Moses did not marry outside of tribal custom: he took a woman from a related tribe, the Midianite (Shasu), who were YHWH worshippers also. Also notice the famous episode of a high-ranking kinsman / Israelite prince and his new foreign wife being killed by Phinehas (an Aaronide), during Mosaic exodus.

            The Israelites were, in fact, a tribal confederacy, so marrying between clans, especially, at the very top, was probably tolerable (though even that became expressly OK only around Ezra days), if done within the new nation, especially after establishment of first monarchy. As the Israelites conquered Canaan, the old tribal customs were probably weakened, with Israelites slowly assimilating into (but also assimilating the other way!) the locals of Canaan-cum-Judea-and-Israel. The weakening of old tribal way was especially prominent in the north, in Israel, as opposed to Judea, since the local established Canaanite population was so much more numerous and dense than in Judea, due to better climate, presence of more water, and richer soil. You can see that Israel was a much more Canaanite-inclusive monarchy, by noticing that Omri, of mostly (if not purely) Canaanite origins, became a king of Israel. In contrast, in Judea, the long-lasting Davidic line traces direct descent to the Mosaic exodus, and the early forms of the cult of YHWH.

            Since the returnees from Babylon, as represented by Ezra, were from the literate elite of Israel (scribal, ritual, landowners, aristocracy etc), the strong statements in Deuteronomy have a reactionary character, as the returnees were obviously an extremely patriotic bunch (you can see that they preserved their traditions despite the very long exile).

            I think that Ezra and his returnee group, being the descended from core of the elite of Judea, were of direct descent to the founding fathers and mothers of the Israelite nation, all the way to Moses and Aaron. Ezra’s intent, I agree, was to fix the weakening of the old norms, and establish codified guidelines by following (and enforcing) which this could be done.

          • Ilya says:

            By the way, to address the “mixed multitude” argument: the Israelite tribal confederacy (according to Igor P. Lipovsky’s “Israel and Judah: How Two Peoples Became One”) included the seafaring tribe of Dan, almost certainly a tribe of Achaean origin. That is, the post-Exodus Israelites were not just a Semitic people, but included even some Indo-European clans (with the latter being of “Sea Peoples” origin, during that very tumultuous period called “Late Bronze Age Collapse”, which arguably allowed the Exodus of the Judean-Southern tribal confederation to take place).

    • biz says:

      “Meantime those of their descendants who stayed at home and filled no special niches ended up as Palestinians.”

      Maybe in part, but “Palestinians” also descend from the Arabs who moved from the Arabian Peninsula with the Islamic conquest and throughout the Middle Ages.

      “Yet, as our blogger repeatedly points out, there’s no sign that it made them any brighter.”

      Yet non-Ashkenazi Jews do seem to show a similar pattern to Ashkenazim of over-achievement in their respective societies. For example the totality of people born in Arab countries includes, according to my accounting, three Nobel Laureates in the sciences, and two of them are Jewish. One could also look at the rapid rise of the Bene Israel in India once they were freed from their traditional caste position.

      • Paul Conroy says:

        The group to compare Jews to is not “Palestinians” – as Palestinian Muslims have interbred with Arabs and Sub-Saharan Africans over the centuries – rather Palestinian Christians.
        We know that neighboring Lebanese Christians, a very close ethnicity, do very well in the West – I’ve seen a quote that they have IQ 109, though I can’t find a source for that.

  16. dave chamberlin says:

    I think there has been one primary way to push up average intelligence scores since the agricultural revolution. Overpopulation of the countryside with the spillover population having no choice but to move to a population sink city where only the smartest are able to survive.

    Following up from the last thread northern Europe was too cold for a number of deadly diseases so a greater number of children reached adulthood than in warmer climates. Plenty of times in human history there has been survival of the fittest but it took evolutionary pressures to push strongest on intelligence. The best hunter or toughest warrior in a tribe isn’t necessarily smarter. The hardest working farmer isn’t smarter. But that one kid out of ten that survived in the city after he was forced to leave the family farm, he was smarter.

    • jp says:

      Yes but the city was still a population sink so his genes would not be magnified. The selection pressures of the countryside folk would be selection of the coutry as a whole. What happens in the city nigh on irrelevant.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        If the population decrease was applied to the entire city population you would be right but it did not. The smart survivors flourished in the city, even while the city around them was a net population sink. I recommend reading “A Farewell to Alms “by Gregory Clark for a fascinating look at evolution at work in England during the middle ages.

    • James says:

      “The hardest working farmer isn’t smarter.”

      Not according to Gregory Clark if I am reading him right.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        You are right, I stand corrected. But evolution pushing human intelligence pushes a whole hell of a lot harder in some environments than others. It has to push damned hard to overcome regression to the mean that occurs every generation.

        The ashkenazi jews had to be smart or they didn’t pass on their genes to the next generation. Those landless farmers forced to move to a town in the middle ages overcame long odds to prosper and pass their genes on to the next generation.

    • anonymous says:

      the best hunter or toughest warrior in a tribe isn’t necessarily smarter.

      Don’t know about a connection between toughness and smarts, but high-IQ “aspies” can be deadly hunters. Perhaps their diminished ability to read their fellow man, is the price of an enhanced capacity to read and analyze nature and animal behavior. There’s some indication that the best trackers may be a little bit on the spectrum.

  17. caethan says:

    I occasionally wonder about the societal impact of widespread coffee & tea importation on Europe. Having all the brightest Europeans constantly caffeinated had to have had some sort of impact.

    • dearieme says:

      As an alternative to being constantly drunk, you mean?

      • Gord Marsden says:

        Both behaviours , caffeine and alcohol may have had a survival impact in making town water more sanitary to drink.

        • dearieme says:

          Not the caffeine as such, rather the need to boil the water to make the tea or coffee.

          • Toddy Cat says:

            “As an alternative to being constantly drunk, you mean?”

            There was a British Labor politician (Kinnock, perhaps?) who said that the reason that the American brokers beat out their British counterparts after the London “Big Bang” stock market boom, was the fact that the Americans were generally sober after lunch, as opposed to their British oppoiste numbers. In all honesty, it had to have had some effect.

  18. dave chamberlin says:

    “Could a subsociety just decide to be smarter?”

    Sub societies are pretty damned goofy on the whole. It’s kind of hard to decide to be smarter when you start from a decision to believe in simple answers to complex questions.

    We have whole countries that are attractive places to immigrate to that are at below replacement level birth rates. We have rich suburbs in major cities in Canada that are filled with the “Yacht People”. They left their shithole countries, scuse me, places of origin, and now they are Canadians. If you are worth 800,000 Canadian dollars or you have a great profession that is needed in Canada and you speak the language you too can be Canadian.

    Incidentally we don’t have to build a damn wall to keep out the riffraff. We could save all that money and just pass laws that punish employers who hire illegals, that is exactly what Canada has done and it works just fine. Of course common sense makes no sense if big business doesn’t like the idea and they most definitely do not like the idea of anybody cutting off their supply of dirt cheap labor.

    But my subsociety is going to be different. Since we elected an orange compulsive liar I want out of here. Canada is way too cold. We need a place that 1)lets in smart professionals and 2)banishes assholes. Do those two things long enough and we have ourselves my kinda place. Warm beaches in the winter and empty national parks in the summer wouldn’t hurt either.

    • James says:

      Sounds like Palm Beach and the heat and the skeeters in the adjacent ‘Glades definitely thin out the crowds back in those mangroves during July.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Singapore and Hong Kong don’t qualify as subsocieties but they are interesting none the less as to how IQ average can be elevated in a group. These two cities lead the world in average IQ score with 108 or so. It is no surprise as to why, they skim off the professional elite from mainland China which by itself has a very high IQ average.

      To me this is the future, like it or not, it doesn’t matter. We will have the yacht people in suburbs of Canada, gated communities in the United States, super elite urban communities such as San Francisco, Singapore, and Hong Kong where the rents are ridiculous but the pay is great if you are smart enough to land a job there.

      On the other side we have a shrinking job market for anyone but those few percent who can skill up because they are smart enough to do so. William Gibson first wrote about this distopian society where the semi homeless live in storage lockers. Like it or not we are headed there fast. People will of course rant and preach against such a horrible future but what are they really going to do to stop it. It is the end result of the free market that is rolling towards us very fast. The good paying jobs for hard workers who aren’t all that bright is shrinking with each and every generation and it isn’t going to stop.

  19. jp says:

    I’ve always thought that Islam’s 1st pillar is usually interpreted as ask no questions accept the recieved wisdom. Any sub population which decided instead to question everything, would end up knowing more stuff and be perceived as more intelligent.

  20. spottedtoad says:

    Some might say that school and college worked well as such a subsociety, up until the point at which everyone was expected to go, and then it stopped working. I don’t think that’s impossible.

  21. David Pinsen says:

    Have you read Neal Stephenson’s Anathem? It’s set in an alternate world where sub societies similar to monasteries are filled with scientists and mathematicians.

  22. kot says:

    A while ago Greg said this:

    They couldn’t hide an anomalous level of success. In fact, the Germans came to realize that the Allies had some kind of intelligence edge, but never managed to figure out what it was. When your opponent anticipates your moves, you must eventually notice.

    Professional historians, after the war, don’t seem to have noticed anything anomalous. I find this revealing because I noticed that things had gone weirdly smoothly while I was still in high school. I wrote an essay about it.

    Curious about the essay — what were the major points?

    • gcochran9 says:

      I wish I still had it around. I didn’t manage to guess how many rotors Enigma had, for sure. I only talked about how mysteriously well things had gone, didn’t know why. I remember the conclusion: God protects drunks, babies, and the United States of America.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        This reminds me of a discussion on another thread, where some commenter was going on about how the US military was no good because we only fought people that we could easily defeat, or always utterly outnumbered and out-gunned our opponents, or were reading their codes, as if this was some kind of a bug, instead of a feature.

        • gcochran9 says:

          Those fights against midgets are not a good test of our military quality, though, any more than Israeli wins against Arabs are. It’s probably poor preparation for a fight against someone competent.

  23. R. says:

    That you can breed animals to improve their usefulness has been known for quite some time.

    How do we know there is no secret order dedicating to breeding for intelligence, like say the fictional

    The Dûnyain – A hidden monastic sect that has repudiated history and animal appetite in the hope of finding absolute enlightenment through the control of all desire and circumstance. For two thousand years they have bred their members for both motor reflexes and intellectual acuity.<

    The book has an artsy take on biology and all that, but selective breeding of humans could probably yield very interesting results over mere centuries.

    • dearieme says:

      I’ve only just twigged what our blogger is on about. He’s thinking of American slavery and its effects on the descendants of the slaves.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Guess again. I’m simply thinking that if social environment is as powerful as people like to think, some subsocieties should be pretty different, intelligence-wise, from the general pop. But I don’t believe that they are.

        Now if they started out with wildly nonrandom recruitment, they certainly could be different. Hasn’t really happened, though, as far as I can see..

        • R. says:

          Now if they started out with wildly nonrandom recruitment, they certainly could be different. Hasn’t really happened, though, as far as I can see..<<

          Doesn’t mean anything.

          Truly smart people would make sure they blend in and seem non-threatening.

  24. Bob says:

    Greg, in your paper on the natural history of Ashkenazi intelligence, you suggested that a side effect of selection for higher IQ in urban environments among the Ashkenazim would be lower fitness in more typical environments and competitive disadvantages in things like farming and hunting-gathering. What sorts of traits and differences would these disadvantages in more typical environments and occupations look like?

  25. Darin says:

    One of the more fascinating subcultures , unfortunately barely known in the West, are the Russian Old Believers.

    Originating from schism in 17th century

    The schism was not about any intellectual dispute – it was over whether to sing Alleluia two or three times, and how exactly to make the sign of the Cross. Silly for moderns, matter of salvation of souls for the Old Believers, who chose persecution, exile, torture, death and mass suicides by burning, rather than yield to Antichrist even in the minutest detail.
    The Old Believers originated from normal Russian peasants, if there was any selection, it was for stubborness, not IQ (Old Believer theology have ever less intellectual content than mainstream Orthodoxy).
    Guess what happened afterwards. In the 19th century, the Old Believers, never very numerous, became vastly disproportionaly represented among Russian merchants and traders. The Rockefellers of 19th century Russia. were of Old Believer stock, If there were IQ tests in Tsarist Russia, Old Believer scores would be the highest, and this was about one century, not enoug for any intelligence selection.

    • R. says:

      Perhaps they became pre-eminent because of higher levels of trust? After all they were persecuted and only could rely on other Old believers, and they were in a hostile environment.

      Such circumstances should increase trust, if there was any to being with, no?

      • dearieme says:

        Maybe the cleverest Old Believers avoided the purges?

        By the way, what might be made of the disproportionate success of Quakers in business in 19th century England?

        • E.H. says:

          Quakers were disproportionately successful from the late 1600s at latest. In 1690 Fream’s goldsmith shop formed the nucleus of what by 1896 became the Quaker financial combine, now Barclay’s Bank, by far the single company with the most corporate control in the world, nearly six times the control of Goldman-Sachs. ( table S1). (The CEO today is a Unitarian, but they’re fellow-travelers, if not crypto-Quakers.) They owned most of the mines, having virtually restarted mining in Britain. Their lead mining was the only domestic source of silver. They introduced banking for the middle and commercial classes. (Lloyd’s Bank – not to be confused with the insurance market- started as an ironmonger’s warehouse that started dealing in bills of credit. Most well-capitalized banks up until well into the 19th c. only served the wealthy. (IIRC Adam Smith wrote that one of the chief banks of Scotland only had accounts numbering in the low dozens in the mid-1700s.) Quakers reinvented making iron with coked coal rather than charcoal and made iron cheap enough to allow the industrial revolution. Most of the major parts for the first several decades of steam engines were made in Quaker foundries. Cast steel was also a Quaker invention, and they had a leading role in clock and instrument making from its inception in Britain in the mid-1600s. The Harrison chronometer was financed by Quakers, which allowed vastly increased international trade. Both atomic theory and wave theory were pioneered by Quakers John Dalton and Thomas Young. Antiseptic surgery was invented by Quaker Joseph Lister, whose father improved the microscope greatly together with early pathologist Thomas Hodgkin.

          Quakers pioneered the fixed-price shop. Previously all transactions were individually negotiated through haggling, The economist David Ricardo, famous for the (faulty but still globalist dogma) theory of comparative advantage was a Quaker. Quakers also pioneered mass literacy with First Day (Sunday) schools for the children of Welsh Coal miners, set up the first workhouses, the first humane mental institutions, led the abolitionists from the late eighteenth century on, and have been the vanguard of extreme liberalism for nearly four hundred years. Even so, Dolly Madison, Daniel Boone and Annie Oakley were Quakers, and James Dean, Joan Baez and Dave Matthews were of Quaker families.

          The social factors propelling Quakers to commercial dominance:
          reputation for reliability, sobriety, responsibility, treating everyone as well as possible without favoritism, religious commitment to scrupulously honoring all obligations in spirit as well as to the letter. This arose from the Quaker doctrine that there is “that of God in every man” and their commitment to listening to that conscience in silent meeting and obeying its dictates.

          White, English-speaking Quakers (i.e. not including the Africans converted by the pastoral and programmed-meeting “Quakers” over the past 75 years) have never numbered over 250,000. Their total number in all history is likely lower than the number of Jews in just six US states today, but if they were considered a nation or even a civilization on their own they would rank highly in advancements.

          Greg’s statement: “Every now and then a group secedes from general society and goes its own way. Sometimes they end up living a very different kind of life. Less often, that different way of life persists.

          I’m thinking of the Puritans, the Quakers, the Amish, the Oneida Community, the Nation of Islam, California communes, and of course the Harshmanites. ” is astonishingly ignorant in classing the Quakers with these others. The Quakers never seceded. They conquered. The whole WEIRD outlook derives from Quakerism. Quakers are the real Illuminati, no joke – the brotherhood of the Inner Light.

          • gcochran9 says:

            Quakers haven’t been very influential for a long, long time.

            • E.H. says:

              It’s a bit subjective what counts as “very influential” or a “long, long time”, but relative to their numbers, Quakers were punching well above their weight (so to speak) in the last century as well:

              Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Pulsars.
              Katheleen Lonsdale. Crystallographer, established molecular structure of benzene.
              Joseph Hooten Taylor. Nobel Prize in Physics, 1993.
              Arthur Eddington. physicist, leading proponent of relativity.
              Russ Nelson. Founding board member of Open Source Initiative.
              John W. Seybold – computerized typesetting pioneer; founded the world’s first computer-composition service bureau

              Philip John Noel-Baker. Nobel Peace Prize 1959.
              Emily Greene Balch. Nobel Peace Prize, 1946.
              American and British Friends’ Service Committees – Nobel Peace Prize 1947
              (only N.P.P. awarded to a religious organization as a whole)

              John Collins. Land developer, creator of Miami Beach
              James Michener. Author. (lapsed)
              Bonnie Raitt. Musician.

              Olaf Stapledon – Science fiction writer
              Edward R. Murrow – Famous news broadcaster
              David Lean – film director (Lawrence of Arabia; The Bridge On the River Kwai; Doctor Zhivago)
              Judi Dench – British actress (Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love; nominations for Iris; Chocolat; Mrs. Brown); “M” in James Bond movies since 1995
              Ben Kingsley – actor, received Best Actor Academy Award for Gandhi (1982)
              Paul Eddington (1927-1995) – British film and television actor (“The Good Life”, “Yes, Prime Minister”, etc.)
              David Byrne – singer, composer
              Jorge Luis Borges – author
              John Greenleaf Whittier – poet,
              Walt Whitman – poet (Whittier and Whitman are a bit older, but still staples of high school English classes)
              Jan de Hartog, author

              Margaret Drabble, editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature

              The most prominent Quaker political players tended to be quite un-Quakerly:
              Thomas Paine. Political activist. (1700s, but surprising)
              Smedley Butler – military general nicknamed “the fighting Quaker”; Major General U.S. Marine Corps; most decorated marine in U.S. history at the time of his death in 1940; author of famous anti-war tract War Is a Racket (1935); exposed fascist coup plot against Pres. Roosevelt
              Edward R. Pease, co-founder of the Fabian Society (lapsed)
              Daisy Douglas Barr – Quaker pastor; influential Ku Klux Klan leader
              Lyndon LaRouche, (disowned in 1941)
              Herbert Hoover. Politician.
              Richard Nixon. Politician.

              Lesser-known figures could easily make the list more than twice as long. Quaker schools such as Haverford, Swarthmore, and Sidwell Friends (one of the most common choices for presidents’ children) have also been quite influential in the past few decades.

              In response to your original question, the Quakers would tend to think of their success as being due to their culture, if they thought of it at all — I have literally never heard famous Quakers mentioned aside from early religious figures such as Fox, Fell, Woolman, or the occasional 19th c.abolitionist or suffragette. My opinion is that the creed attracted people with a genetic disposition to believe in the blank slate, perfectibility of man, equality and suchlike fertile falsehoods. Quakers stopped being a genetically distinct group by the 1960s when they were overrun by draft-dodging Boomers, but the new blood had similar genetic predispositions. The personality traits of modern Quakers are still remarkably consistent. In 1990 at Pendle Hill (the main silent-meeting study center) the MBTI tests were about 90% INFP (vs. ~2-3% of the general population), 5% INTJ, 5% INTP.

              • E.H. says:

                That should be 90% INFP, 5% INFJ (not TJ), 5% INTP, (actually all but two INFP and the total number was 16 to 20). So nearly 95% INFx. According to the Meyers & Briggs Foundation in the population INFP is 4.4%, so this personality type is about 20x more common among that sample of Quakers than in the general population, which is remarkable considering the MBTI is overall psychometrically invalid. Some of the MB types do seem to align with types of people who are noticeably distinctive, though.

  26. syonredux says:

    Dunno if this is pertinent, but the contrast between the Northeast and the states that made up the Confederacy when it comes to significant figures in the arts and the sciences is quite striking:

    “Although more lightly populated than the North, the American South had a substantial population throughout American history. In 1850, for example, the white population in the South was 5.6 million, compared to 8.5 million in the Northeast. In 1900, the comparison was 12.1 million to 20.6 million. By 1950, the gap had almost closed—36.9 million compared to 37.4 million.3 While it is understandable that the South did not have as many significant figures as the North, the magnitude of the difference goes far beyond population. The northeastern states of New England plus New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey had produced 184 significant figures by 1950, while the states that made up the Confederacy during the Civil War had produced 24, a ratio of more than 7:1.”

    Murray, Charles. Human Accomplishment

    • ziel says:

      In Albion’s Seed, fisher points out that the Southern gentry not only forbade educating slaves, but greatly discouraged it among non-aristocratic whites as well.

      • syonredux says:

        Cf the famous quote from Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley:

        “I thank God, there are no free schools or printing [in Virginia], and I hope we shall not have these for for a hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience , and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government.God keep us from both!”

  27. Greying Wanderer says:

    “Moreover, the “alt-right”‘s adoration of Putin is really disgusting”

    For good or ill Putin is a national leader while western leaders are mostly puppets of the banks. It’s not about liking Putin it’s about liking the idea of having an actual national leader for a change

    (although having said that he did look cool riding that bear 🙂 )

    All the Russian hacking stuff is a distraction from what was in the emails like:

    Citibank vetting Obama’s cabinet posts

    the big banks wanting open borders across the whole of north and south America – and candidates for national leadership having to grovel to those banks for campaign funding

    Saudi Arabia and Qatar funding Isis


    that last one in particular is possibly why the CIA is so angsty – I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a variation of Iran-Contra involved in all this but connected to Isis.

  28. Wieland says:

    Speaking of Russia – many interesting groups there. Historically as well as now.

    There’s the Caucacus where clan structures have survived for centuries.
    There are “old believers” and cossacks (though most of these two are just runofthemill Russians roleplaying).

    There are even new groups, like the fascinating Vissarion religion, “Church of the Last Testament” – where one of their doctrines are separation.

  29. AllenM says:

    I just have to laugh, it is hiding in plain sight:

    The Patrizer still run most of Europe- and they are going to keep doing it in spite of what anyone thinks.

    The real example is Switzerland, but nobody thinks the Swiss are the smartest bunch- but they are quite effective in preserving Switzerland for the Swiss, and that goes for well, everything.

    Look at who really runs some of the European countries, and behind the scenes, a lot of the business/government people are all from the same backgrounds, and are indeed related.

    The acceptance and removal of people into the top bunch is the real strength of European civilization.

    The ruthless excision of the losers is something not often mentioned by the left, but on the other hand there is a reason why so many upheavals in Europe were followed by mass migration out of Europe. Only revolutionary France had the real effect of overturning the existing order for a while.

    And the European elites, as shown in by Clark and others, are smarter and more persistent than the source populations.

  30. BB753 says:

    Just a suggestion, look into the Opus Dei. To join them, you have to show some intellectual promise as a student or be already be successful in your profession. Marriages are arranged, and recruits are promoted in society by long-standing members as long as they pay the tithe and follow the rules. Their religion is basically some sort of Roman Catholic non-schismatic Calvinism (worldly success correlates to virtue). Contrary to other Catholics, they still have loads of children and outmarriage is nearly forbidden. Until now, the Opus Dei hasn’t produced any geniuses that I know of but their average IQ should be pretty high as all members belong and remain solidly in the Upper Middle-class. Dullards tend to drop out.

    • Paul Conroy says:

      Yes, you’re probably right. My sister joined Opus Dei as a student – or was recruited into it – and before she was accepted, she had to have testimonials from her parish police, police, a few teachers, and financial statements from my parents, and interviews of my parents – it was more strenuous that applying for a US Visa!
      Opus Dei had exclusive single-sex hostels near the 4 main universities, and the one near UCD only recruited about 20 girls per year, out of 20,000 students. Her husband is also Opus Dei and they met at an Opus Dei prayer study group.

  31. benespen says:

    @gcochran “wannabee Orthodox autocrats?” Schindler?

  32. RCB says:

    Frequently practicing IQ tests probably provides a transient boost. Nothing fancy, just a short-lived increased facility for the tasks that IQ tests involve – digit spanning, finding geometric patterns, whatever. Like practicing for any other standardized test.

    So, let the subsociety have their kids practice IQ tests on a daily basis, on top of a random collection of other things (praying to the moon?). Then, when the psychometricians show up to test the effect of the subsociety, they’ll find that the mean IQ is raised by a couple points. Amazing!

    (Do let me know if this transient boost doesn’t actually exist.)

  33. Steve Sailer says:

    What countries never had a Puritan sect?

    Perhaps Mexico?

    That might explain some things about Mexican culture.

  34. j says:

    i>Has there been such a change caused by the new social environment? In other words, could such a subsociety just decide to be smarter?
    Let us suppose a group of scholars obsessed with ritual purity and the Bible that they study in the Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew sources, and maintain endless debates about its interpretation. The scholars marry women familiar with their habits, so the group is largely closed. Those who do not love learning and abstract reasoning for its own sake, unrelated to anything real or practical, drop out of the group.
    Well, I have described a yeshiva, a learning society like those of Mainz, Speyer, Regensburg, Bonn, Paris, in the 10th Century. Every year some percentage drops out, tired of over-analyzing the goring ox case, but enough remain to find an new angle of the said ox. The idea is not to be smarter but holier.

    • gcochran9 says:

      When you select mice for being better at solving mazes, you get mice that are ‘maze-bright’ – it doesn’t seem to be all that general, which is probably just as well.

      If you selected mice for doing better at a wider array of mental challenges, that would probably give a different result.

      I don’t think Ashkenazi Jews were selected for doing well at three-dimensional puzzles – from what I know about history, and because they don’t to do very well at spatial visualization stuff, in tests or in life. Few architects. Writers, way more than painters or sculptors.

      Do I think that most Ashkenazi Jews were Talmudic scholars, in medieval times? No. Do I have any evidence that those that were ended up having more children than average? No, but I could imagine that it happened. Then again I can imagine so many things. Do I have evidence that Ashkenazi Jews that made more money than average had significantly more children than average? Yes. Did those making that money do it thru doing well at various white-collar jobs? Yes.

      Next, do Ashkenazi Jews, on average, prefer the idea of selection for Talmudism over wealth selection? Yes. On average, do they know anything about their own medieval history? No. On average, do they know the recent genetic results that indicate that they’re 60% European, which definitely crushes any idea that Ashkenazi smarts goes back a long time, say to the Babylonian Captivity? No.

      At the same time, on average, they dislike the idea of natural selection in humans more than anybody, even though they are probably the most interesting example of it. Maybe because they are the most interesting example of it.

      • James says:

        Michelson, Einstein, Born, Gell-Mann, Pauli, etc? I dunno but they were pretty 3-D or 11-D or whatever.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I talked about this once to someone that had worked on the Manhattan project. He agreed, mentioned as examples the very different conceptual styles of Teller (‘algebraic’) and Fermi (‘very visual’).

        • ursiform says:

          Einstein was an outlier on any scale. I certainly think of Gell-Mann as more ‘algebraic’, to use Greg’s term, than geometric. Feynman was more ‘visual’ than Gell-Mann. I recall Gell-Mann mockingly saying something to the effect that Feynman diagrams are what physicists draw when they don’t know what they are talking about. I believe Feynman was in the audience, but I don’t recall for certain.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        I follow high end golf course architecture chatter, and it’s one of the few fields of arts criticism where Ashkenazi Jews aren’t over-represented. I, personally, can recall 2-d layouts of golf courses pretty well (e.g., I can often recognize famous golf courses I’ve never seen before from an airplane window), but to be first rate in golf design criticism (much less in golf design itself), you need to have much better 3-d cognition than I have.

      • j says:

        True, I for one do prefer selection for Talmudism over wealth selection. In an illiterate and innumerate society (in the Middle Ages but even today), any bookworm with abstract reasoning skills easily finds well-paid clerical jobs and economic opportunities. But few money-makers appreciate and find pleasure in “useless” scholarship. BTW, after Gutenberg, German and English Protestant subsocieties followed similar self selective pathways. Commenters notice their worldly success, but they forget that all came from religious subsocieties that for generations had studied and discussed the Bible.

        • gcochran9 says:

          As an explanation, I prefer the model that seems more likely.

          • j says:

            For each subsociety that increased its average IQ there are hundreds that decreased it. For example, European gypsies. Their ancestors in Northern India were probably average, but a few hundred years after in Europe are unintelligent. Also Ancient Greeks, contemporaries considered them most intelligent and they were, but Athens stopped producing geniuses long ago. Some say this loss of IQ is happening now to the West too.

            • Jim says:

              Doesn’t the genetic evidence on the Roma indicate that they are of low-caste origin? At any rate the IQ average for Northern India would have probably been well below European averages.

              • j says:

                Compare the performance of the Roma with the performance of other Northern India immigrants in Europe, specially in Britain. They do well in school, while the Roma do not.

  35. danielchieh says:

    Well, before we try to create a subsociety for intelligence, in the subsocieties that exist – what can we measure in them? What conclusions can we find in them already?

  36. melendwyr says:

    An inland society in an iodine-depleted area that decided to import seafood or iodine supplements would constitute an example of a people deciding to be smarter through environmental factors.

  37. Steven C. says:

    In the C. M. Kornbluth novel “The Marching Morons” humanity in the future has degenerated into idiocy, but a secret society of the intelligent has remained separate and have bred themselves to be all geniuses.

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