The Genomics of Race and Identity
Reich starts out strong, telling the story of his work on identifying African-origin alleles that drive increased prostate cancer risk in African-Americans – and the dumbshit responses he got from his colleagues. He mentions an anthropologist that questioned his mention of “African” and ” European” DNA segments: he was flirting with racism. What a fool. By the way, there’s something odd and interesting in that early result: why would most of the risk variants all land in one small segment of the genome? But back to the fools: Reich talks about the anthropologists [ Montagu] , geneticists [Lewontin] , and sociologists that have argued that ‘race’ has no biological reality, that there are not really any significant biological differences between races, that research into such differences should be banned ( why is this necessary if differences don’t exist?), etc. All liars, of course. Although I can think of a few people saying similar things that are not liars: they’re just not very bright.
Speaking of such differences, here’s one Reich elucidated a few years back. The white count (white blood cells, neutrophils) is about a standard deviation lower in people of African descent than it is in Europeans? Why? Turns out it is innate, biological and quite simple: there’s a variant of the DARC gene that has a frequency > 99% in West Africans and < 1% in Europeans: that variant causes the lower white count. That African DARC variant is an almost perfect defense against vivax malaria, which is surely why it became so common.
Reich explains how recent genetic analysis shows that people’s genes cluster in ways that correspond pretty well with old-fashioned notions of ‘race’. He prefers to talk about 'ancestry', because (in his view) the word 'race' is too ill-defined and loaded with historical baggage. Whatever.
He goes on to say that people that deny the possibility of substantial differences between populations just can't do it anymore: they're putting themselves in an indefensible position. He is wrong: sure, their position is logically indefensible, the facts are against it, but what does that matter? The significantly crazier idea that there are no differences between the sexes – that sexual dimorphism itself is a myth promulgated by the Gnomes of Zurich or the orbital mind-control lasers – has become very powerful in much of the Western world: barking-mad craziness apparently doesn't need to defend itself.
He says that geneticists have tended to 'obfuscate' on this topic, mentioning Richard Lewontin. I'd put it a bit differently: they lie.
Reich mentions independent genome bloggers, some of them skilled analysts, who are on the whole less inclined to go along with the usual falsehoods. He thinks that means you can’t keep up the charade: again, he’s very likely wrong, not least because those skilled genome bloggers have a tiny audience. More important, Reich himself doesn’t want to keep up the charade. That may matter.
Reich goes on to demolish some fairly common false arguments about how different human races – excuse me, ‘ ancestral populations ‘ – really can’t be very different, at least not in any traits that would upset people. You know, for the same reasons that dog breeds can’t really be very different.
First, an argument that somehow it’s very hard, or takes forever, for natural selection to change traits that are influenced by many genes. I have no idea where this piece of nonsense originated – we’ve been selecting on highly polygenic quantitative traits forever and a day without any special problems. In the standard formulation for estimating the effects of selection, the number of genes influencing the trait drops out of the equation entirely. It just doesn’t matter. Reich understands this, not least because he’s done analysis of selection for height in Europeans.
Some might say that genetic influences in height are one thing, but surely genetic influences on cognition and behavior are mystically unknowable. Reich knows better: he knows that recent studies are finding those influences. Reich weasels a little, suggesting that these variants may influence educational achievement by influencing timing of childbirth – but probably not, since the pro-educational alleles also result in larger brains.
He also knows that the plus alleles, the ones that increase intelligence, are getting rarer at a scary pace, decreasing IQ at something like a point a generation. This illustrates a pattern with Reich: this was roughly understood a long time ago, just from looking at demography and fertility patterns. It was known before genomic analysis existed. Cyril Kornbluth knew about it back in the 1950s – thus his short story “The Marching Morons”. Reich could have known this when he was twelve, but I doubt if he did. Reich often seems to think that if a result wasn’t proved using powerful contemporary genomic methods (what he uses), it wasn’t really known at all. If I don’t know it, it’s not knowledge: that’s a wrong way of thinking.
next fallacy: human populations just haven’t been separated long enough to have changed much due to selection. He knows that’s not correct. He points out that in many cases populations have been separated for 50,000 years, while some African groups appear to have been separated far longer, perhaps 200,000 years. A recent study showed that there has been noticeable evolutionary change in the English over the past 2000 years: selection for increased height, infant head circumference, blondness, etc etc. If it can happen there in 2000 years, it can happen anywhere.
And he expects that more such racial differences will be found – but now he has to weasel again. He says that nobody knows what those differences will be! So we might find that, in terms of fundamental biological potentials, Koreans are dumb while Pygmies are tall. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure. That could happen.
Next he slams people that suspect that upcoming genetic genetic analysis will, in most cases, confirm traditional stereotypes about race – the way the world actually looks.
The people Reich dumps on are saying perfectly reasonable things. He criticizes Henry Harpending for saying that he’d never seen an African with a hobby. Of course, Henry had actually spent time in Africa, and that’s what he’d seen. The implication is that people in Malthusian farming societies – which Africa was not – were selected to want to work, even where there was no immediate necessity to do so. Thus hobbies, something like a gerbil running in an exercise wheel.
He criticized Nicholas Wade, for saying that different races have different dispositions. Wade’s book wasn’t very good, but of course personality varies by race: Darwin certainly thought so. You can see differences at birth. Cover a baby’s nose with a cloth: Chinese and Navajo babies quietly breathe through their mouth, European and African babies fuss and fight.
Then he attacks Watson, for asking when Reich was going to look at Jewish genetics – the kind that has led to greater-than-average intelligence. Watson was undoubtedly trying to get a rise out of Reich, but it’s a perfectly reasonable question. Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than the average bear and everybody knows it. Selection is the only possible explanation, and the conditions in the Middle ages – white-collar job specialization and a high degree of endogamy, were just what the doctor ordered.
Watson’s a prick, but he’s a great prick, and what he said was correct. Henry was a prince among men, and Nick Wade is a decent guy as well. Reich is totally out of line here: he’s being a dick.
Now Reich may be trying to burnish his anti-racist credentials, which surely need some renewal after having pointing out that race as colloquially used is pretty reasonable, there’s no reason pops can’t be different, people that said otherwise ( like Lewontin, Gould, Montagu, etc. ) were lying, Aryans conquered Europe and India, while we’re tied to the train tracks with scary genetic results coming straight at us. I don’t care: he’s being a weasel, slandering the dead and abusing the obnoxious old genius who laid the foundations of his field. Reich will also get old someday: perhaps he too will someday lose track of all the nonsense he’s supposed to say, or just stop caring. Maybe he already has… I’m pretty sure that Reich does not like lying – which is why he wrote this section of the book (not at all logically necessary for his exposition of the ancient DNA work) but the required complex juggling of lies and truth required to get past the demented gatekeepers of our society may not be his forte. It has been said that if it was discovered that someone in the business was secretly an android, David Reich would be the prime suspect. No Talleyrand he.
He doesn’t just slander, he lies. He says “most stereotypes will be disproved.” Want to bet? Most stereotypes are true – true everywhere. In what country do the Chinese disproportionately fill up the special ed classes? If we we’re talking cognition and personality, the behavioral geneticists keep finding that A. genetics matters, and B. The usual suspects, like family environment, don’t matter much.
There may be a few exceptions to ” what you see is what you get”, and understanding them might be very valuable: if some pop appeared to have a lot on the ball ( genetically) but isn’t doing well, there might be another cheap, simple solution, like iodine supplementation. And there will be differences that are fairly subtle and not much noticed, say in liver enzymes or the immune system, that might be highly relevant to disease prevention and treatment.
Reich’s position is that we don’t know anything until someone (him !) has analyzed it with modern genomic techniques. That’s ridiculous. Reich found that on average, given similar diets, northern Europeans are about a standard deviation taller than southern Europeans. But I already knew that, well before Reich was born. Seneca knew it: Tacitus knew it. There’s a reason the Byzantines hired plenty of Scandihoovians (including 7-footer Harold Hardrada) into the Varangian Guard. Mark Twain knew that Ashkenazi Jews were smart: he didn’t need IQ tests or GWAS for that.
If he thinks that the genetics typically push in a way that is the opposite of the patterns we actually observe, he must believe that environmental influences are very powerful, so much so that there’s not much point in even knowing genetic influence – and therefore not much impact from discovering them . But clearly he does worry. Why?
When he says that we don’t have any idea what we’ll find, he’s lying again.
But don’t think that deliberate deception rules out occasional confusion. Reich talks about the success of West Africans (and their diaspora) in track: all the male finalists in the Olympic 100-meter race since 1980 have had West African ancestry. Every men’s world record at every commonly-run track distance belongs to a runner of African descent.
He says that A. there could have been an upward shift in West African sprinting ability due to natural selection, which could easily lead to vast over-representation at the top level of competition, or B. West Africans might just have greater genetic variation, which would (he thinks) lead to a wider spread of abilities. And maybe that greater variation applies to cognitive traits, where Reich expects a higher proportion of sub-Saharan Africans with extreme genetically predicted abilities.
None of this is correct. First, we known damn well that the West African edge in track is due to systematic racial differences, not greater phenotypic variability. We know that blacks have shorter torsos and longer legs, more fast-twitch muscles, narrower hips, lighter calves. Those same characteristics are disadvantages in some other events, like swimming. The relatively more mesomorphic build of Europeans pays off in swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and field events. This kind of specialization is what you expect from systematic racial differences: you’d see a different pattern from significantly greater variability in one group.
The ‘greater variability” theory’s biggest problem is that none of its obvious implications actually happen. People of African descent just aren’t in general more variable in phenotype. I checked out the population variability in height in a number of African countries: it’s generally about the same as in the US or Europe. I checked out black variability in IQ (in the US) : it’s noticeably smaller than that in whites – about 12 or 13 points, instead of 15 – combined with a significantly lower average (about 85) If this “greater variability” idea were correct, blacks would be greatly over-represented at the very highest scores on cognitive tests – instead, they are greatly under-represented. If African-American success in track were due to greater variability, you’d see them dominate at the highest level of competition, but far less so in a typical high school. But you do see it in low-level competition, to the point where white kids increasingly don’t even bother to compete in black-dominated events.
Or you could look at domesticated animals, which always have less genetic variation their wild ancestors. Is the smallest wolf smaller than a Chihuahua – is the largest wolf larger than a Great Dane? No. Selection dominates. Or look at the results of breeding experiments: the general trend is that increasing heterozygosity leads to lower phenotypic variability.
I am surprised that Reich, who is a smart guy, would fall for this notion.
Isn’t basketball a hobby?
Not if that’s all you do…..
Africans, not African Americans.
There are more than a few African Americans who have hobbies, but generally speaking a hobby is something you do when you aren’t working to make a living, and to have a hobby you have to have a living made.
Wasn’t it suggested that people who have hobbies have them because they feel the need to work on something (to “keep busy”) even when there’s no official Work to be done? If so, whether you have a Job or not is irrelevant. What matters is whether or not you feel the need to “be productive” even when no one’s paying you or giving you commands.
I wish people would think more about group-differences in matters other than IQ. What about differences in fictional/mythical-imaginative effort (and the character of the resulting artifacts), and in speculative/philosophical bent? For example, I’ve noticed that American Blacks are often interested in comic-book-mythologies; also, that they’re more speculative/philosophical than the Chinese immigrant kids in the same classes are (that is, they easily slide into the speculative/philosophical conversational groove).
“generally speaking a hobby is something you do when you aren’t working to make a living”
I am not referring to professional NBA players. Black males in general take basketball very seriously. I have never seen men in their 30s take a pick up game in the park with so much dedication as blacks. They drop their toddlers on the top lot unsupervised then head over to the courts to play. And they scream and shout over every call like their life depended on it. The same group of guys are at the courts every single day.
Id say a better hypothesis is that as whites get older, their hobbies tend to move away from physical stimulation towards mental, but blacks stay with physical stimulation. But both races put a lot of dedication into their hobbies.
African-Americans ae only three quarters African and have been subjected to different selection pressures than African-Africans for a couple hundred years. Not long, but I still dont think its quite correct to dismiss an observation about the one with an observation about the other.
87%, > 75%
Do they play basketball in Africa?
Ironically, he concludes the section on population differences with the statement: “For a good coach, race is irrelevant. Testing the young person’s sprinting speed is simple – take him or her out to the track and run against the stopwatch. Most situations are like this.”
So he knows that phenotypes matter. You don’t need to know all the differences in genetic variants between populations to know that they differ on a given trait; this completely contradicts many of his earlier statements in the chapter.
By the way, making the Olympics 100m dash men’s finals is not solely a West African thing: a South African sprinter finished 5th in 2016 and back in the 1990s, Frankie Fredericks of Namibia in southwestern Africa won silver medals twice. Everybody who has made one of the eight finalist slots in the last nine Olympics has been, as far as I know, at least half-Sub-Saharan by ancestry
It is true that East African highlander countries like Kenya and Ethiopia that produce a lot of longer distance medalists have not made the finals in the 100m (although Kenyans have medaled in distances as short as 400m).
Frankie actually won four Olympic silvers, two each in the 100m and 200m at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Under apartheid, he was classified as “coloured,” meaning he has African, European, and probably some Asian, ancestry. He attended Brigham Young on a track scholarship.
H lied, badly, because he wants to protect his funding from the barbarians, I suspect. It shook him to hear academics say he should not investigate race-linked diseases. If a perfectly decent and beneficial study to improve health care can be attacked for racism it is not hard to imagine what could happen if the nuts get a whiff of what he is doing now. He wants cover, hence the attack on you, Wade, Watson, etc. “Look! I’m not one of them!”
Even though the last third of the book is a bit disgusting and dishonest, I hope it works. I want the work to continue.
He doesn’t want t be Charles Murray. I can’t say I blame him.
“He lied, badly, because he wants to protect his funding”
You can either speak the truth, lose everything and be the clerisy’s Emmanuel Goldstein of the week, or you can cover your ass with lots of little lies and continue your research.
The world is a far different place than it was even seven years ago. Particularly in academia.
Reich didn’t make the right choice, but he made the smart one.
yes – too interesting to stop (and that’s without taking into consideration the potential medical benefits)
I love the idea of turning “ancestral population” into “pop.” It strikes at the heart of why some people vehemently object to “race”, even though “racist” is a favorite word among them.
Namely that neither is “supercalifragisticexpialidocious.” If you want to control language, claim short words for your own side, and replace the other side’s words with long, ridiculous, and impractical words. Preferably with a touch of crazy rhetoric hidden in them. Make them embarrassing to say, and make sure that the other people have to use them. And can’t use the sane ones.
“If we we’re talking cognition and personality, the behavioral geneticists keep finding that A. genetics matters, and B. The usual suspects, like family environment, don’t matter much. ”
I cannot agree on the “B”.
Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.
Empirical research in this field is simply not that good as we are not able to coduct (for obvious reasons) randomized studies. But there are strong arguments for nurture: for example: “Over the last 25 years, studies in animals have begun to reveal how stress alters brain physiology, providing new strategies for treatment. Exposure to stress markedly impairs the executive functions of the highly evolved prefrontal association cortex (PFC), while simultaneously strengthening the primitive emotional responses of the amygdala and the tonic firing of the noradrenergic (NE) locus coeruleus (LC), three brain regions that are intimately interconnected. Understanding the effects of stress on these brain circuits has led to successful medications for stress-related disorders in humans, as described in the following review. “https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289514000101
and then : “We examined the increase in salivary cortisol from mid-morning to mid-afternoon in 151 children (3.0-4.5 yrs) in full-time home-based daycare. Compared to cortisol levels at home, increases were noted in the majority of children (63%) at daycare, with 40% classified as a stress response. Observations at daycare revealed that intrusive, over-controlling care was associated with the cortisol rise. For girls, the cortisol rise was associated with anxious, vigilant behavior, while for boys the rise was associated with angry, aggressive behavior. Child behavior did not mediate or moderate relations between care quality and the cortisol rise, except for evidence that boys scoring low on angry-aggressive behavior were more sensitive to variations in warm-supportive care than boys scoring high on this behavior.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946618/
“I cannot agree on the “B”.”
You’ll have to get used to it gradually.
I don’t agree with the notion that family environment doesn’t matter either. It matters tremendously. It mattered in MY life, without going into all the details, sorry I disagree with you 100% here. So nope, I’m not going to get used to it.
Also, I think you’re being really hard on Reich. You know why he’s fudging in the popular press. The important thing is he’s not fudging the data.
Economists say, “Don’t listen to what people say, look at what they do.” Same deal here. He does great work.
It doesn’t seem to have much effect on personality or smarts.
Henry used to argue that matrifocal versus nuclear family upbringing oriented kids towards the same family type as adults.
In the US kids of single mothers have similar social outcomes to kids with fathers when you adjust for demographic factors. However, I can’t shake the feeling that it has relevance at a collective or community level that this kind of study misses; that high rates of matrifocality affect the outlook of all the neighborhood kids whatever their own family structure is. It sure looks like being from a milieu where this kind of thing is rampant inclines you towards certain behaviors.
The “cad society vs dad society” thing is always worth a reread: http://the10000yearexplosion.com/human-cultural-diversity/
In the old days, in places like Europe or China, kids without fathers usually starved to death.
So the point of that piece was its implications for selection rather than social engineering? I guess I shoulda known.
But who brings you up has a lot of effect on what religion you follow, what cuisine type you like, a lot of your cultural attitudes and customs, what kind of small businesses you might go into, what ethnicity you identify with, and so forth and so on.
Smarts maybe not. Personality? Oh I think bigtime. If you go through doors in life that are opened to you, instead of ramming through them, because you have no information, well, I think it leaves quite a few lumps. JMO.
If someone’s sad and thinks, “I wouldn’t be so sad if my parents hadn’t been so cold and distant”, well, this might be a true thought only because she inherited her sadness from her parents; it was their own sadness, which she inherited, that made them cold and distant.
Against the people who contend that parents can have only catastrophic non-genetic effects (e.g., breaking a child’s legs will put a track and field career off limits) I ask: If nurture doesn’t matter, how could maternal and paternal instincts evolve?
I suspect that the studies which find no significant non-genetic parental effect do so by controlling (i.e., holding constant) things that responsible parents will vary.
Feeding your child well is important, and required significant (very significant, in case of famine) resources, investment and self-privation. Without powerful instinct this would not happen.
Nowadays, it does not require so much privation, in place where food is not a problem, but still, material maintenance of a child has a cost, in money and time.
Another non-genetic influence is capital transmission (money, and social capital). This matter quite a lot, especially for male children. This sometimes require attachment (why would you save for someone else?)
But all of this does not mean that nurture (as usually understood in social sciences: education and learning environment) is important: you can’t change your child intelligence or character much by other means than what amount to child abuse: depriving him food, nutriments or normal personal interraction, or beating him…
Excellent question. Someone had a great comment on the Amazon site for one of Judith Resnick’s books. (I think that is the name of the lady who claims parents don’t matter.)
The reason environmentalism still holds the modern mind in it’s sway, is because environmentalism used to be true. But things have changed.
If you looked at the people of medieval Europe anyone could immediately see the differences between the gentry and the peasants. The son of the Lord of the Manor grew up eating meat and fresh vegetables. While the peasant’s son ate gruel and had no toys in his crib. The noble was tall, healthy and smart. The peasant was short,sickly and stupid. Peasants were reviled by the people at court and they were right to do so. Better fed and nurtured people were indeed better people.
In those day’s the way to wealth was to capture some of the poor and make them poorer yet by taxing them to near extinction. But today we do just the opposite. The poor march north and the blacks whom we have inherited from an agricultural economy now long gone, are not a source of wealth. With the welfare state the majority of the prosperous wish to be rid of the poor who pay no taxes and receive all sorts of public subsidies.
As Herrnstein pointed out with every new social effort at equilibrating the races and the classes we make the residual heritability between them greater. Environment then becomes less and less important as an expiation as everyone’s environment improves. But some people have been late getting the word on how the world now works.
Well, her moniker saying “female” is a kind of warning that that is going to be very very, extremely gradual.
People higher on Sociability, or Agreeableness, or EQ, or self-deception or however we name it aren’t so silly as to barter social fiction with truth.
We should raise children in a warm, supportive , humans way even if it doesn’t change their personality.
Yeah, all those things cost money.
Who is going to pay for them, when half the world is composed of negroes?
Well I was thinking just in our own families. We can’t control what anyone else does.
In the case of the effects of family environment, the matter is not “absence of evidence.”; there is evidence of absence. Namely, the shared environment component of behavioral genetic studies routinely comes out to insignificant to plain old zero when we look at adults. People who grew up together are no more similar than people who grew up apart, when you take genetics into account.
“For girls, the cortisol rise was associated with anxious, vigilant behavior, while for boys the rise was associated with angry, aggressive behavior.” —
That’s interesting. Women and men do seem to be naturally (genetically) different in that way. You can certainly see this difference among grownups, and it makes things very weird and extra-tense in mixed-sex work-environments where the female response is expected from the men.
how much of nurture is adult genetics?
If you cannot separate it, then it’s unreasonable to claim 100% genetics.
“Empirical research in this field is simply not that good as we are not able to coduct (for obvious reasons) randomized studies. ”
The British have done it for us with the Dole and have created a white population with many of the social characteristics of inner city social collapse. However, that social pathology still does not have the violence of black inner city gangs,
I think Greg is mostly talking about heritability estimates from twin studies. A very common finding from these is that the component of variation due to family environment is negligible. (Jayman explicitly mentions this.)
In other words, if you ask “why are people so different with respect to trait X?”, the answer usually is not “because they were raised in different households.” Usually it’s “because they have different genes, plus some residual random effects that we don’t understand.”
Does this mean you can’t have an effect on your child? No. I could depress my kid’s IQ long term, no problem (lead flakes for breakfast). So why doesn’t this contribute to phenotypic variance in IQ in the twin studies? Because lead poisoning is very rare in the US, so it contributes virtually nothing to the differences observed between people. (Raising IQ is a lot harder. I don’t know of any intervention that would do it, long term.)
Nor do these results prove that some new method doesn’t have an effect. If there is some new parenting or teaching method out there that does in fact boost IQ or conscientiousness, but it’s very rare, then it will again contribute approximately 0 to the shared environmental variance. That’s why you need to test particular treatments with randomized studies. (My impression is that nothing has really stuck.)
Question: do adoptees to rich families do better than adoptees to poor families? I’ve seen studies that go both ways. This study of Korean American adoptees found an effect on educational attainment, selectivity of attended college, smoking and drinking: https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/122/1/119/1924717
(I can’t access that paper, so not sure about old they were tested. Evidently young adulthood.)
Here’s another from Wisconsin: http://www.economists.nl/files/20130411-EJ2005.pdf
Not sure about relative effect size here.
What the twin studies do suggest is that, if you look across the spectrum of parenting and home environment variation that is out there today, it doesn’t seem to matter much to most traits that we care about. That assumes, of course, that twin studies are capturing all that variation, which I’ve never really looked into. If the ~100 twin pairs from a lot of these studies are under-representative of low- or high-class upbringing, then they’ll potentially underestimate shared environmental variance.
“it doesn’t seem to matter much to most traits that we care about”
Lots of people care about traits other than IQ and personality. Who brings you up, for example, will have a big impact on your class-related behaviors. In Britain, for example, you are unlikely to grow up to speak with a Public School Accent unless your parents are the type who want to pay Public School (i.e., private schools like Eton) tuition.
Similarly, who brings you up likely matters for which sports you pursue.
There are two kinds of people — those who have read Lord of the Rings and those who haven’t. And whether you have or haven’t is very environment-based. Like, my son wouldn’t have if I hadn’t given him big lego-kits for each volume he completed.
This is kind of the epitome of a red herring.
So, people are going to have to prepare themselves for the findings which are pouring out from the new genetic research but, er, not much, because all the differences they note will turn out to be wrong.
I take it that your allusion was to this?
First come I. My name is JOWETT.
There’s no knowledge but I know it.
I am the Master of this College,
What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.
My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,
I am a most superior person.
My cheeks are pink, my hair is sleek,
I dine at Blenheim twice a week.
I just learned that these are a genre: the Balliol Rhyme:
“””Once upon a time, when you saw a headline in a newspaper opinion section about a historical topic, you might automatically assume that the author was a historian. These days, everyone on Twitter is an amateur historian. … Identifying an author’s academic or professional credentials in a headline is a way to advertise their authority in a generally nonhierarchical online world.”””
At the bottom of the article there is a quiz to see whether you can match the first, self-identification part of some real credential-establishing headlines with the second, opinion-stating part of them.
Looks like Idiocracy took great inspiration from Marching Morons
But The Marching Morons was better….Wonder why they haven’t made a movie from Not This August?
” Reich found that on average, given similar diets, northern Europeans are about a standard deviation taller than southern Europeans. But I already knew that, well before Reich was born. Seneca knew it”
But the same work that showed height genotypes matched up well with phenotypes found that was not true for BMI with their data. That makes it less crazy to think there will be more such cases where genotypes and phenotypes go in different directions.
” Observations of mean height across nations correlated with the predicted genetic means for height (r = 0.51, P<0.001), so that a proportion of observed differences in height within Europe reflect genetic factors. In contrast, observed mean BMI did not correlate with the genetic estimates (P<0.58), implying that genetic differentiation in BMI is masked by environmental differences across Europe.”
I have no doubt that there will be some. But why should most traits show such mismatch? Particularly when the observed pattern is seen universally?
I don’t actually rememeber any conventional stereotype of particular Europeans being especially fat. Examples?
By the way, genetics plays a role in African-American obesity: BMi goes up with the amount of African ancestry.
And I have a stereotype about Samoans: they’re big. Want to bet on whether that one will be confirmed?
The Dutch used to have a reputation for being fat. But that was a while ago.
@Withywindle – I was going to say that but you beat me to it. Google “Six Fat Dutchmen.”
Yeah, but I don’t think we actually thought the Krauts were chubby in WWI, or the Nazis in WWII. And they weren’t. I’ve seen military surgeons comment on their lack of fat – apparently it aided healing, although I would think it would be a disadvantage if you were really seriously wounded.
Maybe the Germans didn’t get enough to eat towards the end of the war.
Only at the very end: I guarantee you that the Feldgrau in Normandy had adequate food. Although at the same time, somehow, the local Normans didn’t.
In WWI the Germans had a real food shortage. In WWII, they stole everything in sight from occupied Europe.
I had a Samoan friend in Jr High. Thin as a rail. I didn’t conclude from that Samoans are thin. I knew he was atypical.
Old joke: An economist, a physicist, and a mathematician are taking a train to Scotland. As they cross the border, they see a black cow. “Look, ” says the economist, “the cows in Scotland are black.” “How imprecise,” says the physicist. “All that we can really say is that there is one black cow in Scotland.” “Actually,” says the mathematician, “all that we can really say is that there is one cow in Scotland, and one side of it is black.”
Ah, says the engineer, it’s a bull.
Sir,.your witticism are alwaye beyond my grasp.
And I am of the impression I am missing out on quality humour.
“Actually,” says the mathematician, “all that we can really say is that there is one cow in Scotland, and one side of it is black.”
Anne: “Give me three weeks and I could make a Fair Witness out of him.”
Jubal: “Shut up, Anne.”
Some people give an environmental explanation for the girth of Samoans: spam and very fatty cuts of meat.
I don’t buy it. Certainly, not all the way, but I will concede it’s at least superficially plausible and not out and out crazy, unlike most environmental explanations of differences. It is easy to believe someone living in an isolated environment with a limited supply chain could be influenced by diet.
I’ve never known any second generation Samoans to test it out, but I bet many outside of Samoa have found the stereotype to contain a grain of truth.
What’s remarkable about Samoans is not that many are fat — lots of peoples are pretty fat these days — but how many are extremely strong, NFL strong. Samoans are vastly over-represented in both pro American football and in pro rugby.
I forget where I read it, but one hypothesis is that the only people who could survive the trip from the Asian mainland to the Samoan islands by raft were the ones who started out with plenty of fat and muscle.
They didn’t use rafts.
See below. Like Rick Blaine, “I was misinformed.”
Assent. Mike Ulufale (NFL) was a Pre-Algebra student of mine in high school. Great kid. The yokozuna Fiamalu Penitani’s sister was a student of mine. She was a sweet kid who could have picked me up and thrown me across the room with one hand. If you order a stove or refrigerator from Sears in Hawaii, Samoans will deliver it. My brother in law replaced the batteries on his hybrid, 2 x 150 lbs. A Samoan employee of the shop carried them out, one in each hand. Maybe some Humanities faculty at the UH believe in equality, but no one else here does.
Germans are often depicted as fat.
In Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Augustus Gloop is from Dusseldorf. The Simpsons has a chubby German exchange student called Uter. Pixar’s A Bug’s Life has an obese caterpillar that speaks with a thick German accent. There’s probably more.
German comedian Flula Borg voices the villain Mega Fat CEO Baby on the new Boss Bby show.
But that’s a declining stereotype. Germans got really fat from about 1955-1965 or so. It was likely a reaction to the lean years after the war. But after awhile they stopped eating so much more than other Europeans.
I read the Atkins Diet book years ago and recall that in the chapter where he writes about the history of diet and low-carb diet research, one of the reasons diet was researched at the start of the 20th century was because it was apparent to everyone both in Europe and U.S. that Italians, particularly from southern Italy, became quite fat as they got older, relative to other Europeans. As you may surmise, a life time of pasta, particularly coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, can add more than a few pounds to your frame.
Football coaches also share your stereotype that Samoans are big. I expect that someday after all the expensive research is done, we still won’t know for sure whether Samoans are big or not and even more expensive research will need to be done. I expect this will go on for a long time and we may never know the answer.
I know something of Samoans. When I got out of college I worked for a few years as a public Social Worker in San Francisco. I was given the Samoan caseload. There were a few such specialized caseloads. If they thought you were particularly canny about con men and theft you got the Gypsy caseload. I’m 6’4″ and nearly 300 lbs. So in a profession of mostly small females, they gave me the Samoans.
Yes, it’s true Samoans are big. In those days the Samoans had the top floor of Mission Rebels building. It was a little intimidating to walk in there even at my size. Fortunately I was tight with Tulifau who seemed to be the King of the San Francisco Samoans.
I suspect the reason for that finding in Europe is the genetic architecture of BMI. See Greg’s point about admixture studies.
BMI has become a worthless measure because so many people do heavy weightlifting exercises. A European-origin man can easily gain 25 lbs of muscle in this way without using magical superhero-drugs. Women will gain 10 lbs from squatting and deadlifting without changing their diets at all.
Thank you for pointing this out. As everyone with eyes to see can see, Americans aren’t fat, obese out-of-shape slobs, they’re really all bodybuilding fanatics! The entire world trembles in awe as they marvel at our magnificent physiques!
But on a more serious note, you’re right that BMI does not apply to every single, solitary individual but for 98%+ of people it does apply. A good fat percentage test is better but the 98%+ who fail the BMI test are also going to fail the fat percentage test and they won’t need to spend money on a good fat percentage test.
It applies but exaggerates the amount of fat somewhat because it doesn’t measure fat directly. But yeah, most Americans, including those who lift weights, are fat. Putting on muscle is easier than cutting fat.
The U.S. Army used to have (maybe still does) a simple and inexpensive alternative test for those who failed the BMI one: they used a tape measure to compare the ratio of your neck circumference to your waist, given your height and age. All else equal, someone who lifts is going to have a thicker neck.
“implying that genetic differentiation in BMI is masked by environmental differences across Europe”
or populations are adapted to their ancestral diet so if everyone starts eating the same high fructose soylent sludge the BMI effect varies with level of regional adaptation to high carbs and sugar..
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The higher rate of prostrate problems in blacks, along with the fact that there are many known adaptations to Plasmodium which can be detrimental in other ways, suggest to me there are likely also adaptations against STDs in blacks.
I’d think the selective pressure in reproductive tissues would be pretty high, but it seems like a really forbidden topic, like racial differences in IQ, so I wouldn’t expect much focus in that area.
Defenses to STDs is an underexplored subject. But still, why are almost all the risk genes in one little segment? I have an idea. Does anyone else?
How much is explained by higher testosterone? If so there’s the boring theory and the fun one.
Boring is many small mutations that are close because testosterone genes are close. Often mechanisms are built up from multiple similar genes. These gene families arose from DNA duplication mutations and are often close together genomically (gene clusters).
Fun one: Linkage from an aggressively expansionist Bantu king.
STDs increasing libido is an under explored subject, and IMO a fictional treatment would make a great apocalyptic romantic comedy.
If the risk genes all involve, say, regulating the amount/timing of DHT produced (which is implicated in male pattern baldness and prostate cancer, but also with sexual differentiation, probably libido and fertility to some degree) then it makes a degree of sense for them to be mostly near the protein product (and hence gene) they regulate. But gene regulation can occur far from the site of the gene itself, so that isn’t really a safe assumption.
It makes me think of Reich’s point that Neanderthal DNA is very rare in sex chromosomes, presumably because neanderthal/human hybrids had some degree of reduced fertility. Maybe something along those lines?
Some regulation of sexual mechanics that is finicky to meddle with (risks lower fertility?) That sorta reduces efficacy of selection against it?
Only 1/6 done with my copy of Falconers Quantitative Genetics. Take it easy on me..
earlier puberty, fast/slow life history?
I think it’s good that he added the lies. That’s the high ashkenazi verbal iq in effect. You can’t go from 1 to 100 suddenly like, Charles Murray. You will be stigmatized as racist and some students will try to kick you out of college even after 20 years.
I wouldn’t exactly describe The Bell Curve as 1 to 100.
I don’t think it was good he added the lies but I think it was necessary. I would simply love to live in a world where everybody is bright ,curious, open minded, and loves to learn new things. I think David Reich pushed as far as he could push before he would risk future funding for his brilliant work.
I applaud Cochran fighting the good fight for the complex truth winning out but meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have 7 billion humans who by and large are fucking pissed they aren’t very smart.
Nothing is going to change. The politicians will sell bullshit, propaganda will pay the bills in the mass media, dumb people will remain angry, and the truth will remain a contradiction in terms to the average folk who plug away as best they can.
The title of the post is a reference to Solzhenitsyn. Anyone who thinks these kinds of lies can be beneficial desperately needs to dive into his work, pronto.
Tom Wolfe writes somewhere, it’s risky to be ahead of one’s time, even if by just 10 minutes.
“More important, Reich himself doesn’t want to keep up the charade. That may matter.”
I’ve enjoyed watching two weeks of freakouts on twitter from widely read public intellectuals, all due to Reich’s editorial. His stance is going to matter, I think. I also believe that his willingness to risk his reputation by discussing these matters indicates he’s very afraid of the coming results and wants liberalism (in a broad sense) to remain credible enough to get out in front of them. That won’t happen if the Establishment continues “sticking its head in the sand” about these things, as he says. (In fact, I have similar concerns.)
FWIW, I was okay with nearly all of this chapter, probably because my HBD runs a bit softer than that of most people here. I can sympathize with the idea that stereotypes, while probably directing us toward truth, should not be casually thrown around by researchers, due to the grim history of race research. I also see the wisdom of being very cautious about discussing differences that remain unproven. I am okay with Reich’s inclusion of Watson’s words, because I would not like to be told it was my job to prove the origins of this or that race difference.
However, I strongly feel that Reich should not have mentioned Watson’s name, as that was a private conversation. This betrayal of confidences and the silliness about African diversity were the most annoying parts of the chapter. I often suspect that people fall over themselves in praise over African genetic diversity because they think (or fear) they can’t find any other nice things to say about Africans’ genes. It’s not an encouraging way to “explode stereotypes.”
“Reich often seems to think that if a result wasn’t proved using powerful contemporary genomic methods (what he uses), it wasn’t really known at all. If I don’t know it, it’s not knowledge: that’s a wrong way of thinking.”
Part of this lack of awareness on Reich’s part could be simple: he doesn’t know much about earlier researchers’ achievements. There has been a stunningly successful push to discredit and suppress knowledge of and access to older HBD works. When such authors are mentioned at all, they are completely dismissed as bigots whose research was all worthless. I myself believed this until a short time ago, when I discovered (on Human Varieties) a short but wonderful book: People and Races by Alice Brues. Using its bibliography, and that of another excellent book, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Mankind Evolving, I am starting to learn of past researchers’ efforts. But it has been very difficult for an amateur like me to crack this nut, not least because some old research was genuinely bad.
These books are hard to find, and people will look at you funny for possessing them. It’s no surprise that David Reich probably has never heard of most of them! One helpful thing HBDers could do is find the best old books on Amazon and game the “customers who viewed this item also viewed” mechanic so that they appear in more places.
“I often suspect that people fall over themselves in praise over African genetic diversity because they think (or fear) they can’t find any other nice things to say about Africans’ genes. ”
Why are Ibos so good at math ? That would be interesting.
Yes. And notice that Africans managed to survive in an environment that killed everyone else until the advent of modern medicine.
And perhaps that extra bone density Greg mentions would be great for space travel. There are a variety of fascinating genetic phenomena in Africa, but everyone vapidly obsesses over “diversity” (which mostly exists in non-coding DNA!).
Reblogged this on Nicht-Linke Blogs.
Another bit of dishonesty was his pandering to the black community by favoring blacks searching for their roots while being critical of the rest of us for doing genealogy and 23 And Me. Unfortunately, his little bit of praise sprinkled on Alex Haley for his “Roots” story was poorly chosen. “Roots” was originally presented as a true account only to be exposed as fiction. Worse, Haley plagiarized parts of the book from a 1967 novel, “The African” which was written by a white man. I wonder how the ‘cultural appropriations’ work out here: white man writes novel about black (bad), the black man steals white man’s intellectual product and sells it for profit (bad). Black man settles plagiarism complaint and pays white man (good). Reich praises black man (embarrassing).
I was a bit surprised by his uncritical praise for Roots, but you misread a lot of what Reich said about ancestry companies marketing to black Americans. He was pretty critical of them.
He was critical of DNA testing but he pretended to be enthusiastic about blacks learning their roots. At 268 where he mentioned Roots he also massaged Henry Louis Gates and his television program, ‘Finding Your Roots, and managed to get Gates’ approval on the back of the dustcover of his book. The endorsement of a prominent black man might give him some protection. I hope so. I thought his section on the ethics of dealing with old bones was a bit mealy mouthed, too, but these days you fashion armor out of whatever you can if you are dependent on funding and the crazies are milling about.
What doesn’t Reich like genealogy and 23andme?
That is, what doesn’t he like about them? Genealogy seems like a respectable hobby. Surely it is not considered racist now?
Maybe because they didn’t hire him? xD
He points out that 23andme’s Neanderthal percentage test is worthless, and that ancestry companies marketing to blacks often explain the results poorly, giving their subjects a false impression of how precisely they can connect a person to African tribes. For the average person who will never look that closely into what the results mean, it probably isn’t that important, but those who want to learn more will probably be disappointed.
I don’t think Reich has been called a racist that often and hopes to escape it. Eventually learn it doesn’t kill you and you move on. I think there is this intense effort on his part to manage the situation, reassuring everyone that there may be some unpopular ideas coming, but don’t worry, he’s not a racist and he’ll make sure the responsible word gets out.
As for whether we call something a race, or a tribe, or a population, or an ancestry, it’s not going to matter after a while. In elementary school there were reading groups of Bears, Giraffes, and Elephants, but kids figured out pretty quickly that the Elephants could all read, but the Giraffes couldn’t. Or consider the name “reform school.” In every state the name got changed every 20 years or so because each one acquired a stigma. Everyone knew it was kid’s jail. Screwing with the terms only means the general public is less able to understand what everyone means, and all of us less certain what people meant in the transition times over the decades. A hundred years ago one could read about the Irish race. Fifty years ago if you used the term “negro” you were being polite.
You can still be polite saying ‘negro’ if you use it in United Negro College Fund. But I am long since finished with polite and I think many others are as well.
Yes, I remember when “negro” was polite. I think it was one of my kids who told be it wasn’t. We aren’t supposed to say “Oriental” either, yet it is a perfectly good word.
Typo: “Reich talks about West Africans” needs an apostrophe.
Are you referring to the phrase “Reich talks about the success of West Africans …”? It’s a plural, not a possessive.
Maybe he wanted “talk’s”. Just because nobody has ever typed it before on this blog.
can we look for some statistics on nature vs. nurture opinion in people who have 2 kids of same sex vs. people with kids of opposite sexes?
I guess many people would take nature side when they find themselves in position “we are treating both children the same and yet get strikingly different results”
Btw this comment system is inconvenient :c
You know how some people say, “My brother’s friendlier than I am because my mom cuddled him more”? No, your mom didn’t cuddle you as much as she cuddled your brother because your brother came out cuddlier! He wanted to be cuddled, and she responded to that. Parents respond to kids’ personalities. So parents never treat their kids in the same way, and then maybe the less cuddly kid feels resentful about it later. But he’s naturally inclined to feel resentful about things.
I’m shocked that you didn’t mention the fiendish flouridators (who, we all know, have been controlling the orbital mind control lasers for years). Fnord
i read somewhere that flouride interferes with iodine – like lead does
His attack on “stereotypes” (I would say common sense, stereotype is already negatively connoted) is indeed disgusting, I guess it’s due to both an attempt to preemptively avoid being labeled as racist (understandable and excusable imho), and the typical erudite disdain for common sense. Intellectual posturing (he is quite guilty of this all along), while common, is not excusable.
Another big problem is lie by omision: Affirmative action stuff (quotas, reduced requirements for favored groups,….) is never mentioned, even if it is the “elephant in a room” problem with the “all groups have equal mean” hypothesis/wishful thinking…
“Affirmative action stuff … is never mentioned.” Good for him; his science has nothing to say about that. You may draw inferences but there’s no reason for him to wander down that path.
It has., that’s the whole reason why debating group average have some political weight.
If mean performance at certain task differ between groups, the fact that group ratios are skewed for certain occupation no longer automatically proove prejudice. No prejudice means you need other moral imperative to justify corrective measures trying to restore the global ratio. Other justifications are possible, but I do not think they will convince the majority, if it’s a minority that has to be advantaged. The whole game is to play the guilt factor. Remove (or lessen) the guilt, it’s game over.
I love the ancestry.com commerical where the self described “hispanic” woman (who is clearly, visibly ethnic-looking) is “shocked” when she gets her ancestry results. Her ancestry is shown to be substantially from Iberian, native american, and African sources.
My sister has a student who insists ancestry DNA tests aren’t accurate because his test showed he is West African when, in fact, he’s from Jamaica.
One of the target groups, I think, is really the children of single mothers, which would probably skew more towards certain mixed-race pairings. Some of the commercials really are unintentionally quite funny. There is a 23andme one that am thinking of in particular.
A young mixed-race woman finds out she is a mix between some combination of African, SW Asian, and Scandinavian. She goes to Africa and is surrounded by Africans. Then she goes to Asia and is surrounded by Asians. Finally, she goes to Iceland and it is just a hot spring and a mountainous landscape. There is not even a single native from Iceland in the frame.
In a vacuum, I would think nothing of it, but obviously, advertisements in the US are saturated with politics.
That was awesome
As for stereotypes being inaccurate, I won’t go into whether Reich is deliberately lying (which is the case if he knows better) or simply mistaken (if he doesn’t), but it’s either one or the other. There’s an actual literature on these topics, even if Reich is not aware of its existence. An example paper here – http://andrewgelman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Current-Directions-in-Psychological-Science-2015-Jussim-490-7.pdf
A few quotes:
“Are stereotypes accurate or inaccurate? We summarize evidence that stereotype accuracy is one of the largest and most replicable findings in social psychology.”
“Demographic stereotypes are accurate. Research has consistently shown moderate to high levels of correspondence accuracy for demographic (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender) stereotypes […]. Nearly all accuracy correlations for consensual stereotypes about race/ethnicity and gender exceed .50 (compared to only 5% of social psychological findings; Richard, Bond, & Stokes-Zoota, 2003). […] Rather than being based in cultural myths, the shared component of stereotypes is often highly accurate. This pattern […] probably reflects a “wisdom of crowds” effect […] personal stereotypes are also quite accurate, with correspondence accuracy for roughly half exceeding r =.50.”
“We found 34 published studies of racial-, ethnic-, and gender-stereotype accuracy. Although not every study examined discrepancy scores, when they did, a plurality or majority of all consensual stereotype judgments were accurate. […] In these 34 studies, when stereotypes were inaccurate, there was more evidence of underestimating than overestimating actual demographic group differences […] Research assessing the accuracy of miscellaneous other stereotypes (e.g., about occupations, college majors, sororities, etc.) has generally found accuracy levels comparable to those for demographic stereotypes”
“A common claim […] is that even though many stereotypes accurately capture group means, they are still not accurate because group means cannot describe every individual group member. […] If people were rational, they would use stereotypes to judge individual targets when they lack information about targets’ unique personal characteristics (i.e., individuating information), when the stereotype itself is highly diagnostic (i.e., highly informative regarding the judgment), and when available individuating information is ambiguous or incompletely useful. People’s judgments robustly conform to rational predictions. In the rare situations in which a stereotype is highly diagnostic, people rely on it (e.g., Crawford, Jussim, Madon, Cain, & Stevens, 2011). When highly diagnostic individuating information is available, people overwhelmingly rely on it (Kunda & Thagard, 1996; effect size averaging r = .70). Stereotype biases average no higher than r = .10 ( Jussim, 2012) but reach r = .25 in the absence of individuating information (Kunda & Thagard, 1996). The more diagnostic individuating information people have, the less they stereotype (Crawford et al., 2011; Krueger & Rothbart, 1988). Thus, people do not indiscriminately apply their stereotypes to all individual members of stereotyped groups. […] People do not ignore individual differences; instead, they apply their stereotypes flexibly and approximately rationally when judging individuals.” (…this is, of course, part of the reason why stereotypes are accurate – people generally know or learn, implicitly, when best to apply them and trust them…)
If Reich feels like claiming stereotypes are all wrong or whatever, someone should probably tell him that he might himself be doing exactly that sticking-your-head-in-the-sand-ignoring-the-evidence sort of thing he seems to be somewhat critical of other people doing in relation to research fields with which he himself is more personally familiar.
Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum.
“We know that blacks have shorter torsos and longer legs, more fast-twitch muscles, narrower hips, lighter calves. Those same characteristics are disadvantages in some other events, like swimming. The relatively more mesomorphic build of Europeans pays off in swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and field events.”
Watch the Francis Ngannou vs Stipe Miocic UFC fight to see this in action.
i wonder what will happen in endurance events if more north euro athletes switch to a keto diet
The Ngannou vs Miocic fight isn’t really the best example. Sure, Ngannou was catapulted into title contention because he possesses all the usual West African athletic abilities, but he lost because his wrestling and BJJ skills aren’t good enough for high-level MMA fighting, especially against a seasoned wrestler such as Miocic (and all that muscle mass he has cripples his endurance).
What’s obvious from this fight, though, is the difference between West Africans and Europeans in terms of the ability to take physical punishment. Although Miocic manhandled Ngannou for 20 minutes, he couldn’t finish him, despite the latter being completely exhausted all the time.
There are more examples, of course; i.e. boxing, where blacks on average can take more hits before going down; or american football, where, on average, they have fewer injuries and faster recovery times than whites.
But Fedor knocked out Zulu and Fedor’s brother knocked out Bob Sapp in like half a minute apiece, with punches not wrestling/BJJ skills. And CroCop survived an endless beating from Fedor.
“Reich mentions independent genome bloggers, some of them skilled analysts, who are on the whole less inclined to go along with the usual falsehoods. He thinks that means you can’t keep up the charade: again, he’s very likely wrong, not least because those skilled genome bloggers have a tiny audience.”
The audience among under 25s is much larger than you may realize as a reaction to constant “white privilege” attacks from their teachers – imo already past the tipping point that will lead to general acceptance, just a matter of time now.
The under-25 audience of genome bloggers is reaching some kind of tipping point? Don’t be ridiculous.
the spread of that knowledge from various nodes has passed the tipping point imo
“He also knows that the plus alleles, the ones that increase intelligence, are getting rarer at a scary pace, decreasing IQ at something like a point a generation. This illustrates a pattern with Reich: this was roughly understood a long time ago, just from looking at demography and fertility patterns. ”
This would seem to be a prediction, rather than an observation. I am no expert in the field, but the relevant observation that comes to mind is the Flynn Effect, which indicates increasing average intelligence in multiple populations. No?
Yes. What appears to be happening is that, although genes for intelligence are being selected downward, that effect has been masked by… whatever environmental improvements account for the Flynn effect. If selection brings IQ down 1 point, but environmental improvements bring it up 5 points, then you’ve got a 4 point increase. I’ve read a bit suggesting that Flynn effect is slowing down, though.
Flynn effect addresses phenotype, not genotype. The genetic raw materials available are getting worse, but we’re helped by the fact that most people e.g. no longer are iodide deficient or starve during critical periods of brain development. Environmental factors mask the dysgenic trend.
US & RCB, I don’t mean to be difficult, but you both seem to be saying that the “important” genetic factors are trending downward, but this trend is not visible because the “unimportant” environmental factors have a larger effect. I am reminded of the Global Warming hoaxers who claimed, around 2004, that the warming predicted by their “highly accurate” models was not being observed because of “natural variation”. Meaning, the factors not included in their half-assed models.
Unless someone has identified the genetic basis of intelligence, which would certainly be news to me, I question both the claim that the Flynn effect is environmental, and the claim that modern society selects for stupidity. I would suggest that the latter proposition may be true in certain subcultures. But are we really prepared to say that the differences between races are self-evidently genetic, because the twin studies say so, while also saying that the Flynn effect is self-evidently environmental, because our off-the-cuff estimate of the selection pressures in modern society requires that conclusion?
I never meant to imply Flynn effect wasn’t important. If humanity is smarter now, that is what matters. I’d rather be phenotype-smart, genotype-dumb than the other way around (sorry, future descendants).
If intelligence is correlated across generations (not even necessarily for genetic reasons! there could be inherited cultural characteristics that make you dumb or smart, at least in theory) and the dumb leave more descendants than the smart, then the inherited component of intelligence will decrease through time. That is the essence of Darwinism. I think both of those conditions are well demonstrated (the latter especially for females). That decrease in the inherited component of intelligence may not translate to actual decreased measured intelligence, though, even other forces cancel the effect. That’s all I’m saying.
“are we really prepared to say that the differences between races are self-evidently genetic, because the twin studies say so”
I don’t say that, because twin studies do not speak to differences between races.
“while also saying that the Flynn effect is self-evidently environmental, because our off-the-cuff estimate of the selection pressures in modern society requires that conclusion?”
There is no way that the many-points increase of IQ in 2-3 generations is due to genetic changes. All studies suggestion selection is moving the other direction, and it’s not nearly that strong. So yes, I do think it is self-evidently environmental.
two trends might co-occur: a drop in heritable general intelligence and a rise in environmentally boosted specific skills. Argument laid out here: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/are-we-drifting-gently-downwards/
I have been thinking about the sex/intelligence question. It seems likely that high intelligence is vastly more selected in men than in women, and the pressure on women is likely stronger for being attracted to intelligence than for actually possessing it. I base this on the reality that a highly successful male can greatly amplify his genes, whereas the best way for a female to do that is to ally them with the genes of a highly successful male. From this (highly un-PC) point of view, intelligence in women is rather like nipples on men. That is, present because it is harmless in one sex and selected in the other.
But men get half their genes from their mothers. If the mothers are stupid, they are going to pass on stupid genes to their sons. And women have to be smart enough to protect babies.
I think the intelligence differences between men and woman are quite subtle, There are more men in the very extreme right of the curve for intelligence and creativity. But you have to go a long way out to see much difference.
A person with down syndrome has more genes for intelligence than I do.
The difference is seen at any time, in many intellect-related traits (self-awareness, resilience to socio-cultural programming, inclination and ability to plot socially and manipulate through lying/pretending [as opposed to disposition to physically hitting], thirst for knowledge, …) all converging into “intellectualism”, a reality far broader than raw intelligence.
“There is no way that the many-points increase of IQ in 2-3 generations is due to genetic changes. All studies suggestion selection is moving the other direction, and it’s not nearly that strong. So yes, I do think it is self-evidently environmental.”
Perhaps you can tell me how it is possible that “all studies” suggest the opposite of what all observations indicate?
There are two questions:
1. What direction is IQ moving? Hard to answer at any moment, but over any given time period, you just measure IQ at two end points.
2. What direction is selection pushing IQ (if any)? One way to estimate this is to correlate IQ with number of surviving offspring.
Notice that these two questions needn’t have the same answer: selection isn’t the only thing that causes a trait to change.
1. Evidently over the last many decades, IQ has increased.
2. From what I’ve seen, anyone who has ever looked at it in the last, say, 100 years, has concluded that the less educated (and poorer?) tend to reproduce more on average. That probably implies selection for lower intelligence. I’ve never seen the opposite result (when aggregating over males and females).
This would seem to imply that selection has been pushing toward lower IQ, but the small IQ decrease has been overpowered by large environmental changes causing increased IQ on the whole. There’s nothing implausible about this.
“Mark Twain knew that Ashkenazi Jews were smart”: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/mark-twain-quotations-on-judaism-and-israel
“The Jews have the best average brain of any people in the world. ”
– Mark Twain’s Notebook
Note that Twain believes this to have been true even in antiquity. How do you square that with selection in Europe during the Renaissance?
He’s probably wrong? The historical record doesn’t support (European) Jews being particularly smart or accomplished until the medieval period at the earliest.
As an aside, contra Cochran, I suspect the Ashkenazi IQ advantage owes more to gentile dysgenics—priestly and monastic celibacy—than Ashkenazi dysgenics.
That would explain Christians having lower IQ than Ashkenazi. What about the Chinese? And are you suggesting that the Ashkenazim suddenly became “smart and accomplished” because all those Christian priests failed to breed?
I agree that Twain may well be wrong, but the evidence he is citing is essentially the long cultural prominence of the Jews. It makes little sense to cite his conclusion if you disagree with his evidence.
What he’s really citing is his contemporary impression. The historical stuff is just decorative.
The problem there is that the clergy were only a very small proportion of the Medieval population. JC Russel’s The Clerical Population of Medieval England gives the total number of English clergy as around 35,000 in 1377. The English population as a whole exceeded two and a half million.
Additionally, it’s not clear that becoming a priest was a strong selector for IQ.
Nor is it clear they had especially low fitness.
Clerical celibacy was not widely adhered to until the 11-12th century. Before that it was more of an ideal than a reality.
I’ve seen a claim that clerical celibacy was not widely adhered to until the 18-19th century.
St. Patrick was son of a deacon who was son of a priest. Of course, that was the early Church. He came to Ireland in the fifth century AD.
Well, if Twain thought that about antiquity, he was wrong. No sign of it then.
“Note that Twain believes this to have been true even in antiquity. How do you square that with selection in Europe during the Renaissance?”
Twain wasn’t around in Antiquity.
“Note that Twain believes this to have been true even in antiquity. How do you square that with selection in Europe during the Renaissance?”
One thing we do know now is that Ashkenazi Jews have a high proportion of European ancestry, introduced in Roman times. The estimate is 50-60%, i believe.
What this implies is that if the ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews from before this injection of European genes were already very smart compared to Europeans, the majority of that genetic advantage would likely have been lost when the two populations mixed.
This provides some pretty good evidence that some serious selection for IQ must have taken place after Roman times.
The non-Italian part was later than Rome, and it looks as if even the Italian part probably was. But yes, the big European admixture means that the selection for intelligence had to occur late.
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There is great science being done in Reich’s lab.To the extent that he’s responsible for that science, he’s a great scientist.
But he’s also a lying and libeling P.O.S. That makes him The Turd Reich.
Who are these “independent genome bloggers”? I would love to find other blogs akin to this one.
one of them
He mentions two of them in his book.
Evo and Proud
Frost is wrong.
It’s just a matter of time before the anti-racist ideological police is going to catch up to his antiques. There is already a review of his book on Amazon, accusing him of anti-African basis, or something to that extent:
If that development happens (and I’m sure he has plenty of envious people who would love to get the laurels of bringing someone of his stature down), he will fall between two stools: on one side, the people who want the truth and who have suffered smearing campaigns and ridicule will remember his libel of people whose sin was merely stating truth, while, on the other side, the leftist crazies might want to make an(other) example out of him, by burning him on the stake for his apostasy and, possibly, blotting his name out.
*basis = *bias
Harvard, and the scientific community more generally, cannot jettison this guy. He’s at the height of an enormously important career. This is why it’s wonderful to see him explaining as much of the truth as possible to the public.
In France we have many sephardic Jews, and my personal impression is that they are pretty smart too (Sarkozy is one of them, from his mother’s side). If I remember well, a few of them received a Nobel prize. The current president of the French Aipac is sephardic. They are very articulate. Reading your book, I had the feeling that you were somewhat unjust toward them. Until the 18th, they were considered to be the elite Jews, at least the S&P sephardic Jews.
I believe they have an IQ of about 98 (Lynn), which is similar to the standard white IQ.
I get the same impression as you – much of the medieval Jewish intelligentsia was Sephardi. But this might be consequent to their larger proportion of the Jewish population – only in the 18th century did the Ashkenazim really explode in number.
Acording to wikipedia, Sarkozy is not a smart guy…
“Sarkozy was enrolled in the Lycée Chaptal, a well regarded public middle and high school in Paris’ 8th arrondissement, where he failed his sixième. His family then sent him to the Cours Saint-Louis de Monceau, a private Catholic school in the 17th arrondissement, where he was reportedly a mediocre student, but where he nonetheless obtained his baccalauréat in 1973. After graduating from university, Sarkozy entered Sciences Po, where he studied between 1979 and 1981, but failed to graduate due to an insufficient command of the English language.”
“Or you could look at domesticated animals, which always have less genetic variation their wild ancestors. Is the smallest wolf smaller than a Chihuahua – is the largest wolf larger than a Great Dane?”
Your writing is always enjoyable, but there were a number of typos in this post. Also, aren’t the sentences above opposite what you want to say?
The idea was that the pop with the greatest genetic variation should have the greatest phenotypic extremes: if that’s true, wolves should be the biggest and the smallest. But they are not.
The idea is that, if most of these genes are of additive quality with regard to coding for an expressed polygenic trait, then having higher genetic variability per individual in a deme essentially ends up adding up to something close to a known, fixed value per trait. In other words, such traits end up being expressed as centered in bell curve fashion, each with their own curve with centers in the middle. So, each individual will tend to have all such polygenic, additive phenotypic traits expressed with low variability.
This can be very well explained by the Central Limit Theorem. Correct?
On the other hand, in population with pretty low overall genetic variability one can still have a few genes that affect certain traits very strongly. In effect having just a few of these can express a certain phenotypic trait very highly vs not having them.
Thus, not considering anything else, having low vs high genetic variation is, by itself, not sufficient info, unless one knows how particular phenotypic trait of interest is expressed — via which genes. Correct?
(Although, in practice, looking from a different angle, low genetic variability, assuming a sizable population, is more often than not a telltale sign of selection and hence a pointer to the likelihood of existence of said highly expressed traits. Correct?)
The biggest problem of the idea of ultra-variability in, say, US blacks is that it doesn’t exist. Calculating the standard deviation isn’t all that hard: we’d know.
Reich dumped on several of the standard crap arguments against the possibility of differences (that we already actually see!), but succumbed to, or at least went along with, this one.
Thanks, I see. I was making a genetic-phenotypic argument, but yours is actually much more basic and straightforward.
You gotta learn to accept typos in blogs. They don’t go through layers of editors and typesetters.
On a lark I clicked back to the first post ever on this blog: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/archaic-hla-alleles/ and of course it mentions Reich. Any update on where those HLA Class I alleles came from?
“Aryans conquered Europe and India”
They seen to have had more success running one of those places than the other one.
You mean because India was richer than Europe for a millennium or three?
Reich’s footnote in his book to the Henry Harpending quote is
H. Harpending, “The Biology of Families and the Future of Civilization” (minute 38), Preserving Western Civilization, 2009 Conference, audio available at http://www.preservingwesternciv.com/audio/07%20Prof._Henry_Harpending–The_Biology_of_Families_and_the_Future_of_Civilization.mp3 (2009).
In one sense that’s better than usual for these guys, since it’s an original source and Yugo can go there and get the context (link still works, after almost ten years) and another sense it’s basically phony.
Reich isn’t listening to PaleoCon conferences (wrong paleo!) he’s presumably using the quote that the SPLC dug up:
“The reason the Industrial Revolution happened in 1800, rather than the year one thousand, or zero, which it could have, the Romans certainly could have done it, is that a new kind of human evolved in northern Europe, and probably northern Asia. And that this led to the Industrial Revolution—this new kind of human was less violent, had an affinity for work. When you view your parents or grandparents, and you know that they’re retired, they could relax. But afterwards they can’t just sit on the couch and relax, they’ve got to go and get a shop and work on a cradle for their grandchildren… I’ve never seen anything like that in an African. I’ve never seen anyone with a hobby in Africa. They’re different.”
—“Preserving Western Civilization” conference, 2009
Of course the SPLC did NOT provide a direct link because they never do–you’re just supposed to take them on faith.
But it’s the same phenomenon with both Reich and the SPLC–their intern listened to the 2009 conference and took notes, and Reich’s intern looked it up for him.
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Robert Trivers for example sprinkled his book on self-deception with socially-fostered lies. A cake of truth with an icing of untruth it was.
If one loves his love of truth the most, one does not accept to alloy it with the untruth making it a socially acceptable package requires.
IF one loves truth more than his own love of truth, one cleaves to the required compromises.
As Trivers, and Jordan Peterson do.
Mainstream culture shall ever meet the majority’s wishes, and will never house more truth than a bit, such bit relating with the less pride-prickling subjects (not cognitive abilities for sure. Nor the obviously race-related Lying Quotient).
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Genetically determined racial differences in ability and behavior have legitimate political implications regarding immigration, criminal justice, and affirmative action.
Nevertheless, I can understand why Professor Reich feels the need to soften the implications of the truths he expresses in “Who We Are and How We Got Here.” He wants to avoid unpleasant scenes in the faculty lounge at Harvard, and to remain on the invite list for faculty parties.
At the same time, it is unfortunate that brilliant people are required to lie about what is obvious to anyone who has taught at a multi racial public school.
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