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henry-harpending
Henry Harpending (1944-2016) died this past Sunday. He had a stroke a year ago, and then a second one three weeks ago, but apparently he died of a lung infection. This is one of the risks of getting older: you dodge one bullet only to get hit by another. The cemeteries are full of people... Read More
Your blood group cannot reliably identify your ethnicity, your race ... or even your species. Credit:  Wikipedia Commons, Etan Tal
What sort of ideas will guide our elites twenty years from now? You can find out by observing university students, especially those in the humanities and social sciences. One popular idea is that race doesn't exist, except as a social construct. Its proponents include Eula Biss, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine: The... Read More
Ted Bundy, 1978, State Archives of Florida. Outwardly charming but zero concern for others. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Is sociopathy an illness? We often think so ... to the point that the word "sick" has taken on a strange secondary meaning. If we call a ruthless, self-seeking person "sick," we mean he should be shunned at all costs. We don't mean he should take an aspirin and get some rest. Sociopathy doesn't look... Read More
The Pauper, 1894-1895, Theodor Kittelsen. This and other works by Kittelsen have appeared on Norwegian black metal albums. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Black metal is a musical subgenre that grew out of death metal and, more broadly, heavy metal. In general, it pushes certain aspects of this genre to even farther extremes: fast tempos, shrieking vocals, and violent stage acts. Black metal bands can be found almost anywhere—Europe, North America, East Asia, even Indonesia and Israel. In... Read More
Swan princess, John Bauer (1882-1918). Human head hair is of relatively recent origin, reaching incredible lengths in some groups but not in others. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
I've published an article on the evolution of long head hair in humans. The following is the abstract: In many humans, head hair can grow to a much greater length than hair elsewhere on the body. This is a "derived" form that evolved outside Africa and probably in northern Eurasia. The ancestral form, which is... Read More
Religiosity is moderately heritable—25 to 45% according to twin studies (Bouchard, 2004; Lewis and Bates, 2013). These figures are of course underestimates, since any noise in the data gets classified as ‘non-genetic’ variability. So the estimates would be higher if we could measure religiosity better. But what does it mean to be religious? Does it... Read More
Rêverie, Adrien de Witte (1850-1935). Credit: Wikimedia Commons
African Americans sleep on average almost an hour less than do Euro Americans. The two groups have mean sleep times of 6.05 hours and 6.85 hours. This finding has recently been discussed by Brian Resnick in National Journal and by our Steve Sailer. Researchers reject a genetic explanation: "There is a consensus that innate biological... Read More
Chief Makwira and his wives, Malawi, 1903. Older men had first priority. Younger men could gain access to women only through war or adultery.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In my last column, I reviewed the findings of Butovskaya et al. (2015) on testosterone and polygyny in two East African peoples: - Testosterone levels were higher in the polygynous Datoga than in the monogamous Hadza. This difference is innate. - Datoga men were more aggressive than Hadza men on all measures used (physical aggression,... Read More
Hadza men are smaller, less robust, and less aggressive than the more polygynous Datoga. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humans differ in paternal investment—the degree to which fathers help mothers care for their offspring. They differ in this way between individuals, between populations, and between stages of cultural evolution. During the earliest stage, when all humans were hunter-gatherers, men invested more in their offspring with increasing distance from the equator. Longer, colder winters made... Read More
In 1915, Paul Robeson became the third African American ever enrolled at Rutgers College, being one of four students selected for its Cap and Skull honor society. His father was of Igbo descent .  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Chanda Chisala has written another piece on IQ and African immigrants to the UK: The correct term is not "regression to the mean." It's "non-inheritance of acquired characteristics." In other words, each person has a single genotype and a range of possible phenotypes. A culture can push its members to either limit of this range,... Read More
Solitude - Frederic Leighton (1830-1896). Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In a mixed group, women become quieter, less assertive, and more compliant. This deference is shown only to men and not to other women in the group. A related phenomenon is the sex gap in self-esteem: women tend to feel less self-esteem in all social settings. The gap begins at puberty and is greatest in... Read More
The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 
The more you empathize with the world, the more you feel its joy and pain, but too much can lead to overload.
One of my interests is affective empathy, the involuntary desire not only to understand another person's emotional state but also to make it one's own—in short, to feel the pain and joy of other people. This mental trait has a heritability of 68% and is normally distributed along a bell curve within any one population... Read More
Male figurine, pottery, c. 7,000–5,000 years ago, Greece, Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This is one of several findings with a common theme: the farther back in time we go, the less familiar people look. And we don't have to go very far. This fact came up in a column I wrote about the Americas. If we turn back the clock, Amerindians look more and more European, yet... Read More
Semang from the Malayan Peninsula.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Before the Europeans came, the Americas were settled by three waves of people from northeast Asia: the oldest wave beginning some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, which gave rise to most Amerindians, and two later waves, which gave rise respectively to the Athapaskan and Inuit peoples of northern Canada and Alaska. That's the conventional view.... Read More
The Perfume Maker, Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932).  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
It has long been known that we vary not only in our sensitivity to different smells but also in our preferences for them—the degree to which they seem pleasant or unpleasant. This variability often contains a large genetic component (Gross-Isseroff et al., 1992; Karstensen and Tommerup, 2012; Keller et al., 2007; Keller et al., 2012;... Read More
Un homme et une femme, 1891, Stephan Sinding (1846-1922). Almost as fun as sex.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
All humans love to kiss, so kissing must go back to early hominids and even chimps and bonobos. This is how ethologists and evolutionary psychologists think when they write about the subject. Just one thing. Even in historic times not all humans loved to kiss. Far from arising millions of years in the past, kissing... Read More
Mary Magdalene, Frederick Sandys (1829-1904). Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Is the physical appearance of Europeans solely or even mainly an adaptation to climate?
Most humans have black hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. Europeans are different: their hair is also brown, flaxen, golden, or red, their eyes also blue, gray, hazel, or green, and their skin pale, almost like an albino's. This is particularly the case in northern and eastern Europeans. How did this color scheme come about?... Read More
Bronze vessel in the form of a snail shell, 9th century, Igbo-Ukwu. The Igbo developed metallurgy much earlier than the rest of West Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
There has been much talk here about Chanda Chisala's article "The IQ gap is no longer a black and white issue." Much of the article focuses on the Igbo (known also as Ibo), a people who live in the Niger Delta and "are well known to be high academic achievers within Nigeria." In the United... Read More
The Babylonian Marriage Market, by Edwin Long (1829-1891)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons.  There are too many young men on the mate market, particularly in the White American community.
It sucks being young, male, and single. Don't think so? Go to the Interactive Singles Map of the United States and see how it looks for the 20 to 39 age group. Almost everywhere single men outnumber single women. And the real picture is worse. For one thing, the imbalance is greater among singles without... Read More
\"Flower boy\" (on the right) - In 70-80% of cases, gender confusion will clear up on its own, Credit: Recoplado/Wikimedia Commons
Does It Really Help?
I remember feeling some attraction to girls in Grade 2, but it really wasn't until Grade 8 that everything fell into place. I'm talking about puberty. Before high school, I was a boy and not a young man. I didn't consider myself abnormal. Yes, many boys in Grade 8 had deeper voices, as well as... Read More
We don\
We like to think that all people feel empathy to the same degree. In reality, it varies a lot from one person to the next, like most mental traits. We are half-aware of this when we distinguish between "normal people" and "psychopaths," the latter having an abnormally low capacity for empathy. The distinction is arbitrary,... Read More
Cyborg She, a love story about a female android and a shy young man. Credit: Gaga Communications, for use in critical commentary
Can humans and robots get along together? Actually, they already do in a wide range of applications from surgery to assembly lines. The question is more vexing when the robots are androids—human-like creatures that can recognize faces, understand questions, and behave as social, emotional, and affective beings. It is this aspect that troubles us the... Read More
John B. Watson conditioning a child to fear Santa Claus. With a properly controlled environment, he felt that children can be conditioned to think and behave in any way desired. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
After peaking in the mid-19th century, antiracism fell into decline in the U.S., remaining dominant only in the Northeast. By the 1930s, however, it was clearly reviving, largely through the efforts of the anthropologist Franz Boas and his students. But a timid revival had already begun during the previous two decades. In the political arena,... Read More
As a professor at Columbia, Franz Boas encountered the elite liberal culture of the American Northeast, one example being Mary White Ovington, a founder of the NAACP, Credit Wikimedia Commons
Antiracism has roots that go back to early Christianity and the assimilationist Roman and Hellenistic empires. In its modern form, however, it is a much more recent development, particularly in its special focus on relations between whites and blacks and its emphasis on discrimination as the cause of any mental or behavioral differences. Modern antiracism... Read More
Claude Lévi-Straus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss died six years ago, leaving behind a treasure trove of correspondence and unpublished writings. We can now trace where his ideas came from and how they evolved. I admired Lévi-Strauss during my time as an anthropology student because he asked questions that Marxist anthropologists would never ask. That's why I preferred... Read More
Hanging Outside Newgate Prison. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In England, executions peaked between 1500 and 1750 at 1 to 2% of all men of each generation. Were there genetic consequences? Were propensities for violence being removed from the gene pool? Did the English population become kinder and gentler? Such is the argument I made in a recent paper with Henry Harpending. In this... Read More
Dick Turpin was convicted of robbery but had also been guilty of a string of murders.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In each generation from 1500 to 1750, between 1 and 2% of all English men were executed either by court order or extra-judicially (at the scene of the crime or while in prison). This was the height of a moral crusade by Church and State to punish the wicked so that the good may live... Read More
Homicide rates seem to correlate with the recentness of state formation and the imposition of the state\
Henry Harpending and I have written a paper on the historical decline of personal violence in European societies. It has just been published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. I wrote the following press release: While war has always been with us, personal violence has been declining in Western societies over the last millennium. Is this... Read More
Compendium on agriculture, Japan, 1782. Rice farming, which requires community planning of water use and irrigation, may have favored a less individualistic mindset in East Asia (Wikicommons)
Kinship is the organizing principle of small human societies, such as bands of hunter-gatherers or small farming villages. This is seen in their notions of right and wrong—the same behavior may be wrong toward kin but right toward non-kin, or at least not punishable. Morality is enforced by social pressure from fellow kinfolk, which in... Read More
 La ciociara (1960) - Sophia Loren in the role of a woman hiding from Moroccan soldiers (Wikicommons)
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack—or rather mass execution—the typical reaction seems to be that the killers were "madmen" and "extremists." The brother of the slain policeman, himself Muslim, protested: "My brother was Muslim. He was shot down by false Muslims. (...) Islam is really a religion of peace, of love. We had... Read More
Migrants arriving on the island of Lampedusa.  The NATO-led invasion of Libya has opened a huge breach in Europe\
A synthesis has been forming in the field of human biodiversity. It may be summarized as follows: 1. Human evolution did not end in the Pleistocene or even slow down. In fact, it speeded up with the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, when the pace of genetic change rose over a hundred-fold. Humans were... Read More
Subjects identified the left-hand image as a woman and the right-hand one as a man. Yet the two images differ only in skin tone. Study by Richard Russell, Sinha Laboratory for Vision Research, MIT.   Skin color differs by sex: women are fairer and men browner and ruddier. Women also exhibit a greater contrast in... Read More
Navaho woman with a child on cradleboard. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. See video on cross-cultural differences in newborn behavior, Daniel Freedman, 1974 (posted by hbd chick)
In my last post I discussed recent research on mental differences between Europeans and Chinese people. The latter are less prone to boredom. They think less abstractly and more relationally. They're less individualistic, and less likely to punish friends for dishonesty. Mental differences also seem to exist within China, depending on whether one comes from... Read More
Boy in a cafe.  Credit: S. Yao, Wikimedia
All humans were once hunter-gatherers. Back then, versatility came with the territory. There were only so many game animals, and they differed a lot in size, shape, and color. So you had to enjoy switching back and forth from one target animal to another. And you had to enjoy moving from one place to another.... Read More
Anti-UKIP protest in Edinburgh.  (Credit: Brian McNeil, Wikimedia Commons). \"Conservative\" increasingly means pro-white.
Are liberals and conservatives differently wired? It would seem so. When brain MRIs were done on 90 young adults from University College London, it was found that self-described liberals tended to have more grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas self-described conservatives tended to have a larger right amygdala. These results were replicated in... Read More
In a previous post, I discussed why the capacity for affective empathy varies not only between individuals but also between populations. First, its heritability is high: 68% (Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen, 2013). So natural selection has had something to grab hold of. Second, its usefulness varies from one culture to another. It matters less where kinship... Read More
Kostenki Man, reconstructed by Mikhail Gerasimov (1907-1970). An early European who was not yet phenotypically European.
Who were the first Europeans? We now have a better idea, thanks to a new paper about DNA from a man who lived some 38,700 to 36,200 years ago. His remains were found at Kostenki, a well-known Upper Paleolithic site in central European Russia (Seguin-Orlando et al., 2014). Kostenki Man tells us several things about... Read More
Collection box for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society circa 1850.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Throughout the world, kinship used to define the limits of morality. The less related you were to someone, the less moral you had to be with him or her. We see this in the Ten Commandments. The phrase "against thy neighbor" qualifies the commandment against bearing false witness and, implicitly, the preceding ones against killing,... Read More
From the Cape to Cairo, Puck, 1902. Source: Library of Congress, public domain The White Man\
Growing up in rural Ontario, I would talk with older folks about politics. A favorite topic was Quebec, and how those selfish French Canadians wouldn't fight in the Boer War, the First World War, and the Second World War. Later, as a student in Quebec City, I would hear the other side. French Canadians saw... Read More
The ratio of index finger length to ring finger length provides an index of sexual differentiation. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Are men and women more alike in some populations than in others? It's possible. First, boys and girls differentiate from each other to varying degrees during adolescence, and this process of sexual differentiation is genetically influenced. There are even conditions, like Swyer syndrome, where an individual is chromosomally male (46, XY) and yet develops externally... Read More
Chlamydia infection rate, by country (WHO 2004) Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Are we being manipulated by microbes? The idea is not so whacky. We know that a wide range of microscopic parasites have evolved the ability to manipulate their hosts, even to the point of making the host behave in strange ways. A well-known example is Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan whose life cycle begins inside a... Read More
Skull from Broken Hill (Kabwe), Zambia.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Archaic humans were still around when the Neanderthals were going extinct in Europe
East Africa, 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. The relative stasis of early humans was being shaken by a series of population expansions. The last one went global, spreading out of Africa, into Eurasia and, eventually, throughout the whole world (Watson et al., 1997). Those humans became us. This expansion took place at the expense of... Read More
Adam and Eve, Jan Brueghel de Oude en Peter Paul Rubens. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Did the Christian doctrine of original sin create the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe? Or did the arrow of causality run the other way?
By definition, gene-culture co-evolution is reciprocal. Genes and culture are both in the driver's seat. This point is crucial because there is a tendency to overreact to cultural determinism and to forget that culture does matter, even to the point of influencing the makeup of our gene pool. Through culture, humans have directed their own... Read More
The Classic of Filial Piety, Ma Hezhi, 12th Century Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In a previous post, I asked, "How universal is empathy?" The question is tricky because empathy has three components: 1. pro-social behavior - willingness to help people out, hospitality to strangers, acts of compassion. 2. cognitive empathy - capacity to see things from another person's perspective and to understand how he or she feels. 3.... Read More
A widow about to be buried alive in her husband\
What, ultimately, is the basis for morality? In a comment on aprevious post, fellow columnist Fred Reed argued that some things are self-evidently wrong, like torture and murder. No need to invoke the Ten Commandments or any religious tradition. Some things are just wrong. Period. This is a respectable idea with a long lineage. It's... Read More
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Great at reading or recognizing faces? You might not do so well on an IQ test.
The English psychologist Charles Spearman was the first to argue that a single factor, called "g," explains most of the variability in human intelligence. When observing the performance of children at school, he noticed that a child who did well in math would also do well in geography or Latin. There seemed to be a... Read More
Who's making more babies? "Good boys" or "bad boys"? Originally, the good boys were, thanks to parental monitoring of relations between single men and single women. The pendulum then swung toward the bad boys in the 1940s, only to swing back after the 1960s. A recent Swedish study has found that "bad boys" are outbreeding... Read More
Originally from south China, Austronesians spread successively outward to Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Was farming the secret of their success? Or was it their mental makeup? (source: French Wikipedia - Maulucioni)
About 10,000 years ago, the pace of human genetic evolution rose a hundred-fold (Hawks et al., 2007). Our ancestors were no longer adapting to slowly changing physical environments. They were adapting to rapidly evolving cultural environments. What, exactly, caused this speed-up? The usual answer is the shift from hunting and gathering to farming, which in... Read More
In a recent post, Fred Reed asks: The short answer is that any killing, for whatever reason, increases the likelihood of killing for other reasons. One exception is self-defence, but that's not done for pleasure. Another exception is capital punishment, but that, too, is not done for pleasure. More to the point, no single citizen... Read More
My weekly posts are now appearing on The Unz Review(http://www.unz.com/). By accepting Ron's invitation, I hope to reach a bigger audience and bring myself closer to other writers in the area of human biodiversity. When people work together, or simply alongside each other, minor differences can be ironed out and major differences narrowed or at... Read More
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