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East Asians

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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
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
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
Going global is modern ... and sexy. Multicultural Festival, Gyeonggi-do, 2011 (Wasabcon)
Until recently, East Asia shunned globalism. Economically advanced and yet ethnically homogeneous, the region seemed to show that modernity can co-exist with the traditional structures of family, kinship, ethny, and nation. We can be more than just individuals in a global marketplace. Yet East Asia is now catching up to the West. South Korea has... 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
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
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
My weekly posts are now appearing on The Unz Review( 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
Taiwanese aboriginal children, Bunun village (source: Jeremy Kemp). 60-70% of Taiwanese aborigines have a loss-of-function allele at the main hair color gene, MC1R, yet their hair is as black as humans with the original “African” allele. This seems to be a general pattern in Asians. They have fewer MC1R alleles than do Europeans, and the... Read More
Rice paddies, China, circa 1917-1923 (source). To grow rice, you must cooperate with neighbors for irrigation and labor. Today, even with the shift to a post-agricultural society, Chinese from rice-farming areas display less individualism and more interdependence than Chinese from wheat-farming areas. Is this evidence of gene-culture co-evolution? Human populations differ in genetic variants that... Read More
PISA test documents at a German school (source: Theo Müller). PISA and IQ tests are informing us about differences in intellectual capacity by country. Meanwhile, genetic studies are informing us about genomic differences by country. Davide Piffer has been tapping into these two pools of data to explore the links between genes and intellectual capacity.... Read More
Venus of Mal’ta, a figurine from a site in eastern Siberia (source). She comes from a population that was related to modern Europeans and Amerindians but not to modern native Siberians. The Mal’ta Siberians died out at the height of the last ice age and were replaced by people spreading north from East Asia and... Read More
Bandit with traditional tattoos (source). In premodern China, who enjoyed the most reproductive success? The thrifty hardworking farmer? Or the local bandit/warlord? In my last post, I asked how well the Clark-Unz model of selection applied to Japan and Korea (Unz, 2013). Let me now ask a more obvious question. How well did it apply... Read More
Syngman Rhee in 1905 and later South Korea’s first president (1948-1960). Though born into a rural family of modest means, he was of yangban and even royal lineage (source). Why is mean IQ higher in East Asia than elsewhere? Ron Unz (2013) sees the key cause in a scarcity of land and women that continually... Read More
“‘How could any man in our village claim that his family had been poor for three generations? If a man is poor, then his son can’t afford to marry; and if his son can’t marry, there can’t be a third generation” China’s poor were continually removed from the gene pool, their places taken by downwardly... Read More
Facial expressions in Manga (Japanese) comics. East Asian culture strongly regulates the expression of emotions, particularly in their impact on other people. (source) Humans have had to adapt not only to physical environments (climate, vegetation, wildlife) but also to cultural environments (diet, language, codes of behavior, class and family structure, etc.). A culture will thus... Read More
China's working-age population is now declining. As labor becomes scarcer, the business community will either take on the challenge of moving to a higher-wage, more capital-intensive economy ... or lobby hard for immigration. (source) We like to compare ourselves with others, often seeing them as an alter ego who had gone to the right university,... Read More
Genetic data suggest that ancestral East Asians diverged from ancestral Europeans long after the African/non-African split (source). This timeline, however, seems to be challenged by archaic DNA that is reputed to be 40,000 years old. When did the ancestors of Europeans and East Asians part company? In my opinion, the divergence must have happened long... Read More
Squamous cervix cells covered with rod-shaped bacteria, Gardnerella vaginalis(source) Bacterial vaginosis is a common disease among reproductive-aged women: Its incidence correlates with the number of lifetime sex partners, and this correlation holds true even when one controls for a series of socioeconomic variables: poverty, smoking, body mass index, douching frequency, education, and oral contraceptive use... Read More
Ainu men and Ainu woman, 18th century painting by Kodama Sadayoshi (source) The Ainu of northern Japan have long been a puzzle. With their bushy beards, profuse body hair, large sunken eyes, and robust facial features, they look more European than East Asian. Yet genetic studies have shown no particular link to Europeans, at least... Read More
The lithic technology of southwestern France (c. 22,000-17,000 BP) strangely resembles that of the first paleo-Amerindians (c. 12,000). Some people speculate that early Europeans reached North America by crossing the Atlantic. The truth is even more incredible. Early Europeans spread eastward and became the ancestors not only of the Amerindians but also of East Asians.... Read More
Western Europe began to overtake the rest of the world long before it established colonial empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas (source) In Why Nations Fail, economist Daren Acemoglu sees global inequality as a legacy of colonialism. Wherever European settlers were numerous enough, they formed inclusive, democratic societies that aimed for sustainable growth. Wherever... Read More
Is Japan dying? (Source: PBT Consulting) Today, East Asia is widely acclaimed for decade upon decade of economic success. Yet this success rests on a very fragile foundation—an aging population with the world’s lowest fertility. This situation is viewed with surprising indifference by East Asians and Westerners alike. As with so many other things, we... Read More
McDonald’s in Taipei. By the 1990s, Taiwan had already become a “post-nation” (source) East Asia has long been bucking the trend toward globalization. Its countries have become major players in the global marketplace, while jealously guarding their cultural specificity and national character. But East Asia is now getting with the program. South Korea in particular... Read More
Cartoon lampooning the traffic in mail-order brides (source). About 40% of married men in rural South Korea have wives of foreign origin. Until recently, South Korea had no ethnic minorities. Nor did it have a history of being a colonial power. While slavery did exist, the slaves were not from elsewhere. Today, however, the country... Read More
Yakuzas (Japanese mafia). The largest Yakuza syndicate is over 70% Burakumin. Source Here are a few themes I wish to write about during 2012: Archaic admixture: A wild goose chase? With the discovery that Europeans and Asians are 1 to 4% Neanderthal, there has been a rush to learn more. What genes are involved? Does... Read More
Member and observer states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). In both the east and the west, defense alliances have become less centralized and more loosely defined since the end of the Cold War. They no longer contain regional conflicts and may actually cause them to go global. (source) Tensions are mounting on the Korean... Read More
“Global Korea” poster. Has South Korea become the new posterboy for globalism? East Asia has been an outlier in the developed world. Like Western Europe and North America, it is integrated into the global economy and enjoys a high standard of living. This is particularly so for the original five ‘tigers’: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,... Read More
Upper-caste Indians. Clark’s model works poorly in State societies where class divisions are rigid and where different classes operate according to very different rules. In my last post, I discussed Ron Unz’s essay on selection for intelligence in East Asian societies. This paper, as its own author points out, makes the same point that Gregory... Read More
Pupils studying for the Chinese civil service exam. One conundrum of human biodiversity is the high mean IQ of East Asians, specifically Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. On average, they outclass all other human populations on IQ tests, which were originally designed by and for Europeans. This intellectual success is matched by the economic success not... Read More
Drinking from the wrong chalice? By his mid-40s, Michael Jackson had skin like parchment. The end of 2010 is drawing nigh, and the time has come to review my predictions from last year. Brain growth genes Back in 2005, it was found that human populations vary considerably at two genes, ASPM and microcephalin, that control... Read More
Modern humans changed little when they initially spread out of Africa and into the Middle East. Real change occurred farther north, when they entered seasonally varying environments that differed much more even in summer. Three years ago, a research team led by John Hawks found that the rate of genetic change accelerated once ancestral humans... Read More
With the onset of the glacial maximum c. 20,000 years ago, and the ponding up of the Ob River, humans circulated less easily from one end of the steppe-tundra belt to the other. This barrier separated ancestral Europeans from ancestral East Asians. Outside Africa, people seem to have the same amount of Neanderthal admixture, be... Read More
In my previous posts, I’ve argued that China is entering a demographic transition that is already occurring in other developed countries, i.e., decline of the indigenous population and progressive replacement by higher-fertility immigrants. In this post, I’ll focus on how the initial phase will play out over the next ten years. The China of tomorrow... Read More
In my last post, I predicted that China will undergo the same kind of demographic transition that is occurring in other developed countries. This transition will be characterized by: 1. Fertility rates well below the replacement level. 2. A heavy influx of immigrants from poorer regions of the world with higher fertility, mainly sub-Saharan Africa... Read More
In recent years, China has emerged as a major world power and predictions are being made that it will soon become the world’s leading economy. This trend is a source of much pride for the Ch
In North America and Western Europe, the past forty years have seen a radical shift in the marriage market. Before, there were too few single men, particularly past the age of 25. Now, there are too many at all reproductive ages … and even beyond. A similar shift has occurred in East Asia, in part... Read More
I have argued that sexual selection has varied within our species in both intensity and direction (men selecting women or women selecting men) (Frost, 2006; Frost, 2008). In particular, it seems to have varied along a north-south gradient with men being more strongly selected in the tropical zone and women in the temperate and arctic... Read More
The human mind seems to use facial color to determine whether a person is male or female. A man has a relatively dark facial color that contrasts poorly with his lip and eye color. Conversely, a woman has a relatively light facial color that contrasts sharply with her lip and eye color (Russell, 2003; Russell,... Read More
When Pedersen wrote the above almost two decades ago, he did not exactly fear the new marriage market of too many men chasing too few women. In fact, his prognosis was largely upbeat. There would be “lower divorce rates”, “greater marital stability”, “enhanced marital satisfaction for women”, “greater commitment by males to procurement of economic... Read More
How did archaic humans evolve into the different populations of Homo sapiens we see today? The answer has long divided anthropologists. Some opt for the ‘out-of-Africa’ model; others for the multiregional model. According to the out-of-Africa model, we all descend from a small group that existed some 100,000 to 80,000 years ago somewhere in eastern... Read More
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