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    Crystal Gayle, American country music singer (source). In humans of Eurasian origin, head hair can grow down to the mid-back and even farther. Long silky hair must have evolved relatively late, certainly no earlier than the last 50,000 years. All of us are born pale, and this infant pallor is striking in otherwise dark-skinned families....
  • @Sean
    Body hair is not likely to be due to sexual selection of women. Europeans have less body hair than other peoples. North Europeans have less body hair than Southern Europeans. (See here).

    Short Anagen Syndrome is not being able to grow long scalp hair. Blonde children tend to get it; their hair becomes a good length at puberty.

    Europeans have more scalp hair density, and blond(e)s have the most of all with 20% more scalp hairs per centimetre. (See here).

    To look more feminine is to look “white.”

    Straight hair is not different from common looking beast hair (dogs e.g afghan dogs). No life to it just straight that is.

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  • A truly silly and trivial rant that is worthy of Mark Morford.

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  • About five years ago when I read Charles Darwins' The Origin of Species as an adult with some comprehension of biology on a deeper level I was struck by how original and fertile the text was. Years earlier Geoffrey Miller had said in The Mating Mind that it was very useful to read Darwin's original...
  • There may have been a social and intellectual context of the separate creation argument for slavery to the apparently abstruse separate species debate of back then, which Darwin may have had an eye to when writing about nonhuman animals. Darwin’s sacred cause: how a hatred of slavery shaped Darwin’s views on human evolution, by Adrian Desmond and James Moore says Darwin was attracted to understanding evolution through a sexual selection hypothesis because he felt it upheld the unity of humankind by explaining how black people and white people had come to look unalike, while emphasizing they were not separate species.

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  • He stood on the shoulders of a giant.

    “It is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms;”

    If you actually read the Reverend, you will realize how right he was.

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  • @David
    Razib, Voyage of the Beagle is a good book too. Darwin was a really great guy, constantly speculating, getting a lot of stuff wrong in an interesting way. Easy read. Can't praise it enough.

    Once while traveling inland but still during the voyage, on a river passing through fertile but wild country, Darwin thinks that if it had been settled 200 years before by the English instead of the Spanish, the expanse would be filled with towns and cultivated land, not jungle and ramshackle dwellings. That's what I remember, at any rate.

    There’s an edition titled From So Simple a Beginning… with foreword by E. O. Wilson, that came out for his 200th anniversary, it contains four works: The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and The Expression of Emotions. I would highly recommend all four books.

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  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) believed that the capacity for guilt varies between individuals and among human populations. He also believed that this variability had, in part, a heritable basis. Humans are motivated to act correctly by either shame or guilt. We feel shame after acting wrongly in the presence of others. We feel guilt even when...
  • If guilt is an adaptation that facilitates cooperation, and one accepts that Germans cooperate well, then one would expect guilt to be commonest in Germans. In the ultimatum game German children gave away half their money.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Thing is, Lynn shows anxiety levels increasing in Europe sweeping out from the British Isles –

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2457&dat=19711202&id=ttE0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=GOEIAAAAIBAJ&pg=908,859802

    “High anxiety – Japan, West Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Belgium
    Moderate anxiety – Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden
    Low anxiety – Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland”

    I can see differences in anxiety across Europe, yet there is probably a NW-SE cline of excitability vs depression (as distinct from anxiety) on top of this. Germans are moderate depression-anxious while Brits are high depression-playful and Italians are excitable-anxious.

    The depression component is visual on a world map of diagnosed depressive disorders http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Unipolar_depressive_disorders_world_map_-_DALY_-_WHO2004.svg

    Anxiety has an environmental response component compared to depression, so seems likely to be more like shame than guilt.

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  • About five years ago when I read Charles Darwins' The Origin of Species as an adult with some comprehension of biology on a deeper level I was struck by how original and fertile the text was. Years earlier Geoffrey Miller had said in The Mating Mind that it was very useful to read Darwin's original...
  • Razib, Voyage of the Beagle is a good book too. Darwin was a really great guy, constantly speculating, getting a lot of stuff wrong in an interesting way. Easy read. Can’t praise it enough.

    Once while traveling inland but still during the voyage, on a river passing through fertile but wild country, Darwin thinks that if it had been settled 200 years before by the English instead of the Spanish, the expanse would be filled with towns and cultivated land, not jungle and ramshackle dwellings. That’s what I remember, at any rate.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There's an edition titled From So Simple a Beginning... with foreword by E. O. Wilson, that came out for his 200th anniversary, it contains four works: The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and The Expression of Emotions. I would highly recommend all four books.
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  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) believed that the capacity for guilt varies between individuals and among human populations. He also believed that this variability had, in part, a heritable basis. Humans are motivated to act correctly by either shame or guilt. We feel shame after acting wrongly in the presence of others. We feel guilt even when...
  • Survivor's guilt is another thing to think about. Do all peoples report survivor's guilt? To the same degree? Soldiers whose comrades die and yet who themselves survive report feeling guilty, do they feel as if they let down their friends?

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  • About five years ago when I read Charles Darwins' The Origin of Species as an adult with some comprehension of biology on a deeper level I was struck by how original and fertile the text was. Years earlier Geoffrey Miller had said in The Mating Mind that it was very useful to read Darwin's original...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Yes. And we must remember that Darwin was writing in an era when ‘genetics’ was totally unknown the term ‘gene’ not even coined and the idea of inheritance being transferred in discrete ‘packets’ rather than being by some sort of nebulous ‘blending’ process was unsuspected. The modern notion of shared ‘gene pools’ which clears up so many of the difficulties noted by Darwin, came many years after his death.

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  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) believed that the capacity for guilt varies between individuals and among human populations. He also believed that this variability had, in part, a heritable basis. Humans are motivated to act correctly by either shame or guilt. We feel shame after acting wrongly in the presence of others. We feel guilt even when...
  • Should be: "Who would you trust not to cheat…".

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  • Perhaps blushing, and the fair skin to show it, are sexually selected traits. Who would trust not to cheat, a woman who blushes readily or one who doesn't?

    Indeed, female faces are in general more readable, large eyes, higher contrast to show up mouth and eyebrow positions etc.

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  • Sean says:

    When Richard Lynn looked at calorie intake, psychosis, alcohol, suicide, road accident rates, caffeine, cigarette consumption, and economic development; Austria came out the most anxious country, and "Ireland emerged as the nation with the lowest level of anxiety [,..] It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that there are genetic differences in anxiety among the northern and southern sub-races of Europe".

    Anxiety as guilt?

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  • About five years ago when I read Charles Darwins' The Origin of Species as an adult with some comprehension of biology on a deeper level I was struck by how original and fertile the text was. Years earlier Geoffrey Miller had said in The Mating Mind that it was very useful to read Darwin's original...
  • You ever read anything about the prodigious journalist Robert Chambers, who in 1844 anonymously published the bestseller Vestiges of a Natural History of the Creation, which was a history of the universe from a developmental (as opposed to creationist) standpoint? Much to Darwin’s relief, Chambers missed natural selection, but Vestiges certainly laid the groundwork for the The Origin of Species’ success. Indeed it continued to outsell The Origin until later in the 19th Century. I’m reading historian James Secord’s book “Victorian Sensation” about the controversy over Vestiges: everybody in England was either supposed to have written it: Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Darwin, or satirized it (Disraeli, Carlyle). It strikes me as having a huge impact on the development of science fiction.

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  • i can’t get over how prescient Darwin was. every C.D. quote i see on twitter predicts something we’re discussing NOW! and there are so many of them! but does he trump Newton? some say yes.

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  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) believed that the capacity for guilt varies between individuals and among human populations. He also believed that this variability had, in part, a heritable basis. Humans are motivated to act correctly by either shame or guilt. We feel shame after acting wrongly in the presence of others. We feel guilt even when...
  • Peter, Freud is not criticized because he's believed to be a blank-slater.

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  • Several commentors above seem to be equating the Hebraic conception of God with Freud's idea of a father figure. Freud may have done this, but since people all over the world have fathers and live in patriarchal families, this hardly explains why guilt is a specifically Western phenomenon.

    The God of Abraham as revealed in the Patriarchal Narratives in the middle chapters of Genesis is a very specific moral idea that saturated Western civilization — easily the most influential idea in our history.

    The later God of Moses, on the other hand, while claimed in the Bible to be one and the same as the God of Abraham, is obviously a tribal god whose "justice" has nothing to do with the idea of equity.

    In fact the God of Moses can only be squared with the God of Abraham by claiming that those who do not believe in the latter are not fully human and, as such, should not be trusted or treated with equity. I.e., Man having been created in the image of God, those who do not believe in God are not fully human. You can read all about it in Exodus and Judges. (Or Google my essay on The Torah and the West Bank for a detailed analysis.)

    It is the God of Abraham that makes us feel guilty. He is a moral God. He sees into our secret heart (fathers don't generally do that) and judges us with equity according to our deeds. This is the God of the prophets and the God of Jesus in the Gospels, where there is mercy for the merciful and forgiveness for the forgiving. Equity in each and every caseEUBENanialor.

    The idea of guilt and punishment, by the way, cannot be separated. Any more than they can in the criminal law.

    I don't expect many of the people who read this blog can appreciate what I am saying. They grew up in a thoroughly secularized world in which the Bible is no longer taught, studied, or understood by educated people, let alone believed in.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sounds like we're all mighty confused then.

    I knew someone who went from catholicism to marxism to anarchism to spiritualism. Always with a passion. As if all they could do was replace a framework they'd become used to having.

    I've never heard of an hebraic god. I googled and got hits about judaism.

    sounds interesting though; if that's the founding intellectual premise of western civilisation.

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  • Islam is regarded as an Abrahamic religion just because the Muslims say so. They specifically reject the other books as "corrupted" and cite them only when convenient to them.

    If we believe "guilt" is an internalization of paternal teaching and it is an inheritable trait something will follow logically.

    1) A "guilt" prone individual will be more receptive to internalize any teaching and rule given by a fatherly figure.

    2) Highly intelligent individuals could "virtualize" the fatherly figure if the fatherly figure is lacking or missing. They could drop their real father as a source for the rules they internalize and took someone else or something else.

    Highly intelligent individuals, if not properly educated by their family are known to be prone to believe silly memes (from astrology to communism….).
    This could be not because they are more intelligent but because the proneness to internalize some belief is associated with higher intelligence.

    Brain neoteny could explaining because some individuals are more prone than others to move from a belief to another and internalize them. They are able to internalize them but, until later in age, they are unable to fix them permanently. Maybe before they are communist fanatics then they become muslim fanatics later in life.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    thinking off the top of my head,
    – in Greek mythology, several of the gods eat/consume or otherwise destroy their children, and I think there maybe a god or two who destroyed or ate their parents too. And I have wondered if there might be a lesson for parents and children in this. Ab.ligions are big on honouring parents but in real life, adolescence seems to require that moment of rejection. I've always thought the song lyrics to 'Teach your children', Crosby, Nash & Young, are interesting. I don't know about 'hell' exactly, but the idea that there is an inherent (natural/healthy) friction between parent and child is interesting.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    " there's someone in my head but it's not me" Pink Floyd

    "It is the widespread belief in the existence of such a being that is behind many people's feelings of guilt."

    I think how people relate to that god depends on the ideology of the religion they use to access it. As commented above, not all religions are the same in 'judging' what constitutes a sin vis. thought, words and deeds.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As for Freud's theory of guilt and the super-ego, I have a simpler hypothesis: it is not not to the super-ego we must look but to the Hebraic conception of God, a just judge of the earth who judges every man by a single standard, according to his deeds

    Isn't this consistent with Freud's claim that the super-ego took over the physically present father figure. With the super-ego, the father figure is in your head and omnipresent, following you around wherever you go and watching your deeds.

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  • How can anyone say Darwin was not a genius?

    As for Freud's theory of guilt and the super-ego, I have a simpler hypothesis: it is not not to the super-ego we must look but to the Hebraic conception of God, a just judge of the earth who judges every man by a single standard, according to his deeds. It is the widespread belief in the existence of such a being that is behind many people's feelings of guilt. Whether it was purely a result of indoctrination or there is a genetic component that makes belief in the existence of such a God possible I do not know, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is a good deal of the latter. There is a lot of folk Darwinism in the new Testamenti

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A comment relating to an earlier thread, I hope that's OK. Hair and eye colour fascinates me. Re. (thick/lush) black hair that turns white before middle-age, I saw an Indian man on TV with this sort of hair and but for his darker skin he could have been one of my in-laws who is a Scot and has what I think of as one of the 'typical' Scots appearances – broad build, quite high/wide cheek bones.

    … and now I feel guilty for posting waffle…I hope it's not too anti-social

    anyway, what about Jung? maybe Freud is to Lamarck what Jung is to Darwin?

    I read somewhere, the three Ab.ligions each have different attitudes to whether it is a sin to, a)think, b)say, c)do.

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  • Sean says:

    The purpose of guilt is to make society cohere; one feels guilt for separating oneself from the rest of society, and this includes the case of distinguishing oneself in a positive way. So an individual can feel guilty at the thought of not going along with society's mores in respect of something that individual believes to be wrong.

    Protestant theology is guilt based, because the protestant has a direct relationship with his god.

    Modern "rejection of inhibitions" is based on guilt, because nowadays people feel guilty for not having sex.

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  • Crystal Gayle, American country music singer (source). In humans of Eurasian origin, head hair can grow down to the mid-back and even farther. Long silky hair must have evolved relatively late, certainly no earlier than the last 50,000 years. All of us are born pale, and this infant pallor is striking in otherwise dark-skinned families....
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A couple other things- I didn't realize your ideas about head hair here were mentioned in your 2008 paper on sexual selection. They're almost word for word the same as in here, and you use the same exact references- Darwin and an unrelated paper on Papuans. So it begs another question- how was this able to pass peer review?

    And on the topic of the ethiopians, look at the royal family sometime- even the women sported afros, which includes Menen Asfaw, the queen. But with how long you've gone without recognizing such a basic observable fact of human variation, I don't know how much that will help.

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  • Robert Chambers (1802-1871). His anonymously published book, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), helped pave the way for public acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. (source) I haven't yet read Nicholas Wade's book A Troublesome Inheritance. I will venture to say, however, that it will be remembered less for its actual content than...
  • Sean says:

    I have read that most C-sections in the US are carried out because doctors are worried about being sued and C-section for little or no reason. Moreover, women often request C-section nowadays.

    Maybe there is selection, but for increased tissue elasticity. I believe the ligaments holding the pelvis together loosen a lot in the latter stages of pregnancy.

    I don't know if pelvis size is the major factor (though it's an issue for women under five feet tall). There are surgical procedures done during difficult vaginal delivery that involve cutting the mother that might be a lot more common than C-sections done for real medical reasons.

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  • Crystal Gayle, American country music singer (source). In humans of Eurasian origin, head hair can grow down to the mid-back and even farther. Long silky hair must have evolved relatively late, certainly no earlier than the last 50,000 years. All of us are born pale, and this infant pallor is striking in otherwise dark-skinned families....
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "And I can't find too many clear instances of ones with coiled hair straightening their hair (they"

    The rest of this was meant to remark on how papuan women, for the most part, seem to grow out afros as opposed to lengthening it downward for the most part. But, the fact the Mende and some other west african groups admired downward hair as opposed to typical afros is more good evidence that these people are incapable of growing abundant hair, and african-american obsession with straighter hair has nothing to do with white cultural influence.

    But what else is there to really say- this post and how fundamentally detached from reality (and how emblematic it is of you wanting to vigorously tie in eurasian features and human variation in general to sexual selection) it is should be apparent to just about anybody, but apparently not you or any of your brainless commenters.

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  • Robert Chambers (1802-1871). His anonymously published book, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), helped pave the way for public acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. (source) I haven't yet read Nicholas Wade's book A Troublesome Inheritance. I will venture to say, however, that it will be remembered less for its actual content than...
  • Sean, thanks much for the link to the paper. If we assume that white American women have a higher frequency of C-sections in their ancestry than black American women, then we would expect selection to produce smaller pelvises among white American women, but in fact the reverse is the case.

    This suggests that rapid evolution has not taken place in the case of pelvis widths. However, there remain plenty of objections to this deduction, the most obvious of which being the point that white women may have had much wider pelvises before the practice of C-section became common, and in fact selection has narrowed pelvises, but not by enough as yet.

    Nevertheless, I think that the idea bears further investigation.

    Thanks again for the link.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Bear in mind than people like Bryan Caplan ignore the fact that in Western society hurting others is a fast track to being locked up or worse, and implicitly claim that our felt 'moral obligations' are what is responsible for us not acting like Nazi psychopaths (which he appears to believe is the natural default condition for humans).

    People like Caplan are motivated by genetic interest:

    https://twitter.com/bryan_caplan/status/363863837469978624/photo/1

    Everything is just noise in service of that interest.

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  • Female pelvis width wider in whites. There seem to be some disadvantages for white women's ongoing reproductive health. Still, all other things being equal a population that practiced C-sections (or other procedures that require cutting mother to facilitate delivery) with late 20th century medical standards would have a higher birthrate.

    Assisted childbirth as origin of cooperation

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  • Toad, much more important is the genetic contribution from England as compared with that from other nations. Genetically, the USA is probably about half as English as England.

    Peter, I had a long talk with an old friend of mine (actually, she was my girlfriend in high school many, many years ago), who is now teaching a variety of life science courses at Berkeley and St. Mary's. She expressed skepticism about the concept of rapid human evolutionary change except in narrow and specific circumstances. But she also promised to read John Hawkes' piece on that.

    But during the conversation, we jointly came up with a good test for rapid human evolution based on use of C-sections and female pelvis width. Certainly death in childbirth constitutes a very strong selection effect, and a culture's propensity for this practice should have a strong effect in terms of selection for narrow female pelvis. And the ease of measuring female pelvis width suggests that this data might be readily available.

    Do you know of any comparative studies on female pelvis width across different groups? Do you know of any attempts to correlate female pelvis width with the practice of C-sections?

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  • @Chris Crawford
    How could the USA, with its large population of mongrel races from Germany, France, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Asia, have surpassed the superior English race? Quite troubling, this.

    I'll answer with a quiz:
    1. What nation did the USA obtain it's independence from?
    2. What language is the official language of the USA?
    3. What is the name of the region consisting of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut?
    4. Smith, Johnson and Williams are the most common surnames in the US. What country do these names originate from?

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  • Excellent points, Peter, and thanks for the reference. Now it's time for me to scurry back into my hole and digest all this, along with the associated secondary reading.

    Thanks again!

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  • Chris,

    It’s good to see you back!

    1. My reference is: Hawks, J., E.T. Wang, G.M. Cochran, H.C. Harpending, and R.K. Moyzis. (2007). Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 104, 20753-20758.

    Here is the abstract:

    Genomic surveys in humans identify a large amount of recent positive selection. Using the 3.9-million HapMap SNP dataset, we found that selection has accelerated greatly during the last 40,000 years. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed age distribution of recent positively selected linkage blocks is consistent with a constant rate of adaptive substitution during human evolution. We show that a constant rate high enough to explain the number of recently selected variants would predict (i) site heterozygosity at least 10-fold lower than is observed in humans, (ii) a strong relationship of heterozygosity and local recombination rate, which is not observed in humans, (iii) an implausibly high number of adaptive substitutions between humans and chimpanzees, and (iv) nearly 100 times the observed number of high-frequency linkage disequilibrium blocks. Larger populations generate more new selected mutations, and we show the consistency of the observed data with the historical pattern of human population growth. We consider human demographic growth to be linked with past changes in human cultures and ecologies. Both processes have contributed to the extraordinarily rapid recent genetic evolution of our species.

    2. This demographic evolution ended in the 19th century with a sharp decline in fertility among the upper and middle classes. There were several reasons: increased availability of contraception; decline of the family and kinship as organizing principles of society; replacement of children with pensions as means of old age security; cult of the individual, etc. What would Britain be like today if this fertility decline had not happened? Interesting question. There would certainly have been more colonization in the “white dominions” and elsewhere. Britain might have become a permanent superpower and not merely a transient one.

    3. The demographic expansion of the middle class was not limited to England. It occurred throughout much of Western Europe after the end of the Dark Ages. I have argued that it was strongest in those areas where the economy was dominated by family workshops where successful craftsmen and craftswomen could expand their workforce only by having more children (as opposed to hiring people or buying slaves).

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2007/11/natural-selection-in-proto-industrial.html

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  • Sean,

    The word “important” is relative. For some people, it would be a sea-change to admit that human populations differ in any way at all, except for anatomical differences (which for some reason are more susceptible to natural selection than mental or behavioral traits).

    In European populations, an IQ of 80 is not normal. It usually results either from a recent deleterious mutation or from developmental errors in the fetal stage. In either case, the effects are wide-ranging. The person has trouble not only with abstract thinking but also with all forms of thinking.

    The situation is different when an IQ of 80 falls within the normal range of a population. In such cases, the person looks and acts normal, and you might think that the IQ test was improperly administered.

    The fall of communism had three causes:

    1. A worsening debt crisis.
    2. A growing realization among the ruling elites that something was fundamentally wrong.
    3. The effect of example.

    The dissidents were not responsible for either #1 or #3 but they did play a role in articulating #2. It’s not enough to have a feeling that something is wrong. You have to hear other people say so and explain why. Otherwise, you might conclude that nothing is wrong. Or you might think that something is wrong because you’re not trying hard enough to make the system work.

    #3 is the final stage. When you see change coming to other countries, you realize that change is indeed possible. Once communism began to collapse in Poland and Hungary, the process quickly spread to the rest of Eastern Europe.

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  • Sean, thanks for the link to John Hawks' blog; it's a fascinating piece, and I want to take some time to digest it. I have long recognized the importance of population to speed of change, but he notes some additional considerations that I need to mull over. One problem, though: I still don't see the justification for the "hundred-fold" increase in rate of change. But I'll need more time before I draw any firm conclusions.

    There are now more theories to explain the Industrial Revolution than there were to explain the Fall of Rome. In general, I find Dr. Clark's hypothesis to be one of the least convincing. Certainly his hypothesis may be a contributing factor, but certainly a very minor one. As you point out, The Most Powerful Idea in the World hits much closer to home on this point. (The book has been sitting next to my computer for the last week.)

    And of course, we can trace the foundations of the Industrial Revolution all the way back to the Bronze Age Collapse, if you want to reach far enough back.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If the nature of English society did indeed produce a genetically superior race, as Mr. Clark asserts, then why did it not continue its triumphs after the Industrial Revolution? Should not Great Britain have become the world super-power, and continued in that position to this day? How could the USA, with its large population of mongrel races from Germany, France, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Asia, have surpassed the superior English race? Quite troubling, this.

    The statistical foundation for Clark's thesis regarding the Industrial Revolution is really weak. He looks at England and Japan and China, and says that the wealthier classes were more fertile in England and that there was more downward mobility there that spread production-oriented values.

    Even if we grant this, there have been a large number of other stratified societies that had been in existence ever since the dawn of the neolithic. We're talking a huge number of agrarian societies that, over many millenia had the same nutritional deficits relative to hunter gatherers that supposedly was the "unique" selection regime of Great Britain.

    Even the Greeks had a blueprint for a steam engine. Why didn't their upper classes invest?

    No, what was unique about this era that resulted in the Industrial Revolution, was a confluence of 2 factors:

    1) What WD Hamilton calls the 800-year delay from invasion of barbarian pastoralists till renaissance "to bring the old mercantile thoughtfulness and the infused daring into conjunction in a few individuals who then find courage for all kinds of inventive innovation against the resistance of established thought and practice", and

    2) The unique-in-history event of a new hemisphere of land that was open to the labor of Great Britain so as to further weaken the forces of economic rent-seeking that operate as capital welfare, and substituting de facto slave labor for technology, and render investment capital risk averse. This helps explain why the upper classes of Greece didn't develop steam power: Their slaves had no where to escape.

    The mother of invention: Necessity.

    Labor was leaving Great Britain for the New World.

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  • Link for (1) shoud have been this from John Hawks. It's possible pre civilisation post Ice Age species wide evolution may have been the real key, see Domesticated Brain.

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  • Sean says:

    Chris, I suppose Peter might well wish to address your points in detail himself, but here is my effort for what it is worth:-

    (1) John Hawks seems to think there is hard evidence, see domesticated brains may have been the key.

    (2) Industrialisation blasted England out of the Malthusian trap that was culling the lower orders.

    (3) Well yes, though the character of the 'outsiders' who rise to power can vary I can think of a Corsican, an Austrian, and currently someone from Hawaii. The Most Powerful Idea in the World" Sir Edward Coke (pronounced ‘cook’), one of the most important legal theorists in history. This guy died in 1634, a century before the Industrial Revolution, but he did more to make it happen than anybody else, because he formulated the idea of the patent."

    "Thus, the advantage that Mr. Clark attributes to the English seems to have been present in Italy beforehand".

    Some city states of Italy were close, sure. I suppose they couldn't get it off the launch pad because there was not the population critical mass for beneficial genes to spread throughout the society. Hawks explains the way mutations spread in big populations if you are at all interested.

    Re. Chris follow up comment. I agree England may have had peculiar advantages, some tied up with it being on an island. And there are probably unknown reasons why countries have periods of disproportionate innovation that fade out. But some countries have never distinguished themselves so far. Others, like Scotland, have, despite being backward and poor (poorest in Europe for centuries).

    While Clark may not have the whole story, we can't discount the factor he has brought to light.

    ————–

    peppermint, I see Gregory Cochran as more of a Salieri.

    szopeno, It's mainly the same people at the top whatever the system. The system changes when they see there will be benefits for them, as there were for the communists who turned into bankers and are now are the main winners in Eastern Europe. Places like Romania have an elite, an accelerating exodus of all qualified people with marketable skills, and poor people who are in relative terms worse off than ever before.

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  • Anonymous wrote: "This could well have been more the case in England during a particular period than other societies."

    Indeed so; but *was* that the case? In the absence of comparative data, there is no foundation for a conclusion that this factor played a role in the difference between behavior in England and elsewhere.

    Has anybody carried out such a comparative study? I would have expected Dr. Clark to have followed up with such an analysis. Has he?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Moreover, I do not recall him doing a comparative study showing that social mobility in continental European societies was less than it was in England. As I recall, he merely showed the existence of social mobility in English society. So what?

    Clark has in fact, recently, found that a fairly constant level of social mobility is typical of societies.

    The issue is whether this is connected with reproductive advantage (e.g. what is the actual degree of real wealth disparity and how does this translate to family size, not mobility). This could well have been more the case in England during a particular period than other societies.

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  • szopen says: • Website


    Communism fall because it was required from most people living in double-thinking reality, lying, turning blind eye to many things and so on. In the same time not the most able raised to the top, but most able with the art of deception and political games.

    Most decent people could not practice this good enough, and there were only that few ideological, true-believing communist, which were rarely intelligent enough. As the result, at the top eventually you had bunch of opportunists which did not really believed what they were preaching. In 1989, when party had "test discussions" everyone wanted to play the role of the opposition, and no one could bring any examples against them.

    When elites don't care about the system, and population hates the system, system fall is inevitable. It's just question of time. In case of Poland, you could argue that it took at least 20 years, when elites already thought the system is bad.

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  • A few thoughts:

    1. What is the basis for the statement that human evolution has speeded up a hundred-fold since the rise of civilization? Is it based on genome analysis? Given the high amount of variance in populations, I would think that we would neither either stupendous changes to detect such a fast rate of change, or huge numbers of genome analyses to produce such a number.

    2. If the nature of English society did indeed produce a genetically superior race, as Mr. Clark asserts, then why did it not continue its triumphs after the Industrial Revolution? Should not Great Britain have become the world super-power, and continued in that position to this day? How could the USA, with its large population of mongrel races from Germany, France, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Asia, have surpassed the superior English race? Quite troubling, this.

    3. You might want to examine "Reason and Society in the Middle Ages", by Alexander Murray. He asserts that the selection process for rational thinking began much earlier, perhaps as early as the 11th century, and was not confined to England. For example, he provides a quotation from a Florentine bigwig named Bruni in 1428 on social mobility in that city:

    "The hope of winning public honors and ascending is the same for all, provided they possess industry and natural gifts, and lead a serious-minded and respected way of life… it is marvelous to see how powerful this access to public office, once it is offered to a free people, proves to be in awakening the talents of the citizens. For where men are given the hope of attaining honor in the state, they take courage and raise themselves to a higher plane; where they are deprived of that hope, they grow idle and lose their strength."

    Thus, the advantage that Mr. Clark attributes to the English seems to have been present in Italy beforehand. Moreover, I do not recall him doing a comparative study showing that social mobility in continental European societies was less than it was in England. As I recall, he merely showed the existence of social mobility in English society. So what?

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  • Sean says:

    "People believe because their friends and peers believe, and those people believe for the same reason. It's a vicious circle that will stop only when leading intellectuals begin to step forward. Cavalli-Sforza, for instance, could say a few words about Wade's book."

    I wonder, was the fall of communism in eastern Europe was due to principled critique from intellectuals. Or, was it because the authorities in countries where people had to stand in queues for hours to get bread, let the population (and even the Apparatchiks) see American programs like like 'Dallas'.

    The Western nomenclatura are going to have to see some advantage for themselves. One interesting difference between wolves and dogs is that if you give a wolf a difficult task it will keep on and on trying to find a way to get it done. Dogs will try and then attempt to get it's master to help.

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  • Sean says:

    70022853649Peter, the above terminology to explain adaptation is likely to result in a trench war, and get us nowhere. No one can deny a hell of a lot of selection happened to everyone, that is certain. The HBD position with rock solid support is it cannot be a default assumption that all populations have had the same pressures to adapt to; the unity of all humankind notwithstanding.

    I'm not so sure that the recent evolution known to be as important or intense as some of the books are claiming.

    Parallel selection pressures were still operating after races separated. The early modern Europeans of 20,000 years ago were huge and robust. This is the signature of selection for violence. Europeans lost a chunk of brain the size of a tennis ball after the Ice Age. "Bailey and Geary found population density did indeed track closely with brain size, but in a surprising way. When population numbers were low, as was the case for most of our evolution, the cranium kept getting bigger. But as population went from sparse to dense in a given area, cranial size declined in Europe, China, Africa, Malaysia”"(happened in Australia too). Also see here. I know you think it was hunting algorithms, but John Hawkes is still arguing about the cause of cranial reduction.

    There was a reduction in size, robustness and brain. All this is quite comparable to the changes seen in domesticated animals. The human species became tamer and less violent; which was due to increased population density at the end of the last Ice Age, there was selection for social adaptations instead of violence. This explains why it isn't just the populations that lived in advanced civilisations that lack brutal psychopathy as a default.

    The main danger for HBD is overstating the differences between, for instance, English and Nigerians, because very many people will bring to mind 100% sub Saharan Africans they know who seem not so different to Europeans in social behaviour; at least not to the extent that 10,000 years of completely different selection would suggest. Civilisation is recent and more intense version of hunter gatherer domestication that had already been around for a very long time among hunter gatherers, and eliminated the main cause of violent death. The lion's share of the elimination of violence may well have happened happened thousands of years before the first civilisations.

    Countless books on psychology implicitly claim that this elimination of endemic individual violence was the worst thing that ever happened to humanity. That is what writers do when religion and nationalism are cited as the most destructive ideas of all time and to blame for all humanity's troubles, like race or 'essentialism'. All these culprits are merely proxies for group thinking, which is actually what allowed humans to progress to a more benevolent existence, even before agriculture.

    So in a nutshell there should never be any kind of implied analogy within living modern humankind to domesticated and wild, to dogs and wolves: all humans are domesticated.

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  • In sum, total genetic variation poorly mirrors genetic variation in adaptive traits, be they morphological, behavioral, or physiological. Keep in mind that a new species typically arises when a founder group buds off from a parent population and enters a new environment with new selection pressures. The new selection pressures, however, will leave most of its genome unchanged. In some cases, this is because the gene itself has little adaptive value (e.g., most genetic markers), often being no more than ‘junk DNA’. In other cases, the gene’s variants are equally adaptive in a variety of organisms. Many blood polymorphisms span not only different species but even different genera. In terms of the ABO system, for instance, a person may have more in common with some apes than with other people [15].

    Of course, once the two populations have become reproductively isolated, they no longer accumulate the same mutations and will drift apart at all gene loci, including the many that weakly respond to natural selection. But this process is slow. For example, redpoll finches diverged into two species some fifty thousand years ago and have distinct phenotypes, yet their mitochondrial DNA shows a single undifferentiated gene pool [16]. The past ten thousand years have seen dogs diverge into distinct breeds, which nonetheless cannot be told apart by genetic markers. In fact, greater mtDNA differences exist within the single breeds of Doberman pinscher or poodle than between dogs and wolves [6].

    One might argue that humans have artificially created dog breeds by using limited criteria that involve a small set of genes. This objection is not wholly true. Many breeds, such as dingoes, originated in prehistory long before kennel clubs. More to the point, if one argues that artificial selection acts on relatively few genes, it does not follow that natural selection acts on the whole genome. In fact, we are still looking at a small set of genes, a larger one than what dog breeders use, but still much smaller than the genome. It is no surprise, then, that human populations overlap so much genetically. They began to move apart only some fifty thousand years ago.

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  • Anon,

    For more discussion of #5, you can read:
    Frost, P. (2011). Human nature or human natures? Futures, 43, 740–748

    The following is an excerpt:

    The same genetic overlap exists not only between populations of one species, like our own, but also between related species, like canids. “[U]sing genetic and biochemical methods, researchers have shown domestic dogs to be virtually identical in many respects to other members of the genus. … there is less mtDNA difference between dogs, wolves and coyotes than there is between the various ethnic groups of human beings, which are recognized as belonging to a single species” [6, p. 32-33].

    Many other examples could be cited. In the deer family, we see more genetic variability within some species than between some genera [7]. Some masked shrew populations are genetically closer to prairie shrews than they are to other masked shrews [8]. Only a minority of mallards cluster together on an mtDNA tree, the rest being scattered among black ducks [9]. All six species of Darwin’s ground finches seem to form a genetically homogeneous genus with very little concordance between mtDNA, nuclear DNA, and morphology [10]. In terms of genetic distance, redpoll finches from one species are not significantly closer to each other than are redpolls from different species [11]. Among the haplochromine cichlids of Lake Victoria, it is extremely difficult to find interspecies differences in either nuclear or mitochondrial genes, even though these fishes are well differentiated morphologically and behaviorally [12]. Neither mtDNA nor allozyme alleles distinguish the various species of Lycaedis butterflies, despite clear differences in morphology [13]. An extreme example is a dog tumor that spreads to other dogs through sexual contact: canine transmissible venereal sarcoma (CTVS). It looks and acts like an infectious microbe, yet its genes would reveal a canid and conceivably some beagles may be genetically closer to it than to Great Danes [14].

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  • Well, before Wade we have Hart and "Understanding Human history"

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I use to forget about the #5 point with regards to Lewontin's Fallacy. It's a really important idea to keep in mind. Anyway, I still prefer Edwards' criticism, even if it is less easy to explain. It's not just that more adaptive alleles don't vary within populations as much as "neutral" ones: besides that, the genetic information is structured. When several loci are considered at the same time, you can build phylogenetic trees where everybody will find a place.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Genetic_Diversity:_Lewontin's_Fallacy

    It's my understanding that this latter fact is even more undermining of Lewontin's trick.

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  • Sean says:

    From what I can gather, Wade apparently says the 20's American dysgenics movement led to gassing of handicapped in (wartime) Germany, and also 'ideas about race are dangerous when linked to political agendas'. here.

    Wade accepts that hereditarianism was an 'intellectual influence on Hitler'. I think it is relevant that, given the Nazi regime, WW2 was the causal factor in the killing of the (German) handicapped, other atrocities. US academics were not causal in German National Socialism. What was, was… Hitler. And anyone who knows anything about Hitler knows he was inspired by the operas of Wagner. Rienzi seems to have had a tremedous effect on him as an adolescent. Hitler came to lead Germany through his extraordinary oratorical gift for speaking convincingly (which was remarked on while he was still in his teens) and single mindedness. He also had the inestimable advantage of Marxist fertiliser to make his movement grow. It owed nothing at all to hereditarianism.

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  • Anon,

    Admixture, in itself, does not fall under evolution by natural selection. You have to show that the admixture is adaptive, i.e., it provides useful alleles that would not otherwise be available. There is some evidence that this is the case, although it also looks like most of the archaic admixture provided nothing useful to modern humans.

    There was a lot of talk that the derived Microcephalin allele was of Neanderthal origin. This turned out to be false; so people are now wary of the hypothesis that archaic admixture helped make modern humans what they are today.

    Sean,

    There's also a lot of groupthink. People believe because their friends and peers believe, and those people believe for the same reason. It's a vicious circle that will stop only when leading intellectuals begin to step forward. Cavalli-Sforza, for instance, could say a few words about Wade's book.

    Most money-making opportunities involve outsourcing of jobs to low-wage countries and insourcing of low-wage labor. So billionaires
    have a vested interest in globalism. Wade's book throws a spanner into their dreams of easy money.

    Peppermint,

    It's more exact to say that Greg Cochran is both John the Baptist and Christ. As the space of discourse expands, he and others like him will be able to reach a broader audience. The process will feed on itself. The important thing today is to move beyond the blogosphere and reach people via the traditional media.

    Pseudoerasmus,

    It will be interesting to read what Gregory Clark has to say about Wade's book.

    Anon,

    Or human-directed evolution?

    Anon I,

    This is a recurring pattern. New ways of thinking are initially bottled up in the "anti-culture" — the part of a society's culture that has no legitimacy and is systematically ignored by mainstream discourse. People nonetheless become exposed to the anti-culture while not openly acknowledging its existence. This situation can continue for a certain time but it becomes more and more fragile to the extent that mainstream discourse fails to provide believable answers. A crisis may eventually develop where secret disenchantment with mainstream discourse reaches a critical mass.

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  • Peter, could you elaborate on point 5 making illustrative examples?

    Thanks you very much. I am a layman in genetics.

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  • Sean says:

    NYT on Wade's book The Reviewer considers that even to say "social institutions and culture explain why Europe beat Asia to prosperity, and why parts of the Mideast and Africa continue to suffer destabilizing violence and misery" is 'controversial'. Wade gives evolutionary explanations while being "surprisingly sanguine assumptions about the ability of science to generate facts free from the cultural mesh of its times."

    Arthur Allen suggests what gave, and gives, hereditarian ideas their credibility was a "tendency to support what powerful people wanted to believe?". I was not aware of any billionaire or politician who backs HBD.

    Mr. Arthur ends his review by pointedly quoting Ludwik Fleck. Bruno Latour named Fleck “the founder of sociology of science”. Latour is worth harkening to:-

    "Modernity, in Latour’s view, is the attempt at a double purifying movement. The world is split into two mutually exclusive zones: nature and society. Nature is single and absolute, an armada of objective facts about atoms and other hard red billiard balls, pure in their resistance to any human interference. On the flip side, cultures are numerous, arbitrary, and merely perspectival without any binding claim of one over the other. As Latour puts it in his Politics of Nature, multiculturalism is always allied with a mononaturalism. The modern world swings wildly from one pole to the other, but remains constant in always denouncing the other. We can take the nature side, and denounce the sophists who pervert truth with base political motives. Or we can take the society pole and denounce those who believe in objective truth, celebrating the collapse of all objective reality, championing the multitude of diverse social perspectives, shouting out to the world that the high priests of truth are merely manipulating a cloak of objectivity to cover selfish power-interests. To repeat, these two positions, mononaturalism and multiculturalism, seem like the most extreme opponents, but are really two symptoms of the same mistake. Both employ the critical method of denunciation, getting rid of all natural reality on the one hand or all perspective and power on the other. Both attitudes are simply forms of metaphysics in thbad, old-fashioned sense, taking one layer of reality to be the genuine article, and explaining all others in terms of it, reducing them to mere derivatives, flickering shadows in the caves of the deluded. Modernity consists in the theory that our enemies are trapped in the cave, bewitched by superstitions or language or power-games, while we ourselves stand above the fray. The modernist is at bottom a fundamentalist, issuing death warrants for Infidel Nature or Infidel Society. Knowledge will come from exterminating all toxic residues of the enemy."

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  • This is a great article, Peter! I hadn't really realized or considered your point 5 before; nor had I ever heard of Robert Chambers. It's interesting to see this kind of pattern occurring even in Darwin's day.

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  • "Cultural evolution diversified the range of human environments."

    artificial evolution

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  • I'm not sure what to make of Wade's more speculative claims he makes about changes in social behavior since the Middle Ages.

    It's not Wade's claims, they are Gregory Clark's claims, and they are not nearly as speculative as everyone makes out -/ especially if you look at the Clarkian "survival of the richest" in IQ terms, which Clark does not. But what Clark actually documented in probate records ia remarkable — an actual eugenic effect in historical time. This has got to be as close to an actual witnessing of human evolution by natural selection as it is possible to get. Almost like watching moths adapt colours in response to the industrial revolution, or finches' beaks evolving. Yet this "social phenotype" evidence is dismissed by many because it's not accompanied by genomic data. But by that standard most evolutionary arguments from phenotype are pure speculations.

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  • Is Nicholas Wade John the Baptist or Jesus Christ? Personally, I think Gregory Cochran and an army of HBD bloggers are John the Baptist, and Wade gets to be Christ, but maybe society still isn't ready for HBD.

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  • Sean says:

    At present genetic equality is officially assumed, it follows that disparate impact is evidence of racial discrimination (though the rubric isn't officially applied to immigration, yet). What motivates Wade and others to try and get hard empirical science accepted is a belief that certain societal arrangements would be modified.

    Those speaking against Chambers were worried what would logically follow, or happen, were his ideas to be accepted; "evolutionary theories were exceedingly unpopular, except among political radicals". Chambers's book was popular, but the sky didn't fall in. Darwin benefited because the real opposition to him was of a similar type.

    It's quite clear that Wade's topic is treated with a lack of realism whenever it is discussed merely from a hard science merits perspective. Supposing points 1-5 were known to be correct; would it necessarily follow, given current Western ethical premises, that society ought to acknowledge those facts? I don't think so.

    Bear in mind than people like Bryan Caplan ignore the fact that in Western society hurting others is a fast track to being locked up or worse, and implicitly claim that our felt 'moral obligations' are what is responsible for us not acting like Nazi psychopaths (which he appears to believe is the natural default condition for humans).

    Until it's shown that human decency will not be greatly changed by accepting the reality of human evolution, it's going to be rejected by the establishment.
    There needs to be more, much more, explained about the genetic basis of decency and morality, so that we can all be be reassured. Until then:-

    "MAN is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he's not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed…in the Twilight Zone."

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I'm not sure what to make of Wade's more speculative claims he makes about changes in social behavior since the Middle Ages. But the fundamental premise of his work is compelling.

    Humans clearly have undergone quite a lot of evolution since they dispersed from East Africa. Most human populations have clearly experienced considerable physical evolution, much of it in the last 15,000 years. This is particularly well illustrated by the fact that the earliest people in the Americas looked quite different from recent Native Americans despite being unmistakably ancestral to them genetically.

    If selective pressures acting on a small number of genes could exert a significant impact on the external anatomy of various populations since the end of the Pleistocene, there seems little reason to rule out the possibility that the same process could have molded genes affecting the brain or the endocrine system.

    One thing that surprised me about Wade's book is that he neglects discussion of Neanderthal and Denisovan admixture in non-Africans – not to mention the less-discussed but accumulating evidence for archaic back-crossing within Africa itself. It's a curious omission because these discoveries, if anything, strengthen his case for copious, recent, regional evolution.

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  • Crystal Gayle, American country music singer (source). In humans of Eurasian origin, head hair can grow down to the mid-back and even farther. Long silky hair must have evolved relatively late, certainly no earlier than the last 50,000 years. All of us are born pale, and this infant pallor is striking in otherwise dark-skinned families....
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    And Anonymous I, who considers this an example of where your "on your firmest ground", because things like hair length are directly observable. And that "you could hammer these sexual selection issues endlessly without ever prompting opponents to cobble together an opposing view that hung together at all. "

    Another:

    "African hair is short, and structurally and constrained to being short, because it is curled (structural weakness is then length inhibiting). So its an interesting question as to why it is curled."

    With this, I guess it really might not be far fetched to say you really haven't seen or heard of an afro.

    And of course Jayman, the black-chinese HBD nerd who has this fixation on propping up whatever theories are churned out by the HBD set, even if it's utter garbage like Lynn's theories on Italy, which are almost exclusively subscribed to by nordicists (and now a black HBD nerd apparently.) I personally don't see anything truly pathological about a black person being interested or admitting "HBD", and I see accusations of "self-hatred" as being very simplistic and short-sighted, but who really knows with this weirdo.

    This post says mountains about the ultimate validity of your theories, scholarship and general thinking. There's really not much else to say about something this pathetic and clueless.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Rereading this post again, I think I was too kind on it in the past. It's completely moronic and reflects an astonishing lack of awareness and knowledge of basic human variation on your part, and it's even worse for the fact this is largely a reiteration of a post of yours from 2008, showing you've learned absolutely nothing since then (but it begs asking why how you'd go throughout your life to write something so ignorant and misinformed.) Now, it'd be one thing to argue that the slower growth and shorter growth phase is consistent with your theories of sexual selection (though european hair grows more slowly than asian hair), or how women wearing short hair being so widespread across africa might reflect cultural norms that are possibly consistent (but then there's all the other populations with similar hair, and khoisan, whom you hold up as an example of monogamy lightening skin color, have the most tightly coiled hair of all populations, and seldom grow it out), but to the point you'd honestly claim that not only that these populations cannot grow abundant hair, but that afro-type hair cannot grow in abundance, and that only hair that grows downward is inherently feminine/attractive is absolutely breathtaking.

    Your only citation that african hair can't grow more than a few inches is Darwin, and your citation on new guineans says nothing about what length it can grow. And for the record, here's some of those "naturally short haired" new guineans:
    http://afroglitz.com/tag/new-guinea/
    http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldy4a1JmCI1qce4odo1_500.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/vsk0i.jpg

    And here's other melanesians:
    http://i.gyazo.com/8110ef6b9d31f4b828bfe70134757a66.png
    http://i.gyazo.com/fbadeb9d9e6af6757fb88baba1ef9214.png
    http://archives.pireport.org/archive/2009/August/heroes.jpg (note bougainville islanders are the darkest melansians.)

    I could go on, but you don't have to look far at all to find pictures of papuans/melanesians with abundant hair. Yet you still wrote something as absurd as papuans being "naturally short-haired". And I can't find too many clear instances of ones with coiled hair straightening their hair (they

    And outward hair styles have hardly been considered unattractive or unpopular in east asian/european cultures (contrary to your fixation on only long, downward hair being attractive):
    http://i.gyazo.com/4c075547b804f32fca3aec14a8b97f52.png
    http://i.gyazo.com/ab5cd431a0345da83d39f493043d2e5e.png

    It's also remarkable just how many of your readers don't call you out on any of us- like Sean, one of your neurotic fanboys (along with Tod and Ben10) throwing in how "to look more feminine is to look more white" because of northern europeans having less body hair than "other peoples" (I assume he means other caucasoids, which isn't saying much) and blondes having more hair on their scalp- I could say a lot about that, but for the record, there's not a word about this leaving white men more feminine (although he seems to possibly accept this to an extent judging by his comments about Danes in "Survival of the Cutest"), and it turns out red heads have the fewest hairs: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4GMbPmmWPTsC&pg=PA210&dq=hair+density+blondes&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UMNMU7eNOIeU2wWzuYCwDg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=hair%20density%20blondes&f=false

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It's been a couple months, but a few other things regarding a more recent post in relation to this one: http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2014/02/slc24a5-reply-to-greg-cochran.html

    You're right that ethiopian religious art often depicts lighter skin tones than the average Ethiopian, but I believe this ethiopian religious art is primarily made by the Amhara, who inhabit the northern reaches of the country. I some days ago came across a page that depicted averages of north, south, east and western ethiopians, and northern ethiopians were the lightest of all, and didn't seem much different from the range in ethiopian church art.

    And in relation to the post about Eric Lafforgue's photography, ethiopians and eritreans do not have that pattern of female work division and are generally lighter than other africans.

    And going back to the ethiopian church art, you might notice that the majority of the time, people, even angels, whether male or female, are depicted with afros- just google "ethiopian art" or "ethiopian church art". Doesn't really square with your naive, ethnocentric fixation on straight hair being indisputably the most attractive, which of course, unlike tropical hair, can't grow out.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I shouldn't have said you haven't outlined any good reasons why, but they aren't very convincing- I feel you give a simplistic treatment of curly hair, such as never highlighting how it can grow it out, along with a number of other things. Straight hair is also predominantly recessive in humans, and I'd question the inherent feminine selective value of a trait that works like that. Not to mention when you look at many human populations in question, things become more muddied- while jews might not be a very good counter point in face of their peculiar history, many middle easterners show relatively high frequencies of curly hair, and even southern europeans do. Curly hair wasn't uncommon on ancient greco-roman statues of women. Not to mention that many dark skinned, tropical, non african polygynous populations exhibit curly hair that is quite wavy or much straighter than africans, and the highly monogamous khoi have the most tightly coiled hair of all.

    And in regards to Sean's first post, where do you get the idea Europeans have less hair than other peoples? Maybe less than other caucasoids, but europeans are generally hairy and certainly much hairier than africans and asians.

    And Frost, where have you heard that albinos are disliked mainly because of their inability to work? I imagine that's a sizable factor, but disparaging of albinos seems to primarily focus on the ugliness of their pale skin from what I've seen.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This post is really grating in how it constantly acts as if non-eurasians can't grow long hair naturally. Well, they technically can't, but the hair of populations like africans, negritos, and australo-melanesians grows outward as opposed to downwards, and can grow in great abundance, with what's usually called an afro. What I don't understand with many of these populations, though mainly in the case of africans, is how so many of them, women included, keep their hair very short or shave it altogether. It's very widespread among africans (except for east africans), and much less common among australo-melanesians and negritos (I've only really seen andamanese cut their hair short, though, and to a lesser extent malaysian negritos.) While these populations typically have less tightly coiled hair than africans, the growth pattern is very similar. And eurasians that DO have curly hair (mainly jews, middle easterners, to a lesser extent europeans and occasionally japanese) which grows outwards don't shave their heads either.

    It only really seems to be africans that keep their hair so short, and I really don't know why. It's even seen among more isolated populations, who are also more monogamous, like the khoi and pygmies, even though they're all perfectly capable of growing out their hair. My impression is that "curly" hair can appear equally as feminine as straight/wavy when grown out at a relatively shorter length as compared to straight hair when grown at a longer length down the head because curly hair is more greatly concentrated than straight hair, making it appear more abundant. There's also the fact that long straight hair is more generally going to be going down someone's back, whereas a large afro is going to be much more prominent.

    And while I agree that straight hair is intrinsically shinier than curly hair (it's simple physics due to the refraction of light), there's also an issue of proportions- it's possible for hair to appear as too shiny, which is hardly an uncommon complaint if you google, not to mention straight hair can easily become dull, and natural "wavy" hair is technically less shiny than straight hair, even though women all over make their hair wavy.

    I fully recognize how vastly more popular straight/wavy hair is on the world stage, and while I agree with many of your writings on beauty in the long run, this post is just incredibly flimsy, especially in face of basic things like how short straight hair is hardly unpopular or unfeminine, and also with men wearing long hair (though for this to work, I'd say a man has to look masculine). You seem to have almost a naive fixation on tying in eurasian features with sexual selection and hyping them up to such a degree. I really don't think there's any genuine reason why curly, african type hair when grown out can't be seen as attractive as straight hair. You really haven't outlined any good reasons why.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Anonymous: "There is a strain of R1B2 that jumped across the Sahara 15,000 ybp. The first assumption has been that young warriors made the trek. That's doubtful. Far, far, more likely is that Sahel raiders swooped down on some hot babes — and upon their return, knocked them up silly. In contrast, a male warrior crew would've been wiped out. They would've not been in a position to protect their progeny."

    What are you even saying? Do you not understand how the Y-chromosome is inherited?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As seen in "Lawrence of Arabia" ancient man engaged in 'clan meals.'

    That is, the entire clan ate from the same super sized 'pot.' All of the females would contribute their labor. All of the men would eat first. THEN the women — and their children would be able to eat — with the mothers feeding their first-born sons FIRST.

    He was her 'retirement package.' With his maturity, she'd be set for life. If she had no sons then she was without.

    And, of course, the fertile women were always younger — on average — than the successfully mating males. This is echoed today in Hollywood: male stars still are rated sexy thirty-years after the bloom is off a female rose. (55 vs 25)

    Really small kills would not get this treatment, the clan feast.

    But, the supposition being made is that ancient Europeans were engaged in big game hunting. In such a scenario, no-one is left hungry — or everyone starves together. The nuclear family is eons into the future.

    This clan communism is seen all across the planet with primitive tribes. The casino tribes of California still practice it. Other than the chief and some hangers-on, the entire tribe gets the same slice of the money.(as they define the terms)

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The ancient ways are still with us…

    But, so culturally shifted as to go unconnected.

    ======

    Over the years, mega-fauna traps have been discovered — stampede killing falls. Some date back before Hss.

    The ancient way of killing a Mastodon was by of traps. Being so big, the scheme was to harass the prey until it fled across a pre-dug series of punji traps. As any survivalist could tell you, traps — all traps — work best when the prey is vectored into the killing zone by visual obstructions.

    For humanity, the technique was ALWAYS clan based — as in EVERYONE possible was in on the hunt/ forced game trapping.

    This is still true with the San tribe in Africa. The kids and pregnant gals troop right along with the hunt. (!) This was recorded by PBS out of Boston in the mid-1970s. It's out there on Youtube.

    There is a consequence: clan communism. The kill(s) were ALWAYS spread communally. It's just that such spreading was also by (caste) rank. In that, it was similar to lion prides. The boys ate first — all at the same time — and then it was women's turn. The kids got whatever their mother's permitted/ enabled.

    Clan promiscuity was high. Based on their practices, male parentage had to be iffy.

    Such cousin-sex was pervasive — and had to have generated no end of birth defects.

    This is seen today in KSA: the WHO reports that an unbelievable 25% of Arab births in that desert land show obvious signs of birth defects.

    Arab society hides these embarrassments behind veils and walls.

    It's also a HUGE driver for out-mating. Swooping a virgin from a far land is even now deemed (procreative) jihad.

    The utter lack of diversity in the ancient gene pool drove countless sex raids. Humanity is, compared to most species, still quite inbred.

    One of the dominant reasons for the physical growth of post-war Japanese was the reblending of their own gene pool. Before defeat, most Japanese were mating with their cousins. It was legally impossible to mate far from home.

    Red China is undergoing the same dynamic. IQs are ramping up, too.

    Inbreeding is also the ultimate driver behind Polynesian royal impulses to marry off local girls with White Englishmen so immediately.

    And, of course, it was the dominant reason for the White slave trade in the Dark Ages. Rampant polygamy among the elites had resulted in successive generations (of elites) being massively inbred.

    I maintain that most of the 'natural selection' within the human genome was via extremely violent warfare. Further, those unusually attractive females swooped via bloodshed were put to 'maximum reproductive use.'

    In effect, they'd be married off to a prince of the conquering clan — becoming a princess in the bargain.

    This theme of female conquest is embedded across human culture. The attributes that would allow a pretty gal to survive while her sisters were slain are not immaterial.

    There is a strain of R1B2 that jumped across the Sahara 15,000 ybp. The first assumption has been that young warriors made the trek. That's doubtful. Far, far, more likely is that Sahel raiders swooped down on some hot babes — and upon their return, knocked them up silly. In contrast, a male warrior crew would've been wiped out. They would've not been in a position to protect their progeny.

    In Afghanistan, protecting the females from neighboring tribal sex raids is an obsession. Take a wild guess where and when they picked up that tick.

    Bride stealing — and the dynamics of it — is the BEST explanation for hyper-selection of beauty traits. No-one is going to haul an ugly babe across the planet. Only 'princess quality' will do. Then, she'll be kept busy making new clansmen — and how.

    So it's a two-fer: ugly babes are liquidated during the raid, the pretty ones are kidnapped. Their bothers and fathers get whacked. And the process never lets up. It's still a dynamic that's of critical concern today.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Humanity is just NOT able to run down prey (big game) in a European setting. It's too cool."

    They could if they could get close enough to throw a javelin into it first as it will slow and eventually drop from the blood loss.

    So…animal skins to disguise scent, sneak up as close as possible, get javelin(s) into big game, arrow(s) into smaller game, follow the blood trail. Bingo.

    Being tall would be good if the game you were after better suited javelins than arrows, long arms and long legs would make for better leverage. You could throw from further away, less chance of being detected.

    For example a Bison, I doubt an arrow would cause enough blood loss to slow it down enough – but a javelin might.

    Tall chaps those Cheyenne.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "It's hard to believe that there was any rejection of fertile women in the ancient age."

    Having sex is one thing. Feeding the children is a completely different thing. If you can't feed the resulting children then it doesn't matter how much sex you have.

    In an environment where feeding the chidren *requires* male help and where a man physically can't feed more than one family then polygyny becomes literally pointless.

    The only question then is do polygyny supporting traits remain dominant but latent in that kind of environment or do dominant monogamy supporting traits develop to reinforce the behavior (with the older polygyny supporting traits remaining in the population but becoming recessive).

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is a remarkable first contact account written by a French cleric centuries past.

    Of his many astounding discoveries:

    Bear meat (particularly male bears) was prized beyond all other game. It was only huntable in the fall, fully fattened and newly hibernating. One might imagine that they were gassed (smoke) in their dens.

    With success, the men — and ONLY the men — would feast non-stop for days. More at as an orgy of food. There was one exception for some women, their mothers, just the mothers of the men of the hunt.

    Remarkably, the rest of the clan was completely frozen out. They were ejected from the eating lodge — to survive under open skies and on no food at all, save what they, themselves, could scrape up on their own. (!)

    So much for the men providing for their wives and children!

    Infant mortality was so high that it amounted to post-natal abortion.

    Under feeding the women/ lovers/ kids was not any kind of concern whatsoever. This attitude was universal to that which they, themselves, were born and raised in. EVERY clan operated in this fashion.

    Their number one, universal, concern was not finding food — but keeping other clans off their hunting ground.

    'Poaching' as an issue has been recorded by Goodall — with chimps. It goes millions of years into our past.

    The idea that ancient man was a hunter, per se, is entirely wrong, and has led to no end of modern confusion.

    While Africans ARE hunters, ancient Europeans weren't. The evidence is overwhelming: our ancestors were TRAPPERS.

    Even today, North Pacific tribes feast on netted/ trapped salmon — and ultra slow moving clams.

    Baltic recoveries show that the classic horn style, wicker fish trap is at least 9,000 years old. Since it takes no tools, figure it to be at least 60,000 years old, and picked up from the Neanderthals.

    Likewise, herd traps have been spotted (from orbit) all across the Middle East. The ancient way of 'hunting' was to drive the beasts onto a trap/ pit/ enclosure… You can forget bows and arrows as being anything more than harassment fires.

    The vast bulk of game was obtained by trapping it.

    Even today, the first lessons from any survivalist turn on fire, pure water … and TRAPS, snare traps being possible without any tools at all. (Well, beyond breaking branches and busting rocks.)

    Humanity is just NOT able to run down prey (big game) in a European setting. It's too cool.

    It works in Africa — because we can drive game into heat stroke. That gambit is why Hss is naked in the first place.

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  • Re. the argument that blue eyes are recessive and thus could not have been favored by sexual selection. Could consanguineous marriage have had some bearing on that?

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  • Anon,

    Non-brown eyes are common throughout Europe, but the highest prevalences are in the north and east.

    Sean,

    I suspect that these regional differences developed towards the end of the ice age, when the retreating steppe-tundra became more discontinuous.

    Anon,

    Our view of "primitive societies" has been influenced by ethnographic accounts from highly polygnous societies in sub-Saharan Africa and Papua/New Guinea, i.e., where the polygyny rate is over 10% of all mated couples. In such societies, there is almost no reproductive wastage among women of reproductive age.

    But once the polygyny rate dips below 10%, many women remain unmated during part of their reproductive years. This is especially the case with widows.

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  • I think Peter's argument is that where the only food source was on the hoof in risky terrain, men often died on hunting trips; surviving men took their pick among women, who had to grab male attention with striking hair. Most men had their work cut out to provide for even one wife and kids, so almost all those trying to practice polygyny might as well have been looking at porn on the internet for all the reproductive fitness they enjoyed.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    High latitudes required full body furs/ skins/ which would've certainly suppressed most markers for sex.

    Tales such as the Rape of the Sabine Women are but a sliver of history. As seen in the plains North Americans, raiding women and killing rivals was normative for eons of time.

    Long hair would've been CRITICAL during such altercations so that females looked like opportunities instead of complications. In this, they'd be a counter-point to facial hair: beards.

    It's easy to posit that such raids would certainly involve combat from a distance, so a sexual uniform paid off big, particularly one that works even when facing away and wearing lots of bulky furs.

    It's hard to believe that there was any rejection of fertile women in the ancient age. You don't see it in primitive societies. Polygamy solves the problem. Even the not so hot babes are going to see action when when the hotties are swollen with child.

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  • Peter, yes they are apparently. I think divergent evolution of the post hunter-gatherer population would have to be invoked to explain the curly red, and golden hair found in west coast Ireland. Ireland (and adjacent areas of Scotland) has far too much red hair for any other explanation to make sense.

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  • Green eyes and light brown eyes (sometimes hazel eyes) are common in the Southern Europe (Mediterranean).

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  • Anon,

    In his comments on this blog.

    Sean,

    You're right. Among blue eye allele heterozygotes, 16% have blue or grey eyes, 10% green eyes, 47% hazel eyes, and 27% brown eyes.

    Branicki, W., U. Brudnik, and A. Wojas-Pelc. (2009). Interactions between HERC2, OCA2 and MC1R may influence human pigmentation phenotype, Annals of Human Genetics, 73,160–170.

    Henry and Greg are referring to the mtDNA studies that show a sharp genetic divide between late hunter-gatherers and early farmers in Europe. This would suggest that the original inhabitants of Europe were replaced by farmers of Middle Eastern origin.

    The problem with this argument is that the genetic divide actually extends into the period between the earliest farmers and somewhat later farmers. What happened was not population replacement but natural selection.

    I discussed this point in an earlier post:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2012/05/who-were-ancestors-of-modern-europeans.html

    But just think. Some Finnish peoples were hunter-gatherers until historic times. The Baltic peoples (Latvians and Lithuanians) were hunter-gatherers until 3,000 years ago. Clearly, those peoples were not replaced, yet they look very similar to other northern and eastern Europeans. Are Greg and Henry suggesting that there was some kind of convergent evolution going on?

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  • Re.traits.

    Although men are more likely to have blue eyes while women are more likely to have green eyes, hazel eyes are surely a more common outcome of one copy of the recessive than any kind of green. Green eyes are rather unusual. As I understand it, Peter's theory would predict that the unusual color would tend (I've got green eyes) to occur in females.

    I asked Professor Harpending about this at his blog, and I gather C&H think the later DNA evidence rules out what they said in the 10,000 Year Explosion about the ancestors of modern Europeans having been mainly European hunter gatherers. As I understand it they now think the original inhabitants of Europe were completely replaced, and the hair and eye colours may have originated in Kurgans.

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  • In the case of European hair and eye colors, Greg will keep bringing up the argument that blue eyes are recessive and thus could not have been favored by sexual selection.

    Is this in his book "The 10,000 Year Explosion" or on blogs?

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  • JayMan,

    Thanks!

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  • Anon and Anon,

    To my knowledge, Greg has not written extensively on sexual selection. He just has a strong aversion to it (like many other people, incidentally). When a person develops a strong opinion on something, it's difficult to talk him or her out of it. In the case of European hair and eye colors, Greg will keep bringing up the argument that blue eyes are recessive and thus could not have been favored by sexual selection. Actually, the blue eye allele is not truly recessive. If you have only one copy, a range of phenotypic outcomes is possible, the most common one being green eyes.

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  • Anon,

    This is part of the larger question as to why sexual selection of women was stronger in western Eurasia than in eastern Eurasia. In eastern Eurasia, the steppe-tundra zone was farther north and farther removed from the moderating influences of the Atlantic Ocean. It thus suppported a smaller human population and was devoid of human life at the height of the last glacial maximum. As a result, intense sexual selection was less sustainable.

    This being said, there is a significant incidence of light hair color and light eye color among Inuit of the western Canadian Arctic. For a long time, this was attributed to Viking admixture, but recent studies have failed to find European admixture in this population. It seems to have been an in situ evolutionary development. See Wikipedia entry on "Blond Eskimos."

    Anon,

    I know evolutionary psychologists who feel that long silky hair is an indicator of health. In Africa, the evidence points in the opposite direction. AIDS-compromised individuals are more likely to grow silky hair. See the article by Ajose.

    Anon,

    To begin with, light female skin is already regarded with some ambivalence in sub-Saharan Africa. Lighter-skinned women are appreciated aesthetically but they are not considered to be hard workers, particularly for work that requires lengthy sun exposure. This is a critical factor in societies where women do most of the fieldwork.

    In the tropical zone, anti-albino prejudice centers mainly on their inability to work. Their skin is also marred by freckling and the effects of repeated sunburning:

    "Albinos, the extreme of paleness, however, are not admired, as their skins lack the essential smoothness and uniformity of texture and their many physical infirmities in any event render them repulsive to normal Ibo."

    Ardener, E.W. (1954). Some Ibo attitudes to skin pigmentation, Man, 54, 71-73.

    "Albinos, with their flaxen hair and long golden body fluff, their enormous freckles, as if something dirty and brown had been splashed over them, produce an unpleasant impression on European and native alike."

    Malinowski, B. (1932).The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 255

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  • Great post, as per usual. :)

    I will note that my wife's hair (NW & NE Euro mix) reaches to the middle of her back.

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  • Can anyone point me to Greg Cochran's arguments against sexual selection?

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  • Peter,

    I think you're on your firmest ground when you discuss issues like these. Hair length and skin pigmentation are directly observable, your thinking is quite straightforward, and the theory fits the facts very well. I think you do less well when you look more at psychological matters – your unfamiliarity with trait psychology and intelligence puts you a bit out of water. But I think you could hammer these sexual selection issues endlessly without ever prompting opponents to cobble together an opposing view that hung together at all. The irony is, of course, that your claims about sexual selection and pigmentation are among the most emotionally difficult things you present. (And it probably only gets worse if other areas of physique, like breast firmness, were to be considered!)

    Also, as an aside, I think Greg Cochran is an example of someone "too smart for his own good;" he's clearly brilliant, but many of his claims (e.g. sexual selection being unscientific) are just not well thought out. There seems to be a lot of knee jerk thinking at west hunter, arising from the (not unreasonable) belief that most people are rather dumb. I find it takes a certain wisdom or finesse to be able to know when one is smarter than others, but still avoid lapsing into dogmatism and dismissal of other people's ideas.

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  • The photographer Eric Lafforgue (http://www.ericlafforgue.com/) tells of an Ethiopian or Eritrean woman he photographed using a flash. She threw the photo away saying she looked so white it was a shame.
    And then there is the social ostracism of albinos. How does that fit into your framework?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Are you attracted to flashy cars because flashiness indicates that the car is well built?"

    I'm not saying ornamentation alone can't be the reason – for example as far as i'm aware breast size doesn't serve any practical purpose above a minimum size – and on the face of it ornamentation seems particularly plausible in the case of new hair colours. I just wonder if there's more to it as well i.e. if all the repeating buzzwords i've heard over the years advertising women's hair products like: "body" "shine" etc are traits that would signal health in their natural form.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I remember reading a while back that in arctic regions women's bodies would be covered with thick heavy clothing, as opposed to the tropics where their bodies would be more uncovered. That left only the features from the head-up to work with on sexual selection, which is why you get blue eyes and long blond hair. Don't know if it is true. For example, the Inuit don't seem to have evolved blue eyes and blond hair. Are the hunting patterns of the Inuit so different than your ancestral Europeans?

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  • Reader,

    Her hair used to be shoulder-length, but she no longer wants it that way because it makes her look like a teenager (which is supposedly a bad thing).

    Among white Americans, single men outnumber single women in all reproductive age groups (20 to 40 years of age). This is the main driving force for white American men pairing up with Asian and Hispanic women. It's just the law of supply and demand.

    Anon,

    It's not a statement about the whole history of humanity. It's a statement about the hunter-gatherer stage (and to some extent about early farming peoples).

    There is broad agreement among anthropologists that the polygyny rate decreases with increasing latitude among hunter-gatherers. Fewer have studied latitude and male mortality, but there is no disagreement on that point, at least none that I'm aware of.

    But very few anthropologists make the link between those two factors and sexual selection. There seems to be a belief that sexual selection just happens irrespective of the ratio of men to women on the mate market. This in turn has led many people (e.g., Greg Cochran) to reject sexual selection, saying it's a catch-all "unscientific" explanation.

    Anon,

    Great hair can be wavy or straight. This is a frequency-dependent preference, like hair color. If all of the women you see have straight hair, you'll start to prefer wavy hair, and vice versa.

    Hair form doesn't fossilize, so it's difficult to reconstruct the hair form of ancestral hominids.

    Anon,

    Are you attracted to flashy cars because flashiness indicates that the car is well built?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Long haired male rockers, and long haired men in general, are considered to be at least as masculine (or attractive) in general, than baldies or short haired men."

    If long hair is somehow indicative of general health and fitness then you'd expect it to be attractive in both directions. However how big of an attractant it was in either direction would depend on how significant general signals of health and fertility were for each gender.

    For example if how much meat / cattle / land a man provides to feed the offspring is the primary form of male attraction to female whereas the primary form of female attraction is signals of health and fertility then the *proportional* importance is different.

    If correct that might lead to men (on average) being say 75% visual in what attracts them and women only 25% (on average).

    (Using those numbers just as an example of what i mean.)

    That would lead to men and women both being attracted to long healthy looking hair (because it signals health) but differently weighted.

    (Plus of course you need to take into account that particular environments may have contra factors for example long hair might have specific disadvantages in jungles for example.)

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Long haired male rockers, and long haired men in general, are considered to be at least as masculine (or attractive) in general, than baldies or short haired men.

    On what planet? Great hair actually refers to the long soft straight hair that you find in European populations

    No, he's right, at least for East Indians. Great hair has body, curl and wave, like the Mediterranean and unlike the East Asian and Nordic. Perms are at least as likely to be great hair as straightened hair, and were popular during more sexual periods of our culture.

    One interesting issue here is that straight hair is the ancestral form, while curled is the derived.

    African hair is short, and structurally and constrained to being short, because it is curled (structural weakness is then length inhibiting). So its an interesting question as to why it is curled.

    Straight, uncurled hair which is short as in the chimpanzee is a possibility (and if this were so, Peter's hypothesis would have more support), so why does that not obtain in Africa (and other tropical regions)?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The model you propose of ebtering cokder environments leading to more monogamy and higher male mortality due to hunting is interesting. I have never read anything to the contrary because this topic seems so taboo.

    Are there intellectual disagreements about this model that you are aware of? It seems like a huge sweeping statement about the whole history of humanity. I would be interested to read more and conflicting views on this.

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