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JayMan—A Righteous Jamaican-American

A year and a half ago I wrote here about my personal blog roll: the blogs I go to more or less regularly in search of inspiration. I included potted reviews of the blogs.

Bloggers come and go. They say all they have to say; or they take a more demanding day job; or start a new hobby; or fall in love; or, I suppose (gulp), are gathered unto their fathers. As VDARE.com always says in its fundraisers, in the long run it’s very hard to write unless you’re paid for it.

New ones come up, though; so from time to time I’ll give you an update.

Of bloggers unmentioned in that November 2012 column, the most interesting one is JayMan. I don’t think I knew his blog at the time. At any rate, I feel sure that if I had known it, I would have included it.

JayMan has blogged at Jaymans.wordpress.com since September 2012. Before that he was for a year or so at one of those white-on-black sites that make your eyes hurt. Before that, he says he was at Blogger.com, though I can find no trace. He seems not to have slowed down at all across his blogging career, keeping up an average seven or eight posts a month, though with lulls and spurts. Interestingly, JayMan is multiracial, describing himself as “a second generation Jamaican-American of Black, White (English), and Chinese descent.”

jayman

JayMan writes about human nature, with particular attention to human differences. As such he has particular appeal to Us of the Cold Eye. That is to say, he’s a stone empiricist who scoffs at happy talk and wishful thinking about human nature, and goes to the research studies. Just a brief digression here on the nature and content of those studies.

We are now at the point in our understanding where it is beyond dispute that all the interesting traits of human behavior, intelligence, and personality are heritable to some degree.

Heritability is a standard term in biology (actually two terms … but let’s keep this simple). It is a statistic, which means it is a number derived from studying some trait in a population. Think of “mean” (the average) or “standard deviation” (the spread) for some measurable trait across a population.

The heritability of trait T in population P tells you how much of the variation of T, in population P, is caused by genetic differences, how much by environment.

Heritability is expressed as a percentage (35%), or as a number from zero to one (0.35). To get a “feel” for heritability there is a good visual aid here ( Figure 1) showing scatter plots—the measured value of some trait in offspring versus the average of parents’ measures—for traits of heritability 0.1 and 0.9.

Biologists estimate heritability by studying different degrees of relatedness: identical twins, siblings, cousins, adoptees, unrelated individuals. Rigorous studies of this kind have been going on for decades. We have a vast mountain of data on human variability. They all agree on the essentials.

Here, for example, is a short piece on the heritability of adult height, which in well-nourished populations is about 80 percent.[ How much of human height is genetic and how much is due to nutrition? , Scientific American, December 11, 2006]

JayMan seems to know all the studies, and does not suffer gladly people who think that waving their arms and crying “ epigenetics!” or “Pioneer Fund!” makes a contribution to any discussion of human nature. His question: What does the data say?

Here he is, for example, in the comment thread to one of hbd*chick’s posts (JayMan is an indefatigable commenter). The point at issue is whether one’s happiness as an adult depends to any degree on the style of parenting you were subjected to in childhood.

JayMan cites, with links, two different studies from two different countries showing that it doesn’t.

The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.

The fact that parenting style makes no measurable contribution to the finished adult personality is perhaps the most counterintuitive result in the human sciences. There is nothing more certain, yet there is nothing harder to get across to people—even well-educated people—who are unacquainted with the literature.

Bill Maher, for example, in a TV spot about Amy Chua’s 2011 Tiger Mom book, swallowed the whole parenting-style-shapes-adults shtick. JayMan, who is a fan of Maher’s (more on this below) wrote Maher a long letter setting him straight. The letter is reproduced in the second post here.

It is not at all surprising that bright, hard-working and successful parents would have bright, hard-working and successful children. It is the same reason that tall, freckled parents tend to have tall, freckled children: their genetic endowment .[ Taming the “Tiger Mom” and Tackling the Parenting Myth, November 16th, 2011]

Maher did not favor JayMan with a reply to his letter.

Conservatives are even more clueless about the human sciences than liberals. It is for example a perennial theme in conservative social commentary that fatherlessness is the cause of much social dysfunction and many poor life outcomes. If only poor people could be persuaded to get married and stay married!

Sounds nice, and gets your timid conservative commentator off the “racist” hook, since ceteris paribus fatherlessness is much more common among blacks than nonblacks.

But … “Happy talk!” scoffs JayMan.

Even if there was more marriage among those in the lower class, the next generation, having inherited all the same traits, would be no different. The poor outcomes of children who were raised in fatherless homes stem not from the much maligned single motherhood—in and of itself—but rather from the traits these children inherited from their parents, who were the type of individuals likely to have their children end up being raised by single mothers. [ Liberalism, HBD, Population, and Solutions for the Future, June 1, 2012]

So the arrow of causation is not from fatherlessness to poor life outcomes: It is from certain features of the parental genomes inclining to single motherhood and pump’n’dump fatherhood, and thence, by genetic transmission, to similarly feckless offspring.

This latter picture makes much more sense given what we know about the heritability of behavioral and personality characteristics. Which is a lot: JayMan has put together an excellent reference post, spelling it all out, with numerous links.

Some of JayMan’s pieces are masterpieces of blogging, if there can be such a thing. Look at his “ Maps of the American Nations post, for example: two thousand words, twenty maps, two video clips, and full engagement with his comment thread.

At other times JayMan indulges himself in creative speculation: an essential component of the scientific method in physics, geology, cosmology, or medicine, but, as we have learned from Nicholas Wade’s critics, shamefully irresponsible in the human sciences.

Here for example is JayMan on every race-denier’s favorite nation-scale “twin study”: “ Stop Saying North and South Koreans Are Necessarily Completely Identical Population s.”

I am … not saying that the differences in the situation between the two Koreas have nothing to do with the respective regimes each country happens to be under, or their historical circumstances. But, I am saying that we can’t use the two Koreas as some sort of pure example of a completely environmentally mediated difference in outcome, because we do not know that, and we have no way to know without at least getting some psychometric and/or genomic data from North Koreans.

And JayMan is a gifted polemicist. Here is his devastating comment on an attack on Nicholas Wade by Jonathan Marks in In These Times.

As his affection for Bill Maher shows, JayMan is refreshingly eclectic in his opinions—the opposite of a straight-ticket liberal or conservative. He is an atheist, but a nationalist; a social libertarian who favors the “gay germ” theory of homosexuality.

He describes himself in fact as “very liberal … both socially and economically,” and fleshes that out by posting his scores on a standard multi-factor test of political alignment.

A black, or part-black, HBD maven? I don’t see why not. There are forty million self-identifying blacks in the U.S.A., plenty of room for every conceivable personality type.

That surely includes the dissident personality—the one that listens to the feelgood innumerate data-free blatherings of schoolmarms, politicians, logrolling pundits, and celebrity TV bubbleheads, and responds to it all with: “Hey, that’s not what I see with my eyes. That’s not what data from rigorous research studies tells us. That’s not reality, that’s wishful thinking.

JayMan doesn’t sound as though he’d identify much with the political Right, but a Dissident he surely is.

On behalf of VDARE.com, I offer him a belated welcome into the Dissident fraternity.

If he finds himself in the New York area with a couple of midday hours to spare, we would be glad to buy him lunch.

John Derbyshire [ email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT ( also available in Kindle). His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.


(Reprinted from VDare.com by permission of author or representative)
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35 Comments to "JayMan—A Righteous Jamaican-American"

  1. D. K. says:

    Thanks for the heads-up about the test site [www.politicaltest.net]!

    ***

    “You are a liberal patriot. 4 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 44 percent are more extremist than you.”

    ***

    According to the test results, I am:

    Nationalistic (45%) rather than Cosmopolitan;

    Secular (23%) rather than Fundamentalist;

    Reactionary (15%) rather than Visionary;

    Anarchistic (10%) rather than Authoritarian;

    Capitalistic (44%) rather than Communistic;

    Pacifist (14%) rather than Militaristic; and,

    Anthropocentric (52%) rather than Ecological.

    ***

    “Well, now you know . . .” –Kitty Dukakis’ mother

  2. Rex Little says:

    A couple of things you cite from JayMan don’t pass the sniff test:

    1. Parenting plays NO part in determining adult outcomes? That’s no more plausible than the idea that genetics plays no part. I would view any study which purported to show that with a very jaundiced eye. I’m sure parenting plays a much smaller part than most people think, but I very much doubt it’s zero.

    2. What he says about Korea is, as you point out, “creative speculation.” I’d go further and call it a cop-out. Does anyone doubt that if we did have genome data from North Korea, its population would match up genetically with South Korea at least as well as any two neighboring US states do with each other?

  3. Rex Little

    1. This is Judith Rich Harris’s idea. But what about religion? Most people take their religion from their parents. Is it totally irrelevant whether a child is brought up Muslim, Scientologist, Jain or Jewish?

    2. North Korea has managed to build a nuclear bomb, where other determined countries have failed. That might tell us something.

  4. Vestasteroid says:

    JayMan is literate, lucid and very knowledgeable. And it’s hard to believe he’s a single individual at times.

  5. Markus says:

    @georgesdelator

    “2. North Korea has managed to build a nuclear bomb, where other determined countries have failed. That might tell us something.”

    THAT hardly proves North and South Koreans have different genetic background backgrounds. The logic is absurd.

  6. Matt says:

    1. Parenting plays NO part in determining adult outcomes? That’s no more plausible than the idea that genetics plays no part. I would view any study which purported to show that with a very jaundiced eye. I’m sure parenting plays a much smaller part than most people think, but I very much doubt it’s zero.

    I read his essay, and it’s interesting, well-argued, and well-supported. But he does mostly focus on the kinds of things which parents wouldn’t necessarily be expected to have influence over.

    Parents do have great influence over their kids’ shared environmental factors (ie, if I immigrate to France, my kids will probably learn French), which do have quite a bit of demonstrated effect. And that’s where parenting makes its most important contributions. The idea that parenting style doesn’t do a whole lot beyond the influence of shared environment is pretty plausible, but that’s a different statement than “parenting has no part in determining adult outcomes”.

  7. JayMan says:Website

    To the incredulous commenters above, yes, I realize the idea that parenting has no lasting impact on children’s outcomes is a tough pill to swallow, one that you might say defies common sense and experience. But, as I said in one of my recent tweets, science does occasionally produce counter-intuitive results. Indeed, if it did not – if it always confirmed our naive intuitions – we wouldn’t have to do science.

    The case for the non-existence of lasting parental effects is borne out of overwhelming evidence. I review a good bit of it in the following two posts:

    The Son Becomes The Father | JayMan’s Blog

    and

    More Behavioral Genetic Facts | JayMan’s Blog

    To be clear: I’m not talking just some broad nebulous personality traits, or even IQ. I mean all the stuff that “really matters” – all the stuff where you’d expect parental treatment, lessons, and examples to “make a difference” , including:

    Political/societal views, attitudes, and values
    Religiosity
    Criminality
    Psychopathology (mental problems, like anxiety disorders, depression, ADD, etc.)
    Marital stability/divorce risk
    Promiscuity
    Substance abuse
    Income
    Mate choice
    Adult life satisfaction (happiness)

    Each one of these is backed by gigantic studies as discussed in the above posts. These studies span the Western world, as well as East Asia. Parents have an important task in keep their kids healthy and safe. But most of the parental efforts, beyond that which is devoted to this end (which itself was NOT any small job in the past, let’s not forget) or to pass on knowledge merely serves the end of bringing joy to parents and children. In other words, the things parents do for children should be enjoyed for their own sake.

  8. JayMan says:Website

    John, thanks for the huge plug!

    I was in New York back in April, actually. The next time I’m in the area, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  9. North Koreans are certainly more like South Koreans than they resemble other peoples with income levels at current North Korean poverty levels. In addition to weapons tech, the general organization and relative cleanliness of North Korea also suggests a people with a much stronger work ethic than you find in Africa or even South Asia. The history of East Asia in general – China, Japan, Korea – suggest that it takes relatively little to tip these societies from prosperous and obedient to outright authoritarian/totalitarian. It has happened numerous times over the past few millennia. North Koreans and South Koreans are at different points in the cycle is all.

  10. reiner Tor says:

    There was actually a very strong initial selection, when the more enterprising and more intelligent (higher social status) Koreans mostly ended up in the South, with mostly the lower classes staying behind after the Americans had retreated. Being a “former landowning noble” or something like that meant that life would be very bad for one in the North so anybody in such a category was sure to try to leave to the South.

    I’m not sure if such a one-off selection effect could have a major impact, but it surely did exist. (Not to mention the ongoing selection in the other direction.) It’s like there’s just a very small (almost nonexistent) genetic distance between the Irish and the Irish Travellers (they even look basically the same), but that small difference has a huge impact, because it’s mostly genes that matter.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “relative cleanliness of North Korea also suggests a people with a much stronger work ethic than you find in Africa or even South Asia. The history of East Asia in general”

    Cleanliness was the last thing the Chinese were famous for until at least very recently. Spitting in public was a national pastime.

  12. The heritability of trait T in population P tells you how much of the variation of T, in population P, is caused by genetic differences, how much by environment.

    Actually, I think Greg Cochran has pointed out that heritability refers to the additive component, and that the other component is not exclusively environmental. It could, for example, contain gene X gene interactions that are not linear (additive).

  13. McGillicuddy says:

    If Derb laid it on any thicker, I’d think he were Rush Limbaugh talking about Ben Carson. Jayman has a nice little blog, but his scientific/sociological musings are dogmatic to the point of absurdity.

    As a commenter above notes, there is a grain-of-truth to what he says about parenting, but it’s ridiculous to to pretend that parents have little influence on the future of their children. For instance, there are plenty of scientific studies demonstrating the benefits autoimmune and cognitive benefits of breastfeeding, and of parental vocabulary on iq results. Humans are like any other animal in that they can be trained, all the more so when they are children.

    Considering his theory of American politics is that it is driven by mutual hostility between two distinct groups of white people, it is odd that Derbyshire does not mention Jayman’s enduring fascination with “The nations of North America.” That, to me, is the best of Jayman’s work, but here too I believe he goes beyond the evidence.

    For one thing, the Midlands does not exist, certainly not as drawn on the map that Jayman favors. There is a wide border region(s) between the South and the Midwest and the South and the Northeast, not a Quaker-influenced melting-pot. And if there is a distinction to be made between the Deep-South and Cavalier country and Appalachia, then the Upper-Midwest and New England can not be included in the same region. New York metro doesn’t fit-in that well with anyone else I agree, but I don’t think New Netherland is the best name for it; perhaps London-West (as a professor of mine called it) or New Vienna (you know what I’m talking about), but why not just call it New York?

    Otherwise I don’t have a huge problem with the map, per se; it’s just that the only real abiding regional division is between the Deep-South and New England. These are the two that are always on opposite sides, and the rest of the country picks a team.

  14. Asher says:

    Parents do have great influence over their kids’ shared environmental factors (ie, if I immigrate to France, my kids will probably learn French),

    And how many people actually do immigrate to France? The point is that for parents to have much intentional effect on their children’s shared environment probably requires a very high level of delayed gratification combined with a high level of resources.

  15. adsasdasd says:

    Jayman is pretty dogmatic, but I think he is largely correct. You mention parental vocabulary, but that is pretty much a reflection of parental genetic inheritance. Where Jayman falters is when he gets to the broad comparisons. I can read much of his work and agree for the most part, but his reasoning really stretches thin at times and indicates there’s just something off with his thinking structure. From the comments here:http://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/on-the-biology-of-race/

    “The English have used a currency called the “pound” since Anglo-Saxon times. And Western music has been built on a diatonic scale since the Renaissance and probably much earlier. So why doesn’t Wade conclude that differences in currency and musical scale reflect differences in genes?”

    “Perhaps they are. The First Law of behavioral genetics (as drawn from twin, adoption, and genomic studies) states that “all human behavioral traits are heritable.” Hence, be very careful with a priori declaring that a human group difference has nothing to do with genetic differences.”

    Yes, since all traits are heritable, including idiosyncratic ones (which, if you really sit and think, do make sense as being inherited and often little affected by environment), this must mean that the british usage of a currency called the pound is comparable. The british could very well have a widespread genetic tendency for simply using a currency called “the pound.” They really could.

    The Korea one isn’t entirely without merit either- as others have noted, for one, NK have managed things like building nuclear weapons and satellites, and they, despite being a cesspool, have managed a degree of efficiency, stability and advancement than many other peoples likely aren’t capable of in similar circumstances. This combined with asian propensities towards collectivism might make such a state most likely to develop in east asia. SK is quite a collectivist society. But, at the same time, NK is such a unique, incomparably totalitarian state, it’s nearly without equal in all of human history, and whatever asian propensity towards authoritarianism hasn’t produced much truly comparable to that, and some of the worst of asian authoritarianism hasn’t been totally unseen in parts of the western world. It really stretches believability or logic that there was some radical selective difference in NK that made them vastly more prone to unfathomably alien totalitarian arrangements than SK, and that something as chaotic as the korean war ended with the boundary between these two countries landing pretty much exactly where these differences begin. Jayman’s answer to all of this is comparisons to differences within other countries (that, when you get down to it, don’t even remotely suggest anything comparable to those between NK and SK, assuming they were hereditary) and that “we just don’t know, WE JUST DON’T KNOW!!!”

    Oh, and the chinese are not a clean people right now. At all.

    “There was actually a very strong initial selection, when the more enterprising and more intelligent (higher social status) Koreans mostly ended up in the South, with mostly the lower classes staying behind after the Americans had retreated. Being a “former landowning noble” or something like that meant that life would be very bad for one in the North so anybody in such a category was sure to try to leave to the South.”

    Do you have any evidence for this? This would be basically a case of brief, yet intense brain drain, not a long term selective difference.

  16. Donatello says:

    He’s like one of those less successful early Greek philosophers, following every premise and checking them twice he’s argued himself into a position that is clearly untenable or at least, clearly unhelpful, but he’s sure he’s correct, so he can’t get himself out of it.

    Don’t bother responding, my genes made me write this, I couldn’t help it.

  17. adsasdasd says:

    The more I think about it, that korean comparison is really, really stupid. Again, itt’s true that throwing out Korea as an example of how heredity means nothing for national prosperity isn’t very airtight, since it’s highly unlikely other populations could manage the longevity, stability and cohesiveness of the NK regime, along with some of the technological accomplishments it’s managed, and it seems coincident with asian propensity towards collectivism and possibly authoritarianism, but he goes to an even greater extreme with arguing this ultimately yawning gap between the two really is “genetic.” He’s not even arguing that NK is to some extent (albeit a very extreme, rather anomalous one) reflective of east asian cultural and genetic characteristics, he’s actually positing that NK’s unique arrangement is possibly genetic in origin, and based on the strawman of them being completely identical. That there really could have been radically different selective pressures in NK that have made them far more prone to setting up an inhuman totalitarian state than south koreans. None of the comparisons he dredges up really help him- does a single one of those intra-national differences, assuming they are largely genetic, even come close to the differences between NK and SK? The ancestors of Appalachians, who came from northern Ireland and central Britain seem to be of considerably lower IQ than other american whites, and that isn’t the case for the regions they originated in- I’m not saying that this is environmental, but that they came from particular, non-mainstream segments of British and Irish society, which isn’t the case for NK, which covers over half the country. Then there’s southern Italy, and while there do seem to be behavioral differences in various segments of S Italian society that have manifested in the form of the mafia, and they are possibly of somewhat lower IQ, it’s still not even within miles of the differences of NK and SK, even accepting them being of considerably lower IQ, which is a fixation of Jayman’s. It’s pretty remarkable just how much of a chance arrangement the NK and SK division was, which was also the case between west and east germany, but, Jayman thinks their failings are considerably genetic too. Chance is pretty big in all of this, and it says mountains about Jayman’s reasoning ability that he can’t parse that. Hell, Seoul, the capital and heart of SK, is very close to the border- shouldn’t they be more similar to North Koreans? Or did this arrangement, again, just happen to land right where the differences begin?

    But let’s listen to Jayman- “Look, I’m not saying that the differences between NK and SK are mostly or wholly, but you can’t say there aren’t any! Because of that, you can’t say with ANY certainty that north koreans are radically different from south koreans! You just don’t know, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW!!! YOU CAN’T MAKE ANY PRONOUNCEMENTS!!!”

    Well Jayman, I agree we don’t know, but considering many avenues of historical sense and basic reasoning, and how even your comparisons don’t really do much to buttress, I’d say the possibility is pretty much outside the realms of possibility, and nearly your entire post is completely absurd.

    And let’s stop acting like whites (or I guess northern and western europeans, since eastern euros seem to be a punching bag for people like Jayman now) haven’t been without intense periods of totalitarianism- remember Fascist Spain? Or uh…. what was Germany like a number of decades back? Remember how the German populace supported that regime?

  18. Dutch Boy says:

    The test is crap. According to it, this middle-aged, Buchanan-supporting reactionary is a leftist-fascist. Hah!

  19. reiner Tor says:

    @adsasdasd

    Yes, of course not everything is genetic. But there was some selection of population between North and South Korea: former elites were put into camps in the north, and they mostly fled south during the war. Anybody with any worthy education tried to get to the south, and most managed to do so. North Korea then had a huge shortage of an educated class, which was very difficult to overcome. Slowly they managed to create a technical intelligentsia, but not a real intellectual class, behaving like an intellectual (e.g. showing unusual curiosity and open-mindedness) was explicitly frowned upon. But if you accept that being an elite type is genetic (as it surely is), then you have to accept that there was at least a one-off selection. And there’s also an ongoing selection: the more curious or open-minded people are less likely to stay alive or leave descendants under such a system. Conformists might have a better chance of staying out of a prison camp.

  20. Reg Cæsar says:

    The white bastardy rate today is higher than the black bastardy rate of 1960. I’ve always assumed this trend was environmental in nature, because the alternative would mean an utter genetic collapse among American (and other) whites in two generations. Is that even possible?

  21. Reg Cæsar says:

    @McGillicuddy

    “…the only real abiding regional division is between the Deep-South and New England.”

    Only the geographic placement is “abiding”. As anyone named McGillicuddy should know, the traditional New Englander who preferred tariffs to income taxation was dispossessed generations ago, and is as relevant to today’s culture and politics as a Pequot or Pocanoket was to Longfellow’s and Hawthorne’s.

  22. adsasdasd says:

    @reiner Tor

    I didn’t openly argue “not everything is genetic.” And again, what you outline isn’t akin to what Jayman is arguing, that there’s possibly a widespread difference between the two regions going back generations- this is brain drain. Which of course can amount to sizable differences in outcome, isn’t something as distinct as the possibility he raises, and is something we see happen all the time across the world. At the same time, however, North Korea has managed intellectual feats that many others could not accomplish in similar circumstances, and suggest a fairly good degree of intellectual ability. I would be curious to see evidence of this migration decades back though. And you mention former elites being put into camps, but according to Malloy and Flynn, in a similar yet rather more extreme situation, the Khmer Rouge, likely didn’t lower the country’s IQ by more than a point: http://humanvarieties.org/2014/06/12/hvgiq-cambodia/

    Also, someone in the comments section of his blog noted that the major divisions in Korea have long been west-east and not north-south.

  23. McGillicuddy says:

    @Reg Cæsar

    Only the geographic placement is “abiding”.

    Well, that’s all I claimed anyways.

    Although there is an obvious straight-line of continuity from colonial New England to the New England of today. Irish Catholics are numerically dominant, and hold more of the positions of power there, but their overwhelmingly progressive political culture owes more to New Englander WASP influence than anything else. In New York, Chicago, and California, only about half of whites for the Democrats; in New England it’s much higher, and I think the Yankee cultural legacy is the reason.

  24. adsasdasd says:

    Also, I want to reiterate that the supposed principle underpinning for NK’s differences are primarily behavioral, not intellectual- NK however way you cut it does suggest a good degree of intelligence behind it all. And while NK has apparently lost people who are less conformist over the years, NK has gradually opened itself up in ways and become marginally less culturally totalitarian over the years, so the two aren’t very coincident.

  25. JayMan says:Website

    @McGillicuddy

    Note readers, that the above comment starts with this:

    “Jayman has a nice little blog, but his scientific/sociological musings are dogmatic to the point of absurdity.”

    Yet he makes these claims:

    “As a commenter above notes, there is a grain-of-truth to what he says about parenting, but it’s ridiculous to to pretend that parents have little influence on the future of their children. For instance, there are plenty of scientific studies demonstrating the benefits autoimmune and cognitive benefits of breastfeeding”

    I’m not making this stuff up.

    Breastfeeding (here and here).

    “For one thing, the Midlands does not exist, certainly not as drawn on the map that Jayman favors. There is a wide border region(s) between the South and the Midwest and the South and the Northeast, not a Quaker-influenced melting-pot.”

    Actually, it’s mostly German-influenced (many Quakers didn’t go west). So broadly, you’re wrong, but that’s OK.

    “Otherwise I don’t have a huge problem with the map, per se; it’s just that the only real abiding regional division is between the Deep-South and New England.”

    You’re wrong here too. See the featured post.

    “These are the two that are always on opposite sides, and the rest of the country picks a team.”

    Indeed. But that doesn’t mean the other regions don’t exist as distinct entities. And both Woodard and David Hackett Fischer have claimed that the other areas have historically been engaged in shifting alliances against the two main rivals. So you’re not saying something here that hasn’t been said.

  26. JayMan says:Website

    @adsasdasd

    Another commenter shares his brilliant wisdom:

    The more I think about it, that korean comparison is really, really stupid. Again, itt’s true that throwing out Korea as an example of how heredity means nothing for national prosperity isn’t very airtight, since it’s highly unlikely other populations could manage the longevity, stability and cohesiveness of the NK regime, along with some of the technological accomplishments it’s managed, and it seems coincident with asian propensity towards collectivism and possibly authoritarianism, but he goes to an even greater extreme with arguing this ultimately yawning gap between the two really is “genetic.”

    Too bad for you that’s not what I argue.

    That there really could have been radically different selective pressures in NK that have made them far more prone to setting up an inhuman totalitarian state than south koreans.

    “The Devil is in the Details.” Small differences in traits can lead to large differences in outcomes, depending on the situation.

    The ancestors of Appalachians, who came from northern Ireland and central Britain seem to be of considerably lower IQ than other american whites, and that isn’t the case for the regions they originated in-

    You sure about that?

    Then there’s southern Italy, and while there do seem to be behavioral differences in various segments of S Italian society that have manifested in the form of the mafia, and they are possibly of somewhat lower IQ, it’s still not even within miles of the differences of NK and SK

    My own suspicion is that the difference between northern and southern Italians is even more dramatic between N and S Korea. So what’s your point?

    Chance is pretty big in all of this, and it says mountains about Jayman’s reasoning ability that he can’t parse that.

    What does it say of your reasoning ability considering:

    1. I never denied that

    2. You’re mangling the heck out of what I did say

    Well Jayman, I agree we don’t know, but considering many avenues of historical sense and basic reasoning

    I’d say that considering that you don’t know what you’re talking about, that I’m not going to take much of what you say too seriously.

    And let’s stop acting like whites (or I guess northern and western europeans, since eastern euros seem to be a punching bag for people like Jayman now) haven’t been without intense periods of totalitarianism- remember Fascist Spain? Or uh…. what was Germany like a number of decades back? Remember how the German populace supported that regime?

    Have I ever claimed otherwise? Nope.

  27. JayMan says:Website

    @Reg Cæsar

    The grand-scale environment can lead to substantial changes in phenotype all without changing genotype. A big part of this is altering the incentive structure, so the exact same temperaments make different decisions based on what “pays.”

  28. Derbyshire observes that the Koreas are “every race-denier’s favorite nation-scale “twin study”. And it really is. I have been in countless seminar rooms where brilliant idiots would put up a scatter plot of “institutional quality index” versus GDP per worker, and NO ONE MENTIONS that all the African data points are clustered near the origin, except maybe to mumble about the need for better, larger data sets to control for this or that and the latest trendy hidden confound. Yet everyone always seems to point to the data points far away from the origin and conclude “this is why institutions matter”. Blah blah blah. And the example of North and South Korea is always trotted out as Exhibit #1. (Exhibit #2 is usually the “stylised Mexican” moving across the Rio Grande and tripling his productivity — as if everyone could live under institutions built by someone else…)

    Nonetheless, knocking the Korea example by stressing that these so-called twins are not so identical after all, is a loser strategy, polemically speaking. Every country in the world has regional variation in income (as well as in every other characteristic that’s ever been looked at). Suppose the poorest and richest states in a given middle-income country have 50% below and 50% above the national average, respectively. If this were applied to a hypothetically united Korea with a north-south divide in income, that would still imply an income level for the North around 6 times its current income, and nearly 10 times the income of the bottom 15-20 African countries. The Korea-citing race-denier could then claim “but that would be a tremendous improvement for Niger” — and it would be. Except no African country comes even close to having such an income without oil or diamonds (or white people). So you have to argue back with the standard arguments.

    In that situation, how has the Koreas-are-not-identical advanced or benefited the hereditarian approach, at all ?

  29. JayMan says:Website

    @pseudoerasmus

    In that situation, how has the Koreas-are-not-identical advanced or benefited the hereditarian approach, at all ?

    Truth-seeker here. Not marketer. Remember. ;)

    Every country in the world has regional variation in income (as well as in every other characteristic that’s ever been looked at).

    See Mr. Derbyshire’s cited post of mine. Those differences are hardly insignificant, unimportant, or non-insightful.

  30. I didn’t say regional differences were insignificant or unimportant, but not all regional differences are equally interesting. Try as I might I have been lamentably unable to interest myself as much in the difference between Vermont and New Hampshire, as between Taiwan and Ghana, or between Alto-Adige and Sicily.

  31. JayMan says:Website

    @pseudoerasmus

    Try as I might I have been lamentably unable to interest myself as much in the difference between Vermont and New Hampshire, as between Taiwan and Ghana, or between Alto-Adige and Sicily.

    Good thing you’re not the only one looking at these things, then… ;)

  32. McGillicuddy says:

    @JayMan

    I’m not making this stuff up.

    Breastfeeding (here and here).

    I do not take the fact that you said so in a comments section to be terribly convincing. I know you post a link in the second comment to a sibling study, but I am unable to access the article, and therefore unable to decide whether this single study negates all the others.

    But in any case there is a lot more evidence on the affects of child-rearing/parenting where that came from. Do you doubt that there are many literate Americans who have less innate reading ability than many illiterate third-worlders? That living on a farm helps guard against certain allergies? That something besides genetics is the main driver of the 4 in. height difference between the peoples of the two Koreas? Do you think that every son who takes over the family business doing x, has more of an inborn proclivity to go into business doing x than every other person who did not go into business doing x? Do you think it’s a myth that it is easier for people to learn when they are children than when they are adults? If not, how could it be possible for parenting to not make a difference?

    It is true, even if it’s a truism, that your genetic make-up is the sole reason that you respond the way you do to everything that comes your way, but your genetic make-up does not determine everything that comes your way.

    Actually, it’s mostly German-influenced (many Quakers didn’t go west). So broadly, you’re wrong, but that’s OK.

    No, it just doesn’t exist.

    Any schema that decides that Iowa should be in the same nation as New Jersey, but not in the same one as Minnesota is nonsense. There is an intermediate zone between Appalachia and the Midwest, but that’s all it is, not a distinct third entity. This brackish nature is even reflected in the ethnic make-up. The South is overwhelmingly British, the Upper-Midwest is overwhelmingly German, and the area in between is about evenly split.

    And Iowa is solidly in the Upper-Midwest, or at least is not a part of the transition zone. I know that Iowa, like Delaware, has a lot of British-descended Methodists, and maybe they have common roots, I don’t know, but your map does not include Delaware in the Midlands anyways—probably correctly. So that line of argument is shot, but even were it not, there is a many more compelling ethnic, historical and geographic reasons why Iowa ought to be grouped with its neighbors.

    Lastly, in my original post, I claimed that if the South has four different nations, then the Upper-Midwest is not part of the same nation as New England; to that I should add that Mormon country is as distinct a nation as any on the map. I’m sure others have pointed this out.

  33. adsasdasd says:

    “Too bad for you that’s not what I argue.”

    You’re taking the slight error I made there too seriously- I know you are not arguing with certainty, but you are arguing it’s a genuine possibility.

    ““The Devil is in the Details.” Small differences in traits can lead to large differences in outcomes, depending on the situation.”

    Yeah…. and what we have with Korea is something that’s more than a little unlikely considering much of what we know.

    “You sure about that?”

    Well, are they? You note their ancestors come from Northern Ireland and the Scottish highlands, and while I’m aware there’s data to suggest the Irish are of somewhat lower IQ than the british, is this the same for central Britain, the other area where their ancestors came from? It’s also true that appalchians are predominantly descended from the border reviers, a small, particular group, correct? Appalachia has long been one of the most undeveloped, backwards parts of the country, and from what I’ve seen, appalachian whites are of low IQ, but their ancestral regions do not resemble appalachia whatsoever.

    “What does it say of your reasoning ability considering:

    1. I never denied that

    2. You’re mangling the heck out of what I did say”

    Well, I never got the impression of you saying any of that. Your entire post seems to give little consideration of that.

    “My own suspicion is that the difference between northern and southern Italians is even more dramatic between N and S Korea. So what’s your point?”

    My point is that whatever differences between N and S italians, the observable differences between both regions are far, far, far less than those between N and S korea?

    “Have I ever claimed otherwise? Nope.”

    I don’t know, but that was directed at other commenters, not you.

  34. JayMan says:Website

    @McGillicuddy

    I know you post a link in the second comment to a sibling study, but I am unable to access the article

    Here you go. Google Scholar is very useful for these things.

    But in any case there is a lot more evidence on the affects of child-rearing/parenting where that came from.

    Let me quote myself from elsewhere. Often I know these are coming from a place of genuine curiosity, but it’s rather insulting, I think, when commenters approach me thinking I would make such sophomoric oversights:

    You (and everybody, actually) should realize that I’ve been talking about this topic for a long time. The odds that you’re going to find some obvious fatal flaw in my discussion on parenting are exceedingly low.

    Continuing…

    Do you doubt that there are many literate Americans who have less innate reading ability than many illiterate third-worlders?

    Hmmm, I wonder what else could differ between America and the Third World…

    That living on a farm helps guard against certain allergies?

    Actually, on that point, I’m not convinced, yet. Further study is needed.

    That something besides genetics is the main driver of the 4 in. height difference between the peoples of the two Koreas?

    You don’t say? I did.

    Do you think that every son who takes over the family business doing x, has more of an inborn proclivity to go into business doing x than every other person who did not go into business doing x?

    Did you take Stats 101?

    Do you think it’s a myth that it is easier for people to learn when they are children than when they are adults?

    Evidence on that is questionable (ask James Thompson or Elijah Armstrong). Nonetheless, relevance?

    If not, how could it be possible for parenting to not make a difference?

    Well, if all human behavioral traits are heritable (and they are), and hence, there is a considerable non-random element in how each individual interacts with his environment and responds to environmental inputs, then…

    I don’t know, but your map does not include Delaware in the Midlands anyways—probably correctly.

    You didn’t watch the video on the post (or read the text surrounding it). Northern Delaware is in the Midlands (the south being part of the Tidewater).

    There’s plenty of evidence that contradicts your statements. A place to start is my post, its sequel, or Colin Woodard’s book.

  35. McGillicuddy says:

    @JayMan

    The contention of the authors of the study you cite is that the benefits of breastfeeding may be overstated, not that they don’t exist—which is the logical reaction to their findings.

    Northern Delaware is in the Midlands

    Which is by far the least Methodist and least British part of the state. It’s also less German. But that’s ok, as you would say. The larger question is whether the Midlands even exists, or is my model more appropriate? Are the Mormons as much of a nation as some of the others Woodard identifies, etc.

    In the rest of your post you spend relying to straightforward questions with responses that are any thing but straightforward. Except for your crazy Korea idea.

    And then there’s this aspergie gem:

    Nonetheless, relevance?

    Are you serious? Under which scenario do you think little Susie has a better chance of becoming fluent in French; Her parents enroll her in a French-immersion school at age 5, or if she does not start studying French until she is in high school or college?

    Well, if all human behavioral traits are heritable (and they are), and hence, there is a considerable non-random element in how each individual interacts with his environment and responds to environmental inputs, then…

    Then what? Even if Patrick Kane’s parents had kept him prisoner for the first eighteen years of his life, and never let him anywhere near a hockey stick, he would have grown-up to be an NHL all-star?

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