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The Derb on the JayMan
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In his latest VDARE column, John Derbyshire has written a glowing discussion of yours truly:

John Derbyshire On JayMan—A Righteous Jamaican-American | VDARE.COM

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.

Well… more on that shortly.

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.

That is my thing. A couple of my tweets on the matter should sum it up:

Derbyshire continues:

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.

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.

The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely. A key reason for that is as Misdreavus once put it:

Well, there are certain people I can’t fully convince of a lot of things. Smart people have a hard time with heredity, which is why there is big opposition to HBD. But I have a particularly hard time with the non-effect of parenting.

Derbyshire again:

ORDER IT NOW

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.

Resistance to belief that parenting has little lasting effect (beyond the primary goal of ensuring your children’s survival and safety) is so fierce – and so irrational – that I’d say it has a religious nature to it, like political beliefs. That too demands explanation. And don’t worry, I have something on that in the works. ;)

Indeed, knowledge of heritability (and by extension, the general non-effect of parenting) is on firm ground, as firm as evolution itself. To deny it is tantamount to creationism at this point. So for that reason, I say this:

In fact, I’ll go a step further, and say to these people – you know who you are – it’s like this:

The jury is in; and your team did lose. Contra the blank slatists, developmental psychologists, and all those people who claim that human differences result entirely or primarily from our experiences, you’re wrong. “Nature” is powerful and pervasive; nurture is weak; what effect the “environment” does have doesn’t work like you think.

http://allthejuices.com/juice/squid-ink#!prettyPhotoIndeed, I’d say that the true reality of the matter – beyond what people discuss as being potentially acceptable and whatnot with the current (largely nonsensical) discussion revolving around Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance – goes far deeper than this. On this point, I will note that Derbyshire referenced me before, in a radio interview about Wade’s book (see here, Recent, Copious, and Regional), at time point 15:00.

Derbyshire notes there that “if dimensions of the individual human personality are heritable [and they are], then society is just a vector sum of a lot of individual personalities.

And hence, not to add insult to injury upon the various strands of blank slatists and other “environmentalists”, but the fact of the matter, as established by the evidence, is even more far removed from what that might hope, and cling to. As accounted in my earlier post “Squid Ink”:

the advice is that if we want HBD to gain widespread acceptance, we can’t be too “hard” with our claims, regardless of how true they actually are. How would these people then receive the true realities of the situation then? Like:

  • Every single human behavioral trait is impacted by genes, usually considerably so.
  • How you raise your kids has virtually no impact on how they turn out. That is, nurture appears to matter little in the end.
  • For that matter, contrary to what we’ve been told, it doesn’t look like peers matter too much, either.
  • We have been so far unable to find much of anything in the environment that leaves a lasting impact on intelligence or behavioral traits.
  • Indeed, this is largely true of health outcomes. “Lifestyle” (say diet and exercise) doesn’t appear to be primarily responsible for differences in illness or lifespan.
  • One class of agents in the environment that the evidence does seem to be pointing to that can impact health and behavior are pathogens, and many, if not most, have yet to be discovered. These infections can cause chronic disease, like cancer and perhaps heart disease, and can even alter behavior, most poignantly in the case male homosexuality.
  • While we know the grand-scale environment can make a difference, as seen with rapid secular changes, this seems to primarily occur because of alterations in the incentive structure or through hitherto unavailable possibilities (e.g., cars, internet, oral birth control). Changes here quite likely aren’t easy to execute in a way that achieves controlled outcomes.
  • Given the high heritabilities of behavioral traits and the lack of clear environmental mediators, differences in “culture” (especially within a given time period) are largely due to genetic differences between people. That is, differences between all human groups (races, ethnicities, social classes, or whatever) are all to some degree due to genetics, and perhaps mostly or almost entirely so. [Emphasis not in original.]
  • Your birth family/clan heavily determines your eventual social status. Social status is in fact as heritable as height, and decays very slowly generation after generation in all different social systems across different countries. Social mobility, by in large, doesn’t exist.
  • This scales up to larger groups: the average intelligence and distribution of behavioral traits of a nation or a race/ethnicity within a nation are overwhelmingly the primary determinants of its outcome and social structure, and not its resource wealth or historical circumstances (generally).
  • Indeed, these imply that all of human history is largely the result of the churning of these behavioral and intellectual differences, enabled by technology (which itself is a function of the people).

Would a speaker that said all these things get a lot of play? Would a book that laid bare the case for these rather than took the more muted tack that Wade’s did be well received? What do you think?

I will say one thing: with all these considered, it’s hard to escape the seeming importance of eugenics, if crafting a better society is what you’re after. Indeed, if that’s your goal, eugenics – in one form or another – does appear to be your only avenue.

I know others might not share the idea that such frankness is best, but, as I said at that post:

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Derbyshire continues to my, frankly, unusual background:

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.

My son will have his own rather interesting lineage to trace; for he is a part West African, part British (presumably English, and possibly Irish), part Chinese, and part Indian (subcontinent), part Yankee, part Quaker, part German, part Latvian tanned-skin blue-eyed male born in Maine. Oh the fun you’ll have. Do these interesting combinations contribute to our unique insights? Well, more on that in the future too.

Derbyshire also talks about some of my impactful posts:

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

Indeed, here, I’d like to call attention to some of my posts that, if you didn’t already read, you best do so forthwith. These include:

My two definitive treatments on what we know from behavioral genetics:

The Son Becomes The Father – Here I discuss the recent findings of Gregory Clark (as told in his book The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility), finding a high heritability of social status across time and across space. I square this with what is known from behavioral genetics from the 20th century, noting that evidence for a high genetic effect on all behaviors and all major life outcomes, like the aforementioned life satisfaction, income, criminality, marital stability, etc. I also note that the transmission must be genetic, as evidence shows no parental effect on any of these things.

More Behavioral Genetic Facts – The sequel to the previous post, I continue to tie up additional dangling points and affirm the high heritability and lack of “shared environment” impact on traits such as IQ, criminality, emotional/mental problems. I talk about the extended twin design and how it can clear up some dangling questions, like who do we choose our mates? Do spouses influence each other? I mention the key findings of behavioral genetics, namely:

…and that if anything deviates from that rule, it can be taken to mean something is up.

The preceding post to “Maps of the American Nations”:

Flags of the American Nations – Here I discuss each of Colin Woodard’s American Nations, talking about the characteristics of each as well as a bit about each nation’s origins. The enduring features that make up Greater Appalachia, The Left Coast, the Deep South, etc. that live on in today’s America (and Canada and Mexico) can be traced to these ethnic differences in each region’s settling and subsequent immigration.

The sequel post to “Maps of the American Nations”,

More Maps of the American Nations – Bigger and badder than the original, with more maps solidifying the distinction between the different American nations, with genetic evidence of these differences to boot. Also some discussion of the history of each, and the founding of certain areas. I also include personality data showing that the American nations don’t just exist on paper or in the voting booth. I use these to talk about the importance of self-sorting, founder effects, and Cochran’s & Harpending’s “boiling off” model to explain some of the differences we see. I also touch on immigration and the canard that immigrants “assimilate,” showing that that is pretty much a myth. A must see if you have not.

Why HBD – Mostly quoting Misdreavus, but together with some additional commentary by me, the definitive introduction to human biodiversity, even for people with zero familiarity with the topic. On my About Me page, I direct new readers to start here.

No, You Don’t Have Free Will, and This is Why – I make a detailed case against the existence of free will, which is a nonsensical concept in any rational analysis. I denounce even the latest and best attempts to restore some watered-down version of it. I note that since all actions have causes, human behavior is no less the result of physical processes than any other event in the universe – physical processes which include genes, environmental impacts, and random chance. Behavior is always the result of these forces, and arguments otherwise are merely obsfuctionary quasi-to-fully religious attempts to confuse the matter. I note the irony in the fact that inability of some to let go of the idea of free will is itself explained by its nonexistence (i.e., we can’t escape the physical reality laid out by the structure of our brains, regardless of exactly how our brains got that way).

Where HBD Chick’s Hypothesis Works - Here I take a critical look at the work of the venerable HBD Chick, looking at how the attributes of the world’s populations fit into her theory. Many fit well (especially across Europe, the Middle East, and the Maghreb), but there are some interesting outliers that might provide some key insight.

Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality – There is more to HBD than IQ. And as we see all human behavioral traits are heritable. There are significant differences between different human groups, and this is my post on how some of the basic personality differences (as measured by the six-factor HEXACO model) might vary across the world, and, perhaps just as importantly, why they came to be so. What selective pressures led to these differences? I discuss here.

donate_paypal Finally, as Derbyshire noted, “As VDARE.com always says in its fundraisers, in the long run it’s very hard to write unless you’re paid for it.” And this is where Mrs. Jay M an has urged me to include a message requesting your generous support. I must say, putting this blog together is not easy – sourcing out the research for my posts, for one, is far from a trivial task. It’s rendered additionally more challenging with a little one who insists on demanding much of my time, a demand which I more than happily obliged. I think the quality of my work speaks for itself, and I hope you find it incredibly useful. So if you would like keep it going, please donate . Currently, the two best ways are PayPal, see button at right. All major credit and debit cards are accepted. Also there is Flattr (see button at bottom) for those who prefer.

A satellite image of my ancestral home, Jamaica, courtesy HBD Chick.

Satellite_Image_Photo_Island_Jamaica_3

(Reprinted from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. “My son will have his own rather interesting lineage to trace; for he is a part West African, part British (presumably English, and possibly Irish), part Chinese, and part Indian (subcontinent), part Yankee, part Quaker, part German, part Latvian tanned-skin blue-eyed male born in Maine. Oh the fun you’ll have. Do these interesting combinations contribute to our unique insights? Well, more on that in the future too.”

    I couldn’t help it, but I thought of outbreeding depression.

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  2. “How you raise your kids has virtually no impact on how they turn out. That is, nurture appears to matter little in the end.”

    “It’s rendered additionally more challenging with a little one who insists on demanding much of my time, a demand which I more than happily obliged.”

    Here’s the beautiful contradiction: that just because it doesn’t make any difference to ‘outcomes’, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to parents, nor does it mean it doesn’t matter to children. It is truly simply for the joy of family.

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  3. Re: zero independent impact of family:

    - Is this a recent phenomenon, caused, perhaps, by the general effect of increased standards of living and reductions in violence? Should we expect to see higher shared environment in poorer countries?

    - If the above is true, then when it comes to mate choice, are we just executing old adaptions that made sense when family environment did matter independent of genes?

    - If it’s false, and shared environment is similarly low in primitive societies, then are all the mate choice algorithms that are purportedly for figuring out who is a good potential parent, really just for figuring out who has the best genes (and conversely, signaling you’ll be a good parent is really about signaling genes)?

    - Is the outrage over the idea that parenting doesn’t matter a local phenomenon, or is it the result of some kind of “ATTACK ALL THOSE WHO SAY I’M NOT A GOOD MATE” adaption?

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    @ckp:

    Well, selecting a good parent was supremely important in pre-modern times for a simple reason: a parent's biggest task was keeping a child alive and healthy. This was no small job in a world without ERs or Google. Many people overlook this fact.

    , @minoritymagnet
    Good parenting could be a general display of social status, of which every human interaction is loaded with. "Look, we can afford violin lessons for our children and have so much spare time that we can build a treehouse with them...."
  4. @ckp
    Re: zero independent impact of family:

    - Is this a recent phenomenon, caused, perhaps, by the general effect of increased standards of living and reductions in violence? Should we expect to see higher shared environment in poorer countries?

    - If the above is true, then when it comes to mate choice, are we just executing old adaptions that made sense when family environment did matter independent of genes?

    - If it's false, and shared environment is similarly low in primitive societies, then are all the mate choice algorithms that are purportedly for figuring out who is a good potential parent, really just for figuring out who has the best genes (and conversely, signaling you'll be a good parent is really about signaling genes)?

    - Is the outrage over the idea that parenting doesn't matter a local phenomenon, or is it the result of some kind of "ATTACK ALL THOSE WHO SAY I'M NOT A GOOD MATE" adaption?

    Well, selecting a good parent was supremely important in pre-modern times for a simple reason: a parent’s biggest task was keeping a child alive and healthy. This was no small job in a world without ERs or Google. Many people overlook this fact.

    Read More
  5. Excellent. Greater recognition is the result of your hard work and indefatigable spirit. Keep it up! Also, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for illustrating a cartoon about the non effect of parenting. There’s just something about cartoon animals or people that opens up an idea to a wider audience. I’m thinking Calvin and Hobbes-ish in style. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any thoughts on the matter, I would be happy to give you a writing credit on the strip if it comes to fruition.

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    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Sisiphyean:

    Calvin and Hobbes? Sounds like a job for HBD Chick...

  6. in thinking of how to present HBD truth and construct a narrative around it, I have to say the best bet would be to do it subtly. hit them over the head truth works for some (admittedly, myself) , but it gives an out to anyone invested in any other views to dismiss as racist science blah blah blah. just a thought

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  7. “The fact that parenting style makes no measurable contribution to the finished adult personality is perhaps the most counterintuitive result in the human sciences. ”

    It’s only counterintuitive to people with fewer than two children.

    My two daughters have *very* different personalities. Elder daughter has my personality in so many ways – she’s much more like me than her mother, while younger daughter is much more like her mother. They’ve had very similar life experiences, and if anything, the differences should have pushed younger daughter’s personality in ways she’s not exhibiting.

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    • Replies: @Sisyphean
    Exactly same experience with my family. My oldest son is a carbon copy of my (odd, contrary, fantasy oriented) personality, where my younger son is a lot like my wife (and her father), basically a born engineer. Having children can most definitely be a way to crystallize awareness of the power of genetics, but I don't think it's guaranteed by any means.
  8. @Sisyphean
    Excellent. Greater recognition is the result of your hard work and indefatigable spirit. Keep it up! Also, I've been trying to come up with ideas for illustrating a cartoon about the non effect of parenting. There's just something about cartoon animals or people that opens up an idea to a wider audience. I'm thinking Calvin and Hobbes-ish in style. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any thoughts on the matter, I would be happy to give you a writing credit on the strip if it comes to fruition.

    @Sisiphyean:

    Calvin and Hobbes? Sounds like a job for HBD Chick…

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    • Replies: @Sisyphean
    It won't BE calvin and hobbes, just in a similar art style. Watterson is whimsical and soft, which is great given the sharpness of his wit and the biting social commentary often featured therein. I like that mix: Soft cuddly looking characters saying things that make you think hard. Just like how having useless platitudes that everyone loves said by horrible monsters would have you maybe reconsider the meaning of those phrases. Capisce?
  9. @JayMan
    @Sisiphyean:

    Calvin and Hobbes? Sounds like a job for HBD Chick...

    It won’t BE calvin and hobbes, just in a similar art style. Watterson is whimsical and soft, which is great given the sharpness of his wit and the biting social commentary often featured therein. I like that mix: Soft cuddly looking characters saying things that make you think hard. Just like how having useless platitudes that everyone loves said by horrible monsters would have you maybe reconsider the meaning of those phrases. Capisce?

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  10. Congratulations on one of the best blogs in the world. To read you is heartening.

    I am a historian and a philologist, but unlike 90 per cent of my peers am neither leftist nor resistant to the discoveries of genetics and psychometrics; indeed, I have lapped them up for decades, ever since my mother gave me H. J. Eysenck’s “Know Your Own I.Q.” over 50 years ago (I didn’t do too well, but then I was only about 10). Today, I am proud to call myself a friend of Helmuth Nyborg, who lives 15 miles from me. I hardly understand half of what he’s talking about, but a man so persecuted by the right-thinking cannot be wrong.

    Two questions do keep occurring to me when I consider your well-established truths about personality and heritability:

    1. How do you account for massive and rapid cultural change, if personality traits are largely heritable? How did large parts of the Western world go from respecting to despising the nuclear family in a few short years beginning in the 1960s? The authors of “The Great Disruption” inherited their personalities, right? Yet they turned on their parents, tradition, patriotism, moral and aesthetic standards, learning, and order. Western politicians used to defend their countries; now they are ashamed to do so. Where did those personality traits spring from?

    2. Regression toward the mean should surely mean that, for example, parenting styles are far from fully heritable. Every generation will show a new mix. So the daughter of a feckless mother may turn out to be a model wife, no? What’s the role of regression in the story of heritable personality traits? This puzzles me too when I consider “The Bell Curve”‘s argument about an emerging meritocracy. Won’t the children of the smart meritocrats regress in intelligence? If they retain their parents’ status, won’t that be due as much to nepotism and monetary inheritance than to genes?

    And a comment: my maternal ancestry is Danish-German-Swedish, my paternal Yankee to the nth degree (four Mayflower passengers), with possibly a bit of Irish thrown in sometime around 1840. Both my parents were smart, my father a professor of literature and my mother an independent writer. I have inherited, if that’s the word, my mother’s status, as my opinions make me unemployable in today’s academy. Here’s the comment: my mother was 5’2″, my father 5’8″, I am 6’0″. So far as I know, I have no six-foot ancestors. Where’s the heritability of height here?

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

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    • Replies: @ckp
    1: Heritability measures the proportion of variation of a trait that is attributable to variation in genes, /at a particular time/. A secular environmental change can shift the entire distribution one direction or another, while leaving the relative impacts of genes and environment untouched. Height has always been highly heritable, but better nutrition has pushed up the average height by many inches over the centuries.

    2: The crux of the Bell Curve's argument is that the meritocracy is mostly endogamous - that is, high-status folks marry high status folks, a phenomenon called "assortative mating". As for regression, you are indeed right that the children of two high status parents will regress somewhat in whatever traits made their parents exceptional. But here's the thing: you only regress once! See Greg Cochran for why: http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/the-breeders-equation/

    Exactly how endogamous the upper class becomes will make or break The Bell Curve's predictions, but we already have significant evidence that it's on the right track via Gregory Clark's work on social mobility (or rather, the absence of it) through the ages.

    >So far as I know, I have no six-foot ancestors. Where’s the heritability of height here?

    There's always exceptions :)

  11. @Anthony
    "The fact that parenting style makes no measurable contribution to the finished adult personality is perhaps the most counterintuitive result in the human sciences. "

    It's only counterintuitive to people with fewer than two children.

    My two daughters have *very* different personalities. Elder daughter has my personality in so many ways - she's much more like me than her mother, while younger daughter is much more like her mother. They've had very similar life experiences, and if anything, the differences should have pushed younger daughter's personality in ways she's not exhibiting.

    Exactly same experience with my family. My oldest son is a carbon copy of my (odd, contrary, fantasy oriented) personality, where my younger son is a lot like my wife (and her father), basically a born engineer. Having children can most definitely be a way to crystallize awareness of the power of genetics, but I don’t think it’s guaranteed by any means.

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  12. 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.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?

    Every generation would be identical to the previous one if that statement were true.

    But they are not.

    If that quoted excerpt was true, in every generation there would be an identical percentage of the population – as there was in the previous generation – who would become drug addicts or violent criminals and an identical percentage of the population who would become law abiding well adjusted citizens…and we would still be in caves…

    But we all know those percentages vary from generation to generations.

    I am NOT saying we do not inherit most of the traits that makes us who we are, I am sure we do but I am saying that there has to be a certain amount of “plasticity” other wise nothing would ever change.

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical… for lack of a better word…

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    • Replies: @minoritymagnet
    Nobody said 100% inherited. It is stated above:

    "Behavioral genetics in a nutshell: heredity: 70-80%; shared environment: 0%; something(s) else: 20-30%."

    , @JayMan
    @Canadian Friend:

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical… for lack of a better word…
     
    A. That's not what I said, nor have I ever said that.

    B. See post "Why HBD" above.

    , @Anonymous
    Jayman, what is your knowledge of RH negative blood type and what is your take on that phenomena - a different species of human perhaps?

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

    Interesting you should use the word "bliss". Harvard just released its 75 year study on what makes men "happy" and the effects of parenting on happiness in old age comes up;

    http://www.feelguide.com/2013/04/29/75-years-in-th-making-harvard-just-released-its-epic-study-on-what-men-require-to-live-a-happy-life/

    "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."

    Interesting is subjective. Some of the human behavioral traits he finds "interesting" I might not find so interesting, so such type of spin wording, although useful in propaganda, does not give weight to the argument. It would lead one to question, "So the traits he personally finds uninteresting have been found not be heritable?"

    "The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely."

    Its because of statements like the one I quoted above by Derb. Humans have known since ancient times that genes matter. Putting spin on studies and using misleading terminology to give the impression that there has been at least 1 peer reviewed scientific study that claimed 100% of everything about each human is 100% genetically determined is what gives us pause.

    As far as your reply to Canadian Friend, bombastic statements such as, "The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.".... when you cite only two small studies in two countries only, also gives us pause. The word "entirely" is the bombastic part. We have absolutely no way of knowing that since our knowledge about genes itself is so limited and the field of genetic science is in its infancy stage right now, if not merely its embryonic stage.

    Nobody has a problem with the concept of genes being deterministic to one degree or another. That you propose bombastically that its "entirely" is another matter.

    Scale back the theatrics a bit.

  13. @Canadian Friend
    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.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?

    Every generation would be identical to the previous one if that statement were true.

    But they are not.

    If that quoted excerpt was true, in every generation there would be an identical percentage of the population - as there was in the previous generation - who would become drug addicts or violent criminals and an identical percentage of the population who would become law abiding well adjusted citizens...and we would still be in caves...

    But we all know those percentages vary from generation to generations.

    I am NOT saying we do not inherit most of the traits that makes us who we are, I am sure we do but I am saying that there has to be a certain amount of "plasticity" other wise nothing would ever change.

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical... for lack of a better word...

    Nobody said 100% inherited. It is stated above:

    “Behavioral genetics in a nutshell: heredity: 70-80%; shared environment: 0%; something(s) else: 20-30%.”

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  14. @David Gress
    Congratulations on one of the best blogs in the world. To read you is heartening.

    I am a historian and a philologist, but unlike 90 per cent of my peers am neither leftist nor resistant to the discoveries of genetics and psychometrics; indeed, I have lapped them up for decades, ever since my mother gave me H. J. Eysenck’s “Know Your Own I.Q.” over 50 years ago (I didn’t do too well, but then I was only about 10). Today, I am proud to call myself a friend of Helmuth Nyborg, who lives 15 miles from me. I hardly understand half of what he’s talking about, but a man so persecuted by the right-thinking cannot be wrong.

    Two questions do keep occurring to me when I consider your well-established truths about personality and heritability:

    1. How do you account for massive and rapid cultural change, if personality traits are largely heritable? How did large parts of the Western world go from respecting to despising the nuclear family in a few short years beginning in the 1960s? The authors of “The Great Disruption” inherited their personalities, right? Yet they turned on their parents, tradition, patriotism, moral and aesthetic standards, learning, and order. Western politicians used to defend their countries; now they are ashamed to do so. Where did those personality traits spring from?

    2. Regression toward the mean should surely mean that, for example, parenting styles are far from fully heritable. Every generation will show a new mix. So the daughter of a feckless mother may turn out to be a model wife, no? What’s the role of regression in the story of heritable personality traits? This puzzles me too when I consider “The Bell Curve”‘s argument about an emerging meritocracy. Won’t the children of the smart meritocrats regress in intelligence? If they retain their parents’ status, won’t that be due as much to nepotism and monetary inheritance than to genes?

    And a comment: my maternal ancestry is Danish-German-Swedish, my paternal Yankee to the nth degree (four Mayflower passengers), with possibly a bit of Irish thrown in sometime around 1840. Both my parents were smart, my father a professor of literature and my mother an independent writer. I have inherited, if that’s the word, my mother’s status, as my opinions make me unemployable in today’s academy. Here’s the comment: my mother was 5’2″, my father 5’8″, I am 6’0″. So far as I know, I have no six-foot ancestors. Where’s the heritability of height here?

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

    1: Heritability measures the proportion of variation of a trait that is attributable to variation in genes, /at a particular time/. A secular environmental change can shift the entire distribution one direction or another, while leaving the relative impacts of genes and environment untouched. Height has always been highly heritable, but better nutrition has pushed up the average height by many inches over the centuries.

    2: The crux of the Bell Curve’s argument is that the meritocracy is mostly endogamous – that is, high-status folks marry high status folks, a phenomenon called “assortative mating”. As for regression, you are indeed right that the children of two high status parents will regress somewhat in whatever traits made their parents exceptional. But here’s the thing: you only regress once! See Greg Cochran for why: http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/the-breeders-equation/

    Exactly how endogamous the upper class becomes will make or break The Bell Curve’s predictions, but we already have significant evidence that it’s on the right track via Gregory Clark’s work on social mobility (or rather, the absence of it) through the ages.

    >So far as I know, I have no six-foot ancestors. Where’s the heritability of height here?

    There’s always exceptions :)

    Read More
  15. […] see also The Derb on the JayMan from […]

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  16. @Canadian Friend
    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.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?

    Every generation would be identical to the previous one if that statement were true.

    But they are not.

    If that quoted excerpt was true, in every generation there would be an identical percentage of the population - as there was in the previous generation - who would become drug addicts or violent criminals and an identical percentage of the population who would become law abiding well adjusted citizens...and we would still be in caves...

    But we all know those percentages vary from generation to generations.

    I am NOT saying we do not inherit most of the traits that makes us who we are, I am sure we do but I am saying that there has to be a certain amount of "plasticity" other wise nothing would ever change.

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical... for lack of a better word...

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical… for lack of a better word…

    A. That’s not what I said, nor have I ever said that.

    B. See post “Why HBD” above.

    Read More
  17. @ckp
    Re: zero independent impact of family:

    - Is this a recent phenomenon, caused, perhaps, by the general effect of increased standards of living and reductions in violence? Should we expect to see higher shared environment in poorer countries?

    - If the above is true, then when it comes to mate choice, are we just executing old adaptions that made sense when family environment did matter independent of genes?

    - If it's false, and shared environment is similarly low in primitive societies, then are all the mate choice algorithms that are purportedly for figuring out who is a good potential parent, really just for figuring out who has the best genes (and conversely, signaling you'll be a good parent is really about signaling genes)?

    - Is the outrage over the idea that parenting doesn't matter a local phenomenon, or is it the result of some kind of "ATTACK ALL THOSE WHO SAY I'M NOT A GOOD MATE" adaption?

    Good parenting could be a general display of social status, of which every human interaction is loaded with. “Look, we can afford violin lessons for our children and have so much spare time that we can build a treehouse with them….”

    Read More
  18. […] to the JayMan family and supporting my tireless blogging efforts, as we saw again highlighted in my previous post. I have a few good things in store for you guys that I will unveil over the summer ;). As I said, I […]

    Read More
  19. […] seems that Jayman, while right on many things, is wrong on this one: fatherhood does matter, even apart from […]

    Read More
  20. […] even realize that scientific racism was still a thing until I was linked to the blog of JayMan, just one such racist (otherwise known as a proponent of human biodiversity). I’m not one for […]

    Read More
  21. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Jumping to conclusions about race is not biology. It’s social “science” that cherry picks elements from biology, while selectively ignoring other factors that have a greater impact on behavior (economic conditions, history of the people/region, technology, theology, war, etc.). A group of people’s DNA does not just drastically change in a decade or two, but you can clearly see how politics, war, economics, and technology can make an entire community change for the better or take a turn for the worse, in a very short amount of time. This is obvious to 100% of people who aren’t racist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Justo:

    Jumping to conclusions about race is not biology.
     
    You must learn the difference between jumping to conclusions and coming to them.

    It’s social “science” that cherry picks elements from biology, while selectively ignoring other factors that have a greater impact on behavior (economic conditions, history of the people/region, technology, theology, war, etc.)
     
    You might want to read this post. I never claimed that immediate conditions had no impact on behavior.

    A group of people’s DNA does not just drastically change in a decade or two, but you can clearly see how politics, war, economics, and technology can make an entire community change for the better or take a turn for the worse, in a very short amount of time.
     
    No kidding. See the aforementioned post. As this fellow confuses, that heredity explains much of the difference within a cohort doesn't mean that it must explain the differences between cohorts.
  22. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Canadian Friend
    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.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?

    Every generation would be identical to the previous one if that statement were true.

    But they are not.

    If that quoted excerpt was true, in every generation there would be an identical percentage of the population - as there was in the previous generation - who would become drug addicts or violent criminals and an identical percentage of the population who would become law abiding well adjusted citizens...and we would still be in caves...

    But we all know those percentages vary from generation to generations.

    I am NOT saying we do not inherit most of the traits that makes us who we are, I am sure we do but I am saying that there has to be a certain amount of "plasticity" other wise nothing would ever change.

    To say it is 100% inherited and that other factors account for ZERO % is a bit radical... for lack of a better word...

    Jayman, what is your knowledge of RH negative blood type and what is your take on that phenomena – a different species of human perhaps?

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

    Interesting you should use the word “bliss”. Harvard just released its 75 year study on what makes men “happy” and the effects of parenting on happiness in old age comes up;

    http://www.feelguide.com/2013/04/29/75-years-in-th-making-harvard-just-released-its-epic-study-on-what-men-require-to-live-a-happy-life/

    “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.”

    Interesting is subjective. Some of the human behavioral traits he finds “interesting” I might not find so interesting, so such type of spin wording, although useful in propaganda, does not give weight to the argument. It would lead one to question, “So the traits he personally finds uninteresting have been found not be heritable?”

    “The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely.”

    Its because of statements like the one I quoted above by Derb. Humans have known since ancient times that genes matter. Putting spin on studies and using misleading terminology to give the impression that there has been at least 1 peer reviewed scientific study that claimed 100% of everything about each human is 100% genetically determined is what gives us pause.

    As far as your reply to Canadian Friend, bombastic statements such as, “The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.”…. when you cite only two small studies in two countries only, also gives us pause. The word “entirely” is the bombastic part. We have absolutely no way of knowing that since our knowledge about genes itself is so limited and the field of genetic science is in its infancy stage right now, if not merely its embryonic stage.

    Nobody has a problem with the concept of genes being deterministic to one degree or another. That you propose bombastically that its “entirely” is another matter.

    Scale back the theatrics a bit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Sci-Scy: Scientific Scythian:

    I didn't approve this comment for a long time because it falls perilously close to being a stupid comment. Let that be lesson to all the other folks out their with stupid comments I've left in moderation.

    First, it misconstrues/misunderstand what I say. Second, you fly off the handle based on your misunderstanding of what I say.


    “The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely.”

    Its because of statements like the one I quoted above by Derb. Humans have known since ancient times that genes matter. Putting spin on studies and using misleading terminology to give the impression that there has been at least 1 peer reviewed scientific study that claimed 100% of everything about each human is 100% genetically determined is what gives us pause.
     

    When have I ever said every trait is 100% genetically determined??

    As far as your reply to Canadian Friend, bombastic statements such as, “The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.”…. when you cite only two small studies in two countries only, also gives us pause. The word “entirely” is the bombastic part.
     
    Correction: two large studies from two countries with very good records. Other studies of other traits find that the results are similar across nations.

    We have absolutely no way of knowing that since our knowledge about genes itself is so limited and the field of genetic science is in its infancy stage right now, if not merely its embryonic stage.
     
    Maybe your knowledge is limited. Mine is considerably less so. Behavioral genetics is the bedrock of social science. Take that away, and all the rest is no good.

    But then, that's why people read me and not you...

  23. @Anonymous
    Jumping to conclusions about race is not biology. It's social "science" that cherry picks elements from biology, while selectively ignoring other factors that have a greater impact on behavior (economic conditions, history of the people/region, technology, theology, war, etc.). A group of people's DNA does not just drastically change in a decade or two, but you can clearly see how politics, war, economics, and technology can make an entire community change for the better or take a turn for the worse, in a very short amount of time. This is obvious to 100% of people who aren't racist.

    @Justo:

    Jumping to conclusions about race is not biology.

    You must learn the difference between jumping to conclusions and coming to them.

    It’s social “science” that cherry picks elements from biology, while selectively ignoring other factors that have a greater impact on behavior (economic conditions, history of the people/region, technology, theology, war, etc.)

    You might want to read this post. I never claimed that immediate conditions had no impact on behavior.

    A group of people’s DNA does not just drastically change in a decade or two, but you can clearly see how politics, war, economics, and technology can make an entire community change for the better or take a turn for the worse, in a very short amount of time.

    No kidding. See the aforementioned post. As this fellow confuses, that heredity explains much of the difference within a cohort doesn’t mean that it must explain the differences between cohorts.

    Read More
  24. @minoritymagnet
    Good parenting could be a general display of social status, of which every human interaction is loaded with. "Look, we can afford violin lessons for our children and have so much spare time that we can build a treehouse with them...."

    Yup.

    Read More
  25. Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
    I wonder how this parenting malarkey fits in with r/K selection theory a la Anon. Conservative?

    Read More
  26. @Anonymous
    Jayman, what is your knowledge of RH negative blood type and what is your take on that phenomena - a different species of human perhaps?

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

    Interesting you should use the word "bliss". Harvard just released its 75 year study on what makes men "happy" and the effects of parenting on happiness in old age comes up;

    http://www.feelguide.com/2013/04/29/75-years-in-th-making-harvard-just-released-its-epic-study-on-what-men-require-to-live-a-happy-life/

    "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."

    Interesting is subjective. Some of the human behavioral traits he finds "interesting" I might not find so interesting, so such type of spin wording, although useful in propaganda, does not give weight to the argument. It would lead one to question, "So the traits he personally finds uninteresting have been found not be heritable?"

    "The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely."

    Its because of statements like the one I quoted above by Derb. Humans have known since ancient times that genes matter. Putting spin on studies and using misleading terminology to give the impression that there has been at least 1 peer reviewed scientific study that claimed 100% of everything about each human is 100% genetically determined is what gives us pause.

    As far as your reply to Canadian Friend, bombastic statements such as, "The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.".... when you cite only two small studies in two countries only, also gives us pause. The word "entirely" is the bombastic part. We have absolutely no way of knowing that since our knowledge about genes itself is so limited and the field of genetic science is in its infancy stage right now, if not merely its embryonic stage.

    Nobody has a problem with the concept of genes being deterministic to one degree or another. That you propose bombastically that its "entirely" is another matter.

    Scale back the theatrics a bit.

    @Sci-Scy: Scientific Scythian:

    I didn’t approve this comment for a long time because it falls perilously close to being a stupid comment. Let that be lesson to all the other folks out their with stupid comments I’ve left in moderation.

    First, it misconstrues/misunderstand what I say. Second, you fly off the handle based on your misunderstanding of what I say.

    “The case for behavioral genetics is as solid as a rock. Yet certain people like to pretend as if this is a “speculative” affair, or deny that we have such evidence entirely.”

    Its because of statements like the one I quoted above by Derb. Humans have known since ancient times that genes matter. Putting spin on studies and using misleading terminology to give the impression that there has been at least 1 peer reviewed scientific study that claimed 100% of everything about each human is 100% genetically determined is what gives us pause.

    When have I ever said every trait is 100% genetically determined??

    As far as your reply to Canadian Friend, bombastic statements such as, “The transmission of misery or bliss in a family is entirely due to shared genes, just like most everything else.”…. when you cite only two small studies in two countries only, also gives us pause. The word “entirely” is the bombastic part.

    Correction: two large studies from two countries with very good records. Other studies of other traits find that the results are similar across nations.

    We have absolutely no way of knowing that since our knowledge about genes itself is so limited and the field of genetic science is in its infancy stage right now, if not merely its embryonic stage.

    Maybe your knowledge is limited. Mine is considerably less so. Behavioral genetics is the bedrock of social science. Take that away, and all the rest is no good.

    But then, that’s why people read me and not you…

    Read More
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