A persistent misunderstanding both in the world of HBD and general medical and psychological science at large is the notion of what constitutes a “disorder.” When does a phenotype represent a physiological or behavioral malady? For behavioral issues, most people regard the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as the “final word” on this matter. While the DSM does make some attempt to assess actual impaired functioning, its assessments are tinged by cultural biases. A key component of DSM diagnostic criteria is social judgement of what is “proper” – what constitutes a correctly behaving person, according to the current cultural values?
Indeed, the DSM’s own Wikipedia page captures a many of the book’s problems:
Various authorities criticized the fifth edition both before and after it was formally published. Critics assert, for example, that many DSM-5 revisions or additions lack empirical support; inter-rater reliability is low for many disorders; several sections contain poorly written, confusing, or contradictory information; and the psychiatric drug industry unduly influenced the manual’s content. Various scientists have argued that the DSM-5 forces clinicians to make distinctions that are not supported by solid evidence, distinctions that have major treatment implications, including drug prescriptions and the availability of health insurance coverage.
But its more basic problems go deeper than that.
For starters, what do we mean by a “disorder?” The word implies that something is “out of order” – that is, something is not working as “intended.” Now when we’re talking about living things, that “intended” function is the function that survived the cruel process of elimination that is natural selection. Hence, any concept of a behavioral or physiological disorder must be informed by evolutionary theory. Medicine and psychiatry need to incorporate Darwinian processes.
As I begin, I want to be clear that it should be understood that all human behavioral traits are heritable, with “nurture” as its commonly thought of playing a minimal role to nonexistent role in each (see also Environmental Hereditarianism, The Son Becomes The Father, and More Behavioral Genetic Facts). The rest of this post proceeds assuming an understanding of this reality.
However, the people making these assessments, even the “experts,” tend to be evolutionarily illiterate; that is, they have a poor understanding of evolutionary theory. This failing isn’t just academic; in addition to hindering the understanding the nature and origin of these phenotypes, ignorance of Darwinism leads to to difficulty managing and treating them.
This means that there are a host of phenotypes classified as “disorders” that in fact aren’t, as well as a good many that are in fact Darwinian disorders which are not classified as such.
My Twitter followers know that I have been making noise about this problem for some time. And now, enter Durisko, Mulsant, McKenzie, and Andrews, 2016, with their paper “Using Evolutionary Theory to Guide Mental Health Research,” published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
The authors (who I suspect have read my writing) sum up the problem excellently in their abstract:
Evolutionary approaches to medicine can shed light on the origins and etiology of disease. Such an approach may be especially useful in psychiatry, which frequently addresses conditions with heterogeneous presentation and unknown causes. We review several previous applications of evolutionary theory that highlight the ways in which psychiatric conditions may persist despite and because of natural selection. One lesson from the evolutionary approach is that some conditions currently classified as disorders (because they cause distress and impairment) may actually be caused by functioning adaptations operating “normally” (as designed by natural selection). Such conditions suggest an alternative illness model that may generate alternative intervention strategies. Thus, the evolutionary approach suggests that psychiatry should sometimes think differently about distress and impairment. The complexity of the human brain, including normal functioning and potential for dysfunctions, has developed over evolutionary time and has been shaped by natural selection. Understanding the evolutionary origins of psychiatric conditions is therefore a crucial component to a complete understanding of etiology.
Durisko et al produce a neat chart that analyzes examples:
The sad fact of the matter is that there are some disorders the medical and psychiatric communities are correct in calling disorders but these communities are ignorant about why they are correct. These lead me to the first major cause of mental disorders.
A major challenge any functioning organism faces is genetic load. This is the burden of deleterious mutations that we all carry. For a discussion of this, see Greg Cochran over at West Hunter:
More thoughts on genetic load
The genetics of stupidity
The Golden Age
In short, new mutations always arise. The majority of these mutations are neutral or harmful to fitness. Deleterious alleles are selected out at a rate proportional to their fitness impact; the bigger the fitness hit, the faster they are selected out. This means that alleles with mild fitness impacts can persist for many generations. Certain individuals can have more than their fair share of the these deleterious alleles. In some cases, this leads to mental illness – when there are just one too many things “broken” in the brain. While the individual alleles that are causal to these illnesses are all rare and are all being selected out, new mutations continue to arise, hence, the illness persists in the population – each instance being genetically distinct from all the others.
Mathew Keller and Geoffery Miller detailed how this applies to mental illness in their 2006 paper. Genetic load largely* explains mental illnesses such as autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Since men generate sperm throughout their lives, older fathers pass on more mutations to their children. Hence, paternal age can be used to gauge the effect of de novo mutations on a phenotype, which is a clue to how much genetic load is involved. Autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder all show paternal age effects – that is, older fathers are more likely to have children with these afflictions (D’Onofrio et al 2014). These conditions are true disorders in the Darwinian sense, although research continues into the genetic architecture of these phenotypes. They are bugs, not features.
So the psychiatrists got these right. But, as we see above, there a host of “disorders” that they got wrong.
The biggest category here are the personality disorders, of which, psychopathy (or “antisocial personality disorder”) being the most prominent. (A review of the heritability of these personality disorders can be found here: Reichborn-Kjennerud 2010.) The rationale for categorizing these phenotypes as disorders in the DSM is as described quite well by Durisko et al (emphasis mine):
The DSM-5 defines mental disorder as “dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.” … (p20) and operationalizes this dysfunction with proxies such as the inability to work, maintain interpersonal relations, and take care of one’s self. Several authors have pointed out the difficulty this approach can have in distinguishing between normal and abnormal behaviour …
Distress, impairment, and inability to function in everyday life [that is, in modern society] are not necessarily indicative of biological malfunction … The normal functioning of the body’s evolved systems can at times be unpleasant and cause suffering.
Durisko et al go on mention childbirth as an example of a biological function though it causes pain and suffering even when it operates as it should, and that’s a good example. I will add that social undesirability is of course another factor that colors the DSM classification, as psychopathy illustrates perfectly.
Many of these “personality disorders” embody phenotypes that are continuously distributed in the population. My earlier post Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality illustrates this to an extent. For example, both anxious and psychopathic tendencies are not distinct categories but rather are continuously distributed in the population. Anxiety appears to relate to the HEXACO Emotionality and perhaps low eXtraversion. And the psychopathic traits are well represented by the Dark Tetrad, which is its own dimension (Honesty-humility) in the HEXACO. What we call “psychopaths” are just individuals who score above an arbitrary cut off on the Dark Tetrad dimension. I have argued that the prevalence of such traits is related to clannishness. What the authors of the DSM have done with most personality disorders is “pathologize” points of normal personality variation that don’t conform to the (very WEIRDO) ideal. These traits are adaptations nonetheless. Psychopathy is a feature, not a bug.
In the chart above by Durisko et al, they talk of “alternating selection” as maintaining many of these traits. Psychopathy (at least in WEIRDO environments – see the list in the beginning of the post Clannishness – the Series: Zigzag Lightning in the Brain) is commonly thought to be maintained by frequency dependent selection; that is, psychopathy is adaptive at low frequency but becomes maladaptive when it becomes too common.
I suspect that the general idea is correct. However, let me interject here that most discussion of the evolution of human traits ignores recent selection. There is group-level variation resulting from regional differences in selective pressures. To quote Greg Cochran, “every society selects for something“, and what that something is varies by time and place.
Hence, a lot of these ideas on the evolution of human behavioral traits (including the personality “disorders”) suffer from WEIRDO bias. For example, the “optimum frequency” of psychopathy varies from population to population – being much higher in clannish societies.
Indeed, Penke, Denissen, and Miller (2007) claim this is true for all personality traits. That is, variation is human personality is maintained by frequency-dependent selection, with most personality traits being most adaptive when they are found at intermediate frequencies. Of course, as per the above the optimum frequency for each personality trait will be different in different societies. These explain the group-level differences we see in most behavioral traits.
But aren’t there times when the extremes of something which is continuous distributed is bad – too much of a good thing, as it were? Sure. One example may be hoarding. As Cochran explains:
It could be that people, at least some people, just feel like saving, and would do so even if it were economically irrational.
It looks as if saving has had a bigger payoff in recent millennia than it typically did in the distant past. I’m not say that as an iron law, more as a tendency. There may have been ways of saving food for hard times (winter, mainly) quite a while ago, at least in cold climates… at least you’d think so.
Farming must have favored low time preference.
Grain crops can be stored, and seed must be saved for the next growing season.
where saving had higher payoffs, individuals that had a greater innate propensity to save ought to have had higher fitness. Having lower time preference, acting more like homo economicus , may have been favored, but surely a simple hoarding tendency, more like a squirrel burying nuts for the winter, would have been favored as well. Maybe there was selection for being more of a squirrel…
Of course there is a distribution of such traits, ranging from a little to a lot. In a population with a greater mean amount of tendency-to-save, some would do so to a ridiculous extent. Hoarders. They may not be equally common in every population.
Anxiety “disorders” may be similar to hoarding in this way. People with extreme levels may just be the unfortunate beneficiaries of genes that were adaptive in their ancestral environments – albeit at more moderate levels.
Speaking of ancestral environments – sometimes a “disorder” arises because of a mismatch between the modern environment and the ancestral environment. An example would be altitude “sickness.” Individuals whose ancestors lived near sea level can have trouble in the lower atmospheric pressure environment found at high altitude, and they exhibit all manner of maladies when at heights. Here it’s clear that there is no actual disease present; rather the sufferer is outside the environment in which they evolved.
Substance addictions are shining examples of such phenotypes. Typically, the addictive agent was not present in the sufferer’s ancestral environment. Hence, when exposed to a world that has tobacco, cocaine, or alcohol, for example, they can become addicted.
Addicts remain in some societies that have had the offending substance for some time because selection against such afflictions is ongoing. We can see this in action when we look at Europe (from here):
Alcohol consumption in Europe inversely correlates with the length of time each society has practiced agriculture (from here).
See also Firewater | West Hunter.
Type II diabetes and perhaps irritable bowel syndrome may also be examples of these types of phenotypes. Afflictions that stem from environmental mismatch aren’t “disorders” in the Darwinian sense. Rather, there are a turnover in direction of natural selection.
This also, by the way, highlights a key fact about the aforementioned genetic load. There is a key difference between afflictions stemming from environmental mismatch and disorders stemming from genetic load (such as autism, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder). Where as the genes that cause substance abuse or altitude sickness are clearly adaptive in some environments (ancestral ones) and were selected for by evolution, the genes that lead to autism, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia are maladaptive in any environment.* Disorders caused by genetic load are true Darwinian diseases.
The reality of environmental mismatch puts the kibosh on a popular concept in the alt-right sphere, referring primarily to Northwestern Europeans: that is, “pathological altruism.” Specifically, some in this space view the universalist acts of Northwestern Europeans – such as inviting refugees and other immigrants from poor and/or war-torn Muslim countries (despite the higher crime rate and lower socioeconomic performance of these immigrants) – to live in Northwestern European countries as a type of pathology – i.e, a disorder. As Jared Taylor put it (emphasis mine):
We will turn our backs on our own group in the hope that members of other groups will do the same—despite clear evidence that other groups have no such intention.
A somewhat less deceived writer advises that if groups want to act altruistically towards other groups they should at least look for groups that follow the same rules. But this is as far as the book goes. Group pathology leads only to mistreatment of out-groups. Apparently none of the authors can conceive of pathology in which the in-group mistreats itself for the benefit of strangers.
Yet, of course, it is not a disorder. “Pathological altruism,” at least when used to refer to this aspect of Northwestern European behavior, is a silly term.
As I detailed in my post The Rise of Universalism, the universalist behavior of Northwestern Europeans is a natural consequence of their special flavor of reciprocal altruism, which is not strictly kin-centric and views all people (indeed, often non-humans as well) as potential recipients for sympathy. In that post, I explain how modern technology led to an inevitable increase in universalism among Northwestern Europeans – that runaway universalism was inevitable. Clearly an inherited phenotype can’t be a pathology when it is possessed by sizable fractions of the populations under consideration. Rather universalist sentiment is a feature, not a bug (or more accurately, it is the result of a feature). It’s not even clear that such traits even have a direct negative fitness impact, as it’s not yet been established that such individuals aren’t the most fertile in these countries (though it appears to be presently deleterious in the United States).
Finally, as noted, just as there are phenotypes that are (for cultural reasons) classified as disorders that are in fact not, there are afflictions that are not classified as disorders that in fact are. Most poignant of these is obligate male homosexuality. The DSM long since removed it from its list of disorders. Yet there is no environment where lack of interest in the opposite sex is adaptive. It is literally a Darwinian disease. Yet, homosexuals make up 2-5% of the male population – a far greater fraction than the sufferers of disorders like schizophrenia. Genetic load is unable to explain the existence of such a common fitness-reducing disorder. The only workable explanation for such a common fitness-reducing disorder is a pathogen.
As detailed by Greg Cochran (as collected in Greg Cochran’s “Gay Germ” Hypothesis – An Exercise in the Power of Germs), the proximate cause of homosexuality is likely damage resulting from an infectious agent. Numerous facts support this, including the very low heritability (< 22%, in stark contrast to most everything else). Indeed, pathogens are the other important source of human maladies, both physical and behavioral. Many diseases that don’t fall under the above category may be found to have pathogenic involvement*.
The primacy of sex drive and sexual reproduction to fitness (without it, little else really matters, evolutionarily) means that evolutionary theory can be used to evaluate other claimed disorders like – asexuality. True asexuality – a complete lack of interest in sex – would be as much a Darwinian disease as would homosexuality, at least for men. This would lead us to expect it to be very rare. And indeed despite earlier claims to the contrary, such appears to be the case (Cranney 2015).
The importance of sex drive is another reason to doubt another claimed disorder (that fortunately didn’t make the DSM V): sex addiction (aka “hypersexuality”). Sex drive is continuously distributed across the human population. This lends itself to the use of arbitrary cutoffs when declaring “pathological” states. Indeed, one Croatian study found that self-professed hypersexual men weren’t all that more sexual than men who simply claimed to be highly sexual – they just feel more ashamed about it. Now, as mentioned above, although continuously distributed traits could lead to “pathological” extreme cases (e.g. hoarding), there doesn’t seem to be much support for this notion in the case of sex addiction.
There will likely always be a level of subjectivity in what human phenotypes we label “disorders.” But at least by proceeding from a Darwinian model, we have a framework with which we can have a reasonable understanding of human disorder, and not continue to make things up to extent we presently do.
*I mentioned the role of pathogens in the existence of persistent human disorders. Greg Cochran and Paul Ewald make the case in their 2000 paper that genes for certain human maladies may stick around because they confer defense against pathogens. Hay fever may be a poignant example of this (Tyagi et al 2015). This may also be true for some genes that cause certain mental disorders.
I agree that autism is a disorder, but perhaps susceptibility to autism is a feature. The reason psychologists have defined an “autism spectrum” is that there are behavior patterns like Asperger’s syndrome (or, even less pathologically, high nerdiness) which may have been adaptive (particularly in Ashkenazim in the middle ages), and which seem to shade continuously into autism.
I don’t prefer this view to the alternative hypothesis that the “spectrum” is illusory, and that the genetic traits involved in nerdism and Asperger’s (which are clearly heritable and specific rather than being consequences of mutational load) do not actually give higher susceptibility to true autism, but what do you think?
I’ve seen some studies I can’t recall, but I suspect the two things aren’t related. Even if they are, it would then be wrong to call functional versions “autism” then.
I’ll have to dig up those studies and get back to you.
I’m moderately familiar with the research into sociopathy and the more one learns the less likely one is to adopt a particular stance on the subject. I think there is a normal distribution of the traits which characterize sociopaths. I also think it’s probable that persons on the extreme left-hand of the distributions for several of these traits are likely to be perceived and diagnosed as sociopaths.
However, there’s a large group of sociopaths who have in common very odd brain structures and very odd behaviors, e.g, compulsive confabulation even in the face of overwhelming counterfactual evidence and when such confabulation is extremely counterproductive for the sociopath. This leads me to suspect that there really is/are distinct disorder(s) that we classify as sociopathies and which are distinct from an accumulation of extreme distributions of standard personality traits within an individual.
My reading of the literature suggests that this is an on-going conundrum within the field. Recently there has been a spate of books popularizing the notion of at least some sociopathic behavior as an accumulation of extreme personality traits. But IMHO this is a far too simplistic approach to explain all sociopathic personalities.
(Continuing previous comment:) A close family member was considered close to autistic as a child and exhibited severe deficits that were unquestionably disorders; later he progressed into a classic “Asperger’s” diagnosis, but as an adult, he exhibits both inherited nerdiness of a specific type that runs in his family (through the male line back to his great-grandfather, an Ashkenazi Jew), and mild psychological deficits that are obviously just damage of some kind (difficulty with recognizing faces, no sense of direction, etc.). Therefore I find the theory “autism is a disorder but susceptibility to autism is a feature” plausible.
HBD is merely my avocation, so please excuse my ignorance: I assume that a possible pathogen causing homosexuality occurs in utero. Since some animals also display “homosexuality,” I assume that you would argue that this, too, is pathogen-caused.
I agree with your analysis of the genetics involved, but as you yourself point out, psychiatry isn’t about the evolutionary roots of things. It’s about people with problems right now.
As you say, anxiety disorders are likely the far end of a normally distributed trait (although they might not be – compare the recent paper showing that severe intellectual disabilities come from different sources than normal low IQ). But when a person with severe anxiety comes to a psychiatrist, saying “Don’t worry, the genetic structure of anxiety is normally distributed!” doesn’t help. They want something to make them less anxious, and it’s a reasonable request. In the same way, society can realize that antisocial personality can be adaptive under certain conditions, and also condemn and want to eliminate antisocial traits.
Everyone in psychiatry has a slightly different philosophy, but mine is that if a patient comes in with some problem that’s making them upset and/or affecting their functioning, that’s a problem. If lots and lots of patients consistently come in with the same pattern of things that make them upset and/or affect their functioning, that’s a disorder.
Yes, this is susceptible to cultural biases, but I’m not sure we should be trying to factor that out. In a culture that requires you to sit still at school for 8 hours a day, having ADHD is bad. In a culture that doesn’t require that, maybe having ADHD is good or neutral. But we’re the first type of culture, so people complaining that their ADHD is giving them problems have a reasonable complaint.
Knowing the genetic and evolutionary structures of things is interesting, but not really relevant to rewriting the DSM.
Could be, though more early childhood owing to low twin concordance (and 0 shared environment, for that matter).
It’s possibly the case. I’ll have to dig into the literature to see if there is a paternal age effect on severe anxiety, which would be a big clue.
Largely agreed – though one point: antisocial traits aren’t universally bad. Leadership and bucking convention are other products, and those are beneficial. But yes, finding ways to reduce the criminal genes would be helpful.
Yes. Though I think this knowledge should lead us to manage expectations on treating these cases.
I wouldn’t say that. 🙂
Or they have an over abundance of a desire to lie. Nature is an effective designer but its not perfect.
And more of those people are nincompoops. How many of them have even heard of the Dark Tetrad?
A very interesting piece. I think the reason you disagree with the accuracy of the term ‘pathological altruism’ is that you’re using a different concept of ‘pathology’ than many people use. Your using what I would call a Darwinian pathology concept, whereas other people use what I would call a harm-based pathology concept. This is also the heart of the disagreement you have with Scott Alexander above.
Under a harm-based pathology concept, type 2 diabetes would definitely be pathological, because it leads to eye disease, kidney disease, amputations, etc. The fact that the genes that predispose someone to type 2 diabetes have been under positive or neutral selection is not really relevant under this concept of pathology.
However, the knowledge that type 2 diabetes is not a ‘Darwinian disease’ may have implications for treatment. Changing the environment to something closer to the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (i.e. much less highly processed carbohydrates) may have better treatment outcomes than trying to live in a modern environment but with daily insulin injections.
Not that much relevant to the post, so accept my apology; but here is a thing: I have Gilbert’s syndrome, because of which I am unable to consume much alcohole (I vomit as soon as after finishing 3/4L of wine, or four beer bottles). Gilber’s syndrome has many undesirable features and is, definetely, a physical disorder. Now, from my father’s side, my family comes from what is Belarus. Look at the alcohol consumption rates there. I started to wonder, thatmaybe in that kind of environment, a Gilbert’s disease, which prevents you from taking liking of alcohol, may actually have an adaptive value: my ancestors, for example, would spent money on buying new lands instead of wasting it on vodka. When looking at history of my family, I am constantly bumping into how they lose everything and then regain lost things; and when they lose, it’s usually because of participating in some uprising, or being cheated by finances, or because of war. I bet hard work and saving is much easier when you are not gulping the alcohol…
Quite possibly. See Cochran’s “Firewater” post linked above.
There’s certainly a lot of truth here, but there are also some weird cases that have complicated classifications. Consider tendencies to interpersonal violence. I remember reading Chagnon saying that normal male behavior among the Yanamamo would qualify as pathologically violent in US society. And it seems plausible that that level of violence is adaptive in Yanamamo society, and possibly a large swath of pre-state-level societies. But in many state-level socieities, that behavior is distinctly maladaptive *because the society expends effort to make it so*. For some behaviors, what is adaptive is not just a matter of environment, but is deliberately created by social processes.
You might toss into this analysis disorders that result from (trying to find a word other than “actual”) genetic defects, eg trisomy 21 or 22q11.2 deletion, and disorders which result from teratogen exposure, like fetal alcohol syndrome or antiepileptic drug syndrome.
I’m not a psychiatrist but I can only suspect that they would probably have different treatment methods for a kid with idiopathic ADHD and a kid who can’t concentrate because alcohol exposure screwed up the wiring.
On a different note I also suspect “unknown teratogen” can compete with “unknown pathogen” as an explanation for some problems.
An evolutionary analysis can sometimes tell you something about etiology, which can in some cases tell you something useful about treatment.
Knowledge is good.
These are mutations, right? Similar to genetic load.
There’s tons of room for disorders that stem from environmental insults, including pathogens. (Though fetal alcohol syndrome probably isn’t real.)
Right, this falls under clear cultural bias.
Maybe it is now. It couldn’t have been in the ancestral past for these societies if such traits are common.
That falls under “environment” – gene-culture co-evolution (“every society selects for something“).
It seems to me the very notion of “Disorder” is incoherent.
For starters, the term disorder carries the strong implication that things that are disorders ought to be fixed while things that fail to be disorders should not be. However, it’s easy to come up with examples of traits that are clearly selected against but nevertheless may create great personal happiness while others (such as a high level of vigilance/worry/etc..) that are evolutionary favored cause substantial disutility. For instance, as your earlier discussion hints at, genetic predisposition for criminality may well be a favorable adaptation but yet both make society worse and make those with the adaptation less happy.
However, setting this point aside there just doesn’t seem to be a coherent way to classify features as defects or somehow evolutionary selected.
For instance what about traits which are an unfortunate consequence of genuienly beneficial genes, e.g., traits like sickle cell arising from getting a combination of individually beneficial genes or the greater vulnerability to various neurological conditions suffered by the Askenazi (sp) jews that appears to be an unfortunate side effect of genes that were selected for their IQ benefits?
More generally, the fact that evolution selects for genes while disorder is a term that applies to organism traits suggests no such definition is possible. For example consider a gene on the Y-chromosome with the effect (through some mechanism…maybe simple dislike of women) of causing men with the gene to favor male offspring (and other male relatives with the same Y chromosome) at great expense to their female offspring. Such a gene would be selected for even as it reduced the chance that it’s holder’s genes on other chromosomes would be passed on. Not to mention what is a useful adaptation is relative to the comparison class (consider two mutations of the same gene that both provide protection against a disease but one does so better).
Yes, I used toy examples and no real genes will behave in such a simple fashion but it illustrates the underlying difficulty of such a definition.
Given the questionable desirability of such a concept and the difficulty providing a coherent definition why bother with the notion at all?
Not really. Just because something is a disorder doesn’t mean it’s fixable, and vice versa.
You mean always selected against?
Very few phenotypes are due to heterozygote advantage, as it takes a special set of circumstances for it work. That’s why I didn’t discuss it in the post.
Would it? Put yes, intragenic conflict is a thing. Nonetheless, natural selection straightens it out (that is part of the reason for sexual reproduction).
A) It’s not all that questionable.
B) It is desirable for many reasons stated here already.
I don’t think mutations is the right word. Trisomy results from an error in egg or sperm cell development where the cell contains 24 chromosomes instead of 23. With deletions a significant subset of a chromosome is simply missing. These seem qualitatively different from mutations.
Environmental insults is a sensible way to group pathogens, teratogens, brain damage from physical injury, mal-development from chronic malnutrition, etc.
That’s very surprising to read. I have trouble imagining the possible reasoning behind it.
That’s normally a naturalistic fallacy. Also, multiple twin studies, tens of thousands of them actually, show that homosexuality is environmental in origin.
I read another studying saying it had a heritability of 33 percent. It’s environmental in origin.
Well, how do you think we got 23 pairs of chromosomes? Chimps have 24 pairs.
Who drinks during pregnancy?
On this point, the only other animal species that demonstrates a homosexual orientation is sheep.
That doesn’t make sense to me. The genome is supposed to be split evenly, each pair separated. Trisomy happens when one of the pairs does not actually separate . It’s a mechanical error, a screw up in the normal workings of reproduction. I’m pretty sure chimps or any other animal can have a similar disorder.
Hoooooo boy. You sir are grossly underestimating the irresponsibility of the left end of the bell curve. Our firm has clients who didn’t realize they were pregnant until 5 months along. They went to a doctor because they felt sick and then literally said “I’m pregnant? Really?” after missing their period for 4 months. How is this possible? How? I know right? We ask that all the time for so many other reasons but the stark reality remains reality. My opinion, and of course I could be wrong, is that some people are incredibly, just ridiculously stupid.
Seriously though, pregnant women who smoked crack and shot heroine throughout the pregnancy. Women who binge drank, women who smoked meth. All noted offhandedly in their medical records. There is a whole other world out there and it is insane.
All mutations are errors. My point is that every now and then one does something useful, and this is a mutation like all the others.
You misunderstood my question. But nonetheless, you answered it quite well. Now, what kind of children would you expect such dull, irresponsible women would have?
The purpose of this crappy piece appears only to frontpage bogus map with Russia in red. Production of vodka – product developed somewhere in Europe – declined in Russia in recent years, and so does consumption. On the contrary, the Russian tourists in Europe and on Turkey resorts recently had any opportunity to observe a zoo of drunken Germans and Dutch. Drunken Finns just go visit Russia themselves. Today, drunken youth parties are common place in universities of the West, phenomenon almost unseen in Russia. Maybe, author implies, in several places of EU, more muslims mean greener map?
Sure. But consumption there is still pretty high:
Sociopathy strikes me as adaptive in the modern business world.
Now, I would say you are correct.
In 150 years, if we understand the chain of causation arising from genetic problems, it’ll be a different story. But you have to practice medicine *now*, so you are of course correct.
I *do* wonder if the incredible heterogeneity of psychopharmacologic responses has genetic roots. I mean, aren’t there psychiatrists seeing if people with polymorphisms in serotonin receptors respond differently to different SSRIs or something? (And if not, this might be an interesting direction for your career…)
This article reminds me of late American author John Foster Fraser “antisemitic” claim: “Alcohol is Jewish.”
“The Jews are masters of the whiskey trade in the United States. Eighty per cent of the members of the National Liquor Dealers’ Association are Jews. It has been shown that 60 percent of the business of distilling and wholesale trade in whiskey is in the hands of the Jews,” John Foster Fraser in his 1916 book ‘The Conquering Jew’.
In his August 1, 2012 article, entitled ‘Rise and fall of Bronfman liquor empire‘ Catholic pastor Ted Pike claims ‘Alcohol is Jewish’.
Ted Pike is against the Organized Jewry, but he certainly is no friend of Muslims. He has criticized writer and author Mark Glenn and other Catholic writers for their association with Muslims against Israel…..
Alcohol consumption (of the moderate varieties anyway – but then again, hardcore vodka drinking is a pretty modern affair) would have been good healthwise in a pre-germ theory setting and would have also been part of the social lubricant. It can pay off to grease people up to get good deals on land, to remain in good standing with the community, etc (“Don’t trust three sorts of people: The woman, the Turk, and the teetotaler” – Peter the Great).
Strongly addictive inclinations towards alcohol however certainly would have been selected against over the course of agricultural history and indeed that is pretty much what we see in Europe, with a propensity towards alcohol addiction gradient having its minimum in the Mediterranean south and rising north/east to peak in the Finno-Ugric areas.
Alcohol consumption per se is a pretty useless indicator. There is near universal agreement now that 1-2 glasses of wine a day is perfectly fine. (Frankly I suspect up to a single bottle a day has negligible effects healthwise but that’s another debate). That is the sort of drinking you traditionally have in the Mediterranean region and alcoholism problems there are close to non-existent.
The sort of drinking you had in the Slavic and Finno-Ugric areas of Europe that gradually built up throughout the past couple of centuries and metastasized in the 20th involved hard spirits binges, sometimes lasting for days. Although they are not that frequent (e.g. once every few weeks) they are far more harmful than a constant drip of wine.
That said, Finland and especially Finnish Lapland, whose vodka bingeing levels took of a decade or so off their life expectancy in the 1970s, steadily improved ever since thanks to a combination of state propaganda and excise taxes. (The same process began in the Baltics in the late 1990s, and in Russia around the mid-to-late 2000s). This suggests that this particular aspect of human personality is highly malleable to cultural/social intervention.
But I can drink – and I do drink. However, I do not dare to drink too much.
I beg to differ. Eric Kaufmann’s book, The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, has a good discussion of the rise of Liberal Universalism in the 20th Century. Anglo-Saxons have always been a “liberal” ethnic group, which was used as an ethnic boundary marker to distinguish themselves from “illiberal” ethnics, e.g. Catholics like the French and the Spanish. It worked pretty well until Industrial Capitalism, when Industrialists wanted mass immigration to suppress wages, and was not opposed due to Anglo-Saxon liberalism and beliefs that Divine Providence would inevitably Anglicize these immigrants. When Divine Providence failed to come through, WASP nativism became a political phenomenon.
The second piece is that Anglo-Cosmopolitanism and the decline in WASP identity coincided with the rise of a consumer society, in which Anglo cultural particularity was denigrated, and the non-Anglo cultures were romanticized and used to push Anglo’s from tradition to new patterns of consumption.
I don’t think the big driver of liberal universalism is ethnic particularity of Anglo-Saxons (rather, it exploited a vulnerability in Anglo-Saxon culture), I think it is a feature of Industrial and Post-Industrial Capitalism needing to form a blank cultural slate so it can market lifestyles to consumers.
Unfortunately, it has become sterile (and this is more fatal than the lack of xenophobia), and demographic changes will insure the rise of a new elite from the romanticized identity groups, who are all strongly ethnocentric. Unless the Anglos and related Anglicized ethnics can begin to assert their own ethnocentrism and particularity, they will be pushed out completely or assimilated into a non-liberal political culture (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you won’t be living in a place that resembles America anymore). Because every action creates an equal and opposite reaction, I suspect the re-particularization of Anglo’s et. al. is inevitable. Eventually it will sink in that liberal universalism is something only educated Anglos and Anglicized Europeans really believe in. The Eloi will find themselves surrounded on all corners by rival bands of hungry Morlochs, and their high IQ’s and degrees from Harvard won’t save them.
But no matter who wins in this coming struggle, liberal universalism will not survive, because they will have no place in ethnocentric traditionally minority identity groups or in the re-particularized white ethnic groups.
I also suspect the fall of liberal universalism will trigger an economic transformation will undermine the existing system of consumer capitalism, to some people’s chagrin.
As I suggested, I don’t know who will win (but I would take Gaddaffi’s pronouncements seriously), or to what extent the existing forms of early 21st Century American society will survive in some fashion, so I can’t offer some prophesy, other than to say giving lip service to liberal universalism may be an effective mass political strategy at the present time, but be ready to switch gears soon. Civic nationalism. But I am probably wrong, and we are all about to meld into some big happy melting pot like Newark.
It’s a slightly weird idea that the map on agriculture in Europe tells you anything about the length of time that population was adapted to agriculture.
Agriculturalists in Britain came from France and Germany, who came from Spain and Greece, who came from Turkey (and maybe it’s more speculative) with quite a low degree of admixture. So the date of agriculture in a region doesn’t really tell you anything about how long this population was adapting to agriculture (because a late date of agriculture doesn’t mean the population actually living in a region has had less time to adapt – they would have had as long a time to adapt, in a different place).
More salient are probably the differences in actual Yamnaya related and WHG related ancestry *within* Europe.
France and Portugal’s alc. consumption rate really surprised me (higher than UK, Germany etc.??)
That explains why Hitler never amounted to anything by screaming at public meetings about the “nightmare vision of the seduction of hundreds of thousands of girls by repulsive, crooked-legged Jew bastards” and ” Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardization”.
Hitler was childless by choice, and he committed suicide. Had he succeeded, and he came astoundingly close to total success, Germans’ genes would have benefited from a massive expansion. Take a smaller more comprehensible scale “in the extremely competitive and aggressive Scandinavian society in which blood feuds were taking place everywhere, often lasting for many years and several generations “. Viking berserkers had less reproductive success, although their brothers had more through benefiting from their nutter bruv’s reputation. There are many kinds of ‘feature’ and I don’t think the person you are quoting as an authority sees many group selection features for what they are.
Not across the planet it isn’t (hardly surprising when there are some places where monogamy has been obligate, others where men could have multiple wives. Homosexuality also varies in prevalence around the globe.
Europeans do not look like other people. Since the 2013 discovery that prehistoric European hunter gatherers had dark skin and light eyes (originally suggested to have been the case in a 2009 comment on ‘Facial color and sex recognition’ by me) has caused the vitamin D suggestions to be dropped and skin lightening to be a assumed side effect. Yet, no one can tell you what European pigmentary traits are actually a side effect of. Nor can they explain why the highest (ie most feminine) digit ratios in the world are found in north west Europe.
Bah! Or even Meh!
You have to understand the appeal to someone suffering under the White Man’s burden and recovering from the shock of WWI and WWII. People actually thought the UN was going to prevent war, and religion and ethnicity would all disappear, and humanity would become one happy family, and wealth would be distributed fairly across nations. The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Further, people still believe in this $#!+ even though there is not a shred of evidence that it could ever happen, no matter how hard people believe in it. The lust for power, war and greed runs too strong in this species for the humans to ever bake the pie-in-the-sky on their own efforts. There are simply those of us who choose to embrace reality as it actually is, red in tooth and claw, and those of us who want to hold onto moralistic pipe dreams that make them feel good, and look down on the reality-oriented.
It’s a rough guide for the reasons you state. But nonetheless the correlation is present.
More or less. It seems the better pattern is more Early European Farmer ancestry minus Moorish/Arab ancestry minus Indo-European ancestry. The fundamental variable is length of time to adapt to agriculture, but yes, people migrate.
But that’s a far cry from Jayman’s suggestion that evolutionary analysis issue in an exclusionary criterion for DSM disorders!
Jayman implies that evolutionary adaptations are more refractory to treatment than are Darwinian diseases. This seems untrue. The success rate for treating bipolar depression (Darwinian disease) isn’t better than for dysthymic disorder (adaptation). Jayman doesn’t provide an argument for his expectation that evolutionary adaptations will tend to be untreatable, and the treatment for unipolar depression is one of psychiatry’s success stories. Schizophrenia (mutation overload) is more refractory to treatment than unipolar depression.
Our ER docs classify them (the BT of LGBT) as “gender identity disorder”.
Whatever the reason for it, letting all those Muslims and others from the third world into Europe is a terrible mistake.
Oh, now I think I see your point. Damage due to teratogen exposure, at least alcohol and antiepileptic drugs, is marked by a common set of defects, things like low set ears, widely spaced nipples. Here’s a nice picture:
If a kid is born looking like that, you can be pretty much certain the mother was drinking or taking a teratogenic medication.
Another interesting thing shows up in IQ testing. So yes of course they register as having low IQs just like you’d expect. But what is really common is for subtest scaled scores to be ridculously out of whack.
In a normal child the scores will tend to correlate. So using the WISC as an example, their letter-number sequencing score will be within about 1 standard deviation of their matrix reasoning score, and so on with the other subsections. This holds true whether someone has a low, average or high IQ.
But in a child with Fetal Alcohol or antiepileptic drug syndrome, the scores will not correlate at all. One subtest score might be 2-3 standard deviations higher or lower than another. And they almost always have very low processing speed.
Here’s an example for a child exposed to an antiepileptic drug in utero:
Similarities – 13
Vocabulary – 9
Digit Span- 5
Picture Concepts – 4
Matrix Reasoning- 7
Coding – 3
Symbol Search – 1
Verbal Comprehension – 87 (19%)
Perceptual Reasoning – 63 (1%)
Working Memory – 86 (18%)
Processing Speed – 56 (<1%)
Full Scale – 68 (2%)
“But nonetheless the correlation is present.” – what is the value of this correlation?
One clarification. If a child has those facial features and a clear genetic test, then you can safely attribute it to a drug or alcohol. So it’s going to be the geneticist at the hospital who actually makes the diagnosis.
Modern liberalism is the invention (primarily) of Northwestern Europeans in general.
Please see my post Germania’s Seed as well as HBD Chick’s eastern germany, medieval manorialism, and (yes) the hajnal line”
Kin altruism explains a bit and is the core of HBD Chick’s theory.
Because our evidence here is stellar…
Sure, it’s absent among hunter-gatherers, for one.
If that’s your metric then the total track record must be pretty damned bad.
No, you don’t quite understand what I’m saying, it seems.
Use your eyes. And then zoom out at look at the big picture.
You did not calculated it, did you? Just eyeballing? Or perhaps you do not even know how to calculate it, or what correlation is? So what is it: 0.4 or 0.7?
The whole point of using maps is that they make seeing geographic patterns easier. Eyeball correlations are more than sufficient for this purpose.
I’m not going to argue this point over and over with you.
So JayMan, how will it all play out around 2040, when you have this ethnic coalition of Blacks, Hispanics and the LGBT folks? We know the LGBT’s will do everything in their power to suppress real Christianity and marginalize Christians. [If the Blacks and Hispanics don’t decide they don’t need them and turn on them.]
Do you think any of these groups are going to cross ethnic boundaries and share power with normal White people? Especially when White people have all this undeserved privilege and will be older and have more money, and especially when their ancestors have spent the last 500 years enslaving, colonizing, exploiting and oppressing the non-Whites? Won’t it be time for a not-so-liberal and not-so-universal payback?
I’m curious about what this has to do with the post…
Thumbs up for your erudition and emphasis on biology, but thumbs down on what you write about
homoeroticism. This behavior is too widespread in human hunter gatherers and other primates for it not to convey some adaptive advantages. Man oh man do I have a great read for you and others interested in deconstructing the Rubic’s cube of sexuality: “Sex at Dawn (the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.” I just can’t believe what complete sluts we used to be. Here is a revealing excerpt: “Recognized as a way to to build and maintain a network of mutually beneficial relationships, non reproductive sex no longer requires special explanations. Homosexuality for example, becomes far less confusing,in that is is, as E. O. Wilson has written, “above all a form of bonding consistent with with the greater part of heterosexual behavior as a device that cements relationships.” As you probably know, Wilson is known for his role as “the father of sociobiology” and “the father of biodiversity” (from Wikipedia)
Germany followed a certain Austrian, instead of laughing at his ideas, which as he clearly set out in a well known book, was persecution of minorities and aggressive war by Germany to conquer other countries.
Regional variations in Hitler’s support may have had deep roots still visible today. Those articles you referred me to do show that, but do not obviate the need to answer my point. Again, please explain why Germany as a whole followed a man who had nothing to offer but his message, which was the very opposite of universalism.
In terms of the validity of various types of mental disorders an important consideration should be whether or not they are correlated with negative real world outcomes.
Although ADHD may be a poorly labelled disorder (in my opinion it lumps together a number of different problems) it is correlated with a lot of negative real world outcomes – higher rates of auto acccidents, higher rates of drug use, higher imprisonment rates, higher unemployment rates etc. Hence, it does appear to be a disorder that needs to be taken seriously.
On the other hand, generalised anxiety disorder, doesn’t really have any major negative correlations, so labelling GAD as a disorder may be counter production.
Another problem is that in the real world disorders are usually hastily diagnosed according to self-reports from patients, so we don’t really know how common they are. ADHD for example, is a developmental disorder, so no adult or teenager should be diagnosed with ADHD without some external evidence like school reports indicating concentration problems from a young age.
Nope and nope (nothing like a homosexuality orientation in any animal, just humans and sheep).
Great read? I don’t think so.
He is also innumerate.
No. Nature doesn’t care about our social mores.
See Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany (2010). Nazi behavior has deep historical roots in Germany.
“Sex at Dawn” is a speculative fiction, based on assumption that somehow humans were more similar to bonobos than to chimpanzees. You should treat it as “50 shades of Gray” pretending to be popular science (which is not).
This overlooks another phenomenon. A characteristic such as autism may be influenced by many genes; and the dose makes the poison. Lower doses may be adaptive, even in the present environment; and to say that the unfortunate person who has “too much of a good thing” does not have a disorder but was merely dealt a bad hand of cards is incorrect. A genome can be maladaptive, even if the individual alleles are not.
Pathological altruism – of course it’s pathological. It is an overdose of something that is beneficial (altruism). Beliefs can be pathological – for example the Xhosa Cattle Killing Movement. Perhaps that episode could be classed as an excess of something that might be beneficial in small doses (magical thinking).
It is particularly interesting that pathological altruism is rarely an extreme example of reciprocal altruism, but is nearly always offered at the expense of a third party. Chancellor Merkel does not invite the world to come and live with her, but with other Germans – and indeed with the citizens of other EU countries over which she has neither formal nor informal authority.
I call this Pathological Altruism by Proxy. The altruist gains social kudos for her generosity, but the cost is borne by somebody else. When the cost may be as extreme as the abolition of the altruist’s country, it is as maladaptive as the Xhosa Cattle Killing phenomenon. Those who practise PAP, such as Merkel, commit social looting in the same manner as the financial looters identified by Akerlof and Romer.
Fair enough, but you ought to say that Germans are not what you mean by Northwest Europeans when you say, as you do above that:-
The Germans followed Hitler and Merkel.
You must elaborate then!
Don’t bet your money on it.
You know, I love seeing all the ways people defend this stupidness. It can’t be a disorder if it’s present in 1/3rd to 1/2 of the population. This is ruled out by basic evolutionary theory
All the problems attributed to “fetal alcohol syndrome” could (and apparently do) stem from the traits of people who tend to drink while pregnant, which they then pass on to their children. The alcohol per se has nothing to do with it.
Except that the Germans are what I mean. The existence of both types of individuals in the population isn’t ruled out.
I’m getting bored with this exchange.
You’ve never met someone who is not quite on the Asperger’s spectrum, but has enough of those characteristics to be considered weird? Such people design bridges; they run wafer fabs in which a hundred processes must be applied in the correct order and with precise adherence to the rules; and they keep the Internet running.
If some characteristic causes a population to die out, then natural selection is vindicated, and of course “basic evolutionary theory” holds. You seem to be arguing that “maladaptive” implies “pathological”, but then you appear to want certain exceptions. The Xhosa who killed their cattle and then starved to death had maladaptive, and therefore pathological, beliefs.
I don’t think the two things are related. One is a set of personality traits. The other is a disability. I will dig into the behavioral genetic literature to check on that.
I believe I put it this way:
Note the very important difference.
Well I thought the post referred to Germany taking refugees to illustrate the development of NW Europe is inevitably towards more universalism as time goes on. If’d say the evidence in living memory, from Germany especially, is that NorthWest European countries can be extremely universalist or parochially ethnic nationalist as the times require.
Northwestern European countries aren’t monolithic. For that matter, neither is Germany.
Then, with its 1/3rd prevalence rate, near-sightedness (in youth) isn’t a disorder? But I doubt you could find a culture in where it’s adaptive.
Also, what if the condition is an unfortunate consequence of an adaptation, as is theorized for certain diseases among ashkenazi? Does this count as a disease or an adaptation?
Why would women who drink while pregnant tend to pass on specific facial features: small eye openings, smooth pliltrum, and thin upper lip? (As distinguished from a propensity to various birth defects.)
What about situations in which right side of the bell curve parents have a mother who drinks during the pregnancy and the child is born with the pattern of defects which indicate fetal alcohol syndrome? I know of several clients who are quite smart ladies who took an antiepileptic drug during pregnancy and have children with severe cognitive impairment and the constellation of facial defects common to teratogen exposure, alcohol or otherwise. Is that baloney as well?
The whole medical genetic community has just made up something which isn’t real? There’s no such thing as cognitive impairment from teratogen exposure?
Such a vast increase in autism in a short period would mitigate against a hereditary origin. Vaccines or other environmental insults are suspect. ONE DAY OLD babies now receive their first vaccinations.
IQ is known to be subject to environmental insult. Fluoride is well-documented to reduce children’s IQ. The much-vaunted “Flynn effect” wherein IQ is purportedly increasing turns out to be an artifact of earlier maturation. Children’s IQs are higher earlier, but due to the earlier maturation, IQ stops developing earlier, too. The result is that FINAL IQ is lower. Antibiotics fed our animals and poultry cause early maturation & development. One wonders about the antibiotic residues consumed by people, especially given their indubitable early maturation.
This really fascinates me. Thanks, Jayman.
Speaking of obligate homosexuality in humans I realize that in the animal kingdom there is a wide range of same sex behaviour that has been observed but I’m wondering if the author or anyone else knows how prevalent or not it is in the animal kingdom to eschew mating like many human homosexuals do?
No, it’s not.
It stems either from environmental mismatch, pathogens, or the causal alleles are indeed beneficial.
I’m not sure that’s actually the case for Ashkenazi ailments. But sure, sickle-cell anemia seems to fall under that category along with a handful of other things.
Look, basic evolutionary theory shows that an allele can only come to high frequency through selection (or perhaps founder effects). Harmful mutations quickly disappear over evolutionary time – even a tiny fitness cost drives alleles to zero frequency with time. So if we see a phenotype that’s extraordinarily common, selection must have been involved.
Are those defects truly specific to drinkers or to low-IQ women in general?
Standard epidemiology is a bankrupt science.
Just answer this question: given the reality of genetic confounding, how do we know? A serious answer to that question may clear much of this up for you.
There has been no increase in autism over the past century. The “increase” is a result of diagnostic changes.
Wiring the Brain: Autism: The Truth is (not) Out There
There aren’t many that are legit.
See a few comments up for a link covering it.
I wouldn’t bet on E O Wilson’s expertise outside of ants. He’s the fella that made up all that “Sixth Wave of Extinction” fantasy that has persuaded everyone to throw their brains away. I think his book came out in 1992, in which he claimed that 27,000 species were going extinct every year. As Willis Eschenbach has pointed out, that would mean half a million extinctions by now, but we are able to name exactly 6 mammals and 3 birds which have gone extinct in the past 500 years on the main continents. (A different story for islands & Australia) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/25/always-trust-your-gut-extinct/
“Harvard’s announcement continues:
The average loss in IQ was reported as a standardized weighted mean difference of 0.45, which would be approximately equivalent to seven IQ points for commonly used IQ scores with a standard deviation of 15. Some studies suggested that even slightly increased fluoride exposure could be toxic to the brain. Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The children studied were up to 14 years of age, but the investigators speculate that any toxic effect on brain development may have happened earlier, and that the brain may not be fully capable of compensating for the toxicity.“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/02/harvard-study-published-national-institute-health-journal-finds-fluoride-lowers-childrens-intelligence-7-iq-points.html
There are many other references demonstrating fluoride’s toxicity to the developing IQ.
When you can find me one that’s not genetically confounded, let me know.
We work from a higher standard of evidence around here.
As of right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a growing number of children, one in 68, is believed to have an autism spectrum disorder. That’s a 30% increase from estimates in 2012.Nov 16, 2015. That’s an awful lot of imaginative diagnosis. You are probably aware that an MRI is often used to make the diagnosis objective.
The mechanism through which autism is aquired by some children has been isolated, and a cure devised which has been successful in many cases. http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/is-the-u-s-medical-mafia-murdering-alternative-health-doctors-who-have-real-cures-not-approved-by-the-fda/ The trouble w being close-minded is that you shut yourself off from the possibility of new knowledge.
Regarding the cause of early maturation and its deleterious effect on final IQ, I’ve more questions than answers. https://majorityrights.com/weblog/comments/a_possible_explanation_for_the_flynn_effect
Flynn effect was erroneous, actually resulting from early maturation, so that today’s 10 year old has the maturity of yesterday’s 12 year old, but the final IQ will be lower. Cause of the early maturation? chemicals which are endocrine disruptors? [No, I would say antibiotic residue in meat & poultry] Any tests on Vegetarians?– altho milk & eggs still affected. Is early maturation absent in rural villages where meat is unadulterated?
I think I stated the answer to this question very clearly earlier. Cognitive impairment from teratogen exposure is marked by clear genetic test results, a specific constellation of facial dysmorphisms, and IQ test results in which subtest scores do not correlate.
Yes it is. And that is the final word on the subject here.
Look who’s talking…
No, you did not. Genetic confounding is not entering equation. Allow me to explain: you would need to find some way of testing for FAS that was able to control for genetic differences between people. There is one easy class of studies that can be done for this.
The Flynn effect is seen in tests of adults, so try again.
I googled “Flynn effect in testing children” and got 1.2 million results. All of the first ten dealt only w children.
Say you studied the children of low IQ mothers who don’t drink and high IQ mothers who do. If you found the specific constellation of symptoms in the second group and never in the first, would that satisfy your standard of evidence?
Nope. But you’re getting closer. Key fact to keep in mind: ALL human behavioral traits are heritable.
You seem to presume the specific constellation of facial dysmorphisms can result from causes other than teratogen exposure or particular genetic syndromes. I don’t know where you got this idea.
I hope also to clarify that genetic disorders can cause facial dysmorphisms. See for example Down Syndrome:
If a Microarray analysis shows a child has Down Syndrome then a geneticist will identify it as responsible for the dysmorphisms even if the mother drank or took a teratogenic drug. When the genetic analysis does not show defects known to cause dysmorphisms the genticist will attribute the dysmorphisms to teratogen exposure.
Again I do not know of cases in which the constellation of dysmorphisms is present in children who do not have a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome or have not been exposed to a teratogen. If you do, I’d like to take a look.
Ah ha! That’s (one of) your problem. We don’t know what most of the DNA does. There could easily be many other alleles with similar effects.
Since I have to spell it out for you guys, the only way to confirm a causal role of alcohol in such cases is to do a sibling comparison study. Children exposed to alcohol in the womb need to be compared to their full siblings who were not. That’s the only solid way to know. The evidence so far here has not been kind to FAS.
Are you saying that the same facial dysmorphism characterizing FAS is present in specific genetic disorders? (What about the test scores.)
Consider this fact (if it is factual – http://www.livescience.com/17971-drinking-pregnancy-worst-trimester.html):
Now, drinking specifically in the second-half of the first trimester (that is, as opposed to drinking in the early first, or the second or third) is a behaviorial trait. We should expect that it’s heritable. But doesn’t the putative result add credibility to “FAS” being alcohol induced? First, because it articulates with an enivornmental explanation. Second, because specific second half of first trimester drinking is unlikely to be highly heritable; timing is likely to depend on contingencies.
Would you humor me by indicating what’s wrong with this logic?
At least with regard to antiepileptic drugs that is precisely what is observed. The facial and other birth defects which characterize fetal valproate syndrome are found only when a woman was taking valproate. If she was off medication or on a safe drug like Keppra with her other children they won’t have the syndrome.
OK, I’ll bite. What is this evidence?
Link? That at least is plausible.
ALL human behavioral traits are heritable.
In any case, see my reply to Ryan above on the type of evidence we would need.
Unfortunately Google doesn’t have the entire book online, but Chapters 7-12 of this book lay out most of the information known up to this point:
Antiepileptic Drugs and Pregnancy: A Guide for Prescribers
By MJ Eadie, FJE Vajda
But why is this article identifying behaviour of state as equal and same as behaviour of actual nations? These european democracies arent direct democracies as swiss one. For example in Germany most of medias are purely german and monopolied by political lobby. In such situation you cant even expect vote of peope to be their vote since they decide on base of information surrounding them that is mostly filtered world view created by nearly staterun media.
How many Germans really wants to accept aliens from so exotic countries and how many more of them would do it if they could get daily real, not biased, not politically filtered informations about immigration.
Also times when european nations of same universal greeko-romano-christian civilisation were involved on daily basis in wars against each other aren’t far. Communism was crushed just 25 years ago, very lately finally ending WWII for east half of Europe. So how altruistic were these nations then, not long ago to kill each other everyday?
Also how can Germany be seen as monolithic country with one dominant personality trait if it is geneticly a multilayer amalgamat of: Scandinavian protoGermans close to todays Danes (a mix of oldeuropeans mixed with minority of preslavs and later with coming Celts) later conquering Celts on south and Slavs o east, today being genetic proportional mix of 40% Celts, 40% old europeans and 20% Slavs.
If genetics is a basis for people bahaviour than this genetic proportions should be seen also in actual shades of behaviour of such society.
You have also Chechs. Slavic nation in 30% of celtic genes, not common in slavic countries, genes of western, german heritage, impact of long many ages long conquer and immigration process. Such 30% admixture is not enough to explain today Chechs behaviour who could be called cold Scandinavians of Slavdom or eastern westerners. The fact which changed national behaviour of Chechs much more comes from one most important moment in chech history. That is moment of their new identity being born in fire of national uprising. When Chechish nationalism flourished it was born in sharp opposition to german political, religious (catholic) and economical occupation. This uprising was crusched ending with todays nearly tehistic Chechs stance and cold, west-like identity, behaviour. It is also quality of elites and social or religious history which decids of future all society behaviour not only genes.
The survey reported what the survey reported. There are tons of other universalistic behaviors found only in NW Europeans:
The Rise of Universalism
Aspects of universalism go back a long time. The current embrace of immigrants from the developing world is just one example, used here to illustrate.
When did I ever say that?
Germania’s Seed? – The Unz Review
Deep historic ethnic/racial admixture doesn’t matter as much as you seem to think. Evolution can operate pretty fast.
Where do elites come from?
Not fully disagreeing, but in a social species, for example ants, the drones serve a purpose. So ant colonies that pass on the gene mix that produce the right ratio of drones go on to survive.
So, it’s not necessarily a Darwinian as in deadly trait.
Humans aren’t eusocial like ants are; we don’t have queens that do all the reproducing. Selection acts on individuals and their close kin only in humans.
Sad that you are making people claim that “FAS does not exist”. Drink up, pregnant women. (Much like Econ professor, Emily Oster, in “Expecting Better”). As an adoptive mom of someone prenatally exposed (and a biological mom of three not exposed), it is frustrating to even see this discussed. Alcohol passes the placenta. It is a teratogen. It messes with cell differentiation. They have duplicated with mice the studies that show facial developmental problems by exposing them to alcohol. Seriously, the faces look the same (mice and humans!) And they know what days the facial bones form, etc. These are not heritable. These are environmental-gestation is a pretty important environment. But someone can still have a perfectly normal face and still have a damaged brain from alcohol exposure, because the brain is developing throughout the entire pregnancy. SO, if Mom can’t get alcohol on those special days, face looks fine. I am not a scientist but it is revolting to have people try to use big words and yet say such disastrous things. Maybe some studies of the adoptive community would help? There is not yet an easy biomarker for prenatal alchohol exposure (though meconium at birth and also possibly hair tests at birth can show some alcohol use in latter trimester)https://www.verywell.com/meconium-test-exposes-drinking-during-pregnancy-63566. This line of comments is Anti-Science. Alternative facts. I fear for this society where nonsense can rise to the top. https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=10172&bhcp=1
(I know I replied to you on Twitter. This is for the benefit of the readers.)
Genetic confounding is a concern: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/482482
Should add this too, then!
“FAS is unlikely to be a pure genetic confound. E.g. look at animal lit.”
But these two notions of disorder –one, broken at the organic level vs. a continuum from acceptable to unacceptable experiences at the interaction/personality level were broadly understood from the beginning. That’s why DSM ha
Yes, it seems the correct axes should be identifying these “bugs” vs “evolutionary features maladaptive in current culture”. But even here, be careful. The data on autism is especially interesting.
Axis 1 disorders should be, largely speaking, understood to be broken brains that can not be made well. Axis 1 means you are not taking in reality and therefore cannot process it to reality. Maybe pharmacological solution could mediate or alleviate symptoms, but nothing could undo that your brain had a pathology. Schizophrenia, manic “bipolar” disorder with psychosis are good candidates.
Axis 2 disorders then can address a different beast. Patients suffering from a) a mismatch between current culture and their genes for that culture that affect their thinking and mood. These are not maladaptive over the long haul, but perhaps badly matched to lifestyle. Anxiety disorders, for example, might be a clear indication that your genes aren’t meant to be a 80+ hour a week MD or work on skyscrapers. A therapeutic model that encouraged people to *change their circumstances to fit their genes* would be a boon to the happiness and productivity of people, if not to BigPharma.
But personality disorders should be a third axis then. These are people whose individual genes make them maladaptive to OTHERS in the culture not just to themselves. This needs to be handled but how? Perhaps there’s a better environment for a narcissistic personality, than, say, being CEO of Apple, but maybe they’re isn’t *for them* even if we’d all be a lot happier without him as our boss.
Still, though, what if a disorder isn’t due to a bad mutation or genetic load of bad mutations? Look at autism rates of Somalis in Minneapolis and Sweden. Something in their genes disproportionately aren’t adapted to something about life several tens of degrees if latitude from where they evolved. But if the issue there is similar to sickle cell or to flattening hemoglobin, where it’s not some genetic load but a lack of development of a general to help process, say Vitamin D, then maybe that doesn’t belong on the axis at all. Or, say, if Somalis lack some immunity to exposure to a virus that Norwegian genes have developed over the last 600 years, does that really for the “bad for species” label?
We need a new model.
It would seem that there should be a Big 5 or whatever personality inventory Gene model then for ethnic groups. If certain cultures promote and select for certain personality behaviors in their populations, shouldn’t you say the French, have a distinct personality disorder profile from, say, the Germans? Has anyone done that research?
My Polish relatives and experience in Poland all seem to have what we call Borderline personality disorder as their national character trait. Certainly ain’t pathological for them. And such traits, along with pessimism and anxiety disorders seem awfully well adapted over the last 400 years of war…
You said :
Look, basic evolutionary theory shows that an allele can only come to high frequency through selection (or perhaps founder effects). Harmful mutations quickly disappear over evolutionary time – even a tiny fitness cost drives alleles to zero frequency with time. So if we see a phenotype that’s extraordinarily common, selection must have been involved.
But that’s an argument that something’s selecting for schizophrenia, right? Age of onset isn’t early enough to prevent reproduction. Whether or not schizophrenia is related to some other positive outcome or some is just a close variant of some sets of proteins involved in various aspects of intelligence, it isn’t so maladaptive or it wouldn’t be here, right? Or is the argument that it keeps getting created by genetic load, cropping up on lines that have almost too many healthy mutations to make it? It being caused by N various proteins or sites not getting made rather some small set of things that are being created?
Schizophrenia isn’t caused by common alleles, nor is it at high frequency.
Correct. Mutation-selection balance. New mutations keep appearing, selection keeps weeding them out.
How can certain ailments that are profoundly maladaptive persist, for example flat feet, high arches, n fasciitis? Inability to walk seems highly unlikely to be selected in any environment yet such issues are quite common. I suspect there is more than evolutionary adaptation at work, that is, a tendency for any system to create spontaneous randomness from the functioning of the system itself, even in the absence of pathogens. Quantum biology?
Leftism seems like theology, first as the Gnostic Heresy (using the political state to create Heaven on Earth) and later, once mankind appeared to vanquish Nature’s culling and turned sci-fi into cell-phone reality, (Wo)Mankind-as-God for whom Nature’s laws are malleable.
Wish-fulfillment got a means (politics.)
All Western states turned into theocracies of the Leftist cult, and the most zealous of the cultists one-upped each other to define every lurch further from sanity as a sacrament to be forced…such that now all thoughts that are not further into lunatic leftism are deemed “rightist” (and heretical.)
Anglo-Saxons (and the NW European peoples) probably were not always universalist.
What if Leftism is the ecological suicide switch, analogous to how rodents in the “Mouse Utopia” series of experiments eventually turned off their interest in producing offspring? We see a host of possible parallel behaviors among people today, where highest on the spectrum for “reduced interest in offspring” are those more zealous leftists.
If social behavior is genetically coded (and everything must be at some level), then “unlimited resources” might be expected to flip the switches for
—favoring convenience over childbirth (AKA Roe v Wade.)
—open promotion of homosexuality.
—promoting women’s pursuit of economic independence (careerism) during their prime reproductive years.
—laws weakening family structure (especially no-fault divorce.)
—open promotion of replacement-level immigration from alien cultures.
Just a thought….