Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doing the Australian Crawl in the Far End of the Gene Pool

First off, it's interesting that we've had a string of outwardly unrelated books that seem to be commenting on one another: in the past few weeks we've learned How Monogamy Made Us Human, How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Ruining Everything, and now how our genes are implicated in Race, Human History, and left wing denial of all the above; well, not just denial, but active promotion of their antitheses.

Come to think of it, our reading streak may also go back to the trinity of Narrative, Freedom, and the oldenpneumagain Genesis. Put them all together and what do we get? Among other things, we get genetically conditioned heterosexuality, monogamy, and intelligence, but how could these not be conditioned by our genes? As far as nature is concerned, there are pretty much only two issues, 1) get those genes into the next generation, and 2) don't be a fucking idiot, AKA don't win yourself a Darwin Award.

A good portion of Wade's book (similar to Goldberg's Liberal Fascism) is spent in full apology mode, assuring the reader that he is not a racist and that it is not racist to consider what he is about to toss out there. File under IT'S COME TO THIS. Yes, in the unlikely event that the book is ever permitted on a university campus, it should come with a warning label. The book is not appropriate for an adultolescent left wing audience hypersensitive to micro-aggressions, mini-traumas, or other delusions of persecution.

Wade commits two thoughtcrimes right out of the gate, first, noticing that some human groups are superior to others, and second, speculating that there may be a genetic explanation for this. (Not a total explanation, mind you; rather, just some contribution from the genes.)

If the leftist could articulate the principles Wade is violating rather than simply calling for his blood, they would be 1) that no culture is better than any other except for the culture that believes this crap; and 2) that humans are not genetically determined but infinitely malleable -- a Blank Slate.

This last principle is necessary to legitimize the overlord state that will mold us into the desired form via entitlements and special rights on the one one hand, and taxes and regulations on the other. With the combination of reward and punishment, the state can make a human being into pretty much anything.

To put it another way, in order for leftism to work, the state must be more powerful and influential than our genes -- or just say human nature. If human nature exists, then surely it is under genetic constraints, no? That's right: NO, YOU PRIVILEGED HETERONORMATIVE PIGDOG!

In The Bʘʘk, I believe I mentioned something to the effect that it is as if mankind set out of Africa 50,000 years ago, eventually spreading out into the various experiments-in-living we call Culture.

Beginning just a few hundred years ago, but especially now, with instantaneous global communication and all, it is as if these humans can finally reunite and compare notes. Indochina, what did you come up with? Africa? Europe? New Guinea?

No, really? Rocks and sticks? That's it?

What the hell happened to New Guinea? And whatever it is, don't imply that genes had anything to do with it! Rather, geography, or global warming, or something. Better yet, just say they're superior to us because Carbon, and leave it at that. Or say they're more evolved than us because Dreamtime or something.

Our little human adventure, "with at least five versions running parallel for much of the time, had a complex outcome. What is clear is that from the same human clay, a wide variety of societies can be molded."

Wade most certainly doesn't intend the reference, but God too works with a kind of clay to fashion human beings. It would make more sense if it were a genetic clay rather than just, you know, dirt. But I'll leave that to the theologians.

Whatever the case, the original human clay -- the clay to make a Homo sapiens sapiens -- appears no earlier than than 200,000 years ago, and we all had the identical genetic clay as recently as 50,000 years ago, when the human group split in half.

Look at it this way: three people walk into a bar, a Chinaman, an African, and a Caucasian. Trace their lineages, and they will be distinct for quite awhile, but the European and Asian reunite at 30,000 years ago, while the (p)resulting Euro-Asian meets up with the African at that 50,000 year mark.

Thus, we can hypothetically use aboriginal Australians as a genetic baseline, because they arrived there soon after leaving Africa, and then managed another 46,000 years with no outside contact or genetic influences until the 17th century; by then

"their way of life had changed little. Australian aborigines still lived in tribal societies without towns or cities. Their technology differed little from that of the Paleolithic hunters who reached Europe at the same time their ancestors arrived in Australia. During the 46,000 years of their isolation, they had invented neither the wheel nor the bow and arrow. They lived in a state of perpetual warfare between neighboring tribes."

It seems that these human beings were perfectly adapted to their environment, nor was there any genetic influence from elsewhom, so there was no evolutionary pressure to change. They "were never forced into the intense process of state formation and empire building that shaped other civilizations."

To back up a bit, it's not that Wade's opponents believe genes are irrelevant. Rather, they just insist that the human genome has been fixed for the last 50,000 years (or whatever the figure) and is no longer subject to evolutionary changes -- in other words, that evolution has made a special exemption for human beings, and stopped.

But it turns out, according to Wade, that human evolution has been "recent, copious, and regional," and that it is "beyond doubt that human evolution is a continuous process that has [not only] proceeded vigorously within the past 30,000 years," but has continued into the historical period.

Ashkenazi Jews might be the most dramatic example, since their average IQ is one standard deviation above average (around 115 as opposed to 100). How can one group be so far ahead of the pack?

Wade has a chapter devoted to the freakish disproportion of Jewish excellence. We've discussed this in the past, and it's pretty stunning; for example, Jews constitute less than two-tenths of a percent of the world's population, and yet, "as of 2007, had won an amazing 32% of Nobel Prizes awarded in the 21st century" -- this despite being the most hassled people in history.

First stupid question: could there possibly be a connection between Jewish intelligence and Jewish success? Second stupid question: is it possible that intelligence is partly genetic?

More slack the rest of the week. To be continued...


Rick said...

"...the freakish disproportion of Jewish excellence."

I have a stupid question: Does this disproportion increase significantly post-Endlösung der Judenfrage?"

Van Harvey said...

Not having read the latest, I'll go for stupid question #3: If this evolution is hardware based, does that function as an aid to intelligence, or as enhancing & intensifying intelligence? I can see the first, I have a problem with the second, which I see as coming from 'software'/Cultural traditions (and individual development).

Hardware-wise, physical attributes such as 'processor speed', I don't see why that should behave any differently than other physical traits such as hair color, bone structure, etc. Or even going a bit further than simple physical attributes, something like increasing the ease with which the brain can establish depth and breadth of neuronal connections, and the range of them. Those would certainly serve as aids to intelligence increasing and sharpening itself.

But for physical traits to actually establish or increase intelligence... I have difficulty seeing how that could happen or happen without shading off into determinism.

Intelligence itself, IMHO, is a result of software and the operator (person); the habits and traditions associated with Culture and/or family, and the habits followed by the individual.

Having snappy high performing hardware is certainly an aid in developing and exercising intelligence, but I can't see it ensuring, or even preventing it.

mushroom said...

I think some brains are "wired" differently. Some people are markedly better at visualizing spatial relations. Other people have sharp, expansive memories.

Just like kludge software can degrade the performance of the spiffiest hardware, cultural pressures can hinder the development of intelligence.

A kid with Downs' Syndrome, for example, can only develop so far.
Then you run into the borderline idiot savants who can understand a electrical wiring or an engine at a glance but can't balance a checkbook.

Have you linked to this interview with Wade? I thought this quote was pretty good:

Social science should be the most interesting of all the sciences. So why are sociology journals so unreadable? I suspect it’s because they make no use of the theory of evolution, which should be the central unifying theory of their subject. In this sense at least, sociologists are like chemists who ignore Mendeleev’s periodic table.

Gandalin said...

Hi Bob!

You offer us some very challenging but thoughtful insights today.

I think this is quite right:

"In The Bʘʘk, I believe I mentioned something to the effect that it is as if mankind set out of Africa 50,000 years ago, eventually spreading out into the various experiments-in-living we call Culture. Beginning just a few hundred years ago, but especially now, with instantaneous global communication and all, it is as if these humans can finally reunite and compare notes. Indochina, what did you come up with? Africa? Europe? New Guinea? No, really? Rocks and sticks? That's it? What the hell happened to New Guinea?"

If you "believe" in "evolution," then we are all human beings, right? We all started out with the same lack-of-culture, the same basically animal poverty (no clothes, no housing, no cooking, no literature, no art, no music) and we spread out all over the world, as you say, and we "evolved" all of these different cultures.

The individual New Guinea headhunter or Yanomamo warrior of 2014 is not "responsible" that he is illiterate, violent, and impoverished -- but isn't his lineage responsible for the fact that after 10 or 20 or 20,000 years of trying to get it right, they have come up with the way they live? And of course I think it is obvious that almost NONE of the multi-culti cultural relativists on Western campuses would actually want to spend their lives living among and as the New Guinea headhunters or Yanomamo.

Now it is all God's work, then we are not responsible.

Perhaps the genetics come after the culture. That is, the genetic inheritance of a lineage is a product of their culture, just as their literature, their technology, and their way of life a product of their culture. The genetics can change over time. The genome is far from fixed.

But if the Jews are really so smart, why were they unable to cope any better with a genocidal movement which killed better than 90% of them in the areas where it held sway?


Gandalin said...

I meant, "IF" it is all God's work, then we are not (fully) responsible.

There is something that is a gift from God, but then there is something, which is what we do with the gift.

(The dispute between the Jesuits and the Jansenists, concerning whether Grace can be resisted, comes into play here, I think. May I recommend "God Owes Us Nothing," by Leszek Kolakowski - although something tells me I may have first heard about him from you.)


Magister said...

It's intriguing to speculate about ongoing selection pressure.

Russia's native population for example is dwindling rapidly, with presumably big effects on its gene pool. So too the size of Muslim families (IIRC) when they've lived for more than two generations in the west. They intermarry, too. The genetic results must be significant, whatever their direction.

We can talk about genes and various kinds and degrees of causality, but I find myself stuck on questions of demography and war.

Gagdad Bob said...

If we analogize the human genome to the clay with which God works, then we begin with the principle that all persons are persons, and that being superior in one form of intelligence doesn't detract one bit from that fact.

Wade mentions that, along with the Ashkenazis' superior IQ comes an apparent deficit in visuo-spatial reasoning. I have long suspected that there is something analogous in blacks, who, if they don't perform well on standard IQ tests (on average, of course), then are likely gifted in some other form of intelligence.

It's certainly that way for men and women, who tend to be intellectually gifted in different areas. However, it is interesting that men tend to be over-represented at both ends of the bell curve, with lots of geniuses and morons who cancel each other out. Apparently there are not as many brilliant women, but not as many idiots either.

But all normal human beings are sufficiently intelligent to know the absolute and to order their lives accordingly. Recalling Lincoln's crack about how tall a man should be -- "tall enough to reach the ground" -- if someone asks how intelligent a man should be, I say, "intelligent enough to reach the Absolute."

julie said...

Yes, that's a great way to put it.

This really is an interesting topic. I probably won't be commenting much for the next ten days or so, but there's much to think about here. Thanks.

Gandalin said...

Hi Bob,

Roy Baumeister had a very good presentation on the differences between men and women, and discussed why men exhibit more extremes at either end of almost every horizon - I think a copy can be found here: http://denisdutton.com/baumeister.htm

"But all normal human beings are sufficiently intelligent to know the absolute and to order their lives accordingly."

Yes, that is very important. And you don't have to be 1 standard deviation above the mean in order to know good from evil.


Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, but you pretty much have to be two standard deviations above to not know the difference.