Social Mobility

In his book, The Son Also Rises, Gregory Clark demonstrates a pattern of slow long-term social mobility everywhere the researchers looked. Fourteenth-century England, modern Sweden, Japan, Korea, Qing Dynasty China, Chile. In England, for example, Norman surnames are still 25% over-represented at Oxford and Cambridge after nearly 1,000 years. The Japanese upper class is still around half Samurai (5% of the population when they lost their special privileges, around 140 years ago). That is, regression to the mean of the general population was slow for the subgroups examined, essentially caused by gradual change in their average genotype, change produced by intermarriage with individuals who on average have a less favourable genotype, for instance.

Cognitive ability is strongly indicative of upward mobility from the lowest quantile. When cognitive ability and standardised test scores are accounted for, a racial (black-white) mobility gap does not exist.

Blacks in fact earn considerably greater incomes than whites with comparable IQs above the 40th percentile, due to higher demand for intelligent blacks as a result of affirmative action policies. Blacks gain, on average, 37% more in job status from their standing on g than do whites with the same level of g (general intelligence factor).

Cross-race differences in persistence in natural sciences, engineering, and economics are actually driven by academic background, where blacks (and Hispanics) with lower SAT scores, who were admitted through affirmative action policies, are more likely to switch to less difficult majors with lower grading standards, like those in the humanities and social sciences.

Moreover, states which banned affirmative action in higher education see a proportionate drop off in initial minority enrolment in all examined graduate disciplines, but particularly within science-related fields of engineering and the natural sciences.

The class of an individual primarily affects starting salaries, whereas intelligence affects salary growth over time.

The earliest inhabitants of the British Isles were (pre-Neolithic) hunter-gatherers who were quite different from Brits today, although they did make a genetic contribution. They seem to have been a genetically uniform people, ranging from Western Europe to Siberia. They account for a significant fraction of the ancestors of Europeans (mainly northern Europeans). Amerindians – the main old original population, all the way down into South America – are a mix of this ancient northern European population (about a third) and some Chinese population.

Then came influence from the invading farmers, who brought domesticated plants and animals with them, although this is a lot better worked out for the Continent as a whole. Southern Europeans (particularly Sardinians, Sicilians, Tuscans) have more influence from these Neolithic farmers.

Next came the Aryans, (if you’re using the Romanticised Germanic definition) or Indo-European invaders, (or just peaceful Levantine farmers, who mostly just trade their pots: if you want to make past violence disappear). There was a sudden change in ancestry in Northern Europe around 5000 BP. Brits have this ancient component there, but so does all of Europe, excepting the Basques and Sardinians. It contributes ~50% to the genome of northern Europeans — all Northern populations from Belarus to Scotland. Because of the genetically uniform spread of the indigenous hunter-gatherers of Europe, this population (believed to originate North of the Caucasus, in the steppe Urals) seems to have posessed some indigenous ancestry—indigenous mitochondrial DNA plummets during the time of the agricultural revolution in Europe, yet raises again around ~5000 BP, in which case the population replacement factor of this invading Aryan Indo-European population would have been even bigger. They entered from the Balkans, crushing old Europe: no permanent settlements in the Balkan uplands can be dated between 5900 and 5300 BP.

Moreover, the rapid decline of grain agriculture in favour of pastoralism in Britain is dated to 5000 BP and is linked to a period of megalithism (e.g., Stonehenge) in the British Isles.

The Anglo-Saxons were more a reshuffling, not very different from the locals as these big earlier turnovers, but they account for about 40% of English ancestry, in other words, Romano-Britons must have been on the receiving end of a good trouncing. Consistent with the theory that native Britons were pushed back to the Celtic fringe: No significant [genetic] differences exist between Friesland (Netherlands) and Central English towns, yet, there is long-standing genetic discontinuity at the English-Welsh border (and even genetic differences within Welsh towns).

A lot of earlier theories were wrong, but ancient DNA is making things clear, more or less in spite of what typical academics wanted to think. Two famous scholars – Bryan Sykes and Stephen Oppenheimer – wrote bestselling books refuting the Saxon replacement theory, supposedly on the basis of genetic evidence, even though the evidence confirming it must have been known to them. Then again, when a scientist says something that is politically correct, he is apt to be speaking nonsense. Those parts of England that one would expect to be Germanic from the historical reports of genocide and ethnic cleansing are as close to 100% Germanic, and that is the way it is.

On The Aryans

  • In the figure: Historical spread of the chariot with dates given in in approx. BC years.

The term "Aryan" underwent a semantic shift, often with a broad transition to an ethnonym for a ruling caste of upper classes descending from invading peoples, more or less. A reason for this is a result of new ideas about evolution and biology after the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859.

In essence, before it was decided that all cultures were created equal, it became a way to justify the inequality of man: the most [genetically] fit of mankind were to avoid contamination and dilution by lesser folks, in order to maintain their superior "Aryan" qualities. For instance, Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race (1916) warned about the thinning of American Aryan blood—in this case denoted to the original settlers of the thirteen colonies; British-Scots-Irish-Germans—through intermixing with later Polish, Czech, Italian and Jewish immigrants.

The authors of the oldest religious texts in Sanskrit and Persian, the Rigveda and Avesta, called themselves Aryans. The real Aryans lived in Iran and eastward into Afghanistan-Pakistan-India. By all accounts, these Aryans, generally described as light-skinned northerners, travelled south and overran the Indus Valley Civilization and subjugated the local peoples. They were an Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family.

The Rigveda itself instigated the aforementioned semantic shift, with passages that describe the Vedic Aryans as invaders who had conquered their way into the Punjab. But nobody knew from where. And thus theories of the mysterious Aryans began…

  • The Indo-European forebearers of the Aryans, their Eastern cousins of which formed Persian and northern Indian peoples, their Southern cousins the Hittites and Armenians, seen to have originated somewhere in the Eurasian steppe, which encompasses Ukraine and southern Russia—a Bronze Age, horse-riding, lactose tolerant, fair-haired, fair-skinned people with use of the wheel. These Indo-European speakers invaded Europe, the Middle East, North India, and other regions of Asia in large enough numbers to leave a genetic, cultural, and linguistic impact in those invaded regions, as they themselves were eventually absorbed into the indigenous populations. Such aforementioned phenotypes are less common in contemporary eastern Indo-European groups, though of course, not absent. [e.g., you may recall the Islamic State’s recent suppression of the fair-haired Yazidi ethnic group]

In the Bronze Age, the vast steppe cultures were connected by peoples with close relationships, cultural and genetic, from Siberia to the Black Sea, before they came into face-to-face contact with the old civilizations of Asia and Europe.

The Aryans in history—the composers of the Rigveda and the Avesta— that lived in Iran, Afghanistan, and the northern Indian subcontinent, even spoke of people who were of non-Aryan origin and yet were leaders among the Aryans—the Aryans of the Rig Veda themselves were ostensibly not even "pure," by whatever definition. In the northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia bronze age, for instance, they discovered tablets in cuneiform form from the ruling caste (the rest of the population spoke Hurrian) of the Mitanni kingdom, who had diplomatic correspondence with the Egyptians and the Hittites. They had Indo-Aryan names and in some of the treaties they were swearing by gods such as Varuna and Indra — Indo-Aryan gods. Although they never had any contact with the Indian subcontinent and were not Iranian-Aryans themselves, they shared a common source; likely the Andronovo Cultural Complex, which existed in the late Bronze Age around the Pontic-Caspian steppe and further east into northern Central Asia.

Finally, it is in Russia, in the Southern Urals steppe, were two archaeological sites, Arkaim and Sintashta are found. (See: the SNP genotyping results of hair, eye and skin colour samples from the Andronovo culture, of the Khvalynsk region of the steppes [Also here]). The discovery of these sites invoked considerable debate. They were heavily fortified metal-producing towns that appeared in the same place at that time. The details of the funeral sacrifices at Sintashta show startling parallels with the sacrificial funeral rituals of the Rig Veda. It was only after the fall of the Iron Curtain that the flow of information about the Sintashta culture grew to a torrent, almost all of it in Russian and much of it still undigested and untranslated.

The people at these sites looked to have invented chariots (note the figures of this post). The combined use of horse and wheel was prime in the success of the nomadic Indo-Europeans. Those who spread from these sites of the Steppes look to have been part of the basal Aryan urheimat, the ancestors of the people who later composed the Rigveda and the Avesta.

The cultures in the northern steppes show a common kinship with the Aryans of the Rigveda and Avesta. As noted, the chariot was likely invented here, they organized themselves into stronghold-based chiefdoms, armed themselves with new kinds of weapons (for reasons unidentified), created a new style of funeral rituals, and began to mine and produce metals on a huge scale which transformed the steppes. It is this spread of people which entered the near-east that later emerges into history as the Iranian and Vedic Aryans.

It’s wrong to talk about it, but if you’re talking about the Romanticised Germanic definition of Aryan - there was one. This ancient component is found all over Europe, excepting the Basques and Sardinians, highest in Northern Europe.

Even though relevant genetic data has been accumulating for some years, linguists (and archaeologists) don’t make any use out of it. Even though it looks as if every big language expansion was, at least for quite a while, driven by the expansion of a particular population: that’s key info that linguists do not use and generally reject. For instance, the European lactase-persistence allele that is predominant among Europeans is present [also here] in India today.

The correspondence between gene families and language families is strong - every graduate in anthropology knows of ‘pots-not-people.’ It’s good for making past violence disappear, but it’s not even halfway accurate in explaining prehistory.

  • For recent citations that encompass the full scope of the current data, Wikipedia articles (as cited) are unfit for purpose, but they serve as adequate, yet elementary introductions.

Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings

A survey of U.S. dog attacks from 1982 to 2006 found 1 record of bodily harm attributable to Border collies, but 1,110 records attributable to pit bull terriers:
http://dogbitelaw.com/images/pdf/Dog_Attacks_1982-2006_Clifton.pdf
Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs, and dogs trained specifically to fight were excluded.

Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998:

“At least 25 breeds of dogs have been involved in 238 human DBRF during the past 20 years. Pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers were involved in more than half of these deaths.

Analysis of Dog Bites in Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years:

”The relative risk for a dog attack by a German shepherd or a Doberman was ∼5 times higher than that of a Labrador/retriever or cross-breed.”

This one took into account the representation of a dog breed among the total canine population.

There’s general breed-specific patterns, and it’s not because these breeds are more likely to be raised by bad owners in broken communities. 

Genomics - Human Genetics Rediscovers Race

The advance in genomics confirms the distinct genomic composition of humans, which correlates with population-specific gene frequencies (i.e., the genetic clustering of socially constructed racial groups). Cavalli-Sforza’s 1966 paper Population Structure and Human Evolution, was one of the first papers showing that when DNA is aggregated, more genetic variation exists between populations than within them. It demonstrated that human racial groups genetically cluster into readily identifiable groups. That is, every allele may occur in each ethnic group, but with varying frequency. Two groups that form distinct clusters are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to group differences. This is especially the case in populations geographically separated in their evolution.

Researchers had gone to great lengths to explain why the way in which this statistic was presented to the academic community was always misleading, e.g., at the time using the same technique geneticists had also discovered that nucleotide sequences were 98.9% the same between humans and chimpanzees; both estimates were eventually lowered. The 99.9% figure is not the number of genes that are the same. It’s the number of nucleotide sequences that are the same. A single gene is a long chain of nucleotides, and a single nucleotide mutation can significantly alter how an entire gene works. Therefore, a mutation of large effect, which differs by only 0.1 from one population to another, can make a big difference. Out of three billion base pairs in the human genome, one-tenth of 1% is equivalent to 3 million nucleotide differences between two random genomes. The differences are much more numerous, of course.

Human measures of genetic distance are not comparable because the nature of genetic change can vary dramatically:

Since 1972, this equally misleading statistic has the status of Holy Writ in every anthropology textbook you can find. This same kind of genetic overlap exists between many sibling species that are nonetheless distinct in anatomy and behaviour. Contra to Lewontin, within-population variation is not comparable to between-population variation as genes vary a lot in adaptive value. For instance, in what is known as a trans-species polymorphism, on a specific gene marker in the ABO blood group system, some humans have more in common with certain apes than they do with other humans. Evidently, there’s great importance in examining genes at several loci. If only the usual genetic markers (blood groups, enzymes, etc) are used, individuals may not even be assignable to a single species with reasonable certainty.

Genetic Pacification and Modern Industrious Societies
In the centuries after imposition of central authority in the European world, male homicide fell steadily from 1150 to 1800:

In Europe before the Enlightenment, crimes like shoplifting or blocking the king’s driveway with your oxcart might have resulted in your tongue being cut out, your hands being chopped off, and so on. Many of these punishments were administered publicly, and cruelty was a popular form of entertainment. We also have very good statistics for the history of one-on-one murder, because for centuries many European municipalities have recorded causes of death. When the criminologist Manuel Eisner scoured the records of every village, city, county, and nation he could find, he discovered that homicide rates in Europe had declined from 100 killings per 100,000 people per year in the Middle Ages to less than one killing per 100,000 people in modern Europe.http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/2009april/Pinker054.php

There was a parallel decline in blood sports and other violent practices (cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions) that were nonetheless legal throughout almost the whole of this period:

Even in the medieval period England was never the scene of such viciousness. But cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions, and the public display of the decaying bodies of the executed were all still popular entertainments into the eighteenth century.A Farewell to Alms, pg. 182

This behavioural change is ascribed to—by Gregory Clark, in his book A Farewell to Alms—the reproductive success of upper- and middle-class individuals whose heritable characteristics differed statistically from those of the general population, particularly with respect to male violence. Although initially a small minority in medieval England, these individuals grew in number and their descendants gradually replaced the lower classes through downward mobility. By 1800, such lineages accounted for most of the English population:
The Indicted and the Wealthy: Surnames, Reproductive Success, Genetic Selection and Social Class in Pre-Industrial England:

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, argued controversially that in pre-industrial England the rich replaced the poor demographically, and that this helps explain why England became more “bourgeois” in these years: less violent, thriftier, more literate, more numerate. Here evidence from a different source, surnames, again shows the takeover of English society by the economically successful between 1600 and 1851, and the disappearance of the criminal and the poor. A man’s economic success in pre-industrial England predicted a permanent increase of his surname frequency, and hence his gene frequency, by 1851. But the surnames also shows that despite this mechanism, pre- industrial England was a society of great social mobility, with no permanent upper class. http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf

Clark points out that aggressive males are rewarded with reproductive success in simple clan-based societies:

In these societies violence was a way of gaining more resources and hence more reproductive success. Thus Napoleon Chagnon, in a famous study of the warlike Yanomamo society, found that a major predictor of reproductive success was having killed someone. Male Yanomamo sired more children at a given age if they had murdered someone than if they had not.17A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

The Yanomamö, a horticulturalist people of Amazonia, significantly more children are fathered by men who have committed homicide than by those who have not.
Among the Ache, a hunter-gatherer people of Paraguay, ‘homicidal’ men do not have more offspring but more of their offspring survive:

The Ache of Paraguay, huntergatherers, moved every day in search of game, so property ownership was minimal, limited to what a person could carry. Reproductive success in this group was still correlated with economic success. But it was the success of males in bringing meat into camp each day. All the adult males hunted, and Ache hunters who brought home more meat had higher fertilities. The most successful hunters at the mean age of 32 had 0.31 children per year compared to 0.20 for the least successful. Survival rates were about the same for the children of successful and unsuccessful hunters.16A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

In contrast, aggressive males are penalized in settled societies with central authority, either through lower reproductive success or through removal from the population, e.g., through imprisonment, execution, and banishment. Such societies have much lower rates of violent death for all causes, including war. This secular decline in violence is well-documented, with respect to England, in A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, by Gregory Clark.
For most humans, little has changed since time immemorial: people trust only close kin and long-time friends, people kill over questions of honour and loss of face. And people admire men who are considered to be thugs. This changed in the European world, East Asia, and parts of South Asia. According to Gregory Clark, the ultimate reason is the rise of the State and its monopoly on the use of violence. This monopoly created a new set of selection pressures. What had once been rewarded in the struggle for existence was now penalised. And vice versa.
Although, this pacification of society did not occur uniformly throughout England. Endemic violence persisted until the 18th century in the northern border regions, where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could lead to violence:

“In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself.” Albion’s Seed, pg 628 

Similarly, the regions of the U.S. were settled by by four great waves of English-speaking immigrants, suffused with the genes of subsequent European immigrants, who were fundamentally different (both genetically and culturally) peoples of the Old World, and these cultures persist today. Despite being culturally Anglo-Saxon, the regional, clan-like cultures that are present in the U.S., as in other regions of the world, differ in their fundamental beliefs because of their genes.
Previous posts:
Human Accomplishment and The Industrial Revolution
Social Darwinism and The Industrial Revolution
Genetic Pacification and Modern Industrious Societies
In the centuries after imposition of central authority in the European world, male homicide fell steadily from 1150 to 1800:

In Europe before the Enlightenment, crimes like shoplifting or blocking the king’s driveway with your oxcart might have resulted in your tongue being cut out, your hands being chopped off, and so on. Many of these punishments were administered publicly, and cruelty was a popular form of entertainment. We also have very good statistics for the history of one-on-one murder, because for centuries many European municipalities have recorded causes of death. When the criminologist Manuel Eisner scoured the records of every village, city, county, and nation he could find, he discovered that homicide rates in Europe had declined from 100 killings per 100,000 people per year in the Middle Ages to less than one killing per 100,000 people in modern Europe.http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/2009april/Pinker054.php

There was a parallel decline in blood sports and other violent practices (cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions) that were nonetheless legal throughout almost the whole of this period:

Even in the medieval period England was never the scene of such viciousness. But cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions, and the public display of the decaying bodies of the executed were all still popular entertainments into the eighteenth century.A Farewell to Alms, pg. 182

This behavioural change is ascribed to—by Gregory Clark, in his book A Farewell to Alms—the reproductive success of upper- and middle-class individuals whose heritable characteristics differed statistically from those of the general population, particularly with respect to male violence. Although initially a small minority in medieval England, these individuals grew in number and their descendants gradually replaced the lower classes through downward mobility. By 1800, such lineages accounted for most of the English population:
The Indicted and the Wealthy: Surnames, Reproductive Success, Genetic Selection and Social Class in Pre-Industrial England:

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, argued controversially that in pre-industrial England the rich replaced the poor demographically, and that this helps explain why England became more “bourgeois” in these years: less violent, thriftier, more literate, more numerate. Here evidence from a different source, surnames, again shows the takeover of English society by the economically successful between 1600 and 1851, and the disappearance of the criminal and the poor. A man’s economic success in pre-industrial England predicted a permanent increase of his surname frequency, and hence his gene frequency, by 1851. But the surnames also shows that despite this mechanism, pre- industrial England was a society of great social mobility, with no permanent upper class. http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf

Clark points out that aggressive males are rewarded with reproductive success in simple clan-based societies:

In these societies violence was a way of gaining more resources and hence more reproductive success. Thus Napoleon Chagnon, in a famous study of the warlike Yanomamo society, found that a major predictor of reproductive success was having killed someone. Male Yanomamo sired more children at a given age if they had murdered someone than if they had not.17A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

The Yanomamö, a horticulturalist people of Amazonia, significantly more children are fathered by men who have committed homicide than by those who have not.
Among the Ache, a hunter-gatherer people of Paraguay, ‘homicidal’ men do not have more offspring but more of their offspring survive:

The Ache of Paraguay, huntergatherers, moved every day in search of game, so property ownership was minimal, limited to what a person could carry. Reproductive success in this group was still correlated with economic success. But it was the success of males in bringing meat into camp each day. All the adult males hunted, and Ache hunters who brought home more meat had higher fertilities. The most successful hunters at the mean age of 32 had 0.31 children per year compared to 0.20 for the least successful. Survival rates were about the same for the children of successful and unsuccessful hunters.16A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

In contrast, aggressive males are penalized in settled societies with central authority, either through lower reproductive success or through removal from the population, e.g., through imprisonment, execution, and banishment. Such societies have much lower rates of violent death for all causes, including war. This secular decline in violence is well-documented, with respect to England, in A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, by Gregory Clark.
For most humans, little has changed since time immemorial: people trust only close kin and long-time friends, people kill over questions of honour and loss of face. And people admire men who are considered to be thugs. This changed in the European world, East Asia, and parts of South Asia. According to Gregory Clark, the ultimate reason is the rise of the State and its monopoly on the use of violence. This monopoly created a new set of selection pressures. What had once been rewarded in the struggle for existence was now penalised. And vice versa.
Although, this pacification of society did not occur uniformly throughout England. Endemic violence persisted until the 18th century in the northern border regions, where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could lead to violence:

“In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself.” Albion’s Seed, pg 628 

Similarly, the regions of the U.S. were settled by by four great waves of English-speaking immigrants, suffused with the genes of subsequent European immigrants, who were fundamentally different (both genetically and culturally) peoples of the Old World, and these cultures persist today. Despite being culturally Anglo-Saxon, the regional, clan-like cultures that are present in the U.S., as in other regions of the world, differ in their fundamental beliefs because of their genes.
Previous posts:
Human Accomplishment and The Industrial Revolution
Social Darwinism and The Industrial Revolution

Genetic Pacification and Modern Industrious Societies

In the centuries after imposition of central authority in the European world, male homicide fell steadily from 1150 to 1800:

In Europe before the Enlightenment, crimes like shoplifting or blocking the king’s driveway with your oxcart might have resulted in your tongue being cut out, your hands being chopped off, and so on. Many of these punishments were administered publicly, and cruelty was a popular form of entertainment. We also have very good statistics for the history of one-on-one murder, because for centuries many European municipalities have recorded causes of death. When the criminologist Manuel Eisner scoured the records of every village, city, county, and nation he could find, he discovered that homicide rates in Europe had declined from 100 killings per 100,000 people per year in the Middle Ages to less than one killing per 100,000 people in modern Europe.
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/2009april/Pinker054.php

There was a parallel decline in blood sports and other violent practices (cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions) that were nonetheless legal throughout almost the whole of this period:

Even in the medieval period England was never the scene of such viciousness. But cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, public executions, and the public display of the decaying bodies of the executed were all still popular entertainments into the eighteenth century.
A Farewell to Alms, pg. 182

This behavioural change is ascribed to—by Gregory Clark, in his book A Farewell to Alms—the reproductive success of upper- and middle-class individuals whose heritable characteristics differed statistically from those of the general population, particularly with respect to male violence. Although initially a small minority in medieval England, these individuals grew in number and their descendants gradually replaced the lower classes through downward mobility. By 1800, such lineages accounted for most of the English population:

The Indicted and the Wealthy: Surnames, Reproductive Success, Genetic Selection and Social Class in Pre-Industrial England:

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, argued controversially that in pre-industrial England the rich replaced the poor demographically, and that this helps explain why England became more “bourgeois” in these years: less violent, thriftier, more literate, more numerate. Here evidence from a different source, surnames, again shows the takeover of English society by the economically successful between 1600 and 1851, and the disappearance of the criminal and the poor. A man’s economic success in pre-industrial England predicted a permanent increase of his surname frequency, and hence his gene frequency, by 1851. But the surnames also shows that despite this mechanism, pre- industrial England was a society of great social mobility, with no permanent upper class.
http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf

Clark points out that aggressive males are rewarded with reproductive success in simple clan-based societies:

In these societies violence was a way of gaining more resources and hence more reproductive success. Thus Napoleon Chagnon, in a famous study of the warlike Yanomamo society, found that a major predictor of reproductive success was having killed someone. Male Yanomamo sired more children at a given age if they had murdered someone than if they had not.17
A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

The Yanomamö, a horticulturalist people of Amazonia, significantly more children are fathered by men who have committed homicide than by those who have not.

Among the Ache, a hunter-gatherer people of Paraguay, ‘homicidal’ men do not have more offspring but more of their offspring survive:

The Ache of Paraguay, huntergatherers, moved every day in search of game, so property ownership was minimal, limited to what a person could carry. Reproductive success in this group was still correlated with economic success. But it was the success of males in bringing meat into camp each day. All the adult males hunted, and Ache hunters who brought home more meat had higher fertilities. The most successful hunters at the mean age of 32 had 0.31 children per year compared to 0.20 for the least successful. Survival rates were about the same for the children of successful and unsuccessful hunters.16
A Farewell to Alms, pg. 129

In contrast, aggressive males are penalized in settled societies with central authority, either through lower reproductive success or through removal from the population, e.g., through imprisonment, execution, and banishment. Such societies have much lower rates of violent death for all causes, including war. This secular decline in violence is well-documented, with respect to England, in A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, by Gregory Clark.

For most humans, little has changed since time immemorial: people trust only close kin and long-time friends, people kill over questions of honour and loss of face. And people admire men who are considered to be thugs. This changed in the European world, East Asia, and parts of South Asia. According to Gregory Clark, the ultimate reason is the rise of the State and its monopoly on the use of violence. This monopoly created a new set of selection pressures. What had once been rewarded in the struggle for existence was now penalised. And vice versa.

Although, this pacification of society did not occur uniformly throughout England. Endemic violence persisted until the 18th century in the northern border regions, where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could lead to violence:

“In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself.” Albion’s Seed, pg 628 

Similarly, the regions of the U.S. were settled by by four great waves of English-speaking immigrants, suffused with the genes of subsequent European immigrants, who were fundamentally different (both genetically and culturally) peoples of the Old World, and these cultures persist today. Despite being culturally Anglo-Saxon, the regional, clan-like cultures that are present in the U.S., as in other regions of the world, differ in their fundamental beliefs because of their genes.

Previous posts:

Recent and Accelerated Human Evolution

Contrary to the accepted conventional wisdom that says the evolutionary process stopped when modern humans first appeared, findings indicate that human evolution has greatly accelerated, with at least 7% of the human genome changing over the last 40,000 years, i.e., around when modern humans left Africa. This process accelerated further over the last 10,000 years, i.e., around the time of the agricultural revolution.

Since recent research pushed the date of light skin in humans back several thousand years (too late for simple maximizing of vitamin D synthesis in high latitudes, too early for shortage of vitamin D in the diet of early agriculturists), sexual selection pressures appear to explain the evolution of skin, hair and eye variation in humans, i.e., light skin shows strong signatures of selection in both East Asian and European populations; hair/eye hue variation show strong selection pressures in European.

The past 50,000 years have required humans adapt to a wide range of environments from the Tropics to the Arctic. Such diverse habitats look to have individually influenced the direction and intensity of selection and its resulting human geographic variation. Polygyny (males with two or more wives) and low paternal investment were historically much more widespread in sub-Saharan populations than elsewhere. There are explanations for this, as well as some implications in modern populations. For instance, there’s likely not been enough time for new and complex (not conclusive) adaptations to evolve, but there is plenty enough time to lose them, e.g., wolves have paternal care, but dogs, their closely related cousins, have lost it.

Human skull size peaked around the time of the Neanderthals, and has since been shrinking. New research finds changes in the size and shape of the skull and jaws in British populations between the thirteenth and twentieth centuries: an incredibly short amount of time. A fraction of modern human skulls that are only a few thousands years old show brow ridges; characteristics very few modern humans posses today, e.g., Loschbour man, from Luxembourg.

Research has discovered varying differences (on selection pressures) among racial groups on gene variants that confer brain growth. Two variants, ASPM and Microcephalin, show recent selection (just a few thousand years ago) are found at varying moderate-high frequencies among non-African populations, but at very low frequencies among sub-Saharan Africans.

The Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) is a brain region that is highly specialised in recognising written words and letters. It also functions differently in different human populations. For instance, Westerners, who rely on an alphabetic script, process their sound-based symbols only in the VWFA, whereas Chinese, who use a logographic script, use more brain regions to decode their language. There is a resemblance between the prevalence of the aforementioned ASPM variant (common in the Middle-East and Europe; less so in Asia) and the spread of writing, as both arose at the same time.

Population dynamics, where positive traits replaced negative traits during this accelerated period of human evolution, were quite common in the past. Empirical studies of British inheritances (wills) demonstrate a strong wealth-reproduction link leading up to the industrial revolution, i.e., traits which are positive for commerce, long term planning, wealth accumulation, market organization, etc. had become much more widespread thanks to natural selection.

Natural selection noticeably sped up reproductive rates among the French inhabitants of Québec, in less than 150 years, and this was explained by genetic variation in the population, not by other factors, such as changes in cultures or social attitudes. Meaning, there direct evidence of a genetic response to selection in an extremely recent, almost contemporary, human population, i.e., there are genetic differences among the French and the French inhabitants of Quebec.

Variants which lead to increased height are more frequent in northern Europe than in the south, and there is evidence that this is due to selection, not drift. This shows that selection pressures can work on existing variation in polygenic (no single gene of large effect, but instead many genes involved, each with a very small effect) quantitative traits such as height, with no new mutations required. Meaning, there has been enough evolutionary time for selection to work within closely related populations on a trait that is controlled by hundreds (probably thousands) of gene variants: most complex human traits, i.e., intelligence, personality traits, are also polygenic.

In Chapter 3 I recounted some stories of identical twins separated in infancy and reared in different homes. The Giggle Twins, both inordinately prone to laughter. The two Jims, who both bit their nails, enjoyed woodworking, and chose the same brands of cigarettes, beer, and cars. The pair who both read magazines back to front, flushed toilets before using them, and liked to sneeze in elevators. The pair who both became volunteer firefighters. There was also a pair who, at the beach, would only go into the water backward and only up to their knees. And a pair who were gunsmiths, and a pair who were fashion designers, and a pair who had each been married five times. These are not the imaginings of tabloid journalists; they were reported by reputable scientists in reputable journals. And there are too many of these stories for them all to be coincidences. Such spooky similarities are seldom found in the case histories of fraternal twins separated in infancy and reared apart.5

Consider the case of Amy, an adopted child. It wasn’t a successful adoption; Amy’s parents regarded her as a disappointment and favored their older child, a boy. Academic achievement was important to the parents, but Amy had a learning disability. Simplicity and emotional restraint were important to them, but Amy went in for florid role-playing and feigned illnesses. By the time she was ten she had a serious, though vague, psychological disorder. She was pathologically immature, socially inept, shallow of character, and extravagant of expression.

Well, naturally. Amy was a rejected child. What makes this case interesting is that Amy had an identical twin, Beth, who was adopted into a different family. Beth was not rejected—on the contrary, she was her mother’s favorite. Her parents were not particularly concerned about education so the learning disability (which she shared with her twin) was no big deal. Beth’s mother, unlike Amy’s, was empathic, open, and cheerful. Nevertheless, Beth had the same personality problems that Amy did. The psychoanalyst who studied these girls admitted that if he had seen only one of them it would have been easy to fetch up some explanation in terms of the family environment. But there were two of them. Two, with matching symptoms but very different families.

Judith Rich Harris, The Nurture Assumption, 1998 (pg. 276).

Evidently, this is because identical twins share ~100% of their genes, whereas fraternal twins only ~50%. Such twin studies have consistently shown that differences in parenting do not correspond to differences in how children turn out, once you control for heredity. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of today, the way in which people are raised has no significant effect over influencing individual behaviours (e.g., propensity to criminality, smoking), social attitudes (e.g., racism, homophobia) or psychological traits (e.g., temperance, transcendence).

Q

pessimization asked:

I'm curious: is it possible for a correlation for identical twins to be less than that for fraternal twins? If such a thing happens, what would it imply?

A

The difference in similarity between identical twins and fraternal twins estimates heritability. Although harder to find subjects to study, twins raised apart make for better research because they can directly account for shared environmental effects, or rather, directly rule out shared environmental effects. If genetics made no difference to a trait the trait’s correlation for identical and fraternal twins would be the same. This never happens.

Identical twins have different fingerprints, and often have other subtle physiological differences between them, despite sharing 100% of their genes. This is indicative of those quirky unique “environmental” effects that can’t be accounted for despite seemingly all being inborn, i.e., things that happen in uterine development that can still be wholly “biological” in nature. “Inborn” as in usually unchangeable—and not necessarily affected by the post-natal environment.

If every study found inconsistent correlations, i.e., fraternal twins raised together often had higher concordance than identical twins raised together, then twin studies would have been rendered useless, there would clearly be something environmental going on (perhaps pertaining to individual “experience”), and the nature assumption would be incorrect. This is not the case of course—precisely the opposite, in fact.

Human Genetics 101 - Every single behavioural trait ever documented among human beings is heritable

"Twins have a special claim upon our attention; it is, that their history affords means of distinguishing between the effects of tendencies received at birth, and those that were imposed by the special circumstances of their after lives." Francis Galton, 1875

  • Twin Studies

Genetic inheritance is passed down vertically within families. Genetic difference can be measured in a number of ways. One way, as Galton observed in the 19th century, is to look at how closely identical (monozygotic; referred to asMZ” in behavioural studies) twins resemble each other on a specific trait compared to same-sex fraternal (dizygotic; DZ) twins (a control group). With random mating identical twins share ~100% of their genes and fraternal twins only ~50%. Under any reasonable assumption environments will be equally similar for fraternal (DZ) as for identical (MZ) twins. If genetics made no difference to a trait the trait’s correlation for identical and fraternal twins would be the same. If identical twins show a stronger correlation than fraternal twins, e.g., 0.4 versus 0.2, that implies that the transmission of the trait from parents to children is AT LEAST 50% genetic. For an example, observe the MZ and DZ correlations, compared with the genetic (A) estimate, in the table below:Table source: Heritability of Positive Psychological Traits

Proponents of the blank slate, the predominant idea among intellectuals that individual human nature is simply a product of the environment and upbringing — the cornerstone worldview of the Enlightenment — long questioned the validity of such twin studies, but GCTA analysis all but put an end to this.

  • GCTA Analysis

A newer and more advanced technique, known as Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis (GCTA), allows estimation of heritability due to common SNPs (as identified by genome-wide association studies (GWASs)) using relatively small sample sizes. It examines pairs of unrelated individuals and computes the correlation between pairwise phenotype similarity and genotype similarity (relatedness). This newer, more accurate method finds similar estimates of genetic inheritance on human traits as previously measured by the old (but evidently still completely valid) twin studies. Meaning, those who still doubt the validity of twin studies, and subsequently the influence of genes, now have another kind of evidence to contend with. It has been applied to height, intelligence, and many medical and psychiatric conditions:Source: Estimation and Partition of Heritability in Human Populations Using Whole-Genome Analysis Methods

  • Adoption Studies

Another method used to measure the role of genes is the outcomes for adopted children compared to their biological and adoptive parents. Studies of criminality, using either twins or adoption methods, reveal a strong genetic connection, e.g., the chance an adoptee would end up with a criminal record when neither set of parents had one is relatively low. When only the adoptive parent had a criminal record this chance rises only very slightly - if at all. However if only the biological parent had a criminal record the chance of the adoptee having a criminal record rose much more. If both sets of parents had a criminal record the chance of the adoptee having such a record was again higher. Therefore, genetic influences on criminal propensities are much greater than environmental influences. Below is a table from Bouchard’s Sources of Human Psychological differences: Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, a renowned longitudinal study of twins:Above: MZA = Monozygotic (identical) twins raised apart; MZT = Monozygotic twins raised together. On the personality traits the MZA and MZT correlations are almost identical — even more so than for intelligence. Evidently, the shared family environment does not make twins more similar in personality, and only slightly more similar in IQ.

  • The Shared Environment and the Unique "Environment"

In behavioural genetics studies, traits are measured by their influence from genetics effects (genes), the shared environment, and the unshared (unique) environment. In twin studies, the shared environment, (e.g. parental influence, education, wealth, culture, community) would signify events that occur to both twins, affecting them in the same way. This force is found to have an insignificant (or even statistically zero) lasting effect over how an individual turns out, on seemingly any trait analysed. Parents leave no lasting effect on adult outcomes, aside from what they bequeath to their children genetically— it’s the genes people share, not examples set by their parents, that explains the relationship between parents and their biological children.

It is the unshared, or unique environment—events that occur to one twin but not the other, or events that affect either twin in a different way—that seems to influence traits in a way that is attributable neither to genetic nor familiar variation. This can include measurement errors and perhaps other random variables such as (but not limited to) the effects of chance – new mutations, odd prenatal effects, developmental noise in brain development, events in life with unpredictable effects and perhaps anything else that is not subject to controlled manipulation. Very little is known about this miscellaneous, unknown and misleadingly titled "environmental" factor.

Not only does the research in human behavioural genetics demonstrate that genes impacts human behaviour, it finds that virtually every single behavioural trait ever documented among human beings is heritable. From height and BMI, to personality and IQ: Image source: Estimation and Partitioning of Heritability in Human Populations Using Whole Genome Analysis Methods (GCTA Methods)

A large fraction of the changes that can be observed in human behaviour occurred in the historical period, the majority of these changes are genetic in nature. Traits linked to the most important life outcomes, such as intelligence, have high heritabilities (~0.80). Some of this research is interpreted in the posts below:

Additional papers: Marital stability/divorce risk [1], [2], [3] (twin studies); Substance abuse [review of meta analyses]; Smoking [meta analysis]; Promiscuity [twin study]; Body Mass Index [GCTA]; Various psychopathic traits [meta-analysis].

  • Quantifying Genetics

If you have a trait which is additively influenced by many essentially random variables (most complex human traits are polygenic; no single gene of large effect, instead many genes of small effect), by the central limit theorem you expect a quasi-normal (Gaussian) distribution in the population. Most of the interesting human traits, such as racial differences in intelligence, personality, and so forth, follow a Gaussian distribution. In more layman’s terms, quantitative traits (such as intelligence) are normally distributed within populations, meaning, people of every population can theoretically be found at every level of the trait’s distribution, it’s just a question of probability, and differences are always more pronounced at the edge of the distribution, just like any other quantitative trait.

The “mean” to which offspring will regress (regression toward the mean is a well documented phenomenon in population genetics that was originally discovered by Galton), is the mean of their ancestors. Unrelated individuals cannot impact the heritability of a given trait, i.e., there is one distribution, not many - each group regresses toward their own mean (of their ancestors), not that of the overall mean.

Thus, a moderate difference in means between two populations makes a big difference in the fraction that exceeds a high threshold: that’s just a consequence of the shape of the distribution, which falls off more and more rapidly as you get farther from the mean. So the difference in the mean between two groups has many implications. For one, it implies that between-population differences in IQ, for instance, become much larger at the highest levels of ability:Source: The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability

  • Assortative Mating

Marriage is assortative. This means that people marry those who are like themselves in heritable traits; tall people are likely to have tall mates while short people are likely to have short mates, people with more years of education have more highly educated spouses, and so forth. Traits such as political and religious attitudes show a particularly strong “pull” of genetic similarity in assortative mating [see previous link]:Thus even fraternal twins share more than 50% of their genes. The higher correlation of traits between identical as opposed to fraternal twins is thus based on even less than a 50% difference in genetic material. Genes must explain even more, e.g., when not accounting for assortative mating, a couple, each from a family of orthodox Christians (again; religious attitudes is a trait for which assortative mating is particularly strong) tend to inflate the estimated influence from parents (the shared environment), at the expense of the genetic estimate, in studies that would be examining the heritability of religiosity. (The previous table shows a small shared environmental component influencing religiosity (and other traits), but when accommodating for the effects of assortative mating and measurement error; even a small amount of influence from the shared environment can be accounted for).

Moreover, many studies don’t partition out measurement error, that is, inaccuracies in the assessment of the traits to be analysed, which has the effect of attenuating the heritability estimate. Other studies, which use methods to get around that problem, find heritabilities for personality traits in the 0.7-0.8 range, as is found for IQ, mental disorders, height, BMI, etc.

  • Recent Human Evolution

Noted palaeontologist, Stephen Jay Gould, spent his career arguing against the concept that selective pressures have resulted in human population differences. Since everything suggests this, he kept busy. During the period in which humans spread out of Africa, findings indicate that human evolution greatly accelerated, with at least 7% of the human genome changing over the last 40,000 years, which is consistent with population-specific gene frequencies (i.e., the genetic clustering of socially constructed human racial groups). Not only are humans still evolving, but studies of selection and differentiation of human populations are alive and well. For instance, there is direct evidence of recent selection impacting the French who settled Québec, or rather, there are varying gene frequencies (genetic differences) present among two closely related contemporary human populations (French and French Canadians). Selection pressures on the broader scale have more notable, long lasting effects on global human variation, (i.e., racial differences). For instance, a single gene is a long chain of nucleotides, and a single nucleotide mutation can significantly alter how an entire gene works. Therefore, a mutation of large effect, which differs by only 0.1 from one population to another, can make a big difference. See: the misleading “all humans are 99% the same” and “more genetic variation in humans is found within populations" (Lewontin) statistics.

  • Genetics in pre-history

In the past nobody knew anything about genetics, except maybe some farmers.

Corn, or maize, is the domesticated variant of teosinte and has changed wildly in just a few thousand years. Farmers saved kernels (seeds) from plants with desirable characteristics and planted them for the next season’s harvest. The newer crops produced more and better quality rows of corn kernels.

  • See image: maize and teosinte are actually closely related subspecies and only about 5 genes are responsible for the most-notable differences.

Dramatic responses to selection aren’t isolated cases—they’ve occurred in many domesticated species—dogs were domesticated from wolves around 15,000 years ago, but the huge amount of diversity in temperament, phenotype, intelligence and behaviour in domestic dogs has originated through selective breeding in just the last few hundred years.

There’s also the domesticated silver fox experiment, which succeeded in developing a domesticated fox in only 40 years. In each generation they selected for tameness (and only tameness); this eventually resulted in foxes that were friendly and enjoyed human contact, in strong contrast to wild foxes. This strain of tame foxes also changed in other ways: Their coat lightened, their skulls became rounder, and some of them were born with floppy ears. Invariably, genes that influence behaviour (tameness in this case) also affect other traits—they selected for tameness, and then automatically got changes in those other traits as well:What this shows is that substantial change in almost any trait is possible in a few tens of generations. All you’re doing with “artificial” selection is gradually increasing the frequency the gene variants you favour, this is the same evolutionary change for natural selection.

Dog breeders successfully developed dogs with special behaviours without having any understanding of the neurochemistry of those behaviours. Likewise, medieval farmers developed Guernsey cows without knowing a thing about how milk is produced.

Selecting for particular characteristics or traits is not only possible in humans, it’s trivially easy. It would just take time - and consistent, long-lasting policies.

Heritability of body size and muscle strength in young adulthood: a study of one million Swedish men:

[…] Height, weight, elbow flexion, hand grip and knee extension strength were measured in young adulthood in 1,139,963 Swedish men born between 1951 and 1976. We identified 154,970 full-brother pairs and 1582 monozygotic (MZ) and 1864 same-sex dizygotic (DZ) complete twin pairs. […] Additive genetic factors explained 81% of variation in height, 59% in body mass index and 50-60% in the strength measures. Additive genetic correlations varied from 0.13 between height and elbow flexion strength to 0.78 between elbow flexion and hand grip strength. […] Nonetheless, we showed that genetic factors affect muscle strength and part of these genes are common to different strength indicators and body size.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18271028

Using an enormous sample size of one million Swedish people (154,970 sibling pairs, 1,864 pairs of identical twins, and 1,582 pairs of fraternal twins), they determined that — aside from environmental influences such as training, social status, or nutrition — a large genetic component is involved in the interindividual variation in muscle strength, such that additive genetic variation accounts for around half of the variation in strength in humans, whilst additive genetic effect explains 81% of the variation in height, for instance.

Moreover, responses to any such environmental factors are too (surprise) under a considerable amount of genetic control:

Previous twin studies demonstrate that genetic factors partially explain the inter-individual variation of muscle strength. Some genes are common to both different strength indicators and body height. Moreover, skeletal muscle strength is highly related to muscle mass, and is inversely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular diseases [1], [2].

Research with older twins finds that 22% to 52% of variance in muscle strength is still explicable by genetic factors. Variation in strength may be related to differences in fibre number that may also have a genetic origin, but it is difficult if not impossible to pin-point the variation to specific polymorphisms among others because muscle strength and size is determined by more than one gene.

An age-related decrease in the impact of the genetic background unsurprisingly suggests that other factors become increasingly important for muscle size and strength with increasing age. The opposite is true for younger individuals.

Moreover, genetics also is the most important factor in impacting the rate of muscle growth: some people build muscle very quickly (“high responders”), with impressive results after only a few months, others take longer, some, however, make little or no progress at all (“low responders”). [Again: Every Study Finds Variable Response to Exercise]

Much of this was demonstrated in a supervised 12-week resistance training program:

Men and women exhibit wide ranges of response to resistance training, with some subjects showing little to no gain, and others showing profound changes, increasing size by over 10 cm and doubling their strength. […]

To assess this further, another study performed biopsies on the vastus lateralis (largest part of the quad) of the high and low responders (in terms of lean mass accrual) among the young men (all with a similar diet, age, initial lean body mass, and so forth) who completed a 12-wk strength-training program, and compared this with 21 prior miRNA targets selected that were on the basis of their previously identified high expression in skeletal muscle.

miRNAs regulate protein synthesis (muscle growth) during resistance training and are responsive to aerobic exercise training and detraining in humans [1] and to functional overload [2] and endurance exercise [3] in mouse models.

Four of the identified miRNAs showed uniquely different signatures between the responder groups:

[…] miR-378, miR-29a, miR-26a, and miR-451 were differentially expressed between low and high responders. miR-378, miR-29a, and miR-26a were downregulated in low responders and unchanged in high responders, while miR-451 was upregulated only in low responders. […]

That is, high responders demonstrated much lower levels of miR-451 in skeletal muscle than low responders, the other three were downregulated in low responders and unchanged in high responders. 

Invariably, genetics plays a major role in explaining variability in strength-training adaptations.

Loosely related: