The Tectonic Paradox

On my morning run, the local temperature read -3° F. That’s an unusually low temperature for this part of the world, but not unprecedented. Modern times makes extremely cold weather not much more than a curiosity. Everyone has shelter and plenty of heat. Even the poor have central HVAC in their homes and plenty of resources to get their energy bill paid for by others. The local bums had to be rounded up, but there are shelters for them as well. Otherwise, it is something to chat about at the office or experience at a distance.

This was not always true. Not long ago, extreme cold resulted in a lot of death and damage. A hundred years ago, deaths from cold were not uncommon in the northern parts of the world. Some of it was due to disease spreading quickly among people huddled together indoors. There was also the poor nutrition that came from not enough food in the winter months. Even so, people did not have what we have now to deal with the cold, so it was not uncommon for people to die when a serious cold snap hit the region.

Go back further and the problem gets even more perilous. A thousand years ago, humans living in areas that got extremely cold, or had long winters, were faced with unique challenges. This required long term planning in order to have enough food, heat and shelter for the winter. It also required a different type of cooperation. Specialization increases productivity so a people facing long winters would be more dependent on one another. Many hands make a light load, but many different skills make it even lighter.

It is generally accepted that humans migrated out of Africa about 60,000 as genetically modern humans. Most likely this meant following a path along the Red Sea and then into Asia and Europe. As the ice sheets receded, humans followed them north to settle into northern Europe and Asia. When the ice sheets began to expand again, these more adaptable and resourceful people moved south, conquering and displacing the people to their south. The slightly improved people became the stock of settled civilization.

Most of this is speculative, but genetics is slowly filling in a lot of blanks. The implication has always been the that harsh environment selected for more resourceful people, who figured out large scale cooperation, burden sharing and so forth. That sounds good until you consider that settled societies did not first start in the north. They began in the mild climates of the Middle East. The data says that the first settled farming communities were in Mesopotamia, which is why it is called the cradle of civilization.

Further, when the Egyptians were building the pyramids, the people in the British Isles were building Stonehenge. That’s an interesting structure, but it was built by people who were barbarians compared to the people of the Middle east. When the Sumerians were writing down things on clay tablets, Europe was lightly populated by people. who had just barely mastered stone tools. Even into the late Roman Empire, the tribes of Europe were hard pressed to do much more than organize a primitive village surrounded by farms.

Of course, all of this has changed. A great puzzle to the blank slate crowd is why it is Europeans rocketed ahead of the rest of the world, in terms of technology and organizational might, starting around the late Middle Ages. When Europeans arrived in Africa, they found a people, who had yet to master the wheel. The ancient civilizations of the Middle and Near East had fallen into squalor. In the new world, the Incas were about where the Egyptians had gotten 5,000 years prior.

It is widely understood that modern humans, homo sapiens, emerged from the speciation phase of sapient humans in Africa about 100 000 years ago. The genetic record supports this conclusion and it provides details in support of the dispersal. Not only are all modern humans walking around today descended from those original humans, a baby born today is not very different genetically from humans of 100,000 years ago. While there is genetic variation in modern humans, significant physiological evolution ended 100,000 years ago.

The archaeological record, what there is at least, says that humans dispersed around the world over the next 50,000 years without much change in behavior. Then seemingly all of a sudden, humans began to change culturally. The first agriculture appears in Mesopotamia and soon after large scale settled societies. New technologies spread in fits and starts as people figured out how to contend with and modify their natural environments. This is the period, up to today, that science refers to as the tectonic phase.

The sapient paradox is the puzzle as to why it took so long for humans to go from hunter-gathers to settled people. The genetic evidence and lots of wishful thinking say that people in Africa 50,000 years ago were not much different from people 10,000 years ago in the Tigris River area. Why did the people in Mesopotamia figure out how to plan and organize large agrarian societies, while the people in Europe were still living off the land in small tribes? Most important, why did it take so long for humans to accomplish it?

The tectonic paradox, a term I just made up, is the puzzle as to why modern Africans were never able to master the wheel or build a structure taller than a man. When Europeans were conquering the globe, the people in sub-Saharan Africa had yet to adopt a written language. At the same time, how is is that the English, who were no more advanced than Arabs in 1066, were the ones to lead the Industrial Revolution? The great gap in material and cultural progress between the big races is recent and unmistakable.

Genetics is starting to unriddle this great puzzle. Even though the genetic difference between human groups is tiny, it turns out that small difference can have huge downstream consequences, particularly with regards to cultural evolution. The high risk environment of northern Europeans, for example, is most likely the root of the wide variety of hair and eye colors that don’t appear anywhere else on earth. A small difference results in people who look like a different species from their close cousins in sub-Saharan Africa.

What this means is that human evolution is not just recent and local, but the behavior differences between populations is not amenable to social engineering, at least not in the short term. The Arabs flowing into Europe are going there because like all mammals, they seek safety and easy access to food and shelter. They are not Germans, however, and no amount of proselytizing will change Mother Nature’s mind on the subject. We may not know exactly why people are different, but we know they are and there’s no changing it.

112 thoughts on “The Tectonic Paradox

  1. I drove across the Hudson a couple of times over the holidays. I was thinking of Henry Knox who in 1776 (during the Revolution and Little Ice Age), hauled the Ticonderoga cannons across the frozen Hudson river. (albeit farther upstream)

  2. “why modern Africans were never able to master the wheel or build a structure taller than a man.”

    Take a look at Zimbabwe Ruins.

  3. Z,

    have you considered Culture & Christianity? See “Why you think the way you do” – study of the Western Worldview by Glenn Sunshine.

    the JG

  4. PS Gobekli Tepe is not in the “Meso Potamia” land between the rivers… It is actually on the southern edge of the Anatolian plateau, near the headwaters of the Euphrates, well north and west of the fertile flood plain…

  5. Z, it is far weirder than that. I recommend that you spend some time exploring Gobekli Tepe (I’m sure I’m missing umlauts and diacriticals…)

    CA 14K years ago, and a thoroughly puzzling group of buildings of extraordinary precision and complexity that do not fit into any of our models of early humans. Darn, back to the drawing boards to think again.

  6. I consider much of anthropology and human evolution to be speculative at best, so quoting the current myth from the priests in the labcoats has no persuasive value.

    This is not to deny race, but it doesn’t determine what is cause and what is effect. As Stefan Molyneux notes, with the most agressive Europeans killing each other off for centuries, peace was given a chance. That didn’t happen in Africa. (Asia tends to be conformist worried about “saving face” but will cheat or cut your throat if it doesn’t involve that).

    I suspect a virtuous circle, a feedback loop with Christendom in Europe. The best people had children, who learned virtue, while the viceous didn’t breed. But it took centuries. Also they banned Cousin marriage (which doesn’t happen in Arabia or dar Islam). You had to find a mate from the periphery or outside your tribe.

    That can’t be planted or accelerated (or would be “interesting” ethically) in Africa, or among Africans, nor does it fix the existing situation.

    Another error is to call someone who has their own but different civilization “barbarians”. Just looking at the European reestablishment of Slavery after Christendom killed it, or today’s Abortion Holocaust, or other things, there are people from centuries ago who would say we are barbarians. Technology isn’t civility. Was Nazi Germany civilized or barbaric? Italy or Japan during the same period?

    • The argument can also apply to breeding of Islamic people. Many civilizations that were conquered by Islam, like Iran, were very highly developed. Islamic culture probably promotes breeding of people with those who were the most violent, most outraged, etc. After a few generations, you had people that lost their creative spark and were no different in outlook and mentality to the Arabs. It goes a long way to explain why a formerly advanced civilization like ancient Persia, Egypt, Pakistan are so unstable and have hot-tempered people ready to riot on a whim. (Though they still seemed to have retained their creative DNA in some parts as evidenced by Pakistan getting the nuke and Iran on the verge of doing so).

      • Sailer on consanguinity: 70 generations of inbreeding selecting for aggression and display. (150 generations if you read your Bible)

        Their Jewish cousins selected for scribe talents, literacy and administration.

  7. What I wanna know is why do American blacks, and I assume all Sub-Saharan Africans, why do they have such insanely high levels of venereal disease. According to the CDC blacks have 8 to 20 times the rate as whites. The majority also get AIDS through hetero, not homosexual, sexual relations. Love to hear any plausible reasons.

  8. Z Man;
    Fascinating thread. So, according to the paper you linked, a sudden non-genetically detectable change comes over the material archeological record ~10k years ago. That record gives strong-but-indirect material evidence of the sudden emergence of ‘modern’ non-material concepts such as ‘value’ and ‘the sacred’. Evidence of that change is suddenly found nearly everywhere there are archeological finds, possibly simultaneously given the indeterminacy of archeological dating.

    After this, human material progress is rapid and appears to be greatly driven by non-material factors (i.e. ‘culture’) that can only be measured indirectly in the archeological record.* There is no longer gradual change over long periods of time in the archeological record such as might be accounted for by purely material, biological evolution. The time scale of ‘evolution’ of human material culture seemingly shifts into hyper-drive as though driven by not-purely-genetic competition between human groups.

    What oh what might account for this sudden change_? Is there possibly some written account somewhere that might explain it, albeit in allegorical language_?

    *Until the advent of discoverable written records.

    • Ha ha, you scoundrel!
      Nicely done.

      Food for thought, eh?
      Surprisingly, that timescale ties well with my version of the Flood story, the sudden melting of the Ice, which I believe predates the Edenic story by about 8~ millenia.

      Only one Book where they got the biggest stories in. Suitable for audiences Bronze Age, Iron, or Modern.

  9. A while back, I was in engineering school and was required to take a course on the history of engineering. Though the course was taught through the lens of blank-slate ideology, it nevertheless had some fascinating insights that I think might be relevant as to why the Middle East and Europe jump-started in civilizational development.

    First, for the Middle East, the professor (and his book which was used as the textbook for the class) stated that the climate in the Middle East was very mild and pleasant, allowing early humans to more likely congregate there. Eventually, the area became so dense that hunter-gatherers were encroaching onto other peoples’ domains. The response was to develop farming to grow food to make up for the shortfall in animal hunting. Now, it wasn’t stated precisely how farming developed, more of that it happened as a way to cope with the situation. Probably someone had figured out to raise edible crops and this was taken up by others. This was known as the Agricultural Revolution and it had the biggest impact in transforming hunter-gatherers to settled societies. Soon, farms were popping up next to each other, people began cooperating with each other, cities arose to allow more people to cooperate, etc. Archeological evidence shows that peoples’ heights dropped from over six feet to just barely above five feet with this fundamental shift in diet (the average world height has now approached six feet again thanks to the abundance of meat and proteins today). Same story applies worldwide: whenever societies such as ancient India, China and so on developed a critical mass of density of people, they became settled farming communities, which led to the development of cities. This could also could go a long way in explaining why Africa never developed to this stage: Africa has a lot of natural predators (snakes, lions, tigers, cheetahs) which kept the people at a relatively low density, thus never making them have the critical mass to develop farming communities.

    For Europe, you are indeed correct that at the end of the Roman Empire, the barbarian parts of Europe were very undeveloped. However, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, Europe developed the three crop rotation system. Beforehand, Europe had used only a two crop rotation system where one field was farmed while the other was fallowed to allow for its soil to fertilize. The three-crop system allowed for one field to be farmed and two to be fallow; each field yielding a different crop. This allowed for more variety of food along with people able to stay in place and not migrate for farming. As a result, people could develop villages and cities in the beforehand barbaric parts of Europe. This allowed for Europeans to transition from a barbarian to a settled society (along with arguably Christianity, though you might disagree with me on this.)

    As for the Industrial Revolution, this again was due to necessity. England by 1700’s had nearly exhausted all its native trees for firewood. They then transitioned to extracting coal for heating purposes. The problem was that many coal mines were flooded and the technology back then made it very arduous to clear the flooded mines. In response, Thomas Newcomen developed the steam engine to help clear out said mines. Though initially very inefficient, the steam engine design would be improved very significantly by James Watt. Soon, the steam engine would be utilized for factory work along with other devices invented by entrepreneurial English and Scotsmen.

    The point is that all these developments came in response to a critical necessity (overpopulation, inefficient farming, coal mining). Now, it could be true that the people had a certain genetic advantage to allow themselves to adapt to the critical need. Easter Island is an example of a native people who had deforested their entire island and were not able to adapt to those circumstances. Still, I believe that through luck or simple ingenuity, an invention developed that was found to be successful, allowed people to develop further, and these resultant changes evolutionarily changed the people to cope with more advanced societies. Evolution, as shown by the Siberian fox experiment in the 1950’s, can fundamentally change a society and its people after only 2-3 generations. When farmers are breeding with other farmers instead of hunter-gatherers, they will become a wholly different people in a very short span of time.

    While the professor had again taught the class from a blank-slate ideology, I again can see how genetics could also play a part in this, especially after modern studies in evolution and such. I think the fascinating thing here is the interplay of the environment and adaptation/evolution. I think this doesn’t get as much play as it should. The world today is dichotomized between behavioralists who insist biology plays no role and determinists who insist environment plays no role. I think the best way to view everything is an interplay between the both. The fact that even small deviations in the environment such as farming would create a huge gulf between different peoples’.

      • Dude, I knew McClellan when he was a grad student/TA. Surprised he would go with the full-on blank slate approach, as his discussion comments were more in line with the whole interplay concept. But that was 30 years ago.

        • I believe he was referring to the professor teaching the class as being a blank slater, not the author of the textbook.

    • Based M;
      The Siberian Fox Experiment actually showed that a promising higher mammal species could be *domesticated* in only 2 – 3 *human* generations.

      In fox ‘evolution’ it was more like 50 fox generations. This is because it was intelligently directed (by humans) ‘hard selection’* and foxes can reproduce in a year or two.

      So the equivalent human time span would be ~1,500 years, minimum, *if* ‘hard selection’** were to be employed. There is no evidence of extensive *individual* human ‘hard selection’ in the archeological or historical record that I’m aware of.*** However, there *is* evidence of human ‘hard selection’ at the group level (i.e. massacre) in the archeological record.

      *Only the tamest few Siberian Foxes in each generation got to reproduce, the rest were culled immediately.

      **In human hard selection (if it actually existed) only the most promising infants would be allowed to survive, the rest would be killed shortly after birth. Even in Sparta, one of the more extreme cases known, only the obviously deficient infants were killed shortly after birth, not all-but-the-few.

      ***Such evidence would include large numbers of infant remains. The only evidence of such practices were from Molech worshiping Caananites and Phoenicians. Even the Romans thought this practice was evil.

      • As I understand, the experiment was to show how long it took for wolves to become dogs. The prevailing theory at the time was that it took a significant amount of time to do so. The experiment proved that domestication could happen after only a few generations. A trait was found and selection with that trait led to many rapid advances. Unless I am mistaken, it shows that very fundamental changes could happen very quickly. Another example of this is the “Mouse Utopia” experiment of 1971. Another is rising autism rates. There are many theories as to why autism rates are currently rising (better detection, bacteria, etc.), but this I think looks very credible: smart parents are more likely to breed autistic children. We know now that men and women are now more educated than ever before and breeding with each other. If true, it would lend credence to the fact that evolutionary changes can happen quickly from modified behavioral patterns.

        It could be true that you might need hard selection. However, to take the farming example, someone invented a technique of extracting food that is more guaranteed. Who would someone prefer to mate with? A person whose life is nasty, brutal, liable to be killed by other hunters/predators, or someone who has a roof over their head, guaranteed food, and the protection of a city. A change that proves advantageous to the whole community would draw in people attracted to it.

        • Another factor lending credence to your autism conjecture: TV (and screens).

          Are the spergs (Ausperger type nerds) simply utilizing traits taking advantage of this new influence?

          Perhaps early neural disruption (“no TV before 3”, it wires the brain wrong due to the constant forced focus), and also something in the water during pregnancy?

          A fouled nest would certainly force rapid change, as you pointed out above.

          • Hans Asperger first discovered autism during the 1930’s and 40’s in Vienna, before television was widespread. Many famous geniuses such as Newton, Mozart, Einstein and Wittgenstein are also theorized to have Aspergers in some form. So that would discount the TV theory.

          • The explosion of autism/Aspergers now is the concern, isn’t it?

            Heck, it’s affecting me now.
            Anything to put off cleaning up this pigsty.

            (Well, that and the fact that web is like a swirling party, where we eagerly seek out witticism, salacious gossip, and wicked bon mots. Can’t tear myself away.)

        • Based M;
          As I understand it the Siberian Fox Experiment was originally purported to show that the execrable Lysenko was right about how nature was putty in the hands of a Marxist utopian with a proper ‘scientific’ attitude.

          Of course, ‘scientists’ have been known to dissemble in their stated research objectives. The wolf > dog domestication idea is pure speculation, by whom I’m not sure. Specifically, nothing of the sort is proven. The USSR’s experimental protocols were in no way parallel to the actual situation in the Mesolithic Era, whatever it was at that time when this actual domestication supposedly happened.

          The only honest answer: Nobody knows what the situation then was. But it was most definitely not the Siberian Fox Experiment situation such that hundreds of wolves could have been held under roof in steel wire cages, fed with the surplus food that an agricultural economy produces (at least for the CPUSSR members) and see their pups removed/killed before their eyes with equanimity. Humans in the Mesolithic Era had no such physical resources or possibly even the needed mental resources that the linked paper proposes showed up later at the dawn of the Neolithic Era.

      • I believe that Siberian Fox Experiment shows why “civilized” agricultural man sprang up only gradually in particularly fertile places.

        Like true wolves vs. dogs – undomesticated Cro-Magnon was bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter (significantly bigger brain) than domesticated man. Nature is a bitch and doesn’t tolerate weakness.

        Once men were selected for their ability to tolerate living on top of each other in “civilizations”, they got smaller, weaker, and dumber.

        But, as Z points out, those who civilized in the north faced the pressure to plan and prepare for a long haul of a winter.

    • Virtuous circles, selective feedback- what works, works, in incremantal advances, and expands niche opportunities as well.

      Eventually, somebody will breakaway.

  10. IQ increases towards the poles, lowest on the equator. It takes more brain power to survive in harsher climates; much less intelligence to make it on the equator. This is one factor that probably influences tech/societal advancement.

    Phenotypic variations are a function of climate in many ways – dark skin on the equator vs pale Scandinavian much further north (and many others). These might not account for all advanced development, but might explain higher IQ in the population migrations further from the equator.

    In any case, climate is not likely stimulating evolution any longer since travel of humans now is virtually instant to anywhere on the planet. And that survival literally anywhere is a certainty due to dispersal of tech development.

  11. Filtering is everything. The recipe for intelligence and sociability appears to be non-random pressure. Winter, Seasonal Floods, or anything else that causes pattern-recognition to be selected for. Africa is a continent full of selective pressure, but nearly all of it is too irregular to produce a trend in pattern recognition and the expansion of time horizon.

  12. Paradox?
    What strikes me as odd is this modern insistence that turning something into something it is not, is somehow an improvement over nature.

    • On twitter:
      “Yet people who insist that men should use the little girls’ bathroom question Trump’s mental health”

      So okay.
      Not something. Every damn thing.

  13. Emotion motivates behavior. IQ is the variable. To some degree, we are descended from those who figured out an ice age could be wintered in caves.

  14. There’s so much wrong in this blog post it’s hard to know where to begin. I suggest reading Cochran’s 10,000 Year Explosion. Evolution is now 100x faster than pre-agriculture.

  15. >>At the same time, how is is that the English, who were no more advanced than Arabs in 1066, were the ones to lead the Industrial Revolution?

    Racism. The English oppressed the Arabs.

  16. It is widely understood that homo sapiens migrated out of Africa… because the propaganda in jewspace wants white people to think they have roots in the black race.

  17. “While there is genetic variation in modern humans, significant physiological evolution ended 100,000 years ago.”
    Incorrect..In Europe, the introversion of Neanderthal genes, many of which code in the brain, occurred 30-40,000 years ago, and was crucial to the advance of Europeans. This did not occur in Africa. Other major changes in the last 10,000 years include the development of “white” skin and blue eyes, neither of which existed anywhere before this recent period. Humans also evolved to be more gracile, and that continues to this day…

    • The kids at the Catholic high school I went to considered Buckethead’s Catholic high school (Damien) to be a bit effete.

      I can say no more.

  18. If only from reading the post and the comments it would appear that ice-age challenges culled humans for intelligence, and once that was accomplished climatic serenity allowed for agriculture and more domestic populations to evolve or not in those populations. Centuries of Medieval public executions in China and Europe broadened impulse control, in Europe they were festive and well attended. It was kill the creeps day. They didn’t execute murderers because murderers were already killed by family. Impulse control cannot be over estimated.

  19. They have found stone tools in Africa that predate “humans” by millions of years. They have found human remains in Europe and Asia that predate the “out of Africa” model by hundreds of thousands of years. They have found human occupation sights in South America that predate the “Berring land bridge ” model by tens of thousands of years. The “Out of Africa” model was refuted decades ago. It is a POLITICAL model. Not a scientific one, and is the basis for the UN mandated “emigration” models being forced on the world. You need to update your reading.

    • The leaky Leaky theory. If however we are on a line going through homo-erectus it doesn’t launder too differently (my greater grandpappy was an ape) other than to marginalize the negro further. And that just cannot happen. We are all Bantus dontcha know.

  20. (Repeating this, just posted it on yesterday’s blog. Zman is reading my mind again.)

    A side thought: adopting the Hebrew alephbet gave whites that extra edge of literacy, subject to the traps of high verbal IQ Narrative; nonetheless, the Bible encyclopedia is remarkably well grounded, quite practical.

    Asians slant towards a more visuospatial IQ due to pictograms. Non-literate populations read people, so they tend towards intricate, immediate kinship economies. (That’s why Africans make such good street hustlers and pimps. They read people and women like a book.)

    Jews perform average to poor in visuospatial IQ, off the scale in verbal.
    In contrast, another tiny demographic, the Scots, pretty much built the modern world. All the big stuff.

      • The Scots invented the modern world (personal prejudice). But let’s not downplay the role of “sola scriptura” from the Reformation. The push to publish and read the Bible in the vernacular gave a great boost to literacy in Protestant countries, particularly Holland and England/Scotland. The knowledge network was better wired in those countries and as seafaring nations, both were primed to put it to use. My ancestors were Puritans and Scots/Scots-Irish. And from what I’ve discerned virtually all were literate in the 1600s. That makes a difference.

    • Another thought. Always thought it was interesting that the Koreans chose to adopt a letter alphabet in the 1800s and the role that played after the war in the ability to rapidly scale education. Look at GDP numbers and a pretty amazing start given that virtually entire country was razed to the ground in 1953. Add in a highly homogenous and networked culture–everybody knows their family tree–that does everything really fucking hard–and you have a recipe for success.

      • Excellent, as always. Common literacy, coffee (and tobacco, per Z) conducive to literacy, a deep well- the Bible- and martial discipline turning Pictish hill tribes into the guys that built the world. Time to toss out the woad, I guess.

        A side thought is: okay, we tried Prohibition alone, and what did we get?

        • Once I get clear of the brambles and thickets of spreadsheets today may just have to sit down and enjoy a few drams of Lagavulin.

  21. Isn’t it convenient how we now all migrated Out of Africa at the same time the powers-that-be are trying to mix us all together ?

    There was a time when the scientific community could be trusted. Same wih the Nightly News. Sadly politics has been interjected in both realms and now keeps me a skeptic.

    • Politics has not been interjected. Only left wing, commie, regressive, liberal myth and fantasy (i.e. the politics of the poison half) has been interjected.

    • I don’t think the out of Africa theory proves what progressives want. If anything it’s a sign that Africans are a less evolved human. If Humans came out of Europe that’s where you would find the remnants of less evolved humans.

  22. While I’m busy outing myself as an HBD-ish individual this weekend, three hypotheses stolen from various other thinkers:

    1. Once language emerges, tribal politics becomes much more complex. While individuals could hide or fight over resources previously, now they can lie and mislead as well. This leads to an intelligence “arms race” (best analogy at hand… sorry) that favors a lot of gray-matter evolution that isn’t visible in the fossil record.

    2. Once a species has conquered its niche fairly completely, sexual selection becomes dominant over natural selection. Signalling behaviors and mate competition become more important than winning inter- and intra-tribal fights and putting meat on the spit. The importance of females within social groups rises and animal social groups become more hive-like.

    3. The key HBD axis isn’t stupidity-intelligence, but rather feral-domesticated. Some have described it as gracile-robust. Going back to my point the other day, agricultural communities had a survival advantage over hunter-gatherers and for agricultural settlements to survive, humans had to shed a lot of feral characteristics. Neoteny is the quickest _evolutionary_ strategy to get from murderous chimp to fairly cooperative human. Humans used this as a _breeding strategy_ as they were domesticating various and sundry animal species: pick the most gracile (less hair, smaller build, larger paws and head) animals to breed since they were almost always the least aggressive. According to this theory, we’ve domesticated ourselves to be able to live in towns and cities.

    • #2 — Interesting, but what if the females become less or dis-interested in reproduction (too much trouble; damages their “hot and flirty” bodies; slaves of the patriarchy, etc) at the same time they become more important to the hive. Look at Japan over the past five decades.

      • That’s a fascinating point… Usually, when a species conquers its niche and enters the sexual selection phase, you get a lot of sexual dimorphism: big showy males and small, plain females. What we have is both sexes using display behaviors to have more sex but less reproduction.

        I just had an idea… Hives are almost all female, right? Maybe the way they evolve is that a few highly fertile females “trick” (hormonally in the case if insects of course) the other females in the species into giving up their reproductive prerogative for the security of the hive? My guess is that would not be a stable equilibrium. Eventually the hive would consist of one extremely fertile female surrounded by a lot a female workers and a handful of drones.

        I’ve got to look into that more… that would explain some of the weirdness I’m seeing in the whole birth dearth thing… kind of a combination of #1 and #2.

        • No one has mentioned this yet so I will: deliberate human husbandry may be more important than environmental adversities in determining the phenotypes of modern humans.

          To my knowledge no one has determined what percentage of human evolution was directed by the same relentless impulse to husband livestock and plants (which utilizes both selective breeding AND culling to cultivate traits). This human impulse certainly plays a role in our evolution. But any analysis of husbandry’s role seems taboo.

          Another blindspot for the red-pilleds to illuminate, I guess.

          • And since most of our plagues originated with our livestock, that would cull for resistant shepherds.

            Somewhat like “no beer, no cities”- an alternate source of purified water allowed cities, which were then routinely purged by plague.

            No beer is probably why most Natives didn’t build cities, leaving their DNA too thin to resist Euro and African disease, and why firewater is heap bad medicine.

            Natives didn’t do husbandry or grain (feedstocks and beer) either, did they?

          • and you might add to that the “coffee house” theory…once folks went from being half in the bag all day from small beer consumption to caffeine, innovation took off.

        • Trannies or gays as ‘female’ workers?
          Estrogen/testosterone triggers? (Chemical pollution, GMO, the Pill)

          I think you’re on to something here.

          Another factor is alpha male display.
          There will always be fewer alpha males, especially now, than alpha females.

          Female hypergamy means monogamy selects for beauty, to win the male. Europeans have conducted serial monogamy for a long time.

          Africans, for instance, tending towards shared harems, end up with more aggressive catfighting and less need for singular beauty.

          So, as hypergamy heats up in male-starved cities, amplified by pollution, we end up with drones (alpha harems), and nonreproducing workers: the Hive.

          Again, I must stress feminist signalling: human females screech to attract males into performing a dominance display. Feminism is a forlorn mating dance. Squeaky wheel becomes cacaphony.

          (Anybody else here read TJ Bass’ delightful ‘The Godwhale’, F. Herbert’s ‘Hellstrom’s Hive’, or S. Baxter’s ‘Transcendence’?)

          • Scary. Good. But my keeper is ‘The Godwhale’, an absolute blast. Some of the best deadpan ever written. With a happy, uplifting ending! A joy to read, especially for the scientifically literate.

            Some ‘five-toes’, throwbacks, are trying to survive pest control measures by the Hive, humanity a trillion strong.
            Aiding them is a cryogenic accident from the 21st century, Larry; an engineered pest control agent gone rogue, A.R.N.O.L.D.; and… the Godwhale. Earth’s seas are dying. Something brings them back to life.

            (PS- T.J. Bass’s only other book was ‘Half Past Human’, the corollary to Godwhale. Both keepers. Favorites.)

        • To continue on this side path for a bit …. As we move further into the martiarchy, there’s a certain irony in the fact that those upper- middle and high status women are having fewer and fewer children — certainly, below replacement. Those who would occupy the cultural and political heights are not producing the bulk of the replacement humans. Now, of course, our biologically-high-producing females seem to be located in the lesser, or non-elite, classes.

          Of course, the elites do have their proxy offspring system, wherein education, the arts, entertainment, and all other cultural organs work to conform the raw human material to their desired template.

          And the males seem to be feminizing — physical structure, behaviors and interests … at least in the urban / suburban areas I travel. Girl-friendly drones, perhaps? I realize that there are those guys riding their Harleys alone or in groups, who meet early on weekend mornings to kick off their runs. Or others out at the shooting range, or working in their garages; invisible. But their sort seem almost like curiosities, or play-actors now, flitting around the edges of the tremendous pressure conforming us to our hive future.

          It does seem there are some developing similarities to bees … Japan has gotten to the point where nearly 50% of young females find the notion of sex revolting, as do about 25% of males. They don’t have kids. Prosperity, population pressures, flooding the public sphere with women, rejection of traditional roles and the denigration / devlauation of male virtue have set them on the path to demographic disaster, as the descent seems to be steepening. Same with Europe, and with our own upper class, educated or materially ambitious females. Does not offer favorable prospects for the future.

          • My best guess:

            There is a genetically programmed behavior in high status females that causes them to try to control the fertility of lower status females. In other words, the high status bully the lower status females in the tribe so the high status gals pass on more of their genes through more progeny than the low status.

            This is probably works out OK in tribes (usually will split before it reaches 150 members) and small villages. When you couple it with mass media and social media, it is a recipe for disaster.

            When you add in the will to power of dominant individuals, you get a catastrophe. The high status females are so caught up in power struggles, that they are not reproducing either.

            The only women who continue to reproduce are the ones who aren’t picking up on the high status bullying because they are immune to it (a kind of female autism), are of very low intelligence or impulse control, are outside the media web of influence, or are sort of a hypothetical “Sigma female.”

            Just a guess. Where this is all going keeps me awake at night. I am struggling to figure it out.

        • El B;
          The individual selection mechanism you discuss (showy males competing for selection by drab females via signaling their reproductive fitness, aka tournament selection) can pretty well describe intra-species competition. And we see evidence for that in human populations’ sexual dimorphism.

          Apparently for humans it’s displaying being a jerk-boy that drives female selection in a feral state of nature. So we might expect sexual dimorphism to increase for human societies now that individual, feral female selection and the FI is apparently the end-all, be-all of our civilization.

          However, maybe not. Lower on the food chain, this competition-through-display mechanism can be self-limiting due to predation. That is, taken to the limit, tournament selection through display might well select for overly endowed males but they would more easily fall victim to predation due to their over investment in increasingly dysfunctional, gaudy display tissues and behavior. Nothing says ‘come to dinner’ to a wily coyote like a strutting, cackling tom turkey or a drumming male grouse. Gotta be both pretty and smart, it turns out.

          But humans are *now* the apex predator so how could that work_? Well, the human equivalent of the over-displaying-male culling mechanism usually now starts with, “Hold my beer and watch this_!”

          But is this enough to establish equilibrium_? Interestingly, most apex predators (lions possibly excepted) show little sexual dimorphism when one might expect just the opposite. Why is that_?

          The observed explanation is that it’s because alpha male apex predators *kill* each other and then the victor takes over the loser’s harem. The first thing a new lion pride leader does is kill off the now-deceased old pride leader’s cubs so the lionesses come back into heat right away and bear his own progeny.

          So, how might that mechanism apply to our current, feral female dominated situation_?

          Hint: the evil patriarchy existed for a lot of good reasons.

          • Alpha female dogs, at times, will kill the puppies of lesser status females.

            “Abortion, abortion!”, something common enough in 1894- before the law got involved- to earn this quote: “the hecatombs to children sacrificed to… unnatural desires”.

          • Is this pointing to a unnoticed weakness in homogenous, high-modern populations, such as Japan or Sweden?

            Similar to blights in monocrop agriculture, perhaps?

          • I do believe that the only way out of this is small, patriarchal communities with lots of fairly dangerous (though not post-Industrial Revolution levels of killing) male to male competition.

    • I have a theory that language transitioned from a tool of communication to a tool of manipulation around the time of the printing press. I don’t mean that lightly; I mean it in the sense that it was such an existential polarity shift we became a memetically selecting reproducing species as opposed to genetically selecting.

  23. Look up “punctuated equilibrium” and also the book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” may be illuminating for you. Other keys to understanding include the adaption of complex language skill (which is what sets us apart from all other species). This allows for significantly enhanced postpartum reprogramming of our young to improve survivability and robustness (wisdom education), and spawned cultural evolution as a new mechanism in species development. Main point, most of our evolutionary heritage is very old and once brain wiring is set during childhood, not much change is possible. You must play the hand you’re dealt.

    • Nick Wade’s two books pretty much ends any discussion of Diamond’s thesis. I recommend both.

    • When will the j diamond and sj gould fictions finally get a stake through their hearts? Diamond, gould, means, and similar frauds need the oliver cromwell treament.

    • I have a theory that language transitioned from a tool of communication to a tool of manipulation around the time of the printing press. I don’t mean that lightly; I mean it in the sense that it was such an existential polarity shift we became a memetically selecting reproducing species as opposed to genetically selecting.

  24. Very thought provoking article Z. However I would warn you not to show it to a typical regressive because this is how they would respond to your overall question.

    Regressive White-Hating-Privileged University student/professor – “This is a microaggression of the highest order! How dare you say that black African people are stupid and white Europeans are superior. Only a KKK supporting White nationalist would invent such racist history. If not for white bigots like you, the world would be a total utopia by now. How dare you present such an obviously racist position with fake facts to back it up with!”

    • > How dare you say that black African people are stupid and white Europeans are superior.

      Well, until we see the comparative data on the intelligence of various groups, we can only guess. Are Africans dumber than Europeans? Are they equal in intelligence? Are they smarter? Without scientific studies and measurements that will overcome biases on all sides – who knows!

      I say every anti-racist in the World must push for the studies on comparative IQ among races to be committed, and for results to be widely published. We need hard data to shut up the racist scum for sure, people! That is the way, the only way to bury the controversy.

      Damn, it is so obvious! I wonder, why no one did that so far? I guess we should keep asking this question to all professors mentioned above in every debate on race they start.

  25. Didn’t you hear? Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find

    Out of Africa was based on a mixture of statistics and best guesses anyway, it is a “story”, it was never a fact, from the very beginning it was always a “probably” at best. It’s also funny, because i would always joke how “I’m so racist, i don’t even believe the out of Africa theory!”

    And if i had a few millions to spare, I’d sponsor excavations to Bulgaria and Greece until they dig up a whole complete proto homo, no homo (or graecopithecus freybergi to be exact)!

    • Yes, “out of Africa” was promoted by one progressive professor in the early 1900s, and accepted as canon. The guy used Micheal Mann ‘climate hockey stick’- style litigation and peer sabotage, too, to accomplish it.

      • Oldest known human town- Northern Britain, 800,000 BC. Homo primitivus, at best guess.

        Plus the explosion of advanced artworks- 3D perspective, multicolor shading, realistic rendering, etc.- that occurred only in Europe, 40,000 years ago. Not found anywhere else.

      • @Alzaebo –
        “… The guy used Micheal Mann ‘climate hockey stick’- style litigation and peer sabotage, too, to accomplish it…

        Any details? Links? I would love to read more about this.


        The JG

    • I’m not sure that changes much for this topic. That is a precursor to humans. It may have spread from there where humans evolved from it or another ancestor later in Africa, bringing us back to square one.

      African are similar enough that Europeans and all other humans almost certainly have some common ancestor that was very human like. That common ancestor might have had other ancestors not from Africa but that doesn’t mean much.

      If Europeans evolved from one ancestor and Africans another and it’s just an incredible coincidence in compatibility and breeding capability. If all humans evolved from a European than that European went to Africa then evolved there locally into Africans. That’s possible but it’s also possible that they evolved from Africans and the more clever and adventurous stock ventured out and evolved further elsewhere while the rest stayed in Africa.

  26. 1) Progress is not gradual. It moves by leaps.
    2) You need the genius to make a leap. Two persons with IQ of 90 are not the same as one with IQ of 180. Neither are two persons with IQ of 100. Or 120. Or 150.
    3) Hence, the question is, how 95th IQ percentile looks like in different societies? Note it doesn’t have to relate to the median in any way; it is possible for one group to have higher IQ on average with fewer geniuses due to denser distribution.
    4) The second question is, what produces high-IQ individuals? IQ is mostly genetic, and if you follow the evolutionary theory, genes are merely aggregated adaptation to geography, cross-species and intra-species interaction.

    So, what’s so different about Northerners? One guess might be, the mix of challenges of hard climate PLUS the Gulf Stream that made agriculture possible.

    Europeans minus Gulf Stream eqauls Innuits.

    Europeans minus cold climate equals Arabs/Indians/Africans.

    • Serendipity always plays a role. if something happens to kill off a big chunk of your stupid people, your people get smarter all of a sudden. Richard Clark, I think, argues that capital punishment made the British more fit.

      • Definitely something to that. Throughout the rest of history, mentally and physically inferior people were unlikely to survive, or if they did, were unlikely to breed. Most were probably eliminated early in life as soon as their parents were aware of it. People simply couldn’t afford to care for cripples and morons.

        Today, our culture celebrates retards and invalids surviving and procreating on the tax payer dime. It’s not shocking IQ levels are starting to get lower.

      • True.

        One can only wonder how the wealth redistribution (either in the form of the mix of progressive taxation and the welfare state, or outright socialism) affects the society in the long run. Arguably, the impact of this is as devastating as mass immigration.

        • “Come back, come back!!”

          (I live in the Calipha, as we call it around here. El Cid is a major TV show on Telemundo… with all that implies.)

        • Just one war did the trick = The Great War, WWI.

          Exhibit A:
          Verdun = 1 million casualties/deaths in 10 months;
          Somme = 1 million casualties/deaths in four months; Brits lost 57,000 KIA the FIRST DAY of Somme.

          In both cases it was all for a few thousand yards of….
          ….wait for it……………………MUD!

          Then pile on the Spanish FLU epidemic, the spread of which was made much easier by bringing men together for service in the armies. It struck young and healthy folks; killed off about 30 million world wide!

        • Myself, I think enough violent alphas killed each other to allow us nice peaceful betas to finally build something.

          • Alphas don’t kill each other, they draft betas to do the killin’ and die’n for them. That’s why they’re Alphas.

      • When capitol punishment was abolished in Britain, the argument against such a move was that it would be inherently unfair to all those who had been previously hanged for the same crimes. I’ve always liked that line of logic.

  27. “We may not know exactly why people are different, but we know they are and there’s no changing it.”

    Hey, Z, maybe if you show enough TV commercials with sub-Saharan types or multi-racial couples everywhere, doing everything, you CAN change nature!

    Just as allowing women into police and fire departments, as well as the military, has resulted in stronger, differently physically-proportioned women, who are now equal to men in attitudes and physical strength. [Sarc button now off]

    • Allowing women into legal and medical professions change life a bit though.

      And massive anti-tobacco campaign significantly reduced the number of new starters among smokers.

      Not that I agree with people, who think that they can apply the same methods to biology. Just want to be fair.

        • I prefer to accept the reality, even when I don’t like it. If they keep the mixed couples ads for decades, there will be more mixed couple kids.

          If they keep pushing women into the fire departments, fire departments will manage to do their jobs with mixed staff. Undoubtedly, this will require changes to tactics and equipment, and probably all-male teams will do better (but you will not be given a chance to compare). But “who cares”? There are eight billion people on this planet – a few extra casualties here or there will not change a thing. Shifting the narrative though…

          • Who cares? YOU will care intensely when one of the extra casualties that won’t change a thing is someone you love. Then it will change EVERYTHING.

            No more of this cheap nihilist pose from people typing in comfortable chairs in warm rooms.

            Tell me yourself, I challenge your answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”

            “No, I wouldn’t consent,” said Alyosha softly.

            “And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain happy for ever?”

            “No, I can’t admit it. Brother,” said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, “you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’

          • > Who cares? YOU will care intensely

            There’s a reason I put “who cares” in quotes. It’s not my attitude; it’s the attitude of “our betters” who enforce this policy upon us.

      • Nagging us to death.
        That’s why I prefer eating in Eastern European restaurants.

        The hostess asks, “Smoking section, or chain-smoking?”

        • Maybe in Serbia. Not in Russia – unless you visited a decade ago?

          Again – I am not saying that I support the anti-tobacco campaign (or those insane ads of mixed couples that will create a lot of single mothers). My point is – it worked back then. Hence the establishment tries to use it for its current social engineering attempts.

          • Even in Russia…?!
            Pussy! Pussy Riot! We need you here, stet!

            Euro anti-tobacco campaigns come from creepy orgs like gov4u, and are emplaced by Serco, the CIA of govt administration and HR.

            They don’t care about tobacco, it’s only an excuse to conduct social experiments, as you say. Same thing with our weird ‘coalitions’ and ‘community outreach’ here, such as the New York Southern Tier Anti Tobacco Coalition, whatever the f that is.

    • In fact, we mostly DO know why separate breeding groups have evolved to be quite different. Isolation and evolution in different environments, and with different luck. Europeans bred with Neanderthals to a limited extent, and apparently benefited from those genes, though the Neanderthals went extinct. But also important, as Zman points out, was simply the North South decline. Northerners faced tougher challenges, and became smarter and more resourceful as a result.

      • > Northerners faced tougher challenges, and became smarter and more resourceful as a result.

        There are different types of Northerners. I.e. there are native northerners of Russian Far East, Canada, Alaska, etc. Those guys should be even tougher, smarter and successful if it would be up to the harsh climate alone.

        I say it’s harsh climate plus the possibility of agriculture that allows massive populations. And there’s a unique place that combines both – Europe. Harsh winters, yet Gulf Stream makes the region suitable for agriculture.

      • “Northerners faced tougher challenges, and became smarter and more resourceful as a result.”

        What about Eskimos?

        • Forests when they got there.
          As latecomers, they got slim pickings, crowded out by those ahead, and those pickings got a whole lot slimmer. Bad timing.

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