Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 10,000 Year Explosion, Chapter 3: A Summary

Chapter 3 of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009) is called the “Agriculture: The Big Change,” and examines the evolutionary impact of the agricultural revolution and urban life.

When human populations were low during the Stone Age, the smaller number of people entailed that new favourable traits from random sexual reproduction and mutations occurred at a low rate: that is to say, low-population Stone Age people had trouble generating sufficient genetic change in the first place (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 65).

Cochran and Harpending (2009: 65) argue that, when the human population of earth had hit about 60 million people in 1,000 BC, new, positive mutations only took about 400 years to appear, whereas previously they might have taken place every 100,000 years.

The emergence of agriculture after 10,000 BC was truly revolutionary: it allowed a population explosion. The larger populations accelerated both genetic and cultural evolution: with more people, there were increased numbers of people capable of innovation and invention.

While Jared M. Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (2005) emphasised the cultural side of higher population and density in greater rates of innovation, Cochran and Harpending (2009: 66) stress that the other side of this phenomenon is greater rates of genetic innovation.

It follows directly that peoples in various parts of the world who failed to develop agriculture – and so failed to experience the accelerated genetic and cultural evolution agriculture caused – were not subject to the same evolutionary development as people in agricultural societies (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 67). It also follows that people who adopted agriculture at different times were subject to different evolutionary histories as well, on the basis of how much time they were subject to the accelerated evolution agricultural societies caused.

From c. 27,000–18,000 BC, the earth experienced the Last Glacial Maximum when the ice sheets were at their greatest extent. But from c. 18,000 to 17,000 BC deglaciation began in the Northern Hemisphere and the Ice Age ended. Rapid warming occurred down to 10,000 BC.

In the Levant, from 12,500–9,500 BC people of the Natufian culture began the harvesting of wild plants. But when a cold period called the Younger Dryas from 10,900–9,700 BC caused a mini ice age, this caused a drought in the Near East and the Natufians developed farming and herding.

By 9,500 BC farming had become common in the Fertile Crescent and spread to Egypt and western India by 7,000 BC, and then into Europe from c. 6,500 BC–4,000 BC as Anatolian farmers from northern Greece and north-western Turkey migrated into central Europe.

In China, agriculture was invented by 7,000 BC, and it was invented in the Americas too (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 67–70).

Agriculture caused radical changes in human diet and nutrition, diseases, and social structure, and, above all, a population boom. Malthusian checks to population growth also became more severe. Since food could be produced and stored, so wealth could be accumulated. Towns and cities created specialised classes of people devoted to new trades or activities, and non-productive elites, and the ability to produce material culture radically increased.

The genetic consequences of agriculture were as follows:
(1) with the creation of permanent settlements came higher population density, and exposure to and association with domesticated animals. This significantly increased the prevalence of infectious diseases and brought new diseases as well. Although it is possible that deaths from interpersonal violence decreased, a higher percentage of the population would have died of infectious disease or starvation (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 70).

(2) agricultural communities, then, were a new environment in which human beings were subjected to selective pressures and more evolution (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 70). Adaptation, and the spread of new traits, was made easier by the higher population and greater rate of mutation, not just the selection of desirable traits from pre-existing individual genetic variation (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 74). Cochran and Harpending (2009: 74) suggest that by 3,000 BC new adaptive mutations occurred about roughly 100 times more rapidly than in the Stone Age Pleistocene era.

(3) human natural selection and evolution in the period after agriculture was invented has involved about 400 generations, and has allowed favourable alleles to increase in frequency or “sweep” across the genomes of a given population group over time, where those alleles cause advantageous phenotypic traits: Cochran and Harpending (2009: 75) argue that even amongst modern humans we see hundreds of ongoing sweeps, which were begun 1,000s of years ago, and are in the process of going to the point of “fixation” (where in a given population the frequency of the allele is at 100%).

(4) many of these sweeps are in specific population groups, and not in others. That is to say, differential human evolution has occurred in different areas within populations with recent common descent. Genetic research indicates that many of these ongoing allele “sweeps” originated after 10,000 BC and determine aspects of human traits like metabolism, digestion, immunity from infectious disease, reproduction, DNA repair, and the functioning or structure of the central nervous system (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 75–76).

(5) a concrete example of how humans experienced phenotypic change after 10,000 BC in agricultural societies is as follows: while agriculture increased the scale of food available, it actually seems to have decreased the nutritional value of food: early farmers may well have been subject to health problems because their new diet was one of low-protein, vitamin-deficiency, and high-carbohydrates from plants (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 76). This was so serious that the average height of farmers compared to earlier humans decreased: the new farmers saw their average height fall by about five inches (or 12 centimetres; Cochran and Harpending 2009: 76; see also Diamond 1987).

(6) the increased rate of diseases and nutritional problems amongst farmers selected those human beings who were better adapted to this new environment: those who were better able to process nutrients from an agricultural diet and who were able to digest lactose into adulthood were more successful and survived to pass these traits onto their children (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 77). For example, the Indo-European-speaking farmers and herders north of the Black Sea evolved lactose tolerance perhaps by c. 5,000 BC and they passed this on to modern Europeans when they invaded and settled Europe c. 3,000–2,000 BC.

(7) another evolutionary adaptation is light skin. Amongst Europeans, the Stone Age hunter-gatherers in Europe obtained sufficient Vitamin D from their meat-rich diet and probably had considerably darker skin than modern Europeans (see here). But when farming spread to Europe, the loss of a Vitamin D-rich meat diet caused selection for lighter skin: Europeans therefore evolved white skin because light-skinned people survived to reproduce more often since they could produce more Vitamin D internally through easier exposure to ultraviolet radiation through the skin (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 78).

(8) the high-carbohydrate diet of farmers also seems to have induced metabolic changes: farmers evolved greater protection from rapidly-spiking blood sugar levels in the form of new alleles involved in insulin regulation, so that they had reduced risk of diabetes (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 79).
This is by means an exhaustive list of the evolutionary changes that human farmers and their progeny experienced, but there is much evidence that modern human beings who never invented farming, or who invented it much later but lived in small communities, have not undergone this type of evolution (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 79–84).

Here is a chronology of events in history relevant to the issues in Chapter 3 of The 10,000 Year Explosion:
12,500–9,500 BC – the Natufian culture in the Levant; harvesting of wild plants allows more free time

c. 12,100–c. 11,700 – the Older Dryas, a cold period

12,000 BC
12,000 BC onwards – Europeans are Western hunter gatherers

c. 12,000 BC – beginning of possible migration from the Near East or the Balkans of the Villabruna Cluster people into Europe

12,000–8,000 BC – most mammoths die out; small population of 500–1000 woolly mammoths lived on Wrangel Island until 1,650 BC

11,000 BC
c. 11,000–8,000 BC – the Late Glacial or Tardiglacial, the beginning of the warm period when the Northern Hemisphere warmed substantially with significant accelerated deglaciation after the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 23,000–11,000 years ago). Human beings in refuge areas started to repopulate northern Europe and Eurasia. See the map here

10,900–9,700 BC – mini ice age called the Younger Dryas causes sharp decline in temperatures over much of the northern hemisphere. Younger Dryas was triggered by vast meltwater probably from Lake Agassiz flowing into the North Atlantic, which caused disruption to thermohaline circulation

c. 10,900–9,700 BC – the Younger Dryas causes severe problems in Natufian culture from drought; Natufians abandoned settlements and became nomadic; on the shores of disappearing lake Galilee, Natufians began farming; others began herding

c. 10,700 BC – extinction of the North American megafauna

10,000 BC – possible human population at 4 million

c. 10,000 BC – Jericho is a settlement, and before that a camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups

after 9,700 BC – after the end of Younger Dryas, climate in Near East perfect for farming, which then spreads with combination of farming and herding

c. 8,000 BC – wall of Jericho constructed; domestication of goats in the Near East; domestication of dogs from wolves in Asia

c. 7,200 BC – Çayönü, a Neolithic settlement in southeastern Turkey, is the site where emmer wheat is first cultivated, and where the first domestic cattle and pigs are domesticated

c. 7,000 BC – farming spreads into Elam

c. 6,500 BC–4,000 BC – Neolithic Anatolian farmers from northern Greece and north-western Turkey started migrating into central Europe through the Balkan route and then by the Mediterranean route to the Iberian Peninsula (see here)

c. 6,500–3,800 BC – Ubaid period, a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia; in North Mesopotamia, from c. 5,300 and 4,300 BC

c. 6,500 BC – first known settlement in southern Mesopotamia established at Eridu by farmers with the Hadji Muhammed culture

6,250–5,050 BC – in China, domesticated millet is farmed in northern China at Xinglonggou, Yuezhang, Dadiwan, Cishan, and several Peiligang sites

6,200 BC – Bond climatic event 5 ends Middle Eastern Neolithic B culture (see Bond event), a sudden cold period lasting 200 to 400 years causing problems to humans worldwide and migrations in search of food and water

c. 5,500 BC – agriculture spreads throughout ancient Egypt

c. 5,000 BC – speakers of pre-proto-Indo-European migrate into the regions north of the Black Sea from central Asia

3,500–2,300 BC – Yamna (or Pit Grave Culture) culture of Indo-European-speakers in the Pontic-Caspian

3,000–2,000 BC – Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya-culture people swept into Europe from the Russian steppe
The blog of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending:
West Hunter
Cochran, Gregory and Henry Harpending. 2009. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books, New York.

Diamond, Jared M. 1987. “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” Discover 8.5: 64–66.

Diamond, Jared M. 2005. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Vintage, London.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 10,000 Year Explosion, Chapter 2: A Summary

Chapter 2 of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009) is called “The Neanderthal Within,” and examines the possibility that early humans outside of Africa interbred with Neanderthals, and how this affected human evolution.

Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens outside of Africa encountered one another and competed for resources – and early humans won out in about 10,000 years, perhaps because:
(1) our ancestors had projectile weapons (e.g., throwing spears, darts, bows and arrows) which they could use much more effectively with lighter, less bulky bodies (and so they required less calories to live);

(2) early humans were more intelligent;

(3) early humans had superior language abilities, and had better social organisation (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 25–26);

(4) and some suggest that early humans might have spread some bacteria or parasites which they had immunity against, but against which Neanderthals had not evolved immunity (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 28).
These are suggested explanations, though some may be wrong.

In any case, humans replaced Neanderthals and a revolution in material culture happened in the Upper Paleolithic in certain places like Europe where from 30,000 to 40,000 years ago humans invented all sorts of new tools and weapons, textiles, cave paintings, sculpture, and jewellery, as well as engaging in more long-distance trade (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 30). In Europe, this was called the Aurignacian culture (from c. 41,000–c. 26,000 BC), as well as the earlier Châtelperronian culture in central and south-western France and northern Spain (c. 43,000–c. 38,000 BC).

Such a revolution in material culture required a new propensity for invention, innovation and intelligence that was mysteriously absent in earlier periods of human evolution. Why did this happen?

Cochran and Harpending propose that this came about by the interbreeding of humans with Neanderthals in Europe and parts of Asia (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 36), though it did not happen in Africa. They propose that Neanderthals gave to early humans certain alleles (gene variants) which became common and conferred not only the ability to tolerate the cold or resist local diseases (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 54), but also new and advantageous cognitive abilities (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 56–57). They suggest that the gene microcephalin (MCPH1) that regulates brain size and the FOXP2 allele that has a role in speech and language abilities might have been acquired from Neanderthals (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 62–63).

Neanderthals had evolved bigger brains, and this may well have meant a greater level of cognitive ability and intelligence in certain ways, which were useful in hunting big game and in the colder, harsher environment of Europe (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 55).

So Cochran and Harpending argue that after c. 50,000 years ago early humans outside Africa – especially in Europe – acquired new, useful and greater cognitive abilities from admixture with Neanderthals, which was a genetic precondition for the cultural revolution of the Upper Paleolithic peoples (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 64).

This thesis is one of the more controversial aspects of The 10,000 Year Explosion, and other scientists argue that, while interbreeding did occur, it was rare and biologically and genetically unimportant (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 40).

It appears that, while early humans in Eurasia did interbred with the Neanderthals (and Neanderthals had in turn evolved from Homo erectus populations) (see here), the Neanderthal genetic contribution to modern Europeans is low: some put it as low as 1.5–2.1% (Prüfer et al. 2014). (For a useful family tree, see here). By contrast, Lohse and Frantz (2014) found that Neanderthal admixture occurring in ancient Eurasia was at a higher rate of 3.4−7.3%.

This remains a controversial issue, and here is some recent evidence in the videos below:

Also, some speculation on Neanderthal intelligence:

At any rate, because early humans developed better hunting techniques, required less food than Neanderthals, and had a more varied diet – that is, because they were more successful in evolutionary terms and better adapted to their environment – this led to greater population density than in previous human societies (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 33), and greater population density in turn allowed more mutations and more random creation of better traits by sexual reproduction in early human populations on which selection and evolution could work.

Finally, here is a chronology of events in prehistory relevant to the issues in Chapter 2 of The 10,000 Year Explosion:
300,000–250,000 – Homo heidelbergensis evolves into Neanderthals outside Africa

c. 158,000–38,000 BC – the Mousterian (or Mode III) culture or archaeological industry, of flint tools mainly associated with the Neanderthals, and some early humans, in Eurasia

125,000 years ago – Homo sapiens reached the Near East, but evidence suggests they retreated back to Africa, as their settlements were replaced by Neanderthals

108,000–9,700 BC – last Ice Age

c. 73,000 BC (± 900 years) – Lake Toba supervolcanic eruption (in Sumatra, Indonesia). This is the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it had global consequences for human populations: it killed most humans living at that time and is believed to have created a population bottleneck in central east Africa and India, which affects the genetic make-up of the human world-wide population to the present

75,000 years ago – Homo sapiens left Africa again about across the Bab el Mandib, connecting Ethiopia and Yemen into Middle East

60,000–50,000 BC – outside Africa, Homo sapiens lives in Near East, Greece, south Asia, New Guinea and Australia

c. 58,000 BC – most areas north of the tropics not inhabited by Homo sapiens because of the cold and difficulty of food supply

c. 50,000–40,000 years ago – southeast Asians reach Australia; in Australia by 46,000 years ago at the latest

c. 43,000–41,000 BC – Cro-Magnon Homo sapiens reached Europe from the Near East, eventually replacing the Neanderthal population by 40,000 years ago

c. 43,000–c. 38,000 BC – the Châtelperronian culture in central and south-western France and northern Spain

c. 41,000–c. 26,000 BC – the Aurignacian culture is found in Europe (probably associated with GoyetQ116 type people), the archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic; this first appears in Eastern Europe around c. 41,000 BC, and spread into Western Europe c. 38,000 and 34,000 BC, but replaced by the Gravettian culture c. 26,000 to 24,000 BC

39,000–37,000 BC – Neanderthals die out in Europe

35,000–12,000 BC – European hunter-gatherers descend from a single ancestral population with no significant genetic inflow from other regions

c. 29,000–c. 22,000 BC – the Gravettian tool-making culture of the European Upper Paleolithic of Vestonice cluster type people; ice age glaciation seems to have wiped out Gravettian culture people c. 22,000 BC

28,000 BC – East Asia was reached by Homo sapiens

28,000–13,000 BC – last cool phase of the Ice age; humans withdraw from north Eurasia to more southerly areas

c. 27,000–18,000 BC – Last Glacial Maximum (when the ice sheets were at their greatest extension) c. 24,500 BC; deglaciation began in the Northern Hemisphere gradually from c. 18,000 to 17,000 BC

26,000 BC – last group of Neanderthals disappear from southern Spain
The blog of Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending:
West Hunter
Cochran, Gregory and Henry Harpending. 2009. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books, New York.

Lohse, Konrad and Laurent A. F. Frantz. 2014. “Neandertal Admixture in Eurasia Confirmed by Maximum-Likelihood Analysis of Three Genomes,” Genetics 196.4: 1241–1251.

Prüfer, K. et al. 2014. “The Complete Genome Sequence of a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains,” Nature 505.7481: 43–49.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The 10,000 Year Explosion, Chapter 1: A Summary

Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009) is a truly extraordinary book that every person on the Left should read. Critical reviews of the book can be found in Wills (2009), Arden (2009) and Gorelik and Shackelford (2010).

In essence, Cochran and Harpending challenge the notion that human evolution stopped around 50,000 years ago.

In Chapter 1 of The 10,000 Year Explosion, Cochran and Harpending (2009: 1) argue that
(1) human evolution has actually been accelerated by various pressures and historical developments over the past 10,000 years, as the environments and niches occupied by human beings radically changed, and

(2) that evolution in human beings has been about 100 times faster in the past 10,000 years than the long-run, average rate during all 6 million years of human and hominid evolution (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 23, citing Hawks et al. 2007).
The view that Cochran and Harpending oppose is as follows: the idea that the last stage of significant human evolution occurred between about 50,000 to 40,000 years ago and then ceased. That is to say, from 50,000 to 40,000 years ago during the Upper Palaeolithic humans went through a flowering of culture and material culture (such as weapons, tools, art and clothing), but then human evolution of the mind and body, in significant ways, ended around this time, and modern humans are essentially the same as humans of about c. 40,000 years ago (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 2).

The assumption lying behind this is that the environment occupied by humans became basically static about 50,000–40,000 years ago, and so no great new selective pressures caused by new environments continued to modify the human genome and phenotypes (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 2). Such a scenario is not impossible if a species occupies an environment that is stable: e.g., horseshoe crabs today are probably genetically and phenotypically much the same as horseshoe crabs 100 million years ago, because these organisms have occupied the same stable, static environment.

But Cochran and Harpending (2009: 3) contend that this assumption about the environments occupied by humans within the past 40,000 years – and especially the last 10,000 years – cannot possibly be taken seriously.

Instead, the evidence suggests that, while many species may well exist for long periods in stasis in stable environments, they can then easily be subject to rapid evolution in response to rapid environmental and selective pressures from natural selection (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 5, 19). For example, modern breeds of dogs have been created very recently in the space of about 15,000 years by human beings through artificial selection and breeding: to take one example, we have been able to change wolves into chihuahuas.

Changes can also happen rapidly in cognition or behaviour, e.g., domesticated dogs are significantly different in their cognitive and behavioural characteristics from wolves. And the Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev was able to breed domesticated foxes from wild foxes in about 10 years of selective breeding (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 7), as described in this video:

Cochran and Harpending point to the following reasons for rejecting the stable environment hypothesis with respect to humans over the past 40,000 years:
(1) even after 40,000 years ago, humans continued to migrate around the surface of the planet, into southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and also into northern Eurasia, Japan, and the Americas, where they experienced different environments and different evolutionary pressures for the following 10,000s of years, and, above all, some experienced the extremely harsh environment of the last Ice Age in the area of northern Eurasia (the last phase of which was the Last Glacial Maximum when the ice sheets were at their greatest extension from 27,000–18,000 BC).

(2) humans outside of Africa encountered and competed with other archaic humans such as the Neanderthals and Denisovans, as well as new animals and pathogens in these environments. Humans outside of Africa also interbred with Neanderthals and acquired a small amount of Neanderthal DNA.

(3) differential cultural and technological development occurred in these different regions, which in turn caused new selective pressures on the people in various areas, e.g., spears and arrows drove selection for faster, lighter humans who could hunt more successfully with these weapons (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 3).

(4) the agricultural revolution from c. 10,000 BC and the emergence of cities also created radically new environments from those inhabited by hunter gatherers before this time.

(5) as human populations rose with farming, mutations and beneficial individual traits caused by genetic mixing in sexual reproduction were more likely to occur (and then spread in these populations) than in much smaller populations of hunter-gatherers. And, importantly, even comparatively minor genotypic changes in alleles or gene variants, but occurring more frequently, can cause very profound and deep phenotypic changes quite rapidly in a species.
In short, Cochran and Harpending contend that these different environments have continued to shape human beings and even accelerate human evolution well after 50,000 years ago, and that even minor changes in allele frequencies in different human populations driven by selective pressures have caused phenotypic differences in external appearance, morphology, metabolism, defence against infectious diseases, and even cognitive and behavioural traits (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 19, 22).

This of course means not only that human beings of around 100,000 years ago were different from human beings c. 40,000 years ago, but also that humans c. 40,000 years ago or even 10,000 years ago were phenotypically different – in significant ways – from human beings alive today (Cochran and Harpending 2009: 18–19).

Cochran and Harpending (2009: 18–19) also contend that accelerated human evolution means that even humans in historical times from around 1,000 BC should be regarded as different – both genotypically and phenotypically – from us today. This has profound implications for our understanding of human history, and our understanding of why and how humans historically developed in terms of their cultures, technologies, economies, and social organisation.

To end with some concrete examples: most Europeans today are lactose-tolerant into adulthood. Europeans are generally lactose-tolerant because they have a mutation that allows the synthesis of lactase – an enzyme that digests milk sugar. But this evolutionary trait is quite recent: it only spread amongst Europeans from 3,000 to 2,000 BC as Indo-European-speaking Yamnaya-culture people from what is now southern Russia migrated into Europe and spread this mutation that they had evolved (Allentoft et al. 2015: 171). Before about 3,000 BC, Europeans were not lactose-tolerant into adulthood.

And if we went back in time to Europe of about 40,000 BC, we’d discover that Europeans of that era looked quite different from their modern descendants: e.g., they would have had heavy brow ridges, prognathism from the much larger teeth that humans had before the Neolithic farming revolution, and probably much darker skin.

Allentoft, Morten E. et al. 2015. “Population Genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia,” Nature 522 (11 June): 167–172.

Arden, Rosalind. 2009. Review of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, Twin Research and Human Genetics 12.4: 409–410.

Cochran, Gregory and Henry Harpending. 2009. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books, New York.

Gorelik, G. and T. K. Shackelford. 2010. Review of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, Evolutionary Psychology 1: 113–118.

Hawks, John, Wang, Eric T., Cochran, Gregory M., Harpending, Henry C. and Robert K. Moyzis. 2007. “Recent Acceleration of Human Adaptive Evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104.52 (December 26): 20753–20758.

Wills, Christopher. 2009. Review of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, New Scientist 201.2695: 46–47.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Cultural Left’s War on Straight, White Male Science

Behold the continuing saga of insanity from the Cultural Left:
Kristine Phillips, “Why these Professors are warning against Promoting the Work of Straight, White Men,”, July 16, 2017.
What’s next from these utter psychopaths?

For example, it is well known that Jewish people – and above all Jewish men – are greatly overrepresented amongst Nobel laureates in the sciences and other fields: Jewish people are just 0.2% of the world population but (mostly) Jewish men are about 22% of Nobel laureates (you can easily see that they are virtually all men here). So are male scientists who happen to be Jewish included in this SJW rant about white male science?

Science needs the best, most intelligent people in order to advance human knowledge. And we know why – with respect to the hard natural sciences – this is likely to be mostly men, as I have explained here. The reason is a biological one, grounded in differences in the distribution of male and female IQs, average gender differences in specific cognitive abilities like mathematics and visual-spatial ability, and gender differences in behavioural and psychological traits. In addition, the reason why Jewish men are so overrepresented amongst Nobel laureates in the sciences, and hard sciences generally (Cochran 2010: 189–190), is because of these reasons, as well as the remarkable fact that Ashkenazi Jews probably have an average IQ that lies somewhere in the 107–115 range, the highest average IQ of any ethnic group in the world.

So, when Cultural Leftist lunatics scream abuse at straight, white male scientists, are they also including male Jewish scientists in this? And, if so, wouldn’t this make SJWs anti-Semitic?

But – wait a minute, people! – doesn’t this remind you of a certain fascist movement from the 1930s??:
“ … the entire idea of ‘white male science’ reminds me, I’m afraid, of ‘Jewish physics.’ Perhaps it is another inadequacy of mine, but when I read a scientific paper, I can’t tell whether the author is white or is male. The same is true of discussion of work in class, the office, or somewhere else. I rather doubt that the non-white, non-male students, friends, and colleagues with whom I work would be much impressed with the doctrine that their thinking and understanding differ from ‘white male science’ because of their ‘culture or gender and race.’ I suspect that ‘surprise’ would not be quite the proper word for their reaction.”
Noam Chomsky, 1995. “Rationality/Science,” Z Papers Special Issue
If you have any doubt about the utter evil and depravity of the Cultural Left, then just think rationally about this perfectly reasonable comparison made by Chomsky.

Anybody who rants about “straight, white male science” is on the same level as a person who rants about “Jewish physics,” plain and simple. They are likely given over to vicious racial hatred and racial prejudice, even if that hatred is only implicit. The only difference is that this racial hatred and prejudice is directed at white people.

Such people deserve zero tolerance. They deserve total ridicule and contempt.

Cochran, Gregory and Henry Harpendin. 2010. 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. BasicBooks, New York.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Leftist/Liberal Hypocrisy on IQ

In 2016, Germany was horrified by this sickening crime in a subway:

Now Svetoslav Stoykov, the perpetrator of the crime, has been sentenced to 2 years and 11 months in jail after being convicted of causing grievous bodily in a German court (see here and here).

The perpetrator was reportedly a Roma Gypsy from Bulgaria, who was in Germany only because of the EU open borders policy, but this an issue for another post and time.

In his defence, it was claimed that Stoykov was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth when he committed this attack.

But, importantly for our purposes, a psychiatric expert testified for him and claimed that Svetoslav Stoykov has an IQ of about 63 (see here).

An IQ of 63 is very low, and even 70 is considered border-line mentally retarded.

Presumably, Svetoslav Stoykov’s lawyers invoked his low IQ as a defence and as evidence that he was not fully responsible for his actions, and so therefore in support of the view that he deserved a more lenient sentence.

Now leftists and liberals quite often do invoke low IQ as a defence against law and order Conservatives who push for the death penalty for violent criminals.

But, at the same time, leftists and liberals have a schizophrenic hostility to the very idea of IQ as a meaningful concept, or as a reliable measure of the general intelligence of human beings.

But you can’t have it both ways.

(1) culturally-fair IQ tests are a meaningful and accurate measure of the human trait of general intelligence (also called Spearman’s g), which is also a meaningful and real phenomenon, or

(2) IQ is meaningless and does not constitute a meaningful measure of general intelligence, since the latter concept is also not a coherent, meaningful nor real phenomenon.
So which is it? You can’t have it both ways.

Either (1) is true and (2) false, or (2) is true and (1) is false.

If you think (2) is true, then you cannot invoke IQ as a defence for low-IQ criminals, because you actually think IQ is meaningless.

By contrast, if (1) is asserted as true, then you can in fact defend low IQ criminals as not being cognitively normal, and not necessarily having the same level of agency nor control as human beings with a higher IQ.

But, once you have acknowledged that IQ is meaningful and an accurate measure of the human trait of general intelligence, this opens up a whole world of issues that are normally ignored by the Left and Liberal Left, e.g., the issue of differences in the distribution of IQs of men and women, as described here.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Philip Pilkington’s New Book The Reformation in Economics

Check out the full details here:
Philip Pilkington, “Book Launch in Parliament Earlier this Year,” Fixing the Economists, July 13, 2017.
Philip Pilkington has a new book called The Reformation in Economics: A Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Economic Theory (2016).

You can buy it here and here.

There was a book launch on 16 March 2017 in the Clement Attlee room in the UK House of Lords.

See more details here.

Robert Skidelsky gave some introductory remarks here:

And Philip Pilkington gave a short speech here:

Get your copy now!

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tucker Carlson versus Crazed Neocon Max Boot


Tucker even called him out on the Iraq war and disastrous interventions in the Middle East.

You know a big shift has taken place within America politics and on the Right, when – on Fox News itself – its most popular interview program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” can launch what is basically an attack on Neoconservatism, even though nobody explicitly mentioned the word “Neoconservative” or “Neocon.”

The Neoconservative worldview is an unhinged and grotesque one of perpetual war. Apart from the fact that the Neocons were the driving force behind the criminal and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 – and the descent of America into a state using torture, kidnapping, black prisons, and assassinations – let’s take the Neocons’ (and the US Liberal elite’s) current obsession: Putin’s Russia.

Regarding Putin, let’s take the primary charge of the Neocons: Putin is an evil human right abuser. Well, no doubt Putin’s regime has some ugly human rights abuses and other troubling issues.

But, curiously, the authoritarian Communist government of China is undoubtedly a far more brutal and repressive human rights abuser than Putin, but American Conservatives – including the Neocons – have no problem with the free trade policies that destroy US manufacturing and ship it to China, even while they impose new economic sanctions on Russia. China is a far more dangerous global and economic competitor to the US than Russia, but Neocons and even the US Liberal elite are more than happy to give their industry and technology away to the Communist Chinese. This is clown world. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

The Neocons were hysterical opponents of Trump from the very beginning, because Trump in 2016 refused (apart, admittedly, from attacking the Iran deal) to follow their policies on Russia, Syria and on regime change in the wider Middle East.

And notice the insane insults from these Neocons: everybody who disagrees with them is a fascist or Nazi. This is the same rhetoric that you get on the Left.

Curiously, the earliest Neoconservatives were Liberal leftists before they migrated to the Right: they came out of the Democratic party in the 1970s and joined the Republicans when they got disillusioned with the anti-war movements on the Liberal left.

Many of the first generation Neocons were actually Trotskyists and socialists associated with the City College of New York and the 1930s/1940s New York Intellectuals.

These ideologues have always wanted war, war, and more war, and the highly amusing meme pushed by in the 2000s that the Neocons had become the new Liberal Trotskyists (here and here) has a great deal in its favour.

If the Neocon ideology is slowing dying on the American Right, this is a very good thing indeed.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

What is the Case against Marxism in a Nutshell?

That is, what is the case against the actual theory presented by Karl Marx in volume 1 of Capital? This was the only volume of Capital that Marx published in his lifetime, and volume 3 contradicts volume 1 in important respects.

First, we need to know what Marx actually argued in volume 1 of Capital.

The essence of Marx’s theory and his conception of the historical tendency of capitalism is as follows:
(1) Marx had an elaborate labour theory of value on which he founded volume 1 of Capital (see here). Marx understood “value” in the following terms:
(1) the substance of value is abstract socially necessary labour time, which must be defined as a homogeneous unit capable of aggregating and measuring all heterogeneous types of human labour-power (Marx 1906: 45–46);

(2) so therefore value is abstract, socially necessary labour time embodied, crystallised, or materialised in commodities, and

(3) the magnitude of value or quantitative measure of value is the amount of abstract socially necessary labour time, counted in homogeneous units (Marx 1906: 45–46).
Marx also thought that market prices move around and are determined by labour values, since the latter are the equilibrium price anchors for a capitalist system.

(2) capitalism tends to increase the (1) accumulation, (2) concentration (accumulation over time) and (3) centralisation of capital. Capitalism will therefore have a tremendous tendency towards monopoly.

(3) capitalism will tend to destroy more and more capitalists and result in huge centralisation of capital (or monopoly) and reduce even capitalists to the proletarian class;

(4) capitalism will tend to use more and more machines and automation in production resulting in a huge body of unemployed people.

(5) the industrial reserve army of labour (the unemployed) grows and grows, and helps to hold real wages in check (see Chapter 25 of Capital). Even more, Marx thought that a large and growing industrial reserve army is a necessary condition of capitalism: it was a “condition of existence of the capitalist mode of production” (Marx 1906: 646).

(6) the tendency of capitalism is to keep the real wage at a subsistence level, which is the value of the maintenance and reproduction of labour-power (on this, see Chapter 25 of Capital and here). Wages rise and fall around this subsistence level as an equilibrium process;

(7) machines will only increase the intensity, speed and arduousness of work for the proletarians and their misery (see Chapter 15 of volume 1), and also increase the employment of women and children who are paid a lower wage than adult men (although government laws might counter this latter trend to some extent). The adult men are then increasing thrown out of work by machines and women and children replace them with lower wages;

(8) volume 3 of Capital adds to this the tendency of the profit rate to fall, but this mechanism is not invoked in volume 1 as one of the causes of the collapse, and some modern Marxists now dispute just how important the tendency of the falling rate of profit was for the final collapse of capitalism in Marx’s theory, as the emphasis given to this may be more the result of Engels’ tendentious editing of volume 3 of Capital.

(9) eventually almost the whole of society is reduced to the proletarian class with only a tiny handful of monopoly capitalists, who according to Marx “usurp and monopolise all advantages of this process of transformation” (Marx 1906: 836).

(10) the huge and constantly growing class of proletarians, who are kept in poverty with a subsistence wage, are subject to an increasing “mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, [and] exploitation” (Marx 1906: 836). As in the passage of Engels quoted by Marx, the “other classes perish and disappear in the face of Modern Industry” (Marx 1906: 837, n. 1).

(11) finally, the proletarians eventually organise and rebel against capitalism, overthrowing the system.
Now these theories and predictions judged in their totality were not the long-run tendency of capitalism.

Even if a few elements are true (e.g., the increasing use of machines), nevertheless Marx’s vision is a Marxist caricature of capitalism which has been falsified by history.

We can run through the problems and failed predictions of Marxism as follows:
(1) Marx’s labour theory of value is false. The a priori argument for the labour theory of value in volume 1 of Marx’s Capital is a non sequitur and later contradicts itself, as detailed here and here. There are devastating problems with the very concept of a homogeneous unit of abstract, socially necessary labour time and serious empirical problems with the theory, as I show here. The very concept, as Marx defines it, cannot be accepted or defended as coherent or meaningful, and is contrary to the empirical evidence. The labour theory does not explain price determination (for how most prices are actually determined, see here), and the theory of price determination in volume 3 of Capital is inconsistent with that in volume 1. See here.

(2) the tendency to monopoly has its limits even in capitalism, and the extreme and increasing degree of monopoly as predicted by Marx goes well beyond anything observed in real world capitalism;

(3) the size of the working class eventually stabilised and society was swelled by a growing and prosperous middle class and social mobility. Unemployment rates in capitalism are simply a cyclical result of the business cycle: even in the 19th century, unemployment rates did not grow and grow in the long run, as Marx’s theory predicts, but normally simply moved around a point somewhat above full employment, as John Maynard Keynes pointed out:
“our actual experience … [sc. is] that we oscillate, avoiding the gravest extremes of fluctuation in employment and in prices in both directions, round an intermediate position appreciably below full employment and appreciably above the minimum employment a decline below which would endanger life.”
Keynes, J. M. 1936. General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money , Chapter 18.
(4) Marx thought that the large industrial reserve army is a necessary consequence and necessary condition of capitalism, but this is incorrect. In the Keynesian era of full employment, where there was very low unemployment and indeed labour scarcity in the advanced capitalist world, but capitalism continued and thrived – indeed we now call it the “Golden Age” of capitalism.

(5) the long-run tendency of capitalism, even in the 19th century, was to massively increase the real wage, which has soared above subsistence level, even for workers (see here and here).

(6) the growing real wage and rising disposable income even of workers in capitalism also allowed a massive capacity for production of new commodities and new opportunities for employment (e.g., especially in services and middle class employment), which in turn has helped to overcome technological unemployment.

(7) Marx’s claim that machines, generally speaking, are an unmitigated evil in capitalism whose primary effect is to increase the intensity and speed of work by labourers is an outrageous falsehood – a perversion of history and reality. In reality, machines have, generally speaking, tended to decrease the intensity, difficulty and monotony of human labour and often reduced to human labour to lighter work of visual inspection and overseeing of machine work, not physical labour. On this, see here and here. Advanced capitalist nations have also virtually eliminated child labour as well, and in our time have tended to pay women the same hourly wage for the same type of work as men.

(8) highly developed and advanced Western capitalist states like Britain and the US proved the most resistant to communism and Marxism (contrary to Marx’s theory), and when communist revolutions broke out it was in backward Russia and China. Even the communist outbreaks in Germany and Italy at the end of the First World War were more the result of the collapse of those nations under the strain of war, and not in line with the vision Marx had predicted (as I noted here).
In the Keynesian era of full employment from 1946 to 1973, mixed economy capitalism produced a golden age.

Of course, since the 1970s we have entered a a disastrous and regressive era of Neoliberal economics, but, even so, the consequences of that Neoliberalism are not in line with all of the predictions of Marxism as listed above.

The end of the Keynesian period and the return to revived neoclassical theories from the 1970s brought with it a return to lower growth, higher unemployment, stagnating real wages, and higher income inequality, but, above all, a transnational globalised neoliberal capitalism which has shipped a great deal of Western manufacturing and jobs to the Third World, and allowed legal and illegal Third World mass immigration into the West to lower wage costs, displace native workers and even replace populations.

To the extent that early Marxists dealt with issues of immigration and open borders, many welcomed it.

Engels in The Principles of Communism (written in 1847) welcomed the destruction and erasure of ethnic and national groups:
“What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities?

The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.”
Lenin saw open borders as “progressive”:
“There can be no doubt that dire poverty alone compels people to abandon their native land, and that the capitalists exploit the immigrant workers in the most shameless manner. But only reactionaries can shut their eyes to the progressive significance of this modern migration of nations. Emancipation from the yoke of capital is impossible without the further development of capitalism, and without the class struggle that is based on it. And it is into this struggle that capitalism is drawing the masses of the working people of the whole world, breaking down the musty, fusty habits of local life, breaking down national barriers and prejudices, uniting workers from all countries in huge factories and mines in America, Germany, and so forth.

America heads the list of countries which import workers. …. The bourgeoisie incites the workers of one nation against those of another in the endeavour to keep them disunited. Class-conscious workers, realising that the break-down of all the national barriers by capitalism is inevitable and progressive, are trying to help to enlighten and organise their fellow-workers from the backward countries.”
V. I. Lenin, “Capitalism and Workers’ Immigration,” Za Pravdu No. 22, October 29, 1913.
So early Marxists saw mass immigration and the destruction of national differences as “progressive” and thought that once people were been mixed up into multicultural or multi-ethnic states, this will create a huge class-conscious proletarian movement, which would then overthrow capitalism. This was yet another Marxist delusion.

Instead, unending Third World mass immigration means the dispossession of the people of the Western world, the Islamisation of our societies, the transformation of our nations into dysfunctional, Balkanised areas with rent-seeking nepotistic and mutually hostile ethnic and religious groups fighting for control of the state.

The deteriorating plight of Western workers and even segments of the middle class by Neoliberalism, the Islamisation of our societies, and Third World immigration has not produced any renewed Marxist or Communist movements of any political importance in the First World.

Rather, more and more people have reacted with increased support for nationalist and protectionist conservatives, and Marxists and Communists – where they still exist – militantly support the disastrous mass immigration policies that more and more people hate and reject.

In particular, modern Marxists are mired in irrational regressive left and Cultural Leftist delusions, such as Third Wave feminism, the idea that all cultures are equal and the nonsense that mass immigration is always a positive force.

That is why Marxism is destined for the dustbin of history.

Marx, Karl. 1906. Capital. A Critique of Political Economy (vol. 1; rev. trans. by Ernest Untermann from 4th German edn.). The Modern Library, New York.

Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital. A Critique of Political Economy. Volume One (trans. Ben Fowkes). Penguin Books, London.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why did US Libertarians become disillusioned with Libertarianism?

First of all, it requires some study and serious effort.

Here is some direct and fascinating evidence from Vox Day, a former libertarian personality who is now an Alt Right blogger, about why he turned against libertarian ideology both on the issues of immigration and free trade:

As we can see, it was the feeble libertarian responses to the problem of free movement of people, and gaping holes in the theory of free trade that did it for Vox Day. Vox Day also cites Ian Fletcher’s Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why (2nd edn.; 2011) as an influential book against free trade.

Libertarianism is flawed by its insistence that the individual is sovereign, and its inability to see the importance and interests of larger groups, above all, the family and nation. Without government policies to secure and create a viable political unit of people with common interests where those people can flourish, individuals cannot flourish.

What would happen to America if it went full anarcho-capitalist, and if its government were abolished and government control of the borders were ended?

As all barriers to trade and capital movement were removed, the collapse of manufacturing and industry would be accelerated as free trade under absolute advantage would implode the US economy.

As centralised government border control was abolished, and decisions on immigration flows were totally privatised and decentralised, there would be a tidal wave of mass immigration from the Third World, which would destroy the demographic and cultural cohesion of America.

The owners of any big business and industry left would also happily bring in millions of cheap, foreign and easily exploitable labour from the Third World to smash wages and labour rights and make themselves internationally competitive.

Given the fact that there would be no US national government concerned with national security, hostile foreign governments like China or the Arab Gulf States would be able to buy up vast real estate, property and national assets, and then import millions of their own people, which would reduce vast areas of America to colonies of China or Saudi Arabia. As in Europe, whole areas would be gradually lost to segregated and fundamentalist Islamic communities, deeply hostile to the culture around them.

The result would be increasingly isolated, militarised gated communities of wealthy Americans, surrounded by a sea of Third World poverty, economic collapse, crime, drug cartels, violence, social collapse, intercommunal violence, and then civil war.

In short, America would turn into Brazil.

Some libertarians have realised this. Others remain mired in their utopian cult, as cult-like in its own way as dogmatic Marxism/Communism.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Anti-SJW Left should not be Hijacked by the New Classical Liberalism

Ever since Gamergate, there has been a new-found hostility to SJWism, Cultural Leftism, and Third Wave feminism amongst some Liberals and leftists, especially the young.

This movement has manifested itself in the popular YouTube personalities like these:
(1) Sargon of Akkad

(2) Dave Rubin, The Rubin Report

(3) Gad Saad
The most popular of these are probably Sargon of Akkad and Dave Rubin.

The ideology of these latter two is rapidly degenerating into Classical Liberalism and libertarianism-lite, because they lack any alternative perspective on economics. For them, being hostile to SJWism, Cultural Leftism and Marxism has meant becoming hostile to any kind of economic leftism. They seem oblivious of non-Marxist, leftist economics like Post Keynesianism, or even leftist New Keynesianism.

Sargon, for example, has taken to denouncing “socialism” on Twitter, but seems incapable of properly defining what he even means by it. For him – as for libertarians – it seems to conflate everything from New Deal Liberalism, the old British Labour Party, Keynesianism, and Marxism/Communism with a centrally planned economy.

But, don’t get me wrong, some of the memes against Marxists/Communists are fairly funny, e.g.:

However, Sargon has little knowledge of economic theory, and also adopts the same infantile tactic of libertarians by throwing the word “collectivist!” out as an insult in the same way as the libertarians perennially use the cry of “statist!” to close down discussion.

But I’ve seen all this before.

When the financial crisis of 2008 and global recession of 2009 hit the world, there was a brief revival of Keynesian economics. That in turn provoked a renaissance of internet Austrian economics bloggers and libertarianism from around 2008.

From about 2008–2014, there were massive blogger and internet wars between Austrians/libertarians and Keynesians, and heterodox and Post Keynesians were part of this. All these economic issues were debated ad nauseum, and all the solid arguments against Austrian theory were made by numerous people.

But people like Sargon of Akkad and Dave Rubin seem ignorant of this, or of any serious critics of Classical Liberal economics.

The resurgent Austrian/libertarian ideology of the early 2010s reached its high-point in the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul. The Tea Party also had its libertarian wing too.

But then this libertarianism imploded.

There is considerable evidence that a lot of these libertarians – especially the young men – went on to found and become the Alt Right.

Probably some of them still have libertarian leanings on economics. But a big development within the Alt Right has been a growing hostility to free market and libertarian economics, because, whatever you want to say about them, they are at least capable of doing some independent thought on economic issues. Many – who, I bet, were once the fanatical libertarians you’d argue with on or Austrian blogs – are now openly hostile to free trade and globalisation.

Thus Richard Spencer – who may as well be the public face of this movement – was capable of saying this recently about socialism:

But now, on economics, people like Sargon of Akkad are falling into the space once occupied by libertarians, and shilling for Hayek (see here and here), and essentially providing little except anti-SJWism and a reversion to a failed economic ideology.

As a person who spent years arguing with libertarians and Austrians after 2008 from a Post Keynesian perspective, you can get a detailed refutation of nearly every flawed aspect of Austrian economics here:
Debunking Austrian Economics 101 (Updated)
If you are a Sargon fan, but skeptical of his turn to Austrianism, I encourage you to read these links, and this blog. I’m also on Twitter as “Lord Keynes.”

If Sargon of Akkad cares to do some basic reading, he’d discover the errors and discredited theories of Austrian economics.

The new “Classical Liberalism” being pushed by Sargon and co. is no substitute for an Alternative Left capable of criticising the excesses of the Cultural Left and the multiculturalists, but with Post Keynesian economics.

“Sargonism,” if we can call it that, is an intellectual dead end, and a Hayekian-lite rehash of the libertarian movement of the early 2010s. Don’t be seduced.

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