September 08, 2005
Brain Gene Allele Frequences Show Brain Still Evolving

Bruce Lahn and colleagues at the University of Chicago continue their ground-breaking research on the evolution of human intelligence with their finding that two genes involved in cognition have been under strong selective pressure since humans left Africa.

The gene Microcephalin (MCPH1) regulates brain size and has evolved under strong positive selection in the human evolutionary lineage. We show that one genetic variant of Microcephalin in modern humans, which arose ~37,000 years ago, increased in frequency too rapidly to be compatible with neutral drift. This indicates that it has spread under strong positive selection, although the exact nature of the selection is unknown. The finding that an important brain gene has continued to evolve adaptively in anatomically modern humans suggests the ongoing evolutionary plasticity of the human brain. It also makes Microcephalin an attractive candidate locus for studying the genetics of human variation in brain-related phenotypes.

A popular myth holds that evolution takes hundreds of thousands or millions of years to produce significant differences in a species. But even 1000 years is enough time in human evolution to produce large changes in allele frequencies. Heck, just look at the different rates of growth of various human population in the 20th century. At the beginning of the century white Europeans were about 25% of the world's population and last I read they were at 10% (or was it even lower?) and dropping. That caused big changes in the frequencies of a large number of alleles (places where DNA sequences differ between people).

Think about the times when these alleles started increasing in frequency in Lahn's reports. One he estimates started sweeping approximately 37,000 years ago. Another started sweeping approximately 5,800 years ago. Note they might both be much older. But those dates appear to be the dates when they really started spreading. They have both spread far in some human populations and yet not in others. This has big implications. Many other alleles for other traits (e.g. the ability to make lactase while an adult or red hair) obviously have spread in some populations on time scales in the thousands of years. But some people didn't want to believe that this could or did happen for brain gene alleles. Well, yes, it did.

I've coined a term to describe people who argue that the brain hasn't changed much since humans left Africa: Neo-Cartesian Dualists. Why that term? Well, Cartesian Dualism was the idea that the mind somehow existed independent of the brain. The modern Neo-Cartesian Dualism basically holds (not that I think its believers all really understand this implication of their myth) that the genes for coding the brain exist independent of any Darwinian selective force. The brain genes exist in a sort of magical realm where either natural selection can't reach or natural selection magically operates equally on all humans. But this could only be the case if a supernatural entity intervened to make it so. Reality does not work that way.

From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute press release.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers who have analyzed sequence variations in two genes that regulate brain size in human populations have found evidence that the human brain is still evolving.

They speculate that if the human species continues to survive, the human brain may continue to evolve, driven by the pressures of natural selection. Their data suggest that major variants in these genes arose at roughly the same times as the origin of culture in human populations as well as the advent of agriculture and written language.

The research team, which was led by Bruce T. Lahn, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Chicago, published its findings in two articles in the September 9, 2005, issue of the journal Science.

Their analyses focused on detecting sequence changes in two genes - Microcephalin and “abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated” (ASPM) - across different human populations. In humans, mutations in either of these genes can render the gene nonfunctional and cause microcephaly - a clinical syndrome in which the brain develops to a much smaller size than normal.

In earlier studies of non-human primates and humans, Lahn and his colleagues determined that both Microcephalin and ASPM showed significant changes under the pressure of natural selection during the making of the human species. “Our earlier studies showed that Microcephalin showed evidence of accelerated evolution along the entire primate lineage leading to humans, for the entire thirty to thirty-five million years that we sampled,” he said. “However, it seemed to have evolved slightly slower later on. By contrast, ASPM has evolved most rapidly in the last six million years of hominid evolution, after the divergence of humans and chimpanzees.”

Here is the most important part:

The researchers first sequenced the two genes in an ethnically diverse selection of about 90 individuals. The researchers also sequenced the genes in the chimpanzee, to determine the “ancestral” state of polymorphisms in the genes and to assess the extent of human-chimpanzee divergence.

In each gene, the researchers found distinctive sets of polymorphisms, which are sequence differences between different individuals. Blocks of linked polymorphisms are called haplotypes, whereby each haplotype is, in essence, a distinct genetic variant of the gene. They found that they could further break the haplotypes down into related variants called haplogroups. Their analysis indicated that for each of the two genes, one haplogroup occurs at a frequency far higher than that expected by chance, indicating that natural selection has driven up the frequency of the haplogroup. They referred to the high-frequency haplogroup as haplogroup D.

When the researchers compared the ethnic groups in their sample for haplogroup D of ASPM, they found that it occurs more frequently in European and related populations, including Iberians, Basques, Russians, North Africans, Middle Easterners and South Asians. That haplogroup was found at a lower incidence in East Asians, sub-Saharan Africans and New World Indians. For Microcephalin, the researchers found that haplogroup D is more abundant in populations outside of Africa than in populations from sub-Saharan Africa.

Selective pressures on brain genes continued after humans migrated from Africa. The size of those selective pressures was not the same in populations that moved to various different parts of the world. Natural selection did not stop operating on brain genes once humanity developed into distinct races. The implications of this result are profound.

The ASPM haplogroup D spread started perhaps about 5,800 years ago (and that is an estimate around some range) and its emergence coincided with the spread of agriculture and the emergence of culturally modern humans!

To produce more informative statistical data on the frequency of haplotype D among population groups, the researchers applied their methods to a larger population sample of more than one thousand people. That analysis also showed the same distribution of haplogroups.

Their statistical analysis indicated that the Microcephalin haplogroup D appeared about 37,000 years ago, and the ASPM haplogroup D appeared about 5,800 years ago - both well after the emergence of modern humans about 200,000 years ago. “In the case of Microcephalin, the origin of the new variant coincides with the emergence of culturally modern humans,” said Lahn. “And the ASPM new variant originated at a time that coincides with the spread of agriculture, settled cities, and the first record of written language. So, a major question is whether the coincidence between the genetic evolution that we see and the cultural evolution of humans was causative, or did they synergize with each other?”

Lahn said that the geographic origin and circumstances surrounding the spread of the haplogroups can only be surmised at this point. “One can make guesses, but our study doesn't reveal how these positively selected variants arrived," he said. "They may have arisen in Europe or the Middle East and spread more readily east and west due to human migrations, as opposed to south to Africa because of geographic barriers. Or, they could have arisen in Africa, and increased in frequency once early humans migrated out of Africa.”

While the roles of Microcephalin and ASPM in regulating brain size suggest that the selective pressure on the new variants may relate to cognition, Lahn emphasized that this possibility remains speculative. “What we can say is that our findings provide evidence that the human brain, the most important organ that distinguishes our species, is evolutionarily plastic,” he said. Finding evidence of selection in two such genes is mutually reinforcing, he pointed out. “Finding this effect in one gene could be anecdotal, but finding it in two genes would make it a trend. Here we have two microcephaly genes that show evidence of selection in the evolutionary history of the human species and that also show evidence of ongoing selection in humans.”

I've been expecting the left-liberal inequality taboo to die by 2015. But declines in the cost of DNA sequencing combined with research results such as that reported above make me more optimistic. The taboo might have only about 5 more years to run.

Also see my previous posts "Many Genes Changed To Make Human Ancestors Progressively Smarter", "Researchers Find Key Gene For Evolution Of Human Intelligence", "Human Brain Size Regulating Gene To Be Inserted Into Mice", and "Genetic Causes Of Infidelity Found In Twins Study".

Update: Nicholas Wade of the New York Times provides more details on the frequency of each allele in different human populations.

They report that with microcephalin, a new allele arose about 37,000 years ago, although it could have appeared as early as 60,000 or as late as 14,000 years ago. Some 70 percent or more of people in most European and East Asian populations carry this allele of the gene, as do 100 percent of those in three South American Indian populations, but the allele is much rarer in most sub-Saharan Africans.

With the other gene, ASPM, a new allele emerged some time between 14,100 and 500 years ago, the researchers favoring a mid-way date of 5,800 years. The allele has attained a frequency of about 50 percent in populations of the Middle East and Europe, is less common in East Asia, and found at low frequency in some sub-Saharan Africa peoples.

The handwriting is on the wall. The evidence about human genetic differences in cognition found in psychometric research increasingly is getting buttressed by results from biological research. The discovery of more alleles that affect cognitive ability combined with DNA sequence comparisons will, within a few years time, lead to the collapse of the most damaging myth of our era.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 September 08 02:37 PM  Brain Evolution

toot said at September 8, 2005 2:54 PM:

I assume no one involved in all this is up for tenure.

palecur said at September 8, 2005 4:52 PM:

Er, if Cartesian Dualism was the idea that such-and-such, does it mean something else now? If it still means such-and-such, oughtn't the construction to be 'Cartesian Dualism is...'?

Randall Parker said at September 8, 2005 6:01 PM:


My use of past tense was meant to imply that the idea doesn't carry as much weight as it used to.

Marvin said at September 8, 2005 6:33 PM:

And the correlation between expression of these alleles and IQ? Perhaps a question too far. Ask Larry Summers.
PC enforced ignorance may not be strong enough to totally suppress scientific curiosity, after all.

Randall Parker said at September 8, 2005 6:52 PM:


Yes, the obvious thing to do is to compare lots of alleles for brain genes with intelligence. The Ashkenazi genetic disease genes, these genes, the prion protein gene, and probably a few others make excellent candidates. The work could get done now. But to grant funding for such work would have too obvious a politically incorrect purpose: to prove suppress truths. Can't have that.

toot said at September 8, 2005 7:54 PM:

Assuming the statistical distributions that are frequently quoted, i.e., male and female having similar means, but with a greater variance among men, I would expect that some important genes for intelligence must lie on the X-chromosome. Then a man who has a favorable allele will have it expressed throughout, while a woman, if she has only a single copy of the favorable allele, will be a mosaic, with the favorable gene being expressed in only about half her cells; in the others the favorable allele will be tied up in a Barr body and remain unexpressed. Likewise, an allele on the X-chromosome unfavorable for intelligence will be expressed throughout a man, but in only about half the cells of a woman, again putting the so-affected man in the lower extremity of the intelligence distribution.

Tihaitien said at September 8, 2005 9:44 PM:

The concept of "race" is sufficiently dubious. Do we clearly meet the classic definition of race? Furthermore, any one who made it out of an undergraduate biology could tell you that the development of speech 50,000 years ago was the rate limiting step in the rise of complex modern culture. The ability to convey distinct ideas is the key element that separates us from the other mammals. This so-called "study" at best might indicate that these alleles have been impacted by forces of selection; yet, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that they result in brain-related-phenotypes. Yet the specter of the latter is what has caught the attention of the media. Do we really think that a function as complicated as cognition could be so easily affected by a couple of genes? Needless to say I remain unmoved by the new belief system in rapid evolution. I certainly agree with the pursuit of knowledge. I am concerned by the historical propensity of Caucasians to conjure theories that just happen to explain their perceived inherent superiority over the African descendant (Oh! I guess we're all Africans).

Eric said at September 8, 2005 10:22 PM:

Tihaitien, you are aware that the lead author of these studies is Chinese, right?

The development of speech happened 50kya????

Loss of function mutations in these genes result in microcephaly, and their expression is predominant in the brain. What is the most parsimonious explanation for these findings?

Randall Parker said at September 8, 2005 11:15 PM:


No, the concept of race is not dubious. Which classic definition of race do you refer to? I prefer Steve Sailer's definition: A racial group is an extended family that is inbred to some degree.

I made it out of undergraduate biology. They never taught us when the development of human speech happened. Maybe they teach that in linguistics or anthropology. I do not know. My guess is this isn't known with a high degree of confidence. What is your authority for when human speech first happened? Got any URLs? Surely speech developed in a series of steps with simpler methods coming first. I doubt one can draw a line a simply say before some point there was no speech and after it there was speech.

This study you disparage was published in Science by an accomplished brain genetics researcher who has already done studies comparing ASPM genetic sequences in humans and earlier primates. This latest study is a logical outgrowth of those earlier studies.

Also, Eric is quite right. Loss of ASPM function does cause microcephaly. Plus, proteins produced from Microcephalin and ASPM are involved in the regulation neural stem cell division to make neurons. Lahn definitely is studying genes involved in brain development.

BTW, BRCA1 also has alleles that differ between human populations and it too is involved in neural stem cell regulation. BRCA1 has also been under a lot of selective pressure in the homind lineage.

Hugh Angell said at September 9, 2005 2:10 AM:

When I saw an article on Dr. Lahn's research in the Sept.8th Economist I thought this is
political dynamite and confirms what I had long suspected and is apparently Mr. Parkers
POV as well. Human genetic development is ongoing and that those who left Africa 40,000
years ago to settle the rest of the planet have developed independantly of those left
behind and that along with different skin, hair and eye colors differences in mental abilities must have also occured. I'm not sure that Microcephalin or ASPM are the genes
responsible for differences in human intelligence but they are significant biologically
for they are tangible verifiable genetic evidence that homo sapiens who left Africa have
genetically different brains than those that did not.

Here is another nail in the coffin of the 'Africans are the same as everyone else' school of social science.

"[Dr. Martin's] team used a technique called genome-wide linkage scanning to analyse all the DNA of 725 teenagers from 329 Australian families. Non-identical twins and pairs of siblings who had very different IQ scores were found also to have significant differences in two small regions of DNA, one on chromosome two and one on chromosome six. To confirm the findings, Dutch researchers conducted a similar study on 225 people. The two teams' results were published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. "

Further, recent studies on Ashkenazic Jews by University of Utah researchers show that the
development of IQ can happen quite rapidly. The theory here is that the high IQ's
exhibited by many Ashkenaze Jews developed ( along with their genetically distinctive
diseases) in just a few hundred years and likely as the result of natural selection owing
to social discrimination forcing these Jews into intellectually demanding occupations.
If correct then the corollary might also be the case, ie, a genetically distinct and
isolated population forced into non intellectually demanding occupations, say a slave
population, might find IQ declining over time.

I do not discount the 'cultural' arguments of some social scientists put forth to explain
IQ and other differences between populations. However to the extent that they exist these
too may favor non Africans in the modern world. Dog breeds not only exhibit different
physical characteristics they also have 'behaviorial traits' that are somehow passed on
generation to generation. These traits are not 'taught' but are instinctive to the breed.
Setters 'point', collies 'herd', and all domesticated dogs 'fetch'. How and through what
mechanism are these behaviorial traits passed on? A feral dog does
not behave like this nor will a poodle 'point' to hidden game in the brush. The once
popular, then discredited Jungian notion of 'racial memory' may have to be revisited in
order to explain this mysterious but very real phenomenom.

In humans such behaviorial traits seem to exist as well. Should we be surprised that humans
from Europe or Asia having lived in advanced civilization for several thousand years longer
than Africans are more adapted to them. Would not 'rational selection' have weeded out from
European and Asian populations those who do not work well with others, those who cannot
accept authority? Would we not have acquired breed specific 'traits' the same as dogs that
make us 'useful' as citizens in a complex civilization? I think we would and that we would
pass those characteristics on to our children without even being aware that we were. OTOH
the African populations now resident in advanced societies have had, at most, only 400
years living in these complex societies. It may well be that Europeans and Asians not only
have genetically more 'advanced' brains but are also 'tamer' than what we might call
'feral' humans from Africa.

Bulldog said at September 9, 2005 4:53 AM:

It doesn't matter if you call it "race" or "extended family" or gene clustering. The underlying phenomenon is quite real and worthy of scientific study. Our friends on the left want to obscure and deny the issue. That's their blindspot. The Lakoffian blindspot.

The problem isn't so much separating genes from environment. The problem is more separating epigenetic effects from genetic effects. Most of the non-genetic variation in intelligence is not due to environment but to epigenetics. Since epigenetic mechanisms are themselves partially inherited the scientific difficulty in teasing apart causes is made harder. As far as environmental influences on intelligence, most of those occur inside the uterus. The first two or three years after birth constitute the rest of the meaningful environmental influence.

Tihaitien said at September 9, 2005 5:36 AM:

Europeans are "tamer?" One of us slept through an entire semester of 20th century world history. How many Europeans slaughtered each other in World War II? 40-50 million? Oh, don't tell me, since then you all have "evolved." Is that why the world continues to be on the brink of annihilation? Let’s be serious. I am an academic clinician but during my training I've had sufficient exposure to basic science to understand concepts of genetic polymorphism. There are numerous studies suggesting potential cognition related genes. Why have you all seized on these two genes as the all and be all? semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency is a rare cause of learning disability and its activity level may be associated with intelligence. Genetic variants of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play a role in cognition. DYX1C1 near the DYX1 locus in chromosome 15q21 may be a candidate gene for dyslexia. The list goes on..

Unlike some PhD’s who spend their lives in a lab I have a well rounded understanding of human development. Trying to understand this development through only one venue is inherently flawed. I've read some fascinating papers suggesting the development of speech around 50,000 years ago (details another time). It is also clear that the geography that one inhabits will clearly affect the trajectory of cultural development. Jared Diamond has done a nice job explaining this in his book Germs, Guns and Steel. Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years perhaps one can expect meaningful separation.

I will give you a personal example. I lived in an area in Brooklyn where most of my friends from Haiti where offspring’s of peasants. In my lineage, no one had ever graduated from High School let alone college. My friends and siblings are mostly college graduates and in fact many of us have obtained advanced degrees. In retrospect you could see a clear correlation between national origin and likelihood of success. That is, if you were black and from the Caribbean than you was likely to do well as opposed to if you were a native born black. It would be quite foolish to jump the gun and suggest that "we have evolved." To understand these differences, you may actually have to step outside the lab.

Jim said at September 9, 2005 7:43 AM:

I think that the definition of race is awfully murky, and there is a danger of relying on one's intuition of race (based on visual cues the eyes picks up on) to make connections/political policy decisions based on race. Clearly there are differing intelligence distributions across these broadly defined groups, but as this article points out evolution of the brain is happening FAST! this relative speed implies, to me, that culture and values of a society are very important such that the proper genes are selected for through the generations. we seem to accept here (and jives with my personal experience/intuition) that ashkenazi jews are smarter than average.... could this be due to their long culture that values the written law and therefore selectively breeds for these genes?

RP, if and when your predicted elimination of the liberal taboo against discussing racial differences comes to pass (do you also have info on my relatively earth-bound status under the boards compared to my fellow basketball players of more recent african descent?) in our society, how do we expect the people of relatively low intelligence (and high intelligence for that matter) to react? this needs to be antcipated quite carefully in order to move forward with newly evolving genetic-intelligence info to improve our society, because we could easily degrade the values in society. there are many examples of people of moderate intellectual capability and enormous spirit who have done far more good than evil geniuses.

as one wise and successful movie character once said, 'stupid is, as stupid does.'; or hardware matters and differs, but the operating system software is at least as important

Hugh Angell said at September 9, 2005 8:35 AM:

First of all I clearly stated I was dubious that the two genes mentioned were the
'explanation' for the observed intelligence differences between Africans and non Africans
since there was no claimed difference in intelligence within those populations based on
microcephalin or ASMP. As the Australian and Dutch studies I mentioned indicate something
else is at work here as regards intelligence since you can have twins or siblings with
significantly different mental capacity. What Dr. Lahn's research does show is that genetic
differences have developed between the brains of Africans and non African people and that
these developed, as one might expect, during the period these two populations became
seperated,i.e., in the last 40,000 years. What other genetic and non genetic characteristic
that exists between African and Non African human brains remains to be found. We simply
know that they do exist as Dr. Lahn has shown.

As to my comment on tame and feral. The example you use is actually a confirmation of my
point. It takes a very cohesive and socially organized society to wage wars comparable to
World Wars One and Two. Only an advanced civilization would be able to raise such huge
armies and keep them in the field for year on year enduring tremendous casualties all the
while. That requires a tame populace. A 'feral' people such as exists in Africa could not
maintain its cohesion under such stress for that length of time. It has nothing to do with
bravery or the morality of the cause. I fully accept that Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and
the USSR were cruel even monstrous societies but that the necessary ingredient for them to
become such was the fact that their populations were 'tame' and willing to subordinate
themselves for the greater society in a fashion that it seems African peoples do not or at
least do not do as well as others.

I often lament the poverty of Africa. Who can be happy with so many starving people? Yet
two thousand years ago in both Rome and China it was possible to build irrigation systems
and roads capable of supporting preindustrial societies at a standard of living beyond the
means of Africa today. That African nations cannot organize their people sufficiently to
even build roads the equal of Roman roads even with the availability of modern equipment
is a shocking indictment on the level of social cohesion there.

Lono said at September 9, 2005 9:59 AM:

Sh*t! - I don't give a crap about one's ethnicity - I just want this research to help cure people of their stupidity!

People like Tom Tancredo and GW and all the other people who's daily incompetence makes my life all whole lot less productive than it could be.

Or, I suppose, identifying the terminally dunce and assigning appropriate busy work to them for life is also acceptable if slightly less satisfying...

Either way - let's put the Alpha's in charge and finally rid ourselves of the useless governance dominated by agressive but ignorant monkey's.

Devilboy said at September 9, 2005 10:09 AM:


You bring up some interesting points, but I don't think anyone here is saying "all" people of one origin are neurologically "superior" to "all" the people of another. It's one of the most common misinterpretations of "The Bell Curve". I believe that hard work and commitment to a goal can overcome lower IQ in many cases (I am certainly not implying that of anyone posting here). I have this at work through my high school and college careers, where some people have to study hard and some don't to get the same result.

I think Hugh makes a very important point with regards to slavery. I have long suspected that slavery (and then share cropping, then Jim Crow, and now Affirmative Action) have had a negative impact on the IQ's of individuals of African descent by supporting behaviors that would be eliminated from the population otherwise.

A point that Randall, and others, frequently make is that we should not be scared by political correctness to explore the idea of divergent evolution and IQ. If you reject the concept, as it appears you do, then there will never be a way to potentially correct the imbalance once it is proven true.

Brock said at September 9, 2005 11:19 AM:

I'm with Hugh; we should keep an open mind as to what exactly these genes might do. They might have nothing to do with IQ at all, and are, as Hugh suggests, related to our ability to cooperate. It really could be anything "beneficial."

The whole idea that evolution happens at some slow, steady rate just never made any sense to me. It completely ignores the relatives strengths of different selective pressures, or the relative utilities of different mutations.


You make an excellent point about the role of culture in the micro-realm of individuals. If, instead of a brain gene, this story was about a muscle gene that increased strength by 10%, you would be very correct in pointing out that diet and exercise (mostly cultural factors) have a far greater effect on over-all strength than this gene would. Similarly, an emphasis on savings and education (mostly cultural traits) have long been the hallmark of succesful societies.

I said "mostly" cultural however, because genetics still has a role. A genetic mutation that prevents the digestion of certain foods would affect diet. A genetic mutuation which disallowed deferred gratification would severely curtail savings and education. More importantly, the second mutation might curtail savings and invesment so much that any population with that gene would never develop the minimum amount of capital required to boot-strap their way towards a modern society. It's not just that modern society would develop slower, it would simply never get off the ground.

What would happen to a displaced population with a higher gratification discount rate? Well, if they landed in a society whose majority was low-discount, they might live well enough there. They would certainly better than they would back where high-discounters are the majority; but would they really add anything to their new host society? More importantly, if they were cut off from their host society, would they even be able to maintain the standard of living they had been uplifted to? Maybe; maybe not.

There's an interesting article in Reason that kind of touches on that topic in a tangental way.


It notes that in "civilized" nations social disruptions such as Hurricane Katrina do not usually result in social breakdown. When the chips are down cooperation goes up, and people spontaneously organize and give charitably to rescue the victims. It isn't even a matter of economic wealth, as an example from Tanghsan, China, in 1976, demonstrates. Those victims were very poor, but society remained strong against terrible odds.

There are a few exceptions. Of course New Orleans this last week was one of them. The others mentioned are the New York blackout of '77; in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands following 1989's Hurricane Hugo; and the area around Homestead, Florida, after 1992's Hurricane Andrew. I might also mention non-nature-caused breakdowns, such as Detroit, Newark, Camden, and far more than I care to list.

The role of culture is incredibly important, a role I think Randall discounts too much, but I agree with Randall's suggestion that "Neo-Cartesian Dualists" will be eclipsed as surely as Ptolemist astronomers. I expect we'll go too far for a while too, until society reaches an equilibrium that rigorously understands the complimentary roles of genetics and an individual's free will.

The more interesting question to me is what the societal response will be to our acceptance of genetic differences combined with our ability to change genetics. Suppose for a moment that these genese are the difference between 'domesticated' and 'feral' humans as Hugh postulates; do we allow 'feral' humans to run about and reproduce? Do we even think of them as the same species? What will the standard of "minimally acceptable uplift" be?

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 11:24 AM:


Speaking of BDNF: See my post "BDNF Gene Variations Affect Ability To Make, Recall Visual Memories". Do you believe the frequency of these alleles is the same across all populations? I think that highly unlikely.

Variations in the prion protein gene affect cognitive ability and the frequency of those variations differs between populations.

The handwriting is on the wall. The more alleles which influence cognitive ability are discovered and compared between populations the more the frequences will be found to differ.

Bob Badour said at September 9, 2005 12:04 PM:


I don't think the issue is whether this specific pair of genes accounts for the group average differences among races. The importance of this finding is the strong evidence that our brains continued to evolve even as modern humans.

It doesn't change the fact that the group average differences exist. It doesn't change the fact that epigenetic influences affect brain development and intelligence. It doesn't change the fact that "culture" can limit intellectual development. I place culture in quotation marks because some people might not recognize the evidence for it as cultural. I am thinking of results of the effects of neglect on institutionalized babies, for instance.

Sadly, I suspect many of these influences mutually reinforce. A parent who passes on genes for lower intelligence is more likely to suffer intellectual deficits resulting in less than ideal parenting. I suspect such a parent is also more likely to alter the epigenetic state of the developing fetus and child through improper nutrition or abuse of euphoric chemicals.

Over the coming years, I expect scientists to find a growing list of genes affecting brain development with distributions suggesting natural selection. The selective forces and the effects of these genes will vary. Some will impart disease resistance, for instance. And some will affect intelligence. Some will affect personality and behaviour--whether one prefers forests or prairies or oceans or mountains for example--or even the desert.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 12:13 PM:


In fact, evidence about athletic prowess demonstrates big differences between the races and subracial groups. The fastest sprinters are from west Africa. The best long distance runners are mostly from an area in east Africa.

Some guys can develop big muscles with very little exercise. Others can work out hours every week and gain only moderate amounts of muscle mass. Genetic alleles are producing this difference.

Tihaitien said at September 9, 2005 12:31 PM:

You subscribed to the old saying, “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with BS.” It would be silly to split hair regarding the difference between the Hutu-Tutsi massacres versus the Jewish holocaust. I suppose, using your metrics, the Tutsi people were very successful. They were able to band together to massacre 800,000 Hutu in a matter of several weeks. I supposed you are in greater awe of the elegance of the Nazi killing machinery as opposed to machete wielding Africans. As they say style is everything.

The modern African national boundaries are a haphazard product of the European “big brain.” The brutal and perpetual wars of Europe lead to nations with distinct ethnic identity. Unfortunately in any given African nation what you will find is a number of African tribes (with historical animosity similar to their big brain Europeans) being lumped together. In many of these societies the ethnic identity trumps their national identity. If these people where allowed aggregate through “natural” means then the boundaries would be quite different. Interestingly, nations of Eastern Europe that experienced similar “lumping” such as the former Yugoslavia and the off-shoots of the Ottoman Empire have not been so cohesive. Why the Euro-Asians did experience the technological head start? I will refer you to Diamond’s book. Be sides who say that technological achievements should be simultaneous in all society.

I am a clinical researcher so I certainly do not believe in the stifling of science. I try to read basic science papers because I am actively trying to jump start my career by getting in to translational work. I am currently interested in renal osteodystrophy as it relates to cardiac morbidity and mortality. You all should try and restrain your irrational exuberance in regards to these two genes. At best Bruce as suggested that some alleles have changed over the past 50,000 and 6000 years. It will be interesting to see how these genes correlate with markers of social success amongst Caucasians. It they do then it would support their importance in Euro-Asians. I am more interested in seeing similar investigation with the other potential cognition-related polymorphism. My own intuition is that the black African descendants will be shown to be well compensated by the other alleles. I gave my Haitian anecdote to underline the importance of environmental and cultural influences. I certainly admire the culture of intellectual aggressiveness of Ashkenazi Jews. We should not under estimate the effort that they devote towards those ends. If you’ve come to accept that the only route to greatness is through sports then you’re not likely to produce Einsteins. I certainly believe that the political and cultural values of my black American brothers are all screwed up. I guess until recently questions regarding the fundamental intellectual deficiencies of Eastern and Southern Europeans were rampant. Not surprisingly, most of the great athletes from early 20th century were Eastern and Southern Europeans…

toot said at September 9, 2005 12:43 PM:

Unless my memory is very flawed, it was the Hutus who massacred the Tutsis.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 1:21 PM:


As shown by transracial adoption studies and most recently by a Korean adoption study by Americans socio-economic status (SES) is vastly overrated as compared to genetics as an influence on success. Also see this follow-up.

The conventional liberal wisdom that the races have equal cognitive abilites and identical behavioral tendencies on average is hard to square with mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Brock said at September 9, 2005 1:30 PM:


I'm sorry if I didn't explain myself well enough. I meant that between a genetically average white guy and a genetically average black guy, most of the performance differences would be explained by diet and exercise. The same would be true between two genetically extraordinary athletes. Bo Jackson would never have shamed Brian Bosworth if Bo hadn't regularly worked out at the gym, no matter how genetically gifted. Boz was too well trained for that.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 1:36 PM:


Do you mean they are both genetically average according to the same average? Or do you mean to compare a black guy who is at the black genetic average for some trait (e.g. musculature) and a white guy who is at the white average for the same trait?

Marvin said at September 9, 2005 3:00 PM:

The discussion is not about sports performance, it is about the distribution of gene alleles that affect cognition. Funny how so many people try to prevent looking into these issues. If you have problems with the definitions of terms, or with experimental methods, you are always welcome to design your own study, and compete in the marketplace of ideas. Put your science up against everyone else's. Subject your ideas to criticism, you might learn something.

Brock said at September 9, 2005 3:11 PM:

The second one.

Let's assume for a minute that West African blacks have an across-the-board, 10% "natural advantage" in strength and speed. So if I'm an average white guy, and Jack's an average black guy, Jack would be 10% faster than me assuming the same diet & exercise.

I can increase my strength & speed a lot more than just 10% using a regular weight-lifting & cardio program. I could probably increase it 100%+, being as out-of-shape as I currently am. Black Jack, if he continued on the same "library lifting and soda drinking" ways of before would be left in my dust. Ergo, end-of-the-day performance figures would be much more strongly correlated with lifestyle than genetics.

Sadly, the same does not seem to be true of our cognitive abilities past a very tender age. "Brain exercises" seem to produce far less growth and performance improvements for the brain than hitting the gym does for our muscles. At best it seems a regimen of crossword & jigsaw puzzles merely holds off the declines associated with aging, rather than making us any smarter.

Brock said at September 9, 2005 3:18 PM:


Have no fear; I am discussing the issues at hand. Randall and I are just clarifying our positions in an ongoing conversation. You'll see if you sample enough posts that I'm a regular here. We're defining terms not because we have a problem with the study, but merely to clear up any confusions solely between us.

The study itself seems fine; and its findings speak for themselves.

By the way, I think toot's comment was probably the funniest thing I've read online in quite a while. Timing & Truth really are the two most important ingredients in humor. :-)

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 4:01 PM:


When two groups differ by some amount on average at the mean the differences out on the tails are much greater. So if two races differ in their musculature for example at upper extreme the ratio of the higher performing group to the lower performing group will get much greater.

One sees this with IQ where when two groups differ at their mean the further out you you toward high IQ the higher the ratio is between the number in the better performing group to the number in the more poorly performing group.

Also, as for diet and exercise: But top athletes will eat well and get lots of exercise. Therefore the differences in their performance as compared to each other will rest far more heavily on genetics than it does with average people.

As for IQ: Environment matters less the more that environment is improved. Environment less difference in IQ for the poor in America than it does for poor in India. As living standards improve more of IQ differences will be the result of genetic differences.

Some IQ differences that are not genetic are also not due to socio-economc environment either. There's noise in the system. The genes just do not code for brain development with a sufficient degree of control to determine exactly how things will turn out. Brownian motion and other noise sources will cause differences.

Hugh Angell said at September 9, 2005 6:45 PM:

Tahaitien said:

.” It would be silly to split hair regarding the difference between the Hutu-Tutsi massacres versus the Jewish holocaust"

No it wouldn't. As Toot pointed out you did have the aggressors/victims mixed up but
that is not important. What is, is precisely the difference. What the Germans did HAD
to be concealed. Yes, there was Kristalnacht and other public brutalities against Jews
in Germany but here's the rub. The Nazis had to CONCEAL their genocide for the natural
instinct of Germans could not countenance the deliberate murder of young Jewish girls
and their children even if they were the enemy.

OTOH Hutu murderers were not some formation of battle crazed soldiers filled with blood
lust at the enemy. Nor were they elite and specially trained units of Nazi fanatics.
They were the ordinary Hutu people killing their neighbors. Imagine what could have taken
place in the United States 100 years ago had not such passions been untempered by feelings
of sympathy, shame and remorse during periods of ethnic hostility by a majority population
against a minority.

I would like to discuss this topic with your further but I am meeting with a good Anglo
Saxon genetic friend right now. Mr. Jim Beam. I would entice you by noting that as you
may have implied that what makes non Africans 'tame' may also make us very vulnerable.

Tihaitien said at September 9, 2005 9:18 PM:

Randal Parker,
You are unable to appreciate the difference between validity versus reliability. The demonstration of consistent statistical significance in measurement of IQ between Anglos and Africans at best suggests the latter but not the former. The central question relates to whether the IQ test measures intrinsic intelligence. My experience living in the Upper East Side would suggest otherwise. I have colleagues who routinely employ psychologists and other learning specialist to prep their kids for IQ tests and college entrance exams. They seem to think it’s worth the thousands of dollars in expenditure. Meanwhile, a large segment of African Americans simply do not speak or relate to middle class mores. There is a huge disconnect between black life and white life. Many blacks are continuing to concede the pursuit of higher educational goals to whites. I’m sure you all are hoping that the recent genetic studies will help solidify their sense of inferiority and social isolation. As a black foreigner I have been in a unique position to observe this difference in white and black. I have accepted the Western man’s bureaucratic/technical life and I have also assumed the African Americans spirituality and social sensibility (we’re not all gang bangers). I find the Western man’s personal life too alienating.

Recently one of my trainees lamented about the ills of affirmative action. She felt that lesser qualified students had been accepted in to training because of “reverse discrimination.” She believed in the intellectual superiority of her group. Of course I’m referring to an upper cast Indian (Brahmin) discussing the intellectual inferiority of lower cast Indians. Apparently, even in India, there are some lefties engaging in social engineering. Like you she believed in rapid brain evolution. I reminded her that in the time of the North African Pharaohs (they were not necessarily full blooded Anglos) the aristocracy was a product of divinity. From the industrial revolution until recent time the justification for elitism was moral superiority and work ethic. We are not entering the time of the double helix. You all loved the notion of biological inheritance but no one wants to talk about social inheritance of privileges.

H Angell,
Obviously, I got my Hutus and Tutsi all twisted up. Are you seriously seeking elegance in the genocide of 7 million Jews? My goodness, how discrete can one be when you are killing millions? Have you ever spoken to a survivor? At what point did the general population sense that there was something smelly in Denmark? As a physician I can tell you that German physicians as a group were among the most enthusiastic supporters of Nazism. In fact, they provided the intellectual cover for Hitler and his merry men. Surely, you do not buy into the German mass denial? You’re all style and no substance… I must go and attend to my lovely Anglo wife.

steve_o said at September 9, 2005 9:22 PM:

"In fact, evidence about athletic prowess demonstrates big differences between the races and subracial groups. The fastest sprinters are from west Africa. The best long distance runners are mostly from an area in east Africa."

East Africans have consistently won elite long distance events but west Africans (not African American or Carribean blacks whose ancestors are west Africans) have been almost invisible in track and field events. One needs relatively little equipment to train for this kind of sports. And any of these equipments are available in the poorest west African countries. Yet, few west Africans (again, I exclude Carribeans and African-Americans) are among the top world sprinters. Population wise, there several times more people in west Africa than there are in the US and interest in track and field as an organized sports is probably second only to soccer. So why don't we see sprint events dominated by west Africans?

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 9:38 PM:


When I refer to "West Africans" mostly I'm referring to people of West African ancestry who live in the Western countries. I suspect the West African countries are too messed up to sort thru their populations and identify and support promising athletes.

steve_o said at September 9, 2005 9:52 PM:

"When I refer to "West Africans" mostly I'm referring to people of West African ancestry who live in the Western countries. I suspect the West African countries are too messed up to sort thru their populations and identify and support promising athletes."

I know what you meant when you wrote "West African" and I made that clear in my post. You didn't really answer my question and you must know that the answer you gave is crappy. The Nigerian team has the won a gold medal in olympic soccer. So did the Cameroonian team. Both teams have advanced far in several world cups. It takes considerably more resources, organizational capacity, etc. to field a competitive soccer team. How come a less demanding endeavor can be affected by the messiness when the more demanding one is not? There are many things more complex than preparing for elite track and field that take place in Africa every day. You can surely do better than your last attempt.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 10:10 PM:


No, I think my response was quite adequate.

Some sports get played because they are fun to play and to watch. Some are played because people like to play on teams. People all over the world play soccer even though poor and people come to see them in poor countries. People pay to see soccer matches. Leagues compete all the time. Populaces of many countries see it prestigious if they beat neighboring cities or countries or better yet win a world title.

Track events do not pull in anywhere near as much money. There's no track equivalent of Manchester United. There are not legions of fans. Few tracks stars are known. Most of those are made famous by the Olympics. But soccer produces stars all the time.

steve_o said at September 9, 2005 10:37 PM:

As long as I have been watching the olympics, track and field, especially sprint, is one of the most watched of all olympic events. The world championship in the event is also very popular. Great sprinters are popular almost everywhere. Besides, your original objection was about the region not being conducive to producing athletes. The fact is that what you wrote about soccer applies to every region and does nothing in explaining the issue at hand. somehow, the countries in west Africa are too messed up to identify and train good sprinters but quite capable of producing world class soccer players and teams. I guess it's a piece of cake for a country to produce the right mix of defenders, mid-fielders, forwards, and other complementary attributes to produce well functioning teams.
It is very clear here that you are dodging the issue. Good night.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 11:08 PM:


College entrance exams are not as g-loaded as IQ tests. But even for college tests there is a limit to how much training can boost your results. A person with a 1000 SAT test score could spend a few months in heavy training and still not able to score 1500.

Some IQ tests are more g loaded than others and far less trainable. For example, the ability to hear a list of numbers and tell them back in the opposite order is highly g-loaded and can't be trained for. Some people with better short-term memories amd faster minds can remember and flip around much longer lists than others of lesser intellectual abilities.

Whether schools in NYC that use IQ tests are using good ones I have no idea. Just because people pay for IQ test training that does not mean the parents have a clue or that their kids are deriving much benefit in terms of boosted scores. Maybe some schools are using lousier tests and it helps a bit.

You are using your intuition. But psychometricians have used large numbers of people in many studies and controlled for many factors to reach the conclusions they've reached. I've read many reviews of the field and discussed results with psychometricians. Reliability versus validity? I'm impressed by how predictive IQ tests are on groups.

The problem with invoking environmental explanations is that all that has been controlled for in adoption studies including trans-racial adoption studies, in twins studies, other sibling studies, and in other studies that control for SES in all sorts of ways.

Read some of Linda Gottfredson's reprints or read the Rushton and Jensen papers here. Or read Charles Murray's recent Commentary article The Inequality Taboo. I could point you at more stuff by psychometricians if you actually wanted to learn what their findings are.

Randall Parker said at September 9, 2005 11:11 PM:


Again, I provided an explanation for the differnce between soccer and track and you ignored it. Track might get watched during the Olympics but rarely the rest of the time. People can make a living off of soccer much more easily than off of track. Money explains the difference because soccer has lots of paying customers.

Tihaitien said at September 10, 2005 5:27 AM:

I suppose you'll pick and choose the good IQ tests. I will refer you to this recent Dutch study by van Ijzendoorn MH, Juffer F, Poelhuis CW. Interestingly, even when Dutch adopted fellow Dutch the adopted kids had some "educational lagging." I suggest that parents who put up their kids for adoption are disproportionately represented by the poor, teen agers and disproportionately chemically dependent mothers. In intra uterine organ growth retardation is certainly affected by nutritional status. In Nephrology, there is a growing consensus that hypertension and chronic kidney disease has increased prevalence in those who were born to poor nutrition mothers. These children are born with smaller kidneys. Is this size discrepancy a matter of genetics or environment? Barter initiated the classic epidemiological study of an isolated post WWII English community. I'm off to the Cape. You all enjoy your Aryan festival.

Marvin said at September 10, 2005 6:23 AM:

Genetic differences between ethnic groups are certainly an inflammatory hot button. Some things are too uncomfortable to face head on. Much easier to try to avoid it or deny it.

Interesting that Tihaitien had the Hutu-Tutsi massacre event completely confused. If he is incapable of sorting out something so straightforward as a historical event, it is unlikely that he can determine the validity of group differences in IQ testing. Much easier to behave as a Baby Doc Duvalier and simply declare from the throne how things are.

Randall Parker said at September 10, 2005 9:55 AM:


But you miss the point of the adoption studies. The point is not that the non-adopted kids in the same families did better in the families that adopted. The point is that being adopted into an upper class family as compared to a middle or lower class family provided no benefit in terms of future income.

Suppose all the adopted kids are basically damaged goods to some extent. But shouldn't better social environment still be able to help them according to your take on things? Or is all the damage of lousy environment being done by the time of birth?

All this talk about the importance of social environment is disproven by adoption studies. Social environment over a while range of income levels does not make any difference to eventual success of children.

Hugh Angell said at September 10, 2005 12:36 PM:

I commend Tihaitien for his staying power and his appearing here but really passing off
anecdotal stories and personal barbs aimed at your interlocutors is not reasoned debate.
The same might be said of using an historical event or two as 'evidence' and when
challenged as to its relevance and accuracy accusing those who questioned the appropriateness of it as 'holocaust deniers' is plain silly.

As to your question "have I ever spoken to a holocaust survivor? " Indeed I have. I would
bet considerably more than you for my stepfather was from a German Jewish family. I also
had a small role in the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project assisting in the airing
of survivors testimonials on local public television. What was your point? Oh yeah, that
the German public was kept in the dark about what was happening. Well, that was true. Now
as you suggest a curious person might have had an reason that bad things were happening to
those 'deported'. German concentration camps were no secret, those who were too curious
might even end up in one, but the death camps? Treblinka, Auschwitz, Maidenek. Those were
in Poland and what went on in them was top secret. The Nazi regime did not boast of it or
even mention it. It was a war crime and they damn well knew it. Thus the efforts to conceal
the crimes as they withdrew.

In fact the American and British governments couldn't quite wrap their minds around the
information either when members of the Polish resistance and others like the ICRC suggested
it was going on. Slave labor, mass executions maybe but surely not EVERY man woman and child. It was too horrible to imagine much less believe it was actually happening.

Now with that out of the way let us return to the subject you brought up. The Hutu murders
of Tutsis. No way that was kept secret. Bodies littered the streets and were thrown in the
rivers. The killings, as I pointed out were not committed in some remote camp using cyanide
gas or carbon monoxide. Not at all. They were carried out by mobs of ordinary citizens,
relentlessly, day after day, men, women, children hacked, clubbed and beaten to death in
the streets, in their churches, in their homes. Savagery on a colossal scale and , frankly,
I am at a loss to come up with a comparable situation anywhere else where the public actually committed genocide against their fellow citizens.

Do you seriously believe that Germans would have murdered Jewish children in the streets
of Berlin? That Cambodians were willing participants in the crimes of the Khmer Rouge?

As you suggested and as I readily admit Non African peoples are capable of the same evil
but it is done discreetly for the very reason public revulsion would not allow it to
continue if it became known and was taking place outside our windows. Such crimes could
not be part of any mass movement. Before you retort 'what about the lynchings' well they
happened but they were almost never done for the 'helluva it'. The person lynched was
believed to be guilty of some crime. In fact the last confirmed lynching in the United
States happened in San Jose, California in 1933 and involved two white men accused of
kidnapping and murdering a local merchant. It was mob violence and whites are not alone
in doing it, in fact it still happens today but almost exclusively in black communities.
I think the attack on Reginald Denny during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles was
pretty close to a 'lynching' except that Denny was not accused of any crime. Blacks have
pulled motorists from cars and beat them to death on several occasions after the motorist
hit a local child. I would call that a 'lynching' but the media doesn't.

toot said at September 10, 2005 3:59 PM:

Alas, the past century saw all too many acts of genocide. In the early 60s there was some sort of revolution in Indonesia in which vast numbers of Chinese were killed. Like the case of Cambodia, it was done openly, not behind walls as you suggest was done in the Holocaust example. Quite a large number were killed in China during Mao's "Cultural Revolution". Earlier centuries saw St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Protestants in France, and the 1641 Massacre, again of Protestants, in Ireland. There are probably countless others. The one thing that is consistent in all these, and the reason that I could keep straight that it was the Hutus who massacred the Tutsis, is that in each case those massacred belong to a group perceived to have some kind of edge or superiority over the ones doing the massacring, often in education or intelligence. Recall that in the case of Cambodia, all you needed to do to be massacred was to wear eyeglasses.

Hugh Angell said at September 10, 2005 6:51 PM:

I don't want to get bogged down here, and I had forgotten about the Chinese in Indonesia
but really, the Cultural Revolution? Cambodia, Indonesia? Equivalent to want happened in
Rwanda. It's not funny but don't make me laugh!

You describe political upheavals not genocide. Sure Chinese merchants in Indonesia were
targets. But not every man, woman and child. Are we on the same page here? Cambodia? OK,
soldiers can take people out of a village, kill them on the 'evidence' provided by their
children but... were the children murdered? I don't think so. They were good little
Communists, heroes of the Pol Pot regime. Cultural Revolution? Again, don't make me puke
at your attempt to compare it to what happened in either Germany of Rwanda. It was a
political purge. Professor Lee might have been shot, his wife sent off to a reeducation
center but genocide? I think you'd better look up the term and get back to me.

BTW I don't think the children of French Huguenots were executed or even the children of
the French nobility put to the guillotine. Political and religious exterminations, terrible
as they maybe, are still a giant step below genocide.

Randall Parker said at September 10, 2005 7:12 PM:


The Khmer Rouge killed a third of the population of Cambodia.

The Cultural Revolution killed a much much lower percentage. However, toot is correct on a very important point: The vast bulk of the organized mass killings of the last 100 years were aimed at groups that were considered wealthier or more successful or having higher status for some reason or other. Many and perhaps most of those killings were across ethnic group or racial group boundaries.

Theresa said at September 11, 2005 1:39 PM:


I was very much interested in what you mentioned in a comment above about BNDF gene variations, so I took a look at your previous post BDNF Gene Variations Affect Ability To Make, Recall Visual Memories.

In that post you say: "The researchers noticed significant differences in brain activity between the two groups during both the encoding and retrieval phases of the task. Those with the 'Met' form of the gene were better at remembering pictures than were those with the 'Val' form, and they also had greater brain activity during the encoding and retrieval phases of memory."

However, in the Geneome News Network story you quoted, Gene Variation Affects Memory, it says the opposite: "Those with the 'Val' form of the gene were better at remembering pictures than were those with the 'Met' form, and they also had greater brain activity during the encoding and retrieval phases of memory."

Why the discrepancy?

Randall Parker said at September 11, 2005 2:21 PM:


The GNN people must have gotten it wrong the first time and then went back and corrected it after I linked to them. I'll fix my post. Thanks for pointing it out.

Theresa said at September 11, 2005 4:10 PM:

I did wonder if that's what had happened 'cause it certainly looked like you quoted them directly. Makes more sense this way around!


Tihaitien said at September 12, 2005 7:49 AM:

I am back and somewhat refreshed from my weekend. My Anglo wife thinks I’m nuts for engaging you all in this discussion. I tell her it’s important to understand the mindset of your opponent. The belief system of white supremacy still has a certain degree of traction in our society. My young career in science has caused me to realize that there is an art to science. Hence, there is a certain element of ``seek and you shall find. I’ve been fortunate to receive my training from some of the most brilliant minds (mostly Jewish, Anglo but a few African-Americans). Incidentally, every one of my Jewish colleagues would be appalled by your German revisionist history. At least you are willing to acknowledge that there was a holocaust. It’s fascinating, even when Caucasian executes the worst genocide of human history they can still count on some morality cover.

You all never acknowledged the central point. Numerous genes dictate human cognition. We now believe that two of these alleles have undergone a mutation in the past 500-50,000 years. Bruce Lahn`s calculation, by his own admission, is sufficiently novel as to leave open a lot of wiggle room. We know nothing about the other genes, their potential mutations and population predilections. Why are you all seizing on this opportunity to espouse white supremacy rhetoric? How do you justify this sort of premature conjectures? A ``Martian who visited Earth 4-5 thousand years ago would have been convinced of the Inferiority of Europeans relative to the North Africans or the Asians. The trajectory of history is often unpredictable. 500-600 years ago, China was poised to take over the world with their massive naval force and advance culture (once again their on the brink of world domination). Who would have predicted that the barbarians from the north would now run the world?

Sub-Saharan Africa along with the Australian Aborigines has lived a history of isolation. These people have not participated in the great exchange of ideas that occurred in the Euro-Asia land mass. In other words, each society from that land mass did not have to ``re-invent the wheel. `` The Africans have only recently become engaged with the world population (through the brutality of colonialism). My brothers and sisters will have to go through their own social-political growth. At this point many of these societies are torn between their own indigenous culture and that of the West. They are also deeply divided by their ethnic heterogeneity and resulting tension.

I know you all hate anecdotes. I look at my own country. We have had a series of corrupt and incompetent leaders. Every element of our bureaucratic system is dysfunctional. Yet I look at Canada. They have just selected a native born Haitian to become their Governor General. I looked at so many Medical departments on the East Coast with my countrymen as their chiefs. Again, I am on the Faculty of a major American university. My mom was a peasant farmer. My father lived in the slum of Bel Air. He never worked until he arrived in this country at the age of 29. Is this genetic or environment. As critical as I can sometimes be of the West, I am clearly in great admiration of their system of bureaucracy.

Roy said at September 12, 2005 9:25 AM:


You write that this is about “the belief system of white supremacy…” Have you paid any attention to the issue? This isn’t about white supremacy, but the fact that there are likely inherent differences among “races”, and ignoring that fact has led to a lot of bad public policy. If Randall was really interested in “white supremacy” then why would he keep linking to studies showing that Jews and east Asians have higher average IQs than whites?


If you don’t buy Randall’s arguments about west African’s, then how would you explain their absolute dominance in the sprint events. Maybe there is something I’ve overlooked, but the argument that they have an inherent genetic advantage seems like about the only reasonable answer.

Tj Green said at September 12, 2005 10:19 AM:

We have 85% genetic variation in a country,8% genetic variation from country to country,and 7% genetic variation between continents.7% seems small,but it could mean hundreds of genetic polymorphisms. Life is self creating,and these copying errors,mutations/polymorphisms,are part of this amazing creativity we call evolution. The question our species must ask is,do we want to continue to be one species,or let evolution divide us?

Tihaitien said at September 12, 2005 10:30 AM:

Seek and you shall find. In the United Kingdom there have been a lot of questions about the intelligence of some members of the Asian community. I refer you to this nice study J Biosoc Sci. 1992 Oct;24(4):539-54. Cognitive and educational attainment in different ethnic groups. West AM, Mackintosh NJ, Mascie-Taylor CG. It would appear that my Carribean little brothers and sisters were smarter than Bangladesh and Pakistani kids. In fact there were just as good as the Indian and European kids. Here in the U.S. with had several large media reports detailing the success of my Haitian people. In Israel the Jews question the competence as well as the morality of Palistinian. Their kids are usually at the bottom of the class; Yet you should remember that we owe mathematics to the Arabs. In the U.S. Arab and Pakistani descendant are usually at the top of the class. Clearly, any thinking and reading person would acknowledge, in every society there exists second class citizens. The makeup of that class will vary from society to society. You are engaging in "cherry picking." You are selecting 2 genes out of many to bolster some sort of intrinsic superiority argument. Is this sort of conjecture scientific? ...must go to meeting

Steve_o said at September 12, 2005 10:51 AM:

"If you don’t buy Randall’s arguments about west African’s, then how would you explain their absolute dominance in the sprint events. Maybe there is something I’ve overlooked, but the argument that they have an inherent genetic advantage seems like about the only reasonable answer."

Roy, go and re-read my comments. You obviously didn't read them carefully.

Roy said at September 12, 2005 11:30 AM:


I think maybe that my question was poorly written. Clearly people currently from west African don't do much in sprints, but it certainly seems that people of west African ancestry now living in the US, Caribbean, Canada, etc. do dominate the sprints. Maybe I'm still overlooking something you wrote, but I'm still not clear on what your explanation is for this sprinting dominance, or if you believe the underlying premise is just mistaken.

Bulldog said at September 12, 2005 12:49 PM:

The whole point of this thread to me, is that you have to start somewhere. These two genes, and others not mentioned but studied by other researchers, are excellent starting points. You can't infer too much from this mere beginning, but you can celebrate the beginning.

As far as trolls go, you could do much worse than Tihaitien. He reminds me of a troll on GNXP who made many similar sweeping charges of "white supremacism" and made grand claims of african achievement that he never could never quite back up with specifics. The problem with trolls is that although rarely getting specific, when they do it sounds like they're quoting from wikipedia or other google searches. They have little in the way of real life experience to offer that sounds genuine. Trolls love to dance around generalities.

Tihaitien said at September 12, 2005 1:15 PM:

You all have been a semi-interesting diversion between grant writing and manuscript revision. Tomorrow I have to go back to seeing patients. I am chagrined by the prospect of you people mentoring and teaching black students... Peace my Aryan cousins

Ab said at September 12, 2005 4:39 PM:



"Yet you should remember that we owe mathematics to the Arabs."

This is obfuscational nonsense.

Except for 2 or so people, the foundational history of Arabic math is as mythological as Mohammed's embarking to heaven from "Al Quds". So please, note the links below and explain to us how we owe mathematics to the Arabs, and mind the Persians (who prospered intellectually for a time, in spite of Araby), not to mention the Jews, Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks... who merely spoke some Arabic (& not always with joy), as appropriate:

You're also implicitly proposing that the Arabs are a race (and a capable one at that); in fact native Arabic speakers have some incredibly divergent genes, taken from Yemen to the Moorish wastelands of Sahara.

ab said at September 12, 2005 4:40 PM:

p.s., not all of us are "aryan."

Marvin said at September 12, 2005 5:17 PM:

ab, I understand that almost all the Fields Medal winners have been Haitian. The economic output of Haiti is the only thing that keeps the western hemisphere afloat, economically. Colin Powell is a Haitian, as is Condoleeza Rice, and Tony Blair of Britain. The country of Haiti is the very model of good governance and enlightened citizenry. The peaceful handovers of power from the days of the Duvaliers to the present demonstrate that politics need not be divisive, as in the Florida election of 2000. If only more Haitians had been in charge of Florida at that time, there would have been no need for the US Supreme Court, unfortunately made up only partly of Haitians, to intervene! You should know not to argue with a Haitian, ab. You simply cannot win against that kind of firepower.

Hugh Angell said at September 13, 2005 5:07 PM:

It has been sometime since I read it and some of you may already be familiar with it
but the Belyaev 'fox experiment' is a must for those who seek some understanding of the
role of genes play in both behavior and physical characteristics. A short synopsis of this
research is available here:

The research done on foxes has shown that in just a few generations foxes selected for
'tameness' in a carefully controlled setting, exhibit startling changes from their feral
cousins. Changes in fur coloration, texture, skull shape and leg length develop in
conjunction with behaviorial changes. Even changes in brain chemistry have occured and all
in less than 40 generations.

Translated to human terms that is less than 1000 years. It is for this reason that I
suspect that a similiar study comparing African populations with non African ones would
find similiar and measurable differences similiar to those that were observed between feral and tame foxes.

Is a tame fox 'better' than a feral one? Well it depends. If you want a fox that can live
and survive in the wild clearly not. However if you want a fox you can keep in the house
with you and pet then the tame version is a must.

Again, if you aren't familiar with the study I strongly suggest you take the time to read
it and if you are familiar with it read it again in light of Mr. Parkers piece above on
the significance of Dr. Lahn's work.

GeneArchy said at September 13, 2005 10:52 PM:

It's funny, Mr. Angell -

none of the whites i know, or indeed have ever known, would take very well to your casting them as tame, or as tamer than anyone else.

I've *never* known a young white male who appeared to prefer to regard himself as tame, himself as tamer than anyone else, or his ethny as tamer than another'. Everyday, another white male is somewhere trying to prove to someone else just how un-tame or feral he is(or is capable of being or becoming). Even Chinese, Koreans and other asians have been known, or are at least prone, at least in my experience, to become severely agitated(sometimes mortally) when teased or challenged regarding manhood/manliness and it's constitutions. Sir, i'm sure that there are vast numbers of whites just dying to impress upon anyone(swiftly and surely) how tame they are. A tame man(if he is genuinly tame, that is) should not object to himself being regarded as tame, and might even regard it as an honour.

Too add to this, Mr. Angell, the history books(not pc rubbish school textbooks) certainly don't appear to buttress a view of white men as tame members of the species. More clever, yes, but far from tamer than anyone else. IF the white man is possibly tamer than the black, he is still a far-cry from "tame" or anything near it.

So, Mr, Angell, with all your claims about tameness, i'm sure that the tame ones would really love you.:-)

Sincerely. Mr. Tameness:-)

Bob Badour said at September 14, 2005 6:49 AM:

Hi Gene,

I agree that young males, of all races, are more prone to aggression than their older counterparts. However, I respectfully suggest the eventual goal of the vast majority of white males is to become very tame indeed--some would even say "whipped".

I strongly suspect white females have carefully selected us for this purpose.

Randall Parker said at September 14, 2005 10:10 AM:


You make a couple of mistakes:

1) Treating self perception as a measure of just what a person is. A person can think they are as courageous as a lion tamer but have courage to do nothing more than chartered accountancay (I'm referring to a Monty Python skit).

2) Yes, youths are less tame than adults. But they are not all equally tame. Tameness or aggressivess exist on sliding scales. Some guys just want to threaten. Some guys enjoy beating up others but do not want to cause permament damage. Some want to break bones but not kill another. Other guys will beat someone to death or enjoy shooting or stabbing to death.

When comparing groups one has to compare distributions of behavior. Racial groups do differ on average in their behaviors. Blacks are incarcerated in the United States at 30 times the rate of Asians. Huge difference. Hard to account for with just environment because too many studies have been done that control for environmental factors that still show differences.

Plus, there are measurable racial average genetically caused differences in areas which one should expect to cause behavioral differnces. These differences include average testosterone levels, androgen receptor sequences (and see here and here), and androgen receptor concentrations.

Hugh Angell said at September 14, 2005 2:23 PM:

Gene, being 'tame', for the purposes of the discussion here, does not have to mean gentle
or vicious. A rottweiller, can be trained to be either. The point is it can be trained and
learn to take orders from a human it could, if wild, easily maul or even kill. That is what
makes dogs so useful to man. They are animals and can behave like them if we so desire but
the same rottweiller that would rip an intruder to shreds will also let children pet or even climb all over him if they are part of his 'family'.

Where men are concerned being 'tame' in my definition means the ability to be trained,
organized and accept authority. An army, e.g. may be composed of men smaller and weaker
than their adversary ( consider the Japanese soldier of WW2 vs the American) but that does
not make them an inferior foe. The Japanese made up for deficiencies in their equipment and
stature through their discipline and cohesion. It is this quality of both Western and
Eastern peoples that has made them militarily dominant not that they are anymore vicious
or brave than a New Guinea Headhunter or some Bantu savage. It may well be that the 'tamer'
ones soldiers are, to continue the military analogy, the greater their ability to overcome
fear and stand and fight were a feral person would flee. We again see this in animals.
Domesticated horse have long carried men into battle despite being confronted with sights,
sounds and other stimuli that would have sent wild horses fleeing. Tame dogs will hunt a
grizzly bear but I don't believe even a hungry wolf pack would attempt that. The domesticated animal isn't 'braver' it has simply overcome its instinctive fear by virtue
of it being tame and accepting its masters authority over it.

GENEarchy said at September 14, 2005 6:27 PM:

Mr, Angell,

Are you equating tameness with military cohesiveness? This isn't tame, just nationalistic/collectivistic. I have read that higher IQ's are actually associated with a *lower* willingness to take orders or aquiesce to others, especially without sufficient reason. No man takes orders blindly, just as few men are likely to resist orders blindly, particularly with vital interests at stake. Even chimps will organize for war/assualt in the form of numerical advantage. Whip up a collectivistic feeling(especially among a dumb populace) and you've got yourself as obediant a bunch as possible. Split loyalties or intellectualize everyone to the point of questioning everything, and you've got yourself a big problem if you're looking for group strength in the blind or unblind acceptance of an authority that may or may not be intellectually appealing. If the white man is capable of superior cohesion in the face of threat, this is almost certainly not due to a tameness, but rather to higher IQ's allowing the weighing of relative risks and benefits.
Mr, Angell, the examples you provided about the animals are completely accurate, but this only points to the fact that these "tame" animals are behaving in a very sheepish fashion, following orders. If a tame dog would hunt a grizzly bear, maybe it is possible that those dogs are just dumber? than the more cautious wolves, no? Those battle horses may appear fearless, but they'd be goners out in the wild where caution is absolutely necessary. I believe that ALL men are feral without that facade we call civilization.

Yes, blacks are incarcerated at many times the rate of other groups, but one must consider that many of these incarceration are the result of , what i would consider, rather minor offenses, such as drug possession or being drug dealers. I know about the violent crime already.

Randall Parker said at September 14, 2005 7:00 PM:


But the multiple by which blacks get incarcerated overall is very similar to the multiples by which they get convicted of murder and show up as perps on crime victim surveys. So I do not buy the drug law argument as the explanation.

GENEarchy said at September 14, 2005 9:17 PM:

So drug offenses are accounting for only a small share of total black crime, most of which is violent? Fair enough, i haven't looked over the stats, but i did assume that drug crimes might account for more than just a bit for incarceration rates judging by what i see and hear of ghetto life. The Testosterone/Serotonin-Monoamine-oxidase/AR CAG polymorphism explanations/hypotheses for violent behavior may or may not be valid. I remember reading that South and West African blacks had far lower levels of androgen than U.S. blacks; South African blacks, though, seem highly violent in spite of this. Mexicans & Colombians are very violent, too. I once overheard a young Russian telling his American friend how the U.S. crim. justice system sucked and how much more violence a man could get away with in Russia. Don't know whether this is fact, it's just what i heard. By the way, would you happen to know of any stat links comparing crimes by frequency & type by area or race? Thanks.

Randall Parker said at September 14, 2005 10:27 PM:


Yes, drug laws play a role in determining total incarceration. But they do that for whites too. My point is that the multiple of black to white incarcerations is not that much affected by drug laws. Drug laws had an effect at the height of the crack cocaine drug wars back in the early 90s though. But murder rates are a good proxy for total crime rates, we as a society consider murder as something that is absolutely a crime, and black/white murder rate ratios are similar to black/white incarceration rate ratios.

A new report just came out on crime by race in America. Start at that link and you can click back to where you can get the whole report. Mind you, I haven't read the report yet and perhaps the latest detailed picture disagrees in some ways with the rough outline I'm drawing here. But it probably doesn't deviate far from my general impressions.

Hugh Angell said at September 15, 2005 4:04 PM:

I have no problem with the above. However, my initial point on tame vs. feral in regards
to humans was not military it was social. I believe that just as the genetic and bio
chemical changes that occured in animals over the course of their becoming domesticated
also happened in humans. Further I think these changes were accelerated in those human
populations that left Africa over those that remained behind.

As humans became more 'tame' they were able to become more cohesive and form larger bands.
The bands finally became large enough that authority could no longer be personal it had to
be organizational. Out of this came 'civilization' where a division and specialization of
labor was possible. Where surpluses could be accumulated and 'invested'. Where defensive
structures could be built and behind them permanent homes established.

I'm not a cultural anthropologist but it does not appear that in pre discovery Africa
this gradual buildup in the size of human groupings developed with real consequences on
the people living there. From extended family to tribe was as far as it got. In Europe
and Asia and even in pre Columbian America far larger amalgamations of people were
created. It was not possible for simple bonds of blood or even language to unite such
large amalgamations. Cultural institutions such as religion or, I suspect, 'monument
building' became a substitute for the earlier more primitive societies. Recent discoveries
of very ancient neolithic structures in Germany of quite gargantuan size as well as later
more familiar creations like Stonehenge of the Sphinx demonstrate this need to build some
large unifying structure that demonstrated their power and their 'belonging'. This urge
is with us today. Moon landings, Cathedrals, Pyramids, etc. are built not simply because
a king or priesthood or rich person decrees that they be built but because they are a
necessary thing for a society grown so large that no one can know everyone else in it but
they can all take part and pride in the great undertaking and by its creation affirm that
they are all part of the greater group.

Again, this is totally lacking in Sub Saharan Africa. Apologists point to some rock piles
in Zimbabwe or the difficulty of the geography or any number of other reasons why African
'monuments' are either totally lacking, of poor construction and scale, or simply 'copies'
of earlier monuments such as the small pyramids built by Nubians. I think the reasons lie
elsewhere and not just IQ differences. I think the reason is social. That Africans never
developed the large social groupings that arose elsewhere and that this has left them an
at a distinct disadvantage over those whose genes reflect the long march from hunter
gathering bands, to tribes to huge civilizations. They simply don't organize as readily
or as easily as non African peoples.

On an anecdotal basis I avoid standing in a checkout lines behind negroes. Something about
lines are anathema to them. Chaos and confusion will breakout readily as they await their
turn. Things as simple as grocery shopping become a study in chaos when blacks encounter
the cashier. Were I a graduate student or had the available time I would love to conduct
a study of how fast lines move when different races are in them.

Marvin said at September 15, 2005 6:08 PM:

Eventually there will be genomic correlations between certain combinations of alleles and violent behavior. There will also be genomic correlations between other combinations of alleles and intelligence. It may take years or decades to reach that level of discovery. The only thing that will stop it is the sick political correctness that wants to shut down any research that might reflect badly on official denial doctrine. We need much better explanations as to why people behave the way they do, than the official sanitized PC Thought Police Approved versions. Some of it might very well be do to poor pre-natal care, early childhood neglect, and hostile environments. We need to know what it is. All of us are under threat, regardless of our race or gender, from violent behavior.

GENEarchy said at September 15, 2005 7:38 PM:

Hugh Angell,

I understand your point better now, & it does seem that it is more worthy of consideration than i had treated it with. I will stop here, though, as i am not qualified to provide any sort of critique to it, because you do appear to know much more about these things than i had thought. Argument respected.

Thanks for the links, and also for educating me about this.

Randall Parker said at September 15, 2005 9:06 PM:


You might also consider reading a book over twenty years old now: Crime & Human Nature by James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein. It was a fun read with chapters on many different factors that influence crime rates. There's even a correlation between body shape and criminality with endomorphs, ectomorphs, and mesomorphs (old memory, might be getting the names wrong) having different crime rates. One partial explanation for that might be what Rudolph Liebel and team and Columbia have found with fat cells excreting a lot of hormones.

Also, read Steve Sailer's article Mapping The Unmentionable: Race And Crime.

I can't find it now but on the US Department of Justice web site there was a report done during the Clinton years with the DOJ and some U Cambridge England academics comparing incarceration rates by race in the US and England. Well, the difference of rates between blacks and whites was almost the same in Britain and the US and Canada was not far off but had a lower black/white incarceration rate than the US or England (I forget if it was all of Britain or just England in the study). The report might still be there but Google returns too many hits with the search patterns I tried.

I've learned and forgetten far more on racial differences in crime rates than I can recall at the moment.

Randall Parker said at September 16, 2005 11:12 PM:


Some additional info on crime and races in America:

• Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

• Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.

• Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

• Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

Note these numbers should be considered in light of the extent to which blacks live in black neighborhoods and whites in white neighborhoods. Looks like blacks seek out whites to commit crimes against. Is that because of higher white affluence or animosity toward whites? Probably some of both.

Tihaitien said at September 19, 2005 1:59 PM:

Those statistics are a reflection of genes? It sounds like my simpleton Randall does not understand the difference between causative and associative. It would appear that you are simply demonstrating the obvious. If you read news paper articles from the turn of the century, what you would find were lots of comments about the amoral nature of the new Europeans (non-Anglos). Of course those editorials were buttressed by robust data on Irish and Italian criminal activities. If you were not a googling freak and actually read then you would have come across lots of international studies on the relationship between poverty and crime. There is even a well defined relationship between the business cycle and crime and other domestic disturbances. Randall, you need to get a girl friend or boyfriend? If you prefer to do neither then how about you do some reading? I've said enough... I must go and "represent" for my people.

Randall Parker said at September 19, 2005 2:10 PM:


Yes, genes cause all sorts of human behaviors. Yes, differences in genes cause differences in behaviors. Yes, natural selection caused differences between different human subpopulations in the frequencies of alleles which code for behaviors.

I read a great deal. You ought to try reading some of the research papers I keep pointing you at. Again, read some of Linda Gottfredson's reprints or read the Rushton and Jensen papers here.

She said at October 6, 2005 7:09 PM:

How can one discuss things in term of RACE when race when race is in fact a manmade term which was made by a group of people primarilly to differentiate themselves from another group of people that they saw themselves as superior to? With the melting pot continuing to turn up the heat, I think that it's important even in the context of scientific thought to start talking in terms of national origin and descendency far more than race.

In fact until RACE is obliterated from the law, there will be no justification in becoming upset when "blacks" complain about treatment based on race. AFter all, they are only parroting their government and accepting a lie that has been force fed to them for centuries that there even is such a thing as race.

Whatever Black may be, it seems to be a dumping ground for anything that does not fit the Anglo view.

Until race is discarded from the law and discussion of scientific study, very significant details that are important when trying to understand deviations in scientific study will continue to be missed.

There has been a concious effort in America as in every other colonized society to keep a system whereby few are enriched by many. This is the reason that Mexicans with significant wealth were forced to move further south and give up land to Anglo Whites in Texas and many other border towns. This is why slaves from Africa were not allowed to read or speak proper. This is why the fact that a people of a far away land may have had a simple life with heritage was not at all cared for hundreds of years ago when they were taken from their homeland to work for another man. It was nothing more than a disrespect for life and a feeling that somehow the taker was superior to the one taken.

Until this attitude leaves and this lie that there is some natural selection that makes a group of people less than another, then you will never ever get any point worth getting.

The rape and murder and discriminatory treatment of asians, africans, mexicans, and many others is no reason to boast of crime rates. If the brain of the anglo was so far advanced, than the anglo would have figured out his misdeeds and began rapidly correcting situations to enrich all, as when all are enriched, everything evolves much quicker.

Randall Parker said at October 6, 2005 9:16 PM:


Your claim is correct left-wing ideology and demonstrates your belief in a secular faith above reason and evidence. But your claim is very wrong science.

Here's from a report from Neil Risch at Stanford and Joanna Mountain which demonstrated that self-identified race correlates very highly with genetic markers.

Descriptions of human genetic variation given thirty years ago have held up well, considering the substantial accrual of DNA sequence data in the interim. Most importantly, estimates of between-group genetic variation have remained relatively low. Despite the low average level of between-group variation, clusters recently inferred from multilocus genetic data coincide closely with groups defined by self-identified race or continental ancestry. This correspondence implies that genetic factors might contribute to unexplained between-group phenotypic variation.

Genetic markers and self-identified race are highly concordant

Researchers on Risch’s team examined the genetic signposts of white, African-American, East Asian and Hispanic subjects using a computer program that groups relevant results into clusters.

Only four clearly distinguishable clusters appeared. In all but five cases, individuals within each cluster were of the same race, Risch said.

“Socially defined categories of race-ethnicity correspond extremely closely to genetically defined categories,” he added.

This high correspondence between self-identified race and genetic makeup was an unexpected result for many in the genetics field.

“I asked other scientists, including geneticists, how often they thought the two categories would be discordant,” Risch said. “The most common answer was about 20 percent of the time, with some people saying 50 percent or higher.”

The study found a correspondence of 99.9 percent with a discordance of 0.1 percent. He said that most people would not predict the correspondence to be as high due to previous reports that have been written on the subject.

The markers Risch chose were remarkably accurate at predicting self-identified race:

What makes the current study, published in the February issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, more conclusive is its size. The study is by far the largest, consisting of 3,636 people who all identified themselves as either white, African-American, East Asian or Hispanic. Of these, only five individuals had DNA that matched an ethnic group different than the box they checked at the beginning of the study. That's an error rate of 0.14 percent....

Without knowing how the participants had identified themselves, Risch and his team ran the results through a computer program that grouped individuals according to patterns of the 326 [DNA] signposts. This analysis could have resulted in any number of different clusters, but only four clear groups turned up. And in each case the individuals within those clusters all fell within the same self-identified racial group.

Quid E. Veritas said at January 27, 2006 4:56 PM:

To any and all agenda-secreting nitwits who correlate 'low-intelligence' jobs with the intellectual inferiority of those thus employed (but of course, in America, a man or woman IS his/her occupation and nothing more, yes?)...have you never in your life met a highly literate janitor/house painter/nanny/waitress? Reading your petty rants is truly depressing...the degree of willful mischief at work here paints the bleakest possible picture. You're quite naked behind your absurd, quasi-scientific lingo, kiddies.

Your laughable 'theory' of a self-selection of 'intelligent' Ashkenazim forced into 'intellectually demanding' employment implies, for one thing, that the Jews with less lofty employment for some reason failed to pass on their genetic material, and somehow weren't in the majority...yes, most Jews are descended from high level bureaucrats and scientists! Of course! Ellis Island was a veritable clearing house of Heidigger-reading Challah-munching sophisticates! And all the Jewish males with great jobs made sure to impregnate three or four intellectually superior Jewish females, yes? Thereby effecting a Eugenicist coup the like of which Hitler could only have dreamed of!

And how, if blacks were similarly FORCED into broom-pushing and cotton-picking, regardless of I.Q., could this process inform the I.Q.s of subsequent broom-pushing offspring, you idiots? The coercion nullifies your vaunted selection filter. The only Darwinian effect would be ECONOMIC. Which is clearly the case.

My, we DO love pseudo-science when it's all tarted up in pretty jargon and reverse-engineered to affirm our ugly little souls, don't we? By hands...please...I'm many of you are smelly, creepy, never-loved and chronic masturbators?

I thought so.

CASpears said at March 19, 2006 6:28 AM:

For the sake of argument, lets say that the Bell Curve is 100% correct. Pressing this kind of research is still problematic in forming stereotypes that are hurtful. Even if the average African American IQ is 85, and that is mostly due to biological reasons, that would mean there are still 6 million, about 1/6 who have an IQ greater than the average nonHispanic white America.

I can easily imagine some of you are closet racist or borderline racists and when you are at school, in a lab, or in an office and you see a black person, especially one in a higher position than you, you assume they should not be there, and are likely there because of affirmative action, etc. The truth is, that they could just be more intelligent than you, despite not having these allele. As someone mentioned before, very few blacks have unusually small heads, and when adjusted for body size, the average black American head size is not much small than a white man's. Still brain size can not be judged by head size alone, due to differences in cranial thickness, also different areas of the brain maybe more developed than others even if the headsize is smaller or just average (think Einstein's brain, which was not huge by any estimation). Have any of you ever thought that a black person's brain due to selective pressures in Africa that were different from Eurasia, might be smaller but able to do more with what it has? There were a lost race of pigmi humanoids found in Indonesia, with extremely small stature and brains, but were able to produce tools, something scientist previously thought was impossible. Being that the majority of the brain is not actively used, it could be that Asians and Caucasions have a lot of dead weight or their brains are less efficient than black Africans.

a present and future pundit said at November 8, 2006 11:39 PM:

Look, this isn't about PC-enforced ignorance. We're all ignorant about anything we don't know. We can't claim to know anything unless we have done the relevant science.

Good science requires definitive tests that the genes are involved in cognition.

For all we know, they may be involved in head size, but not necessarily involved in fundamental differences in cognition.

Precisely which aspects of cognition do these studies prove to be necessarily 'improved' or even 'different'?

Observations of differences in allele frequencies is insufficient evidence for cause.

Let's not forget that the alleles apparently involved in these selection sweeps may be linked to other genes that impact unrelated phenotypes.

Perhaps the driving force has been sexual selection, not natural selection.

Doug said at December 12, 2009 12:53 PM:

I’m looking for some good discussions related to “lethal raiding” by chimps. Man’s behavior, including my own, seems to be related to this. I do not agree that chimps murder because they are “protecting” their territory. Chimps and us murder because it causes our “pleasure center” neurons in the brain to fire off!
War, revenge, personal slights, territory, etc. are only “excuses” to murder and torture. We will never get a handle on this until we recognize our tendancy for violence and murder is pleasure related. Ghandi instinctively understood this and he was the example that humans MUST follow if we are to advance any further.
Let me clarify further. Look at chimps when they display to another large group! Noisey, grabbing branches, threatening. They are getting off on it. Now look at videos of riots. No difference in behaviors.
Look at chimp lethal raiding behavior when they catch a single victim. The group could easily dispatch their victim within seconds. They do not, rather they all take turns and murder their victim SLOWLY. They are getting off on it and wouldn’t derive the pleasure of the moment if the victim was dead. Now look at a man torturing another man. No difference.
If you accept that we murder and become violent because it fires up the pleasure center in our brain then many unexplained human behaviours are better understood. This explains and simplifies:
drug cartels murders
beheadings by extremists
domestic violence
suicide bombings
killing fields
Chicago youth murders
domestic gang violence
serial killers
the extinction of Neanderthals is because us Homo Sapiens wiped them out
To this point the experts say that chimp “lethal raiding” is all about protecting their territory. I say that chimps patrol the “edges” of their territory because it is the safest, most likely place to find a victim. Murder has little to do with territory. Wars have little to do with territory. Wars have everything to do with providing us with the opportunity of brain pleasure stimulated by violence and murder for murders own sake.
I thank the individuals who spent so many years studying and observing our cousins the chimps. Our we advanced enough to use this information in a meaningful way? The bright light to me is that Bonobos, Orangutans and Gorillas don’t use lethal raiding so there might be a chance for us yet?

Megadyne said at March 9, 2011 9:39 AM:

@A Present and Future Pundit
"Perhaps the driving force has been sexual selection, not natural selection."
Sexual selection is a form of natural selection. They are one and the same.

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