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What Race Were the Greeks and Romans?

  Recent films about ancient Greece such as Troy, Helen of Troy, and 300, have used actors who are of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic ancestry (e.g. Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler). Recent films about ancient Rome, such as Gladiator and HBO’s series Rome, have done the same (e.g. Russell Crowe). Were the directors right, from an historical point of view? Were the ancient Greeks and Romans of North European stock?

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Proportionality: The Fairness of Inequality

There was a time when boys played games of marbles following strict playground rules: contestants had to stand a prescribed distance away from the little pyramid of marbles, and chuck only marbles of the prescribed size. Rules ruled. Piaget was intrigued by the explanations children gave for moral judgements, and the playground is the arena in which the concept of fairness is honed.

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Welfare: Who’s on It, Who’s Not?

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has published a report called “Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households.” The report’s principle finding is that fully 51 percent of immigrant households receive some form of welfare, compared to an already worrisomely high 30 percent of American native households. The study is based on the most accurate data available, the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). It also reports stark racial differences in the use of welfare programs.

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First Worldism: A Holisis

My views on race differences did not come from some heavy-handed indoctrination from anyone. It came from looking at atlases and tables. I love tables and lists, when I’m bored I’ll make lists out of things just for fun. Murray Rothbard, when reading about regulatory policies of the US Federal Government, said that he didn’t set out to find some conspiracy – but that the conspiracies just popped right out at him. Seeing these conspiracies between industry and government was not a product of some analysis on Rothbard’s part at first. It was a holisis, or an immediate piecing together …

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How Banging Your Cousins Led to the Islamic State

Apologies for the tabloidy title. This is an otherwise serious post. It is well known that higher rates of cousin marriages – especially the father’s brother’s daughter (FBD) type that is common in the Arab Muslim world – tends to increase clannishness and depress IQs. It is often discussed in HBD circles. The main focus of the most prominent current discussions led by Steve Sailer are the ways in which cousin marriage relates to the European immigration crisis. His argument basically goes that Europe is about to get tons of mentally stunted inbreds who will use proceed to use cousin …

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Survival of the Nicest-smelling?

It has long been known that we vary not only in our sensitivity to different smells but also in our preferences for them—the degree to which they seem pleasant or unpleasant. This variability often contains a large genetic component (Gross-Isseroff et al., 1992; Karstensen and Tommerup, 2012; Keller et al., 2007; Keller et al., 2012; Weiss et al., 2011). In the case of one odor, a single gene explains over 96% of the variability in smell sensitivity (Jaegar et al., 2013). A twin study has similarly found two odorants to be 78% and 73% heritable (Gross-Isseroff, 1992).

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Slavery in the United States

This is a jarring statement at first glance, but I think the evidence is pretty simple and clear. Perhaps to reduce emotionality, replace “slave” with “serf” or “peasant,” which is appropriate since in practice they were the same thing—one system had a Master who owned a slave, the other had a Lord who owned land that a serf was bound to work on.

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The Heritability of Political Views

The Iron Law of Heritability From Thomas Bouchard 2004: “As Rutter (2002) noted, ‘Any dispassionate reading of the evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that genetic factors play a substantial role in the origins of individual differences with respect to all psychological traits, both normal and abnormal’ (p. 2). Put concisely, all psychological traits are heritable.”

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Changes in the American Black-White IQ Gap: 1916-2016

In this article, I am going to examine how the Black/White IQ gap has changed over time in the United States. After documenting basic trends, I’ll look at what caused the B/W IQ gap to shrink in the late 20th century. As will be seen, simplistic explanations based on changes in wealth and education are inadequate. We don’t know for sure why this convergence of test scores occurred, but desegregation is the most plausible hypothesis I have been able to come up with. We’ll also see that this narrowing of the IQ gap may have reflected a narrowing in test-taking ability rather …

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Not Everyone Does It

All humans love to kiss, so kissing must go back to early hominids and even chimps and bonobos. This is how ethologists and evolutionary psychologists think when they write about the subject. Just one thing. Even in historic times not all humans loved to kiss. Far from arising millions of years in the past, kissing seems to have arisen no earlier than 40,000 years ago, when modern humans began to enter northern Eurasia.

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Making Europeans Kinder, Gentler

Hanged, drawn, and quartered. Although the Middle Ages were, in the imagination of our contemporaries, “the time of the gallows,” the reality was appreciably different (Carbasse, 2011, pp. 38-39) Like many well-meaning people, I once considered the death penalty a relic of a more barbaric age. Outside the old jailhouse, here in Quebec City, I can see the open space where people used to be hanged … in public. In some cases, the authorities would go one better. The body would be placed in a cage and suspended near a thoroughfare for all to see … while it decomposed. This …

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How Universal Is Empathy?

Bronislaw Malinowski with natives on the Trobriand Islands (1918 – source). Pro-social behavior seems to be a human universal, but is the same true for full empathy? What is empathy? It has at least three components: – pro-social behavior, i.e., actions of compassion to help others – cognitive empathy, i.e., capacity to understand another person’s mental state – affective or emotional empathy, i.e., capacity to respond with the appropriate emotion to another person’s mental state (Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen, 2013)

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Origins of Northwest European Guilt Culture. Part II

Reconstructed Mesolithic roundhouse near Northumberland, Great Britain (source: Andrew Curtis) At different times and in different regions, humans have entered larger social environments that are no longer limited to close kin. Because there is less interaction with any one person and more interaction with non-kin, correct behavior can no longer be enforced by the to and fro of family relationships. A moral code develops, with rules enforced by ostracism and shaming. In Northwest Europe, the moral code is also enforced by guilt—a form of self-shaming where the wrongdoer inflicts self-punishment even when he or she is the sole witness to …

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The Origins of Northwest European Guilt Culture

Ruth Benedict first made the distinction between “shame cultures” and “guilt cultures” (source). Pervasive feelings of guilt are part of a behavioral package that enabled Northwest Europeans to adapt to complex social environments where kinship is less important and where rules of correct behavior must be obeyed with a minimum of surveillance. Is this pervasive guilt relatively recent, going back only half a millennium? Or is it much older? As societies grew larger and more complex, it became necessary to interact with people who were less closely related. This new social environment was made to work by extending to non-kin …

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IQ & academic success

According to a recent meta-analysis, the correlation between IQ and school grades in the general population is nearly 0.55. Meanwhile the correlation between IQ and years of education in the U.S. is also 0.55.  Given the similarity between these two correlations, we can think of them both as just the 0.55 correlation between IQ and academic success.

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A Fruitful Encounter

  Did the Christian doctrine of original sin create the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe? Or did the arrow of causality run the other way? By definition, gene-culture co-evolution is reciprocal. Genes and culture are both in the driver’s seat. This point is crucial because there is a tendency to overreact to cultural determinism and to forget that culture does matter, even to the point of influencing the makeup of our gene pool. Through culture, humans have directed their own evolution.

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Feeling the Other’s Pain

We like to think that all people feel empathy to the same degree. In reality, it varies a lot from one person to the next, like most mental traits. We are half-aware of this when we distinguish between “normal people” and “psychopaths,” the latter having an abnormally low capacity for empathy. The distinction is arbitrary, like the one between “tall” and “short.” As with stature, empathy varies continuously among the individuals of a population, with psychopaths being the ones we find beyond an arbitrary cut-off point and who probably have many other things wrong with them. By focusing on the …

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Why Re-Colonization? Future Orientation

Each day, the Kung San walked long distances to the mongongo groves to collect their fruits.   Once he asked a tribesman why nobody had ever made an attempt to grow mongongo trees near some of the permanent water holes where the tribe resided.  “You could do that if you wanted to,” he replied, “but by the time the trees bore fruit, you would be long dead.” –Anthropologist Richard Lee

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The Tsar is Far

No sort of philosophy of history, whether Slavophil or Westerniser, has yet solved the enigma,  why a most unstatelike people has created such an immense and mighty state,  why so anarchistic a people is so submissive to bureaucracy,  why a people free in spirit as it were does not desire a free life?  –Nikolai Berdyaev, 1915 The sky is high; the tsar is far.  –Russian proverb Two things have mystified the Francis Fukuyamas of the world about non-Western peoples and their way of ‘adopting democracy.’  One is these peoples’ annoying propensity to produce rulers who stuff urns, crack heads, and …

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