Saturday, 8 December 2012

Genetic pacification in medieval Europe


Homicide rates in England, 1200-2000 (Eisner, 2001)

States seek to pacify their territories by monopolizing the use of violence. With each passing generation, violent individuals are ostracized, imprisoned, or executed, their predispositions being thereby selected out of the gene pool. Has this “genetic pacification” made longtime State societies kinder and gentler places to live in?
 
The last millennium saw violence steadily decline in Western societies, and this trend has caught the attention of scholars like Manuel Eisner (2001), Gregory Clark (2007), Steven Pinker (2011), and our beloved hbd* chick (2012).

Clark attributes the decline to an underlying demographic, cultural, and even genetic change. With the end of the Dark Ages, states began reasserting their power throughout Western Europe and reestablishing their monopoly on the use of violence. The result was a new social landscape. The young violent male went from hero to zero, with success now going to the law-abiding man who bettered himself by peaceful means. And so the meek inherited the earth—or rather those portions of the earth under persistent State control.

But was this evolution cultural or genetic? Did the meek reproduce their meekness by teaching their children to behave likewise? Or were they passing on certain genetic predispositions?

Clark is hesitant on this point, and rightly so. How does one distinguish cultural from genetic inheritance? And is it possible for genetic evolution to work that fast?

We know that aggressive/antisocial male behavior is moderately to highly heritable. A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies put forward a heritability of 40% (Rhee & Waldman, 2002). A later twin study found a heritability of 96%, where the subjects were 9-10 year-olds of diverse ethnic backgrounds (Baker et al., 2007). This higher figure reflected the narrow age range and the use of a panel of evaluators to rate each subject. In the latest twin study, the heritability was 40% when the twins had different evaluators and 69% when they had the same evaluator.

Is this heritability high enough, and the time span long enough, to account for the historical decline of violence? This question has been addressed by American anthropologist Henry Harpending at the blog West Hunter 

He began by defining this heritable trait as a “propensity to violence.” The stronger the propensity, the lower would be the threshold for real violence. In the comments, Steve Sailer pointed out the need to distinguish between organized violence, i.e., war, and disorganized violence. In reply, Henry Harpending restricted his definition to violent acts by individuals with “high time preference and fast life history.”

He then calculated the speed of the hypothetical genetic change, and the corresponding strength of natural selection:

In 1300 the homicide rate was about 50 per 100,000 people, or 0.5 per thousand. Homicide must have caused on the order of 1 to 2 percent of all deaths and a much higher proportion of deaths of young adult males. [By the year 2000] the distribution is shifted so that the homicide threshold is surpassed by only 1 in 100,000 people rather than 1 in 2,000.

[…] What strength of natural selection would have been required to cause this amount of genetic change? […] Assuming an additive heritability of 0.5 (the true value is probably 0.8 or so from literature on the heritability of aggressive behavior in children) the selective differential must be about 1/14 or .07 standard deviations per generation. […] This would occur if the most homicidal 1.5% of the population were to fail to reproduce each generation (Harpending, 2012)

That figure of 1.5% sounds awfully high. Yet it’s close to historical reality. In 16th century England and Flanders:

Executions were carried out at the rate of one per ten thousand inhabitants per year, i.e., ten times more than under Louis XV. Women were, except during acute epidemics of witch-hunting, less executed than men. Life expectancy was shorter than today: probably around 40 years. Calculation shows that one man out of a hundred at most, or one man out of two hundred at least, ended his life following a judge’s decision! (Taccoen, 1982, p. 52; see also Savey-Casart, 1968).  

This is a figure between 0.5% and 1.0% of the population, which is still less than Henry Harpending’s calculation of 1.5%. But that first figure excludes extra-judicial executions, i.e., men who were killed before they could be brought to justice, typically at the time of the crime. Nor does it include the significant number of accused who died in jail while awaiting trial. When the records of one medieval English jail were examined, it was found that 25% of the inmates died before they could be tried. By comparison, only 25% of them were eventually convicted of their alleged crimes (Ireland, 1987).

Finally, violent predispositions were also being weeded out by a third factor: class differences in reproductive success, i.e., Clark’s model. A pacified society tends to marginalize violent men and confine them to the lower classes, which reproduce at a lower rate than do the middle and upper classes of premodern societies with unrestricted fertility (Clark, 2007, see also Frost, 2010). 

In the comments on Henry’s post, it was pointed out that murder cases were rarely solved during the Middle Ages. Executions were largely for more common and less serious crimes like highway robbery and horse theft (although such offences would have been difficult to commit without a willingness to kill).

Yes, medieval justice was worse than modern justice at solving specific murder cases. In general, it was less effective at finding the specific criminal behind any one crime. But it was more effective, and ruthlessly so, at profiling likely criminals. This explains the seemingly irrational harshness of medieval punishment for petty crimes. The punishment was aimed not so much at the crime but at the underlying criminal mindset. If someone had crossed the psychological barrier of committing one crime, however petty it might be, he or she would probably commit—or may have already committed— other crimes of greater importance. Qui vole un oeuf vole un bœuf 

Final thoughts

My elementary school was one of the last to end corporal punishment. Once, I was strapped for talking in class without permission (the lunch hour bell had already sounded, but the teacher hadn’t formally dismissed us). The teacher was uncompromising: If I had broken one rule, I had probably broken others. If unpunished, I might go on to do something worse.

This old mentality may partly explain the historical decline of violence. Our ancestors were selected for their ability to learn “what to do and what not to do.” And this is how many think today. Once a given rule has the backing of perceived moral authority, we eagerly fall into line, despite any inner doubts we might have. That has been one of the strengths of our civilization. It may also be our undoing.  

References

Baker, L.A., K.C. Jacobson, A. Raine, D.I. Lozano, S. Bezdjian (2007). Genetic and environmental bases of childhood antisocial behavior: a multi-informant twin study, J Abnorm Psychol., 116, 219-235.  

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Eisner, M. (2001). Modernization, self-control and lethal violence. The long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective, Br J Criminol., 41, 618-638. doi: 10.1093/bjc/41.4.618
http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/4/618.abstract

Frost, P. (2010). The Roman State and genetic pacification, Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 376-389. http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP08376389.pdf
 
Harpending, H. (2012). Genetics and the historical decline of violence, November 25, West Hunter.
http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/genetics-and-the-historical-decline-of-violence/

hbd* chick (2012). What Pinker missed, hbd* chick, November 23,
http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/what-pinker-missed/

Ireland, R.W. (1987). Theory and practice within the medieval English prison, The American Journal of Legal History, 31, 56-67.

Pinker, S. (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Viking. 

Rhee, S.H. & I.D. Waldman. (2002). Genetic and environmental influences on antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies, Psychol Bull., 128, 490-529. 

Savey-Casart, P. (1968). La peine de mort, Geneva: Librairie Droz.

Taccoen, L. (1982). L’Occident est nu, Paris: Flammarion. 

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen these recent articles?

"French sperm count 'falls by a third'"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20593467

"Scientists warn of sperm count crisis"

http://richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/12/5/scientists-warn-of-sperm-count-crisis

Anonymous said...

Migrants provide a good control on how much is genetic and how much is social. Like violence in Bangladesh vs by Bangladeshis in the US.

Anonymous said...

I have my reservations against Harpendings calculation. Caused by a drastically declining homicide rate, selection against the most violent 1.5 % must have been weakened in deep historical time, so that the shift of population mean went slower for each successive generation. Certainly "selection by execution" wasn’t the main force.
Whether the behavioral change was genetic or not, could be proved by natural experiments. What’s about Europeans enculturated in violent societies? Are they significantly more peaceful than their environment? So far I only know about anecdotic stuff about whites who were raped by Indians as children and made their way as warriors. Or the Janissaries, the elite warriors of the Ottoman Empire, which were recruited from stolen Christian boys.

Sean said...

"This would occur if the most homicidal 1.5% of the population were to fail to reproduce each generation (Harpending,2012) "
The predisposition to be homicidal, within the group and irrespective of the consequences (time preference), must have been selected against for a very long time. Especially in tribal societies where the 'big man' inherited his position from his father, and could rely on blood relatives to back him (eg Scots clans).

Even in tribal groups where it was possible to rise to become the 'big man', killing within the group would be highly counter productive, and be likely to result in the offender swiftly becoming the victim of vigilante action. So homicidal young men have usually died young.

Yet there were a lot of violent men about in 1300. Given they didn't live very long, violent men must have been reproducing at a far greater rate than the rest, while they lived. So bad boys were getting the girls.

Peter Fros_ said...

Anon,

Sperm counts have been dropping for at least a half-century. The decline is probably related to environmental estrogens, either natural estrogens from wastewater or synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen.

Anon,

Bangladeshis are rather mild-mannered. I would look more at immigrants from societies with weak or absent State formation.

Anon,

I don't follow your reasoning. Between 0.5 and 1.0% of each generation was eliminated through court-ordered executions. A similar percentage died while waiting for trial in prison. Finally, there were extra-judicial executions. The medieval "justice" system eliminated perhaps 3-4% of each generation. The selective effects must have been significant.

Another point. We're not talking about State-organized violence, i.e., war. We're talking about personal violence, i.e., violence in response to strong internal impulses and/or poor impulse control.

Sean,

In pre-State societies, the position of Big Man was usually not inherited. Dynasties are associated with State formation. In fact, they're one of the preconditions.

In predynastic societies, the position of Big Man is always up for grabs. But when you get that position, the reproductive pay-off is huge.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Bangladeshis are rather mild-mannered. I would look more at immigrants from societies with weak or absent State formation.


Bangladeshis are a good test if it's something particular to North West Europe, or a more general process.

Africans with their 4-5 fold difference in homicide rates relative to White British / Americans (as opposed to the 100 fold difference between the Middle Ages and present) are a good test on whether it's particular to Eurasia.

Anonymous said...

In pre-State societies, the position of Big Man was usually not inherited. Dynasties are associated with State formation. In fact, they're one of the preconditions.

In predynastic societies, the position of Big Man is always up for grabs. But when you get that position, the reproductive pay-off is huge.


The real shading seems like "up for grabs among a smaller pool of people, but probably with a huger payoff" - look at China and Japan's constant parade of poisonings and usurpations.

Anonymous said...

Peter Frost said:
"I don't follow your reasoning. Between 0.5 and 1.0% of each generation was eliminated through court-ordered executions. A similar percentage died while waiting for trial in prison. Finally, there were extra-judicial executions. The medieval "justice" system eliminated perhaps 3-4% of each generation. The selective effects must have been significant."

As I understand the chart, between 1300 und 1650 the amount of homicides went down by factor 10. Didn’t that have any effects on the number of prosecuted and the selective outcomes?

Ian R said...

"Bangladeshis are rather mild-mannered. I would look more at immigrants from societies with weak or absent State formation."

That's certainly my impression living in London. Some Bangladeshi youths do indeed form gangs, but they seem to be involved in far less serious violence than youths of other ethnicities, notably Caribbean and Somalian.

This is despite Bangladeshis occupying some of the lowest positions on various quality-of-life indices, which are generally related to overcrowded housing conditions, in turn resulting from high birth rates.

Sean said...

This face colour study may be of interest, Testosterone Promotes Aggression Automatically

Henry Harpending said...

We should recall that "failure of the most violent 1.5% to reproduce each generation" describes the selection differential in terms of truncation selection.

Other things were likely to have been going on that would produce the same selection differential. For example Clark shows that the gentry substantially out-reproduced poor people, so perhaps nerds with a taste for books and arithmetic and such who avoided violent situations reproduced at higher rates.

Lots of ways to skin this cat.

Henry Harpending

Sean said...

Testosterone is responsible for aggression, but also sex drive and attractiveness to women. I wonder if less testosteronised men might be less likely to get themselves killed by 25, but much more likely to become fathers by that age, even if they failed to become a big man.

So those getting themselves killed in their mid twenties might maintain an equilibrium with the Caspar Milquetoasts.

HH. In many societies the gentry would be the violent class though. Southern gentlemen were incredibly violent, dueling ect .

Tomasz R. said...

So if simple crimes were eliminated, while complicated conspiracies were not (due to low detection rate) then it didn't eliminate violence, but moved it to another level.

Basically crime had to be carried out by organization, best if it had it's people inside government, among judges, planned in advance, done in a hidden way, or by anonymous subjects etc. (eg. mafia, secret societies).

Juoni said...


Basically crime had to be carried out by organization, best if it had it's people inside government, among judges, planned in advance, done in a hidden way, or by anonymous subjects etc. (eg. mafia, secret societies).


Yes, but this kind of highly organized criminal activity is psychologically (and sociologically) more like warfare.

Members of a crime syndicate have to obey certain, sometimes very strict rules and be able to work in a highly hierarchical group. Quite different than spontanious violence.

Tomasz R. said...

@anonymous - about male fertility.

Tim Ferris was able to double his sperm count by simple measures like not carrying a cellphone in his pocket, and taking selenium supplements.

But this is just the beginning - you should avoid plastics (BPA), pesticides, soy and similar emulators of female hormones, loose body fat - it's also estrogen producer. Normalize your vitamin D to appropriate levels. Don't wear too hot or tight pants etc.

The Ghetto Intellectual™ said...

Problem. Who defines violence. For example, white people annihilated indigenous people all over the planet. Were these acts genetic? The US criminal justice system has specifically targeted African Americans yet the US system is marked is a normative example of law and order.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Anonymous said...

"So if simple crimes were eliminated, while complicated conspiracies were not (due to low detection rate) then it didn't eliminate violence, but moved it to another level."

The people committing highway robbery and stealing horses were the same type as those committing the murders.

It's the same today. Take non-domestic homicides (and to an extent domestic ones also) and see how many of them have previous counts of street robbery or aggravated assaults on their sheet.

.
"Like violence in Bangladesh vs by Bangladeshis in the US."

Places like India and China have been selecting against violence a lot longer than Europe imo - especially northern europe.

.
"Given they didn't live very long, violent men must have been reproducing at a far greater rate than the rest, while they lived."

Men with a high capacity for violence but a low propensity for violence e.g. lots of self-control, are extremely attractive to women.

Anonymous said...

"Problem. Who defines violence. For example, white people annihilated indigenous people all over the planet."

Bantu expansion.

Sean said...

Christianity would have 'perceived moral authority', yet areas in the former Roman State (which would have been genetically pacified) were conquered by pagan barbarians like the Franks. Maybe genetic pacification is not so much an instinctive submission to 'perceived moral authority', it's just an unwillingness to step out of line and take risks for any cause.

Chris Crawford said...

I find the evidence unconvincing, because there are so many factors (both in support of the hypothesis and opposed to it) that are unquantifiable. Here are just a few:

Mr. Harpending assumes that every person executed had violent propensity. What about the people executed for heresy? Witchcraft? Being Jewish? Looking different? What about all the incorrect executions (that is, the victim did not commit the crime?) What about desperately hungry people stealing food? Does that make them genetically violent?

Next comes the assumption that violent men were prevented from reproducing. That would require that they be executed before puberty -- not likely. They surely had plenty of opportunities to reproduce before being caught.

Now throw in the fact that testerone-poisoned males are more eager to have sex; that constitutes a selective force in favor of a major contributor to proclivity to violence.

And let's not forget that some males with a proclivity to violence might have been able to provide better sustenance to their families -- that's another positive selection factor. We have no idea how big or tiny this factor was.

Those are just the factors I hit upon while writing this. I think that Mr. Harpending is squeezing the data too hard; there really is no perceivable signal in all this noise.

Anonymous said...

"What about desperately hungry people stealing food? Does that make them genetically violent?"

I think a more accurate model is one where you have both propensity for violence and capacity for lethal violence.

For example in youth gangs you can find individuals who get into violent altercations multiple times a day but who limit themselves to pushing and shoving while on the other hand you have individuals who only get into altercations very rarely but who are *much* more likely to use a weapon and/or go from neutral to potentially lethal violence in one step without any other stages of escalation in between.

The murder stats will be driven by men who have high scores in both imo.

As propensity for violence is made up of many different things including daring - a relative lack of fear - then to answer your question, yes, men who are likely to be more violent in other contexts are also likely to be the first to steal food - and possibly in a more impulsive way - if starving.

.
"Next comes the assumption that violent men were prevented from reproducing. That would require that they be executed before puberty -- not likely."

No it just requires that they have fewer surviving children on average - keyword surviving as orphaned children would have had less chance of doing so.

.
"Now throw in the fact that testerone-poisoned males are more eager to have sex; that constitutes a selective force in favor of a major contributor to proclivity to violence."

Depends on the opportunities to reproduce outside wedlock.

.
"And let's not forget that some males with a proclivity to violence might have been able to provide better sustenance to their families"

The mechanism implies a context where the state is trying to apply a strict rule of law so it's unlikely that combined high propensity and high capacity could bring reproductive advantage except in an urban underclass setting where the law was least applied.

However the mechanism would mostly select against having both traits together (imo) so
- high propensity / low capacity
- low propensity / high capacity
could slip through, at least initially.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, you are asserting a correlation between propensity to violence and violent responses to starvation. Ergo, there must have been a huge genetic shift in the French population starting around 1760 in order to breed the huge numbers of people who rose up in the French Revolution. Right? ;-)

You rightly point out that children of executed murderers would have less chance of reproducing. But how much less? We have absolutely no way to quantify this, just as we have no way to quantify the benefits that such children might enjoy due to possible increased wealth from the murderer's crimes. This calculation is entirely speculative.

"Depends on the opportunities to reproduce outside wedlock."

Yes, and again we have no idea what those opportunities those were. They certainly weren't negligible, and if we can't neglect them, how do we account for them?

There's another problem with this hypothesis that didn't occur to me until after I had written the earlier post. If the basic hypothesis be true, then we would expect genetic factors to play a role in homicide rates elsewhere. Homicide rates in the USA are much higher than in the UK. Does that mean that Americans are genetically more prone to violence?

The homicide rate in South Africa jumped way up after the collapse of the Apartheid regime. Does this mean that the collapse of the Apartheid regime triggered genetic changes in the South African population leading to a higher homicide rate?

Let's get really ugly. The homicide rate among blacks in the USA is much higher than the homicide rate among whites. Does this mean that blacks are genetically predisposed to homicide? Let's bring back Bill Shockley!

Ian R said...

Chris Crawford, you asked:

"The homicide rate among blacks in the USA is much higher than the homicide rate among whites. Does this mean that blacks are genetically predisposed to homicide?"

I guess that's partly a rhetorical question, since there's an element of 'I dare you to say yes!' about it.

I think it could indeed be part of the picture. Not the whole part, otherwise homicide rates would be pretty much the same across sub-Saharan Africa, which they're not. Or Black British homicide rates would be the same as Black American ones, and again they're not.

For all that, black youths in my home town are disproportionately responsible for acts of violence, yet their ethnic group is not at the bottom of the pile. Black women's average earnings are very close to those of white women, and their housing conditions are better than those of Bengalis.

Nor is it clear that a name like 'Myron Thomas' or 'Constance Nwosu' is necessarily at a greater disadvantage on the job application form than 'Muhammed Lahiri'.

I don't aspire to being prejudiced towards all members of some or other ethnic group - none of the people who I knew in my childhood and youth as being very racist seemed like happy, well-adjusted people. But when London has become as thoroughly cosmopolitan as it has, it is hard to avoid making 'compare and constrast' observations.

Chris Crawford said...

Ian, yes, my question is rhetorical. Let me remind you that there remain considerable cultural differences between blacks and whites in the USA. Language, always a good proxy for overall cultural differences, is quite a differentiator in this case. Does it not therefore make a great deal of sense to suggest that the different homicide rates are attributable to cultural differences? And that in fact, differences in homicide rates around the world, and throughout history, are primarily cultural in origin?

Ian R said...

I don't think that assumption can be held for all possible comparisons. So much is unknown.

Sean said...

In Chris Crawford's comments, the delusionary, but highly adaptive, mentality of the intellectually gifted and economically successful is strikingly epitomised. (Unz calling E&P a 'racialist blog' is another example.)

"Our ancestors were selected for their ability to learn “what to do and what not to do.” And this is how many think today. Once a given rule has the backing of perceived moral authority, we eagerly fall into line, despite any inner doubts we might have [..] The punishment was aimed not so much at the crime but at the underlying criminal mindset.

Chris knows an 'underlying criminal mindset' when he sees it. Rest easy Mr. Crawford; we have zero influence because only those without our mindset can get on in this world. It's an affliction of the lower classes.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, I'm not going to take your comment seriously; it's all anger and no logic. If you'd like to rephrase it in terms of a rational argument, I'd be happy to discuss the matter with you.

Sean said...

Chris, the post suggests medieval culling of deviants through the death penalty was aimed at an underlying mindset.

"If someone had crossed the psychological barrier of committing one crime, however petty it might be, he or she would probably commit—or may have already committed— other crimes of greater importance."

The discussion was about natural selection in medieval Europeans, you brought up the murder of Jews. It seems to me that you worry about acceptance of predilections to behaviour being genetically wired will lead society to cull modern populations.

Much of what you write, here and at your sites, suggests a kind, sympathetic, cooperative and trusting person who would never countenance things getting 'ugly'. You can't stomach arguments like the ones in this post, which is about genetic personality types, because of the (genetic) type of person you are.

Chris Crawford said...

I understand that the hypothesis is based on the assumption that a person who steals a chicken has an enhanced probability of committing a murder -- but how great is the enhancement? For the hypothesis to be of utility, that enhancement has to be fairly high. I agree that it is greater than zero, but the fact is, nobody knows whether the value is 0.001 or 0.999. It's purely speculative; since the core hypothesis is founded on that assumption, the core hypothesis is necessarily speculative.

I don't have a problem with the hypothesis so long as it is acknowledged to be entirely speculative. But I sense that it is being forwarded as something more than that, something that we can put some credence into. I object to that presumption of genuine information content.

I'm not at all bothered by the probability of genetic predispositions to certain behaviors; indeed, I strongly support that concept and have been excoriated for embracing evolutionary psychology. I have many times emphasized that we are all fundamentally Pleistocene hunter-gatherers.

My objection in this case is that the hypothesis is based on a number of completely speculative assumptions. I'm willing to bend on speculations that are widely acknowledged to be correct, but I can assure you that the notion of a genetically based "criminal mentality" is not widely acknowledged to be correct.

My other reservation is with the belief that human evolution can proceed on a pace of centuries rather than millennia. Sure, it could be accomplished with ferocious selection effects, but I do not perceive cultural factors to be so ferocious. Despite millennia of ferocious killings of adulterous wives, there are still lots of women committing adultery. Despite millennia of ferocious selection against homosexuals, that genetic factor does not appear to have been eliminated from our gene pool.

Peter has done excellent work ferreting out small details of various selection effects on hair color, skin color, and so forth. I would think that the causal effects he has demonstrated so clearly would induce considerable caution about positing much larger genetic effects over short time periods.

Peter Fros_ said...

Anon,

Genetic pacification is probably a general consequence of State formation. In South Asia, the British preferred to recruit soldiers from frontier areas where State authority had always been weak or absent. The average Indian was seen as being too submissive and mild-mannered.

This being said, there may be qualitative differences. Highly systematized and dogmatic religions (like Christianity and Islam) may have favored individuals who cross the violence threshold more easily if they feel they have the backing of moral authority. This sounds weird, yet there is good evidence that "religiosity" has a high heritable component.

Sean,

Thx for the lead!

Henry,

I agree. Once the State imposed a monopoly on violence, the entire tenor of society changed. Even if a violent criminal evaded the law, he would be condemned to a social class that barely managed to reproduce itself.

Tomasz,

Yes, it moved violence to another level. When violence is carefully planned and organized, it becomes something very different. It's a state of mind that bears little resemblance to that of a violent individual with poor impulse control and an exaggerated need for "respect."

Ghetto individual,

Who defines violence? I do. I'm talking about an individual-driven kind of violence, not the State-sanctioned kind.

Yes, white folks were guilty of land theft and genocide. So were many other human populations. The Inuit stole their land from the Dorset people. The Han stole southern China from various non-Han peoples. The Bantu stole southern Africa from Khoisan peoples.

White folks are guilty of only one thing that is specific to them. They can be made to feel guilty about their history.

Chris,

If medieval justice was killing off 3-4% of each generation, you don't need to assume they were all guilty of violent acts. And on top of that, there was the difference in reproductive success between social classes.

Clearly, there is an interaction between genetic predispositions and the social environment. When apartheid was abolished, there was a dramatic increase in violence. The controls came off. Need I say more? A similar situation occurred in Quebec during the 1960s when people left the Catholic church in droves. Family violence increased, as did the divorce rate. No one here is arguing that genetics is everything.

Yes, there is a commonlity between a serial killer and a kid who enjoys smashing windowpanes. In both cases, there is a personality that derives a feeling of release from acts of violence.

Chris Crawford said...

You know, there are some common elements in this argument and the hypothesis that videogames cause kids to be violent in the real world. Genetic factors predispose people to be homicidal; videogames imbue them with homicidal urges. Both hypotheses are plausible, but I am scientifically conservative and do not accept either one because neither one has solid evidence to support it.

Peter, medieval justice was primarily local in feudal England. The local noble heard complaints and acted however he saw fit. Ofttimes his "justice" had a distinctly corrupt odor to it; kiss-ups were treated better than the less fawningly subservient. Over the course of centuries, the king advanced the common law (in this case, "common" meant "universal") as a replacement for feudal law. Even then, the actual application of legal procedures was limited by the availability of the king's circuit court; if the king's judge wasn't due for a few months, the locals might dispense with the formalities and string up the accused.

For the selection effect to function, we don't care how many innocents get killed, so long as the system gets most of the people who are genetically predisposed to violence. And certainly the bloodthirstiness of medieval justice suggests that there was a decent probability of them getting the bad guys. But how large was that probability? We just don't know.

Perhaps our disagreement stems from different readings of history. I just stepped over to my library shelves and found twelve books on the history of criminal law, including volumes on law in ancient Egypt, Athens, and Rome; a couple of books on the treatment of witchcraft in Europe; and a book on trials before the Papal magistrates in late Renaissance Rome. Oh, and there's also a two-volume collection of trials in England from 1500 to 1800. From these readings I've learned that justice was very arbitrary back then. The witchcraft trials clearly showed that social standing had much more to do with the verdict than actual guilt or innocence. If people didn't like you, you were as good as dead.

Accordingly, I have little confidence in the criminal justice system of those days as an effective selection force against homicidal behavior.

I further reject the notion that homicidal behavior is closely correlated with other criminal behavior. I agree that there is some correlation, but I have seen no evidence to indicate that the correlation is high. Appealing to "common sense" about "criminal mentalities" is for pop-psychology buffs, not scholars. Show me some data if you expect me to accept your claims.

Anonymous said...

I further reject the notion that homicidal behavior is closely correlated with other criminal behavior. I agree that there is some correlation, but I have seen no evidence to indicate that the correlation is high.

If you aggressively execute people who commit homicide, you may be selecting against stupidity or impulsivity, rather than against criminal behavior per se, unless you execute for non-homicidal criminal behavior as well.

Sean said...

Unless they were intentionally and systematically putting the innocent to death in order to let the guilty go free, it is difficult to see how miscarriages of justice could have removed the selective effect of the death penalty.

1955: Gerald Albert Gallego, like father like son "Little Geralds (prostitute) mother was no stranger to the lawless life either, having been raised in an extended family that included murderers and child molesters.¦Gerald Armand Gallego never met his father, but he had the old man's temper, and seven convictions (including rape of a 6 year old girl when he was 13) At 32 he had 5 ex wives and outstanding warrants for incest (his daughter), rape, and sodomy. (daughter's friend). He murdered 10 teenage girls.
--------------

England's former elite were pauperised by the Norman conquest, that probably removed much of the chance of getting away with murder for all but the Norman gentry. That part of the US population which was from south East England (ie the new England Puritans) had very low rates of violent crime. Parts of America that got the population (including transported criminals) from the wild fringes of Scotland still tend to be far more violent.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, the Gallego anecdote does not address the nature versus nurture issue; we have no way of knowing whether the murderer's behavior was the result of his upbringing or his genes. His mother was a prostitute; are "genes for prostitution" also "genes for homicide"?

The same problem applies to the migration patterns you describe. Are the differences you mention due to genetics or culture? Your observation does not address that distinction.

Anonymous said...

A kind of system that seems like it relies on people who are willing to kill "bad people" seems like it would favor the descendants of those who are willing to kill bad people (either directly or by proxy) - let's remember that this is not a selective environment, this is behavior carried out by people, who will require violent traits to carry out the behavior.

Justice is not some abstraction, it is mediated by human beings.

In a sense, that seems like a potent selective pressure for violent behavior...

That is to say, pacifists who could not stomach the murder of murderous criminals, or kill the iniquitous personally (you coward!), those people probably were eliminated or relatively reduced by medieval justice.

Harold said...

Chris Crawford wrote:

“Let's get really ugly. The homicide rate among blacks in the USA is much higher than the homicide rate among whites. Does this mean that blacks are genetically predisposed to homicide?“

If you are interested in pondering this question, and the genetics of violence in particular, you may be interested in the material linked to on this page:

http://theunsilencedscience.blogspot.com/2011/08/genetics-of-violence.html

Chris Crawford said...

Thanks for the link, Harold. I've read through some of the material there and I'm not sure what to think. The writer seems to cover all the bases well, but some of his phrasings induce me to believe that he's got a personal axe to grind. There is certainly plenty of solid information there and I'm going to continue reading it.

Thanks again.

Sean said...

Chris, if "we are all fundamentally Pleistocene hunter-gatherers." why are you exercised about climate change and environmental issues? (BLUE ISLAND ALMANACK) Surely that kind of thinking would be seriously maladaptive in the Pleistocene. (In the Prisoner's dilemma two rational players would both defect, the recent selection has been for irrational trust). I think you're living proof of what you deny exists: post- Pleistocene selection. And at the societal level where policy is determined, that kind of mindset becomes very common.

Chris Crawford said...

Ah, but Sean, I left a loophole in my comment! I wrote that we are all fundamentally Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. That is, our cognitive foundations are those of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. Layered on top of that are:

1. the genetic changes of the last 12,000 years;
2. the cultural memes that modify our behavior;
3. the nurturing that we received as children.

I know a few people for whom these three layers are all but insubstantial. For most people, though, the second and third layers are quite thick.

Anonymous said...

In a sense, that seems like a potent selective pressure for violent behavior...

That is to say, if you have a situation where 1% of the population are criminals and you hire 2% of the population out as constables, then although you may reduce the fitness of the criminal, you are increasing the fitness of the "constables", who you have probably chosen because they are capable of violent behaviour (otherwise they would not be able to deal with criminals, particularly organised criminals, who are more police like themselves and who seem to displace violent criminals over time, as society becomes more civilized, c.f. China, Japan, Italy).

So this is why I am skeptical that police forces and executions decrease the overall proportion of violent tendencies in a population. I think the overall violent tendencies of populations have increased because the peaceful niches have increased in their capacity to support faster than the violent ones, and because a peaceful Dad-ish lifestyle leads to a lot of children.

Sean said...

AS Sahlins (2005) puts it: The hunter, one is tempted to say, is "uneconomic man".'

A while back I read an article complaining about salesmen exploiting Aborigines; selling them things like vacuum cleaners on hire purchase though they had no use for them, preferring to sleep in a dry river bed with their dogs.

Cultural memes for farming don't seem able to teach the !Kung to live as farmers, according to Henry Harpending they often can't resist eating all the livestock. But this doesn't mean they're greedy (From google books) "[A]!Kung hunter suppresses his hunger, sharing even meagre kills with others in his camp. Stingy people are despised among the !Kung, and stinginess is very broadly defined; in that culture, virtually all Americans would be considered extremely stingy." Also "While a stingy person is anti-social and irksome, an arrogant person is actually dangerous, since according to the !Kung 'his pride will make him kill someone'. [eg] A boasting hunter who comes into camp announcing: 'I have killed a big animal."

Even pre Pleistocene behaviour was plastic enough for nastiness to be severely curtailed (through the gossip Nowak talks about), but only within the group.

The real alteration came about with 'economic man', he was selected (through economic success in a pacified society) for achievement through hopefully trusting all others, and being careful of his reputation for being a person who is trusting.

We now have an intellectual and economic elite genetically disposed to think a certain way (because that kind of thinking has been the key to success in a market-economy society). Moreover, their reputation for having an optimistic view of what cam be expected from others is their most valuable possession, and they'll not accept anything that might harm it.

IMO that's why the more accomplished people (like you and Unz) are allergic to any genetic arguments which lead us to be less than sanguine. Of course everyone in the advanced western countries thinks like that to some degree, as we have largely descended from the economically successful.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, my own reasons for skepticism regarding the role of genetics in the transformation to civilization are based primarily on my understanding of speciation and my knowledge of history. While it's true that dramatic selection forces can result in rapid genetic change, I see no such dramatic selection forces in human history.

The evidence produced by Mr. Clark and Mr. Harpending is dependent upon a lot of speculation and hand-waving. They do produce some impressive data, but the path from that data to their conclusions involves too many assumptions for my taste.

By the way, I'm just finishing up Francis Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order, which presents a well-developed hypothesis regarding the factors that controlled the development of political order. Interestingly, his discussion of English socio-political history suggests that English society had a big advantage over over countries in the years prior to the Industrial Revolution. In other words, Mr. Fukuyama has come up with an alternate explanation for the Industrial Revolution, in direct competition with Mr. Clark's explanation. All in all, I find Mr. Fukuyama's explanation more convincing. He relies on some speculative assumptions as well, but they strike me as better grounded in historical experience.

The causes of the Industrial Revolution are at least as complicated as the causes of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and look how much controversy the latter issue has generated. Mr. Clark's hypothesis is just too one-dimensional to satisfy my sensibilities. We can be sure that, fifty years from now, we'll have a better grip on the causes on the Industrial Revolution, and the accepted picture will involve many factors at work, not just genetics.

Anonymous said...

Chris, if you were honest you'd see that no one on Clark's side has ever said that it is "just genetics." The fact that you would put such a notion into words tells me that there is either a serious psychological blockage in your brain or you really are just dishonest. Why do you do that over and over again?

Sean said...

Chris, You're from a working class background?

"LIKE innumerable thinkers before him, Fukuyama has confused evolution with a particular idea of progress. His 'theory of development' consists of a set of political ideals - roughly speaking, Anglo-American pieties of the past century or so - masquerading as an explanation of history."

All behaviour is genetic, humans are no more above and beyond nasty selection than carrots are. And modern carrots - like humans - are quite a bit different to the original. 'Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 17th century'

You're an orange carrot.

Chris Crawford said...

Well, it looks like I'm dishonest, seriously psychologically blocked, and/or a hick, so I'll just mosey on off, mebbe hunt me a rabbit or a 'coon.

Anonymous said...

The real alteration came about with 'economic man', he was selected (through economic success in a pacified society) for achievement through hopefully trusting all others, and being careful of his reputation for being a person who is trusting.

What do you mean by "trusting all others"?

Market societies are state societies with literacy, accounting, and law. This record-keeping and punishment allows for reciprocal altruism. "Trusting all others" in the sense of expanding kin altruism to everyone in society is not necessary. In fact, a look at Western history suggests that the most economically successful preserve kin altruism among themselves and practice reciprocal altruism with others, while getting others to extend kin altruism to them.

Sean said...

"Market societies are state societies with literacy, accounting, and law. This record-keeping and punishment allows for reciprocal altruism"

From my reading of Nowak, tit for tat can get cooperation going, but with a population operating on a punctilious 'tit for tat' basis, every little mistake initiates cycles of retaliation, and brings the system down.

Sean said...

Chris, but why is it that those who enjoy killing animals are concentrated in the lower orders of society?

Anonymous said...

Chris, but why is it that those who enjoy killing animals are concentrated in the lower orders of society?

Eh... Why do upper class Brits like fox hunting?

Sean said...

Hunting with dogs is seriously illegal in Britain, except rabbits (classified as vermin). But I know someone who lives for it. He's about 24, seriously overweight, broad faced, doesn't have many teeth, and long term unemployed. (He went to prison for attacking his foreman with a shovel).

Humane societies' style of thinking is similar to the environmental movement. Neither originated as an lower class thing.

Anonymous said...

From my reading of Nowak, tit for tat can get cooperation going, but with a population operating on a punctilious 'tit for tat' basis, every little mistake initiates cycles of retaliation, and brings the system down.

The state mediates the 'tit for tat', and it can be punctilious indeed, with its laws and bureaucracy. But there's no reason why it necessarily brings the system down. To the contrary, if Peter's ideas about "genetic pacification" are correct, it may be the case that it strengthens the system.

Anonymous said...

The Upper Class enjoys nothing more than going on safari or gunning down some pheasants.

It's mostly psychopaths at the top, as Steve Hsu says.

Sean said...

Under the Normans taking a deer would get you blinded and castrated. If psychopaths are the most successful, where does the patholgy come in?

Sean said...

Re. Hsu on the top people, here. He only said CEO's tend to be good at reading people but lack empathy. Earlier this year Hsu fumed about discrimination against applicant Asians at Harvard and Princeton. Here. Boston Brahmins aren't selfishly keeping Asians out, less than a fifth of current Harvard students are of white Christian origins. If the important decisions, like who gets to go to Harvard and run the country, are being made by WASPs, the decisions aren't made to benefit WASPs as a class.

Anyway Hsu mentions the political class as being similar to Williams Syndrome sufferers. Genetic pacification would be like taming, a gene selected for in the taming of wolves "has a human counterpart that has been implicated in Williams syndrome, where it causes exceptional gregariousness." here

See, the discrimination against Asians is due to a universities, like most things, being run by genetically pacified caste with as Hsu cites, a "cocktail party" type personality. Why are WASPs keeping qualified Asians out? Charles Murray says it's because Asians are the new Jews. I think it's because the genetically pacified caste that administrators are drawn from was so receptive to affirmative action arguments, it reduced white admissions in a draconian way. Now they just can't let all the qualified Asians in without having a ridiculously low number of whites at Harvard.

Anonymous said...

I think Peter has well described the kind of behaviour that helps you get ahead as a memebr of the business class, so I don't think I will go for it any further.

Also, well, you're into the face shape stuff, so -

http://www.livescience.com/15798-ceo-face-shape-performance.html
"Corporate leaders with faces that were wide relative to their length — such as Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines — tended to lead better-performing companies than CEOs with narrower faces, such as Dick Fuld, the long-faced final CEO of Lehman Brothers, the study found."

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-06/afps-awf060412.php

The results of the study confirmed their hypotheses and turned the typical associations with facial width on their head: the more robust looking, wider faced men in the study were more self-sacrificing than other men.
"It was surprising that our predictions were confirmed," reports Dr. Stirrat. "When we mentioned Edinburgh University, our St Andrews participants with wider faces were more cooperative than the other men. When we didn't mention the rivalry, they were less cooperative than other men."


http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0046774

Here we study a potential hormonal influence, focusing on the steroid hormone testosterone, which has been shown to play an important role in social behavior. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, 91 healthy men (24.32±2.73 years) received a transdermal administration of 50 mg of testosterone (n = 46) or a placebo (n = 45). Subsequently, subjects participated in a simple task, in which their payoff depended on the self-reported outcome of a die-roll. Subjects could increase their payoff by lying without fear of being caught. Our results show that testosterone administration substantially decreases lying in men. Self-serving lying occurred in both groups, however, reported payoffs were significantly lower in the testosterone group (p<0.01).

Anonymous said...

If the important decisions, like who gets to go to Harvard and run the country, are being made by WASPs, the decisions aren't made to benefit WASPs as a class.

WASPs don't run places like Harvard, and haven't run them in decades.

hbd chick said...

i think (obviously! (~_^) ) that the change in mating patterns -- from greater to lesser inbreeding -- in early medieval nw europe affected this genetic pacification process.

significant differences in the degree of inbreeding vs. outbreeding between populations means the inclusive fitness payoffs are quite different in different populations -- more inbreeding=greater inclusive fitness payoffs for those who are more altruistic towards their family members, including being aggressive towards outsiders. thus, more violence in inbred populations. and inbreeding seems to have been drastically reduced in nw europe starting in the early medieval period.

of course, the inbreeding/outbreeding and the state-removing-the-most-violent-from-the-population theories do not have to be mutually exclusive.

hbd chick said...

"...and our beloved hbd* chick (2012)."

awww, shucks! (*^_^*)

Anonymous said...

thus, more violence in inbred populations.

Middle Eastern populations are said to be among the most inbred populations. But they tend to have some of the lowest homicide rates:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

more inbreeding=greater inclusive fitness payoffs for those who are more altruistic towards their family members, including being aggressive towards outsiders.

This shouldn't necessarily include "being aggressive towards outsiders". It's easy to see how "being aggressive towards outsiders" could be bad for inclusive fitness by ruining the family's reputation and each of its members prospects.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "Middle Eastern populations are said to be among the most inbred populations. But they tend to have some of the lowest homicide rates"

well, as steven pinker pointed out in The Better Angels of Our Nature, some sets of homicide data are probably more reliable than others. also, they've got some pretty severe deterrents to murder in places like saudi arabia (namely gettin' your head chopped off!).

what's more interesting to look at, i think, are things like presence/absence and frequency of clan/tribe battles in different countries. they happen with quite a lot of regularity in afghanistan -- not so much in england (anymore).

@anonymous - "This shouldn't necessarily include 'being aggressive towards outsiders'. It's easy to see how 'being aggressive towards outsiders' could be bad for inclusive fitness by ruining the family's reputation and each of its members prospects."

no, you're right. not necessarily. but try telling everyone from the yanomamo to the afghanis that being aggressive towards outsiders is not good for their inclusive fitness. (~_^)

Anonymous said...

well, as steven pinker pointed out in The Better Angels of Our Nature, some sets of homicide data are probably more reliable than others.

Are you saying contemporary violent crime data is unreliable? All of it, or just from the Middle East?

The US State Dept.'s international travel information seems to corroborate contemporary violent crime data:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

It tends to note low levels of violent crime in the Middle East, and warns readers about very high levels of violent crime in sub-Saharan African countries.

also, they've got some pretty severe deterrents to murder in places like saudi arabia (namely gettin' your head chopped off!).

France was guillotining murderers until the late 70s, and publicly guillotining them until the late 30s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugen_Weidmann

We still execute murderers today, and some would argue that the violent assault, murder, rape, disease, etc. prevalent in prisons today are worse punishments than execution.

Anonymous said...

no, you're right. not necessarily. but try telling everyone from the yanomamo to the afghanis that being aggressive towards outsiders is not good for their inclusive fitness.

You originally argued that inbreeding necessarily causes greater aggression towards outsiders and violence:

"more inbreeding=greater inclusive fitness payoffs for those who are more altruistic towards their family members, including being aggressive towards outsiders. thus, more violence in inbred populations."

If it doesn't necessarily cause greater aggression towards outsiders and violence, are you just saying that it correlates with it? Is there data for this? The data here suggests that Afghanistan's murder rates are lower than countries like Luxembourg, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Taiwan, etc.:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

Anonymous said...

"more inbreeding=greater inclusive fitness payoffs for those who are more altruistic towards their family members, including being aggressive towards outsiders. thus, more violence in inbred populations."

Possibly depends on if they actually spend time with outsiders in a way that brings them into conflict?

Sean said...

The question is why violence has declined. Harpending vs Pinker. Pinker says: “The reason so many violent institutions succumbed within so short a span of time was that the arguments that slew them belong to a coherent philosophy that emerged during the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. The ideas of thinkers like Hobbes, Spinoza, Descartes, Locke, David Hume, Mary Astell, Kant, Beccaria, Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and John Stuart Mill coalesced into a worldview that we can call. Enlightenment humanism.”
Pinker espouses ye olde liberal humanism, which happens to be the dominant western myth (as Peter said 'has the backing of perceived moral authority').

Chris Crawford is the only commenter here who uses his own name, IMO that's because he advances a view that has 'backing of perceived moral authority'.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "You originally argued that inbreeding necessarily causes greater aggression towards outsiders and violence...."

what i meant by "not necessarily" was that selection for violent behavior still needs to be there -- it's not just a matter of inbreeding. the inbreeding amplifies the selection.

my argument is a somewhat long one -- a bit long for blog comment -- so, please, see more here if you're interested.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "The data here suggests that Afghanistan's murder rates are lower than countries like Luxembourg, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Taiwan, etc."

again, see pinker on the reliability of homicide rates from different countries (like afghanistan). also, note all the inter-tribal warfare in afghanistan.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "Possibly depends on if they actually spend time with outsiders in a way that brings them into conflict?"

people from other clans/tribes often are (genetic) outsiders -- for example, see second druze chart here.

Anonymous said...

what i meant by "not necessarily" was that selection for violent behavior still needs to be there -- it's not just a matter of inbreeding. the inbreeding amplifies the selection.

If more violent members are sacrificing themselves to help less violent members, wouldn't it dampen the selection and bring down the average level of violence in the family?

again, see pinker on the reliability of homicide rates from different countries (like afghanistan). also, note all the inter-tribal warfare in afghanistan.

Does he argue that contemporary violent crime data on the Middle East is unreliable?

Contemporary violent crime data suggest that Middle Eastern countries have among the lowest murder rates in the world:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/oct/13/homicide-rates-country-murder-data

US State Dept. information suggests the same thing.

Is there data on the amount of violence from inter-tribal warfare in Afghanistan?

Sean said...

I'm sure hbd chic is still happy to discuss the matter with you at her blog, once you've read the linked posts.

You've brought up an important point about the Middle East. Pinker's explanation ('that the 20th century has seen a “moral Flynn effect, in which an accelerating escalator of reason carried us away from impulses that lead to violence”') would predict vastly more murder there than actually exists.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure hbd chic is still happy to discuss the matter with you at her blog, once you've read the linked posts.

My comments were addressing violence, which is the topic of Peter's post. hbd chick doesn't really address violence in the post she linked to.

I don't understand her point about inbreeding amplifying selection for violence. Al Qaeda might defeat other groups via its members self-sacrificial violence, but within Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden ended up with 20 (known) children by hiding out in caves and houses and avoiding self-sacrificial violence, while young men on the front lines or performing suicide missions generally don't reproduce.

Sean said...

sopholl657As I read it the post suggests we can't alter our fate because that would require a change in the evolved psychology of man in advanced nations; selection against homicide was also selection against the ability to think for oneself.

The population of advanced western democracies have been selected to refrain from private violence, and to respect authority. The fall in private violence (homicide) happened before the Enlightenment, so alteration in genetic predisposition rather than popularisation of moral rationality was the cause.

The population are genetically programmed to swallow all precepts handed down from the powers that be, right to the bitter end.

Anonymous said...

"Middle Eastern populations are said to be among the most inbred populations. But they tend to have some of the lowest homicide rates:"

I think the full scope of post-farming history is important here.

Most of the middle east, the Levant, Egypt, and down through Iran to India and China have been civilized for a very long time and much longer than northern Europe.

If the general pattern is civilization leads to pacification over time then i think we should expect those populations in the zone of very long-term high demsity farming civilizations to have very low male-male murder rates as a base.

The muslim conquest created an overlay over part of that zone so if hbdchick's idea is correct we should see a difference between those two parts of the zone i.e. the muslim part of the mid-latitude very long-term civilized zone should be more violent than the non-muslim parts of that same zone - not necessarily more or less violent than northern Europe.

To illustrate

If we assume for the sake of argument the hunter-gatherer violence base was the same everywhere and pacification occurs at the rate of p per century and civilization started around 2000BC
in the Middle East, India and China then all three would have had 26p of pacification before the Islamic conquest.

Since then India and China would have had another 14 p while the Middle-east would have had 14 (p+i) where i is the effect of higher inbreeding.

So
India and China = 40p
Middle East = 40p + 14i

If hbdchick is right then i is negative but if i is negative but still smaller than p then pacification would still *increase* but at a slower rate than India and China.

If i increased violence half as much as continued civilization reduced it i.e. i = -0.5p then

India and China: 40p
Middle East: 40p - 7p = 33p

Both should have low rates but the middle east higher than China and India.

If northern Europe only really started civilization aka high density farming around 1000AD then northern Europe would only have had 10p of pacification and you would expect northern europe to have a much higher male-male violence rate.

However if outbreeding had the effect hbdchick's idea implies on top of the standard pacification process then for northern Europe we get
Northern Europe: 10 (p + o)
where o is the effect of outbreeding.

If o = 0.5p then ten centuries produces 15p of pacification.
If o = p then ten centuries produces 20p of pacification.
If o = 1.5p then ten centuries produces 25p of pacification.
etc

(Also i think the industrial revolution magnified the pacification rate so northern Europe may have had fewer centuries of standard pacification but it was followed by a couple of centuries of magnified pacification.)

###

So only if the effect of higher inbreeding from the muslim conquest had a greater effect on increasing violence than the standard pacification effect had on reducing it would pacification in the middle-east have gone into reverse and even if the violence effect was strong enough to put pacification into reverse it still had 26 centuries of prior pacification to reverse.

Anonymous said...

If i increased violence half as much as continued civilization reduced it i.e. i = -0.5p then

India and China: 40p
Middle East: 40p - 7p = 33p


In any such calculation India really out to have a pretty honkingly huge dose of i.

Anonymous said...

"In any such calculation India really out to have a pretty honkingly huge dose of i."

I didn't explain that the i and o values i used in the first post are *relative* to default levels of inbreeding.

According to hbdchick's blog most agrarian cultures seem to have practised a certain level of cousin-marriage.

The Islamic version of cousin-marriage is *above* that level. The Northern Euro version is *below* that level.

That is what the i and o are meant to represent.

I'm assuming the middle-east had similar forms of cousin-marriage to India and China before the Islamic conquest and an *extra* amount afterwards. The i represents the extra.

It may not be right but the model potentially squares the circle between European, Middle-Eastern and Indian/Chinese levels of violent crime.

Anonymous said...

Both should have low rates but the middle east higher than China and India.

According to these sources that were cited above,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/oct/13/homicide-rates-country-murder-data

India has higher rates than the Middle East, and China has higher rates than several Middle Eastern countries.

Anonymous said...

The Islamic version of cousin-marriage is *above* that level. The Northern Euro version is *below* that level.

Sure but based on ROH data (runs of homozygosity) and the Indian caste structure, it seems like they are far, far closer to the Middle Eastern norm of inbreeding than they are to China or the Middle East.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/11/homozygosity-runs-in-the-family-or-not/#more-7781

Indian homicide rates are rather comparable to rather richer Taiwan (India is a rather corrupt country, though).

Not much compared to outbred Brazil.

Anonymous said...

@anon

I'm saying

1) High-density agriculture has a pacification effect based on the application of a rule of law over centuries. This works by reducing the reproductive success of impulsively violent individuals.

2) Outbreeding and inbreeding effect the pacification rate either by

a) making it either easier or more difficult for the active agent - the rule of law - to be applied to the population

or

b) itself directly influencing the frequencies of certain violent vs non-violent traits within the population.

or both.

Either way both effects also require centuries.

3) The combination can be simply modelled as n1p + n2o - n3i

where

n1, n2, n3 = number of centuries
p = some standard rate of civilizational pacification
o = represents the effect of outbreeding above the human average
i = represents the effect of inbreeding above the human average

The model would predict

1) Those populations with the least amount of pacification centuries i.e. the least number of centuries spent under high-density agriculture would have the highest base homicide rates.

The regions that got high-density farming relatively late would be the tropics and northern eurasia which tallies with the list of countries in the links you gave with tropical Africa and countries like Brazil with a lot of ancestry from tropical Africa being the worst.

The distinct difference in homicide rates in northern europe across the hajnal line supports the idea that outbreeding somehow magnifies the effect of the rule of law.

The relatively small difference in homicide rate between northwest europe and other regions that have had *far* more centuries of pacification supports the idea that the outbreeding component can have a dramatic effect on the pacification rate where the rule of law is being applied strongly.

The rule of law here is a force applied to the population which reduces the reproductive success of the most violent. Obviously hanging horse thieves will have a much stronger effect than containing and ignoring ghettos allowing the more violent to have greater reproductive success.

The black population in places like Brazil, although outbred relative to places like India, a) didn't have centuries of agricultural pacification before hand and b) generally haven't had the rule of law applied in the same way as it was applied in europe from 1300 to 1900 or at least for not as long.

This may suggest outbreeding acts more as a magnifier than a direct cause though.

I used India, China and the Middle East loosely to illustrate the point but in reality one would need to know more details to see if the model fitted well among the mid-latitude countries. For example is there a difference in India between the northern long-term agrarian belt and the more tropical southern zones which distorts the average.

Anonymous said...

The distinct difference in homicide rates in northern europe across the hajnal line supports the idea that outbreeding somehow magnifies the effect of the rule of law.

The relatively small difference in homicide rate between northwest europe and other regions that have had *far* more centuries of pacification supports the idea that the outbreeding component can have a dramatic effect on the pacification rate where the rule of law is being applied strongly.


There isn't really a distinct difference in homicide rates across the Hajnal line. And the differences aren't necessarily in the direction you seem to imply. For example, Ireland tends to have equal or lower rates than the UK.

You'd have to show that outbreeding leads to lower homicide rates. You are just asserting that it does.

Anonymous said...

The black population in places like Brazil, although outbred relative to places like India, a) didn't have centuries of agricultural pacification before hand and b) generally haven't had the rule of law applied in the same way as it was applied in europe from 1300 to 1900 or at least for not as long.

The highest homicide rates are in Latin American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, etc. They have higher rates than their less outbred tropical counterparts in South America and Africa.

Anonymous said...

Honduras and El Salvador are both about 90% mestizo. Colombia is about 75% mestizo and mulatto. In Venezuela, about 50% claim to be multiracial and about 42% claim to be white. These countries have higher rates than Latin American countries with more Amerindians such as Bolivia and Peru, and higher rates than black African countries.

Anonymous said...

For example is there a difference in India between the northern long-term agrarian belt and the more tropical southern zones which distorts the average.

Southerners tend to practice more cousin marriage, have lower rates of homicide and various kinds of violence and tend to by stereotype tend to be more intelligent (Ramanujan, TamBrams, high education Kerala, etc.).

Anonymous said...

"You'd have to show that outbreeding leads to lower homicide rates. You are just asserting that it does."

I'm not really asserting that. I'm asserting that it's possible. Your counter examples keep ignoring the p in

p + o - i

so you're arguing with a straw man.

If p is much bigger than o or i then the question becomes moot.

I think the main pacification effect - executing criminals and differential death rates in war - over many centuries will turn out to be a much more dominant effect and if so the effect of o and i will only be seen among populations where p is exactly equal which i think is likely to be pretty much nowhere - making it moot.

However those will be the places to look - populations that had exactly the same p, o and i throughout history before some event changed o or i without also changing p. I think the odds on finding such a place is pretty small but that's a different argument.

Like i say i think the eventual answer will be moot but that doesn't mean the question isn't worth asking or that it might be possible to find a test population somewhere on the planet that fits the above conditions if you look hard enough.

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"Southerners tend to practice more cousin marriage, have lower rates of homicide and various kinds of violence and tend to by stereotype tend to be more intelligent (Ramanujan, TamBrams, high education Kerala, etc.)."

I'm not going to get into the specific cases as like i say i think the p in the equation is likely to be dominant however i also know that averages can be very misleading on this as different groups can have such dramatically varying homicide rates.

So what are the homicide rates among the smaller tribal groups in the interior of the south (or among the pathans in the northern mountains) that were more recently tribal or hunter-gatherers?

(This is more relevant to the main pacification argument.)

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"have lower rates of homicide and various kinds of violence"

A slightly separate but relevant point is what violence?

I would divide violence into

1) male-male violence (which also includes most non-sexual crime with a violent or invasive element e.g. burglary)

2) male-female violence

3) communal or group violence

Although they overlap they don't run entirely parallel.

I think the main pacification process primarily effects male-male violence and if there are big differences between outbred and inbred populations related to violence the differences will be in the other two categories.

Anonymous said...

The counter-examples don't ignore the "p". They're recently formed groups who share the same ancestral history as the groups they're being compared to.

Anonymous said...

"The counter-examples don't ignore the "p". They're recently formed groups who share the same ancestral history as the groups they're being compared to."

Fair enough. You may be right as i'm not properly switched on with this topic as i think the standard pacification processes will dominate in this case but at the same time like to stick up for hbdchick's ideas as a default reaction.