Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cultural modernity and behavioral modernity

Where’s the beard? And the headscarf? In this photo from the 1980s, the Tsarnaevs look secular and modern (Source: Paris Match)

Much has been made of radical Islam and its role in shaping the mental makeup of the Tsarnaev brothers. During their formative years, however, they were scarcely even nominal Muslims. Although their father was Chechen and their mother Avar (another Caucasus nationality), the language spoken at home was Russian, and their culture was the secular and increasingly Westernized one of late Soviet society. At that time, the cultural referents were largely those of the 1980s: heavy metal, New Wave, and Michael Jackson.

Religious radicalization would not begin until much later, after their family had emigrated to the U.S. and specifically in 2008 when the older brother, Tamerlan, stopped drinking and smoking and started attending a local mosque (Wikipedia, 2013).

Already, however, Tamerlan was having problems with anger control. In 2007, he confronted a Brazilian youth who had dated his younger sister and punched him in the face. In May 2008, his other sister said her husband was cheating on her and beating her up. Tamerlan flew across the country to "straighten up the brains" of his brother-in-law. Although his future American wife converted to Islam and started wearing a hijab in 2008, her conversion did not prevent domestic fights in which he would "fly into rages and sometimes throw furniture or throw things." In 2009, he got involved with another woman, allegedly assaulted her, and was arrested for aggravated domestic assault and battery (Wikipedia, 2013). In 2010, as an aspiring boxer, he entered his opponent’s locker room before the fight to taunt him and the man’s trainer (Sontag et al., 2013). In addition to his bad temper, Tamerlan had other behavioral problems. After his marriage, he stopped working and lived off his wife (who had to put in 70-80 hour weeks as a home health aide) and Massachusetts welfare services (to the tune of over $100,000). “He wasn’t really willing to work. That in my mind made him an unsuitable husband. She worked like crazy for him” (Fisher, 2013).

Failed assimilation?

The Boston bombers are often presented as a case of failed assimilation. In reality, they and their family had already been assimilated into modern secular culture. This was, of course, the authoritarian modernity of the Soviet Union, which severely repressed premodern patterns of behavior, i.e., religion, vendettas, child marriage, seclusion of women, etc. The Soviet Union also dealt harshly with what results when premodern impulses are expressed in a modern social setting, namely “hooliganism” and “parasitism.” By emigrating to the U.S., the Tsarnaevs entered a much freer environment that would eventually enable them—first Tamerlan and then other family members—to return to a cultural system that could bring some control back into their lives.

This phenomenon has been observed not only in immigrant communities of the U.S., but also in those of Western Europe. Islamism has arisen primarily in the relatively free environments of the West, and not in the more authoritarian ones of the Middle East. In many cases, the West has helped radicalize individuals who initially come as students or immigrants and later return to promote Islamism back home. Furthermore, when we in the West intervene to overthrow secular dictatorships in that region—Hussein in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria—we unwittingly create optimal conditions for the emergence of radical Islam. We refuse to countenance the possibility that some kind of authoritarianism is necessary to make those societies work. The choice is really whether it will be secular authoritarianism or the ultra-religious kind.

The other Chechen revolution

Another example is Chechnya itself. The first and second Chechen wars (1994-1996, 1999-2000) are usually seen in the West as a reaction to political circumstances, specifically the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the inability of its successor state, the Russian Federation, to maintain political control. The Chechen people thus saw an opportunity to reclaim their independence and took it.

There was also, however, a prior weakening of cultural control that can be traced farther back to the late Soviet period. This was a time when official Communist ideology had become little more than an empty shell and when people began to emulate Western ways. School and parental discipline slowly became more relaxed, under the influence of beliefs that children start off good and are made bad by excessive control.

With the collapse of Communism in 1991, the way was clear for this new vision:

Education reform in the Russia Federation after 1991 was an orchestrated attack on what was now perceived as the ideologically impure Soviet system of education, with its ubiquitous administrative centralization, a bankrupt communist ideology and bureaucratic inefficiency. Hurried attempts were made to Westernize Russian education. […] In Russia, these education reforms represented a radical shift in ideology, knowledge and values and appropriately typified the inevitable outcome of the global Weltanschauung of modernity.

Curriculum reforms and implementation of change in Russia during the early 1990s have been “almost completely permissive” […] The ideas of democracy, humanisation and individuation — the three popular slogans of post-Soviet education reforms, which almost echoed the spirit of the French Revolution — liberty, equality, and fraternity, have successfully challenged the hegemony of Marxism-Leninism in schooling, authority, and curricular control in the teaching/learning process. In subjects’ content and teaching methodology considerably more power at the school-level decision-making has been given to teachers, parents and students. (Zajda, 2005, p. 405)

This was a real cultural revolution, particularly in the Caucasus where “in Chechen families there are very strict rules of behavior with a stern social control” (Mikus Kos, 2009, p. 144). By the 1990s, most teachers had been won over to “modern” notions of child discipline: 

I had an interesting experience working with Chechen and Ingush teachers during the first Chechen war. The prevailing belief was (which was some decades ago the belief in Europe and the USA as well) that all emotional and behavioural problems in children, and even many learning problems, stem from harming influences of the family and that the unique way to cure them was to provide love and understanding to the child. So there was quite a lot of blaming on parents and teachers and feelings of guilt in parents and in teachers who did not succeed in helping children with difficulties and children in distress. When starting to run seminars for teachers from North Caucasus, I was very eager, guided by the best intention to explain that there are biologically “difficult children”, children with temperamental traits which affect the process of socialisation, and that the problems in normal life circumstances are most often the result of interaction between the difficult child and his/her environment, and not only the fault of parents and teachers. (Mikus Kos, 2009, p. 143)

Since the 2000s, discipline has made a comeback under the growing influence of both Islamism and “Putinism.” There is of course the continuing influence of well-meaning Westerners who come to the Caucasus and try to market their own notions of child development, without considering local conditions:

Instead of using existing local knowledge, values and experience, and synthesising them with the new ones, some international trainers bring a well wrapped package of modern concepts and guidelines […] The value of local explanatory models and old practices should be recognised and respected.  Radical changes of paradigm are not working, at least not in practice (Mikus Kos, 2009, p. 144)

A rendez-vous with disaster …

Recent decades have brought a relaxation of external controls over behavior. On the one hand, people from the rest of the world have been emigrating in growing numbers to the West, where behavioral norms are more relaxed. On the other hand, the West has been exporting these same norms to the rest of the world. The situation wouldn’t be so serious if everyone everywhere had the same internal controls over their behavior. But they don’t.

Some societies have gone farther than others along the trajectory that leads to cultural modernity and, in time, behavioral modernity. Wherever strong States have imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, there has been a consequent pacification of social relations, the result being increased trust in strangers and a freer, more open society. This transition also affects the way societies are organized. In premodern societies, the market economy is secondary, being limited to special places at special times, i.e., marketplaces. In modern societies, the market economy is primary and encompasses almost all possible transactions. In premodern societies, kinship is primary, being the main organizing principle of social relations. In modern societies, kinship has little importance beyond the bounds of each nuclear family. The transition from premodernity to modernity in turn leads to a suite of behavioral changes: higher anger thresholds, a more future-oriented time orientation, and a stronger work ethic.

Wherever the social environment has long been pacified, these internal behavioral controls have largely taken over from external cultural controls. Where pacification has been more recent, “correct behavior” is enforced largely through external controls. Not enough time has elapsed to bring behavioral predispositions into line with cultural modernity.

The above analysis may seem unacceptable to most of us. Current discourse allows only two possible causes for the Boston bombings: social exclusion or radical Islam. The “social exclusion” explanation is the weirdest. The Tsarnaevs were accepted as Chechen refugee claimants even though they had spent almost their whole lives outside Chechnya and were in no danger. Tamerlan himself was welcomed with open arms into an American household despite his uncontrollable temper and unwillingness to work. Such indulgence is unusual, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Tamerlan benefited from an almost pathological fear of seeming to be xenophobic.

The other possible cause, radical Islam, has become the leading explanation, largely by default. But what if Tamerlan had not been radicalized? There would have been no Boston bombings, yes, but sooner or later he would have committed an act of murder or attempted murder (assuming he had not already done so before the bombings) and he would have almost certainly remained a tax consumer, and not a tax payer.

In this latter respect, Tamerlan was not unusual. If we examine immigrant communities of similar backgrounds, their work ethic tends to weaken as they become more and more assimilated. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Turkish population in Germany had a labor-force participation rate higher than that of native Germans. Now, as we enter the 2nd and 3rd generations, the picture has completely reversed: 40% unemployment in Berlin and other cities; welfare dependency three times the national rate; and an average retirement age of 50 (Caldwell, 2009, p. 36). This is the paradox we see with many non-European immigrants: the more they become assimilated, the more different they become. They shed the cultural controls that formerly kept their behavior in line.

What, then, will be done? Nothing, probably, other than that the U.S. will become more and more a society under surveillance. One thing that used to make American society so exceptional was its high level of personal security and personal responsibility. Americans didn’t have to fear being sucker-punched by some guy with a problem. They didn’t have to closely monitor the body language and facial expressions of anyone they happened to meet. And they didn’t have to worry about other people abusing their trust and generosity. In other countries, people do. And that’s a big reason why those countries are less productive and, hence, less wealthy.


Caldwell, C. (2009). Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. Immigration, Islam and the West, Doubleday.

Fisher, M. (2013). The Tsarnaev family: A faded portrait of an immigrant’s American dream, April 27, The Washington Post

Mikus Kos, A. (2009). Psychosocial programmes can also diminish or destroy local resources, in E. Baloch-Kaloianov and A. Mikus Kos (eds). Activating Psychosocial Local Resources  in Territories Affected by War and Terrorism, IOS Press.

Sontag, D., D.M. Herszenhorn, and S.F. Kovaleski. (2013). A battered dream, then a violent path, April 28, The New York Times.
Wikipedia. (2013). Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Zajda, J. (2005). “The educational reform and transformation in Russia,” in J. Zajda (ed). International Handbook on Globalization, Education and Policy Research, Springer.



Sean said...

Canada has been relatively peaceful and orderly, despite immigration from the 'pre-modern' Scottish Highlanders, who based everything on kinship - or so we are told. (The Highlands were swarming with Lowland beggars living off the charity of the impoverished clansmen).

Going by what Solzhenitsyn wrote about Chechens he knew in the camps, he thought they were a very unusual people. I get the impression that Chechen culture has historically placed emphasis on being formidable, just as WASP culture placed a lot of emphasis on being nice.

I thought Regulation of emotions and gene-culture co-evolution raised a very interesting question about genes having completely different effects (on emotional expressiveness) because of differing societal conventions on what was proper behaviour. Isn't plasticity and sensitivity to context always a good strategy for genes?

Anonymous said...

yup, what works for upper-middle class white people in upscale towns in the nicer bits of the anglosphere doesn't necessarily work elsewhere.

Sean said...

Some are primed for conflict- Fioravanti: "... the sense of fear, fear of death, fear of the loss of liberty. . . . Armed combat puts in question all these fears... I happened to engage in armed combat because of my personal features, it was the only thing I could do as an act of liberation." I think that kind of thinking has a lot to do with prenatal testosteronisation. I don't think, pace hbd chick, it has much to do with kinship, so I'm doubtful civil-commercial society in north Europe was related to prohibition of consanguinity. There is evidence that north Europeans were exogamous back in the stone age. See here.

Once there was a move to cultural modernity, a phenotypic susceptibility to environmental influence in and of itself, could be advantageous. It might lead to natural selection for people highly sensitive to whatever social ecology they were brought up in. I think the WASPs are the population that went furthest down that road. And maybe that is why the upscale upper middle class are so certain a permissive high investment upbringing has the power to mold people from other cultures.

Luke Lea said...

"an almost pathological fear of seeming to be xenophobic"


Davani said...

Peter - excellent post.

I want to draw your attention to one interesting tangential fact in this story that's been overlooked. Both Tamerlan and his brother, Johar, were very handsome, attractive young men who got a lot of attention from women, including American women. There have been quite a few articles about how the older brother partied in Boston nightclubs in the mid-2000s where he was a popular flirt.

In particular, the fact that he got married and had a child at 26 (with an American woman, no less) is itself revealing. Plenty of white men in America can't get any women at all, much less start with families with them at such a young age, yet here we have a recent immigrant with poor English, who had no problems at all -- and who had multiple girlfriends before his wife.

Nor was his younger brother a loner or a loser with women -- far from it. A recent article quoted a female acquaintance recalling how "...I met him [Dzhokhar] standing outside a building and honestly, his face was enough to capture my heart," she explained, noting that lots of women fawned over him. "I walked right up to him and I was like, 'Oh my God, you are adorable. Can we hang out?'"

The reason this is interesting is it confirms your studies of how dark, swarthy men are perceived as attractive. These Chechen men with dark features and tanned skin, somewhat Middle Eastern or brown in appearance, were popular and sought-after, including here in the US. They are, in effect, "Exhibit A" for your thesis about skin color in men.

You mention the violent tendencies, possibly genetic, of these dark ethnicities. Well, even if that is true, dark men do reproduce, and reproduce very successfully thanks to their good looks: enough, it seems, to counteract the risks of their lifestyle which may bring about early death or imprisonment. They embody the "bad-boy" lifestyle of "Live fast, die young."

Anonymous said...

Guy on the left looks exactly like Robert DeNiro.

Anonymous said...

"One thing that used to make American society so exceptional was its high level of personal security and personal responsibility. Americans didn’t have to fear being sucker-punched by some guy with a problem. They didn’t have to closely monitor the body language and facial expressions of anyone they happened to meet. And they didn’t have to worry about other people abusing their trust and generosity."

Interesting perspective. In which particular era of American history was this true, and for which specific demographic(s)?

"In other countries, people do."

Which specific other countries?

Doug said...

"One thing that used to make American society so exceptional was its high level of personal security and personal responsibility. Americans didn’t have to fear being sucker-punched by some guy with a problem. They didn’t have to closely monitor the body language and facial expressions of anyone they happened to meet. And they didn’t have to worry about other people abusing their trust and generosity."

Interesting comment. People are always saying how, "everyone in the Midwest is so nice." Well, everyone in the Midwest is white Northern Europeans (Germanic, Scandinavian, maybe English??). Seems like their genetic stock more closely resembles early America

Peter Fros_ said...


I'm not saying that my hometown of Pefferlaw was hell on wheels. But there was a difference between that place and the Scarborough neighbourhood where we first lived. The kids in Pefferlaw were more quick-tempered and attached a lot of importance to "respect."


My impression is that the Tsarnaev brothers "scored" with American women through a combination of physical appearance and "Big Man" character traits (displays of violence and intimidation, verbal bombast, etc.). Ironically, they would have had much less sexual success with Chechen women. Courtship is much more structured in Chechen society, with much more surveillance by the girl's family and even by her male cousins.


In 1898, the British author James Fullarton Muirhead wrote his impressions about the United States:

"If there is anything the Americans pride themselves on—and justly—it is their handsome treatment of woman. You will not meet five Americans without hearing ten times that a lone woman can traverse the length and breadth of the United States without fear of insult; every traveller reports that the United States is the Paradise of women."

When did this description cease to be valid? When I ask the question, the answers usually fall in the early 1960s. Before that time, Americans generally lived in a high-trust low-insecurity environment. There were pockets of insecurity, but even those areas were under close surveillance.

Sean said...

Peter, from a couple of things you've said I got the impression the premature death of your father resulted in a moving into a completely different social milieu. Maybe your original neighborhood was upscale and ethnically English. However, you may have got a misleading impression about the English of England. I think fighting for 'respect' is unusual in higher socio-economic classes, but not uncommon to working class British people. My kindly family-orientated music and poetry loving working class English grandfather received a complaint from the milkman (about some mischief by my Uncle John). Grandad gave the milkman a black eye! The working class in north America are more Scotch Irish (or just Irish; Steve Sailor says Boston is the only place he's seen blacks looking scared of whites on the street).

The idea that the Scots Irish have meaningful descent from reivers of the Scotland -England Border Marches is quite wrong. The Borders were peaceful after 1603, EG city gates of Carlisle were left open at night by 1625. There was persecution of Covenanters in the Borders 1660-88. (Oxford Companion to Scottish history p43). Compare the MacDonnells who moved en mass to Glengarry County, Ontario. They were the most feared enforcers in the Highlands. " Barrisdale was a thief, cattle reiver, brigand and worse... Like his cousin Alasdair MacDonell, Young Glengarry, who Andrew Lang asserted was Pickle the Spy." "Coll MacDonell of Barisdale,... was in fact the most feared and hated man in Charles Edward's army in 1745-46. A cousin of Glengarry.."(The Jacobites - P. 58). In 1745 the McDonnells were charging at the English while naked from the waist down (so they could run faster). Anyway, the Highlands were far less unpacified than any other part of Britain and for far longer.

I agree with what I take to be the basic idea of this post. The modern civic and educational ethos of the West brings out the stark hereditary differences between populations.

Anonymous said...

The working class in north America are more Scotch Irish

The "Scotch-Irishness" of the South and Southern working class tends to be exaggerated. They're mainly English. The working class in the the North tends to be Catholic ethnic. The working class in the North used to be English - they were called "Swamp Yankees" - but they were displaced or moved West.

S. Thompson said...

I am a big fan of Gregory Clark's 'Farewell to Alms', but I have one problem with his main thesis. Lowland Scots produced a very high proportion of inventors, scientists, engineers, etc. Francis Galton even thought they were the most intelligent of all ethnic groups in the British isles. Many of these Scottish innovators made their mark in the 1800s. Should we believe that these men were descended from the Border Reviers who were only pacified 200-300 years earlier?

Does anyone have any idea what traits were being selected for on during the time of the border raids? Alternatively, is it possible that once the border was pacified, there was a relatively sudden relaxation of inbreeding constraints that led to a sort of 'hybrid vigour' in relation to brain power)? I have not examined the genealogies of key Scottish innovators, so it is possible that they were not actually descended from the border clans.

MagnaEstVeritas said...

Another excellent article.

"In May 2008, his other sister said her husband was cheating on her and beating her up. Tamerlan flew across the country to "straighten up the brains" of his brother-in-law..."

This sounds very like a Pakistani Muslim I was once friendly with in the UK. He used to assure me that, if I had problems with someone, he'd happily beat them up or intimidate them for me. He flew over to Europe to "sort out" someone his brother was having problems with. He also told me that sometimes he go out simply to find someone to beat up. And he cheated in his education as a matter of course. Talking to him and seeing him in action was certainly an education for me: I'd previously known only Gujerati Muslims from India, who respect education, not violence, and are familiar with what happens in India when the Muslim minority antagonize the Hindu majority.

Anonymous said...


"Many of these Scottish innovators made their mark in the 1800s. Should we believe that these men were descended from the Border Reviers who were only pacified 200-300 years earlier?"

The Scots Lowlanders weren't borderers.

The geographical sequence north to south goes high-low-high-low like in a sandwich i.e.

Scottish Highlands
Scottish Lowlands
Border Uplands
English Lowlands

The Scottish Lowlanders were similar to the English Lowlanders except Presbyterian by religion which placed an extreme regard on literacy - which i assume is one reason for their disproportionate contribution to innovation later.

Sean said...

It is not true that Lowland Scotland was at all similar to any part of England apart from the Borders. Scotland was the poorest land in western Europe. More importantly the enclosure of land happened far later in Scotland, which meant the Lowlands were inhabited by peasants long after they had disappeared in England. Another thing it was the west Lowlands that were the stronghold of Calvinism and the breeding ground of insurrections. So there are west-east differences to explain. Freemasonry was invented in Ayrshire by the way

Anonymous said...

"It is not true that Lowland Scotland was at all similar to any part of England apart from the Borders"

"Northumbrian Old English had been established in what is now southeastern Scotland as far as the River Forth by the seventh century, as the region was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria."

"Scotland was the poorest land in western Europe"

and yet despite that (proving the point about the importance of literacy in Scotland)

"It took until the late seventeenth century to produce a largely complete network of parish schools in the Lowlands, and in the Highlands basic education was still lacking in many areas by the time the Education Act was passed in 1696"

Lowland Scotland was similar (but more so) to Lowland England in those ways which were important to innovation - which was the initial question.

Sean said...

The Borders were much the same as South West Lowland Scotland going by the fortified houses. Wikipedia: "Historians now accept that...that literacy was not noticeably higher than comparable nations".
SW Lowland Scotland inventors.James Watt was born in Greenock - Fleming (Lysozyme, penicillin),Dunlop (pneumatic tyres), McAdam (modern road surfaces), Fleming (Lysozyme, penicillin)--all born in small villages in Ayrshire, as was Thomas Morton the inventor of the barrel loom. He collaborated with the minister in a Ayrshire village who invented the regenersator. and the Stirling engine.

If anything the people of Lowland , especially South west, Scotland had historically been as peaceable but more technologically accomplished (though no more educated) than the rest of Scotland. I don't think the Lowlands was similar to England at all. At the time of the plantation to Ireland, Scotland was the poorest country in western Europe, famine stuck, with a peasant based agricultural system. Completely different to everywhere in England apart from the Borders After the failure of the Darien scheme all Scotland was bankrupt. The Lowland Scots of North America were mainly peasants from a very poor and not terribly pacified country. The main difference from Highlanders was the religious fanatics among them. In colonial times there were a lot of convicts from the British Isles sent to America.

I doubt Chechins have similar potential for behavioral modernity or intellectual contributions as Scots immigrants to North America did though we will be told that they do--with the proper education.

Anonymous said...

relief map of scotland

showing clearly
1) highlands in the north
2) lowlands in the middle going east to west across the country
3) hilly again up to the border (and likewise on the english side of the border)

Three distinct cultural zones.

S. Thompson said...

People often refer to the emphasis on literacy by the Presbyterian religion to be the major reason for Scotland having such an abundance of innovators. However, most of the characteristics required for good innovation are genetic: IQ, executive control., etc. In the book 'The Scotch-Irish: A social history' by Leyburn, he mentions that presbyterianism only took root in Scotland because the people already had a temperament that facilitated adherence to this religion. I would like to think that these were the same traits that made them highly adept at research and development.
Does anyone have an idea in relation to what characteristics were being selected (if any) in Lowland Scots up to 1600-1700?

Sean said...

The Highlands were a distinct cultural zone, but historically not that different to the Lowlands as regards violence. Anyway my main point is that all Scotland was a peasant society similar to the Highlands and far later than than any part of England apart from the English Border regions. The Lowlands were not really different, just a few generations ahead of the Highlands. Redneck' is a Scottish Borders word for Presbyterian, not reiver. 'Cracker' is Scottish too, it means a braggart.

S. Thompson, why couldn't there have been selection for aggressive personalities among the Scots-Irish once they got to North America. In Scotland a peasant was very limited in what he could make of himself. In America there was good land for the taking, and those settlers who got and held onto the best land, could and would have bigger families. Even the most fertile Israelis (the ultra orthodox) have increased fertility when they move to the west bank settlements.

Anonymous said...


"However, most of the characteristics required for good innovation are genetic: IQ, executive control., etc."

Yes but literacy is a neccessary pre-condition for those genetic traits to operate. If a country has 100 parishs and one potential innovator per parish then if that country has only 40 parish schools it will identify and educate only 40 and the other 60 will carry on being shepherds or whatever. If the country has 100 parish schools then they'll identify and educate all 100 of their potential innovators.

It's not the literacy that creates the innovation. The literacy is neccessary to *allow* the genetic traits to create the innovation.

"Does anyone have an idea in relation to what characteristics were being selected (if any) in Lowland Scots up to 1600-1700?"

I don't recall if she's looked at lowland Scotland specifically but i generally hold with the ideas i picked up from hbdchick's blog about the northern euro marriage model. In particular i think it increased IQ through reducing genetic load.

Sean said...

Exogamy was a popular explanation for the evolution of civil society, nineteenth century anthropologists were very quick to assume there was mass inbreeding in remote areas of Scotland and Ireland. Exogamy does not reduces genetic load, it may shelter deleterious mutations, but only at first; they're not removed from the gene pool. See here. Inbreeding removes deleterious mutations though intensive consanguinity does not seem to have produced high IQs in places like Senegal.

Shepherd's sons became did not get spotted because of universal literacy in Scotland; it did not exist, as I think I've already said. Again. Here is a practical example of an inventor from from a remote south west 'Lowlands' village (the highest in Scotland) William Symington.

In Ireland there were landlords, law and order. It would not pay to pursue vendettas there. In frontier America where land was there for the taking (or grabbing), being known as a man who was crossed at one's peril would pay off. (You didn't have to be Scots Irish like Andrew Jackson to realize that.) Jackson's mother told him "Never tell a lie or take what is not your own or sue anyone for slander or assault or battery. Always settle them cases yourself".

Anonymous said...


"Exogamy does not reduces genetic load"

I never said it did.

"West of this line, the average age of marriage for women was 23 or more,[3] men 26, spouses were relatively close in age,[4] a substantial number of women married for the first time in their thirties and forties, and 10% to 20% of adults never married."

10% to 20% of adults never marrying would reduce genetic load as long as there were few children out of wedlock and marriage was at least partly assortative on mutual attraction assuming attractiveness ~ lower genetic load.

I think exogamy having an effect on civil society through making people less clannish is a separate effect.

"Shepherd's sons became did not get spotted because of universal literacy in Scotland; it did not exist, as I think I've already said."

No-one said universal literacy existed in Scotland. The article i referenced said there was a full network of parish schools in the central lowlands - like South Lanarkshire.

Also William Symington - surnames again.

Sean said...

I think I've already given a link to the commonest surnames in Ulster which includes 'Symington'. Neither of the two villages called Symington, (in Ayrshire, and South Lanarkshire are anywhere near near the Borders. Ulster names make clear that the Borders did not supply an important part of the Scots Irish gene pool after Cromwell (by which time many descendants of earlier immigrants had died). Those who were from the Borders were were poor peasants larded with Covenanters.

William Symington was not a shepherd's son and you have not provided a single instance of an intellectually gifted person from such a background who was discovered though school in the relevant time and place. I'll cite Robert Burns as further evidence showing the brilliant (of which Ayrshire had a full share) from poor backgrounds had to rely on parents or patrons rather than any supposed school system. The excess of invention in Scotland is evidence for Scotland, especially the south west Lowlands. being different to other areas with similar marraige ans kinship pattrerns, even within Britain. One of HBD's many mysteries

I'm dubious about associative mating and deferential reproduvtve success in monogamy leading to high IQ predominating; the kinds of things that attract a mate are good looks, grace/prowess, openness/confidence. These are not closely associated with IQ and can be selected apart from it above a basic level of IQ, (eg black African men) as genetic load theory proponents admit.

The less desirable still have one another at end of day. In effect GL is an anti-adaptationalist argument for high IQ through genetically un-loaded IQ geeks marrying one another, while those with high genetic load who are too poor to marry just die off irrespective of how attractive they are.

The Scots Irish have frontier North American culture. I think that kind of threatening behavior was further selected for and encouraged once they immigrated to an environment where it was more adaptive. 'Respect' culture may be hereditory, in part, but it's not from the Borders