April 16, 2007

Blood of the Isles:

My new VDARE.com column is a review of Oxford U. geneticist Bryan Sykes' book Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

This article is really fascinating and tracks with Sykes' earlier work investigating the Somerset County neolithic skeleton known as Cheddar Man. I was amazed when he discovered that several local children and a local schoolteacher appeared to be closely related to the 9000 year skeleton. Imagine, 9000 years of genetic continuity within a single village.

It also makes one wonder how many other cases where it was widely assumed that waves of invaders replaced the original inhabitants turn out to be similar to the UK-- newcomers making a relatively modest contribution to a stable genetic base. For example, are the Egyptians genetically descended from Arab invaders or from the people who built the pyramids? And are the modern day Turks more related to central Asians or the Anatolians of antiquity?

Craig said...

And are the modern day Turks more related to central Asians or the Anatolians of antiquity?

My understanding is that modern-day Turks are, well, Turks. Near the end of the 1st millenium AD, the Byzantine Empire made the mistake of turning much of the land from farming to grazing, leaving much of it rather sparsely populated.

This is a vague recollection from Stephen Runciman's "First Crusades," so don't quote me.

This is also a useful reference: http://www.scs.uiuc.edu/~mcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf

tggp said...

According to the folks at Gene Expression, Egypt was only arabized linguistically, not genetically. So they are the descendants of the pyramid-builders. The Copts try to preserve some of their pre-islamic heritage, but they are Christians rather than polytheists.

The berbers are unique (as far as I know) in that they are a sort of half-way arabized group. Many governments in the region deny that there are such a people distinct from arabs and prohibit their language. That's why Moammar Quaddafi (a Bedouin Arab) calls his country "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya".

Steve Sailer said...

Generally speaking, it doesn't pay for invaders to slaughter all the peasants. It makes more economic sense to keep them growing food and collect rent and taxes from them. The older generation of Mongol invaders of China, for example, wanted to burn China down and turn it into a big pasture for their horses. But the younger generation noticed that China had all these things like restaurants and laundries that were quite nice once you got to understand them, so why not just let them live and tax them?

Anonymous said...

Interesting article, especially so for us island descendants.

Speaking of the Mongols, I'd be interested to see the same study done on some asian populations. Just so I know when I make fun of my asian friends for being Khan's bastards whether I'm telling the truth or not.

Phibert said...

I have to say I think this book deserves a lot more scepticism than it has received here. There is a mass of contradicting evidence from the archeological and literary/historic record (just for a starter: Julius Caesar's report of dealing with Celtic tribes in Britain, those same tribes disavowing any knowledge of the purposes of the stone megaliths, etc) and the genetic record (the genetic profile of Northern Germans is virtually indistinguishable from the southern English.

I'd very much like to see what Cavalli-Sforza has to say about this book. Is there any chance that Steve could post a pointer to it if it ever gets written?

And Steve: that closing connection to the evils of diversity was one of the biggest stretches I have ever seen in an article here.

Phibert said...

A very good basis for scepticism about Sykes's work, and even the man himself, can be found in the article of October 08, 2003

A tale of two scientists

at Gene expression. It indicates that Sykes is not above twisting the argument and the evidence to suit his politically correct ("no invasions, ever!") theory. I don't trust Sykes in the least to be a neutral interpreter of the data: this needs a sceptical peer review. I hope it gets it.

rob said...

Whatever the truth may be about the genetic makeup of the British, the country has undergone a greater change in the genetic composition of its population in the last 50 years than in all of the previous 10000 years,thanks to immigration.For all the blather about democracy and popular government, the indigenous Britons were never given a choice about this devastating change.Opionion polls indicate they would never have let it happen.While Blair talks of fighting terrorism abroad, his government allows 1500 people a day enter Britain from the Indian subcontinent alone.

Anonymous said...

You are entirely right, Rob. It was a mockery of democracy: the people were never allowed to vote on it, not once.

Ethelbert the Unready said...

Who needs genetic data to tell us the obvious? If we haven't been here for thousands of years, who the fuck has?

Anonymous said...

Whatever the truth may be about the genetic makeup of the British, the country has undergone a greater change in the genetic composition of its population in the last 50 years than in all of the previous 10000 years,thanks to immigration. - ROb

Indeed. I wrote a letter to Mr. Sailer about just that. A 10-20% in the genetic base over 2,000 years? Those were called "invasions."

A 10% change to the genetic base in just 50 years or so? That's called "immigration." At the current rate, the Brits, whose ancestors have been living on the isles since time immemorial, will be outnumbered and replaced by the immigrants in a century or less.

We mock the ancients for their barbarism, ignorance, and superstition, but they were never this stupid.

Ironically, modern technology and economics are mostly to blame. Technology has separated people from the need for a connection to the land. When people needed land to live, they were very aware of who came and took their land. That's also why things like the invasion of the New World can be considered morally justifiable - it was a time of "them or us," and no one came blame us for choosing ourselves over our competitors.

Economics also plays a role. In economics and investing, 1% is a very small number. Who wants to make merely a 1% return in a single year? But 1% - or 1/2% - is quite a lot when you think about immigration. If the native population isn't growing, then 1/2% immigration each year for a century means that at least 1/3rd of the population will consist of immigrants after a century. Raise the numbers slightly, or import a population that has a higher birthrate, and the outcome changes even more dramatically. The native Brits will be outnumbered by immigrants by the end of this century.

Same goes, of course, for Americans, too. No one thinks about it like that, though. During the conquest of the New World, it took over 300 years for the Europeans to outnumber the natives - and we had the epidemiological upper hand. The Western world's 21st Century invaders will do it faster than that, and without the benefit of all those viruses.

For all the blather about democracy and popular government, the indigenous Britons were never given a choice about this devastating change.

Oh yes they were. They were given a choice about it in 1997, 2001, 2005 (ish). They're given a choice every single election. And what do they choose? Government welfare payments. People these days would rather sit on their arses. Perhaps they deserve to be replaced. Welcome to Blairstrip One.

Anonymous said...

Q: "And are the modern day Turks more related to central Asians or the Anatolians of antiquity?"

A: The contribution of Turkic peoples to the Turkish gene pool is slight. I rember reading that the Ottoman invasion, for instance, consisted of about 400 families. The overwhelming majority of the Anatolian gene pool is from the indigenous, formerly indo-european speaking populations (i.e., Hittites, Lycians, Kurds, Greeks, etc.). All you have to do is look at the people to see this. Modern Turks are physically virtually indistinguishable from other Eastern Mediterranean peoples. The original Altiac speaking Turkic peoples were mongoloids and the Western Central Asian Turkic speaking peoples have a predominately Mongoloid facial cast with clear evidence of some interbreeding with the Scytho-Sarmatian, Indoeuropean (Iranian) speaking original inhabitants of the Steppes.

Anonymous said...

If all people of the British Isles are the same why does Ireland have a lower iq?
Ireland 93
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations
United Kingdom 100

Anonymous said...

Another book worth reading on the subject of British genetics, in addition to Sykes', is Stephen Oppenheimer's much more technical (and in my opinion better) Origins of the British.

His conclusion is similar to Sykes', i.e., that most of the genetic material in Britian came from the Mesolithic Hunter gatherers and and Neolithic farmers, with only a minority comming from historical invasions. However, he notes that the Eastern and Western half of the Isles have long had a different genetic history, with the majority of the hunter gatherers and Middle Eastern farmers who are the ancestors of the Eastern English comming up the Central European waterways and settling Britain from Northwestern Europe, whereas the bulk of the huntergatherer ancestors of the Western British and Irish came up the Atlantic coast from the Iberian Ice Age refuge and the farmers took a Mediterranean coastal root from the Middle East and up the Atlantic coast to Western Britian.

He also puts forward the theory that the Celtic languages originated in Iberia and Southern France and moved up the Atlantic Coast (i.e., that the Iberians were always Celt-Iberians). He maintains that when Caesar spoke of Gaul being divided in three parts, the Gauls, who Caesar said refer to themselves as Celts, inhabited Gaul south of the Sein, with the exception of the Aquitani in the Southwest (who were probably Basques). North of the Sein were the Belgae, who Oppenheimer theorizes were actually Germanic dialect speakers (and Caesar says they were like the Germans). Oppenheimer asserts that the inhabitants South-Eastern Britian were related to the Belgae (as Caesar maintaned) and were Germanic Speakers, distinct from the Celts of Western Britian (and trys to show this by historic place names, finds of Ogham script, and coin distribution). He also asserts that the Anglo-Saxon invasions from the East were mainly a Germanic elite conquering an already Germanic population. Furthermore, Oppenheimer asserts that the LaTene and Halstatt cultures of Southern German, Austria and Switzerland were always Germanic speaking and that the Gauls of Southern Italy were Celtic Speakers who came over the Alps from the Northwest (i.e., France) instead of from the North (i.e., LaTene Culture Germans).

Whether Oppenheimer is correct is open to debate, but the evidence he martial seems convincing.

Anonymous said...

Q: "If all people of the British Isles are the same why does Ireland have a lower iq?
Ireland 93."

A: Ireland and Scotland do appear to have lower average IQs than England. How recent of a development this is is open to question. It could result from differences in selection over the centuries varying with the degree of urbanization and job specialization. It could also result from lower living standards and poorer nutrition (compare: Flynn effect and secular increase in height in the 20th Century).

Another possibility is emmigration. For instance, since the mid-19th Century at least half of all Scots who obtained a University degree emmigrated from Scotland (mostly to England). That can't be good for the gene pool. With respect to Ireland, before the potatoe famine of the 1840s, Ireland had a population of 8 million. The famines resulted in about 1.5 million deaths and massive emmigration, leaving a population of around 2 million behind (and today the population has only recovered to around 5 million). The 1.5 million who died probably tended to be among the least successful and poorest, which may have had a eugenic effect re intelligence. However, 4.5 million or so that left, apart from the small, wealthy and successful minority with a vested interest in staying, would probably have been on average brighter and more ambitious than the stay at homes who remained. Anytime the majority of a country gets up and leaves, the stay at homes may not be a representative sample of the previous population and perhaps this also accounts for some of the poor performance of Irish in psychometric tests. For instance, I have never seen any data indicating the people of Irish descent from the US, Canada, or Australia are particularly less intelligent than those English descent in those countries.

One can look at parallels with what is happening in small towns across America. My 3 cousins come from from a small town in upstate NY (whose population has has shrunk by about 1/4 in the last 20 years and is in dire economic shape). After college and grad school, they all moved to major NE metropolitan areas and told me that they are not alone. Every one of their highschool classmates who went to college has not returned to their home town. Of their classmate who did not attend college, all of those who did not join the military are still living in their hometown. I would assume that those who went to college or were accepted by the military have a significantly higher IQ than those who did/were not and that as a result, the average IQ of young people still in the town is considerably lower as a result. I can well imagine that Irish outmigration is similar to this process writ large.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Mark Thomas argues for the Anglo-Saxon apartheid model:

"Dr Mark Thomas, of the UCL Department of Biology, said: “The native Britons were genetically and culturally absorbed by the Anglo-Saxons over a period of as little as a few hundred years.

“An initially small invading Anglo-Saxon elite could have quickly established themselves by having more children who survived to adulthood, thanks to their military power and economic advantage. We believe that they also prevented the native British genes getting into the Anglo-Saxon population by restricting intermarriage in a system of apartheid that left the country culturally and genetically Germanised. This is exactly what we see today – a population of largely Germanic genetic origin, speaking a principally German language.

Evidence of an ethnic divide can be found in ancient texts such as the laws of Ine. In around the seventh century these laws put a far greater value on the life of an Anglo-Saxon than on that of a native Briton (known as Welshman by the Anglo-Saxons at the time). If an Anglo-Saxon was killed the ‘blood money’ or ‘Wergild’ payable to the family was between two and five times more than the fine payable for the life of a Welshman.

In the paper, Dr Thomas and colleagues at the University of Reading and Imperial write: “This ethnic distinction of two intermingling populations and its formalisation in law cannot have survived for such a long period without some mechanism that perpetuated a distinction. Physical segregation could have had this effect, but this is not what the laws of Ine imply; therefore an apartheid-like social structure seems to be the most obvious mechanism."

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/19/7/1008/F3

Thomas suggests the difference between the Welsh towns, Abergele and Llangefni is drift.

Desmond Jones

Anonymous said...

": Ireland and Scotland do appear to have lower average IQs than England"
what about lowland scotland vs. highland - Lowland seems to be where all the 'brights' come from along with many of the world's great invetors, writers and so forth. They also are disproportionately represented in the medical professions and in parliament.

Kevin said...

Q: "If all people of the British Isles are the same why does Ireland have a lower iq?
Ireland 93 ... United Kingdom 100."


I think Ireland is being lowballed. Are the Irish really significantly dumber than the Italians (102) or the Spanish (99)? How can Ireland's per capita GDP be one of the highest in the world given their supposedly low average IQ?

As another poster said, the dispora Irish seem as smart as any other Europeans - certainly not 7 points dumber. However, his explanation of right-hand bell curve exodus is unsatisfactory.

According to the wiki article on the 1845 - 1849 potato famine only around 2 million left, not 4.5. These people who did leave were mostly poor farmers who lost their one source of food. They got aboard "coffin ships" that had a mortality rate higher then the slave ships. I wouldn't describe these people as "bright" or "ambitious." The adjective I would use is desperate. It would be like saying the U.S. is getting the best, brightest and most ambitious Mexicans. However, in the Irish case there would be more disencentives to making the trip because of the danger.

The most logical conclusion is that Lynn and Vanhanen are wrong about the Irish IQ.

Andre said...

Have you noticed that most fishermen live by the sea?

Anonymous said...

Lowland seems to be where all the 'brights' come from along with many of the world's great invetors, writers and so forth. They also are disproportionately represented in the medical professions and in parliament.

The highlander vs. flatlander disparity is one seen pretty much the world over. In the US we call them hillbillies. While everyone thinks the Chinese and Indians are smart, no one ever seems to talk about Tibetans, the Hmong, or the Nepalese in that way.

It's difficult to sustain dynamic cultures in mountainous regions, and communication is a pain. I suspect that traditionally people with more ambition or a better genetic endowment left the mountains seeking opportunity in lowland areas.

The same would hold true for Scotalnd, too.

Anonymous said...

The contribution of Turkic peoples to the Turkish gene pool is slight. I rember reading that the Ottoman invasion, for instance, consisted of about 400 families. The overwhelming majority of the Anatolian gene pool is from the indigenous, formerly indo-european speaking populations

400 families seems like kind of a lowball number. And didn't the Seljuk Turks invade first, ca. 1000 AD?

Ancient people didn't necessarily care much about who governed them. There are many instances where the locals were more than happy to support rulers of different religion/ethnicity if it meant a less oppressive government.

Besides initial numbers, there are at least two other factors affecting the ultimate effect of invaders on a population: 1) mating advantages held by the powerful; 2)natural selection.

If, 2000 years ago, millions of black Africans invaded northern Europe and left the population half black and half white, how black would northern Europe be 1,000 years later? 0%? 10%? 100%?

When you talk about indigenous populations, you're talking about genes that have been selected over a very long period of time for success in a particular envirnoment. In a cloudy region like northern Europe, black skin would be a huge disadvantage. What about other genetic traits, physical and behavioral, that benefit their possessors in particular environments?

Diarmid said...

Other scientists disagree with Sykes:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/tcga/tcgapdf/Thomas-PRSB-06-Apartheid.pdf

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/tcga/tcgapdf/Weale-MBE-02-AS.pdf

Terry said...

the majority of the hunter gatherers and Middle Eastern farmers who are the ancestors of the Eastern English

There is very little DNA from Middle Eastern farmers in Britain since most British belong to either Haplogroup R or I which have been in Europe since the Ice Age.

Peter said...

From 450ad until about 100ad the Irish were known as the smartest people in Europe.
Magnus Magnusson could not find a good word said about Vikings(his own people) but about Ireland, “The Island of Saints and Scholars “ he found nothing but lavish praise. Ireland dominated Western Europe intellectually for almost six centuries.
(England’s Book of Lindisfarne was inspired by Ireland’s older Book of Kells for instance. Edfrith, its author, was educated in Ireland.). The Irish language was written down TWO centuries before English.
Now that the utter ruination that England visited on Ireland is over Ireland has AGAIN bobbed up to being the wealthiest country in Europe.
(Part of that ruination was the obliteration of the memory of Irish Civilisation.)
As the poverty eases Irelands IQ will bob up over the European average as well..This happened in America.