November 12, 2009

Was Genghis Khan a dandelion or an orchid?

The December 2009 Atlantic contains an article by David Dobbs entitled The Science of Success that tries to take a Greg Cochran-Henry Harpending idea and give it a Malcolm Gladwell-like spin.

Dobbs' article begins:
Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people.

Dandelions and Orchids are kind of like Malcolm Gladwell's Picasso and Cezannes: Malcolm gave a speech last year to a conference of math teachers on how some students are like Picasso and everything comes quickly to them, while others are like Cezanne, where it takes them a long time before they become geniuses.

Dobbs then explains about how having social workers come into the homes of new mothers can improve their parenting skills.

This is all part of the ongoing trend toward the future Stolen Generation of African-American children. Notice how there are two movies out this month, Precious and The Blind Side, both about how 350-pound impoverished black teenagers' lives can be fixed up by caring social workers and/or white adoptive parents.

Dobbs goes on:
... a genetic trait tremendously maladaptive in one situation can prove highly adaptive in another. We needn’t look far to see this in human behavior. To survive and evolve, every society needs some individuals who are more aggressive, restless, stubborn, submissive, social, hyperactive, flexible, solitary, anxious, introspective, vigilant—and even more morose, irritable, or outright violent—than the norm.

All of this helps answer that fundamental evolutionary question about how risk alleles have endured. We have survived not despite these alleles but because of them. And those alleles haven’t merely managed to slip through the selection process; they have been actively selected for. Recent analyses, in fact, suggest that many orchid-gene alleles, including those mentioned in this story, have emerged in humans only during the past 50,000 or so years. Each of these alleles, it seems, arose via chance mutation in one person or a few people, and began rapidly proliferating. Rhesus monkeys and human beings split from their common lineage about 25 million to 30 million years ago, so these polymorphisms must have mutated and spread on separate tracks in the two species. Yet in both species, these new alleles proved so valuable that they spread far and wide.

As the evolutionary anthropologists Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending have pointed out, in The 10,000 Year Explosion (2009), the past 50,000 years—the period in which orchid genes seem to have emerged and expanded—is also the period during which Homo sapiens started to get seriously human, and during which sparse populations in Africa expanded to cover the globe in great numbers. Though Cochran and Harpending don’t explicitly incorporate the orchid-gene hypothesis into their argument, they make the case that human beings have come to dominate the planet because certain key mutations allowed human evolution to accelerate—a process that the orchid-dandelion hypothesis certainly helps explain.

How this happened must have varied from context to context. If you have too many aggressive people, for example, conflict runs rampant, and aggression is selected out, because it becomes costly; when aggression decreases enough to be less risky, it becomes more valuable, and its prevalence again rises. Changes in environment or culture would likewise affect an allele’s prevalence. The orchid variant of the DRD4 gene, for instance, increases risk of ADHD (a syndrome best characterized, Cochran and Harpending write, “by actions that annoy elementary-school teachers”). Yet attentional restlessness can serve people well in environments that reward sensitivity to new stimuli. The current growth of multitasking, for instance, may help select for just such attentional agility. Complain all you want that it’s an increasingly ADHD world these days—but to judge by the spread of DRD4’s risk allele, it’s been an increasingly ADHD world for about 50,000 years.

Okay, but consider the single most successful individual of the last millennium from a Darwinian point of view: Genghis Khan. Was The Mighty Manslayer a dandelion or an orchid? And what kind of social worker / adoptive couple would have been ideal for little Genghis?

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

59 comments:

Derek said...

Can I be a daisy please? Daisies are pretty.

Cordelia said...

I wanna be a Venus fly trap!! ;-)

Om-nom-nom-nom.

Dirty Sanchez said...

daisy chain?

Anonymous said...

His great insight is apparently to steal blatantly from The Selfish Gene all over again. This is just the Hawks/Doves simulation applied to people -- not that it ever *didn't* apply to people.

Anonymous said...

The liberal doth protest too much, methinks.

Anonymous said...

If Genghis Khan had been born in the West today, I wonder if he'd be more than a gang leader.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a "just so" theory.

Maximum reproductive success comes from marginally outreproducing each generation. A gene that gets 1.5 copies of itself passed on each generation does better than a gene that gets .5 copies of itself passed on 50% of the time and 3 copies of itself passed on 50% of the time. Slow and steady wins the race.

simon said...

According to the reasoning here, Genghis was a 'fragile' orchid. :\

Mouthbreather said...

"If you have too many aggressive people, for example, conflict runs rampant, and aggression is selected out, because it becomes costly; when aggression decreases enough to be less risky, it becomes more valuable, and its prevalence again rises."

Wouldn't an increase in the number of aggressive people just create an aggression arms race that further weeds out the non-aggressive? How are pacifistic individuals in a situation like that supposed to somehow achieve greater fitness? As opposed to just getting slaughtered pre-replication? Consider sub-Saharan Africa.

neil craig said...

Actually I would say that anybody able to introduce an almost entirely new & military doctrine & use it with unequalled success is creative in a way combining atributes of an artist & chess grand master. Ghengiz Khan was not Conan.

In similar vein I have thought that the development of complex language at the Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon divide may have been possible because that making noises only becomes pro-survival when you have reached the top of the food chain & there are no sabre tooth tigers around. That or you live in trees like birds & monkeys.

rob said...

The liberals can believe group selection for as long as they like. Which will be until they realize it's racist.

They need to learn that it is not the only level of selection. An allele can increase in frequency because it benefits those who carry it at the expense of society.

Twenty or fifty years ago, a stolen generation of blacks might have been a good idea. There just aren't enough whites to civilize them all anymore.

Anonymous said...

I think if we can figure out a way to take the whole ADHD think a feature and not a bug we will do better as a society. I see so many intelligent children not flourishing under the current regime.
A return to true hands on learning and apprenticeships would be a start. Child labor laws and general liability laws make that difficult at present.

Lost Pilgrim said...

Stupidest argument I have ever heard. Some anti social genes have survived but modern times are not what the world was. Those genes will die out unless we have a mad max future because people who kill the man in the next cubicle for annoying them will not pass on progeny.

Kylie said...

"This is all part of the ongoing trend toward the future Stolen Generation of African-American children. Notice how there are two movies out this month, Precious and The Blind Side, both about how 350-pound impoverished black teenagers' lives can be fixed up by caring social workers and/or white adoptive parents."

I think this trend owes less to the Dandelions and Orchids theory than it does to the one regarding Silk Purses and Sow's Ears. White liberals seem especially enamoured of opportunities to try to make the former out of the latter.

Anonymous said...

Steve ,I know you don't HATE black people but you think they're so inferior that we shouldn't even bother.

I guess if you're not a white supremacist this kind of development wouldn't annoy you too much.

Jimmy Crackedcorn said...

I'm trying to picture Ghengis Khan in the "Gee, Officer Krupke" scene from West Side Story.

Anonymous said...

Well, society needs men...

Peter A said...

"This is all part of the ongoing trend toward the future Stolen Generation of African-American children. "

Steve, can you please explain why this seems to upset you? Are you suggesting that parents in the ghetto are doing a fine job on their own? Do you believe the alchoholics on the native american reservations and aboriginal townships have been an improvement on the white run schools? When did you turn into a touchy feely liberal?

alonzo portfolio said...

Not to discount Harpending's work for other contexts, but the history of the last 40 years is that the influence of white social workers on black development is about zero. The overriding imperative of black life is to ignore white norms; that's what "keeping it real" means. The whole Ayers-Obama plan is to provide a money spigot such that blacks have no need to "adapt."

Baloo said...

Alas, we're in the age of the pansy.

David said...

Transparent rationalization of pumping massive resources into the black underclass, whose behavior is entirely destructive and valueless in any world, modern (Detroit) or ancient (Africa).

Our elites, drunk on the white-guilt religion, hold that smart, high-IQ, ruly people confer no primary survival value. Such people can justify their existence only by sacrificing resources and time to pull their more valuable brothers up by their bootstraps. Praise the Lawd!

The privileged and evil second-class citizens who think and produce are obligated to nourish underclass behavior by lavishing on it increasing investments in education and day care and more transfer payments generally - because one gets more of what one funds, and:

> every society needs some individuals who are [...] even more morose, irritable, or outright violent [...] than the norm. [...] helps answer that fundamental evolutionary question about how risk[y] alleles have endured. We have survived not *despite* these alleles but *because* of them. <

In other words, diversity is our greatest strength!

Madness is refusal to accept reality. The left is completely mad - or else is evil and feigning insanity.

Anonymous said...

"A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care."

I read the book when it first came out. I had more in mind "Norman the Aspie Nerd" rather than "Tyrone the Thug" as being the delicate, new kind of person.

Middletown Girl said...

Maybe Genghis was that rare breed, the orchilion.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you've fleshed it out elsewhere, but I'm missing the total risibility of Gladwell.

I'm working through "Outliers," and basically see a fairly compelling and interestingly presented case that we could do a better job finding and developing talent.

steven patrick said...

As someone w/ADHD I can tell you that the increase in "multi tasking" is a curse not a blessing. We already struggle with concentrating on a single task and look for distractions. The Web, email, blackberry, etc just give us more excuses to do something other than what we are supposed to do. I get really sick of people who say that ADHD is actually a gift. It is not. It is a deformity.

J. T. Kirk said...

Khhhhhaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnn!

Bob said...

Currently adaptive in America: Low IQ and no reluctance to have children and become a public charge.

Not adaptive: high IQ and the ability to earn a lot of money and pay taxes.

Kevin K said...

Another good example of the new Lost Generation is from "The Wire" where the retired police officer, Bunny Colvin, adopted one the kids even though both of his parents were still alive!

Robert said...

A dandelion will spread its seed better than an orchid.

Reg C├Žsar said...

The orchid variant of the DRD4 gene, for instance, increases risk of ADHD... Yet attentional restlessness can serve people well in environments that reward sensitivity to new stimuli.

Shades of Thom Hartmann's Hunter and Farmer business, an important contribution by a non-scientist writing for non-scientists. Like the little girl with the curl, the Hunter/ADD type can be very, very good, or horrid.


...to judge by the spread of DRD4’s risk allele, it’s been an increasingly ADHD world for about 50,000 years.

Though Hartmann argues the opposite, that the Farmer culture has been crowding out the older Hunter one over the same period. Nevertheless, the Farmers need the occasional Hunter for their quantum leaps of progress, which is why he calls it "the Edison Gene".

Dave R. said...

Most of the article linked seems on solid ground. Nor is it all surprising. Part of it seems like a different take on a hawks and doves description of equilibrium states of aggressive or cooperative/submissive interpersonal strategies.

What they gloss over is the uncomfortable possibility that genuinely "bad" behaviors, whether morally bad or functionally bad for society as a whole, may well be adaptive from a reproductive fitness standpoint. Not only in our recent history, but up through the present day, perhaps especially in the face of political correctness and public welfare programs. Which I imagine is Steve's point in asking which precious flower Genghis Khan was.

If they've found a genuinely useful social intervention, that is good news. I don't think it necessarily follows that government-employed social workers are the best delivery technique for the lab-coated social science breakthrough of "read to your damn kids, even the hyper ones."

David said...

> I guess if you're not a white supremacist this kind of development wouldn't annoy you too much. <

From the horse's mouth: if you don't willingly back parting with trillions of dollars for blacks, you are a "white supremacist."

You're welcome.

Maybe we're just tired of doubling down. Did that occur to you?

Anonymous said...

What if DRD4 survives and thrives because it's beneficial to one sex but not the other? So that men who get it are impulsive, unreliable and violent, but that women who get it are impulsively more likely to have more children?

Are there examples of such genes? I would have to imagine there are.

As for Ghengis Khan - do we really have any idea what he was truly like? OK, so he was bloodthirsty, but he was also capable of conquering half the known world. He was smart and horny. So how different is that from, say, Bill Clinton?

C. Van Carter said...

Many blacks are provided income and housing by the government. Supplying a staff of white servants to maintain the home and raise the children is the logical next step.

Anonymous said...

"As for Ghengis Khan - do we really have any idea what he was truly like? OK, so he was bloodthirsty, but he was also capable of conquering half the known world. He was smart and horny. So how different is that from, say, Bill Clinton?"

Slick Willy has only produced one offspring--well, that we know of.

Lost Pilgrim said...

I think Steve does not want to create a problem that can be blamed on white society.

Truthfully most reservations are bad enough that many children should be removed. That doesn't mean they should be taken from the local community, simply put in different homes. The problem is that their is a terrible lack of foster parents. Not that people are not trying just that there are too many kids. Indians tend have large families. I know some families with four or more kids and eight or more foster kids in a three bedroom home.

So white society probably should do something. White society is partially responsible if only through funding. It should be part of the solution.

I can't speak to the problems of the inner city but we all know that some part of that problem was caused by white society. Welfare, lax Judicial system, unrestricted illegal immigration, the general lowering of moral standards. White society had a hand in all that. Time to fix it.

redblitz said...

If slick willy was born a few hundred to a few thousand years ago, I'm sure he would have had quite a lot more offspring ;)

Anonymous said...

Steve, can you please explain why this seems to upset you?

I dunno about Steve, but I'm upset about it because it isn't going to be restrained to ghetto blacks. I'm already dealing with raising children with frightening levels of social services involvement. It's not going to be fun when we all have a stupid resentful indoctrinated government worker breathing down our families' necks.

Dutch Boy said...

Definitely a dandelion - he was orphaned early and ended up avenging his father's death and generally massacring his enemies. He reminds me of the Spanish general who was asked on his deathbed if he forgave his enemies. They are all dead, he replied.

P Klein said...

"Maybe you've fleshed it out elsewhere, but I'm missing the total risibility of Gladwell.

I'm working through "Outliers," and basically see a fairly compelling and interestingly presented case that we could do a better job finding and developing talent."

Probably because he is a Boasian environmentalist who promotes ridiculous theories to avoid the possibility of average group differences in intelligence.

For instance his explanation of Asian math skills linked to rice growing, or the high number of lawyers with a Jewish background.

In terms of the Asian math skills he could have found a much more parsimonious explanation from various adoption studies. But that would ruin his culture theory.

http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html

Truth said...

"Currently adaptive in America: Low IQ and no reluctance to have children and become a public charge.

Not adaptive: high IQ and the ability to earn a lot of money and pay taxes."

Midpoint: Low IQ and the propensity to bitch and whine instead of trying to improve things.

Cordelia said...

Lost Pilgrim said: "...people who kill the man in the next cubicle for annoying them will not pass on progeny."

Well, they have better odds of passing on their genes than the dead man in the cubicle.

Doug1 said...

Ghenghis's most salient characteristics appear to have been very high intelligence, charisma, and outside the box thinking. Nothing I've seen indicates that he was an unusually gifted warrior at the doing level himself, aside from his leadership abilities. He was tough and a survivor though. Good but not Conan the Barbarian.

He was also coldly rational and capable of being ruthless. As a boy he killed his two older half brothers, who were being problematic towards him. His mother wailed but ultimately sided with his strength and other qualities.

Genghis was a master general, not a Rocky Balboa or Conan.

Thomas said...

Liberals like genetics only to the extent that they offer another convenient rationale for behaviors that they wish to excuse (best example: homosexuality), or alternatively when they can use it to beat up on religion. I'm actually rather impressed to see this little foray onto forbidden ground. Unfortunately, whenever liberals get their hot little hands on the concept, they make utter hash of it.

Let's clear this up: adaptive traits are those that provide a relative advantage in reproducing into the next generation to the organism possessing them compared to those who lack those traits. Reproductive fitness ≠ social success. A trait that somehow "improves" a population in some way but provides no net benefit to its host organism (including any derivative benefit from being a member of the population) isn't adaptive either.

Under the circumstances of contemporary America, whatever genes are possessed, say, by foreign-born Hispanic women in California, or black women without college educations, both of whom have Total Fertility Rates significantly above replacement level, are adaptive. Those of non-Hispanic whites as a whole are not. Whether this situation will remain when there is a much smaller white population to provide the redistributed economic surplus to those other groups is a question we'll be able to answer over the next 40 years or so.

Tom Merle said...

Prof. Bruce Lahn may have decided to keep his head down and walk away from the study of biological influences on behavior, but not another University of Chicago researcher, Kirsten Jacobsen, who's right in the thick of things.

Have a look at her faculty web page. http://psychiatry.uchicago.edu/cnpru/jacobson.html and then click on some of the PDF links of her recent work which is highly technical, but you'll get the gist of it.

Here's a quote from the summary of one analysis where she was the lead researcher (notice that all the other researchers are women)

Genetic and Environmental Bases of Childhood Antisocial Behavior: A
Multi-Informant Twin Study


Genetic and environmental influences on childhood antisocial and aggressive behavior (ASB) during childhood were examined in 9- to 10-year-old twins, using a multi-informant approach. The sample (605 families of twins or triplets) was socioeconomically and ethnically diverse, representative of the culturally diverse urban population in Southern California. Measures of ASB included symptom counts for conduct disorder, ratings of aggression, delinquency, and psychopathic traits obtained through child self-reports, teacher, and caregiver ratings. Multivariate analysis revealed a common ASB factor acrossinformants that was strongly heritable (heritability was .96)...

And note the scope of a five year study of 7,000 Chicago adolescents that she is involved with From Neighborhoods to Neurons and Beyond

Jimmy Crackedcorn said...

Under the circumstances of contemporary America, whatever genes are possessed, say, by foreign-born Hispanic women in California, or black women without college educations, both of whom have Total Fertility Rates significantly above replacement level, are adaptive.

Looking at any two similar organisms, the one that requires the least amount of energy input in order to reproduce will generate more offspring. Hispanics have lower standards, blacks have lower standards, low IQ whites have lower standards. Middle- and upper- class European and Asians have to spend too much of their time reading, travelling, and generally culturing themselves to remain interesting to others of their like that they lack time to reproduce.

They also have higher material expectations. They could have lower material expectations, but that would force them to live amongst low class blacks and Hispanics. The result is that forced integration has forced European- and Asian-Americans to spend too much of their time working and less of their time reproducing. The beauty of Jim Crow was that by keeping whites, regardless of income, separate from minorities whites could spend more of their time reproducing and less of their time working to stay away from them. White flight was the second choice, but in an era when even a "hideously white" city like Salt Lake is only 77% white, that, too, starts to fail.

Anonymous said...

Forget about Genghis Khan. If you want an example of a true orchid, and a nation that nurtured him, try J. Willard Gibbs.

Imagine someone who attended Yale at the age of 15, became a Ph.D. at 24, and the equivalent of a university department head at 30.

Nowadays, it is illegal for a 15-year-old to be a college student. That would be considered child abuse to drag someone at such an tender age away from 18 years of Dick-and-Jane, two-plus-two-is-four. Never mind if that someone wanted to be in college at 15 - and would be happier, healthier, more social, and more productive there than at a government jock farm ... middle school.

J. Willard Gibbs is an emblem of an old and long-dead America.

Middletown Girl said...

I haven't read a book on Genghis, but I did see some movies. The most vivid and frightening Mongols attacks were in ANDREI RUBLEV and FALL OF OTRAR(movie, not made-for-tv series), both masterpieces. And, I saw MONGOL, GENGHIS KHAN(with Sharif), and THE GREAT CONQUEROR. My impression is that Genghis was a tough guy.

My sense from these movies is that his special power derived from a bountiful combination of both orchidic and dandelionesque qualities. In the Mongol world, to be Dandelionish meant being tough, rough, brave, fierce, and tribal. Mongols were so fierce that they expended much of aggressive energy against one another. The various Mongol tribes sometimes made peace but just as often fought and bashed one another and stole horses and wives. They were like American Indians in North America--or Germanic Tribes in ancient times. Their aggressiveness paradoxically made them less dangerous to neighboring civilizations. The Mongols were too busy fighting amongst themselves to conquer China. Romans could play off one Germanic tribe against another for centuries. Though Germanic folks were big, tough, and brave, they couldn't get their act together, unite, and bash the Romans. Chinese have a saying, 'make barbarians fight barbarians.' Genghis was very much a man of his world. He has all the qualities of warrior, hunter, herdsman, and tribal chief. Based on the movie, I get a sense that he was a son of a chief, so he felt entitled as well. Butm his father was assassinated, and this tore Genghis from any sense of entitled privilege. He came in contact with the Chinese and instinctively understood why the less aggressive, more effete, and sedentary Chinese were more powerful than the Mongols. China had a centralized political system where 'all under heaven' was unified in the Middle Kingdom. Genghis wanted to preserve the dandelion aspect of the Mongols--rough, tough, war-likeness---but also to introduce an orchidic element into Mongol society. (What is dandelionish to one society may be orchidic in another.) What was missing among the Mongols was a sense of unity and trust. The various tribes distrusted one another--similarly, American Indians could never come together to fight the white man. Mongols tended to trust members of their own tribe and battle Mongols of other tribes. Genghis figured he should trust those near him less(as he'd been betrayed by friends and tribal members)while acting in a way that would win the respect and trust of Mongols of other tribes--'keep your friends close but your enemies closer'. Tribe by tribe, he didn't only conquer but offered peace and shared bounty on condition that they obey him. Since he lived in a rough and tumble barbarian society, Genghis himself needed to possess both Dandelion qualities--warrior qualities admired by Mongols--and orchidic qualities--intelligent, diplomatic, theoretical qualities held by Chinese elite but lacking among the illiterate Mongols.
Eventually, Genghis achieved the near impossible. He unified the Mongol tribes. The tribal fierceness that had led to Mongols fighting Mongols til then were miraculously unified to take on China. China, no longer able to make barbarian fight barbarian, was doomed. Genghis took notice of the correctness of his own formula. He had unified the Mongols under heaven and conquered China! So, he wanted to UNIFY ALL under heaven.

Genghis had the theoretical genius lacking among his fellow Mongols. He knew Mongols had the toughness but not the IDEA that would make them ONE people. Genghis learned this idea by coming in contact with China. Even so, he preserved the toughness of his own people. Similarly, the Germanic tribes were able to finally defeat Rome because they absorbed Roman political ideas which gave them the means to build larger coalitions--a unified force. In the movie DIRTY DOZEN, you got twelve crazy guys who are TOO DANGEROUS even for war. But, when Lee Marvin whips them into shape, they are able to transform their psychotic dangerousness into psychotic courage--beyond what regular men might possess.

Middletown Girl said...

Genghis was a mass killer, but to what extent can we blame him for his murderousness? It could have been that one had to be badass killer or otherwise lose respect in the Mongol order. Remember in CARLITO'S WAY, Al Pacino spares Benny from the Bronx. His underlings saw his decency as a sign of weakness. In the movie LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Lawrence becomes increasingly more ruthless. He can't remain a British gentleman and earn respect of the Arabs. He has to show that he too can kill and commit ruthless mayhem like the rest. The first killing disturbs him but, he eventually feels and acts as an Arab or worse--his vendetta against the Turks leads to a massacre that even Ali(Sharif)didn't want. When they first met, Lawrence preached to Ali about brutality, but Ali seems the humane one after massacre of Turks. One difference between Ali and Lawrence is Ali simply wants to be a respected leader amongst his people. He's essentially a conservative figure. Lawrence, on the other hand, is a deeply romantic and adventurous figure. He sees the world as a kind of playground of the gods and giants. It's like the difference between Bradley and Patton in PATTON. Bradley fights because wars must be won. Patton does it because he loves it--like Kilgore loves the smell of napalm. It could be Genghis was a romantic visionary in this sense. After he defeated his enemies, unified the Mongols, and then defeated the ultimate nemesis, China, he couldn't stop. He had to keep going and going.
Similarly, Alexander couldn't and wouldn't stop. Something in him just drove him on and on. If some conquerers want to strengthen their nation or kingdom by unifying the people, adjusting borders, and building up military strength, others have a wanderlust fever. Bismarck was a conservative conqueror with limited aims. He wanted conquer and unify the Germanic peoples and then small parts of neighboring nations to solidify new Germany's place in the world. He was deeply conservative in this sense. He had little interest in affairs or worlds outside Germany. Alexander and Hitler were different. They got hooked to the notion of conquest. It became their art project, visionary dream, grand concept, their rock concert. Chinese rulers were essentially conservative. They wanted to preserve Chinese power and keep out foreigners(and keep out of foreign lands). Genghis grew up as a nomadic Mongol and so he wasn't tied down to one land. He was to herdsman-warrior what Jews were to religion. To the Jews, their god was not specific to one place or time; God was everywhere and eternal. So, Jews too had a wanderlust of sorts. Some people are rooted to Earth, some people are rooted to Heaven. Those rooted to Heaven want to conquer, explore, and wander all that is under heaven.

Anyway, guys like Alexander, Napoleon, and Lawrence were restrained by some sense of universal morality and higher cause. Alexander was influenced by Greek philosophy, the most advanced at the time. Though he committed horrendous acts, his conquest purported to have meaning. He was a scholar-poet as well as a warrior. He had anthropological interest in other cultures. Napoleon was a dreamy-eyed conqueror too, but he also saw his destiny as spreading the values of the French Revolution, whose destiny he'd unified and saved after revolutionaries began to kill one another. Napoleon was the only force that could distract the revolution from ideas/guillotine and lead it to action/guns. Lawrence was a well-educated and refined person, so even as he turned 'native' and did brutal things, his conscience still periodically pulled him back. Genghis grew up in the most barbaric manner even for a barbarian. His father was killed early in his life and he suffered one hellishness after another. During his imprisonment, he meditated long and hard on what he must do. If Jesus rejected Satan's offer of the world, Genghis evidently took it during meditation on god, man, world, and power. As he wasn't a learned man, he grasped it insticinctively.

Dragon Horse said...

Some of you guys are clueless about history. Khan never defeated China in his life time.

He may have learned from China, but he never defeated it, that was left to his son's generation. Khan never even got out of Central Asia...(not Ghengis, the next Great Khan did though).

Anonymous said...

There is very good evidence that Genghis Khan was a Nordic Aryan.

The scholar Karl Earlson has argued this quite persuasively. Google his name + "Genghis Khan" for his work on the subject.

Middletown Girl said...

"There is very good evidence that Genghis Khan was a Nordic Aryan."

Great! The 'Aryans' produced two psychopathic killers--Hitler and Genghis--than only one. What a great boost to white pride.

Next, we'll be told Idi Amin and Pol Pot were Nordic Aryans.

alonzo portfolio said...

@middletown girl:

I hope your thinking is usually sharper than your Dirty Dozen precis. The Doz. actually had few dangerous psyhotics. The Bronson character, though naturally tough, was a calm personality with no criminal background until someone pushed him past his limit. Same with the Jim Brown character. The Clint Walker character, as kind as they come, committed homicide by accident. The Cassavetes character was a small-time mafioso, a pussy who couldn't threaten anyone outside the protection of a group, the Sutherland character was the class clown, and I forgot what Trini Lopez's story was. But for the Savalas character, not a true sociopath in the group. C'mon, get it together.

Middletown Girl said...

"The Doz. actually had few dangerous psyhotics. The Bronson character, though naturally tough, was a calm personality with no criminal background until someone pushed him past his limit. Same with the Jim Brown character. The Clint Walker character, as kind as they come, committed homicide by accident. The Cassavetes character was a small-time mafioso, a pussy who couldn't threaten anyone outside the protection of a group, the Sutherland character was the class clown, and I forgot what Trini Lopez's story was. But for the Savalas character, not a true sociopath in the group."

Most of them were not looney tunes crazy but they were dangerous unstable guys just the same. In the military, lots of guys get 'pushed to the limit', but most soldiers don't commit murder. And a lot of schoolchildren are pushed around or bullied 'to the limit', but most kids don't commit kill either.

If everyone in the military committed murder because he was 'pushed to the limit', there would be an all-out bloodbath. Bronson character is calm and stolid on the outside, but he is a dangerous killer. Not necessarily a cold-hearted killer who goes about killing helpless women but still someone capable of killing just for the sake of his pride. Besides, they were misfits one way or the other.

Middletown Girl said...

"Some of you guys are clueless about history. Khan never defeated China in his life time.
He may have learned from China, but he never defeated it, that was left to his son's generation. Khan never even got out of Central Asia...(not Ghengis, the next Great Khan did though)."

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He conquered China and much more in the movies. When legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Michael Shores said...

I wondered if anyone else would react to The Atlantic article in the same way I did. The implications for understanding not just individual behavior, but also human evolution, history and our contemporary political divisions may be based more fundamentally on our genes than we ever suspected. The opportunities for investigation are staggering.

HC69Grad said...

Wow! Reading David's post, I am stunned at how we saw such a completely different picture of the Orchid. I saw the Orchid represented more in the pioneering white European who chose to risk crossing the Atlantic and move to the wilderness. The black African on the other hand might be a more representative population since they did not choose to migrate.

Mike said...

Putting aside the larger social ramifications of interventions, it seems like this theory could shed light on precisely which children would benefit the most from them.

I don't know if these sorts of interventions are a good idea, but if we're going to do them, why not let science inform us on where our efforts are best spent?

Though, I fear this might backfire and be viewed as genetic discrimination. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Rais Karauchy said...

It’s a very interesting information.
Well, it must be said: there are many pro-Chinese and Persian falsifications in the official history about the origin of Genghis Khan and his Power.

Therefore, primarily we should know the truth about the meaning of the names "Mongol" and "Tatar" (“Tartar") in the medieval Eurasia:
the name "Mongol" until the 17th-18th centuries meant belonging to a political community, and was not the ethnic name. While “the name "Tatar" was “the name of the native nation of Genghis Khan …” , “… Genghis Khan and his people did not speak the language, which we now call the "Mongolian…" (Russian academic-orientalist V.P.Vasiliev, 19th century).

Now very few people know that Genghis Khan was a Turk. Tatars of Genghis Khan - medieval Tatars - were one of the Turkic nations, whose descendants now live in many of the fraternal Turkic peoples of Eurasia - among the Kazakhs, Bashkirs, Tatars, Uighurs, and many others.

And few people know that the ethnos of medieval Tatars, which stopped the expansion of the Persians and the Chinese to the West of the World in Medieval centuries, is still alive. Despite the politicians of the tsars Romanovs and Bolsheviks had divided and scattered this ethnos to different nations...

About everything above mentioned and a lot of the true history of the Tatars and other fraternal Turkic peoples, which was hidden from us, had been written, in detail and proved, in the book "Forgotten Heritage of Tatars" (by Galy Yenikeyev). There are a lot of previously little-known historical facts, as well as 16 maps and illustrations in this book.
This e-book you can easily find in the Internet, on Smashwords company website: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/175211