September 23, 2011

West Hunter

Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending now have a blog, West Hunter

Cochran explains how Out of Africa can be mostly right at the same time that the old multiregionalists were also right that there really are regional patterns that go back before anatomically modern humans (AMH):
I see three reasons why the modern races split along the same lines as those older , much more divergent groups.  First, the geographical and ecological factors that drove isolation before the expansion of AMH did so again after mostly-modern humans spread over the world.  Second,  those mostly-AMH populations were exposed to many of the same selective pressures as their predecessors, so you expect a certain amount of convergent evolution. Third,  there is reason to believe  that those moderns picked up adaptive alleles from the archaic populations they displaced – so, to a limited extent, they are the the old subspecies.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

"In the short run, admixture almost certainly increased fitness, at least after natural selection and recombination had winnowed out the advantageous alleles."

I'm not really convinced. I think had there been no neanderthals and denisovans, things would have turned out more or less the same. Whatever mating occurred because some guys will hump ANYTHING!

The problem of OUT OF AFRICA theory is the name gives people the false impression that this creature called AFRICAN left Africa and became something else.
It seems great changes already occurred in northern africa before northern africans, already substantially different from other africans, left Africa and changed even more.
So, it should be called UP IN AND THEN OUT OF AFRICA. African underwent profound changes in northern Africa and then left Africa.

This admixture thing doesn't really say much, especially when it comes to intelligence. After all, why are Jews smarter? Because they have more neanderthal genes than other whites? Of course not. Jewish intelligence really shot up in the last many centuries, not 10,000s of yrs.

Baloo said...

I've been hoping and hoping that those guys would do a blog. Great revelation, Steve. I'm linking to this and giving you a pat on the back at Ex-Army HERE.

Anonymous said...

What does "West Hunter" mean?

Anonymous said...

So, it should be called UP IN AND THEN OUT OF AFRICA. African underwent profound changes in northern Africa and then left Africa.

What is known about the origins of the early [possibly pre-Biblical] peoples of the Southern Mediterranean?

For instance, what is known about the Phoenicians?

What is known about the Mauritanians?

What is known about the Carthaginians?

What is known about the pre-Alexandrian Egyptians?

Anonymous said...

"This admixture thing doesn't really say much, especially when it comes to intelligence. After all, why are Jews smarter? Because they have more neanderthal genes than other whites? Of course not. Jewish intelligence really shot up in the last many centuries, not 10,000s of yrs."

Exactly. Native Americans have the same amount of Neanderthal DNA as Europeans, so it's not what's driving high IQ.

Major IQ differences can spring up over hundreds of years. It's not something that happens only on an evolutionary timescale.

Mitch said...

Hey, Steve, this is an off-topic comment, but I wondered if you'd read Rick Hess's Achievement Gap Mania: http://www.aei.org/article/104169 . He skirts the issue of why the gap exists, of course, but it's still really, really good.

And I have to say it reminded me of another article, called "Achievement Gap Politics", which was focused on ed schools, but pointed out 18 months ago that educational policy was obsessed with the achievement gap.

R_K said...

LOL @ people who think racial differences == different mean IQs.

There are differences beyond that. And in any case perhaps Neanderthals did boost high IQs. All the groups you are citing have higher IQs than SubSaharan Africans (who have no Neanderthal admixture).

dearieme said...

"Major IQ differences can spring up over hundreds of years. It's not something that happens only on an evolutionary timescale." Eh? How did they "spring up", then?

Jacob Roberson said...

Anonymous said...

What is known about the Carthaginians?


I was just reading offline about the Vandals, which you can see here were the Carthaginians. I don't know about the rest of your list.

catperson said...

Major IQ differences can spring up over hundreds of years. It's not something that happens only on an evolutionary timescale.


Only if selection pressures are incredibly intense can major IQ differences occur that rapidly. I think such scenarios are extremely rare.

And in any case perhaps Neanderthals did boost high IQs. All the groups you are citing have higher IQs than SubSaharan Africans (who have no Neanderthal admixture).

The amount of neanderthal admixture in non-Africans seems too tiny to explain their higher IQ's (unless neanderthals had really high IQ's) and if neanderthals were so smart, why did they get killed off by scrawny humans half their strength?

I prefer the theory that non-Africans got their autism from neanderthals. Neanderthals must have had some kind of disability to have been killed off by scrawny humans. We know they weren't stupid overall because they had large brains (though probably smaller than ours when you adjust for their great muscle mass) so they were probably autistic.

ms gormless said...

When liberals talk of 'hate speech', 'hate' is less an adjective than a verb, as if to mean 'We HATE (free) SPEECH'.

So, the real issue isn't HATE SPEECH but LIBS HATE SPEECH.

catperson said...

The problem of OUT OF AFRICA theory is the name gives people the false impression that this creature called AFRICAN left Africa and became something else.
It seems great changes already occurred in northern africa before northern africans, already substantially different from other africans, left Africa and changed even more.
So, it should be called UP IN AND THEN OUT OF AFRICA. African underwent profound changes in northern Africa and then left Africa.


When people say "out of Africa", they mean out of sub-Saharan Africa (aka black Africa). So perhaps it should be called out "out of sub-Sahara"

Anonymous said...

"there is reason to believe that those moderns picked up adaptive alleles from the archaic populations they displaced..."

But a population can develop new alleles through mutation/evolution without picking it up from another race. For example, it seems as though as caucasians developed lactose tolerant genes on their own than picking them up from other races.

Also, while out-of-africans might have picked up some useful alleles from neoconderthals, they also could have picked up some negative ones, thus neutralizing the plus with the minus.
It's like white man displaced American Indians and most white Americans don't have Indian blood--though many Indians have some white blood--, but this lack of picking up Indian blood didn't harm the white race. To be sure, modern man is less exposed to natural environment, and so it might have mattered less. Even so, mutations within the race itself can produce new genes.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Richard Dawkins write that ideas or memes work like evolution?
In nature, some species grow dominant. Some die out. Some lose out but maintain their niche in the overall system. Others are exiled or go underground but may return.
As with the extinction of the dinos, some big ideas or systems can face doom due to major events like WWII. After an asteroid hit Earth, almost overnight--relatively speaking--the dino dominated world gave way to a mammal dominated world.
WWII overnight destroyed the aristocratic order and unleashed the new mass political order: Communism and Nazism. And then, both went strong and sought to wipe out all other ideas with utter ruthlessness. But Nazism got too aggressive and got wiped out. Communism seemed triumphant in the Soviet Union, but many anti-communist ideas didn't die out but went underground. Or, they morphed into a new kind of national communism(just as some communists turned into leftist nationalists). So, USSR became a national-communist state, but nationalism in the end overtook communism.
In China, communism took power but then something else incubated inside, and communism slowly became an outside shell from grew a new capitalism. Well, that's more like metamorphosis than evolution but anyway.. I get confused.

Anyway, in the US, PC is constantly undermined by new findings and theories but it keeps 'evolving' to not only survive but remain dominant.
When PC loses the battle of nouns, it uses the alleles of adjectives.
Nouns are facts, adjectives are feelings.
So, at one time, the left objectively and confidently said, 'race is just a myth, a social construct'. They meant it as a noun, a fact.
But with new facts proving otherwise, PC tries to keep the power by resorting to feelings or adjectives.
So, now we're told that we shouldn't discuss the facts of racial differences because it's 'divisive', 'dangerous', and 'hurtful' even if they are true(as nouns). So, feelings suddenly matter more than facts--rather odd for people who claim to prefer fact-based rationalism over feeling-based irrationalism.
Anyway, it is a kind of an evolution of an idea to remain dominant. Ideas are made up of nouns and adjectives, and if you can't win with nouns, try to win with adjectives. Something similar happens in the world of art. If you can't win with the work of art itself, try to win with criticism that EXPLAINS why something that is clearly worthless is actually significant. Thus, the rise of Warholism. What matters is less the painting of soup cans than what critics pontificate about it and how it's processed through the whole appartus of the art community.
Of course, another way to reject a fact or noun is to suppress it in favor of a false fact or noun: suppress news of black crime and give people the fiction-fact of the magic negro in stuff like GREEN MILE. It seems to have worked, what with white folks sobbing over Troy Davis and feeling mighty holy about it.

The anti-PC views on race remain a niche in American discourse, but they are attacked by PC predators if they show their heads in open society.
In EU, it's not even allowed to survive as niche ideas as they are banned by law.

MQ said...

Major IQ differences can spring up over hundreds of years. It's not something that happens only on an evolutionary timescale

That's exactly right -- because IQ is a complex interaction between genes and culture, it is not completely or even mostly genetic. (And the Ashkenazi Jewish relationship with IQ is an even more complex interaction because Jews who didn't think their bookish/scholarly religion was worth the prejudice they suffered in Europe probably selected out through conversion or exogamy, leaving the Ashkenazim selected for scholarship and literacy). The problem is that just like people tend to overestimate the time scale on which genetic changes can take place they underestimate the time it takes to change culture. You cannot change culture in one generation through a government program or whatever.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid to disappoint MQ, but IQ DIFFERENCES between individual people are about 70% genetic.

And the more you homogenize the environment, the higher that % becomes-a paradox the Left won't even acknowledge, insofar as they comprehend it.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid to disappoint MQ, but IQ DIFFERENCES between individual people are about 70% genetic.

And the more you homogenize the environment, the higher that % becomes-a paradox the Left won't even acknowledge, insofar as they comprehend it.

Anon.

K(yle) said...

The Vandals conquered and occupied Carthage after it had already been conquered by the Romans.

The famous 2nd Punic war where Hannibal invaded Italy was ~600 years prior to that.

The Berbers are the indigenous people of Northwest Africa where Carthage is located, however the name means 'New City'.

According to classical sources the Carthaginians were Phoenician colonists from the Middle East, whoever the Phoenicians were that is. As far as that usually goes though, after a few generations they were probably mostly Berbers with a slightly mixed Berber/Phoenician aristocracy.

The Romans destroyed the Carthaginians own records, and the Romans records of accurately recording things about their hated enemies isn't that great.

Hannibal Barca said...

the Vandals, which you can see here were the Carthaginians.

WTF? Somebody really needs to improve his reading skills.

Laban said...

"You cannot change culture in one generation through a government program or whatever."

No, but you can change it in two or three generations through government programs.

In 1948 working class Britons were a remarkably cultured and diligent bunch, also a relatively sober bunch despite the pub being a major part of the culture. The Welsh valleys - pubs, choir, chapel, rugby union - Yorkshire - pubs, choir, brass band, rugby league. Bastardy was frowned on and usually led to marriage (Stan Bairstow's novel A Kind of Loving), a man was expected to 'hold his drink' i.e. not be openly intoxicated, crime was low and idleness condemned - a 'good grafter' was respected.

The key to cultural destruction of the working class was the rewarding of bastardy with benefits and housing. With the removal of millions of low-skill industrial jobs in the 1980s, coupled with housing price rises, having children solo became a primary route to 'independence' for many working class girls. Their mothers would have been ashamed to take such a route, but the decline of Christianity and the 60s cultural revolution had worked their magic.

Forty years on and the Welsh valleys and Yorkshire coalfields are smack-ridden disaster zones. They were disaster zones for employment in the 30s, too, but they still had a strong culture then.

Anonymous said...

"You cannot change culture in one generation through a government program or whatever."

Are you willing to re-evaluate that statement? I'm a Boomer, born 1948. I'd say that societal perceptions of marriage, relationships, partnerships, etc. changed mightily w/in one generation. For instance, many men and women in urban areas and on the Coasts in the late 60s and early 70s cohabited w/out benefit of marriage and bore kids. While that was acceptable behavior in certain geographical areas of the country, it was behavior likely to foster outward contempt in most areas of the at that time.

However, the children of those people now behave in that manner in most of the country and are not treated as contemptible.

The idea of a woman purposefully bearing a child w/out a father (using sperm donors or getting pregnant with no intention of getting married or with no intention of having the father be a part of the child's life) has taken root very , very quickly, in less than two generations.

Hasdrubal said...

According to classical sources the Carthaginians were Phoenician colonists from the Middle East, whoever the Phoenicians were that is.

First, this is confirmed by archaeology, and in any event what is "whoever the Phoenicians were" supposed to mean?

Phoenician refers to the Semitic population in the first millennium BC along the eastern Mediterranean coast south of ancient Syria. The term is used of the pagan population in the northern section of this region, but the Hebrews were basically the same population in linguistic and ethnic terms, but they came to be distinguished because of the idiosyncratic claims they made for their tribal god. As for the Carthaginians, the term signifies not just the population of Carthage itself, but also the Punic (which is just the Latin version of "Phoenician") population of the western Mediterranean, which came to be ruled from Carthage. These Punic populations were all colonists from Phoenician who settled westwards in the ninth and eighth centuries BC.


As far as that usually goes though, after a few generations they were probably mostly Berbers with a slightly mixed Berber/Phoenician aristocracy.

Says who?

Anonymous said...

Carthaginians were Phoenician colonists from the Middle East, whoever the Phoenicians were that is.

Lots of people laugh at me for saying it but I still say it: Phoenicians were Jews. They were smart, they invented alphabet, they totally dominated Mediterranean sea trade and they built successful state by getting mercenaries to fight for them. In the existing sources, finding boundaries between Hebrews and Phoenicians is frequently difficult and there is limited direct evidence that they were the same ethnic group (and plenty of indirect one).

This is one of the reasons why the theory of Ashkenazim intelligence originating due to selective in the medieval Europe is wrong. The selection might have enhanced their IQ but the exclusion and persecution existed because they were smart to begin with.

NOTA said...

I think the difference is we can say something, mathematically, about how quickly the gene frequencies can shift, if we know something about fertility/fitness. We can't really say anything nearly so strong about how quickly culture can change. We can point to spectacular changes in culture that happened relatively quickly--it's not like modern Japanese, English, or American culture is especially similar to the 18th century versions of those cultures, for example.

Anonymous said...

"This is one of the reasons why the theory of Ashkenazim intelligence originating due to selective in the medieval Europe is wrong."

If you're right, what made the Phoenies so smart?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... What does "West Hunter" mean?

It's a town in Utah?

Anonymous said...

what made the Phoenies so smart?

Questions like this are frequently meaningless. Unless the question is about molecular basis of the genetic trait, the answer is nothing in particular. It's like asking what made some guy win a lottery. Out of many different combinations of genes (i.e. "populations") some were bound to produce smarter people than others. Simple matter of distributions.

Anonymous said...

The modern population that can lay the greatest historical claim on a Phoenician heritage are Lebanese Christians. And they seem to be the smartest Arabic-speaking group in the world. Just going by modern accomplishments and prominence, I'd guess that they're smarter than the Sephardim.

By the way, most Arabic speakers seem to have some African admixture. This is strongest in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but can be seen elsewhere too. I've seen enough Lebanese Christians to know that they don't have any noticeable African admixture. What about Lebanese Muslims? That I don't know.

The ancient Phoenicians made some undeniable cultural accomplishments, but those are dwarfed by the accomplishments of the Greeks. There is a record of them circumnavigating Africa, they seem to have sailed to Britain, their ancestors (or their ancestors' relatives) invented the alphabet. Writing existed long before they came on the scene, but they made it much more efficient. But the Greeks went a million times farther - realistic, elegant art, the formal proofs of Euclidean geometry, the idea that anything at all required formal proofs (machine-like, not human-like thinking, except that there were no real machines yet), musical notation, history, and at the fringes even things like atheism and the heliocentric system.

So based on cultural accomplishments alone, the Greeks seem to have been smarter than their Phoenician contemporaries and neighbors. The bulk of Europe wasn't even in the race yet because civilization is a city-dwellers' sport. Among the densely-settled, city-dwelling peoples of antiquity, the Phoenicians definitely lagged behind the Greeks. And before roughly 600 BC, when the Phoenicians were ahead, the Greeks simply weren't densely-settled or city-dwelling yet.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people laugh at me for saying it but I still say it: Phoenicians were Jews. They were smart, they invented alphabet, they totally dominated Mediterranean sea trade and they built successful state


Ha ha.

Jews of 200 BC were not noted for any of the things you mention. They were not "smart". (The Greeks had the reputation for intelligence - nobody at the time commented on Jewish brains) They did not invent things. They did not dominate trade and they certainly did not build successful states.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the reasons why the theory of Ashkenazim intelligence originating due to selective in the medieval Europe is wrong. The selection might have enhanced their IQ but the exclusion and persecution existed because they were smart to begin with.



Every last part of that is wrong. There is not a single shred of evidence that the Middle Eastern Jews of 200BC - 1000AD possessed any great degree of intelligence.

Based on their record of accomplishment (or lack of it) they were rather less intelligent than many of the other people in the Mediterranean rim and Middle East, such as the Greeks, the Romans, or the Persians.

Lastly, this idiotic Jewish notion that the Jews in Europe suffered thousands of years of persecution needs to be put to rest. Jews in Europe from 800AD onwards were a privileged caste, several steps up the ladder from the average peasant farmer of England, France, Germany, Poland, or Russia.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading through Bible and have gotten to about page 100. I need to read it a few more times before I can really form a strong opinion but it keeps referring to Canaan. I am getting the impression that before the Jews were able to consolidate their position they were constantly besieged by people from the East. Canaan was a frontier which was settled much the same way Virginia or Oklahoma was. If you read between the lines, there were people who lived in what we now call Israel well before there were Jews.

Prof. Woland

Difference Maker said...

finding boundaries between Hebrews and Phoenicians is frequently difficult

To paraphrase: "The Syrians, who are everywhere and everywhere have friends"
written c. 400 ad

Anonymous said...

One indicator of perceptions of group intelligence:

When the Roman elite was in the market for personal doctors or for teachers for their kids, they hired Greeks, not Phoenicians or Jews. But by 1000 AD European elites were already hiring Jewish personal doctors. Something changed between 1 AD and 1000 AD. One theory is that after the destruction of the Jewish Temple the focus of Judaism moved towards the study of written scripture. The Jews who didn't like that new focus might have been tempted to leave the religion. Those who liked it were likely to stay. A few dozen generation of this selection might have changed a few things.

Difference Maker said...

Every last part of that is wrong. There is not a single shred of evidence that the Middle Eastern Jews of 200BC - 1000AD possessed any great degree of intelligence. 

Indeed, it speaks more to a persistence of character than of intellect.

RS said...

> That's exactly right -- because IQ is a complex interaction between genes and culture, it is not completely or even mostly genetic.

There's no serious evidence of culture having any role, and lots of evidence that all the cultural interventions people can think of to try, don't do anything.

As Anon says, the narrow-sense heritability within populations is around 0.70 (very very likely between 0.50 and 0.90, and I would say very likely above 0.60). However, what's left is not assignable to culture, as the misleading phrase nature vs nurture often suggests to people. Rather, what's left is assignable to one of more of culture, genetic dominance, genetic epistasis, nutrition, the physical environment along with the chemical and non-human biological ones, and a few other categories of causes. --But we don't know which ones. Because the many interventions tried have all failed to raise IQ (if measured once the subjects are adults), culture is probably one of the things rather less likely to account for very much of the variance not explained by the narrow-sense heritability.

RS said...

> Questions like this are frequently meaningless. Unless the question is about molecular basis of the genetic trait, the answer is nothing in particular. It's like asking what made some guy win a lottery. Out of many different combinations of genes (i.e. "populations") some were bound to produce smarter people than others. Simple matter of distributions.

That's an ironic remark when one of the posts on the blog is Harpending talking about evo/eco vs the rest of bio as sadly-disparate worlds.

There are ecological reasons for these things. There is a fundamental shortage of energy and safety, in every species of organism, which is why there's a reason for basically every one of their traits. The entire game of life is harvesting maximum net energy while minimizing risk of debility and death, whereas your vaunted molecules have nothing to do with life forms. If you make an energy profit while staying alive you spend it on mating effort and creation of offspring and in some species donation of energy to offspring. That's it, that's biology.

M said...

They were smart, they invented alphabet, they totally dominated Mediterranean sea trade and they built successful state by getting mercenaries to fight for them.

The Egyptian hieroglyhic/hieratic/demotic system, which the Phoenician "alphabet" was derived from, was already mostly an abjudic system*, but was elaborate and extravagent and included a lot of redundancy in the form of determiners (like Chinese does) for the purposes of extravagence or to make reading quicker or easier (but then, it probably also increases the cognitive heavy lifting to write it).

Taking away the determiners and reducing the number of glyphs with which a sound can be represented and cutting out the very few real logorams in the language is basically the Phonician innovation, making a true abjad*. It's a simplification and one which adds more ambiguity to the written language.

It's probably not even something which happened as the stroke of genius, but gradually evolved as less and less educated people who were more and more impatient started using the Egyptian demotic systems. It's a thing that we can credit to a utilitarian bunch of traders with little education or opportunity for it, and no gave no particular religious significance to the form of words as the Egyptians did, but it's hard for me to imagine it took particularly profound intelligence.

*not an alphabetic system - the Greeks were the first to write vowels and with whole characters. Not necessarily a "more intelligent" way of writing but a less ambiguous one that has less need for interpretation by the reader, vowel marking being more important in Indo-European languages than in Semitic ones.

....

As for the Phoenicians in general, and their success, they were important in trade during the Greek Dark Ages, which period is considered their "high point".

It seem like there was a niche during a period of devastation of the Egyptian, Mycenaen and Hittite cultures (where these richer civilizations were targetted by the "Sea Peoples") where the northern Canaanite cities that were the predecessors of the Phoenicians were the "last man standing" and they took it.

I see little in that that can be attributed to intelligence.

Anonymous said...

But by 1000 AD European elites were already hiring Jewish personal doctors. Something changed between 1 AD and 1000 AD.

That the Jews has a diaspora, while the Greeks did not, is probably the strongest factor in the change. And they had a diaspora because they had no nation-state and were relatively scattered, while having a nationalist religion that kept them a separate community.

The Jews of Byzantium seem to have been an urbane group, and thus more able to accumulate wealth from production and trade than the general run of Christians (who had a large, poor rural component), and to have been more involved in professions that were urban (e.g. medicine) but seem not to have been regarded as rich or intelligent:

http://tinyurl.com/6ans6bj

"Byzantines were not (keenly aware) ... about Jewish financial dealings and "usury" ", "Greek literature, folklore and song depicted the Jew more as a Faustian figure, a practitioner of magic", "Byzantine Jews were content to occupy a modest and inconspicuous niche".

Hapalong Cassidy said...

Regarding the Phoenicians, I read somewhere that archaeologists believe they were related to the "Sea Peoples", a group of pre-Hellenic Greeks who conquered and pillaged much of the Eastern Mediterranean around 1500 BC. In addition to settling Phoenicia, it's been theorized that the Philistines in the Bible were related to them.

Anonymous said...

> "That's exactly right -- because IQ is a complex interaction between genes and culture, it is not completely or even mostly genetic."

IThere's no serious evidence of culture having any role, and lots of evidence that all the cultural interventions people can think of to try, don't do anything.



There is abundant evidence that culture plays a very important role. The historical record.

The number of high IQ people in Asia between 500BC and today exceeded the number of high IQ people in Europe by several orders of magnitude. Yet is was in Europe that most of the events which we associate with high intelligence occurred.

The theory that high IQ is the most fundamental of all human characteristics falls apart in the face of the different histories of China and England.

Anonymous said...

When the Roman elite was in the market for personal doctors or for teachers for their kids, they hired Greeks, not Phoenicians or Jews. But by 1000 AD European elites were already hiring Jewish personal doctors. Something changed between 1 AD and 1000 AD. One theory is that after the destruction of the Jewish Temple the focus of Judaism moved towards the study of written scripture. The Jews who didn't like that new focus might have been tempted to leave the religion. Those who liked it were likely to stay. A few dozen generation of this selection might have changed a few things.


That fails to explain why the new European Jews were more intelligent than the original Middle-Eastern Jews. Even today there is a large gap between the Sephardic and Germanic Jews

Anonymous said...

M: It seem like there was a niche during a period of devastation of the Egyptian, Mycenaen and Hittite cultures (where these richer civilizations were targetted by the "Sea Peoples") where the northern Canaanite cities that were the predecessors of the Phoenicians were the "last man standing" and they took it.

1) Devastation by WHOM [or by WHAT]?

2) Especially, are these "Sea Peoples" precisely the Phoenicians, or are they someone else?

3) And speaking of "Sea Peoples", have you ever seen Master & Commander? Or any of the various stagings of the Battle of Actium? [Such as, e.g. the opening scene of the final episode of HBO's "Rome"?]

It seems to me that [at least until the dawn of the age of aviation] the "Sea Peoples" were precisely the folks with the highest IQs [and, even now, they probably still are].

RKU said...

Anonymous #1: Lots of people laugh at me for saying it but I still say it: Phoenicians were Jews. They were smart, they invented alphabet, they totally dominated Mediterranean sea trade and they built successful state.

Anonymous #2:Ha ha. Jews of 200 BC were not noted for any of the things you mention. They were not "smart". (The Greeks had the reputation for intelligence - nobody at the time commented on Jewish brains) They did not invent things. They did not dominate trade and they certainly did not build successful states.

Actually, I think there's a fair chance you might both be half-right. I doubt the Phoenicians/Carthaginians were Jews, but it seems to be pretty plausible that the (later) Jews were actually converted Phoenicians.

(1) As mentioned, no one in the ancient world regarded the Jews as being smart or business-oriented. They were mostly notable for being religious fanatics, and very rebellious, usually for religious reasons.

(2) But by the later Roman Empire the Jews seem to have become very prominent in business activities, and were also very numerous, being generally concentrated in those places which had once been the center of Phoenician/Carthaginian colonization.

(3) As mentioned, the Jews and Phoenicians were closely related and neighboring Semitic peoples, with similar languages. After the Romans crushed the various Judean Rebellions and expelled many of their elites, it seems plausible these would have gravitated toward Phoenician/Carthaginian areas, intermarried with the locals, and perhaps gradually converted them to their religion, just as lots of other Pagan peoples were converting to various other religions during that same era. Hence the sudden appearance of very numerous and business-oriented populations of "Jews" soon afterward.

Admittedly, I'm no expert on these particular historical eras, but this scenario seems just as plausible to me as the ancient Judeans suddenly becoming great businessmen and simultaneously exploding in numbers.

Anonymous said...

"Especially, are these "Sea Peoples" precisely the Phoenicians, or are they someone else?"

From what I understand, the Sea Peoples were Indo-European. Probably like the Vikings in their long boats, only 2000 years earlier and in the Mediterranean. Not that the Vikings didn't raid in the Mediterranean. They did, it just wasn't their main focus.

Svigor said...

I doubt the Phoenicians/Carthaginians were Jews, but it seems to be pretty plausible that the (later) Jews were actually converted Phoenicians.

This seems to be the standard wisdom. Or it was, anyway. I have a couple of old (pre-60s) texts that state it without caveat.

Svigor said...

"Byzantine Jews were content to occupy a modest and inconspicuous niche".

Funny, considering how the Emperors repeatedly had to suppress them. And I forget which usurper owed his throne to them...

RKU said...

Hapalong Cassidy: Regarding the Phoenicians, I read somewhere that archaeologists believe they were related to the "Sea Peoples", a group of pre-Hellenic Greeks who conquered and pillaged much of the Eastern Mediterranean around 1500 BC. In addition to settling Phoenicia, it's been theorized that the Philistines in the Bible were related to them.

My information might be out of date, but as of some years back the standard academic view based on archaeology and such was that the Philistines were indeed the "Sea Peoples" (just as you say probably pre-Hellenic Greeks pushed out by barbarian invasions), but the Phoenicians were local Semites, closely related to their more backward inland cousins including the Judeans, Canaanites, and all the other various groups.

I seem to recall there was some intermarriage between the Phoenician and Judean royal families, combined with attempts to convert the Judeans to worship of the sophisticated Phoenician pantheon, until a religious uprising massacred all the "idolators" and restored strict monotheism.

I also recall that some Greek cultural historian described the Judeans as being a strange people who worship Zeus with such fanatic intensity that they go so far as to even deny the existence of the other Gods.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, I'm no expert on these particular historical eras, but this scenario seems just as plausible to me as the ancient Judeans suddenly becoming great businessmen and simultaneously exploding in numbers.


What seems to have happened is the following.

The "Judeans" never did explode in numbers, nor did they suddenly become great businessmen with high intelligence.

Rather, some Jews, including perhaps some converts, moved to Europe. After a thousand years of intermarriage and money-lendng, these became quite different and more intelligent people than the original Jews of Judea.

One of the things which HBD people believe is that evolution never stopped. Another is that significant changes can take place in periods as long as a thousand years. So it's perfectly plausible to suggest that the original Jews were petty average in the IQ department and that this changed over time among Europen Jews.

The same is true for the Germans, after all. In Roman times they were savages. By the 19th century they were widely viewed as the most intelligent people in Europe. There's no reason why the Jews who were in Germany should not have followed a similar path.

Anonymous said...

Funny, considering how the Emperors repeatedly had to suppress them. And I forget which usurper owed his throne to them...

You don't know what you're talking about.

David Davenport said...

The amount of neanderthal admixture in non-Africans seems too tiny to explain their higher IQ's (unless neanderthals had really high IQ's)...

How do you what genetic admixture is too tiny to cause IQ differences?

... and if neanderthals were so smart, why did they get killed off by scrawny humans half their strength?

How do you know that the Neanderthals were twice as stong as the "humans"? From some comic strip you once read, perhaps the old "Ally Oop" newspaper comic strip?

I prefer the theory that non-Africans got their autism from neanderthals. Neanderthals must have had some kind of disability to have been killed off by scrawny humans.

You prefer that theory, huh? Those Stone Age dudes spent too much time using their big muscles to arrange stones in neat, precise rows, whilst taller but skinnier invaders from out of Africka snuck up on 'em and whacked the ancient victims of autism.

We know they weren't stupid overall because they had large brains (though probably smaller than ours when you adjust for their great muscle mass) so they were probably autistic.

The ratio of brain volume or mass to overall body volume or mass isn't the same as absolute brain volume or mass. Neither have I ever read that autism is correlated with either absolute or relative differences in brain size.

WWII overnight destroyed the aristocratic order and unleashed the new mass political order: Communism and Nazism.

You meant to say "WWI, the 1914-1918 war."

Lots of people laugh at me for saying it but I still say it: Phoenicians were Jews. They were smart, they invented alphabet, they totally dominated Mediterranean sea trade ...

Ha ha hardy har har! Tee-hee. I continue to laugh at people who make silly assertions which are easily refuted by the quickest, most cursory Google search:

Religion of Carthage

Religion in Carthage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
See also: Religions of the Ancient Near East

...

The religion of Carthage in North Africa was a direct continuation of the polytheistic Phoenician religion of the Levant, with significant local modifications. Controversy prevails regarding the possible existence and practice of propitiatory child sacrifice in the religion of Carthage.

Carthage derived the original core of its religion from Phoenicia. The Phoenician pantheon was presided over by the father of the gods, but a goddess was the principal figure in the Phoenician pantheon. The system of gods and goddesses in Phoenician religion also influenced many other cultures. There are too many similarities to be overlooked. In some instances the names of gods underwent very little change when they were borrowed. Even the legends maintained major similarities. Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian and others had their influences on the Phoenician faith system as well as borrowed from it.

The supreme divine couple was that of Tanit and Ba'al Hammon. The goddess Astarte seems to have been popular in early times. At the height of its cosmopolitan era Carthage seems to have hosted a large array of divinities from the neighbouring civilizations of Greece, Egypt and the Etruscan city-states.


...

What's the real point of my ranting here? It's the quality of some people who post here.

I'm starting to worry about the quality of iSteve fans, even if iSteveniks include some, whoa, take a deep breath, big time Hollywood screen writers.

Anonymous said...

@David Davenport

Right. Because the only things that defines Jews as ethnicity is their monotheism. It would not be possible for the same people to be divided by religious beliefs and Jews have always, always, since the big bang or something, believed in a single god.

And then you worry about quality of the posters here. Can you spell "irony"?

M said...

What's the title refer to? I would just follow the Becker-Posner Blog and name it The Cochran-Harpending Blog.

David Davenport said...

snuck up on 'em

Is "sneaked" the proper past tense of "sneak"?

The amount of neanderthal admixture in non-Africans seems too tiny to explain their higher IQ's (unless neanderthals had really high IQ's)...

Several years ago -- or it seems like a good many years ago now -- I read a piece in the NY Times which said that humans and chimps have 90-something per cent of their DNA in common. The NYT article might have said 98 and a fraction per cent.


I thought to myself, " Assuming for the sake of argument that the per cent DNA in common is correct, the NYT is missing the obvious point that a small difference in DNA may result in a big difference in biological outcomes."

Angel's Trumpet said...

RKU,

The shorter version of your plausible thesis would be that the Mediterranean was where the action was in the ancient world and everyone around there became smarter. A provincial people sharing the sea with Egypt, Greece, and Rome, who are all trading and interacting with each other, could not avoid being enriched.

Anonymous said...

"Sea Peoples"

Their origin is a mystery. No one places their origin in Canaan, as far as I am aware. The Aegean and Anatolia and to a lesser extent the Italic Peninsula are the most popular theorised places of origin.

RKU: were also very numerous, being generally concentrated in those places which had once been the center of Phoenician/Carthaginian colonization.

Uh... Is that actually the case?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonies_in_antiquity
http://tinyurl.com/2c3fh3l

Jews during the late Roman Empire were most common in Northwest Africa and Southern Spain? I had thought they were most frequent in Egypt and the Southern Levant, where there were no significant colonial inroads by the Phoenecians.

Anonymous said...

Note, the Neanderthal genome we have does seem to carry autism related variants, but we don't know whether the contemporary homo sapiens population did as well, and autism currently affects all racial groups. So it seems really unlikely.

I don't know if all racial groups are affected equally, but apparently there are not vast differences - I'd expect groups with higher IQ to demonstrate high functioning autism more frequently, and classic autism to be more frequent in groups with a lower mean (for instance, in Ashkenazi Jews relative to Standard Average Europeans).

RKU said...

Jews during the late Roman Empire were most common in Northwest Africa and Southern Spain? I had thought they were most frequent in Egypt and the Southern Levant, where there were no significant colonial inroads by the Phoenecians.

Well, as I indicated, I've never made any effort to investigate the hypothesis, and I'm not a specialist in that subject-area.

But with regard to Egypt and the Levant, the term "colonies" might be misleading. I think these were usually defined as specific new urban settlements established regions occupied by less urbanized peoples. Since the Phoenicians were perhaps the greatest traders of the Med, I'd think substantial numbers of them had settled in the most important economic centers of the region, certainly including Egypt. My casual impression is that ancient references to "Phoenicians" and "Cathaginians" tend to disappear from the ancient sources during the same eras that references to "Jews" tend to multiply.

Incidentally, I can't claim actual credit for this theory, having read it decades ago in a century-old book by H.G. Wells, who may or may not have been the originator.

Anonymous said...

"I'd expect groups with higher IQ to demonstrate high functioning autism more frequently, and classic autism to be more frequent in groups with a lower mean (for instance, in Ashkenazi Jews relative to Standard Average Europeans)."

And you'd be wrong. I suspect what we're calling autism is something more akin to nerdiness and I've known many an average IQ nerd. They do tend to get better bang for their IQ buck but still obviously aren't all that smart.

The high functioning Asperger's types don't really demonstrate what I've observed in certain smart, driven people. Frankly, it looks more like psychopathy in many a high IQ person with the Aspergery types mostly being harmless while the tightly controlled psychos not so much.

I have a list of suspected psychos, surprisingly not all of them are Jewish...

Anonymous said...

The number of high IQ people in Asia between 500BC and today exceeded the number of high IQ people in Europe by several orders of magnitude.

Isn't an order of magnitude a factor of 10? And if by "several" you mean at least "three", then are you saying there were a thousand times more people in Asia than in Europe over this period?

I never knew that.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the odd Where Was Atlantis?/Who Built the Pyramids? thread, and, functionally, speculations about the origins of Jewish intelligence fill the same role at iSteve. Pure entertainment, in other words.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

Because the only things that defines Jews as ethnicity is their monotheism.



I'm starting to wonder if anything at all "defines Jews". I gather that it's not a religion. And it's not an ethnicity. It's not a shared genetic background. What is it? An ideology, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Jews have always, always, since the big bang or something, believed in a single god.

As far back as we have historical records, yes, Jews believed in a single God.

And it was always the belief in that God which made them Jews. The notion that a person can be both a Jew and an atheist is a recent innovation. If you suggested to Jews in 300BC that a person could still be a Jew even though he worshiped Baal, they'd have stoned you to death.

There's nothing wrong with you raising the question, but you were wrong. Jews and Phoenicians were not the same people.

Anonymous said...

"The same is true for the Germans, after all. In Roman times they were savages. By the 19th century they were widely viewed as the most intelligent people in Europe."

Germans (and German-Americans) are known for having large heads (in addition to fat faces) so maybe there's something to that.

IHTG said...

I'm starting to wonder if anything at all "defines Jews". I gather that it's not a religion. And it's not an ethnicity. It's not a shared genetic background. What is it? An ideology, perhaps?

A tribe.

Anonymous said...

RKU: I'm not a specialist in that subject-area.

....

My casual impression is that ancient references to "Phoenicians" and "Cathaginians" tend to disappear from the ancient sources during the same eras that references to "Jews" tend to multiply.


Well, OK. I'm not a specialist either.

But I would assume that if you were a Phoenician or Carthaginian (although my understanding is that the Carthaginians really were the only Phoenician people left who assimilated by the Greeks at this point), would you really, after the defeat of Carthage and the eclipsing of your civilization by Greco-Roman civilization, adopt the redneck, backwoods, extremely primitive, almost (and often actually) pre-Axial monotheism of the contemporary Jews, or would you just, uh, assimilate to the ascendent civilization that dominates the known world? Would you choose to be a Jew or just a Roman Citizen (of North Africa or of Egypt or ....)? Especially given the deeply syncretic attitudes of Roman religion, versus the monotheism of the Jews, and the fact that you are polytheist.

I would guess that if you were still a sophisticated trader by the point, you'd probably choose, from these options, Roman Citizen. Not saying I've got proof, just that the two seem like more or less separate phenomena to me.

Anonymous said...

A tribe.

No, a tribe are all related to each other. They are connected by genes. That's not Jews.

Anonymous said...

Isn't an order of magnitude a factor of 10? And if by "several" you mean at least "three", then are you saying there were a thousand times more people in Asia than in Europe over this period?

I never knew that.

Now you know.

There are at present about six times as many people in Asia as in Europe. (It depends on your exact definition of Asia and Europe) That's just at present though. For our purposes what matters is the total Asian population over the past thousand years vs the total European population over the same interval, and that skews things wildly to the Asian side.

And of course, we are talking about "high IQ people" and not just "people". Given the gap between German/French IQ and Chinese/Japanese IQ, the number of high IQ people in Asia leaps even further ahead of the European total.

And yet, England alone produced more first class thinkers in the last thousand years than did all of Asia. So there is something more than mere IQ at work.

Anonymous said...

Germans (and German-Americans) are known for having large heads (in addition to fat faces) so maybe there's something to that.


I can't speak to the size of their heads or faces (though your claim sounds like silly English bigotry) but Germans do in fact have one of the greatest records of intellectual accomplishment of any people in the world.

I'm not German.

Anonymous said...

are you saying there were a thousand times more people in Asia than in Europe over this period?

You quoted my words -

"The number of high IQ people in Asia between 500BC and today exceeded the number of high IQ people in Europe by several orders of magnitude."

- so it's perplexing that you ask that question. Note that "people" and "high IQ people" are not identical categories, and that the high IQ fraction is Asia is not the same size as the high IQ fraction in Europe. It's larger.

Anonymous said...

"Major IQ differences can spring up over hundreds of years. It's not something that happens only on an evolutionary timescale."

That seems like epigenetics.

RKU said...

Anonymous: As far back as we have historical records, yes, Jews believed in a single God. And it was always the belief in that God which made them Jews.

I really, really tend to doubt this.

There are a vast number of surviving passages in the Old Testament which clearly indicate a Jewish pantheistic tradition. And to a total non-specialist such as myself, the most obvious is that the actual Hebrew term translated in many places as "God" is actually the *plural* form of that word. Now obviously that can be hand-waved away by arguing that G-d is so important that He requires a plural, but I personally think the plural is exactly what it seems to be. Basically huge sections of the Bible originally described the Hebrew Gods doing this and that, and since they were just too numerous and important to all be rewritten once the monotheists became dominant, they just pretended the plural was a singular, and executed any troublemaker who claimed otherwise.

I've never taken a single class or read a single book in religious history, so take my arguments with a huge grain of salt. But I have read that the bulk of all the real experts tend to believe the same thing based on much more sophisticated evidence. I think the standard speculation is that the Hebrews probably picked up their monotheism from that monotheistic-heretic Pharoah who worshipped the Sun God.

RKU said...

Anonymous: If you were a Phoenician or Carthaginian would you really, after the defeat of Carthage and the eclipsing of your civilization by Greco-Roman civilization, adopt the redneck, backwoods, extremely primitive monotheism of the contemporary Jews, or would you just, uh, assimilate to the ascendent civilization that dominates the known world?

Well, that was part of Wells' point. For centuries, the Phoenicians/Carthaginians had been the great enemies of the Greeks/Romans, and now had been utterly crushed and defeated. So many of them might have been very open to a new and fanatical religion of a closely-related Semitic people, which had also been crushed, but stubbornly claimed their all-powerful god was just testing them, and would eventually restore them to supremacy and their lost homeland. The demoralization caused by military/political defeat often leads people open to new religions or ideologies. Consider the eagerness with which the Greco-Romans later embraced the various Mystery cults or Christianity during the troubled centuries of the Late Roman Empire.

Probably most of the Phoenicians/Carthaginians did exactly what you say, and assimilated into Greco-Roman culture, thereby disappearing as a distinct people. But even if just a fraction of them instead converted to Judaism---whose language and culture were extremely close---their numbers, wealth, and skills would have soon dominated the entire Jewish elite population throughout the Med.

Basically, my argument is crude and simple. There were large numbers of wealthy and highly-skilled Semitic Phoenicians/Carthaginians traders throughout the Med, and relatively small numbers of Semitic Jews, neither wealthy nor skilled nor traders. Then after a while, the former had mostly disappeared, while there were now large numbers of wealthy and skilled Semitic Jews, who dominated trade. Perhaps the Jews had suddenly undergone a behavorial transformation and also grew exponentially in numbers, but other scenarios seem more plausible.

Anonymous said...

There are a vast number of surviving passages in the Old Testament which clearly indicate a Jewish pantheistic tradition.

Such as?

Perhaps the Talmud has a "vast number of such references", but the Old Testament does not. In Exodus, right after Genesis in the Old testament, God orders that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me".

"Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me".

Not a lot of room there for pantheism.

Anonymous said...

Let me quote H.G.Wells, since he is your source.

Is it any miracle that in their days of overthrow and subjugation many Babylonians and Syrians and so forth, and later on many Phoenicians, speaking practically the same language and having endless customs, habits, tastes and traditions in common, should be attracted by this inspiring cult [Judaism] and should seek to share in its fellowship and its promise? After the fall of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage and the Spanish Phoenician cities, the Phoenicians suddenly vanish from history; and as suddenly, we find not simply in Jerusalem but in Spain, Africa, Egypt, the East, wherever the Phoenicians had set their feet, communities of Jews.


There is no way to prove or disprove this theory, but it does not seem very convincing as Wells tells it.

If Judaism is such an "inspiring cult" with great fellowship and promise, it's curious that it has not picked up many more converts over the centuries.

And is it really supposed to be strange that after the fall of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage and the Spanish Phoenician cities, the Phoenicians disappear from the world stage?

Wherever the Phoenicians had set their feet, there was the Roman Empire. And the Roman Empire facilitated the easy movement of goods and people within its borders.

Anonymous said...

"re you willing to re-evaluate that statement? I'm a Boomer, born 1948. I'd say that societal perceptions of marriage, relationships, partnerships, etc. changed mightily w/in one generation. "

I saw an interview with Charles Grodin, the actor, and he said that nobody would have sex before marriage and then all of a sudden everybody was doing it in his group of friends. I assume these were actors in NY and even they were not promiscuous, but tat changed overnight. He was so confused he had to see a psychologist.


There really is no shame in this behavior even among the very religious people.

Anonymous said...

- so it's perplexing that you ask that question. Note that "people" and "high IQ people" are not identical categories, and that the high IQ fraction is Asia is not the same size as the high IQ fraction in Europe. It's larger.

What's your understanding of the word "magnitude"? For you, does "exceeds by several orders of magnitude", mean the same as "is larger than"?

It doesn't, you know.

Cennbeorc

Baloo said...

I think we're using "pantheism" here where we mean "polytheism." It's confusing, because "pantheon" does mean a group of gods, but belief in many gods is polytheism, but pantheism is a belief that God is identical with the Universe, present everywhere. "Pantheon" means "all the gods," but "pantheism" can be understood as "god is all," or "the all-god."

My understanding is that the Hebrews worshipped one god, but believed that others existed, they just didn't worship them, because they weren't theirs. It's easy to see how this could naturally develop into monotheism, especially if they'd encountered monotheistic thinking in Egypt, as RKU says.

Anonymous said...

What's your understanding of the word "magnitude"?

I understand what the word "magnitude" means, thank you. I also understand what the phrase "orders of magnitude" means. You can go do your word-nazi act someplace else.

Do you have anything at all to say about the point I made? The point that the number of high IQ people in Asia over the last thousand years exceeded the number of high IQ people in Europe by a "large" amount (if that's what you need to see written for some reason) or by several thousand times (which is my contention)?

Do you have anything at all to say about the fact that England alone produced more first-rank thinkers than did all of Asia?

Hello? Is this thing on?

David Davenport said...

I've never taken a single class or read a single book in religious history, so take my arguments with a huge grain of salt.

I do.

Here's a suggestion for brother and sister iStevies: Steve worries to some extent that iSteve.com is being typecast as an anti-S... website. That's all wrong, of course.

My suggestion is, let's all start substituting "Carthagenian" for "J..." So, instead of referring to "J..." control of Hollywood or the news media, let's start saying "Carthagenian control of American infotainment media."

Anonymous said...

Hello? Is this thing on?

Calm yourself.

Just as when you say "several magnitudes greater than", you really mean "greater than", when I say "Isn't an order of magnitude a factor of 10?", I mean, "I agree that Europe has produced more first-rate thinkers than Asia, I'm not sure England alone has. On a per-capita basis, sure".

Cennbeorc

Luke Lea said...

@ "civilization is a city-dwellers' sport"

Wonder if that will change with the internet? Take West Hunter for example.