Blog Profile / Evo and Proud

Filed Under:Academics / Anthropology
Posts on Regator:259
Posts / Week:0.7
Archived Since:October 4, 2008

Blog Post Archive

We are not equally empathic

The Child at Your Door (c. 1917-1919). We're not equally empathic toward strangers. This largely heritable trait varies continuously from psychopathy to extraordinary altruism (source: Wikicommons) In a previous post, I discussed why the capacity for affective empathy varies not only between individuals but also between populations. Show More Summary

A look at an early European

Kostenki Man, reconstructed by Mikhail Gerasimov (1907-1970). An early European who was not yet phenotypically European. Who were the first Europeans? We now have a better idea, thanks to a new paper about DNA from a man who lived some 38,700 to 36,200 years ago. Show More Summary

The evolution of antiracism

Collection box for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, circa 1850 (Wikicommons). Throughout the world, kinship used to define the limits of morality. The less related you were to someone, the less moral you had to be with him or her. Show More Summary

The White Man's burden

From the Cape to Cairo, Puck, 1902. (Source: Library of Congress, public domain). The White Man's burden has been turned against itself. If the British adhere to a higher standard of civilization, their behavior must likewise be judged by a higher standard. Show More Summary

Gender equality and gene-culture co-evolution

The ratio of index finger length to ring finger length provides an index of sexual differentiation (source: Wikicommons) Are men and women more alike in some populations than in others? It's possible. First, boys and girls differentiate...Show More Summary

Yes, demons do exist

Chlamydia infection rate, by country (WHO 2004, Wikicommons). Sub-Saharan Africa has been a natural laboratory for the evolution of sexually transmitted pathogens, including strains that can manipulate their hosts. Are we being manipulated by microbes? The idea is not so whacky. Show More Summary

Making the big time ... elsewhere

Skull from Broken Hill (Kabwe), Zambia. This kind of human was still around when the Neanderthals were going extinct in Europe. (Wikicommons) East Africa, 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. The relative stasis of early humans was being shaken by a series of population expansions. Show More Summary

A fruitful encounter

Original Sin, by Michiel Coxie (1499-1592). Did the Christian doctrine of original sin create the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe? Or did the arrow of causality run the other way? (source: Wikicommons) By definition, gene-culture co-evolution is reciprocal. Show More Summary

Affective empathy, an evolutionary mistake?

The Classic of Filial Piety, Ma Hezhi, 12 th century (Wikicommons). In China, empathy is experienced primarily as a moral duty, rather than as an involuntary emotional response. In a previous post, I asked, "How universal is empathy?" The question is tricky because empathy has three components: 1. Show More Summary

Rotherham: The search for answers

A Bangladeshi youth gang in Tower Hamlets, London. (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Bangali71). Is this the kind of assimilation you had in mind? In my last post, I discussed the revelations from Rotherham, England. In a town of some 250,000 people, at least 1,400 school-age girls have been "groomed" for prostitution by organized gangs. Show More Summary

A nice place to raise your kids

Rotherham (source: Stanley Walker, geograph project, Wikimedia Commons) The English town of Rotherham has been in the news. Between 1997 and 2013, at least 1,400 school-age girls were "groomed" for prostitution—a process that begins with seduction and ends with confinement, trafficking, and serial rape. Show More Summary

Does Natural Law exist?

A widow about to be buried alive in her husband's grave (Wikimedia Commons). Do we all share the same sense of right and wrong? What, ultimately, is the basis for morality? In a comment on a previous post, fellow columnist Fred Reed argued that some things are self-evidently wrong, like torture and murder. Show More Summary

How modular is intelligence?

Great at reading or recognizing faces? You might not do so well on an IQ test. Source: Histoire naturelle générale et particulière avec la Description du Cabinet du Roy (1749) (Wikicommons) The English psychologist Charles Spearman was the first to argue that a single factor, called "g," explains most of the variability in human intelligence. Show More Summary

Getting the babes but not the babies

Still from the film Is Matrimony a Failure?(1922). Who's making more babies? "Good boys" or "bad boys"? Originally, the good boys were, thanks to parental monitoring of relations between single men and single women. The pendulum then swung toward the bad boys in the 1940s, only to swing back after the 1960s. Show More Summary

The agricultural revolution that wasn't

Originally from south China, Austronesians spread successively outward to Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Was farming the secret of their success? Or was it their mental makeup? (source: French Wikipedia - Maulucioni) About 10,000 years ago, the pace of human genetic evolution rose a hundred-fold ( Hawks et al., 2007 ). Show More Summary

Dear Fred

In a recent post, Fred Reed asks: Why should I not indulge my hobby of torturing to death the severely genetically retarded? This would seem beneficial. We certainly don't want them to reproduce, they use resources better invested in healthy children, and it makes no evolutionary difference whether they die quietly or screaming. Show More Summary

A new start

When geneticist Davide Piffer examined IQ-enhancing alleles at seven different genes, he found that their average prevalence differed among human populations, being highest in East Asians and lowest in Mbuti Pygmies (photo used with author's approval) My weekly posts are now appearing on The Unz Review ( ). Show More Summary

From Nazi Germany to Middletown: ratcheting up the war on racism

Licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), much more than Franz Boas, would define the aims of Boasian anthropology for postwar America. When Franz Boas died in 1942, the leadership of his school of anthropology passed to Ruth Benedict and not to Margaret Mead. Show More Summary

The Franz Boas you never knew

The anthropologist Franz Boas is remembered for moving the social sciences away from genetic determinism and toward environmental determinism. In reality, he felt that genes do contribute substantially to mental and behavioral differences... Show More Summary

The origins of guilt: Darwin and Freud

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