Saturday, March 8, 2014

Exploding nonsense: a review of Cochran and Harpending's 10,000 Year Explosion

Cochran and Harpending's book, The 10,000 Year Explosion, makes several bold claims, and they are economically laid out with easy to understand language. But there are several weaknesses. Now let’s get down to bidniss.


Chapter 1 lays out their claim of bucking conventional wisdom among scientists, who it is claimed, hold to a static picture of humanity in that a "Great Leap Forward" in cultural evolution that marked the end of evolution some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago in Europe. The only thing wrong with this claim is that it is a strawman. Cochran and Harpending provide little evidence as to the existence of this "conventional wisdom" among scientists regarding static human evolution. Who exactly is preaching this "static" condition? We don't know and the authors don't say. Respected heavyweight scientists in the field (like Stringer 2012 (Lone Survivors), and Mellars 2006 (Why Did Modern human populations disperse..' ), do not at all hold to the alleged "conventional wisdom" strawman re "static" evolution or of alleged European "cultural revolutions" and in fact dispute these notions in their writings as cited.

Stephen Jay Gould is referenced as saying that 50-100,000 years is too short to notice any "evolutionary" changes. OK, but this does not at all mean Gould held to any idea of "static" humanity- just that said time frame was too short to see changes of any significant "evolutionary" magnitude. That in no way implies anything "static."

In addition, since the late 1990s/early 2000s numerous scientists have challenged the notion of a "Great Leap Forward." McBreaty and Brooks (2000) for example in their seminal article:"The Revolution That Wasn't"- showing that so called "revolutionary" changes in Europe in culture such as art and symbolic processing had in fact taken place in Africa millennia before the alleged "cultural revolution" in Europe. A referenced author, Klein (2000) himself holds that the innovations that led to the behavioral "spark" developed FIRST in Africa, before moving to Europe. Ironically, the authors themselves subscribe to "conventional wisdom" of a great "innovations bustin forth all over" when they argue that the Paleolithic cultural explosion is due to some sort of dramatic biological change in Chapter 2. They say they are challenging "conventional wisdom" but in key ways are merely repackaging and continuing the very same "conventions." Even McBreaty and Brooks do not dispute the EXPANSION of previous changes in Africa when more favorable environments and climate were available. So where is this touted bucking of conventional wisdom? Seems more like a marketing ploy.

Harpending and Cochran proffer the notion of a rapid genetic change causing the innovations, but even if these as Klein says took place in Africa first, they only present a bare outline of vague data with little precision. Yes perhaps the FOXP2 alleles and MCPH1 genes may regulate brain size, but did they have any credible role to play in the self-styled "cultural revolution"? If so how? Based on what scholarship? Little is done to develop the claim. Mostly we get is vague speculation, including the claim that said genetic elements derived first from Neanderthals. If this an attempt to connect bigger brains with Neanderthals, which in turn link to modern humans it fails dismally- both in logic and data. "HBD"/hereditarian racialist proponents of course love this because it allows styled cold-climate "Caucasoid continuity" from the Neanderthals down to modern Europeans. They only thing wrong with such styling is that it is nonsense.

Early European forensic reconstruction


In Chap 2 the authors note Neanderthal’s larger brains. This is true, but said larger brains failed to translate into any earth-shattering “evolutionary” advances. In fact, these  cold-climate denizens of Europe failed to advance beyond Stone Age technology and failed to innovate in plant and animal domestication, or extensive symbolic processing. Anatomically modern humans did not spring from Neanderthals in Europe. They developed, yes evolved in Africa – later migrating to Europe to replace said Neanderthals. So how could alleged “mixing” between these modern humans and Neanderthals produce any “spark of civilization?” Assorted racists, HDB and “biodiversity” types love the Neanderthal mix scenario because if offers a sort of “Caucasoid continuity” talking point, a “negro free” Europe free of those dreaded Africans. Sorry.. they fail again.. It was those dreaded African moderns, and their variants that populated Ancient Europe via the Middle East and other routes over the long span of migrations over millennia. Their distinctive tropical skeletal patterns are seen in Paleolithic excavations and their cranial patterns appear among Cro-Magnon and other Paleo types, even as far afield as icy Russia (Holliday 2001, 2010, Trinkhaus 2000, 1983, et al). In time, they would be joined, and mingled with other "Eurasian" variants from the steppes and elsewhere, but any hope of airbrushing them away fails. It should also be  noted that pale  European type white skin only appeared relatively recently in significant quantity in humans AFTER so-called "cultural revolutions." (Jablonski 2000, 2012). Sorry to bust so many “hereditarian” bubbles…

The authors proffer little evidence of Neanderthal-human intermixing besides the claim by multi-regionalist M. Wolpoff 2001, clearly noting however that claims of such mixing are in dispute among scientists. Other more up to date studies show mixed evidence of admixture, tracing seeming similarities in gene patterns to descent from a common hominid ancestor, not Neanderthals (See 3 current studies debunking the "mix" notion: (Ghirotto, et al 2011. No evidence of Neandertal admixture..; Gokcumen et al 2012. Balancing Selection on a Regulatory Region...; Eriksson and Manica (2012) Effect of ancient population structure...). So not only is the admixture scenario still under debate by serious scholars, but even if there were admixture it is in trivial amounts (they cite Stringer to just this effect as to rarity) -hardly a sterling basis for any “spark of civilization” brought about by the alleged “admixture.” On top of this is the question of why bigger brained Neanderthals did not develop more culturally and technologically. The authors skip over this and move on to the next  claim... (Note- since original  post more evidence of mixing has been published- but none of it  supports  any putative Neanderthal 'positivity' re human advance).


The authors could have helped their case by defining precisely just want they mean by “human evolution.” But things are left fuzzy. Their approach seems to be to call cherry-picked gene changes "evolution" and thus too assert that "human evolution" has been accelerating in recent times. But under this approach any gene change sustained over a few generations can be dubbed "evolution" - more right-handedness can be said thus to be "proof" of accelerating human evolution. A number of right wing and libertarian race-monger types have jumped on this to preach their own bogus “HBD” gospel, and the authors print the endorsements of such non-scientist right-wing pundits and racialist "HBD"/hereditarian types like John Derbyshire and the assistance of other racialists like pundit Steve Sailer. But their fuzzy “evolution” makes it seem like some “great leap forward” for humanity by Europe, when in fact the data show a much less flattering picture.

East Asians make up most Asians, indeed they are the most numerous people on earth, but they lack lactose tolerance... hence are they on a slower or "different" "evolutionary" track than Europeans? How come these same lactose intolerant Asiatics post higher IQs (more intelligent per HBD data and models) than alleged European "role models"?

We know for example Europeans acquired Lactose Tolerance, and that this has some advantages in nutritional portability and such. But Africans too acquired such lactose tolerance about the same time as Europeans did- (Dunne et al. 2012. First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium bc.) in smaller quantities overall, but parts of Africa with cattle cultures have lactose tolerance well represented. One big continent while not totally absent, has a tiny degree of lactose tolerance- Asia. Does this mean that Asians, particularly East Asians like Chinese, the most numerous people in the world, failed to "evolve"? Racialists have jumped on lactose to insinuate (some coyly with "plausible denial", some not so coyly) an "advanced" European "evolution." But it is East Asians,  dismally lacking the allegedly "advanced evolution" of lactose tolerance, who were leaders in civilization and technology for centuries before Europe. Why didn't "advanced" European" evolution" kick in to immediately overshadow the Asians? How come Asians, who "lack lactose's" "evolutionary" advances post higher intelligence (IQ) scores than alleged European "role models?"

In Chap 1, the authors say Sargon and Imhotep are different culturally and genetically than people today. Sure. Most people who lived 6,000 years ago would be “different” from today’s people. But is this human “evolution” primarily by genetics, and is any "advanced" evolution at work or simply the less dramatic process of change in human societies, including migration? 

Ironically, one of the proponents of a radical cognitive leap separating modern humanity from archaics like Neanderthals, Richard Klein puts this leap as having taken place in sub-Saharan Africa, home of those dreaded tropical types, and then expanding outwards to the rest of the globe. This includes the much touted Cro-Magnons, themselves immigrants from Africa, via various pathways like the Middle East. Klein dismisses notions of any Neanderthal continuity with these moderns, which essentially kills HBD hopes of alleged "Caucasoids" flitting about Europe at the time of the great explosion. The people in place then were more like the dreaded tropical Africans. As respected anthropologist CL Brace 2005 notes: "The oft-repeated European feeling that the Cro-Magnons are 'us' is more a product of anthropological folklore than the result of the metric data available from skeletal remains." (-Brace, et al. (2005). The questionable contribution of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age to European craniofacial form. PNAS 103 (1) 242-247)

Sub-Saharan Africa it should be noted has lower levels of lactose persistence, and until about 6000 years ago, per some studies, Europeans did NOT have much lactose tolerance. So how come the tropical variants of African provenance brought about a cultural and cognitive "revolution" both in Africa or Europe, without the need for things like lactose tolerance that "accelerate" evolution? Per Klein's bio:

“I [Klein] came to the conclusion that the Neanderthals had a very different mindset from mine or Bordes—that they had very different cognition from modern humans” (3, 4). This conviction strengthened Klein's belief that the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were too different to make it plausible that Cro-Magnons evolved from Neanderthals in a short time span. Today, most paleoanthropologists agree that the Cro-Magnons came from Africa (5). "
(Biography of Richard Klein-

In Chapters 3 and 4 Harpending and Cochran lay out the changes wrought by agriculture in terms of food production, disease resistance and susceptibility etc. Fine. But is this “evolution”? Let's cut to the chase and address the HBD "race" subtext. Were food-producing people a significantly different sub-species than non-agriculturalists? What about societies where people were BOTH agriculturalists and non-agriculturalists, such as the mix or farmers, foragers and cattle-herders in the ancient Nile Valley? Some of these foragers were SEDENTARY, not roaming hither and yon- and they did not need agriculture to make them settle down (Reader 2000, Ehret 2002, Ricaut 2011). Indeed- Quote: "Archaeological evidence suggests that the Badarian civilization had higher population density than did any other contemporaneous civilizations(Gabriel, 1987, Hassan 1988)."
--Pinhasi and Stock 2011. Human Bioarchaelogy of the Transition to Agriculture

Were the tropical African farmers who laid the foundation of the dynastic era a “different species” from say Ramses III over 2,000 years later? (Hint- they both share certain DNA markers found mostly in sub-Saharan Africa –Hawass 2012).  The authors present few alternatives to their genetic view. Instead, they move on to the next claim.


The authors spend much time documenting things NOT at issue- such as the beneficial effect of more food, or the time created for surplus craft production etc. Sure. But their vague approach allows virtually any genetic  change to be called "evolution" and then tacked on to whatever rickety scaffolding is desired. Hence Lactose persistence can be tacked on to virtuous "bourgeois" values. Reality however is a lot less simplistic.

The authors imply that various things such as “bourgeois” values, etc etc are due to agriculture, which in turn is a product of some sort of "evolutionary" change. This seems a stretch. Certainly the advent of farming would over time bring about different cultural patterns than hunter-gathering. This is not controversial. What is questionable is to leap from this mundane fact to insinuate an assortment of claims on human value, vice or virtue. Farmers they assert on page 115 are more selfish. Really? Sure the acquisition of permanently partitioned land can promote selfishness, but how determinative is this as an absolute claim about human behavior or value?

In fact many communal land systems on all continents often held land in common – i.e. the classic Medieval European commons- and that co-existed for millennia with “selfish” land grabbing, to the many communal systems of non-European farmers. If we take Europe, there has always been a strong streak of communalism, depending on the era examined. Enclosure of the commons is a relatively recent phenomenon for example. Did those Europeans who enjoyed their communal style co-existence with the more selfish  in the 16th century, suddenly “evolve” biologically into more “biologically bourgeois” forms when ruling regimes began to later enclose those common areas? And who says hunter-gatherers and nomads are not selfish? The Mongols were extremely selfish, murderously so, as are South American rainforest Indians like the Yamamano in defending their hunting grounds. The contradictions can go on, but the crucial question – are various cherry-picked biological changes really determinative of the claimed human behavior? Are farmers "selfish" due to genetic changes or say for example rather less dramatic things such as climate changes that limits arable land and/or  available wild pasture, forests  etcthan can be food producing resources ?

Furthermore as Nobel Prize Winner Elinor Ostrom (2009) showed, the so-called "tragedy of the commons" is overblown. People the world over work out local collaborative and cooperative arrangements that can manage the commons effectively, without the selfish free-for-all claimed to govern such things. The reality is highly variable, and deterministic, one-dimensional genetic or "evolutionary" causes are not necessary to explain either that local collaboration or more selfish patterns of land grabbing, etc.

In other words, do the claimed gene changes really significantly determine the referenced human behavior? Do humans do what they do primarily due to gene or other factors of equal or greater weight? Harpending and Cochran advance a deterministic, mechanistic view of the complex reality of human existence.


On page 122, the authors assert a thought experiment- what of an allele affecting behavior had a frequency of 20 percent, and a 6 percent selective advantage in a European population in 1500, then doubled over the next 300 years? All fine and dandy- those thought experiments. But again, what we have is speculation, with little credible data. What specific alleles control violence or greed in Europeans? Were they less in 1500, and more in 1800 when native populations in various parts were enslaved or liquidated? Was there an “evolution” of those genetic alleles?  No answers are forthcoming from the authors.

What specific alleles in Europeans led to the vicious, heart-rending mass murder of the Holocaust? The high IQ Germans for example showed advanced cognitive organization and efficiency in murder. Consider their more efficient killing methods:

"He called the method of mass killing he invented Sardinenpackung. As Meier describes, it involved forcing victims to lie together face down and side and side and killing them with Genickschussen, then forcing the next group of victims who preceded them to form another layer, ignoring the victims; terror and horror in the interest of efficiently filling up the killing pit. Jeckeln's despicably cruel execution protocols destroys SS claims, during and after the warthat its executions were 'correct' military-style executions of partisans. Himmler's goal was mass murder.. By the end of August 1941, commanding the Kommandostab SS First Brigade in the western Ukraine, Jeckeln had personally supervised the murder of more than 44,000 human beings, the largest total of Jews murdered by any of Himmler's virulent legions that month."
-- Richard Rhodes. Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen .. 2002 

"I went out to the woods alone. The Wehrmacht had already dug a grave. The children were brought along in a tractor-drawn wagon. I had nothing to do with this technical procedure. The Ukrainians were standing round trembling. The children were taken down from the tractor. They were lined up along the top of the grave and shot so that they fell into it. The Ukrainians did not aim at any particular part of the body. They fell into the grave. The wailing was indescribable. I shall never forget the scene throughout my life. I find it very hard to bear. I particularly remember a small fair-haired girl who took me by the hand. She too was shot later.. The grave was near some woods. IT was not near the firing range. The execution must have taken place in the afternoon at about three-thirty or four.. Many children were hit four or five times before they died."

-- Richard Rhodes. Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen .. 2002 p. 135

 So what DNA alleles among high IQ Europeans is responsible for such far-sighted cognition and efficiency? What one calls mere "technical procedure"? And we haven't even gotten to the DNA alleles that produced Comrade Stalin.. It is all well and good to talk about alleles when Europeans can be presented as good and virtuous. But why do we hear so little about the flip side? 

On page 123 the authors claim that modest biological changes might trigger massive social changes by crossing some threshold. This may be so in some cases, but the same could be said of modest environmental changes. The introduction of a new food crop while seemingly a small localized matter, could also trigger massive social changes- the potato for example as introduced and developed in parts of Europe. And simple biological change is not the same as biological evolution in terms of speciation or formation of sub-species.


In Chap 5 the authors talk much about gene flow. Yes humans have had gene flow over the millennia. Europeans for example, according to some DNA studies have had gene flow from Africa and Asia, with some conservative genetic scientists estimating Europeans are one-third African, two-thirds Asian (Cavalli Sforza – Genes, Peoples And Languages 1997, 2001) for example.

In Chap 5 they discuss barriers to gene flow like deserts, not realizing that that geography undermines several parts of their central “biology first” claim, as Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steel 1997), Ian Morris (Why the West Rules 2010), and others show. Places with good water transport like Europe for example can import ideas, people and technology a lot more easily than Africa with its numerous transport blockages. Even the famous Nile is unnavigable for hundreds of miles once the networks of cataracts to the south are encountered. And tropical Africans were not lolling about in "predictable" environments, and did not need cold-climate "challenges" to construct the powerful civilization that was ancient Egypt. Not only were the foundational peoples derived from such tropicals but almost 20% of Egypt itself resides in the tropical zone. The powerful influence of geography undermines numerous "HBD" claims and is discussed at length by Sowell, Diamond and Morris, among others. Such geographical data are not the SOLE explanation for all things at all times, but they do illustrate the complexity of the real world and real history, as opposed to the propaganda and distorted "science" of assorted racialists and their supporters.

As for "biological evolution", was it “biological evolution” that led the African based forces like the Moors to conquer significant parts of southern Europe for example, or the Mongols, large swathes of Eastern Europe? We don't know and the glaring gaps in the authors’ speculations become more noticeable as one goes through the text. A lot of what they claim, insinuate or imply, simply doesn't add up. Furthermore, the author's give too little attention to founder effect influences as far as evolutionary changes.

Note LOW lactose tolerance among areas populated by higher East Asians and others


The authors note that Proto-Indo-Europeans were backward technologically compared to many of their neighbors (who developed writing, the horse, agriculture etc), less skilled at grain cultivation, and so on, yet conquered due to lactose tolerance that enabled them to be successful nomads. Tolerance of dairy products meant more efficient food storage, translating into military gain. This is touted as an example of a gene variant with “decisive” advantages. Again as an innocuous statement explaining SOME historical patters, the above may be true in part, but there is a leap from this to other dubious claims. Yes, Lactose tolerance has its advantages, but are the claimed advantages really that "decisive" in terms of human progress, knowledge etc? Why is it that the more lactose tolerant  lagged behind the intolerant  so long in various things? Again, the authors overstate their case. Their basic approach is to shoehorn any gene change into a boot called “evolution” then leap to claim that the "evolution" led to this and that human behavior or virtue. 
And lactose tolerance was hardly decisive over the span of history. For much of human history NON or LESS lactose tolerant people have been the technological and civilization leaders- from China, to Egypt. And as already noted above, the most massive human population on earth, East Asians, are largely lactose intolerant -yet for centuries they were leaders in civilization over more lactose plus types and today surpass them in reputed intelligence (IQ) scores.


Did Jews biologically “evolve” into smarter people? As conservative libertarian Thomas Sowell shows Jews posted dismal scores on IQ tests as late as WW1 (Sowell 2004, 1981). Did “evolution” kick in to help them Jews since then? What about the Sephardic Jews? They too show a number of distinct genetic related diseases. How come “evolution” didn’t kick in to help them? The authors list a number of impressive Jewish names like Einstein  and note environmental influences such as living under Islam versus non-Islam, persecution, occupational specialties, cultural love of learning, higher degree of urbanization etc.

Ironically, these elements undermine the authors’ biological evolution claim. People with these characteristics- the classic “Middle man minorities” (Syrians, Armenians, Chinese in the US and SE Asia, Japanese in S-America, Igbos in Nigeria, Croats on Yugoslavia, Lebanese in West Africa, even black Caribbean migrants to the US, etc- Sowell 1981, Bonacich 1973, Light 1972,) living in often hostile or discriminatory societies, show the same patterns of higher literacy, income, intelligence scores etc. etc. In short, the Ashkenazi Jewish pattern is nothing special for ethnic “middleman minorities” on several counts. 

It is true that said Ashkenazi’s post higher scores on the constructs known as 20th century IQ tests than non-Ashkenazi Jews, but a fact of DNA is that Ashkenazis, while a distinct group, trace most of their lineages to the Levant with varying levels of admixture with European and Middle Eastern populations throughout the centuries. Ashkenazis emerged rather late in human history, a few centuries before the birth of Christ. What? Are we supposed to believe that biological “evolution” took place that made these latecomers to Europe such smart folk? Some sort of special Jewish biological “evolution” is responsible for Einstein?

Risch and Tang (2003) demonstrates that founder effect-which occurs when a population is reduced for a time, is just as valid or more so a factor as any genetic explanation. Ashkenazic diseases show founder effect properties, including having arisen within the last 1,100 years. Therefore they had arisen through the same cause, and all could not be due to natural selection. In 2004, Dr. Montgomery Slatkin of the University of California, Berkeley, came to much the same conclusion. Gypsies show similar founder effects as regards disease mutations, yet do not post as high IQs as Ashenazi Jews. Risch maintains that the number of the number of mutations found in a population is not a good indication of past selective forces. Ashkenazi mutational distributions—in terms of numbers, frequencies, ages, and geography—are consistent with genetic drift. See also: [Slatin 2004. A Population-Genetic Test of Founder Effects and Implications for Ashkenazi Jewish Diseases. Am J Hum Genet. Aug 2004; 75(2): 282–293.] which confirms Risch and debunks any all-encompassing deterministic notion of selection. Dramatic "evolutionary" genetic mutations are not needed to explain the data.
[Neil Risch, Hua Tang (2003) Selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population Unlikely—Reply to Zlotogora and Bach. Am J Hum Genet. Aug 2003; 73(2): 440–441]

Such holes in the authors’ theory are not adequately dealt with. They present their theory, erect an unsteady scaffold of data of varying weaknesses, then move on.


A number of reviewers suggest a “vaguely racist tone” in the book, but the authors make no EXPLICIT racist arguments. A number of racist “HBD” or “biodiversity” libertarian or right-wing racialist types have seized upon the book to advance their particular crock of nonsense. On the web some point to page 172 in which the authors assert that “In most ways (except for their use of iron tools) African technology and social organization were simpler than that of Amerindians- at any rate simpler than Andean and Mesoamerican civilizations.”

This is not an explicit racist statement per se, but it betrays a profound hypocrisy (particularly as regards outside influence), ignorance and lack of up to date scholarship on the part of the authors. They go on to point to areas “not influenced by Islamic civilization- west, central and southern Africa.” These insinuations/ claims, are part of a subtle tactic- insinuate "inferiority" as to this and that while still preserving "plausible denial" when scrutiny is applied as to either racism, or double standards. That explains the "vaguely".. But such tactics are readily debunked in 4 ways by credible scholars and data

(1) Social organization. First,  African social organization could be quite elaborate, as credible African historians from Kevin Schillingford (2004), Graham Connah (2015), John Reader 2000), Christopher Ehret (2003), Basil Davidson (1996) etc show, - scholars with actual expertise on Africa, unlike Harpending/Cochran.
What they write is easily seen by examining Egyptian civilization. Oh didn't you know that modern scholarship recognized the ancients as an AFRICAN civilization created by AFRICAN peoples? See respected heavyweight Egyptologist Morkot 's 2005 textbook Introduction to Egyptian Civilization  for example, which says so explicitly. Oh and did we mention Nubia with its chariot manufacture, pyramids, metallurgy and writing system, and that Nubia was in part "sub-Saharan"?? Shucks.. So much for Harpending's claim. But lets take it even further and look at NON Muslim West African kingdoms like Benin with its world-famous, and rightly recognized exquisite bronze sculptures, and elaborate social hierarchy. And it was Benin, without the need for any European or Muslim influence, that put together the largest earthwork in the world, the city walls of Benin.

It should also be noted that some of the largest stone sculptures in human history were created in "sub-Saharan" Africa, BEFORE any "Islamic" appearance- namely the massive stone stelae and monoliths in what is today's Ethiopia. That land is "sub-Saharan" by the way and had among other things extensive metallurgy, writing, sea-going ships and a host of other things. In fact, since the Sahara desert keeps moving south some miles every year, African civilizations that were once "sub-Saharan" become NON "sub-Saharan" as the desert shifts. This movement south puts pyramids in "sub-Saharan" Africa depending on the year examined. See detailed evidence on Ethiopian monumental building here. The fluctuating movement of the Sahara and implications for the skewed concept of "sub-Saharan" Africa is discussed here.

Continuing with social organization, Africa produced one of the most sophisticated, powerful and advanced civilizations in human history- namely Kemet in the Nile Valley, as credible mainstream historians and scientists since the 1980s have shown. The peoples who founded Kemet and inaugurated the era of the dynasties were tropical Africans from the south, proved by hard skeletal, cranial, cultural, archaeological, dental and DNA evidence (O’Connor 2007, Wengrow 2004, Bard 2001, Yurco 1989/1992, Lovell 1999, Irish 2006, Keita 2005, et al). In the north the pattern is the same- the ancients cluster with Africans rather than Europeans or Middle Easteners (Kemp 2005, Smith 2002). And they did not need any “Islamic civilization” to do it, or Asiatic influence. In fact they had it “done” long BEFORE that.

Their closest cousins were not “Middle Easterners” but, wait for it.. Nubians, as proved by credible DNA, cultural and skeletal evidence (Yurco 1989, Zakrewski 2007, Godde 2009, Hanihara 2002, et al). In fact the Nubians and Egyptians were so close that in some eras they are indistinguishable in the archaeological record (Bianchi 2004), with both sides conquering the territory of the other. Several Pharaohs were of Nubian origin or descent (Yurco 1989, Robins and Schute 1984), and this is centuries BEFORE the well known 25th Dynasty. And typical sub-Saharan DNA markers show up not only among ordinary ancients but among pharaohs as well, like Ramses 3 (Hawass 2012). Most of the data and scholarship above was readily available before this book was written. The fact that the authors skip it, and/or indeed display such profound ignorance of readily available information says volumes. More on that is discussed here.
"Cullud" Ancient Egyptian metalworkers

(2) Technology- it is only as relevant for what it is used for in a particular environment. There is no need to cite Nubia or Egypt or "sub-Saharan" Ethiopia to make the case. Lets go "deep" into "sub-Saharan" Africa. First, technology, it is a RELATIVE concept, dependent on the environment and several other factors to make it useful. Iron working is pretty important as technology built in Africa, but alleged "advanced" technology can be actually "backward" in context, as can be seen in BOTH Europe and Africa. Technology is always dependent on or influenced by environment. Allegedly "backward" African hoe techniques in view of the above compare rather favorably to inefficient and costly European methods (see the inefficiency of European agriculture here) as credible scholars who, unlike Harpending and Cochran, actually KNOW something in depth about Africa, demonstrate repeatedly. (See for example: Precolonial African Industry and the Atlantic Trade, 1500-1800 - John Thornton 1990. African Econ Hist 19.)

     As far as the spread of technology, some areas of Africa have suffered a dearth, but this is nothing new, and nothing special. Other areas of the Europe with similar circumstances show the same pattern. What has hindered technology development in Africa is similar to what hindered development elsewhere- environmental barriers that made many items unworkable. For example, the northern European plow is rather useless in an environment with thin, infertile laterite soils- a condition affecting massive parts of the continent. A plow also needs good draft animals to pull it- again, hindered by the beast-killing tsetse-fly parasite in huge areas of the continent. And finally, in areas isolated from major developments like many sectors of West, Central and Southern Africa, AND, like the Balkans or Ireland for example, technology development has always been more limited.
     As late as the 1920s for example, many Irish peasants were still using the loy, a spade-like implement to turn soil to grow their potatoes- a  choice making a lot more sense that trying to cultivate rocky mountain slopes with expensive horse teams that could not even handle such terrain. In the Balkans, into the early 20th century, likewise many peasants were using the limited, stick-like ard, and various hoes for cultivation to scratch the thin or rocky mountain soils and slopes, not being able to afford, and with terrain unsuitable for, the heavy plows used elsewhere; such were confined to relatively limited locations in various lake, river and coastal basins (Stoianovich 2015, Balkan Worlds). But of course, for these Europeans, let us not insinuate "genetic" or "evolutionary" reasons for this "failure" to use "advanced technology." Lets give them a pass and a little hypocritical, double standard help-they are white, so its all right.

Technology - it should be noted that some African technology not only held its own but was deemed SUPERIOR to European technology well into the modern age. This is not the ranting of  "Afrocentrists" but the sober conclusion of (a) contemporary EUROPEAN observers of African iron metallurgy in the colonial era who commented favorably on the steel or steel elements produced by African metalsmiths in comparison to European product, and (b) modern scholars like Peter Schmidt confirm the same with detailed examination of metal ores, slag heaps and final products. (See Schmidt, Peter 1996 ed. The Culture and technology of African iron production, 1996.) African smiths of course lacked the wide exposure to worldwide metallurgy developments enjoyed by Europeans, suffered from lack of iron deposits near major transport arteries (in West Africa for example most of the iron-working deposits were far inland, often in desert, away from the coasts), and lack of fuel and power sources such as coal or waterpower. Desert locales for example do not lend themselves to waterwheels or coal mines with easy bulk transport by water to iron making areas. In fact only certain trees yielded consistent, good quality charcoal suitable for quality iron making. But even with the deck stacked against them, the African ironmasters for a time produced a superior product, not only superior to Europe but to Meso America as well.

Technology-  "sub-Saharan" Africa is just as "African" as other parts of the continent and plenty of technology was in use across the board. “HBD” race-baiter Steve Sailer’s blog is mentioned in the preface with a vote of thanks and the denizens that frequent said blog often assert that “sub-Saharan” Africa never had the wheel, writing, or the plough, as an example of African backwardness. But in fact “sub-Saharan” Africa includes Ethiopia and huge parts of the Sudan, and wheel, plough and writing were both in those places long BEFORE Islamic times. And writing shows up in West Africa before Islamic times via the Nsibidi systems of the region which go back in proto-forms to 300AD (Slogar 2007). And "sub-Saharan" Africans are not static entities, conveniently huddling behind some sort of "climate apartheid" lone. They range throughout the continent. "Sub-Saharan" Africa also includes parts of "North Africa" as credible geographers note.

As for the Sahara, it was never an absolute barrier to movement- indeed it was once a lush greenbelt that helped shape a great part of Africa- a true "Pan-African" entity (Kruper and Kroelin 2006). The present shift of the desert southward with about 3 miles being added every year make peoples and cultures once “sub-Saharan,” converted to NON sub-Saharan, obscuring deep-rooted historical patterns. Thus the kingdom of Nubia is in part a "sub-Saharan" entity and artifacts to that effect have been discovered by archaeologists. And well-known kingdom like Mansa Musa’s kingdom of  Mali which was producing most of the world’s gold at one time, and indeed depressed gold markets in the Mediterranean due to volume at one time, were more prosperous than numerous contemporary kingdoms of medieval Europe (Dunn 1987).

(3) Third, so what if there was “Islamic influence” in Africa? Is there any continent anywhere that has not been influenced from the outside? Europe is a massive beneficiary, copier and borrower from elsewhere. The influential Christian religion for example did not originate in Europe but from the sub-tropical Middle East, as did a good chunk of Europe’s Neolithic pioneers. Europe did not invent writing systems- Kemet in Africa's Nile Valley pioneered such writing some 3 centuries before Mesopotamia and played a part in creation of the alphabet most Europeans used today – the Phonecian or Semitic scripts being derived, simplified versions of Egyptian systems as John Darnell, Yale archaeologist shows. (Darnell 2005) In numerous other areas: guns, compass, printing, iron plows, etc etc China far surpassed Europe in technology for millennia as credible scholars like Joseph Needham show (See Temple 1986- The Genius of China). In short, Europe has been under a lot of “outside influence” – massively borrowing and copying from NON European peoples. How come that’s OK, but when Africa is involved, then  the invidious overtones about being “influenced” by "outside" Islamic civilization? Why the double-standard? When has Europe NOT been influenced by other "outside" civilizations?

As for "Islamic influence" it was important, just as it was important to Europe and other art of Eurasia, which also benefitted thereby. Indeed Europeans gained much learning from "Islamic" sources, just as they adopted the NON European Christian religion from a dusky people from the subtropical "Middle East." Oh and did we mention that Europeans also got their alphabet in part from the Africans of the Nile Valley when Semitic speakers adapted Egyptian scripts, as credible mainstream scholars show?  And sophisticated African social organization was long in place BEFORE any "Islamics" showed up. The examples of Kemet, Nubia, Aksum/Ethiopia are well known, but well organized kingdoms with their own metallurgy and trade (such as the gold kingdoms of the ancient Ghana region before "Islamics"), were in place and flourishing without needing any "Islamic" inspiration. And did we mention that West Africans had their own writing systems BEFORE any "Islamics" or Europeans' showed up- such as the ancient Nsibidi writings scripts used to record anything from court cases, to romantic messages, as credible scholars show?

A number of “heriditarian” types have attempted to cast a "racial evolutionary" umbrella over things, and claim a “cognitive revolution “ in Europe circa 40-50kya, causing an expansion of art and symbolic thought and advanced tools. But in fact as credible scholars show, the alleged “revolution” had ALREADY taken place in AFRICA, not Europe (McBreaty and Brooks 2000, Mellars 2006). There was an expansion in Europe with the advent of better climate and less ice, etc, so more shows there, but the foundations were ALREADY laid in Africa.

Even more ironic, well into the Paleolithic and on into the Mesolithic, the peoples of ancient Europe resembled, wait for it.. tropical Africans with dark skin, elongated limb segments and similar features (Holiday 2001, 2013 2010, Trinkhaus 2000, 1981). Even in crania, the pattern shows a mix with clear markers of tropical African provenance among the oft touted Cro-Magnons (Holliday 2010, Trinkhaus 2000, Brace 2005). Irony or ironies, the people who initiated the so-called “cognitive revolution” in Europe, looked like today’s tropical Africans as the scholars noted above show. Europe like Africa was never monolithic in phenotype – other types co-existed- but the dreaded “darker brethren” even show up in cold-climate locations like icy Russia. “HBD” (hereditarian) hopes for an all-white Europe from whence sprang all “cognitive advances” are thus dashed in pieces. It is the feared “darker breeds” that actually made “the revolution.”

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Bottom line:

This book has an easy to read writing style, but a simplistic tone, and as other reviewers have noted it is filled with speculation and contradictions, and with glaring holes in logic and data. We don’t really find out precisely what is meant by “evolution” by the authors. The authors seem to consider any gene change to be "evolution" then leap from a cherry-picked gene change to attribute massive effects on human behavior, thinking or virtue.

It is a slick "camel's nose" approach. First begin with an innocuous fact- genes do change over time. Oh sure, who is going to "deny" this? But then, leap or insinuate from there into sweeping claims. The innocuous info can be tacked on to whatever rickety structure is needed and from there used to make or insinuate sweeping claims. A similar approach is used by the racial IQ "G-men." Start with an innocuous fact- yes blacks show lower IQ scores than whites. No one is "disputing" or "denying" this- IQ test score gaps appear everywhere- between northern and southern Italians, between liberals and conservatives, white northerners and white southerners, between homosexuals and straights and so on. Then once the  innocuous camel's nose is under the tent, proceed to insinuate sweeping conclusions or claims while preserving "plausible denial."

The authors shrewdly cultivate "the white faithful" of the HBD "community" - beads for the natives if you will - and it has paid off in support and buzz, but beneath the facade the work is clearly wanting is several areas. Recommend books like Ian Morris’ 'Why The West Rules' for a better idea of why the West has progressed so fast after being behind for centuries, and on the evolution side, respected scientist Chris Stringer's book: 'Lone Survivors..' 

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A Final Irony: The authors tout recent evolution. OK., but will Continued "Evolution" Of Europeans Make Them More Atheist, More Liberal And More Gay? Some HBD Arguments Seem To Suggest This. Yet ironically, many Hbders Rail Against Liberalism And Its Fallout -  More Gay Rights, More Social Spending Etc. Yet it is higher IQ whites for the most part that are putting such things in place.

Liberalism linked with higher IQs. If higher cognitive patterns are the mark of the future, then some data shows that the trending is for more liberalism, lack of religious faith and more homosexuality. This is linked with higher IQ folk supposedly having a penchant for the novel and unexpected. Such novelty you see is what allegedly "selects" for higher IQ per HBD dogma. Some HBD data seems to support these patterns among higher IQ folk. For example, liberal “non-judgmentalism” is quite on track- for those identified as liberal may have higher IQs than non “liberals” (Kanazawa 2010). According to hereditarianism and “racial reality” favorite Satoshi Kanazawa (2010), intelligent people tend to have values novel in human evolutionary history, as compared to somewhat squarer conservative types. Why then do so many IQ "G-men" lament liberalism? Isn't high IQ delivering its expected liberal or lefty outcome, according to their own data?

Homosexuality linked with higher IQs. The “evolutionary” preference for the "novel" and unexpected tracks well not only with more liberal, non-traditional types, but mayhaps even “fabulous” types. Interestingly enough- some data show that gays on the average have higher IQs that straights- perhaps a reflection of that supposed taste for the “novel.” (See for example: John P. De Cecco, Michael G. Shively (1984) Bisexual and homosexual identities: critical theoretical issues.)

Some studies (Rogers and Turner 1991) report higher rates of homosexual activity among whites than blacks. Remafedi, Resnic Blum and Harris (1992) also find same sex attraction some 3 times higher in Whites than Blacks. Yet another study confirms white trending in homosexuality. A National AIDS Behavioral Survey study (NABS), reported by Binson et al (1995) shows that 9.1% of white men, 3.1% of Black men, 2.7 percent of Hispanic men, and 2.3 percent of Asian/other had had same-sex action. In essence whites were 3 times more likely than blacks to be engaging in homosexual acts. Indeed, the NABS study oversampled Black and Hispanic men but still showed higher rates of white activity. In another study based on vascular risk factors Krieger and Sidney (1997) reported white women and men were more likely to have had homosexual or bisexual contact than either black men or black women. In essence whites were twice as likely to be engaged in homosexual behavior than blacks.

This HBD data no doubt does not cover all the studies but it does raise a question. If higher IQ whites are trending more homosexual, could this gay trend therefore represent a 'higher' step up of white evolution? These are indeed the questions HBDers say they are asking- brave questions "which few dare ask" they say, and so on. OK, let's use their "IQ Supreme" model for a moment. Given the higher IQ trends, do more gays represent an advance in white evolution? Could this not be another argument for gay marriage- the need to encourage such a high IQ sub-population rather than discourage them? Aren't more white homosexuals a natural and expected outcome of the "IQ Supreme" model? And shouldn't this evolutionary trend be celebrated rather than lamented?

Less religious faith/more atheism linked with higher IQs. In addition, the higher IQ people may also tend to be more atheist, or more skeptical, or weaker in religious faith. Zuckerman 2013's meta-analysis found 'a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity' in 53 out of 63 studies. What this boils down to, on the average, is that smarter people tend to be less religious, and this includes atheists. (Zukerman et al, 2013. The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations', 'Personality and Social Psychology Review'). The authors claim that even during early years, the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion. A 2009 study of white American youth came to the same overall conclusion - atheists scored an average of 1.95 IQ points higher than agnostics, 3.82 points higher than liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than dogmatic persuasions (Nyborg(2009). "The intelligence–religiosity nexus: A representative study of white adolescent Americans". Intelligence 37: 81–93.)  In short, people at the higher end of the Bell Curve would tend to reject or despise faith more, or be less serious/more eclectic. They are the celebrated folk with high IQs, and, (not surprisingly) they also tend to be more liberal.

Thus the final irony. There are many who are all too happy to use IQ as a club to bash “lesser breeds” – but as it turns out, their own almighty IQ construct, Great Source Of All, has produced a class of leading folk that in many ways undermine and displace traditional values. The "cognitive elite" so touted in many quarters tends to be:
--More liberal/leftist/politically correct
 --More atheist/skeptical of or hostile to faith
 --More gay/cross-gender/willing to experiment sexually

--More extreme and violent politically (two sides of the same violent coin -Marxism and Facism)

And finally the "high G" types are failing to reproduce themselves. These characteristics in many ways produce fallout that bodes ill for the more "free-market" oriented, conservative America many HBDers tout.  Why are people like Charles Murray (and various other "heriditarian" types) complaining when their "high G" favorites are those in the forefront of helping white America "come apart" (to borrow from the title of Murray's book)? Didn't he celebrate these people earlier? Those high IQ paragons?  They worship the IQ gods, and the IQ gods have served up exactly what will undermine them. Surely their gods must be laughing.


The Teflon Don- Covid-era approval rating may signal November success

Some gays find welcome home in the 'alt-right' as nationalist organizations step up recruitment

Racial discrimination is alive and kicking in employment, housing and credit markets

Sowell 3- new data shows backward tropical evolution? Wealth and Poverty- An International Perspective in Trump era

Sowell 2- Wealth, Poverty and Politics- International Perspective - Trump era to bring these issues into sharper focus?

Sowell- Liberal intellectuals and hard questions about race differences- Trump era may force them to focus?

Trump properties discriminated against black tenants lawsuit finds

Stealing credibility- Dinesh D'souza has prison epiphany- after hanging with the homies- Hallelujah Hilary!

Shame on you, and your guilt too- A review of Shelby Steele's 'Shame'

Go with the flow 3- more DNA and cranial studies show ancient African migration to, or African presence in ancient Europe

Go with the flow 2- African gene flow into Europe in various eras

DNA studies show African movement to Europe from very ancient times

Guilt3- Why the "white privilege industry" is not all there

Guilt2- Media collaborates with guilt mongers - or how to play the white victim card

Hands off the Confederate flag

Despite much more wealth than blacks, whites collect about the same rate of welfare and are treated more generously

African "boat people" ushering in European demographic decline

The forgotten Holocaust- King Leopold's "Congo Free State" - 10 million victims

Are violent minorities taking over California and the West?

Presidential hopeful Ben Carson meets and Greeks

Contra "ISIS" partisans, there have been some beneficial effects of Christianity

The social construction of race, compared to biology- Graves

 Why HBD or hereditarianism lacks credibility

Leading Scientists criticize hereditarian claims

Thai me down - Thais fall behind genetically related southern Chinese, Tibetans below genetically related East Asians like Koreans and other Chinese

Time for liberals to respect "the south" ... in a way of speaking.. the south of Egypt that is..

Irony 2: touted High IQ "G-men" cannot reproduce themselves

Unz and Sowell: Unz debunking Lynn's IQ and Wealth of Nations. Sowell debunking the Bell Curve

Irony 1: touted High IQ types are more homosexual, more atheist, and more liberal (HAL)

Elite white universities discriminate against Asians using reverse "affirmative action"

Deteriorating state of white America

Racial Cartels (The Affirmative Action Propaganda machine- part 2

Hereditarian's/HBD's "Great Black Hope"

Exploding nonsense: the 10,000 Year Explosion

We need "rational racism"? Proponent Dinesh D;Souza becomes his own test case

The Affirmative Action Propaganda Machine- part 1

Two rules for being "really" black- no white wimmen, no Republican

The Axial age reconsidered

Cannibal seasonings: dark meat on white

"Affirmative Action" in the form of court remedies has been around a long time- since the 1930s- benefiting white union workers against discrimination by employers

Mugged by reality 1: White quotas, special preferences and government jobs

Lightweight enforcement of EEO laws contradicts claims of "flood" of minorities "taking jobs"

Railroaded 3: white violence and intimidation imposed quotas

Railroaded 2: how white quotas and special preferences blockade black progress...

Railroaded 1: How white affirmative action and white special preferences destroyed black railroad employment...

Affirmative action: primary beneficiaries are white women

7 reasons certain libertarians and right-wingers are wrong about the Civil Right Act

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell

Bogus "biodiversity" theories of Kanazawa, Ruston, Lynn debunked

JP Rushton, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn debunked. Weaknesses of Jared Diamond's approach.

In the Blood- debunking "HBD" and Neo-Nazi appropriation of ancient Egypt

early Europeans and middle Easterners looked like Africans. Peoples returning or "backflowing" to Africa would already be looking like Africans

 Ancient Egypt: one of the world's most advanced civilizations- created by tropical peoples

Playing the "Greek defence" -debunking claims of Greeks as paragons of virtue or exemplars of goodness

Quotations from mainstream academic research on the Nile Valley peoples

Assorted "Role models" debunked- hypocritical heriditarianism

Joint products of "racial evolution"...

Evolution, brain size, and the national IQ of peoples ... - Jelte Wicherts 2010

Why national IQs do not support evolutionary theories of intelligence - WIcherts, Borsboom and Dolan 2010
Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 91-96
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Are intelligence tests measurement invariant over time? by JM Wicherts - ?2004
 --Dolan, Wicherts et al 2004. Investigating the nature of the Flynn effect. Intelligence 32 (2004) 509-537

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Race and other misadventures: essays in honor of Ashley Montagu... By Larry T. Reynolds, Leonard Lieberman

Race and intelligence: separating science from myth. By Jefferson M. Fish. Routledge 2002. See Templeton's detailed article referenced above also inside the book
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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press
For summary see:
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--S OY Keita, R A Kittles, et al. "Conceptualizing human variation," Nature Genetics 36, S17 - S20 (2004)

--S.O.Y. Keita and Rick Kittles. (1997) *The Persistence ofRacial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence. AJPA, 99:3
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Alan Templeton. "The Genetic and Evolutionary significnce oF Human Races." pp 31-56. IN: J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating scinnce from myth.

 J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating science from myth.


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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press

Krimsky, S, Sloan.K (2011) Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture

Wicherts and Johnson, 2009. Group differences in the heritability of items and test scores

--Joseph Graves, 2006. What We Know and What We Don’t Know: Human Genetic Variation and the Social Construction of Race

J. Kahn (2013) How a Drug Becomes "Ethnic" - Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, v4:1

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