Beliefs & People –  a tight loop of mutual causation?

 
jmm
 
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jmm
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28 March 2016 16:36
 

A couple of years ago, “A Troublesome Inheritance” by Nicholas Wade made a plausible case for genetic influences on individual cognition and behavior (eg, intelligence, sociability & aggressiveness), for the influence of relative frequencies of alleles (alternate forms of a gene) on social structures, and for the geographic, social, and other factors that tend to segment people into genetically distinguishable groups. A particularly malignant instance is found in the work on cousin marriage among Muslims by the danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels, which, If true, would seem to replace the comforting Liberal distinction of “beliefs” from “people” with a tight loop of mutual causation. Several decades ago Charles Murray landed in a world of shit for his “Bell Curve” analysis of racial differences in IQ, even though at that time it was possible to believe that cultural, more than genetic, differences might be responsible.

But it is no longer so clear that genetic differences among populations are insufficient to cause differences in mental capacities and health, and that different distributions of such traits could not influence social structures and cultures – which in the worst case, feed-back to damage a group’s gene pool. When and if such population genetics effects become undeniable, we will all have to become racists, differing only in how much evidence we require before labeling some group as defective (or superior), and in how much effort we’re willing to invest in evaluating an individual independent of his group.

 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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28 March 2016 17:56
 

There is much too much intermarriage among most groups and too much migration among areas at this point in history to assign traits to “races” in any meaningful way.  A few exceptions might be very small, sedentary, insular groups, such as the Amish.  Certain metabolic mutations have a higher frequency within this group, for example.

But in general, the range within any human group obscures differences between groups.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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29 March 2016 00:15
 

agree with hannah - if genetics has taught us anything, it’s not that some traits are found specifically among some groups and not others, but that there is a huge number of possible traits and combinations thereof, and any labeling based on such would be superficial and inadequate to make any generalized statements.
Personalized medicine based on individual genetics will put us into a whole range of categories that will make blood types look like a toddler’s sorting game in comparison. once a sufficient percentage of the world population’s genome is known, we might be able to start sorting according to various criteria, but it’s very doubtful that the result will be a division along racially definable lines. 

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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29 March 2016 07:23
 

Quick comment.  Some medical conditions clearly genetic in origin occur much more frequently in some ethnic groups.  Such as cycle cell anemia, teich sachs disease, etc.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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29 March 2016 07:50
 
Dennis Campbell - 29 March 2016 07:23 AM

Quick comment.  Some medical conditions clearly genetic in origin occur much more frequently in some ethnic groups.  Such as cycle cell anemia, teich sachs disease, etc.

These are simple mutations.  Very unlikely that something like intelligence would be a point mutation.  (Unless we’re talking about Down’s Syndrome, which obviously is not the type of subtle different we are discussing here.)

Again, the great degree of mixing taking place in today’s world is erasing racial categories in any case.

 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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29 March 2016 08:58
 
hannahtoo - 29 March 2016 07:50 AM
Dennis Campbell - 29 March 2016 07:23 AM

Quick comment.  Some medical conditions clearly genetic in origin occur much more frequently in some ethnic groups.  Such as cycle cell anemia, teich sachs disease, etc.

These are simple mutations.  Very unlikely that something like intelligence would be a point mutation.  (Unless we’re talking about Down’s Syndrome, which obviously is not the type of subtle different we are discussing here.)

Again, the great degree of mixing taking place in today’s world is erasing racial categories in any case.

Tend to agree.

 
 
jmm
 
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jmm
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29 March 2016 15:19
 

The common wisdom is indeed that differences within a population are greater than between populations, that it takes many thousands of years for natural selection to produce significant change, etc, but Wade argues plausibly that these beliefs are no longer scientifically defensible. The main idea is that we are not talking about point mutations. Genes normally come in multiple versions (alleles) that co-exist in a population, and its the frequency distribution of alleles (not the creation of new alleles by mutation) that’s at issue. Eg, a society with relatively more individuals expressing “cooperative” alleles will tend to differ from one expressing more “aggressive” alleles. The “single gene” criticism, too, misses the point: there is nothing about these arguments that supposes Mendelian (simple dominant-recessive) inheritance. Mental traits are certainly results of many complex genetic interactions, each of which may nonetheless be subject to selective or drift effects.

To the degree that tribalism and simple geographic separation create reproductively isolated groups, there will be groups with unique distributions of allele frequencies, which will likely tend towards particular intellectual or social characteristics. This is not necessarily bad, but Islam then poisons these relatively isolated gene pools with high frequencies of cousin marriage – as high as 70% in some countries – with the well-known consequences of inbreeding. Sennels relates data on cousin marriage to known heritable physical disorders and mental disorders with presumed heritable components. Worse, if reproductively isolated “inbred” minds gravitate towards primitive tribalism, it would lead to more of the same.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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29 March 2016 17:51
 
jmm - 29 March 2016 03:19 PM

The common wisdom is indeed that differences within a population are greater than between populations, that it takes many thousands of years for natural selection to produce significant change, etc, but Wade argues plausibly that these beliefs are no longer scientifically defensible. The main idea is that we are not talking about point mutations. Genes normally come in multiple versions (alleles) that co-exist in a population, and its the frequency distribution of alleles (not the creation of new alleles by mutation) that’s at issue. Eg, a society with relatively more individuals expressing “cooperative” alleles will tend to differ from one expressing more “aggressive” alleles. The “single gene” criticism, too, misses the point: there is nothing about these arguments that supposes Mendelian (simple dominant-recessive) inheritance. Mental traits are certainly results of many complex genetic interactions, each of which may nonetheless be subject to selective or drift effects.

To the degree that tribalism and simple geographic separation create reproductively isolated groups, there will be groups with unique distributions of allele frequencies, which will likely tend towards particular intellectual or social characteristics. This is not necessarily bad, but Islam then poisons these relatively isolated gene pools with high frequencies of cousin marriage – as high as 70% in some countries – with the well-known consequences of inbreeding. Sennels relates data on cousin marriage to known heritable physical disorders and mental disorders with presumed heritable components. Worse, if reproductively isolated “inbred” minds gravitate towards primitive tribalism, it would lead to more of the same.


And?

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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29 March 2016 20:08
 
jmm - 29 March 2016 03:19 PM

The common wisdom is indeed that differences within a population are greater than between populations, that it takes many thousands of years for natural selection to produce significant change, etc, but Wade argues plausibly that these beliefs are no longer scientifically defensible. The main idea is that we are not talking about point mutations. Genes normally come in multiple versions (alleles) that co-exist in a population, and its the frequency distribution of alleles (not the creation of new alleles by mutation) that’s at issue. Eg, a society with relatively more individuals expressing “cooperative” alleles will tend to differ from one expressing more “aggressive” alleles. The “single gene” criticism, too, misses the point: there is nothing about these arguments that supposes Mendelian (simple dominant-recessive) inheritance. Mental traits are certainly results of many complex genetic interactions, each of which may nonetheless be subject to selective or drift effects.

To the degree that tribalism and simple geographic separation create reproductively isolated groups, there will be groups with unique distributions of allele frequencies, which will likely tend towards particular intellectual or social characteristics. This is not necessarily bad, but Islam then poisons these relatively isolated gene pools with high frequencies of cousin marriage – as high as 70% in some countries – with the well-known consequences of inbreeding. Sennels relates data on cousin marriage to known heritable physical disorders and mental disorders with presumed heritable components. Worse, if reproductively isolated “inbred” minds gravitate towards primitive tribalism, it would lead to more of the same.

Muslim countries are not having problems because of inbreeding or even genetic disposition.  It is historical.  The Mideast countries have been at the crossroads of migration for millennia.

The reasoning you present seems to be leading toward an us/them situation.  That is, they are inbred; they have mental disorders; their minds are are drawn to more primitive ideas.  Again, we have much, much more in common than we have differences.  The idea that they are somehow mentally inferior can only be a stumbling block to progress in relations.

 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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30 March 2016 06:03
 

jmm:
To the degree that tribalism and simple geographic separation create reproductively isolated groups, there will be groups with unique distributions of allele frequencies, which will likely tend towards particular intellectual or social characteristics.

The principles of genetics referenced refer to very isolated populations.  Remember, radical Muslims are found across a huge area of the globe, encompassing northern Africa, the Middle East, and south Asia.  Even IF certain mental function genes dominated in an isolated pocket of Muslims, what is the chance that this would occur generally throughout this area of over a billion people?  Zero.