We are the cultural species par excellence, and so the species that creates its own niches.
The ecologist Paul Colinvaux, author of the classic text Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare, made an observation in his deeply flawed book The Fates of Nations that is very useful for modelling human social dynamics:
Unlike other animals, we can change our social habits to fit ourselves for new niches … P.42
A niche being:
… all the things the things about a kind of animal the let it live: its way of feeding, what it does to avoid enemies, how it is…
There have been four major out-of expansions by Homo sapiens.
Four great out-of population expansions have widely dispersed Homo sapien populations. The out-of-Africa expansion of foragers; the out-of-the-river-valley expansion of farmers; the out-of-the-steppe expansion of pastoralists; and the out-of-Europe expansion of settler empires and states.
Out of Africa: the expansion of Homo sapiens
Whether an exit from Africa around 100,000 years ago was successful or not is still debated. From around 60-50,000 years ago, there was a sustained exit from Africa. Homo sapiens spread to occupy all continents except Antarctica, absorbing and replacing all other Homo populations. …
Intent is not the only thing to judge policies or theories on.
Within the expanding debate and political controversies over CRT (Critical Race Theory), the Activist’s Fallacy is regularly on display.
The Activist’s Fallacy operates as follows:
We are doing X because we are against Y.
You are against X
You are for Y.
The Fallacy can be recast in negative terms:
We are doing X because we are for Z.
You are against X.
You are against Z.
Either way, the Activist’s Fallacy is about making declared intent the dimension on which the entire controversy…
Folk are intersex because of how their biology is within complex and varied manifestations of two sexes.
There is this rather tedious game that is sometimes played where the existence of intersex people is somehow taken to indicate that either sex is not biological or that sex is not binary.
Any suggestion along the former lines is easily dealt with: a person is intersex if they have a specific type of pattern of biological features. That is, in the words of the UN OHCHR (the UN Human Rights Office):
Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and…
Official health has a persistent pattern of presenting as science-based things that are not.
Despite the efforts of the wilder shores of critical theory and its critical constructivist derivatives (such as critical race theory) to present science as white, patriarchal, heteronormative and similar morally-disabling things, science retains a great deal of authority in Western societies. Particularly in areas of policy concern that clearly should be based on good science. Hence public policy, and policy advocacy, regularly presents itself as being based on sound science.
Thus uses of terms and phrases such as trust the science, scientific consensus and, as terms…
Why those who struggle with the physical world lean conservative and those who deal with the abstract lean progressive.
In his book A Conflict of Visions, economist Thomas Sowell sets out two visions of human nature and social possibilities that drive much of politics: the unconstrained or utopian vision, whereby human society could achieve unparalleled harmony and felicity if people were freed from various social constraints, and the constrained or tragic vision, whereby human nature, the demands of creating and maintaining social order and of wresting wealth from nature, operate as fundamental constraints that any social order has…
The history of the US has generated persistent racial derangement. It has been far more of a case of structures generating racism than of racism generating structures.
People have a pretty good understanding of their own continental ancestry. People are also relatively accurate at picking out other people’s continental ancestry.
This is not surprising. There was not much mixing across continents until relatively recently, at least outside continental border regions. This was due to the limitations of technology, hence transport costs were very high. …
Much of contemporary feminism is engaged in an unfortunate game of let’s pretend.
In any sufficiently complex and mobile species that uses conjunction of gametes to reproduce, the only evolutionary stable outcome is to have one type of gametes be small and motile (self-moving) and the other type to be large and sessile (not self-moving). Reproduction then requires the conjunction of a small gamete with a large gamete.
If there are no neuters in the species, and the species is divided into two sexes, one producing small gametes (males) and the other producing large gametes (females), then the only evolutionary…
Yes, ancestry matters but not in the way that makes race talk sensible.
The early medieval scholar Regino of Prum wrote the following:
Diversae nationes popularum interse discrepant genere moribus lingua legibus.
For those (such as myself) not up on the their Latin, that translates as:
The peoples of various nations differ by origin, customs, languages and laws.
This quote has been much cited since. Its fourfold formula was frequently used by medieval writers. For instance, Bishop Bernard of St David’s wrote to Pope Innocent II referring to:
…populos nostre provincie natione, lingua, legibus et moribus, iudiciis et consuetudinibus discrepare
Just because something is used propagandistically does not mean it is not a thing.
Patriarchy is authority being presumptively male. The more presumptively male authority is, the more patriarchal the society is. At its simplest, authority is competence + deference. The wider and more significant the realm of presumed male competence, and of expected deference to the same, the more presumptively male authority is.
That an area of life is presumptively male does not, of itself, generate patriarchy. Having presumptive sex roles is not patriarchal. The addition of expected deference is crucial. …
An accidental small businessman who reads a lot and thinks about what he reads, sometimes productively. Currently writing a book on marriage.