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Chapter 4 - Out of Africa. Print

Chapter IV. Out of Africa.

Chapter IV. Out of Africa.

  1. We are all Africans.

  2. Racism – Fratricide writ large.

  3. Why have we become biologically different?

  4. Three types of selection.

    1. Three types: natural, migratory and cultural.

    2. migratory selection

    3. more differences in than outside of Africa

    4. Genghis Khan

    5. “mirror neurons”

    6. viscious circles with cumulative results?

    7. cultural selection

IV:1. We are all Africans.

There is a strong reality behind Karen Blixen’s famous Out of Africa-book.

Those who have carried most of the burden of precarious life, taking us through close to six million years of extremely difficult living, are the Africans. We, who now live well, should be extremely grateful to our African forefathers for that achievement!

Among experts there is now a rather high consensus on two points.

The first is that the origin of all present “modern” human beings is in Africa. Our grandfathers were all Africans, for Homo sapiens, probably from the Kun San group, often called Bushmen.

The real exodus from Africa came when the Africans went into Australia and the uncharted territory of Asia proper and somewhat later to Europe.

How little we actually know, and how speculative our knowledge of this exodus and the causes behind it is, has been well demonstrated in an excellent survey of relevant literature by Paul Mellars, “Why did modern human populations disperse from Africa ca. 60,000 years ago? A new model.”[1]

What to me here is of great interest is how Mellars repeatedly calls this movements as “to colonize”, by “colonists” and as an “early modern human colonization of Asia”. This is of importance for understanding the driving biological forces behind our contemporary global problems, I do believe.

I also note that he does not refer to the Malthusian margin. But that he repeats the debate around the hypothesis by Ester Boserup about what caused agriculture to emerge. Mellars is asking if man’s brain at this time got so much better that migration became possible or if an already established brain quality gave such important inventions that these could help modern man to migrate and take over land from other animals and earlier prototypes of men, including the Neanderthals.


[1] PNAS 20 June 2006, p. 9381.

The second point has to do with the utterly contentious concept of race.

IV:2. Racism – Fratricide writ large.

No crime is so heinously ugly – and so human – as racism.

Because racism is nothing but fratricide writ large, it is a crime against our own family, against ourselves.

Fratricide has, however, been the essence of the human struggle for reproductive success during those six million years of extremely precarious living, when two brothers never grew up together into adulthood. (See II:5 above!)

Long long periods of mutual fratricide in likely to have created a deep, possibly genetically based fear of “the Other”, of all strangers and especially of ethnically different strangers.

Such fears may well have existed inside Africa for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. But the modern idea of race and racism could hardly exist earlier than about 60,000 years ago. Then we were, as seen today, all Africans. Each one of us who exist today has a great great great grandfather from Africa. But then we split, as will be discussed below, and modern racism was born.

A few examples may illustrate what has happened.

African slave trade and “Negro slavery” is not only one of the pillars upon which the wealth of the United States of America was built[9]. It is much older. One of the best scholars in the field, Orlando Patterson, once suggested that the original choice in early human warfare was, for the defeated, death or slavery.[10] 

If we have written sources for some 4000 years, slavery, from Noa in the Bible to the anti-slavery legislations in the middle of the 1800’s, was considered to be something completely normal, with trade in human beings of other ethnic groups legally regulated, as trade in any other type of cattle.

The most recent two horror cases which we all remember are a century years of apartheid in South Africa and the ten years of holocausts of Africans, Gypsies, homosexuals and Jews in Germany.

Now, in the Western world, except for the Jewish Holocaust, we try to forget this history and to deny the feelings which certainly still do exist, by laws punishing ethnically discriminatory actions and words. But we shouldn’t try to fool ourselves. No suppression, even of free speech, nor any oral exorcise is likely to cure those feelings of fear and hate of strangers which exists in us since we were all Africans.

We may however hide them for ourselves. The ways in which we, for instance, devote billions of dollars to plastic surgery, lifting chins and pumping breasts, while letting millions of Africans die in internal warfare and AIDS, reveal our deepest value discriminations.

And isn’t the scare of the “Yellow Danger” or of a coming Clash of Civilizations[11] between China and the West, our deepest Western scare today? And isn’t that, too, a racist scare, a fear of a new fratricide now committed by the “yellow”, upon us the “white” ones?[12]

That biological differences between populations even exists is denied by many. Scientists, depending on grants and scared of media trouble with the “politically correct”, have transformed the discussion into one on “genetic distances”. That is the sum of all allele differences. The result of such studies do, however, come very close to the Linnean concept of race. The biggest “genetic distances” seem to coincide rather well with the classical racial differences.[13]

 

IV:3. Why have we  become biologically different? 

At point C, before modern man’s migration out of Africa, it is time to put a serious question: if we all have common forefathers, probably Bushmen or San-Africans, how come we are so different?

The basic answer is called evolution. But in what does evolution consist?

There are essentially three elements.

The first can be described as spontaneous stochastic changes in our DNA material, so-called mutations. They are few, perhaps some 30 per genome and generation. Most are bad for us and disappear. A few are good, in the sense that they increase our capacity to get reproductive success or, in modern man, power.

The second element is selection, the eternal biological process in which some are able to adopt to a given environment, others are less so. In the Darwinian struggle for survival those who have difficulties in adapting themselves are selected away, possibly because of deleterious mutations, and those who are quick to handle changes in environment survive and multiply.

The third element is called genetic drift. Small groups who leave big groups do not carry with them all the DNA-variations of the bigger one. A small number of individual changes in such a group can then lead to rather big changes in the frequency of DNA-variations within only a few generations.

What we call evolution is the sum of these three changes, in mutations, in selection, and in genetic drift.

While mutation remains rather slow and stable, genetic drift and the struggle for selective survival gains more importance when modern mankind started to leave Africa during the latest one percent of our existence.

 

The pioneer in this field is Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. With a couple of collaborators he published a 1000-page volume in 1994 on The History and Geography of Human Genes.[14] He also became a leader of the controversial international “Human Genome Diversity Project”.

Cavalli-Sforza’s evidence pointed to an exodus from Africa that started some 100,000 years ago. The technology for such studies is fast improving. Based on a careful analysis of variations in genetic distances in the male Y-chromosome, Spencer Wells, a pupil of Cavalli-Sforza, has now pinpointed our first exodus from Africa to about 60,000 years ago. You find it in his excellently interesting book The Journey of Man. A Genetic Odyssey.[15]

The earliest group of migrating Africans went along the south Asian continent, came to what we now call Australia, and became the aborigines.

Some 40,000 years ago, a migration towards the north took our African forefathers to the Caucasus. For reasons of climatic change, some of their children went towards the east and became Chinese and Japanese. Others went west and became Europeans. This can be followed, step by step, in Wells’ book.

Some also remained in the Caucasus. They have defended their mountains since some 40,000 years, defeating the British and Russian imperialists in the 1800’s, and the Soviet ones in the 1900’s. Now they are trying to chase away the American ones.

Tough people!

We, who left, have substituted technology for muscles and toughness. Once in a while one can also ask if, in that process, we haven’t become not only physically weak but also mentally obese.

The details of this exodus from Africa will be filled out. In this outline, I just wanted to give you the most important points.

[1] H.J. Jerison, Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence. Academic Press 1973, see p. 315.

[2] A. D. Smith, Chosen Peoples. Sacred Sources of National Identity. Oxford University Press 2003, p. 253.

[3]  J.A. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men. Origins of the Revolutionary Faith. Basic Books, New York 1980.

[4]  Nelson Mandela, In His Own Words. Little Brown, 2004, (Jan 1990)

[5]  On the Lawrence Summer debate, see for instance IHT 050120, p. 2, on its origin and IHT 050317, p. 5, tellings us that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, with 218 votes agains 185 no and 18 abstentions, approved a resolution expressing a lack of confidence in the leadership of the universitiy’s president, Lawrence Summers, citing “longstanding dissatisfaction” and “his remarks ((on “intrinsic aptitude”))in January about women in math and science.” The resolution had been introduced by professor of anthropology and African and African-American studies, Lorand Matory.

 

[6]  Letter No 2002/03:140 from the Swedish Government to the Swedish Parliament, stating that the Government considers all “gender differences” are nothing but social constructions! Biology is out!

[7]  Armand Marie Leroi, “Genes rebuild our ideas about race.” IHT 2005-03-15, p. 6; interview with Marcello Buiatti, la Repubblica, 2005-03-23, p. 41.

[8]  Linda S. Gottfredson, “Intelligence: Is it the Epidemiologists’ Elusive ‘Fundamental Cause’ of Social Class Inequalities in Health?”, APA, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 86, No.1, 2004, p. 174.

[9] David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor. Little, Brown 1998.

[10]  Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death. A Comparative Study. Harvard University Press 1982.

[11] Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster 1966.

[12] As I write this, March 5-6,  2005, IHTreports that “China’s military budget to grow 12.6 % this year”. The text tells us that it will arrive to 30 b dollars, half of Japan’s and a less than a tenth of the U.S. one with about 400 b dollars for 2005. A serious quarrel is also on between the United States and Europe about the export of weapons to China.

[13] The best discussion now available of these issues are to be found in a Supplement to Nature Genetics, Nov. 2004, Vol. 36, No. 11s. Can be downloaded from http:www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n11s/index.html 

[14] L.Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, History and Geography of Human Genes.Princeton University Press, 1994.

[15] Princeton University Press 2002.


 IV:4. Three types of selection.

 a. It might here be useful to divide selection into three different sorts.

The first is the natural selection as established by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. It is a blind process in nature, essentially driven by spontaneous mutations, sexual choice and the resulting capacity for adapting to a given environment.

Wallace summarized it better then Darwin: “From the effects of disease the most healthy escape; from enemies, the strongest, the swiftest, or the most cunning……This self-acting process would necessarily improve the race…..the fittest would survive.” ####

Natural selection has three sub-forms. One is purifying selection, which removes deleterious variations. The second is balancing selection which maintains polymorphism. The third is the one that produces a trend, directional selection.

It can fairly be assumed that this is what has ruled the development also of human life during the first 99 percent of its existence, up until point D in my picture. All of it then took place in Africa.

b. From the migration out of Africa around 60,000 years ago we may speak about migratory selection. The process may still be blind or “self-acting” but it should be faster. The necessity for the migrating groups to adapt themselves to new environments, with new food, new climate, new enemies and a new micro-fauna causing new diseases from which “the most healthy escape”, may become relatively more important for change that normal genetic mutations.

With a fast rate of imperialist colonization of the world, migratory selection may also have speeded up nature’s choice of those genetic variations, SNIPs or alleles, that had the best capacity to adapt to, and to reproduce in, the ever new environment, to which the different groups came in their following of Malthus’ blind expansion laws.

We may fairly suspect that both purifying and directional selection came to play greater roles during migratory selection than they did before. The weakest members, those who had difficulties to adapt to the new dangers to human life, may have been selected away and with them some of their alleles. There may have been a faster trend towards a directional selection of those who had a superior ability to adapt themselves to new circumstances, possibly because of a stronger will to survive, possibly because of a greater inventive capacity in the arms race.

c. For a long time it has been known that more genetic variations exist inside Africa than outside,[1] partly due to the many migratory movements inside that huge continent even before some groups of Africans started to leave it.

If mankind’s migratory history, as is the case, now is written with the help of genetic variations, in the X- or Y-chromosomes, it is rather self-evident that such changes may have taken place all over the genome with its now, at least, fifteen million known SNIPs.

Some directional consistency of such changes may help us come to grips with a few old and difficult concepts, such as the ill-defined idea of “race”.[2] It has, for instance, been difficult to claim that variations in skin colour are but “social constructions” and we are now coming to grips with the genetics behind them. #### Diamond ???

When it comes to the questions of “race” and “intelligence”, however, there has been a great consensus in the debate during the last two generations that such differences, which seem to be obvious, are nothing but “social constructs”, normally made by “fascistoid” people. Even leading scientists or managers of science, such as Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Craig Venter have made cow-tow to the politically correct opinion. Lots of such people fear the certainly very sensitive and difficult debates that may follow, as for instance the equally brave as kind Arthur Jensen got to know.

d. A most interesting study of an ethnic group, with the title The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols, was published in 2003.[3] A group of first class researchers found that in 16 populations in Asia, from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea, a unique variation on the Y-chromosome could be detected. It existed in about eight percent of the population studied, which meant about half of one percent of total humanity.

The researchers tried to establish the TMRCA or the “Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor” of this variation. They found nothing more probable than the father or grandfather of Genghis Khan. This violent man had a sexual behaviour that does not completely live up to present feminist ideals. His idea was that the women of defeated enemies were to be used as “night shirts”[4]. Using this attitude during his conquests, he spread his family-SNIP to such an extent that today some 16 million men and probably an equal number of women are direct descendents of him. No wonder he got a number of monikers, such as the Mighty Manslayer, the Scourge of God, the Master of Thrones and Crowns, and the Perfect Warrior.[5]

This inheritance seems to have come into some 32 million now living descendents of Genghis Khan. Are we then not justified in believing that his rather modern “migrant” out of Mongolia has had a genetic effect on my imperialistic “adrenalinomaniacs”, somewhat increasing the average genetic inheritance of the emotional will to power over what it was before.

The researchers behind this study are talking about a “novel form of selection in human populations on the basis of social prestige”. I take that as one small empirical confirmation of my idea of “migratory selection” during the last 60,000 years. Because even earlier leaders of migratory groups surely had the same love for their children as did Genghis Khan.

e. Let me here in passing observe that the behaviour of this Perfect Warrior hardly demonstrated much empathy with his defeated enemies.[6] An Italian neurologist, Giacomo Rizzolatti, has found a set of “mirror neurons” that tend to give the same reactions in our brains as in the brains of those who really suffer. But, he says, to be so horribly cruel as we are to each other in warfare, we have to deny to ourselves that also the enemies are human beings. It is much easier mentally to “demonize” them and thus freely kill them as we kill animals. ((check Genesis 1 plus Habakkuk 1, plus Reagan and Bush on Evil #### and my MICO-article…..))

f. Now, if intelligence has been man’s master tool for beating all new enemies during his expansion out over the globe, doesn’t it seems likely that such consistent genetic changes may have taken place also in those several genes where what we now call “IQ” or “cognitive capacity” is located? Which is an even more sensitive question than that of “races”.

In fact, some research does support the idea that mankind during the migratory period has had an important change in his head. The total volume of our sculls has, so far as I know, not grown . But the place inside that volume, where the brain researchers believe that abstract thinking is largely to be found, that is the cerebellum, has had a considerable both absolute and relative growth.[7]

If that has been so, it can also help us understand why the rate of changes in human artefacts has speeded up as much as it has over the last 60,000 years, or why global IQ-tests show rather stable regional variations.[8] Which then, in a vicious circle with cumulative results, today would give some of the migratory populations a clear biologically inherited advantage in the development of those modern weapons by which they have advanced towards World Dominion.

g. The resulting differences between human ethnic groups or races have then been even more reinforced by the third and the most recent form of selection, what I will call conscious cultural selection. To that I will be back later. ( ref to page or section … ####)

insatt på www av gak den 11 juni 2005


[1] Wells, op.cit., p. 16.

[2] For a good recent summary, see Armand Marie Leroi, “Genes rebuild our ideas about race.” IHT 050315.

[3] Tatiana Zerjal et.al, in American Journal of Human Genetics, 72:717-721.

[4] see quote on page ####

[5] Steve Sailer, “Genes of History’s Greatest Lover Found?”, UPI, Febr. 5, 2003.

[6] See D. Morgan, The Mongols. Blackwells 1986 and ……####

[7] Anne H. Weaver, PNAS 050308, p. 3576.

[8] Lynn-Vanhanen’s highly controversial book. ####


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