Friday, May 12, 2017

Banned from Anthrogenica, Censored by Eurogenes, Laugh at Eupedia

Several posters at Davidski's Eurogenes blog have noted that they've been banned from Anthrogenica for challenging the Kool-Aid drinking orthodoxy that infects that website.

The pattern almost always goes as follows.  A regular Anthrogenica poster says something like, "Isn't the Kool-Aid grand?"  A newcomer says, "I don't want to drink your Kool-Aid."  The Anthrogenica regular says, "I'm right, you idiot."  And then the newcomer says, "You're the idiot" -- and yep, you guessed it, only one of them gets banned.

It's gotten so bad that some of the best citizen-scientist minds, and almost all contrarian voices, are gone from that website.  In the old days, the orthodoxy sought to excommunicate Galileo from the Catholic faith.  Now they excommunicate posters from the major discussion websites.  No dissent allowed.

With Dienekes inactive, Eurogenes is where many go for discussion.  But Davidski has been very heavy with the censorship button there too.  Post something he disagrees with?  He removes your comment.  It's really sad.

I myself have tried to post my most recent thread, about applying simple demographics to his "Conquest and Warfare" fantasies, and he always removes my comments asap.

What does that leave?  Eupedia?  Maciamo is a reductio ad absurdem idiot, who also doesn't hesitate to ban people with any contrarian viewpoint.

So, this is it.  This is your thread.  This thread (and this website) is for anyone Banned From Anthrogenica, or Censored by Eurogenes.

Post away.  You will not be censored here.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

When Is A "Conquest" Not A Conquest?

When Is A Conquest Not A Conquest?

You are a scientist living in the year 4017, specializing in the ancient civilizations that existed between 1492 and 2200 A.D.  Various cultures came and went, but alas, most written records were lost in the intervening centuries.  So you study DNA.

Your fellow scientists know that in many different regions, the DNA record shows profound change over time, both in autosomal percentages and uniparental markers (Y-Chromosome, mtDNA).

Unfortunately, arrogant bloggers still exist in 4017, and three of them, one called Davidski Futurski (who blogs at Eurogenes-ski), a fellow named Maciamo-Futuriamo, and another named Rocca Futura, are examples of "a little knowledge can be dangerous."  

They blindly state that all changes in DNA indicate evidence of conquest by some superior culture of badass men.  (Nevermind that they all believe they descend from the people they assert to be superior; that's irrelevant, we're sure).

Your boss at the university, someone who sees nuance better than the bloggers, asks you to model the record and various types of human interactions, and answer the question:

"When Might A 'Conquest' Not Really Be A Conquest?"  

So you come up with the following four models, and re-create as best as you can some historical examples for the clueless:

1.  Refugees from a war-torn area flood into a nearby land (and even some faraway lands), overwhelming the demographics.  The bloggers post that a people called the Syrians conquered the Lebanese, starting in 2011, but you're not so sure.  Your research finds the opposite: that there was a horrendous war in Syria, causing 11 million people to lose all their belongings and flee.  Therefore, you don't think these people were conquerors, but refugees.  Nevertheless, the stubborn bloggers point out how the record shows a massive DNA shift in Lebanon, where the Syrian markers went from 5% to 25% of the population in just three years.  

"It had to be conquest" they write, of powerful, rich, sophisticated men conquering the weak Lebanese.  

Alas, you tell them: it was the opposite: a beaten-down people streaming into a nearby land (and also places like Sweden), altering the gene pool.  In fact, Lebanon started with 5 million people, and absorbed an influx of 2.5 million refugees.  Thus, the autosomal genetics and uniparental frequencies were both significantly changed.  It's really as simple as that.

2. Disease.  In 1598, slaves from Africa were brought to a place called Puerto Rico.  They brought with them Yellow Fever, something the native American inhabitants did not have exposure or antibodies to.  

Although the natives were, under the caste system at the time, a couple of rungs higher than the African slaves, and although the natives had better sources of food and systems for dealing with the native landscape, they were killed off in the thousands simply because they didn't have antibodies to the new disease.  

But all the bloggers see is that Puerto Rico went from showing Native American DNA patterns to showing African (and European) DNA patterns.  And they cry, their must have been a conquest, led by the African newcomers!  You LOL, pointing out that these newcomers were slaves and vectors.

3.  Economic Opportunity.  The bloggers now discuss Los Angeles.  They point out that the DNA record shows that in the 1950s, Los Angeles was 80% inhabited by an ancient culture called, "whites."  By 2020, it was 60% Hispanic.  The record thus showed profound shifts in autosomal frequencies and Y-chromosome patterns.  

"There must have been a conquest!" the bloggers shout from the rooftops!  War!  Destruction!  A supreme powerful tribe of men, with better tools!  

No, you quietly assert.  Your research shows that poor Hispanic immigrants simply migrated to Los Angeles, looking for better economic opportunities than what existed back home.  Alas, the bloggers still don't grasp this example either.

4.  Simple Cultural Differences in Birthrates.  Palestinian women have vastly greater birthrates than their neighbors.  In the 1960s, it was 8 children per every female.  Even now, it's above 4.0 children for every woman.  The Israeli birthrate, while still relatively high at 3.0, is not as high.  By 2045, Palestinians may outnumber Israelis.  

Our future bloggers, looking at this from the perspective of the year 4017, may try to argue that there was a conquest by the Palestinians.  They must have had superior technology, they claim!  Better weapons!  

But again, your research (and history) shows this NOT to be the case.

Taking these four examples, you explain to the bloggers that many changes in DNA frequency, cannot be explained as "conquest" even though it's tempting for the simple-minded to do so.  

There are even examples of multiple of the above factors explaining demographic shifts.  For example, the Catholic Irish replacement of Anglo Saxons in many East Coast cities in the 1800s.  That was due to the Irish being refugees, seeking greater economic opportunity en masse, and having higher birthrates.  

Somewhere in the future, the intellectual heirs of Maciamo, Davidski, and many on Anthrogenica, are arguing that the Irish immigrants of the 1800s were in fact a technologically and militarily superior, overwhelming force of wealthy males who clearly conquered the British Americans of the time.

And you, and anyone with any degree of a nuances understanding of history, is still LOL'ing.  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Need for More Interdisciplinariness in "Interdisciplinary" Studies

Ah, if they were all as good as Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.  The pioneer of interdisciplinary studies, and a Renaissance man, he would thoroughly immerse himself in genetics, demography, history, archaeology, and linguistics -- or find collaborators who could augment his knowledge.  Thus, his work SAW THE BIG PICTURE. 

A new paper out shows that modern "interdisciplinary" studies aren't so interdisciplinary at all.

It's called Mapping European Population Movement through Genomic Research by Patrick J. Geary and Krishna Veeramah.  You can read it by clicking here.

The authors show that many geneticists writing about history simply pick up some bogus two-bit history book.  That is why you get so much pseudo-science out there.

I once talked to a guy, a fairly educated scientist from another discipline, who felt he saw some marker in European genes.  So he did some google searches as to which tribe had ever moved in the rough place where he found the markers.  He then published a paper claiming he found a Cimbri-specific marker.  But he didn't read the rest of the history; had he done so, he would have grasped perhaps that that tribe was wiped out by Gaius Marius in the first century BC....

The paper also points out that there isn't enough precision in genetics, because geneticists don't bother to understand that different regions have different histories.  What good is knowing some person was French, without logging if that person is Provencal or Norman?  Very little....

Best quote from the paper: "The Ralph and Coop study, while highly rigorous at the level of the population genetic analysis, included no historians or archaeologists, and the only historical literature cited, presumably to »identify« the Hunnic contribution to European population, was a general history of Europe, a survey of Slavic history, and two articles in the New Cambridge Medieval History. The Busby et al. study also included no historians or archaeologists on its team, and the only historical literature cited was a Penguin History of the World, Peter Heather’s survey of the Early Middle Ages, and a survey of Muslims in Italy. Unlike these studies, designed and executed  exclusively by geneticists who then look through a few general historical handbooks to try to find stories that might explain their data..."

In other words, many scientific papers suffer from the same thing that plagues the Anthrogenica or even worse, Maciamo's horrifically bad Eupedia: "a LITTLE knowledge is dangerous."  They don't bother grasping the big picture in genetics, demography, history, archaeology, and linguistics...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We Are Our Brother's Keeper: Are All Men Cousins? And Is This The Root Of Prejudice?

Many of you already know the following concepts.  Humans intuit a sense of community and family with those with whom they are related.  This has been confirmed in study after study, on child abuse, on ingroup-outgroup dynamics, and on racial prejudices.

The percentages of relatedness to trigger that feeling of kinship need not be large.  As the following chart shows, many of us have folks over to Thanksgiving dinner with whom we only have 1-3% of identical DNA with.  But that identical DNA is hugely significant.  It's identical.  And that of course makes one much more "related" than this "we share most DNA with all humans and even chimpanzees."  Indeed, it's the margins that seem to count.  And again, studies on stepfathers in particular, have confirmed this time and time again.

Parent / Child
Full Sibling       50%

Grandparent / Grandchild
Aunt / Uncle
Niece / Nephew
Half Sibling

1st Cousin 12.5%
1st Cousin once removed 6.25%
2nd Cousin 3.13%
2nd Cousin once removed 1.5%
3rd Cousin 0.78%

The weird quality of the Y-Chromosome makes what I am about to post intriguing:

A human genome, including the X and Y chromosomes, is about 3771 cM long.

The Y Chromosome makes up about 2% of that, by length, and about 1% by SNPs. 

Because men in certain haplogroups have IDENTICAL Y-Chromosomes (except for tiny combining parts), and because unlike the rest of DNA, those genes are passed on IDENTICALLY, then all men in the same haplogroup share as much DNA as, say, 2nd Cousins Once Removed.

Could this be the explanation why, for example, Western European males, which do not have much Y-chromosome diversity, exhibit a powerful ingroup dynamic with each other?

Fascinating, to be sure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How DNA Ancestry Testing Works and How Can I Know It's Accurate

When a commercial DNA testing site like or 23andme or FTDNA tests your DNA, they do not know which snippet came from which of your parents.

For example, if at a given point (a gene, in popular parlance), you have a "C" from your dad and a "T" from you mom (meaning you have brown eyes, but carry the blue-eyes gene), the testing service doesn't know which "letter" came from which parent.

What they then do is try to guess, stringing your DNA out into small chunks or strings of letters.

They then compare these to DNA in their reference database.  23andme's reference database, which is one of the best, if not the best in the world, only has about 11,000 samples in it.  To represent the whole world!

So if you have ancestry from a big country (like France or Germany) or a country that has pockets of deep isolation (like Italy), the odds -- that they have someone from your corner of the country, or your little isolated craggy valley in some mountain chain -- are small.

They then compare the little strings of letters and come up with a likelihood that you have ancestry from one of those reference populations.

23andme has the most scientific test in the business, but it gets French/German/Belgian/Dutch/Swiss/Austrian/Luxembourgisch ancestry wrong 92% of the time.  It most often shows up as "generic Northwest European."  Similarly, 23andme -- the best in the business -- can't identify Italian ancestry 50% of the time.  It often shows up incorrectly as Middle Eastern or Generic Southern European.

The moral of this story is to be patient with the science.  It's not 100% there yet.

If you have documented ancestry from one region, trust your documents.

If you don't have any cousins from a pool you were identified as, then chances are it was a miscall.  (For example, if you have documented Italian ancestry, but it says you are 1/8 Middle Eastern or 1/8 Spanish), then unless you have a known great-grandparent that is 100% such, it's probably a miscall.  (This would mean your parent would test as 1/4, by the way).

Finally, there is a series problem with testing sites, particularly FTDNA's, with the issue of timing.  If you go back far enough, we are ALL Africans, right?  Yet a DNA test telling you that you were African would not be too useful.  Do they mean recently or in the past?

Similarly, as has been well-documented, most European ancestry can be broken down into 3 big chunks: ancient hunter gatherers (Ancient Western Europeans, most similar modern population = Lithuanians); ancient farmers (Ancient Near Easterners, most similar modern populations include Greeks, Sardinians, others); and ancient pastoralists/horse rearers (Ancient Eurasian Steppe Dwellers, most similar modern populations include Ukrainians). But the migrations were really, truly all over the place.

Ancient Near Easterners are NOT modern Near Easterners.  Ancient hunter gatherers in France are NOT the modern French, etc.

If a test tells you that you have some Near Eastern blood, it often is sensing this ancient signal.

It doesn't do you much good for them to say that 6000 years ago, you had some ancestry in the Near East.  Everyone did.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Neandertals Never Died; Just Their Direct Sirelines and Matrilines

From a piece by Faye Flam in none other than Bloomberg, comes this wonderfully succinct nugget that expresses something that readers of this blog know I ascribe to:

"Scientists have also revised their view of Neanderthal extinction – long attributed to some deficit on their part.  Maybe nothing dramatic happened at all, said Hawks. They would have made up a small fraction of the world’s population, and when larger groups of modern humans joined them in Europe they might have simply been absorbed."

(emphasis added)

This is what I coined the "Demography not Drama" explanation.

It is likely the Neandertal population was tiny, and when modern humans entered Europe, they simply absorbed them, perhaps even absorbed multiple sub-populations (which the genetics data now supports too).

With each generation, there is a great chance that a male line or a female line will disappear.  All it takes is for a man to have only daughters, or a woman to have only sons.  Older lines (which have been around for more generations) face longer odds of appearing to have survived, because each generation increases the chances a line will appear to have died out.  The patrilines and matrilines from a group starting with a smaller population size will also appear to have died out over time.

We have seen this occur in the modern world, both in the example of surnames on isolated islands (the families didn't die out, but the surnames eventually greatly reduced in numbers because of the randomness of males having male children) and with thoroughbreds (the original thoroughbred founding population included 30+ male horses, but only 3 sirelines (akin to surnames or Y-chromosome haplogroups) have survived.

This doesn't mean the others "died out."  Like Neandertals, their genes live on among us.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Sad Case of the Orthodoxy and the Posth Article on Pleistocene Demographics

Just a couple months ago, in the context of the peopling of Ireland, I emphasized on Eupeida (and here) how important it is to put all the Theories Du Jour that are based on modern uniparental distributions through a model based on population demographics and sound logic.

Specifically, I emphasized that ancient population sizes were minuscule compared to modern ones, and that if a population started a long long time ago, with a size that was way way small -- compared to subsequent waves -- that it would give a false signal that the original population was "conquered" or "outcompeted" or "never existed" or originated somewhere incorrect.   I cautioned against those four errors.  

This engendered quite the debate on Eupedia forums.  When backed into a corner and shown the weakness of his "R1b Were Studly Conquerors Theory," the "blindly following the current orthodoxy" folks react badly.

Many "Interwebz Scientistz" fail to grasp these concepts.  They favor their own wacky, biased theories based on what they see today only.  If a land is populated by one people, they must be all conquering studs, right?

Today, Posth et. al put out an extensive paper on Pleistocene demographics.  

Its shocking discovery?  Just like Y DNA Hg C existed in Europe in tiny numbers among the very first Europeans, so did mtDNA Hg M.

M disappeared eventually, due to the simple fact that its initial population size was tiny, and that because it had been there so long, the odds that certain women didn't have daughters, each generation, eventually meant it was not passed on.  Remember, we're talking uniparental markers here.  

The authors commented exactly as I did: up to now, people mistakenly believed that Hg M never set foot in Europe -- or that if it did, it was killed off or whatever by a new wave.  Sorry, both theories are wrong.

It is WONDERFUL to see another peer-reviewed, scholarly paper making this exact same point, and backing it up with newfound data.

As the paper indicates:

-These first hunter gatherers started with a TINY initial population size.

-There is a loss every generation of males having males or females having female offspring.

-I've calculated the approximate odds of a male not having a male child or a female not having a female child (i.e. looking like their uniparental marker was "conquered") at 12.5%, each generation, totally random.

-The longer a population has existed in a locale (and being free of mutations), the more generations go by, the greater the chance that random happenstance, chance, etc. will make it appear that a Hg either never existed or was slaughtered in a mass killing/enslavement/mate preference.

Now you have further proof of it.

I'm waiting to hear how Hg M died out because of some studly new more beautiful females who moved in.  Oh woops, Maciamo doesn't post here.  And he doesn't himself bear Hg M.  And M is not linked to R1b...