Artificial Intelligence by Animekitty / Illuminati Cat

[Note from PP, March 28, 2017: The following article is a guest post by long-time blog commenter Animekitty / Illuminati Cat and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pumpkin Person.  I did very little editing of this article, other than fix two typos and redact personal information I felt the very candid and honest author might regret sharing in retrospect.  The picture was selected by me. 🙂 Out of respect for the author, please try to keep the comments on topic. Although I understand that conversations naturally evolve in new directions, please start on-topic.]


Image found here

Hello, my name is Animekitty / Illuminati Cat.

I have been reading pumpkins blog for 2 years. I have learned a lot so far from him. [Personal details redacted by PP, March 28, 2017]  He has said that the parallelism of the brain means that intelligence doubles every 5 IQ points. [Comment from PP, March 28, 2017: This theory is not my own, but based on a Promethean Society member’s observation that speed of complex learning and problem solving seems to double every 5-10 IQ points][More personal details redacted by PP, March 28, 2017]  What I want to show in this guest post are my ideas I have regarding Artificial Intelligence. The reason I am interested in IQ is because I think that it is key to developing smart computers that could one day be our friends.

I have been studying intelligence since I was 12 years old when I first got interested in Artificial Intelligence while reading books at my middle school library. I went to a magnet middle school for science because I had written an essay about science in 5th grade. Every lunch period I would go to the library and read books on lasers and computers. I would draw diagrams of my ideas on my windows 95 computer. I saw characters on my Gameboy and thought how could I make them smart. Here is a diagram I made in 7th grade from all the books I read:

In 9th grade in high school I read this book:

Artificial Life: A Report from the Frontier Where Computers Meet Biology Paperback – July 27, 1993 by Steven Levy

I became fascinated with evolving systems and digital DNA.

Later on in 10th grade, I discovered that loops exist in the brain. Because of this I now understood that patterns could be stored and recognized by and arrangement of loops. I made this diagram:

Once I was in 11 grade I was put into and advanced computer class. In this class, we had to choose a project and I chose to do A.I. based on Jeff Hawkin’s book On Intelligence. The book said the brain was a hierarchy of pattern recognizers and that understood the world by predicting which patterns came next. The teacher in my class confused this with back propagation but a hierarchy is not just about error correction. It has to do with prediction and temporal patterns.

In back propagation, you have a picture, like a dog or cat and then you categorize it. This is completely a feed forward network. The picture is categorized and if a signal goes into the wrong category an error signal is propagated backward to get the signals into the right category. In the hierarchy system I was making, there were no categories. What it did was to predict signals with a compression algorithm that would send signals forward only when they became unpredictable. As the unpredictable signals moved forward they would be stored based on redundant temporal patterns. The program would also predict the consequences of its own actions when interacting with a teacher through reinforcement learning. This is my final report on my high School A.I. Project [report containing personal info redacted by PP, March 28, 2017].

After high school, I made little progress in my A.I. ideas up until recently. The main reason is that I did not understand how programming works and even in my high school project most of the code I did had nothing to do with higher level programming. My current idea is about recurrent neural networks and selective attention. Selective attention is the basis for learning in a parallel fashion. Recurrence is when output is feedback into the system. The results of your actions are fed back into your perceptions. And thinking is just the ability to feedback imagined perceptions. The decision process in the frontal lobes determines whether two ideas should be connected or not. We imagine if an idea fits with another idea just as in the real world we use tools that fit the task that needs to be done.

A main component of the brain is called the limbic system. This part of the brain gives us our motivations. It is what drives us forward to what we want and away from what we don’t want. The brain evolved to help us move in our environment and the limbic system is vital to that processes. Intelligence is at its core a way of learning how things move in the environment. Pumpkin calls it the mental ability to adapt. So there are two components to intelligence. Learning how other things move in patterns and then moving yourself based on your motivations. Imagination and creativity are the results of temporal patterns that the limbic system feels must go together. New ideas come together in the associative regions of the brain.

Recently I made a program in Java that rewires itself based on selective attention. A node will randomize what other nodes it is connected to if the sum of the signals it receives from those nodes does not match its main input signal. This is the motivation that a node wants its collective inputs to match its main input signal.

I know that I am probably not smart enough to create A.I. but I do want to understand how it will work someday. A person I know online who is 170 IQ said that he created A.I. in the 90’s but that he had no environment for it to learn and grow in. There are several brain models I have seen at online university lectures that demonstrate rudimentary intelligence. One of them is called BabyX that is a simulated baby. I think that because software is a hyperplastic medium, that future A.I. will most definitely have IQ’s exceding 170. Their virtual brains will not get tired nor need sleep. They will see patterns we cannot because the way their brain is connected it will coordinate selective attention much better than we can. Parallelism will make them smarter than humans

Tim (1979)

Pumpkin Person rating: 7.5/10


I had purchased a ton of movies from a discount bin at Walmart a few years ago and one of them was a little known 1979 Australian movie called Tim, staring a young Mel Gibson.  I had actually forgot that I had purchased this film until commenter “Philosopher” asked me to do a blog post about Gibson, and so last week I finally decided to watch it.

The film, set in Australia, starts with a beautiful wealthy educated middle-aged woman named Mary (played by Piper Laurie who horror fans will remember as the mother in Brian De Palma’s 1976 film Carrie).  When Mary’s gardener hurts his back, she hires Tim, a 24-year-old labourer (played by Gibson) to do work around her house.  It slowly dawns on Mary that Tim is not all there mentally,  but she continues to employ him and the two slowly fall in love.

Unlike the educated Mary, Tim comes from a working class family which would  make sense according to scholar Arthur Jensen, because he appears to have what Jensen called familial retardation, which means that unlike organic retardates, whose low IQs are caused by physically deforming freak mutations and chromosomal abnormalities, Tim is a handsome athletic physically healthy normal guy, who just happens to have an incredibly low IQ.

Because his low IQ is biologically normal, we’d expect him to come from a low IQ social class, with Tim just being an exceptionally extreme case.  By contrast organic retardation is just as likely to occur with any socioeconomic background.

As a fan of the slasher genre, I’m used to watching movies where scantly clad women are objectified and all the camera shots are from the male Point of View of the stalker watching from the bushes.    Although my reasons for liking slasher films are 100% non-sexual (I was a fan of the genre long before puberty) I realize a lot of them are just one level up from porn and serve a prurient need for the viewer, so I was a bit uncomfortable seeing a film shot partly through the female gaze (Mary’s) and a man (Tim) being objectified, though I suppose it’s only fair.

It’s interesting that the film is based on a novel by a female writer, which proves that women can be sexually drawn to men they look down on intellectually, occupationally and economically, if they find the man physically attractive, and indeed part of Mary’s attraction to Tim is his low IQ: his vulnerability inspires her maternal instincts.

How low is Tim’s IQ?  The movie never gives a number, but one clue is that he doesn’t know what death is and Mary has to explain it to him.  Not knowing what death is suggests Tim has the mind of a 10-year-old, so on the old fashion age-ratio IQ scales (which gives reasonable results from about IQ 65 to IQ 135), Tim’s mental age would be 10, which is only 63% of adult mental age (16+), suggesting an IQ of 63, which sounds about right.  Usually one step-up from Trainable (moderate) Retardation, familial retardates tend to be educable and only mildly retarded.

Gibson did a great job capturing this level of intelligence, because as commenter G-man has noted, such people often seem completely normal and it’s only after interacting with them for a bit that you discover the impairment.  Unlike a lot of cinematic portrayals of retardation which are over-the-top and unintentionally comical, Gibson was subtle, quiet, and understated; perfectly walking that fine line between normal and sub-normal.

If you don’t wait too long, you can watch the ENTIRE film on YouTube for free, though sadly, a lot of people lack the compassion, patience, sensitivity and emotional depth to appreciate such an innocent and poignant movie.

Two educational videos

First a special thanks to commenter race realist for his recent guest blogging on the evolution of human athleticism.  Even though I don’t necessarily agree with every point, It was an incredibly well researched article  that has stimulated a lot of great discussions.

An urgent request from Afrosapiens

Speaking of great guest bloggers, commenter Afrosapiens really wanted us to watch this urgent video he found on the internet:

Afro writes:

Welcome to the real world, kids.


No donation is too small….


It’s an emergency, give guys please.I don’t know what to do to soften you hearts but please just do something, relay the message at least.

A DNA discussion

Well Afro was watching that urgent video, I was watching this presentation by Professor Moses Schanfield:

Now I’m no biologist (obviously) but I was struck by his claim around the 6 minute mark that only 2.5% of our DNA codes for phenotype.  Now he notes that the other 97.5% of DNA is not truly junk DNA since it serves important functions, but one major function it serves is just to absorb harmful mutations.  So if I understand correctly, animals were selected for a lot of non-coding DNA in part, to increase the odds that a mutation wouldn’t occur on the important genes?  On the other hand, a lot of non-coding DNA can be very important in its own right, and is not just there to sacrifice itself for the coding DNA.

One of the arguments I’m always making is that how race, species  (or other taxonomic categories) are classified by DNA, doesn’t perfectly correlate with how it’s classified by morphology.  So one has to decide what one means by taxonomical categories like “race”, “species” and “genus”.  Does one simply mean a group with a shared breeding history, or does one mean a group that is morphologically similar, or both?  I prefer to define a taxon as:

A group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms that share a relatively similar phenotype genetically inherited from a common ancestor.  The more shared the phenotype, the more specific the taxon (i.e. race is more specific than species which is more specific than genus).

So two populations might share a really recent common ancestor, but if they haven’t both preserved the phenotype of that common ancestor, they’re not in the same taxon as I would define it.  Or, two populations might have identical phenotypes, but if they didn’t inherit them from the same common ancestor, they’re also not the same taxon, as I would define it.

On the other hand, two populations could share an incredibly ancient common ancestor, but if they both genetically PRESERVED the phenotype of that common ancestor, I’d consider them the same taxon no matter how old that common ancestor was.

That’s just my layman opinion, but even among specialists there’s great debate about how taxonomy should be done, so I don’ think the issue is settled.

One provocative part of the above video is at the very end: Schanfield seems skeptical of the widely accepted claim that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals.   Neanderthals and modern humans are considered different species, and as Race Realist has pointed out, one definition of species is a population that can only produce fertile offspring with other members of its population.  However I’ve heard on various reputable science documentaries (sorry no specific source) that primate populations that have been reproductively isolated for 1-2 million years can still produce fertile offspring so I don’t think that definition works.

Of course Schanfield is not arguing about the definition of species, but instead arguing that scientists can’t distinguish Neanderthal DNA caused by admixture from Neanderthals from DNA caused by ancient shared ancestry with Neanderthals.

Man the Athlete by Race Realist

[Note from PP, March 19, 2017: The following article is written by commenter Race Realist and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Pumpkin Person.  In fact contrary to my opinion, and the conventional wisdom, that humans are the geeks of the animal kingdom, RR argues that we are a species of jocks.  Out of respect for our guest blogger, please make an effort to keep all comments on topic.  If discussions naturally evolve in other directions, that’s understandable, but please start by addressing the topic at hand.  Race Realist is an Italian American personal trainer]

Homo nerdicus or Homo athleticus? Which name more aptly describes Man? Without many important adaptations incurred throughout our evolutionary history, modern Man as you see him wouldn’t be here today. The most important factor in this being our morphology and anatomy which evolved due to our endurance running, hunting, and scavenging. The topics I will cover today are 1) morphological differences between hominin species and chimpanzees; 2) how Man became athletic and bring up criticisms with the model; 3) the evolution of our aerobic physical ability and brain size; 4) an evolutionary basis for sports; and 5) the role of children’s playing in the evolution of human athleticism.

Morphological differences between Man and Chimp

Substantial evolution in the lineage of Man has occurred since we have split from the last common ancestor (LCA) with chimpanzees between 12.1 and 5.3 mya (Moorjani et al, 2016Patterson et al, 2006). One of the most immediate differences that jump out at you when watching a human and chimpanzee is such stark differences in morphology, in particular, how we walk (pelvic differences) as well as our arm length relative to our torsos. Though we both evolved to be proficient at abilities that had us become evolutionarily successful in the environments we found ourselves in, one species of primate went on to become the apes the took over the world whereas the chimps continued life as the LCA did (as far as we can tell). The evolution of our athleticism is why we have a lean body with the right morphology for endurance running and associated movements. In fact, the evolution of our brain size hinged on a reduction in our fat depots (Navarette, Schaik, and Isler, 2011).

One of the largest differences you can see between the two species is how we walk. Chimps are “specially adapted for supporting weight on the dorsal aspects of middle phalanges of flexed hand digits II–V” (Tuttle, 1967). Meanwhile, humans are specifically adapted for bipedality due to the change in our pelvis over the course of our evolution (Gruss and Schmitt, 2015). Due to staying more arboreal than venturing on the ground, chimp morphology over the course of the divergence became more and more adapted to life in the trees.

Our modern gait is associated with physiologic and anatomic adaptations throughout our evolution, and are not ‘primitive retentions’ from the LCA (Schmitt, 2003). There are very crucial selective pressures that need to be looked at to see which selection pressures caused us to become athletes. Parts of Austripolithicenes still live on in us today, most notably in our lower leg/foot (Prang, 2015). Further, our ancestor, the famous Lucy had the beginnings of a modern pelvis, which was the beginning of the shift to the more energetically efficient bipedality, one thing that fully separates Man from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Of course, no conversation about human evolution would be complete without talking about Erectus. Analysis of 1.5 million-year-old footprints shows that Erectus was the first to have a humanlike weight transfer while walking, confirming “the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. Erectus.” (Hatala et al, 2016). We have not yet discovered a full Homo erectus foot, but 1.5 million-year-old footprints found in Kenya show that whatever hominin made those prints had a long, striding gait with a full arch (Steudel-Numbers, 2006Bennett et al, 2009). The same estimates from Steudel-Numbers (2006) show that Erectus nearly halved its travel costs compared to australopithecines. This is due to a longer stride which was much more Manlike than apelike due to a humanlike pelvis and gluteus maximus (Lieberman et al, 2006).

However, the most important adaptations that Erectus evolved was the ability to keep cool while walking long distances. Loss of hair loss specifically allowed individuals to be active in hot climates without overheating. Our ancestors’ hair loss facilitated sweating (Ruxton and Wilkinson, 2011b), which allowed us to become the proficient hunters—the athletes—that we would become. There is also thermoregulatory evidence that endurance running may have been possible for Homo erectus, but not any other earlier hominin (Ruxton and Wilkinson, 2011a) which was the beginnings of our selection to become athletes. The evidence reviewed in Ruxton and Wilkinson (2011a) shows that once hair loss and sweating ability reached human levels, thermoregulation was then possible under the midday sun.

Moreover, our modern gait and bipedalism is 75 percent less costly than quadrupedal/bipedal walking in chimpanzees (Sockel, Raichlen, and Pontzer, 2007), so this extra energy that was conserved with our physiologic and anatomic adaptations due to bipedalism could have gone towards other pertinent metabolic functions—like fueling a bigger brain (more energy could be used to feed more neurons).

Born to run

Before getting into how we are able to run so efficiently, I need to talk about what made it possible for us to be able to have the energy to sustain our distance running. That one thing is eating cooked food (meat). This one seemingly simple thing is the ‘prime mover’ so to speak, of our success as athletes. Eating cooked food significantly increases the amount of energy obtained during digestion. That we could extract more energy out of cooked food—no matter what type of food it was—can not be overstated. This is what gave us the energy to hunt and scavenge. We are, of course, able to hunt/scavenge while fasted, which is an extremely useful evolutionary adaptation which increases important hormones to have us search for food. The hormones released during a fasted state aid in human physiologic/metabolic functioning allowing one who is searching for food more heightened sensibilities.

We are evolutionarily adapted to be endurance runners. Endurance running is defined as the ability to run more than 5 km using aerobic metabolism (Lieberman and Bramble, 2007). Since we are poor sprinters, the idea is that our body has evolved for walking. However, numerous anatomical changes in our phenotypes in comparison to our chimp ancestors have left us some clues. In the previous section, I talked about physical changes that occurred after Man and Chimp diverged, well those evolutionary changes are why we evolved to be athletic.

Endurance running first evolved, most likely due to scavenging and hunting (Lieberman et al, 2009). Through natural selection—survival of the ‘good enough’, those who had better physiologic and anatomic adaptations could reach the animal carcass before other scavengers like vultures and hyenas could get to it. Over time, this substantially changed how we would look. Numerous physiologic changes in our lineage attest to the evolution of our endurance running. The nuchal ligament, as well as the radius of the semicircular canal is larger in Homo sapiens than in chimpanzees or australopithecines. This stabilizes our head while running—something that our ancestors could not do because they didn’t have a canal our size (Bramble and Lieberman, 2004).

Skeletal evidence that points to our evolution as athletes consists of (but not limited to):

  • The Nuchal ligament—stabilizes the head
  • Shoulder and head stabilization
  • Limb length and mass (we have legs longer than our torsos which decreases energy used)
  • Joint surface (we can absorb more shock when our feet hit the ground due to a larger surface area)
  • Plantar arch (generates spring for running but not walking)
  • Calcaneal tuber and Achilles tendon (shorter tuber length leads to a longer Achilles heel stretch, converting more kinetic energy into  elastic energy)

So people who had anatomy closer to this in our evolutionary past had more of a success of getting to that animal carcass, divvying it amongst his family/tribe, ensuring the passage of his genes to the next generation. Man had to be athletic in order to be able to run for long distances. Where this would have come in handy the most would have been the Savanna in our ancestral past. Man could now use persistence hunting—chasing animals in the heat of the day—and kill them when they tired out. The evolutionary adaptation sweating due to the loss of our fur is the only reason this is possible.

One of the most important adaptations for endurance running is thermoregulation. All humans are adapted for long range locomotion rather than speed and to dump rather than retain heat (Lieberman, 2015). This is one of the most important adaptations we evolved that had us become successful endurance runners. We could chase down prey and wait for our prey to become exhausted/overheat and then we would move in for the kill. Of course, intelligence and sociality come into play as we needed to create hunting bands, but without our superior endurance running capabilities—that no other animal in the animal kingdom has—we would have gone down a completely different evolutionary path than the one we went down. Our genome has evolved to support endurance running (Mattson, 2012).

Further evidence that we evolved to be athletic is in our hands. When you think about our hands and how we can manipulate our environments with them—what sets us apart from every other species—then, obviously, in our evolutionary past, those who were more successful would have had a higher chance of reproducing. Aggressive clubbing and throwing are thought to be one of the earliest hominin specializations.  If true, then those who could club and throw best would have the best chance of passing their genes to the next generation, thusly selecting for more efficient hands (Young, 2003). While we may have evolved more efficient hands over time warring with other hominins, some are more prone to disk herniation.

Plomp et al (2015) propose the ‘ancestral shape hypothesis’ which is derived from studying bipedalism. They propose that those who are more prone to disk herniation preferentially affects those who have vertebrae “towards the ancestral end of the range of shape variation within H. sapiens and therefore are less well adapted for bipedalism” (Plomp et al, 2015). One of the most amazing things they discovered was that humans with signs of intervertebral disc herniation are “indistinguishable from those of chimpanzees.” Of course, due to this, we should then look towards evolutionary biology in regards to a lot of human ailments (which I have also argued here on dietary evolutionary mismatches as well as on obesity).

Of course there are some naysayers arguing that endurance running didn’t drive our evolution. He wrongly states that it’s about what drove the evolution of our bipedalism; however, what the endurance running hypothesis argues is that there are certain physiologic and anatomic changes that only could have occurred from endurance running. Better endurance runners got selected for over time, leading to novel adaptations that stayed in the gene pool and got selected for. One thing is a larger gluteus maximus. A humanlike pelvis is found in the fossil record as far back as 1.9 mya in Erectus (Lieberman et al, 2006). Furthermore, longer toes had a larger mechanical cost, and were thusly selected against, which also helped in the evolution of our endurance running (Rolian et al, 2009). All in all, there are too many adaptations that our bodies have that can only be explained by adapting to endurance running. Just because we may have gotten to the weaker animals sometimes doesn’t falsify the hypothesis; Man still needed to sweat and persist in the hot mid-day temperatures chasing prey.

Brain size and aerobic physical capacity

When speaking about the increase in our brain size/neuronal count, fire/cooking, the social brain hypothesis, and other theories are brought up first. Erectus had a lot of humanlike qualities, including the ability to control/use fire (Berna et al, 2012), and the appearance of our modern gait/stride which first appeared in Erectus (Steudel-Numbers, 2006Bennet et al, 2009). This huge change also occurred around the time our lineage began cooking meat/using fire. Without the increased energy from cooking, we wouldn’t be able to hunt for too long. However, we do have very important specific adaptations during a fasted state—the release of hormones such as catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline) which have as react faster to predators/possible prey. Though, a plant-based diet wouldn’t cut it in regards to our daily energy requirements to feed our huge brain with a huge neuronal count (Fonseca-Azevedo and Herculano-Houzel, 2012). Cooked meat is the only way we’d be able to have enough energy required to hunt game.

What kind of an effect did it have on our cranial capacity/evolution?

Four groups of mice selectively bred for high amounts of “voluntary wheel-running”, ran 3 times further than the controls which increased Vo2 max in the mice. Those mice had higher levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) several days after the experiment concluded as well as also showing greater cell creation in the hippocampus when allowed to run compared to the controls. In two lines of selected mice, the hormone VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) which was correlated with higher muscle capillary density compared to controls. This shows that the evolution of endurance running in mice leads to important hormonal changes which then affected brain growth (Raichlen and Polk, 2012).

The amount of oxygen our brains use increased by 600 percent compared to 350 percent for our brain size over the course of our evolutionary history. This is important. What would cause an increase in oxygen consumption to the brain? Endurance running. There was further selection in our skeleton for endurance running in our morphology such as the semicircular canal radii. The first humanlike semicircular canal radii were found in Erectus (Spoor, Wood, and Zonneveid, 1994). This meant that we had the ability for running and other agile behaviors which were then selected for. There is also little to no activation of the gluteus medius while walking (Lee et al, 2014), implying that it evolved for more efficient endurance running.

Controlling for body mass in humans, extinct hominins and great apes, Raichlen and Polk (2012) found significant positive correlations with encephalization quotient and hindlimb length (0.93), anterior and posterior radii (0.77 and 0.66 respectively), which support the idea that human athletic ability is tied to neurobiological evolution. A man that was a better athlete compared to another would have a better chance to pass on his genes, as physical fitness is a good predictor of biological fitness. Putting this all together, selection improved our aerobic capacity over our evolutionary history by specifically altering signaling systems responsible for metabolism and oxygen intake (BDNF, VEGF, and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), responsible for the regulation of growth hormone), which are important for blood flow, increased muscle capillary density, and a larger brain.

Putting this all together, selection improved our aerobic capacity over our evolutionary history by specifically altering signaling systems responsible for metabolism and oxygen intake (BDNF, VEGF, IGF-1). More evidence is needed to corroborate Raichlen and Polk’s (2012) hypothesis. However, with what we know about aerobic capacity and the hormones that drive it and brain size, we can make inferences based on the available data and say, with confidence, that part of our brain evolution was driven by our increased aerobic capacity/morphology, with the catalyst being endurance running. Though with our increased proclivity for athleticism and endurance running, when we became ‘us’, this just shifted the competition and athletic competition—which, hundreds of thousands/millions of years ago would mean life or death, mate or no mate, food or no food.

Clearly, without the evolution of our bipedalism/athleticism we wouldn’t have evolved the brains we have and thus we would be something completely different today.

Sport and evolutionary history

We crowd into arenas to watch people compete against each other in athletic competition. Why? What are the evolutionary reasons behind this? One view is that sport (and along with it playing) was a way for men to get practice hunting game, with playing also affecting children’s ability to assess the strength of others (Lombardo, 2012).

In an evolutionary context, sports developed as a way for men to further develop skills in order to better provide for his family, as well as assessing other men’s physical strength so he can adapt his fighting to how his opponent fights in a possible future situation. Men would then be selected for these advantageous traits. You see people crowd into arenas to watch their favorite sports teams. We are ‘wired’ to like these types of competitions, which then leads to more competition. Since we evolved to be athletes, then it would stand to reason that we would like to watch others be athletic (and hit each other as hard as they can), as a type of modern-day gladiator games.

Better hunters have better reproductive success (Smith, 2004). Further, hunter-gatherer men with lower-pitched voices have more children, while men with higher-pitched voices had higher child mortality rate (Apicella, Feinberg, and Marlowe, 2007). This signals that the H-G men with more children have higher testosterone than others, which then attracts more women to them. Champion athletes, hunters, and warriors all obtain high reproductive success. Women are sexually attracted to certain traits, which events of human athleticism show. However, men follow sports more closely than women (Lombardo, 2012), and for good reason.

Men may watch sports more than women since, in an evolutionary context, they may learn more about potential allies and who to steer clear from because they would get physically dominated. Further, men could watch the actions of others at play and mimic their actions in an attempt to gain higher status with women. Another reason is a man’s character: you can see a man’s character during sports competition and by watching one’s actions closely during, for instance, playing, you can better ascertain their motivations during life or death situations. Men may also derive thrills from watching “idealized men” perform athletic activities. These are consistent with Lombardo’s (2012) male lek hypothesis, “where male physical prowess and the behaviors important in conflict and cooperation are displayed by athletes and evaluated primarily by male, not female, spectators.”

Testosterone changes based on whether one’s favorite sports team wins or loses (Bernhardt et al, 1998). This is important. Testosterone does change under stressful/group situations. Testosterone is also argued to have a role in the search for, and maintenance of social status (Eisenegger, Haushofer, and Fehr, 2011). Testosterone responses to competition in men are also related to facial masculinity (Pound, Penton-Voak, and Surrin, 2009). Male’s physical strength is also signaled through facial characteristics of dominance and masculinity, considered attractive to women (Fink, Neave, and Seydel, 2007). Since testosterone fuels both competition, protectiveness and confidence (Eisenegger et al, 2016), a woman would be attracted to a man’s athleticism/strength, which would then be correlated with his facial structure further signaling biological fitness to possible mates. Testosterone doesn’t cause prostate cancer, as is commonly stated (Stattin et al, 2003Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). Testosterone is a beneficial hormone; you should be worried way more about low T than high T.

Since testosterone is correlated with the above traits, and since athletes have higher testosterone than non-athletes (Wood and Stanton, 2011) then certain types of males would be left in the dust. Athleticism can be looked at as a way to expend excess energy. Those with more excess energy would be more sexually attractive to women and mating opportunities would increase. This is why it’s ridiculous to believe that we evolved to be the ‘nerds’ of the animal kingdom when so much of our evolutionary success has hinged on our athleticism and superior endurance running and other athletic capabilities.


Child’s play is how children feel out the world in a ‘setting’ in which there are no real-world consequences so they can get a feel for how the world really is. Human babes are born helpless, yet with large heads. Natural selection has lead to large brains to care for children, causing earlier childbirths and making children more helpless, which selected for higher intelligence causing a feedback loop (Piantadosi and Kidd, 2016). They show that across the primate genera, the helplessness of an infant is an extremely strong predictor of adult intelligence.

Indeed, a lot of the crucial shaping of our intelligence and motor capabilities are developed in our infancy and early childhood, which we have over chimpanzees. Blaisdell (2015) defines play as: “an activity that is purposeless in that it tends to be detached from the outcome, is imperfect from the goal-directed form of the activity, and that tends to occur when the individual is in a non-stressed state.” Playing is just a carefree activity that children do to get a feel for the world around them. During this time, skills are honed that, in our ancestral past, allowed us to survive and prosper during times of need (persistence hunting, scavenging, etc).

Anthropological evidence also suggests that the existence of extended childhood in humans adapted to establish the skills and knowledge needed to be a proficient hunter-gatherer. Since there are no real-world outcomes to playing (other than increased/decreased pride), a child can get some physical experience without suffering the real life repercussions of failing. Studies of hunter-gatherers show that play fosters the skills needed to be proficient in tool-making and tool-use, food provisioning, shelter, and predator defense. Play time also hones athletic ability and the brain-body connection so one can be prepared for a stressful situation. In fact, children’s fascination with ‘why’ questions make them ‘little philosophers’, which is an evolutionary adaptation to prepare for possible future outcomes.

Think of play fighting. While play fighting, the outcome has no important real life applications (well, the loser’s pride is hit) and what is occurring is the honing of skills that are useful to survival. During our ancestral evolution, play fighting between brothers could have honed the skills needed during a life our death situation when another band of humans was encountered. As you begin to associate certain movements with certain events, you then become better prepared subconsciously for when novel situations occur. The advantage of an extended childhood with large amounts of play time allow the brain and body to make certain connections between things and when these situations arise during a life or death situation, the brain-body will already have the muscle memory to handle the situation.


Studying our evolution since the divergence between Man and chimp, we can see the types of adaptations that we have incurred over our evolutionary history that have lead to us being specifically adapted for long-term endurance running. The ability to sweat, which, as far as we know began with Erectus, was paramount in our history for thermoregulation. Looking at the evolution of our pelvis, toes, gluteal muscles, heads, shoulders, brains, etc all will point to how they are adapted to a bipedal ape that is born to run—born to be an athlete. Without our athleticism, our intelligence wouldn’t be possible. We have a brain-body connection, our brain isn’t the only thing that drives our body, the two work in concert giving each other information, reacting to familiar and novel stimuli. That’s for another time though.

We didn’t evolve to be Homo nerdicus, we evolved to be Homo athleticus. This can be seen with how exercise has such a huge impact on cognition. We can further see the relationship between our athletic ability and our cognition/brain size. Without the way our evolution happened, Man—along with everything else you see around you—would not be here today. In a survival situation—one in which society completely breaks down—one who has better control over his body and motor functions/capabilities will outlast those who do not. Ultimate and conscious control over our bodies, reacting to stimuli in the environment is fostered in our infancy during our play time with others. Playing allows an individual to get experience in a simulated event, getting important muscle memory to react to future situations. The brain itself, of course, is being molded during playing as well. This just attests to the large part that playing has on cognition, survival skills and athletic ability over our evolutionary history.

Aerobic capacity throughout our evolutionary history beginning with Erectus was paramount for what we have become today. Without the evolution of certain muscles like our gluteus maximus along with certain appendages that gave us the ability to trek/run long distances, we would have lost a very important variable in our brain evolution. Aerobic activity increases blood flow to the brain and so the more successful endurance runners/hunters would increase their biological fitness (as seen in Smith, 2004) and thusly those who were more athletically successful would have more children, increasing selection for important traits for endurance running/athleticism throughout our evolutionary history.

We still play sports today since we love competition. Testosterone fuels the need for competition and sports is the best way to engage in competition in the modern day. Women are much more attracted to men with higher levels of testosterone which in turn means a more masculinized face which signals dominance and testosterone levels during competition. Women are attracted to men with higher levels of testosterone and a more masculinized face. This just so happens to mirror athletes, who have both of these traits. However, being in top physical condition is not enough; an athlete must also have a strong mental background if, for instance, they wish to break world records (Lippi, Favaloro, and Guidi, 2008).

The evolution of human playing ties this together. These sports competitions that we have made hearken back to our evolutionary past and show who would have fared best in the past. When we play, we are feeling our competition and who we can possibly make allies with/watch out for due to their actions during playing. One would also see who he would likely need to avoid and form an alliance with as to not get on his bad side and prevent a loss of status in his band. This is what it really comes down to—loss of status. Higher-status men do have higher levels of testosterone, and by one losing to a more capable person, they show that they aren’t fit to lead and they fall in the social hierarchy.

To fully understand human evolution and how we became ‘us’ we need to understand the evolution of our morphology and how it pertains to things such as our cognition and overall brain size and what advantages/disadvantages it afforded us. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that we have evolved to be athletic and any change in that makeup will lead to a decrease in quality of life.

Homo athleticus, not Homo nerdicus, best describes Man.

Phil Donahue’s IQ


In honor of St. Patrick’s day, I thought I would write this post in green font.  Can’t believe it’s time to hit the bars and get drunk on green beer again (seems like only yesterday I was honoring St. Patrick’s day by blogging about Rosie O’Donnell)  This year, I’m discussing an even more influential Irish American talk show host:  The great Phil Donahue.  

Sadly some of my readers probably don’t even know who he is, having been born after his syndicated talk show was cancelled in 1996, but those of us who are in our 30s are caught between two Worlds: the innocent idyllic childhood of the 20th century when daytime talk shows like Oprah and Donahue dominated the culture, and the fast paced stress filled paranoid World we live in today. 

Growing up in front of a TV set, Donahue, and especially Oprah were like second parents to me.  It was on their shows that I learned about all the major issues of the day.  While talk shows from this period are sometimes dismissed as trash TV, they accelerated social progress in areas like understanding addiction, recovering from sexual abuse and LGBT rights, and while the success of Oprah transformed daytime talk into a huge industry, it was Donahue who pioneered the format of discussing taboo topics and giving regular people in the audience a chance to question the guests.  These shows were the great counter-culture movements of the late 20th century.

Speaking of the 20th century, Phil Donahue (born in 1935) came of age right in the middle of it.  On page 26 his autobiography Donahue: My Own Story, he writes:

In 1953 there were two ways for an Irish Catholic boy to impress his parents, his neighbors and his girlfriend: become a priest or attend Notre Dame.  When my letter of acceptance to N.D. arrived, I framed it and hung it on my bedroom wall, right where Bob Lemon used to be.  In spite of my largely mediocre report card from St. Edward High School, the power brokers within the Holy Cross community of priests and brothers chose to accept all the first graduates from St. Ed’s who expressed interest in Notre Dame.  Both schools are operated by the Holy Cross religious community.  I knew I was lucky then, and as the years pass, and the required S.A.T. scores get higher, and tuition approached $7000 per year, I no longer think of it as luck–rather as divine intervention.

  I don’t know what the average SAT score at Notre Dame was in the early 1950s when Donahue was tested, but in the book The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray, they note that the average verbal SAT at Harvard in 1952 was 583.  Today the average Harvard verbal (reading) score is 750 and the average at Notre Dame is 705 but these are recentred scores.  On the pre-1995 scale, they’d be equivalent to 690 and 645 respectively.

If one assumes that the same 45 point gap existed in the 1950s, the average verbal SAT at Notre Dame around the time Donahue attended was about 538.

Converting these numbers to IQ equivalents is tricky.  A major theme of  The Bell Curve was that elite schools like Harvard and Notre Dame were much less cognitively selective prior to the 1960s.  On pages 29 to 30 they write:

A perusal of Harvard’s Freshman Register for 1952 shows a class looking very much as Harvard’s freshman class has always looked.  Under the photographs of the well-scrubbed, mostly East Coast, overwhelmingly white and Christian young men were home addresses from places like Philadelphia’s Main Line, the Upper East Side of New York, and Boston’s Beacon Hill.  A large proportion of the class came from a handful of America’s most exclusive boarding schools; Phillips Exeter and Phillips Andover alone contributed almost 10 percent of the freshmen that year.

And yet for all its apparent exclusivity, Harvard was not so hard to get into in the fall of 1952.  An applicant’s chance of being admitted were about two of three, and close to 90 percent of his father had gone to Harvard.  With this modest level of competition, it is not surprising to learn that that the Harvard student body was not uniformly brilliant.  In fact the mean SAT-Verbal score of the incoming freshmen class was only 583, well above the national mean but nothing to brag about.  Harvard men came from a range of ability that could be duplicated in the top half of many state universities.

However buried in the footnotes on page 691, they write (highlights are mine):


So if the average Harvard student (SAT-V 583) in the early 50s scored about 1.1 SD higher than the average SAT taker (SAT-V 476), then that implies that the SD (of the SAT population?) was 97.  But how does that equate to the IQ scale where the average American scores 100 (SD = 15). 

Well, if only 6.8% of high school grads took the SAT, and if only 58% of American teens graduated from high school (see table below), then only the 3.9% most academically accomplished were taking the SAT, which implies that the median SAT taker was in the top 2% of academic accomplishment in those days (if taking the SAT can be seen as an accomplishment, since it’s a stepping stone to elite education). 


 Now if the correlation between IQ and academic accomplishment were perfect, this would imply an average IQ 31 points above the U.S. mean, but since the correlation was probably 0.7 in those days (less today) we multiply those 31 points by 0.7, which gives the average SAT taker in the  early 1950s an expected IQ of 121 with a standard deviation of somewhere between 10.7 and the general population SD of 15: let’s split the difference and say 13.

Thus, the SAT populations distribution in 1952 (mean verbal 476, SD = 97) probably equated to IQ 121, SD = 13, on a scale where the average American scores 100 (SD = 15).

From here we can estimate that Notre Dame’s 1952 estimated mean SAT-V of  538 equated to an IQ of 129.

Normally I don’t use SAT scores to estimate the IQs of elite universities because such students are selected based on SATs and thus regress precipitously to the mean on official IQ tests, however prior to the 1960s, SATs were not a major factor in selecting students, so not as much regression would be expected.  Ironically, this may have resulted in the average IQ  (as not measured by the SAT) of elite schools remaining almost the same, even as the average SAT score skyrocketed by the 1960s.

On page 28, Phil Donahue compares himself to a Notre Dame classmate named George, who attended a better high school than he did:

George had graduated from St. Ignatius with honors and had distinguished himself not only in Latin but in Greek as well.  I not only had barely graduated from the “less challenging” St. Ed’s, but from the first freshman “language option” was shuffled off to French and away from the more demanding Latin.  The unspoken axiom had the smart kids in Latin, the dumb kids in French.  George could conjugate verbs allowed–in Latin–much to  the amazement of the first-floor community in Zahm hall, and much to the dismay of “Little Philly,” who was still wondering how he had got there and scared to death that he wasn’t going to survive at “Our Lady’s University.”

So based on Donahue’s refreshingly honest descriptions, it sounds like he was not as smart as the average Notre Dame student in the 1950s (IQ 129), but since he graduated from such a difficult school, he was probably smarter than the average American college grad of his day (about IQ 117).  Let’s split the difference and say his IQ was about 125 (U.S. norms). This makes sense because there’s evidence that Donahue is smarter than fellow Irish-American talk show host Bill O’Reilly (who I’m guessing has an IQ around 113), but less smart than his former rival Oprah (who I suspect is about 140).

Evidence that Donahue is smarter than Bill O’Reilly

Donahue defeated his co-ethnic in this debate about the Iraq war: 


Evidence that Oprah is smarter than Donahue

When Oprah replaced Donahue as the #1 syndicated talk show in America back in 1986, it was generally seen as a battle between a cerebral male and an empathetic female, but those who looked past the style, sometimes noticed Oprah’s emotional advantaged was paired with a cognitive edge. 

Newsday’s Les Payne observed, “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more genuine, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world” 

On the other hand, Time magazine considered Donahue the more skilled interviewer, noting “As interviewers go, [Oprah] is no match for, say, Phil Donahue … What she lacks in journalistic toughness, she makes up for in plainspoken curiosity, robust humor and, above all empathy.”


Major selection for IQ since agriculture?

Wow! So much to blog about, so little time.  There’s a fascinating new scientific paper out by Michael A. Woodley, Shameem Younuskunja, Bipin Balan and Davide Piffer, claiming major natural selection for IQ since agriculture and it couldn’t have come at a better time since I was just arguing about this with commenter MeLo.  Here’s the abstract:


Although studies of identical twins reared apart show IQ is hugely genetic, at least within specific Western countries, roughly 10,000 genetic variants are involved, so identifying the specific genes with any kind of statistical certainty is extremely tough given how small an effect each one has.

To make sure a gene really does affect intelligence by a fraction of an IQ point with any kind of statistical certainty, you probably need a sample of as many as one MILLION people, and they all need to take a very reliable and g loaded IQ test like the Wechsler, preferably at middle age when heritability is perhaps maximized.  So unless some pro-science gazillionaire makes a huge donation to the field, allowing such a large-scale quality research to be funded, scientific progress is going to be painfully slow.

Because it’s so hard to get large samples who have both taken quality IQ tests and given DNA samples, education level is used as a very crude proxy for IQ and a cognitive polygenic score (POLYcog) used to predict education in 300,000 people, was later found to explain 3.6% of the variance in IQ in a different sample.  This recent paper on post-agriculture cognitive selection pressures largely relied on such POLYcog data.

One interesting part of the paper was a graph showing the increase in POLYcog scores in 66 ancient genomes as a function of time.


I have no idea how these POLYcog scores are being scaled, but judging from the fact that the lowest score (for its time) looks like it’s about 0.5 units below the regression line, and the highest score looks like it’s about 0.72 units above the regression line:  A gap of 1.22 units.  In a normal distribution, the gap between the highest and lowest in a sample of 66 is 4.33 standard deviations (SD), so by dividing 1.22 by 4.33, I estimate the SD of these POLYcog scores is 0.28.  Meanwhile, it looks like the POLYcog scores were increasing at a rate of 0.13 units per 1000 years which would thus be 0.46 standard deviations per 1000 years.

Now it’s a bit of a misnomer to call these POLYcog scores.  I believe they were largely created using a study to predict education (not cognitive ability specifically) and so they probably explain much more of the variance in that (9%).  Taking the square root of 9%, yields correlation of 0.3 between polygenetic scores and education.

Now a 0.3 correlation implies that for every 1 SD increase in POLYcog score, education should increase 0.3 SD which means that the 0.46 SD per thousand year increase in POLYcog scores predict a 0.46(0.3) = 0.14 SD increase in educational achievement per thousand years (if those ancient genomes had been cloned back to life in modern America).  In one large sample of American whites, the standard deviation for years of education was 2.34 years, so multiplying this by 0.14 suggests that for every thousand years of post-agriculture evolution, the expected level of education (if ancient humans were cloned in modern society) increased by 0.33 years per 1000 years.

Assuming this trend was linear from say the start of agriculture in Europe (about 8500 years ago) to the start of the industrial revolution about 200 years ago, we’d expect a European from 8,500 years ago to complete 2.7 fewer years of formal education than a cloned human from 200 years ago.  Whether a cloned human from 200 years ago would complete more or less education than the average European today is hard to say since some argue there’s been a post industrial-revolution dysgenic effect, but the evidence is contradictory.

As to why genetic changes associated with IQ and education have occurred in the Holocene, the paper suggests that after millions of years of living as hunter/gatherers, the novel challenge of adapting to agriculture and all the associated social, political, economic, technological, and military changes, selected for more intelligence.

I also think the huge population boom caused by agriculture created new mutations for selection to select from (see The 10,000 year explosion by Cochran and Harpending), but the study couldn’t confirm that since all the ancient genomes had variants that people today also have.  One fascinating factoid the paper mentions is that the speed of adaptive evolution during the Holocene (end of the ice age and the start of agriculture) increased 100 fold from the preceding Pleistocene.

Near the end of the paper, they discuss the paradox of brain size declining in the Holocene while genes associated with GMA (General Mental ability increased):


However a simpler explanation is that declining brain size in the Holocene had nothing to do with genes and was caused by malnutrition, especially since brain size has arguably returned to its original size.  Richard Lynn made the case back in 1990:





Some thoughts on nutrition

Every time I imply that nutrition is a relatively unimportant factor when it comes to height, brain size, or IQ differences within countries or generations, I get heckled in the comments by people who think they know what they’re talking about.

For starters I should say, that between generations and countries, the effects of nutrition are huge.  For example, the average white young American man was 5’7″ in WWI, but about 5’10.4″ by the early 21st century (an increase of about 1.3 standard deviations).  A parallel rise has probably happened to brain development, and this probably explains a big chunk of the Flynn effect as Richard Lynn brilliantly noted way back in the 1980s, though I think he overstated the case.  And btw, when Lynn talks about nutrition, he also includes stuff like disease, since that prevents the body from using nutrients.

And just as modern people score higher on IQ tests than Victorians, largely (though not mostly) because of nutrition, African Americans score higher on IQ tests than their West African cousins largely because of nutrition, as my fellow celebrity Steve Sailer brilliantly noted over a decade ago.

A study recruited peoples of West African ancestry from several places around the world.  The West Africans born in America (who had presumably lived in the developed world for centuries) had a mean height of 1.765 m (SD = 0.073) for men (see table table 1 of this document) and 1.634 m (SD = 0.064 for women).  By contrast, in the exact same study, men living in sub-Saharan countries had a mean of 1.684 m (Nigeria) and 1.701 m (Cameroon), so about 1.693 m overall; women in sub-Saharan countries had a mean of 1.583 m (Nigeria) and 1.607 m (Cameroon), so about 1.595 m overall.

In other words, Third World West African men were 0.99 SD shorter than African American men, and Third World West African women were 0.61 SD shorter than African American women; averaging across both genders, it seems being born in Africa stunts height by about 0.8 SD, relative to those born in the First World.

The problem with invoking nutrition to explain inter-generational and inter-national differences is people think it only applies to the poor.  They can’t wrap their brains around the fact that even elites in past generations and poor countries were also be malnourished.


The above is data from the famous Minnesota study of twins reared apart by Thomas Bouchard.  Now assuming his sample was roughly representative of American environments, the height correlation between identical twins raised apart is an astonishing 0.86, suggesting 86% of the variation in American height is genetic.  Taking the square root of 0.86 tells us that height in America correlates a stratospheric 0.93 with genetic height, AND THAT’S A CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE, BECAUSE UNLIKE THIS STUDY WHERE PEOPLE WERE ADOPTED, IN MOST CASES TALL PEOPLE ACTUALLY GROW UP IN BETTER HOMES, SO THE TRUE CORRELATION IS FURTHER STRENGTHENED BY GENE-ENVIRONMENT CO-VARIANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now if we subtract the correlation between identical twins raised apart (0.86) from the correlation between identical twins raised together (0.93), we learn that adding identical family environment to identical genes, only increases the height correlation by 0.07, which means that only 7% of the variation in U.S. height can be explained by the type of home you grew up in.

Now if we take the  square root of 0.07, we get a 0.26 correlation between height and family environment.  Assuming the same correlation exists within sub-Saharan African countries,  where nutrition stunts the average black by 0.8 SD compared to blacks in the U.S., only one in a thousand black Africans should have a family environment nutrition enough to match the average American black.

We can estimate this because the one in a thousand level is about 3.06 standard deviations above the mean, and assuming a 0.26 causal correlation between height and family environment, the slope of the standardized regression line predicting height from family environment (independent of genetic effects since the figure was obtained from an adoption study) you have to be that far above the mean before the 0.8 SD African nutrition deficit is negated:  3.06 standard deviations above the mean multiplied by a 0.26 independent correlation between height and family environment = 0.8 SD nutrition gap between American blacks and their West African cousins.

The same calculations imply that if you’re an American born after 1980, then you’d need to have been born among the most elite one in FIVE MILLION late 19th century Americans to achieve the same height you’d have being born in a completely average modern American home.

So yes, nutrition matters for height (and by extension, IQ and brain size) within countries and generations, but the effect is so completely dwarfed by between country and between generation effects that I’m inclined to ignore it.

Now all these calculations assume the 0.26 correlation between family environment and height is the same in all countries and generations which is surely wrong to some degree, but perhaps not wrong in the direction people think.  I was recently sent a paper claiming the effects of family environment on height in the developed world is actually increasing, which means as countries get richer, family environment matters more to height, not less, which means that the effect would be even smaller in poor countries and past generations, WHICH MEANS THE CALCULATIONS I MADE UNDERSTATE MY CASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 



Challenges to cold winter theory

The cold winter theory is extremely important to HBD.  In fact I don’t even understand how one can believe in racially genetic differences in IQ without also believing that cold winters select for higher intelligence because of the survival challenges of keeping warm, building shelter, and hunting large game.  By contrast, warm climates select for small heads (and by extension smaller brains and low IQs) because in the tropics, an oversized head will overheat like a light bulb.

Nonetheless, there remains much skepticism of the cold winter theory, both from HBDers and HBD deniers.  One such skeptic is commenter MeLo who writes:

 Heidelbergensis’ brain size would be all you actually need to survive pretty much anywhere. Around 1200-1300 CC. It’s the same size as modern African hunter-gatherers(bushmen 1270), which implies bushmen are more than equipped to deal with cold conditions.

There are a couple problems with this reasoning:

The below map shows in red, the region where Homo heidelbergensis lived:


Below is a map of the World by temperature in January (cold climates are in Purple, very cold, in darker purple, and freezing in the very dark purple).  Notice how little overlap there is between the Homo heidelbergensis range in the above map, and the purple ranges in the below map (let alone darker purple ranges).


Even Neanderthals, who were not only more evolved than heidelbergensis, but had bigger brains, and were physically adapted to the cold,  scarcely lived in the coldest regions. There geographic range is shown in red below.


It seems modern humans are the only species in the Homo genus that is adaptable enough to survive extreme cold climates.  I suspect that during prehistoric times, a tribe needed an average IQ of at least 90 to live with such weather.  If the tribe’s  IQ fell below 90, there wouldn’t be enough people who could quickly make fire, build warm, sturdy water tight shelter, sew weather tight clothes, and hunt scarce large game.

One definition of intelligence is the (cognitive) ability to use tools, and scholar Richard Lynn cites research by Torrence (1983), showing:

an association between latitude and the number and complexity of  tools used by contemporary hunter-gatherers. He found that hunter-gatherer peoples in tropi-
cal and subtropical latitudes such as the Amazon basin and New Guinea typically have be-
tween 10 and 20 different tools, whereas those in the colder northern latitudes of Siberia,
Alaska, and Greenland have between 25 and 60 different tools. In addition, peoples in cold
northern environments make more complex tools, involving the assembly of components,
such as hafting a sharp piece of stone or bone onto the end of a spear and fixing a stone axe  head onto a timber shaft.




 [NOTE FROM PUMPKIN PERSON, March 8, 2017: The following is a guest post by commenter Afrosapiens.  Afrosapiens wanted to respond to one of my most controversial blog posts,  Women have a genetic need to be dominated and men have a genetic need to dominate.  The views expressed below belong to Afrosapiens and do not necessarily reflect those of Pumpkin Person.    I decided not to edit Afrosapien’s post, but I did remove a few parts for brevity and accuracy which explain the occasional ellipses.  To learn more about Afrosapiens, the author of the following guest post, see here]


…intimate relationships really are my forte, no bragging here, thinking about it brought back lots of memories and had my fiancée and I going into deep talk about our relationship, our past romances and those of the people we know.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to play Dr. AfroLove, this is or this used to be an HBD blog so I’m going to explore the notion of dominance while formulating short evolutionary hypotheses that I won’t back with scholary references, I just don’t have the time and the risk of confirmation bias is just too strong. The reader must also be aware that this post is entirely subjective, it is a work of a narcissistic guy who sees himself as perfection made man. So don’t be surprised if the definition of a dominant male amazingly looks like a description of himself.

I’ll articulate my essay in two main points. I’ll first try to demonstrate how and why most women are attracted to socially dominant men by exploring the three main aspects of it: competitiveness, risk taking and challenge taking. In a second part, I’ll explain how a man’s social standing determines his ability to dominate his lady in the private sphere by exploring three relevant factors which are possessiveness, control and of course, sexual dominance (I’ll try not to be too graphic).



In this essay, social dominance is not understood as class or race hierarchy, it only includes dominance within each person’s own social network. The best examples of social dynamics at play are found in high school and college times, not because of nostalgia but because secondary and post-secondary institutions randomly select individuals representing the full spectrum of variation in personality and who are on top of that undergoing the peak of hormonal activity of the late teens and early twenties. The age of competitiveness, risk and challenge taking.


One of the most acknowledged masculine trait is competitiveness, although it is best expressed in sports, boys hate to lose every time they face confrontational situations, even the most trivial ones. On the other hand, girls tend to care much less, and get no shaming for losing. As far as attraction, it is pretty clear that girls prefer winners over losers whereas most men are intimidated by too confident women. It is also obvious that there are winner physiques (jocks and bimbos) and loser physiques (nerds and neurotic bookworms).

As expected, it’s most likely the jocks who attract the bimbos and are confident in their ability to handle them. Winner physiques often command respect by their impressiveness that screams “don’t f**k with me” but a joyful, attractive person that carries a cool aura can be just as dominant by being so popular that getting in trouble with them would be mere social suicide.

When natural charisma is not enough to assert dominance, men retort to threatening behavior and violence. But most often, dominance signaling is expressed in playful situations such as playing sports, pool table, drinking games et caetra. The many girls that I met told me they found nothing sexier than watching men playing ball or strength games and that the winners often aroused non-platonic effects on them. But when the confrontation goes from playful to conflictual, women more than men have the ability to ease the situation and be excellent mediators, hence their superior verbal and emotional abilities.

All of the above makes sense evolutionary wise, of course or bodies were naturally selected for hunting efficiency. But sexual selection probably played a major role with females falling for the men who demonstrated optimal athletic ability and as result, better meat acquisition potential. This likely at least explains in part the evolution of mankind from barely bipedal apes to Usain Bolt, eradicating the inefficient brutish Neanderthals. Heuristically, we can still observe that thousands of years after our survival stopped depending on hunting and gathering, people are still crazy over sports, whether as players or spectators. Another anecdotal confirmation of this hypothesis comes from my past in modeling when I was told that my sprinter morphology represented the ideal body type for underwear shootings.


Aside from competition, one other mean to assert domination is taking risks. Some call it sensation-seeking, assuming that people take risks for personal reasons. In my opinion, there is a lot of dominance signaling in risk taking and it’s even more true that people (mostly men) often need an audience to do bad ass things whereas they would have played it safe if alone. By taking risks, you’re telling 1) I’m stronger than danger, death, law… 2) I dare you to do like me, if you’re a real man. In this domain, women keep a very low profile. In fact, they are absolutely not supposed to take risks, they are supposed to care for the children and partner and to be pacifying forces in the community.

I am personally very obedient when I have direct contact with authority. But when I’m left “unsupervised” with peer pressure on top of that, I get indescribable satisfaction from challenging the laws of the State and nature, of course I don’t do life threatening things nor do I take the risk of ending up in jail. But throwing food on pedestrians from a balcony (when intoxicated), tumbling as a goal celebration, jumping from a freakingly high cliff into the sea, racing on the highway or climbing rocks and trees are things that I enjoy. And I do not do just for the thrill of it. Although I know my mamma hates it, I know my lil’ mamma loves it like “damn Afro, you’re hero, and it’s sooo hot” and my male friends will obviously take the challenge or they are pussies.

Taking risks has been crucial for evolution as there is simply no progress in safety. Humans would probably never have left the East African steppe if none of them had been daring enough to cross rivers and mountains, try new plants, new insects, hunt new game… In fact, there is no evidence that early human migrations were triggered by survival pressures and there is one restlessness genetic allele that has been found in higher proportion among new world natives and nomadic peoples.

Nowadays in our man-made, successful risk-takers often get unanimous admiration and even though failure generates contempt or laughter, but a wise person will always say “at least he tried” which is still better than being a f*aggot who stays in his safe zone. This is the Olympic spirit.


The last notion that I want to discuss is challenge taking. In this sub-section, it takes a slightly different meaning than in the two previous ones as it deals with setting personal challenges. I’m talking about the very manly mindset of being ambitious, wanting to make the impossible possible. Of course, women do have ambition but it never reaches the megalomaniac levels seen in men. Also, ambitious women scare men because social ambition distract them from their traditional household duties.

I used the phrase challenge taking instead of ambition because this tendency is expressed in very trivial situations and not just big lifelong schemes. Repairing your girlfriend’s pearl necklace is an instance of making the impossible possible, fixing things around the house as well. In hunting and gathering times, elaborating new tools, better shelter, painting buffaloes in caves were instances of making the impossible possible. All these apparently trivial advances were the precursors of art and technology.

I guess many of you guys will assume that the man at the apex of the evolution is the guy doing silly statistics on his wheelchair. I don’t think so. This man is still the handyman, craftsman or artist, these men turn women on and generate admiration, math geniuses ? Not so much… Why ? Because people just don’t see the actual concrete point of working out extremely complex problems, it is boring and unnecessary for survival. Moreover real math geniuses are rare, most people who are good at maths are just good at using calculators. Now if you indeed believe that you are at the apex of evolution because you’re a nerd, well don’t wonder why you’re not at the apex of your couple or of the sexual market.


No, humans aren’t nerdy apes, they are athletic and playful Mr. Fixit. And whether you are indeed a nerdy ape or an athletic playful Mr. Fixit will determine how your girl will rate you. For your girl to let you dominate your relationship, she needs to admire you, you have to be her hero, the one who beats up the other guys, who’s afraid of nothing and makes miracles happen. If your girl has little admiration for you, if she finds you lame and useless, she will express it by invading your natural territories which are possessiveness/jealousy, control and sexual dominance.


When we think about possessiveness or jealousy, what comes to our minds is the hysterical crises that our chicks went into after coming across an explicit picture or message that we didn’t have the time to erase or even see before she cracked our cellphone codes. Well, that’s impressive, sexy, funny or whatever way you react to that kind of drama. But believe me, girls forgive and forget… If you’re the man in the house.

It’s no surprise that polygyny is a much more sustainable model of society than the opposite. I’ll ask all the feminist readers to skip this part but here’s the truth, your chick(s) is/are your property and you have to let them know, and let the other guys know too. Even if you trust your girl, you have to set limits to what is an acceptable behavior or dress as well as dissuading the other guys of having misplaced intentions, for the sole sake of respect. I’m not talking about buying her hijabs nor even imposing her a strict and modest dress code, there are just limits that vary from culture to culture. If your girl loves and respects you, she will accept your rules, if she doesn’t, man up (show her you’re worth it) or dump her.

On the other hand, you’re not really supposed to tell her what you’re doing and who you’re seeing. And she won’t ask if she doesn’t think it’s worth losing the best man on earth arguing over some side business. Actually, many girls are turned on by knowing that their man is desired and so sexually competent that he exports surpluses outside the home. Men did not evolve to be monogamous, think of Genghis Khan’s or some African Chief’s and merchant’s hundreds of children, the Turkish harems, the Concubines of China’s nobility or les Liaisons Dangereuses à la Cour de France. It’s only the best men that keep the girls and spread their genes.

At the same time, no society can be stable if men are just waging a sex war for the conquest of women. In addition to that, and this will be my last word for this part: fidelity and commitment is the most precious gift you can make to your lady, so put a ring on it dudes.


Everybody knows the hardest part of a relationship is to make it work, make concessions, try to accommodate each partner to enjoy the shared feelings as much as possible. And the final aim of this struggle is to gain control over your partner so that they become perfection to you. This goal, in my opinion, should never be achieved, it would literally kill the fun of arguing over small and not so small things.

We can easily measure who dominates a relationship by seeing who’s making more concessions and who’s deciding things in the household. Of course, it’s never sane when one has complete authority over the other like in a parent-child relationship. Also, I doubt we can talk about love when both partners don’t care about what the other does, that’s just ok for fuckbuddies. There must be a balance that has to favor the male, if he has balls.

In that matter, I’ve had varied experiences, especially one which was with an older (married) woman. Well, it was special, I was basically just her pretty little thing ready to do whatever to please her, I stuck around because we had amazing sex and she sort of cast a weird spell on me. but I was actually burning inside, feeling completely emasculated, it had never happened to me before and I made a promise to myself that it never had to happen afterwards. I do better with young girls.

Now the question is, how to assert dominance in the war for control ? You think of violence ? We’ll get back to it later on. The best way to gain control over your relationship is to have these “I don’t take you seriously” or “you’re just looking for attention” attitudes that I got on lock. This how you get away with senseless drama with some “you got it going on tonight”, “alright, let me give you a kiss”, “come into my arms baby” or simply a smile of amazement and incredulity that says “naaah, you just can’t seriously hold that against me” and “I’m not arguing over something so stupid”. And most often, you “win” an argument just like that because your girl has much consideration for you and you make her feel silly. But sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s when it gets serious.

Yelling, saying things that none of us mean, slamming doors, breaking things… It can become really infernal. Be the smartest and concede when you think it’s going too far, you’re not losing. Violence is an attribute of manhood that is meant to be used on other men, not women, not the one who carries your progeny and keeps your home clean. Moreover, I don’t know how women could be attracted to strength if it was meant to be directed against them. But you have to remind her that you have this option.

Hitting walls, doors and furniture or breaking things is silly, instead, destroy the punching bag like it raped your mother. Acknowledging that you backed down, your girl will normally come to you, feeling sorry for taking things this far and she’ll also notice all the chaos that your strength is able to provoke. And… And… The sight of you sweaty with bulging veins everywhere might actually turn her on, and if you’re like me, all that madness might have aroused something in you too. That’s how we get to the last point, sexual dominance.


Alright, let’s try to keep it safe for work for that last part. I know people have an infinite variety of turn ons when it comes to intimacy and I just can’t tell who’s into what by the way they carry themselves in life. There is one thing I know for sure though: the bed, or wherever you like to do it, is the ultimate place where you can achieve complete dominance over your lady, and that’s what the majority of women expect you to do, or at least those who let me visit their inner parts. Yes, even the nasty MILF wanted to be my thing once we went horizontal.

Honestly, I just don’t know what a guy can enjoy in having his lady doing the job. Being waken up kindly on a Sunday morning by your girl waiting for you to take charge once you’re out of the haze is definitely exciting, but following the orders of a mean dominatrix must be a sign of derangement. Anyway, what a man has to do is to take charge, being all over and all inside, triggering insane sensations, moving her like a doll. That’s how you’re a bedroom hero and women are just as addicted to good sex as men are. Also, and I might cross a limit, but many women fantasize about being raped. None ever told me that obviously but it’s some sort of urban legend and I noticed that the angrier I am, the better they like it. If that legend is true, you perfectly fulfill that desire by being rough and caring about her pleasure at the same time.

Beyond the carnal aspect of sexual dominance, being a beast in the bed is just another way to make her feel your strength and how small she is under you. It relieves frustrations, strengthen the bond and the pleasure you gave to her might even get her to reconsider her position on something you’ve been quarrelling about some time before. Also, I think it’s good to talk after sex. Unless you’re intoxicated saying “goodnight” or “I’m going out” once it’s over is not just rude, it’s a missed opportunity to discuss whatever comes to your mind at that very moment when the two of you feel like one.


…I won’t be systematic to the point of saying that all males are genetically inclined to dominate and that all women have to be submissive. However, as androgenes make men taller than women on average, they also make them more dominant on average. They give us the physique, the voice and the mindset. But since there is a large degree of overlapping, a minority of males will be submissive whereas a minority of women will be dominant.

I don’t know how biased this essay is, it’s personal, I grew up in a macho country (France) and evolved in macho social circles and institutions (nobility, military school, Catholic Church, Grandes Écoles, law and business) so many of my views can sound very archaic, or even prehistoric. Whatever you think about it, I’m waiting on you to storm the comments section with scholary references and alternative hypotheses…


Open thread March 4, 2017

Can’t believe it’s March already.  That’s so depressing, the winter’s just flying by.  But at least this weekend is FREEZING cold so I can enjoy my signature hot chocolate, but unfortunately I can’t find any good horror movies or dark dramas to watch.

So much in the news.  Trump claiming Obama wired wiretapped him.  I don’t buy it.  I think Trump just made the whole thing up or it’s some right-wing Alex Jones type conspiracy theory.  Even though I don’t think Trump’s especially bright, based on the simplicity and repetitiveness of his vocab and sentences and the smallness of his head, he has brilliant reptilian instincts when it comes to ethnic genetic interests.  He knows tens of millions of working class whites look at Obama as some foreign dark skinned Muslim boogey man, and so he can make up anything he wants about him and the masses will rally around Trump.

Meanwhile Queen Oprah (the woman who elected Obama) has been rocking the media with her chic dark rimmed glasses and 40 lb weight loss, and Weight Watchers stock is on fire.


So many Wallstreet geniuses lost their shirts betting against the most influential woman on the planet and North America’s FIRST and ONLY multibillionaire black.    The conventional wisdom was that the company was going nowhere, but I could picture Oprah just marching into the Weight Watchers board room with her super-human energy, charisma, stratospheric cranium and likely 140 IQ and ordering all those Ivy League MBAs to start making her some money or their out on their ass.

Oprah was recently interviewed  by David Rubenstein who apparently has a talk show now (everyone wants to be the next Oprah, even people who are already billionaires) and he asked her if she would ever consider running for President.  Her reply:

I never considered the question even a possibility, I though, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ But now I’m thinking, ‘Oh. Oh.’

The studio audience went wild.  It was amazing how prepared Oprah seemed in this interview. It seemed like everything he asked, she had thought of a hundred times and the wise rhetoric just poured out of her like rain.

Even though it was obvious Oprah was joking, the sheer power of her words is such that the possibility of her running for president made non-stop headlines around the World for 24 hours straight until her best friend of 40 years,  Gayle King Bumpus stepped in to pour rain on the parade, saying Oprah will NEVER run for resident, NEV-AH, and Gayle said she’d bet her own children on that fact.


I agree with Gayle.  People run for President because they want the kind of status and adulation that Oprah already has.  But after years of recovering from the horror of childhood sexual abuse, Oprah has achieved an incredible happiness and inner peace.  Why would she want to go into the dirty game of politics when she can relax on her $100 million Santa Barbara estate overlooking the Ocean and the mountains and read a good novel while sitting under one of the thousands of trees in her yard?