A conversation with Heiner Rindermann, for Man and the Economy

hrin_2019  Heiner Rindermann PhD, is Professor of Educational and Developmental Psychology at the Technical University of Chemnitz (Germany). He is psychologist (PhD University of Heidelberg). His work deals with education and ability development, intelligence and student achievement, economy and politics, evolution and culture, and their interplay at the level of individuals and societies. His recent major contribution is Cognitive capitalism: Human capital and the wellbeing of nations published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: An early contribution on your part in establishing the connection between cognitive ability and human development (in the broadest sense) was to show how the spread of AIDS among ethnicities of different continents is greater as the cognitive ability is lower. Could you remind us of your analysis?

  Heiner Rindermann: In two publications from 2007 and 2009 with my German colleagues Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff, a sociologist, and Gerhard Meisenberg, a biologist, I showed that education (as a proxy for intelligence and knowledge) and cognitive ability (comprising intelligence and knowledge) reduce the impact of the HIV spread.[i] If wealth and modernity are added in analyses at the level of nations – comparing different countries – the effects of wealth and modernity even turned positive, increasing HIV rates! Disproving the usual theory, that AIDS is a disease of the poor, the data robustly showed that AIDS is a disease of the low intelligent. But why? Isn’t this result biased or mad?

  In closer consideration not at all: Studies from other authors on AIDS or on diabetes at the level of individuals also show that income and even education are not crucial for health. The crucial factor is intelligence. Again: Why? Here the Piagetian approach can help us as used by Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff and cognitive hermeneutics of everyday life as I tried to explain in my Cognitive capitalism book: People at lower levels of cognitive development and intelligence, especially if living in a social environment with a similar low level, tend to think and act irrationally, e.g. they believe in magic and behave in ineffective or even self-damaging ways. I.e., AIDS is not seen as being caused by HIV transmitted by unprotected sex but being caused by God, magical powers or sorcery and consequently can be cured by magical treatment, e.g. by having sex with a virgin. And these aren’t excuses for sexual abuse or own failings but people really believe this.

  For instance, a quote from a study by African researchers in Mali underscores this: “Accidents are never attributed to faults or incompetence of the people in charge or machine failure, they are always orchestrated by certain superstitious powers.”[ii] Such a mindset will not lead to more cautiousness or better maintenance reducing accidents.

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A conversation with Edward Dutton, for American Renaissance

Unknown  Edward Dutton is an English evolutionary anthropologist who is ‘Docent’ (Adjunct Professor) of the Anthropology of Religion at Oulu University in Finland. Dutton has a degree in Theology from Durham University and a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Aberdeen. Dutton has notably published work on human intelligence. He has a YouTube channel on controversial scientific research called “The Jolly Heretic.”

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Should we try to do something to solve the problem of low IQ immigration—and a fortiori crossbreeding—in the West?

  Edward Dutton: It’s not up to me to make a value judgment on whether there’s too much crossbreeding between Blacks and Whites. If you are talking about the video I did on race, I’m interested in the consequences of it. Whether there’s too much of it is a much more complex question. What seems to be the case is that it’s associated with—at least, if it’s a black male and a white female—elevated levels of mental instability. So, I suppose that, based on that, a person could start to make value judgments—in terms of r strategy and K strategy.

  r strategy is that you live in an unstable ecology, but it’s an easy ecology. And so, it’s unstable, so you live fast and die young and you have as many children as you can by as many genetically fit people as you can, and within that—while we’re doing that—there’s some use for outbreeding because the genetically very different person might have some useful genes for parasite resistance or whatever that you don’t have, and so, therefore, you’d expect r-strategists to be interested in outbreeding. And r-strategists tend to have high levels of mental instability because there’s very little selection against it.

  Once you get to a K strategy, then the carrying capacity for the species is reached and then they start competing with each other, and they do this as the ecology becomes a bit more stable and more harsh. They do this by investing less energy in copulation and more energy in nurture. So they have a smaller number of children and they invest a great deal in them so they’re highly adapted to the ecology and more likely to survive the within-species competition. Now, once this happens—once you are reducing the number of people who you are having sex with and you’re reducing the number of children you have—you can maximize the extent to which you pass on your genes by selecting an optimal level of genetic similarity in your partner.

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A conversation with Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Yr., for Psych

1454590368-7168-0  Michael Anthony Woodley of Menie, Yr. (Younger), is a British ecologist and evolutionary psychologist, whose research on secular trends in different aspects of human intelligence has earned him considerable notability.

  Woodley of Menie received his Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2007 and received his Ph.D. from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2011, where he researched the molecular genetic and community ecology of Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism used in plant science. Since then, the focus of his research has shifted to the evolution of human intelligence and personality, and the relation of these phenomena to life history strategy.

  Woodley of Menie holds a lifetime fellowship with the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, and sits on the editorial board of the journal Intelligence. He has authored over 100 papers covering a very wide range of subjects, including human intelligence and life history strategy (especially their genetic and evolutionary bases), personality psychology, comparative phylogenetic methods and primatology, cognitive epidemiology, secular trend analysis, macroeconomics, microbiology, plant science, theoretical ecology, and even cryptozoology.

  He has published four books, most recently a popular science work (co-authored with Dr. Edward Dutton) on secular trends in intelligence and their macro-social effects (At Our Wits End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What it Means for the Future, Imprint Academic, Exeter, UK). In 2015, the Association for Psychological Science awarded Woodley of Menie the Rising Star designation for his work on secular trends in intelligence. Part of this body of research inspired the coining of the term “Woodley effect,” which refers to any trend indicating a population-level decline in general cognitive ability. His work has been covered in diverse media, including the BBC, The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and RAI (Italian television).

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You have been involved in elaborating a “biological meta-theory” for the social sciences—from the perspective of “life history evolution.” Could you start by telling us more about it?

  Michael A. Woodley of Menie: First I should explain life history theory. This is a very powerful model in evolutionary ecology for explaining the covariance of anatomical, physiological, and behavioral traits within and across species. Its core idea is that environments pose particular sets of fitness challenges to organisms, which favor the evolution of coordinated suites of adaptations; these coherent adaptive packages can be understood as strategies through which organisms overcome obstacles to fitness (i.e. reproductive success). Species that tend towards very high rates of reproduction (i.e. high yields of offspring) typically have short life expectancies and their offspring tend to be precocial—meaning that they take relatively little time to mature into their adult forms. Their behaviors are also adapted to environments with generally high and unpredictable levels of extrinsic morbidity and mortality—sources of morbidity and mortality are “extrinsic” if adaptive features of organisms have little influence on them, and they are “unpredictable” if they exhibit high spatial and temporal variability that organisms cannot anticipate. The package of adaptations—behavioral, reproductive, and so on—that typically emerges in these environmental circumstances is usually called “r strategy” (where r denotes a species’ reproductive potential). Rabbits exemplify this ecological strategy—they are ready to reproduce within six weeks after birth, and the mother spends only a few minutes per day with her offspring investing resources in their growth. Rabbits also have relatively short lifespans, and in the wild have very high odds of succumbing to predation. The opposite strategy is usually called “K strategy” (where K denotes the carrying capacity of an environment). When a species is optimized for existence at the carrying capacity of its environment, its members exhibit high longevity, prolonged gestation, and extended postnatal development. The high-density populations in which K strategists live experience relatively little, or at least predictable, extrinsic morbidity and mortality. K strategists are typically long lived, in part because they invest heavily in somatic development and maintenance. With respect to behavior, K strategists are usually highly pro-social, investing in the fitness of their genetic kin via communitarian effort. Elephants exemplify this strategy, since they have relatively low rates of fertility, but invest substantially in their (small numbers of) offspring via extended gestation and multiple years of postnatal parental investment. Moreover, they are markedly herd oriented, with individual elephants exhibiting highly protective behaviors toward their entire herd when threatened by predators.

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