A conversation with Volkmar Weiss, for American Renaissance

1863396  Volkmar Weiss is a German geneticist and historian. He graduated from Humboldt University of Berlin with a doctor of science degree in 1972, after presenting his dissertation on the heredity of intellectual giftedness for mathematics and technology. In 1990 he earned his postdoctoral qualification as a geneticist with the book Psychogenetik: Humangenetik in Psychologie und Psychiatrie [Psychogenetics: Human Genetics in Psychology and Psychiatry] and in 1993 as a social historian with the book Bevölkerung und soziale Mobilität: Sachsen 1550–1880 [Population and Social Mobility: Saxony 1550–1880]. He co-founded the German Social Union in 1990 and was a member of the German Christian Democratic Union from 1990 to 1993. From 1990 to 2007, he was head of the German Central Office for Genealogy.

  In 2000 he published Die IQ-Falle: Intelligenz, Sozialstruktur und Politik [The IQ Case: Intelligence, Social Structure, and Politics], which is commonly considered the German counterpoint to The Bell Curve. He has spent his retirement writing nonfiction books and alternative history novels, among them, in 2012, Die Intelligenz und ihre Feinde: Aufstieg und Niedergang der Industriegesellschaft [Intelligence and Its Enemies: The Rise and Decline of Industrial Society] and, in 2007, Das Reich Artam: Die alternative Geschichte 1941–2099 [The Reich Artam: The Alternative History 1941–2099]. In his 2010’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab [Germany Abolishes Itself], Thilo Sarrazin refers to and uses Weiss’ arguments to support his own conclusions on demographic substitution. A short actualized version of his 2012’s monograph is the book IQ Means Inequality: The Population Cycle that Drives Human History (KDP 2020).

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Against the consensual position in social sciences that interindividual differences in intelligence are exclusively molded by the membership in a given social class, you do not hesitate to present intellectual inequalities as mostly rooted in genes—and nonetheless correlated with properly social inequalities. How do you develop your subversive claim?

  Volkmar Weiss: The Communists, who came to power in 1945 in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, started from the assumption that all social differences were based on social causes and only on them. By abolishing these causes and, first and foremost, the differences in education, one also abolishes the social differences, so orthodox communists believe. Therefore a “counter-privileged educational policy” began in East Germany. Children whose parents belonged to the intelligentsia were discriminated against, while children of workers and peasants received special support, for example in “workers and peasants faculties”. At the end of the 1950s, East Germany had managed to make considerable progress towards the goal of equal opportunities. But what happened then?

  In the 1960s, the proportion of high school graduates whose parents had once received special support after the war as children of workers and peasants and who had meanwhile become managers or members of the intelligentsia grew from year to year. In the statistics, their children no longer counted as children of workers and peasants. This was annoying and embarrassing to the representatives of the “leading working class,” and the special promotion of workers’ children was abolished in the mid-sixties. In the meantime, there was already social research in East Germany, which, since it could do nothing with such deliberately blurred categories as “working class”, had to work with clear classifications and therefore began to speak of educational strata. Empirical social research defined all university and technical college graduates (i.e. all those with an IQ above 115), regardless of their job, power or function, as members of the intelligentsia.

  Uniform school conditions not only have a homogenizing effect, but also a differentiating one and social differences are intensified. In the 1960s, in view of this development the East German power elite became more and more interested in the promotion of talents and did not longer categorically rule out the possibility of a genetic background of high IQ. In 1969 professor Hans Grimm, director of the Institute of Anthropology in Berlin (East), proposed to me to do research on the inheritance of mathematical high-giftedness. I saw myself in the footsteps of Francis Galton, agreed and received permission for this research from Margot Honecker herself, Minister of National Education.

I used the annual “Olympiads of Young Mathematicians” held in East Germany as the starting point of my investigation. In the period 1963-1971 about 2.8 million students participated in these competitions, all mentally healthy students of the grades 5-12. The registration cards of the 1329 best placed pupils and questionnaires provided data on around 20 000 relatives.

  The following empirical findings were particularly important:

  1.   In families in which the father belonged to the same top IQ occupational group as the highly gifted, all siblings of the test persons were far above average (i.e. all attended a school leading to a high school gratification certificate [German Abitur]).
  2.   In the families in which the father had a different occupation than one from the IQ top group, the siblings spread over the entire possible occupational spectrum. Approximately 14% of siblings were in jobs that generally did not require more than average mental power.
  3.   A particularly striking finding was found among the collaterals (the siblings of the parents of the highly gifted and their spouses), where both parents either belong to the top IQ occupational group or both are unskilled workers, almost always have only children who again exercise occupations of the respective qualification and thus IQ level. Parental couples in the IQ range around 110, on the other hand, have children who are spread over the entire possible occupational spectrum.

  For someone who has Mendel’s law and their statistical distributions in mind, these findings suggest the segregation of genes as the background of high IQ and high giftedness. The same effect as a major gene locus could have a series of additive alleles.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the publication of your article on the European proletariat (in which you challenged the Marxist notion of a hereditary and disproportionately increasing proletariat), how do you assess the economic integration of Eastern Germany—and the global fate of free enterprise and laissez-faire capitalism in the reunified Federal Republic of Germany?

  Volkmar Weiss: East Germany became and remains the poor annex of the West. Up to 1989, the inhabitants of East Germany did see decades of decline. After reunification they are afraid to live again in a state whose historic fate as a whole is decline. Therefore we have in former East Germany a strong opposition against unlimited immigration.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Relying on the logic of genetics and available knowledge on allele frequencies, you used to judge it highly probable that C2orf16 rs1919128 was the major gene locus of general cognitive ability. How did you come to endorse, then dismiss, the hypothesis?

  Volkmar Weiss: Genes underlying IQ should have a certain distribution within social strata, ethnic populations and samples of high and low IQ subjects, in 2012 this was the starting point to look into all available databases of human genes. Despite the extreme probabilities, which spoke for C2orf16 rs1919128, it was a false positive finding. Many of genes claimed to underlie schizophrenia, Alzheimer and so on are false positives.

  Another approach would have been to look for the greatest genetic differences between man and apes. On this route of research the group, led by Prof. Sikela, Denver, Colorado, found out that the number of copies of the gene DUF1220 (Olduvai) in the human genome is highly correlated with IQ and the risk to have autism or schizophrenia. High IQ subjects have about 20 copies more than low IQ persons. The number of copies has the same effect as the number of alleles of one genetic locus.

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A conversation with Howard Bloom, for The Postil Magazine

Howard Bloom photo 2  Howard Bloom started in theoretical physics and microbiology at the age of ten and spent his early years in science. Then, driven by the desire to study mass human emotion through the lens of science, he went into a field he knew nothing about, popular culture. He founded the biggest PR firm in the music industry and worked with superstars like Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Billy Joel, Queen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Styx, Hall and Oates, Simon & Garfunkel, Run DMC, and Chaka Khan. Bloom went back to his formal science in 1988 and, since then, has published seven books on human and cosmic evolution, including The God Problem, Global Brain, and The Lucifer Principle. Called “next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein, [and] Freud” by Britain’s Channel 4 TV, and “the next Stephen Hawking” by Gear magazine, he is the subject of BRIC TV’s documentary The Grand Unified Theory of Howard Bloom.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: As an entrepreneur in the public relations industry, you were particularly active under the Reagan era. How do you explain that the eighties saw both a return to some conservative values and an explosion of creativity and coolness in music and movies?

  Howard Bloom: That’s a very good question. I’ve never thought of that connection before. My wife had been a socialist when I met her in the 1960s. And then in the 1970s she became a conservative. So she was siphoning money out of our bank account and giving it to Ronald Reagan’s political campaigns—without telling me. She knew I hated Reagan. But I never connected Ronald Reagan with what was going on in popular music at that point. In the 1960s popular music was the music of rebellion. Rock music was about raising your fist and saying to adults: “I have a right to be an individual. I have a right to exist.” Rock was in tune with the hippie philosophy: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” And, “We’re here to overturn the establishment.” In other words, rock and roll was part of a rebellion whose political activists were working to toss people our parent’s age out of power. That was the 1960s. But there was no overt philosophy—there was no ideology—of rebellion in the 1970s and the 1980s. However if you look at the attitude of the artists who emerged, it was sheer rebellion.

  Joan Jett got onstage and raised her fist. And the way she raised her fist was the strongest part of her message. She was a woman. And as a woman, you were expected to be like Grace Slick or Janis Joplin: the guys had the guitars, the power instruments, and you did not. You simply crooned into the microphone. But Joan was saying: “I’m going to take over the fucking guitar, myself. I have the power. I own the power on stage. And I am going to rebel as a self-contained entity not needing the “weapons” of “males with guitars.” My band? Hey, that’s just an extension of me.” Joan’s was the rebellion of girls who had been raised with working mothers. And for a middle class girl to be raised by a working mother was something brand new. It was a result of the invention of indoor plumbing, the washing machine, the drier, and the dishwasher. Women were no longer the slaves of water-hauling and clothes washing. And the women’s liberation movement had given them the freedom to compete with men in the workplace. Now the daughters of these liberated women had a very new experience of what it meant to be female. And that sense came to a head in Joan Jett. Or it came to a fist. But as for men, I mean, look at several of my other clients. Billy Idol also raised his fist in a gesture of rebellion. Did the anger of these fists have anything to do with the Reagan era? It’s hard to tell.

  John Mellencamp also came to the lip of the stage with his fist raised. If you were here, I could show you the difference between the raised fist of each of those three artists. Each made a slightly different muscular statement—a statement made with muscles. And then, there were bands that were already slipping into acceptance of a parent’s generation, and acceptance of an older generation. Not rebellion, but acceptance. And those were bands like Spandau Ballet, Berlin, which were both my bands, and a bunch of others. Later, the whole attitude of rebellion would disappear from popular music. At least, it would be minimized significantly. In fact, Michael Jackson would live with his mother, his father, and his brothers—an unthinkable act among the rock rebels. And that business of raising your fist on stage would no longer be part of the package, if you were a rock ‘n’ roller. In Michael Jackson it would be replaced by fierce pointing.

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A conversation with Daryl Kane, for The Postil Magazine

Daryl Kane  Daryl Kane is an American politician best known for his book Cultural Cancer: Treating the Disease of Political Correctness, his podcast Right Wing Road Trip, and the journal Revenge of the Patriot whose editor he is. He runs as a Republican candidate for POTUS in 2024.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You are campaigning for the presidential election of 2024 under the banner of Christian morality, economic freedom, ethnic identity, and the fight against leftist cultural cancer. On the issue of immigration, how exactly does your program stand in relation to Trump’s politics?

  Daryl Kane: Immigration obviously is such an important topic and I give Trump credit for emphasizing it in his campaign. Rhetoric aside, how much has he achieved? I’m not sure, I think a lot of good has been done but really when he, when we’re talking about slowing, even stopping the tide, this is a stopgap mentality, it’s not a conversation about solutions. Very clearly, the American people, and really just about all citizens of Western nations—look, this is has been political warfare and the damage sustained is reaching, has really passed a point where we can just end this nonsense without also taking remedial, restorative measures. This is naturally a very charged topic and one which must be approached with sobriety but also with care and humanity. On the one hand we have a ship that is sinking and you know, we can’t just plug the holes, we have to also start removing some of the water. But we’re not talking about water, we’re talking about God’s children so you know, perhaps to the chagrin of some, no I’m not just going to arbitrarily throw everyone out. But you know, I actually don’t think we really have to either. One big talking point for Trump is about moving us to fully merit based immigration which strikes most conservatives as a tough, sensible response. Certainly this is better than the prior lunacy, things like “diversity visas” which for me is a term that I often instruct people to pause for a moment and think about. What exactly is a “diversity visa?” Well, obviously it’s a seat in our country which we are setting aside, reserving for people on the basis of them being less similar to our current citizens than other would be immigrants. For me, you know, I’m not sure we do want to move away from identity based immigration. I think maybe we keep a lot of that stuff, and by the way this pertains to domestic programs as well, where you know we spend billions a year to promote this or that group, really any group that we don’t usually associate with mainstream Americanism. Maybe we keep a lot of this diversity infrastructure, at least the concept of them but we actually invert them, or you know replace them with a desire to reinforce or advocate for traditional Western identity. Maybe we start setting visas aside for, oh I don’t know, white, English speaking Christians? (Laughs)

  You see, no one ever really bothered to explain to Americans why they needed things like diversity visas, diversity scholarships, etc. They were just sort’ve injected in, draped in this very flowery, humanistic rhetoric. I think it’s time to start talking about things like homogeny visas and see what happens when the Left has to justify why it’s ok for them to play this game but not us. Let’s have a national dialogue about the benefits of both ends of spectrum and let’s see which of the two seems more beneficial at this point in time. And look, I’ve said this too, I’m not an anti diversity person. Diversity can be good, it can be bad. I do like being able to enjoy all sorts of unique ethnic cuisine in cities and things of that nature. A lot of people scoff at equality now and you know, I don’t know, that ideal still resonates with me and I don’t want us to lose that ability to make friends from different places, to connect and be decent to one another. But I think quite clearly the level of diversity which we now have, frankly—and this is putting it mildly, it’s plenty.

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A conversation with Peter Frost, for American Renaissance

Peter_Frost2  Peter Frost is a Canadian anthropologist. His main research interest has been the role of sexual selection in highly visible human traits, notably diverse hair and eye colors. Other interests include vitamin D metabolism in northern hunting peoples and gene-culture coevolution, such as genetic pacification due to the state monopoly on violence.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You are notably known for your claim that the most plausible origin for the high frequency of light coloration of skin in European ethnicities lies in sexual selection (rather than in natural selection). Could you remind us of your argument?

  Peter Frost: It’s not just light skin. It’s also the extraordinary variety of hair and eye colors. I prefer to begin with them because they are much less explainable by anything other than sexual selection.

  Take hair color. Most humans have black hair and one allele for hair color. Europeans have over two hundred for colors ranging from black to blond. The conventional explanation is straightforward: as humans entered higher latitudes, with less solar radiation, there was less selection for dark skin and, consequently, an accumulation of defective alleles for pigmentation. So the number of hair colors grew as a side effect.

  That scenario has two problems. First, the genetic linkage between skin color and hair color is weak: if we took all humans with black hair, we would have a group with the full range of skin colors. Second, millions of years are needed to accumulate that many alleles through relaxation of selection. Yet modern humans have been in Europe for scarcely 45,000 years.

  Did Europeans get their hair colors from the Neanderthals? According to a study of five alleles for red hair, one of them seems to be an archaic introgression, but the others are of modern human origin. Even if we assume that all of the alleles for hair color had slowly accumulated during the long existence of the Neanderthals, the timeline is still too short — at most three quarters of a million years. Furthermore, even if they all had a Neanderthal origin, we would still need to explain how they reached their current prevalence. Europeans today are only 1 to 4% Neanderthal.

  That’s not all. Eye color, too, diversified during the same 45,000 years. So we have two color polymorphisms, with different genetic causes, developing in parallel within the same limits of time and space. There must have been a process of selection. Something helped preserve those new colors and pass them on to subsequent generations.

  That something, in my opinion, was sexual selection. It begins when too many of one sex have to compete for too few of the other. The latter are in a buyer’s market and can pick and choose among prospective mates. Conversely, the “sellers” are in a worse position and have to market themselves as best they can. The successful ones are those who can attract attention and hold it as long as possible, typically by means of bright colors.

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Five questions to David Horowitz, for FrontPage Magazine

800px-david_horowitz_5450881229  David Joel Horowitz is an American writer. He is a founder and president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC); editor of the Center’s publication, FrontPage Magazine; and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the political left. Horowitz also founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom.

  From 1956 to 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left. He later rejected progressive and Marxist ideas and became a defender of conservatism. Horowitz recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospective books, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey. The following interview was initially published in FrontPage Magazine, in March 2020.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You have long established yourself as a Jewish intellectual committed to the defense of your homeland America and its Protestant values. While in conservative circles it is not uncommon to address the totalitarian commonalities between Islam and Marxism, you like to raise the connection of Marxism (and other laicized socialist ideologies) with the Pelagian heresy. Could you tell us more about this filiation?

  David Horowitz: Pelagius, a 4th Century Christian Monk—even more than Rousseau—is the father of all leftist schemes to remake the world into a social justice paradise. Pelagius believed that sin was against human nature. Therefore if people would just be true to their nature—and therefore good Christians—they could build a heaven on earth. Leftists believe that people are good at heart, and therefore if they are good Marxists, or good socialists, or politically correct, they can build a paradise on earth. Saint Augustine was Pelagius’ nemesis. To counter his utopian vision, Augustine posed the doctrine of original sin—that we all participate in Adam’s sin because it is in our nature to sin, not against it. In secular terms, the root cause of all social problems, of all human problems is us. That’s why when progressives achieve total power they kill and impoverish millions—even hundreds of millions—of people who refuse to participate in their schemes because they go against their nature.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: It turns out that a number of icons of the sixties and the seventies who were most often considered left-wing at the time—for instance, David Bowie, Kirk Douglas, or the duo of Easy Rider, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper—are rather positively perceived among right-wing nationalist youth today. As a repented lieutenant of the counterculture, how do you react to this lasting popularity?

  David Horowitz: I don’t take actors seriously. After all, they’re actors.

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A conversation with Yuri I. Ozhigov, for European Scientist

Ozhigov_Yurij_1980+  Yuri I. Ozhigov is Professor, Chair of Quantum Informatics, Faculty VMK, Moscow State University and author of Constructive Physics. This conversation was first published on European Scientist, in January 2020.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Your theoretical insights in quantum physics emerged both in the light of the constructive branch of mathematics and in the one of what you call “the method of collective behavior.” How do you sum up your vision—and what it owes to those two influences?

  Yuri I. Ozhigov: Analysis of infinitesimals is the “sacred cow” of natural science. And it works fine, but only when the particles are identical in one sense or another. This is the basis for modern instrumentation. But in a living thing all particles are different. You can’t rearrange nucleotide bases in a DNA molecule. Living is not amenable to mathematical analysis, here we need a quantum computer. But even in creating this unprecedented device, traditional analytical methods of physics failed. Constructive mathematics is an actual alternative to analysis. In it, fixing the resolution grain has a special meaning, and algorithms come to the fore.

  This point of view is not shared by the majority, but it is much more consistent with reality than the traditional analytical approach. The behavior of the air in the room where you sit, strictly speaking, does not obey the Navier-Stokes equation, because you can not direct the spatial step to zero: if it becomes less than a nanometer, it will be impossible to determine the air density or air impulse at a point, because such a cube will either get one molecule, or nothing at all. Here we need a method that I conventionally called collective behavior. In a normal situation with air in a room, you can ignore this, but if it was not about air, but about a bacterium, it is impossible to ignore the discreteness of the world.

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A conversation with Joachim Son-Forget, for Gatestone Institute

1200px-Joachim_Son-Forget_16312  Joachim Jean-Marie Forget, also known as Joachim Son-Forget, is a South Korean-born, French politician and professional radiologist. Since 2017, he has been a member of the French National Assembly (lower house of the French Parliament) representing French residents overseas. He works part-time as a radiologist in Switzerland. He has held Kosovar citizenship since 2018. Adopted by a French family as a child, and holder of a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience, Son-Forget was previously active within the French Socialist Party and later La République En Marche (LaREM) until he resigned from the party in late 2018. He has since founded his own political party, first called “Je suis français et européen” (JSFee), then “Valeur absolue.”

  The following conversation with political journalist Grégoire Canlorbe happened in December 2019, in Paris. An abridged version was first published by Gatestone Institute, in December 2019.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You are known for your stormy positions, for example on ART [assisted reproductive technology]. Do you espouse Julie Graziani’s polemical claim that (in substance) it is better not to divorce for a woman who lives on minimum wage, knowing that everyone, rich or poor, must shoulder its responsibilities?

  Joachim Son-Forget: My point about ART is different from that of pro-life parties, in that it does not carry a desire to discriminate against homosexual people who would like to educate a child. I only notice that nature has made that two men together or two women together cannot give life, and I think we should have the wisdom to respect nature in that case. Certainly we were able—thankfully!—to go beyond nature in various fields: thanks to modern medicine, infant mortality has become practically insignificant in the West (whereas before the nineteenth century, one child in four died before the age of one, and one child in two reached the age of ten). Technical progress has given us opportunities for transportation and communication that were inconceivable for our ancestors. But all of that is out of proportion with the fact of wanting to go beyond nature in the field of gestation. It is a barrier that it would be unwise to cross… were it only out of regard for the existential questions of children born through surrogacy.

  Once again, there is no homophobic discrimination in my speech: I cannot find fault with entrusting orphans to homosexual couples, on the contrary! Regarding Julie Graziani, whom I do not know, and whom I believe is absolutely unknown in France beyond a meager buzz already forgotten, I usually try to look up, and to comment, if not renowned thinkers, at least people who are somewhat existing. So expressing myself about what the housewife of the neighborhood thinks (perhaps her opinion is, in fact, more valid than that of that lady), no I wouldn’t do that! Now, to answer you on the subject matter: family is indeed the traditional economic model of survival in a precarious situation. For those who are penniless, and who live in the anxiety of a blackout or a banking ban, getting married was—and could still be—the opportunity to found a tribe whose members will provide for the needs from each other and will bring assistance, comfort and solidarity to each other. In a world subject to biological or social determinisms like ours, it is a bit illusory to call people to “shoulder their responsibilities.” Epigenetics teaches us how acquired traits such as violence can be rendered heritable (via the messenger RNA game). Certainly education can, in part, remedy determinism just like the eviction of deleterious conditions… at least I like to think it to keep a bit of utopia to move forward.

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A conversation with Susan J. Crockford, for Association des climato-réalistes

maxresdefault-2  Susan Janet Crockford is a Canadian zoologist, author, and blogger specializing in Holocene mammals. From 2004 to 2019 she was an adjunct professor in Anthropology at the University of Victoria. She is best known for her blog posts on polar bear biology, which oppose the scientific consensus that polar bears are threatened by ongoing climate change. In October 2019 she was interviewed by Grégoire Canlorbe—on behalf of the Association des climato-réalistes, the only climate-realist organization in France. The English version was first published on Friends of Science, in December 2019.

  Susan J. Crockford: I live in Victoria, British Columbia, and I specialize in animals from the late Pleistocene, so probably the last fifteen to twenty thousand years. I have a contract company called Pacific Identifications Inc. We identify animal bones from archaeological projects and also from biological research: stomach contents, fecal samples, that kind of thing. That’s primarily how I get my income. And then, I am also a former adjunct professor at the university—I had held that position since 2004 but in 2019, it was not renewed.

  My primary interest—my overall interest—is evolution. That, for me, really informs everything. It’s the big picture. Evolution is the big idea that drives all my interest. For example, the interesting thing is that a deer bone from 8000 years ago looks like one living today, and so, there is continuity. But there are also distinctions—when you get species differences, those are apparent. I became interested in polar bears when I was working on the topic leading up to my PhD dissertation. I was looking at the speciation process that turns a wolf into a dog (what we also call domestication). While trying to unravel what biological process drives that transformation, the wild species that I looked at to compare it to was the brown bear to polar bear transformation. So, I’ve been looking at the literature on polar bears (their life history, their ecology, and the geological history of sea ice) since the 1990s. I’ve been investigating polar bears for quite a while.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Your most decisive feat of arms in evolutionary biology may be your claim that thyroid rhythms alone are responsible for all significant differences in life history traits. Could you remind us of the outlines of your approach?

   Susan J. Crockford: I don’t actually claim that thyroid rhythms alone drive evolution, although I suspect it may be the dominant driver in many cases. What really drives evolution is individual variation. So, within a species, animals are all different in some critical ways. And the primary hypothesis that most biologists go by is that those individual differences are primarily genetic: that genes are what controls those critical differences, and, therefore, genes, or genetic change, is what drives speciation change in evolution.

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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 Davide Piffer, for American Renaissance

laurea   Davide Piffer is an evolutionary anthropologist. He obtained his BA in Anthropology from the University of Bologna and a Master of Science in Evolutionary Anthropology from Durham University. His Master’s thesis was on the sexual selection of sleep patterns among humans, and was the first to link mating behavior to chronotype within an evolutionary framework. His research effort later moved to quantitative genetics (i.e. twin studies), when he published one of the first accounts on the heritability of creative achievement. In 2013 he moved to molecular genetics, focusing on the polygenic evolution of educational abilities and intelligence and this is still his main focus. Within this research area, his main finding is that ethnic differences in intelligence are explained by thousands of genetic variants that predict cognitive abilities within populations. He has published a book of poems.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You have made a well-known attempt to provide a theoretical framework within which creativity—in science, philosophy, technology, music, mathematics, or literature—may be defined more precisely and measured. Could you present us your theory as it stands?

  Davide Piffer: Creativity is not a single cognitive function or ability. Hence, it is not possible to measure creativity with paper and pencil or computer tests, unlike for example intelligence, or working memory. Creativity is the capacity to generate creative products, that is, scientific theories, poems, paintings, sculptures, inventions that are novel and useful or meaningful. Hence, the only way to measure a person’s creativity is via one’s creativity output (i.e. achievement) which is the sum of creative products over an individual’s (or society/ race) lifespan. A lot of cognitive abilities contribute to creativity, and in my seminal paper (Piffer, 2012), I argued that the widespread use by researchers of divergent thinking as the sole measure of creativity is a mistake. In fact, there are many cognitive and personality predictors of creative achievement besides divergent thinking, including IQ or general mental ability, working memory, openness to experience and non-clinical schizophrenic tendencies (i.e. “shizotypy” to use the psychiatrist’s jargon). Hypomania, or the tendency to feel positive emotions, has been linked to creativity, as well as bipolar disorder. All of these factors constitute what I call “cognitive potential”.

  Divergent thinking (DT) is actually an important cognitive function which has been confined to creativity research. However it would benefit other areas of psychology as well. My opinion is that it would be better to regard DT as a form of intelligence, and to include divergent thinking measures in psychometric batteries and standardized intelligence tests (i.e. WAIS). Since psychometrically it is correlated to general cognitive ability but it taps into different neurological substrates, it would provide a more complete picture of one’s mental power, possibly less tied to academic intelligence and more to artistic or daily-life accomplishments.

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