3:24PM Dec 29, 2019
Our next speaker
is Professor Henry harpending, who is an anthropologist and population geneticist at the University of Utah. Dr. harpending has broken new ground in anthropology and human biology by interpreting genetic and morphometrics variation, both within and between human populations with mathematically based models and examining hypotheses concerning population growth, divergence and
the gene flow.
He's a member of the National Academy of Sciences. So I'll get off here and and thank you all for the invitation to come speak here. My topic is a little bit different. I think there are many
threats to our civilization
to civilization itself.
going to talk about one that I that worries me.
I want to talk about
family organization and something about its evolution
and how it's changing today. I
being an academic, I have to start out with things a little bit abstract, but I hope you'll see that
a lot of this should ring
bells for many of us.
I'm still many years behind the times and I'm
still don't know how to work one of these things.
And I'm still
very conscious of
more than 40 years ago, the Moynihan report, Daniel Patrick Moynihan authored a report on the plight of the American black population. And he
that the problem of the
American black population was the dissolution of the black family, the collapse of the black family, and that if we could just get
families working right.
A lot of the problems the American black population would go away.
I don't think he was right.
But I think that
he said the fundamental problem, which is most of the cases that have family structure, well, I want to talk about human family structure and its evolution. Because I think what we think of as civilization in the modern sense is only been around a couple hundred years, and that it contains the seeds of its own
And I think we're seeing a lot of that not only here but elsewhere in the world. So family.
Well, if you ever had to take
introductory anthropology, here's a family,
husband and wife, male equals female, they reproduce the children, they have parents and siblings, etc.
And when we
are politicians, at least in
Utah, talk about family values. When we hear the word family. This is what we think of a nuclear family.
Mom, dad and the kids.
This is very uncommon among mammals. And it's not particularly common among humans. It doesn't seem contra, Utah politicians it doesn't seem that we can claim that this is natural in any way. But I will also claim that civilization in our sense, really depends on this kind of family.
Here's a one slide that's got a semester of behavioral biology on it. And I'm playing the biologists here today.
In order to
your DNA the next generation you have to grow,
maintain yourself and reproduce. reproduction is mating and parenting. Parenting is engineered into mammals, mammary glands, internal gestation. All of this is the Classical characteristics mammals or characteristics females,
have a lot of choice that females don't. Whether we're talking about humans, your dog,
try to be good parents.
The jargon is dads
are they can compete.
They can put their energy into mating or parenting.
And there's a lot of diversity around the world. And
so here's an here's another kind of family.
This is a family
where there's children, the mom, her mom and her brother. And this is called a matrilineal kind of family and Let me just tell one story.
To give you a
feeling for how this works on the ground. I've done a lot of field work with a group of people in southern Africa, called Herero. If you read Thomas Pynchon novels, which I can't do, but he's a Herero fan
and there are many Herrera and
they're very prosperous
tribe of Rangers.
Rich, right wingers.
During the talks about Namibian independence, the paramount chief of the Herero came to New York, address the UN and vigorously denounce the Africans. Because they certainly did not want to maybe an independence and a new government, but any rate
I stay in a Hamlet whenever I'm in the Kalahari,
the Hamlet is very much run by
older lady of matriarch.
Very bossy, very commanding.
When I'm there, she runs my family's life. She runs everyone's life. One day there was a
buffalo in the neighborhood and
being ignorant I saw nothing but steaks and chops and all and I figure we'll go out and knock down this Buffalo and have some meat. And he said, we're going to go buffalo hunting and I, and this woman, her name was an emerald. He called me over and she said, Henry, sit down. She said, This is stupid. You're going to die. It'll kill you. But what we have to talk about is this. She said,
it's going to kill you and you're a person with incalculable
wealth. You've got a truck,
radios, tansen shoes and shirts and all these things, glasses. What do we do with them? What do we do with your property when you're dead? And I settled, smile Give it to my wife. She was just appalled. She leaned back and looked at me. And she said, don't you Europeans have any responsibility to your family?
And she was outraged.
But what she was saying was just that,
if I'm a male and read on the far
right, my family
is my sister and my sister's children. Let me show you another version of this diagram, which is a little bit better.
married symbol has been replaced by
a not equal
that symbol ordinarily indicates viologic A relationship and in the this kind of society matrilineal societies,
my responsibilities to my family to
my sister to my sister's
children, not to my own children. They're not very likely to be mine. They might be but probably not. But I don't have any responsibility for it. And let me just tell you one more story about how that works.
I was on a
trip one time with a bunch of men. We'd been to town It was a day and a half drive away and we're coming back with supplies. We were about 30 miles from camp and we stopped to make supper and
have a cup of coffee. And
after we ate, I said, All right, well, let's go.
In the men looked at me and they said, No, it's getting dark. We can't go. And I said, What are you talking about? We got headlights. They said, No, we had to stay here and I You know, this is awful. There's all this dry brush fires going to get us these lions out here. We're only you know, a couple hours from home, let's go. No, we've got to stay out here. We can't go home. And we just weren't communicating. And finally one guy said to me that I'd known for years he said, Henry said, you know,
if we go home back to your camp,
you're just going to embarrass your wife and make everybody feel bad.
He said, you know, ladies,
the ladies hate to sleep alone.
He's He said, If we
go back, you're going to make your wife and her boyfriend and everybody feel really bad. And I
Well, it turns out
that a well mannered gentleman in this society never shows up after dark.
It's just not done.
We went back to Michael
him but these guys all stayed in my compound and went home the next morning because the gentleman never shows up after dark. He'll embarrass. It'll be just bad manners. Now, think about that. So that's why that not equal sign is there. There's no particular expectation in this society that
men are fathers of their wives, children. I have
respect. This is a society by the way, it works very well. They're rich. All children are loved, all children are taken care of. It works great. But that household is a woman and her children in males have a vague kind of responsibility to their family,
but certainly not to their own children.
So this is
matrilineal ality is it's called. And on the ground, it's associated with females that can feed themselves. The hotbeds of this kind of society are tropical gardeners were typically women, grow food, feed their children feed themselves and feed the men and men are
essentially parasites and women.
There is its associated with
female freedoms of all sort the lives of women, their their intimate lives, their lives of personal dependency,
are with other women.
It's a sisterhood.
And females in these societies are quite upfront about that. They think man, typically now they think men are ridiculous. overgrown children kind of silly and not worth a whole lot. And not just that very important. I wish men would go away and quit bothering. And if all of this kind of rings a bell, when you think about North America and underclass culture, it's because the same thing shows up all over the world.
Under similar ecologies,
and that's why that's why I'm talking about it. Otherwise,
this is just as a tearing.
the mirror image.
This is so called patrilineal ality where the families children, the day add the dad's dead and maybe the dead sister. These this kind Organization shows up. Basically, when men get to
control of the resources and can put
women under their heels, and this happens, where males are the scarce resource in societies where
if a female wants to reproduce,
her family has to
buyer into a corporate group of males. So in much of southern Asia, if I want my daughter to reproduce, I've got to buy her husband I've got to pay a huge dowry. These are societies where which I buying is not so much a husband but land elsewhere. I'm buying into corporate males herd of camels when I'm buying my Wife, a husband in these societies,
have kind of a hard time. Not only do I have to pay to get my daughter
into a marriage,
she has to be a virgin. She has to be
absolutely virtuous not only her
but her whole family.
She has to wear a mask and wear a tent.
In North Africa, she may have agenda taleo snipped off, so she won't have any sexual interest.
And much of South Asia, she spends her lifetime locked in the compound with my mother watching her like a hawk.
These are societies where female
reproduction is really
clamped down. And that's why I put the triple equal sign there because The whole game seems to be about paternity certainty. My children are mine. If I'm a male, I love them. I'm going to take care of them. But I'm going to make sure they're my children. This is just the mirror image of that Southern African group I described, in which what I get from my children in that particular group is that they have my last name. My goal in life is to have lots of kids named harpending.
was my neighbor did, he married
and his bride was pregnant with another man. And that was a big bonus because the kid was still going to belong to Him, and was going to have his last name. So these are mirror images. I don't have anything to say about this kind of organization right here. I don't know much about it I talking about here because some went on to learn more about it. I think this is a lot of what we're facing with Islam, this kind of stuff,
young woman, and therefore she's valueless. So she might as well be a suicide bomber. Well in this kind of society, that makes a lot of sense, because of course, she's not a virgin anymore. So that's all I'm going to say about this, but I, I think it deserves more attention than it's gotten in the context of
the threat from Islam.
And I think Islam is very much a religion of this is kind of society. Well, I'm with simple models, the simplest model of population growth is called a logistic. If you've had freshman biology, you've heard about logistic models. It's not particularly well verified, but it describes a
that is growing in a resource constrained environment. under low population densities the growth is compound interest and then it reaches a carrying capacity. So, if you put a population in a empty environment and you can do this experimentally with the
bugs in lab, but
population grows reaches
some kind of environmental capacity and sits there no surprise. What I want to point out is this if you take such a population in Ed, density independent mortality, add a new add malaria
or add a lot of warfare.
Then, the population drops.
If you add malaria with a constant death rate
yeah Kula breaks and a new value
and everyone has a lot more food.
mortality from war from
leads to a much higher standard of living for everyone else. In this isn't always so obvious after the death caused by the black plague standards of living in Europe went way up,
because I always want more land.
England was by all accounts filthy, medieval Japan was not filthy.
There's much more disease in medieval England.
death rates are higher, but the people who didn't die lived a lot better the standard of living goes up.
there are In this case, this
slide is from electron malaria. And it's meant to mimic real figures. When instead of there being one unit of resource per person, there's two
and a quarter. That
means that you can relax. There's a lot of low hanging fruit.
I don't have to work very hard to feed my kids.
And so I would
argue with Phil about just what it was about northern
peoples that led to
not only IQ but an affinity for work in any number of other things. I think getting away from African is diseases probably had a lot to do with it. Leading to population densities that would have been higher. They were higher than they would have been otherwise.
what are the consequences of changes in a standard of living? When the standard of living is low? We talked about Malthusian populations after Thomas Malthus who warned about overpopulation.
If times are tough, there's not much food, you'll find me
out in the field working to feed my kids.
But when the standard of living is high all over the world, instead of working, because there's no reason for me to work, you know, the women feed the kids. I can compete with other males I can put my energy and
mating rather than parenting and what we find
all over the world is that When there's plenty of food, men do male stuff like putting on makeup, fighting rating and telling stories. Male effort seems to be competitive effort, rather's and parental effort.
In other words, an anthropologist,
you know looking around the world, what I see is that men work and produce things when they're forced into it.
And when they're not, they quit.
And I'm thinking about, you know, tribes in Central Africa but you know I, it's true
in Baltimore to write.
experimentally if you
raise the income of welfare recipients or divorce rate goes up. Great Depression comes along and the divorce rate goes way down.
threaten a guy's children.
And that's how you make it work. This is the kind of callous view of human nature that
that I see is is an anthropologist.
I don't go back, sorry. Well,
So here's some low standard of living people
on the writer, Kalahari Bushmen. These are foraging people, hunters and gatherers, just as dull and drab as they can be. They don't have any feathers. They don't have any paint.
They're not giving four hours speeches around the
campfire. They're not loud mouth struggling guys at all. They're trying to feed the kids and they're out hunting. And on the left is the famous painting of a,
I presume French peasant.
This is what males and low standard of living societies look like. Here's more. We find nuclear families, what we think of as families, mom, dad and the kids in the context of males working to provision offspring.
These are medieval peasants.
Before 1800. The poor people were doll drab and work tired
and rich people the upper class
colorful, loud mouth and violent. Russell. So here is an aristocrat before 1800 from Greg Clark's book, nice bright red velvet coat. He's looking good fancy hairdo. This is not much different from this. These are New Guinea Highlanders These, this is where the standard of living is high. These people live off gardens and a male a guy would never be caught dead in a garden. It's what women do. What these guys do is killer neighbors. That's their favorite activity. Oh, they love it.
They love it. It's the high point of their lives.
get their DNA into the next generation by being killers and violent. And if there's evolution going on, that kind of society is selecting for unpredictable violent males. And here's what else we find in these societies art.
On the left are totem poles from the
US northwest coast, on the right collection of weapons that Sir Richard Burton collected from the Lakes region of Central Africa when he was looking for the source of the Nile, what I want to point out about those weapons on the right, if any of you are hunters or spend much time outdoors they're all absolutely useless.
There isn't a one of those that you take
to go out and you know butcher something.
This is all guy stuff. This is stuff you hang on the den wall. It's like the shot gun at the gun shy from Utah we the gun show is sort of the high point of the every season and you can buy a shotgun for $15,000 with a elaborate metal inlay that you you never take it out in the rain Am I get wet, right? Well, that stuff on the right is all exactly the head. It's not work today technology at all. It's a signature of
the society with too much food
or depending on your point of view.
Well, you're Mr. This is the medieval aristocracy, Knights
lots of banners and feathers and
all of that
wonderful ethnography of
medieval aristocracy is Barbara technicans book it just a mere not only are they tough guys loud mouth competitive, they're also you know spending the evenings chasing each other's wives around the castle.
lots of the same themes is matrilineal ality.
This is a random controller.
Well, you know, I talk about this stuff in my classes and a lot of students is not familiar
to them. But
everything I've been saying is quite obvious to Africans. That Now is here's was the lady,
president of Uganda,
I tend to find more
discipline among the Ugandan Asians and among the Africans, people who come from an area with a big population, where people are very many and therefore competing for natural resources may tend to be more disciplined than people who take life for granted. scarcity of resources instills discipline in a people, too much competition for resources also instills discipline in people
and too much and African English means a lot.
And you know, I've talked like this, like this, do you have talked like this due to my Let me start again, I have spoken like this many times around campfires and backwoods Africa. And the reaction is Yeah, of course. So this is a not a
point of view.
Well, here's some more markers.
If you wander into a village somewhere and you want to know is this society on this matrilineal side, or on the patrilineal side,
these are statistical
associations. And so what we call pad societies males
to a biologists they're putting their
reproductive effort into mating effort. In dead societies, males provision. middle range societies means gardening societies or societies where women can
provide all the food.
Where are these found
in post industrial societies? Among the underclass, you know, street corner males and fancy sneakers, looking good combing their hair. Males strutting around macho. This is absolutely typical, whether it's Highland New Guinea or Baltimore, found on the underclass today, before 1800 it was found in the upper class
you know, Richard the liner
lots of rating local warfare violence, mother child households. Good Lord, how do I back this up?
There we go.
Rule of thumb and anthropology walking
the village demanded women sleep together.
Well, if they're tough guys, they sleep in a men's house or they wouldn't associate in a household level with women.
There's a lot of male female hostility.
And men have a lot of fear
of women is it's called we have This course in the Old Testament, we know what happened to Samson
associating with woman, but this gets
carried to extremes and these kinds of society, males strutting around fast talkers and all of that and the opposite on the other side. Well,
one of the
greatest books in human biology, in my opinion, written in the last few decades, is a book called The end of arms by Gregory Clark, who's an economist at Davis. And he points out that in 1800, our world changed. There's the so called demographic transition, birth rates went down. people quit having so many children. No one can really expect this things happened more than one
thing it probably happened to the Romans to
grace and birth rates.
The Industrial Revolution came along.
And for the first time,
human prosperity appeared on Earth. Before 1800 if we look at all around the world and human societies,
they're all hovering on the edge of starvation,
England and 1700 did not as well as Bushman in the Kalahari Desert.
Were living off poison arrows and gathered
There was essentially no human progress there was
progress of various kinds. But every time there was a population caught up
in 1800, where the Industrial Revolution
suddenly production outstripped population growth.
There was a demographic transition and there was a
flip in the way social classes b2b.
Before the 1800 people were adult drab and hard working. The upper class was got a loud mouth and brash after 1800 its flipped, and so where do you find struggling? Much mccheese irresponsible males today in the urban underclass in post industrial cities. So this is Clark schematic of his point is that nothing changed until about 1800 and then per capita incomes in Northern Europe. just skyrocketed. And I have seen a contradict this and apparently it's well known to economists I don't. I hadn't realized how dramatic the change was. On what we had before. The Industrial Revolution
a positive relationship between wealth and reproduction. The more money had the more children you had. It was quite organic. We have data from lots of pre societies from Agra fees from three. Every single one shows the path that resources were put into children.
The reason this is over
hundreds of years is Clark points out every single person in England is descended from the media. Both the medieval peasants never reproduce themselves disappeared
And the whole nation is descended from the prosperous folks.
Not the aristocracy the aristocracy killed.
They didn't control.
The link of violence declined by a factor of 10.
This is great to
play plies margin is an order of magnitude decline in violence
high interest rate and if you have high interest rates,
and hand is
where there's a contract can be enforced.
With interest rates. You don't have to stay very much end up being rich. What this
you got to do.
And this was
head to event strong selection for low time preference.
If I say I'll give you a candy bar today or three candy bars
next week, if you take the candy bar
today you have high time preference you want it now, both time means a way to better get a better deal and
to be lucky as well.
civilization appeared after centuries a strong country. contract law
gets money to keep The
plot of geniuses from the Nile Valley
is the remnants in that part of the world.
money paid by
are basically that the reason just real revolution happened
rather than the cloud or zero.
add a new kind
in your up and probably early may
lead to the Industrial Revolution this new kind of bird
parents and parents you
retire, relax but
just can't sit on the couch likes to kind of go. Work.
I've never seen anything like that in Africa. I've never seen anyone with a lot of work
is pointing to century global
It's all good Liberty rock