[ExI] Fwd: Races, cultures and religions (EP)

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Thu Apr 16 18:48:59 UTC 2009

Discussing the specifics of religions is not really useful.

Understanding why humans have them at all might be.  See "Evolutionary
psychology, memes and the origin of war."

In this context it doesn't matter what the founders said; all religions
can foster behavior as vicious as the situation calls for.


There really are races and they differ.  The reason for the divergence
in the last 60k years is Darwinian selection in a Malthusian
environment.  The culture at the time determined what traits were
being selected.

Before 1800 all societies, including England, were Malthusian.
The average man or woman had 2 surviving children. Such
societies were also Darwinian. Some reproductively successful
groups produced more than 2 surviving children, increasing their
share of the population, while other groups produced less, so that
their share declined. But unusually in England, this selection for
men was based on economic success from at least 1250, not
success in violence as in some other pre-industrial societies.

richest male testators left twice as many children as the poorest.
Consequently the modern population of the English is largely
descended from the economic upper classes of the middle ages.
At the same time, from 1150 to 1800 in England there are clear
signs of changes in average economic preferences towards more
“capitalist” attitudes. The highly capitalistic nature of English
society by 1800 – individualism, low time preference rates, long
work hours, high levels of human capital – may thus stem from
the nature of the Darwinian struggle in a very stable agrarian
society in the long run up to the Industrial Revolution. The
triumph of capitalism in the modern world thus may lie as much
in our genes as in ideology or rationality.


You need a background in modern evolution and evolutionary psychology
to really appreciate his work.

Keith Henson

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