[ExI] note from a foaf in japan

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Fri Apr 1 18:57:37 UTC 2011

Il 01/04/2011 6.17, Kelly Anderson ha scritto:
> On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 7:53 AM, Mirco Romanato 
> <painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:

>> I have a big problem believing these numbers. Simply, I don't
>> think they started with 10^16 foxes and then culled down the 99%
>> too aggressive or not enough tame.

> Don't be silly.

It is a silly reply to a silly statement.

> They bred a few hundred foxes with each generation, then only bred 
> the 1% that were most tame or most aggressive.

As I stated, this could not happen without having an huge number of
foxes. Even with females able to carry ten kittens they would not be
able to keep their population stable without an huge inflow of new
foxes, that would have washed away any genetic trait selected.
It is a math problem, not other.
If we had 99 vixen and one fox, any vixen could give birth to 10 kittens
at time. Make it 20 in her life.
This is a total of 1980 kitten in two years. Half female and half male
(I don't know of any sex imbalance in foxes).
Kill all the males apart one and 99% of the female and you will have
only 20 (rounded up) females and 1 male.
The next generation would leave 4 vixen and a fox.
And they would be very inbreed.

Now, If you replenish the gene pool with other foxes and vixens, you
simply outnumber the selected breed with the unselected one, diluting
any gene selected for in the previous generation.

> I don't know the details of exactly how this culling was done, but 
> I'd guess that the selection was done more on the male side than the 
> female to avoid needing too much breeding stock.

I'm contesting the number of 1% as not real and not realistic.
Not anything else.

>> Given a normal figure of 6 kitten per litter or 10 (very 
>> optimistic), it is difficult to believe that.

> Why would you assume that every litter would produce a selected 
> survivor?

Where I wrote one kitten per litter would survive?

>> Now, the article of  1992 give number a bit different from yours: 
>> 5% of the males and 20% of the females could breed in in the first
>>  generations. This is a severe selection, but not as severe as you 
>> wrote. Humans were/are selected under historically a bit less 
>> severe conditions.

> My numbers came from the report on NOVA. If you have a publication 
> direct from the source, then your numbers are probably better as they
> are closer to the source.


Even if the numbers you gave was from the source, I would criticize them
as I do with you, unless they are able to explain how they did the
process and didn't kill all of the breed with a so high selection rates.

> The main point though is that these foxes were under a very severe 
> selection compared to anything humans have ever faced. The black 
> death took 20% of a generation at its height!

This number is a bit optimistic.
The Black Death had taken out around 30% of the population of Europe
when ended. Given that more than one generation lived in the same time
(usually three), in many cases it wiped out entire generations and
populations and social strata.

We can suppose that it wiped out the most weak, physically, of the
population. And we can suppose that the poor were the most weak of all

>>> From what I remember, it is common, during history, that only
>>> 40% of the
>> males and 80% of the female reproduce.

> But what was the selection process? If it is highly randomized, then
>  there is no selective pressure, right? If it is highly selected, 
> then what is it selected for? Has the selection pressure remained
> the same over time? These things are necessary to produce genetic
> drift.

In the wild I think highly randomized selection is very rare if not

The selective pressure of people living in cities is continuous over
centuries. They are selected for traits allowing to thrive there.
Also, being city population sinks, they attracted large numbers of
people during many generations that allowed the selection process to
continue unabated. Often, then, the most successful families in the
cities would move out of the city with their wealth and buy farms and
large homes, to be able to afford more children.

>> We can add to this that humans are able to move in other places, if
>> local conditions are unfriendly. And they are able of assortative
>> mating. These possibilities can, alone, make up for the difference
>> in selective pressure.

> Agreed. Thus the selective pressure on humans has been fairly low 
> over time, which was my point.

I don't think so.
The poor were able to become a class only in the last two centuries
because before they near always died with few or no offspring. And they
were supplanted by the less accomplished (but better than them)
offspring of the middle class.
In this way, in 20 generations (say the double of the time the foxes
needed to be culled) the people in England was selecting for middle
class traits and culling the poor (and partially the noble) out of the
breeding stock.

>> Again, this is against what the article say. After any selection, 
>> they added new foxes from commercial breed farm. These foxes were 
>> at the early stages of domestication (the point where the 
>> experiment started). So, the chance of interbreeding of recessive 
>> traits is very low (2-7%) for every generation.

> But that is high enough to produce genetic drift over several 
> generations. It doesn't take much. I would suggest that you review 
> the mathematics of genetics, and you will see that anything that has 
> a 2% impact per generation will become very dominant after only 20 
> generations or so.

Recessive traits can not become dominating after a few generations or
many generations.
They could outnumber the dominating traits due to selection or
inbreeding, but in presence of a dominating gene they would not appear.

An inbreeding of 2-7% could cause a drift during many generations if the
population is keep closed. But if the population is replenished of
individuals with no inbreeding, the inbreed traits of one generation
have only 2-7% of a chance to be passed to the next. So in the best case
we have 4/10K to pass the same trait to the second generation and in the
worst 49/10K AKA 0.5%.

> Please restate your premise, or what you think is mine. I'm not 
> following your point here perhaps. Sorry, I'm just a bit lost...

Your premises (as I understood them) are that the foxes and the vixens
were subjected to an extensive culling (1% surviving to generate), where
the actual number given in the article I linked were 5% for foxes and
20% for vixen.
Another premises of yours was that the population was not replenished by
new individuals. In fact, the scientists replenished the population
selected with other foxes and vixens coming from the original breeding
stock of foxes they started from (the ones used to produces furs).
They did it to avoid the spreading of recessive traits and inbreeding;
but you assumed inbreeding and the diffusion of recessive traits in the
tame foxes population.

>> The drifts is, probably, not so big. But I would call it 
>> difference, as drift recall some random process. And this is all 
>> but random.

> If culture leads to genetic selection over the generations, i.e. if a
> person has a specific trait, they are more likely to breed in a given
> population, then yes, this could have an effect. This seems possible,
> at least. But I can't think of a documented case.

The predisposition to learn how to read, write, do simple math is and
was a strong cultural trait that cause genetic selection.
Try to breed today without being able to read/write/do simple math.
Take away the welfare state, the food stamps and the rest. Leave them on
their devices. Like 200 years ago or more.
Even more strong and durable, the selection for taking out people unable
to control their impulses and empathize others.
They would be, at least, be banned from the civil society. And without
welfare they would die because of starvation or be prey of organized
groups. For example, a not married woman having sex and becoming
pregnant would lose her family support and be shunned by any other
reputable man. Why? Because they would not risk to be rising someone
else children instead of theirs.
Exceptions abound, but invariably they concern very low standing women
(prostitute or maiden) or very high standing women (too valuable to
consider their previous sins).

> This should breed out the poor. So why do we keep getting new poor? 
> ;-)

Because poor is relative and not absolute.
It is the Red Queen Effect.
Also, the people coming from the country have traits that could be
useful in the country but are not useful or are damaging when living in
a city. This is something discovered studying an African tribe; the same
traits that made them successful in herding sheep (so they were able to
feed themselves well) made them not very successful in keeping a job in
a city (so they were unable to keep themselves well fed).

>> The problem is, if culture is the culprit, it would work
>> everywhere in the same way.

> No, it would work differently in each culture... Again, not following
> your logic.

If the culture is the dominant factor, if you take Africans (black) and
put them on adoption on European (white) families they would be
behaviorally and intellectually indistinguishable from other (white)
Europeans. They would be intellectually indistinguishable from
Europeans. Unfortunately it is not so. The same would be true for Asians
in Europeans families and the reverse or Europeans in African families.

>> This, in the US is not true, as North-East Asians are law abiding 
>> more than Europeans that are more abiding than Latino Americans 
>> that are more law abiding than blacks.

> This is a whole other can of worms.

A can of worms that people in the US is often afraid to touch for
cultural and social reasons. It is like talking about freedom of
religion in Saudi Arabia. If you talk abut the freedom of some Christian
to convert to Islam, all is good. The reverse is not well accepted in
the mainstream.

> Blacks are more carefully watched by the police,

Why they don't check more for Hispanics or Vietnamese or Italians?
Are the policemen racists? Even the blacks one?

What allowed Jews, Italians, Irish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese,
French, Russian and others to come in the US and, starting from the
bottom, climb up the social ladder until they were at par (and sometimes
over) the WASPs? Surely they were subjected to their fair (or unfair)
share of stereotyping, racist slurs, hate and lynching from the dominant
groups. Why they succeed anyway and the blacks didn't?

There are cultural (maybe also genetic) differenced in behavior between
blacks coming from American ancestries and blacks coming from the
Caribbeans and blacks coming from Africa. Often they don't go well
together because of this.

> leading to higher arrest rates.

If I know to be more carefully watched by police, I usually try to be
more law abiding than usual.

> Their poverty leads to poor representation, which leads to higher 
> conviction rates. That does not imply that blacks are necessarily 
> less law abiding than other races.

Law abiding, in fact, is a too vague.
Could we talk about homicide rate?
Could we compare the Blacks on Blacks, White on White, Blacks on Whites
and Whites on Blacks or the East Asians on Blacks, etc.?
I suppose this is independent of who the police is watching more.

> You might be able to make a successful argument on a different
> basis. Besides, you can hardly argue that blacks in South Central LA
> live in the same culture as I do. That is beyond naive.

So, if it is not genetics, then it is cultural. But this imply that the
culture of South Central is the main cause of the lawlessness (or of the
high arrest rate) of the Blacks.
But, if it is the culture, why is it not possible to force a culture on
a group to change its behavior in a generation or two. If it was
possible, someone would have already done it. What would had prevent
them from succeeding?

For example, the Conquistadors had not problem to raze Aztec temples,
kill their priests, and force the survivors to convert to Christianity.
One would suppose the Mexican population would be formed by perfect
Catholics, adopting Spanish costumes. It didn't worked exactly in this way.

> Sweet! Now I wish I had some money. :-) That's really cool, and those
> foxes are really quite cute fellows...

I would like to have the money to clone my current dog.
But also be able to buy a cute tame fox would be interesting.

> Haiti is f'ed up. I would not necessarily attribute that to genetics.
> Their government has been horrible for a very long time. I attribute
> most of their problems to that.

But the governments don't fall from the sky at random. Not usually.
Usually they are an expression of their population behaviors.
This is true for Haitians, Italians, Chinese and others.

> Here is my bottom line. If there were as much genetic difference 
> between groups as you suggest, then I think there would be a larger 
> and more popular belief in racism. I'm not saying that you are a 
> racist, but what I am saying is that if there were as much difference
> between different humans as you suggest, there would be a greater
> basis for racist thought.

Are you talking about emotive/innate basis for racism or
logical/scientific/moral basis for racism?
Are we talking about the gut feelings of common people or the rational,
often learned, arguments of polite people in polite circles?

Apart from the mainstream white western world, the rest is racist. Maybe
they don't wear the KKK hoods or don't shave
their heads, but they behave and often speak out their belief without
any problems.

For example, recently the Thai police cracked down on blacks of Africans
origin (mainly Nigerians) because they engaged in too much drug
trafficking and behave in a too aggressive way to be tolerated.
Was the Thai police "racist"?

Try to apply the "racism" argument to the foxes.
After the breeding program, we have two population of foxes.
One tame and one wild.
We know that some of the tame foxes developed characteristics that were
not present before in the wild population: curly tails, blue eyes, white
spots on the fur, floppy ears and these characteristics are common in
domesticated mammals.

Now, a blue eyed population of foxes, looking at their wild counterparts
living on the wild, could note the others are more aggressive. They
don't know why the others are more aggressive.
They could develop one or more  cultural explanations why the wild foxes
are more aggressive: the "racists" could say the "blue eyed" foxes are
superiors because they live in a peaceful civilization and all blue eyed
foxes must stick together to defend their civilization against the wild,
not blue eyed foxes. Others could think the white spotted foxes are
better behaving than the red foxes living in the wild.
Some full white and blue eyed foxes would develop the belief they are
better than all others (elitists exist everywhere).
On the other side the "racist" wild foxes would look at the white-lily,
watery eyed foxes as a bunch of weak, degenerated, infantile and whining
individuals, only able to play with their human masters and live in
their cages or inside human homes. Why don't take advantage of their
individual weakness?

Than another group of tame foxes could develop the explanation that the
wild ones are as they are because they are unfortunate and they never
were born inside their breeding farm. So they never developed and
learned how to behave and how good are humans to take care of them and
how beautiful is to love them.
Now, these "enlightened foxes" could be open to mate with wild ones or
adopt wild foxes kitten without parents or to invite the wild type to
live with them at the farm. Then they would be surprised that things
would not work out as they think. I think they could also blame the
"racist" foxes for the failure, because they never accepted and
continued to discriminated against the wild red furred, black eyed ones.

They all would be wrong. They could feel better or find some advantage
to believe a thing or another, but they would anyway be wrong.

If the tame foxes want to bring inside some wilder foxes they must know
and accept the facts. The wilder foxes must be breed and selected for a
behavior more tamer. And if the tame foxes want live with the wilder
one, they must breed themselves to be more aggressive (in this the most
aggressive can help).

Maybe they can breed in or out in different, novel, ways.
What they can not avoid, like it or not, is evolution and selection to
happen anyway. Their believes and their behavior can change how
evolution and selection happen, to themselves and to others, but can not
stop it.

>> In fact, modern and less modern armies usually make a point to kill
>> their soldiers that don't respect orders and kill out of the 
>> battlefield, without orders and without a good reason.
>> IMHO, modern armies want soldiers that have an internal "switch" 
>> they (soldiers) are able to turn on and off at will. The "switch"
>> to kill and use violence.
> Quite possibly. I do know that more extensive and effective training
> makes a big difference in whether soldiers are able to pull the 
> trigger when the moment comes... and more modern armies have better 
> training facilities.

Yes. But soldiers in moder professional armies are mainly from middle
class and their IQ is a bit over the mean (this is surely true for in
the US). And in modern society the middle class is the bigger part of
the society.
If they come from there, they are genetically and culturally inhibited
from acting aggressively. In fact I remember a German soldier, in a
documentary about the Battle of Cassino, complaining that the US
soldiers didn't went in battle like "real soldiers" but like they were
going to a "normal" job.

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*Mirco Romanato*


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