Jim writes: The problem with cultural explanations is that the behavioral genetic studies on identical twins show very minor effect of “shared environment”. Culture would presumably fall within shared environment. Most human behavior is mostly due to a combination of genetic factors and something not very well understood today called “non-shared environment”.
Surely culture is held constant in almost all of these identical twin studies because all of the twins are growing up in the same culture.
Also what may not matter a lot as a whole is individual shared environments among the same culture. But culture is different from individual micro-environments within a society. Culture is indeed or has the potential to be a super-environment. Culture is “the great molder.” Culture itself is a “super-environment.”
How then does one explain the absolutely incredible changes in Blacks from Africa to the US over centuries? It is almost like we are talking about different species or the transformation of nonhuman animals into humans. The change was that dramatic.
Human behavior does indeed differ dramatically around the world as culture changes, does it not?
Are you familiar with the stories of the Moiriori versus the Maori? No doubt genetically they were quite similar, or if anything, the Maoris, who acted much worse, may have even been more advanced genetically.
Furthermore the Moiriori had behaved in a typical Maori fashion for centuries after coming to Chatham Island, until at some point, they realized that if they kept being so savage, they were going to all kill each other and go extinct. At this point, a charismatic leader rose up against them and preached radical nonviolence as the only salvation of the Moiriori. This caught on and soon enough the Moiriori were some of the peaceful people on Earth who were such pacifists that they would hardly even fight back if attacked. They stayed like this for a few hundred years until the Maori invasion and their subsequent extermination.
How could the Maori and the Moiriori have been so different, especially as the Moiriori had been Maori when they colonized the island? How could the Moiriori themselves have made such dramatic changes from as savage as you can get to as peaceful as you can get?
Culture. Culture culture culture culture culture. In the first case, two different cultures and in the second case, culture change among a group.
How did the Germans and Japanese change from the most vicious and savage people on Earth to some of the most peaceful on Earth, in both cases so pacifistic that it is almost pathological?
Culture. Culture culture culture culture. In both cases, there were dramatic changes from the most savage people around to some of the most peaceful people around very rapidly, within a matter of decades. This was a case of rapid culture change among a group.
In Venezuela, there is a tribe called the Yanonamo who are some of the vicious people on Earth. They live in a state of constant violence. They are always at war with surrounding tribes, and in addition, there are high levels of violence even among their own community. They beat their wives, and both sexes beat the children. There is also a lot of feuding-type violence among the men. By age 40, 100% of Yanonamo men have committed a homicide.
Not extremely far away, also in the Venezuelan Amazon rainforest, is a tribe that is fascinating for being one of the most pacifistic peoples on Earth. Their behavior is so different that they draw anthropologists from all over to study them. They may be called the Pemon, but I am not sure. I very much doubt if their genes are much different than the Yanonamo.
What’s the difference?
Culture. Two different cultures.