The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, October 21, 2018

How the Imazighen conquered North Africa

Linguists of the "Berber" languages will note, often with some amazement, how close most of these languages are to one another, even where far apart and with little mutual contact besides non-"Berber" (Arabic, later French) intermediaries. The linguists tend to note Zenaga as a major exception and the Kabylie as a moderate one. Linguists also tend to include the dead languages Old Libyan and Canary-Islandic, more tentatively. Besides these perhaps-para Berber languages, most of the Berber languages are mutually close.

One major subgrouping within Tamazight / Berber is labeled "Zenatic". These include Rif, about whom hbdchick has tweeted rather a lot. The Zenatic tongues diverged in the 400s AD, approximately when the Vandals showed up - quite comparable to protoRomance or to protoSlavic.

A couple years back Elizabeth Fentress and Andrew Wilson proposed a theory: that this was Garamantian Tamazight. Back in deep antiquity the Garamantes happened upon a fine sunny part of the Sahara, right over some vast aquifiers full of water stored from those microlakes of the Neolithic. The Garamantes lived high on the hog, shipping West African slaves north to the Romans... until they ran out of that fossil water.

The Garamantes then had to decide: sit there and desiccate in the desert, move south, or move north. I note here that they hadn't made a whole lot of friends to their south. I find likely that they only left their homes when they absolutely had to; at the end, I expect the Garamantes had gone hardcore clan like the Najd (where if you ain't in, you ain't drinking our water) and, of course, like the Rif.

So when they went - say Fentress and Wilson - they went north. The exGaramantes went for whatever undefended valleys they could reach... like the Rif. These tribes also struck at the Vandals and made some additional progress there, likely weakening them to the point Justinian could conquer the rest.

This, they say, accounts for the stark difference between the old Romano-Punic, post-Hellenistic, Christian style of hinterland African burials and temples before the 400s; and the "Saharan" look of the Late Antique hinterland afterward, until Islam. It also accounts for the re-replacement of Punic script and placenames with a more "Libyan" character - but this time it wasn't a descendant of old Libyan, it was protoTamazight.

Zenaga and Kabylie survived this influx, the former being far from the Garamantes and the latter being - well, just check that place out for yourself. (The Kabylie pretty much do as they please to this day.) I suppose the Tuareg were already off to the side doing their nomadic thing so, also, weren't in the line of fire.

posted by Zimri on 16:27 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Not dead yet

I took 26 September off from work. On 3 October I was diagnosed with "diverticulitis" and prescribed the antibiotic Cipro - and took more days off work. That Friday morning, since nothing had helped much, I went back to that doctor's office and was further (tentatively) diagnosed with a "bolus" and referred to a radiologist, who x-rayed my lower belly. It was a proto-abscess which had perforated my limbic colon - the part further down from the appendix, near the rectum.

(No, Westworld readers; small rodents were not involved, nor were any other foreign mammals nor even inanimate objects. It was just, literally, Shit That Happens. Except usually to older guys. Like when I got the shingles early, at 28-29.)

I got out of hospital 9 October, took the rest of the week off, and returned Monday this week. The last of the new antibiotics, more serious than the Cipro, got swallowed yesterday.

Current weight is holding steady at the high 150s - which is the ideal for my slight height and median figure, the one silver-lining in all this darkness. I am trying to rethink my diet. Also, I am learning to walk again. I succeeded in a trot to the local-ish mall from here, and back (7ish miles); but it hurt my tendons and hips a bit. So I napped out for three hours this afternoon.

posted by Zimri on 20:35 | link | 0 comments

In the spirit of Paul bin Raja'

There's a book out, Arab Christians and the Qur’an from the Origins of Islam to the Medieval Period, which Charles L. Tieszen has reviewed. It seems the last chapter concerns Ibn Raja': an Egyptian Muslim, perhaps not particularly Coptic by birth, who converted to the faith of Egypt, and renamed himself "Bûlus" - Paul, to us. He concluded that the Bible isn't corrupt; the Qur'an is.

In that spirit I should like to consider which parts of the Qur'an are not corrupt.

Since 2003 I've been looking at the suras 2-71, out of 114. I accept Ibn Mas'ud that suras 1, 113, and 114 are not suras; but prayers, to be inscribed on the "two boards" of the codex as hardcover. Also the suras 72 to 112 are very short, so I have not managed much of a handle on what sources they used. These mostly sound to my ear like slogans and/or adaptations of Syriac Christian psalmody. I've been leaving these to Munther Younes, Daniel Beck and others - except for the sura of the 'Asr with which I dealt in The Arabs and Their Qur'an.

Suras 2-71 are longer and so potentially offer more data on the Arab Prophet and his successors. That last is important: sura 3 assumes that "a muhammad" (sic) had already died (or, was slain). The exegetes assume that this was, indeed, that Prophet who by 10/630 was teaching the Saracens of Palaestina Salutaris that the keys to Paradise were swords. This means that anything postdating sura 3 - I start with sura 6, and then suras 4, 7 and 8 - wasn't his. I think that sura 6 belongs to the 'Uthman régime, specifically (Garden for the Poets); and that sura 69 belongs here as well.

That accounts for many of the suras in block 2-71. But not for all of them. Which suras haven't I yet ruled out as post sura 3 / sura 69? My public demands to know!! (Or not. But I'ma tell y'all anyways.)

So far I've come up with suras 10, 15, 17, 18, 20, 30, 36, 45, 47, 49, 53 (orig.), 54, 55, 56, and 59. At least one of these - sura 53 - has been adulterated... just like sura 103. Fortunately I think I've sufficiently isolated such encrustatations in The Arabs.

That isn't many; and as time goes by, I might, or someone else might, find that some of these are also post sura 3 / 6 / 69. Or someone might find reason to ascribe one of these to another post-Muhammadan qari.

But if I ever felt like writing something about Muhammad's faith, I would start with these fifteen.

posted by Zimri on 20:15 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, September 30, 2018


"Richard Bachman" once wrote a book about a Gypsy curse, leveled against a fat dude, which seemed like a blessing at the time. It was... not. This past month I've had the opportunity to learn why not, so I'll regale y'all with that now.

From the end of Labour Tuesday over to that weekend, I was getting next to no sleep and no food, for reasons you know. This past week I caught some sort of food poisoning. My suspects are an early brunch either Sunday or Monday - I am unsure, so I shan't name either, but both places are off my List until further notice. As a result where I was Fat N' Happy as of Labour Day, comfortably in the high 170s, which is admittedly overweight; I'm running in the low 160s now.

Lemme explain what happens to the human body when it drops 15 pounds in the space of a few weeks, mainly from malnutrition and stress.

There's this meme out there that weight loss is about "burning calories". That it's about turning those extra fat cells into energy and GAINZZ. And maybe that actually happens when you've shifted to a better diet and are doing exercise. That isn't the fuck at all what happens when you just don't eat, because you can't. Oh no.

What happens instead is that your body thinks it's starving to death - because it is. So it is attacking all the cells it can get to. Some of it's fat; maybe a lot of it. But some of it's muscle. And liver. Maybe nerve - maybe brain.

By the way, the "burning of calories" is never some perfect chemical process even in the reaction of fire. Fire tends to leave byproducts - like ash. The "burning of calories" - the destruction of cells - leaves its own "ash" behind. The DNA damage alone... well, y'all know the AT and CG pairs? C - Cytosine - is the least stable, so breaks into that DNA "fifth wheel", Uracil. This gets bourne away in the bloodstream. That's right, kiddies! Now I got liver and kidney overload to think about! I can see the results in the urine (the emulsion of uracil). I know I am simplifying a lot of this but, I'm worried to look more into it.

So besides the hunger and gastrointestinal difficulties, to cleanse the kidneys I better be drinking a LOT of water. The kidneys still work night-shift though, whether I'm drinking enough Fluids or not. And then I have the gastro pain to overcome after I've drained 'em out, at 3 AM. So - more sleepness nights.

But I deserve it, right. I can go to the confessional to offload sins like, oh, I had a fap a week ago. For racism? No Reconciliation for that - well, not for most of you, dear Westword readers. I'm damned for at least three more decades.

Spoiler here: I am not expected to last that long. So a portion of y'all are looking forward to me burnin' the rest of my calories... in Hell. Which is nice.

posted by Zimri on 17:41 | link | 0 comments


The Saker, disciple of Maximus, has gone on today to cite the "Apostolic Canons" to the same effect: such that the archons of our aeon should not be meddling with episcopal appointments. I don't believe The Saker has the right proof-text. Tragically.

Yes, later Church Synods, like Troullo, have adopted these Canons. But they derive from a forgery, as everyone west of the Jirecek Line will tell you. And trust me: we Latins want that same early proof-text, in our case against Bergoglio's sellout to the Chinese. (Pope Hormisdas knew the Canons were bogus too.) So it gives me no pleasure to contradict The Saker here.

Still, let's get into how The Saker went wrong. Maybe we'll even learn something!

The "Apostolic Canons" distill "Apostolic Constitutions", last chapter of the eighth book - thence, The Saker extracted #31. The Constitutions overall is pretty famous; the Ethiopians retained a translation, and still plead for it.

The "Constitutions" in its turn used its own sources. From books one to six, the main one was the "Didascalia Apostolorum". In our days this was edited in 1906, from a mix of defective Greek and Latin manuscripts, a full Syriac manuscript, and its wholesale plagiary in the Constitutions. So scholars are assured of its Greek text. From all that, I assume the 1929 English translation is a fair guide.

The Didascalia is a fascinating snapshot into early Christian organisation, if you can stand its length and piety. (It's a fair window onto the third-century state of the Greek Biblical text, as well.) The middle portion, also long, deals with the bishops - leaders of the "presbytery". They should be elderly and wise, and so should their wives(!) be. They act as High Priests in Christ's name, in an era when the "presbyter" had not quite yet assured his position relative to the deacon, and was not yet equated with the cohen-hieros. (No direct "Hebrews" citations!) The bishops shouldn't involve themselves in stupid secular pursuits, nor in worldly greed.

However I don't see where the Didascalia talks about making use of the worldly rulers, which should be "archon" in Greek. From one viewpoint, that just helps to prove that the Didascalia precedes the Edict of Milan. (To be more specific, its view of Bishop=Priest and Presbyter=Deputy-At-Best matches closely Cyprian.) But for our needs - East and West - this is most unhelpful, because we just lost our best potential proof-text.

The Constitutions, then, pulled this warning against political interference from elsewhere. I'd like there to be a parallel strand also preMilanese but I am unsure we shall find one.

In the meantime I advise The Saker get back to citing Maximus.

posted by Zimri on 14:16 | link | 0 comments

Can't lick the 'chick

HBDChick is back online. We still don't know why @jack kicked her off. Circumstantial evidence points to a mass memoryholing of historians.

If you want to be dangerous to society, learn history. If you want a war, learn genetics.

posted by Zimri on 10:14 | link | 0 comments

Why priests

One Garry Wills about five years back published something "new" in the genre of abolishing priests from Christendom. I ran across this in the Boulder Bookstore last week - I know, "where else".

I've been exposed to anticlerical currents in our culture most of my life. If there has ever been such an animal as a "Judaeo-Christian" that would be my mother: raised by parents who didn't trust the Catholic hierarchy one bit (mum herself was more tolerant). My dad didn't mind the Anglican ceremony but he too never held truck with self-appointed "shamans". And then there's the ambient liberalism of American culture, of "spirituality" and objection to "organised religion". And then there's all the Gary Jennings and Barbara Tuchman I read in my tweens and teens. So Wills is just more of the same.

Wills does offer a scholarly argument, such as it goes. He notes that Judaism has its own "temple / state division" and, being Judaism, divides by genome. The Gospels do not witness that Jesus was in a priestly tribe. Wills also notes that Paul - a Benjaminite himself IIRC - places Jesus with the royal line: again, not with Levi or Cohen or Aaron or what have you. The first generations of Christian had deacons and preachers, and an infrastructure of laymen (mostly women!), and a hierarchy of "overseers" whose Greek name has come down to us as bishops. It had something that sounds like "priest": presbyter, the "elder". But it didn't yet have a hieros, a cohen.

Then someone, an avid reader of Paul, wrote the encyclical "Hebrews".

Tertullian in De Pudicitia, 20 knew it as "the letter of Barnabas to the Hebrews", and indeed Barnabas in life was a Levite. (We shall not entertain Luther's silly notion that it was Apollos.)

In the early Church, "Hebrews" circulated amongst pro-priest congregations; other congregations scorned it. One does find references to Eternal High Priest Jesus in Polycarp, and then in the Didascalia; but they don't quote from this text. The proto-orthodox hierarchy eventually ascribed the tract to Paul, despite this being impossible (witnesses to the Lord had "confirmed" the Christian kerygma to this author, who therefore was no direct recipient of Revelation as was Paul). The smarter theologians never insisted on this ascription, and have in our day accepted its arguments without demanding more of us.

"Hebrews" argues for substitutionary atonement. The Semitic G-d requires sacrifice. Jesus remains the Lamb of God, as in other NT texts, although I don't think Hebrews uses that exact term. "Hebrews" wants Jesus as High Priest as well, to which end the text points to Melchizedek: that Jesus transcends, in a basic way, all the Israelite tribal distinctions. It is, for "Hebrews", better that Jesus not belong to Levi. "Hebrews" positioned Christianity to face the Mediterranean temple religions face-to-face; but uniquely, with no need or use for bloodshed. Except for the blood of Christian martyrs like the aforementioned Polycarp.

Wills doesn't approve substitutionary atonement. In this he goes against Rene Girard, who argues that it is necessary in any human society. If you - like Girard, and like me - think that S.A. is the whole point, then wherever you read about later Christian theologians "accreting" and "innovating" new ways to raise its profile, you will be understanding these as discoveries. Where he casts Catholic philosophy as a pile of lies; you will be watching the erection of a vast, beautiful, and sturdy cathedral.

There is no middle ground. Either the Christians were lying (and remember, "Hebrews" is not a pseudepigraph; its author never aimed to deceive) or else Wills is. (Okay, someone else might argue a middle ground: in a S.A. religion that managed without the regular reenactment of the Atonement; or in an Atonement-centred religion that managed without priests. But that someone isn't Wills. I can't think of how such a postulated religion would work.)

So let's get to Wills' own theology. He holds Jesus as one of ... [the] prophets of G-d. And when Wills gets into the Qur'an, that vaunted skepticism, which he levels against the Church's founding documents, vaporises. So without "Hebrews", Wills has mired himself in Muhammadanism. I hold this as evidence that "Hebrews" successfully postponed The Day Of Islam in the Near East. Praise be to G-d!

For appendix, you will be WHOLLY UNSURPRISED to hear that Wills had spent five years in Jesuit madrassa. Vox Day offers an apology, and perhaps a suggestion.

posted by Zimri on 09:30 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, September 29, 2018

HBDChick's account suspension

I am amazed that HBDChick has lasted this long, delivering independent content on @jack's platform. Anthropology without a licence, you could call it.

I have watched her work for well over a decade and I am not the sort to pipe down when someone posts something dishonest or abusive - I don't care if the wrong is coming "from my side" or not. HBDChick is a class act; always has been.

And that's @jack's problem. Someone Right and nonPC, who is also engaging and sincere? THAT, @jack cannot abide. If she was a hater I expect @jack would have kept her around.

To Razib and to others on this side of anthropology research: GTFO. Get out now. Find a Twitterlike. Even if you have to use Gab.

PS. No comment from censorship fan Mike Stuchbery, whom the 'chick has retweeted. That's loyalty and principle.

posted by Zimri on 12:23 | link | 0 comments

Upload #168: a look around

As per my usual custom, when I'd posted the essay "Building the Seven Heavens", I intended that as a placeholder. I do this to mark out initial findings and to constrain all the other projects - in this case mainly "Overwhelming the Yemen", on sura 71. Remember, they are ALL works in progress until and unless I bundle them into books (and even then, well...).

Over the last couple weeks I took the time to return to those two essays, and to suras 67 and 71. My aim was to clean up mutual references in those two essays, and to find any more references to other suras in each. I didn't find much that was worth the upload - until I figured, hey, since "Building the Seven Heavens" mentioned the Dome of the Rock, let's see if it had anything to say about sura 67.

What ho, but the Dome did. Did it ever quote from Q. 67:1 (and 7:158) - right before its own Year Seventy Two date. It's buried in that famous parallel to 57:2 / 64:1 but y'all know what I think about such things. I'd already sort-of touched on this in the "Musabbihat" project, so I went to improve the ending to that, too.


posted by Zimri on 11:13 | link | 0 comments

Friday, September 28, 2018

Someday we might get to read a Sumerian book

Sumerian is considered older than Akkadian - because Sumerian got written down first. And Sumerian literature is considered earlier than Akkadian literature.

Sumerian is a linguistic isolate. Akkadian, from its first attestations (in Sumerian tablets), is already an offshoot from a common ancestor with Eblaite, which together branch off from a common ancestor whose other branch is every surviving Semitic language in existence.

Which means we can reconstruct proto-Semitic and proto-proto-Semitic, both. Spoiler: that language was old. Far older than any reasonable reconstruction of proto-Sumerian.

From my understanding of "Sumerian literature", we don't actually have much in the way of belles-lettres until the "Ur III" resurgence, under Ur-Nammu and Shulgi just before 2000 BC. The first Sumerian tablets, a millennium prior, are accountants' ledgers (like the first Greek tablets) and the next generation recorded the deeds and omens of kings (like the Shang did). Then in the 2300s BC there was an Akkadian intermezzo.

So when Sumerian got its "comeback", what the Neo Sumerians of Ur recorded in that language might not strictly have been Sumerian anymore. Sumerian itself ended up as a Mesopotamian Latin over the Late Bronze and Iron Age. New stuff might be recorded in it. A lot of new stuff might have been recorded - look at the reams and reams of Latin which the mediaeval Europeans jotted down, up to Kepler. But you'd hardly go to Kepler to read up on early Roman divination techniques. (You'd be better off asking his mum.) So why are we looking at Ur III and Babylonian texts in Sumerian to tell us about Sumerian oral culture in 2500 BC?

We do seem to own some accounts of Bilgamesh ("Gilgamesh" is an Akkadian mutation because, you know, Semites ain't Sumerian). Maybe that's where we'd start, in forming a canon of Sumerian literature, as opposed to Mesopotamian Literature In Sumerian.

But first we have to quit assuming that because we've found some tablets in this glorious old language that the tablets must be authentic.

posted by Zimri on 17:54 | link | 0 comments

If Noah had been a prophet:

... Noah would have preached to the people about the coming Flood, and he would have inspired his followers to build Ark coracles of their own. As (pre)historically likely happened, prophet or no.

Noah would have been the Emperor Yu of the lower Euphrates - working with the Semitic mind, and upon Iraqi clay.

But for whatever reason, the Middle Bronze Age Iraqis didn't tell that story. They told a story where the Akkadian gods told this one guy that he and his alone would be saved.

Maybe there was an earlier version of the myth in Sumerian (surviving Sumerian versions seem to be translations from Akkad). But in the current versions, Noah works for his own clan and he benefits from a (literal) ethnic cleansing. A hard rain that drives the scum from the streets, as De Niro once put it.

That Late-Antique anti-Christian Bible-based prophetology which became Islam seems to have stumbled upon this view of Noah: that he did call toward God and toward salvation. However Islam was still locked into exterminationism - and into tawhid. Islam would balk at an Ark Flotilla. There was, still, one Ark: like there was one Prophet per dispensation, and one God.

Noah fails at being a prophet in every Semitic canon.

posted by Zimri on 17:33 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A dynasty by any other name

The "Chinese" get that name from Qin, a state that around 200 BC provided an Emperor; sometimes they call themselves "Han" after the state which took over from Qin. Long before all that, another state controlled the Yellow River - which state called itself Shang. It settled Anyang around 1200 BC and lasted a while there until being overthrown by the Zhou.

Modern Chinese call the latter, the Shang "dynasty". Its ruling family didn't call itself Shang though; their kings went by Zi. Shang was the state. The Iron-Age Chinese seem to have agreed that "Shang" was unfit for a dynastic name; they called this dynasty "Yin". (And then, to muddy things further, the Zhou exiled the Zi to the Song duchy, where they continued to rule on the Zhou's behalf.) In fact I don't even know if the word "Shang" was remembered, or if the last century's archaeologists have dug it up.

We know all that because the Shang state was literate. The Zi kings of Shang, further, honoured their own ancestors. Add this together, and we have the Zi memories of their own lineage, inscribed in their prayers ("oracle bones", "dragon bones"...), traced back long before 1200 BC.

The Chinese memory was a long one. And although later histories can garble a few things, they do seem to match the modern "king list" - of posthumous names! - reconstructed from the oracle-bone accounts of ancestry. This is how the archaeologists figured out that the Shang records are the "Yin" records.

Since the Chinese historical memory has been so vindicated, over the entire Shang / Zi era back to the mid-1600s BC, the Chinese will assert that their historians were right about the main kingdom before the Shang, as well. These historians called that state the "Hsia" or "Xia".

There's been talk of the Erlitou culture. This runs, what, 1900-1650 BC. Unfortunately Erlitou wasn't big on literacy. (The early Shang towns weren't, directly, either. But we might not yet have found the important towns.)

Adding some circumstantial evidence to the Xia: the most famous legend (here out West) from the Xia period is, of course, that of the Flood. By tradition, Yu the Great built vast earthworks and saved the Xia from extinction.

(Ethnographers have long pondered the contrast between how the Iraqis dealt with the flood - by loading a vast coracle to be an Ark, and leaving the rest to drown - and how the Xia dealt with it, with public works. It says something about the difference between West and East, perhaps. But that's Another Rant.)

It turns out we do have evidence for a flood around 1900 BC.

Now: do we call the 1900-1650 era, Xia? The classical Chinese were wrong about Yin; it should be Zi or Shang. So I'd rather hold off on that loaded term. But the evidence is looking good that Shang had a predecessor, and that it could put together an organised response to crises.

posted by Zimri on 18:19 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Confucian Hanoi

If I am reading Razib right, Vietnam is the Firefly verse.

The Yue / Viets (Viet seems to be the Middle Chinese pronunciation, mostly fossilised in Viet) got some Chinese ideas, like Confucianism and the righteousness of educated bureaucrats, and pushed south. But Indochina is jungly and it's easier to conquer the South than it is to rule it.

We could look at the long Vietnam war, from the 1950s to 1975, as post(?)Confucian Hanoi bringing the "independents" to heel. Small wonder the Americans had an affinity with the South.

posted by Zimri on 16:53 | link | 0 comments

Inarah goes Bible-Code

Over on Academia, one John-Jacques Walter has posted an "Analysis of the Koran Using Mathematical Code Theory". Specifically he's doing Analysis of Text Data, on the Qur'an's themes - not on its language.

Walter believes he has found nineteen "signatures" (above it are nineteen... *koff*). Nine of these are attributable to a single author (each). The remaining ten are a playground, with MANY authors. (I'd love to know which.)

Walter also notes that many verses are not spoken by God - and do not claim to be. Many of these are introduced by the command qul: God told the qârî to deliver His message. Scoffers have long pointed out what an artificial dodge this is; and some manuscripts, and traditions of manuscript, for this or that verse will omit qul, or add it. But it does save the effect of Divine speech, for the Believer.

Walter then hits us with: that 315 such verses do NOT have qul. Such verses also share the same "signature" with each other.

His proposal: that these verses were injected by the Mu`tazila, in the 200s / 800s.

The Mu`tazila knew that the Qur'an was created by God, and not pre-existent; and they had a good idea of where the previous Muslims had inserted qul. But the Mu`tazila were on the back foot by the 200s. It was possible to insist on one Qur'an in `Uthman's time and still (barely) possible to swap out Qur'ans in al-Hajjâj's. But it was too late for the `Abbâsids.

So the Mu`tazila simply invented more phrases without the qul and peppered the text with these. Since these verses were new, they could accrue no variants. Since they seemed pious, they slipped past the censors.

Personally I don't believe this. This late, we should see evidence in the histories that verses were slipped into the mix. We should also NOT find these verses in, oh, 27.1 DAM and other Umayyad-era codices. But... we don't and do, respectively.

In addition I am getting a mite tired of authors bruiting about NO MOHAMMED BEFORE THE 60s/680s Y`ALL. Pseudo-Sebeos and the Maronite Chronicle aren't enough? or all those other refs in Hoyland's book?

The Gell-Mann Amnesia is making me distrust Walter's other "findings" as well. Where I sympathise, like that whole Mecca / al-Madina rubbish, I don't think Walter is the man to convince others.

posted by Zimri on 16:38 | link | 0 comments

Monday, September 24, 2018

Hello, Clarice

HBDChick and Mike Stuchbery have invited us for dinner at Herxheim. Near here was a farming village probably NOT called Herxheim then - because it held to the "Linear Pottery culture". That's about 5000 BC, before IndoEuropean / "Corded Ware" / "Battle Axe". Who knows what they spoke instead. We do know that they were humanitarians.

We'd not know what they spoke even if we were there, beyond "om nom nom".

Do please explain to us again, feminists, how enlighted Old Europe was, before we eeevil androcrats showed up with our chariots.

posted by Zimri on 16:44 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Believing Zionists makes you antiZionist apparently

Jihadwatch (where I'm banned) has posted the first part of Hugh Fitzgerald's article about Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is a horrible hard Leftist, which unfortunately makes him Authentic in the eyes of Labour voters who cannot be quit of him. He is also a hater of Jews, a booster of Hamas, and an opposer of Israel's right to exist. On that much, I'm not arguing.

But then the author digresses to others in that party, like Ken Livingstone. Among his "problematic" statements are that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist as of 1933. I do have to defend Livingstone on this point and even that nutter, Ron Unz (where I'm also banned, lulz). Because this is an historical statement, not a moral one, and I must defend the right to do history, and to defend - or to attack - that attempt on its own merits. Much as the self-appointed historian might rankle me personally.

The German National Socialist movement had always held itself out as for the German worker and for ... whatever, with the rest. Hitler, when he joined it (he didn't found it) and for another 15 years as its spokesman and leader, didn't add much to this except for intensity of expression. The Judenfrage was certainly a part of this - where Germans lived. So Hitler and his most trusted Nazis worked to separate Jews from Germans, including by force. In 1933 Hitler, some corporations, some government officials, and some high-placed local Jews hashed out an agreement called the "Haavara" for Jews to buy their way out of Germany and to get over to Mandate Palestine.

The Indescribablyboring back home a couple years back launched some piety that, no, this wasn't real Zionism. I neglected that article at the time but have now bothered to read it. I remain unconvinced.

The basis of Zionism was only in part Jewish national self-determination. Jews could - in theory - express self-determination in any of the "gentile" Nations, within Jewish enclaves and living Jewish life. The basic assumption of Zionism is that Jews cannot trust gentiles to allow this in their nations. So Jews need their own patch of land - their Zion.

As noted above, the basis of National Socialism is EXACTLY that - before, as Livingstone clumsily put it, the NSDAP Führer went insane or, some would argue, and I would personally argue, that madman convinced his party and his country toward his madness. In core NSDAP dogma Germans needed a proGerman state and there was no room, in that state, for nonGerman interference. But other states (at that point) could coexist behind their own borders.

This includes a Jewish state - since as everyone informs us, Nazism wasn't Christian. And it wasn't yet universalist: although there were mystical quack theories about "Aryan" supremacy even in 1933, I don't think Hitler and the Nazis had yet insisted upon them. (By contrast Christianity does insist that it "fulfills the Torah".)

So in 1933, the Nazis accepted some major Zionist premises and worked to enact Zionist aims. Livingstone would call this the expression of Zionism as done from the gentiles. I cannot find where the British media has successfully countered that proposal.

As of last May, meanwhile, Livingstone isn't even in Labour anymore. Even bringing this guy up is irrelevant to Labour today. But that's what you get, in Current Year, for putting good-faith arguments on fact to the public. You get banned.

UPDATE 7:25 PM MST: Out of eighteen-hour moderation purgatory from Unz / Sailer! So I am not banned there. As for why my corrective comments were delayed this long whilst others' comments weren't, I don't know; an implicit warning not to be so abrasive / not to Tell Tales Out Of School? You could ask them; I personally don't care enough. Anyway please pardon my paranoia.

posted by Zimri on 18:33 | link | 0 comments

"Thou shalt read the supplement"

At a loss for things to do today, I went back to the Lazaridis arxiv on that pre-glacial pre-Georgian cave Dzudzuana and found a tab for "supplementary material". This opened up a PDF and, oh my.

Given that the people in this cave best fit a model with about a quarter Basal Eurasian, we have a better idea on the Basal genome. This turns out not to have any Neander in it ... at all. Apparently the Basals split before the mainline Eurasian ancestors did the thing with Neanders (let alone Denisovans). And then the Basals refused congress with "those cavemen" ever after.

So, where some of that famous "Great Dilution" of western Eurasians' Neander DNA is apparent, not real; much of it is real-enough. It happened because the Basals came back and did the diluting - to Dzudzuana. And ten thousand years later, after the ice retreated - and retreated: Dzudzuana went out to the Med, and spread. They diluted Neander DNA further: both directly by just taking over the lowlands, and indirectly by mating with huntergatherers.

posted by Zimri on 13:19 | link | 0 comments

Is intelligence maternal?

Intelligence is genetic and g, the CPU of intelligence, is very genetic. The brain is complex and many genes can harm it; some genes can help it. But g is simpler.

One point about g, that is less true of other genes, affecting the brain or not, is that the standard deviation is higher in males than in females (despite the best efforts of Social Justice to censor this). We men have more geniuses but also more dolts. This implies that variance is transmitted through males.

My candidate is the X chromosome. You get at least one from your parents. You might get a second one; if you don't, you are called a "male" (whatever the social-justice nutters tell you). I'd intuited that the extra X might act as a buffer in females absent from males - if you get one bad X and one good, you even out; but if you just got the one X, it's a roll of the dice. (Chromosomes intermingle here as elsewhere: so that your one or both X/s draw from the Xs of both parents.) That's pretty much Central Limit Theorem: the more tests you conduct, the shorter your error-bar.

But there exists another female-mediated DNA factor in our cells, that doesn't draw from dad at all. I refer here to the mitochondrion - which is how we know the female line of descent (as opposed to just, "the mother") in our archaeological remains. The mitochondrion is a harnessed bacteriumlike which aids each cell in producing energy, mostly. DC Geary suspects: maybe it also helps our brains. (Elsewhere Greg Cochran was musing on selection on Y chromosomes, so selection on a female trait - intelligence - also comes into play here. For or against.)

I had posted a version of this last night, but I didn't convince myself of Geary's thesis; and there was so much other content here then, that I figured one post could be held off, so I held off this one. And now I am certain... that Geary is wrong.

Men and women get the same mitochondrion and the same number of mitochondria, per cell: they get one. The mitochondrion cannot account for any trait's expanded variance in men, as opposed to women. Since g is all about variance, the mitochondrion therefore cannot account for g, beyond crippling disabilities like that PKU thingie which Carl Zimmer nattered on about.

posted by Zimri on 06:45 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Not an autobiography

A priest recently conducted an exorcism around a Satanic idol, and got famous for it. Later, this same (emotional and - I think - lonely) priest prepared to conduct a sacrament of joy, on behalf of a Christian couple. Yin... yang...

And then this priest's episcopal supervisor from Chicago showed up, and threatened to call in The Secular Arm - to enforce this nation's real laws against heresy and blasphemy. The priest, then, faced a decision: to carry on with his duty, and to marry this couple, even if the police showed up in midceremony to make a scene and to cut it short; or to flee, and to let the marriage carry forward, under a coward (at least) acting as auxiliary bishop.

The priest knew that to let his supervisor conduct that wedding could be construed by the couple as an honour. He also knew that the couple had already invited many guests, who were likely mostly Catholic - so, half "social liberal", and the nonCatholics likely even more Left. [9/30: Maybe he also knew that apostolic Christianity has taught that the bishop is the true hieros, with the presbyter as his stand-in.]

He'd likely gotten many emails and calls, from others in the media and from his "fellow Catholics"... and from his "bishop". They asked him questions. They asked him questions he couldn't answer very well, at that moment. He knew his parish; but he also knew - from voting patterns - the people from his county overall... and (more to the point) he knew the State of Illinois. He could take a guess at how his local secular authorities would react. The local beat cops were sympathetic, but - because Illinois - they also had to think about pensions.

We're told here that it was even worse (thank G-d this has not happened to me; I pray it has not to you either, dear reader):

One of the parishioners, a Chicago policeman, told me of some of the bizarre events of the last week, including numerous threats of death and rape against Fr. Kalchik, at least two probable attempted break-ins or acts of vandalism, one of which included breaking keys into all the locks in the doors of the church office. And then there was the visit by two Archdiocese representatives, yesterday, ordering Fr. Kalchik to vacate his parish and commit himself into psychiatric confinement.

At the moment of the wedding the priest was supposed to celebrate, the good pastor looked into his soul and asked if doing his duty was worth dragging OTHERS into his own crisis of doubt. He asked, he might have prayed, about the good of the Church - and about G-d's will, after the hierarchs had denied him. He prayed about his fellow priests now associated, fairly or not, with him; how well they could do their job, with him as a distraxion. And he asked himself how sincere he was, how strong he was. He'd lost sleep. He'd lost weight (okay, as a priest, he likely saw this bit as a silver-lining). His brain was already not the brain of a "neurotypical" (and he'd been molested as a boy himself, another curse I don't have to live with).

And now his brain wasn't working terribly well at all.

And so the priest blinked.

posted by Zimri on 19:31 | link | 0 comments

Those west Eurasian hunter-gatherers

Earlier we discussed Epipalaeolithic Anatolia (and the Balkans) as a sink for two equal populations, Levantine huntergatherers (who later, back home, became farmers) and West Eurasian huntergathers (who never did get around to farming, before being BTFO by our R1b bronze battle-axes). Iosif the Lazaride, grand strategos of early population genetics, has led his band upcountry to the southern Caucasus - and back in time to 24000 BC, the beginning of the last great ice-cap. A cave in Dzudzuana in modern Georgia, specifically.

Lazaridis et al. find the people here ancestral to early agriculturalists from western Anatolia ~6000 BC. Presumably to one or the other half (or both...? this early, one can't assume much) which subsequently contributed to "AHG", 13500ish BC at the other end of that "White-Walker" span... At any rate they have nothing in common with the hunter-gatherers who would inhabit the Kura valley in the 11000s BC. So that later band, perhaps ancestral to Georgians both Kartveli and Abkhaz today, gave the boot to the Dzudzuana people who'd lived there before.

Dzudzuana went west, far west, and became ancestral to... I-don't-know what. This is long before even the Anatolian / IndoEuropean split. Maybe these were the Hattians, or the Hurrians. Maybe the Lemnians and Etruscans (if we believe Herodotus and Claudius). Maybe even the AfroAsiatics: Lazaridis sees the Dzudzuana genes all over Tamazight North Africa, Nuragic Sardinia, and the preSemitic Levant.

Dzudzuana's own ancestry is itself a mix (they always are). Some of it is Western Hunter-Gatherer, which I guess we can expect in the (already damn frigid) leadup to that last great chill. But some of it is "Basal Eurasian" - the first spinoff from Out Of Africa, before even the Asian / European split. They'd been proposed before, but never actually seen in full (like, much later, Mal'ta Boy (R1 male, associated with X female) proved the existence of Ancestral North Euroasioamerican). So Basal Eurasian still hasn't been found but its trace is constrained to the deeper Pleistocene.

By luck Dzudzuana has yielded two mitochondria from two very different maternal lines. One is U6, Near Easternish ("Ursula", right?); the other is N. These guys despite having such divergent deep-maternities were of similar genetics elsewhere in their genomes.

Lazaridis signed his and his coauthors names to a suspicion that Ancient Basal Eurasian is Near-Eastern. And the U part of U6 is prominent in the old Near East. But U was in the Near East for a long time - AHG's (and my granddad's) K is a U(8) branch, for instance. That N, although also western-ish by contrast with M, is an ancient offshoot of L3; mostly Siberian as of the early Holocene, as noted.

I think N is the Basal Eurasian, or at least that they'd tagged along; and that it was already central Asian. I am not seeing it as Near Eastern yet, not like all those U and K kids.

posted by Zimri on 15:16 | link | 0 comments

Black democracy is tested

At the beginning of this month I got busted for commenting that Niger-Congo populations (particularly) aren't good at self-government and should give it up. This turns out to be a testable hypothesis and it has, recently, been tested. It is found that much depends on how not to be self-governed.

In Sierra Leone, which is a West African country, the rural populations left to themselves run on a chiefdom model. All agree (and I agree) this system of governance is primitive, and nondemocratic, and horrid for those not in the chief's retinue. Outsiders living in the major cities have attempted two methods to better the lives of rural populations: coded as Voice versus Skill. One outside model maps to the Affirmative Action, where the well-meaning city slickers order the villages to be more "inclusive". The other maps to Talented Tenth: the cityfolk find the locals who do best at management and they appoint them as managers.

You'll not believe what ha- nah, who'm I kidding. The Talented Tenth, selected and defended by outsiders, made their villages great again, and for pennies on the dollar. The Affirmative Action villages, at great expense, rotted in patronage and mutual ill-feeling. But it was democratic!!.

Over here when the election goes against what most blacks vote for, black unemployment drops to its lowest level ever. Such is democracy's great tragedy. Such is what politicians can never point out.

(URGENCY 9/22: since China has its economic act together, and India is getting its act together, some way of getting Africa together is now - literally - a question of global poverty. So yes, we should care. And no, we shouldn't care if the best answer gives nice middle-aged and Millennial Colorado white folk the warm fuzzies or not.)

posted by Zimri on 14:26 | link | 0 comments

The woodwoses of the old North

Susan Oosthuizen (Dutch herself I think, but they all speak English there) has had a peek at the English placenames and at the Normans' snapshot in the Domesday. Their references to forests match up nicely.

Where they DON'T match - or even take note? Cumbria, that's where: that whole stretch north of a line from the Mersey northeast to Middlesbrough, our own little Heihe-Tengchong. At it happens I have been up there myself just over two years ago and there are, indeed, many woodlands to be found there. Just not (by English standards) very many people.

I would hazard that there were woodlands back then, too... just no English (or Scandinavians) to mention them. It was Debateable Land even under the Romans. Especially after the Danes got onto the eastern coasts, no civilised person dared the place. I expect it reverted to Welshmen, "Wallaces" as they were called in Scots.

posted by Zimri on 13:44 | link | 0 comments

The Finno-Ugric peoples

More genetics from the Finno-Ugric peoples are in! The primary author Kai Tätte is, I think, an Estonian but s/he brought along others for this ride. (Again, this is all brought to you by HBDChick's twitter.)

The results are... variant, per specific community of Finno-Ugric speaker. The communities do seem to share a common male ancestor, N3 (30% of Estonia), who came from "Siberia" = north Eurasia east of the Urals. (Its cousin N2 is here as well.) They also agree (mostly) that the womenfolk are local (contrast, oh, the Avars): the females of Estonia are Balts where the females of Siberia are Siberian. Even Saami/Lapp women are almost nine-tenths European. But then things get weird.

Greater Finland - including Karelia and the Saami - has a distinct Asian signature, as do many central Eurasian populations. Also many of these linguistic populations have chosen to stick with their own kind: the Ugric Khanty and (core) Mansi together form a "cluster". But not all of them do. The Hungarians although speaking Ugric look (genetically) like the surrounding western Slavs; to such a degree that even N3 is rare there. And the Estonians, despite sounding like Finns and bearing all that N3, look like Lithuanians. (To be fair, so do Finns, mostly; except where they don't.) Some Mansi appear to have taken in Russian immigrants. Samoyeds are part Manchu now. And so on.

The spread of Finno-Ugric (and Samoyed) was, then, not much like the spread of Indo-European. Indo-European came with sword and chariot. Uralic excepting maybe the Hungarians came more quietly - and with fewer women. This may seem paradoxical. I propose a more-peaceful route of linguistic diffusion, like male-mediated trade prior to the great Mongol and Russian empires. The "Fur Road" as it's been called.

The Magyars don't fit well, as Tätte et al. noted. But they muse that the first Magyars may have been more Avarlike:

Furthermore, analyses of early medieval aDNA samples from Karos-Eperjesszög cemeteries in Hungary have revealed the presence of mtDNA haplogroups with East Asian provenance testifying for vestiges of a real migration of people from the east. Neparáczki E, Juhász Z, Pamjav H, Fehér T, Csányi B, et al. "Genetic structure of the early Hungarian conquerors inferred from mtDNA haplotypes and Y-chromosome haplogroups in a small cemetery", Mol Gen Genomics 292 (2017), 201–14

Mind you, we now have to ask if those were Magyars or those aforementioned Avars...

posted by Zimri on 12:51 | link | 0 comments

Stone Age Anatolia

I define "the Holocene" as an interglacial within our true period, the Pleistocene. It is like the Eemian. Our interglacial began with the "Late Glacial Interstadial" around, what, 12700 BC? Anthropologists term the general period, the Epipalaeolithic - "upon the old stone [age]", if my Greek isn't failing me. ("Stone Age" is a lonnnng time; I get the impression they'd rather restrict this age later in the Holocene, between the Younger Dryas and the first copper smelters.)

Michal Feldman and his crew have now published some genetic results from Anatolia. The first is from Pınarbaşı - even before any reasonable definition of the Holocene: 13642-13073 BC. (Got this one from HBDChick. She was on fine form last night; if I hadn't already been posting content I'd have mentioned this then.)

The stiff in question had been a hunter-gatherer all his life, which I guess they can tell based on the stone gear around him. Feldman accordingly calls this population, AHG. Being a dude, our boy had a Y-chromosome: C1a2. And his mum was a K like my mother's father's mother, but a K2b which is rare these days. (We "Katrines" are K1. And I think we'd migrate to southern Europe from the Near East, later on.)

AHG is not a direct hybrid himself (like, you know, my mom; or like poor dead Denny here) but a previously unknown population descended from hybrids. Feldman &co. say: AHG derives around half of his ancestry from a Neolithic Levantine-related (sic) gene pool (48.0 ± 4.5 %; estimate ± 1 SE) and the rest from the [Mesolithic western European hunter-gatherers]-related one. Of course the Neolithic and even the Mesolithic wouldn't start for several more millennia yet, so those populations themselves must have roots long before 13642 BC.

The researchers sampled some later Anatolians: starting from "Aceramic Neolithic", the "no-pottery new stone age". Here at Boncuklu they found remains one of which they could date, directly dated to 8269-8210 cal BCE. These derive most of their ancestry (89.7 ± 3.9 %) from a population related to AHG. Accounting for that other 10%, in the five millennia in between, they had taken on some genetics from Iran. One of these samples is a Katrine: K1a. Also found here for the first time is the rs12193832 gene, for grey eyes, up to that point found only in Europe. Even that Epipalaeolithic Pınarbaşı halfEuropean had dark eyes.

These are some impressive constraints. And they allow for knock-on findings in the surrounding area, like the Balkans.

I think that before Feldman's paper, scholars had some notion of Anatolia being the collision-point between the Near East, Iran, and Europe. And to be sure, all that is still there. But Anatolia wasn't a collision point between European hunter gatherers and Near Eastern farmers. The Near Easterners who'd met the Europeans in Anatolia were all hunter gatherers at that time, the 13000s BC (or before!). Farming was introduced, much later, to a population already well-settled-in and, by then, amalgamated. I doubt the Anatolians even remembered their origins.

When Near Easterners came to Europe later on, by contrast, these came with the farming toolkit and simply booted the hunter-gatherers into the great German forest.

posted by Zimri on 11:24 | link | 0 comments

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