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October 15, 2018

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Ideally, what you identify with and what identifies with you are similar. But it turns out that sometimes you may identify with a group that largely doesn't want to claim you. This causes all sorts of dissonance, but I'm not always sure that you're the one who is wrong.

In any case it sometimes leads to the feeling of being without a place. Rootless so to speak.

That's very true, hence the problems with (and of) people 'going native'. And often times, people will imagine that choosing something will resolve some dissonance in their lives, but I think people have to take dissonance as a greater part of the human condition.

There is some difference between citizenship and party affiliation of course. We can't pick who our parents are, and we certainly can pick what polity we were born into,

It is true that, as a legal matter, citizenship comes from one's parents (or place of birth) and is more locked in than party affiliation. But as a psychological matter, observe that most people absorb the party affiliation of their parents at a young age. There is no legal barrier to changing it, but . . . it typically takes a major personal experience to get them to do so. Not as major as changing countries, but far from trivial.

I think most people are constrained by what group they feel part of. In their minds they are constrained and the other group members can be pretty nasty.

Of course this group membership phenomenon varies a lot. WHo strongly dpes the individual identify with the group? And some groups are pretty nebulous whereas other groups are almost cult-like. Or ARE cults.


There are times when people feel constrained to act in certain ways and rebel against that. I remember years ago reading an article written by a black woman who came right out and said that she became a conservative because she was gtired of being told that as an Aftican American she was obliged to be Democrat.

It really is best I believe to hold any group membership lightly and try to develop an independent identity.

And remember the difference between a granfalloon and a karass. (I wil lhave to check the spelling--its been decades since I read that book. In fact I can't remember the title, only that it was Vonnegut).

And then there'sthe folks who want to join a different group: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/05/im-not-black-im-kanye/559763/

I can only hope that the unfolding disaster that is Trump will cause non-racist Republicans to split off and form a "Trumped Enough Already" party.

If they dump T into Boston Harbor, I'd be tempted to join up also, too.

This is not directly related to the post, but is probably best here

https://communemag.com/metoo-from-below/

to me, it seems that the gap between female and male identities is probably the biggest gulf.

This, perhaps more on point, is how people are turned towards fascism
https://www.bellingcat.com/news/americas/2018/10/11/memes-infowars-75-fascist-activists-red-pilled

As if I needed more reasons to fear for my life and the life of my wife. :(

"Genes aren't the only driver behind our political views, though. Hibbing says environment and upbringing play a large role as well. But he has found that, on average, about 30 or 40 percent of our political attitudes come from genetics. And he thinks the idea that our politics may come, at least in part, from our biology may help us to have more empathy for people who disagree with us."
Nature, Nurture And Your Politics

The OP starts off like this: There was a bit of a back and forth in the comments that started out with musings about changing citizenship...

That was an exchange between wj and me, and the ending of this OP might be taken as a suggestion that what I wrote in that exchange was "meaningless at best and egotistical at worst."

I will cop to irritated and unpleasant, and if you want to say meaningless or egotistical then I'm not going to argue. Right now I just want to say something about leaving one's country for another, specifically because of "politics."

There's a wrs said in here somewhere, as usual. I'm ashamed of what the USA has become, and I don't know if we're going to climb out of this hole in my lifetime. Like any country, we've never been perfect, but it seems like a lot of Americans are now celebrating our dark side rather than trying to contain or shrink it. The US may even become dangerous for me, as a gay person, in the same way that it is already dangerous for other groups.

But I'm not thinking right now about the question of leaving because one is in danger. I'm thinking about the question of leaving as a form of repudiation, which would be the parallel (in my mind) to my original challenge to wj to leave the Republican party.

In that original exchange, I glibly and unfairly minimized the psychological barriers to leaving the political party that one has always been a member of, and maybe one's forebears as well. But I think wj unfairly minimized both the psychological and the practical costs of leaving one's country for another, in his glib assertion that you could do it for the price of a plane ticket.

Practically, lj has some experience with changing countries, and he has already said that it's not the simplest thing to do. Practically, for me at age almost 69 and with not all that much money saved in the grand scheme of things, there's probably not a nation that would have me, at least among those I'd consider moving to. (Canada, Ireland, and the UK top the list.) There was a time when I might have married an Irishwoman and moved over there, except that in those days we couldn't legally marry, and anyhow my kids were young and I was neither going to take them away from their father nor leave them behind myself. So it goes.

The price of wj's plane ticket suggestion would get me a vacation (if I could afford the hotels, the meals, etc.). It would not get me permanent residence in any country with a safety net that I had never contributed to, and where I have no history and no relatives and precious few job prospects at my age, nor any strong relationships with people already there.

So that's a barrier on the far end. In between, as I said the other night, there would be the enormous hassle and adjustment of moving, re-adjusting, finding a place to live, etc.

But there's another barrier, the one that is probably a little bit parallel to wj's psychological attachment to the label "Republican" -- although I think that attachment to one's country is a far more complex thing than political affiliation. (If it's egotistical of me to say that, I won't push it.)

This country, like every country, is far, far more than just its politics. This country is the colors of a New England autumn, and a sunset over Lake Erie from the town beach in Ohio in the town where I grew up. It's the history of my family on both sides choosing to come here, fleeing and enduring unremembered hardships, poverty, and oppression. It's the gravestones of my ancestors all over the county where I grew up, and in Connecticut as well, because they went there first. (Well, after Boston.)

All of these things and more are entwined in my psyche and in my identification of myself as "American." In fact, in the murky confusion of my other identities (non-heterosexual, subtly non-binary in relation to gender, "female" math nerd, spiritually uncategorizable, etc. etc. etc.), I have always felt that "American" is the one incontrovertibly accurate adjective I can apply to myself.

So leaving would be costly, both practically and psychologically. It would be much harder psychologically than it would have been when I was young. But short of this country becoming so violent that I might reasonably seek asylum elsewhere, or of some miraculous late-in-life love affair that would lead to marriage (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha), no other country is likely to have me. For better and worse, I guess.

But there's another barrier, the one that is probably a little bit parallel to wj's psychological attachment to the label "Republican" -- although I think that attachment to one's country is a far more complex thing than political affiliation. (If it's egotistical of me to say that, I won't push it.)

This country, like every country, is far, far more than just its politics.

I take your point. And plead guilty to overstating my point.

I'd like to have a bit of a chin wag with these ilk and their republican party sponsors and paymasters:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/republicans-are-adopting-the-proud-boys?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

This lot too:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/patriot-prayer-members-had-cache-of-guns-on-rooftop-before-august-protest

a little mp identity for everyone:

http://time.com/5421576/donald-trump-trumpism/

that banner pic on Count's time link reminds me of something...

“Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers”

interesting Time article. but it fails to acknowledge what study after study has shown: Trump voters weren't actually motivated by economic insecurity. they were motivated by the obvious things: racism, sexism, xenophobia, tribalism, loss of "status", etc.. as HRC noted.

the Time author is still clinging to that hope that the GOP's problems can be solved with better economics. well, the economy has been accelerating for 10 years now, and the GOP is no closer to sanity now than it was in 2007.

This country, like every country, is far, far more than just its politics. This country is the colors of a New England autumn, and a sunset over Lake Erie from the town beach in Ohio in the town where I grew up. It's the history of my family on both sides choosing to come here, fleeing and enduring unremembered hardships, poverty, and oppression. It's the gravestones of my ancestors all over the county where I grew up, and in Connecticut as well, because they went there first.

Very beautiful, touching and true. And, as I said in another thread a long time ago, it's an idea: from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters. It may be being despoiled and betrayed, but the idea is still in there, somewhere, and worth fighting for.

The Proud Boys are Ghost Skins with better branding : just as odious but with a fig leaf more plausible deniability and fresh khakis in place of blood laces for the sake of the squeamish.

I should state that I didn't mean to call out anyone with my post. ObWi occupies a place that I think is pretty strange for my own thoughts, in that it is like a catalyst, which, when added to my various thoughts, always takes them off to different places. I worry that, in the absence of actual face to face contact with people to talk about this, it ends up reinforcing my prejudices rather than confronting them as this comment might be evidence of.

Like a lot of Americans who have ended up in Asia, I have this fascination with Buddhism and to me, the whole idea of attachments as things one overcomes fascinates me. Not enough to actually do anything about it, (though I am dieting now, so that's one set of attachments that is trying to be turned off). I'm not particularly attached to country, but before I go patting myself on the back on that one, there are other folks who aren't as well and I'm not sure if I like their company

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/16/tax-evasion-oecd-blacklist-of-21-countries-with-golden-passport-schemes-published

Attachment to party, well, I do get perturbed with some of the attacks on Democrats, especially when they don't really seem to have any factual basis. But all in all, I'm a lot like Will Rogers, who said 'I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat'.

But I worry that as I pat myself on the back for being able to separate myself, the real attachments are lurking unaddressed. in short. if I can drop it, I'm probably not that attached to it anyway...

I don't want Elizabeth Warren to be our next candidate, but that's because of the misogyny--I don't want to pick a candidagte that is handicapped right from the get -go even if the handiacap is unfair and a poor reflection on the voters.

But her decision to allow the university to site her as Native so they could claim diversity is an interesting twist on this group identity story. She was implying kinship with a group she was not really kin with.

Granted the family tradition of "we're part Native" is s o common that it is practically a stereotype. Buffy St Marie wrote a song about it: Do you remember the time, that you held your head high, and told all your friends of your Indian claim, proud good lady and proud good man. Your great great grandfather from Indian blood sprang, so you feel you're a part of these ones."
Some people go all out in faking Native ancestry: the author of the Broken Cord promoted himself and his books as Native with no basis, not even a family tradition.

I went on a trip across the Navajo nation last spring with a friend who is Chehalis. We stopped at lots of roadside places that sold jewelry and crafts and at each place the seller asked my friend if she was Native and what tribe. Then the sellers asked me. I don't look the least bit Native. I might have been being sensitive but thought the sellers were expecting me to say something like "Oh I;m part Cherokee way back" but I didn't. I just said, no, not Native. (One of the sellers then turned my friend and asked how long we had been friends)


So I am not sure of my point with this except that it seems to me that as part of growing up it is healthier to have a sense of oneself that is real, based on one's own talents, friends experiences, and so on and not artificial. And that sense of self I think should include some fluidity to allow for growth. But not add-ons picked up like souvenirs.

But her decision to allow the university to site her as Native so they could claim diversity is an interesting twist on this group identity story. She was implying kinship with a group she was not really kin with.

Given the results of the DNA test, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that she is kin with them. But not part of the community.

The whole question of Native American identity is one that I would love to talk about, but outside the question of Warren, which muddies the waters quite a bit. I can recommend this link

https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/forgiving-and-forgetting-elizabeth-warren/

via LGM
http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/10/warren-native-identity

My great grandmother was full blood Cherokee. Not a family history, I knew her. She was very intimidating. Almost silent.

My great grandfather married her in Tennessee, they lived there until he died. She came to Dallas to live with my grandparents.

I wasn't in the register, no one in my family would have ever considered claiming to be Native American. 6-10 generations? That's nerve, but I never figured it wasn't true to some extent. I'm not sure this helps her a lot.

It's possible to be biologically related to an ethnic group without being genetically related to them. You could have a direct ancestor of that ethnicity, but none of their DNA got passed to you.

DNA analysis would likely show that He, Trump is NOT part-orangutan. Which kinda makes me wonder how reliable DNA-based genealogy might be. We'll never know. He, Trump will never take a "DNA test", or show his "long-form birth certificate", or release His tax returns.

Still, I'd be willing to bet that He, Trump has way less Indian DNA in Him than "Pocahontas" does, despite His delusion that the US is His country, and not hers, by some sort of birthright.

That He, Trump is the product of Slavic DNA, with an admixture of Saudi Arab blood, is of course not worth "testing". It's enough to note His slavish devotion to the Putins and the Saudis in order to conclude that His heart and soul are with them. Poor little He, Trump can't help his genetic inclinations. What Mitch McConnell's excuse might be, I can't say.

FWIW, I too would rather see Senator Professor Warren chairing the Senate Finance Committee than running for president. I'd rather see her provoke the "conservatives" among us to apoplectic rage over her attacks on plutocracy, than on her gender or ethnicity.

--TP

It's possible to be biologically related to an ethnic group without being genetically related to them. You could have a direct ancestor of that ethnicity, but none of their DNA got passed to you

On the other hand, is it possible to have their DNA and NOT be related to them? In some cases, when you have only a little overlap, it could have come from somewhere else. But if you have enough commonalities, the probability drops rather sharply.

IIRC, you have about a 50% chance of not having any DNA inherited from at least one of your GGG grandparents. Also IIRC, there’s a very quick drop-off in that probability between your GG grandparents and your GGG grandparents. You’re extremely unlikely not to have at least some DNA inherited from every one of your GG grandparents.

Dumb thought train of the evening: I wondered about hsh's point in his 10:34 when I read The Da Vinci Code long ago. (Hated the book but couldn't stop turning pages. Never read another by him.)

IIRC there's a notion in the book that people have secretly carried on a line of direct descent from Jesus. It made me wonder how many generations it would take before a person might end up with no DNA from a given ancestor. Not very many, it sounds like, though I assume there's also no guarantee one way or the other.

On the other hand, I've seen a couple of displays of photos of ancestors (not mine) laid out like a family tree, and sometimes it's uncanny how the family resemblances carry on for four or five generations. I suppose that happens when certain dominant traits keep...dominating?

On the other hand, is it possible to have their DNA and NOT be related to them? In some cases, when you have only a little overlap, it could have come from somewhere else.

wj, could you explain more?

Or hsh, you know a lot more about this than I do, so can you weigh in? Because this makes no sense to me. If there's a genetic marker that identifies a certain group, which "somewhere else" could it have come from?

If you think you've got let's say a Jewish marker (which I was told I had by the Genographic Project, but later they retracted), I might think oh, I got that from one of my Italian ancestors. But then, my Italian ancestor got it from somewhere, presumably someone who was Jewish, i.e. not "somewhere else" at all.

I think cultural inheritance matters more than genetic, especially when the genetics are diluted to next to nothing. That said the current chief of the Cherokees is only one thirty-second NA. At least that was stated on CNN a couple of days ago.

“they were motivated by the obvious things: racism, sexism, xenophobia, tribalism, loss of "status", etc.. as HRC noted.”

I find that whole thing difficult to parse. That study is specifically tracking Obama voters. They can’t be deeply committed racists and vote for a black man for President. There were noticeably white options in both Obama elections. I know deeply committed racists, they won’t vote for a black guy to be HOA president, much less USA president. So then we are trusting them to pick up on much more subtle sociological cues, which if you’ve been paying attention to the pstchology/sociology replication crisis, you should be reluctant to trust when it violates logic.

So why was someone willing to vote for a black guy twice and suddenly let racism overpower him? If economics is important and I’d say it is, how about Republicans let the global system smash under Bush, so not particularly racist voters punished Republicans on a tribal basis for that? And then when Democrats essentially all of the banksters go, and when the recovery went to the rich, those same voters punished Democrats for it.

Is that just so story true? I dunno. But it doesn’t violate basic understanding of human nature the way “racists for the black man for definitely not economic reasons” does. Basic understanding of human nature CAN be wrong. But my threshold for proof is high on it.

Part of my libertarian ancestry. :)

my 7:41 was in the spam trap.

They can’t be deeply committed racists and vote for a black man for President.

Because the link that cleek gave was a google search, which of those studies had the construct of a 'deeply committed racist'? I've not read them all, but I haven't seen any that combined the 'committment' to racism (a tricky thing to tease out) with an analysis of voting.

It's not that racism 'overpowered' them, I think that it's the drumbeat of headlines and 'fake news' about Obama putting his feet on the desk

https://medium.com/@anthony_clark/the-ridiculous-double-standard-of-respect-for-the-oval-office-8e1e93a9deb0

or a hundred other things that were pulled out of rightwingers backsides had a cumulative toll. This comports quite well with my understanding, which is that _all_ Americans are racist (yes, the minorities too) because the environment magnifies racial differences and has people act on them in ways that they don't realize. That this was weaponized by the republican party explains in part why the leader of the republican party is who he is.

wj, could you explain more?

There are lots of paragraphs in the book that defines you. All the paragraphs come from some ancestor. Any given page probably isn't identical to any ancestor more than a few generations back. But you will have sentences here and there which form patterns.

Some patterns are common in some populations. Some aren't. If you've got one of those patterns, there's a chance you have an ancestor in that population. The more patterns you have which match that population, the higher the chances are. (But even in a population, not everybody will have every pattern.)

Of course, the same pattern can, and probably does, occur in multiple populations. So it's at least theoretically possible to get some from one place, some from a second, more from a third, etc -- until you end up with something that looks like a totally different population that you aren't actually descended from.

BUT, if you are going to argue that this is what happened in a particular case, your challenge is to come up with a plausible set of likely ancestors which could collectively could produce the result you see.

Does that help? Or did I totally miss the question.

Charles, maybe you should consider this

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/15/neanderthals-knew-something-about-healthcare-that-america-has-forgotten/

In the fascinating study, researchers argue that medical care was an integral part of Neanderthals’ lives, and the motivation to take care of each other was likely driven by compassion and empathy.

“There is no reason to assume the healthcare practices in Neanderthals were driven by the necessity of a life that was unusually harsh rather than being a caring social and cultural response to illness, injury and vulnerability,” researchers say.

I find that whole thing difficult to parse. That study is specifically tracking Obama voters. They can’t be deeply committed racists and vote for a black man for President.

You are creating a straw man and then lighting it on fire. It is definitely NOT difficult.

Read this.

Charles, maybe you should consider this

lj, interesting article. Thanks!

I'm not sure this helps her a lot.

she bit the hook.

don't bite hooks.

They can’t be deeply committed racists and vote for a black man for President.

No, but they can be more or less background noise racists, the way that most people in the US are background noise racists, and vote for a black man for POTUS. Especially one who doesn't "act black" in any way that a background noise racist might expect a black person to act.

And then, they could vote for Trump because his talk about Mexican rapists, and throwing Muslims out of the country, and black people having "low IQs" and how he doesn't want "black guys counting my money" but would prefer that a Jew do it, and "shithole countries" that aren't like Norway, all resonate with them. Or, at a minimum, fly under their radar, not provoke a "WTF" moment in their minds.

Things aren't that binary.

Trump's biggest talent is his ability to bring out the worst in people.

I find that whole thing difficult to parse. That study is specifically tracking Obama voters.

what study?

i linked to a Google search.

Or hsh, you know a lot more about this than I do, so can you weigh in?

I'm not sure if wj is talking about ethnicity estimates or identical-by-descent DNA, but it sounds like ethnicity based on his follow-up.

I've recently found out that I have an unusually high number of DNA matches from Finland (for someone with no known Finnish ancestry), even though I have no Finnish identified in my ethnicity estimates from any of the testing companies. The two things don't work the same way, though I'd only be speculating after a certain point about the specifics on how they differ.

“There is no reason to assume the healthcare practices in Neanderthals were driven by the necessity of a life that was unusually harsh rather than being a caring social and cultural response to illness, injury and vulnerability,”

Bit of a chicken and egg argument, that one.

The reality is likely that evolutionary pressures ensured only the tribal/family groups with empathetic members survived.
(I think the data indicate that around 90% of all hunter-gatherer Neandertals suffered significant traumatic injury during their lifetimes, which likely required the care of their fellows to survive.)

It made me wonder how many generations it would take before a person might end up with no DNA from a given ancestor.

Pretty well forever, I think (there is still identifiable Neandertal DNA in European genomes; far less in Asian).
The reality is rather that most people's lines eventually die out,so that there aren't that many ancestors if you go back enough generations - and we share far more DNA than the bits which distinguish us from each other.

Sorry clerk I was talking about https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/16/17980820/trump-obama-2016-race-racism-class-economy-2018-midterm which I had read about like six times yesterday. But you can’t read my mind if I don’t write it out. :]

wj and hsh, I won't pursue it any further. I'm not sure you've answered my question but that's probably because I don't know how to ask it clearly.

Nigel, I was talking about a specific single ancestor, like Jesus, not a group like "Neandertal."

The premise in The Da Vinci Code was that there was a secret sect that procreated specifically down a male (IIRC) line so that there was a living direct descendant of Jesus in modern times. (Sort of like Aragorn, about whom I'm equally skeptical despite my LOTR fanhood. :-)

And my question was: is it possible that the modern descendant is in a direct line, and yet has no genes from Jesus?

This was in response to hsh writing this:

IIRC, you have about a 50% chance of not having any DNA inherited from at least one of your GGG grandparents. Also IIRC, there’s a very quick drop-off in that probability between your GG grandparents and your GGG grandparents. You’re extremely unlikely not to have at least some DNA inherited from every one of your GG grandparents.

I took that to mean that yes, it's entirely possible that a modern human could be descended from Jesus (80-100 generations in the past), but have no genes that came directly from him.

That doesn't seem all that unreasonable to me given the mechanisms. (Granted I know very little.) The modern guy might have a bunch of genes of types that lots of people in Jesus's era and ethnic group had, but that's not what I was asking about.

The only difference specifically in the patrilineal line is that the Y chromosome will be passed virtually unchanged from father to son, but for mutations and rare and minor (accidental?) crossover during meiosis. That's why they use Y chromosome (and mitochondrial) DNA to determine deep ancestry going back thousands and thousands of years.

But, yes, it's entirely possible to share no DNA with an ancestor once you go back several generations. In fact, it's extremely likely (a virtual certainty, even) that you don't share DNA with some number of ancestors once you go back far enough.

The things that bug me about that particular study are:

Their concept of economic ‘anxiety’ is stunted. For purposes of the study, all the people who effectively haven’t had a raise in 20 years are doing fine. They also say things that concern me from a statistical point of view like after controlling for attitude about immigrants. That’s smuggling in the assumption that attitude about immigrants and economic anxiety are independent variables, which is begging the question.

Politicians have tried to stir up concern about immigrants forever. The question is “why did it catch fire now”? At a time where the national GDP did fine because of averages, but large swaths of the country didn’t get any of that because the rich on the coasts hoovered it up, it seems an awfully strange coincidence that the areas of the country that took the biggest hits from the globalism knockdown are the places that exhibit the most political traction on the immigrant issue if the ability to get traction on the issue is a free floating variable. At a time where the coasts are doing great, but also making decisions which make moving there very difficult, it seems non coincidental to me that the areas most worried are the areas left behind.

And to be SUPER clear, they are wrong to blame immigrants. That’s taking the bait offered by rich people like Trump. The best analogy I’ve seen is the cookie analogy. There are 1,000 cookies. The rich take 995. They say to the middle class “those 4 are yours, and the poor get that 1, and the immigrants are trying to take your 5 cookies!”

In that scenario, the foolish are being foolish, and if you poll them they are mad about immigrants. But the fact that they are fighting over 1 cookie when in past years they might have been fighting over 10 cookies is still of enormous importance to the success of the fear mongering.

Okay, one more thing - when I say "share DNA," I mean DNA inherited from that ancestor. We all, simply by virtue of belonging to the same species, share the vast majority of our DNA with each other.

as there is a Mitochondrial Eve, there is also a "Y Chromosonal Adam"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam

Sebastian, I like the cookie analogy a lot, but it's missing one little feature, which is how many people there are to share the 1000 cookies, and how many of them are hogging 995 of them to themselves. Remembering my chart of income from 1979 to 2005, I'd say that if there were 1000 people and 1000 cookies, about three of the people are grabbing the 995 cookies, and leaving five of them for the remaining 997 people to fight and resent each other over. It is a brilliant accomplishment of the wealthy and powerful that they are perennially able to deflect attention from themselves and make the rest of us fight each other over their scraps.

And in case anyone wants to jump up and chide me for "hating rich people" (which I don't), hark back to the link about what McConnell is up to with Social Security and Medicare these days. We have to cut them, because he has starved them, oh my. Only he leaves out that latter part.

But, yes, it's entirely possible to share no DNA with an ancestor once you go back several generations. In fact, it's extremely likely (a virtual certainty, even) that you don't share DNA with some number of ancestors once you go back far enough.

Possible? Sure. But given the sheer number of genes you have, "far enough" to get the probability that you have NO genes from an ancestor above say 10% (a long way from virtual certainty) is closer to 1000 generations than 100.

A reminder in the era DNA databases: Keep your nose clean. And pocket the tissues.

"Similar genetic genealogy matching has been used to identify criminal perpetrators in about 13 cold cases in the U.S. Police investigators can be expected to resort to such long range familial searches as more and more genetic information is voluntarily supplied by Americans to such open websites as GEDmatch. Is this a problem? Does this violate the privacy of Americans?"
Do I Owe It to My Criminal Relatives to Keep My Genes a Secret?: When genetic testing results become a tool for law enforcement

hsh: "I've recently found out that I have an unusually high number of DNA matches from Finland (for someone with no known Finnish ancestry), even though I have no Finnish identified in my ethnicity estimates from any of the testing companies."

Sounds like that "Santa Claus" was doing more than bringing gifts down the chimney.

I've recently found out that I have an unusually high number of DNA matches from Finland (for someone with no known Finnish ancestry), even though I have no Finnish identified in my ethnicity estimates from any of the testing companies.

Of course, sometimes there are things that we don't know about our ancestors. For example, the DNA test my siblings gifted me with came back 1/8 Ashkenazi -- despite nobody having a clue about any Jewish ancestors. But then, digging a little deeper, a few clues started surfacing. It wasn't so much that nobody knew as that nobody paid attention and put the pieces together.

wj: Possible? Sure. But given the sheer number of genes you have, "far enough" to get the probability that you have NO genes from an ancestor above say 10% (a long way from virtual certainty) is closer to 1000 generations than 100.

Show your work. Here's mine:

From here:

How many genes does one person have? Before the completion of the human genome project, many scientists were expecting to find 100,000 or more genes in our genome. This was based on the assumption that because we are one of the most complex creatures on Earth we should have lots of genes. However, it turned out we only have around 24,000 genes.

Each parent passes along half their genes to each child. In the purest form, by halving 24000, then halving 12000, etc., we get to .73 (one gene left from the original parent's 24000) in the 15th generation.

Obviously it's messier and chancier than that, but 15 is a long way from 1000.

The whole ethnic matching is a bit sketchy. Native Americans have resisted the creation of databases that can be used to determine NA ethnicity. Also, I think China is doing the same. Perhaps because a lot Chinese like to view themselves as pure Han descendants when they can be anything but.

"The age of consumer genomics has arrived. Nowadays you can send a vial of your spit in the mail and pay to see how your unique genetic code relates to all manner of human activity—from sports to certain diets to skin cream to a preference for fine wines, even to dating."
How Accurate Are Online DNA Tests?: Geneticist and author Adam Rutherford examines the evidence

It's got nothing to do with the number of genes. They aren't selected one at a time when sperm and eggs are formed during meiosis. Genes come in chunks. Given that you get 23 chromosomes from each parent, and that each of those chromosomes is formed from very large chunks of the two corresponding chromosomes in the corresponding pair, it's the equivalent of about 100 coin tosses on each parent's side each generation, not 100,000.

I was just trying to show that even taking wj's premise about the massive # of genes involved, it doesn't take long, when halving them, to get to where it's a coin toss on the last one.

Does it really make any difference to the end result if they get passed on in chunks rather than one at a time? I am fuzzy-brained with something flu-like, so maybe I should just go to bed. But you (hsh) are the one who originally said this: IIRC, you have about a 50% chance of not having any DNA inherited from at least one of your GGG grandparents.

That's four generations back, not 15, much less 1000.

However, it turned out we only have around 24,000 genes.

A lot of plants have much more complicated genomes than humans do. For example, wheat has an estimated 164,000 to 334,000 genes.

Why is the Wheat Genome So Complicated?

I really didn't want to haul out my (rusty!) statistics. But here goes.

Take your parents. The odds that a given gene came from a particular parent are 1/2. But for two genes, the probability that neither came from that parent are only 1/4. Across 23000 genes, the probability that none of them came from that parent is 1 / (2 to the power 23000) -- tiny.

Now with multiple generations, the chances are better of course. But that none came from that generation it's (1 - (0.5 to the power 23000)) to the power number of generations. Takes far more than 100 generations to get that above 1%. Actually, it takes more than 1000 to get there.

Let me try getting more concrete.

Suppose you have 10 genes. the chances that you got none of them from a particular parent are 1 / (2 to the 10th) = 1/1024 = 0.999.

Takes 100 generations to get that down to 10%. And that's only 10 genes, not 23000.

You're assuming the events are independent when you simply multiply the probabilities. The closer genes are to each other on the chromosome,the more likely they are to end up together, be it passed on to an offspring or not. Imagine for the sake of argument that you inherited chromosomes intact from your parents. That would mean, with 23 pairs, that you would have a roughly 1 in 8 million chance of not getting any DNA from one of your grandparents. The actual situation is closer to that than it is to gene-by-gene inheritance.

Another way of thinking about it is to ask yourself how many ways you can shuffle a deck of cards. When you consider that question, do you ask “How many molecules are there in a deck of cards?” If so, you’re going to end up with a much larger number of possibilites than you should.

"Genetic linkage is the tendency of DNA sequences that are close together on a chromosome to be inherited together during the meiosis phase of sexual reproduction. Two genetic markers that are physically near to each other are unlikely to be separated onto different chromatids during chromosomal crossover, and are therefore said to be more linked than markers that are far apart. In other words, the nearer two genes are on a chromosome, the lower the chance of recombination between them, and the more likely they are to be inherited together. Markers on different chromosomes are perfectly unlinked."
Genetic linkage:

wj:

Let me try getting more concrete.

Suppose you have 10 genes. the chances that you got none of them from a particular parent are 1 / (2 to the 10th) = 1/1024 = 0.999.

Takes 100 generations to get that down to 10%. And that's only 10 genes, not 23000.

wj, I think this is wildly wrongheaded, but I don't know how to address it on its own terms, so I'm going to try one more time on my terms, and leave it at that.

Suppose we did have only ten genes. Or let's make it 16, because it's easier to work with powers of two.

Suppose I had a child. My child would get 8 genes from me and 8 from the other parent.

Suppose my child then had a child. My grandchild would have 16 genes, 8 of them from my child, 8 from the other parent.

Of the 8 from my child, anywhere from zero to all 8 could be from me. (It's of course not clean like this with real DNA, but this is just a model.) If it's zero, I've already been dropped from the set. But it probably won't be zero. So suppose on average it's 4, i.e. my grandchild has 4 of her complement of 16 genes from me.

If my grandchild had a child.....on average my great-grandchild would have 2 genes from me, and my great-great-grandchild would have no more than 1, along with genes from as many as 15 other ancestors, in practice maybe fewer.

Next generation -- like everyone else, my GG-grandchild is going to pass on only 8 of her 16 genes to her offspring (my GGG grandchild), so some of us ancestors are not going to be represented any longer.

And here we come quite nicely, right on time, to hsh's original statement: IIRC, you have about a 50% chance of not having any DNA inherited from at least one of your GGG grandparents.

Even if (setting aside hsh's point about clumps of genes) we take a full complement of about 24000, it would still take only 15 generations to reduce the numbers in that way, so after 15 generations, some ancestors would no longer be represented. (Assuming no crossovers in the lines of descent.)

I think we need someone like Marilyn vos Savant to set us straight. ;-)

This -- "the chances that you got none of them from a particular parent" -- makes no sense from any angle, because you always get half of them from each parent. It's the further-back ancestors we're talking about. Or at least, I'm talking about.

And lastly (I hope) -- my connecting that sequence with hsh's "50% chance" is half-snark, since of course hsh is talking about real life and I'm talking about a 16-gene model.

...

This conversation confuses me because I believe males inherit 100% of their father's y Chromosome. Moms give nothing. There may be some mixing of the X chromosome, but jr gets all of sr's Y.

It seems to me that the distribution discussed above may be true for females, but males are essentially direct Y chromosome descendents of male parents. And that is why Jesus could have a direct male descendant with his entire Y chromosome.

jrudkis, that's the way the Vatican genealogist explained it to me.

Yes, okay, Jesus and Aragorn. ;-)

For the rest of it, I still think wj is mistaken about whether, or how soon, ancestors' genes can get dropped from a sequence.

But I'm going to stop now.

as there is a Mitochondrial Eve, there is also a "Y Chromosonal Adam"

My own haplogroups which are only interesting as examples along with the explanatory text.

Maternal Haplogroup

Paternal Haplogroup

From what I've heard recently, "maleness" isn't really the Y chromosome, but a single gene that is mostly related to the Y chromosome.

If you've got that gene, you're male, even if you're XX. If the gene is missing, you're female, even if XY. Now, that gene is 99%+ connected to Y, but not 100%.

Biology is *messy*. Why, it's as if it wasn't designed at all, but just evolved out of slime-molds, or something.

Biology is *messy*

DNA is the original spaghetti code.

Biology is *messy*.

It seems that based on the XY/XX concept, that women can evolve much more than men. Men are exactly half of their father, plus some variation of mom and Dad. Women can be any combination. That is probably why they are far more interesting and adaptable.

Even if (setting aside hsh's point about clumps of genes) we take a full complement of about 24000, it would still take only 15 generations to reduce the numbers in that way, so after 15 generations, some ancestors would no longer be represented.

Interesting stuff. I may be totally off, but I'm thinking that the problem underlying the talk of 'whose gene is this' is that this makes a fetish of the uniqueness of genes and handing them down. If my wife and I share the same genes, whether it is 'my wife's' gene or 'my' gene is beside the point. Because we have between 19-20,000 genes, we end up focussing a small subset of those genes which warps our perception of what 'inheritance' really means in terms of genes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genome

Does that make sense or am I misreading this?


SNMPs are what matters when discussing what genes you go from whom. Yeah, the rest are all the same because we’re all humans. We “share” most of our DNA with chimps and gorillas, too. Good luck figuring out which ancestor you got that DNA from.

Suppose you have 10 genes. the chances that you got none of them from a particular parent are 1 / (2 to the 10th) = 1/1024 = 0.999.

Takes 100 generations to get that down to 10%. And that's only 10 genes, not 23000.

Something has gone wrong with your arithmetic.

n generations back, let's say you have 2^n ancestors (in reality people do sometimes procreate with (distant) cousins, but we'll ignore that).

Let's say you have N independently inheritable genes, inherited at random from one of two parents in each generation. And that natural selection of 'fitter' genes doesn't affect the outcome.

The the probability you don't inherit a given gene from a given ancestor n generations back is (1-1/2^n). And so the probability of inheriting no genes from a given ancestor is (1- 1/2^n)^N

For N=10, n=1 this is about one thousandth, as you say. But for n=2 it's about 1/18, for n=3 about 1/4, and for n=4 slightly less than 1/2.

This is not surprising: four generations back you have 16 great great grandparents, and there must be at least 6 of them you get none of the 10 from.

in reality people do sometimes procreate with (distant) cousins, but we'll ignore that

in reality, we're all distant cousins.

slightly less than 1/2
I meant "slightly more than 1/2".

The WaPo has a decent article on the Warren test;
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/18/just-about-everything-youve-read-warren-dna-test-is-wrong/

SNMPs are what matters when discussing what genes you go from whom...

Yes, but most single nucleotide polymorphisms occur outside of the functional gene sites, so the talk of 'genes' is somewhat obfuscatory.

It was possible to prove the identity of Richard III's remains by connecting him through the female line* to people alive today genetically (finding several cases of cheating on the male line on the way). That was 17 generations.
Just in time btw, since none of those modern guys have living heirs themselves, so it's end of the line.

*via his sister since he had no heirs himself

Mitochondrial DNA in humans in inherited only from the mother. Most Y-chromosome DNA is inherited only from the father.

Richard III was identified using mitochondrial DNA.

I just knew there was a reason I didn't want to dive into statistics!

But they made the attempts through both lines, and the male only failed due to too many cases of infidelity not because it was unworkable per se.
Of course these days it becomes more and more difficult to keep up a pure male or female line due to people having fewer children.
With two children per woman there would be a 50% chance of breaking off one of the chains each generation.

Yes, but most single nucleotide polymorphisms occur outside of the functional gene sites, so the talk of 'genes' is somewhat obfuscatory.

Sure. SNPs are mostly just a way of doing genetic genealogy. They even refer to them as "junk DNA" as far as determining your traits goes.

And my apologies for mixing a networking acronym up with a genetics acronym. ;^)

The the probability you don't inherit a given gene from a given ancestor n generations back is (1-1/2^n). And so the probability of inheriting no genes from a given ancestor is (1- 1/2^n)^N

For N=10, n=1 this is about one thousandth, as you say. But for n=2 it's about 1/18, for n=3 about 1/4, and for n=4 slightly less than 1/2.

I was thinking that we would want (1-1/2^N) for the probability that you got none of your genes. So that you had none from n generations ago would be (1-1/2^N)^n

Which, of course, gets a rather drastically different value once you are looking a a whole lot of genes.

I should have mentioned: in reality most genes come in pairs, if you want to take that into account the calculation is different.

Regarding how this works in reality: my understanding is that during meiosis each chromosome splits and recombines in a small number of places, so quite long DNA segments are inherited.

Y-chromosomes behave differently: there's little recombination with the accompanying X-chromosome - the genes don't line up.

(But such expertise as I have is in probability not genetics.)

It's kind of driving me nuts that after all this back-and-forth, people are still talking about the number of genes we have. That's not how it works! You inherit chromosomes from your parents - 23 from each. Those chromosomes, as Pro Bono describes, are formed by breaking apart the chromosomes in each pair (not so much on the X-Y pair on the father's side) and forming 2 new chromosomes, which will go their separate ways in separate sperm/eggs. But those chromosomes break apart in big chunks of DNA. Genes are not taken one at a time.

How many ways can you shuffle a deck of cards? The answer has nothing to do with the number of molecules in a deck of cards. The molecules travel together as parts of individual cards. You don't shuffle the deck molecule by molecule.

We could talk about it as though we're inheriting a single base (A, C, G, or T) from a given ancestor one at a time. Then we could come up with some really crazy numbers!

Some personal thoughts on changing party allegiance:

I've always thought of myself as a (UK) Labour Party supporter. I'm in favour of redistributive taxation, and state benefits for those in need. And I'm in favour of people being allowed to live as they please, so long as they don't harm others.

I'm also in favour of competent government, which defers to the expert consensus where one exists, and chooses policies based on evidence not instinct.

I don't want Jeremy Corbyn to become UK Prime Minister. I think he's not up to the job. The only talent he's ever shown is one for getting Party activists to vote for him.

I agree with him in some policy areas, particularly his opposition to military action unless a compelling case can be made that it will improve a bad situation. I disagree with him to some extent on others. But that's not really the issue.

So I vote tactically, not that my vote ever makes any apparent difference. I see myself as in very roughly the same position as a Republican voter in the US when George W Bush was the candidate - the guy was obviously not up to the job whatever you thought of his politics, so you shouldn't vote for him, and you should try for a better candidate next time.

The situation in the US now is nothing like that. The President is evil, and the Republican Party is right behind him, alongside him, and occasionally ahead of him. This is not the time to hope for gradual improvement. It's the duty of any decent Republican to turn against it. Regretfully perhaps, but determined to fight it with everything they've got.

We can worry about the niceties of two-party democracy when the bad guys have been routed.

That sounds so reasonable Pro Bono,except there is almost no policy solution the Democrats offer that doesn't cripple our economic and international security over time.

Voting for them would be criminal, even if they ran a competent person.

In fact, a more competent Democrat is more frightening.

there is almost no policy solution the Democrats offer that doesn't cripple our economic and international security over time.

learn something

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-rhetoric-about-the-deficit-becomes-punch-line-awkward-joke

...there is almost no policy solution the Democrats offer that doesn't cripple our economic and international security over time.

Sounds like climate change!

"In fact, a more competent Democrat is more frightening."

And the only good is a dead fucking republican.


Learn? Not from her, she was once a rational and intellectual liberal capable of reasonable discussion.

Shes just a left wing shill posing as an intellectual these days.

"learn something"

no, the lesson there for republicans/conservatives is that massive tax cuts which create purposefully massive budget deficits IS the competence by which these vermin create a massively incompetent, underfunded government and destroy it.

While of course filthy republican benefactors are living off the interest on the federal debt and the rest of the taxpayers who pay that interest to them.

The only government competence cocksucker conservatives wish to retain is the fascist government monopoly on protecting THEM from the savage fury of an armed populace.

I thought you were in favor of single payer, Marty. What are your thoughts on means-testing for SS benefits? Are you opposed to regulating the financial industry, particularly as it concerns protecting consumers? Are you against any and all environmental protections? What about robust protection for voting rights? Would you like lower-level, non-violent drug offenders to receive lighter sentences?

I am not in favor of single payer for everyone, I am in favor of means tested Medicare as a solution for covering 100% of citizens.

I am opposed to the sledge hammer Consumer regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Reasonable protections are fine, saving stupid, greedy people from themselves is not our job. In fact, the myth of government protection tends to exacerbate most peoples gullibility.

I am not against all environmental protections, nor is any Republican I know.

I believe in the requirement for a picture id to vote, I do believe the state id required should be free if not a drivers license.

I am for the fairly wide ranging legalization of most drugs.

I am not a huge proponent of special circumstance sentencing, if the tougher sentence is appropriate it is appropriate to protect everyone.

And so on.

That sounds so reasonable Pro Bono,except there is almost no policy solution the Democrats offer that doesn't cripple our economic and international security over time.

Which would be more convincing if "cripple our economic and international security" hadn't been applied to pretty much everything since Social Security in the middle of the last century. Including lots of stuff that now has bipartisan (yes, even in today's hyper-partisan environment) support. And still the economy is doing pretty well, and the biggest real threat to our security is the crazy policies of the current administration.

Not that the Democrats don't push for some stuff that I'm dubious of. But specific predictable negative impacts of specific policies would be far more convincing that a blanket condemnation. Just sayin'.

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