May 16, 2022·edited May 16, 2022Liked by Emil O. W. Kirkegaard

The Cold Winters theory has been "in the air" for at least two centuries. The first person to expound it seems to have been the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860):

"All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention, because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers, and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms, were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature, and out of it came their high civilization"

Schopenhauer, S. Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays, Volume 2, Translated by E.F.J. Payne, Clarendon Press: Oxford, 2000 [1851], p. 159.

The next proponent was Darwin’s colleague Alfred Russel Wallace:

"So when a glacial epoch comes on, some animals must acquire warmer fur, or a covering of fat, or else die of cold. Those best clothed by nature are, therefore, preserved by natural selection. Man, under the same circumstances, will make himself warmer clothing, and build better houses; and the necessity of doing this will react upon his mental organisation and social condition [ ... ].

[ ... ] a hardier, a more provident, and a more social race would be developed, than in those regions where the earth produces a perennial supply of vegetable food, and where neither foresight nor ingenuity are required to prepare for the rigours of winter. And is it not the fact that in all ages, and in every quarter of the globe, the inhabitants of temperate have been superior to those of tropical countries? All the great invasions and displacements of races have been from North to South, rather than the reverse."

Wallace, A.R. The Origin of Human Races and the Antiquity of Man deduced from the Theory of “Natural Selection”. J. Anthropol. Soc. Lond. 1864, 2, clviii–clxxxvii.

All of this is discussed in the introduction to my 2019 paper:

Frost, P. (2019). The Original Industrial Revolution. Did Cold Winters Select for Cognitive Ability? Psych 1(1): 166-181. https://doi.org/10.3390/psych1010012

When I was preparing that paper, I discussed the history of the Cold Winters theory with Richard Lynn. He was not familiar with the Schopenhauer quote or any of the other quotes I put to him. He had developed the theory on his own, although he agreed with me when I suggested that it might have been "in the air."

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How intelligent are Siberians?

If cold winters is valid then Evenks and Yakuts should be as least as intelligent as North East Asians.

This chart from Karlin suggests they are under represented among Soviet scientists. I wonder if Soviet school data exists.


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The grandfather of this must be Montesquieu and his Meteorological climate theory

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Fascinating. With technology thinking for humans and machines doing the work adding medical dictates human brains and bodies will no longer require thoughts or physical strength. Back to bacteria!

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Interesting, I didn't know Jerison wrote about *human* brains.

Why would birds be subject to cold winter theory? They have enough feathers to survive cold, they don't make complex clothes. I remember reading somewhere that small-and-large brained birds stay in winters and medium brained birds migrate.

Somewhat offtopic, I'd like to know if someone has a theory why large animals have unnecessarily large brains (i.e. their larger brains have about same amount of neurons that small animals)

I think it somehow needs to be accounted that brain also consumes energy indirectly due to need to digest food, pump blood so maybe these 20% turn out to be more like 35%

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