Advantages of Closed Groups: The Amish Breed for Amishness

800px-Amish_people

Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqThe Amish are breeding themselves to be more Amish, through both unintentional means and deliberate ones.  From Taki’s Magazine via American Renaissance:

The fairly distinctive genetic signature of the Amish is increasingly studied.

The Amish fight their congenital diseases caused by inbreeding by encouraging courting among their less closely related members. (Unlike the ultra-Orthodox, who battle hereditary diseases such as Tay-Sachs via eugenics, the Amish don’t arrange marriages.) This practice has the paradoxical property of making the Amish more genetically homogeneous.

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{snip} Evolutionary theorists Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran have recently argued that the Amish are in effect breeding themselves for “plainness.”

This is mathematically quite possible because there has been little gene flow into the Amish in many generations. They seldom proselytize, preferring to grow their own adherents. Large numbers of “English” tourists flow daily past their farms in Amish strongholds like Holmes County, but the Amish aren’t interested in converting them.

Not surprisingly, there’s a steady genetic outflow from the Amish (often into the only somewhat less strict Mennonites, whom certain Amish groups consider a respectable enough alternative to the Old Order that they won’t shun their loved ones who join the Mennonites). As Anabaptists, the new generation of Amish isn’t baptized into the church until young adulthood.

Overall, about 10 to 15 percent leave their Amish community for a less constrained existence. (With an average of close to seven children apiece, losing one to the outside world is less of a tragedy.) Strikingly, the rate of defection appears to have declined from the 18 to 24 percent range seen in the past.

Harpending and Cochran hypothesize that the Amish are genetically distinct not only because of “founders’ effects”–idiosyncrasies in the genes of the 200 original American Amish–but also because they are increasingly becoming more Amish genetically due to “selection effects.”

First, they are likely getting more fertile.

Additionally, the Amish are having very large families, averaging seven children for each couple.  Currently numbering about 280,000 in the US, their population should double every 21 years.

While the rest of the human race can devolve into infertile hedonism, atheism, and laziness, the Amish will not only out-breed us but manage to preserve their religion, customs, language, and race.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5

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