Friday, August 16, 2019 ... //

Can you distinguish blacks and whites, Bavarians and Bulgarians?

OK, during a discussion about the similarities and differences between Bavaria and Bohemia, a commenter suddently mentioned hair dye used by some hypothetical Muslims in Western Bulgaria. So I initially laughed: WTF? What does this discussion have to do with the Muslims going to Balkans, or their recolored hair, let alone with Muslims in West Bulgaria?

Why exactly West Bulgaria – where I have never been? We generally know just the Black Sea which is East Bulgaria.

I was obviously near certain that it was a very comical typo – or a sign of the American-level total ignorance about the world geography – so I assumed that what the comment actually meant was "Western Bohemia" where I live, not "Western Bulgaria" which is 1,000 km away and about 50% poorer. Great. The problem is that the discussion didn't stop.

So the comment section got flooded with comments by this commenter – and even another one – who seriously argued that "Bohemia and Bavaria were proto-Bulgarian regions". What? Is that meant seriously? Clearly, things were getting juicier and more ludicrous as a function of time.

What could be meant by proto-Bulgaria so that the statement would have any chance of being correct? The 7th century Old Great Bulgaria (a country of Bulgars) was located North of the Black Sea, e.g. in current Ukraine and Southern Russia – close to Donbas where we saw the Russian-Ukrainian skirmishes. Can't you see it's pretty far from Bavaria and even Bohemia?

One piece of the alleged evidence was a flood of 2018 articles about elongated skulls, a very small number of such skulls, found in Bavaria that were interpreted by someone as the effect of some brides that were sold to Bavaria centuries ago. The degree of speculation in this theory is immense, the genetic contribution to the Bavarian DNA is tiny, and the identification of "Bulgaria" as the source of the brides is extremely inaccurate – it could have been Romania or any nearby country as well and some skulls pointed to East Asia instead.

Why would someone use similar ludicrously irrelevant stories to justify the extraordinary claim that Bulgaria and Bavaria are close relatives? I just can't believe. If you decide that Bulgarians and Bavarians must be proven to be close relatives (or dogs and tulips, or whatever you like), then you may focus on rationalizing your predetermined conclusion and looking for web pages that, with some sloppy approach, may be sold as "evidence" for your predetermined belief. But those misinterpreted web pages don't change anything about the fact that your predetermined belief – as well as the "methodology" to support it – proves that you are extraordinarily uneducated and dumb. Your methodology is also dishonest because you should also look for web pages saying that they're not relative or for web pages describing a similar "relationship" between an arbitrary pair of nations, so that you could compare and decide whether you found a "relationship" that goes beyond the noise.

OK, let me sketch a basic picture of the history of species, races, and nations that – in one way or another – approximately follow from the education that was associated with the elementary schools when I was a kid. I would insist that whoever is completely unfamiliar with most of the facts below is stupider than a fifth grader because fifth graders are normally being taught this basic stuff.

At the beginning, there was the Big Bang, God saw it was nice, and called the $U(1)$ gauge fields' electromagnetic waves "light", and so on.

The world started some 13.83 billion years ago although the new explosion of contradictions concerning Hubble's constant may soon force us to backtrack in this accuracy – and maybe we will return to the inaccurate 10-15 billion years as the estimate of age, like what we said 40 years ago.

Some 4.6 billion years ago, the Solar System including the Sun, the Earth, and other planets was formed.

Shortly afterwards, some 4.3-4.1 billion years ago, life started. The life was low-brow for billions of years. Only after the Cambrian explosion, an event some 541 million years ago, interesting higher species began. Synapsids and sauropsids, lizard-like and bird-like predecessors of mammals, exploded over 300 million years ago. And 118 million years ago, we already had some mammals similar to a raccoon.

There were many other groups of organisms. I am focusing on the branch that led to me – both because it is my branch and because I think it is pretty much the most sophisticated branch of organisms.

Roughly 10 million years ago, there were various splits within apes. Chimps and humans split some 5-7 million years ago. Between 2 and 0.5 million years ago, the clear "homo" appeared, and homo sapiens evolved some 350,000 years ago. It's believed that these final changes to create homo sapiens took place in Africa and the recent humans all came from Africa, some 100,000-30,000 years ago, but there's some possibility that this whole African ancestry claim is wrong.

The evolution and divergence didn't stop there. Some 20,000 years ago or so, various genes of the white race started to appear. They probably communicated in some way but we can only get deep enough to talk about the proto-Indo-European language, spoken as one language some 6,500-4,500 years ago. Approximately 3,000 years ago, proto-Germanic and proto-Celtic were already diverged from proto-Indo-European, and there are similar dates for other groups. When we're talking about less than 10,000 years ago, most of the ancestors in Europe were already white in the modern sense.

Celts thrived some 3,000 years ago, pretty much in central Europe – a horizontal-Britain-like shape between Southern Bohemia and Northern Switzerland – but they got gradually pushed to extreme corners such as Ireland and Scotland.

We have a particularly sharp picture of the state of affairs from some 2,000 years ago when the literate ancient Greek and Roman civilizations thrived. They observed lots of things, distinguished the barbarians to Celts and Germanics, and we know where they lived. So the ancient Germanic tribes were probably living in Southern Sweden (including the island Gotland) – that's the "Nordic" origin of the Germanic nations – and expanded to the South. These Goths plus Vandals got split to Visigoths and Ostrogoths a few centuries after Christ, when these terms (basically identical to Western Goths and Eastern Goths) were coined.

OK, I have a particular reason to look at the Slavs – some 50+ percent of the Czech DNA is Slavic and the language is "fully" Slavic. So they were "two steps away" from the Romans so Romans didn't write much about Slavs – and Slavs themselves probably split from some larger, ancient groups – Balto-Slavs – around 500 AD. Byzantine Empire - the leftover of the Roman Empire's glory – already knew Slavs and probably used them as slaves which is why "slaves" is indirectly derived from the Slavic word "Slavs".

Before that, "we" had a union with Baltic nations – now the two small L-nations in the post-Soviet realm – but Slavs were a fringe group of Balto-Slavs that expanded most. The proto-Slavic language (and its modern Slavic descendants) became so widespread in Europe probably because it was used as a lingua franca in an empire of Avars, a country of assorted nomadic tribes – Turkic, Slavic, maybe even Mongoloid – the precise admixture is not known. They politically accepted the convention to treat proto-Slavic as an excellent unified language for everyone to communicate which is why the old Slavic – a fringe dialect of Balto-Slavic – became vastly more important than the remaining Baltic languages themselves!

So while the conservative Balts remained in the Northern homeland, Slavs culturally expanded roughly southwards (split to Western, Eastern, and Southern Slavs – note that the Balts may be treated as the "Northern quasi-Slavs" to fill the fourth cardinal direction) but the Slavic-speaking nations genetically contain a more diverse, more Asian in average, and less known mixture of various nations that lived some 1500 years ago – a historical basis for someone (who postulates the European DNA as superior) to treat Slavs as the Untermenschen. Note that the expansion of proto-Slavic was analogous to the expansion of English. A random Germanic language expanded across the world so much because it was associated with the colonial efforts in the most crucial epoch – when the assorted people in the new melting pots had to understand each other. It's also similar to the expansion of Russia. It was also a fringe part of the Slavs but it had easy enemies in the East where it could expand which is why 1/2 of Slavic speakers are Russian by now. It's normal in the evolution – of species, nations, and languages – that some relatively small group suddenly greatly expands for some reasons.

To summarize, Celts and Germanic peoples may be considered the "original" inhabitants of Central and Western Europe. Slavs already had a possible old homeland in Eastern Europe – Belarus/Ukraine – and they have a larger Asian admixture because the proto-Slavic language was also used as lingua franca by some people with a very different origin in the Avar Empire. Note that pretty much the same thing is happening to the Western European languages today while the Central and Eastern European languages' human carriers' DNA tend to preserve their "relatively controlled" degree of the Asian DNA admixture.

Bulgarians are an example of the Turkic people – which originally belonged to Central Asia, somewhere – mixed with Slavs, and who also largely absorbed the Slavic culture – like the Avar Empire did. They clearly never had any significant overlap with the "original Western European peoples" like the Goths. Similarly, Hungarians came much later than Germanics, Celts, and even Slavs – included some "Huns" and similar originally mostly Northern Asian groups – but they have absorbed lots of the surrounding, mainly Slavic and Romanian, blood – so "they" don't look too Asian today. Hungarians are genetically close to the neighbors but their language has origins much further to the East.

I could continue for some time – with comments about the groups into which any current country of Europe belongs. There are lots of these facts and they may also be organized according to the age or time scale. Everyone should know some background but he should also know something more about his or her ancestors because it's natural to know more stuff about your matters than other people's and other organisms' matters.

The Nazi teaching about nations and races had lots of superstitions and nonsense in it. Also, they routinely encouraged superstitions – e.g. that the Croatians were primarily Germanic Goths because it was helpful for them to be allies. But of course it had some basic tenets that were solid and that a sane person interested in the origin of nations can't abandon – not even today. A person who can observe really sees the differences by the naked eyes. If someone becomes totally confused about the difference between Turkic and Germanic people, for example, or even about the question whether Italians are white (and numerous answers are actually trying to persuade the readers that Italians are blacks over there, WTF), it's the opposite extreme. It's insanity.

The families of languages used to be closely correlated with the people's DNA and the location of the home of most of the ancestors. The differences between Europe and Africa, Europe and Asia, Southern Europe and Northern Europe, and Western Europe and Eastern Europe is rather clear. Whoever denies it is either totally uneducated or crazy. The formative epoch which determines the "hard to change traits of various European nations" was between some 200 and 5,000 years ago. In some cases, the link between the DNA and the "rough family of the language" gets weakened – especially when large groups of migrants were being "pre-programmed" to another language – but such events are exceptions and most of the historical ones are arguably understood rather well.

No, ladies and Gentlemen, Italians aren't black and Bavarians aren't close relatives of the Bulgarians. Czechs or "Bohemians" are only close to Bulgarians to the extent to which Bulgarians are Slavs (and Bulgarians are mostly Turkic according to biology) – and the Bulgarians are almost certainly the "most distant Slavic nation from Western Bohemians" that you can find, just like an intelligent, intuitively thinking person would expect simply from the geographic separation. The geographic separation isn't a perfect recipe to estimate the genetic or linguistic proximity between nations or groups of people but it's surely better than nothing (i.e. than some assumption that everyone is equal or equally far from everyone else).