April 7, 2010

Races and Brains

Posted in Natural Science, Theory tagged , , , at 22:58 by Matthijs Krul

An important aspect of the newly emerging folk psychology, if that would be the right term, in America is the notion of a racial ladder: one which extends from ‘Asians’ at the top to ‘whites’ in the middle and ‘blacks’ at the bottom. Sometimes the argument is based on studies of IQ scores, other times the argument is based on anecdotal experiences about American colleges and universities, or about supposed Asian special aptitude for mathematics and natural sciences. These ideas are fairly widespread, and not limited purely to bar talk: even such supposedly hip ‘leftist’ magazines as Slate have contributed to it, and they are fairly prevalent at American universities too, including with the admissions departments.(1)(2) As in the Slate article, often these views are defended from accusations of racism by appealing to the fact that the folk psychology does not place whites at the top. Needless to say, this is not much of an argument, but it is commonly believed to be justified. Because of the nefarious nature of this notion, it is time to confront it with a basic understanding of statistics, which will quickly dispel most ideas of this kind.

First there is the IQ argument. Based on the research of such ‘scientific’ racialists as the Canadian J.P. Rushton, there have been suggestions that the IQ level of Asians is higher than that of whites, and of whites higher than that of blacks – and not just in the United States, but even worldwide. As Saletan’s article notes based on this research:

Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain. White populations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States score closer to one another than to the worldwide black average. It’s been that way for at least a century.

(3)(4)
This study also proposes that the same racial ladder holds in terms of brain size, with again Asians having the largest brains on average, then whites, and then blacks. Saletan of course warns that one can’t deduce the intelligence of any given person from an average, and there is little suggestion that Saletan himself, or other people who reason this way, are consciously intending to make political divisions based on race. But it is inevitable that such claims, if unchallenged and widely accepted, are going to lead to selection on the basis of race anyway. This is a mere matter of rationality in the most orthodox economic sense: even if you can’t tell from a given black individual whether they are smarter than a white one, while hiring it would still be rational to pick the white candidate because the expected intelligence value would be higher. The claim that since averages don’t tell anything about individuals, the implications are not politically racist or likely to lead to it, is quite clearly intellectually dishonest. Universities too would be wise to credit Asian applicants higher in their internal selection, all else being equal, on the basis of such claims; if they were true.

Fortunately, there is not much reason to believe that they are. There is a number of important reasons why IQ scores of this sort, even if we completely accept the test results and assume that everything is done aboveboard, cannot be used to make such racial distinctions. First there is the Flynn effect: studies by a certain James Flynn have shown that over time, the average IQ score has gone up strongly in Western countries. Because IQ scores are intended to be a measure based on an average for any given population of 100, such increases across the board are incompatible with IQ being a useful measure of intelligence, or even of mental retardation, which it was originally designed to be a measure of. After all, Flynn’s studies pointed out that given the rate of increase of average IQ by 0.3 a year, tracing this increase backwards “the Flynn effect puts the average I.Q.s of the schoolchildren of 1900 at around 70, which is to suggest, bizarrely, that a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded.”(5) Needless to say, that just isn’t very plausible. As a result, IQ scores are recalibrated to create a new average of 100 every few decades. This means its value for comparing relative score results improves whenever calibration occurs, but it is inherently incompatible with any ideas of racial heredity of IQ in a meaningful way. After all, if in a few generations the score can go up from ‘mentally retarded’ to ‘a standard deviation above average’, this is an increase much too fast to be explainable in terms of evolutionary adaptations.

But that isn’t all: the actual IQ results comparing the racial categories are incorrect in the first place, because very often the population compared is not at all equal. Again, it is important to remember that an IQ of 100 is always the average for any given population, so the test population chosen matters enormously. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out, one can safely assume he would have a quite above 100 IQ score when compared to the general population of Britain; but when compared to a population of Oxford University lecturers, his score might not be quite as impressive.(6) The fact that these scores are expressed in absolute numbers, 100, 120, and so on, falsely give the impression of some sort of absolute standard rather than the relative measure for a population of mentally handicapped it was intended to be. Dawkins quite rightly points to the meaning of the old joke about a politician complaining that education is so bad these days that half the population now has an IQ of under 100: it is a mere necessity of statistics. Now the same James Flynn, a social scientist from New Zealand, compared the studies about relative racial IQ performance that another ‘scientific racialist’, Richard Lynn, had done. As Malcolm Gladwell describes it:

Here was a question tailor-made for James Flynn’s accounting skills. He looked first at Lynn’s data, and realized that the comparison was skewed. Lynn was comparing American I.Q. estimates based on a representative sample of schoolchildren with Japanese estimates based on an upper-income, heavily urban sample. Recalculated, the Japanese average came in not at 106.6 but at 99.2. Then Flynn turned his attention to the Chinese-American estimates. They turned out to be based on a 1975 study in San Francisco’s Chinatown using something called the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test. But the Lorge-Thorndike test was normed in the nineteen-fifties. For children in the nineteen-seventies, it would have been a piece of cake. When the Chinese-American scores were reassessed using up-to-date intelligence metrics, Flynn found, they came in at 97 verbal and 100 nonverbal. Chinese-Americans had slightly lower I.Q.s than white Americans.

(7)

A third issue with IQ based on heredity is the problem of genes. Because racial categories are based on superficial physical phenomena, people often forget that for any given black person, that individual is likely to have a very significant amount of ‘white’ genes. Nowadays, such matters can be tested, and the results argue completely against the racial ladder idea:

Most tellingly, blood-typing tests have been used to assess the degree to which black individuals have European genes. The blood group assays show no association between degree of European heritage and I.Q. Similarly, the blood groups most closely associated with high intellectual performance among blacks are no more European in origin than other blood groups.

(8)
Aside from this, the relation between IQ testing and the assumption of a “general intelligence”, often called ‘g’ or the ‘g factor’, is dubious altogether. As Stephen Jay Gould pointed out in his classic The Mismeasure of Man, there is no particular reason to assume that such a “general intelligence” actually exists, and the statistical ‘g correlation’ may well be an artifact of the manner in which the results from fairly different testing subjects in the common IQ tests are combined.(9) The IQ tests are also widely suspected of being biased in the kind of knowledge and skills that are asked, based often on assumptions of general knowledge that prevail among the majority of Western populations, which might well not apply to the ‘racial’ minorities in such populations. As Nisbett’s article points out:

Important recent psychological research helps to pinpoint just what factors shape differences in I.Q. scores. Joseph Fagan of Case Western Reserve University and Cynthia Holland of Cuyahoga Community College tested blacks and whites on their knowledge of, and their ability to learn and reason with, words and concepts. The whites had substantially more knowledge of the various words and concepts, but when participants were tested on their ability to learn new words, either from dictionary definitions or by learning their meaning in context, the blacks did just as well as the whites.

(10)
Given this fact, the purported ability of IQ to predict future performance in society, supposedly based on racial ‘general intelligence’, may well be based on the statistical artifact that something which tests the degree of ‘integration’ with the racial majority of society is also likely to predict the degree of success in terms of such integration in that society. Similar objections as the above two pertain to the argument from brain size; absolute brain size is a very poor predictor of intelligence when a comparison is made between different species. Brain size as a proportion of total mass is a better comparison.(11) Here too Asians are said to score better than whites and whites better than blacks, despite the general weight and height distribution being rather the reverse; but the problem with this is that men also tend to have larger brains on average than women do, even relative to mass, and yet they both score equally on average at cognitive ability tests. Also, the manner of discounting weight differences when measuring the ‘encephalization quotient’ is disputed, and results vary wildly.(12)

Finally, there are good scientific and historical reasons to doubt the meaning of racial categories in the first place. We know that historically the choice in which physical characteristics make one part of which race has been highly variable. In American history, such peoples as Finns, Irish and Italians have in the past been considered not to belong to the white race, even though now they are considered just as ‘obviously’ to belong to it.(13) This casts enormous doubt on the meaning of those superficial morphological characteristics usually considered to be ‘evident’ indicators of the racial label. When one compares different groups of humans as a “geographically circumscribed, sharply differentiated population”, the common evolutionary biological definition of a subspecies, some 25-30% of all genetic differentiation between the individuals within these different groups has to be explained by group differences rather than individual genetic differentiation. When this test was applied to humans (based on 16 different populations from all inhabited continents), however, it found that 84.4% of all genetic differences are explained by individual differentiation and only the remaining 15.6% by group differences. Compared to other wide-spread mammal species, this is particularly low.(14) As a result, one cannot scientifically defend the existence of identifiable races as subspecies of humans.(15) Add to this the fact that the ‘holy trinity’ of races, white, black and Asian, are largely American in origin and not at all the racial classification commonly used in folk psychology in places such as Brazil or Haiti, and the ground for racial classifications of intelligence becomes shaky indeed.

What then can explain the folk psychology in America about the different racial performances at universities, including the perception that Asians outperform the rest? Some statistics can clear this up. Since we have shown that racial categories are made up by humans, and have no systematic biological basis, we can see if an assumption of overall equal average intelligence can sustain such results (arguendo, we will assume also that there is such a thing as one general intelligence). Given the large quantities of population involved and the assumption of equal average intelligence, we can assume that intelligence among the different three racial groups is distributed according to normal distribution. Now essential in this context is to note that the racial classification has for historical reasons arisen in such a manner that the number people bearing the label ‘Asian’ is much larger than that of the other two races. Depending on how the label is applied, fully half the global population can be classified as ‘Asian’ in this manner. Given this fact and normal distribution, we would then expect the result to be that the smartest people on the planet are racially ‘Asian’, and the dumbest people on the planet are also racially ‘Asian’. This simply follows from a hypothetical comparison of the three bell curves: ‘Asians’ being in absolute amounts more numerous, their bell curve would be wider on both ends as well as higher in terms of absolute population at each point in the curve. Now this result has to be tempered in the case of American universities by a number of factors, such as the ‘Asian’ population of the United States (which is relatively small), the degree to which each race is capable of equally accessing a university given equal intelligence levels, and so forth. Also important would be the relative degree of emigration for the purposes of study in the United States on the part of Asians.

In California, for example, there have been indications that since the abolition of ‘affirmative action’ by referendum in 1996, the number of Asians & Pacific Islanders (designated by census) at Californian high level universities has strongly increased. For example, the University of California at Berkeley has a 42% Asian undergrad population, on a general Asian population in California of slightly over 12%.(16) It seems safe then to assume that Asians are equal to whites in most (if not all) top universities in their ability to enter on the basis of intelligence, whereas blacks likely still are not, to say the least. Now if we assume that foreign applicants to American universities are generally drawn from the upper and upper middle classes from their areas of origin, and that the percentual amount of upper class people in Asia and in Africa are roughly similar, one would expect a numerically larger number of Asian foreign students. Combine this with the relatively larger Asian populations in states such as California and New York with high level universities, and one gets substantial ‘expected’ minorities at top level American universities. This in turn combined with the aforementioned normal distribution gives some indication of how statistics could explain this folk psychology idea, without there being any need for actually assuming any hereditary capabilities of intelligence on the part of actually existing ‘races’. Given paucity of data, the still small overall Asian population of the US, the limited amount of foreign students at American universities, differences in tuition fees and so forth, this statistical exercise by no means intends to prove the entirety of the perceived gap. But it shows to demonstrate that even if we assume such generalizations of folk psychology to be true, we do not and should not draw racial conclusions from such statistically dubious data.

1), 3) William Saletan, “Created Equal”. Slate (Nov. 18, 2007).
2), 16) Tim Krueger, “Asian: The New White”. The Cornell Daily Sun (Sept. 20, 2007).
4) See: Rushton & Jensen, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability”. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Vol. 11:2 (2005), p. 235-294.
5), 7) Malcolm Gladwell, “None of the Above”. The New Yorker (Dec. 17, 2007).
6) Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale (London 2005), p. 87n.
8), 10) Richard Nisbett, “All Brains Are the Same Color”. New York Times (Dec. 9, 2007).
9) See: Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York, NY 1996).
11) Dawkins, p. 81.
12) http://pubpages.unh.edu/~jel/brainIQ.html; Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and Richard Lewontin, “Women Versus the Biologists: An Exchange”. The New York Review of Books Volume 41, Number 13 (July 14, 1994).
13) See e.g. Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White (New York, NY 1995); J. Sakai, Settlers (Chicago, IL 1983).
14) Alan Templeton, “The Genetic and Evolutionary Significance of Human Races”, in: Jefferson Fish (ed.), Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth (Mahwah, NJ 2002), p. 36.
15) This means that ‘scientific racialist’ Arthur Jensen, a well-known proponent of the hereditary racial intelligence thesis, was quite wrong when he claimed human races equate to subspecies. See: Arthur Jensen, The ‘g’ Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (Westport, CT 1998).

See also: http://www.wordtown.com/2010/04/07/races-and-brains/.

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42 Comments »

  1. hrolf said,

    t a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded.”

    a century ago, lol

  2. M Pearle said,

    Interesting post, I’ve got a few comments.

    *** First there is the Flynn effect: studies by a certain James Flynn have shown that over time, the average IQ score has gone up strongly in Western countries.***

    Note that researchers like Jelte Wicherts (2004) have found that the Flynn effect gains seem qualitatively different to the ‘g’ loaded differences that make up the gaps between groups. The Flynn effect seems to reflect gains on domain specific items, but not necessarily overall ability. A test’s g loading is the best predictor, not just of school grades and workplace performance, but also of all the other indicators and correlates of intelligence—including biological variables, reaction times, and heritability estimates.

    Also, while scores have risen, group differences have remained. A meta-analytic review in Personnel Psychology in 2001 by Philip Roth and colleagues a 1.1 standard deviation group difference across college and university application tests, for tests for job applicants in corporate settings, and in the military.

    ***Because racial categories are based on superficial physical phenomena, people often forget that for any given black person, that individual is likely to have a very significant amount of ‘white’ genes. Nowadays, such matters can be tested, and the results argue completely against the racial ladder idea:***

    The quotation from Richard Nisbett’s article is also a point Nisbett makes in his book. A recent review by James J Lee notes the limitations of those studies (Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 247–255):

    “He goes on to cite two studies failing to find an association
    between ancestry-informative blood-group markers and
    IQ without mentioning that the handicaps of small sample size
    and unreliable ancestry estimation rendered these two studies
    virtually powerless to reject any hypothesis within the interval
    of contention (Loehlin, Vandenberg, & Osborne, 1973; Scarr, Pakstis,
    Katz, & Barker, 1978).

    Modern genetic methodology allows estimates of ancestry
    admixture to draw on thousands of DNA polymorphisms rather
    than a mere handful of markers constrained to be associated with
    readily measurable phenotypic variation (Price et al., 2008). As a
    result we can now make such estimates with extraordinary preci- sion. Fig. 3 displays what differential psychologists might call the
    ‘‘loadings” of several genotyped individuals on the principal components
    (PCs) of the genotype-by-individual matrix. We can readily
    see that the first two PCs perfectly separate East Asians,
    Europeans, and West Africans. The admixed American blacks are
    arrayed along a nearly straight line between the African and European
    clusters. The scattering toward the East Asian cluster most
    likely represents additional admixture with Native Americans.
    If Nisbett is truly confident that degree of European ancestry
    shows no association whatsoever with IQ, he should call for studies
    employing superior ancestry estimates of the kind displayed in
    Fig. 3. Note that the increased reliability of ancestry estimation
    does not obviate the need for a large sample. Even under an extreme
    hereditarian hypothesis assigning mean genotypic IQs of
    80 and 100 respectively to the African and European ancestors of
    African Americans, we can only expect an increase of .2 IQ points
    for every percentage increase in European ancestry. The considerable
    IQ variation among African Americans makes an effect of this
    size difficult to detect in small samples.

    The ultimate test of the hereditarian hypothesis is of course the
    identification of the genetic variants affecting IQ and a tally of their
    frequencies in the two populations….

    Given that much of the critical research so clearly lies ahead, Nisbett’s certainty regarding his own premature conclusions is quite remarkable.”

    ***, the relation between IQ testing and the assumption of a “general intelligence”, often called ‘g’ or the ‘g factor’, is dubious altogether. As Stephen Jay Gould pointed out in his classic The Mismeasure of Man, ***

    I could go into considerable detail on a number of flaws and distortions contained in Gould’s book. His criticism of the ‘g’ factor is just one of them. There are a number of published articles which examine the problems with Gould’s critique see John Carroll’s review Intelligence 21, 121-134 (1995). Also, David J. Bartholomew, from London School of Economics, who has written a textbook on factor analysis, also explains in “Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies” where Gould goes wrong in this area.

    Interestingly, there are a number of biological correlates which neuroscientists observe with ‘g’. These are discussed in the paper by UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson & Yale psychologist Jeremy Gray.

    ‘NEUROBIOLOGY OF INTELLIGENCE: SCIENCE AND ETHICS.’ Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5, 471-482 (June 2004)

    http://www.yale.edu/scan/GT_2004_NRN.pdf

    ***The IQ tests are also widely suspected of being biased in the kind of knowledge and skills that are asked, based often on assumptions of general knowledge that prevail among the majority of Western populations***

    These criticisms have been investigated by the National Academy of Sciences and the APA Taskforce: Intelligence Knowns & Unknowns. Tests have cross cultural validity ie. they predict outcomes equally well across groups.

    Also, note that group differences are actually lower on the more culturally loaded questions. Also, groups tend to get similar easy questions right, but gaps increase on harder questions. For instance, reverse digit span is more demanding then forward digit span and group differences are higher on reverse digit span (the more g loaded activity).

    ***Here too Asians are said to score better than whites and whites better than blacks, despite the general weight and height distribution being rather the reverse;***

    If you read the Thompson & Gray paper above you’ll see that brain size on MRI correlates from .40 to .51 with measured intelligence.

    In terms of the female size difference, Jensen writes in ‘The g Factor':

    “Females have 11 percent more neurons per unit volume than do males if true for the brain as a whole, would more than offset the 10 percent male-female difference in overall brain volume. This sex difference in neuronal packing density is considered a true sexual dimorphism, as are the sex differences in overall body size, skeletal form, the proportion and distribution of body fat, and other secondary sexual characteristics. Sexual dimorphism is seen throughout the animal kingdom and in many species is far more extreme than in Homo sapiens. I have not found any investigation of racial differences in neuron density that, as in the case of sex differences, would offset the racial difference in brain weight or volume. Until doubts on this point are empirically resolved, however, interpretations of the behavioral significance of the racial difference in brain size remain tentative. One indication that the race difference in brain weight is not of the same nature as the sex difference is that the allometric ratio of brain weight (in g) to body weight (in kg) is less similar between the racial groups than between the sexes within each racial group.”

    ***Finally, there are good scientific and historical reasons to doubt the meaning of racial categories in the first place. ***

    We know now there are enough genetic differences between people from different parts of the world that you can classify people in groups that correspond to popular notions of race. See studies by Rosenberg, or Neil Risch & Hua Tang:

    “we found that individuals could be partitioned into six main genetic clusters, five of which corresponded to Africa, Europe and the part of Asia south and west of the Himalayas, East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas”

    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.0010070

    Because groups cluster differently, they also exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to group differences. As Steve Hsu notes:

    “What seems to be true (from preliminary studies) is that the gene variants that were under strong selection (reached fixation) over the last 10k years are different in different clusters. That is, the way that modern people in each cluster differ, due to natural selection, from their own ancestors 10k years ago is not the same in each cluster — we have been, at least at the genetic level, experiencing divergent evolution.

    In fact, recent research suggests that 7% or more of all our genes are mutant versions that replaced earlier variants through natural selection over the last tens of thousands of years. There was little gene flow between continental clusters (“races”) during that period, so there is circumstantial evidence for group differences beyond the already established ones (superficial appearance, disease resistance).”

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.html

    ***Now if we assume that foreign applicants to American universities are generally drawn from the upper and upper middle classes from their areas of origin***

    That’s not necessarily the case though. In Brazil, it is the Japanese who are the highest-achieving group. They were brought in as indentured labourers to work the plantations after slavery was abolished in 1888. Yet, today, the Japanese outscore Whites on IQ tests, earn more, and are over-represented in university places.

  3. Matthijs Krul said,

    Your criticisms are highly selective. I will deal with a number of them in turn.

    As regards Nisbett’s commentary, it may well be true that further study would specify how poorly racial gene theory holds up under large samples of blacks with ‘European elements’. But this is of itself not an argument. The onus is on the racialists to defend their theories, not on Nisbett.

    I am also well aware of Bartholomew’s disagreement with Gould, but this is often extremely taken out of context or overblown by the racialists. It is worthwhile to point out that in “Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies”, Bartholomew himself points out that Gould was “substantially correct” about components analysis, as can be found on p. 71. He only accused Gould of failing to see that factor analysis has some different technical aspects that are not entirely a subset of components analysis, something he notes Jensen also gets wrong. Also, Bartholomew does not say that the ‘g’ factor exists, let alone that it is ‘the’ measure of intelligence.

    Jensen’s own ‘research’ is not really worth replying to, so I’ll let that go. But “We know now there are enough genetic differences between people from different parts of the world that you can classify people in groups that correspond to popular notions of race” is a completely false statement when intended to imply that there is such a thing as race. As I pointed out, the notions of race we have popularly are based on historically grown political divisions, they do not have any scientific basis. After all, the very rapid and radical changes in perception of who belongs to what race that we can trace over the last couple centuries would make any scientific basis completely incoherent. Of course, the authors you cite do not intend any such implication in the first place. All they point out is the completely trivial fact that there are (very minor) genetic differences between people that are largely identifiable as geographical ones. Anyone who has travelled from, say, London to Delhi can see this for himself. It does not imply anything relevant to the debate about races and brains.

    Finally, you cite Wicherts on the Flynn effect. It might be of interest to you that Wicherts, Borsboom & Dolan have reiterated, and this is by far still the majority position among psychologists, biologists and paleontologists:

    “In this rejoinder, we respond to comments by Lynn, Rushton, and Templer on our previous paper in which we criticized the use of national IQs in studies of evolutionary theories of race differences in intelligence.
    We reiterate that because of the Flynn Effect and psychometric issues, national IQs cannot be taken to reflect populations’ levels of g as fixed since the last ice age. We argue that the socio-cultural achievements
    of peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt in 3000 B.C. stand in stark contrast to the current low level of national IQ of peoples of Iraq and Egypt and that these ancient achievements appear to contradict evolutionary
    accounts of differences in national IQ. We argue that race differences in brain size, even if these were entirely of genetic origin, leave unexplained 91–95% of the black-white IQ gap. We highlight additional
    problems with hypotheses raised by Rushton and Templer. National IQs cannot be viewed solely in evolutionary terms but should be considered in light of global differences in socio-economic development,
    the causes of which are unknown.” See: http://users.fmg.uva.nl/jwicherts/wichertsPAIDrejoinder.pdf. So I think that is precisely what settles the case. It is all the more telling that outside the trio of Jensen, Lynn and Rushton, not a single qualified person actually defends this thesis.

  4. M Pearle said,

    ***As regards Nisbett’s commentary, it may well be true that further study would specify how poorly racial gene theory holds up under large samples of blacks with ‘European elements’. But this is of itself not an argument. The onus is on the racialists to defend their theories, not on Nisbett.***

    Jensen & Rushton do just this here. In relation to the ancestry studies see pages 27 and 28, citing research by David C Rowe.

    Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2010). Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett’s Intelligence and How to Get It. The Open Psychology Journal, 3, 9-35.

    http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/2010%20Review%20of%20Nisbett.pdf

    ***I am also well aware of Bartholomew’s disagreement with Gould, but this is often extremely taken out of context or overblown by the racialists.***

    James Flynn has also criticised Gould for avoiding Jensen’s arguments. Flynn notes that it is “manifestly false” that discrediting g dismisses Jensen’s arguments. see p 594-595.

    Philosophy of Science that Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability, Philosophy of Science 67 (2000), pp.580-602. http://www.ln.edu.hk/philoso/staff/sesardic/getfile.php?file=POS-2000.pdf

    ***ll they point out is the completely trivial fact that there are (very minor) genetic differences between people that are largely identifiable as geographical ones.***

    The point is that genes occur in different frequencies across groups leading to average differences. See the argument set out here by Hsu.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2007/01/metric-on-space-of-genomes-and.html

    Also, as recent findings show accelerated genetic change over the past 10,000 years, some of which relates to brain function, there is little reason to expect uniform distribution of traits.

    “They report that with microcephalin, a new allele arose about 37,000 years ago, although it could have appeared as early as 60,000 or as late as 14,000 years ago. About 70 percent of people in most European and East Asian populations carry this allele of the gene, but it is much rarer in most sub-Saharan Africans.

    With the other gene, ASPM, a new allele emerged 14,100 to 500 years ago, the researchers favoring a midway date of 5,800 years. The allele has attained a frequency of about 50 percent in populations of the Middle East and Europe, is less common in East Asia, and is found at low frequency in some sub-Saharan Africa peoples.”

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9B01E1DE1331F93AA3575AC0A9639C8B63&fta=y

    Also, see University of Virginia Psychologist, Jonathan Haidt’s comment on this research ‘FASTER EVOLUTION MEANS MORE ETHNIC DIFFERENCES’.

    http://www.edge.org/q2009/q09_4.html#haidt

  5. Matthijs Krul said,

    The article I already cited in fact already refutes Rushton and Jensen’s claims. There is not much point in constantly citing their repetition of existing arguments if you ignore entirely the evidence marshalled against them. In fact, marshalled by better qualified people too – and ones that are not obsessed with the penis size of black males, nor found foundations to combat “political correctness”, the boogeyman of every reactionary confronted with opposition.

    As for Haidt’s piece, there is nothing there that supports the theses I have been discussing. If the hypothetical research goes as he there predicts it might, it would only mean that there may be stronger genetic differences among ‘ethnicities’ than expected now (although he does not clarify which differences or what he thinks is ‘expected’ at the moment, such as by evolutionary biologists who almost unanimously oppose the idea). But he defines ethnicity as “any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others”. Following this definition, the vast majority of the world would be to greater or lesser degree ‘multiethnic’, and so there wouldn’t be the slightest reason to assume that there would be intelligence differences of any significance on the basis of ‘race’, let alone measurable in IQ. Hsu’s point also makes no difference to that: pointing out that one allele or another may have had different distributions among humans based on geographical spread over a period of thousands of years is hardly anything new or exciting. In fact, as I already pointed out, even the most superficial morphological aspects of humans in different parts of the world show this to be true – otherwise there wouldn’t even be ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ in the most naive sense!
    But nothing of this causes it to be valid to say that we should ‘expect’ there to be significant trait differences, let alone complex behavioral differences, and definitely not systematic differences in intelligence. That is way too far a bridge to build from the vantage point of minor allele differentiation in a period as long as the existence of agriculture.

  6. R Mar said,

    >This study also proposes that the same racial ladder
    >holds in terms of brain size, with again Asians having
    >the largest brains on average, then whites, and then
    >blacks.

    The brain size difference has been observed repeatedly. It exists both as an absolute measure and as a body size corrected (EQ) measure. The correlations between head size (a proxy for brain size) and brain volume (measured by structural MRI are robust. The findings always emerge from large group studies and the correlations remain within very narrow ranges.

    >Saletan of course warns that one can’t deduce
    >the intelligence of any given person from an average,
    >and there is little suggestion that Saletan himself,

    Citing Saletan is beyond silly. He is not an intelligence researcher and has not contributed to the peer reviewed literature on the subject. I should add that the late zoologist Gould also failed to publish a single paper on this subject in a peer reviewed journal. His “Mismeasure” book was popular among the academic left simply because it supported the notions that they wanted to be true.

    >there is the Flynn effect: studies by a certain James
    >Flynn have shown that over time, the average IQ score
    >has gone up strongly in Western countries.

    And the FE has disappeared in some countries… and it has reversed in one. Besides that, Must and Must showed that in Estonia the FE is

    A – not g loaded
    B – not invariant.

    Similar findings have been reported for other nations. The bottom line is that FE gains are largely or entirely free from g loading and are, therefore, hollow with respect to intelligence. The FE is at least primarily driven by multiple environmental effects and represents a drift in raw scores, not in real intelligence. I have discussed this in direct conversation with Jim Flynn and he agreed that the causes are small and multiple. He has never claimed that the gains are g loaded.

    >across the board are incompatible with IQ being a useful
    >measure of intelligence, or even of mental retardation,
    >which it was originally designed to be a measure of.

    This is not true. IQ is useful because it is a very good proxy for g. The correlates of IQ are by definition group effects and cannot be taken as characteristics of an individual. But at the group level, the things that correlate with IQ are consistent and operate both between groups and within groups.

    >decades. This means its value for comparing relative
    >score results improves whenever calibration occurs, but
    >it is inherently incompatible with any ideas of racial
    >heredity of IQ in a meaningful way.

    You are confused. Between group findings are as predictive as within group findings. The heritability of IQ in developed countries stands in excess of 80% among adults (increasing with age, just as the heritability of height increases with age). Heritability (narrow sense being discussed) can be measured by four totally different methods, each of which shows values at or above 80%. The differences in IQ between groups (races in this case) increase as the g loading of the tests used to measure them increase. This is because g is a biological agent and is overwhelmingly determined by genetic factors.

    When column vectors (using the method of correlated vectors) are correlated between groups, the g loading difference is apparent. Multiple observations of independent factors (brain size, reaction time, inspection time, inbreeding depression, regression to the mean, brain imagine of twin brains, cortex thickness developmental trajectory, etc.) show that the between group differences are genetic. If one accepted that the cause is environmental, then the heritability of intelligence would decline with age; inbreeding would not depress intelligence; regression to the mean would either not happen, or the regression point would be the same for all races (it is not), and adopted children would have IQs that correlate strongly with their adoptive parents and not with their biological parents. It would also happen that the IQ gap between blacks and whites would take time to develop, but is doesn’t. The brain size difference exists at birth and the intelligence difference can be shown by age 2-1/2.

    >After all, if in a few
    >generations the score can go up from ‘mentally
    >retarded’ to ‘a standard deviation above average’, this is
    >an increase much too fast to be explainable in terms of
    >evolutionary adaptations.

    This argument is based on imagination and not science. The FE has not changed intelligence, it has changed raw IQ scores by acting on Spearman’s s (specificity) factor.

    >Again, it is important to remember that an IQ of 100 is
    >always the average for any given population, so the test
    >population chosen matters enormously.

    Wrong, even if Dawkins (or other “experts” outside of the field of intelligence research) is also wrong. It is true that IQ is not a ratio score. I think you have figured that out. But IQ is measured against a reference group, which is the group against which the IQ test was normed. When Lynn published his between group data, they were all adjusted to the same reference group, as is necessary. You cannot compare race group A with race group B by norming scores for each to their respective group, then making a comparison. You must use one reference group and that is precisely what has been done by every competent researcher who has reported between group differences.

    >As Nisbett’s article points out:

    Citing Nisbett is as diversionary as citing Gould. Both have been discredited and both have enjoyed popularity entirely on the basis of their comments being politically appealing to the academic left. I think the dissection of Nisbett’s positions has already been cited by someone else (see Rushton and Jensen).

    >absolute brain size is a very poor predictor of intelligence
    >when a comparison is made between different species.

    Between species differences have no bearing on the between race differences, unless you believe the races are different species.

    >Finally, there are good scientific and historical reasons to
    >doubt the meaning of racial categories in the first place.

    This argument is specious. It is not only scientifically lame, but it is at odds with the reality of such things as our legal system, which recognizes race as a reality and applies laws differently as a function of race. The people who want to argue that race is an artifact are the same people who quickly call others, with whom they disagree, racists.

    >What then can explain the folk psychology in America
    >about the different racial performances at universities,

    I thought you argued that there are no racial differences.

    • Matthijs Krul said,

      So I am to understand it is “diversionary” to post people who disagree with these three individuals (Lynn, Jensen, and Rushton) who are literally the only people to hold this position? That’s rather funny. All the more funny is when you disqualify everyone else from commenting because they aren’t in “intelligence studies”, which is apparently defined as ‘people who agree with Rushton and Jensen’. But you conveniently ignore the refutation of Rushton & Jensen I already cited in my first reply, which was written by psychologists in “intelligence studies”, and which in fact by far represents the majority position in it. Moreover, Jensen himself is in the Department of Education at Berkeley, and therefore his qualifications appear to me not to be intrinsically better than those of evolutionary biologists or psychologists.

      What makes the entire thing the most amusing is the immediate reflex that nobody is allowed to call Rushton c.s., despite Rushton’s hilarious obsession with black penises, ‘racist’, but of course any and all contrary evidence is immediately dismissed as ‘political correctness’ or a leftist conspiracy. Typical paranoia from nutcases.

      • B. Barzilai said,

        “All the more funny is when you disqualify everyone else from commenting because they aren’t in ‘intelligence studies’, which is apparently defined as ‘people who agree with Rushton and Jensen’.”

        Hint: intelligence studies agrees with Rushton and Jensen because those who’ve researched it have reproduced Ruhston and Jensen’s results, more or less. A decent consensus has been developing in this field and related fields.

        You’re confusing what ought to be with what is, and it shows with who you cite.

        At the very least, you should not be so confident that you are right when you say there are no significant differences between human groups. YOUR position is not certain at all, whatever you think of the contrary position.

  7. R Mar said,

    >So I am to understand it is “diversionary” to post people
    >who disagree with these three individuals (Lynn, Jensen,
    >and Rushton) who are literally the only people to hold
    >this position?

    Citing Nisbett and Gould is an act of ignorance or intentional misrepresentation of the facts. Both men have made false claims and did so to enjoy the praise they received from the academic left. I am unaware of any propositions from Lynn, Jensen, or Rushton that have not been replicated or verified by other researchers. Lynn’s books on racial and national differences in intelligence consist of citations of hundreds or separate studied performed by researchers from many countries. In most cases, he presented multiple studies for each group in question. Jensen is the most respected intelligence researcher alive. He has received numerous awards for his scientific work. One entire issue of the journal Intelligence was devoted to recognizing his work. The book H. Nyborg, Editor, The Scientific Study of General Intelligence: a Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen, Pergamon, Oxford (2003) was written for the same purpose and contains contributions from many recognized scientists who discuss the importance of his life and career.

    Jensen was the first of the only two intelligence researchers to receive the Kistler Prize:

    http://www.futurefoundation.org/awards/kpr_2003_jensen.htm

    Jensen was the first to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Intelligence Research.

    > But you conveniently ignore the refutation
    >of Rushton & Jensen I already cited in my first reply,

    You have not managed to discredit or refute anything. You have cited some assertions that are not in agreement with the people who are actively conducting intelligence research and publishing it in peer reviewed journals. How many juried papers on this subject have you read? More than 3? I have read (carefully) literally hundreds of them, to say nothing of a large number of books on the same subject.

    >majority position in it. Moreover, Jensen himself is in the
    >Department of Education at Berkeley, and therefore his
    >qualifications appear to me not to be intrinsically better
    >than those of evolutionary biologists or psychologists.

    Jensen is the gold standard in this field. He did research for two years at the Institute of Psychiatry of the University of London. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. In 1958 he became a Research Psychologist in the Institute of Human Learning and a Professor of Educational Psychology. He later became a professor emeritus. He is 87 years old.

    >
    >What makes the entire thing the most amusing is the
    >immediate reflex that nobody is allowed to call Rushton
    >c.s., despite Rushton’s hilarious obsession with black
    >penises, ‘racist’, but of course any and all contrary
    >evidence is immediately dismissed as ‘political
    >correctness’ or a leftist conspiracy. Typical paranoia
    >from nutcases.

    Rushton is not obsessed with penises. I think you have shown us something about your personal level of interest. How many of Rushton’s papers have you read? It appears that you do not know anything about the man and most likely have not met him.

    I notice that you failed to refute any of my comments. Here are the topics, in case you want to show us your depth of knowledge:

    brain size difference
    Saletan – not an expert

    Flynn Effect
    A – not g loaded
    B – not invariant.

    IQ is useful because it is a very good proxy for g.
    heritability of IQ
    differences in IQ between groups
    between group differences are genetic
    inbreeding depression is only caused by genetic factors
    adopted children do not acquire the IQ of their adoptive parents
    intelligence difference can be shown by age 2-1/2
    one reference group must be used for any IQ comparison

    • Bobby said,

      >I notice that you failed to refute any of my comments. Here are the
      >topics, in case you want to show us your depth of knowledge:
      >IQ is useful because it is a very good proxy for g.
      >heritability of IQ
      >differences in IQ between groups
      >between group differences are genetic
      >inbreeding depression is only caused by genetic factors
      >adopted children do not acquire the IQ of their adoptive parents
      >intelligence difference can be shown by age 2-1/2
      >one reference group must be used for any IQ comparison

      I notice you patronizingly laid out a “set of topics” that, curiously, is shaped so as to exclude the numerous criticisms of racialist theory from the conceptual framework. Yes, let’s continue our convenient assumptions that the meaning of “groups” is implicit, that “groups” are delineated in a way that reflects the cognitive-genetic connection you seek to make, and that IQ and “intelligence” are interchangeable. Those sure are mutually agreed-upon presumptions!

      The best thing about your approach, of course, is that a racialist will fill in the gaps in the way you have, and agree with your performance, while a critic might simply be too confused by your Stygian morass of a mind to care to respond. In case you want to show us your depth of knowledge, you ought to honestly discuss the contentions at hand rather than retreating into the data producing them as a tautologous “hey, sailor” to the associations you sought to make in the first place.

  8. Bobby said,

    I heard something about black penis research. Tell me more.

    >This argument is specious. It is not only scientifically lame, but it is at odds
    >with the reality of such things as our legal system, which recognizes race as a
    >reality and applies laws differently as a function of race. The people who
    >want to argue that race is an artifact are the same people who quickly call
    >others, with whom they disagree, racists.

    What possessed you to write down such dishonest, inconsistent garbage? It has been argued, very convincingly, that race is constructed in such a way that it does not meaningfully reflect genetic or biological features relevant to a discussion of “intelligence”, even if we allow that “intelligence” is a matter-of-fact and measurable concept. Legal recognition of race does not “refute” this argument, it supports it. I suspect that you are well aware that your use of the word “fact” and “reality” here dishonestly conflates the social of race with the concept of race that you hope to substantiate.

    Of course, this is all the fault of mean anti-racists for calling your names, and not you, for being an idiot.

  9. R Mar said,

    Below are comments made by various intelligence researchers about Gould, who was not an intelligence researcher, or expert on the subject:

    “The Mismeasure of Man attempts to debunk, and, as far as I can make out, attempts to do nothing else. Of course, debunking can be a useful activity in the scientific enterprise, provided the specific objects of attack are real and present issues. The disappointment of this book is its failure really to debunk anything currently regarded as important by scientists in the relevant fields.”

    “Because of Gould’s peculiar selection of flawed scientific relics as targets for attack, it is hard for me to imagine that this work will impress any but those unfamiliar with current research in these fields, despite the author’s evident intelligence and keen literary style. I believe he has succeeded brilliantly in obfuscating all the important open questions that actually concern today’s scientists. Instead of taking on the real issues of contemporary research in these fields, paleontologist Gould tilts at a museum collection of scientific fossils and at many a straw person of his own making.”

    “Of all the book’s references, a full 27 percent precede 1900. Another 44 percent fall between 1900 and 1950 (60 percent of those are before 1925)”

    “Gould devotes the larger part of a chapter to a minutely detailed and damning critique of the first group mental test ever devised. Yet everyone today would surely agree that the first army tests fall far short of current standards of test theory and construction. Psychometric theory and technology have come a long way since 1917.”

    “Gould devotes two chapters to race and sex differences in brain size, and to the relationship between brain size and intelligence. Again, though practically all the studies cited are more than 100 years old, Gould meticulously points out their errors and biases. … After dismissing the pioneer studies, Gould is wholly uninformative about current thought and evidence on this topic.”

    “Gould’s first broadside against intelligence testing is an 88- page chapter entitled “The Hereditarian Theory of IQ. “The most remarkable feature of this chapter is that it does not present even a hint of the kinds of evidence, or the quantitative- genetic methods applied thereto, which have caused many reasonable and fair- minded contemporary scientists to conclude that genetic factors are substantially involved in individual differences in IQ. The reader is told nothing at all about the polygenetic basis of individual differences or about the logic of quantitative genetics and its application to the various kinship correlations on which the “Hereditarian Theory of IQ” is based. Naive readers will be completely misled as to the true nature of the current popular controversy over the inheritance of mental ability.”

    “Gould’s book, on the other hand, is so repetitiously cluttered by doctrinaire disparagement that it can hardly provide any real enlightenment regarding mental measurement.”

    [THE DEBUNKING OF SCIENTIFIC FOSSILS AND STRAW PERSONS, Arthur R. Jensen, Contemporary Education Review Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.]

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    It is indeed odd that Gould continues to place the burden of his critique on factor analysis, the nature and purpose of which, I believe, he still fails to understand. Even if factor analysis had never been invented, we would nonetheless have IQ tests and many other kinds of aptitude tests measuring various cognitive abilities. And there would still be “experts” dealing with the construction, analysis, and interpretation of these tests, and behavioral geneticists (Plomin & McClearn, 1993) concerned with the heritability of the traits measured by these tests.

    Gould goes on to discuss factor analysis, which he says “is, to put it bluntly, a bitch” (p. 238). (Some have called his exposition masterful, but I would call it masterful only in the way one might use that word to describe the performance of a magician in persuading an audience to believe in an illusory phenomenon.)

    If Gould had done his homework properly, he could have seen that his criticisms of factor analysis could no longer be well supported . I do not use space critiquing Gould’s many assertions about Spearman, Burt, Jensen, and others, because they only further illustrate Gould’s many errors in interpreting factor analysis.

    [Reflections on Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man (1981): JOHN B. CARROLL, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill A Retrospective Review in Intelligence 21, 121-134 (1995)]

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    ‘The ‘g’ Factor is a book about human intelligence. In particular, it tries to answer social-environmentalists and methodological solipsists such as Professors Leon Kamin, Steve Gould, Steve Rose and Steve Jones — the self-appointed arch-critics of ‘general intelligence’ (‘g’) today (though only Kamin is himself a psychologist).

    [Christopher Brand, Race, sex, psychology and censorship]

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    This fact led one critic of the idea of general intelligence, Stephen Jay Gould (1983) to argue that factor analysis is not an appropriate way of defining the variables underlying test scores, because one solution is statistically as a good as another. Gould was wrong. There are statistical methods (which were well known to specialists at the time) that make it possible to compare the goodness of fit of one factor-analytic solution to another. When these methods are applied, investigators virtually always find a highly reliable first factor.

    Gould claimed that psychometricians could not distinguish between alternative factor structures. Today they can.

    [The Role of Intelligence in Modern Society by Earl Hunt]

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    Though Gould spent a great deal of time and energy trying to refute the mathematical basis of factor analysis, today after a great deal more work and substantiation it remains one of the main tools of psychometrics. Arthur Jensen’s new book, The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability covers this method in great detail, including some of the more recent advances.

    And again and again, groups properly identified continue to test out at different IQ averages, such as Jews at 117, whites at 103, and blacks at 85. These numbers have been remarkably constant regardless of how Gould and others have tried to distort the history of psychometrics.

    [INTELLIGENCE, Jan/Feb 1997 (Vol 24, No. 1)]

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    Ever since the late 1960’s, when IQ became a pariah in the world of ideas, this has been a politically-incorrect position to take. In the early 1980’s, a book by Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, cemented the discrediting of g among liberals outside the scientific community. His portrait of psychometrics as a pseudo-science pursued by charlatans was swallowed uncritically and enthusiastically by the elite media, as documented by Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman in The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy (1988).

    Gould is correct in stating that there are alternative methods with the same overall power to account for the correlations among the tests. But he is wrong when he implies that by using an alternative method, an analyst can get rid of g. As Richard Herrnstein liked to say, “You can make g hide, but you can’t make it go away.”

    Gould’s position, then, has been thoroughly discredited among scholars, however dominant it remains in the media. Had he kept quiet about The Bell Curve or attacked it on other grounds, his view might have continued to hold sway there. But when he repeated the same arguments in his New Yorker review – which I am told has been triumphantly circulated by nonpsychologists as the canonical refutation of The Bell Curve -he accomplished something that Herrnstein and I could not have done: he made scholars who know what the evidence shows angry enough to go public.

    Upstream: Issues: The Bell Curve: The Bell Curve and its Critics
    Charles Murray
    Commentary, May 1995 v99 n5 p23(8)

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-

    Dr. Shipman’s unease about any genetic explanation is particularly apparent in her treatment of intelligence, which lies at the heart of the controversy about racial differences. She follows unthinkingly the argument set forth by Stephen Jay Gould in his 1981 book The Mismeasure of Man. The argument is that the development of intelligence tests in the early part of this century was driven largely by the eugenics movement and belief in the inferiority of certain groups. The upshot of this argument is a form of guilt by association: intelligence tests were born of racism; thus they must retain their racist tint. Mr. Gould’s conclusion, which Dr. Shipman parrots, is that intelligence tests at best are extremely sensitive to environmental variation, and therefore are of limited usefulness in measuring intelligence or establishing any genetic component to differences in intellectual functioning. … Mr. Gould is wrong, and so is Dr. Shipman.

    [Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, Reviewed by Mark Snyderman,National Review, Sept 12, 1994 v46 n17.]

  10. M Pearle said,

    ***Moreover, Jensen himself is in the Department of Education at Berkeley, and therefore his qualifications appear to me not to be intrinsically better than those of evolutionary biologists or psychologists.***

    It’s not just Jensen’s qualifications but the volume and quality of his published work. As noted above, in 1998 the journal Intelligence produced a special issue dedicated to Jensen, with the editorial ‘Kings of men: Introduction to a special issue.’ Douglas K. Detterman, Intelligence, 26(3).

    Sandra Scarr, who hoped to prove Jensen wrong with the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, notes the integrity of Jensen & the pressure to find an environmental explanation for group differences:

    “His legacy to psychological science goes beyond important studies on choice reaction times and intelligence, environmental effects on intelligence, and race differences in mental development; Art Jensen set a standard for an honest psychological science…

    My colleagues and I reported the data accurately and as fully as possible, and then tried to make the results palatable to environmentally committed colleagues. In retrospect, this was a mistake. The results of the transracial adoption study can be used to support either a genetic difference hypothesis or an environmental difference one (because the children have visible African ancestry). We should have been agnostic on the conclusions; Art would have been.”

    ‘On Arthur Jensen’s integrity’, Sandra Scarr, Intelligence Volume 26, Issue 3, 1998, Pages 227-232

  11. R Mar said,

    Jensen has written 440 publications, all on the subject of human intelligence. His many books include landmark tests, such as Bias in Mental Testing, The g Factor, and Clocking the Mind. He simply has no living peers and of those past, perhaps only Charles Spearman was as important. It was Spearman who discovered g in 1904 and it was Jensen who demonstrated that g is the sine qua non of intelligence. Today human intelligence research is research about g. Virtually every paper published in Intelligence is about some aspect of g, or uses g as the primary tool for the research.

  12. R Mar said,

    Change “landmark tests” to read “landmark texts.” Sorry for the typo.

  13. M Pearle said,

    ***disagree with these three individuals (Lynn, Jensen, and Rushton) who are literally the only people to hold this position? ***

    Just on that I think the comment of Scarr above is interesting, as she acknowledges the pressure to find an environmental explanation. Also, given the various assaults, protests and challenges to funding, it is unsurprising not many people take up the issue.

    The anonymous survey by Snyderman & Rothman of 661 members of the Behavioural Genetics Association, American Psychological Association, and Cognitive Science Society found 45% of respondent’s believed the B-W gap was due to both genetic and environmental variation, compared to only 15% who feel the difference is entirely due to environmental variation.

    Matthijs, I’d recommend reading the book itself if you get a chance, as it shows an interesting disconnect between how the issue has been portrayed against actual academic opinion.

    • Matthijs Krul said,

      It seems our friends the ‘scientific racists’ have a vast array of copy-paste quotations taken out of context ready to defend their positions. However, I remain entirely unimpressed by them because I don’t care at all whether someone once said something nice about Arthur Jensen or something bad about Stephen Jay Gould, which is totally irrelevant. I also don’t care about what prizes that nobody has ever heard of Jensen has won, or how many papers defending ‘scientific racism’ he has published in journals dedicated to the same false propositions. After all, if our friends the ‘scientific racists’ are themselves utterly unwilling to even consider the contrary evidence I have quoted already, why should I pay attention to their journal references either? All the answer I get is that it doesn’t count because Mr. Marcus has apparently read a lot of books, if we are to believe him. Well, so have I, and that is hardly a refutation of anything.

      Besides, if we are going to quote, I can quote too. Here is our ‘scientific’ friend J.P. Rushton: “”If it really was a colour blind society, and nobody even noticed race, maybe there would be some more justification for it (the criticism),”
      he told the Citizen. “But people are pulling their hair out and are saying, ‘What about Toronto the Good? Where did it go to?’ What about Ottawa? I’m sure it is the same? What about Montreal? I’ll bet you it’s the same. I’ll bet
      it’s the same in every bloody city in Canada where you have black people. It’s inevitable that it won’t be. So there you go.”” Sure sounds like pure disinterested science to me! Or how about Rushton’s leadership of the ‘Pioneer Fund’, dedicated to eugenics? Sure doesn’t sound like discredited racism at all!

      Or for example the quotation of the American Psychological Association’s “Task Force on Intelligence”. It was cited that it said “The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socio-economic status.” But what our ‘scientific’ friends fail to quote is the next part of the very same paragraph, which continues: “Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct empirical support. There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation.

      Or take Lynn’s books. Much is made of the ‘scientific’ quality of Lynn’s research by our friends here. But all his books have been published by the obscure “Washington Summit Publishers”, which is described as follows: “Washington Summit Publishers produces and sells books in the categories of anthropology, evolution, genetics, psychology, philosophy, and current events.[1] It is run by Louis Andrews, who is on the Board of Directors of the National Policy Institute, the editorial board of the Occidental Quarterly, and who formerly managed American distribution of the Conservative magazine Right Now!, which has been re-branded as The Quarterly Review.” The Occidental Quarterly, of course, is “a journal “devoted to the ethnic, racial, and cultural heritage that forms the foundation of Western Civilization”. It aims to defend “the cultural, ethnic, and racial interests of Western European peoples”, according to its wikipedia page. Sure doesn’t sound like a small racist clique!

      All this makes it comical how then the complete failure of ‘scientific racism’ to make any headway in real science is blamed on the “academic left”, the usual paranoia from people who seem to actually be under the impression that white people are lacking in power in Western social institutions. In reality, if anything academia is not left enough and there are attempts to keep it that way, as is shown for example by the complete elimination of heterodox theories from virtually all economics departments. And of course in reality the attempts fail because Flynn, Dickens, Nisbett and many others have proven that IQ does not in fact predict future performance very well (for example Asians vastly outperform their IQ, as I have mentioned in my article); that the heavier g-loaded a test is, the more blacks have increased their results relative to whites over the past 30 years, refuting the idea that heavy g-loading properly tests for heritability of ‘g'; that in fact the evidence based on adoption is not actually in favor of the heritability claim, since Tizard, Cooperman and Tizard showed that if you give everyone good schooling, black kids have a higher IQ at a young age (which is itself already dubious to test) than white kids, as well as researches showing that illegitimate black children of whites do not have lower IQs than the white children of the same people, despite being likely subject to worse environments as well, etc.; that in fact data do not show that having more European genes is advantageous for blacks (not consistent with blood group tests, not consistent with taking percentages of ‘European genes’ within blacks into account, not consistent with skin darkness, etc.); that of course the ‘predictions’ of IQ are extremely dependent variables, such as education, future income, social status etc., all things that very obviously interrelate, making it seem much more solid than it actually is; and so on. None of this, though pointed out by a great number of different people including the APA, Nisbett, Lewontin, Gould, and many other supremely qualified people. It is again funny to see Nisbett’s authority impugned, despite the fact he holds a chair in Culture and Cognition, has won awards from the APA and APS (not from dubious foundations), and is a member of both American academies of sciences. But Jensen on the other hand has to be taken at his word!

      I think the whole exchange proves to what degree ‘scientific racism’ depends on either flawed (Jensen) or consciously mendacious (Lynn, Rushton) work by a small number of cranks associated with racist and retrograde organisations and with eugenicist ideas, and how the fans of this approach in turn follow their master’s voice and depend on selective quoting, false representation of evidence, pompous appeals to authority, conspiracy theory and selective memory.

  14. M Pearle said,

    ***After all, if our friends the ’scientific racists’ are themselves utterly unwilling to even consider the contrary evidence I have quoted already, why should I pay attention to their journal references either?***

    They do, read the review of Nisbett’s book above or discussion here.

    June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 11, No. 2.

    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/

    ***Much is made of the ’scientific’ quality of Lynn’s research by our friends here.***

    Since the Bell Curve controversy major publishers have avoided books that take a hereditarian position. Lynn’s research though on national cognitive scores & wealth is continually backed up by studies showing a robust relationship with economic growth.

    “A large amount of studies published in the last two decades has shown that cognitive ability levels of societies are relevant for the development of positively valued aspects of peoples and countries. Following an economic research tradition “human capital” is relevant for economic growth and wealth (Hanushek & Kimko, 2000; Lynn & Vanhanen, 2002, 2006; Jones & Schneider, 2006; Weede, 2006; Rindermann, 2008a). In addition, cognitive ability of nations has a positive impact on political development, in that it helps building up democracy, the rule of law and political liberty (Simpson, 1997; Rindermann, 2008b). Intelligence, knowledge and the intelligent use of knowledge also have beneficial effects on health, for instance they act as a brake on the spread of HIV (Oesterdiekhoff & Rindermann, 2007; Lakhanpal & Ram, 2008; Rindermann & Meisenberg, 2009). Finally, cognitive competence is relevant for the development of modernity as a societal and especially as a cultural phenomenon consisting of education, autonomy, liberty, morality and rationality (Habermas, 1985/1981; Meisenberg, 2004; Oesterdiekhoff, 2008; Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg, 2009). Societies at a higher ability level develop more complex, more evidence-based, more ethical and more rational world views.

    For some scholars like Georg Oesterdiekhoff (2000) or Michael Hart (2007) intelligence is the driving force of history.

    These broad effects at the cross-national data level are backed in different societies by results at the individual level for job performance and wealth (Bacharach & Baumeister, 1998; Schmidt Hunter, 2004; Irwing & Lynn, 2006; Rindermann & Thompson, 2009), for tolerance, civic olitical attitudes and participation in elections (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994; Denny & Doyle, 2008; Deary, Batty & Gale, 2008), for health behavior and health (Goldman & Smith, 2002; Gottfredson, 2004), moral judgment (Piaget, 1997/1932; Kohlberg, 1987) and more rational world views (Oesterdiekhoff, 2000; Nyborg, 2009).”

    Talent Development & Excellence Vol. 1, No. 1, 2009, 3-25

    http://www.iratde.org/issues/1-2009/tde_issue_1-2009_03_rindermann_et_al.pdf

    ***does not in fact predict future performance very well ***

    “No other variable in the history of psychology has (strongly) predicted such a wide variety of life outcomes .

    Educational Outcomes (Deary, Strand, Smith, & Fernandes, 2007; Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2004)

    Physical Health/Accidents (Gottfredson, 2004; Gottfredson & Deary, 2004).

    Reaction Time to Cognitive Tasks (Jensen, 2006)

    Occupation Status (Gottfredson, 1986; Herrnstein & Murray, 1994)

    Job Success (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998, 2004)

    Crime (Ellis & Walsh, 2003).

    Race Differences (Lynn, 2005; Rushton & Jensen, 2005)

    Sex Differences (Lynn & Irwing, 2004)

    GDP (Lynn & Vanhanen, 2006)

    And this is to just name a few. If I were to stop here, one might be under the impression that g /IQ are important, but (a) there are other forms of “intelligence”; and (b) that IQ is just a product of the environment and can be raised (almost) at will.”

    http://www.geneticseducation.nhs.uk/cgi-bin/parser.pl?bset=0005&bpth=/www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/03/g-precis.php

    ***that in fact data do not show that having more European genes is advantageous for blacks (not consistent with blood group tests, not consistent with taking percentages of ‘European genes’ within blacks into account, not consistent with skin darkness, etc.); ***

    Again, you’re ignoring the research of Rowe, or Transracial Adoption studies where those of mixed ancestry average between those with 2 black parents and those with 2 white parents.

  15. R Mar said,

    >Or for example the quotation of the American
    >Psychological Association’s “Task Force on Intelligence”. It
    >was cited that it said “The differential between the mean
    >intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one
    >standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) does
    >not result from any obvious biases in test construction and
    >administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in
    >socio-economic status.”

    SES is largely caused by differences in g. This has been shown at the family level, as I pointed out before. Blacks at the highest SES level (9) have a lower mean intelligence than whites at SES 1. The children of blacks have lower IQs (statistically, as is the case with all statements here) than white children of parents of both races are matched for intelligence.

    > But what our ’scientific’ friends fail
    >to quote is the next part of the very same paragraph, which
    >continues: “Explanations based on factors of caste and
    >culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct
    >empirical support. There is certainly no such support for a
    >genetic interpretation.”

    Hey buddy, you forgot to put the date on that quote. That was 14 years ago!!! That was well before structural, functional, and tensor diffusion MRI tools. These have collectively shown that brain development trajectories are different as a function of intelligence from early childhood. They have also been able to account for half of the total variance in intelligence on the basis of volume measurements at the cognitive centers, cortical thickness, and white matter measurements (lesions and iron spots). Besides that, the mass of data that has accumulated in the past 14 years has demonstrated that the heritability measurements are correct and consistent with causes that are greater than 80% genetic.

    >Or take Lynn’s books. Much is made of the ’scientific’
    >quality of Lynn’s research by our friends here. But all his
    >books have been published by the obscure “Washington
    >Summit Publishers”,

    You apparently want us to believe that only one publisher has published Lynn’s books. If you believe that, you are ignorant of the facts. What is to be gained by making an ad hominem argument against the publisher? As I have previously pointed out, his books on national and race means are compilations of massive numbers of studies carried out globally by literally hundreds of unaffiliated researchers. Do you want us to believe that the entire group, representing most developed nations are carrying out a conspiracy to fake race and nationality differences in intelligence? Really?

    >And of course in reality the attempts fail
    >because Flynn, Dickens, Nisbett and many others have
    >proven that IQ does not in fact predict future performance
    >very well (for example Asians vastly outperform their IQ, as
    >I have mentioned in my article);

    The external validity of IQ measurements does not vary significantly between the races. Some IQ tests slightly overpredict black accomplishment (bias against whites) and none overpredict white performance. Your assertion concerning Asians is not supported by the large amount of material I have read.

    > that the heavier g-loaded
    >a test is, the more blacks have increased their results
    >relative to whites over the past 30 years,

    Murray has shown that the only significant decrease in the B-W gap happened during the 1960s, when the gap decreased from 1.5 SD to 1.0 SD. This was based on the W-J test standardization. He also considered large data sources that go back to WW1 and came to the conclusion that the gap has generally been stable at about 1.0 SD. {The magnitude and components of change in the black–white IQ difference from 1920 to 1991: A birth cohort analysis of the Woodcock–Johnson standardizations. Intelligence, Volume 35, Issue 4, July-August 2007, Pages 305-318}

    A recent meta-analytic review (reference below) yielded a 1.1 SD B-W IQ difference for a total of 6,246,729 testees from corporate, military, and higher education samples. That difference was consistent for college and university application tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT; N = 2.4 million) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE; N = 2.3 million), as well as for tests of job applicants in corporate settings (N = 0.5 million) and in the military (N = 0.4 million).

    source: Roth PL, Bevier CA, Bobko P, Switzer III FS, Tyler P. Ethnic group differences in cognitive ability in employment and educational settings: a meta-analysis. Pers Psychol 2001; 54: 297-330.

    > in fact data do not show
    >that having more European genes is advantageous for
    >blacks (not consistent with blood group tests, not
    >consistent with taking percentages of ‘European genes’
    >within blacks into account, not consistent with skin
    >darkness, etc.);

    There is no instance in nations with mixed race blacks and whites in which the group means do not follow the rule that the hybrid group mean falls between the means for the other two groups. This applies for all races.

    The people who live only to seek praise from the academic left always reference the Eyferth study. They cite it because they have not found any other evidence to cite. I presume that anyone, such as yourself, who is a zealot against science is familiar with the defective study. Their claim is incredibly lame:

    * The “study” consisted of a very small N. Some citations claim 98 and some 69.
    * Although the children’s IQ was measured, the parents’ IQ was not measured (neither was the rank of the US military father measured). So it is not known whether the children inherited the parental IQ.
    * About 30 percent of US blacks failed pre-induction mental tests for the military, compared with 3 percent of white. So US black soldiers were a more IQ-selected and less-representative sample of their population than were white soldiers.
    * Children were tested prior to the age at which the genotypic aspect of intelligence has become fully manifested.
    * 20% to 25% of the Black fathers were not African Americans but French North Africans (i.e., largely Caucasian or Whites as we have defined the terms here).

    > None of this, though pointed out by
    >a great number of different people including the APA,

    Your citation is 14 years old.

    >Nisbett, Lewontin, Gould, and many other supremely
    >qualified people.

    Nisbett and Gould are not reliable sources of information concerning intelligence. I have already shown that Gould was inept. I suggest that you read this:

    J. Philippe Rushton, and Arthur R. Jensen Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett’s
    Intelligence and How to Get It The Open Psychology Journal, 2010, 3, 9-35

    While reading it, just look at the facts and disconnect your irrational hatred for the authors, who are highly respected among intelligence researchers. They discuss Nisbett’s comments on 14 topics of contention: (1) data to be explained; (2) malleability of IQ test scores; (3) culture-loaded versus g-loaded tests; (4) stereotype threat, caste, and “X” factors; (5) reaction-time measures; (6) within-race heritability; (7) between-race heritability; (8) sub-Saharan African IQ scores; (9) race differences in brain size; (10) sex differences in brain size; (11) trans-racial adoption studies; (12) racial admixture studies; (13) regression to the mean effects; and (14) human origins research and life-history traits. We conclude that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life history traits, East Asians average higher than do Europeans who average higher do South Asians, African Americans, or sub-Saharan Africans. The group differences are between 50 and 80% heritable.

    The problem is that Nisbett is out in the cold alone, without even his own research (he doesn’t do it) and without supporting work from other sources. The real, replicated work of researchers from many countries supports the positions taken by Rushton and Jensen. Keep in mind that if you removed every word written by Rushton and Jensen (because you hate them), the facts would not change and the research of others would remain to support everything they have done. You seem to have such a narrow exposure to researchers that you believe there are only three guys going around saying things that you can’t stand to hear because you don’t like the implications. That isn’t reality. Intelligence researchers worldwide produce massive amounts of findings every year. The findings include replications and those that increase the depth of understanding of issues that were discovered in the past.

    • Matthias Wasser said,

      lol, again with the “highly respected among intelligence researchers.” You still haven’t demonstrated that “intelligence studies” should be any more respected than “studies” of psychic phenomena. It’s right-wing garbage, like evolutionary psychology, creationism, Austrianism, or climate change denial.

      Here’s a hint: heritability of IQ doesn’t mean shit. Zip Codes have a higher heritability.

  16. Bobby said,

    >Your citation is 14 years old.

    And your ideas are much older. Cool it, dingbat, no one cares about your pathetic abuse of tautology.

  17. Matthijs Krul said,

    But you can’t have read anything of Nisbett yourself, since the Rushton & Jensen article you cite is refuted at length by him in his own works, never mind by the “intelligence researchers” (which apparently includes just any random racist nut like Rushton who walks by) I already quoted. That makes a mockery then of your claim to be so supposedly widely read in these issues or even able to judge whether Nisbett is right or not. The same thing goes for the overperformance of Asians relative to their IQ, which is reported in his book “Intelligence and How To Get It”, as well as in James Flynn’s book “Asian Americans: Achievement Beyond IQ”. Murray, of course, has equally not ‘shown’ anything of the kind you claim since nobody accepts their research in the first place except noted frauds like Lynn. If you were really all that well read in these subjects, you would know all these things and not need to be reminded of them. Again, what this discussion above all reveals is the fundamental fraud, mendacity and dishonesty of the ‘scientific racists’, and how completely isolated from real science their views are. That they attempt to refute this fact by claiming that the ‘scientific racists’ quote a lot of studies in their books is the most laughable thing – as if quoting someone else’s work makes you get the credit for it, or as if it means those people agree with you!

    Funny is the fact that the ‘scientific racists’ first cite the APA study, taking a quotation completely out of context; when the actual context is then pointed out, since it doesn’t support their racism at all, the whole study suddenly doesn’t count because it is 14 years old! This despite the fact that Jensen’s book on the G factor is in fact 12 years old as well. Moreover, the very concept of ‘scientific racism’ is as old as the Enlightenment, and the ‘scientific racists’ have latched on to whatever passing fad seemed best convenient to them at all times. Ignoring all historical research into origin and meaning of race, they have tried to prove racism to be ‘scientific’ by all means from social Darwinism to phrenology to fraudulent anthropologies and narratives of the descent of entire peoples. Nowadays it becomes harder and harder to maintain as formerly ‘inferior races’ are performing better and better, so they use the most abstruse and dishonest trickery with ‘psychometrics’ as the new ‘scientific’ way of proving racism to be justified. As with every single prior attempt, it will fail entirely.

  18. M Pearle said,

    ***But you can’t have read anything of Nisbett yourself, since the Rushton & Jensen article you cite is refuted at length by him in his own works***

    What specifically has Nisbett refuted? We’re not getting very far with these blanket statements. If you read the review above by Rushton & Jensen I’d be interested to know what you feel they’ve missed.

    Also, as James J Lee notes in his review (Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 247–255) Nisbett omits the follow up results of the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study. In that case the children of mixed ancestry averaged in between the white and black children, consistent with the genetic explanation.

    Also, in terms of social expectations a special analysis of the Scarr study compared parents who believed that they had adopted a Black baby but, really, had adopted a Mixed-Race (Black-White) child. The average IQ for these Mixed-Race children was just about the same as for other Mixed-Race children and above that for adopted Black children. This was true even though the parents who adopted these Mixed-Race children thought their babies really had two Black parents.

    Also, Nisbett doesn’t address how Black students from families with
    incomes of $80,000 to $100,000 score considerably lower on the SAT than White students from families with $20,000 to $30,000 incomes.

    Or the research of Behavioural Geneticist David C Rowe showing there is no particular ‘X factor’ that depresses scores for any group.

    ***Funny is the fact that the ’scientific racists’ first cite the APA study, taking a quotation completely out of context; when the actual context is then pointed out, since it doesn’t support their racism at all, the whole study suddenly doesn’t count because it is 14 years old! ***

    What did I quote out of context? I noted that the APA Taskforce & National Academy of Science had looked at the issue of test bias and dismissed it as an explanation for group differences.

    The Taskforce notes that there is no support for genetic factors, but the environmental ones they cite do not explain the gap.

    Also, you haven’t addressed the findings of the survey of 661 members of the Behavioural Genetics Association & American Psychological Association where 45% considered genetic and environmental factors explained the gap. Only 17% considered environmental factors alone could explain it.

  19. M Pearle said,

    ***Matthias Wasser
    You still haven’t demonstrated that “intelligence studies” should be any more respected than “studies” of psychic phenomena.***

    Why does it do such a good job of predicting real world outcomes? See the citations listed above at 22:13. Also, see discussion by Steve Hsu and recent papers on iq & academic results.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/11/iq-compression-and-simple-models.html

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/01/horsepower-matters-psychometrics-works.html

    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/01/iq-academic-achievement.php

  20. R Mar said,

    Dear Krul,
    Nisbett makes assertions and has not refuted anything. I have read Nisbett’s claims and know that they are at odds with the huge volumes of material published in respectable journals. Your use of “racists” as a descriptor shows us that you are not interested in or knowledgeable about the state of science in understanding human intelligence. You are simply enjoying behaving as an adolescent, name calling, and snickering.

    >>> Funny is the fact that the ’scientific racists’ first cite the APA study, taking a quotation completely out of context; when the actual context is then pointed out, since it doesn’t support their racism at all, the whole study suddenly doesn’t count because it is 14 years old! <<>>Nowadays it becomes harder and harder to maintain as formerly ‘inferior races’ are performing better and better, so they use the most abstruse and dishonest trickery with ‘psychometrics’ as the new ’scientific’ way of proving racism to be justified. As with every single prior attempt, it will fail entirely.<<<

    Measurements of predictive validity have not changed. IQ accurately predicts performance, even at the national level. The mean national values of TIMSS scores correlate at 0.98 with national mean IQs. In nations that are overwhelmingly black, it is East Asians who have the highest job status, education, and income. This holds as well in Europe, the US, Cuba, Brazil, etc. Even when nations have passed laws that were designed to make success more difficult, East Asians still rise to the top.

  21. Matthias Wasser said,

    I think some races are superior to others, but please don’t call me a racist! That would be so adolescent!

  22. M Pearle said,

    Matthius Wasser,

    Differences between groups a statistical, it’s not a case of a group being superior.

    Also, care to elaborate on the links above regarding psychometric tests? Also, you mention creationism. But from your comments you appear to fall into the cateogory described here by David Friedman, of people who claim to believe in evolution but refuse to consider its implications.

    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/08/who-is-against-evolution.html

    This is an untenable position as University of Chicago geneticist Bruce Lahn & economist Lanny Ebenstein observed in Nature last year.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7265/full/461726a.html

    • Matthias Wasser said,

      If, in order to believe that set A is superior to set B, you must believe that every element of A is superior to every element of B, there have been no racists ever. This is a pretty risible standard! If I believed that Jews were inclined by nature to be crafty, mendacious parasites – not that, mind you, ALL Jews were! – it would be pretty fucking pathetic for me to claim not to be an anti-semite. Stop being so prissy – if some “races” are on average and by nature smarter, less violent, &c. than others, then racism is true. Wear the label proudly!

      The claim that your racist, sexist, &c. theses spring trivially from the mere existence of evolution is ridiculous and bespeaks tremendous misunderstanding of the subject. The modern theory of evolution doesn’t tell you what traits will in fact evolve, merely that whatever traits evolve are the product of natural processes: natural selection, genetic drift, &c. There have in fact evolved creatures where males and females, or regional subpopulations, are behaviorally indistinguishable – or were they, uniquely, the creation of a Loving God?

  23. Dong Haotian said,

    quick question regarding the field of intelligence studies–given that the results of the most detailed and exhaustive statistical study of correlations between g and biological variables will be completely obsolescent and trivial once sufficient knowledge of the actual mechanics (and causality) of cognition is gathered from neurological work with nothing to do with comparing GDP with IQ or whatever it is these people do, and that therefore from a scientific knowledge perspective statistical studies involving IQ testing and things like nation are a complete and unequivocal dead end in the long run even assuming the best of practices, what exactly are the valuable short term practical benefits of doing this sort of research, and what would that imply about the people who spend their lives pursuing it?

  24. B. Barzilai said,

    If evolution is true, if it really happened, differences between groups should be expected. For evolution to be true and for everyone to turn out the same is so unlikely that it would have to mean that the process was guided by Divine Providence (which you’re free to believe). Nonetheless, the differences do not imply that it’s the end of the world, and that that strong races must vanquish the weak or any of that nonsense. In fact, there are hardly any implications because the work in genetics and neuroscience is merely a description–it doesn’t deny what progress has been made in race relations or that any more could be made.

    Most of the people doing this research are not evil racists, bent on preserving white privilege and Western hegemony. I assure you, many of them wish they could make these sorts of differences just disappear. But they are honest people who’ve looked at the evidence and come to a conclusion. There’s always room for debate–just be more honest and less wishful.

    • Matthijs Krul said,

      Oh but I do believe there are ‘differences between groups’. In fact, that is phrased so vaguely that I can’t see any way in which it could be untrue! I also do believe there exist genetic differences between people. Again, the variation in skin color, hereditary disease, eye color and several other superficial things shows this evidently. Nobody contests this, least of all me.

      What I do contest is the claim that because there are genetic differences between people, and even groups of people geographically separated, we should therefore expect racial differences in cognitive ability. There is in fact absolutely no reason to ‘expect’ such a thing at all. We know why we would expect people living a longer period of time in places subjected to a lot of sunshine to have darker skin than people in places subjected to relatively little. There are clear evolutionary and biochemical reasons for this. But I see absolutely no reason why we should ‘expect’ living in Africa for a longer period of time to be less cognitively challenging, or to require fewer abilities with regard to pattern recognition, abstraction ability, speed of response and so forth, than living in Europe. If anything, you’d ‘expect’ the reverse, since Africa has a lot more animals dangerous to (early) humans than Europe has since the last Ice Age, and it has much greater variation in landscape types and therefore in environmental elements to learn to cope with. This conflating of the expectation that individual members of a species would have (very small) genetic differences, which indeed evolution demands, with the expectation that they form stable subspecies differentiated according to cognitive ability, which evolution does not demand at all, is yet another sign of the dishonesty of the ‘scientific racists’.

      As for racism, I don’t think Jensen necessarily is a racist, but his work fits within the tradition of ‘scientific racism’. I’ve already described briefly what historical pedigree that has. I explicitly do think that Rushton is a racist, which various things I’ve quoted already demonstrate clearly, and the fact Jensen works with him on scientific papers and does not mind the association does not speak in Jensen’s favor. Lynn, too, I strongly suspect of racism given the degree to which he has cooked the books for the sole purpose of making up a racial ladder in his book IQ and the Wealth of Nations. So things don’t look that great for this branch of science given how strongly it’s been infected by racism, whatever the motives of its proponents might be.

      Also, I am getting fairly tired of the level of repetition here. Once again people are arguing that Rushton & Jensen’s article is the last word, that ‘everyone’ reproduces their results, and so on. I have already pointed to several studies and reports and various people from different but relevant backgrounds who do not support that research and do not reproduce their results, including very recent ones like that Dutch study I linked at the beginning. As a point of order, I am not going to approve further comments which just repeat these same things again, since then this page becomes far too long and it doesn’t add anything for readers.

    • Bobby said,

      “Differences between groups should be expected”? That’s your premise? How fucking dumb are you?

      None of you stupid fuckers can break out of your own bathetic tautology. Racial groups are not delineated along genetic lines, they are socially constructed. Period. We dragged a bunch of poor fuckers across the ocean and ground them into the dirt for a few hundred years and that is what has shaped both our conception of “race” and the “performance” of those groups of people. Skin color is a genetic blip, and pretending that it implies further genetic variation in intensely complicated human behavior shows a fantastic ignorance.

  25. Matthijs Krul said,

    “Measurements of predictive validity have not changed. IQ accurately predicts performance, even at the national level. The mean national values of TIMSS scores correlate at 0.98 with national mean IQs. In nations that are overwhelmingly black, it is East Asians who have the highest job status, education, and income. This holds as well in Europe, the US, Cuba, Brazil, etc. Even when nations have passed laws that were designed to make success more difficult, East Asians still rise to the top.”

    This is even more easily refuted. I have already pointed out that the social statistics which IQ supposedly so well predicts are not at all independent variables. Secondly, the correlation is astoundingly weak. “The Jencks group concluded that while there is an substantive effect of test scores on
    earnings that is independent of education, “these effects of test scores are not very large relative to the overall earnings gap between the rich and poor.” The gap between the best paid and the worst paid fifths of the population is about 500%. When controlled for family background, test
    scores account for about only 15% of this 500% [Jencks p. 121]. “Our findings, “ Jencks reports, “do not characterize the United States as a “meritocracy” at least when merit is measured in
    terms of general cognitive skills” [Jencks p. 121]. As a general rule, studies of the relationship of IQ with any social indicator show that measured IQ, at best can explain 10-20% of the observed variance in these outcomes. Even
    allowing that 50% of measured IQ is due to heredity, at best genetic factors can account for 5- 10% in the variation in social outcomes [Howard Gardner, Cracking Open the IQ Box, American Prospect, 1995 p. 5/13].
    Richard Lewontin, a geneticist at Harvard and avid foe of herditarianism, has noted that a child in the top 10% of IQ rankings is twice as likely as a child in the lowest IQ group to fall into the top 10% of income, and that a child whose parental income is in top 10% is 25 time more likely to be in the top 10% of income than a child with poor parents, thus he quips , it is better to inherit SES than IQ points [Lewontin et al., Not in Our Genes p. 94.]. To this point, anthropologist Marvin Harris has quipped, “I for one refuse to admit that a typical member of the top .1% of wealthy adults is four times smarter than I am” [Marvin Harris, Culture, People and Nature, second edition, p.511].” http://www.uri.edu/artsci/ecn/starkey/ECN386%20-Race,Gender,%20Class/raceclassiq.pdf

    When we combine the non-independence of variables, the very weak correlative value of IQ, and finally the fact that heritability does not prove a genetic component of itself, the IQ = race = success concept completely collapses. Finally, if it were true that East Asians always do better than whites and whites better than blacks and that we can measure this purely by looking at economic data, why then are East Asian countries less wealthy and developed than European ones? Just compare China to Finland and see how preposterous this is. Also, what exactly counts as ‘East Asian’? Is Burma ‘East Asian’? Are the Philippines? And one would then also expect ‘white’ countries to do worse the larger their black minority is. But France does not do notably worse than Spain, despite having a much larger black minority and both having an insignificant East Asian minority. In other words, this way of counting, just like Richard Lynn’s, is astoundingly naive at best and more likely simply mendacious.

  26. M Pearle said,

    ***why then are East Asian countries less wealthy and developed than European ones? Just compare China to Finland and see how preposterous this is. ***

    A certain level of cognitive ability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for economic development. China was quite advanced in terms of technology, but over the past 500 years its political-economic policies have held it back (see ‘Non-Zero’ by Robert Wright).

    Nonetheless, even in impoverished conditions the average iq scores in China measured in the 70’s were relatively high (from memory 101 is the figure given in Daniel Seligman’s ‘A Question of Intelligence”)

    You need to look at the academic results of these groups globally those trends are consistent. Also, transracial adoption studies show East Asian adoptees perform above average (even malnourished ones).

    http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html -

    • Matthijs Krul said,

      How can an IQ of 101 be “relatively high”? Compared to any population, and you don’t even mention what population was tested and under what conditions, that score would be only very slightly above average. The more I read the posts of the ‘scientific racists’ here, the clearer it is that they don’t understand what they’re talking about themselves and just rely on the same three or four links and the same three or four frauds. Also how come it is suddenly not a problem it was measured in the 1970s, when something being 14 years old disqualifies it?

      Your source, by the way, does not prove what you think it proves. This aside from the fact you cite a racist and reactionary website as a proof when you ignore studies posted here altogether.

  27. M Pearle said,

    ***How can an IQ of 101 be “relatively high”? Compared to any population, and you don’t even mention what population was tested and under what conditions, that score would be only very slightly above average***

    The worldwide average is 90. 101 is higher than the European average.

  28. M Pearle said,

    ***Also how come it is suddenly not a problem it was measured in the 1970s, when something being 14 years old disqualifies it?***

    You’re talking about R Mar’s comment about the sentence in the t by the APA Taskforce about support for genetic causes for group differences. I don’t believe anyone has said that scores themselves 14 years ago or earlier are invalid.

    I’ll have to look up Seligman’s book, but from memory the 101 figure was from a relatively poor province of China. So to have an average above the overall European mean (note this was 10 years after the Cultural Revolution) is pretty impressive.

    But more broadly you seem to be avoiding the fact that these trends are global. Also, have you looked at the various transracial adoption studies cited in the Gene Expression link above about Korean adoptees?

  29. M Pearle said,

    **** Bobby wrote:

    Racial groups are not delineated along genetic lines, they are socially constructed.***

    So is adolescence & age, it doesn’t mean there is no biological component. Tang & Risch’s 2005 paper:

    “Numerous recent studies using a variety of genetic markers have shown that, for example, individuals sampled worldwide fall into clusters that roughly correspond to continental lines, as well as to the commonly used self-identifying racial groups: Africans, European/West Asians, East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans (Bowcock et al. 1994; Calafell et al. 1998; Rosenberg et al. 2002).

    Subjects identified themselves as belonging to one of four major racial/ethnic groups (white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic) and were recruited from 15 different geographic locales within the United States and Taiwan. Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1196372/

    You can see how groups cluster here.

    “Represent each individual human by their DNA sequence. When aggregated, they cluster into readily identifiable groups. This has been known for 40 years now, although the technology and methods of analysis continue to improve. Below are results from 1966, 1978 and 2008.”

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06/genetic-clustering-40-years-of-progress.html

    • Bobby said,

      Age isn’t “socially constructed” in any way that compares meaningfully to race. You are a dingbat. It is /extremely/ telling that it has taken you this long to discuss genetic clustering, and that none of the “research” you have cited up until this point has been done in terms lof genetic groups. Please, you have crosses to burn, and shotguns to fellate, do not tarry.

  30. M Pearle said,

    ***Age isn’t “socially constructed” in any way that compares meaningfully to race. ***

    The point is that you can have social categories, but they also have a biological aspect. This is explained here by population geneticist Neil Risch:

    “Risch: Scientists always disagree! A lot of the problem is terminology. I’m not even sure what race means, people use it in many different ways.

    In our own studies, to avoid coming up with our own definition of race, we tend to use the definition others have employed, for example, the US census definition of race. There is also the concept of the major geographical structuring that exists in human populations—continental divisions—which has led to genetic differentiation. But if you expect absolute precision in any of these definitions, you can undermine any definitional system. Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn’t preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility.

    We talk about the prejudicial aspect of this. If you demand that kind of accuracy, then one could make the same arguments about sex and age!

    You’ll like this. In a recent study, when we looked at the correlation between genetic structure [based on microsatellite markers] versus self-description, we found 99.9% concordance between the two. We actually had a higher discordance rate between self-reported sex and markers on the X chromosome! So you could argue that sex is also a problematic category. And there are differences between sex and gender; self-identification may not be correlated with biology perfectly. And there is sexism. And you can talk about age the same way. A person’s chronological age does not correspond perfectly with his biological age for a variety of reasons, both inherited and non-inherited. Perhaps just using someone’s actual birth year is not a very good way of measuring age. Does that mean we should throw it out? No. Also, there is ageism—prejudice related to age in our society. A lot of these arguments, which have a political or social aspect to them, can be made about all categories, not just the race/ethnicity one.”

    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.0010014

  31. Bobby said,

    “The point is that you can have social categories, but they also have a biological aspect. This is explained here by population geneticist Neil Risch:”

    Oh please, do continue to simplify your concepts until they are no longer controversial, then turn around and use them in a very specific and unsupported sense once you think people aren’t paying attention.

  32. M Pearle said,

    I’m not really sure what you disagree with.


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