Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Bell Curve


Steve Jackson9/22/2015 7:57 AM

"It's not a 'race' that makes great contributions to math, science, art, architecture, music, drama, philosophy, and literature, but gifted individuals who comprise an infinitesimal faction of the 'race' to which they belong. "
Yes, but why do some races/population groups or whatever you want to call them produce geniuses at such higher rates? One-third of Nobel Prizes in the hard sciences go to Jews. This seems hard to explain without invoking heredity. 
And groups seem to do equally well (or bad) regardless of the environment. Chinese do well wherever they are (US, UK, Latin America) and people of Sub-Saharan African descent poorly (Africa, US, Canada, Haiti). 
Also, groups that are intermediate (such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Cape Coloreds) have IQs in between the parent groups. 
A few years ago Charles Murray of The Bell Curve fame suggested that a study be done where genetic testing was used to find the percentage of white/African genes in black Americans and then see if it correlated to IQ. To make things fair, he asked people from all sides of the debate to participate. No one from the culture only side would join.

The context is this post:


It's an intriguing correlation to untangle, and I'm not qualified to give a complete answer:

i) I think high intelligence is sometimes hereditary. There's a lot of prima facie evidence for that. Smart parents are more likely to beget smart kids.

ii) However, there's a striking boundary to that principle. Although smart parents tend to beget smart kids, geniuses tend not to beget geniuses. With few if any exceptions, the parent is not the equal of the genius child, and the child is not the equal of the genius parent. So genius seems to be unreproducible. A one-off incident in each case. A kind of fluke.

iii) It can also be hard to separate nurture from nature in the correlation. Kids who are academically outstanding often come from families that value academic achievement. Jewish Nobel Laureates don't simply had Jewish parents; rather, they typically have well-educated parents who push their kids to excel academically. Their kids might not take an interest in math, science, economics, &c. absent that parental pressure. 

iv) There's also the question of how we define intelligence. On one definition, intelligence is innate. Everyone person is programmed to have a certain IQ. They will mature up to their programmed IQ. There's a built-in ceiling. 

Yet I've also read that educated kids are apt to score higher on IQ tests than uneducated kids. But if education can improve IQ scores, then that's a combination of nurture and nature. 

v) One possible explanation is that education stimulates the brain to develop in certain ways. So IQ is not simply a matter of what you were born with. Intellectual stimulus, or the absence thereof, can affect cognitive development. 

vi) Another reservation I have about the comparative stats: many of the smartest people in the 20-21C are atheists. For instance, atheists are disproportionately represented in physics and biology. So we might draw the inference that atheism correlates with high IQ. It's smart to be an atheist.

But a glaring problem with that correlation is that before the 20C, many or most of the smartest people were theists. So the correlation is incidental.

There are, moreover, many brilliant 20-21C theists who are the intellectual equal of their secular counterparts. 

vii) Ben Carson must have been a very bright kid, but when he was young he was just goofing off. Would a teacher recognize his potential? If his mother hadn't forced him to be studious, he'd be a loser. 

viii) I had an older relative who once told me she thought blacks were incapable of self-rule. She'd been a missionary in Kenya, back when it was a British colony. She was a gifted linguist with a doctorate in linguistics from the University of London. 

Now, empirically speaking, I can understand why she'd say that. Africa is pretty dysfunctional. And it hasn't gotten better since she told me that (back in the 70s).

However, it depends on your frame of reference. For instance, European history is a history of warfare. Civil wars. Wars between neighboring states. Invaders from distant lands. If you randomly dropped an observer into European history, at many times and places it would seem like Europeans were incapable of self-rule. Cycles of chaos. Same thing with Asian history. 

So the comparisons are often treacherous. There are multiple variables to take into account. 

35 comments:

  1. Perhaps another consideration is whether winning a Nobel Prize is necessarily indicative of high intelligence. Especially today. There seems to be a lot of rather "interesting" Nobel committee politics that happen behind closed doors.

    I suppose this goes to the question of what does it take to make a scientific discovery? How much does high intelligence factor into the scientific process? Can we decouple high intelligence from other factors like hard work, working in the right lab at the right time with the right colleagues, etc.?

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    1. It's also quite possible to have asynchronous intelligence. To be highly intelligent in one domain but average or worse in another.

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  2. Jews had terrible IQ scores around the time of the first World War. That's as decisive an example as you can have to show that it's not hereditary. It's pretty clear at this point that what is tested on IQ tests is not innate intelligence but skills that are developed. There is certainly a genetic potential for each person in terms of their likelihood of developing those skills if they're in the proper environment and are pushed in various ways to develop those skills by those around them, but not having those intellectual skills does not tell you whether someone has the genetic potential. It just tells you they didn't develop the skills.

    As a matter of my own experience teaching at the college level for nearly two decades, I will say that most of my students from Africa are better prepared for college and do better in college classes than Americans of African descent, on average. If IQ scores are the other way around, then that's an interesting result, since it would show that IQ scores and ability to succeed in higher education are not tied together. There are plenty of intellectual skills that IQ tests don't measure, also, and some of them are important for success in many careers. (That's not the same thing as saying there's no such thing as intelligence or that intelligence is all relative. It's just recognizing that our ways of measuring intelligence only capture part of the story.)

    Murray's idea is ridiculous, by the way. You can't identify which percentage of genes are black and which are white. Only a tiny fraction of our genes are connected to skin color or other observable racial traits. Nearly all of the others are pretty much equally spread through the entire population, with some major exceptions, and there's no formula for figuring out what percentage of DNA someone has that came from black ancestors vs. how much came from white ancestors. The best we can do is estimate out what percentage of people from specific groups have a particular gene. That's not the same as knowing the gene came from a white or black ancestor, though, and the reality is that most of the genes relating to intelligence have no connection to anything related to race. The big differences across groups have to do with skin color, hair type, bone structure, and a few other physical characteristics. So Murray's very proposal assumes junk science.

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  3. Yogi Bear is at least two standard deviations more intelligent than the population median Ursidae.

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  4. 1. "Perhaps another consideration is whether winning a Nobel Prize is necessarily indicative of high intelligence. Especially today. There seems to be a lot of rather "interesting" Nobel committee politics that happen behind closed doors."

    Well, I don't imagine that leftist Europeans are going out of their way to award Nobel prizes in the hard sciences to Jews.

    2. "It's also quite possible to have asynchronous intelligence. To be highly intelligent in one domain but average or worse in another." Haven't you heard of G?

    3. "Jews had terrible IQ scores around the time of the first World War. That's as decisive an example as you can have to show that it's not hereditary. It's pretty clear at this point that what is tested on IQ tests is not innate intelligence but skills that are developed. "

    That's debatable. It's been argued that immigrant groups in the early 20th century scored low in the IQ area because such people often never used a pencil or spoke English. In any event, what if Jews in a couple of generations went from stupid to genius? How does that help the environmentalist approach considering that other groups haven't done so?

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  5. "viii) I had an older relative who once told me she thought blacks were incapable of self-rule. She'd been a missionary in Kenya, back when it was a British colony. She was a gifted linguist with a doctorate in linguistics from the University of London. Now, empirically speaking, I can understand why she'd say that. Africa is pretty dysfunctional. And it hasn't gotten better since she told me that (back in the 70s)."

    "However, it depends on your frame of reference. For instance, European history is a history of warfare. Civil wars. Wars between neighboring states. Invaders from distant lands. If you randomly dropped an observer into European history, at many times and places it would seem like Europeans were incapable of self-rule. Cycles of chaos. Same thing with Asian history. "

    I'm not sure how this helps the culture-only explanation. It seems to show at most that while all groups have an equally low floor, they don't have an equally high ceiling.

    For example, it took a while for Russia to develop an advanced civilization. But when it did in the 19th century, Russian writers, composers and scientists were some of the best that the world has ever seen. Even under the Commies, Russians produced lots of important thinkers.

    There must be at least one billion people in the world of Sub-Saharan African descent and not one has (to the best of my knowledge) been awarded a Nobel Prize in the hard sciences. Luxembourg (population 500,000) has received two.

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  6. "The big differences across groups have to do with skin color, hair type, bone structure, and a few other physical characteristics. So Murray's very proposal assumes junk science."

    You are so dull that you've never observed that light skinned blacks are more intelligent than dark-skinned blacks? I observe this every day. You've never noticed that the Hispanics who run the government and business in Latin nations are more Spanish and less Mestizo?

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  7. "v) One possible explanation is that education stimulates the brain to develop in certain ways. So IQ is not simply a matter of what you were born with. Intellectual stimulus, or the absence thereof, can affect cognitive development."

    Certainly it's plausible that the more parents read to their children, take their children to museums, etc. the more intelligent the children become, the bigger their brains become and back and forth. But as I understand it, the genes for brain size have been discovered and geneticists can tell (I have no idea how) that the arrow of correlation runs from brain size to intelligence and not the other way around.

    For example, twins adopted at birth have IQs that correlate highly even if they are raised in homes with different Social Economic Statuses.

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  8. Sowell's explanation of why Jews did badly and then did well is to come up with an actual theory to explain why people do badly and do well that fits the data. He proposes that people who are relatively culturally isolated from mainstream educated society do worse, and those who are more educationally integrated do better on these tests. Jews made that transition during that period. American blacks have improved over time as they've become more educationally integrated, but there's still a ways to go on that. Their raw scores have improved, but it's sort of masked by the fact that IQ scores are normed so that 100 is average, so they haven't necessarily gone up on their reported results. Sowell also handles the sub-Saharan Africa point you make, since that's a region where nearly everyone has had little exposure to modern science in the way that it's learned with full educational exposure at an early age, and there certainly isn't the same level of resources to fund cutting-edge scientific work. Besides, why would you think Nobel Prizes in science are the best way to measure large-scale intelligence claims? At best it would tell you which populations had the very, very tippity-top cream of the crop people. Small numbers. Not very informative about the actual question at issue.

    Bigger brains are certainly not correlated with intelligence. Are you dealing with nineteenth century science here? They knew that was wrong decades ago. Just Google "brain size intelligence" for some refutations of that.

    Why would you think the fact that someone is running a government is a sign that they're more intelligent? That's pretty ludicrous. All it means is they're capable of getting election, but complete fools can do that. Donald Trump is ahead in the polls in the GOP primary right now. And there are plenty of explanations for why lighter-skinned people are more likely to get votes. People are implicitly biased against those with darker skin. Psychological study after psychological study has shown that. We associate darker skin with negative characteristics and are more likely to treat people with lighter skin better. It explains why there are greater hiring rates for people with white-sounding names than people with black-sounding names even when the same resume is sent or publication rates for the same paper with different names. Just because the left overuses the concept of white privilege and tries to blame everything on it doesn't mean that there aren't such forces in play. White people assume that they are the norm and structure society in ways that normalize whiteness, since they are and have been in the positions to be able to do that, and that does have a slowing effect on progress among those who aren't normalized in that way. This is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see, but it takes active effort for those who aren't on the negative receiving end to have those eyes.

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  9. It doesn't take being dull to fail to observe something that's demonstrably false. You can find a few examples of light-skinned blacks who have a reputation for being smarter, but Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a good counterexample to that, since he's not very bright outside his specialization. When it comes to philosophy, he's as dumb as Dawkins and yet so full of himself. Clarence Thomas, on the other hand, is quite intelligent and seen as one of the best Supreme Court justices by law professors who hold to originalism. Many regard him as smarter than Scalia. I certainly think he's smarter than someone like Colin Powell, who is a hard worker, an honorable man, and a good role model in many ways, but he's not a theoretical parser of fine-tuned distinctions the way Thomas is. Thomas has shaped Scalia's jurisprudence more than the other way around.

    I'm curious how of a sample you're dealing with in forming your judgments. Are you going by a few cases of people who are well-known and therefore on the fringe elite? That's not going to tell you anything about dark or light skin and whether it correlates with intelligence. Are you claiming someone has actually done some study on that? I doubt it, or those who want to push racist claims about intelligence would be using it to try to give a modicum of support to their case.

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  10. Tom Sowell reviewed The Bell Curve, and raises some trenchant criticisms:

    http://holtz.org/Library/ToFile/Reading/IQ.htm

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  11. 1. There is a correlation between brain size and intelligence within groups and different groups have different brain sizes. It's not 19th century science, it has been confirmed by sophisticated measurements using MRI. Even a leftist egalitarian such as Richard Nisbett (Intelligence) admits that there is evidence for this.

    2. But the fact is that sub-Saharan Africans have been exposed to modern science for quite some time and have not made many (if any) significant contributions.

    3, As far as what I'm using as a sample, take this:

    https://radishmag.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/black-history-ii/#mulatto-history-month

    There are also studies where blacks were asked to estimate how light/dark they were and people who said lighter had higher IQs. Of course, imprecise, so that's why a genetic study should be done.

    4. The best way to solve the issue would be transracial adoption studies, although they are not without their problems. The most thorough study was the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study which had promising results at age 7, but when the children were tested at age 17, the results were what was expected. Black and mixed-race children adopted into upper-middle class families did not have improvements in IQ. The IQ of the Black children was 87, which was above the national average, but not the average for the upper Mid-West.

    5. There have been a couple adoption studies of Korean children. One where they were adopted by Belgian families and one by white families in NJ. They outperformed the adoptive parents. In the Belgian case, one-third of the children had to be hospitalized for malnutrition.

    6. The best point in Sowell's piece is his discussion of The Flynn Effect (which was in fact named by Murray and Hernstein). Still, if the IQ of blacks and whites are rising but the gap stays the same, that indicates that the difference is genetic. Height can be influenced by nutrition and still run in families.

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    1. What about the non-correlation between IQ and brains? For instance:

      http://www.medicaldaily.com/medical-no-brainer-functional-man-only-half-brain-expands-our-understanding-neural-346992

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13752-015-0219-x

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    2. Oh just now saw this, will look into it.

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    3. I'm not sure how these unusual circumstances cast significant doubt on the hereditarian conclusion which his been supported by decades of research in psychology, genetics, economics, history, etc.

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  12. For a back and forth, check out the Jensen and Rushton piece, Nisbett's response, and J&R's reply":

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

    Nisbett, in Intelligence: What it is and how to Get It has a lengthy appendix on race.

    J&R did a response:

    http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/2010%20Review%20of%20Nisbett.pdf

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  13. 1. " Besides, why would you think Nobel Prizes in science are the best way to measure large-scale intelligence claims? At best it would tell you which populations had the very, very tippity-top cream of the crop people. Small numbers. Not very informative about the actual question at issue"

    I think IQ scores are best, but the difference in Nobel Prizes is striking. Mexico has a population of 120 million has produced one. Luxembourg 2, New Zealand 3.

    2. "Why would you think the fact that someone is running a government is a sign that they're more intelligent"

    I don't. My point is that the upper-crust in terms of wealth and influence in Latin Americans are Europeans (and Asians) not the Mestizos.

    3. To my mind, the strongest evidence that race differences in intelligence have a biological basis is the phenomenon of regression to the mean. Although the math is a little beyond me, I find this article quite persuasive:

    http://humanvarieties.org/2013/04/18/iq-regression-to-the-mean-the-genetic-prediction-vindicated/

    There is also the "Shaker Heights Phenomena." Shaker Heights is a wealthy black suburb of Cleveland. Well-educated Blacks have moved there so that their children can go to better schools. Well, the children don't do all that well in these schools.. Not Detroit, but not the same as a predominantly white school. This is what you'd expect on a hereditarian model, but not on a culture-only model.

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  14. "Well, I don't imagine that leftist Europeans are going out of their way to award Nobel prizes in the hard sciences to Jews."

    1. Well, I didn't limit my "imagin[ation]" to the "hard sciences" or to "Jews" when I said what I said. So even if what you said is true (which I don't grant), it wouldn't necessarily apply to other Nobel Prizes or other peoples. Let alone to intelligence as a whole.

    More to the point, even if (ad arguendo) we do want to say winning Nobel Prizes is strictly about high intelligence and naught else, then winning the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, literature, and economics would presumably take a fair bit of intelligence too, despite the fact that they're not publicly perceived to be part of the "hard sciences."

    We might add chemistry, but that could arguably go either way. It depends on the specific discovery made. (I find public perception of the term "hard sciences" can often be vague if not inaccurate.)

    2. I never denied anti-Semitism may exist among many leftist Europeans.

    "Haven't you heard of G?"

    1. Yes, and your point is...?

    2. Also, I never denied genetics may be a significant factor in intelligence. But I likewise never denied there may be other significant factors involved. How would the existence of the g factor necessarily undermine or overturn what I've said? It's not as if what I've said is necessarily excluded by the g factor.

    3. It seems to me there may be a hidden assumption in what you've said - i.e. intelligence is reducible to genetics. However, for example, what if intelligence is something more like physical attractiveness? Sure, there are genetic components involved in physical attractiveness, to varying degrees. Some elements of physical attractiveness may arguably be reducible to genetics, but there may be other elements which are non-reducible to genetics. We may be able to objectively measure physical attractiveness or beauty to some degree (e.g. symmetry, body proportions). But it wouldn't necessarily be a complete picture.

    4. IQ tests and other psychometric measurements have their limitations, which you can research on your own. This includes the g factor (as well as its pre-assigned g loading values, etc.).

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  15. "You are so dull that you've never observed that light skinned blacks are more intelligent than dark-skinned blacks? I observe this every day. You've never noticed that the Hispanics who run the government and business in Latin nations are more Spanish and less Mestizo?"

    1. I feel like I've suddenly gotten stranded in a time warp to 19th century Europe!

    2. Anyway, "run[ning] the government and business" does not necessarily have anything to do with intelligence. It might have more to do with power for instance.

    3. If it's about personal observations and anecdotes, I've noticed both "light skinned" as well as "dark-skinned blacks" who are intelligent as well as (let's say) "dull."

    "the genes for brain size have been discovered and geneticists can tell (I have no idea how) that the arrow of correlation runs from brain size to intelligence and not the other way around."

    1. As I'm sure you know, correlation isn't necessarily causation.

    2. Not that I necessarily grant either, but what makes you think there's a correlation between intelligence and brain size rather than, say, brain mass?

    3. What makes you think there's a correlation between intelligence and brain size rather than, say, the kind of neurons involved, the connections between neurons, the quality of the neuronal signal information, the number or type of neurotransmitters in a particular brain, to say nothing about ganglia, etc.?

    4. What makes you think the correlation is with intelligence rather than with, say, energy requirements to develop and maintain the rest of our bodies?

    5. If our brains are too big in proportion to our bodies, then this could actually be medically problematic in several different ways.

    6. Are you referring to the ARHGAP11B gene? If so, this isn't about brain size, as such, but rather about the pool of basal brain stem cells as well as neocortical folding. I may be mistaken since I didn't bother to read the entire paper, but on the face of it the research looks like it was performed predominantly in mice (perhaps with some human cell analogues?) then extrapolated to humans. And finally there seem in part to be a couple of evolutionary presumptions in play which you may or may not grant.

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  16. "There is a correlation between brain size and intelligence within groups and different groups have different brain sizes. It's not 19th century science, it has been confirmed by sophisticated measurements using MRI."

    To say "it has been confirmed by sophisticated measurements using MRI" is very vague.

    In addition, there are various types of MRI.

    And of course MRI has its limitations.

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  17. "To my mind, the strongest evidence that race differences in intelligence have a biological basis is the phenomenon of regression to the mean. Although the math is a little beyond me, I find this article quite persuasive:

    http://humanvarieties.org/2013/04/18/iq-regression-to-the-mean-the-genetic-prediction-vindicated/"

    I went through a lot of the paper. Just a few quick preliminary impressions:

    1. It's predominantly a statistical argument. But statistics do not necessarily reflect reality.

    2. It deals mainly with a particular population. However, even if we grant for the sake of argument that a population as a whole may move towards the mean, how does this necessarily imply individuals in the population may not move away from the mean?

    3. Which mean are individuals (offspring) supposedly regressing towards? The paper indicates the racial population in question (e.g. black, white). But for one thing this assumes we agree on who is in and who is out of the "black" or "white" race.

    For another, how can people not one's immediate ancestors directly affect one's intelligence?

    4. A lot of this has a significant basis in naturalistic evolution. It leaves aside questions about the spirit or soul. At times it seems to assume intelligence is reducible to the physical brain. But why stake out or limit oneself to this position as a Christian?

    5. Arguing there is a genetic basis to intelligence isn't equivalent to arguing there is only a genetic basis to intelligence. Or that intelligence is entirely reducible to genetics.

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  18. I'd add there seems to be an upper limit to the physical brain in a way there doesn't seem to be (as much of) an upper limit to intelligence. Obviously we're not and can never be omniscient or whatever. But it would seem to be difficult to explain how geniuses can push beyond certain vistas and horizons if intelligence is reducible to physical biological factors alone.

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  19. There's also the consideration of the savant.

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  20. Although Lewontin has his own political ax to grind, he draws a useful distinction:

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A major problem in understanding what geneticists have found out about the relation between genes and manifest characteristics of organisms is an overly flexible use of language that creates ambiguities of meaning. In particular, their use of the terms “heritable” and “heritability” is so confusing that an attempt at its clarification occupies the last two chapters of The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture. When a biological characteristic is said to be “heritable,” it means that it is capable of being transmitted from parents to offspring, just as money may be inherited, although neither is inevitable. In contrast, “heritability” is a statistical concept, the proportion of variation of a characteristic in a population that is attributable to genetic variation among individuals. The implication of “heritability” is that some proportion of the next generation will possess it.

    The move from “heritable” to “heritability” is a switch from a qualitative property at the level of an individual to a statistical characterization of a population. Of course, to have a nonzero heritability in a population, a trait must be heritable at the individual level. But it is important to note that even a trait that is perfectly heritable at the individual level might have essentially zero heritability at the population level. If I possess a unique genetic variant that enables me with no effort at all to perform a task that many other people have learned to do only after great effort, then that ability is heritable in me and may possibly be passed on to my children, but it may also be of zero heritability in the population.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/may/26/its-even-less-your-genes/

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  21. Is There a Jewish Gene?
    Richard C. Lewontin

    The difference between the motivations of the authors is manifest in the properties each assigns to heredity. The element of “pride of ancestry” that permeates Ostrer’s text leads him, especially in his chapter on “Traits,” to extensive discussions of intellectual and professional accomplishment and the degree to which they may reflect innate biological capacity. While he can hardly be described as a naive biological determinist, it seems clear that he leans in the direction of attributing some importance to the biology of the Jews in forming their social accomplishments. He asserts that

    "accidents of birth, wealth, privilege, and education are not sufficient to explain who will become outstanding lawyers or physicists."

    Nevertheless, Ostrer does not offer any evidence that the intellectual qualities that make so many Jews into lawyers and physicists are a consequence of their genetic superiority. Indeed, we know nothing about the genetics of nonpathological variation in the cognitive capacities of the brain. An attempt to determine whether intellectual life is genetically heritable would require a large adoption study in which infants would be reared in a controlled environment in circumstances that prevented their caretakers from knowing their family or social origins. Moreover, given the sensitivity of central nervous system development to nutritional and other external factors, the study would have to begin with newborn infants and we would still miss the effects of prenatal circumstances. We should not be surprised that such a study has not been done.

    Ostrer’s view of the causes of the high frequency of intellectual careers among Jews is purely speculative. After more than a century of claims that high intellectual or artistic accomplishment is somehow rooted in heredity and, more specifically, in the possession of “genes for high intelligence” or “genes for creativity,” there is no credible evidence for their existence. Indeed, the search for genetic superiority has largely given way to an extensive effort to find the genetic basis for a host of physiological debilities.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/06/is-there-a-jewish-gene/

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  22. "Nevertheless, Ostrer does not offer any evidence that the intellectual qualities that make so many Jews into lawyers and physicists are a consequence of their genetic superiority. Indeed, we know nothing about the genetics of nonpathological variation in the cognitive capacities of the brain. An attempt to determine whether intellectual life is genetically heritable would require a large adoption study in which infants would be reared in a controlled environment in circumstances that prevented their caretakers from knowing their family or social origins."

    I find this statement incredible. We can't know about whether cognitive traits are heritable until we completely understand the genetics of it or do adoption studies?

    If the Dutch are taller than Italians wherever you find Dutch and Italians and these environments are different in terms of quantity of food, nutrition, etc. you can't reasonable conclude that the Dutch have a genetic advantage in this area until you understand the genetics of height and do adoption studies? I guess it was foolish for people to believe that excess quantities of alcohol caused intoxication until the advent of biochemistry.

    Steven Pinker points out that the Jewish advantage in IQ is hard to explain by culture because we don't know of any way to create an enriching culture that raises IQ from 100 to 115. (And adoption studies confirm that culture is not all that important anyway.)

    Incidentally, the IQ advanate appears only in Ashkenazi Jews. Sephardic Jews have IQ of around 100. The Nobel Prizes in the hard sciences are won by AJs. I've read, but can't confirm, that these IQ gap in Israel between AJs and SJs continues even though they attend the same schools.

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  23. One complication is whether people have a special aptitude because their brain is specialized, or whether their brain is specialized because they have a specialized activity that develops the brain in that respect. For instance, are musicians musical because they have musical brains, or do they have musical brains because they hear and perform so much music?

    "Does playing the violin affect the brain? Most violinists would probably say “yes” in a subjective way, but there is striking objective evidence, too. Perhaps most interesting are the findings that the brain is actually modified physically by studying the violin in ways that make it easier to learn more. The cerebral cortex, the site of higher thinking in the brain, is not a static structure. Its organization changes over time, giving the brain an astonishing ability to adapt to new needs.

    Broca’s area is a small part of the cortex which handles many tasks of spoken language and musical abilities. The amount of gray matter (neurons) in Broca’s area is larger in musicians than in nonmusicians. In fact, the volume of gray matter in this brain region increases as the number of years of playing increases. In most people, the amount of gray matter in Broca’s area decreases with age, but in musicians, this does not happen."

    http://www.violinist.com/blog/print.cfm?article=5901

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  24. Obviously a number of factors are in place. I lean toward the hereditarian approach (60-80%) for individual and within group differences.

    If you look at Jensen and Rushton's piece, some of the 10 points they make are not conclusive. For example, if all we had were the admixture studies and the adoption studies, we'd probably be agnostic, although they do tip in favor of the hereditarian approach.

    And what evidence is there against the thesis? For example, has there been an early intervention program (such as Head Start) that has shown any promise in raising test scores and IQ. From what I've read, the early benefits of these programs tend to fade.

    As far as Sub-Saharan Africans go, people argue that it's culture and geography. But it's not as if there is just one African culture. There is the Orthodox of Ethiopia, the Catholic of Haiti, the Protestant of the US, plus large numbers of Muslim, animist or whatever and the result is generally the same. And note that Haiti got independence after the US, Liberia was never colonized, etc.

    There are 16,000 school districts in the US and 3200 counties. You can't find one where Blacks to as well as whites. So whatever one's explanation (slavery, Jim Crow, racism, bad schools, bad parents) it all works magically everywhere to lower the Black IQ by one standard deviation. And it works the same in Canada, which never had slavery or Jim Crow.

    It's not pleasant to talk about these things, but this is what the data suggests. And if the hereditarian thesis is wrong, then the easiest way to refute it would be to point out the achievements of Africans or Australian Aborigines or to find those places where they do function at the same general intellectual level as Whites.

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  25. I don't know a lot about Ethiopia, but they have at times developed a more advanced culture. (Just look at their church buildings) but there language is Semitic so there has probably been a fair amount of racial mixture.

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  26. As a final point, does anyone think that the high rate of first cousin marriages in certain cultures (such as Pakistanis and Roma) hasn't depressed their intelligence?

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  27. Look up a global IQ. map. Statistics don't lie. However, how you wish to interpret them may be a precarious endeavor. If you are overpowered by racial political correctness and cannot bear to come to any conclusion other than what you have been told and accepted must be, then you are in trouble.

    As to Africa, increase or decrease in IQ. averages correlates with genetic mixtures with Caucasoids. As was pointed out, "the hereditarian thesis is wrong, then the easiest way to refute it would be to point out the achievements of Africans or Australian Aborigines or to find those places where they do function at the same general intellectual level as Whites".

    In fact, I see no rebuttal to the general factual observations by Steve Jackson by anyone...there is a reason.

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    1. i) Among other things, that overlooks the problem of chronological cherrypicking, which I noted both in this post and my original ("Cucks") post.

      ii) There is, moreover, the failure to distinguish between the claim that high IQ is hereditary from parent to child, which is between individuals, from the claim that principle somehow applicable to entire populations–a point made by Lewotin, which evidently went right over your head.

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  28. 1. chronological cherrypicking. Sure, any ethnic groups has its ups and downs, but it seems to me that now every ethnic group (or at least significant sub parts, such as 30 million African-Americans) have been exposed to more advanced civilization. Yet they don't take advantage of it. As Nicholas Wade notes, human beings are highly imitative. Why don't the Indonesians and Malaysians follow the lead of the Chinese who live among them?

    2. "the failure to distinguish between the claim that high IQ is hereditary from parent to child, which is between individuals, from the claim that principle somehow applicable to entire populations" I've never said it's applicable to populations, it's just that the individuals in (say) the African-American population tend to have lower IQs.

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  29. Steve,

    Possibly I did a poor job of indicating my support of your arguments. In any event, you have done thorough job by way of comments in challenging a great deal of what I consider a simple ignoring of the bare and basic facts on this matter before any nuanced discussion should occur. Many people seem unable to endure some of the study and observations which you have pointed out. Never mind the nuanced discussion and numerable facts which go on to enlarge the case you have made.

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