Saturday, 29 December 2012

Looking back and ahead


Was the scientific revolution (1540-1700) due to an increase in trade and the discovery of the New World? Or were there just more people around who could understand and appreciate new ideas? (source)

The past year has seen the deaths of two scholars who tackled the thorny issue of IQ and race, first Philippe Rushton (October 2) and then Arthur Jensen (October 22). The coming year may see more departures. Most of the remaining HBD scholars are retired or getting on in years.

Some see this as proof of the issue’s irrelevance. Rushton and Jensen were too old to understand that “race” and “intelligence” are outdated concepts. In reality, they were old because they had earned tenure before the campaign against “racist academics” had gotten into full swing … back in the 1980s.

I use quotation marks because that campaign cast a very wide net. It targeted anyone who might believe in race differences, or heritable differences of any sort. A good example would be John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, who founded evolutionary psychology in the 1980s and have authored publications that are now required reading in undergrad psychology. Yet they had to wander in the wilderness for years before getting secure academic positions. Their sin? They believed that many human behaviors have a sizeable heritable component, although they repeatedly denied the existence of any heritable differences among human populations. But that wasn’t good enough. They had taken the first step in a chain of reasoning that could lead God knows where. They weren’t guilty of something they actually thought. They were guilty of something they might end up thinking.

The climate in academia today, especially in the social sciences, eerily resembles that of Eastern Europe a half-century ago. In private, many academics make fun of the idea that every aspect of human behavior is “socially constructed.” In public, they say nothing. Even the ones with tenure are terrified to speak out. It just isn’t worth it. Even if your position is secure, you’ll still see funding and publishing opportunities disappear, and your acquaintances will treat you as a horrible person. At best, you’ll be considered an oddball.

With little new blood entering the pipeline, and with its leading scholars growing old and dying off, the HBD community seems destined to disappear within academia and the larger community of intellectuals. Game over.

I’m less pessimistic. Individuals may die, but ideas don’t die so easily, especially if they make sense. The HBD idea may lose certain aspects and gain new ones, but the idea itself will be much more tenacious. And the false academic consensus can be shattered with a bit of effort. All it takes is a few people who can make their case calmly and lucidly. The basic facts are already in and beyond dispute.

We know, for instance, that at least 7% of the human genome has changed over the past 40,000 years, with most of the change being squeezed into the last 10,000. In fact, human genetic evolution speeded up by over a hundred-fold about 10,000 years ago (Hawks et al., 2007). By then, however, humans had spread over the earth’s entire surface from the equator to the Arctic Circle. They weren’t adapting to new physical environments. They were adapting to new cultural and behavioral environments. They were adapting to differences in diet, in mating systems, in family and communal structure, in notions of morality, in forms of language, in systems of writing, in modes of subsistence, in means of production, in networks of exchange, and so on. This genetic evolution involved changes to digestion, metabolism, and … mental processing.

Another fact. By 10,000 years ago, modern humans were no longer a small founder group. They were already splitting up into different geographic populations. So the acceleration of human genetic evolution did not affect all humans the same way. Yes, we are different, and the differences aren’t skin deep.

Undoubtedly, these differences are statistical, and many weakly so. But even a statistical difference can affect the way a society develops. I once believed that the scientific revolution of the 16th century onward was due to the increase in trade and the discovery of the New World. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it was driven by an increase in the smart fraction of northwestern European societies, and this increase was in turn driven by the demographic processes described by Clark (2007). That revolution didn’t happen just because new ideas were being discovered (actually, many of them had been around for some time). It happened because more people could now understand those ideas and appreciate their significance.

But enough digression. You can bury a person but not an idea.

References

Anon. (2012). Unit 12 – The Scientific Revolution, MrGrayHistory
http://mrgrayhistory.wikispaces.com/UNIT+12+-+THE+SCIENTIFIC+REVOLUTION

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford.

Hawks, J., E.T. Wang, G.M. Cochran, H.C. Harpending, and R.K. Moyzis. (2007). Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104, 20753-20758.

116 comments:

Johnny said...

Western (meaning the American sphere of influence) academia is Soviet in disposition.

What of the Chinese? The Russians? Conditions there more open?

Sean said...

In and of itself, ideas such as an HBD perspective, are irrelevant. Ideas can't lead to anything. Geopolitics, Realism, and demographics have to be right for a shift in society. A revolutionary shift, such as would be required for Western states to act on an HBD perspective, would require a greater threat to the interests of the elite than nationalist populism (which is what the elite see as far and away the greatest threat). Realism trumps all, France fought Catholic powers in Reformation era wars. A youth bulge (such as caused the leftist campus activism that ended in the 80's) leads to pressure building up and radical political movements.

The HBD community is very naive to think that the HBD perspective could possibly affect the direction of society -'God knows what'. I can't even think of a way HBD could do 'good' as it is currently construed by advanced Western societies.

(EG Say the natives of European countries decided to vote to try and preserve their genetic identity and political influence in their own countries. Even if it was done using methods entirely compatible with current values how could that be be 'good'? It couldn't because that alone is clearly an evil thing to aim for, as construed by the political-economic thinking that is entrenched in advanced western societies. (The Economist magazine for example) I think the witch-hunters warning of the danger of hereditarian ideas are disingenuous, but some HBD people take the intellectual establishment's pretext for zero tolerance policing of ideas as serious analysis, rather than what it is: an ideological gimp suit.

Martin Nowak has it right, the main function of language (and therefore human intelligence) is to gossip about third parties and assess if they can be trusted, not to explain facts. People fall into line, or else no one hears them - except the passengers in their taxi.

Unz claims a sharp decline in intellectual contributions from Scotland, after a an enlightenment high point, resulted from Scots' success. According to Unz the Jews are much dimmer than they were. No doubt they will be edged out by the Irish.

Anonymous said...

That revolution didn’t happen just because new ideas were being discovered (actually, many of them had been around for some time). It happened because more people could now understand those ideas and appreciate their significance.

Advancement of communication technology in the form of Gutenberg’s press was critical as well. It made it possible to go beyond scholastics and hermeneutics to directed memetics where selection pressures of a very different character were brought to bear on the memes. Among the pressures was the idea that you could report an experiment and expect many others to reproduce it. This then created pressure for more precise descriptions of experimental setups and results. This created selective pressure for more precise quantitative formalisms. This created selective pressure for more reliance on mathematics. Once mathematics became the lingua franca it created a second revolution in epistemology that rendered experiments more effective in overthrowing outmoded theories and their ways of thinking. So, in truth, the revolution in science was as much a revolution in communication about experiments as it was a revolution in thinking.

Chris Crawford said...

I had a long conversation with a lady with a doctorate on related stuff. I can't recall the label on her doctorate, but her research thesis involved DNA work. Anyway, she hadn't heard of "HBD" so she spent a few hours looking it over, and came up with a characterization that rings true for me. She sees a spectrum starting with evolutionary psychology, going through HBD, and ending in outright racism. She doesn't see anything wrong with evo psych, and some of the HBD stuff she saw was OK, but at the far end of the HBD range she found some scary stuff. She was particularly hard on Steve Sailor.

She put her finger on some aspects of HBD that bother me. Peter's work is obviously solid, and most of what I've seen on HBD chick seems OK, but then we get into "race realism", which is to "racism" as "intelligent design" is to "creationism".

Let's face it, there is an undeniable racist tinge at the far end of the HBD field, and they cast their odor on the creditable efforts at the academic end.

I do not doubt the magnitude of prejudice you face from the "blank slate" people, nor do I minimize its injustice. Indeed, I agree that this prejudice remains, for the time being, a more serious impediment than that presented by the racists. The short-term danger you face comes from blank-slate prejudice, but the medium-term danger is racist prejudice.

Navigating these treacherous waters is certainly a tricky business; your only reliable compass here is stern intellectual integrity. I urge all serious workers here to castigate the racist nonsense just as furiously as they fight the blank-slate prejudice. The racists are NOT your allies; the opprobrium they attract will stick to you like a tar baby.

Lastly, I suggest that your admiration for Clark's work is perhaps too uncritical. Let me remind you that he himself does not hang his hat on any hypothesis regarding genetic change in the English population; he merely offers the hypothesis while acknowledging its flaws. The hypothesis that genetic factors played a significant role in the birth of the Industrial Revolution is flawed in two of its unjustified assumptions. First, that intelligence led to greater wealth (which in turn led to more successful procreation), and second, that the Industrial Revolution was triggered by superior intelligence.

The first assumption assumes the operation of a perfect market in Britain during the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution. Anybody with familiarity with the history of that period will find that assumption worthy of a loud snort. Connections, both familial and political, played a larger role than native intelligence.

The second assumption is easily dismissed by anybody acquainted with the progress of the Industrial Revolution. It was certainly not a matter of a bunch of smart people seizing upon wonderful new ideas and changing the world; the history of that time teems with tales of failures. There was certainly a lot of energetic effort, but many fortunes were lost on tiny mistakes. James Watt would have gotten nowhere without his business partner, Matthew Boulton, and their mutual success had more to do with bull-headed determination than genius.

As a final demolition of the genetic hypothesis, I urge you to read Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial Revolution by Margaret C. Jacob. This was published in 1997, and Clark seems unaware of it; it doesn't appear in his extensive bibliography. Yet it presents a more compelling explanation of the forces behind the Industrial Revolution. Briefly, she identifies the fascination with science that shot through British society in the 18th century (which I believe to have arisen from the national idolization of Newton during that period). She shows that the typical British businessman knew a LOT about science, and that in turn encouraged the embrace of new technology. Read the book.

Chris Crawford said...

An additional note: I perused his bibliography and it seems that he has lots of economic studies but not so much in the way of conventional history. So I decided to test this. I looked at the bibliography on the Wikipedia page on the Industrial Revolution. While the entry itself has zero academic credentials, I believe that the bibliography would probably include a lot of more reliable stuff. Then I compared the Wikipedia bibliography with Clark's own bibliography; I found only three titles in common, one of which was Clark's. This certainly provides support for the hypothesis that Clark didn't read much beyond the economic history of the times.

His bibliography includes Darwin and Ricardo, which struck me as a bit odd, but it fails to include Braudel, the elder Toynbee, or Smith, all of which are more relevant to the subject.

By the way, I urge readers to try Braudel's series entitled Civilization and Capitalism. If you're in a hurry to get to these issues, you can probably skip Volume 1, even though it's the most entertaining of the three. Volume 2 has more pertinent material, but the jackpot is in Volume 3, where Braudel directly discusses the Industrial Revolution. Braudel's thinking demonstrates the kind of erudition that I think Clark falls short on.

Anonymous said...

then we get into "race realism", which is to "racism" as "intelligent design" is to "creationism"

In this context "anti-racism" is in general basically IS creationism.

The short-term danger you face comes from blank-slate prejudice, but the medium-term danger is racist prejudice.

Why? Why is this more of a danger to people attempting to build anthropological theory using human population differences?

The idea that all human populations are exactly biologically, heritably alike makes it impossible to build any kind of tenable complete biological anthropological theory in the long term, whereas all racism does is plague your theories with entrenched, but frankly long run self-correcting biases.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, I think you're approaching this issue in overly boolean terms. Skepticism of all claims made by those who represent themselves as advocates of HBD does not constitute rejection of evolutionary theory; indeed, many of my own reservations arise from my application of Darwinian principles to the claims.

The danger posed by racists utilizing HBD is that ALL HBD will be tarred with the same brush as racism. My own perusal of websites touting HBD has uncovered some statements I consider to be racist. If HBD becomes associate with racism, then people like Peter will have even more difficulty advancing their work.

chris said...

"Why? Why is this more of a danger to people attempting to build anthropological theory using human population differences?

The idea that all human populations are exactly biologically, heritably alike makes it impossible to build any kind of tenable complete biological anthropological theory in the long term, whereas all racism does is plague your theories with entrenched, but frankly long run self-correcting biases."

The danger doesn't come from discovering truth, but from offending reigning ideologies/taboos.

Sean said...

Chris, as a final demolition of the genetic hypothesis, why don't you tell us what your family background is.

Not everyone is descended from a technical professional. You chose your parents wisely but your perspective does not show much understanding or compassion for the substantial % of Europeans that lacks the intellectual capacity or personality to do knowledge based work, but wan't to earn a wage that will let then support a family. And that's ignoring those Europeans with even mild physical and mental handicaps.

Read The Verdict of Peace: Britain Between Her Yesterday and the Future for an account of how the British technological lead led to the first industrial conflicts as workers fought for higher wages. How the Scots Invented the Modern World for an account of Scots' intellectual and business contributions faded out (better to be a poor person in a rich country than rich person in a poor country).

Ideas are taken up to serve powerful institutional interests; but it is the interests of those who benefit most from the economic system that has created a demand for the rationale to let immigrants replace the native population.

It's economic rationality not morality that is behind negative value judgements about Rushton say; Peter seemed to disagree with Rushton a lot about selection pressures.

Those who constitute the societal decision making process basically don't care if racists are very roughly speaking right about the science. The dominant evaluations of what is right in HBD science are ethical at bottom. But that particular morality got in the driving seat because it justifies a system that allows the maximum squeezing of the Westerners who are genetically less well cognitively blessed than you or your lady scientist acquittance.

Those with suite of traits required to get the advanced skills increasingly necessary for an earning job, owe them to their parents; both for being steered toward education for advanced knowledge based skills, and the luck of getting the biologically-based capacity to benefit from it.

Chris Crawford said...

lower-case "c" chris, when you talk about "reigning ideologies/taboos", please remember that these are merely the most pejorative terms in a scale. Imagine the following thought experiment:

Suppose Peter were to festoon this site with images of mutilated kittens. Most people would be repulsed by such imagery, but not for ideological reasons; in this case, it would be a matter of personal taste. Of course, you can extend the word "ideology" to include taste, but why water down a word when there's a perfectly good and more apropos word?

OK, so now let's suppose that he decorated his site instead with swastikas. Again, most people would find such decorations objectionable, but would it be for ideological reasons (as in "I disagree with the ideology of the Nazi Party") or revulsion at the crimes actually committed by the Nazi party?

Let's take it a step further: suppose instead that the illustrations were the hammer and sickle symbol of communism? Perhaps people would think it peculiar, and might well bring considerable skepticism to their reading of this website, but I don't think that they'd consider it ideologically objectionable (except for Tea Party people, who consider everything that isn't part of their ideology to be ideologically objectionable.)

Another step: now Peter is using lots of Canadian flags all over his site. Would people find this expression of patriotism to be a matter of ideology or taboo? I doubt it; they'd probably consider it odd, because Canadians don't idolize their flag the way Americans do. But objectionable? No.

My point is that some beliefs are not a matter of ideology or taboo; they're a matter of personal taste, deserving of no more than a shrug of the shoulders. But if HBD gets stamped with racist associations, its advocates will get nowhere.

Tom S. said...

Chris Crawford,

Any slight hint of "HBD" has very "racist" implications under most commonly thought of definitions of "racist." HBD, even what might get the coveted stamp of approval of such moral authorities as yourself, will always be seen as "racist" by anyone with an IQ over 70 who isn't using some amount of cognitive power to rationalize internal contradictions, as people so often do. So it's hard to see what aspect of HBD will find acceptance if it can rid itself of the taint of "racists." It is racist! Facts have implications. People automatically draw them. If any HBD at all is fact, then it is racist. And that's being charitable and assuming a definition of racism in which HBD facts themselves would not be racist. I like facts. I'm also a supporter of implications of facts. So the point is, it doesn't matter if people think it is racist. It will always be considered racist, whether the facts themselves or their implications. You can't rid it of this racism by getting rid of the supposed "real racists," as you suggest, in order to get acceptance. It is racist, period.

We obviously have to rethink this whole "racism" thing, and get beyond it. It is an impediment to the good and the true and the beautiful, though the good and the beautiful are somewhat subjective (But so what! We need to get beyond the obsession with objectivity on things that were never objective to begin with).

I expect that even if you did ever accept any facts of HBD, acting on them in any way would be considered "racist." That's why Steve Sailer is problematic for you, I guess. he actually wants to take this knowledge and have an effect.

But if the facts are true, then we have to use them. We have to stop this tragedy from unfolding. Or we have to at least try. What that means is that what you call "racist" is actually correct and good. And you need to stop being so self-serving, short-sighted. But that is probably asking too much. It has to get to the point where your viewpoint is no longer self-serving and helpful in the short term for people to change their minds.

I also note that you inserted at least one more straw man into your argumentation, though there are probably more. No one assumes "perfect" operation of any market. They only suggest that it is not completely screwed up. The argument still has power if the market works even in a slight way. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to have more of an effect than other things. It just has to have an effect period. And time.

Tom S. said...

And another thing. Why exactly have you taken an interest in HBD? What kind of HBD would not be "racist"? What use of HBD would you find acceptable?

Peter Fros_ said...

Johnny,

Conditions are more open in Russia. The main problem there is funding. China is becoming a major player in research on genetics and human behavior.

Sean,

Ideas can make a difference when the elites begin to realize that something is terribly wrong. They may keep a straight face, but deep down they're asking the same questions we're asking here. A lot can happen when you think nothing is happening.

Anon,

I agree. Once the community of thinkers became large enough, a market arose for things that could help them exchange information. The printing press was one. Another was the creation of periodical journals that would be sent to university libraries throughout Europe.

Yet the printing press could easily have been invented earlier. But it wasn't. There was no market for it.

Chris,

Whether we like it or not, human populations differ in a wide range of innate mental and behavioral traits. These differences are statistical, and most of them would be imperceptible if we compared two individuals from two different populations. But they exist.

I wish it weren't so, just as I wish I won't die one day. But I will, and I must organize my life accordingly. I don't have the luxury of living in a world of my making.

Does the above constitute "racism"? Perhaps it does, and perhaps not. There is no objective way of answering this question because the term "racism" is largely subjective. Its meaning depends on who is the accuser and who is the accused. In this respect, it differs from a neutral descriptive term like "hot" or "cold." It's an emotional push-button that is designed to short-circuit normal mental processes.

"The first assumption assumes the operation of a perfect market in Britain during the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution."

Clark made no such assumption. Nor is it necessary for his model.

Chris Crawford said...

Tom S., why in the world does HBD have to focus on racial differences? Can you direct me to any post by Peter that concludes some sort of cognitive difference between blacks and whites? His work on eye color and hair color is not the slightest bit racist; it discusses issues of human biodiversity that are real, are scientifically significant, and deserve investigation. In much the same fashion, the investigations into lactose intolerance are clearly solid examples of human biodiversity.

HBD strays into territory dangerously close to racism when it takes up IQ data. As a psych professor once told me, "IQ is a score you get on a test -- nothing more." I do not accept the assumption that IQ is an indicator of human cognitive performance. I do not accept the notion that the performance of the human mind can be measured in a single dimension. I believe that the human mind possesses a wide array of cognitive talents, and human biodiversity includes a highly diverse mix of these many talents among individuals. Thus, when people start using IQ data to suggest that one genetically related population is smarter than another, I'm ready to accuse them of racism.

Peter, you're attacking a straw man when you loudly assert that there are differences in cognitive performance. I never wrote anything questioning the basic concepts of biological diversity. Please re-read my first post to assure yourself of that fact. Once you've got that misconception taken care of, I hope that you'll address what I'm actually writing, which is that HBD has been seized upon by racists who are attempting to justify their racial prejudices under the umbrella of a respectable academic field. This situation is a direct parallel with the Nazi's justification of their racist policies by dressing them in in faux-academic terms based on a distorted representation of Darwinism. If HBD advocates allow racists to hijack their field, then they'll end up reviled like the Nazis.

I further disagree with your claim that the term "racism" is "an emotional push-button that is designed to short-circuit normal mental processes." If so, please provide me with a term that more correctly describes the claims of the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazi claims of Aryan superiority. The fact that the word has been misused does not rob it of semantic value; if we refrain from misusing it, it remains a word for which there is no superior substitution.

Part II follows.

Chris Crawford said...

Part II:

Lastly, you deny my claim that Clark implicitly assumed a perfect market in England in the centuries preceding the Industrial Revolution. I must accept blame for using the term "perfect market", an ideal that has never been achieved. Nevertheless, there are degrees of market efficiency, and I can state with confidence that the operation of the market in those centuries was far from ideal.

To state my claim more pertinently, I deny that the intelligence of an entrepreneur played a major role in his financial success. Family connections, initial capital, political connections, religious beliefs, and dumb luck all played a larger role in personal success.

Have you ever read any of the letters of English businessmen from that period? There's a huge stock of this material because those letters were usually retained as business records, and they reveal much of the thinking of businessmen in those times. I can't recall any such letter discussing in detail the factors that would operate only in a perfect market. That is, I can't recall anybody ever going on at length about ideas like opportunity cost, cost of money, present value of money, stocking costs, loss of stock due to damages or pilfering, and so on. Instead, their letters are full of worries about whether somebody will pay what's due, how long it will take them, the currency with which they will render payment and whether that currency will appreciate or depreciate in the meantime, possible loss of property due to shipwreck or piracy, pilfering during transit, how prompt the customs agents will be in permitting entry into a country, difficulties of moving specie between countries, reliability of banking establishments, and always, government interventions that could ruin a businessman or make him obscenely wealthy.

Under these conditions, I find it difficult to believe that genetic factors could have played any significant role in the process. Perhaps the best indication of just how arbitrary things were comes from America. Read Letters from an American Farmer, Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, or the letters of Thomas Jefferson, or even Toqueville, even though he's a bit late. All these sources emphasize that in America, you really could get ahead by luck, pluck, street smarts, and hard work. They contrast this with Europe -- including Britain -- where those virtues seldom yielded profit. The fact that America attracted all those ambitious people just as the Industrial Revolution was gathering steam {ahem} clearly demonstrates that the people at that time did not believe that intelligence was worth much.

Clark assumes, without any supporting evidence, that intelligence, or some heritable trait, conferred economic benefits in Britain in the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution. He offers nothing whatsoever in the way of justification for this assumption, and if you don't make that assumption, then there's no connection between a heritable trait and success -- so how could the British have given birth to the Industrial Revolution?

Tom S. said...

"HBD strays into territory dangerously close to racism when it takes up IQ data. As a psych professor once told me, "IQ is a score you get on a test -- nothing more." I do not accept the assumption that IQ is an indicator of human cognitive performance. I do not accept the notion that the performance of the human mind can be measured in a single dimension. I believe that the human mind possesses a wide array of cognitive talents, and human biodiversity includes a highly diverse mix of these many talents among individuals. Thus, when people start using IQ data to suggest that one genetically related population is smarter than another, I'm ready to accuse them of racism."

Nothing in this paragraph provides any evidence one way or the other on the question whether there are cognitive differences between definable populations. So is that your argument? And seriously, do you actually think that what the score on the test measures is 100% disconnected from other things people do with the same brain that got them the score on the test? You must be offering your theory for the "IQ test module" of the brain. The part of the brain responsible for IQ scores and only IQ scores. Very interesting hypothesis! I wonder what part of our thousands of years of past evolution selected for certain groups to obtain an "IQ test module" that helps them get good scores on IQ tests developed in the 19th and 20th centuries and does nothing else at all! Maybe we can look at studies to find evidence where people had brain damage to their IQ modules and they were still good at math and stuff. You know, like prosopagnosia, where people lose facial recognition abilities due to brain damage.

Basically, your definition of racism is: "Thinking there's a difference between populations on any measure that really matters." Totally free of fact and logic outside your use of semantics. And before you say it's not proven that there are cognitive differences, well, 1. there are already studies showing genetic differences that affect the brain, and 2. no one is claiming to have found all the genes for intelligence. But there is enough reason to lean far in that direction.

Perhaps you should provide a definition of racism. If we don't what is meant by the word, then it will be hard to have a discussion in which the word is being used.

Tom S. said...

And what you have to say about history seems to reflect more just the things that writers at the time were complaining about . They were not saying there was no element of meritocracy. The statements you have described are either 1. about irrelevant matters providing no evidence either way or 2. complaints that there wasn't enough meritocracy for their tastes or suggestions that there was less meritocracy there than in another part of the world at one point in time. Why do you mistake their complaints about irrelevant matters or about not enough meritocracy for no meritocracy whatsoever? And, fine, maybe you're not saying intelligence played no role whatsoever. But it didn't have to be the primary factor 100% of the time. It only had to be a small factor for some of the time. Both sides of this argument are speculative. And if I recall correctly, the argument had more to do with urban and rural people, and people in the cities had more kids, and with the division of labor, cities would end up having more people who were more inclined to do cognitively demanding tasks while those who couldn't would be more likely to end up in the countryside in starvation conditions. This seems pretty reasonable. And I can see a straw man coming, so I'll try to catch it in advance. No one is saying that there was a 100% clean division the whole time of people with brains going to the cities and vice versa. All we need is a slow trickle of population transfer. Yes, there were a million factors deciding where people would go. And only one of them needs to have been aptitude for different tasks.

And now that I think of it, what you say about letters from British businessmen actually goes against you because it shows that they had to be able to think about complicated issues (a cognitively demanding task).

Again, intelligence did not need to be the primary factor in all success all the time. It just had to have some effect some of the time.

Chris Crawford said...

Tom, the bulk of your arguments are based on simplistic black-and-white reasoning, either on your part or as your own assumptions about my own claims. Since I'm arguing about tendencies rather than absolutes, there really isn't any common ground for us to carry out a reasoned discussion of many of the points you raise.

However, I'll happily agree with you that intelligence had some effect some of the time. It is my judgement, however, that the magnitude of the effect was too small to produce any significant genetic change capable of playing a significant role in the nascence of the Industrial Revolution. Please note that I am NOT saying this:

"Intelligent behavior never resulted in any procreative benefits for any person in Britain in the period in question, and therefore genetic factors never played any role whatsoever in the birth of the Industrial Revolution."

Nor am I saying this:

"Intelligence was the sole determinant of all procreative success in Britain during the time period in question, and this selection effect led to a genetically-based intellectual superiority that was the sole cause of the Industrial Revolution.

I hope this makes clear to you the difference between black-and-white thinking and what I'm trying to communicate. I'm arguing that the causal sequence you endorse (more-intelligent behavior led to greater procreative success, which led to a more intelligent population, which contributed to the Industrial Revolution) does not seem to me to have enough evidence to make it credible. I do not claim the Clark hypothesis to be falsified, I claim instead that it does not have anywhere near as much support as hypotheses offered by other authors.

If you don't know what those hypotheses are, how can you gainsay me?

Anonymous said...

Yet the printing press could easily have been invented earlier. But it wasn't. There was no market for it.

This seems diminished somewhat by the fact that there is a market for the printing press even in present day nations of undistinguished IQ.
The market for printing presses was, historically, Bibles. Hardly anything requiring a particularly high IQ.

Even if medieval and pre-medieval populations were not intelligent enought to read various high minded scholarly works, and to practice science rather than pseudo-science, even to read "A Children's Bible", they would not likely have been averse to a dose of Ye National Enquirer or Fifty Shades of Gray.

A culture of mass literature does not require any particularly high intelligence.

Of course, they were illiterate and had no disposable income, so perhaps that is the sense in which you meant "no market for it".

JayMan said...

About the importance of heredity to understanding human behavior, and indeed how Peter Frost's work has contributed that, see my year-end post:

All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable « JayMan's Blog

Peter Fros_ said...

Chris,

Very few academics "focus" on racial differences. If there is one thing they systematically avoid, that would be it.

Again, I would like to believe that genetic evolution slowed to a crawl once cultural evolution began to take off. I would like to believe that human nature assumed its definitive form back in the Pleistocene on the African savannah. But that isn't what the data say. Genetic evolution accelerated in tandem with cultural evolution. There has been considerable gene-culture co-evolution in our species.

What do you want me to do? Ignore the data? You seem to think the central question in life is whether something is racist or non-racist. To me, it's whether something is true or false.

The issue of whether there are multiple forms of intelligence is interesting but beside the point. We know, for instance, that face recognition is independent of IQ. But its heritable component is high, very high in fact. Most behavioral and mental traits show moderate to high heritability.

Finally, Clark has addressed most of the points you've raised. One is the notion that England has historically been a rigid class-based society where advancement is based on who you know and not on what you know. In fact, English surnames show considerable social mobility from one generation to the next:

"But it does not follow that pre-industrial society was divided into selfcontained and persistent classes of the rich and the poor/criminal. Indeed the names evidence can also demonstrate that eventually the descendants of the rich and of the criminal, on average, converged to the same social status. “Survival of
the richest” in pre-industrial England was compatible with strong social mobility."

Clark, G. (2009) The indicted and the wealthy: surnames, reproductive success, genetic selection and social class in pre-industrial England,

http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf

Peter Fros_ said...

Anon,

In Canada, about 20% of the population is functionally illiterate. There are also many people who read only short texts (street signs, posters, etc.). I used to do volunteer work for a literacy organization and I was surprised by the number of people who could read but who nonetheless disliked reading. A common refrain was that they could read something and then be unable to remember the next day what they had read. I would be surprised if half of the population reads long texts on a daily basis.

Printed text was a lot less user-friendly five hundred years ago. The print was smaller and the text had fewer breaks. The sentences were longer and more complex than they are now. The language was also semi-archaic and replete with latinisms. I doubt that more than 30% of the population could have read the King James Version.

Chris Crawford said...

Peter, you wrote:

"You seem to think the central question in life is whether something is racist or non-racist."

C'mon, Peter, you can do better than such a stupid straw man.

I agree that few academics mess with race, but that's not the case with the nonprofessional HBDers. My guess is that the term "HBD" will end up being lumped in with other racist ideologies, which would be a shame, because there are some important and useful ideas at the academic end of the range of ideas that fall under that banner.

The study of the causes of the Industrial Revolution comes just below the study of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire in terms of the amount of ink that has been spilled on the matter. The literature of the subject is massive, and from reading him, I doubt that Mr. Clark properly familiarized himself with that literature.

Here's an off-the-cuff list of what I have seen of hypotheses attempting to explain why the Industrial Revolution happened, or why it happened in England:

1. Greater interest in science in English society.
2. Capital availability crossing a critical threshold.
3. Elimination of the Dutch as competitors.
4. English dominance of trade, based on any of the following factors:
5. Better sailors.
6. Better maintenance and equipage of English shipping.
7. Superior insurance industry.
8. Early legal support for joint stock corporations
9. Efficiency of the English justice system.
10. Legislation heavily influenced by the merchant class, lubricating commerce.
11. The Glorious Revolution
12. Exploitation of English colonies.
13. The plundering of India.
14. The three-leg trade system (slaves from Africa taken to the West Indies and traded for sugar; sugar to England, sold at a profit, trade beads purchased and taken to Africa to buy slaves.)
15. The easy availability and low price of coal.
16. The large role played by mining in the English economy, which created a big demand for steam power.
17. The large number of water-driven mills in England, which encouraged mechanization from an early date.
18. The ease of transportation within the kingdom, both physically (lots of coastline and many navigable rivers) and legally (no internal tolls).
19. The English system of patents was more efficient than those of other countries.

Those are just the factors that occur to me sitting here now; I'm sure I could come up with many more if I took the time to root through my library.

My point here is that historical events cannot be understood by a narrow examination of economic statistics; to understand historical processes, you have to integrate knowledge of everything else that was going on at the time. Economic history has opened up a whole new angle on understanding history, and has provided us with many important insights, but economic history used in isolation is worthless.

My impression is that Mr. Clark gave short shrift to the many other factors at work and placed far too much emphasis on his economic data.

You wrote:

"What do you want me to do? Ignore the data?"

No, I want you to take heed of ALL the data, including the data provided by historians.

Chuck said...

‪Chris Crawford,

I’m having trouble understanding your position. Perhaps you could help clarify.

You say: “She sees a spectrum starting with evolutionary psychology, going through HBD, and ending in outright racism.”

“Racism,” as you are using it, is a moral term. It describes an ill defined class of activities that is deemed to be deviant by you. It has meaning in context to a moral system which we may or may not share. “Evolutionary psychology” and “HBD,” as you are using the terms, do not describe moral classes. They describe areas of empirical investigation, the dabbling in which, apparently, you don’t deem to be immoral. “Race realism” as you see it, is morally tinged because it can be used to rationalize or justify acts which you consider to be immoral or “racist.”

To make sense of and to evaluate your position we need a better understanding of your concept “racism” and of your moral system.

You say:

“She put her finger on some aspects of HBD that bother me. Peter's work is obviously solid, and most of what I've seen on HBD chick seems OK, but then we get into "race realism", which is to "racism" as "intelligent design" is to "creationism".

Can you define the term “racism” as you are using it? If you mean something generic like “that which is morally bad” “which involves race” could you give examples of activities and explain why you feel that the various activities are morally problematic. Alternatively, if by “racism” you mean something specific like “believing that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” could you explain why you consider this activity to be problematic and could you give examples of race realists actually acting racist by the given definition.

Let’s take myself as a case example. I know for a fact that African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability. Is knowing this and discussing this “racist,” by your usage and moral system? I’m also fairly convinced that some of the difference is genetically conditioned and therefore that African Americans are genetically inferior to European Americans in this same trait. Is deducing this “racist”? Moreover, I don’t think that it’s illogical or unreasonable or immoral to consider African Americans to be “inherently inferior” to European Americans or any other group as long as one adopts the right metaphysics and ontology and applies one’s reasoning consistently. Is denying the inherent immorality ofsupremacism racist, again by your understanding? What else is there? As with most supporters of positive discrimination, I don’t consider racial discrimination to be ipso facto immoral. Is this racist? In short, what is it that you consider to be “racist” and why?

You say: “Let's face it, there is an undeniable racist tinge at the far end of the HBD field.”

In a recent discussion, I was told:

“Everything about this study is racist… Racist in the strict definition, too, of classifying someone by race.”

My reply was, “Well, Ok. And why is this problematic?”

You’re arguing that HBD is tinged by the immoral motives of some. But you are not telling us what those motives are and why you feel that they are, in fact, immoral.

You say: “I urge all serious workers here to castigate the racist nonsense just as furiously as they fight the blank-slate prejudice. The racists are NOT your allies; the opprobrium they attract will stick to you like a tar baby.”

And what would that nonsense be?

chuck said...

(Continued)
You say: “The danger posed by racists utilizing HBD is that ALL HBD will be tarred with the same brush as racism. My own perusal of websites touting HBD has uncovered some statements I consider to be racist. If HBD becomes associate with racism, then people like Peter will have even more difficulty advancing their work.”

HBD is a term coined by Steve Sailer. And Peter is a member of Steve’s HBD group. Based on your earlier statement (“She was particularly hard on Steve Sailor”), I think that it’s safe to say that HBD is already tarred.

The true danger is cowardice in the face of vacuous accusations e.g., of “racism.” Anytime that critics mention “racism,” practitioners of HBD need to demand a definition of the term and a justification of its usage.

You say: “OK, so now let's suppose that he decorated his site instead with swastikas. Again, most people would find such decorations objectionable, but would it be for ideological reasons (as in "I disagree with the ideology of the Nazi Party") or revulsion at the crimes actually committed by the Nazi party? … My point is that some beliefs are not a matter of ideology or taboo; they're a matter of personal taste, deserving of no more than a shrug of the shoulders. But if HBD gets stamped with racist associations, its advocates will get nowhere.”

Some people find swastikas objectionable for ideological reasons and many more because of mental associations. One of the reasons that people have more negative mental associations with swastikas than with hammer and sickles, despite both symbols being associated with roughly equal amounts of murder and war, is that people are informed by the media and the media is currently dominated by groups that are more opposed to the ideologies associated with national socialism than with bolshevism. My point is that “personal taste” is informed, to some extent, by those who dominate the media. If those who dominate the media wish to associate HBD with “racism” they can attempt to do so. If they wish to redefine “racism” to mean HBD they can also attempt to do so. Their attempts, of course, are constrained by the reaction of the community to which they speak and by the ideas that currently have currency. While the image of HBD is shaped by the media, HBD can place limits how the media re-images it.

For example, HBDers have established that there are phenotypic race differences in general mental ability. And differential psychologists have established that differences in gma within populations index genetic differences. As such, anyone who makes statements such as “I do not accept the assumption that IQ is an indicator of human cognitive performance” can be dismissed as ill informed or as a buffoon. And anyone who argues that the phenotypic race differences necessarily don’t have a genetic basis can be dismissed either as ill informed, a buffoon, or as disingenuous. Because HBDers and differential psychologists have established the above, they also cannot be characterized as “racist” for discussing and exploring these differences at least under typical definitions of “racism.” They thus liberated themselves, to some extent, from criticism of “racism.”

chuck said...

(Continued)
Now imagine if HBDers and differential psychologists had followed your advice, not investigated, and not established the above. Or imagine if they followed my advice and thrown everything into resolving the race-genotypic IQ issue.

You say: “As a psych professor once told me, "IQ is a score you get on a test -- nothing more." I do not accept the assumption that IQ is an indicator of human cognitive performance. I do not accept the notion that the performance of the human mind can be measured in a single dimension. I believe that the human mind possesses a wide array of cognitive talents, and human biodiversity includes a highly diverse mix of these many talents among individuals. Thus, when people start using IQ data to suggest that one genetically related population is smarter than another, I'm ready to accuse them of racism.”
Now imagine if HBDers and differential psychologists had followed your advice, not investigated, and not established the above. Or imagine if they followed my advice and thrown everything into resolving the race-genotypic IQ issue.

You say: “As a psych professor once told me, "IQ is a score you get on a test -- nothing more." I do not accept the assumption that IQ is an indicator of human cognitive performance. I do not accept the notion that the performance of the human mind can be measured in a single dimension. I believe that the human mind possesses a wide array of cognitive talents, and human biodiversity includes a highly diverse mix of these many talents among individuals. Thus, when people start using IQ data to suggest that one genetically related population is smarter than another, I'm ready to accuse them of racism.”

This is my point exactly -- because your views on IQ, general intelligence, and genetics are so contradicted by the empirical data, you have no credibility on this issue. And to the extent that your overall position (i.e., concerning “racism”) is dependent on these views, this position can be dismissed.

Chris Crawford said...

chuck, I'll first answer your request that I define what I mean by racism. I define it to be any assertion of the superiority or inferiority of individuals based upon their race. By that measure, it certainly seems to me that you are a racist.

For example, you declare "I know for a fact that African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability." That, I think is an excellent example of racism.

Your racism is objectionable for two reasons. First, it promulgates an untruth that is harmful to African Americans. If, as you declare, African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability, then it would be a waste of money to admit them to colleges and universities, and we would establish admissions policies that reject anybody who is an African American. This is objectionable because there are most certainly many African Americans who are more capable of benefitting from a college education than some European Americans.

At this point you will probably defend yourself with the claim that your statement didn't apply to *all* African Americans; that instead it compares the average African American with the average European American. But there is no individual who is an "average African American" just as there is no individual who is an "average European American". Your statement only has intellectual utility when it is applied in the real world -- which is populated by individuals.

It is possible to make statements that truly are supported by evidence. For example, you could without a trace of racism declare that "In a study conducted by so-and-so, a group of X African Americans scored an average of Y on an IQ test, while a group of Z European Americans scored an average of W on the same test." THAT'S a fact; but your declaration is not a fact, it's your interpretation of a group of facts. You cannot possibly know for a fact that African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability, because a) not all African Americans nor all European Americans have been tested; and b) their IQs have been measured, not their "general mental ability". You are interpreting the data; your interpretation is not a fact, it is an interpretation.

The fact that you -- and so many HBDers -- are willing to go well beyond the data and make broad statements that no scientist would make, based on personal interpretations of the evidence, leads me to conclude that you are motivated by racial animus towards African Americans, not an honest assessment of the scientific evidence. I find this objectionable.

The second reason why your racism is objectionable is the long and sordid history of horrific crimes motivated by racism. African Americans have suffered hugely because of the racism of people like you, and although huge strides have been made in the last century, the problem is not yet eliminated. The killing of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Croats, Serbs, Kosovars, Armenians, American Indians, and countless other groups for essentially racist reasons is the ugliest crime in the history of humanity, and we have not put this crime behind us; crimes of this nature continue even today, even here in the USA.

An ethical person would therefore exercise extreme caution in assessing claims of racial inferiority or superiority, and would requite a high standard of proof before giving them any credence. The fact that you eagerly embrace interpretations not supported by scientific evidence leads me to conclude that you are an unethical person.

I'll address your other points later.

chuck said...


“I define it to be any assertion of the superiority or inferiority of individuals based upon their race.”

Your concept of "racism" is still not clear to me.

Were one to say, “Black people are inferior in light pigmentation with respect to White people and White people are inferior in dark pigmentation with respect to Black people,” would that constitute “racism” by your understanding? And were one to say that, “Mtbuti Pygmies are inferior in tallness to Tutsi and Tutsi are inferior in smallness to Mtbuti Pygmies,” would that constitute “racism”? Does making any rank order comparison for any trait between any group called races constitute “racism” for you? I ask because frequently “racism” is equated with making claims about inherent nature or ontology not with making claims concerning trait differences per se. (The terms “inferior” and “superior,” of course, just mean “less than” and “more than”; the usage of these terms, of course, don’t imply reference to ontology or inherent nature.) Generally, you seem to be maintaining that any assertion of difference between any groups denoted as “race” is “racist” – is this correct? And by your understanding are all “racist” acts, so defined, immoral?

Thanks.

chris said...

"“I define it to be any assertion of the superiority or inferiority of individuals based upon their race.”

Your concept of "racism" is still not clear to me. "

I think he views 'inferior' and 'superior' within a normative context rather than a strictly positivist one.

Sean said...

I is a wast of time arguing with Chris. His viewpoint is very typical of elite level thought among the uber-genetically-pacified class that run western society. He sees the HBD style of thinking as infectious malevolence, responsible for much of the evil in world history, and something that should be eliminated.




Anonymous said...

Printed text was a lot less user-friendly five hundred years ago. The print was smaller and the text had fewer breaks. The sentences were longer and more complex than they are now. The language was also semi-archaic and replete with latinisms. I doubt that more than 30% of the population could have read the King James Version.

You're saying they could have improved printing earlier, and that there was a market for it (people rendered illiterate by the poor quality of print), yet they did not do so immediately?

What a mystery....!

chuck said...

(1)

Chris Crawford,

Re: For example, you declare "I know for a fact that African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability." That, I think is an excellent example of racism.



I made a simplified statement which was open to a number of interpretations. One could interpret my statement as saying, in addition to other ways:

(a) some African Americans are inferior to some European Americans in GMA.
(b) all African Americans are inferior to all European Americans in GMA.
(c) On average, African Americans are inferior to European Americans in GMA.

On what grounds did you infer that I meant (b) as opposed to (a) or (c) and why didn’t you simply ask for clarification?

Whatever the case, I meant ( c) and not (a) or (b) or some other possibility. Do you consider ( c) to be a racist statement, ipso facto?

You say: “But there is no individual who is an "average African American" just as there is no individual who is an "average European American". Your statement only has intellectual utility when it is applied in the real world -- which is populated by individuals”

Are you saying: “(c ) above only applies to groups. And groups don’t exist in the “real world.” Therefore, (c ) doesn’t apply to the real world?”

Why do you say that individuals have more reality than groups? I don’t get your epistemic position. As I conceptualize things, a group is just a set of individuals. And an individual is just a subset of a group. Both terms imply each other just as all implies none. How is it that individuals can exist, in your world, without the set to which they belong? Or, if you are defining “individual” in some other way, how are you defining the term?

Whatever the case, we so happen to live in a world in which individuals group and differentiate. So your point, whatever it was, is vacuous nonetheless.


chuck said...

(2)


You say: “It is possible to make statements that truly are supported by evidence….You cannot possibly know for a fact that African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability, because a) not all African Americans nor all European Americans have been tested; and b) their IQs have been measured, not their "general mental ability". You are interpreting the data; your interpretation is not a fact, it is an interpretation.”
When I used the term “fact,” I meant “scientific fact” as opposed to “scientific hypothesis”, or “scientific theory.” In the philosophy of science some people argue that there is no true distinction between “fact” “theory” and “hypothesis” or in your terms, I guess, “fact” and “interpretation.” In that sense there are no “true” facts. But by ordinary scientific usage there are recognized “facts” which are distinguished from recognized “theories” and from recognized “hypotheses.” “Fact,” “hypothesis,” and “theory” are best thought of as idealized categories in which statements about the empirical world are grouped. What characterizes a fact, in ordinary scientific usage, is repeated confirmation of results and minimal deductive steps. So, for example, the statements that, “It didn’t rain in Bali last night,” would be considered factual because numerous convergent lines of evidence indicate this (i.e., numerous eye witnesses, measures of humidity, and so on) and because the inferential steps between this evidence and the claim is minimal (i.e., the deductive chain is not long). Despite being considered a fact, this statement could of course be false. For example, we could live in Descartes hypothetical universe in which there was an evil genius that was bent on corrupting our senses and planting false ideas in our heads. As this and other possibilities are possible, all facts are to some extent tentative and dependent on interpretation (e.g., that the universe exhibits regularity).

Ok, but in the ordinary scientific sense of “fact,” it’s a fact that “African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability,” where we are discussing averages and where we are defining “general mental ability” as it is defined, say, in industrial organization. As for your objections, (a) is meaningless because I never specified that we were discussing all individuals. As for (b), I’m merely using the term as it’s used in IO. For example:

“ETHNIC GROUP DIFFERENCES IN COGNITIVE ABILITY IN EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS: A META-ANALYSIS

chuck said...

(3)


What exactly is your point in this regards? How would you classify the statement: “African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability”? As a theory – or in your terms – an “interpretation”? Why? (The reason I consider it a fact is because: “numerous convergent lines of evidence indicate this …and because the inferential steps between this evidence and the claim is minimal.”)

Your third objection seemed to be that I was making an inappropriate statistical generalization. You said:

“In a study conducted by so-and-so, a group of X African Americans scored an average of Y on an IQ test, while a group of Z European Americans scored an average of W on the same test.”

And you implied that a generalization from sample to population precluded the possibility of a statement being a fact. Well, obviously, here you aren’t using the term “fact” in the scientific sense.

Continuing, you say: “The fact that you -- and so many HBDers -- are willing to go well beyond the data and make broad statements that no scientist would make, based on personal interpretations of the evidence, leads me to conclude that you are motivated by racial animus towards African Americans, not an honest assessment of the scientific evidence. I find this objectionable.”

Well, we seem to be using terms qeerly indeed. My “going beyond the data” is a “fact” because my “facts” are really “interpretations”, but your interpretations are “facts” because, well, they’re yours. I see. That no scientist would make? My graduate field was experimental psychology and I encountered quite a few practitioners who made the same claims as I. Refer to the reference above. Let me ask, by your moral system is showing “racial animus towards African Americans” objectionable in particular or is showing animus towards others objectionable in general? And am I not right to draw the conclusion, based on your own standards of evidence (i.e., “going beyond the data”), that you are showing animus towards me? I think, by your own logic, you qualify as a very hateful person.

Continuing, you say: “The second reason why your racism is objectionable is the long and sordid history of horrific crimes motivated by racism.

“Motivated by racism”? Are you not defining “racism” as “any assertion of the superiority or inferiority of individuals based upon their race.” How are assertions now motives? Above, you argued that I was “motivated by racial animus...” Is racial animus the motive of which we now speak? If so, is “racism” “being motivated by racial animus” in addition to “making assertions of the superiority or inferiority”? Do you think that “making assertions…” is, in some logical, psychological, or metaphysical (but not merely coincidental historical) way is necessarily connected to “having racial animus” (i.e., if one, the other)? If so, what’s the connection? If not, since you are using the term “racism” to describe intrinsically unrelated concepts, would you mind qualifying the term, when you use it (i.e., “horrific crimes motivated by racism qua racial animus”; HBD flirts with racism qua “making assertions…”).

chuck said...

(4)


You say: “African Americans have suffered hugely because of the racism of people like you, and although huge strides have been made in the last century, the problem is not yet eliminated.”

In my estimate, contemporaneous African Americans are benefiting quite nicely from the racism of people like you (i.e., institutional & social discrimination e.g., affirmative action & media spin). To the extent that they are “held down,” currently, it’s, if I am correct, because of their geneotypic IQ on the individual and group levels. So the issue would be African Americans in previous centuries.

Now, I find the situation complex because (a) Africans in Africa have been by many metrics worse off than African Americans in the US, even under slavery. So, for example, in terms of malnutrition or human capital. And (b1) because Africans are in American in part because of some type of racism and (b2) because the US was a prosperous place because Whites build a nation and they built it in part using the idea of race as a unifying construct. Jointly, (a) and (b1/2) imply that African Americans benefited from Whites and “racism” to some extent. So now we have to estimate the net suffering. I mean, you are saying that “African Americans have suffered hugely” more than they would have without the “racism” of Whites. And I am saying that without the racism of Whites they wouldn’t be American and America wouldn’t have been as prosperous as it was, and also I’m saying that Africa at the time was not the cosmopolitan paradise that you seem to imagine it was, so, putting these points together, we have to take into account any benefit of being in the US versus Africa, which would be benefit due to “racism.” Now, I’m not saying that they suffered less then they could have with North American Whites. I’m just questioning the idea that they suffered more than they would have if Whites and their racism was not in the picture at all. What are the metrics of suffering which you are using? How should we proceed to investigate this topic?

chuck said...

(5)

You continue: “The killing of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Croats, Serbs, Kosovars, Armenians, American Indians, and countless other groups for essentially racist reasons is the ugliest crime in the history of humanity, and we have not put this crime behind us; crimes of this nature continue even today, even here in the USA.”

Now, this I find interesting. You refer to genocide as the “ugliest crime in the history of humanity.” Why is this? Is there something particularly bad about it as compared to garden variety forms of democide? Would killing 6 million Serbs be worse than killing 6 million random persons or Kulaks? If yes, doesn’t this imply that there is something sacred or special about ethnic or racial groups. I inquire because usually the people who make this point about “the ugliest crime” proceed to conclude that nations and races and ethnic groups as nations and races and ethnic groups (particularly White ones) need to be eradicated (or “integrated” or “diversified”) to prevent this supposedly horrible crime. The reasoning is:

“Nationalism is evil and nations, as nations, need to be destroyed… Because nationalism can lead to and has led to…
…Genocide or the destruction of nations”

Ok, this makes sense when it’s disingenuously argued by certain groups (e.g., Jews) but frequently I hear this point made by WASPs – and in that instance, it’s an unforgiveable contradiction.

Generally, I’m not sure that I agree with you that genocide is particularly bad as compared to other –cides involving a similar number of individuals.
But insofar as I do agree, the understanding I bring home is that there must be something intrinsically valuable about ethnic groups and races. This understanding, in turn, encourages an appreciation of various forms of “racism,” specifically those forms which act to defend ethnic and racial groups from extinction (e.g., anti-miscegenation norms).

chuck said...

(6)

You conclude:

”An ethical person would therefore exercise extreme caution in assessing claims of racial inferiority or superiority, and would require a high standard of proof before giving them any credence.”

Apparently, you are incapable of comprehending the distinction between intrinsic (e.g., being less/more human being) and extrinsic (e.g., being less/more tall than some other human beings). Race differences in intelligence or height or color or mutation load concern extrinsic differences. As such they are subject to empirical investigation. They are categorically different from race differences in “being” or “worth.” One can make a case for the latter based on the former but to do so one has to make a number of empirical and philosophical commitments. Were one’s motivation simply “racial animus” or “ontological racial supremacy” then engaging these commitments is unnecessary. One can simply posit intrinsic racial differences as a principle of the world (just as others posit intrinsic racial equality), that is, one can simply take a metaphysical stance instead of going though the bother of attempting to derive a metaphysical principle from (frequently contested) empirical facts and (dubious) philosophical deductions. I can’t speak for others, but if I wanted to conclude/think/believe that Blacks were intrinsically inferior to Whites, I would just conclude/think/believe this.

And you persist: “you are an unethical person.”

Honestly, if I gave a shit about your ethics, I wouldn’t expend the time that I do on my numerous long reviews of this issue e.g., “100 years of Testing Negro Intelligence”, "The facts that need to be explained", "Race, genes, and disparity", and so on.
I care about the logical soundness of my arguments only. (Your) morality be damned.

Chris Crawford said...

I'm trying to catch up on the large volume of commentary; I now address chuck's second post from last night.

chuck, you wrote The true danger is cowardice in the face of vacuous accusations e.g., of “racism.”

I agree that there is a danger of intellectual cowardice, and I believe that those who argue the blank slate case can be ferocious, but the accusation of racism is not necessarily vacuous. I have already explained in detail why I think your claims are racist as well as why I think that they are morally objectionable.

HBDers have established that there are phenotypic race differences in general mental ability.
Inasmuch as I find the concept of 'general mental ability' vague and inutile, I don't think that HBDers have established anything of intellectual merit. This is a crucial issue that I think needs for explication on my part, but for now I must focus on answering the most important comments.

The next significant point is from chuck's post of 2:19 AM Jan 1, in which he asks me to clarify my concept of racism. The crucial issue, here, is chuck's use of the terms "superior" and "inferior". He suggests that he means nothing more than "higher in value" and "lower in value", but in fact that is NOT what those terms mean. They carry a clear connotation of value or worthiness. If you had meant "higher in value" or "lower in value", you would have written those terms. Instead, you chose to use terms that connote degrees of dignity, worthiness, or value. These are not scientific concepts, they are personal values. In using them, you demonstrate that your purportedly scientific approach is actually a veneer concealing a personal animus towards African Americans.

Moving on to chuck's post of 8:21 AM EST, you engage in some semantic waffling about what you really meant to write. My interpretation was based on a concept I learned many years ago; I cannot recall the formal term (it was something like "implicit quantification"). The concept is most commonly seen in legal thought; if you don't explicitly declare a quantifier, the implicit quantifier is "all". That's why phrases such as "the right of the people" apply to all of the people, not some of the people or average people.

More significantly, you ask: Do you consider ( c) to be a racist statement, ipso facto?

Indeed I do, because once again you use the value-laden term "inferior" rather than the more scientific phrasing "score lower on IQ tests".

Next, you peregrinate about the distinction between 'individual' and 'group'. My point is that this distinction is immensely important in ethical terms. The application of group results to individuals is so laden with potential for injustice that an honest and ethical person would take great care to make the distinction explicit. You take no such care.

Your post of 8:23 AM EST attempts to justify your application of the term 'fact' to your statement regarding the inferiority of African Americans. It's a snow job: lots of verbiage bereft of rigorous logical development. Your claims as to what constitutes 'ordinary scientific usage' are just plain wrong.

In your post of 8:27, you wrote: And you implied that a generalization from sample to population precluded the possibility of a statement being a fact.

You're misrepresenting your earlier statement. The flaw in your reasoning is not that you generalized from a population sample to the entire population, but that you generalized from a measurement of one thing (IQ) to a statement about another thing (general mental ability) in value-laden terms (inferior). The term "general mental ability" has no scientific definition, so any statement about it can have no scientific evidentiary support.

I'm going to attend to other issues now; I'll continue later.

Peter Fros_ said...

Chris,

Since there is no consensus here on the meaning of "racism," can we use another term, like "morally repugnant"? For instance, do you consider Steve Sailer to be morally repugnant? Does he violate the rules of proper discourse? Does he have bad motives?

Second question. Why do motives matter? When a crime is committed, and the police want to get to the heart of the matter, they question all witnesses, even those who are hostile to the accused. The same principle holds true when the case goes to trial. A witness is not excluded on the grounds of hostility to the accused.

Third question. What is your opinion on the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study? That study was conducted by people with "good" motives. Yet their findings are consistent with researchers who have "bad" motives.

Anon,

"You're saying they could have improved printing earlier, and that there was a market for it (people rendered illiterate by the poor quality of print)?

No, that wasn't my point. We know that written text is processed in the brain by a specialized group of cells called the Visual Word Form Area.

http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2008/09/decoding-aspm-part-ii.html

The VWFA seems to be a product of gene-culture co-evolution. Without it, people can learn to read and write but they do so with difficulty. The VWFA also seems to have assumed different forms depending on whether the population uses alphabetical or logographic script (e.g., Chinese ideograms).

If we were to go back to the year 1200, we could have taught the entire English people to read and write, but most of them would have found reading and writing tiresome (and pointless). They probably would have preferred publications with very short texts and lots of pictures. Sustained reading and writing would have been possible only for a minority, perhaps a small minority.



Chris Crawford said...

Continuing:

is showing “racial animus towards African Americans” objectionable in particular or is showing animus towards others objectionable in general?

Animus for an individual based solely on his race is morally objectionable. Animus for an individual based on his actions is morally neutral.

The remainder of your comments, chuck, are nonsensical sophistry, unworthy of serious response. I suppose that if I had time to waste, I could explain them, but your responses have been so unresponsive that I see no point in further discussing the issue with you.

Peter, are you suggesting that we replace the term "racism" with the phrase "morally repugnant"? That strikes me as very odd. Could you perhaps expand on your point?

I'll go off and study more of Steve Sailer and the MTAS, then report back. In the meantime, I agree that motivation is not a proper evaluation of any rigorously executed investigation; the data and logic are the only things that matter. However, when somebody goes beyond the science and injects value-laded terminology into the discussion, as chuck does, then their values (motives) become a significant component of the discussion.

Back in a while.

Chris Crawford said...

I'm back, having read through some of Steve Sailer's writings, and it didn't take long to find lots of intellectual crimes in his writing. Let's remember, Mr. Sailer is a political commentator, not a scientist, and his phraseology reeks of political advocacy. He relies heavily on insulting terminology in mentioning those with whom he disagrees. His writing teems with self-contradictions. And he uses facts only as they are convenient to his argument. For example, in one article, he described as very important a finding that average national IQ correlates well with national GDP per capita. But then he fails to draw the obvious connection with domestic IQ, namely that IQ of any population should be closely correlated with the per capita income of that group. Inasmuch as African Americans as a group are significantly poorer than European Americans, should this not explain a goodly portion of the results.

"Ah, but IQ test results are already corrected for family income", you might say, but does that observation not contradict the study cited by Mr. Sailer? I suppose that you could argue that income differences do indeed show up in domestic IQ tests, and even after those differences have been subtracted from the results, there remains a residual difference. I would prefer to see the point nailed down by comparing individuals of comparable incomes in different countries. Do blacks in the USA with income of $20,000/year have IQ scores close to those of blacks in Africa with comparable income?

Anyway, I find Mr. Sailer's writings to be so heavily charged with his political agenda that I cannot take anything he writes as reliable or even worthy of serious discussion.

Juoni said...


They [Medieval English] probably would have preferred publications with very short texts and lots of pictures.


As a non-native English speaker I have to address that this is particulary true for English.

Languages where the written form is identical or very close to spoken are obviously a lot easier to read.

Chris Crawford said...

Well, I've had quite an afternoon digging into the Minnesota study and the debate it triggered. After all my reading, however, I come to a simple conclusion: we can't draw any useful conclusions from that study. The debate raised a panoply of fine points that could well be dwarfed in magnitude by the statistical limitations of the study. The counts are too small to give us much in the way of statistical certainty.

Now at last I can make good on my promise to expand on why I believe that we can adequately measure cognitive performance with a one-dimensional number. Ironically enough, advocates of the utility of IQ and g are ignoring the basic premise of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind evolved in response to selection effects arising from specific environmental challenges.

At no point did some "uber-gene" decide that general intelligence would be a good thing to equip the mind with. Instead, as specific challenges arose, existing sections of the mind were recruited to address them as best they could, and if the environmental challenge proved serious enough, those sections began to specialize to address the challenge more successfully. This is the "mental modules" concept, and the basic fact that environmental challenges came in many different forms, it follows that the genetic responses to those challenges were specific to those challenges.

I agree that a generalized intelligence did arise at some point; I believe that the trigger for that integration was language, which had to access every mental module in order to include its contents in discourse. This served to integrate the behaviors of the different modules, but the process is far from complete, as is evidenced by the fact that we can easily be "of two minds" about a problem, or by the frequent blunders we make due to application of the wrong module to solve a problem (for example, a person with strong spatial reasoning attempting to understand human relationships in spatial terms).

So yes, there really is a general intelligence, but it's still somewhat small relative to the separate modules in human cognition. Analyzing human behavior in terms of g is no different from analyzing a car's overall performance exclusively by its engine displacement. Yes, it's one of the factors to consider, but there are so many more factors that should not be ignored.

Chris Crawford said...

Oops, first sentence of second paragraph should read:

"Now at last I can make good on my promise to expand on why I believe that we CANNOT adequately measure cognitive performance with a one-dimensional number."

Sorry.

Tom S. said...

Chris Crawford,

This last post of yours is similar to what I was saying in the first of my two latest posts, which I notice you conveniently ignored. I also note that your response to the second was basically to turn around my own accusation of you without any real basis. I am the one who is interested in taking into account all the data. You are the one who is interested in completely excluding any data with implications that you find unsavory.

I also find it mysterious the way you are still bringing tired old straw men into the argument. I don't think you'll find anyone here who says there's one gene or even one module for general intelligence. Did you think that people here think there is one gene for intelligence? If so, then that would demonstrate an astounding lack of reading comprehension. If not, then why bring it up?

It's not necessary at all to have one gene or one module to support notions of HBD applied to cognitive traits. And I would also point out that all the modular aspects of the brain have been open to natural selection in the last 10,000 and 100,000 or so years as well. There is no divine force that I am aware of that came and froze them in place. Maybe that is your theory? A divine force?

Returning to my second to last post, it seems strange to me that a trait would have evolved in some people that is only good for taking IQ tests, long before those IQ tests existed. It's much more reasonable to think that a trait developed that was good for something that was happening at the time, and then it turned out to be good for IQ tests too.

Chris Crawford said...

Tom, what in the world are you talking about with this single-gene nonsense? I went back and carefully re-read my responses to you, and I could not find any place where I accused you of saying that there's one gene for intelligence. Would you mind directing me to the quote I made that makes that accusation?

I agree entirely with your final paragraph. So what?

Tom S. said...

Chris, I was responding to your post directly above about an "uber-gene." It sounded to me like you were referring to a single gene.

Maybe you were just referring to a single trait, even if it is determined by multiple genes. But the fact that were are not talking about a single gene or a single trait does not prove anything at all, so I'm not sure why you bring it up.

My final paragraph is pointing out a problem with your argument, which seems to be that IQ is "just a score on a test," that it doesn't actually measure anything. But if you agree, as you now seem to say, that it measures some trait (or multiple traits) that evolved over time, then what would that (or they) be? And why does it correlate so strongly with mental aptitude in various tasks?

Chris Crawford said...

Yes, the IQ test produces a number that correlates with one cognitive capability. I will grant, for purposes of argument only, that the cognitive capability it measures is likely correlated with the notion of general intelligence (although I have many reservations about the way some people interpret that concept).

What I deny is that the cognitive capability it measures constitutes an adequate measure of overall cognitive capability. For example, it doesn't measure anything remotely like the cognitive skills that go into effective rock throwing. Throwing rocks accurately and powerfully was a crucial Pleistocene skill, and it remains psychologically important to most males -- witness the passion with which many American gun owners defend their ownership of these weapons. No IQ test measures this dimension of human performance.

Similarly, no IQ test measures what some people call "female intuition", an important cognitive skill. Musical talent? Creativity? And how do idiot savants fit into this discussion?

An interesting correlation I have noticed: many of the advocates strike me as scientifically intelligent and emotionally retarded. They can sling around the technical verbiage, but they can't handle disagreement without getting mad. They seem to me to be easily frustrated and emotionally attached to their beliefs. On the other hand, I know some emotionally sensitive women who just can't figure out how to use their computers. And of course, I also know people who combine different cognitive skills in differing mixes. That's the core of my argument: that there is no single measure of cognitive performance; there are multiple dimensions of cognitive performance. To deny those multiple dimensions, and to insist that the human mind operates along a single dimension of cognitive performance, is to grossly underestimate the complexity and power of human mentation.

priscilla said...

"What I deny is that the cognitive capability it measures constitutes an adequate measure of overall cognitive capability. For example, it doesn't measure anything remotely like the cognitive skills that go into effective rock throwing. Throwing rocks accurately and powerfully was a crucial Pleistocene skill, and it remains psychologically important to most males -- witness the passion with which many American gun owners defend their ownership of these weapons. No IQ test measures this dimension of human performance."


And you_ know_why it doesn't measure "this dimension of human performance." Because the physical skill of rock throwing (or throwing darts which land in the bull's eye of a dart board at one's local watering hole or throwing a large rubber ball at your schoolmates who are herded in a circle in a game of dodge ball or zipping it with mustard to a receiver running a slant ten yards over the middle or tossing a lofted beauty over the head of the defender into the hands of the receiver streaking down the sidelines 40 yards downfield) are not necessary modern skills (although the rare qb who can toss and fire that ball accurately at that level along with doing some other things, certainly can make some dough.)

No, an IQ test doesn't tell anyone if you can run the 100 meters and beat most other people or if you can climb a rope in an alloted number of seconds, but so the hell what?

It's predictive of all kinds of problem solving capabilities in the modern world and as such, is so far the best predictor of economic and academic success.

Interestingly enough, when the best hunters in a hunter-gatherer group have been tested, the data have not suggested they have higher IQs than other members of their group and of course those tests do measure visuo-spatial skills.

Your argument is old, Crawford, and very, very worn.

Anonymous said...

I'm not pessimistic at all.

My personal HBD awareness came when I learned to combine a lot of loose ends. I had known about the differing bell curves but did not tie this to different national outcomes. Same with innate sex differences and feminist quests to erase them; I always thought this was weird.

In university I noticed a lot of Chinese students who always sat together, got good grades but they never dared raise their hand -- even if they knew the right answer!

It was when I stumbled upon Sailer's VDare collection (pre-Obama) and La Griffe's essays when I started to really understand all the wide ranging implications. Sailer did a ton of book reviews, which I all bought and read myself. Since then, I never looked back. Jensen and Rushton don't seem (to me) like they are the most important thinkers out there. (Also, Rushton's rule seems wrong to me. If groups split, they evolve differently from then on; it's not the latest group to split off is per definition most "evolved".)

HBD also gave my some rest. Why should one even bother debating blank slaters? They're wrong, but they're in power; they have the Zeitgeist to support them; and they will make you pay if you'd reference HBD. I find some solace in knowing that I'm more right than most and that it took me effort to get there.

HBD will win, but it will take time. Ah well, we'll always have China as a huge living HBD troll throwing shit at all sides of the establishment.

Chris Crawford said...

priscilla, I think you came close to hitting the nail on the head with this:

It's predictive of all kinds of problem solving capabilities in the modern world and as such, is so far the best predictor of economic and academic success.

Yes, it has predictive value in both of these areas, but don't forget two important qualifiers: first, its value as a predictor of economic success is not as great as its value as a predictor of academic success. That in itself indicates that economic success involves a wider range of cognitive skills than academic success. Second, the predictive value for economic success seems to be dependent upon the culture, with the greatest predictive value occurring in the developed economies.

What this tells me is that the IQ test is indeed culture-bound: it predicts ability to succeed in the "most Western" cultures. If you believe that Western culture is the best culture, then you are justified in placing high value on IQ scores. Although I hold rationalism in high esteem and consider it crucial to the successful adaptation to technological progress, I am not so parochial as to judge my fellow man on his embrace of rationalism.

For example, let us consider the role of art in culture. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has established any predictive value of IQ for artistic excellence. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) Are we therefore to dismiss art and artists as inferior? Here we run head-on into the Two Cultures problem, which has only worsened since C.P. Snow first described it 50 years ago.

Here's another big issue: is IQ predictive of happiness? The stuff I've read does not seem to support any such conclusion. Is not the pursuit of happiness deserving of our approbation? If IQ scores have no relationship to this fundamental human goal, is it prudent for us to place value on what does not yield the most important value of all?

Lastly, I'd like to refer you to a recent paper on the relationship between IQ and political beliefs. I couldn't find the paper itself, but I did find a great many discussions of it; here is one such report. If anybody can find the original paper, I'd much appreciate a link to it. The paper seems to say that racism and socially conservative views are associated with low IQ scores, and that socially liberal views are associate with high IQ scores. I suspect that some of the ostensibly objective readers here will take great exception to that finding.

Chris Crawford said...

Part I

I'd now like to extend the discussion in a new direction: what if it really is the case that blacks have lower overall cognitive capability than whites? Please heed this argument carefully; I suspect it will be more subtle than a first reading will indicate.

Let's begin with the opening statement from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;"

If we scientifically establish that blacks are cognitively less capable than whites, then we have disproven the "self-evident truth" that all men are created equal; that pretty much blows away the rest of the paragraph. We'll have to reject the notion of egalitarianism that is one of the foundations of modern liberal democracies. What happens to democracy then? How will we tear out the foundations without tearing apart the entire political system?

The shoot-from-the-hip response would be that we can recognize this difference between races without denying them equality of rights. In other words, we declare that equality of talent is false, but equality of rights remains inviolable. That sounds like a neat resolution, doesn't it?

The problem is, having undermined the fundamental basis of egalitarianism, we have established an internal contradiction in the political philosophy that guides our democracy. It's rather like declaring that 2+2=4 but 2,00,002+2,000,002=2,000,005.

That internal contradiction will evince itself repeatedly in countless decisions. Should we spend as much money on educating blacks as we spend on educating whites? Sure, they should have equal rights, but in these tough economic times, can we afford to waste our precious educational dollars on people who won't benefit as much from them? How can we resolve such a dilemma? If a predominantly white community votes to spend less money on schools in black neighborhoods, citing the scientific results, could that vote be overturned on the grounds that racists have been scientifically shown to be dumb? As you can see, this gets us into very messy territory.

Now for the subtle part: I am NOT saying that we should ignore scientific results because they have undesirable political consequences. That's the thinking of the climate change deniers and creationists, and I abhor it. To make sure that readers understand my point, I'll reiterate: any undesirable social or political consequences of scientific investigation should in no wise affect our acceptance of the results of the investigation. If the science says X, then we must proceed with that as the basis for our political response.

Chris Crawford said...

Part II

What I AM saying is that the political consequences of this finding are so serious that we had damn well better be sure of it before we embrace it. Sorry, but two standard deviations just aren't good enough. Even three standard deviations might not be good enough for such a politically explosive conclusion. And right now, the state of the science involves far too many assumptions and vague associations to get us anywhere near three standard deviations. We should certainly continue this research, but we should do so with a bolstered sense of scientific skepticism.

When Oppenheimer and crew were building the first A-bomb, they were concerned about the possibility that the first nuclear explosion might somehow initiate fusion reactions in nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, triggering a self-sustaing fusion reaction that would propagate throughout the entire atmosphere, with obvious unpleasant consequences. Now, all the equations showed this to be quite impossible. In fact, it was absurd. However, given the gravity of the consequences, Oppenheimer set up a team of the some of the brightest and most creative minds in the project to act as Devil's Advocate, proposing every possible hypothesis that might support the end-of-the-world scenario. They presented their ideas on a regular basis to Oppenheimer and his top colleagues. I don't think we need take that much care with this research, but we should certainly demand a high standard of evidence.

Peter Fros_ said...

Chris,

The term "racist" has no consistent objective meaning and does little to advance honest debate. It is little more than an insult, like "fascist" or "pinko."

Take the word "Communist." It dates back to the late 19th century, when some thinkers came to the conclusion that the market economy favors capital over labor. Capitalists can more easily out-manoeuvre working people, and this advantage increases as the market economy internationalizes. These thinkers concluded that labor had to organize collectively to correct this imbalance and, ultimately, take control of the government, by peaceful means or by revolutionary means.

In the media, however, the term "Communist" became a mere insult, and a way to shut down debate. Why bother arguing the pros and cons of the market economy when you can just trot out the word "Commie"?

The same mental process lies behind the epithet "racist."

Yes, I agree that ideas have political consequences. That's why we encourage free and open debate, so that policy making can be based on the best possible understanding of reality. Would ignorance be a sounder basis for policy making? And is anti-racism not without risks of its own?

Chris Crawford said...

Peter, I agree that the term "racist" has been diluted by overuse, and has taken a polemical connotation. Accordingly, it is a word that I would prefer to avoid. But there is a very real phenomenon out there that needs a label. If "racism" is no longer the right term to use, then how about "racial prejudice"? Let us not engage in reverse PC by banning a word whose connotations we agree are distasteful.

Moreover, there is some applicability in the polemical aspect of the term. Would you not agree that the behavior of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists is deserving of our castigation? If we equate the term "racist" with "white supremacist", then would you not agree that the term is appropriate in its contemptuousness?

I agree that we need a term that clearly distinguishes between a purely objective scientific analysis that yields results demeaning to one race and a prejudice based on animus. There's a huge gap between the scientist who researches a controversial topic with integrity and the guy wearing a pointed white sheet. One of my major points here is that some of the people in HBD are wearing those pointed white sheets, and that not only do we need terms that differentiate them, HBD needs behavior that differentiates them. HBD needs a strict code of behavior that bans the use of value-laden terms such as "superior" and "inferior". The fact that so many HBDers use value-laden terminology certainly suggests that they are to some degree motivated by racial animus.

(Perhaps "racial animus" is the term we should use instead of "racism"; but then a supporter of racial animus would be a racial animal, no?)

The term that we would prefer to use to differentiate between the objective researcher and the 'racial animal' is, of course, HBD. The problem is, that term is rapidly coming to mean 'racism' in many minds, and that association is bolstered every time somebody injects a value-laden term into the discussion and doesn't get loudly smacked down.

Next, I'll chide you for once again stooping to a straw man argument:

Would ignorance be a sounder basis for policy making?

Contrast this with my statement:

"We should certainly continue this research"

as well as my paragraph about my "subtle point". From your research postings it is blindingly obvious that you are capable of precise critical thinking. Please apply that thinking to your criticisms of my points.

Lastly, let me address your final question:

And is anti-racism not without risks of its own?

While in general I would that any deviation from strict truth is undesirable, I think in this case that erring on the side of intellectual (as opposed to political) conservatism is prudent. As with the example of the first A-bomb, the consequences of erring in one direction are severe, whereas erring in the other directions entails consequences that are far less injurious to society.

Sean said...

Like I said it's a waste of time arguing science with Chris though he is very smart and not scared of being very controversial. He understands that the Palestinians' national rights are being violated, and says so. But he can't process that his own are being displaced.

Branding scientists and others as as racist works so well becuase language is there for indirect repicocity through reputation. Chris uses it for its intended original purpose, and in the way that humans have been selected to pick up on, and that is why he is so difficult beat. I can't hlp noticing that Chris is one of the few commenters who uses his own name.

Basically the white knowledge class require the individual to prove himself worthy by not acting as if he has ethnic interests with other whites. Anyone who violates the rule is a defector and is subject to punishment by reputation.

chuck said...

(1b)

Re: Chris Crawford (1 January, 2013 11:56:00 AM EST)

“Inasmuch as I find the concept of 'general mental ability' vague and inutile”

Insomuch as you “find the concept of 'general mental ability' vague and inutile,” you demonstrate your nescience. In psychology, gma or g or general intelligence is frequently defined qualitatively as a general mental capability which “involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas… (Gottfredson, 1997).” Quantitatively, it’s defined as the covariation among diverse measures of cognitive ability. Operationally, it’s defined as composite scores of a test battery or by the first component of an unrotated factor analysis (e.g., Plomin and Spinath (2004). These definitions closely cohere, giving construct validity to the term. The utility of discussing GMA, as opposed to other latent mental abilities (e.g.., broad visual perception (Gv)) is that GMA is so well defined and studied. In reference to our discussion, I can readily pull up a meta-analysis of group differences in GMA (e.g., Roth et al.), but I’m pressed to find any studies that decompose differences by specific abilities. As for the utility of the concept, in general, GMA is the predictive backbone of an IQ or mental ability test. The general factor explains 95% of the variance in outcomes (such as education or income) that is explained by IQ or other mental ability tests. To put it other way, the practical utility of mental ability tests (for predicting social outcomes) resides in gma. GMA is the dominant active substance of a test, those establishing the utility of the concept.

So, we return to my earlier point: “because your views on IQ, general intelligence, and genetics are so contradicted by the empirical data, you have no credibility on this issue. And to the extent that your overall position (i.e., concerning “racism”) is dependent on these views, this position can be dismissed.”

Moving on, we return to the issue of what constitutes “racism.” Chris rebukes me, saying:

“The crucial issue, here, is chuck's use of the terms "superior" and "inferior". He suggests that he means nothing more than "higher in value" and "lower in value", but in fact that is NOT what those terms mean. They carry a clear connotation of value or worthiness. If you had meant "higher in value" or "lower in value", you would have written those terms.”

chuck said...

(2b)

In my earlier reply to Chris, I made clear the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic characteristics. I noted that empirically found differences (e.g., in height, metabolism, capacity of DNA self repair, intelligence, color, etc.) are extrinsic in nature As such, they don’t characterize one’s intrinsic being, per se. I noted that one could make metaphysical arguments to move from extrinsic to intrinsic. For example, one could argue that DNA stands on an ontological juncture between the intrinsic and extrinsic such that extrinsic inferiority in DNA (i.e., having a genetic disease) implies intrinsic inferiority in being (i.e., individuals with genetic diseases are inferior beings). One could do this. But pointing out extrinsic difference, per se, is not doing this. Now frequently, “racism” is defined as making assertions of intrinsic – or inherent -- superiority. See, for example, the Webster dictionary definition. By this definition, making assertions of extrinsic inferiority, per se, can not be said to be “racist.” Now, some might argue that “innate” or “genetic” differences are ipso facto “inherent” or “intrinsic.” Accordingly, a claim of congenital race differences necessarily entails a claim of intrinsic race differences. And assertions of superiority in context to congenital differences then entail assertions of intrinsic superiority – and, by the above definition, “racism.” But people who argue this must accept the logical corollary of equating intrinsic differences with innate or genetic differences -- that within races individuals vary intrinsically (i.e., in being), since races are not genetically homogenous. Now, it seems odd to me that some would posit intrinsic hierarchies within races so to define discussions of innate differences between races as “racist,” where “racism” is considered to be immoral because it involves a positing of intrinsic hierarchies between races. But there are many odd people in this world. What we can say, though, is that accusations of moral unworth by such persons are utterly dismissible; indeed, their moral and or intellectual worth is impugned by their duplicitous or inconsistent reasoning on this matter.

But Chris doesn’t seem to be one of these people. As he continually fails to make clear his definition of “racism,” it’s difficult to tell. But he doesn’t seem to be. He, nonetheless, does consider my assertions to be racist, despite my making it clear that I am concerned with extrinsic characteristics. He claims now that the issue is my usage of the terms “inferior” and “superior” because they are value laden. Apparently, now, if I had said that “The distributions of gma is shifted to the left for African Americans relative to European Americans,” I wouldn’t be racist (on the account of my saying this). And presumably, if I qualified gma with “congenital” and added “probably” after “is,” I also wouldn’t be considered racist, because I would be making a purely empirical claim. The problem now is that I used the term “inferior” and “superior.” By the same reasoning, I guess, I would be considered ageist if I said, “Older people tend to be inferior in health to younger people.” Or I would be elitist, if I said, “People who do superior on IQ tests tend to be superior in general mental ability relative to those who do not.”

chuck said...

3b


I agree with Chris that “superior” and “inferior” are frequently used in context to traits which are socially valued in a certain society. When the terms are used, they connote: “being higher/lower in value … in a trait that is socially valued.” So we might speak of superior “stamina,” “health,” and “endurance,” but typically not superior “pinky length.” I disagree in that I see nothing inappropriate in what said. General mental ability so happens to be socially valued in our society. (Whether or not it is is a purely empirical issue.) As such, I am using the term “superior” and “inferior” perfectly appropriately (i.e., in context to a trait which is socially valued). I might agree with Chris, had I said that African Americans were inferior, on average, in the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide. That would be a gratuitous slam, as PTC tasting ability isn’t socially valued.

Chris continues: “Instead, you chose to use terms that connote degrees of dignity, worthiness, or value. These are not scientific concepts, they are personal values. In using them, you demonstrate that your purportedly scientific approach is actually a veneer concealing a personal animus towards African Americans.”

I used terms that connote social value. “Social value” defined as “What people in a given society tend to value” is a scientific concept; it falls in the domains of sociology and anthropology. Insofar as the trait I described is socially valued, my usage was appropriate.

Your response here is interesting, because it sheds light on what you mean by “racism” and why you are opposed to it. Either you are equating social value with intrinsic value (and are making the faulty assumption that discussion of difference in socially valued extrinsic characteristics (e.g., intelligence, stamina) is tantamount to discussion of intrinsic difference (which are socially valued)), or you are merely opposed to discussion of differences in traits that are socially valued. (Or perhaps, acknowledgements – by use of the term “superior” and “inferior” -- that the traits under discussion are in fact socially valued.) If the latter(s), Tom S, was correct when he said: “Basically, your definition of racism is: "Thinking there's a difference between populations on any measure that really matters."

chuck said...

4b

In light of what was said above, Tom S’s statement might have to be rephrased as: “Thinking that there is a socially valued difference.” Accordingly, the act of racism is the acknowledging the value of a difference. If a trait is pooh-poohed, apparently, we can discuss it. What if I had originally said:

“African Americans are inferior to European Americans in general mental ability, a frivolous trait which, unknownst why, is valued by some”?

Would that be (a quasi-oxymoronic) non-racist statement (by your formulation)?

….

I find your views on this topic interesting, because I have encountered what seems to be the implicit logic before. For some, perhaps many, and maybe most, “racism” has come to mean “morally bad” and “ascribing value to race and to race differences.” There is no obvious logical connection between these two ideas so, usually, to connect them the ‘thinking about significant differences is especially dangerous theorem’ is employed.

You made it when you said: ““The killing of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Croats, Serbs, Kosovars, Armenians, American Indians, and countless other groups for essentially racist reasons is the ugliest crime in the history of humanity”

Accordingly, “ascribing value to race and to race differences” or some variant of that potentially leads to a host of immoral acts and therefore is immoral. It’s a utilitarian argument. Ok, but I explained why (January, 2013 8:34:00 AM EST) this justification is incoherent. Regardless, I reject it on the grounds of being intellectual censorship, an act which I understand to be a morally evil.

chuck said...

5b

If I granted your moral argument in the instance of using “Superiority” and “Inferiority” or of discussing differences in gma, and I agreed to tip toe quietly, after you would probably move to deem by the ‘thinking about significant differences is especially dangerous theorem’ that any discussion of race differences, of the kind you dislike, is immoral and so racist. And then any discussion of race, which you find disconcerting. This, in fact, is what has been happening in the sciences (let alone out).

Does that mean that everything goes with race, in my universe. Well, no. Usually, deviant as I am, I treat races as groups and, as I explained prior, groups as collections of individuals. When it comes to morals, I apply, at very minimal, individual level moral principles (i.e., do not murder them) to groups. So, for example, since I use the terms “superior” and “inferior” with respect to individuals within races and since I consider my usage amoral, I consider my usage of these terms amoral between races. So, I’m not really worried that because I apply the terms interracially that I will make up one full moon and kill 6 million Jews. But, I guess that my thinking on this matter must be warped .. because, I’m “racist,” no doubt.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, I'm not sympathetic to conspiracy theories, so your suggestion that it's all part of some grander design doesn't get far with me.

chuck, I apologize for my sloppy wording when I referred to g as vague and inutile. My interest is in understanding the human mind, not just the Western mind. IQ tests are notorious for their cultural bias. While they do a good job of predicting outcomes in Western academia, and a lesser job of predicting outcomes in income, they fall apart badly when used in other cultures, particularly East Asian cultures. If they do such a bad job in predicting outcomes for East Asians, then they really can't tell us much about the human mind in itself, can they?

The lengthy arguments you post regarding the semantics of "inferior" and "superior" strike me as a grand snow job: full of hair-splitting, logic-chopping, and sophistry.

chuck said...

1c

More replies.

On 1 January, 2013 11:56:00 AM EST, Chris said:

"My interpretation was based on a concept I learned many years ago; I cannot recall the formal term (it was something like "implicit quantification")."

Implicit quantification is domain specific. In the social sciences, the implicit quantifier, in context to mean differences in traits that are normally distributed within population, is "average" -- for example, "Men are taller (on average) than women." But, I'll accept your explanation for why you characterized my statement as you did.

You say: "My point is that this distinction is immensely important in ethical terms. The application of group results to individuals is so laden with potential for injustice that an honest and ethical person would take great care to make the distinction explicit. You take no such care."

Now I'm confused again. Grant me that the implicit quantifier when discussing race differences in gma or any other behavioral trait is "average." (As it is, are there any known race differences which vary uniformly?) Given the "potential for injustice," am I, nonetheless, obliged to make explicit my quantifier at all times (e.g., even when discussing this topic on a HBD blog with others who are presumed to have a reasonable grasp of it). That seems overly burdensome.

Concerning my claim that it’s a fact that there are gma differences, you state:“The flaw in your reasoning is not that … you generalized from a measurement of one thing (IQ) to a statement about another thing (general mental ability) in value-laden terms (inferior). The term "general mental ability" has no scientific definition, so any statement about it can have no scientific evidentiary support.”

chuck said...

2c

For a definition of gma, I recently cited Plomin and Spinath (2004). To quote them: gma is the “substantial covariation among diverse measures of cognitive ability as indexed by an unrotated first principal component score, which typically accounts for about 40% of the total variance of diverse cognitive tests, or by a total score across diverse tests as is done in intelligence tests.” This is the commonly used definition. In defense of my claim, I cited a meta-analysis of studies on differences on measures of gma (i.e., Roth et al.). This meta-analysis looked at composite score differences not factor score differences. As such, some might argue that this study did not look at gma differences per se, but only looked at indexes of gma. I grant the validity of that point. A composite score difference isn’t a gma difference. If that’s the point that you wish to make, make it directly. I assumed that this was and so I did my “snow job” on the meaning of “scientific fact.” In moving from composite score – which are calculated from subtest scores and their intercorrelations –differences to gma -- the intercorrelation of subtest scores -- differences one has to make “interpretations” concerning the magnitude of the correlation between composite score differences and gma differences. (Or if one is to use multigroup factor analysis to directly measure the gma difference, one has to make interpretations about the factorial models.) So I grant that my claim involves some interpretation. Virtually any claim would. I still maintain that what I said is a fact in the way that “Peter Frost is an anthropologist” is a fact. The deductive steps are very short because I didn’t specify a magnitude of gma difference. I merely said, if you read clearly, “inferior in gma” not “inferior in gma in proportion to IQ.” I didn’t even commit myself to what is known as “Spearman’s hypothesis” (which I consider to be a “theory.”)
I can’t imagine anyone, who is aware of the totality of the evidence, sincerely disagreeing with me (on the point about SOME gma differences). (If you can find anyone or know of anyone let me know so that I can email them and reason with them.)

chuck said...

Chris

On, 2 January, 2013 6:50:00 PM EST you said:

"While they do a good job of predicting outcomes in Western academia, and a lesser job of predicting outcomes in income...If they do such a bad job in predicting outcomes for East Asians...?

You have now made it clear that you don't have a good handle on this subject.

IQ tests are commonly used throughout the world. A quick google scholar search will give you a plethora of studies on IQ research in East Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. Japan, for example, has a decent behavioral genetic-IQ program. If you do a quick search you will find articles coming out of Japan such as: "Genetic correlation between autistic traits and IQ in a population-based sample of twins with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs."

Within (most) cultures, IQ tests show the same factorial structure, have similar predictive validities, and show similar external correlations. For example, IQ tests predict school performance in Kenya no less than in the US. The correlation between brain size (CC) and IQ is the same in north Africa as in North America. The correlation between genes and adult IQ is about the same in Kunming as in Colorado (but apparently not childhood IQ). The issue, then, isn't the validity of IQ tests per se -- or any other measure of mental ability. When it comes to cultural differences, the issue is with measurement invariance, that is, whether the same thing is being measured across populations as within.

For background, look up, Wu et al. "Decoding the Meaning of Factorial Invariance and Updating the Practice of Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis: A Demonstration With TIMSS Data."

But this is a purely empirical issue. For example, it's been found the MI holds between African and European Americans. Since it holds one can rightfully say that the score difference between these groups is of the same psychometric nature as the difference within, where that means that it involves the same factors (or a subset of them) and is due to the same causes (or a subset of them).

Do you not know this or are you just playing games? I ask in sincerity, as your views are probably representative of others in the upper 5th to 10th percentile of the IQ/g continuum - and I, someone much further down, would like to know what such people really think on this subject.

chuck said...

Chris,

You said (2 January, 2013 6:50:00 PM EST):

“The lengthy arguments you post regarding the semantics of "inferior" and "superior" strike me as a grand snow job: full of hair-splitting, logic-chopping, and sophistry.”

Whatever, dude.
What I notice is that my position is well developed and fairly internally consistent. Perhaps, not superbly articulated. Contrast that with yours, which represents a mishmashed regurgitation of bromides and clichés which you imbibed from reading the Atlantic Monthy. Clever nonsense splashed with a front of sense to keep poor chuck guessing that there was something more. Whatever.

chuck said...

Chris said:

“HBD needs a strict code of behavior that bans the use of value-laden terms such as "superior" and "inferior". The fact that so many HBDers use value-laden terminology certainly suggests that they are to some degree motivated by racial animus (2 January, 2013 1:46:00 PM EST).

Let me quote from a very recent commentary in the American Psychologist written by three well known researchers on IQ:

"In response to our report that some developing countries are experiencing larger IQ gains than is now characteristic of more developed countries, together with the speculation that developing country and developed country IQs may be converging, Woodley and Meisenberg (2012, this issue) argued that the genetic inferiority of people in developing countries places a limit on how much gain there can be for adults.

This was written by James Flynn, Richard Nisbett, and Eric Turkheinmer in response to Woodley and Meisenberg (2012), in which it was argued that the global IQ differences were likely partially genetically conditioned and in which no reference to “superiority” and/or “inferiority” were made.

Now, these esteemed environmental researchers – researchers frequently cited – had no problem characterizing a genetic hypothesis for group differences in IQ as a claim of “genetic inferiority.” And the journal to which they submitted the commentary had no problem with the characterization, either. I can only conclude from reading this statement and many similar ones made by other researcher of equally high esteem that speaking of superiority and inferiority is acceptable in this context. Or would you have me charge Flynn, Nisbett, Turkheinmer and innumerable others of slander?

Now, to Peter Frost I note: beware of the words of wormtongues who would have you censor off your own foot. Because after, it will be your leg. And you are already hopping, as it is.

Peter Fros_ said...

"If "racism" is no longer the right term to use, then how about "racial prejudice"?"

Chris,

You're better off sticking with "racism". An argument cannot be racially prejudiced. Only a person can be. And we are here to debate arguments, not the alleged characteristics of the people making the arguments.

chuck said...

Again, with respect to Chris's statement:

“The lengthy arguments you post regarding the semantics of "inferior" and "superior" strike me as a grand snow job: full of hair-splitting, logic-chopping, and sophistry.”

I consider the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic superiority to be pretty important. For example, I don't have a problem with saying that Peter Frost is intellectually superior to me. Not because it's true (even though it is) but because, while important, intelligence is only an accidental characteristic with respect to my being (to put it in Aristotelian terms). I feel pretty good about myself despite my mediocre g. And when I best the Chris's of the world in a logical agon-- I feel, I imagine, as does a retard who just won the special O. In short, intelligence doesn't define by being. On the otherhand, I do have a problem with saying that Peter Frost is intrinsically superior to me. Not because it's not true. (It might be.) But because I'm an egotist and my self image is connected to my image of myself qua being.

I can only imagine that others agree. Or would, if they heard me out. Unless they were douche bags, of course.

Chris, do you agree?

Chris Crawford said...

And we are here to debate arguments, not the alleged characteristics of the people making the arguments

Agreed. I went down that long path only because I was directly asked if I considered a particular person to be a racist. I much prefer to discuss ideas, and I certainly don't care about who said what, I care about what they said.

chuck, since you seem to believe that IQ tests are blind to cultural differences, I suggest that you read this article appearing in the Monitor on Psychology published by the American Psychological Association. You sweep a lot of controversy under the rug. There is a ton of literature on this topic, but most of it is on results for Afro-Americans versus European-Americans, which I consider to be much overblown. My concern lies with two aspects of cultural bias that are broader in foundation.

The first aspect is that we don't have results on the predictive value of IQ scores for modes of success in other cultures. I mentioned earlier that IQ tests do not have predictive value for artistic excellence or happiness in life. How can they possibly have predictive value for the kinds of success to which a East African might aspire? A Sikh? A Tibetan? The notions of success in cultures are radically different.

If you want to support your claim that high IQ scores truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture, then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures. I don't think you can provide that evidence.

You can provide plenty of evidence that IQ scores are predictive of academic success, and to a lesser degree of financial success. But I have already pointed out that IQ scores are not predictive of other forms of success, and by your silence you have acquiesced to that point. Therefore, if we agree that IQ scores are not predictive of all or most human aspirations, then how can you claim that IQ scores measure something fundamental about human mentation?

The second aspect arises from research into modalities of thinking. There's been a lot of interesting work on differences in cognitive style in different cultures. The work that most excites my interest in on the stylistic differences between Sinic culture and Western culture. One study I faintly recall exposed a profound difference in the assessment of images. Sinic people saw more of the "figure-ground" relationships, where Westerners were more adept at noticing details of the figure itself. Another study suggested that Chinese speakers do not perform as well as Westerners on tests involving counterfactual reasoning.

I suggest that you spend a week among the remaining hunter-gatherers of the San population. They probably can't multiply very well, and it is unlikely that any of those people will snag a chair at MIT anytime soon, nor do I expect any of them to become captains of industry in my lifetime. But by the same token, you and I would be complete nincompoops in their culture. Things that are patently obvious to them would completely escape our recognition. It's not just a matter of knowledge; it's an entire mentality, a way of thinking that's different. Even with months of training, I doubt that we'd ever master their way of life, not because we're stupid, but because we think differently.

And to declare our way of thinking superior to theirs is puerile chauvinism.

Anonymous said...

from Chris: "The remainder of your comments, chuck, are nonsensical sophistry, unworthy of serious response. I suppose that if I had time to waste, I could explain them, but your responses have been so unresponsive that I see no point in further discussing the issue with you."

Translation: Damn, Chuck pinned me down, exposed me, so I won't address his logical presentation.

Anonymous said...

"If we scientifically establish that blacks are cognitively less capable than whites, then we have disproven the "self-evident truth" that all men are created equal;"

Come off it, man, you know as well as anyone the Founders didn't believe nor did they mean that "equal" means "having the same abilities."

You know as well as anyone that "equal" and "same" aren't synonyms. One can indeed be "equal under the law" to another man/woman while being very different, diverse, "un-same," dissimilar in myriad ways.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, I suggest you re-read my post. My point was that scientific certification will be translated in the political realm into "mental inferiority", which in turn will create political pressures to alter the current legal standards. For example, educational spending is already made, to some extent, commensurate with educational potential; you can't get into a university without a good GPA. So how do we resist political pressures to expand that notion, lavishing plenty of money on "high achiever" schools and reducing expenditure on "babysitting" schools. That's certainly legal. And golly gee, if the schools in black neighborhoods turn out to be "babysitting" schools ('as PROVEN by science!') then there's no basis for invoking equal protection.

Similar arguments could end up being attached to insurance policies, health care, etc.

While you can quibble over the details, you cannot deny my underlying point: that scientific certification of reduced mental abilities in blacks will create many intractable political problems. That is why I claim that we should apply a high standard of confidence in any such research.

Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence in interpreting IQ data?

Anonymous said...

The Moral One wrote: "I suggest that you spend a week among the remaining hunter-gatherers of the San population. They probably can't multiply very well, and it is unlikely that any of those people will snag a chair at MIT anytime soon, nor do I expect any of them to become captains of industry in my lifetime. But by the same token, you and I would be complete nincompoops in their culture. Things that are patently obvious to them would completely escape our recognition. It's not just a matter of knowledge; it's an entire mentality, a way of thinking that's different. Even with months of training, I doubt that we'd ever master their way of life, not because we're stupid, but because we think differently."

If I spent a week amongst the San, I would bring the following things (artifacts of high IQ culture) and my own knowledge of them: a hunting rifle and ammunition, a good tent and backpack, lots of Cliff bars, a backpacking stove and a couple gas canisters, rice and various freeze-dried foods, sunscreen, plenty of iodine tablets and Tums, a Jeep with a week's worth of water stored in back, a map and compass, and--if available--a satellite phone. I think I'll do alright with minimal help from my hosts.

Now, what would a member of the San bring from his culture to help him get by for a week in L.A. or New York? Or Boise, for that matter.

I know this thought game won't make sense to you, because the game only plays out one way in your mind: I'm reliant entirely on the natives. However, that endgame completely ignores 10k years of cognitive and cultural evolution (the former comes first, of course), which is precisely what this whole argument is about, isn't it?

Chris Crawford said...

OK, so you could bring along plenty of tech stuff and do very well. That, of course, is a safari, not "spending a week among the San". But this is a quibble. The point I make is that the San can do lots of things that you cannot do. They have mental abilities that you lack.

Are you seriously suggesting that you are mentally superior to the San?

And BTW, you have not answered my question, so I'll repeat it:

"Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence in interpreting IQ data?"

Chris Crawford said...

I should probably refine my first question:

"Are you seriously suggesting that you are intrinsically mentally superior to the San, as opposed to being better adapted to a modern environment?"

Anonymous said...

However, that endgame completely ignores 10k years of cognitive and cultural evolution (the former comes first, of course), which is precisely what this whole argument is about, isn't it?

Chris's idea is about trying to test your cognitive evolution against a particular environment. If it's ineffectual or less effective in this particular environment, then it may be a specialized ability, rather than a general cognitive one. If it's simply a component of a vast civilizational infrastructure, then it may just be a specialized ability or just a segment of a "group-mind" of sorts, rather than a general ability embedded in your brain. Since low-IQ and native types can use rifles, sunscreen, backpacks, etc. just as effectively as you can, their use wouldn't by themselves demonstrate greater cognitive ability.

genetiker said...

"The point I make is that the San can do lots of things that you cannot do. They have mental abilities that you lack."

Chris, give us an example of a specific mental task that the San are known to be better at than whites.

chuck said...

3a

After quoting the Declaration of Independence, Chris Crawford reasons:

“If we scientifically establish that blacks are cognitively less capable than whites, then we hotes from the ave disproven the "self-evident truth" that all men are created equal; that pretty much blows away the rest of the paragraph.”

It’s curious that Chris is so unphased by our having scientifically established that some Whites and some Blacks are cognitively less capable than others of the same race (i.e., IQ/g is normally distributed). Unless I am missing something, establishing this, by his reading, should have blown “away the rest of the paragraph,” and ushered in Bellum omnium contra omnes. Why wouldn’t, by Chris’s reading, proving that all men are not equal within races disprove the “self-evidence truth” that all men are equal?

(The real question is: Why would Chris even think that he had a point here? One of my brothers, a respectable professor of molecularbiology, once made to me nearly the same argument. After some intellectual shaming, I forced him to disavow the argument and confess that he was merely plagiarizing someone else’s stupidity. He acknowledged that he had picked up the argument while reading The Atlantic. I would guess that this or some very similar magazine of ill repute is the root source of the nonsense that Chris is parroting.)

Whatever the case, I thank Chris for bringing up this point about “self-evident” truths and “equality” as it is germane to a point which I have been laboring on. When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration, natural law theory was in vogue. By this theory, still held by some, the possibility of human rights is justified by human nature. Here, ‘nature’ is being used as a metaphysical not physical (i.e., empirical) concept. It refers to, in Aristotelian terms, substantial not accidental form. Accordingly, humans are equal in metaphysical nature – or, in the terminology which I have employed, “intrinsic being” -- and this equality accords them rights. A quick Wiki search on “Natural law” will confirm what I say. The point is that my “intrinsic” extrinsic” distinction is perfectly in accords with, as it has been informed by, the Natural Law theory which forms much of the basis of common law in the Anglo world. But of course, Chris consider Natural Law Theory to be “hair-splitting, logic-chopping, and sophistry,” so he dismisses it. Fair enough. But it’s invalid to cite the “Declaration of Independence” as is done, since this work was informed by that hair-splitting, logic-chopping, sophistry of lex naturalis.

Now, this brings me to the more important point. It’s easy to reconcile race differences with the foundational principles of this country. We do so the same way as we reconcile intra-race differences. The real threat to the moral foundation of this (liberal multicultural propositional) nation are the deviant atheists. The Dec. of Ind. clearly states that human rights are dependent on a “Creator” (“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”). People, then, who argue that this Creator is non-existent are flirting with genocide, since they are undermining the grounds for the possibility of human rights.





chuck said...

3b

Continuing, Chris says: “Sorry, but two standard deviations just aren't good enough. Even three standard deviations might not be good enough for such a politically explosive conclusion.”

Race differences in cognitive ability, of the current magnitudes, are acknowledged by the media and the government and by liberal reformers as being of upmost importance. Hence the vast efforts to “close the achievement gaps.” And race differences in cognitive ability explain almost completely many if not most of the social outcome differences which are also acknowledged, by these same groups, as being of upmost importance. This is the context of the discussion. Racial hereditarians enter the picture on the etiological level. They are merely offering a different causal explanation for the difference than that which is commonly assumed (e.g., White Racism). If the complaint is that too much is being made about the small differences, then this complaint needs to be directed to those who are making much of these difference. To the sociologists, the liberal op-ed writers, government officials, international organizations, and so on. Personally, I agree that the differences are not huge. For example the B/W difference in income, completely explainable by that in IQ, is only about 0.5 SD or under one half of that between random individuals (e.g.., 1.17 SD). I’m all for ignoring this difference and for ostracizing people who discuss it. But since it’s being discussed, and since it’s deemed worthy of discussion, I’m all in.

Chris continues: “I don't think we need take that much care with this research, but we should certainly demand a high standard of evidence.”

For each point of the debate there are at least two positions. For example, there are differences in gma versus there are no differences, these differences are congenital versus these differences are environmental, these differences are due to White racism versus these differences are not due thusly. The standards should be no higher for one position than for the other, else you get a lopsided discourse and biased science, which is what we have been getting. If standards are tightened, they need to be done so uniformly with respect to the particular issue under discussion. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing this happen, because I am quite aware of the quality of the research generated by both sides.

Chris Crawford said...

genetiker, you ask for specific cognitive traits that the San possess that are not so strong with Westerners. These would be the traits required for hunting and gathering, which in turn rely heavily on a heightened sensitivity to the physical environment. For example, the San are very good at noticing tiny differences in soil color that indicate the presence of desirable roots. They have also demonstrated extreme sensitivity to fine details in animal tracks. I have also read that they seem to have a kind of "animal intuition" that makes it possible for them to predict animal behavior in ways that baffle the anthropologists who study them.

Chuck, you continue to slather on the polysyllabic pedantries, few of which present anything significant. On the matter of egalitarianism, I have already explained that the issue is not a philosophical one, it is a political one. All your grand philosophizing is irrelevant to the point I made.

Look how readily the climate change deniers seize upon any crumb of research to advance their lies. Look at how creationists misrepresent scientific findings. If scientists establish that there are fundamental differences in cognitive skills between blacks and white, I guarantee you that racists will seize upon that to start whittling away at policies promoting egalitarianism. That's why I maintain that we need to establish high standards of confidence in such research.

You reject that conclusion. You argue that the same standard of confidence should be applied to both sides. In this, you are certainly at loggerheads with probability theory and standard political practice. In probability theory, you multiply the probability of an event by the magnitude of its consequences to determine how seriously you should take it. A low-probability, high-consequence event can be just as important as a high-probability, low-consequence event.

A finding that there is no innate difference in cognitive abilities between races will have no social effects because it accords with our existing notions of egalitarianism. A reverse finding would call into question our notions of egalitarianism and trigger many difficult social and political issues. Since the impact of the second outcome is so serious, it deserves more careful consideration.

Politicians apply this kind of thinking to all sorts of policies. For example, we go to enormous lengths to insure that terrorists are not able to wreak havoc with passenger aircraft. In truth, I believe that we go too far, but the reasoning is the same: if there aren't any terrorists planning such an act, then we are wasting money on all those precautions; in the unlikely event that there are terrorists planning such an act, the magnitude of the consequences is so great that our precautions are thought to be justified.

Lastly, you have been evading one of the most important issues I have raised, so I'm going to repeat it:

If you want to support your claim that high IQ scores truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture, then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures.

chuck said...

4a

Chris,

Are you just pretending that you’re oblivious to the context of the debate? You know, “affirmative action” and “adverse impact” and “anti-discrimination” and the trillions spent by the government over the last 50 years in an attempt to “close the achievement gap”. The countless sermons on the oppression of “people of color.” The claims of “institutions racism” and “colorism” and “White privilege.” The vast social engineering project created to equalize groups. Yes, you bet that cognitive realism and racial hereditarianism have political import! The import is that, to the extent that these positions are true, sociopolitical arguments can not be made, as they have been for the past 50 years, on the basis of cognitive anti-realism and racial environmentalism (Sesardic, 2005).

This is the current world we live in. From a typical paper on the achievement gap:

“In discussing racial and ethnic gaps, we focus on three groups: Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites (whites), and non-Hispanic African Americans (blacks). We note that these groups are socially constructed and heterogeneous categories that proxy for diverse ethnic and cultural groups… In the United States, the Hispanic and black categories serve as markers for minority status and its accompanying experiences of discrimination and disadvantage. Hispanic and black children face much higher rates of poverty, particularly persistent poverty, than do white children…
… As table 4 shows, initiatives that substantially raise both enrollment in and the quality of center care for low-income children could narrow racial and ethnic school readiness gaps considerably, reducing black-white gaps by up to 24 percent and Hispanic-white gaps by up to 36 percent. In addition, table 2 indicates that race- or ethnicity-specific increases in enrollment—in particular, increasing the enrollment of Hispanic children but not that of white children—could also narrow school readiness gaps. Other changes would also improve black and Hispanic children’s school readiness, but would not reduce racial and ethnic gaps much, because they would also improve white children’s achievement. If raising black and Hispanic children’s school readiness regardless of their relative levels of achievement is a goal, then these changes should be considered. (Magnuson and Waldfogel.Early Childhood Care and Education: Effects on Ethnic and Racial Gaps in School Readiness).

chuck said...

4b

We live in a world in which the default assumption is that group differences are due to “discrimination”, “racism”, and “white privilege” – that they are the product of misdeeds and iniquities -- in a world where it is seen as necessary to counter discriminate to make things right and just. In which a vast system of discriminatory programs has been created and is being extended to “close the gaps.” In this world, yes, HBD has immense import – because it has the potential to demolish the racial discrimination narrative which is used to justly your “egalitarian” policies.

You say: “Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence in interpreting IQ data?”

This is absolutely incredible. Read a typical paper on the subject:

“Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination” by Ronald Fryer

Fryer, like the majority in the social sciences, has come to agree with the views of The Bell Curve: Cognitive ability difference condition the social outcome differences. The issue now, and for the past decade, has turned to the cause of the cognitive ability differences. Environmentalists like Fryer obviously argue for environmental causes. Morover, they characterizes the differences in environmental terms (e.g,, “human capital differences” “achievement differences”), but as Peter Frost has noted whether you call the difference a “gma difference”, an “IQ difference”, an “achievement difference”, or a “human capital difference”, doesn’t matter because within populations all of these traits are highly heritable so they have the potential to be so between populations. Nothing of substance would have changed if I had originally said “Blacks are inferior in a broad range of achievement ability to Whites” except your faulty mental image.

But to answer you question: when interpreting IQ data, the standards applied between populations should be the same as those applied within.

chuck said...

Chris Said:

"On the matter of egalitarianism, I have already explained that the issue is not a philosophical one, it is a political one. All your grand philosophizing is irrelevant"

This is after I explain the absolute idiocy of his
2 January, 2013 11:45:00 AM EST argument, in which he maintained that there was a fundamental contradiction between the idea of race differences in cognitive ability and the principles embodied by the Declaration of Independence. Quote: "The problem is, having undermined the fundamental basis of egalitarianism." So, now the issue is a pragmatic political one instead of a political philosophical one. I see.

Chris Crawford said...

Well, chuck, your racial prejudice is once again revealing itself in your statements about past policies. I could pursue this line of argument but you have already declared that you are unconcerned with the potential consequences of this research and that you do not believe in weighting probabilities by their consequences, so it appears that we have reached the end of the line on that argument.

I note that once again you have avoided answering a question of much greater import. I repeat my question:

If you want to support your claim that high IQ scores truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture, then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures.

genetiker said...

"For example, the San are very good at noticing tiny differences in soil color that indicate the presence of desirable roots. They have also demonstrated extreme sensitivity to fine details in animal tracks. I have also read that they seem to have a kind of "animal intuition" that makes it possible for them to predict animal behavior in ways that baffle the anthropologists who study them."

What tests have been done demonstrating San superiority to whites in soil color discrimination, animal tracking, and animal intuition?

Chris Crawford said...

genetiker, you ask "What tests have been done demonstrating San superiority to whites in soil color discrimination, animal tracking, and animal intuition?"

These are observations by the anthropologists, not measurements.

Anonymous said...

Cro-Magnons could work instead of the San for Chris's thought experiment. There's less political and emotional baggage using the Cro-Magnon since they weren't Africans. But like the San they were hunter-gatherers and lacked modern artifacts like rifles, freeze-dried food, Jeeps, etc.

Anonymous said...

If I spent a week amongst the San, I would bring the following things (artifacts of high IQ culture) and my own knowledge of them: a hunting rifle and ammunition, a good tent and backpack, lots of Cliff bars, a backpacking stove and a couple gas canisters, rice and various freeze-dried foods, sunscreen, plenty of iodine tablets and Tums, a Jeep with a week's worth of water stored in back, a map and compass, and--if available--a satellite phone. I think I'll do alright with minimal help from my hosts.

Your mere use of these artifacts wouldn't support your argument, since low-IQ people routinely use these artifacts in modern environments. A low-IQ person could just as easily stuff a backpack with sunscreen and trail mix and hang out in the Kalahari as you could.

chuck said...

Chris said:

“A reverse finding would call into question our notions of egalitarianism and trigger many difficult social and political issues. Since the impact of the second outcome is so serious, it deserves more careful consideration.”

Chris, we have 4 possibilities: (1) true environmentalism (difference are thought not to exist, and they don’t); (2) true hereditarianism (difference are thought to exist, and they do); (3) false environmentalism (differences are thought not to exist, and they do); and (4) false hereditarianism (difference are thought to exist, and they don’t). The current view is either (1) or (3). You claim to be worried about (4). And you argue that HBD needs heightened standards because it could lead to (4) which could lead to serious problems. In reply, I argued that standards should be no higher for HBD than for alternative research programs (e.g., environmentalist dominated sociology). You retorted that my reasoning is flawed because, as you see it, (4) is a concern but not, of course, (1). Of course, you slyly neglect the possibility of (3), of false environmentalism. Instead we just get:

“A finding that there is no innate difference in cognitive abilities between races will have no social effects because it accords with our existing notions of egalitarianism.”

The effect of (3) is a perverted form of egalitarianism, one which tries to equalize unequal groups through unequal treatment. This, I believe, is what we currently have. A present, there is a paranoid belief about insidious forces (“institutional racism” “White privilege”) operating to cause inequalities. As an illustration, let me just quote from the abstract of a recent paper submitted to the annual review of sociology:

"Drawing on a systems perspective, I show that race discrimination is a system whose emergent properties reinforce the effects of their components. The emergent property of a system of race-linked disparities is über discrimination—a meta-level phenomenon that shapes our culture, cognitions, and institutions, thereby distorting whether and how we perceive and make sense of racial disparities. Viewing within-domain disparities as part of a discrimination system requires better-specified analytic models. While the existence of an emergent system of über discrimination increases the difficulty of eliminating racial disparities, a systems perspective points to strategies to attack that system. Reskin, B. (2012).The Race Discrimination System. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 17-35."

An emergent system of über discrimination! Well, I have a more parsimonious alternative, but perhaps Reskin, B is correct. But, then, perhaps (3) is. Whatever the case, since (3) is a possibility, and this possibility if correct, is leading to defamatory claims, social paranoia and unjust discrimination (as discrimination is frequently justified), you can’t claim more of a moral mandate then I. I oppose the possibility of (3) and its accompanying injustices and you oppose possibility (4). Given the moral equality of positions – it seems only reasonable to demand equal standards for the two research projects (hereditarianism (HBD) and environmentalism). Since the standard are much lower for the latter, we will start there.

Chris Crawford said...

chuck, your clean division of reality into four simple situations makes for easy philosophy and lousy results. The reality involves some combination of the various possibilities in varying degrees. Thus, your simple boolean analysis gets us nowhere. Besides, as I have already pointed out, the issue is moot because you have already rejected out of hand the desirability of being prudent in the face of dangerous consequences.

For the fourth time, I present you with this challenge:

If you want to support your claim that high IQ scores truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture, then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures.

chuck said...

5a

Chris said:

"so it appears that we have reached the end of the line on that argument."

Chill out, dude, I'm trying to cover your points systematically. The only significant one that I have not yet got around to concerns the meaningfulness of gma:

"If you want to support your claim that high IQ scores truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture…."

I'm not precisely clear on what you're asking. In terms of our understanding of the concept of intelligence in cross cultural context, I would refer you to Rindermann (2007), who addressed this general issue in his seminal paper on National IQs:

"Helfrich and Hunt have referred to the possible cultural relativity of intelligence concepts: ‘What is considered as ‘‘intelligent’’ refers to the successful adaptation to those cognitive tasks which are significant within a specific culture’ (Helfrich). ‘It can be argued that intelligence, as evaluated by these tests, is a Western concept, and that the abilities evaluated by the tests may not be the ones valued by non-western societies’ (Hunt). Yet, both authors understand (as I do) intelligence as a cognitive ability. Non-cognitive behaviours such as relying on tradition and listening to the elderly (as in some concepts in African cultures) are not included.

If others or other cultures use the word ‘intelligence’ to refer to different or opposite concepts, it would help to use other terms (e.g. ‘traditionalism’ or ‘traditionality’). Finally, an etymological analysis of the term ‘intelligence’ (see Rindermann, 2007a) shows that Latin intellegentia and intellegere (inter-legere) and Greek legein and logos stand for rational ways of thinking and understanding the world. The development of this idea seems to be interdependent with autonomy, rule of law and (at least mental) liberty." (The g-factor of international cognitive ability comparisons: The homogeneity of results in PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS and IQ-tests across nations)

chuck said...

5b

Generally, I understand "intelligence" to refer to a domain of mental abilities that is used to solve a certain set of tasks. Not all mental abilities are intellectual but all intellectual abilities are mental. The domain that is described as intellectual of course is "cultural relative" in the sense that one domain is being described by the term and not another. For example, we could, I guess.imagine an alternative universe in which Europeans used the term "intelligence" to describe "motor functioning." But we are not living in that universe. You see to be asking something else, though, but I'm not sure what it is. As I said, within most cultures across the world gma as indexed by IQ scores correlates with genes, brain functioning, and social outcomes about the same. Within most cultures IQ tests index the same or a very similar domain of mental abilities. Also the positive correlation of tests shows up across species. On this point, I would refer you to Chris Chabris's "Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms of the Law of General Intelligence." There, Chabris discusses the issue of mental modules, too. The cross species finding of a psychometric g (positive manifold) suggests that psychometric g is somehow related to general brain functioning. But the neurophysiologic basis of it has yet to be unraveled. A study a few years back from Japan found a genetic g, thus extending and replicating other research. (Shikishima, C., Hiraishi, K., Yamagata, S., Sugimoto, Y., Takemura, R., Ozaki, K., ... & Ando, J. (2009). Is g an entity? A Japanese twin study using syllogisms and intelligence tests. Intelligence, 37(3), 256-267.) This was an interesting study since, in defining intelligence, the authors cited Aristotle. They found that the classical western measure of this trait, syllogism solving and reasoning, was a superb index of both psychometric and genetic g in Japan. Go figure.

I have a feeling that I have not yet met your demand, though. Perhaps you could explain more precisely what it is that you want. You say:“truly mean something about the human mind rather than Western culture then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures” That fact that IQ correlates with genes and brain size about the same across cultures indicates that IQ is measuring more than Western culture, no? Your statement reeks of a fallacy. You juxtapose saying something about “the human mind” with saying something about “Western culture” and saying something domain specific (i.e., dealing with a certain domain of mental abilities) with saying something about “a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures” e.g., boomerang throwing. And then you reason that if IQ tests say something only domain specific (e.g., ability to reason and solve conceptual problems) then they just say something about Western culture and not about “the human mind.” You neglect the possibility that these tests could say something both about “Western culture” and “the human mind”; they could speak of an aspect of the human mind which has been valued in the West for millennia and which still is – and as a result heavily researched. Right? And they surely say this -- at minimal. Now, if you grant this point, I can then proceed to build the case that these tests actually index something more general. Something closer to what you mean by “a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures.” My point here is that indexing a narrow range, to use your lexicon, does not imply saying nothing about the human mind.

genetiker said...

For Chris, anecdotal observations are sufficient to assert San superiority in "animal intuition", but a century of rigorous intelligence testing is not enough to claim white superiority in intelligence.

By his own standards, Chris should be suspected of racial animus, against whites.

Chris Crawford said...

First, thanks for finally addressing my point, which I believe is more germane to my objections to the use of IQ tests as a means of assessing overall human cognitive performance.

Second, you appear to slip at least one "easter egg" into your discussion. You write:

The cross species finding of a psychometric g (positive manifold) suggests that psychometric g is somehow related to general brain functioning.

This evinces images of chimpanzees, otters, and pigeons sitting at desks as they take their IQ tests. Perhaps you mean species in one of its other senses. If so, species of what? Please expand.

You ask me to expand on my meaning in this:

then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures

The problem here is that the only areas in which IQ has been shown to have predictive value are areas involving Western values. Believe it or not, there are people in this world who desire neither to become professors nor to get rich. Billions of them! Those people are using their mental capabilities in pursuit of other objectives. Is IQ predictive of success in any of those objectives? If not, then it is not a measure of innate human intelligence.

Let's start with the most fundamental aspiration: procreation. We have Clark's massive compilation of evidence on success in procreation in England before the Industrial Revolution, but his data showed an apparent linkage between income -- not IQ -- and procreation. What about other cultures? Do we have any evidence on the predictive value of IQ on procreation?

(Actually, in the case of advanced economies, we seem to have a negative correlation: I believe that more intelligent people in the West are having fewer children. What does THAT say?)

Let's break it down by gender. We could argue that higher IQ scores lead to higher incomes, and higher incomes generally permit higher numbers of children, so in that sense there's a connection -- but it applies only to males. For females, the causality runs differently. The female's task is to marry a wealthy guy with good genes and retain his loyalty while raising a nice happy family.

Have IQ scores been shown to be predictive of female marital success? Female procreative success? How about happy families versus dysfunctional families -- do high IQ scores have predictive value on this?

Do we have any evidence about IQ scores' predictive value for happiness? Presumably smarter people should be better able to satisfy their needs and desires. Do they?

Indian civilization is deeply spiritual; Indians place high value on spiritual progress. Are IQ scores predictive of spiritual progress in India?

Chinese civilization does not exalt the individual as Western civilization does; instead, one's relationship with the social group is of paramount importance. Has IQ been shown to be predictive of higher status in Chinese social groups?

I'm not sure of this, but I think I recall reading that the Yanomami males, who are quite violent, aspire to killing the greatest number of enemies. Have high IQ scores been shown to be predictive of high body counts for Yanomami males? (OK, I'm kidding, but this absurd example demonstrates what I mean about the parochialism of thinking only in terms of Western values. A Yanomami male who concentrated on his academic studies and his employment prospects would likely end up dead.)

It is crucial that evidence be produced that demonstrates that high IQ scores are predictive of success in a wide range of human aspirations. You deny this, but surely you can see the tautological nature of a test for academic thinking that turns out to be predictive of academic success.

Chris Crawford said...

genetiker, you wrote:

For Chris, anecdotal observations are sufficient to assert San superiority in "animal intuition", but a century of rigorous intelligence testing is not enough to claim white superiority in intelligence.

I certainly do not claim that the observations of anthropologists constitute proof of anything, nor do I contrast IQ test results with those observations. That comparison is of your concoction, not mine. You asked for an:

example of a specific mental task that the San are known to be better at than whites.

and I provided three examples based on observations. You're playing a switcheroo game here, asking for a low standard of proof ("known") and then applying it to a quantitative measurement. That's intellectual dirty pool.

And you use the term "white superiority", which is suggestive of racial prejudice.

By his own standards, Chris should be suspected of racial animus, against whites.

Inasmuch as my entire social circle contains only one black, and he is a distant acquaintance, if this were true, then I would hate everybody I know, including myself. No, my animus is directed at the intellectual crime of twisting science in pursuit of political agendas.

Anonymous said...

Chris said:

First, thanks for finally addressing my point, which I believe is more germane to my objections to the use of IQ tests as a means of assessing overall human cognitive performance.


IQ is not used as a means of assessing overall human performance, however, it is very good at assessing cognitive performance in complex societies such as exist in, say New York City, and much of the Western world.

It does not assess the performance of people in, say the South American jungles or Papua New Guinea, but then, the vast majority of us do not live there.


then provide evidence that IQ scores are predictive of success at a broad range of human aspirations across many cultures


They are not as I have indicated above. If you aspire to succeed among the Yanonamo or the Papuans, then your IQ score will not be as important as your ability to unthinkingly kill people without regard for their possible futures in complex societies. Feel free to move there if you want to.

Of course, if the shit hits the fan, and this complex computer-driven society around us crumbles to the ground, then a different set of skills will be useful, although future-time orientation will still be useful.

Kiwiguy said...

***f you believe that Western culture is the best culture, then you are justified in placing high value on IQ scores. ***

@ Chris Crawford,

The problem is that if groups differ, on average, then there will be permanent group inequality in modern industrial societies.

In the UK for example old colleges like Cambridge and Oxford seem to be under a lot of political pressure to admit more "working class" students. But if class differences partly reflect differences in ability and ability is partly inherited then class differences are themselves partly hertiable ( see David C Rowe's paper on Herrnstein's syllogism )

The other obvious problem is ethnic inequality. There are some rare politicians like Lee Kuan Yew open about this being partly innate. But most see it as due to solely to environmental inequality and therefore remedial by environmental interventions. The problem arises where gaps can't be closed because they aren't solely environmental - that can lead to recriminations and discrimination against individuals for belonging to a "privileged" class. And in the worst examples violent reprisals, with examples such as Chinese in Malaysia, Indians in Fiji, Kenya & Uganda, Armenians, Jews in various places etc.

Gottfredson, L. S. (2006). Social consequences of group differences in cognitive ability (Consequencias sociais das diferencas de grupo em habilidade cognitiva). In C. E. Flores-Mendoza & R. Colom (Eds.), Introducau a psicologia das diferencas individuais (pp. 433-456). Porto Allegre, Brazil: ArtMed Publishers.

Also, for a good overview of where IQ/genetics research is going I'd recommend following Steve Hsu's Information Processing blog or his slide show about the Beijing Genomics Institute's Cognitive Genomics research ( Investigating the genetic basis for intelligence )










chris said...

"Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence in interpreting IQ data?"

Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence when laying the blame for minority underperformance on the evilness of Europeans? Because that is what occurs right now, and it breeds a resentment and a hatred (as well as policies and laws) that results in unjustified evils being perpetuated upon Europeans by those minorities. People like you are responsible for crimes like this.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254194/Three-teenage-boys-kidnapped-woman-22-Christmas-robbed-raped-hours-vomited-them.html

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous wrote:

IQ is not used as a means of assessing overall human performance, however, it is very good at assessing cognitive performance in complex societies such as exist in, say New York City, and much of the Western world.

Bingo! I am in strong agreement with this statement, with a few minor quibbles. IQ tests are well-attuned to Western culture. But they don't do so well in predicting success at other activities that humans devote cognitive efforts toward. Therefore, IQ tests do not measure "general mental ability" in any fundamental sense.

Feel free to move there if you want to.

I do not prefer Yanomami values; I greatly prefer a society based on rationalism, to which Western culture most closely approaches. But the key point is that IQ measures something cultural, not something fundamental to human mentation.

Kiwiguy wrote:

But if class differences partly reflect differences in ability and ability is partly inherited then class differences are themselves partly hertiable

I'd like to point out to others how easily a devotion to IQ spreads into other areas where it really doesn't apply. Kiwiguy is now applying these concepts to class, which is an economic category, not a racial category. We already know that IQ scores are correlated with income. Kiwiguy is obviously an educated and intelligent citizen; if he can fall prey to the prejudicial use of IQ tests, how well do you think that average citizen will resist that temptation? This IQ stuff is politically sensitive and must therefore be treated with caution, a point that several correspondents here refuse to accept.

chris turns my question around and asks:

Do you feel that we should not require a high standard of confidence when laying the blame for minority underperformance on the evilness of Europeans?

As evidence, he offers a news story about some black men who viciously raped a woman. Note the confirmation bias at work here: the news story does not mention the race of the victim, yet chris uses it as evidence of "unjustified evils being perpetuated upon Europeans by those minorities".

chris, before you attribute such crimes to race-hatred based on misplaced egalitarianism, you need to address the social problems known to be aggravated by income inequalities. Let me explain in Part II.

Chris Crawford said...

Part II
Perhaps you aware of the "ultimatum game". In this game, the experimenter offers the two subjects $10 to split among themselves. Subject #1 decides what the division of money will be, and Subject #2 has the option to veto the deal, in which case nobody gets anything.

In a strictly rational world, Subject #2 would approve any deal that provides him with any benefit; he would even approve a split in which Subject #1 awards himself $9.99 and awards Subject #2 $0.01. But that never happens in the real world. People have a natural expectation of egalitarianism, and will punish an overly greedy Subject #1. When carried out over large numbers of people, this experiment provides us with a measure of the degree of expected egalitarianism in any culture. Here's a good paper presenting overall results. It demonstrates that people everywhere (but to varying degrees in different societies) are willing to punish a greedy person; they feel it important to enforce egalitarianism. A typical offer (representing Subject #1's assessment of what he can get away with) is around 35% of the total; a typical rejection value (representing the point at which Subject #2 punishes Subject #1) is around 20% (although highly variable across societies).

As it happens, this concept applies in looser sense to the social contract. Society offers each of us a deal: be a good boy and you'll benefit. But people don't judge the social contract solely on the absolute value of the benefit; they also consider the relative value of the benefit they receive. In other words, people who believe that they are getting a relatively small share of society's benefits don't buy into the social contract. This discontent manifests itself in many ways, but one of those manifestations is crime.

Thus, if you compare the Gini Index for a society with the results of the ultimatum game for that society (taking into account the ferocity of its enforcement mechanisms), you can get an idea of its crime rate. There's been a lot of research on the socially corrosive effect of inequality lately, and the picture that is emerging is that inequality does have corrosive effects, although there remains considerable controversy about the details.

This supports my claim that we must be cautious about drawing conclusions from IQ data; if those conclusions erode our commitment to egalitarianism, the long-term result could well be corrosive to social amity. Or, to put it in economic terms, a loss of social capital.

Thus, chris, it is not our commitment to egalitarianism that breeds race-hatred in blacks; it is the insufficiency of that commitment that underlies race-hatred in blacks.

Sean said...

Asking Chris to define the term 'racist'sent the discussion off on an interminable digression, hardly necessary as his definition of the word is by no means idiosyncratic, and there are millions like Chris, many in positions of authority or influence. There is no way around the fact that the western world considers HBD thinking to be racist, or that it having that reputation means no one will touch it with a bargepole.

Chris explained "My point was that scientific certification will be translated in the political realm into "mental inferiority", which in turn will create political pressures to alter the current legal standards....scientific certification of reduced mental abilities in blacks will create many intractable political problems. That is why I claim that we should apply a high standard of confidence in any such research"

So there are powerful political forces which will mobilize to persecute the black community at the drop of a hat, in the name of economic efficiency. Given the supreme court in 50s (Obama will have 4 SC appointments) gave us Brown v. Board of Education then busing, and that 1970 introduction of affirmative action was by someone many consider the most ruthless and racist president of post war times (Richard Nixon) I have to wonder what planet these powerful political forces will come from. Given the highly unlikely scenario of mainstream scientists remaining mainstream while they were openly certifying there is low average intelligence in blacks, it is far more likely that there woulds be additional money spent than cutbacks. People get to political office, like success in so many things, by helping others to show what nice guys they are, right?

No, Ricardian economic arguments are an acceptable pretext for immigration but, rely on it, they would never be accepted by any white dominated state such as the US to justify action against the interests of nonwhites, or even reduce affirmative action. What is actually going to happen is a huge inflow of black Africans, especially males, into Western countries over the next generation or two, they'll have state enforced affirmative action extended to them, putting them on a par with the white working class, and the reputational cost of dating blacks for women (still strong) will reach a tipping point, then quickly decline and disappear. Intermarriage will go through the roof.

I think that moralistic attitude does support Chris's idea that whites are lacking in some aspects of cognitive performance. Or maybe it's just the white need to have a reputation as someone who helps others (Re businessmen, one with a reputation for always paying his bills has a huge advantage over his competitors).

Anyway, back to the post. I think Peter is wrong about the future; HBD is undergoing a 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions process (‘a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it’), but in reverse.

Peter Fros_ said...

Chris,

This debate is becoming interminable. I believe in high standards, but high standards should apply to all scientific findings (all too many of which are bogus). But the best way to ensure high standards is to foster a climate of free and open discussion -- and not by empowering self-appointed censors and ideological watchdogs.

Kiwiguy said...

*** IQ spreads into other areas where it really doesn't apply. Kiwiguy is now applying these concepts to class, which is an economic category We already know that IQ scores are correlated with income. Kiwiguy is obviously an educated and intelligent citizen; if he can fall prey to the prejudicial use of IQ tests, how well do you think that average citizen will resist that temptation? ***

@ Chris Crawford,

Thanks for the kind words :-)

Note that I'm not saying IQ is determinative of someones income or other life outcomes. I was specifically thinking of the debate in the UK about elite colleges not admitting enough students from lower socioeconomic groups. It's significant because I understand there is pressure to reduce funding to places like Cambridge or Oxford as a result.

Now in that debate the existence of _average_ IQ differences across those defined socio-economic groups seems relevant to understanding why there is a disparity? Bruce Charleton's article Social class differences in IQ: implications for the government’s ‘fair access’ political agenda discusses this in more detail. Also, I'd recommend the Rowe paper I linked in my earlier comment.

Again, Steve Hsu is very good at explaining this subject in a level manner.

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

chuck said...

6a

Chris said:
“The problem here is that the only areas in which IQ has been shown to have predictive value are areas involving Western values."”

This is more fallacy. First, I find your characterization of “academic success” as being an exclusively “Western value” offensive. I, as I am sure other here, have lived and worked in “the East” and I can testify that “academic success” is valued no less there than here. From my travels to and through South Asia, I would say that the same holds there – at least amongst the middle to upper classes. You come across as the unsavory type who would characterize “the West” as unlearned and intellectually backwards as compared to the splendorous Orient in order to belittle European culture and achievements, but then characterizes “intelligence” as a uniquely “Western value”, so as to belittle IQ tests. I will have none of this. Academic success is valued now throughout the modern world and learnedness (which is associated with reading and writing) has been valued throughout Eurasia for millennia. That said, let’s clarify what IQ/gma predicts. To quote from an article in a well respected journal of industrial psychology:

PSYCHOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF g

“Several psychological correlates of g have been identified. Brand (1987) provided an impressive list and summary of 48 characteristics positively correlated with g and 19 negatively correlated with g. Brand included references for all examples, listed later. Ree and Earles (1994, pp. 133–134) organized these characteristics into several categories. These categories and examples for each category follow:

• Abilities (analytic style, eminence, memory, reaction time, reading).
• Creativity/artistic (craftwork, musical ability).
• Health and fitness (dietary preference, height, infant mortality, longevity,
obesity).
• Interests/ choices (breadth and depth of interest, marital partner, sports
participation).
• Moral ((delinquency (–)*, lie scores (–), racial prejudice (–), values).
• Occupational (income, military rank, occupational status, socioeconomic
status).
• Perceptual (ability to perceive brief stimuli, field-independence, myopia).
• Personality (achievement motivation, altruism, dogmatism (–)).
• Practical (practical knowledge, social skills).
• Other (accident proneness (–), motor skills, talking speed).
• * Indicates a negative correlation.

Noting its pervasive influence on human characteristics, Brand (1987) commented, “g is to psychology as carbon is to chemistry” (p. 257).”

PHYSIOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF g

Brain Size and Structure
Brain Electrical Potential
Speed of Neural Processing
Brain Glucose Metabolism Rate
Physical Variables

(For a more recent review see: Deary, IJ (2012). Intelligence. ANNUAL REVIEW OF PSYCHOLOGY, VOL 63)

Job Performance

(Introductory paragraph) Predictiveness of g. Hunter (1983b) demonstrated that the predictive validity of g is a function of job complexity. In an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data, Hunter classified 515 occupations into categories based on data handling complexity ...

THE IMPORTANCE OF g TO ORGANIZATIONS AND PEOPLE

(Concluding paragraph) Occupational performance starts with acquisition of the knowledge and skills needed for the job and continues into on-the-job performance and beyond.We and others have shown the ubiquitous influence of g; it is neither an artifact of factor analysis nor just academic ability. It predicts criteria throughout the life cycle including educational achievement, training performance, job performance, lifetime productivity, and finally early mortality. None of this can be said for specific abilities.

Rhee, J.M., Carretta, T. R 22K.
In: Ones, D. S., & Viswesvaran, C. (2002). Introduction to the special issue: Role of general mental ability in industrial, work, and organizational psychology. Human Performance, 15(1/2), 1-2.

chuck said...

6b

Is work performance only valued in the West, too? I’ll be generous and assume that you mean the “developed world,” and are merely being chauvinistic in associating the two. If so, let’s turn back to one of those more universally valued criterion. As for “Health and fitness,” there is now a whole field (“cognitive epidemiology”) devoted to exploring the relationship between gma and physical wellness. Refer to yourself to: Deary, I. J. (2009). Introduction to the special issue on cognitive epidemiology. Intelligence, 37(6), 517-519.

You say, quote: “Believe it or not, there are people in this world who desire neither to become professors nor to get rich. Billions of them! Those people are using their mental capabilities in pursuit of other objectives. Is IQ predictive of success in any of those objectives?”

Here again you give us one of your famous fallacious juxtapositions. Mental abilities as applied by professors and the wealthy versus mental abilities as applied by everyone else in the developed world. And mental abilities as applied by Yanomami males versus mental abilities as applied by those in the developed world. As if were gma not important to the success of Yanomami males then it would only be important to the success of professors. You neglect the possibility that gma could be important for life success for denizens of high tech post-industrial societies but less so to low tech tribal societies.

In the developed world, gma, is highly predictive of life (though not genetic) success, because life is structured around those activities that draw heavily on gma (by which I mean the positive manifold). Generally, gma indexes cognitive complexity – defined in terms of # of mental manipulation – and success in the developed world is highly correlated with the ability to handle cognitively complex tasks and to manipulate information (e.g., learning to read a CAT scan). As for that, gma predicts ability to achieve within and across occupations, dependent on task (cognitive) complexity. Refer yourself to table 13.2 “Major findings on g’s impact on Job Performance” in Gottfredson, L. S. (2002). g: Highly general and highly practical. The general factor of intelligence: How general is it, 331-380. And then read the section on “g and Life performance.” And gander at table 13.9: “Relative risk of bad outcomes associated with lower IQ: Prevalence (%) and Odds ratios (OR) for young White adults.” (Out of the labor force, Unemployed, Ever incarcerated, Chronic welfare, Had illegitimate children, Lives in poverty, Went on welfare after 1st child, High school dropout, Not working a professional job, Not a college graduate)

I take it now as established that gma is important to the “pursuit of other objectives” for those in the developed world. How important is it elsewhere? This issue hasn’t been well researched. But see, for example:Kaufman, S.B., DeYoung, C.G., Reis, D.L., & Gray, J.R. (2011). General intelligence predicts reasoning ability even for evolutionarily familiar content. Intelligence, 39, 311-322 Quote:

Whatever the case, answer is irrelevant to the issue of intelligence differences (by which I do not mean, as repeatedly explained, scores differences on IQ tests but do mean the latent differences that these score differences index, to the extent that they do). If gma – again, the first factor -- doesn’t predict life success among Yanomami males, for example, this just means that Yanomami society isn’t structured around gma/cognitive complexity/intelligence. If so, other traits must have more utility on the individual and societal level.

chuck said...

6c

Now this brings us to point you made that apparently needs clarification. Quote:

“You write: The cross species finding of a psychometric g (positive manifold) suggests that psychometric g is somehow related to general brain functioning. This evinces images of chimpanzees, otters, and pigeons sitting at desks as they take their IQ tests. Perhaps you mean species in one of its other senses. If so, species of what? Please expand.”

Psychometric g is defined in terms of the positive manifold of mental test scores. For humans, an example of a “mental test” is a mathematics test. For rats, an example is a maze solving test. For humans and non-humans (at least those discussed) test scores correlate, forming a positive manifold. In making the interspecies comparison, of course, it is assumed that these tests are measuring some types of problem solving ability. Now, your phrasing belies a misunderstanding on your part. You seem to be equating IQ tests or IQ scores with gma, despite my explaining that the former are indexes or measures or vehicles, as it’s sometimes said, of the latter. I imagine that a traditional IQ test would be a horrible index of a chimpanzee’s general mental ability (relative to other chimps), but that merely speaks of the measure. Now, you run into a similar problem across cultures (and human subspecies) and I discussed that concern a number of comments ago. So, for example, traditional IQ tests – even very “culturally reduced” ones -- likely would be poor measures of gma for Yanomami and poor measures of the gma difference between Yanomami and denizens of the developed world. Whether they are or not, of course, is an empirical issue.

...

Ok, I just saw Peter's comment. I agree that this discussion is becoming interminable. Chris, if you want to continue it (with me) open a thread at RichardDawkins.net or some other discussion board and send me notice. I'm not going to continue to spam Peter's blog with replies.

Chris Crawford said...

Peter, you're quite right that this debate is becoming tedious. I am especially frustrated with chasing down references only to discover that they do not say what they are purported to say. Moreover, I have work to do and this debate is taking entirely too much of my time. Lastly, a certain personal nastiness has crept into the discussion, which suggests that it's time for me to move to more intellectually rigorous fora.

I'll just summarize my case. I agree that high IQ scores have been shown to be predictive of success in several fields of developed economies. As to the claim that these scores reflect a generalized mental ability, I agree that there are something in that, but stand by my two primary objections:

1) the significance of gma has not been adequately demonstrated due to insufficient testing of other cultures. The fact that many of these cultures are rapidly Westernizing obscures the issue even more. But to establish that gma reflects an innate human talent, rather than a culture-specific one, correlations must be shown for cultures radically different from Western cultures. So far, that has not been done.

2) The existence of mental modules, including areas of cognitive performance unvalued by Western males, does not comport with the notion of a unified intelligence. I believe that there is in fact a unification currently underway due to the unifying effects of language, but plenty of research reveals the continuing strong influence of different mental modules on overall cognitive performance.

Lastly, I repeat my warning that HBD suffers from an overly callous attitude towards racism, which will taint the field and obstruct progress. My own hunch is that it will go the way of sociobiology, becoming a discredited field. Eventually some careful scholars will return to the subject matter and approach it with extreme rigor, just as Cosmides and Toobey did with evolutionary psychology. These people will revive the field under a different name and with none of the racist nonsense that accompanies HBD.

Best wishes to all, and goodbye!

chuck said...

Sean said:

"So there are powerful political forces which will mobilize to persecute the black community at the drop of a hat, in the name of economic efficiency. Given the supreme court in 50s (Obama will have 4 SC appointments) gave us Brown v. Board of Education then busing..."(4 January, 2013 12:32:00 PM EST)

Thanks for making this point. Chris had earlier argued that hereditarianism needed to be censored because it threatened the philosophical foundations of the free world -- or something like that. When I pointed out his small deductive error, the reason swiftly transformed into that hereditarianism could have negative externalities while environmentalism could not, since the latter is the current default (as lysenkoism was in the USSR). When I again pointed out his deductive error, the reason morphed into that a false hereditarianism has a higher probability of causing negative consequences than a false envrionmentalism. You just made the obvious rejoinder: Not in a society dominated by liberal egalitarianism. The danger in such a society, as is ours, is none other than false environmentalism.

Anonymous said...

“IQ is not used as a means of assessing overall human performance, however, it is very good at assessing cognitive performance in complex societies such as exist in, say New York City, and much of the Western world.

It does not assess the performance of people in, say the South American jungles or Papua New Guinea, but then, the vast majority of us do not live there.”

It’s important to not confuse measure (IQ tests) with measured (gma). In modern societies, IQ tests (e.g., Raven’s matrices) measure general mental ability pretty well (i.e., as indexed by the amount of score variance explained). This is because we denizens are all pretty familiar with the implied rules of the test (e.g., finding pattern similarities) and because we have a similar level of test relevant experience (e.g., because we grew up playing Tetris and so have developed figural rotation skills). So the test ends up measuring problem solving ability, and with it gma, instead of rule knowledge or experience. Or, when the tests are knowledge tests (e.g, PPVT), since we have had similar opportunities to learn the material, the tests end up measuring the ability to learn, and with it gma, and not the opportunity to do so. The important point here is that tests and tests scores are indexes of a latent general ability and that this latent ability can be indexed by these tests because we swim in similar streams of information (see Jensen 1998 on this). Cross temporal and cross cultural comparisons are problematic because similar background information or experience or opportunities are not shared. The dissimilarity, given the mode of measure, results in psychometric i.e. “cultural” bias. This is, of course, what anti-IQers always say. And it’s true, but misleading, because what they don’t say is that one can test to what extent tests are psychometrically biased, that is, to what extent they are indexing gma differences (within and between groups). So yes, traditional IQ tests might not index well the gma of some in the dense of Papua New Guinea. But some tests could be created which would. Enter the cross species analogy.









KlingKlang said...

more intellectually rigorous fora...

You wouldn't know "intellectual rigor" if it was chewing your head off, Mr Crawford. Not that the absence of a head would do anything to slow the flow of your blogorrhea. Saying things does not make them so. Science does not work like that. The dogmas you absorbed in the 1970s are untruths, at best, lies, at worst. But you're running the programming forty years later.

Anonymous said...

CC
"First, that intelligence led to greater wealth (which in turn led to more successful procreation...

The first assumption assumes the operation of a perfect market in Britain during the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution."

No it doesn't. It assumes that *on average* native intelligence was proportionally more important than other factors like family connections than it was in other parts of the world for most of history - with some niche or temporary exceptions.

If in most parts of the world for most of history it was 80% family connections and 20% native intelligence but certain events in England led to it being 70% and 30%after a certain time-period that is all you need to start the process off.

Anonymous said...

CC
"and second, that the Industrial Revolution was triggered by superior intelligence...

The second assumption is easily dismissed by anybody acquainted with the progress of the Industrial Revolution. It was certainly not a matter of a bunch of smart people...the history of that time teems with tales of failures...and their mutual success had more to do with bull-headed determination than genius."

The essence of Clark's idea is a process was begun in England in which certain individual character traits became proportionally more important than family connections compared with other times and places in world history and as a result those traits became positively selected for.

Bull-headed determination is as much if not more of a candidate for that as intelligence so your point doesn't dismiss anything.

Franklin
Invention is 90% perspiration.

(A second possibility is that it a lucky combination of two factors i.e an increase in intelligence similar to the one the Chinese got from their exam system and the Jews got from their economic niche but in a people who were more recently barbarian and hence more aggressive. I think there's a lot of aggression involved in invention and discovery.)

Anonymous said...

CC
"As a final demolition of the genetic hypothesis, I urge you to read Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial Revolution by Margaret C. Jacob...Briefly, she identifies the fascination with science that shot through British society in the 18th century"

That's not even remotely a demolition as the surge in scientific interest could be more plausibly argued as the result of the genetic changes.

Also there was an agricultural revolution before the industrial. The mechanical engineering knowledge and scientific farming methods from the first were the foundations of the second.

Anonymous said...

"why in the world does HBD have to focus on racial differences?"

By definition it has to focus on populations as that's what evolution works on and races are simply one scale of population.

Generally i think races are too wide a scale for most things except in a few cases where a race overlaps a specific regional environment which created a specific regional effect.

For example if a race lived north and south of a line with a distinct environmental effect above and below the line then the whole race as the population wouldn't be the right scale for that case.

However if at some recent point in time the northen half expanded south and replaced the southern population then the race as a whole would be a reasonable population to use e.g. the Bantu expansion from West Africa displacing the other regional populations and becoming the norm for most of Africa (even if not 100%).

'''

"The market for printing presses was, historically, Bibles. Hardly anything requiring a particularly high IQ."

But it did take a sudden increase in curiosity and willingness to transgress previous cultural norms when it came to acquiring knowledge (as they were written in native languages not latin) to satisfy that curiosity.

I'd say that was a sign of something.

Pangs said...

Some thoughts about what human beings think when forced to read the musings of one Chris Crawford:

http://mypostingcareer.com/forums/topic/6622-chris-crawford-the-anti-hbd-video-game-designer/page__gopid__127980#entry127980

Anonymous said...

"why in the world does HBD have to focus on racial differences?"

Race is a handy if imprecise marker for genetic similarity. The "bio" part of biodiversity relies on that.

IQ is a popular topic because there are a lot of tests for it, and it's a strong predictor of performance across a wide range of activities. I think it's quite likely there are other human traits that are strongly genetic--extroversion/introversion, probably the rest of the Big Five to a greater or lesser degree--but since there aren't as many reliable tests for assessing those traits they aren't investigated as often. So to an extent it's a question of looking for lost keys under the streetlight where the light is good.

As for Jefferson and the DOI, quite obviously the group of PhDs from US universities has greater cognitive ability that that of high school dropouts. That doesn't mean the PhDs get extra legal rights in court or that they get more votes. Nor does it mean IQ is a proxy for human worth.