Monday, July 21, 2014

Unz and Sowell: Unz debunking Lynn's IQ and Wealth of Nations. Sowell debunking the Bell Curve

In this post two unmistakable conservative authors, Ron Unz and Thomas Sowell, show several weaknesses of various racialist claims. Here are: Unz debunking Lynn's IQ and Wealth of Nations, and Sowell debunking the Bell Curve. Both men it should be noted cite those parts of the works they agree with, but rather than follow the standard propaganda lines of the faithful, scrupulously critique numerous other claims, using credible examples and evidence.


Article excerpt below by conservative Ron Unz who details
how some HBD "biodiversity" scholars like Lynn and
Vanhaven are manipulating samples and averages to present
a distorted picture on IQ gains of ethnic groups over time.
In one instance, Lynn and Vanhaven had 2 studies showing
Irish IQ. The first study had a huge sample size
of thousands yielded a low 1972 Irish IQ average
of 87. The second study had only 75 people and yielded
an IQ average of 98. Lynn and Vanhaven "averaged"
the miniscule sample size result of study #2 with
the results of the the much bigger study #1. The outcome
is to make the Irish scores look better, because the
low scores in study #1 are a bit below blacks in
some years,based on the study looked at. In essence,
they "cooked the books" to make the white group look better,
and gave equal weight to a less credible small sample study,
with a much more reliable and credible large sample study.
Its like giving equal weight to a little Volkswagen
and a tanker truck, and "averaging" the two weights
to get an "average" weight result.

Also interesting are IQ differences WITHIN groups and how
they undermine assorted "genetic" claims. Ashkenazi Jews
in Israel for example post IQ scores some 20 points or
more BELOW their genetic counterparts in the US. Likewise
tests of South African whites in the 1990s show them with scores
below their Dutch/English genetic counterparts in Europe.
Culture and environment accounts for the difference not genetics.

Also interesting is how Unz concludes his analysis. He
notes that the biodiversity scholars often shoot themselves
in the foot with their own "supporting data" -
a pattern I have seen again and again on the web
where bold claimants invariably debunk themselves
with their own "supporting" citations and evidence.
More troubling is the lack of interest in reporting
the failures of the "biodiversity" types by the mainstream press,
as if they are afraid or intimidated to take them on in
detail, and on the merits, when they seeing books with numbers.
A similar observation is made by some (Block 1996) as regards the uncritical
reception of "The Bell Curve" by the mainstream press, seemingly
intimidated by another "big book." This early reception allowed
the authors to spin the "political" objections as persecution
of virtuous men of science, and clothe themselves in the mantle thereby.

"We are now faced with a mystery arguably greater than that of IQ itself. Given the powerful ammunition that Lynn and Vanhanen have provided to those opposing their own “Strong IQ Hypothesis,” we must wonder why this has never attracted the attention of either of the warring camps in the endless, bitter IQ dispute, despite their alleged familiarity with the work of these two prominent scholars. In effect, I would suggest that the heralded 300-page work by Lynn and Vanhanen constituted a game-ending own-goal against their IQ-determinist side, but that neither of the competing ideological teams ever noticed.

Presumably, human psychology is the underlying explanation for this mysterious and even amusing silence. Given that Lynn and Vanhanen rank as titans of the racial-difference camp, perhaps their ideological opponents, who often come from less quantitative backgrounds, are reluctant even to open the pages of their books, fearful lest the vast quantity of data within prove that the racialist analysis is factually correct after all. Meanwhile, the pro-racialist elements may simply skim over the hundreds of pages of dry and detailed quantitative evidence and skip to the summary text, which claims that the data demonstrate IQ is genetically fixed and determines which nations will be rich and which will be poor."

Unz is a strong conservative of impeccable credentials and despises political correctness, but in this piece he is not afraid to debunk cherished "HBD" and right-wing claims. His efforts have drawn venomous reactions from "the white faithful" in an assortment of venues, but Unz courageously lets the data chips fall where they may without apology. Well worth the read. Excerpt posted below.

Race, IQ, and Wealth

What the facts tell us about a taboo subject
By Ron Unz • July 18, 2012



Most nations prefer material wealth to poverty, and it seems plausible that smarter people might be better at generating the productivity needed to achieve this goal. We should hardly be surprised that this possible factor behind economic advancement has attracted the interest of the development experts criticized by Kenny, and just as he alleges, IQ and the Wealth of Nations ranks as perhaps the most extreme academic example of this analysis.

Although “intelligence” may be difficult to define precisely, most people have accepted that IQ scores seem to constitute a rough and measurable proxy for this trait, so Lynn and Vanhanen have collected a vast number of national IQ scores from the last 50 or 60 years and compared these to income levels and economic growth rates. Since experts have discovered that nominal IQ scores over the last century or so have tended to rise at a seemingly constant rate—the so-called “Flynn Effect”—the authors adjusted their raw scores accordingly. Having done so, they found a strong correlation of around 0.50–0.75 between the Flynn-adjusted IQ of a nation’s population and its real per capita GDP over the last few decades, seemingly indicating that smarter peoples tend to be wealthier and more successful.

From this statistical fact, Lynn and Vanhanen draw the conclusion that intelligence leads to economic success and—since they argue that intelligence itself is largely innate and genetic—that the relative development ranking of the long list of nations they analyze is unlikely to change much over time, nor will the economic standing of the various groups within ethnically mixed countries, including the United States.

Now this hypothesis might indeed be correct, but it is not necessarily warranted by the empirical data that Lynn and Vanhanen have gathered. After all, if high national IQ scores are correlated with economic success, perhaps the high IQs cause the success, but it seems just as possible that the success might be driving the high IQs, or that both might be due to some third factor. Correlation does not imply causality, let alone the particular direction of the causal arrow. A traditional liberal model positing that socio-economic factors strongly influence performance on academic ability tests would predict exactly the same distribution of international results found by Lynn and Vanhanen.

Fortunately, a careful examination of the wealth of empirical data they have gathered provides some important evidence on the relative plausibility of these conflicting hypotheses, allowing us to draw useful conclusions in this extremely taboo s

The Distribution of European Intelligence

Critics have often suggested, not without some plausibility, that when Western-designed IQ tests are applied to Third World peoples, the results may be distorted by hidden cultural bias. There is also the possible impact of malnutrition and other forms of extreme deprivation, or even practical difficulties in administering tests in desperately impoverished nations, as Kenny emphasized in his critique.

In order to minimize these extraneous factors, let us restrict our initial examination to the 60-odd IQ datapoints Lynn and Vanhanen obtained from European countries and their overseas offshoots over the last half-century. Obviously, some of these countries have at times been far poorer than others, but almost none have suffered the extreme poverty found in much of the Third World.

What we immediately notice is a long list of enormous variations in the tested IQs of genetically indistinguishable European peoples across temporal, geographical, and political lines, variations so large as to raise severe doubts about the strongly genetic-deterministic model of IQ favored by Lynn and Vanhanen and perhaps also quietly held by many others. (Unless otherwise indicated, all the IQ data that follow are drawn from their work and incorporate their Flynn adjustments.)

Consider, for example, the results from Germany obtained prior to its 1991 reunification. Lynn and Vanhanen present four separate IQ studies from the former West Germany, all quite sizable, which indicate mean IQs in the range 99–107, with the oldest 1970 sample providing the low end of that range. Meanwhile, a 1967 sample of East German children produced a score of just 90, while two later East German studies in 1978 and 1984 came in at 97–99, much closer to the West German numbers.

These results seem anomalous from the perspective of strong genetic determinism for IQ. To a very good approximation, East Germans and West Germans are genetically indistinguishable, and an IQ gap as wide as 17 points between the two groups seems inexplicable, while the recorded rise in East German scores of 7–9 points in just half a generation seems even more difficult to explain.

The dreary communist regime of East Germany was certainly far poorer than its western counterpart and its population may indeed have been “culturally deprived” in some sense, but East Germans hardly suffered from severe dietary deficiencies during the 1960s or late 1950s when the group of especially low-scoring children were born and raised. The huge apparent testing gap between the wealthy West and the dingy East raises serious questions about the strict genetic interpretation favored by Lynn and Vanhanen.

Next, consider Greece. Lynn and Vanhanen report two IQ sample results, a score of 88 in 1961 and a score of 95 in 1979. Obviously, a national rise of 7 full points in the Flynn-adjusted IQ of Greeks over just 18 years is an absurdity from the genetic perspective, especially since the earlier set represented children and the latter adults, so the two groups might even be the same individuals tested at different times. Both sample sizes are in the hundreds, not statistically insignificant, and while it is impossible to rule out other factors behind such a large discrepancy in a single country, it is interesting to note that Greek affluence had grown very rapidly during that same period, with the real per capita GDP rising by 170 percent.

Furthermore, although Greeks and Turks have a bitter history of ethnic and political conflict, modern studies have found them to be genetically almost indistinguishable, and a very large 1992 study of Turkish schoolchildren put their mean IQ at 90, lending plausibility to the low Greek figure. We also discover rather low IQ scores in all the reported samples of Greece’s impoverished Balkan neighbors in the Eastern Bloc taken before the collapse of Communism. Croatians scored 90 in 1952, two separate tests of Bulgarians in 1979–1982 put their IQs at 91–94, and Romanians scored 94 in 1972. While the low scores of the Croatian children might be partly explained by malnutrition and other physical hardships experienced during the difficult years of World War II, such an excuse seems less plausible for other Balkan populations tested decades after the war, all of which seem to score in the same range.

Two samples of Poles from 1979 and 1989 provided widely divergent mean IQs of 106 and 92, with the low Polish figure of 92 coming from a huge sample of over 4000 children tested with “Progressive Matrices,” supposedly one of the most culturally-independent methods. On the other hand, more economically advanced Communist countries in Central Europe often had considerably higher scores, with the Slovaks testing at 96 in 1983, the Czechs scoring 96–98 in 1979–1983, and the Hungarians reaching 99 in 1979.

All of these Southern or Eastern European IQ scores follow the per capita GDP of their countries, a correspondence that supports either the IQ-makes-wealth hypothesis of Lynn and Vanhanen, or the contrary wealth-makes-IQ hypothesis of traditional liberals.

During this same period, the far richer non-Communist nations of Europe—such as Austria, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and West Germany—all tended to score at or somewhat above 100. The wide IQ gaps between these European peoples and the previous group seem unlikely to have a heavily innate basis, given the considerable genetic and phenotypic similarity across these populations. For example, the borders of Austria and Croatia are just a couple of dozen miles apart, both are Catholic countries that spent centuries as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it is quite difficult to distinguish Austrians from Croatians either by appearance or by genetic testing. Yet the gap between their reported IQ scores—12 points—is nearly as wide as that separating American blacks and whites.

It seems more plausible that most of the large and consistent IQ gaps between Western Europeans and their Balkan cousins are less a cause than a consequence of differences in development and affluence during the era in which these IQs were tested. For example, Austria had many times Croatia’s per capita GDP during the period in question. One of the few European nations to exhibit a sharp decline in tested IQ, Poland—whose score fell from 106 in 1979 to 92 in 1989—did so amid the economic turmoil of the 1980s, when its per capita GDP also substantially declined according to some measures, even while Western Europe was growing richer.


If these differences of perhaps 10 or even 15 IQ points between impoverished Balkan Europeans and wealthy Western ones reflected deeply hereditary rather than transitory environmental influences, they surely would have maintained themselves when these groups immigrated to the United States. But there is no evidence of this. As it happens, Americans of Greek and South Slav origins are considerably above most other American whites in both family income and educational level. Since the overwhelming majority of the latter trace their ancestry to Britain and other high IQ countries of Western Europe, this would seem a strange result if the Balkan peoples truly did suffer from an innate ability deficit approaching a full standard deviation.

Similar sharp differences occur in the case of Italian populations separated historically and geographically. Today, Italian-Americans are very close to the national white average in income and education, and the limited data we have seem to put their IQ close to this average as well. This would appear consistent with the IQ figures reported for Italy by Lynn and Vanhanen, which are based on large samples and come in at just above 100. However, there is a notoriously wide economic gap between northern Italy and the south, including Sicily. The overwhelming majority of Italian-Americans trace their ancestry to the latter, quite impoverished regions, and in 2010 Lynn reported new research indicating that the present-day IQ of Italians living in those areas was as low as 89, a figure that places them almost a full standard deviation below either their Northern Italian compatriots or their separated American cousins. Although Lynn attributed this large deficit in Southern Italian IQ to substantial North African or Near Eastern genetic admixture, poverty and cultural deprivation seem more likely explanations.

The Lynn/Vanhanen data on Jews also provide some suspicious IQ disparities. American Jews have among the highest tested IQs, with means being usually reported in the 110–115 range. Yet Lynn and Vanhanen report that Israeli Jews have strikingly low IQs by comparison. One large sample from 1989 put the figure at 90, while a far smaller sample from 1975 indicated an IQ of 97, with both results drawn from Israel’s large Jewish majority rather than its small Arab minority. The IQ gaps with American Jews are enormous, perhaps as large as 25 points, and difficult to explain by genetic factors, since a majority of Israel’s Jewish population in that period consisted of ethnic Askhenazi (European) Jews, just like those in America. The huge economic gulf between Israeli Jews, who then had less than half the average American per capita GDP, and American Jews, who were far above average in American income, would seem to be the most plausible explanation.

Similarly, a large 1990 test of South African whites placed their IQ at 94, considerably below that of the Dutch or English peoples from whom they derive, and again this may be connected to their lower level of national income and technological advancement.

Perhaps the strongest evidence supporting this cultural rather than genetic hypothesis comes from the northwestern corner of Europe, namely Celtic Ireland. When the early waves of Catholic Irish immigrants reached America near the middle of the 19th century, they were widely seen as particularly ignorant and uncouth and aroused much hostility from commentators of the era, some of whom suggested that they might be innately deficient in both character and intelligence. But they advanced economically at a reasonable pace, and within less than a century had become wealthier and better educated than the average white American, including those of “old stock” ancestry. The evidence today is that the tested IQ of the typical Irish-American—to the extent it can be distinguished—is somewhat above the national white American average of around 100 and also above that of most German-Americans, who arrived around the same time.

Meanwhile, Ireland itself remained largely rural and economically backward and during the 1970s and 1980s still possessed a real per capita GDP less than half that of the United States. Perhaps we should not be too surprised to discover that Lynn and Vanhanen list the Irish IQ at just 93 based on two samples taken during the 1970s, a figure far below that of their Irish-American cousins.

Even this rather low Irish IQ figure is quite misleading, since it was derived by averaging two separately reported Irish samples. The earlier of these, taken in 1972, involved nearly 3,500 Irish schoolchildren and is one of the largest European samples found anywhere in Lynn/Vanhanen, while the other, taken in 1979, involved just 75 Irish adults and is one of the smallest. The mean IQ of the large group was 87, while that of the tiny group was 98, and the Lynn/Vanhanen figure was obtained by combining these results through straight, unweighted averaging, which seems a doubtful approach. Indeed, a sample of 75 adults is so small it perhaps should simply be excluded on statistical grounds, given the high likelihood that it was drawn from a single location and is therefore unrepresentative of its nation as a whole.

So we are left with strong evidence that in the early 1970s, the Irish IQ averaged 87, the lowest figure anywhere in Europe and a full standard deviation below than that of Irish-Americans, a value which would seem to place a substantial fraction of Ireland’s population on the edge of clinical mental retardation.

Lynn seems to have accepted this conclusion. The current issue of the academic journal Personality and Individual Differences is organized as a tribute to Lynn and contains a lengthy interview in which he describes the turning points of his career, beginning with his appointment as a research professor in Dublin. His official responsibility was to investigate the social and economic problems of Ireland, and he soon concluded that the nation’s backwardness was largely due to the low IQ of its people, with the only obvious solution being a strong eugenics program, presumably including sterilization of a substantial fraction of the population. But given the dominant influence of conservative Catholicism in Ireland, he doubted the government would consider such suggestions, which would probably just get him “accused of being a Nazi,” so he “chickened out” and chose to suppress his findings. A few years later, he relocated to Protestant-run Ulster, where he felt his racial ideas might find a more receptive audience, and he eventually became interested in whether the poverty of other countries might be due to the same low IQ causal factor which he believed explained Ireland’s problems. This led him to the research that culminated in the publication of IQ and the Wealth of Nations.

But Lynn’s late-1960s views regarding the mostly genetic cause of low Irish IQ seem unwarranted. Ireland was then overwhelmingly rural and poor, with a low per capita GDP, while Irish Americans tended to be an urban population and a reasonably affluent one, and this sharp difference in external material conditions seems the most logical explanation for the wide disparity in IQ results. In further support of this environmental hypothesis, we should note that it has been estimated that nearly one-third of Australia’s population is wholly or substantially Irish in ancestry, with the balance mostly British, while the IQ results Lynn and Vanhanen report for Australia are all very close to the British average of 100.

The gathering of social science data, including national IQs, is fraught with difficulty, notably due to sampling problems, and two or three anomalous results might be explained away for those reasons. But the large number of examples cited above in which genetically indistinguishable European-ancestry populations show enormous variations in tested IQ seems to indicate a much broader difficulty. Not only are the results too numerous to be ascribed to chance error, but they follow a consistent pattern of their own, with European-ancestry groups living in affluent, well-developed countries almost invariably having IQ scores of around 100 or above, while their close kinsmen in much poorer regions have far lower scores. Indeed, in several of these cases, the countries and peoples are identical, being merely separated by a generation or less of local economic development.

To a small extent, Lynn and Vanhanen acknowledge the possible importance of non-genetic factors, and they devote a few pages to a discussion of the impact of health, nutrition, and education on IQ scores. But they never provide any clear estimate for the magnitude of these influences and claim that a number of twin or adoption studies have determined that IQ is 80 percent or more heritable. Their text seems to assume that genetics is the overwhelmingly dominant factor behind the national IQ disparities which they catalogue.

All IQ data was drawn from Lynn/Vanhanen. The per capita GDP figures are obtained from the World Bank and adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP 2005$) if available; otherwise being marked with an asterisk. Much of this economic data, especially for non-convertible East Bloc currencies before 1989, is somewhat uncertain and should be used only for rough comparative purposes.

Questioning the “Strong IQ Hypothesis”

The central thesis of Lynn and Vanhanen’s work might be called the “Strong IQ Hypothesis,” namely that IQ accurately reflects intelligence, that IQ is overwhelmingly determined by genetics, and that IQ is subject to little or no significant cultural or economic influence after we adjust for the universal Flynn Effect. Since the IQ disparities discussed above seem to provide a powerful challenge to this theory, their validity has sometimes been disputed on the grounds that the populations being compared might actually be more dissimilar than we realize due to the impact of selective migration.

For example, one might speculate that the smarter Irish immigrated to America, while their dimmer relatives remained at home, and the same was also true for the smarter Southern Italians, Greeks, or other Balkan Europeans. Similarly, perhaps the smarter European Jews crossed the oceans to New York Harbor in the years before World War I, while their dimmer relatives stayed behind and later moved to Israel after World War II.

These explanations seem quite unlikely. The intra-ethnic IQ gaps being discussed are absolutely enormous—often approaching a full standard deviation or more—and that would imply a similarly enormous gap between the portions of the population that stayed and those that emigrated, with no contemporaneous source seeming to provide any indication of this. Indeed, during the period when these immigrant flows were occurring, most American observers emphasized the remarkable backwardness of the new arrivals and often speculated that they were intrinsically defective and might constitute a permanent burden to society. If anything, it was sometimes suggested that they were less intelligent than their stay-at-home co-ethnics and had come to America because they were unable to compete at home, hence their description as the so-called “wretched refuse from a teeming shore.”

The limited ethnic IQ data we have from that period support this impression. In his 1978 book American Ethnic Groups, Thomas Sowell included a chapter that summarized the 1920s data on the average IQ scores of various Eastern and Southern European immigrant groups and showed that these were generally quite low, with Slovaks at 85.6, Greeks at 83, Poles at 85, Spaniards at 78, and Italians ranging between 78 and 85 in different studies. A separate analysis of the aptitude scores of World War I draftees published in 1923 came to similar conclusions. These published IQ studies by prominent academics led to widespread belief that the more recent European immigrant groups were much less intelligent than earlier ones and might drag down the national average, a belief that may have contributed to passage of the highly restrictive 1924 Immigration Act.

Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible. It has long been established on both theoretical and empirical grounds that IQ scores generally follow a mean-reversion pattern, in which the children of outlying individuals tend to regress toward the typical levels of their larger population or ethnic group. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation—rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable—roughly half their relative IQ advantage would have dissipated after a single generation. Thus, the apparent one standard deviation gap between American Irish and Ireland Irish a few decades ago would have required an initial gap of something closer to two standard deviations at the time the immigration occurred, a difference so large as to be totally implausible.

Furthermore, the most recent 2009 PISA international student academic tests sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provide us with results that raise further doubts about the correctness of the Lynn/Vanhanen IQ scores from a wide range of European countries. For example, although Croatia and Austria are geographically quite close, Croatians had IQs 12 points lower when their country was desperately poor just after World War II; yet today their overall PISA scores are not enormously lower, and are actually higher in reading, even though Croatia’s average income is still lower by a factor of two. During the early 1970s, a huge national sample had placed the Ireland IQ at 87, the lowest in all of Europe, but today Ireland’s PISA scores are about average for the continent and roughly the same as those for France and Britain, while Irish per capita incomes have pulled a little ahead.

The subject of race and IQ is an extremely contentious one, and over the years there have sometimes been conflicting accusations that data presented by various academics and other experts were more or less fraudulent, fabricated for ideological reasons. This does appear to be true in the case of Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most widely quoted figures on the subject of IQ. Therefore, if the often anomalous IQ figures discussed above had been provided by any strong critic of IQ as an innate measure of intellectual ability, I would be extremely cautious in accepting them without exhaustive verification of the underlying sources.

But our situation is different. Lynn and Vanhanen rank among the most prominent academic advocates of a strongly genetic basis for IQ scores, and this indeed represents the summary conclusion that they draw from the vast amount of national IQ data they have collected and presented. They are unlikely to have skewed the data against their own ideological beliefs and theoretical hypothesis.

Yet an objective review of the Lynn/Vanhanen data almost completely discredits the Lynn/Vanhanen “Strong IQ Hypothesis.” If so many genetically-indistinguishable European populations—of roughly similar cultural and historical background and without severe nutritional difficulties—can display such huge variances in tested IQ across different decades and locations, we should be extremely cautious about assuming that other ethnic IQ differences are innate rather than environmental, especially since these may involve populations separated by far wider cultural or nutritional gaps.

We cannot rule out the possibility that different European peoples might have relatively small differences in innate intelligence or IQ—after all, these populations often differ in height and numerous other phenotypic traits. But this residual genetic element would explain merely a small fraction of the huge 10–15 point IQ disparities discussed above. Such a view might be characterized as the “Weak IQ Hypothesis”: huge IQ differences between large populations may be overwhelmingly due to cultural or socio-economic factors, but a residual component might indeed be genetic in origin.

We are now faced with a mystery arguably greater than that of IQ itself. Given the powerful ammunition that Lynn and Vanhanen have provided to those opposing their own “Strong IQ Hypothesis,” we must wonder why this has never attracted the attention of either of the warring camps in the endless, bitter IQ dispute, despite their alleged familiarity with the work of these two prominent scholars. In effect, I would suggest that the heralded 300-page work by Lynn and Vanhanen constituted a game-ending own-goal against their IQ-determinist side, but that neither of the competing ideological teams ever noticed.

Presumably, human psychology is the underlying explanation for this mysterious and even amusing silence. Given that Lynn and Vanhanen rank as titans of the racial-difference camp, perhaps their ideological opponents, who often come from less quantitative backgrounds, are reluctant even to open the pages of their books, fearful lest the vast quantity of data within prove that the racialist analysis is factually correct after all. Meanwhile, the pro-racialist elements may simply skim over the hundreds of pages of dry and detailed quantitative evidence and skip to the summary text, which claims that the data demonstrate IQ is genetically fixed and determines which nations will be rich and which will be poor.

Implications for the American Immigration Debate

This lack of attention to the actual data provided by Lynn and Vanhanen has seriously impaired many important public-policy discussions. The widespread belief in the innate mental inferiority of Southern and Eastern European immigrant groups may have played a significant role in the 1920s immigration debate, and it seems plausible that similar perspectives might be at work today. For example, sharp critics of our heavy recent immigration from Mexico sometimes claim—or at least hint—that the intellectual weakness of these millions of newcomers may constitute a disastrous long-term burden to American society. On anonymous Internet forums such voices are often more explicit and directly cite Lynn and Vanhanen in placing the Mexican IQ at just 87, far below the white American average, and a worrisome indicator given that as much as one-quarter of all Americans may be of Mexican ancestry by around the middle of this century.

The IQ figure of 87 that they quote from Lynn/Vanhanen is correct, though admittedly based on a single 1961 study of Mexican schoolchildren in the most impoverished southern part of that country. But such critics always fail to notice that a much larger and more recent study of Irish schoolchildren revealed precisely the same mean IQ of 87. So the most accurate representation of the facts presented in IQ and the Wealth of Nations is that Mexicans and Irish seem to have approximately the same intellectual ability, and since Irish have generally done well in American society, there seems no particular reason to assume that Mexicans will not.

But is this apparent equality of Mexican and Irish IQs several decades ago anything more than a statistical anomaly due to insufficiently thorough testing? Despite its recent economic problems, over the last couple of decades Ireland has become one of the best educated countries in Europe, with solid international PISA scores, and it seems almost certain that Irish IQs have rapidly converged toward the European mean. Indeed, two additional studies provided by Lynn and Vanhanen in their 2006 sequel, IQ and Global Inequality, seem to indicate that by 1993 the average Irish IQ had already risen to 92.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of Mexican-Americans have lived in the United States with its far higher standard of living for decades, and we must wonder whether they have demonstrated any similar rise in IQ. Lynn and Vanhanen provide some early 1970s studies for Mexican-American children living in Texas and California and the IQ scores were generally quite dismal, similar to those from Mexico itself. Surely, if Mexican-Americans had subsequently demonstrated a large rise in tested intelligence, the American media and ethnic-advocacy groups would have widely trumpeted such a fact.

Strangely enough, strong evidence of such an IQ rise does exist, but it has been ignored by our often oblivious national media. Among the most useful sources of detailed quantitative data in America is the General Social Survey (GSS), a huge sociological survey conducted every other year, in which tens of thousands of Americans have been subjected to a wide range of detailed questions and their responses made publicly available over the Internet. One regular item in the survey is the simple “Wordsum” vocabulary identification test, which, although quite crude, turns out to be heavily g-loaded, correlating 0.71 with the results of standard IQ tests. Such a correlation is at least as good as many other measures used to estimate population-wide intelligence, and probably superior to grades or graduation rates, while the vast GSS sample size provides a statistically valid means of discerning American trends and patterns in population segments too narrow for other sources.

Analyzing this GSS data set in a variety of different ways has become a favored activity of a blogger named Ron Guhname, who styles himself “The Inductivist” and every couple of days publishes a new finding on his website. In 2008, he decided to explore the Wordsum-implied IQ of American-born Mexican-Americans and discovered a remarkable result. These IQs were quite low, 84–85, in the 1970s and 1980s, a result consistent with the IQ samples reported by Lynn/Vanhanen for that era. But the Mexican-American IQ then jumped 7 points by the 1990s and an additional 3 points by the 2000s, a rise of 10 full points in just 20 years, while the Wordsum-implied IQ values for white Americans rose merely 2 points during that same period, presumably as an aspect of the regular Flynn Effect.

In actual values, the Mexican-American Wordsum-IQ increased from 84.4 in the 1980s to 95.1 in the 2000s, while the rise for American whites was from 99.2 to 101.3. In addition, the late 1990s IQ of U.S.-born Mexican-Americans has been separately estimated at 92.4 from the large data set contained in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY-97), a figure consistent with these Wordsum-IQ findings.

Thus, almost two-thirds of the IQ gap between American-born Mexican-Americans and whites disappeared in two decades, with these results being based on nationally-representative American samples of statistically significant size. Since Guhname is a right-wing blogger quite hostile to Hispanic immigration, it is to his credit that he published this result without hesitation, and to the embarrassment of America’s vast multicultural academic and media establishment that they had never independently discovered these important findings, nor indeed even noticed them once they appeared. In any event, it appears that Mexican-American IQs in America have been rising about as rapidly as Irish IQs seem to have risen in Europe.

But does this make any sense? During the 25 years between 1982 and 2007 the real per capita Irish GDP more than tripled, passing that of Britain, Germany, and France, while during this same period our national media have tended to emphasize the terrible economic difficulties endured by Mexican-Americans, rarely providing any indications of a major economic boom in that population. If Mexican-Americans—now numbering almost 35 million and well on their way to eventually surpassing Anglo-Saxons in number—had actually experienced rapid economic gains, surely our media would not have ignored such an important story?

I read several major newspapers closely each morning and am particularly interested in immigration-related news items, but on October 1, 2007, I was stunned to read a short New York Times opinion column by Douglas Besharov, a social scientist at the University of Maryland, which provided exactly such evidence. His U.S. Census-CPS numbers were based on Hispanics as a whole, but Mexicans and closely related Meso-American immigrant groups from Central America account for the vast majority of this population, so his results should mostly be applicable.

Besharov noted that in just the 12 years from 1994 to 2006, the poverty rate among Hispanics had dropped by fully one-third, plummeting from 30.7 percent to 20.6 percent, while the percentage of Hispanics holding skilled blue-collar jobs had more than doubled, rising from 11 percent to 25 percent. Meanwhile, median Hispanic real household income rose by 20 percent and individual real income by 30 percent. Education advancement was also significant, with the percentage of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics without high-school diplomas or G.E.D.s falling from 44 percent to 34 percent, while college enrollment rose from 19 percent to 25 percent. All these latter numbers are still considerably below those of the comparable white population, but they do indicate remarkable economic and social advancement in just a dozen years.

Furthermore, they certainly understate the real rate of such progress, perhaps by a very substantial factor. The years 1994–2006 represented a period of peak immigration levels from Latin America—with most of this flow being illegal and low-skilled—a wave contributing nearly half the growth of the Hispanic population, which rose from 25 million to almost 45 million. Although the Census data do not allow us to disentangle the economic performance of these new arrivals from the previously established or American-born Hispanic segment, it is certain that the socio-economic advancement figures cited by Besharov would have been enormously better if not for the inclusion of so many additional millions of initially-impoverished newcomers, often with weak language skills and almost always concentrated near the bottom of the labor market. So Besharov’s extremely encouraging picture must underestimate the actual performance of American-born Hispanics.

The severe recession of the last few years has seen the average American family lose 40 percent of its net worth, and Hispanics have similarly lost a portion of their previous economic gains, but meanwhile their rapid educational advances have continued and even accelerated. An indicator of this sense of progress is revealed in an April survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, which found that 75 percent of Hispanics believe that they can get ahead if they work hard, a figure far above the 58 percent average for the general American public.

America’s socio-economic landscape has been reshaped dramatically over the last century or more due to technological and social changes, reducing some opportunities while increasing others, so direct historical comparisons can be misleading. Furthermore, detailed economic stratification data along ethnic lines from a hundred years ago is not easily available. But based on the raw numerical data we do possess, it seems likely that the tens of millions of Hispanics living in America in the early 1990s probably advanced more rapidly in economic and educational terms than had any of America’s large European immigrant groups of the past, such as the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, or the Slavs. Such real-world gains seem quite consistent with the very rapid rise in apparent IQ discussed above, which occurred during this same time period.

Given the existence of large and influential Hispanic-friendly institutions such as the Ford Foundation and the New York Times, it seems almost inexplicable that such dramatically positive developments received virtually no media attention. This silence has surely led much of the national electorate incorrectly to assume that little if any Hispanic progress was occurring, sometimes with unfortunate political consequences.

IQ Puzzles and a Super-Flynn Effect?

This strong empirical evidence of the apparent malleability of IQ scores raises interesting questions about the possible mechanism involved. For example, during the 1960s and 1970s there was a great deal of excitement in elite circles about the role of Head Start-type enrichment programs in dramatically raising the academic performance and the IQ scores of impoverished groups; but the overall evidence seems to be that these failed over the long run, with students regressing to their previous ability levels just a few years after leaving the program.

Similarly, much of the evidence accumulated by the leading advocates of the innateness of IQ, such as the Pioneer Fund, comes from twin adoption studies, which seem to show that individuals’ IQ and personality traits are far closer to those of their fraternal or (especially) identical twins raised apart than to unrelated foster siblings or parents, and this pattern of similarity grows steadily stronger over time. Not unreasonably, many psychometric experts have argued that these results prove that IQ is largely determined by genetic factors and cannot be changed via environmental influences within any normal range. Lynn and Vanhanen cite several of these studies to argue that IQ is at least 80 percent hereditary.

These individual results, usually based on relatively small statistical samples of adopted twins or siblings, seemingly demonstrate the extreme rigidity of IQ—the “Strong IQ Hypothesis”—while we have also seen the numerous examples above of large populations whose IQs have drastically shifted over relatively short periods of time. How can these contradictory findings be squared? I do not have the solution, but it would seem a very worthwhile subject for further research, on both theoretical and practical grounds.

This scientific puzzle probably has a close connection to the well-known Flynn Effect, first widely publicized by Lynn, which describes the consistent, regular rise in nominal IQs for populations almost everywhere in the world: Englishmen or Frenchmen today do far better on IQ tests than did their parents or grandparents, although we have no reason to believe they are much “smarter” in any meaningful sense. There has been considerable speculation that this general rise in IQ-test performance is based on the increasingly complex and technological environment surrounding us, whose intricacies constantly train all of us in the sort of mental abstractions found in most IQ tests, thereby gradually raising our test scores without necessarily raising our intelligence. In effect, life in modern urban societies has become a daily cram-course for IQ tests. Many pre-modern cultures similarly required individuals to undertake considerable feats of memory, so people back then might have excelled on memory-based tests compared to their counterparts today, who do not have the same benefits of daily practice.

If we consider the low scoring Balkan and Eastern European populations listed in the table above, most of them seem to live in countries which were far more rural and agricultural than their higher-scoring counterparts. This was certainly also true of Ireland 40 years ago, when its scores were quite low, and this situation would tend to apply as well to Mexican-Americans, who were a much more heavily rural population prior to the 1970s.

Some support for a significant rural/urban factor behind IQ scores may be seen in the curiously inverted pattern of apparent ethnic success between Europe and America. In the recent past the highest European IQ scores were generally found in northern countries such as Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands, while the lowest ones occurred in Ireland, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Southern Italy, and during the early 20th century this pattern was replicated among those same immigrant ethnic groups in America. Yet strangely enough, if we stratify the recent American GSS results by primary European ethnic origin, we find nearly the opposite result for Wordsum-IQ, years of education, and family income. Among the higher performing white American groups are the Irish, the Greeks, the Yugoslavs, and the Italians, while Americans of Dutch extraction are near the bottom for whites, as are oldstock Americans who no longer identify with any European country but are presumably British in main ancestry. Meanwhile, German-Americans are generally at or slightly below the white American average.

This pattern of apparently inverted white ethnic achievement in Europe and America becomes less mysterious when we discover it tracks quite well with the rural vs. urban divide. Two of the most heavily rural, least urbanized groups are the Dutch-Americans and Old Stock whites, which perform the worst, while the high-performing Italians, Greeks, and Yugoslavs are among the most heavily urbanized. German-Americans are slightly less urbanized than the average white and also tend to perform slightly below average. In fact, across all non-Hispanic American whites, the Wordsum-IQ gap between those who grew up on farms and those who grew up in cities or suburbs is nearly as large as the gap separating American blacks and whites, and even larger with regard to total years of education.

The origin of this inversion of ethnic hierarchies may be quite simple. When desperately poor immigrant groups such as the Irish, Italians, or Greeks arrived on our shores, they were unable to afford farmland, and therefore permanently remained in their East Coast cities of landing, while less-poor Germans might move to the Midwest and become farmers, following the agricultural choice made by many of the earliest frontier settlers derived from the British and the Dutch. So the more rural populations from Europe often became the more urban ones in America, leading to a gradual inversion of their relative IQ rankings.

If we combine this apparent rural/urban achievement pattern with the evidence of the Flynn Effect, we might speculate that scoring well on an IQ test tends to require a certain amount of “mental priming” or complex stimulation while growing up and that in the past such stimulation tended to be lacking in poor rural areas compared with more urban, affluent, or industrial ones. Obviously, working on a farm in a less developed country carries its own complexity, but it could be that the mental skills exercised are far less applicable to the strongly abstract and analytical thinking required on an IQ test.

This might help to explain the enormous variance in test scores recorded in individual European countries better than the chance possibility that large tested samples overwhelmingly consisted of especially bright or especially dim individuals. Based on this data, the hypothesized developmental impact of a lack of sufficient mental stimulation might be to reduce tested IQs by as much as 10–15 points. And once this socio-cultural environment substantially changes—as in the case of the Irish or Mexican-Americans—what might be called a “Super-Flynn Effect” can occur, involving a very rapid rise in nominal IQs. Obviously, all of this is quite speculative and warrants further investigation.

The East Asian Exception to Socio-Economic IQ Influences

Interestingly enough, these rapid rises in IQ due to changes in the general socio-economic environment appear completely absent when we examine the international or domestic IQ data for East Asian populations, for whom even tenfold differences in real per capita GDP seem to have little or no impact on IQ. Missing this unexpected contrast between the impact of socio-economic factors on Europeans and on East Asians may have been a major reason that Lynn and Vanhanen failed to notice the serious flaws in their “Strong IQ Hypothesis.”

None of these findings would have been possible without the great scholarly effort Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen put into locating and properly presenting an enormous quantity of international IQ data in their books and research papers, as well as their courage in focusing attention on such highly controversial topics. Although I would argue that a close examination of the Lynn/Vanhanen data tend to convincingly refute their own “Strong IQ Hypothesis,” I would be the first to acknowledge my gratitude to the scholars whose efforts made my own analysis possible...

Race/IQ: Irish IQ & Chinese IQ
By Ron Unz • August 14, 2012, 7:46 PM

One of the many surprises I’ve encountered when reading the dozens of web pages and many hundreds of comments attacking my Race/IQ analysis is the overwhelming focus of these critics upon my Irish data. Although I discuss similar ethnic IQ evidence regarding the Greeks, Balkan Slavs, Southern Italians, Dutch, Germans, and various other European peoples, it sometimes seems like the attacks on my Irish analysis are more numerous than those against all these other cases combined, perhaps even if we also throw in all the examples dealing with East Asians and every other non-Irish race on the planet.

One obvious explanation might be the possible ethnic origins of many of these anonymous racialist bloggers and commenters. For example, when I pointed out that Lynn had devoted many years of personal research in Ireland and eventually concluded that they were clearly a low-IQ race, several commenters angrily denounced Lynn, one going so far as to call him an anti-Irish bigot of KKK- or Nazi-like proportions. But if so many people want to attack the Irish Front of my analysis, and suggest I’m just dishonestly cherry-picking the data to fabricate a fraudulent case, perhaps we should indeed take a closer look at the Great Irish IQ Question.

First, Lynn was hardly unique among leading IQ experts in characterizing the Irish as being low IQ. For example, Hans Eysenck, one of the foremost IQ researchers of the 20th century said exactly the same thing in his 1971 book “Race, Intelligence, & Education,” claiming that the Irish IQ was very close to that of American blacks, and that the Irish/English IQ gap was almost exactly the same size as the black/white gap in the U.S., being roughly a full standard deviation. Eysenck’s stated position unsurprisingly caused a considerable furor in the British media, including all sorts of angry responses and even (facetious) threats of violence. So the huge and apparently well-designed 1972 study of 3,466 Irish schoolchildren which placed the mean Irish IQ at just 87 hardly seems an absurd outlier.

But let’s explore the Irish IQ data in a more systematic fashion. Although Lynn has inexplicibly dropped that 1972 study in his latest 2012 book, this new volume otherwise contains a plethora of additional Irish IQ studies, displaying a wide variety of results. Indeed, when we consider the total number of Irish studies–10–and the total aggregate sample size—over 20,000 individuals—we discover that Lynn provides us with more aggregate test data on the IQ of Ireland than for any other country in the entire world. Furthermore, since Lynn used British scores for normalization, and Ireland is geographically and culturally an immediate British neighbor as well as English-speaking, British tests could presumably be used without modification, reducing the risk of language or cultural bias during the translation process. Thus, I think a case can be made that we have more reliable information about the recent IQ history of the Irish than that of any other people in the world.

And what does that information tell us? Here is the complete listing of all IQ studies provided by Lynn (omitting his careless duplications), including sample-size, year, and Flynn-adjusted score, to which I have added a 2009 IQ of 100 based on the recent PISA results, which were almost identical to those of Britain:
96(1964) = 90
3466(1972) = 87
1361(1988) = 97
191(1990) = 87
2029(1991) = 96
1361(1993) = 93
2029(1993) = 91
10000(2000) = 95
3937(2009 PISA) = 100
200(2012) = 92

Now to my eye, this list of datapoints indicates a clear and obvious rise in Irish IQ, during which the gap to British scores steadily dropped from 13 points in 1972 to zero in 2009. But since my critics will surely say I’m as blind as a bat, I also took out my statistical toolkit and ran a weighted-correlation on the data, comparing year with IQ and weighting by sample size. The result was a correlation of 0.86. Indeed, the pattern is so robust that even if we drop the 2009 PISA score since “it’s not really IQ,” the correlation scarcely changes. Obviously, if tested Irish IQs were innate and unchanging as so many seem to claim, the correlation would have been 0.00, a very different value.

Within the social sciences, a correlation of 0.86 is extraordinarily high, almost implausibly so. The inescapable conclusion is that Irish IQs rose at an almost linear rate during the three or four decades after 1972.

Why this occurred is an entirely different matter. I find it extremely difficult to think of a plausible biological explanation, though others are welcome to try. During this exact period, Ireland was undergoing a very rapid rise in urbanization and affluence, and I’d suggest those factors. Perhaps there’s some other cause instead. But the empirical rise of Flynn-adjusted Irish IQ by nearly a full standard deviation in 37 years seems proven fact.

This rapid convergence between Irish and British IQs should hardly surprise us. According to the GSS, the Wordsum-IQs of (Catholic) Irish-Americans rank among the very highest of any white ethnic group, with a value almost identical to that of their British-American ethnic cousins.

Meanwhile, some equally important evidence has suddenly appeared regarding the separate question of Chinese IQ.

In my original companion article, I presented Lynn’s two dozen samples for East Asians and noted the remarkable fact that virtually all of the IQ results came in at or somewhat above 100, despite the desperate poverty and low socio-economic status of many of the populations when tested. I also pointed out that the Flynn-adjusted national IQs remained approximately constant over the decades, despite massive changes in national wealth and development.

These patterns were totally different than those of European-derived populations, and I hypothesized that for some biological or cultural reason, East Asians were relatively immune to socio-economic deprivation compared to Europeans. Lynn’s latest 2012 book more than doubles the number of such East Asian IQ samples, and these completely follow the same same pattern, strengthening my hypothesis.

Put another way, suppose we examine the many hundreds of national IQ samples collected by Lynn and restrict our attention to those from deeply impoverished and/or overwhelmingly rural populations. Virtually every such East Asian case comes in at or well above 100, while scarcely a single such non-East Asian population scores anything close to 100. The worldwide bifurcation between East Asians and other groups seems almost absolute.

However, a closer examination of the underlying data later led me to consider that the evidence was possibly less strong than I had originally imagined. The vast majority of the East Asian IQ studies reported by Lynn include few details of the circumstances under which they were conducted, but those that do almost invariably turn out to be based upon urban samples, and hence are not necessarily representative of national scores. This raises the possibility that most of the remainder were similarly urban. Whether my IQ urbanization hypothesis is correct or whether cities merely attract brighter people, it is well known that urban populations usually tend to have higher IQ scores, so if the East Asian IQ data did turn out to be almost entirely, any ethnic conclusions would be weakened.

As a related example of this, when the international academic PISA scores were announced last year, the 15M Chinese megalopolis of Shanghai ranked at the absolute top, with scores averaging far above those of any nation in the world, drawing some attention. Since PISA scores are a crude proxy for IQ, Shanghai was estimated to score a very high 111, but as China’s most elite urban center, it was almost certainly a major national outlier, and not to be taken as a fair comparison to national averages elsewhere. (The same was true for the high IQs of Chinese city-states such as Singapore and Hong Kong). Although there were hints that China’s larger scale PISA scores were also very strong, these were merely hints.

However, that has all now changed, as blogger Anatoly Karlin has located the 2009 PISA scores for a dozen major provinces on the Chinese Internet, and published a lengthy post presenting and analyzing them. These scores are indeed truly remarkable, and completely confirm the apparent pattern of Lynn’s IQ samples, in which desperately poor East Asians tend to score at or above the levels of the most successful and well-educated Western populations.

The twelve provinces whose scores were released do include several of China’s most developed and best performing areas, including Beijing, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, as well as Shanghai, so the average is probably a bit above that for the country as a whole. But since the total population is at least well into the hundreds of millions, heavily rural as well as urban, the average PISA score of 520—corresponding to an IQ of 103—cannot be too dissimilar from the overall Chinese figure. And with China’s per capita GDP still only $3,700 and well over half the population still living in rural villages when the tests were conducted, these are absolutely astonishing results.

For example, the reported Chinese PISA scores are far above those of the United States and nearly every European country, many of which are almost totally urbanized and have incomes ten times that of China. Even if we attempt to exclude Europe’s less affluent and lower-performing immigrant populations, and consider only the PISA averages for native Europeans, China’s numbers were exceeded only by the natives of Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries. Consider that this performance was achieved by a country which was still mostly rural, and whose rural incomes averaged little more than $1000 per year.

Although opinions may certainly differ, I regard this new evidence as very strong support for my “East Asian Exception” hypothesis. I believe it is almost unimagineable that any non-East Asian population of rural villagers with annual incomes in the $1000 range would have tested IQs very close to 100. Just consider the generally dismal IQ scores we find in Southern Europe, the Balkans, Argentina, and Chile, where incomes are often ten or twenty times that level.

We would certainly expect Chinese numbers to rise further as the country continues to develop, but my point is that East Asian IQs seem to possess a uniquely high floor compared with those of any other population group.



From Thomas Sowell's 1995 review of The Bell Curve.
Among other things Sowell critiques:

"Perhaps the most intellectually troubling aspect of The Bell Curve is the authors' uncritical approach to statistical correlations. One of the first things taught in introductory statistics is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten, and one of the most widely ignored facts in public policy research. The statistical term "multicollinearity," dealing with spurious correlations, appears only once in this massive book." 

[Herrnstein and Murray] seem to conclude... that... biological inheritance of IQ... among members of the general society may also explain IQ differences between different racial and ethnic groups.... Such a conclusion goes... much beyond what the facts will support....

[T]he greatest black-white differences are not on the questions which presuppose middle-class vocabulary or experiences, but on abstract questions such as spatial perceptual ability.... [Herrnstein and Murray's] conclusion that this "phenomenon seems peculiarly concentrated in comparisons of ethnic groups" is simply wrong. When European immigrant groups in the United States scored below the national average on mental tests, they scored lowest on the abstract parts of those tests. So did white mountaineer children in the United States tested back in the early 1930s. So did canal boat children in Britain, and so did rural British children compared to their urban counterparts, at a time before Britain had any significant non-white population. So did Gaelic-speaking children as compared to English-speaking children in the Hebrides Islands. This is neither a racial nor an ethnic peculiarity. It is a characteristic found among low-scoring groups of European as well as African ancestry.

In short, groups outside the cultural mainstream of contemporary Western society tend to do their worst on abstract questions, whatever their race might be....

Perhaps the strongest evidence against a genetic basis for intergroup differences in IQ is that the average level of mental test performance has changed very significantly for whole populations over time and, moreover, particular ethnic groups within the population have changed their relative positions during a period when there was very little intermarriage to change the genetic makeup of these groups.

While The Bell Curve cites the work of James R. Flynn, who found substantial increases in mental test performances from one generation to the next in a number of countries around the world, the authors seem not to acknowledge the devastating implications of that finding for the genetic theory of intergroup differences, or for their own reiteration of long-standing claims that the higher fertility of low-IQ groups implies a declining national IQ level. This latter claim is indeed logically consistent with the assumption that genetics is a major factor in interracial differences in IQ scores. But ultimately this too is an empirical issue--and empirical evidence has likewise refuted the claim that IQ test performance would decline over time.

Even before Professor Flynn's studies, mental test results from American soldiers tested in World War II showed that their performances on these tests were higher than the performances of American soldiers in World War I by the equivalent of about 12 IQ points. Perhaps the most dramatic changes were those in the mental test performances of Jews in the United States. The results of World War I mental tests conducted among American soldiers born in Russia--the great majority of whom were Jews--showed such low scores as to cause Carl Brigham, creator of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, to declare that these results "disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent." Within a decade, however, Jews in the United States were scoring above the national average on mental tests, and the data in The Bell Curve indicate that they are now far above the national average in IQ.

Strangely, Herrnstein and Murray refer to "folklore" that "Jews and other immigrant groups were thought to be below average in intelligence." It was neither folklore nor anything as subjective as thoughts. It was based on hard data, as hard as any data in The Bell Curve. These groups repeatedly tested below average on the mental tests of the World War I era, both in the army and in civilian life. For Jews, it is clear that later tests showed radically different results--during an era when there was very little intermarriage to change the genetic makeup of American Jews.

My own research of twenty years ago showed that the IQs of both Italian-Americans and Polish-Americans also rose substantially over a period of decades. Unfortunately, there are many statistical problems with these particular data, growing out of the conditions under which they were collected. However, while my data could never be used to compare the IQs of Polish and Italian children, whose IQ scores came from different schools, nevertheless the close similarity of their general patterns of IQ scores rising over time seems indicative--especially since it follows the rising patterns found among Jews and among American soldiers in general between the two world wars, as well as rising IQ scores in other countries around the world.

The implications of such rising patterns of mental test performance is devastating to the central hypothesis of those who have long expressed the same fear as Herrnstein and Murray, that the greater fertility of low-IQ groups would lower the national (and international) IQ over time. The logic of their argument seems so clear and compelling that the opposite empirical result should be considered a refutation of the assumptions behind that logic....

A man who scores 100 on an IQ test today is answering more questions correctly than his grandfather with the same IQ answered two-generations ago, then someone else who answers the same number of questions correctly today as this man's grandfather answered two generations ago may have an IQ of 85.

Herrnstein and Murray openly acknowledge such rises in IQ and christen them "the Flynn effect," in honor of Professor Flynn who discovered it. But they seem not to see how crucially it undermines the case for a genetic explanation of interracial IQ differences. They say:

"The national averages have in fact changed by amounts that are comparable to the fifteen or so IQ points separating blacks and whites in America. To put it another way, on the average, whites today differ from whites, say, two generations ago as much as whites today differ from blacks today. Given their size and speed, the shifts in time necessarily have been due more to changes in the environment than to changes in the genes."

While this open presentation of evidence against the genetic basis of interracial IQ differences is admirable, the failure to draw the logical inference seems puzzling. Blacks today are just as racially different from whites of two generations ago as they are from whites today. Yet the data suggest that the number of questions that blacks answer correctly on IQ tests today is very similar to the number answered correctly by past generations of whites. If race A differs from race B in IQ, and two generations of race A differ from each other by the same amount, where is the logic in suggesting that the IQ differences are even partly racial?

Herrnstein and Murray do not address this question, but instead shift to a discussion of public policy:

"Couldn't the mean of blacks move 15 points as well through environmental changes? There seems no reason why not--but also no reason to believe that white and Asian means can be made to stand still while the Flynn effect works its magic."

But the issue is not solely one of either predicting or controlling the future. It is a question of the validity of the conclusion that differences between genetically different groups are due to those genetic differences, whether in whole or in part. When any factor differs as much from Al to A2 as it does from A2 to B2, why should one conclude that this factor is due to the difference between A in general and B in general?...

A remarkable phenomenon commented on in the Moynihan report of thirty years ago goes unnoticed in The Bell Curve--the prevalence of females among blacks who score high on mental tests. Others who have done studies of high-IQ blacks have found several times as many females as males above the 120 IQ level. Since black males and black females have the same genetic inheritance, this substantial disparity must have some other roots, especially since it is not found in studies of high-IQ individuals in the general society, such as the famous Terman studies, which followed high-IQ children into adulthood and later life. If IQ differences of this magnitude can occur with no genetic difference at all, then it is more than mere speculation to say that some unusual environmental effects must be at work among blacks. However, these environmental effects need not be limited to blacks, for other low-IQ groups of European or other ancestries have likewise tended to have females over-represented among their higher scorers, even though the Terman studies of the general population found no such patterns.

One possibility is that females are more resistant to bad environmental conditions, as some other studies suggest. In any event, large sexual disparities in high-IQ individuals where there are no genetic or socioeconomic differences present a challenge to both the Herrnstein-Murray thesis and most of their critics.

Black males and black females are not the only groups to have significant IQ differences without any genetic differences. Identical twins with significantly different birthweights also have IQ differences, with the heavier twin averaging nearly 9 points higher IQ than the lighter one. This effect is not found where the lighter twin weighs at least six and a half pounds, suggesting that deprivation of nutrition must reach some threshold level before it has a permanent effect on the brain during its crucial early development.

Perhaps the most intellectually troubling aspect of The Bell Curve is the authors' uncritical approach to statistical correlations. One of the first things taught in introductory statistics is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten, and one of the most widely ignored facts in public policy research. The statistical term "multicollinearity," dealing with spurious correlations, appears only once in this massive book.

Multicollinearity refers to the fact that many variables are highly correlated with one another, so that it is very easy to believe that a certain result comes from variable A, when in fact it is due to variable Z, with which A happens to be correlated. In real life, innumerable factors go together. An example I liked to use in class when teaching economics involved a study showing that economists with only a bachelor's degree had higher incomes than economists with a master's degree and that these in turn had higher incomes than economists with Ph.D.'s. The implication that more education in economics leads to lower incomes would lead me to speculate as to how much money it was costing a student just to be enrolled in my course. In this case, when other variables were taken into account, these spurious correlations disappeared. In many other cases, however, variables such as cultural influences cannot even be quantified, much less have their effects tested statistically...."


And here's Sowell on 'Affirmative Action". He does not endorse quotas but notes that "cease and desist" action from discriminatory action has long operated in favor of white unions and outreach approaches (as opposed to quota head counts) might be quite an appropriate remedy. 

"The general principle behind "affirmative action" is that a court order to "cease and desist" from some discriminatory practice may not be sufficient to undo the harm already done, or even to prevent additional harm as the result of a pattern of events set in motion by the prior illegal activity. This general principle goes back much further than the civil-rights legislation of the 1960's, and extends well beyond questions involving ethnic minorities or women. In 1935, the Wagner Act prescribed "affirmative action" as well as "cease and desist" remedies against employers whose anti-union activities had violated the law. Thus, in the landmark Jones and Laughlin Steel case which established the constitutionality of the Act, the National Labor Relations Board ordered the company not only to stop discriminating against those of its employees who were union members, but also to post notices to that effect in conspicuous places and to reinstate unlawfully discharged workers, with back pay. Had the company merely been ordered to "cease and desist" from economic (and physical) retaliation against union members,the future effect of its past intimidation would have continued to inhibit the free-choice elections guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act.

Racial discrimination is another obvious area where merely to "cease and desist" is not enough. If a firm has engaged in racial discrimination for years, and has an all-white work force as a result, then simply to stop explicit discrimination will mean little as long as the firm continues to hire by word-of-mouth referrals to its current employees' friends and relatives. (Many firms hire in just this way, regardless of their racial policies.) Clearly, the area of racial discrimination is one in which positive or affirmative steps of some kind seem reasonable-which is not to say that the particular policies actually followed make sense."

--Sowell, Thomas (1975) Affirmative Action Reconsidered. The Public Interest 3, pg 48-65

Strike 3- here's professor Ned block critiquing Murray's naive and misleading use of heritability.  Hernstein and Murray for example claim 80% heritability at the high end for IQ, whereas other credible researchers critiquing its data see IQ as heritable only 30-50% of the time. Royce (2008) “Poverty and Power” for examples lists 3 peer-reviewed studies doing just that. And Charles Murray repeatedly distorts and misrepresents the concept of heritability. QUOTE:

“To understand The Bell Curve’s fallacy, we need to distinguish two concepts: the ordinary idea of genetic determination and the scientific concept of heritability, on which all Herrnstein’s and Murray’s data rely. Genetic determination is a matter of what causes a characteristic: number of toes is genetically determined because our genes cause us to have five toes. Heritability, by contrast, is a matter of what causes differences in a characteristic: heritability of number of toes is a matter of the extent to which genetic differences cause variation in number of toes (that some cats have five toes, and some have six). Heritability is, therefore, defined as a fraction: it is the ratio of genetically caused variation to total variation (including both environmental and genetic variation). Genetic determination, by contrast, is an informal and intuitive notion which lacks quantitative definition, and depends on the idea of a normal environment. A characteristic could be said to be genetically determined if it is coded in and caused by the genes and bound to develop in a normal environment. Consequently, whereas genetic determination in a single person makes sense – my brown hair color is genetically determined – heritability makes sense only relative to a population in which individuals differ from one another – you can’t ask “What’s the heritability of my IQ?”

“To take a real example, the heritability of IQ increases throughout childhood into adulthood. One study gives heritability figures of under 20 percent in infancy, about 30 percent in childhood, 50 percent in adolescence, and a bit higher in adult life. Studies of older twins in Sweden report an 80 percent heritability figure for adults by age 50 as compared to a 50 percent heritability for children. One possible reason for the rise in heritability is that although the genetic variation remains the same, environmental variation decreases with age. Children have very different environments; some parents don’t speak to their children, others are ever verbally probing and jousting. Adults in industrialized countries, by contrast, are to a greater degree immersed in the same culture (e.g., the same TV programs). With more uniform environments, the heritability goes up. I hope these points remove the temptation (exhibited in The Bell Curve) to think of the heritability of IQ as a constant (like the speed of light). Heritability is a population statistic just like birth rate or number of TVs and can be expected to change with changing circumstances. There is no reason to expect the heritability of IQ in India to be close to the heritability of IQ in Korea.

These issues are pathetically misunderstood by Charles Murray. In a CNN interview reported in The New Republic (January 2, 1995), Murray declared “When I – when we – say 60 percent heritability, it’s not 60 percent of the variation. It is 60 percent of the IQ in any given person.” Later, he repeated that for the average person, “60 percent of the intelligence comes from heredity” and added that this was true of the “human species,” missing the point that heritability makes no sense for an individual and that heritability statistics are population-relative. In a letter to the editor in which Murray complains about being quoted out of context (January 30, 1995), Murray quotes more of what he had said: “. . . your IQ may have been determined overwhelmingly by genes or it may have been – yours personally – or overwhelmingly by environment. That can vary a lot from individual to individual. In the human species as a whole, you have a large genetic component.” The Bell Curve itself does not make these embarrassing mistakes. Herrnstein, the late co-author, was a professional on these topics. But the upshot of part of this essay is that the book’s main argument depends for some of its persuasive force on a more subtle conflation of heritability and genetic determination. And Murray’s confusion serves to underscore just how difficult these concepts can be, even for someone so numerate as Murray.”

(From: — The Boston Review, XX, no 6, January, 1996, p. 30-35. “How heritability Misleads about Race. BY Ned Block. Department of Philosophy. NYU)

Joint products of "racial evolution"...


Racial discrimination is alive and kicking in employment, housing and credit markets

Sowell 3- new data shows backward tropical evolution? Wealth and Poverty- An International Perspective in Trump era

Sowell 2- Wealth, Poverty and Politics- International Perspective - Trump era to bring these issues into sharper focus?

Sowell- Liberal intellectuals and hard questions about race differences- Trump era may force them to focus?

Trump properties discriminated against black tenants lawsuit finds

Stealing credibility- Dinesh D'souza has prison epiphany- after hanging with the homies- Hallelujah Hilary!

Go with the flow 3- more DNA and cranial studies show ancient African migration to, or African presence in ancient Europe

Go with the flow 2- African gene flow into Europe in various eras

DNA studies show African movement to Europe from very ancient times

Guilt3- Why the "white privilege industry" is not all there

Guilt2- Media collaborates with guilt mongers - or how to play the white victim card

How Obama plays on white guilt- Hilary capitalizes

Hands off the Confederate flag

Despite much more wealth than blacks, whites collect about the same rate of welfare and are treated more generously

African "boat people" ushering in European demographic decline

The forgotten Holocaust- King Leopold's "Congo Free State" - 10 million victims

Are violent minorities taking over California and the West?

Irony 2: touted High IQ "G-men" cannot reproduce themselves

Unz and Sowell: Unz debunking Lynn's IQ and Wealth of Nations. Sowell debunking the Bell Curve

Irony 1: touted High IQ types are more homosexual, more atheist, and more liberal (HAL)

Elite white universities discriminate against Asians using reverse "affirmative action"

Deteriorating state of white America

Racial Cartels (The Affirmative Action Propaganda machine- part 2

Hereditarian's/HBD's "Great Black Hope"

Exploding nonsense: the 10,000 Year Explosion

We need "rational racism"? Proponent Dinesh D;Souza becomes his own test case

The Affirmative Action Propaganda Machine- part 1

Two rules for being "really" black- no white wimmen, no Republican

The Axial age reconsidered

Cannibal seasonings: dark meat on white

"Affirmative Action" in the form of court remedies has been around a long time- since the 1930s- benefiting white union workers against discrimination by employers

Mugged by reality 1: White quotas, special preferences and government jobs

Lightweight enforcement of EEO laws contradicts claims of "flood" of minorities "taking jobs"

Railroaded 3: white violence and intimidation imposed quotas

Railroaded 2: how white quotas and special preferences blockade black progress...

Railroaded 1: How white affirmative action and white special preferences destroyed black railroad employment...

Affirmative action: primary beneficiaries are white women...

7 reasons certain libertarians and right-wingers are wrong about the Civil Right Act

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell

Bogus "biodiversity" theories of Kanazawa, Ruston, Lynn debunked

JP Rushton, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn debunked. Weaknesses of Jared Diamond's approach.

In the Blood- debunking "HBD" and Neo-Nazi appropriation of ancient Egypt

early Europeans and middle Easterners looked like Africans. Peoples returning or "backflowing" to Africa would already be looking like Africans

 Ancient Egypt: one of the world's most advanced civilizations- created by tropical peoples

Playing the "Greek defence" -debunking claims of Greeks as paragons of virtue or exemplars of goodness

Quotations from mainstream academic research on the Nile Valley peoples

Joint products of "racial evolution"...

Evolution, brain size, and the national IQ of peoples ... - Jelte Wicherts 2010

Why national IQs do not support evolutionary theories of intelligence - WIcherts, Borsboom and Dolan 2010
Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 91-96
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Are intelligence tests measurement invariant over time? by JM Wicherts - ?2004
 --Dolan, Wicherts et al 2004. Investigating the nature of the Flynn effect. Intelligence 32 (2004) 509-537

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Race and other misadventures: essays in honor of Ashley Montagu... By Larry T. Reynolds, Leonard Lieberman

Race and intelligence: separating science from myth. By Jefferson M. Fish. Routledge 2002. See Templeton's detailed article referenced above also inside the book
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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press
For summary see:
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--S OY Keita, R A Kittles, et al. "Conceptualizing human variation," Nature Genetics 36, S17 - S20 (2004)

--S.O.Y. Keita and Rick Kittles. (1997) *The Persistence ofRacial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence. AJPA, 99:3
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Alan Templeton. "The Genetic and Evolutionary significnce oF Human Races." pp 31-56. IN: J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating scinnce from myth.

 J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating science from myth.


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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press

Krimsky, S, Sloan.K (2011) Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture

Wicherts and Johnson, 2009. Group differences in the heritability of items and test scores

--Joseph Graves, 2006. What We Know and What We Don’t Know: Human Genetic Variation and the Social Construction of Race

J. Kahn (2013) How a Drug Becomes "Ethnic" - Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, v4:1

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