Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Andrew Sullivan and the Bell Curve Follies: "The Average Mental Age of the Negro Soldier is 10 Years Old"

Internet celebrities and the pundit classes are tussling with one another about the apparent rediscovery of the (rightfully) much maligned book the Bell Curve, and its broader claims about the relationship between race and I.Q.

The story so far: Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast offered some comments on a piece from Alternet regarding the need for pure research, and how one should not avoid uncomfortable scientific findings for reasons of political correctness. Ta-Nehisi Coates chimed in, there he offered a series of great posts on how for some folks these matters are indeed personal, and exist outside of some faux commitment to methodological and scientific positivism. All parties involved have been kind to WARN. Consequently, I decided to do like George Clinton with Parliament, and to just sit back, nod my head, and vibe with the exchange.

A few folks emailed me regarding my opinion on the race-science-I.Q. fracas. I always try to respond when readers have a query--it makes me feel important; and what is blogging if not an exercise in gross narcissism? My thoughts on this matter are as follows.


As a member of the hip hop generation who came of age in the 1990s, I thought these matters of race and I.Q. were settled. In the year 2011, I remain surprised that anyone would take such quackery with any measure of seriousness.

Let's take a trip down memory lane for a moment. We should not forget that the Bell Curve was a shocking book at the time of its release, as this explains much of the current upset over Andrew Sullivan's observations about race and I.Q. testing.

In the United States, the period of the early to mid 1990s was highly charged political. Black nationalism was being rediscovered through hip hop, Farrakhan and others were frequently featured on the evening news and the Donahue Show, New York and Los Angeles were sweltering with inter-racial tensions, Buchanan and Duke were flying their racist bonafides as mainstream figures in the Republican Party, and Angry White Men like Rush Limbaugh were blowing up the public discourse.

The Bell Curve hit hard because it was "scientific" (i.e. it had numbers and figures). Moreover, the "finding" that African Americans were biologically defective, supported claims by the Conservatives and New Democrats about social disorganization, the ghetto underclass, black "pathologies," and the undeserving poor. On a macro-level, the Bell Curve was a "scientific" complement to the onward march of neoliberalism, the continuance of the Reagan regime's assault on the State, and Bill Clinton's promise to end welfare as "we know it."

The Bell Curve was also a slap in the face of the black professional classes--as well as politically active and engaged college students--who saw themselves at the vanguard of a new black politics, had helped to bring down Apartheid, and were now rediscovering Brother Malcolm and his claims on racial justice and black respectability.

Ultimately, the race science hustle of the Bell Curve flamed out. The book's methods and data were eviscerated, and its authors shamed by most mainstream social scientists and other researchers. However, the pain caused by that book still remains, as it is part of a long history of pseudoscience which has advanced white supremacy both in the United States and abroad.

As this often comes up in my classes, I shake my head at any claims about the relationship between I.Q. and race. The variables and measures in these types of arguments are specious and poorly constructed. Race itself is a social category with no fixed attributes. Intelligence is contextual. The history of I.Q. tests are so burdened by a foundation of eugenics and phrenology (which included such absurd practices as the weighing of human brains), that the legacy and context of "intelligence testing" should raise an immediate, Mr. Spock-like eyebrow, for all critical thinkers.

There is a slippery slope here. If we are going to entertain some link between I.Q. and race, we might as well keep searching for the Jewish gene for intelligence, or taking posture photos of the entering freshman class at universities such as Yale and Harvard.

As my colleagues who study educational psychology tell me, while extreme outliers on I.Q. tests do in fact "tell us something," the gross aggregate of I.Q. data is a function of education, wealth, access to resources, and cultural/social capital. I.Q. tests measure these variables; they do not capture some universal type of absolute intelligence.

In all, these debates about I.Q. and race are fascinating, in so far as they reveal how so many folks still believe that science is "neutral." To borrow from Foucault, science is part of a regime of truth and knowledge; it serves certain interests, goals, social arrangements, and power. Science as a field, practice, and pursuit, legitimates certain relationships between categories of people, and types of personhood. Science has not been, and likely never will be, a process that is not value-laden.

Or as the legendary W.E.B. DuBois put so well, why should there be any surprise that white scientists would come up with a test that repeated and inevitably showed black people to be intellectually deficient? I call such work "piss poor." DuBois was more kind. He labeled it "utter rot."

As always, history is the greatest teacher on these matters. And these Internets are indeed a treasure trove of information:

1. The U.S. military was deeply involved in I.Q. testing during World War One. Their result was a predictable one: black Americans were ill-suited for combat, cowardly, and not fit to be officers. According to these tests, while white enlistees had an average mental age of 13, blacks were only 10 years old. Reality causes upset here: World War One, the exploits of such units as the Harlem Hellfighters, and non-white colonials in the service of France, muddied up the race-science-I.Q. triad. So how did the white, race science hustlers, get around these findings...

2. Working through the logic of the I.Q. race game is great sport. When black northerners outscored white southerners on these test, the outcome is either conveniently ignored, or an explanation is offered that the I.Q. test is still valid, but the sample is skewed because all of the smart negroes went North while the mass of the negro population is still sub-standard intellectually. In these moments, the white supremacist agenda of the I.Q. race practitioners is made naked and clear: they reasoned backwards from their findings to justify their own in-group superiority. Funny, if the consequences were not so sad.

3. The actual tests from the early to mid 20th century are rich textual examples of how intelligence is local, socially constructed, and a function of other variables--as opposed to something inherent, innate, and fixed. Here is an example of one of the intelligence tests used by the U.S. Army that justified a Jim Crow military (as well as restrictive immigration policies against those Southern and Eastern Europeans judged to be of "undesirable" stock):

Imagine you are in a large examination room. An examiner and demonstrator stand at the front of the room, and orderlies around the room in various places to check that nobody is cheating. Here are the instructions, following which the printed test page is presented to the men being examined.
‘This is test 6 here. Look. A Lot of Pictures … Now watch.’ Examiner points to hand [picture with one finger missing] and says to demonstrator, ‘Fix it’. Demonstrator then draws a finger. Demonstrator does nothing, but looks puzzled. Examiner points to the picture of the hand, and then the place where the finger is missing and says to the demonstrator, ‘Fix it; fix it’. Demonstrator then draws in a figure. Examiner says, ‘That’s right’ … During the course of this test the orderlies walk around the room and locate individuals who are doing nothing, point to their pages and say, ‘Fix them, fix them’, trying to set everyone working. At the end of 3 minutes, the examiner says, ‘Stop! But don’t turn over the page.’
Stephen Jay Gould sums up the results of the test, administered to over one million people:

[T]hree ‘facts’ rose to the top and continued to influence social policy in America long after their source in the tests had been forgotten.
    1. The average mental age of white American adults stood just above the edge of moronity at a shocking and meager thirteen … The … figure became a rallying point for eugenicists who predicted doom and lamented our declining intelligence, caused by the unconstrained breeding of the poor and feeble-minded, the spread of Negro blood through miscegenation, and the swamping of an intelligent native stock by the immigrating dregs of southern and eastern Europe.
    2. European immigrants can be graded by their country of origin. The average man of many nations is a moron. The darker peoples of southern Europe and the Slavs of eastern Europe are less intelligent than the fair peoples of western and northern Europe. Nordic supremacy is not a jingoistic prejudice. The average Russian has a mental age of 11.34; the Italian, 11.01; the Pole, 10.74 …
    3. The Negro lies at the bottom of the scale with an average mental age 10.41. Some camps tried to carry the analysis a bit further, and in obvious racist directions. At Camp Lee, blacks were divided into three groups based upon intensity of color; the lighter groups scored higher …
4. Pushing back is fun. In the 1970s, Professor Robert Williams, a magisterial and accomplished man, turned the tables on the academics and scientists who advocated for the use of I.Q. tests to rank and place children in schools. Featured in a great episode of the sitcom Good Times, the BITCH test (or Black Intelligence Test for Cultural Homogeneity) made clear how these questions of innate ability and smarts are anything but.

Take the BITCH test and see how well you do. Are you a high achiever? Or are you on the lower end of the BITCH distribution?


Thrasher said...

Full disclosure..I was one of the posters who email CD regarding the passive impotent posturing by TNC to the racist chatter being posted by his gay comrade Sullivan..

Unlike CD(All parties involved have been kind to WARN)..I have no interests to safeguard, pursue or offend to be candid I was a little taken abck by this disclaimer of CD's but unlike the intellectual cowards TNC and Sullivan here at WARN I have never been banned or censored..

In any event white bigots like Sullivan are a given and nothing new for Free Black folks like me..

What really troubles me is the impotent and passive reactions, retorts and bullshit posturing by TNC who has mastered the chatter class performance of being a good noble intellectual negro as to not offend his overwhelmingly white chatter class bandwidth..

TNC's weak ass responses to Sullivan is fucked up to observe him give license and a impotent slap on the tail of Sullivan is truly offensive..

I have posted many times here and in other venues that Black folks who are in America's power grid and who do nothing and add nothing of value when significant shit is in the marketplace are as backward, underdeveloped and problematic as any garden variety redneck or powerful right wing nutt..

In closing unlike TNC and to many other Black pundits in the chatter class I have no reservations about indicting Andrew Sullivan as a racist bigoted prick nor chasing down some white jewish gene for intelligence...I perfer to track down the Black genes for intelligence for a,lol,lol

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher. You get around brother. Share some more gossip. Like I said on some matters I tread carefully and see where the landmines are.

Plantsmantx said...

You're right, Thrasher. He is what he is- an virulent racist. No "cultural racism" for him. I've been interested to see whether or not Sullivan's support for Obama will trump his racism for the internet Obama cultists. So far, I think it has.

Chris Sharp said...

CD: I took the BITCH test and scored 10 out of 15. Is that a good score for a white guy? Or does it mean I have the mental capcity of a 10 year old compared to your average black person? I'm on pins and needles here.....

chaunceydevega said...

@Plants. He is still defending himself. He seems genuinely surprised by the push back. Interesting.

@Chris. Considering the average white soldiers mental age was 13 on those WW1 I.Q. tests, and factoring in how omnipresent "black culture" is in America, I think you are at about 13 in "black years." How does this translate? I will need some help there.

Chuck11 said...

"As a member of the hip hop generation who came of age in the 1990s, I thought these matters of race and I.Q. were settled. In the year 2011, I remain surprised that anyone would take such quackery with any measure of seriousness."

Pretending that the issue has been decided won't make it disappear, except, perhaps, from your mind. Nor will riddling off a laundry list of anti-IQ fallacies. Go read (Black) Harvard psychologist Ronald Fryer's recent paper " "Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination (2011)." He uses the same index as using in the Bell Curve (i.e. AFQT scores) and comes up with roughly the same results. He interprets them differently, but this is besides the point.

chaunceydevega said...

@Chuck. Me thinks you need to try harder son.

His interpretation is hardly besides the point. Be careful with such qualifiers. Lazy thinking.

I am familiar with that research. Using one independent variable, afqts as measure of "intelligence" is not what he is doing.

Standardized tests measures 1) the test themselves and how well you are at taking them, and 2) the ses and social capital issues I alluded to earlier. No one is disputing that fact.

It is also important, that the afqt if different from the the World War 1 era tests, and does not purport to measure "intelligence" as broadly defined.

Do you want to claim that the Bell Curve is right, please have at it. The literature and consensus of the research is dead set against you. Or are you more concerned with advancing a claim that blacks in America do badly because they are stupid and biologically inferior as
"measured" by IQ testing?

Please reconsider my claims about how the variables for this type of research simply don't hold under scrutiny and rigor.

Anonymous said...

Roland Fryer is an economist, not a psychologist... and he kind of got in with a bad crowd at Harvard. His work before he got to Harvard is much higher quality. I think that's a nice way of putting it. A lot of his work on race is irritating in that it takes old models from sociology in the 1970s without realizing that 40 years have passed... his work on education has spent a lot of money and made a lot of claims without actually finding things...

You should have been there for the talk in which he and Ed Glasear said that the difference in health outcomes between blacks and whites was entirely due to blacks surviving slave ships were better able to retain salt. Their proof: An old wood-cutting of a slaver licking an African.

Sorry... that's kind of an off-topic rant there. But my friends and colleagues who seriously study issues of race, inequality, education etc. get irritated by his methodologies, such as they are.

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon. No highjacking here. Good convo. Didn't the nejm have an article on that thesis regarding hypertension and the middle passage a few years back?

I have a story in regards to that which is so funny that I am loathe to share it lest someone scoop it and the anecdote ends up in a sitcom or movie.

Math and stats can be like snake oil to those who don't see the trickery involved in the models.

Your input is always appreciated.

Chuck11 said...

I am claiming that the Bell Curve was right; moreover, I would add that the consensus in psychology is now *mostly* in agreement with it. Go read the APA's statement on this: "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns."

When discussing this, let's distinguish between group differences and within group differences as measured by IQ and other cognitive ability tests. It's now been established beyond reasoned debate that differences within groups 1) are deeply biological rooted 2) functional important 3) correlated with one another, producing a psychometric 'g-factor,' 4) and highly heritable. (For a taste of the more recent literature, refer to: Gottfredson, (2010) "Intelligence and social inequality: Why the biological link?"; "Deary et alia (2010) "The neuroscience of human intelligence differences"; Ones and Viswevaran, ed., (2002) "Introduction to the Special Issue: Role of General Mental Ability in Industrial, Work, and Organizational Psychology") To quote from a recent paper:

"General intelligence is an important human quantitative trait that accounts for much of the variation in diverse cognitive abilities. Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan. Data from twin and family studies are consistent with a high heritability of intelligence, but this inference has been controversial. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of 3511 unrelated adults with data on 549 692 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and detailed phenotypes on cognitive traits....Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation, and are consistent with many genes of small effects underlying the additive genetic influences on intelligence (Davies et al. 2011)." (If your going to cite any counter evidence please cite something recent (i.e. last 10 years), since the research on this has been moving fast.)

Anyways, so I take it as settled that within populations at least in the developed world where most of these studies have taken place (US, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, et cetera), IQ tests measure a functionally important, robustly biological, cognitive ability and that a large portion of the variance in this is explained by genetics. The upshot is that the 4/5ths of the Bell Curve, which dealt with individual and class differences in ability, have been vindicated.


Chuck11 said...

The other 1/5 concerned race differences. Most of which concerned phenotypic differences. As for those, the claims have largely been vindicated. Look up: Roth et alia (2001) "Ethnic group differences in cognitive ability and educational setting: A meta-analysis"; Sackett, et alia (2008) "High-Stakes Testing in Higher Education and Employment Appraising the Evidence for Validity and Fairness"
Research has shown that the Black-White gap is what's called measurement invariant. Basically tests have the same meaning for Blacks and Whites.

The above is fairly well established. The major questions are: 1) "Are the gaps due to the same cognitive factors -- specifically, are they less environmentally influenced general intelligence gaps or are they more environmentally influenced broad ability gap?" 2) What is the ultimate cause of the gap: nature or nurture. This is where my above statement "He interprets them differently, but this is besides the point" comes in. One could interpret the -- established -- gaps as 1) being environmentally conditioned 'g-factor' gaps, 2) environmentally conditioned 'broad ability' gaps, 3) genetically conditioned 'g-factor' gaps, or 4) genetically conditioned 'broad ability' gaps. Fryer interprets them as 1 or 2 -- I'm pretty sure 2 -- and The BC interprets them as a mx of 3 and 4, as do I.

Some comments:
(1) "I am familiar with that research. Using one independent variable, afqts as measure of "intelligence" is not what he is doing. "

No. He uses AFQT as a measure of "academic achievement;" this would be equivalent to 1 or 2.

(2) "Standardized tests measures 1) the test themselves and how well you are at taking them, and 2) the ses and social capital issues I alluded to earlier."

If your first statement was true the tests would not have the predictive ability that they do, nor would they correlate with so many biological variables such as brain size, cortical thickness, reaction time, and glucose metabolism; nor would pharmaceutical drugs be in development to raise IQ (Look up this journal paper: "Improving general intelligence with a nutrient-based pharmacological intervention") -- ya, you better believe that I take them and other nootropics!

As for your second, the within, between population difference is crucial here. Within populations, by adulthood, factors like SES explain little to none of the variance in IQ. In behavioral genetic terms, genetic variance explains 75%, shared environmental variance explains 0%, and nonshared environmental variance explains 25% of the variance. To a lesser case this is the same with other cognitive ability tests.

Between populations this may be the case -- , though controlling for SES doesn't remove the adult racial IQ gap. (Even if it did, the causal direction would not be clear.) And this is the question of concern. If you're interested in discussing the evidence, we can, but lets see if we can first agree on the above.

chaunceydevega said...

@Chuck. This is fun. Thanks for chiming in. Using far fewer characters than you, I like parsimony, how do you deal with construct validity? Here meaning "race" as a variable is not reliable. Who counts as black? As white? As Asian? Can you use proxy variables such as ses and class and come up with the same outcomes? What does that do for your theory?

What of how in-group variance on I.Q. is greater than out-group variance?

Do you see that intelligence and the raw data you are using to make your claim are themselves part of a bigger picture? A set of social expectations and understandings about "intelligence? and where the test itself is biased if it does not take these questions of ecology and social context into account?

Just be frank: do you want to say that non-whites, w. the exception of certain east asian stock (anticipating that you are going there) are more intelligent than those "blacks?"

Please say yes.

And, how would you explain those quadroons, octoroons, and passable whites? Do they not have enough of that tainted negro stock to short circuit their neurons?

There is nothing you can offer to persuade me about your claims on race science by the way. "Respectable" researchers and intellectuals also tried to argue for phrenology, draptomonia, and other nonsense too.

Please respond with your own distillation and rephrasing of the material at hand. It is more convincing. Informal citations are acceptable for this paper assignment.

chaunceydevega said...

@Chuck. The APA report from its own text actually states in the conclusion that:

"The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socio-economic status. Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct empirical support. There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation. At present, no one knows what causes this differential."

What dog do you have in this fight?

Oh Crap said...

9/15. Very entertaining!

As for Crazy Sully, he's just another white conservative bigot, and has always been a white conservative bigot as long as his snooty butt has been pontificating on the internet, on issues he knows nothing about.

Chuck11 said...

(1) As for race. When it comes to a genetic hypothesis for the cause of some mean difference, the only assumption is that different socially classified racial groups have, on average, different ancestral gene frequencies (e.g. that on average “Blacks” have less West Eurasian ancestry than “Whites”). This seems to be a fairly robust assumption. (There is, after all, a presumably genetic reason that “Blacks” and “Whites” differ, on average, in skin reflectance, so it would be hard to argue that there are no average genetic differences – the question is whether there are differences of the relevant kind, not whether there are differences.) So who counts as Black? Who counts as Asian? It really doesn’t matter how you delineate the groups, so long as they differ, on average, in ancestry – or more specifically, in gene frequencies.

(2) As for class. Most people who look at things as I do, argue that a significant portion of the mean class difference in intelligence is heritable. For example, 4/5ths of the Bell Curve dealt with this point. This is an inevitable result of 1) social mobility 2) a correlation between ‘g’ and mobility 3) and a non trivial heritability of ‘g’. So replacing “race” with “class” wouldn’t help your point.

(3) Variance in IQ. Yes, the phenotypic variance within populations is much greater than the variance between populations. In the case of “Blacks” and “Whites” in the US, the ratio of between to within variance is about 20:80, which, interestingly, is close to the ratio of average genetic variance (cf. Lewontin). Since we are talking about mean differences, though, this is irrelevant.

(4) Social context and being frank. Most of your points have been thoroughly discussed and taken into account decades ago (e.g. Jensen’s “Educability and Group Differences”). Globally, Australian Aborigines and some other Oceanean groups seem to fall at the bottom of the totem pole. The claim concerns the distribution of scores, so saying “more intelligent than” black [Africans] is misleading unless point (3) is made clear.

(5) Quadroons. A genetic hypothesis would predict that IQ correlates with European ancestry in the African American population – and in fact can now readily be tested through what’s called “Admixture Mapping” . The past findings based on questionable methodologies were mixed. A genetic hypothesis would explain some of the findings commonly attributed to “colorism” (e.g. why quadroons, octoroons, and lighter colored “Blacks” tend to outperform their less admixed compatriots.)

(6) Persuading you. Do a Google scholar search for “Admixture Mapping” “African American” and some medical outcome such as “Preterm Birth.” You will see that there is a significant association between many medical outcomes and ancestry. There are a myriad of studies now that have found such associations; are you suggesting that they’re all hogwash? Or does this problems only arise when we’re talking about cognitive differences? I would never hope to persuade you that there are such differences, only that the idea that there are is not the machination of "white supremacist" thinking.

(7) What dog do you have in this fight? Well, what do you attribute the cognitive ability and related social outcome gaps to? I’m guessing, one way or another, the effects of my racism. That would be my dog.

Oh Crap said...

@CDV, who brought the bigoted blowhole?

rotfl - people and their educated stupidity, feh.

Chuck11 said...

@Chuck. This is fun. Thanks for chiming in. Using far fewer characters than you, I like parsimony

I too. Unfortunately, explaining the study race and IQ to some is like explaining how an iphone works to the Piraha.

chaunceydevega said...

@Chuck. Or alternatively trying to explain why their lazy recycling of eugenics is just that, is like explaining rocket science to a wino.

Be honest. If you are a closet white supremacist own it. No shame here.

You still haven't answered my question. What is your investment in this argument? Do you believe that certain groups of people are less intelligent than others?

You also need to take into account how "science" is embedded in certain social structures. As DuBois, and others pointed out, funny how white people come up with these tests and black people always seem to do poorly, odd huh?

On your constructs. Skin color is a horrible proxy for race, you get that right? And on the link between "race" and disease, there are a variety of claims here that should be noted. You walk over these issues and remove nuance at will I see--as in the APA saying that biology has nothing to do with intelligence.

1. Many of the diseases specific to blacks for example, are also common to other groups. If this implies a genetic link to "race" would those other groups also be less intelligent? I am thinking of Southern Jews and Tropical zone blacks and sickle cell.

2. These mysterious genetic markers of race you seek, again, how do they deal with self-identified blacks in one context who may have more "white ancestry" than self-identified whites in another country. Thinking of Brazil.

Chuck11 said...


(1) I don't know what "White Supremacist" means. I answered your question in #7. Yes -- for example, Ivy leaguers versus community collegers (on average, of course.)

(2) The tested differences are pervasive. Military, educational, industrial, and neuropsychiatric tests all converge on the same finding, using widely different forms of assessment --Solving visual puzzles, counting backwards, pressing buttons, doing math, diagraming driveways, et cetera). Billions are being poured into developing a "cultural fair" test. Go read the lit on adverse impact. This is not a test bias problem. We're not just talking about the WAIS or WISC, we're talking about nearly every developed test of cognition. These tests predict performance for Blacks just as well as Whites and seem to show the same neurological correlations.

(3) Quantify horrible. In the African-American population, the skin color-ancestry correlation is about .40. I would say "poor". The APA task force said that there is "no such" evidence for a genetic hypothesis (i.e. no evidence which counts as "direct empirical support.") Not that there was no evidence. Not that a genetic hypothesis was false. Not that intelligence differences were not rooted in biology. If I "walk over the nuances," it's only in an attempt to meet your demand of parsimony.

(4) I don't understand your point in 1. My original point was there are meaningful genetic differences between the groups we commonly call races. To the extent we can talk about a genetic basis for the "racial" differences in the rate of sickle cell we can talk about a genetic basis for the differences in the rate of familial retardation (i.e. the far left end of the IQ Bell Curve).

(5) So you would have Brazilian Whites/US Whites/Brazilian Blacks/ US Blacks. And these all have different rates of admixture. What you could do is just use Admixture mapping to estimate the absolute genetic difference between the ancestral populations (European, Yoruba, San, etc) in the trait and then factor in the relative percents of ancestry when estimating the genetic differences between the given populations. This would make for good 4th grade math problems: "The European-Yorubo IQ gap is 1 SD and this has a heritability of .8, if African Americans are 20% European and African Brazilians are 40% European, what is the magnitude of..." (If only I was the education czar.)

chaunceydevega said...

More fun.

1." I answered your question in #7. Yes -- for example, Ivy leaguers versus community collegers (on average, of course.)"

I would attribute that not to innate ability--but resources, networks, schooling, wealth, income, inequality. Now, do you want to say that people of color who are more likely to have fewer resources intergenerationally, are marginalized across social institutions, go to crappy schools, and where race is a negative variable on all life chances, are in fact disadvantaged by "bad genes?"

2. If you make that claim you are falling into the same trap that your intellectual forefathers did in the 19th and early 20th century. As I said you can play the formal modeling game all you want; I cannot and will not be convinced. The model is garbage in and garbage out as the saying goes.

Or as I said elsewhere, I have no faith in a test where white folks keep winning and black folks keep losing. Given the social context and all the history here, ain't gonna happen. Doesn't pass the Occam's Razor test.

Oh Crap said...

Doesn't pass the Occam's Razor test.

Oh, but for stupid white bigots like Chuck11, it does exactly that.

fred c said...

All of this race/IQ stuff is so Nineteenth Century, "The Bell Curve" notwithstanding.

Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin and the founder of eugenics, had a lovely, scientifically numericized system that found "the Negro race" to be two full orders of magnitude lower than the "Anglo-Saxon." He was very detail oriented too, his system found that the Scotch were "a fraction of a grade" above the English. The man had an agenda.

The real agenda shows in the rhetoric. Benjamin Kidd, a 1890's Social Darwinist, in his own unfortunate, preordained comparison of Black and White intelligence, wrote that "the difference becomes more marked still when the existence of the careless, shiftless, easily satisfied negro of the United States or West Indies is contrasted with that of the dominant race amongst whom he lives, whose restless, aggressive, high-pitched life he has neither the desire to live nor the capacity to endure."

Lest we forget that the White folks of that period where keen to prove that they were better than other White folk too. Hilaire Belloc mocked the practice in a lovely little poem called "The Three Races." Europeans had been given to separate themselves into three groups, the Nordic, the Alpine, and the Mediterranean. Separated by the Nordics, that is, who tolerated the Alpines and scorned the Med's.

But that was then, and this is now, and where does that leave us? "The Bell Curve" is correctly discounted, but the "oh, those lowly Negroes" agenda keeps hanging on. I usually cringe a little at the mere mention of "White supremacy," but if the shoe fits, so to speak.

My own humble but advised opinion is that the "wide range of normality" falls on each of us equally. We are one race.

chuck11 said...

"Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin and the founder of eugenics, had a lovely, scientifically numericized system that found "the Negro race" to be two full orders of magnitude lower."

Your talking about his discussion in "Hereditary Genius." He found the difference to be 3 grades and ascribed 2 to genetics. A Galtonian grade is about 10 IQ points. As the current Black African -White European gap is about 25 points (Wicherts et al, 2010; Rinderman, 2010), he seem not to have been to far off. The real issue is his genetic interpretation. .

chuck11 said...

@chaunceydevega said...

"I would attribute that not to innate ability"

Don't get the problem. Within populations: IQ reliably measures general intelligence, general intelligence has a .6 correlation with SES and has an adult heritability of .75. Established. Necessarily follows that there are congenital class differences in intelligence.

"--but resources, networks, schooling, wealth, income, inequality"

Can't explain differences within races. Refer above. Between these aren't good explanations either: 1) Uppers SES Blacks do no better than lower SES whites on said tests 2) kinship studies show, within races, little IQ variance is due to enviro influences varying between families (Look up "Gloomy prospects" and "heritability")-- if they don't explain the differences between poor/rich Blacks, it's hard to see how they explain the differences between poor Blacks and rich Whites.

"Now, do you want to say..."

A resounding Yes! Except the negative variables (educational, employment, health, et cetera) are largely caused by the genes. Controlling for population differences, they evaporate -- and often reverse.

"If you make that claim you are falling into the same trap"

I'm escaping the liberal progressive trap. Stereotype proves accurate yet again (Look up "stereotype accuracy"): intelligence is largely behind said disparities.

"Or as I said elsewhere, I have no faith in a test where white folks keep winning and black folks keep losing."

The issue isn't completely settled. To do so more studies on "race" and "IQ" are needed. I believe that was Sullivan's point. It would be mine too. Maybe read through some of the findings in the last 5 years, to get an idea of where things are going.

chaunceydevega said...

@Chuck. I am continuing with this because I have never had a chance to really chat with someone who believes in eugenics and what I thought was just dead science.

So, the other researchers on these matters who soundly reject your argument, and those you selectively cite, are just cowards, afraid of the p.c. police, marginalized unfairly?

And you still have not addressed the basic argument that your definitions are themselves faulty, and that the iq test measures anything that we call "intelligence." You also have not discussed how science is embedded in certain social arrangements of power. It is not neutral.

At least you admitted that whites are more intelligent than blacks. Now, I know that there is no information we can show you that would shake this prior.

So high achieving negroes are just outliers. But what if they did crappy on their sat's and iq tests? Exceptions that prove the rule? And what of whites who do poorly on the sames tests? Are they inconvenient?

What field do you work in? Are there any serious peer reviewed journals which this stuff is taken seriously in?

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

@Chuck2. How did I miss this, "A resounding Yes! Except the negative variables (educational, employment, health, et cetera) are largely caused by the genes."

Labor market and housing discrimination are caused by blacks having bad genes? Now you credibility is really going out the window if you can make such a suggestion. There is no data at all, and please don't do some reasonable racism b.s. here, that can link dna to repeated findings about racism in the labor market.

If you hold these beliefs, why do you even nod to science in an effort to support what is very base and basic white racism? The appeal to "science" isn't necessary unless you are looking for validation for your priors.


Oh Crap said...

When white males point and cry about "pc" holding them back, they're just expressing their perverted cuckhold fantasies.

There is no lower form of life than a desperate white with something to prove.

Lichanos said...

Science can be pretty darn neutral when it's done right by people who want to do it right. "Scientific" study of race and intelligence? How do you do that when neither concept is clearly defined and certainly cannot be quantified?

allessior said...

You are a phony apologist. Blacks, Slavs, and Italians were also on the lower end of The Bell Curve distribution, but low and behold, no affirmative action programs for Polish peasants, no Englsh courses for Italians who only spoke their village dialect, not the Florentine "official" language. Think of it this way, the Slavs are "Caucasus", as are Asian Indians, yet, in classifying intelligence, this article fails to note the wide discrepancy in The Bell Curve between these two peoples, and, fails to point out that although Slavs were noted as almost primitive generally intelligence wise in The Bell Curve, ZERO programs exist today for their benefit.

This is typical of the pandering elite class, who reverse engineer from an expected outcome all the way back to an erroneous assumption.

Figure it out.