Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

I have updated my flyer on race and intelligence. The new and improved Version 2 is available in PDF format here and as a JPEG image below (click for the full-size image).

Again, I encourage you to share this flyer with anyone, anywhere. Give it to your friends. Give it to your enemies. Give it to your college professor. Go crazy. And use this information to utterly destroy your debate opponents.

Let me know if you find any mistakes, or if you would prefer a version with a less outrageous title.

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From Psychology Today, six days ago (H/T Sofia): “Want to know what ‘race’ is or isn’t? Don’t ask the dictionary!” by Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky, a psychology professor at the publicly funded University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The article is about what you would expect from the author of “A Manifesto Against Truth.” (For my take on that, consult the comments.)

Lyubansky does not seem to know very much about race and genetics. As a result, his analysis is completely, irredeemably wrong.

[T]he genetic data suggest that there is no biological evidence for human subspecies (what we might call racial groups). To the contrary, all people are about 99.5% similar genetically, and the genetic variability that does exist (the remaining .5%) tends to be greater within ethnic groups than between them…

This is a form of “Lewontin’s Fallacy” and again, it’s simply wrong. A complete rebuttal may be found in Neven Sesardic’s 2010 paper “Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept” (Biology and Philosophy 25 p. 143-162), available in .pdf format here. At twenty pages, it is well worth reading in its entirety, but the sections “Genetic differences” and “Morphological differences” are most relevant.

Since I have little to add to Sesardic’s analysis, I’ll just note here that two people of the same race are always more similar genetically than two people of different races (Sesardic, p. 150–154). The problem is, Lewontin and Lyubansky measure genetic variation by looking at each genetic indicator separately, and thus fail to account for genetic clustering. When you take a less simple-minded approach, what do you find?

  1. a 2002 paper in Science showed that people cluster genetically according to major geographic regions (in other words, races)
  2. genetic clusters match self-reported race (White, Black, Hispanic, East Asian) 99.9 percent of the time (Sesardic’s source here)
  3. you can literally see the races when you graph the principal components of genetic variation, as in this figure from Tishkoff et al.’s 2009 paper “The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans” (Science 22 p. 1035–1044)

The only real questions are: why does Psychology Today pay Lyubansky to write about race, a subject in which he clearly has no expertise? And why does his university pay him to expose impressionable college students to already-refuted race-denying radical pseudoscience?

We’ve separated Church and State, but religious fundamentalism is harmless compared to the politicized science of such hopelessly biased “experts” as S.J. Gould, L. Kamin, R.C. Lewontin, P.Z. Myers, and of course M. Lyubansky. What we desperately need to do is separate science from the State.

Or at least separate Lyubansky from his students.

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By now, you are probably aware of evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa’s latest thought-crime, “Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women” (May 15, since retitled and deleted).

The reaction to Kanazawa’s research has been generally idiotic. Consider the Daily Mail’s pathetic coverage in “‘Black women are less attractive than others’: Controversial LSE psychologist sparks backlash with his ‘scientific’ findings” (May 19). (Note the obligatory scare quotes around “scientific.”) The caption to the second photograph is representative.

According to Satoshi Kanazawal [sic], ‘science’ would suggest Naomi Campbell [who is Black] is less attractive than fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson [who is White].

If the error isn’t obvious, here it is in another context: “According to ‘science’ that claims the average man is taller than the average woman, that man” — pointing to a short man — “is taller than that woman” — pointing to a tall woman.

It is not the first time that Dr Kanazawa, 48, a lecturer within the department of management at the LSE, has been accused of peddling racist theories.

In 2006 he published a paper suggesting the poor health of some sub-Saharan Africans is the result of low IQ, not poverty.

Professor Paul Gilroy, a sociology lecturer at the LSE, said: ‘Kanazawa’s persistent provocations raise the issue of whether he can do his job effectively in a multi-ethnic, diverse and international institution.

‘If he announces that he thinks sub-Saharan Africans are less intelligent than other people, what happens when they arrive in his classroom?’

Answer: they fail, because they’re just affirmative-action admissions.

The innately inferior intelligence of sub-Saharan Africans (as a group), and Blacks in general, is a scientific fact and should not be controversial; see my flyer on the subject of race differences in intelligence in America. Yet the sociologist Paul Gilroy wants Kanazawa fired, and his research suppressed, in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. It’s James Watson all over again.


The inferior attractiveness of Black women should not be a controversial finding either. I suspect many readers have personally noticed the VERY OBVIOUS phenomena of racial preferences in dating. For example, White men are preferable to Black men, who are preferable to Asian men (on average), and White and Asian women are much preferable to Black women. Still, we should be able to do better than anecdotal evidence.

We, after all, are not the sort of people who cry “racism” every time a Black man gets pulled over by the cops.

The dating website OkCupid has published a study, “How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get” (October 5, 2009) on the racial dating preferences of over a million users. This is particularly good data for two reasons.

First, these aren’t college student volunteers sitting in a lab, ranking photographs for some professor. They’re real people trying to start real relationships (or at least get real laid). After all, attractiveness is more than just a pretty face (e.g., mine).

Second, online dating minimizes several factors not directly related to attraction, which would otherwise favor same-race relationships. On the Internet, it doesn’t matter if you’re Asian and live uptown with your all-Asian friends who frown on mixed-race relationships, while the person you find most attractive is Indian and lives downtown, and the two of you would never ordinarily meet. That can’t stop you from messaging her, can it?

Nevertheless, it turns out that Black men are 13 percentage points more likely to respond to Asian women than one would expect if race were not a factor, while Asian women are 10 points less likely than expected to respond to Black men. White men disfavor Black women by 10 points. Indian women disfavor Indian men by 9 points. But White women respond to White men at exactly the expected rate.

The overall findings are not surprising, provided you know more than a few people of other races.

  • “Black women write back the most.”
  • “White men get more responses.”
  • “White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else — and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively.”
  • “Men don’t write black women back.”
  • “White guys respond less overall.”

The article concludes:

It’s surely not just OkCupid users that are like this. In fact, [any] dating site (and indeed any collection of people) would likely exhibit messaging biases similar to what I’ve written up. Any dating site probably has these biases. According to our internal metrics, at least, OkCupid’s users are better-educated, younger, and far more progressive than the norm, so I can imagine that many sites would actually have worse race stats.

Note that racial preferences, which we all have (no exceptions), are to be considered bad — at least, they are when they disfavor certain minorities. I can only speculate that “better” race stats would show that people ignore race when choosing a partner, which would be dangerous and stupid; or that people actually prefer those Designated Victim Groups, e.g. choosing Black men over those awful, nasty Whites, which would be even more dangerous and stupid.

Objective Beauty

Four points:

  1. Evolution favors reproductive fitness.
  2. Human reproduction is accomplished through sex.
  3. Sex is driven by sexual attraction. That is, attraction is the proximate cause of sex. (“Why did you sleep with her?” “Because she was hot.”) The ultimate cause is evolution. (“Why did you find her hot?” “Because I evolved that way.”) Radical pseudoscientists like Hank Campbell don’t understand the difference, which is why they reject Kanazawa’s findings.
  4. Sexual attraction is the basis for beauty.

As a result of 1–4, we have evolved a universal ideal of beauty, like not being fat. Someone who prefers fat people for sex is abnormal, just like someone who prefers infants for sex, or inanimate objects; or someone who prefers to wash his hands until they bleed, ten times a day.

Certain characteristically White traits, including skin tone and hair texture, appear to be part of the universal ideal of beauty. I invite the skeptic to consider this fat Black chick.

Obligatory Hot White Girl

You can’t seriously be disappointed by the lack of pictures of hot white girls in this post. You’re on the Internet, for crying out loud. Exert yourself.

Alright, fine. In honor of Norway, here is a hot Norwegian girl.

She is indeed a hot Norwegian girl.

In retrospect, that was a really good idea.

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Update (May 8): Lawrence Auster greatly expands on why one might not view President Obama as being just as American as Vice President Biden.

From USA Today (six days ago): “Study: racial prejudice plays role in Obama citizenship views.”

Does racial prejudice play a role in questions about Barack Obama’s citizenship, a topic much in the news given today’s birth certificate news conference? Yes indeed, suggests one recent psychology study… led by Eric Hehman of the University of Delaware in the March Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which contrasted voter’s perceptions of vice president Joe Biden, “the most comparable target” with Obama [USA Today].

This oughta be good.

1. It’s not absent, it’s just invisible

“The influence of racial prejudice in contemporary U.S. society is typically manifested in subtle, indirect forms of bias. Due to prevailing norms of equality

Meaning the belief that black and white people are identical except for skin color — oh, and whites are evil racists. That too.

most Whites attempt to avoid appearing biased in their evaluations of Blacks, in part because of a genuine desire to live up to their egalitarian standards, but also because of concern regarding social censure,” notes the study. “As a consequence, Whites’ prejudice is more likely to be expressed in discriminatory responses when these actions can be justified by other factors” [USA Today].

So racism is incredibly subtle and indirect — not to be confused with non-existent — because white people are always covering it up, in part because they really wish black people were just as smart and law-abiding as white people (those “prevailing norms of equality”), but also because they’re afraid of being fired and disgraced for noticing that black people, well… aren’t. Sounds complicated. I have a more elegant theory: white people aren’t racist, and black and white people aren’t identical.

2. Measuring prejudice I: Just grounds

In a study like this, you have to measure two things:

  1. how people view Obama compared to someone… well, comparable: “the researchers asked 295 students, both black and white, to evaluate the performance and ‘Americanism’ of the two politicians [Obama and Biden] in late 2009” (USA Today).
  2. how people view black people in general: “[t]hey also included six questions, widely used in psychology, to gauge whether folks are more or less prejudiced against blacks” (USA Today).

Measuring prejudice is the tricky part.

In general, prejudice is “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge”; in particular, it is “an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics” (Merriam-Webster). Pedant that I am, I want to draw your attention to the following words: “without just grounds,” “before sufficient knowledge,” “an irrational attitude of hostility,” and “their supposed characteristics.”

I, for one, have many adverse opinions and leanings regarding black people (for example, that they are genetically predisposed to low intelligence and high criminality) but I have just grounds — well founded justifications — for my beliefs. I possess sufficient knowledge. Any attitude of hostility I display is hardly irrational. I have not merely supposed their characteristics.

Imagine these researchers testing me for prejudice. Are they going to listen patiently while I explain that when I say “black people are less intelligent than white people,” it’s not just an irrational attitude of hostility? Will they follow me to the university library, where we’ll confer on the latest research in race differences in intelligence? Or are they just going to put a big check mark next to RAAAACIST?

3. Measuring prejudice II: Diversity

Here is an actual question from the study:

participants were asked how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement, “I would rather not have other-race students live in the same apartment building I live in” [USA Today].

What student, black or white, would rationally want other-race students to live in the same apartment building? How, exactly, does diversity improve things? What’s the reasoning behind the acceptable answer? (“Hell yes, bring on the colored folk!”)

Well, here’s my reasoning against it. First, forget about race differences in intelligence or criminality. We don’t need them, we don’t even need to acknowledge them, for this argument. Just ask yourself: who are you more likely to get along with? Who are you more likely to share interests, culture, even language with? You don’t have to be mentally ill, or consumed with hatred, to say “you know what, I think I’d get along better with white/black people, since I’m white/black.”

Oh, I’m fine with black people discriminating against me in this way. Freedom of association goes both ways, and many (most?) black people seem to prefer the company of other black people.

You see, diversity isn’t inherently good. It doesn’t increase GDP or cure herpes. It’s just… diverseness. More differences. More things to disagree about. Wanting to avoid it is rational. Note that this is completely different from saying “we should pass a law against black/white people living near white/black people,” or “we should drive all the black/white people out of our apartment building.” The students were simply asked which neighbors they would prefer. Their answers are worthless for measuring racial prejudice.

4. “As expected”

“Overall, as expected, White participants tended to view Obama as less American,” says the study, as well as worse-performing [USA Today].

“As expected,” indeed. Try the Unamusement Park version: “Overall, as expected, black participants tended to view Obama as exactly as American as everyone else (despite being born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and growing up in Indonesia), as well as performing really well (despite, y’know… his presidency).” Or how about this: “Overall, as expected, black participants tended to view Obama as the Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as a supernaturally gifted statesman and all-around swell guy who I’d love to play golf with sometime.”

See, there’s another race angle here, scientist types:

Beginning last week [in July 2010], President Obama’s approval rating is now the lowest it’s ever been, with just 45 percent of Americans saying they’re satisfied with the job he’s doing, according to Gallup. … Yet as supporters peel away by the day, one group has yet to significantly give up on the president: African Americans. Though Obama no longer enjoys the 96 percent black approval of months past, he’s still never known what it’s like to not have the support of at least 80 percent of African American voters. Currently, more than nine out of 10 black polled approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, a bounce back from a year low of 85 percent following the [Shirley] Sherrod dustup” [The Root].

Of course, this is The Root we’re talking about. I’m sure they’ll dig up some white racism somewhere. Oh yeah, here we go.

In the Washington Examiner, Byron York suggests that blacks are somehow unfairly tipping the scales — an absurd premise… It’s a lie — and a subtly racist one at that — to suggest that blacks voted for Obama primarily because they identified with his ethnicity [The Root].

Yes, an absurd premise. A subtly racist lie. I mean, it’s not like I can find five examples of outrageous black voter bias in one book, Jared Taylor’s Paved With Good Intentions, in the next fifteen minutes. (You’ll have to look up the details of their sordid stories yourself — I’m on a deadline.)

  1. Harvey Gantt, senatorial candidate and black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, an affirmative-action profiteer
  2. David Dinkins, black mayor of New York City, a tax evader
  3. James Usry, black mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey who, after being arrested for bribery and corruption, openly urged people to vote for him because of “the color of my skin”
  4. Gus Savage, black congressman for Chicago, who sexually assaulted a black Peace Corps volunteer
  5. Marion Barry, black mayor of Washington, D.C. and thus head of “the worst city government in America” (the Washington Monthly, 1989), a crack cocaine addict

5. “Low-prejudice”

Back to the study.

“Moreover, Whites higher in prejudice rated Obama as less American, and as performing more poorly as president.”

However, “low-prejudice” whites tended to see Obama as more American and better performing than Biden, says the study [USA Today].

I love the scare quotes around “low-prejudice,” as if to say: “sure, they may appear low-prejudice compared to those other, even more fanatically racist whites, but who knows? Maybe they’re just sneakier — more ‘guarded about openly endorsing the view that Blacks are less American than Whites,’ as the study puts it.”

It never occurred to the researchers that these “prejudiced” whites might not be prejudiced at all; that they, like me, might have just grounds and sufficient knowledge to back up their adverse opinions; that their supposed hostility, like mine, might be quite rational; and that it might have been the “low-prejudice” whites (and the blacks) who were suffering from an irrational bias: a bias in favor of black people.

6. Meanwhile, in Bizarro World…

From Bizarro USA Today: “Poll: Americans hate all the Negroes, wish they would just go back to Africa as soon as possible.”

A recent poll asked Americans (white Americans, obviously — who ever heard of an “African American”?): what should we do about those darn colored folk, eating all our delicious fried chicken?

(a) Put them all in a boat and ship them back to Africa.

(b) Put them all in a box and mail them back to Africa.

(c) Put them all in water wings and make them swim back to Africa, what with the price of stamps and all.

(d) Put them all in water wings and make them swim to Japan as a hilarious joke.

(e) Gas them to death in concentration camps, like that splendid Austrian fellow suggested.

(f) Drown ’em in the crik.

(g) Put them to work in the cotton fields forever.

(h) Put them to work in the strawberry fields forever.

(i) Our cotton and strawberries are too precious to trust a Negro with! Put them to work in the soybean fields forever.

(j) Our soybeans are too precious to trust a Negro with! Put them to work in the dirt fields forever.

(k) Our dirt is too precious to trust a Negro with! Put them to work in the boron mines of Ganymede.

(l) Our boron supply lines are too important to the war with Neptune to trust a space-Negro with! Put them to work in the Orbital Laser Testing Range.

(m) Our proud Aryan orbital lasers are too precious to vaporize a space-Negro with! Put them to work in the Paradox Factory.

(n) Now the space-Negroes are too paradoxical! Select the smallest space-Negro who cannot be described in less than thirteen words, have him shave all the space-Negroes who do not shave themselves, then divide him by zero.

Sadly, before researchers could tally up the votes, the universe exploded.

Our boron supply lines: too precious to trust a space-Negro with? Survey says yes.

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Highlights: in section 2, read why race is genetic. In section 13, read why intelligence tests are accurate and not culturally biased. In section 16, read why race denialism is politics, not science, in the words of a professional forensic anthropologist.

Tonight we take a break from the futility of arguing logically with feminists, and return to the equally thankless task of explaining to race denialists why they are so very, very wrong. Our subject, again, is hateful, ignorant, prejudiced blogger Zek J Evets. Last time I debunked every claim in his post, “21st Century Scientific Racism.” Today I will do the same with his even stupider follow-up, “Deconstructing Scientific Racism in the 21st Century.”

1. Introduction: Pots and kettles

So why did he need to follow up on the subject of “scientific racism,” anyway?

ZEK: [S]ome people have asked me — or challenged me — to discuss this issue from a more “scientific” perspective, as opposed to my more emotional responses.

Naturally, I called BS on those who pretend they’re objective to my subjective, because that’s an ad hominem dismissal being shoveled through a strawman argument, ignoring the fact that nobody is completely objective, and the so-called “race-realists” are just as influenced by their emotions as I am — only they refuse to admit it.

First of all, that’s not what “straw man argument” means. Second, it’s not an ad hominem fallacy, either. Zek’s opponents are right to point out that he did nothing but shriek insults, offering no rebuttal to the claims of race realists, some of which I outlined in my post. Here is the proof, in Zek’s own words: a summary of his first post.

ZEK: The debate is basically Us & Them. Race realist HBDers versus regular folks. … THEY ARE ALL FULL OF SHIT… fuckwits… racist douchebags… ignorance… idiocy… incapable of thinking outside the dogmatic little box they’ve dug their ostrich-like heads into… ignorant pseudo-science… fucking Regular Joe Shmoe… some bullshit diploma-factory degree in Armchair Academics… NONE OF THESE GUYS HAS ANY EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD! … all a bunch of bullshitters… neo-scientific racism… [citing sources] like Westboro Baptists recite homophobic slurs at military funerals… special brand of racist… dogmatic indoctrination… Steve Sailer needs to sit his racist ass down, and let the Grown-Ups talk. … Please, go find someone to sell a computer, since that’s what you actually do for a living. [Note: Zek is a college student.] … racists in-denial… listen here Stevie [Stephen Hsu]… YOU’RE NOT WHITE. Stop trying to be. And stop being a racist douchebag… hypocrisy is staggeringly blinding… smacks of the self-same arguments used by Creationists to foist “intelligent design” into classrooms… yelling, raving, that the establishment is trying to cover it up! They talk of conspiracy theories like a crazy person… some ancient McCarthyite resurrected from the depths of the 50’s Red Scare… Like a zombie, moaning for… BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIINNNSSSS!… they’re so full of racist shit, it’s hard to separate the hater from the hatred… pig-fuckers.

Third, Zek himself constantly commits straw man fallacies (that’s lying about what your opponent said — see my previous post and below) and ad hominem fallacies (that’s calling your opponent names — see above).

ZEK: … I am ready to go into the exact, bio-anthropological problems with HBD, “race-realism” and refute them at the scientific level.

Be warned, all ye who enter here: this is going to be a science lesson, so pay attention!

Be warned: everything Zek is about to say is politicized pseudoscience.

2. Race exists, and it is genetic

ZEK: First, let’s begin with the definition of Race.

There isn’t one. Genetically speaking, race cannot be traced. There is no “gene” (or group of genes) that codes for Blackness, or Whiteness, or any other ethnicity, at least, none that we know of.

Wrong. Just because no single gene codes for race, doesn’t mean race isn’t genetic. No single gene codes for height, yet height is 60 to 80 percent heritable. Zek’s argument is so flawed, you can use it to “prove” that Chinese people are just as tall as Norwegians. (They’re not.) And just because we haven’t identified all the genes that play a role in determining race, doesn’t mean race isn’t genetic. That’s true of practically every hereditary trait. (Turns out genetics is hard.) It doesn’t make those traits less hereditary.

ZEK: The International Human Genome Project confirmed this when their work showed that humans are 99.99% the same. Even people so unrelated as to be from completely opposite continents!

It’s really too bad Zek couldn’t be bothered to do any research. (That’s why he doesn’t cite any sources.) Let’s get a more accurate picture of human genetic variation from Nature Genetics:

The average proportion of nucleotide differences between a randomly chosen pair of humans… is consistently estimated to lie between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 1,500 [about seven to ten times higher than Zek claims]. … The [1 in 1,000] value for Homo sapiens can be put into perspective by considering that humans differ from chimpanzees at only 1 in 100 nucleotides, on average. Because there are approximately three billion nucleotide base pairs in the haploid human genome, each pair of humans differs, on average, by two to three million base pairs.

So the average difference from a human to a chimpanzee is only ten to fifteen times bigger than the average difference between two humans. That alone should tell you how little we learn about human genetic variation from throwing around numbers like “1 in 1,000.” Tiny genetic differences make a huge difference to us. (Unless that’s racist against chimpanzees?)

Of the 0.1% of DNA that varies among individuals, what proportion varies among main populations? Consider an apportionment of Old World populations into three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe), a grouping that corresponds to a common view of three of the ‘major races’. Approximately 85–90% of genetic variation is found within these continental groups, and only an additional 10–15% of variation is found between them…

It is tempting to conclude that race isn’t genetic, because the genetic variation within races is greater than the variation between races. However, this is a fallacy. Lewontin’s Fallacy, to be precise, identified by the statistician, geneticist, and evolutionary biologist A.W.F. Edwards. From that article:

it is nonetheless possible to classify individuals into different racial groups with an accuracy that approaches 100% when one takes into account the frequency of the alleles at several loci at the same time. This happens because differences in the frequency of alleles at different loci are correlated across populations — the alleles that are more frequent in a population at two or more loci are correlated when we consider the two populations simultaneously. Or in other words, the frequency of the alleles tends to cluster differently for different populations.

If you look at genetic clusters, instead of blindly comparing average genetic differences between people (recall that we are 99 percent similar to chimpanzees, according to that thinking), you find races. Edwards explains:

[t]here is nothing wrong with Lewontin’s statistical analysis of variation, only with the belief that it is relevant to classification. It is not true that “racial classification is… of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance”. It is not true, as Nature claimed, that “two random individuals from any one group are almost as different as any two random individuals from the entire world” and it is not true, as the New Scientist claimed, that “two individuals are different because they are individuals, not because they belong to different races” and that “you can’t predict someone’s race by their genes”.

Don’t take my word for it. You can actually look at the genetic clusters yourself. From Gene Expression at Discover Magazine, check out “Genetic variation within Africa (and the world)”. There’s a great graph from a 2009 paper by Tishkoff et al. in Science, entitled “The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans” (Figure 1 — click for larger version). It’s

a three dimensional PCA [principal components analysis] plot. It has the first, second and third principal components of variation. In other words, the three largest independent dimensions in terms of explanatory power of genetic variation. Panel A includes all world populations, and panel B just Africans.

Figure 1: Genetic variation between races. Source: Tishkoff et al. (2009).

I know, I know: it hardly stands up to Zek’s Microsoft Paint picture. I’m doing my best here.

Geneticists, medical doctors, and statisticians agree,

an epidemiologic perspective [studying health and disease on the population level] on the issue of human categorization in biomedical and genetic research… strongly supports the continued use of self-identified race and ethnicity. … [The authors] demonstrate here that from both an objective and scientific (genetic and epidemiologic) perspective there is great validity in racial/ethnic self-categorizations, both from the research and public policy points of view.

That’s why acknowledging the existence of biological race can help doctors treat patients.

The American Society of Human Genetics reports that

[g]enetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers [in a study of the genetics of hypertension] produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories. Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity. On the other hand, we detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population.

Again, that’s a 99.86 percent success rate, comparing gene clusters to self-reported race. Are you starting to feel a little cheated by the shallowness of Zek’s 99.99 percent “analysis”?

Why do I even need to prove this? Zek’s ideas contradict common sense. See Figure 2.

Figure 2: I wonder if race is a hereditary trait?

3. Racial stereotypes: it’s okay when he uses them

Well, that takes care of the first six sentences. Let’s move on.

ZEK: … even more importantly, the reason there is no biological or genetic definition for race in humans is because race in humans is not used in a biological or genetic sense.

Race is used as a sociocultural construct, to define and categorize people from different geographic areas based on morphological features (skin-color, nose shape, hair texture) and social stereotypes.

If you’re having trouble deciphering the logic here, that’s perfectly normal. You can’t actually conclude that race doesn’t have a genetic basis, just because ordinary people don’t use genetic analysis to tell what race someone is. Of course, if they did, they would get the same results exactly. (Remember that “near-perfect [99.86%] correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories.”)

ZEK: When we think of “Black people” the stereotypes go: dark skin, kinky hair, but we also think of good dancers, musicians, aggressive, not smart, very poor, awesome at sports, and lots of other descriptions which have nothing to do with a person’s genes. Even features like dark skin and kinky hair are not unique to Black people; these characteristics could exist in various ethnic and racial groups. For instance, Sephardic Jews have dark skin and kinky hair, and so do Aboriginals. Good dancers could also mean Hispanic people, or Greeks, or Whirling Dervishes. These categories are not delineated enough for scientific experimentation — indeed, you cannot separate ANY of them from their cultural context — that is the environment that we find them in — to see which ones unique to certain populations. And equally important is that they can apply to any number of groups.

Notice how he simply declares that genes have nothing to do with athletic ability or aggression or intelligence. He is wrong, of course. He is obviously wrong about athletic ability. He is also wrong about aggression: genes are known to play a significant role, especially in adolescent delinquency and violence (remind you of any race in particular?). See Guo, Roettger, and Cai (2008), “The Integration of Genetic Propensities into Social-Control Models of Delinquency and Violence among Male Youths,” American Sociological Review, 73: 543–568. (See how easy that was, Zek? At least, it’s easy to cite sources when you have sources…)

We will look at intelligence in detail in sections 10–13. For now it is enough to note that he asserts there is absolutely no genetic component to six things (and unspecified “lots of other descriptions”) without presenting any evidence whatsoever. That is because there is no evidence for any of those claims, nor will there ever be. The first law of behavior genetics is that all human behavioral traits are heritable. (The first rule of Fight Club is… not relevant.)

He also seems to think that if Jews have the same hair as blacks (they don’t) and Hispanics are just as good at dancing as blacks (?), that means black people don’t exist. And yet he’s tacitly admitted that only black people have the specific combination of traits we use to identify them, such as skin color, hair texture, and bone structure (see section 9), all of which are genetic.

Of course, real scientists don’t consider dancing ability or poverty when they classify races. They consider genes, and the traits determined by those genes. Genes do not have a “cultural context,” and they do not “apply to any number of groups” (section 2), so Zek’s supposed cultural traits are all perfectly irrelevant.

4. Zek admits that race is genetic

ZEK: Yet we can, with a high degree of certainty, identity people of different races. How is this so? This reveals another important component of race: the link to geographic location. We tie race to human groups that exist in certain areas of the planet. Black people come from Africa. White people come from Europe. Hispanic people from the Americas, etc and so on.

This is why we can identify people of different races, because we can link their features to ancestral populations in certain geographic areas.

Wait, we can “link their features to ancestral populations”? So their features, which he says we use to identify their race, come from ancestral populations, which makes them hereditary. In other words: racial features are genetic.

5. Evolution I: Slow and steady creates the race

ZEK: But as the world changes, so do races. Today’s races are not the same as races a thousand years ago. Evolution is always occurring, according to Darwin, and as such, human variation is as much a factor in how we differ from each other today as we do from people who lived hundreds of years ago.

Yes, evolution is indeed always occurring. And Africans were reproductively isolated from Europeans for many thousands of years (because, essentially, cavemen didn’t drive cars). When sub-populations of a species (not to be confused with sub-species) are reproductively isolated, they begin to diverge, due to (1) founder effects, (2) genetic drift, (3) random mutations (note that gene flow is prevented by geographic separation), and (4) adaptation (sometimes called “survival of the fittest”). That Europeans and Africans remain genetically indistinguishable after that many generations apart is absurdly unlikely.

Go ahead, ask Zek to explain exactly how he got from (a) “[t]oday’s races are not the same as races a thousand years ago,” and (b) “human variation is as much a factor in how we differ from each other today,” all the way to (c) “[g]enetically speaking, race cannot be traced.” Because I’m pretty sure he’s missing a few steps in there…

ZEK: Hold on, wait a second! I said above that we’re all 99.99% the same… How can there be variation then? Well, that’s the rub of it: we’re obviously the same species, because we can reproduce with one another, and we’re obviously not sub-species, because because all groups of humans interbreed naturally without needing to live in a crowded city. But we do exhibit variation: genetic variation and physical variation. We don’t all look the same, and the small percentage of our genes that don’t match also differ in some interesting ways.

None of this is disputed by race realists. All of it contradicts his earlier claims about human genetic variation.

ZEK: So while we haven’t evolved to the point of being too different, we do still change over time. This is based on Stephen Jay Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium, which means that species tend to change only a little over time, and then in brief moments experience rapid evolutionary changes.

Gould was biased by his radical politics, but it’s not particularly important in light of the following: Zek simply declares, without supporting evidence, that although the races have been evolving in isolation, they were evolving too slowly to create any real differences between races… even though races show “genetic variation and physical variation”… even though “we can identify people of different races” by their ancestral features. Hm.

And how does he know they didn’t experience these “rapid evolutionary changes”? (The words “citation needed” spring constantly to mind.) And how does he reconcile this with genetic clusters? (Trick question: he doesn’t know what they are.)

6. Evolution II: Under selection pressure, or: I adapt to the rains down in Africa

ZEK: Variation is one of the keys to our species’ survival. It helped us survive disease, disaster, and even other animals. Natural selection constantly puts pressures on us that shape our physiology, and the mechanism in us that allows this is our genetics.

Race-realists and HBDers like to think that this means humans have evolved into biologically grounded, genetically distinct races, and that this affects traits like aggressiveness, and especially IQ.

Sadly, for them, this is not the case.

Indeed, for thousands of years, Africans have been subjected to the selection pressures of Africa, Europeans to the selection pressures of Europe, Asians to the selection pressures of Asia, and so on. Is it possible that’s why Africans have a genetic resistance to one kind of malaria — a tropical parasite — but Europeans don’t?

Not to worry, Zek has a funny picture of a narwhal to distract you from exactly this kind of inconvenient question.

7. Evolution III: Geographical separation anxiety

ZEK: Sure, we’ve evolved over time, and thus we are always changing. But race is not a “fixed” category. A Black person today has very little in common with a Black person a thousand years ago other than that they both belong to the same species. Why is this? Because of the same theory that HBDers and race-realists use to justify their claims: evolution.

How is comparing black people today to black people thousands of years ago, relevant to comparing black people today to white people today? Answer: it’s not. The race realist position, which happens to also be the consensus of mainstream evolutionary biologists, is that when the Europeans went to Europe, and the Africans went to (or stayed in) Africa, they were genetically very similar, but over the next few thousand years, they diverged. Of course people today are different from people in the past; that’s necessary for the race realist position, not contradictory to it.

ZEK: Remember! Race as we define it is not based on your genes, but on phenotypic and sociocultural factors.

Remember! He has failed to show that race is not based on genes, and he has never even tried to show that it’s sociocultural. (If that were true, you could literally turn black people into white people by treating them differently. Does this sound like a plausible description of the universe we live in?)

ZEK: [Race] is based on morphological/physiological/phenotypic characteristics, and geographic ancestry. (Which is still problematic, since all humans originated from Africa in the first place.)

And those morphological/physiological/phenotypic characteristics are known to have hereditary components. And if you inherit traits from your ancestors, then those traits are genetic.

ZEK: Ancestry is basically where you can trace certain markers in your DNA to. There are some genes which have a higher frequency in certain groups than in others, and are used to link you to various groups in human history.

Very good! Just replace “groups” by “races,” and you’ve got it!

ZEK: One of the most common methods of doing that is with Mitochondrial DNA.

Now, the problem with this is that by tracing ancestry, we can only point to where your ancestors came from — not what they looked like. We don’t really know. A good example of this is how humans are taller now than in previous generations ([Scientific American] has a great article) and this has a lot to do with access to better healthcare, nutrition, and other environmental factors.

Basically, tracing ancestry only gives you a location for a distant ancestor, and doesn’t inextricably link race to a gene, or genes. Nor does it help us at all in determining how races looked back then.

Again, race realists — and evolutionary biologists — believe that Europeans and Africans (to use the most relevant example) looked about the same when they separated geographically. Apparently, they diverged evolutionarily, because… wait for it… white people don’t look like black people, and their kids don’t look like black people’s kids. Nothing Zek wrote here contradicts anything I’ve written above.

ZEK: They could have looked just like different races do now, but that is unlikely, as we know for a fact that human physiology has been changing rapidly, even though genetically we’ve been rather slow to exhibit a wide spectrum of variation in our DNA.

If the various human races have been changing slowly genetically, but rapidly in physiology (our bodies), then that means that very small genetic differences can mean big differences in our bodies. So why, again, did his false 99.99 percent statistic prove human beings are all one big race?

8. Taxonomy, or: Goddamn it, now I’ve got Toto stuck in my head

ZEK: And so we’re back to the problem of: how do we define race?

Here he indulges in some rambling about insects. It is not relevant.

I bless the rains down in — oh, he’s back.

ZEK: Race is a taxonomic classification, meaning it is a theoretical construct too. The word “race” represents a category in a taxonomy, and so it’s essentially a made-up word that stands for what we believe a race is.

I’m pretty sure a “made-up word” in a “taxonomic classification” can’t make you more susceptible to diseases. But I’m also totally sure Zek can find some way to blame white people for black people getting Alzheimer’s disease.

There follows more irrelevant information about taxonomy.

9. Forensic anthropology, or: CSI Serengeti

ZEK: Race doesn’t match-up well over time, and even forensic anthropologists can’t determine what race a person was with any accuracy past a certain point in history, and the people they can identify the race of need to have only a minimum level of decomposition. And even then their accuracy is only 80%, and significantly less for people of mixed-race.

Interesting that he doesn’t cite any sources. I checked it out myself, and discovered that forensic anthropologists “can determine race (e.g. Asian, African, or European ancestry) from skeletal remains with a high degree of accuracy by conducting bone analysis.” The source is George W. Gill, a professional forensic anthropologist — not that I don’t trust Zek, a college student who doesn’t understand genetics or evolution (see above) or know what a correlation is (see below). It just pays to be careful.

I recommend that you read the whole thing. Gill (sadly, not Grissom) writes:

I happen to be one of those very few forensic physical anthropologists who actually does research on the particular traits used today in forensic racial identification (i.e., “assessing ancestry,” as it is generally termed today). … I have found that forensic anthropologists attain a high degree of accuracy in determining geographic racial affinities (white, black, American Indian, etc.) by utilizing both new and traditional methods of bone analysis. … No forensic anthropologist would make a racial assessment based upon just one of these methods, but in combination they can make very reliable assessments, just as in determining sex or age. …

… I have been able to prove to myself over the years, in actual legal cases, that I am more accurate at assessing race from skeletal remains than from looking at living people standing before me. So those of us in forensic anthropology know that the skeleton reflects race, whether “real” or not, just as well if not better than superficial soft tissue does. The idea that race is “only skin deep” is simply not true, as any experienced forensic anthropologist will affirm.

10. I still do not think that word means what you think it means

ZEK: So now that we’ve got our working definition of race, let’s start with disproving the scientific racist claims.

Philippe Rushton is a popular, and oft quoted scientist in the realm of scientific racism. He says that IQ is heritable at 0.8, which is basically 80%. This means that the bulk of a person’s intelligence is determined by the genes they inherit from their parents and ancestors.

I feel a little embarrassed on Zek’s behalf. That’s not what heritability is. It’s also not what Rushton says. He says (and the intelligence research agrees) that the heritability of IQ is 0.7 to 0.8 in adults. It increases as you age, which is why Zek’s own link says “[d]ifferent studies have measured the heritability of IQ to be anywhere from 40% to 80%.”

By the way, 0.8 is exactly 80 percent, by the definition of the word “percent.” Speaking of percentages, what’s your confidence in Zek’s science?

Anyway, what Rushton’s findings mean is that 70 to 80% of the difference between one adult’s intelligence and another adult’s intelligence is caused by the differences between their genes. Talking about “the bulk,” or 80 percent, “of a person’s intelligence” makes no sense.

11. Gloss

ZEK: [Heritability is a proportion] that describes phenotypic variation between a population that is due to genetic differences. This also includes environmental factors.

It is simply not true that heritability “includes environmental factors,” which Zek would know if he had actually read his own link. It’s rather like saying “even numbers are numbers that are divisible by two, and include odd numbers.” And “between a population” is grammatically incorrect, but I’m starting to feel guilty for pointing out all these errors.

However, Rushton makes his first mistake in that IQ is a trait with low repeatability. That is, IQ can be measured over and over again, and different results will occur. … You can test someone over and over again, in a relatively short time-span, and you’ll receive different results. This requires you to “gloss” these results into an average, which is then correlated to the individual’s IQ.

The problem is that a “gloss” doesn’t reflect true IQ, only how well someone can take a test over and over again.

I no longer feel guilty. Those are all blatant lies. To disprove them, all I had to do was type “repeatability, psychology” into Google and look at the first hit: an introductory psychology textbook. (I hope Zek studies harder for his exams than he does for these debates!) Psychologists calculate the “test-retest reliability” exactly so that they can compensate for the different results people get by taking the test over and over. What do they find?

The WISC, Stanford-Binet, Progressive Matrices, and other commonly used intelligence tests all have reliabilities above .9 [“basically” 90 percent].

IQ scores are reasonably stable over time for most individuals. Many studies have found correlations near .9 [still “basically” 90 percent] for people taking the same test at times 10 to 20 years apart.

10 to 20 years apart, with a 90% correlation — frankly, it’s hard to imagine how Zek could be any wronger about IQ tests.

Rushton is a psychology professor, and “an honest and capable researcher” according to the great biologist (and, coincidentally, entomologist) E.O. Wilson. He knows what repeatability is. You may have noticed that Zek doesn’t actually point to where Rushton fails to take repeatability into consideration. That’s because there’s no such place to point at.

What he calls a “gloss,” real scientists call a mean and ordinary people call an average. It’s not a racist trick: they really are just testing lots of people; getting very stable, reliable results; and averaging out those results over all those people to get an accurate average IQ score for that population.

12. Statistics is not his strong suit

ZEK: Correlations don’t represent causation; they’re scientific guesstimates.

Oh my God. He just called correlations (“one of the most common and most useful statistics”) scientific guesstimates. This moment from Zoolander was the first thing that came to mind.

ZEK: This low repeatability of IQ means it has a lower heritability, when processed through the equations. So Rushton is wrong about his 0.8.

As we’ve discussed, IQ tests are very reliable; psychologists, who know exactly what repeatability is, have established a 70 to 80 percent heritability for IQ in adults; Zek simply does not know what the “equations” are; and Rushton has got the right answer, or close enough for our purposes.

It’s not necessary, but I would also like to point out that you cannot get from “low repeatability of IQ” to “lower heritability,” no matter how many “equations” you “process” it through. The very best you could get from low repeatability is uncertain heritability. After all, if a test doesn’t reliably measure intelligence, that doesn’t tell you anything about where intelligence comes from. Genes or environment? Who knows. It just tells you that you don’t know. Of course, he’s wrong about repeatability in the first place. I just want you to see how bad he is at science.

13. “Some cultures find different things important. Like basket weaving. Or crafts.”

ZEK: … IQ is a culturally constructed label. What we deem “smart” is based on our culture. Why? Because testing has historically reflected cultural knowledge, from reading certain books, to knowing certain facts, and even the names for shapes. Different cultures value different types/forms of knowledge. The Yanamamo [sic] don’t value technological expertise as much as we do, but they do value the ability to find food in the Amazonian jungles. The Nuer value the ability to understand how to properly raise cattle, not read Huckleberry Finn.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. IQ tests measure intelligence, not cultural knowledge. They are not biased by language or literature. From the linked article, signed by fifty experts in intelligence research:

Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings — “catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.

Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments. They do not measure creativity, character personality, or other important differences among individuals, nor are they intended to.

While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all measure the same intelligence. Some use words or numbers and require specific cultural knowledge (like vocabulary). Others do not, and instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple, universal concepts (many/few, open/closed, up/down).

… Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language.

The Yanomamo (spelling words correctly is a sign of intelligence) are indeed good at surviving in the Amazon rain forest, but that is not intelligence. It is a skill — a survival skill, to be precise — learned from your experiences (i.e., practice) and your culture. Learned survival skills (which I suppose we call “wisdom” in old people and “street smarts” in black urban people) are useful things to have — and we, with our technological expertise, surely have learned survival skills for the environment we live in. (“Environment” doesn’t just mean rocks and trees.)

However, those skills are not themselves intelligence. Having a rifle (good old Western technological expertise) probably helps you survive in the Amazon rain forest too, but guns are not intelligence. Having a book called Yanomamo Survival Tactics For Dummies would definitely help me out, but books are not intelligence either. Intelligence is what you use to learn; to acquire new skills; to solve problems you’ve never solved before.

It’s (obviously) not that the Yanomamo don’t value technology that would enable them to shoot dangerous predators from a safe distance. They just never invented guns.

ZEK: There are different kinds of intelligence, from the Triarchic theory to Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences. There’s emotional intelligence, kinetic intelligence, and others. Shoot, intelligence has more flavors than Baskin-Robbins!

Wrong. Emotional intelligence has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just a deceptive name for social skills. “Kinetic intelligence,” intelligence of the body, is what normal people — people who aren’t committed to the hopelessly irrational notion that intelligence isn’t real — would call athleticism, flexibility, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and so on.

You can’t proclaim that being good at X is now to be known as “X intelligence” and revolutionize intelligence research, any more than you can proclaim that cows are now a kind of plant and revolutionize botany (not to mention vegetarianism). Being good at whistling is not “whistling intelligence.” We already have a name for it: being good at whistling. We also already have a name for “the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience”: intelligence.

This is essentially the reason why Gardner’s theory failed. On the other hand, the Triarchic theory simply doesn’t say much of anything about anything. Thus Zek is neither explaining intelligence research nor arguing for a competing theory. He is merely listing words with some connection to the subject and hoping you won’t bother to read what they mean.

ZEK: Another fundamental flaw in IQ testing is that these tests only prove how well someone knows how to take a test in the end. This is obvious when you attempt to test people who’ve created the test they’re taking. If it truly measured intelligence, they’d score at their actual IQ, but they don’t. They get near-perfect to perfect scores.

Wrong, and also… wow. He thinks that because IQ tests don’t accurately measure intelligence when you already know all the answers because you just created the test and you’re giving it to yourself, that means IQ tests don’t measure intelligence. Good grief — as if all white people were cheating to get a higher average score than black people. (The truth is rather different.)

Zek finally attempts to cite sources, by throwing three links our way without further discussion. I have already refuted his environmental explanations for the IQ gap; Stephen Jay Gould was hopelessly biased and his ideas about IQ have since been discredited; and I have also already dealt with “refutations” of The Bell Curve (which, being about 17 years old, is hardly representative of modern intelligence research).

14. Behavior genetics is also not his strong suit

ZEK: Another popular HBD and race-realist myth is that genes can determine your behavior! This is also known as sociobiology, and its phoenix-like reincarnation: evolutionary psychology.

I will again refer the interested reader to the Three Laws of Behavior Genetics, the first of which is that all human behavioral traits are heritable. The second law is that the effect of being raised in the same family (your shared environment) is smaller than the effect of genes (the heritability).

The third law… you must discover on your own. Good luck on your quest! Take this sword. You’ll probably need it for something.

ZEK: Advocates from this position tend to be more respectable, and tend to have a legitimate grounding in biology, genetics, or other related fields. Some of the famous personas are Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker. They’re mainstream, legitimate scientists who are at the cutting edge of ground-breaking research.

No kidding. Why don’t you ask Steven Pinker — the “mainstream, legitimate scientist… at the cutting edge of ground-breaking research” — what he thinks about race differences in intelligence. Hint: if Zek did, he would start crying a word that starts with R.

ZEK: One major flaw in these fields is that they tend to be prescriptive instead of descriptive. That is, they don’t merely describe the way the world IS, but the way it OUGHT to be. And these prescriptions tend to revolve around dismantling welfare, affirmative action, as well as other policies to address the historical inequality of People of Color.

No, sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists don’t do that. That’s why he can’t cite even a single source. Did he think we wouldn’t notice?

ZEK: … they treat abstract behaviors as real traits. Some examples include IQ, aggression, laziness, technological proficiency, etc. These characteristics are culturally defined, and not concrete — that is you can’t measure them with any reliability or repeatability as heritable traits — and are therefore not genetically-based.

We’ve already shown that IQ scores reliably measure intelligence, which is not culturally defined, and is up to 80 percent heritable in adults.

Zek believes that aggression, laziness, and the ability to use technology (e.g., being able to dig a well) are “abstract” and “culturally defined.” Hm. Does this agree with experience?

15. I’m bored

At this point, he lists three issues he has with sociobiology. He cites no sources and provides no examples, because none exist. He’s just making stuff up. Frankly, I’ve lost patience for it.

ZEK: However race is also used incorrectly, by scientists, by the layperson, and most definitely by scientific racists like HBD and race-realists who attempt to ascribe negative cultural qualities to People of Color through a distorted interpretation of modern genetics. They mistake correlation for causation, and utilize methodologically flawed measurements to support these correlations.

I think someone who doesn’t know what correlation is, shouldn’t be lecturing professional psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, sociobiologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, statisticians, and medical doctors about mistaking it for causation. Ditto “methodologically flawed measurements.”

ZEK: Human variation is not a Dues [sic] Ex Machina. You cannot cry racism and then point to the DNA saying, “He did it!” That is not science. That is Essentialism.

And that is a straw man argument.

ZEK: The reality is that genetic and cultural factors work “in tandem” to produce human variation. No race is predisposed to being smarter than another — whatever smarter means — and no behavior, from aggressiveness to laziness can be attributed only to genes.

Genes and environment work in tandem — except when it’s inconvenient for him; that’s why it must be a “myth” that “genes can determine your behavior.” (It’s not.)

He asserts, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that there are no race differences in intelligence. But there are. There really are. And you can’t escape it.

ZEK: Racism, both structural and personal, from micro-aggressions to entire socio-political movements are [sic] a powerful instrument in the disparity between the various races [so they do exist?] of human beings on this planet.

Citation needed.

ZEK: And I’m not the only one saying these things. My evidence comes from a long roster of social scientists, bio-anthropologists, academic disciplines, sub-disciplines, specialists, forensic anthropologists, geneticists, linguists, paleoanthropologists, psychologists, as well as academics of all colors, creeds, genders, and classes.

That’s rather interesting, considering that the last time he posted on the subject, he had the following to say about a journalist, a political economist, a political scientist, an astrophysicist, and three psychologists (emphasis, and foaming at the mouth, in original):


But now he’s happy to take the advice of Paula S. Rothenberg, a racism lecturer; “Jarred” Diamond, a professor of geography and physiology; Noam Chomsky, a linguist and radical activist; Richard Lewontin, who actually has a race-related fallacy named after him; Cornel West, who has no scientific credentials; Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist; James Baldwin, a novelist; Tim Wise, a fanatical anti-white bigot who believes that family is a social construct; and dozens more. Hypocrisy or brain damage — who can say for sure? As a final insult to science, Zek cites Charles Darwin himself. I can only sigh.

At this point, I think it goes without saying that Zek never tells us what these people said or wrote or did that counts as evidence in his favor.

16. Fin

Well, that about wraps it up. I look forward to never reading any of Zek’s hateful, ignorant, prejudiced garbage ever again. Hurray!

"I hear you speaking French. When are you going to pay attention to me?"

I’ll leave you with the words of Charles Gill, forensic anthropologist extraordinaire:

Those who believe that the concept of race is valid do not discredit the [race denialist] notion of clines, however. Yet those with the clinal perspective who believe that races are not real do try to discredit the evidence of skeletal biology. Why this bias from the “race denial” faction? This bias seems to stem largely from socio-political motivation and not science at all. For the time being at least, the people in “race denial” are in “reality denial” as well. Their motivation (a positive one) is that they have come to believe that the race concept is socially dangerous. In other words, they have convinced themselves that race promotes racism. Therefore, they have pushed the politically correct agenda that human races are not biologically real, no matter what the evidence. …

In my experience, minority students almost invariably have been the strongest supporters of a “racial perspective” on human variation in the classroom. The first-ever black student in my human variation class several years ago came to me at the end of the course and said, “Dr. Gill, I really want to thank you for changing my life with this course.” He went on to explain that, “My whole life I have wondered about why I am black, and if that is good or bad. Now I know the reasons why I am the way I am and that these traits are useful and good.”

A human-variation course with another perspective would probably have accomplished the same for this student if he had ever noticed it. The truth is, innocuous contemporary human-variation classes with their politically correct titles and course descriptions do not attract the attention of minorities or those other students who could most benefit. Furthermore, the politically correct “race denial” perspective in society as a whole suppresses dialogue, allowing ignorance to replace knowledge and suspicion to replace familiarity. This encourages ethnocentrism and racism more than it discourages it.

Thank you and good night.

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I have noticed a tendency among race denialists to oversimplify — drastically oversimplify — outrageously oversimplify the science of human biodiversity (HBD). This is an effective strategy: their target audience is ignorant of the research, intellectually and emotionally ill-equipped to handle it, and has already decided who’s right and who’s racist. They just need someone to confirm their beliefs.

I have also noticed their tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. “African blacks don’t have an average IQ of 70,” they crow. “It’s actually 81! That’s only nineteen points (1.3 standard deviations) below the white mean!” Then just throw in a spurious reference to the Flynn Effect, and you’re done! (Though what you’ve done is not entirely clear.)

Someone needs to correct them. Someone needs to spell out, in mind-numbing detail, why they are wrong. Any volunteers?

Goddamn it. Fine.

I’ll do it, but I’m not happy about it

Today we consider the sad case of Zek J Evets (“Dropping Knowledge Bombs Since 1992”), who describes himself as an anthropologist and “saboteur academic,” and often wonders

WHY people NEED other races to be smarter, dumber, less attractive, less masculine, better at sports, better at math, This, and That, and everything else that has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with Feel-Good prejudicial ignorance.

Actually, I’d very much like it if all people were created equal (that is, identical). Of course, they are not equal — not as individuals, not as groups.

Some group differences are not controversial. For example, men are taller on average than women. Some group differences are extremely controversial. For example, white people are more intelligent on average than black people. The difference between me and Zek is that I am willing and able to reason dispassionately about all kinds of group differences, and he is not. Neither are many other people — hence the controversy.

It's shaped like a bell, so it must be racist.

Since the facts are on my side, people like Zek must resort to (1) amateur psychoanalysis, i.e., wondering why I believe the things I do, without ever examining the evidence that compels belief, and (2) insults, like referring to an understanding of race differences in intelligence as “prejudicial ignorance.”

In light of my recent attempt to debate race denialists, two of Zek’s posts seem particularly relevant: 21st Century Scientific Racism (March 9 2011) and Deconstructing Scientific Racism in the 21st Century (March 29 2011). I will examine the first today and the second tomorrow.

21st Century Scientific Racism

Speaking of prejudicial ignorance…

ZEK: The contention on the HBD-side is that race is genetic. You are Black because of your genes. You are White because of your genes. Race is, first and foremost, biologically predetermined.

Good grief, race is biological? That can’t possibly be true! If it were, then black people would always have black babies, Asian people would always have Asian babies, and white people would always — oh.

Race: clearly not a hereditary trait.

ZEK: And the further argument is that this impacts your intelligence. The racial hierarchy among [Human Bio-Diversity] racists race realists [U: I see what you did there.] goes Asians, Whites, Hispanics/Mixed, and then Blacks at the bottom.

Genes impact your intelligence? Scandalous! Well, it was scandalous fifty years ago. Today, it is generally agreed, even among impeccably liberal social scientists, that intelligence (general cognitive ability, IQ, g) is about 50 to 70 percent heritable, and its heritability increases to 70 to 80 percent as we age. (Smart parents have smart kids — who could have possibly guessed?) Go ahead and type “intelligence, heritable” into your favorite search engine. I’ll wait.

And yes, if you list those races by IQ, you get Asians > whites > Hispanics > blacks. Race realists accept this finding because it is scientifically valid, even though most of them are white, and Asians (and Jews) are at the top of the hierarchy. We just don’t assign that much importance to race. We certainly aren’t obsessed with race loyalty. Race denialists like Zek, on the other hand, reject this finding precisely because the hierarchy places blacks below whites. They are, in a word, prejudiced. If you don’t believe me yet, read on.

The substance of Zek’s post on the evils of race realism comprises four “Very Important mistakes” we race realists make. The first is entitled — as if we needed to be reminded —

1. “Correlation does not equal causation”

ZEK: Just because you notice a trend toward Black people in America being convicted for more crimes, does not mean that Black people are inherently more criminal. Just because you see Black people not doing as good in school as other groups, does not mean that Black people are inherently stupid.

First, black people in America are convicted of more crimes because they commit more crimes. Jared Taylor is happy to explain it to you; see this video, for instance. There is no police bias against blacks; that’s just racial paranoia coupled with confirmation bias (see section 2). Victims report the same proportions of black criminals as are arrested by the police and convicted by the courts. That proves the police are arresting the people who commit the crimes, and the courts are duly convicting them —

— except, of course, when all-black juries refuse to convict obviously guilty blacks out of misguided “racial solidarity,” a phrase which means “racism, but it’s by black people, so it’s okay.”

Interracial crime, including so-called hate crime, is predominantly black-on-white, and represents a real threat to American whites, as I’ve noted before.

The diversity of crime is truly remarkable.

Anyway, this all proves that black people are more criminal on average than white people. I don’t know (or care) what Zek means by “inherently” more criminal — something to do with genes, I suppose — but something is making them more criminal. You can try to excuse their behavior by blaming their environment, but then you’re treating black people like children who can’t control themselves.

Seems almost… racist.

Second, black people underperform in school compared to whites. And Asians. And Hispanics. It’s called the achievement gap, and no one has ever managed to shrink it. They also underperform on intelligence tests. It’s called the IQ gap, and no one has ever managed to shrink it. (The differences don’t disappear in college, as many race denialists incorrectly claim.) You can read more at American Renaissance or in this Steve Sailer article.

Anyway, this all proves that black people are less intelligent on average than white people. If by “inherently stupid” Zek means “less intelligent on average, mostly because of genes,” then that’s true too — although I don’t call black people “stupid,” because I’m not a jerk. I’m a scientist. My race denialist opponents, on the other hand, have no problem painting all race realists as fanatical, psychotic, mentally retarded Nazi Klansmen bigots. They are not scientists. They really are jerks.

Remind me: who’s on what side of the War on Hate?

ZEK: These fuckwits actually believe that the playing-field in America is equal, and that the proof of other Races inferiority is evident in how badly they perform compared to Whites!

Oh ye of such ignorance! They must think racism ended when slavery did! And that Obama is proof of there being no more racism in America. But, of course, they also think Obama is only president because he’s part-White, and so not as stupid as other Black people… Except other Black people in America are partly-White too.

The idiocy. It hurts.

And funny enough, these same racist douchebags probably ignore all of the White people killing, committing crimes, and generally doing Bad Things, often at a far more devastating level due to the power White people hold in the world.

Bringing out the “R” word so soon? Someone should explain to the anthropologist that name-calling is not a counterargument.

In the above passage, Zek does not provide any evidence, such as the links I use to corroborate my claims. This is another effective strategy on his part, because he does not have any evidence, and furthermore he does not have any claims. He merely declares that his opponents believe something, calls their beliefs stupid and racist, and leaves it to the sympathetic reader to fill in the blanks. Let’s try to decipher his argument ourselves.

The inferior intellectual performance of blacks is not proof of their inferior intelligence. If there is no piece of evidence, hypothetical or actual, which would convince you that you are wrong, then your beliefs are not scientific. They are religious. Zek’s brand of race denialism is based on faith.

The playing field in America isn’t equal, and racism did not end when slavery did. Racism did, indeed, not end when slavery did. However, racism is currently dead in America, contrary to the Big Lie that it isn’t, and still the IQ gap persists.

With all the racism in America, it's no wonder black people can't get elected to — oh.

Zek’s larger claim is that racism, not genes, is making blacks score lower on IQ tests and generally having a negative effect on their success in American society. But we know that effects of genes on intelligence are much greater than the effects of shared environment, which would include this alleged systemic racism (as I explained in detail when I refuted a race denialist essay on the subject). That alone makes Zek’s claim dubious. What makes it outrageous is research like this: black author and political commentator Thomas Sowell has found that

in 1969, while American-born blacks were making only 62 percent of the average income for all Americans, blacks from the West Indies made 94 percent. Second-generation immigrants from the West Indies made 15 percent more than the average American. Although they are only 10 percent of the city’s black population, foreign-born blacks — mostly from the West Indies — own half of the black-owned businesses in New York City. Their unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and many times lower than that of American-born blacks. West Indian blacks look no different from American blacks; white racists are not likely suddenly to set aside their prejudices when they meet one [emphasis mine]. (Jared Taylor, Paved With Good Intentions, p. 25)

They’re not just blacks, they’re immigrant blacks — yet racism doesn’t seem to affect them! How curious.

The truth is, you can’t scare black people into failing tests, and the racism that exists in America today is designed to artificially raise black performance, not lower it.

The rest of his implicit argument: Obama is not proof that racism is dead, or dying, in America. That is irrelevant to race differences in intelligence. Obama is either not the President only because he’s part white, or not intelligent only because he’s part white. That is also irrelevant to race differences in intelligence. Other black Americans are part white. That is not a complete thought.

White people commit crimes, kill other people, and do “Bad Things.” This is extra bad because white people are more powerful than black people. I’m aware that white people are not a race of angels. That’s why I never claim they are, and neither do any other race realists; and that’s why Zek is arguing with a straw man. But whites do not commit as much crime or kill as many other people as blacks, so if Zek is giving white people a hard time, what must he think of black people? Furthermore, whatever bad things white people might be doing, it is important to keep in mind that they are generally smart, responsible, polite, peaceful, and law abiding, beautiful, inventive, artistic, and nice to all the other races.

Why not be nice back?

2. “Confirmation Bias”

Confirmation bias is “a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.” For example, if you’re a black person who has a preconceived notion that whites are racist, then you’re going to remember every event in your life that could possibly be interpreted as discriminatory, and forget the millions of non-discriminatory events.

The waiter screws up your order? Racism. You didn’t get into Yale? Racism. A cop pulls you over? Racism. He’s got his hand on his gun? Super racism! Never mind that blacks are more likely to be criminals than whites, so racial profiling is quite appropriate. Never mind that drivers of all races get pulled over for routine stops, which can be extremely dangerous. That’s how confirmation bias twists reality into fantasy.

Speaking of twisting reality into fantasy…

ZEK: HBDers are incapable of thinking outside the dogmatic little box they’ve dug their ostrich-like heads into. Because if they could, they’d notice they ignore evidence of exceptions to their rules as disproving their rules!

I’m sorry, but in SCIENCE, if you have an “exception” to the “rule”, then you’ve basically just disproved yourself. There’s a reason the theory of gravity is still around — because no one’s had an instance where it didn’t work.

Hoo boy.

Literally this entire section of his post is 100% irrelevant to race realism. Zek, you’re embarrassing yourself, especially as someone who claims to be a scientist (i.e., someone who works in the aforementioned field of “SCIENCE”).

The race realist claim is not that every single black person in the history of the world is unintelligent, or less intelligent than the average white person, or less intelligent than every single white person in the history of the world. His “rule” is a straw man. It’s like claiming that Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that everything falls toward the Earth, and that the existence of the Moon disproves it. The actual race realist claim that’s relevant here is that in America, the average black IQ (i.e., intelligence) is about one standard deviation lower than the average white IQ. This claim happens to be supported by overwhelming scientific evidence. I suggest you look some up. (Searching for “IQ gap” should do the trick.)

"Hi there, I'm a counterexample to a claim you never made!"

How stupid are you, Zek? I’m not trying to insult you, I’m just proving a point. I can name a dozen black professors at my university who are all evidently more intelligent than Zek, who is both white and Jewish. Somehow I am able to reconcile this fact with race differences in intelligence. In fact, the infamous bell curves require that there be plenty of black people smarter than the average white, and plenty of white people dumber than the average black.

ZEK: Stupid, athletic White people exist. Smart Black people who can’t dance exist. And not all Jews are rich.

That might mean something if race realists were the ridiculous racist caricatures Zek would like you to believe they are. Since we are not, Zek is simply full of shit.

We’re not saying all white people are anything. We’re not saying all black people are anything. We’re talking about statistical differences, like race differences in average IQ, or in the probability of committing a crime.

ZEK: (Yes, HBDers like to stereotype Jews, and shove us into their fuckwit-based IQ-based racial hierarchy — somewhere around East Asians — and we’re supposedly rich to boot, but the fact is: they’re engaging in confirmation-bias again.)

Yes, yes, we’re all Nazis. Someone should really warn the Jewish half of my family tree.

ZEK: By hyperfocusing on examples which reinforce their ignorant pseudo-science, HBDers miss so much diversity that when they go out into the world, they’re rather like the poor English scientists who realized that, by gosh by golly by gee! [Black Swans do exist!]

By “hyperfocusing on examples,” he means looking at data and studies and other studies and more studies. Also note what Zek considers citing sources; it isn’t going to get better than black swans from here.

3. “Lack of Expertise”

ZEK: So many “race realists” on the interwebs — from Half Sigma to Obsidian [???] to Uncle Milton — are, in fact, laymen in the fields they’ve chosen to impose their own racist agenda. They’re not geneticists, biologists, anthropologists, or any kind of scientist. They’re fucking Regular Joe Shmoe, attempting to debate issues which are so complicated that most people need a PhD to understand them.

And the only credentials these guys have is some bullshit diploma-factory degree in Armchair Academics.

So race realists make a “Very Important mistake” when they talk about genetics, biology, anthropology, or science in general, without having a doctoral degree in that subject. It’s as if he thinks you need to be a Ph.D. anthropologist to read and understand a paper on race differences in intelligence.

You don’t.

It should go without saying that he has no examples of mistakes made by race realists because of their “lack of expertise” (lack of credentials, really), or indeed examples of any mistakes made by race realists at all.

ZEK: Many of the most prevalent HBD & race realist personas in the public sphere are:

Steve Sailer. Journalist/computer salesman.
J. Philippe Rushton. Psychologist.
Francis Fukuyama. Political Economist.
Steve Hsu. Astrophysicist.
Richard Herrnstein. Psychologist.
Charles Murray. Political Scientist.
Arthur Jensen. Psychology Professor.

My emphasis. Notice anything in common? All of these guys are pretty smart cookies. The three psychologists, at least, are eminently qualified to discuss race differences in intelligence. Don’t you agree, Zek?

Oh, you don’t.

ZEK: Notice anything in common? NONE OF THESE GUYS HAS ANY EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD! [???] Not a single one of them is a biologist, geneticist, or forensic anthropologist. Only one is even in a “hard science” field, and it’s not even remotely related! Basically, they’re all a bunch of bullshitters.

"I, as a psychology professor, cannot understand this graph due to my lack of expertise. I'd better just assume all black people are stupid."

Well, we agree on one thing: something around here smells a lot like BS…

ZEK: The Holy Bible of this neo-scientific racism is: The Bell Curve.

They quote it like holy scripture, reciting it like Westboro Baptists recite homophobic slurs at military funerals.

Unfortunately for them, The Bell Curve has been disproven so many times, [I can hardly stand to list them all]. (Check the bottom of the article for all the sources.) And yet, they keep trying to shove it down our throats… Oy vey.

I, for one, have never cited The Bell Curve (1994). I prefer Richard Lynn’s Race Differences in Intelligence, and specific journal articles on the subject. Why do people like Zek (and Obsidian before him) keep bringing it up? It’s old. He singles out this one book published in 1994, ignoring the last seventeen years of intelligence research. Did he succeed in fooling you into thinking The Bell Curve has the only evidence showing a significant IQ gap between black people and white people?

I’ve rebutted “rebuttals” of the Bell Curve before. There I mentioned a substantial 2003 study by Flowers and Pascarella, “Cognitive effects of college: Differences between African American and Caucasian students.”

The data revealed overwhelmingly that the negative cognitive disadvantages for African American [college] students remained consistent throughout the study, even when statistical controls were introduced for all of the variables in the regression model (i.e., direct effects equation). …

The average percentile point advantage [for Caucasian students] across all of the end-of-first-year cognitive outcomes was 9.2. The average percentile point advantage across all of the end-of-second-year cognitive outcomes was 17.2. The average percentile point advantage across all of the end-of-third-year cognitive outcomes was 15.3. Taken as a whole, the average percentile point advantage (for Caucasian students) across all of the end-of-first-year, end-of-second-year, and end-of-third-year cognitive outcomes was 13.2.

Clearly this study is a product of VICIOUS RACISM, by the… uh… black co-author. Hmm.

Behold the face of racism!

Not to worry, I’m sure Zek’s got some research of his own to refer to.

ZEK: My personal recommendations when dealing with these special brand of racists are:

Guns, Germs, and Steel. Jared Diamond.
The Mismeasure of Man. Stephen Jay Gould.
Genes, Peoples, and Languages. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.
Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Human Race. Ashley Montagu.

Those books above are rather helpful to overcome the dogmatic indoctrination found among HBDers, race realists, and even everyday folks. Trust me, and my professional opinion: they have good answers to hard questions.

It’s not that I don’t trust the “professional opinion” of a self-proclaimed anthropologist who also offers the services of “ghostwriting, computer repair, fashion advice, handyman, music lessons, self-defense training, and baby-sitting,” and who refers to his opponents in scientific debates as “pig-fuckers” (among many other nasty things). It’s just that he never mentions how these books address the issue of race differences in intelligence.

I do know that the late Dr. Gould was quite wrong about human nature and about IQ. I also know that Ashley Montagu himself wrote the following.

In biological usage a race is conceived to be a subdivision of a species which inherits the physical characteristics [U: which include brain characteristics, which include intelligence] serving to distinguish it from other populations of the species. In the genetic sense a race may be defined as a population which differs in the incidence of certain genes from other populations, with one or more of which it is capable of exchanging genes across whatever boundaries (usually geographic) may separate them. If we are asked whether in this sense there exist a fair number of races in the human species, the answer is that there do [emphasis mine]. (Montague, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth, p. 6)

I’ve previously noted that race is biological; see here and here and here and here and here and this book and this one too. I have also noted that if someone tells you race is only skin deep (like here or here), they are lying, ignorant, or biased. Go ahead and look up pictures of black albinos. It’s not an oxymoron. See this article if you want to know why the myth of the myth of race and the postmodern notion that race is a social construct are not only wrong, but quite literally hurting black people, or at least their cardiovascular systems. In short, “race doesn’t exist” is one of those Big Lies that race denialists like to tell. Number one, in fact.

There’s just one more thing I need to get off my chest before we move on to his final “point.”

ZEK: But in the meantime, Steve Sailer needs to sit his racist ass down, and let the Grown-Ups talk. Just because you were once a movie critic for The American Conservative does not make you an expert in bio-genetics. Please, go find someone to sell a computer, since that’s what you actually do for a living. …

As for Steve Hsu… Oy vey. That guy, you can tell REALLY wants to be White. But listen here Stevie…

YOU’RE NOT WHITE. Stop trying to be. And stop being a racist douchebag. Seriously. You’re doing it wrong anyways.

Zek, you’re almost unbelievably vile and obnoxious. Doesn’t that make you a colossal hypocrite, and a pretty poor excuse for a scientist? Furthermore, why don’t you fuck off and take your ignorant, hateful, anti-scientific garbage with you, you drooling idiot?

Now we can move on.

4. “Conspiracy Theories”

ZE: The problem with many HBDers and race realists is that they like to go on and on (and on) about that it’s only because of PC Leftists and Liberals having a stranglehold on America that HBD and race-realism isn’t openly acknowledged.

Yet in the same breath they list supposedly vast groups of people who believe this asinine bullshit. They say this “science” is widely accepted among scientists in the field, and is such a simple fact, but that only because of political correctness and a liberal media shame-machine that people can’t talk about it.

The hypocrisy is staggeringly blinding.

Actually, that’s not hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is when a fuckwit calls his opponents “fuckwits,” when a douchebag calls his opponents “douchebags,” when someone “incapable of thinking outside the dogmatic little box they’ve dug their ostrich-like heads into” calls his opponents — well, you get the idea. What Zek is describing is how race realists like to point out that race differences in intelligence (among other race-realist-type things) are uncontroversial scientifically, but very controversial politically.

The truth about black people is out there.

By the way, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they use big words. Someone who describes hypocrisy as “staggeringly blinding” isn’t paying much attention to what those words mean. He just likes the way they sound. (Obsidian is prone to this as well. For instance, he recently described my reactionary musical as an “incohate [sic] screed.” Unfortunately, he does not know what “inchoate” or “screed” means. Neither applies.)


ZEK: And those are the key, fundamental flaws in the race realist, HBD world.

I couldn’t help noticing, Zek, that you haven’t cited any specific claim by a race realist, then rebutted it with evidence. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

ZEK: As an anthropologist (y’know, someone who actually studies this stuff) I can tell ya that they’re so full of racist shit, it’s hard to separate the hater from the hatred.

Well, he certainly comes across as a dispassionate scientist — a consummate professional, really — when he states that his race realist opponents are not “regular folks” but rather “racists” who are “ALL FULL OF SHIT” (emphasis in original); they are “fuckwits” and “racist douchebags” whose views are “ignorance” and “idiocy”; they are “incapable of thinking outside the dogmatic little box they’ve dug their ostrich-like heads into”; they hate Jews; they are engaged in “ignorant pseudo-science”; they’re “fucking Regular Joe Shmoe” (“fucking” is an adjective here, not a verb) with “some bullshit diploma-factory degree in Armchair Academics,” and therefore incapable of participating in the debate; they’re “all a bunch of bullshitters” studying “neo-scientific racism” and citing sources “like Westboro Baptists recite homophobic slurs at military funerals”; they’re a “special brand of racists” prone to “dogmatic indoctrination”; they should sit down and “let the Grown-Ups talk”; they are “racists in-denial”; any Asian among them just “REALLY wants to be White” and should “stop being a racist douchebag”; their “hypocrisy is staggeringly blinding”; they are always “yelling and raving” like “Creationists”; they “talk of conspiracy theories like a crazy person… some ancient McCarthyite resurrected from the depths of the 50’s Red Scare… [l]ike a zombie, moaning for… BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIINNNSSSS!”; again, “they’re so full of racist shit, it’s hard to separate the hater from the hatred” — which makes no sense, since the “hater” is the person speaking and the “hatred” is what’s being said, and the two could never not be separated; and finally, they’re “pig-fuckers.”

Class act.

ZEK: But in all seriousness, there is no connection between race, IQ, and genetics. Being whatever race does not in any way, shape, or form predispose you to a certain level of IQ.

The words “citation needed” spring to mind.

You see, putting the words “in all seriousness” at the end of a hateful and ignorant screed (yes, screed) doesn’t magically alleviate one’s responsibility to support one’s absurd and bigoted claims with evidence. Evidence Zek doesn’t have.

In all seriousness, your genes determine your race. They also mostly determine your intelligence, relative to other people.

ZEK: How smart you are is dependent on where you’re born, when you were born, a smidgen of your parents genes, and the rest… well, the rest depends on you. [Even a dumbass can become president], so keep that in mind.

Actually, as I mentioned earlier, intelligence is highly heritable — 70 to 80% in adulthood. Zek, as an anthropologist (you know, someone who claims to actually study this stuff), should really be aware of this fact. Shared environment, on the other hand, has not been shown to play a significant role. Zek, as an anthropologist (you know, the kind of person who uses science rather than merely screeching about racist conspiracies), should really be aware of the three laws of behavior genetics.

Not an anthropologist, I have been informed. Pretty handy with a whip, though.

He should also keep in mind that George W. Bush was probably more intelligent than John Kerry, contrary to the old hoax for which Zek seems to have fallen. (It’s also not true that smart states vote Democrat and dumb states vote Republican.)

Until next time

I shall close on a personal note. Zek J Evets, you are a truly nasty person, a colossal hypocrite, and a flagrant bigot. You are incapable of reasoned debate. If you really are an anthropologist, you are an incompetent one. Your opinions on race differences in intelligence are ignorant, and based not on science, but solely on the assumptions that (1) because a scientific theory agrees with a racial stereotype, it must be racist, and (2) everything which is “racist” (i.e., unflattering of black people) is also false.

Tune in later this week for a rebuttal of his second, equally stupid post on the subject. Or don’t. I wouldn’t blame you. It’s uniformly dreary stuff.

Read Full Post »

Call it a debate. Call it an experiment. Call it trolling. Call it what you will.

I came in good faith, with my little theory and my big stack of supporting evidence. I was ready to make my case. How would they respond? My expectations could hardly have been lower. But their mindless groupthink took even me by surprise. Race denialists really don’t think about race. They will do anything to avoid it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Cause and Effect

In a guest post for abagond, black racist megalomaniac King declares that the “primary causes” of the black “dilemma” (i.e., all their problems) in America are as follows.

  1. slavery, which hasn’t existed in America for about 150 years, but is still somehow keeping black people from getting jobs, raising their kids, not shooting each other, etc.
  2. unnamed forces “[f]orbidding” blacks an education, which hasn’t happened in America in how many decades?
  3. “under-education” — whose black great-grandfather is he talking about, and how is this still relevant today?
  4. white people (presumably) “[r]efusing to hire [blacks],” a problem that hasn’t existed in thirty years, and anyway has been improving over time, even as black America has been declining
  5. “[p]ortraying [blacks] as buffoons or criminals in the media,” a claim so stupid it deserves a section of its own

“Those are the CAUSES,” he emphasizes. That’s why black people don’t succeed. Everything — and I mean everything, even the stuff that’s obviously their own fault — can be blamed on evil white racists, whether they’re from the 1970s or the 1790s. The solution, according to King, is “[o]vercoming these historic wrongs with education, family restoration, therapy, rebuilding of self image, rebuilding of community image.”

Thanks to affirmative action, even academically mediocre blacks who aren’t good at sports can get a college education if they want to. Obviously, they are also free to restore their families (any time now, guys), hire a therapist, and rebuild their self-image and “community image” (which is probably one of those things black apologists invented specifically to excuse black crime). Then I guess it’s their own fault for not solving their own problems, for not overcoming those “historic wrongs.”*

After all, who could possibly do it for them? Oh wait, I forgot black liberals have unlimited faith in the infinite power of government, whether to do good (e.g., magically restoring the black family) or evil (e.g., magically keeping all black people down forever). What they really want is more reparations (call it “welfare” if you like), more race quotas making a mockery of “fairness” and “equality,” more pity… but never any responsibility.

*By “historic wrongs,” they mean bad things white people did to black people a long time ago, because (a) there is no discrimination today that could possibly account for black failure, (b) we must never hold black people responsible for their own actions, and (c) this obsession with centuries-old discrimination neatly deflects attention from the epidemic of criminal discrimination by blacks against whites, ranging from mass voter intimidation to mass assault to mass murder.

Buffoons and Criminals

Now, what about this “[p]ortraying [blacks] as buffoons or criminals in the media” that’s causing all of black people’s woes? Is he serious? Does he live in the same universe as me?

In fiction, like TV and movies, the portrayals of blacks are overwhelmingly positive. It’s blatant. It’s ubiquitous. Consider crime dramas like Law and Order. The murderers and rapists are almost always white, but in reality, they would probably be black. Any time a black person is not portrayed positively — or not portrayed sufficiently positively — it’s a national fucking crisis, real gnashing-of-teeth stuff.

In the news, on the other hand, the reason why American blacks look like buffoons (thanks OneSTDV) and criminals is… well, do I really need to spell it out for you? Hey, look on the bright side: unlike African blacks, at least they don’t look like gang-raping (never mind), white-exterminating (never mind), AIDS-spreading (never mind), child-witch-burning, albino-dismembering savages!

Yes, Attorney General (and honorary Black Panther) Eric Holder, I did just use the word “savage” to describe “your people”: “an uncivilized human being,” “a fierce, brutal, or cruel person, “a rude, boorish person,” “a member of a preliterate society” — take your pick.

A Modest Proposal

Most of the comments on the post are… not worth reading, either because they are based on a false premise, the product of racial paranoia and chronic unwillingness to think critically about race; or because they are just me calling those other commenters idiots and pointing out that they haven’t actually addressed anything I’ve said, ever. The fun starts (and the torture never stops) with my modest proposal.

No, the causes of black failure are race differences in intelligence. Simply put, blacks are less intelligent than whites. Slavery etc. are clearly not to blame, because every other race has managed to overcome similar discrimination.

The first statement is a sociological theory with a great deal of supporting evidence. The second is a scientific fact. As for the third, it’s difficult to judge the experiences of large groups of people, but I think if Chinese-Americans (mean IQ > 100), Japanese-Americans (mean IQ > 100), Irish-Americans (mean IQ ~100), American Jews (mean IQ > 100), and European Jews (mean IQ > 100) have all somehow managed to avoid or overcome these mysterious and poorly defined but apparently all-powerful “legacies” of discrimination, it seems reasonable to conclude that the problems of black Americans (mean IQ ~85) are coming from somewhere else. I wonder where…

The Fallout

I encourage you to examine the replies for evidence of critical thinking — or indeed, any thinking. Look for counterarguments. Look for statistics. Look for references to scientific research on race differences in intelligence. You will not find any. What you will find are a great many race denialist debate tactics. Here are just a few.

  1. dismissing my ideas, often with laughter or words like “pseudo-scientific” or “nonsense,” as if the thought of race differences in intelligence is so absurd that no rebuttal is necessary (at least 15 times)
  2. insulting me (at least 15 times)
  3. alluding to rebuttals of race realist theories without ever actually presenting any (at least 5 times)
  4. accusing me of racism
  5. accusing me of anti-Semitism (quite bizarre)
  6. citing the very, very few historical black accomplishments (e.g., “[t]here wouldn’t be any open heart surgrey [sic], if there’s [sic] wasn’t for blacks in america [sic]”), as if that had some bearing on average IQ scores by race
  7. citing Afrocentrist mythology (e.g., “[t]he Moors from North Africa brought over math to Europe”)
  8. insisting on making the debate personal (e.g., “I am probably way more intelligent than you!!”)
  9. confusing contemporary intelligence with historical morality as seen from the present (e.g., “You think blacks are less intelligent but I believe thats [sic] whites are some of the most cruel people of all time!!! Look at your history!!!”)
  10. declaring that my ideas about race are religious in nature, or assumptions, or just my opinions — as if that declaration had anything to say about the existence or nonexistence of race differences in intelligence
  11. asserting that I have written, said, or thought things which I have not
  12. asserting that we cannot learn anything about a population without testing literally every member of that population, i.e., denying the existence of the field of statistics
  13. asserting that IQ does not measure intelligence, contrary to the consensus of experts in the field of intelligence research
  14. asserting that shared environment (e.g., poverty) has a non-negligible effect on human intelligence, contrary to the consensus of experts in the field of behavior genetics
  15. saying other assorted stupid shit

So I wouldn’t exactly call this a success as a debate, but I think I inadvertently succeeded in exposing the level of critical thinking among race denialists and anti-white “anti”-racists.

That level, again, is zero.

Hypocritical Idiots

The War on Hate is being waged by the most hateful and malicious elements of our society. There are plenty of these hypocritical idiots swarming around the comment sections of abagond’s blog, but one of them stands out above (below?) the rest, and he deserves recognition. The award for supreme hypocritical idiocy in a comment goes to… King!

First, the hypocrisy (emphasis mine).

AWARD-WINNING HYPOCRITE “KING”: I think this latest commercial message from our deluded HBD sponsors makes the point as to the amount of malice that is out there. If you doubt that there are many willing to give the murderous shove to Rodney [hypothetical victim of lethal discrimination], I beg you, reconsider.

Here again, for the record, is the murderous malice in question: “No, the causes of black failure are race differences in intelligence. Simply put, blacks are less intelligent than whites. Slavery etc. are clearly not to blame, because every other race has managed to overcome similar discrimination.”

And here, for comparison, is a summary of King’s remarks to me: “random dummies… HBD numbskulls [and] their stupid religion… an infinite [sic] amount of misquotations and misunderstandings of legitimate studies [citation needed]… HBD Loosers! [sic]… dummy… too stupid or too lazy… inbred information incest… ‘cut and paster’ of the first order… clueless member of the HBD circle jerk… knows as little of the implications of the totality of work in the field.”

Remind me: who’s on what side of the War on Hate?

Second, the idiocy.

AWARD-WINNING IDIOT “KING”: But grant for a moment that (in Bizarro World) HBD claims were actually true. Imagine if Blacks, Mestizos, and darker-skinned South Asians, actually were genetically less intelligent (on average) than Whites.

Or let us grant for a moment that (in Bizarro-Bizarro World) HBD claims are actually false. Imagine if blacks and Hispanics actually were just as intelligent, on average, as whites.

Nope, too implausible.

If that were truly so, think, what purpose would there be in some random, White blogger showing up and Black websites saying, “Hey, you people are less intelligent (on average) than self-identifying White people, and the differences are GENETIC, so you can’t really change it. I can prove it too, do you want to see my endless statistics on the matter? Just so you know…” What would be the purpose of that?

He grants my claims, including the claims which are facts, so that he doesn’t have to bother addressing them. He makes sure to point out that I’m a white blogger, and this is a black website. He seems to understand that the “endless statistics” are on my side, but apparently isn’t interested in them. He sneaks in “self-identifying,” as if to say that white people aren’t really, objectively white; they just choose to call themselves that (because they’re raaaaacists). I guess he’s one of those “race is a social construct” people. (And I though he couldn’t sink any lower…)

Finally, he spends seven paragraphs explaining that studying HBD and telling people about it is pointless, because it’s all just so mean and it makes him want to cry. Why do none of those seven paragraphs give or cite or link any kind of counterargument or counterevidence to the claim that blacks are less intelligent than whites on average, and the difference is mostly genetic?

I don’t wish to debate the endless religious propaganda of HBD on this thread, which is why I’ve sidestepped most of those comments.

Ohhhhhhhh. That’s why.

Bonus fallacy:

I mean, would you go up to someone and say, “Hey you’re ugly and I just wanted to let you know that because I believe that it’s it’s [sic] true!” … Maybe they didn’t think of themselves as short but average, or they didn’t see themselves as ugly. Would you come back day after day arguing with them, “No, you ARE ugly, don’t you see… you ARE!!!”

Intelligence, unlike physical attractiveness, is not a matter of opinion. Whites are more intelligent on average, don’t you see, they are — whether you believe it or not.

Oh, and they’re better looking, too.

A Message for Black Race Denialists

Grow up. Stop whining and crying and throwing temper tantrums.

First, you’re crazy for getting upset over statistical abstractions, like race differences in mean intelligence. What’s up with your fanatical race loyalty? You’re making the white supremacists look reasonable. Why do you take it personally when someone averages out a trait over millions and millions of black Americans? It makes about as much sense as a man hating women, really despising them with all his heart, just because they live longer on average.

Second, I don’t care about your hurt feelings, and neither does science. Or reality, for that matter. In the field of intelligence research, you are the guinea pigs. We all are. When you get over it and stop making everything about your race, your people, your supposed struggle, maybe then we can have a productive conversation.

I’m not holding my breath.

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One of the peculiarities of our decadent age is the ongoing undeclared War on Hate. That it is a war waged against an emotion — often a useful and appropriate one — is not its most ludicrous feature. No, more ludicrous by far is that it is being waged by the most hateful and malicious elements of our society. They are the worst hypocrites in the world, and for failing to recognize their hypocrisy, they are also idiots. Here are some of these hypocritical idiots:

  • feminists (second and later waves), who hate men
  • anti-racists (“anti”-racists would be better), who hate whites (but include many of them)
  • liberals, who hate values (traditional or otherwise)
  • socialists in any guise (communists, Marxists, Democrats, etc.), who hate success
  • deviants of all shapes and sizes (e.g., some but not all atheists and some but not all gays/lesbians/bisexuals/other weird shit), who hate a society that rejects them

Hatred is a five-part documentary on their struggle.

Their stupid, useless, confused, evil struggle.

John Derbyshire Redux

I’ll start at the beginning — of this blog, that is, when I discussed John Derbyshire’s attempt to explain black cognitive inferiority at a panel discussion, organized by the Black Law Students Association of the University of Pennsylvania, on how to eliminate the persistent achievement gap between blacks and whites.

You can’t. Race differences in intelligence are largely genetic. Derbyshire knows this, so he pointed out that

  1. reproductively isolated populations diverge genetically over time (for example, Africans and Europeans),
  2. there are race differences in various traits (with an appeal to athletic ability, which favors blacks and is therefore much less embarrassing to liberals than mental ability, which favors whites), and
  3. everyone should just relax, because after all we don’t cry over individual differences, so why all the angst over these abstract, average, group differences?

The aftermath, according to Derbyshire:

This was followed by a sort of stunned silence, into which Madame Moderator interjected the remark that “Mr. Derbyshire is here as a private guest of Prof. Wax [of the law school], not at the invitation of the BLSA.” This was not true. …

Mingling for refreshments afterwards, I found the BLSA students a friendly bunch. The only rancor was from some older guy, either a mature student or an academic, who said that my ideas were “old” and my remarks “hurtful.” Apparently he thought that one or other, or both, of these observations invalidated the truth content of what I had said. Everyone else was either pleasant, or just ignored me.

Not bad at all. I mean, if you acted this way toward a black professor of some made-up bullshit subject like Africana Studies who was spouting some farcical white-hating social theory of black failure, you would be expelled/fired/sued/investigated by Congress/shot at dawn. But given that conservatives are not a designated victim group, and can therefore be freely discriminated against, it’s not a bad reaction at all.

On the other hand, we have this article, “John Derbyshire tells black law students they are inferior,” whose author Downeastdem, safely ensconced in the liberal fortress Daily Kos, is free to lob malice and rage at the conservative Derbyshire without fear of reprisal (i.e., embarrassing rebuttal of his stupid ideas).

The Daily Kos article is almost 100% lies, starting with the first sentence, which calls Derbyshire a “white supremacist,” and continuing with the second, which calls his remarks a “‘Racism 101’ lecture.” The following quote is singled out as particular abhorrent: “racial disparities in education and employment have their origin in biological differences between the human races.” Note that this is a true statement.

Now, there are three important points to consider.

1. This is not what racism sounds like

A “‘Racism 101’ lecture” by a “white supremacist” does not sound like that. It sounds more like this:

end of the [black] race

Im have wondered this, I have even meditaded about this so much suffering has been cause by this race of demons, they are as ungodly as they are ugly, for instance they ar responsible for most or ALL of the worlds evil…

There is no reason to let them keep on living they just hate and hate and hate, they know nothing but hate and hell, they need to go back to hell where they come from, those [black] babies need to burn in hell with their evil satanist parents. … they are guilty of massive crimes against humanity, they are the greatest perpetrators of evil EVER, they are the most evil force to have ever existed. The are murderous, callous and inhuman both in your words and deeds. Where EVER these people go, murder and depravity follow. I have never seen such casual bloodlust.

This is actually the work of black supremacist blogger BLACKPHANTOMX; I’ve simply replaced the original targets, whites, with blacks. (I won’t link his blog, because (1) it’s not worth reading and (2) I know it will infuriate him, as he does not understand the difference between quoting and plagiarizing.)

2. Anti-racists are stupid

Willfully, perhaps, but stupid nonetheless. Here is a particularly stupid quote from the aforementioned particularly stupid Daily Kos author Downeastdem:

Derbyshire then goes on to explain to the black students at one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation the scientific foundation of their inferior intellectual abilities…

Blacks have inferior intellectual abilities on average. The existence of black people smart enough to get into law school at the University of Pennsylvania does not contradict this fact. In fact, the theory of race differences in intelligence, with its infamous bell curves, requires that some black people be smarter than the average white person.

3. Anti-racists are hateful and malicious

Which I have previously mentioned, but I don’t mind repeating myself.

When Downeastdem writes that “Derbyshire was treated with far more civility… than he deserved” (emphasis mine), I wonder: just how little civility did he deserve, for daring to politely point out some uncomfortable truths?

What would constitute a sufficient level of incivility? Should the law students have stormed the stage, seized his microphone, and poured a jug of ice water over his head? Or just waited for him in the parking lot? How is the reader supposed to interpret that remark? If someone disagrees with you about race, they deserve to be treated badly. So much for “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Evelyn Beatrice Hall).

Contrast Derbyshire’s closing remarks:

Group differences are statistical truths. They exist in an abstract realm quite far removed from our everyday personal experience. They tell you nothing about the person you just met.

Group differences are, for example, one degree more abstract than individual differences. We all acknowledge individual differences all the time: she’s fat, he’s thin, she’s shy, he’s outgoing, she’s smart, he’s dumb. …

And yet — look! We don’t lose sleep over this. We don’t sink into rage and frustration at our own individual differences, or agitate for politicians to put balm on our psychic wounds. We accept our individual shortcomings with remarkable equanimity, playing the cards we’ve been dealt as best we can. That is the attitude of a healthy human being. To do otherwise would, most of us I’m sure would agree, be un-healthy. How much more unhealthy, then, to fret and rage and agitate about mere statistical abstractions?

Remind me: who’s on what side of the War on Hate?

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In discussing matters political, I occasionally test the limits of sportsmanlike behavior — insisting on absurd handicaps, for instance, like — oh, I don’t know, rebutting my opponents in song form? But I always exercise caution, and so should you.

There’s an art and a science to being an arrogant bastard: how you argue, and what you argue about. Style and substance, if you will. No one, least of all me, can teach you style — how to please your supporters and infuriate your detractors at the same time (preferably while balancing something on your head). As for substance — well, if you’re going to act like you’re the smartest person in the room/world/universe, you’d better have a handle on the facts.

Substance is where our next subject goes horribly wrong.

2. “Irrefutable”

Over at abagond‘s place again, my badly wounded Research Assistants uncovered a Valentine’s Day gem: a guest post entitled Mephisto on race & IQ.

Too many “Arm Chair Internet Geneticists” and “Know Nothing HBDers” (redundant, I know) like to use the same drivel, that is almost effortlessly debunked with irrefutable (and even entry level) facts:

Mephisto is right, of course — if by “almost effortlessly debunked” he means “I couldn’t be bothered to put in any effort,” and also all the other words mean different things too. What, pray tell, are these irrefutable facts?

Two or three years after “The Bell Curve” came out, Myerson, Rank, Raines & Schnitzler at Washington University in Saint Louis, looked at the VERY SAME longitudinal database that Murray and Herrnstein used to demonstrate this persistent IQ gap between whites and blacks. They found something Murray and Herrnstein didn’t mention.

What they discovered was that when African Americans in the US go to college, they raise their IQ FOUR TIMES FASTER than whites who go to college, and in the process close the average IQ gap between whites and blacks in half in just 4 years. This would not be possible if IQ was fundamentally related to biology, and yet it was EXACTLY (going by the very database that Murray and Herrnstein used) actually demonstrated: [broken link]

So there goes the entire argument of the book, and every single related study.

The link is broken, but fortunately the study* was not hard to find. Downloading the short (four-page) paper through my university library afforded me an opportunity apparently denied Mephisto: the opportunity to actually read the damn thing before I open my big mouth.

[*Myerson, Rank, Raines, and Schnitzler. “Race and general cognitive ability: The myth of diminishing returns to education.” Psychological Science, 9, 139–142 (1997).]

Critical thinking

From the study, we learn that indeed “it was the black college students who made the largest gains between the end of high school and college graduation, with their test scores increasing more than four times as much as those of white college students.” Thus the test score gap shrank by about half from one standard deviation.

Well, that’s still a gap, and there’s no apparent reason it couldn’t be “fundamentally related to biology,” especially given that we already know that intelligence is at least 50–70% heritable, from studies that actually control for genes. Myerson et al.’s study doesn’t even consider genes, so it has nothing to tell us about their role in IQ differences.

But the gap definitely shrank, right? Well, consider the following:

  • The relative effects of shared environment versus genes. Not only does the heritability of IQ increase as we age, “[t]he effects of shared environment [on human behavioral traits] are small (less than 10 percent of the variance), often not statistically significant, often not replicated in other studies, and often a big fat zero” (Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate, p. 379). This alone makes it highly unlikely that a college environment could really be smartening up the kids.

    Raising their IQs, that is. It probably is teaching them stuff they didn’t know before, like how to make a bong out of an apple.

  • Obvious sample bias: college students. The black students making the supposed large gains were all smart enough to get into college. Therefore they were smarter than the majority of American blacks.
  • Less obvious sample bias: neglecting dropouts. “To control for attrition [dropping out] during the education process,” the authors write, “we compared the scores of individuals who ultimately attained the same level of education…” In fact, their analysis of college students only “examined the data from individuals who ultimately graduated from college.” They admit, “[i]t is certainly true that there is greater attrition among black college students than among white college students in general, as well as among [participants in the study].”

    Even though more black students than white drop out of college, their scores simply weren’t counted. If dropouts tend to have lower than average test scores (a safe assumption), then the authors’ methods artificially inflate the average black score.

The authors even admit the sample bias and dropout problem in the discussion, but declare — as if it had any relevance to those methodological issues — that “this fact [that black college students are more likely to drop out and not be counted] only makes the failure to profit from high school by the highly select group of black future college graduates [my emphasis] all the more remarkable, and raises the possibility that the increases they showed in college resulted from the removal of whatever may have been handicapping them during high school” (p. 141). Pure speculation. They didn’t study “whatever may have been handicapping them during high school.”

Further reading

Unfortunately, we’re still not done. (Effort alert! Academic integrity is such a drag.) We’ve got to compare this study’s findings to all the other studies out there. There’s a substantial 2003 study** by Flowers and Pascarella, for instance:

The data revealed overwhelmingly that the negative cognitive disadvantages for African American [college] students remained consistent throughout the study, even when statistical controls were introduced for all of the variables in the regression model (i.e., direct effects equation). …

The average percentile point advantage [for Caucasian students] across all of the end-of-first-year cognitive outcomes was 9.2. The average percentile point advantage across all of the end-of-second-year cognitive outcomes was 17.2. The average percentile point advantage across all of the end-of-third-year cognitive outcomes was 15.3. Taken as a whole, the average percentile point advantage (for Caucasian students) across all of the end-of-first-year, end-of-second-year, and end-of-third-year cognitive outcomes was 13.2.

[**Flowers and Pascarella. “Cognitive effects of college: Differences between African American and Caucasian students.” Research in Higher Education, 44, 21–49 (2003).]

Incidentally, Dr. Flowers is black.

That makes one for me, one for you, Mephisto. (Unlike the archangel Michael, I’m not afraid to throw down with the Devil.)

It’s been fourteen years since Myerson and friends made their contribution to politicized science. There’s a whole new world of research, a new fantastic point of view on race differences in intelligence! No one can tell us no, or where to go, or say we’re only dreaming. I’m like a shooting star: I’ve come so far, I can’t go back to where I used to be. With respect to behavior genetics, that is.

Sincerest apologies to Walt Disney.

Anyway, there are hundreds of studies to choose from, but it seems like your typical race denialist is only interested in one: the first, or perhaps the only one he found that, through dubious methodology and liberal*** use of statistical “corrections,” reaches a conclusion he finds politically palatable. His is a shallow, uncritical analysis, motivated not by an honest desire to learn, but by slavish devotion to an article of faith:

Human skin cells and muscle cells and heart cells may have been evolving ever since our species first walked out of Africa, but human brain cells haven’t.

No amount of blustering is going to make that true.

[***Pun: always intended.]

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Read the comments to learn about high school teachers and the achievement gap.

Commenter Cinnamon has an excellent question:

One of the arguments I’ve encountered against a racial basis for IQ is that of income: the claim is that the achievement gap between whites and blacks disappears when income is held constant (at least for US populations). Do you have any resources that refute or support this claim?

We’ll focus on the IQ gap because it’s much easier to quantify than the so-called achievement gap. IQ stands for “intelligence quotient,” and your score on an IQ test measures your intelligence. For our purposes, the IQ gap means the 15-point difference between the average white American’s IQ (about 100) and the average black American’s IQ (about 85). That’s a big difference. For more information, read Steve Sailer’s articles here and here.

As long as people have known about the IQ gap, they’ve been blaming the environment. Not shrubs and ferns and snails: your environment is everything that’s not in your genes/DNA. (Your family is an especially important example.) However, environmental theories tend to fall apart under close inspection. That’s why us race realists are still around.

Today we’ll restrict ourselves to the socioeconomic status (SES) argument, which acknowledges the existence of the IQ gap, but claims that most or all of it is caused by the environment—specifically, SES. It’s a question of nature versus nurture: how much of your IQ is a product of your genes, and how much is a product of your environment? Actually, the real, scientific question is: what percentage of individual differences in IQ is caused by genes, and what percentage by the environment?

To be precise, SES is part of a child’s shared environment. Your shared environment is the part of your environment that affects you and your siblings equally, which clearly includes socioeconomic status. Your unique environment is everything else, like catching the flu or breaking your leg as a child, winning the lottery, or getting in a freak zeppelin accident (after winning the lottery). Much more on this later.

Un-eliminating the gap (easy mode)

Without a specific, Cinnamon-y example of the SES argument, I did my own research, which I hate, and found this essay about this press release about an actual but difficult-to-find peer-reviewed paper called “Ethnic Differences in Children’s Intelligence Test Scores: Role of Economic Deprivation, Home Environment, and Maternal Characteristics” (here’s a summary), which seems to be what Cinnamon had in mind. From the press release:

Contrary to “The Bell Curve” findings, a new study by researchers at Columbia and Northwestern Universities suggests that poverty and early learning opportunities—not race—account for the gap in IQ scores between blacks and whites. . . .

Adjustments for socioeconomic conditions almost completely eliminate differences in IQ scores between black and white children, according to the study’s co-investigators. . . .

As in many other studies, the black children in the study had IQ scores a full 15 points lower than their white counterparts. Poverty alone, the researchers found, accounted for 52 percent of that difference, cutting it to 7 points. Controlling for the children’s home environment reduced the difference by another 28 percent, to a statistically insignificant 3 points—in essence, eliminating the gap altogether.

Sounds good. Very encouraging. So how exactly did they adjust for SES?

The study includes data from birth to age 5 on 800 black and white children who were born premature and with a low birth weight. Collected from eight health care sites around the country, it is the only data set that combines high-quality measurement of developmental outcomes (i.e., full-scale IQ tests) with longitudinal data on family economic status, neighborhood conditions, family structure and home environment. Because the study looks at very young children, the subjects’ IQ measures cannot be attributed to such non-family influences as schooling or work.

And right there it all falls apart. Why? Because the researchers did not control for the effects of genes. In other words, they neglected family influences. From the article summary (emphasis mine):

Brooks-Gunn and Klebanov state that there are several limitations to their study. They make it clear that none of their analyses have anything to do with heritability and the genetic components of IQ difference between ethnicities. This analysis would have to be done with twins and they did not include any twin studies in this paper.

Epic sociological fail. Without controlling for the effects of genes, they could not possibly measure the effects of socioeconomic status or any other component of environment. Sure, the researchers proved that poorer children have lower IQ scores. But we already know that parental IQ correlates with income. In Race Differences in Intelligence, Richard Lynn cites Jencks (1972) and Murray (1998) for correlations* of 0.35 and 0.37, respectively. We also know there’s a genetic link between parental IQ and child IQ. In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker cites studies which suggest a heritability of 50–70% for IQ, meaning 50–70% of the difference in IQ between two people is caused by their different genes.

So how can you say low family income (of blacks compared to whites) causes low child IQ—the socioeconomic explanation for the IQ gap? Why couldn’t low parental IQ be causing both low family income (because smart people get better jobs) and low child IQ (because children inherit their parents’ genes)? The conclusion that “ethnicity has nothing to do with the differences found on IQ tests between black and white children” and “socioeconomic factors almost completely account for most of the differences” is totally unjustified, given that ethnicity has everything to do with genes.

We’re even told “the study measured other factors associated with poverty that are more common in minority children. They include characteristics related to family structure and resources: single parents, parents with low educational levels and low literary scores, unemployed parents and young parents.” (Emphasis mine.) Gee, I wonder if they discovered that low literary scores in parents correlate with low IQs in their children. Must be low literary scores causing poverty causing low IQs, right? Couldn’t possibly be a more direct connection . . .

There really is no way to separate the effects of genes from the effects of shared environment (on any human behavioral trait) when you don’t already know the effects of genes. There are three (simplified) ways to accomplish this (The Blank Slate):

  • Twin studies. “[I]dentical twins are alike (measured by the correlation) because of their shared genes (measured by the heritability) and their shared environment, so the effects of the shared environment can be estimated by subtracting the heritability from the correlation.” In other words: shared genes plus shared environment equals twin similarity, so twin similarity minus shared genes must equal shared environment. This depends on knowing that identical twins have the same genes.
  • Adoption studies. We know that adoptive siblings don’t share genes, so any similarity between them must be caused by their shared environment. Just measure the correlation and you’re done.
  • Comparisons of “the correlation [similarity] between siblings reared together (who share genes and a home environment) with the correlation between siblings reared apart (who share only genes).” Again, we needed to know what’s going on in the genes to figure out what effects the shared environment is having.

(There are also ways of measuring the effects of genes, separately from shared or unique environment, and ways of measuring the effects of unique environment separately from shared environment and genes.)

The American psychologist Eric Turkheimer, in his article “Three laws of behavior genetics and what they mean” (available here) has identified, or at least popularized, three laws of behavior genetics:

  • First Law: All human behavioral traits are heritable.”
  • Second Law: The effect of being in the same family is smaller than the effect of the genes.”
  • Third Law: A substantial portion of the variation in complex human behavioral traits is not accounted for by the effects of genes or families.”

These laws are central to Pinker’s thesis. The Second Law, which is most relevant to the SES argument regarding the IQ gap, is actually an understatement: in first world countries** “[t]he effects of shared environment are small (less than 10 percent of the variance), often not statistically significant, often not replicated in other studies, and often a big fat zero” (The Blank Slate, p. 379).

Un-eliminating the gap (hard mode)

We’ve seen a useless article on the effects of socioeconomic status on child IQ. How about a really good one? Remember Eric Turkheimer? He has another paper, “Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children” (described here and available there).

“We found that for the poorest [7-year-old] twins, IQ seemed to be determined almost exclusively by their socioeconomic status, which is to say their impoverished environment. Yet, for the best-off families, genes are the most important factor to determining IQ, with environment playing a much less important role,” Turkheimer explained. . . .

The study results show that in the most impoverished families, hereditability [sic] of IQ is essentially zero, with [shared] environment accounting for almost 60 percent of the differences in IQ among individuals. The impact of [shared] environment declines as socioeconomic level improves, playing a nominal role in the most affluent families, for which virtually all variability in IQ is attributed to genes.

The study suggests that specific minimal environmental conditions are necessary for a person’s genetic potential to be expressed.

He even replicated the study with a different twin sample. Outstanding. But does it address the IQ gap? (Neither Turkheimer’s paper nor the Oscar article claims that it does, but I’m sure someone thinks so.)

It certainly demonstrates that socioeconomic status determines IQ for the poorest twins, but the IQ gap persists among middle-class and wealthy children—and this according to a man (Jack O’Connell) who blames the problem on “cultural ignorance” in schools! Furthermore, Turkheimer studied 7-year-olds, but the IQ gap exists among adults too, and the heritability of intelligence “increases over the lifespan, and can be as high as .8 late in life” (The Blank Slate—yes, I really liked that book).

So far I haven’t even addressed the implicit assumption that blacks are more likely than whites to belong to these “most impoverished families.” According to researchers at the The Heritage Foundation (a conservative American think tank), “[r]ace per se is not a factor in producing child poverty; race alone does not directly increase or decrease the probability that a child will be poor;” nevertheless, “[b]lack American children are more likely to live in poverty than are white children, primarily because black children are far more likely to live in single-parent families and to be on welfare.” Alright, so that settles it—

—unless you dispute the definition of poverty:

As a group, America’s poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. . . .

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs.

The question is, how many black children living in poverty—according to the above definition—actually lack the “specific minimal environmental conditions” that are “necessary for a person’s genetic potential to be expressed,” and would fixing this be enough to significantly reduce the IQ gap among children (never mind adults)? Turkheimer’s findings notwithstanding, the answer to the second question is a clear no.

Six out of seven meaningless studies agree: no IQ gap!

Let’s go back to the essay, which claims that “[a]lmost all studies show the black/white IQ gap is environmental,” and take a closer look at the studies. There are seven.

  1. “After World War II, many American GI’s (both white and black) fathered children by German women; these children were then raised in German society. The children fathered by black GI’s had an average IQ of 96.5, and the children fathered by white GI’s had an average IQ of 97—a statistically insignificant difference.”

    Meaningless because of sample bias. Take it away, Steve Sailer:

    The brain power of those accepted [to the Army] is impressive. Moskos and Sibley found that in 1994

    “83 percent of white recruits scored in the upper half of the mental aptitude test (compared with 61 percent of white youths in the national population), while 59 percent of black recruits scored in the upper half (compared with 14 percent of the black youths nationwide).”

    In other words, the Army’s black enlisted personnel score just as well on the general aptitude test as the average white American. (African-American officers average even better, of course.)

  2. “In another study of children raised in residential institutions, black, white and racially mixed children who were raised in the same enriched environment were given IQ tests. At four years of age, the white children had an average IQ of 103, the blacks had an average IQ of 108, and the racially mixed children had an average IQ of 106.”

    Unfortunately, I could not find this study, so I’ll assume the essay describes it accurately. Disregarding the possible sample bias with children raised in residential institutions, note that all the children were tested at age four, but the heritability of IQ increases with age. Nevertheless, the study’s findings must be taken into account—

    —meaning they must be weighed against the overwhelming counterevidence that blacks have an average IQ of about 85 (see below).

  3. “Another study measured the IQ’s of children from black-white unions.”

    I’m pretty sure a study where all the subjects are half white and half black can’t tell us much about race and IQ. There is probably a sample bias, too. Could black men who marry white women be smarter than average? Dumber? Who knows?

  4. “A genetic study . . . of 288 young blacks found almost no relationship between Europeanness and intelligence: the correlation was a trivial and nonsignificant .05.”

    Here is the first page of the study. The first paragraph directly contradicts the essayist’s conclusion. Aagain, I’m pretty sure a study where all the subjects are the same race can’t tell us much about race and IQ.

  5. “Another genetic study examined the correlation between IQ and European blood groups (as opposed to the estimated Europeanness [sic] of individuals based on blood groups).”

    Here is the first page of the study (with tiny sample sizes of 40 and 44), which explains that “[t]his result may not, however, be a very strong test of the genetic basis of the between-group IQ difference, because of independent assortment of blood group and ability genes over a number of generations among U.S. Negroes.”

  6. “Another study tested the hypothesis that if IQ were both hereditary and favored in Europeans, then blacks with high IQs should have several times the level of Europeanness than the black population in general.”

    The study considered only high-IQ black children, with an average IQ of 148.9 (sample bias much?), and measured Europeanness “based on self-reports on their ancestries.” How much, really, does this tell us about the effect of genes versus shared environment on IQ?

  7. The last study supports the theory that the IQ gap has a significant genetic component: “the Scarr-Weinberg study . . . examined the IQs of children from different races who were adopted by white parents. White adoptees turned out to have higher IQs than mixed-race adoptees, who had higher IQs than black adoptees.” It also has faults, which are described in the essay.

So those are the seven studies. (The claim, again, was that “[a]lmost all studies show the black/white IQ gap is environmental.”) Like me, the essayist notes that

[t]here are statistical difficulties with all the above studies. . . . The IQs of the parents were not known, and there is a possibility that the study samples were nonrepresentative of the population being studied.

No kidding. Nevertheless, apparently

the fact that the environmental results outnumbered the genetic results six-to-one makes [the suggestion—by the authors of The Bell Curve—that “the black/white IQ gap is largely genetically caused,”] completely indefensible.

Well, how about these results?

  • There are a total of 620 IQ studies in Race Differences in Intelligence, with a combined sample size of 814,778;
  • they show a 14- to 16-point IQ gap for American blacks (compared to American whites or whites in general), similar gaps for people of sub-Saharan African descent living in the Netherlands and Britain, and larger gaps for African and Caribbean blacks (with malnourishment a major contributor to this increase);
  • IQ is highly heritable; and
  • the effects of the shared environment on IQ scores are small (0-10%) in America.

Does that make it six to two, or six to six hundred twenty-one, or what? Can someone please calculate that for me? My head hurts.


*Outrageously oversimplified explanation of correlation: the correlation between two things measures how closely those things “match up” or “go together,” on a scale from 0 to 1. A correlation of 1 means they always show up together; a correlation of 0 means that they come and go totally independently of each other. (Yes, I know, it’s awful. Sorry.)

**Why have I restricted these statements to first world countries? Mainly because malnutrition impairs brain development (which I mention again later on). This significantly lowers the average IQ of people living in impoverished third world countries (though it does not eliminate race differences in intelligence). However, American blacks, and Americans in general, are not malnourished to the extent that it could significantly affect IQ scores—notwithstanding our love of junk food. (See Race Differences in Intelligence, pp. 182–186.) This discussion is restricted to the effects of shared environment in America today (family in particular, including socioeconomic status), and that’s also the IQ gap we’re interested in.

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