An Example of PC Science Denial: Two Interpretations
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. —Charles Darwin
Well, old Chuck Darwin was apparently mistaken with regard to a few points in his quote above. For one thing, we have become a bit less colonial than we were in his day, so the odds that we will “exterminate,” say, the aboriginal people of the highlands of New Guinea is much reduced (although chances are that their traditional lifestyle of yam farming, pig herding, and cannibalism will be quite extinct soon if it isn’t already); also, it is now supposed that our nearest living non-human relative is the chimpanzee, not the gorilla. But Darwin, after all, is probably the most influential and important biologist to come along in the history of science, and the man was no idiot. Furthermore he was a brave guy (much as Charles Murray is brave nowadays), knowing full well that he would be demonized for telling the truth as he saw it, but going ahead and telling it anyway. In his day it was hostile creationist Christians who opposed him, whereas more recently, for guys like Murray, it is the hostile PC thought and language police. Darwin wasn’t accused of racism; he was accused of atheism, which in those days was considered to be much worse. Racism in the 19th century was allowed as an obvious matter of course: all people had an immortal soul and presumably were equal in the sight of God, and Darwin himself was vehemently against the institution of slavery; but there was hardly anyone who would venture to suggest that, say, black people were just as intelligent as whites.
Even so, Darwin’s judgement in the quote above appears somewhat prophetic in view of 20th- and 21st-century intelligence testing: of all ethnicities, sub-Saharan African blacks and Australian aborigines consistently score much lower on cognitive abilities tests than any other large group of people, averaging an IQ score of approximately 70. Black people in America, on the other hand, for the past century at least, have shown an average IQ of around 85. Various “brown people,” such as West Asians, South Asians, and American Hispanics come next on the cognitive roster, with average IQs tending around 90. Next are white European types, with an average IQ in the neighborhood of 100-103. Second from the top, according to many tests conducted over several decades, are East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc.), with an average IQ test score of approximately 106, although some groups have tested at least as high as 111. And at the top of the cognitive totem pole are God’s Chosen People, the Ashkenazi Jews, with an alleged average IQ of at least 108, and with at least one survey in America ranking them as high as 115. Those skeptical of these numbers are referred to my previous post, along with the appended list of references there, as I won’t go over the data again here.
As I pointed out last time, the results are so consistent, and the testing procedures so refined, precise, and predictive with regard to socioeconomic success, etc., and the body of data so large, that the results are not particularly controversial—at least with regard to the actual numbers derived. What is ragingly controversial among psychologists, social scientists, and educators is why different ethnicities are so markedly stratified with regard to their tested cognitive abilities. Two main camps have formed with attempts to account for the data, often referred to as the hereditarian model and the culture-only model.
The hereditarian model has as its revered founder none other than Darwin himself. The gist of it is that racial differences in intelligence are partly environmental and partly genetic. This is consequently blatantly politically incorrect and duly reviled as “racist” by most social scientists, since the prevailing dogma is that there simply must not be genetic racial differences with regard to psychological traits. Every group of people must be equal in cognitive abilities; otherwise the new feminized PC leftist ideology of victimization will be largely erroneous, and the preferred enemy of the human race, namely white males, will be largely let off the hook.
What is emphatically insisted upon by most people concerned with the issue, with naysayers tending to be demonized and punished if possible, is that genetics is not a factor at all. At all. Differences in tested cognitive abilities are caused, according to the culture-only model, entirely by environmental factors, and in the West especially, by white people discriminating against and oppressing non-whites.
The following discussion will try to explain, to some degree, how these two models account for the empirical facts, or fail to account for them. I will be referring plenty to an article published by the American Psychological Association, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability” by J. P. Rushton and A. R. Jensen (2005), along with a followup article published in the same year by the same authors, entitled “Wanted: More Race Realism, Less Moralistic Fallacy.” These articles discuss how well each of the two models account for an array of different scientific data concerning intelligence and race.
First, what may be the most basic: the brain itself.
Brain size and structure. I remember as a teenager reading Stephen Jay Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man; and in it Gould mentions some 19th-century racist pseudoscientists who deliberately falsified their data to show that white people have larger cranial capacity and larger brains than black people. Well, it turns out that Gould himself falsified the data, or else his source of information did. Not only do white people and East Asians have significantly larger brains than black people, but the difference, as determined by numerous modern studies, some with huge sample sizes, is even greater than that estimated by Gould’s pseudoscientists. Averages that I worked out from six separate studies show a mean cranial capacity of 1394cc for East Asians, 1371cc for whites, and 1295cc for blacks (I’m supposing in the USA). With regard to brain size as determined from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and from the weighing of actual brains during autopsies, the differences are similar. A study in 1980 based on autopsies of 811 white Americans and 450 black Americans showed an average brain weight of 1323 grams for whites and 1223 grams for blacks. Brains of African blacks have been averaged at 1157 grams. The hereditarian explanation for the larger size among American blacks to African ones is that American blacks have on average about 25% European ancestry. The culture-only explanation must attribute the difference to malnutrition, or to a culture which does not exercise the brain sufficiently to bring out its maximum growth; or else, as is common, the brain size difference is simply ignored. Anyway, East Asians have the largest brains and black Africans the smallest (of the groups mentioned, at least), despite the fact that body size is the other way round: Asians have the smallest bodies, and blacks the largest. Even East Asians who suffered from malnutrition as small children tend to have larger brains and higher IQs than whites or blacks.
Research also shows that there is a correlation between brain size and measured IQ. According to Rushton and Jensen,
Studies on over 700 participants show that individuals with larger brain volumes have higher IQ scores. About two dozen studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the volume of the human brain have found an overall correlation with IQ of greater than .40 (Rushton & Ankney, 1996; P. A. Vernon, Wickett, Bazana, & Stelmack, 2000). The correlation of .40 using MRI is much higher than the .20 correlation found in earlier research using simple head size measures, although the .20 correlation is also reliable and significant.
It has been found that if members of different ethnicities are grouped by similar IQ scores, their head measurements also do not significantly differ. Thus a black person, a white person, and an East Asian, all with an IQ of 105, would also likely have similar cranial capacities. Asian and white brains have deeper convolution of the cortex and larger, more developed frontal lobes, and have on average more than 500 million more neurons. This kind of information can certainly be called “racist,” but it is also verifiable empirical reality.
Global Universality of the Data. One weak point for the culture-only model is that these differences in measured cognitive ability and brain size hold true throughout the world, not only in the United States, where racial discrimination is supposedly running rampant. For example, a mean average IQ of 70 for full-blooded black Africans holds true throughout sub-Saharan Africa (east, west, south, and center, although Nigeria does have a reported average IQ of 84 in one source), even in black-majority nations that have been free of colonial oppression for half a century or more. Is it mere coincidence, or lingering aftereffects of colonialism maybe, that all nations with predominantly black populations are poor, third-world countries—with the one exception of South Africa, which after coming under the control of a black majority is now in rapid decline? Is it mere coincidence that the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is Haiti, a black-majority nation with a reported average IQ of 67, which has not been a European colony for one and a half centuries? Is it mere coincidence that 34 of 47 countries with Least Developed Country status (as of 2012) are in sub-Saharan Africa, with these same countries also having some of the lowest recorded average intelligence in the world? Or is is mere coincidence that the countries with the highest measured average IQ—Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China—are all economically developed, relatively prosperous, and East Asian? I really am sorry about this, and what it implies, especially for black people. I really am. It would be very nice if it weren’t true. It almost inevitably leads to some very icky consequences that I do not like. But even so, all the postmodernist relativism, emotional wishful thinking, ideological dogmatism, denial, and plain old mass hysteria in the world are not going to change empirical facts such as these. They just aren’t. The best the politically correct can do is to equivocate around them, or cover them up.
Stubborn Stability of the Data Over Time. I’ve mentioned before that intelligence testing has been conducted in the USA for at least a century, and that the results have remained essentially the same. The living conditions of black people in America have improved significantly, to say the least, but their IQ scores have not. There was a surge during the middle of the 20th century in academic testing scores, but by the 1980’s this surge faded out; and this temporary improvement was reputedly with regard to culturally acquirable skills and information, not basic cognitive ability, or g. For example, reading skills may improve, or general knowledge, but not nonverbal pattern recognition, general reasoning capability, ability to repeat strings of numbers in forwards and reverse order, or reaction times. Improved schooling and other improvements in the living conditions of small children can boost their scores on IQ tests, indicating approximately 50% non-genetic conditioning for IQ, but this advantage fades with age and becomes negligible by adulthood, reportedly resulting in cognitive ability being about 80% genetic and 20% cultural by high school graduation. No improvements in social conditions or education have made any significant impact on our innate mental limitations. Starving a child may result in stunted intelligence, but stuffing him will only produce an obese child, not a smarter one.
Lack of Obvious Correlation Between Discrimination and Intelligence. Although the discrimination model is the favored rationalization for the data among politically correct social scientists and educators (and most of them are PC), there remains the problems of Jews and Asians being discriminated against plenty yet nevertheless excelling; and on the other hand black people and others who have relatively low measured cognitive ability despite having high socioeconomic status and experiencing apparently minimal social oppression. Ashkenazi Jews have been discriminated against, persecuted, and occasionally slaughtered en masse since ancient times, yet as soon as the oppression was lifted, say around the middle of the 20th century, they shot upwards, rocket-like, and are now among the most prosperous of humans. Plus, of course, they have an average IQ somewhere in the neighborhood of 110. During the latter half of the 20th century, after finally acquiring a semblance of social toleration and equal rights, the Jews, although accounting for only a minuscule fraction of the human population, nevertheless won 29% of the Nobel Prizes in science and literature. East Asians also have been discriminated against in the USA, but nevertheless they are more economically successful in America (that is, making more money) than whites are. On the other hand, black people in general continue to flounder socially and economically, not only in the USA, but throughout the world, everywhere they live.
Studies show that even black university students in sub-Saharan African countries have an average IQ in the low to mid 80’s—and we may assume that most university students, wherever they live, have not been brought up living in conditions of starvation and squalor. Black babies adopted into affluent white families continue to score lower than their white foster siblings; white babies adopted into black families continue to score higher; East Asian children previously hospitalized for malnutrition, then adopted into white Western families, still tend to have higher IQs, and larger brains, than their white foster families. Furthermore, it is recorded in official statistics that black high school students from families earning $150k or more per year still score significantly lower on college entrance exams (e.g. the SAT) than do white students from families earning less than $20k per year. Black children from the richest families still score slightly lower on IQ tests than do white children from the lowest strata of society. Thus progressives who are committed to the culture-only model are usually compelled to attribute such data to some sort of “crypto-victimization,” a kind of insidious, pervasive discrimination that may not be visible at all—and which, for inexplicable reasons, applies mainly to blacks and not to other groups.
Racial Mixing. Another finding that is more difficult to account for without recourse to genetic heredity is the fact that people of mixed race tend to have cognitive abilities scores intermediate between those of pure race on either side. This can explain why American blacks, who have approximately 25% European ancestry, score higher than do pure-blooded black Africans. The same holds true for mixed-race “coloureds” in South Africa (who also show a mean IQ around 85), and for mixed-race blacks in Jamaica. The idea that black people with some European ancestry would suffer less intelligence-reducing discrimination due to lighter skin doesn’t pan out well, as IQ scores correlate better to DNA tests for ancestry than they do to darkness of skin.
Regression to the Mean. One factor that I hadn’t heard of till recently is a kind of statistical approach called regression to the mean. The way it works is that, statistically, children of parents who deviate from the mean, either higher or lower, will tend back toward the middle of the bell-shaped curve for their particular group. This can be calculated and measured, in ways that I do not bother to understand. What it amounts to, though, is that, in America for example, children of black parents with an IQ of 120 will tend back toward 85 in a way that can be predicted and measured, while children of white parents with an IQ of 120 will tend toward 100 or so. Similarly, children of black parents with an IQ of 70 will tend toward 85, while those of white parents will tend toward 100. A strong scientific theory is one which not only accounts for existing data, but makes predictions which turn out to be correct; and the hereditarian theory predicted that this regression would occur, whereas the culture-only theory fails to account for it.
In short, the hereditarian model makes several correct predictions, including one or two counterintuitive ones (like black people actually doing better on culturally biased tests), and accounts for all the data at least as efficiently as does its politically correct rival. In fact the culture-only model often requires ignoring certain data, and jury-rigging explanations to suit individual cases, often in vague and unverifiable ways. But politically correct progressive social scientists will fight tooth and nail, desperately, to save the theory—because the alternative is too monstrous to tolerate. But more about that later.
Evolutionary Anthropology. I have encountered at least two explanations for higher intelligence in Eurasians than in Africans which involve our stone age ancestry, and which seem to make sense. First, when our adventuresome ancestors left Africa, they entered a very different environment from tropical and semitropical savannah. They entered, essentially, the Ice Age. Not only was the climate much cooler, but it required of humans technological innovations like warm clothing and food storage techniques. Intelligence was more at a premium in a new environment where life-threatening situations had to be figured out for the first time.
The second explanation involves a species of human called the Neanderthal. Neanderthals had a brain larger than that of humans nowadays; furthermore, white Europeans allegedly have around 4% Neanderthal ancestry. Thus Eurasians are a kind of hybrid between the earliest “modern” humans and the large-brained but otherwise limited Neanderthals. Only blacks and Khoisan people of Africa (plus maybe Australoids, about whom information is relatively scanty) have no Neanderthal ancestry, and thus miss out on this peculiar kind of hybrid vigor. I’ll have more to say about Neanderthals some other time.
Genetics Discoveries. Last but not least is scientific information concerning genes which influence psychological traits, including intelligence. A few of them have already been isolated, with results in conformity with the hereditarian theory; but knowledge in genetics is increasing exponentially, and it is only a matter of time before the effects of genes on intelligence, and of racial differences in genes, are well understood. Charles Murray has predicted that this rapidly growing field of science will be the death knell for the “blank slate” interpretation of human psychology, which in all honesty should have been obsolete long ago, but which fits in conveniently with postmodern feminist PC progressive theories, and so it has been retained, partly for political and emotional reasons. Different races have different frequencies of genes. This is clear. Brains are determined by genes. Psychological traits, including cognitive abilities, are determined by brains, at least from a scientific point of view. Thus different races will undoubtedly be found by Science to have different genetically-determined psychological traits, with intelligence being one of them. It’s only a matter of time. It’s already happening.
My original idea for this blog was to write shorter posts than I wrote for the other one; but this one is rather a long one nonetheless. Part of the trouble is that in writing about scientific racism, or “race realism,” or _________ (←insert derogatory slur of choice), one is always at risk of being accused of making unreasoned, ungrounded, and/or hate-motivated assertions. But many of those deeply committed to the PC point of view will never accept racial differences in cognitive ability, just as many deeply committed Christians will never accept evolution. Charles Murray has written eloquently, elaborately, and exhaustively on such matters, yet continues to be reviled as a hate-mongering pseudoscientific racist charlatan, even recently to his face by Democratic members of the US Congress. Anyway, the third and last installment of this monstrous discussion, in which I’ll try to explain why I’m bothering to write this at all, will come next time. Be warned.
|a public sign advertising scientific racism, presumably in Australia|
A Few More Select References
These are in addition to the sources provided in the previous post.
Rushton, J. P. and Jenson, A. R. (2005). Wanted: More Race Realism, Less Moralistic Fallacy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law (a journal of the American Psychological Association) 2005, Vol. 11, No. 2, 328-336. (http://www1.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/Rushton-Jensen-reply-to-commentaries-on-30years.pdf) (This article responds to attempted debunkments [debunkations?] of the other Rushton and Jensen (2005) cited in the previous post, with some trenchant remarks of a politico-philosophical anti-PC nature towards the end.)
I am hesitant to cite this, as the source is quite blatantly racist in the negative sense of the word (although he does admit to higher IQ in East Asians than in whites), but it is an amazing, ruthless onslaught of information. In the comments section to an article on The Federalist, “How the American Academy Helped Create the Alt-Right,” a person identifying as Rob has posted a series of long comments on the seemingly tangential issue of race differences. Although the information is like something off the website Stormfront (which I admit to looking at, hesitantly, a total of twice, because it came up on Google searches), the man has obviously done an astonishing amount of research on the subject, and his comments are backed up by an weighty burden of references, mostly to journal articles. Regardless of his motives, I suspect that most of the information therein is probably factual. And I have used a small amount of his onslaught as a source of information. http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/22/american-academy-helped-create-alt-right/#disqus_thread
This YouTube video is a vigorous case against systemic racial discrimination (the “blame Whitey” model) in America by an intelligent and successful American black man: Larry Elder, interviewed by Dave Rubin, originally published in January 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phPXTWJhnYM