Is Nobelist James Watson, Co-Discoverer of the Structure of DNA, a Racist?

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According to the Independent, James Watson said:

The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, saidit was studying Dr Watson's remarks "in full". Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

His views are also reflected in a book published next week, in which he writes: "There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

For what it's worth, immigrants from Africa seem to get really smart once they move here. In any case, as I have argued before:

No matter who turns out to be right in the nature versus nurture debate over why there is a gap in black/white IQ scores, the idea that we must strive to treat every person as an individual, not as a representative of some group or other, seems right to me.

Whole Independent article here.

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  1. if anything, genetic differences in intelligence, thus outcomes, may be construed as evidence for racial based social policies.

  2. I don’t beleive there is any inherently “superior” or more intelligent racial or national group.

    Except, of course, Canadians. ;P

  3. Of course, what is far, far more disturbing than the prospect of one particular man being a racist is an Orwellian bureaucracy looking into that man’s alleged thought crime.

  4. Everyone knows racists are smarter

  5. I should point out that humans actually have very little genetic diversity. You will find a greater variety of DNA in a single chimpanzee troupe than in the entire human race.

    Additionally there is greater diversity of genes within racial groups than between the mean genetic profile of each group. In other words, very little of the variation in genes between two individuals can be predicted by looking at their racial or ethnic background.

    Of course, it could be possible that genes that govern intelligence do correlate with race. So what? So long as people’s rights are respected, it really won’t matter.

    I think the good Dr. is completely mistaken about why aid to Africa does not work. Take a look at Scotland. Now, when someone examines all the great English discoveries and inventions in the past three centuries, more often than not, there’s a Scot who was the driving force behind it. Thus, we can state with confidence that there are many intelligent Scots. Yet, Scotland has been receiving massive amounts of aid from the British government and is perenially economically depressed.

    The problem is quite simply that the foreign aid given to Africans is quite harmful. Unesco encourages and assists dictators in setting up public schooling to control their populations. Arms embargoes leave locals defenseless against predation by hostile tribes who control local governments. Food aid bankrupts local farmers. The bulk of the money for major construction projects are spent on foreign crews, and as often as not when the project is turned over to poorly trained locals, the project deteriorates. Protectionist policies in the West deprive Africans of export markets, while agreeing to support western patents deprives Africans the opportunity to develop manufacturing systems locally.

    Africa’s problems, of course, are not caused by Western aid. I think most of the problems are, frankly cultural, and are rooted in the endemic barbaric tribalism coupled with institutions brought in by colonial Europeans that were designed to facilitate exploiting the people and natural resources of the continent.

    While it is possible that culture can cause a decrease in effective intelligence (just imagine the effect on IQ scores of a society where reading was considered effeminate and men who read alot couldn’t find mates). But the potential intelligence encoded in the genes is unaffected.

  6. (cue harry belefonte soundtrack)

    “thats right, the racists are…smarter, thats right the racists are…smart-er”…

  7. Ron, if immigrants were a random selection from a population, you would have a point. They are clearly not. Immigrants are self-selected and their children should not be expected to be average for the population their parents came from.

    It is a matter of when, not if, that we start pin-pointing individual genes that are related to intelligence, and they will not be equally distributed between all populations, ethnic groups or nationalities. No gene is. It is better to work this problem from the angle that these differences don’t matter at the individual level than to pretend they don’t exist despite the ever-increasing data saying otherwise.

  8. Now, when someone examines all the great English discoveries and inventions in the past three centuries, more often than not, there’s a Scot who was the driving force behind it.

    Aye!! If it’s nooo Scottish, it’s Crap!!

  9. Africans who make it to the States do extremely well, as do immigrants from India, as being smart correlates highly with the capacity to leave those countries and successfully re-settle in the U.S. They don’t get smart when they arrive here, they get here in the first place because they are smart.

    It is very disturbing that Watson is immediately pounced on as a racist, although his statement that blacks are dumber because of performance on certain tests sounds unscientific.

  10. Sheeyot. I don’t unnerstand’ why this muthafuckin’ Watson bitch gots to be dissin’ brothas n’ shit. Nigga a raciss.

    Werd.

  11. Old people are statistically more likely to be senile. It must be the dementia talking.

  12. But sometimes they can jump higher, you know?

  13. Nitpick: Watson didn’t discover DNA– he discovered the structure of DNA, which is what got him his Nobel.

    I guess that’s not really relevant to Watson’s recent statements, but it’s a common misconception that I’d like to see sorted out.

  14. loli: You are right and I when I wrote the first headline that’s what I said, so I will now correct it. Thanks.

  15. 1. Tests are inherently biased tools.

    2. One can observe greater variation of test results within a single family than that shown between racial groups.

    3. All people can contibute to the successful functioning of an equitable society.

    4. Even dumbass racists can make me laugh.

  16. Not being any sort of a scientist, I’m not in a position to evaluate the value of Watson’s remarks one way or another.

    What I am in a position to evaluate is subject matter: is anyone else getting sick and tired of seeing about a half-dozen posts on racism on this here libertarian blog to every one on a topic that might actually be germane to libertarianism?

  17. I haven’t posted here in a while. I promise this isn’t a troll.

    “While it is possible that culture can cause a decrease in effective intelligence (just imagine the effect on IQ scores of a society where reading was considered effeminate and men who read alot couldn’t find mates).”

    Isn’t that exactly what slavery was here for 400 years? I understand why this is such a taboo subject, but the anonymity of the internet should allow us to be less PC. I grew up in a majority black town in the deep South and could give you hundreds of reasons why I thought blacks were significantly less intelligent than whites. After living all over, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of those indifferences probably had a lot to do with geography (basically, the immigrant arguement).

    I would be much more reluctant to talk about this if unwed pregnacies were treated with some disdain from the PC crowd, but the bottom line is that the stupidest are overbreeding with no Darwinian intervention. I think this is happening with other races as well, but blacks are overrepresented. I don’t think this makes me a racist, but a well-traveled observant person. Maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts?

  18. I saw Watson speak about ten years ago (probably the 30th anniversary of The Double Helix). It was clear then that he had already lost some clarity of mind. It’s sad that his mental dilapidation has become a public spectacle.

  19. I’ll ignore the whole “western policies toward African countries” thing ’cause I’m nowhere near qualified to opine. But I’ll take a stab at the “this race is more intelligent than that race” claim.

    First of all, lots of studies back in the day (yeah, I’ll look for them on line later) have shown that intelligence is not an accurate predictor of “success” in life. Other factors such as social skills, cultural indoctrination, and — most important of all — a sense of drive and determination, are more accurate predictors. In fact, intelligence is seen by most people as some mysterious eccentricity to be avoided and even ridiculed. Intelligence simply isn’t a valued asset in the majority culture. Hell, ain’t it them inelligent types who are always stirrin’ up trouble with that evolutionary nonsense and doubtin’ the Almighty? Son, you don’t wanna be one o’ them there nerds, now do ya? Now step forward with your left foot and rotate your hips when you throw that football. Yeah, like that. Where was I … Oh yeah, intelligence is for wussies and I for one welcome our fellow non-intelligent African-Americans into our society.

  20. I’ve already alerted Reason favorite SPLC about his remarks; their auto-responder says they’ll look into calling him a hate group. I’ve also alerted Media Matters; while they didn’t see any relationship to the Hillary campaign, they did promise to look into it.

  21. Berry,

    Worry not, the Darwinian intervention will come eventually. Once the idiocrats start watering their crops with Brawndo (with electrolytes) their fate is sealed.

  22. I do believe that the assumption that african immigrants “get really smart” when they come here seems to miss the obvious reality… that, for the most part, only those who are well above average make it here in the first place. That is to say nothing of the nature/nurture debate though…

  23. is anyone else getting sick and tired of seeing about a half-dozen posts on racism on this here libertarian blog to every one on a topic that might actually be germane to libertarianism?

    Hmm, sounds like a complaint that Hit and Run is no longer a libertarian blog.

    Judges, can we get a ruling on that interpretation?

    If I’m right, then I am duty-bound to invoke the rules and say:

    Drink!!!!!

  24. this is interesting; as i worked my way through “molecular biology of the gene,” i started getting hot for david duke.

  25. that, for the most part, only those who are well above average make it here in the first place.

    i don’t know what the arguments against selection are, but prof. sowell noted that black immigrants perform better than slave descendents on iq tests and on other measures of success (income, education). that’s certainly consistent with the selection hypothesis- descendants of slaves would represent more of a random selection than immigrants.

  26. Within a decade, if we really tried, we could find the gene that turned Watson into a doddering curmudgeon.

  27. “…prof. sowell noted that black immigrants perform better than slave descendents on iq tests and on other measures of success (income, education). that’s certainly consistent with the selection hypothesis…”

    It’s not consistent with any conclusion beyond the one that people who believe this crap are really ignorant. The key concept that everyone who buys these arguments is missing is “heritability.” The degree to which offspring resemble their parents is often hugely context (environment) dependent, and this has been shown to be the case over and over with common measures of intelligence. The fact that black people on overall average may test lower than whites on some intelligence test says nothing (to say nothing of whether the test itself is inherently worth a damn). The relevant question is how would black people in the same environment as white people perform?

    This is why a depressing number of studies purportedly describing some complex (or in some cases even simple) genetic discovery in humans are crap. There’s really no way we can practically (and certainly not ethically) control for environmental variation. Even the best socio-economic/age/race/gender/shoe-size/etc controlled study in humans would be pretty sketchy in most other organisms.

  28. edna-

    Of course, descendants of slaves are more likely to have white ancestors (and southern white ancestors especially) than recent black immigrants. If somebody wanted to argue that recent black immigrants have genetic advantages over descendants of black slaves, I wonder what that would imply for southern whites…

    FWIW, when the difference in means is less than the standard deviation, I think it’s hard to take seriously anybody who claims that there’s a significant difference.

  29. And yes, I’m aware that there are ways to distinguish two distributions with slightly different means and large standard deviations. But it ain’t easy, and you’re highly vulnerable to errors that you didn’t account for. (OK, you’re always vulnerable to errors that you didn’t account for, but that’s especially true when the effect you’re looking for is less than a standard deviation.)

  30. Since most of the variability of the human genome is in Africa, it is obvious that any variation from the human statistical norm is most likely to be found in Africa.

    Therefore, if there is a definable group of humans who have above average “intelligence”, that group is probably in Africa.

  31. Racist or not makes no difference, fortunately, because he’s either wrong or right. If I had to guess I’d say he’s wrong, but the nice thing about science is I can just wait and find out and in the meantime act like I don’t know all the answers, because I don’t.

  32. That’s right guys — think with your hearts, not with your heads.

    No other subject seems to elicit an abandonment of critical thinking like intelligence research, especially the issue of group differences. At least when it comes to evolution or free trade, half of the political spectrum can be counted on to defend the truth.

    These are empirical questions, which have been examined by researchers for decades. I can understand that the amount of misinformation spread about this topic could cause the average person to believe that Watson’s comments are baseless. But misinformation cannot account for the craftier attempts at obfuscation found in this thread and in the media.

    I see no reason to believe that a happy untruth about this topic will make for better social policy than an unwelcome truth. If different human populations do have different distributions of cognitive ability and if those differences have social and economic consequences — both conclusions are are beyond dispute — then what good does it do to ignore the situation?

    Around the time of the publication of The Bell Curve (c.a. 1994), two useful reviews were written about the state of the science of individual and group differences in intelligence. While over a decade old now, they are nonetheless still useful is establishing a sense of what was already known at that time — a far different picture than what is commonly recognized. Here are links to the free full texts.

    * “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” — an op-ed signed by 52 professors which was published first in the WSJ and then the journal Intelligence — http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/intell/mainstream.html

    * “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns” — the report of a task force assembled by the American Psychological Association published in the journal American Psychologist — http://www.michna.com/intelligence.htm

  33. FWIW, when the difference in means is less than the standard deviation, I think it’s hard to take seriously anybody who claims that there’s a significant difference.

    Exactly. Seems to me that a non-significant difference could easily be accounted for by cultural factors and biased tests. Are we supposed to believe that IQ tests are infallible measures of something as complex as intelligence? They’re designed by humans, not omniscient beings.

    “There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically.

    I think this is true, but again, the differences in IQ across racial groups might not be meaningful. I mean, am I wrong or aren’t non statistically significant differences supposed to be interpreted as no differences at all?

  34. And yes, I’m aware that there are ways to distinguish two distributions with slightly different means and large standard deviations.

    Well this I was not aware of…do not claim to be a statistician…

  35. From the Independent article:

    (Watson) said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when “testing” suggested the contrary.

    So exactly which policies towards African countries would Watson change and how would he change them? Watson’s conclusions about racial inferiority are so debatable that they comprise yet another good reason why governments should not be having “policies” dictating how folks in the Western world interact with African folks.

    This is the same type of open question situation that argues for a voluntary / non-governmental response to any anthropogenic global warming that might exist.

  36. Vanessa-

    Here’s my understanding of it: Basically, it’s all about the size of your sample, and follows from the central limit theorem. Suppose that you are sampling from a distribution with a mean mu and standard deviation sigma. You take N measurements. The average of your measurements should be mu, but the average will have a normal distribution with standard deviation sigma/sqrt(N). So, in principle you could measure the mean of that distribution with arbitrary accuracy. But you’d have to have large samples, and you’d have to be confident that there are no systematic errors.

    And even if there are no systematic errors, once you start adopting this statistical mindset it’s harder for a racist to claim any sort of “vindication.” If the difference in mean is less than the standard deviation, any statistically justifiable claim is a rather modest one. It goes from “We’re the master race!” to “Statistically speaking, we’re less than a standard deviation better…well, on average, at least.”

    Now, where you really get to claim some glory is if your group has a larger standard deviation. In that case, you’ll have more outliers on the right hand side of the bell curve, so more geniuses. OK, that sounds nice…until you realize that you’ll also have more dumbasses on the other side of the curve.

    Besides, I’m not sure how far the race/IQ obsessives really want to push this. If it turned out that recent African immigrants have some sort of genetic advantage over descendants of black slaves, well, the descendants of black slaves just happen to have a whole bunch of genes from white southerners.

    I’d love to see one of the race/IQ obsessives turn that nugget over in his 2 cylinder brain.

  37. And no, I was not referring to Watson with the “2 cylinder brain” comment.

  38. thoreau, your comments aiming to deflate racists are mostly correct. however, your suggestions that a mean group difference of less than 1 sd is not “significant” in the statistical or common-sense meaning is incorrect.

    fwiw — here’s a single report on mean US white and black IQ scores from a standardization sample I happen to remember — whites (mean = 101.4, SD = 14.7, N=1664), blacks (mean = 86.9, SD = 13.0, N=192) from (Reynolds, Chastain, Kaufman, & McLean, 1987, p. 330)

    you can do the math (the SE for those means is going to be tiny), but that difference is both significant (p less than .05) and has a large practical consequence.

  39. I should point out that humans actually have very little genetic diversity. You will find a greater variety of DNA in a single chimpanzee troupe than in the entire human race.

    That’s absurd. Normal human adults range in height from 5 feet to 7 feet. Complexion, eye color, hair color — all of these genetically produced phenomena show a tremendous range of diversity not found in your chimpanzee troupe.

    You have been propagandized by egalitarian ideologues speaking non-scientific nonsense because of an (utterly absurd) fear that an understanding of genetical differences between human groups would lead to … well, what, exactly?

    That’s the crazy thing about this debate. What Watson (and Murray & Herrnstein and others) say is that there are average group differences which appear to be explained in part by genetics. So what? I just don’t see why that’s such a controversial statement. And yet everyone acts as if anybody who suggests this (including the leading genetic scientist on the planet) is advocating genocide or something.

    People need to get a grip.

  40. Thoreau:
    Of course you’d say that…you have the brainpan of a stagecoach tilter!
    Everyone:
    Wow, it’s obvious that a bunch of people on this blog don’t know $hit about statistics or genetics. (Their ancestors must have come over from England as indentured servants)

  41. And yet everyone acts as if anybody who suggests this (including the leading genetic scientist on the planet) is advocating genocide or something.

    This is because they use such statements in an attempt to influence policy. Watson is not, after all, making this claim in a vacuum, the innocent researcher just stating the truth. He’s making this claim in connection to his views on policy towards Africa.

    I’d be interested in seeing what, exactly, Mr. Watson contends that First World social policy should be towards Africa if those people are just not so smart. And why such policies should not be applied to the less smart people of our own First World nations.

  42. I would be much more reluctant to talk about this if unwed pregnacies were treated with some disdain from the PC crowd, but the bottom line is that the stupidest are overbreeding with no Darwinian intervention. I think this is happening with other races as well, but blacks are overrepresented. I don’t think this makes me a racist, but a well-traveled observant person. Maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts?

    The data suggests the opposite (Flynn Effect).

  43. No matter who turns out to be right in the nature versus nurture debate over why there is a gap in black/white IQ scores, the idea that we must strive to treat every person as an individual, not as a representative of some group or other, seems right to me.

    Israel does a poor job meeting the spirit of this ideal.

  44. An interesting series of comments. Of course, I have met many Americans of differing colours and have tended to find that the most intelligent have been the ones who weren’t actually in America. There are a number of reasons for this, possibly including self-selection and diet – you do seem to improve when the sugar in your diet is reduced and when you get enough fibre and exercise. Leaving the States also seems to free your brains up to thinking for yourselves a bit after years of Hollywood and Fox News.

    Are these comments racist?

  45. “The data suggests the opposite (Flynn Effect).”

    I didn’t think I was implying that the entire world is getting stupider (not that Flynn necessarily mandates the opposite). With that in mind, how is the Flynn Effect relative to what I said?

  46. I have also noticed this. I suppose we in Europe will have to reconsider our policy approaches to dealing with USA. We must now see that they have been electing their greatest minds to govern them and sending the smartest specimens of their gene pool to represent them at the UN. Bush and Bolton do not reflect their average intelligence as we had previously thought. They really don’t have anyone better than that.

    Even their scientists and Nobel laureates have to be re-evaluated in the light of the latest information. Apparently, according to his fellow-countrymen, they have a scientist, a geneticist in fact, who is so dumb he believes in racial theories. He probably doesn’t realise that Algebra was invented in Africa.

    His compatriots take him to actually be thinking only of a small genetic cross-section of the people of this huge and diverse continent from whom the ex-slaves in his country are descended from, not the Africa we know. Whatever, lets treat the Americans as dumber than us.

  47. noted that black immigrants perform better than slave descendents on iq tests

    The simple explanation for this would be that the slave descendents were not trying as hard as the immigrants. There is a stigma attached to excellence in certain black subcultures. You don’t want to be accused of “acting white”.
    I’ve always thought that the assumption people will always try their best on IQ tests was a serious flaw in the methodology.

  48. Perform this thought experiment:

    If it actually was proved, beyond doubt, that ethnic Africans did have, on average, a lower intelligence than other races, would the ‘politically correct’ elite accept this?

    Obviously not. In fact, we would get exactly the same responses as are exhibited on this page. The messenger would be demonised.

    Political correctness, liberalism, egalitarianism, cultural Marxism, cannot change facts. They cannot even accept facts.

    Ironically, as Zizek argues, ‘multiculturalism’ actually is a false ideology that maintains the power of the white upper-middle classes. Judging others’ is empowerment.

  49. Seems to me that a non-significant difference could easily be accounted for by cultural factors and biased tests.

    the biased test thing puzzles me. why do asian immigrants score significantly better (yes, yes thoreau, less than a s.d., but still significant) than whites if the tests are biased? there is less cultural overlap between the academics who put the i.q. tests together and asian immigrants than there is between those academics and us-origin blacks?

    i will remind a few of the posters that *no-one* makes the claim that most asians are smarter than most whites who in turn are smarter than most blacks. that’s a straw man. the claim is (and the evidence, for whatever reason supports it) that *on average* asians perform better than whites who perform better than blacks on iq tests. the distribution overlap is a strong one and the tails are wide. thomas sowell is a lot smarter than me and at least as smart as charles murray.

    is it racist to note that in whatever endeavor, there tends to be ethnic weighting? look at the results of any major international long distance running competition. then do the same for sprinting and weightlifting. you’ll see each of them dominated by different ethnicities and there’s no way that anyone could claim that “running” is culturally biased.

  50. Watson is somewhat cracked. He’s made these comments before, IIRC, but they revolved around how black women were dumber and sexier.

  51. Aba(n)doned Reason: Good links at 1:52. Looks as though no matter how they parse the variables, the apparent differences in intelligence between different “groups” just won’t go away.

    But, as others here have pointed out — so what? Everyone can achieve individual success — and contribute to the success of society — in his/her own way. 23 years in the military, working side-by-side with men and women of all races/ethnic groups, has erased any prejudices I may have once had.

    There’s only one race: homo sapiens sapiens

  52. Each pure race represents a part of the human problem. Blacks have all the problems and none of the solutions of all humans. Jews have all the solutions and none of the problems. The unity of the perfect Black and the perfect Jew would create the Perfect Person.

    Watson isn’t racist, you idiots. He’s just honest about data. Real modesty entails trusting fact over opinion. “Everyone is equal” is a pretty little opinion that helps society run better. But both between races, and within races, it is dramatically untrue. People are equal as an aggregate, as are groups of people, but they are all specified by normal curves. That’s why we talk about behavior being “normal”. Normal to what? Well, normal to the box of sex we’ve drawn ourselves into.

    Please email me at deidarajefferson@gmail.com for questions or comments.

  53. Actually, I was wrong, too. Behavior is normal to mind, mind is normal to behavior. But the symmetry extends outside of this universe, and into the negaverse which contains all antimatter.

    Oh also mind is the fundamental particle of existence, and consists in the unity of a perfect photon’s wave and particulate forms. That’s why a priori concepts exist: all concepts in 4d space are embodied in a fertilized egg, and it re-solves all the old problems the genetic algorithm has previously solved in the shortest possible amount of time during its gestation.

    Sped up enough, the whole history of life on earth up to now takes about nine months. I can’t wait for our first true ancestor sims, so we can speed up memetic evolution, too.

  54. What is a meme? A meme is a state of mind. What is a state of mind? For that, we need to know, “what is mind”? Answer: mind is the unity between the internal and external universe, self, and other. It’s a serial processor running on a parallel architecture. Memory is a sense. What is it a sense of? TIME. Each meme is a state of mind in time.

  55. A better question would be if an economist said the exact same thing — that Africans aren’t as smart as westerners — could you under any circumstances call him a racist ?

  56. It goes from “We’re the master race!” to “Statistically speaking, we’re less than a standard deviation better…well, on average, at least.”

    Well said, er, typed Thoreau!

    What’s the obsession with IQ?…I’d rather like being surrounded by focussed, hardworking community members anyday…what studies show biologically based correlation to those qualities?

  57. Wigga please…..

  58. I have little doubt that if I took two populations of whites and subjected one to continuous low-grade malnourishment [to a level sufficient to stunt average height] and did not supply the malnourished with formal schooling, it would score lower on intelligence tests than my control group.

    By the way, The Bell Curve does not speak to this argument, so it should not be cited. It explicitly does not offer a genetic argument, but merely claims that intelligence is heritable. Given the way human family structures work, a heritable trait can be rooted either in genetics [parents pass on genes] OR on environment [parents tend to duplicate many features of the environment in which they themselves were raised]. This is discussed by Murray at length.

  59. Edna –

    With regard to the ethnicity grouping in sports:

    Whites were represented extremely well in almost all sports back when there were large groups of whites who were poor enough to see sports as their only ticket to achievement.

    Look at the surnames in lists of old baseball players and boxers. You can literally see the waves of poor white immigrants moving through the system, and finally peetering out as those groups attained positions in society that would allow them to make money by doing things other than get punched in the head or hit a ball. Now we don’t have enough poor white immigrants to produce a white boxing champion. But here come the Russians…

  60. “Watson isn’t racist, you idiots. He’s just honest about data. Real modesty entails trusting fact over opinion. “Everyone is equal” is a pretty little opinion that helps society run better. But both between races, and within races, it is dramatically untrue.”

    It’s always a shame when someone pronounces others idiots then immediately follows up with stupid statements like these. Watson is not “honest about data,” he just doesn’t understand what it actually means. Obviously it’s true that individual people, regardless of race, are different; no one is arguing otherwise. But there’s no legitimate scientific reason to believe that different races on the whole are inherently different in intelligence; all of the differences we see can easily be explained by environment.

    And Ali-Bubba, Watson hasn’t been “the leading genetic scientist on the planet” on the planet for four decades, if ever. Unfortunately these days he’s become kind of a joke, as these comments make pretty clear.

  61. [I]s anyone else getting sick and tired of seeing about a half-dozen posts on racism on this here libertarian blog to every one on a topic that might actually be germane to libertarianism?

    Racism is merely an ugly form of collectivism. We should not think of people as members of groups but as individuals.

  62. The big question I have is why do real African Americans (you know the ones who have actual been to/come directly from Africa) speak better English than all of those other African Americans that have never left the US at any point in their lives?

    Screw all the deep thoughts on DNA and ancestory, explain this simple fact to me first.

  63. I don’t beleive there is any inherently “superior” or more intelligent racial or national group.

    Except, of course, Canadians. ;P

    Aresen, then how do you explain this?

  64. …real African Americans …speak better English …Screw all the deep thoughts on DNA and ancestory, explain this simple fact to me first.

    ‘real’ ‘better’…interesting notion you have for what constitutes a fact.

  65. The big question I have is why do real African Americans (you know the ones who have actual been to/come directly from Africa) speak better English than all of those other African Americans that have never left the US at any point in their lives?

    Self-selection bias. That actually explains the performance of African immigrants in university as well. We’re getting the cream of Africa’s crop, becuase they’re the best placed to easily immigrate.

    re: language. My boss is actually from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). French is the official language, but most importantly, in French Africa, French is the language of the elite. The elite speak well. So Cesaire speaks properly–in English and French.

    Contrast that to the French spoken by (say) the French Canadian women who work in our cafeteria. In French Canada French was, and still is, the language of the common people, and a poorly-educated common people at that. They don’t speak well at all–even more educated Quebecers have trouble understanding them.

    Who was it called French Canadians the “white Negroes of the Americas?”

  66. Bob and Doug, eh? Lookin’ good after all these years !!!

  67. The inherent differences in measures of mean intelligence among people of different races are so vanishingly small that no one can say with confidence whether they exist at all.

    And the range of intelligence among people of the same race is so much vastly larger than any demographic differences.

    Which means that people who draw broad conclusions about black people as a whole not being smart enough to succeed are drawing on a very weak bit of data, and then applying it to all members of a demographic group.

    Does Watson think that, say, the black people with advanced degrees from western universities who make up the political elite in most African countries – the ones attempting to implement development programs – are failing because they aren’t intelligent enough to do so?

  68. I suppose it’s possible that there are some racial differences in average intelligence, but even if there are I don’t see how they’d matter much one way or the other.

    If you look at men and women, for example: men are likely to be better at mathematics, while women are likely to be better at language/verbal things. Fine, accept it, but so what? There are still individual women who are brilliant at math and individual men who are excellent writers, and as long as these individuals are allowed to pursue their full potential that’s fine. It will only be a problem if you think the law should either be written to say “Women CAN NOT work in math fields, and men CAN NOT work as writers,” or, conversely, if you say “Since women are 51 percent of the population they MUST be 51 percent of the mathematicians as well, and if they’re not that’s proof of a patriarchal plot.”

  69. Aresen,

    “Except for Canadians?” You mean like. . .The Shat?

  70. Watson isn’t racist, you idiots. He’s just honest about data. Real modesty entails trusting fact over opinion.

    vs. what Watson said:

    He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.

  71. Which means that people who draw broad conclusions about black people as a whole not being smart enough to succeed are drawing on a very weak bit of data, and then applying it to all members of a demographic group.

    Joe, what would one then conclude about the role/value of affirmative action?

  72. He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.

    Even if so, that can be blamed on cultural and legal factors (like the possibility that less-qualified minorities are hired to meet the legal requirement that you have X number of employees from each category, or that subpar minority employees are harder to fire because you’re automatically accused of racism whenever you do).

  73. gaijin,

    Joe, what would one then conclude about the role/value of affirmative action?

    Absolutely nothing, since ideas about the inherent inferiority of black people have nothing whatsoever to do with affirmative action.

    Affirmative action is an attempt to undo inequalities produced by culture, society, and law. Affirmative Actions assumes that vast disparities in wealth, opportunity, or social standing among different ethnic groups are NOT the consequence of inherent differences.

  74. gaijin,

    I take it back. If one accepts that genetic factors play no or almost no role in the achievement levels of different demographic groups, then certain conclusions inevitably follow from that.

    For example, that there must be cultural, economic, legal or other social factors that exaplain different outcomes, rather than the difference in median SES between black and white families being natural.

    Or, that the robustness and longetivity of these outcome-differences demonstrates that inequalities imposed at an earlier point in history will not just even themselves out via meritocratic competition once those inequalities are no longer being enforced.

  75. Affirmative action is an attempt to undo inequalities produced by culture, society, and law. Affirmative Actions assumes that vast disparities in wealth, opportunity, or social standing among different ethnic groups are NOT the consequence of inherent differences.

    And if affirmative action, in practice, meant “if you have an equally qualified white guy and minority guy, the minority guy gets preference,” that might even work. But when it means “hire the less-qualified minority guy over the more-qualified white guy, or hire the less-qualified woman over the more-qualified man,” that does not eradicate injustice; it merely substitutes one form of legally-enforced injustice for another.

  76. Affirmative Actions assumes that vast disparities in wealth, opportunity, or social standing among different ethnic groups are NOT the consequence of inherent differences.

    And this false assumption is why Affirmative Action should be abolished, or at least greatly reduced.

    Even if so, that can be blamed on cultural and legal factors

    Your language gives you away, Jennifer. Rather than looking for factors on which to blame the phenomenon to which Watson refers, how about going for the truth?

  77. Your language gives you away, Jennifer. Rather than looking for factors on which to blame the phenomenon to which Watson refers, how about going for the truth?

    That’s exactly what I’ve done. If you have a system that holds people to different standards based solely on what color they are, then you’ll sho-nuff start noticing big differences between the colors. If, for example, a white person has to be a super-genius to gain admittance to a certain school, whereas a black guy only has to be slightly smarter than average, you’ll soon find the school populated by white super-geniuses and black so-so intellects. Does this mean blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites? No; it means the system does not demand as much intelligence from blacks than from whites, and therefore won’t GET as much intelligence from blacks than from whites.

  78. For more on the statistics of heritability and complex behavior traits, this is the best short discussion on the topic I have seen.

    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/520.html

    Those who use the Bell Curve as their source should read this as well to get an in-depth peer review of the science
    http://www.powells.com/biblio?PID=27627&cgi=product&isbn=0-387-94986-0

    And for those interested in a detailed look at the current techniques being used to delve into human population genetics
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1893020

    A final complication arises when racial classifications are used as proxies for geographic ancestry. Although many concepts of race are correlated with geographic ancestry, the two are not interchangeable, and relying on racial classifications will reduce predictive power still further.

    The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population. Thus, caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes.

  79. the truth is culture doesn’t exist or something i guess…

    What is a meme? A meme is a state of mind.

    no. a meme is a metaphor to describe cultural transmission patterns.

  80. Often ignored in the nature vs nurture is the in utero environment. The evidence that pre natal environment is of paramount importance to the physical and mental development of a child is overwhelming. Since poverty is a major cause of poor prenatal care, we can expect the underclass, as a goup, to have lower mental development. It appears to me that, genetics aside, this would be self perpertuating. i.e. “Stupid” people neglecting/unable to nurture a fetus properly, both pre and post natal, would have “stupid” children that are also unable to properly care for their offspring. If so, the underclass children will have lower “intelligence” by any valid measurement. Is there anyway to seperate this from the genetic/social influences?

    Of cousre, I haven’t been to college so I’m probably talking out of my ass.

  81. Jennifer,

    You’ve just replaced Watson’s “clever” with “qualfied.”

    And even then, your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premise. Your argument is that of the absolutist pacifist – because a soldier might shoot an innocent civilian or conscript, it can never be right to use the army.

  82. This seems to directly contradict Watson’s interpretation…

    While the estimates in Table 3 are quite imprecise, the qualitative results are
    not likely to be affected by reasonable alternative methods. The results are somewhat
    surprising: wealth, race and schooling are important to the inheritance of
    economic status, but IQ is not a major contributor, and, as we have seen above, the
    genetic transmission of IQ is even less important.

    http://www.santafe.edu/~bowles/2002JEP.pdf

  83. If you have a system that holds people to different standards based solely on what color they are, then you’ll sho-nuff start noticing big differences between the colors.

    Oh, please, Jennifer. As if racism and demeaning the intelligence of black people is a consequence of affirmative action. You might have noticed, there is quite a bit LESS racism and LESS acceptance of the theory of black inferiority than there was before affirmative action began. Do you think Watson is assuming the intellectual inferiority of Africans because he’s had a great deal of experience working with them?

  84. The appropriateness of Affirmative Action programs is highly dependent upon implementation.

    Jennifer’s objections are based on a certain idea about how affirmative action programs work in Universities…most don’t work like that.

    Most AA policies say: ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, we will choose someone from group A over group B. Or ONCE ADMISSION CRITERIA ARE MET, we will consider group membership as a factor among many in filling available slots.

    Selection processes in most Universities are highly subjective to start with. Many AA programs simply attempt to bring some of the biases out in the open.

  85. Oh, please, Jennifer. As if racism and demeaning the intelligence of black people is a consequence of affirmative action.

    Joe, judging people differently based on their race is, by definition, racism. I am saying that people should be judged as individuals, not members of a given race or gender group.

    You’ve just replaced Watson’s “clever” with “qualfied.”

    If you want to pretend that qualifications shouldn’t matter when hiring for a job–well, I suppose it’s easier to do that when you work for the government and know that mere failure won’t drive you out of business. I’ve been working for the private sector for some time now, and while I don’t give a damn what color my colleagues are I DO care that they be able to do their jobs, because if they don’t the whole paper might go under and then we’ll ALL be out of work.

  86. After reading Immaculee Ilibagiza’s account of the Rwanda Holocaust, I was totally impressed by her intelligence and capabilities as an individual. At the same time, I had to ask myself if such an event could have happened any place else besides black Africa.

  87. The question I have is what IQ tests actually mean. I’m in a business where I encounter a lot of people who did well on standardized tests. If I had a nickel for every person I’ve met who’s doing badly in classes and projects, but still talks about having great test scores, I could pay for that person to spend another 8 years in the most expensive private college getting even more bad grades.

    For the IQ obsessives, here’s what I have to say: Hey, IQ boy! You claim to be so knowledgeable about the workings of the brain? You’re part of the master race? You’re smarter than all the rest of them? Then quit analyzing those IQ scores and go build the next generation technology that will replace fMRI. You do that, and I’ll be impressed by your smarts.

  88. Jennifer,

    Joe, judging people differently based on their race is, by definition, racism.

    Yes. Fortunately, affirmative action isn’t about “judging” anyone based on their race or group membership. As you say, minority students who are “judged” to be less accomplished than white students are given preferential treatment. This has nothing to do with allowing their race to influence how they are judged, in a meritocratic sense, as individuals, but with allowing factors other than their meritocratic judgement to influence their admissions decisions.

    If you want to pretend that qualifications shouldn’t matter when hiring for a job…

    If you want to pretend that’s what I’ve argued, go right ahead.

    Is there something you’d like me to clear up for you?

    BTW, we’ve had affirmative action for about 35 years now, and the economy is doing just fine. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that companies with diversity-in-hiring programs outperform those without.

    And I’ve been in the private sector for a couple of years now, so you can drop the snotty superiority.

  89. Dobee,

    Perhaps you should turn your reading towards Europe in the 30s and 40s.

  90. Smart or dumb, they don’t need our tax dollars in aid.

    Go Ron Paul!

  91. Thoreau – thank you for your comments.

    Fluffy – I have little doubt that if I took two populations of whites and subjected one to continuous low-grade malnourishment [to a level sufficient to stunt average height] and did not supply the malnourished with formal schooling, it would score lower on intelligence tests than my control group.

    Seems obviously true to me.

    Ali-Bubba – And yet everyone acts as if anybody who suggests this (including the leading genetic scientist on the planet) is advocating genocide or something.

    It’s not the necessarily the scientists who suggest this that are worrisome. Genocide happens without scientific consensus on meaningful differences in intelligence by race. Humans, regardless of race, have a huge capacity for brutalizing others and generally choose victims that are perceived as inferior. As I see it, na?ve optimism underlies any expectations that an ethic of treating others as individuals would smooth things over if such a consensus were to develop.

    Julian – I’ve spent 5 or so months in England over the past decade and have been consistently impressed with the intensity of the obsession with celebrities over there. I’m not going to claim I don’t enjoy it. British gossip rags put American ones to shame, though I do think that since the advent of reality TV (didn’t the BBC invent that?) American publications have been learning a lot from the British. We even have OK magazine now, though it’s not quite as snarky as the British one. It seems that in addition to the greater fervor of the British obsession with celebrity-hood, there is a greater need to demean the objects of adulation.

  92. Jennifer,

    I’ve been living in an affimative-action-ed world my entire life, and yet my experience hasn’t led me to conclude that black people are any less intelligent than white people.

    How about you?

  93. It isn’t racist, per se, to theorize that there are differences in mean intelligence between a white population and a black population.

    It most certainly is racist to ignore the much greater diversity within those population groups, and to draw conclusions about individual black people’s intelligence, or to ignore all of the historical and political influences in play attribute differences in power/status/wealth to biological differences.

  94. Dr. T.,

    IQ is a fairly ( fairly ) good predictor of school success, but in a university setting you have a fairly homogeneous sampling of IQ (skewed quite high in top institutions). In those settings, the other factors are more important in discriminating between successful and unsuccessful individuals.

    A point about “significant” versus “important.”

    The statistically significant results used in most of these studies are partly the result of huge statistical power that can reveal unimportant group differences.

    Try this thought experiment.

    You have a stack of IQ results and you are to sort them by race using only the IQ score (your accuracy will be checked against self-identified race).

    Would the IQ score be useful in completing your task? If not, the statistically significant difference between the groups is unimportant.

  95. This has nothing to do with allowing their race to influence how they are judged, in a meritocratic sense, as individuals, but with allowing factors other than their meritocratic judgement to influence their admissions decisions.

    And I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with “merit” being the main factor in deciding whether a person of any color is given a position that’s supposed to be earned based on merit. Also notice you’ve switched arguments; now, instead of arguing against racism, you’re argung against meritocracy.

    If you want to pretend that qualifications shouldn’t matter when hiring for a job… If you want to pretend that’s what I’ve argued, go right ahead.

    Nice semantics, Gunnels. I said the best-qualified person should get a job, you claimed I was merely substituting “qualified” for the somehow-racist “clever,” but now you’re saying … oh, fuck it.

    BTW, we’ve had affirmative action for about 35 years now, and the economy is doing just fine. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that companies with diversity-in-hiring programs outperform those without.

    But you don’t know how the economy might do otherwise. Nor do you know (though we can well suspect) how much of those outperforming companies are due to the market in action, versus those companies being less likely to be hassled by the government for having the wrong percentages of races on staff. I can show you many studies demonstrating that pot smokers are more likely to go to jail than boozehounds, but that says more about the law than it does the relative merits of marijuana versus alcohol.

    Seriously, Joe: why are you so terrified at the thought of a society where people are judged on their individual abilities, rather than their group affiliations? What is it about the phrase “give the job to the one who’s the most qualified” that makes you assume this will result in non-whites getting hurt? Unless you automatically assume that a non-white will be less qualified than a white person.

    And I’ve been in the private sector for a couple of years now, so you can drop the snotty superiority.

    Good for you! I didn’t realize there were private-industry city-planner jobs, so I’m guessing you’ve switched careers?

  96. The fault, dear Ronnie, is not in our stars but in ourselves. It is EXTRAORDINARILY obvious that the main factor, out of which most other factors flow, for black non-success in our society is genetic.

    That being the case, you and all of your libertarian friends have the choice of either choosing to be Nazis or to cease being Free Marketers (capitalized as all religions are).

    People don’t suffer the ravages of Western Civilizations bottom rungs because they “choose” to live a life of worry, stress and struggle for survival. They live among the dregs because they aren’t as “fit” as you to “survive” the Free Market that you worship.

    In my opinion therefore they have every natural right to rise up and take from you your status, class and goodies by the force of their brute fists. Your capitalism has resigned them to a world where they live constantly at the edge of despair and they have every right to upturn your applecart.

    So, again, racial inequality May be an illusion of mine… but I don’t think so.

    Of course however race has nothing to do with it. The evil nature of the unregulated free market destroys the souls of less able Japanese people in a racially monolithic society as well. Pygmies are not the only people less able to become top-notch lawyers than is Alan Dershowitz. Lots of Ashkenazi Jews have low intelligence or other personality faults that keep them from attaining “the American dream” as well – and these people are just as likely to suffer the ill effects of the “greed is good” (or was it “God”?) doctrine as is a Birmingham black kid. But the issue of “race” may turn out to be the one that finally shows your type for who you are: people who are simply Lucky enough to be born with the right intellectual goods to succeed in the modern economic system and who justify their success through self-congratulatory claims that “anyone can do it!”, meaning that you have what you have because you Deserve it rather than because of luck-of-the-genes.

    And who supports you? who props you up? the very people who have the most to lose by it. The believers in the religious doctrine of Racial Tabula Rasa who keep up their laughable patter about how “racism” is what’s “keeping the black man down”. No doubt this constantly expressed belief improves some people’s sense of self-worth by constantly telling them that “your brains are not inferior!” (Or Dumbo Diamond style, “Yali’s people are SUPERIOR!”) but it serves the one overriding goal of Genetic Meritocracy by allowing the capitalistic system to continue to function as it does.

    Cheers Gentle Libertarians ~

    mnuez
    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  97. Let me see if I’m getting Mnuez’s points, here: black people are less intelligent than whites, which is why blacks don’t do as well. It’s bad to try to change this. However, the free market is bad because less intelligent people become less successful than more intelligent people. It’s good to try to change this. So we need socialism to make sure the smart don’t have an advantage over the stupid, unless the smart person is white and the stupid person is black, in which case we need to let natural intellectual capabilities come to the fore. And it’s bad for an intelligent person to do better than a dumbass simply because he won the genetic smarts lottery, but okay for a white intelligent person to do better than a black dumbass simply for winning the genetic white-skin lottery.

  98. I could be a fantastically wealthy best-selling racist author if I still did drugs.

  99. “It is EXTRAORDINARILY obvious that the main factor, out of which most other factors flow, for black non-success in our society is genetic.”

    You could not conceivably have less of a clue what you’re talking about here. I and plenty of other people on this thread have briefly explained why the above statement is crap; and Neu Mejican and others have linked to more detailed, scholarly explanations. The information is available; if you actually have some interest in educating yourself, you should take a look.

  100. That being the case, you and all of your libertarian friends have the choice of either choosing to be Nazis or to cease being Free Marketers (capitalized as all religions are).

    I’m pretty sure that the rules of the drinking game require us to drink in response to this. It’s either that or we devote 100+ comments to arguing with the troll, and I just don’t have the stamina.

  101. I’m pretty sure that the rules of the drinking game require us to drink in response to this. It’s either that or we devote 100+ comments to arguing with the troll, and I just don’t have the stamina.

    I don’t know if he technically qualifies as a troll, since true trolldom (IMHO) implies free will and an awareness of what you’re doing. “Trollius, ergo sum.” I think he’s a guy who genuinely believes the excuses he’s concocted for why his superior white self is nonetheless near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. It’s not his fault he didn’t win the genetic intelligence lottery, and if we had proper National Socialism his loss in the intelligence-genes lottery would be properly offset by his gains in the whiteboy-genes lottery.

    Now do you understand?

  102. Is it OK if I drink anyway? I’m still recovering from yesterday’s committee meeting.

  103. Is it OK if I drink anyway? I’m still recovering from yesterday’s committee meeting.

    Drinking is not only okay but encouraged, Thoreau. If you get drunk enough, he might make a little sense.

    By the way: committee meetings were invented by Jews to keep white men so preoccupied with petty bullshit they won’t have time to overthrow the Zionist conspiracy that has secretly controlled Western civilization for the past several thousand years.

  104. Dr Watson,

    I’m a chess player. To illustrate the assumptive error you commit when you recommend the use of IQ averages and conclusions about their genetic foundation as a basis for actually prescribing ways that we deal with folks, I’d like to introduce you to Grand Master Maurice Ashley. He has the ranking of International Master, which indicates that he is among the strongest chess players in the world:

    http://tinyurl.com/2nd2bu

    Note that in 1991, he coached a team of kids from Harlem to victory at the National Junior High School Championships.

  105. Yes, Jennifer, mnuez’s post was clearly written by an unintelligent person. I guessed you noticed all the bad grammar, spelling mistakes, primitive vocabulary etc.

    As far as “National Socialism” goes, I know from glancing at his blog that mnuez is Jewish.

  106. And I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with “merit” being the main factor in deciding whether a person of any color is given a position that’s supposed to be earned based on merit. And who says that university slots are “supposed to be earned based solely on (academic accomplishment) merit,” and not, say, whether the student will best contribute to the univeristy’s other goals, such as providing an integreated, diverse learning environment? You?

    Also notice you’ve switched arguments; now, instead of arguing against racism, you’re argung against meritocracy. I haven’t switched anything, just pointed out that your argugments don’t work even by your own terms. Also, I haven’t argued against merit, I’ve pointed out that it is not the only factor to be considered.

    But you don’t know how the economy might do otherwise. Oh, cripes, not that sad dodge!

    Nor do you know (though we can well suspect) how much of those outperforming companies are due to the market in action, versus those companies being less likely to be hassled by the government for having the wrong percentages of races on staff. Since there are no laws against having the wrong % of races, just against discrimination in hiring, we can draw a strong conclusion indeed.

    oh, fuck it That’s probably the best stance for you to take here.

    Seriously, Joe: why are you so terrified at the thought of a society where people are judged on their individual abilities, rather than their group affiliations? I don’t. As a matter of fact, the biggest reason I support affirmative action is that I’ve seen how breaking down segregation can help bring us closer to that socieity.

    What is it about the phrase “give the job to the one who’s the most qualified” that makes you assume this will result in non-whites getting hurt? Nothing, at all. I just define “qualified” in the same terms as you. If a majority-white college wants to become less monotone, a black students is more qualified to meet their goals than a white one.

    Unless you automatically assume that a non-white will be less qualified than a white person. Or unless you aren’t making individual judgements about individual candidates, as I’ve been trying to explain to you, and are trying to accomplish something related to the ethnic breakdown of your employees and students.

    As for the discussion we’ve been having, about affirmative action in colleges, having a passing familiarity with the racial breakdown of SAT scores, AP classes, and other measures of academic achievement does not translate to “automatically assuming” anything about an individual candidate. It means that you can draw a meaningful conclusion about the aggregate academic achievement of your entire black and white applicant population – that is, that black applicants will be under-represented in the upper tiers of applicants.

  107. Seriously, Joe: why are you so terrified at the thought of a society where people are judged on their individual abilities, rather than their group affiliations?

    I might as well go back to 1941 and ask why someone who supports making war on the Nazis is so afraid of not being at war.

  108. I obviously did not expect to find allies here, I did however expect basic reading comprehension and Jenny, you disappointed. It’s not “okay for a white intelligent person to do better than a black dumbass simply for winning the genetic white-skin lottery”. Again, your reading skills would benefit from some remedial classes.

    Sparky doesn’t demonstrate any lack of comprehension but I believe that the data supports MY position and not his. I could, of course be wrong and I DO acknowledge that there are other factors at play here aside for the genetic but I’m quite certain that my general estimation is accurate and that his are wishful thinking.

    Thoreau’s first line was funny and made me smile but his subsequent entirely labeling of my comment – no, of ME myself – as a ‘troll’ and therefore not worthy of consideration leaves no tricks left to the Vatican in the field of ensuring that someone’s view is not considered because he’s “a heretic”, “an apostate”, “a dirty Jew”, “one of them” or “a troll”. Very libertarian and open-minded of you. You should be proud of yourself today. In fact, pour yourself another drink.

    Oh, and Jenn, I see that you haven’t finishged embarassing yourself. I like your Latin. Very impressive. Except that it would be “Cogito, ergo Troll”. But, again, thank you for playing.

  109. WHERE THE FUCK DO ALL THESE RACISTS COME FROM?

    WHO LIED AND TOLD SOME OF THEM THEY WERE SMART?

    WHO TOLD THEM THEY KNEW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEIR HEADS AND THEIR ASSES? (EXPLAINS THE GOATEED TAINTS)

    ‘FESS UP ALREADY!

    WHEEEEEE!!!!!
    WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!
    WHEEEEEE!!!

  110. Wow, mnuez, you are just a persecuted Galileo, aren’t you!

  111. As far as “National Socialism” goes, I know from glancing at his blog that mnuez is Jewish.

    Awesome! Jewish White Supremacists are the best kind, because they have the secret worldwide Zionist conspiracy backing them up.

    Now back to talking with the non-white-power folks, like Joe:

    Since there are no laws against having the wrong % of races, just against discrimination in hiring, we can draw a strong conclusion indeed.

    And having the wrong percentage of races is often considered proof of discrimination in hiring.

    And who says that university slots are “supposed to be earned based solely on (academic accomplishment) merit,” and not, say, whether the student will best contribute to the univeristy’s other goals, such as providing an integreated, diverse learning environment? You?

    I’ll freely admit: if I’m looking for a surgeon, I want one who graduated from a school that focused on teaching how to successfully perform surgery, rather than one whose focus was on “providing an integrated, diverse learning environment.”

    Oh, cripes, not that sad dodge!

    Not a sad dodge, simply a fact. If I argue in favor of giving more rights to Saudi women, you can point out that the Saudi economy is doing just fine while keeping half its population under house arrest. And I point out that we don’t know how the economy would do otherwise, and then you can say “Oh, cripes, not that sad dodge!”

    Or unless you aren’t making individual judgements about individual candidates, as I’ve been trying to explain to you, and are trying to accomplish something related to the ethnic breakdown of your employees and students.

    Exactly my point: you would overlook a person’s individual characteristics in favor of focusing on his ethnicity, but insist that’s just fine. “I have a dream, that people will one day be judged not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.” Hooray! The dream has become reality! Why would anyone want to judge a person based on his accomplishments, when judging his skin color is so much easier?

  112. WHO LIED AND TOLD SOME OF THEM THEY WERE SMART?

    Charles Murray.

  113. your reading skills would benefit from some remedial classes.

    And your would benefit from lithium.

    I like your Latin. Very impressive. Except that it would be “Cogito, ergo Troll”.

    No, it’s “Trollius, ergo sum: I troll, therefore I am.”

  114. “WHO LIED AND TOLD SOME OF THEM THEY WERE SMART?

    Charles Murray.”

    Zing!!

  115. a school that focused on teaching how to successfully perform surgery, rather than one whose focus was on “providing an integrated, diverse learning environment.”

    Careful. Your argument, as stated, implies a zero-sum tradeoff.

    Also, medical school might not be the best example of a place where cultural background is irrelevant. A big chunk of a doctor’s job is interacting with people to find out what is going on with them (there’s nothing magical about lab tests, self-reported symptoms can be just as important) so having talented students from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds can be a plus. Little nuances of culture and background can matter there, as can a patient’s rapport with a doctor. So when a group of students interview a patient together, you might want to have students from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds.

    Not to say your point is irrelevant, but you didn’t pick the best example for your case.

  116. I’m all for ending affirmative action. That would include legacy admissions, your Daddy donated a new library wing admissions, lowering physical fitness standards so we can have more women on the goon squad police force, reseving the spot at the end of the bench for tall clumsy white guys in the NBA, et al.

    Legacy admissions probably piss me off the most.

  117. WHOEVER THIS “CHARLES MURRAY,” IS, HE IS ON MY LIST.

    LOOK OUT, MR MURRAY. THE Urkobold? WILL FIND YOU.

  118. Careful. Your argument, as stated, implies a zero-sum tradeoff.

    True, but I’m more concerned with begging the question that an “integrated, diverse learning environment” is automatically better than a non-diverse one. What matters in a learning environment is results: how well do students learn what they’re supposed to be learning? So far I haven’t seen evidence that merely changing the racial makeup of any school automatically makes the students learn more.

  119. And having the wrong percentage of races is often considered proof of discrimination in hiring.

    Far less than you apparently assume, given the number of corporations in this country vs. the number of discrimination suits based soley on those percentages. Seriously, is it that hard for you to believe that, in a country with an increasing non-white population and increasing wealth within that population, companies could actually decide there is value in being, and being perceived as, integrated?

    I’ll freely admit: if I’m looking for a surgeon, I want one who graduated from a school that focused on teaching how to successfully perform surgery, rather than one whose focus was on “providing an integrated, diverse learning environment.”

    OK. You have your surgery done by a graduate of Oral Roberts U, and I’ll have mine done by somebody from Harvard, John Hopkins, GWU, or MIT.

    Exactly my point: you would overlook a person’s individual characteristics in favor of focusing on his ethnicity, but insist that’s just fine. Jeebus, are my arguments so terrifying you need to make up less intimidating ones? Tell you what, I’ll repeat the next sentence eight times, and hope it gets through your skull:

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’m not overlooking everything but background; I’m considering background along with everything else.

    I’d like to be confident you get it at this point, but I know how adept you are at making up absolutist arguments to assign to people when you can’t wrap your head around the nuanced point they’re making.

    “I have a dream, that people will one day be judged not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.” Hooray! The dream has become reality! I’m sure that made you feel good. In the real world, Martin Luther King himself wrote about the need to actively promote black advancement, and not just eliminate legal segregation, in order to achieve racial equality. Too bad you are so violently opposed to Dr. King’s vision.

  120. joe, I’d be worried about any surgeon who claimed to have gotten his medical degree from MIT, seeing as how they don’t have a medical school.

  121. (And yes, I’m aware that they have some joint research programs with Harvard.)

  122. is it that hard for you to believe that, in a country with an increasing non-white population and increasing wealth within that population, companies could actually decide there is value in being, and being perceived as, integrated?

    Of course not. So let them make the choice themselves, rather than have the government force them to do it.

    Too bad you are so violently opposed to Dr. King’s vision.

    Who said anything about King’s vision? I’m supporting your vision of a world where people are judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, but this is not racist (which is evil).

    It’s like you yourself said: instead of making “individual judgements about individual candidates” society should try “to accomplish something related to the ethnic breakdown of your employees and students.” Because ethnic breakdown is much more important than letting individuals succeed to the best of their ability. Individuals don’t matter: racial categories do.

  123. You have your surgery done by a graduate of Oral Roberts U, and I’ll have mine done by somebody from Harvard, John Hopkins, GWU, or MIT.

    I said I want a surgeon from a school that focuses on teaching surgery. What makes you think Oral Roberts University does that?

  124. “…but I’m quite certain that my general estimation is accurate and that his are wishful thinking.”

    See, mnuez, the thing is that we don’t have to rely on your general estimation or my wishful thinking, because there’s actual hard data and analysis on this very topic. You know, where people show how environment-dependent measures of intelligence are by comparing twins and other relatives raised apart, and where people thoroughly debunk the sloppy logic behind arguments like “white sample average IQ 101.4, black sample average IQ 86.9 —> whites are inherently smarter than blacks.” That sort of thing is readily available and several sources of good information have been pointed out to you on this very thread, but you refuse to actually address the data.

    That makes it kind of hard to believe that you’re honestly interested in understanding the truth here; it seems much more likely that you’re interested in remaining willfully ignorant so that you can plausibly rationalize what seems like a rather unpleasant ideology you have.

    One final point: I don’t imagine it will mean much to you, but what you call my “wishful thinking” is the position held by the vast majority of professional quantitative geneticists and evolutionary biologists who actually work in this area and understand the data and analyses.

  125. What matters in a learning environment is results: how well do students learn what they’re supposed to be learning?

    I shouldn’t have to tell a former teacher this, but here goes:

    Students are supposed to learn more in school than what’s in their text books. They’re supposed to learn how to function in society.

    The reason people go to school, as opposed to downloading reading material from the internet, is to be socialized. In the modern world, that means being comfortable and experienced at working with people of diverse backgrounds.

    Not to mention, colleges have goals other than the education of their students, such as the improvement of society. Many – though not the ones Jennifer agrees with, apparently – believe that this includes sending enough black students with the education and background to succeed in the professional and academic world to bring about the desegregation of those spheres.

  126. I have many faults. One of them is a sort of perfectionism that doesn’t allow me to let a lie go by unanswered. There’s no question that responding to Jennifer does me no favors but only degrades my own status in any observers eyes. You don’t look any smarter when you intellectually best an idiot in an argument. Nevertheless, for reasons only my therapist can explain (and yes, that’s a joke) I’ll momentarily embarrass myself by reminding Jenny that she’s lying. Her original comment was: I don’t know if he technically qualifies as a troll, since true trolldom (IMHO) implies free will and an awareness of what you’re doing. “Trollius, ergo sum.”

    So, again, your brilliant intellectual argument as to my not being a troll because I’m too stupid to be one was NOT expressed in your funny attempts at a Latin phrase.

    mnuez

  127. Jennifer,

    So let them make the choice themselves, rather than have the government force them to do it So it is ok for corporations and colleges to choose to pursue racial diversity through their hiring and admissions practices, as long as the government doesn’t force them? That’s quite a departure from what you were arguing before.

    Who said anything about King’s vision? You, when you paraphrased his most famous remark. What, are there two of you in there?

    I’m supporting your vision of a world where people are judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character… Not my vision, just you making shit up because you can’t put together an argument that addresses what I actually wrote. As usual.

    You have nothing to say about the central issue about affirmative action – the need to actively work to undo what so many centuries of enforced racism has done – and it leaves you utterly incapable of putting together a coherent argument on the subject.

  128. Jennifer, you don’t have the vaguest idea how my example about World War 2 relates to this discussion, do you?

  129. DIVERSITY ROCKS!!!

    Ideas from different cultural, socioeconomic, geographic, linguistic groups all interacting to address a problem, issue, etc. are so cool!

  130. (sorry for double)

    Professor Autor’s lecture notes on Becker’s the Economics of Discrimination

    (kinda interesting, not sure how it really fits in hier)

  131. DIVERSITY ROCKS!!! Ideas from different cultural, socioeconomic, geographic, linguistic groups all interacting to address a problem, issue, etc. are so cool!

    But real diversity boils down to making sure people look different, VM.

    Students are supposed to learn more in school than what’s in their text books. They’re supposed to learn how to function in society. The reason people go to school, as opposed to downloading reading material from the internet, is to be socialized.

    And what better way to do that then spend your time in age-segregated groups where everybody save the authority figure is within six months of your own age? And that’s not even approaching the subject of “who decides what constitutes proper socialization.”

    You have nothing to say about the central issue about affirmative action – the need to actively work to undo what so many centuries of enforced racism has done.

    No, I do. I just don’t agree that the solution to past racism is more racism. Just pick the best candidates in each case. Problem is, there’s never been a time in American history where black people were just judged on their individual merits, as people. First they were dismissed out of hand, and now they’re facing the softer bigotry of assumptions that they are not capable of competing on a level playing field, so they need to be given extra advantages.

  132. mnuez:

    I have many faults…

    You don’t look any smarter when you intellectually best an idiot in an argument.

    Might one of them be, being given to name calling?

  133. I have many faults…
    punctuation being one of them.

    ba zing!

    zoom! zoom! zoom!

  134. joe:

    …affirmative action – the need to actively work to undo what so many centuries of enforced racism has done

    Government affirmative action is enforced racism. And even if this enforced racism netted out to the betterment of Black folks, there’s no justice done at all in changing the color of the victims. The victims are always real individuals.

  135. Jennifer,

    That was a much better set of thoughts. I actually agree with much of it.

    For example, the last four decades have seen the once-strong correlation between being black and being poor or otherwise locked out of mainstream society broken down to a substantial degree. As a result, affirmative action that looks soley at race has become a much less effective tool at accomplishing much of what affirmative action is supposed to accomplish.

    The age-segregation issue you bring up, while irrelvant to this topic, is one I’ve thought was a very insightful point. In the school my young daughter goes to – a pre-K through 8 school – they’ve come up with some good practices to make sure the kids interact with those in different grades.

    I just don’t agree that the solution to past racism is more racism. Way to define your conclusion! I might as well say, in the voice of the hippie pacifist being asked why he opposes fighting the Nazis, “I just don’t agree that the solution to past murder is more murder.”

    Problem is, there’s never been a time in American history where black people were just judged on their individual merits, as people. First they were dismissed out of hand, and now… As a liberal Democrat, let me shout a big DANGER!! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!! The fact that you can make something that exists today sound similar to the actual racism that existed in this country’s history is a very bad foundation on which to base your opinions. I can phrase the criticisms so many libertarians levelled at AFDC – that the incentive structure encourages its recipients not to work, which reinforces their dependency on welfare – sound an awful lot like the old “black people are poor because they’re lazy and want to be taken care of” slur that was used to justify the slavery.

    …they’re facing the softer bigotry of assumptions that they are not capable of competing on a level playing field, so they need to be given extra advantages.

    Only in your head, Jennifer. This little straw man you’ve built has nothing to do with the reasoning behind affirmative action. Nothing. I’ve described several times now what the actual reasoning is, but I guess you’re just too in love with your self-serving explanation of how everyone else is a racist to bother to acknowledge or think about them.

  136. Rick,

    Government affirmative action is enforced racism.

    That’s not an argument. It’s a label.

  137. joe,

    It’s an accurate label. Merit should be the sole criterion. I know the arguments, but any other measure corrupts the system and the culture. Look at (as someone mentioned above) the negative effects of the legacy system at universities! Same thing, just different emphasis.

  138. “That’s not an argument. It’s a label.”

    And an accurate one to boot.

  139. See? 100% of the posters at 2:54 agree.

  140. It’s an accurate label.

    OK. Up is down. War is peace.

    Belief that racial inequality does not reflect a natural racial heirarchy is racism.

  141. Pro Libertate,

    I’ll put the good that has been done by desegregating colleges and businesses via affirmative action up against any “cultural corruption,” and win hands down.

    I don’t think it is widely appreciated just how common beliefs in inherent black inferiority were, before the active desegregation of our institutions proved those beliefs to be unfounded.

  142. This is where Jennifer comes in and accuses me of believing in black inferiority, becasue she doesn’t have a response to the argument that affirmative action targets socially-imposed inequality, and has nothing to do with inherent inequality.

  143. The fact that you can make something that exists today sound similar to the actual racism that existed in this country’s history is a very bad foundation on which to base your opinions.

    I’m stating a simple fact: there has never been a time in this country’s history when black people were simply judged on their individual merits. It was wrong then, and it’s still wrong now. Give the job or the school slot to the person best qualified for it, skin color or genitalia be damned.

  144. This is where Jennifer comes in and accuses me of believing in black inferiority, becasue she doesn’t have a response to the argument that affirmative action targets socially-imposed inequality, and has nothing to do with inherent inequality.

    Affirmative action is socially imposed inequality. It’s just put in pretty packaging because now the people given the short end of the stick are a different color than the ones who used to be. You may as well say that since I also oppose affirmative action for women, that means I support socially imposed sexism.

  145. “For what it’s worth, immigrants from Africa seem to get really smart once they move here.”

    From the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, October 16, 2007:In 2004, 2,100 doctorates were awarded by universities in the United States in the fields of mathematical statistics, botany, optics physics, human and animal pathology, zoology, astrophysics, geometry, geophysics and seismology, general mathematics, nuclear physics, astronomy, marine sciences, nuclear engineering, polymer and plastics engineering, veterinary medicine, topology, hydrology and water resources, animal nutrition, wildlife/range management, number theory, fisheries science and management, atmospheric dynamics, engineering physics, paleontology, plant physiology, general atmospheric science, mathematical operations research, endocrinology, metallurgical engineering, meteorology, ocean engineering, poultry science, stratigraphy and sedimentation, wood science, polymer physics, acoustics, mineralogy and petrology, bacteriology, logic, ceramics science engineering, animal breeding and genetics, computing theory and practice, and mining and mineral engineering. Not one of these 2,100 doctoral degrees went to an African American.

  146. joe,

    I don’t agree that desegregation or affirmative action caused the changes over the last forty years in how the races view each other. I think you’re dramatically mistaking cause with effect.

    Diversity as an artificial construct is pointless. This country is quite diverse without any social engineering. If races, sexes, and other groups tend to congregate in certain institutions, professions, etc., minimizing the importance of merit to limit such social behavior simply will not work and it serves to create a negative perception of those who are given the artificial boost in the name of diversity.

    Obviously, affirmative action is no longer what it once was, with laws and judicial decisions heading firmly towards disfavoring the practice. The arguments that you are presenting were the ones that supported out-and-out quotas, which had an almost entirely negative effect.

  147. “I don’t think it is widely appreciated just how common beliefs in inherent black inferiority were, before the active desegregation of our institutions proved those beliefs to be unfounded.”

    Are you aware of the size of the preference that has to be given to black students to obtain slots in, e.g., law school? It’s colossal. How has such a policy proved that beliefs in inherent differences are unfounded?

  148. joe,

    Just cuz affirmative action is not hate motivated racism doesn’t mean that it’s not racism, with real individuals as its victims.

  149. I’m stating a simple fact: there has never been a time in this country’s history when black people were simply judged on their individual merits. That’s not the disputed part, and if you made any attempt to engage honestly with this discussion, you’d realize that.

    It was wrong then, and it’s still wrong now. Yes, when such a thing is done now – when people are simply judged on their race – is is a bad thing.

    Would you care to attempt a comment that is relevant to the discussion of affirmative action?

    Affirmative action is socially imposed inequality.

    I guess not.

    BTW, I haven’t accused you of “supporting” inequality. Not even once. All of the hysterical accusations of racism towards people for their opinions about affirmative action – all of them, every single of one of them, as usual – are coming from the anti-affirmative action side.

  150. Jennifer,

    Affirmative action is socially imposed inequality.

    Killing people in battle is MURDER! No matter which side does it, or what they accomplish.

    You haven’t put forward a response to this observation that your wails about racism amount to morally and intellectually vacant equivalencies between segregation and integration, because you can’t.

  151. Pro Libertate,

    The under-representation of black students at top colleges before affirmative action, and the lower aggregate academic achievement of black colledge applicants, should not be dismissed as the consequence of self-segregation. Not only is that a gross distortion of the historical record, but it runs up against the rather obvious fact that the students admitted to university because of affirmative action policies are students who chose to apply to those colleges.

    Diversity as an artificial construct is pointless. No, it is not. When white kids and black kids find themselves out at recess playing kickball with each other, they have the experience of working and playing with people of other races, and of making friends with people from other races, and of learning for themselves whether the things they’ve heard about black kids are true or not. It doesn’t matter whether this happens because the neighborhood is so integrated that the school integration happened naturally, or because of an assignment program.

    Hearts and flowers are all quite nice, but it’s real-world contact that matters. You’re either integrated and diverse, or you’re not.

  152. You haven’t put forward a response to this observation that your wails about racism amount to morally and intellectually vacant equivalencies between segregation and integration, because you can’t.

    I’m not equating segregation and integration, but two systems where people are judged differently based on what their race is. Which you know, but you’ll pretend not to because you’re back to your “deliberate misunderstanding/deliberate strawman” methods today, I see.

  153. Human beings began in Africa. That’s widely accepted. The humans that left Africa evolved; those who stayed didn’t. The further one gets from one’s African ancestors, the smarter they become. Dogs evolved to differing intelligence levels. Why would human mammals be any different?

    Perhaps that’s why Africans are so poor at self-government.

  154. Rick,

    Just cuz you apply the word “racism” to two vastly different things doesn’t make them both racist.

    I’m not going to pretend that segregation and integration are morally equivalent. The former is evil, and latter is good. You are free to disagree with my values if you wish, but don’t you dare accuse me of supporting racism because I oppose racism.

    You keep talking about “victims.” If the worst thing that happens to somebody in their life is having to go to their second choice college, they’re pretty far ahead of the game. If Billy is a victim because the admissions process led to school to accept Bobby instead, then I can just as fairly level the charge that your proposed changes seek to victimize Bobby.

  155. Human beings began in Africa. That’s widely accepted. The humans that left Africa evolved; those who stayed didn’t. The further one gets from one’s African ancestors, the smarter they become.

    You have an abysmal understanding of how evolution actually works. Your argument is like the Creationist one that says “If man evolved from apes, how come there are still apes, huh?”

  156. but don’t you dare accuse me of supporting racism because I oppose racism.

    You say you oppose racism, yet you support judging individuals by different standards based on their race.

  157. I’m not equating segregation and integration, but two systems where people are judged differently based on what their race is.

    And, once again, pretending not to notice that I have put a response to this on the table several times already. And it’s still sitting there.

    Which you know, but you’ll pretend not to because you’re back to your “deliberate misunderstanding/deliberate strawman” methods today, I see.

    I’ve answered every single point you’ve made, and you just keep whiffing and playing dumb.

  158. You say you oppose racism, yet you support judging individuals by different standards based on their race.

    Nope. I’ve answered this already, and you just don’t have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that.

    Once again – for about the fifth of sixth time today, and perhaps the hundredth overall – affirmative action isn’t about judging people to be superior based on their race. They’re about judging integration and diversity to be superior to segregation. The only judgement made about a black applicant vs. a white applicant is that the black applicant is black, and the white applicant white.

    Yup, college admissions people think that black students can bring greater racial diversity to a student body that white students. That you read a moral judgement into this decision is your problem to work through.

  159. I’ve answered every single point you’ve made

    No, you haven’t. You simply pretend to misunderstand them, or reframe them as alternate debates (pretending that opposing affir ative action means opposing integration, for example), and your usual strawman arguments, with a gradually increasing level of personal insults thrown in because you think that somehow helps your argument.

    You are a racist, Joe. You’re not a white supremacist, definitely not, but you think individuals should be held to different standards based on their racial background. That is racist, even if you tell yourself your ultimate goal is racial equality.

  160. Look people, we have less than 2 generations before computers are so much smarter than humans that the difference between various humans will be irrelevant.

    In less than 40 years (and possibly within 25) the question will be, “Do Africans have Intels inside?”…not who their parents are.

  161. Skip,

    The humans that left Africa evolved; those who stayed didn’t.

    Think this one through a bit more carefully.

    Your points only demonstrate that you don’t understand the topic.

  162. Dozens of anatomy studies prove that as a GROUP, not individuals, the AVERAGE brain size by race is:

    Asian > White > Black

    Brain size has a 51% correlation with IQ, so it\’s a very good indicator.

    Dozens of IQ studies prove that as a GROUP and on AVERAGE, IQ by race is:

    Asian > White > Black

    EVERY indicator if intelligence we have says that as GROUPS on AVERAGE

    Asian > White > Black

    To all the people saying this is wrong, then you are essentially making a statement:

    \”The intelligence of all races on average are equal.\”

    You can\’t just make an empty statement like that. You need to provide evidence. What is your evidence that all races are of equal average intelligence?

    And, if it’s relevant, I’m black.

  163. Supporting Watson,

    The scientific dispute is is over the meaning, causal structure, and importance of the (overly simplified)list of facts you reference (which are highly dependent upon context for interpretation…context that you leave out entirely).

    Look over some of the links provided up-thread for some of the problems/complications involved in scientific study of this issue.

    The primary question: why do we care about the GROUP AVERAGES? What does that tell us about the world?

  164. Going back to my first comment here, Supporting Watson may well be correct in saying there are differences between the average IQs of various races. But so long as people are judged by their individual merits, rather than as members of a given racial group, why should anyone care?

    If I’m hiring a new writer to work with me, I don’t care how many studies might prove that members of a given race can’t write very well; I only care how well the individual applicant can write, and the individual’s race be damned.

  165. I think the effect of evolution of civilization is responsible for the passive under-development of the back race. We were cultured by the Western Civilization and its only natural that the teacher will be more schooled than the student.

    It has nothing to do with some DNA or GENE. When it comes to real IQ test the black race is obvious better as they have proven to survive in very harsh environment.

    When you judge on a relative basis using parameters of morden advancement , its only natural that that it appears obvious but when you isolate a black man vis a vis a white man putting subjecting them to the same level of civilization , under similar environment , I can assure you that the black man is tougher.

  166. It has nothing to do with some DNA or GENE. When it comes to real IQ test the black race is obvious better as they have proven to survive in very harsh environment.

    By that criteria, the most “intelligent” “race” would be the Aleuts. Or the Lapps. Or the Bedouins. Or the Navajos. Or the Yonomami. IOW poppycock!

  167. Whatever, Jennifer.

    Not worth my time anymore. If you were able to hold your own in this debate instead of spew bile and pat yourself on the back, you would have done so by now.

  168. Supporting Watson,

    “EVERY indicator if intelligence we have says that as GROUPS on AVERAGE

    Asian > White > Black”

    To add to what Neu Mejican said: measures of group average intelligence (or any other trait that is strongly influenced by environment) that don’t take environment into account say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about which group is inherently (genetically) more intelligent.

    Consider this scenario: There’s a black population living under social, economic, nutritional, etc. conditions that lower IQ. There’s a white population living under conditions that raise IQ. Assume that the two populations are identical at all genes that influence intelligence. Say the average black IQ is 80 and the average white IQ is 100. Black children in the black population tend to resemble their parents in IQ, as do white children in the white population; that’s not surprising, since we know there’s a significant genetic component to IQ. The big logical flaw you’re making here is to assume, since there’s a nice bell curve centered on 80 in the black population and a nice curve centered on 100 in the white population and since intelligence is clearly highly heritable (children resemble their parents) _within_ populations, that the differences _between_ populations must also be genetic. In fact, if you take a black child and raise her in the white population (or make a black zygote to take into account fetal effects…), on average she will be _exactly_ as intelligent as a white person in the white population – the difference in means is entirely environmental.

    Given that there are obviously real-world environmental differences between Asians, whites, blacks, etc., and especially given that we know or strongly suspect that many of those environmental differences affect IQ, there are zero legitimate, rigorous conclusions about inherent intelligence we can draw from “Asian > White > Black.”


    “To all the people saying this is wrong, then you are essentially making a statement:
    “The intelligence of all races on average are equal.”
    You can’t just make an empty statement like that. You need to provide evidence. What is your evidence that all races are of equal average intelligence?”

    Actually, we’re not saying all races on average are equal; we’re saying there’s no evidence to suggest that they’re not equal. I think most people would consider it a reasonable null hypothesis that races are equal, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary we can’t reject that null hypothesis. The burden of proof is on the people making positive claims about inherent differences among races, and so far that’s been a big bust.

  169. Damn, that turned out to be a bit longer than I realized….

  170. menaed,

    How has such a policy proved that beliefs in inherent differences are unfounded?

    By creating a significant population of black lawyers, out there practicing and succeeding alongside their white colleagues. By giving those white lawyers black colleagues, and thus providing a real life demonstration that black people can succeed as lawyers. By giving generations of law students the lived experience of studying with and debating with black students and professors. By changing the practice of law from being a white enclave of privilige, and making it impossible for people to look at that white enclave and draw conclusions (whether conscious or not) about the the proper and natural place of black people.

  171. And who says that university slots are “supposed to be earned based solely on (academic accomplishment) merit,” and not, say, whether the student will best contribute to the univeristy’s other goals, such as providing an integreated, diverse learning environment?

    In a private university, no one. As far as I’m concerned, a private university should be able to admit whoever it wants, for whatever reason it wants.

    For a public university, the answer to “who says” is “the voters”. Before you clap in glee and say, “Great, because the voters want affirmative action” I should point out that the voters already had their crack at this subject during Reconstruction, and they passed the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment CLEARLY outlaws preferential treatment for a particular race if we’re talking about an activity that uses public funds. The Bakke decision was absolutely pathetic and is one of the most egregious examples of political judges using the “state interest” doctrine to pretend that the Constitution does not say what it plainly and obviously says in quite simple and direct language.

  172. My phrasing aside, I wasn’t actually asking a “Who should decide?” question, Fluffy.

    I should have been clearer – I was asking on what basis Jennifer can claim that socialization of students and the betterment of society – distinct from academic instruction – are not appropriate missions for an institution of learning.

  173. The problem with Dr James Watson’s statement is two fold:

    1) There is no genetic basis for ‘race’ (Dr James Watson should know this). Race is a social construction, having no genetic/biological basis. Rather, race is a fiction, a fantasy. But, I guess ‘race’ as a reality suits fantasists. In this sense, Dr James Watson is a relic from a bygone age.

    2) Studies have shown that Orientals (e.g. Chinese, Koreans, Japanese etc) have higher IQs/intelligence scores than Whites. Another study showed Blacks from northern USA scored higher IQ points than Whites from southern USA. Here in Britain, in exams, Indian and Chinese students regularly out perform White students. Dr James Watson is basically arguing that Whites are racially superior to Blacks. But, are then, based on IQ scores, Whites inferior to Orientals and Indians? Dr James Watson has yet to comment upon this.

  174. Jeez, this blog seems more like a liberal PC-fest than a rational discussion of a complex, emotionally-laden subject.

    This might be of interest, for those interested in the science underlying evolutionary psychology (i.e., evolution does not just occur below the neck).

    http://members.cox.net/bvv/h2b.html

  175. joe:

    Just cuz you apply the word “racism” to two vastly different things doesn’t make them both racist.

    But individuals are discriminated against on the basis of their race in both situations.

    I’m not going to pretend that segregation and integration are morally equivalent. The former is evil, and latter is good.

    Then why pretend that racial discrimination and color blindness can be morally equivalent.

    …don’t you dare accuse me of supporting racism because I oppose racism.

    Yeah, I think that in general you’re quite opposed to racism, but under certain criteria you support forced racial discrimination. And it’s my conjecture that you’re conflicted cuz you know that forced racial discrimination has ethical problems and is at odds with your genral oppositio to racism, and that’s why you don’t sound like yourself on this thread.

    You keep talking about “victims.” If the worst thing that happens to somebody in their life is having to go to their second choice college, they’re pretty far ahead of the game.

    Check how you’re mitigating the harm! Your statement wouldn’t have made your point if you woulda said: “If the worst thing that happens to somebody in their life is having to go to their second choice college, or gotten the job they want, or the promotion, or admission to med, dental, grad, or law school, they’re pretty far ahead of the game. “

    If Billy is a victim because the admissions process led to school to accept Bobby instead, then I can just as fairly level the charge that your proposed changes seek to victimize Bobby.

    What?? Not if Billy has been the victim of racial discrimination!

  176. …Shoulds been: “…or *not* gotten the job they want…”

  177. >The problem with Dr James Watson’s statement is two fold: 1) There is no genetic basis for ‘race’ (Dr James Watson should know this). Race is a social construction, having no genetic/biological basis. Rather, race is a fiction, a fantasy. But, I guess ‘race’ as a reality suits fantasists. In this sense, Dr James Watson is a relic from a bygone age.
    ——

    Your ignorance of science, sadly, typical.

    Race, as used in this context refers to genetics. You can think of it as a constellation of factors that reflect an organism’s ancestry.

    Of course different groups will have different distributions. European Jews seem to have the highest IQ of any group (one reason for the widespread anti-semitism). Does that make them “Better”? They are more intelligent, on average (e.g., a disproportionate number of intellectuals), but “better” is so vague as to be meaningless.

  178. sparky

    In fact, if you take a black child and raise her in the white population (or make a black zygote to take into account fetal effects…), on average she will be _exactly_ as intelligent as a white person in the white population – the difference in means is entirely environmental.

    That’s been done — not with zygotes, of course, but with adoptees. And the racial differences in IQ don’t disappear. They don’t even diminish.

    I don’t see that there is any reason for a presumption either way for whether members of one race are on average smarter than another. Whoever asserts a proposition on the subject should provide evidence in support. All the evidence I am aware of points one way.

  179. joe

    How has such a policy proved that beliefs in inherent differences are unfounded?

    By creating a significant population of black lawyers, out there practicing and succeeding alongside their white colleagues. By giving those white lawyers black colleagues, and thus providing a real life demonstration that black people can succeed as lawyers. By giving generations of law students the lived experience of studying with and debating with black students and professors. By changing the practice of law from being a white enclave of privilige, and making it impossible for people to look at that white enclave and draw conclusions (whether conscious or not) about the the proper and natural place of black people.

    You had me weeping, there, Joe…then I remembered that I practice law. Before affirmative action, I think it would have been possible to believe that it was discrimination alone that held down the numbers of black lawyers at elite firms, as it used to hold down the number of Jews at elite firms. It’s not longer possible to believe that anymore.

  180. Rick Barton,

    But individuals are discriminated against on the basis of their race in both situations. I agree that this happens in both cases, but disagree that it makes both examples of racism. People are discriminated against on the basis of race when the CIA wants someone to go undercover in east Asia. This is not racist, either – it’s acknowledging that having someone of a certain race is necessary for the purpose of the program.

    Then why pretend that racial discrimination and color blindness can be morally equivalent. Because they can be.

    And it’s my conjecture that you’re conflicted cuz you know that forced Forced? racial discrimination has ethical problems and is at odds with your genral oppositio to racism, Close. I consider such necessities to be regrettable, and yearn for a world where they are no longer necessary. Sort of like acts of war. It’s actually my passion for bringing this world about that allows me to overcome my instinctive opposition to discrimination on the basis of race in this limited circumstance.

    and that’s why you don’t sound like yourself on this thread. I don’t? I’d better swear more. Rick, your mother is not wholly inexperienced in the physical act of love. Boo-yah! 😉

    to go to their second choice college, or gotten the job they want, or the promotion, or admission to med, dental, grad, or law school

    Rick, somebody is always going to be denied that college spot, not get the promotion, not get the job, or got to a different grad school. Affirmative Action increases the number of people so rejected by exactly zero. It simply changes the criteria by which those decisions are made slightly.

  181. menaed,

    I’m sorry you feel that way about black people, but I’m am thrilled that your opinion is becoming less and less common as our society becomes less segregated.

  182. more than 180 comments in, i’m sure no one will pay attention to this, but here goes —

    no one knowns what causes group differences in cognitive ability within developed countries. in developing countries, poor environmental conditions certainly reduce IQs. however, in developed countries there’s no convincing evidence that any particular environmental intervention has a lasting effect on group differences in IQ (yes, there’s some correlative evidence relating to micronutrients, etc.).

    moreover, an individual’s IQ is very stable throughout their life (note that IQ is age normalized, and thus this doesn’t mean that an individual’s absolute level of cognitive ability doesn’t change over a lifetime).

    moreover, racial group differences are observed among the children of people at every socioeconomic level. indeed, the black-white IQ gap in the US is largest amongst the children of the wealthiest and best educated people.

    together, these findings indicate that IQ differences are highly intractable. note that this is true regardless of whether genetics plays a role in group differences or not. thus, agonizing about genetics is beside the point when it comes to social policy considerations.

  183. “That’s been done — not with zygotes, of course, but with adoptees. And the racial differences in IQ don’t disappear. They don’t even diminish.”

    My hypothetical scenario most certainly hasn’t been done, menaed, for the simple reason that it’s impossible to actually make that hypothetical happen in real life. There are far too many environmental factors that can’t be controlled (due to both ethical and practical considerations) in humans. As a result, any conclusions about the relative contributions of environment and genetics are necessarily going to be pretty speculative.

    You’re right that adoptee studies have been done, but you’re wrong about the outcomes of those studies – they show that environment makes a big difference, and racial differences do in fact diminish (but don’t go away). (Once again with the caveat that there’s no way to properly control for environment, so it’s highly debatable what these studies actually show, if anything; most obviously, there’s no way to control for how a black child in a predominantly white school, neighborhood, etc. might be treated differently.)

    “I don’t see that there is any reason for a presumption either way for whether members of one race are on average smarter than another.”

    This is a very standard practice in every field of biology I’m familiar with (and I assume in other sciences). The standard null hypothesis is that there are no differences between groups – in IQ, height, weight, time to sexual maturity, flight speed, or anything else you might want to measure. There are a few cases where the appropriate null hypothesis is debatable, but starting with the assumption of no differences is close to universal practice.

  184. the effects of adoption fade with age (they don’t last):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Transracial_Adoption_Study

  185. “Your ignorance of science, sadly, typical.”

    Wow. I’m guessing the irony of that statement was completely lost on you, Roger.

    “Race, as used in this context refers to genetics. You can think of it as a constellation of factors that reflect an organism’s ancestry.”

    Race, as used in this context, does not refer to genetics in the broad sense you’ve defined it (“a constellation of factors that reflect an organism’s ancestry”); it refers most notably, although not exclusively, to skin color. Skin color is mostly controlled by a very small number of genes that represent a miniscule fraction of the genome (plus some limited environmental component). Black people and white people are obviously different at these genes – otherwise they wouldn’t differ in skin color. But that says nothing about how blacks and whites differ at other genes. As it turns out, differences at the other genes are better explained by geographic distance than by race.

  186. Sparky, have you seen this paper?

    Tang H, Quertermous T, Rodriguez B, Kardia SL, Zhu X, Brown A, Pankow JS, Province MA, Hunt SC, Boerwinkle E, Schork NJ, Risch NJ “Genetic structure, self-identified race/ethnicity, and confounding in case-control association studies.” Am J Hum Genet. 2005; 76: 2: 268-75.

    Abstract:

    We have analyzed genetic data for 326 microsatellite markers that were typed uniformly in a large multiethnic population-based sample of individuals as part of a study of the genetics of hypertension (Family Blood Pressure Program). Subjects identified themselves as belonging to one of four major racial/ethnic groups (white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic) and were recruited from 15 different geographic locales within the United States and Taiwan. Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers 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. Implications of this genetic structure for case-control association studies are discussed.

  187. I haven’t seen that paper, A.R., and I’m pretty surprised by (and skeptical of) their conclusions since they directly contradict just about everything else I’ve read on the subject, which suggests that human genetic variation fits an “isolation-by-distance” model in which genetic and geographic distance are strongly correlated.

    Here are two of many examples:

    A Manica et al. Geography is a better determinant of human genetic differentiation than ethnicity. Human Genetics 118(3-4): 366-371, 2005.
    Abstract:
    Individuals differ genetically in their susceptibility to particular diseases and their response to drugs. However, personalized treatments are difficult to develop, because disease susceptibility and drug response generally have poorly characterized genetic architecture. It is thus tempting to use the ethnicity of patients to capture some of the variation in allele frequencies at the genes underlying a clinical trait. The success of such a strategy depends on whether human populations can be accurately classified into discrete genetic ethnic groups. Despite the heated discussions and controversies surrounding this issue, there has been essentially no attempt so far to quantify the relative power of ethnic groups and geography at predicting the proportion of shared alleles between human populations. Here, we present the first such quantification using a dataset of 51 populations typed at 377 microsatellite markers, and show that pair-wise geographic distances across landmasses constitute a far better predictor than ethnicity. Allele sharing between human populations decays smoothly with increasing physical distance at a worldwide scale. We discuss the relevance of those patterns for the expected distribution of variants of medical interest. The distribution patterns for genes coding for simple traits are expected to be highly heterogeneous, as most such genes experienced strong natural selection. However variants involved in complex traits are expected to behave essentially neutrally and we expect them to fit closely our predictions based on microsatellites. We conclude that the use of ethnicity alone will often be inadequate as a basis for medical treatment.

    JH Relethford. Global Patterns of Isolation by Distance Based on Genetic and Morphological Data. Human Biology 76:4 499-513, 2004.
    Abstract:
    The isolation-by-distance model predicts that genetic similarity between populations will decrease exponentially as the geographic distance between them increases, because of the limiting effect of geographic distance on rates of gene flow. Many studies of human populations have applied the isolation-by-distance model to genetic variation between local populations in a limited geographic area, but few have done so on a global level, and these few used different models and analytical methods. I assess genetic variation between human populations across the world using data on red blood cell polymorphisms, microsatellite DNA markers, and craniometric traits. The isolation-by-distance model provides an excellent fit to average levels of genetic similarity within geographic distance classes for all three data sets, and the rate of distance decay is the same in all three. These results suggest that a common pattern of global gene flow mediated by geographic distance is detectable in diverse genetic and morphological data. An alternative explanation is that the correspondence between genetic similarity and geographic distance reflects the history of dispersal of the human species out of Africa.

    No more big cutty-pastey stuff from me, I promise….

  188. joe:

    Affirmative Action increases the number of people so rejected by exactly zero. It simply changes the criteria by which those decisions are made slightly.

    And with affirmative action, that criteria is one’s race! The imposition racial discrimination for positions that do not somehow require a specific race (for example, portrayals of Vikings call for white folks) are always unfair.

  189. joe:

    It’s actually my passion for bringing this world about that allows me to overcome my instinctive opposition to discrimination on the basis of race in this limited circumstance.

    Oh, so when the numbers come up the way you want, then we’ll have your ideal world-damn the real individuals that are treated unfairly in creating that world.

  190. “…In fact, if you take a black child and raise her in the white population (or make a black zygote to take into account fetal effects…), on average she will be _exactly_ as intelligent as a white person in the white population – the difference in means is entirely environmental.”

    Sparky, read “The Bell Curve”. African Americans raised in “white” environments still score significantly lower on IQ tests.

  191. “Once again – for about the fifth of sixth time today, and perhaps the hundredth overall – affirmative action isn’t about judging people to be superior based on their race. They’re about judging integration and diversity to be superior to segregation. The only judgement made about a black applicant vs. a white applicant is that the black applicant is black, and the white applicant white.”

    Bullshit! Admission committees make real-world admissions decisions about INDIVIDUAL applicants based on their race. That is racism.

  192. “Rick, somebody is always going to be denied that college spot, (so admit a white guy), not get the promotion,(so promote a white guy), not get the job, (so hire a white guy), or got to a different grad school, (so send the black guy on his way). Racism increases the number of people so rejected by exactly zero. It simply changes the criteria by which those decisions are made slightly.”

    How is that, Joe? It is all about the bottom line number, so no problem, right?

    Joe, I know you think you are not racist, but honestly, you are the textbook definition of “racist”. That you are so obtuse on this topic is astonishing.

  193. Aresen,

    Since most of the variability of the human genome is in Africa, it is obvious that any variation from the human statistical norm is most likely to be found in Africa.

    Therefore, if there is a definable group of humans who have above average “intelligence”, that group is probably in Africa.

    Intelligence in quotes? Sheesh.

    Your statement is complete nonsense. It is equivalent to arguing that since Africans have the greatest genetic variation we are most likely to find the highest proportion of light skin color among the denizens of the Dark Continent.

    Anybody familiar with the African students coming to the U.S. is well aware that most of them are from the elite families in their countries. Similarly, anybody familiar with Mexican immigrants is well aware that most come from not-very-elite families in their country. Academic success (or, in the case of Mexicans, failure) in each case is indicated by such origins. Once again, fools at Reason Online are working hard at avoiding reasoning about the issue because it might impinge upon their inane support for unrestricted Third World immigration.

  194. Rick,

    And with affirmative action, that criteria is one’s race! vastly overstates your case. THE criteria? THE? Criteria is a plural word, btw.

    The imposition racial discrimination for positions that do not somehow require a specific race (for example, portrayals of Vikings call for white folks) are always unfair.

    And if a college wishes to have a racially diverse student body, and isn’t going to achieve that just by looking at acadamic accomplishment to date, then using race to tweak the numbers is required. Once again, this is about integration, and whether we think integration is a worthy-enough goal.

    Oh, so when the numbers come up the way you want, then we’ll have your ideal world-damn the real individuals that are treated unfairly in creating that world. You’ve yet to demonstrate that anyone is being treated unfairly, just that some people don’t get what they want, and that you’d prefer that some other people not get what THEY want instead.

    wayne,

    How is that, Joe? It is all about the bottom line number, so no problem, right? As a matter of fact, that’s pretty close to what Howard University and other historically black colleges do in their admissions decisions, as they seek to provide racial diversity on their campus. Once again, and again, and again, apparently – integration is good. I like integration. I think it is good for colleges and businesses to promote integration. Segregation is bad. I don’t like segregation, and I think it is bad for colleges and businesses to promote segregation.

    Sorry you can’t keep up, but please stop wailing like that. It’s unbecoming. Oh and RACIST RACIST NANNY NANNY POO POO RACIST to you, too.

  195. “Sparky, read “The Bell Curve”. African Americans raised in “white” environments still score significantly lower on IQ tests.”

    First, Wayne, the text you quoted referred to a hypothetical situation, meant to illustrate how difficult it is to draw meaningful conclusions from these sorts of studies.

    Second, read any of a number of thorough debunkings of arguments about inherent intelligence differences from The Bell Curve. Maybe you missed the memo, but those parts of that book aren’t exactly the paragon of scientific objectivity and rigor.

    I’m done; have a good day, anyone who’s still reading this thread. Look out for tornadoes (at least if you’re in the Midwest)….

  196. A.R.

    In reference to the Tang et al. paper.

    You should read this along with those articles that Sparky cites.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1893020

    Main message. The clustering techniques used in these studies will always lead to clusters, but individuals within those clusters are often more similar across clusters than within clusters.

    Wayne,

    I know we’ve already had a long discussion on this, but you really need to recognize that The Bell Curve is a pretty sketchy source to use in debates on this issue. There are serious methodological flaws that have been debunked in detail. See up thread for some examples.

    A primary problem with The Bell Curve is that it did not use IQ tests, but achievement tests as its proxy for intelligence. And even then, it uses inappropriate data massaging (choosing particular tests for exclusion when they work against the hypothesis) to bolster their claims. The list of other methodological flaws is long enough to provide material for several books already published in response.

  197. joe:

    THE? Criteria is a plural word, btw.

    Thank you. Yeah, I’m hep that it’s a plural word, and I shoulda said “those Criteria” or “the criteria” not, “that criteria”. You aren’t saying that it’s incorrect to precede “criteria with “the” are you? Did you mean to say “that” instead of “the”?

  198. The claim that makes people uncomfortable is that intelligence is under genetic control.

    Of course, to an extent it is. But to what extent?

    A human factor entirely under genetic control: number of eyes.

    How heritable is number of eyes?

    Answer: almost zero heritability…variations away from two eyes are almost entirely the result of differences in history and environment (e.g., “That’s fun until someone loses an eye.”).

    Too many race determines intelligence claims are based on the heritability of intelligence, but inappropriately conflate heritability with “under genetic control.”

  199. It is equivalent to arguing that since Africans have the greatest genetic variation we are most likely to find the highest proportion of light skin color among the denizens of the Dark Continent.

    Not really.

    The claim is that for people living on the African continent, the genetic variation (essentially) encompasses the entire range of the larger group (all humans) so sub-groups can be defined within population that will match any particular trait you can define in the larger group (all humans).

    No claim about the proportions of a particular trait was made.

  200. joe:

    Once again, this is about integration, and whether we think integration is a worthy-enough goal.

    For my tastes, integration is a very good thing. But it’s not as good as racial discrimination/affirmative action is reprehensible. And the former cannot serve as a meritorious reason for the latter.

  201. joe:

    You’ve yet to demonstrate that anyone is being treated unfairly…

    What?? Only if you don’t consider racial discrimination to be unfair.

  202. N.M., certainly making inferences about phenotypic diversity by looking at genome-wide genetic diversity is unwise (in the absence of any other information). But it’s mostly unwise because human phenotypic diversity is likely a product of selection (see the latest issue of Nature). This gets us back to Watson’s (unfortunately presented) comments. Cognitive ability may differ between groups because of selection. If this is the case, as Watson suggests, then the issue of neutral genetic diversity is irrelevant.

  203. I do agree with Dr. James. I am not racist. But I did visit countries in Europe and north American and south American and middle east most blacks live in very bad neighbors and cause problems to every people who live next them. They can’t be successful in their life. I am surprised when some one said all the black immigrants are successful when they arrive to new countries which are not true. Every one knows the black immigrants the cause problem to the new society and on one want to speak out. Blacks the only races don’t have any history or civilization like the one you see in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

    But we need to help blacks people and accept them the way they are.

  204. Says Rick Barton,
    “…I’d like to introduce you to Grand Master Maurice Ashley. He has the ranking of International Master, which indicates that he is among the strongest chess players in the world: … Note that in 1991, he coached a team of kids from Harlem to victory at the National Junior High School Championships.”

    Then they all got shot for ‘acting white.’

  205. During Colonialism and Apartheid in Africa there was virtually no black on black conflict for well over 50 years. In some countries there was black-on-black peace for over a hundred years while those countries were ruled by whites. White people were peace makers who prevented numerous wars. In South Africa, whites even prevented the genocide of the whole Indian community by the Zulus in 1949. During Colonial rule, whites brought Law & Order to black societies. There was massive economic growth which has not been equaled since.

    I agree we should treat people as indivuals, but it seems like black run goverments who understand and practice the basic principle of common law are few and far between.

    It is anathema now days to say that most blacks in Africa would be better ruled by whites, but there is lots of evidence to support this view.

  206. A.R.,

    I assume you are referring to this
    http://www.nature.com/news/2007/071017/pdf/449762a.pdf

    An interesting read certainly.

    I note that Watson himself has come out against the statements and the implications drawn by a certain Watson in some interview that he can’t believe he participated in.

  207. chess,

    Very funny!

  208. How heritable is number of eyes?

    Answer: almost zero heritability…variations away from two eyes are almost entirely the result of differences in history and environment (e.g., “That’s fun until someone loses an eye.”).

    Too many race determines intelligence claims are based on the heritability of intelligence, but inappropriately conflate heritability with “under genetic control.”

    NM, you are too smart for me. I have not the first clue what you are talking about.

  209. or, conversely, if you say “Since women are 51 percent of the population they MUST be 51 percent of the mathematicians as well, and if they’re not that’s proof of a patriarchal plot.”

    Jennifer, I was with you up to this point. You obviously don’t understand how diversity enhances the educational and work experience fo society as a whole.

  210. I have made my decision:

    Jennifer wins the Jennifer/Joe debate on this thread. Full disclosure: I have a soft spot in my heart for intelligent, combative ex-strippers, and a flinty cold spot for liberal racists.

  211. Regarding the debunking of, “The Bell Curve”. Bunk!

  212. Wayne,

    re: Two eyes.

    Everybody (or close enough) has the genetic programing for two eyes. Since getting it is not dependent upon who your parents are, the heritability of having two eyes is close to zero, even though the number of eyes you GROW is totally under genetic control. Heritability does not equal “genetically programmed.”

    Since everyone has two eyes because we all have the genetic programming, the people with less than two eyes got that way not because of their parent’s genes, but because of an environmental accident (bb-guns being the primary culprit ;^)

    Intelligence is way more heritable than number of eyes. This does not mean that it is “genetically programmed” since heritability is not a measure of genetic programming. Heritability can be 100% (or close enough) due to environmental factors since families tend to share environments.

    Regarding The Bell Curve: do you really think it has stood up well to the scrutiny since it was published? Really? Have you read any of the detailed scientific reviews of it?

  213. Everybody (or close enough) has the genetic programing for two eyes. Since getting it is not dependent upon who your parents are, the heritability of having two eyes is close to zero, even though the number of eyes you GROW is totally under genetic control. Heritability does not equal “genetically programmed.”

    So, you are saying that a phenotype that is determined by a genotype (with a correlation of 1) is NOT heritable? Wow!

  214. Theodore Dawes said: “There is a stigma attached to excellence in certain black subcultures. You don’t want to be accused of “acting white”.
    I’ve always thought that the assumption people will always try their best on IQ tests was a serious flaw in the methodology…”

    chess said: “Then they all got shot for ‘acting white.'”

    This kind of thing is very salient. Even though I went to school in the suburbs, I found myself on the business end of the ‘acting/talking white’ barb several times.

    I can’t ignore this, and I saw Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint on ‘Meet the Press’, clearly distressed about such matters.

    And oddly enough, in college, almost every other black person I knew didn’t really care that they spoke “proper” or “white” English. Hmmmm…

    I can honestly say that, from what little I’ve observed that among poor Americans, black people seem most likely to be our own worst enemies. It’s like a syndrome, and it’s pervasive to a truly alarming extent.

    If Watson had at least paid lip service to any possible sociological underpinnings (I don’t know, maybe he has), I’d feel better.

    In conclusion, ‘black America’ as a collective has many issues, but like Mr. Paul said, the moment you stop treating people as individuals and simply labeling them as part of a group, you’re being a bigot.
    Hell, to restate my proposition, too many black kids try to conform to some monolithic, mythical ‘blackness’, than to really be themselves, and I think this seriously hinders some people.

  215. In conclusion, ‘black America’ as a collective has many issues, but like Mr. Paul said, the moment you stop treating people as individuals and simply labeling them as part of a group, you’re being a bigot.

    I agree with this. I would like to add that the moment you start treating groups as individuals, you become just as big a bigot; and that is what is happening in America, and all with good intentions.

  216. “I should point out that humans actually have very little genetic diversity. You will find a greater variety of DNA in a single chimpanzee troupe than in the entire human race.”

    A french scientist who has decoded his ENTIRE DNA sequence (17 years or something) disproved this a few months ago. The original research about “the human genome” had to be based on hundreds of different sets of research, on thousands of different DNA samples from all around the world. Everyone was working on different chromosomes. Hence the final “human genome” was an aggregate. Now that he has done his own total DNA, he found that in fact he is only 70% human. i.e. a large personal std deviation from the “norm” of the averaged human genome.

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