Race and IQ


I was going to write a post about race and IQ, but really, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Searching the subject, I came across an article on the website Global Politician, written by a familiar name, Guy White. I couldn’t hope to say what he said here any better, so I thought I’d share it for those who may have missed it.

IQ Differences: Do they exist and can we admit it?

Guy White – 4/9/2008

Last year the Fire Department of New York was sued by the federal government because of the racial gaps between races. No reasons were given to prove that there was any bias, just the fact that blacks did not score as well as whites. The FDNY test was not the only test to show a gap. So did the SAT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, bar exam, police exams, IQ test – every test of aptitude. All of them are supposed to be racist.

The Consistency of the gap on aptitude tests

But here’s the interesting thing. All of them show about the same gap – what psychometrists call one standard deviation. And all of them show that Asians are about a third of a standard deviation above whites.

Consider how difficult it must be to maintain this gap year in and year out if it were not real, but the result of a conspiracy.

Every year, the test makers must work to make certain that the gap remains the same – and not just one one test, but for everyone from children taking the SAT and AP exams to doctors taking medical boards.

Many of the aptitude tests are developed in other countries, including African nations and their universities who need a way to filter students into their universities and government jobs.

And many of the American tests aren’t uniform nationally. Bar exams given to lawyers and lieutenant exams given to cops are different in every state. Not only are the laws different, but the types of questions given by states are often radically different (multiple choice, short essays, long essays, questions based on knowledge, questions based on logic without any need for memorization).

All those hundreds of tests must be worked out to produce exactly the same bias, year in and year out. The ‘White Racist Conspiracy’ must never falter. It cannot produce a white advantage too big or too small because it would undermine itself and expose the bias in all the other tests.

Why them?

At the same time, East Asians must score better than whites – again, always by the same margin. The White Racist Conspiracy allows Asians to score higher because … why is it again? If the tests are developed by whites, why are whites failing to score higher than East Asians?

But that’s not it. The White Racist Conspiracy must also make sure that within the races, there must be the same scores for different ethnic groups, and keep it up for all the different tests in all the years.

The Japanese must score higher than native Hawaiians. The Jews must score higher than the Germans (IQ tests were made illegal in Nazi Germany for this reason). The tests must be made so that Ashkenazi Jews score higher than Sephardic Jews; Hong Kong Chinese score higher than Taiwan Chinese; English immigrants from London score higher than English immigrants from northern England. On every test, in every state, every year.

But why? If this is a racist conspiracy, why would white supremacists care who scores higher, those from Hong Kong or those from Taiwan? Why would white supremacists want to make the Japanese score higher than whites, but Hawaiians lower? And why would the undercover Klansmen preparing these tests allow the Jews to outscore everyone? And why would Americans hate Australian Aborigines so much that they would make them score lowest on aptitude tests? Why would Americans hate the Aborigines? What would it prove to give them such low scores?

And why would the white male conspiracy want black women to outscore black men? Aren’t they supposed to be sexist, as well as racist? Isn’t that the reason given to explain why white men outscore white women by about 3-5 point on IQ tests? So why would the sexist test makers allow black women to outscore black men?

Where are the whistle-blowers?

To make sure that hundreds, maybe thousands, of different tests conform perfectly to each other in terms of racial/ethnic/gender averages, and achieve those unfair differences through racist cheating for dozens of years, we would expect that there would be a conspiracy of hundreds of thousands of people over the generations since these tests were implemented.

This raises a question: why didn’t someone blow the whistle? Many people complain that the tests are racist just because they show differences in average scores for different racial and ethnic groups. But who has actually been able to point out the conspiracy where questions were asked with the specific purpose of discriminating? Nobody. Why not? Why is it never even alleged? Only the so-called “disparate impact” is used to indict the test makers.

Why don’t blacks create “fair” tests?

Most curiously, why didn’t blacks come up with a test that is fair? There are many major cities – Washington, New Orleans, Detroit, Camden, Oakland – that have been run exclusively or almost exclusively by blacks. These cities develop their own tests for police, firemen, and other government employees. Why are their tests also show the same exact “bias”? Are we supposed to believe that New Orleans Mayor Ray – This is a Chocolate City – Nagin is part of the racist conspiracy to disadvantage blacks when they are try to get a job or a promotion?

Why don’t black countries develop a fair IQ test? Why can’t even a black racist dictator like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe do it? Is he also part of the white supremacist conspiracy?

Is there a reason why Ray Nagin and Robert Mugabe can’t hire “unbiased” academics? Maybe it’s impossible to create a biased test and keep the results consistent across the board over many years? Maybe these tests are not biased and reflect a real gap? Maybe a test that does not show a gap is the one that would be biased? Maybe, just maybe, the IQ gap actually exists?

Would admitting this gap be racist and upsetting to blacks?

Would it be racist to suggest that East Asians have higher IQ scores than whites? Would it be racist to say that Asians are better educated than whites? Would it be racist to say that Asians have significantly lower crime rates than whites? That they save more and waste less of their income than whites?

So why then is it racist to say all those things about whites as compared to blacks when all the tests and statistics show that these statements are factually accurate?

White people don’t break out in tears when they hear that they have lower IQ than Asians, on average of course. They do not feel that now they can’t go to school or that society is against them. They do not suffer low self-esteem as a result of knowing this fact.

So why should blacks be upset that their average scores are lower?

Our society didn’t break down when we found out that East Asians are on average more intelligent than whites, so why would it break down if we admitted that whites are on average more intelligent than blacks?

Just because we know that Asians are on an average smarter than whites, we do not say that every Asian person is smarter than every white person. Why can’t we admit that whites have a higher average IQ than blacks, while at the same time recognizing that many blacks are more intelligent than many whites?

We can recognize that the fact that the Asian average is somewhat higher, does not mean that every Asian person is smarter. But we also recognize that the higher average IQ among Asians will result in higher average income and education.

The same can be true in the black-white dynamic: we can treat every person as an individual based on his ability, independent of the average score of his race. At the same time we can recognize that there will be an average group difference in income and education that is the result of the average IQ score for the group, not discrimination by evil whites. Recognizing that would mean that affirmative action is an unfair advantage for those individuals who lucky enough to be born into a race with a lower average IQ score.

Why should a black person with an IQ of 100 go to a university that is off-limits to a white person with the same 100 IQ just because the average black person has a lower score than the average white person? Shouldn’t the two people with the same IQ be treated the same way?

What good would it be to admit IQ differences?

This story appeared in the news yesterday:

Officials overseeing the Advanced Placement program have announced that they intend to drop AP classes and exams in four subject areas, in a pullback expected to affect about 12,500 students and 2,500 teachers worldwide.

Following the end of the 2008-09 academic year, there will be no AP courses or exams in Italian, Latin literature, French literature, and computer science AB, said officials at the College Board, the New York City-based nonprofit organization that owns the AP brand.

Mr. Packer said the decision was made principally because of demographic considerations.

Only a tiny fraction of the members of underrepresented minority groups who take AP exams take the tests in one of those four affected subject areas, he said. (SOURCE)

This is what happens when we refuse to recognize aptitude differences. Admitting that fewer blacks than whites or Asians have a high IQ isn’t just a philosophical matter. Courses are cut, tests are butchered, corporations are sued and careers are destroyed because tests show different results for different racial and ethnic groups.

If we admitted that fewer blacks have a high IQ, these AP courses would still be there and the FDNY would not have gotten sued for discrimination (unless real discrimination could be proven). When we pretend that evolution doesn’t produce differences in human populations, we begin harass the company that makes those courses until that company eliminates programs that are desperately needed for the nation’s progress.

Is our nation and the the rest of the world better off without our brightest kids getting the stimulation they need to become great inventors, doctors, professors, engineers and businessmen?

Most importantly, is our nation better off hunting for witches in its own institutions and spending trillions of dollars to work towards the impossible goal of equality of outcome, especially if it means discouraging blacks (of all IQ levels, including the very bright) from trying for the fear of racism while simultaneously inciting them to hate “whitey”? Is our nation really better off this way?

There was a section of the article that I omitted. It wasn’t part of the original piece that Guy White had written, but added later to address the issue of relative lack of East Asian achievement. He makes the point that East Asians have a narrower range of IQ, which is an assertion often made, but I’ve yet to find any studies showing this. The disparity in Noble Prizes in the hard sciences and number of innovations between East and West is probably due to the fact that East Asians tend to be collectivists where Westerners are more individualists, rather than a lack of Asian genius as he proposes.

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29 thoughts on “Race and IQ

  1. I’m not sure why GW and even you repeat the unsupported view that E Asians have a narrower IQ range when there is no proof for it. Perhaps it’s tempting because it explains current conditions.

    The disparity in Noble Prizes in the hard sciences and number of innovations between East and West is probably due to the fact that East Asians tend to be collectivists where Westerners are more individualists

    When E Asians were doing all the inventing/innovating, was their culture very different?

    People who refer to the past 500 years and are puzzled why Asians have not innovated/invented on par with the West have a too short view of history.

  2. I stated at the end of the post that there wasn’t any evidence to show East Asians have a narrower IQ range and that’s why I left that part of GW’s article out.

    As far as their level of innovation in the sciences, the West dwarfs Asia in it’s accomplishments. It’s really indisputable. It’s not about having a short view of history. It’s just the truth.

  3. Of course the West dwarfs the East because its innovations has occurred over the past 500 years.

    Assuming Asia continues its ascent, its creative innovations will soon dwarf the West over the coming years.

    Knowledge and science grows geometrically. It’s unfair to compare the advance of knowledge between epochs.

  4. Whether it’s fair or not, I can only make a judgement based on the evidence so far. We’ll have to see what happens. If things change, then I’ll admit that I was wrong.

    Until recently, Japan was the only technologically advanced nation in Asia. South Korea exploded in their growth and I think might soon surpass Japan in scientific developments. Their PISA scores are much higher. China is on the rise as well. Over the next 50 years we’ll get a chance to see if the East Asians start dominating in the way their IQ scores suggest they would.

  5. I can only make a judgement based on the evidence so far.

    I’m puzzled how you can say this.

    The evidence is the past 2,000+ years of human civilization where in that time most of the innovation came from the East.

    Japan and Western Europe grew technologically advanced only in the past ~500 years. Prior to that, both were relative backwaters.

  6. “Assuming Asia continues its ascent, its creative innovations will soon dwarf the West over the coming years.”

    East Asia needs to tackle that birth rate problem if it ever hopes to ascend. Still, they have a better chance than the West at resolving it.

  7. The evidence is the past 2,000+ years of human civilization where in that time most of the innovation came from the East.

    Why not name some of these Eastern innovations to help prove your point?

  8. John McNeill,

    There’s no guarantee of anyone’s future, of course, but the point is that if the East does continue its ascent, its quality/quantity of innovations will quickly pile up.

  9. The evidence is the past 2,000+ years of human civilization where in that time most of the innovation came from the East.

    KR,

    You’re just speaking nonsense now. Are you conveniently forgetting the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution? Even before those times, the Greeks and Romans created many of the innovations that the world still uses today. The Chinese had some contributions but it doesn’t even amount to 10 percent. And don’t tell other people to google it when you’re the one making empty claims.

  10. Sagat,

    You’re just speaking nonsense now

    The Renaissance and Industrial Revolution occurred over the past 500 years, not the past 2000 years. Western Europe’s ascent is recent.

    Greeks and Romans

    Greece and the Roman empire were great civilizations, but China became greater.

    History should show that E. Asians lack nothing in innovation.

    The Chinese had some contributions but it doesn’t even amount to 10 percent.

    What, compared to the 20th century? Of course not. But you can’t compare different epochs.

    And don’t tell other people to google it when you’re the one making empty claims.

    Empty claims? Sad.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_inventions

    The West is worthy of admiration, but let’s not go overboard, Sagat. “Chisel away” conventional wisdom. The West has not always led nor out-innovated the East

  11. KR,

    I’m aware of Chinese inventions, but you need to go back and look at your own statements again.

    The evidence is the past 2,000+ years of human civilization where in that time most of the innovation came from the East.

    The Renaissance and Industrial Revolution occurred over the past 500 years, not the past 2000 years. Western Europe’s ascent is recent.

    You can’t omit the past 500 years, when you make a claim that the majority of innovation came out of the East over the past 2000 years. Can you not recognize that the past 500 years are included in the past 2000 years? I hope you’re not that dense and instead just made a simple misstatement.

    It seems to me that you aren’t stating what you mean to say correctly. If you meant to say that before the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, the East was ahead of the West, then that’s what you need to state. Otherwise, this is a pointless argument over semantics.

  12. You can’t omit the past 500 years, when you make a claim that the majority of innovation came out of the East over the past 2000 years.

    No bud. The point is not how much necessarily but that during the period, much of it did.

    You still don’t seem to get it.

    Knowledge and innovation do not grow linearly. Over the next 100 to 200 years, we’ll see human knowledge surpass the past 500, just as the past 500 surpassed the past 5000. But surely, that doesn’t make every succeeding generation of inventors and innovators qualitatively superior to those who have come before them and on whose shoulders they stand.

    If you meant to say that before the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, the East was ahead of the West, then that’s what you need to state.

    ???

    That much was stated.

  13. KR,

    You keep insisting that the East were the main innovators of the past 2000 years. That’s a blatantly false statement. The Renaissance was spurred by the rediscovery of Greek and Roman knowledge that was lost during the Dark Ages. From that foundation, Western science and knowledge grew. The Chinese weren’t the catalyst that caused Europe and the West to explode in innovation. The Greeks and Romans were.

    I agree that the Chinese had a great civilization. The Mayans and Incas also had great civilizations for their times and locations. But does that mean that we can expect the descendants of the Mayans and Incas to be major contributors to scientific knowledge in the future? The evidence doesn’t show that. Pointing the finger to a relatively advanced era as proof doesn’t cut it. What’s important is where the East contributes in the modern era, using the knowledge that’s been acquired from previous centuries of innovation.

    Japan has been industrialized for well over a century now, and while some important inventions have come out Japan during that time, the level of innovation is not on par with what we would expect from a nation with such a large smart fraction. So there has to be a reason. Is it cultural or is it innate?

    You seem to think that the East has already proven that it can match the West and even outpace them. I don’t. As I said before, we’ll have to see. It’s not that I don’t “get it.” I just don’t agree with your perspective and you haven’t presented evidence to convince me otherwise.

  14. You keep insisting that the East were the main innovators of the past 2000 years. That’s a blatantly false statement.

    “Main” would suggest a comparison of epochs. As I said, you can’t do that.

    But it was the East that innovated for most of that period. And we’re not talking making spears and arrows.

    The Renaissance was spurred by the rediscovery of Greek and Roman knowledge that was lost during the Dark Ages. From that foundation, Western science and knowledge grew. The Chinese weren’t the catalyst that caused Europe and the West to explode in innovation. The Greeks and Romans were.

    How do you know the Chinese wasn’t a catalyst? You think trade with the East did nothing to fire the imagination of Europeans and spur them to reexamine themselves and their own glorious past?

    If the East surpasses the West in future, do you not think that they as well will reach back into antiquity and rediscover their old past glory? Do you think Asians will be celebrating Plato and Nietzsche in the future? No. They’ll celebrate their historical heroes and thinkers. But one could hardly deny that it was the West that inspired them to move forward and innovate again.

    I agree that the Chinese had a great civilization. The Mayans and Incas also had great civilizations for their times and locations.

    Silly comparison.

    But does that mean that we can expect the descendants of the Mayans and Incas to be major contributors to scientific knowledge in the future?

    Mayans never surpassed the East nor the West. They were a relatively advanced civilization in the Americas. That is all.

    The evidence doesn’t show that. Pointing the finger to a relatively advanced era as proof doesn’t cut it.

    E. Asians were not relatively advanced among themselves, they were the most advanced globally. You dismiss this?

    What’s important is where the East contributes in the modern era, using the knowledge that’s been acquired from previous centuries of innovation.

    Actually, this is not logically relevant.

    Japan has been industrialized for well over a century now, and while some important inventions have come out Japan during that time, the level of innovation is not on par with what we would expect from a nation with such a large smart fraction. So there has to be a reason. Is it cultural or is it innate?

    The thing with Japan is that they were always playing catchup. They never really arrived until the late 80s or 90s… and then they blew up.

    You seem to think that the East has already proven that it can match the West and even outpace them. I don’t. As I said before, we’ll have to see. It’s not that I don’t “get it.” I just don’t agree with your perspective and you haven’t presented evidence to convince me otherwise.

    I used to think people were just making the mistake of comparing one era with another or having a too short view of history. In your case, you seem to dismiss Asian civilization altogether as something equivalent to the Mayans or maybe the Zulus.

  15. More food for thought:

    http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/help/readings.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Great_Inventions_of_ancient_China

    Also, I think it ought to be kept in mind that trade during the dark ages was spurred by Europeans seeking desired goods from an outside world more advanced than itself. It spurred them to learn, innovate and catchup.

    China, on the other hand, found no reason to trade with a backward Europe. It had everything it needed. Of course, it was happy to take silver and gold in exchange for silk, tea and other trinkets.

  16. Well, I look at the bright side.

    At least KR isn’t arguing that Africans invented everything…

  17. Incredible… so there really are people who think what I thought was a pretty orthodox position is a variant of the “Africans built great civilizations” argument.

  18. Incredible… so there really are people who think what I thought was a pretty orthodox position is a variant of the “Africans built great civilizations” argument.

    LOL, no – your position isn’t quite untenable as those given by the Pan-Africanists, but you just don’t seem to understand the history of Western learning very well when you make statements like this:

    How do you know the Chinese wasn’t a catalyst? You think trade with the East did nothing to fire the imagination of Europeans and spur them to reexamine themselves and their own glorious past?

    huh?

  19. From now on I am going to play “Devil’s Advocate”
    Who’s music, art,transport systems, writing, comunicating systems etc. is used today and by whom was it invented?

  20. East Asians are as bright as West Caucasians so why have most of the innovations come from the West? I don’t think it has anything to do with intelligence. IMHO it has to do with a conformity that has both a genetic and cultural component.

    West Caucasians tend to be more non conformist which leads to more innovation. The downside of non conformity, however, is instability. So what you have is a cyclical history of Western countries lurching forward and making these great advancements only to implode.

    While East Asian countries are certainly capable of using these advancements and often even improving them they tend to stagnate without continued western innovation. On the upside, East Asian countries tend to be more stable. So which is better – stagnant stability or innovative instability. Since East Asians can simply piggy back western innovations I’m going to have to go with stagnant stability being the most advantageous.

  21. KR

    How do you know the Chinese wasn’t a catalyst? You think trade with the East did nothing to fire the imagination of Europeans and spur them to reexamine themselves and their own glorious past?

    While there is proof that ancient China had some amazing technology for its day, there is very little proof that much of it was ever transferred to Europe. The Chinese were willing to trade goods but wanted nothing else to do with the west so I doubt they were willing to let Europeans nose around China to learn its secrets.

    I remember seeing a story on ancient Chinese inventions. One invention was a Chinese carriage made from over 3000 replacible parts that came from a kings tomb. This was centuries before Europe had the ability to make things that precise in Europe but it died with that Chinese dynasty.

    You need to show that something came from China and was immediately copied elsewhere – not 100 or 500 years later to show that the Chinese were the real inventors of what was done in the west. This is why we give credit to Eli Whitney (although wikipedia says a French guy was a few years ahead) for replacible parts because it was lost knowledge.

    This is like trying to claim that the Mayan calendar is the progenator of our calendar simply because it was more accurate – even thought it wasn’t even understood until the last half of the 20th century.

  22. Mark,

    Yeah, some of the Chinese inventions that KR linked to as being pivotal to European progress were independently invented by Europeans. The printing press, for example, may have been invented first by the Chinese, but Gutenberg didn’t copy the Chinese; he came up with that invention on his own.

    I stopped responding to KR, because it was obvious he was being disingenuous. His claim that I held the Chinese in the same light as the Zulus was ridiculous. The thing about looking back at advanced nations is that it’s all relative. The northern Europeans and northern Asians are way more advanced now than they ever were for the majority of their history. We have to look at the factors that have allowed them to rise to their current heights, with high IQ being one of the strongest correlations. The East Asians have the IQ, so all things being equal, they should out pace the Europeans in the future. The thing is, all things aren’t equal. As Fred noted, cultural and genetic differences are sure to play a role in their future outcomes. We’ll just have to see.

  23. Mark,
    there is very little proof that much of it was ever transferred to Europe.

    Right… Europe reinvented gunpowder, the compass, papermaking… as for printing, even in the absence of hard evidence of direct influence, it’s very likely Europe at least heard of its existence in Asia.

    You need to show that something came from China and was immediately copied elsewhere

    No, actually that’s not even the premise of the argument. The point is that E. Asians have proven themselves to be creative, inventive, innovative and way ahead of the rest of the world for a very long stretch of history. Now, whether Europe bothered to learn from them or not is another topic for another day.

    Sagat,
    His claim that I held the Chinese in the same light as the Zulus was ridiculous.

    I was being facetious, but you did compare China to the Mayans. But you don’t think that’s silly, do you? You really take them to be comparable, right?

    Fred,
    East Asians are as bright as West Caucasians so why have most of the innovations come from the West? I don’t think it has anything to do with intelligence. IMHO it has to do with a conformity that has both a genetic and cultural component.

    Geeez. But 500-1000 years ago when most of the inventions were coming out of the East, this argument would have been untenable.

    Most of the inventions have come from the West NOW because it is the West that is on top NOW.

  24. the mayans were tremendously innovative in terms of technology.

    the isolation was what held them back in terms of relative technological advancement. if they inherited egyptian knowledge, think about how far the mayans could have gotten.

    same with japan.

    there is a “core knowledge set” that a country must assimilate in order to start innovating. if you are isolated, you have to reinvent a lot of stuff–thousands of years of stuff.

    if the human species started in one location, then it took many years for humans to spread into places like south america and australia and japan and even subsaharan africa.

    so the center of civilization was where urban life started. urban life was important for trade, so that you could specialize in one thing rather than having to make food, clothing, and shelter, all by yourself. focusing on one thing meant rapid advancement. this is the core knowledge set. it includes engineering, mathematics, writing, tools, ideas, art, etc.

  25. “East Asians are as bright as West Caucasians so why have most of the innovations come from the West? I don’t think it has anything to do with intelligence. IMHO it has to do with a conformity that has both a genetic and cultural component.”

    some good questions might be:

    are asians in asia different from asians in the US in terms of conformity?

    why do places explode in creativity like Florence during the renaissance?

    why was innovation happening in florence but not in milan during the renaissance?

    why do certain colleges explode in terms of creativity, innovation, research, etc. at a certain point in time?

    why do certain companies start innovating or why do certain companies stop innovating?

  26. Don’t you see?

    All these statistics.. You ask where the white conspiracy is, it’s right under your nose! The very fact that it remains so consistent is indicative of a conspiracy. By putting black females above males, and asians above whites it allows the global white conspiracy to fool people like you. It’s just too perfect, too consistent.

    Open your eyes and challenge the established order, before it’s too late.

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