Andrew Sullivan Revives Racist "Bell Curve" Argument--Here's Why He's Wrong
I understand the fascination with certain white people wanting to justify their political agenda through insisting that African Americans are genetically pre-determined to be less intelligent than whites. Andrew
[The study of intelligence] has been strangled by p.c. egalitarianism. The reason is the resilience of racial differences in IQ in the data, perhaps most definitively proven by UC Berkeley psychologist Arthur Jensen:"Jensen is still greatly respected by many traditional intelligence researchers," Garlick says. "By 'traditional intelligence researchers,' I mean researchers who still value IQ and continue to do studies that evaluate the effectiveness of IQ in predicting outcomes, or studies that examine possible mechanisms that may cause differences in IQ. However, due to the unpopularity of Jensen’s findings, this group of researchers is now very small.
"The major move in response to Jensen’s findings hasn’t been rigorous and compelling research to try and disprove his hypotheses and findings. Rather, it has led to an exodus of researchers away from the area, and a drying up of grant funding and research positions for researchers interested in IQ."
Andrew Sullivan fails to acknowledge that the conclusions reached by the authors of the Bell Curve have been shown to be insufficient to show a genetic component between IQ and race (two nebulous concepts in and of themselves).
In The Bell Curve Herrnstein and Murray argue that a youth's intelligence (IQ) is a more important determinant of social and economic success in adulthood than is the socioeconomic status (SES) of his or her parents. Herrnstein and Murray base this conclusion on comparison of effects of IQ score (measured at ages 15 and 23) and the effects of an index of parents' SES from models of economic status, marriage, welfare use, involvement in crime, as well as several outcomes for young children. Reviewers of The Bell Curve have questioned whether Herrnstein and Murray's estimates of the effects of IQ are overstated by their use of a rather crude measure of parents' SES. Comparisons of siblings in the Herrnstein and Murray sample, a more complete and accurate way to control for family background, reveal little evidence that Herrnstein and Murray's estimates of the effects of IQ score are biased by omitted family background characteristics (with the possible exception of outcomes for young children). However, there is evidence of substantial bias due to measurement error in their estimates of the effects of parents' socioeconomic status. In addition, Herrnstein and Murray's measure of parental SES fails to capture the effects of important elements of family background (such as single-parent family structure at age 14). As a result, their analysis gives an exaggerated impression of the importance of IQ relative to parents' SES, and relative to family background more generally. Estimates based on a variety of methods, including analyses of siblings, suggest that parental family background is at least as important, and may be more important than IQ in determining socioeconomic success in adulthood.
You see, if you look at raw data you can come to all sort of conclusions. For example, did you know that Unitarians are the smartest religious people, and Pentacostals the dumbest, in America? Well if you go by IQ and SAT scores, there's no comparison. But even more interesting, is that studies show liberals and atheists are more intelligent than other groups and this difference has been shown to be statistically significant:
More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism ...
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.
Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."
Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.
Does this mean there is an gene for intelligence among atheists and liberals that conservatives and highly religious people lack? I doubt it. Just as I doubt Northern Blacks have a gene that makes them more intelligent than Southern Whites:
[B]lack northerners scored higher on IQ tests than white southerners when soldiers were recruited and tested during WWII[.] (Bergen Evans, The Natural History of Nonsense (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), ch. 14, "The Skin Game.")
Even Conservative favorite (and African American) economist and writer, Thomas Sowell finds little evidence that race or ethnicity genetically determines intelligence:
When European immigrant groups in the United States scored below the national average on mental tests, they scored lowest on the abstract parts of those tests. So did white mountaineer children in the United States tested back in the early 1930s... Strangely, Herrnstein and Murray refer to "folklore" that "Jews and other immigrant groups were thought to be below average in intelligence." It was neither folklore nor anything as subjective as thoughts. It was based on hard data, as hard as any data in The Bell Curve. These groups repeatedly tested below average on the mental tests of the World War I era, both in the army and in civilian life. For Jews, it is clear that later tests showed radically different results—during an era when there was very little intermarriage to change the genetic makeup of American Jews.
Yet, here we are, still arguing about race as determining intelligence. Despite the fact that the greatest proponents of this "theory" deliberately manipulated their data to fit their hypothesis, or in the case of the most renowned psychologist of the 20th century who promoted these ideas, Cyril Burt ( a "scientist" that Arthur Jensen at Stanford, the new banner holder for racial superiority praised to the skies) falsified his data, and was a complete fraud:
A year after Burt's death, Princeton psychologist Leon Kamin began to scrutinize his statistics and found major flaws. For one thing, in three different studies of different numbers of identical twins, Burt reported the same statistical correlation of IQ scores to the third decimal point, which is incredible. There were similar flaws in Burt's reports dating back as far as 1909. Arthur Jensen insisted that if Burt had been trying to fake his data he would have done a better job of it.
In 1976 London's Sunday Times reported the shocking fact that Burt's two field investigators and co-authors of his studies, Margaret Howard and J. Conway, were nonexistent. These two phantom experts had often signed reviews praising Burt and attacking his enemies in the British Journal of Statistical Psychology during the 15 years when Burt was its editor. Burt's housekeeper admitted to the Sunday Times that she knew he used pseudonyms. It seems clear that Burt had solemnly reported nonexistent tests and studies, and had signed fictitious names to articles he published.
Funny how people cling to their prejudices about white superiority over blacks on the basis of intelligence, and are willing to credit the "Bell Curve's" brand of "science" even though they dispute the far less disputed and better scientific data and analysis that supports Evolution, Climate Change and the Big Bang. To paraphrase an old adage, you can lead a bigot to the truth but you can't make him or her accept it if it conflicts with their own practically immutable biases. Arthur Jensen, by the way, just like the fraud Cyril Burt who he idolized, believed that intelligence was 80% inherited. He had the data after all, even if he and his fellow ideologues, such as Murray and Shockley, the authors of the Bell Curve, didn't have a clue how to properly analyze it.
The research on IQ and race by Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Herrnstein and Murray (The Bell Curve) and others have not found any significant correlations between race and intelligence. They have found correlations between race and IQ, which has been used to support the notion that some races are intellectually inferior to others. Not surprising is the fact that different researchers using different data get different results. Richard Lynn and James Flynn came to quite different conclusions regarding Asian IQ, for example.Data showing that the Japanese had higher I.Q.s than people of European descent, for example, prompted the British psychometrician and eugenicist Richard Lynn to concoct an elaborate evolutionary explanation involving the Himalayas, really cold weather, premodern hunting practices, brain size, and specialized vowel sounds. The fact that the I.Q.s of Chinese-Americans also seemed to be elevated has led I.Q. fundamentalists to posit the existence of an international I.Q. pyramid, with Asians at the top, European whites next, and Hispanics and blacks at the bottom.
Here was a question tailor-made for James Flynn's accounting skills. He looked first at Lynn's data, and realized that the comparison was skewed. Lynn was comparing American I.Q. estimates based on a representative sample of schoolchildren with Japanese estimates based on an upper-income, heavily urban sample. Recalculated, the Japanese average came in not at 106.6 but at 99.2. Then Flynn turned his attention to the Chinese-American estimates. They turned out to be based on a 1975 study in San Francisco's Chinatown using something called the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test. But the Lorge-Thorndike test was normed in the nineteen-fifties. For children in the nineteen-seventies, it would have been a piece of cake. When the Chinese-American scores were reassessed using up-to-date intelligence metrics, Flynn found, they came in at 97 verbal and 100 nonverbal. Chinese-Americans had slightly lower I.Q.s than white Americans. (Gladwell 2007)
Dear Andrew Sullivan, with all due respect, you are an ignorant man, and not qualified to judge the matter of whether intelligence is an inherited trait. You've been bamboozled by white supremacist hustlers out to make a quick buck off the prejudices of others. People should know their limits. You clearly refuse to accept that, on this subject, you don't know what the hell you are talking about.