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“Philosophers of Science” and Race/IQ

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“Philosophers of Science” attempt to stick their heads into the race/IQ debate to give their field more credence than it should get with the hard sciences. They use bad arguments like saying that “gene-environment interactions are widespread and hard to entangle” (Block, 1995), not knowing that identical twins reared apart grow up to be so similar (Rushton and Jensen, 2005, p. 279). The only time they should stick their heads in this debate is when they’re affirming that the methodology used to test IQ as well as racial differences in IQ are sound; otherwise, they do not have the training to assess this. Most “Philosophers of Science” defend claims that disintegrate when presented with the relevant scientific evidence (Sesarardic, 2000). I will be referencing this paper for the length of this article.

Half of the paper analyzes Lewontin’s argument to Jensen in which he uses his now famous “seed argument” in which he says you can take two seeds from the same heterogeneous population and plant them in rich and poor soil and “. . . as a result, the phenotypic differences within each of the two groups of plants will be 100 percent heritable, but the difference between the two groups will be entirely due to differences in two environments (zero heritability).” The fact of the matter is, this argument is parroted by “Philosophers of Science” when Jensen never made that argument.

Jensen then systemically dismantled every environmental argument with empirical evidence that they don’t hold up.

Other researchers then made accusations of “racism” the reason for Jensen’s overlooking of this. James Flynn, a big opponent of the hereditarian hypothesis and Rushton and Jensen in general, say that Jensen is not a “racist”. There is also something called the “X-Factor”, which is when phenotypic differences between two groups can be explained by an environmental factor that has no within-group variation at all, a 0 heritability. Racism, however, is a poor excuse for the “X-Factor”. Both Flynn and Jensen rule out discrimination as being the cause for the “X-Factor” as well.

Simply put, Jensen doesn’t make inferences that the black-white IQ gap is genetically based on one or a few variables on their own, but everything put together, that’s where the remaining evidence put. “Philosophers of Science” don’t understand heritability coefficients to be saying what they do; they wouldn’t be saying that if they knew how they worked.

Sesardic brings up how Block (1995) only mentions three pieces of empirical evidence: The “Flynn Effect”, “data about caste-like minorities”, and the small amount of genetic variation between races.

  1. The Flynn Effect happens uniformly in all populations at a rate of 3 points per decade but has slowed considerably. This increase began starting around 1880, coinciding with the industrial revolution. Better nutrition increased brain size in all populations, which lead to an increase in IQ. The Flynn Effect is not on g, so to make any claims that the differences in IQ between blacks and whites, or global differences in IQ for that matter, can be changed with more favoring towards environmentalist positions are not consistent with the scientific literature. In 1945, the average white IQ in America was 85, the same as the average American black IQ today. Since the differences in IQ have stayed consistent despite better nutrition in all groups, this proves that the gap is genetic in origin. Just because a change in one group over time is due to an environmental change, doesn’t mean, or even make it probable, that a difference between 2 groups at the same time is due to an environmental change. Since the Flynn Effect does not occur on g, it should be a non-factor.
  2. Minorities are only “caste-like” because differences in IQ are heritable, leading to racial disparities in social class differences. We can see when we match blacks, whites, and “Hispanics” for IQ (100), that some differences disappear, other differences decrease dramatically, and even blacks and “Hispanics” beat out whites in a couple of variables. Through multiple IQ tests averaged over time as well as seeing that test differences between races stay mostly the same, we can then make the inference, with all of the other evidence, that racial and ethnic differences in IQ are mostly genetic in origin with the environment having very little effect. To say that “racism” or “stereotype threat” has any bearing on these racial differences in IQ is laughable because 1) stereotype threat is only replicable in the lab and 2) racism as a variable does not exist in IQ testing.
  3. The small amount of genetic variation between races as an argument for the non-existence of race is meaningless. There are around 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. The human races differ on around .1 percent of the genome, or around 3 million base pairs. This is more than enough genetic difference to show phenotypic differences (obviously) as well as genotypic differences (again, obviously). Richard Dawkins in the Ancestor’s Tale writes: “What is not correct is the inferene that race is therefore a meaningless concept.” Race is a perfectly valid concept, anyone who denies it has doesn’t know of all of the studies that show the existence of race and how it’s a scientifically taxonomic concept.

Sesardic then brings up how “Philosophers of Science” continuously cite The Mismeasure of Man and Steven Jay Gould in an attempt to denigrate scientists long dead. A few “glowing reviews” from two “Philosophers of Science”:

No one has done as much as Stephen J. Gould to expose race and intelligence studies for the garbage that they often are. (Brown 1998, 5)

Stephen Jay Gould has lucidly analyzed how filling the skulls with lead shot, and comparing the weights of the lead, could easily be infected with unconscious biases. (Kitcher 1997, 171)

The garbage that they often are? Steven Jay Gould is a long discredited ideologue who put his politics before actual science, ironically giving HIM the same bias he falsely accused Samuel Morton of having. James Flynn even says that Gould’s book evades all of Jensen’s best arguments (as most always happens with this debate) with his false belief that is “reified” therefore leading to the study of race and IQ being meaningless since he has “rebutted the factor”. I proved the existence of Spearman’s hypothesis the other day using Jensen’s writings that he empirically verified that Spearman’s hypothesis exists in 25 independent samples of blacks and whites along with the study by Dragt (2010) who used the method of correlated vectors to empirically prove the existence of Spearman’s hypothesis. In meta-analyses of Spearman’s hypothesis, he found that differences in intelligence between groups are largely based on cognitive complexity and any so-called “biases in mental testing” cannot account for these racial differences in cognitive ability. 

In the definitive refutation of Steven Jay Gould’s “reanalysis” of Morton’s skulls, Lewis, et al definitively prove by remeasuring 308 of the 670 skulls that he had no implicit biases. They also found that if Morton’s biases were true, then there would be considerable overestimates of white skulls while there would be considerable underestiamates of non-white skulls. Ironincally enough, he considered his Egyptian skulls “Negroid” and overmeasured by 12 percent. He overmeasured three of those skulls, along with Seminole (by 8 percent) and native African Nergro (by 7 percent), falsifying the claim that Morton had a bias in measuring his skulls!! As I have brought up here numerous times, as Rushton has refuted him (and defended Morton’s results) as well as Jensen giving Gould a definitive rebuttal to his book. Gould should not be being cited seriously anymore. He should only be brought up as an example of extreme bias in the context of race as well as racial differences and a whole slew of other things that are politically motivated.

He finally rounds up the paper by bringing up how TJ Bouchard, showing that the Big Five Personality Traits have a high heritabilty, gets told that they are traits that carry a social judgment. However, we now know that 40-60 percent of the variation the Big Five is heritable, so this is a meaningless claim.

Sesardic ends the paper as follows:

Why is this small segment of contemporary philosophy of science in such a sorry state? On reflection, I prefer to leave this question as an exercise for the reader. My aim in this paper is to criticize a deviant philosophical trend, not to explain how it came about or why it spread.

My answer to this question is that most philosophers seem to be leftists. We can see with the vehement race denial that they want to believe so strongly that racial differences, as well as race as whole, does not exist. The fact that they attempt to say that these things are not a reality and based on faulty methodologies shows that they do not know what they are talking about. They show large misconceptions about heritability, and continuously cite Steven Jay Gould, even when Gould has been refuted numerous times as well it being shown that they don’t correctly understand heritability. They show large misconceptions of what is understood in the field of psychometrics and heritabilities and make faulty claims about the hereditarian hypothesis.

If the hereditarian hypothesis is to be refuted (it won’t), it will be from science and not philosophy or “Philosophers of Science”.



  1. Archi says:


    I am going to assume that you support the three points made by Sesardic (if you don’t then you don’t have to answer what follows).
    Point 1: “…The Flynn Effect is not on g, so to make any claims that the differences in IQ between blacks and whites, or global differences in IQ for that matter, can be changed with more favoring towards environmentalist positions are not consistent with the scientific literature.”
    Again, there is some very significant literature that demonstrates that the Flynn Effect IS on g. I am ready to defend this position. If you do believe that the Flynn Effect is not on g, show me your evidence, I will be glad to show you mine.

    “Just because a change in one group over time is due to an environmental change, doesn’t mean, or even make it probable, that a difference between 2 groups at the same time is due to an environmental change.”
    Indeed it doesn’t, but it sure makes it possible, and this is all that matters.


    • Afrosapiens says:

      I cosign.


    • Phil78 says:

      “Indeed it doesn’t, but it sure makes it possible, and this is all that matters.”

      Perhaps if it were used to show the finding being consistent with either hypothesis explaining the gap, under the condition that the effect environmental pressures remained consistent in explaining the gap, but the point is that it loses it original verifying power to verify a environmental gap as it’s been originally used which is what technically matters in this article.

      In regards to African Americans it’s not as overtly simple as Africa to find factors, though I could imagine nutritional and pre-natal factors playing a role.

      As for Flynn and g-loadings, exactly what literature?


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