In my first article on this matter, I showed how Richard Lynn claims the average IQ in Italy is around “89-92” for Sicily and the South and around 103 for the North. I showed how he was wrong and what data he overlooked to fit his hypothesis. Lynn’s 2011 article IQs in Italy are higher in the north: A reply to Felice and Giugliano was a reply to Myth and reality: A response to Lynn on the determinants of Italy’s North–South imbalances. Felice and Giugliano brought up Lynn’s four main theses: a) the South’s “economic backwardness” in terms of economics ‘throughout history’; b) the evidence provided by Lynn wasn’t enough to ‘prove’ a cause of lower IQ for S. Italians; c) the evidence provided by Lynn wasn’t enough to show that S. Italians score lower than N. Italians; and d) the supposed ‘high rates of MENA admixture’ in S. Italians. I blew up all of these claims in the beginning of the year, more specifically I blew up up the claims about MENA admixture back in January. I’ll be going through Lynn’s 2010b article correcting any discrepancies. It’s worth noting that he still pushes the so-called ‘MENA admixture’ as being a substantial CAUSAL factor when there is NO evidence for this big of a ‘gap’ between the North and the South. The Lynn quotes will be from his 2010 paper linked above. I had also thought that ‘migrants’ from MENA countries could have contributed to the gap between the North and South, but since this isn’t the case for France then it shouldn’t be so for Italy. However, since Italy is a hub for these people when they first illegally enter Europe, they may stay and get counted as citizens and the children of these immigrants grow up and get accounted in the data. This is plausible, since a lot of ‘migrants’ may stay where they first get which is Southern Europe, mainly Sicily and Southern Italy.
We now present new data showing that IQs are higher in the north of Italy than in the south. In the previous study, data were presented for 12 Italian regions from the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2006 study of the reading comprehension, mathematics and science performance of 15 year olds, regarded as measures of intelligence. We are now able to give similar data on the reading comprehension, mathematics and science performance of 15 year olds in 20 Italian regions obtained in the 2009 PISA study (OECD, 2010). These are given in Table 1. This shows, reading from left to right, the latitude of the Italian regions, the mean PISA scores for 12 regions for 2006 given in Lynn (2010a), the mean scores of 15 year olds on reading comprehension, mathematics and science understanding for the 20 Italian regions obtained in the 2009 PISA study, and the averages of the three 2009 PISA scores given because it provides a convenient summary of the scores on the three tests.
I already went through this in my previous article, but for clarity, I’ll go through this again.
Cornoldi, Giofrè, and Martini (2013) showed how there are problems inferring Italian IQ from the very PISA data that Lynn cites. There was a relevant decrease between the North and South. If the PISA test showed genetic proclivities between the North and South, why was there a relevant decrease in the three-year period? Because it is not an intelligence test, but a test of educational achievement. D’Amico et al (2011) conclude:
Our examination of intelligence test score differences between the north and south of Italy led to results that are very different from those reached by Lynn (2010a). Our results demonstrate that by using intelligence tests to assess differences in ability rather than using achievement scores as a proxy for intelligence, children from the south of Italy did not earn lower scores than those from the north of Italy. Rather, they were even higher in Raven’s CPM. However, we see no advantage in claiming that children in the south are “more intelligent” than children in the north, because these groups are different on a number of variables (e.g., environmental factors, educational influences, composition of the samples) that influence differences in test scores.
Either no difference or Southern Italians scored higher. When using purer measures of intelligence (Raven’s Progressive Matrices) so-called “differences” in “intelligence” disappear.
It will be noted that the regional differences in both language and math ability increase with age. For example, in language ability the regional differences in the youngest children (P2) range between 1.6 and −3.8, a difference of 5.4, while the differences in the oldest children (2S) range between 3.6 and −4.4, a difference of 8.0. Similarly, in math ability the regional differences in the youngest children (P2) range between 0.8 and −1.0, a difference of 1.8, while the differences in the oldest children (2S) range between 4.3 and −5.4, a difference of 9.7. These age differences would be predicted from the thesis that the regional differences have a genetic basis, because the heritability of intelligence increases during childhood (Plomin, DeFries, & McClearn, 1980, p. 334).
On other measures of achievement, such as the INVALSI examinations, Southern Italians do not score lower, and in some cases may even score higher (Robinson, Saggino, and Tommasi (2011). Moreover, the N/S differences in ‘cognitive ability’ don’t exist at age 7, the IQ/income relationship didn’t exist in the past, and the MENA admixture in Southern Italians is minute (Daniel and Malanima, 2011). The so-called MENA admixture that Nordicists and Lynn like to say is the subject of my next point.
Further data for the proportion of North African ancestry in the Italian regions are available in the frequency of the haplogroup E1b1b allele. This is a marker for North African ancestry, where it reaches frequencies above 50% and peaks at around 82% in Tunisia (Zalloua et al., 2008). The frequencies of the haplogroup xR1 and the E1b1b alleles are taken from Capelli et al. (2006), Capelli et al. (2007), Di Giacomo et al. (2003), Balaresque et al. (2010), Scozzari et al. (2001), and Semino et al. (2000). These data are given in columns 11 and 12 of Table 1 and the correlations between these and the other variables are given in Table 2.
As said and cited above, the so-called admixture from MENA populations in Southern Italians accounts for an extremely small fraction of the overall Southern Italian genome. The cause for lower achievement (“IQ” according to Lynn) in Southern Italians rests on this very pertinent point. And it’s wrong. Furthermore, and this is for Sicilians, the contribution of their genome by the Greeks is 37 percent, with the North African contribution being 6 percent. Daniel and Malanima (2011) ask ” Can the Greek heritage to the Western culture really be associated to a lower IQ?” The answer is, clearly, no. Moreover, a Central Italian province has the highest amount of MENA admixture, yet they have higher scores than Southern Italy. What does that tell you?
Richard Lynn’s Italian IQ data is garbage. Purer measures of intelligence such as Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices show a decrease in the “intelligence gap” and in some cases, Southern Italians score higher than Northern Italians. When using measures of “IQ” from PISA data, these so-called differences disappear. Lynn’s data he cites in his 2010a paper don’t control for socio-cultural differences and school quality. There is numerous data that suggests the school quality in Southern Italy is worse than that of the North; this difference in school quality then affects educational achievement. Since PISA is a test of educational achievement and not intelligence (D’Amico et al, 2011), what accounts for these differences in achievement in the various studies may (and in my opinion, does) account for the differences in educational achievement between Northern and Southern Italians. The measurements in various studies may be influenced by the larger between-schools variability that is present in the South (Cornoldi et al, 2010; Daniel and Malanima 2011).
Finally, some people may point to the GDP differences between North and South Italy as proof of genetic/intelligence differences between them. However, the Mafia accounts for around a 20 percent drop in GDP in Southern Italy. To say that any differences in GDP can be accounted for without first controlling for things like this is dishonest. The presence of Mafia in areas shows lower growth and a sharper increase in murders. Each time homicides rise, GDP falls between 16-20 percent (Pinolli 2012). The presence of the Mafia had a devastating effect on the economies in that area between the 70s and 00s.
In sum, PISA is garbage to infer intelligence from as they are tests of achievement and not intelligence. Other tests of achievement show a decrease in the gap and/or Southern Italians scoring higher. Moreover, no substantial genetic differences exist between the North and the South, falsifying Lynn’s thesis for the causality of the differences between the North and the South. The oft-cited GDP difference between Northern and Southern Italy can be accounted for by the presence of the Mafia. Whenever the murder rate rises (due to Mafia activity), the GDP decreases. None of these factors have been taken into account and they explain the difference between the North and the South. It is environmental in nature–not genetic. Lynn’s Italian IQ data is garbage and should not be cited. It’s just a Nordicist fantasy that Southern Italians score lower than Nothern Italians.