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Race Differences in Penis Size Revisited: Is Rushton’s r/K Theory of Race Differences in Penis Length Confirmed?
In 1985 JP Rushton, psychology professor at the University of Ontario, published a paper arguing that r/K selection theory (which he termed Differential K theory) explained and predicted outcomes of what he termed the three main races of humanity—Mongoloids, Negroids and Caucasoids (Rushton, 1985; 1997). Since Rushton’s three races differed on a whole suite of traits, he reasoned races that were more K-selected (Caucasoids and Mongoloids) had slower reproduction times, higher time preference, higher IQ etc in comparison to the more r-selected Negroids who had faster reproduction times, lower time preference, lower IQ etc (see Rushton, 1997 for a review; also see Van Lange, Rinderu, and Bushmen, 2017 for a replication of Rushton’s data not theory). Were Rushton’s assertions on race and penis size verified and do they lend credence to his Differential-K claims regarding human races?
Rushton’s so-called r/K continuum has a whole suite of traits on it. Ranging from brain size to speed of maturation to reaction time and IQ, these data points supposedly lend credence to Rushton’s Differential-K theory of human differences. Penis size is, of course, important for Rushton’s theory due to what he’s said about it in interviews.
Rushton’s main reasoning for penis size differences between race is “You can’t have both”, and that if you have a larger brain then you must have a smaller penis; if you have a smaller penis you must have a larger brain. He believed there was a “tradeoff” between brain size and penis size. In the book Darwin’s Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race, Hoberman (1997: 312) quotes Rushton: “Even if you take something like athletic ability or sexuality—not to reinforce stereotypes or some such thing—but, you know, it’s a trade-off: more brain or more penis. You can’t have both.” This, though, is false. There is no type of evidence to imply that this so-called ‘trade-off’ exists. In my readings of Rushton’s work over the years, that’s always something I’ve wondered: was Rushton implying that large penises take more energy to have and therefore the trade-off exists due to this supposed relationship?
Andrew Joyce of the Occidental Observer published an article the other day in defense of Richard Lynn. Near the end of his article he writes:
Another tactic is to belittle an entire area of research by picking out a particularly counter-intuitive example that the public can be depended on to regard as ridiculous. A good example is J. Philippe Rushton’s claim, based on data he compiled for his classic Race, Evolution and Behavior, that average penis size varied between races in accord with the predictions of r/K theory. This claim was held up to ridicule by the likes of Richard Lewontin and other crusaders against race realism, and it is regularly presented in articles hostile to the race realist perspective. Richard Lynn’s response, as always, was to gather more data—from 113 populations. And unsurprisingly for those who keep up with this area of research, he found that indeed the data confirmedRushton’s original claim.
The claim was ridiculed because it was ridiculous. This paper by Lynn (2013) titled Rushton’s r-K life history theory of race differences in penis length and circumference examined in 113 populations is the paper that supposedly verifies Rushton’s theory regarding race differences in penis size, along with one of its correlates in Rushton’s theory (testosterone). Lynn (2013) proclaims that East Asians are the most K-evolved, then come Europeans, while Africans are the least K-evolved. This, then, is the cause of the supposed racial differences in penis size.
Lynn (2013) begins by briefly discussing Rushton’s ‘findings’ on racial differences in penis size while also giving an overview of Rushton’s debunked r/K selection theory. He then discusses some of Rushton’s studies (which I will describe briefly below) along with stories from antiquity of the supposed larger penis size of African males.
Our old friend testosterone also makes an appearance in this paper. Lynn (2013: 262) writes:
Testosterone is a determinant of aggression (Book, Starzyk, & Quinsey, 2001; Brooks & Reddon, 1996; Dabbs, 2000). Hence, a reduction of aggression and sexual competitiveness between men in the colder climates would have been achieved by a reduction of testosterone, entailing the race differences in testosterone (Negroids > Caucasoids > Mongoloids) that are given in Lynn (1990). The reduction of testosterone had the effect of reducing penis length, for which evidence is given by Widodsky and Greene (1940).
Phew, there’s a lot to unpack here. (I discuss Lynn 1990 in this article.) Testosterone does not determine aggression; see my most recent article on testosterone (aggression increases testosterone; testosterone does not increase aggression. Book, Starzyk and Quinsey, 2001 show a .14 correlation between testosterone and aggression, whereas Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Davies 2005 show the correlation is .08). This is just a correlation. Sapolsky (1997: 113) writes:
Okay, suppose you note a correlation between levels of aggression and levels of testosterone among these normal males. This could be because (a) testosterone elevates aggression; (b) aggression elevates testosterone secretion; (c) neither causes the other. There’s a huge bias to assume option a while b is the answer. Study after study has shown that when you examine testosterone when males are first placed together in the social group, testosterone levels predict nothing about who is going to be aggressive. The subsequent behavioral differences drive the hormonal changes, not the other way around.
Brooks and Reddon (1996) also only show relationships with testosterone and aggressive acts; they show no causation. This same relationship was noted by Dabbs (2000; another Lynn 2013 citation) in prisoners. More violent prisoners were seen to have higher testosterone, but there is a caveat here too: being aggressive stimulates testosterone production so of course they had higher levels of testosterone; this is not evidence for testosterone causing aggression.
Another problem with that paragraph quoted from Lynn (2013) is that it’s a just-so story. It’s an ad-hoc explanation. You notice something with data you have today and then you imagine a nice-sounding story to attempt to explain your data in an evolutionary context. Nice-sounding stories are cool and all and I’m sure everyone loves a nicely told story, but when it comes to evolutionary theory I’d like theories that can be independently verified of the data they’re trying to explain.
My last problem with that paragraph from Lynn (2013) is his final citation: he cites it as evidence that the reduction of testosterone affects penis length…..but his citation (Widodsky and Green, 1940) is a study on rats… While these studies can give us a wealth of information regarding our physiologic systems (at least showing us which types of avenues to pursue; see my previous article on myostatin), they don’t really mean anything for humans; especially this study on the application of testosterone to the penis of a rat. See, the fatal flaw in these assertions is this: would a, say, 5 percent difference in testosterone lead to a larger penis as if there is a dose-response relationship between testosterone and penis length? It doesn’t make any sense.
Lynn (2013), though, says that Rushton’s theory doesn’t propose that there is a direct causal relationship between “intelligence”‘ and penis length, but just that they co-evolved together, with testosterone reduction occurring when Homo sapiens migrated north out of Africa they needed to cooperate more so selection for lower levels of testosterone subsequently occurred which then shrunk the penises of Rushton’s Caucasian and Mongoloid races.
Lynn (2013) then discusses two “new datasets”, one of which is apparently in Donald Templer’s book Is Size Important (which is on my to-read list, so many books, so little time). Table 1 below is from Lynn reproducing Templer’s ‘work’ in his book.
The second “dataset” is extremely dubious. Lynn (2013) attempts to dress it up, writing that “The information in this website has been collated from data obtained by research centres and reports worldwide.” Ethnicmuse has a good article on the pitfalls of Lynn’s (2013) article. (Also read Scott McGreal’s rebuttal.)
Rushton attempted to link race and penis size for 30 years. In a paper with Bogaert (Rushton and Bogaert, 1987), they attempt to show that blacks had larger penises than whites who h ad longer penises than Asians which then supposedly verified one dimension of Rushton’s theory. Rushton (1988) also discusses race differences in penis size, citing a previous paper by Rushton and Bogaert, where they use data from Alfred Kinsey, but this data is nonrepresentative and nonrandom (see Zuckermann and Brody, 1988 and Weizmann et al, 1990: 8).
Still others may attempt to use supposed differences in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) as evidence that there is, at least, physiological evidence for the claim that black men have larger penises than white men, though I discussed that back in December of 2016 and found it strongly lacking.
Rushton (1997: 182) shows a table of racial differences in penis size which was supposedly collected by the WHO (World Health Organization). Though a closer look shows this is not true. Ethnicmuse writes:
ANALYSIS: The WHO did not study penis sizes. It relied on three separate studies, two of which were not peer-reviewed and the data was included as “Appendix III” (which should have alerted Rushton that this was not an original study). The first study references Africans in the US (not Africa!) and Europeans in the US (not Europe!), the second Europeans in Australia (not Europe!) and the third, Thais.
So it seems to be bullshit all the way down.
Ajmani et al (1985) showed that 385 healthy Nigerians had an average penile length of 3.21 inches (flaccid). Orakwe and Ebuh (2007) show that while Nigerians had longer penises than other ethnies tested, the only statistical difference was between them and Koreans. Though Veale et al (2014: 983) write that “There are no indications of differences in racial variability in our present study, e.g. the study from Nigeria was not a positive outlier.”
Lynn and Dutton have attempted to use androgen differentials between the races as evidence for racial differences in penis size (this is another attempt at a physiological argument to attempt to show the existence of racial differences in penis size). Edward Dutton attempted to revive the debate on racial differences in penis size during a 2015 presentation where he, again, showed that Negroids have higher levels of testosterone than Caucasoids who have higher levels of androgens than Mongoloids. These claims, though, have been rebutted by Scott McGreal who showed that populations differences in androgen levels are meaningless while they subsequently fail to validate Rushton and Lynn’s claims on racial differences in penis size.
Finally, it was reported the other day that condoms from China were too small in Zimbabwe, per Zimbabwe’s health minister. This led Kevin MacDonald to proclaim that this was “More corroboration of race differences in penis size which was part of the data Philippe Rushton used in his theory of r/K selection (along with brain size, maturation rates, IQ, etc.)” This isn’t “more corroboration” for Rushton’s long-dead theory; nor is this evidence that blacks have longer penises. I don’t understand why people make broad and sweeping generalizations. It’s one country in Africa that complained about smaller condoms from a country in East Asia, therefore this is more corroboration for Rushton’s r/K selection theory? The logic doesn’t follow.
Asians have small condoms. Those condoms go to Africa. They complain condoms from China are too small. Therefore Rushton’s r/K selection theory is corroborated. Flawed logic.
In sum, Lynn (2013) didn’t verify Rushton’s theory regarding racial differences in penis size and I find it even funnier that Lynn ends his article talking about “falsification’ stating that this aspect of Rushton’s theory has survived two attempts at falsification, therefore, it can be regarded as a “progressive research program“, though obviously, with the highly flawed “data” that was used, one cannot rationally make that statement. Supposed hormonal differences between the races do not cause penis size differences; even if blacks had levels of testosterone significantly higher than whites (the 19 percent that is claimed by Lynn and Rushton off of one highly flawed study in Ross et al, 1986) they still would not have longer penises.
The study of physical differences between populations is important, but sometimes, stereotypes do not tell you anything, especially in this case. Though in this instance, the claim that blacks have the longest penis lies on shaky ground, and with what evidence we do have for the claim, we cannot logically make the inference (especially not from Lynn’s (2013) flimsy data). Richard Lynn did not “confirm” anything with this paper; the only thing he “confirmed” are his own preconceived notions; he did not ‘prove’ what he set out to.
I haven’t completely discredited the notion that Rushton and Lynn may be correct on this variable, but I’m highly skeptical. Hormonal data doesn’t show it. Hormones like IGF-1 and androgen don’t show the differences between races that would lead you to believe that Rushton’s Rule applies here.
PP is at it again, citing the same studies, not providing primary sources, and not addressing what I say to him about hormones in regards to penis size. Hormones affect the body in different ways, and different races have different levels of hormones. This is what I will discuss today.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that, as it’s name implies, is structurally similar to the hormone insulin. IGF-1 is “partly responsible for systemic GH activities although it possesses a wide number of own properties (anabolic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective actions).” Laron and Klinger (1998) showed that children with Laron syndrome who stopped receiving IGF-1 injections showed reductions in penile and testicular size and they returned to pretreatment serum levels. This shows the effects of IGF-1 on sexual organ size.
Knowing this about IGF-1, for Rushton’s theory to be plausible, Blacks would have higher levels, Asians the lowest, and whites in the middle, skewing towards Asians. Platz et al (1999) investigated whether there were racial differences in circulating IGF-1 and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3). IGFBP-3 binds IGF-1 and 2, with a dysregulation of IGFBP-3 correlating with cancer. IGFBP-3 is the main transporter of IGF-1 and 2 in the blood stream. The researchers tested men whose self-described ancestry (we know that self-describer ancestry is a great proxy for race, having a 99.86 percent success rate) African American (63) a random sample of Asians and Caucasians (75 respectively) aged 45 to 78 years old. Caucasians had the highest levels of IGF-1 (224 ng/ml), Asians (208 ng/ml), and African Americans (205 ng/ml). The IGF-1:IGFBP-3 ratio was greatest in Caucasians and lowest in Asians. This study was carried out to see if IGF-1 had an effect on prostate cancer. The 13 percent difference in IGFBP-3 between blacks and whites may account for the higher levels of prostate cancer, as IGFBP-3 can control IGF-1 bioavailabilty.
PP also cites Ross et al (1986) showing that blacks have “19 percent higher testosterone”, attempting to use this as evidence for the theory in favor of an inverse relationship between brain size and penis size. He seems to think that total testosterone matters, when what matters is free testosterone.It’s also 15 percent circulating testosterone, 13 percent free testosterone in that one study. Free testosterone is biologically active, and is able to exert its effect by passing through a cell and activating its receptor. Speaking of free testosterone, in this meta-analysis of 23 studies on black-white differences in testosterone, Richard et al (2014) showed a 2.5 to 4.9 percent difference in free testosterone and concluded that that difference was not enough to account for the racial disparity in prostate cancer. So it’s either black Americans have lower levels of IGFBP-3 or diet/environmental factors that cause this racial disparity in prostate cancer, not testosterone.
Rohrmann et al (2007) showed that testosterone differences between blacks (n=363) and whites (n=674) did not noticeably differ (5.29 ng/ml and 5.11 ng/ml respectively). Mexican Americans (n=376) , on the other hand, showed a higher average rate (5.48 ng/ml) over both cohorts. Blacks had higher levels of estradiol than whites (40.80 pg/nl and 35.46 pg/nl respectively). Blacks also had a higher level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHGB) (36.49 nmol/liter) than whites (34.91 nmol/liter) and Mexican Americans (34.91 nmol/liter). That may account for some of the racial disparity in prostate cancer, but it’s not testosterone (which shows that ‘higher levels of testosterone’ as PP says, isn’t proof of any racial differences in penis size).
The Kinsey data is nonrepresentative and nonrandom. We have comparative sizes for certain ethnies, and the only statistical difference is between Nigerians and Koreans and Czechs. Rushton and Boegart didn’t mention that blacks danced less than white college students, blacks are more prudish regarding nudity, more likely to have a prostitute as a sexual partner and less likely to want large families (Weizmann et al, 1990). A study on certain CAG repeats shows that Africans cluster with East Asians on two measures, contradicting Lynn’s hypothesis. French Army Surgeon, lol (see Weizman et al 1990 from above):
This work is filled with internal contradictions. For example, an average African Negro penis is said to be 7 3/4 to 8 inches long on p. 56, while on p. 242 it is stated that it “generally exceeds” 9 inches. Similarly, while the French Army surgeon announces on p. 56 that he once discovered a 12-inch penis, an organ of that size becomes “far from rare” on p. 243. As one might presume from such a work, there is no indication of the statistical procedures used to compute averages, what terms such as “often” mean, how subjects were selected, how measurements were made, what the sample sizes were, etc.
I think I’ve shown that there are no “””racial””” differences in size with the Veale et al 2014 study and the Orakwe and Ebuh (2007) study. As far as I see, two statistical differences exist between Nigerians and Koreans and Czechs. But there’s not enough “””quality data””” to say “this race bigger than that race”. To believe there are racial differences in penis size or that there is even an inverse relationship between penis size and brain size takes a huge leap of faith to believe.
There are, without a doubt, average differences in a lot of things between races; hormones being one of them. Any differences between races in IGF-1 have no effect on penis size (IGF-1 is, however, one reason why black girls reach menarche at a younger age than white girls. Will write more on that in the future.). Africans were more similar to Asians that Caucasians on two of the five androgen indicators that Dutton (2015) tested. The Kinsey data is nonrepresentative and nonrandom and that is what PP continuously references. I’m highly skeptical leading towards no based on my knowledge of hormones and how they work in the human body. Testosterone does not explain any racial differences in penis size, and does not explain any differences in prostate cancer acquisition (though, other hormones do).
Do racial differences in penis size exist? The average person may say yes, due to viewing porn and hearing ‘stories’ from their friends, ie anecdotal accounts. But is this true? JP Rushton was at the helm of this resurrected idea, stating that an inverse relationship existed between penis size and brain size. He cites a WHO study on condom size showing that African countries get the biggest condoms, yet I cannot find the paper discussing it. PP wrote an article, Non-black men are so jealous of black penis size, citing the same study Rushton (1997) cited in his book Race, Evolution, and Behavior. I will discuss PP’s musings on racial differences in penis size.
A pet peeve of mine is that a lot of non-black men in the HBD blogosphere believe everything that professor J. Philippe Rushton said about ethnic differences in IQ and brain size, but when it comes to black men having the largest penis size, they suddenly turn into HBD deniers, ranting and raving about how the research is wrong. Well, I’m sorry but HBD is not here to serve your racist supremacy, HBD is here to celebrate ALL RACES, NOT YOURS ONLY!!!! If the data shows that black men have the largest penis size, then shut up and get over it. What kind of man gets jealous over another man’s penis size anyway? A sick, twisted, perverted sinful one. Healthy well adjusted normal guys don’t even know how large their penis is, and couldn’t care less, because they have other things going for them like a girlfriend, a career, and sports, and their mind’s not in the gutter. The only legitimate reason to care is for science, so here are the FACTS:
Exactly, the only reason to care is for science. And the science shows no differences. What data shows differences in penis size? Something you can directly access right now without relying on a secondhand source to prove your claim?
According to data from the World Health Organization Global Programme on AIDS Specification and Guidelines for Condom Procurement (1991, p 33, Table 5), assuming a normal distribution, I estimate the average white American man has a penis length of 162 mm (SD = 19) , and the average African American man has a penis length of 170 mm (SD = 19). (since 5% of black men are longer that 200 mm, and 2% of white men are, while 27% of white men have penises shorter than 151 mm, while 15% of black men do).
No hyperlink to the study? Why do you rely on a secondhand account? Why didn’t you show the table?
Just found some information on the WHO study he cited. The information from which the WHO data is derived is derived from American blacks and Caucasians, not any subjects from Europe or Africa. He also asked 150 people on a Toronto shopping mall what their penis size was (back to garbage self-reports), and finally, who is this French army surgeon he brings up? So many questions.
Also, PP, asking the questions and questioning his data and what he wrote isn’t “disagreeing on him on this and agreeing with him on everything else”, as you of all people know how critical o am of Lyn and Rushton. Yet you seem to eat up everything they write, thinking they can never be wrong. Why is that?
Rushton (1997) writes on pg 169 of Race, Evolution, and Behavior:
Data provided by the Kinsey Institute have confirmed the black-white difference in penis size (Table 8.2, and items 70-72 of Table 8.4). Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues instructed their respondents on how to measure their penis along the top surface, from belly to tip. The respondents were given cards to fill out and return in preaddressed stamped envelopes. Nobile (1982) published the first averages of these data finding the length and circumferences of the penis for the white samples was smaller than for the black sample. (Flaccid length = 3.86 inches [9.80 cm] vs. 4.34 inches [11.02 cm]; erect length = 6.15 inches [15.62 cm] vs. 6.44 inches [16.36 cm]; erect circumference = 4.83 inches [12.27 cm] vs. 4.96 inches [12.60 cm] respectively.)
Self-reports? Please. Self-reports are notoriously embellished. Moreover, the amount of black Americans in the Kinsey study was in double digits.
I can never find certain papers online, so that really hinders any further discussion on this.
If anyone can find any of these papers, leave a comment.
Harvey, P. H., & May, R. M. (1989). Out for the sperm count. Nature, 337, 508-9.
Short, R. V. (1979). Sexual selection and its component parts, somatic and genital selection, as illustrated by man and the great apes. In J. S. Rosenblatt, R. A. Hinde, C. Beer, & M-C Busnel (Eds.), Advances in the Study of Behavior, Vol. 9. New York: Academic
When it comes to scrotal circumference, I don’t have exact figures, but Rushton cites scholars showing that Africans exceed Europeans: Short, 1979; Ajmani, Jain & Saxena, 1985.
I found Ajmani et al (1985), they state that in 320 healthy Nigerians, average penile length was 3.21 inches, while scrotal circumference was 8.37 inches. PP says he didn’t have exact figures, but they were in Rushton’s references (which I see he didn’t check). Rushton doesn’t cite data on European scrotal circumference so how is that saying that ‘Africans exceed Europeans’ when only Nigerians were examined? Remember: studies are only applicable to the demographic tested. Extrapolating that data on to the whole of Africa makes no sense. Moreover, any data on Europeans is only for that specific ethny tested. Unless the whole of the European continent is averaged out, you cannot say that these differences exist.
This doesn’t even touch on Lynn’s “data” on penis size:
Lynn attempts to justify his belief that there are differences between races in penis length on the basis that European and Asian males have lower levels of testosterone than Africans and that the “reduction of testosterone had the effect of reducing penis length, for which evidence is given by Widodsky and Greene (1940).” Widodsky and Greene (1940) is actually a study of the effects of sex hormones on the penises of rats. This is hardly convincing evidence that there are racial differences in testosterone levels or that a reduction in penis length ever occurred in human history.
Lynn’s claims about differences in penis length between races build on earlier claims by Rushton and Bogaert (1987). The Rushton and Boagert paper is striking for its use of non-scholarly sources (Weizmann, Wiener, Wiesenthal, & Ziegler, 1991). These include a book of semi-pornographic “tall tales” by an anonymous nineteenth century French surgeon that makes wildly inconsistent claims about genital sizes in people of different races. Lynn also refers to this book without mentioning any problems with this as a source of information. Another odd data source cited by Rushton and Bogaert is an article authored by a certain “P. Nobile” published in Forum: International Journal of Human Relations. This publication is better known to the public as “The Penthouse Forum”, a popular men’s magazine. [This is pretty well known and embarrassing that Rushton did that.]
The data sources that Lynn uses in his recent paper are hardly much better. One of them is a book by Donald Templer (another self-professed race realist) called Is Size Important? Templer is not a urologist but a psychologist so why he would claim to be an authority on this subject is unclear. Lynn’s other source is the world penis size website. These are both self-published sources that have not been independently verified. A blogger named Ethnic Muse has carefully examined this site’s references and found that a number of articles listed on the site either do not exist under the name given or do not discuss penis size at all. There are also numerous discrepancies between the values provided by the website and the actual values given by the references. Therefore, the information on this website cannot be trusted and no conclusions should be drawn from it.
Pretty embarrassing for race-realism, to be honest. Looks like the data from “P. Nobile” is from a Penthouse webforum that he ‘published’ his ‘results’ in, instead of a scholarly journal. Rushton did state ‘forum’ (not stating it was the ‘Penthouse forum’, though), but why should we take this as proof of anything?
The sadder one is multiple ‘references’ of Lynn’s that either don’t exist or don’t discuss penis size. Why trust these ‘sources’, when they aren’t controlled scientific studies?
Veale et al (2014) write:
It is not possible from the present meta-analysis to draw any conclusions about any diﬀerences in penile size across diﬀerent races. Lynn  suggest that penis length and girth are greatest in Negroids (sub-Saharan Africans), intermediate in Caucasoids (Europeans, South Asians and North African), and smallest in Mongoloids (East Asians), but this is based upon studies that did not meet our present inclusion and
The greatest proportion of the participants in the present meta-analysis were Caucasoids. There was only one study of 320 men in Negroids and two studies of 445 men in Mongoloids. There are no indications of diﬀerences in
racial variability in our present study, e.g. the study from Nigeria was not a positive outlier. The question of racial variability can only be resolved by the measurements with large enough population being made by practitioners following the same method with other variables that may inﬂuence penis size (such as height) being kept constant. Future studies should also ensure they accurately report the race of their participants and conduct inter-rater reliability.
This meta-analysis was only done on Caucasians, but from the previous study on 320 Nigerians cited from Rushton (Ajmani et al, 1985) and 445 Mongoloids, no racial differences were found. When an actual study gets carried out on this, I doubt that there would be any differences between races.
Orakwe and Ebuh (2007) again test Nigerians (5.2 inches), then compare them with Italians (4.92 inches), Greeks (4.79 inches), Koreans (3.78), British (5.11 inches), and American Caucasians (4.9 inches). The only statistical difference was between Nigerians and Koreans. They conclude:
There is the possibility of racial differences in penile sizes, but there is no convincing scientific background to support the ascription of bigger penile dimensions to people of the Black race.
I wouldn’t say there is a ‘possibility’ that it’s true, based on a population of Nigerians. We can say that ethnic differences may exist between Koreans and Nigerians, but to extrapolate that to all five races and say that racial differences exist and that it fits neatly into Rushton’s outdated 3-way racial model is incorrect. It wasn’t a representative sample of Nigerians (and I obviously don’t have access to the methods of the other papers, I will update this in the future when I find more data), and the bigger sample of the two samples that I cited showed a smaller size.
Do racial differences in penis size exist? We can’t really come to a conclusion based on the data we currently have. Using “””data””” from the Penthouse webforum and a self-reported survey online is embarrassing and the data shouldn’t be used in the discussion of whether these differences exist. The only reliable data on Africans, as far as I know, is on Nigerians; the study with the higher n showed a smaller length. The data so far, shows that no difference exist exists (Veale et al, 2014: 983).
Look at a person with Down Syndrome (DS) and then look at an Asian. Do you see any similarities? Others, throughout the course of the 20th century have. DS is a disorder arising from chromosomal defects which causes mental and physical abnormalities, short stature, broad facial profile, and slanted eyes. Most likely, one suffering from DS has an extra copy of chromosome 21—which is why the disorder is called “trisomy 21” in the scientific literature.
I am not aware if most “HBDers” know this, but Asians in America were treated similarly to blacks in the mid-20th century (with similar claims made about genital and brain size). Whites used to be said to have the biggest brains out of all of the races but this changed sometime in the 20th century. Lieberman (2001: 72) writes that:
The shrinking of “Caucasoid” brains and cranial size and the rise of “Mongoloids” in the papers of J. Philippe Rushton began in the 1980s. Genes do not change as fast as the stock market, but the idea of “Caucasian” superiority seemed contradicted by emerging industrialization and capital growth in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea (Sautman 1995). Reversing the order of the first two races was not a strategic loss to raciocranial hereditarianism, since the major function of racial hierarchies is justifying the misery and lesser rights and opportunities of those at the bottom.
So Caucasian skulls began to shrink just as—coincidentally, I’m sure—Japan began to get out of its rut it got into after WWII. Morton noted that Caucasians had the biggest brains with Mongoloids in the middle and Africans with the smallest—then came Rushton to state that, in fact, it was East Asians who had the bigger brains. Hilliard (2012: 90-91) writes:
In the nineteenth century, Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian males were often portrayed in the popular press as a sexual danger to white females. Not surprising, as Lieberman pointed out, during this era, American race scientists concluded that Asians had smaller brains than whites did. At the same time, and most revealing, American children born with certain symptoms of mental retardation during this period were labeled “mongoloid idiots.” Because the symptoms of this condition, which we now call Down Syndrome, includes “slanting” eyes, the old label reinforced prejudices against Asians and assumptions that mental retardation was a peculiarly “mongoloid” racial characteristic.
[Hilliard also notes that “Scholars identified Asians as being less cognitively evolved and having smaller brains and larger penises than whites.” (pg 91)]
So, views on Asians were different back in the 19th and 20th centuries—it even being said that Asians had smaller brains and bigger penises than whites (weird…).
Mafrica and Fodale (2007) note that the history of the term “mongolism” began in 1866, with the author distinguishing between “idiotis”: the Ethiopian, the Caucasian, and the Mongoloid. What led Langdon (the author of the 1866 paper) to make this comparison was the almond-shaped eyes that DS people have as well. Though Mafrica and Fodale (2007: 439) note that it is possible that other traits could have forced him to make the comparison, “such as fine and straight hair, the distribution of apparatus piliferous, which appears to be sparse.” Mafrica and Fodale (2007: 439) also note more similarities between people with DS and Asians:
Down persons during waiting periods, when they get tired of standing up straight, crouch, squatting down, reminding us of the ‘‘squatting’’ position described by medical semeiotic which helps the venous return. They remain in this position for several minutes and only to rest themselves this position is the same taken by the Vietnamese, the Thai, the Cambodian, the Chinese, while they are waiting at a the bus stop, for instance, or while they are chatting.
There is another pose taken by Down subjects while they are sitting on a chair: they sit with their legs crossed while they are eating, writing, watching TV, as the Oriental peoples do.
Another, funnier, thing noted by Mafrica and Fodale (2007) is that people with DS may like to have a few plates across the table, while preferring foodstuffs that is high in MSG—monosodium glutamate. They also note that people with DS are more likely to have thyroid disorders—like hypothyroidism. There is an increased risk for congenital hypothyroidism in Asian families, too (Rosenthal, Addison, and Price, 1988). They also note that people with DS are likely “to carry out recreative–reabilitative activities, such as embroidery, wicker-working ceramics, book-binding, etc., that is renowned, remind the Chinese hand-crafts, which need a notable ability, such as Chinese vases or the use of chop-sticks employed for eating by Asiatic populations” (pg 439). They then state that “it may be interesting to know the gravity with which the Downs syndrome occurs in Asiatic population, especially in Chinese population.” How common is it and do they look any different from other races’ DS babies?
See, e.g., Table 2 from Emanuel et al (1968):
Emanuel et al (1968: 465) write that “Almost all of the stigmata of Down’s syndrome presented in Table 2 appear also to be of significance in this group of Chinese patients. The exceptions have been reported repeatedly, and they all probably occur in excess in Down’s syndrome.”
Examples such as this are great to show the contingencies of certain observations—like with racial differences in “intelligence.” Asians, today, are revered for “hard work”, being “very intelligent” and having “low crime rates.” But, even as recently as the mid 20th century—going back to the mid 18th century—Asians (or Mongoloids, as Rushton calls them) were said to have smaller brains and larger penises. Anti-miscegenation laws held for Asians, too of course, and so interracial marriage was forbidden with Asians and whites which was “to preserve the ‘racial integrity’ of whites” (Hilliard, 2012: 91).
Hilliard (2012) states that the effeminate, small-penis Asian man. Hilliard (2012: 86) writes:
However, it is also possible that establishing the racial supremacy of whites was not what drove this research on racial hierarchies. If so, the IQ researchers were probably justified in protesting their innocence, at least in regard to the charge of being racial supremacists, for in truth, the Asians’ top ranking might have unintentionally underscored that true sexual preoccupations underlying this research in the first place. It not seems that the real driving force behind such work was not racial bigotry so much as it was the masculine insecurities emanating from the unexamined sexual stereotypes still present within American popular culture. Scholars such as Rushton, Jensen, and Herrnstein provided a scientific vocabulary and mathematically dense charts and graphs to give intellectual polish to the preoccupations. Thus, it became useful to tout the Asians’ cognitive superiority but only so long as whites remained above blacks in the cognitive hierarchy.
Of course, by switching the racial hierarchy—but keeping the bottom the same—IQ researchers can say “We’re not racists! If we were, why would we state that Asians were better on trait T than we were!”, as has been noted by John Relethford (2001: 84) who writes that European-descended researchers “can now deflect charges of racism or ethnocentrism by pointing out that they no longer place themselves at the top. Lieberman aptly notes that this shift does not affect the major focus of many ideas regarding racial superiority that continue to place people of recent African descent at the bottom.” While biological anthropologist Fatima Jackson (2001: 83) states that “It is deemed acceptable for “Mongoloids” to have larger brains and better performance on intelligence tests than “Caucasoids,” since they are (presumably) sexually and reproductively compromised with small genitalia, low fertility, and delayed maturity.”
The main thesis of Straightening the Bell Curve is that preoccupations with brain and genital size is a driving part of these psychologists who study racial differences. Stating that Asians had smaller penises but larger heads though they were less likely to like sex while blacks had larger penises, smaller heads and were more likely to like sex while whites were, like Goldilocks, juuuuuust right—a penis size in-between Asians and blacks and a brain neither too big or too small. So, stating that X race had smaller brains and bigger penises seems, as Hilliard argues, to be a coping mechanism for certain researchers and to drive women away from that racial group.
In any case, how weird it is for Asians (“Mongoloids”) to be ridiculed as having small brains and large penises (a hilarious reversal of Rushton’s r/K bullshit) and then—all of a sudden—for them to come out on top over whites while whites are still over blacks in this racial hierarchy. How weird is it for the placements to change with certain economic events in a country’s history. Though, as many authors have noted, for instance Chua (1999), Asian men have faced emasculinazation and femininzation in American society. So, since they were seen to be “undersexed, they were thus perceived as minimal rivals to white men in the sexual competition for women” (Hilliard, 2012: 87).
So, just like the observation of racial/country IQ are contingent on the time and the place of the observation, so too is the observation of racial differences in certain traits and how they can be used for a political agenda. As Constance Hilliard (2012: 85) writes, referring to Professor Michael Billig’s article A dead idea that will not lie down (in reference to race science), “… scientific ideas did not develop in a vacuum but rather reflected underlying political and economic trends.“ And so, this is why “mongoloid idiots” and undersexed Asians appeared in American thought in the mid-20th century. So these ideas noted here—mongloidism, undersexed Asians, small penis, large penis, small brain, large brained Asians (based on the time and the place of the observation) show, again, the contingency of these racial hierarchies—which, of course, still stay with blacks on the bottom and whites above them. Is it not strange that whites moved a rung down on this hierarchy as soon as Rushton appeared in the picture? (Since, Morton noted that they had smaller heads than Caucasians, Lieberman, 2001.)
The origins of the term “mongloidism” are interesting—especially with how they tie into the origins of the term Down Syndrome and how they related to the “Asian look” along with all of the peculiarities of people with DS and (to Westerners), the peculiarities of Asian living. This is, of course, why one’s political motives, while not fully telling of their objectives and motivations, may—in a way—point one in the right direction as to why they are formulating such hypotheses and theories.
… Rushton is a serious scholar who has amassed serious data. (Herrnstein and Murray, 1996: 564)
How serious of a scholar is Rushton and what kind of “serious data” did he amass? Of course, since The Bell Curve is a book on IQ, H&M mean that his IQ data is “serious data” (I am not aware of Murray’s views on Rushton’s penis “data”). Many people over the course of Rushton’s career have pointed out that Rushton was anything but a “serious scholar who has amassed serious data.” Take, for example, Constance Hilliard’s (2012: 69) comments on Rushton’s escapades at a Toronto shopping mall where he trolled the mall looking for blacks, whites, and Asians (he payed them 5 dollars a piece) to ask them questions about their penis size, sexual frequency, and how far they can ejaculate:
An estimated one million customers pass through the doors of Toronto’s premier shopping mall, Eaton Centre, in any given week. Professor Jean-Phillipe Rushton sought out subjects in its bustling corridors for what was surely one of the oddest scientific studies that city had known yet—one that asked about males’ penis sizes. In Rushton’s mind, at least, the inverse correlation among races between intelligence and penis size was irrefutable. In fact, it was Rushton who made the now famous assertion in a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone magazine: “It’s a trade-off: more brains or more penis. You can’t have everything. … Using a grant from the conservative Pioneer Fund, the Canadian professor paid 150 customers at the Eaton Centre mall—one-third of whom he identified as black, another third white, and the final third Asian—to complete an elaborate survey. It included such questions such as how far the subject could ejaculate and “how large [is] your penis?” Rushton’s university, upon learning of this admittedly unorthodox research project, reprimanded him for not having the project preapproved. The professor defended his study by insisting that approval for off-campus experiments had never been required before. “A zoologist,” he quipped, “doesn’t need permission to study squirrels in his back yard.” [As if one does not need to get approval from the IRB before undertaking studies on humans… nah, this is just an example of censorship from the Left who want to hide the truth of ‘innate’ racial differences!]
(I wonder if Rushton’s implicit assumption here was that, since the brain takes most of a large amount of our consumed energy to power, that since blacks had smaller brains and larger penises that the kcal consumed was going to “power” their larger penis? The world may never know.)
Imagine you’re walking through a mall with your wife and two children. As your shopping, you see a strange man with a combover, holding measuring tape, approaching different people (which you observe are the three different social-racial groups) asking them questions for a survey. He then comes up to you and your family, pulling you aside to ask you questions about the frequency of the sex you have, how far you can ejaculate and how long your penis is.
Rushton: “Excuse me sir. My name is Jean-Phillipe Rushton and I am a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario. I am conducting a research study, surveying individuals in this shopping mall, on racial differences in penis size, sexual frequency, and how far they can ejaculate.”
You: “Errrrr… OK?”, you say, looking over uncomfortably at your family, standing twenty feet away.
Rushton: “First off, sir, I would like to ask you which race you identify as.”
You: “Well, professor, I identify as black, quote obviously“, as you look over at your wife who has a stern look on her face.
Rushton: “Well, sir, my first question for you is: How far can you ejaculate?”
You: “Ummm I don’t know, I’ve never thought to check. What kind of an odd question is that?“, you say, as you try to keep your voice down as to not alert your wife and children to what is being discussed.
Rushton: “OK, sir. How long would you say your penis is?”
You: “Professor, I have never measured it but I would say it is about 7 inches“, you say, with an uncomfortable look on your face. You think “Why is this strange man asking me such uncomfortable questions?
Rushton: “OK, OK. So how much sex would you say you have with your wife? And what size hat do you wear?“, asked Rushton, it seeming like he’s sizing up your whole body, with a twinkle in his eye.
You: “I don’t see how that’s any of your business, professor. What I do with my wife in the confines of my own home doesn’t matter to you. What does my hat size have to do with anything?”, you say, not knowing Rushton’s ulterior motives for his “study.” “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to cut this interview short. My wife is getting pissed.”
Rushton: “Sir, wait!! Just a few more questions!”, Rushton says while chasing you with the measuring tape dragging across the ground, while you get away from him as quickly as possible, alerting security to this strange man bothering—harasasing—mall shoppers.
If I was out shopping and some strange man started asking me such questions, I’d tell him tough luck bro, find someone else. (I don’t talk to strange people trying to sell me something or trying to get information out of me.) In any case, what a great methodology, Rushton, because men lie about their penis size when asked.
Hilliard (2012: 71-72) then explains how Rushton used the “work” of the French Army Surgeon (alias Dr. Jacobus X):
Writing under the pseudonym Dr. Jacobus X, the author asserted that it was a personal diary that brought together thirty years of medical practice as a French government army surgeon and physician. Rushton was apparently unaware that the book while unknown to American psychologists, was familiar to anthropologists working in Africa and Asia and that they had nicknamed the genre from which it sprang “anthroporn.” Such books were not actually based on scientific research at all; rather, they were a uniquely Victorian style of pornography, thinly disguised as serious medical field research. Untrodden Fields [the title of Dr. Jacobus X’s book that Rushton drew from] presented Jacobus X’s observations and photographs of the presumably lurid sexual practices of exotic peoples, including photographs of the males’ mammoth-size sexual organs.
In the next fifteen years, Rushton would pen dozens of articles in academic journals propounding his theories of an inverse correlation among the races between brain and genital size. Much of the data he used to “prove” the enormity of the black male organ, which he then correlated inversely to IQ, came from Untrodden Fields. [Also see the discussion of “French Army Surgeon” in Weizmann et al, 1990: 8. See also my articles on penis size on this blog.]
Rushton also cited “research” from the Penthouse forum (see Rushton, 1997: 169). Citing an anonymous “field surgeon”, the Penthouse Forum, and asking random people in a mall questions about their sexual history, penis size and how far they can ejaculate. Rushton’s penis data, and even one of the final papers he penned “Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals?” (Rushton and Templer, 2012) is so full of flaws I can’t believe it got past review. I guess a physiologist was not on the review board when Rushton’s and Templer’s paper went up for review…
Rushton pushed the just-so story of cold winters (which was his main thing and his racial differences hypothesis hinged on it), along with his long-refuted human r/K selection theory (see Anderson, 1991; Graves, 2002). Also watch the debate between Rushton and Graves. Rushton got quite a lot wrong (see Flynn, 2019; Cernovsky and Litman, 2019), as a lot of people do, but he was in no way a “serious scholar”.
Why yes, Mr. Herrnstein and Mr. Murray, Rushton was, indeed, a very serious scholar who has amassed serious data.
Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals? A Response to Rushton and Templer (2012)
Rushton et al have kept me pretty busy over the last year or so. I’ve debunked many of their claims that rest on biology—such as testosterone causing crime and aggression. The last paper that Rushton published before he died in October of 2012 was an article with Donald Templer—another psychologist—titled Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals? (Rushton and Templer, 2012) and they make a surfeit of bold claims that do not follow. They review animal studies on skin and fur pigmentation and show that the darker an animal’s skin or fur, the more likely they are to be aggressive and violent. They then conclude that, of course (it wouldn’t be a Rushton article without it), that the long-debunked r/K ‘continuum’ explains the co-variation between human populations in birth rate, longevity, violent crime, infant mortality and rate and acquisition of AIDS/HIV.
In one of the very first articles I wrote on this site, I cited Rushton and Templer (2012) favorably (back when I had way less knowledge of biology and hormones). I was caught by biases and not knowing anything about what was discussed. After I learned more about biology and hormones over the years, I came to find out that the claims in the paper are wrong and that they make huge, sweeping conclusions based on a few correlations. Either way, I have seen the error of my ways and the biases that lead me to the beliefs I held, and when I learned more about hormones and biology I saw how ridiculous some of the papers I have cited in the past truly were.
Rushton and Templer (2012) start off the paper by discussing Ducrest et al (2008) who state that within each species studied, darker-pigmented individuals of said species exhibited higher rates of aggression, sexuality and social dominance (which is caused by testosterone) than lighter-pigmented individuals in that same species. They state that this is due to pleiotropy—when a single gene has to or more phenotypic effects. They then refer to Rushton and Jensen (2005) to reference the claim that low IQ is correlated with skin color (skin color doesn’t cause IQ, obviously).
They then state that in 40 vertebrate species that within each that the darker-pigmented members had higher levels of aggression and sexual activity along with a larger body size, better stress resistance, and are more physically active while grooming (Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin, 2008). Rushton and Templer (2012) then state that this relationship was ‘robust’ across numerous species, specifically 36 species of birds, 4 species of fish, 3 species of mammals, and 4 species of reptiles.
Rushton and Templer (2012) then discuss the “Validation of the pigmentation system as causal to the naturalistic observations was demonstrated by experimentally manipulating pharmacological dosages and by studies of cross-fostering“, citing Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin (2008). They even state that ‘Placing darker versus lighter pigmented individuals with adoptive parents of the opposite pigmentation did not modify offspring behavior.” Seems legit. Must mean that their pigmentation caused these differences. They then state something patently ridiculous: “The genes that control that balance occupy a high level in the hierarchical system of the genome.” Though, unfortunately for their hypothesis, there is no privileged level of causation (Noble, 2016; also see Noble, 2008), so this is a nonsense claim. Genes are not ‘blueprints’ or ‘recipes’ (Oyama, 1985; Schneider, 2007).
They then refer to Ducrest, Keller and Roulin (2008: 507) who write:
In this respect, it is important to note that variation in melanin-based coloration between human populations is primarily due to mutations at, for example, MC1R, TYR, MATP and SLC24A5 [29,30] and that human populations are therefore not expected to consistently exhibit the associations between melaninbased coloration and the physiological and behavioural traits reported in our study.
This quote, however, seems to be ignored by Rushton and Templer (2012) throughout the rest of their article, and so even though they did a brief mentioning of the paper and how one should be ‘cautious’ in interpreting the data in their study, it seems like they just brush it under the rug to not have to contend with it. Rushton and Templer (2012) then cite the famous silver fox study, where tame foxes were bred. They lost their dark fur and became lighter and, apparently, were less aggressive than their darker-pigmented kin. These animal studies are, in my useless when attempting to correlate skin color and the melanocortin system in the modulation of aggressive behavior, so let’s see what they write about human studies.
It’s funny, because Rushton and Templer (2012) cite Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin (2008: 507) to show that caution should be made when assessing any so-called differences in the melanocortin system between human races. They then disregard that by writing “A first examination of whether melanin based pigmentation plays a role in human aggression and sexuality (as seen in non-human animals), is to compare people of African descent with those of European descent and observe whether darker skinned individuals average higher levels of aggression and sexuality (with violent crime the main indicator of aggression).” This is a dumb comparison. Yes, African nations commit more crime than European nations, but does this mean that the skin color (or whatever modulates skin color/melanocortin system) is the cause for this? No. Not at all.
There really isn’t anything to discuss here, though, because they just run through how different African nations have higher levels of crime than European and East Asian nations, how blacks report having more sex and feel less guilty about it. Rushton and Templer (2012) then state that one study “asked married couples how often they had sex each week. Pacific Islanders and Native Americans said from 1 to 4 times, US Whites answered 2–4 times, while Africans said 3 to over 10 times.” They then switch over to their ‘replication’ of this finding, using the data from Alfred Kinsey (Rushton and Bogaert, 1988). Though, unfortunately for Rushton and Bogaert, there are massive problems with this data.
Though, the Kinsey data can hardly be seen as representative (Zuckerman and Brody, 1988), and it is also based on outdated, non-representative, non-random samples (Lynn, 1989). Rushton and Templer (2012) also discuss so-called differences in penis size between races, too. But I have written two response articles on the matter and shown that Rushton used shoddy sources like ‘French Army Surgeon who contradicts himself: “Similarly, while the French Army surgeon announces on p. 56 that he once discovered a 12-inch penis, an organ of that size becomes “far from rare” on p. 243. As one might presume from such a work, there is no indication of the statistical procedures used to compute averages, what terms such as “often” mean, how subjects were selected, how measurements were made, what the sample sizes were, etc” (Weizmann et al, 1990: 8).
Rushton and Templer (2012) invoke, of course, Rushton’s (1985; 1995) r/K selection theory as applied to human races. I have written numerous articles on r/K selection and attempts at reviving it, but it is long dead, especially as a way to describe human populations (Anderson, 1991; Graves, 2002). The theory was refuted in the late 70s (Graves, 2002), and replaced with age-specific mortality (Reznick et al, 2002). Some of his larger claims I will cover in the future (like how r/K relates to criminal activity), but he just goes through all of the same old motions he’s been going through for years, bringing nothing new to the table. In all honesty, testosterone is one of the pillars of Rushton’s r/K selection theory (e.g., Lynn, 1990; Rushton, 1997; Rushton, 1999; Hart, 2007; Ellis, 2017; extensive arguments against Ellis, 2017 can be found here). If testosterone doesn’t do what he believes it does and the levels of testosterone between the races are not as high as believed/non-existent (Gapstur et al, 2002; read my discussion of Gapstur et al 2002; Rohrmann et al, 2007; Richard et al, 2014. Though see Mazur, 2016 and read my interpretation of the paper) then we can safely disregard their claims.
Another is that Blacks have the most testosterone (Ellis & Nyborg, 1992), which
helps to explain their higher levels of athletic ability (Entine, 2000).
As I have said many times in the past, Ellis and Nyborg (1992) found a 3 percent difference in testosterone levels between white and black ex-military men. This is irrelavent. He also, then cites John Entine’s (2002) book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, but this doesn’t make sense. Because he literally cites Rushton who cites Ellis and Nyborg (1992) and Ross et al (1986) (stating that blacks have 3-19 percent higher levels of testosterone than whites, citing Ross et al’s 1986 uncorrected numbers)—and I have specifically pointed out numerous flaws in their analysis and so, Ross et al (1986) cannot seriously be used as evidence for high testosterone differences between the races. Though I cited Fish (2013), who wrote about Ellis and Nyborg (1992):
“These uncorrected figures are, of course, not consistent with their racial r- and K-continuum.”
Rushton and Templer (2012) then state that testosterone acts like a ‘master switch’ (Rushton, 1999), implicating testosterone as a cause for aggression, though I’ve shown that this is not true, and that aggression causes testosterone production, testosterone doesn’t cause aggression. Testosterone does control muscle mass, of course. But Rushton’s claim that blacks have deeper voices due to higher levels of testosterone, but this claim does not hold in newer studies.
Rushton and Templer (2012) then shift gears to discuss Templer and Arikawa’s (2006) study on the correlation between skin color and ‘IQ’. However, there is something important to note here from Razib:
we know the genetic architecture of pigmentation. that is, we know all the genes (~10, usually less than 6 in pairwise between population comparisons). skin color varies via a small number of large effect trait loci. in contrast, I.Q. varies by a huge number of small effect loci. so logically the correlation is obviously just a correlation. to give you an example, SLC45A2 explains 25-40% of the variance between africans and europeans.
long story short: it’s stupid to keep repeating the correlation between skin color and I.Q. as if it’s a novel genetic story. it’s not. i hope don’t have to keep repeating this for too many years.
Rushton and Templer (2012: 7) conclude:
The melanocortin system is a physiological coordinator of pigmentation and life history traits. Skin color provides an important marker placing hormonal mediators such as testosterone in broader perspective.
I don’t have a problem with the claim that the melanocortin system is a physiological coordinator of pigmentation, because it’s true and we have a great understanding of the physiology behind the melanocortin system (see Cone, 2006 for a review). EvolutionistX also has a great article, reviewing some studies (mouse studies and some others) showing that increasing melatonin appears to decreases melanin.
Rushton and Templer’s (2012) make huge assumptions not warranted by any data. For instance, Rushton states in his VDare article on the subject, J. Phillipe Rushton Says Color May Be More Than Skin Deep, “But what about humans? Despite all the evidence on color, aggression, and sexuality in animals, there has been little or no discussion of the relationship in people. Ducrest & Co. even warned that genetic mutations may make human populations not exhibit coloration effects as consistently as other species. But they provided no evidence.” All Rushton and Templer (2012) do in their article is just restating known relationships with crime and race, and then attempting to implicate the melanocortin system as a factor driving this relationship, literally off of a slew of animal studies. Even then, the claim that Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin (2008: 507) provide no evidence for their warning is incorrect, because before they stated that, they wrote “In this respect, it is important to note that variation in melanin-based coloration between human populations is primarily due to mutations at, for example, MC1R, TYR, MATP and SLC24A5 [29,30]. . .” Melanin does not cause aggression, it does not cause crime. Rushton and Templer just assume too many things based on no evidence in humans, while their whole hypothesis is structured around a bunch of animal studies.
In conclusion, it seems like Rushton and Templer don’t know anything about the physiology of the melanocortin system if they believe that pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulates aggression and sexual behavior in humans. I know of no evidence (studies, not Rushton and Templer’s 2012 relationships with crime and then asserting that, because these relationships are seen in animals, that it must mean that the melanocortin system in humans modulates the relationships too) for these assertions by Rushton and Templer (2012). The fact that they think that restating relationships between crime and race, country of origin and race, supposed correlations with testosterone and crime and blacks supposedly having higher testosterone than whites, among other things, is caused by the melanocortin system and pigmentation has no basis in reality.
Race, aggression, and prostate cancer are all linked, with some believing that race is the cause of higher testosterone which then causes aggression and higher rates of crime along with maladies such as prostate cancer. These claims have long been put to bed, with a wide range of large analyses.
The testosterone debate regarding prostate cancer has been raging for decades and we have made good strides in understanding the etiology of prostate cancer and how it manifests. The same holds true for aggression. But does testosterone hold the key to understanding aggression, prostate cancer and does race dictate group levels of the hormone which then would explain some of the disparities between groups and individuals of certain groups?
For decades it was believed that heightened levels of testosterone caused prostate cancer. Most of the theories to this day still hold that large amounts of androgens, like testosterone and it’s metabolic byproduct dihydrotestosterone, are the two many factors that drive the proliferation of cells and therefore, if a male is exposed to higher levels of testosterone throughout their lives then they are at a high risk of prostate cancer compared to a man with low testosterone levels, so the story goes.
In 1986 Ronald Ross set out to test a hypothesis: that black males were exposed to more testosterone in the womb and this then drove their higher rates of prostate cancer later in life. He reportedly discovered that blacks, after controlling for confounds, had 15 percent higher testosterone than whites which may be the cause of differential prostate cancer mortality between the two races (Ross et al, 1986) This is told in a 1997 editorial by Hugh McIntosh. First, the fact that black males were supposedly exposed to more testosterone in the womb is brought up. I am aware of one paper discussing higher levels of testosterone in black women compared to white women (Perry et al, 1996). Though, I’ve shown that black women don’t have high levels of testosterone, not higher than white women, anyway (see Mazur, 2016 for discussion). (Yes I changed my view on black women and testosterone, stop saying that they have high levels of testosterone it’s just not true. I see people still link to that article despite the long disclaimer at the top.)
Alvarado (2013) discusses Ross et al (1986), Ellis and Nyborg (1992) (which I also discussed here along with Ross et al) and other papers discussing the supposed higher testosterone of blacks when compared to whites and attempts to use a life history framework to explain higher incidences of prostate cancer in black males. He first notes that nutritional status influences testosterone production which should be no surprise to anyone. He brings up some points I agree with and some I do not. For instance, he states that differences in nutrition could explain differences in testosterone between Western and non-Western people (I agree), but that this has no effect within Western countries (which is incorrect as I’ll get to later).
He also states that ancestry isn’t related to prostate cancer, writing “In summation, ancestry does not adequately explain variation among ethnic groups with higher or lower testosterone levels, nor does it appear to explain variation among ethnic groups with high or low prostate cancer rates. This calls into question the efficacy of a disease model that is unable to predict either deleterious or protective effects.”
He then states that SES is negatively correlated with prostate cancer rates, and that numerous papers show that people with low SES have higher rates of prostate cancer mortality which makes sense, since people in a lower economic class would have less access to and a chance to get good medical care to identify problems such as prostate cancer, including prostate biopsies and checkups to identify the condition.
He finally discusses the challenge hypothesis and prostate cancer risk. He cites studies by Mazur and Booth (who I’ve cited in the past in numerous articles) as evidence that, as most know, black-majority areas have more crime which would then cause higher levels of testosterone production. He cites Mazur’s old papers showing that low-class men, no matter if they’re white or black, had heightened levels of testosterone and that college-educated men did not, which implies that the social environment can and does elevate testosterone levels and can keep them heightened. Alvarado concludes this section writing: “Among Westernized men who have energetic resources to support the metabolic costs associated with elevated testosterone, there is evidence that being exposed to a higher frequency of aggressive challenges can result in chronically elevated testosterone levels. If living in an aggressive social environment contributes to prostate cancer disparities, this has important implications for prevention and risk stratification.” He’s not really wrong but on what he is wrong I will discuss later on this section. It’s false that testosterone causes prostate cancer so some of this thesis is incorrect.
I rebutted Ross et al (1986) December of last year. The study was hugely flawed and, yet, still gets cited to this day including by Alvarado (2013) as the main point of his thesis. However, perhaps most importantly, the assay times were done ‘when it was convenient’ for the students which were between 10 am and 3 pm. To not get any wacky readings one most assay the individuals as close to 8:30 am as possible. Furthermore, they did not control for waist circumference which is another huge confound. Lastly, the sample was extremely small (50 blacks and 50 whites) and done on a nonrepresentative sample (college students). I don’t think anyone can honestly cite this paper as any evidence for blacks having higher levels of testosterone or testosterone causing prostate cancer because it just doesn’t do that. (Read Race, Testosterone and Prostate Cancer for more information.)
What may explain prostate cancer rates if not for differences in testosterone like has been hypothesized for decades? Well, as I have argued, diet explains a lot of the variation between races. The etiology of prostate cancer is not known (ACA, 2016) but we know that it’s not testosterone and that diet plays a large role in its acquisition. Due to their dark skin, they need more sunlight than do whites to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D, and low levels of vitamin D in blacks are strongly related to prostate cancer (Harris, 2006). Murphy et al (2014) even showed, through biopsies, that black American men had higher rates of prostate cancer if they had lower levels of vitamin D. Lower concentrations of vitamin D in blacks compared to whites due to dark pigmentation which causes reduced vitamin D photoproduction and may also account for “much of the unexplained survival disparity after consideration of such factors as SES, state at diagnosis and treatment” (Grant and Peiris, 2012).
As mentioned above, testosterone is assumed to be higher in certain races compared to others (based on flawed studies) which then supposedly exacerbates prostate cancer. However, as can be seen above, a lot of assumptions go into the testosterone-prostate cancer hypothesis which is just false. So if the assumptions are false about testosterone, mainly regarding racial differences in the hormone and then what the hormone actually does, then most of their claims can be disregarded.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that Ross et al is a 32-year-old paper (which still gets cited favorably despite its huge flaws) while our understanding of the hormone and its physiology has made considerable progress in that time frame. So it’s in fact not so weird to see papers like this that say “Prostate cancer appears to be unrelated related to endogenous testosterone levels” (Boyle et al, 2016). Other papers also show the same thing, that testosterone is not related to prostate cancer (Stattin et al, 2004; Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). This kills a lot of theories and hypotheses, especially regarding racial differences in prostate cancer acquisition and mortality. So, what this shows is that even if blacks did have 15 percent higher serum testosterone than whites as Ross et al, Rushton, Lynn, Templer, et al believed then it wouldn’t cause higher levels of prostate cancer (nor aggression, which I’ll get into later).
How high is testosterone in black males compared to white males? People may attempt to cite papers like the 32-year-old paper by Ross et al, though as I’ve discussed numerous times the paper is highly flawed and should therefore not be cited. Either way, levels are not as high as people believe and meta-analyses and actual nationally representative samples (not convenience college samples) show low to no difference, and even the low difference wouldn’t explain any health disparities.
One of the best papers on this matter of racial differences in testosterone is Richard et al (2014). They meta-analyzed 15 studies and concluded that the “racial differences [range] from 2.5 to 4.9 percent” but “this modest difference is unlikely to explain racial differences in disease risk.” This shows that testosterone isn’t as high in blacks as is popularly misconceived, and that, as I will show below, it wouldn’t even cause higher rates of aggression and therefore criminal behavior. (Rohrmann et al 2007 show no difference in testosterone between black and white males in a nationally representative sample after controlling for lifestyle and anthropometric variables. Whereas Mazur, 2009 shows that blacks have higher levels of testosterone due to low marriage rates and lower levels of adiposity, while be found a .39 ng/ml difference between blacks and whites aged 20 to 60. Is this supposed to explain crime, aggression, and prostate cancer?)
However, as I’ve noted last year (and as Alvarado, 2013 did as well), young black males with low education have higher levels of testosterone which is not noticed in black males of the same age group but with more education (Mazur, 2016). Since blacks of a similar age group have lower levels of testosterone but are more highly educated then this is a clue that education drives aggression/testosterone/violent behavior and not that testosterone drives it.
Mazur (2016) also replicated Assari, Caldwell, and Zimmerman’s (2014) finding that “Our model in the male sample suggests that males with higher levels of education has lower aggressive behaviors. Among males, testosterone was not associated with aggressive behaviors.” I know this is hard for many to swallow that testosterone doesn’t lead to aggressive behavior in men, but I’ll cover that in the last and final section.
So it’s clear that the myth that Rushton, Lynn, Templer, Kanazawa, et al pushed regarding hormonal differences between the races are false. It’s also with noting, as I did in my response to Rushton on r/K selection theory, that the r/K model is literally predicated on 1) testosterone differences between races being real and in the direction that Rushton and Lynn want because they cite the highly flawed Ross et al (1986) and 2) testosterone does not cause higher levels of aggression (which I’ll show below) which then lead to higher rates of crime along with higher rates of incarceration.
A blogger who goes by the name of ethnicmuse did an analysis of numerous testosterone papers and he found:
Which, of course, goes against a ton of HBD theory, that is, if testosterone did what HBDers believed it does (it doesn’t). This is what it comes down to: blacks don’t have higher levels of testosterone than whites and testosterone doesn’t cause aggression nor prostate cancer so even if this relationship was in the direction that Rushton et al assert then it still wouldn’t cause any of the explanatory variables they discuss.
Last year Lee Ellis published a paper outlining his ENA theory (Ellis, 2017). I responded to the paper and pointed out what he got right and wrong. He discussed strength (blacks aren’t stronger than whites due to body type and physiology, but excel in other areas); circulating testosterone, umbilical cord testosterone exposure; bone density and crime; penis size, race, and crime (Rushton’s 1997 claims on penis size don’t ‘size up’ to the literature as I’ve shown two times); prostate-specific antigens, race, and prostate cancer; CAG repeats; intelligence and education and ‘intelligence’; and prenatal androgen exposure. His theory has large holes and doesn’t line up in some places, as he himself admits in his paper. He, as expected, cites Ross et al (1986) favorably in his analysis.
Testosterone can’t explain all of these differences, no matter if it’s prenatal androgen exposure or not, and a difference of 2.5 to 4.9 percent between blacks and whites regarding testosterone (Richard et al, 2014) won’t explain differences in crime, aggression, nor prostate cancer.
Other authors have attempted to also implicate testosterone as a major player in a wide range of evolutionary theories (Lynn, 1990; Rushton, 1997; Rushton, 1999; Hart, 2007; Rushton and Templer, 2012; Ellis, 2017). However, as can be seen by digging into this literature, these claims are not true and therefore we can discard the conclusions come to by the aforementioned authors since they’re based on false premises (testosterone being a cause for aggression, crime, and prostate cancer and r/K meaning anything to human races, it doesn’t)
Finally, to conclude this section, does testosterone explain racial differences in crime? No, racial differences in testosterone, however small, cannot be responsible for the crime gap between blacks and whites.
Testosterone and aggression
Testosterone and aggression, are they linked? Can testosterone tell us anything about individual differences in aggressive behavior? Surprisingly for most, the answer seems to be a resounding no. One example is the castration of males. Does it completely take away the urge to act aggressively? No, it does not. What is shown when sex offenders are castrated is that their levels of aggression decrease, but importantly, they do not decrease to 0. Robert Sapolsky writes on page 96 of his book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (2017) (pg 96):
… the more experience a male has being aggressive prior to castration, the more aggression continues afterward. In other words, the less his being aggressive in the future requires testosterone and the more it’s a function of social learning.
He also writes (pg 96-97):
On to the next issue that lessens the primacy of testosterone: What do individual levels of testosterone have to do with aggression? If one person higher testosterone levels than another, or higher levels this week than last, are they more likely to be aggressive?
Initially the answer seemed to be yes, as studies showed correlation between individual differences in testosterone levels and levels of aggression. In a typical study, higher testosterone levels would be observed in those male prisoners with higher rates of aggression. But being aggressive stimulates testosterone secretion; no wonder more aggressive individuals had higher levels. Such studies couldn’t disentangle chickens and eggs.
Thus, a better question is whether differences in testosterone levels among individuals predict who will be aggressive. And among birds, fish, mammals, and especially other primates, the answer is generally no. This has been studied extensively in humans, examining a variety of measures of aggression. And the answer is clear. To quote British endocrinologist John Archer in a definitive 2006 review, “There is a weak and inconsistent association between testosterone levels and aggression in [human] adults, and . . . administration of testosterone to volunteers typically does not increase aggression.” The brain doesn’t pay attention to testosterone levels within the normal range.
Thus, aggression is typically more about social learning than about testosterone, differing levels of testosterone generally can’t explain why some individuals are more aggressive than others.
Sapolsky also has a 1997 book of essays on human biology titled The Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology Of The Human Predicament and he has a really good essay on testosterone titled Will Boys Just Be Boys? where he writes (pg 113 to 114):
Okay, suppose you note a correlation between levels of aggression and levels of testosterone among these normal males. This could be because (a) testosterone elevates aggression; (b) aggression elevates testosterone secretion; (c) neither causes the other. There’s a huge bias to assume option a while b is the answer. Study after study has shown that when you examine testosterone when males are first placed together in the social group, testosterone levels predict nothing about who is going to be aggressive. The subsequent behavioral differences drive the hormonal changes, not the other way around.
Because of a strong bias among certain scientists, it has taken do forever to convince them of this point.
As I said, it takes a lot of work to cure people of that physics envy, and to see interindividual differences in testosterone levels don’t predict subsequent differences in aggressive behavior among individuals. Similarly, fluctuations in testosterone within one individual over time do not predict subsequent changes in the levels of aggression in the one individual—get a hiccup in testosterone secretion one afternoon and that’s not when the guy goes postal.
And on page 115 writes:
You need some testosterone around for normal levels of aggressive behavior—zero levels after castration and down it usually goes; quadruple it (the sort of range generated in weight lifters abusing anabolic steroids), and aggression typically increases. But anywhere from roughly 20 percent of normal to twice normal and it’s all the same; the brain can’t distinguish among this wide range of basically normal values.
Weird…almost as if there is a wide range of ‘normal’ that is ‘built in’ to our homeodynamic physiology…
So here’s the point: differences in testosterone between individuals tell us nothing about individual differences in aggressive behavior; castration and replacement seems to show that, however broadly, testosterone is related to aggression “But that turns out to not be true either, and the implications of this are lost on most people the first thirty times you tell them about it. Which is why you’d better tell them about it thirty-one times, because it’s the most important part of this piece” (Sapolsky, 1997: 115).
Later in the essay, Sapolsky discusses a discusses 5 monkeys that were given time to form a hierarchy of 1 through 5. Number 3 can ‘throw his weight’ around with 4 and 5 but treads carefully around 1 and 2. He then states to take the third-ranking monkey and inject him with a ton of testosterone, and that when you check the behavioral data that he’d then be participating in more aggressive actions than before which would imply that the exogenous testosterone causes participation in more aggressive behavior. But it’s way more nuanced than that.
So even though small fluctuations in the levels of the hormone don’t seem to matter much, testosterone still causes aggression. But that would be wrong. Check out number 3 more closely. Is he now raining aggression and terror on any and all in the group, frothing in an androgenic glaze of indiscriminate violence. Not at all. He’s still judiciously kowtowing to numbers 1 and 2 but has simply become a total bastard to number 4 and 5. This is critical: testosterone isn’t causing aggression, it’s exaggerating the aggression that’s already there.
The correlation between testosterone and aggression is between .08 and .14 (Book, Starzyk, and Quinsey, 2001; Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Davies, 2005; Book and Quinsey, 2005). Therefore, along with all of the other evidence provided in this article, it seems that testosterone and aggression have a weak positive correlation, which buttresses the point that aggression concurrent increases in testosterone.
Sapolsky then goes on to discuss the amygdala’s role in fear processing. The amygdala has its influence on aggressive behavior through the stria terminalis, which is a bunch of neuronal connections. How the amygdala influences aggression is simple: bursts of electrical excitation called action potentials go up and down the stria terminalis which changes the hypothalamus. You can then inject testosterone right into the brain and will it cause the same action potentials that surge down the stria terminalis? No, it does not turn on the pathway at all. This only occurs only if the amygdala is already sending aggression-provoking action potentials down the stria terminalis with testosterone increasing the rate of action potentials you’re shortening the rest time between them. So it doesn’t turn on this pathway, it exaggerates the preexisting pattern, which is to say, it’s exaggerating the response to environmental triggers of what caused the amygdala to get excited in the first place.
He ends this essay writing (pg 119):
Testosterone is never going to tell us much about the suburban teenager who, in his after-school chess club, has developed a particularly aggressive style with his bishops. And it certainly isn’t going to tell us much about the teenager in some inner-city hellhole who has taken to mugging people. “Testosterone equals aggression” is inadequate for those who would offer a simple solution to the violent male—just decrease levels of those pesky steroids. And “testosterone equals aggression” is certainly inadequate for those who would offer a simple excuse: Boys will be boys and certain things in nature are inevitable. Violence is more complex than a single hormone. This is endocrinology for the bleeding heart liberal—our behavioral biology is usually meaningless outside of the context of social factors and the environment in which it occurs.
Injecting individuals with supraphysiological doses of testosterone as high as 200 and 600 mg per week does not cause heightened anger or aggression (Tricker et al, 1996; O’Connor et, 2002). This, too, is a large blow for the testosterone-induces-aggression hypothesis. Because aggressive behavior heightens testosterone, testosterone doesn’t heighten aggressive behavior. (This is the causality that has been looked for, and here it is. The causality is not in the other direction.) This tells us that we need to be put into situations for our aggression to rise and along with it, testosterone. I don’t even see how people could think that testosterone could cause aggression. It’s obvious that the environmental trigger needs to be there first in order for the body’s physiology to begin testosterone production in order to prepare for the stimulus that caused the heightened testosterone production. Once the trigger occurs, then it can and does stay heightened, especially in areas where dominance contests would be more likely to occur, which would be low-income areas (Mazur, 2006, 2016).
Lastly, one thing that gets on my nerves that people point to to attempt to show that testosterone and its derivatives cause violence, aggression etc is the myth of “roid rage” which is when an individual objects himself with testosterone, anabolic steroids or another banned substance, and then the individual becomes more aggressive as a result of more free-flowing testosterone in their bloodstream.
The problem here is that people believe what they hear on the media about steroids and testosterone, and they’re largely not true. One large analysis was done to see the effects of steroids and other illicit drug use on behavior, and what was found was that after controlling for other substance use “Our results suggest that it was not lifetime steroid use per se, but rather co-occurrring polysubstance abuse that most parsimoniously explains the relatively strong association of steroid use and interpersonal violence” (Lundholm et al, 2015). So after controlling for other drugs used, men who use steroids do not go to prison and be convicted of violence after other polysubstance use was controlled for, implying that is what’s driving interpersonal violence, not the substance abuse of steroids.
Numerous myths about testosterone have been propagated over the decades, which are still believed in the new millennium despite numerous other studies and arguments to the contrary. As can be seen, the myths that people believe about testosterone are easily debunked. Numerous papers (with better methodology than Ross et al) attest to the fact that testosterone levels aren’t as high as was believed decades ago between the races. Diet can explain a lot of the variation, especially vitamin D intake. Injecting men with supraphysiological doses of testosterone does not heighten anger nor aggression. It does not even heighten prostate cancer severity.
Racial differences in testosterone are also not as high as people would like to believe, there is even an opposite relationship with Asians having higher levels and whites having lower (which wouldn’t, on average, imply femininity) testosterone levels. So as can be seen, the attempted r/K explanations from Rushton et al don’t work out here. They’re just outright wrong on testosterone, as I’ve been arguing for a long while on this blog.
Testosterone doesn’t cause aggression, aggression causes heightened testosterone. It can be seen from studies of men who have been castrated that the more crime they committed before castration, the more crime they will commit after which implies a large effect of social learning on violent behavior. Either way, the alarmist attitudes of people regarding testosterone, as I have argued, are not needed because they’re largely myths.
By meLo, 1340 words
Usually within the HBD community, discussions regarding the main mechanism(s) that drove the expressions of particular phenotypes is centered around natural selection or ecological(in the strictest, most traditional sense) factors. Sexual selection is unfairly sidelined, even though sex is the base of all multicellular evolution. The point of this article is to provide a logical argument for Sexual selections tremendous involvement, and to provide examples of how these pressures have shaped neolithic and modern Homo sapiens. I excluded Australoids but for good reason. Even though the population does have sexual selected traits, like blonde and culry hair, they are an incredibly diverse group and with the amount of pocket isolation I don’t think it’s fair without breaking this group into more categories. I kept this paper short, because it’s my first one and I wanted to use this as a “prototype” for future posts. Again all criticism is more than welcome because I myself am still learning about this topic.
First, it is important to note that traits which evolved from sexual selection are not the same thing as traits that serve reproductive purposes. Reproductive organs are usually the product of sexual selection, but sexual selection does not always act upon genitalia. Sexual selection favors any trait that allows an organism to attract the opposite mate more effectively, competitively or not.
The general trend
Before I explain the respective pressures and phenotypes between subpopulations of the neolithic, it is essential to begin with a summary of the temporal trend that persisted before the aforementioned groups. This begins with a breakdown of definitions and the repair of misconceptions. Human development is extremely complicated, so this explanation will have oversimplifications for the sake of efficiency. Any questions or discussions on the matter are more than welcome. If you don’t know anything about heterochronies I suggest you read this.
Paedomorphosis=/= Neoteny. Neoteny is a heterochronic process, paedomorphism is a type of heterochrony. One of the largest or most noticeable differences between Homo sapiens and Chimpanzees is the increase in paedomorphic and peramorphic traits of the former. All heterochronic mechanisms affect the developmental outcome of homo sapiens this is mostly to do with developmental trade offs and creates a mosaic pattern of our evolution. Humans have accelerated brain growth which reaches full size before most of the other limbs and organs are finished, even though this is achieved through peramorphic heterochronies it coincides with the deceleration of the body which actually produces a more paedomorphic appearance in the population. This acceleration ends(progenesis) and is subsequently followed by a strong deceleration(neoteny) of the skulls growth (Penin, 2002). Neoteny and acceleration define growth rate, but the actual duration of the growth period is hypermorphic, meaning the duration of Human growth is delayed or extended so that our legs and brains can continue to grow. Even though the brain is not paedomorphic its still enlarged to retain its childlike plasticity.These processes underlie the “direction” of our evolution, and while a lot of important traits are a result of peramorphic processes, it would be foolish to disregard the obviously paedomorphic traits we exhibit. It doesn’t take long to see how sexual selection can favor peramorphic or paedomorphic traits. Peramorphosis tends to create exaggerated features(think Irish Elk, Peacocks or the human brain) while paedomorphosis tends to appeal to sexual selection by producing “fragile” traits associated with infants of the species, in theory members of the opposite sex should associate these traits with “cuteness” and possibly even better parental skills.
Most don’t realize, but all races have undergone sexual selection. Each race has its own unique combination of peramorphic and paedomorphic traits as well as superficial ones that don’t relate to heterochrony. I will briefly go over each race and describe the varying degrees of pressures and the resulting phenotypes.
Caucasoids have the largest concentration of hypermorphic traits. They are the tallest race, and have the most color variation, this heavily implies sexual selection is involved. While height only has a small correlation with IQ, taller specimens will generally have larger brains, because they also have larger bodies. It also been documented that taller individuals tend to be seen as more attractive. Blue eyes are disproportionately present in the scientific community and they are a recessive trait, it’s speculative but very possible that blue eyes coincides with increased intelligence. Peter frost already did most of the work for me, you can read his piece on European sexual selection here. Mate competition becomes the obvious reason for these phenotypic expressions.
Unfortunately there isn’t much data on penis size, as a result this description will be lackluster. Which is usually the go to trait that HBDers look for when defining the sexuality of Africans. Things like Breast and buttocks size are ill defined, and studies on them are rifled with misconceptions. What we do know though, is that blacks are around the same height as Europeans but the majority of groups tend to have smaller brain sizes. It is interesting to point out that Africans display more paedomorphic facial features(except for prognathism). This makes a lot of sense, Africans are more r selected than Caucasoids, so it is expected that they display more paedomorphic traits. Because of a lack of data, I can’t make a reasonable assessment on the pressures that could of caused these expressions, however I do not think it would be far fetched to assume that it is also mate competition.
Pygmies, are a result of what Shea 1984 calls “rate hypomorphosis” Essentially it is a truncation of allometric scaling. Pygmies should therefore be one of the least intelligent and most r selected races. Their body and brain size decreased from the ancestral one, and they are almost entirely paedomorphic. More than likely their body size has to do with their adaptation to fewer resources. Capoids can confuse a lot of people. At first I thought they must be intelligent because of their paedomorphosis, but their brains are only a measly 1270cc and according to the Shea and Penin studies(cited earlier) a lot of traits considered to be paedomorphic(flat nose, reduced prognathism) are actually just the result of functional innovations and are independent of developmental growth. Specimen like Homo sapien Idaltu then begin to make more sense. The pressure involved here is more than likely an increased need of childcare(or at least a decrease in aggression) but not necessarily and increased need of Intellectual faculties.
Along with pygmies they are the most Paedomorphic race, and one of the most r selected. East asians have proportionally short limbs, very baby like faces, and the largest brains of any race. More than likely this is due to shape retardation following neoteny(deceleration of growth). It is necessary to define why Capoids and Mongoloids share similar facial traits yet do not share the same body proportions or absolute brain size. In this situation it is reasonable to assume that both populations had similar pressures for childcare and decreased aggression the main difference is hypothesized to lie in the varying survival pressures each group faced, I believe the ecological factors in East asia were more cognitively demanding than in Southern Africa, not in the sense that Africa is an easier place to survive but that Eurasia had a higher demand for Neuroplasticity. This is for two main reasons 1) in a novel environment there is more that you are required to learn and 2) The founder effect makes recessive genes easier to be expressed.
Intelligence can arise from a multitude of factors and no factor is completely necessary. Caucasoids seem to have developed their intellect from mate competition and K selection. Negroids are similar but to a lesser degree. Mongoloids seem to have evolved their cranial capacity for primarily docility and cooperation. All are forms of sexual selection, just for different preferences in attraction. Europeans and Africans tend to gravitate to more masculine features while Capoids, and Mongoloids are more for feminine ones.
by RaceRealist and Afrosapiens
Jean Phillipe Rushton (1943-2012) was a British-born Canadian psychologist known for his theories on genetically determined racial differences in cognition and behavior between Africans, Europeans, and East Asians. While marginal among experts, Rushton’s theories are still widely accepted amongst the proponents of eugenics and racialism. This article will focus on Rushton’s Differential K-theory which tries to apply the r/K selection model to racial differences in behavioral traits. To be fair, Rushton wasn’t the only one to use r/K selection as an explanation for psychological differences within humanity. For instance, some have associated the continuum with left-wing vs. right-wing ideologies. And although ecologists (the specialists of ecosystems) find applying r/K selection to humans inappropriate, the behavioral sciences have identified life-history patterns that roughly correspond to the colloquial fast vs. slow life differences in life history. For that reason, Rushton may have accidentally discussed variables and trends that are largely acknowledged by experts but his theory lies on a misunderstanding of core principles of the r/K model as well as using flawed (or non-existent) data.
Agents of selection
To begin, confusion about the modes of selection in an ecological context needs to be cleared up. There are classes of natural selection in ecological theory to be discussed: r-selection where the agent of selection acts in a density-independent way; K-selection where the agent of selection acts in a density-dependent way; and alpha selection which is selection for competitive ability (territoriality, aggression). Typical agents of K-selection include food shortage, endemic and infectious disease, and predation. Typical agents of r-selection temperature extremes, droughts, and natural disasters. Typical agents of alpha-selection are limited resources that can be collected or guarded, examples being shelter and food (Anderson, 1991).
As you can see, the third mode of selection in ecological theory is alpha-selection—which Rushton failed to bring up as a mode of selection to explain racial differences in behavior. He didn’t explain his reasoning as to why he did not include it—especially since alpha-selection is selection for competitive ability. One may wonder why Rushton never integrated alpha-selection into his theory—either he was ignorant to the reality of alpha-selection or it could occur in numerous ecosystems—whether temperate/cold or tropical. The non-application of alpha-selection throws his theory into disarray and should have one questioning Rushton’s use of ecological theory in application to human races.
The Misuse of r/K Theory
Rushton’s model starts with the erroneous assumption that the populations he describes as humanities three main races qualify as ecological populations. When studying the adaptive strategies of organisms, ecologists only consider species within their evolutionary niche—that is, the location that the adaptation was hypothesized to have occurred. When it comes to humans, this can only be done by studying populations in their ancestral environments. For this reason, Africans, Europeans, Amerindians—any population that is not currently in their ancestral environments—are not suitable populations to study in an evolutionary ecological context. The three populations no longer inhabit the environment that the selection was hypothesized to have occurred, so any conclusions based on observing modern-day populations must be viewed with extreme caution (Anderson, 1991). Even in the Old World, constant gene flow between ecoregions, as well as alterations of the environment due to agriculture and then industrialization, make such a study virtually impossible as it would require ecologists to study only hunter-gatherers that have received no admixture from other areas.
Rushton’s next misuse of the theory is not discussing density-dependence and density-independence and how they relate to agents of selection and the r/K model. K-selection works in a density-dependent way while r-selection works in a density-independent way. Thusly, K-selection is expected to favor genotypes that persist at high densities (increasing K) whereas r-selection favors genotypes that increase more quickly at low densities (increasing r) (Anderson, 1991). Rushton also failed to speak about alpha-selection. Alpha-selection selection for competitive abilities and, like with K-selection, occurs at high population densities, but could also occur with low population densities. Alpha-selection, instead of favoring genotypes that increase at high densities “it favours genotypes that, owing to their negative effects on others, often reduce the growth rate and the maximum population size” (Anderson, 1991: 52).
The r/K continuum
The r/K continuum—proposed by Pianka (1970)—has been misused over the decades (Boyce, 1984) and that is where Rushton got the continuum and applied it to human racial differences. Different agents of r-selection produce different selection pressures, as does K-selection. However, where Rushton—and most who cite him—go wrong is completely disregarding the agents of selection, along with perhaps the most critical part, reversing r and K in application to human races (if it were applicable to human races, that is), which will be covered below.
Dobzhansky (1950: 221) notes that “Tropical environments provide more evolutionary challenges than do the environments of temperate and cold lands.” It is erroneously assumed that living in colder temperatures is somehow ‘harder’ than it is in Africa. People believe that since food is ‘readily available’, that it must be ‘harder’ to find food in the temperate/Arctic environments so, therefore, selection for high intelligence occurred in Eurasians while Africans have lower intelligence since it’s so ‘easy’ to live in Africa, as well as other tropical environments.
Africans, furthermore, have been in roughly the same environment since the OoA migration occurred (the Ice Age ‘ended’ about 11,700 ya, although we are still in an Ice Age since the planets caps still have ice), and so any assumptions about it being ‘harder’ for the ancestors of Eurasians to survive and pass on their genes is a baseless assumption. Tropical environments that provide more evolutionary challenges than temperate and cold lands whereas the migration that occurred Out of Africa introduced humans to novel environments. As described above, endemic disease is an agent of K-selection whereas migration to novel environments are agents of r-selection. Thus, cold temperatures would be an agent of r-selection, not K-selection as is commonly believed, whereas endemic disease would be an agent of K-selection.
Even though intelligence nor rule-following were not included on the list of variables that Pianka (1970) noted on his r/K continuum, Rushton chose to include the variables anyway, even though selection for intelligence and rule-following can occur due to agents of r- or K-selection (Anderson, 1991: 55; Graves, 2002: 134-144). Pianka (1970) never gave experimental rationalization as to why he placed the traits he did on his continuum (Graves, 2002: 135). This is one critical point that makes his theory unacceptable in application to racial differences in behavior. By Rushton’s own interpretation of the r/K model, Africans would be selected for intelligence while Eurasians would be selected to breed more since novel environments (i.e., colder temperatures) are agents of r-selection, not K. Using the terms r- and K-selection to describe the traits of an organism is inappropriate; Rushton’s application of r/K theory to the traits of the three races, while ignoring that r/K describes a mode of natural selection “indicates circular reasoning rather than support for Rushton’s hypothesis” (Anderson, 1991: 59).
Reznick et al, (2002: 1518) write: “The distinguishing feature of the r- and K-selection paradigm was the focus on density-dependent selection as the important agent of selection on organisms’ life histories. This paradigm was challenged as it became clear that other factors, such as age-specific mortality, could provide a more mechanistic causative link between an environment and an optimal life history (Wilbur et al. 1974, Stearns 1976, 1977). The r- and K-selection paradigm was replaced by new paradigm that focused on age-specific mortality (Stearns 1976, Charlesworth 1980).” r/K selection theory was dropped for the much stronger life-history approach (Graves, 2002)—which uses some elements of r and K, but otherwise those terms are no longer used since other factors are more important as agents of selection, rather than density dependence and independence as was commonly thought.
One of the main reasons that Rushton’s r/K continuum gets pushed is because it’s a ‘simple model’ that so ‘parsimoniously’ explains racial differences. (e.g., cold winters supposedly take more intelligence to survive in and supposedly are an agent of K-selection.) But ecological systems are never simple; there are numerous interactions between the physical environment and the biological system which interact in complex ways.
Rushton’s use of this ‘simple model’—the r/K continuum—and its application to human races are wrong because 1) the three races described are not local populations; 2) the r/K continuum as described by Pianka (1970) is a poor representation of multidimensional ecological processes; and 3) cold weather is normally an agent of r-selection while endemic disease in Africa—as described by Rushton—is an agent of K-selection. Simple models are not always best—especially for organisms as complex as humans—so attempting to reduce complex biological and environmental interactions into a linear continuum is mistaken (Boyce, 1984). The simpler the ecological model, the more complex ecological sophistication is needed to understand and apply said model. So, although Rushton prefers simple models, in this context it is not apt, as complex biological systems interacting with their environments should not be reduced to a ‘simple model’.
Applying r/K to human races
If the r/K model were applicable to humans, then Caucasoids and Mongoloids would be r-selected while Negroids would be K-selected. Endemic and infectious disease—stated by Rushton to be an r-selected pressure—is actually a K-selected pressure. So Negroids would have been subjected to K-selected pressures (disease) and r-selected pressures (drought). Conversely, for Mongoloids, they migrated into colder temperatures which act in a density-independent way—hence, cold winters (temperature extremes) are an agent of r-selection.
Pianka’s (1970) r/K continuum “confuses the underlying pattern of life history variation with density-dependence, a process potentially involved to explain the pattern” (Gaillard et al, 2016). Furthermore, one cannot make assumptions about an organism’s traits and the selection pressures that caused them without studying said organism in their natural habitat. This seems to be impossible since one would need to study non-admixed hunter-gatherer populations that have received no outside contact.
Gonadotropin levels, testosterone, prostate cancer and r/K theory
Numerous attempts have been made to validate Rushton’s r/K theory. One notable paper by Lynn (1990) attempts to integrate gonadotropin levels and testosterone into Rushton’s r/K continuum. Lynn cites studies showing that blacks have higher testosterone than whites who have higher testosterone than Asians. He then implicates higher levels of both testosterone and gonadotropin levels as the cause for the higher incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) in black Americans.
Lynn (1990) asserts that by having fewer children and showing more care, this is shifting to a K strategy. So, according to Lynn, the best way to achieve this would be a reduction in testosterone. However, there is a fault in his argument.
The study he uses for his assertion is Ross et al (1986). He states that the two groups were both “matched for possible environmental factors which might affect testosterone levels” (Lynn, 1990: 1204). However, this is an erroneous assumption. Ross et al (1986) did control for relevant variables, but made two huge errors. They did not control for waist circumference (WC), and, perhaps most importantly, did not assay the subjects in the morning as close to 8 am as possible.
Testosterone levels are highest at 8 am and lowest at 8 pm. When doing a study like this—especially one to identify a cause of a disease with a high mortality rate—all possible confounds must be identified then controlled for—especially confounds that fluctuate with age. The cohort was assayed between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Since testosterone assay time was all over the place for both groups, you cannot draw evolutionary hypotheses from the results. Further, the cohort was a sample of 50 black and white college students—a small sample and a non-representative population. So it’s safe to disregard this hypothesis, on the knowledge that blacks don’t have significantly higher testosterone levels than whites.
Another correlate that is used to show that blacks have higher levels of testosterone is the higher rate of crime they commit. However, physical aggression has a low correlation with testosterone (Archer, 1991; Book et al, 2001) and thusly cannot be the cause of crime. Furthermore, the .14 correlation that Book et al, 2001 found was found to be high. Archer, Graham-Kevan, and Lowe (2005) show that even the .14 correlation between testosterone and aggression is high in a reanalysis of Book et al (2001) since they included 15 studies that should have been omitted. The correlation was then reduced by almost half to .08.
Other theories have been developed to attempt to explain the racial crime gap which centers around testosterone (Ellis, 2017), however, the theory has large flaws which the author rightly notes. Exposure to high levels of testosterone in vitro supposedly causes a low 2d/4d ratio and blacks apparently have the lowest (Manning, 2008). Though, larger analyses show that Asians—mainly the Chinese—have a lower digit ratio compared to other ethnicities (Lippa, 2003; Manning et al, 2007).
Testosterone also does not cause PCa (Stattin et al, 2003; Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). The more likely culprit is diet. Less exposure to sunlight along with low vitamin D intake (Harris, 2006; Rostand, 2010) is a large cause for the prostate cancer discrepancy between the races since low vitamin D is linked to aggressive prostate cancer.
Even then, if there were, say, a 19 percent difference in testosterone between white and black Americans as asserted by Rushton and Lynn, it wouldn’t account for the higher rates of crime, nor higher acquisition and mortality from PCa. If their three claims are false (higher levels testosterone in African-Americans, larger penis size, and high levels of testosterone causing PCa), and they are, then this obliterates Rushton’s and Lynn’s theory.
Differential K Theory has, as noted above, has also been associated with a larger penis for black males in comparison to white males who have larger penises than Asian males (Lynn, 2012), which is not true, there is no reliable data and the data that does exist points to no evidence for the assertion. Lynn, (2012) also used data from a website with unverified and nonexistent sources. In a 2015 presentation, Edward Dutton cites studies showing that, again, Negroids have higher levels of testosterone than Caucasoids who have higher levels of testosterone than Mongoloids. Nevertheless, the claims by Dutton have been rebutted by Scott McGreal who showed that population differences in androgen levels don’t mean anything and that they fail to validate the claims of Lynn and Rushton on racial differences in penis size.
r/K selection theory as an attempt at reviving the scala naturae
Finally, to get to the heart of the matter, Rushton’s erroneous attempt to apply r/K selection theory to the human races is an attempt at reviving the scala naturae concept proposed by Aristotle (Hodos, 2009). The scala naturae organizes living and non-living organisms on a scale from ‘highest’ to ‘lowest’. However, these assumptions are erroneous and have no place in evolutionary biology (Gould, 1996). Rushton (1997: 293) attempted to apply r/K selection theory to human populations to try to revive the concept of the scala naturae, as can be clear by reading the very end of Race, Evolution, and Behavior.
This, of course, goes back to Rushton’s erroneous application of r/K selection theory to human races. He (and others) wrongly assert that Mongoloids are more K-selected than Africans who are more r-selected while Caucasians are in the middle—it also being asserted that K organisms, supposedly Mongoloids, “are the most K evolved” (Lynn, 2012). However, if r/K selection theory were applicable to humans, Mongoloids would be r and Africans would be K. Rushton further attempts to provide evidence for this ‘evolutionary progress’ by citing Dale Russel (1983; 1989) and his thought experiment troodon that he imagines would have eventually have gained human-like bipedalism and a large brain. Nevertheless, Rushton himself doesn’t say that it was only one dinosaur that would have supposedly had human-like intelligence and mobility, Reptile brains, however, lie outside of mammalian design (Hopson, 1977: 443; Gould, 1989: 318), and so, Russel’s theory is falsified.
This use of r/K selection theory as an attempt at bringing back the scala naturae may seem like an intuitive concept; some races/animals may seem more ‘advanced’ or ‘complex’ than others. However, since Rushton’s application of r/K selection theory is not correctly applied (nor does it apply to humans) and any of the claims that Rushton—or anyone else—makes while invoking the theory can be disregarded since he misused r and K selection.
In an attempt to “[restore] the concept of “progress” to its proper place in evolutionary biology,” Rushton (2004) proposed that g—the general factor of intelligence—sits atop a matrix of correlated traits that he proposes to show why evolution is synonymous with ‘progress’, including how and why K evolved organisms are so-called ‘more highly K evolved’—which is a sly attempt to revive the concept of scala naturae. Rushton’s (2004) paper is largely copy and pasted from his 1997 afterword in Race, Evolution, and Behavior—especially the part about ‘progress in evolution’ (which has been addressed in depth).
As can be seen, Ruston attempted to revive the scala naturae by giving it a new name, along with the misuse of ecological theory to make it seem like evolution is synonymous with progress and that K organisms are ‘more evolved’, makes no sense in the context of how ecological theory is (or was) applied to organisms. Rushton’s theory is correct, if and only if he applied r and K correctly to human races. Rushton did not apply r/K selection theory correctly to human races, so Rushton’s claims and any that follow from them are, on their face, immediately wrong. The claims by Rushton et al showing evolution to be ‘progressive’ have been shown to be demonstrably false since evolution is local change, not ‘progress’ (Gould, 1989; 1996).
Rushton’s r/K selection theory has enamored many since he proposed it in 1985. He was relentlessly attacked in the media for his proposals about black penis size, testosterone, brain size, sexual frequency, etc. However, the explanation for said racial differences in behavior—his r/K selection theory—has been summarily rebutted for misapplying ecological theory and not understanding evolution (Anderson, 1991; Graves, 2002). Even ignoring his racial comparisons, his application of the theory would still be unacceptable as he didn’t recognize agents of selection nor alpha selection.
Rushton is wrong because
(i) he misapplied r/K selection in application to human races (Africans would be K, Mongoloids would be r; rule-following and intelligence can be selected for in either environment/with any of the agents of r- or K-selection),
(ii) he arbitrarily designated Africans as r and Mongoloids as K due to current demographic trends (the true application of r and K is described above, which Rushton showed no understanding of),
(iii) the races do not differ in levels of testosterone nor penis size,
(iv) testosterone does not cause prostate cancer nor does it cause crime, so even if there was a large difference between blacks and whites, it would not explain higher rates of PCa in blacks, nor would it explain higher rates of crime,
(v) the scala naturae is a long-dead concept no longer in use by evolutionary biologists, along with its cousin ‘evolutionary progress’, while r/K selection is the attempt at reviving both,
(vi) human races are not local populations; since human races are not local populations then his application of r/K selection to humans is erroneous.
Rushton was informed numerous times he wrongly applied ecological theory to human populations. Yes, E.O. Wilson did say that if Rushton had noticed variation in any other animal that ‘no one would have batted an eye’, however, that does not say a word about Rushton’s incorrect application of r/K selection to human races. No race of humans is more ‘highly evolved’ than another.
Anyone who uses Rushton’s theory as an explanation for observed data is using incorrect/misapplied theory meaning that, therefore, by proxy, their theory is wrong. Rushton’s r/K theory is wrong, and people need to stop invoking it as an explanation for racial differences in behavior, politics, religion, and any other variable they can think of.
If Rushton’s application of the theory is wrong, then it logically follows that anything based off of his theory is wrong as well.
A commenter by the name of bbloggz alerted me to a new paper by Lee Ellis published this year titled Race/ethnicity and criminal behavior: Neurohormonal influences in which Ellis (2017) proposed his theory of ENA (evolutionary neuroandrogenic theory) and applied it to racial/ethnic differences in crime. On the face, his theory is solid and it has great explanatory power for the differences in crime rates between men and women, however, there are numerous holes in the application of the theory in regards to racial/ethnic differences in crime.
In part I, he talks about racial differences in crime. No one denies that, so on to part II.
In part II he talks about environmental causes for the racial discrepancies, that include economic racial disparities, racism and societal discrimination and subordination, a subculture of violence (I’ve been entertaining the honor culture hypothesis for a few months; Mazur (2016) drives a hard argument showing that similarly aged blacks with some college had lower levels of testosterone than blacks with less than high school education which fits the hypothesis of honor culture. Though Ellis’ ENA theory may account for this, I will address this below). However, if the environment that increases testosterone is ameliorated (i.e., honor culture environments), then there should be a subsequent decrease in testosterone and crime, although I do believe that testosterone has an extremely weak association with crime, nowhere near high enough to account for racial differences in crime, the culture of honor could explain a good amount of the crime gap between blacks and whites.
Ellis also speaks about the general stress/strain explanation, stating that blacks have higher rates of self-esteem and Asians the lowest, with that mirroring their crime rates. This could be seen as yet another case for the culture of honor in that blacks with a high self-esteem would feel the need to protect their ‘name’ or whatever the case may be and feel the need for physical altercation based on their culture.
In part III, Ellis then describes his ENA theory, which I don’t disagree with on its face as it’s a great theory with good explanatory power but there are some pretty large holes that he rightly addresses. He states that, as I have argued in the past, females selected men for higher rates of testosterone and that high rates of testosterone masculinize the brain, changing it from its ‘default feminine state’ and that the more androgens the brain is exposed to, the more likely it is for that individual to commit crime.
Ellis cites a study by Goodpaster et al (2006) in which he measured the races on the isokinetic dynamometry, pretty much a leg extension. However, one huge confound is that participants who did not return for follow-up were more likely to be black, obese and had more chronic disease (something that I have noted before in an article on racial grip strength). I really hate these study designs, but alas, it’s the best we have to go off of and there are a lot of holes in them that must be addressed. Though I applaud the researchers’ use of the DXA scan (regular readers may recall my criticisms on using calipers to assess body fat in the bench press study, which was highly flawed itself; Boyce et al, 2014) to assess body fat as it is the gold standard in the field.
Ellis (2017: 40) writes: “as brain exposure to testosterone surges at puberty, the prenatally-programmed motivation to strive for resources, status, and mating opportunities will begin to fully activate.” This is true on the face, however as I have noted the correlation between physical aggression and testosterone although positive is low at .14 (Archer, 1991; Book et al, 2001). Testosterone, as I have extensively documented, does cause social dominance and confidence which do not lead to aggression. However, when other factors are coupled with high testosterone (as noted by Mazur, 2016), high rates of crime may occur and this may explain why blacks commit crime; a mix of low IQ, high testosterone and low educational achievement making a life of crime ‘the smart way’ to live seeing as, as Ellis points out, and that intelligent individuals find legal ways to get resources while less intelligent individuals use illegal ways.
ENA theory may explain racial differences in crime
In part IV he attempts to show how his ENA theory may explain racial differences in crime—with testosterone sitting at the top of his pyramid. However, there are numerous erroneous assumptions and he does rightly point out that more research needs to be done on most of these variables and does not draw any conclusions that are not warranted based on the data he does cite. He cites one study in which testosterone levels were measured in the amniotic fluid of the fetus. The sample was 59 percent white and due to this, the researchers lumped blacks, ‘Hispanics’ and Native Americans together which showed no significant difference in prenatal testosterone levels (Martel and Roberts, 2014).
Umbilical cord and testosterone exposure
Ellis then talks about testosterone in the umbilical cord, and if the babe is exposed to higher levels of testosterone in vitro, then this should account for racial/ethnic differences in crime. However, the study he cited (Argus-Collins et al, 2012) showed no difference in testosterone in the umbilical cord while Rohrmann et al (2009) found no difference in testosterone between blacks and whites but found higher rates of SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) which binds to testosterone and makes it unable to leave the blood which largely makes testosterone unable to affect organ development. Thusly, if the finding of higher levels of SHBG in black babes is true, then they would be exposed to less androgenic hormones such as testosterone which, again, goes against the ENA theory.
He also cites two more studies showing that Asian babes have higher levels of umbilical cord testosterone than whites (Chinese babes were tested) (Lagiou et al, 2011; Troisi et al, 2008). This, again, goes against his theory as he rightly noted.
Next he talks about circulating differences in testosterone between blacks and whites. He rightly notes that testosterone must be assayed in the morning within an hour after waking as that’s when levels will be highest, yet cites Ross et al (1986) where assay times were all over the place and thusly testosterone cannot be said to be higher in blacks and whites based on that study and should be discarded when talking about racial differences in testosterone due to assay time being between 10 am and 3 pm. He also cites his study on testosterone differences (Eliss and Nyborg, 1993), but, however, just as Ross et al (1986) did not have a control for WC (waist circumference) Ellis and Nyborg (1993) did not either, so just like the other study that gets cited to show that there is a racial difference in testosterone, they are pretty hugely flawed and should not be used in discussion when discussing racial differences in testosterone. Why do I not see these types of critiques for Ross et al (1986) in major papers? It troubles me…
He also seems to complain that Lopez et al (2013) controlled for physical activity (which increases testosterone) and percent body fat (which, at high levels, decreases testosterone). These variables, as I have noted, need to be controlled for. Testosterone varies and fluctuated by age; WC and BMI vary and fluctuate by age. So how does it make sense to control for one variable that has hormone levels fluctuate by age and not another? Ellis also cites studies showing that older East Asian men had higher levels of testosterone (Wu et al, 1995). Nevertheless, there is no consensus; some studies show Chinese babes have higher levels of testosterone than whites and some studies show that whites babes have higher levels of testosterone than Chinese babes. Indeed, this meta-analysis by Ethnicmuse shows that Asians have the highest levels, followed by Africans then Europeans, so this needs to be explained to save the theory that testosterone is the cause of black overrepresentation of violence (as well as what I showed that testosterone is important for vital functioning and is not the boogeyman the media makes it out to be).
Bone density and crime
Nevertheless, the next variable Ellis talks about is bone density and its relationship to crime. Some studies find that blacks are taller than whites while other show no difference. Whites are also substantially taller than Asian males. Blacks have greater bone density than the other three races, but according to Ellis, this measure has not been shown to have a relationship to crime as of yet.
Penis size, race and crime
Now on to penis size. In two articles, I have shown that there is no evidence for the assertion that blacks have larger penises than whites. However, states that penis length was associated with higher levels of testosterone in Egyptian babes. He states that self-reported penis size correlates with self-reports of violent delinquency (Ellis and Das, 2012). Ellis’ main citations for the claim that blacks have larger penises than other races comes from Nobile (1982), the Kinsey report, and Rushton and Boagert (1987) (see here for a critique of Rushton and Boagert, 1987), though he does cite a study stating that blacks had a longer penis than whites (blacks averaging 5.77 inches while whites averaged 5.53 inches). An HBDer may go “Ahah! Evidence for Rushton’s theory!”, yet they should note that the difference is not statistically significant; just because there is a small difference in one study also doesn’t mean anything for the totality of evidence on penis size and race—that there is no statistical difference!
He then cites Lynn’s (2013) paper which was based on an Internet survey and thus, self-reports are over-measured. He also cites Templer’s (2002) book Is Size Important?, which, of course, is on my list of books to read. Nevertheless, the ‘evidence’ that blacks average larger penises than whites is extremely dubious, it’s pretty conclusive that the races don’t differ in penis size. For further reading, read The Pseudoscience of Race Differences in Penis Size, and read all of Ethnicmuses’ posts on penis size here. It’s conclusive that there is no statistical difference—if that—and any studies showing a difference are horribly flawed.
2d/4d ratio and race
Then he talks about 2d/4d ratio, which supposedly signifies higher levels of androgen exposure in vitro (Manning et al, 2008) however these results have been challenged and have not been replicated (Koehler, Simmons, and Rhodes, 2004; Yan et al, 2008, Medland et al, 2010). Even then, Ellis states that in a large analysis of 250,000 respondents, Asians had the lowest 2d/4d ratio, which if the hypothesis of in vitro hormones affecting digit length is to be believed, they have higher levels of testosterone than whites (the other samples had small ns, around 100).
Prostate-specific antigens, race, and prostate cancer
He then talks about PSA (prostate-specific antigen) rates between the races. Blacks are two times more likely to get prostate cancer, which has been blamed on testosterone. However, I’ve compiled good evidence that the difference comes down to the environment, i.e., diet. Even then, there is no evidence that testosterone causes prostate cancer as seen in two large meta-analyses (Stattin et al, 2003; Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). Even then, rates of PCa (prostate cancer) are on the rise in East Asia (Kimura, 2012; Chen et al, 2015; Zhu et al, 2015) which is due to the introduction of our Western diet. I will cover the increases in PCa rates in East Asia in a future article.
He then reviews the evidence of CAG repeats. There is, however, no evidence that the number of CAG repeats influences sensitivity to testosterone. However, intra-racially, lower amounts of CAG repeats are associated with higher spermatozoa counts—but blacks don’t have higher levels of spermatozoa (Mendiola et al, 2011; Redmon et al, 2013). Blacks do have shorter CAG repeats, and this is consistent with the racial crime gap of blacks > whites > Asians. However, looking at the whole of the evidence, there is no good reason to assume that this has an effect on racial crime rates.
Intelligence and education
Next he talks about racial differences in intelligence and education, which have been well-established. Blacks did have higher rates of learning disabilities than whites who had higher levels of learning disabilities then Asians in a few studies, but other studies show whites and South Asians having different rates, for instance. He then talks about brain size and criminality, stating that the head size of males convicted for violent crimes did not differ from males who committed non-violent crimes (Ikaheimo et al, 2007). I won’t bore anyone with talking about what we know already: that the races differ in average brain size. However, a link between brain size and criminality—to the best of my knowledge—has yet to been discovered. IQ is implicated in crime, so I do assume that brain size is as well (no matter if the correlation is .24 or not; Pietschnig et al, 2015).
Prenatal androgen exposure
Now to wrap things up, the races don’t differ in prenatal androgen exposure, which is critical to the ENA theory; there is a small difference in the umbilical cord favoring blacks, and apparently, that predicts a high rate of crime. However, as noted, blacks have higher levels of SHBG at birth which inhibits the production of testosterone on the organs. Differences in post-pubertal testosterone are small/nonexistent and one should not talk about them when talking about differences in crime or disease acquisition such as PCa. DHT only shows a weak positive correlation with aggression—the same as testosterone (Christiansen and Winkler, 1992; however other studies show that DHT is negatively correlated with measures of physical aggression; Christiansen and Krussmann, 1987; further, DHT is not so evil after all).
Summing it all up
Blacks are not stronger than whites, indeed evidence from the races’ differing somatype, grip strength and leverages all have to do with muscular strength. Furthermore, the study that Ellis cites as ‘proof’ that blacks are stronger than whites is on one measure; an isokinetic dynamometry machine which is pretty much a leg extension. In true tests of strength, whites blow blacks away, which is seen in all major professional competitions all around the world. Blacks do have denser bones which is due to androgen production in vitro, but as of yet, there has been no research done into bone density and criminality.
The races don’t differ on penis size—and if they do it’s by tenths of an inch which is not statisitcally significant and I won’t waste my time addressing it. It seems that most HBDers will see a racial difference of .01 and say “SEE! Rushton’s Rule!” even when it’s just that, a small non-significant difference in said variable. That’s something I’ve encountered a lot in the past and it’s, frankly, a waste of time to converse about things that are not statistically significant. I’ve also rebutted the theory on 2d/4d ration as well. Finally, Asians had a similar level of androgen levels compared to blacks, with whites having the least amount. Along with a hole in the theory for racial differences in androgen causing crime, it’s yet another hole in the theory for racial differences in androgens causing racial differences in penis size and prostate cancer.
On intelligence scores, no one denies that blacks have scored about 1 SD lower than whites for 100 years, no one denies that blacks have a lower educational attainment. In regards to learning disabilities, blacks seem to have the highest rates, followed by Native Americans, than non-Hispanic whites, East Asians and the lowest rates found in South Asians. He states only one study links brain size to criminal behavior and it showed a significant inverse relationship with crime but not other types of offenses.
This is a really good article and I like the theory, but it’s full of huge holes. Most of the variables described by Ellis have been shown to not vary at all or much between the races (re: penis size, testosterone, strength [whites are stronger] prostate cancer caused mainly by diet, 2d/4d ratio [no evidence of it showing a digit ratio difference], and bone density not being studied). Nevertheless, a few of his statements do await testing so I await future studies on the matter. He says that androgen exposure ‘differs by race and ethnicity’, yet the totality of evidence shows ‘not really’ so that cannot be the cause of higher amounts of crime. Ellis talks about a lot of correlates with testosterone, but they do not pass the smell test. Most of it has been rebutted. In fact, one of the central tenets of the ENA theory is that the races should differ in 2d/4d ratio due to exposure of differing levels of the hormone in vitro. Alas, the evidence to date has not shown this—it has in fact shown the opposite.
ENA theory is good in thought, but it really leaves a lot to be desired in regards to explaining racial differences in crime. More research needs to be looked into in regards to intelligence and education and its effect on crime. We can say that low IQ people are more likely to drop out of school and that is why education is related to crime. However, in Mazur (2016) shows that blacks matched for age had lower levels of testosterone if they had some college under their belt. This seems to point in the direction of the ENA theory, however then all of the above problems with the theory still need to be explained away—and they can’t! Furthermore, one of the nails in the coffin should be this: East Asian males are found to have higher levels of testosterone than white males, often enough, and East Asian males actually have the lowest rate of crime in the worle!
This seems to point in the direction of the ENA theory, however then all of the above problems with the theory still need to be explained away—and they can’t! Furthermore, one of the nails in the coffin should be this: East Asian males are found to have higher levels of testosterone than white males, often enough, and East Asian males actually have some of the lowest rate of crime in the world (Rushton, 1995)! So this is something that needs to be explained if it is to be shown that testosterone facilitates aggression and therefore, crime.
I’ve shown—extensively—that there is a low positive correlation between testosterone and physical aggression, why testosterone does not cause crime, and have definitively shown that, by showing how flawed the other studies are that purport to show blacks have higher testosterone levels than whites, along with citing large-scale meta-analyses, that whites and blacks either do not differ or the differences is small to explain any so-called differences in disease acquisition or crime. One final statement on the CAG repeats, they are effect by obesity, men who had shorter CAG repeats were more likely to be overweight, which would skew readings (Gustafsen, Wen, and Koppanati, 2003). So depending on the study—and in most of the studies I cite whites have a higher BMI than blacks—BMI and WC should be controlled for due to the depression of testosterone.
It’s pretty conclusive that testosterone itself does not cause crime. Most of the examples cited by Ellis have been definitively refuted, and his other claims lack evidence at the moment. Even then, his theory rests on the 2d/4d ratio and how blacks may have a lower 2d/4d ratio than whites. However, I’ve shown that there is no significant relationship between 2d/4d ratio and traits mediated by testosterone (Kohler, Simmons, and Rhodes, 2004) so that should be enough to put the theory to bed for good.