Home » Black-White IQ
Category Archives: Black-White IQ
… what IQ tests actually assess is not some universal scale of cognitive strength but the presence of skills and knowledge structures more likely to be acquired in some groups than in others. (Richardson, 2017: 98)
For the past 100 years, the black-white IQ gap has puzzled psychometricians. There are two camps—hereditarians (those who believe that individual and group differences in IQ are due largely to genetics) and environmentalists/interactionists (those who believe that individual and group differences in IQ are largely due to differences in learning, exposure to knowledge, culture and immediate environment).
However, one of the most forceful arguments for the environmentalist (i.e., that the cause for differences in IQ are due to the cultural and social environment; note that an interactionist framework can be used here, too) side is one from Fagan and Holland (2007). They show that half of the questions on IQ tests had no racial bias, whereas other problems on the test were solvable with only a specific type of knowledge – knowledge that is found specifically in the middle class. So if blacks are more likely to be lower class than whites, then what explains lower test scores for blacks is differential exposure to knowledge – specifically, the knowledge to complete the items on the test.
But some hereditarians say otherwise – they claim that since knowledge is easily accessible for everyone, then therefore, everyone who wants to learn something will learn it and thus, the access to information has nothing to do with cultural/social effects.
A hereditarian can, for instance, state that anyone who wants to can learn the types of knowledge that are on IQ tests and that they are widely available everywhere. But racial gaps in IQ stay the same, even though all racial groups have the same access to the specific types of cultural knowledge on IQ tests. Therefore, differences in IQ are not due to differences in one’s immediate environment and what they are exposed to—differences in IQ are due to some innate, genetic differences between blacks and whites. Put into premise and conclusion form, the argument goes something like this:
P1 If racial gaps in IQ were due specifically to differences in knowledge, then anyone who wants to and is able to learn the stuff on the tests can do so for free on the Internet.
P2 Anyone who wants to and is able to learn stuff can do so for free on the Internet.
P3 Blacks score lower than whites on IQ tests, even though they have the same access to information if they would like to seek it out.
C Therefore, differences in IQ between races are due to innate, genetic factors, not any environmental ones.
This argument is strange. One would have to assume that blacks and whites have the same access to knowledge—we know that lower-income people have less access to knowledge in virtue of the environments they live in. For instance, they may have libraries with low funding or bad schools with teachers who do not care enough to teach the students what they need to succeed on these standardized tests (IQ tests, the SAT, etc are all different versions of the same test). (2) One would have to assume that everyone has the same type of motivation to learn what amounts to answers for questions on a test that have no real-world implications. And (3) the type of knowledge that one is exposed to dictates what one can tap into while they are attempting to solve a problem. All three of these reasons can cascade in causing the racial performance in IQ.
Familiarity with the items on the tests influences a faster processing of information, allowing one to correctly identify an answer in a shorter period of time. If we look at IQ tests as tests of middle-class knowledge of skills, and we rightly observe that blacks are lower class than whites who are more likely to be middle class, then it logically follows that the cause of differences in IQ between blacks and whites are cultural – and not genetic – in origin. This paper – and others – solves the century-old debate on racial IQ differences – what accounts for differences in IQ scores is differential exposure to knowledge. Claiming that people have the same type of access to knowledge and, thusly, won’t learn it if they won’t seek it out does not make sense.
Differing experiences lead to differing amounts of knowledge. If differing experiences lead to differing amounts of knowledge, and IQ tests are tests of knowledge—culturally-specific knowledge—then those who are not exposed to the knowledge on the test will score lower than those who are exposed to the knowledge. Therefore, Jensen’s Default Hypothesis is false (Fagan and Holland, 2002). Fagan and Holland (2002) compared blacks and whites on for their knowledge of the meaning of words, which are highly “g”-loaded and shows black-white differences. They review research showing that blacks have lower exposure to words and are therefore unfamiliar with certain words (keep this in mind for the end). They mixed in novel words with previously-known words to see if there was a difference.
Fagan and Holland (2002) picked out random words from the dictionary, then putting them into a sentence to attempt to give the testee some context. They carried out five experiments in all, and each one showed that, when equal opportunity was given to the groups, they were “equal in knowledge” (IQ). So, whites were more likely to know the items more likely to be found on IQ tests. Thus, there were no racial differences between blacks and whites when looked at from an information-processing point of view. Therefore, to expain racial differences in IQ, we must look to differences in the cultural/social environment. Fagan (2000) for instance, states that “Cultures may differ in the types of knowledge their members have but not in how well they process. Cultures may account for racial differences in IQ.”
The results of Fagan and Holland (2002) are completely at-ends with Jensen’s Default Hypothesis—that the 15-point gap in IQ is due to the same environmental and cultural factors that underlie individual differences in the group. However, as Fagan and Holland (2002: 382) show that:
Contrary to what the default hypothesis would predict, however, the within racial group analyses in our study stand in sharp contrast to our between racial group findings. Specifically, individuals within a racial group who differed in general knowledge of word meanings also differed in performance when equal exposure to the information to be tested was provided. Thus, our results suggest that the average difference of 15 IQ points between Blacks and Whites is not due to the same genetic and environmental factors, in the same ratio, that account for differences among individuals within a racial group in IQ.
Exposure to information is critical, in fact. For instance, Ceci (1996) shows that familiarity with words dictates speed of processing to use in identifying the correct answer to the problem. In regard to differences in IQ, Ceci (1996) does not deny the role of biology—indeed, it’s a part of his bio-ecological model of IQ, which is a theory that postulates the development of intelligence as an interaction between biological dispositions and the environment in which those dispositions manifest themselves. Ceci (1996) does note that there are biological constraints on intelligence, but that “… individual differences in biological constraints on specific cognitive abilities are not necessarily (or even probably) directly responsible for producing the individual differences that have been reported in the psychometric literature.” That such potentials, though may be “genetic” in origin, of course, does not license the claim that genetic factors contribute to variance in IQ. “Everyone may possess them to the same degree, and the variance may be due to environment and/or motivations that led to their differential crystallization.” (Ceci, 1996: 171)
Ceci (1996) also further shows that people can differ in intellectual performance due to 3 things: (1) the efficiency of underlying cognitive potentials that are relevant to the cognitive ability in question; (2) the structure of knowledge relevant to the performance; and (3) contextual/motivational factors relevant to crystallize the underlying potentials gained through one’s knowledge. Thus, if one is lacking in the knowledge of the items on the test due to what they learned in school, then the test will be biased against them since they did not learn the relevant information on the tests.
Cahan and Cohen (1989) note that nine-year-olds in fourth grade had higher IQs than nine-year-olds in third grade. This is to be expected, if we take IQ scores as indices of—cultural-specific—knowledge and skills and this is because fourth-graders have been exposed to more information than third-graders. In virtue of being exposed to more information than their same-age cohort in different grades, they then score higher on IQ tests because they are exposed to more information.
Cockroft et al (2015) studied South African and British undergrads on the WAIS-III. They conclude that “the majority of the subtests in the WAIS-III hold cross-cultural biases“, while this is “most evident in tasks which tap crystallized, long-term learning, irrespective of whether the format is verbal or non-verbal” so “This challenges the view that visuo-spatial and non-verbal tests tend to be culturally fairer than verbal ones (Rosselli and Ardila, 2003)”.
IQ tests “simply reflect the different kinds of learning by children from different (sub)cultures: in other words, a measure of learning, not learning ability, and are merely a redescription of the class structure of society, not its causes … it will always be quite impossible to measure such ability with an instrument that depends on learning in one particular culture” (Richardson, 2017: 99-100). This is the logical position to hold: for if IQ tests test class-specific type of knowledge and certain classes are not exposed to said items, then they will score lower. Therefore, since IQ tests are tests of a certain kind of knowledge, IQ tests cannot be “a measure of learning ability” and so, contra Gottfredson, ‘g’ or ‘intelligence’ (IQ test scores) cannot be called “basic learning ability” since we cannot create culture—knowledge—free tests because all human cognizing takes place in a cultural context which it cannot be divorced from.
Since all human cognition takes place through the medium of cultural/psychological tools, the very idea of a culture-free test is, as Cole (1999) notes, ‘a contradiction in terms . . . by its very nature, IQ testing is culture bound’ (p. 646). Individuals are simply more or less prepared for dealing with the cognitive and linguistic structures built in to the particular items. (Richardson, 2002: 293)
Heine (2017: 187) gives some examples of the World War I Alpha Test:
1. The Percheron is a kind of
(a) goat, (b) horse, (c) cow, (d) sheep.
2. The most prominent industry of Gloucester is
(a) fishing, (b) packing, (c) brewing, (d) automobiles.
3. “There’s a reason” is an advertisement for
(a) drink, (b) revolver, (c) flour, (d) cleanser.
4. The Knight engine is used in the
(a) drink, (b) Stearns, (c) Lozier, (d) Pierce Arrow.
5. The Stanchion is used in
(a) fishing, (b) hunting, (c) farming, (d) motoring.
Such test items are similar to what are on modern-day IQ tests. See, for example, Castles (2013: 150) who writes:
One section of the WAIS-III, for example, consists of arithmetic problems that the respondent must solve in his or her head. Others require test-takers to define a series of vocabulary words (many of which would be familiar only to skilled-readers), to answer school-related factual questions (e.g., “Who was the first president of the United States?” or “Who wrote the Canterbury Tales?”), and to recognize and endorse common cultural norms and values (e.g., “What should you do it a sale clerk accidentally gives you too much change?” or “Why does our Constitution call for division of powers?”). True, respondents are also given a few opportunities to solve novel problems (e.g., copying a series of abstract designs with colored blocks). But even these supposedly culture-fair items require an understanding of social conventions, familiarity with objects specific to American culture, and/or experience working with geometric shapes or symbols. [Since this is questions found on the WAIS-III, then go back and read Cockroft et al, 2015 since they used the British version which, of course, is similar.]
If one is not exposed to the structure of the test along with the items and information on them, how, then, can we say that the test is ‘fair’ to other cultural groups (social classes included)? For, if all tests are culture-bound and different groups of people have different cultures, histories, etc, then they will score differently by virtue of what they know. This is why it is ridiculous to state so confidently that IQ tests—however imperfectly—test “intelligence.” They test certain skills and knowledge more likely to be found in certain groups/classes over others—specifically in the dominant group. So what dictates IQ scores is differential access to knowledge (i.e., cultural tools) and how to use such cultural tools (which then become psychological tools.)
Lastly, take an Amazonian people called The Pirah. They have a different counting system than we do in the West called the “one-two-many system, where quantities beyond two are not counted but are simply referred to as “many”” (Gordon, 2005: 496). A Pirah adult was shown an empty can. Then the investigator put six nuts into the can and took five out, one at a time. The investigator then asked the adult if there were any nuts remaining in the can—the man answered that he had no idea. Everett (2005: 622) notes that “Piraha is the only language known without number, numerals, or a concept of counting. It also lacks terms for quantification such as “all,” “each,” “every,” “most,” and “some.””
(hbdchick, quite stupidly, on Twitter wrote “remember when supermisdreavus suggested that the tsimane (who only count to s’thing like two and beyond that it’s “many”) maybe went down an evolutionary pathway in which they *lost* such numbers genes?” Riiiight. Surely the Tsimane “went down an evolutionary pathway in which they *lost* such numbers genes.” This is the idiocy of “HBDers” in action. Of course, I wouldn’t expect them to read the actual literature beyond knowing something basic (Tsimane numbers beyond “two” are known as “many”) and the positing a just-so story for why they don’t count above “two.”
Take a non-verbal test, such as the Bender-Gestalt test. There are nine index cards which have different geometrical designs on them, and the testee needs to copy what he saw before the next card is shown. The testee is then scored on how accurate his recreation of the index card is. Seems culture-fair, no? It’s just shapes and other similar things, how would that be influenced by class and culture? One would, on a cursory basis, claim that such tests have no basis in knowledge structure and exposure and so would rightly be called “culture-free.” While the shapes that come on Ravens tests are novel, the rules governing them are not.
Hoffmann (1966) studied 80 children (20 Kickapoo Indians (KIs), 20 low SES blacks (LSBs), 20 low SES whites (LSWs), and 20 middle-class whites (MCWs)) on the Bender-Gestalt test. The Kickapoo were selected from 5 urban schools; 20 blacks from majority-black elementary schools in Oklahoma City; 20 whites in low SES areas of Oklahoma; and 20 whites from middle-schools in Oklahoma from majority-white schools. All of the children were aged 8-10 years of age and in the third grade, while all had IQs in the range of 90-110. They were matched on a whole slew of different variables. Hoffman (1966: 52) states “that variations in cultural and socio-economic background affect Bender Gestalt reproduction.”
Hoffman (1966: 86) writes that:
since the four groups were shown to exhibit no significant differences in motor, or perceptual discrimination ability it follows that differences among the four groups of boys in Bender Gestalt performance are assignable to interpretative factors. Furthermore, significant differences among the four groups in Bender performance illustrates that the Bender Gestalt test is indeed not a so called “culture-free” test.
Hoffman concluded that MCWs, KIs, LSBs, and LSWs did not differ in copying ability, nor did they differ significantly in discriminating in different phases in the Bender-Gestalt; there also was no bias in figures that had two of the different sexes on them. They did differ in their reproductions of Bender-Gestalt designs, and their differing performance can be, of course, interpreted differently by different people. If we start from the assumption that all IQ tests are culture-bound (Cole, 2004), then living in a different culture from the majority culture will have one score differently by virtue of having differing—culture-specific knowledge and experience. The four groups looked at the test in different ways, too. Thus, the main conclusion is that:
The Bender Gestalt test is not a “culture-free” test. Cultural and socio-economic background appear to significantly affect Bender Gestalt reproduction. (Hoffman, 1966: 88)
Drame and Ferguson (2017) and Dutton et al (2017) also show that there is bias in the Raven’s test in Mali and Sudan. This, of course, is due to the exposure to the types of problems on the items (Richardson, 2002: 291-293). Thus, their cultures do not allow exposure to the items on the test and they will, therefore, score lower in virtue of not being exposed to the items on the test. Richardson (1991) took 10 of the hardest Raven’s items and couched them in familiar terms with familiar, non-geometric, objects. Twenty eleven-year-olds performed way better with the new items than the original ones, even though they used the same exact logic in the problems that Richardson (1991) devised. This, obviously, shows that the Raven is not a “culture-free” measure of inductive and deductive logic.
The Raven is administered in a testing environment, which is a cultural device. They are then handed a paper with black and white figures ordered from left to right. Note that Abel-Kalek and Raven (2006: 171) write that Raven’s items “were transposed to read from right to left following the custom of Arabic writing.” So this is another way that the tests are biased and therefore not “culture-free.”) Richardson (2000: 164) writes that:
For example, one rule simply consists of the addition or subtraction of a figure as we move along a row or down a column; another might consist of substituting elements. My point is that these are emphatically culture-loaded, in the sense that they reflect further information-handling tools for storing and extracting information from the text, from tables of figures, from accounts or timetables, and so on, all of which are more prominent in some cultures and subcultures than others.
Richardson (1991: 83) quotes Keating and Maclean (1987: 243) who argue that tests like the Raven “tap highly formal and specific school skills related to text processing and decontextualized rule application, and are thus the most systematically acculturated tests” (their emphasis). Keating and Maclean (1987: 244) also state that the variation in scores between individuals is due to “the degree of acculturation to the mainstream school skills of Western society” (their emphasis). That’s the thing: all types of testing is biased towards a certain culture in virtue of the kinds of things they are exposed to—not being exposed to the items and structure of the test means that it is in effect biased against certain cultural/social groups.
Davis (2014) studied the Tsimane, a people from Bolivia, on the Raven. Average eleven-year-olds scored 78 percent or more of the questions correct whereas lower-performing individuals answered 47 percent correct. The eleven-year-old Tsimane, though, only answered 31 percent correct. There was another group of Tsimane who went to school and lived in villages—not living in the rainforest like the other group of Tsimane. They ended up scoring 72 percent correct, compared to the unschooled Tsimane who scored only 31 percent correct. “… the cognitive skills of the Tsimane have developed to master the challenges that their environment places on them, and the Raven’s test simply does not tap into those skills. It’s not a reflection of some kind of true universal intelligence; it just reflects how well they can answer those items” (Heine, 2017: 189). Thus, measures of “intelligence” are not an innate skill, but are learned through experience—what we learn from our environments.
Heine (2017: 190) discusses as-of-yet-to-be-published results on the Hadza who are known as “the most cognitively complex foragers on Earth.” So, “the most cognitively complex foragers on Earth” should be pretty “smart”, right? Well, the Hadza were given six-piece jigsaw puzzles to complete—the kinds of puzzles that American four-year-olds do for fun. They had never seen such puzzles before and so were stumped as to how to complete them. Even those who were able to complete them took several minutes to complete them. Is the conclusion then licensed that “Hadza are less smart than four-year-old American children?” No! As that is a specific cultural tool that the Hadza have never seen before and so, their performance mirrored their ignorance to the test.
The term “logical” comes from the Greek term logos, meaning “reason, idea, or word.” So, “logical reasoning” is based on reason and sound ideas, irrespective of bias and emotion. A simple syllogistic structure could be:
If X, then Y
We can substitute terms, too, for instance:
If it rains today, then I must bring an umbrella.
It’s raining today.
∴ I must bring an umbrella.
Richardson (2000: 161) notes how cross-cultural studies show that what is or is not logical thinking is not objective nor simple, but “comes in socially determined forms.” He notes how cross-cultural psychologist Sylvia Scribner showed some syllogisms to Kpelle farmers, which were couched in terms that were familiar to them. One syllogism given to them was:
All Kpelle men are rice farmers
Mr. Smith is not a rice farmer
Is he a Kpelle man? (Richardson, 2002: 162)
The individual then continuously replied that he did not know Mr. Smith, so how could he know whether or not he was a Kpelle man? Another example was:
All people who own a house pay a house tax
Boima does not pay a house tax
Does Boima own a house? (Richardson, 2000: 162)
The answer here was that Boima did not have any money to pay a house tax.
In regard to the first syllogism, Mr. Smith is not a rice farmer so he is not a Kpelle man. Regarding the second, Boima does not pay a house tax, so Boima does not own a house. The individual could give a syllogism that is something like:
All the deductions I can make are about individuals I know.
I do not know Mr. Smith.
Therefore I cannot make a deduction about Mr. Smith. (Richardson, 2000: 162)
They are using what are familiar terms to them, and so, they get the answer right for their culture based on the knowledge that they have. These examples, therefore, show that what can pass for “logical reasoning” is based on the time and place where it is said. The deductions the Kpelle made were perfectly valid, though they were not what the syllogism-designers had in mind. In fact, I would say that there are many—equally valid—ways of answering such syllogisms, and such answers will vary by culture and custom.
The bio-ecological framework, culture, and social class
The bio-ecological model of Ceci and Bronfenbrenner is a model of human development that relies on gene and environment interactions. The model is a Vygotskian one—in that learning is a social process where the support from parents, teachers, and all of society play an important role in the ontogeny of higher psychological functioning. (For a good primer on Vygotskian theory, see Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind, Wertsch, 1985.) Thus, it is a model of human development that, most hereditarians would say, that “they use too.” Though this is of course, contested by Ceci who compares his bio-ecological framework with other theories (Ceci, 1996: 220, table 10.1):
Cognition (thinking) is extremely context-sensitive. Along with many ecological influences, individual differences in cognition are understood best with the bio-ecological framework which consists of three components: (1) ‘g’ doesn’t exist, but multiple cognitive potentials do; (2) motivational forces and social/physical aspects of a task or setting, how elaborate a knowledge domain is not only important in the development of the human, but also, of course, during testing; and (3) knowledge and aptitude are inseparable “such that cognitive potentials continuously access one’s knowledge base in the cascading process of producing cognitions, which in turn alter the contents and structure of the knowledge base” (Ceci, 1996: 123).
Block (1995) notes that “Blacks and Whites are to some extent separate cultural groups.” Sternberg (2004) defines culture as “the set of attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next via language or some other means of communication.” In regard to social class—blacks and whites differ in social class (a form of culture), Richardson (2002: 298) notes that “Social class is a compound of the cultural tools (knowledge and cognitive and psycholingustic structures) individuals are exposed to; and beliefs, values, academic orientations, self-efficacy beliefs, and so on.” The APA notes that “Social status isn’t just about the cars we drive, the money we make or the schools we attend — it’s also about how we feel, think and act …” And the APS notes that social class can be seen as a form of culture. Since culture is a set of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors shared by a group of people, social classes, therefore, are forms of culture as different classes have different attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
Ceci (1996 119) notes that:
large-scale cultural differences are likely to affect cognition in important ways. One’s way of thinking about things is determined in the course of interactions with others of the same culture; that is, the meaning of a cultural context is always negotiated between people of that culture. This, in turn, modifies both culture and thought.
While Manstead (2018) argues that:
There is solid evidence that the material circumstances in which people develop and live their lives have a profound influence on the ways in which they construe themselves and their social environments. The resulting differences in the ways that working‐class and middle‐ and upper‐class people think and act serve to reinforce these influences of social class background, making it harder for working‐class individuals to benefit from the kinds of educational and employment opportunities that would increase social mobility and thereby improve their material circumstances.
In fact, the bio-ecological model of human development (and IQ) is a developmental systems-type model. The types of things that go into the model are just like Richardson’s (2002) “sociocognitive affective nexus.” Richardson (2002) posits that the sources of IQ variation are mostly non-cognitive, writing that such factors include (pg 288):
(a) the extent to which people of different social classes and cultures have acquired a specific form of intelligence (or forms of knowledge and reasoning); (b) related variation in ‘academic orientation’ and ‘self-efficacy beliefs’; and (c) related variation in test anxiety, self-confidence, and so on, which affect performance in testing situations irrespective of actual ability
Cole (2004) concludes that:
Our imagined study of cross-cultural test construction makes it clear that tests of ability are inevitably cultural devices. This conclusion must seem dreary and disappointing to people who have been working to construct valid, culture-free tests. But from the perspective of history and logic, it simply confirms the fact, stated so clearly by Franz Boas half a century ago, that “mind, independent of experience, is inconceivable.”
It is a noteworthy feature of all preceding (cognitive approaches) that they make no reference whatsoever to the environment in which the person actually lives and grows. The implicit assumption is that the attributes in question are constant across place; the person carries them with her wherever she goes. Stating the issue more theoretically, the assumption is that the nature of the attribute does not change, irrespective of the context in which one finds one’s self.
Such contextual differences can be found in the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of the individual in question. Self-efficacy, what one learns and how they learn it, motivation instilled from parents, all form part of the context of the specific individual and how they develop which then influences IQ scores (middle-class knowledge and skills scores).
If blacks and whites are, to some extent, different cultural groups, then they will—by definition—have differing cultures. So “cultural differences are known to exist, and cultural differences can have an impact on psychological traits [also in the knowledge one acquires which then is one part of dictating test scores] (see Prinz, 2014: 67, Beyond Human Nature). If blacks and whites are “separate cultural groups” (Block, 1995) and if they have different experiences by virtue of being cultural groups, then they will score differently on any test of ability (including IQ; see Fagan and Holland, 2002, 2007) as all tests of ability are culture-bound (see Cole, 2004).
1 Blacks and whites are different cultural groups.
2 If (1), then they will have different experiences by virtue of being different cultural groups.
3 So blacks and whites, being different cultural groups, will score differently on tests of ability, since they are exposed to different knowledge structures due to their different cultures and so, all tests of ability are culture-bound.
So, what accounts for the intercorrelations between tests of “cognitive ability”? They validate the new test with older, ‘more established’ tests so “based on this it is unlikely that a measure unrelated to g will emerge as a winner in current practice … [so] it is no wonder that the intelligence hierarchy for different racial/ethnic groups remains consistent across different measures. The tests are highly correlated among each other and are similar in item structure and format” (Suzuki and Aronson, 2005: 321).
Therefore, what accounts for differences in IQ is not intellectual ability, but cultural/social exposure to information—specifically the type of information used in the construction of IQ tests—along with the test constructors attempting to construct new tests that correlate with the old tests, and so, they get the foregone conclusion of their being racial differences, for example, in IQ which they trumpet as evidence for a “biological cause”—but it is anything but: such differences are built into the test (Simon, 1997). (Note that Fagan and Holland, 2002 also found evidence for test bias as well.)
Thus, we should take the logical conclusion: what explains racial IQ differences are not biological factors, but environmental ones—specifically in the exposure of knowledge—along with how new tests are created (see Suzuki and . All human cognizing takes place in specific cultural contexts—therefore “culture-free tests” (i.e., tests devoid of cultural knowledge and context) are an impossibility. IQ tests are experience-dependent so if one is not exposed to the relevant experiences to do well in a testing situation, then they will score lower than they would have if they were to have the requisite culturally-specific knowledge to perform well on the test.
Human skin variation comes down to how much UV radiation a population is exposed to. Over time, this leads to changes in genetic expression. If that new genotype is advantageous in that environment, it will get selected for. To see how human skin variation evolved, we must first look to chimpanzees since they are our closest relative.
The evolution of black skin
Humans and chimps diverged around 6-12 mya. Since we share 99.8 percent of our genome with them, it’s safe to say that when we diverged, we had pale skin and a lot of fur on our bodies (Jablonski and Chaplin, 2000). After we lost the fur on our bodies, we were better able to thermoregulate, which then primed Erectus for running (Liberman, 2015). The advent of fur loss coincides with the appearance of sweat glands in Erectus, which would have been paramount for persistence hunting in the African savanna 1.9 mya, when a modern pelvis—and most likely a modern gluteus maximus—emerged in the fossil record (Lieberman et al, 2006). This sets the stage for one of the most important factors in regards to the ability to persistence hunt—mainly, the evolution of dark skin to protect against high amounts of UV radiation.
After Erectus lost his fur, the unforgiving UV radiation beamed down on him. Selection would have then occurred for darker skin, as darker skin protects against UV radiation. Dark skin in our genus also evolved between 1 and 2 mya. We know this since the melanocortin 1 receptor promoting black skin arose 1-2 mya, right around the time Erectus appeared and lost its fur (Lieberman, 2015).
However, other researchers reject Greaves’ explanation for skin cancer being a driver for skin color (Jablonksi and Chaplin, 2014). They cite Blum (1961) showing that skin cancer is acquired too late in life to have any kind of effect on reproductive success. Skin cancer rates in black Americans are low compared to white Americans in a survey from 1977-8 showing that 30 percent of blacks had basal cell carcinoma while 80 percent of whites did (Moon et al, 1987). This is some good evidence for Greaves’ hypothesis; that blacks have less of a rate of one type of skin cancer shows its adaptive benefits. Black skin evolved due to the need for protection from high levels of UVB radiation and skin cancers.
Highly melanized skin also protects against folate destruction (Jablonksi and Chaplin, 2000). As populations move away from high UV areas, the selective constraint to maintain high levels of folate by blocking high levels of UV is removed, whereas selection for less melanin prevails to allow enough radiation to synthesize vitamin D. Black skin is important near the equator to protect against folate deficiency. (Also see Nina Jablonski’s Ted Talk Skin color is an illusion.)
The evolution of white skin
The evolution of white skin, of course, is much debated as well. Theories range from sexual selection, to diet, to less UV radiation. All three have great explanatory power, and I believe that all of them did drive the evolution of white skin, but with different percentages.
The main driver of white skin is living in colder environments with fewer UV rays. The body needs to synthesize vitamin D, so the only way this would occur in areas with low UV rays.
White skin is a recent trait in humans, appearing only 8kya. A myriad of theories have been proposed to explain this, from sexual selection (Frost, 2007), which include better vitamin D synthesis to ensure more calcium for pregnancy and lactation (which would then benefit the intelligence of the babes) (Jablonski and Chaplin, 2000); others see light skin as the beginnings of more childlike traits such as smoother skin, a higher pitched voice and a more childlike face which would then facilitate less aggressiveness in men and more provisioning (Guthrie, 1970; from Frost, 2007); finally, van den Berghe and Frost (1986) proposed that selection for white skin involved unconscious selection by men for lighter-skinned women which is used “as a measure of hormonal status and thus childbearing potential” (Frost, 2007). The three aforementioned hypotheses have sexual selection for lighter skin as a proximate cause, but the ultimate cause is something completely different.
The hypothesis that white skin evolved to better facilitate vitamin D synthesis to ensure more calcium for pregnancy and lactation makes the most sense. Darker-skinned individuals have a myriad of health problems outside of their ancestral climate, one of which is higher rates of prostate cancer due to lack of vitamin D. If darker skin is a problem in cooler climates with fewer UV rays, then lighter skin, since it ensures better vitamin D synthesis, will be selected for. White skin ensures better and more vitamin D absorption in colder climates with fewer UV rays, therefore, the ultimate cause of the evolution of white skin is a lack of sunlight and therefore fewer UV rays. This is because white skin absorbs more UV rays which is better vitamin D synthesis.
Peter Frost believes that Europeans became white 11,000 years ago. However, as shown above, white skin evolved around 8kya. Further, contrary to popular belief, Europeans did not gain the alleles for white skin from Neanderthals (Beleza et al, 2012). European populations did not lose their dark skin immediately upon entering Europe—and Neanderthal interbreeding didn’t immediately confer the advantageous white skin alleles. There was interbreeding between AMH and Neanderthals (Sankararaman et al, 2014). So if interbreeding with Neanderthals didn’t infer white skin to proto-Europeans, then what did?
A few alleles spreading into Europe that only reached fixation a few thousand years ago. White skin is a relatively recent trait in Man (Beleza et al, 2012). People assume that white skin has been around for a long time, and that Europeans 40,000 ya are the ancestors of Europeans alive today. That, however, is not true. Modern-day European genetic history began about 6,500 ya. That is when the modern-day European phenotype arose—along with white skin.
Furthermore, Eurasians were still a single breeding population 40 kya, and only diverged recently, about 25,000 to 40,000 ya (Tateno et al, 2014). The alleles that code for light skin evolved after the Eurasian divergence. Polymorphisms in the genes ASIP and OCA2 may code for dark and light skin all throughout the world, whereas SLC24A5, MATP, and TYR have a predominant role in the evolution of light skin in Europeans but not East Asians, which suggests recent convergent evolution of a lighter pigmentation phenotype in European and East Asian populations (Norton et al, 2006). Since SLC24A5, MATP, and TYR are absent in East Asian populations, then that means that East Asians evolved light skin through completely different mechanisms than Europeans. So after the divergence of East Asians and Europeans from a single breeding population 25-40kya, there was convergent evolution for light pigmentation in both populations with the same selection pressure (low UV).
Some populations, such as Arctic peoples, don’t have the skin color one would predict they should have based on their ancestral environment. However, their diets are high in shellfish which is high in vitamin D, which means they can afford to remain darker-skinned in low UV areas. UV rays reflect off of the snow and ice in the summer and their dark skin protects them from UV light.
Black-white differences in UV absorption
If white skin evolved to better synthesize vitamin D with fewer (and less intense) UV rays, then those with blacker skin would need to spend a longer time in UV light to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D. Skin pigmentation, however, is negatively correlated with vitamin D synthesis (Libon, Cavalier, and Nikkels, 2013). Black skin is less capable of vitamin D synthesis. Furthermore, blacks’ skin color leads to an evolutionary environmental mismatch. Black skin in low UV areas is correlated with rickets (Holick, 2006), higher rates of prostate cancer due to lower levels of vitamin D (Gupta et al, 2009; vitamin D supplements may also keep low-grade prostate cancer at bay).
Libon, Cavalier, and Nikkels, (2013) looked at a few different phototypes (skin colors) of black and white subjects. The phototypes they looked at were II (n=19), III (n=1), and VI (n-11; whites and blacks respectively). Phototypes are shown in the image below.
To avoid the influence of solar UVB exposure, this study was conducted in February. On day 0, both the black and white subjects were vitamin D deficient. The median levels of vitamin D in the white subjects was 11.9 ng/ml whereas for the black subjects it was 8.6 ng/ml—a non-statistically significant difference. On day two, however, concentrations of vitamin D in the blood rose from 11.9 to 13.3 ng/ml—a statistically significant difference. For the black cohort, however, there was no statistically significant difference in vitamin D levels. On day 6, levels in the white subjects rose from 11.6 to 14.3 ng/ml whereas for the black subjects it was 8.6 to 9.57 ng/ml. At the end of day 6, there was a statistically significant difference in circulating vitamin D levels between the white and black subjects (14.3 ng/ml compared to 9.57 ng/ml).
Different phototypes absorb different amounts of UV rays and, therefore, peoples with different skin color absorb different levels of vitamin D. Lighter-skinned people absorb more UV rays than darker-skinned people, showing that white skin’s primary cause is to synthesize vitamin D.
UVB exposure increases vitamin D production in white skin, but not in black skin. Pigmented skin, on the other hand, hinders the transformation of 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D. This is why blacks have higher rates of prostate cancer—they are outside of their ancestral environment and what comes with being outside of one’s ancestral environment are evolutionary mismatches. We have now spread throughout the world, and people with certain skin colors may not be adapted for their current environment. This is what we see with black Americans as well as white Americans who spend too much time in climes that are not ancestral to them. Nevertheless, different-colored skin does synthesize vitamin D differently, and knowledge of this will increase the quality of life for everyone.
Even the great Darwin wrote about differences in human skin color. He didn’t touch human evolution in On the Origin of Species (Darwin, 1859), but he did in his book Descent of Man (Darwin, 1871). Darwin talks about the effects of climate on skin color and hair, writing:
It was formerly thought that the colour of the skin and the character of the hair were determined by light or heat; and although it can hardly be denied that some effect is thus produced, almost all observers now agree that the effect has been very small, even after exposure during many ages. (Darwin, 1871: 115-116)
Darwin, of course, championed sexual selection as the cause for human skin variation (Darwin, 1871: 241-250). Jared Diamond has the same view, believing that natural selection couldn’t account for hair loss, black skin and white skin weren’t products of natural selection, but female mate preference and sexual selection (Greaves, 2014).
Parental selection for white skin
Judith Rich Harris, author of the book The Nurture Assumption: Why Kids Turn Out the Way They Do (Harris, 2009), posits another hypothesis for the evolution of light skin for those living in northern latitudes—parental selection. This hypothesis may be controversial to some, as it states that dark skin is not beautiful and that white skin is.
Harris posits that selection for lighter skin was driven by sexual selection, but states that parental selection for lighter skin further helped the fixation of the alleles for white skin in northern populations. Neanderthals were a furry population, as they had no clothes, so, logic dictates that if they didn’t have clothes then they must have had some sort of protection against the cold Ice Age climate, therefore they must have had fur.
Harris states that since lighter skin is seen as more beautiful than darker skin, then if a woman birthed a darker/furrier babe than the mother would have committed infanticide. Women who birth at younger ages are more likely to commit infanticide, as they still have about twenty years to birth a babe. On the other hand, infanticide rates for mothers decrease as she gets older—because it’s harder to have children the older you get.
Harris states that Erectus may have been furry up until 2 mya, however, as I’ve shown, Erectus was furless and had the ability to thermoregulate—something that a hairy hominin was not able to do (Lieberman, 2015).
There is a preference for lighter-skinned females all throughout the world, in Africa (Coetzee et al, 2012); China and India (Naidoo et al, 2016; Dixson et al, 2007); and Latin America and the Philipines (Kiang and Takeuchi, 2009). Light skin is seen as attractive all throughout the world. Thus, since light skin allows better synthesize of vitamin D in colder climes with fewer UV rays, then there would have been a myriad of selective pressures to push that along—parental selection for lighter-skinned babes being one of them. This isn’t talked about often, but infanticide and rape have both driven our evolution (more on both in the future).
Harris’ parental selection hypothesis is plausible, and she does use the right dates for fur loss which coincides with the endurance running of Erectus and how he was able to thermoregulate body heat due to lack of fur and more sweat glands. This is when black skin began to evolve. So with migration into more northerly climes, lighter-skinned people would have more of an advantage than darker-skinned people. Infanticide is practiced all over the world, and is caused—partly—by a mother’s unconscious preferences.
Skin color and attractiveness
Lighter skin is seen as attractive all throughout the world. College-aged black women find lighter skin more attractive (Stephens and Thomas, 2012). It is no surprise that due to this, a lot of black women lighten their skin with chemicals.
In a sample of black men, lighter-skinned blacks were more likely to perceive discrimination than their darker-skinned counterparts (Uzogara et al, 2014). Further, in appraising skin color’s effect on in-group discrimination, medium-skinned black men perceived less discrimination than lighter- and darker-skinned black men. Lastly—as is the case with most studies—this effect was particularly pronounced for those in lower SES brackets. Speaking of SES, lighter-skinned blacks with higher income had lower blood pressure than darker-skinned blacks with higher income (Sweet et al, 2007). The authors conclude that a variety of psychosocial stress due to discrimination must be part of the reason why darker-skinned blacks with a high SES have worse blood pressure—but I think there is something else at work here. Darker skin on its own is associated with high blood pressure (Mosley et al, 2000). I don’t deny that (perceived) discrimination can and does heighten blood pressure—but the first thing that needs to be looked at is skin color.
Lighter-skinned women are seen as more attractive (Stephen et al, 2009). This is because it signals fertility, femininity, and youth. One more important thing it signals is the ability to carry a healthy child to term since lighter skin in women is associated with better vitamin D synthesis which is important for a growing babe.
Skin color and intelligence
There is a high negative correlation between skin color and intelligence, about –.92 (Templer and Arikawa, 2006). They used the data from Lynn and Vanhanen’s 2002 book IQ and the Wealth of Nations and found that there was an extremely strong negative correlation between skin color and IQ. However, data wasn’t collected for all countries tested and for half of the countries the IQs were ‘estimated’ from other surrounding countries’ IQs.
Jensen (2006) states that the main limitation in the study design of Arikawa and Templer (2006) is that “correlations obtained from this type of analysis are completely non-informative regarding any causal or functional connection between individual differences in skin pigmentation and individual differences in IQ, nor are they informative regarding the causal basis of the correlation, e.g., simple genetic association due to cross-assortative mating for skin color and IQ versus a pleiotropic correlation in which both of the phenotypically distinct but correlated traits are manifested by one and the same gene.”
Lynn (2002) purported to find a correlation of .14 in a representative sample of American blacks (n=430), concluding that the proportion of European genes in African Americans dictates how intelligent that individual black is. However, Hill (2002) showed that when controlling for childhood environmental factors such as SES, the correlation disappears and therefore, a genetic causality cannot be inferred from the data that Lynn (2002) used.
Since Lynn found a .14 correlation between skin color and IQ in black Americans, that means that only .0196 percent of the variation in IQ within black American adults can be explained by skin color. This is hardly anything to look at and keep in mind when thinking about racial differences in IQ.
However, other people have different ideas. Others may say that since animal studies find that lighter animals are less sexually active, are less aggressive, have a larger body mass, and greater stress resistance. So since this is seen in over 40 species of vertebrate, some fish species, and over 30 bird species (Rushton and Templer, 2012) that means that it should be a good predictor for human populations. Except it isn’t.
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.
Finally, variation in skin color between human populations are primarily due to mutations on the genes MC1R, TYR, MATP (Graf, Hodgson, and Daal, 2005), and SLC24A5 (also see Lopez and Alonso, 2014 for a review of genes that account for skin color) so human populations aren’t “expected to consistently exhibit the associations between melanin-based coloration and the physiological and behavioural traits reported in our study” (Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin, 2008). Talking about just correlations is useless until causality is established (if it ever is).
The evolution of human skin variation is complex and is driven by more than one variable, but some are stronger than others. The evolution of black skin evolved—in part—due to skin cancer after we lost our fur. White skin evolved due to sexual selection (proximate cause) and to better absorb UV rays for vitamin D synthesis in colder climes (the true need for light skin in cold climates). Eurasians split around 40kya, and after this split both evolved light skin pigmentation independently. As I’ve shown, the alleles that code for skin color between blacks and whites don’t account for differences in aggression, nor do they account for differences in IQ. The genes that control skin color (about a dozen) pale in comparison to the genes that control intelligence (thousands of genes with small effects). Some other hypotheses for the evolution of white skin are on par with being as controversial as the hypothesis that skin color and intelligence co-evolved—mainly that mothers would kill darker-skinned babies because they weren’t seen as beautiful as lighter-skinned babies.
The evolution of human skin variation is extremely interesting with many competing hypotheses, however, to draw wild conclusions based on just correlations in regards to human skin color and intelligence and aggression, you’re going to need more evidence than just correlations.
Bang KM, Halder RM, White JE, Sampson CC, Wilson J. 1987. Skin cancer in black Americans: A review of 126 cases. J Natl Med Assoc 79:51–58
Beleza, S., Santos, A. M., Mcevoy, B., Alves, I., Martinho, C., Cameron, E., . . . Rocha, J. (2012). The Timing of Pigmentation Lightening in Europeans. Molecular Biology and Evolution,30(1), 24-35. doi:10.1093/molbev/mss207
Blum, H. F. (1961). Does the Melanin Pigment of Human Skin Have Adaptive Value?: An Essay in Human Ecology and the Evolution of Race. The Quarterly Review of Biology,36(1), 50-63. doi:10.1086/403275
Coetzee V, Faerber SJ, Greeff JM, Lefevre CE, Re DE, et al. (2012) African perceptions of female attractiveness. PLOS ONE 7: e48116.
Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or, the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: J. Murray.
Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street.
Dixson, B. J., Dixson, A. F., Li, B., & Anderson, M. (2006). Studies of human physique and sexual attractiveness: Sexual preferences of men and women in China. American Journal of Human Biology,19(1), 88-95. doi:10.1002/ajhb.20584
Ducrest, A., Keller, L., & Roulin, A. (2008). Pleiotropy in the melanocortin system, coloration and behavioural syndromes. Trends in Ecology & Evolution,23(9), 502-510. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2008.06.001
Frost, P. (2007). Human skin-color sexual dimorphism: A test of the sexual selection hypothesis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology,133(1), 779-780. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20555
Graf, J., Hodgson, R., & Daal, A. V. (2005). Single nucleotide polymorphisms in theMATP gene are associated with normal human pigmentation variation. Human Mutation,25(3), 278-284. doi:10.1002/humu.20143
Greaves, M. (2014). Was skin cancer a selective force for black pigmentation in early hominin evolution? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,281(1781), 20132955-20132955. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2955
Gupta, D., Lammersfeld, C. A., Trukova, K., & Lis, C. G. (2009). Vitamin D and prostate cancer risk: a review of the epidemiological literature. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases,12(3), 215-226. doi:10.1038/pcan.2009.7
Guthrie RD. 1970. Evolution of human threat display organs. Evol Biol 4:257–302.
Harris, J. R. (2006). Parental selection: A third selection process in the evolution of human hairlessness and skin color. Medical Hypotheses,66(6), 1053-1059. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.027
Harris, J. R. (2009). The nurture assumption: why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press.
Hill, Mark E. 2002. Skin color and intelligence in African Americans: A reanalysis of Lynn’s data. Population and Environment 24, no. 2:209–14
Holick, M. F. (2006). Resurrection of vitamin D deficiency and rickets. Journal of Clinical Investigation,116(8), 2062-2072. doi:10.1172/jci29449
Jablonski, N. G., & Chaplin, G. (2000). The evolution of human skin coloration. Journal of Human Evolution,39(1), 57-106. doi:10.1006/jhev.2000.0403
Jablonski, N. G., & Chaplin, G. (2014). Skin cancer was not a potent selective force in the evolution of protective pigmentation in early hominins. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,281(1789), 20140517-20140517. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0517
Jensen, A. R. (2006). Comments on correlations of IQ with skin color and geographic–demographic variables. Intelligence,34(2), 128-131. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2005.04.003
Kiang, L., & Takeuchi, D. T. (2009). Phenotypic Bias and Ethnic Identity in Filipino Americans. Social Science Quarterly,90(2), 428-445. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00625.x
Libon, F., Cavalier, E., & Nikkels, A. (2013). Skin Color Is Relevant to Vitamin D Synthesis. Dermatology,227(3), 250-254. doi:10.1159/000354750
Lieberman, D. E. (2015). Human Locomotion and Heat Loss: An Evolutionary Perspective. Comprehensive Physiology, 99-117. doi:10.1002/cphy.c140011
Lieberman, D. E., Raichlen, D. A., Pontzer, H., Bramble, D. M., & Cutright-Smith, E. (2006). The human gluteus maximus and its role in running. Journal of Experimental Biology,209(11), 2143-2155. doi:10.1242/jeb.02255
López, S., & Alonso, S. (2014). Evolution of Skin Pigmentation Differences in Humans. ELS. doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0021001.pub2
Lynn, R. (2002). Skin color and intelligence in African Americans. Population and Environment, 23, 365–375.
Mosley, J. D., Appel, L. J., Ashour, Z., Coresh, J., Whelton, P. K., & Ibrahim, M. M. (2000). Relationship Between Skin Color and Blood Pressure in Egyptian Adults : Results From the National Hypertension Project. Hypertension,36(2), 296-302. doi:10.1161/01.hyp.36.2.296
Naidoo, L.; Khoza, N.; Dlova, N.C. A fairer face, a fairer tomorrow? A review of skin lighteners. Cosmetics 2016, 3, 33.
Norton, H. L., Kittles, R. A., Parra, E., Mckeigue, P., Mao, X., Cheng, K., . . . Shriver, M. D. (2006). Genetic Evidence for the Convergent Evolution of Light Skin in Europeans and East Asians. Molecular Biology and Evolution,24(3), 710-722. doi:10.1093/molbev/msl203
Rushton, J. P., & Templer, D. I. (2012). Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals? Personality and Individual Differences,53(1), 4-8. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.02.015
Sankararaman, S., Mallick, S., Dannemann, M., Prüfer, K., Kelso, J., Pääbo, S., . . . Reich, D. (2014). The genomic landscape of Neanderthal ancestry in present-day humans. Nature,507(7492), 354-357. doi:10.1038/nature12961
Stephen, I. D., Smith, M. J., Stirrat, M. R., & Perrett, D. I. (2009). Facial Skin Coloration Affects Perceived Health of Human Faces. International Journal of Primatology,30(6), 845-857. doi:10.1007/s10764-009-9380-z
Stephens, D., & Thomas, T. L. (2012). The Influence of Skin Color on Heterosexual Black College Women’s Dating Beliefs. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy,24(4), 291-315. doi:10.1080/08952833.2012.710815
Sweet, E., Mcdade, T. W., Kiefe, C. I., & Liu, K. (2007). Relationships Between Skin Color, Income, and Blood Pressure Among African Americans in the CARDIA Study. American Journal of Public Health,97(12), 2253-2259. doi:10.2105/ajph.2006.088799
Tateno, Y., Komiyama, T., Katoh, T., Munkhbat, B., Oka, A., Haida, Y., . . . Inoko, H. (2014). Divergence of East Asians and Europeans Estimated Using Male- and Female-Specific Genetic Markers. Genome Biology and Evolution,6(3), 466-473. doi:10.1093/gbe/evu027
Templer, D. I., & Arikawa, H. (2006). Temperature, skin color, per capita income, and IQ: An international perspective. Intelligence,34(2), 121-139. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2005.04.002
Uzogara, E. E., Lee, H., Abdou, C. M., & Jackson, J. S. (2014). A comparison of skin tone discrimination among African American men: 1995 and 2003. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15(2), 201–212. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0033479
van den Berghe PL, Frost P. 1986. Skin color preference, sexual dimorphism and sexual selection: a case of gene-culture coevolution? Ethn Racial Stud 9:87–113.
I just came across this video on YouTube published yesterday called “White people are not 100% human (Race differences) (I.Q debunked)“, with, of course, outrageous claims (the usual from Afrocentrists). I already left a comment proving his nonsense incorrect, but I thought I’d further expound on it here.
His first ‘evidence’ that whites aren’t 100 percent human is showing some individuals who are born with tails. Outliers are meaningless, of course. The cause of the human tail is due to the unsuccessful inhibition of the Wnt3-a gene. When this gene isn’t successful in signaling the cell death of the tail in early embryonic development, a person is then born with a small vestigial tail. This doesn’t prove anything.
His next assertion is that since “94 percent of whites test positive for Rh blood type” and that “as a result, they are born with a tail”, then whites must have interbred with rhesus monkeys in the past. This is ridiculous. This blood type was named in error. The book Blood Groups and Red Cell Antigens sums it up nicely:
The Rh blood group is one of the most complex blood groups known in humans. From its discovery 60 years ago where it was named (in error) after the Rhesus monkey, it has become second in importance only to the ABO blood group in the field of transfusion medicine. It has remained of primary importance in obstetrics, being the main cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).
It was wrongly thought that the agglutinating antibodies produced in the mother’s serum in response to her husbands RBCs were the same specificity as antibodies produced in various animals’ serum in response to RBCs from the Rhesus monkey. In error, the paternal antigen was named the Rhesus factor. By the time it was discovered that the mother’s antibodies were produced against a different antigen, the rhesus blood group terminology was being widely used. Therefore, instead of changing the name, it was abbreviated to the Rh blood group.
As you can see, this is another ridiculous and easily debunked claim. One only needs to do a bit of non-biased reading into something to get the truth, which some people are not capable of.
What he says next, I don’t really have a problem with. He just shows articles stating that Neanderthals had big brains to control their bodies and that they had a larger, elongated visual cortex. However, there is archeological evidence that our cognitive superiority over Neanderthals is a myth (Villa and Roebroeks, 2014). What he shows in this section is the truest thing he’ll say, though.
Then he shows how African immigrants to America have a higher educational achievement than whites and immigrant East Asians. However, it’s clear he’s not heard of super-selection. The people with the means to leave will, and, most likely, those with the means are the more intelligent ones in the group. We also can’t forget about ‘preferential treatment’, AKA Affirmative Action.
The concept of ‘multiple intelligences’ is then brought up. The originator of the theory, Howard Gardner, rejects general intelligence, dismisses factor analysis, doesn’t defend his theory with quantitative data, instead, drawing on anthropology to zoology findings for his claims, being completely devoid of any psychometric or quantitative data (Herrnstein and Murray, 1994: 18). The Alternative Hypothesis also has a thorough debunking of this claim.
He then makes the claim that hereditarians assume that environment/experience play no factor in performance on IQ tests/life success. We know that both the individual heritability is 80/20 genetics and environment, with the black-white gap being the same (Rushton and Jensen 2005: 279). Another easily refuted claim.
The term ‘inferior’ is brought up due to whites’ supposed ‘inferiority’, though we know that terms such as those have no basis in evolutionary biology.
He claims that a black man named Jesse Russel invented the cell phone, when in reality a white man named Martin Cooper did. He claims that Lewis Latimer invented the filament lightbulb, when a man named Joseph Swan obtained the patent in the UK in 1860. Of course, individual outliers are meaningless to group success, as they don’t reflect the group average as a whole, so these discussions are meaningless.
He finally claims that the “black Moors civilized Europe”. Europeans didn’t need to “be civilized”, I guess people don’t understand that empires/kingdoms rise and fall and go through highs and lows. That doesn’t stop people from pushing a narrative, though. Further, the Moors were not black. People love attempting to create their own fantasy history in which their biases are a reality.
I don’t know why people have to make these idiotic and easily refuted videos. Lies that push people further from the truth of racial differences, genetics, and history as a whole. Biases such as these just cloud people’s minds to the truth, and when the truth is shown to them, refuting their biases and twisting of history, genetics, and IQ, they then look at it as an attack on what they deem to be true despite all of the conflicting, non-biased evidence shown to them. Afrocentric loons need to be refuted, lest people believe their lies, misconceptions and twistings of history.
The denial of human nature is extremely prevalent, most noticeably in our institutions of higher learning. To most academics, the fact that there could be population differences that are genetic in nature is troubling for many people. However, denying genetic/biological causes for racial differences is 1) intellectually dishonest; 2) will lead to negative health outcomes for populations due to the assumption that all human populations are the same; and 3) the ‘lie of equality’ will not allow all human populations to reach their ‘potential’ to be as good as they can be due to the fact that implicit assumption that all human populations are the same. Anti-hereditarians fully deny any and all genetic explanations for human differences, believing that human brain evolution somehow halted around 50-100 kya. Numerous studies show that race is a biological reality; it doesn’t matter what we call the clusters as those are the social constructs. The contention is that ‘all brains are the same color’ (Nisbett, 2007; for comment see my article Refuting Richard Nisbett), and that evolution in differing parts of the world for the past 50,000 years was not enough for any meaningful population differences between people. But to accept that means you must accept the fact that the brain is the only organ that is immune to natural selection. Does that make any sense? I will show that these differences do exist and should be studied, as free of any bias as possible, with every possible hypothesis being looked at and not discarded.
Evolution is true. It’s not ‘only a theory’ (as some anti-evolutionists contend). Anti-evolutionists do not understand the definition of the word ‘theory’. Richard Dawkins (2009) wrote that a theory is a scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena. This is in stark contrast to the layperson’s definition of the word theory, which means ‘just a guess’. Evolution is a fact. What biologists argue with each other about is the mechanisms behind evolution, for any quote-mining Creationists out there.
We know that evolution is a fact and it is the only game in town (Dawkins, 2009) to explain the wide diversity and variation we see on our planet. However, numerous scholars deny the effect of evolution on human behavior (most residing in the social sciences, but other prominent biologists have denied (or implied there were no differences between us and our ancestors) the effect of human evolution on behavior and cognition; Gould 1981, 1996, for a review of Gould 1996, see my article Complexity, Walls, 0.400 Hitting and Evolutionary “Progress” and Stephen Jay Gould and Anti-Hereditarianism; Mayr 1963; see Cochran and Harpending 2009). A prominent neuroscientist, who I have written about here, Herculano-Houzel, implied that Neanderthals and Antecessor may have been just as intelligent as we are due to a neuronal count in a similar range to ours (Herculano-Houzel 2013). This raises an interesting question (which I have tackled here and will return to in the future): did our recent hominin ancestors at least have the capacity for similar intellect to ours (Villa and Roebroeks, 2014; Herculano-Houzel and Kaas, 2011)? It is interesting that neuronal scaling rules hold for our extinct ancestors, and this question is most definitely worth looking into.
Whatever the case may be in regards to recent human evolution and our extinct hominin ancestors, human evolution has increased in the past 10,000 years (Cochran and Harpending, 2009; Wade, 2014). This is due to the dispersal of Anatomical Modern Humans (AMH) OoA around 70 kya; and with this geographical isolation, populations began to diverge with no interbreeding with each other. However, this is noticed most in ‘Native’ Americans, who show no gene flow with other populations due to being genetically isolated (Villena et al, 2000). Who’s to say that evolution stops at the neck, and no further evolution occurs on the brain? Is the brain itself exempt from the laws of natural selection? We know that there is no/hardly any gene flow between populations before the advent of modern-day technology and vehicles; we know that humans differ on morphological and anatomical traits, why are genetic differences out of the question, especially when genetic differences may explain, in part, some of the variation between populations?
We know that evolution is true, without a reasonable doubt. So why, do some researchers contend, is the human brain exempt from such selective pressures?
A theoretical article by Winegard, Winegard, and Boutwell (2017) was just released on January 17th. In the article, they argue that social scientists should integrate HBD into their models. Social scientists do not integrate genetics into their models, and the longer one studies social sciences, the more likely it is they will deny human nature, regardless of political leaning (Perry and Mace, 2010). This poses a problem. By completely ignoring a huge variable (possible genetic differences), this has the potential to harm people’s health, as race is a very informative marker when discussing diseases acquisition as well as whether certain drugs will work on two individuals of different races (Risch et al, 2002; Tang et al, 2005; Wade, 2014). People who deny the usefulness of race, even in a medical context, endanger the lives of individuals from different races/ethnies since they assume that all humans are the same inside, despite ‘superficial differences’ between populations.
The notion that all human populations—genetic isolation and evolution in differing ecosystems/climates/geographic locales be damned—is preposterous to anyone who has a true understanding of evolution. Why should man’s brain be the only organ on earth exempt from the forces of natural selection? Why do egalitarians assume that all humans are the same and have the same psychological faculties compared to other humans, despite the fact that rapid evolution has occurred within the human species within the last 10,000 years?
To see some of the most obvious ways to see natural selection in action in human populations, one should look to the Inuits (Fumagalli, 2015; Daanen and Lichtenbelt, 2016; NIH, 2015; Cardona et al, 2014; Tishkoff, 2015; Ford, McDowell, and Pierce, 2015; Galloway, Young, and Bjerregaard, 2012; Harper, 2015). Global warming is troubling to some researchers, with many researchers suggesting that global warming will have negative effects on the health and food security of the Inuit (Ford et al, 2014, 2016; Ford, 2012, 2009; Wesche, 2010; Furgal and Seguin, 2006; McClymont and Myers, 2012; Petrasek et al, 2015; Rosol, Powell-Hellyer, and Chan, 2016; Petrasek, 2014; WHO, 2003). I could go on and on citing journal articles for both claims, but you get the point already. The main point is this: we know the Inuit have evolved for their climate, and a (possible) climate change would then have a negative effect on their quality of life due to their adaptations to the cold weather climate. However, egalitarians still contend, with these examples and numerous others I could cite, that any and all differences within and between human populations can be explained by socio-cultural factors and not any genetic ones.
One of the best examples of genetic isolation in a geographic locale that is the complete opposite from the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA; Kanazawa, 2004), the African savanna in which we evolved in. I did entertain the idea of the Savanna hypothesis, and while I do believe that it could explain a lot of the variance in IQ between countries (Kanazawa, 2007), his hypothesis doesn’t make sense with what we know about human evolution over the past 10,000 years.
The most obvious differences we can see between populations is differences in skin color. Skin color does not signify race, per se, but it is a good indicator. Skin color is an adaptation to UV radiation (Jablonski and Chaplin, 2010, 2000; Juzenienne et al, 2009; Jeong and Rienzo, 2015; Hancock, et al, 2010; Kita and Fraser, 2016; Scheinfeldt and Tishkoff, 2013), and is therefor and adaptation based on climate. Dark skin is a protectant from skin cancer (Brenner and Hearing, 2008; D’Orazio et al, 2010; Bradford, 2009). Skin cancer is a possible selective force in black pigmentation of the skin in early hominin evolution (Greaves, 2014). With these adaptations in skin color between genetically and geographically isolated populations, are changes in the brain, however small, really out of the question?
A better population to bring up in regards to geographic isolation having an effect on human evolution is the Tibetans. For instance, Tibetans have higher total lung capacities in comparison to the Han Chinese (Droma et al, 1991). There are even differences in lung capacity between Tibetans and Han Chinese who live at the same altitude (Yangzong et al, 2013), with the same thing noticed for peoples living in the Andean mountains (Beall, 2007). Tibetans evolved in a higher elevation than the Han Chinese who lived closer to sea level, so it makes sense that they would be selected for the ability to take deeper inhales They also have a larger chest circumference and greater capacity than the Han Chinese who live at lower altitudes (Gilbert-Kawai et al, 2014).
Admittedly, the acceptance of the usefulness of race in regards to human differences is a touchy subject. So much so, that social scientists do not take genetics into account in their models. However, researchers in the relevant fields accept the usefulness of race (Risch et al, 2002; Tang et al, 2005; Wade, 2014; Sesardic, 2010), so the fact that social scientists do not is to be ignored. Race is a social construct, yes. But no matter what we call these clusters, clines, demes, races, ethnies—whatever name you want to use to describe them—this does not change the fact that race is a useful category in biomedical research. Race is an issue when talking about bone marrow transplants, so by treating all populations as the same with no variation between them, people are pretty much saying that differences between people in a biomedical context do not exist, with there being other explanatory factors behind population differences, in this case, bone marrow transplants. Ignoring heritable human variation will lead to disparate health outcomes for all human populations with the assumption that all humans are the same. Is that what we want? Is that what race-deniers want?
So there are anatomical and physiological differences between human populations (Wagner and Hayward, 2000), with black Americans having a different morphology and lower fat-free body mass on average in comparison to white Americans. This, then, is one of the variables that dictates racial differences in sports, along with muscle fiber explaining a large portion of the variance, in my opinion. No one denies that blacks and whites differ at elite levels in baseball, football, swimming and jumping, and bodybuilding and strength sports. Though, accepting the fact that these morphological and anatomical differences between the races come down to evolution, one would then have to accept the fact that different races/ethnies differ in the brain, thusly destroying their egalitarian fantasy in their head of all genetically isolated human populations being the same in the brain. Wade (2014) writes on page 106:
“… brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene”
This is a hard pill to swallow for race-deniers, especially those who emphatically deny any type of selection pressure on the human brain within the past 10,000 to 100,000 years.
Winegard, Winegard, and Boutwell (2017) write:
Consider an analogy that might make this clear while simultaneously illuminating the explanatory importance of population differences. Most cars are designed from the same basic blueprint and consist of similar parts—an internal combustion engine, a gas tank, a chassis, tires, bearings, spark plugs, et cetera. Cars as distinct as a Honda Civic and a Subaru Outback are built from the same basic blueprint and comprised of the same parts; so, in this sense, there is a “universal car nature” (Newton 1999). However, precise, correlated changes in these parts can dramatically change the characteristics of a car.
Humans, like cars, are built from the same basic body plan. They all have livers, lungs, kidneys, brains, arms, and legs. And these structures are built from the same basic building blocks, tissues, which are built of proteins, which are built of amino acids, et cetera. However, small changes in the structures of these building blocks can lead to important and scientifically meaningful differences in function.
Put in this context, yes, there is a ‘universal human nature’, but the application of that human nature will differ depending on what a population has to do to survive in that climate/ecosystem. And, over time, populations will diverge away from each other, both physically and mentally. The authors also argue that societal differences between Eurasians (Europeans and East Asian) can be explained partly by genetic differences. Indeed, the races do differ on the Big Five Personality traits, with heritable components explaining 40 to 60 percent of the variation (Power and Pluess, 2015). So some of the cultural differences between European and East Asians must come down to some biological variation.
One of the easiest ways to see the effects of cultural/environmental selective pressures in humans is to look at Ashkenazi Jews (Cochran et al, 2006). Due to Ashkenazi Jews being barred from numerous occupations, they were confined to a few cognitively demanding occupations. Over time, only the Jews that could handle these occupations would prosper, further selecting for higher intelligence due to the cognitive demands of the jobs they were able to acquire. Thus, Ashkenazi Jews who could handle the few occupations they were allowed to do would breed more and pass on variants for higher intelligence to their offspring, whereas those Jews who couldn’t handle the cognitive demands of the occupation were selected out of the gene pool. This is one situation in which natural selection worked swiftly, and is why Ashkenazi Jews are so overrepresented in the fields of academia today—along with nepotism.
Winegard, Winegard, and Boutwell (2017) lay out six basic principles for a new Darwinian paradigm, as follows:
- Variation is the grist for the mill of natural selection and is ubiquitous within and among human populations.
- Evolution by natural selection has not stopped acting on human traits and has significantly shaped at least some human traits in the past 50,000 years.
- Current hunter-gatherer groups might be slightly different from other modern human populations because of culture and evolution by natural selection acting to influence the relative presence, or absence, of trait-relevant alleles in those groups. Therefore, using extant hunter-gatherers as a template for a panhuman nature is problematic.
- It is probably more accurate to say that, while much of human nature is universal, there may have been selective tuning on various aspects of human nature as our species left Africa and settled various regions of the planet (Frost 2011).
- The human brain is subject to selective forces in the same way that other organ systems are. Natural selection does not discriminate between genes for the body and genes for the brain (Wade 2014).
- The concept of a Pleistocene-based environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) is likely unhelpful (Zuk 2013). Individual traits should be explored phylogenetically and historically. Some human traits were sculpted in the Pleistocene (or before) and have remained substantially unaltered; some, however, have been further shaped in the past 10,000 years, and some probably quite recently (Clark 2007). It remains imperative to describe what selection pressures might have been actively shaping human nature moving forward from the Pleistocene epoch, and how those ecological pressures might have differed for different human populations.
No stone should be left unturned when attempting to explain population differences between geographically isolated peoples, and these six principles are a great start, which all social scientists should introduce into their models.
As I brought up earlier, Kanazawa’s (2004b) hypothesis doesn’t make sense in regards to what we know about the evolution of human psychology. Thus, any type of proposed evolutionary mismatch in regards to our societies do not make much sense. However, one mismatch that does need to be looked into is the negative mismatch we have with our modern-day Western diets. Agriculture was both a gift and a negative event in human history. Yes, without the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago we would not have the societies we have today. However, on the other hand, we have higher rates of disease compared to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This is one evolutionary mismatch that cannot and should not go ignored as it has devastating effects on our populations that consume a Western diet—which we did not evolve to eat.
Winegart, Winegart, and Boutwell (2017) then discuss how their new Darwinian paradigm could be used by researchers: 1) look for differences among human populations; 2) after population differences are found, causal analyses should be approached neutrally; 3) researchers should consider a broad range of data to consider whether or not the trait or traits in question are heritable; and 4) researchers should test the posited biological cause more indepth. Without understanding—and using—biological differences between human populations, the quality of life for some populations will be diminished, all for the false notion of ‘equality’ between human races.
There are huge barriers in place to studying human differences, however. Hayden (2013) documents differing taboos in genetics, with intelligence having a high taboo rating. Of course, we HBDers know that intelligence is a highly heritable trait, largely genetic in nature, and so studying these differences between human populations may lead to some uncomfortable truths for some people. On the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Ceci and Williams (2009) said that “the scientific truth must be pursued” and that researchers must study race and IQ, much to the chagrin of anti-hereditarians (Horgan, 2013). He does write something very troubling in regards to this research, and free speech in our country as a whole:
Some readers may wonder what I mean by “ban,” so let me spell it out. I envision a federal prohibition against speech or publications supporting racial theories of intelligence. All papers, books and other documents advocating such theories will be burned, deleted or otherwise destroyed. Those who continue espousing such theories either publicly or privately (as determined by monitoring of email, phone calls or other communications) will be detained indefinitely in Guantanamo until or unless a secret tribunal overseen by me says they have expressed sufficient remorse and can be released.
Whether he’s joking or not, that’s besides the point. The point is, is that these topics are extremely sensitive to the lay public, and with these articles being printed in popular publications, the reader will get an extremely biased look into the debate and their mind will already be made up for them. This is the definition of intellectual dishonesty, attempting to sway a lay-readers’ opinion on a subject they are ignorant of with an appeal to emotion. Shouldn’t all things be studied scientifically, without any ideological biases?
Speaking about the ethics of putting this information out to the general public, Winegard, Winegard, and Boutwell (2017) write:
If researchers do not responsibly study and discuss population differences, then they leave an abyss that is likely to be filled by the most extreme and hateful writings on population differences. So, although it is understandable to have concerns about the dangers of speaking and writing frankly about potential population differences, it is also important to understand the likely dangers of not doing so. It is not possible to hide the reality of human variation from the world, not possible to propagate a noble lie about human equality, and the attempt to do so leaves a vacancy for extremists to fill.
This is my favorite quote in the whole paper. It is NOT possible to hide the reality of HBD from the world; anyone with eyes can see that humans do differ. Attempting to continue the feel-good liberal lie of human equality will lead to devastating effects in all countries/populations due to the implicit assumption that all human groups are the same in their cognitive and mental faculties.
The denial of genetic human differences, could, as brought up earlier in this article, lead to negative effects in regards to health outcomes between populations. Black Americans have higher rates of hypertension than white Americans (Fuchs, 2011; Ferdinand, 2007; Ortega, Sedki, and Nayer, 2015; Nesbitt, 2009; Wright et al, 2005). To overlook possible genetic differences as a causal factor in regards to racial differences will mean the deaths of many people since people truly believe that people are the same and that all differences come down to the environment. This, however, is not true and believing so is extremely dangerous to the health of all populations in the world.
Epigenetic signatures of ethnicity may be biomarkers for shared cultural experiences. Seventy-six percent of the genetic alteration between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in this study was due to DNA methylation—which is an epigenetic mechanism used by cells to control gene expression. Therefore, 24 percent of the effect is due to an unknown factor, probably regarding environmental, social, and cultural differences between the two ethnies (Galanter et al, 2017). This is but one of many effects that culture can have on the genome, leading to differences between two populations, and is good evidence for the contention that the different races/ethnies evolved different psychological mechanisms due to genetic isolation in different environments.
We must now ask the question: what if the hereditarian hypothesis is true (Gottfredson, 2005)? If the hereditarian hypothesis is true, Gottfredson argues, special consideration should be given to those found to have a lower IQ, with better training and schooling that specifically target those individuals at risk to be less able due to their lower intelligence. This is one way the hereditarian hypothesis can help race relations in the country: people will (hopefully) accept intrinsic differences between the races. What Gottfredson argues in her paper will hopefully then pacify anti-hereditarians, as less able people of all races/ethnicities will still get the extra help they need in regards to finding work and getting schooling/training/jobs that accommodate their intelligence.
People accept genetic causes for racial differences in sports, yet emphatically deny that human races/ethnies differ in the brain. The denial of human nature—racially and ethnically—is the next hurdle for us to jump over. Once we accept that these differences in populations can, in part, be explained by genetic factors, we can then look to other avenues to see how and why these differences exist between populations occur and if anything can be done to ameliorate them. However, ironically, anti-hereditarians do not realize that their policies and philosophy is actively hindering their goals, and by accepting biological causes—if only to see them researched and held against other explanations—will lead to further inequality, while they scratch their heads without realizing that the cause is the one variable that they have discarded: genetics. Still, however, I see this won’t happen in the future and the same non-answers will be given in response to findings on how the human races differ psychologically (Gottfredson, 2012). The races do differ in biologically meaningful ways, and denying or disregarding the truth will not make these differences disappear. Social scientists must take these differences into account in their models, and seriously entertain them like any other hypothesis, or else they will never fully understand human nature.
With all of my recent articles on neurons and brain size, I’m now asking the following question: do neurons differ by race? The races of man differ on most all other variables, why not this one?
As we would have it, there are racial differences in total brain neurons.In 1970, an anti-hereditarian (Tobias) estimated the number of “excess neurons” available to different populations for processing bodily information, which Rushton (1988; 1997: 114) averaged to find: 8,550 for blacks, 8,660 for whites and 8,900 for Asians (in millions of excess neurons). A difference of 100-200 million neurons would be enough to explain away racial differences in achievement, for one. Two, these differences could also explain differences in intelligence. Rushton (1997: 133) writes:
This means that on this estimate, Mongoloids, who average 1,364 cm3 have 13.767 billion cortical neurons (13.767 x 109 ). Caucasoids who average 1,347 cm3 have 13.665 billion such neurons, 102 million less than Mongoloids. Negroids who average 1,267 cm3 , have 13.185 billion cerebral neurons, 582 million less than Mongoloids and 480 million less than Caucasoids.
Of course, Rushton’s citation of Jerison, I will leave alone now that we know that encephilazation quotient has problems. Rushton (1997: 133) writes:
The half-billion neuron difference between Mongoloids and Negroids are probably all “excess neurons” because, as mentioned, Mongoloids are often shorter in height and lighter in weight than Negroids. The Mongoloid-Negroid difference in brain size across so many estimation procedures is striking
Of course, small differences in brain size would translate to differences differences neuronal count (in the hundreds of millions), which would then affect intelligence.
The ability to plan for the future, a significant function of prefrontal regions of the cortex, may be key indeed. According to the best definition I have come across so far, put forward by MIT physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, intelligence is the ability to make decisions that maximize future freedom of action—that is, decisions that keep most doors open for the future. (Herculano-Houzel, 2016: 122-123)
You can see the difference in behavior and action in the races; how one race has the ability to make decisions to maximize future ability of action—and those peoples with a smaller prefrontal cortex won’t have this ability (or it will be greatly hampered due to its small size and amount of neurons it has).
With a smaller, less developed frontal lobe and less overall neurons in it than a brain belonging to a European or Asian, this may then account for overall racial differences in intelligence. The few hundred million difference in neurons may be the missing piece to the puzzle here.Neurons transmit information to other nerves and muscle cells. Neurons have cell bodies, axons and dendrites. The more neurons (that’s also packed into a smaller brain, neuron packing density) in the brain, the better connectivity you have between different areas of the brain, allowing for fast reaction times (Asians beat whites who beat blacks, Rushton and Jensen, 2005: 240).
Remember how I said that the brain uses a certain amount of watts; well I’d assume that the different races would use differing amount of power for their brain due to differing number of neurons in them. Their brain is not as metabolically expensive. Larger brains are more intelligent than smaller brains ONLY BECAUSE there is a higher chance for there to be more neurons in the larger brain than the smaller one. With the average cranial capacity (blacks: 1267 cc, 13,185 million neurons; whites: 1347 cc, 13,665 million neurons, and Asians: 1,364, 13,767 million neurons). (Rushton and Jensen, 2005: 265, table 3) So as you can see, these differences are enough to account for racial differences in achievement.
A bigger brain would mean, more likely, more neurons which would then be able to power the brain and the body more efficiently. The more neurons one has, the more likely it it that they are intelligent as they have more neuronal pathways. The average cranial capcities of the races show that there are neuronal differences between them, which these neuronal differences then are the cause for racial differences, with the brain size itself being only a proxy, not an actual indicator of intelligence. The brain size doesn’t matter as much as the amount of neurons in the brain.
A difference in the brain of 100 grams is enough to account for 550 million cortical neurons (!!) (Jensen, 1998b: 438). But that ignores sex differences and neuronal density. However, I’d assume that there will be at least small differences in neuron count, especially from Rushton’s data from Race, Evolution and Behavior. Jensen (1998) also writes on page 439:
I have not found any investigation of racial differences in neuron density that, as in the case of sex differences, would offset the racial difference in brain weight or volume.
So neuronal density by brain weight is a great proxy.
Racial differences in intelligence don’t come down to brain size; they come down to total neuron amount in the brain; differences in size in certain parts of the brain critical to intelligence and amount of neurons in those critical portions of the brain. I’ve yet to come across a source talking about the different number of neurons in the brain by race, but when I do I will update this article. From what we know, we can make the assumption that blacks have less packing density as well as a smaller number of neurons in their PFC and cerebral cortex. Psychopathy is associated with abnormalities in the PFC; maybe, along with less intelligence, blacks would be more likely to be psychopathic? This also echoes what Richard Lynn says about Race and Psychopathic Personality:
There is a difference between blacks and whites—analogous to the difference in intelligence—in psychopathic personality considered as a personality trait. Both psychopathic personality and intelligence are bell curves with different means and distributions among blacks and whites. For intelligence, the mean and distribution are both lower among blacks. For psychopathic personality, the mean and distribution are higher among blacks. The effect of this is that there are more black psychopaths and more psychopathic behavior among blacks.
Neuronal differences and size of the PFC more than account for differences in psychopathy rates as well as differences in intelligence and scholastic achievement. This could, in part, explain the black-white IQ gap. Since the total number of neurons in the brain dictates, theoretically speaking, how well an organism can process information, and blacks have a smaller PFC (related to future time preference); and since blacks have less cortical neurons than Whites or Asians, this is one large reason why black are less intelligent, on average, than the other races of Man.
In 2005, Linda Gottfredson published What If the Hereditarian Hypothesis Is True? in the journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law defending Rushton and Jensen’s (2005) conclusions on the black-white IQ gap. This gap in intelligence between the races has been noticed since the IQ test’s inception 100 years ago. What if the hereditarian hypothesis is true—what if there are genetic differences in intelligence between races? How should society handle such a ‘discovery’ if one were to occur?
In Rushton and Jensen’s opus paper, they didn’t set out to prove that the hereditarian hypothesis is true, rather they set out to prove that the hereditarian hypothesis—which states that 50 percent of racial differences in intelligence come down to genetic factors with environment dictating the other 50 percent—is more tenable the culture-only hypothesis—0 percent genetics 100 percent environment. Gottfredson states that the hereditarian hypothesis becomes scientifically plausible “only after five evidentiary requisites have been met”: “IQ differences among same-race individuals represent (a) real, (b) functionally important, and (c) substantially genetic differences in general intelligence (the g factor), and mean IQ differences between the races likewise reflect (d) real and (e) functionally important differences on the same g factor.” (Gottfredson, 2005: 311) The past one hundred years of intelligence testing has proven all of this. The black-white differences in intelligence are on subtests that are more heritable, proving a genetic component.
The hereditarian hypothesis has been proven by adoption studies such as the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, to differences overall in IQ tests, to differences in life success etc. Environmentalists believe it’s ‘racism’ or ‘classism’ that’s the cause for racial/ethnic/class differences in achievement, when a genetic explanation makes a lot more sense.
The Denial of the Hereditarian Hypothesis
The denial of the hereditarian hypothesis has greatly harmed American society. Before the push for multiculturalism in the 60s, a genetic reason for racial/class differences was widely accepted. Minorities couldn’t perform well in school in comparison to whites because they had lower innate g. The difference in g causes differences in wealth attainment, salary, mortality, fitness, educational attainment, and other pertinent achievements. This then leads to programs with an abysmal ‘success rate’, such as Head Start. Head Start does not work, its gains fade away in a few years after the program. It’s time to stop Head Start, because it makes people believe that parental intervention can have any kind of effect on a young child, when it’s shown that these so-called gains fade away in a few years as the heritability of intelligence increases. Individuals differ on g, races differ on g, there are differences in achievement and more people in one SES bracket and other people in another SES bracket and it’s down to g. Denying the hereditarian hypothesis wastes taxpayer money as more and more money goes towards programs like Head Start that don’t do anything to close any of the gaps they promise to close.
Academic achievement in math, science, art, humanities, and second language were all shared by the same genes. They found that 60 percent of the results in GCSE scores were attributed to genetic factors. Genes and not upbringing had more of an effect on the scores one receives on the GCSE.
Moreover, other behavioral traits such as psychopathology and personality also account for genetic influence on GCSE scores beyond that predicted by intelligence. This shows that ‘nature’ wins out in the nature-nurture debate. If individual differences in test scores are largely determined by genetics, why not the black-white difference?
Individuals nor groups are ever ‘equal’ in terms of any capacity. One will be better at something than someone else, and that will largely be determined by genetic factors. Training and repetition brings out the best in one that’s genetically inclined to excel. We accept genetic differences for differences in sports, such as sprinting and distance running. They are genetically inclined to excel at those competitions due to fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Take Usain Bolt. Do you think anyone can train to get to that level? Do you think random Joe can just wake up one day and decide to try to be the fastest man in the world? If you say no, you’re a hereditarian. Of course Bolt’s training makes him better, but without his genetics, he wouldn’t be the fastest man in the world.
Now take the genetic differences from sports (that any sane person would recognize), and think about that in regards to brain power. We are talking about 2 groups that have been genetically isolated for tens of thousands of years. They had to do different things to survive and both faced different selective pressures that would have an effect on intelligence.
The worldwide differences in IQ between East Asians, Europeans and Africans; an inverse correlation between the race differences and brain attributes and black-white-East Asian differences in body maturation; . 2 and .4 correlations with skull size and in vivo brain volume, moderately high correlation of .6 to .7 of different IQ test’s g loadings on the magnitude of the black-white-East Asian differences as well as the measures of the subtests being rooted in biological and genetic processes; rising heritability of IQ; differences in crime, gestation, and sex ratio at birth, law-abidingness, marital stability; and a genetic divergence of world population groups during evolution. The most telling one is the last one, genetic divergence of world population groups during evolution. These differences in the brain are rooted in genetic factors. The hereditarian hypothesis fully explains within and between group differences in achievement and intelligence. No “culture-only” hypothesis could ever convince me otherwise.
Richard Nisbett has attempted to say that the hereditarian hypothesis is wrong and that culture-only theory is the only game in town. He couldn’t be more wrong. Citing studies like Moore and Eyferth to make your case against the hereditarian hypothesis won’t get you anywhere. They had a smaller sample size, and some of the subjects were extremely young. Environmentalists use these studies to say that the difference in IQ comes down to a type of ‘ghetto’ environment that saps American blacks’ intellect and that raised away from that type of environment, they’d be able to score on par with whites. Except that’s not what was found in the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study. This is the only study to test the children again at age 17, when genetics would be taking its full effect. The racial gap in intelligence still stayed the same (Rushton and Jensen, 2005: 258). I’ve written about the strong evidence for the hereditarian hypothesis in regards to adoption studies and how they support the hypothesis that genetics, and not culture, are the cause for differences in intelligence.
If the Hereditarian Hypothesis is Accepted What Policies Should Change?
If the general public were to ever accept a genetic hypothesis for individual and group differences as a whole, then affirmative action and other such programs that shoehorn kids with lower ability into schools should be abolished and these spots should be filled on merit. Sure there would be fewer blacks and more whites, Jews, Asians, than blacks, ‘Hispanics’ and others but that’s how a merit-based society looks, not one based on feelings and imaginary causes of racism as the culprit for any types of intellectual downfalls. When we come to our senses with genetics and educational achievement and intelligence—which should be coming soon due to the advent of CRISPR—then America can start to become less polarized, in my opinion, on the so-called ‘racist system’ ‘holding down’ minorities. Maybe if people/groups accepted they were less intelligent and it was due majorly to genetic factors, then some of this racial animosity between groups in America will die down. That’s an extremely far reach, though, and I can see them then arguing that accepting by accepting the hereditarian hypothesis then we should continue these programs.
That’s an extremely far reach, though, and I can see them then arguing that accepting by accepting the hereditarian hypothesis then we should continue these programs due to genetic differences. They would say “Well, as a group, we are less inclined to make it into higher areas of learning so we, therefore, should continue to receive these benefits.” To that I would say you’ve been taking advantage of these benefits for 50 years and what’s changed? Billions of dollars have been spent on affirmative action and related cases since the 60s and what has changed? These groups still complain and talk about being oppressed by ‘the man’ not getting what they want. Yet there is an ongoing racial preference for blacks and ‘Hispanics’ over whites and Asians in US medical schools. This is all an effect of affirmative action and the policies it brings to American institutions. Admission into places of higher learning should be completely merit-based, not based on what racial/ethnic group you belong to. That in and of itself is continuing the so-called ‘racism’ and ‘prejudiced attitudes’ that people complain about since they insist on having special privileges based on their ancestral background.
If we were to accept the hereditarian hypothesis as a country, I’d hope to see an abolishment of affirmative action, Head Start, and related programs that do not work. The acceptance of the hereditarian hypothesis would only be a net gain over time, as people would learn to not blame ‘the man’ on their problems, but would look to better themselves in ways that accentuate their strengths. Since any attempt at raising scholastic achievement has failed due to the heritability of intelligence and how it increases as one ages (which is why Head Start doesn’t work and should be abolished) once this is accepted then other avenues can be taken to address these issues that don’t focus on attempting to raise scores. Gottfredson states at the end of her paper that we should have targeted intellectual support for those with an IQ below 80. She also says we should make some jobs less complex, ie “inadequate or overly complex labeling, instructions, and forms”, target training and education towards people with that level of intelligence, and provide more assistance in daily living matters, This can increase their QoL and ability to attain meaningful employment.
She sees a more positive outlook in the future than I do. I see things become more stratified as automation rolls out. This will have the lower IQ people out of work, while the higher IQ people still are sitting well at the top due to the increasingly complex society that we make for ourselves. Accepting the hereditarian hypothesis can ease this slightly by targeting programs at the less intellectually inclined as well as attempt to soften the claims of ‘racism’ when this starts to really become noticeable. The only way to explain such a disparity is with a genetic hypothesis, at least 50/50 genetics culture. The culture-only theory has no leg to stand on. Once we accept that individual and group differences are due to genetics, then we can begin to accept some of the differences in our society in terms of class and race.
In the past 100 years since the inception of the IQ test there have been racial differences in test scores. What causes these score differences? Genetics? Environment? Both? Recently it has come out that populations do differ in allele frequencies that affect intelligence. David Piffer’s “forbidden paper on population genetics and IQ” was rejected by the new editor of the journal Intelligence. In the paper, he shows how IQ alleles vary in frequency by population. One reviewer even said it should not be put up for review, which Piffer believes there was a hidden agenda or a closed minded attitude. He even puts reviewers comments and responds to them. He says science should be transparent, which is why he’s showing the researchers’ comments on his paper.
His December, 2015 paper titled: A review of intelligence GWAS hits: Their relationship to country IQ and the issue of spatial autocorrelation shows that there are differing allele frequencies in which IQ between populations that affect IQ which are then correlated highly with average IQ by country (r=.92, factor analysis showed a correlation of .86). There was also a “positive and significant correlation between the 9 SNPs metagene and IQ”(pg. 45). However, Piffer does conclude that since the 9 alleles are present within all populations (Africans, Latin Americans, Europeans, South Asians, and East Asians) that the intelligence polymorphisms don’t appear to be race-specific, but were already present in Homo Sapiens before the migration out of Africa. He then goes on to say that it’s extremely likely that the vast majority of alleles were subject do differential selection pressure which lead increases in cognitive abilities at different rates rates in different geographical areas (pg. 49). It’s of course known that differing populations faced differing selection pressures which then lead to genotypic changes which then affected the phenotype. It’s not surprising that genes that correlate strongly with intelligence have differing frequencies in different geographical populations; it’s to be expected with what we know about evolution and natural selection. Below is the scatter plot showing the relationship between polygenic score GWAS (Genome Wide Association Studies) hits and IQ:
The fact that these differences exist should not come as a shock to those who want to seek the truth, but as seen with how David Piffer didn’t even get consideration for a revision, this shows the bias in science to studies such as this that show racial differences in intelligence exist.
Piffer’s data also corroborates Lynn and Meisenberg’s (2010) finding of a correlation of .907 with measured and estimated IQ. This shows that the differing allele frequencies affect IQ, which then affect a countries GDP, GNP, and over all quality of life.
With a sample with a huge n (over 100,000 subjects) cognitive abilities tests were performed on verbal-numerical reasoning, memory and reaction time (a huge correlate for IQ itself, see Rushton and Jensen, 2005). Davies et al (2016) discovered that there were significant genome-wide SNP based associations in 20 genomic regions, with significant gene-based regions on 46 loci!! Once we find definitive proof that intelligence differences vary between individuals, as well as the loci and genomic regions responsible, we can then move on to difference in allele frequency in depth (which Piffer 2015 was one of the starts to this project).
Moreover, genes that influence intelligence determine how well axons are encased in myelin, which is the fatty insulation that coats our axons, allowing for fast signaling to the brain. Thicker myelin also means faster nerve impulses. The researchers used HARDI to measure water diffusion in the brain. If the water diffuses rapidly in one direction, that shows the brain has very fast connections. Whereas a more broad diffusion would indicate slower signaling, thus lower intelligence. It basically gives us a picture of an individuals mental speed. Thinking of reaction time tests where Asians beat whites who beat blacks, this could possibly show how differing process times between populations manifest itself in reaction time. Since myelin is correlated with fast connections, we can make the inference that Asians have more than whites who have more than blacks, on average. The researchers also say that it’s a long time from now, but we may be able to increase intelligence by manipulating the genes responsible for myelin. This leads me to believe that there must be racial differences in myelin as well, following Rushton’s Rule of Three.
Since the mother’s IQ is the best predictor of the child’s IQ, this should really end the debate on its own. Sure on average, intelligent black mothers would birth intelligent children, but due to regression to the mean, the children would be less intelligent than the mother. JP Rushton also says that regression works in the opposite way. Both blacks and whites who fall below their racial means will have children who regress to the means of 85 and 100 respectively, showing the reality of the genetic mean in IQ between the races.
Why would differing allele frequencies lead to the same cognitive processes in the brain in genetically isolated populations? I’ve shown that brain circuits vary by IQ genes, and populations do differ in this aspect, like all other differing genotypic/phenotypic traits.
East Asians have bigger brains, as shown by MRI studies. Rushton and Rushton (2001) showed that the three races differ in IQ, brain size, and 37 different musculoskeletal traits. We know that West Africans and West African-descended people have genes for fast twitch muscle fibers (Type II) (Nielson and Christenson, 2001). Europeans and East Asians have slow twitch muscle fibers (Type I) for strength and endurance. (East Africans have this as well, which allows for ability to run for distance, which fast twitch fibers do not allow for. The same is true for slow twitch fibers and sprinting events.) Bengt Saltin showed that European distance runners have up to 90 percent slow twitch fibers (see Entine, 2000)! So are genetic IQ differentials really that hard to believe? With all of these differing variables in regards to intelligence that all point to a strong genetic cause for individual differences in other genes that lead to stark phenotypic differences between the races, is it really not plausible that populations differ in intelligence, which is largely inherited?
Is it really plausible that differing populations would be the same cognitvely? That they would have the same capacity for intelligence? Even when evolution occurred in differing climates? The races/ethnicities differ on so many different variables with differing genes being responsible for it. Would IQ genes really be out of the question? Evolution didn’t stop from the neck up. Different populations faced different selection pressures, so different human traits then evolved for better adaption in that environment. Different traits clearly developed in genetically isolated populations that had no gene flow with each other for tens of thousands of years. These differing evolutionary environments for the races put different pressures on them, selecting some for high IQ alleles and others for low IQ alleles.
We are coming to a time where intelligence differences between populations will become an irrefutable fact. With better technology to see how differing genes or sets of genes affect our mind as well as physiology, we will see that most all human differences will come down to differing allele frequencies along with differing gene expression. Following Rushton’s simple rule based on over 60 variables, East Asians will have the most high IQ alleles followed by Europeans and then blacks. The whole battery of different cognitive abilities tests that have been conducted over the past 100 years show us that there are differences, yet we haven’t been able to fully explain it by GWAS and other similar techniques. Charles Murray says within the next 5 to 10 years we will have definitive proof that IQ genes exist. After that, it’s only a matter of time before it comes out that racial differences in IQ are due to differing allele frequency as well as gene expression.
(This goes along with my refutation of Steele here: Strong Evidence, Strong Argument: Race IQ and Adoption)
There is a 15 point, 1 standard deviation between black and white IQs. I will argue that they are not biased towards any group, as well as there being both positive and negative life outcomes based on IQ, crime included. This is due to false ideas of equality, some “blank slate” idea that we all have the same capacity for cognitive ability, athletic ability and so on. These egalitarian ideas, in turn, have devastating effects on our society, as we a) deny the reality of intelligence and b) deny any type of racial gaps in intelligence.
The famous words “Compensatory education has been tried and has apparently failed” in Jensen’s paper in the Harvard Educational Review that reignited the firestorm on the race/IQ debate called How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement? is the reason why this debate got thrown back into the public eye (Jensen, 1969). It will be argued in this paper that he was correct and that his main thesis that blacks need differing education than do whites is correct and needs to be done.
IQ tests were first developed off of Army Aptitude Tests in the early 1900s by French psychologist Alfred Binet. They were originally used to identify at-risk populations in terms of who is mentally retarded. People then say that due to this, that IQ tests don’t test anything of worth due to the reason why they were originally developed.
In 1976, a study was conducted called the Minnesota Transracial Adoption study where they took children of different races who were adopted into different families and tested their IQs at age 7 and again at age 17. A follow-up study was published in 1992. What was found, was that IQs of transracially adopted children didn’t differ at all from children raised by their biological parents in the same area.
Dr. David Duke states in his book My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding (1998), that the authors waited about 4 years to publish these findings. This, of course, has to do with the political climate of today. Any allegations of “racism” can and most likely will end someone’s career; so most individuals just go the politically correct route to play it safe and keep their credentials. Blacks raised in white families hardly did any better than blacks raised in black families. If the differences supposedly were environmental in the way environmentalists say it is, how come blacks raised in rich white families didn’t reach the IQ of whites if “IQ is malleable by the immediate environment?” Because the differences are genetic.
Though, there are other studies that state that environment matters more than genetic factors. These three studies (Moore 1986; Eyferth 1961; and Tizard, 1972) all conclude that the black-white IQ gap is environmental in nature.
A study was conducted that compared IQ scores of 23 7 to 10-year-old black children raised by middle-class white families and the same number of black children but raised in black families (normal adoption) (Moore, 1986). The findings indicated that traditionally adopted black children raised by black parents had normal IQ scores (85), whereas those black children who were adopted by white families had IQs 1 standard deviation (100) above the black mean. Moore states that multivariate analysis indicates that the behaviors of black and white mothers were different in regards to how the black children were treated. She states that white adoptive mothers reduced stress by joking, laughing, and grinning. Whereas black adoptive mothers reduced stress in less positive ways including coughing, scowling and frowning. She also says that white adoptive mothers gave more positive reinforcement to their adoptive child’s problem solving whereas black adoptive mothers gave less (as I am arguing here, these traits are mostly genetic in origin, driven by IQ). She concludes that the ethnicity of the rearing environment exerts a significant influence on intellectual ability as well as standardized test scores. The sample sizes, however, are extremely small and to infer that the black-white IQ gap is environmental in origin because of a study with a small sample size is intellectually dishonest.
One study conducted in Germany in 1959 observed IQ scores of out-of-wedlock children fathered by US soldiers stationed in Germany during WWII and reared by white German mothers (Eyferth, 1961). Mean IQ scores for 83 white children and 97 mixed-race children were 97, 97.2 for the whites and 96.6 for the mixed-race children (Rushton and Jensen, pg. 261). However, these results are disputed. One, the children were extremely young, one-third of the children in the study were between the ages of 5 and 10 whereas the remaining two-thirds of the children were between the ages of 10 and 13. The malleability of intelligence is very well-known in regards to children. The heritability of IQ at age increases with age (a phenomenon known as ‘the Wilson Effect’), which Arthur Jensen states that as a child ages, social environment can increase IQ (as heritability for children aged 5 is 22 percent and children aged 7 at 40 percent). Though, as the child ages, genes activate, and they fall to their genetic potential, with genetic effects accounting for a lion’s share of intelligence (80 to 90 percent) and environment having no effect. Second, 20 to 25 percent of the ‘black’ fathers were French North Africans (Caucasians). This shows why the mixed-race children had higher IQs in the sample: about a quarter of the sample was Caucasian (Rushton and Jensen, pg. 261). Finally, rigorous selection was done on both the white and black soldiers. With 3 percent of whites getting rejected compared to 30 percent of blacks, it is shown that high IQ blacks were selected for, therefore, skewing the sample.
Yet another study on black and white children observed 2 to 5-year-olds in a nursery setting (Tizard, 1972). The white and black children both had IQs at 102.6 and 106.3 respectively. She found no significant gap in the three groups tested (white, black and West Indian). However, she did note that the single significant difference was in that of non-white children.
All three of the above studies that get cited ad nauseum have something in common: they did not retest the children again at age 17 like was done in the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study. This is very critical. As it was alluded to earlier, as children mature, genetics exerts more of an effect than does socialization. Any IQ differences that are brought about by socialization will be mediated by genetics at adulthood, falling to the racial mean. It also noted how the age of adoption does not influence children’s IQ scores after age 7 (Jensen 1998b). This is due to, again, genetic effects being heightened as age increases.
What the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study (Weinberg, Scarr, and Waldman, 1992) and the Eyferth study (1961) had observed was that the children born to a white mother and a black father had statistically significant differences in IQ in comparison to those birthed by a black mother and white father. This is attributed to prenatal environment. It was observed that mothers who had higher IQs and were more educated (which both correlate highly with each other), had children which, in turn, had higher IQ scores as well (Erikson, 2013). The results of the study suggest that mothers who are more educated have children who have higher intelligence. This should end this debate right there. Since, clearly, a white mother is more conducive to foster a higher IQ than is a black mother, this shows that racial differences in IQ are largely genetic in origin.
The black-white IQ gap has been noticed for over 100 years, ever since the test has been first conceptualized. Egalitarians may say that “they’re biased against minorities” or “they don’t learn the right things on the test”, all of these are easily refutable. This was true in the 70s, according to Herrnstein and Murray, but today there is no bias of that magnitude on these tests of cognitive ability.
Jensen states that genetic and cultural factors influence the black-white IQ gap the same as individual factors (80 percent genetic factors, 20 percent environmental). Since both individual differences in IQ, as well as the mean difference in the black-white IQ gap are genetic, this shows that some individuals are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs. Moreover, a multitude of traits in life fall on a bell curve, you will have some individuals at one end, and others at the opposite end, but you’ll see a majority fall in the middle of the racial mean (85 for blacks, 100 for whites, 104 for East Asians and 107 for Ashkenazi Jews). So, with equalized environments, the gap can be closed by around 3 points, but still a lion’s share of the gap is still there, which again gives credence to the genetic hypothesis.
Those who disbelieve the validity of IQ tests at the individual level, as well as the between-group level, say that test biases are the cause for lower scores in certain individuals in minority populations. Gottfredson et al state in their publication that was released after the controversial book The Bell Curve, Mainstream Science on Intelligence, that if you speak the language, IQ tests are not biased. If you don’t speak the language, you then get a special IQ test that is culture free, based on pattern recognition called Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Even then on these culture-free, word-free IQ tests, there is still a one SD gap, 15 points, between blacks and whites.
People have tried to bridge the gap, even going so far to make a test that’s ‘culture fair’ to blacks called the B.I.T.C.H. (Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity) IQ test (Williams, 1972). What was found was that blacks scored highly, whereas whites lagged behind. But, the thing is, this test has ridiculous concepts that don’t test actual intelligence. The way that people say that regular IQ tests are biased towards blacks don’t even realize that the way the B.I.T.C.H. IQ test is set up does not mirror the supposed biased nature of regular IQ tests on blacks.
Flynn noticed that no matter which country you look IQs have gained around 3 points per decade. Herrnstein and Murray then coined the term The Flynn Effect, after the man who focused the most attention on the phenomena. Flynn argues that since IQ scores have been gaining the same amount of points in any population no matter where you look, that the black-white IQ gap has to be environmental in origin.
However, the Flynn Effect is a fallacy and is overstated. In 1945, the average IQ of whites in America was 85, the same as the black average today. That statement is supposed to show that the between-group differences are environmental in origin and since there haven’t been any big genetic changes in both populations to account for this difference, then the gap must be environmental in origin. Just because a change in one group over time is due to an environmental change, doesn’t mean, or even make it probable, that a difference between 2 groups at the same time is due to an environmental change. The Flynn Effect make’s that highly unlikely and here’s why.
Any country you look at, the rate of increase is 3 IQ points per decade; but gaps in IQ stay the same. This shows that this same uniform factor affects all groups the same throughout the world. And due to this uniform factor, as a result, you have a difference in IQ that’s being preserved. This suggests that the response on the parts of blacks and whites is due to non-environment factors, a genetic factor, which makes the difference in IQ remain as the Flynn Effect goes into effect.
Blacks and whites also have a similar environment, especially since segregation ended. Since environments are similar, the more and more similar the environment, the less and less differences are due to environment and the more and more they are due to genetic factors. So the 15-point gap surviving this change in environments proves that the racial gap is genetic in origin.
Dickens and Flynn state that black Americans have closed the gap in recent years, but this, however, is not the case. Most of those studies were done on children; Jensen states that the black-white IQ gap becomes more noticeable as they get older because genetic effects take over at adulthood with the environment having little if no effect on IQ (Rushton and Jensen, 2005). Jensen concludes that the SD gap between blacks and whites at early adulthood is about 1.2 SDs or about 17 IQ points. In Rushton and Jensen’s 2005 paper, Flynn and Dickens sidestepped a theoretical analysis in which it’s showed that the higher amount of white admixture a black has, the higher his IQ score is.
The Flynn Effect is not on g, or the general intelligence factor, which the most heritable items on the subtests show the most differences between blacks and whites (Rushton and Jensen, 2010). Since the Flynn Effect does not fall on g, this should not even be in the discussion. A Flynn Effect is not a Jensen Effect, which is real gains in g over time (Rushton, 1998). Rushton found it ridiculous that we had a nation of mentally handicapped children 100 years ago. This was enough for him to disregard the Flynn Effect.
Other proposed causes for this gap involve a mechanism called ‘stereotype threat’ (Steele and Aronson, 1995). Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people find themselves falling into the stereotype of whatever group their group is a part of. Though, this is not the case for blacks. Blacks are rated as seeing themselves as more attractive, which a) shows more self-confidence and b) shows that the so-called effects of white racism making blacks feel ugly and inadequate in their own skin are simply not true. Kanazawa (2011) noted that both male and female blacks rated themselves higher than other groups; showing that there are no lingering effects of racism as well as this silly belief that just by thinking you’re going to fall into a stereotype means that you will fall into it.
Still, others may state that poverty is a cause for the IQ disparity between the races. People have causalities mixed up when they make this statement. Since lower IQ is correlated with lower SES, the cause of poverty is people being born with low intellect which manifests itself in the wealth attainment of the individual. Many recent studies have come out saying that poverty decreases IQ, yet the only environmental factors that can do such a thing is malnutrition, extreme abuse, and extreme isolation. Other than that, all a parent needs to do is just give the child an ‘OK’ environment and genetic factors will take care of the rest.
Critics of the public school system have said for decades that you can’t solve educational problems by throwing money at them, but those who believed in the public schooling system said it has yet to be tried. They did try, in Kansas, MO, and failed miserably (Ciotti, 1998). This desegregation experiment cost 11,700 dollars per student, more money spent per individual on a cost of living basis than 280 school districts around the country. This tax-payer money bought “higher teachers’ salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.”
Despite all of these variables to enrich the environment of the black students, even bussing in white kids from out of district, the gap did not diminish, test scores did not change and there was less, not more, integration. Moreover, numerous individuals say that poverty and schooling systems are the cause for anti-intellectualism in the black community. I, however, argue that there is a considerable genetic component to the black-white IQ gap (Rushton and Jensen, 2005 p. 279).
Where does all of this leave us? Yes, blacks are less intelligent than whites, but what does this mean for our society that we refuse to acknowledge the existence of innate intelligence, as well as racial differences in intelligence? The average IQ of a repeat juvenile criminal in America is 92 (Herrnstein, Murray, and Cullens, 1998). At adulthood, the average IQ for a repeat criminal is 85. The reason for the IQ of a repeat adult offender being lower than that of teenaged offenders is due to as you age, the environment doesn’t matter as genetics takes over at adulthood.
The fact that we are disregarding g (intelligence) and its multiple covariates is extremely alarming. The fact that America is headed down the path to dysgenesis (Lynn, 2006) and we are not doing a thing about it troubles me greatly. The way we treat black underachievement in America is completely wrong. To succeed as a country, we need to recognize biological truths in that certain groups achieve highly whereas others have low levels of academic achievement, we need to recognize that there is no insidious plot to hold down others; we need to realize that some groups are less intelligent as others due to evolution in differing climates over tens of thousands of years. The trillions of dollars we have spent on all of these programs have not worked. We have tried them, and they have failed. No matter what we do, black underachievement will always be around. By recognizing black underachievement, they will be better able to succeed relative to themselves and not compare themselves to other high-achieving groups. There is a considerable genetic component to the gap (80 percent genetic) and that due to this, blacks should have differing standards in comparison to the rest of the population (Jensen, 1969).
Ciotti, P. (1998) Money and School Performance: Lessons from The Kansas City Desegregation Experiment http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html
Cullens, F.T., Herrnstein, R., Murray, C. Does IQ Significantly Contribute to Crime? (From Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Crime and Criminology, Fifth Edition, P 30-51, 1998, Richard C. Monk, ed. — See NCJ-183062)
Dickens, W. T., & Flynn, J. R. (2006). Black Americans Reduce the Racial IQ Gap: Evidence From Standardization Samples. Psychological Science, 17(10), 913-920. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01802.x
Duke, D.E. (1998). My awakening A path to racial understanding. Covington, LA: Free Speech Press.
Eriksen, H. F., Kesmodel, U. S., Underbjerg, M., Kilburn, T. R., Bertrand, J., & Mortensen, E. L. (2013). Predictors of Intelligence at the Age of 5: Family, Pregnancy and Birth Characteristics, Postnatal Influences, and Postnatal Growth. PLoS ONE, 8(11).
Eyferth, K. (1961). Leistungen verscheidener Gruppen von Besatzungskindern in Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligenztest fu¨r Kinder (HAWIK) [Achievement of children on the Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children]. Archiv fu¨r die gesamte Psychologie, 113, 222–241.
Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 171–191.
Gottfredson, Linda S. “Mainstream science on intelligence: An editorial with 52 signatories, history, and bibliography.” Intelligence 24.1 (1997): 13-23.
Herrnstein, R. J., & Murray, C. A. (1994). The bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.
Jensen, A. (1969). How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement. Harvard Educational Review, 39(1), 1-123.
Jensen, A. R. (1998). The g factor: The science of mental ability. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Kanazawa, S. (2011). Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women? The Scientific Fundamentalist
Lynn, R. (1996) Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, Human Evolution, Behavior and Intelligence Praeger, 1996
Moore, E. G. J. (1986). Family socialization and the IQ test performance of traditionally and transracially adopted Black children. Developmental Psychology, 22, 317–326.
Murray, C. (2014) Our Futile Efforts to Boost Children’s IQ http://www.aei.org/publication/futile-efforts-boost-childrens-iq/
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005). Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11(2), 235-294.
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2010). The rise and fall of the Flynn Effect as a reason to expect a narrowing of the Black–White IQ gap☆. Intelligence, 38(2), 213-219. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2009.12.002
Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797-811. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.117
Tizard, B. (1974, February 1). IQ and race. Nature, 247, 316.
Weinberg, R. A., Scarr, S., & Waldman, I. D. (1992). The Minnesota transracial adoption study: A follow-up of IQ test performance at adolescence. Intelligence, 16(1), 117-135.
Williams, Robert L. (1972) The BITCH-100: A Culture-Specific Test.
“Philosophers of Science” attempt to stick their heads into the race/IQ debate to give their field more credence than it should get with the hard sciences. They use bad arguments like saying that “gene-environment interactions are widespread and hard to entangle” (Block, 1995), not knowing that identical twins reared apart grow up to be so similar (Rushton and Jensen, 2005, p. 279). The only time they should stick their heads in this debate is when they’re affirming that the methodology used to test IQ as well as racial differences in IQ are sound; otherwise, they do not have the training to assess this. Most “Philosophers of Science” defend claims that disintegrate when presented with the relevant scientific evidence (Sesarardic, 2000). I will be referencing this paper for the length of this article.
Half of the paper analyzes Lewontin’s argument to Jensen in which he uses his now famous “seed argument” in which he says you can take two seeds from the same heterogeneous population and plant them in rich and poor soil and “. . . as a result, the phenotypic differences within each of the two groups of plants will be 100 percent heritable, but the difference between the two groups will be entirely due to differences in two environments (zero heritability).” The fact of the matter is, this argument is parroted by “Philosophers of Science” when Jensen never made that argument.
Jensen then systemically dismantled every environmental argument with empirical evidence that they don’t hold up.
Other researchers then made accusations of “racism” the reason for Jensen’s overlooking of this. James Flynn, a big opponent of the hereditarian hypothesis and Rushton and Jensen in general, say that Jensen is not a “racist”. There is also something called the “X-Factor”, which is when phenotypic differences between two groups can be explained by an environmental factor that has no within-group variation at all, a 0 heritability. Racism, however, is a poor excuse for the “X-Factor”. Both Flynn and Jensen rule out discrimination as being the cause for the “X-Factor” as well.
Simply put, Jensen doesn’t make inferences that the black-white IQ gap is genetically based on one or a few variables on their own, but everything put together, that’s where the remaining evidence put. “Philosophers of Science” don’t understand heritability coefficients to be saying what they do; they wouldn’t be saying that if they knew how they worked.
Sesardic brings up how Block (1995) only mentions three pieces of empirical evidence: The “Flynn Effect”, “data about caste-like minorities”, and the small amount of genetic variation between races.
- The Flynn Effect happens uniformly in all populations at a rate of 3 points per decade but has slowed considerably. This increase began starting around 1880, coinciding with the industrial revolution. Better nutrition increased brain size in all populations, which lead to an increase in IQ. The Flynn Effect is not on g, so to make any claims that the differences in IQ between blacks and whites, or global differences in IQ for that matter, can be changed with more favoring towards environmentalist positions are not consistent with the scientific literature. In 1945, the average white IQ in America was 85, the same as the average American black IQ today. Since the differences in IQ have stayed consistent despite better nutrition in all groups, this proves that the gap is genetic in origin. Just because a change in one group over time is due to an environmental change, doesn’t mean, or even make it probable, that a difference between 2 groups at the same time is due to an environmental change. Since the Flynn Effect does not occur on g, it should be a non-factor.
- Minorities are only “caste-like” because differences in IQ are heritable, leading to racial disparities in social class differences. We can see when we match blacks, whites, and “Hispanics” for IQ (100), that some differences disappear, other differences decrease dramatically, and even blacks and “Hispanics” beat out whites in a couple of variables. Through multiple IQ tests averaged over time as well as seeing that test differences between races stay mostly the same, we can then make the inference, with all of the other evidence, that racial and ethnic differences in IQ are mostly genetic in origin with the environment having very little effect. To say that “racism” or “stereotype threat” has any bearing on these racial differences in IQ is laughable because 1) stereotype threat is only replicable in the lab and 2) racism as a variable does not exist in IQ testing.
- The small amount of genetic variation between races as an argument for the non-existence of race is meaningless. There are around 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. The human races differ on around .1 percent of the genome, or around 3 million base pairs. This is more than enough genetic difference to show phenotypic differences (obviously) as well as genotypic differences (again, obviously). Richard Dawkins in the Ancestor’s Tale writes: “What is not correct is the inferene that race is therefore a meaningless concept.” Race is a perfectly valid concept, anyone who denies it has doesn’t know of all of the studies that show the existence of race and how it’s a scientifically taxonomic concept.
Sesardic then brings up how “Philosophers of Science” continuously cite The Mismeasure of Man and Steven Jay Gould in an attempt to denigrate scientists long dead. A few “glowing reviews” from two “Philosophers of Science”:
No one has done as much as Stephen J. Gould to expose race and intelligence studies for the garbage that they often are. (Brown 1998, 5)
Stephen Jay Gould has lucidly analyzed how filling the skulls with lead shot, and comparing the weights of the lead, could easily be infected with unconscious biases. (Kitcher 1997, 171)
The garbage that they often are? Steven Jay Gould is a long discredited ideologue who put his politics before actual science, ironically giving HIM the same bias he falsely accused Samuel Morton of having. James Flynn even says that Gould’s book evades all of Jensen’s best arguments (as most always happens with this debate) with his false belief that g is “reified” therefore leading to the study of race and IQ being meaningless since he has “rebutted the g factor”. I proved the existence of Spearman’s hypothesis the other day using Jensen’s writings that he empirically verified that Spearman’s hypothesis exists in 25 independent samples of blacks and whites along with the study by Dragt (2010) who used the method of correlated vectors to empirically prove the existence of Spearman’s hypothesis. In meta-analyses of Spearman’s hypothesis, he found that differences in intelligence between groups are largely based on cognitive complexity and any so-called “biases in mental testing” cannot account for these racial differences in cognitive ability.
In the definitive refutation of Steven Jay Gould’s “reanalysis” of Morton’s skulls, Lewis, et al definitively prove by remeasuring 308 of the 670 skulls that he had no implicit biases. They also found that if Morton’s biases were true, then there would be considerable overestimates of white skulls while there would be considerable underestiamates of non-white skulls. Ironincally enough, he considered his Egyptian skulls “Negroid” and overmeasured by 12 percent. He overmeasured three of those skulls, along with Seminole (by 8 percent) and native African Nergro (by 7 percent), falsifying the claim that Morton had a bias in measuring his skulls!! As I have brought up here numerous times, as Rushton has refuted him (and defended Morton’s results) as well as Jensen giving Gould a definitive rebuttal to his book. Gould should not be being cited seriously anymore. He should only be brought up as an example of extreme bias in the context of race as well as racial differences and a whole slew of other things that are politically motivated.
He finally rounds up the paper by bringing up how TJ Bouchard, showing that the Big Five Personality Traits have a high heritabilty, gets told that they are traits that carry a social judgment. However, we now know that 40-60 percent of the variation the Big Five is heritable, so this is a meaningless claim.
Sesardic ends the paper as follows:
Why is this small segment of contemporary philosophy of science in such a sorry state? On reflection, I prefer to leave this question as an exercise for the reader. My aim in this paper is to criticize a deviant philosophical trend, not to explain how it came about or why it spread.
My answer to this question is that most philosophers seem to be leftists. We can see with the vehement race denial that they want to believe so strongly that racial differences, as well as race as whole, does not exist. The fact that they attempt to say that these things are not a reality and based on faulty methodologies shows that they do not know what they are talking about. They show large misconceptions about heritability, and continuously cite Steven Jay Gould, even when Gould has been refuted numerous times as well it being shown that they don’t correctly understand heritability. They show large misconceptions of what is understood in the field of psychometrics and heritabilities and make faulty claims about the hereditarian hypothesis.
If the hereditarian hypothesis is to be refuted (it won’t), it will be from science and not philosophy or “Philosophers of Science”.