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Unread October 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default James Watson: IQ the Handicap

REVISED 11/3/07
James Watson: IQ the Handicap

"The geological record is full of cases where the development of enormous horns and spines (sometimes in the male sex only) has been the prelude to extinction. It seems probable that in some of these cases the species literally sank under the weight of its own armaments." Haldane, 1932, 65.
"Mr. Watson, who won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for co-discovering the structure of DNA, told the U.K.'s Sunday times that he was 'inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa' because 'all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really.' Mr. Watson later apologized for the remarks...The comments were widely condemned by scientists and others..." (Gutam Naik, 10/25/2007,
A swarm chased Watson, Phil Rushton, Mike Bailey, Charles Murray, Richard Herrnstein, B. F. Skinner, Ed Wilson, and even Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. The swarms, furthermore, consisted of the thoughtful members of our culture. Thomas, for example, felt less betrayed by traditional bigots who attacked him for being black than by liberals who attacked him for "not being black enough." (Thomas, 2007)


1) The agreement between different measures of intelligence is substantial (Rushton, 2005a, 2005b). Furthermore, intelligence, whether measured by reaction time or by psychological inventories, becomes more heritable as you get older (Segal et al, 2007) although heritability should decrease with age if culture were its incubator. Thus, if you measure intelligence, you measure the influence of a gene and the enviroments that it makes (Plomin, 1994).

2) It is not true that all races and ethnic groups are equal in their measured intelligence (Gottfredson, 1994) and it also appears that social turbulence is not the cause of intellectual stumbling but its result (Lynn & Vanhanen, 2006). While a score of 100 is defined as average for western populations, much of the world does not achieve it. Further, the most restless societies often fall in the 70s, the most prosperous above 100.
Averages apply to aggregates, not to their particles and the overlap in intellectual ability is significant between ethnic groups. Never discount an individual. The gifted nature of Clarence Thomas is a fact regardless of his skin tone. Aggregates, however, are more predictable than particles and aggregates of African blacks, Hispanics, or most middle easterners score 15-30 points lower than whites and Jews.

3) Bell curves describe IQ distributions. Not true. Power laws, not bell curves, describe IQ distributions. The difference is important because power laws lead to distributions with "fat tails": there are more very large and many more low scores than expected in a bell curve. (Fat tails often result from self-organized networks, bell curves describe random assemblies of independent events, Barabasi, 2002; Hayes, 2007.) Power laws mean that whites, like blacks can have significant numbers of impulsive, scattered individuals that mob, break rules, follow superstitions, make lots of children, form hierarchies, and read The National Enquirer. And either whites or blacks can have more gifted individuals than predicted by a bell curve.

4) More intelligence is better. Especially not true.
The most spectacular achievement of intelligence is the Internet: it is also the West's greatest point of vulnerability. One nuclear blast in the atmosphere will melt every unshielded semiconductor and turn a culture that warehouses nothing into a culture that has nothing. Power failure, communications collapse, and disruption of fuel and food will lead to mass riots and starvation. Remember the swarms that formed after rumors of a toilet paper shortage?

Higher intelligence is also linked with higher rates of suicide in 85 countries (Voracek, 2004), failures to reproduce (Steyn, 2006), and with male willingness to help females move into former male niches. Sixty percent of college graduates are now female, so were 30% of first-time Harley buyers a year ago. There is also the popular notion of "white guilt," described by Steele (2006, 1990) but wrongly explained. White "guilt" can be seen not as self-punishment for historic cruelty to blacks but as a hesitancy to react, a preference to negotiate and share, to take blame and stand aside, to grant entitlements instead of demanding performance, and a willingness to answer criticism by capitulation instead of shouting a hearty FU! This timidity is displayed not merely to blacks but also to browns, yellows, young, old, and the sexually innovative. (The Brits and New Englanders, most of them modern Gullivers, are tangled in mutualism; American southerners and the Australians are less so. Does cold weather elicit caution and collectivism?)

Two More Concepts about Intelligence

First, Geoffrey Miller (1999, 2000) defined an adaptation as any feature that is acquired easily by every normal member of a species, is fun to do, and provides reproductive and survival advantages. Miller invoked sexual selection to explain traits that are disproportionate to survival traits, appear more in one sex than the other, and mature when reproductive careers begin. He had language and vocabulary in mind as well as to music, literature, and the visual arts.

Second, Elkhonon Goldberg (2001) found that the right cerebral cortex makes novelty into new routines and the left is quartermaster for old routines. This distinction has been upheld for language and for music. Further, the right side matures more slowly than the left and is more critical for infant development whereas the left, as measured by the effects of trauma, is far more critical to adult functioning.

Overlapping Miller's ideas with those of Goldberg suggests that the skills of your right and left experience different selective pressures and may even attract different kinds of partners! Given partial independence between left and right, some of the most creative individuals may be somewhat inarticulate and some of the most logical will also be the most rigid.

The contest in phylogeny between the left and right cortex finds expression in societies. That is, leftist (sic!) thinkers appear to pursue normal science and tend to impose their rituals on outlier colleagues. Outlier colleagues, however, sit with and throw patterns at each other and sometimes trip over a paradigm shift. Synchrony - a product of similarity and influence (Kuramoto, 1975) - fails between left and right in the faculty lounge probably because of genetics.

Innovators are not only outnumbered by collectivists but also measured, judged, and pressed into carbonite. These are not new things: nuns impose conformity, so do imams, the Chinese and, unlike a few centuries ago, the western Europeans. The difference now is that conformity occurs across countries and continents (Steyn, 2006; Brody, 2002, 2003). There is some irony: the tighter the enforced environment, the more vulnerable it is to strategic attacks on its core! (Watts & Strogatz, 1998)
The mobs that chase Watson make themselves into targets. The same lawyers, philosophers, and scientists who want to excuse and improve not only the innovative but also the aggressive and impulsive will eventually be killed. Caesar will bleed and Rome will fall again.

Disconnected people kill themselves both directly and indirectly: they can swallow a bullet or a pint of antifreeze or aggregates of disconnected people can fail to resist invasions. Secularism has no long term purpose, it cannot maintain coherence, it nourishes chaotic searches for the next moment's fun. Dennett's notion of freedom evolving leads only to chaos which includes the option to be totally alone when you are picked off by a mob (Frankl, 1959/2006; Levi, 1958/1993).

An innate hunger for purpose out-waits Hollywood, Prozac, and cocaine. Still awake after midnight, you alone face the Player as your dopamine recedes. Small wonder that Islam grows not only because Muslim women make more babies but also because secularized, disaffected adults of many nationalities join up. Toynbee noticed similar outcomes in a score of past civilizations and concluded that "For religion, after all, is the serious business of the human race."


1) The king crab probably does not find his claw to be an expense, similarly for liberals in regard to their intelligence, reasoning, and social judgments. Despite what we know about the ability of the left side to ignore facts when telling a story (Gazzaniga, 1998), liberals will continue to believe in their own stories and compete with each other to tell the same ones in a more convincing manner.

2) Watson was correct: the problems of the poor can be emergent from the nature of the poor whether in Philadelphia, Mexico, or Palestine. Those - regardless of skin pigment - who admire Paris or Britney want to take a picture, not analyze the camera! They want to jive and dance rather than learn the physics of their iPod. Dark ages, periods of frightened stasis, become inevitable and secured by shamans, hierarchies, imposed beliefs and rituals (Murray, 2003). Scared rabbits freeze, so do scared societies.

3) Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and Celts will better manage each other than any of them will be managed by myopic old Swedes. The Arabs respect a "strong horse," blacks still call each other "nigger," and I cannot imagine a Latino street thug backing down from a fight or saying the "N-word."

As for James Watson, Haldane defined four stages of belief: "1) this is worthless nonsense; 2) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; 3) this is true, but quite unimportant; 4) I always said so." I wish that Haldane's phrase might be a prediction for what is ahead for Watson. Unfortunately, JBS was probably too optimistic and change occurs in two steps not four: "1) This is worthless nonsense, 2) This is worthless nonsense." Weimar is no more, San Francisco will have a similar fate, and the kid who said that the emperor had no clothes not only got spanked but also spanked himself because he was too smart.



Brody JF (2002) From Physics and Evolutionary Neuroscience to Psychotherapy: Phase Transitions and Adaptations, Diagnosis and Treatment. In G. Cory & R. Gardner (Eds.) The Evolutionary Neuroethology of Paul MacLean:
Brody JF (2003) Seeds of Leviathan: Networks & Genomes. (Delivered by Todd Stark) Annual Meeting, Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, August 30.
Frankl V (1959/2006) Man's Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Gay P (2001/1981) Wiemar Culture: The Outsider as Insider. NY: Norton.
Goldberg E (2001) The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind. NY: Oxford University Press.
Gottfredson L (1994) Mainstream Science on Intelligence, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, p. A18. Also:
Haldane JBS (1932/1990) The Causes of Evolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Also J. B. S. Haldane. Journal of Genetics 58, 464 (1963) Per Wiki.
Hayes B (2007) Fat tails. American Scientist OnLine. May-June 2007.
Hernnstein, R. & Murray, C. (1994) The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. NY: Free Press.
Levi P (1958/1993) Survival in Auschwitz (orig. If This Is a Man) NY: Touchstone.
Lynn R & Vanhanen T (2006) IQ and Global Inequality. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit.
Miller G (1999) "Human Language and Intelligence as Sexually Selected Fitness Indicators" Given at the Hunter School of Social Work, 4/14/99.
Miller G (2000) The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature. NY: Doubleday.
Murray C (2003) Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts & Sciences, 800 BC to 1950 NY: Harper Collins.
Plomin, R. (1994) Genetics and Experience: The Interplay between Nature and Nurture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Rushton P (2005) Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology, and Genetic Similarity Theory. Nations & Nationalism. 11(4), 489-507.
Rushton J & Jensen AR (2005) Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. In Jane Goodman-Delahunty (Ed.) Psychology, Public Policy, & Law. 11(2): 235-294.
Segal NL, McGuire SA, Havlena J, Gill P, & Hershberger SL (2007) Intellectual similarity of virtual twin pairs: Developmental trends. Pers Individ Dif. 42(7): 1209–1219.
Steyn M (2006) America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. Washington DC: Regnery.
Thomas C (2007) My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir. NY: Harper Collins.
Toynbee A (1958) Civilization on Trial and The World and the West. NY: Meridian.
Voracek M (2004) National intelligence and suicide rate: an ecological study of 85 countries. Personality & Individual Differences 37:543-553.
Watts D & Strogatz S (1998) Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks. Nature. 393: 440-442.

Last edited by James Brody; November 4th, 2007 at 01:52 PM.
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Unread November 3rd, 2007, 08:15 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: IQ & Race: Charles Murray on Watson flap

From a posting by Charles Murray on the Evo Psych list:

"For people who want a broad account both of the Watson flap, including quotes from all the leading players and a remarkably comprehensive review of the data bearing on Watson's statements, here's the link to a post on Gene Expression by Jason Malloy.

"Post" doesn't do it justice. It's the length of short book, and full of links to the data and statements being cited. An extraordinary example of the way that the Internet is in the process of changing the way technical information is being communicated.

"Charles Murray
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Unread November 18th, 2007, 09:43 PM
Scott Shimabukuro Scott Shimabukuro is offline
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Default Re: IQ & Race: Watson Called the Emperor Naked

I am curious about how the fading influence of the environment on intelligence was arrived at and more so, how the conclusion that this means the environment has less of an effect was discussed. Can't tell from a brief reference but trauma can affect the brain in a nonreversable manner though there is evidence that there is a genetic effect (which confounds results). In any case, the effect of the trauma and reversed changes in the brain don't seem to occur even after long periods of time. This doesn't change the fact that the environment was an enormous predictor of the final outcome.
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Unread November 19th, 2007, 04:45 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default IQ: GxE & time

posted 11/19/07

"Environments and occupants amplify each other with the result is that some traits, measured intelligence for example, grow from a 0.20 heritability when you are four years old to 0.80 when you are in your sixties. (Plomin, 1994; Segal, 2007)" from Brody, in press. In other words, people who start out just a little smarter will find experiences that multiply those initial differences over a lifetime. So goes Plomin's explanation.

Start with the argument in Plomin (1994), look up Segal's paper, and then spend some time with DeFries et al.

The finding is surprising but appears to be robust. And once you are into the model, any other conclusion becomes unbelievable!



Segal NL, McGuire SA, Havlena J, Gill P, & Scott L. (2007) Intellectual similarity of virtual twin pairs: Developmental trends. Pers Individ Dif. 2007 May ; 42(7): 1209–1219. Available at See also Segal N (1999) Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us about Human Behavior. NY: Dutton.
DeFries J, McGuffin, P., McClearn G, & Plomin, R. (2000) Behavioral Genetics (4th ed.) NY: Worth.
Plomin, R. (1994) Genetics and Experience: The Interplay between Nature and Nurture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Plomin, R. & DeFries, J. (1998) Genetics of cognitive abilities and disabilities. Scientific American. 278(5), 62-69.
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Unread November 21st, 2007, 04:32 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Arrow More, a very little more, on heritability and IQ

1) Linda Gottfredson gives a challenging summary of the "genes for" research on intelligence. You will find the behavior genetics crowd to be the most cautious bunch you will ever meet: they rather find their own mistakes than be discredited.

2) The peculiar, and it is peculiar, heat that surrounds the topic of heritability and IQ seems to be another expression of "white guilt." Shelby Steele's small book is finely chiseled although I have a different explanation for the same phenomenon. Read Gottfredson and Steele and get back to me.

3) Rev. Terry Anderson, a preacher and talk-show host who calls himself black, exclaims, "White people are stupid!" To the contrary, too much IQ is a selective handicap. (See above.) Haldane's remarks about crabs apply to intelligence: "The geological record is full of cases where the development of enormous horns and spines (sometimes in the male sex only) has been the prelude to extinction. It seems probable that in some of these cases the species literally sank under the weight of its own armaments." Haldane, 1932, 65.

It's happening again, right now, but benefits Hispanics and Muslims...



Gottfredson L (1994) Mainstream Science on Intelligence, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, A18. (Also available at : lists her papers. She's on Wiki -

Steele, Shelby (2006/2007) White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Togehter Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. NY: Harper Collins. (The later edition is in paper.)
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