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  #11  
Unread March 26th, 2006, 11:14 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

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Margaret: I was hoping to get the genetic determinists to commit to some more silly social generalizations like the quotes from Rushton that started this thread - before bringing out the data.
Regarding genetic “determinists” you must be referring to TomJ’s “determinism” (me being more a free will/moral responsibility kind of guy)—hopefully Tom will respond; and maybe he’ll be able to tie it in with his “It's ultimately not their fault,” beliefs for you too.

Regarding your “data,” that ideological Internet site that you ladies cite, “THE LONG FAQ ON LIBERALISM,” was a hoot. Thanks for the laughs. Bye, bye for now girls; it’s been surreal.
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  #12  
Unread March 26th, 2006, 01:24 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Sunday morning essay.

I have never denied that there is a genetic basis for behavior and personality. Before we get into the details however, I think it's very important to recognize that genetic basis does not imply genetic control of behavior.

It means that we have an emotional control system that uses dispositions and hormones and neurotransmitters to mediate our behavior. And our emotional control systems do vary genetically between individuals, genders and races. It may be inately harder for some persons to learn some some types of behavior - or for others to avoid some types of behavior.

But, observation shows that we are all capable of overcoming that difficulty - and civilization requires that we do so. Our dispositions and emotions often tell us, for example, that it would be nice to have something that belongs to someone else. But most of us in almost every human culture learn to resist the disposition to just take what we want if we are big enough.

That's because we have evolved to have software programmable behavior that can interact with our emotions and that allow us to resist such urges. For most small children in the sandbox, not imposing one's will on others, is their first introduction to that necessary social programming.

But, there's much more going on here.

Even though most of us learn to curb our more socially destructive dispositions, those who have power and status in society are more easily offended by this necessity. This seems especially true in male dominated cultures like ours where competition is not just a healthy way to optimize the production of goods and services. Here, it is culturally fetishized.

Those who hold power can be very imaginative when justifying their right to retain that power - and in preserving the rigged competitive institutions that make that possible. For example, they can take things like IQ testing, that was originally developed to help teachers in France identify students that needed special help, and over the years turn that into a way to justify barriers to changes in the status quo.

But, what is IQ. We are told it is a measure of innate ability. I would ask, innate ability for what? The only thing certain is that it shows one's ability to answer some particular questions - and that it correlates well with a person's ability to compete in the particular games that are fetishized in that culture. Games like, Who Get's to be CEO, or Who Get's to Run Research Departments at Harvard, for example.

But IQ tests show consistent results, they say. Yes, they do. That's because IQ testing is big business. IQ tests that don't produce the results that school boards and other institutions expect are not purchased next time around - and millions of dollars of taxpayer money and even seats on the school board are at stake. IQ tests evolve to lose the questions that don't provide those consistent results - that don't support the cultural prejudices of those who pay for them. Companies that design IQ tests tout their ability to show this remarkable consistency in their advertising.

But, IMO the greatest problem with IQ is the notion that IQ is some real psychological variable, like empathy or fear or aggression. But it is not because it can't be. It is a sleight of hand composed of esoteric terms and statistical formulae. It reminds me of the mathematical equations behind the potency of homeopathic remedies.

The only forces that actually exist in our minds are the emotions that we experience. Our emotions direct our minds to produce concepts - fleeting networks of neurons firing in particular spatial patterns and at particular frequencies. Like subatomic particles, they are only visible because of their effects. Their ephemeral existence is entirely dependent on the emotions in the human minds that conjure them.

The types of concepts that any person produces and learns to use effectively are completely subject to the context of their own lives - their gender, their society, their experience, etc. They have no direct connection to their genetics, as our emotions do. Intelligence testing then purports to measure the efficacy of those specific chimeric patterns.

A magic number is produced - IQ - a single number that supposedly represents everything we'll ever need to know about who that person can ever become in life. According to Phil Rushton and some others, even a society's average IQ supposedly tells us everything we'll ever need to know about what that whole society can ever become. How fortunate we are to have scientists simplify such complicated questions for us.

But, IQ turns out to be nothing more than a person's innate ability to be good at creating and manipulating the particular classes of concepts that are valued by those paying for the IQ tests.

And, like the social construct of IQ itself, the concepts we produce in our minds - at the behest of our emotions - turn out to be far more useful for justifying our prior emotionally held beliefs than for examining them.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; March 26th, 2006 at 04:43 PM.
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  #13  
Unread March 26th, 2006, 03:54 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

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MM: But, what is IQ. We are told it is a measure of inate ability. I would ask, inate ability for what?
Glad you asked Margaret—innate cognitive ability. Or “intelligence”—think of it as the “cognitive” in Ledoux’s mental trilogy; the other two being emotion and motivation.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
An intelligence quotient or IQ is a score derived from a set of standardized tests developed to measure a person's cognitive abilities ("intelligence") in relation to their age group. An IQ test does not measure intelligence the way a ruler measures height (absolutely), but rather the way a race measures speed (relatively); IQ is described as a "quotient" because, originally, it represented the ratio between a person's "mental age" and actual chronological age.

For people living in the prevailing conditions of the developed world, IQ is highly heritable, and by adulthood the influence of family environment on IQ is undetectable. IQ test scores are correlated with measures of brain structure and function, as well as performance on simple tasks that anyone can complete within a few seconds.

IQ is correlated with academic success, job performance, socioeconomic advancement, and "social pathologies". It is taken by psychologists to be an excellent proxy for intelligence, and possibly the best measurable definition of intellectual ability, but generally not taken to represent intelligence perfectly. Recent work has demonstrated links between IQ and health, longevity, and functional literacy. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ#Social_construct]

Last edited by Fred H.; March 26th, 2006 at 04:08 PM.
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  #14  
Unread March 26th, 2006, 06:35 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default China, Race Differences and Intelligence

Margaret:

Check one of my favorite authors: Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment, who addresses relevant aspects of Chinese achievement.

The Chinese accomplished the first civil service system and a fairly enlightened system of environmental modifications at around 1200 (not sure of the dates).

I'm not sure why things eroded. They also had a handicap from their type of intelligence: that of seeing too much of a balanced order and not breaking things into linear components. Changes were neither possible nor desirable.
I suspect they have learned very well from us about the blessings of linearity and of making changes.

Get to know Murray: you will find him thorough and well motivated. (You can also find a review that I did on Alice Andrew's site: (2004) Magnificent inequality. A review of C. Murray, Human Accomplishment, Entelechy (Evolution, Mind, & Culture) http://www.entelechyjournal.com/magn...inequality.htm Spring/Summer.

And you probably still need to read Pinker's "Blank Slate" ...

JB
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  #15  
Unread March 26th, 2006, 06:38 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

" MM: But, what is IQ. We are told it is a measure of inate ability. I would ask, inate ability for what?"

IQ predicts academic achievement. It also predicts male excellence...it also relates to figuring things out, manipulating hierarchic standing, getting wives who are more fit, finding underlying order despite all of your wives, and asking "Why not?" about things that matter most of all...

Again, read Pinker and drop some prejudices...

JB
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  #16  
Unread March 27th, 2006, 02:02 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

JimB, I just noticed that you posted two messages. OK, I just ordered Blank Slate and How the Mind Works for good measure. I have watched two interviews of Pinker. One was an extensive one-hour session where the interviewer was Robert Wright. I have read The Moral Animal a couple of times and it is on my shelf.

Steven Pinker seems like a smart and reasonable person. I like his ideas (so far) and his hair I find it hard to believe that in The Blank Slate he's going to tell me how the lower average IQ's of women and blacks make us inferior to white men in terms of excellence. But I'm ready if it happens.

Which particular prejudices of mine should I be on the lookout for his book to correct? Or, do you think he can cover them all in one book?

Meanwhile, I'll be working on some thoughts about competition and the pursuit of excellence that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

Margaret
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  #17  
Unread March 27th, 2006, 09:54 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

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Margaret: Which particular prejudices of mine should I be on the lookout for his book to correct? Or, do you think he can cover them all in one book?
Excerpts From a piece in U.S. News & World Report - Mar 1, 2006, “Liberals and inconvenient science,” Posted at 08:00 AM by John Leo, (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion...nient_scie.htm):
Quote:
. . . The feminist assault on Larry Summers, however, is a much better example of what Fumento is talking about [that liberals often show disrespect for science when it suits their purposes]. Summers suggested that in addition to antifemale prejudice, "intrinsic aptitude" may explain why women are scarce in the most advanced levels of math, engineering, and some sciences. Summers said this casually and with no political finesse at all, but he was right. A very large–make that gigantic–amount of research compiled over decades shows that at the upper reaches of hard science and math, males outperform females. The research points to one conclusion: The sexes are different, and men and women make choices based on those differences.

Males are much better than females in spatial ability, the most clearly defined of all differences in the research. In 1995, a task force of the American Psychological Association unanimously reported that there are "both social and biological reasons" for male pre-eminence in visual-spatial tasks like mental rotation and spatio-temporal tasks like tracking a moving object. Males also tend to outperform females on mathematical reasoning and mechanical comprehension, while females tend to be better at language use, verbal fluency, and verbal memory.

Perhaps the most famous study, done by psychologist Camilla Benbow and various colleagues, who tested 40,000 young adolescents, showed that there were 13 times as many boys as girls in the highest range of SAT math scores. The finding was not that women are unable to handle math but that at the very top, males persistently tend to dominate. In his book Blank Slate, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote that "neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and ethnology are documenting sex differences that almost certainly originate in human biology."

The evidence is massive and well known, but virtually the entire faculty of Harvard, and so far as we can see, faculties across the country let Summers twist in the wind, saying nothing. So did almost all of the news media. The universities are ruled by a religionlike orthodoxy now, and scientific truth is not allowed to intervene when dogma is under attack. Given what happened to Summers, it will be a long time before any honest discussion of gender and science unfolds.

Legal columnist Stuart Taylor Jr. referred to all the silent professors and administrators as "high-IQ ninnies, ideologues, cowards, and/or hypocrites." Like Summers, Taylor was right.

Quote:
Margaret: Steven Pinker seems like a smart and reasonable person. I like his ideas (so far) and his hair….
Damn JimB, you’re good—I should have realized that Pinker’s big hair would be far more persuasive than Jensen’s boring science, statistics, and evidence. Note to Margaret—forget about Jensen . . . Jensen who?
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  #18  
Unread March 27th, 2006, 10:30 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

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Originally Posted by Fred H.
Regarding genetic “determinists” you must be referring to TomJ’s “determinism” (me being more a free will/moral responsibility kind of guy)—hopefully Tom will respond; and maybe he’ll be able to tie it in with his “It's ultimately not their fault,” beliefs for you too.
Against the alternative of cultural determinism, I'm not one of your "genetic determinists", as I've said in the past. In case you're not intentionally forgetting (and maybe to reinforce my point to others) I'll reiterate: my discussion of IQ-genetics was only that there was a possible mechanism (not a proven one), without which I would have to believe wholly in cultural influences. And BTW that mechanism is the need to improvise in a difficult environment, which includes other influences beyond weather. War is another. The availability of game is another.

I agree that all of Alexandra's and Margaret's arguments may be true, and almost made a couple of them. Intelligence is not that easily measured.

Which leads to my initial statement on this issue: we can not yet discuss this topic objectively. But it's still interesting how people's brains affect how they read the same sentences.
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  #19  
Unread March 27th, 2006, 11:13 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

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TomJ: Intelligence is not that easily measured.
Wake up Tom—intelligence quotient (IQ) is a score derived from a set of standardized tests developed to measure a person's cognitive abilities ("intelligence") in relation to their age group—obviously it doesn’t measure intelligence the way a ruler measures height (absolutely), but rather the way a race measures speed (relatively). See my above post and the quote from Wikipedia.

Take JimB’s advice and read Pinker—perhaps the charming, big haired Pinker will convince you and the girls of the reality of general intelligence differences. BTW, Pinker also has indicated that he doesn’t think free will is a myth, and believes in moral responsibility. (Pinker notes that, “In cases where we can tell with certainty that an identifiable kind of actor is undeterrable by criminal sanctions, in fact we don't punish him -- that's why we don't punish children, animals, machines, or the truly insane.” Unfortunately, however, Pinker apparently has been an atheist since age 13 . . . but then Flew was an atheist for 80 years b/f he saw the light)
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  #20  
Unread March 27th, 2006, 01:04 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Race Differences and Intelligence

Hi Tom, I'm not sure that I agree with your
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. . initial statement on this issue: we can not yet discuss this topic objectively.
At least in the sense that these things hardly ever get discussed objectively anyplace, I think we have as good a chance as anyone else. I also disagree with your underlying premise which seems to be that incontrovertible objective evidence has to exist before an objective discussion can take place. Objectivity only requires honest motives and no hidden agendas. I don't mind agendas as long as we're up front about them.

Here's mine. I am revolted by the idea of a world where someone's genes (translated as skin color, gender, perhaps IQ, etc.) could prevent them from receiveing fair and equal treatment or an equitable shot at happiness in the society they are born into. You know, those rights guaranteed to us by the US Constitution.

I don't have trouble discussing sex or racial differences in mental abilities or intelligence. But the facts on the ground are that conservatives are making two cases. One, is that those purported differences are incontrovertible and immutable. There is ample evidence to disagree with, if not disprove, both of those. An honest, objective discussion can be valuable to at least show that our current cultural re-embrace of eugenics is not nearly as science-driven as the RW think tanks and Steve Sailer (and JimB) would have us believe.

Their second case is that those differences justify some fairly radical conclusions regarding how we treat each other in the world. I mean, if so many people in this world really are genetically inferior - then you really can't expect the gifted classes to share their resources and their healthy, comfortable life-styles with the dumb ones, can you. How fair is that?

Rushton's quote that JimB posted to start this thread was quite revealing:
Quote:
These findings in Lynn's latest book have profound geopolitical significance. They imply it may simply not be possible to transmit Western-style democratic and economic systems to the populations of Latin America and Moslem North Africa and the Middle East, let alone sub-Saharan Africa. They mean that the world's long-term problems will stem from its populations' capabilities - much deeper and more intractable than any "Clash of Civilizations" - style competition between different political concepts.
But, even better evidence of where they are going with all this IQ stuff comes from The Bell Curve where the authors propose that (based on these easily understood, incontrovertible and immutable differences) the time has come for our society (the USA) to now organize itself to segregate the less mentally astute from the more capable - perhaps in special communities. From page 526,
Quote:
In short, by custodial care, we have in mind a high-tech and more lavish version of the Indian reservation for some substantial minority of the nation's population, while the rest of America tries to go about its business.
I suspect that widespread resistance and even revolt will require that they become even more pragmatic in their approach, however. There are several million of us who have average (IQ 100) or even above who are apparently not intelligent enough to appreciate the economic wonders of Enron-style capitalism or who don't take a suitably homophobic version of Jay-sus as our savior or who fail to see the profound wisdom of a God and smart-bombs-fueled Republican foreign policy and are labelled as enemy combatants - and so I think those special communities may end up with a broader mix by IQ.

This discussion is not really one that I'm willing to postpone while we wait for conclusive evidence on IQ. The inconclusive, shaky and disingenuous evidence is already being put to conservative ideological ends by way of the cable-bigots who reach millions every day. I don't see Rush asking for better evidence, do you?

Objectively, Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; March 27th, 2006 at 01:54 PM.
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