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    There's a lot of genetic data out there. Many of the Reich lab data are downloadable. Additionally, Martin Sikora gave me a pedigree file with a lot of the ancient genotypes in their recent paper (much appreciated since pulling genotypes out of a lot of big sequence files of varied coverage was going to take...
  • Thanks Razib (and Martin), this has saved me a lot of time.

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  • I was recently reading Sexual Behavior in the United States: Results from a National Probability Sample of Men and Women Ages 14–94. At N ~ 6,000 it's a large sample of American sexual behavior around 2010. There was one descriptive result which I thought was interesting, though not surprising. Before the age of 25 it...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I also wonder if the spike in men’s sexual activity relative to women indicates the point at which affairs become more common. When you get to the later years and most men and women are likely married, one would expect that monogamy would result in something close to a meeting of the lines, but instead men are finding more opportunities for sex.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Simple, older guys go after younger women. Younger women are easier to convince since they are eager to experience sex and are awed by money, looks and a ‘slick’ line. Older women want sex period, but with 25 year old men who have the endurance to satisfy their needs.

    But since men are always looking for younger women, the curve will always look the same.

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  • @Razib Khan
    my model is similar. i put this post up because it seems to quantify what i've heard of/seen anecdotally. e.g., i have attractive (young looking) female friends in their mid-30s who are shocked all of a sudden how difficult it is to date because now they're competing with women 10 years younger. to make things work they have to move up themselves to 45 year olds, and they're not always willing to do so....

    the converse is that to some extent immature and broke 20 year old males compete for the same women with 25 and 30 year olds who have jobs and are more seasoned.

    Perhaps the women in their mid-30s should be dating the 20 year old men. My impression is that they make cheap dates (pizza anyone), and if the women are primarily interested in sex or showing off their vitality (which often seems to be the case when men date much younger women) it seems like a match made in heaven (especially if the women are more focused on quantity than quality of sex).

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  • Mmmmm… Interesting! I can understand the sudden drop from 25-29. Maybe those women settled down and were preoccupied with child-rearing and household stuff and the men continued having sex maybe outside of marriage because their wives were busy and became homely).

    The most interesting, I think, is the rise among women aged 16-29. Is this related to the rise of sex addiction among women?

    http://voices.yahoo.com/women-sexual-addiction-characteristics-causes-6020246.html?cat=72

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @JonFrum
    Divide the population into two groups - those waiting to become sexual, and those who have become sexually active. Statistically, the line would sit right about where this graph peaks. That is, if people are ever going to become sexual, it's going to happen by their mid-20s.

    In those two age groups, you have different selection going on. In the early years, females can select the best deal for themselves, which is often an older male. Thus, for any yearly age cohort, sexual activity will be biased towards younger female/older male (although the difference will generally be small - one or two years).

    Once you reach the age where males catch up to females, and both sexes are fully sexually active, that bias goes away - males have equal opportunity to females. That explains the first half of the graph.

    The second half of the graph I take to me more complicated. Speculation warning: First, marriage locks in an older male-younger female equality of sexual behavior. If I"m five years older than my wife and we are monogamous, then our intercourse numbers will be equal. Second, I suspect that female interest in sex goes down faster than that of males. Third, given the opportunity, men of increasing age would keep having sex with 25 year olds for as long as they live. As a practical matter, this expresses itself in an 'as young as possible' bias that in practice is more like 5-10 years.

    My story - sticking to it.

    Great story. I would also assume that women, once they hit menopause, it affects their actual sex drives/hormones. This could play a role in why women fall off in the graph as they get older as they are less likely to continue to have sex due to the lack of hormones or lack of interest. They have already raised children and utilized the work of that uterus to its fullest extent so why bother if pleasure is minimal with increased age?

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  • I wonder if this includes gay sex. How much does that throw off the ratio? Gay sex counts twice for each gender remember.

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  • I’m guessing at least some of the decline among females after 25 is related to children and single motherhood in particular. Single parents don’t have a lot of time for relations and a higher proportion are women.

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  • @JonFrum
    Divide the population into two groups - those waiting to become sexual, and those who have become sexually active. Statistically, the line would sit right about where this graph peaks. That is, if people are ever going to become sexual, it's going to happen by their mid-20s.

    In those two age groups, you have different selection going on. In the early years, females can select the best deal for themselves, which is often an older male. Thus, for any yearly age cohort, sexual activity will be biased towards younger female/older male (although the difference will generally be small - one or two years).

    Once you reach the age where males catch up to females, and both sexes are fully sexually active, that bias goes away - males have equal opportunity to females. That explains the first half of the graph.

    The second half of the graph I take to me more complicated. Speculation warning: First, marriage locks in an older male-younger female equality of sexual behavior. If I"m five years older than my wife and we are monogamous, then our intercourse numbers will be equal. Second, I suspect that female interest in sex goes down faster than that of males. Third, given the opportunity, men of increasing age would keep having sex with 25 year olds for as long as they live. As a practical matter, this expresses itself in an 'as young as possible' bias that in practice is more like 5-10 years.

    My story - sticking to it.

    my model is similar. i put this post up because it seems to quantify what i’ve heard of/seen anecdotally. e.g., i have attractive (young looking) female friends in their mid-30s who are shocked all of a sudden how difficult it is to date because now they’re competing with women 10 years younger. to make things work they have to move up themselves to 45 year olds, and they’re not always willing to do so….

    the converse is that to some extent immature and broke 20 year old males compete for the same women with 25 and 30 year olds who have jobs and are more seasoned.

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    • Replies: @marcel proust
    Perhaps the women in their mid-30s should be dating the 20 year old men. My impression is that they make cheap dates (pizza anyone), and if the women are primarily interested in sex or showing off their vitality (which often seems to be the case when men date much younger women) it seems like a match made in heaven (especially if the women are more focused on quantity than quality of sex).
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  • Divide the population into two groups – those waiting to become sexual, and those who have become sexually active. Statistically, the line would sit right about where this graph peaks. That is, if people are ever going to become sexual, it’s going to happen by their mid-20s.

    In those two age groups, you have different selection going on. In the early years, females can select the best deal for themselves, which is often an older male. Thus, for any yearly age cohort, sexual activity will be biased towards younger female/older male (although the difference will generally be small – one or two years).

    Once you reach the age where males catch up to females, and both sexes are fully sexually active, that bias goes away – males have equal opportunity to females. That explains the first half of the graph.

    The second half of the graph I take to me more complicated. Speculation warning: First, marriage locks in an older male-younger female equality of sexual behavior. If I”m five years older than my wife and we are monogamous, then our intercourse numbers will be equal. Second, I suspect that female interest in sex goes down faster than that of males. Third, given the opportunity, men of increasing age would keep having sex with 25 year olds for as long as they live. As a practical matter, this expresses itself in an ‘as young as possible’ bias that in practice is more like 5-10 years.

    My story – sticking to it.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    my model is similar. i put this post up because it seems to quantify what i've heard of/seen anecdotally. e.g., i have attractive (young looking) female friends in their mid-30s who are shocked all of a sudden how difficult it is to date because now they're competing with women 10 years younger. to make things work they have to move up themselves to 45 year olds, and they're not always willing to do so....

    the converse is that to some extent immature and broke 20 year old males compete for the same women with 25 and 30 year olds who have jobs and are more seasoned.

    , @Anonymous
    Great story. I would also assume that women, once they hit menopause, it affects their actual sex drives/hormones. This could play a role in why women fall off in the graph as they get older as they are less likely to continue to have sex due to the lack of hormones or lack of interest. They have already raised children and utilized the work of that uterus to its fullest extent so why bother if pleasure is minimal with increased age?
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  • Speculations

    on this were a lot more productive, if we knew the “true”

    figures along with the figures they got by interrogation. :=)

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  • A commenter below notes: First, let's not get caught in the assumption that for genes to be disfavored one has to have zero fitness in individuals carrying those genes. If, for example, in a situation of demographic expansion you had individuals who had eight children vs. those who had one child, there would be selection...
  • ohwilleke: The percentage of all births that are fourth or higher ordinal births in 1998 was on the order of 7.1%… This is less than a quarter of the GSS number.

    Those don’t sound like comparable numbers. If everyone has exactly 4 births, the GSS number will be 100%, but only 25% of births will be 4th births. From the GSS numbers, 100 mothers produce 272 births, of which 55 are 4th or later. 55/272=20%. I don’t see how you get 7.1% out of your link. It looks like 14% to me: (5.7+2.6+1.7+0.6)/71.

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  • Very interesting. Here are the numbers from Norway (table is in English): http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/02/10/fodte_en/tab-2012-04-11-09-en.html

    In the 1940 male cohort, 13.9% had zero kids at the age of 45. In the 1961 male cohort, 22.2% had zero kids at the age of 45. The increase between the two cohorts is 60%.

    In the 1940 female cohort, 9.5% had zero kids at the age of 45. In the 1960 female cohort, 11.9% had zero kids at the age of 45. The increase between the two cohorts is 25%.

    There has been a few articles in Norwegian media recently about a new trend where young women search out “ligthly used” men that are already fathers. These women are not neccessary looking for older or richer men, just men that are already fathers and have proven their fathering skills. A increasing number of men therefore have two sets of kids, while an increasing number of men have no kids. I think this may have genetic implications, since the process doesn’t seem to be random to begin with.

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  • * The GSS numbers look like they are far too heavily weighted towards large families (or are sorely lagging indicators picking up trends that have since faded). GSS has about 27% of people having four or more children. The percentage of all births that are fourth or higher ordinal births in 1998 was on the order of 7.1% , which is closer to 6.2% with a more accurate modern figure of 20% childlessness. This is less than a quarter of the GSS number. Query if GSS is capturing people who are counting stepchildren that Census numbers do not include.

    By comparison, while 20% of women never have children, the percentage who never marry is closer to 5% and many never married women have children. A disproportionate share of women who choose to never have children are or have been married.

    * Family size has varied a great deal over the relevant time period with a bust in the Great Depression and War Years, followed by the Baby Boom, and then some secondary bumps up and down over time. Consider this quote from a 2008 article in the New York Times:

    “Twenty percent of women ages 40 to 44 have no children, double the level of 30 years ago. . . and women in that age bracket who do have children have fewer than ever — an average of 1.9 children, compared with the mean average of 3.1 children in 1976.”

    Bumps in total family size are not neutral with respect to the distribution of number of children. Bumps up and down disproportionately affect the right tail.

    * In Japan, the number of child per married woman has remained almost constant in the post-war period, but the number of never married women has soared (and non-marital childbearing is more rare in Japan than almost any other developed country), a trend very different than that of the U.S. that accounts for most of the relative lifetime fertility rate differences between the two countries.

    * Fertility treatments have also started to create a bimodal distribution of number of children, with unassisted reproduction gradually getting a thinner right tail, and assisted reproduction creating a multiple birth heavy bump in the right tail made up of the children of women in their late 30s and early 40s.

    * The two big questions in fertility I’d be interesting in knowing pertain to the lifetime fertility of men that due to inperfect assignment of paternity that is common in some of the most interesting cases is somewhat hard to gather data upon.

    First, I’d be interested to know what the relative liftime fertility of men with adult felony convictions is relative to those who don’t have adult felony convictions.

    Second, I’d be interested to know what the relatively lifetime fertility of men who have children with only one marriage and no non-marital children is relative to men who have multiple marriages and/or both non-marital children.

    Put another way, I’m interested in how “not playing by the rules” in our society relates to population genetic fitness.

    * Starting about ten or twenty years ago, the lifetime fertility of women of higher socioeconomic status started to exceed that of women of lower socioeconomic status, mostly due to fertility treatments compensating for delayed child bearing in higher SES women and reduced fertility among lower SES women. The latter trend also overlaps with the rise of mass incarceration in the United States. For the century before the 1990s, lower SES women have more lifetime children and had them younger than higher SES women.

    * One of the less obvious facts about population genetic fitness is how important the age at which one has children is in addition to the number of children per generation. Even if all women in two groups have precisely two children per lifetime, the difference between having children at age 20 and having children at age 30 is the difference between having two generation and three generations in the same sixty year period, which means that the women with earlier childbearing age have a number of descendants after sixty years (8) similar to the number that would be had by people who had children at age 30 with three children each after sixty years (9). Shorter generation length gives you a selective advantage if everyone in a generation survives to reproduce at the same frequency as their parents in both cases equivalent to another full child per generation.

    The percentage of people who are childless, the distribution of the number of children of people who have children by number of children, and the age of child bearing all factor into population genetic fitness.

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  • I find the consistency between the tables amazing. Compare to sex partner count where men consistenly report more than women. I guess children are just easier to count.

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  • #3, I briefly had a similar reaction. However, the sample is of individuals born before 1950, so that might have something to do with it. Or, our intuition may be just wrong.

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  • I expected a heavier right tail for men than women. Interesting that the distribution is about the same.

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  • #2, control-f how many times i said reproductive in that post! on this blog when i say ‘fit’ i men reproductive fitness. in any case, the point is that fitness may be conditional on sex and frequency dependence….

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  • So when you get back to the original question, does tall mean “fit”, to get really precise, the question is, does tall mean more babies? I think in your original post your answer was, it’s not that simple, correct?

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  • As someone with mild concerns about dysgenic (albeit, with a normative lens that high intelligence and good looks are positive heritable traits) trends, I'm quite heartened that Marissa Mayer is pregnant. Of course she's batting well below the average of some of her sisters, but you take what you can get in the game of...
  • Higher education is a problem, because it is located exactly at female prime reproductive years. The remaining slightly worse ones being used to jumpstart a career and buy a house.

    This means in order to achieve higher reproduction women should give birth while being at universities – perhaps planning birth at summer breaks or whatever. And universities have to become more flexible in this area, perhaps giving flexible terms of exams, ability to have a temporary break, absences on lectures or laboratories justified by children problems etc.

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  • You won’t get the full picture if you don’t look at how religious beliefs affect childbearing. Mormons, practicing Catholics and even some evangelicals (the quiverfull movement) adhere to beliefs that encourage procreation and/or discourage artificial contraception.

    I think in many cases religious belief will override the influence of education and economics.

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  • Thanks for running these. Interesting that things peaked in the 1980s (which would be 1940-1960s).

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  • It would make sense to have distribution roughly shaped like a right triangle, with those at the bottom of the income spectrum having more children, which tapered downward progressively the higher you go on the income spectrum – before rising again dramatically at higher incomes.

    Low-income parents have low expectations and few resources. Even assuming the “nurturist” ideas were right, it would probably be a safer bet to have many kids and hope one through luck or guile makes it into middle-class status.

    As you go up the income scale, expectations for your child’s future rise, but resources tend not to rise as quickly. Your kids could (theoretically) not just fail to rise in status but fall dramatically. There’s also at least a public zeitgeist (and arguably a reality) that the middle class is vanishing, so you’re fighting with other parents for slots in a smaller and smaller pool. Putting all your eggs into one basket could seem more attractive – assuming you believe nurturism.

    But once you get into the realms of the truly wealthy, things change. The necessity of two incomes lessens, or you may even be able to hire a full-time nanny. You know you will not need to hope for college scholarships. But more importantly than resources, the upper-class is “sticky” like the underclass, meaning a much greater degree of confidence in the ability of your children to maintain your standard of living. So why not have as many as possible? It might divide the family fortune when you die, but that’s their problem, not yours.

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  • What’s with the 90′s outlier for women with Graduate degrees on the ‘Ideal’ chart?

    Not only does more education push the decision to have children later, but the increasing costs of higher ed and the resultant debt burden makes it financially very difficult for years after school. For people with professional degrees, high incomes are offset by high debt loads.

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  • Dwight I’d imagine that among some subgroups like say Utah Mormons the trend will be different as wealth enables more kids. I know most rich families I see here have t 5 kids and often more whereas more “regular” families have 2-4 in the suburbs. You’ll then have a lot of professionals in a slightly different social group with 0 or 1 child which will change the average. Obviously this only applies to particular subgroups. (I wonder if there is a similar trend in other subgroups with more children than normal like Catholics – I bet not)

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  • Some months back I read an article that reported that there were a lot of high income females like Mitt Romney’s wife that had several children. That is they were studying attractive, well educated, females who had married high income males and the article claimed that a lot them used the option of having larger families than the norm.

    My nephew with the largest income has nine children. Another military career guy known to me has six. A pharmacist only has three boys so I can’t completely document based on first hand experience but it seems to compute that if lack of money limits family size then at least some of the well to do will have more children. I do know that many celebs seem to have a fair number of young usually scattered among several mates.

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  • For women, the biggest drop in ‘realized’ with increase in education is from <HS to HS. That is not the case for the combined samples.

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  • “albeit with a normative lens that high intelligence and good looks are positive heritable traits” LOL

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  • Prompted by a comment below I was curious as to the correlation between intelligence and income. To indicate intelligence I used the GSS's WORDSUM variable, which has a ~0.70 correlation with IQ. For income, I used REALINC, which is indexed to 1986 values (so it is inflation adjusted) and aggregates the household income. Finally, I...
  • Like I said before, check out the Terman study(It followed a couple hundred 135+ IQ students for 80 years). http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2011/04/earnings-effects-of-personality.html links to a paper that unpacks income, personality, and education and their effect on income on the terman sample.

    The impact of IQ on income is increasing past 135 and linear. It *probably* is lower than the impact below 135, but it’s still there.

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  • Meanwhile, I made another calculation with the GSS.

    Comparison of Means

    Dependent: WORDSUM

    Row:ISCO88(r:110-1120;1226-1240;1311-1314;2112-2460;3100-3480;4100-4223;5100-5220;6113-6150;7110-7520;8111-8400;9110-9333)

    Selection Filter: RACE(1);HISPANIC(1);age(30-100);year(2000-2010)

    Results:

    110-1120 (politicians, I think, perhaps with some military mixed) – 6.94
    1226-1240 (corporate managers) – 6.88
    1311-1314 (managers of small enterprises) – 6.45
    2112-2460 (professionals) – 7.46
    3100-3480 (technicians and associate professionals ) – 6.84
    4100-4223 (clerks) – 6.57
    5100-5220 (service workers and shop and market sales workers ) – 6.02
    6113-6150 (skilled agricultural and fishery workers) – 5.30
    7110-7520 (craft and related trades workers ) – 5.84
    8111-8400 (plant and machine operators and assemblers) – 5.29
    9110-9333 (elementary occupations ) – 5.56

    The only relevant point that I can conclude from that is “professionals” are indeed more intelligent (or, at least, have a higher vocabulary) than “corporate managers” (of course, it is very possible that these “professionals” more intelligent than “corporate managers” could have also a higher income)

    The relative high wordsum of “elementary occupations” is an illusion created by a very high result in the category 9110 (street vendors, I think) – 7.11, higher than managers and politicians (probably some post-hippie types with college degrees).

    Codes of ISCO-88:

    http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/isco88/publ4.htm

    http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/research/links/isco88/isco88.pdf

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  • “Eminent scientists have higher IQ’s than their scientist peers, etc.”

    I think that this point is not much relevant – the essence of the theory “Income peaks when your IQ is at 130″ is that very high IQ people are more prone to choose arcane fields of work with (comparatively) little financial reward; then, to test that theory, you can’t compare people in the same field of work (scientists with scientists, for example).

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  • #25, I thin the reasoning is more:

    “x = your IQ – 10 points. all IQ above x is zero marginal returns on any domain you wish to measure”

    implicit in this theorem is that “you” are more intelligent than the social elite (and probably could be even a victim of your own intelligence).

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  • Spearman’s law of diminishing returns is a real phenomenon you know. g becomes less important as it increases and specific skills become more important. of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone at IQ x has those specific skills.

    Does anyone have any data refutes half sigma findings on the GSS: http://www.halfsigma.com/2011/07/higher-verbal-ability-leads-to-lower-income.html

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  • #24, the heuristic is simple. x = your IQ. all IQ above x is zero marginal returns on any domain you wish to measure :-)

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  • Generally the whole “Income peaks when your IQ is at 130″ thing is probably bullshit. The Terman study showed persistent and near linear gains past 130. Eminent scientists have higher IQ’s than their scientist peers, etc.

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  • Cool… correlation does not imply causation, though. It could be that people who make less money are immersed in cultures that tend to be less fluent/ eloquent. Ya never know! It’s interesting to look at, though.

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  • Behind every very wealthy 100 IQ executive there’s a much less wealthy 130 IQ techie whose ambition mainly revolves around items in World of Warcraft.

    Obviously not really true but an element of truth maybe – especially with the importance of IT in generating competive advantage over the last 30 years.

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  • Vocabulary tends to grow with age due to increase exposure to written and spoken words. Income generally also tends to increase with age, up to the point of retirement. How have you corrected for age?

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • I wonder if the ideological differences are greater on matters about which people have no personal experience to base their opinions than on matters outside the range of their opinions.

    There used to be a saying that in some kinds of trials in Russia (I can’t remember which) you’d rather have peasants judging your case than city people because they knew how the real world worked and would ignore elite ideologies in making their decisions.

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  • Prompted by a comment below I was curious as to the correlation between intelligence and income. To indicate intelligence I used the GSS's WORDSUM variable, which has a ~0.70 correlation with IQ. For income, I used REALINC, which is indexed to 1986 values (so it is inflation adjusted) and aggregates the household income. Finally, I...
  • @19: Not just more words, but better words. You pull out your five-dollar words at the wrong party and some rich guy’ll trump your Abe with his Benjamins.

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  • Obviously, richer people can afford to buy more words.

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  • There a dependency here with age, because peoples’ vocabulary and fluency continues to improve all through the adult life. Also older people are paid more because of maturity and experience, of course. Therefore your graph is incorporating age as well, as a hidden dependency. You need to subset by age and test again.

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  • DH says:

    Since when is IQ synonymous with “merit”? To begin with, the term “meritocracy” is vague and non-scientific.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that the term has some meaning consonant with the usual definition of “merit”. To then assert that the fact that the top 1% of earners have a mean IQ of 108 implies in itself that we are not a meritocracy is preposterous.

    I’m not saying we are a meritocracy. (In politics, I’d say it’s virtually self-evident that we are not, by any rational definition of the term.) I’m saying that if one wishes to determine whether we are, it makes no sense to focus on a single variable such as IQ as one’s sole or main measure of “merit”.

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  • A problem with the theory “high IQ could lead to high income but much high IQ does not lead to much high income” is that it is very difficult to test, because the two factors that we are comparing “much high IQ” and “much high income” are both relatively rare and, to make things worse, many statistics, polls, etc have a ceiling problem, where it is impossible to differentiate between the “high” and the “very high” (like the wordsum=10, where you could find both “genius” and people with an IQ a bit above average).

    The fact that these theory is very popular could be a point in its favour (meaning that matches with the conclusions that many people observe in the real world); however, it is possible that the reason being simply that the “genius” working as librarians or high school teachers are much more “visible” to the average persons than the genius earning millions in Wall Street or Sillicon Valley.

    Or perhaps there is some confusion between IQ and Openness in that.

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  • J says:

    Is the correlation of WORDSUM uniform across the scale? I’m pretty sure somebody with an extremely low score isn’t very smart, but at the other end of the scale, I’d expect an English major to have a higher WORDSUM score than an engineer, even though (at least in my experience) engineers tend to be considerably more intelligent.

    One example of a distortion:

    “most people would be surprised that the average K-8 teacher is about as smart as the average person in the top 1% of the income distribution”

    Most K-8 teachers were education majors. Based on SAT derived IQ, people who enter college as education majors are the least intelligent of all college students. Still, I would expect them to have a strong vocabulary.

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  • #10 was meant as a joke, right? Please tell me someone is simply trying to be cute there.

    Whether serious or not, it is a reminder that possessing intellect is disconnected with being educated.

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  • Half Sigma showed that vocabulary loses its correlation with income if education is controlled. I suppose you are just capturing the effect of aptitude entrance exams that test verbal ability.

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • You don’t have to look hard for examples of “science” screwing up. Yet lay people are often considered “anti-science” for not jumping on the GMO bandwagon or for doubting any other scientific innovation. People were once told that refined sugar was a great source of calories, along with many other things that turned out not to be true. Yet anyone who even suspects HFCS is unhealthy today is tarred as anti-science. Coconut oil is bad for you, said (and till say) many peoples’ doctors. etc etc. How about the green revolution? Poisoning of freshwater systems by excessive nutrients flowing in from the fields?

    Big agriculture *has* led to a shittier diet for most Americans. This is fact, not sentiment. Sadly, the ag lobby is way too powerful. Eating less meat would definitely help the environment. There are many wonderful things about organic food (it promotes species diversity, at least on a local level) and growing your own vegetables is definitely accessible to nearly everyone. There are psychological as well as physiological benefits. I agree that GMO’s are probably not dangerous to health, and probably not to the environment either (and could have benefits) but I understand why people are concerned.

    It’s almost funny when scientists claim (I have heard this multiple times) that “that was then, it’s not like that now! Science is self-correcting!” Like instead of meaning “science will get it eventually” in terms of individual cases they interpret it to mean “science has perfected itself and you can believe everything we tell you now”. Recently a bunch a Monsanto employees were foaming at the mouth and piling on some non-scientist on Michael Eisen’s blog for doubting that scientists were always right and for saying things like she told her doctor not to prescribe anything that hasn’t been on the market for at least five years. Sounds sensible to me!

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  • @DawrinCatholic – this was not a question about health effects, which is a major factor in GMO opposition by consumers, but about environmental impact. This begs a question – have their checked if respondents were farmers, therefore the answer being a result from empirical experience, rather than just expressing an opinion?

    “Idealization of agrarian past” may also be a fading trend. We have “agriculture is evil” movements like a Paleo Diet that praises pre-agricultural food, and also extension of environmentalism to anti-agriculture (eg. Lierre Keith “The Vegetarian Myth”).

    Here Paleo Diet expert Robb hunts with Atlatl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrHCpxoBcyU

    (Discovery – I caveman)

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  • Prompted by a comment below I was curious as to the correlation between intelligence and income. To indicate intelligence I used the GSS's WORDSUM variable, which has a ~0.70 correlation with IQ. For income, I used REALINC, which is indexed to 1986 values (so it is inflation adjusted) and aggregates the household income. Finally, I...
  • @10

    A general trend over a large population sample doesn’t mean that every member of the population will mirror that trend perfectly. Exceptions happen. If you’re going to flaunt an IQ number, might want to think about doing so in a less silly way.

    I’m not trying to sound mean. Just got a degree in psych myself, and I always felt bad for the students who inadvertently provided comic relief for the class by saying stuff like that.

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • Actually, I’m not super surprised by this. A percentage of the same conservative Christians who are against evolution are also against GMOs and are enthusiastic for “organic” produce and meat. Sometimes they root it in “messing with God’s creation” but other times its just basic luddism and idealization of an image of an agrarian past.

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  • Prompted by a comment below I was curious as to the correlation between intelligence and income. To indicate intelligence I used the GSS's WORDSUM variable, which has a ~0.70 correlation with IQ. For income, I used REALINC, which is indexed to 1986 values (so it is inflation adjusted) and aggregates the household income. Finally, I...
  • #10, with that IQ you should take a statistics course! :-)

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    According to this I should have the same vocabulary as both of my nephews. Just for the record, the fact that I barely make any money has nothing to do with my IQ or the vastness of my vocabulary. I have an IQ of at least 142 and an associate’s degree in Psychology and working on my bachelor’s. Plan on getting my Ph.D. in the future. Right now I work for the Department of Social Services, but don’t be fooled, it doesn’t pay as well as one might think.

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  • I know this point has been made before, but a household income of $70,000 is hardly the 1%

    fwiw, #1 is referring to a different analysis that mine above.

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  • Razib,

    I know this point has been made before, but a household income of $70,000 is hardly the 1%. My wife and I live in a 1,260 square foot rowhouse, have two cars from 2003, and had a combined income of around $91,000 last year. This puts us in the top quartile of U.S. households for income, which is arguably upper-middle class (although my wife has a hard time believing this), but certainly not economically elite.

    1 -

    From what I can tell looking at that chart online, the high point is the 99th percentile, not the 100th percentile, which drops back down to 106. Of course, the sample sizes are probably too small for any percentile to be indicative. Still, it doesn’t look like there is any trend regarding IQ and income (or at best a weak one) above the 90th percentile.

    Anyway, more generally…

    To a great extent, I think our meritocracy works well at the level of the upper-middle class. No one can doubt that doctors, lawyers, engineers, and scientists have intelligence higher than the general public. I think it’s also generally the case that the smarter and more conscientious in all these professions all achieve more, and if they are so interested, earn more (although they may purposefully choose a less lucrative area within their field).

    The question is more on the subject of the managerial/executive class, who as a whole have IQs only a few points above the national median, and are almost entirely responsible for the growth of income inequality in the U.S. All of my exposure to business school curriculum suggests it’s largely the bizzaro world clone of liberal arts, teaching graduates how to appear smart by using buzzwords, and how to apply solutions someone else came up, rather than think independently.

    That is not to say that there aren’t smart managers or entrepreneurs. Indeed, I think in some industries, like tech and to a certain extent finance, there are a great many, drawn not just due to money, but the desire to do something new no one else has accomplished. However, being a manager in general involves progressively more time spent in meetings with both superiors and subordinates, and less time actually doing something. The real management innovations are often undertaken by others – industrial engineers or those with heavy math backgrounds, who may be well compensated, but not as much as high-level managers or executives.

    I suppose the final question then is twofold.

    1. Could management be something which smart people felt generally more engaged doing? If so, would we see significant productivity gains as a society?

    2. If the above isn’t possible, is there any real reason why a job which does not actually require as high level of skill as many upper-middle class professional jobs should be compensated at a much higher level? Or is it really just so well rewarded because it’s a great soft landing for the wealthy with only moderate intellectual talents?

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  • [ignore my comment - I did not noticed that REALINC was adusted to 1986 values]

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  • “wow, 1%ers are morons!”

    I suspect that most people would be surprised that the average K-8 teacher is about as smart as the average person in the top 1% of the income distribution.

    It’s true that education and IQ strongly predict income. But it’s actually sort of shocking how little income predicts education and IQ. I don’t have numbers off hand, but I remember looking at the GSS and being really surprised how many low-income people had college and post-graduate degrees and how many high-income people didn’t.

    [Part of this is that I used the total cumulative sample, things probably have gotten a bit better sorted over time, but I don't think the effect was *that* large]

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  • Conscientiousness together with IQ explain a lot(The Terman study, which had it’s own problems but is all I have to work from, had conscientiousness being roughly twice as important as IQ past 125). But there’s still stuff liberals can complain about. Poor kids with high SAT scores are less likely to go to college than rich kids with low SAT scores. Part of that is due to conscientiousness differences but not all of it.

    I think liberals over-reach when pointing that out, because most low-income kids do not have high scores, it isn’t terribly important to income inequality. But it is an important indicator of the efficiency of our educational system.

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  • Immigrant from former USSR [AKA "Florida Resident"] says:

    Dear Mr. Khan !
    I believe that it is appropriate to mention Charles Murray’s thin, but important brochure “Income Inequality and IQ”, which, I am pretty sure, you know:

    http://www.mega.nu/ampp/murray_income_iq.pdf

    In that brochure Murray took a sub-sample of National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY). Namely, he took only those particiaants of NLSY, who had siblings in NLSY. Thus he made “environment” as equal as it can possibly be.

    Respectfully, F. r.

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  • and just to be clear, the correlation between income & IQ is going to be imperfect. other variables imperfectly correlated with IQ are important (e.g., time preference).

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  • wow, 1%ers are morons!

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6927133195/in/photostream , from the GSS.

    The relationship is obviously there. But the average implied IQ of someone in the top 1% is only 108. That’s sort of important, since it argues against the implicit argument a lot of people make that we’re in a perfect or near perfect meritocracy. (NOT claiming you made this argument, but it’s an implication that a lot of people make)

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • The question about GMO is stupid. Shows problems with abstract thinking. There’s no single “GM crops” entity. Genetic modification is just a mechanism. It’s obvious that modifications that cause plants to produce toxins killing insects, or allows farmers to spray with extra doses of superchemicals are dangerous to the envrionment, while modifications that just cause plant to produce additional vitamins don’t pose as much danger.

    Is the process of genetic engenerring dangerous by itself? That would show how much people trust competence, honesty and knowledge of GMO providers (both corporations and scientists). Are they able to control everything (gene expression, gene transfers to other species etc.)?

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  • #1 Gwern, I too would like to know these big differences.

    I suspect that if you ignore data about usual ‘hot button’ issues (abortion, etc) (that members of both ideological camps have bought into wholesale to the point where they are almost ‘movements’) then we won’t find much difference. Specially if these questions are abstractly framed or are too general to evaluate on the fly . My hunch is that people more readily access the heuristic “What did/would [my trustworthy source of most opinions] think about..” and they are more likely to never have answers ready for abstract/general questions because
    a) They don’t know what Obama/Bush would say or can’t recall from memory
    b) They won’t indulge in a long & cognitively expensive process of reasoning from first principles on the spot (refer to razib’s earlier post)

    Therefore, they would end up using intuition/feeling, getting similar answers regardless of ideological preference because people are equally ignorant (“on average”;)

    I don’t have any evidence to support this thesis but I am sure people here can evaluate based on what they know if this model works.

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  • In the comments Chad says: First, I'm going to reiterate something: the majority of the human race consists of individuals who are not very smart. This is not meant as an insult, but it's basically the truth. We may not be talking about idiots, but the average person on the street can not come close...
  • #20, fair point. though talking about utility is a whole different game. after all, both left and right agree on the importance of parents. this is actually tendentious…

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  • You’re right you addressed the sex difference issue in the note. Apologies for missing that.
    But not the race issue. I understand your evaluation of the issue of sex differences (and race differences? not putting words in your mouth, just asking) as not significant compared to evolution from a science perspective. But how about it from a instrumental/utilitarian perspective? As in, how much of a negative effect would be engendered by the spread of anti-evolution perspectives vs. how much harm is the current race-iq-and-gender-difference denying perspective contributing to (e.g. Trayvon-Zimmerman, black on white crime in general, persistent sexual anti-wage-gap activism, affirmative action etc)?

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • The devil’s in the details. The questions asked may be priming people a certain way and there’s more to this than just the science in America.

    Enough people have worked for corporations where someone screws up and buries the evidence or shifts blame. While evolutionary forces can create dangerous crops (poisonous mushrooms abound), we know there’s nothing we can do, so who cares? We know from this that you can certainly create poisonous corn or wheat, etc, and people may be responding from a fear of what goes wrong in a corporate environment (although most of the corporate malfeasance people are familiar with involves a copier. However, we extrapolate from personal experience. If my cubemate is photocopying his butt, imagine what the guys in the lab are doing…)

    It would be instructive to try and figure out how our particular market for genetic crops factors in to people’s feelings about science. My concern with GMOs (my mother has a farm, so this could affect my family) is the patents and legal rulings around GMOs. If a neighbor plants a Monsanto crop and it spreads over to our property (something that can’t be controlled), suddenly Monsanto has a legal claim to my mother’s property because SHE didn’t buy a license (there are also issues concerning how you can’t legally replant that crop, you have to buy all new seed). When people see that article in the news, I wonder how much of that scenario they blame on the American patent and legal system, and how much they blame on science.

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  • In the comments Chad says: First, I'm going to reiterate something: the majority of the human race consists of individuals who are not very smart. This is not meant as an insult, but it's basically the truth. We may not be talking about idiots, but the average person on the street can not come close...
  • Very nice post. As a political liberal, my own view is that on the whole the right does have worse issues with being anti-science than the left (plenty of exceptions and caveats, which i’m not going to bother noting). However, the academy is basically liberal, so liberal blind-spots and biases can ramify with disproportionate impact.

    One example is ‘whole language’. The idea that children should learn english spelling the way they might learn hieroglyphics (I parody only slightly) is extremely silly. Actual linguists are probably not affected themselves – Language log is pretty uniformly dismissive for example. But go a few buildings down to the education school, and the movement can really catch on, because it flatters the prejudices of the left. I think if you skim through this post and comments, you get a sense of where a decent chunk of the academic left sits, and this after decades of research demonstrating what a moment of reflection should suffice to show.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What about the elephant in the room: climate change?

    Climate change denial is clearly anti-science, yet the GOP has made it official party platform. Between that and creationism, the idea that the left and right are equally anti-science (at least in the US) is ludicrous on its face.

    Yes, there are plenty of morons on both sides. But only the GOP has made the viewpoints of morons de-facto requirements for major national candidates.

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  • In the further interests of putting quantitative data out their instead of vague impressions, I noticed two GSS variables which might be of interest. One queries the impression of effect on the environment of genetically modified crops. The second asks about whether science does more harm than good. The latter question exhibited almost no year...
  • #1, say more about otherwise.

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  • I am more than a little amazed there’s so little difference between ideological groups. I wonder what on earth is going on there, since otherwise there do seem to be big differences…

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  • In the comments Chad says: First, I'm going to reiterate something: the majority of the human race consists of individuals who are not very smart. This is not meant as an insult, but it's basically the truth. We may not be talking about idiots, but the average person on the street can not come close...
  • no, the reality is that most of the human race are stupid, and when they try to talk intelligently about things that require some cognitive heft they come off as sounding like retards. that’s my experience

    This is partially my experience. What’s your take on distinction between people with low or mediocre intelligence and people who are imply ill-informed? In post #16, you seem to focus on ignorance as the problem rather than low intelligence. My experience is that when people try to discuss my professional field, I almost always find their analysis and discussion superficial. But, many of these people are otherwise quite intelligent and usually educated. A physicist with a phd is not going to be able to discuss history with the same depth and sophistication as a historian with a phd, although I would venture a guess than phd physicists have higher average IQs than phd historians.

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  • #15, my point is that a lot of people try and talk to me about shit they know jack shit about. i know they know jack shit because there are some things i know stuff about. as for stuff i don’t know much about, i can’t judge. people actually do talk a lot about history, science, etc. if they’re not interested enough to read a bit about these topics they should keep their mouths shut. though oftentimes it’s clear even if they read about a topic they can’t keep track of all the threads in their heard (i.e., i can make the argument they’re making to me better than they can).

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  • lol. oh man… well I should’ve just quoted and made a joke about ‘feeling “less wrong” today?!’ :) But seriously, just as an example I know a lot of musicians that do things that seem (and feel to me) quite heavy in the load their brain is dealing with. If they applied themselves to other things with the tenacity they bring to music: using verbal, memory, mathmatical and/or patern rec. intelligence, they might be quite astute at a number of other tasks. Thus Bowie; seems like a smart dude.
    Obviously not everyone is as sucessful, but many people devote huge amounts of time to their interests and might be quite the resource. But that last line I do feel ya on! :D

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  • This is not to say that no one is of less attitude compared to others and it all essentially evens out, but I think it is a necessary nuance when talking about intelligence to avoid narcissism, elitism or some ubermensch-land. “Gotta make way for the homo superior!”

    elitism is fine by me. what’s the problem with that? yes, i have my own priorities and that’s why i’m not an NBA basketball player!

    no, the reality is that most of the human race are stupid, and when they try to talk intelligently about things that require some cognitive heft they come off as sounding like retards. that’s my experience, but then you might have a different one. introduce me to these people. i don’t see enough of them in these comments. by stupid i mean they lack a high level of general intelligence.

    if the majority of the human race was not interested in things i’m interested in life would be nice. i wouldn’t have to listen to inane ignorant bullshit.

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  • I think you could say with more certainty that the majority of the human race consists of individuals who are not very interested in many of the things – or at looking at things: reason, math what have you – in the way that yourself and others more similar to yourself find most valuable. Their brains may be optimized toward dealing with other types of information. That may not mean that they lack the capacities to see things in “your” ways through appropriate stimulation, but the die was cast so that they were not naturally disposed to prioritizing those things – say over sculpture, cooking, poetry, being an athlete, actor, warrior, etc. Or their station in life put them down a different path of where certain persuits were essentially not an option.

    It’s almost like saying humans living in the pleistocene were not what we’d call “smart”. How are we defining smart? Of the modern period’s smart? That requires a lot of training – prior knowledge. “G”? They might have had more, with their bigger brains and all. Sort of like the dog wolf thing; especially taking into account different breeds of dog and the things some can be trained to do when you “speak their language” toward their dispositions.

    This is not to say that no one is of less attitude compared to others and it all essentially evens out, but I think it is a necessary nuance when talking about intelligence to avoid narcissism, elitism or some ubermensch-land. “Gotta make way for the homo superior!”

    http://youtu.be/pBQ-S6njQQw

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  • Explaining the science left-right belief gap by intelligence or temperament seems true but seems less robust over history (50 years ago left-right science belief was the same). Jonathan Haidt’s spin on this is that certain groups hold certain belief’s sacred, and denialism happens when sacred beliefs and reality conflict. This frame seems widely useful. Is there a way to use the GSS to test out that hypothesis? Maybe pick some sacred liberal beliefs that conflict with science. Here’s a short video where Haidt talks to David Sloan Wilson on this topic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9kJkuuedw0

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  • i did use weighted samples, but i also changed the decimals so it shouldn’t show. and combined very liberal, liberal, and slightly liberal, into one big category (and same for conserv).

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  • Great article. What settings did you use to pull the numbers from the GSS data? I was trying to recreate that table, but seem to get minor variations in numbers. I’m guessing it has something to do with sample weights or some such issue.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Historically, the right, conservatives, have found it in their interest to shape or control the direction of inquiry into the unknown; but the same can be said about the left as well. Dilatants of Political/Social interests have used science, or more specifically, baseless ideas in the name of science to further their political agendas. The only agenda pure science has is to discover the unknown, and to satisfy the human trait of understanding their environment and origin. If there is any social agenda of science, that would be to use that knowledge gained by the practice of science to improve the human condition and quality of life as determined by what has been discovered by reason and logic. Hopefully, there will be a time through Human evolution that the base human quality that drives people to control or rule others will dissipate like the tails and fins our species once had. Dogma, superstition, and myth is the science of tyrants and the bliss of the ignorant.

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  • E says:

    What about human embryonic stem cell research? This hasn’t been as much of an issue lately, but I do distinctly recall supporters of research strongly asserting that opposition to experimentation was tantamount to an “attack on science.” They did not merely argue that the moral concerns of opponents were misguided.

    But the argument against experimentation (like those against animal experimentation) was normative; no one was denying the science of embryo development or claiming that reproduction was actually due to a small dwarf consuming humors, or something. Outside of evolution, I reckon most conflicts with the “scientific community” probably do boil down to normative, rather than doctrinal, considerations. Even skepticism of (catastrophic) anthropogenic global warming seems motivated by fears of what (potentially) radical steps governments might take to thwart it, and the moral conflicts that would follow from them.

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  • #5, yes. but the quantitative difference is not that large relative to evolution.

    #6, in general, i agree. though i don’t put much emphasis on philosophical, as opposed to cultural, baggage. most people are stupid, so it ain’t the philosophy. evolution has gotten caught up in the anti-modernist vs. modernist conflict among protestants (contrast with relative acceptance of evolution among catholics). i’ve actually posted quantitative data showing minimal left vs. right difference in knowledge of science fwiw.

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  • Razib, what I was really trying to get at is “what does it mean to be anti-science?” We tend to be quick to dismiss people as anti-science based on views of a singular issue. I don’t think that necessarily or inherently makes a person anti-science though.

    I agree that the results show that there is a definitive split on human evolution, the emphasis being humans. This is my problem with these surveys. Due to my political and religious I regularly interact with creationists, and I know that there is actually quite a diverse range of views within this group. Quite a few accept evolution in animals but make a distinction when it comes to humans. I have searched, but cannot find any more nuanced poll regarding such beliefs, let alone one that also accounts for politics.

    I am not defending creationism by any means, I have done my active part to educate people in evolution, which typically involves more time dispelling myths regarding Evolution=Atheism as it does addressing the science. I will reiterate what I have previously said, that most of these people are simply not concerned with the issue, they don’t think about it more than once a year, they are just ignorant of the matter and blindly follow the majority view of their subculture. Of those who have given more serious thought, I find most of them find nature and science interesting. They do not oppose science, but they are typically mislead by the writings of individuals like Behe. You and I can both agree that their opinion is wrong, but I disagree that these people are necessarily anti-science because they have a wrong opinion on a single issue.

    I also think that opposition to Evolution has more to do with “values” than with science. In my original reply I explained this in greater detail. Most creationists are led to believe by truly anti-science creationists, but also by confrontational atheists, that there is no difference between Evolution and Atheism. That a belief in God and Evolution are completely in opposition. But if you can actually dispense with this myth, right up, then I generally find that they are very receptive to Evolution.

    Because of my experience, I believe that all of it has very little to do with an inherent opposition to Science or its goals, but rather all of the philosophical baggage that has been tied to it.

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  • Strongly favor nuke power 16 13 12
    Favor nuke power 49 50 64
    Oppose nuke power 28 27 16
    Strongly oppose nuke power 7 9 8

    Well, the Left does seem somewhat more stupid when it comes to opposing nuclear power (28 vs 16). Frankly, I’ve never been able to take environmentalists seriously when they are anti-nuclear power.

    Syon

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  • . However, much of the right seems to regard the latter as little more than a speculative discipline, akin to metaphysics.

    the border between micro and macro evolution is a matter of semantic sugar. IOW, it’s a human-imposed category boundary. the processes which drive evolution are pretty much scale independent….

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  • #2, do you read my posts? i addressed that in my notes. if you don’t read my posts, don’t comment on them again.

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  • What about the big one – race denialism, IQ denialism, sexual differences denialism?

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  • I’ve read some right-wingers attempt to make a distinction between science and engineering, only regarding the latter as trustworthy due to its pragmatic application even though it has no basis at all without the former. Reproducible experiments in university laboratories sound like a form small-scale engineering to me. Microevolution can be engineered, whereas theory regarding macroevolution relies upon an interpretation of incomplete data using more basic theories that have withstood testing. However, much of the right seems to regard the latter as little more than a speculative discipline, akin to metaphysics. Stupid, of course, although I don’t know if leftists understand it any differently. They are more likely to defer to the expertise of the scientist, but neither they who “support” evolution nor the rightists who “oppose” it understand the mechanics of it works — a point that I believe you’ve made in the past.

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  • A weeks ago Robert Wright had a post up, Creationists vs. Evolutionists: An American Story. Here's the crux: A few decades ago, Darwinians and creationists had a de facto nonaggression pact: Creationists would let Darwinians reign in biology class, and otherwise Darwinians would leave creationists alone. The deal worked. I went to a public high...
  • Razib, with all due respect, I believe you have missed part of the point of Robert’s post. Namely, it’s not whether the overall attitudes toward evolution and creationism have changed all that much (I agree, they haven’t). Rather, Robert’s point is that the public activities of the more extreme elements in both camps have become more vocal and politicized.

    As to who “shot first”, that’s not really a scientific question (or rather, is exceedingly difficult to measure as such); it really depends on who, collectively, feels they were insulted or attacked. That in turn would be largely driven by any leadership in either camp. The average church goer, for example, isn’t likely to care (or even be aware of) what Dawkins or anyone else says – but their pastor might, and preach more heavily on the subject than they would otherwise. Or the church leadership might, passing resolutions on the subject in order to “clarify” for their membership.

    There is another effect that I think both your data and Robert’s thoughts circle around but miss; when people’s beliefs are threatened, they entrench themselves. It’s a self defense mechanism ( http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/10/19/when-in-doubt-shout-%E2%80%93-why-shaking-someone%E2%80%99s-beliefs-turns-them-into-stronger-advocates/ ). If I tell you that your ideas are stupid, not only will you likely not reconsider your position and delete my post, but subconsciously you will note that only hostile, unintellectual people seem to be disagreeing with you.

    In other words, when someone like Dawkins comes out and calls Christians idiots, he’s nothing more than a real life troll. Atheists within ear shot might rally behind the flag of their perceived leader, but Christians will harden their view. The same is likely by Atheists who hear some Christian go on about an Earth that is 6,000 years old.

    All in all, there’s no expectation that this strategy will convince anyone, in either direction. The real measure that should be looked at to see if Robert is correct isn’t whether people have been swayed one way or another; I would expect them not to. Rather, it’s to see how much public policy has been proposed or debated regarding evolution and creationism. If his view is correct, it proposes that although people’s minds have not changed, the amount of policy being kicked around (alternately, how strongly these issues sway voters) should have increased.

    Which would be an interesting topic, but I think the lesser point. The more relevant issue should be this: “militant atheism” is unhelpful. That level of in your face aggressiveness to the point of insulting only reinforces the opposing view.

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  • “The moral of the story? Vague impressions can mislead.”

    Perhaps it’s that for a lot of people input is becoming increasingly restricted to just those they can really get along with and external impressions are dismissed out of hand.

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  • it appears that two wrong turns do indeed make a Wright.

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  • I strongly agree with the advocacy of the new atheists and believe that Wright is completely misguided. But the data presented here are unfortunate in at least one way.

    The question is ambiguous, or at least certain choices are. I believe the most rational choice for a non-believer is Strongly Disagree on the grounds that science does not have much influence in (American?) society relative to Faith. But people who believe, wrongly, that science has a lot of influence in society may not choose this option, even if they are overall advocates for science.

    Still, the general admonition is important; there are data from the social sciences on these questions.

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  • #2, agreed. frankly wright is wrong every which way. he should “update” his post and admit he was wrong; the evidence is too strong refuting his conjecture.

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  • @Richard Wright

    A few years ago, such biologists as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers started violating the nonaggression pact. [Which isn't to say the violation was wholly unprovoked; see my update below.]

    This is garbage. Creationists were violating this so-called “non-aggression pact” as early as the 1970s, with aggressive efforts by the Institution for Creation Research and other such organizations. Several states started pushing creationism in the schools, culminating in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987 and McLean v. Arkansas in 1981 (both of which nixed overt creationism in schools). By the time Dawkins and Myers showed up on the atheist activist scene, creationist groups were full in force, and pushing “intelligent design”.

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  • I just wanted to point out that “strong agree” is the heading of two different columns in the table. I can guess that the one on the right is “strong disagree”, but it threw me off for a second.

    Not to complain, though. I’m glad to see new posts today.

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  • It is sometimes fashionable to assert that higher socioeconomic status whites are the sort who will impose integration on lower socioeconomic status whites, all the while sequestering themselves away. I assumed this was a rough reflection of reality. But after looking at the General Social Survey I am not sure that this chestnut of cynical...
  • Moreover, if the integration is indeed forced on the “lower classes”, it is probable that they would not invite the members of other groups into their homes.

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  • Agree with Matt. This means nothing unless you also look at who is hosting social dinners generally.

    I’d bet that people with grad degrees are hosting social dinners much more often than High School dropouts…

    High school graduates are poorer and have smaller homes. People with advanced degrees are richer and have bigger homes. Who is going to hosting social dinners with non-family in general?

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  • “The easiest way to detect a racist normal parent is to determine his zip code and/or where he sends his children to school.”

    Fixed that for you.

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  • I don’t think that the data implies some kind of racial tolerance by better-educated people. Tolerance is not simply inviting a black person over for a dinner party, but rather voluntary and sustained interactions with a wide variety of members of the black community. That does not happen often. But really, the easiest way to detect a racist is to determine his zip code and/or where he sends his children to school.

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  • Seth says: • Website

    I’ll second Magoonski and the other posters. I’d say the “diversity” is a function of class and place rather than any specific “enlightening” of the educated.

    I’ve always had a black friend “over to dinner” because, working in academia, there’s tended to always be a black friend around. However, he’s my friend, and he’s over to dinner, not because he’s black and I’m trying to overcome my mythical “privilege”, but because he shares my interests, works in proximity to me, likes good wine, and knows how to have an interesting conversation.

    In other words, I’d expect to find that the “black friend” shares the socioeconomic status and educational attainment of the people inviting him/her over for dinner. Not shocking. The conclusion I draw from the statistics above is that education and money bring together people who value education and money, regardless of race. (And, as others have pointed out, people lacking education and money tend not to “have people over” for wine and smoked Gouda.) I will, of course, change my conclusion if I can be shown that the young, enlightened MS’s and PhD’s are bringing home black friends who have just gotten out of prison.

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