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The above clip of Neil DeGrasse Tyson has been lighting up my social feeds. It’s made Upworthy. Tyson ends by stating that “Before we start talking about genetic differences [between race and gender], you gotta come up with a system where there is equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation.” The major question that immediately comes to mind with these sorts of assertions, which are quite ubiquitous, is how one determines the extent of equal opportunity if one does not have a model for the outcomes of equal opportunity. The reality is that those making such claims have a model of the outcomes, unstated because it is shared by so many. Proportionate representation, because they assume that in fact that there are no innate dispositional differences* between groups. The Left liberal version of Homo economicus. Once this model is in place then lack of proportionate representation can be taken as ipso facto evidence of lack of equal opportunity.** With this model in hand innate dispositional differences would give the same outcomes, but could be taken as evidence of lack of equal opportunity. So ultimately the “lack of interest” in these issues dovetails nicely with priors. If it turned out there were differences between the groups that the model would start to get messier.***

Since the clips such as above are shared by like minded individuals naturally there’s no strong critique. Rather, the assertions are “devastating”to the opposing view, which are almost entirely absent among like-minded individuals. Larry Summers may be a moderately liberal Democrat, but his airing of possible differences between males and females in the early aughts is now grounds for reading him out of polite company from what I can tell. A few years ago I had dinner with Chris Mooney about his contention that overall there is a greater skepticism of science among Republicans/Right than Democrats/Left. I can accede to this point as being possible. It seems unlikely skepticism of science or religion or any other cultural trait would be equally distributed across the ideological spectrum, and in our day and age in the United States natural scientists tend to align with the political Left, and the political Right has a generalized distrust for intellectuals. But I pointed out to Chris that on the modern cultural Left acknowledgement of sex differences seems to still be in bad odor. But a moderate amount of sexual dimorphism seems to be evident in the natural history of our own species, so it isn’t unreasonable to posit some differences. But many now consider it an implausible prior. Chris was skeptical, as he contended that this battle had ended long ago, and a hardcore “blank slate” position has lost. I wish it were so. I had the experience of having an exchange with a prominent science writer with a background in science who would not concede that men, on average, have stronger upper bodies than women. When push comes to shove I doubt that this person would stand by such skepticism, but it illustrates how deep the reflex is if even basic size and strength differences are now subject to interrogation.

The normative roots of skepticism in this domain become clear when one focuses on the one area where Left and Right invert when it comes to the biological basis of human behavior: homosexuality. As a moderately heritable complex trait it seems entirely likely there is a biological basis for homosexuality, at least in part. But the case has not been clinched by a “gay gene,” nor is the trait one which develops in a genetically deterministic fashion like the generation of five fingers on one’s hand. For reasons common to many complex traits it seems unlikely that there will ever be found a singular “gay gene,” and evidence from fields such as psychology and neurobiology do not offer silver bullet models for how homosexuality comes about, because its expression has environmental correlates (for example, same-sex intercourse is practiced in a facultative manner in prison in the Arab world, without being homosexual orientation, so some nuance in terminology is necessary). But the cultural Left, and now the majority of young Americans, can grasp that a complex behavioral trait does not necessarily lend itself to explanatory models as simple as Newtonian physics. The threshold of skepticism of “innate differences” seems to curiously be lower in this case for the Left, and tuned up higher on the social Right.

Motivated reasoning is powerful. This will not be answered by one blog post, or a decades’ worth of research. Because complex traits have genetic architectures which are not easily reducible to a few genes of large effect, “final answers” may be a while in coming (if ever). But the truth is what it is. Even if people in the United States “lack interest” in particular subjects, that is unlikely to stop other nations, whose economies and scientific institutions are still developing, from exploring avenues of research neglected by Americans. Obviously there are no perfectly objective humans, but one convenient fact about ideological bias is that different groups have different blind spots. The future will likely be one of scientific cooperation as a side effect of competition.

Finally, it is always useful for me to outline some of my thoughts by referring to a piece by one of the greatest population geneticists of the 20th century, James F. Crow. He writes in Unequal by nature:
a geneticist’s perspective on human differences
:

Two populations may have a large overlap and differ only slightly in their means. Still, the most outstanding individuals will tend to come from the population with the higher mean. The implication, I think, is clear: whenever an institution or society singles out individuals who are exceptional or outstanding in some way, racial differences will become more apparent. That fact may be uncomfortable, but there is no way around it.

The fact that racial differences exist does not, of course, explain their origin. The cause of the observed differences may be genetic. But it may also be environmental, the result of diet, or family structure, or schooling, or any number of other possible biological and social factors.

My conclusion, to repeat, is that whenever a society singles out individuals who are outstanding or unusual in any way, the statistical contrast between means and extremes comes to the fore. I think that recognizing this can eventually only help politicians and social policymakers.

The basic model is exceedingly simple. Representation of the tails of a distribution can be much more skewed than small differences in mean values might imply. Let’s give a concrete illustration. Imagine a population at the mean of the height for American males. 70 inches or 5’10). Assuming a standard deviation of 2 inches and a normal distribution 1 out of 770 males will be 76 inches or above (6’4 or greater).**** Now imagine a population where the average height for males is 71 inches. Obviously most of the distribution will overlap. But now 1 out of 161 males is 76 inches or above. For the two populations the overwhelming number of individuals are going to occupy the vast middle ground about the mean. But for particular professions great height might be indispensable, in which case the two populations may have greatly different representations in such fields.

I’m thinking in the above case American basketball. But it is key to remember that basketball requires more than great height. It requires grace and strength as well. In some domains, such as professional sports and the highest echelons of the academy, it seems likely that individuals will exhibit a combination of exceptional traits, not just one, in which case the above argument is further amplified.

None of this is difficult to understand, even if you reject any empirical basis in specific cases. But 10 years of discussing this topic has informed me that this is irrelevant, when people are highly motivated they will refuse to engage in what Ernst Mayr terms “population thinking”. Rather, they will insist on referring to typologies, rather than distributions, even if one asserts that one is discussing distributions. For one, this is comfortable as a mode of analysis for humans. Categories are clear and distinct. Second, it makes for much easier refutation of plainly incorrect categorical assertions. But despite futility some things must be said now and again.

Addendum: There are some asking how one can disentangle environmental and genetic effects. That is a large part of what fields like behavior genetics, and now much of social science, attempt to do. But that being said I have outlined a very simple design enabled by modern genomics, leveraging the imperfect correlation between genomic ancestry and physical appearance.

* These need not be heritable or genetic. So I’m being vague with the terminology.

** A second implicit assumption is a normative understanding of how humans flourish and the set of choices which they should make to self-actualize.

*** It isn’t logically impossible to contend that there are differences between populations/sexes which make proportional representation unlikely, and, that there are social impediments which might amplify or dampen skewed representation in particular fields. The former cases seem self-evident, but what would I put in the latter categories? Clearly throughout the 20th century the representation of Jews, and later Asians in the United States, in areas of higher education have been dampened by quota systems. Similarly, segregation in sports resulted in an over-representation of non-Hispanic whites in many fields in the United States. Once equality of opportunity was allowed (or in cases where it has been) one saw not a decrease, but increase, is representation in the elite levels away from population wide proportions.

**** In reality many quantitative traits exhibit “fat tails,” so there are more individuals at the extremes than one might expect. But that doesn’t alter the qualitative effect.

 
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  1. Mb says:

    I don’t understand why people like Tyson as science commentator, I have read and heard quotes by him, that just shock me. Off the top of my head there is one where he says (paraphrasing) science is true whether or not you believe it. Does he not understand that most hypotheses are wrong? I think he makes good sound bites ( another is here ) , but otherwise he is not trying to inform.

  2. While I agree with you entirely, it’s kind of funny that you quote a man named Jim Crow.

  3. “The implication, I think, is clear: whenever an institution or society singles out individuals who are exceptional or outstanding in some way, racial differences will become more apparent. That fact may be uncomfortable, but there is no way around it.”

    The problem with in in reality is that I can also make this statement:

    Whenever an institution or society singles out individuals by some social identity not related to ability and puts even a very small disadvantage in their way because of that social identity, it will disproportionately affect the the very exceptional and will effectively eliminate them from the uppermost tail of the “excellence” distribution.

    If we shift a populations graph over by even a very small amount as stated, you will see it in the tail. And so social impediments look exactly like physical ones. We have observed this throughout history over and over again. Women teachers, women doctors, black professionals, Castes, over and over and over and over and over again. So I think you are right there are differences in abilities based on population genetics, but I think Tyson is right – you will practically never be able to discover them without at least understanding the social effects that have been shown in the past to be much greater than physical differences in terms of skewing the elites of power and knowledge.

    It would be awesome if someone could suggest a way to distinguish these.

  4. ” Once this model is in place then lack of proportionate representation can be taken as ipso facto evidence of lack of equal opportunity.**

    I’m just not buying this. Couldn’t you just as easily have an HBD model and say that lack of proportionate representation can be taken as ipso facto evidence of biological differences?

    I don’t get why there has to be a model. I agree with NDG, what he is saying is that we can never know unless we see what happens when we have equal opportunity which we do not. We don’t have and have never had that situation.

    I am also beginning to wonder if high IQ is all we need to have the best scientists (or even if they all have really high IQs). For example, creativity is important too.

    I also think a valid case can be made that in some fields fairly equal representation would be healthier for a society to be sure that everyone’s interests are taken into account -I’m especially thinking about the US entertainment industry lately, but one could make a case for many other fields without it only being about “fairness”.

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Maybe it’s who I’m surrounded by but I don’t get the impression that this type of sentiment is going in the right direction for our team. Lib Creationists don’t like violations of Church Doctrine and inconvenient facts like this are a #1 taboo. Who knows what will happen in the next few hundred years of genomics but, for the time being, we’re losing. If I had to guess, I’d say that eventually human gene editing will become mainstream and they’ll segue into that era without having to admit they were ever wrong. “Becoming equal (better) is an option only the rich have access to.” they will say.
    Added to this is that idea that your genes guide your beliefs and interests and when these types are all mating and reproducing with each other it seems like it will only get worse. I’m not saying anything new but, from first hand experience, these types have the conviction of the Taliban when it comes to egalitarianism. They will NEVER change their mind as it would spell an end to their world and their cause. And they are Right factually and morally.
    (Being privy to this knowledge makes me feel like a robot that’s been made self-aware and is watching all the other robots “decide” things. Unaware they are programmed to act in such a way.)

  6. It would be awesome if someone could suggest a way to distinguish these.

    much of behavior genetics is about apportioning both environmental and genetic parameters. i think in the near future genomics will make the designs somewhat more clever, as we have a precise understanding of ancestry, and how it deviates from social/perceive ancestry.

    Couldn’t you just as easily have an HBD model and say that lack of proportionate representation can be taken as ipso facto evidence of biological differences?

    yes. though that’s pretty stupid IMO, as complex social phenomena are unlikely to reducible to simple causes.

    I agree with NDG, what he is saying is that we can never know unless we see what happens when we have equal opportunity which we do not.

    then you have a very high threshold for what we can know, because such controlled experiments are very difficult. in fact, there are difficult in much of evolutionary biology when it comes to macroevolutionary process.

    I am also beginning to wonder if high IQ is all we need to have the best scientists (or even if they all have really high IQs). For example, creativity is important too.

    i said in the post: “In some domains, such as professional sports and the highest echelons of the academy, it seems likely that individuals will exhibit a combination of exceptional traits, not just one, in which case the above argument is further amplified.” did you not read the post before you left a comment? or do you just like repeating what i wrote?

  7. Females also have less lower body strength than males, although the mean difference is less – anyone who disputes that is just being silly. During a recent discussion on Greg Cochran’s blog about high altitude adaptations in the Oromo in Ethiopia, I pointed out that more recently in marathon races with international fields, the top females (mostly Ethiopian and Kenyan highlanders) beat most of the male runners – in fact, almost all of the male runners except the best males (mostly, inevitably, Ethiopians and Kenyans, and the occasional Moroccan).

    Most men will never run a mile as fast as Genzebe, no matter how hard they train. Genzebe will never run as fast as the fastest men, and would not expect to. There is no contradiction in that.

    Allyson ‘Chicken Legs’ Felix leg presses 700 lbs. I don’t personally know any men who can do anything like that, and I have known some champion heavyweight body builders who lifted massive amounts of weight. But for sure, there are men in the world who can do a lot more than Allyson can.

    If that doesn’t tell people they need to take a ‘population’ view in any discussion, I don’t know what will.

  8. Markk: “The problem with in in reality is that I can also make this statement:

    Whenever an institution or society singles out individuals by some social identity not related to ability and puts even a very small disadvantage in their way because of that social identity, it will disproportionately affect the the very exceptional and will effectively eliminate them from the uppermost tail of the “excellence” distribution.”

    You can’t say this at all. You have no evidence at all that “disadvantage due to social identity” influences the distribution of outcomes by simply shifting the bell curve while it is a simple fact of mathematics of probability for biology.

    Eg. Usain Bolt is Jamaican and presumably Jamaican runners have a slight social disadvantage compared to, say, Irish runners since Ireland is a much wealthier country that can support a larger number of professional runners, better trainers etc. But it just doesn’t work like that for top talent. If Bolt had just one less favourable gene that would punish him by a small amount, that would shift his ability enough to drop him out of top talent no matter what he does but social advantages don’t work like that.

    For lesser talent wealth is actually important as those Irish can afford to have a larger number of professional runners if they so choose (they’re probably not choosing so but anyway…) but no amount of social advantage will be able to counter the genetic advantage that Bolt obviously has (ignoring doping, of course). The Irish are better off not bothering about 100 m running that much since it seems very likely that the Jamaicans and other peoples of mainly West African descent have a slight average genetic advantage in running and a slight average advantage in genetics inevitably turns into absolute domination at the very top talent.

    “If we shift a populations graph over by even a very small amount as stated, you will see it in the tail. And so social impediments look exactly like physical ones.”

    No, we haven’t. What we’ve actually observed is plenty of examples to the contrary. Who are the greatest scientists of history? Newton and Einstein should be the top two spots.

    Einstein was a German Jew in Europe when it was pretty much the worst time in history to be born a German Jew. On top of that he was a career incompetent who despite amazing ability couldn’t find an academic position and got stuck working at that patent office. He just started publishing his articles, his fellow physicists recognized his talent and helped him out of the patent office (and later into a position in America when Germany became too hostile to Jews).

    Newton was another ultra-introvert who did his thing and everyone watched in amazement. He wasn’t born poor but not privileged either and his personality was a serious social disadvantage in his other endeavors. But for top talent in physics and mathematics such social disadvantages simply don’t matter as long as you’re not disadvantaged enough to be some slave who’s not allowed to learn to read etc

    If social advantages influenced performance in the same way a genetic IQ advantage or running speed advantage worked, we’d literally see the history of science full of only the most advantaged classes in society the same way we see only West Africans in a top 100 meter race and literally all Nobel prizes would go to princes, sons of billionaires and so on. But it just doesn’t work like that.

    For the average scientist, sure, a rich dad is a great help when you need to go through those years of post-doc positions, but it just isn’t the same for the top talent. It’s the opposite – the rich dad becomes less and less of a necessity when you go higher and higher towards the top but the right genes just become more and more of a necessity.

  9. “The major question that immediately comes to mind with these sorts of assertions, which are quite ubiquitous, is how one determines the extent of equal opportunity if one does not have a model for the outcomes of equal opportunity.”

    That’s not really that difficult a question. There are plenty of ways to measure equal opportunity that are not dependent on [group X's] representation at the PhD programs in Theoretical Physics. It has to do with encouragement, it has to do with discrimination, it has to do with access. Sure, some people point to lower representation as evidence of discrimination, which would be begging the question in context, but Neil DeGrasse Tyson deliberately doesn’t. He talks about discouragement, about being classified according to a type (as you call out later), about being discriminated against. These things we can measure, even if the innate distribution of ability is unknown.

    From the paragraph you quote:

    “The fact that racial differences exist does not, of course, explain their origin. The cause of the observed differences may be genetic. But it may also be environmental, the result of diet, or family structure, or schooling, or any number of other possible biological and social factors.

    My conclusion, to repeat, is that whenever a society singles out individuals who are outstanding or unusual in any way, the statistical contrast between means and extremes comes to the fore. I think that recognizing this can eventually only help politicians and social policymakers.”

    Here’s the issue. The author recognizes that environmental factors may be at play. But the thing is, if those environmental factors can be removed or mitigated, things change dramatically. For example, Computer Science is one of the fields in which women are most underrepresented. Here are two possible explanations: 1) Women are worse at Computer Science, 2) women are discouraged from studying Computer Science. Now what if I look at the women in PhD programs in CS at top universities (all other things being equal)? The two hypotheses predict very different outcomes! The first predicts the tail end of a normal distribution with a different mean, the second predicts individuals with an identical distribution to the men!

    The author acknowledges that any number of factors could be at play (and would be especially if you consider fields like CS where social factors are self-evidently a major reason for the skewed distribution, but which is also highly dependent on mathematical ability, which tends to be where proponents of genetic factors make their stand), but his conclusions assume factors that leave the normal distribution intact. And that’s pretty problematic.

  10. These things we can measure

    how? the issue i see is the surfeit of anecdote. something like the blind auditions in orchestras would be persuasive of course.

    but his conclusions assume factors that leave the normal distribution intact. And that’s pretty problematic.

    can you elaborate in more detail here?

  11. Fat tails in a distribution always make me suspect some hidden population substructure might be at work. Given two popluations with roughly similar means for a given quantitative trait, the one with a higher degree of substructure will produce more outliers. Taken to extremes, I suspect substructure could trump all, though at that point you’re redrawing the bounds of what represents your population in the first place. (Therefore a population with a lower mean could produce more high-end outliers? Really, this means your population isn’t one population, but two, and that needs to be taken into account) Interesting stuff. Love these posts.

  12. “i did you not read the post before you left a comment? or do you just like repeating what i wrote?”

    I don’t think I’m repeating what you wrote. The effect could be muddied rather than amplified if the different populations have higher means in different areas especially in a complex endeavor like science. Why do you assume it will be amplified?

    Despite summer’s opinions I would assert that most scientists ideas about what women can achieve in science have expanded pretty dramatically following increased access. I don’t think we’ve reached any kind of end point yet not even close.

    It’s not that hard to work to equalize the lot of children from different communities with better public schools and health care and efforts to counter stereotyping.

  13. Why do you assume it will be amplified?

    because extreme excellence is generally due to a combination of high competence in a wide domain of fields (‘idiot savants’ are rare). these ideas are actually amenable to simulation. might try one if i have time in the near future….

    It’s not that hard to work to equalize the lot of children from different communities with better public schools and health care and efforts to counter stereotyping.

    not a panacea. there are achievement gaps in the nordic countries too despite de facto ‘guaranteed income.’ also, you are aware of this figure, right?

    obviously income in the USA doesn’t affect all change.

  14. Kosmatka, also, the genetic architecture may not be so additive independent at the extremes. imagine a few large effect QTLs in the population which explains very little variance, but is enriched at the tails. this is clear at the low end through loss of function deleteroius.

  15. Ah, I think I see your point, Razib, regarding extremes. Rare alleles of large effect that swamp the normal quantitative spread. Example: achondroplasia?

  16. @Jaakko,

    It’s funny your counter example to Jamaican sprinters is Irish sprinters, as one of the fastest non-Africans ever is Paul Hession, from Galway, Ireland.

    What I’ve noticed is that all fastest sprinters are not West African, but Afro-Caribbean or African-American, why is this? I suspect that since the majority of the Whites ancestry in these communities is from an Irish source, that they have picked up some mutation that enhances their sprinting over native West Africans. The particular candidate I have in mind is HFE or either of the other 2 such alleles that cause “Iron overload” or Hemochromatosis – as these alleles cause the blood to retain more iron. more iron means more oxygen…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemochromatosis

    My father is a HFE carrier and my mother a carrier of another lesser Hemochromatosis allele, in fact the Irish have the highest carrier rates in the world for this condition.

  17. Also in terms of sprinting at the elite level, it’s amazing how seemingly small details can be the decider of who is elite and who isn’t, where 1/100th of a second matters.

    My eldest daughter’s French grandfather still holds the 60m record he set at 17yo in the Champagne region, even after 60 years. He is a muscular, stocky guy, with very long feet, which I thought odd. Later after googling I see that elite sprinters have:

    1. Long feet – due to very long toes
    2. Short ankles

    Both these features help sprinting, as the toes grip the surface, and so longer toes means more grip and less slippage, whereas shorter ankles means less work in leveraging the foot back and forth

  18. “how? the issue i see is the surfeit of anecdote. something like the blind auditions in orchestras would be persuasive of course.”

    That’s a good model for this type of thing. Some things you can do to measure biases in society follow that model: Submit resumes under male/female black/white sounding names to manager and see if there’s a bias in one direction, check conviction rates for similar crimes etc. These have been done in depth. Of course, the curtain only helps from the time people are behind it, so this doesn’t help evaluate innate ability across groups. That’s more difficult, but approaches include looking at adopted children, studies of twins in different places, controlling for income and other factors, looking at the same genetic group across societies etc. Good sociological research can be done.

    “but his conclusions assume factors that leave the normal distribution intact. And that’s pretty problematic – can you elaborate in more detail here?”

    Well, that’s precisely what I was trying to illustrate with my women in computer science example, but sure. So in general, you can model mathematical proficiency along a normal distribution. And if we select a given subgroup – say 15 year olds – we’ll still see a normal distribution, just one shifted slightly left since the 15 year olds haven’t completed their mental development yet. But you’re not always guaranteed a normal distribution. Consider the residents of the imaginary country Dichotomia. In Dichotomia at the age of 14 you’re classified by mathematical ability into one of two buckets – Good or Bad. If you’re in the Good bucket, you receive another 8 year of mathematical schooling, otherwise you don’t. This creates an interesting distribution, since unlike the normal distribution, the data points don’t cluster at the mean – in fact, there’s almost nobody at the mean, and instead there are two humps, one to the left and one to the right. Now if I just compare the means of Dichotomia and nearby Sameville – where everyone received the 8 additional years and therefore the mean is higher – I’d be tempted to conclude, like James Crow, that the top mathematicians from Sameville should be much better than from Dichotomia. But that’s a mistake! The tail ends of the distribution look identical, assuming Dichotomia classified it’s best math students as “good”. They’re drawn from an identical original distribution, Dichotomia’s was just skewed badly, but the extremes left intact. If you want to study whether there are skewing factors like the above at play (and there are plenty of candidates), you can’t begin by assuming a normal distribution. That’s begging the question.

    One salient point I neglected to make earlier:

    Both you and Crow seem to be assuming a remarkably efficient market hypothesis, when you talk about the best rising to the top. The fact is that we don’t tend to see that. I can guarantee you that Terence Tao is not the most innately mathematically skilled human alive – the most mathematically gifted human is not an Australian of Han Chinese descent. But he’s indicative of the type of mathematicians that exist – and the professors of mathematics at top universities are not of that class. We’re not finding the Terence Taos. A better example: Do you know how many Putnam math competitions MIT has won in the past century? Seven – in fact, they just won their seventh. Do you know how many times MIT students have dominated the top 10 individual participants? Almost always. Takeaway: The *Massachusetts Institute of Technology* is incapable of recognizing its top math students (to be clear, for MIT to win, they just need to select their best students beforehand, and write their names down as the MIT team). That’s MIT and math, let’s not even talk about Columbia and Chemistry or, say, society at large.

  19. I can guarantee you that Terence Tao is not the most innately mathematically skilled human alive

    we/i never said anything like that. but, i would guess that he’s at least 4 sigmas above the mean or something like that.

    need to think more about what you in previous paragraph.

  20. “Why do you assume it will be amplified?

    because extreme excellence is generally due to a combination of high competence in a wide domain of fields”

    So you think these are all covered under IQ? I mentioned creativity which I think is only somewhat associated. Someone with a decent IQ but very high creativity may make a better scientist or at least equal to highest IQ with only average creativity. But they won’t get into the best schools as easily. Only one US ethnic group has created a new art form in 400 years that is admired and respected around the world and it isn’t Jews or Asians.

    One reason I’m doubtful is that I teach Cal undergrads. I know many geniuses were poor students but still….I challenge students to make connections and think critically in my evolution discussion sections and I’m not blown away by their responses. A fair number actually seem only above average which puzzles me. Many have poor writing skills.

    I’ve also worked on evolution summer school projects for 3rd & 4th grades in Oakland public schools. The African American students seem plenty bright but fall behind for cultural reasons (yes I have unpopular opinions too). I know about the studies that show the effects remain with higher income or adoption into white families but those kids aren’t living in a vacuum.

    also, you are aware of this figure, right?

    yes but it’s a simple metric (income).

  21. I mentioned creativity which I think is only somewhat associated.

    that’s the key. it is somewhat associated. your model makes sense if the traits are independent in their distributions so they cancel. but stuff like conscientiousness and creativity have modest correlations with IQ. that means on an individual level there are lots of people who ‘cancel’ out. but if you have to MANY sigs out of the distribution if there is a small mean difference along several traits it will be disproportionate.

    Only one US ethnic group has created a new art form in 400 years that is admired and respected around the world and it isn’t Jews or Asians.

    if you are talking about jazz, well, jews have played a major role there though. so i wouldn’t dismiss them. kind of like how modern physics was invented by northwest europeans (let’s just say newton), but jews became very important after ~1900.

    yes but it’s a simple metric (income).

    well, i brought it up because you brought it up.

  22. Hmm not sure if I agree at least about the origin of Jazz. But good point about the later contributions. Darn Jews- always having to be so good at everything! But it doesn’t explain my observations about my students. Don’t even think I have many Jewish students. I feel bad for my black students-only two out of 75 and one is from Kenya, and they are not in the same section. They are smart but very quiet. I think the class would benefit from more diversity. Guess we will never agree on this. I am positive there are tons of black kids right here in CA who are as smart or smarter than my least smart students and who have other valuable assets and talents.

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