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From the New York Times:

In ‘Enormous Success,’ Scientists Tie 52 Genes to Human Intelligence
Carl Zimmer
MATTER MAY 22, 2017

In a significant advance in the study of mental ability, a team of European and American scientists announced on Monday that they had identified 52 genes linked to intelligence in nearly 80,000 people.

These genes do not determine intelligence, however. Their combined influence is minuscule, the researchers said, suggesting that thousands more are likely to be involved and still await discovery. Just as important, intelligence is profoundly shaped by the environment.

Still, the findings could make it possible to begin new experiments into the biological basis of reasoning and problem-solving, experts said. They could even help researchers determine which interventions would be most effective for children struggling to learn.

“This represents an enormous success,” said Paige Harden, a psychologist at the University of Texas, who was not involved in the study.

Paige Harden was a co-author of the Vox “Junk Science” article last week about how Charles Murray is 80% right and his critics 80% wrong, but the know-nothings are still on the side of the angels.

For over a century, psychologists have studied intelligence by asking people questions.

In other words, IQ tests.

Their exams have evolved into batteries of tests, each probing a different mental ability, such as verbal reasoning or memorization. …

Each test-taker may get varying scores for different abilities. But over all, these scores tend to hang together — people who score low on one measure tend to score low on the others, and vice versa. Psychologists sometimes refer to this similarity as general intelligence.

Or g.

It’s still not clear what in the brain accounts for intelligence. Neuroscientists have compared the brains of people with high and low test scores for clues, and they’ve found a few.

Brain size explains a small part of the variation, for example, although there are plenty of people with small brains who score higher than others with bigger brains.

Other studies hint that intelligence has something to do with how efficiently a brain can send signals from one region to another. …

Hundreds of other studies have come to the same conclusion, showing a clear genetic influence on intelligence. But that doesn’t mean that intelligence is determined by genes alone.

Our environment exerts its own effects, only some of which scientists understand well. Lead in drinking water, for instance, can drag down test scores. In places where food doesn’t contain iodine, giving supplements to children can raise scores. …

But in the past couple of years, larger studies relying on new statistical methods finally have produced compelling evidence that particular genes really are involved in shaping human intelligence.

“There’s a huge amount of real innovation going on,” said Stuart J. Ritchie, a geneticist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the new study.

… To her surprise, 52 genes emerged with firm links to intelligence. A dozen had turned up in earlier studies, but 40 were entirely new.

But all of these genes together account for just a small percentage of the variation in intelligence test scores, the researchers found; each variant raises or lowers I.Q. by only a small fraction of a point. …

In the new study, Dr. Posthuma and her colleagues limited their research to people of European descent because that raised the odds of finding common genetic variants linked to intelligence.

But other gene studies have shown that variants in one population can fail to predict what people are like in other populations. Different variants turn out to be important in different groups, and this may well be the case with intelligence.

“If you try to predict height using the genes we’ve identified in Europeans in Africans, you’d predict all Africans are five inches shorter than Europeans, which isn’t true,” Dr. Posthuma said. …

Here’s the abstract of the new paper:

Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 78,308 individuals identifies new loci and genes influencing human intelligence

Suzanne Sniekers, Sven Stringer, Kyoko Watanabe, Philip R Jansen, Jonathan R I Coleman, Eva Krapohl, Erdogan Taskesen, Anke R Hammerschlag, Aysu Okbay, Delilah Zabaneh, Najaf Amin, Gerome Breen, David Cesarini, Christopher F Chabris, William G Iacono, M Arfan Ikram, Magnus Johannesson, Philipp Koellinger, James J Lee, Patrik K E Magnusson, Matt McGue, Mike B Miller, William E R Ollier, Antony Payton, Neil Pendleton, Robert Plomin, Cornelius A Rietveld, Henning Tiemeier, Cornelia M van Duijn & Danielle Posthuma

Nature Genetics (2017) doi:10.1038/ng.3869
Received 10 January 2017 Accepted 24 April 2017 Published online 22 May 2017

Intelligence is associated with important economic and health-related life outcomes1. Despite intelligence having substantial heritability2 (0.54) and a confirmed polygenic nature, initial genetic studies were mostly underpowered3, 4, 5. Here we report a meta-analysis for intelligence of 78,308 individuals. We identify 336 associated SNPs (METAL P < 5 × 10−8) in 18 genomic loci, of which 15 are new. Around half of the SNPs are located inside a gene, implicating 22 genes, of which 11 are new findings. Gene-based analyses identified an additional 30 genes (MAGMA P < 2.73 × 10−6), of which all but one had not been implicated previously. We show that the identified genes are predominantly expressed in brain tissue, and pathway analysis indicates the involvement of genes regulating cell development (MAGMA competitive P = 3.5 × 10−6). Despite the well-known difference in twin-based heritability for intelligence in childhood (0.45) and adulthood (0.80), we show substantial genetic correlation (rg = 0.89, LD score regression P = 5.4 × 10−29). These findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of intelligence.

I’m aware of two big Genes-IQ pushes going, often by the same people, of putting together results from previous studies to get up to the sample sizes needed. This one works with smaller sample sizes but with a better dependent variable, IQ score.

The other one uses a murkier dependent variable, educational attainment (years in school), a number that is commonly asked on medical research studies, but samples sizes are about an order of magnitude larger. This other effort expects to reach a sample size of one million this year.

And here’s Dr. James Thompson in the Unz Review explaining the recent (non-genetic) paper on estimating IQs from brain scans.


From the Toronto Globe & Mail:

The cultural appropriation debate is over. It’s time for action

MAY 19, 2017

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is an Anishinaabe writer and editor from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation. She is the founder and managing editor of Kegedonce Press, a publishing house devoted to Indigenous writers.

In 1989, my cousin, Chippewas of Nawash poet Lenore Keeshig, took the issue of “appropriation of voice” to The Writers’ Union of Canada to tell non-Indigenous writers to “stop stealing our stories.” The controversy she sparked raged for months afterward. Some writers were supportive of the call while others were vehemently opposed. In 1990, Lenore wrote an op-ed, in this very newspaper, titled, “Stop Stealing Native Stories.” In it, she wrote that, “Critics of non-native writers who borrow from the native experience have been dismissed as advocates of censorship and accused of trying to shackle artistic imagination …”

This controversy continued into 2017, a year that, for Indigenous people, marks 150 years of colonial oppression. As the Canadian government unrolled its Canada 150 budget and agenda, Indigenous people across the country recoiled. Canada “150″? Really? To suggest that this country didn’t exist for us before 1867 is a punch to the gut – a half-billion-dollar, year-long celebration that hammers home the message, over and over again, that Canada depends on our erasure. The reality of our existence does not fit the official national narrative and so it must be dismissed, ignored and forgotten. Whether that erasure is attempted through the Indian Residential School System, the ongoing apprehensions of our children by Child and Family Services, the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls, “starlight tours” conducted by police in Saskatchewan, the wildly disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s prison system, the theft of our lands and resources, the stealing of our stories or the inequitable policies of a party on Parliament Hill, the message is persistent – and devastatingly familiar.

This past week, I reread my cousin Lenore’s article. How heart-breakingly familiar it is 27 years later. In her piece, she cites the same objections to our concerns today, the same disingenuous reframing of the issue into one about freedom of speech, the same subtext embedded in arguments that suggest we are not capable of telling our own stories with the skill, beauty and depth that white middle-class writers could, or that, unlike them, we are too biased. And there are similar explanations from us that our stories are ours to tell, that they have power, and that we can tell them best.

Since the publication of Hal Niedzviecki’s “Appropriation Prize” editorial in The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Write magazine, white Canadians from powerful media corporations have attacked and insulted us for opposing the idea that cultural appropriation doesn’t exist.

I was interviewed as an Indigenous publisher in that same issue of Write magazine. I am a writer, poet and publisher. I have put my own writing career on hold many times to fight for respect and space for Indigenous writers and our books. I am also a consultant and have worked with Indigenous groups and organizations across the country, including the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) in the early stages of its mandate. …

But if the past 30 years have taught us anything, it is that there is a powerful, loud bunch of privileged white settlers who do not want to learn about us or from us.

“White settlers” is apparently the term for Canadian redheads who don’t claim to be Indians


Economist Robert J. Shiller writes in the NYT:

How Tales of ‘Flippers’ Led to a Housing Bubble
Economic View

There is still no consensus on why the last housing boom and bust happened. That is troubling, because that violent housing cycle helped to produce the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007 to 2009. We need to understand it all if we are going to be able to avoid ordeals like that in the future.

But the explanations for what happened in housing are not, I think, to be found in the conventional data favored by economists but rather in sociologically important narratives — like tales of getting rich through “flipping” houses and shares of initial public offerings — that constitute the shifting mentality of the era.

I don’t doubt that shows on TV about flipping houses played a role. But isn’t it striking that after almost a decade: “There is still no consensus on why the last housing boom and bust happened”? It was the biggest news story since 9/11, and yet Dr. Shiller himself, perhaps the leading housing economist, is still pretty hazy on how it happened.

I would suggest that one reason economists are still so baffled by what happened is because one obvious partial contributor to the fiasco — immigration / diversity — is a Sacred Cow. So without grappling with things like the Bush Administration’s Ownership Society and anti-downpayment, anti-documentation Increasing Minority Homeownership initiatives, you can’t get close to the full story.

But it’s safer, careerwise, to remain puzzled, so they do.


Commenter Whoever writes:

in reply to prole:

Funny how so many North Americans claim native American ancestry, despite no evidence

Not really funny. Especially when you acknowledge that there are two countries in North America (or more specifically British North America) that have very different histories regarding Amerindians.
In Latin America, the Indian civilizations collapsed quickly and the survivors became an underclass ruled over by a European-descended elite.

In Canada, after the end of French rule, there was not much in the way of Indian resistance and they didn’t contribute much or detract much from the development of the country. They were just there.

But in America, the Indians fought back with everything they had not for years, not for decades, not for generations, but for centuries.

And the resistance began at the beginning, so to speak, as they were whipping the Spanish at least as early as 1513, when the Timucua drove Ponce de Leon off near present-day St. Augustine, Fla., and later that year the Calusa drove him out of San Carlos Bay, Fla. Four years later Hernando de Cordoba’s fleet, returning from a campaign against the Maya, dropped anchor in San Carlos bay to replenish water and supplies, but their landing party was driven off by the Calusa, who were described as “very big men with very long bows and good arrows.”

Ponce de Leon and Cordoba returned to San Carlos Bay in 1521 with 200 soldiers, settlers and supplies to establish a colony. The Calusa again defeated and drove them off, killing both de Leon and Cordoba.

Then there was the disastrous Navaraez expedition into northern Florida in 1527 with 600 soldiers, where the Spanish crossbows were no match for the Indians 7-foot long bows, as thick as a man’s arm, that could penetrate six inches of wood at 200 yards. Only four Spaniards survived the catastrophe.

In 1539, Hernando de Soto, who had been Francisco Pizarro’s chief military adviser and among the 168 who conquered the Inca empire, and a veteran of 15 years of warring against south-of-the Rio Grande Indians, landed in Tampa Bay with 330 infantry and 270 cavalry, most veterans of the Spanish conquests in the south. They had given up European armor and adopted Aztec quilted cotton armor covered with leather as more effective protection.

They marched north reaching the Choctaw town of Mabila on the present site of Selma, Ala., which they assaulted and took after prolonged fighting, estimated having killed 2,500 inhabitants.
But no Indian surrender ensued. Instead, they forced the Spaniards to retreat and harried them, the Chickasaw attacking and burning de Soto’s winter camp, inflicting severe losses. Ultimately, only about half of de Soto’s force survived the expedition — not including him.

And so it went for hundreds of years, into the 20th century, if we count the 1911 Shoshone uprising, which was not called a “war” but a “riot,” as nomenclature was changed after Wounded Knee.

It is remarkable that some 350 years after the Calusa crushed Ponce de Leon and Cordoba, the Sioux defeated Crook and annihilated Custer.

So the American Indian earned respect and a place in our history that he does not have in Latin America or Canada. That’s even reflected in our language. Only the American armed forces to this day speak of going into Indian Country, and mean it ominously. Only American paratroopers legendarily shout “Geronimo!” as they leap from airplanes. Only a famous American general was named after an Indian. We speak of being off the reservation, and on the warpath. We Indian wrestle and walk Indian file. Indians are a part of, in today’s parlance, who we are in a way they are not in Canada or Latin America.

Americans, at least those of old-settler stock, are not like Canadians or Latin Americans, either. They have an ornery character, especially those of Scotch-Irish ancestry who were our most legendary Indian fighters, a natural antagonism to the powers that be and a take-this-job-and-shove-it attitude. To them, Indians have a lot of admirable characteristics, real or mythical: stoicism, refusal to stay down or stay put, defiance, resistance… And many of those whose people were here from the beginning did fight Indians and some percent did marry into tribes.

It’s interesting that no white would proudly say (well, until very recently) that he was part black, certainly if he actually had no black blood. If he did have black ancestors it would be something to be ashamed of and hidden. No old-stock Californian would boast that he was part Chinese — again, especially if he actually had no Chinese ancestry. But lots of white Americans, as you say, claim Indian ancestry even when they don’t have it, and have done so since long before there was affirmative action or any official advantage to doing so, and long after the fierce warrior of forest and plain had been replaced by the rez drunk.

That is telling us something important about our country and our history. And I think it’s rather a good thing — that we don’t disparage those we displaced, but empathize with them, acknowledge their loss and try, in some way, to assuage it by claiming that we, too, are Indian, one with them, and one with our mutual land.


A graph from my 1997 NR article: “Is Love Colorblind?”

From the San Francisco Chronicle, 20 years after my “Is Love Colorblind?” article in National Review:

As intermarriage spreads, fault lines are exposed
By Jill Tucker May 18, 2017 Updated: May 19, 2017 1:03pm

The growth of interracial marriage in the 50 years since the Supreme Court legalized it across the nation has been steady, but stark disparities remain that influence who is getting hitched and who supports the nuptials, according to a major study released Thursday. …

Among the most striking findings was that black men are twice as likely to intermarry as black women — a gender split that reversed for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and, to researchers, underscores the grip of deeply rooted societal stereotypes.

The comprehensive study was released by the Pew Research Center to mark a half-century since the nation’s high court, in Loving vs. Virginia, invalidated antimiscegenation laws that had remained in more than a dozen states. … Overall, roughly 17 percent of people who were in their first year of marriage in 2015 had crossed racial or ethnic lines, up from 3 percent in 1967.

But much of that was driven by demographic change: America was basically a black and white country in 1967 (as well as, perhaps, administrative changes: Hispanics and South Asians were officially white until later).

It’s worth noting that the big growth in propensity toward intermarriage happened a long time ago. A recent study estimated that the propensity toward interracial marriage among people under 35 was 72% as large as it is today by 1980, which was a long time ago.

Across the country, 10 percent of all married couples — about 11 million people — were wed to someone of a different race or ethnicity as of 2015, with the most common pairing a Hispanic husband and a white wife.

That hasn’t been common in the media, however, since I Love Lucy went off the air.

Both changes in social norms and raw demographics have contributed to the increase in intermarriages, with Asians, Pacific Islanders and Hispanics — the groups most likely to marry someone of another race or ethnicity — making up a greater part of the U.S. population in recent decades, according to the report.

Meanwhile, public opinion has shifted toward acceptance, with the most dramatic change seen in the number of non-blacks who say they would oppose a close relative marrying a black person. In 2016, 14 percent of whites, Hispanics and Asian Americans polled said they would oppose such a marriage, down from 63 percent in 1990.

Rates of intermarriage vary in many ways — by race, age, gender, geography, political affiliation and education level. And the differences can be pronounced.

Among newlyweds, for example, 24 percent of African American men are marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 12 percent of black women. While the overall intermarriage rates have increased for blacks of each gender, the gap between genders is “long-standing,” the Pew researchers said.

This gender disparity is reversed for Asian and Pacific Islanders, with 21 percent of recently married men in mixed unions, compared with 36 percent of women.

The gender gap tends to be bigger among Asian immigrants than among Asians born in this country.

Why such differences exist is not entirely understood.

“There’s no clear answer in my view,” said Jennifer Lee, a sociology professor at UC Irvine and an expert in immigration and race. “What I suspect is happening are Western ideals about what feminity [sic] is and what masculinity is.”

It’s funny how Asians and blacks have no agency. Only white people matter to sociologists.

She noted that not all intermarriages are viewed equally — and never have been.

“We’re more likely to view Asian and Hispanic and white as intercultural marriages — they see themselves crossing a cultural barrier more so than a racial barrier,” she said. But a marriage between a black person and a white person crosses a racial color line, “a much more difficult line to cross.”

Notably, a recent Pew survey found that African Americans were more likely than whites or Hispanics to say that interracial marriage was generally a bad thing for society, with 18 percent expressing that view.

It can be seen as “leaving” the community, said Ericka Dennis of Foster City, who is black and has been married for 20 years to her husband, Mike, who is white.


From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Yale Dean Is Suspended in Connection With Offensive Yelp Reviews

Yale University on Thursday suspended one of its deans in connection with a series of classist and sometimes racially charged reviews on the website Yelp, the Associated Press reports.

June Chu, the suspended administrator, didn’t immediately return calls or comments to the Associated Press on Thursday. Ms. Chu, dean of Pierson College, fell under scrutiny after the Yale Daily News reported she had used the crowdsourcing website to take shots at restaurants and businesses around New Haven, Conn.

It’s not uncommon for a professor’s online activities to cause outrage, but Ms. Chu is a bit of an anomaly in that her remarks were not on Facebook or Twitter, but rather Yelp. For the most part, the views expressed on that site focus on the quality of a business. It’s not a place where one might expect to find controversy, but Ms. Chu’s reviews were often offensive.

“To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” she wrote in one review of a Japanese restaurant.

Another good quote from Dean Chu:

“I am Asian, I know rice!”

Okay, it’s not exactly surprising that a diversicrat like Dean Chu, who is sort of a glorified resident adviser at a Yale dorm (and RAs tend to be the Shock Workers of the Anti-Microaggression Front), is an anti-white racist jerk.

But do we really need employers policing their employees’ Yelp reviews?

An anonymous commenter adds:

“June Chu’s hatred of White people is purely racial and has nothing to do with class/economics.”

If you actually look closely at this case, I think you have it backwards. And I say this as someone who is sympathetic to the view that much diversity-mongering/SJWism amounts to nothing more than proving that cishet white men are BAD.

In fact, I think this case is actually more interesting than people are letting on. For Dean Chu, it seems that being an SJW is “just a job”. I see NO sign of ideological SJWism in her yelp reviews. Instead, they seem to reveal her as she “really” is: a wannabe hipster snob with a high-class job. She plays that role in a distinctly Chinese-American way, but ultimately it is the snobbery that stands out.

If you read her reviews, she shows a disdain not only for low-class whites, but also low-class blacks and Asians. Her comment about a movie theater not being “sketch” (I think she spelled it exactly that way) is a dig at New Haven blacks. Her comment about the workers at a “Japanese” restaurant being Chinese is a dig a low-class Chinese workers. She is “allowed” to make this comment because she is Chinese herself, so it seems… But she is the RIGHT sort of Chinese person, the sort that has the right sort of job and the right place in society.

It seems that people are framing this story as involving either: 1) whether the left has to punish one of their own in order not to appear utterly hypocritical, or 2) (as Steve frames it above) whether it is actually a good thing that employers are monitoring online postings, even if they do so “non-ideologically”. But it really seems to me that this case aligns with another theme that Steve has pushed in many posts, that SJWism is really a career path. Dean Chu seems to be, in real life, a snob that feels justified in her snobbery because she has SUCCEEDED in her chosen career. She doesn’t need to actually believe that stuff in real life.


Way back in 2007, I wrote a Frequently Asked Questions list about IQ for VDARE. I’m sure it’s somewhat out of date by now, but here are some excerpts, slightly edited:

Q. Is IQ really all that important in understanding how the world works?

A. In an absolute sense, no. Human behavior is incredibly complicated, and no single factor explains more than a small fraction of it.

In a relative sense, yes. Compared to all the countless other factors that influence the human world, IQ ranks up near the top of the list. …

Q. Isn’t character more important than intelligence?

A. I believe so. Work ethic, honesty, conscientiousness, kindness, together they’re more important than intelligence. (Of course, when it comes to making money, less endearing personality traits like aggressiveness also play a big role, but we’ll leave that aside for now.)

Can I quantify that? Well, that’s where things get tricky …

Q. So why not test for work ethic and the like instead of IQ?

A. We do test for it, in many different ways. Consider the process of applying to college. The two most important elements in the application are high school GPA and the SAT or ACT score. The SAT and ACT are more or less an IQ test, while high school GPA is driven by a combination of IQ and work ethic.

But demonstrating work ethic via GPA is a time-consuming prospect for the applicant … and even for the admissions committee. …

In contrast, the SAT takes only a few hours, while the widely used Wonderlic IQ test (mandated by the NFL for all pro football prospects) takes only 12 minutes. …

Q. So, do IQ tests predict an individual’s fate?

A. In an absolute sense, not very accurately at all. Indeed, any single person’s destiny is beyond the capability of all the tests ever invented to predict with much accuracy.

Q. So, if IQ isn’t all that accurate for making predictions about an individual, why even think of using it to compare groups, which are much more complicated?

A. That sounds sensible, but it’s exactly backwards. The larger the sample size, the more the statistical noise washes out. …

Q. So, you’re saying that IQ testing can tell us more about group differences than about individual differences?

A. If the sample sizes are big enough and all else is equal, a higher IQ group will virtually always outperform a lower IQ group on any behavioral metric.

One of the very few positive traits not correlated with IQ is musical rhythm—which is a reason high IQ rock stars like Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and David Bowie tell Drummer Jokes.

Of course, everything else is seldom equal. A more conscientious group may well outperform a higher IQ group. On the other hand, conscientiousness, like many virtues, is positively correlated with IQ, so IQ tests work surprisingly well.

Q. Wait a minute, does that mean that maybe some of the predictive power of IQ comes not from intelligence itself, but from virtues associated with it like conscientiousness?

A. Most likely. But perhaps smarter people are more conscientious because they are more likely to foresee the bad consequences of slacking off. It’s an interesting philosophical question, but, in a practical sense, so what? We have a test that can predict behavior. That’s useful.

Q. Can one number adequately describe a person’s intelligence?

A. Sort of. …

Q. How can something be true and not true at the same time?

A. How can the glass be half-full and half-empty at the same time? Most things about IQ testing are partly true and partly false at the same time. That’s the nature of anything inherently statistical, which is most of reality.

Humans are used to legalistic reasoning that attempts to draw bright lines between exclusive categories. For example, you are either old enough to vote or you aren’t. There’s no gray area. But the law is artificial and unlike most of reality. Many people have a hard time dealing with that fact, especially when it comes to thinking about IQ.

Q. Enough epistemology! How can you rationalizing summing up something as multifaceted as intelligence in a single number?

A. Think about SAT scores. Your total score says something about you, while breaking out your Math and Verbal scores separately says more. A kid who gets a total of 1400 out of 1600 (Math + Verbal) is definitely college material, while a kid who gets a 600 isn`t. That’s the big picture. For the fine detail, like which college to apply to, it helps to look at the subscores. …

A few years ago, the SAT added a third score, Writing, but many colleges aren’t sure how useful it is, and there’s some sentiment for dropping the Writing test as not worth the extra time or cost. In other words, there are diminishing marginal returns to more detail. [The College Board has since dropped the Writing test from the SAT.] …

Q. Is IQ hereditary?

A. At the moment, we only have a vague idea of which genes affect IQ, but the data are pouring in. James Watson figures no more than 15 years until the main genes driving IQ scores are nailed down. It could be faster.

In the mean time, we have a lot of circumstantial evidence, such as twin and adoption studies. Almost all of it points toward IQ having a sizable genetic component.

Q. What does it mean to say IQ has a genetic component?

A. It means that identical twins tend to be more similar in intelligence than fraternal twins, who are more alike than first cousins, and so forth. That appears to be true.

Q. So, everybody in the same family gets the same IQ?

A. No. Think about siblings that you know and you’ll likely notice moderate differences in intelligence among them—unless they are identical twins (and thus have identical genes).

Q. Is IQ solely determined by genes?

A. No. Consider, for example, the need for micronutrient supplementation. For example, here in America, manufacturers have been adding iodine to salt and iron to flour since before WWII to combat medical syndromes (such as cretinism) that lower IQ. In poor countries around the world, hundreds of millions of children still suffer cognitively from lack of iodine and iron. …

Q. Are there differences in average SAT scores among racial groups?

A. Yes. Ashkenazi (European) Jews appear to average the highest—maybe around 110-112—followed by Northeast Asians (105), and then by gentile white Europeans and North Americans (100). The world mean is around 90, Hispanic-Americans are at 89. African-Americans traditionally average around 85 and Africans in Sub-Saharan Africa around 70.

Q. Aren’t all IQ researchers white supremacists who just want to show their race has the highest IQ?

A. If they are, they’re doing an awfully lousy job of it. (See above.)

Q. How can anybody talk about race and IQ when race doesn’t exist?

A. It’s funny how these objections don’t come up in regard to affirmative action. Scientists gather race-related data the same way colleges and bureaucrats hand out affirmative action goodies. They let people self-identify.

I spent a lot of time years ago trying to prove that affirmative action is unworkable because there’s too much overlap between the races to decide which race somebody belongs to, but I eventually gave up because, at least at present, the situation’s good enough for government (and scientific) work. …

Q. Are global differences in IQ caused solely by genetics?

A. No. As I wrote in VDARE.COM back in 2002:

“A clear example of how a bad environment can hurt IQ can be seen in the IQ scores for sub-Saharan African countries. … This suggests that the harshness of life in Africa might be cutting ten points or more off African IQ scores.”

Q. Are IQ tests biased against African-Americans?

A. Not in the most important sense of predictive validity. White and black Army recruits with 100 IQs on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, for instance, will perform about equally well on the job.

Any kind of non-functional bias against minorities in test design has been radioactive for decades, so all the questions that were “unfair” to minorities were removed long ago. …

Creating an IQ test on which there’s no black-white gap has been the Holy Grail of test designers for 40 years. Any test company that could pull it off would make a fortune, because every school district in the country would dump their current test and switch to the “non-racist” test. It’s been attempted repeatedly, but it can’t be done without destroying the test’s predictive powers.

Q. But I see all these black people on TV being highly entertaining. They look pretty lively upstairs. Could IQ tests be missing something?

A. Yes. IQ test questions, by their nature, must have fixed, objective answers. If African Americans are better at subjective, improvisatory responses than they are at objective problem-solving, then IQ will fail to predict fully their patterns of success in the real world. And, indeed, we see much evidence for that every time we turn on the TV (e.g., Oprah). …

Q. What’s the real story behind the crushing of James Watson?

A. The Establishment knows that evidence is piling up for the Bell Curve theory that they’ve denounced so vociferously for so long. So they are just trying to postpone the day of reckoning on which it becomes widely understood that they are fools, liars, and smear-artists by silencing anyone like Watson who speaks up. The frenzy will only increase as the genome data comes flooding in.

Q. What can we say for sure about racial gaps?

A. That they’ll be around for a long time.

Say it’s discovered in 2008 that the entire cause of the black-white IQ gap is some hitherto unknown micronutrient needed by pregnant women that African-Americans don’t get enough of, and a crash program is put into place immediately to solve the problem. If that happened, the IQ gap among working-age adults still wouldn’t disappear until the 2070s.

So whether the racial IQ gaps are genetic or not, they’re going to be around for many decades. And we need to understand them. …

Q. So what can be done?

A. People who understand reality reasonably well can figure out many small, incremental changes that will make us all better off. In contrast, powerful people who don’t know what the hell they are doing will tend to make us all worse off. …

You can read the whole thing there.


Houston Euler has lots of up to date graphs.

James Lee reviews Nisbett’s 2009 book.

Keep in mind that the Vox article is largely agreeing with Murray about IQ and race, just not about racial differences in IQ likely being partially genetic. It’s an example of a common tactic that I call Siberian-sleigh-pursued-by-wolves. The idea is you throw one person in your sleigh out for the wolves to eat so the rest of you IQ researchers can get away.


From the Chicago Tribune:

U. of I. cancels talk by Nobel laureate after faculty raises concerns about his views on race, intelligence

Associated Press

The University of Illinois has cancelled plans to host a talk by Nobel Laureate James Watson after faculty raised concerns about his discredited views on race and intelligence. …

Watson, 89, co-discovered the structure of DNA and has a history of racially insensitive comments.

Robinson said Watson initially reached out to the institute to give a “narrowly focused scientific talk” about his cancer research in conjunction with a planned visit to a colleague’s lab. Robinson said he wasn’t surprised by faculty members’ reaction.

“We tried to consider this very carefully in going forward, and different perspectives on the possibilities of him giving a science-based lecture,” he said. “With respect to his past, the email that I sent out stated very clearly that we didn’t condone any of his past comments, racist comments and sexist comments. And we noted that he had apologized and thought about all those very carefully.” …

Watson’s most notable racially insensitive comments were made during a book tour in 2007, when he told the Sunday Times of London he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really.”…


From Vox:

Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it.

Updated by Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett May 18, 2017, 9:50am EDT

Eric Turkheimer is the Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Twitter: @ent3c. Kathryn Paige Harden (@kph3k) is associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Richard E. Nisbett is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan.

Charles Murray, the conservative scholar who co-authored The Bell Curve with the late Richard Herrnstein, was recently denied a platform at Middlebury College. Students shouted him down, and one of his hosts was hurt in a scuffle. But Murray recently gained a much larger audience: an extensive interview with best-selling author Sam Harris on his popular Waking Up podcast. That is hardly a niche forum: Waking Up is the fifth-most-downloaded podcast in iTunes’s Science and Medicine category.

Getting worked up over Charles Murray being allowed on a podcast seems a little bizarre. (Here’s the podcast.)

Under the faux indignation and clickbait headline, however, this is about as good an attempt as any to shore up the Conventional Wisdom that the racial differences in average intelligence can’t be influenced by genetics at all. So I’ll go through a chunk of it, adding comments.

Interestingly, the article, when read carefully, is also about how Charles Murray is mostly so much more right than the Conventional Wisdom about IQ. But he’s still a Witch! The article is another one of these attempts to fight back against today’s rampant Science Denialism while not being accused of witchcraft yourself.

Here’s an important question: Do these triple bankshot approaches ever work?

They’re kind of like some prisoner of war being put on TV to denounce the Great Satan while blinking T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse Code? But what if nobody back home knows Morse Code anymore?

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is continually dumbing down. We don’t worry about how to apply objective principles anymore to real world examples of human behavior, we just look for who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys. And how can we tell? Just look at them: the cishet white males are the Bad Guys. What’s so complicated about that?

In this kind of mental atmosphere, will more than three Vox readers come to the end of this carefully coded article and say to themselves: “You know, Charles Murray is still as evil and stupid as I thought, but now I realize that most of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”?

In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.

The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics. …

(In the interview, Murray says he has modified none of his views since the publication of the book, in 1994; if anything, he says, the evidence for his claims has grown stronger. In fact, the field of intelligence has moved far beyond what Murray has been saying for the past 23 years.)

Eh … As I pointed out on the 20th anniversary of The Bell Curve, the world today looks even more like the world Herrnstein and Murray described.

The reality is that there haven’t been all that many revolutionary discoveries since then. The genomic research up through 2016 largely has panned out in the direction Herrnstein and Murray expected, although I’ve been told that a new preprint raises questions about Murray’s guess that the gene variants driving differences between the races are similar to the variants driving differences between individuals. If true, that would suggest that racial differences are in some ways more profound than Murray assumed, which would be ironic.

Turkheimer has gotten a lot of attention for a 2003 paper arguing that in one sample of poor people with lowish IQs, the heritability of IQ was lower than in better off populations, which is interesting but not hugely galvanizing. Emil Kirkegaard in 2016 asked “Did Turkheimer el al (2003) replicate?” I won’t try to adjudicate a question over my head.

But, anyway, the last big scientific finding to raise major questions about the Jensenist view was the Flynn Effect in the 1970s-1980s, which Herrnstein and Murray didn’t exactly ignore: they named it in The Bell Curve.

Murray’s premises, which proceed in declining order of actual broad acceptance by the scientific community, go like this:

1) Intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, is a meaningful construct that describes differences in cognitive ability among humans.

2) Individual differences in intelligence are moderately heritable.

3) Racial groups differ in their mean scores on IQ tests.

4) Discoveries about genetic ancestry have validated commonly used racial groupings.

5) On the basis of points 1 through 4, it is natural to assume that the reasons for racial differences in IQ scores are themselves at least partly genetic.

Until you get to 5, none of the premises is completely incorrect. However, for each of them Murray’s characterization of the evidence is slanted in a direction that leads first to the social policies he endorses, and ultimately to his conclusions about race and IQ. We, and many other scientific psychologists, believe the evidence supports a different view of intelligence, heritability, and race.

We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours. …

Let’s take Murray’s principles one at a time.

Intelligence is meaningful. This principle comes closest to being universally accepted by scientific psychologists. …

But observing that some people have greater cognitive ability than others is one thing; assuming that this is because of some biologically based, essential inner quality called g that causes them to be smarter, as Murray claims, is another. There is a vibrant ongoing debate about the biological reality of g, but intelligence tests can be meaningful and useful even if an essential inner g doesn’t exist at all.

Indeed. So what is the relevance of g to this debate?

The question of g is fascinating and also quite difficult. But it’s not absolutely relevant to this debate other than that poor Stephen Jay Gould got all hung up on g, fulminating: “The chimerical nature of g is the rotten core of Jensen’s edifice …”

As I’ve pointed out before, for example, Harvard requires applicants to take the SAT or ACT, both of which correlate considerably with IQ. The goal is to supplement the GPA with a measure that gives additional insight into brainpower. Say the g factor doesn’t exist and that there is zero correlation between an SAT math score and an SAT verbal score. Harvard would still favor students who score well on both measures over those who score well on only math or verbal. In the real world, there is a lot of correlation between SAT Math and SAT Verbal scores, just like the g factor theory implies. But, I suspect, we would still be having this IQ and Race debate if there weren’t.

Intelligence is heritable. To say that intelligence is heritable means that, in general, people who are more similar genetically are also more similar in their IQ. Identical twins, who share all their DNA, have more similar IQs than fraternal twins or siblings, who only share half. Half-siblings’ IQs are even less similar than that; cousins, still less.

Heritability is not unique to IQ; in fact, virtually all differences among individual human beings are somewhat heritable. … Heritability is not a special property of certain traits that have turned out to be genetic; it is a description of the human condition, according to which we are born with certain biological realities that play out in complex ways in concert with environmental factors, and are affected by chance events throughout our lives.


This is a pretty funny example of the rhetorical strategy of much of this article. It’s designed to get readers to say to themselves: “That nasty moron Murray thinks the heritability of intelligence is partly genetic, when smart people know it’s really a … description of the human condition!”

An awful lot of this article consists of the three professors agreeing with Murray, but phrasing their endorsement of various Bell Curve assertions in such a way that Vox readers will think it’s actually a crushing takedown of Murray. The whole thing is full of these kind of trick maneuvers.

Do these kind of Secret Decoder Ring articles ever work? Does anybody ever finish the article and say to themselves, “Yes, Charlie Murray is just as evil and stupid as I previously believed, but now I’m aware that 80% of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”

I dunno …

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is just getting dumber and dumber as the dominant way of thinking gets more childish: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. (And you determine who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys not by something complicated like what they do, but by something simple: who they are.) So the likelihood of this kind of devious triple bankshot approach actually smartening people up doesn’t seem all that likely. But what do I know?

Today we can also study genes and behavior more directly by analyzing people’s DNA. These methods have given scientists a new way to compute heritability: Studies that measure DNA sequence variation directly have shown that pairs of people who are not relatives, but who are slightly more similar genetically

Such as members of the same race?

Much of the brain fog that besets Vox-level discussions of this question is due to Americans forgetting that race is deeply related to the question of who your relatives are. American intellectuals seldom think in terms of family trees, even though biological genealogy is just about the most absolutely real thing there is in the social realm. The simple reality is that people of one race tend to be more closely related in their family trees to people of the same race than they are to people of other races. But almost nobody notices the relations between race and genealogy in modern American thinking.

, also have more similar IQs than other pairs of people who happen to be more different genetically. These “DNA-based” heritability studies don’t tell you much more than the classical twin studies did, but they put to bed many of the lingering suspicions that twin studies were fundamentally flawed in some way. Like the validity of intelligence testing, the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.

In other words, “the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.” Nor is “the validity of intelligence testing.”

The new DNA-based science has also led to an ironic discovery: Virtually none of the complex human qualities that have been shown to be heritable are associated with a single determinative gene!

It’s almost as if the genetics behind the most complex object in the known universe, the human brain, are also complex.

There are no “genes for” IQ in any but the very weakest sense. Murray’s assertion in the podcast that we are only a few years away from a thorough understanding of IQ at the level of individual genes is scientifically unserious. Modern DNA science has found hundreds of genetic variants that each have a very, very tiny association with intelligence, but even if you add them all together they predict only a small fraction of someone’s IQ score.

And that fraction goes up year by year as larger and larger sample sizes are assembled.

The ability to add together genetic variants to predict an IQ score is a useful tool in the social sciences, but it has not produced a purely biological understanding of why some people have more cognitive ability than others.

Indeed, “it has not produced a purely biological understanding.” But the biological understanding is improving annually.

This is the usual debate over whether a glass is part full or part empty. What we can say is that each year, the glass gets fuller.

Most crucially, heritability, whether low or high, implies nothing about modifiability. The classic example is height, which is strongly heritable (80 to 90 percent), yet the average height of 11-year-old boys in Japan has increased by more than 5 inches in the past 50 years.

True. I write about height a fair amount in part because the effects of nurture on height are so clear. Thus, it’s plausible that the effects of nurture on intelligence probably exist too, even though they are hard to document.

As a non-scientist, I’m more of a nurturist when it comes to IQ than most actual scientists in the field. The scientists emphasize that that the half or so of the influences on IQ that aren’t nature aren’t what we normally think of as nurture, such as having a lot of books in the house growing up. Instead, what gets lumped under nurture appears to be mostly random bad luck that we don’t really understand.

But I’m more cautious on this than most researchers. I’m not convinced that they’ve figured out what drives the Flynn Effect over time, so I’ll hold open the possibility that more traditional nurture may play a considerable role.

But, please note, the Japanese remain one of the shorter nationalities despite a couple of generations of first world living standards. They’ve been surpassed in average height by the South Koreans, for example. The tallest Europeans on average include the wealthy Dutch and the much less wealthy Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians. So, height differences among ancestral groups appear to be part nature, part nurture.

A similar historical change is occurring for intelligence: Average IQ scores are increasing across birth cohorts, such that Americans experienced an 18-point gain in average IQ from 1948 to 2002.

Indeed, the Flynn Effect is extremely interesting, as I’ve often pointed out.

And the most decisive and permanent environmental intervention that an individual can experience, adoption from a poor family into a better-off one, is associated with IQ gains of 12 to 18 points. …

There was a small French study of cross-class adoption with a sample size of 38. Despite the tiny sample, I find its finding that nature and nurture are about roughly equally influential (with nature a little stronger) quite plausible. (My general presumption before studying any interesting question is that we’ll end up around fifty-fifty.)

Race differences in average IQ score. People who identify as black or Hispanic in the US and elsewhere on average obtain lower IQ scores than people who identify as white or Asian. That is simply a fact, and stating it plainly offers no support in itself for a biological interpretation of the difference. To what extent is the observed difference in cognitive function a reflection of the myriad ways black people in the US experience historical, social, and economic disadvantage — earning less money, suffering more from chronic disease, dying younger, living in more dangerous and chaotic neighborhoods, attending inferior schools?

Okay, but let’s think about African-American height for a moment, since we were just talking about Japanese height. There’s this guy you may have heard of named LeBron James.

He’s really tall.

In fact, there are a lot of tall, healthy African-Americans currently dominating the NBA playoffs. In terms of height, African-Americans don’t appear to be a malnourished, beaten down population like, say, Guatemalan Indians.

Similarly, the last 72 men to qualify for the finals of the Olympic 100 meter dash, from 1984 through 2016, have been at least half black.

Now you could say, like James Flynn, that contemporary African-American culture is detrimental to the full development of African-American cognitive functioning, that black Americans focus too much on basketball and gangsta rap.

I think that’s highly possible.

But, who exactly is responsible for that? Charles Murray?

This is another triple bankshot approach: if we can just punch Charles Murray enough (metaphorically or literally), then inner city blacks will realize they should stop listening to gangsta rap and instead become patent attorneys. Or something.

… Race and genetic ancestry. First, a too-brief interlude about the biological status of race and genetic ancestry. The topic of whether race is a social or biological construct has been as hotly debated as any topic in the human sciences. The answer, by our lights, isn’t that hard: Human evolutionary history is real; the more recent sorting of people into nations and social groups with some degree of ethnic similarity is real; individual and familial ancestry is real. All of these things are correlated with genetics, but they are also all continuous and dynamic, both geographically and historically.

Our lay concept of race is a social construct that has been laid on top of these vastly more complex biological realities. That is not to say that socially defined race is meaningless or useless. (Modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided.)

And since “modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided,” they can, of course, also do the easier job of determining whether the bulk of your relatives were from Europe or sub-Saharan Africa.

However, a willingness to speak casually about modern racial groupings as simplifications of the ancient and turbulent history of human ancestry should not deceive us into conjuring back into existence 19th-century notions of race — Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, and all that.

Funny how the Obama Administration spent 8 years heartily enforcing policies based on categories called whites (i.e., Caucasoid), blacks (Negroid), and Asians (Mongoloid) and all that. It’s almost as if the Obama Administration believed that such categories are good enough for government work.

Murray talks about advances in population genetics as if they have validated modern racial groups. In reality, the racial groups used in the US — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — are such a poor proxy for underlying genetic ancestry that no self-respecting statistical geneticist would undertake a study based only on self-identified racial category as a proxy for genetic ancestry measured from DNA.

Okay, but the implication of that argument is 180 degrees backward from what Turkheimer et al are rhetorically implying. Isn’t it obvious that IQ studies that use self-identified race, as most do, are going to find a slightly lower correlation between race and IQ than ideal studies that use actual genetic ancestry?

For example, both Barack and Michelle Obama self-identified on the 2010 Census solely as black, but Barack clearly has a higher IQ than Michelle. The Vox authors in effect complain that studies based on self-identification would lump both together as purely black, ignoring Barack’s substantial white ancestry. That’s a reasonable methodological complaint, but its implications are the reverse of what they imply.

Similarly, there is an obvious correlation in the U.S. among Hispanics between white ancestry and educational attainment that gets blurred if you rely purely on self-identification.

Black Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier complained in 2004 that a very large fraction of Harvard’s affirmative action spots for blacks go to applicants, like Barack, with a white parent and/or foreign elite ancestry instead of toward genuine descendants of American slaves, like Michelle. (They sort of dropped the topic after the rise of Barack later that year).

Finally, the relationship between self-identification and racial ancestry has been investigated via DNA a lot recently, and the results are pretty much that, for whites and blacks, the government’s categories for self-identification are good enough for government work. In 23andMe studies, people who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites are overwhelmingly over 90% white by ancestry. People who identify as non-Hispanic African-Americans are largely at least 50% black.

23andme found among their clients, by my calculations:

If the average self-identified black is 73.2% black and the average self-identified white is 0.19% black, then the average black in America is 385 times blacker than the average white. That doesn’t seem very murky to me.

This was all predictable from the workings of the One Drop System.

Some of this will change in newer generations raised under somewhat different rules, but the basic reality discovered by genome studies is that in America, individuals who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites or as non-Hispanic blacks tend to be quite different by ancestry.

Genetic group differences in IQ. On the basis of the above premises, Murray casually concludes that group differences in IQ are genetically based. But what of the actual evidence on the question? Murray makes a rhetorical move that is commonly deployed by people supporting his point of view: They stake out the claim that at least some of the difference between racial groups is genetic, and challenge us to defend the claim that none, absolutely zero, of it is. They know that science is not designed for proving absolute negatives, but we will go this far: There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin.

“No reason at all” is pretty silly. A much more reasonable suggestion would be that Occam’s Razor currently favors the hypothesis that some of the IQ gap is genetic in origin, but the subject is extremely complicated and it could turn out to be different.

It’s also possible that there is something we don’t understand at present about this dauntingly complex subject that makes a reasonably final answer not possible, a little bit like how Gödel’s incompleteness theorems came as a big surprise to mathematicians and philosophers such as Bertrand Russell.

In any case, we’ll learn a lot more about this subject over the next couple of decades due to the ongoing advances in genomics.

I had dinner last year with a geneticist who informed me that in his laptop in his backpack under the table was data documenting some gene variants that contribute a part of the racial IQ gap. He asked me if I thought he should publish it.

I asked him how close he was to tenure.

Now, if this scientist chooses to publish, Turkheimer et al could still argue that his results aren’t a “significant portion” of The Gap. This question is very, very complex technically, and giant sample sizes are needed. But those will be eventually forthcoming and we will (probably) eventually see.

But, right now, it sure seems like the wind has mostly been blowing for a long, long time in Murray’s direction and there’s not much reason to expect it to suddenly reverse in the future.

Toward the end of the Vox article:

Liberals need not deny that intelligence is a real thing or that IQ tests measure something real about intelligence, that individuals and groups differ in measured IQ, or that individual differences are heritable in complex ways.

But liberals must deny that racial differences in IQ could possibly be heritable in complex ways.

But isn’t the upshot of this article that Charles Murray is more correct than the Conventional Wisdom about 80% of what’s at issue?

Why isn’t this article entitled, for example: “Charles Murray is mostly right and Stephen Jay Gould was mostly wrong”?

And that leads to a meta-point: Instead of liberals attempting to imply, using all their rhetorical skills, that only horrible people like Charles Murray think there is any evidence at all for a genetic influence on differences in average IQs among races, shouldn’t they be spending more time explaining why, if Murray turns out to be right, that wouldn’t be The End of the World? Right now, we get told over and over about how unthinkable and outrageous this quite plausible scientific finding would be and how only bad people, practically Hitlerites, think there is any evidence for it at all.

This conventional wisdom strikes me as imprudent.

Personally, I think, this seemingly horrifying potential scientific discovery ought to be easily endurable, just as the NBA has survived the rise of the popular suspicion that the reasons LeBron James and other blacks make up most of the best basketball players include genetic differences.

I’ve long argued that The Worst that liberals can imagine about the scientific reality isn’t actually so bad. Murray’s world looks an awful lot like the world we live in, which we manage to live in. But I don’t have the rhetorical chops to reassure liberals that life will go on. I’m an official Horrible Extremist.

But that raises the question: Who does have the rhetorical skills to undermine the increasingly hysterical conventional wisdom and package the mature point of view about genetic diversity in the old soft soap that will go over well with Nice People?

Clearly, even Charles Murray doesn’t have the eloquence to reassure liberals.

Fortunately, there is this guy who is obsessed with genetic diversity in sports, having read David Epstein’s HBD-aware The Sports Gene, And he is really good at public speaking to liberals. And he doesn’t have that much else on his plate at the moment: Barack Obama.

So if Mr. Obama ever reads this, let me ask him to think about taking on the public service of deflating the Science Denialist hysteria over race and genetic diversity.

P.S. This article’s junior co-author, Paige Harden, had some more respectful things to say about Murray back in March.


Apple hasn’t had too many knockout new products in this decade, but, then, they’ve been busy, building a $5 billion headquarters for themselves in Cupertino, CA in fulfillment of Jobs’ last vision. Steven Levy takes the tour of the nearly completed circular main building in Wired.

It’s kind of a Hank Scorpio campus as in a 1970s sci-fi movie filmed at Malibu Creek:

Though he always professed to loathe nostalgia, Jobs based many of his ideas on his favorite features of the Bay Area of his youth. “His briefing was all about California—his idealized California,” says Stefan Behling, a Foster partner who became one of the project leads. The site Apple had bought was an industrial park, largely covered by asphalt, but Jobs envisioned hilly terrain, with sluices of walking paths. He again turned to Stanford for inspiration by evoking the Dish, a popular hiking area near the campus where rolling hills shelter a radio telescope.

My impression is that a fair number of billionaires, such as Jobs, are homeboys who really like where they grew up. Jobs insisted on planting orchards on the campus like Silicon Valley had when he was a lad.

One interesting thing is that it sounds like they’re taking a next step that I’ve long expected: designer parking garages. It’s striking that when you visit zillion dollar projects like the Getty Center Museum in Sepulveda Pass, which even has its own monorail, you still wind up parking in a claustrophobic, ominous garage like everywhere else. But not at Apple HQ:

During my tour, when we pass through an aboveground parking garage, [Sir Jonny] Ive quivers with enthusiasm as he describes what we’re seeing. He points out how smooth the edges are on the concrete beams and how carefully molded the curves are at the rectangular building’s corners, like perfectly formed round-rects on a dialog box. Further­more, infrastructure like water pipes and electrical conduits is hidden in the beams, so the whole thing doesn’t look like a basement. “It’s not that we’re using expensive concrete,” Ive says, defining what he calls the transformative nature of this parking garage.

Why not use expensive concrete in the parking garages of a $5 billion project? Seriously, everybody starts and finishes their workday in the company parking garage, so why not make it a little nicer than a parking garage at LAX?

“It’s the care and development of a design idea and then being resolute—no, we’re not going to just do the easy, least-path-of-resistance sort of standardized form work.”

One of Parkinson’s Laws is that:

“During a period of exciting discovery or progress there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters. The time for that comes later, when all the important work has been done. Perfection, we know, is finality; and finality is death.”

But Apple has surprised me before, so …


Obituary from the Seattle Times in 2011:

‘Lola’ Pulido lived life of devotion to family

Originally published November 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm Updated May 17, 2017 at 10:43 am

Eudocia Tomas Pulido promised to take care of a 12-year-old girl, and ended up taking care of three generations of her family. (Alan Berner)

By Susan Kelleher

Seattle Times staff reporter

Editor’s note (May 17, 2017): This obituary, published in 2011, was written at the suggestion of and after an extensive interview with Alex Tizon, a former Seattle Times reporter. This week, a story in the June 2017 issue of The Atlantic written by Tizon, who died earlier this year, describes Eudocia Tomas Pulido as a slave and details her relationship with his family spanning decades. The Seattle Times is shocked at the newly revealed disparity in Tizon’s accounts of her life and will have more to say about the issue.

Eudocia Tomas Pulido loved a good wedding, the more royal the better.

But she never married. Never even dated.

Miss Pulido would live a different kind of love story, one marked by a devotion so rare that even those closest to her still struggle to comprehend it.

As a teenager in the Philippines, Miss Pulido was asked to care for a young girl whose mother had died. When a relative asked Miss Pulido to always look after the girl, she gave her word.

Miss Pulido not only raised that girl, but the girl’s children and their children — cooking, cleaning and caring for three generations that came to know her as “Lola,” grandmother in her native Tagalog tongue. She asked for nothing in return, said her grandson [sic], Alex Tizon, a former Seattle Times reporter, with whom she lived in Edmonds for nearly 12 years.

That’s one way of putting it.

Susan Kelleher, the obituary reporter who wrote up the interview with Tizon in 2011, has some things to say today in the Seattle Times:

Why the obituary for Eudocia Tomas Pulido didn’t tell the story of her life in slavery
Updated May 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Six years ago, I was assigned to write an obituary about a local woman who seemed to have lived an extraordinary life of devotion to family.

Eudocia Tomas Pulido’s life was, indeed, extraordinary, but not in the way it was presented in the pages of The Seattle Times.

Tuesday night, I read with horror and growing anger Alex Tizon’s account in The Atlantic magazine of Ms. Pulido’s life with three generations of his family, and his journey to come to terms with it.

Many of the details were familiar, as Tizon had shared them with me during a long interview following the death of a woman he knew as “Lola,” an honorific title in her native Tagalog that Tizon took to mean “grandmother.”

In retrospect, the obituary reads as a whitewash for a fundamental truth known only to Tizon and his family: Ms. Pulido was a slave.

Even typing those words makes me sick, as does knowing, as I do now, that I wrote about slavery as a love story.

By the way, what % of slaveowners in modern America are immigrants?


What’s up?


From a Wall Street Journal article about how we need more immigration:

Productivity in [U.S.] construction has contracted at a 1% annual rate since 1995, according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of McKinsey & Co., due in part to reliance on unskilled workers and in part to government red tape.

Joel Shine, chief executive of builder Woodside Homes Inc., visited Kyoto, Japan, to see how firms there use automation in home construction. He thinks it would take at least a decade for the innovations to become mainstream in the U.S., in part because they would require building-code changes.


From The Atlantic:

My Family’s Slave

She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.


Alex Tizon passed away in March. He was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and the author of Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self. For more about Alex, please see this editor’s note.

The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.

Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding. …

[My mother] cooperated when my siblings and I set out to change Lola’s TNT status. Ronald Reagan’s landmark immigration bill of 1986 made millions of illegal immigrants eligible for amnesty. It was a long process, but Lola became a citizen in October 1998 …

In other words, the slaveowners spent a decade documenting their slave’s illegal presence in the U.S. to our federal government without their getting in trouble.

It’s the American Dream!

Or more like the Confederate Dream: getting the federal government to ratify your slave’s legal right to be in this country to serve you.

I’m fascinated by how the slaveowners went through a long legal process to legalize their poor slave’s presence in this country without much in the way of hassles from our federal government asking any nosy questions. Would the Schumer-Rubio “comprehensive immigration reform” bill have any provisions for finding out who is owning slaves and making them compensate their victims?

Chad Felix Greene asks:

How about the idea that an immigrant family brought a *slave* with them and no one noticed for 56 years? There should be a DOJ investigation

We need a National Immigration Safety Board, modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate outrageous immigration abuses and report on needed reforms to prevent this kind of slavemastering from happening again.

Interestingly, Tizon had previously published his autobiography about how oppressed he had been growing up Asian in America. From his memoir’s Amazon page:

Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self

Hardcover – June 10, 2014
by Alex Tizon (Author)
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
#1 Best Seller in Asian American Studies

An award-winning writer takes a groundbreaking look at the experience and psyche of the Asian American male.

Alex Tizon landed in an America that saw Asian women as sexy and Asian men as sexless. Immigrating from the Philippines as a young boy, everything he saw and heard taught him to be ashamed of his face, his skin color, his height.

His fierce and funny observations of sex and the Asian American male include his own quest for love during college in the 1980s, a tortured tutorial on stereotypes that still make it hard for Asian men to get the girl. Tizon writes: “I had to educate myself on my own worth. It was a sloppy, piecemeal education, but I had to do it because no one else was going to do it for me.”

And then, a transformation. First, Tizon’s growing understanding that shame is universal: that his own just happened to be about race. Next, seismic cultural changes – from Jerry Yang’s phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to actor Ken Watanabe’s emergence in Hollywood blockbusters, to Jeremy Lin’s meteoric NBA rise.

Finally, Tizon’s deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young Asian men today, in a landscape still complex but much changed for the Asian American man.

But, I am told, he hadn’t bothered to mention his family’s slaveowning in his 2014 memoirs. I guess it was a little too complicating a factor for The Narrative: Meanwhile, as white girls were ruining my life by racistly refusing to date me, my family in Oregon was practicing a time-honored Asian custom: slave-owning.


From the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Male Earnings, Marriageable Men, and Nonmarital Fertility: Evidence from the Fracking Boom

Melissa S. Kearney, Riley Wilson

Issued in May 2017

There has been a well-documented retreat from marriage among less educated individuals in the U.S. and non-marital childbearing has become the norm among young mothers and mothers with low levels of education. One hypothesis is that the declining economic position of men in these populations is at least partially responsible for these trends. That leads to the reverse hypothesis that an increase in potential earnings of less-educated men would correspondingly lead to an increase in marriage and a reduction in non-marital births. To investigate this possibility, we empirically exploit the positive economic shock associated with localized “fracking booms” throughout the U.S. in recent decades. We confirm that these localized fracking booms led to increased wages for non-college-educated men. A reduced form analysis reveals that in response to local-area fracking production, both marital and non-marital births increase and there is no evidence of an increase in marriage rates. The pattern of results is consistent with positive income effects on births, but no associated increase in marriage. We compare our findings to the family formation response to the Appalachian coal boom experience of the 1970s and 1980s, when it appears that marital births and marriage rates increased, but non-marital births did not. This contrast potentially suggests important interactions between economic forces and social context.

From the Houston Chronicle:

In rural parts of Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, the industry created plentiful and lucrative blue-collar jobs and a bonanza of attractive bachelors. Predictably, childbearing rates rose in those areas: About three more births per thousand women, or three percent above the baseline rate.

But those well-paid jobs for men without college diplomas did nothing to bring down the rate of births to unwed women, which now account for 40 percent of American babies, an all-time high.


You aren’t supposed to use the term “deep state” to refer to organs of the federal government and associated entities that are difficult for elected officials to control. Instead, you are now supposed to use the cozy term “intelligence community,” since they presumably finance their operations with bakes sales and paper drives.


That’s not a common saying, but maybe it should be:

The Turkish Statistical Institute reported in 2015 that 94.6 percent of Turks say watching television is their favorite activity.

Perhaps in Turkey, disgraced executives and politicians announce, “I’m resigning to spend more time with my TV” …


My next-door neighbor around the turn of the century was a staff writer for the meat-and-potatoes sitcom Married With Children.

If you wanted to get her raving, you’d swing the conversation around to her bête noire: the “Harvard Mafia” of highly educated comedy writers who had moved to town with The Simpsons.

But she had a point. In a lot of ways it’s easier to be funny if you don’t know all that much stuff.

For example, “What’s the deal with airline food?”

If your first inclination is to explain that when you stop and think about the physical and logistical challenges of serving a modest variety of broadly appealing meals to tired, crowded passengers, many of them suffering mild hypoxia, the surprising “deal,” as it were, with airline food is that it is, all things considered, a fairly good deal …

… well, then you aren’t by nature very funny. Some people can overcome knowing a lot of information and still be funny, but it’s not that easy.

My son told me an example of how ignorance and being naturally funny go together. Two white comedians on the radio were talking to a third, a Puerto Rican stand-up, about how he needs to be more woke. “Read Ta-Nehisi Coates!” they implored him.


“Ta-Nehisi Coates,” they enunciated.

“Okay, okay, I’ll look him up on my iPad,” said the PR comedian.

The conversation moved on and when the third comedian stepped out of the room, the two hosts looked at what the third had Googled on his iPad:

Tallahassee Totes

Now that’s funny. Knowing how to spell “Ta-Nehisi Coates” is depressing, but hearing “Tallahassee Totes” instead is great.

That sounds like the name of a racehorse, or of a minor mobster in Guys and Dolls who has a hot tip on a racehorse.


He used to be Warren Wilhelm Jr. From Wikipedia:

He eventually adopted his mother’s family name of de Blasio because his father was “largely absent,” and he wanted to embrace his Italian heritage. In 1983, he changed his legal name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm, which he described in April 2012: “I started by putting the name into my diploma, and then I hyphenated it legally when I finished NYU, and then, more and more, I realized that was the right identity.” By the time he appeared on the public stage in 1990, he was using the name Bill de Blasio, as he is called “Bill” or “Billy” in his personal life. He petitioned to officially change his name to Bill de Blasio in December 2001, after the discrepancy was noted during an election.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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