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Psychological Predictions: Eric Turkheimer 1990
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“If it is ever documented conclusively, the genetic inferiority of a race on a trait as important as intelligence will rank with the atomic bomb as the most destructive scientific discovery in human history. The correct conclusion is to withhold judgment”.

Review of “Consensus and Controversy about IQ” by Eric Turkheimer, Contemporary Psychology, Vol 35, 428-430 (1990) p. 430,

http://people.virginia.edu/~ent3c/papers2/Articles%20for%20Online%20CV/(77)%20Turkheimer%20(1990).pdf

Turkheimer’s review is interesting and informative, and worth reading. The final remarks jar somewhat with the general reasoned tone of the rest of the review. The phrase “genetic inferiority” inflames emotions. I assumed that this hyperbolic comment might have been attributable to the impetuosity of youth, but a 2007 essay on the subject seems to confirm that this is still his general opinion.

Race and IQ. Cato Unbound, November 21, 2007

  1. The important questions about the role of genetics in the explanation of racial differences in ability are not empirical, but theoretical and philosophical, and,
  2. When the theoretical questions are properly understood, proponents of race science, while entitled to their freedom of inquiry and expression, deserve the vigorous disapprobation they often receive.

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2007/11/21/eric-turkheimer/race-iq

I suppose that evaluating the 1990 prediction may hinge on what counts as “documented conclusively”, so it may be necessary to flesh that out a bit. I assume that within the next five years some researchers will be able to show that genomic analysis alone can account for non-trivial amounts of variance (say roughly 20%) of group differences in intelligence and scholastic ability. I assume it because no one will fund studies to resolve the matter, many secretly fear it to be true, and that on any reasonable reading of the results it is a probable partial cause of genetic group differences. However, that may not be the case. It could be another example of the censorious banning of a research result which turns out not to be replicable anyway.

http://www.unz.com/?p=75562

However, it might be worth while to generate some predictions as to when results about genetic contributions to genetic group differences in intelligence will be “documented conclusively”. Apparently most people say “within 20 years” thus appearing wise whilst also giving themselves 19 years in which not to look foolish, by which time their prognostications may be forgotten.

More interestingly, what will such conclusive documentation look like? I assume the hard proof will be as follows: to be able to predict a person’s IQ to within 4 points, regardless of which major genetic group they are drawn from.

(Republished from Psychological Comments by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. My own guess has long been that the first well established result would be to show that Ashkenazi Jews are of higher average IQ due largely to genetics.

    There are couple of good reasons this would be the first result. One, it's likely the easiest result to come by, because it is probable that most of the genetic differences would be based on standing variation, given the relatively recent (compared to that of continental races) branching off of Ashkenazi Jews from other whites, and the likely relatively recent aggressive selection for IQ among them (perhaps in the last 1000 years). The evidence for standing variation being the major factor appears to be increasing with studies showing only very small effects for individual variants and the greater probability of new alleles being destructive rather than constructive for IQ. And we already have, of course, evidence that height has been selected for between northern and southern European

    The second reason I think that this result will be established first is sociological: it is a positive, rather than a negative, conclusion regarding a group. And it will flatter many who might otherwise be deeply offended by any conclusion connecting human groups, IQ, and genetic differences. This is in no small measure why Cochran and Harpending's book mostly received tolerant responses.

  2. “If it is ever documented conclusively, the genetic inferiority of a race on a trait as important as intelligence will rank with the atomic bomb as the most destructive scientific discovery in human history."

    Couldn't this almost be used to define the concept of "moral panic"?

    It's as if it was never in history been regarded as true that the races exhibit different social traits based on heredity, or that no one who believed this has ever sought a just society that was fair to individuals of all races.

  3. dearieme says:

    "The important questions about the role of genetics in the explanation of …": how jesuitical – as any undergraduate would enquire, "who decides what's important?"

    "it is a positive, rather than a negative, conclusion regarding a group": baloney – it would be negative for gentiles, or don't they count?

  4. Aeoli Pera says: • Website

    "It could be another example of the censorious banning of a research result which turns out not to be replicable anyway."

    Is this a joke? It seems like a joke, but I'm not familiar enough with academic culture to be sure.

  5. Not a joke, just a wry observation.

  6. Spawk Talk says: • Website

    In the last few years 14 alleles which had been previously associated with intelligence, or a good proxy for intelligence, were shown to vary racially to a degree that is statistically significant and in a pattern that would predict the IQ differences between races that the tests reveal. Most strikingly, in all 14 cases the difference in allele frequency between Whites and Blacks would predict that Whites would have a higher IQ. The probability of this finding occurring on a purely environmentalist hypothesis of racial IQ differences is extremely small. I think this is the beginning of definitive proof of a general hereditarian hypothesis about Race and IQ.

  7. I hope to post more about this later.

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