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Ron has re-posted his July 2012 post on Lynn and Vanhanen, together with all the comments that it raised, and says: “It provoked an enormous outpouring of responses all across the Internet, perhaps 99% of those hostile, often intensely so, but after over a dozen follow-up columns and responses, I believe I was proven correct in almost every particular.”
Many Unz readers agree with Ron’s evaluation, in that some commentators on my recent post on Scrabble as a measure of intellectual excellence commend “Ron Unz’s compelling demolition of many of the average IQ figures put forward by Lynn and Vanhenen.”
Is there anything to say about Ron’s post 5 years later which has not already been said in the many comments and replies, to which he has provided links, together with his own replies? It would be redundant to cover everything in that extensive debate, and much better to highlight relevant new developments. I think that the subsequent 5 years of research allow two general points to be made.
1 The Lynn database is being updated and re-edited, such that every reference is traceable back to the original publication, in all but a few cases, and any untraced publication is not included in country calculations. Furthermore, the basis on which Flynn corrections were calculated have been stated and three different ways of estimating it have been made explicit (the differences are not very large). Estimates about general country effects are based on actual country results, not estimates based on neighbouring countries. Anyone can now look through the database and carry out their own studies, according to how they rate the quality of the data. Further work is in hand to calculate country means by making due allowances for sample size and representativeness. To overcome the heterogeneity of psychometric tests, Becker has produced a subsample of Raven’s-Matrices-only results. Becker is aware of a further 830 sources of IQ data which have not been checked yet. At the same time, we are aware of other publications not in the database, and are trying to include them, with the agreement of other scholars who have collected them. Debates about Lynn’s figures should use the latest Becker versions for hypothesis testing, and the newest edition will be made public in roughly a week’s time. I will post up Becker’s conference talk on his work.
2 As far as I know, Ron did not conduct a re-analysis of the database, so we do not know if the general relationship between country intelligence and national wealth is affected by his comments. His post looks mostly at the European results, and compares different countries, different time frames, and the results of Europeans and others in the USA. His view is that the hereditarian position (50% genetics, 50% environment) cannot be sustained, because there is too much variability in European intelligence, a variability that is better explained by environmental and historical factors. Where Lynn and Vanhanen have carried out a global analysis with correlational analyses, Ron has done a largely Eurocentric comparison of country pairs, and then compared country of origin and later success of those immigrants in the US. The approaches are very different in type and range. Anomalies which Ron sees as evidence of cultural changes can be ascribed by Lynn to the noise generated by different tests, samples and testing dates; all details which wash out in a general correlational study.
Could Ron’s approach lead to testable conclusions? I think so. If, by improving the data quality, the stated correlations with country wealth are reduced, then it could be argued that the Lynn correlations had been inflated by unreliable intelligence test results. Furthermore, by looking at closely defined national or racial groups it would be possible to look at changes in intelligence levels before and after immigration. In the subsequent 5 years further papers have been published on the link between country IQs and wealth. In my view they strengthen the view that ancestry is part of the cause of group differences. Notice that I say “part”. For the purposes of argument, 50% of the difference. Here are some links to a few publications after 2012. This is a selection, no more, and seeks to buttress the case for ancestry being part of the cause of group differences.
First of all, here is Becker explaining the work on the Lynn database. This might be a little hard to follow because it is just the lecture slides, but I will come back to this work in subsequent weeks.
Here is a 2014 paper by Rindermann giving the international gains and losses from immigration.
Fuerst and Kirkegaard have studied a very simple measure: percentage European Ancestry. They have shown it is a good predictor of outcomes at the national, provincial and district level.
They have just published a paper on regional differences in Argentina
Individual papers do not resolve a debate, but I think that more papers like these will increasingly build a picture which supports ancestry as an important part cause of intellectual differences.