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Related: Wayne Allyn Root smarter that Barack Obama?.

Jason’s comment deserves promotion so that Google picks it up:

NPR
October 28, 1994
SHOW: All Things Considered (NPR 4:30 pm ET)

Charles Murray’s Political Expediency Denounced
BYLINE: BARACK OBAMA
SECTION: News; Domestic
LENGTH: 635 words

HIGHLIGHT: Commentator Barack Obama finds that Charles Murray, author of the controversial “The Bell Curve,” demonstrates not scientific expertise but spurious political motivation in his conclusions about race and IQ.

BARACK OBAMA, Commentator: Charles Murray is inviting American down a dangerous path.

NOAH ADAMS, Host: Civil rights lawyer, Barack Obama.

Mr. OBAMA: The idea that inferior genes account for the problems of the poor in general, and blacks in particular, isn’t new, of course. Racial supremacists have been using IQ tests to support their theories since the turn of the century. The arguments against such dubious science aren’t new either. Scientists have repeatedly told us that genes don’t vary much from one race to another, and psychologists have pointed out the role that language and other cultural barriers can play in depressing minority test scores, and no one disputes that children whose mothers smoke crack when they’re pregnant are going to have developmental problems.

Now, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that with early intervention such problems can be prevented. But Mr. Murray isn’t interested in prevention. He’s interested in pushing a very particular policy agenda, specifically, the elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor. With one finger out to the political wind, Mr. Murray has apparently decided that white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism so long as it’s artfully packaged and can admit for exceptions like Colin Powell. It’s easy to see the basis for Mr. Murray’s calculations. After watching their income stagnate or decline over the past decade, the majority of Americans are in an ugly mood and deeply resent any advantages, realor perceived, that minorities may enjoy.

I happen to think Mr. Murray’s wrong, not just in his estimation of black people, but in his estimation of the broader American public. But I do think Mr. Murray’s right about the growing distance between the races. The violence and despair of the inner city are real. So’s the problem of street crime. The longer we allow these problems to fester, the easier it becomes for white America to see all blacks as menacing and for black America to see all whites as racist. To close that gap, we’re going to have to do more than denounce Mr. Murray’s book. We’re going to have to take concrete and deliberate action. For blacks, that means taking greater responsibility for the state of our own communities. Too many of us use white racism as an excuse for self-defeating behavior. Too many of our young people think education is a white thing and that the values of hard work and discipline andself-respect are somehow outdated.

That being said, it’s time for all of us, and now I’m talking about the larger American community, to acknowledge that we’ve never even come close to providing equal opportunity to the majority of black children. Real opportunity would mean quality prenatal care for all women and well-funded and innovative public schools for all children. Real opportunity would mean a job at a living wage for everyone who was willing to work, jobs that can return some structure and dignity to people’s lives and give inner-city children something more than a basketball rim to shoot for. In the short run, such ladders of opportunity are going to cost more, not less, than either welfare or affirmative action. But, in the long run, our investment should payoff handsomely. That we fail to make this investment is just plain stupid. It’s not the result of an intellectual deficit. It’s theresult of a moral deficit.

ADAMS: Barack Obama is a civil rights lawyer and writer. He lives in Chicago.

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: IQ 
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  1. Well you can’t fault him for being consistent after all these years.

  2. I have been looking for this since Sailer mentioned it on his blog. Thanks for posting it up.

  3. The iedea that density accounts for the problems of zeppelins, and of lead zeppelins in particular isn’t new, of course. Helium suppremacists have been using mass and volume tests to support their theories since the turn of the century. The arguments against such dubious science aren’t new either. Scientists have repeatedly told us that protons don’t vary much from one element to another, and physicists have pointed out that isotope ratios can play a role in density.

  4. Once McBarack O’Clain is in office the middle class can finally be eliminated and all of America’s problems will at last be solved.

  5. Note another significant consistency since 1994: When Obama disagrees with someone, he doesn’t even attempt to address their arguments; he proceeds directly to attacking their motives. Murray’s views, he assumes, are those of a “racial supremacist” pushing an agenda of an end to affirmative action and of welfare to the poor, and “with a finger to the wind,” as if Murray ever gave a hoot which way the prevailing wind was blowing, except perhaps to tack into it.

  6. Has McCain ever gone on record about this book? I’d be very surprised if he’s ever come out in support of it.  
     
    Also, criticisms like linda’s just aren’t fair. I’m not going to say she’s not right — I hate ad-hominem attacks as much as the next guy. But Obama is a politician, after all. You can’t (or shouldn’t, anyway) expect politicians, no matter what party, to argue scientific points like this on their merits. All politicians, when faced with something with which they disagree strongly, will claim hidden agendas.

  7. Scientists have repeatedly told us that genes don’t vary much from one race to another, and psychologists have pointed out the role that language and other cultural barriers can play in depressing minority test scores, and no one disputes that children whose mothers smoke crack when they’re pregnant are going to have developmental problems. 
     
    Good thing that a white politician didn’t make this statement, especially the bolded portion. There would be all sorts of insinuations as to the “hidden agenda” in that statement. 
     
    To close that gap, we’re going to have to do more than denounce Mr. Murray’s book. We’re going to have to take concrete and deliberate action. 
     
    And of course, this concrete and deliberate action will involve billions of dollars spent on more government programs, hiring legions of “affirmative action” officers, special programs, blah blah blah, which ultimately will accomplish nothing, just like the billions spent on foreign aid programs.  
     
    Yawn. Pass the valium.

  8. Obama wrote “…and psychologists have pointed out the role that language and other cultural barriers can play in depressing minority test scores, and no one disputes that children whose mothers smoke crack when they’re pregnant are going to have developmental problems.” 
     
    Actually several studies (e.g. see below reference) have shown that the popular notion that prenatal cocaine exposure causes impairment of the childrens’ intellect and development is false. Actually crack mothers and their children just happen to have very low IQs, but no lower than control groups of children from non-crack smoking mothers who are from the same low-IQ ghetto environment. 
     
    Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998 May 1;50(3):203-10. 
     
    Prenatal cocaine exposure and school-age intelligence. 
     
    Wasserman GA, Kline JK, Bateman DA, Chiriboga C, Lumey LH, Friedlander H, Melton  
    L, Heagarty MC. 
     
    Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia 
    University, New York, NY, USA. 
     
    Assessments of the possible consequences of prenatal exposure to cocaine have 
    been limited by lack of control for socio-demographic confounders and lack of 
    follow-up into the school years. We evaluated intelligence at ages 6-9 years in 
    88 children from a cohort of 280 born between September 1, 1985 and August 31, 
    1986 and identified at birth as cocaine-exposed, and in a group of unexposed (n = 
    96) births of comparable gender and birthweight. IQ scores did not differ between 
    children with and without prenatal exposure to cocaine (mean 82.9 vs. 82.4, 
    difference = 0.5 points, 95% CI-3.1, 4.1); results were unchanged with adjustment 
    for child height, head circumference and prior residence in a shelter or on the 
    street, and for caregiver IQ and home environment (mean difference = 2.2 points,  
    95% CI-1.5, 5.8).

  9. I am a fan of both Barack Obama and Charles Murray. Is that weird or what?

  10. pghiqman, I caught that too. 
     
    Readers should be more critical; this blog attracts one or more persistent trolls that leave little racist asides under the name ‘gc’. These comments aren’t being left by gc (godless capitalist), and they get deleted along with comments that respond to them.

  11. It has become fashionable in some quarters to assert that intelligence is fixed at birth, part of our genetic makeup that is invulnerable to change, a claim promoted by Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein in their 1994 book, The Bell Curve. This view is politically convenient: if nothing can alter intellectual potential, nothing need be offered to those who begin life with fewer resources or in less favorable environments. But research provides us with plenty of evidence that this perspective is not only unscientific but insidious. (pp 49-50)Hillary Clinton, It Takes A Village, Chapter 4: The Bell Curve is a Curve Ball.

  12. pghiqman, 
     
    more recent studies argue for the opposite– a 2 or 3 point IQ loss from prenatal cocaine use by the mom. interestingly, the studies tend to show that boys suffer more from prenatal cocaine exposure than girls. this is still a contested area of research.

  13. He’s interested in pushing a very particular policy agenda, specifically, the elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor.  
     
    Charles Murray is interested in pushing for elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor. He talks about this in the Bell Curve as well as in 1984’s Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980.

  14. for the record 
     
    1) nothing in this document surprises. it’s the standard anodyne stuff that those of the cultural elite are expected and will invariably assert when faced with HBDerian propositions in a minimalist form. 
     
    2) i still thought it was important to get this into the public record for ease of accessibility. so that’s why i posted on it.

  15. I am a fan of both Barack Obama and Charles Murray. Is that weird or what? 
     
    I doubt it is any weirder than Charles Murray being a fan of Barack Obama
     
    I read the various posts here on “The Corner,” mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama’s speech. Then I figured I’d better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn’t). I’ve just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie. 
     
    These are the words of a militant racist?

  16. For those who wish to promote the interests of genetic/genomic research, who should they prefer in the White House: Barack Obama, or a raving creationist loony (with lipstick)?

  17. For those who wish to promote the interests of genetic/genomic research, who should they prefer in the White House: Barack Obama, or a raving creationist loony (with lipstick)? 
     
    Frankly, the loony Creationist. Creationists will readily admit the reality of microevolution, and this research involves variation and changes within one particular species (us). 
     
    On the other hand, while HBD-denialist types readily admit the reality of macro- and microevolution, they have an ideological need to deny that microevolution could conceivably lead to variations in cognitive ability among human subpopulations.

  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Obama’s argument here is dead wrong. Certainly education and cultural barriers and crack-smoking mothers can contribute to a low IQ, but these factors can and have been accounted for in studies. Even when looking at a sample of Americans with a roughly equivalent education level and socio-economic status, the racial IQ correlation persists. Further evidence for this comes from twin studies that show that genetics are a much stronger factor in determining IQ than any social influences. 
     
    And of course, Obama’s ad hominen attacks are laughable. Even if Murray were a foaming-at-the-mouth racist, that fact alone would not disprove any of his claims (some of which are, in fact, false).

  19. For those who wish to promote the interests of genetic/genomic research, who should they prefer in the White House: Barack Obama, or a raving creationist loony (with lipstick)? 
     
    Apart from the current religious hostility towards the theory of evolution, the Republicans will also no doubt adhere to the notion that the free-market is what should drive scientific innovation instead of government research grants from the NSF, the NIoH, etc. While the Democrats aren’t going to willfully fund any research on the genetics of human cognitive abilities, this is only one minor aspect of a massive field of research. The vast majority of genetics research won’t send your average liberal into a moral panic.

  20. “For those who wish to promote the interests of genetic/genomic research, who should they prefer in the White House: Barack Obama, or a raving creationist loony (with lipstick)?” 
     
    Evidence please. Repeating the talking points of the cultural snobs will not cut it. 
     
    I’m with razib that this is just standard boilerplate–it is almost a ritual. “I believe what the good people believe, therefore I’m good people.” (Grammar intentional.) It is a signal of the kind of person one is, or is supposed to be.

  21. Frankly, the loony Creationist. Creationists will readily admit the reality of microevolution, and this research involves variation and changes within one particular species (us). 
     
    On the other hand, while HBD-denialist types readily admit the reality of macro- and microevolution, they have an ideological need to deny that microevolution could conceivably lead to variations in cognitive ability among human subpopulations 
    You forgot to include that the loony Creationist believe that evolution, micro or otherwise, is ultimately under the purview of a god for which they can offer no scientific evidence.  
     
    Also, this argument about cognitive abilities shows a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. Evolution has no goal, except that of keeping animals alive long enough to pass on their genes. In actuality even a moderate deviation in cognitive abilities would likely have little impact on successful replication, through reproduction, of that person?s genes. To read the posts here one would have to be forgiven for coming to conclusion that people actually think there is a purpose to the universe. That evolution has an innate, definite end point to which some people think they are closer to than others.  
     
    I will grant you on point: we can see variations in cognitive ability among human sub-populations, even within families (though said variations are, of course, meaningless). Trig Palin, for example.

  22. Isn’t it reasonable to believe that differences between races are exacerbated by environmental differences, even if you believe that there are genetically based IQ differences? Isn’t it a worthwhile public policy to try and at least ameliorate some of those problems, especially in light of all the problems it causes? It’s no secret that blacks in the US receive on average far less parental investment than whites and live in environments far less conducive to learning. This isn’t to say racism is the only cause (although it’s laughable to deny that institutional racism didn’t play a part) but it could easily be a multiplier effect. 
     
    Imagine this model. 
     
    IQ = genetic IQ +- environment 
     
    and environment is a function of average IQs in th e community.  
     
    Then average IQ of race X, which lives in segregated communities, will be genetic IQ – some quantity. 
     
    It’s a simple idea. I think that the ordinal relationship between racial IQ averages is largely correct, but I think that differences get magnified by the environments provided by communities of those differing average IQs. 
     
    “Frankly, the loony Creationist. Creationists will readily admit the reality of microevolution, and this research involves variation and changes within one particular species (us).” 
     
    Razib wrote a lot about what you are doing right now. You are probably expressing deep, psychologically-based political sentiments and then rationalizing them to create a supposedly logical reason for their existence. Your point however, doesn’t stand up to reason. It is precisely the creationist types who oppose stem-cell research and rational debate on scientific issues, not the liberals who are willfully ignorant on one very specific issue (largely in the interest of not pissing the fuck out of a large percentage of the US population). 
     
    “On the other hand, while HBD-denialist types readily admit the reality of macro- and microevolution, they have an ideological need to deny that microevolution could conceivably lead to variations in cognitive ability among human subpopulations.” 
     
    This is true, but so do creationist types. I haven’t seen any mainstream Republicans railing on and on about HBD. Besides that, this is clearly a pretty minor point, and this little bit of myopia in no way seems to compromise their support of science in most things that doesn’t have to do with proving that black people are dumber than white people.

  23. “Your point however, doesn’t stand up to reason. It is precisely the creationist types who oppose stem-cell research…” 
     
    Verbal clarity is needed on this issue. The “creationist types” (I notice your dismissive use of the term) oppose embryo-destructive stem-cell research. They are not opposed to stem-cell research qua stem-cell research. They are against the destruction of human embryos that can be done while studying human stem cells, not against said study. 
     
    Your comment is, at best, very misleading.

  24. I agree with those who say that Obama is just reciting the standard pc left-wing response to h-bd.

  25. McCain’s platform on stem-cell research 
     
    Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases – hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles. 
     
    For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law. 
     
    As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos. 
     
    Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.

  26. You forgot to include that the loony Creationist believe that evolution, micro or otherwise, is ultimately under the purview of a god for which they can offer no scientific evidence.  
     
    And that would affect a decision to fund research into genes for intelligence how…? 
     
    Also, this argument about cognitive abilities shows a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. Evolution has no goal, except that of keeping animals alive long enough to pass on their genes.  
     
    If you believe that the people who post here and comment here don’t understand that evolution has no goal, you should read a little more on this site before posting.  
     
    In actuality even a moderate deviation in cognitive abilities would likely have little impact on successful replication, through reproduction, of that person?s genes.  
     
    It depends entirely on the environment. In our society, it seems that the more intelligent people are actually significantly less likely to pass on their genes. Witness the inverse correlation between fertility and intelligence among women. In other times, places, and cultural milieus, there is evidence that reproductive success was linked to cognitive ability. 
     
    To read the posts here one would have to be forgiven for coming to conclusion that people actually think there is a purpose to the universe. That evolution has an innate, definite end point to which some people think they are closer to than others.  
     
    Who has said this? I believe you are misinterpreting what people have said (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong) because you are not used to the type of discussions that go on here. 
     
    I will grant you on point: we can see variations in cognitive ability among human sub-populations, even within families (though said variations are, of course, meaningless). Trig Palin, for example. 
     
    They are far from meaningless. The 15 point gap in IQ between blacks and whites in America contributes to a host of social problems. Whether this gap is due to genetics, environment, or some mixture of both has yet to be determined. But there is no denying that differences in average cognitive ability between groups will result in different socioeconomic outcomes for those groups, all other things being equal.

  27. They are far from meaningless. The 15 point gap in IQ between blacks and whites in America contributes to a host of social problems. Whether this gap is due to genetics, environment, or some mixture of both has yet to be determined. But there is no denying that differences in average cognitive ability between groups will result in different socioeconomic outcomes for those groups, all other things being equal. 
     
    I think those last 5 words are kind of key. When have things ever been equal?

  28. Emma, 
     
    You’re misreading what I said. I was not saying that the 15 point black-white IQ gap may be the result of social inequality, though that’s certainly a possibility. I was saying that if you have two groups with average, established IQs of 100 and 85 respectively, and you provide them with equal opportunity, the group with the higher average IQ will have much better socioeconomic outcomes. In other words, I was discussing the importance of cognitive ability to life outcomes, not discussing whether or not environmental variables affect average cognitive ability between groups. 
     
    Regarding the black white IQ gap, it is instructive that it persists relatively unchanged across all socioeconomic levels. Black children born into upper-class families score lower on the SAT – a highly g-loaded test – than white children born into lower class families. I have never seen an environmental hypothesis that satisfactorily explains this.

  29. I see no indication that the neo-conservatives are any less committed to the notion of biological egalitarianism than the liberals. Ultimately, the only difference between the two is their strategy for reducing racial inequalities. The liberals propose various social programs and policies to promote upwards economic mobility within minority communities, while the neo-conservatives see these policies as destructive to a productive work ethic which is necessary for these marginalized minorities to lift themselves out of poverty.  
     
    Now, stuck with the decision of choosing between a political party that supports the wrong policies (welfare, affirmative action, etc.) for the wrong reasons (it will result in racial equality) or a political party that supports the right policies (relatively meritocratic monetary incentives for work) for the wrong reasons (it will result in racial equality), the heriditarianist will inevitably choose the latter despite not buying into their blind idealism. 
     
    Despite what some leftists may think, the neo-conservatives adherence to the notion that ending welfare will result in equality isn’t some ruse to avoid accusations of racism, they genuinely believe this. If they didn’t really believe this, they wouldn’t try to turn nations with an average IQ of 87 into stable democratic societies.

  30. If they didn’t really believe this, they wouldn’t try to turn nations with an average IQ of 87 into stable democratic societies. 
     
    Well, perhaps they wanted to make up for the time when they messed up with the spontaneous democratisation process that another dim-witted tribe had embarked upon?…  
     
    (PS: Several Western African countries are stable democracies. Look up Senegal.)

  31. (PS: Several Western African countries are stable democracies. Look up Senegal.) 
     
    While the trend isn’t universal, the correlations are undeniable. It is significantly harder to create a stable democratic government in a country with a low IQ population.

  32. “I see no indication that the neo-conservatives are any less committed to the notion of biological egalitarianism than the liberals.” 
     
    Where do you get this notion? There is really no liberal thinktank or academic support for scholarship like AEI’s support of Murray or Richwine, whose views are anything but biological egalitarianism.  
     
    “Charles Murray is interested in pushing for elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor. He talks about this in the Bell Curve as well as in 1984’s Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980.” 
     
    I haven’t read losing ground, but as I recall from reading the Bell Curve (granted, I read it in 1995), Murray didn’t advocate the outright abolition of affirmative action, but suggested that the gaps between accepted white and minority candidates should be smaller so that minorities don’t get put into situations that are over their heads when they could succeed in a less rigorous setting and so that whites don’t get the impression that people from certain ethnic groups are dumb as a bunch of cabbages. This suggestion would decrease non-Asian minority representation in a number of settings, particularly the most prestigous ones, but it is far from suggesting no special preference be given to them whatsoever.

  33. Where do you get this notion? There is really no liberal thinktank or academic support for scholarship like AEI’s support of Murray or Richwine, whose views are anything but biological egalitarianism.  
     
    this is a good point. i do think that for most liberals the reaction to HBD is kind of a reflexive aversion driven by it being an attack on some of its modern presuppositions. neocons aren’t as predictable in this way. that being said, i do think it is fair to say that most neocons do hold to the same axiom of equality as a working model. AEI funds murray, but he isn’t a neocon, at least he isn’t a typical modern neocon.

  34. but as I recall from reading the Bell Curve 
     
    you guys don’t need to recall, use google books or amazon search inside please. a quick search and 10 seconds of scanning suggests that they’re leaning toward class based affirmative action. but i don’t care much about this topic so i won’t expend my marginal time on looking deeper. of course if you’re marginal time is too valuable to dig into these accessible details don’t comment (this is a general injunction, not aimed at anyone in particular). 
     
    dinesh d’souza for example mooted HBD before dismissing it in *the end of racism* (whether d’souza believes that it is dismissed easily is debatable). a liberal wouldn’t even moot it, except to note that that’s a prima facie racist position. 
     
    p.s. obviously i’m speaking in generalities in terms of the mainstream discussion. GNXP has a substantial number of left-liberal readers and contributors, but we’re a very filtered group. the intersection of left-liberals open to HBD is common among singularity-transhumanist types too, but they’re pretty weird (in fact, i’ve had candid discussions with black transhumanists about HBD, which goes to show if you drill down to the appropriate subset you can put emotional responses to the side).

  35. Where do you get this notion? There is really no liberal thinktank or academic support for scholarship like AEI’s support of Murray or Richwine, whose views are anything but biological egalitarianism. 
     
    Murray himself is a libertarian, though I will give you credit that the AEI is neo-conservative. Nonetheless, in The Bell Curve Murray explicitly refuses to draw conclusions about whether intelligence is hereditary. I am unfamiliar with the work of [Jason?] Richwine, so I will avoid commenting on him.

  36. B.B., according to AEI’s website: 
    “Jason Richwine is a National Research Initiative fellow at AEI and is currently completing a dissertation on immigration and IQ at Harvard University?s Kennedy School of Government. His general research interest is in applying the science of mental ability to better inform public policy on a variety of issues, including immigration, race relations, education, and welfare. Mr. Richwine will stay on as a research fellow at AEI after completing his degree in the fall.” 
     
    As for Murray and the Bell Curve, while he may have refused to say that intelligence differences (both individual and group) were definitely influenced by heredity, he took the position that it is very likely that they are (which is all that could be justifiably said back in 1994). 
     
    Re neoconservatives in general, they don’t seem to be against HBD. Notice that not just AEI, but journals like Commentary will publish work by Murray and Chabris (Harvard Psychologist). Neoconservatism is a heavily Jewish movement and it seems to me that Neocons’ main reservation about HBD is a, given the Holocaust and various other pogroms, justified fear that the results may somehow be twisted or exploited to produce something “bad for the Jews.” Additionally, given the taboo about race and intelligence, many Neocons don’t want to take a strong and outspoken stand on HBD not out of principle or aversion, but that the bad press would interfere with the movement’s ability to pursue its political (mainly foreign policy) goals.

  37. I concede that hereditarianist views are probably more socially acceptable amongst neo-conservative circles than liberal ones, but only marginally so. There are a handful of individuals, who generally are not neo-conservative, but have nonetheless published work through neo-conservative think-tanks and magazines that seem to lean in the direction of defending hereditarianism. Ultimately, I suspect these handful of anti-egalitarianists are vastly outnumbered by the various neo-conservative commentators who have latched onto biological egalitarianism and have integrated into their political philosophy. 
     
    In these modern times, neo-conservative commentators are quick to glorify socialists like Martin Luther King, jump at any opportunity to paint liberal opponents as racists to score political points and transparently prop up any black neo-conservative pundit to defend their opposition to welfare and affirmative action.

  38. Ultimately, I suspect these handful of anti-egalitarianists are vastly outnumbered by the various neo-conservative commentators who have latched onto biological egalitarianism and have integrated into their political philosophy. 
     
    In these modern times, neo-conservative commentators are quick to glorify socialists like Martin Luther King, jump at any opportunity to paint liberal opponents as racists to score political points and transparently prop up any black neo-conservative pundit to defend their opposition to welfare and affirmative action.
     
     
    I think the majority of Neocons actually deep down believe Murray is right. What you are criticizing seems to be more gottcha politics. It’s not that they really care about actual “racism” or charges of “racism,” (Anti-Semitism is a different matter) but that it’s a way in our culture to tarnish or destroy the reputation of an opponent and claim the moral highground for oneself and whatever policy one is advocating, no matter how tangentially related to “racism” it is. In effect, a la Steve Sailer, it’s basically moral posturing for status and power in the white elite by showing that one is on the side of the Angels and one’s opponents are on the side of the Devil (who is, of course, an Islamofacist Communnazi).

  39. Reading Obama’s commentary on the book, the thing that jumped out at me was that he probably hadn’t actually read the thing. He made some broad comments that seemed to apply to what he probably had heard about the book, and maybe he skimmed over to the Race and IQ chapter, but I think if he’d read the whole thing, his criticisms would have been quite different.  
     
    Alternatively, it may be that he read it, but immediately mapped the whole cognitive elite/low-IQ-underclass distinction onto whites and blacks. (Which would be a beautiful irony, all things considered.) But I don’t think so. I think he denounced a book he hadn’t bothered reading, as (apparently) quite a number of people did with that book.

  40. Razib, you meet a transhumanist in the real world? I thought they only existed on the internet. Was he a practicing tranny or a theoretical one? Can we call them trannies, and reclaim the word?

  41. Can we call them trannies, and reclaim the word? 
     
    i’ve tried to popularize the term actually. i try to force trannies to reclaim the word trannie….

  42. First of all, anyone who wants to teach Intelligent Design ought not to be critiquing science (and Rudy Diaz I do mean this to be dismissive of creationists).  
    Second, the fundamental problem of The Bell Curve is to ascribe some great meaning to IQ scores that those scores do not have. Certainly, Obama is dismissive of Murray’s book, but he had a very small amount of time and so had to set priorities in his comments. Simply put, The Bell Curve isn’t seriously regarded in academic circles becuase its deeply flawed and its central arguments lack merit.

  43. i do think that for most liberals the reaction to HBD is kind of a reflexive aversion driven by it being an attack on some of its modern presuppositions 
     
    That’s one take on it. My own hunch is that liberals are more ready than conservative to acknowledge the deep impact that society/culture (or its dereliction) can have on the individual. Primacy of HBD sits well within a worldview in which “there is no such thing as society”, to quote a popular figure among Conservatives (although even she acknowledged the impact of family environment).  
     
    That, and the simple observation that groups, nations, indeed entire ethnic groups have swinged up and down wildly along the cultural development ladder over time. The anecdotal evidence that seems to underlie much of the hard-core HBD position (e.g. Watson’s comments, and we have all read gc’s musings in here) sounds eerily similar to what Mediterraneans and Middle-Easterners used to write about those dim-witted, superstitious, infantile, violent barbarians from the Northwest (us). 
     
    I suspect that many HBD enthusiasts are not entirely aware of just how backward (indeed, how “African”) much of NW Europe was pre-1000, especially in comparison with people in the East who happen to score very low on IQ test today.  
     
    Of course, if you’re Greg Cochran and you believe that there has been massive variation in gene frequencies within populations over historical (post-J.C.) timescales, this poses no difficulty.  
     
    Given the ambiguity of the hard data, and the obvious biases in all known methods for estimating even intra-group h2, I believe that the “debate” will go on for quite some time.

  44. j writes: 
     
    “First of all, anyone who wants to teach Intelligent Design ought not to be critiquing science (and Rudy Diaz I do mean this to be dismissive of creationists).” 
     
    First, you seem to have missed my usage of quotation marks around “creationist types”; nowadays that’s often a term to describe Christians. In fact, the user above was using the term creationist types to attack opponents of embryonic-destructive stem cell research. It was a shot so cheap as to be worthless. 
     
    Second, you are definitely underestimating the power of rationalization. Being blind about scientific truth in one area–say, evolution–does not render the person incapable of scientific competence in another area. If their psychological motivation is strong enough, even the smartest of people will find a way to believe what they want to believe. Witness the many smart people who either believe or render service to the myth of the blank slate.

  45. I suspect that many HBD enthusiasts are not entirely aware of just how backward (indeed, how “African”) much of NW Europe was pre-1000, especially in comparison with people in the East who happen to score very low on IQ test today.  
     
    my reading of the economic history does suggest NW europe was a relatively poor part of the “civilized world.” but let’s remember that before the great divergence these differences were on the order of 10 or 50%, not orders of magnitude (projecting back current levels of inequality causes another problem one the first ignorance is abolished).

  46. “massive” ? I believe modest heritability combined with moderate selective pressures can result in noticeable changes in a trait over tens of generations, sure. And bigger changes over a couple of hundred generations. Doesn’t everybody?  
     
    The gene frequency changes would be at loci that strongly affect the trait under selection. Some would involve changes in the frequencies of pre-existing alleles, some (especially over longer periods of time) would involve new sweeping alleles. 
     
    Do I think the distribution of the alleles affecting cognitive and psychological traits 
    that existed in hunter-gatherers was near-optimal for people in agricultural societies – so that there were no significant selective pressures on those traits in those new hierarchical societies? 
     
    No, I don’t.

  47. Marc: 
     
    In the last paragraph of your answer to Doug, it seems as though you’ve stretched the 15-point gap in IQ (between blacks and whites)to cover an awful lot of territory (i.e., “a host of social problems”), though I note pointedly that you specified “contributed to” rather than simply equating the two magnitudes as simply cause and effect. 
     
    Still, it’s sloppy and misleading to think in such terms. Let me marshall some facts into a scenario which I think you’ll find reasonable–to illustrate what I think is flawed in your reasoning or grasp. I’m going to use some very rough figures–guesses, almost–but I think you’ll get the point. 
     
    Whites (non-Hispanic) are about 70% of the US population, equalling about 189 million. With the white IQ mean at 100, that would still put 94.5 million of those definitely on the “left side” of the bell curve. Now, even were we to assume that all blacks were on that same left side (which they are not, though the majority are), that still is only a total of (less than) 34 million against that aforesaid 94.5 million, a ratio of almost 2 to one. Even without consulting stats on the matter, it looks pretty clearly as though there are at least as many whites in the same cognitive-deficit “boat” as are blacks. On the other hand, at least currently, we seem to have no massive “social problems” with that group, though that may be a situation subject to change over time–may have been different in the past and may turn out differently in the future. 
     
    What I’m pointing out is that the economic and social problems of these two groups–the degree to which they’re disadvantaged–appear to be about equal. Many of those whites also are higher on the school-leaving stats; within their group (i.e., compared with other whites), they appear more criminally-prone and more likely to become incarcerated. Yet they do not, in their sum total, seem to constitute anywhere near the “social problem” that a much smaller group of blacks represent. And, by “much smaller group” I’m not referring to the majority of blacks,—merely to the portion (which I don’t presume to quantify except to express that it’s much smaller than “all”). 
     
    What I’m pointing to is the apparent reality that, whatever “cognitive deficit” actually exists (and of which I express no doubt whatsoever) and contributes to “social problems,” is pretty well “cancelled out” in comparison with similar white population. In essence, what we’re left with is a distinctly empirical conclusion that the “social problems” are associated primarily with something other than cognitive deficit about being “black.” We’re back to looking at other differences in the races for explanation, whether in attitudes of one or the other or both, to mental attributes other than cognition, to cultural differences, etc. To me, it appears that the problems are other than can be significantly ameliorated simply by better schools, etc.–or by ANY amount of redressing of old grievances through AA, etc. To be quite candid, a great proportion of the “social problems” are (again, to my own observation and interpretation) more directly attributable to people (both black and white) who are most definitely not in the “cognitive deficit” group but who have engaged for many years in seeking leadership roles of those exploitable through grievance-mongering, etc. That significant numbers of whites may (were more formerly and still are) be similarly misled, I have no doubt. But their numbers and significance as “social problems” seem far smaller, at least at present. 
     
    The detriment suffered by blacks on account of whatever cognitive deficit they might suffer is not that their mental status disqualifies them for better-paying employment. Rather, it is in rendering them unable to see the certain misservice they are rendered by most of their political leadership (and by a good portion of their ‘culture”) and to appreciate that other modes of behavior would better serve them if they actually wish to get out and ahead.  
     
    I

  48. What I’m pointing to is the apparent reality that, whatever “cognitive deficit” actually exists [among blacks] (and of which I express no doubt whatsoever) and contributes to “social problems,” is pretty well “cancelled out” in comparison with similar white population.  
     
    I don’t see how social problems associated with cognitive deficit among blacks are “cancelled out” by social problems associated with cognitive deficit among whites. If I’m walking down the street, and I get mugged by a black man, and then two blocks up I get stabbed by a white man… I don’t get my money back.

  49. Yeah, there is a significant white underclass, as well as a significant black underclass. (Though “left half of the bell curve” is not remotely the same as “underclass,” which is where the big social nastiness happens, I think.) A major problem with the black underclass is that it’s a visibly different group, and it’s proportionally much bigger than the white underclass. About 40% of the people in prison are black, even though blacks are around 13% of the population. (That overstates the relative crime rates of blacks vs whites somewhat, though, because of the difference in age distributions–more of the black population is young.)

  50. Marc: 
     
    You’re looking it right in the face and saying (whether you actually believe it or not is a different matter) you can’t see it! 
     
    The point is that the approximate “cognitive deficit,” (insofar as such can be expressed by IQ) 
    of the black population is shared by nearly 3 times as many whites (perhaps more, if the over-100 blacks are subtracted). As a bit of grossly oversimplified but still persuasive logical analysis, it’s impossible to come to any other conclusion than that any difference in the “social problems” presented by the two groups cannot be ascribed to said cognitive deficit, leaving the further unavoidable conclusion that some other difference between the two must account primarily for the differential observed in their “social problems.” 
     
    Just so you don’t blink or duck–let me put it a bit more graphically. In one recent year–I forget which–national crime stats from the FBI reported a single case where the rape of a black woman by a white man was reported. In that same year, over 15000 white women reported having been raped by black assailants. And, remember, to the extent that each of these two populations exhibit the “social problem” of interracial rape (and further assuming that all the perps are in the “cognitive deficit” category), that’s a ratio of 42000 to 1 (when 15000 is multiplied by the 94.5/33.75 pop ratio). Would you agree that “cognitive deficit” shrinks to nothingness as a factor contributing to this particular “social problem?”  
     
    The entire point is that focusing on “cognitive deficit” or “lack of decent employment opportunity” is nothing more than political correctness once removed and decidedly not a way to identify or deal with a problem.

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