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From grad student Kevin Bird:

The mismeasure of genes: no support for the genetic hypothesis of the Black-white achievement gap using polygenic scores and tests for divergent selection

Kevin Bird
SUBMITTED ON January 27, 2020

Protracted debates about the cause of an observed IQ gap between Black and white populations around the world have persisted within the fields of genetics, anthropology, and psychology for over a century. Newly available public genomic data have changed each of these fields in many ways; one side effect is that they have encouraged a new generation of race science. The current generation of race scientists claims that analysis of polygenic scores—generally computed as linear combinations of alleles identified by a genome-wide association study—provide evidence that a significant portion of differences in cognitive ability between Black and white people are caused by genetic differences, frequently claiming these differences came about due to divergent natural selection. In light of recent calls for cautious interpretation of polygenic-score analyses by geneticists, I apply the latest robust methods to detect genetic differentiation and polygenic selection that address known biases in polygenic-score analysis, testing the claim that genetic differences explains the gap in educational attainment and cognitive performance and that divergent selection has occurred between African and European populations. I show that past results were inflated by these biases and a more careful analysis provides strong evidence inconsistent with divergent selection and genetic differences driving the Black-white gap in cognitive ability.

I haven’t read this new paper so I don’t have an opinion on it. But, as I pointed out in 2002, because the immense IQ gap between European countries and sub-Saharan countries of about 30 points is about twice the IQ gap between white Americans and black Americans, that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment.

As I wrote in VDARE.com in 2002 in my review of Lynn and Vanhanen’s book IQ and the Wealth of Nations:

… It appears likely that some combination of malnutrition, disease, inbreeding, lack of education, lack of mental stimulation, lack of familiarity with abstract reasoning and so forth can keep people from reaching their genetic potential for IQ. Lynn himself did early studies demonstrating that malnutrition drives down IQ. The co-authors conclude their book by recommending that

“The rich countries’ economic aid programs for the poor countries should be continued and some of these should be directed at attempting to increase the intelligence levels of the populations of the poorer countries by improvements in nutrition and the like.”

A clear example of how a bad environment can hurt IQ can be seen in the IQ scores for sub-Saharan African countries. They average only around 70. In contrast, African-Americans average about 85. It appears unlikely that African-Americans’ white admixture can account for most of this 15-point gap because they are only around 17%-18% white on average, according to the latest genetic research. (Thus African-Americans white genes probably couldn’t account for more than 3 points of the gap between African-Americans and African-Africans.) This suggests that the harshness of life in Africa might be cutting ten points or more off African IQ scores.

Similarly, West Africans are significantly shorter in height than their distant cousins in America, most likely due to malnutrition and infections. …

This also implies that African-Americans might be able to achieve higher IQs too, although the environmental gap between white Americans and black Americans appears to be much smaller than between black Americans and black Africans. …

In fact, we know that IQ is not completely fixed over time because raw test scores have been rising for decades, about 2 to 3 points per decade. …

While the causes of the Lynn-Flynn Effect remain rather mysterious, it does resemble several other ongoing phenomena. For example, human beings are getting taller, living longer, and having fewer of their babies die during infancy.

One might expect IQ scores to converge as the richest nations experience diminishing marginal returns on improvements in nutrition, health, and education. By way of analogy, consider how, after 1950, average height has not grown as fast in already well-fed America as it has in rapidly developing East Asia.

… Perhaps that kind of convergence will happen with IQ scores someday. But the evidence that it is happening now isn’t terribly strong. The odd thing about the Lynn-Flynn Effect is that it doesn’t seem to have had much impact on comparative rankings of IQ over time. The smart seem to keep on getting smarter.

 
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  1. Please. Must we waste time with this nonsense?

    Anyone who has dealt with a truly random assortment of genetically mostly black blacks knows the obvious.

    They are fucking dumb. Can tie their shoes, cannot fill out a form. Why must we bother with such endless ponderings about whether two and two make four?

  2. “The rich countries’ economic aid programs for the poor countries should be continued and some of these should be directed at attempting to increase the intelligence levels of the populations of the poorer countries by improvements in nutrition and the like.”

    Right! It has worked so well in the past. And none of the aid went to line the pockets of the powerful in those countries. And now the poor countries have smarter people. Yep.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @HammerJack
    , @nymom
  3. Alfa158 says:

    “ Black and white”. Difference in capitalizations. Way to go Bird, immediately undermines his credibility in regard to scientific objectivity and ideological agenda before he even gets out of his opening sentence.

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123
  4. Hard to see how the Cape of Good Hope for example is a harsher environment than, say, the Scottish highlands.

    • Replies: @Kronos
    , @Elli
    , @Jack D
  5. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Even if cognitive abilities were the same between whites and blacks, they would still constitute different groups for many other factors.

  6. Although the sub Saharan v. African American gap is huge, IQ and the wealth of nations also raised a smaller yet still interesting question: why is Hong Kong’s national IQ seven points higher than mainland Han Chinese?

    Being an armchair Sinologist, I would speculate that it probably has something to do with micronutrients in the Hong Kong diet not found on the mainland. Genetically there’s no difference between the Han found in both populations.

    Capitalism does make you smarter.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @nymom
  7. Twinkie says:
    @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    Even setting aside corruption, foreign aid creates a culture of dependence and retards native development, thrift, and industry.

    There was a case study done on a Central Asian country some years ago that illustrated this perfectly. An international NGO built a very nice, high tech school for the locals, and the latter wouldn’t spend a dime on maintaining it. A puzzled and exasperated researcher with the NGO asked the mayor of the town why and the answer was, “Don’t worry. Once the school is worn down (from use with no maintenance), they will build us another one.”

    If you go into the business of handing out (other people’s) money, you will find plenty of customers.

  8. He is a PhD student at Michigan State University in the Horticulture department where he studies the evolutionary impact of structural variation in plant genomes.
    https://kevinabird.github.io/1_about.html

    I’m surprised he would divert time away from working on research for his thesis to write a paper on the achievement gap.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Gary in Gramercy
    , @Yngvar
  9. kihowi says:

    because the IQ gap between European countries and sub-Saharan countries is twice the IQ gap between white Americans and black Americans, that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment.

    There’s two ways low iq makes you dumb. One is simply not having the clock speed, the other is bad life choices, as an individual or society, that compound that. When you happen to be in a place that pampers you so the latter doesn’t apply anymore, of course you’re going to do better.

  10. anon[101] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve writes:

    It appears likely that some combination of malnutrition, disease, inbreeding, lack of education, lack of mental stimulation, lack of familiarity with abstract reasoning and so forth can keep people from reaching their genetic potential for IQ

    Excuse me, but aren’t the results of inbreeding purely genetic? Surely you are not arguing that cousins marrying cousins (or worse) for generations is a mere environmental factor easily corrected, like malnutrition or iodine deficiency?

    • Replies: @Rob
  11. Twinkie says:
    @petit bourgeois

    Hong Kong’s population is highly selected, as is that of, say, Shanghai or Beijing.

  12. Lot says:

    “ I haven’t read this new paper so I don’t have an opinion on it.”

    You’re not missing much.

    It sets up a strawman opponent that the genotypic B-W IQ gap is 30 points based on the very low test scores in Africa, and then says the current studies only support a gap of 5 or 6 IQ points.

  13. Peterike says:

    Anyone who has spent 15 minutes in a mixed race kindergarten class knows there are genetic differences between races in terms of intelligence.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  14. Lot says:
    @A Different Fred

    His single blog post is attacking Richard Lynn and expressing crazy Pioneer Fund conspiracy theories.

    https://kevinabird.github.io/2019/12/18/The-Genetic-Hypothesis-and-Scientific-Racism.html

    Unfortunately I think this is a great career move. He’s a white guy who wants to get tenure in a fancy university biology department around 2025. If you think the academic diversity Stalinism is bad now….

    • Replies: @HammerJack
    , @Mr. Anon
  15. Rob says:

    “I haven’t read this new paper so I don’t have an opinion on it. But, as I pointed out in 2002, because the IQ gap between European countries and sub-Saharan countries is twice the IQ gap between white Americans and black Americans, that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment.”

    This is not as sanguine as it appears at first blush. Living in a first world country has only brought blacks up to 82-90. The truly horrendous educational performance of majority black schools, coupled with the very bad performance of blacks in majority nonblack schools, suggests that even close contact with nonblacks does not improve black performance very much. Even adoption into upper middle class white homes improve black childhood IQ, but the effect disappears by adulthood.

    The above combines with black communities and neighborhoods being social and economic basket cases to imply that there is no way for blacks to maintain, much less copy de novo, institutions and economies that could reach or even maintain a high steady state IQ. Look at what Nigerians do with the computers they import. Do they set up schools using distance learning using open educational resources? Nope, they run Nigerian email scams. The world just doesn’t have enough whites to uplift America’s blacks, much less the world’s. The Chinese would probably confine Africans to a few reservations and take the continent for themselves if the west weren’t so strong (for now).

  16. The study actually found that 80% of the group variance is NOT attributable to genetics.

    Roughly 5-6 IQ points can still be attributed to genetics.

    See quote below.

    The results here from evolutionary genetic techniques do not match what would be predicted by the genetic hypothesis: that genetic differences invariants associated with cognitive performance explain a substantial portion of the African-European IQ gap.

    When the between group variance attributable to trait associated SNPs is compared to the observed phenotypic between group variance, over 80% of the between group variance in IQ is not attributable to additive genetic effects and at most 5-6 IQ points can be attributed to these genetic effects, far less than Jensen’s claimed contribution. Additionally the presence of gene-environment and gene-gene interactions would likely decrease the additive genetic contribution to the IQ gap even further.

    • Replies: @ben tillman
    , @aguywhoreads
  17. @A Different Fred

    “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” — Dorothy Parker

  18. @JohnnyWalker123

    The study actually found that 80% of the group variance is NOT attributable to genetics.

    Roughly 5-6 IQ points can still be attributed to genetics.

    Except there’s nothing else to attribute it to besides nutrition. And dietary choices ultimately trace back to genes.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  19. Rob says:
    @anon

    “Aren’t the results of inbreeding purely genetic? Surely you are not arguing that cousins marrying cousins (or worse) for generations is a mere environmental factor easily corrected, like malnutrition or iodine deficiency?”

    He probably is arguing exactly that because it’s true. Inbreeding doesn’t change the frequency of deleterious alleles; it increases the frequency of homozygotes. One generation of outbreeding, even with another inbred (from a different line of inbreds) undoes all the genetic consequences of inbreeding. It’s the easiest genetic problem to fix.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  20. Alfa158 says:

    Comparing IQ scores between Europeans and Africans is unreliable because there are two main variables, genetics and environment. You have to control for one in order to have a valid conclusion about the effect of the remaining variable.
    Therefore you would have to do something, for example, along the lines of comparing the IQs of Medieval European Whites with current day African Blacks. The comparison of American Blacks to American Whites is somewhat more valid because the levels of nutrition, medical care, exposure to education and cognitive stimuli are a lot closer.
    According to Lot he uses the genotypic IQ gap between American Whites and African Blacks instead of the gap with American Blacks. More evidence of an intention to reach the conclusion he wants.

  21. res says:

    I wrote an OT comment on this paper at https://www.unz.com/isteve/adam-rutherford-how-to-fight-racism-using-science/#comment-3685680

    Still interested in any thoughts on Bird’s argument.

    Just looked through Emil’s Twitter for his thoughts. Here are the relevant tweets and rewteets I saw. It looks like he has not engaged with the paper in detail yet. Wonder if he is planning on doing so?

    OT: I think this Quillette article will be appreciated here.
    An Orwelexicon for Bias and Dysfunction in Psychology and Academia
    https://quillette.com/2020/01/29/an-orwelexicon-for-bias-and-dysfunction-in-psychology-and-academia/

    • Replies: @SFG
    , @RaceRealist88
  22. Michael S says:

    Notice that this was submitted to SocArXiv, rather than a journal that deals with genetics or biology. And it’s not even published yet.

    But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. After all, Horticulturalists submit papers to social science journals all the time… right?

  23. @Alfa158

    Well, you can read the study and dispute his methodology.

    The study is right here.

    https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/2qfkt/

    The calculated Fst values of the IQ studies are (0.435 and 0.524) are much larger than the Fst of the genome-wide association studies (0.116).

    The among-group variance (African V.S. Euro populations) utilizing IQ studies is 173.5 IQ points. However, if we utilize the genome-wide association studies, the among-group variance is either 20.7 or 29.5 points.

    So if you divide the variances, either 12% of 17% of the White-Black IQ gap can be attributed to genetics

    Admittedly, it’s a complicated paper. So it’ll take a while to digest.

    I’d be curious if Ron Unz, Utu, or Res would care to add a comment.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @ben tillman
  24. SFG says:
    @res

    “Commie Kevin”? Dr. Kierkegaard needs to lay off the slurs. He actually has the data on his side, looks better if you’re staying calm while the other guy’s sputtering and looking like an idiot.

    Maybe not on Twitter?

  25. In light of recent calls for cautious interpretation of polygenic-score analyses by geneticists, I apply the latest robust methods to detect genetic differentiation and polygenic selection that address known biases in polygenic-score analysis, testing the claim that genetic differences explains the gap in educational attainment and cognitive performance and that divergent selection has occurred between African and European populations. I show that past results were inflated by these biases and a more careful analysis provides strong evidence inconsistent with divergent selection and genetic differences driving the Black-white gap in cognitive ability.

    Steve, you can be generous and not have an opinion.

    I’m more than willing to go off half-cocked. When i see some guy telling me he’s got the super-special knowledge to really do science and correct the “biases” with his “more careful analysis” … to yield the PC results … i’ll just call it “b.s.”.

    Again as racial differences in cognitive processing are not subject to debate.

    If you tell me Euros and Sub-Saharans have the same genes for finger and toe count–i believe you. Because there is no variation within populations on these traits.

    But there is obvious variation within populations on various cognitive abilities which means both
    — that selection is operating on those traits and
    and (basic math)
    — that there must be variation between populations.

    We don’t know what the variation is, its character, whether tiny or large. (That’s an experimental question.) But that there is variation between populations is locked in.

    And as humans our cognitive processing is our main survival trait–and what selection has “worked on the hardest”. And since the neolithic revolution there has been a tremendous increase in the complexity of the our environment–as we alter the environment ourselves. And that complexity–and hence the selective environment–differs greatly between various populations. Which means that there must be “divergent selection” on cognitive traits between populations.

    So really, all these folks blabbering incoherently about “cosmetic changes” or “only skin deep” should really just admit they are creationists. Because their nonsense makes absolutely no sense given any understanding of the concept of “natural selection”.

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  26. @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    Foreign aid consists of taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.

    • Agree: Ash Williams
  27. @JohnnyWalker123

    This is actually wrong… he does not find that 80% is not attributable to genetics…. he only finds that 80% cant be attributed to currently identified variants. Then SUGGESTS this is due to environment.

    His last sentence makes it clear.

    If there is a large genetic contribution to the Black-white IQ gap, it appears it does not exist in known education and cognitive performance variants.

    Given increased sampling and analysis, its almost inevitable that more variants will be discovered.

    • Agree: West Reanimator
    • Replies: @ben tillman
  28. @Lot

    Just what I was thinking. Cynical? Sure. But he knows how the bread is buttered.

  29. Kronos says:
    @James Braxton

    Perhaps it’s the difference in type of harshness? (i.e. heat vs. cold.)

    Extreme heat can help divide people while extreme cold might help bring people together (both socially and physically.) If there was a real “hot head” in the Scottish Hinterlands, he might get kicked out of the settlement and freeze to death. While another hot head from another tribe who gets kicked out can just attack another tribe easily. Colder areas require more long term planning (or used to) in terms of growing/storing enough food for the winter.

    Africa heat encouraged bigger and meaner muscle growth while Northern European chills encouraged higher IQ and social development.

  30. Anon[157] • Disclaimer says:

    1. This paper shows that younger academicians have not gotten the message; Do not engage with racists. Do not respond to them. Don’t feed the racist trolls. Na-na-na-na-na I don’t hear you! Eugenics, Hitler, Mankind Quarterly, Pioneer Fund, calipers, Galton. Haven’t you heard of Galton?

    2. The Overton Window is opening on what is allowed to be researched. It’s gone from “No research on race-IQ” to “Research denying a race-IQ link might be OK.”

    3. But to attack a theory you first have to explain and define what you’re attacking, as this young fellow does very well, thanks!:

    The current generation of race scientists claims that analysis of polygenic scores—generally computed as linear combinations of alleles identified by a genome-wide association study—provide evidence that a significant portion of differences in cognitive ability between Black and white people are caused by genetic differences, frequently claiming these differences came about due to divergent natural selection.

    Well put!

    4. If papers like this pass peer review and are published, then it becomes hard to reject papers that credibly show scientific problems with them. At that point you have an out-in-the-open discussion, even if it’s between various anti-race-IQ factions over scientific matters. But the slippery slope will have been trod upon, and there is no turning back.

  31. that a significant portion of differences in cognitive ability between Black and white people are caused

    Don’t advisers proofread anymore?

    …that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment.

    Huh? I thought it was the harshness of the European environment, i.e., winter, compared to the relative ease of the sub-Saharan that accounts for the difference.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  32. @Twinkie

    No it’s not. Hong Kong Han are genetically identical to their mainland brethren, which means their higher IQ is most likely due to environmental factors, such as a better diet and not living under threat of being sent to a reeducation camp.

    Citizens of Beijing believe that they live in a democracy, because during elections there are multiple persons on the ballot, and they don’t understand single party communist rule (like California).

    Even Taiwan’s national IQ is four points higher than mainland China.

    Sun Yat-Sen was way smarter than Mao Zedong. Capitalism makes you smarter.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  33. Lagertha says:
    @Lagertha

    do what you believe is correct.

  34. @Kronos

    Here’s the problem with the cold-weather hypothesis.

    Southeastern China (Canton, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu) has historically been a center of trade and commerce. It also was China’s highest-performing region on the nationwide Imperial exam, which selected candidates to become high-ranking bureaucrats. It actually performed so well on the exams that quotas were put in place for China’s lower-performing northern provinces. In modern day China, the southeast is the wealthiest and most industrialized region. Almost the entire Chinese diaspora (HK, Singapore, Taiwan, SE Asia, Western nations) is of southeastern origin too.

    Southeast China is also a region with hot, subtropical weather patterns.

    Read this quote.

    traveltips.usatoday.com/climate-southern-china-55791.html

    The majority of southern China falls into the humid subtropical climate category. The same climate type, typically found on the eastern sides of large continents, also dominates most of the southeastern United States. Winters are mild and summers are hot and muggy.

    According to prominent geneticist Dr. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Southeastern Chinese genetically group in with Southeast Asians. They’re genetically relatively distant from Northern Chinese. I should mention that the Northern Chinese evolved under conditions of much colder weather, including occasional snow.

    Let’s look at other regions of the world.

    Central Asia, Mongolia, and the ethnicities of the Russian far east live under conditions of cold and snow. They demonstrate comparably weak intellectual and economic dynamicism.

    In Europe, the frigidly cold Eastern European nations are less economically advanced than those of Western Europe. Those nations also have poorer test scores and higher rates of homicide. Of course this is partly due to Communism, but historically Western Europe was more affluent and technologically advanced. So much so that American intellectuals preferred the immigration of Western Europeans over Eastern Europeans, who were seen as less capable and lower quality citizens.

    Southern India, which is much hotter than Northern India, is the center of the IT/software industry. Hyderabad and Banglore are South Indian cities.

    The indigenous peoples of North America evolved under conditions of cold, often frigid, climate. They demonstrate high rates of poverty, alcoholism, and homicide.

    If you look at human history, advanced civilizations historically arose in regions with hot weather.
    The Roman Empire, Greek Empire, Egypt, Carthage, Mesopotomia, Phoenicia, Persia, Indus Valley, Mayas, Incas, Aztecs, Mayuras, Guptas.

  35. Elli says:
    @James Braxton

    Scotland vs SubSahara: Disease burden, parasites?

    • Replies: @James Braxton
  36. Lagertha says:

    AND, no one cares about you nor your kids- get ready for a hyper security state. No one cares about how smart you are – no one…nor your children, nor young adults: 6-24…they are in scopes. No one cares.

  37. @Kronos

    That theory doesn’t quite explain the lack of high IQ individuals from the Inuit and Ainu populations. Those places are very cold.

  38. Elli says:

    How does he calculate an among-group variance of 173 IQ points? That’s the difference between genius and breathing.

    That would include people in minimally conscious states from traumatic brain injury, children injured from prenatal and birth hypoxia, near drowning, people with birth defects not caused by genetic defect, i.e. neural tube defects, etc. In Africa, people with cumulative sickle cell damage that hasn’t yet killed them, and more early AIDS related dementia.

    You have one group that can keep such afflicted people alive more readily, and will actually try to measure their brain function (IQ) and provide therapy and education. You have another group where care of the afflicted must be far more a family matter, with limited resources. The second group is far less likely to go in for search and destroy prenatal testing.

    Very much apples and oranges.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to look at the healthier middle, two or three standard deviations?

    • Replies: @res
  39. Lot says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    “ I’d be curious if Ron Unz, Utu, or Res would care to add a comment.”

    The Mossad assassinated African IQ scores.

  40. @Rob

    Inbreeding doesn’t change the frequency of deleterious alleles; it increases the frequency of homozygotes.

    In a strange way, inbreeding could actually be eugenic in the long run. It increases the number of people with two sets of deleterious alleles. Since these homozygous combinations are at a selective disadvantage, over time the frequency of the negative alleles in the gene pool would decline.

    If the population ever switches to outbreeding, its phenotypes would tend to be healthier for having weeded those negative alleles out of the gene pool by past inbreeding.

    Likewise, in the rarer case where a homozygous allele combination is beneficial, inbreeding would increase the frequency of those positive recessive genes over time.

  41. @Elli

    So you would expect to high iq pockets of Africans where the parasites are less plentiful? Wakanda maybe

  42. @JohnnyWalker123

    If you look at human history, advanced civilizations historically arose in regions with hot weather.

    It could be there are two different effects at play. For example, hunter-gatherering in colder climates may have selected for higher IQ. But the rise of socially advanced civilization may have had more to do with the population densities and divisions of labor that could be supported by subtropical agriculture.

    Nicholas Wade, for example, hypothesized that thousands of years of rice farming (which apparently requires a lot of planning, foresight and diligence) was the dominant source of the selective pressures on Chinese.

  43. Altai says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    In fairness this happened because warmer climates could achieve higher population densities and develop more complex societies. Once people in certain regions were exposed to these systems they seemed to be better at running them but could never be better at founding them.

    Eg, Germany was once the land of barbarians and Italy/Greece the land of civilisation. But once they were civilised, the Germans became pretty good at civilisation, in modern times much better than Italy or Greece. The modern economic system also puts higher value on human capital and cooperation, places like Iceland, Ireland, Finland and Norway that were until very recently quite poor, have been able to achieve very high living standards in the post-war economic system of free capital that they have acquired by various means. For lack of a better term ‘niceness’ and trustworthiness seem to be harder to engender and not be the result purely of economics or ‘development’. How much of that is also fostered by ethnic homogeneity and a strong sense of peoplehood is an interesting question. It seems key to certain kinds of corruption. (Eg, high level political corrupt is rife in Ireland but general corruption is very low) I would argue they are to a limit more important than IQ. You can’t get Copenhagen with super high IQ sociopaths.

    No doubt Eastern European will progress, but I don’t think those places will ever really produce citizens like we see today in Western Europe. Even when chronically poor, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and Finland never produced a society as low trust as Eastern Europe today, it’s not poverty alone.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    , @Yngvar
  44. res says:
    @Elli

    How does he calculate an among-group variance of 173 IQ points?

    If you look closely (page 12 of the paper) the units are (IQ points)^2 (he does not use parentheses which makes it less clear IMHO). The square root of that is 13.2 IQ points (half of the 26.4 difference in means). See the paragraph on page 8 just after equation 1 for where I think he is getting that.

    I don’t care for his use of “among-group”. I think between group and within group are much clearer terms. He seems to be using “among-group” to mean between group (see equation 3), but my understanding is it usually mans within group: https://www.chegg.com/homework-help/definitions/among-group-variation-31

    Does anyone here understand his math in depth? He does not include much detail and seems to have a habit of making questionable assumptions.

  45. @petit bourgeois

    Hong Kong Han are genetically identical to their mainland brethren…

    They are not genetically identical, unless you mean they are all Han Chinese, in which case your statement is no more interesting than saying that the goyim attending Harvard University are genetically identical to students attending West Virginia University, even though the IQ gap between the two groups is huge.

    Twinkie is right. Selection bias explains much of this IQ premium in the more vibrant cities. Smarter people head to places where there is a premium on talent. I’m sure the average white IQ in Boston is higher than in Birmingham.

    …which means their higher IQ is most likely due to environmental factors, such as a better diet and not living under threat of being sent to a reeducation camp.

    Which explains why North Koreans score higher than all of Europe and the Anglosphere. It’s because of their good diets and not living under threat of being sent to reeducation camps, not to mention their amazing capitalist system.

    Citizens of Beijing believe that they live in a democracy, because during elections there are multiple persons on the ballot, and they don’t understand single party communist rule (like California).

    One of the funnier comments I’ve read here. I’m sure the humor is unintentional.

    • Agree: West Reanimator
    • Replies: @petit bourgeois
  46. OT but I came across this sentence and I felt I should share it.
    From a site called ‘healthline’, by one Nian Hu:
    “No myth is more harmful than the expectation of having a tight vagina.”
    Indeed.

  47. Pericles says:

    The co-authors conclude their book by recommending that

    “The rich countries’ economic aid programs for the poor countries should be continued and some of these should be directed at attempting to increase the intelligence levels of the populations of the poorer countries by improvements in nutrition and the like.”

    Cf. the World’s Most Important Graph. So we actually really, really shouldn’t.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  48. JimB says:

    Interpreting polygenic scores for IQ sounds like the new global warming debate. Researchers think up a sequence of transforms and calibrations for the data which give them the conclusion they’re permitted to reach. Then they justify their data reduction procedures with some vaguely plausible hand waving argument: voila, the hockey stick global warming graph.

  49. very serious question. this guy is obviously totally wrong, as are all the enviromentalists. but, using their methodology, what do you reckon their calculation would be between the genetic intelligence difference between humans and…chimpanzees? ‘only’ 50% maybe? so if we just gave chimpanzees a regular diet of yuppie Whole Foods, they would start to ‘close the performance gap’ with human 8 year olds? chimps have 99% the same genes as humans or thereabouts.

    i’m totally serious. that virtually seems to be what they’re saying. the difference between Bantus and Scots is just some food and clean water, maybe a warm house and a couple years of British grammar school. and bam. they’re inventing the steam engine. maybe Pumpkin Person can weigh in here with the discussions of Neanderthals versus humans and so forth.

    meanwhile in the real world, 100 years and several TRILLION dollars later, and africans have produced just as much Nobel Science prize level work as they did 100,000 years ago. the performance gap is more like 300 Nobel Science prizes to zero, and will remain so, forever.

    if we give Bantus the ‘correct food’, how many operating systems do the environmentalists reckon they’ll be able to create from scratch? which planet will they be landing on via spacecraft of their own design? there’s gonna be like 3 billion africans in africa soon. does this guy seriously argue that if they just got good food, then we’re pretty much looking at 3 billion suburban living, college degree holding workers instead of guys living in huts?

    what performance gaps can’t magical ‘good conditions’ close? oh, that’s right. these guys NEVER argue that if you give Indians or Mexicans ‘good food’, suddenly they’ll be able to play sports. “Just give them the right conditions and their verticals will increase 15 inches. Polygenic scores for calf muscles say that blah blah blah. Type 2b muscle fiber density will increase to wah wah wah.”

    • Agree: ben tillman
  50. bispora says:

    I think Trannyporno is not the best frend of Kevin:

    Thoughts on Kevin Bird’s paper on Race and IQ? from heredity

    • Replies: @res
  51. @AnotherDad

    A lot of lefties believe in the Theory of Evolution, not the process.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
  52. Yngvar says:
    @A Different Fred

    This must be one of those made-to-order ‘studies’ lefties love so much. Shitlibs will be pointing to it while shouting “debunked!” from now til kingdom come.

  53. Realist says:

    But, as I pointed out in 2002, because the immense IQ gap between European countries and sub-Saharan countries of about 30 points is about twice the IQ gap between white Americans and black Americans, that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment.

    There is always the more realistic explanation that black Americans are an admixture of blacks and whites, thereby increasing their IQ.

    Your comment on the harshness of sub-saharan environment is interesting…I submit the harshness of the environment above the 45° N is much the extreme.

  54. Realist says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    If you look at human history, advanced civilizations historically arose in regions with hot weather.

    Explain sub-saharan Africa and Australia?

  55. @The Wild Geese Howard

    In the short term there’s little her boss can do, in the longer term life will be made difficult for her.

    Maybe he’ll give her lots of assignments involving visits to diverse areas, and record her reactions.

    “What do you mean, you won’t be safe there. Whyever not?”

    (There’s a new Guardian review of Rutherford btw

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/30/how-to-argue-with-a-racist-adam-rutherford-review

    )

  56. Altai says:

    Actually Estonia is the ultimate control for the effects of the Soviet Union. It’s done much better than the other Baltics or other post-Soviet states. Post Soviet Finns are still Finns.

  57. @Altai

    Germans good at civilization?

    The British yes, also the French perhaps, but the Germans?

    Merkel’s Boner?

    Dieselgate?

    Energiewende?

    This is only the recent stuff, I won’t get into what happened mid 20th century.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  58. nymom says:
    @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    The economic aid appears to just manage to get the most vulnerable children to adulthood with no further economic prospects in sight. I think it is probably encouraging all of these wars we see ongoing in Africa, most probably related to overpopulation and the fighting over resources that comes with it. Not to mention the emigration going on into Europe and all the Western nations which is going to ruin all of us if it continues.

    If you look at Kenya and you look at Singapore both came out from colonialism around the same time with similar population number and GDP. Today Singapore is an economic powerhouse; while, Kenya, which now has 3x the population it had at the end of colonialism, is another African basketcase.

    I think we need to leave these people alone. Eventually their population will stabilize to what their actual landmass can support. But before that can happen we need to stop the food, stop the medicine, stop the missionary nonsense. Just stop the interference in their lives that currently goes on.

    It is ruining their countries and eventually going to drag us down after them if we don’t stop.

  59. nymom says:
    @petit bourgeois

    Overpopulation on mainland.

    Hong Kong controlled its borders and the women had lower birthrates…

  60. gregor says:

    “…that suggests a substantial amount of the European vs. SubSaharan gap is due to the harshness of the sub-Saharan environment…”

    Naw, they score better because they have white provided schools and institutions.

  61. @Pincher Martin

    You can say it’s selection bias, but you have no evidence.

    Keep in mind the book was published over 20 years ago, e.g., before the British lease expired. Hong Kong was nothing like Harvard. Apples and oranges.

    If you are denying that environment has an effect on IQ despite psychometric data to the contrary, you’re denying reality.

    And I wasn’t joking. I was talking to a very smart venture capital chinaman from Beijing and that’s what they actually believe: because they have a choice at the ballot box, they believe they live in a democracy. It is anecdotal evidence but it shows they really aren’t that smart.

    And North Koreans don’t test higher than their southern countrymen. Environmental factors such as malnourishment is the reason why DPRK had to lower their height requirements to serve in the military. They’re likely not very smart either.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/north-korea-lowers-height-requirements-for-military-service/

    A 30 cm height difference between north and south of genetically identical people is pretty telling.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  62. Mr. Anon says:
    @Lot

    Unfortunately I think this is a great career move. He’s a white guy who wants to get tenure in a fancy university biology department around 2025. If you think the academic diversity Stalinism is bad now….

    Good point. By 2025, a white guy might need an extensive portfolio of good-think essays to increase his chances of getting hired in academia. He should probably write some articles on feminist and LGBT stuff too, just to cover his bases.

  63. Peter Frost says: • Website

    There are two problems with Kevin’s reasoning.

    1. He assumes an African mean IQ of 72.8. This is a low-end estimate. In their review of the literature, Wicherts et al. (2010) argue for a mean of 82, whereas Lynn (2010) puts it at 66. Rindermann (2013) favors a “best guess” of 75. There is some fudging in all of these estimates, since no one really knows how much adjustment should be made for the Flynn Effect. These are societies that are still becoming familiar not only with test taking but also with the entire paradigm of giving standardized answers to standardized questions.

    2. Polygenic scores are still a rough measure. When Davide Piffer used the polygenic score to estimate African genotypic IQ, he came up with an estimate of 90.54

    https://www.openpsych.net/forum/showthread.php?tid=27

    It looks like polygynic scores inflate African IQ, perhaps because of differences in genetic architecture. Or perhaps mean African genotypic IQ really is around 90.

    References

    Lynn, R. (2010). The average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans assessed by the Progressive Matrices: A reply to Wicherts, Dolan, Carlson & van der Maas, Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 152-154.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1041608010000348

    Rindermann, H. (2013). African cognitive ability: Research, results, divergences and recommendations, Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 229-233.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886912003741

    Wicherts, J.M., C.V. Dolan, and H.L.J. van der Maas. (2010). A systematic literature review of the average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans, Intelligence, 38, 1-20.
    http://mathsci.free.fr/survey.pdf

    • Replies: @res
  64. Jack D says:
    @James Braxton

    In fact it’s the opposite. The harshness of life in the cold north is what caused IQ to increase among northern people because survival required all sorts of clever strategies and long term planning. Even among Native America people, the Inuit (formerly known as Eskimos) have the highest IQ. Even in the US, IQ is correlated with distance from the Canadian border – closer is better.

  65. res says:
    @bispora

    Thanks. That was helpful. These excerpts from TrannyPornO’s comments gives an idea of what to expect.

    I asked some of the people he’s replying to if I should say anything. Because Kevin does not have an argument, his paper is filled with statistical errors and fallacies and bad maths in general, I was asked to just let it slide into publication so that it can be responded to there. What happens when Kevin is criticised normally is that he moves goalposts or outright lies in protection of his ideology, so I agree that it isn’t fruitful to try to talk to him outside of publications.

    No, because what Kevin did is not relevant. It’s important that he gets this published so that he can be put down in a way that he can’t wriggle out from. Him publishing tripe (including literal lies about papers he’s responding to, among other things) is a good thing; now he just needs to actually get it published.

    I want some method for evaluating the quality of his work.

    Start on Lynch & Walsh, p. 452.

    Terse commentary from commenter FreshLine_

    The first test is irrelevant. The second is fallacious and could have been avoided by reading the supplementary material from Guo et Al. The fst to phenotype is just stupid.

  66. @JohnnyWalker123

    Here’s the problem with the cold-weather hypothesis.

    Johnny,

    There is no problem with the cold-weather hypothesis, it is certainly correct.

    As with most issues, it is possible to have multiple factors in play.

    –> Cold weather indeed requires more planning hence more conscientiousness, lower time preference, higher IQ.

    –> Civilization–trade, money, written language, bureaucracy, returns to literacy, more variety of products, etc. etc.–means more complexity, and brings in literacy/numeracy and leads to higher IQ.

    Both are clearly factors. Not the least bit complicated to understand.

    And civilization requires successful agriculture that
    a) creates a surplus and
    b) supports a decent population density
    allowing “rulers” to take over a territory and create “civilization” at scale. This generally first occurred in places that were warm, but not insanely hot. As human capabilities improved, more of it took place at higher–but still temperate–latitudes.

    You can quibble about it, but this more or less matches the pattern we see.
    — The smartest hunter gathers are the Eskimos.
    — But settled agricultural people at any given latitude are generally smarter. (At least in the sort of logical intelligence we can measure.)
    — Among civilizations, the ones with scale in the upper temperate zone–England, France, Germany, Japan–have outshone the orginal, more tropical river valley–Tigris/Euphrates, Nile–civilizations. Likely tapping into higher conscientiousness and intelligence in the population from managing farming/fishing with winter.
    — People are smarter in the cities–where people succeed by engaging in “civilization”–manufacture, trade, bureaucracy–than off in the hills.

    • Replies: @res
  67. Jack D says:
    @Pericles

    What if aid for improvement in nutrition is used by native people to increase the number of children that they have – instead of using the aid to adequately nourish your 5 poorly nourished children, you use it to have a 6th poorly nourished one instead? (Subsaharan fertility rate is still 4.78 children/female). Isn’t it racist to tell native people what they should do with their food, since having lots of babies is an African custom?

  68. res says:
    @Peter Frost

    Good comment. I think his estimate of African IQ is based on the same numbers Piffer used for the 1000 Genomes populations in this graphic.

    From Bird’s paper.

    Phase 3 of the 1000 Genomes project, based on reference-build hg37, was downloaded for autosomal chromosomes. I filtered samples to only include the European superpopulation (EUR) which consists of 503 individuals from CEU (99), TSI (107), FIN (99), GBR (91), and IBS (107) populations and the African superpopulations which consists of 661 individuals from YRI (108), LWK (99), GWD (113), MSL (85), ESN (99), ASW (61), and ACB (96) populations.

    Using the country-level IQ results used by Piffer (2015), the African group mean IQ is 72.8 and the European group mean IQ is 99.2

    Whether or not it is a good estimate, it seems suitable to his purpose of responding to Piffer’s paper. So IMHO one of the less objectionable things in Bird’s paper ; )

  69. Jack D says:

    This is not a real paper published in an moderated scientific journal (not that there aren’t a lot of hokey journals in the social “sciences”. SocArXiv is some kind of open source bullshit where anyone can publish anything. This is not even his field of study. Kevin should stick to plants.

    https://www.canr.msu.edu/contentAsset/image/cee406ef-1afb-41c5-8009-4120351e99d4/fileAsset/filter/Resize,Jpeg/resize_w/350/jpeg_q/90

    That being said, I can’t blame the guy. For a white male hoping to get a tenure track position nowadays, his only hope is to come across as a vigorous “ally” – hey it beats a sex change operation, which would be the #2 choice.

  70. res says:
    @AnotherDad

    I like your take on this. I wonder if it is possible to model those effects and see how well the model fits reality.

    It seems to me the hardest thing to model would be the time course of the effects: How long did each group spend at each latitude and degree of civilization (population density or total group size seem like good metrics for the latter)?

    Any thoughts on whether the two effects are best viewed as independent, or would we expect an interaction term?

    P.S. I think there might be a third effect having to do with the best environment to attain maximum phenotypic intelligence from a given genotype. Probably some Goldilocks zone between the high disease load of the tropics and extremely demanding living conditions of the extreme cold. So better to evolve with cold winters, but perhaps not optimal to live there in the present. Might be hard to disentangle this from the agriculture/civilization evolution effect since they seem to have similar optimal zones.

  71. @JohnnyWalker123

    So if you divide the variances, either 12% of 17% of the White-Black IQ gap can be attributed to genetics

    He was looking at a specific set of identified genes rather than addressing “genetics” as a whole. Wasn’t he?

  72. @aguywhoreads

    If there is a large genetic contribution to the Black-white IQ gap, it appears it does not exist in known education and cognitive performance variants.

    Given increased sampling and analysis, its almost inevitable that more variants will be discovered.

    And even if they are not discovered, that won’t mean the difference isn’t genetic. They sure as hell aren’t going to discover any magical environmental cause that works without interacting with genes.

  73. @Inquiring Mind

    Go back a little further in German history than what is covered in Nazi week on the History Channel and you’ll find that Germans built an impressive modern civilization that the English, French, Russians and Americans all felt compelled to either emulate or compete against.

    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, German music and mathematics, philosophy and the hard sciences, the educational system from kindergarten to university, engineering and the military were all at least as impressive as could be found in any other place on earth. And the Germans were often superior.

    Go back to the year 1800. There were around 25 million German speakers living in the soon-to-be-dissolved Holy Roman Empire. That’s about the population of Texas today.

    Among the Germans living at the time were Carl Gauss, Beethoven, Goethe, Fichte, Immanuel Kant, Lessing, Schiller, Hegel, Alexander von Humboldt, and Joseph Haydn.

    Thats an impressive intellectual lineup for 25 million people. And the Germans were just getting started. So, yes, Germans were good at civilization.

  74. @petit bourgeois

    You can say it’s selection bias, but you have no evidence.

    I have more circumstantial evidence to support my case than you have to support your notion that capitalism makes people smarter.

    If you are denying that environment has an effect on IQ despite psychometric data to the contrary, you’re denying reality.

    I don’t deny it makes a small difference both at the margins and at the extremes. If you starve someone, for example, clearly they won’t do well on an IQ test.

    But once you get a minimum to eat, minimal security, and a minimal educational framework in which to work, your true nature comes out in its full glory. You might see a small depression, but it won’t be much.

    Communist Russians, for example, were clearly smarter than capitalist Latin Americans and Middle Easterners in the 1980s, despite the Russians being hampered by all the things you think should’ve knocked down their IQs.

    And North Koreans don’t test higher than their southern countrymen.

    But they test higher than Europeans and Americans, who are, you know, the founding populations of modern capitalism. And they don’t test much lower than South Koreans. Like I said, the difference is marginal.

    And I wasn’t joking. I was talking to a very smart venture capital chinaman from Beijing and that’s what they actually believe: because they have a choice at the ballot box, they believe they live in a democracy. It is anecdotal evidence but it shows they really aren’t that smart.

    Many of them, especially if they have not spent much time out of China, are not self aware, which is not the same thing as being dumb.

    A 30 cm height difference between north and south of genetically identical people is pretty telling.

    The difference in height between North and South Koreans is much greater than their difference in IQ scores, which ought to tell you (if you’re smart) that IQ is more durable and harder to change than you think. If living in North Korean-like conditions knocks down Korean IQ scores by only a couple of points, then capitalism isn’t going to make much of a difference.

  75. Yngvar says:
    @Altai

    Even when chronically poor Norway never produced a society as low trust as Eastern Europe today, it’s not poverty alone.

    Well, at least since independence in 1905, Norway has never been out of Top 10 Richest Countries in Europe.

  76. Tracy says:

    When it comes to IQ, you can put in a dropped ceiling, but you can’t raise the roof.

  77. @Twinkie

    Hong Kong’s population is highly selected, as is that of, say, Shanghai or Beijing.

    There’s a certain logic to this – many were the most highly-motivated losers (politically-speaking) in a country governed by a new regime. This regime had summarily executed millions of the most obvious potential malcontents (landlords and other property owners) who benefited from the ancien regime. China’s new emperors commissars were working their way down the list to find more peripheral former elites to kill or persecute, so as to completely eliminate the threat of counter-revolution.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  78. Twinkie says:
    @Johann Ricke

    You never want to surround your enemy completely. As a saying goes, build a golden bridge if your enemy shows a sign of retreat.

  79. @ben tillman

    “Except there’s nothing else to attribute it to besides nutrition. And dietary choices ultimately trace back to genes.”

    Source?

  80. @res

    That article was one of the cringiest things I’ve ever read.

  81. @Reg Cæsar

    ‘Huh? I thought it was the harshness of the European environment, i.e., winter, compared to the relative ease of the sub-Saharan that accounts for the difference.’

    Dobzhansky stated that tropical lands were harsher than temperate ones.

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