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Are people of color less intelligent?

The statement last week by Nobel Laureate geneticist Dr. James Watson regarding Africa as a laggard has slightly re-opened the taboo subject of the link between race and intelligence.
Here's what The Times of London reported: "The scientist, who won the Nobel prize for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, was quoted in an interview in The Sunday Times saying he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really.”
When I saw this, my first reaction was: Does Watson have a history of racist thinking? Like another Nobel Laureate and semiconductor pioneer William Shockley? Or he just naively spoke his mind without realizing the consequences? Well, I found out that this isn't Watson's first rambunctious claim. He has previously argued that stupidity is a disease that should be cured, and that "it would be great" if women were genetically engineered to be pretty
Nonetheless, I decided to search for "testing" that Dr. Watson refers to. And here's what I found:

Richard Lynn, "Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis" 2006 Table 16.2 (indigenous populations) Estimated average IQ
Arctic Peoples 91
East Asians 105
Europeans 100
Native Americans (north & south) 86
Southern Asian & Northern Africans 84
Bushmen (southern Africa) 54
Africans (subsaharan) 67
Native Australians (aboriginals) 62
Southeast Asians 87
Pacific Islanders 85

Apparently, this is a compilation of data from "credible sources" and published in respected journals such as American Journal of Psychology. The neutrality and factual accuracy of these studies and data have been questioned by many researchers and scientists. The most common criticisms are that these studies and tests are developed in the European context and they measure mainly problem-solving capability and skills in that context.
For those who are curious, Pakistanis are included along with Indians in Southern Asia with an average IQ of 84, about 16 points below Europeans and almost 21 points behind East Asians including Chinese, Japanese and Koreans.
With regard to nature versus nurture, here's some data for testing of various minorities in North America and Europe:

This data indicates that the context and the environment do have an impact on the IQ test results but they do not completely erase the difference. However, the debate continues with lots of questions as to the design, the content and the bias in IQ tests.
What do you think? Please comment.

Views: 704

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 12, 2012 at 6:11pm

Here's interesting report linking IQ with DNA and brain size:

(RTTNews) - In what is perhaps the world's largest brain study to date, researchers have uncovered specific genes that are linked to brain size and intelligence.

The study, conducted by a team of more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide, measured the size of the brain and its memory centers in thousands of MRI images from 21,151 healthy people while simultaneously screening their DNA. According to the researchers, a variant in a gene called HMGA2 affected the brain size, as well as a person's intelligence.

Remember that every gene contains a unique sequence of four bases namely, adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). People whose HMGA2 gene held a letter "C" instead of a "T" at a specific location on the gene possessed larger brains and scored more highly on standardized IQ tests, noted the researchers.

According to the study, there was a consistent relationship between subtle shifts in the genetic code and diminished memory centers in people with smaller brains. Since reduced brain size is a biological marker for disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, if we identify the gene variants that deplete brain tissue beyond normal in a healthy person, it can be targeted with a drug to reduce the risk of those diseases, said the researchers.

Commenting on the study findings, lead researcher Paul Thompson, a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, said, "This is a really exciting discovery, that a single letter change leads to a bigger brain. For the first time, we have watertight evidence of how these genes affect the brain.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 12, 2012 at 6:12pm

Recent data, published by the University of New Mexico and reported by Newsweek, shows that there is a link between lower IQs and prevalence of infectious diseases. Comparing data on national “disease burdens” (life years lost due to infectious diseases) with average intelligence scores, the authors found a striking inverse correlation—around 67 percent. They also found that the cognitive ability is rising in some countries than in others, and IQ scores have risen as nations develop—a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 23, 2013 at 11:25pm

The latest 2012 IQ data published by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen puts mean IQ of Pakistanis at 84 and of Indians at 82.2, and Bangladeshis at 81.

Each country has big std deviations and large positive outliers.

The highest IQs are reported for East Asia (100+) and the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (just over 70).

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2014 at 10:17am

Here's a review of Nicholas Wade's book "Troubled Inheritance" written by Matt Ridley:

Humans are not all the same under the skin
Matt Ridley
The Times
Monday May 12, 2014
There are genetic variations between races, but they don’t matter. It is co-operation that brings progress to our species.
Is it necessary to believe that racial differences are small and skin-deep in order not to be a racist? For the first half of the last century, science generally exaggerated stereotypes of racial difference in behaviour and assumed that they were innate and immutable. For the second half, science generally asserted that there were no differences — save the obvious, visible ones — and used this argument to combat prejudice.
Yet that second premise is becoming increasingly untenable in the genomic era as more details emerge of human genetic diversity. We will have to justify equal treatment using something other than identity of nature. Fortunately, it’s easily done.
Human evolution did not cease thousands of years ago; it has been “recent, copious and regional”, in the words of Nicholas Wade, a veteran New York Times science writer and the author of A Troublesome Inheritance, an eloquent but disturbing book on genes, race and human history, which was published last week. ...
Perhaps people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have high average IQs because for centuries their ancestors worked almost exclusively in professions such as money-lending, where exceptional literacy and numeracy were rewarded with greater fecundity. Or perhaps Chinese people show greater conformity because for centuries those who could stomach Confucian rote-learning and obedience got to have more surviving children. These are no more far-fetched arguments than to suppose that ancestral Inuit with genetic adaptations for coping with the cold had more offspring.
Nor is it implausible that over millennia of settled, agricultural and urban living, with the execution or ostracism of “skull-cracker” misfits, selection took place for tameness in the natives of Europe or India compared with say, New Guinea or the Amazon. Thanks to “soft sweeps” — where multiple existing gene variants change in frequency — evolution can work a lot faster than we used to think. ...
So Wade is absolutely right that the old assumption that human behaviour did not evolve much after the divergence of human races at the end of the old Stone Age has to be wrong. The comforting message that biologists sent to social scientists in the 1960s — that they were sure there was no biological basis for race, which could instead be regarded as a social construct — is bunk.
True, the boundaries of races are blurred, and the differences between individuals dwarf those between average members of different races, but differences there are, and not just in skin pigment. The more we look, the more genetic variation we will find between races, as well as between individuals, so we had better get ready to deal with such discoveries, if only for medical reasons. Some diseases afflict certain races more; some drugs work differently in different races.
However, I part company with the next step in Wade’s argument. He tries to explain too much of human history by gene changes. The industrial revolution started in Europe and not China, he suggests, partly because Europe had been preconditioned by genetic evolution for the sort of economic openness that sparked accelerating innovation. ...

This is based on the work of the historian Gregory Clark (like Wade, an expatriate Briton in America who has written a fascinating new book about social mobility called The Son Also Rises). The evidence from the history of surnames, Clark says, “confirms a permanent selection in pre-industrial England for the genes of the economically successful, and against the genes of the poor and criminal”.
... But surely this was not anywhere near fast or large enough to spark the industrial revolution, let alone as important as factors such as the harnessing of fossil fuels or the invention of inclusive institutions and opening up to trade.

Clark's 2007 book was so important that I reviewed it across two articles in VDARE: first and second.
Just look at how quickly attitudes to homosexuality, say, have changed within a lifetime, with no time for gene changes.

WWG is rapidly assuming epochal importance in the Western mental landscape.
It may be harder to build and run a modern consumer society from scratch using only people whose ancestors were hunter-gathering for most of the past 30,000 years (native Australians, say) than by using only people whose ancestors experienced farming, cities, diseases, alcohol and literacy. But it would be far from impossible with the right institutions.

I think the Viscount went for a bridge too far there in choosing his example. He could have used, say, Maoris in his example. (Here's Clive James on an anthology of poetry supposedly by Aborigines, which he contrasts to a recent poem he really likes by a Maori.) The "right institutions" would have to include a near total ban on alcohol, which the Australian government has been trying in recent years, but I don't know with how much success.
There is a big reason that racial differences in mental capacity will not matter a jot, however many we find. Human achievement is not, despite what professors like to think, the work of brilliant individuals. It is a collective phenomenon.
Every technology, every idea, every institution is a combination of many people’s contributions. There is no single human being on the planet, as Leonard Read famously pointed out, who knows how to make a pencil, let alone the internet, the economy or the government.
The average IQ of a group, a team or a race matters little, if at all. What counts is how well they communicate, collaborate and exchange ideas. Give me a hundred thickos who talk to each other, rather than a hundred clever-clogs who don’t. This collaboration is surely the true secret of human achievement and the true reason that race does not count, not because we are all identical inside.

But can't clever-clogs talk to each other too?

That's a devastating comeback if the big problem is inequality among groups, which has been the conventional wisdom since the 1960s. If that's not really the big problem, then clever clogs and thickos talking to each other will lead to economic growth without necessarily radically changing the rank order of groups' economic potentials. And that's pretty much what we've seen.

As I tried to point out in my recent piece in Taki's, a lot of agitation is driven by juvenile jealousy over ethnic bragging rights. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould resented that the history of biology featured fewer great names from his group than the history of some other sciences, such as nuclear physics, so he concocted a giant, highly successful campaign to get people to believe that his largely WASP predecessors were evil pseudo-scientists.

The world we live in in 2014 is one that looks an awful lot like the one us bad guys describe ... and, guess what, it's not so bad.


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