Average Brain Size for the Three Races

Philipe Rushton, in his book Race, Evolution and Behavior, reports average brain size for the three races. The following is the graph from Rusthton’s book:

i-e088e7aa23fe255ee5ff4943889b7114-Rushton_Brain_Size_by_Race.jpg

I put this post here for reference in a couple of conversations. The data are bogus and any conclusions that might be drawn from it are equally bogus.

Comments

  1. #1 Bjoern Brembs
    January 7, 2010

    Before we even go into the absurdity of the grouping – error bars and set y-axis to zero, please!

  2. #2 Lorax
    January 7, 2010

    and can we include women vs men and poor vs wealthy comparisons. It would also be nice to know what is meant by black, white, and oriental.

  3. #3 itzac
    January 7, 2010

    Next, demonstrate a relationship between brain size and intelligence in humans.

  4. #4 José
    January 7, 2010

    @Bjoern
    Are you telling me that orientals don’t have brains that are three times the volume of blacks?

  5. #5 Victor Antonio
    January 7, 2010

    There was a study done in the early 1900s by an Italian scientist who took a two brains from different races and concluded that the larger size brain person (white male) was more intelligent.

    What they left out of the study was that the larger brain person was a murderer. So are we to conclude that larger brain sized persons = tendency to commit violent acts = white males?

    My point: figures lie and liars figure. This is an Irresponsible posting of a chart with no clue as to the who, what, when, where and why of the study!

  6. #6 Albatross
    January 7, 2010

    Didn’t Einstein have a comparatively small brain? I believe there’s an argument for smaller human brains being “smarter” than larger ones, because the neurons are closer together and the transmission times are lower. (Full disclosure, I wear an XXL hat)

  7. #7 mk
    January 7, 2010

    Are Inuit considered the oriental race? Are Australian aborigines in the black race? They’re pretty far east so maybe they’re oriental. How ’bout American Indians and native Brazilians? White? Black? Being direct descendants of those who crossed the Bering Strait 10,000 years ago maybe they’re really orientals? So confusing! Poor Rushton… how hard his job must have been!

  8. #8 Moopheus
    January 7, 2010

    I, for one, welcome our oriental overlords.

  9. #9 GaryB
    January 7, 2010

    How big is Rushton’s brain?

  10. #10 noel
    January 7, 2010

    I also thought this shit must be about a hundred years old. The U of Western Ontario must be very proud. But where are the racist commenters from last week’s post? How can they be “ad hominemed” if they’re not going to show? Or even educated?
    If they’re lurking: This sort of purported data has been discredited in many different ways, starting with the fact that there are no rigorously defined categories for human races. I know what your eyes see; would you judge a drug trial by who looks better to you? Race is not scientifically definable because there is more variation within any purported racial group than between any two groups. Ipso facto GIGO.

  11. #11 MadScientist
    January 7, 2010

    3 races? Sprint, Marathon, and Relay?

  12. #12 Rich Wilson
    January 7, 2010

    Wait, where are elephants and blue whales on that scale?

  13. #13 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***Next, demonstrate a relationship between brain size and intelligence in humans.

    Posted by: itzac | January 7, 2010 1:19 PM***

    “Imaging studies of intelligence and brain structure.
    Correlations between intelligence and total brain volume
    or grey matter volume have been replicated in magnetic
    resonance imaging (MRI) studies, to the extent that
    intelligence is now commonly used as a confounding
    variable in morphometric studies of disease. MRI-based
    studies estimate a moderate correlation between brain
    size and intelligence of 0.40 to 0.51 (REF. 28; see REF. 29
    on interpreting this correlation, and REF. 30 for a
    meta-analysis).”

    Gray, J.R., Thompson, P.M. (2004). Neurobiology of Intelligence: Science and Ethics, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5:1-13, June 2004, published online, May 19 2004.

    http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/IQ/NRN2004_IQ.html

  14. #14 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    There’s a more up to date reference here:

    Rushton, J. P., & Ankney, C. D. (2009). Whole-brain size and general mental ability: A review. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119, 691-731.

    http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/2009%20IJN.pdf

  15. #15 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***Race is not scientifically definable because there is more variation within any purported racial group than between any two groups. Ipso facto GIGO.

    Posted by: noel | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM***

    Lewontin Fallacy?

    “One thing commenters seem particularly confused about is the difference between phenotypic and genetic variation. The clustering data show very clearly that, in certain subspaces, the genetic variation within a particular population cluster is less than between clusters. That is, the genetic “distance” between two individuals within a cluster is typically much less than the distance between clusters. (Technical comment: this depends on the number of loci or markers used. As the number gets large the distance between clusters becomes much larger than the individual cluster radius. For continental clusters, if hundreds or thousands of markers are used the intercluster distance dominates the intracluster size. Further technical comment: you may have read the misleading statistic, spread by the intellectually dishonest Lewontin, that 85% percent of all human genetic variation occurs within groups and only 15% between groups. The statistic is true, but what is often falsely claimed is that this breakup of variances (larger within group than between group) prevents any meaningful genetic classification of populations. This false conclusion neglects the correlations in the genetic data that are revealed in a cluster analysis. See here for a simple example which shows that there can be dramatic group differences in phenotypes even if every version of every gene is found in two groups — as long as the frequency or probability distributions are distinct. Sadly, understanding this point requires just enough mathematical ability that it has eluded all but a small number of experts.) Update: see here for an explanation in pictures of Lewontin’s fallacy.”

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.html

  16. #16 MadScientist
    January 7, 2010

    So Rushton is a psychologist? Oh yeah, I’ll get my information about genetics and intelligence from a psychologist. While I’m at it I think I’ll get medical advice from that set of ambulant plastic boobs, Jenny McCarthy.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Rushton and Ankney is more a review of post hoc restatement, horrendous methodology, and biased research design than I’ve ever seen anywhere else, almost. It is also interesting because the (unadjusted) “race differences” in brain size are less than the sex differences in brain size that the study proposes. This is very strong evidence that brain size does not really explain IQ or other cognitive effects very well across races.

    That paper also demonstrates in its data, but I don’t think this is admitted by Rushton (I may have missed it) that the measurement methods that were most used to create the race-based analysis that all the other racist scientists use is the poorest.

    I will fill in some of these blanks later, but I just don’t want people passing though to take the references provided above by observer to be very strong evidence of the racist model of intelligence and brain size that he is promoting.

    However, I do take Observer’s comments to be evidence that the race-biased researchers still pretty much accept Rushton’s model … the one represented in the figure and in the previous post showing a scan from his book (linked to in the original post) as valid and current.

  18. #18 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***Are Australian aborigines in the black race?

    Posted by: mk | January 7, 2010 2:21 PM
    ***

    They cluster into a different group. You can see that here.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06/genetic-clustering-40-years-of-progress.html

    Aborigines have a larger visual cortex than Caucasians.

    “The brain volumes of 8 male Australian Aborigines and 11 male Caucasians were determined. Total brain volume was significantly smaller for Aborigines (1199 +/- 84 ml) compared to Caucasians (1386 +/- 98 ml). Significantly smaller volumes were also found for cerebellum, prosencephalon-mesencephalon unit, cerebral cortex, frontal cortex, parieto-occipitotemporal cortex, and hippocampus. Volumes of ponsmedulla oblongata unit (21 +/- 3 ml for Aborigines and 22 +/- 3 ml for Caucasians) and visual cortex (14.9 ml +/- 2.6 ml and 14.6 +/- 2.2 ml, respectively) did not differ significantly. The striate cortex extended further onto the lateral surface of the occipital lobe in Aboriginal brains. The frontal portion of cerebral cortex was larger in Aboriginal than in Caucasian brains. According to the specific growth periods for the areas studied, these differences could be explained by the higher incidence of malnutrition and infectious diseases for Aboriginals during the development of the brain in early childhood, especially after the 6th postnatal month. However, genetic influences cannot be excluded. The results for the visual cortex of Aborigines might represent an adaptation to living conditions in the bush and desert regions of Australia.”

    J Anat. 1987 February; 150: 191–210.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1261675/

    Ed Miller notes:

    “Kearins (1981, 1986) reports on experiments measuring memory for spatial location of objects. She found that aboriginals did better than whites. Since this was true of aboriginal who were at least a couple of generations removed from their original lifestyles, while these did not differ much from those who were less acculaturated, it appears likely that there is a genetic difference here. Kearins argued that this spatial ability was very useful for pathfinding in the desert. However, Drinkwater (1976) did not find such an advantage for a sample of non-desert aboriginals, although Kearins pointed out that even performing at the white level was impressive, since the aboriginals in general did not do this well.

    Additional evidence of aboriginal superiority at spatial relations is supplied by Kearins (1988). She found that when day care children (4 to 4.5 years of age) were asked to indicate by pointing the direction to their home, 58% of the aboriginal children were correct while none of the university day care center children could do this and only 5% of those in an urban blue collar center, while the aboriginal children were significantly worse at knowing their addresses, ages, or at counting than were the white children. The aboriginal children were also significantly better at the kindergarten game of fishing (catching artificial fish) which required speed and manual dexterity.

    A possible explanation for the aboriginal advantage in spatial memory is provided by (Klekamp et al.,1994) who report that Australian aboriginals have a larger visual cortex than Caucasians.

    The brains of Australian aborigines also show a prominent lunate sulcus at a higher rate than in other races (Baker, 1974, p. 293), which Baker notes indicates that “the visual area does not extend nearly so far round the posterior end of the occipital lobe on to its lateral surface” in Europids as in Australids. This is a feature considered by some to be relatively primitive. Also the percentage of skulls with fronto-temporal pteriorn or one or both sides is much higher in Australids (and Negrids) than in Europids of Europe (Baker 1974, p. 299). It is not known what the implications, if any, of these morphological differences are for brain function. However, the tendency that some observers see for the Australian aborigines to retain many primitive features is very consistent with their isolation having prevented the genes for many traits from having reached them.

    A possible biological basis for low intelligence in Australian aborigines is provided by their relatively small brain sizes, which is reported to be about 85% of that for the normal European (Baker, 1974, p. 292), with some of the smallest brains reported in normal people being found among them (Coon, 1962, p. 411). The most recent work (Klekamp et al., 1987) confirmed earlier work by finding a statistically significant difference in fresh brain weight with aboriginal brains averaging 1241 grams, versus 1421 for Caucasians. Harper & Mina (1981) reported statistically signifucant (p< .001) brain weight differences (from the same set of brains) in paired samples matched for age and height. Brain size (as measured by either head size or magnetic resonance imagining) is known to be correlated with intelligence (see the list of studies in Lynn 1991b; Miller, 1994; Rushton, 1994, 1995; Rushton & Osborne, 1995, and Rushton & Ankney, in press)."

    http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/stalkers/em_evol.html

  19. #19 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    I wouldn’t take the Thompson reference in #13 in quite the same light as Rushton. It does have the same general problems with chalking up anything that hasn’t been observed to change over time due to a known environmental variable to genetics and biology. However, it also notes, just a couple paragraphs after the quote Observer pulled, that changes in gray matter have been observed–a 3% change in the volume of gray matter in some areas from learning a single, complex task (juggling).

    The authors of the juggling study have a follow-up study in PLoS One (hooray for open access!!) that has a nice overview of changes in gray matter in general in the Discussion section. Definitely relevant to the current topic.

  20. #20 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***Are Australian aborigines in the black race?***

    Different cluster.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06/genetic-clustering-40-years-of-progress.html

    They have a larger visual cortex than Caucasians. Ed Miller below discusses this in the context of tests showing performance measuring memory for spatial location of objects where they outperform whites.

    “The brain volumes of 8 male Australian Aborigines and 11 male Caucasians were determined. Total brain volume was significantly smaller for Aborigines (1199 +/- 84 ml) compared to Caucasians (1386 +/- 98 ml). Significantly smaller volumes were also found for cerebellum, prosencephalon-mesencephalon unit, cerebral cortex, frontal cortex, parieto-occipitotemporal cortex, and hippocampus. Volumes of ponsmedulla oblongata unit (21 +/- 3 ml for Aborigines and 22 +/- 3 ml for Caucasians) and visual cortex (14.9 ml +/- 2.6 ml and 14.6 +/- 2.2 ml, respectively) did not differ significantly. The striate cortex extended further onto the lateral surface of the occipital lobe in Aboriginal brains. The frontal portion of cerebral cortex was larger in Aboriginal than in Caucasian brains. According to the specific growth periods for the areas studied, these differences could be explained by the higher incidence of malnutrition and infectious diseases for Aboriginals during the development of the brain in early childhood, especially after the 6th postnatal month. However, genetic influences cannot be excluded. The results for the visual cortex of Aborigines might represent an adaptation to living conditions in the bush and desert regions of Australia.”

    J Anat. 1987 February; 150: 191–210.

    Kearins (1981, 1986) reports on experiments measuring memory for spatial location of objects. She found that aboriginals did better than whites. Since this was true of aboriginal who were at least a couple of generations removed from their original lifestyles, while these did not differ much from those who were less acculaturated, it appears likely that there is a genetic difference here. Kearins argued that this spatial ability was very useful for pathfinding in the desert. However, Drinkwater (1976) did not find such an advantage for a sample of non-desert aboriginals, although Kearins pointed out that even performing at the white level was impressive, since the aboriginals in general did not do this well.

    Additional evidence of aboriginal superiority at spatial relations is supplied by Kearins (1988). She found that when day care children (4 to 4.5 years of age) were asked to indicate by pointing the direction to their home, 58% of the aboriginal children were correct while none of the university day care center children could do this and only 5% of those in an urban blue collar center, while the aboriginal children were significantly worse at knowing their addresses, ages, or at counting than were the white children. The aboriginal children were also significantly better at the kindergarten game of fishing (catching artificial fish) which required speed and manual dexterity.

    A possible explanation for the aboriginal advantage in spatial memory is provided by (Klekamp et al.,1994) who report that Australian aboriginals have a larger visual cortex than Caucasians.

    The brains of Australian aborigines also show a prominent lunate sulcus at a higher rate than in other races (Baker, 1974, p. 293), which Baker notes indicates that “the visual area does not extend nearly so far round the posterior end of the occipital lobe on to its lateral surface” in Europids as in Australids. This is a feature considered by some to be relatively primitive. Also the percentage of skulls with fronto-temporal pteriorn or one or both sides is much higher in Australids (and Negrids) than in Europids of Europe (Baker 1974, p. 299). It is not known what the implications, if any, of these morphological differences are for brain function. However, the tendency that some observers see for the Australian aborigines to retain many primitive features is very consistent with their isolation having prevented the genes for many traits from having reached them.

    A possible biological basis for low intelligence in Australian aborigines is provided by their relatively small brain sizes, which is reported to be about 85% of that for the normal European (Baker, 1974, p. 292), with some of the smallest brains reported in normal people being found among them (Coon, 1962, p. 411). The most recent work (Klekamp et al., 1987) confirmed earlier work by finding a statistically significant difference in fresh brain weight with aboriginal brains averaging 1241 grams, versus 1421 for Caucasians. Harper & Mina (1981) reported statistically signifucant (p<.001) brain weight differences (from the same set of brains) in paired samples matched for age and height.”

    Mankind Quarterly, Vol. 37 (Winter 1996) No. 2, 149-186.

  21. #21 Henry Harpending
    January 7, 2010

    Richard Nisbett says in an essay:

    
    “For decades, whites scored about 15 points higher than blacks on IQ test. If such a difference were wholly or substantially genetic in origin, the implications for American society would be dire. It would mean that even if the environmental playing field were leveled, a much higher proportion of blacks than whites would have trouble supporting themselves, and a much lower proportion of blacks than whites would be professionals and successful business people.”

    Greg do you believe this, the “dire” part? Is a moral and ethical society possible if Rushton and Sailer and folks like them, e.g. me, are right?

    Henry

  22. #22 David
    January 7, 2010

    why assume that brain size is a genetic trait? Maguire 2000 PNAS v97(8):4398 showed that in London taxi drivers, time spent driving correlated with volume of right posterior hippocampus. Brain size, at least in some regions, is use-dependent and highly reactive to environmental modulation. The paper cited by Stephanie @18 is more along the same lines.

  23. #23 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***why assume that brain size is a genetic trait? ***

    They’ve recently made some small progress in understanding the genes involved.

    “A group of Norwegian and American researchers have shown that common variations in genes associated with microcephaly — a neuro-developmental disorder in which brain size is dramatically reduced — may explain differences in brain size in healthy individuals as well as in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders.
    The study, which involved collaboration between researchers from the University of Oslo, the University of California, San Diego and Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif., will be published online the week of Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

    In relation to body size, brain size has expanded dramatically throughout primate and human evolution. In fact, in proportion to body size, the brain of modern humans is three times larger than that of nonhuman primates. The cerebral cortex in particular has undergone a dramatic increase in surface area during the course of primate evolution.

    The microcephaly genes have been hot candidates for a role in the evolutionary expansion of the human brain because mutations in these genes can reduce brain size by about two-thirds, to a size roughly comparable to our early hominid ancestors. There is also evidence that four of the genes — MCPH1, ASPM, CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ — have evolved rapidly and have been subject to strong selective pressure in recent human evolution.

    “It is obvious that such anatomical changes must have a basis in genetic alterations, said Lars M. Rimol, a research fellow at the University of Oslo. “Until now, little has been known about the molecular processes involved in this evolution and their genetic underpinnings. Now we have a piece of that genetic puzzle.”

    http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/22588

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Greg do you believe this, the “dire” part? Is a moral and ethical society possible if Rushton and Sailer and folks like them, e.g. me, are right?

    Henry, that is kind of like asking me if I’d worry about the extra expense of building an extra tall fence around my garden to keep Bigfoot out, because there are some people who think Bigfoot exists.

    Am I correct in thinking that your working model is that the vast majority of variation we see in behavior (e.g. intelligence) is caused by physical differences in the brain, the vast majority of those physical differences in the brain are coded for by genetics with virtually no environmental effects, and that the genetic variation is very strongly partitioned in the human population by racial membership?

    Specifically, AFricans have an averag IQ of around 70, Whites of 105, and African Americans of ca 85, this is caused mainly by genes, is not affected by environment, and maps to the indicated races very very well.

    I’ve been asking Bryan Pesta to confirm or deny that this is the model and he absolutely refuses to answer that question. Maybe you’ll answer the question. Is that the model? Where do I have it wrong?

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    I have another question a well. I had presented Rushton’s data as it is presented by him because I thought it would be a good exercise in looking at both methods and the way perceptions of brain size change over time. I was surprised to see the outpouring of support for Rushton’s graph. Is it or is it not true, Henry, Bryan, and Mr. Observer that you think Rushton’s graph represents reasonable data, reasonably presented, and that these rather alarming looking differences in brain size are … real? In this data set, in this analysis, in this graph.

    I would very much like to see in the comments on this post, a straightforward answer to this question and to the question I posed earlier, from the three of you. Thanks.

  26. #26 Azkyroth
    January 7, 2010

    “For decades, whites scored about 15 points higher than blacks on IQ test. If such a difference were wholly or substantially genetic in origin, the implications for American society would be dire. It would mean that even if the environmental playing field were leveled, a much higher proportion of blacks than whites would have trouble supporting themselves, and a much lower proportion of blacks than whites would be professionals and successful business people.”

    Greg do you believe this, the “dire” part? Is a moral and ethical society possible if Rushton and Sailer and folks like them, e.g. me, are right?

    What does IQ really measure and how well correlated is it to either “intelligence” in the common-sense meaning or economic/career success?

  27. #27 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***What does IQ really measure and how well correlated is it to either “intelligence” in the common-sense meaning or economic/career success?***

    “To summarize, g is the best single number compression of the N vector characterizing an individual’s cognitive profile. (This is a lossy compression — knowing g does not allow exact reconstruction of the N vector.) Of course, the choice of the N tests used to deduce g was at least somewhat arbitrary, and a change in tests results in a different definition of g. There is no unique or perfect definition of a general factor of intelligence. As I emphasized above, given the nature of the problem it seems unreasonable to criticize the specific construction of g, or to try to be overly precise about the value of g for a particular individual. The important question is Q2: what good is it?

    A tremendous amount of research has been conducted on Q2. For a nice summary, see Why g matters: the complexity of ordinary life by psychologist Linda Gottfredson, or click on the IQ or psychometrics label link for this blog. Links and book recommendations here. The short answer is that g does indeed correlate with life outcomes. If you want to argue with me about any of this in the comments, please at least first read some of the literature cited above.

    From Gottfredson (WPT = Wonderlic Personnel Test):

    Personnel selection research provides much evidence that intelligence (g) is an important predictor of performance in training and on the job, especially in higher level work. This article provides evidence that g has pervasive utility in work settings because it is essentially the ability to deal with cognitive complexity, in particular, with complex information processing. The more complex a work task, the greater the advantages that higher g confers in performing it well.

    … These conclusions concerning training potential, particularly at the lower levels, seem confirmed by the military’s last half century of experience in training many millions of recruits. The military has periodically inducted especially large numbers of “marginal men” (percentiles 10-16, or WPT 10-12), either by necessity (World War II), social experiment (Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s Project 100,000 in the late 196Os), or accident (the ASVAB misnorming in the early 1980s). In each case, the military has documented the consequences of doing so (Laurence & Ramsberger, 1991; Sticht et al., 1987; U.S. Department of the Army, 1965).

    … all agree that these men were very difficult and costly to train, could not learn certain specialties, and performed at a lower average level once on a job. Many such men had to be sent to newly created special units for remedial training or recycled one or more times through basic or technical training.”

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/11/iq-compression-and-simple-models.html

  28. #28 jeff
    January 7, 2010

    lol wut

    “..is a moral and ethical society possible if …folks like them, e.g. me, are right?”

    What, exactly, do you think are the moral upshots of this shoddy “research”? After all, we have, overall, an ethical society now, do we not? Even though we have some criminals, some bad bankers and some racist scientists, we haven’t imploded from the efforts to deal with it. Do tell what your purported facts compel you to conceive regarding the future of our society, and the possibilities for acting ethically.

    Oh, heck, you might as well tell us your “solution”, too, if you’ve already got a final one in mind.

  29. #29 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, are you going to answer my question or not? Do you even read the other comments or are you just posting spam? I need to see some response on this.

  30. #30 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, I love the graphic you link to in comment 15, because it shows the problem with most genetic sampling and classification. Yes, you can take people from NW and SE Europe and group them on the chart, more or less. However, when you stop leaving out everything in between, you get a beautifully solid swath that shows no discontinuities.

    The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?

  31. #31 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***30
    Observer, I love the graphic you link to in comment 15, because it shows the problem with most genetic sampling and classification. Yes, you can take people from NW and SE Europe and group them on the chart, more or less. However, when you stop leaving out everything in between, you get a beautifully solid swath that shows no discontinuities.

    The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?

    Posted by: Stephanie Z | January 7, 2010 6:02 PM***

    Stephanie Z,

    Right, but it seems you can work out the genetic distance between the groups. The distance between two neighboring western European populations is of order one in units of standard deviations and the distance to the Russian cluster is several times larger than that — say, 3 or 4. From HapMap data, the distance from Russian to Chinese and Japanese clusters is about 18, and the distance of southern Europeans to the Nigerian cluster is about 19.

    http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v16/n12/fig_tab/ejhg2008210t5.html#figure-title

    Also, see the clustering in post #20. Risch comments on the clusters here:

    “Despite the evidence for genetic differentiation among the five major races, as defined above, numerous studies have shown that local populations retain a great deal of genetic variation. Analysis of variance has led to estimates of 10% for the proportion of variance due to average differences between races, and 75% of the variance due to genetic variation within populations. Comparable estimates have been obtained for classical blood markers [15,16], microsatellites [17], and SNPs [12]. Unfortunately, these analysis of variance estimates have also led to misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Because of the large amount of variation observed within races versus between races, some commentators have denied genetic differentiation between the races; for example, “Genetic data … show that any two individuals within a particular population are as different genetically as any two people selected from any two populations in the world.” [18]. This assertion is both counter-intuitive and factually incorrect [12,13]. If it were true, it would be impossible to create discrete clusters of humans (that end up corresponding to the major races), for example as was done by Wilson et al. [2], with even as few as 20 randomly chosen genetic markers. Two Caucasians are more similar to each other genetically than a Caucasian and an Asian.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC139378/

  32. #32 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, you’re being slippery about what race is again in order to hang onto the idea that they’re real. Look at what you see when you use all the data. The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?

  33. #33 Henry Harpending
    January 7, 2010

    Greg why don’t I give you a ring next time I am in Minneapolis and we can have a beer or something. I think these are interesting questions but your blog clientele is a little bit over the top methinks.

    Henry

  34. #34 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***Am I correct in thinking that your working model is that the vast majority of variation we see in behavior (e.g. intelligence) is caused by physical differences in the brain, the vast majority of those physical differences in the brain are coded for by genetics with virtually no environmental effects, and that the genetic variation is very strongly partitioned in the human population by racial membership?

    Specifically, AFricans have an averag IQ of around 70, Whites of 105, and African Americans of ca 85, this is caused mainly by genes, is not affected by environment, and maps to the indicated races very very well.***

    Posted by: Greg Laden | January 7, 2010 5:42 PM ***

    Greg,

    I don’t think there are virtually no environmental effects. The intrauterine environment is apparently the major one, then there’s nutrition & avoiding toxins. I think it’s debated how much of a difference breast feeding makes, but that could be a factor.

    The relevant genes haven’t been identified, but I think the theory is that groups form distinct clusters so are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes. So you’re likely to get statistical differences between groups. That shouldn’t imply too much about individuals though.

  35. #35 Sam N
    January 7, 2010

    @34, so social interaction has negligible influence on intelligence? I would have placed it close to the top.

  36. #36 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    …I think the theory is that groups form distinct clusters…

    Funny, Observer, I think we were just talking about that.

  37. #37 mike
    January 7, 2010

    “Observer, you’re being slippery about what race is again in order to hang onto the idea that they’re real. Look at what you see when you use all the data. The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?”

    And you’re being pretty inflexible about it. Would you shoot down the concept of distinct colors, too, if it were to be shown that in addition to blue and red there was also an infinite spectrum of purples. Would you protest if I called Cyan “Blue”, and Magenta “Red”?

  38. #38 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    *****32
    Observer, you’re being slippery about what race is again in order to hang onto the idea that they’re real. Look at what you see when you use all the data. The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?

    Posted by: Stephanie Z | January 7, 2010 6:30 PM***

    Stephanie Z,

    If you look at the figure of the European population you can break it down into individual countries. But then look at the HapMap populations in figure A, there are pretty clear clusters between the European (top, green + red), Nigerian (light blue) and E. Asian (purple + blue).

    http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v16/n12/fig_tab/ejhg2008210f2.html#figure-title

    Also, I’m not sure you do require discontinuities? Aren’t all categories social constructs and most categories are somewhat blurry and arbitrary. Is Oklahoma in the Mid-West or the South? Doesn’t Greenwich Connecticut belong in the same region as New York City? For instance, the temperature may be different in the South than the Northeast although they’re not discontinuous.

  39. #39 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    No, Observer, if you look at the data on the Europeans, you can’t draw the lines between the countries unless they’re already marked for you. You make your conclusions from the data, not sort the data so it can support your conclusions.

    mike, it’s called rigor. Your color answer is here.

  40. #40 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***35
    @34, so social interaction has negligible influence on intelligence? I would have placed it close to the top.

    Posted by: Sam N | January 7, 2010 7:01 PM***

    You’d think it would. Interestingly deaf children seem to do about as well as other children.

    “Second, it has been noted that deaf children, a group with severe cultural deprivation due to lack of experience with language, do as well on performance IQ tests as normal hearing children without this deprivation. The implication is that cultural deprivation may not play the role currently being ascribed to it in the development of intelligence.”

    http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/10/3/225

  41. #41 Sam N
    January 7, 2010

    And what are the results of the absence of social interaction on intelligence?

  42. #42 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***No, Observer, if you look at the data on the Europeans, you can’t draw the lines between the countries unless they’re already marked for you. You make your conclusions from the data, not sort the data so it can support your conclusions.

    Posted by: Stephanie Z | January 7, 2010 7:20 PM***

    Yes, but you haven’t commented on figue A which showed the Nigerian and East Asian samples. And in terms of the European population, they note in the discussion:

    “A striking feature of the samples used for this study is how well the geographic origin of the samples appears to correlate with the genetic origin, so that separating the samples by country of origin or on the basis of genetic measures gives similar results…

    The extreme example discussed in this study was to try and classify non-European HapMap samples using the European samples for the PCA and as a training set for the classification model. The Yoruban and Asian samples were identified as belonging to the countries on the south and east edges, respectively, of the European cluster, and the distance measure clearly indicates that they do not fit well into any of the proposed populations. It cannot be assumed that outliers will always be easily detectable in this way. This drawback could be avoided by adding as much diversity as possible into the initial training set. Using the European samples in addition to all four HapMap populations as a training set does not have an adverse effect in this data set on the ability to distinguish between different European populations, but does allow correct identification of the HapMap African and Asian samples (data not shown).”

    http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v16/n12/full/ejhg2008210a.html

  43. #43 Sam N
    January 7, 2010

    Ironically, I think many of the confounds confronting psychologists that associated with the deafness with intelligence are similar to confounds confronting your defense of the association of race with intelligence. Yet you argue that deafness is not a factor (it obviously was with older IQ tests due to their design), yet you argue that race is. It’s amusing how your own cultural perspectives bias your perceptions when examining the research.

  44. #44 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Sam: If one approaches the data with a race based model it is not hard to fit all the data into that model and seemingly support it, and to ignore alternatives.

    What we are seeing on this thread is a classic example of how the race proponents work. You can fill out your whole bingo card with the various aspects.

    No matter how bad or discredited a study is or should be, it is never removed from the string of cited studies. Notice that no one has stated an opinion on the validity of the study by Rushton that the graph is from. This study can be deconstructed to the extent that it becomes an embarrassment, yet it remains as one of the key data points used again and again in all the other studies, an nowhere whatsoever in the race-based literature will you see anyone say that this study is crap and should be avoided. It just gets cited.

    The whole idea of changing course or rethinking or removing a particular bad data point is simply not on the table.

    I am reminded of the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracies. Every new “fact” is added as it arrives on the scene, and no matter what happens to that “fact” later it is never excluded or ignored, just repeated again and again.

    Similarly, the creationist technique known as the “Gish Gallop” …. just read through Observer’s post here and on the two or three other posts on this topic, and if you knew who Observer was (as I do) you’d see him doing the same thing on a dozen other places on the internet.

    I think it will be interesting over the next couple of days to examine where Rushton’s brain size data come from, but first, I think I’ll put up Rushton’s specific assertion linking this brain data to some IQ data. Because that’s a blast.

    I think I know what Henry Harpending’s motivation is for insisting on a racist model with marked black inferiority, but I don’t know what Observers’s is. Bryan Pesta is just a low-caliber thinker who happen to run into this at some point, thought it was interesting, and got stranded. It is not likely that he’s going to think his way out of this.

  45. #45 mike
    January 7, 2010

    The “color” argument presupposes that race measures nothing. It is quite obvious that race measures DNA. You know, that same thing you claimed had to have discontinuities in order for race to exist? Would you like to move the goalposts again?

    As for race and IQ, what’s your theory on why Europeans and Asians have had fairly stable societies for thousands of years while sub-Saharan Africans are still eating each other? Prehistoric oppression?

  46. #46 sailor
    January 7, 2010

    All this fuss about brain size. Everyone seems to have forgotten that there was this funny little bird called Alex. It had a brain the size of a walnut and could kick butt sorting out concepts of shape color and number in a fashion few other animals with much bigger brains could replicate.
    As #1 pointed out, the graph was clearly designed to try and exaggerate relatively small differences which may or may not have existed on the basis of who knows what kind of junk data.
    Greg seems to be trying to pull racists out of the woodwork for some reason.

  47. #47 mike
    January 7, 2010

    “I think many of the confounds confronting psychologists that associated with the deafness with intelligence are similar to confounds confronting your defense of the association of race with intelligence”

    Wait…

    You think the problems associated with LOSING ONE OF YOUR SENSES are similar to those of being a different race, a concept that according to some people does not even exist? That because blind kids can’t do Raven’s Matrices, that all psychometric testing is therefore entirely subjective, biased, and hopelessly flawed?

  48. #48 daedalus2u
    January 7, 2010

    Sam N, This was done to try and see what language infants would spontaneously develop if they were not talked to. The PI’s hypothesis was that they would start talking Hebrew. They didn’t; if the social deprivation is severe enough the infants die.

    In monkeys, they become what the investigators called “autistic”, with rocking, self-mutilation, repetitive behaviors. They become profoundly incapable of social interactions and extremely vulnerable to bullying (i.e. the socially developed monkeys would kill them without investigator intervention). However they exhibit superior intellectual abilities in non-social regimes.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0031-9384(78)90063-X

  49. #49 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***I was surprised to see the outpouring of support for Rushton’s graph. Is it or is it not true, Henry, Bryan, and Mr. Observer that you think Rushton’s graph represents reasonable data, reasonably presented, and that these rather alarming looking differences in brain size are … real? In this data set, in this analysis, in this graph.
    ***

    I thought it was worthwhile seeing you were mentioning that graph to mention his latest published paper on the subject.

    I’m not even sure what particular data that graph is based on. From the paper with Ankney he mentions some autopsy data from Holloway and his own analysis of data from a U.S. Collaborative Perinatal Project, which seems to show slightly less marked differences.

    And in the paper they acknowledge that nutrition and other environmental factors affect brain size.

  50. #50 Deen
    January 7, 2010

    The “color” argument presupposes that race measures nothing. It is quite obvious that race measures DNA. You know, that same thing you claimed had to have discontinuities in order for race to exist? Would you like to move the goalposts again?

    Please describe how to map the measure of “DNA” onto a scalar value.

    As for race and IQ, what’s your theory on why Europeans and Asians have had fairly stable societies for thousands of years while sub-Saharan Africans are still eating each other? Prehistoric oppression?

    Wow, way to hide your bias.

  51. #51 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, Rushton cites this study (the graph above) as valid again and again and again. So do other racists ‘scientists’ . Again and again and again.

    So if it’s valid, it’s valid. But if it’s not then Rushton is a bad scientist, a moron, a scoundrel, or some combination of the three. As would you be as well, because this study is cited as valid in many of the references you have been spewing as well. And Brian Pesta too.

    So, own up to it. Are you familiar with this study and its methods? Do you stand by them or not?

  52. #52 jeff
    January 7, 2010

    Professor Hardening wonders whether our very society can survive differential intelligence based on race-centered data. Then, he chastises the commentariat of this blog for being a bit “over the top.”

    Gotcha…

    For my part, I apologize if my question was inappropriate.

  53. #53 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    As for race and IQ, what’s your theory on why Europeans and Asians have had fairly stable societies for thousands of years while sub-Saharan Africans are still eating each other?

    Mike you are a racist pig and you will refrain from making this kind of remark on this site.

    Observer, tell your friend to take it down a notch.

    Bryan, is this one of your fucking heavy hitters? Or just another sock puppet?

  54. #54 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Greg why don’t I give you a ring next time I am in Minneapolis and we can have a beer or something.

    I would be very unhappy if you did not give me a ring next time you are in town. We have some very good beer here.

  55. #55 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, I did address Figure A, although not by name, when I mentioned what happens when you graph all the data. I trust you have enough grasp of where the Nigerian and east Asian samples come from on a world map that you can visualize the gaps between them. When Europe shows no discontinuities, what basis do you have aside from wishful thinking to believe the discontinuities shown indicate anything other than discontinuous sampling?

    mike, you’re an ass. It’s nothing like “quite obvious” that race measures DNA. Race doesn’t reliably (reliable = a measure that is consistent through time) measure external features. Hell, it doesn’t even have validity as both a measure of skin tone and a measure of area of origin.

    Now, before you embarrass yourself more, try to think a little bit about the idea that race as a social concept is different than race as a biological concept.

  56. #56 yolande
    January 7, 2010

    @#46 sailor

    “Greg seems to be trying to pull racists out of the woodwork for some reason.”

    I am noticing this also. The question remains “why”?
    Is he trying to bait people and start a flame war?
    Is he gathering “evidence” for some research project?
    Whatever his MO is, it is starting to come across to some of us as benign racism.

    I would’ve thought by now that people would’ve accepted the fact that there is only one “race” and that is the human race and even then it is not a race; we are a species. There is no such thing as “race” and I suspect this is what Greg is trying to prove, ( as if it has already been proven).

    Maybe it’s just a US thing… this obsession with “race”? Whatever it is, it’s deplorable. What precisely is the point of dragging up “racist literature” and blogging about it? I’m starting to smell pseudo-science.

  57. #57 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    yolande, this blog has always been about discussing racism, but when it is discussed …. well, you see what happens.

    It is simply not true that I’m pulling racists out of the woodwork. What you don’t see is this: When I look up Obsever’s IP address and figure out who he is, I see him all over the internet doing on other blogs exactly what he is doing here. Same with some of the other commenters (some of which I filter as spam because they are so over the top). I am not drawing these people out. They are systematically trolling the blogosphere …. every day … for anti-racist discussions. They then show up and dump what you see being dumped here, everything from the Gish Gallop of references to the horrid racist remarks of Mike’s

    It is not possible to have a discussion about these issues without this happening. There is no benign racism on my part. This is just me talking about race, biological perspectives on race, and racism … topics I write about and teach about and run seminars for teachers about and so on … on a blog where people can comment. Then they show up.

    I am not naive. There is a reason that I do not post material on race and racism continuously. I’ll keep this topic going until I’ve finished making two or three points regarding Rushton’s research, then I’ll move on to a different topic for a few weeks or months. The race-guys will get tired of watching GLB and move on as well. Then I’ll bring it up again, not for them but for my regular readers and myself.

    I would’ve thought by now that people would’ve accepted the fact that there is only one “race” and that is the human race and even then it is not a race; we are a species. There is no such thing as “race” and I suspect this is what Greg is trying to prove, ( as if it has already been proven).

    Pretty much, yeah.

    Most people don’t buy that there are no real races and that these racialized ideas of intelligence and brains are crap. Most people in the US and as far as I know Europe quite readily accept the racist model, as far as I can tell. Sitting quietly and not talking about that allows such beliefs to become more widespread.

    One problem is that these issue are really addressed in the US in college. Not everyone goes to college

  58. #58 mike
    January 7, 2010

    “Mike you are a racist pig and you will refrain from making this kind of remark on this site.”

    I apologize for stating the exact plain honest truth. My bad.

    “mike, you’re an ass.”

    Good one.

    Always nice to mix in a little ad-hom with the strawmans, handwaving, and other nonsense that helps you disbelieve your lying eyes.

    “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” – George Orwell

    I’ll leave you postmodern fools alone now. Recommence patting each other on the back for being so “progressive”.

    P.S. Did you know that Margaret Sanger said… oh, nevermind.

  59. #59 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***#56 I would’ve thought by now that people would’ve accepted the fact that there is only one “race” and that is the human race and even then it is not a race; we are a species. There is no such thing as “race” and I suspect this is what Greg is trying to prove, ( as if it has already been proven).***

    yolande,

    Why would they accept that when it is plainly incorrect?

    “Numerous recent studies using a variety of genetic markers have shown that, for example, individuals sampled worldwide fall into clusters that roughly correspond to continental lines, as well as to the commonly used self-identifying racial groups: Africans, European/West Asians, East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans (Bowcock et al. 1994; Calafell et al. 1998; Rosenberg et al. 2002).

    Subjects identified themselves as belonging to one of four major racial/ethnic groups (white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic) and were recruited from 15 different geographic locales within the United States and Taiwan. Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories.

    Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies. Tang et al
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1196372/

  60. #60 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Observer: You are starting to make me feel like Charlie Brown:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/dont_be_anybodys_charlie_brown.php

  61. #61 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, why would you post another reference full of the same problems I just pointed out. Do you understand what you post, or do you just keep a file you grab from whenever someone challenges your view of race?

  62. #62 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    mike, an arguent ad hominem is attacking the argument by attacking the person. You I’m mocking because your arguments are so incredibly pitiful. I’m still dealing with the arguments themselves.

  63. #63 yolande
    January 7, 2010

    Thank you Greg for taking the time to explain that, I appreciate it. As you can probably tell already I am a bit of a “noob” at all this so I will apologize in advance to you and your readers if I am “tedious”.

    In my last comment (#56) I typed “(as if it has already been proven)”.
    I meant “as if it hasn’t already been proven”. By which I meant to imply that the notion of “race” has already been proven not to exist.

  64. #64 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    ***61
    Observer, why would you post another reference full of the same problems I just pointed out. Do you understand what you post, or do you just keep a file you grab from whenever someone challenges your view of race?

    Posted by: Stephanie Z | January 7, 2010 9:39 PM***

    Stephanie Z,

    Refer to post #31 again. Note that Risch refers to “discrete clusters”. Are you saying:

    - There is no genetic clustering of humans, except on a few loci affecting superficial traits like skin color?

    - Gene-environment interactions or environmental effects alone are so strong that genes don’t determine anything, so who cares about genetic clustering.

    - Differential selection in humans has not been great enough for any possible differences to arise?

  65. #65 rich lawler
    January 7, 2010

    There is nothing wrong with suggesting that genotypes can pinpoint and/or isolate different populations, groups, “races” etc. The genetic studies that Observer is referring to all rely on the same underlying assumption: that geography is very meaningful in the first place. Various genetic studies have repeatedly shown that one can classify individuals into different groups that correspond with “sub-Saharan Africans” “Asians” and “Europeans.” But this assumes that these regions are of utmost importance, and it is not clear, at least to me, that we can treat these regions as unchanging static areas that have not incurred any gene flow, drift, etc. More bluntly, why would we presume that continent is a meaningful genetic boundary? Further, these studies, particularly those that use the program STRUCTURE, can be tweaked to produce many different genetically distinct clusters of humans with equally high probability. This was a major problem in the often-cited study by Rosenberg et al. in Science. They found 6 distinct clusters of humans, but they failed to report that 16 clusters were also found with equal likelihood. Another problem is that folks define regions quite arbitrarily. For example, the oft-cited study by Bamshad et al., used a very debatable classification scheme to separate out Europeans from Asians (some populations classified as “Europeans” were from Afghanistan, were as you go 300 miles to the North and those populations were classified as “Asians”). All of the studies rely on population-level characteristics in which the analysis finds the hypothetical “center” of the cluster of genotypes and individuals are included/excluded from this cluster if they are a specified distance from the cluster. There is nothing wrong, in principle, with these methods and they are likely pulling out some real genetic signal in the samples, but a different tweaking of the parameters and/or a different classification might result in a different grouping. And any study that uses a clustering algorithm to find genetic differences among human groups is going to do so–this is what the program is programmed to do! However, in areas where genetic variation is purely clinal and continuous, these programs fail to find consistent results. Obviously, human genetic variation has pockets of discontinuity and is partly continuous. Sampling is definitely the issue here, both in terms of geography as well as number of loci that are looked at. We know that human genetic variation is not purely clinal and continuous, but we also know that it simply cannot be as discreet as these studies make them out to be.

    Make no mistake about it, it is possible to use DNA to make distinctions and divisions at any level of the biological hierarchy, from individuals to groups to “races” to species, etc. The problem is not with genes but how we presume to know what level and how many groups within that level is biologically realistic and socially relevant.

  66. #66 aratina cage
    January 7, 2010

    This thread makes me shudder, especially #45. *shudder*

  67. #67 D
    January 7, 2010

    I have to admit, it is quite amusing to see one side posting links to studies and data, and the other side merely resorting to name-calling (and nothing much else) while simultaneously taking the moral high ground.

  68. #68 daedalus2u
    January 7, 2010

    Wow. As I remember my history of the 20th century, the major genocides were not in Africa. There was Turkey, Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Serbia stands out as one where there was (finally) intervention. In Africa there was only Rwanda (but my history is quite poor so I may have missed some).

    South Africa was notable for what did not happen. There was no genocide when Apartheid was ended. Were the blacks in South Africa so stupid that they didn’t think of it? [/sarcasm]

  69. #69 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    D, that would be what is called, “confirmation bias.” You’re not seeing what is there. You’re seeing what you want to see. There are studies and analysis posted by the anti-racist side, and one person on the racist side posting clips from studies he doesn’t understand. Try looking again.

  70. #70 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    daedalus2u: You definately missed a genocide or two in Africa in the 20th century. (Other than Rwanda). If we include teh 19th and 20th century, I can think of more than just a few.

    We live in a society in which we are simply not exposed to the information.

  71. #71 Observer
    January 7, 2010

    Stephanie Z,

    If you’re going to say I don’t understand something could you address my response at #64? The clusters correlate almost exactly with traditional continental racial categories. And, as I pointed out at #64, Risch uses the word “discrete”. As does Rosenberg in the 2002 paper Tang refers to:

    “They then show that allele frequency differences generally increase gradually with geographic distance. However, small discontinuities occur as geographic barriers are crossed, allowing clusters to be produced. These results provide a greater understanding of the factors that generate the clusters, verifying that they arise from genuine features of the underlying pattern of human genetic variation.”

    And as Risch noted above at #34 “This assertion is both counter-intuitive and factually incorrect [12,13]. If it were true, it would be impossible to create discrete clusters of humans (that end up corresponding to the major races), for example as was done by Wilson et al. [2], with even as few as 20 randomly chosen genetic markers. Two Caucasians are more similar to each other genetically than a Caucasian and an Asian.”

    Individuals are closer” together genetically than ethnic groups not sharing the same continent. As quoted at #42:

    “The Yoruban and Asian samples were identified as belonging to the countries on the south and east edges, respectively, of the European cluster, and the distance measure clearly indicates that they do not fit well into any of the proposed populations.”

    If it’s likely that the frequency distribution of genes in different groups are distinct at a significant number of loci and you think genes influence phenotype in any way, that raises the possibility of average group differences doesn’t it?

    To rule it out seems speculative and not based on science.

  72. #72 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, if you rephrase that entire thing in terms of geographical location, then it suddenly sounds rather silly.

    So no, fundamentally understanding genetics, evolution, and biogeography and then using that misunderstanding to advance your racist agenda would be the part that is not science.

  73. #73 D
    January 7, 2010

    Stephanie Z, I’m making a macro observation. It’s true. Shall we count and prove it? It’s been the same on nearly all these threads.

    Note how your interlocutor (Observer) is posting links to studies and data and you resort to snarky remarks. Look at his tone, look at yours. You seem angry and defensive, he seems informed and armed. You may want to consider a tone that matches your education here. The discord is obvious. Bertrand Russell had a wonderful quote about this.

  74. #74 Stephanie Z
    January 7, 2010

    Observer, the comments on this post are not necessarily going up in time to be seen in the Recent Comments. I missed your comment at 64. I apologize.

    That said, rich already discussed this quite well. I’m not sure why you need me to do the same. You’re not arguing with me. You’re arguing with the data.

    Risch is referring to “discrete clusters” obtained by sampling non-continuous populations. African-American populations do not represent a continuous sampling of African genetics. Neither do sub-Saharan Africans. Nor do East Asians represent a continuous sampling of Asian genetics. My comment about visualizing these samples on a map and noting how those separations are represented in the clustering still applies.

    What I’m saying is that these studies tell us nothing except that the researchers decided to use nonrepresentative samples. The representative samples we have seen, as in the study on Europeans, show no separation of groups. Look at the full European sample again and tell me where there are any breaks. You have to start with the groups in order to see any grouping, and that’s bad science.

    So yes, you don’t understand how the results were derived or why it’s wrong to do it that way. All you’re doing is quoting someone else who likes their data parsed the same way you do.

  75. #75 daedalus2u
    January 7, 2010

    This paper explains quite nicely how two individuals from two different ethnic groups can both be more similar to each other, and also each be more similar to the ethnic average.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1893020/

    Page 353 explains how it happens.

  76. #76 Rita
    January 8, 2010

    D: Your characterization of this conversation is inaccurate, and your method of arguing seems to be exactly what you are arguing against.

  77. #77 Sam N
    January 8, 2010

    daedelus, the studies on nonhuman primates sound interesting. If I ever have a lull in the list of academic papers I need to read I might look them up. Off the top of my head I can think of myriad problems in trying to associate performance on a task given to an NHP as a measure of intelligence. I say this as someone that has worked with NHPs for the last five years of my life. I’m glad my research is much more focused than trying to measure intelligence.

    Mike, I don’t think you understand the confounds I see in attributing intelligence with a test. Let me speak very generally, because I have a problem with ‘intelligence’ measurement as a matter of principle (this is not to say assessments can not be made, just that they are best made within similar cohorts). The problem is that any test of intelligence is something that someone can get better at through training, thus environmental factors that train someone on such a test will give them a higher score on that test. Unless you can posit a test that people do not improve at with training, and that captures things I would associate as intelligence, there will always be potential confounds of environment. From my brief reading of Rushton’s more recent review, I don’t see my particular concerns addressed in any satisfying way.

    I don’t study measurement of intelligence. To a degree I actually think it is a fool’s errand, but maybe that is just my experience with trying to get a handle on much, much simpler phenomena.

    By the way, I don’t have problems with psychometrics in general. Measurement of minimal light that humans can detect, for example, is a reasonable application of psychometrics that I find solid. I could name many more.

  78. #78 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    D, I counted. 69% of the racist comments up to the point you requested a count contained some data reference or point about methodology or presentation of data. 61% of the non-racist comments did. Exclude the comments between yolande and Greg in which she wants to know what’s going on and he explains, and you’re at 67% for the non-racists.

    As I said, confirmation bias.

  79. #79 David Banner
    January 8, 2010

    I’m having trouble understanding why the “discreteness” of the groups is relevant. Many human populations grade into each other, but it doesn’t follow that the populations are identical.

    I also don’t understand the original post’s objection about Rushton’s data. I can see that the graph is poorly scaled and doesn’t include error bars. But compared with Beals et al. 1984 (Current Anthropology 25:301), Rushton’s values understate the difference in cranial capacity between these three groups. Did Rushton use a bogus sample? Did Beals?

    Is anyone claiming that brain sizes are identical among these groups?

    If the term “groups” is objectionable due to their non-discreteness, I can reformulate: Is anyone claiming that brain size is unassociated with geography in humans?

  80. #80 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    David, the requirement for discreteness is created by the claims made by the race-based researchers. Note that Rushton, above, doesn’t make claims by gradients. He makes claims by discrete groups.

    One of the ways that racism is propped up is by shifting the definitions of race around to whatever is most favorable for making the point you want to make. Reality of race as a biological concept? Very fuzzy definitions. Small populations, really, with lots of overlap. Differences in intelligence? Discrete categories. Hard and fast, at least this century.

    I’m fine with noting small changes in frequency of whatever over a broad area, but then all measurements need to be done this way.

  81. #81 Greg Laden
    January 8, 2010

    I’m having trouble understanding why the “discreteness” of the groups is relevant. Many human populations grade into each other, but it doesn’t follow that the populations are identical.

    It makes all the difference in the world. Both the discreteness of the “race” and the internal correlation between alleles make it a race. That is what a race is, that is what makes the race work as a predictive entity.

    The question “Is anyone claiming that brain size is unassociated with geography in humans? ” only makes sense if you don’t understand that the discrete and internally consistent nature of races is important. The claim that geography affects brain size has neither been made nor refuted on this thread. And yes, there are problems with Rushton’s data, and no, that these differences are smaller than some other putative data set does not make anything.

    In short your comment smells like part one of a two part apologist argument. Sorry it is not, but so far that’s what you’ve got.

    Beals uses data from a number of sources and as far as I know the crainial capacity estimates he uses are from measurements of endocranial volume from skulls. The data Rushton used to make this chart are not taken by measuring endocranial volume. Beals ‘ data are more like geographical samples, not representing big huge races like “Africa” or “The Orient” and I don’t think the means combined at that level would show the difference Rushton shows, but maybe.

    Notice that Rushton’s data does not include groups with the largest cranial capacity.

    Those really large cranial capacities are brown people, foragers, and humans from before the European/Causasian led reduction in brain size that happened over the last several thousand years.

    Everything about these studies is different. What is measured. How it is measured. Whether or not the data are “corrected”. The sampling strategy, the type of sample. Beals et al is a pretty straight forward study and it shows that a large portion of the variation we see in cranial capacity is environmentally determined or selected for, not by race and not related to intelligence.

  82. #82 Brian X
    January 8, 2010

    Victor Antonio, way the hell up thread:

    Put it this way — if you recognize Rushton’s name, that’s pretty much all the context you need.

  83. #83 David Banner
    January 8, 2010

    Reality of race as a biological concept? Very fuzzy definitions. Small populations, really, with lots of overlap. Differences in intelligence? Discrete categories. Hard and fast, at least this century.

    I’m fine with noting small changes in frequency of whatever over a broad area, but then all measurements need to be done this way.

    But of course that’s impossible with a test that requires any kind of behavioral responses, because cultural and language differences preclude giving the same test across broad geographic areas. So psychologists must rely on “natural experiments” in which people with different geographic ancestries have been relocated into similar enough language and culture circumstances to administer a common test. This gives rise to the “discreteness” of samples.

    Such samples cannot be perfectly representative of the geographic variation of the ancestor. Maybe people of different ancestries remain different in culture or language to an extent that affects the test outcomes. These seem to me good arguments.

    “Races aren’t discrete” is a non sequitur. Would discrete races increase the predictiveness of geography? No — discrete boundaries would reduce the value of geography as a predictor.

    One of the ways that racism is propped up is by shifting the definitions of race around to whatever is most favorable for making the point you want to make.

    One way of shifting the definition favorably is to eliminate the concept entirely.

  84. #84 David Banner
    January 8, 2010

    It makes all the difference in the world. Both the discreteness of the “race” and the internal correlation between alleles make it a race. That is what a race is, that is what makes the race work as a predictive entity.

    I understood that to be what makes a species work as a predictive entity. If races must be discrete to be real, then they would be species, not races. At least if “discrete” refers to reproduction. If it refers instead to geography in the absence of reproductive barriers, it can only be a shorthand for actual geographic ranges.

    I don’t think the means combined at that level would show the difference Rushton shows, but maybe.

    Table 2 presents weighted means for “continental areas.” Asia = 1380, Europe = 1362, Africa = 1276. These are composite means based on the 122 “ethnic groups” clumped by continent. Those values yield a bigger difference than Rushton’s figure here. Beals did not exclude groups with the largest cranial capacities.

    I think it is problematic to post that graphic and invite commentary on Rushton’s alleged racism. I agree that the graphic appears to be intended to convey Rushton’s argument about brain size in different races, and omits information that would detract from his argument. But the graphic is essentially correct, and Rushton might simply cited Beals instead of making his own estimates. “The facts are racist” strikes me as a counterproductive argument.

  85. #85 glenzedrine
    January 8, 2010

    Forget the error bars and the Y-axis. Where are the units??

  86. #86 skeptifem
    January 8, 2010

    “As for race and IQ, what’s your theory on why Europeans and Asians have had fairly stable societies for thousands of years while sub-Saharan Africans are still eating each other? Prehistoric oppression?”

    Savagely colonizing, enslaving, murdering, or otherwise oppressing huge numbers of people is ‘stability’ now? A lot of that crap was done to support a big group of people who didn’t have enough resources to live. How needing to do that at all counts towards a label of stability is beyond me. Exploiting a majority of people so that a tiny majority can live extravagant lives is the OPPOSITE of stability, and seems to be screwing up the planet pretty badly. Look at white history for what it is, a frickin tradgedy. The only way such a system could be considered superior in any sense is by a person who is invested in ignoring all the facts about the consequences of that behavior. Even IF history transferred some sort of value onto different races depending on what they had done I severely doubt that any of that would prove that we as white people are smarter or better than anyone else, it would just mean we are more violent and cruel.

  87. #87 Reginald
    January 8, 2010

    There’s absolutely no evidence that Whites have, per capita, enslaved more members of other races than Blacks have.

    And it is almost certain that we have enslaved less per capita than the Middle Eastern Caucasoids have.

    The difference between White Countries and Black Countries in Crime Rate, Degree of Political Corruption, and Political Stability is remarkable and profound.

    It makes sense to assign a lot of these differences to IQ Differences, as a group of unusually intelligent Blacks with an IQ equal to the White Average will commit far less Crime than the average Black overall does.

    This was looked at and proven in The Bell Curve.

  88. #88 Azkyroth
    January 8, 2010

    And what are the results of the absence of social interaction on intelligence?

    “Observer,” for one.

    (Okay, it was a cheap shot, but come on, you were thinking it too).

  89. #89 Azkyroth
    January 8, 2010

    mike, an arguent ad hominem is attacking the argument by attacking the person. You I’m mocking because your arguments are so incredibly pitiful. I’m still dealing with the arguments themselves.

    Or, to put it another way, an “ad hominem” argument is one in which unflattering comments about the person or party whose position one pruports to refute are used as a premise of an argument. Unflattering comments as part of a conclusion don’t qualify.

  90. #90 José
    January 8, 2010

    There’s absolutely no evidence that Whites have, per capita, enslaved more members of other races than Blacks have.

    Ah… Slaves per capita. Finally an objective statistic to disprove the notion that one group of people has systematically exploited another.

  91. #91 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    Such samples cannot be perfectly representative of the geographic variation of the ancestor. Maybe people of different ancestries remain different in culture or language to an extent that affects the test outcomes. These seem to me good arguments.

    Good arguments for what? Pretending that your data is representative when it’s not? Making broad claims not supported by that data because of your sampling problems? These are good arguments for piling caveats onto your studies, but this isn’t what’s happening with the data on IQ and race. Instead, as I already pointed out, race is being treated as discrete.

    One way of shifting the definition favorably is to eliminate the concept entirely.

    Of course. Would you like to tell me how that’s consistent with what I am arguing instead of being some big straw man?

  92. #92 orcenio
    January 8, 2010

    @74

    Risch is referring to “discrete clusters” obtained by sampling non-continuous populations. African-American populations do not represent a continuous sampling of African genetics. Neither do sub-Saharan Africans. Nor do East Asians represent a continuous sampling of Asian genetics.

    Not only that, but “observer” (from 31, 64, 71) leaves out that Risch finds no evidence for a genetic cause to any racial difference in complex traits of behaviour or disease.

    http://www.nature.com/index.html?file=/ng/journal/v36/n11s/full/ng1456.html

    Current understanding of the contribution of genes to variation in most complex traits is limited, however. Under these circumstances, assumptions about genetic contributions to group differences are unfounded.

    Risch would also like regulations in place to prevent people (like “observer”) from making such racist claims.

    there is a need for stringent criteria for drawing conclusions regarding the contribution of genes to between-group differences. Generalizations and assumptions are unwarranted and may exacerbate group disparities. We therefore advocate standards for statements regarding genetic contributions to between-group differences.

  93. #93 Rick Dakan
    January 8, 2010

    I’ve been following this series of posts and learning a lot from them, thanks very much Greg!

    I was summarizing them for my gaming group last night, and when I was talking about the false concept of “race” determining athletic performance as well as this nonsense about brain sizes. One of the others at the table asked about the whole “fast-twitch muscle” trope. He (like many people) had heard this as a scientific fact – Africans have more fast-twitch muscles or some such thing.

    I told him I didn’t think there was any actual evidence for that, and I’d seen the idea brushed aside a few times, but I tried my google-fu and failed in my attempt to sort valid sources from racist ones from badly-informed body building ones. There’s a lot of articles out there claiming it is true, but they’re mostly on athletics and training-related sites, which is not where I got for science.

    Can Greg, or someone comment on this? It seems to me to be exactly the kind of situation as brain size – a just so story for racial profiling that probably has little basis in reality, but I’d like to be more sure.

  94. #94 Matt
    January 8, 2010

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180686/

    Rick Dakan,

    start at the link above. This will link to other published papers also.

  95. #95 rich lawler
    January 8, 2010

    The paper that Daedalus2u points out is well worth the read (even though it’s a bit technical in places). The full reference is:

    Witherspoon DJ, Wooding S, Rogers AR, Marchani EE, Watkins WS, Batzer MA, Jorde LB (2007) Genetic similarities within and between populations. Genetics 176: 351-359.

    Also, another great paper upon which many of my comments above are based and that deserves far more acclaim is:

    Bolnick DA (2008) Individual ancestry inference and the reification of race as a biological phenomenon. In: Koenig B, Lee S, Richardson S, editors. Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pp 70-88.

  96. #96 David Banner
    January 8, 2010

    Good arguments for what? Pretending that your data is representative when it’s not? Making broad claims not supported by that data because of your sampling problems? These are good arguments for piling caveats onto your studies, but this isn’t what’s happening with the data on IQ and race. Instead, as I already pointed out, race is being treated as discrete.

    Good arguments that psychometric studies fail to represent human variation. I apologize for leaving the end off the sentence. “Good arguments” doesn’t mean that I should accept them unquestioned.

    Again, I think “discreteness” is a non sequitur. There are plenty of human groups that have been discrete for the last several thousand years. What about the New World? Andaman Islanders? If we claim that races must be discrete to exist, then we don’t eliminate human races, we merely substitute some for others.

  97. #97 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    David, that is actually one of the questions I’ve brought up in these discussions. Why is there an emphasis among these researchers on the Chinese, Japanese, Nigerians and sub-Saharan Africans? If they expect that there differences based on discontinuities in geography and historical interaction, why are they not looking at the groups in which a reasonable case might be made that this has happened?

    On the other hand, there are still large caveats to be made here as well. In a society that hops on a plane to travel two states away, we greatly overestimate the degree of isolation experienced by populations before easy travel was available. Our view of “interracial” marriage also tends to be colored by the recent past, when slavery apologetics made it nearly unthinkable in polite society. Not that this stopped anyone from mixing genes, as evidenced by recent genetic analyses in African-Americans. It merely skewed our historical views.

    As for races being discrete genetically, it isn’t a non sequitur when it’s a claim that has been made, here and elsewhere, in support of the validity of the divisions used in the chart above. I am pointing out that these divisions are being imposed on the data rather than arising from the data. There is no better support for assessing three races, or five, than there is for assessing a thousand.

  98. #98 Shadow Caster
    January 8, 2010

    It’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it…

  99. #99 DK
    January 8, 2010

    Stephanie:

    The concept of discrete races requires discontinuities, remember?

    Sigh. NO. It doesn’t. You’ve been told that like a thousand times that it does not. Remember? – colors, hill/mountains, tree/bushes, asteroids/planets, etc, etc – these all represent continuities.

  100. #100 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    And, DK, they are all social conventions (with the exception of asteroids and planets, which you might want to study up on before you decide to get condescending) that don’t claim to represent some greater validity. Do keep up with the conversation. It’s moved on.

  101. #101 orcenio
    January 8, 2010

    @57 Greg

    QFT. That comment deserves to be a separate post by itself. Good show!

  102. #102 noel
    January 8, 2010

    “There is no better support for assessing three races, or five, than there is for assessing a thousand.”

    That’s it. Observer, et al, Steph has cooked your goose. Observer’s links only show that people who are more closely related have more genes in common. The lines drawn to identify races are arbitrary and are drawn for political reasons, not scientific ones.

  103. #103 David Banner
    January 8, 2010

    The lines drawn to identify races are arbitrary and are drawn for political reasons

    The lines drawn to identify AKC breeds are also arbitrary and drawn for political reasons. It does not follow that the resulting breeds are genetically identical or that studying differences among breeds is irrational.

  104. #104 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    David, who is claiming people are genetically identical?

    And why would studying differences between arbitrarily drawn and broadly overlapping groups be anything other than irrational? You lose all specificity, which means your results don’t tell you anything generalizable. Good design of psychology studies is already difficult enough. Why would you add a variable that makes everything more fuzzy–unless that variable is very important to you for other reasons?

    Or to put it more broadly, biological race is not a scientific concept.

  105. #105 noel
    January 8, 2010

    This just in: The Johnson family of Hoboken NJ has over 300 common genetic markers which makes them a separate race! Film at eleven.

  106. #106 Sarah
    January 8, 2010

    The resulting dog breeds are arbitrary only because breeders ensure that they are separated. The metaphor doesn’t hold here though as there is more genetic diversity between dog breeds than within the spectrum of humans (however you want to try and categorize them). They have been (with most of our domestic animals) under extreme selective pressure by human breeders looking for very specific traits. However, it takes about 3 dog generations for dogs to come back to a “generic” canid type. Thus…no breed. The breeds are even more artificial than your definition of race.

  107. #107 Matt
    January 8, 2010

    Sarah,

    Dog breeders breed for dog personality. They are successful.

    Can we glean from this personality has a genetic trait in dogs?

  108. #108 Stephanie Z
    January 8, 2010

    Matt, dogs are bred for instinctual behaviors, like bonding to individuals, guarding territory, digging, trailing or herding and physical characteristics like stamina, and those differences between breeds only hold up under very strenuous control of breeding. How much of your behavior are you willing to chalk up to instinct in order to support a race-based view of the world, and where do you find anything close to a pedigree program in human descent?

  109. #109 Greg Laden
    January 8, 2010

    By and large the different breeds of dogs are not arbitrary. There are not intermediate grades between a Noofie and a Pyr. And the same can be said of most breeds, though there are some breed pairs that are arguably the same breed.

    Dog breeds are nicely analagous to races, though they emerge in somewhat different ways. What is also interesting is how quickly dog breeds disappear as soon as there is some interbreeding.

  110. #110 Greg Laden
    January 8, 2010

    Matt, do you know fuckall about human brains?

    Jeesh.

  111. #111 sailor
    January 8, 2010

    “It is simply not true that I’m pulling racists out of the woodwork.”

    Greg, I stand corrected. You are just attracting them to your site. I, too did wonder about the point, but some quite interesting discussion did ensue. I think your core readers seem to have their heads well screwed together.

  112. #112 Greg Laden
    January 8, 2010

    Well, this is a blog, I am the writer of the blog, I write, teach, and stuff on race, and commenters from many backgrounds and with diverse interests comment here. I’m a bit baffled as to why anyone would think that anything extraordinary is going on. Racialized science vs. Races don’t exist. Linux vs. Windows. Evolution vs. Creationism. New Atheism vs. Accomodationism. Global warming is good climate science vs. AGW denialists. This and that vs. whatever whatever.

    Nothing unusual going on here.

  113. #113 Observer
    January 8, 2010

    ***That’s it. Observer, et al, Steph has cooked your goose. Observer’s links only show that people who are more closely related have more genes in common. The lines drawn to identify races are arbitrary and are drawn for political reasons, not scientific ones.

    Posted by: noel | January 8, 2010 2:19 PM***

    As I said above, you can say that about any category. Neil Risch explains this point here:

    “Gitschier: But how can there still be disagreement?

    Risch: Scientists always disagree! A lot of the problem is terminology. I’m not even sure what race means, people use it in many different ways.

    In our own studies, to avoid coming up with our own definition of race, we tend to use the definition others have employed, for example, the US census definition of race. There is also the concept of the major geographical structuring that exists in human populations—continental divisions—which has led to genetic differentiation. But if you expect absolute precision in any of these definitions, you can undermine any definitional system. Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn’t preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility.

    We talk about the prejudicial aspect of this. If you demand that kind of accuracy, then one could make the same arguments about sex and age!

    You’ll like this. In a recent study, when we looked at the correlation between genetic structure [based on microsatellite markers] versus self-description, we found 99.9% concordance between the two. We actually had a higher discordance rate between self-reported sex and markers on the X chromosome! So you could argue that sex is also a problematic category. And there are differences between sex and gender; self-identification may not be correlated with biology perfectly. And there is sexism. And you can talk about age the same way. A person’s chronological age does not correspond perfectly with his biological age for a variety of reasons, both inherited and non-inherited. Perhaps just using someone’s actual birth year is not a very good way of measuring age. Does that mean we should throw it out? No. Also, there is ageism—prejudice related to age in our society. A lot of these arguments, which have a political or social aspect to them, can be made about all categories, not just the race/ethnicity one.”

    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.0010014

  114. #114 Observer
    January 8, 2010

    # 92,

    Orcenio,

    They’ve only recently identified some of the gene variants for a complex trait like height. One’s affecting cognitive function are a little way off. Why would you expect the variants to be uniformly distributed across populations given the different clusters shown by Risch & Tang & co? Genes apparently vary considerably in prevalence between ethnic groups.

    One example is the RR variant of ACTN3, a gene that affects fast generation of muscular force and correlates with excellence at speed and power sports. The opposite variant of the gene is called XX. Tests indicate that the ratio of people with RR to people with XX is 1 to 1 among Asians, 2 to 1 among European whites, and more than 4 to 1 among African-Americans. Basically the argument put across here:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2217571/

    And here.

    http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2007/01/metric-on-space-of-genomes-and.html

  115. #115 Greg Laden
    January 8, 2010

    Observer, I expect alleles to arise randomly across the landscape on which a species lives (for humans, lately, much of the earth). Most of those novel alleles will go a way. A small percentage will randomly spread FROM DISTINCT STARTING POINTS across that landscape, and contribute to the complex mosaic of genetics that is only parceled out into units you and other “racists” call race when there are firm biogeographical barrirs. An even smaller subset of these allels might excperience positive seleciton, but the selective landscape for each allele may be distinct in space from each other allele, again contributing to the mosaic nature of allelic distribuiton.

    IN this context, things like geography, race, and ethnicity are vague and usually poor stand ins for biogeography useful to a very limited degree and that only should be used in the absence of real data.

    Having said that, if you start off with the assumption that races are relatively clean cut distinct disjunct packages where alleles correlate to each other within and so on and so forth, and you FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how genetics and evolution work, then you will persist in the racist thinking of one or two centuries back, do bad science, do damage to society and appear a fool.

    The above comment was NOT about Bryan Pesta.

  116. #116 toby
    January 9, 2010

    IQ measures the ability to score in IQ tests.:)
    But seriously, it is a moderately good predictor of academic success. IQs of all races have been improving since tests started. While blacks may not obtain scores as high as modern whites, apparently modern day blacks are smarter than the average white American in Teddy Roosevelt’s time.

    Indeed, when social difference is controlled, middle class blacks score as well as whites. So IQ measures academic potential and educational quality. It is useful, but does not measure a thing call “intelligence”.

  117. #117 That Donkey Benjamin
    January 9, 2010

    Indeed, when social difference is controlled, middle class blacks score as well as whites.

    False. The progeny of the most wealthy Blacks score on average less than the progeny of the most poor Whites. You may wiki what is called the “Shaker Heights Effect.” Stop talking about what you don’t understand.

  118. #118 Irene
    January 9, 2010

    False. A number of studies have shown that socioeconomic effects and home environment are all that is needed to explain IQ differences between groups.

  119. #119 Stephanie Z
    January 9, 2010

    Actually, Benjamin, you can’t “wiki” the Shaker Heights effect, and it doesn’t represent wealthy blacks doing worse than poor whites. It represents wealthy blacks doing worse than wealthy whites, and the discussions it generated have to do with cultural effects, not genetics. So please, stop talking about what you don’t understand.

  120. #120 Paul
    January 9, 2010

    It is so amusing to see dumb-ass white guys spitting and fuming about the possibilities that blacks are not an inferior race.

  121. #121 Observer
    January 9, 2010

    ***False. A number of studies have shown that socioeconomic effects and home environment are all that is needed to explain IQ differences between groups.

    Posted by: Irene | January 9, 2010 1:46 PM***

    Irene, could you provide some citations for this? The June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 11, No. 2 provided a 60 page review of the literature from Jensen & Rushton. There were 4 commentataries on it and a reply from Jensen & Rushton. In their reply Jensen & Rushton ask:

    “How do they explain the fact that Black students from families with incomes of $80,000 to $100,000 score considerably lower on the SAT than White students from families with $20,000 to $30,000 incomes? How do they explain why social class factors, all taken together, only cut the Black–White achievement gap by a third? Culture-only theory cannot predict these facts; often its predictions are opposite to the empirical results.”

    (Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R (2005). Wanted: More race realism, less moralistic fallacy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 328-336.)

    (you can see all the commentaries on the paper here)
    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/

    In terms of home environment, that explanation is also suspect.

    “The Results showing higher grades for the Asian adoptees is particularly interesting, becuase of the control of white adoptees unique to this study. If Asian academic success was really due to some special set of academic values inculcated by Asian parents (something not demonstrated by the data to begin with), then why do Asians do better academically than whites even when they are raised by white parents? The authors of this paper contend the Asians might have done better academically because the parents may have believed Asians had genetically higher IQs and therefore had higher expectations for them. The authors provide no evidence for this idea except the adopted Asian children’s own greater optimism about their academic futures! Quite the tenuous conclusion to take from that fact, but even allowing their interpretation, given that behavior genetic evidence shows that such parental attitudes have no effect on children’s scores, there is good reason to doubt this ad-hoc attempt to squeeze cultural rationalizations even into ethnically controlled data. It would be incorrect though to say this matter has been resolved.”

    http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html

  122. #122 Irene
    January 9, 2010

    Observer, are you really, truly asking me to explain why two prominent racist scientists claim that their racist data and conclusions are valid in a review of their own work? Seriously? Published in a well known racist journal? OMG.

  123. #123 Observer
    January 9, 2010

    ***122

    Observer, are you really, truly asking me to explain why two prominent racist scientists claim that their racist data and conclusions are valid in a review of their own work? Seriously? Published in a well known racist journal? OMG.

    Posted by: Irene | January 9, 2010 4:23 PM***

    Irene, that’s the same argument that climate change deniers use against journals that Jones & Mann published in.

    If you read the article you will find a lot of the evidence, including the claim about those from high SES homes underperforming relative to whites from low SES homes, is not from Jensen or Rushton.

  124. #124 D
    January 9, 2010

    Irene, it was you who said there were a “number of studies” that support your view. Why not provide them? Also, wouldn’t controlling for SES lead to a restriction of range bias?

    Observer, can you send me email. I have a question for you: talebfbr at gmail.com

  125. #125 Irene
    January 9, 2010

    Observer, I do not trust Jensen and Rushton to produce an unbiased selection of evidence. Why do you find this difficult to understand?

  126. #126 Irene
    January 9, 2010

    D: Black people are discriminated against in this culture. Black people who are raised in the higher SES homes of highly educated white adults under normal circumstances are still discriminated against in this culture. In some ways more, in most ways less, but there is still discrimination.

    The expectation of the “culture” model is not equivalence. The expectation is significant reduction in the indicators of performance, and that is what we see.

  127. #127 D
    January 9, 2010

    Irene, fisrt you said: “False. A number of studies have shown that socioeconomic effects and home environment are all that is needed to explain IQ differences between groups.”

    Now you say that even when these things are measured and held constant, there is still another force(discrimination) at work that disproves what you originally claimed?

  128. #128 Stephanie Z
    January 9, 2010

    No, D. Home environment hasn’t been measured and held constant. Nobody seems all that interested in funding the research.

    Nor does citing discrimination disprove anything. It is a socioeconomic effect. It’s also difficult to measure directly. Not too many people seem to be interested in funding those studies either.

    While Irene may be overstating the case that it’s been shown that the entire difference between groups is due to specific cultural effects, all of the items she cites have been shown to explain a significant amount of the difference. Unfortunately, nobody seems to want to fund the complex research needed to uncover the interrelationship between all these effects in the context of race and intelligence.

    There is, however, a group run by Rushton (currently) devoted to funding research that looks at the question in very simplistic ways.

  129. #129 D
    January 9, 2010

    “Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position relative to others, based on income, education, and occupation…. A fourth variable, wealth, may also be examined when determining socioeconomic status.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socioeconomic_status

  130. #130 D
    January 9, 2010

    Didn’t “The Bell Curve” try to tease apart these some of these effects by holding some of these things constant?

  131. #131 Stephanie Z
    January 9, 2010

    D, note that “socioeconomic status” is not the same thing as “socioeconomic.” That’s why there’s another word there.

  132. #132 D
    January 9, 2010

    Wouldn’t a decent test of employment discrimination be holding IQ constant and looking at incomes after doing so? Has this been done? Or looking at IQ distributions and expected workforce participation (based on IQ) and comparing them to the actual workforce participation in cognitively challenging jobs where some minimum IQ threshold would exist, e.g., becoming a medical doctor?

  133. #133 José
    January 9, 2010

    @D
    The problem is there are factors you can never control for. For instance, you could do study comparing the IQ’s black children adopted into white families with the IQ’s of white children adopted into the same family, but you can’t control for the effect of different treatment/expectations placed on the children based on the color of their skin (let lone in utero envirionment). When people claim to have proven a genetic cause for differences in intelligence, all they do is justify and reinforce different treatment/expectations for blacks and whites.

  134. #134 facts
    January 9, 2010

    At a fixed WORDSUM score, the NLSY shows that blacks earn just as much as whites. So much for discrimination.

  135. #135 Caleb
    January 9, 2010

    What is WORDSUM score and NLSY?

  136. #136 Anon1
    January 9, 2010

    Facts, if true, the WORDSUM/income thing seems to suggest that affirmative action hasn’t done any harm to qualified whites and has truly been necessary to ensure qualified blacks reach their potential in the face of discrimination. Not something you usually hear from most of the people searching for racial IQ differences, so that’s kind of interesting.

  137. #137 JL
    January 9, 2010

    The Witherspoon et al. study cited above contains this result:

    Thus the answer to the question “How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?” depends on the number of polymorphisms used to define that dissimilarity and the populations being compared. — if genetic similarity is measured over many thousands of loci, the answer becomes “never” when individuals are sampled from geographically separated populations.

    In other words, if you take, say, two white Poles and two black Zambians, and compare enough of their genomes, you will find out that the Poles are more similar to each other, and the Zambians to each other than either Pole is to either Zambian. This will be true no matter how many times you repeat the experiment.

    Considering the geographic distances, you can replace the Poles with any white European population and the Zambians with any black African population, and still get the same result. Furthermore, it would not be possible separate European populations from each other in the same manner. It might be possible with black African populations, because they are more dispersed.

    Whether or not race is a legitimate concept seems like a red herring as far as genetic differences between Europeans and Africans are concerned.

  138. #138 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2010

    Well, one IQ researcher who comments now and then on this blog …. Bryan Pesta …. has noted that he is in favor of affirmative action.

  139. #139 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2010

    JL, that is not true. It is simply not true that you can take any two Africans in the experiment you describe and have them be more similar to any two Europeans on a large sample of polymorphisms. Two zambians vs. two poles, if they are ancestrally Zambians and ancestrally Poles, yes.

    The fallacy of the race concept is when we expect the same kind of distinction to remain when we broade the pool to this very large level. The problem with the racist logic is that it starts so often with a study that suggests, or leans towrds, a nice clean race model, and then extends the assumption of the validity, distinctiveness, and so on of races as a simple scientific fact. But what it really is, usually, is an inappropriate incorrect extrapolation.

    Someone once said, if we wanted to revive the race concept (which has been largely discarded except by the racist scientists) and define new races based on the best available inforamtion, there would probably be 14 or 15 of them. Two of them would NOT be African.

    Comparing African genomes with European genomes is like comparing, say, a rain forest with a potted plant.

    And I exaggerate only slightly to make the point.

  140. #140 JL
    January 9, 2010

    Facts, if true, the WORDSUM/income thing seems to suggest that affirmative action hasn’t done any harm to qualified whites and has truly been necessary to ensure qualified blacks reach their potential in the face of discrimination.

    Is Facts’ analysis available somewhere? Based on GSS data, Satoshi Kanazawa claims that in the US blacks “receive significantly greater returns to their cognitive ability than nonblacks”. This might be due to affirmative action, or something else. Link: personal.lse.ac.uk/Kanazawa/pdfs/MDE2005.pdf

    Greg, I said WHITE Poles and BLACK Zambians. By this I meant people who are ancestrally Polish or Zambian. I thought this would be obvious.

  141. #141 Stephanie Z
    January 9, 2010

    JL, do you know anything about the Hapsburg Empire and the history of migration in Europe? For that matter, do you know how many languages (as a rough proxy for ethnic groups) are spoken among the non-European population of Zambia?

    In other words, you are aware that your ancestors aren’t the only people in the history of the world to have migrated, right?

  142. #142 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2010

    JL, I saw that. What I said in reply assumes that. You are not paying attention. Reread, more carefully, and learn.

  143. #143 skeptifem
    January 10, 2010

    reginald- who owned more slaves per capita is so not the point.

    The point is that even if I was to accept the premise of mikes argument- that white and asian imperialism was superior to that of browner folks, I could not accept his conclusion. I don’t know enough to attack the premise, and you very well could be right about who had more slaves, etc. That isn’t needed information to refute the claim based on its premise alone. The idea that being better at violent invasion/slavery/etc is a sign of any SUPERIORITY is absolutely absurd. Having violence of this sort held up as anything less than barbaric is what I consider to be the most fallacious part of the argument, so I went after that. It seems to be the moral issue at hand that matters rather than the accuracy of the numbers anyway.

  144. #144 Bjørn Østman
    January 10, 2010

    D #67

    I have to admit, it is quite amusing to see one side posting links to studies and data, and the other side merely resorting to name-calling (and nothing much else) while simultaneously taking the moral high ground.

    Stephanie Z #69

    D, that would be what is called, “confirmation bias.” You’re not seeing what is there. You’re seeing what you want to see. There are studies and analysis posted by the anti-racist side, and one person on the racist side posting clips from studies he doesn’t understand. Try looking again.

    D #73

    Stephanie Z, I’m making a macro observation. It’s true. Shall we count and prove it? It’s been the same on nearly all these threads.

    Note how your interlocutor (Observer) is posting links to studies and data and you resort to snarky remarks. Look at his tone, look at yours. You seem angry and defensive, he seems informed and armed. You may want to consider a tone that matches your education here. The discord is obvious. Bertrand Russell had a wonderful quote about this.

    Stephanie Z #78

    D, I counted. 69% of the racist comments up to the point you requested a count contained some data reference or point about methodology or presentation of data. 61% of the non-racist comments did. Exclude the comments between yolande and Greg in which she wants to know what’s going on and he explains, and you’re at 67% for the non-racists.

    As I said, confirmation bias.

    Observer includes some reference, often to peer-reviewed papers, in almost all his comments here. Stephanie Zvan has one, not counting the link to her own blog.

  145. #145 JL
    January 10, 2010

    JL, do you know anything about the Hapsburg Empire and the history of migration in Europe? For that matter, do you know how many languages (as a rough proxy for ethnic groups) are spoken among the non-European population of Zambia?

    Yes, there has been much migration within Europe and within sub-Saharan Africa for thousands of years, but until very recently, there has been little migration between Europe and SS Africa. This is the reason why you can perfectly separate black Africans and white Europeans in genetic analyses (provided that you do not include “intermediate” populations like North Africans in the analysis).

    In other words, you are aware that your ancestors aren’t the only people in the history of the world to have migrated, right?

    In all probability, the vast majority of my ancestors, during the last few millennia at least, were born and lived within a few hundred kilometers from where I was born and where I am now. In the long run, everybody’s ancestors are migrants, of course.

    JL, I saw that. What I said in reply assumes that. You are not paying attention. Reread, more carefully, and learn.

    If you do understand my point and are in agreement with me, please do not start your replies with “JL, that is not true”, and then go on to restate what I had already said.

  146. #146 Stephanie Z
    January 10, 2010

    JL, you’ve entirely missed the point. Black Zambian does not equal ancestrally Zambian. Given the genetic diversity of Africa, it’s quite possible to pick two ancestral Africans (even artificially restricting your selection to sub-Saharan Africans) who live in Zambia who do not fit your criteria. Nor is it difficult, given a three-race model, to choose “whites” who are not particularly close genetically but live near each other. Not all Ashkenazi Jews were removed or fled from Poland.

    But I thank you, JL. Once again, you’ve demonstrated the fluid nature of “race” and the incorrect assumptions about history required to maintain a model of racial differences that looks plausible on the surface.

  147. #147 Greg Laden
    January 10, 2010

    JL, I am not in agreement with your point. Let me describe it this way.

    Assume the trait we are after is what state or province a person lives in, and if two people live in the same or adjoining provices/states, we call them “similar” and if there are two/three states or provinces between the we call them “different”

    Now we go to North America.

    Your analogy:

    “Two Arizonans compared to Two Quebecois are are going to be different, therefore two Americans and two Canadians are going to be different”

    My reply:

    “No. For instance, two Quebecois and two New Yorkers are more alike than two New Yorkers vs and two Texans”

    Your reply:

    “Imma gonna pretend don’t understand a word you’r saying because you just totaly fucked up my point and I don’t want to learn something new!!!111!!!!”

    Now, JL, go look at a map of the world, study some history, learn about genetics and where novelty arises in populations, and think about i for a while.

    Jeesh…

  148. #148 Observer
    January 10, 2010

    ***133
    @D
    The problem is there are factors you can never control for. For instance, you could do study comparing the IQ’s black children adopted into white families with the IQ’s of white children adopted into the same family, but you can’t control for the effect of different treatment/expectations placed on the children based on the color of their skin (let lone in utero envirionment). When people claim to have proven a genetic cause for differences in intelligence, all they do is justify and reinforce different treatment/expectations for blacks and whites.

    Posted by: José | January 9, 2010 7:54 PM***

    Jose,

    Does that also include some special treatment that boosts the performance of Asian adoptees?

    Also, note that in the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study the mean score for 12 children wrongly believed by
    their adoptive parents to have two Black biological parents was virtually the same as that of the 56 children correctly classified by their adoptive parents as having one Black and one White biological parent. In other words although the children were socially treated as black they performed as well as the other adoptees with one black and one white biological parent.

    Stephanie Z,

    In terms of studies that look at cultural factors see the work by the late behavoural geneticist David C Rowe referred to in the 30 year review paper:

    “Also, a study by David C Rowe failed to find support for this “different treatment” hypothesis. Rowe’s study in which 119 mixed-race children were selected as
    “looking African American” but their IQ scores also turned out to be intermediate.

    Another way of answering the question is to compare their psychometric factor structures of kinship patterns, background variables, and subtest correlations.
    If there are minority-specific developmental processes arising from cultural background differences between the races at work, they should be reflected in the
    correlations between the background variables and the outcome measures. Rowe (1994; Rowe, Vazsonyi, & Flannery, 1994, 1995) examined this hypothesis in a
    series of studies using structural equation models. One study of six data sources compared cross-sectional correlational matrices (about 10 10) for a total of
    8,528 Whites, 3,392 Blacks, 1,766 Hispanics, and 906 Asians (Rowe et al., 1994). These matrices contained both independent variables (e.g., home environment,
    peer characteristics) and developmental outcomes (e.g., achievement, delinquency).

    A LISREL goodness-of-fit test found each ethnic group’s covariance matrix equal to the matrix of the other groups. Not only were the Black and White matrices nearly identical, but they were as alike as the covariance matrices
    computed from random halves within either group. There were no distortions in the correlations between the background variables and the outcome measures that suggested any minority-specific developmental factor.” (page 249)

    See also this paper by Ree & Carretta which found no race specific “Factor X” effect depressing scores. ‘Near identity of cognitive structure in sex and ethnic groups. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 149-155.
    57. Deary, I. J. (2000).

  149. #149 Stephanie Z
    January 10, 2010

    In other words although the children were socially treated as black they performed as well as the other adoptees with one black and one white biological parent.

    Observer, this may be the funniest argument you’ve tried to put across yet. Try looking up the one drop rule. There’s no reason to expect any difference in treatment.

    David C. Rowe is the person who decided that his studies told him that parenting had zero impact on development. Zero. If you’d like to send me the study in question, instead of just quoting Rushton on it, I’ll probably have more to say on it aside from the fact that he was a geneticist with no way to measure genetic input directly. As has been mentioned repeatedly, measuring it indirectly is extremely sensitive to the assumptions made about the role of environmental factors.

    The Ree & Carretta study has nothing to do with cultural factors that would affect the development of intelligence. It shows that people know relatively the same amount of stuff about the topics chosen by the authors. That’s a very different proposition.

  150. #150 José
    January 10, 2010

    Does that also include some special treatment that boosts the performance of Asian adoptees?

    Absolutely. Why wouldn’t it? You don’t think positive expectations of Asian children could have a positive effect on their academic performance?

  151. #151 Observer
    January 10, 2010

    ***149
    In other words although the children were socially treated as black they performed as well as the other adoptees with one black and one white biological parent.

    Observer, this may be the funniest argument you’ve tried to put across yet. Try looking up the one drop rule. There’s no reason to expect any difference in treatment.***

    Stephanie Z,

    But aren’t people arguing that some difference in treatment or expectations lead to different outcomes? The 12 in question performed about as well as those of mixed ancestry and above those with two black parents, even though they were thought to have 2 black parents. So the different treatment argument can’t explain that difference. It may of course be something else environmental, like pre-natal environment.

    ***Absolutely. Why wouldn’t it? You don’t think positive expectations of Asian children could have a positive effect on their academic performance?

    Posted by: José | January 10, 2010 9:01 PM***

    José,

    It could, although according to Heckman, Carneiro & Masterov, gaps show up before such expectations would kick in:

    “We show that cognitive test scores taken prior to entering the labor market are inßuenced by schooling. Adjusting the scores for racial/ethnic differences in education at the time the test is taken reduces their role in accounting for the wage gaps. We also consider evidence on parental and child expectations about education and on stereotype-threat effects. We Þnd both factors to be implausible alternative explanations for the gaps we observe…

    Even after controlling for numerous environmental and family background factors, racial and ethnic test score gaps remain at ages 3 and 4 for most tests and for virtually all the tests at later ages. Figure 7 shows that, even after adjusting for measures of family background, such as family long-term or “permanent” income and mother’s education, the mother’s cognitive ability (as
    measured by age-corrected AFQT), and a measure of home environment called the home score, the black-white gap in percentile PIAT Math scores at ages 5-6 is almost eight percentile points, and at ages 13-14 is close to eleven percentile points. Hispanic-white differentials are reduced more by such adjustments, falling to seven points at ages 5-6 and to four points at ages 13-14. For some
    tests, differentials frequently are positive or statistically insigniÞcant.43 Measured home and family
    environments play an important role in the formation of these skills, although they are not the whole story.44

    http://www.ifau.se/upload/pdf/se/2005/wp05-03.pdf

  152. #152 Stephanie Z
    January 10, 2010

    My apologies, Observer. I found it funny because I read it almost completely backward. No, the big problem with the study you mention is that it has no mechanism for separating social effects, including the treatment of lighter skin as preferable even among despised minorities, from genetic effects, as the authors themselves pointed out. It’s only Lynn and Jensen and the like who claim that it supports genetic explanations.

    The Heckman, Carneiro & Masterov paper suffers from the problem already discussed of insisting that IQ tests aren’t racist because they correlate to workplace measures as though workplaces were immune to racism. Instead, of course, we in the U.S. have a government agency for policing the problem of workplace racism, and workplaces themselves are working very hard at solving the problems of creating inclusive cultures where they haven’t historically existed.

    Their conclusions also rely on the assumption that racism can’t have an effect at an early age. My favorite, however, is the statement that stereotype threat is “implausible” because, back in the days of eugenics, there were already gaps between black and white IQ scores, when blacks couldn’t possibly have felt that anyone thought they were less intelligent than whites. Of course, there might have also been one or two other influences on test results at that point.

  153. #153 José
    January 11, 2010

    Observer – When the Heckman, Carneiro & Masterov paper talks about the effect parental expectations might have on a 3-4 year old, they say the data is sparse and inconclusive, yet they have no problem dismissing it as a possible factor.

    The paper is also littered with shortsighted gems like this-

    “Stereotype threats could not have been important when blacks took the first IQ tests at the beginning of the twentieth century which documented the racial differentials that gave rise to the stereotype.”

    The notion that it took the invention of the IQ test for the stereotype that blacks are mentally inferior to arise is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

  154. #154 Observer
    January 11, 2010

    ***No, the big problem with the study you mention is that it has no mechanism for separating social effects, including the treatment of lighter skin as preferable even among despised minorities, from genetic effects, as the authors themselves pointed out. It’s only Lynn and Jensen and the like who claim that it supports genetic explanations.***

    Well one of the authors, Sandra Scarr, wrote in a 1998 tribute article to Arthur Jensen that:

    “My colleagues and I reported the data accurately and as fully as possible, and then tried to make the results palatable to environmentally committed colleagues. In retrospect, this was a mistake. The results of the transracial adoption study can be used to support either a genetic difference hypothesis or an environmental difference one (because the children have visible African ancestry). We should have been agnostic on the conclusions; Art would have been.”

    ***The Heckman, Carneiro & Masterov paper suffers from the problem already discussed of insisting that IQ tests aren’t racist because they correlate to workplace measures as though workplaces were immune to racism.***

    That’s fine, but there are any number of other correlates that suggest the tests have external validity. Including the neurobiological correlates that Thompson & Gray discuss in the paper mentioned #13.

    Also, the questions that are easy for whites are consistently found to be relatively easy for blacks also, and the questions hardest for whites are those hardest for blacks, implying similar acculturation between blacks and whites, so the claim of cultural bias is dubious.

    There’s also the reaction time measures showing the East Asian>euro trend.

    ***Their conclusions also rely on the assumption that racism can’t have an effect at an early age. My favorite, however, is the statement that stereotype threat is “implausible” because, back in the days of eugenics, there were already gaps between black and white IQ scores, when blacks couldn’t possibly have felt that anyone thought they were less intelligent than whites.***

    Again, Rowe et al didn’t find any specific factor depressing scores in such a manner, let alone at age 3!

    In terms of stereotype threat the literature on that is fairly mixed. Disturbingly, Jelte Wicherts & Cor de Haan presented the following findings a few weeks ago suggesting publication bias:

    “Numerous laboratory experiments have been conducted to show that African Americans’ cognitive test performance suffers under stereotype threat, i.e., the fear of confirming negative stereotypes concerning one’s group. A meta-analysis of 55 published and unpublished studies of this effect shows clear signs of publication bias.

    The effect varies widely across studies, and is generally small. Although elite university undergraduates may underperform on cognitive tests due to stereotype threat, this effect does not generalize to non-adapted standardized tests, high-stakes settings, and less academically gifted test-takers. Stereotype threat cannot explain the difference in mean cognitive test performance between African Americans and European Americans.” Stereotype Threat – ISIR conference 17-18 December 2009

  155. #155 Stephanie Z
    January 11, 2010

    Observer, I said exactly the same thing Scarr said. It’s you and Jensen who insist on not being agnostic on the study.

    The rest of your comment are things I’ve already addressed. See my entire guest post here on reaction times. Oh, wait. You have seen it. You commented on it. You’re just pretending the problems with using reaction time as a measure of interpersonal differences don’t exist. Just like you keep bringing up twin studies.

    I’ve also discussed the problem of the X factor. Nobody expects stereotype threat to explain the entire (shrinking, remember?) difference between the test results of blacks and whites. Pointing out that it doesn’t is not the same thing as saying it’s not a contributing factor.

    Intelligence is incredibly complex, in development and application. Culture is incredibly complex. The lack of a single cultural factor that explains the entire difference between your arbitrary groups is not evidence of a genetic difference. The lack of six or twelve or thirty factors that together explain the entire difference is not evidence. It’s an argument from incredulity. Call me when you’ve found a way to quantify racism. Then we can talk a little more.

  156. #156 JL
    January 12, 2010

    JL, you’ve entirely missed the point. Black Zambian does not equal ancestrally Zambian. Given the genetic diversity of Africa, it’s quite possible to pick two ancestral Africans (even artificially restricting your selection to sub-Saharan Africans) who live in Zambia who do not fit your criteria.

    While there’s lots of ethnic diversity in Zambia, most of the population speaks related languages, and there’s been interbreeding even between the most distant groups. Is your assertion that it’s possible to find a black Zambian who is genetically more similar to some white European than to some other black Zambian based on actual studies, or is it just speculation?

    However, you are correct in the sense that when doing the experiment I suggested, it would make more sense to compare European nationalities not to African nationalities but rather to tribes or ethnic groups, because most African nations are a lot less homogeneous than European nations are.

    Nor is it difficult, given a three-race model, to choose “whites” who are not particularly close genetically but live near each other. Not all Ashkenazi Jews were removed or fled from Poland.

    I have not assumed a three-race model, or any race model whatsoever. I’m speaking of populations who have been separated from each other by geography for very long periods of time. Incidentally, there’s been lots of research on the genetics of Ashkenazi Jews, and the results suggest that they are not that different from other Europeans.

    Now, JL, go look at a map of the world, study some history, learn about genetics and where novelty arises in populations, and think about i for a while.

    Greg, I simply restated the results of the Witherspoon et al. study, in which they found that populations separated by geography and (pre)history are distinct from each other genetically in the sense that, for example, a white Pole is always more similar to another white Pole than to any member of any black sub-Saharan African population. Do you disagree with their conclusion?

    The experiment you suggest would be analogous with mine only if you removed from consideration the northern parts of the US and/or the southern parts of Canada. Europe and sub-Saharan Africa are neither geographically nor, when their ancestral peoples are compared, genetically contiguous.

  157. #157 Greg Laden
    January 12, 2010

    JL, you are clearly willfully missing the point. Or indelibly thick. I strongly suspect the former.

  158. #158 JL
    January 13, 2010

    Greg, perhaps I’m thick. Or perhaps you are the one who’s willfully missing the point.

  159. #159 Roy Wilson
    January 6, 2011

    I think most people overlook an important distinction. These average brain sizes are adjusted for average body size, so while orientals may have slightly larger adjusted brain sizes, the actual average brain size is likely to be smaller than the average white brain size because the average body size of an oriental is smaller.

    As to the link between brain size by race and intelligence, IQ tests do indeed show that the average black has an IQ of about 85, while the average white has an IQ of 100, and the average oriental has an IQ of 105, which is why university admissions tend to favor orientals.

    Unfortunately, since comparing differences in brain size and IQ is such a social “hot button” issue, there is little
    research being done.

  160. #160 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    Roy, your data on IQ are best explained, as has been shown in a handful of studies (you are correct that not enough valid research is done on this) to be the result of home environment and other factors that have little to do with innate or inborn differences, or bad sampling (as is the case of the so-called “Oriental” data).

    The study cited here is a very poor one, and has been discredited. I posted the graph, etc. because it has come up in conversations on this blog again and again.

    Thanks for the comment.

  161. #161 Kevin Porter
    April 19, 2011

    So it’s okay to say that black men have bigger penises, but it’s no okay to that white men have bigger brains?

  162. #162 Stephanie Z
    April 19, 2011

    Kevin, according to whom?

  163. #163 sambo
    July 20, 2011

    does that pass as a story, maybe their is a difference in brain size, are you white

  164. #164 sambo
    July 20, 2011

    it would make sense that a smaller brain means you dont have to work it as hard to come to the same outcome,

    larger brain would show that alot of processing was needed to come to the same conclusion,

    I think this guys story may work against his ideology

    twit

  165. #165 PMW
    December 21, 2011

    I think all information about the natural world is worth pursuing, including humans. What we do with that information is another thing. I think it’s interesting that people rarely seek information on the most compassionate brains. Let’s say some ‘races’ actually do have less intelligence in certain areas, what does that mean? Hate them? Pity them? If it were a fact, what then? It seems people evade the issues of bigotry by trying to dodge any possible unfortunate realities. My dog, I’m quite sure, has a smaller brain than most people, but I usually enjoy his company best. :)

  166. #166 Hmmmm
    May 6, 2012

    Brain size comparison differences among the three races is a study in physical anthropology. Period.

    So let’s take a look. Did you know dna markings indicate that Africans are the only race not descendant from Neanderthal?

    Only the Asians and Caucasians have the same varying more or less percentages of Neanderthal heritage. And we all know Neanderthal are 1)physically larger than all three races and 2)instinct. This could possibly explain the size differences in brains that is directly related to ancestral lineage and less about superior/inferior race conclusions. And you need to argue, just take a look at elephants. Their brains are bigger than humans. Hmmmm.

  167. #167 Greg Laden
    May 6, 2012

    Hmmmm, I think I get your point but you are mixing up a lot of different concepts and your control over the data isn’t particularly good. Neanderthals are not larger than other groups. Brain size is measured across species (NOT across subspecies) relative to body size, so elephants really really relevant.

  168. #168 Hmmmm
    May 6, 2012

    Please research the “larger” brain size of Neanderthals to that of homo sapiens if you are not satisfied with my “control of data.” You may refer to Harvard studies or the Wikipedia link below. (Yes. I know Wikipedia is only considered 91% accurate but the Britannica Encyclopedia is also only considered 92% accurate.)

    Point taken on the elephant example as being only a subspecies but I was unsure of your level of sophistication.

    In conclusion, larger brain size in Neanderthals did not stop their lot from becoming extinct…indicating your posted histogram in this blog is moot and lacks scientific validity. Hmmmm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

  169. #169 Greg Laden
    May 6, 2012

    You said “And we all know Neanderthal are 1)physically larger than all three races” and I said I don’t think so. Your response is “Please research the “larger” brain size of Neanderthals to that of homo sapiens if you are not satisfied with my…”

    So, I don’t really have an answer to that. Yes, I know about brain size in hominids. The largest brain sizes are actually found in Africans from the early LSA in the southern part of the continent, and in Eskimos, with Neanderthals being smaller than that, and various Europeans contemporary with Neanderthals being smaller. Since the earl Holocene, of course, everyone’s brains have gotten smaller except, obviously, various forager groups, probably in connection with agriculture.

  170. #170 Emilia
    May 6, 2012

    Hmmmm, do you realize that you just whipped out Wikipedea as your source in physical anthropology while arguing with a man wiht a PhD in physical anthropology?

  171. #171 Hmmmm
    May 6, 2012

    Surprised by the quick response to an otherwise dormant blog…obviously I have hit a nerve.

    In earnest, do your research on ancestral heritage and you will learn brain size is not an indicator. Neanderthals lineage is an interesting eye opener, I believe, for you,

    BTW: Wikipedia is a quick referral but not necessarily the sole source of info for most folks including you.

    Hmmmm

  172. #172 Greg Laden
    May 6, 2012

    Surprised by the quick response to an otherwise dormant blog…obviously I have hit a nerve.

    This is not a domrant blog. It is an active blog. I post on this blog daily. Are you on drugs?

    “In earnest, do your research on ancestral heritage and you will learn brain size is not an indicator. ”

    An indicator of what? You still have not made your point clear. I have no clue what you are trying to say.

    “Neanderthals lineage is an interesting eye opener, I believe, for you”

    In what sense?

    “Wikipedia is a quick referral but not necessarily the sole source of info for most folks including you.”

    I love wikipedia. Greatest search engine ever! It is not my main source of information about by own field of study, though.

    In you next comment could you please tell me what your point is? I have no idea what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could start with what you think you are railing against. Is there something you think I’m saying somewhere that you don’t like, and if so, what exactly is that?

  173. #173 Hmmmm
    May 6, 2012

    This is not a domrant blog. It is an active blog. I post on this blog daily. Are you on drugs?

    Last post: December 21, 2011
    My post: May 6, 2012

    There is an approximate 18 week gap between the last blog and mine indicating to me this thread is or was in a dormant mode. I found the flurry of comments posted just after my first posting to be, in fact, just minutes after my first initial posting to be an interesting observation. I won’t comment on your “drugs” statement.

    “In earnest, do your research on ancestral heritage and you will learn brain size is not an indicator. ”
    An indicator of what? You still have not made your point clear. I have no clue what you are trying to say.

    I will extend my sentence…”In earnest, do your research on ancestral heritage of the three races and you will learn brain size differences as postulated by Rushton’s bar graph, has no validity or nor does it prove or conclude a superior/inferior conclusion on race differences. Furthermore, the very first post was absolutely correct in pointing out the bar graph does not to have its x/y axis set at 0,0.”

    “Neanderthals lineage is an interesting eye opener, I believe, for you”
    In what sense?

    I believe you have yet to touch upon the topic of Neanderthal lineage and the history of these people in this blog created & lead by you. Your blog is now over two (2) years old now.

    This indicates to me you may lack historical perspective. That is all I am saying. You have a pHD on this stuff?

    “Wikipedia is a quick referral but not necessarily the sole source of info for most folks including you.”
    I love wikipedia. Greatest search engine ever! It is not my main source of information about by own field of study, though. Yeah…me too. This rebuttal really came from another blogger.

    In you next comment could you please tell me what your point is? I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    In my opinion, I thought the posting of Rushton’s bar graph lacked sensitivity and I question the judgement as why you would post such a graph? Or is this really a psychological experiment to test to see how strangers interact with each other, over the internet, using a very heated and controversial topic to gather your data?

    Perhaps you could start with what you think you are railing against. Is there something you think I’m saying somewhere that you don’t like, and if so, what exactly is that?

    That stupid bar graph, silly.

    In closing, I sense some hostility so I may have to shut down any further comments.

    Hmmmm

  174. #174 Greg Laden
    May 7, 2012

    There is an approximate 18 week gap between the last blog and mine indicating to me this thread is or was in a dormant mode.

    This is a blog:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/

    This is a post:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/average_brain_size_for_the_thr.php

    This is a comment on a post:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/average_brain_size_for_the_thr.php#c6267550

    So you are referring to a blog post that had a discussion on it that has gone dormant for a while.

    Glad we’ve got that cleared up. I’m not sure why the dormancy of an old blog post is relevant, however.

    “In earnest, do your research on ancestral heritage of the three races and you will learn brain size differences as postulated by Rushton’s bar graph, has no validity or nor does it prove or conclude a superior/inferior conclusion on race differences. Furthermore, the very first post was absolutely correct in pointing out the bar graph does not to have its x/y axis set at 0,0.”

    Ha! I’ve done my research, extensively, written a fair amount about it, taught a couple of courses on it. You ae absolutely correct in your criticisms of the graph in this blog post. It goes way beyond that. The data PR uses to make this bogus graph were heavily cooked. It is utter bullshit!

    In my opinion, I thought the posting of Rushton’s bar graph lacked sensitivity and I question the judgement as why you would post such a graph? Or is this really a psychological experiment to test to see how strangers interact with each other, over the internet, using a very heated and controversial topic to gather your data?

    It was posted as part of a longer discussion on race and racism and related topics. The possibility that crazy racist people would come along was always there, but there have been a number of disucssions on this blog about race and racism.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/race_and_racism/

    So I’ve not left the topic hanging though I wish I had more time to write about it.

    Perhaps you could start with what you think you are railing against. Is there something you think I’m saying somewhere that you don’t like, and if so, what exactly is that?

    Yea, I thought you were one of those crazy racist people, but I’m glad to see that you are not!

    This is the other obnoxious bit from Rushton’s book:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/12/where_blacks_whites_and_orient.php

    I think if you read through the comments on both this post and that post you’ll see that we are addressing racist biology pretty stridently. Thanks for joining in.

  175. #175 HughEMC
    San Francisco
    July 18, 2012

    I’d like to add that if Brains size equaled greater intelligence we would be ruled by Neanderthals who according to archeologist have larger craniums thus larger brain size. Also there is a point where the human brain meets its maximum size -output potential ie: the bigger the circuit board thje longer it takes for electricity to circulate. The bigger the brain the longer it takes the different parts of the brain to communicate. So at one end a bigger brain can handle more information but if it grows to large the extra size acts an liability…hypothetically

  176. #176 themostdismal
    Atlantis
    January 6, 2013

    @HughEMC

    Your point is not really valid because comparing races, wether they exist biologically or not, and comparing species is not really the same thing. Neanderthals are knows to have had relatively larger cerebellums and a smaller prefrontal cortex. It has been clearly demonstrated that among homo sapiens a larger brain size/weight is positively correlated with a higher IQ.

  177. #177 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2013

    A larger brain size is not correlated with a higher IQ within a species. Relative measurement of parts of N brains is unreliable because the overall shape of the skull is different, and for all larger brained homids endocasts are not very detailed because the thickness of the surrounding membranes is too thick to allow such detail.

  178. #178 HuCipher
    San Francisco
    February 10, 2013

    I would like to know who did the measurements ,where did they get the material(skulls/brains)from and when was it done? In the 19th century Samuel Morton made his measurements and data concluded that Caucasians had the bigger skulls thus assuming bigger brains. Did Rushton take new measurements and if so why are his different?

  179. #179 HughEMC
    February 10, 2013

    @themostdismal

    you have to show me some data proving the brain size measurements are accurate and if environment if accounted for. People in colder climates tend to have more body mass. the show me data proving brain size correlates to IQ and some data showing how in the heck did paleontologist figure out Neanderthal had bigger cerebellum’s as opposed to prefrontal cortex’s accurately from a fossilized skull? Ya cant just state something like that with out the data.

  180. #180 Greg Laden
    February 10, 2013

    The measurements are mostly from using the hat size of inductees in the military in various countries. That is taken as a diameter. An estimated skull thickness is then subtracted assuming Asians have thinner skulls, Caucasians average skulls, and “Blacks” have thicker skulls. Those skull thickness data may be OK for Asian and Cauc, but the African/Black one is calcuated by taking measurements from the literature from very old fossils found in Africa which do not represent modern humans at all.

    So, without even looking at thinks like climate (and by the way, colder adapted populations may have rather large brains … the largest measured modern human brains I’m aware of are “eskimo”) we can demonstrate that the numbers are utterly bogus.

  181. #181 David
    July 6, 2013

    A lot of people think that when you say that you think or should i say know there are avg differnces in intelligence that you say that because of hate. The position of race are twins north of the neck is an emotionel irrational position and they think that the other side also takes the postion they hope it is.

    Races distribution groups is like twin side

    differences all around the world between black whites asians is becuase of environment.
    Race is a social construct.

    other side:
    Race is a social construct depending on your definition, of the defenition ofuse now it is not.
    Becuase there is no strict line for what is fat and what is thin doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.You could also argue that becuase interacial offspring,espacially multi generation mixed are more likely to be born dead( 440 % for african americans and africans close to whites), the races are closer to differnt spacies then to same race.

    most differnce in IQ is in the G factor and smaller in realtively culturally biases( calculated from twins)

    Drugs taken circulate differnt amount of times in the brain( differt ratios brain)

    Ratios between race IQ differ most at the ends of standard curve SD hinting too different mean.

    differtn size brain. when the same race and gender IQ is linear with size and cor 0.2-0.4 HUH BULSHITT HOW CAN THAT BE???? now correlation says just the amount of variation of it .So when dick size sd is 14.4% and sd height 4.4 % people would say no correlation lol when it is in fact can be linear and have cor of 4.4/14.4.Stupid ass professors always make this mistake.

    Variation environment have become smaller and smaller so genetic becomes more and more important for variation in IQ Realise that cunts ! but the differnce is not much different in the ‘mysterious ‘IQ gap now from 50 years ago.

  182. #182 Darryl
    San Jose, CA
    July 25, 2013

    It should be noted that dolphins have larger brains than humans.

  183. #183 Richard
    italy
    August 18, 2014

    the data substantiates the relative IQ findings of the races in the book “The Bell Curve” by Herrnstein and Murray!

  184. #184 Richard
    italy
    August 18, 2014

    Black Intellectual and Scientific development vs. the European, Romans, Persians and Egyptians (rev4)
    The following subject thesis is presented as a compilation of scientific data, historical facts and observations and will not in some cases to be grammatically perfect in sentence structure. The argument presented by American Blacks for their lack of economic and intellectual advancement in American society is supposedly because their ancestors were slaves and they have historically been discriminated against. However, even though the American slaves were freed 8 generations ago, (160 years), and America has spent in excess of $70 Trillion in reparations since the Johnson era’s “War on Poverty and Affirmative Action”, evidence shows that the return on this investment in blacks is minimal at best. Scientific evidence shows that this lack of advancement is evident because of their low genetic Intelligence Quotient “IQ” and laziness and is therefore the cause of their lack of economic and academic achievement. A valid argument exists that intelligence is genetically inherited as proven when a comparison is made of human intelligence and scientific development by the Caucasian, Asian and the middle-eastern, ”western”, world for any given period of past or present historical time versus the scientific development of the free Black Africans, who were not slaves or discriminated against in their native Africa. The Caucasian western world has shown that experimental observation is at the very root of the scientific method of discovery. Observation is followed by imaginative reasoning that leads to the formulation of scientific ideas and the understanding and development of the natural and physical laws of the universe. Black Africa never developed the mathematical and reasoning ability to scientifically develop their environment or continent and as such remained in the Stone Age until the Europeans arrived in the 1880’s. The following are questions and statements related to the historical disparity of IQ and creative thinking among the races that culminated in the development of the western world and the cause of the obvious stagnant development of the African continent:
    Question:
    1. It takes basic intellect for creativity to occur, in addition to the underlying order of a reasoning mind for scientific development and technology to advance in a culture. The question remains, as to the cause that prevented the development of science and technology in Black Africa over the four thousand years of history as did the Greeks, Romans, Persians and Egyptians. Development of the African continent did not occur until the 1880’s when Europeans arrived.
    2. Where was Black African development during the 5th century BC Bronze Age, and why didn’t Black Africa create, Cities, Currency, Manufacturing, Import and Export trade, black smiths and pottery and invent the plow as was done in the west? Is it because they lacked imaginative thinkers and therefore didn’t question their environment and the forces of nature, or because of intellectual deficiency? Why did Black Africa lack the foresight and intellect to create trade within the current 54 countries on their continent as was established in the Mediterranean by Greece as far back as 429 BC.
    3. Historical evidence has shown that Black African did not have the capability or IQ to develop an alphabet, and as such there are no written literature or ever discover the wheel which was the basis of scientific development. Black Africa did not develop rational principals of mathematics’, geometry or the relationship among numbers, forms and patterns or laws governing their physical world as the Greeks did in 500 BC, or the Romans during their 1000 year empire from 500BC to 500AD when they built aqueducts, Invented cement and built monumental buildings that exist to this day. India had its Golden Age from 300AD to 1000AD. China invented gun powder in the 8th century BC, the compass in the 2nd century BC and paper in the 1st century BC. The Black African Iron age wasn’t developed until 200AD as compared to the west Asians who invented iron smelting in 2000BC?
    4. The question remains as to why there were no Black African scientific developments during these ancient time periods or thereafter to this day. Why didn’t Black Africa discover the “wheel” which was the basic building block for technological development and mathematics in the west? Where is the Black African equivalent to the Greek Parthenon, the Roman Coliseum and the Asian temples? Where are ancient Black African archeological sites?
    5. The issue arises of the African American intellect and IQ in comparison to the other races on our planet. A scientific study related to the IQ of the races has been recorded in the book “The Bell Curve” which shows an IQ disparity among the races. The average Caucasian IQ range is between 90 and 110, Asians are 6 points above this average and Black Americans are 16 points below the average?
    6. The question of genetically modifying IQ is evident when comparing the obvious higher IQ of Black Americans with their African ancestors IQ which is lower as evident by their continents underdevelopment. The question arises why the African American IQ is greater than that of their African ancestors? The rational is that the majority of blacks born in the US have at least one white ancestor in their lineage and as a result their IQ has been genetically averaged up from those of their purebred ancestors in Africa. However, the average Black American IQ, even with a white ancestor, is still 16 point below average, (according to the book on the IQ of the races, i.e. “The Bell Curve”.
    7. If IQ is distributed equally among the races as presented by the mentally liberal psychologists, why is Africa the most undeveloped continent on the planet to this day? Development of the Africa continent began with a treaty established at the Congress of Berlin in 1885 which permitted the countries of Europe to negotiate agreements with the African states that resulted in the development of parts of the African continent, e.g. the Europeans developed and/or established many of the present 54 African states and cities such as in the Belgium Congo, Rhodesia and South Africa, etc. The real issue to address here is when these western developed countries in Africa reverted to home rule they experienced bankruptcy and decay, and to this day require western countries to sustain them as evident with the present African Union presidents meeting with Barack Obama in Washington DC who committed a $338,000,000 aid package to them in August of 2014.
    8. Why didn’t the African continent become a world power and develop their own society of science, technology and world trade during the 700 years of the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome, when Europe was overrun by barbarians and much of western trade and technology was lost?
    9. Why didn’t the black Africans invent, develop and construct an alphabet of their language, and writing and mathematics as was done by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians and the Mideast? Where are the great African written works in the sciences and humanities as was done in Greek, Rome, Egypt, Persia and the Mideast from 2000BC to 500AD? Where are the Black African equivalent of Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, Cicero and Virgil? Where are the African medical and disease control advances as in the west?
    10. Blacks represent 20% of the world population but have not received any Nobel Prizes in Science and Technology? How many patents for inventions are held by Black African or Black American? Can the Black African blame American slavery for their lack of development?
    11. Africa has many natural resources, (gold, silver, diamonds, bauxite, oil, etc), why did it take the Europeans to develop the mining industry in Africa and the harvesting of their resources.
    12. The argument is presented that Africa did not develop because its climate is tropical and it doesn’t have aridable land? The Greeks developed a complex and advanced society in 2500 BC with only 20% of their country as aridable land? The Congo in Africa, (only one country), has one million square miles of rainforest that can be cultivated if the natives had the intellect to grow crops? Furthermore, the African continent has millions of square miles of savannas and jungles that could be cultivated. One of the reasons the land wasn’t cultivated is that the black African never invented the plow!
    13. Why didn’t the Black Africans domesticate the zebra as a work horse for agriculture and transportation as did the western world’s domestication of the horse?
    14. Why didn’t African Blacks invent boats or develop the steam engine for their many navigable rivers.
    15. The liberal media makes the statement that the Egyptians were Africans, however research, (check the web), has shown that the genesis of the Egyptian people was from northeast Asia. The black Nubians to the south of Egypt conquered Egypt in 1000 BC but did not learn or translate the Egyptian technology for development to their southern African continent in the approx 100 years they controlled Egypt—why?
    16. Blacks represent 13% of the American population but commit 61% of the crimes according to the FBI website; this statistic is consistent in populated western countries where Blacks reside—Why—– is it that all countries of the world discriminate against blacks for no apparent reason?
    17. The recent rioting in Ferguson Missouri confirms the statistics that when the population of a city or ghetto contains more than 10% Blacks, that rioting, robbery and murder is their natural way of life, Ferguson is 68% Black!!

    In summary:
    The African American should be thankful to the white slaver that brought their ancestors to America, if they hadn’t, the American blacks would have been born and would presently be living in black Africa where scientific development is non-existent, ignorance, disease, violence, starvation and poverty is rampant, and they would be living in straw huts and throwing spears at their warring neighbors.
    Furthermore, it was David Livingston a white Englishman that brought about the end of slavery on the Africa continent in 1873, with his personal accounts to the English aristocracy of the slave massacre at Nyangwe, Africa. This event culminated in the end of slavery between the European countries and the African continent with the “Treaty of Zanzibar”. Slavery on the African continent continued years after the end of slavery in America.