2005 September 27 Tuesday
Fake Educational Miracle In Wake County North Carolina

Alan Finder of the New York Times claims that Wake County North Carolina has supposedly found a way to close the race gap in educational achievement.

Over the last decade, black and Hispanic students here in Wake County have made such dramatic strides in standardized reading and math tests that it has caught the attention of education experts around the country.

The main reason for the students' dramatic improvement, say officials and parents in the county, which includes Raleigh and its sprawling suburbs, is that the district has made a concerted effort to integrate the schools economically.

The "integrate the schools economically" is New York Times Orwellian liberal-speak for forced busing. The Times story is selling a liberal policy prescription that has not produced miracles in decades of trying. But this time is different. Forget all the accumulated evidence of history. Have liberal faith.

In Wake County, only 40 percent of black students in grades three through eight scored at grade level on state tests a decade ago. Last spring, 80 percent did. Hispanic students have made similar strides. Overall, 91 percent of students in those grades scored at grade level in the spring, up from 79 percent 10 years ago.

Note the use of "scored at grade level" as the bogey. This type of measure and on a test where such a high percentage of all races do well does not allow useful inter-racial comparisons. To do useful comparisons we'd at least need to know the average score for each race and also the test would have to be tough enough that all the scores were not bunched up.

When I saw this story my initial reaction was "Okay, so how did they cook the books?". One can make tests easier. That's my most likely guess for what happened. One can train students on questions extremely similar to the test questions. Test givers can fix test results or tell students the right answers. School administrators can manage to get poorer performing kids sent home sick on test days. Or a big demographic change in an area with rapid economic growth can change the types of students atttending some schools.

The Daily Howler adds in some important missing context for Wake County North Carolina.

Wow! Times readers felt a familiar glow; 80 percent of Wake County black kids scored at grade level on last spring’s tests! But here’s what Finder didn’t tell you—across the state of North Carolina, 77 percent of all black kids scored at grade level on those same tests! That’s right; the Times devoted this front-page story to a three-point difference in passing rates—a three-point difference in passing rates on tests almost everyone passes!

So you can grasp the grinding illiteracy found among New York Times ed writers, let’s make sure you understand how these numbers work. For example, how well did Wake County black fifth-graders do on last spring’s reading test? According to the state’s official results, 88 percent of Wake’s black students tested “proficient” on the state test. But then, 83 of black fifth graders tested “proficient” on this same test statewide! In short, the large majority of fifth-graders—black, white and brown—tested “proficient” all over the state! But you never learn that in Finder’s piece. Instead, you get a warm, fuzzy feeling about Wake’s score gains—score gains which Finder attributes to a particular aspect of Wake’s educational program.

Have Wake’s black passing rates doubled in the past decade? Almost—but then, the same thing has happened all over the state! (Data below. Any chance that the current tests are just easier?) Did 80 percent of Wake’s black kids pass last year? Yes—but so did black kids all over the state! In short, Finder is the latest illiterate making a joke of our educational discourse. If we actually care about school kids, he and his editor won’t be allowed within a hundred miles of this topic again.

The Daily Howler claims Finder didn't even get right the facts he did report:

By the way, Finder seems to be wrong when he says: “In Wake County, only 40 percent of black students in grades three through eight scored at grade level on state tests a decade ago.” In 1994-95, 52 percent of Wake’s black students passed the state test in reading. That same year, 50 percent of Wake’s black kids passed the test in math. But then, you can check that out for yourselves. Thanks to North Carolina’s excellent site, the data are there for the taking.

The Daily Howler says this latest story fits into a genre:

The bottom line in these stories is always this—there’s a simple solution to the prevailing disasters of low-income minority education. This claim makes pseudo-liberals feel good. And they get to pretend that red-state rubes are standing in the way of progress. “If only they were as enlightened as we, the problem would be over,” they get to say. “If only they’d adopt the enlightened plan that has worked such wonders in Raleigh!”

This genre has a basic story line: "we finally found the magic bullet for bringing up black and Hispanic academic performance up near white performance". People who like to read this genre are like women who are addicted to Harlequin romance novels. The girl has to meet her forever love again and again. Magically in each story we find ourselves back at the beginning where we can move once again toward the happy ending. This can happen in novels because a different fictional woman can find true love each time. But in real life it is pretty ridiculous when liberal reporters report this sort of story again and again and again.

This reminds of a post Michael Vassar wrote on just how far ahead the better students are from the poorer performers.

Here are the actual numbers. To some degree they speak for themselves, but here are the highlights. The top 10% of 4th grade students equal or outperform the bottom 25% (really over 45% after accounting for children excluded from the test and children who dropped out of high school) of 12th grade students, and the top 25% of students outperform the bottom 10% (really over 30% for reasons given above)! For your reference, roughly 25% of the US population gets a college degree, so the average person who will get a college degree has better math ability and reading comprehension in 4th grade than the bottom 4th of the population will have after 8 more years of schooling supposedly teaches them these subjects!

Aside: Those kids who are capable of learning so rapidly should get books and video lectures of college level subjects that would allow them to do far more intellectual development in their grade school and high school years. That those top students can be so far ahead suggests that conventional schools are holding them back.

The right measure of educational progress is not whether each kid has achieved some arbitrarily chosen proficiency standard for each grade. A far more accurate method of measuring achievement would be to give kids tests which allow the amount of knowledge in kids to be comparable across many grades. If 10 year old Johnny already knows enough to pass high school graduation proficiency tests then tests given to Johnny ought to be able to detect that. Tests given to 9 year old Jill ought to be able to detect that she already knows enough English but not enough math to qualify for high school graduation. The point here is that tests ought to measure each kid's levels of knowledge and intellectual skills on much longer scales of knowledge.

Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom have noted that NAEP scores allow cross-grade comparisons and the results do not bode well.

Blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography. In math and geography, indeed, they know no more than whites in the seventh grade. Hispanics do only a little better than African-Americans. In reading and U.S. history, their NAEP scores in their senior year of high school are a few points above those of whites in eighth grade. In math and geography, they are a few points lower.

If Wake County could show their black and Hispanic students have closed most of the NAEP gap with the white national average then I'd be impressed. But I think it exceedingly unlikely that they have done that.

Update: Over at Number 2 Pencil Kimberly Swygert covers this story with a link to Paul Peterson of the New York Sun who found that Wake County has little to brag about.

Intrigued by the story's claim that the percentage of Raleigh's students achieving proficiency had risen dramatically over the past several years, my research assistant, Mark Linnen, took it upon himself to check out the data available on the North Carolina Web site. Over the past 10 years, the percentage proficient or better in grades 3-8 in Raleigh (Wade County) had in fact risen by 13% in math and 12% in reading between 1995 and 2005. That seemed to confirm the bragging of local officials - until it was discovered that, statewide, proficiency rates were up by 21% in math and 19% in reading - gains that outstripped those in Raleigh by over 50%. Nor did the proficiency rates of Raleigh's black and Hispanic students climb any faster than the statewide average for these groups. In fact, the gains were somewhat smaller.

Not that proficiency rates in North Carolina mean much. The state has some of the worst state standards in the country. Last spring, my Education Next co-editor, Rick Hess and I gave North Carolina's proficiency standards one of the worst marks in the country - a D minus. (By comparison, South Carolina got an A.) So low were the standards that 85% of all North Carolina eighth graders was said to be proficient in reading, despite the fact that only 29% of the state's eighth graders was found proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation's report card.

North Carolina's proficiency test is dumbed down. How predictable. Many educational bureaucracies are very deceptive. Do not trust their emotional pleas about how they care about children.

Kimberly Swygert also points to a New York Times article on poor black and Hispanic performance in Princeton's high school. That result exactly contradicts the argument that the New York Times tried to make about Wake County North Carolina. In Princeton New Jersey putting back and Hispanic kids in the same school as very smart upper class white kids doesn't help raise black and Hispanic scores. Integration does not help. This is not new news.

Nobody knows how to raise black and Hispanic scholastic performance to white levels, let alone to Korean or Ashkenazi Jewish levels. The whole mainstream national debate about education is deeply dishonest because only environmental causes of the performance gap are politically acceptable. Genetic causes are taboo. The claim that only environment causes performance gaps between races is the great liberal bright shining lie of our era.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 September 27 02:40 AM  Education

Richard said at September 27, 2005 4:48 AM:

Great article, Randall. Also, Im grateful you are reading the Harlequin Romances so I don't have to.

Venomous said at September 27, 2005 5:06 AM:

This shouldn't be news, it should be self-evident. But given the attitudes of so many Americans today, they'd rather believe anything than their lying eyes. I'm particularly disturbed by the 4th grade-12th grade comparisons. One out of every ten fourth graders is more knowledgeable than nine out of every 12th grader. That's appalling.

Bob Badour said at September 27, 2005 5:47 AM:

I am amazed that the difference between the Research Triangle Park area and the rest of the state is only 3% for blacks. I would expect to find blacks who are 2 or 3 or more standard deviations above the median drawn from all over the country clustered there.

Then again, they are probably sending their kids to private schools to avoid forced bussing.

AMac said at September 27, 2005 7:16 AM:

The Harlequin plot outlined for the Raleigh public schools has a familiar ring to it. Oh--the Baltimore Sun had the same cheery view of standardized test results in Baltimore and Maryland back in June. Gallery of puff pieces here. Complete with uninformative graphics.

The tablular compilations that accompanied the print articles (but don't seem to be on the web) made it apparrent that schools' results were improved in 2005 because more kids were passing the tests, and that more kids were passing the standardized assessment tests because the pass points had been re-seet to lower benchmarks.

Dumbed-down tests, higher percentage of kids pass, higher percentage of minority kids pass, Republican state-level pols happy, Democratic municipal-level pols happy, newspaper reporters and editors happy.

The educational system works.

agnostic said at September 27, 2005 9:10 AM:

In case anyone hasn't already read Griffe's take on this: http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com//gap.htm
In fact, one of the two cases he looks at is North Carolina. The most sensible interpretation of "closing the racial gap" in achievement is that the gap-closing is a statistical artifact due to lowering the passing grade on the test, not a meaningful gap-closing w.r.t. IQ or academic prowess.

There are two extremes where there will be a negligible race gap: if the test is so easy than any moron can ace it, or if it's so difficult that students of either race will only get answers correct due to chance guessing. In between those extremes lies a maximum race gap, so the administrators can move the passing grade in either direction in order to artificially diminish the gap. Now, no one wants to move it in the "too difficult" direction since it would appear that all students were getting dumber. Better to move it toward the "too easy" side, which makes the teachers look like geniuses for raising everyone's scores and heroes for closing the race gap.

Rick Darby said at September 27, 2005 10:10 AM:

The educational establishment lives in a world of delusion. The most basic false premise is that all kids are inherently qualified to do college level work, which is equivalent to being able to work in a professional environment, be able to think logically and learn from experience.

Therefore, the ideological purist must believe that any test results that appear to show significant differences in ability must be measuring some artifact -- bias in the test or differences in economic background, for instance. The facts must always be explained in terms of the failure to apply some kind of social engineering fix.

As the fix is implemented, to make sure that it "works," you have to tweak the test or other objective data so that results look good. You dumb down the test so scores go up and everyone emerges from the assembly line as "college material." Then you do the same thing at the college level. For those who still manage to do poorly in college, you make sure most are in a "protected" class and require businesses and especially government agencies to hire a certain number of them to prove that they're providing equal opportunity and acting affirmatively. What a racket.

No wonder so many parents who want their kids to actually develop mentally in school are doing everything they can to keep their offspring out of the clutches of state school boards.

John S Bolton said at September 27, 2005 10:59 AM:

The smarter people who promote these stories must know that they are spreading propaganda. You have to look at the end result; in this case, the demand is for pushing the majority down to the level of the lowest performing minorities, Such a desire has to mean hatred against human achievement. Bush's PR operatives were supposed to be so brilliant, showcasing antimajority policies like NCLB, quotas, mass antimerit immigration, amnesties and guest worker proposals. Sunday,9 25 05's lead NYT editorial definitively states that Bush is a racist though. It's called Hard Bigotry of No Expectations, and its about Bush; that he is a racist. Did these clever politicos imagine that appeasing those who hate, and would like to see cast down to the lowest minority level, the republican constituency, would buy them an exemption from such characterizations of the president from the media? The more they try to prove that they're not racist, the thicker and faster they will be called such. How can they not have learned this?

Jorge D.C. said at September 27, 2005 1:25 PM:

NYT = Pravda American style

But there is good news. Owner Salzburger is laying off employees. And now their poisonous editorialists require a subscription. The cancer is shrinking!

Bulldog said at September 28, 2005 4:40 AM:

Stuck on stupid, stuck on corrupt. Public education is a huge scam. It should be prosecuted under RICO. NEA, AFT, textbook publishers, US Education Dept., all the hangers-on who sap billions from the system.
Kids are treated like a checkbook and like a commodity. In the name of the kids, the kids are being f'd.

mariana said at September 28, 2005 1:58 PM:

In other words, we're making a massive number of students waste years and years of their lives which could be spent doing productive things for society. And we're pissing away large amounts of money. It seems the schools had the right idea when they graduated lots of students at eighth grade. What would it take to get a school system based on logic and common sense?

Randall Parker said at September 28, 2005 2:37 PM:


I'd like to let grade school kids earn credit for high school courses and even have grade school and high school kids earn lots of credit for college courses. Smart kids ought to be able to graduate from college at age 18.

A series of standardized tests for college chemistry, physics, math, and other topics would allow kids to earn credit for many different courses. Give tests in high schools several times a year for a variety of college courses.

For example, let kids take a standardized test for an entire year's college introductory chemistry course. A high school freshman could take the test say four times a year and keep taking the test until finally passing it. Ditto for organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry.

High resolution video recordings of college lectures could be made available to kids to watch at home and at school. After school classrooms could have projectors set up to show lectures in oganic chemistry, microeconomics, macroecnomics, partial differential equations, and other courses. Students from local colleges could be hired at fairly low hourly rates (the college students would otherwise be working at pizzerias after all) to do question and answer sessions with the kids.

Hugh Angell said at September 28, 2005 3:00 PM:

One wonders why any school district or even state board of education is allowed to
administer these 'tests' at all. It is redolent of "ENRON" accounting.

Imagine if, instead of bank examiners auditing a financial institutions books, the bank
itself was allowed to and then submit its findings to state and federal regulators. Think
any banks would find themselves insolvent? That they had made improper loans? That cash
was 'missing' or that an excessive amount of loans were 'non performing'?

Surely an independant group of examiners should formulate and adminster any of these new
academic performance tests as the school district and political leadership have a vested
interest in the outcome. In my hometown it was recently revealed that teachers were filling
in the answer sheet for students at, at least, one school on our Standards of Learning
evaluation exam. Why wouldn't they cheat if they knew their students were going to fail?
Under the law the school would lose its accredidation, teachers reassigned or dismissed
and the principal removed should the school show a pattern of failure.

Even the venerable SAT succumbed to pressure a decade or so back to 'renorm' its test from
the original base line of 1940. Somehow or another it was unfair to compare todays students
with those of the late depression era. I mean the 1940 base line students did not have all
of the 'advantages' of modern education 'theory and practice' and their schools were likely
funded about a 1/10 the per capita expenditures of even the poorest school district of
today. No free breakfast and lunches so hunger was probably a real problem. No audio visual
and computer education departments. Textbooks that were not only handed down from year to
year but also devoid of any progressive thinking and merely contained the subject matter
the student was expected to learn. So obviously expecting the student of 1940 to be able
to compete on a level playing field with the super students of today was unfair. So the
SAT was reconfigured to give TODAY's student a 50 or so point advantage over the tests of

If there is one thing the super students of today have over their grandparents it is their
self esteem. No "F's" on their report card. I think "needs improvement' is about as harsh
as it gets. No 'flunking' a grade today, you can 'earn' a 'social promotion'. I recently
learned of a 20 year old in local public high school. Bet they have a mean football team
but not much else.

Instead of a bright middleclass woman teaching the students today you get some graduate of
a state diploma mill with a major in 'education' who is more cabable of demonstrating
'conjugal relations' with a student than to conjugating a verb.

Hugh Angell said at September 28, 2005 3:36 PM:


I like the idea of broadband college courses for high school students. The price of college
education today is insane. However, in your example of chemistry, how would a high school
or other remote student do lab work?

One wonders why, in fact, we need to spend up to $40,000 per year to 'send' a person to
college when Stanford, Yale, Princeton etc, could, in effect, 'franchise' their education
to all of the many state diploma mills and lesser colleges instead. Where lab work is
needed the lesser schools could devote the money and faculty time now spent on lecture
hall facilities and classroom time to acquire the same standard of labs that the 'big
universities' have.

In effect create a University of California system but with only Berkeley being the
physical campus and the other students who, for reasons of distance, economy or other
commitments, are unable or would prefer to do their course work locally at a virtual
campus with the rest of the teaching staff assigned as local mentors and lab professors.

Rather than earn a degree from UC Riverside or Fresno State every student who successfully
completes the course material would have their degree stamped with the imprimatur of the
University of California at Berkeley or Stanford, Duke etc. at a fraction of the cost of
attending the physical university.

I imagine more than a few parents and their student children would be delighted to be able
to save thousands of dollars per year and be admitted 'provisionally' to America's elite
schools. Instead of the 'admissions' crap shoot that students must go through at no small
expense to them and their parents where perhaps fewer than one in ten applicants are
admitted to these elite institutions anyone who met the minimal admission requirements
could receive a 'provisional' admission to a virtual campus course of study and have
faculty 'certified and licensed' by the home university available locally for labwork and

mariana said at September 28, 2005 3:46 PM:

That NYTimes article also contradicts another NYTimes article about minority kids at Princeton High School poor performance. I assume that many of the minority kids at Princeton are from a lower socio-economic class.

Randall Parker said at September 28, 2005 4:29 PM:


The lab work problem is very easy to solve. When I was at a University of California campus the lab was a separate course number and you took it separately. One could take the regular course one year and then take the corresponding lab the next year. Well, have all the high school kids take the regular courses. Then at some college have the lab courses offered concentrated together in a single summer.

I'm not suggesting the use of broadband to show live courses or even prerecorded courses. Though the latter could be done. Courses should be prerecorded and available on DVD. One should be able to watch courses any hour of the day or night.

Think about a college course that has 3 50 minute lectures for a total of perhaps 30 weeks for an entire year. It is only 4500 minutes or 75 hours for, say, introductory chemistry or organic chemistry. With the course on DVD could you watch the whole course in a week if you wanted to watch at least 10 hours a day. You could watch it twice even.

Time wasted on buses and airplanes and trains could be spent with a laptop watching DVD course lectures.

Randall Parker said at September 28, 2005 4:32 PM:


Yes, those black kids in Princeton sit in the same classes as some of the smartest kids in New Jersey and yet still can't make the grade. But the liberal faithful keep their devout belief in the power of environment to defeat genetic variations chosen by natural selection.

Marvin said at September 28, 2005 4:58 PM:

A lot of labs have been incorporated into computer simulations. They are not the same as the real thing, but many simulations are excellent introductions to lab procedures, and great complements to theoretical work. Computer simulated labs will get better as virtual reality peripherals get better.

John S Bolton said at September 28, 2005 10:04 PM:

Incentive systems are powerful for motivation. If not so, why didn't socialism show itself to be the winning organizer of individual and group efforts, and in sufficient degree to allow the USSR to move ahead militarily? Communist regimes gave many medallions and sashes to youth. America could afford to give considerable cash for a given precocity demonstrated on tests like the GRE's. The combination of money and prestige and publicity, and an edge in admissions could be potent. College admissions is itself partly about motivation for money, and prestige. Applicants need to distinguish themselves in as many good ways as they can. Bipartisan support for NCLBism indicates that the political leadership is looking to minimize any occasions of the majority pulling out further ahead.

Bob Badour said at September 29, 2005 5:55 AM:

John, I am not sure how this relates to your post, but growing up I always found it strange that the stupid kids got rewards like $10 for every C grade or a bicycle for passing all of their subjects. All I ever got was my parents' disapproval for getting an A- instead of an A+ (as if my parents could have ever performed half as well as I did.)

meep said at September 30, 2005 4:47 AM:

Well, Bob, I used to live and go to school in Wake County, same as my sisters after me, and I can tell you a couple things: there isn't a huge number of kids going to "great" private schools in the county. I know of two premier private schools there: Cary Academy (owned/run by SAS Institute... I think most of the kids there are kids of employees) and Ravenscroft. As far as I know, neither has that many students. There are religious schools of all sorts in the area, but I don't think any of them post better academic results than the public schools. Wake County schools provide some of the best public school education in the state.

The rich white kids' educations then and now haven't been hurt by forced busing (other than really annoying them) -- it's more that the poor kids (and I'm willing to bet there are lots more poor white kids in Wake County than poor black or poor hispanic kids) aren't being helped much by forced busing.

Bob Badour said at September 30, 2005 4:13 PM:

Who said anything about "great" ? I only speculated that some went to private schools to avoid bussing. Some families actually do that sort of thing. Or so I am told. I would expect the two, three and four sigma blacks to work for companies like SAS, so perhaps you have confirmed my speculation.

John S Bolton said at October 4, 2005 2:19 AM:

When the left uses misleading data to try to propagandize for increasing racial conflict, the point to remember is that they do not dare to argue for socialism as desirable today. They have to agitate indirectly, for measures to increase interracial conflict, because the class war is a hopeless cause. They choose their issues so as to be in a spot where they can say that all opposed are simply operating from racial feeling. This being the pattern, let's not fail to recall that they would really rather be able to have an intellectual or moral case for socialism.

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 5:13 AM:

OK, I need this comment explained to me:

"But the liberal faithful keep their devout belief in the power of environment to defeat genetic variations chosen by natural selection."

Randall Parker said at October 7, 2005 9:30 AM:


At this point the evidence that social environment and education have little influence over IQ is overwhelming. The evidence that most IQ differences are due to genetics is overwhelming. The evidence that IQ is the strongest predictor of academic success is, again, overwhelming. Ditto for evidence that the known average IQ differences between the races measure real differences in ability.

In the face of all this evidence liberal beliefs in education and environment continue basically undaunted. Reality? Evidence? The heck with all that. Throw more money at it. Cry racism when some groups do worse. Cook the books on test results. Say the psychometric researchers are racism. Do anything but admit the truth.

For evidence, read some of Linda Gottfredson's reprints. In particular, Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life (PDF format). Also see her paper g: Highly general and highly practical (PDF format). Also, read the Rushton and Jensen papers here. Also, read Charles Murray's recent Commentary article The Inequality Taboo. Also, read Jensen's book The "g" Factor and Murray and Herrnstein's book The Bell Curve.

The biological evidence is beginning to pile up in support of the psychometric evidence. See, for example, evidence that brain genes ASPM and microcephalin have undergone evolutionarily driven change since humans left Africa. And see more here on this study.

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 4:28 PM:

So are you saying that Blacks are collectively less intelligent than Whites? Is that the bottom line here?

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 4:32 PM:

Or better yet, that Blacks do not have the mental capacity for acquiring and retaining knowledge that Whites do?

Randall Parker said at October 7, 2005 5:05 PM:

Collectively? I do not know what you mean by that.

I said on average.

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 7:14 PM:

Allow me to rephrase: is it being stated that Blacks, on average, are less intelligent than Whites and/or have a lower mental capacity for understanding than Whites, and that this is due to genetic differences between the two races?

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 7:43 PM:

Well, I'm sure these papers are fatally flawed in significant ways. I'll have to find some time to critically analyze them and share my findings.

Randall Parker said at October 7, 2005 8:07 PM:


Fundamentalist Christians believe the theory of evolution is fundamentally flawed. They find reasons to disbelieve the evidence. That is what faith does to the reasoning faculties of a person. Liberal faith is very powerful and has a similar effect.

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 9:01 PM:

What is "liberal faith" as opposed to the faith of "fundamentalist Christians"?

Randall Parker said at October 7, 2005 10:04 PM:


Liberal faith is not derived from the supernatural. While John Locke asserted the equality of men based on their equality before God the decline in religious belief has caused liberals and other leftists to move to asserting genetic equality. They try to justify their faith in equality based on characteristics of humans in this world. Hence the denial of genetic causes of differences in intelligence.

Akhenaton06 said at October 7, 2005 11:54 PM:

Sounds like all the right ingredients for the enslavement of those of African descent.

Randall Parker said at October 8, 2005 12:08 AM:


I do not see why you think why enslavement should logically follow. Why do you think that?

Akhenaton06 said at October 8, 2005 12:33 AM:

If "genetic equality" is associated with disbelief in a supernatural power and the equality of races/ethnicities based on some sort of inherent rights bestowed by this power, then inevitably, notions of inferiority/superiority based on race will arise. Hence, those of the "superior" group will feel as though they have the "right" to dominate and subjugate those of the "inferior" class. Perhaps it will not result in literal physical enshacklement, but slavery in other forms.

Oh wait, that's already happened...

Randall Parker said at October 8, 2005 10:05 AM:


Liberalism really did originally get justified by by appeal to religious belief. Currently liberals do believe that they have to deny scientific research results. They enforce taboos against claims that violate their secular faith. But those scientific results get more convincing every year. Their faith is beginning to crumble.

Speaking as someone who does not believe in their faith I do not see why smarter people should want to enslave dumber people. I do not see where the slave owners would benefit. The big money to be made is from smarter people motivating other smarter people to innovate. Automation has decreased the value of dumb labor. Look at the long term trend for salaries at the bottom. The trend is downward.

Akhenaton06 said at October 8, 2005 12:06 PM:

Allow me to ask you this. I have not read all of the literature associated with the subject at hand, but earlier you said, "But the liberal faithful keep their devout belief in the power of environment to defeat genetic variations chosen by natural selection." I believe that it has been demonstrated that human selection, in some instances, has the ability to affect natural selection. Darwin was familiar with this concept via the breeding of pigeons. If that is the case, then doesn't the environment, or more specifically an altered environment, have the ability to affect natural selection?

That is, if what's being purported here is scientifically feasible to begin with.

Randall Parker said at October 8, 2005 12:31 PM:


Certainly environments that humans create or modify cause changes in selective pressures. Examples:

1) Medicine that prevents death. Decrease in infant mortality has reduced selective pressures for stronger immune systems for example. It has also decreased selective pressures against assorted harmful mutations.

2) Schools and industrial economies provide incentives to delay and reduce reproduction. Education especially reduces female reproduction starting around the 8th grade and higher according to some research I've read. The college educated have fewer kids than the high school grads who have fewer kids than the high school drop-outs. This exerts selective pressure against alleles for higher IQ.

3) Sexually segregated prisons prevent prisoners from reproducing. Increases in incarceration rates exert selective pressures against genetic alleles that increase the odds of being criminals.

Human-caused changes in selective pressure certainly are changing allele frequencies in the human race. For example, 100 years ago white folks were about a quarter of the world's population. Now they are a tenth of the world's population and declining. Western civilization definitely exerted selective pressure against reproducing. Alleles carried by Europeans became less frequent in the total world human population.

But left-liberals are arguing that environment can alter individual already existing people. Hence the fallacious belief that the test scores gap between the races can be closed if we only try hard enough.

The left aren't arguing for changing the races via selective pressure on reproduction. In fact, they are opposed to eugenics. They do not want selective pressures to have any effect, whether the the selective pressure is from the non-human environment or from humans influencing each other. Never mind that selective pressures do have effects and changes in selective pressures in modern society have changed the selective pressures. They deny all this. They do not want to think about all this.

The liberal-left are as anti-Darwinian as the fundamentalists who deny evolution ever happened. The difference is that the liberal-leftists try to pretend that they are not rejecting Darwinism. They find Darwinism highly inconvenient for their beliefs about human nature. Well they are right about that.

Sure, alteration of environments changes selective pressures. That's a Darwinian position. Darwin was right.

David Alexander said at October 8, 2005 4:40 PM:

Admittedly, if the information about African-American and Hispanic IQs being lower than their White and Asian counterparts is true, why would anybody want to admit it and say it in the public square. Would any one of you be willing to walk into a ghetto or a barrio and say to the locals that on average, they'll be less smart than their white counterparts?

Busing children does help under very limited circumstances. It only works if they are dedicated parents who want to push their intelligent child, and the child gets sent to a school district with competant and caring teachers. Many inner-city school environments are torture for the smart kids, especially when one's peers deem you as a "sell-out" for doing anything remotely academic. Admittedly, if the pupil isn't that bright, and the parents aren't exactly at the forefront of their child's life, then don't expect much.

Randall Parker said at October 8, 2005 5:23 PM:

David Alexander,

I certainly understand why admitting the truth is dangerous in some neighborhoods.

But why isn't it admitted to in the mainstream media? The truth has many policy implications and much practical utility.

For example, kids that are not bright ought to get training to do work that they are capable of doing. Trying to teach them algebra wastes their time, frustrates them, and drives them to drop out of school. They'd get more practical value and satisfaction out of training in carpentry or metal work or other manual labor skills.

I agree that busing smarter kids to schools which have smarter kids has benefit for the kids who are taken out of environments where their demonstration of greater intelligence evokes resentment and hostility. But to run busing programs on that basis would require IQ testing and then busing decisions made based on the test results. Well, that's where the trouble begins in our current environment of massive lies and taboo enforcement by the liberals. Tests that show blacks are dumber on average get labelled as racist and invalid because they show differences between the races.

The national debate about race in America is conducted by first asserting that falsehoods are true. Therefore the the debate about poverty, education, and other issues is intellectually and morally bankrupt. The vast bulk of what gets said is nonsense. It is unproductive. The proposed policies never succeed. The educational systems corrupt their testing. The politicians lie. The reporters and commentators lie.

The lies are not helping. They are making things worse.

David Alexander said at October 8, 2005 8:14 PM:

Admitting that a race (because Hispanic isn't a true race...)in the media is less intelligent than another race is tantamount to saying that said race is inferior. Doing that will easily apply a label of "Nazi" for the rest of you career. In addition, you'll simply upset that race. The last thing we need to have is riots across America.

In the particular case of African-Americans, telling them that they're not as intelligent as your average white person is akin to telling them that the only positions you're qualified for is to serve the rich white overlords. Due to the racial history of the United States, we'd be risking a potential breakdown in race relations. Considering the level of pay for the positions that most of these people are applicable for due to their lower average IQ, we've also doomed them to living in poor conditions. Besides, in America, we look down at anybody who doesn't work in an office.

Plus, admittedly, if somebody told you that your race was less intelligent, would you bother to try anymore?

Just a curious question, how do the rates of impoverished African Americans compared with impoverished whites or Hispanics? Also, have they ever done tests comparing IQs of Blacks around the world? Admittedly, I have a different insight as a Caribbean than most African Americans here in the States.

Randall Parker said at October 8, 2005 9:29 PM:


First of all, whole races are not smarter or dumber. There are smart blacks, dumb whites, etc. We are talking averages.

Second, the idea that the races and ethnic groups have different average intelligence levels is accepted by many people privately. For example, who doesn't think that Jews are smarter on average than everyone else?

Third, about Hispanics: Amerinds are the group that are less intelligent on average. Some "Hispanics" are pure Amerind. Some a mix of Amerind and Spanish. Some are other mixes.

IQs around the world: Sure, lots of studies. Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen summarized that work in their book IQ and the Wealth of Nations.

Riots if the truth gets admitted: I doubt it.

Bothering to try: To try what exactly? To make money to eat and pay the rent? Why stop just because you are told you are below average in intelligence? About half of all whites have IQs below 100 and most of them know they are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed. They still get up every day and go to work. They want money. They want stuff.

Admission of the truth would not cause the collapse of civilization. It would have the opposite effect.

Think about the current official mythology. Supposedly all races and groups have the same average ability levels. At the same time we know there are big differences between the groups in poverty rates, educational attainment, and economic status. So the groups that do worse think the system is unfair to them and that other races must be discriminating against them to create the differences in outcomes. This creates greater resentment in blacks and Hispanics.

If the truth is told then the differences in outcomes will no longer be attributable to unfairness of some groups against other groups. This will reduce resentment. That strikes me as a recipe for greater social peace, not less social peace.

David Alexander said at October 8, 2005 10:35 PM:

I'd suggest that people would stop bothering because they know that they'll never have it as good as the smarter people. It leaves three options, to go about your life as best as possible and containing your resentment, stealing from the smarter people to enrich yourself (which is barely plausible), or giving up and commiting suicide. Admittedly, given the type of world that we live in today, I'm amazed that the third option isn't more common. Quite frankly, who'd want to be an idiot in the world of smart people. In fact, I'm amazed that most third worlders continue to go on about their lives instead of commit suicide knowing that other people are living in much better conditions in the first world.

But like I've said before, who wants to actually tell modern society this? The one who admits to this would be deemed as a racist, and despite the fact that the IQ scores are averages of each race, most people will interpret the results as blacks are inferior to white people (and possibly, Asians are superior to whites).

Admittedly, I'm Caribbean, and I would hate the idea of being told that I'm in the race that has the lowest average IQ. Even if your highly intelligent for a black person, you'd be stereotyped as a stupid black person. I'd presume the same would be true for the stupid Asian person being stereotyped as a smart Asian.

Randall Parker said at October 9, 2005 12:01 AM:


I've worked with smart Asians and dumb Asians and found it easy to tell the difference. So did all the other engineers and programmers I worked with. The same was true about the white people I worked with.

When you are dealing with strangers then stereotypes kick in. But people do that even today. Whites and Asians fear blacks due to higher black criminality. Blacks who aren't criminals get treated differently when they are strangers. When they are better known they are treated less based on stereotypes and more based on personal experience.

Yes, Asians and Jews already get stereotyped as being smarter.

Some people do not mind being really smart. I know lots of working class whites who do not want a mansion by the ocean but instead want a cabin in a forest or a fishing boat or other simpler desire that is within their grasp to achieve. They strive for what they want. They do not compare themselves to doctors or rich guys. Those latter people are seen as more like moving in a different foreign world.

David Alexander said at October 9, 2005 9:39 AM:

Yes, you're correct about stereotypes kicking in when dealing with strangers. I happen to have met one of my close friend's Canadian parents who had some bigoted views of African Americans from their experiences in the States during the late 60 and 70s. Once they had gotten to know me, I was deemed to be "different" from the other blacks. In fact many of my white friends place me in the "Caribbean" context. I don't mind it so much, but I do notice it.

I did have one friend who said Jews:regular whites::Caribbeans:regular blacks, but I'd suspect that was based on his limited experiences living in one of the few relatively black areas on Long Island.

I'm amazed that there are people like that out there in the world. Maybe it's my own clouded perspective, or my own jealousy affecting my arguements, but I usually compare myself to those "above me".

Akhenaton06 said at October 17, 2005 1:08 AM:

It was stated: "Think about the current official mythology. Supposedly all races and groups have the same average ability levels. At the same time we know there are big differences between the groups in poverty rates, educational attainment, and economic status. So the groups that do worse think the system is unfair to them and that other races must be discriminating against them to create the differences in outcomes. This creates greater resentment in blacks and Hispanics."

So is it being denied that there IS no institutional discrimination at all going on against minorities?

Randall Parker said at October 17, 2005 8:43 AM:


There's institutional discrimination for blacks and Hispanics in government agencies, colleges and universities, in corporations, and in other types of organizations.

If whites keep down all the minorities with discrimination then why do some minorities have higher average yearly incomes and educational attainments than whites? The standard liberal explanation for racial differences in outcomes is bogus. The truth is obvious. The lies are tired. Admit the obvious.

Akhenaton06 said at December 13, 2005 11:01 AM:

My question was not answered.

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