2007 February 04 Sunday
Steve Sailer On Debating Ploys Of The Smug And Stupid

A reader of Steve Sailer writes in with a number of debating ploys widely used by liberals and neoconservatives. (see the whole list)

Appeal to theoretical human potential: Actual human behavior seems to mean less to liberals than potential human behavior. I think this is one of the things that distinguishes liberals and neoconservatives from actual conservatives. For liberals, the fact that a person or people could conceivably do something often seems to be as good as if they actually do do something. Worried that Mexican cultural values are inferior to traditional Anglo-American cultural values when it comes to maintaining a First World country? "Sure, Mexican-Americans may not currently be as highly individualistic as Anglo-Americans, but no problem," the liberal will respond, "I see no reason why they couldn't be." The liberal is then happy to rest their case as if "could" solves the problem once and for all. They will simply ignore the reality that there is no force forcing Mexican-Americans to adopt such Anglo values. As a matter of fact, those traditional values are in decline among whites also. "But not to worry," the liberal might say, "we could regain those values if we really needed them."

But in reality groups that are not individualistic remain that way for many generations. The causes are probably at least partially genetic. The "could" argument is only true because of the future potential for genetic engineering to remold human nature. But the people using the "could" argument are believers in the Blank Slate and in the primacy of environment to easily mold humans.

In the discussion thread for that post another reader, Dave, comments that right-wingers often make arguments which similarly assume qualities in humans that are not present in a substantial portion of the population.

Interesting that you write that liberals often assume that theoretical human potential equals actual human potential. Conservatives do the same thing in many instances.

Examples abound when it comes to retirement security. Conservatives expect that lower-income folks will take advantage of 401(k)s, IRAs and other tax-advantaged retirement accounts because... who wouldn't be that prudent? They seem to forget that one reason these folks have been poor for generations is that they aren't prudent and they have no concept of thrift. We would all be better off if the government mandated a certain level of participation in retirement plans.

My reaction is that the argument Dave criticises isn't really conservative. It comes from right wingers of libertarian free-marketeer and economic bents (where economists assume we are all utility maximizing members of the species homo economicus). We heard this argument a lot a few years ago when George W. Bush was trying to get Congress to create supposedly private Social Security accounts. The argument made no sense to me for exactly the reason Dave cites: a substantial fraction of the population (I'd say well over three quarters) do not know how to invest money and lack the time and intellectual capacity to analyse investment choices. It strikes me as conservative to say that and left-liberal to say that everyone has equal capacity to do anything.

During the Social Security privatization debate big Wall Street money from both sides of the political aisle lined up in favor of the proposal. The prospects of immediate big profits often cause ideological beliefs to fall by the wayside. The Wall Streeters stood to make huge yearly fees managing the many personal investment accounts. But outside of the investment industry the argument had greater appeal on the right since most (not all) capitalistic individualists consider themselves right wing and want control of their own money and want to believe a totally voluntary society would work much better than what we have now.

Some advocates of Social Security privatization recognized the lack of capacity of most people to make investment decisions but saw that as an opportunity. The greater the number of foolish investors the better the opportunity for more astute investors to make money off of the stampedes of the crowds. But privatization would eventually have brought even more taxes to pay for retirements of the unwise investors. The masses aren't going to let a substantial number of old folks get put out on the streets due to extreme poverty.

Our larger problem is that a substantial (and growing) portion of the population lack the capacity to analyze large quantities of data and to make correct decisions about their own interests or about the interests of the society at large. Lower IQ people aren't competent members of juries or voters or raisers of children. I wish it were otherwise because I'd much prefer to live in a society of more autonomous individuals and a smaller state. But in a non-solipsistic universe wishing does not make things come true.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 February 04 02:18 PM  Cultural Wars Western


Comments
Mensarefugee said at February 4, 2007 6:09 PM:

Good article.

But you assume liberals are consistent. That they have an underlying basis for their thoughts apart from the emotions and ends involved. IMO this is mostly not true.

For instance, IQ among certain minority groups is low...its environmental! Must be!
But Being Gay is inherited... because it THAT was environmental, then the arguments of people who dislike gays teaching in schools/ being leaders of boys scouts etc may have a real point. The only thing that is consistent is their support for their chosen mascots.

Frankly, I dont argue with them anymore... they are beneath me. If I meet them in a chatroom, I just bow out, in real life, make an excuse to leave. They are destroying this society and they believe they deserve to be on a pedestal.[1]

To be blunt, screw 'em.

Notes:
[1] Basically the above refers to the class of liberals that Lenin called "Useful Idiots". There are of course other groups, aka "Special Interest groups" that are liberal because they get something out of it apart from simple group prestige or moral exaltation - like Gay Rights, Black Affirmative Action or Feminist groups (and the distinction between the two is, of course, fuzzy).
These special interest liberals dont mind that they destroy the whole society much more than the benefit they derive (or even if the values were equal, its still not just).

crush41 said at February 5, 2007 11:31 AM:

Randall,

That's a bit of a strawman. Index funds and broad-based market funds were pushed as the default investment 'decision' in the social security 'privitization' push. Just as less endowed folks are still incubating nice nest eggs in companies that have switched to 'opt-out' 401(k)s, where the IQ threshold to enjoy a solid investment profit over the long term is no higher than what is required to remain employed, so would individuals under the now-dead reform proposal.

One of the most fallacious arguments made in opposition to the private account push is the one claiming that said accounts run the risk of some people realizing a negative return, an unacceptable risk given that Social Security is supposed to be just that--guaranteed security. Historically, with a broad-based index fund, losing money is an impossibility.

If you'd have put $1,000 in the DJIA at the end of of '72 (when the market was at an all-time high prior to dropping by a quarter over the next half decade) and pulled it out upon retirement following 9/11 when the market was at a nadir, your annual return would still be just north of 7.4%. That's about the worst you could have done. The expected return on the money you put into a Social Security system that may not even be able to deliver on its paltry 'promises'? Less than 1.5%.

What if returns stagnate and the DJIA stalls? Well, if that happens, how the heck do you expect the current Social Security system to survive? If the DJIA approaches zero growth, the global economy is in deep recession and any unfunded governmental liabilities become utterly and irredeemably insolvent. In that case precious metals will be about the only thing to hold real value. The market will always beat (handily) the CPI and average wage growth over time.

Bob Badour said at February 5, 2007 4:13 PM:

Crush,

Why do you assume anyone has 29 years to wait for retirement (let alone everyone at all times?) The baby boomers are a huge demographic swell and they will retire much sooner. In fact, if anything or anybody will render Social Security insolvent, the boomers will.

Randall Parker said at February 5, 2007 6:36 PM:

crush41,

There's a guy (maybe at a think tank) who has dug into the records of some big sets of 401k records and found some surprising percentage getting terrible returns. I wish I had a link for it for the details. I remember reading it and thinking how this was bad news.

I look at the 401k investment choices I have at the moment and none of them are passive index trackers. They are all actively managed funds. Well, I can tell you from personal experience generating pension fund reports for a big fund that rarely do the active managers beat the indexes.

crush41 said at February 5, 2007 7:13 PM:

Bob,

Targeted retirement accounts are an answer, although admittedly I'm looking out over my own horizon.

Randall,

Sure the vehicles can be problematic if no general fund is offered (and company-sponsored retirement programs are notoriously comprised of high-fee, mediocre funds from which the company derives some benefit in offering), but I'm not aware of many 401(k)s that don't also offer non-equity choices, like a virtually guaranteed money-market fund. True, a large portion of the working population is not very capable of making investment decisions that make sense. Many of these people will do nothing regarding their retirements. An opt-out etf or broad-based index fund default benefits both the worker and the economy (even sloppy capital creates more wealth than an imagined 'trust fund' to be raided and spent by government).

birch barlow said at February 5, 2007 10:37 PM:

"But you assume liberals are consistent. That they have an underlying basis for their thoughts apart from the emotions and ends involved. IMO this is mostly not true.

For instance, IQ among certain minority groups is low...its environmental! Must be!
But Being Gay is inherited... because it THAT was environmental, then the arguments of people who dislike gays teaching in schools/ being leaders of boys scouts etc may have a real point. The only thing that is consistent is their support for their chosen mascots."

That inconsistency is the difference between a liberal and a leftist. A liberal will make unprincipled exceptions to leftist ideology--for example, admitting that homosexuality could have a partially genetic or prenatal basis. A leftist does not. A leftist would tell you that sexuality and gender are social constructs, and that such distinctions are only made by the Euroheteropatriarchist* power structure. Indeed a true leftist would say that there is no reality outside that which society agrees on--i.e. if society says X is true, then X is true--there is no connection to an underlying, non-human reality like the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. Really leftism is an ideology full of hubris--it assumes that humans are all, and there is nothing else.


*white, heterosexual, patriarchist for those of you in Rio Linda...or Fresno, or other such lameass places


Ned said at February 6, 2007 5:06 AM:

While the DJIA has recently done quite well, this has not always been the case. For example, if you had bought an index fund in 1929, just prior to the stock market crash, it would have taken you until 1954 to recover your initial investment, or 1959 if inflation is factored in. If taxes are considered, the break-even date moves well into the 1960's. Admittedly, this is a worst-case scenario, which includes some extraordinary economic events, such as the Great Depression and World War II. Still, the numbers are real (http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/). What makes Wall Street look so good lately has been the great bull market, which started around 1982 and has continued, with some corrections, ever since. Will it last? Who knows? Nonetheless, I support private retirement accounts, especially for young Americans, who are facing negative returns on their Social Security "investments."

But there is another issue, that is, the ownership of the retirement accounts. Currently, workers have no ownership of the money that they (and their employers) pay into the system. The courts have repeatedly held that Congress can do what it wants with the Social Security funds, and the workers have no recourse except the ballot box. Again, assume a worse-case scenario - that a person who has made lifelong payments to Social Security dies just prior to retirement. His or her net take - zero! That's what the unfortunate person's estate and heirs will receive. It's OK for the government to mandate contributions to retirement accounts, but the individuals, not the government, should have ownership of the funds. After all, it's their money.

That said, I know that there are big-time problems with average IQ people making even basic investment decisions. Our wonderful education system doesn't teach this stuff, and many people are afraid of it, especially when the numbers start growing. Some years ago, I was managing partner of a small firm that employed about twenty people, mostly of average to slightly above average intelligence. The company switched to a 401(k) retirement plan, which consisted of making retirement contributions to each employee's individual account with a large financial services firm. This firm offered a huge variety of investments options, and the participants could shift their money around freely. The employer paid all costs, so no load fees were involved. To my surprise, most employees just left their funds in the money market account - the were too bewildered by the large number of options to make any decisions at all. Many Americans are going to have trouble with private retirement accounts, but I still think they are a much better idea than the one-size-fits-all government approach.

John S Bolton said at February 7, 2007 12:43 AM:

It could be that the left is consistent; that they always want as much additional power for officials as can be gotten away with in a given time and place.
The debating ploys are consistent as to style, interlocking qualities and goals.
Essentially we're given a smear approach, instead of rational argument.(this should be a red flag that no reasonable basis for their preference exists)
When, for some reason, more is given, the smear approach is simply expanded via equivocation and slippery-slope innuendo.
e.g. policy proposal x is racist end of debate... this is challenged with a question like:
does racism mean not giving to the black man whatever might possibly be given?...
then a premise like: one discrimination implies every other is applied,
equivocating all kinds of discrimination, thus allowing the slippery slope to be even infinitely slippery and steep
You say not all groups have the same potential?
As an empirical question, this would be answered differently than as if it were true or false by definition.
They have to get the issue into a deductive format, the better to start the smear, and if necessary, equivocate and slippery-slope it down to something so bad that,
the public response to such could be widely regarded as one which could properly incude official aggression.
This indicates that the objective is the increase of power for officials, if all such smears and equivocations end up in the same place, with officials gallantly staving off the slide to the bottom of the slippery slope, by claiming new power to use aggression against those who are smeared.

undergroundman said at February 8, 2007 2:08 PM:

"But Being Gay is inherited..."

And an inability to use capitalization correctly must mean you're stupid! (Frankly, you are beneath me, my friend, but you will never understand how or why. I no longer hope to win you over by reason.)

"That inconsistency is the difference between a liberal and a leftist. A liberal will make unprincipled exceptions to leftist ideology--for example, admitting that homosexuality could have a partially genetic or prenatal basis."

Where the hell do you people come up with these amorphous definitions of words like liberal and leftist? And how does that analysis make any sense? Why are such exceptions unprincipled? For that matter, why don't you simply go with the science and the facts -- science strongly suggests that homosexuality is largely inherited and IQ (or at least academic performance) can be influenced by proper education and upbringing. The historical fact is that African-Americans have been dealt an unfair hand from the start and have never been compensated for being exploited.

What are your thoughts on my above points, Randall? If you'd like, I will attempt to produce the science.

Randall Parker said at February 8, 2007 7:35 PM:

undergroundman,

I think it worthwhile to try to figure out whether people really do fit into political categories such as leftist, liberal, libertarian, etc. It is also worthwhile to try to figure out whether there are consistent underlying differences in belief that cause these categories to exist over longer periods of time.

Actually, the science does not suggest that there is a big inherited component to homosexuality. Neither does the science suggest there is a social environment cause. Nor does it appear that sexual orientation is consciously chosen. It is a biologically caused but not genetically caused aspect of cognition. We know that birth order has some influence. Older siblings are less likely to be homosexual than later siblings. I could dig up more on this since I've got Chandler Burr's book on what all is known scientifically about homosexuality.

The most plausible explanation as to cause has been put forth by evolutionary theorist Greg Cochran: It is due to infection at a key stage in brain development. The infection causes the brain to develop differently and the effects are more or less permanent.

As for the influence of upbringing on IQ: No, the evidence does not support the proposition that social environment has a long-lasting effect on IQ. Trans-racial adoption studies do not find an effect from getting by higher SES families from a race that scores higher on IQ tests on average.

SES has no effect on success of transracially adopted Koreans in America. Also see the follow-up.

birch barlow said at February 8, 2007 10:40 PM:

"IQ (or at least academic performance) can be influenced by proper education and upbringing."

While qualitatively true, it is quantitatively trivial. I'd say it's true at about the same level as "gas mileage can be influenced by reducing the amount of junk you bring around with you in your car." True but it won't make that much difference, unless you're carrying around a big hunk of lead in your car. Trillions of dollars have been spent on trying to improve education, particularly for low-income, black, and Latino students. Yet there is vanishingly little in results. Take the $13,000 a year that is spent *per student* in Washington DC schools...yet they are some of the worst schools in the country, and are still not that great after controlling for ethnic and socioeconomic variables (or as I would say, average inborn intelligence of the students). The bottom line is that IQ, like many human traits, follows the same stochastic rules that apply to physical, chemical, and biological systems (which makes sense, since human beings *are* physical, chemical, and biological systems). There is variance between individuals, and there is a variance in distribution between groups of important traits. To say that humans are somehow exempt from physics, chemistry, biology, or statistics is foolish dogmatism, pure and simple. I think the world would be a much better place if people would take their moralistic blinders off, whether these moralistic blinders are in the form of modern political correctness or old-fashioned Victorianism.

birch barlow said at February 8, 2007 10:48 PM:

Generally I think that liberals and leftists, and ideologues and dogmatists in general, suffer similar problems. A common one is believing that emotionally charged effects (like happiness and socioeconomic status) must have emotionally charged causes. I know most certainly that this is not the case. Happiness is largely a function of dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain (as well as several other chemicals), which are strongly genetically influenced. Socioeconomic status is largely a function of IQ and other strongly genetically influenced traits, like conscienciousness and even interpersonal skills.

undergroundman said at February 9, 2007 2:59 AM:

"I think it worthwhile to try to figure out whether people really do fit into political categories such as leftist, liberal, libertarian, etc. It is also worthwhile to try to figure out whether there are consistent underlying differences in belief that cause these categories to exist over longer periods of time."

Sure, it just annoys me when the words get thrown around nonsensically as the person I quoted above did. The words get used without being defined -- and what really is the difference between a neoliberal and a leftist? I sure as hell don't know.

"Actually, the science does not suggest that there is a big inherited component to homosexuality."

Are you so certain? I did a quick search and here's the first story I found: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3735668.stm

Admittedly it's from 2004. I have heard the biological theory and it may be true - as usual, we don't have enough scientific evidence either way. But the relevant point is that the science strongly suggests that sexuality is not chosen, and it's not inconsistent for a "stupid dishonest liberal" to argue that while IQ is mutable sexuality is largely not. Nor is it unreasonable or unscientific, despite the evidence that you've offered.

"The most plausible explanation as to cause has been put forth by evolutionary theorist Greg Cochran: It is due to infection at a key stage in brain development. The infection causes the brain to develop differently and the effects are more or less permanent."

Altogether possible that the infection is in part caused by genetic factors.

"Trans-racial adoption studies do not find an effect from getting by higher SES families from a race that scores higher on IQ tests on average."

That may be so, but that does not dispute my point. That's more of an observational study than a controlled experiment - it looks weak because it is weak. (Economists can pretend to be social scientists, but they're not really trained for scientific experimentation.) We don't even know the sample size! Also, you say IQ, but that link talks about income. The thing that jumps out at me is that IQ is not even all that highly correlated with income, or so some argue. Unfortunately I can't access the good data, but check out this:

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0038-0407(197907)52%3A3%3C191%3AGVITSC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-P

http://www.halfsigma.com/2006/07/higher_intellig.html (track back to the past 2 - admittedly not a good source, and I've got homework to do so I didn't read through it)

I can digg more if you want more. The point is: you should be able to note that the trans-adoption study is not a slam-dunk or even close to it. You assume that the causal explanation is IQ for some reason, but it's more likely due to contacts, better support, more attention, racial biases ect, and other factors. Even a parents subconscious expectations and attitudes can have a major impact. (Why do you think scientists are so anal about double-blind studies?)

The best way to study whether early education and similar actions are capable of increasing IQ is a controlled study. And it really shouldn't be all that difficult of an experiment. Do you know of any? I note that a Nobel Laureate in Economics (James Heckman) claims that it is possible here: http://www.reason.com/news/show/29636.html

"What little is known indicates that ability--or IQ--is not a fixed trait for the young (persons up to age 8 or so). Herrnstein noted this in IQ and the Meritocracy. Sustained high-intensity investments in the education of young children, including such parental activities as reading and responding to children, stimulate learning and further education. Good environments promote learning for young children at all levels of ability. In this sense, there is fragmentary evidence that enriched education can be a good investment even for children of low initial ability, because it stimulates cumulative learning processes and may raise ability."

I may not have made this clear but this is the point I wished to emphasize, not the mutability of adult IQ -- it seems you gathered this from the counterexample that you gave.

I do also know that smaller class sizes were shown to be strongly correlated with higher academic achievement and standardized test scores, especially for minorities. I noted it here: http://samethoughts.blogspot.com/2007/01/smaller-classes.html]

(Also, I find it interesting that this guy Steve Sailer is a not so subtle racist. See his latest post, and make sure to check the actual story. *sigh* At least I can feel superior to him also.)

PS As the son of a teacher in early childhood development I feel that I (along with my siblings) benefited greatly from intensive early education. Yes, it's anecdotal evidence, but anecdotal evidence is not, as your friend Sailer seems to think, completely invalid.

undergroundman said at February 9, 2007 3:13 AM:

Another note on the issue: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005-3_archives/001402.html

"Two percent is simply not a large number. Factors that currently account for two percent of lifetime earnings inequality are simply not yet a big deal, and cannot be responsible for the fall in social mobility.

If there is ever to be a genetic elite, its members will surely exhibit two behavioral traits: a facility with math, and a near-intinctive tendency to do back-of-the-envelope quantitative checks of assertions. We can conclude only one thing from Barone's column: neither he nor his descendents (unless they get really lucky in their mates) are plausible candidates for membership in any "genetic elite"."

birch barlow said at February 9, 2007 6:43 AM:

"smaller class sizes were shown to be strongly correlated with higher academic achievement and standardized test scores, especially for minorities"

I think "strongly correlated" is overblowing it. There is some correlation, and it does seem to be stronger in low income as well as black and Latino-dominated schools. However, this correlation is probably due to teachers having to deal with fewer highly disruptive students--this would make sense in light of the fact that the improvement is largest in the worst schools. So at say, University High School next to elite university X, schools can get away with packing 35 kids to a class and get really good results, because they are dealing with well-behaved, heavily white and Asian students, with a Latino and black minority that is also well-behaved (thanks in large part to the students having won the genetic lottery). However, at an inner-city school, with a relatively large number of badly behaved students, shrinking class sizes could help, because it is less likely that a single teacher will have to deal with an unmanageble number of very badly behaved students.

"Also, I find it interesting that this guy Steve Sailer is a not so subtle racist"

This does not seem to indicate very much open-mindedness here. All I can see is an appeal to some sort of "irreducible moral element" (in this case, racism) to simply dismiss the clear weight of evidence out of hand--a popular debating tactic amongst both modern PC types and old-style religious fundies.

birch barlow said at February 9, 2007 7:16 AM:

I would add that it appears that the paper that Brad DeLong cites uses some pretty slippery logic to minimize the effects of IQ, and maximize the correlation between parental (specifically, paternal) income and offspring income. The emphasis on the father's income also seems less than empirical, and probably is an ideological appeal to sexism--not to mention another way of cutting the heritability of IQ, and relation between IQ and income. There seems to be an intentional (or maybe ignorance-based) confusion of single parent-child correlation, correlation between the average of the parents and their childrens' traits (narrow sense heritability), and correlation between identical twins (broad sense heritability). Broad sense heritability is what is important when considering the total relative contribution of genetic variation to a trait to overall variation, since it includes all genetic effects (not just additive ones).

Narrow sense heritability is also what is used for selective breeding: R=h^2*S, where R is the expected improvement of a trait by selective breeding, h^2 is narrow sense heritability, and S is the average difference between the animals that are selectively bred and the overall animal population mean. Note that it is possible for H^2 (broad sense heritability) to be farily high, while h^2 is fairly low, thus making both eugenics (at least by selective breeding rather than genetic engineering) and environmental interventions fairly ineffective at improving a given trait.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2007 8:29 PM:

Birch,

Yes, lower class sizes help because they reduce disruption. Smaller class sizes do not help with better behaved kids (and upper class kids behave better on average). Virginia Postrel wrote an Economic Scene column for the NY Times about Stanford prof Edward Lazear's research on class size:

The results are striking. If each student behaves well 99 percent of the time, learning takes place 78 percent of the time in a class of 25; if good behavior drops to 98 percent, learning takes place only 60 percent of the time; at 97 percent, learning drops to a mere 47 percent of the time.

Reducing class size makes a much bigger difference for disruptive students than for nondisruptive ones. In the example above, cutting the class size to 20 means the best-behaved students are learning 82 percent of the time, the middle ones learn 67 percent of the time, and the most disruptive now learn 54 percent of the time.

What does this have to do with the class-size puzzle?

First, this model suggests that across-the-board reductions like California's are a foolish use of limited resources. Such reforms spend a lot of money to cut the size of classes where behavior is already good and smaller classes won't make that much difference. Adding teachers and classroom space takes resources that could be used more effectively elsewhere.

Collecting together the disruptive kids into special schools and classes would help a lot. Drugs to calm down those kids so they can learn would also help. Mainstreaming disruptive kids is really unfair to the rest of the kids.

Note that small class sizes will not raise the performance of lower performing groups up to the level of higher performing groups. Smaller class sizes will help the hyperactive and otherwise poorly behaved kids. But they'll still lag the average let alone the above average.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2007 8:53 PM:

undergroundman,

As I have previously written lack of money is not the reason that blacks and Hispanics and lower class whites do poorly in school.

The Democrats say this means we should spend more money on education. What a crock. Some of those school districts with huge racial test score gaps are spending $10,000 per year and more per student. The correlation between spending and performance isn't very strong.

For the 2001-2002 school year the average American school spent $9,354 per student. Think about that. A 21 student class would have a budget of over $200,000. From 1980 to 1999 California school spending went up 40% per pupil adjusted for inflation.

The US Department of Education has a web page on historical per student spending adjusted for inflation. See Total and current expenditure per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1919-20 to 2001-02.

From 1971 to 2001 the total expenditures per student in inflation adjusted dollars doubled from $4884 to $9614. Going back even further the expenditures tripled from 1963's $3228.

It is not just the standard Democrat prescription of more public school spending that is in error. Free marketeers who think privatization is going to boost performance are wrong. See my post Private Schools Show No Advantage.

In the 2002-2003 school year Utah spent $4838 versus DC at $11,847. Utah has some of the best scores, DC the worst.

As for the mutability of adult IQ: The Minnesota trans-racial adoption study did not find a sustained boost in adult IQs of blacks adopted by whites.

John S Bolton said at February 9, 2007 11:23 PM:

Again the same approach shows up: smearing the bearers of evidence as 'not-so-subtle' racists.
The above responses are heavy on the empiricism, but this needs to be accompanied by recalling that it is official aggression and power-aggrandizement which is excused, by saying minorities need compensation.
No, aggression is not justified.
The black man's inequality is his burden and his inheritance; not a charge on the majority.
There is no reason to suppose that blacks today would have inherited something; they would have to prove this to get compensation, and immigrant minorities obviously have an even harder case, to say that they should get any such compensation for their nonexistent disinheritance.
Here is some more recent and even more devastating
evidence against the 'minorities can't help it, they're discriminated against, and helpless officials just need power sufficient to equalize them'
brand of propaganda:
"The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

January 27, 2007 Latest News[...] In fact, few people realize that American Indian and Alaska Native students on average score 118 points higher than the average score of black students[...] from The College Board’s 2006 data on the SAT:

[...]
• Whites from families with incomes below $10,000 had a mean SAT test score that was 17 points higher than blacks whose families had incomes of more than $100,000."

undergroundman said at February 10, 2007 1:19 PM:

Randall,

I was disappointed that you didn't seem to read my post very carefully or catch the implications of what I was saying.

    Collecting together the disruptive kids into special schools and classes would help a lot. Drugs to calm down those kids so they can learn would also help.

Admittedly, however, you might run the risk of collecting all the troublemakers together so they can raise hell. But sharp discipline (with hardcore teachers) could perhaps change that. I think you're right.

    As I have previously written lack of money is not the reason that blacks and Hispanics and lower class whites do poorly in school.

Did I ever say that was the reason? Are you also saying that the circumstances affecting people with little money - poor nutrition, low-class atmosphere, less parental involvement? Perhaps the most obvious difference between low-class parents and middle-class parents is that the middle-class parents take an active involvement in their children's learning. They read to them at night. They work with them on their homework. Ect, ect. The trans-adoption study is irrelevant in this case: we don't know what age these children were adopted and we don't know how the parents treated the adopted children. It is a provocative study but it is not scientific - it is not controlled. How can you not see that? It doesn't even claim to talk about IQ. All the adopted children were girls (less income), and minorities (less income).

    It is not just the standard Democrat prescription of more public school spending that is in error. Free marketeers who think privatization is going to boost performance are wrong. See my post Private Schools Show No Advantage.

One piece of evidence does not make it so. I looked around and found a variety of reports, most stating that there was some statistically significant effect. Here's one:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:CE6yRt5Czk4J:www.ny.frb.org/research/epr/98v04n1/9803neal.pdf+voucher+programs

    Evans and Schwab find that Catholic schooling increases graduation rates. According to their results, Catholic schooling raises graduation rates by 14 percentage points for whites and 13 percentage points for blacks. Further, Evans and Schwab find even larger gains from Catholic schooling when they restrict their attention to students in urban areas. Neal’s approach is slightly different because it employs sample definitions that involve both race and com- munity type. The results suggest that urban minorities attending Catholic secondary schools experienced a 26 percentage point increase in the probability of graduating from high school...

Obviously the details are tricky if you read that paper. Here's another one that summarizes it fairly well:
http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0276-8739(199822)17%3A3%3C373%3AEVECAC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7

As for the mutability of adult IQ: The Minnesota trans-racial adoption study did not find a sustained boost in adult IQs of blacks adopted by whites.

I think you misread my statement:

"I may not have made this clear but this is the point I wished to emphasize, not the mutability of adult IQ -- it seems you gathered this from the counterexample that you gave."

What I was saying was that at young ages IQ can be influenced, as Heckman states. I would attribute much of the Asian and Caucasian performance to their culture of intensive education and high expectations. (Though I am partial to the idea that adult IQ can be influenced, there isn't much evidence conferring that. My intuition is that teaching adults logical thinking is not impossible -- it just seems to be very difficult.) The ultimate point is that liberals are not inconsistent when they state that IQ is mutable and sexuality is largely not.

Again the same approach shows up: smearing the bearers of evidence as 'not-so-subtle' racists.

The note I made about Sailer had nothing to do with this argument. It was in reference to this: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9430835&postID=117092550418655592

And my critique is here: http://samethoughts.blogspot.com/2007/02/willful-dishonesty-or-actual-ignorance.html

The point is that he's attacking Obama for something that he did without providing evidence that he did it (something like a strawman), and I call him a racist because the only reasoning I can see for doing it is racism.

crush41 said at February 10, 2007 4:32 PM:

I know there is a great deal of readership crossover with Steve Sailer here, but for those following this comment thread who haven't checked out this iSteve post need to do so post-haste.


undergroundman said at February 11, 2007 2:57 AM:

Uh. You realize that this comment thread is covering that article?

Note that we are discussing the scientific literature behind such 'ploys'. If you would like to add some scientific insight, please do so.

Otherwise, shut up.

crush41 said at February 11, 2007 5:59 PM:

Underground,

But you demonstrate so fabulously (you've the tedious, meaningless anecdote, the 'but what about the social environment?' generality blanket, the incessant rationalizations ('the trans-racial adoption studies prove nothing'), and the risible superciliousness), and of course search engines run directly into comment sections.

Still, I'll do what I can. I'm working on what I think evinces that there is absolutely no relationship between class size and performance at the most macro of levels, in contrast to other variables of importance, chief among them, race. Of course, per-pupil expenditures and performance have no relationship, and while the correlation between teacher's salaries and performance isn't statistically significant at even 90% confidence, the two trend in opposite directions.

Also, income serves as a modest but rigorous proxy for IQ. And Koreans do not make less than whites anywhere in the Occdient.


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