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Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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Well, theres basically 3 theories of why the races have different levels of achievement.

1) purely environmental, culture, racism, etc

2) purely genetic

3) A combination of both

Rushton believes in 3, as do I.

If you don't believe in IQ testing, I disagree, but ok. How do you explain the other differences, though? Surely you don't think penis size, skeletal development, and 2-egg twinning levels are all determined by cultural reasons?

The last ones are not, but one's penis size and skeletal development are NOT things one can control. YOU can control how much you want to acheive; you can control (via your willingness to focus or your desire to evade) which ideas you end up accepting.

There is a very simply explanation for the differing levels of acheivement: black people in the US are bombarded with the message that whites are out to get them, that the "system" is rigged against them, and that racism will undercut everything they try to do. To top it off, they are treated in quite racist ways, through programs like Affirmative Action and the like. Since most people choose never seriously to question the values they were brought up, is it any wonder that being black is correlated with lower acheivement?

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I don't think these differences are irrelevant at all. Penis size for example, is correlated with high testosterone levels, which in turn is correlated with crime.
Before we proceed any further, I suggest you look at what I wrote. We are only looking at "accomplishments". Despite what some may say, penis size is not an accomplishment. Nor is kinky hair an accomplishment. Second, penis size does not cause criminal behavior. You may argue (if you have the facts) that some other fact causes both large Johnsons and criminality, but there is no evidence that penis size itself causes criminal behavior.

If you can grasp these facts (and why size doesn't matter), then we have some hope of being able to rationally evaluate the purported evidence that is relevant.

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Before we proceed any further, I suggest you look at what I wrote. We are only looking at "accomplishments". Despite what some may say, penis size is not an accomplishment. Nor is kinky hair an accomplishment. Second, penis size does not cause criminal behavior. You may argue (if you have the facts) that some other fact causes both large Johnsons and criminality, but there is no evidence that penis size itself causes criminal behavior.

If you can grasp these facts (and why size doesn't matter), then we have some hope of being able to rationally evaluate the purported evidence that is relevant.

If I understand his post correctly, he seems to be thinking that both penis size and criminal behavior are (causally?) correlated with testosterone levels, which are higher on average in blacks. That would make more sense than saying that penis size makes someone a criminal :P

(this is not my position, mind you, but I think this is what Viking is talking about)

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If I understand his post correctly, he seems to be thinking that both penis size and criminal behavior are (causally?) correlated with testosterone levels, which are higher on average in blacks.
One hopes, but since even that is non-responsive w.r.t. what I said, I thought a bit of explanation would be called for.

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What do you think of the "trans-racial adoption studies" I linked above?
I think they're very interesting. I find it intriguing that:
  • black kids adopted by white parents has "white-level IQ" when they were 7, rather than black-level IQs; and, also that
  • at 17, the "results told another story"

The "expectation" study also looks interesting.

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Before we proceed any further, I suggest you look at what I wrote. We are only looking at "accomplishments". Despite what some may say, penis size is not an accomplishment. Nor is kinky hair an accomplishment. Second, penis size does not cause criminal behavior. You may argue (if you have the facts) that some other fact causes both large Johnsons and criminality, but there is no evidence that penis size itself causes criminal behavior.

I suggest you re-read what I said, because what you suggested is exactly what I wrote.

Did I ever claim the relationship between between penis size and crime was causal? Nope.

Penis size for example, is correlated with high testosterone levels, which in turn is correlated with crime.

As you can see, the world I used is "correlated."

Edit: In the interests of having a good discussion, I've removed an uncivil comeback to your accusation.

Edited by Viking

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The last ones are not, but one's penis size and skeletal development are NOT things one can control. YOU can control how much you want to acheive; you can control (via your willingness to focus or your desire to evade) which ideas you end up accepting.

Free will exists within the context of causality. Agreed? If so, don't you think it is likely that physical differences will lead to differences in how you act? Blacks, for example, have higher levels of testosterone than do whites and orientals. Do you think this should have no effect on how aggressive they are, since they have free will?

There is a very simply explanation for the differing levels of acheivement: black people in the US are bombarded with the message that whites are out to get them, that the "system" is rigged against them, and that racism will undercut everything they try to do. To top it off, they are treated in quite racist ways, through programs like Affirmative Action and the like. Since most people choose never seriously to question the values they were brought up, is it any wonder that being black is correlated with lower acheivement?
Interesting theory. How does this help explain black underperformance in other countries, though? Also, some Indians are also completely black skinned. If your theory is true, that its basically world-wide racism (it would have to be), why have they not gotten trapped in this racism-underperformance viscious cycle? (I haven't gotten any info on them, but if they are underperforming, it is news to me.)

I think they're very interesting. I find it intriguing that:
  • black kids adopted by white parents has "white-level IQ" when they were 7, rather than black-level IQs; and, also that
  • at 17, the "results told another story"

The "expectation" study also looks interesting.

Yeah. Keep in mind though, that even though the black children got a boost from these good homes, so did the white children, so the spread was still there. At age 7, blacks had an IQ of 97, while white children had an IQ of 112.

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I suggest you re-read what I said, because what you suggested is exactly what I wrote.
Fine, so we're agreed that your invocation of penis size is irrelevant to the topic, a complete and utter red herring, which can be ignored, forgotten, and consigned to the oubliette, and presumably we can get on to the actual point. You claim that Rushton has evidence proving that race determines achievement. What is that evidence? I've read the essay, and I am utterly unimpressed, and somewhat depressed that anybody would accept that load of codswallop so uncritically. In N words of less, you decide what N should be, what facts of reality are you claiming constitute proof of his thesis?

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Fine, so we're agreed that your invocation of penis size is irrelevant to the topic, a complete and utter red herring, which can be ignored, forgotten, and consigned to the oubliette, and presumably we can get on to the actual point. You claim that Rushton has evidence proving that race determines achievement. What is that evidence? I've read the essay, and I am utterly unimpressed, and somewhat depressed that anybody would accept that load of codswallop so uncritically. In N words of less, you decide what N should be, what facts of reality are you claiming constitute proof of his thesis?

If you've read the whole essay, and still are not "impressed", I'm not sure how I can convince you.

To sum up why I think he is right: The races differ vastly in performance. A purely cultural/environemental/expectations/etc explanation cannot explain the difference in performance, but the genetic explanation can. A theory is sound if it correctly explains and predicts reality. Rushton has shown how the cultural based explanation doesn't work, and how the genetic theory explains and predicts reality, so this theory is at the very least much better than the purely cultural theory.

Now, you've described this theory as "codswallop." Can you explain why? Take the adoption study I told you about before, for instance. Why do you think his conclusions are false?

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Take the adoption study I told you about before, for instance. Why do you think his conclusions are false?
This is installment 1.

Since we’re ostensibly working under your definition of “black”, Rushton’s claims aren’t relevant because his application of race is incompatible with your definition, especially since he has a category of “mixed-race” babies. Factually speaking, most African-Americans in the US are mixed-race (given your definition). So for him to distinguish mixed-race from mixed-race is logically incoherent. “Race” is a categorial concept, not a scalar one. (If you look at the actual scientific study underlying Rushton’s position paper, you’ll notice that the authors appeal to an undefined “social classification” which appears to be the equivalent of modern “self-identification” criteria, which has only an approximate correlation to your concept of “black”). Self-identification is subjective; but the objective definition that you're relying on was not used in that study.

I won’t say much about the original study itself right now, but I assume you’ve gotten or can get access to the Scarr & Weinberg source article; I will address that article later. (I assume you read that article too, since that is the empirical foundation of his adoption claim). Now notice that Rushton does not address volitional, cultural factors at all in his analysis of the data. Insofar as I have known a black child in my teenage years who was adopted into a white family, I’m not totally unfamiliar with the personal problems that such children may face, especially growing up as weirdos in an all-white neighborhood. The era and generic ethnography are similar, FWIW.

Rushton’s presumption is that a child’s mental development is only influenced by his genetics (especially race), and his parent’s sociology. But anybody who is not brain-dead know that friends play a huge role in how a kid turns out (would that it weren’t so, but it is). Rushton ignores the most important factor; now, is it at all plausible to think that a visually self-evidently black child (i.e. non-Nordic, in Minnesota) back in those days would hang out with other black kids? This fact basically nullifies the probity of the adoption studies: a simple lack of control for an elementary cultural factor. Note that his hand wave at parental racial identification only addresses the influence of the parent. If it were the parent taking the test, then this might be appropriate. Rushton ignored what every parent knows, namely that your kids friends can easily be the most important influence on a child. BTW we can redo a variant of these tests again, with the massive influx of Somalis into the US, who tend to perform worse on standardized tests, the more assimilated they get into US black culture.

When I asked about your understanding of statistics, part of my question was aimed at the problem of controlling experimental error. There is a straightforward way to determine whether the differences in the numbers that Rushton cited are simple “errors” (non-significant random differences). Do you know whether the numbers are the same (in the technical sense) or different? If they are not different, he has no result, and there is no argument.

When you’re refreshed your memory about the Scarr & Weinberg source, we can further discuss the question of whether this constitutes an appropriately random sample of the population about whom inferences are being made. That is where I think Rushton really falls flat on his face.

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Has anyone read "Race and Culture" by Thomas Sowell? The chapter titled "Race and Intelligence" is rather relevant, and he points out many examples where "racial differences" in IQ are matched by cultural/social differences, thereby invalidating the assertion that the "racial differences" are necessarily caused by genetics at all.

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For example, given this information, from the Bureau of Justice.

"Based on current rates of first incarceration, an estimated 32% of black males will enter State or Federal prison during their lifetime, compared to 17% of Hispanic males and 5.9% of white males."

Based on this information, if you had to trust either a black man or a white man, and you knew nothing about them except their skin color, who would you choose to trust? Would you still claim that the information above is "unimportant," and pull out a quarter instead? Give me a break.

I see nobody chose to answer your question.

The logical choice, with race being the only information given, would be to trust the White guy. By analogy, if you were to cheat on a test, and had to choose bewteen copying from an Asian student vs. a White student, statistically speaking you'd have more chance of a good grade going with the former.

Coin toss analogy doesn't apply here - unless we're talking about a coin that ends up Tails 75% of the time...

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Where did this "Hispanic" category come from? I thought "Hispanics" were usually white, though they could be any race. I really don't understand that category.
Well, it basically stems from the fact that not all "Hispanics" are Mexicans, which was the predominant cause of a south-of-the-border designation in the old days. So-called Hispanics are, on average, part Spanish and part Indian, though in the past decade the number of "pure" Indians immigrating has increased noticeably. The designation is an attempt to abstract away from specific nation of origin, which leaves the supposed common language as the one identifier that we can use. This would be okay if you ignore the nontrivial number of Indians who don't really speak much Spanish, and I don't know what you do with Brazilians. It seems bizarre to me to talk of Brazilian immigrants as being "Hispanic", but maybe that doesn't freak them out. I think we have some Brazilian participants, so I'd actually be interested to know their reaction to being "Hispanic" (and I'm not even sure is that's how ordinary people classify Brazilians -- like, I'm not sure if they know that Portuguese is not the same as Spanish).

I believe that the creation of "Hispanic" as a legal category was a late 60's thing. Clearly a research topic for a history buff.

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The logical choice, with race being the only information given, would be to trust the White guy. By analogy, if you were to cheat on a test, and had to choose bewteen copying from an Asian student vs. a White student, statistically speaking you'd have more chance of a good grade going with the former.

Nobody answered the question because the legitimacy of the premise (and the question) was being questioned to begin with.

Explain how this is "the" logical choice (objectively true) versus "your" logical choice (based on the context of your knowledge). For instance, suppose the "truster" is also "black"...

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@David:

As for the problem you mention with the definition, can't that be easily solved by adding the word "mostly" in there?

I will look into that article you metioned. The unabridged, 3rd edition of Rushton's book, and another similar book I ordered just arrived recently too, maybe it will have something useful.

Your point about friend choice is well taken. There probably is a relationship between that and IQ. I would argue that this presents a causality problem, though. Do the black children choose IQ-inhibiting friends and thus end up with a low IQ, or do they start out with a low IQ, and thus pick poor friends?

I also have some concerns about your general approach. Your position seems to be that "unless I get proof it is genetic, there are only cultural differences." Why is that? When we can easily observe many consistent differences, such as skin color, hip ratio, shoulder width, strength, heat conservation, etc, not to mention the obvious race differences in performance, crime rates, etc, why is it so hard to believe that the brains are different also? I mean, with all the physical differences, I think is more fair that the burden of proof be on the people who claim that only cultural differences are to blame.

Also, I think people are overestimating the implications if what I say is true, making it harder to accept. Blacks would not be put on a train and get shipped out if this is true, any more than a white person with the same traits would. In fact, I can't think of much that would change, except 'scientific knowledge'++.

Edited by Viking

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Nobody answered the question because the legitimacy of the premise (and the question) was being questioned to begin with.

What about the premise/question is illegitimate? If you don't like that you have the same information on both people, keep in mind that that is how the scientific method works, by changing one variable at a time.

Explain how this is "the" logical choice (objectively true) versus "your" logical choice (based on the context of your knowledge). For instance, suppose the "truster" is also "black"...
In the question, it is assumed that everyone has the same context of knowledge, so I'm not sure how that is relevant.

It is logical because all other things being equal, 'higher likelihood of going to prison' --> 'less trustworthiness'. Is this what you disagree with?

It would still be true if the truster is black, unless you have some evidence that black people who have or will go to prison at one point in their life are less likely to hurt other black people than white people who have or will go to prison at one point in their life by at least a factor of ~6. (You have to factor the different chances that a black person will go to prison, and a white person will.)

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Nobody answered the question because the legitimacy of the premise (and the question) was being questioned to begin with.

Explain how this is "the" logical choice (objectively true) versus "your" logical choice (based on the context of your knowledge). For instance, suppose the "truster" is also "black"...

I honestly fail to see the problem. Unless like Viking said, you are disputing the fact that people going to prison are less trustworthy.

If I have two options: A and B, and the odds of succeeding are twice as good for A than for B, then by picking B I'd be guilty of rejecting reality.

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What about the premise/question is illegitimate?

I honestly fail to see the problem.

I'm not going to summarize the last few pages of this thread to tell you why the premise/question is in question. I'll leave that to the last few pages of this thread to tell you.

Suffice to say, my main objection is that you have still failed to provide sufficient context to make the question (hypothetical) of any real-world value. Simply saying all other factors are the same is unrealistic. Additionally, I can't answer the question for other people who may happen to have "the same context of knowledge". I can only answer for the context of knowledge and objectivity that I have. I'm assuming that others who have chosen not to entertain the question may have considered that as well.

Also, if one is going act on assumptions such as incarceration in their weighing of who they are going to trust to save their life, one might also consider other such factors as physical capability. Some allege greater physical capacity on the part of "blacks" so if the life saving effort requires physical exertion, one might go with the "black" because they believe they are stronger.

It's not up to me to debunk the level of assumption you are placing between incarceration and trustworthiness, it's up to you to establish the relationship, and the extent to which one affects the other. For instance, not all folks who go to jail lie when they have been caught after committing a crime. Quite a few are very honest about the crime they committed so your factor of "6" goes out the window right off. A fair portion of those who are incarcerated, and I suspect a larger portion of them being "black", are incarcerated for selling/possessing narcotics. Does selling or possessing drugs afffect trustworthiness?

Incarceration itself is a very complex issue and not all factors leading to it are necessarily factors that affect one's trustworthiness.

Edited by RationalBiker

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As for the problem you mention with the definition, can't that be easily solved by adding the word "mostly" in there?
What you can't do is redefine the referents involved in the question. The question on the table is about race, and a specific claim has been made about members of a particular race. Rushton and those like him are guilty of sloppy science (I said he's not a nutcase, but he is sloppy), a major component of which is equivocation. So let's not equivocate. We've got a definition, so let's see whether the claim is true or false.
Your position seems to be that "unless I get proof it is genetic, there are only cultural differences." Why is that?
That's not my position. Rather, we know that cultural facts indisputable cause IQ test differences; you are claiming that there is an additional factor, and I will not accept that or any other arbitrary claim. It has to be proven. So I'm simply requiring you to present the evidence. And by evidence, I mean evidence, not "claims purported to support the claim". I'm talking about cold, hard facts of reality, the perceptually evident stuff. You should start a separate thread if you need further explanation of the logic of "burden of proof" issues.

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It seems bizarre to me to talk of Brazilian immigrants as being "Hispanic", but maybe that doesn't freak them out. I think we have some Brazilian participants, so I'd actually be interested to know their reaction to being "Hispanic"

I asked one of the Brazilian Ph.D. students in my department if he thought of himself as "hispanic". He said that he considers himself hispanic and he considers anyone else from Latin America hispanic. I will try to ask the other two Brazilians when I see them.

For my own amusement, I also asked the Portguese student if he thought of himself as hispanic. Hilarity ensued as he furious expressed harsh sentiments for Spain after responding with a resounding "no".

Edited by DarkWaters

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I honestly fail to see the problem.
The problem is that one cannot agree with the example that was given, because it does not contain enough information. Maybe one would trust the black guy, maybe not. The reason why this particular example is not a good tool is that it does not do a good job of fulfilling the role of an example. An example should help concretize a concept, visualize a real situation where one has to apply a principle, or "make the abstract real" in some way. This example takes a small step away from the abstract, but is still too abstract.

For instance, with this example, we're asked to visualize a situation where we know nothing about a person other than their race. This would imply that we have never seen this person. If we see the person, we see where they are, what they are wearing, whether they're well-groomed, guess their age, and so on. [Could it be that we still make decisions with inadequate information? Yes, but that's not what the example asks.] The example would imply that we do not see the person; so, let's concretize that. Let's say we are looking at some document that states the person's race -- not a typical example, because most documentation one would use to make some type of semi-serious decision would have more than name and race. Still, one can think of some examples. Here's one: a new pastor has to select a volunteer to walk down the pews with a collection-bag. He has two names, and -- from another church register -- he knows their race (and, we have to assume that that's all he has to go on).

Even in this limited example, if the priest sees a degree of risk (requiring trust) in his decision, he will probably just ask someone else about the two people. If there's no time to ask, he might request the other existing volunteers to collect from a few extra pews for the next few Sundays, while he makes up his mind. Would it now be logical for the pastor to say: "I'm going to trust the white guy with the collection bag, because more blacks go to prison"? I submit that, as worded, it would not be logical. Perhaps one can think of other ways to complete the "because..." part of the statement that would make it logical, but a simple statistic about prison population does not get one there.

So, that's the problem with the example.

If I have two options: A and B, and the odds of succeeding are twice as good for A than for B, then by picking B I'd be guilty of rejecting reality.
Has this principle been in dispute? I don't think so.

The more general question would be: suppose one has information X, Y, Z that correlates with something else T, but does not cause T, how should one act? The first question is whether it is reasonable to assume that the same correlation exists in your specific context (e.g. in your church). If it does, the obvious solution is that one should collect more information. So, the next constraint becomes: what if one cannot collect more information (or, if the cost of collection such information is too high), is it rational to act on X, Y, Z? The answer to that is: yes, that there are many cases in which one may rationally do so.

Marketers do this all the time by targeting certain audiences, as do insurance companies when they quote based on limited data. It can be perfectly rational. However, to know if it is rational, one has to know more about the example (something that was not offered in the "trusting a black" example).

To explore these issues, we now have this new thread about statistics and correlations, so I figure it's best to leave this current thread as focussed on race and whether it has causal significance in things like IQ etc.

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I asked one of the Brazilian Ph.D. students in my department if he thought of himself as "hispanic". He said that he considers himself hispanic and he considers anyone else from Latin America hispanic. I will try to ask the other two Brazilians when I see them.

A second Brazilian expressed that he does not consider himself to be hispanic, as he is not of a spanish-speaking culture.

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