Friday, March 27, 2015

The latest IQ study -- of Swedish brothers

The latest IQ study (below) has a slightly defensive air.  Despite ferocious efforts by Leftists to suppress findings that pop the bubble of Leftist claims, it seems that the genetic contribution to IQ has now become well-known and generally accepted.  So the effort nowadays seems to have moved towards proving that there are environmental influences too.  Previous IQ researchers have never doubted that and usually estimate that around one third of IQ is determined by environmental factors.

And the conclusions below disturb nothing.  Both genetic and environmental influences on IQ were found.  The main interest of the findings in this study therefore is *how much* influence  environment had.  The researchers report that a wealthy childhood environment gave the kid an extra 4 points of IQ -- about a quarter of a standard deviation -- over a kid brought up in a poor family.

If anything, that figure is perhaps a bit low. But the study is not a strong one anyhow.  It used adopted full-brothers rather than twins so genetic differences could be only roughly controlled for.  And assessing IQ in the late teens is not optimal either.  The influence of genetics is not fully revealed until about age 30  -- after the influence of early environmental factors has largely worn off.

Family environment and the malleability of cognitive ability: A Swedish national home-reared and adopted-away cosibling control study

By Kenneth S. Kendler et al.


Individual differences in cognitive ability result from a complex admixture of genetic and environmental influences. Adopted children are one way to estimate the degree of malleability of cognitive ability in response to environmental change in the context of a scientific design that can control for genetic differences among individuals. Sibling pairs in which one member is adopted away and the other reared by biological parents are a particularly powerful research design. In a large population-based sample of separated siblings from Sweden, we demonstrate that adoption into improved socioeconomic circumstances is associated with a significant advantage in IQ at age 18. We replicate the finding in a parallel sample of half-siblings.


Cognitive ability strongly aggregates in families, and prior twin and adoption studies have suggested that this is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. In this study, we used a powerful design—home-reared and adopted-away cosibling controls—to investigate the role of the rearing environment in cognitive ability. We identified, from a complete national Swedish sample of male–male siblings, 436 full-sibships in which at least one member was reared by one or more biological parents and the other by adoptive parents. IQ was measured at age 18–20 as part of the Swedish military service conscription examination. Parental educational level was rated on a 5-point scale. Controlling for clustering of offspring within biological families, the adopted siblings had an IQ 4.41 (SE = 0.75) points higher than their nonadopted siblings. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.71 (SE = 0.44) units of IQ. We replicated these results in 2,341 male–male half-sibships, in which, controlling for clustering within families, adoption was associated with a gain of IQ of 3.18 (SE = 0.34) points. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.94 (SE = 0.18) IQ units. Using full- and half-sibling sets matched for genetic background, we found replicated evidence that (i) rearing environment affects IQ measured in late adolescence, and (ii) a portion of the IQ of adopted siblings could be explained by the educational level of their adoptive parents.


Interesting that one of the co-authors above is Eric Turkheimer. Turkheimer is much loved on the left for  his demonstration -- using a group of poor 7-year olds -- that genetics is not an important determinant of IQ among poor kids -- where "poor kids" is probably rightly interpreted to mean "blacks".


 What he found was probably little more than a restriction of range effect but he has repeatedly refused to release his raw data so we may never know.  Refusing to release raw data is a breach of all scientific protocols. We see it in Warmist researchers too.  It is pretty close to an admission of fraud.

The reason Leftists hate IQ tests is that they contradict the Leftist "equality" creed.  The application of that creed to blacks is however relatively recent.  Introductory psychology textbooks in the early '60s presented the black IQ findings without hesitation.  I remember it well. It was presented as one of the accepted findings in psychology.  As the great fantasy revolution of the '60s rolled on however, fact came to be replaced by righteous indignation.  The fantasists said that blacks COULD NOT be less intelligent so therefore the tests were bunk.

Equality has always been a silly but seductive dream.  It goes at least as far back as the "Levellers" of Cromwell's time.  And the Cromwellian era was undoubtedly much loved among America's founding fathers.  So Jefferson's "created equal" phrase in the Declaration of Independence is no surprise. But it is a pretty foggy phrase.  Are there many acts of creation or is normal childbirth an act of creation?  Or is it meant that God created Adam in such a way that all his descendants would be equal?  If so "The Fall" has clearly disrupted that intention.

But we should not take that part of the Declaration too seriously, however. The Declaration, like most political documents, was a product of much debate and compromise so Jefferson's ambiguous  phrase was just a device to keep  happy both those with Leveller beliefs and those with more realistic beliefs.

However you look at it, however, equality is a faith-based belief, not a fact.  It has no basis in fact.  Rejection of IQ tests is therefore a faith-based act. And the low average IQ scores of blacks are in fact powerful validation of the tests as measures of intelligence. 

From the test results we would hypothesize that blacks would be at the bottom of just about every heap  -- and they are -- in income, education, status, health, lifespan and crime-incidence etc. What we know of black behaviour is powerful PROOF that the tests get it right.  Leftists can only reject the tests by closing their eyes to black behaviour. But they are very good at that

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Race And The American Millennial’s Brain Rot

Ilana Mercer is an expert at writing scarifying prose. She is supreme at ripping people to pieces verbally.  So what she writes below seems rather exaggerated to me. She grew up in Israel so may be more critical because of that. I am also in no doubt however that there is a large element of truth in what she writes below.  The Left have been dumbing down and distorting American education for so long that any other state of affairs could hardly be  expected. 

I am more optimistic than she appears to be, however.  And I am optimistic because of one thing:  IQ.  IQ is largely hereditary so is not readily susceptible to destruction by the Fascists that American "liberals" have become. So I think that, as they grow up, the brighter part of the Millennial cohort will work things out pretty well for themselves.  That will be assisted by the large gap that always exists between Leftist beliefs and reality.

And societal progress is not strongly dependant on the mental state of the masses.  It very largely depends on the "smart fraction" of society.  As long as the top 5% of any population are on the ball, the society as a whole will do well. 

Israel is a prime example of the centrality of the smart fraction.  Largely because of the Sephardi and Mizrachi element in the overall population, the average IQ in Israel is just that:  average, around 100 IQ points.  But the Ashkenazim are another matter.  They average out roughly half a standard deviation above the mean, which is a lot. And it is primarily they who have made Israel into the brilliant society that it is

So I think that, where it exists, American talent will continue to thrive

“Silence; We’re Studying for Our Pregnancy Test” (2008), “Your Kids: Dumb, Difficult and Dispensable” (2010), “Higher Education Is A Hard Row To Ho” (2014): The author of such titles is well aware of how stupid, on average, American millennials are. She has been for some time.

The 2010 piece aforementioned warned that “the electronic toys our dim, attention-deficient darlings depend on to sustain brain waves are made, for the most, by older people,” and that “the hi-tech endeavor consist in older Americans and Asians uniting to supply young, twittering twits with the playthings that keep their brainwaves from flatlining.”

According to my sources in the high-tech industry, for every useless, self-aggrandizing Gen Yer, a respectful, bright, industrious (East) Asian, with a wicked work ethic, waits in the wings. The millennial generation will be another nail in the coffin of the flailing American productivity.

Encounters over the years with a relatively smart cohort, through this column, have solidified these impressions. Oh yes: I did my patriotic part. I attempted to employ a Millennial or two. I found them to be incapable of following simple written instructions. Their interactions were, moreover, pathologically personal, never professional.

Now, confirmation of these anecdotal impressions comes courtesy of researchers at the Princeton-based Educational Testing Service (ETS). Sponsored by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the ETS researchers found that, “Not only do Gen Y Americans trail their overseas peers by every measure, but they even score lower than other age groups of Americans.”

Millennials in the U.S. lag in literacy, “including the ability to follow simple instructions, practical math, and—hold on to your hat—a category called ‘problem-solving in technology-rich environments.’” Worse yet: “Even the best-educated Millennials stateside couldn’t compete with their counterparts in Japan, Finland, South Korea, Belgium, Sweden, or elsewhere. … Altogether, the top U.S. Gen Yers, in the 90th percentile, scored lower than their counterparts in 15 countries.”

This includes millennials with masters degrees and doctorates. Our best and brightest managed to best their peers in only three countries: Ireland, Poland and Spain. Much as Charles Murray has documented in his seminal “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” the results obtain irrespective of class and race.

Rejoice! America is becoming an egalitarian Idiocracy.

Let us anchor these general findings about the nature of the Gen Y Beast in particular examples from the passing week.

A few students at the University of Oklahoma were caught in flagrante, singing a racist ditty while white. The cretins of cable were in high dudgeon. CNN’s Brianna Keilar crisscrossed a black student, Meagan Johnson, about her experience with racism on the UO campus.

Oh yes, replied the girl. She had indeed endured the indignities of racism at the UO. “We experience forms, different forms of racism on our campus all the time. It wasn’t shocking at all.” Keilar requested examples. Right away, the student replied that her “overall experience at OU has been a great one.” It was vital, she added, for “the University of Oklahoma … to focus on diversity across our campus. … it needs to be a campus wide effort to make OU [a] more diverse and more inclusive place.”

Here was an example of an educated lass who was incapable of comprehending and answering a straightforward question. Encouraged by Keilar’s effusive praise—”I love your perspective on this Meagan,” she gushed—the girl went on to cop to experiencing “racial microaggression”: She had been asked for lessons in twerking and complimented on her weave.

A pedagogue, presumably, had taught the girl about “microaggression.” Race Robocop Keilar responded with compliments. Thus was this Millennial’s mindlessness reinforced.

Millennials have been pre-programmed and praised for stupidity. They’ve acquired an education yet they remain uneducated. For an educated young American would know that racist speech, too, is constitutionally protected speech. And an educated young American would know that, as professor Eugene Volokh teaches, “It’s unconstitutional for the University of Oklahoma to expel students for racist speech.”

It would appear that when the neocortex is underused, the reptilian brain takes over.

Hysteria and heightened emotions are the hallmarks of the Millennial Mind. They can “whip up a false sense of mass outrage” with ease. The Spectator’s Brendan O’Neill calls these walking dead dodos “The Stepford Students.” They sit “stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously police beer-fueled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.”

Black, liberal and bright—oops; I committed a “microaggression”—comedian Chris Rock recently confessed that he avoids doing his stand-up routine in front of millennial audiences. “You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.”

In the Orwellian universe in which your kids are suspended, words speak louder than actions. Drunken youths sang a nine-second ditty while white—they did not defraud, steal, vandalize, beat, rape or murder anyone; they merely mouthed ugly words.

Unkind cuts, however, called for an exorcism. On cue, a petrified Waspy man, OU President David Boren, proceeded to perform the rituals that would soothe his unhinged charges. While Boren failed to fumigate the fraternity, tear his clothes; rub earth and ashes on his noggin and dress in sackcloth—he did shutter the doors to the dorm and board up its windows. A vice president of diversity was appointed. Soviet-style investigations launched, and summary expulsions sans due process carried out.

Tyranny, as we know, strives for uniformity.

In synch with their pedagogic pied piper, University of Oklahoma students gathered for prayer vigils, marches, demonstrations and lamentation. Burly athletes wept. One Oklahoma football lineman “decommitted,” or was committed.

This menagerie of morons—this institutionalized stupidity—would be comical were it not so calamitous, as shown by the research commissioned by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Breastfeeding and IQ

There is an elegantly done study just out in Lancet Which shows that, among Brazilians, children who were breastfed for some time grew up to have slightly higher IQs.  The study title is "Association between breastfeeding and intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age: a prospective birth cohort study from Brazil".

I really hate to demolish such extensive and careful work but the study has a fatal flaw:  Maternal IQ was not measured.  And, surprising though it may seem IQ is hugely important to breastfeeding. High IQ mothers breastfeed a lot more.  And IQ is of course mainly genetically transmitted.  So all that the study really shows is that high IQ mothers have high IQ children, which is no news at all.

In the statistics section of the paper I was delighted to come  across a word that I had forgotten I knew:  "Heteroscedasticity".  I must use it sometime.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nutrition and IQ

One of the oldest claims about low IQ by Leftists is that it's all due to poverty.  Sound familiar?  More specifically, they say that low IQ just reflects poor nutrition.  Considering that African Americans are on the whole even more overweight than Caucasian Americans, that rather clearly flies in the face of the facts.  African Americans are on average 15 points behind white Americans but they aren't going hungry.

And in any case, if it were all due to nutrition, feeding up the children of poor people should make them all into Einsteins, should it not?  There is no known example of anything like that being achieved, however.

Aha!  But it's not the quantity alone that matters. It's quality too.  People need to eat "healthily" rather than eat more. And the prime candidate for a "healthy" diet is the Mediterranean diet.  We all know that, don't we? If we all ate like the Greeks with plenty of vegetables, plenty of garlic and plenty of olive oil we would be so much healthier -- and slimmer to boot.  The main reason the Mediterranean diet is lauded is that accords with Ancel Keys' famous demonstration that red meat it bad for you (high red meat consumption is correlated with shorter lifespan).

Pesky fact: Keys only looked at death from cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes).  He did not look at overall mortality.  When you include all causes of death in the correlation, the correlation with red meat consumption vanishes.

Pesky fact: The traditional Australian diet (beef, beef and more beef in various forms) is about as opposite to the Mediterranean diet as you can imagine yet Australians live longer than any people of any Mediterranean nation -- so scrub the Mediterranean diet idea once and for all. 

Another pesky fact:  Eskimos eating a traditional diet eat little else than meat and blubber.  It's hard to grow vegetables near the North Pole.  Yet at any age point, Eskimos have LESS cardiovascular disease than  we do. 

So: There may be such a thing as a healthy diet but nobody so far has been able to track it down convincingly.  Maybe some day somebody will find a magic vegetable that will make blacks as smart as whites but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Funnily enough, however, there is a SMALL element of truth in what Leftists say. In very nutritionally deprived people -- such as Africans whose dietary staple is "Mealie-pap" (corn-porridge) -- adding micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to the diet of their children does bring about an IQ gain -- but only of about 5 points.  On better nourished people, there is no such gain, however.

Some reinforcement of that story can be found here.  The amount of red meat eaten by different nations is tabulated.  And amount of red meat is a pretty good proxy for a high quality food supply generally. 

And we find, of course, that the nations of Africa all have a low per capita meat consumption.  They are too poor for anything else.  And they are also nations that show very low IQs, as tabulated by Lynn and VanHanen.  Compared to Africans, African Americans (who are about 20% white genetically) are an intellectual elite.  So a largely vegetarian diet has not  helped Africans much. 

But there are some black countries that do have a high meat consumption.  Saint Lucia in the Caribbean lives well off the back of American tourism so has one of the highest meat consumptions per capita (though not nearly as high as the New Zealanders with their seven tasty sheep per person). Yet the average IQ in St Lucia is an abysmal 62, very similar to what we see in Africa.

So vegetables are not the magic cure for low IQ in blacks nor is a rich  diet.  What else is there? Can we concede that diet is essentially irrelevant to IQ?