Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Another squirm about IQ

The Left hate the whole idea of IQ.  It offends against their absurd doctrine that all men are equal.  So when  intelligence becomes a topic, they always do their best to denigrate and misrepresent it.  The article below arises from Trump's assertion that he has a higher IQ than Tillerson. It appeared in "LiveScience", which might as well be called "HalfDeadScience".

The whole aim of the article is to show that IQ score is not fixed and does not matter.  But in claiming those things they show how unscientific they are by not looking at the numbers.  Numbers are the inescapable tools of science.  And that matters.  Psychometricians are well aware that the correlations between different measures of ability are not perfect and that some situational factors can influence an IQ score.  But how strong are those influences?  Could the effect of situational factors be entirely trivial, for instance?

To answer that you have to look at the numbers that have emerged from research into IQ.  And they are revealing.  IQ tests are made up of a number of different types of puzzle that are not obviously related to one-another.  And the whole concept of IQ originated from the observation that some people are good at all sorts of puzzles that are not obviously related to one another. 

So how strong is that effect?  When scores on the different tests are analysed a very strong first eigenvector arises, which shows that scores on all the different tests are strongly related to one-another.  Correlations between the various puzzles run as high as .70, which is a rare magnitude in psychological research.  So there is a single strong trait in existence that we call IQ and which tells us that a high scorer on an IQ test will be good at solving all sorts of problems.

So IQ is real and important.

What about the various influences described below that can influence an IQ score?  Again the numbers are instructive.  Nutrition, for instance, can have an effect.  A person eating a diet that is seriously deficient in important ways will get a reduced score -- but only by about 5 IQ points.  That is not negligible but it is mostly irrelevant in Western society.  Western diets generally do not harm IQ.  Reduced scores on dietary grounds are generally found in very poorly fed populations in India and Africa.  And IQs in Africa are so disastrously low that no feeding would bring them anywhere near European standards.

Let me look very briefly at some more of the influences trotted out below.  IQ correlates with Birth order.  Yes. It does appear to.  The research is not unanimous but that is probably because the effect is so small:  About 1 IQ point.

The Howard Gardner theory of "multiple intelligences" -- eight of them, would you believe? There is a very clear and simple demolition of the whole Gardner theory here -- which points out that the Gardner theory not only ignores the data but that its criteria for calling something "an intelligence" are so loose that sense of humour, sense of smell, musical ability, athletic ability etc could all be called "intelligences". By adopting similar rules I could say that all cats, dogs and horses are birds -- but that would still not make them so.

I could go on but will finish with one outright misrepresentation below.  An article titled "Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents" is described below as showing that "IQ scores also change with the test taker's level of self-discipline and personal motivation and grit".  But the article did not show that.  It showed only that academic performance, not IQ, was influencible by grit etc.  That hard workers do better at school is hardly news but it does not vitiate the fact that High IQ scorers also perform well academically.

So the article below is an exercise in deception, not science



The IQ, or the intelligence quotient, is a measure of a person's mental age divided by their actual age, multiplied by 100. So, a person who is exactly as "mentally old" as one might expect for that individual's chronological age would score a perfectly average 100. People who deviate from that score in either direction are considered to be of above- or below-average intelligence. These scores can change with age and can fluctuate from one testing session to another, according to researchers.

But intelligence is a many-faceted beast. While it is colloquially associated with math and reasoning skills, psychologists assert that there are many kinds of intelligence, with Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist at Harvard University, classifying seven distinct types, including bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial and linguistic.

Given that it's so hard to pin down exactly what intelligence is, the task of measuring it with a standardized test is particularly difficult, experts say. One of the standard IQ tests used today is called the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (used for adults and older teens), which measures verbal and nonverbal cognitive skills, or as the psychologist who developed the test put it, the ability to "adapt and constructively solve problems in the environment."

Trump might not get the clear-cut result he's hoping for, since this test and others like it, including the Stanford-Binet test, don't present some unified quantity of a person's "smartness."

Test results are affected by several confounding variables, such as smoking habits, hours spent playing computer games and various aspects of one's personality, according to past research. IQ scores also change with the test taker's level of self-discipline and personal motivation and grit — all things that can change from testing session to testing session — according to a 2005 study that surveyed the IQ test results of 140 eighth-graders.

"Indeed, IQ tests are influenced by many factors," Cornell University developmental psychologist Stephen Ceci told Live Science. "For example, schooling affects IQ test performance," he added, explaining that for each year that a student falls short of finishing high school, there is a drop of between 1.8 and 4 IQ points compared to peers who did finish high school.

In Vietnam, Ceci explained, people who had a higher risk of being drafted stayed in school longer as a means to defer service compared to those with safer draft numbers. IQ testing revealed that those who stayed in school longer had higher scores — not because they were smarter, but because they had greater exposure to the conditions that would help them answer IQ test questions such as "who wrote Hamlet," Ceci said.

IQ test scores even correlate with birth order among siblings, according to two 2007 studies, as reported by The New York Times.

Therefore, IQ tests measure not just intelligence (however that is defined), but also the environment and context of one's life.

SOURCE

Thursday, August 17, 2017



James Damore: aftermath

Lubos Motl below discusses a video conversation between two people who reject the claim that all men are equal

Prof Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux (both from Canada) are two main individualist YouTube pundits who have previously interviewed James Damore, the former $162,000-a-year Senior Google engineer who became a hero of freedom. So in this discussion, they talked to each other. They covered a lot of ground. You may see that their thinking and values are close enough to each other. But you may still see that they're individualist and they want similar audiences to dedicate time to their videos, so to some extent, this insightful debate still sounds like a competition of a sort.

They discussed optimistic specifics of this Damore story. Damore hasn't backed off, he preferred to talk to independent media such as themselves over the mainstream media. The New York Times wrote a story urging Google to fire its anti-freedom-of-expression CEO Mr Kunda Pםča.

Many events were so similar to those after the 2005 speech by Larry Summers about women in science. But many events were so different. Even though James Damore is basically a shy boy, his public reactions were more self-confident than those of Larry Summers. A part of it may be due to Damore's having received some recommendations from pundits: Don't back off. He could have received such recommendations because the independent media such as Molyneux's and Peterson's talk shows are far more powerful now than they or their counterparts were in 2005.

As they happily noticed, their videos generally get many more views than analogous videos by the "mainstream media". So these very labels – who is really mainstream – is finally getting complicated.

They discussed the harm that Google has done by having fired Damore. I agree with that entirely. Consumers may start to doubt the trustworthiness of Google. And potential stellar employees may be afraid of accepting a job at Google. These are potentially serious problems. And it's possible that not only some centrist and right-wing technology experts could choose a different occupation because of the occasional defective atmosphere in the company that may have grown into the "culture" of censorship and harassment. Some left-wing candidates who are left-wing in a "wrong way" could do the same.

I am personally not going to boycott Google's products because of these matters. I would feel like one of those left-wing childish activists who never really succeed, who abandon meritocracy in favor of ideology, and I am just too conservative. Even if some products were equally good or better than Google's, I have tested Google's products sufficiently to be certain. But I think that if you aren't constrained by these things, you should try alternatives. You should try the Czech Seznam maps instead of Google maps. And you should try Seznam's search engine and Seznam's superfast browser, too! Those products may be better than Google's alternatives. Seznam's owner Mr Ivo Lukačovič has denounced efforts to politically profile ads in his company and vows to keep his company apolitical.

As a consumer, I would actually be afraid of some Google products that are too physical, such as self-driving cars. If writing a totally sensible analysis about women in tech was enough for the Google CEO to fire the engineer, maybe writing bit more right-wing texts than Damore's could be enough for a Google boss to schedule a car accident for your car. They could cover it by exactly the same excuses as now – corporations have the right to trample on the employees' freedom of speech much like they have the right to push the accelerator pedal in your car in front of an abyss – both the employee and the consumer have signed some contract allowing these things, haven't they? Note that it is not the artificial intelligence of the self-driving car that is dangerous for you; it is the malicious humans who may try to hide their crimes behind the artificial intelligence.

According to a common sense understanding of the freedom of speech, the firing of Damore was an unacceptable violation of the basic Western values and the "accelerator push" of a Google self-driving car would be a murder at least informally.

Molyneux and Peterson have discussed lots of things about the growth of wealth since the 1870s, the increasing inequality and decreasing poverty, the Left's self-contradicting attitudes to many good and bad processes and conditions in the society, the correlation of the IQ and success, whether the IQ may be modified by training (no), whether people with the IQ beneath 83 are useful for the U.S. army (no), and many others. It was a very stimulating intellectual discussion and I really recommend you to watch it in its entirety.

I would subscribe at least to some 95% of the things that they have said.

SOURCE

Sunday, August 13, 2017



Google Manifesto: Does Biology Explain Gender Disparities in Tech?

An article under the above heading appeared in Live Science, in reply to the claims of James Damore of Google fame.  As one would expect from Left-dominated mainstream academe the answer given is broadly "No". 

What they trot out is all old chestnut stuff that basically aims at a straw man.  What psychometricians assert is only a TENDENCY.  There is no claim that men generally are good at tech and women not.  The research finding is that there is a big overlap in male and female abilities. Abilities differ only at the margins. So the various arguments put forward about exceptional female abilities are pointless. In various times and places you can find women who do math and tech well.  And the "No" article is mainly just a trotting out of such examples.

What is of interest is the GENERAL TENDENCY in mental abilities, not a parade of anecdotes about tribes in India etc. And the way to measure a general tendency is to apply a valid and reliable test of problem-solving ability to a representative population sample. And the finding from such studies is that at the top of the IQ range in Western populations, there are always many more men than women. And if we look at mathematical ability only, the gap is even larger. You can theorize yourself blue in the face about why that is so -- "patriarchy" and all the rest -- but there remains there a clear and firm difference in ability that you have to deal with.

It is perfectly reasonable that some populations somewhere have undergone selective pressures which make females better at the top of the range but that does not alter the reality in Western society.

So on the basis of measured facts rather than a lot of speculation, Damore was perfectly right.  You will always get a substantial number of women who are good at tech and mathemstics but they will be greatly outnumbered by men.

In the circumstances, it matters little if the differences are inborn nor not but the way such differences have consistently shown up for around a  hundred years certainly suggest something inborn -- or at least something very resistant to change.   And the various genetic studies -- now including DNA findings -- do show that most of IQ and its component abilities is genetically determined.

So Google's frenetic efforts to introduce "equality" into its workforce were pushing uphill from the beginning. Such efforts were doomed to failure.  Damore's greatest offence may have been to point that failure out. 

That despite great efforts Google could not equalize the number of its employees in stat/math applications would seem good confirmation of what the tests show.  Despite its great efforts to  swing the results in the way it wanted, Google ended up finding exactly what the IQ and other tests predicted.  A psychometrician would call Google's experiment good validation of the tests.  Google showed that the tests were right.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017






A Stable Father Prevents the Early Onset of Puberty(?)

Connor Murphy presents below an article that I am broadly sympathetic to but the social scientist in me causes me to have reservations.  He fails to consider that pervasively influential variable:  IQ.  Many people are aware that a high IQ leads to greater educational success but far fewer are aware that it also goes with better health and longer life.

So:  There is no doubt that there is a tendency for girls to mature physically rather earlier than they used to.  There is quite a lot of estrogen or estrogen mimics in modern processed foods so that is really no surprise.  The food freaks are in a constant state of uproar about phytoestrogens, BPAs and the rest in our food. They even warn us that you can get BPAs out of babies' bottles.

But Mr Murphy has other ideas.  He thinks that stress is the culprit.  It may of course be involved but the evidence he adduces for the claim is ambiguous.  He says:

"Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households. And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others."

But hardship families are very likely to be low IQ families and low IQs are associated with early maturation. American blacks, for instance, arrive at full growth about two years earlier than whites.  And chimpanzee infants go on to reach maturity as early as 8 years of age. So on balance stress has nothing to do with the tendency observed. The tendency is inborn.

Let us go on. Mr Murphy believes that the presence or absence of the father impacts female maturation:

"On average, a girl whose father divorces or separates from her mother and leaves the family home before she is 10 comes into puberty five months earlier than a girl from an intact family."

But absent fathers are by far commonest at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale.  And that is also the low end of the IQ range.  So again we most probaly have an IQ effect.  The finding can parsimoniously be explained by reference to IQ.  Both the absent father and the earlier maturation are explained by one underlying factor:  IQ

Mr. Murphy then goes on to associate the greatly increased divorce rate with earlier maturation.  But he offers no evidence to that effect. Living with a divorced single mother could well be less stressful that living in an unhappy family where parents are hostile to one-another.  Divorce is normally undertaken as the lesser evil and maybe it is in general.

So I share Mr Murphy's concerns and agree that girls benefit from a good relationship with their fathers but I doubt that he has established that.  On purely observational grounds, however, I have recently argued in favour of a similar view



The cult of modernity requires its adherents to believe that civilisation is on a linear upward path of progress and improvement. Coming to harsh conclusions about the degeneracy and sickness of our epoch is not allowed, despite the evidence of steep decline in core facets of existence like social cohesion, happiness, education, health, relationships, fertility rates, wages and governance.

Every now and then though the commissars of thought in the press make a mistake and accidentally report reality without a view to subversion, normally because they don’t realise the ramifications of what they are reporting on.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an extract from a book entitled "The New Puberty" by Amanda Dunn, under the title "Something is happening to our kids, and it’s time we talked about it". The subtitle was "We are seeing a major shift in the development of children, particularly girls. We cannot afford to ignore it and hope it will go away".

The extract observes that children, and particularly girls, are reaching puberty earlier. The main cause that the extract discusses is childhood obesity, i.e. previous generations did not have calorie surpluses like children do now, therefore the body is effectively receiving calories at such a rate that it "believes" it has the raw materials to begin the adolescent growth and transformation process and therefore does so earlier. In addition, the evidence indicates that menarche has also gotten earlier due to better nutrition as well, i.e. the additional calories are signalling to the body that it now has the availability of resources to create a baby.

Another article from the Herald observed that there was a clear socio-economic and stress link:

"Boys who grow up in hardship are more than four times as at risk of starting puberty aged 10 than those who grow up in safer, wealthier households. And girls who grow up disadvantaged are twice as likely to start puberty early than others."

The findings suggest that early-onset puberty may be an evolutionary response to trauma and struggle. "When we are raised in sub-optimal living conditions that means we have a higher risk of premature death," associate professor Sun said. "That means maybe we will die before we’re successfully reproductive, so we would choose an adaptive strategy to mature earlier, to have our first baby earlier, and maybe we could have more kids to ensure our genes transfer to the next generation."

This was all logical to me so far, the body is responding to stimulus (more calories and/or stress) and reacting in a manner best suited to achieving Darwinian success by passing on its genes. The thing that piqued my interest though, is that while it is well established and acknowledged that our diets are more calorie intensive and that childhood obesity is a problem nowadays, I don’t seem to recall it being as widely acknowledged that modern childhood is significantly worse or sub-optimal, and much interest in analysis of why that is the case.

Let us start with the potential causes of these more stressful childhoods that we are allowed to discuss. Most people will concede that childhood may be more stressful nowadays due to social media and hyper-sexualisation via fashion and popular culture, but these forces are not unstoppable forces of nature. Children are exposed to social media and hyper-sexualisation because adults are choosing to let them be exposed to it. We could choose not to to expose them if we were so inclined. Given the consequences of early puberty, perhaps we should be inclined, "entering puberty young (before 11) correlates with a host of problems, from teenage pregnancy to depression. Only 2% of those who do so go on to enter higher education, regardless of their parents’ IQ and educational level."

Another major societal change is the large increase in divorce and single mother households. Now this is an area you are allowed to talk about as long as we don’t attribute blame to anyone or to particular social movements:

"On average, a girl whose father divorces or separates from her mother and leaves the family home before she is 10 comes into puberty five months earlier than a girl from an intact family. But the impact of fathers is not limited to whether they are physically present. In intact families, girls reach puberty later if they have a positive rather than a negative relationship with their father; the more he is involved in her upbringing, the later she will have her first period. If the father is absent through illness or work rather than as a result of divorce or separation, the girl’s pubertal age is unaffected. Interestingly, too, an absent mother or a girl’s quality of relationship with her, does not affect the point at which she comes into puberty."

The end of that quote bordered a little bit on thoughtcrime by implying that a father has a role to play that cannot be filled by a mother, but lets press on:

"Overall, the enormous increase in the divorce rate and in single-parent households since 1960 seems very likely to have played a major role in the decreasing age of puberty. However, it is not clear precisely why an absent or emotionally unengaged father should trigger earlier puberty. The strongest clue comes from the fact that if the father leaves the family home before the girl is six, she is twice as likely to have early first periods and four times more likely to start sex early. It suggests that the disruption to the mother, a lack of cash and all the other problems that go with single parenthood, probably make the girl more likely to be emotionally needy and to be eager to be able to use sexual allure as soon as possible to make people love her. The more times a girl’s family environment changes (with the mother taking new partners) in childhood, the greater the risk of early puberty. If there are three or more new partners, a girl is five times more likely to have a teenage pregnancy."

Hmmm it might not be clear to the author of that piece why an absent or emotionally unengaged father might be a trigger, but it stands to reason that children are consciously and subconsciously aware if they are under the care and protection of an adult male, i.e. a patriarch. When they know they are not, they are more stressed as a result.

More HERE


Tuesday, August 1, 2017



More nonsense research on IQ. Are high IQ people more racist?

Maybe I am missing something but I think that the research below has simply shown that people who are good at recognizing patterns are good at recognizing patterns.

It is true that the Raven's IQ test is a test of pattern recognition.  Pattern recognition is a major part of IQ. So the geniuses below did a study in which people were presented with some graphics that were patterned in a certain way.  They then tested the people who had been shown the patterned graphics  to find out if they had seen and learned the pattern in the graphics.  Some had seen it. Some had not.

They found that high scorers on the Ravens pattern recognition test were more likely to have learned the pattern that had been presented to them in the graphics of the experiment. People who were good at detecting one lot of patterns were good at detecting other patterns. In other words, they confirmed that good pattern recognition was part of IQ -- which  we already knew.

So what the heck is going on?  Why did this tomfoolery get published?  It is because pattern recognition is RACIST!  If you see a pattern in people who cry "Allahu Akhbar" when they kill other people and conclude that Muslims might be more dangerous than others, that is PREJUDICE.  I would argue that it is POSTJUDICE -- judging from experience -- but that makes me a racist apparently. Recognizing patterns is BIAS!  You are not allowed to learn from experience



A new study complicates the narrative that only unintelligent people are prejudiced. The paper, published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, suggests smart people are actually more at risk of stereotyping others.

The study consisted of a series of experiments, all of which suggested that people who performed better on a test of pattern detection—a measure of cognitive ability—were also quicker to form and apply stereotypes.

First, researchers from New York University showed 271 participants a series of pictures of red, blue, and yellow cartoon aliens with different facial features, paired with a statement of either a nice behavior (“gave another alien a bouquet of flowers”) or a rude one (“spat in another alien’s face”):

Most of the pairings were random, but two were skewed so that keen observers might pick up on a pattern: 80 percent of the blue aliens were paired with unfriendly behaviors, and 80 percent of the yellow aliens were paired with nice ones. The subjects didn’t know if the statements about the aliens were true or false. In this way, the study tried to mimic how people actually form prejudices about certain groups, like through anecdotes in the media or through portrayals in TV shows.

Later, the subjects were asked to pick which alien had committed a given behavior from a lineup:

The participants then took a test called the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices, a pattern-based exam that’s a common measure of human intelligence.

The participants who were better pattern detectors were more likely to make stereotypical errors: They tended to ascribe the friendly behaviors to the wrong yellow alien, and the unfriendly behaviors to the wrong blue alien. Meanwhile, they were less likely to ascribe the behavior to a different-colored alien.

A second study showed similar results, but for measures of implicit bias. That is, smarter participants were quicker to stereotype the aliens in the course of a word-sorting task, even if they didn’t realize they were doing it.

Next, the researchers tried it with human faces, showing a new set of participants a series of computer-generated pictures of men with either wide or narrow nose bridges:

Here too, 80 percent of the narrow nose-bridge men were paired with friendly behaviors, while 80 percent of the wide nose-bridge men were supposedly unfriendly. The participants were then partnered with a new set of pictures of men for a trust game using fake money. Again, superior pattern detectors gave more money to the characters with narrow nose bridges, suggesting they had learned the stereotype about friendliness and employed it in judging the new men.

These depressing results suggest there’s a downside to being smart—it makes you risk reading too much into a situation and drawing inappropriate conclusions.

SOURCE  

Monday, July 31, 2017


Another set of findings showing that IQ scores are firmly grounded in DNA

Note that a particular DNA profile correlated .78 with educational attainment and .86 with IQ. That is about as high as you get in explaining human variation

A genome-wide association study for extremely high intelligence

D Zabaneh et al.

Abstract

We used a case–control genome-wide association (GWA) design with cases consisting of 1238 individuals from the top 0.0003 (~170 mean IQ) of the population distribution of intelligence and 8172 unselected population-based controls. The single-nucleotide polymorphism heritability for the extreme IQ trait was 0.33 (0.02), which is the highest so far for a cognitive phenotype, and significant genome-wide genetic correlations of 0.78 were observed with educational attainment and 0.86 with population IQ. Three variants in locus ADAM12 achieved genome-wide significance, although they did not replicate with published GWA analyses of normal-range IQ or educational attainment. A genome-wide polygenic score constructed from the GWA results accounted for 1.6% of the variance of intelligence in the normal range in an unselected sample of 3414 individuals, which is comparable to the variance explained by GWA studies of intelligence with substantially larger sample sizes. The gene family plexins, members of which are mutated in several monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders, was significantly enriched for associations with high IQ. This study shows the utility of extreme trait selection for genetic study of intelligence and suggests that extremely high intelligence is continuous genetically with normal-range intelligence in the population.

Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication 4 July 2017;    doi: 10.1038/mp.2017.121



Evolutionary biology:  Three theories

Evolutionary biology is an inherently speculative field and new fossil finds seem regularly to upset such theories. So I am going to concentrate on theories for which we have some solid data -- in the form of IQ scores.  I am going to look at just 3 populations for which average IQ has now been fairly securely assessed: East Asians, Europeans and Australian Aborigines. Why do the scores decline so markedly across those three groups? I think the main key is warfare or the lack of it.

Europeans are an interesting example of balance.  They have had frequent and ferocious wars with one-another but have also had substantial periods of peace. And they seem to have benefited from both.  Wars are often won by guile rather than by numbers  but that is never easy and requires ever-changing tactics.  So a general problem solving ability was selected for.  Europeans developed their IQs to help them win their many wars. A smarter tribe tended to win and therefore prosper, with more children being born for that tribe.

But the periods of peace were long enough for the pursuits of peace to thrive from time to time also.  And one of the most interesting peaceful pursuit is enquiry, scholarship, finding things out.  And because of that scholarship tends to be highly regarded.  Even in ancient Sumeria there is a record of a father bringing a fleece to give to a teacher. Which is something of an advance on an apple but we can see the same motive and the same respect.

So scholarly people tended to be well supported and hence were an economically successful group.  Sadly, many of the European scholars were celibate monks so the effect was probably much less than it might have been. The monks did however help to make scholarship prestigious so that was a useful function.

An interesting special case is the Germans.  For most of history, there was no German nation.  Germany was a geographical concept only.  It was a place where many large and small independent nations lived who all spoke a form of German.  And, ever since the Roman republic and probably before, Germans have always been warlike. And they as often made war on one-another as they did on others.  So they were heavily selected for martial ability.  Only good warriors survived.  And that selectivity did result not only in a healthy IQ but also in other advantageous attributes.  Their average IQ did not become outstanding compared with their neighbors because it was supplemented by other advantages, one of which is extreme: innovativeness.

It was probably the desirability of military flexibility that made Germans into master innovators, something I have written at length about previously. Leftist psychologists go to great lengths to isolate important intellectual abilities that are not captured by IQ tests but their suggested alternatives mostly reduce to absurdity.  So it is amusing that one of the few genuine alternatives is innovativeness.  That Germans are the masters in that attribute must grind a few gears, however.

Hollywood war movies portray German troops as rigid and robotic bunglers so my characterization of them as flexible will no doubt be a surprise to non-historians.  In fact however, flexibility in tactics was preached in Vom Kriege,  that great Prussian bible of military doctrine by Clausewitz, written early in the 19th century.  The big bunglers of WWII were allied troops.

Particularly in the case of the Prussians (North-Eastern Germans), their martial tendencies were channeled in another direction as well:  into a military personality, with self-discipline being a major part of that. For instance, punctuality requires self discipline and Germans are famous for that.

Speaking more generally, it once used to be said that you just had to drop any German into a military uniform and he immediately became the perfect soldier.  And the exploits of the Wehrmacht in WWII were amazing.  Although heavily outnumbered they very nearly won, despite the large handicap of Corporal Hitler's overall inept leadership.

Just to give you the flavor of that, the British air ace with the highest number of enemy aircraft shot down was "Johnnie" Johnson, with 38 "kills". By comparison, Erich Hartmann of the Luftwaffe had 352 "kills". A similar ratio was not unknown in WWII tank battles.

But Germany did have periods of peace so the arts of peace thrived there as well.  It might be noted that the contributions to the arts made by Germans as a group were however very unevenly distributed, with Austria being by far the greatest contributor -- particularly in music -- and Prussia the least. To this day, about two thirds of the classical repertoire in music was composed in Austria (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc.).

So what is distinctive about Austria?  It was a large empire that got big not by war but by intermarriage of its royal family with other royal families.  They did have wars -- particularly with invading Prussians -- but life in the empire was mostly peaceful.  So "useless" but beguiling things like music and literature could thrive.

And up to WWII, Vienna, the capital of Austria, was THE great city.  It was the intellectual capital of the world.  Most of the eminent philosophers (e.g. Schlick, Wittgenstein), psychologists (e.g. Freud, Jung), Economists (e.g. Boehm von Bawerk, Mises) and artists (e.g. Klimt, Klee) were there. And Vienna was also prominent in new music. It was the home of a great new musical artform, the operetta -- with operettas by composers such as Strauss and Kalman generating many perennially popular songs.  Dutch musical entrepreneur Andre Rieu is a great user of songs from operetta.

China

Compared with Europe, China had long periods of peace under the various dynasties.  So peaceful pursuits could flourish.  And one of those pursuits was scholarship, a much respected pursuit. So China developed its famous civil service examinations, which gave you access to the Chinese elite.  You reached the top in China not by the sword but by the ink brush. And that made scholarship universally respected and aspired to.

And a major factor in scholarly achievement is IQ. So it was the high IQ section of the Chinese population who got all the gravy. They flourished economically and thus tended to have more children.  So IQ was heavily selected for in China over many generations. And so we have the finding today that the Chinese are roughly half a standard deviation higher in average IQ than are Westerners.

And Chinese civilization was much admired in Korea and Japan.  Confucian thinking was adopted there. Chinese bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy were closely studied.  Japan had a particular advantage there.  The Tokugawa shogunate gave Japan over 200 years of peace, an unprecedented achievement. So peaceful pursuits were of particular interest there as well. The Chinese model was largely adopted, with similar results.  So China, South Korea and Japan are closely similar in IQ.

Which leads to an interesting contrast:  Other East Asians, such as the Chinese and Vietnamese do quite poorly on average IQ.  How come?  They all look the same to us!  The Philippines is an easy answer. They are separated from China by rather a lot of ocean.  China did have some influence but the Filipinos mostly went on with their own ways.

And for Vietnam, the problem was the neighborhood bully:  China.  Vietnam was a minor issue in China but China was a big issue in Vietnam.  Little Vietnam kept being invaded from next-door China.  And because China could muster far more troops than Vietnam, Vietnamese had to develop as warriors if they wanted to keep China at bay. And they did.  Like Germans, the Vietnamese became a warrior race -- as both France and the USA found out in the 20th century.  So there was much less scope for peaceful pursuits in Vietnam. Keeping out foreigners became the Vietnamese specialty. And they are still good at that.

Aborigines

And so on to Australian Aborigines, who register one of the lowest average IQs that have been found.  And their unusual situation was very clear: isolation. They had virtually no contact with the outside world for as much as 60,000 years. So they developed with reference to the Australian environment only. And Australia as it was before white settlement tended to be an unforgiving place.  It was hard to make a living there.  For a primitive people the food supply was always precarious.  So the environment was the big challenge and the big shaping influence.  And shape them it did. 

Aborigines are not inferior to others intellectually.  They have just deveoloped different intellectual skills.  The skills they have are a very poor at dealing with IQ tests or modern life generally but are superbly adapted to their lives before the white men came along.  Each tribe usually had a fairly wide geographic range that they wandered over.  They had to.  They were hunter/gatherers, not farmers.  So food was scarce everywhere, particularly in the large dry areas of Australia.  So detecting from afar and creeping up on juicy herbivores was the big requirement for life.

So Aborigines developed a quite eerie ability to "read" and remember the landscape. If a few leaves on the ground had moved in the last day or two, an Aborigine would notice that as a message that there was an animal nearby.  He could probably even say which sort of animal. You have to see it to believe it.  They just have enormous visual abilities and a vast visual memory.

That extraordinary skill was in fact very useful to the white man in earlier days. It was useful in tracking down fugitives and criminals.  So the phenomenon of the "black tracker" arose.  Aborigines were hired by police to find people who would otherwise be unfindable.  An evildoer might think that he had made good his escape and he would be right in thinking that -- UNTIL the police put a black tracker on his trail.  The black tracker would see a clear trail that was invisible to whites.  Just a slightly turned leaf would be enough. So crooks who thought they were safe were often surprised to find police knocking on their door.

I could go on.  The way the environment often underlies human differences is fascinating.  I will forbear from mentioning Africans however.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Diversity doesn't make racial differences magically disappear

The point made below is unusually realistic for The Guardian but the author still has no idea why it is so.  He is perfectly right that minority/majority status does little to make one prosperous or not.  Whites are a prosperous majority in the USA and a prosperous minority in Brazil.  How come?  Shouldn't being in a majority always mean dominance in various ways?  Why are some minorities prosperous?

The fact that majority/minority status does not determine your wealth or other advantage, seriously undermines the common Leftist claim that American blacks are poor only because whites keep them down.

The fact is that it is your personal competence at economic tasks that generally dictates your economic status.  In general, whites are better at doing things that other people are willing to pay for -- so will always be richer than the less economically competent.  And why are whites more competent?  If you look at average IQ scores the answer is plain.  Whites are much smarter in general and they get it from their parents

Short of a race war that will not change.  And majorities don't always win wars either, as the Hutus found out



We can't screw our way beyond racism. Many think mixed-race babies and browner demographics will automatically usher in a post-racial world. They interpret the projections of a "majority-minority" shift in our nation – now set to take place in 2044 – as a sign of guaranteed progress. Changing faces in the US are seen as anti-racist destiny. But don't overestimate the power of this post-racial cocktail.

Jordan Peele's brilliant film Get Out reminds me of the importance of questioning overly optimistic narratives of racial progress. Made by someone who has been open about being biracial and married to a white women, this film creatively uses the genre of horror to depict the persistence of racism through a story about an interracial couple. In many ways, it can be seen as a strident critique of a liberal brand of racism that has blossomed in the post-Obama era.

The perspective that multiracial demographics naturally erode bias and inequality tends to lack historical and global perspective. Consider Brazil. There, white people are a minority – but are still dominant. Despite being outnumbered, their incomes are more than double than that of Afro-descendants; white men are also vastly over-represented in Brazil's new government.

If more mixed people guarantee greater tolerance, then Brazil – and most of Latin America – should be a racial paradise. Although a great degree of 'mestizaje' or racial mixing has taken place since the time of conquest, Indigenous and Afro-descendent people in Latin America remain disproportionately poor, discriminated against, and locked out from opportunity.

Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, in his book Racism without Racists, has speculated whether the racial order in the US might eventually resemble that of Latin American and Caribbean nations. In this case, white supremacy and racial stratification will continue to operate in the US even as it becomes a "majority-minority" nation.

Even the idea of a "majority-minority" shift obscures the fact that the US will be better described as a racial plurality. It's not as if non-whites constitute one homogenous group.

The legacy of blanqueamiento ("whitening") in Latin America demonstrates that ideals of multiraciality can run alongside white supremacy. This theory, widely adopted and practiced by Latin American nations at the turn into the 20th century, encouraged racial mixing for the sake of moving entire populations towards whiteness. This is a reminder that desires for a mixed future can be, and have sometimes been, grounded in anti-blackness.

To be sure, all of this does not discredit the importance of diversity and the unique perspectives that people of multi-ethnic/racial backgrounds possess because of their social location. Speaking of the consciousness of the mestiza, Chicana thinker Gloria Anzaldתa writes: "In our very flesh, (r)evolution works out the clash of cultures."

People with mixed backgrounds can disrupt notions of purity that undergird race and synthesize vast cultural traditions. People with mixed backgrounds can also internalize and carry out racism.

Instead of reducing mixed people to being inevitable harbingers of a post-racial future, there needs to be an acknowledgement of agency in how mixed people choose to relate to the problem of racism and how society, in turn, chooses to receive mixed people.

Merely looking optimistically into the future erases the past that the US has with multiraciality. The figure of the "Tragic Mulatto/a" arose in US literature and film precisely because our racial architecture is based upon a series of denials. Speaking to the West Indian Student Center in London in 1968, James Baldwin captured this incisively:

"What is really happening is that brother has murdered brother knowing it was his brother. White men have lynched Negroes knowing them to be their sons. White women have had Negroes burned knowing them to be their lovers … the American people are unable to face the fact that I'm flesh of their flesh, bone of their bone."

Baldwin exposes the naןve belief that racial intimacy and mixture are some inevitable bulwark against racism.

Demographics are not destiny. Having a multiracial background may no longer be necessarily tragic but it is not automatically heroic.

What is the racial future of this nation? As a social construct tied to political and economic power, racism has proven itself adept at employing difference to prolong its entrenchment. Notwithstanding Trump's efforts to engineer a white nationalist future, where we go from here is not determined. It's up to us. It depends on what we all decide to do.

SOURCE

Friday, June 30, 2017



Very strong study shows health advantages for high IQ people across the board

This sort of finding emerges so often that I should probably stop putting them up.  But when the Left keep dismissing IQ as meaningless, what am I to do?

Childhood intelligence in relation to major causes of death in 68 year follow-up: prospective population study

Ian J Deary et al.

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the association between intelligence measured in childhood and leading causes of death in men and women over the life course.

Design: Prospective cohort study based on a whole population of participants born in Scotland in 1936 and linked to mortality data across 68 years of follow-up.

Setting: Scotland.

Participants: 33 536 men and 32 229 women who were participants in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947 (SMS1947) and who could be linked to cause of death data up to December 2015.

Main outcome measures: Cause specific mortality, including from coronary heart disease, stroke, specific cancer types, respiratory disease, digestive disease, external causes, and dementia.

Results: Childhood intelligence was inversely associated with all major causes of death. The age and sex adjusted hazard ratios (and 95% confidence intervals) per 1 SD (about 15 points) advantage in intelligence test score were strongest for respiratory disease (0.72, 0.70 to 0.74), coronary heart disease (0.75, 0.73 to 0.77), and stroke (0.76, 0.73 to 0.79). Other notable associations (all P less than 0.001) were observed for deaths from injury (0.81, 0.75 to 0.86), smoking related cancers (0.82, 0.80 to 0.84), digestive disease (0.82, 0.79 to 0.86), and dementia (0.84, 0.78 to 0.90). Weak associations were apparent for suicide (0.87, 0.74 to 1.02) and deaths from cancer not related to smoking (0.96, 0.93 to 1.00), and their confidence intervals included unity. There was a suggestion that childhood intelligence was somewhat more strongly related to coronary heart disease, smoking related cancers, respiratory disease, and dementia in women than men (P value for interactions less than 0.001, 0.02, less than 0.001, and 0.02, respectively).Childhood intelligence was related to selected cancer presentations, including lung (0.75, 0.72 to 0.77), stomach (0.77, 0.69 to 0.85), bladder (0.81, 0.71 to 0.91), oesophageal (0.85, 0.78 to 0.94), liver (0.85, 0.74 to 0.97), colorectal (0.89, 0.83 to 0.95), and haematopoietic (0.91, 0.83 to 0.98). Sensitivity analyses on a representative subsample of the cohort observed only small attenuation of the estimated effect of intelligence (by 10-26%) after adjustment for potential confounders, including three indicators of childhood socioeconomic status. In a replication sample from Scotland, in a similar birth year cohort and follow-up period, smoking and adult socioeconomic status partially attenuated (by 16-58%) the association of intelligence with outcome rates.

Conclusions: In a whole national population year of birth cohort followed over the life course from age 11 to age 79, higher scores on a well validated childhood intelligence test were associated with lower risk of mortality ascribed to coronary heart disease and stroke, cancers related to smoking (particularly lung and stomach), respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, injury, and dementia.

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2708

Thursday, May 25, 2017




More genes linked to IQ

Because IQ is linked to so much else, psychometricians have long expected it to be polygenetic: Many genes have an input into it.  I have always favoured the view that a high IQ is simply one aspect of general biological good functioning.  The brain is just another organ of the body, after all. So if that is the case, the number of genes linked to IQ should be very large indeed.  So the work below is just a first step.

Various reports of this study distort its results --  with the NYT in the lead on that.  So let me answer them here: 

The NYT says: "These genes do not determine intelligence, however. Their combined influence is minuscule".  That is exactly the opposite of what the study found.  I append the journal abstract below so readers can check for themselves.  The authors found that their 52 genes explained 5% of the variance in IQ.  That per cent of variance explained is about normal in psychological research and has been used to support many claims of causality.  And the 5% will rise as more genes are analysed.

Other reports misunderstood the links to Alzheimers and Schizophrenia.  The study found that people with high IQ genes had LESS Alzheimers and Schizophrenia, not more.  It is interesting, however, that high IQ genes are associated with autism.  As is well known, autistic people often have extreme mental abilities in some fields, so the finding is not too surprising.  Most high IQ people are not autistic, however.

I liked the finding that high IQ people are tall, thin and unlikely to smoke. I am an example of that.  I am 5'10", was very skinny in my early life and have never smoked. 5'10" is not that tall these days but when I was born 73 years ago it was. The average male height in Australia has increased 3" in the last 50 years.



Intelligence is one of the most investigated traits in humans, but so far, only a handful of genes have been associated with the trait.

Now, researchers have made a major advance in understanding the genetic underpinnings of intelligence, uncovering 52 genes for the trait, 40 of which are new discoveries.

In particular they found that many people with these genes are more likely to have other traits, including being tall, thin and unlikely to smoke.

Scientists hope the findings could provide new biological insights into brain function and understanding, and help to define the genetic component of IQ.

The findings also turned up a surprising connection between intelligence and autism that could one day help shed light on the condition's origins.

"For the first time, we were able to detect a substantial amount of genetic effects in IQ," said Danielle Posthuma, a researcher at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research in Amsterdam, and the main architect of the study. "Our findings provide insight into the biological underpinnings of intelligence," she told AFP.

An international research team led by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam studied genetic data from over 78,000 individuals. The data included information on DNA genotypes and intelligence scores, which led the team to discover new genes and biological routes for intelligence.

Despite high heritability estimates of 45 per cent in childhood and 80 per cent in adulthood, until now, only a few genes had been associated with. But the new study uncovered 40 new genes, most of which are mainly expressed in brain tissue.

Professor Posthuma said: 'These results are very exciting as they provide very robust associations with intelligence. 'The genes we detect are involved in the regulation of cell development, and are specifically important in synapse formation, axon guidance and neuronal differentiation.

'These findings for the first time provide clear clues towards the underlying biological mechanisms of intelligence.'

The results showed that people with the genes were more likely to have high educational achievements, and were also likely to be taller, not to smoke, and to have autism spectrum disorder.

In contrast, people with the intelligence genes were less likely to have Alzheimer's disease, depressive symptoms, smoking history, schizophrenia, high body mass index, or obesity.

Dr Suzanne Sniekers, who also worked on the study, said: 'These genetic correlations shed light on common biological pathways for intelligence and other traits.

'Seven genes for intelligence are also associated with schizophrenia; nine genes also with body mass index, and four genes were also associated with obesity. 'These three traits show a negative correlation with intelligence.

'So, a variant of gene with a positive effect on intelligence, has a negative effect on schizophrenia, body mass index or obesity.'

The researchers stress that future studies will be needed to clarify the exact role of these genes in intelligence in order to gain a more complete picture of how genetic differences lead to differences in intelligence.

Professor Posthuma added: 'The current genetic results explain up to five per cent of the total variance in intelligence.

'Although this is quite a large amount of variance for a trait as intelligence, there is still a long road to go: given the high heritability of intelligence, many more genetic effects are expected to be important, and these can only be detected in even larger samples.'

SOURCE    

Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 78,308 individuals identifies new loci and genes influencing human intelligence

Suzanne Sniekers et al.

Intelligence is associated with important economic and health-related life outcomes1. Despite intelligence having substantial heritability2 (0.54) and a confirmed polygenic nature, initial genetic studies were mostly underpowered3, 4, 5. Here we report a meta-analysis for intelligence of 78,308 individuals. We identify 336 associated SNPs (METAL P < 5 × 10−8) in 18 genomic loci, of which 15 are new. Around half of the SNPs are located inside a gene, implicating 22 genes, of which 11 are new findings. Gene-based analyses identified an additional 30 genes (MAGMA P < 2.73 × 10−6), of which all but one had not been implicated previously. We show that the identified genes are predominantly expressed in brain tissue, and pathway analysis indicates the involvement of genes regulating cell development (MAGMA competitive P = 3.5 × 10−6). Despite the well-known difference in twin-based heratiblity2 for intelligence in childhood (0.45) and adulthood (0.80), we show substantial genetic correlation (rg = 0.89, LD score regression P = 5.4 × 10−29). These findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of intelligence.

Nature Genetics. (2017) doi:10.1038/ng.3869

Friday, April 14, 2017



More on politics and IQ

Further to my recent comments on IQ, someone has drawn my attention to a 2014 article by Noah Carl.  Carl recently came to attention for his articles on Leftism among academics. I had some comments on that on March 5 and on March 17.  Carl is clearly something of a bad boy from a Leftist perspective.  The 2014 journal article is as follows:


Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States (2014)

Noah Carl

Abstract

Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1-3 IQ points, 2-4 IQ points and 2-3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.

SOURCE

So what are we to make of it?  Let us first compare it with two papers by the indefatigable Ian Deary.  Deary has access to some very well sampled British databases so is in a position to report highly generalizable results:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Childhood intelligence predicts voter turnout, voting preferences, and political involvement in adulthood: The 1970 British Cohort Study (2008)

Ian J. Deary

Abstract

Little is known about the association between measured intelligence and how people participate in democratic processes. In the 1970 British Cohort Study, we examined the association between childhood intelligence and, at age 34: whether and how people voted in the 2001 UK general election; how they intended to vote; and whether they had taken part in other political activities. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to vote in the 2001 election (38% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence), and were more likely to vote for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats (49% and 47% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively). The intelligence-Green party voting association was largely accounted for by occupational social class, the intelligence-Liberal Democrat voting association was not. Similar associations between intelligence and preference for the Green Party or Liberal Democrats were found as regards voting intentions, but neither of these associations was accounted for by occupational social class. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to take part in rallies and demonstrations, and to sign petitions, and expressed a greater interest in politics (40%, 65%, 33%, and 58% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively).

SOURCE

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bright Children Become Enlightened Adults (2008)

Ian J. Deary

Abstract

We examined the prospective association between general intelligence (g) at age 10 and liberal and antitraditional social attitudes at age 30 in a large (N = 7,070), representative sample of the British population born in 1970. Statistical analyses identified a general latent trait underlying attitudes that are antiracist, proworking women, socially liberal, and trusting in the democratic political system. There was a strong association between higher g at age 10 and more liberal and antitraditional attitudes at age 30; this association was mediated partly via educational qualifications, but not at all via occupational social class. Very similar results were obtained for men and women. People in less professional occupations-and whose parents had been in less professional occupations-were less trusting of the democratic political system. This study confirms social attitudes as a major, novel field of adult human activity that is related to childhood intelligence differences.

SOURCE

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So in the first Deary study above we find that high IQ British voters did lean Left but they leant towards minority Leftist parties, not the major Leftist party, the Labour party.  The Labour party has some repellent union associations so may have been seen as unattractive for that reason.  The two minor parties, however, come across as high-minded.

The second study looked at the correlates of attitudes rather than vote.  And ever since LaPiere in the 1930s we have known that attitudes are at best only weakly related to behaviour.  Deary found greater social liberalism among high IQ people.

And so we come to Carl's 2014 American study. GOP identifiers were found to be slightly brighter on average than Democrat identifiers.

It is of course perfectly possible and reasonable that trends in Britain might not be reflected in the USA -- and vice versa.  That would seem to be the case here. But note that in no case is the major Leftist party favoured. But the association between vote and IQ was in any case weak so IQ is clearly a very minor factor in determining vote.  As I have often argued, it is a miserable personality that makes you Leftist.  See, for instance,  here

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



Why Most High-Achievers Are Men (& Why We Cannot Afford Sexual Egalitarianism)

BOOK REVIEW of "Smart and SeXy: The Evolutionary Origins and Biological Underpinnings of Cognitive Differences between the Sexes".  London: Arktos Media, Ltd., 2016

Roderick Kaine, who has previously written for the neo-reactionary movement under the name Atavisionary, is an American trained as a biochemist. His first book, now available from Arktos, is both a genetically based explanation of cognitive differences between the sexes, and a demonstration that the economic and demographic costs of sexual egalitarianism will bring about the destruction of Western Civilization if that ideology is not abandoned.

There are several well-established differences in cognitive functioning between men and women. First, adult men appear to have a three to five point advantage over women in average IQ. Second, and more important, there is a much wider range of variation in male intelligence, with more men at the highest and lowest levels, and with women tending to bunch in the middle. Third, women tend toward greater verbal ability, while men have greater mathematical ability and much greater visuospatial ability.

One consequence of these differences is that men greatly outnumber women among high achievers in engineering and the hard sciences, a circumstance which, in the author's words, "engenders astonishing levels of envy among some women." Elaborate but unconvincing theories revolving around discrimination and "stereotype threat" have been elaborated to account for these differences and justify preferential treatment of women in these fields.

Yet these differences in cognitive ability can easily be explained by studying the human brain. Male brains on the whole are 8 to 10 percent larger than female brains, and controlling for body size differences does not eliminate the difference. The correlation coefficient between brain size and IQ is about 0.35 or 0.4 when the most accurate measuring techniques are used. One area, the inferior parietal lobe, is 25 percent larger in males. The male brain also has about 15 to 16 percent more neurons than the female.

As a proportion of the brain, men have significantly more white matter than women and women have more grey matter than men. Unadjusted for overall volume differences, however, men have about the same amount of grey matter as women and the male advantage in white matter is even more profound.

During the fetal stage, testosterone promotes asymmetry between brain hemispheres by delaying the development of the left hemisphere. This allows for the fuller development of the male's right hemisphere, associated with visuospatial processing. Conversely, lower fetal testosterone in women means that the left hemisphere develops earlier and better, giving them a relative advantage in verbal intelligence. Broca's area, a region of the left hemisphere involved in language processing, has also been observed to contain more grey matter and enjoy higher blood flow in women than in men. This indicates that language centers contribute more to general intelligence (g) in women than in men.

Much more HERE

Thursday, April 6, 2017



Politics and IQ

Are smart people Left-leaning?  There is some recent evidence to say so, though the correlation is weak.  A paper by Michael Woodley is therefore of interest ("Problematic constructs and cultural-mediation: A comment on Heaven, Ciarrochi and Leeson (2011)").

He surveys the literature and shows that the findings go both ways.  On some occasions Leftists score highest while on others conservatives do. 

He resolves that the way I do -- by saying that high IQ people are quicker to figure out what is currently socially acceptable and say that.  At the moment being conservative is likely to bring a ton of abuse ("racist") down on your head so it is no wonder that smart people claim to be Leftist

Monday, April 3, 2017



Scientists predict reading ability from DNA alone

Reading ability is a major component of IQ so this is another step forward towards measuring IQ directly from brain features

Researchers from King's College London have used a genetic scoring technique to predict reading performance throughout school years from DNA alone.

The study, published today in Scientific Studies of Reading, shows that a genetic score comprising around 20,000 of DNA variants explains five per cent of the differences between children's reading performance. Students with the highest and lowest genetic scores differed by a whole two years in their reading performance.

These findings highlight the potential of using genetic scores to predict strengths and weaknesses in children's learning abilities. According to the study authors, these scores could one day be used to identify and tackle reading difficulties early, rather than waiting until children develop these problems at school.

The researchers calculated genetic scores (also called polygenic scores*) for educational achievement in 5,825 individuals from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) based on genetic variants identified to be important for educational attainment. They then mapped these scores against reading ability between the ages of seven and 14.

Genetic scores were found to explain up to five per cent of the differences between children in their reading ability. This association remained significant even after accounting for cognitive ability and family socio-economic status.

The study authors note that although five per cent may seem a relatively small amount, this is substantial compared to other results related to reading. For example, gender differences have been found to explain less than one per cent of the differences between children in reading ability.

Saskia Selzam, first author of the study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, said: 'The value of polygenic scores is that they make it possible to predict genetic risk and resilience at the level of the individual. This is different to twin studies, which tell us about the overall genetic influence within a large population of people.'

'We think this study provides an important starting point for exploring genetic differences in reading ability, using polygenic scoring. For instance, these scores could enable research on resilience to developing reading difficulties and how children respond individually to different interventions.'

Professor Robert Plomin, senior author from the IoPPN at King's College London, said: 'We hope these findings will contribute to better policy decisions that recognise and respect genetically driven differences between children in their reading ability.'

*Calculating an individual's polygenic score requires information from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) that finds specific genetic variants linked to particular traits, in this case educational attainment. Some of these genetic variants, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), are more strongly associated with the trait, and some are less strongly associated. In a polygenic score, the effects of these SNPs are weighed by the strength of association and then summed to a score, so that people with many SNPs related to academic achievement will have a higher polygenic score and higher academic achievement, whereas people with fewer associated SNPs will have a lower score and lower levels of academic achievement.

SOURCE

Wednesday, March 29, 2017



Blacks, whites, genes and disease

An amusing dance around the point below.  It is the whole of an article just out in JAMA, a leading medical journal.  It says things that the Left do not want to hear.  But it says those things in verbose academic language that hides the point. So let me translate:

* The poor get more illness and die younger
* Blacks get more illness than whites and die younger
* Part of that difference is traceable to genetic differences between blacks and whites.
* But environmental differences -- such as education -- explain more than genetic differences do
* Researchers often ignore genetics for ideological reasons
* You don't fully understand what is going on in an illness unless you know about any genetic factors that may be at work.
* Genetics research should pay more attention to blacks

Most of those things I have been saying for years -- with one exception:

They find that environmental factor have greater effect than genetics.  But they do that by making one huge and false assumption. They assume that education is an environmetal factor.  It is not.  Educational success is hugely correlated with IQ, which is about two thirds genetic. High IQ people stay in the educational system for longer because they are better at it, whereas low IQ people (many of whom are blacks) just can't do it at all.  So if we treated education as a genetic factor, environmental differences would fade way as causes of disease.  As Hans Eysenck once said to me in a casual comment:  "It's ALL genetic".  That's not wholly true but it comes close

So the recommendation of the study -- that we work on improving environmental factors that affect disease -- is unlikely to achieve much.  They are aiming their gun towards where the rabbit is not. If it were an actual rabbit, it would probably say:  "What's up Doc?"

Some problems are unfixable but knowing which problems they are  can help us to avoid wasting resources on them. The black/white gap probably has no medical solution



Genomics, Health Disparities, and Missed Opportunities for the Nation's Research Agenda

The completion of the Human Genome Project occurred at a time of increasing public attention to health disparities. In 2004, Sankar and colleagues1 suggested that this coincidental timing resulted in an inappropriate emphasis on the contribution of genomics to health disparities, conflating racial patterns of disease with genetic ancestry, and distracting attention from the large and compelling body of scientific evidence pointing to social determinants of health disparities.2 For example, genomic research has emphasized discovery of genetic contributors to diabetes risk, but the recent increase in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which disproportionately affects minority populations, cannot be attributed to genetic changes and rather reflects social forces affecting diet, food access, and patterns in physical activity. The introduction of new genomic health technologies could also exacerbate disparities in access to high-quality health care, if specific genomic testing improved health and was only available to those who were affluent. Nonetheless, the claim persists that genomic research can reduce health disparities—if only participation by minority populations in genomic research could be increased.3

The source of this claim is an idiosyncratic usage of the term health disparities that may result in missed opportunities for the nation's health research agenda. Health disparities are generally understood to refer to systematic differences in health effects resulting from social disadvantage, but the term is often used in genomics to refer to differing health outcomes associated with population genetic variation. This usage arguably stems from the US focus on the association of health disparities with race/ethnicity (vs socioeconomic status), together with a growing body of knowledge about population genetic variation. Compounding the problem is a tendency in the United States to conflate health disparities and health care disparities, perhaps based on the erroneous assumption that improved health care will resolve health disparities.4 The misunderstanding about the causes of health disparities leads to confusion about fruitful lines of research and potential remedies.

A causal association between social position and health is well established.5 This association has been documented in both developed and developing countries and dates back to the earliest records, despite substantial change over time in the principal causes of disease. A broad array of health conditions across the lifespan follows a social gradient, wherein better health and longer lifespans track with increases in social advantage. This pattern holds whether measured by proxies of social class, such as education, income, and occupation, or by race/ethnicity.5 In the United States, health disparities are significant and widening and have attracted considerable attention among policy makers and the general public. Yet this large body of knowledge is absent from genomics discourse, which remains largely focused on biological causes and biomedical interventions.4

Health care plays a crucial role in decreasing morbidity and mortality once disease processes are under way, but accounts for only a minor portion of population health status. A study comparing the major determinants of health estimated that only 10% to 15% of premature mortality could be prevented by improved or more medical care.6 The limits of health care were demonstrated in a statistical experiment, comparing deaths potentially averted if people were to have a college education vs those potentially averted by advances in health care technology and an 8-fold difference was found favoring education.7 Moreover, the kind of health care that makes the largest difference to population health is access to universal high-quality primary care, distinct from the specialty or high-technology care to which genomics is most likely to contribute.

Genetic susceptibility influences which individuals within a particular group experience a particular disorder. Genetics can help to explain why some African American, Native American, or Latino individuals develop diabetes, heart disease, or other common conditions whereas others living in similar environments do not, just as genetics contributes to individual variation in populations not experiencing health disparities. Research to clarify the genetic contributors to disease etiology has many potential benefits. It may help to elucidate disease mechanisms and could inform genetic tests and drug development. Inclusion of diverse populations in genetic studies will enable identification of a fuller range of genetic variation contributing to various health outcomes, potentially leading to improved genetic tests that are applicable to all populations. Well-designed gene-environment studies across multiple populations may also help to delineate important environmental modifiers of disease. All of these considerations point to the potential health value of genetic research. However, these efforts will not provide strategies for addressing the more substantial contributors to health that are rooted in social, material, and environmental conditions.

Given population genetic variation, it is to be expected that genetic effects will sometimes augment, and at other times run counter to, the effects of social disadvantage. For example, African Americans with chronic kidney disease on average progress more rapidly to end-stage renal disease than European Americans with chronic kidney disease. Two variants in the APOL1 gene, seen in people of sub-Saharan African descent, contribute to this disease progression.8 Nevertheless, a comparison of African Americans with and without APOL1 risk genotypes with European Americans demonstrated that the APOL1-associated risk, although significant, accounted for only about 10% of excess incidence of albuminuria (a marker of risk for end-stage renal disease) among African Americans; a disparity remains between African Americans with low-risk genotypes and European Americans.8 In this case, the higher risk of albuminuria appears to be due to a combination of social and genetic determinants. Conversely, the incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in African American children is less than half that of European American children, due in part to a difference in the prevalence of 2 risk variants. Yet survival from this malignancy is lower in African American children. This survival disparity is eliminated in a clinical setting characterized by high-quality care, aggressive case management, and financial support that eliminates out-of-pocket costs.9 In this case, the genetic determinants lead to lower disease risk, but social determinants lead to worse outcomes for those African American children who develop the disease. These examples support the value of understanding the health implications of population genetic variation—but also illustrate that social determinants consistently reduce health outcomes in disadvantaged populations, independent of genetic risk.

Characterizing health disparities as a challenge for genomics, rather than as a challenge for health and social sciences more generally, generates several problems. It justifies studies that focus on genetic causes of complex diseases with the goal of developing medical interventions, rather than studies that assess genomics within the context of social and environmental contributors to disease. Genomics research could make a positive contribution to the elucidation of causal mechanisms of health disparities and development of potential remedies, but that dividend is likely only if such contributions are integrated into, rather than emphasized over, broader social models of disease and interdisciplinary research methods. Viewing health disparities as addressable by medical care also focuses translational science on health care innovation rather than on community-based health promotion and intersectoral policy approaches. In so doing, attention and resources are diverted away from approaches that are more likely to reduce health disparities, such as efforts to increase education levels, reduce income inequality, promote community-based dietary and exercise initiatives, and ensure universal access to primary care.

Importantly, an approach primarily based on the development of innovative health care also threatens to sideline genomic research that might offer more substantive benefit for populations experiencing health disparities. An emerging body of preliminary data related to epigenetics, the microbiome, and genetic modifiers of response to the environment points to a range of opportunities for genomic tools to elucidate the causal pathways of health disparities. Promising findings on epigenetic changes related to childhood adversity, for example, point to ways in which genomics could contribute to a better understanding of how social disadvantage is embodied and expressed. Research efforts of this kind might ultimately help policy makers to weigh priorities when allocating resources to address social determinants of health.

Health disparities are complex and multifactorial. Reducing health gaps in the United States will require researchers and clinicians from many disciplines who share a common understanding of key terms and the role of social determinants of health to work in close collaboration with affected communities. Resolving a fundamental misunderstanding about the relationship between genomics and health disparities may create new opportunities for research collaborations, allowing large research investments in genomics to be leveraged for promising population health research. Failure to do so has the potential to deepen mistrust of scientific research and health care among those populations most burdened by health disparities.

SOURCE

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



Why the high intelligence of Indian Americans?

I reproduce below a well-informed answer to the above question.  I disagree with his conclusion that it is all due to nutrition however.  Other work finds only 5 IQ points attributable to nutrition.  The suggestion of 15 IQ points is therefore startling.  So I think we need to look at other possibilities.  I think that the Indian advantage is probably a compound of several factors. 

The treatment of Indians as a single group is of course absurd.  Almost any Indian will regale you with stories about the great gaps between the castes.  And the castes do seem to have a racial and historic origin.  A Brahman and a Dalit are worlds apart in all sorts of ways, including skin color. And it is usually held that the differences arose from the Northern  Brahmins being in fact late "Aryan" invaders on top of an original Dravidian population.  So we would expect Brahmins to have higher IQs.  And Brahmins seem well-represented in Indian immigrants to America.

Everything in the above paragraph is however subject to controversy so how much caste accounts for higher IQs in Indian Americans remains "under study".  Something that would reveal the effect (or not) of caste would be a study of Indian diaspora populations in places such as Fiji, where the Indians there are the descendants of coolies imported to act as agricultural labourers.  If they have high IQs, there is no caste effect.  But I can find no data on such populations.  It is however true that Indians run just about everything in Fiji these days.

The next possibility is related to the one above:  A general selective effect of immigration.  Diaspora populations are not always brighter than the home population but when we are looking at poor countries they probably are.  To get yourself out of a poor country to a rich one surely requires brains.  So regardless of caste, diaspora Indians should be brighter.

The third possibility is one shown up by the Flynn effect:  Education.  Education does have an effect on at least some measures of intelligence.  How that works is speculative but the most plausible explanation is that doing tests and exams in the course of a long education develops test-taking skills (e.g. guessing when uncertain) that generalize to IQ tests. And the Indian education system is woeful so a transition to the less woeful U.S. system should confer an advantage.

A fourth factor that is rarely mentioned in these discussions is regional differences within India.  The Indian South seems to be much brighter, particularly where mathematical ability is concerned. The great concentration of Indian IT knowledge is in Bengaluru (Bangalore), which is in the South.  And it was almost entirely Southern engineers who were behind the quite remarkable Indian Mars shot. 

I am not going to say much about why the Southerners are smarter but I note that they hate one-another.  Keralans despise Tamils, for instance.  And that is related to the long history of warfare between them.  And dummies are the least likely to survive wars.  So warfare has dragged up the average IQ of most of the South.

But getting back to Indians in America:  I have seen no figures on it but I gather that a huge proportion of Indians came to America to work in IT.  If that is so, they would mostly have come from the South -- because that is where the IT ability is.  So the Indian immigrants to the USA came from a (Southern) population that was ALREADY pretty high on IQ.  So from that starting point, the various advantages (already mentioned) of life in the USA could easily have added one third of a standard deviation -- which could explain what we see.  It could in fact explain the whole of what we see.

And regardless of where they come from in India, being employed to work in IT is a HUGE selective pressure.  To code easily in languages like C and its derivatives requires an IQ within about the top 2%. If that doesn't bring up the average, nothing would.

So I would summarize that the high IQs of Indians in the USA is the combined effect of nutrition, education, caste, an immigrant effect, an effect of regional origin and an effect of occupation.

Given the extraordinary difference in average IQ between Indians in India and Indians in America (well over one standard deviation) I think a multifactorial explanation has to be strongly indicated.  But all answers at this point are speculative.



One of the great mysteries in IQ research is why Indian Americans are such super achievers despite the fact that India reportedly has an IQ of only 82 according to the book IQ and Wealth of Nations.

And yet Indians in North America are known for their high intelligence and scholastic achievement, and despite being new to America, are already slightly over-represented on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. In some parts of Canada (particularly the maritime provinces like Newfoundland) if you’re Indian, all the white will people will assume you’re a doctor.

So how can Indians in North America be so smart when India’s average IQ is not great? Many people in the HBD-blogosphere invoke the theory that India is nation of many micro-races (castes) and that largely the smartest castes migrate to America, but the truth is usually much simpler.

Of the 2.8 million Indians in America, probably no more than 25% (700,000) are the ones who initially gained immigration (and the remaining 75% are the spouces, siblings, parents, and children, who came alone for the ride). But these 700,000 who actually gained immigration for themselves and their families are probably roughly the most occupationally successful 700,000 Indians out of a population of nearly 1.3 billion. In other words, they are above the +3.3 standard deviation mark in occupational status, and are on on average +3.5 SD. Since occupational status (mostly a function of education and income) correlates 0.7 with IQ, we should expect their IQ’s to be 3.5(0.7) = 2.45 SD higher than the average Indian (assuming Indians have a mean IQ of 82 and an SD 15, those who initially gain immigration to America should have an IQ of 119).

But because the IQ correlation between a parent and his adult offspring is about 0.45, the children of these high achieving immigrants from India should regress precipitously to the Indian mean:

0.45(119 – 82) + 82 = 99

Thus we should expect second-generation Indians born in America to have IQ’s around the U.S. average which is inconsistent with their incredible achievements. Can their achievements thus be explained by Tiger Moms? According to excellent Jamaican American blogger JayMan, parenting has zero impact.

So how do we explain the high achievements of second generation Indian immigrants? Nutrition. Blogger Steve Sailer was perhaps the first to notice that even un-mixed black Americans who have lived in the United States for centuries are several inches taller and about 13 IQ points smarter than black Africans. This suggests that first world nutrition adds about 13 IQ points (and several inches of height) to people of third world ancestry.

More HERE 

Friday, March 17, 2017


Academics are hugely Left-leaning.  Is it because they have higher IQs?

One explanation that has been put forward to explain the overrepresentation of individuals with left-wing and liberal views in academia is that they tend to have higher intelligence. The theory is that academic advancement requires very high intelligence, and since few individuals with right-wing and conservative views possess very high intelligence, such individuals are comparatively scarce within the academy (Solon 2014; Solon 2015; Charlton 2009; Gross 2013).

Several recent studies from the US, where the academy also has a sizable left-liberal skew, have concluded that intelligence does not contribute much to explaining the tilt (Gross & Fosse 2012; Gross 2013; Fosse et al. 2014). On the other hand, using a slightly different method, Carl (2015b) found that intelligence may account for more than fferent method, Carl (2015b) found that intelligence may account for more than half of the overrepresentation of socially liberal views, but may not account for any of the overrepresentation of economically left-wing views. His finding is consistent with evidence that cognitive ability is positively related to both socially liberal beliefs and at least some measures of economically right-wing beliefs (Carl 2015a).

Unfortunately, there do not appear to have been any surveys of British academics asking about specific policy issues, either economic (e.g., nationalisation of industry) or social (e.g., immigration). Only the distribution of party support among academics is available, which as noted above points to an overrepresentation of both left-wing views and liberal views.

To see whether intelligence contributes to explaining the left-liberal skew of party support among academics, I calculated the distribution of party support for individuals within the top 5% of IQ, using data from the Understanding Society survey. This is shown in Table 3, along with the distribution of party affiliation within the general population and among academics, also calculated from the Understanding Society data.



Note that the distribution within the general population differs from the outcome of the general election; this is probably due to the phrasing of the question posed in Understanding Society, to the sample being slightly unrepresentative, to the timing of the data collection, and to differential turnout by party.

However, what is of primary interest is the comparison between the figures for the general population and those for the top 5% of IQ, which were both calculated from the same data.

Conservative supporters are about as well represented within the top 5% of IQ as they are within the general population, Labour supporters are slightly underrepresented, UKIP supporters are underrepresented, Lib Dem supporters are overrepresented, and Green supporters are overrepresented. Overall, as Figure 2 illustrates, the distribution of left/right orientation within the top 5% of IQ is relatively similar to the distribution within the general population.

While intelligence may account for some of the underrepresentation of UKIP supporters among academics, and some of the overrepresentation of Green supporters (Deary et al. 2008), it cannot account for the substantial underrepresentation of Conservative supporters. To the extent that the Conservatives are a less socially conservative party than UKIP, the figures in Table 3 are consistent with Carl’s (2015b) finding that intelligence may contribute to explaining the underrepresentation of socially conservative views in American academia, but not necessarily the underrepresentation of economically right-wing views.

Somewhat surprising is the relative scarcity of Lib Dem supporters among academics, given their overrepresentation within the top 5% of IQ. This may be attributable to the fact that, as noted above, the Lib Dem party was until recently dominated by its classically liberal wing, which espoused comparatively more right-wing policies, which may not have been appealing to academics. On the other hand, it may simply be due to sampling error.

SOURCE