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Robert, thanks for this, very helpful. By the way, over the past year or so
those who believe in a race/IQ connection have gotten very excited about the
findings of University of Chicago geneticist Bruce Lahn's publication in my
own journal, Science, of genes possibly linked to human cognition, under
recent natural selection, and which have an allele distribution suggesting
Africans are disadvantaged (microcephalin and ASPM.) Many here may have
followed this. In December I wrote a profile of Lahn for Science which
raised the social and political issues with a sidebar looking at recent
scientific challenges to these interpretations. The articles can be found
here: *Science* 22 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5807, pp. 1871 - 1873. But
if anyone does not have access to Science online and wants to email me
offlist, I will be happy to send the pdfs.

best, Michael

On 2/20/07, Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>  Josť Morales has opened an important theme.
> But in doing so he wrote:
>
> ...
>
> my thesis advisor ...  asked me what if researchers had completed a study
> and found that white people were of superior intelligence to people of
> color, would I believe the conclusions?  What if the study was rock solid,
> completely water tight.  Then I went through a series of questions and
> caveats and he replied yes this study took that into account.  Ultimately,
> the idea was that all possible criticisms from all corners (people of color,
> civil libertarians etc.) were taken into account and controlled for.  Would
> I believe it?  I said, well if all these possible concerns and questions
> were taken into account and controlled for, I'd have to believe that all
> white people are of superior intelligence to all people of color.  He said,
> OK you will be a good scientist.
>
>
>         Josť's msg doesn't look generally careless or unexamined, so I
> take this as he states it.
>
>         The idea that 'white people were of superior intelligence to
> people of color' rocketed to prominence while I was a grad student at
> Berkeley, where education prof Arthur Jensen stated it (in the form of a
> difference in IQ medians &/or means &/or modes   -  any or all will serve
> for present purposes, I suppose  -  between some whites and some
> Afro-Americans).  The nature of this contention, and of the conclusions from
> all the IQ measures which were purged from the Stanford-Binet IQ test suite
> if they showed any difference between men and women, is* overlapping*distributions with different means.
>         Has anyone said '*all* white people are of superior intelligence
> to* all* people of color'  -  at least during the past century or so?  Is
> the assertion deserving of serious discussion these days?  Everyone who has
> experienced a sample >100 of each knows the most stupid whites are far less
> intelligent than a clever non-white.  The notion of any race whose
> intelligence distribution fails to overlap those of all other races is
> contrary to obvious fact.
>         Similarly, the slogan 'the Slavs are sub-human' is obviously
> false.  But it was a major defining slogan of the Nazi party, which you had
> to assent to if you wanted the social security that was available in Germany
> for a decade by open adherence to that party.  I postulate that it's in the
> nature of totalitarian systems to require assent to slogans which are not
> subtly but flagrantly false &/or immoral.
>         What Josť says he would assent to if research concluded it
> rock-solidly is known to every experienced adult, whether educated or not,
> to be false.  I am loath to believe that he or anyone else on this list
> could ever assent to it, whether or not some scientists had asserted it with
> whatever authority & 'evidence'.
>         I focus on this slide from 'race W is, on average, of superior
> intelligence to race C' to  '*all*  people of race W are of superior
> intelligence to* all* people of race C' because this same fallacy often
> occurs in polemics about sexism.  In my experience, even when the postulated
> distributions are drawn with very large extents of overlap (on a paper
> napkin at lunch in a U staff club), fanatical wimminsLibbers are capable of
> promptly threatening violence, complaining as if what had been asserted was
> '*all* men are of superior intelligence to* all* women'.  Such a raver is
> immediately escorted out of the building, but when outside fails to give any
> excuse for decking her.  I have seen that mode of argumentation countless
> times, which is why it interests me now when it comes from Josť (wrt race
> not sex).
>
>         BTW supposing the Jensen/Shockley-type conclusion had been proven,
> wouldn't it follow that the disadvantaged group should get special help in
> education, medicine, nutrition,   ...  ?  That was my response 4 decades ago
> when those who fancied themselves as radicals vilified Jensen (of whose work
> I knew nothing else); and is still my answer.  Racial differences entailed
> in sickle-cell anaemia should be admitted (when proven), and acted upon.  It
> is not racist to say so.  Why is intelligence utterly different?
>         I must add that I'm very sceptical of IQ and far from convinced
> that the Jensen conclusion describes anything important.  But since Josť has
> postulated the condition of its being thoroughly meaningful & proven, I want
> to respond on his reaction to that imagined state of affairs.
>
>         If what Josť said was, instead, an oversight in his writing, then
> I would like to hear discussion of psychological patterns of this type,
> which can cause a certain amount of misunderstanding & trouble.
>
> R
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-- 
www.michaelbalter.com

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Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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