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 &
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
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.