Trump wins second debate!

I have to give Trump credit.  Despite having virtually no political experience, he went face to face with one of the most experienced and intelligent politicians in America Sunday night, and beat her at her own game.

And he was quick on his feet.

Hillary said “It’s just a good thing that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” to which Trump brilliantly replied:

“Because you’d be in jail.”

The crowd went wild.

That’ll go down in history as one of the greatest debate moments in U.S. history, along with “you’re no Jack Kennedy” and Reagan’s famous “there you go again.”

In an earlier post, I had somewhat facetiously estimated Trump’s IQ to be only 94 (white norms) because he failed to correctly multiply 17 by 6.  Perhaps his Arithmetic IQ is only 94, but having beat the 140 IQ Hillary in a debate (something not even Barack Obama accomplished), I assign him a verbal-improvisational IQ of 140.

Debating must be a fairly g loaded skill, so Trump’s debate performance, especially against a much more experienced opponent is empirical evidence of IQ.

Arithmetic and debating can be thought of two very different kinds of “verbal” subtests and Trump clocks in at IQ 117 when both are averaged .  On the WAIS-III IQ test, someone who averages the equivalent of IQ 117 on the various verbal subtest,  clocks in at IQ 121 on the composite verbal score (a good proxy for overall IQ).

Trump is probably smarter than your typical inheritance billionaire (IQ  114) because he built on his inheritance, but he’s probably not as smart as your typical self-made billionaire (IQ 132).  An IQ of 121 is entirely believable.

Nonetheless, winning a debate and winning an election are two very different things.  It’s unlikely Trump’s strong debate performance will heal his political wounds caused by a release of audio of him saying extremely lewd things.

More evidence that intelligence is the ability to adapt

I have long championed the view that intelligence is the mental ability to adapt: to take whatever situation you’re in, and turn it around to your advantage.  I fell in love with this definition because it unified the many parts of intelligence (verbal ability, spatial ability, Theory of Mind) into a single system, and because it placed intelligence at its rightful place at the pinnacle of evolution: for all animals have adaptations, but humans dominate, because our adaptation is the ability to adapt itself.

But the question becomes, why did humans become so uniquely intelligent?  The logical theory that I had always believed, and that Darwin himself believed, was that it was bipedalism. Once we started walking erect, we freed our hands up to make tools and this selected for intelligence, which allowed us to make more tools, which selected for even more intelligence.


And yet the fossil record shows intelligence did not immediately follow bipedalism.  Indeed our ape ancestors may have been bipedal for nearly four million without showing much of any evidence for increased brain size or intelligence.

Then only in about the last few million years did brain size suddenly TRIPLE.  How do we explain this?

Scholar Rick Potts argues that during the last few million or so years there was rapid climate change in Africa.  Massive droughts followed by massive wet periods followed by massive droughts.  Lakes would come and go in the blink of a geological eye.  One day it dawned on Potts that it wasn’t the particular environment that was selecting for intelligence, it was the constant CHANGE in environment.

And who thrives in a constantly changing environment?  Those who can adapt.

Of course every organism adapts to its environment, that’s the point of evolution, however most organisms adapt by changing their genes over many generations.  We also adapted by changing our genes, but we took it a step further: We were selected for genes that allowed us to change our BEHAVIOR, which allowed rapid instantaneous change, far outpacing slow genetic change.

Intelligence is just whatever mental abilities are needed to change your behavior as successfully as possible.  Those who couldn’t learn quickly and think creatively during rapid change died out, leaving bigger brained primates as the survivors.

As an HBDer, I have long believed that adapting to newer colder climates caused whites and Northeast Asians to evolve especially high intelligence,  but I had no idea that climate change in Africa was so key to the evolution of human intelligence itself.

This theory is discussed starting at the 40 minute mark in the below video:


Antiquity of the three main races

It’s hard to say how many races there are, but there are at least three: Negroids, Caucasoids, and Mongoloids.  However not all three races have existed for the same amount of time.  One race is about as old as humanity itself, while another is barely as old as agriculture.

Negroid race: About 125,000 years old

According to modern science, all living women can trace their mitochondrial DNA back to a single woman who lived in Africa about 125,000 years ago, known as the Mitochondrial Eve.  When Eve’s face was digitally reconstructed (see below), it became clear that she was Negroid, which means the Negroid race is 125,000 years old.

Image found here:

Image found here:

By about 60,000 years ago, all modern humans were still Negroid (below is a forensic reconstruction of a man thought to live 60,000 years ago)


By about 50,000 years ago modern humans had left Africa, but even the non-African humans remained very dark.  It takes about 20,000 years for skin to evolve from black to white.

Caucasoid race: About 31,000 years old

By about 35,000 years ago, some modern humans start losing their negroid features.  We see incipient proto-Caucasoids emerging in Europe.

By 31,000 years ago, the transformation from Negroid to Caucasoid is complete, and we see the first evidence of a fully Caucasoid face (below is a reconstruction of Miladec-1, an upper Paleolithic skull from central Europe).


Mongoloid race: About 11,000 years old

According to scholar Peter Brown, there’s no evidence of Mongoloids until as recently as 11,000 years ago, first appearing in the Americas.  Mongoloids don’t unequivocally appear on the Asian mainland until 7000 years ago.


Racial antiquity and supremacy

Afrocentrists welcome the idea that blacks are the oldest race because it means blacks are the original humans who first colonized much of the Earth.  This is in sharp contrast to the Eurocentric view that Adam and Eve were white Europeans made in God’s perfect image, and all other races were a degradation of this original perfect form.  Instead, what the science shows is that blacks were the original human form.

However in 1989, scholar J.P. Rushton flipped this idea on its head by suggesting that evolution might be progressive, so newer races should be more advanced than older races.  He argued that Mongoloids were more evolved than Caucasoids who were more evolved than Negroids, but perhaps because the concept of “more evolved“, especially in the context of extant populations, is dismissed as pseudoscience by so many scientists, he shrewdly downplayed this part of his theory.

But regardless of whether one believes in evolutionary progress or not, the fact remains that Negroids are the parents of the human family, Caucasoids are the children, and Mongoloids are the grandchildren.   In a sense this gives blacks a kind of moral authority that Caucasoids and especially Mongoloids can’t match.  For blacks are your elders, even when they’re younger than you.

And people should respect their elders.

Prehistoric genocide

With Halloween only weeks away, I have to share one of the most terrifying images of my childhood.  When I was a little kid (I’m now in my 30s) I was already really interested in evolution, but in all the books on the subject I had leafed through, nothing scared me or captured my imagination as much as this image.



I wish I could credit the artist, but it’s from a 1979 TIME-LIFE book called Early Man by F. Clark Howell and the editors of TIME-LIFE books.

It terrified me because it depicts the more evolved australopithecines killing off the primitive Australopithecus robustus but it captured my imagination because it shows Africa in all its glory.  There was such beauty in living in Africa millions of years ago, at the dawn of humanity while the setting sun subtly colors the rocks on the hills.  The open fields and endless landscape, on a lonely planet with only a few scattered Stone Age tribes on just a single continent.

In the picture, the more advanced tribe adapts the situation to their advantage by using lighter but sharper rocks, while the monkey tribe gets much less bang for their buck by draining their energy with heavy blunter weapons.

Intelligent behavior = low cost/benefit behavior.

The Friday the 13th movies show how IQ becomes more heritable with age

With Halloween only weeks away, the topics on this blog are getting darker.  I find it fascinating how art imitates life, even when the artists don’t understand the life they are imitating.  I doubt the writers of the original Friday the 13th movies (released in the 1980s) understood the concept of heritability, let alone the fact that heritability increases with age, and yet their main character, the iconic hockey mask wearing machete wielding killer, Jason, was a perfect example of exactly that.

In the late 20th century, it was discovered that genes explain about 45% of the IQ variation in childhood, 65% of the variation in adolescence, and about 80% in later maturity.  Family environment explains about 35% of the IQ variation in childhood, and near zero by later adulthood.  Meanwhile chance environment explains about 25% at all ages.

The character of Jason was born with extremely bad genes for IQ, a genetic condition called hydrocephalis, where there is too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, causing the head to swell and deform.  Yet despite his extremely bad genes, growing up he would have scored above 60 on IQ tests because his mother was constantly teaching him and getting him to participate in educational activities like summer camp.



The late actress Betsy Palmer was brilliant as Jason’s all American mother; the ultimate summer camp mom

However the problem with trying to educated people beyond their genetic ability, is that as soon as they are placed in a novel situation, they can’t adapt, and their learning and training is useless.  For Jason, that novel situation was going swimming one evening at Camp Crystal Lake.


Not intelligent enough to remember how to swim, he almost drowned and was washed to the other side of the lake.  When he came out of the water, in the unfamiliar wilderness, he could not adapt by finding his way back to the camp, let alone to his grieving mother.  So he simply lived in the woods like animal, for decades.

So he started with a great environment (being raised by an attentive all-American mother) which artificially propped his IQ up above 60, but because his genetic ability was so low, when faced with a truly novel problem (nearly drowning and washing up in an unfamiliar part of the woods), he turned the situation to his disadvantage, by getting stranded in the woods for decades and becoming a feral child, losing his capacity for speech.


So what started as extremely bad genes being propped up by a good environment (attentive mother) became extremely bad genes in an extremely bad environment (living like an animal in the woods).  This is a classic example of the gene-environment correlation increasing with age: bad genes create bad environments, even when they start with good environments.

This shows that while a good cultural environment can raise IQ scores, it can’t do much to raise real intelligence.  Because if real intelligence was being raised, why do genetically dull people from good environments see their IQs drop with age?  It’s not that the effects of environment fade, it’s that environmentally enhanced IQs were never real to begin with, which is precisely why they can’t maintain their good environments.

By the time Jason was in his 30s (my age), not only had his low genetic IQ destroyed his cultural environment (living in the woods devoid of all culture) but he had finally destroyed his biological environment, as his violent behavior caused someone to sink a machete into his head, physically damaging his brain.



Such damage from the physical environment, like the cultural deprivation of becoming a feral child, damaged his IQ score, but unlike cultural deprivation, the biological insults destroy real intelligence, and not mere test performance.

Jason was born with a genetic IQ of perhaps 40, but because of a loving mother (good environment) he had a phenotypic IQ of over 60 in childhood.  But because the phenotypic IQ was artificially propped up by an environment he could not adapt to his advantage, his environment precipitously declined, until his IQ was as low as his genetic IQ.


Canadian provinces ranked by IQ

Commenter JS was interested in how Canadian provinces ranked by IQ so I decided to look into this.  In 2013, the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) test was administered to a sample of more than 32,000 Grade 8 students from across the country.  Scores were given in reading, math, and science, but I decided to focus only on reading and math, since those are the basics, and resemble the familiar U.S. SAT scores so often used as proxies for IQ.

In researching the PCAP, I learned that each subscale was normed so that the distribution for all Canadians has a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 100.  However by 2013, the mean Canadian reading score had drifted up to 508 and the mean math score had drifted up to 507 (I assume the SDs had remained at 100).  Assuming the correlation between reading and math scores is 0.67 (as it is for the SAT), I calculated that the composite score (reading + math) would have a mean of 1015 and a standard deviation of 182.76.  For each province, I converted the reading, math, and composite score into a Z score relative to the distribution of all Canadians.  These Z scores were then converted to IQs by multiply by the IQ SD of Candians, and adding it to the mean Canadian IQ.

To determined the IQ mean and SD of Canadians, I noted that on a scale where the mean and SD for all Americans is set at 100 and 15 respectively, Canadians average 104.5 (SD = 13.4) and white Americans average 103.4 (SD = 14).  But on a scale where the mean and SD of white Americans is set at 100 and 15 respectively, Canadians average 101 (SD = 14.36) and all Americans average 96.36 (SD = 16.07).  The first scale is known as U.S. norms, while the second is known as U.S. white norms.


reading iq

(u.s.white norms)

math iq

(u.s. white norms)

composite iq

(u.s. white norms)

composite iq

(u.s. norms)

ontario 103 102 103 106
quebec 100 104 102 105
alberta 100 100 100 103
british columbia 100 98 99 103
prince edward island 99 99 99 103
newfoundland and labrador 99 98 98 102
saskatchewan 98 98 98 102
nova scotia 98 98 98 102
new brunswick 96 97 96 100
manitoba 95 96 95 99


The vast majority of Canadian provinces average IQs below the U.S. white mean (100, U.S. white norms)  However because high IQ provinces like Ontario and Quebec are the most populous, the average Canadian is smarter than the average white American, and is substantially smarter than the average of all Americans (96.35 U.S. white norms). Only one Canadian province (Manitoba) falls below the overall U.S. mean, though only by 1 point.

The 8 point IQ gap

Toronto: One of the most vibrant cities in the World

With a mean IQ of 103 (U.S. white norms) it comes as no surprise that Canada’s smartest province is Ontario, since this province is home to both the nation’s capital (Ottawa) and its most populous city (Toronto).

While Canadians like to think of ourselves (correctly in my opinion) as a much less socially stratified country than the United States, there remains a shocking 8 point IQ gap between the mean IQ of Ontario (103, U.S. white norms) and Manitoba (95, U.S. white norms).  It’s unclear if this gap is cultural or biological.  The  most obvious explanation is economic selection.  The brightest folks migrate to the richest and most powerful province (Ontario), leaving the less intelligent behind in Manitoba.

Manitoba: The province Canada forgot

Unlike the skyscrapers and busy streets that adorn Ontario, Manitoba is full of dreary run down shacks cursed by terrifying Northern lights.

One can drive for hours in Manitoba and not see a single person.  Sometimes the only thing scarier than not being able to find human life in Manitoba, is actually finding it:

Low IQ Manitobans who can not achieve wealth or status, will get pleasure from the simple things in life, like enjoying the Northern lights, or gazing at the sun rise.

While Manitoba is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, it is also a land of great poverty:

Manitoba is a land of great beauty and serenity.  A place where you can turn off the noise of modernity and get in touch with your sense of awe and wonder.

And while it appears to be the least intelligent province in Canada, the average Manitoban is about as bright as the average American.



Open thread: Sept 29, 2016

For comments unrelated to my recent post An analysis of the Flynn effect, please post in the comment section here. Please post about any topic at all.

With Fall now upon us, I wanted to post a clip from one of the greatest moments in horror history.  The closet scene in John Carpenter’s classic 1978 film Halloween:

The original Halloween was an incredibly classy film.  My hero, the late Roger Ebert, generally hated slasher films, but he thought Halloween was excellent and named it one of the 10 best films of 1978.  Much of the film’s appeal comes from the stylish performance of Jamie Lee Curtis, who played the quiet nerdy all-American suburban babysitter Laurie Strode: The quintessential girl next door, who manages to keep her head together under pressure.

Laurie got much better grades than her slutty best friends who were killed off that Halloween night, but the real test of her intelligence was her ability to adapt.  Despite the killer having every advantage (bigger, stronger, taller, a butcher knife), Laurie turns the situation around to her advantage, literally turning a close hanger into a weapon.

But for those who like newer movies, I recently saw Into the Forest.  Not really a horror film at all (though there were some horrific scenes), though this was classified as horror by my cable company.  I LOVE post-apocalyptic films like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and this was another of that ilk.  There’s just something so incredibly cozy about the End of the World, especially when a few loved ones are forced to stick together and survive in a house in the Woods, as the rest of society crumbles.  And of course I adore actress Ellen Page who gained fame in Juno.  She just has a certain quality about her.

A bunch of us at work are extremely excited about the new Edward Snowden movie since it relates so closely to what we do everyday.  Oliver Stone deserves great credit for telling this man’s story.  As usual O’reilly doesn’t get it: