Whitney Webb finishes her Epstein book

Even though the traditional media is doing its best to ignore the Epstein scandal and social media is distorting it with QAnon crap, there exists one woman with the intelligence, courage and integrity to do real journalism on the topic and that is Whitney Webb.

Webb has spent hours interviewing Epstein’s accuser and researching the case in general and produced a book that is available on amazon.

I have not read it but she says it’s extremely long and she explains where she got all her information.

Here’s an interesting podcast where she discusses her explosive research. She comes across as a bit of a rube, but she’s still arguably the best Epstein journalist there is (though she has little competition given how reluctant more established journalists are to touch this topic).

I have to say though after listening to the podcast I am more confused about the Epstein case than I was before. She mentions everything from Iran Contra to Organized Crime and even name checks Bob Rubin (LOL) and Roy Cohn.

My sense is that Epstein is a fairly unique case of an intelligence agency blackmailing elites, but she makes it sound like all elites are constantly blackmailing each other and have been for a long time. If this is true, it sounds like it takes even more IQ to get to the top in America, because there are so many traps.

Was white skin caused by domestication?

One of the great mysteries of recent evolution is why did the skin of Europeans and Northeast Asians become white? The traditional answer is that in colder climates, you need less protection from the sun so selection for dark skin becomes relaxed or even reversed because dark skin blocks too much vitamin D from the much less potent Northern sun.

One problem with this explanation is that arctic people, despite being further North, retain dark skin, and white skin didn’t become common in Europe until 12,000 to 6000 years ago, despite people living there for roughly 40,000 years.

One theory is that the less vitamin D rich diet imposed by agriculture meant Europeans suddenly needed to absorb vitamin D through their skin to compensate.

But I may have discovered another explanation. White skin appears to have emerged around the same time the human brain suddenly started shrinking (after 4 million years of growth). Now I’ve argued that most of this brain shrinkage was caused by the malnutrition of agriculture and we’ve recovered most of the lost brain mass with improved modern nutrients (giving rise to the Flynn effect).

However not all of our lost brain mass has come back, leading me towards a popular explanation pushed by several prominent scholars: Domestication. It’s well known that domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild ancestors.

It seems that the high IQ required to survive the cold Northern Eurasian winters had driven European and Northeast Asian brain size to ridiculously huge levels, but they couldn’t make full use of all that brain mass because they were still wild animals who would rather fight and bite than work as a team. Thus evolution sacrificed a tiny bit of individual brain mass (mostly from regions unrelated to cognition) to create a cooperative collective intelligence so powerful it would one day split the atom.

What does this have to do with white skin? Well, just as the animals they were domesticating would have white patches, perhaps white patches started showing up on Northern Eurasians. This may have inspired sexual selection for white skin against which the white patches would be invisible.

I suspect an even higher level of domestication occurred in India, but the intense sun killed off people born with white patches so skin remained dark.

Alex Jones takes the stand

Alex Jones is being sued for $150 million for his claims that the Sandy Hook shooting never happened and that the parents are a bunch of actors.

It will be interesting to see how much money the jury awards the parents for all the pain and suffering Jones has caused these victims of a tragedy, and how much Jones is ultimately forced to pay. He claims to have a negative net worth, but court documents show that at his peak, he earned 9 figures a year selling crap to his low IQ audience.

Third norming of the KAMIKAZE

I wasn’t planning on doing a third norming of the KAMIKAZE but after a commenter enquired about it, I discovered there was a lot more data to work with.

I now have 20 cases of KAMIKAZE takers reporting Wechsler IQs and the correlation between the two tests is 0.54 which is surprisingly low given how g loaded the WAIS-IV arithmetic subtest is.

It’s likely not the case that the correlation is depressed by range restriction, as the KAMIKAZE takers (mean 131; SD 16.5) were slightly more variable in their Wechsler IQs than the U.S. population (mean 100; SD 15) though this could be because these are self-reported Wechsler scores taken at different years which introduces new sources of variance.

One possibility is that Arithmetic is highly g loaded but math isn’t and the reason for that could be that math is much more dependent on education and practice, while Arithmetic is something few people practice, especially since the advent of calculators.

Another possibility is that the correlation is dragged down by the unreliability of self-reported Wechsler scores, my not correcting KAMIKAZE scores for age, and the fact that Wechsler and KAMIKAZE were not taken at the same time.

Nonetheless, when KAMIKAZE and Wechsler scores are both listed from highest to lowest, we get the following equivalencies:

Extreme female brain, social IQ, & gay genes

“Parsing Bill” by Petrina Ryan-KleidPetrina Ryan-Kleid

As discussed here many times, some psychologists speculate that autism is extreme male brain and that schizophrenia is extreme female brain. If this theory is correct, we’d expect the least autistic, and thus most socially intelligent men to be in touch with their feminine side, and it’s hard to think of a more socially intelligent man than Bill Clinton.

Although Clinton was arguably the smartest President of the 20th century, he is unarguably the most socially gifted President of any century. I remember seeing him on Donahue around age ten and predicting he’d be the next President because I had never before seen a talk show host as brilliant as Donahue be so dominated by their own guest. Donahue was blown off the stage and relegated to the back of the studio while Bill took over the show fielding questions from the studio audience.

It may be hard for young readers to relate to this because the Bill we see today is a shadow of his former self. Cognitive decline seems to be more acute in those from lower class backgrounds like Clinton

But in the late 1990s Chris Mathews and other pundits would gush every night about how Bill Clinton was the greatest political genius anyone had ever seen.

But one night Mathews said something especially interesting. Unlike most men, Clinton had no male heroes. He didn’t look up to war heroes and other great men of history like other Presidents did. It seemed Bill’s only heroes were women (something I can relate to). Hillary in particular who he would constantly praise for her incredible intelligence even though his own IQ was arguably much higher.

The reason Bill identifies so much with women is also the reason he’s so politically gifted: extreme female brain. The opposite of autism. Indeed so female is Clinton’s brain that when he ended his Presidency, he was in talks with major networks about hosting his own afternoon lady’s talk show, though talks broke down when the free market failed to offer him Oprah money. The New York Times wrote:

There is a delicious symmetry in Clinton’s exploring the idea of a daytime syndicated talk show: the man who brought Oprah-style psychobabble and misty confessions to politics taking the next step and actually transmogrifying into Oprah.

Being the opposite of autistic also made Clinton a big hit with the ladies, despite his mediocre looks. He had game and could charm any woman into the bedroom.

Although many men with extreme female brains are either too schizophrenic to get women, or become gay and thus don’t want them, there were probably many like Clinton who were just feminine enough to have brilliant social skills and intuition, which historically allowed them to breed prolifically. This explains why gays have not self-selected themselves out of the gene pool, despite not reproducing. They are a spandrel for the socially brilliant lady’s men like Bill Clinton.

A reader has WAIS-IV questions

A reader sent me the following email:

Hello Mr. Pumpkin,

I took the WAIS IV on 2016, and I got a FSIQ of 121 (GAI of 125). I was 23 years old at the time.

My verbal comprehension index was 130, with a 13 on similarities, and a 16 on both vocabulary and information. My perceptual reasoning index was 115, with a 12 on block design, a 14 on matrix reasoning, and a 12 on symbol search. On the working memory index I scored a 96, and I got an 11 on arithmetic, and a 7 on digit span. Lastly, on my processing speed index I got a 124, with a 17 on symbol search, and a 12 on coding. 

I was given no interpretation, but I did note the wide discrepancy between VCI and WMI, which is more than 23 points. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. 

Do my scores mean I am just an average person, and that I only got a 130 on VCI because I like to read a lot and I am in a PhD program in cognitive neuroscience? I did not struggle in college, and in my masters I found the classes too easy. I have only one publication, and another in progress. 

I am also concerned that before I took the WAIS IV, I had administered the matrix reasoning subtest of the WISC IV to several children as part of a research study, and that my 14 on matrix reasoning is highly inflated. Would there be a practice effect between matrix reasoning of WAIS and WISC? 

No I don’t think you’re average at all. The mere fact that you can handle a PhD program in a field as g loaded as cognitive neuroscience strongly suggests you’re at least IQ 115. Although your reading habits might have artificially increased your verbal IQ, you mentioned in another email that English is your second language which might have artificially decreased it.

On the other hand your score on Information and Vocabulary are both one standard deviation higher than your score on Similarities suggesting you are better at verbal knowledge than verbal thinking. Assuming this is signal not noise, it might be be because your reading habits give you an unfair advantage, or it simply might mean you have a really good long-term memory. I’m inclined to think it’s the latter for the reason explained above.

As for interpretations, I agree that you likely have ADD given your relatively low Working Memory index. Your relatively high processing speed suggests you’re not autistic.

As for your Matrix reasoning score being inflated by exposure to the children’s version of the test, perhaps subtract 0.5 from the scaled score, as that seems to be the practice effect:

Source: Estevis, E., Basso, M. R., & Combs, D. (2012). Effects of Practice on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV Across 3- and 6-Month Intervals. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 26(2), 239–254. doi:10.1080/13854046.2012.659219

In another email, the reader asked:

I also have another question. Why do you subtract points from scores due to the Flynn effect? Does it mean the obtained score is inaccurate? Or is it to present complete info?

Because your IQ is supposed to reflect where you stand compared to U.S./U.K. people of your age and birth year and when norms become old, they typically give inflated results because newer cohorts had better nutrition and schooling. I would not necessarily correct your scores for the Flynn effect because we don’t know if scores are still increasing since the WAIS-IV’s norming and with the cultural and biological damage of covid, we may even see a small reverse Flynn effect

Income inequality & the bell curve

Income doesn’t fit a bell curve, at least not at the high end. The bottom 5% of U.S. households have incomes below $10,000, the median U.S. household has an income of $67,463, the top 1% earn $504,000 a year, while Elon Musk sold at least $4 billion in stock this year . Assuming about 122 million households in the U.S., if household income fit a bell curve, it would look like this:

$10,000 = -1.66 SD (standard deviation) (bottom 5% of bell curve)

$67,463 = 0 SD (middle of bell curve)

$504,000 = +2.33 SD (top 1% of bell curve)

$4 billion = +5.66 SD (top one in 122 million on bell curve)

But as we can see, most of the data points are nowhere near the line of best fit:

To make the distribution more normal (which is useful for regression analysis), scientists often take the natural log of income instead of income itself. If we do this, we get the following:

9.21 = -1.66 SD (bottom 5% of bell curve)

11.12 = 0 SD (middle of bell curve)

13.13 = +2.33 SD (top 1% of bell curve)

22.1 = +5.66 SD (top one in 122 million on the bell curve)

When we use the natural log of income, it relates to normalized Z scores in a much more linear way.

Perhaps Elizabeth Warren or some other left-wing politician could propose a tax bill where people could keep 100% of their household income, as long as it didn’t exceed the natural log multiplied by $10,000. That way the middle class and below would not have to pay anything, but the top 1% could only keep $130,000 of their $504,000 a year, and Elon Musk could only keep about $220,000 of his $4 billion stock sale.

Of course such a law would probably destroy the economy but at least Marxists would finally have an intelligent answer to the question “what’s my fair share?” when they demand rich folks pay it.

Your fair share is how much the bell curve says it should be. The bell curve is natural law.

What comes first: autism or the lack of pruning?

Commenter Ellen Brady writes:

I actually agree with this theory of the autistic brain not able to prune itself. .My son is autistic and can learn spatial material in a short amount of time but is not able to stretch his thinking overtime and cannot identify social cues or life skills in the long run.

The question is what comes first? The autism or the failure to prune. It could be that typical kids are so interested in people that certain spatial synapses are not much used. The brain identifies a synapse that has not been used in a certain amount of time and prunes it as redundant so that more resources can be used to strengthen the synapses that are being used (the social ones). By contrast if the autistic child has little interest in people and spends all day visualizing objects, thus using the very synapses that are normally pruned and derailing the pruning process.

On the other hand it could be that the pruning fails to occur regardless of what the child does, and the obsession with weird topics is a product, not a cause of abnormal pruning. For example because of a failure to prune useless synapses, the child might have a savant like ability to play any piece of music after a single hearing or know the day of the week of every date in history.

If Northeast Asians are so smart, why aren’t they more creative?

Despite having slightly higher IQs and slightly more (relative) brain mass, East Asians are considered less creative than whites. How can this be? I see three major reasons.

Social Organization

As humans marched up the evolutionary tree from our tropical ape roots to the frozen tundra of Siberia, we became more orderly (as Rushton noted). This required more mentally stable conformists, less rebellious psychotics combining ideas in strange ways and questioning the leader.

Patriarchal society

As humans migrated North, women were forced to stay home and raise babies while the men did the hunting. The problem with relegating women to this domestic role is that East Asian brain size superiority is entirely driven by women. East Asian men actually have smaller (absolute) brains than white men, but East Asian women dwarf non-Mongoloid women in brain size.

This makes sense because Peter Frost notes that polymorphisms for the gene CASC5 increase brain size in women, are especially common in East Asians, and became prevalent in the ice age:

 Cold, seasonal environments did impose new cognitive demands on early modern humans, first by increasing their need to plan ahead over a yearly cycle and second by providing them with new tasks: garment making, needlework, weaving, leatherworking, and kiln operation. Women performed those tasks because the environment offered them few opportunities for food gathering—the usual female activity before the advent of farming. They thus moved into artisanal tasks that not only required greater cognitive ability but also offered much potential for further development. This was the “original industrial revolution” and it was led by women

But since the World only sees male ideas for the most part, East Asian creativity is less visible.

Creativity overrated

The final reason why East Asians are not as creative as you’d expect given their slightly higher IQs is that creativity (independent of IQ) is overrated. Think about wikipedia’s definition of creativity: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed.” Take away the “new” requirement and that’s pretty much the definition of intelligence. While other races are creating something NEW and valuable, East Asians are smart enough to know it’s the valuable part that has value (by definition), and thus don’t waste time reinventing. This is as more highly evolved and efficient problem solving approach.

And ultimately, if an idea is valuable, it’s probably also new because the laws of supply and demand assign more value to that which is rare. At the highest levels, intelligence and creativity become indistinguishable because so few people can solve the hardest puzzles that such solutions have seldom been seen before. But when creativity tests allot extra points to original answers to relatively easy questions like “what would use a brick for?” they may be measuring little more than weirdness (“I’d use it to comb my hair”).

As we can see from this scene in CRAZY RICH ASIANS, we have two highly intelligent Asian girls, the one who returned from university with a traditional degree is praised. The one who did something original with her life, is mocked as “Asian Ellen” (LOL! now that line was creative! )

Is autism just short-term adaptability?

For years I’ve argued that intelligence is your ability to adapt; to take whatever situation you’re in and turn it around to your advantage.

The reason this definition resonates with me is that it’s what separates man from beast. Beasts have every advantage compared to weak, furless, fangless, clawless, slow humans, yet we have this mysterious ability to turn the situation to our advantage and dominate animals twice our size and strength. When other animals enter a new environment they become a new species because the previous species couldn’t adapt. Homo Sapiens by contrast has been adaptable enough to conquer almost every continent while remaining Homo Sapiens.

The question is are we adaptable because our behavior is plastic or because our brains are plastic? The answer is both. Our behavior is plastic because we can solve problems we’ve never seen before but our brains are also plastic because once it’s clear we’re in an environment that favours hunting skills, synapses unrelated to hunting get pruned while those related to hunting get strengthened.

In autism this doesn’t happen. The brain does not prune itself and leading experts in the field are baffled as to why.

My theory is that by not pruning, behavior remains plastic, because the brain has not invested in any one skill. This explains why autistics are good at tasks measuring fluid intelligence (Raven Progressive Matrices, Block Design) but bad on tasks requiring life experience (social skills) and remain childlike in their personalities.

The autistic brain is built for short-term adaptability. Humans in general are built for short-term adaptability because when we entered the arctic 40,000 years ago, we didn’t wait many generations to evolve fur, we simply invented the fur coat in one generation. However among humans, autistics may be the shortest-term adapters. This explains why through most of history, when change happened slowly, neurotypicals were the richest people, but during periods of rapid change like today, autistic type nerds tend to be super rich.