Here’s my estimate of the IQ of the smartest person in various races, based on the average IQ and population size. All IQs are on a scale where British and American whites have a mean of 100 (standard deviation = 15). Because of lack of precise data, I assumed a normal distribution and a standard deviation of 15 for all races, though these assumptions are surely wrong in some cases:
Some of these abilities may load too much on physicality (body-kinesthetic) or personality (intrapersonal) to seem appropriate for an IQ test. Others may seem too narrow or specific (musical) to measure the broad adaptability we associate with the word “intelligence”.
Because IQ tests typically only directly measure the first two or three of these domains, yet still claim to measure all of intelligence, it’s fascinating to ask what would be the IQ of someone brilliant enough to qualify as a Genius in two of these domains, especially two of those domains not directly measured by IQ tests.
Perhaps one such person is Michael Jackson. Jackson’s musical Genius is shown by the fact that he largely composed the songs of Thriller, which reigned as the best selling album of all time for three decades.
In a court appearance, Jackson explained how he composes music, simulating musical instruments with his voice:
His bodily-kinesthetic genius is shown by Fred Astaire calling him the greatest dancer of the 20th century and Gene Kelley praising his “native histrionic intelligence”.
So powerful was Jackson’s rare combination of musical and kinesthetic Genius that while only a young child, he propelled himself and his lower class family to fame and fortune by leading the Jackson 5, and was already being compared to James Brown for his dazzling stage moves and incredible singing range. Jackson has always maintained that his musical and dancing talents were natural. When journalist Martin Bashir asked Jackson if anyone taught him, he replied “no, you can’t teach that”.
The money started pouring in. By the 1980s, Jackson was packing stadiums full of hysterical screaming fainting fans of every race all over the World. Unthinkable of for a black man in that era. By now he was making money on top of money and was so worshiped by his fans that when he’d get plastic surgery, they would too and when Jackson was accused of crimes, they would travel thousands of miles to harass his accusers. At his peak, Jackson was a deity, his bleached skin glowing like a Hindu God.
And yet for all his talent, wealth and adulation, Jackson would spend the final years of his life in exile, unwelcome in the U.S., hiding under a burqa in Bahrain, laughed at on late night TV, shunned by other stars, prank called on radio, trapped by debt and dubbed “Wacko Jacko” by the British press.
Like Leonardo da Vinci, another multi-domain Genius who would reject social norms, Jackson was accused of homosexual crimes in a court of law (settling out of court for tens of millions the first time, winning in court the second time).
And yet despite such disturbing developments, the power of Jackson’s talent was so great that when he died at age 50, the whole World slipped into mass hysteria with people crying on the streets from Toronto to Tokyo, the internet crashing, stars paying tribute, and his music playing everywhere. So powerful was Jackson’s death that it upstaged the election of the first black President, causing some fans to complain that Obama, (who declined to make an official statement) was jealous.
So what was his IQ?
This is a very tricky question to answer because Jackson was a man of contradictions. On the one-hand described as a street-smart, multi-talented Genius, but on the other hand, pitied as childlike and naive.
PART 1: EVIDENCE OF HIGH IQ
Wealth and status
Jackson showed great adaptability in that despite growing up poor and black during an era of great racial prejudice, he went on to become one of the richest and most worshiped people in America, revered by millions around the World including show business royalty like Elizabeth Taylor and Fred Astaire.
Publicist Bob Jones would stand in awe that all those white fans would pay money to see a black man. Unheard of at the time.
Then Jackson did what no one thought a black man could ever do. Zack O’Malley Greenburg writes:
In 1985, he shelled out $47.5 million to buy a publishing catalog that included 250 Beatles songs. Ten years later Sony paid Jackson $90 million for half the rights, forming a joint venture called Sony/ATV.
Today, the Jackson estate and Sony share ownership of the catalog, which now boasts half a million songs including titles by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eminem and other artists. Insiders place the catalog’s value somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, based on estimated proceeds of $50 million to $100 million per year. The estimate marks a 3,000% increase in value from the catalog’s initial purchase price — better than the 1,650% return on Class A shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 1990.
Additional evidence of Jackson’s high IQ comes from the subjective impressions of those who knew him best.
In a 1993 interview, Elizabeth Taylor told Oprah that Jackson was “highly intelligent”, “shrewd”, and “intuitive”.
According to Steven Spielberg:
He’s in full control. Sometimes he appears to other people to be wavering on the fringe of twilight, but there is great conscious forethought behind everything he does. He is definitely a man of two personalities.
From Michael Jackson Unauthorized by Christopher Andersen
According to one member of his staff:
He has a split personality. He is very bright and self-destructively brilliant. He has an extremely high IQ and certain quirks and personality disorders. He might have six or twenty sides of him, and they’re all competing against each other.
From Michael Jackson Unauthorized by Christopher Andersen
This quote is insightful because it explains how even though intelligence is cognitive adaptability, smart people can be maladaptive if they have competing goals to adapt to.
Alleged evil genius
Evan Chandler, the father of Jackson’s first sexual abuse accuser, Jordy, felt he was a master-manipulator and one of the “smartest streetwise people” he’d “ever met, and if you sit down and have any long conversations with him…that guy is extremely bright.”
Evan was quoted in his brother Raymond’s book as saying Jackson would deny child molestation in a “little-boy voice” but that “his smile was chilling…the entire world had been fooled by this pitiful creature with a brilliant but criminal mind”
“He knew what he was doing,” said Jimmy Safechuck , a 40-year-old computer programmer who claims he was molested by Jackson as a boy in HBO’s new documentary Leaving Neverland. “He has a way of sensing weakness in families. He has a really good sense of people and can read people really well. First, I think he’s physically attracted to the kid, and then he reads the family and just knows how to work it”
If Jackson was indeed guilty of these horrific crimes, it’s most remarkable that in a country where black men were lynched for just looking at a white man’s woman sexually, that a black man could actually molest the white males themselves, and so blatantly and when they tried to complain, their reputations were lynched by Jackson’s fans. In a sick way, Jackson may have been quite cunning in turning the racial tables so completely, so soon after the civil rights movement.
After Jackson held a boy on his lap while sitting next to the Prince of Monoco at an award show and continued to flout his critics by traveling with boys after being accused of molestation, the message was clear according to journalist Diane Diamond: You can’t stop me. I’m Michael Jackson
High IQ physique
As I’ve previously discussed, weight/height ratio is negatively correlated with IQ, so Jackson’s low body mass index at death (5’9″ 136 lbs) is very mildly indicative of high IQ
PART 2: EVIDENCE OF LOW IQ
Contrary to the business savvy, street smart man described above, Jackson showed incredibly bad judgement in the final decades of his life. He gave journalist Martin Bashir unprecedented access to his personal life, naively trusting him to to do a flattering documentary, only to find himself portrayed as a pedophile, leading to criminal charges. Contrary to the master manipulator described by Evan Chandler, it seemed Jackson was the one who got played.
He used further bad judgement in dangling his baby from a balcony to placate screaming fans who wanted to see it, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on high interest credit, bizarrely covering his children’s faces with masks to hide their identity, and using propofol as a sleeping aid, causing his early death.
How does one reconcile such bad judgement with the artistic and business savvy he showed early in his career? Oprah has argued that by seldom attending high school, he missed out on the socialization process. J.P. Rushton also blamed socialization, telling me that eminent blacks may fall from grace because they never learned white middle class norms. Others argue that by constantly being catered to, he began to see himself as untouchable and invincible. Some have even suggested he had schizophrenia or autism (a disorder in which some have islands of Genius despite social retardation) however this explanation is hard to square with Evan Chandler’s description of Jackson as a master manipulator. One possibility is that his judgement was impaired by extreme drug use.
In her book The Secret: The Story of Brilliant, Beautiful, Handicapped, Michael Jackson special education teacher Patricia Eddington argues that despite being extremely gifted on the right-side of the brain, the left-side of his brain is like a young child’s.
In support of her provocative theory she cites, among other things, the fact that he had hundreds of children sleep in his bed and hung out with them playing with water balloons and giving them babyish nicknames, cries all the time, is lonely all the time, blows kisses, covers his mouth in public, started an “Apple Head Club” and was nicknamed Apple Head (and Doo Doo head) through his life, waved to the audience after being severely burned, lived with his parents until 27, stated “that’s not nice, right?” at age 45, had manikins in his room and a secret room with rag dolls and Peter Pan sheets, had three hour phone calls to a child, was best friends with Bubbles the Chimp and brought him to a formal tea party, told a person in labor not to curse but to say “shoot”and “fudge”, owns statues of Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse, said “I always want to play hide and seek”, claimed he could have healed Hitler, said “I’d be walking around holding these baby dolls and I’d be crying”, called a music executive “very very devilish”, and said “I’m the one who looks stinky”.
According to director Brett Ratner, Jackson put on an incredible hulk mask, and through a water balloon at a homeless man from his limo. According to testimony, Jackson would throw stones at the lion in his private zoo, just to make it roar.
Alleged racial prejudice
Some studies suggest racism is a sign of low IQ.
Although Jackson’s incredible talents and success helped blacks to gain social acceptance in the racist 1980s, there are claims that he may have dramatically altered his skin colour and facial features to look white and didn’t want black kids, and reportedly described blacks as “splaboos” and/or “spabooks” according to Bob Jones and journalist Maureen Orth respectively. Jackson however denied racial self-hatred, claiming his vitiligo is genetic.
But when facing legal trouble, Jackson was not above playing the race card according to journalist Roger Friedman:
Jackson, according to my sources, knew he was in trouble after the arrest in November 2003—not so much with the police but with the public. My sources insist that he called his inner circle together and said, “We have to push the ‘red’ button.” His idea was to create sympathy for himself by inventing a race war of some kind. “He wanted it to be like O.J., a black vs. white issue,” says my source. “He wanted the black community to burn down police stations, riot and protest if they [the police and authorities] went against him.”
At autopsy, Jackson’s brain weight at age 50 in 2009 was 1380 g. By contrast white and black men (average age 60) averaged 1392 g and 1286 g respectively circa 1980.
PART 3: STATISTICALLY EXPECTED IQ
Since IQ correlates positively with all mental abilities, including those not directly measured by IQ tests, it’s interesting to ask “what is the statistically expected IQ of the greatest black musical and kinesthetic Genius of the boomer generation?”
At their peak, there were 78.8 million boomers and perhaps 11.67% were black. If Jackson was arguably the greatest black musical and the greatest black body-kinesthetic Genius of his generation, he would have been in the top one in 9.2 million level among black Americans (+5.2 standard deviations on a normalized curve) in both domains.
However great achievement requires more than just raw talent. It also helps to have 10,000 hours of practice, among other things. Raw talent seems to explain 66% to 70% of the variance in various cognitive performance, suggesting talent correlates 0.82 with performance. Thus we might guess Jackson was 0.82(+5.2 SD) = +4.3 SD above the U.S. black mean in both domains.
Musical ability correlates about 0.59 with IQ so we’d expect black Americans with Jackson’s musical gifts to average 0.59(+4.3 SD) = +2.5 SD above their mean. When the U.S. white distribution is set to have a mean and SD of 100 and 15 respectively, black Americans average about 85 (SD 15) so blacks as musically gifted as Jackson would average IQs of 2.5(15) + 85 = 123.
Similarly, physical coordination correlates 0.35 with IQ so black Americans as kinesthetically gifted as Jackson would average 0.35(+4.3 SD) = 1.5 standard deviations above the black mean of 85, which is IQ 108.
What would be the expected IQ of a black American who was +5.2 SD in both domains? If we assume musical and kinesthetic ability are only correlated because of their shared correlation with IQ (0.59 and 0.35 respectively), then we assume their correlation is the product of both numbers (0.21) which means their joint independent predictive power is as follows (hat-tip to a Promethean who taught me this math so very long ago):
IQ = 0.54(musical talent) + 0.24(kinesthetic talent) above black mean
IQ =0.54(+4.3 SD) + 0.24(+4.3 SD) above black mean
IQ = 2.3 SD + 1.0 SD above black mean
IQ = 3.3 SD above black mean
IQ =3.3(15) + 85
IQ = 135
Note, this was not nessessarily Jackson’s actual IQ, it’s simply the average IQ you’d expect from African Americans with such spectacular musical and bodily-kinesthetic achievements. In part 4 we’ll try to see how close the statistical prediction came to the psychometric reality.
PART 4: ESTIMATED PSYCHOMETRIC DATA
To my knowledge, no actual IQ scores or achievement scores obtained by Jackson have ever been publicly revealed. However from various writings, drawings, and anecdotes, it might be possible to reconstruct how he would have scored on IQ type tests.
Estimated verbal knowledge IQ 98 (average range)
Biographer Christopher P. Andersen writes about Jackson playing the scarecrow in The Wiz (a 1978 black version of The Wizard of Oz):
Michael might have seemed typecast as the Scarecrow, a good-natured but dim-witted character who is searching for a brain. As he neared adulthood, it was becoming increasingly clear to Michael that his formal education was sadly lacking. And never more so than, while filming a scene, he unintentionally broke up the crew during rehearsals by pronouncing Socrates “So-crates” (as in packing Crates”). From the wings, Quincy Jones whispered the correct pronunciation–much to Michael’s relief.
Anybody who spent time with Michael soon realized that his inability to pronounce the names of ancient Greek philosophers was not his only failing. No one, for example, had ever bothered to teach him how to eat with utensils. Rock journalist Timothy White recalled what it was like to dine with Michael and two record company executives at an elegant French restaurant in Manhattan. “When his Caesar salad is placed before him, he looks down at the plate and begins eating each dripping leaf with his spidery fingers, oily dressing accumulating on the table cloth.
Michael, tucking his napkin into the collar of his T-shirt, then whispered to the waiter, “What’s qweech?” When the quiche lorraine arrived, Michael “stabs his fingers into the steaming wedge, gathers up a gooey hunk, and begins gobbling it off his palm. ‘It’s like ham and eggs!'”
When he wasn’t “licking his gooey knuckles,” Michael also displayed an alarming ignorance of current events during this particularly revealing meal. He admitted that he had no idea what Watergate was all about. “It was terrible wasn’t it?” he said. “I guess it was. Have you met Nixon? Is he happy? I saw him on TV last year, and he looked so unhappy!”
When someone at the table alluded to the president Jimmy Carter’s White House predecessor, an incredulous Michael gasped, “Excuse me? Vice President Ford was a president? Really? Boy, I gotta keep up on these things!”
Michael Jackson Unauthorized by Christopher Andersen
Elsewhere in the book Andersen notes that an adult Jackson did not know who James Dean was, couldn’t define the word “mystique” and claims Norman Winter was flabbergasted that despite pushing thirty and spending a quarter of his life in show business, Jackson had never heard of Greta Garbo.
“The guy never grew up,” said Winters. ” That doesn’t mean he’s not bright. He is, but there is so much he doesn’t know.”
I too have noticed Jackson’s lack of knowledge. When Jesse Jackson asked him if he was “stung” by child molestation accusations, Jackson seemed baffled by that word in that context. In a discussion with rabbi Shmuley Boteach, he didn’t know what a “secular Jew” was.
According to blogger Sam L Parity, Jackson could not spell the word “pen” in a handwritten note he left.
Jackson’s lack of general knowledge is important because in most versions of the Wechsler intelligence scales, general knowledge correlates very highly with overall IQ.
On the other hand the correlation may not apply in Jackson’s case. Most low IQ people have poor general knowledge in part because they dropped out of school, but Jackson missed out on school not because he couldn’t hack it, but because he was so talented he didn’t need it.
It’s even possible that Jackson exaggerated his ignorance at times, to fit his childlike persona. Jackson’s childlike voice, for example, was an affectation and behind the scenes was quite manly.
Biographer J. Randy Taraborelli writes:
When in private school, which occurred from time to time between touring, Michael was bored by his studies, refused to do his homework, and was a terrible student. When called upon for an answer, Michael didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, and he didn’t care…Though technically graduated, the three younger Jacksons certainly did not obtain a good grounding in basic subjects…To this day, each has problems with penmanship, grammar, and (Michael in particular) spelling. They also lack a sense of history, except that which they managed to pick up during their travels.
MICHAEL JACKSON The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborrelli
In response to his critics, Jackson sent the following handwritten letter to People magazine in 1987.
Like the old Indian proverb says, do not judge a man until you’ve walked 2 moons in his moccosins [sic].
Most people don’t know me, that is why they write such things in wich [sic] most is not true. I cry very very often because it hurts and I worry about the children, all my children all over the world, I live for them.
If a man could say nothing against a character but what he could prove, history could not be written. Animals strike not from malice but because they want to live, it is the same with those who criticize, they desire our blood not our pain. But still I must achieve. I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world for the children. But have mercy, for I’ve been bleeding a long time now.
letter by Michael Jackson, published in People magazine
Biographer Christopher Anderson wrote that the letter showed Jackson’s writing skills to be scarcely above a 10-year-old’s, however I wanted a more objective assessment. According to a Flesh-Kincaid analysis, his letter is written at a grade 5.83 level.
A Promethean once suggested, half seriously, that one could crudely estimate IQ from writing samples by doing a Flesch-Kincaid grade level calculation. Since the average American adult reads at an 8th grade level, that might reflect an IQ around 100.
In 2016, I created the following formula for convert reading level to IQ:
IQ = 62.333+4.333(reading level)
If we assume Jackson’s reading level was no higher than his writing level, which seems like a reasonable assumption based on the low verbal knowledge his biographers have described, this formula gives an IQ equivalent of 88 (white norms), but U.S. blacks who came of age prior to the 1980s scored the equivalent of 10 IQ points below their potential on reading tests, and this would have been especially true for Jackson who missed so much school. Thus his reading IQ (a proxy for verbal knowledge) is adjusted to 98.
Estimated Draw-a-Person IQ 191 (profoundly gifted)
Originally developed by Florence Goodenough in 1926, Draw-a-Person is one of the oldest and simplest IQ tests. It was based on the observation that as children develop intellectually, their drawings become increasingly complex, accurate and detailed.
Michael Jackson left behind many sketches, though only those of the full human figure can be scored. I chose to score a painting he did at age nine of Charlie Chaplin, since the test seems most valid in young children.
Using the point scale Jackson’s drawing scored 58 out of 73 which equated to a deviation IQ of 146 for nine-year-old boys drawing men.
However for rapid evaluation, the Goodenough-Harris test also includes a quality scale where the examiner can rate the drawing on a scale of 1 to 12 by comparing it to a succession of very primitive (level 1) to very advanced (level 12) drawings.
Jackson’s drawing was clearly level 12+ but because the test does not permit IQs much beyond 160, no IQ equivalent is provided for nine-year-old boys scoring above level 11 (IQ 153).
Nonetheless, when I asked readers to rate Jackson’s drawing (along with several others) on the Goodenough-Harris quality scale (without telling them who drew it) and also allowed them to extend the scale to levels beyond 12, the median rating was 15!
When I compared this to the sex-combined distribution for nine-year-olds in the tests norming sample, Jackson was six standard deviations above the mean!
Of course the norms are based on a scale where the highest score is 12, but so few children would have scored 12+ had the scale extended that my extension is unlikely to invalidate the norms. +6 SD equates to an IQ of 190 (U.S. norms), and perhaps 191 (white norms). No need to adjust for the Flynn effect since Jackson drew the picture in the 1960s (when the test was normed).
Although technically a deviation IQ based on an interval scale, it does not necessarily imply one in a billion level ability, because the scale lacks precision (big jumps in IQ between levels) and scores have not been forced to fit the bell curve, though I suspect drawing ability has a naturally normal distribution among biologically normal (i.e. non-savant) people with no special training.
Estimated Math IQ 109 (average range)
Jackson’s brother Jermaine writes the following:
Michael ended his school years at Cal Prep, where, in art classes he sketched version after version of Charlie Chaplin. One of his classmates was a girl called Lori Shapiro: she quietly observed my brother immersed in his drawings, then scrunching them up and throwing them away. “Michael,” she said one day, “that drawing of Charlie Chaplin? Before you ball it up, can I have it?”
“Sure he said, signing his name in black felt tip and handing it over.
But Michael knew that a favor deserves its return. He hated algebra and he knew Lori was “the brains.” So sitting near her desk, he swapped math books with her when the teacher wasn’t looking and she worked out his x + y = z. I reckon Lori was the chief reason he got an A grade in math!
You are Not Alone by Jermaine Jackson (pg 151)
In his book, Bias in Mental Testing, Arthur Jensen noted that succeeding in academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school almost always requires an IQ of 105 (at least circa 1980, the year book was published). Jackson attended Cal Prep in 1976, and from his brother’s description, it sounds like his IQ was only barely 105 when it comes to math. High enough to to get an A, but largely through cheating and perhaps celebrity favoritism.
However in those day, U.S. blacks scored at least 4 points below their potential on math tests, so Jackson’s math IQ is adjusted to 109.
Estimated Spatial IQ 76 (borderline retarded)
According to blogger Sam L Parity, who claims to have worked at a record studio in 1989:
I guess I should mention at this point that Michael is an awful driver. He hit everyone’s car in the studio lot at least once, including mine. One time, he rear-ended a guy on the 101 freeway, and just left the scene because the guy got out of his car and started screaming at him. Eventually, he gave up and got someone to drive him in to work every day.
Jackson’s poor driving skills were further confirmed by his mother Katherine who wrote in her book My Family, The Jacksons that he did not get his driver’s licence until 23, and that the first time he took family members driving, his terrified sister Latoya tried desperately to help him keep the car on the road. He also feared going on freeways in the beginning and had a habit of “driving right up to the car in front and stopping on a dime”.
Biographer Taraborerelli reports that in 1981, Jackson offered to drive singer Mikey Free home, but Free had to parallel park because Jackson couldn’t do so.
Circa 1983, 91.8% of 20 to 24-year-old Americans had driver’s licences, according to a study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute . This implies that at most, being able to drive required one to be at the 8.2 percentile of U.S. spatial ability (IQ 79 U.S. norms)(IQ 76 white norms). By all accounts, Jackson only barely made the cut, perhaps even benefiting from star struck examiners when taking his driver’s test.
Arthur Jensen noted that when controlling for the general intelligence factor, blacks tend to score worst on tasks calling for spatial visualization. If you believe IQ is cultural, this could be because of lack of exposure to white middle class toys, but if you believe it’s genetic, it may be that whites evolved more spatial ability to make warm structures, tight clothes, good hunting tools and large fires to survive the ice age.
Further evidence of Jackson’s poor driving skills comes from the documentary Living with Michael Jackson. Martin Bashir observes Jackson playing a video game and says he’d hate to see him drive a car.
During Jackson’s child molestation trial, Macaulay Culkin testified that Jackson was not as good at video games as the children he played with:
He liked playing the arcade games. Though he wasn’t as good as us, usually, but, you know, he still enjoyed doing it, because, you know, it was one of those things.
court transcript, May 11, 2005
On a perhaps related note, Frank Cascio writes:
Michael was, as I saw many times, shockingly bad at sports. I could never understand that. Here was the guy with the most extraordinary sense of rhythm in the world. . .and he couldn’t even dribble a basketball properly. He said he was even worse at baseball.
My Friend Michael by Frank Cascio
Estimated verbal fluency IQ 140 (very brilliant)
When convincing Evan Chandler of the educational value of letting his son Jordy miss school to travel the World with Jackson, Jackson showed unexpected fluency and erudition, according to the boy’s uncle:
“He’ll learn about things he could never learn in school,” the star said. “He’ll learn about music, art, and history. He’ll meet the greatest minds in the world!” Michael went on, espousing like an old wise man about the places he’d been and the people he met. He was talking about unparalleled learning experiences, including exclusive tours of the world’s greatest cities and the opportunity to meet and converse with the most powerful and successful people in their fields. Milken, Chopra, McCartney — the names fell from his lips like rain drops — a downpour from an international “Who’s Who.”
Evan became entranced, not only by the content of the oration, but also by the power of the orator. It was a side of this childlike man he never expected to see. “He could carry on an intelligent discussion on a wide range of subjects, from classics to cartoons.”
All THAT GLITTERS The Crime and the Cover-Up by Raymond Chandler
I know exactly what they mean by “names fell from his lips like rain drops.” In the below the clip where Jackson talks about his musical influences, notice the speed and fluency with which he retrieves names (and his shrewdness in praising Africa, since he was talking to a black show while on trial):
The ability to rapidly retrieve information from a certain category of long-term memory is known as verbal fluency and has long been part of IQ tests. Questions like “name 60 words in 3 minutes” were part of the Binet-Simon intelligence test.
With the exception of Bill Clinton, it’s hard to imagine even any any living U.S. president showing as much verbal fluency as Jackson shows in the above clip. On a scale where U.S. whites average 100 (SD 15), U.S. presidents seem to average 130 (SD 12), so for Jackson to rank above the top 20% of the latter, implies a fluency IQ of 140.
Estimated composite IQ 133 (Brilliant)
Given a verbal knowledge IQ of 98, a Draw-a-person IQ of 191, a math IQ of 109, a spatial IQ of 76 and a verbal fluency IQ of 140, Jackson appeared to have been cognitively averaging at the 123 level (+1.53 SD). However because it’s much harder to average at a high level on many abilities than it is to score high on any single one, people who averaged +1.53 SD on the subtests of the WISC-R IQ test obtained full-scale IQs of 133.
A composite IQ of 133 is almost exactly what you’d statistically expect from the greatest musical and kinesthetic black Genius of Jackson’s generation (see part 3) and shows that high IQ predicts worldly success, even among people with very little formal schooling.
[Note from Pumpkin Person, feb 22, 2018: The following is a guest article by Race Realist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pumpkin Person. Out of respect for the author, please try to keep all comments on-topic. I understand conversations naturally evolve but at least start on topic]
Lead has many known neurological effects on the brain (regarding the development of the brain and nervous system) that lead to many deleterious health outcomes and negative outcomes in general. Including (but not limited to) lower IQ, higher rates of crime, higher blood pressure and higher rates of kidney damage, which have permanent, persistent effects (Stewart et al, 2007). Chronic lead exposure, too, can “also lead to decreased fertility, cataracts, nerve disorders, muscle and joint pain, and memory or concentration problems” (Sanders et al, 2009). Lead exposure in vitro, infancy, and childhood can also lead to “neuronal death” (Lidsky and Schneider, 2003). While epigenetic inheritance also playing a part (Sen et al, 2015). How do blacks and whites differ in exposure to lead? How much is the difference between the two races in America, and how much would it contribute to crime? On the other hand, China has high rates of lead exposure, but lower rates of crime, so how does this relationship play out with the lead-crime relationship overall? Are the Chinese an outlier or is there something else going on?
The effects of lead on the brain are well known, and numerous amounts of effort have been put into lowering levels of lead in America (Gould, 2009). Higher exposure to lead is also found in poorer, lower class communities (Hood, 2005). So since higher levels of lead exposure are found more often in lower-class communities, then blacks should have blood-lead levels than whites. This is what we find.
Further, one brain study of 532 men who worked in a lead plant showed that those who had higher levels of lead in their bones had smaller brains, even after controlling for confounds like age and education (Stewart et al, 2008). Raine (2014: 224) writes:
The fact that the frontal cortex was particularly reduced is very interesting, given that this brain region is involved in violence. This lead effect was equivalent to five years of premature aging of the brain.
So we have good data that the parts of the brain that relate to violent tendencies are reduced in people exposed to more lead had the same smaller parts of the brain, indicating a relationship. But what about antisocial disorders? Are people with higher levels of lead in their blood more likely to be antisocial?
Needleman et al (1996) show that boys who had higher levels of lead in their blood had higher teacher ratings of aggressive and delinquent behavior, along with higher self-reported ratings of aggressive behavior. Even high blood-lead levels later in life is related to crime. One study in Yugoslavia showed that blood lead levels at age three had a stronger relationship with destructive behavior than did prenatal blood lead levels (Wasserman et al, 2008); with this same relationship being seen in America with high blood lead levels correlating with antisocial and aggressive behavior at age 7 and not age 2 (Chen et al 2007).
So, young children who are most vulnerable to lead absorption go on twenty-three years later to perpetrate adult violence. As lead levels rose throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, so too did violence correspondingly rise in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. When lead levels fell in the late 1970s and early 1980s, so too did violence fall in the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Changes in lead levels explained a full 91 percent of the variance in violent offending—an extremely strong relationship.
From international to national to state to city levels, the lead levels and violence curves match up almost exactly.
But does lead have a causal effect on crime? Due to the deleterious effects it has on the developing brain and nervous system, we should expect to find a relationship, and thus relationship should become stronger with higher doses of lead. Fortunately, I am aware of one analysis, a sample that’s 90 percent black, which shows that with every 5 microgram increase in prenatal blood-lead levels, that there was a 40 percent higher risk of arrest (Wright et al, 2008). This makes sense with the deleterious developmental effects of lead; we are aware of how and why people with high levels of lead in their blood show similar brain scans/brain volume in certain parts of the brain in comparison to antisocial/violent people. So this is yet more suggestive evidence for a causal relationship.
Jennifer Doleac discusses three studies that show that blood-lead levels in America need to be addressed, since they are related strongly to negative health outcomes.Aizer and Curry (2017) show that “A one-unit increase in lead increased the probability of suspension from school by 6.4-9.3 percent and the probability of detention by 27-74 percent, though the latter applies only to boys.” They also show that children who live nearer to roads have higher blood-lead levels, since the soil near highways was contaminated decades ago with leaded gasoline. Fiegenbaum and Muller (2016) show that cities’ use of lead pipes increased murder rates between the years o921 and 1936. Finally, Billings and Schnepnel (2017: 4) show that their “results suggest that the effects of high levels of [lead] exposure on antisocial behavior can largely be reversed by intervention—children who test twice over the alert threshold exhibit similar outcomes as children with lower levels of [lead] exposure (BLL<5μg/dL).
A relationship with lead exposure in vitro and arrests at adulthood. The sample was 90 percent black, with numerous controls. They found that prenatal and post-natal blood-lead exposure was associated with higher arrest rates, along with higher arrest rates for violent acts (Wright et al, 2008). To be specific, for every 5 microgram increase in prenatal blood-lead levels, there was a 40 percent greater risk for arrest. This is direct causal evidence for the lead-causes-crime hypothesis.
One study showed that in post-Katrina New Orleans, decreasing lead levels in the soil caused a subsequent decrease in blood lead levels in children (Mielke, Gonzales, and Powell, 2017). Sean Last argues that, while he believes that lead does contribute to crime, that the racial gaps have closed in the recent decades, therefore blood-lead levels cannot be a source of some of the variance in crime between blacks and whites, and even cites the CDC ‘lowering its “safe” values’ for lead, even though there is no such thing as a safe level of lead exposure (references cited above). White, Bonilha, and Ellis Jr., (2015) also show that minorities—blacks in particular—have higher rates of lead in their blood. Either way, Last seems to downplay large differences in lead exposure between whites and blacks at young ages, even though that’s when critical development of the mind/brain and other important functioning occurs. There is no safe level of lead exposure—pre- or post-natal—nor are there safe levels at adulthood. Even a small difference in blood lead levels would have some pretty large effects on criminal behavior.
Sean Last also writes that “Black children had a mean BLL which was 1 ug/dl higher than White children and that this BLL gap shrank to 0.9 ug/dl in samples taken between 2003 and 2006, and to 0.5 ug/dl in samples taken between 2007 and 2010.” Though, still, there are problems here too: “After adjustment, a 1 microgram per deciliter increase in average childhood blood lead level significantly predicts 0.06 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.01, 0.12) and 0.09 (95% CI = 0.03, 0.16) SD increases and a 0.37 (95% CI = 0.11, 0.64) point increase in adolescent impulsivity, anxiety or depression, and body mass index, respectively, following ordinary least squares regression. Results following matching and instrumental variable strategies are very similar” (Winter and Sampson, 2017).
Naysayers may point to China and how they have higher levels of blood-lead levels than America (two times higher), but lower rates of crime, some of the lowest in the world. The Hunan province in China has considerably lowered blood-lead levels in recent years, but they are still higher than developed countries (Qiu et al, 2015). One study even shows ridiculously high levels of lead in Chinese children “Results showed that mean blood lead level was 88.3 micro g/L for 3 – 5-year-old children living in the cities in China and mean blood lead level of boys (91.1 micro g/L) was higher than that of girls (87.3 micro g/L). Twenty-nine point nine one percent of the children’s blood lead level exceeded 100 micro g/L” (Qi et al, 2002), while Li et al (2014) found similar levels. Shanghai also has higher levels of blood lead than the rest of the developed world (Cao et al, 2014). Blood lead levels are also higher in Taizhou, China compared to other parts of the country—and the world (Gao et al, 2017). But blood lead levels are decreasing with time, but still higher than other developed countries (He, Wang, and Zhang, 2009).
Furthermore, Chinese women, compared to American women, had two times higher BLL (Wang et al, 2015). With transgenerational epigenetic inheritance playing a part in the inheritance of methylation DNA passed from mother to daughter then to grandchildren (Sen et al, 2015), this is a public health threat to Chinese women and their children. So just by going off of this data, the claim that China is a safe country should be called into question.
In Guangzhou, Dr Bakken’s research team found that 97.5 per cent of crime was not reported in the official statistics.
Of 2.5 million cases of crime, in 2015 the police commissioner reported 59,985 — exactly 15 less than his ‘target’ of 60,000, down from 90,000 at the start of his tenure in 2012.
The murder rate in China is around 10,000 per year according to official statistics, 25 per cent less than the rate in Australia per capita.
“I have the internal numbers from the beginning of the millennium, and in 2002 there were 52,500 murders in China,” he said.
Instead of 25 per cent less murder than Australia, Dr Bakken said the real figure was closer to 400 per cent more.”
Guangzhou, for instance, doesn’t keep data for crime committed by migrants, who commit 80 percent of the crime in this province. Out of 2.5 million crimes committed in Guangzhou, only 5,985 crimes were reported in their official statistics, which was 15 crimes away from their target of 6000. Weird… Either way, China doesn’t have a similar murder rate to Switzerland:
The murder rate in China does not equal that of Switzerland, as the Global Times claimed in 2015. It’s higher than anywhere in Europe and similar to that of the US.
China also ranks highly on the corruption index, higher than the US, which is more evidence indicative of a covered up crime rate. So this is good evidence that, contrary to the claims of people who would attempt to downplay the lead-crime relationship, that these effects are real and that they do matter in regard to crime and murder.
So it’s clear that we can’t trust the official Chinese crime stats since there much of their crime is not reported. Why should we trust crime stats from a corrupt government? The evidence is clear that China has a higher crime—and murder rate—than is seen on the Chinese books.
Lastly, effects of epigenetics can and do have a lasting effect on even the grandchildren of mothers exposed to lead while pregnant (Senut et al, 2012; Sen et al, 2015). Sen et al (2015) showed lead exposure during pregnancy affected the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which then lead to altered DNA methylation on dried blood spots in the grandchildren of the mother exposed to lead while pregnant.—though it’s indirect evidence. If this is true and holds in larger samples, then this could be big for criminological theory and could be a cause for higher rates of black crime (note: I am not claiming that lead exposure could account for all, or even most of the racial crime disparity. It does account for some, as can be seen by the data compiled here).
In conclusion, the relationship between lead exposure and crime is robust and replicated across many countries and cultures. No safe level of blood lead exists, even so-called trace amounts can have horrible developmental and life outcomes, which include higher rates of criminal activity. There is a clear relationship between lead increases/decreases in populations—even within cities—that then predict crime rates. Some may point to the Chinese as evidence against a strong relationship, though there is strong evidence that the Chinese do not report anywhere near all of their crime data. Epigenetic inheritance, too, can play a role here mostly regarding blacks since they’re more likely to be exposed to high levels of lead in the womb, their infancy, and childhood. This could also exacerbate crime rates, too. The evidence is clear that lead exposure leads to increased criminal activity, and that there is a strong relationship between blood lead levels and crime.
[Note from Pumpkin Person, Christmas Eve, 2017: The following is a guest article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pumpkin Person. Out of respect for the author, try to keep the comments on topic. I understand conversations naturally evolve, but at least start on topic]
Different races have different morphology/somatype. Therefore, we can reason that different races would fare better or worse at a certain lift depending on their limb length, such as leg length, arm length, torso length and so on. How do somatypic differences lead to differences in strength between the races on the Big Four lifts? The four lifts I will cover are bench press, deadlift, squat and overhead press.
East Asians have higher levels of body fat (for instance the Chinese, Wang et al, 2011) and have lower BMIs, yet higher levels of body fat (Wang et al, 1994). This, along with their somatype are part of the reason why they excel in some strength sports. Since East Asians have a smaller stature, averaging about 5 feet 8 inches, with shorter arms and legs. Thinking about how the ancestors of the East Asians evolved, this makes sense: they would have needed to be shorter and have shorter limbs as it is easier to warm a body with a smaller surface area. Therefore, while squatting they have a shorter path to travel with the bar on their back. East Asians would strongly excel at the squat, and if you watch these types of competitions, you’d see them strongly overrepresented—especially the Chinese.
African-Americans are descended from West African slaves, and so they have longer, thinner limbs with lower amounts of body fat on average (especially if they have more African ancestry), which is a classic sign of a mesomorphic phenotype. They do also skew ecto, which is useful in the running competitions they dominate (in the case of West Africans and descendants and certain tribes of Kenyans and Ethiopians). Either way, due to their long limbs and a short torso, they have to travel further with the weight therefore here they suffer and wouldn’t be as strong as people who have a long torso with shorter limbs.
Like East Asians, Europeans have similar morphology—skewing ectomorphic, the somatype that dominates strength competitions. Having a long torso with shorter limbs and more type I than type II fibers, they would then be able to lift more, especially since these competitors keep a high body fat percentage. Again, like with East Asians, there is a biomechanical advantage here and due to their higher levels of body fat and endomorphic somatype along with shorter limbs, they would be able to move more weight on the squat, especially more than African-Americans. Biomechanics is key when it comes to evaluating different groups’ morphology when attempting to see who would be stronger on average.
The deadlift is pretty straightforward: bending down and deadlifting the weight off of the ground. Key anatomic differences between the races dictate who would be better here. East Asians, with shorter limbs and a longer torso the bar has to travel a further path, compared to someone with longer limbs and shorter torso. Though, someone with short limbs and a short torso would also have a biomechanical advantage in pulling, it is nothing like if one has long arms and a short torso.
Here is where they would shine. Their anatomy is perfect for this lift. Since they have longer limbs and a shorter torso, the bar has a shorter path to travel to reach the endpoint of the lift. At the set-up of the lift, they already have a biomechanical advantage and they can generate more power in the lift due to their leverage advantage. The deadlift favors people with a long torso, short femurs, and long arms, and so it would favor African-Americans. (Their long arms off-sets their short torsos, though the bar would still have to travel further, they still would have the ability to move more weight.)
European Americans would have the same biomechanical problems as East Asians, but not as much since they have a taller stature. It is well-known in the world of weightlifting that having shorter, ‘T-rex arms’ impedes strength on the lift, since speaking from an anatomic viewpoint, they are just not built for it. No style of deadlift (the sumo or conventional) suits people with short arms, and so they are already at a biomechanical disadvantage. Relative to African-Americans, European Americans have ‘T-rex arms’ and therefore they would suffer at pulling exercises—deadlift included.
The overhead press is where people with shorter arms would excel. Thus, East Asians would be extremely strong pushers. Say the bar starts at the top of their chest, the path of the bar to the lockout would be shorter than if someone had longer arms. The size of the trapezius muscles also comes into play here, and people with larger trapezius muscles have a stronger press. The East Asians short stature and therefore shorter limbs is perfect for this lift and why they would excel.
African-Americans would suffer at the overhead press for one reason: their long limbs, mainly their arms. The bar has a further path to travel and thus strength would be impeded. Indeed, people not built for pressing have long arms, long torsos, and long legs. Performing the full range of motion, African-Americans would have less strength than East Asians and European Americans.
Again, due to similar morphology as East Asians, they, too, would excel at this lift. Since the lift is completed when the arms lock out, those with shorter arms would be able to move more weight and so what hurts them on the deadlift helps on pressing movements like the overhead press.
Lastly, the bench press. East Asians would excel here as well since they have shorter arms and the bar would have a shorter path to travel. Notice anything with bar movement? That’s a key to see which group would be stronger on average: looking at the average morphology of the races and then thinking about how the lift is performed, you can estimate who would be good at which lift and why. The bench press would favor someone with a shorter stature and arms, and they’d be able to lift more weight. (I personally have long arms compared to my body and my bench press suffers compared to my deadlift.) However, Caruso et al (2012) found that body mass is a more important predictor of who would excel at the bench press. East Asians have a higher body fat percentage, and therefore would be stronger on average in the lift.
Here, too, African-Americans will suffer. Like with the overhead press, the bar has a further path to travel. They also have less body fat on average and that would also have the bar travel more, having the individual put more exertion into the lift compared to someone who had shorter arms. The longer your arms are in a pushing exercise, the further the bar has to travel until lockout. Thus you can see that people with longer arms would suffer in the strength department compared to people with shorter arms, but this is reversed for pulling exercises like the deadlift described above. (There is also a specific longitudinal study on black-white differences in bench press which I will cover in the ‘Objections‘ section.)
Again, like with East Asians due to similar somatype, European Americans, too, would excel at this lift. They are able to generate more pound-for-pound power in the lift. The bar also has a shorter path to travel and since the people who compete in these competitions also have higher levels of body fat, then the bar has less of a distance to travel, thus increasing the amount of force the muscle can generate. Limb size/body mass/somatype predict how races/individuals would do on specific lifts.
One of the main objections that some may have is that one longitudinal study on black and white police officers found that blacks were stronger than whites at the end of the study (Boyce et al, 2014). However, I heavily criticized this paper at the beginning of the year and for good reason: heights of the officers weren’t reported (which is not the fault of the researchers but of an ongoing lawsuit at that department since people complained that they were discriminating against people based on height). The paper is highly flawed, but looking at it on face value someone who does not have the requisite knowledge they would accept the paper’s conclusions at face value. One of the main reasons for my criticism of the paper is that the bench press was tested on a Smith machine, not a barbell bench press. Bench pressing on the Smith machine decreases stability in the biceps brachii (Saterbakken et al, 2011) but there is similar muscle recovery between different bench presses in trained men (Smith, barbell, and dumbbell) (Ferreira et al, 2016). This does not affect my overall critique of Boyce et al (2014) however, since you can move more weight than you would normally be able to, along with the machine being on one plane of motion so everyone has to attempt to get into the same position to do the lift and we know how that is ridiculous due to individual differences in morphology.
Some may point to hand-grip tests, which I have written about in the past, and state that ‘blacks are stronger’ based on hand-grip tests. Just by looking at the raw numbers you’d say that blacks had a stronger grip. However, to get an idea of the strength differences pound-for-pound there is a simple formula: weight lifted/bodyweight=how strong one is pound-for-pound on a certain exercise. So using the values from Araujo et al (2010), for blacks we have a grip strength of 89.826 with an average weight of 193 pounds. Therefore pound-for-pound strength comes out to .456. On the other hand, for Europeans, they had an average grip strength of 88.528 pounds with an average weight of 196 pounds, so their pound-for-pound grip strength is about .452, which, just like African-Americans is almost half of their body weight. One must also keep in mind that these hand-grip studies are done on older populations. I have yet to come across any studies on younger populations that use the big four lifts described in this article and seeing who is stronger, so inferences are all that we have.
Further, Thorpe et al (2016) also show how there is an association between household income and grip-strength—people who live in homes with higher incomes have a stronger grip, with blacks having a stronger grip than whites. Thorpe et al (2016) showed that black women had a stronger grip strength than white women, whereas for black men they only had a stronger grip than white men at the highest SES percentile. This could imply nutrient deficiencies driving down their ability for increases grip strength, which is a viable hypothesis. Although Thorpe et al (2016) showed that black men had a stronger grip strength, these results conflict with Haas, Krueger, and Rohlfson (2012) though the disparities can be explained by the age of both cohorts.
Nevertheless, grip strength—as well as overall strength—is related to a higher life expectancy (Ruiz et al, 2008; Volkalis, Haille, and Meisinger, 2015). If blacks were stronger—and this is being debated with studies like hand-grip—then we should expect to see black men living longer than white men, however, we see the opposite. Black men die earlier than white men, and it just so happens that the diseases that are correlated with strength and mortality are diseases that blacks are more likely to get over whites. One should think about this if they’re entertaining the idea that blacks have an inherent strength advantage over whites.
Others may argue that since chimpanzees have a higher proportion of type II fibers and that’s one reason why they are stronger than us by 1.35 times (O’Neill et al, 2017) and have the ability to rip our faces off. Of course, other factors are at play here other than the chimps’ fast twitch fiber content. Of course, one must also think of the chimpanzee’s way smaller stature when discussing their overall strength. It’s not just their type II fibers, but how much smaller they are which gives them the ability to generate more force pound-for-pound in comparison to humans. So this is a bad example to attempt to show that blacks are stronger than whites based solely on the composition of the muscle fibers.
Finally, back in July, I argued that Neanderthals would be stronger than Homo sapiens due to their morphology and a wide waist. This, of course, has implications for strength differences between the races. People with a wider waist would have the ability to generate more power. Blacks have a higher center of gravity due to longer limbs whereas whites and Asians have lower centers of gravity due to a longer torso. Along with climatic conditions, the Neanderthal diet also contributed to their wide waist and thorax, which would then help with strength. Therefore, this has implications for racial differences in strength. We can replace Europeans with Neanderthals and Homo sapiens with Africans and the relationship would still hold. This is yet more proof that blacks are not stronger than whites. This article also contributes to the argument I laid out in my article on how racial differences in muscle fiber typing predict differences in elite sporting competition. Morphology/somatype is the final piece of the puzzle; without the correct morphology, it’d be really hard for someone to become an elite athlete in a certain field if they do not have the correct morphology.
Looking at the big four lifts, the advantage goes to European Americans and East Asians. This is due to their average somatype and morphology. The only lift that Africans would excel at is the deadlift and this is due to their morphology—mainly their long arms. People with longer arms excel at pulling exercises whereas people with shorter arms excel at pushing exercises. Hand-grip strength studies show blacks having a higher grip strength than whites, however in one study if you see who is stronger pound-for-pound, the differences are insignificant. The longitudinal bench press study is highly flawed due to numerous confounds and is therefore unacceptable to assess strength and race. The fact that chimpanzees have a higher proportion of type II fibers compared to humans is also irrelevant. Chimpanzees have a smaller stature and they can, therefore, generate way more power pound-for-pound. Attempting to replace Africans with chimpanzees in this scenario doesn’t make sense because Africans have longer limbs than Europeans and would, therefore, generate less force pound-for-pound. Overall strength is related to mortality; stronger people live longer and have fewer maladies than weaker people. This too lends credence to my argument that whites are stronger
Science should be as simple as possible, but no simpler – Albert Einstein
Einstein may not have said those exact words, but the quote has been credited to him, and what an important quote it is. In looking at racial differences in IQ, or any other topic, we must always seek the simplest most elegant explanation that can explain as much of the data as possible. To reduce the complexity of life to a simple formula is a triumph of science.
In his controversial 2006 book Race Differences in Intelligence, Richard Lynn argued that racial differences in IQ had a major genetic component and that it had two major causes: (1) some races evolved in colder climates and thus faced more selection for IQ, and (2) some races had larger ancestral populations, and thus more genetic mutations to select from.
This was a great hypothesis but had a few flaws. The first (as commenter MeLo is quick to point out) is that Neanderthals also evolved in a cold climate and most scientists think they were less intelligent than modern humans who evolved in Africa (though Neanderthals may have had tiny populations). Second, Ashkenazi Jews have arguably the highest IQs of any “race”, but they not only have roots in the warm middle east, but also had small populations.
In order to get beyond such anomalies, I propose an alternative grand theory for explaining the worldwide pattern of racially genetic IQ differences, also based on just two simple variables: 1) splitting off dates, and 2) neighboring dark caucasoids
Splitting off dates
In 1989, scholar J.P. Rushton (who only studied the three major races (Negroids, Caucasoids, and Mongoloids) noted that racial differences in IQ and other higher traits seemed to correlate with the time period when each of the races branched off the main trunk of the human evolutionary tree. “One theoretical possibility,” said Rushton, “is that evolution is progressive and some populations are more advanced than others”.
As science writer Perter Knudtson noted, such thinking flies in the face of the mainstream scientific consensus that all extant life forms are equivalent cases of time tested evolutionary success. Nonetheless modern humans clearly colonized different regions of the World at different times, and for whatever reason, the legacy of these ancient migration lives on in the IQ scores of current populations.
It seems that for whatever reason, races that evolved in regions that were colonized late in Earth’s history, have higher IQs than races that evolved in regions that were colonized early.
And indeed this is a pattern we see over and over again in Earth’s history. Animals lived in the ocean before they colonized land, and even after billions of years of evolution, land animals are more encephalized and intelligent than marine life on average (with notable exceptions such as dolphins, who were land mammals before returning to the ancestral ocean). Primates lived in trees before they lived on land, and those who are confined to the trees, never made the leap to human intelligence.
Similarly with human races: we lived in the tropics first but advanced technology didn’t appear until we migrated North, and Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence didn’t evolve until well after civilization and the emergence of advanced economies.
Intelligence is uniquely characterized by an ability to adapt to new challenges and solve novel problems, so perhaps leaving the ancestral environment stimulates brain evolution.
Neighboring dark Caucasoids
Over and over again in human genetic and cultural evolution, the Middle East has played a central role. It was the place where humans first lived once they first left Africa. It was the place where interbreeding with Neanderthals primarily occurred. It was the place where agriculture was first invented and the place of the first civilization. It was the place where the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus of Nazareth became two of the most influential humans of all time, the place where the World’s currently richest and most influential race (Ashkenazi Jews) originated and it’s the place that even today, dominates Worldwide headlines concerning everything from the death of Bin Laden to the war in Iraq to the Israeli-Palestinian peace feud.
Even more fascinating: I have found that human races that do not border the dark Caucasoids, who evolved in the Middle East and expanded to South Asia and Northern Africa, score significantly lower on IQ tests than races who do (on average). One possibility is that because the Middle East is so centralized in location, that it has long been a place to exchange genes among humans of all backgrounds, so those races that didn’t neighbour a dark Caucasoid population did not benefit from new genetic mutations and evolution stimulating innovations that went with them.
A simple formula
With the help of the above map, I tried to very crudely estimate the splitting off dates of various races, as well as determine whether their ancestral populations neighbored dark Caucasoids. In a previous article, I had crudely estimated the genetic IQ of each race, but these numbers are extremely rough and could contain large errors because of sampling problems, cultural biases, and a lack of systematic data selection. All the numbers are summarized below:
splitting off date (years before present)
neighboring dark caucasoids
yes = 1 no = 0
estimated genetic iq
From this data I was able to create a simple formula for estimating the genetic IQ of a people:
Genetic IQ = 89.8266 – 0.000103591 (splitting off date) + 16.4043 (neighbouring dark Caucasoid)
This formula does a good job predicting the genetic IQs of each of the 11 human races, but that’s hardly surprising since that data was used to construct the formula. The real test will be whether it can predict the genetic IQ of a population not used to make the formula.
Predicting Neanderthal IQ
One such population are the Neanderthals. They colonized Europe about 300,000 years ago, so I’ll use that as their splitting off date. While evolving they had no contact with dark Caucasoids who didn’t exist yet. Thus applying the formula:
Genetic IQ = 89.8266 – 0.000103591 (300,000) + 16.4043 (0)
Genetic IQ = 58
Such a low IQ might be true because as scientist Steve Hsu has hinted, despite existing for nearly 100,000 years longer than modern humans, they never invented the bow and arrow, never created figurative art, never discovered agriculture, never developed civilization, and never went to the moon. On the other hand, using a within species formula to predict between species differences is extremely risky for several reasons, not least of which is Gould’s punctuated equilibrium.
From about 1917 to 2006, large representative samples of American black adults have scored about one standard deviation below American white adults on the type of verbal and performance IQ tests first created for screening WWI recruits, and later borrowed by David Wechsler to use in his wildly popular scales; considered the gold standard in the field.
Although the black-white test score gap has shrunk somewhat on more scholastic tests where it used to be absurdly high, the longevity and consistency of the gap on the most conventional and respected of official IQ tests has led some to conclude that it is mostly or entirely genetic.
The single most powerful piece of supporting evidence for the genetic hypothesis is the Minnesota Transracial adoption study in which white, black and mixed-race kids were raised from early childhood in white upper-class homes. Although the adopted white and black kids scored well above the national white and black means (corrected for outdated norms) of about 102 and 86 respectively (U.S. norms) in childhood (though not at 17), large racial IQ gaps were found among the adopted kids at both ages.
However the study had a problem, as explained by its authors Scarr and Weinberg (1976):
It is essential to note, however, that the groups also differed significantly (p < .05) in their placement histories and natural mother’s education. Children with two black parents were significantly older at adoption, had been in the adoptive home a shorter time, and had experienced a greater number of preadoption placements. The natural parents of the black/black group also averaged a year less of education than those of the black/white group, which suggests an average difference between the groups in intellectual ability. There were also significant differences between the adoptive families of black/black and black/white children in father’s education and mother’s IQ.
Because the children with two black biological parents were adopted later than the children with only one black biological parent, it’s best to exclude them from our analysis and focus only the IQ gap between the adopted kids with two white biological parents and those with one black and one white biological parent. Not only were both these groups adopted early into white upper-class homes, but since both had white biological mothers, both enjoyed the benefits of a white prenatal environment. What the study found was that by age seven, the fully white kids average IQ 111.5 and the half-black kids averaged 105.4, a difference of 6.1 points (see chart above).
This difference may sound small, but keep in mind that we are not comparing full-blooded blacks to full-blooded whites, we are comparing half-African Americans to full-blooded whites. Also keep in mind that because everyone is being raised in the same social class, and social class independently explains such a large percent of the IQ variance at age seven, the entire IQ scale becomes compressed, so instead of the white standard deviation being about 14.5 (U.S. norms), it is only 11.3 in these adopted white kids. Thus a 6.1 point gap should be thought of as a 0.54 SD gap since 6.1/11.3 = 0.54.
So if kids with one black parent score 0.54 SD below white kids when both are raised in upper class homes and both have white prenatal environments, that 0.54 SD gap is arguably 100% genetic. And if having one black parent causes a 0.54 SD genetic drop in IQ, then having two black parents should cause a 1.08 SD genetic drop in IQ (note that the national black-white IQ gap in adults has been about 1 SD since WWI).
Failure to replicate
Now before HBDers get too excited, one should remember that the Minnesota transracial adoption study has never been replicated and that three other similar studies failed to find much of any black < white IQ gap, with some even showing the opposite pattern.
Tizard (1974) compared black, white and mixed-race kids raised in English residential nurseries and found that the only significant IQ difference favored the non-white kids. A problem with this study is that the children were extremely young (below age 5) and racial differences in maturation rates favor black kids. A bigger problem with this study is that the parents of the black kids appeared to be immigrants (African or West Indian) and immigrants are often hyper-selected for IQ (see Indian Americans).
A second study by Eyferth (1961) found that the biological illegitimate children of white German women had a mean IQ of 97.2 if the biological father was a white soldier and 96.5 if the biological father was a black soldier (a trivial difference). Both the white and mixed kids were raised by their biological white mothers. One problem with this study is that the biological fathers of both races would have been screened to have similar IQs because at the time, only the highest scoring 97% of whites and highest scoring 70% of blacks passed the Army General Classification Test and were allowed to be U.S. soldiers. In addition, 20% to 25% of the “black fathers” were not African-American or even black Africans, but rather French North Africans (dark caucasoids as we define them here).
A third study by Moore (1986) included a section where he looked at sub-samples of children adopted by white parents. He found that nine adopted kids with two black biological parents averaged 2 IQ points higher than 14 adopted kids with only one biological black parent. A 2 point IQ gap sounds small, but as I mentioned above, the IQ scale is compressed in kids when everyone is raised in the same social class (which might have been the case in this study), so a 2 point gap becomes 0.18 of the compressed white SD.
The results of this study suggest that half-white kids are 0.18 SD genetically duller than black kids, which predicts that fully white kids are 0.36 SD genetically duller than black kids. One problem with this study is that the black kids would have had black prenatal environments while many, or all, of the half-white kids would have had white prenatal environments, but given the low birth weight of black babies, if anything this suggests the genetic IQ gap favoring blacks is even larger than 0.36 SD!
We have two quality studies: The Minnesota Transracial adoption study (when black kids are excluded because of confounds) and Moore (1986). The first study implies U.S. black genes reduce IQ by 1.04 SD in kids (-1.04 SD), while the second implies U.S. black genes increase IQ by 0.36 SD in kids (+0.36 SD). But the first analysis was based on comparing 55 mixed kids to 16 white kids (total n = 71), while the second analysis was based on comparing nine black kids with 14 mixed kids (total n = 23). The total n of both studies combined is 94, so the first study provided 76% of the total sample while the second study provided 24%, thus the best I can do is just weigh these two conflicting results by sample size:
Effect of black genes on childhood IQ = 0.76(-1.04 SD) + 0.24(+0.36 SD)
Effect of black genes on childhood IQ = -0.79 SD + 0.09
Effect of black genes on childhood IQ = -0.7 SD
What this suggests is that on a scale where the white genetic IQ is set at 100 with an SD of 15, the U.S. black genetic IQ is 90, at least in childhood (in adulthood it may be around 85 since some IQ genes might not exert influence until post-puberty). This is consistent with the fact that despite half a century of affirmative action, the average black IQ (when expressed with reference to white norms) remains below 90 in both children and adults (see charts below).
On the other hand, my estimate is based on only two studies with a combined sample of only 71 adopted kids and we can only assume (based on education when known) that the IQs of their biological parents are roughly racially representative. And although the black-white IQ gap in adults has apparently changed not at all since WWI, the environmental gap might not have changed that much either. Despite decades of affirmative action, the median wealth for white families in 2013 was around $141,900, compared to Hispanics at about $13,700 and blacks at about $11,000 so even in the age of a black President, environmental factors can’t be ruled out.
Black white IQ gap in the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children in the nationally representative samples used to norm each edition:
white iq (u.s. norms)
black iq (u.s. norms)
white iq (white norms)
black iq (white norms)
black-white iq gap (u.s. norms)
black-white iq gap (white norms)
102.3 (sd = 14.08)
86.4 (sd = 12.63)
100 (sd = 15)
83 (sd = 13.46)
103.5 (sd = 13.86)
88.6 (sd = 12.83)
100 (sd = 15)
84 (sd = 13.89)
103.2 (sd = 14.52)
91.7 (sd = 15.73)
100 (sd = 15)
88 (sd = 16.25)
103.5 (sd = 14.6)
91.9 (sd = 13.3)
100 (sd = 15)
88 (sd = 13.66)
Black white IQ gap in the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale in the nationally representative samples used to norm each edition:
One of Jensen’s early observations was that very low-IQ black and Hispanic children had similar motor skills, verbal articulacy, social savvy, and ability to learn playground games as higher-IQ kids (of either ethnicity); low-IQ middle class white kids did not (they appeared and seemed retarded outside of the classroom). These indices of everyday intelligence just don’t relate very well to IQ (though some others do, of course). Maybe IQ doesn’t measure “the cognitive ability to adapt” all that well after all…
Playground games not withstanding, I actually think IQ does a very good job measuring the mental ability to adapt: to take whatever situation you’re in and turn it around to your advantage. This is evidenced by the fact that IQ has a positive correlation with virtually every positive life outcome (income, occupation, life span) and a negative correlation with virtually every negative life outcome (incarceration, divorce, infant mortality, alcoholism, smoking, weight/height ratio).
When you look at people who have turned life to their disadvantage by losing all their money or freedom (i.e. the homeless and the incarcerated), they average disasterously low IQs (the homeless mean is about 80). Meanwhile, when you look at the people who have turned the situation around to their advantage to the point of having tens of billions of dollars, they tend to average spectacular IQs, perhaps above 150!
Further, when you look at the races with the lowest IQs (i.e. bushmen, pygmies, autstralian aboriginals), they tend to be the most poor, powerless and exploited, suffering every day. Indeed what we find is that each race tends to exploit the race below it on the IQ ladder. So pygmies are exploited by mainstream blacks. Mainstream blacks were historically exploited by whites and dark caucasoids. Meanwhile whites and dark caucasoids are exploited by Ashkenazi Jews.
The fact that high IQ races take advantage of lower IQ races shows that IQ tests measure the adaptive ability to turn situations around to your advantage.
This is not to imply that intelligence is evil, but sadly, most humans of all races are evil, so they use their intelligence to profit at the expense of others. In fact this is by far the most common use of it. Only at the very highest levels of intelligence do we see truly enlightened individuals who create mutually beneficial environments, but such people are so rare as to be almost irrelevant.
Of course critics could always argue I have the causation backwards. It’s not that high IQ folks are good turning situations to their advantage, but rather, that those with advantages do well on IQ tests.
Of these, only the following 13 appear to be self-made:
1. William Gates
2. Warren Buffet
3. Lawrence Ellison
4. Michael Bloomberg
5. Sergey Brin
9. George Soros
10. Donald Bren
11. Paul Allen
12. Carl Icahn
13. Ronald Perelman
Now what’s astonishing is that with the exception of Allen, Gates and Buffet, all of them are more or less Jewish. Despite being 2% of America, Jews (as of 2009) are 77% of self-made decabillionaires.
So we see that as we move up America’s economic ladder, from the homeless, to the general population, to billionaires, to self-made decabillionaires, we see that the percentage of lowest IQ race (blacks) goes from 45% to about 14% to 0.25% to 0% while the percentage of the highest IQ race (Jews) goes from perhaps close to 0%, to 2%, to about 36%, to 77%. See pie charts below (click for larger view):
Clearly, life is an IQ test, and money is how we keep score, because from an evolutionary perspective, intelligence is the mental ability to adapt; to take whatever situation you’re in, and turn it around to your advantage.
And what is more advantageous than money? Money buys mansions overlooking the Pacific ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Money buys private jets and fancy cars. Money buys the best food, and the best servants, and politicians who impose your world views, scientists and research labs to explore all your questions, and media platforms to spread your ideas. It buys the best health care for yourself and all you love, and buys the freedom to retire early. It even buys love and better teeth, the perfect body without exercise and youth (plastic surgery).
If you know where to shop, money is the solution to virtually all our problems, and smart people, as good problem solvers, tend to get money.
This is such common sense, it’s entered the culture with sayings like “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” and “a fool and his money are soon parted”. Money is the most universal measure of success, so if IQ tests are valid measure of the cognitive ability to adapt & problem solve, then high IQ races should have solved the problem of getting money more effectively than low IQ races, and that’s exactly what we find.
And even more astonishing, arguably the biggest brained member of the entire black race (and the entire female sex), is almost always the only African American on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, and was, from 2004 to 2006, the World’s ONLY black billionaire (excluding two hybridized blacks with less than 50% sub-Saharan ancestry), and the most influential woman on the planet according toTime magazine.
However not even big brained Oprah has made it to the absolute top of American wealth: Decabillionaire level which is a level of success currently achieved by only whites and Jews.
Given that U.S. Jews have an average IQ of 110 but a race IQ of 130 (the IQ Jews would have if the correlation between race and IQ were perfect) and U.S. whites have an IQ of 100, but a race IQ of 106, the fact that self-made decabillionaires are 77% Jewish and 23% white means they have an average race IQ of 0.77(130) + 0.23(106) = 124, which is 28 points above the U.S. mean of 96.
But since race IQ only correlates 0.48 with general intelligence which correlates 0.9 with IQ, we must divide those 28 points by 0.48 then multiply by 0.9 to see that the average self-made decabillionaire has an IQ 53 points above the U.S. mean of 96:
96 + 53 = 149
In other words, the average U.S. self-made decabillionaire has an IQ of about 150 (by definition, only one in 2000 U.S. whites has an IQ this high)
Of course all of this assumes that the high “race IQ” of self-made decabillionaires is nothing more than a byproduct of capitalism selecting for IQ, allowing one to assume race is just a regressed correlate of intelligence that has to be “unregressed” from the mean through division.
Of course I’m not dumb enough to think that the racial composition of the super rich is explained entirely by IQ, otherwise, there would be other high IQ groups represented such as East Asian Americans who score higher than whites and Indian Americans who may score as high as Jews.
Clearly Jews are over-represented among the super rich, even controlling for IQ, but because other high IQ races are under-represented, controlling for IQ, it seems to cancel itself out, and the average IQ of a highly selected groups is often deducible from the average race IQ of the group. For example, using racial composition of the homeless, I was able to infer they have an average IQ of about 75, which has been confirmed by actual IQ testing of the homeless.
Evidence that self-made decabillionaires have an average IQ around 150 comes from the fact that as of 2009, at least two of the 13 (Bill Gates and Paul Allen) reportedly scored between 1590-1600 on the older much harder pre-1995 SAT; roughly equivalent to an IQ of 170. Assuming the IQs of self-made decabillionaires are roughly normally distributed with a standard deviation of about 15 IQ points, then if the top 15% have IQs around 170, the average IQ should easily be at least 150 (though Gates and Allen might be outliers and their scores are impossible to confirm).
The evidence that IQ and money are linked is overwhelming, and comes from multiple sources. The next time someone tells you the correlation is weak, tell them that the average self-made decabillionaire might be an astonishing FIVE STANDARD DEVIATIONS (75 IQ points) smarter than the average homeless, and ask them “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a mathematical technique by which many data points get reduced to a smaller number of more manageable data points.
Cavali-Sforza lumped humans into nine major populations. The following shows his phylogenetic tree of these nine populations followed by a matrix showing the genetic distance between them:
Because I wanted to see if these nine populations could be objectively reduced to a smaller number, I made all the distances negative and then entered the genetic distance matrix into a minitab spread sheet.
The reason I made the distances negative is because PC analysis is usually done on correlation matrices where the higher the value, the more similar. In a genetic distance matrix, it’s the opposite, hence the negative signs I added.
The principal component analysis gave the following result.
To determine how many principal components to retain, mathematicians use what’s called the eigenvalue > 1 rule, which in this case means only three components.
The first component explains 54% of genetic variation and since Northeast Asians have the highest loading on this component (0.432), it can be thought of as a measure of Northeast Asianness. Africans are the only group to load negatively on Northeast Asianness (-0.376).
The second component explains 26% of the variation and since Europeans have the highest loading on this (0.526), it can be considered a measure of whiteness.
The third component explains 12% of the variation and since Native Americans have the highest score on this (0.527) it can perhaps be considered a measure of “New Worldliness”.
Now when I plot each of the nine populations in three-dimensional space (x axis = Northeast Asianness, y axis = whiteness, z axis = New Worldliness) with their loadings multiplied by 10 to make differences visible, we find all of the nine populations fit into three major clusters.
These three clusters are extremely similar to the three major races of physical anthropology: Mongoloids on the back wall, Negroids on the side wall, and Caucasoids on the floor.
No disrespect to Caucasoids (I’m 100% pure Caucasoid myself). The graph can be reoriented so any group is on the floor.
One anomaly is that New Guineans & Australian aboriginals cluster with Mongoloids, even though they are morphologically closest to Negroid. Of course such anomolies are not uncommon in taxonomy. Birds for example genetically cluster with reptiles, even though they’re not reptiles. Humans cluster with apes, even though we’re not apes.
Such anomalies occur because most of our DNA is junk, so it groups us based on how recently we share common ancestors, not by how much of that common ancestor we shared.
[PLEASE PLACE ALL OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS HERE. THEY WILL NOT BE POSTED IN THIS THREAD]
Many people do not understand how Oprah became so rich. The confusion is understandable because I don’t think any other popular TV star has ever been officially declared a billionaire by Forbes (though Merv Griffin and Bill Cosby both made the Forbes 400). According to Forbes, almost all of Oprah’s wealth was made from her syndicated talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show which ran from 1986 to 2011. That wealth can be largely explained by four things: 1) ownership, 2) syndication, 3) longevity, and 4) timing
When Oprah first came to Chicago to take over a failing morning talk show, her agent was very popular and people would tell Oprah what a great guy he was.
This is where social IQ is extremely important to getting rich, because Oprah asked herself, why would three separate network people go out of their way to tell her how great her agent is? Oprah shrewdly realized that if the agent was really advancing her interests, he wouldn’t be so popular with her network bosses, so she fired him.
Oprah then went hunting for the toughest agent in town. She had heard that a Chicago lawyer named Jeffrey Jacobs was a “piranha” and settled on him. Because Oprah’s ratings were so incredibly high, Jacobs was able to negotiate something better than money: ownership of the show, the production company, and syndication rights. Because the network was not legally allowed to syndicate Oprah themselves, they agreed to give Oprah the syndication rights on the condition that ABC owned networks get first crack.
Social IQ may help you hire the right agent, but at least some math IQ is needed to understand the business. Oprah’s biographer George Mair writes on page 103 of Oprah Winfrey: The Real Story:
The arithmetic of syndication is not that hard to understand. Somebody owns a television show and rents it to stations that sell commercials in the show. If it’s a dramatic show or comedy like Hill Street Blues or Cheers or The Cosby Show or I Love Lucy, it is largely timeless and may run forever. The only caveat is that you need enough shows “in the can” to go into syndication, because while the show was originally shown once a week, in syndication, such shows are usually shown on independent stations every weekday in the same time slot…Syndicating Oprah is simpler because she does five shows a week…
On page 105-106 Mair writes (as of 1994):
Oprah will appear on approximately two hundred stations each week, which will pay King World between $100,000 and $200,000 per week for five shows. The figure varies with the size of the audience in each market. The $200,000 figure is quite high, and that is the amount the ABC station in Los Angeles, KABC-TV, has agreed to pay under the new contract, due to run through the 1994-95 season. It was forced to pay this amount in the face of strong counterbid from the rival CBS station. Similar competition occurred in other markets where CBS faced ABC because The Oprah Winfrey Show served as a lead for two long hours of local news. As noted elsewhere, this programming sequence helps build local news ratings.
If you use the lower figure of $100,000 and multiply it by the approximately two hundred U.S. stations buying Oprah, you see how King World grosses $20 million a week on the Oprah Winfrey Show, against which the production cost of the show runs about $200,000 a week. Thus, low-cost shows sold to hundreds of stations can make a fortune for the participants and the star. Even if the program is not as highly rated as the Oprah Winfrey Show, it can make a lot of money, which is why everyone wants to get into the syndicated talk show business.
As early as 1989 TV Guide declared Oprah the richest woman on TV, though sadly they infamously put her head on Ann-Margaret’s body for this photo
The difference between syndicating a show and running it on a major network is the difference between retail and wholesale. When TV stations are negotiating how much to pay for a single show (syndication) they will pay a lot more per show than when they are negotiating how much to pay for a whole network of shows, for the same reason you’ll pay a lot more (per movie) to rent individual movies than you’ll pay to stream a whole library of movies on Netflix. This explains why Leno and Letterman (who were tied to networks) were never in the position to become billionaires.
The Oprah Winfrey Show is hardly the only show to strike syndication gold. Seinfeld reruns have generated $3.1 billion just from repeating the same 180 shows over and over again, every weekday for 15 years in syndication. Of this, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were paid $400 million each (before taxes). Although Seinfeld is nowhere near a billionaire like Oprah, he actually made more money per episode just from syndication than Oprah ever did and that’s largely because sitcoms are able to rerun far more than talk shows can without losing their appeal.
The third key to Oprah’s incredible wealth is her staying power. In a field where we’re always looking for the next hot thing, remaining the #1 talk show in syndication for virtually 25 straight years was a virtually unparalleled show business achievement. This allowed the syndication dollars to accumulate year after year, and put Oprah in the position to negotiate increasingly favorable contracts with her distributer King World. For example, before 1994, King World received 43% of the operating profit from the Oprah Winfrey show. But when Oprah renegotiated her contract in 1994, their percentage gradually dropped to 25%
The fourth key to Oprah’s success was timing. Her show’s popularity peaked before the rise of cable television and the internet. Because the audience was much less fragmented in Oprah’s heyday, she was averaging 12 million U.S. viewers per day in the early 1990s, but by the time she ended in 2011 she was averaging six million. And yet even with six million viewers, she remained far and away the highest rated talk show in syndication. She was still the biggest fish in the pond, but the pond had shrunk dramatically and she was lucky to have dominated the medium at the peak of its power. It’s interesting to ask whether we’ll ever see another Oprah, or perhaps the media has become too fragmented for any one personality to achieve such a large and loyal audience for so long.