It’s common knowledge in psychometrics that U.S. whites average about one standard deviation (15 IQ points) higher than U.S. blacks and have done so since the first mass tests were administered in WWI.
But could the gap extend much further in space and time? Tens of thousands of years further.
At first it sounds absurd: there were no IQ tests 15,000 years ago, and there weren’t any white people. The earliest Europeans had dark skin, and they were largely replaced by Middle Easterners spreading agriculture.
Nonetheless, there were people living in Europe 15,000 years ago and to the degree they resemble today’s Europeans (phenotypically and genetically) they’re a proxy for archaic whites.
Similarly, the oldest lineage in Africa are Bushmen, and to the degree they resemble modern Africans, they’re a proxy for archaic blacks.
The archaic whites left the following rock art over 15,000 years ago.
The archaic blacks left the following rock art, perhaps much more recently.
When I asked readers to rate the two archaic white paintings using the quality scale of the Dale-Harris Draw-A-Man test, the median votes were 3 and 11, giving the archaic whites a mean score of 7.
For archaic blacks, the median votes were 3 and 8, giving archaic blacks a mean score of 5.5.
That’s a difference of 1.5 points. Since the standard deviation for incipient adults (age 15) on the Goodenough-Harris quality scale is 1.7, archaic whites over 15 thousand years ago were already nearly one standard deviation (15 IQ points) higher than archaic blacks living later.
Of course with such a tiny sample size, this conclusion is EXTREMELY tentative and requires far more research.
In the Minnesota Transracial Adoption study, white babies, black babies, and mixed babies (biological father black; biological mother white) were adopted into white upper middle-class homes when they were 19 months, 32 months, and nine months respectively. The purpose of the study was to determine how much of the 15 point black-white IQ gap in the United States is genetic.
In 1975, the children and adoptive parents were IQ tested on at least an abbreviated versions of the Stanford Binet/WISC/WAIS (depending on age), and then retested in 1986 on the WISC-R/WAIS-R depending on age. Here are the results:
Because the norms on all the tests were out-dated at the time of testing (especially in 1975), John Loehlin attempted to correct all scores for the Flynn effect.
But many people ignore the IQs themselves, and instead just focus on the IQ differences. They see that at age 17, adopted whites scored 7.1 points higher than adopted mixeds in the unadjusted data, and 16.2 points higher than the adopted blacks, and conclude that the 15 point black-white IQ gap in the United States is roughly 100% genetic.
One problem with this is that black babies were adopted later than the non-black babies. Another problem is they were born to black mothers, while the non-black babies were all born to white mothers, so the prenatal and perinatal environments may have been quite unequal.
Thus I have always been more intrigued by the 7.1 IQ gap between the adopted whites and adopted mixeds. Since the adopted mixeds presumably had only half as much black ancestry as the typical U.S. black, it’s interesting that there’s roughly half the infamous 15 point black-white IQ gap, despite being gestated in white wombs and raised in white homes. Does this point to the importance of genetics?
Physicist Drew Thomas argues that the comparison between the adopted whites and adopted blacks is misleading because in the tables posted above, at both ages we only see data for the adopted kids who remained in the study for the follow-up testing in 1986. He argues that several low IQ adopted white kids dropped out of the study, and had they remained, the IQ gap between the adopted whites and adopted mixeds would have perhaps been only 3.5 points at age 17.
However this argument is starting to feel a little post-hoc. When you do a study, your data is what it is. You can’t adjust it for what it would have been had people you wished remained in the study. Almost any study can be debunked if we imagine how it would have turned out in a parallel universe where different people took part.
That’s not to deny that adjusting for attrition can be important in some cases, but in this study, Thomas argues attrition only increased the IQs of adopted whites and not the adopted non-whites. An effect that only affected one demographic sounds to me like random error, not a systematic bias that needs to be adjusted for. And if the error was random, one could just as easily argue the IQs of adopted whites were too low before the attrition rather than too high after the attrition.
Indeed if the adopted white sample is so easily skewed by a few kids dropping out of the study, then maybe that sample is too small to begin with, and instead we should compare the much larger sample of adopted mixeds not to the adopted whites, but to the general U.S. white population.
At an average age of 17, the adopted mixeds took the WISC-R and WAIS-R depending on age, and averaged 98.5 (93.5 after adjustments for the Flynn effect, since WISC-R and WAIS-R norms were 14 and 8 years old respectively at the time of testing).
However some top-secret research I’ve been slowly doing over the past decade suggests the Flynn effect has been wildly exaggerated, so while I don’t think their average IQ was as high as 98.5, I also doubt it was as low as the Flynn corrections say. Let’s split the difference and say 96 (U.S. norms).
By contrast, the whites in the WISC-R and WAIS-R standardization samples averaged 102.2 (standard deviation (SD) = 14.08) and 101.4 (SD = 14.65) respectively. Let’s split the difference and say 101.8 (SD = 14.4).
Thus converting to the more traditional scale where the U.S. white mean and SD are set at 100 and 15 respectively, the adopted mixed mean of 96 becomes ((96 – 101.8)/14.4)(15) + 100 = 94.
In other words, despite being gestated in white wombs and raised in upper-middle class white homes, having just one U.S. black biological parent appears to have reduced IQ by 6 points, suggesting that having two U.S black biological parents would reduce IQ by 12 points, suggesting that 80% of the 15 point black-white IQ gap in the U.S. is genetic. 80% squared is 0.64 which is similar to the 0.69 heritability of the WAIS full-scale IQ found in Thomas Bouchard’s study of identical twins reared apart, consistent with Jensen’s default hypothesis which claimed that IQ gaps between U.S. races are caused by the same nature-nurture mix that occurs within them.
To paraphrase President Obama, there is no black America or white America; from a nature-nurture perspective, there’s just America.
While this analysis seems to have controlled for the prenatal and family environment, it’ does not control for peer groups. Maybe as mixed kids raised in white homes, they were unmotivated on IQ tests because of the racist stereotype that being smart = acting white. On the other hand, they did better on scholastic tests than they did on formal IQ tests, suggesting motivation was not a problem.
If the genetic part of the U.S. black-white IQ gap is indeed 12 points and black Americans are only about 74% black on average it implies that 100% West African ancestry would reduce IQ by 16 points below the U.S. white mean (at least if we assume U.S. black ancestry is representative of West African ancestry).
And at least if we assume the Phenotype = Genotype + Environment model
Some readers invoke a reaction norm model where genotype A is higher IQ than genotype B in environment A, but lower than genotype B in environment B. Assuming such norm crossing occurs with IQ, my sense is that it would be limited to individual cases and cancel out in group level comparisons like the black-white IQ gap.
Some might argue that it’s inappropriate to compare adopted mixeds to the general U.S. white population because adopted mixeds might not be genetically representative of their parent populations. In The g Factor, Jensen states that the parents of the mixeds averaged 12.5 years of schooling (page 473) while just the mothers averaged 12.4 (page 478). From here we can deduce that the fathers averaged 12.6.
In 1975 America, white women and non-white men age 25+ had a median of 12.3 and 11.3 years of schooling respectively (see table 4 of this document). Comparable figures in 1986 were 12.6 and 12.5. So using education as a proxy, there’s no reason to think the mixed kids were selected to have lower IQs than the mean of their parent races. If anything, their biological fathers averaged more education than age 25+ non-white men throughout the full duration of the study and their biological mothers averaged about the same education as age 25+ white women.
Of course it would help to know the exact ages of the parents, rather than just lumping them in with everyone over 25. I can’t find the age of the biological parents of the mixeds specifically, but the bio moms and dads of all the kids who took part in at least part of the study (see table 3 of this paper) averaged 21.6 and 26.3 at the time the kids were born, and thus were about 29 and 33 in 1975 and about 39 and 43 in 1986, thus they were likely near the median age of the 25+ cohort by the end of the study.
Although this study shows the black-white IQ gap is highly genetic, several similar studies beg to differ. 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 ethnic 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 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 IQ’s 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 (non-white caucasoids or “dark whites” as they are sometimes called). In addition, there was no follow-up to measure the adult IQ of the children.
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 but the sample size was quite small, I don’t know anything about the bio-parents and again, no followup when the kids were older.
Because historically, craniometry and Social Darwinism were used to diminish women, blacks, and the lower classes, I have long found it incredibly inspirational that Oprah (a poor black girl from the rural South) grew up to rank so high on the two most Darwinian correlates of intelligence: brain size and money/power. And with the recent release of Forbes annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans, she is once again the only African American on the entire list, and with a net worth that briefly hit $3 billion, the first multibillionaire black in North American history. Don’t get me wrong, there have been two other black billionaires in North American history: BET founder Bob Johnson became a billionaire in 2001 when he sold BET though lost his Forbes billionaire status when a divorce reportedly split his fortune with wife Sheila Johnson and has almost never made the Forbes 400 since. Meanwhile here in Canada, we are all extremely proud of Michael Lee Chin who Forbes has ranked as a billionaire many times on their international rich list, though not lately. Although Lee Chin has two Chinese grandparents, he can be socially classified as black because his other grandparents are Jamaican. But neither Johnson or Lee Chin ever hit or exceeded the $3 billion mark on any of Forbes lists as Oprah just has. I figure $3 billion is the minimum net worth you need to be a multibillionaire. Dictionaries define a multimillionaire as someone having several million, so by extension, a multibillionaire is someone who has several billion.
If one excludes socially classified black billionaires, who are perhaps less than 50% sub-Saharan at the genetic level, Oprah was the only black billionaire on Earth from 2004 to 2006, in addition to being the most influential woman in the world according to Time magazine. However with rising oil prices, black billionaires and even multibillionaires have been emerging in Africa, so Oprah is no longer richest black black on Earth (even when “black” is defined narrowly).
The blogger destructure recently implied on this blog that I am too liberal, which he attributed to my putative sheltered life as a Canadian. I don’t consider myself liberal at all, but I think I seem so liberal because my path to HBD (i.e. behavioral genetics) was very different from that of many HBD people. I would imagine that many people get interested in HBD because they have certain right-wing politics (maybe anti-affirmative action, anti-immigration) and hijack HBD to push their political agenda, much like the peaceful religion of Islam is hijacked by violent extremists pushing agendas. In both cases, a burden is placed on all the millions good HBD people (and millions of good Muslims) to defend their ideology from those who would want to twist it.
For me, HBD was never about politics, but started when a babysitter rented the movie Quest for Fire when I was five. This movie was set 80,000 years ago and depicted a tribe of cavemen who have their most valued resource (fire) destroyed by a violent tribe of primitive monkey-men who brutally slaughter most of the cavemen. Amazingly, a few of the most adventurous surviving cavemen walk from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa where they find a tribe of behaviorally and anatomically modern gracile humans, one of whom was a beautiful young African woman, who falls in love with one of the cavemen and teaches him to be fully human. Til this day this remains one of my all time favorite movies and makes me nostalgic for life 80,000 years ago.
But at age five, this wasn’t just a movie, it was an obsession. Every time I would go camping, I would look for a pile of ashes to roll around in, because the advanced African tribe I worshiped were covered from head to toe in ashes giving them a completely grey skin color.
The advanced Africans colored grey by ashes make fun of less advanced caveman for falling into their trap. Image found here
As a child I remembered thinking how boring life was in the modern era because all living human populations were at the same level of evolution. Things seemed so much more exciting 80,000 years ago in the movie Quest for Fire when you had three different levels of evolution competing in a struggle for survival.
But then I began hearing about the theories of scientists J.P. Rushton who argued that there were indeed three different levels of evolution coexisting at once, except instead of Africans being the most advanced people, Rushton put “mongoloids” at the top of his nice neat pyramid, arguing that they were more advanced than other humans because they evolved most recently, having split-off caucasoids in a bigger brained, less sexual form. When I first heard this theory I was absolutely fascinated because it was as though the movie that had dominated my early childhood had been true all along, but because Rushton’s theory was condemned as racist, I felt great shame and guilt for liking his theory so much.
Luckily, as I grew older, I came to realize there was absolutely nothing racist about such theories because virtually the entire range of intelligence, personality, sexuality, and athleticism exist in every race, and there’s an evolutionary trade-off, such that races that are higher in some traits (brain size, IQ, mental stability) are lower on other valued traits (sexual anatomy, rhythm, sociability, artistic creativity). I don’t think one should have to deny science to prove they’re not a racist. It’s very easy to spout politically correct platitudes about all races being the same in the abstract; but the real test of character is whether you treat everyone as an individual, regardless of race.
Readers of the New York Times have long known that there might be genetically based ethnic differences in IQ, but few people appreciate that nutrition also plays a huge role in IQ. For example, thanks to malnutrition, British whites in the 19th century had real IQ’s around 76 (on modern norms), though this was spuriously pushed down to IQ 66 by lack of schooling (see the Flynn effect). By comparison, in his book Race Differences in Intelligence, scholar Richard Lynn reports the following IQ’s for 10 major populations:
North East Asians: IQ 105
Europeans: IQ 99
Arctic peoples: IQ 91
Southeast Asians: IQ 87
Native Americans: IQ 86
Pacific Islanders: IQ 85
Non-white Caucasoids: IQ 84
Sub-Saharan agriculturalists: IQ 67
Australian aboriginals: IQ 62
Sub-Saharan hunter/gatherers: IQ 54
How much of these scores were affected schooling? Probably not much because virtually all the samples were school children. A major exception being sub-Saharan hunter’gathers, but Lynn estimated their IQ largely by comparing them to equally unschooled neighboring agriculturalist who score IQ 67 with schooling. Since the Bushmen scored about a dozen points lower, it was reasonable to assume that with schooling, Bushmen would score in the mid 50s. Although IQ tests are supposed to measure native ability, few tests are 100% culture fair so it’s necessary to control for schooling when comparing disparate cultures.
So if schooling did not affect these scores, what about nutrition? Although Lynn concedes that malnutrition adversely affects the IQ’s of third-world peoples, no attempt was made to correct the IQ’s for this effect. However on page 184, Lynn provides a table showing the prevalence of malnutrition for various geographic regions. The table lists several measures of malnutrition (i.e. percent underweight, percent wasted, percent stunted, percent anemic) and averaging across the different measures that are provided, implies that as of 1996, malnutrition afflicted 30% of Sub-Saharan Africa, 14% of the Middle East & North Africa, 45% of South Asia, 21% of East Asia & Pacific, and 16% of Latin America & Caribbean. Elsewhere in the book he claims that 25% of Australian aboriginals are malnourished.
I estimated that for each percentage of the population that is nutritionally deficient enough to be proclaimed malnourished, the average IQ of the population is lowered by 0.43 IQ points. This estimate is based on the fact that Lynn notes that African Americans with virtually no white admixture have IQ’s 13 points higher than their genetic counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of whom are malnourished. Thus 40 multiplied by 0.43 lowers a population’s IQ 13 points below its potential. So correcting the IQ’s of all the ethnic groups for the level of malnutrition in the regions that they live, gives the following:
Northeast Asians: IQ 105 (no corrections, they live in first world countries)
Europeans: IQ 99 (no corrections, they live in first world countries)
Southeast Asians: IQ 96 (corrected for 21% malnutrition in East Asia & the Pacific Islands)
Pacific Islanders: IQ 94 (corrected for 21% malnutrition in East Asia & the Pacific Islands)
Arctic people: IQ 91 (no corrections, they live in first world countries)
Non-white Caucasoids: IQ 90 (corrected for 14% malnutrition, since they mostly live in the middle east/North Africa)
Native Americans: IQ 89 (many live in Latin America which has 16% malnutrition, others live in first-world North America, I split the difference & corrected for 8% malnutrition)
Sub-Saharan agriculturalists: IQ 80 (corrected for 30% malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa)
Australian aboriginals: IQ 73 (corrected for 25% malnutrition mentioned by Lynn)
Sub-Saharan hunter/gatherers: IQ 67 (corrected for 30% malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa)
On May 23, 2014, 22 year old Elliot Rodger unleashed a massacre in Isla Vista, California, stabbing to death three men in his apartment before driving around town shooting three college students. A striking aspect of this tragedy was how much it resembled a horror film, with Hollywood savvy Rodger, the son of the assistant director for The Hunger Games affecting an evil chuckle in the web videos he posted, fantasizing about turning humanity into mountains of skulls and rivers of blood.
And like the killer in a 1980s slasher film, Rodger targeted sexually active young adults, stating in his manifesto:
I often fantasized about barging into their rooms while they were having sex and slashing them to death with my knife.
In his manifesto, Rodger, a self-proclaimed virgin, is obsessed with taking revenge on those who have more sex than he does. In the slasher sub-genre, the killing of the sexually active had become such an overused cliche that it was openly parodied in the 1996 film Scream. This slasher convention, largely originated with Halloween (1978), where the killer first murders his sister after witnessing her going upstairs to have sex with a boy, and then returns to his small town to murder other sexually active teenagers (the only survivor being the virgin played by Jamie Lee Curtis). In Friday the 13th (1980) the killer targets sexually active camp counselors because they were making love while a young boy allegedly drowned. In Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), the killer dresses up like Santa Claus and punishes sexually active young people for being “naughty”. In all of these films, the murders occur on a single day (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Christmas); similarly, Rodger did all his killings on May 23, which he labeled “the day of retribution”.
From his manifesto, and other online comments, what bothered Rodger most was not so much his virginity, but the fact that women rejected him for men he regarded as inferior to himself (full-blood minorities, short men, ugly men, non-rich men, dumb brutish jocks). Nothing makes humans angrier than that which violates our expectations. In his manifesto, he describes the rage of learning about a black boy’s sex life:
And then this black boy named Chance said that he lost his virginity when he was only thirteen! In addition, he said the girl he lost his virginity to was a blonde white girl! I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.
How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British Aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthly scum, but they reject ME? The injustice
Seriously, today at my college I saw this short, ugly Indian guy driving a Honda civic, and he had a hot blonde girl in his passenger seat. What on earth is up with that?!?!?! I would climb Mount Everest 10 times just to have a girl like that with me. I drive a BMW Coupe and I’ve struggled all my life to get a girlfriend. What’s wrong with this world?
In the manifesto, the rage of learning about an Asian boy’s sex life:
I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only ones I’m attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them?
Rodger apparently grew up feeling special because he was half-white, and I suspect his mother told him all the girls would swoon over his exotic Eurasian good looks and he was even given a BMW to further entice them. So when women not only didn’t swoon, but rejected him for mono-racial shorter Asians with crappy cars, it added insult to injury in his twisted young mind, and he lashed out violently against his Asian roommates. It reminds me a bit of Rae Dawn Chong who was a rising mixed race star in the 1980s. When she first met Oprah on the set of The Color Purple circa 1985, she assumed this unknown overweight full blood black woman was no competition for a thin, pretty mixed race light skinned star like herself. But when Oprah went on to become the richest and most influential African American of her generation and Rae Dawn turned into a has-been, she lashed out in a horrific racist tirade.